LEGAL NEWS 22.11.2009

CEC has no jurisdiction to decide on mining dispute: OMC

TNN 22 November 2009, 06:32am IST

HYDERABAD: Obulapuram Mining Company stated on Saturday that the boundary disputes between two mining companies was not the concern of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) appointed by the Supreme Court and that the observations and recommendations made by it in its report submitted to the apex court on Friday was contrary to the judgments of the AP High Court and also the Supreme Court.

In a statement here on Saturday, B V Srinivas Reddy, MD of Obulapuram Mining Company, said the SC committee has not dealt with any issues relating to environment. “There is no green issue involved. The boundary dispute between two private companies is not the concern of the Central Empowered Committee. The boundary dispute is already adjudicated by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in W.A.No.1540/2008. This judgment has become final, since no party has preferred any appeal against the same.”

OMC held that the CEC’s report of Friday is without jurisdiction since the Supreme Court never directed the committee to submit such a report. “Unless and until the Supreme Court receives the report and approve the recommendations with or without modifications, it is not a report in the eye of law. The observations and recommendations unless and until are approved by the Supreme Court, which may or may not approve the same, continue to be the views of CEC and cannot be called as an order of the Supreme Court,” the mining company said.








CBI denies information on Quattrocchi sought under RTI

November 22nd, 2009 SindhToday

New Delhi, Nov 22 (IANS) The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which has been investigating the Bofors gun payoff scandal, has refused to reveal any information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) about Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrocchi, stating that it “would impede the process of apprehension and prosecution of the accused”.

The information was sought by a Supreme Court lawyer, Ajay K. Agrawal, after the CBI had moved an application before a court here last month to quash all charges against Quattrocchi in the two-decade-old case, saying it cannot be kept pending forever as attempts to extradite him have failed in the past.

In his RTI application filed last month, Agrawal had asked for all documents, manuscripts, notings and files pertaining to the de-freezing of the accounts of Quattrocchi and his wife at a bank in London. Agrawal had also filed a petition in the court against the withdrawal of the case by the CBI.

CBI, however, refused to divulge any information.

“… As the criminal case against Ottavio Quattrocchi is pending trial in the Court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi, and various other petitions relating in the case are pending before (Delhi) High Court and Supreme Court, the documents and information asked for can neither be provided nor allowed to be inspected… as the same would impede the process of apprehension and prosecution of the accused,” the investigation agency said in its reply to Agrawal.

He had also sought information/records including all advices, opinions and notings of officials and law officers that led to withdrawal of the Red Corner Notice against Quattrocchi.

“Right from the prime minister to other ministers, all are making statements that there is no case against Quattrocchi. If that is the case, then why is the CBI shying from making public all the papers regarding his case,” Agrawal told IANS.

“The reasons are obvious, as his proximity to the Gandhi family has led to the CBI withdrawing the case despite the fact that there is ample documentary evidence received from different countries against him,” Agrawal said.

On Nov 6, a city court deferred till March 31 next year a decision on the CBI’s plea to withdraw Quattrocchi’s name from the Bofors case.

“It is a peculiar case of its kind and a glaring example of government sponsored corruption. The CBI and the entire government has shown utter disregard for the Indian courts including the apex court. Malaysian and Argentinian court orders were made the basis for the application for withdrawal of prosecution against Quattrocchi, while the orders of the Indian Supreme Court and Delhi High Court passed against Quattrocchi were disregarded,” he added.

Agrawal further said: “One of the reasons being given in the withdrawal application is that it is a 19 year old case and so it should be shut. If this reasoning is accepted, then the country’s criminal justice system will collapse and general amnesty should be given to all undertrials languishing in jails awaiting their trial.”

Quattrocchi was accused in the case relating to the alleged payment of Rs.640 million as commission in the 1987 howitzer deal. He was known to be close to the late Rajiv Gandhi, who was prime minister in 1987 when the bribery scandal broke, and his wife Sonia. Quattrocchi was named in a CBI chargesheet in 1999 as the conduit for the Bofors bribe and accused of receiving millions of dollars in commission for helping fix the $1.4 billion gun deal.






HC imposes cost of Rs 20,000 on AIIMS

New Delhi, Nov 22 (PTI)

The Delhi High Court has imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on the AIIMS for denying counselling opportunity to a meritorious reserved category candidate, who first opted for a general seat in a second round of counselling against OBC quota.
Justice Anil Kumar said the premier medical institute cannot deny a candidate of reserved category from taking the benefit of counselling under both categories concurrently.

“The merit cannot be permitted to become demerit as otherwise this will frustrate the very purpose and object of reservation policy,” the court said.

The court passed the order on a petition filed by an OBC candidate Manish Patnecha who was denied an opportunity to sit for counselling against OBC quota after he had opted for a seat against the general category.

During the second counselling, he sought to appear against OBC quota so that he could get admission in a subject of his choice but the AIIMS debarred him, saying that it would block two seats.

Aggrieved by the denial, he approached the High Court saying a higher ranked candidate belonging to reserved category should not suffer a deprivation in the choices of either a seat or an institution of his choice vis-a-vis a lesser merited candidate of the same social class by operation of reservation principle.

The court, after perusing the Bulletin of Information, said that the practice of the AIIMS was in contrary to the procedure of allocating seats prescribed in the prospectus.

“The method and procedure for allocation of seats as detailed in the prospectus does not stipulate that a candidate who opts for a general seat in the first counselling provisionally is not to be allowed to opt for a reserved category seat in the second counselling,” the court said.

The AIIMS contended that the practice of not permitting reserved category meritorious candidates, who participated in the counselling for the general category and allotted seat therein, was continuous ever since the counselling was started.

However, the court rejecting contention of the AIIMS said, “A practice is in vogue ever since the process of counselling was started, will not be a ground to act contrary to procedure for allocation of seat as detailed in the prospectus.”

“As a reserved candidate on the basis of his merit in the general category, the petitioner was entitled for a seat, however, his option for a seat in general category could not be worked out to his disadvantage so as to be placed on a more disadvantageous position than the other less meritorious reserved category candidates,” it said.

The court, however, declined to direct the institute for re-counselling saying, “In the circumstances, the AIIMS cannot be directed to have second counselling again and allot the seat of petitioner’s choice and cancel the allocation of the seat to another candidate.”







HC upholds Goa varsity teachers retirement at 58

TNN 22 November 2009, 06:13am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has dismissed petitions challenging the decision of the government to retire Goa University (GU) teachers at the age of 58, following the passing of Goa University (Amendment) Act, 2002.

Professor A K Joshi and reader Joe D’Souza had approached the court and submitted that they were entitled to continue in service till the age of 60 as GU had undertaken to protect their service conditions after they were absorbed in service from Bombay University.

The petitioners explained that they were absorbed in GU from Centre of Post Graduation Instruction (CPIR) at Panaji, under Bombay University, by virtue of an agreement dated June 9, 1987.

Subsequently, in its statute, GU prescribed the superannuation age to be 60, akin to the retirement age of teachers in Bombay University, the petitioners stated. They argued that as the retirement age of teachers of Bombay University still continues to be 60 years, the state government had committed breach of the agreement by reducing the age of superannuation to 58 years.

The petitioners also brought to the notice of the court that after the government realized that reduction in retirement age will lead to waste of talent and experience, the Goa University (Amendment) Act, 2006 was passed and the retirement age of teachers was again fixed at 60 years.During the hearing of the case, advocate general Subodh Kantak argued that under the agreement the total emoluments to be received by the petitioners after their absorption by GU was protected and not the age of retirement.

Rejecting the petition, a division bench comprising Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice N A Britto observed that the agreement provided the service conditions would be the same as those of Bombay University, until they were revised by GU with a further rider that they could be revised in line with service conditions of Goa government employees.

Determination of the age of retirement is a matter of policy of the employer and courts cannot venture in their path, the court said. “That the legislature has again extended it to 60 years in 2006 is entirely a different matter and the petitioners who retired after the first amendment, cannot derive any benefit of the same,” the court observed.









HC criticises lower courts for delaying adoption cases

A Subramani, TNN 22 November 2009, 03:32am IST

CHENNAI: Slamming subordinate courts for inordinate delay in disposing of adoption and guardianship cases, the Madras high court has said that they must clear such cases with the utmost sensitivity and diligence.

As on date more than 970 cases, filed under the Hindu Adoption and Maintenance Act and the Guardians and Wards Act, are pending before various courts in Tamil Nadu. Many of them are pending since 2006.

Delivering the order in a guardianship case on Friday, Justice K Chandru said that the Supreme Court had laid down a timeframe of two months to conclude such cases. Scores of cases were pending for more than three years in some courts in the state. “It is a disquieting factor to see that the current pendency of cases in some districts show an alarming picture and slackness in dealing with such matters, despite the binding law laid down by the Supreme Court,” he said.
Such defiance shown by district courts should not be tolerated by the HC, which should take a serious view of the matter, Justice Chandru said.

The case relates to a petition filed by N John in 1999, seeking to be appointed guardian of his cousin’s two minor children. The parents of the children had died and John, a retired government employee, and his wife had been taking care of them, the petition said.






HC must have special Benches for cyber cases’

KOCHI: There is a need to set up special Benches in the High Court for hearing cases relating to human rights violations, cyber crimes and economic offences, the Kerala Home Minister, Mr Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, said on Saturday.

“Cyber cases are increasing in the state. Lot of problems on this issue has come up before police. A cyber cell has been formed, which was working well. But when cases are registered, problems arise,’’ he said.

The laws which have gone obsolete needs to be amended and there should be an intervention from the judiciary in this regard, he said in his inaugural address at a seminar on ‘Development of Law and Justice Perspective’, organised as part of the Kerala Hi gh Court day celebrations.

The Government was actively considering the Krishna Iyer commission report on law reforms. But due to many reasons, this process was getting delayed. The legislature was not spending sufficient time for law making process, he lamented. — PTI




CJI for joint international probe into terrorist acts

by Indo Asian News Service on November 21, 2009

New Delhi, Nov 21 (IANS) Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan Saturday endorsed a suggestion for joint international probes into acts of terrorism and trial of terrorists by a supranational tribunal such as the International Criminal Court.

Balakrishnan supported the idea in his inaugural address to a two-day-long International Conference of Jurists on the issue of terrorism at Vigyan Bhavan here. It was inaugurated by President Pratibha Patil.

The conference was attended by Singapore Chief Justice Chan Sek Keong and Justice Awn S. Al-Khasawneh of the International Court of Justice and Union Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily.

Balakrishnan supported the idea of international probes into acts of terrorism, while dwelling upon the reluctance of some countries to act against terrorists operating from their soil due to the local support enjoyed by such terror outfits.

‘To tackle such circumstances, there has been a constructive suggestion that terrorist attacks should be treated as a unique form of armed conflict,’ said Balakrishnan.

‘And in such situations of armed conflict, obligations can be placed on all nations to collaborate in the investigation and prosecution of people responsible for terrorist attacks, irrespective of the location of the attacks or the nationality of the perpetrators,’ the CJI told the conference.

‘This calls for a blurring of the distinction between the international and domestic nature of armed conflict when it comes to terrorist strikes,’ the CJI added.

Endorsing the trial of terrorists at international tribunals, the CJI said, ‘Another suggestion is that of treating terrorist attacks as offences recognised under International Criminal Law, such as ‘crimes against humanity’ which can then be tried before a supranational tribunal such as the International Criminal Court.’

‘The obvious practical problem with this suggestion, however, is that prosecutions before this court need to be initiated by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) and the latter may be reluctant to do so in instances of one-off terrorist attacks as opposed to continuing conflicts,’ the CJI added.

The CJI also called for restraint by the media, specially visual, in round-the-clock telecast of the scenes of terror attacks, saying this leads to considerable amplification of ‘the symbolic impact of terrorist attacks on the minds of ordinary citizens’.

‘The proliferation of 24-hour TV news channels and the digital medium has ensured that quite often some disturbing images and statements reach a wide audience within a short span of time. One of the ill effects of unrestrained coverage is that it can provoke a disproportionate level of anger among the masses,’ he added.

Terming terrorism as ‘a global problem, calling for a global response’, President Patil too endorsed global counter-terrorism efforts while squarely laying the responsibility to contain acts of terrorism on the country where the terrorists operate.

‘Terrorism easily transcends borders and thus becomes a transnational crime. Being a crime against humanity, it ought to be recognised as a common enemy of all nations. Terror threat against one is a threat against all,’ she said.

‘The global counter-terrorism efforts may be an arduous and lengthy campaign but must persistently target the entire global network. Countries must individually own up the responsibilities as must the international community in collectively defeating terrorism and not deflect responsibility on to non-state actors,’ said Patil.

‘The responsibility to deal with them lies with the state from which they operate as it is the sanctuary, support and finances that they receive which sustains their heinous and perverse acts,’ she added.






CJI flays ‘pervasive’ media coverage of terror attacks

Express news service

Posted: Sunday , Nov 22, 2009 at 0320 hrs New Delhi:

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan Saturday criticised the media for its “pervasive” coverage of terror attacks, saying it could provoke “disproportionate level of anger and irrational desire for retribution”.

“While it is fair for the media to criticise inadequacies in the security and law enforcement apparatus, there is also a possibility that resentment fuelled by media coverage can turn into an irrational desire for retribution,” the CJI said while speaking at a two-day International Conference of Jurists on Terrorism, which began here on Saturday. Balakrishnan said the symbolic impact of terrorist attacks on the minds of ordinary citizens had been considerably amplified by pervasive media coverage. “The proliferation of 24-hour news channels and the digital medium has ensured that quite often some disturbing images and statements reach a wide audience within a short span of time,” he said.

For instance, the CJI said, if terrorist strikes were attributed to individuals belonging to a certain ethnic or religious community then it may result in “unreasonable discrimination and retaliation” against ordinary members of that community. He said such a trend was clearly visible in US in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks and has been the cause of communal violence in many instances in India.

Justice Balakrishnan said legal response to terrorism must be founded on a rational understanding of the underlying causes for such extremist behaviour. Knee-jerk responses such as clamping down on civil liberties or a spate of arbitrary arrests and increased surveillance over citizens can prove to be counter-productive, he added.

In such an atmosphere, the CJI said, it is only through calm deliberation and mutual tolerance that the legal systems of different nations can work together to tackle this problem.

President Pratibha Patil, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and eminent jurists from various countries, including Justice Awn S Al-Khasawneh of the International Court of Justice and Justice Chan Sek Keong, Chief Justice of Singapore, were also present at the conference.

Saudi envoy walks out after Ram Jethmalani’s remark

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to India, Faisal-al-Trad, Saturday walked out of an international conference of jurists here after former Union Minister Ram Jethmalani accused the Wahabi sect, to which the Saudi royal dynasty belongs to, of being responsible for terrorism.

Trad left the conference hall after Jethmalani said at the inaugural function of the conference that “unfortunately in the 17th century, they produced an evil man in Saudi Arabia by the name of Wahab, who was concerned about the decline of the Muslim world but he hit upon a wrong remedy”. The Ambassador, however, returned to the conference after Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily made it clear that Jethmalani’s remarks were personal and not that of the government.

While Jethmalani alleged that “Wahabi terrorism” indoctrinated “rubbish” in the minds of young people to carry out terrorist attacks and lamented that India had friendly relations with a country that supported Wahabi terrorism, Moily said terrorism could not be attributed to any particular religion.

Jethmalani said there had been Hindu terrorists and Buddhist terrorists and it was unfortunate that “the terrorist that the world is talking about is mainly Muslim”. “But let me make it clear that I am a student of all religions including Islam. I have the highest respect for the prophet of Islam, he was a man of peace,” he added.





Plea against transmission tower


By Our Legal Correspondent

First Published : 21 Nov 2009 09:19:21 AM IST

Last Updated : 21 Nov 2009 11:19:36 AM IST


HYDERABAD: A Division bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice AR Dave and Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy on Friday issued notice to the government and the Hyderabad Metropolitan Development Authority to respond to a writ petition questioning the permission for construction of a tower on the Moula Ali Rock.

The petitioner, Apna Watan and Society to Save Rocks, said the transmission receiving tower on a rock was an insensitive approach to saving the rocks which was near the Moula Ali Dargah.The government has been given four weeks’ time to respond.

Land fee exemption to Kakinada SEZ challenged

The bench ordered issuance of notice on a writ petition questioning the exemption granted by the State Government to the Kakinada SEZ for payment of conversion fee for land use.

Watch Voice of People, an NGO, moved the court questioning the government order of Nov 10 which exempted the Kakinada SEZ from paying the fee for an extent of 8,321 acres. The petitioner contended that the total exemption was larger than the land notified for the SEZ initially.

The petitioner also pointed out that 60 per cent of SEZ land was for processing and 40 per cent for other purpose. Such an exemption under the AP Agricultural Land Conversion Act was only for the 60 per cent.

Even the manner in which the notification was issued was in violation of law, the petition said.

Recruit or shut down, Kakatiya varsity told

A division bench comprising Justice G Raghuram and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan faulted the Kakatiya University for not recruiting necessary staff on a permanent basis for its Informatics department. “Recruit or shut down,’’ the bench said.

A writ petition was filed by a research scholar in economics Sridhar Kumar Lodha who said the department did not have professors and assistant professors.

Saying that a full-time faculty was not a ritual, the bench observed that not having it was subversion of academic standards.

It granted four weeks’ time to the university to complete its ongoing recruitment process and fill up faculty posts on a permanent basis.

Order for halt to work on Shamshabad burial ground

Justice CV Ramulu directed the Shamshabad municipality not to proceed with the construction of a burial ground. The petitioner, Sujata Bai, complained that the authorities cannot build a crematorium wherever they wanted and particularly in a residential area. The action was also challenged on the ground that construction of crematorium without a proper notification was illegal.

Nizamabad agency’s plea for EPIC work payment

The judge granted two weeks’ time to the authorities to respond to a complaint of its failure to make payments for production of electronic photo ID cards (EPIC) for voters in Nizamabad.

Sai Tirumala Agency, which had made the electronic photo ID cards in Nizamabad, said that even after the elections and the use of the IDs, the government was not clearing the bill of Rs 78 lakh. Tirumaleshwari, representing the agency, said even a legal notice failed to move the authorities which, instead of making payment, raised flippant quarries. 







We were not given a hearing: Reddy’s mining firm

November 21st, 2009 SindhToday

Bangalore, Nov 21 (IANS) Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), owned by rebel Karnataka Tourism Minister G. Janaradhan Reddy, Saturday said it was not given an opportunity to present its version by the Supreme Court’s Central Empowered Committee (CEC), which recommended the controversial firm be asked stop illegal mining in Andhra Pradesh.

“The committee had no jurisdiction to submit such a report as there was no direction from the Supreme Court to that effect. The CEC is not even a party to the writ petition,” company managing director B.V. Srinivas Reddy said in a statement from Hyderabad.

In its report, submitted to the apex court, the committee said OMC had encroached upon mineral-rich areas outside their mining leases and was carrying out large-scale illegal mining in non-allotted reserved forest areas adjoining Obalapuram and H.Siddapuram villages in the border district of Ananthapur in Andhra Pradesh.

Terming the report hasty and biased, the company said the committee’s observations and recommendations were made without giving it an opportunity to present its version of facts.

“It is an ex-parte report since OMC was not heard before making such a report,” the company said in the statement.

The company also accused the committee of preparing the report unilaterally despite the Andhra Pradesh government requesting it Oct 5 to issue notices to it and other affected parties.

“For instance, it is clear that the prayers extracted in the first page of the CEC report and its recommendations have no relationship,” the company pointed out.

As the matter is sub-judice before the Supreme Court, the company said it was restraining from making any adverse comments on the CEC report.

Noting that the report was contrary to the Andhra Pradesh High Court judgements in 2008-09 and the Supreme Court order of Aug 24, the company said issues relating to environment were not dealt with.

“There is no green issue involved. The boundary dispute between two private firms (OMC and Bellary Iron Ores Ltd) is not the concern of CMC as the dispute is adjudicated by the Andhra Pradesh High Court. Its judgement became final as no appeal was made against it,” Reddy said.

The report was prepared following a writ petition in the Supreme Court by Tapal Ganesh of Bellary in north Karnataka against illegal mining activities carried out by OMC and three other mining firms in violation of the Forest (Conservation) Act.

“Mining activities should be permitted to be resumed only after fresh demarcation of the boundaries of the mining leases was completed,” the report recommended.

Janaradhan Reddy and his elder brother and state revenue minister G. Karunakara Reddy belong to Bellary though they originally hail from Ananthapur district.

The committee also pulled up the Andhra Pradesh government for ‘over-looking’ the illegal mining activities of OMC and other firms in the reserved forest of its border district.






High Court grants injunction to halt three-storey construction

November 21, 2009 | By knews

The Eccles/Ramsburg Neighbourhood Democratic Council has secured an injunction against Mookram, who is constructing a three-storey house at Eccles, and the Central Housing and Planning Authority.
The injunction has halted the construction of the building on Tract ‘A’ and Tract ‘B’, Plantation Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara. The injunction was granted on Wednesday in the High Court before Justice Franklin Holder.
It will remain in force until December 8 when the defendants are expected to mount a challenge.
The Eccles/Ramsburg NDC through its lawyers, Anil Nandlall, Euclin Gomes, and Manoj Narayan, are contending that the three-storey building being constructed is illegal, unlawful and in breach of and contrary to the provisions of the Local Government Act, Chapter 28:02. They further contend that the Planning Permission for Building Works granted by the CHPA to Mookram to construct a commercial kitchen is unlawful, illegal, null, void and of no effect.
Reasons cited in the writ for the injunction are that the defendant has encroached upon the NDC’s land; that the building application form was not properly signed by the CHPA and that the land is a main drainage reserve.
Additionally, on November 17, 2009, the Public Health Inspector issued a cease order under the Public Health Ordinance directed to Mookram to cease construction with immediate effect.
The said plot of land was formerly owned by the Guyana Sugar Corporation and the same included a central drainage trench which was used to drain the Peter’s Hall locality.
“Upon acquisition of the said plot of land in the year 2000, the First Named Respondent/Defendant commenced land-filling of the said drainage trench and a dispute immediately arose between the Applicant/Plaintiff and the First Named Respondent/Defendant in relation thereto.
“As a result, the First Named Respondent/Defendant proposed to construct certain reinforced concrete drains which would act as a substitute for the drainage trench which was being filled,” the writ stated.
“The First Named Respondent/Defendant (Mookram) is now in the process of constructing what appears to be a three (3) storied edifice without making any provisions or adequate provisions for suitable drainage facility in respect of the said plot of land.”
Up until the injunction Mookram refused to comply with the said Cease Order.








PIL brings to fore poor health indicators in Gujarat

Roshan Kumar / DNA

Friday, November 20, 2009 9:56 IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat high court has admitted a public interest litigation (PIL) with regard to the poor health indicators and gaps in health infrastructure in Gujarat. The PIL was filed by Dinesh Bagda, chairperson of village social justice committee and a resident of Amreli.

The PIL draws attention to the poor health indicators and health infrastructure in general, and is concerned with various statistical aspects highlighted by the Health Review- Gujarat 2007-08 and other surveys and heath bulletin in particular.

The Health Review-Gujarat 2007-2008 conducted by the Commissionerate, Health, Medical Services and Medical Education, Gujarat, has puts forward startling facts described as under: (I) Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) — it is 172/lakh live birth, it means approx 24,000 (as per 2001 census) pregnant women lost their life due to maternity related reasons, which is very high. It suggests that the reach of public health services to such women, even in time of emergency, is either not accessible or not preferred by most families.

Similarly, the National Family Health Survey- III (2005-06), gives a disturbing picture of Maternal and Child health care in Gujarat. The health infrastructure in Gujarat as per the RHS Bulletin, March 2007, ministry of health & family welfare, government of India, discloses shortage of health personnel.

The PIL states that there is a vacancy of ANMs in 89 sub-centres of Amreli district alone.
There exists a linear chain of poor public health infrastructure, which discourages people to avail public health facilities/services, and which in turn leads to poor public health condition.

The petitioner (Dinesh Bagda) has prepared certain data regarding the health condition of people in the state. The child mortality rate in the state is also very high. Around 1-20 children die within a year, while 1-16 children die before reaching five years of age. This apart, the infant mortality rate (IMR) in rural areas of Gujarat is 61 per cent higher than in urban areas of the state and girls face a higher mortality risk than boys. Similarly, the Ante-Natal Care (ANC) in the state is very poor; one in 8 women (13) delivers without ante-natal care. Of these 37 per cent belong to lower income group. Even when women receive ante natal care, they do not receive several other services needed to monitor their pregnancy.

Gujarat is also one of the few stateswhere full vaccination coverage has declined in the past seven years. BCG and measles vaccines have increased marginally, but the coverage of three doses of DPT and Polio has dropped. In spite of the Pulse Polio Campaign, one third of the country’s children still haven’t received the recommended three doses of polio vaccine.







Panchayat member files PIL against ‘poor’ health facilities

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Nov 20, 2009 at 0137 hrs Ahmedabad:

An elected member of a gram panchayat in Amreli district filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Gujarat High Court on Thursday against the “poor” public health infrastructure in the state.

According to the petitioner, Dinesh Bagda, this has resulted into poor public health condition. In the petition, Bagda has cited various figures related to the general public health scenario in Gujarat from the National Family Health Surveys (NFHS), Health Review- Gujarat 2007-08 and Rural Health Statistics (RHS) Bulletin, to indicate that the infrastructure of public health service needs to be strengthened significantly.

He has highlighted the figures on health related issues like child mortality rate, perinatal mortality rate, ante-natal care (ANC), quality of ANC visits, delivery care, post natal care, vaccination, childhood illnesses, and the source of medical care in the state. He has stated that one in every 20 children dies within the first year of life, whereas, the figures of perinatal mortality reveal that there are 40 deaths per 1,000 pregnancies. At the same time, one out of eight women in the state delivers a baby without any antenatal care. Only 14 per cent of the well-to-do households use the Public Health Centres as their source of medical care.

To improve the scenario, the petitioner has demanded a direction to the state government to fill up the vacancies and shortfall of health personnel such as auxiliary nurse maids (ANMs), female health workers, male health workers, physicians, surgeons, obstetricians, gynecologists, anesthetist, pharmacists, radiologists, pediatricians and other medical health personals in line with the Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS).

The court has kept the petition for hearing on November 23, according to the petitioner’s lawyer S P Majmudar.






Delhi govt favouring influential convicts: Delhi High Court

PTI 20 November 2009, 02:52pm IST

NEW DELHI: Taking exception to the way parole was granted to Jessica Lall murder case convict Manu Sharma, the Delhi High Court on Friday pulled up the city government for giving preferential treatment to convicts having high connections.
Justice Kailash Gambhir said that in normal cases the government takes three to six months to decide a parole application of a convict but in case of Manu Sharma it disposed off his plea within 20 days.

“The list (regarding number of parole applications) depicts a dismal picture showing the government is giving least priority to parole applications of convicts. No doubt the home department has given selective treatment to some convicts because of their high connections,” Justice Gambhir said.

The court made the observations on a petition filed by Sumeer Singh, a convict in the Connaught Place shooting case, seeking parole for three months to file an appeal in the Supreme Court against his conviction on the ground that his family members were illiterate.

The court, showing displeasure over the lax approach of the government, had on November 10 issued notice to the city government’s Home Secretary to personally appear before it to explain the delay in dealing with applications of parole despite its clear directives in this regard.

The court had on the last hearing on November 10 taken strong exception to the government not following its directions with regard to parole matters.

“Already this court has given direction that the parole applications moved by the convicts be given due priority and the same be decided within a period of 10 days and it appears that the directions given by this court are being implemented more in violations than in compliance,” the court had said.

The high court had also directed the government to file a list of parole applications received by it so far this year.

Sharma, who was released on parole from Tihar jail on September 22 on the ground of his mother’s illness, was reportedly spotted in a nightclub in a hotel in the city, triggering a controversy. He then returned to the Tihar Jail on his own on Novemeber 10.






Gujarat HC cancels exam for civil judges


Friday, November 20, 2009 9:57 IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court has declared that the preliminary/elimination test conducted on November 1 for recruitment to the cadre of civil judges stands cancelled. The test for all eligible candidates who were issued call letters will be conducted again on January 17, 2010.

Earlier, the high court had invited online applications for competitive examinations to fill up about 121 vacancies. The candidates appearing for the competitive examination for the cadre of civil judges will now have to clear three tests. This includes the preliminary test, a main test and interview. Sources said that the examination was cancelled as out of four answers for a particular question the correct answer was indicated having smaller front size. Moreover, the high court has also decided that negative marking in the forthcoming examinations would be 0.35 mark instead of 0.50 mark for each wrong answer.

The civil judge examination this year has created confusion among candidates as the criteria for applying to the admission requires sanad (licenses). However, later it was clarified that candidates have to submit the sanad certificate only during the interview.

There are more than 3,000 fresh law graduates who have not yet received their sanad certificate. Fresh law graduates who have not received sanad certificate can appear in the test provided they have received the sanad number. Of the 121 vacancies, eight are reserved for scheduled castes (SC), 18 for scheduled tribes (ST), 33 for socially and educationally backward classes, and one post is for physically disabled candidates.






HC reserves order on Shashank’s appointment as cabinet secretary

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Nov 20, 2009 at 0428 hrs Lucknow:

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved the order on a petition challenging the appointment of Shashank Shekhar Singh as cabinet secretary by the Mayawati government. Singh, a pilot-turned-bureaucrat, was also given the status of a Cabinet minister.

The PIL, filed by Shiv Prakash Shukla, also challenged the creation of the post of cabinet secretary by the UP government and appointment of a non-IAS officer for it.

Contending that the post of cabinet secretary may overshadow and undermine the post of chief secretary, who is governed by the All India Service Rules, the PIL argued that the accountability of cabinet secretary’s decisions, which will have financial implications, too, had not been fixed.

The petition also raised objection to giving Rs 30,000 salary to the cabinet secretary since it was higher than the maximum pay scale of an IAS officer in the state, which was then Rs 26,000, said petitioner’s counsel Altaf Mansor. Amid brewing resentment in the IAS cadre and legal implications, Singh later relinquished the status of cabinet minister and also chose to shed the powers of chief secretary that were conferred on him through an amendment. He, however, continues to be the cabinet secretary.







Rival BIOP moves HC to stop Gali’s OMC

TNN 20 November 2009, 06:30am IST

HYDERABAD: Bellary Iron Ores Pvt Ltd (BIOP), which has been involved in a running battle with Gali Janardhan Reddy-owned Obulapuram Mining Company on the issue of the territorial border between them, on Thursday filed a petition in the AP High Court seeking a direction to the state and central governments to stop the alleged illegal mining by OMC in the areas allotted to it.

It also wanted a joint survey by various agencies to be conducted in the mining areas of the two companies and demarcate their areas after a scientific survey. The petition filed by BIOP’s CEO Sanjay Kumar Agarwal charged the OMC with taking away five million tons of high grade iron ore worth Rs 1,000 crore from the BIOP’s leasehold area of 27 hectares in Siddapuram village of Anantapur district in the last 22 months.

The earlier orders of the AP High Court to conduct a scientific survey and to demarcate the areas allotted to OMC and BIOP were not implemented so far, the CEO said. Citing a recent showcause notice given to OMC by the division forest officer of Anantapur who categorically mentioned that the OMC had trespassed into BIOP area and conducted illegal mining, the petitioner prayed the court to stop all the mining activities by the OMC till the forest officers adjudicate the matter before them.






HC pulls up top cop over rape probe

TNN 20 November 2009, 05:20am IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Thursday ordered the Delhi Police commissioner to initiate an inquiry against police officials, including an SHO, for not arresting a political worker accused in a rape case, even a year after the incident.

“The entire approach of the police in the present case amplifies that the police officials concerned did not take prompt action to arrest the accused either under some political pressure or for some other extraneous reasons,” Justice Kailash Ghambhir said while giving the direction.

Arif, who claims to be a Congress Party worker, had allegedly raped a 40-year-old woman in a moving car in northeast Delhi and a case was registered by her against him on April, 2008. The police did not take any action against him after he claimed as alibi that he was having a meeting with Delhi education minister at 8.30pm and it was not possible for him to reach the crime spot at 9pm when she was allegedly raped.

The court pulled up the police for giving credence to his version as his meeting with the minister did not take place according to the scheduled time. “Higher officers are trying to shield the subordinate police officials who did not take proper action to arrest the accused. Let inquiry against all the erring police officers, including the then SHO, be directed by the police commissioner and action taken after proper inquiry,” HC directed, asking the commissioner to file a status report by next hearing.

The police arrested Arif after the court had on November 9 taken strong exception to their inaction in arresting Arif and sought an explanation from them.

“It is quite shocking that the FIR in the present case was registered in April 2008, clearly naming the accused who as per the prosecutrix, had committed the said dastardly offence of rape and till date the police have not arrested him after more than one and half year has elapsed,” the court had noted.






150 cases transferred from HC to Armed Forces Tribunal

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Nov 20, 2009 at 0224 hrs Chandigarh:

Nearly 150 cases related to the Armed Forces have been transferred from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) bench in Chandigarh within three days of its becoming operational, taking the number of cases transferred to be around 180.

Most of the cases are from 2007 to 2009.

The first date of hearing for these transferred cases has been fixed on January 20 next year.

The bench began functioning from November 16 and only one of the total three benches is functional at present comprising one judicial and administrative member each.

The present members are Justice Ghanshyam Prasad, former judge of Patna High Court, Lieutenant General

A S Bahia, former Director General Military Operations and Quarter Master General.

Two more retired HC judges will be appointed in due course.

The jurisdiction of the bench extends to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and UT Chandigarh.

The tribunal has original jurisdiction over complaints and disputes regarding all service matters as also appellate jurisdiction over appeals arising out of verdicts of court martials.







HC fiat to CBI over Monica Bedi’s bank accounts

TNN 20 November 2009, 03:34am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to explain why it had not defreezed the bank accounts of Monica Bedi, Bollywood actor and former girlfriend of gangster Abu Salem.

“What right have you got to hold on to her money after she has been acquitted?” said a division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice Amjad Sayed. Monica in her application said that the CBI had frozen five of her accounts in the Versova branch of a bank following her arrest with Salem in Portugal and extradition to India in 2005. Her lawyer claimed she had been acquitted in all the cases and only one appeal was pending in the Supreme Court. The HC has asked the CBI to file an affidavit in the case in two weeks.







Corporator moves HC over stray dog menace

TNN 20 November 2009, 02:58am IST

AHMEDABAD: “Save us from stray dogs in the city,” a municipal corporator urged the Gujarat High Court on Thursday by way of filing a public interest litigation (PIL).

The corporator from Jamalpur, Imran Khedavala sought directions from the high court to the AMC, its office-bearers and corporation’s Control of Animal Harassment Department to quickly tackle the menace of canine bites that has become rampant in the city for the last few years.

Khedavala has provided details of dog bite cases registered in government hospitals, the amount spent on sterilisation of dogs and the budget to deal with rabies. He has alleged that the officials and organisations in connivance misused the funds meant to provide medicine for rabies.

Moreover, Khedavala also alleged that Rs 1.55 crore given to an NGO Animal Help Foundation for sterlisation programme for stray dogs has not become fruitful and there is no reduction in dog menace in the city. Despite spending a huge amount, the corporation has not been able to check dog population in the city. Khedavala sought proper guideline for AMC to tackle the menace of canine from the HC.

The petitioner submitted before the court that over 50,000 cases of dog bites were reported in LG Hospital and nearly one lakh cases registered with VS Hospital during the last four years. He also mentioned the cases of rabies and deaths taken place due to dog bites in recent years. However, there was no mention of cases of canine bites registered in private and other government hospitals.

The corporator said that the problem of stray dogs and dog bites can not be treated lightly, but the civic authorities are not paying any heed to the issue. Despite several representations, the AMC departments concerned do not just wake up to the problem. Hence, strict instructions from the court are necessary for the corporation.

Khedavala also sought compensation to those killed due to rabies and those who were bitten by stray dogs. This compensation should be equivalent to that being given to 2002 riots victims.

After hearing the petition, a division bench of acting Chief Justice MS Shah and Justice AS Dave instructed the municipal commissioner to come out with a plan to tackle the problem. If AMC does not follow these directions, Khedavala has been given liberty to move the court again, said his advocate.






HC seeks reporton illegal mining

20 November 2009, 03:02am IST

Nagpur: The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench on Thursday asked the state government to depute an officer of the rank of additional collector for inspecting illegal mining in Mahurzari. The court’s directives came after the collector admitted that the illegal mining took place in the area and they had also fined the lease holders for this.

A division bench comprising AP Lavande and Prasanna Varale then asked the government pleader Nitin Sambre to file an affidavit on additional collector’s visit to the area in ten days. Shrikant Khandalkar was counsel for the petitioner. The court’s directions came on a petition filed by social worker Umesh Chaube who had attached TOI reports pointing out that illicit felling of trees and excavation work were going on in area marked as Zudpi Jungle in Mouza Mahurzari. It had led to the approach road getting damaged. Over 22,400 trees were planted in this area by social forestry department in 1991-92 but due to illegal mining not one has survived.

As per the petitioner, Khasra Nos 100 and 152 at Mouza Mahurzari in Nagpur are earmarked as hilly rock and reserved for cattle grazing. Since last couple years, rampant illegal excavation by some private individuals on this government property was going on. The villagers even lodged a complaint with the concerned authorities on July 14 last year. After this, the petitioners made a complaint to the collector seeking immediate action. The petitioners prayed for a high level inquiry by the CBI and action against guilty including government officials allegedly in collusion with offenders.

During last hearing, the court had criticised government on its inept handling of ‘sensitive’ issue. It directed the government to verify the factual position in respect of illegal felling of trees and action to be taken against the responsible persons.

Kohchade, Mistry acquitted again

The kingpin in the Nagpur university’s infamous fake marksheet and revaluation scam Yadav Kohchade and his accomplice Prakash Mistry were acquitted for second time in a week. The special court of VN Chavhan trying the scam cases also acquitted beneficiary student Jitendra Srivastav who was pursuing engineering from KITS Ramtek when the scam took place.

Secy asked to file affidavit on Khapa forests

The court asked the state secretary of energy and industries to file an affidavit in 10 days on what action it was taking on the collector’s letter demanding permission to cancel licences of the lease holders engaged in the illegal mining in Khapa forests. A division bench of the court was hearing a plea filed by Umesh Chaube and others who alleged that the private lease holders were blatantly violating rules and regulations by engaging in excavation which should not be carried out within 200 metres from the bank of any river and also chopping several trees at Khapa forests in the process. The petitioners claimed that illegal excavation by the private lease owners on government and forest land was causing massive losses to the exchequer. Moreover, illicit tree felling in reserved forest was resulting in ecological balance being disturbed and precious national property being stolen. The petitioner had attached TOI reports to the petition and demanded a CBI inquiry into the affairs and registering of offences against officials concerned.







HC orders man to pay high alimony to meet price rise

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Nov 20, 2009 at 0127 hrs Ahmedabad:

Citing soaring prices of essential food items, the Gujarat High Court has upheld a lower court’s order asking a man to increase alimony to his wife from Rs 2,500 per month to Rs 3,000.

The petitioner has been identified as Chetan Solanki. He had moved the HC after a subordinate court ordered him to pay Rs 3,000 per month as maintenance to his wife from whom he has sought divorce. Solanki had claimed that his wife had asked for Rs 2,500 as monthly maintenance cost, but the court increased it to Rs 3,000.

Justice R R Tripathi dismissed the petition and observed, “…awarding of an amount of Rs 3,000 is not found to be excessive by any standard, more particularly, looking at the present day market price of essential food articles; potatoes are Rs 22 per kg, sugar Rs 35 per kg, tuver dal Rs 90 per kg, wheat flour Rs 15-18 per kg and lemon Rs 80 per kg.”

The court also pointed out that Solanki’s claim that his wife had asked for Rs 2,500 was incorrect. It said his wife’s application in the revisional court states that she had asked a maintenance of Rs 10,000 .

Justice Tripathi observed: “The Court is of the opinion that the petition (of Solanki) is misconceived.”







Fali slams SC panel for ignoring judge who penned gay verdict

Manoj Mitta, TNN 20 November 2009, 03:25am IST
NEW DELHI: While sharing a dais with Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, senior advocate Fali Nariman recently attacked the Supreme Court collegium for its failure to promote the author of the historic homosexuality verdict, chief justice of the Delhi high court A P Shah.

In a forthright speech at a public meeting on Monday, Nariman voiced a widely shared “disappointment” in legal circles over Shah becoming a casualty of the “vagaries of the present system of judicial appointments” despite being a “role model for all judges”.

Paying a left-handed compliment to the CJI, Nariman said that he also knew that Justice Balakrishnan did not “disagree with this assessment” of Justice Shah, who was also present on the dais at the function held in the National Law University in Delhi.

According to the transcript of the speech made available to TOI, Nariman said, “The reason why I got this choleric thought off my chest is because I hate to speak behind anyone’s back. Hence I thought it best to proclaim what I and many members of the bar think — here in the presence of the CJI, and not in his absence.”

Justice Shah is due to demit office in three months as the retirement age for high court judges is 62, while the corresponding age for their Supreme Court counterparts is 65.

It is an open secret that, despite his sterling record as a high court judge in Mumbai and as chief justice in Chennai and Delhi, Shah has been overlooked because one of the members of the Supreme Court collegium thwarted his candidature in the give-and-take negotiations that go on behind closed doors.

Nariman’s broadside on the collegium went as follows: “I have always been of the firm opinion that he is a role-model for all judges and I say this in the presence of the Chief Justice of India, because I know he does not disagree with this assessment. The fact that Justice A P Shah is not yet in the Supreme Court is a God-send to the judges and lawyers of the Delhi high court but it is a matter of disappointment for the rest of us who have known him personally and this is only because of the vagaries of our present system of judicial appointments.

In a bid to drive home the whimsicality of the appointment system, Nariman cited the “glaring example” of Justice A K Patnaik, who, unlike Justice Shah, could make it to the Supreme Court because the particular collegium member who had opposed him retired recently. Nariman pointed out that Justice Patnaik “was in line for appointment many vacancies ago – at least two years ago – but could not or would not be recommended only because one member of the collegium steadfastly refused to accept him for appointment as Judge of the Supreme Court. So he was over-looked — not once not twice but three times.”

That Justice Patnaik was immediately recommended by the newly constituted collegium, on the retirement of the member opposing him, “speaks volumes for the current judicial appointment procedure — making more comment superfluous”.

At a time when the collegium is already under a cloud for recommending Justice P D Dinakaran despite the allegations of land grabbing, Nariman said that as judges were opposed to the creation of an independent commission for judicial appointments, he would rather have the pre-1993 situation restored as the CJI then had the discretion to consult anybody and not be bound by the opinion of the senior colleagues forming the collegium.







RNRL Consents to Government Role in Gas Battle with Caveats


NEW DELHI — Reliance Natural Resources Ltd. Thursday conditionally agreed to the federal government being made a party in an ongoing legal dispute with Reliance Industries Ltd.

“We consent the government being a party, subject to inspection, discovery of documents and cross-examination,” Mukul Rohatgi, a legal counsel for RNRL, told reporters after a hearing in the Supreme Court of India.

RNRL had earlier objected to the government being a party to the case, saying the government has no role in a dispute between two private companies.

The government wants to be a party in the RIL-RNRL legal dispute as this will entitle it to openly argue in the case and assert its sovereign rights over gas output from the D6 block in the Krishna Godavari basin, off India’s east coast.

RIL — which operates the D6 block — is headed by Mukesh Ambani while RNRL is run by Anil Ambani.

RNRL says it has a right to buy 28 million metric standard cubic meters of gas per day at $2.34 per million metric British thermal units for his group’s proposed power plant in north India’s Dadri town, as per an agreement signed four years ago when the two brothers divided their late father’s telecom-to-energy business empire.

But RIL says the company can’t sell gas at $2.34 per mmBtu as its pricing and allocation is in the government’s domain.

The Supreme Court Thursday began hearing RNRL’s submission in the case after earlier having heard RIL and the government’s plea.

“It is a saga of corruption and the government’s total indifference to public interest,” RNRL lawyer Ram Jethmalani said before the three-judge bench hearing the case.

RIL is locked in a separate legal battle with state-run power producer NTPC Ltd. in Bombay High Court. NTPC says it has a right to buy 12 mmscm/d gas at $2.34 per mmBtu under the terms of a tender floated in 2002-03 and won by RIL.

The federal government’s lawyer, Gopal Subramanium, said Thursday the government will protect NTPC’s interest in the case. The government will submit an affidavit in the top court clarifying its position, he added.

Write to Rakesh Sharma at







HC notice to govt on illegal use of kolhus

TNN 19 November 2009, 09:49pm IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government, UP Sugar Cooperative Cane Union Federation and others to file their reply in a writ petition challenging the operation and use of kolhus/crushers in the state. The court fixed December 10 next to hear this case.

The West UP Sugar Mills Association, Meerut, and others had filed a writ petition seeking a ban on the use and operation of kolhus in the state on the ground that due to illegal operation of kolhus/crusher in UP, their sugar mills were not getting he required sugarcane.

This order was passed by a division bench, consisting of Justice Prakash Krishna and Justice SC Nigam, on a writ petition of West UP Sugar Mills Association and others. The petitioners had said that kolhus were being operated illegally in UP, due to which the sugar canes were not adequately supplied to the sugarmills from their reserved sugarcane areas. The plea was that if operation of kolhus were not banned by the state government, then the sugar mills will be closed.

The state government had opposed the writ petition saying that there was no need for licence for operating kolhus in any area of the state. It was said that as no licence was being issued to kolhus, their operation cannot be stopped.

It might be recalled that a division bench of the Allahabad high court, consisting of Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Ashok Srivastava had given a judgement and had refused to hold that operation of Kolhus in the state was illegal. The court, however, had held that because of the operation of Kolhus, sugar mills may not be permitted to suffer.







Notice to CSIO director

TNN 19 November 2009, 01:46am IST

CHANDIGARH: The failure of the central scientific instruments organization (CSIO) director to act against a scientist who was held guilty by a local court and sentenced to two years’ jail for sexual harassment of a woman colleague at the work place, had its echo in the Punjab and Haryana High Court here on Wednesday when a writ petition seeking directions for removal of the convicted person was taken up for preliminary hearing.

The scientist, Piyush Kumar Awasthi, was convicted under section 354, 294 read with 341 IPC and sentenced to two years imprisonment and fine on July 15, 2009, by Manisha Jain, judicial magistrate (1st class), Chandigarh, for sexually harassing Aruna Attri, a technical officer with CSIO, at the workplace.

The victim had lodged a complaint against the scientist on April 3, 2003, to at police station, industrial area, phase I, Chandigarh, after the accused followed her many times from the work place and vice versa and passed vulgar remarks, made obscene gestures, used abusive language against her besides making repeated telephone calls. An FIR was registered on October 27, 2003.

Subsequently, the district and sessions judge, Chandigarh, granted bail to Avasthi, suspended the sentence but declined his prayer to suspend the conviction on September 25, 2009.

Moving a writ petition, Attri alleged that the accused had become after no action was taken against him, and he was being shielded and protected by CSIO authorities. Her counsel submitted that by referring the case now to the committee constituted for checking harassment of women at their workplace, the authorities appear to be attempting to re-write the JMIC order of conviction, hence the plea for judicial intervention to direct the CSIO authorities. The counsel submitted that the respondent Avasthi deserved to be penalized by dismissal from service.

After the preliminary hearing, justice Mahesh Grover issued notice for January 15, 2010, to the director CSIO, the director-general the council for scientific and industrial research (CSIR), New Delhi, and Piyush Kumar Avasthi.







PIL against state govt for inaction on H1N1

Abhinav Sharma, TNN 22 November 2009, 06:36am IST

JAIPUR: A public interest litigation has been filed in the Rajasthan High Court challenging the state’s “inaction” to curb thef swine flu menace and to provide free or cheap diagnosis of the flu (which costs nearly Rs 4,500 at each district headquarters) beside the SMS Hospital.

The petition has been filed by a city-based advocate. He alleged that the state machinery has totally failed to prevent the deaths due to flue in the past one month, and that no action is being taken by the health ministry. The PIL is based on TOI reports.

It has been mentioned in the PIL that the pathological lab at SMS Hospital only has the facility to diagnose the disease , and that there is a vital requirement of having flu detection machines in each government hospital at least in every district headquarters. “There are many persons and patients who show symptoms of H1N1 virus, and doctors advise them for tests, but it is not possible for all of them to have this test carried out as it is a costly affair,” states the petition.

It is also written that each district headquarters should have the provision of free and cheap masks at all government hospitals. The state government should take appropriate measures to have control over this epidemic. The petition also mentions that the state government should grant adequate compensation to the families who lost their dear ones to H1N1.








Sikh groups write to Obama, seek justice for 1984 victims

by Indo Asian News Service on November 22, 2009

Chandigarh, Nov 22 (IANS) Two Sikh organisations have written to US President Barack Obama, seeking his intervention in getting justice for thousands of victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots by taking up the issue with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when they meet this week.

In an open letter to Obama, US-based human rights advocacy group Sikhs for Justice and Punjab-based All-India Sikh Students Federation (AISSF) have urged the US president to take up the matter during Manmohan Singh’s US visit.

‘In November 1984, thousands of innocent human beings were killed, butchered, slaughtered, maimed and burnt in Delhi and more than 100 cities in 18 Indian states. The victims were only Sikhs and they were targeted and killed solely because of their religion. The killings were instigated and led by leaders who had taken oath under the Indian constitution to protect the lives of citizens,’ the letter says.

It names top Congress leaders like Kamal Nath, Arjun Singh, Arun Nehru, Vasant Sathe, Jagdish Tytler, Sajjan Kumar, H.K.L Bhagat and Dharamdas Shastri as ones found by inquiry commissions to be involved in organising and spearheading the killing of Sikhs.

The letter states that successive governments in India had shielded those behind the genocide and had even given them important public positions as a reward.

‘We are also getting a few Congressmen to sign the representation sent to President Obama,’ Sikhs for Justice’ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told IANS from New York.

Manmohan Singh left for the US Saturday as the first state guest of Obama at the White House. The two will hold talks Tuesday on bilateral, regional and global issues.

AISSF president Karnail Singh Peermohammed said here that Sikh organisations would continue to fight for the rights of the riot victims and to bring perpetrators of the 1984 riots to justice.

Thousands of Sikhs were killed in Delhi and other places across India in the four days of anti-Sikh riots that broke out following the assassination of then prime minister Indira Gandhi by her two Sikh bodyguards Oct 31, 1984.






Driver gives statement to cops on ‘killed’ Maoist

Alok Chamaria, TNN 21 November 2009, 03:26am IST

SASARAM: The charge of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) and other rights activists that Maoist Kamlesh Chaudhary had been killed in a fake encounter gained credence when the driver of the vehicle in which he was travelling appeared before the station house officer of Chenari police station in Rohtas district on Friday.

Kamlesh, a CPI(Maoist) leader and carrying a cash reward of Rs 1.5 lakh on his head, was killed on November 9.

The driver, Munir Siddiqui, of nearby Sabar village, claimed that UP Police had picked up five persons, including Kamlesh, as soon as the vehicle entered Uttar Pradesh on November 9.

Confirming the driver’s presence, Rohtas superintendent of police Vikas Vaibhaw said the former’s statement had been recorded. He also assured PUCL of an impartial inquiry and extending full cooperation in the matter.

Sources said after Kamlesh was killed at a forest in Obara of UP’s Sonbhadra district by police in an alleged encounter, PUCL swung into action, describing the encounter as “cold-blooded murder”. The PUCL, in a memorandum to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), alleged that UP Police had picked up five persons, including Kamlesh from a village under Chenari PS and killed him in a fake encounter.

PUCL also requested NHRC to intervene and ensure the safe release of four others, who had also been picked up with Kamlesh. The PUCL feared that they might also have been killed in a fake encounter.

In the meantime, the SHO of Chenari PS on the instructions of the SP also mentioned in the station diary the disappearance of some persons of the area on November 10.

The hue and cry, raised by PUCL and other rights activists, forced police to release the others four days ago warning them of dire consequences if they dared to open their mouths.

In his statement, Siddiqui claimed that police personnel in mufti spotted the vehicle at Naubatpur in UP’s Chandauli district on November 9 and herded them on to another vehicle that was stopped by a policeman. The driver had to be freed near Obra when the tyre of his vehicle burst. Then, Rohtas police heaved a sigh of relief because PUCL had charged the SP with handing over Kamlesh to UP Police.

PUCL requested the SP to conduct an impartial probe into Kamlesh’s killing by UP Police because the vehicle and four others travelling with the Maoist belonged to Rohtas district and they went to Varanasi away from the SP’s jurisdiction.

The SP said police were also persuading Bharat Kharwar, who was also alleged to have been picked up by UP Police along with Kamlesh, to record his statement.






Securities Appellate Tribunal set aside charges of insider trading against former MD of Tata Finance

Nov 21, 2009

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) has set aside charges of insider trading against Dilip Pendse, former managing director of Tata Finance, and his wife Anuradha Pendse and Nalini Properties. “The charges of insider trading against Dilip Pendse, his wife Anuradha Pendse and Nalini Properties, a company controlled by Anuradha’s family, have been set aside by SAT,” Dilip Pendse’s advocate V M Singh said.

The restriction which prevented Dilip Pendse from trading in the market has been set aside, Singh said.

Anuradha Pendse and Nalini Properties were alleged to have sold shares of Tata Finance in March 2001 on the basis of unpublished price-sensitive information related to the financial position of the company.

Dilip Pendse, the then managing director of Tata Finance and Anuradha were alleged to have leaked price sensitive information that Tata Finance had suffered a loss of Rs 79.37 crore consequent to its investment in Nishkalp Investment and Trading Company.

“On the basis of this information provided by Dilip Pendse, Anuradha Pendse and Nalini Properties (of which Anuradha Pendse is a Director) sold around 40,000 shares of Tata Finance at Rs 90 per share and made unjust profits on account of the said sale,” a Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) order had said.

Sebi had restrained Dilip from accessing the securities market and prohibited him from buying, selling or otherwise dealing in the securities market for a period of five years from March 31, 2009, Singh said.







Excess insurance and transportation charges collected and includability of same in assessable value

Nov 20, 2009

Many a times the manufacturer of goods (Central Excise assessee) provides other services to the buyer and charges an amount for those services provided. The services may be like transportation of goods to the buyer premises, transit insurance of the goods, interest charges for the credit given to the buyer, Installation of the goods in the buyer’s premises etc. It may happen that cost incurred by the manufacturer assessee in providing these services is much less than what is charged by the manufacturer assessee for these services. The question is whether excess charges collected by the manufacturer assessee should be included in assessable value of the goods under Section 4 of the Act?

Under Section 4 of the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Central Excise duty has to be paid on the transaction value of the goods. Transaction value means the price actually paid or payable for the goods, at the time and place of removal. Thus when any amount is paid for transportation or insurance or interest for credit or for any other services, these are payments not for the goods but for the services provided by the manufacturer and hence these charges are not to be included in the assessable value under section 4 of the Act. Even when the amount paid is in excess to the cost incurred by the manufacturer supplier, the excess amount is profit earned by the manufacturer in course of providing these services. These profits are not in connection with the sale of goods but in connection with the services provided and hence this profit earned in not includible in the assessable value of the goods.

In Indian Oxygen Ltd. V/s Collector of Central Excise [1988 (36) ELT 723 (SC)] the Hon’ble Supreme Court held that duty of Excise is a tax on manufacturer, and not a tax on the profits made by a dealer on transportation and hence these profits earned are not includible in the assessable value. In Baroda Electric Meters Ltd. V/s Collector of Central Excise [1997 (94) ELT 13 (SC)], the Supreme Court affirmed this judgment and held that excess freight amount collected by the manufacturer is not includible in the assessable value of the goods.

In Empire Ind. Ltd. V/s collector of Central Excise [1997 (95) ELT 653], the Tribunal held that profit earned in a post-clearance activity, which has nothing to do with activity of manufacture is not includible in the assessable value of the goods. In this particular case the tribunal concluded that excess transportation charges collected over actual cost incurred is not includible in the assessable value. The tribunal, in this case, also held that interest charges collected for delayed payment by the buyer is not includible in the assessable value. In Sri Kaliswari Fire Work V/s Collector of Central Excise [1998 (98) ELT 93], the question of excess insurance charges come before the Tribunal, where in it held that excess insurance charges collected over actual incurred by the manufacturer is not includible in the assessable value.

In S.R. Jhunjhunwala V/s Collector of Central Excise [1999 (114) ELT 890], the Tribunal clarified the position of law and held that,

“ It is also found that the collector has held that only deduction of actual amounts of transportation costs and insurance charges are deductible under section 4 of the Act. However, this view is no more good law and stands settled against the department by the Supreme Court judgment reported in 1997 (94) ELT 13, Baroda Electric Meters V/s Collector cited and relied upon by the learned consultants. Though the judgment dealt with excess realisation of transport cost over actual, the same principle is applicable to the insurance charges also, as they have already been held to be non includible in the Supreme Court judgment Union of India V/s Bombay Tyre International 1983 (14) ELT 1896. The Supreme Court held that duty of Excise is on manufacture and not a tax on profit made on transportation. Therefore we hold that the amount received by the appellant in excess of actual transportation charges incurred by them in not includible in the assessable value.”

The Tribunal is following this position of law consistently and reaffirmed this view in many cases like Gomati Engineering Works V/s CCE [1998 (27) RLT 849], in Farm Fresh Foods Pvt. Ltd. V/s CCE [1998 (113) ELT 441] and in numerous other cases. In recent times also the Tribunal declared the same position of law in Transpect Industries Ltd. V/s Collector of Central Excise [2003 (162) ELT 1095], wherein the tribunal held that excess freight and insurance charges are not includible in the assessable value. In Appollo Tyre Ltd. Ltd. V/s CCE [2003 (160) ELT 836], the tribunal reiterated that duties of excise being leviable on manufacture only and such amounts being profits made on transportation is not includable in the assessable value. In Majestic Auto V/s Commissioner of Central Excise [2004 (166) ELT 172], the tribunal held that freight collected in excess of the actually freight charges incurred is not includible in the assessable value. Thus the law is well settled on this point and it is being consistently followed by the Hon’ble Tribunal.

On the basis of the ratio of these judgments, it can be argued that expenses incurred by the manufacturer and charged from the buyer, including any profit earned on there activities are not includible in the assessable value. It may be noted that the activity must be a post manufacturing and post clearance activity. Further the charges must be genuine and it mustn’t depress the assessable value.

It may be mentioned that the assessee must show these charges separately from the price of the goods. When these charges are shown separately or billed separately, the onus is on the department to establish that these transactions are not genuine or artificially depressing the prices. On the point of onus of proof the Tribunal held in CCE V/s Majestic Auto Ltd. [2002 (146) ELT 327] wherein it held,

“ In the present case, we are concerned with the determination of value under Section 4 of the Act as it was pointed out by both the sides. It is settled position of law that duty of excise is a tax on the manufacturer and not a tax on the profit made by a dealer on transportation. The department has not shown any evidence to show that the excess freight was nothing but part of the value of the goods and accordingly the differential amount was not includible in the assessable value.”

Thus it is clear that the onus is on the department to establish that excess charges are nothing but part of assessable value. However, when these charges are not shown separately, the onus in on the assessee to establish that these are permissible deduction under Section 4 of the Central Excise Act. In view of these, it is suggested that a separate bill should be raised for any other services provided by the manufacture assessee to the buyer of the goods.

Written by:- Advocate Rajesh Kumar. The author can be contacted on , Web:





LEGAL NEWS 21.11.2009

Now, Maharashtra CM wants more jobs for locals

TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES 21 November 2009, 08:12pm IST

MUMBAI: In a surprise move, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan on Saturday called for “more importance to be given to locals” in job opportunities, thus joining in the likes of MNS chief Raj Thackeray and Shiv Sena supremo Bal Thackeray.

“Locals must be given importance. Whoever is a domicile of Maharashtra must first get an employment opportunity,” Chavan said at a function today.

Chavan, however, said his government does not support agitations based on language and region. “It is not our policy.”

He said, “Irrespective of the language people of Maharashtra speak or the belief they follow, we are concerned about their employment and request Mamata Banerjee to pay heed to this matter.”

Following the request by chief minister Ashok Chavan on Saturday and against the backdrop of MNS attacking candidates from North India appearing in railway exams in Maharashtra, railway minister Mamata Banerjee today said the tests will be conducted in regional languages simultaneously.

“The railway exams will be conducted in regional languages simultaneously apart from English and Hindi. In Maharashtra, the exams will be held in Marathi and in other states, these will be held in local languages,” she told reporters here.

Concerned over growing congestion in the existing trains, chief minister Ashok Chavan made a request that there was a need for more train services in the state.

“The population is increasing day-by-day and so there seems to be a need for more train services for Mumbai and Maharashtra,” Chavan said.

“As we need to make Mumbai like Shanghai we need to take several steps towards its development which would in turn create employment opportunities for our people,” he said.







Madhu Koda says he will report to ED only after Jharkhand polls

PTI 21 November 2009, 02:38pm IST

JAMSHEDPUR: Former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who has failed to appear before the Enforcement Directorate in connection with the money laundering case against him, today said he would be available for questioning only after the Assembly polls.

“The summons by the ED were delivered at my Ranchi residence only on November 18, a day before the appearance when I was busy campaigning (for assembly polls) in Chaibasa,” Koda said here when asked by reporters why he failed to appear before the agency on November 19.

Koda said he would be available only after the conclusion of Jharkhand state Assembly polls on December 18.

The former Jharkhand Chief Minister has put up six candidates, including his wife Gita on behalf on Jharkhand Navanirman Morcha for the polls.

“Moreover, the ED wanted certain documents like passport, which I don’t have as they must be with either the income tax authorities or vigilance department (both the agencies had raided Koda’s residence). Unless I get them how can I show them,” he said.

He refused to comment on his ‘aides’ Sanjay Choudhary and Binod Sinha, who are facing arrest warrants following the raid by Income Tax authorities on about 70 premises, including Koda’s residences, and unearthed documents that allegedly pointed to hawala transactions and illegal investment to the tune of over Rs 2000 crore.







State, Sourav Ganguly asked to file affidavits

TNN 21 November 2009, 06:43am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta high court on Friday directed the government and cricketer Sourav Ganguly to file affidavits-in-opposition within three weeks on a PIL moved by some residents of Salt Lake, challenging the state’s decision to allot land to the former Team India skipper to set up a school on a 62-cottah plot in CA block.

Meanwhile, any construction on the land has to abide by the outcome of the writ petition, the division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Prasenjit Mondal ruled.

One of the petitioners, CA Block Citizens’ Association, alleged that flouting the legal procedure for distribution of state-owned property, the government “illegally favoured” Sourav by allotting plot no CA-222.

Five similar petitions were filed against the land allotment to Sourav. Those petitioners are by Humanity, Arunanshu Chakraborty, Susmita Chakraborty, Salt Lake Citizens’ Welfare Society and Bidhannagar House Owners’ Association.

The petitions stated that Sourav was earlier allotted about 50 cottahs in Sector-I to set up an integrated school. A long-term lease deed dated October 29, 2006, was also executed between him and the state.

Petitions pointed out that after completion of the allotment proceedings, Sourav made a “secret” request to the urban development department “taking advantage of his easy access to the corridors of power” for allotment of plot CA-222, measuring about 62 cottahs, in Sector-I. The urban development department then made a subsequent allotment in Sourav’s favour without publishing any advertisement, which was illegal and arbitrary, the PILs alleged.

The petitions questioned how Sourav could be allotted a plot when one had already been given on the basis of an advertisement in TOI (dated November 5, 2006). How could the plot be given on the basis of the same advertisement, they asked.

Pleading that the allotment process be quashed, the PILs said the allotment was in violation of the law governing ceiling on granting urban land in favour of an individual.








Ram Jethmalani’s comments anger Saudi ambassador

PTI 21 November 2009, 03:46pm IST

NEW DELHI: Senior lawyer and former Union minister Ram Jethmalani’s charge that Wahabi sect was responsible for terrorism provoked a walkout by Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador to India Faisal-al-Trad from an international conference of jurists on global terror here.
Jethmalani alleged that “Wahabi terrorism” indoctrinated “rubbish” in the minds of young people to carry out terrorist attacks. The senior lawyer lamented that India had friendly relations with a country that supported Wahabi terrorism.

Following Jethmalani’s speech, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador Faisal-al-Trad was seen walking out of the conference, apparently taking offence at the remarks.

Organiser of the event Adesh Aggarwala said the Ambassador had walked out but returned after law minister M Veerappa Moily’s statement that the views expressed by Jethmalani were not that of the government.

Moily, in his address, said that terrorism cannot be attributed to any particular religion.

It was unfortunate that the entire Islam as a religion was being blamed for terrorism, Jethmalani said, adding that “there are also Hindu terrorists and Buddhist terrorists.”

Terming Non-Aligned Movement and Panchsheel as evil, the former Union Minister said India should align with forces of good to combat the forces of evil. “India and its foreign ministers must learn to reassess the doctrines of past.”

He said India’s foreign policy establishment should be courageous to shun country’s relationships with its “enemies”.

Referring to Jethmalani’s comments, Justice Awn S Al-Khasawneh, a judge of the International Court of Justice, asked him not “to make sweeping statements.”







PM ‘assures’ Mahesh Bhatt of justice in son Rahul’s case

Anil Singh, TNN 21 November 2009, 06:01pm IST

MUMBAI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has replied to filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt’s letter appealing to him for justice and assured him that the points he had raised would be considered.

Bhatt had written to the PM on November 15, saying that the agencies investigating the David Headley case had been grossly unfair to his family and him. On Friday, he received a letter dated November 16 from Jaideep Sarkar, private secretary to Manmohan Singh, saying, “The PM has told me to acknowledge your letter and inform you that the Home Minister has been told to look into the matter.”

“The PM’s prompt response is heartwarming and it gives me hope, now that a conscientious man is aware of my plight,” said a relieved Bhatt.

TOI was the first to carry an interview with Bhatt and his daughter Pooja on November 15 where they spoke about feeling let down by the security establishment in the manner in which Bhatt’s son Rahul and his friend Vilas Varak were being portrayed as suspects rather than as a dutiful citizens who had volunteered to provide information on a terrorist.

“God help us if our sense of fair play is not the strongest of our feelings. An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. I with great anguish, urgently bring to your notice that the security agencies of our nation, who were completely on the wrong track as far as the Headley investigation was concerned, and were clueless to the identity of `Rahul’ in the case, have been grossly unfair to my family and myself,” Bhatt wrote to the PM.

Bhatt had let out steam in the missive to the PM asking him, “Is this how India rewards its civil society when it risks everything to stand up for the country’s honour and security?”

Reminding the PM that the war against terror cannot be won without the whole-hearted participation of civil society, Bhatt said the unprofessional actions of investigative agencies would deter citizens from functioning as the first line of defence against terrorism.

“Any investigation which is not built on justice and on the recognition of the rights and contribution of the people would be doomed from the start,” he wrote.

Although relieved as far as his personal case was concerned, Bhatt said the entire episode, which started with his son being tainted and his own film, `Tum Mile’, being targeted, was a symptom of a deep malice.

“Fairplay has evaporated in society. The edifice that we have built brick by brick over the years is being eroded while the government is looking the other way.”

Taking a dig at the electronic media, he said, “Today, one man’s suffering is your entertainment.”

Asked about his cancelled trip to the Vatican, where he had been invited by the Pope as one of the 500 artistes to speak on global peace, Bhatt said, “I cannot mouth platitudes when the ground under my own feet is burning.”

Bhatt said Vilas was so traumatized by the subtle intimidation of the investigative agencies that he could not sleep for several days and had to be counselled and put on sedatives.

“As we head towards the first anniversary of 26/11, we must remind ourselves that the freedom we have won will be in peril if we trample on civil liberties in the name of fighting terror,” the filmmaker said.







A ration card in the name of Mahatma Gandhi

IANS 21 November 2009, 03:35pm IST

HYDERABAD: Believe it or not – the authorities in Andhra Pradesh have issued a ration card in the name of Mahatma Gandhi along with his picture!

What is more shocking is that the card named Nathuram Godse, the killer of Mahatma Gandhi, as his father. Godse, however, has been misspelt as Godsay.

Chittoor district collector V. Seshadari has ordered a probe after the ration card, carrying a fictitious address, which was detected during a verification drive in the district to wee out bogus cards.

The card was issued in Chuttagunta village of Ramachandrapuram mandal in Chittoor district. It carried the picture of Gandhi with the name of M K Gandhi Thatha (Thatha in Telugu means grandfather), age 65, father’s name Godsay, address 15-46541, Gandhi Street, Gandhi Road. The address was that of a fair price shop owner.

Seshadari has constituted a three-member committee to probe the matter and take action against the officers responsible.

Action is likely to be taken against those who were entrusted with the task of taking photographs of the person on whose name the card is issued and affix it on the card. The revenue officials also failed to check the name and address.

This is not the first incident of its kind. In the past, bogus cards in the name of politicians, film stars, sportspersons and even Hindu Gods were detected. However, this time the officials have taken a serious note of the incident as it involved the name and picture of the father of nation.

In June, a ration card issued to one Laxmi of Vizianagaram district with a photograph of tennis star Sania Mirza was detected.

The latest incident once again exposed the collusion between the officials and fair price shop dealers. The authorities have intensified verification as several dealers have managed to get dozens of ration cards in fictitious names.

The white ration card issued to below poverty line families make them eligible to get rice at Rs 2 per kg and social security benefits like health insurance and housing.

The authorities had launched door-to-door verification campaign early this year when it was found that the number of ration cards issued in some districts exceeded the population. The number of bogus cards in the state is estimated to be 3.5 million.








Indian husbands want protection from nagging wives

REUTERS20 November 2009, 03:58pm IST

Shrews, beware: a group of Indian husbands tired of being harassed by their wives are demanding the local government create a male protection society to address their grievances.

The men, who said they had enough of their “nagging” wives, dressed up in clothes traditionally worn by grooms and paraded through the northern city of Lucknow this week to ask for a National Commission for Men.

“We are asking for equal rights. We want somebody to listen to the grievances of men,” said Subhash Dube, a medical doctor who described himself as a victimised husband.

The president of the All India Welfare Committee for Husbands, Indu Pandey, said statistics showed abuse of a section of the penal code meant to protect women against their husbands. “Demands to amend this law have been put forward a lot of times. Therefore, we oppose this law,” Pandey said.

Most of the misuse of the law has been related to dowry issues, with women and their family members registering false claims that they have been harassed by their husbands or their families about not paying enough, Pandey said.

In India, dowries of money, jewellery or other assets are given by the parents or the family of the bride to the groom.

This tradition was banned by law in 1961 but, even today, dowries are common, and if the groom or his family is unhappy with them, they often physically and emotionally abuse the wife.

Indian police receive hundreds of complaints of harassment related to dowry every day from women, and are required to investigate deaths of women within a few years of marriage as possible dowry deaths.







20 years later, police lose murder case documents

MUMBAI: At 20 years and 146 hearing dates, it must be one of the longest running criminal trials in the country.
The Bombay high court on Friday stepped up the heat on the ‘eternally’ pending case after it came to light that the police investigating a murder could not find the related papers. Even the complainant has gone missing and there has been little progress in the trial with just three witnesses examined so far and around 146 adjournments sought. Hearing a petition filed by three Haryana-based accused seeking an end to the trial, a division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice Amjad Sayed have ordered the superintendent of police, Thane (rural), to trace the missing documents and file a report in court in two weeks’ time. The 147th hearing is slated for December 5.

“It is a mockery,” said senior advocate S R Chitnis, counsel for the petitioner, Sunil Kaushik, who, along with two others, was arrested in March, 1989. The case goes back to twenty years ago, when the three had a fight with one Mohan at Shahpur. Subsequently, Mohan died of his injuries, following which Kaushik and the others were arrested for murder. The accused were released on bail the same year but the case continued – the hearings were held first at the Thane sessions court and in 1996, it was committed to the Kalyan sessions court, where it has been running for the past 13 years.

According to the petitioners, they have attended every hearing, often shuttling between their hometown Haryana and Kalyan. The court, during the last hearing, summoned the police officer concerned, who had claimed that the papers could not be found at the police station, said additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari.

“The entire procedure is contrary to the concept of a speedy trial,” said the petition, claiming that their fundamental right to a fair trial guaranteed under the Constitution had been violated.

“No efforts have been made by the prosecution to bring the witnesses to court or complete the trial,” said the petition, blaming the delay on the “lethargy of the police”.

Alleging that the trial now spells torture and harassment for them, the petitioners have urged the court to quash the proceedings.









Bullets did not pierce Karkare’s bullet-proof vest: Post mortem report

PTI 21 November 2009, 04:32pm IST

MUMBAI: Setting at rest the controversy that slain Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad chief Hemant Karkare died because of defective bullet-proof jacket, post mortem report have revealed that he received five bullets in and around his neck.

All the five bullets pierced his body in the region which was not covered by the bullet-proof vest, the post mortem report said.

He received “total five firearms wounds of entry on shoulder blade, top region between neck and right shoulder, four entry wounds in one line,” the report said.

A Public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court had alleged that Karkare died because bullets had pierced his bullet-proof jacket. However, the post mortem reports negate this claim made by the PIL.

The PIL also pointed out that in accordance with specifications laid down for bullet-proof vests, the portion of the body from the neck till waist should be covered. In the present case, the bullet-proof jacket worn by Karkare had only his chest covered while the neck portion was open.







26/11: Taj, Oberoi paid Rs 167 cr as terror claims by GIC

PTI 21 November 2009, 07:28pm IST

MUMBAI: General Insurance Corporation (GIC), the designated administrator of the terror insurance pool, has released Rs 167 crore to Taj and Oberoi hotels in connection with the 26/11 terror attacks, a top GIC Re official said.

“We have released Rs 167 crore to both hotels (Taj and Oberoi) till now. The renovation work is on…and we are waiting for the final report (to settle the final claim),” GIC Re’s Chairman and Managing Director, Yogesh Lohiya, told reporters here on Saturday.

General Insurance or non life insurance companies had formed a terror insurance pool in 2001 to pay the claims arising out of terrorist activities.

Of the Rs 167 crore given to the two hotels, GIC Re had released the first insurance instalment of Rs 25 crore to each of the two hotels in December last year.

The insurer will release the final claim amount to both the hotels only after the renovation works at the Taj and the Oberoi gets over, Lohiya said.

“The final claim figure will be arrived at only after the hotels finish their renovation work,” Lohiya said.







CM: Titling body will reduce property feuds

TNN 21 November 2009, 05:24am IST

NEW DELHI: The second day of the consultative meeting between various stakeholders for the draft bill on Delhi Survey Registration and Recordal of Title of Immovable Properties in Urban Areas ended with a discussion between RWAs, real estate promoters as well as government officials, including chief minister Sheila Dikshit.

Talking about the need for such a bill, Dikshit said, “The purpose of the new legislation is to create a single, secure, electronic and efficient system for mandatory registration and record of title for which a Delhi Urban Property Registration and Titling Authority will be formed.” The CM said that the government will be able to create a digital register of titles and reflect actual state of titles. “It will put an end to risk of fraudulent transactions, reduce illegal and unlawful transfer of properties apart from providing a facility to determine state of title of properties. Hence, it will remove complexities related to transfer of immovable properties and put an end to ever-increasing number of litigation cases,” added Dikshit. According to officials, the system will help financing companies to use the property titles to create healthy mortgages which would speed up economic development in cities through banking finance by strengthening the legal framework. The new system would prove beneficial to the owners of properties in multi-storeyed buildings, including cooperative group housing society flats and DDA flats. It will also provide an electronic database to ascertain actual ownership of immovable properties.

Added Delhi chief secretary Rakesh Mehta, “Property titling system for an urban area is very essential for better efficiency of the urban management system. This is one of the key mandatory reforms under the JNNURM and all states are committed to implement reforms in property titling system.” A final draft bill will be submitted to Union ministry of urban development for concurrence after which the Bill will be presented in the Legislative Assembly.

Incidentally, the draft bill has been prepared by Amarchand and Mangaldas and Shroff Solicitors. A presentation on the draft bill was given by Jatin Aneja, a partner in Amarchand and Mangaldas.

According to government sources, the new system will be implemented in phases. It will be implemented first in NDMC and DDA properties. The new system will also pave the way for creation of data in electronic form as per the provisions of Information Technology Act.








HC lets Lotika clean up house

TNN 21 November 2009, 05:10am IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday allowed former Delhi University law faculty professor Lotika Sarkar to clean up her house, which has in an ownership dispute with an IPS officer for almost a year and is sealed till the matter was resolved.

The court also allowed her to carry the articles from the house which belonged to her. The court directed the police to maintain the status quo after the exercise is completed. The directions came on an application filed by Sarkar. Prashant Mendiratta, counsel for Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Nirmal Dhoundial, said that he had given a no objection in case Sarkar wanted to clean the premises and take her belongings from the house.

He said that Sarkar had moved an application that the property be desealed by the police and she should be allowed to live there. Meanwhile, the court has also asked Dhoundial to file a reply to Sarkar’s appeal by Monday.

The court will take up the application on November 26 for arguments after filing of the reply. Last month, Justice S N Dhingra, hearing an urgent application by Preeti Dhoundial, wife of Nirmal Dhoundial, against the tribunal’s decision, had ordered for the desealing of the house till the final disposal of the appeal.

A tribunal, set up under the Maintenance and Welfare of Parents and Senior Citizens Act, 2007, had earlier ordered 87-year-old Sarkar to stay in her house and directed the deputy commissioner of police (south district) to immediately evict the Dhoundials, who claimed she had gifted them the property. Dhoundial’s counsel questioned the tribunal’s order, contending the house was given to the Dhoundials under the Gifts Deed Act in 2007 and the tribunal’s order was a violation.








Delhi speeds up parole for select few: HC

Smriti Singh, TNN 21 November 2009, 05:28am IST

NEW DELHI: Demolishing Delhi government’s claim that it went by the rule book in granting parole to Manu Sharma, Delhi high court on Friday said there was ‘‘no doubt’’ that the administration had been ‘‘selectively…giving priority’’ to the requests made by some convicts ‘‘maybe because of their high connections and influence’’.

In fact, Justice Kailash Gambhir cited Sharma’s example to establish the preferential treatment given to ‘‘resourceful’’ convicts as the latter had been granted parole in barely 20 days while applications from others had been pending for over six months. The judge contrasted the speedy disposal of Sharma’s plea with the inaction displayed in seven specific cases.

Agreeing that the government was required to adopt a cautious approach while dealing with convicts of heinous crimes and that stringent conditions would have to be imposed at the time of their release on parole, Justice Gambhir said, ‘‘certainly the government cannot sit over the applications of the convicts for undue and an unusually long time. It can also not be seen favouring some or disfavouring others as every convict should be treated alike and decisions should be as per the jail manual and the decisions of the apex court and high court.’’

Referring to the government’s lists of parole applications filed this year and those still under consideration, the court said they ‘‘depict a dismal picture of apathy of the government in not giving due priority to the parole applications moved by convicts.’’

The lists were appended to an affidavit filed by the government, saying that out of 372 parole applications filed this year, 72 have been allowed, 202 have been rejected and 98 are under consideration. Significantly, the government added that despite its cautious approach, 14 convicts had jumped parole this year and were still absconding.







Haryana govt pushes ahead with Aravali mining plan

TNN 21 November 2009, 05:18am IST

NEW DELHI: It seems Haryana government does not want to lose more time wating for green signal from the Supreme Court to resume mining of building material. That is visible the way the state is finalizing its plans, putting in place the guidelines and procedures for auctions and setting up Aravali rehabilitation fund.

Sources said financial commissioner and principal secretary of industries Y S Mallik, who was in the Delhi on Thursday, had a meeting with the SC-appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) and discussed the matter.

“We have already appointed one consultant for carrying out the mitigation study and come out with solutions for reclamation and rehabilitation of already mined areas. We will finalize another consultant soon for this massive task,” Mallik said.

He added the guidelines for auctioning have already been finalized. “We can’t share them with anyone except the CEC. We are in the process of setting up the rehabilitation fund as per the SC guideline. We will complete all this within the given time-frame since without completing them we can’t even touch the 600 hectares, which CEC has agreed to open for mining,” Mallik said.

Sources said in the absence of supply of building material from the Aravali, the demand of stones from Rajasthan has increased. “Even the state PWD is procuring huge quantity of stones from those areas for carrying our development works,” said a senior official.

In its October order, the SC had granted conditional permission for resumption of mining of minor minerals in the Aravali region of Faridabad and Palwal after the state government gave an undertaking for termination of all existing mining leases.

The court had said in its order that it would consider allowing mining in 1,500 hectares in Gurgaon and Mewat, depending on how situation unfolds in Faridabad and Palwal. Haryana had submitted that it would take three months for notifying the auction guidelines, setting up an Aravali rehabilitation fund and a monitoring committee and six months for preparing and initiating a reclamation and rehabilitation plan.








Lawyers stage demonstration

TNN 21 November 2009, 05:13am IST

NEW DELHI: A day after sugarcane farmers from western UP lay central Delhi to siege, it was the turn of lawyers from the same region who blocked Parliament Street on Friday demanding a separate high court bench in western UP.

Hundreds of lawyers held demonstration at Jantar Mantar demanding the Central and state governments to stop passing the buck and take concrete steps to give respite to lakhs of people.

Protesters said people have to travel 800km to reach Allahabad and the poor, in particular, cannot afford to pursue cases for a longer period.

Minister of state for labour and employment Oscar Fernandes met the agitators and said the Centre would consider their demand. But, he added, it will happen only when the state government puts the demand on table.








Notice to Ashoka, MLA over transfers

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:49am IST

BANGALORE: The high court has strongly disapproved of the tendency of transferring officials at the behest of ministers and MLAs.
The court on Friday ordered issuance of notices to transport minister R Ashoka and Chikmagalur MLA C T Ravi, as well as the KSRTC management in this regard.

“It is very strange that ministers and MLAs interfere in cases where there is unblemished record of service. It is nothing but a serious lapse. If transfers are to be made at the behest of ministers and MLAs, the morale of the organization goes down. Let them come and explain,” Justice Ram Mohan Reddy observed.

Flossy Philomena D’souza, an accounts supervisor with KSRTC, filed the petition challenging her transfer from Chikmagalur to Kolar on August 19. She claimed that though it was mentioned `in public interest’ in the transfer order, it later turned out that the local MLA had sent a letter to the minister seeking her transfer, as evident from copies made available under RTI.

Relief to Mylarappa

The high court has stayed for eight weeks the summons issued by a trial court against B C Mylarappa, former director of distance education in Bangalore University, over a private complaint.

Muniswamy, who alleged that Mylarappa had threatened him over property matters, registered the case based on a complaint. But Mylarappa said he’d paid Rs 5 lakh towards sale consideration for the property, and there was delay in filing the complaint.








State doesn’t figure in child surveys: Experts

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:39am IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka Child Rights Observatory (KCRO), at a two-day convention on the state’s initiatives for child rights and develoment, has expressed concern that the it does not figure in many central surveys on the subject.

On Friday, KCRO commemorated the twenty years of Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) adopted by the UN. Members of KCRO, CRC, Child Rights Trust (CRT), and various NGOs and doctors attended and discussed issues regarding child protection, health and nutrition, child development, participation and action plans for NGOs.

Dr Rupa N Devadasan, Institute of Public Health, said: “A child’s health is a dialogue and cannot be summed up in the minutes of discussion… Doctors should stick to one area and continue researching it to bring forth comparatively better health solutions.”

While Dr Vasavi, NIAS, discussed the unattended issues in child development, Renny D’Souza, Padi, elaborated on child participation and how important it is to his or her personal development. “The state has promised many state-of-art plans for child development and child rights, but is yet to reach the target. It doesn’t figure in many surveys conducted by the Centre like studies on sexual assault and corporal punishment among children,” she said.

According to her, the percentage of juveniles apprehended under IPC during 2007 in the state shows depressing results, and the state also ranks last in the percentage of children who can do subtraction or more.

The gathering’s unanimous view was that parents should be the first ones to promote child development at the primary level. Issues like child custodianship and guardianship should necessarily involve child participation, added Renny.

On Saturday, Unicef will release the world children report.

NGOs’ action plan

Wide publicity about the conventions and the programmes.

Educating possible stakeholders like parents, teachers, governments and police about the Unicef and CRC conventions, and how to implement them.

Press for implementation of all policies for children at every level of society.

Equal opportunities for the disabled, under-privileged and semi-privileged children. Special opportunities for the girl child.

NGOs to be watch dogs of these programmes at the panchayat and state levels.








A history of complaints

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:34am IST

BANGALORE: The charges of encroachment and altering the state’s boundary against tourism minister and MD of Obulapuram Mining Company G Janardhan Reddy are nothing new.

Janardhan Reddy, who entered into the mining business in 2002, owns two mining leases on the Karnataka-Andhra Pradesh border — 68.50 hectares at Malapanagudi and 39.15 hectares at Obulapuram.

Mine owner Tapaal Narayana Reddy had lodged a complaint against Janardhan Reddy and three others at the Torangal police station in Bellary on August 31, 2006. He accused them of unauthorisedly entering his mining area at Thumati, destroying the survey poles erected by the Karnataka government and annexing it to their mining area, which falls under Andhra Pradesh jurisdiction. T N Reddy also lodged a complaint with the state authorities against Janardhan Reddy over the Obulapuram mines.

On May 22, 2007, Karnataka State Forest Guards and Watchers Association, Bellary, petitioned the Bellary deputy commissioner against the Obulapuram company staff and accused them of threatening and abusing them.

Janardhan Reddy has been accused of destroying a temple, Sunkalamma, which acted as a boundary between Karnataka and AP. The cases registered against him over this are:

* On September 3, 2006, a case (CR Number 338/06) was registered at the Bellary rural police station under Sec 295, 436 of IPC and 3 and 4 of the Explosives Act 1908 by Mangyu Nayak, a Lambani priest and resident of Honnali thanda, Bellary, for the demolition of Sunkalamma temple

* On September 4, 2006, an officer of the Bellary range forest registered a case (FOC No 11/2006-07) under Column 24 (GG) and 73(D) K F Act 1963

* On September 5, 2006, an officer of the Bellary range forests registered a complaint (FOC 12/06-07) under Column 24 (GG) and 73(D) KF Act 1963 for demolishing Sunkalamma temple








Have clear policy, guv tells govt

TNN 21 November 2009, 04:07am IST

BANGALORE: Governor H R Bhardwaj has written to the government expressing concern over the recent controversy related to appointment of two registrars in Bangalore University. Sources in the secretariat on Friday said Bhardwaj has sought a clear-cut policy on such issues.

Bhardwaj, who is chancellor of universities in Karnataka, wants the government to ensure that “appointment of registrars doesn’t become a bone of contention or reason for obstruction to the university’s normal work,” sources said.

The reason for the altercation: BU V-C N Prabhu Dev’s refusal to allow newly appointed registrars M G Krishnan and M S Talwar to take charge on November 16 and the duo saying they were armed with government order (GO) from the higher education department.
Sources said the letter also wanted the government to take V-Cs into confidence while making such appointments. “You will agree with me that vice-chancellors have an important role in shaping universities. Hence, it goes without saying that they should have a smooth administrative system in order to enable them to work with efficiency, integrity and promptness,” said sources, quoting the letter.








Single girlchild can get reservation in PG: HC

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:51am IST

BANGALORE: If you are single girlchild in your family and opting for post-graduate studies, don’t look back. The high court on Friday directed the government to consider and make special provision for ensuring reservation to single girlchild families in higher education, taking into account the essence of a central scheme in 2005.

Justice A S Bopanna gave this direction while disposing of a petition filed by M S Supreetha seeking reservation in PG course in medicine.

The petitioner completed her MBBS and internship in Devaraja Urs Medical College, Kolar, and claimed that Andhra Pradesh and Punjab governments have already implemented the said scheme.

Even though several representations were made to the authorities, they were yet to take action, the petitioner said. She wants to appear for the February 7, 2010, PG entrance examination.


UGC introduced the post-graduate Indira Gandhi Scholarship for single girlchild, with an aim to compensate direct cost of girls’ education to all levels, specially for those who happen to be the only girlchild in their families.

Any girl, who’s the only child of her parents, is eligible. The scheme is applicable to such a girl who has taken admission in first-year master’s degree programmes in any recognized university or post-graduate college; duration of the scholarship is 2 years (for 10 months in a year).









CM-led panel fixes BMIC timeline

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:36am IST

BANGALORE: Fearing strictures from the Supreme Court, a high-level committee headed by chief minister B S Yeddyurappa has fixed a timeline for implementation of the Bangalore Mysore Infrastructure Corridor (BMIC) project.

On November 3, Justices Tarun Chatterjee, Lodha and Deepak Verma of the apex court set November 22 as deadline to set up the high-level committee, and report to it with the time schedule on implementation of BMIC. Accordingly, the committee was constituted on November 10 and held its first meeting on Thursday.

Going by the timeline, which will be submitted to the SC, the required land transfer to Nandi Infrastructure Corridor Enterprises (NICE), promoters of BMIC, and tax concessions will be done in the next one year.

Of the 20,193 acres, which the state government agreed to give NICE in 1997, the developers received 7,000 acres so far. With the Yeddyurappa-led committee clearing all hurdles, rest of the 14,000 acres is expected to be transferred in a year’s time.








Forest officer’s show-cause notice

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:33am IST

BANGALORE: A show-cause notice was served to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) by Kallol Biswas, divisional forest officer, Anantapur on October 28.



The OMC has uprooted/ destroyed the village boundary pillars designated as survey station number 4 and lease boundary pillar number 6 of 25.98 hectres of OMC so fixed during the survey conducted by me from May 9 2009 to May 13 2009. The survey was conducted to fix the village boundary between H Siddapuram and Obulapuram village relayed by state high level committee appointed by Andhra Pradesh government.

You have not only destroyed the above two permanent survey stations constructed with cement concrete but you have also destroyed all the flagged iron rods pegged at regular intervals along the village boundary.

During my inspection it was noticed that fresh mining operations was undertaken in high grade ore located in Bellary Iron Ore Private Ltd’s (BIOPL) mining lease area upto 50 mts in width inside from the village boundary and 100 mts in length. The forest range officer, Kalyandurg in his report stated that you have carried out illegal encroachment in Bellary Iron Ore Ltd and carried out illegal mining operations day and night from September 25 2009 to October 8 2009. The concerned beat staff have also informed that they have witnessed blasting operation carried out at midnight in BIOPL mining area. This illegal act of undertaking blasting operation in the night by you followed by immediate excavation of iron ore is in violation of Mines Act.

These are all violations of mining lease condition imposed by ministry of environment and forests, AP state government divisional forest officer, the provision of MMRD Act, Mines Act, provision of Indian Forest Act 1927 and Forest (Conservation) Rule 1980.







Personal info can be sought under RTI, says HC

TNN 21 November 2009, 04:29am IST

CHENNAI: Can personal information such as an address of an employee or a pensioner be demanded under the provisions of the Right To Information (RTI) Act? Yes, says the Madras high court.

Justice K Chandru, pointing out that the writ petitioner M Kaliaperumal of Chennai wanted the personal details only to execute a court decree, said: “A pensioner does not cease to become totally out of control from the government. On the contrary, his conduct and character are continuously monitored by the central government. In that context, the whereabouts of such pensioner is also very much relevant and it cannot be a private information. The authorities are bound to help in the execution of court orders.”

Kaliaperumal approached the postal department authorities at Gudur in Andhra Pradesh, seeking information about a man named K Ramachandra Rao, against whom a court order had been passed in a forgery case. Unable to find him at his residence, Kaliaperumal filed an RTI application demanding to know the postal address of Rao as the latter had been receiving his pension from the Gudur post office. However, the RTI plea was rejected on the ground that this was a personal information and had no public interest. His appeal too met with the similar fate.

Pointing out that the address was sought only to execute a court order, Justice Chandru said Kaliaperumal was not able to take further civil and criminal action against Rao as the latter’s address was not known. Directing the authorities to furnish the correct address of Rao within 30 days, the judge said the plea did have a public interest as the pensioner’s exact whereabouts would clear doubts as to whether such a pensioner really existed on the date of receipt of his pension or whether a fraudulent claim had been made on his behalf. “Such information cannot be denied,” he said.








Madras HC discloses assets of judges, third court to do so

A Subramani, TNN 21 November 2009, 04:50am IST

CHENNAI: In a step towards greater transparency and accountability, the Madras High Court on Friday disclosed the assets and liabilities of all its 54 judges on its website, becoming the second HC in the country to do so.

The Kerala HC was the first to declare the assets of its judges on September 30, followed by the Supreme Court that placed details in the public domain on November 2. Though the High Courts of Delhi, Bombay and Punjab & Haryana have already announced that they too would make public their assets, they have not yet implemented the decision.

Starting from Chief Justice HL Gokhale, all the judges of the Madras HC have made exhaustive declarations about their properties, agricultural land holdings, investments and bank holdings. Neither the format nor details of the declaration is uniform though.

Shares, fixed deposits and gold jewellery seem to be the most preferred investment modes for the judges, most of whom do not have any agricultural lands or income.

Justice Gokhale does not have a house or agricultural lands in his name, but he has revealed that he inherited shares in 15 companies from his father. His spouse has a flat in Mumbai, besides bank deposits and jewellery.







HC asks collector to monitor sand mining on Cheyyar river bed

TNN 21 November 2009, 04:30am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Kancheepuram district collector to monitor sand quarries on the Cheyyar river, to ensure that no quarrying was done beyond the permissible limit of 0.9 metres.

The first bench comprising the chief justice HL Gokhale and justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, passing orders on a public interest writ petition of J Jayakumar of Naiyadupakkam village in Uthiramerur taluk, however, declined to stay quarrying of sand on the river.

The petitioner contended that men engaged by private parties were quarrying sand beyond the permitted limits on 21.67 hectares of river bed. Claiming that several mandatory requirements were being violated by the operators, he said heavy equipment were being employed to dig beyond 0.9 metres at the site. He said the village panchayat passed a resolution in connivance with local politicians, and then the district collector granted quarry permit.

Though the government pleader denied that quarries were more than 0.9 metres deep, the judges pointed to the photographs submitted by the petitioner and said, “perhaps excavation could be more than what is permitted.”

They then said: “We are of the view that the collector ought to cause a direct monitoring of the removal of sand. The government pleader has stated that removal of sand is being done only by the public works department and not by any private parties. Even so, it is necessary from the point of view of the environment that this particular ocndition ought to be observed strictly. We expect the collector to take necessary steps in this regard.”

An official document available with TOI reveals that the mining of sand has reduced the storage of water in all the 17 river basins in Tamil Nadu from which lakhs of cubic metres of sand was being mined everyday. While the G.O. 735 of Industries department prohibited by 500 metres on either side of the drinking water headworks but illegal sand mining could not be avoided in the riverbed inspite of the order, the document states. Indiscriminate mining has also affected the infiltration wells functioning in the river bed and has affected a number of drinking water supply headworks in the major rivers.

The top brass of municipal administration has also suggested two strategies, fully implement GO 735 and sever punishment for vilators, to curb illegal sand mining. The government is yet to act on the suggestions, officials said.








More awareness needed for RTI

TNN 21 November 2009, 01:25am IST

AHMEDABAD: The awareness level among common people about the Right to Information Act is not satisfactory. This was stated by chief information commissioner RN Das at a seminar on Your Rights under Right to Information Act’ at the Gujarat Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday.

Das said several studies have revealed that the RTI awareness level in the entire state is not satisfactory, with a huge contrast seen in rural areas where some parts were actively using it and some were completely ignorant. According to Das, many people still do not know how to file an application for seeking information.

Das further said that the provision of pro-active disclosure should vary from area to area. Citing example of Panchmahal, he said that the authorities have gone in for pro-active disclosure but the information sought by the applicants was slightly different. Hence a study at the grass root level needs to be carried out and authorities should disclose information looking at the need of that area, he said.

Das further added that one has to ensure that the justice was done to the poor and downtrodden, who are living within limitation of the law. He cited two examples in which how he ensured justice to the victims living within the parameters of the law. He said a widow had sought information about the labour insurance after her husband death. The labour department informed that the application was sent to Oriental Insurance. Though the insurance company was not in the purview of the state, he wrote to the insurance company and during the hearing the widow got the cheque.

Speaking at the event, former city civil and session judge BN Jani said that one cannot civilise the society with bunch of laws. He also objected to the use of the word request in the RTI.








Hearing on Hawara’s appeal against sentence adjourned

TNN 21 November 2009, 02:44am IST

CHANDIGARH: As the proceedings against accused Paramjit Singh Bheura in the Beant Singh assassination case were yet to be concluded by the special CBI court, Chandigarh, which is held in Burail jail here, the division bench of justice Mehtab Singh Gill and Ram Chander Gupta on Friday adjourned till December 24 the hearing on the appeal filed by Jagtar Singh Hawara and others against their conviction and sentence. The trial court had awarded death sentence to two accused, Hawara and Balwant Singh, while others were awarded different prison terms, including life imprisonment. While Hawara and others have appealed against their conviction and sentence, Balwant Singh has moved the court to direct the jail authorities concerned to implement the death sentence awarded to him. These matters are to be heard simultaneously as also that of Bheura, hence the adjournment of hearing. The then Punjab chief minister, Beant Singh, and 16 others were done to death in a bomb blast outside the Civil Secretariat, here, on August 31, 1995. One of the key accused, Jagtar Singh Tara, who along with Hawara and Bheura had escaped from the jail by making a tunnel, continues to be at large, while the other two were apprehended.







TGTSOA to fight in SC for shacks by draw of lots

TNN 21 November 2009, 05:59am IST

PANAJI: The Goan Traditional Shack Owners Association (TGTSOA) passed a resolution on Friday that it would continue its fight and battle it out in the Supreme Court to ensure that shack allotments are done through draw of lots and not by preference to seniority. TGTSOA members convened a meet in Panaji on Friday morning where an unanimous resolution was passed to this effect.

“We had filed a caveat in the Supreme Court that if the SOWS approached it to appeal the High Court’s order, its petition should be rejected. However, now that the Supreme Court has issued a status quo on the matter, we have decided that we will fight it out at the Supreme Court too,” TGTSOA president Manuel Cardoz said.

It maybe pointed out here that Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS) and the tourism department, on November 9, lost a court case after Clause 16 in the Beach Shack Policy 2009-10 was challenged by rivals TGTSOA. Clause 16 specifies the all-important method applied to choose who gets to put up a shack on the beach, and stated that preference would be given to seniority. On November 18, SOWS challenged the High Court’s decision in the Supreme Court.









Acting CJ walks out over imperfect national emblem

TNN 21 November 2009, 06:53am IST

KOLKATA: Acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya walked out of a courtroom when a petitioner’s lawyers pointed out that the chair he was sitting on had an incorrect representation of the national emblem. The petition he had been hearing at that time, incidentally, was about faulty national emblems engraved in several offices of the state and the Centre.

On Friday, acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Prasenjit Mondal were hearing a PIL filed by Kamal Dey, editor and publisher of a Bengali periodical. Dey had submitted that the Ashok Chakra was being used without the writing Satyameva Jayate, which is integral to the emblem. In fact, a division Bench of the high court had earlier held that the national emblem should have the writing below under the Prevention of Insults of National Honours Act. Dey produced photographs before the court to show how the nation emblem was disregarded.

Lawyers pointed out that the authorities concerned were not paying heed despite the court order to rectify the error and submit a compliance report within three weeks. It was at this stage that the petitioner’s lawyers, Tapas Bhanja and Sujay Bandyopadhyay, pointed out that even the chief justice’s chair, on which Bhattacharya was sitting, did not have the Satyameva Jayate inscription.

The acting chief justice stood up immediately and turned around to have a look at the emblem. He then summoned the registrar-general. As soon as he came, Bhattacharya asked him to rectify the mistake and left the room.

The fault, however, could not be rectified in a short time. The registrar-general then asked to replace the CJ’s chair with an ordinary one. Justice Bhattacharya sat on that chair and resumed court proceedings after the recess.








Black Friday for state judiciary

TNN 21 November 2009, 07:05am IST

JAIPUR: Friday turned into a black day for the state’s judiciary when a token strike called by Rajasthan High Court Bar Association took an ugly turn with more than 500 agitating lawyers of the high court turning violent after Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M N Bhandari started hearing cases despite the strike call. The association had called a day’s strike to protest the suicide by a Bhilwara-based advocate Amit Yadav who blamed police atrocities in his suicide note.

A mob of violent advocates gathered outside the gate of the court of Chief Justice and prevented lawyers and clients form entering. However, the division bench headed by the Chief Justice started hearing the matters listed on board at 10.30 am and made it clear that no one from the association, including the president, had taken him into confidence before going on strike, nor had it been bought to his notice.

Present in the court were Supreme Court lawyer Arunerswar Gupta, who had just started arguing the matter relating to reservation of seats for women in the lottery drawn for Jaipur Municipal Council, and Abhinav Sharma, who was waiting for the scheduled Justice N N Mathur Commission case to be taken up by the bench.

With the protesting lawyers getting abusive and violent, the Chief Justice was forced to call the police and advocate Aruneshwar Gupta, who was arguing the matter at that time, was immediately escorted out through the back door by cops.

The lawyers than abused Sharma for his presence in the courtroom and forcefully dragged him out. In the meanwhile, bar association president Madhav Mitra and secretary Manish Kumawat approached the Chief Justice in the chaotic atmosphere with advocates hurling abuses at the judges and the two advocates.

Annoyed by the due and deliberate interference by the lawyers in justice delivery system, Chief Justice Bhalla specifically told the Bar president: “You were required to have informed us but that was not done nor any request was made at 10.30 am. If the lawyers have a head-on collision with the bench they will be at the receiving end. This in not the way to agitate, taking the judicial system to ransom.”

The furious lawyers forcefully entered the Chief Justice’s court and started abusing the bench. The lawyers then went to the chamber of advocate Abhinav Sharma and ransacked his office and threw out the furniture.

An emergency general house meeting of the Bar Association was also called wherein all the member advocates of the Bar Association decided to expel advocate Abhinav Sharma and Aruneshwar Gupta from the membership of the Rajasthan HC Bar Association. The proposal to boycott the court of Chief Justice was also mooted, but no unanimous decision was taken. CM Ashok Gehlot has also ordered a probe into the incident and asked the ADG (crime) to look into it.








Amend child rights Act: NGO

TNN 21 November 2009, 06:27am IST

KOLKATA: Parliament had passed the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill that emphasis free education for children aged between 6 and 14 years, but what will be the provisions for children below six years of age and those between 14 and 18?

Social organisation Child Rights and You (CRY) now wants the law amended. It will forward a charter of demands to the Centre on December 11 the day when India ratified the UN’s child rights convention.

The charter demands that children not covered by the law be included in it. It also calls for ensuring that a school proper facilities be set up within one kilometre of any habitation. The CRY charter demands that 10% of India’s GDP be allocated for education of children who constitute 40% of the country’s population.

“We have launched a nation-wide campaign for signing the charter. We are expecting at least half-a-billion people to sign the charter,” said Cry’s GM for Volunteer Action, Soha Moitra.

Interested citizens have three options to sign the charter of demands. They can simply walk down to CRY office at Kalikapur, send an SMS on 58558 or log on to

“The Sabko Shiksha, Samaan Shiksha campaign was launched on November 14,” said CRY’s Director Dipankar Mazumder.









School occupation in Lalgarh: HC seeks details

TNN 21 November 2009, 06:40am IST

KOLKATA/JHARGRAM: Calcutta high court on Friday called for details of the steps taken by the government on the removal of joint forces from schools in the Lalgarh area, which have been occupied by jawans since the anti-Maoist operations began earlier this year.

The order came on a PIL praying that all schools in four blocks of West Midnapore be immediately vacated as they are not functioning due to such occupation. A division bench fixed the matter for hearing on Tuesday.

Advocate-general Balai Ray submitted that some steps had been taken to vacate the schools. Already, two of the 16 schools had been vacated, Ray added.

Meanwhile, PCPA supporters, students and guardians blocked a road near State Highway 9 for three hours to protest against the alleged harassment of six students by jawans near Banstala jungle in Jhargram (West Midnapore) on Friday. The jawans allegedly detained the six students, who were on their way to school for exams, and made them strip. The Madhyamik Test examinees then refused to sit for the exams. Debashis Chakraborty, IC of Jhargram PS, promised to look into the matter.









Manu Sharma got parole because of high connections, influence: High Court

Express news service

Posted: Saturday , Nov 21, 2009 at 0313 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Friday accused the state government of “selectively” granting parole to the son of senior Haryana politician Venod Sharma, Siddharth Vashisht alias Manu Sharma, who is serving a life term for the murder of model Jessica Lal.

Earlier this month, Manu, 32, who was out of Tihar Jail on a two-month parole to attend to his “ageing mother” based in Chandigarh, was spotted pub-hopping in the National Capital, triggering questions as to whether he had violated parole norms.

“This court has no doubt that the department (Home) has been giving parole to some convicts because of the high connections and influence. No doubt one such case is that of Manu Sharma,” Justice Kailash Gambhir wrote in his order.

The court was hearing a complaint from convict Sumedh Singh about how his parole application has been pending for over three months.

At the start of the hearing today, Justice Gambhir specifically asked police counsel Meera Bhatia to point out the name of Manu Sharma from a list of 372 convicts who had applied for parole till date. When shown that Manu’s application was numbered 245, Justice Gambhir remarked that “this application has been disposed off a lot quicker than the rest”.

Later, in his written order too, he noted that Manu’s application was disposed off with “utmost promptitude” while others have to wait for at least three to four months.

In his affidavit, B M Jain, Deputy Secretary (Home), Delhi Government, said 72 convicts have been granted parole from January 1, 2009 to November 18. He said his department rejected 202 parole applications, while 98 others are under consideration and 14 prisoners have “jumped parole” and are still absconding.

“The list portrays a dismal picture of apathy, least priority is given to parole applications,” the court observed.

Jain explained in his affidavit that extreme caution is taken to check if the convict would pose a threat or commit crimes if he is let out on parole, and so the delay in submitting police verification reports. A draft of revised guidelines on parole conditions in Delhi has been approved by the government and will be placed before the High Court on November 25, he said.

The Bench gave the police 10 days to dispose off parole applications in which police verification reports are ready.

For convicts who are from other states or whose verification reports are yet to arrive, the court ordered the Home department to immediately inform the Commissioner of Police, who will get in touch with his counterparts in the respective states. All this has to be done within 10 days.

“It is directed that all pending parole applications are to be finally decided by the government within 15 days to one month from this order today,” the Bench ordered.








Parole isn’t only for rich and powerful: HC to Govt

Parikshit Luthra / CNN-IBN

Published on Fri, Nov 20, 2009 at 22:39, Updated on Sat, Nov 21, 2009 at 11:58

New Delhi: The High Court has slammed the Delhi Government for giving parole to Jessica Lal’s killer Manu Sharma on a platter while other convicts had to go through a long wait for parole.

Parole isn’t only for the rich and the powerful — that is what the Delhi High Court has told the Delhi Government.

“No doubt the Government has been giving priority to some convicts because of their influence and no doubt one of such cases is that of Manu Sharma, “ the court said.

The high court was hearing a petitioner whose parole application was pending with the Government for long.

Meanwhile, the Government in its reply said:

  • 372 parole applications were received in 2009.
  • Out of which only 72 were granted.
  • 202 rejected outright.

The court said the figures clearly showed apathy towards the applicants.

The state Government will now submit a draft of revised guidelines before the Chief Justice of India on November 25 which says: All parole applications will be disposed of within a month or at the most 2 months and that attempts will be made to complete police verification of applications within a week.

The courts said that no doubt the Government should exercise caution while granting parole. It cannot favour some and disfavour others.

While the new guidelines for granting parole are yet to be formalised, the court provided some much needed reprieve for some prisoners by asking the Delhi government to dispose of all pending applications within a stipulated time period.







Explain shortage of fertilisers: HC to state

TNN 21 November 2009, 06:13am IST

LUCKNOW: The high court on Friday sought reply of the state government on a PIL seeking timely availability of fertilisers to farmers in the state.



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The court fixed November 26 for next hearing of the case.

The order came on the PIL filed by five farmers from Lucknow, Pilibhit, Sitapur and Lakhimpur. Their counsel, Jayant Singh Tomar submitted that there was acute shortage of DAP, urea and other manures in the state. The Central government has provided adequate DAP to the state but due to faulty distribution by the state agencies, the rabi crop is suffering, argued the counsel.

The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi directed additional chief standing counsel, Mukund Tiwari to obtain instructions from the state government regarding the shortage of fertilisers in the state. The court also asked the state government as to why the petitioners were not being provided fertilisers as required.

When the PIL was being argued, senior advocate, Raghvendra Singh assisted the court saying that since most of the primary cooperative societies were unstable and facing dispute within, the distribution of fertilisers to the farmers was not proper and thus they faced scarcity in peak season of rabi crop. Another senior advocate, Anil Tiwari added that there was shortage of availability to the government as well as the distribution system was also not up to mark. Therefore, the entire state is in grip of fertiliser shortage.

The petitioners submitted that from adjoining border districts, the fertilisers were smuggled to Nepal and China. The state government was not taking strict action against black marketeers.

The bench refuted state government’s objection that the PIL was politically motivated and remarked that it contained public cause relating to lakhs of farmers.







Madras HC directs overhauling legal education

November 20, 2009 

Chennai: Justice N. Kirubakaran at the Madras High Court recently took an initiative to dive in to the existing scenario of the legal profession in the country and suggested to restore its past glory by introducing reforms in imparting the law education at the admission stage itself.

“In order to attract talented students to law courses, the curriculum should be in pace with the globalization to suit the present day situation,” he said.

The judge further observed that reviewing the curriculum would prevent the decline in standard of legal education as well as check the recurrence of November 2008 violent incidents in the Madras Law College while he dismissed a writ petition from an aspirant to three-year BL degree course, who crossed the age limit.

“It is not good for the largest democracy of the world to suffer on the parameters of legal education. If no remedial measures are undertaken to improve the situation then the country would suffer irreparably,” said the judge while giving directives to the government and the Bar Council of India (BCI).

Running exactly on the lines of the National Law School, classes in the law colleges are ought to be taken seriously by the students like that of a regular college where short attendance is an issue.

In order to make the students more responsible in the matter of their education, the college hours have to be increased to 5 or six hours per day and classes should be held in the morning and afternoon sessions.

The cut off percentage for admission into law colleges should be not less than 60. The antecedents of students might be verified before admission.

“Appointment of proficient full time professors/lecturers was to be made. Three-year law courses had to be scrapped in a phased manner and a five-year integrated course was to be introduced. The students had to be involved in field study,” the judge said.







HC directs SSP to monitor eviction drive

TNN 21 November 2009, 03:30am IST

PATNA: Patna High Court on Friday directed the Patna senior superintendent of police to produce a report on the removal of encroachments and cowsheds in the city through a specially deployed nodal officer every month.

A division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma, issued the directive while hearing a PIL of one Barun Kumar Sharma, who sought the removal of encroachments and khatals from Bashishth Narain Path in the Kadamkuan locality.

On Friday, the Bench directed the Patna district magistrate and the Patna Municipal Corporation commissioner to coordinate with police to make Patna town free of all encroachments.

The HC will monitor the progress of work regarding the removal of encroachments every three months so that there is no break and no new encroachments come up.






Explain shortage of fertilisers: HC to state

TNN 21 November 2009, 06:13am IST

LUCKNOW: The high court on Friday sought reply of the state government on a PIL seeking timely availability of fertilisers to farmers in the state. The court fixed November 26 for next hearing of the case.

The order came on the PIL filed by five farmers from Lucknow, Pilibhit, Sitapur and Lakhimpur. Their counsel, Jayant Singh Tomar submitted that there was acute shortage of DAP, urea and other manures in the state. The Central government has provided adequate DAP to the state but due to faulty distribution by the state agencies, the rabi crop is suffering, argued the counsel.

The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi directed additional chief standing counsel, Mukund Tiwari to obtain instructions from the state government regarding the shortage of fertilisers in the state. The court also asked the state government as to why the petitioners were not being provided fertilisers as required.

When the PIL was being argued, senior advocate, Raghvendra Singh assisted the court saying that since most of the primary cooperative societies were unstable and facing dispute within, the distribution of fertilisers to the farmers was not proper and thus they faced scarcity in peak season of rabi crop. Another senior advocate, Anil Tiwari added that there was shortage of availability to the government as well as the distribution system was also not up to mark. Therefore, the entire state is in grip of fertiliser shortage.

The petitioners submitted that from adjoining border districts, the fertilisers were smuggled to Nepal and China. The state government was not taking strict action against black marketeers.

The bench refuted state government’s objection that the PIL was politically motivated and remarked that it contained public cause relating to lakhs of farmers.








Allahabad HC needs 27 yrs to clear pending cases in UP

Pervez Iqbal Siddiqui, TNN 21 November 2009, 06:15am IST

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court will have to spare a little over 27 years, comprising 365 working days of eight hours each, to clear the 9,49,437 cases pending before it. This, when no fresh cases are taken up during this period. The calculation is based on the last annual report of the Delhi High Court, which heard 3,32,141 cases in 2007-2008, with around five minutes – four minutes 55 seconds to be precise – being devoted to each case.

Of the total of over 40 lakh cases pending before high courts across India, the Allahabad High Court shares 23.62 per cent of the burden. At the district and subordinate court level, UP has 19.53 per cent of the total backlog of over 2.7 crore cases nationwide. With fresh cases being filed at a steady pace and vacancies being carried forward almost every year, the backlog appears set to stay here for quite some time.

Most of the judicial officers (JOs) and the lawyers in Uttar Pradesh believe that the issue must be addressed urgently in the interest of justice. “Justice delayed, is justice denied – this is an age-old belief. With such heavy backlog, one can easily gauge the extent of justice being done with petitioners across the country in general and Uttar Pradesh in particular,” said senior high court lawyer I B Singh. “Though the law ministry announces schemes and mechanisms to deal with the crisis from time to time, nothing much has been done,” he said citing the ‘Justice at your doorstep’ concept that was announced in the past.







Lawyer gets Rs 1 lakh in defamation case

Diwakar Phatak21 November 2009, 04:34am IST

GONDIA: Lawyer and notary Jayantilal Parmar was not only acquitted but he also got a compensation of Rs 1 lakh in a misappropriation and defamation case against the gurjar kshatriya samaj.

Parmar was the chief of Gurjar Kshtriya Samaj in the early 80s. The then treasurer of the society Prof Chunnilal Chouhan had alleged that Parmar had misappropriated Rs 13,086 between 1983 and 1986. Through a civil suit filed in 2003, Chouhan demanded that the money and the interest amounting to Rs 22,219 be recovered from him.

Parmar refuted the allegations and lodged a counter case claiming Rs 1 lakh for defamation. On November 17, civil judge (senior division) B S Mahajan acquitted Parmar and ruled that the president of the samaj, Dr Liladhar Parmar and secretary Prafulla Chawada should pay Parmar Rs 5,000 each.

In the defamation case, the court on November 18 upheld Parmar’s Rs 1 lakh claim. The court further ruled that the amendment (25-12-1994) made by the then executive committee and the election of Parmar (July 1, 2001) and other office bearers of the society was null and void. The officials have also been directed to submit accounts of income and expenditure till date.





SC refuses to stop idol immersion


New Delhi, Nov. 20: The Supreme Court today refused to stop immersion of idols in natural water bodies saying it would not interfere with religious customs of any denomination.

“You are speaking of Article 21, right to life and liberty of individuals, what about Article 25 (which guarantees right to every citizen to practise the religion of his choice)? We can’t waste a minute on such petitions,” Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said, dismissing a public interest plea seeking such curbs.

Delhi trader Salek Chand Jain had filed the plea saying immersed idols were choking natural water bodies. “We cannot give any directions on this,” the CJI said.

The Supreme Court was asked to intervene just as it had done to curb the use of loudspeakers and amplifiers to check noise pollution.

The idols, made of harmful chemicals and non-biodegradable items and immersed after Durga Puja, Ganesh Puja or Saraswati Puja, choked rivers and ponds, the petition said.

Idols should instead be sunk in specially created ponds and pits constructed near natural water bodies, the petition suggested.

The petition had drawn the court’s attention to the recent post-Puja immersions in Delhi that, it said, affected potable water supply in several parts of the capital.

Although everyone has the right to practise, profess and propagate any religion, it does not give anybody untrammelled rights to pollute rivers, the petition said.









Govt officials to file counter-affidavit on agri-society poll

TNN 20 November 2009, 02:05am IST

PATNA: Patna High Court on Thursday asked senior state government officials to file a counter-affidavit to a writ petitioned by a member of the Alauli primary agriculture cooperative society, challenging the rejection of his nomination papers for the election to the post of PACS chairman.

The officials in question are the state election authority, which conducted the election to the PACS, East Champaran additional district magistrate and BDO-cum-returning officer for the PACS polls, Raxaul.

A single Bench of Justice Navniti Prasad Singh issued the directive while hearing the writ filed by Ram Babu Prasad, who had filed a nomination to contest for the post of Alauli PACS chairman. Petitioner’s counsel Yogesh Chandra Verma submitted that the BDO-cum-returning officer had made a serious mistake in rejecting the nomination on the grounds that he had become member of the Alauli PACS by depositing only Re 1 instead of Rs 11.

Verma added that if there was any mistake in the PACS register in not entering the correct amount for his membership, the returning officer ought to have looked into it. But he should not have rejected his nomination.










LEGAL NEWS 19.11.2009

PIL filed seeking stay on film release

TNN 19 November 2009, 05:34am IST

Mumbai: A PIL has been filed in the Bombay high court seeking a stay on the release of the Bollywood film Kurbaan starring Saif Ali Khan and Kareena Kapoor slated for release on Friday.

According to the PIL, two songs in the movie produced by Karan Johar Shukran Allah and Ali Maula hurt the sentiments of the Muslim community. The petitioner has urged the court to order the filmmakers to delete the songs before screening the movie in theatres. The PIL is to be heard on Thursday








City’s lungs choke under garbage

Prithvijit Mitra, TNN 19 November 2009, 07:05am IST

KOLKATA: Bare, brown patches interspersed with overgrown shrubs and clumps of grass, parthenium bushes and ancient trees that’s what the eastern part of the Maidan has always looked like. That is, if you ignore the litter and the garbage that now covers much of the greenery on the fringes of Kolkata’s lungs.

From ice-cream cups and paper packets to plastics, straws rejected garments and leftover snacks, you name it, it’s here. The Maidan seems to be the city’s favourite dumping ground south of the Dhapa. While the PWD, which is in charge of maintenance, claims that it cleans the Maidan regularly, environment officials point out that the administration ought to keep a vigil and fine offenders, but this has never been done. As a result, encroachers have a free run on the city’s lungs. They even light fires to cook on the Maidan, which is prohibited by law.

Sipping tea under a banyan shade, while gazing at a cricket match in the distance would be a pleasurable experience. But no longer. The stench from the litter and the tank on the eastern boundary is overpowering. Hundreds wash their clothes, utensils and even vegetables at the tank, and ponies defecate all around. The trees and shrubs around the water body serve as makeshift hangers to dry clothes.

At least a dozen ragpickers cook their meals, hiding their mud ovens behind bushes and trees. They quickly gobble down their meals and slink away, leaving behind mounds of ash and littered food. “This is a cause for concern and honestly I had no idea that it was happening. Lighting open fires is banned within a 3 km-radius of Victoria Memorial. So, if ovens are being lit on the Maidan, it makes no sense asking hawkers and restaurants to switch to gas ovens,” said green activist Subhas Datta, whose PIL had led to the ban.

Twenty-three year-old Mantu Samanta, a vegetable vendor from Kankurgachhi, is a regular visitor to the Maidan. Every afternoon he arrives with a cart full of cauliflower and washes them at the pond. While the vegetables float around in the water along with an assortment of sundry other garbage, Samanta kills his time by having some light snacks, usually jhaal-muri. After he has hurled the paper packet into the grass, he warms a bowl of rice that he carries inside a bag. “It’s easy to hide an oven here. I built one with the help of friends and it has been there,” said Samanta.

This part of the Maidan has more than two dozen vendors ferrying everything from batata-puri and bhel-puri to tea, coffee and packaged drinks. Hundreds of paper packets are strewn all over the grass.

The environment department has called for stricter measures. “The PWD should make sure that all the plastic waste and poly bags are removed immediately. All ovens should be dismantled. We need a constant vigil on the Maidan. Bins should be placed to collect garbage. If this doesn’t work, then a mechanism to penalize offenders should be put in place,” said Biswajit Mukherjee, senior law officer, environment department.

The PWD, on the other hand, insists the Maidan is cleaned on a regular basis but admits there is scope to strengthen the vigil. “It is difficult to keep a watch but we do clean the greenery. If fires are indeed being lit, we will take measures,” said a senior PWD official.









TISS gangrape case: High Court denies bail to accused

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Nov 19, 2009 at 2317 hrs Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of Dev Colabawala, one of the accused in the TISS gangrape. Another accused Anish Borkataki withdrew his bail application after the court observed that the allegations against them are grave and serious.

While denying the bail, Justice V M Kanade pointed out various facts like the victim was taken to the Andheri flat even though she did not want to go and also that the two accused were present in the house till morning. It also observed that the accused acted in unison since even those who assisted in the crime are liable.

The court, however, directed that the trial should be expedited as one of the accused filed for a discharge application in the fast track court today.

Advocate Majeed Memon, appearing for Anish, sought for a speedy trial since the accused has to appear for his examinations and he was sure that he would get a clean chit.

Additional Public Prosecutor Yogesh Nakhwa opposed the application on the ground that the accused was not a resident of Mumbai and might abscond if enlarged on bail. During arguments it was pointed out that both the accused were not in the same rickshaw as the victim and therefore did not share “common intention”.

The prosecutor also argued that the victim was not in proper state of mind and the chemical analysis report showed presence of cannabis in the urine. It was also stated that the allegations of rape is not totally unfounded.

Both the accused were also seeking bail on the grounds of parity as another accused, Kundan Borghohain, to whom the flat belonged, was released on bail earlier.

Memon had on Tuesday argued that except for the other three accused nobody else had steeped into the room where the alleged rape happened.

Colabawala’s application cited that the FIR and supplementary statements of complainant do not indicate any definite allegation of the rape.









Surrogate child citizenship: HC issues notice to passport office–HC-issues-notice-to-passport-office/543564/

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Nov 19, 2009 at 0336 hrs Ahmedabad:

The Gujarat High Court has issued a notice to the Regional Passport Officer (RPO) in connection with the contempt petition filed for non-compliance of HC order to return passports to the two boys born to a German citizen through surrogacy.

Jan Balaz had filed the petition after the RPO failed to return the passport of his twin boys despite the HC order.

The next hearing on the petition is scheduled on November 25.

Balaz recently won a legal case against the Regional Passport Authority in getting the Indian passports of his children returned.

The division bench of the HC comprising justices K S Radhakrishnan and A S Dave, in a landmark judgment on November 11, had conferred Indian citizenship on the two boys, as their surrogate mother is an Indian.

The court had ordered the passport authorities to return the Indian passports of the two children.

However, when Balaz failed to get the passports of his sons back from the authorities till November 16, he filed a contempt petition against them through his lawyer Dhaval Dave.

The petition is being heard by the division bench of justices A L Dave and S D Dave.

Balaz’s lawyer, Dhaval Dave said, “The court has issued notice to the Regional Passport Office and further hearing has been kept on November 25.”








HC seeks report on illegal plying of buses at Sindhi Camp

Abhinav Sharma, TNN 19 November 2009, 06:10am IST

JAIPUR: Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday directed the advocate general to place before the court the entire details of the plan adopted by the state government for checking the illegal bus haltings in the vicinity of the RSRTC bus stand at Sindhi Camp and the pollution cause by them.

A division bench comprising Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M. N Bhandari passed the order on a PIL filed by Nagrik Kalyan Society requiring the transport department to produce the details.

“Many buses having contract carriage permits are operating as if they are stage carriages like the buses of RSRTC. They have illegally created halting spaces within one kilometre radius of Sindhi Camp bus station, which has become a big traffic hazard,” states the PIL.

Most of these bus owners are public servants like MLAs, MPs or bureaucrats, and therefore the authorities are reluctant to take action against them despite not having the requisite permit from the transport department, said M C Taylor, counsel for the petitioner.

“The pollution level is increasing day by day due to plying of these buses as their engines are never turned off once they reach the halting space. Due to the continuous emission of pollutants from the engines of these buses, the pollution level in the vicinity of Sindhi Camp, Walled City and SMS Hospital near Narain Singh Circle has increased beyond the 50% level. This was also corroborated by the pollution detector machines installed in these places. Therefore, these illegal plyings need to be checked immediately,” Taylor said. The Bench will hear the matter on Friday again.







Junior doctors’ strike: HC seeks agreement copy

TNN 19 November 2009, 05:48am IST

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Wednesday said it wants to see the signed agreement between the state government and the Junior Doctors’ Association that led to calling off of the strike.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy while dealing with a petition filed against the strike by junior doctors, asked the advocate general to produce the signed agreement copy before it by December 3. Advocate general D V Sitarama Murthy told the court that the government and the junior doctors have arrived at an agreement on stipend and other issues leading to withdrawal of the strike.

Bojja Tarakam, the senior counsel, who appeared for the junior doctors, told the court “it is a decade-old problem, whenever the junior doctors voiced their grievances the government came forward with temporary steps. It is not concentrating on a permanent solution.” He said the government had appointed a two-member committee long ago to settle the issue and the recommendations it made were not implemented till date. At this juncture, the judges sought to know whether this time the government entered into a long-term agreement or made an ad hoc arrangement. Observing that the ad hoc arrangement is not permissible, the court wanted to see the provisions of the agreement.






HC blow to Modi in flag insult case

Abhinav Sharma, TNN 19 November 2009, 06:14am IST

JAIPUR: Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday rejected an application filed by IPL chief Lalit Modi requesting waiver of a defect in a criminal miscellaneous petition filed by him challenging the order of a city court which directed the police to reinvestigate the case against Modi for allegedly insulting the national flag during one of the matches of IPL-1.

The high court registry had pointed out a defect in filing the criminal miscellaneous petition under Section 482 of Criminal Procedure Code against the order of the trial court. The court was of the view that the original order or a certified copy of the same is required to be placed on record before the same is sought to be quashed as per the rules.

However, it was contended on behalf of Modi that the original order is with the police which has reopened the case. As such, no copy can be obtained and whatever transcript was available has been reproduced with the petition.

The issue relates to the India-Pakistan match of IPL season one held at SMS Stadium in Jaipur on November 18, 2007 when the guests of Lalit Modi were allegedly served wine in the VIP lounge of the stadium. The national flag was allegedly used as a table cover where wine was served to the guests.

The issue took a violent turn when the local unit of an organisation, Nagrik Morcha, staged a protest against Modi.

Kamlesh Sharma, president of the Jaipur unit of the Morcha, filed a complaint at a city court alleging that Lalit Modi along with Subash Joshi, Vimal Soni and VIP guests kept alcoholic drinks on the national flag which was a sheer disregard to the national honour.

The court then sent the complaint for investigation to the Jyotinagar police station and an FIR was lodged on
November 28, 2007. Later, the police filed a final report stating that no case was made out. However, additional chief judicial magistrate No 4 of Jaipur city, Jagmohan Aggarwal on September 11 this year ordered that the case shall be reopened following an application by Kamlesh Sharma alleging that the local police filed the final report without any investigation and on the basis of a reply letter written by Modi to the police. Modi had approached the high court against this order.








HC moots 12-point to plan to improve law education

TNN 19 November 2009, 04:13am IST

CHENNAI: With a view to achieve qualitative improvement in legal education in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court has suggested 12 measures to be taken note of by the Bar Council of India (BCI).

Justice N Kirubakaran, upholding the BCI rules fixing upper age limit for admission to law colleges, said: “Time has come to revamp and upgrade the entire legal education. Fixing age limit is the first step in the right direction.”

Among the steps recommended by Justice Kirubakaran is increasing the class hours from the existing four hours to five or six hours a day. Classes shall be held in the morning as well as afternoon so that students would remain glued to their studies. Calling for strict attendance norms, the judge said law classes should not resemble part-time courses conducted in shifts.

A qualifying criterion such as a minimum of 60 per cent marks in Plus-Two for the five-year law course or any degree for the three-year stream should be fixed “so that comparatively more competent, bright and intelligent students would join the course.” This would enhance the image of the course, reasoned the judge.

If necessary, antecedents of the students may be verified before their admission, Justice Kirubakaran said, adding that appointment of competent full-time professors/lecturers too is vital.

Stressing the need for law colleges to have adequate infrastructural facilities such as the library, the judge said no new colleges should be opened if the amenities were not available. He favoured the scrapping of the three-year course in a phased manner and said the five-year integrated course must replace the three-year stream.

Justice Kirubakaran said legal education should be equipped to face new trends and challenges, and wanted judges of the Supreme Court and high courts to be involved in the process of preparing syllabus or other activities like lectures, seminars and workshops.

Besides ethical and moral values, law students should be exposed to mass contact programmes such as court visit, social services and legal workshop. Police officials could be invited to lecture on probe and prosecution, he said, adding that such interaction would bring down the incidence of police-lawyer clashes in future.

Justice Kirubakaran made these recommendations while dismissing a writ petition filed by one M Santhosh Antony Vareed, who wanted the court to relax the upper age limit for admission to law colleges.






HC order to MCD: Demolish stadium in Ajmal Khan park

TNN 19 November 2009, 05:14am IST

NEW DELHI: Terming the construction of an indoor stadium in Ajmal Khan Park at Karol Bagh by the MCD as illegal, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday ordered its demolition and made it clear that there can’t be any illegal construction on public parks in the capital.

“All construction should be removed and the park should be restored to its former state,” the HC said while asking the MCD to file a compliance report.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar allowed a petition, filed by voluntary organization Paryavaran Evam Jan Utthan, challenging the construction of a sports facility inside the park on the ground that it was not environment-friendly.

In its petition, the NGO had also alleged that a 100-tonne AC plant would be installed at the stadium, which is very hazardous for the environment.

Earlier HC had stayed the construction and demanded from the MCD the sanction plan and related documents concerning construction of an indoor basketball stadium inside the park.

HC had then slammed the agency for its approach and noted, “We cannot allow any activity in the park until and unless a proper sanction plan is submitted to us.”

Rejecting MCD’s contention that Delhi lieutenant governor (LG) approved the plan for construction, the court insisted that it be showed the records showing how the plan was sanctioned, “LG is not an architect nor an engineer. We want the approved plan from the town planning department by tomorrow (Thursday). You are answerable to the public at large. How can you use an ornamental park (Ajmal Khan Park) for constructing a stadium when the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has clearly stated that no construction is permissible?”

MCD had contended that no other sports facility is available to the children of the locality and justified building sports facilities in the park. It also claimed that the basketball federation organizes camps regularly in the park for the past 40 years.

The proposed stadium, being constructed by the MCD at a cost of Rs 60 million, was supposed to be a world-class facility with 3,000-seating capacity, 10 rooms for players and an ultra-modern gym.

The court had on October 28 reserved its order and had stated that “We cannot allow any activity in the park until and unless a proper sanction plan is submitted to us”.

The court acted on a public interest petition filed by voluntary organisation Paryavaran Evam Jan Utthan, which challenged the construction on the ground that it was not environment-friendly.

The NGO alleged that a 100-tonne AC plant would be installed at the stadium, which is very hazardous for the environment.

The proposed stadium, being constructed by the MCD at a cost of Rs.60 million, would be a world-class facility with 3,000-seating capacity. It would have 10 rooms for players and an ultra-modern gym.








Health min official incurs HC wrath for failure to act

Shibu Thomas, TNN 19 November 2009, 05:32am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday issued a show cause notice to the principal secretary in the union health ministry for failing to comply with an assurance to take action in a case concerning the recognition to the College of Physicians and Surgeons (CPS) in Parel.

CPS was established in 1913 on the lines of Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons in London and today has around 2,012 postgraduate students pursuing various courses.

CPS awards degrees termed as Fellowship of the College of Physicians and Surgeons (FCPS) as well as diplomas. According to a petition filed by two medical practitioners nine of its courses were given deemed recognition while eleven other courses are not recognised by the Medical Council of India. The MCI had also been urging the government to withdraw the recognition to CPS, the petition alleged. CPS has denied the allegations.

Earlier during a hearing in September, the Union government had told the court that it had taken a decision to derecognise the institute. Despite an undertaking, no notification had been issued to that effect, which invited the court’s ire on Wednesday.







Warrant issued against inspector
Express News Service

First Published : 18 Nov 2009 02:54:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 18 Nov 2009 06:52:08 AM IST


CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has ordered issuance of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against the inspector attached to the Maraimalai Nagar police station in connection with a petition alleging that he had not discharged his duties properly.

Justice CT Selvam ordered the NBW, returnable by December 1, while entertaining a criminal original petition from R Dulasidoss of Kantharakottai village in Cuddalore district, on Tuesday. The petition prayed for a direction to transfer a case pending before the Maraimalai Nagar police to the CB CID.

According to advocate VS Suresh, petitioner’s only son D Laxman (19) was working with PSK Engineering and Construction company as an electrician. While working at the construction site in Kudalore village, Laxman accidentally fell down from the second floor of the building on November 22, 2008 and died at a hospital on November 23.

However, the company gave a different version to the Maraimalai Nagar police to the effect that Laxman died of a road accident. Accordingly, the police registered the FIR under section 174 Cr.PC. Petitioner was also coerced to act as per the wishes of the construction company.

The company had not sent a report to the Commissioner for Workmen’s Compensation, Chennai, under the Workmen’s Compensation Act. Petitioner sent a representation dated February 18, 2009 to the local Additional Superintendent of Police, where the matter was pending for over five months. Alleging that the Maraimalai Nagar police inspector, influenced by the company, registered the FIR only under Sec. 174 of the Cr.PC with an intention to suppress the real cause for the death and thereby help the company, Suresh moved the High Court with the present petition to transfer further investigation in the case to the CB CID.

Dinakaran case: Orders on impleading pleas reserved

The High Court on Tuesday reserved orders on the petitions seeking to implead in the writ petitions from the vilagers of Kaverirajapuram in Tiruttani taluk, Tiruvallur district, praying for a direction to the authorities concerned to issue patta to them in respect of the land traditionally owned by them but reclassified as Anadheenam lands. It had been alleged that a vast tract of government poromboke and Anadheenam lands had been encroached upon by Karnataka Chief Justice PD Dinakaran. In their petitions, the People Watch and the Human Rights Advocacy and Research Foundation and others sought to implead in the writ petitions after the orders were said to be passed on the writ petitions.








What about tax, and father’s custody rights?

TNN 19 November 2009, 03:24am IST

BANGALORE: The All India Men’s Welfare Association, which is making its mark in Bangalore on Thursday, has raised some points to ponder: while a few seek sympathy from society, others are more serious and beg debate.

The association, questioning the regulations of the National Commission for Women, alleged that it is essentially against men. They want the Centre to form a National Commission for Men and abolish the NCW. They also demand a ministry for men’s welfare, which will implement the commission’s recommendations on behalf of the government.

Demands include rationalisation of taxes and permission for single adult men to adopt children before the age of 30.

Prostrate cancer, which affects men, is a serious issue never attended to by the health ministry. “While there is so much being done for breast cancer in women, prostrate cancer has never been addressed,” added Vivek.

International Men’s Day has been chosen for the launch of the association at Bangalore, with centres at Delhi and Mumbai opening shorty. Centres have helplines to address problems of men in their respective states. They will urge the Centre to consider their demands.






Komal Singh to sue NCW?

18 Nov 2009, 2032 hrs IST, AGENCIES

Airhostess Komal Singh is likely to challenge in the court the clean chit given by National Commission for Women to two Air India pilots for allegedly molesting her in a mid-air scuffle on an international flight. “Komal Singh has formally requested the NCW for the report. Once she receives it, then we, along with the members of All India Cabin Crew Association, will decide whether to approach the court or move departmentally,” Komal’s lawyer Sanjoy Ghose said.

Yesterday, the NCW panel probing the case, had given clean chit to Captain Ranbir Arora and co-pilot Aditya Chopra saying the airhostess was not “molested but pushed” out of the cabin.

Meanwhile, Komal’s family expressed disappointment over the report, saying they had approached the commission to get justice. They also expressed their unhappiness over the way the Commission handled the case.

“Whatever report we have got from the media is very disappointing. We have approached the commission thinking that we would get justice. But it is sad that the body which has been constituted for helping women is just replicating the airline management’s probe report. If this is the outcome, then whom should we approach,” Komal’s sister Poonam Singh said.

Komal’s family also alleged that nobody from the commission, including the members of the probe panel, were ready to speak to them over telephone. The family also alleged that Komal’s version was not taken into account while preparing the report and “she was pressurised to compromise by some members of the probe panel”.

Singh had first sent her complaint to NCW through an email on October 5 and then went to the Commission to file a written complaint. She had alleged that she was molested by Captain Arora and his co-pilot Chopra of Flight IC-884 on a Sharjah-New Delhi flight on October 3.

There was a scuffle involving Komal, her friend Amit Khanna and the pilots, which raised concerns over the conduct of the crew and flight safety. There were 106 persons on board that flight.

Earlier, a five-member enquiry committee of Air India set on October 6 which went into her complaint about the incident, had concluded that Komal Singh’s complaint regarding sexual harassment “is an after-thought”. The airline had then suspended Khanna and Chopra, pending enquiry. Komal and the Commander of the flight, Capt Arora, were taken off duty to assist in the probe.

The enquiry committee chargesheeted Komal for allegedly not complying with the company policy and speaking to the media, insubordination and disobeying seniors.

The incident was seen as an act of indiscipline on the part of the airhostess and flight purser, who had barged into
the cockpit.



LEGAL NEWS 18.11.2009

Madurai HC Bench takes cognizance of PIL against India playing cricket with Sri Lanka

Wed, 2009-11-18 01:23 — editor

By Gopal Ethiraj, Chennai

Chennai, 18 November (

The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Monday took cognisance of a public interest litigation petition filed by a lawyer to ban the India playing cricket with Sri Lankan in future, including the ongoing home series, as a mark of protest against alleged genocide in the island nation.

The petitioner, A. Joel Paul Antony, had originally filed the PIL petition last month to restrain the Indian team from visiting Sri Lanka to participate in a tri-series held in September. The Court on September 9 had dismissed a sub-petition seeking interim orders and kept the main petition pending.

Now this main PIL petition came up for hearing before the Division Bench of Justices D. Murugesan and S. Nagamuthu on Monday when the lawyer filed an amendment petition to alter the relief sought for.

He now wanted the court to ban all future matches between the two countries including the current series comprising three test matches, five one-day internationals and two Twenty-20 matches to be held until December 27.

The Bench accepted the amendment petition without insisting a fresh PIL petition. They also directed the Centre as well as the Board of Control for Cricket in India to file their counter affidavits by November 30.

“Ordering the amendment petition does not mean deciding the issue on merits,” the judges said.
When the sub-petition was dismissed on September 9, a Division Bench of Justice P. Murgesen and Justice C.S. Karnan pointed out that the Supreme Court in 2006 had held that courts should not interfere in matters related to Government’s foreign policy. The BCCI counsel then had argued that preventing the Indian cricket team from going to Sri Lanka might affect the relationship between the two countries.

In his counter affidavit, N. Srinivasan, Honorary Secretary, BCCI, had said that the cricket board was not created by any Statute. No part of share capital was held by the government. Practically, no finance was given by the Government to meet the Board’s expenditure and there was no deep and pervasive State control.

– Asian Tribune –







Gujarat HC dismisses PIL against Advani


Ahmedabad, Nov 18 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court has dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions from the court for senior BJP leader L K Advani to pay attention to his Parliamentary constituency Gandhinagar.

A division bench of Justices M S Shah and S D Dave dismissed the PIL yesterday filed by K D Pandya, saying that it was “misconceived”.

Eighty-year-old Pandya in his PIL had said that before Advani expresses his loyalty to his party, he should be loyal to the electorate of Gandhinagar.

MPs in India take important decisions without consulting the electorate and there is no participation on part of the citizens in the decision-making process, he said.

Hence, the MPs should be directed to take a referendum before taking important policy decisions, he said.

The petitioner said that Advani could build an electorate forum in his constituency, which could deliberate on various issues and recommend solutions to the MP.







Supreme Court Bar Association for Justice P D Dinakaran to resign

The exclusion of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran while four other Judges were elevated was followed by a call for his resignation.

The call came from Supreme Court Bar Association president M N Krishnamani who also urged the Apex Court Collegium to drop the Judge name from consideration.

‘Justice Dinakaran should in all fairness resign,’ Krishnamani said in a telephone interview repeating earlier stand against such a Judge continuing as Chief Justice.

The Apex Bar spokesman had made his point in a petition to Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily released to media exactly two months ago.

‘If a judge, because of his doubtful integrity… cannot be elevated to the Supreme Court, certainly he has no right to continue as CJ of the High Court as well,’ he said.

‘His continuance as a judge may also have to be objected to, apart from not elevating him to the Apex Court. The position of a Chief Justice of the High Court is more pivotal than that of a puisne judge of the Supreme Court.

Justice Dinakaran was among five senior Judges tipped to be elevated to India Apex Court until allegations surfaced about his having encroached huge parcels of public land.

The other four High Court Chief Justices were Ananga Kumar Patnaik of Madhya Pradesh, Tirath Singh Thakur of Punjab and Haryana, Kalavamkodath Sivasankara Panicker Radhakrishnan of Gujarat and Surinder Singh Nijjar of Calcutta.

The recommendation came in September but was mired in controversy over Justice Dinakaran alleged involvement in land-grabbing.

Thiruvallur district collector V Palanikumar has reported that Justice Dinakaran encroached 197 acres of public land around his property in Kaverirajapuram village in Chennai, published accounts say.

Summoned by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan in September, Justice Dinakaran reportedly assured the CJI he had not acquired any land after his appointment as a High Court Judge.

Critics say the reported assurance and the implicit suggestion that any land-grabbing may have preceded the appointment is a reflection of the appointment system.

The delay in dealing with the issue held up the other four appointments, which finally went through .

Until they were sworn in, the 31-member apex court had nine vacancies.

Reached on his cell this evening for comment, Krishnamani said it was time the Collegium dropped the Judge from its consideration instead of waiting for more evidence.

‘The collector second report, which confirms wrongdoing, is already with the Collegium. There is no point in waiting for more. A mere suspicion about someone integrity is ground enough for the Collegium to act in such matter.’ The Collegium led by the CJI includes Justices S H Kapadia, Tarun Chatterjee, Altamas Kabir and R V Raveendran.








Despite High Court order, recruitment rules still absent from MCD schools–recruitment-rules-still-absent-from-MCD-schools/542952/

Maroosha Muzaffar

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009 at 0033 hrs New Delhi:

Two years after the Delhi High Court asked the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to appoint 25 per cent of principals for its schools by direct recruitment, no recruitment rules (RR) have been framed so far.

At present, principals are appointed by promoting teachers on a seniority basis.

The MCD, meanwhile, has “resolved” to fill all vacant posts within six months.

The High Court in March 2007 had directed the MCD to recruit 50 per cent of its principals of the schools directly “to improve the supervisory staff”. The MCD, meanwhile, proposed to fill 25 per cent posts of principals by direct recruitment.

“Since then, there has been no change in the existing RR, no new RR has been framed,” MCD Education Committee Chairperson Prithviraj Sahni said. “We have been writing letters to the government to notify the RR.”

He also pointed out that the Delhi Services Selection Board (DSSB) is taking a long time to frame the recruitment rules.

There are 1,752 MCD-run schools across the city.

Sahni said there is a shortage of about 200 principals “and we have demanded 4,000 teachers from the DSSB for MCD schools. In the next week, we will promote teachers to the post of principals to tide over this situation”.

The High Court direction came after the sorry plight of MCD schools was brought to its notice. The MCD had then agreed to implement the order within six months and had also resolved to form recruitment rules.

The MCD teachers, meanwhile, are also crying foul. “Teachers employed on a contract basis have been working for the past eight years and have still not been regularised,” MCD Teacher’s Association Secretary Vibha Singh said. For the last eight years, MCD-run schools have not recruited any nursery teachers in spite of vacancies, sources said.








Eunuchs to indicate their gender as ‘other’: Election Commission

by ANI on November 12, 2009

New Delhi, Nov 12(ANI): In a significant decision, the Election Commission of India has decided to allow eunuchs/transsexuals to indicate their gender as ‘other’ where they do not want to be described as male or female.

Besides the electoral roll, the decision also applies to all other forms used by the Commission wherein the provisions of indication of gender of the elector is made, including IT based formats and website.

Necessary instructions have been issued to all Electoral Registration Officers through the Chief Electoral Officers of all States and Union Territories to give effect to the above decision of the Commission.

Enumerators and Booth Level Officers (BLOs) shall be instructed to indicate the gender of eunuchs/ transsexuals as ‘O’ if they so desire, while undertaking any house-to-house enumeration/verification of any application.

Earlier, the eunuchs were registered either as male or as female, on the basis of the statement made by the person concerned. This practice was being followed so far for indicating the sex of the eunuchs in the electoral roll.

The decision was taken as the Election Commission was receiving representations from various individuals and interest groups, including some students of the Law Faculty of KIIT, Orissa, when the Chief Election Commissioner Naveen Chawla was addressing the students, to include the eunuchs in the electoral rolls with an independent identity. (ANI)






HC stays BBMP move to demolish Ittamadu flats

Odeal D’Souza / DNA

Wednesday, November 18, 2009 9:33 IST

Bangalore: The High Court of Karnataka on Tuesdayrestrained the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from going ahead with the demolition of a portion of Terrace Garden apartments in Ittamadu area for the expansion of a storm waterdrain.

Dismissing a petition filed by VN Natarajan and others, justice HN Nagamohan Das stayed the demolition process of the BBMP for a period of two weeks and directed the petitioners to file a civil suit in the lower court.

The petitioners had contended that the BBMP had decided to widen a 20 feet stretch of the storm water drain in survey number 1/3 in Ittamaduand decided to demolish one block of the apartments. The widening of storm water drain was not in the original proposal of the BBMP, and the civic body later digressed from its original plan, the petitioners argued.

The BBMP has no power to demolish any portion of the apartment as it was approved by the BDA. The petitioners had sought a directive to the BBMP not to digress from its original plan for storm water drain works.






HC grants bail to Vedic Village MD

TNN 18 November 2009, 08:04am IST

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Tuesday granted bail to Raj Kishore Modi, managing director of Vedic Village, in three criminal cases.
While granting bail, a division bench of Justice D P Sengupta and Justice Shyamal Kanti Chakraborty restrained Modi from entering the Rajarhat police station area and directed him to meet the investigating officer as and when required.

Modi was arrested on August 29 in the wake of violence during a football match in Rajarhat on August 23, in which a villager called Amirul Sardar was shot dead. According to prosecution, local tough Gaffar Mollah and his associates had hurled bombs and opened fire after the match. Amirul received a gunshot and died on the spot. An angry mob then attacked the five-star Vedic Village resort and torched it.

Rajarhat police registered a murder case against Modi and Gaffar on the basis of a complaint lodged by the victim’s brother, Manirul Sardar. A huge cache of explosives was also seized from Vedic Village. Zulfikar Mollah, sub-inspector at the Rajarhat police station, conducted a raid and registered a complaint, saying Gaffar and his men kept the arms in a room at the resort.

The third case was initiated on the basis of a complaint lodged by Tara Shankar Nath, who alleged that Modi and his aides grabbed a plot of land he owned in Bishnupur mouza — which measured around 21 chittacks — by making forged documents. Police started a case against Modi under Sections 467/468/471/420/34
and 506 of IPC.

Modi moved bail applications in the high court after his bail plea was turned down by the chief judicial magistrate, Barasat.

Modi’s lawyers Sekhar Basu and Milan Mukherjee claimed that he was in no way involved in any offence as had been alleged in the FIRs. Pleading for Modi’s bail, the lawyers pointed out that the investigation was over and their client had been in custody for more than 78 days. Modi was a “respectable person who suffered from cardiac ailments”, they added.

During the hearing on Modi’s alleged role in land-grabbing, his lawyers argued that the case was based on documents that had already been seized by the police. So, Modi’s detention was no longer required in this case, they added.





HC rejects writ against A-G

TNN 18 November 2009, 07:30am IST

PATNA: Patna High Court on Tuesday rejected a public interest litigation, challenging the appointment of advocate-general P K Shahi and continuance of Lalit Kishore as the additional advocate-general (AAG).

A division Bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma, rejected the submission of petitioner Praveen Kumar that his writ be treated as PIL when the court was told that the petitioner was a political (Congress) leader.

Kumar claimed that Shahi was not eligible to become a high court judge on the basis of a high court order and so he could not be made advocate-general, which is a constitutional post. The petitioner further claimed that as Lalit Kishore had appeared in a case for chief minister Nitish Kumar, he should not be allowed to continue as AAG.

Government advocate Shyam Kishore Sharma challenged the maintenance of PIL on the ground that “the PIL was frivolous and politically motivated”.

Bar Council elections: As many as 105 lawyers have filed their nominations to contest the polls for 25 members of the Bihar State Bar Council till Tuesday, with just two days remaining for the filing of nominations. The elections will be held on January 8, 2010.

Those who filed nominations included former State Bar Council chairman Rajendra Prasad Singh, Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, Yogesh Chandra Verma, Surendra Kumar Singh, Awadhesh Kumar Pandey, Kumar Amitesh, Rajeev Kumar Verma, Manan Kumar Mishra, Rama Kant Sharma and B K Singh.

The main election plank of these lawyers would be to highlight the issue of lawyers’ welfare, including an increase in the amount for lawyers’ welfare and a substantial increase in the payment of money to retiring lawyers. Adequate seating arrangements for the lawyers in the courts across the state including Patna High Court is the major issue he would take up on getting elected, said Surendra Kumar Singh.








Monika case: Police report rejected, HC mulls probe by CBI

Abhinav Garg & Rahul Tripathi, TNN 18 November 2009, 05:36am IST

NEW DELHI: Observing that prima facie it seemed to be a case of honour killing, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday lashed out at the Uttar Pradesh police for its failure to probe the murder of a girl over caste tensions.

While rejecting a status report submitted by the UP police, a division bench of Justices S K Kaul and Justice Ajit Bharihoke demanded an explanation from the DGP and Home Secretary, UP, over why the charge of murder wasn’t framed against the girl’s family. The court also asked the UP government to show cause why a CBI inquiry should not be directed into the murder of Sahibabad girl Monika Dagar who had married Gaurav Saini of Delhi against the wishes of her family in July this year.

The UP police had informed the Bench that they had lodged an FIR in the case where Monika went missing and was later found dead under mysterious circumstances. The cops said they had zeroed in on nine persons, including her mother Yashoda Devi and brother Nitin. The bench was further informed that an earlier FIR was lodged under a wrong provision and initial police inaction is being punished by placing one of the officers under suspension and an inquiry being ordered against him.

The court however was far from impressed and noted that even under the FIR mild provisions have been slapped against the accused even though the girl was allegedly murdered. The court was hearing a habeas corpus petition by Saini.

The case was first reported by TOI on Sep 21. According to the petitioner, he had married Monika on July 6 this year at an Arya Samaj temple at Malviya Nagar, south Delhi. On July 5, Monika’s brother Nitin Kumar filed a complaint of kidnapping against Gaurav at a Sahibabad police station. The Sahibabad police along with Delhi Police allegedly picked up Monika and Gaurav on July 12 after which the duo was taken to Sahibabad where Gaurav was detained illegaly and sent behind bars for 32 days.

He was finally granted bail on August 11 after which he moved Delhi HC, filing a habeas corpus case seeking Monika’s presence. When HC sought her presence by October 7, the Delhi and UP police informed the court that Monika died on September 17. Moreover, she was cremated by the family members and there was no postmortem conducted, as her relatives claimed she was suffering from lung infection. It was then that HC sensed something was amiss and directed lodging of an FIR.

The girl’s husband Gaurav Saini said, “I am hopeful that if CBI investigates, the truth will come out. I still hope that Monika is alive and if cops make an effort, she can be traced.” The couple met in 2006 over internet chat and soon became friends. Monika was pursuing BSc from a university in Sonepat at that time. Three years later, the two decided to marry against the wishes of the family members.








HC pulls up school for letting 8-yr-old drive car

TNN 18 November 2009, 06:50am IST

CHENNAI: Turning the spotlight on the menace of underage children being allowed to drive vehicles, the Madras High Court has ordered inquiry against a school which helped an eight-year-old boy to flaunt his car driving skills in July this year.

As if the high-speed escapade of Naveen Kumar, who drove a car at 100-120 kmph on a national highway, was not enough, the school filed an affidavit in the high court stating that it was an event organised to ascertain the “individual capacity” of children.

Lambasting the management of Jayaseelan Matriculation School at Batlagundu in Dindigul district for its stance, the first bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar said: “This shows that the school authorities have clearly permitted this young eight-year-old child to run the motor vehicle, which was obviously without a valid licence… There are people who consider this as some sort of a feat and an achievement, which is most unfortunate, to say the least.”

Naveen Kumar, a class IV student, demonstrated his skills in front of a big gathering, including his father Palaniappan and other school and police authorities.

After the news item was reported by a Tamil daily on November 15 a public interest writ petition was filed to draw the court’s attention to the dangerous trend.

Weeks after the court issued notice to the authorities, the director of matriculation schools issued a circular on August 5, criticising the incident and warning the school authorities of severe action if such acts were repeated in future. The subordinate officials were asked to circulate the copies to other matriculation school managements.

But, the affidavit filed by the school authorities prompted the first bench to order inquiry against the school. Taking exception to the affidavit which stated that Naveen’s feat was a “one-day affair”, the judges said: “It will be in the fitness of things that the state government conducts an inquiry to find out as to who were responsible for encouraging such dangerous activity by school children.”

In another shocking incident in July this year, a government elementary school in Villupuram district had organised a bravery show’ in which a motorcyclist rode over the outstretched hands of some students lying prone on the ground. The incident had evoked strong protests from child rights activists, who wanted the government to sensitise the teaching fraternity on the basic rights of children.







HC issues warrant as cop ignores summons 9 times

TNN 18 November 2009, 06:23am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has issued a non-bailable arrest warrant (NBW) against an inspector of police, who did not respond to the court’s notice and several reminders thereafter in an industrial accident case.

Justice CT Selvam issued the NBW against inspector of D-6 Maraimalai Nagar police station on Tuesday, and directed the policeman to be in court on December 1.

According to the petition filed by R Dulasidoss of Cuddalore district, his 19-year-old electrician-son, D Laxman, fell down from the second floor while working at a building under-construction at the industrial estate in Maraimalai Nagar, about 50 km from here. Immediately after the incident in November 2008, the management rushed the youth to a nearby medical college hospital and admitted him, saying he had met with a road accident.

Apparently to escape liability, the management, police and a local councillor threatened the father of the deceased to lodge a complaint stating that his son had committed suicide. The “innocent, less educated and frightened” father was forced accept Rs 1.25 lakh from the management and sign several documents.

The present petition was filed seeking transfer of investigation of the case to the CB-CID. Despite an initial notice and at least eight subsequent reminders, the Maraimalai Nagar inspector of police did not bother to come or respond to the query.

Advocates V Ragupathi and VS Suresh, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that there were several contradictions in the police version, as is evident from the fact that while one witness contended that the death was due to road accident, another witness said it was due to a fall from second floor. Yet another witness said Laxman had fallen from the first floor.

The petitioner said the management did not provide safety provisions to its workers, and added that it had made Laxman work up to midnight without any light or other safety measures. Accusing the management of influencing the police, the petitioner wanted the case to be entrusted with the CB-CID for fair probe.







HC suggests CBI probe into Faizabad CMO scam

TNN 18 November 2009, 07:01am IST

LUCKNOW: The high court on Tuesday remarked that multi-crore scam in the office of chief medical officer (CMO) Faizabad required CBI probe, though restraining itself from passing the order till further consideration on December 14. However, the court took strong exception to the accused continuing on their posts and ordered the government to transfer all the officials named in the PIL from the said office.

The bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi passed the above order on a PIL filed by Viklang Kalyan Mahasangh through its lawyer, Anurag Narayan. The bench observed that it was a fit case to send the same for a CBI inquiry for which chief standing counsel, Devendra Upadhyay, appearing for the state government had no objection.

The officers who are charged in the petition be posted somewhere else other than the posts on which they are working, said the court. CSC said that state would take appropriate action and submit improvised counter-affidavit stating the action taken by the government in the matter.

Petitioner’s counsel, Anurag Narayan had vehemently argued that the CMO office, Faizabad, was involved in corruption and financial irregularities. He submitted that the officials were misappropriating public money and property belonging to the office and causing loss to government and public exchequer.

The PIL counsel attached voluminous documents with the PIL which prima facie made out a case that there was corruption and anomalies in the office. The allegations levelled in PIL ranged from misappropriation of crores of fund to forged appointments. Even life saving drugs to the amount of Rs 1.5 crore were burnt due to fear of being caught for anomalies. The scams were of different nature.

In 2005, an MLA Dhyan Chaudhary raised the question of corruption prevailing in the CMO office and the then chief minister had assured inquiry into the matter. But the matter remained in files only. The petitioner contended that as the officials had great political patronage and the money was distributed from top to bottom, the matter was put under wraps. The court has fixed December 14 for the next hearing on the matter.








Kaverirajapuram case: Govt files report, HC reserves order

TNN 18 November 2009, 05:57am IST

CHENNAI: After marathon arguments on whether or not to implead the non-governmental organisations in the writ petitions filed by a group of villagers of Kaverirajapuram in Tiruvallur district, the Madras High Court on Tuesday reserved its orders. Justice K Suguna reserved the orders without mentioning any date.

The villagers, claiming ownership of anadheenam (abandoned private) lands around the property of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice PD Dinakaran in the village, had even obtained an order of status quo last week. But the two implead petitioners wanted the case to be reviewed on the ground that many material facts were not brought to the notice of the court. The court had then directed the government to submit an affidavit stating as to whether these lands were covered by the Tiruvallur collector’s report to the Supreme Court collegium. The government on Tuesday submitted the report in a sealed cover, but N Jothi, counsel for the villagers, requested the court not to read it as it would amount to interference in the proceedings of the SC collegium.

Jothi told the court that its November 6 order, directing the tahsildar to consider the claims of the villagers and pass orders, had been dictated in the open court and hence it was not proper to reopen or review it. Noting that the court ought not to have called for the collector’s report, he said even if the court chooses to re-hear the case it should not read the collector’s report, which had been sent directly to the Supreme Court.

Advocate R Vaigai, noting that the court was not looking into the fitness of any person to be elevated to the Supreme Court, said it was not about any proceedings pending before the apex court. The lands mentioned in the writ petitions are the subject matter of the Supreme Court collegium proceedings, she said, adding that the state government has not filed any affidavit about the action taken against anyone under the provisions of the Land Encroachment Act.

Senior advocate Sriram Panchu, cautioning the court about miscarriage of justice, alleged that the petitioners had suppressed and misrepresented facts in court, and their petitions were not supported by valid documents.








Doctors ignore HC, strike on

Sreenivas Janyala

Posted: Wednesday, Nov 18, 2009 at 0350 hrs Hyderabad:

Health and medical care services were crippled across the state as the junior doctors’ strike entered its fifth day on Tuesday despite a Andhra Pradesh High Court’s directive restraining the 1,200 medicos from striking work.

As the condition of the six doctors who are on indefinite fast deteriorated and police lathicharged agitating medicos at the Gandhi Hospital here, the junior doctors also kept themselves away from emergency services for a few hours.

Though the teaching hospitals made alternative arrangements by cancelling leave of senior doctors, some of whom were also forced to do double shifts, they could not ensure normal services. Health Minister Danam Nagender said the existing staff at the government hospitals were unable to handle the rush of patients, particularly in outdoor patient services. The rush of patients is also high due to seasonal sickness like malaria and viral fever. “The government’s offer has been rejected by them. We are still negotiating with the doctors and hope to resolve the issue today itself,” he said.

The Andhra Pradesh Junior Doctors’ Association rejected the state’s offer of a consolidated pay hike, saying their demands should be met to implement the pay structure recommended by a committee of experts constituted by the government. The medicos were demanding a hike in stipend for house surgeons from Rs 5,060 to Rs 12,000 per month and for postgraduate medicos from Rs 8,395 to Rs 30,000. “Medicos in Andhra are paid the lowest stipend in the country. We are not demanding that we be brought at par with medicos in other parts of the country, we only want a marginal increase now,” P Karthik Reddy, one of the student leaders said.

On Tuesday, the state agreed to increase the stipend to Rs 7,000 for House Surgeons and Rs 17,000 to PG medicos, but the offer was rejected by the striking doctors. The student’s union has rejected accusations that their absence had led to the death of six babies at the Vijayawada Hospital on Sunday.








Indian dossier on Mumbai given to Pak HC in New Delhi: FO

November 17, 2009

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Tuesday said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs handed over another dossier on Mumbai incident to its High Commission in New Delhi today evening.“

Arrangements have been made for the receipt of the dossier in Islamabad, says a press statement issued by the office of foreign office spokesman here.

“Once received, the dossier will be forwarded to the Ministry of Interior for examination,” the statement added.







SC judges split on judiciary’s power to make laws

PTI 18 November 2009, 03:55am IST
NEW DELHI: An SC bench of Justices Markandeya Katju and Asok Kumar Ganguly has come out with a split opinion on the judiciary’s power to frame laws, with one judge insisting it cannot act as an ‘interim Parliament’ while the other reasoning that it can pass any order in the interest of justice.

Justice Katju has said it is for Parliament alone to make laws on sexual abuses at work places, poverty, price rise and unemployment. He found fault with SC ruling in 1997 in the ‘Visakha case’ where it had directed that special committees be constituted to deal with sexual offences against women at workplaces.

“It is true that this court has often being doing legislation in various decisions but the question remains whether this was constitutionally valid… While we fully agree that working women should be protected against sexual harassment, the constitutional question remains whether such directives by this court are constitutionally valid?” Justice Katju said.

Justice Asok Kumar Ganguly argued: “In so far as judicial power is concerned, no such limitation has been imposed under the Constitution. Rather, the conferment of judicial power under Articles 141, 142, 32 and 226 has been plenary and very wide and enable the Supreme Court to declare the law which shall be binding on all the courts within the territories of India and Article 142 enables the Supreme Court to pass such order as is required to do complete justice in the case,” he said.







Lift The Veil Of Secrecy

Ronojoy Sen18 November 2009, 12:00am IST

Rarely has the judiciary grabbed headlines as in the recent past. And that too for mostly the wrong reasons. The ‘voluntary’ declaration of wealth by Supreme Court judges comes after a contentious debate over whether the judiciary should be treated on a par with other public officials. The matter is not a closed chapter by any means. A court-room battle is still being fought over whether the Right to Information Act applies to judges with the somewhat absurd situation of the Supreme Court contesting a high court ruling.

The declaration of wealth also comes in the wake of several corruption scandals, many of which are yet to be resolved. The list is long but some of them stand out: A retired chief justice of India was accused, possibly for the first time, of favouring relatives; the current CJI recommended the removal of a sitting judge of Calcutta high court for corruption; and in the Ghaziabad provident fund (PF) scam, 37 judges, including a sitting Supreme Court judge, have been accused of siphoning off money from the PF kitty of court employees. To top it all, the controversy over the proposed elevation of Karnataka chief justice P D Dinakaran – against whom there are allegations of land grabbing – to the Supreme Court continues to linger.

The intense public scrutiny of the higher courts is a critical moment in the history of the Indian judiciary. Indeed, an eminent jurist has gone so far as to say that this might be the biggest crisis for the judiciary since the Emergency. Worryingly, it could dent the high levels of trust that Indian citizens have traditionally reposed in the courts. In survey after survey, the judiciary has usually been ranked higher than other government institutions. In a 1996 nationwide survey, 46 per cent of the respondents said they had “high trust” in the judiciary compared to a measly 17 per cent for political parties. A more recent survey in 2004 found that the share of Indians willing to put their faith in the courts was 72 per cent, second only to the Election Commission.

There is, however, an upside to the poor publicity for the courts. It is rare in India for people to talk about judges and courts. For far too long, the judiciary has been somewhat of a closed book to the Indian public. While we’ve always given the judiciary high marks, there is precious little that we know about the men and women in black robes. This is in sharp contrast to the situation in democracies such as the US. During the confirmation of US supreme court judge Sonia Sotomayor earlier this year, everything from her love of Nancy Drew books to her moves on the dance floor was minutely dissected. There is good reason why Supreme Court nominees are discussed in such detail. US Supreme Court judges are political appointees for life, and the stakes are naturally very high.

This is of course not so in India where Supreme Court judges, or even chief justices, rarely stay long enough to stamp their authority or ideological preferences over a court that is much larger and more unwieldy than the nine-judge US supreme court. But if the appointment process has its faults in the US, in India it’s as opaque as it can get. In this context, the fairly vigorous debate in the recent past on the method of selection of judges and for imposing greater accountability on the judiciary is welcome.

Over the years, several Supreme Court judgements have reiterated that a five-judge collegium headed by the CJI is responsible for appointment of apex court judges. There have, however, been suggestions that the selection process be made more transparent. The parliamentary standing committee that looked into the Judges (Inquiry) Bill, which was introduced in 2006 and has since lapsed, suggested that appointment of judges should be entrusted to a body wider than the present collegium with “representation both from the judiciary and the executive”. The same committee suggested that investigation into impropriety by judges should be investigated not by the judiciary alone but by a more “broad-based committee” with representatives from the executive, Parliament and the Bar. The legislation will now be presented in a new avatar, the Judicial Accountability and Standard Bill, in the winter session of Parliament.

Declaration of wealth by judges has been an important part of the debate. There was an attempt earlier this year to introduce the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill in Parliament, which was rejected in the Rajya Sabha. The primary reason for the rejection was a clause in the Bill that said declaration of assets would be made privately to the chief justice and wouldn’t be available to the public. The recent voluntary declaration of wealth by SC judges on the court website does not clear these misgivings. Since it’s voluntary, judges are under no compulsion to declare their assets; neither can the details be called into question. It’s worth noting that all US Supreme Court judges are required to declare their assets under the Ethics in Government Act, 1978.

An independent judiciary is essential for a democracy and the Indian Constitution does well to safeguard this independence. But this need not come at the expense of transparency and accountability. Otherwise our confidence in the judiciary could take a knock.







Token gesture

in New Delhi

Inconsistency marks the Supreme Court’s attitude to transparency in public life and judicial accountability.

TWENTY-ONE judges of the Supreme Court, including the Chief Justice of India (CJI), posted the details of their assets on the court’s website. The details of assets of one judge, Justice H.S. Bedi, have not yet been provided. Justice B.N. Agrawal, who retired recently, also provided the details of his assets on the website on special request. (The details are available at http://

The court has claimed that the disclosure is purely voluntary and in accordance with the resolution adopted by the Supreme Court judges in 1997. Both the claims, however, are inconsistent with facts and reasoning.

In 1997, a Full Court meeting of the Supreme Court resolved that every judge should make a declaration of all his/her assets in the form of real estate or investments (held by him/her in his/her own name or in the name of his/her spouse or any person dependent on him/her) within a reasonable time of assuming office, and thereafter whenever any acquisition of a substantial nature is made, it shall be disclosed within a reasonable time. The declaration so made should be to the Chief Justice of the court, and the Chief Justice should make a similar declaration for the purpose of the record, the resolution says. The declaration made by the judges or the Chief Justice, it adds, shall be confidential.

The Supreme Court’s suggestion that the latest disclosure is in accordance with the 1997 resolution raises more questions than it answers. It is thus asked whether this is the first time that judges have declared their assets to the Chief Justice of India and the CJI in turn has made a similar declaration for the purpose of the record. If the answer is in the affirmative, it is pointed out that the judges have failed to declare their assets “within a reasonable time of assuming office”, thereby weakening the court’s claim that the latest disclosure is in accordance with the 1997 resolution.

Further inconsistencies followed. The 1997 resolution meant the asset declarations to be confidential but did not intend to conceal from the public domain the fact whether the judges were indeed declaring their assets all these years. By making the judges’ asset declarations public, the November 2 exercise appears to be an advance on what that resolution had indeed promised. But there is no information on when the judges acquired these assets and when they first declared them to the CJI in accordance with the 1997 resolution. Observers point out that a mere description of current assets and investments, as the judges have done on the court’s website, without indicating the year and the current market value of the acquisition, does not help to achieve the objective of this exercise, which is to check whether a judge has acquired wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income after assuming office as a judge. That is why the 1997 resolution emphasises the need for declaration “within a reasonable time of assuming office, and thereafter when acquisition of any substantial nature is made”.

The Supreme Court’s second claim that the judges have declared their assets “purely on voluntary basis” has led to the question: why are the judges making such a claim? The implication is that they are under no legal compulsion to disclose their assets and therefore the public has no remedy if they find the declarations inadequate. The suggestion seems to be that because the disclosures are purely voluntary they cannot be subjected to strict standards of accountability.

The public disclosure follows a resolution adopted by the Full Court of the Supreme Court on August 26. The Supreme Court’s move is in response to a series of developments that have eroded the image of the higher judiciary. The Chief Justice of India, Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, has maintained that the Right to Information Act (RTIA) does not apply to him, and that he is not bound to answer queries whether there has been compliance with the 1997 resolution requiring the judges to declare their assets to him.

In August, the Central government, apparently after informal consultations with the Supreme Court, sought to introduce in Parliament a Bill disallowing public disclosure of the assets and liabilities of judges, but gave up the move following protests from members cutting across party lines.

The Supreme Court also challenged in the Delhi High Court a directive of the Central Information Commission (CIC) that it disclose to an RTI applicant whether judges have been disclosing their assets to the CJI in compliance with the 1997 resolution. On September 2, Justice Ravindra Bhat in the Delhi High Court rejected the Supreme Court’s challenge and upheld the CIC’s directive. Subsequently, the Supreme Court appealed against the judgment before a Division Bench of the High Court, claiming that it was erroneous and that the 1997 resolution had no legal sanction. The Division Bench posted it for hearing by a three-judge Bench of the High Court.

However, the Division Bench did not stay Justice Bhat’s judgment. In his judgment, Justice Bhat directed the Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court to divulge the information within four weeks from September 2 to the RTI applicant, Subhash Chandra Agrawal.

The Supreme Court did not divulge this information to Agrawal. It claimed in its reply to him that it was not bound to do so because it had filed an appeal against the judgment. The CPIO declined to answer Agrawal’s other RTI queries concerning the appointment of judges and the implementation of the 1997 resolution, citing the court’s appeal against Justice Bhat’s judgment. As filing an appeal does not amount to a grant of stay by the High Court, the CPIO’s reply to Agrawal made observers wonder whether the Supreme Court was aware of the correct legal position.

The details of assets held by Supreme Court judges may lead one to believe, wrongly, that it is wealth accumulation that matters in determining the financial probity of a judge. Comparison of a wealthy judge with a not-so-wealthy judge is not likely to leave us any better informed about the integrity of a judge. In other words, a wealthy judge may score high on integrity, whereas a judge placed at the lower end of the wealth scale may turn out to be dishonest.

While describing how the financial declaration system in the United States Supreme Court operates, Aparna Chandra, a visiting faculty member at the National Law School, Bangalore, wrote on her blog: “It does not seem to be focussing only on the tracking of wealth accumulation (though that is of course a necessary component), but also on determining issues of conflict of interest. Hence, a major portion of their declaration deals with gifts, etc., received by judges, and visits, conferences and lectures attended by them, along with honorarium or reimbursement of conveyance received. In the light of the Ghaziabad (P.F.) scam that is still under investigation (many judges were alleged to have received gifts from the main accused in this scam), I believe financial disclosure by judges in India should contain this component as well.”

She added: “Judges in India do go for a lot of conferences and talks, mostly abroad. It would be interesting to find out, and necessary for the public to know, who is organising these trips, and what they are paying for, etc.”

Indeed, Justice Ravindra Bhat, in his September 2 judgment, recommended the U.S. experience as a model for the disclosure scheme to be evolved in India (at para 77). It is possible to suggest that judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts may be reluctant to disclose their finances because of genuine privacy concerns. Thus Justice Bhat recommended for consideration the U.S. Judicial Disclosure Responsibility Act, 2007, which amends the U.S. Ethics in Government Act of 1978 to: (1) restrict disclosure of personal information about family members of judges whose revelation might endanger them; and (2) extend the authority of the Judicial Conference to redact certain personal information of judges from financial disclosure reports.

The Supreme Court appears to have been influenced by populist pressures for transparency rather than the need to evolve suitable norms while deciding to place the details of judges’ assets on the court’s website.

Conflict of interest

Details of investments by judges, also shown on the website, have brought under scrutiny recent instances wherein conflicts of interest have been alleged.

On November 4, Justice R.V. Raveendran recused himself from the Bench hearing the dispute between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL). The dispute between the Ambani brothers is over the pricing of gas from the Krishna-Godavari basin on India’s east coast. The RNRL claims that it has got the right to buy gas from the RIL under a 2005 contract at rates much lower than the government-approved price. The RIL says the contract is not binding on it because of the changes in the government’s policies.

When the hearings began in October, Justice Raveendran declared that he held shares in both companies in almost equal numbers. Counsel for both parties said they had no objection to Justice Raveendran hearing the matter, and, given the consent, Justice Raveendran felt he was justified in hearing the matter. Counsels’ consent was duly recorded in the court’s proceedings.

In doing so, he was simply following the precedent set by Justice S.H. Kapadia, who had, in 2008, while being part of the Forest Bench, disclosed that he had shares in Sterlite, Vedanta’s sister company, which was before the Bench in connection with the aluminium plant it was setting up in Orissa.

As counsel did not object to his hearing the matter (their consent was apparently expressed orally, and was not part of the court’s record), Justice Kapadia went ahead and passed the judgment on behalf of the Bench, favouring the Sterlite group. The Central Empowered Committee set up by the Supreme Court had recommended against the plant, and the aggrieved tribal people were not represented before the court.

Both Justice Raveendran and Justice Kapadia relied on Point 11 of the Restatement of Values of Judicial Life, adopted in the Chief Justices’ Conference in December 1999. It read: “A judge shall not hear and decide a matter in which a company in which he holds shares is concerned unless he has disclosed his interest and no objection to his hearing and deciding the matter is raised.”

However, the Supreme Court has held in many cases that if a judge has a pecuniary interest, howsoever small, it automatically disqualifies him or her from hearing the case. Seeking the consent of counsel appearing before a judge in such cases does not mitigate such disqualification, say observers. A code of conduct adopted by judges subsequently cannot replace a binding legal principle laid down by the Supreme Court in many cases.

These truisms have apparently compelled judges to be extra careful. On November 4, Justice Raveendran, who was part of the three-judge Bench hearing the RIL-RNRL dispute, recused himself from the case saying his daughter worked for a law firm that was advising RIL in some other matter and that it came to his knowledge only on November 3. The CJI reconstituted the Bench by including Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy (the CJI and Justice Sathasivam are the other members of the Bench), and restarted the hearing afresh.

Justice Markandey Katju, who was hearing a dispute between RIL and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited over the pricing of naphtha, recused himself from the case on November 4, citing shares held in RIL by his wife, even though the hearings had concluded and the judgment had been reserved.

Justice Kapadia too recused himself – this time without asking counsel for the parties before him – from hearing a petition seeking to stay the implementation of the public offer made by Vedanta Resources to buy a 20 per cent additional stake in the iron ore exporting firm, Sesa Goa, because he held shares in Sterlite.

Justice Kapadia’s latest recusal only exposed the inconsistency in judges’ approach to issues of conflicts of interest. After all, the maxim Nemo iudex in causa sua (No one should be a judge in their own cause) applies strictly to any appearance of a possible bias, even if there is actually none.

As the saying goes, justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.








Insurance firm to pay more to girl left disabled in mishap

Submitted by Sarthak Gupta on Wed, 11/18/2009 – 09:16.

The general manager of New India Assurance Company got an earful from the Bombay High Court on Tuesday after offering to compensate a 27-year-old woman who suffered permanent disability after an accident in 1993.

After hearing their earlier offer of Rs 5 lakh, Justice S. A. Bobade remarked, “Don’t act like misers…” and directed the company to consider paying more compensation to Shweta Mehta, who was just 11-years-old at the time accident, and now is a paraplegic.

The court was hearing an appeal by the firm, challenging the order of the Motor Accident Tribunal (MACT). In 2007, the MACT directed the firm to pay the girl of Rs 21.23 lakh. The company owes her Rs 50 lakh.

Mehta too filed a petition in the HC, seeking higher compensation of Rs 91 lakh.

Last week, the company’s advocate said in court they were not ready to compensate her. The advocate said: “the accident for her was a blessing in disguise as she could get better education and compensation”.

Irked by the statement, the HC summoned the company’s General Manager I. S. Phukela.

Phukela, who was in court on Tuesday, told the judges that the company was ready to enhance the claim by Rs 5 lakh.

To this, Justice Bobade said: “Life has come to a standstill for this girl. Consider giving her little more than this.”

Mehta’s advocate, Tejpal Ingale, said she deserved more as she is paraplegic with permanent disability.

The girl cannot do anything by herself. She needs help for everything, said Ingale reading from her affidavit. “My expenses per month are about Rs. 78,000, which includes medical expenses and salary to my personal help.” The court will hear the case tomorrow. Urvi Mahajani








Replicas of the Naxalites’

Submitted by Sarthak Gupta on Wed, 11/18/2009 – 08:05.

Clones of Naxalite guerrillas are roaming the outback in the Maoist heartland. Their critics swear at them. The police swear by them.

Three thousand Special Police Officers (SPOs) — former Naxalites and other villagers who have been armed by the police — are the backbone of the planned push against Maoist guerrillas in Chhattisgarh state, the epicentre of an upcoming national offensive against the 42-year-old rebel movement.

“I was just 17, but I was very good. I was leading 33 members in my platoon, some 24 years old,” said the lean and wiry Madka Mudra, now a revolver carrying SPO, once a former Maoist platoon commander from the Mosalmudgu village who was with the rebels for seven years. Now 22, he joined the police in February 2007 because his newly wedded wife asked him to leave the rebels’ side.

With their intimate knowledge of the forest, remote routes, extremely high energy and stamina levels and nimble ways, SPOs — about 40 of them at every police station — are hailed by the police as key to success in all operations. In a region where all operations are done walking, they trudge up to 50 kilometres on operations, guiding the regular policemen.

“They are the kings of the show. The main credit for fighting the Naxalites is to the SPOs,” said Amaresh Mishra, the Dantewada superintendent of police. “Their capability, their dedication, is amazing in an impossible terrain against a treacherous enemy.”

That is so, his Bijapur counterpart Avinash Mohanty says, because “They are the replicas of Naxalites on our side. They have the same aggression.”

That aggression has been blamed in the past for human rights violations.

“There are hundreds of complaints against them, which are not investigated by the police,” said Himanshu Kumar, a local activist in Dantewada town. “Villagers have told us that these SPOs incite paramilitary soldiers.” Those allegations began soon after the creation of the force, alongside a popular campaign against Naxalites called Salwa Judum that started in 2005 from Kutru village.

It began with a rice-laden tractor.

“There was rice going in my tractor — police rations — and the Naxalites attacked and snatched it. Police beat up everyone and arrested 11 boys,” said 45-year-old Vachan Dunga, who owned the tractor and is now an SPO. “Villagers called a meeting. I said, why should we be afraid of this militia?”

The Salwa Judum movement started.

Four years on, the movement is over. About 8,000 people still live in camps set up during the time for about 50,000 people who fled their villages — or were forced to leave, according to the government’s critics. Hundreds of former rebels lined up to become SPOs for a monthly salary of Rs. 2,100 in the region of rampant joblessness — wages they now want raised.

Peaceful anti-Naxalite rallies were held for some time, but it soon disintegrated into a cycle of deadly violence from Salwa Judum activists and SPOs on one side, and Naxalites on the other.

The violence has abated. But the SPOs — who also came from the same villages, cannot ever go home now.

“We aren’t going home. If we do, they will kill us,” Dunga said, his voic drowned by an India-Australia cricket match showing on TV. “If we go home, we won’t be able to survive for more than an hour. They will come with bows, arrows, axes, and kill us.

“Our names are now in Naxal pamphlets and literature,” he said, as other SPOs looked on, including two khaki-clad women with bindis on their forehead and sindoor (vermillion) in their hair. “They have declared that if we are found, we will be cut into 70 pieces and distribute in 70 villages.”

A petition against Salwa Judum in the Supreme Court led to an investigation last year by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), whose members travelled to 26 villages in the largest such human rights probe. “There have been some instances where criminal cases have been registered against SPOs. Many SPOs have also been dismissed from service,” the NHRC report said. “In some instances … the security forces and SPOs seem to be prima facie responsible for extra-judicial killings.”

It added: “Allegations against Salwa Judum of (a) large number of killings are not true.” The NHRC also faulted Naxalites for selectively killing Salwa Judum leaders and supporters, and indiscriminate killings of tribals and security personnel.

A year on, as authorities prepare for the joint national operation, police officers in Bastar are counting on their best men — and are gushing over them.

“Your GPS will fail here. These SPOs are far better than any technology,” said a police officer not authorised to be named by the media. “They follow directions on the basis of the rising sun. They are like swift deer.”







Should We Have Talked to the Chhattisgarhi Mother?

Posted by Rajeesh on November 18, 2009

Mainstream, Vol XLVII, No 48, November 14, 2009

Tuesday 17 November 2009, by Somnath Mukherji

The much anticipated Operation Green Hunt has started in fits and starts. It is a high stake hunt. The government is waiting to re-assert its authority in the forested reaches of Central India. The corporations are waiting for unhindered access to the wealth underneath the land. The Maoists are [perhaps] waiting for the atrocities to begin so that the discontent takes deeper roots into the hearts and minds of the adivasis. And the adivasis…what are they waiting for? We do not know. We do not know because we never asked them.

The Chhattisgarh State Government never asked them when framing the industrial policy of the State that discouraged all cottage industries and occupations that could have benefited small endeavours by communities. The adivasis were never asked whether they wanted to do agriculture on their land or vacate it en-masse for steel, bauxite and iron-ore processing plants. In fact, on October 12, at the public hearing for Tata’s mega steel project, villagers were prevented by security forces from attending it. The project was cleared in the presence of a staged audience of 50 people without a hitch. The proposed plant will churn out 5.5 million tonnes of steel annually that will be needed to build, bridges, flyovers, malls, cars, high rises—almost everything that the adivasis from Lohandiguda will never use. A total of 10 villages will be displaced from 2044 hectares of land. A few hours away by bus, Essar is to set up a steel plant of similar capacity.

Very few journalists went out of their way to find out if the feelings of the adivasis were hurt after their villages were torched or their harvest looted; if they felt resentful when the government-backed vigilante, the Salwa Judum, smoked them out and herded them into camps. By December 2007, fifty thousand of them, according to a Human Rights Watch report, were being held inside 24 barbed wired camps in unhygienic conditions. The media went where the state directed it—to the schools blown up by Maoists or to the site of the truck that overran an IED. The adivasi was neatly kept out of the reports filed from the sites of these ghastly attacks. The media never reported that close to 300,000 people have been rendered homeless by the senseless violence, not just from guns but also from the paradigm of development that seems to being ushered in on six-lane highways.

The hallways of Raipur and Delhi were so abuzz with discussions on M-O-Us and M-A-Os that everyone forgot about the 65,000 adivasis who fled into neighbouring Andhra Pradesh. Did they want to go back and live in their homes on their lands? Did they want to live at all? They were no one’s problem. Where were they to go to complain about the rapes and loots? Police? Judiciary? When they did muster up the courage to file complaints aided by civil organisations, the state lashed out at the organisations. Vanvasi Chetna Ashram (VCA), a Gandhian organisation, has been working for two decades in empowering tribal communities around Dantewada. On May 17, the state power was on full display when the ashram of VCA was razed to the ground under the watchful eyes of 500 strong CRPF personnel.

The crimes of the VCA had been unpardonable —they have helped to file more than 500 complaints [none of which have been acted upon till
now] on behalf of the adivasis, for rape, loot, torture and murder against the law enforcement agencies and the Salwa Judum. The VCA also had the temerity to petition the Bilaspur High Court against the against the police encounter in Singaram where 19 “Maoists” were killed. The villagers claimed the dead to be their unarmed relatives. Ever since then the VCA’s staff has been threatened and assaulted to strike fear so that their voice is stifled—a gentle admonition from the powerful state not to act impudently. After all, the state had already set an example by keeping Dr Binayak Sen in jail for over two years on trumped-up charges. It was a reaffirmation of the state’s with-us-or-against-us logic and for the others to draw lessons from it. Look, the state seems to say, we don’t care what you do in your spare time whether it is reducing infant and maternal mortality, or saving the fast vanishing bio-diversity, don’t dare question our logic of either arming civilians or co-opting the role of media in a democracy. The sentiments of the state have often been faithfully echoed by refined intellectuals who profess to capture the complexity of the whole situation in the length of their columns and decry the nonsense the activist-types spout. The nonsensical activists are perhaps the only actors that can stop the brutalisation of the adivasis through peaceful negotiations.


No one went to the Gonds or the Gothikoyas and explained to them that the Constitution of India, the country in which they live, has special provisions to protect their lands under the Fifth Schedule. The Ministry of Tribal Affairs has certainly not been in touch with them. As if it was not enough protection, the Forests Rights Act of 2006 ensured the rights of the Scheduled Tribes and forest dwelling communities over their land and common property natural resources. Or perhaps, the woman from Lingagiri misunderstood the Act and ran away from her home when her village was raided and gave birth to her son in the forest. Perfect plot for an English thriller to be read while waiting for a flight that never seems to be on time. And you must have guessed the name of the boy by now—son of the forest, Adavi Ramadu. Fact and fiction are so tightly interlaced in Lingagiri that it seems unreal.

When the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) did finally go to Dantewada after “activist” people like Prof Nandini Sundar filed a PIL in the Supreme Court against Salwa Judum for the atrocities perpetrated by them, they were accompanied by a large contingent of armed security personnel. The members of the NHRC team themselves were all IPS officers—a blow to its impartiality. The adivasi women were questioned in the camps in presence of gun-totting security personnel and the Salwa Judum activists—the alleged tormentors. None of the women admitted of rape in such a conducive atmosphere. To the utter surprise and consternation of the the team, the entire village of Chikurubatti ran away at the sight of the approaching team accompanied by armed CRPF jawans. In spite of their best intentions, the team did not get to hear what the adivasis had to say. They did not think that the entire village fleeing said something.

No one asked the adivasis anything. That is the way it is supposed to be. These people belong to the sacrificial stock. With the meditative resolve of a tantric we have sacrificed them at the altar of development. Although tribals constitute eight per cent of India’s population, they are 40 per cent of the 60 milion people displaced by large projects from 1947 to 2004. The people of southern Chhattisgarh might just boost the percentage.

We will mobilise our ground and air forces, enact laws which divide the society along the for-us-against-us lines, send our Ministers and bureaucrats to the US to confer on techniques of anti-terrorism, counter-insurgency and “governance”, hold talk shows after talk shows in ties and imitative body language, sanction crores of rupees for development packages, but one thing we will not do is to take off our blinders and squat next to the mother who delivered in the forest and ask her, “Hey mother of Adavi Ramadu, why did you have to flee your home? What will make your life a little easier?”

The author is a volunteer with the Association for India’s Development and has been working with the VCA in Chhattisgarh and ASDS in Andhra for rehabilitating refugees driven from their homes by the violence in Chhattisgarh.








Can tribunal dismiss appeal for non persecution

Nov 18, 2009

Rule 20 of the CESTAT Procedure Rules reads as,-

RULE 20.  Action on appeal for appellant’s default.—Where on the day fixed for the hearing of the appeal or on any other day to which such hearing may be adjourned, the appellant doesn’t appear when the appeal is called on for hearing, the Tribunal may, in its discretion, either dismiss the appeal for default or hear and decide on merits.
It is clear from this rule that the Tribunal is empowered to dismiss an appeal in default. However, this is a mere rule, made under delegated rule making power with respect to procedural matters. It has to be seen as to whether this rule is in conformity with the Central Excise Act, 1944 which confers such power to the Tribunal.

35C of the Central Excise Act, 1944 reads as,

SECTION 35C. Orders of Appellate Tribunal.?— (1) The Appellate Tribunal may, after giving the parties to the appeal an opportunity of being heard, pass such orders thereon as it thinks fit, confirming, modifying or annulling the decision or order appealed against or may refer the case back to the authority which passed such decision or order with such directions as the Appellate Tribunal may think fit, for a fresh adjudication or decision, as the case may be, after taking additional evidence, if necessary.

It is obvious from this Section that it is a duty of the Appellate Tribunal is to give the parties an opportunity of being heard, however there is no condition that the party must avail the opportunity of being heard for appeal to be decided on merits. Further the Tribunal can only confirm, modify or annul the order or remand it back. The section doesn’t empower the Tribunal to dismiss the appeal in default, in the sense that it is not empowered to “not to hear the appeal”. Similar provision is there under Section 129B of the Customs Act, 1962.

The CESTAT Procedure Rules has been made under the powers delegated by Section 129C(6) of the Customs Act [made applicable to Central Excise vide Section 35D of the Central Excise Act], which reads as,

SECTION 129C. Procedure of Appellate Tribunal.–?

(6) Subject to the provisions of this Act, the Appellate Tribunal shall have power to regulate its own procedure and the procedure of the Benches thereof in all matters arising out of the exercise of its powers or of the discharge of its functions, including the places at which the Benches shall hold their sittings.

Thus the power delegated under this Section under which the Rules have been framed is subject to the provision of this Act. Thus the CESTAT cannot make a rule which amend or supplant any provision of the Act. From a plain reading of these Sections, it appears that Rule 20 the CESTAT Procedure Rules is substantially ultra vires to the rule making power and hence is illegal.


Ulta vires means beyond powers. Whenever a person or a body of persons, exercising statutory authority, acts beyond the powers conferred upon him or them by statute, such act become ultra vires and accordingly void in the eyes of law. This doctrine has been extended to all administrative authorities empowered by the legislature to make subordinate legislation.

Section 5A(8) of the Income Tax Act, 1922, empowered the Appellate Tribunal to make Rules to regulate its own procedure. In exercise of this power, the Appellate Tribunal made Rule 24 which empowered itself to dismiss an appeal for default in case of non-appearance of the appellant when the appeal is called on for hearing. The Supreme Court held in I.T. Commissioner v. Chenniappa [AIR 1969 SC 1098], that the rule is in repugnance with Section 33(4) of the Act, and the obligation imposed by the said section cannot be short-circuited by the Tribunal by dismissing the appeal in default of appearance.

In Viral Laminates v. UOI [1998 (100) ELT 335 (Guj.)], the Hon’ble Gujrat High Court held that, in para 11,

“That part of Rule 20 of the Customs, Excise and Gold (Control) Appellate Tribunal (Procedure) Rules, 1982 which enables the Appellate Tribunal to dismiss an appeal for default of appearance as well as proviso to Rule 20 is held to be ultra vires the provisions of Section 35C(1) of the Central Excises & Salt Act, 1944 as well as Section 129B(1) of the Customs Act, 1962. It is declared that the Appellate Tribunal has no power to dismiss an appeal for non-appearance of the appellant and the appeal should be decided on merits.”

Hon’ble Delhi High Court held in Prakash Fabricators v. UOI [2001 (130) ELT 433 (Del.)], in para 5,

“On a bare reading of the provisions and having regard to the scheme of the Act as well as of the Customs Act, there can be no manner of doubt that the appeal filed before the Tribunal has to be disposed of on merits and cannot be dismissed for default of appearance of the appellant. Where there is no appearance on behalf of the appellant, the Tribunal has to decide the appeal ex-parte. The use of the expression “thereon” means that the Tribunal has to pass order on the subject matter of the appeal, and on the issues in controversy. As has been observed by the Gujarat High Court in Viral Laminates case (supra), the expression “thereon” does not mean that the Tribunal can pass an order of dismissal for default of appearance, since such an order has no nexus with the matter in controversy.”

Hon’ble Rajsthan High Court in Balar Fabrics v. UOI [2002 (142) ELT 309 (Raj.) held, in para 7,

“Considering the entire scheme of the relevant provisions and particularly the expression “thereon” appearing in Section 33(4) of the Income Tax Act as well as provisions of Section 66 relating to reference to the High Court, the Apex Court held that Tribunal has no power to dismiss an appeal for non-appearance of the appellant and the appeal must be decided on merit. It is, thus, evident that the manner and method in which the appeal filed before the Appellate Tribunal under the provisions of the Income Tax Act, 1922 is required to be disposed of are the same as envisaged under Section 35C(1) of the Excise Act as well as Section 129B(1) of the Customs Act. Therefore, the decision rendered by the Supreme Court in Mudaliar’s case applies to the instant controversy with full force. Thus, there is no manner of doubt that the appeal filed before the Tribunal has to be disposed of on merit and cannot be dismissed for want of appearance of the appellant. A Division Bench of the Delhi High Court in Prakash Fabrics v. Union of India reported in [2001 (130) ELT 433 (Del.) = 2001(44) RLT Page 459] dealing with the identical situation observed:

“Where there is no appearance on behalf of the appellant, the Tribunal has to decide the appeal ex parte. The Court further observed that the use of expression “thereon” means that the Tribunal has to pass order on the subject matter of appeal and on the issue of controversy.”

In view of these binding judgments it is clear that the CESTAT has no power to dismiss an appeal in default. When the appellant doesn’t appear at the time of hearing, the tribunal may decide the appeal ex-parte on merits, but it cannot be dismiss the appeal in default.

This conclusion can be drawn from the basic principles of natural justice. The Act gives statutory right of appeal to the assessee. Further the Act imposes a duty on the Tribunal (Section 129B(1) of the Customs Act, 1962) to extend opportunity of being heard to the assessee. Now, if the assessee couldn’t avail the opportunity of being heard or didn’t avail the opportunity of being heard, it cannot be a ground to deny the statutory right of appeal to the assessee.

Despite these various pronouncements of binding judgments by various High Courts, still we find occasions when the Tribunal dismisses an appeal in default. Such contradictory orders by the Tribunal introduces uncertainty in law and at the same time results in multiplicity of proceedings. Further it doesn’t enhance the prestige of Rule of Law. It is high time the CESTAT should amend Rule 20 and settle the issue forever.

(Views expressed are personal views of the author.)

Written by:- Advocate Rajesh Kumar.








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Talking point: What constitutes sexual harrasment in skies?


Published on Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 02:07, Updated on Wed, Nov 18, 2009 at 02:27 in India section

The National Commission for Women (NCW) has ruled out a case of sexual harassment as was alleged by Air India air hostess Komal Singh on board Air India plane on October 3.

The NCW report, which was submitted to Civil Aviation Minster Praful Patel and Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath on Monday, admits that there was indeed an altercation between the pilot and co-pilot with the flight purser and an air hostess. But the committee established that there was no sexual harassment in the incident.

The airhostess Komal Singh had levelled sexual harassment charges against the co-pilot a few days after the October 3 incident.

The question that was being asked on CNN-IBN’s Talking Point was: What constitutes sexual harassment in the skies? To try and answer the question on the panel of experts was Komal Singh’s Lawyer Sanjay Ghose; Executive Director, Air India Jitendra Bhargava; Komal Singh’s sister Poonam Singh.

CNN-IBN: The National Commission for Women has clearly said that there was no case of sexual harassment, that’s what the Air Indian Inquiry Committee also said. Where does your case stand on the critical issue of sexual harassment in the plane?

Sanjay Ghose: The extracts of the reports that I have seen don’t clearly say that there was no sexual harassment. The Air India finding is that the entire issue is pre-rehearsed and stage managed and that is not the finding of the NCW. So there are a lot of discrepancies. The NCW has also come to a finding that there was assault, she was injured, she was pushed out of the cockpit. They have also come to the findings that the chargesheet issued to Komal was incorrect. I want to know how Air India will respond to the NCW findings.

CNN-IBN: It’s not a clear victory for Air India’s case so far? In fact, there is a case of assault according NCW findings? How do you respond to this?

Jitendra Bhargava: It’s not a question of victory. We are not going ga-ga over the verdict of NCW. The reality is that there was an incident that took place, we acted as per the Supreme Court guidelines, a committee comprising of five women officers looked at the whole case along with an NGO, found that the charge of sexual harassment wasn’t in place. Yes, there was a case of the captain pushing the air hostess out. Does it come in the category of sexual harassment? The fact is that the air hostess and the flight pursuer was in the cockpit, when the captain’s request of asking them to leave the cockpit did not work, they reached a situation where they had to physically push them away.

CNN-IBN: Are you saying that it is not a case of sexual harassment, it’s a case of violation of conduct rules in the air. That’s where your argument stands, it that right?

Jitendra Bhargava: Absolutely.

CNN-IBN: Is Air India confusing issues? Do you believe that the central case is still sexual harassment Sanjay?

Sanjay Ghose: Sexual harassment has been defined by the Supreme Court in the broadest possible terms. Sexual harassment is as is perceived by the victim of sexual harassment. Even by the NCW reports, Komal was subject to witnessing gross abuse by the two pilots. Isn’t Komal’s statement that she was physically touched on her chest and pushed out with great force from the cockpit – not sexual harassment, then what is sexual harassment?

CNN-IBN: Air India is accepting that there was abuse and assault but no molestation, what is the definition?

Jitendra Bhargava: We have followed the script as defined by the Supreme Court with external representation, given full opportunity, then come to a conclusion.

CNN-IBN: It takes a lot of courage to make a complaint like that in public, Do you concede that?

Jitendra Bhargava: Why is it that the Supreme Court has said that the committee on sexual harassment must comprise of only women? There is merit in the suggestion. The reason is to embolden the women to come to the committee and make a complaint.

CNN-IBN: After the NCW ruling, what happens to the pilots, do you reinstate them? And what happens to Komal’s case?

Jitendra Bhargava: The reality is that there are two dimensions to the whole issue. One was the case of sexual harassment and the other is of misconduct. While the sexual harassment issue has been settled both the internal committee and NCW, but the indiscipline on board the flight is very much a case. And that is why chargesheet has been issue to all the four involved.

CNN-IBN: Do you believe that the battle is not over as yet?

Sanjay Ghose: Of course, the battle is not over yet. This is just the beginning. The whole nation and the male and female employees of Air India are watching as to how sensitively Air India is going to deal with this issue. Komal has inspired many people who have actually faced sexual harassment and have not had the courage to talk about it. Unfortunately, Air India has not cooperated with Komal.








Father told to pay damages for accident caused by son

Utkarsh Anand

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0203 hrs New Delhi:

Be extra careful with your car keys. For, if a minor decides to go for a drive and meets with an accident, you will not be able to claim relief from your insurance company.

A recent decision by a city Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) says the owner of a vehicle was liable to shell out compensation to victims of road mishaps despite having an insurance policy if a minor from his family causes an accident.

Moreover, the defence that the owner did not know that someone took the keys without his/her knowledge will not stand in court.

According to MACT judge Sujata Kohli, if the keys fall into a minor’s hands, it would be construed as negligence on part of the owner and hence a breach of the terms of the insurance policy.

The court’s decision came while deciding a claim petition filed by one Seema who sustained injuries in an accident. A motorcycle driven by Parveen Kumar in a Northeast Delhi locality on August 23, 2005, had caused the accident.

As per the petition, the bike was being maneuvered in a rash manner and it hit the petitioner as she was crossing the road.

It was later revealed that Kumar was only 15 and that his father Kanwar Pal Singh owned the bike.

The petition also arrayed United India Insurance Co. Ltd as the party as the vehicle was insured with it.

When the question of deciding who should be made liable to pay the compensation came, the insurance company said the owner had to be made liable because at the time of the accident, the rider did not possess a valid driving license.

Parveen’s father Kanwar Pal Singh, however, tried to escape liability by saying that his son had taken away the bike without his knowledge after picking up the keys from his drawer.

ASJ Kohli inquired if the drawer was locked, to which Singh answered in the negative. “It is evident that the owner has not taken the minimum possible care of the vehicle expected in order to avoid the situation where a person unqualified to drive could have taken away the vehicle. This lack of care — would render him liable of breach of conditions of the policy,” held the judge.

The court, however, also noted that it had to ensure that a victim does not have to wait long for compensation.

It, therefore, asked the insurance company to pay Rs 21,500 along with 7.5 per cent interest to Seema immediately and then recover it from Singh.

Singh was also ordered to comply with the directive and pay the company the compensation amount.









Custodial Violence (An enquiry into its causes)

Nov 16, 2009

Custodial violence is a dark reality in our democratic country governed by “Rule of Law”. There are many instances when it has been examined that how torture is inflicted or who are the guilty persons or who get what compensation in cases of custodial violence. However, very few attempts have been made as to analyse the reasons of custodial violence. This paper is a humble attempt to analyse the reasons of custodial violence, and in this process will attempt to question some myths propounded by the unexamined realty.

It is said that, torture is essentially an instrument to impose the “will of the strong over the weak”. However, the above statement merely states the obvious. It is obvious that only a strong can torture the weak and not vice-versa. The core issue is what is the “will” which the strong (read the police) want to impose over the weak (read the people). If we understand this “will” which is being imposed, then we understand the causes of custodial violence.

One of our former Union Law Minister said once that you cannot interrogate the criminal over a cup of tea! This is another mythical logic. It is propounded to explain that custodial violence is required to know the truth and collect evidence to prosecute a criminal. Its contention is that some amount of violence is required to get the information out of the criminal. If this logic is true, why not apply it to the highest echelon to our polity. Let us interrogate the top politicians and I am sure many gory tell of criminality will come out in open. We can interrogate the top bureaucrats and many innovative ways of corruption and partisanship will come out. And if this is done corruption and criminality will be eliminated from the top and there will be no crime! In any case our Public representatives and Public servants are interested only in public service and they will be willing to offer themselves for interrogation and custodial violence in the interest of the society……… Why don’t we to that?

The logic is, in itself, very dangerous and whenever it will be applied, it will certainly be misused and abused. Any form of violence, arbitrariness and injustice shall always be abused against the poor and helpless persons. Thus it becomes very important, particularly for the masses and common persons (aam aadmi) to reject any such justification on the very face of it. And why only the truth, violence can get anything out of ordinary mortals, even the most blatant falsehood. Let us see this case, which have been reported in the name of K.V. Rajendran v/s Inspector of Police (2001 CriLJ 4092 Mad). In this particular case, a lecturer was picked up by the Revenue Divisional Officer during night time. The RDO suspected that the lecturer had complained against him to the higher authority about smuggling of teakwood. He was mercilessly beaten by the officer in presence of Tahsildar, revenue official and police. He was forced to sign a false confession. Top officials were in collusion with the perpetrator of crime or were inactive. Several of them made false statements. Just look at this interrogation and confessional statement. It may be noted that our legislatures are liberal in conferring power of interrogation and recording of statements on various officials. These statements are admissible in the court of evidence on the judicial reasoning that revenue officials are not police officers. It is one substantial piece of evidence, merely on the basis of which conviction can be made? Distraction! Let us return to custodial violence. Through custodial violence what is extracted is not the truth but something, which the interrogator wants to hear. The wish of the interrogator is the “will” which the strong wants to impose on the weak.

We have to understand that custodial violence have nothing to do with justice, truth or order in the society. It is most rampant in societies most opposed to the tenets of law and justice, most opposed to all basic principles of civilized society. And that is the reason Hon’ble Supreme Court in D.K. Basu’s case described custodial violence as the worst form of crime in a civilized society. Then also it continues: without punishment.

Another point we should keep in mind that it is only the poor and less fortunate persons against which custodial violence is used. Barring some exceptions, it is never used against rich and powerful persons or noted criminals. Stories appear every day how big criminals are living in luxury in judicial custody in various parts ou our country. Politicians prefer to stay in plush guest- houses when in judicial custody, all that the government have to do is to declare that guest house a prison for a temporary period. Everybody knows that king-pins of stamp paper scam were staying is plus flat in upmarket mumbai, while staying in the custody of the police. Then the question comes, why is it used only against poor and petty criminals? One obvious reason is that they are not in a position to protect themselves (protection from whom!), which is true also but reasons are much deeper.

With due respect to certain honest and hardworking police officers (I am sure they do exist), it is not an exaggeration to say that our police force is corrupt to the core. And we all know that when we deal with a constable on the road or senior officers in the Police Station. Asian age reported on 10-7-2000 that police force is the most corrupt organisation in the government. Certain police officers are known to support and promote crime. A senior police officer said once that more police station will lead to more crime. The Hindu (02.01.1998) reported that in U.P. 100 policemen were dismissed, 183 suspended and action was initiated against 576 policemen for alleged nexus with criminals. I feel it is only a tip of the iceberg. And it is difficult to count how many police officers are facing charges of heinous crimes like murder, rape and decoity. “ A woman police officer was threatening and offering money to a rape victim to end the case, inquiry ordered (TOI, 01.09.2004)”. Remember the logic of the state for poor conviction ratio – “witnesses turn hostile”. And if not every police officers, certainly every police station is guilty of crime of custodial violence, corruption, extortion in the name of hafta etc. Then comes the fundamental question- “to what extent the police is interested in curbing the crime?”

At a shallow level, the corruption in police is based on fear of police. If people will not fear police, nobody will give hafta or illegal gratification to the police. Without fear it is difficult to extort money from the accused. The custodial violence is the tactics through which the police maintain its fear among the persons, so as to get money through corruption. “ High Court ordered action against an SHO for illegal confinement and harassment of certain dealers who refused to pay hafta to police ( HT, 07.04.2000)”. See another instance, “ when a shopkeeper refused to pay hafta to the police, he was abused, handcuffed and assaulted (TOI, 11.04.2000)”. History tell us that the ruling class have always extracted money from the poor class either through beggar, nazrana etc. since the ages. Incidentally even in democratic India corruption have been justified as ubiquitous, speed money, grease of the governance machinery etc. Corruption is the modern form through which the ruling class or their agents extract money/resources from the poor working class.

The police is required by law to investigate the cases impartially and as per law. The police get corruption money to deviate from this impartiality in investigation of cases and the accused, if he is not rich and powerful, is always on the wrong side of the deviation from impartially. “The chairman of NHRC said that 60% of the arrest made by police is unnecessary and unjustifiable. Even in heinous offences, rate of acquittal is more than 80% (TOI 14.03.99)”. Here the custodial violence is required to extract false confessions, planted recoveries, stock witnesses, planting of fake evidences etc. to make the case against the accused. Generally the accused is not treated as per law by the police. To stop them from making complaint to higher authority or to the courts, it is required to break the will of the accused. There also, custodial violence is a handy tool in the hand of police. Through custodial violence, fear can be breaded in the mind of the accused and his family members so that no complaint is filed against the erring police officers. Not surprisingly, in a miniscule small number of cases any complaint is filed against erring policemen in our country when the stories of custodial violence is an open secret.

All the struggle injustice is carried on by the human spirit and human will power. Since the police is inherently against the accused, particularly when he is poor, it is necessary to insult and humiliate him in order to break his spirit and will power. Such humiliation technique is also useful against persons who are political opponent or who dare to challenge the injustice in the system. Various humiliation techniques like forcing the person to sit on ground, stripping, forcing to do menial job, parading in public etc. are applied apart from custodial violence in order to break the human spirit of the victim.

Governance in democracy is based on popular will. Nevertheless, violence is known to have been used to sustain governance when the government of the day is not sustaining on popular will. The excesses during the time of emergency is a point to be noted. Higher amount of violence in terrorist infected areas are also based on this doctrine. The fear of police has to be maintained for this purpose. This explains the apathy of the government in tackling the problem of custodial violence with iron hand.

Courts, particularly the higher judiciary and National Human Rights Commission have taken certain concrete steps to end this inhuman practice. However their steps are inadequate to say the least. The approach is subordinate judiciary is not very encouraging. In a case the High Court of Delhi directed that whenever an accused brought before the magistrate it is his duty to ask from the accused whether he has been ill-treated in the custody. We don’t see that happening in the subordinate judiciary. One of a magistrate never allowed an accused to sit in his court, and this discrimination against the accused may be hailed by some as strictness! In another place accused were not allowed to enter the courtroom with their shoes on, and the magistrates watched this discrimination with judicial equanimity…………Political freedom has come to us but we still continue with the colonial practices of humiliating the natives before the pillars of colonialism. In any case we continue to have the same Police Act, same procedures and same mindset. Regarding rights in subordinate judiciary, I would like to quote a member of district judiciary, “ being part of district judiciary since a decade, I know it is a fact that hardly 10% of the trial judiciary is familiar with the provisions of the Constitution. I know judges who have not seen the text of the Constitution”(Combat Law, December-January 2004).  Do I need to say more?

Even the higher judiciary and NHRC have not come on the instances of custodial violence in the proper perspective. The emphasis is more on granting compensation or interim relief rather than treating the incident as attack on rule of law. In case of torture of one person (Case No. 3069/30/1999-2000 of NHRC) the commission ordered compensation of 10,000 and departmental enquiry. However registration of FIR for causing hurt in custody (Sec 331 IPC, 10 years RI), causing malicious prosecution (offences against public justice), manipulation of official record etc was not recommended even when the investigation pointed towards to these facts. Whenever investigation points towards commission of these offences FIR must be recorded, the heinous crime of custodial violence can neither be checked nor adequately punished through departmental enquiry and transfer.  Similarly in case no. 21883/24/98-99 of NHRC no such direction was issued by the NHRC. In these cases I feel the compensation ordered out of public money paid by the ordinary tax-payers is neither desirable nor morally defensible. The state has only a vicarious liability in these cases, primary liability is that of the perpetrator of crime and he must pay through civil and criminal liability.

I apologise for offering suggestions but my readers must forgive me for my incorrigibility in this regard. In case of grave violation the NHRC should come out directly in favour of the victim. It can file FIR on behalf of the victim. It can file criminal complaint on behalf of the victims. It can take help from legal aid committees to support it in theses cases. It can enroll volunteers (advocates, retired judges, public spirited citizens etc.) in various part of the country to help the commission in its noble task entrusted on it by the representatives of people. Public wrong must be resisted by the will and strength of the people. Probably we have started expecting a great deal from the NHRC. Higher public expectation should always be seen as a greatest compliment to an organisation serving the public. Bravo.

Can state end this form of inhuman practice? Do the state have a political will to curb it? The answer is simple. The state doesn’t do anything right or wrong, it does only what is inevitable. What is required is individual empowerment. It can be done only through NGO or association of persons condemning this form of violence, which attacks the very root of rule of law on which our civilized society is based. The only thing which is required is “freedom from fear” so that every violation of law is reported fearlessly, complained fearlessly, pleaded fearlessly and condemned fearlessly.

Written by:- Advocate Rajesh Kumar.








Unwilling to act


Governments across the country have shown a remarkable reluctance to use the S.C./S.T. Act to protect Dalits from upper-caste violence.

By Lyla Bavadam in Mumbai

ATROCITIES against the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes registered a steady rise in Maharashtra from 890 cases in 1999 to 1,385 cases in 2007, the latest year for which government statistics are available. In 1995, the Shiv Sena-Bharatiya Janata Party alliance promised to repeal the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, if voted to power. The reasoning was that it was a hindrance to communal harmony. One of the first moves of the Sena-BJP government (1995-2000) was to withdraw more than 1,000 cases registered under the Act, saying many of them were false. This in itself was illegal since it requires the court’s consent to withdraw cases. Most of the cases related to the aftermath of the violence that followed the renaming of Marathwada University as Dr Ambedkar University. Upper-caste Hindus protested violently at the time. Even now, caste tensions in the Marathwada region are the highest in the State.

Apart from the Sena-BJP’s attempt to get rid of the Act, there are doubts about the commitment of the government, of whichever party, towards it. Quoting figures from the 2007 annual report of the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the Asian Centre for Human Rights’ publication “Torture in India 2009” states that the NCRB “reported a total of 30,031 cases – including 206 cases under the Protection of Civil Rights Act and 9,819 cases under the S.C./S.T. Act – against the S.Cs in 2007. Although the average charge-sheeting rate for the crimes against the S.Cs was 90.6 per cent, the average conviction rate was only 30.9 per cent. A total of 51,705 persons (78.9 per cent) out of 65,554 persons arrested for crimes committed against Scheduled Castes were charge-sheeted, but only 29.4 per cent were convicted, consisting of 13,871 persons out of 47,136 persons against whom trials were completed.”

Special courts to try atrocity cases do not exist in Maharashtra. Instead, the government makes placatory gestures that do not go beyond reiterating the provisions of the S.C./S.T. Act. The most recent example was when the previous government said it would fine and curtail development funds to an entire village where a caste atrocity was committed . This provision exists in the Act. N.K. Sonare, national president of the Ambedkar Centre for Justice and Peace, India, said: “Everything is on paper. Nothing is applied. Instead there is always pressure on the people not to file complaints. The police are instructed not to file FIRs or to leave loopholes in investigation.” Sonare added that there were numerous conventions and recommendatory reports that supported victims of caste abuse, but the government was lax about following them.

If it had, then incidents such as the one that took place at Rajnai village in Beed district on August 23 could have been prevented. A 15-year-old S.C. girl was kidnapped and gangraped by three men, one of whom is believed to be a Hindu priest. She was left at a bus stand by her assailants. Her family filed an FIR but the police initially refused to register a case under the S.C./S.T. Act, though they did it later, under pressure from a non-governmental organisation (NGO). The main accused has not yet been arrested and the family is under pressure to withdraw the case. “They are landless people and depend on the upper castes for their income. This is being used to put pressure on them,” said a representative of the NGO.

If they did own some land and decide to grow something on it, they could meet the fate of Madhukar Ghatge of Kulakjai village in Satara district. When he retired from his job in the Railways in Mumbai in 2007, he only had one aim – cultivate his land in the village. One of the first things he did was to dig a well after acquiring the permission from the panchayat. It was, tragically, his last action. Ghatge’s upper-caste neighbours were enraged at his “audacity”. On April 26, 2007, he was attacked with rods and axes and he died on the way to hospital. Fourteen people were identified as the assailants and 12 were arrested and charged under sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the S.C./S.T. Act. A charge sheet was filed and they were released on bail. They are now believed to be absconding.

If Dalits raised their voice, they were silenced brutally, as a young mother (name withheld) was at Telgaon village in Solapur district in March 2006. She knew she was taking a bold step when she complained against the liquor barons in her village but had no idea that they would use her caste against her. The mother of a child was stripped, beaten, paraded and then kept on “display” for a few hours. Her child was with her through this humiliation. After media intervention an FIR was filed under the S.C./S.T. Act, but the young woman’s social, emotional and economic support systems had been destroyed. Social pressures forced her husband to abandon her. She has no land and others are unwilling to employ her. Under the Act she is eligible for rehabilitation, but the district administration refused this. Instead, she was told that she could live in a government institution for abandoned women. Her child lives in another such institution. Her case is in the sessions court at Solapur at present.

Caste hatred at its worst perhaps was witnessed at Khairlanji village in Bhandara district in September 2006 when four members of a Dalit family, the Bhotmanges, were lynched by their neighbours belonging to the Other Backward Classes (OBCs), apparently following a dispute over the ownership and use of land. The two women victims were paraded naked and were said to have been gangraped by the residents of the village. All of them were ultimately hacked to death. In September 2008, six people were given the death sentence for the crime but they went in appeal and the case is in the Bombay High Court.

The greatest criticism against the handling of the Khairlanji case was that it was handled from a purely criminal angle and without invoking the S.C./S.T. Act. The charges related to murder, outraging the modesty of women, criminal conspiracy and unlawful assembly with deadly weapons (rape charges were not brought since the post-mortem did not give proof of that). The caste hatred and atrocity angle was completely bypassed even though the Bhotmanges lost their lives because they were Dalits.

That a person’s Dalit identity still overrides everything else in the villages was something Mumbai-returned Dilip Shendge, 25, forgot when he presumed that the use of the public handpump in his village, Bhutegaon in Jalna district, would be on a first-come, first-served basis, in May 2003. For this “lapse” he was murdered and his sister was accosted by a group of upper-caste Patils who taunted her about her caste. Later, she was beaten unconscious when she intervened in a fight between another brother of hers and some boys. Later that evening, the brother, sister and their mother were set on fire outside their house by a mob of Patils. Neighbours doused the flames, but it took them three hours to get the victims to hospital on a bullock cart. Dilip died a few days later of severe burns. A fact-finding team from the Committee for Protection of Democratic Rights was told at the police station that the register for the Bhutegaon case could not be found.

In July 1997, half way into the Sena-BJP government’s term, one morning the mainly Dalit residents of Ramabai Nagar in north Mumbai woke up to see a garland of slippers around a bust of Dr B.R. Ambedkar. They reacted violently, stoning vehicles on the nearby highway. The State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) was called in, and within minutes of their arrival they opened fire, killing 10 Dalits. On May 2009, a fast track court in Mumbai sentenced the SRPF platoon commander, Manohar Kadam, to life imprisonment. Though he was ultimately convicted of culpable homicide (and not under the S.C./S.T. Act), the real reason for the trouble remains a mystery.

The incident brought the Dalit population together in a way that Dalit leaders failed to. Already enraged by the 1995 decision to withdraw cases filed under the S.C./S.T. Act, Dalits were further infuriated by the defence of the firing by Chief Minister Manohar Joshi of the Shiv Sena and Deputy Chief Minister Gopinath Munde of the BJP. In the 1999 Assembly elections the alliance was voted out and it is widely accepted that Dalits, who form 12 per cent of the State’s population, played a significant role in this.

By T.K. Rajalakshmi in Jaipur

IT is still known as “Kumher kaand” (Kumher carnage). The massacre of Jatavs in Kumher town in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur district 17 years ago is something that is not forgotten easily. The incident occurred on June 6, 1992, when 254 homes and hutments were set ablaze. Officially, 17 Jatavs were burnt alive, but independent sources put the number of dead at 30. There were cases of arson, molestation and destruction of property of Jatavs by Jats of the area. Some 600 families reportedly fled Kumher. The BJP was the ruling party in Rajasthan in 1992 and Bhairon Singh Shekhawat the Chief Minister.

P.L. Mimroth, founder of the Centre for Dalit Rights (CDR), recalls not only the incident but the struggle to make public the report of the K.S. Lodha Commission (also called the Kumher Inquiry Commission). The commission readied its report in 1996. The report, says Mimroth, was never tabled; only an Action Taken Report was submitted by the BJP government in 2006, after a lot of pressure was put through the courts, though the government claimed that it had tabled the actual report. “I asked many legislators. They denied seeing a copy of the Lodha Commission report,” he said.

Mimroth added that he could not obtain a copy of the report until 2006; he got it only after filing a writ petition and a petition under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. In 1992, Mimroth was the general secretary of the Society of Depressed People for Social Justice and had deposed before the Lodha Commission. “I have three gunny bags of affidavits relating to the Kumher case,” says Mimroth, who was entrusted with the task of conducting an inquiry by the National Centre for Human Rights (NCHR), an organisation based in Delhi.

Since 1992, there have been many incidents involving violence and atrocities against Dalits but none evoked the kind of revulsion “Kumher kaand” did. It started with a clash in a cinema hall when some Jatav youth were manhandled. Then the cinema hall was pelted with stones and rumours were spread that the modesty of upper-caste women had been outraged. The frenzy that was built up soon metamorphosed into an organised pogrom against Jatavs. Water supply to the Jatav locality was disconnected and the hutments were set afire.

In Bharatpur that day, Jats of 46 villages held a caste panchayat where aggressive speeches were made. Barring the victims and people representing them, no one else, including those representing the administration, found anything harmful in the aggressive posturing.

It is not surprising that the writ of caste and community panchayats continues to run in the face of administrative apathy and nonchalance in parts of western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana and Punjab. As a result the democratic rights of the poor, women and the socially marginalised are violated regularly. With widening economic inequalities and a section desirous of seeking the rights guaranteed under the Constitution, such clashes and tensions are likely to increase.

Most conflicts are related to land. The record of implementing land reforms is very poor in Rajasthan. There are at least 10 atrocity-prone districts but the State government has not declared a single one as such and the administrative infrastructure to deal with them under the provisions of the S.C./S.T. Act are missing. Of the 33 districts, only 17 have special courts to deal with atrocities against Dalits. “The Act provides for all these. It is a stringent and exhaustive piece of legislation provided it is implemented,” said Mimroth.

Curiously, in 1992, the advent of the Act seemed to have a direct bearing on the events that led to the Kumher incident. Among the many submissions made to the Lodha Commission, there was one, made by the Zila Nyaya Sangharsh Samiti, claiming that following the advent of the Act, Jatavs had trumped up several false cases against upper-caste people and that Congress politicians, with a view to suppress Jats had always appointed Jatavs in key posts in Bharatpur district. It was ironic that even this did little to prevent the carnage. The Sangharsh Samiti concluded that Jatavs were not Dalits, that they were economically sound.

Another organisation to submit a statement of facts was the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, the youth wing of the BJP, which held, among other things, that in Bharatpur district, the relationship between Jatavs and Jats was very cordial and that only political parties such as the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) provided an impetus to the caste conflict. The Lodha Commission rubbished this assertion but averred that there had been indiscriminate use of the S.C./S.T. Act, which fractured “reciprocal relations between Jats and Jatavs at Kumher and its vicinity.”

While the Lodha Commission made broadly progressive recommendations and observations, it noted that the S.C./S.T. Act had become “the prime circumstance for deteriorated (sic) mutual harmony between Jatavs and other upper castes”. It is baffling that a piece of legislation, by its use, should lead to disharmony unless it upset the status quo to a large extent. More surprising is the fact that no government wanted the Lodha Commission report made public.

Eastern Rajasthan borders certain districts of Uttar Pradesh, which in that period had seen the rise of the BSP. Whether this acted as a catalyst is not certain, though clashes between Jatavs and Jats in these areas were reportedly common. The Lodha Commission was critical of the district administration for not carrying out preventive arrests and not issuing prohibitory orders. Instead, the Commission noted, an elaborate exercise was undertaken against Jatavs.

As in most States, the rate of registration of crimes against Dalits in Rajasthan is not very high. All ruling parties have done little to remedy this. A study conducted by the CDR in 2008 found that of the total 1,261 cases of atrocities against Dalits that year, nearly 380 related to the practice of untouchability; 149 related to violence against women; 140 involved land disputes; and 181 pertained to violence during elections.

Vasudev, State secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist), explained that eastern Rajasthan was particularly vulnerable to caste violence owing to the benefits of education percolating down. However, he said, the tribal people of southern Rajasthan were in a much worse state.

“Until and unless there is an organised protest, no first information report [FIRs] is registered. We need to bring land reforms centre stage,” he said, adding that the increasing economic deprivation of these sections made them more vulnerable than before. He mentioned the gangrape of a Dalit college student on August 15 at Neem Ka Thana in Sikar district. It was only after the CPI(M) and other organisations made a hue and cry the culprits, all upper-caste youth, were arrested.

The situation of S.Ts was no less different. Barring one dominant section residing in the eastern parts of the State, which benefited most from the reservation policy, the tribal people of southern Rajasthan remain more or less where they were before Independence.

Said Vasudev: “Twenty years ago, at a meeting in Dungarpur, I asked a group of Bhils what their concept of heaven was. An old lady, Mangi Bai, said heaven for her meant a bowl of sweet laapi [wheat porridge], a guthdi [a cover made from old clothes] and a jhompi [hut]. They dream of the same things even today.”

A State secretariat member of the CPI(M), Dhuli Chand Meena, who is associated with the Kisan Sabha in southern Rajasthan, said the atrocities against the tribal people were mainly land-related. In those parts, where the remnants of feudalism still persisted along with mixed populations, discrimination existed in the form of denying the tribal people the right to sit on cots or in chairs or even wear proper clothes, he said.

“Whenever cases are registered, they are not followed up and cognisable offences are not registered. The conviction rates for atrocities committed against the tribal people are very low. In fact, what can be said for the S.Cs can be safely extended to the S.Ts as well, the only difference being that all the human development indicators of the S.Ts in southern Rajasthan are very poor when compared with even the rest of the State,” Dhuli Chand Meena said.

If anything, the Act, along with other laws such as the Forest Rights Act, needs to be implemented rigorously. For a social reform measure to succeed one of the basic prerequisites is political will, which seems to be lacking.

By Venkitesh Ramakrishnan
in Bathani Tola and Patna

“THE senas [militia] are not very active and there have been no big attacks or mass killings. But life is still the same. We are here and they are there, in different parts of the village, with not much communication or contact. And, of course, there is the fear that something may break out unexpectedly. We need to keep vigil all the time.” This was how Lal Chand Chaudhary, 55, described the present situation at Bathani Tola in Bihar’s Bhojpur district.

Thirteen years ago, on July 11, 1996, he, a Dalit, lost his wife, Sancharu Devi, and one-and–a-half-year-old girl child, Baby Sugandhi, when members of the Ranveer Sena, the self-professed militia of the upper-caste Bhumihar community, launched a ferocious attack on the hamlet. Among the 22 people killed were 12 women and eight children. Lal Chand got a compensation of Rs.1 lakh from the government and help to set up a telephone booth, but that did not change social equations. As he says, his community of Dalits and a clutch of Muslims occupy the Tola and the Bhumihars stay a little distance away in the main part called Barki Kharaon.

Lal Chand and many others, including his neighbour Phaguni Chaudhary, whose mother and brother were killed that day, made bold to stay on in Bathani Tola and show that they would not succumb to terror. But not so Naimuddeen, the bangle seller who lost six members of his family in the attack; he moved to Ara, the district headquarters of Bhojpur. He, too, got a compensation for the lives lost and the job of a peon in a government office in Ara.

Talking to Frontline, Naimuddeen said that though he has a job the governments that came to power since 1996 are yet to fulfil the promises and assurances they gave. “As I lost six of my kin, the then government offered jobs to two survivors in the family. But the promise made to my son is yet to be kept despite our submitting innumerable applications to successive governments over the past decade,” he says.

Naimuddeen adds that the administration has failed to address the security concerns of the family. “As a family that got ravaged in a gruesome caste attack, I had asked for a gun licence to protect myself, but that has been denied systematically. There is the propaganda that the Ranveer Sena is a dead organisation, but that is entirely untrue,” he says. “They are regrouping under a new leadership and have stepped up their activities in many places, including Bhojpur district. The only succour we have is from the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist-Liberation) led by leaders like Dipankar Bhattacharjee.”

The CPI (ML) has been active in the village since the early 1970s and has been winning panchayat elections in and around Bathani Tola since 1978. According to a number of Dalits and Muslims, this political affiliation does help in keeping the balance of power in the village. Still, there are stray attacks and skirmishes. Last year, two young men of the Tola, Dhanesh Kanu and his friend Tarakeshwar Yadav, were killed in the Barki Kharaon area. Kanu, a plus-two student, had gone for a function in his school and had taken a short-cut close to Barki Kharaon. He and Tarakeshwar Yadav were done to death in that part of the village. Kanu’s aunt Kunti Devi said her nephew was killed by members of the upper-caste militia in a clear instance of caste killing. However, the local police and the administration treated this as a case of personal vendetta.

According to activists of the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), such official apathy is nothing new and is not confined to places like Bathani Tola. They point out that the families of the 10 Dalit victims belonging to the Nat community, who were lynched by upper-caste people on September 13, 2007, in Dhelpruva village in Vaishali district, were also given similar treatment by the administration. However, political mobilisation by different Dalit organisations, including the Ram Vilas Paswan-led Lok Janshakti Party (LJP), the CPI(ML) and the NCDHR, has strengthened the resolve of Dalit communities in many parts of the State to fight for their rights.

Lakshmanpur-Bathe, where 58 Dalits, including women and children, were killed on December 1, 1997, by Ranveer Sena activists, is cited as a case in point by many observers. Dalits of the village have reportedly become more organised after the incident and demand their rights in a collective and effective manner.

This has curtailed the strike power of many upper-caste militias. For 25 years, starting from the mid-1970s, Bihar had a large number of active upper-caste militia groups, making the State synonymous with atrocities against the S.C. Over 80 armed attacks took place against Dalits and other oppressed sections during this period and claimed more than 300 lives. Such rampant attacks have come down in the past five years.

However, as the people of Bathani Tola, including Lal Chand Chaudhary, noted, this by itself has not brought about dramatic changes in the social equations or in the discrimination against Dalits. A fear that things can take a turn for the worse rules large sections of the Dalit population in Bihar even today and the community exists in a state of eternal vigil.

By S. Dorairaj in Chennai

IF the Kizhavenmani carnage of Dalits in 1968 in the then composite Thanjavur district is an indelible blot on the history of Tamil Nadu, there followed many more such crimes, each more heinous than the previous one. The Melavalavu multiple murders, the Tamiraparani massacre, the Kodiyankulam violence, the Nalumoolaikinaru atrocities, the Thinniyam humiliation and the murder of democracy in Pappapatti and three other reserved village panchayats where elections were scuttled for 10 years were the worst among them. The enactment of the S.C./S.T. Act in 1989 and the notification of its Rules in 1995 made no difference to this horrible situation.

According to the State Crime Records Bureau, from 2003 to 2008 a total of 8,209 crimes against Dalits were reported, including 5,047 cases under the S.C./S.T. Act and 3,162 under the IPC. The average conviction rate in both categories was only 24.26 per cent. But Evidence, a Madurai-based NGO, has put the average conviction rate in the cases registered under the S.C./S.T. Act alone at 5 per cent to 7 per cent.

Progressive and secular forces by their concerted efforts have recorded resounding successes in the legal battle against casteist forces in a few cases. In the Melavalavu (Madurai district) case, relating to the gruesome killing of the local panchayat president K. Murugesan and five other Dalits on June 30, 1997, the Supreme Court upheld the life sentence awarded to 17 persons in its order on October 22, 2009.

Uthapuram in Madurai district is another success story where a part of the “wall of untouchability” put up by casteist forces was demolished and the victims of police excesses were paid a total compensation of Rs.15 lakh on the recommendation of the inquiry commission appointed by the Madras High Court in January last. The Dalits’ struggle to end caste oppression in the village had the complete backing of the Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front (TNUEF), the CPI(M) and the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA).

Much ahead of these two cases, the apex court gave a landmark judgment in a case relating to police excesses in Nalumoolaikinaru in Tuticorin district in 1992, holding 82 police personnel, including a Deputy Inspector General of Police and the Superintendent of Police, guilty. The court also ordered disbursement of compensation, totalling Rs.23 lakh, to the victims, who were represented by AIDWA.

In several other cases, the perpetrators of violence went scot-free. Notable among these is the Kodiyankulam violence of August 31, 1995, in which the police let loose terror in a Dalit habitation, and the Thamiraparani massacre of July 23, 1999, which claimed 17 lives when the police launched a brutal attack on a rally of estate workers in Tirunelveli town even as they ran towards the river in a bid to escape.

In the Thinniyam torment of May 22, 2002, the accused got away with a mild punishment though they had committed the grave crime of forcing two Dalits to eat each other’s excreta. The issue was brought to the notice of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and the National S.C.-S.T. Commission by the Tamil Nadu People’s Watch.

One reason why only a small number of cases are registered is that Dalits do not file complaints against the dominant communities fearing reprisal, as they depend mostly on the landholders for their livelihood. The time-consuming nature of litigation also forces them to keep away from police stations, says P. Sampath, TNUEF convener. “Even if they lodge a complaint under the S.C./S.T. Act, the police ask the caste Hindus to lodge a counter complaint so that a criminal case is filed against the Dalits, too. The negligible conviction rate in cases under the S.C./S.T. Act also demoralises the oppressed sections,” he adds.

Senior advocate P. Rathinam, who has fought many cases of atrocities against Dalits, says that most of the crimes against the oppressed sections are not registered under the S.C./S.T. Act. “Even when they are registered, the first information report is diluted deliberately. In certain cases, due compensation, as per an order issued by the State government in 1998, is not disbursed to the victims,” he alleges.

A. Kathir, director of Evidence, has urged the State government to conduct a detailed review of the implementation of the various aspects of the S.C./S.T. Act, such as the registering of cases and the preparation of charge sheets. Of a total of 6.68 lakh cases of cognisable crimes reported in 2008, only 0.24 per cent were under the S.C./S.T. Act.

The special courts set up by the government for quick disposal of cases relating to atrocities against Dalits need better infrastructure to achieve their objective, he says. “A detailed survey on the atrocity-prone villages is the need of the hour,” he added.

As per official data, discriminatory practices against Dalits exist in 28 districts in the State, which has been ruled by the two major Dravidian parties – Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) and the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (AIADMK) – since 1967.

Policy note

The government’s policy note on the Adi Dravidar and Tribal Welfare Department for 2009-2010 refers to the “effective implementation” of the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, and the S.C./S.T. Act to abolish untouchability and to prevent atrocities against Dalits. It speaks about the role of the human rights and social justice wing of the State police in enforcing the provisions of the two Acts and of the four special sessions courts functioning in Tiruchi, Thanjavur, Madurai and Tirunelveli for the speedy disposal of cases.

However, the government’s efforts to create awareness against untouchability have had very little impact going by Minister for Adi Dravidar Welfare A. Tamilarasi’s own admission in the policy note, which was tabled in the Assembly on July 3. In it she says the message of the “mass awareness campaign and the social justice tea parties” launched by the government has reached only six lakh people so far. Cosmetic measures will do nothing to bring about any significant change in the prevailing scenario, says P. Sampath. Several other activists who have been working for the welfare of Dalits in a focussed manner also feel that radical socio-economic programmes have to be implemented for the empowerment of Dalits and to end disparities in terms of productive resources such as land, finance, education and employment, besides taking stringent measures against the perpetrators of atrocities against them.

This becomes particularly important in a State where Dalits are numerically a significant section. As per the 2001 Census, Dalits form 19 per cent and the S.Ts 1.04 per cent, of the total population of 6.24 crore. Of the 385 blocks in the State, 153 have more than 25 per cent Dalit population and around 3,550 villages have more than 40 per cent Dalit population. S.Cs and S.Ts constitute more than 20 per cent of the population in six of the 30 districts (as of 2008). Among them, in Tiruvarur they form 32.35 per cent, Nilgris 31.23 per cent, Perambalur 30.21 per cent, Cuddalore 27.76 per cent and Villupuram 27.39 per cent.

Official data for 2008 indicate that curbing atrocities against the oppressed sections is a formidable task. There are 186 villages classified as “atrocity prone” and 230 that are “dormant atrocity prone”. Among them, 166 villages have been described as “highly sensitive”.

Various social indicators make it amply clear that the State has a poor record of empowerment of Dalits. According to official sources, 31.2 per cent of the Dalit population in rural areas and 40.2 per cent in urban areas are among the below-poverty-line social groups. Official documents also point out that the literacy level of Dalits is much lower than the general literacy rate. According to the 2001 Census, as against the State’s general literacy rate of 76.2 per cent, only 63.2 per cent of Dalits and 41.5 per cent of members of the S.Ts are literate. The lack of political will for radical land reforms and redistribution of surplus land to landless Dalits has contributed to conflicts in the rural areas. Even official sources point out that though 83.08 lakh Dalits live in villages, only 10 per cent of them are cultivators. Around 90 per cent of these cultivators have less than one hectare of land. As per the 2001 Census, 58.5 per cent of Dalits are agricultural workers and 29 per cent fall in the “other workers” category.

Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi’s statement on November 11 that surplus land has been distributed to 61,985 landless Dalits under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Reduction of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1970, only shows the yawning gap between the Dalits’ quest for land and the government’s response, a veteran leader of the All India Kisan Sabha points out.

Demanding a holistic approach to the issue, the TNUEF, an umbrella organisation of 45 State-level class and mass outfits and 15 Dalit and human rights associations, took out a rally in Chennai on October 27. Besides calling for the strict implementation of the S.C./S.T. Act and the Protection of Civil Rights Act, 1955, it called for steps to redeem the 2.5 lakh acres (one lakh hectares) of “panchami” lands grabbed from Dalits. Setting up of a State Commission for S.C.-S.T. welfare; the formation of district-level panels with due representation to Dalit organisations and secular forces to monitor the implementation of these two Acts; and the raising of the percentage of reservation for S.Cs to 19, commensurate with their population, are among the other demands of the front.

By Vikhar Ahmed Sayeed in Bangalore

ON August 2, 1987, in Bendigere village of Belgaum district in northern Karnataka, four S.C. youth were forced to eat human excreta by caste Hindus who accused them of stealing maize. According to excerpts from a report of the Karnataka Legislature Committee for the Welfare of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes for the year 1987-88, the upper-caste men abused the Dalit youth using their caste name and threatened them: “You bloody fellows, go and bring human shit and eat it, otherwise you will have to face severe consequences.”

Several days went by before this gross act was even reported, but the incident (along with other such instances across the country) was responsible for the inclusion of Section 3(1)(i) in the S.C./S.T. Act. However, the Act has not led to any significant reduction in atrocities reported against Dalits in the State.

According to the 2001 Census, the S.Cs constituted slightly over 16 per cent of the State’s population and the S.Ts around 6.5 per cent. According to National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) statistics for 2007, there were 205 incidents of crime against members of the S.Cs and 1,844 incidents against members of the S.Ts. This is partly because Dalits, more than Adivasis, have fixed roles in the political economy of a populated area.

According to the Directorate of Civil Rights Enforcement, a State-level body that looks into complaints regarding atrocities against members of the S.Cs and the S.Ts, the number of convictions under the Act is insignificant. The majority of the cases are either pending trial or are classified as “B reports” (meaning that the complaint itself has been proved wrong or false).

According to the NCRB’s statistics, Karnataka ranks sixth in the country in the number of crimes against S.Cs and eighth in crimes against S.Ts. (By population, Karnataka ranks ninth in the country.)

According to S. Japhet, Director of the Centre for the Study of Social Exclusion and Inclusive Policy at the National Law School of India University, part of the reason why the Act has failed to deter atrocities against Dalits is that Karnataka has some of the lowest conviction rates for complaints made under it. Japhet was the coordinator for a research that led to a report in 2005 evaluating the performance of special courts that were set up for dealing with cases of atrocities under the S.C./S.T. Act.

According to Japhet, this is one of the most serious drawbacks in the implementation of the Act. “In the majority of districts in the country, there are no special courts as mandated by the provisions of this Act,” he said. Between 1997 and 2000, only four districts in Karnataka had the special courts compared with 12 in Andhra Pradesh, 10 in Gujarat, 35 in Madhya Pradesh, 17 in Rajasthan and 40 in Uttar Pradesh.

According to K.L. Chandrashekhar Aijoor, research assistant at the same centre where Japhet works, the number of special courts in Karnataka has only gone up to seven now, but considering that every district is supposed to have a special court, Karnataka should have 29 such courts. (These are usually sessions courts that are briefly designated as special courts to deal with cases under the Act.)


One of the most glaring examples of the failure of the Act in Karnataka was the acquittal of all the accused in the March 2000 massacre of seven Dalits at Kambalapalli village in Kolar district, around 80 kilometres from Bangalore. The massacre took place after a skirmish between Vokkaligas and Dalits. The gruesome killings were the result of a cumulative build-up of tension between the Vokkaliga and the increasingly aware Dalit communities in the region.

The immediate provocation was an altercation between two Dalit youth and a Reddy (Vokkaliga) man over the use of a certain stretch of road. Following this a mob of Vokkaligas attacked a group of Dalits who had returned after filing a police complaint. The houses of a Dalit and his neighbour were burnt. Among the seven Dalits who died were a woman and her two sons and daughter.

According to media reports, the witnesses turned hostile when the case came up for hearing in the local court. All the accused were acquitted. The matter is waiting to be heard in the Karnataka High Court.

Such prolonged delay demonstrates that the twofold purpose of the Act – to prevent atrocities and to provide compensation and rehabilitation to victims after a speedy trial – has not been fulfilled.

More than 25 per cent of the population in Kolar is Dalit and the district has a history of caste violence. In the decades before the massacre, there was resentment over the establishment of a Dalit Sangharsh Samiti (DSS) chapter in the district. Part of the discord between upper and lower castes stems from the seemingly upward mobility of Dalits.

Karnataka has an active Dalit movement, which started in the 1970s. As its effects began to filter down, the consciousness among Dalits about their constitutional rights increased. This has led to a change in their attitude towards caste. The upper castes have resented this change. Even trivial things like the way a Dalit dressed annoyed upper-caste members. In Kambalapalli, for example, one of the victims used to tuck in his shirt.

A report on the Kambalapalli carnage published by the People’s Democratic Forum in April 2000 said: “The tucked-in shirt is like a red rag for caste Hindus, for it symbolised the growing arrogance of Dalits and their modernisation.”

While the conscious identity of Dalits has led to resentment from the upper castes in rural areas, even urban areas like Bangalore are not immune to caste discrimination. “Over the past two years, two Dalit students committed suicide in Bangalore – one was a student of the Indian Institute of Science, while the other was a student of the University of Agricultural Sciences. The prejudiced mindset of caste-Hindu society led to creating a situation where these students committed suicide,” said Lolaksha, a social activist who follows closely the instances of discrimination against Dalits in the State.

By Aparna Alluri in Hyderabad

LALITHA (name changed on request), 25, is awaiting her court summons. A member of the women’s wing of the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi (MRPS), she was active in her local community until she became a victim herself.

As part of community initiatives, she often visited the local police station. When a new circle inspector was appointed in March 2008, she had a minor altercation with him. She says his immediate response was, “You are a Madiga and you are wearing sunglasses, driving a bike and walking around so confidently. Who do you think you are?”

“For nearly eight months, every time I met him, he repeated the same thing. He abused me by my caste name several times.” The verbal taunts soon escalated to sexual overtures. When she questioned him about complaints she had received against him, things became worse. “In November, I was arrested and detained for one night. He threatened me, shoved me against a wall and warned me against confronting him again. I was shifted to the women’s police station only at 1-30 a.m.,” she says.

Her case is pending with the State Human Rights Commission. She is yet to file an FIR against the officer for fear of further harassment. “I don’t know what else to do,” she says. “He expects me to cower in fear, but why should I?” she says. “I am educated, I know right from wrong and I know my rights. In what way am I lesser than he?”

Lalitha’s case is more the rule than the exception. Counter-cases have become an easy recourse to delaying and eventually denying justice to historically disadvantaged groups. “For every case filed by a Dalit there is a counter case against him/her by the accused,” says M. Chalapathi, High Court advocate and Dalit rights coordinator, Human Rights Law Network (HRLN).

“The police register the second complaint and arrest the Dalit victim, compelling him/her to withdraw the case. Or, they keep both cases pending and use the case as ammunition when the victim pressures them to act,” says Bojja Tarakam, eminent lawyer and Dalit rights activist.

This remains the situation, even after 12 of the State’s 23 districts have been identified as atrocity-prone by the government. Attack is the most common form of atrocity, accounting for 27 per cent of the crimes.

Of the State’s population of 7,62,10,007 (2004-05), the S.Cs constitute 1,23,39,496 and the S.Ts 50,24,104. Dalits belong mainly to two castes – Mala and Madiga – and are agricultural labourers. The land-owning, politically dominant groups are Reddys, Kammas, Rajus and Kapus. This social and economic polarisation has had significant political implications. The 1980s marked the advent of the Telugu Desam Party (TDP) and the rise of the Dalit movement. N.T. Rama Rao’s rise to power is often seen as the political ascendancy of coastal Andhra’s rich Kamma farmers. The atrocities against Dalits in Karamchedu (1985), Neerukonda (1987) and Chundur (1991) were seen as manifestations of a conflict caused by the shift in political power at the top and the rising consciousness below.

More than two decades later, the State’s record in checking atrocities against Dalits remains poor. According to figures with the Department of Social Welfare, 4,157 cases were registered in 2008 under the S.C./S.T. Act. Of these, 1,783 cases were closed as false and 1,004 are pending completion of investigation. For the same period, out of 3,661 cases brought to court, only 128 resulted in convictions. Interestingly, only in eight cases appeals were filed on the acquittals.

As for visits by the Vigilance and Monitoring Committees prescribed under the Act, only 45 visits were recorded for 19 districts in 2008. Information was cited as unavailable for the remaining four districts.

Currently, there is a writ petition pending in the Andhra Pradesh High Court demanding the effective implementation of the S.C./S.T. Act, 1989, and Rules 1995.

The counter-affidavits filed by the police in response to the petition speak for themselves. Police records in the period from 1995 to 2006 show that 21,000 cases were registered under the Act. Of these, more than 14,000 are pending without a charge sheet being filed, even though the Act stipulates that investigation must be completed within 30 days of the FIR being filed. “This is a clear violation of Section 4 of the Act, which deals with dereliction of duty,” says Chalapathi.

The petition demands that criminal proceedings be initiated against those police officers who fail to discharge their duties as prescribed under the Act. “The Act insists on special courts and special public prosecutors to enable speedy trial. But cases have been pending for nearly 10 years in the investigation stage itself,” says Bojja Tarakam. “Yet not a single police officer has been prosecuted for negligence.”

He says one reason for such high pendency is the many attempts to quash cases by claiming that they are false. “When the High Court receives such a petition, it stays all further proceedings, including investigation, though the Supreme Court has directed the High Court not to interfere in investigations.”

However, the reasons for delay cited in the counter-affidavits are far more incredulous. The reasons include “for want of accused”, “for want of examination of witness”, “no post-mortem report”, “no FSL [forensic science laboratory] certificate”, even for cases pending since 1995. Even VIP duty is submitted as a reason for numerous investigations pending since 1996.

“Whose fault is that?” asks Chalapathi. “Is this not negligence of duty?”

The delay itself seems to have become the reason in many instances. “Case Diary not available and as such unable to furnish the exact reason for delay,” or “as the case was registered in 1998, reasons not known to present Investigating Officer,” reads one entry in the register. “Close to 105 reasons have been furnished and not one is legally substantial,” says Chalapathi.

“I have personally told police officers that they may be technically right in closing certain cases, but the matter doesn’t end there. If witnesses turn hostile, they need to ask why that has happened,” says A. Vidyasagar, former Commissioner of Social Welfare. He agrees that special courts do exist, but says “the progress they have made seems to suggest that cases under the S.C./S.T. Act are only one of the things they address rather than their priority”. He says a review at the Chief Minister’s level in 2008 led to a suggestion that a Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) must be made to supervise the inquiries in every district. “The idea was accepted,” he says. “The only solution is continuous review.”

Trial is a far cry for many because registering a case is often a struggle by itself. Getting a case registered under the S.C./S.T. Act is a bigger hurdle. Whether the accused abused the victim by his caste name is often seen as the grounds for registering cases under the Act. However, the Act only stipulates that the victim must belong to the S.C./S.T. community and the accused to another community. If the victim or his/her family has a Christian name, or is known to go to church, they are told they cannot register the case under the Act. “This is sufficient to file a petition quashing the case as false. The court gives the victims 15 days to file an objection, failing which the case is closed. Given that most of these people are poor and uneducated, they may not respond in time,” says Chalapathi.

Curiously, caste certificates are often demanded not just to register a case but also for the investigation to proceed. In numerous cases, this was cited as the reason for the delay in the investigation.

The hurdles are many and victories have been few and far between. Even as hundreds wait for justice, police records and trials only present a part of the picture. “Untouchability is still rampant. Dalits are still not treated as humans. Where is the question of human rights?” asks Chalapathi.








High and dry


The benefits of the Prevention of Atrocities Act have not reached the tribal people because of its tardy implementation.

THE Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has attempted to include the exploitation of the Scheduled Tribes (S.T.s) in its list of “atrocities”, but does it actually address the specifics, the magnitude, and the unique dimensions of the problems faced by these communities? The answer, according to a large number of social activists who have taken up tribal issues from within the communities as well as from outside, is in the negative. They point out that the Act has to be amended in order to address the issues of S.T.s specifically as it has failed to check the harassment faced by these communities.

They also add that the need for amendments is stronger than ever now as the government itself has become, in the contemporary political and economic context, one of the biggest abusers of S.T. privileges guaranteed by the Fifth Schedule of the Constitution. The Fifth Schedule aims to protect the right of the Adivasis to live in scheduled areas, but at present the Union and many State governments are working in collaboration with big business houses for indiscriminate industrialisation in forest areas.

The history of the S.T.s in independent India also underlines the need for legislation and related executive measures to address their concerns. By any yardstick, it is clear that if the section of the population with the lowest security of life and livelihood is the Scheduled Tribes. Though various pieces of legislation and constitutional securities have attempted to provide social and economical security to them, it is clear that the S.T. population across the country falls far behind the rest in all measures of the Human Development Index in demographic comparisons. The problems of the S.T.s are unique and separate from those of the S.C.s as a large section of them lives in scheduled areas, mostly forests. Consequently, their level of social and economic interaction with the dominant ‘modern’ world is much less than that of the S.C.s.

In the case of the S.T.s, most cases of atrocities are related to land issues, and in most cases the S.T. victims are not aware of the Act. One of the most important reasons for this lack of awareness is that the tribal populations who still follow their traditional lifestyles are governed by multiple authorities. This correspondent, while travelling in the hinterland of Madhya Pradesh – Harda, Betul and Satna – found that for the villagers, the authorities simply mean an exploitative combination of nakedaar, hawaldaar and patwari (forest guard, police guard and the lowest-level revenue inspector). The tribal people face the excesses of not only Forest Department staff but also those of the police and district administration officials.

Before 2006, when the the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act was passed, the tribes were at the mercy of the Forest Department and the police to cultivate their traditional lands and to gather community resources from the forests because the forests were reserved lands and, under the colonial Indian Forests Act, belonged to the government. Consequently, problems arose as these tribes are historically dependent on forest lands. This led to Forest Department officials engaging the tribal people in forced labour and extracting bribes to let them live off forest resources. Any protests by the tribal people would lead to indiscriminate arrests for “encroachment” and other petty offences. There are cases of compoundable offences in which tribalpople were detained at random by the police. Timber contractors and their touts in the forest regions are also highly exploitative.

Even after the Act came into force, and also after the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Ryles were framed in 1995 under Section 23 of the Act, S.T.s could not take any advantage of it because of their lack of awareness. However, since the Forest Rights Act came into force, the harassment has decreased. Yet, like the Prevention of Atrocities Act, the Forest Rights Act is made ineffective by flawed implementation. Today, most tribal movements are a consequence of industrialisation drives permitted by the government. It is important to notice that most of the industries coming up in the forest areas are extractive industries which, it is feared, will ruin the self-sufficient traditional economy. This causes migrations of tribal communities, subsequently leading to the exploitation every unskilled migrant worker faces. If seen within the purview of the Act, all these forms of exploitation could be seen as “atrocities”.

K.B. Saxena, in his National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) report, points out that in areas affected by insurgency and naxalite activities, the S.T.s face dual violence – from caste-Hindu landlords, who often have private militias, and from the state. “The two operate with a certain degree of nexus but with different motivations and through different methods. State bans both the insurgency/naxalite organisations as well as private militias of dominant castes/class in pursuance of its primary duty to maintain public order. As a result, police and security forces carry out combing operations in search of leaders and sympathisers of both. But the police and security agencies during their investigation and search operations make a differential approach,” the report says. It goes on to explain that the forces unleash violence during such operations on residents of S.T. villages and are extremely offensive towards the women. Similar operations are not carried out in upper-caste settlements, and even if there are any operations in those areas they are executed mildly and women are treated with dignity.

The poor implementation of the Act is also a result of the district machinery cracking down on all forms of ordinary and legitimate democratic protests. For instance, in Madhya Pradesh, many social activists were slapped with cases under the Madhya Pradesh Rajya Surakshya Adhiniyam, 1990. This is important, political analysts believe, for the age-old industrial-caste-administration-military nexus to maintain its supremacy over the rich resources of the region.

Tribal rights activists have been raising their voices against the atrocities on certain S.T. communities which during the British period were described as “criminal tribes” or “habitual offenders” as their members were perceived to be crime-prone. Though these tribes were denotified after Independence, their members were routinely picked up for questioning whenever there was a crime in the area and were allegedly tortured in order to extract confessions, activists say. Separate laws were enacted to deal with them. The old discriminatory mindset still influences the administration’s behaviour in dealing with such tribes – a different form of racism.

The data compiled by the National Dalit Movement for Justice after a nationwide survey show that from 2002 to 2008, only around 20,000 cases of atrocities against S.T.s had reached the courts every year, out of which only around 30 per cent were registered under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. The rest were pursued either under the Indian Penal Code or under the softer Protection of Civil Rights Act. Even more stark is the rate of pending cases, which is about 81 per cent. The National Crime Records Bureau’s figure for 2007 is even lower. It recorded a total of 5,532 cases of crime against the Scheduled Tribes in India, out of which only 1,104 cases were registered under the Prevention of Atrocities Act. A total of 9,483 persons were arrested in 2007.

Cornerstone, a tribal rights group in Tamil Nadu, has done extensive research on the Prevention of Atrocities Act. It agrees that the Act has not fully reached the Adivasis. “We, along with some other groups, have suggested some amendments to the Act. First, the violation of the Forest Rights Act needs to be covered under the PoA Act. Second, the impunity that forest officials enjoy needs to corrected, and the Indian Forests Act, too, needs to be covered under the PoA Act,” Richard Devadoss, director of Cornerstone, told Frontline. He further explained that atrocities against the S.T.s could be seen in various ways of denial that are all born out of the systematic exclusion of S.T.s from mainstream policy. For instance, he explains that S.T. certificates are being denied to historical tribes such as Irulas in the Cuddalore region and the forest tribe Pulliyars in Kodaikanal, Tamil Nadu. He says that land rights were being denied to non-forest tribes, too. “The Forest Protection Act guarantees 10 acres of land for each Adivasi but we have hardly seen its implementation. Denial of community resources and cultural practices are also a huge issue. Because of this, Adivasis are being denied access to water and their traditional habitat as they are forced to move away from their households. All these can easily be termed as atrocities on the S.T.s.”

The atrocities are not limited to forest and rural areas. In the last decade, a form of racial atrocity against students and workers of northeastern India in the metropolitan cities has been on the rise. Delhi has registered numerous cases of racial discrimination of people from the Northeast. The prejudices among North Indians are often highlighted through cases of eve-teasing, rape and professional discrimination against northeastern women and men. A typical instance would be the recent high-profile murder case of a Naga girl, Ramchanphy Hongray, in which an IIT researcher, Pushpam Sinha, was arrested. Notably, though the police admitted that Pushpam Sinha might have thought it would be easy for him to lure Hongray because of her upbringing in the liberal setting of the Northeast, the Prevention of Atrocities Act has not been invoked.

Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre of Human Rights, said, “The conviction rate in the PoA Act in cases dealing with the S.T.s is only 27 per cent, much lower than the special laws and criminal laws. In 2007, there were around 29,000 cases of land disputes among tribal people reported and not a single one was adjudicated in favour of the tribal people. Should this be treated as just a land issue? It is the historical oppression and atrocity on the S.T.s that has led to the growth of naxalites in the tribal region. No one is clear about the Act vis-À-vis the S.T.s. In case of large-scale displacement, we do not know whether the Land Acquisition Act that gives the government the power to acquire land would be applicable or the PoA Act.”

He said that legislation alone could not solve the problem. He ointed out that the tribal people were among the most exploited communities in the country though Acts such as the Andhra Pradesh Schedule Areas Land Transfer Regulation, 1959, the Assam Land Revenue Regulation Act, 1886, the Chotanagpur Tenancy Act, 1908, the Santhal Parganas Tenancy Act, 1949, the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code, 1966, the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code and Tenancy Laws (Amendment) Act, 1974, and the Maharashtra Restoration of Lands to Scheduled Tribes Act, 1974, had been in force. Perhaps, what is necessary in such a context is a focus on proper








Victims always


The S.C. and S.T. (Prevention of Atrocities) Act has failed to make Dalits any safer.

THE ascent of the Mayawati-led Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) to power in Uttar Pradesh on May 13, 2007, was seen as a defining moment in the politics of Dalit empowerment in the country. The Scheduled Caste (S.C.) leader of an avowedly “Dalit assertive” party had been Chief Minister earlier too, but the difference this time was that her party came to power on its own, without needing the support of other parties and independent members.

Thousands of Dalits who gathered in the State capital, Lucknow, on that day expressed the hope that atrocities against the S.Cs would decline drastically under the new “single-party” regime. Many social activists and observers who spoke to Frontline then also hoped that a single-party government under a Dalit Chief Minister in the country’s most populous State would have a salutary effect on Dalits’ condition elsewhere in the country too.

Approximately a year later, papers and documents presented at a two-day international seminar on Uttar Pradesh, organised by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), a Delhi-based think tank, provided an indication of the situation on the ground. The papers documented that “within a month of the [Mayawati] government’s assumption of office, seven Dalits were killed in Muzaffarnagar, while three Dalit women were raped in the same district”. The papers also revealed that reports from areas such as Rae Bareli, Mohanlalganj, Lakhimpur Kheri and Mahoba were of a similar nature and that atrocities against Dalits continued in spite of the political gains made by the BSP.

The presentations at the seminar pointed out that the political leadership found it difficult to implement what was perhaps its most important Dalit empowerment programme – the allotment of patta land to Dalits – on account of strong anti-Dalit sentiments within the administration.

A field study presented at the seminar revealed that in scores of villages in western Uttar Pradesh, in districts such as Baghpat, Muzaffarnagar and Meerut, Dalits were unable to occupy patta land allotted to them because of intimidation and in some cases even physical prevention by upper-caste groups. Not surprisingly, sections of the police and the administration were hand in glove with the upper-caste elements. Such was their allegiance to the caste interests that even repeated orders from the Chief Minister’s Office to the District Magistrates failed to have any effect in a number of cases.

The National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) statistics for 2007 for crimes against members of the S.Cs and the Scheduled Tribes (S.Ts) corroborated the presentations made at the seminar. The figures showed that Uttar Pradesh topped the list on atrocities against the S.Cs and the S.Ts, with 2,113 cases out of a total of 9,819. The data also indicated a 10.2 per cent increase in crimes against the S.Cs and the S.Ts at the national level. Uttar Pradesh accounted for 20.5 per cent of all cases in India. The BSP’s argument was that under the “friendly” Mayawati regime more S.C. members made bold to register cases against their oppressors.

There was merit in this argument, but the fact remained that Dalits were at the receiving end in large parts of Uttar Pradesh, where the politics of empowerment of the S.Cs and the S.Ts, the protection of their interests, their physical safety and the assertion of their constitutional rights had acquired, in comparative terms, the highest political and electoral acceptability.

Social and political observers hark back to an observation made by B.R. Ambedkar to explain this context. Ambedkar had said: “History shows that where ethics and economics come in conflict, victory is always with economics. Vested interests have never been known to have willingly divested themselves unless there was sufficient force to compel them.”

Long-standing apartheid

Twenty years after the passage of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, the vociferous advocacy of the same by almost all political parties and even the rise of the politics of S.C.-S.T. empowerment across the country, it seems that the quantum of “sufficient force” visualised by Ambedkar would have been colossal. As the case of Uttar Pradesh indicates, the effective implementation of the Act would take a lot more than electoral victories and increasing political space.

The gaps in the implementation of the Act stand in stark contrast to the convictions that underlay its enactment. In simple terms, the legislation aims to prevent the various forms of offences by persons other than members of the S.C. and the S.T. against members of these communities. But studies have shown that it has systematically been prevented from achieving its goal. A number of factors have contributed to this, but the most important is the caste and class prejudices in society. These prejudices have got institutionalised, through religious and social practices, into a unique system of long-standing apartheid. That they have a class character is also evident; the Dalit and Adivasi communities that are discriminated against constitute almost 80 per cent of India’s poor.

The S.C./S.T. Act is seen to be empowering as it is the first legislation to use and define the term “atrocities” committed against the S.Cs and the S.Ts. Introducing the Bill, the then Union Law Minister, B. Shankaranand, said the normal provisions of the existing laws, such as the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Protection of Civil Rights Act (PCRA), 1955, had been found inadequate to check the atrocities, gross indignities and offences against the S.Cs and the S.Ts. Therefore, the Act prescribes harsher punishments than the punitive measures detailed in the IPC and the PCRA, which used only the term “offences” vis-À-vis caste-related crimes.

The Act also introduced an executive system specifically to govern justice for the S.Cs and the S.Ts in cases of 22 broad types of atrocities relating to socio-economic discriminatory practices, which are listed in it. This system should comprise special courts, a special public prosecutor, nodal officers in each State, an S.C. and S.T. protection cell, and State-level and district-level monitoring and vigilance committees to identify atrocity-prone areas, and a special officer appointed by the district head to look after each case of atrocity. In actuality, in most States the full system has either not been constituted or has been functioning ineffectively.

Gaps in implementation

The gaps in its implementation could be studied at two levels – the executive and the judiciary. The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) noted in its 2002 report: “Under-reporting is a very common phenomenon and the police resort to various machinations to discourage S.C./S.T. [persons] from registering their cases, to dilute the seriousness of the violence, to shield the accused persons from arrests and prosecution.”

A study done by National Dalit Movement for Justice (NDMJ), part of the National Campaign for Dalit Human Rights (NCDHR), showed that between 1992 and 2007 only 33 per cent of the atrocity cases were registered under the S.C./S.T. Act. The majority of the cases were registered under IPC sections and 1 per cent under the PCRA. It also showed that the conviction rate of cases under the S.C./S.T. Act was just 3.3 per cent for the country as a whole.

The figures at the level of the judiciary are equally pathetic. Between 1992 and 2007, as many as 80 per cent of the cases heard by the special courts (created under Section 14 of the Act) were not registered under the Act. In 95.1 per cent of the cases charge sheets had not been filed. The monitoring advisories set up in States on an ad hoc basis by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment (MSJE) and the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) noted that in many cases the police wilfully neglected the S.C./S.T. Act and did not register first information reports (FIRs). Among the recommendations made were the setting up of special police stations and the launching of awareness campaigns about the Act.

The Ahmedabad-based Council for Social Justice (CSJ) has collected documents of 400 cases pertaining to 2004 filed under the S.C./S.T. Act in Gujarat. There are some startling revelations in them. Despite Section 18 of the Act restricting anticipatory bail in atrocity cases, anticipatory bail had been granted in 320 of the 400 cases.

Valjibhai Patel, secretary CSJ, told Frontline: “Rule 4(1) of the Act says that there should be two panels of advocates in atrocity cases – a state-appointed public prosecutor and a panel created by the district head. In most of the cases, we see no such panels. The Act states that an officer below the rank of DSP [Deputy Superintendent of Police] cannot investigate the case. Many of the accused have been acquitted by courts just because the case was investigated by officers below the rank of DSP. I have seen in Gujarat rape cases of Dalits being sent to Lok Adalats meant for only compoundable offences.”

Plight of women

Dalit women face the worst atrocities as both women and Dalits. A seminal study conducted by the NCDHR (“Dalit Women Speak Out”, 2006) enumerating the experiences of 500 Dalit women from Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh presents a shocking picture of the conditions they live in. The study records the violence – physical, sexual and mental – inflicted on Dalit women. The study reinforces calls for comprehensive preventive measures to be put in place to eradicate caste discrimination and violence against Dalit women, in conjunction with measures to help Dalit women achieve their rights.

Valjibhai Patel says that though the Act mentions punitive measures against negligence, to date not a single official in India has been punished despite serious violations of the Act all over the country. He says the judiciary should also be made accountable, not just the police and the district administration. “There are many cases of atrocities where the accused has been punished under the IPC but has been acquitted under the S.C./S.T. Act. In Gujarat, one of the professors who raped his Dalit student got life imprisonment but was acquitted under the S.C./S.T. Act. The Khairlanji case is a big example where the people now serving the death penalty were acquitted under the S.C./S.T. Act. How is this possible? This means there is some problem in investigation and pursuance of the Act,” he says. The CSJ has filed a petition in the Supreme Court regarding the violation of the Act, the first hearing of which will be on December 3.

Budget and policy

The MJSE is responsible for the implementation of the S.C./S.T. Act. To implement the Act effectively, the MSJE has to provide for special courts for the trial of offences and for the relief and rehabilitation of victims of such offences. The Ministry provides financial resources for the implementation of the Act through the Special Central Assistance (SCA) from the Union government, which is 50 per cent of the total expenditure of the States and the total expenditure of the Union Territories.

However, the allocation of funds every year under the SCA has seen a steady decline. Under the Act taluk- and mandal-level officers are responsible for disbursing compensation and this work has to be monitored by the District Magistrate/Collector and the district monitoring and vigilance committee. Separate funds have to be given to police stations/courts towards travelling allowance/dearness allowance (T.A./D.A.) of victims and witnesses on FIR investigation and it has to be monitored by the Superintendent of Police (S.P.) and the District Judge (D.J.). There is also clear direction in the Act that arrangements should be made for maintenance expenses and reimbursement of medical costs of victims of atrocity.

In 2008, the Dalit Arthik Adhikar Andolan, also a part of the NCDHR, looked into the actual budget for the S.C./S.T. Act in each State and estimated the amount every State actually needed for its proper implementation. Its calculations have been done on the basis of the number of compensation cases in each State, the average cost of running the present number of special courts and special police stations, and relief and rehabilitation measures for victims specified in the Act.

The results in all the States reveal that the actual budget allocated for the Act is much less than what is required. This is despite the fact that both the Central government and the State governments share the amount made available for the programme under the special component plan. Uttar Pradesh ranks the highest in terms of this deficit, and its figure stands at a staggering Rs.1,640 crore. Rajasthan, also a State with one of the highest rates of caste crimes, is second with Rs.1,157 crore, and Bihar follows with Rs.1,085 crore.

According to the actual budget allocated, as shown in the MJSE annual report, Uttar Pradesh, since 2007, ranks the highest in the allocation of funds for the Act, with around Rs.950 crore, followed closely by Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka. Among the big States, the lowest allocation is in Bihar, with just Rs.27 crore. Chhattisgarh’s allocation is Rs.40 crore. In Haryana, which has one of the largest numbers of caste crimes, the allocation is only Rs.60 crore. In the South, Tamil Nadu ranks the lowest, granting around Rs.235 crore.

An NCDHR analysis of the qualitative investments of the Central government shows that in this year’s Budget the amount spent on wage labour, school education, basic health, shelter, nutrition and primary necessaries involving Dalits is 62.44 per cent of the total special assistance funds. In sectors where the upper classes dominate, such as higher education, entrepreneurial development, and land and asset building, the allocation is 37.56 per cent. State budgets present a similar trend. Most of the funds still go to the traditional occupation of Dalits, such as cleaning, agricultural labour, leather works, and so on, which is in contrast to the theme of the SCP of systematic empowerment of Dalits in all sectors of production. It therefore does not surprise when the S.C./S.T. Act, a tool for legal empowerment of Dalits, lacks funds for its implementation.

The aggressive pursuit of neoliberal economic policies by governments at the Centre and in many States over the past decade has also resulted in an increase in atrocities against the S.Cs and the S.Ts. Ironically, even the Uttar Pradesh government is not free from such ventures. The government’s ambitious 1,047-kilometre-long Ganga Expressway project, connecting Greater Noida near Delhi and Ballia in eastern Uttar Pradesh, was expected to acquire 64,000 hectares of land, 70 per cent of which is agricultural land. A number of observers and social analysts pointed out that this acquisition would militate against the basic livelihood of a large section of Dalits who were into share-cropping with upper-caste, land-owning farmers.

According to NCRB data since 2005, Uttar Pradesh ranks the highest in the number of cases of caste atrocities, followed closely by Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Gujarat. “Acts like these empower and help organise Dalits. With greater awareness about the Act, we have seen a rise in caste atrocities every year,” said Sirivella Prasad of the NDMJ.

The trend clearly shows that caste atrocities have increased with greater social and economic mobility of the S.Cs and the S.Ts which disrupts the exploitative status quo of a feudal society.

Many activists note that atrocity cases happen when Dalits try to avail themselves of legal resources; assert their right over land, water, and livelihood; assert their right to choose their occupation; attempt to participate in the cultural life of the community; assert their right to vote; and are victimised to satisfy the superstitions of dominant castes (witchcraft, human sacrifice). With respect to the S.Ts, activists say most of the atrocities happen when they try to organise themselves politically against the combined exploitation of government officials and industrial goons in the hinterland.

However, the Act is not clear about the rules with respect to social and economic boycott of the S.Cs and the S.Ts and there is an ongoing advocacy campaign among Dalit groups to seek amendments to certain provisions of the Act to make it stronger. Said Colin Gonsalves of Human Rights Law Network: “Unless the institutional caste bias is systematically done away with at the policy level and proper action is taken against negligent officials, violations will continue to happen. The legal system has failed the S.Cs and the S.Ts. The Act is a clear instance of wonderful legislation but useless implementation. Our judiciary needs at least 15 per cent reservation for the S.Cs right from the lower courts to the Supreme Court. The Rajasthan High Court has not had a single Dalit judge since Independence – absurd for a State that ranks very high in caste crimes.”

To put it simply, caste is a combined social system of occupation, endogamy, culture, social class and political power, which has historically been exploitative for Dalits and Adivasis. In this context, the S.C./S.T. Act and its status echo Ambedkar’s words: “This condition obtains even where there is no slavery in the legal sense. It is found where, as in caste system, some persons are forced to carry on the prescribed callings which are not their choice.”








Armed Forces Tribunal Bench starts work

Express News Service

 Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0225 hrs Chandigarh:

The Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Chandigarh, bench started functioning from Monday. Presently, one bench out of the total three-bench court is operating which comprises of one judicial and one administrative member. The Bench took up a pension case pertaining to 2008 on its first day. No case has been transferred from the other courts so far.

The present members at the Chandigarh Bench include Justice Ghanshyam Prasad, former judge of Patna High Court Lieutenant General A S Bahia, former Director General Military Operations and Quarter Master General. The other two administrative members include Lieutenant General H S Panag, former GOC-in-C of Northern and Central Command and Lieutenant General N S Brar, former Deputy Chief of Integrated Defence Staff. Two more retired High Court Judges will be appointed in due course. Its geographic jurisdiction will extend to Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh.

Lieutenant General Bahia said it would take some weeks for the AFT at Chandigarh to function in its full capacity as the other members would be joining shortly.

The Tribunal has original jurisdiction over complaints and disputes regarding all service matters as also appellate jurisdiction over appeals arising out of verdicts of Court Martial. Retired personnel and their heirs dependents and successors can have access to the Tribunal with regard to all service matters.

The principal bench at Delhi became functional an August 10 this year and subsequently regional benches at Chennai, Jaipur and Lucknow were inaugurated recently. The remaining 15 courts under the Tribunal are one regional bench each at Jaipur, Mumbai, Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata and Gauhati which would be inaugurated in the coming months.

To fulfil the long standing need of dispensing speedy justice to the Armed Forces personnel, the Parliament had passed the bill to establish the Armed Forces Tribunal in July 2007. The AFT Act 2007 came into effect on June 15, 2008 and the tribunal was inaugurated by the President, Pratibha Patil on August 8 this year.









Launching the Bangalore Chapter of the All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA)

Sunday, November 15, 2009

All India Men’s Welfare Association (AIMWA) was launched in Hyderabad on the 11th October 2009 to work in the area of elimination of all kinds of discrimination against boys and men. Today, this press conference is being conducted to launch the Bangalore Chapter of the same.

Why Men’s Welfare:

Ask someone about the problems of women and a list would emerge that would never seem to end. Ask about men’s problems and all one sees is blank faces. Does that mean that men do not have any problems? Or is it that there is no awareness for the same, as mirrored in the statement – “Absence of evidence is not an evidence of absence.”?

  1. If we look back, in the last 62 years of Indian Independence not a single rupee has ever been allocated for men’s welfare from the Union Budget.
  2. Not a single constitutional or quasi-constitutional body ever been formed to study men’s issues.
  3. Not a single study otherwise also ever been conducted targeted to study men’s issues.
  4. Not a single scheme ever been envisaged for men’s welfare.

Hence, in the backdrop of this emptiness, the Government and the society have absolutely no Locus-Standi to deny accepting men’s issues or avoid addressing them. And it is this emptiness which has led to the formation of AIMWA, to study men’s issues and demand for a National Commission for Men and Men’s Welfare Ministry.

Men and their identity:

Today, expectations from men have skyrocketed and acceptance levels for them have nosedived. In fact, there is no limitation to expectations from men and no acceptance of their limitations.

Today men are expected to,

  1. Take care of extended families of parents, siblings, wife, in-laws and provide for them,
  2. Take huge financial burdens and risks by undertaking various kinds of loans like home loan, car loan, education loan for siblings to name a few.
  3. Undertake the primary financial responsibility of the house even if the wife is well-qualified, well-earning and capable to share the financial load.
  4. Sponsor the education of young in-laws and their expensive visas and foreign degrees.
  5. Bow down before their wives or face Legal Terrorism viz. misuse of Section 498A and Domestic Violence Act.

And not only for the above, men have been expected to undertake the most risky and laborious jobs since time immemorial and also have been expected to be the de-facto PROTECTOR as well. It is not unusual to expect a 10 years old male child to escort and protect 30 years old able-bodied female aunty and it is also not unusual to expect a young boy to take charge when some monkey enters a household in rural areas.

However, at the same time, the de-facto protector is left unprotected with no protection available to him. Additionally, men are emotionally castrated right from the age of 6 as they are discouraged from expressing their pains and feelings. Dialogues like, “Do not cry like a girl”, “Be a man” are quite normal for the society to a 6 year old boy whose psyche and identity is just evolving. And the impact of these statements is so deep that the boy develops a fear of self-expression and remains numb to abuse the rest of his life.

As a result, men are finding emotional confrontations extremely painful when they grow up and most men contemplate suicidal tendencies during emotional turmoil in their relationship and a reasonable percentage of them actually commit suicide. The same is corroborated by suicide statistics,

  • 2005: 52583 married men committed suicide vis-à-vis 28188 married women.
  • 2006: 55452 married men committed suicide vis-à-vis 29869 married women.
  • 2007: 57593 married men committed suicide vis-à-vis 30064 married women.

Other than these, men face domestic violence from their wives and in-laws in the form of physical, emotional, mental, verbal and economic abuse. Added to this neither the society (including psychologists and marriage counselors) provides these men with any communication channel nor does the Government offer any legal relief.

Some other forms of harassment and discrimination faced by men,

  1. Men pay more taxes than women at the same salary level.
  2. Men are provided no protection against sexual harassment at workplace and against rape.
  3. Men do not have the choice of being a domestic engineer, social engineer or into creative paths. Irrespective of his likes and willingness a man is forced to don the role of the breadwinner for the family or else face a social death.
  4. Men are not accepted by the society the way they are; as human beings.
  5. Men are not provided with a communication channel – a channel that listens to them without invalidating their feelings or justifying their problems.
  6. No schemes are being furthered either by the Government or eminent social celebrities for boys the way they are happening for girls. This has led to more boys dropping out of school as per various media reports. Ultimately the boys are left under-trained to satiate the expectations as they grow up to be men and are developing resenting feelings towards the society which is leading to a lot of socio-legal problems.
  7. There is no concept of MEN’s RIGHTS, only RESPONSIBILITIES and DUTIES are there in store for them.

National Commission for Women – The Enemy in the veil:

Very recently, in the case of alleged complaint of sexual harassment by an airhostess of Air India, it was clearly observed that the air-hostess had violated the rules of Air India and entered the cockpit when she was not supposed to and later on, she filed a false complaint of sexual harassment against the innocent pilots. Though innocent, the pilots were forced to take a bail, following an arrest, due to adverse media hype given to the case and unethical handling of the issue by the National Commission for Women (NCW) – the hotbed of male hatred.

Also, on the 12th of October 2009, the NCW proposed radical and vicious recommendations in Section 125 CrPC (maintenance for wife, children and parents) asking for “maintenance to adulterous wives” and forcing man to pay maintenance “irrespective of his sufficient means”.

Despite the fact that in rape and dowry cases, the testimony of the complainant is given a very high priority the NCW demands for death penalty in the two cases. On the other hand, at the same time the NCW is not ready to address the issue of Domestic Violence faced by unmarried daughters from their parents and by elderly mothers-in-law from their daughters-in-law.

It is very clear that under the barb and paradoxical veil of “Women Empowerment”, the NCW is perpetrating male-hatred and is working like a “National Commission against Men” instead of “National Commission for Women”.

On the occasion of 19th November the INTERNATIONAL MEN’s DAYn AIMWA places the following of its demands from the Government and the society:

  1. Form National Commission for Men to study issues of men and provide the Government with recommendations for Men’s welfare.
  2. Institute Men’s Welfare Ministry that will implement the recommendations of the National Commission for Men on behalf of the Government.
  3. Abolish all anti-male gender biased laws.
  4. Close down the National Commission for Women.
  5. Rationalize the tax provisions to make them gender neutral.
  6. Form welfare schemes for boys and girls unilaterally.
  7. Form an ombudsman to regulate the anti-male quotient in media, television and films.
  8. Allow single adult men to adopt children before the age of 30.
  9. Do not force men to don the role of the breadwinner against their wish and give them a choice about their life.
  10. Address health issues of men like prostate cancer, short life expectancy, high suicide rates, etc with seriousness.
  11. Government should urge the private sector to come up with Health Products specifically targeted to diseases affecting men in large numbers.
  12. The World Economic Forum should start recognizing men as human beings as well as study and publish Gender Index of Men besides that for women alone.

AIMWA aims to work for men’s welfare and urge the Government and the society to take serious note of the problems of men.

All India Men’s Welfare Association, Bangalore

Save India Family Foundation








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 R Guhambika

First Published : 15 Nov 2009 10:30:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 14 Nov 2009 01:18:42 PM IST


Over these six years, the journey to redeem their dignity was turning out to be incr­easingly ard­uous for them. So much so, all but one of the nine persons fell by the wayside — it’s just one man holding his ground and saying ‘no’ to the sellout.

It all began in the summer of 2003 when the police “deta­ined, stripped, shackled, abused and tortured” seven men and two women from a central Tamil Nadu village. They have since been knocking at the door of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). All this, following a brutal crime in their rural Vittukatti off Tiruvarur.

Memories of that triple murder and the Khaki terror it entailed still cause its residents to shudder. The slain victims were Padmavathy (50), her unmarried daughter Jeeva and two-year-old grandson Brahadeeswaran. It was murder for gain; the killer had decamped with cash, jewellery and household articles after committing the crime.

The case made headlines. That the victims were Dalits caused a political uproar, even as the community comprises 80 per cent of the hamlet’s population. Unlike other Dalit villages, Vittukatti has a progressive profile; its sons — proud villagers note — include IAS/IPS officers, doctors, advocates and engineers.

Not surprisingly, the vociferous village youth, backed by the CPI(M), launched agitations demanding a probe into the murders. A cornered government took the police to task, the backlash caught the villagers unawares. “About 30 police teams swooped down upon us,” an elderly man recalls in a hushed tone.

The police picked up nine ‘suspects’, two of them women: K Jayalakshmi and G Tamilselvi. Both the women and the men — K Bhaskaran, P Sasikumar, Mohan, N Natarajan, Vedanayagam, Elango and Ravi — were taken to Thiruthuraipoondi police station on May 10. And from there, to an isolated interrogation chamber at Thirukalaru. There they were stripped naked and shackled.

Recalls Bhaskaran (45), a graduate: “After every session, the cops would listen to music, then come back and start beating us all over again.” Terrorised, they signed blank papers, but the ordeal only got worse — they were “forced to perform oral sex” on each other. “A senior policeman urinated on us. On May 13, another officer threatened to bump us off in an ‘encounter’ the next day if we didn’t confess to the crime.”

By evening that day, news broke about the arrest of the killer, Senthil, a relative of the victims. “Yet our release was nowhere in sight. In fact, police stepped up the torture,” says Bhaskaran. On May 15, they were let off.

All the nine victims of custodial torture decided to approach the SHRC for justice. A human rights NGO took up the issue. “They were in a bad state, with skin and flesh hanging down from their bruised bodies,”

K Kalidoss, regional legal officer of People’s Watch,  recalls the midnight ordeal to transport the victims to Chennai without the police’s knowledge. The victims were paraded before the commission. Its chairperson, Justice S Sambandam, was “visibly moved” and asked them to file individual complaints against the 19 police personnel, including a DSP and ADSP.

Six years later, it is far from clear whether the case will be decided on merit, as all victims except one are now travelling down the road to compromise. Clearly, pressure tactics have worked and a lot of money has exchanged hands. So what went wrong?

“Six years is a long time, and puts the victims in a pathetic condition,” contends Henry Tiphagne, director of People’s Watch. “A prolonged inquiry weakens anybody’s will to keep fighting and makes them prey to the respondents — in this case the police,” he says. Rights activists blame the “culture of courts” prevailing in the SHRCs and the National Human Rights Commission for the inordinate delay. They function like regular courts and follow elaborate judi­cial procedures; there is no time-bound investigation. “This case took three years for the commission to finish its enq­uiry with the victims alone,” Tiphagne points out.

Rights groups also note that the SHRC’s investigation wing, headed by an IG, has men drawn from the regular police force. They wonder how police officers can be used to conduct a human-rights violation probe. A rights violation investigation, they stress, is different from a criminal probe. It needs “a lot of sensitivity and understanding”.

Given that much of the probe depends on the credibility and capacity of the police officers, it is the failure to choose the right men that leads to cover-ups and bargaining, they feel. “Only two years ago, an SP in Perambalur (of central Tamil Nadu) was appointed the SHRC’s investigation officer when he had been pulled up by the NHRC,” says Tiphagne. Add to that is lack of transparency in appo­intments, accountability and efficiency.

The SHRC, anyway, is getting increased number of complaints. Sources in the commission say it’s 9,000 so far year. It was 12,000 last year, and 10,000 in 2007.

The NGOs stress the need for development of SHRC staff cadre, and vibrant interaction and sharing of reso­urces with rights groups. “The International Coordination Committee of national human rights commissions is all set to meet next year. And there is the possibility that India may lose its grade A status,” cautions Tiphagne.

Amid the din, Vittukatti villager Bhaskaran continues his lone battle and awaits justice at the hands of the SHRC.










Armed Forces Tribunal to overcome HC limitations

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Chandigarh, November 14
Provisions of the recently set up Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) have enabled it to overcome certain limitations imposed by the Constitution on the powers of high courts. This widens the ambit of judicial review by the AFT and its ability to grant relief to aggrieved military personnel.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Chandigarh Bench here today, AFT chairman Justice AK Mathur said the AFT would have the power to review trial evidence, something that the high courts cannot do under provisions of Article 226 of the Constitution.

Justice Mathur said more powers have been granted to the AFT vis-à-vis similar military tribunals that have been functioning in other countries for a long time. While many foreign military tribunals are primarily judicial bodies, the AFT here has original jurisdiction in regard to service matters as well as appellate jurisdiction over verdicts delivered by military courts.

The Chandigarh Bench, which would have jurisdiction over Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir and Chandigarh, would begin functioning from its interim location at Chandigarh from November 16. About 3,500 cases pending before the high courts of these states would be transferred to this bench. It has already received about 30 such cases.

In his keynote address, Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, Justice TS Thakur, said earlier the courts were hesitant to interfere in military matters. The perception changed later following a SC ruling that on joining the services individuals do not cease to be citizens of the country and were fully entitled to seek justice. Any injustice done to them that was not redressed was a calamity in itself, he added. Judicial intervention by the courts was justified, leading to a spate of service cases.

Pointing out that establishing tribunals was a way to ensure speedy justice and cut down the mammoth pendency of cases at all levels, he said the criticism of setting up the AFT received from some quarters was ill-found.Justice Ghanshyam Prashad, the judicial member of the Chandigarh Bench, said despite constitutional provisions, it had taken the government 25 years to promulgate the AFT. Listing out the powers and functions of the AFT, he said the appeal to its orders lies only with the Supreme Court.

Posted by HARDCORE SOLDIER at Sunday, November 15, 2009









LEGAL NEWS 17.11.2009

Taj Corridor scam: SC refuses to junk PIL against Mayawati

Express News Service

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0311 hrs New Delhi:

In another legal setback to Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati, the Supreme Court on Monday rejected her plea for quashing a PIL filed against her in the Taj Corridor scandal. Instead, a Bench comprising Justice B S Sirpurkar and Justice B Sudershan Reddy asked the Uttar Pradesh government to approach the High Court on the issue of maintainability of the PIL

In her petition, Mayawati had prayed for quashing the PIL in the Allahabad High Court on the grounds that opposition parties could try to destabilise her government on the issue.

The Mayawati government had filed the appeal challenging the Allahabad HC decision to admit a PIL filed by Kamlesh Verma and two others, who challenged the refusal of the then UP governor T V Rajeswar to grant sanction to the CBI to prosecute Mayawati in the matter.

The Taj Corridor scam pertains to a project for construction of a massive shopping mall and recreational centres near the Taj. The cost of the project was to be borne by the public exchequer, and rules and regulations were given a go-by while finalising the project. “What the Opposition is going to demand to destabilise the government, we are not bothered,” the court said in response to the contention of the counsel that the PIL could destabilise the government.

The counsel had pleaded that if the PIL was allowed to be heard, it would only give the Opposition an excuse to demand her government’s resignation. “Destabilisation, why should we go into all those things?” the Bench asked.

The court also refused to accept the UP government’s argument that the case was politically motivated, pointing out that four similar petitions on the same issue were earlier dismissed by the court.

Earlier, on November 6, the court had refused to hear the matter out of turn. In her petition, Mayawati had questioned the locus standi of the petitioners as well as the authority of the High Court to entertain the PIL. She contended that only the CBI was entitled to question the decisions of the governor or the CBI court, and the agency had chosen not to do so.







Deemed varsities: Court adjourns hearing on PIL

TNN 17 November 2009, 03:30am IST

NEW DELHI: Given the controversy surrounding the slip-shod functioning of deemed universities that have mushroomed across the country, the Supreme Court on Monday was at loss to understand the reluctance of the Centre to place on record a report of an expert committee that probed the issue.

Granting eight weeks to the Centre to place on record the report submitted to the HRD ministry in October by a high-powered committee headed by Professor P N Tandon, a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma adjourned the hearing on a PIL filed by advocate Viplav Sharma on the assurance of Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam that the recommendations of the committee would be placed before the court.

“Why are you keeping the report away from us,” the Bench asked the SG, who responded that “we (the government) do not want anybody to be prejudiced at this stage”.

But, he gave an indication that the Tandon committee’s recommendations were damning to say the least as far as it related to the functioning of the deemed universities. “We want to bring lasting changes. The report has indicated the present situation. Before taking any step we have to look into the interest of students studying in these universities,” he said.

Adding its suggestion to put things in perspective, the Bench said: “We want you (the government) to examine whether the concept of deemed universities prevails in countries outside India and also whether there is a need to have deemed universities at all.”

Explaining the reluctance of the ministry to place the report at this stage before the court, Subramanium said the ministry has returned the report to the Tandon Committee for further consultations. “We don’t want to do a piecemeal work. We will come up with a blueprint by providing effective solutions,” he said.

Out of around 130 deemed universities in the country, the panel had reportedly suggested urgent steps to cancel the deemed status for close to 40 universities. It had raised serious concerns on the front of infrastructure and teaching faculty forcing the ministry to consider if such universities should be allowed to function in the first place.








PIL seeking price regulation of essential goods


Express News Service

First Published : 17 Nov 2009 04:30:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 17 Nov 2009 07:44:49 AM IST


BANGALORE: The High Court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to the Centre and state government to regulate prices of essential commodities.

Rita Mahajan, a resident of Bangalore, aggrieved by the ever increasing prices of essential commodities and vegetables had filed the petition.

However, a division bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran dismissed the petition on the ground that court could not exercise executive powers.

The petitioner argued that the state and Centre have failed to control price of foodgrains. Because of price rise many families do not get enough food, with the landless and the slum dweller being the most vulnerable, he argued.

The petitioner contended that the price monitoring cell working under the Ministry of Consumer Affairs was not able to monitor the prices of foodgrains. According to the cell, the retail dealers should sell the foodgrains at prices fixed by the cell on a weekly basis.

The petitioner sought a direction to the Centre and the state to control the prices of foodgrains and ban open trading of all essential commodities.

The petitioner also sought a direction to the state and Centre to strictly enforce the provisions of Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and prevent black-marketing of essential commodities. While dismissing the petition, the court has given liberty to the petitioner to approach appropriate authority regarding prices of foodgrains.






Law exempting child labour? SC notice to govt

TNN 17 November 2009, 03:23am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a PIL pointing out a loophole in the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act, 1986, permitting families to engage their minor sons and daughters in rolling beedis.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam issued notices to the ministries of labour, women and child development and health and family welfare on the PIL filed by NGO “Health for Millions”.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate Anand Grover said the proviso to Section 3 of the 1986 Act created the mischief as it “permits employment of children in hazardous processes of beedi rolling being carried on in workshops as part of family labour”.

This negated the object of the social welfare legislation to ameliorate and mitigate the distress of working children, he said. “While Section 3 precludes employment of children in factories manufacturing beedis on the ground that the beedi making process was hazardous to children, the proviso permits children to be employed in beedi making processes as part of family labour in workshops,” the NGO said pointing out the dichotomy.







‘Can DNA profiling help in identifying unclaimed bodies?’

TNN 17 November 2009, 03:20am IST

NEW DELHI: Over 35,000 dead get tagged as unidentified and are cremated every year. It is possible that 35,000 families keep hoping for their return thinking they are alive somewhere, not dead. Of these, more than 1,500 are found dead on the streets of the national capital.

Will mandatory DNA profiling of these unidentified bodies help in providing the last news of these unfortunate people to their families, the Supreme Court asked on Monday and issued notices to the ministries of health and home affairs on a PIL by a doctor who conducts the post-mortem of dead.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam shared the concern of petitioner Shamsher Malik working as a Junior Resident in the Department of Forensic Medicine, Maharaj Agrasen Medical College in Hissar, Haryana.

His job profile of conducting autopsies included many unidentified bodies and the doctor started thinking about the families of these unfortunate persons, which continue to pray to God for the return of their near and dear ones little knowing that they have died and have been cremated as unidentified and by the authorities.

Terming the method adopted by the police to unravel the identity of unclaimed bodies as faulty, as it involved giving an advertisement in the local papers which may not reach the families staying in far flung areas given the expanse of India, the doctor suggested mandatory DNA profiling of unidentified bodies and matching them with those family members who have registered missing persons reports with police stations.

According to the information he had obtained from National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), the number of unidentified bodies found in the year 2005 was 39,157, for 2006 the figure was 36,131 and in 2007 it was 37,282. “This shows that on an average 102 unidentified bodies are recovered every day across the country,” the petitioner said.







Set up canteen at civil court: HC
Express News Service

First Published : 17 Nov 2009 04:27:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 17 Nov 2009 07:45:11 AM IST


BANGALORE: The High Court on Monday advised the government to work out the possibilities of setting up a canteen at the City Civil Court premises.

Hearing a PIL by one Chandrashekar, a division bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran advised the government to take steps for setting up a canteen at High Court and City Civil Court premises.

The petitioner had sought a direction to vacate the existing food courts situated at the City Civil Court premises, saying they were unhygienic. The court has adjourned the petition.







Need to curb unauthorised media leakage of case investigation: CBI

TNN 17 November 2009, 03:27am IST

NEW DELHI: The CBI has virtually agreed that irresponsible and unauthorised leakage of information to media on investigations in criminal cases could irreparably harm a person’s reputation, as happened in the sensational Arushi Talwar murder case, and told the Supreme Court the need for disciplining both police and media.

While recognising the public interest involved in sharing vital information about case investigations with the media in a professional manner, CBI said it should be done “without violating the rights of individuals”.

The doctor parents of Arushi remained in the dock through media coverage based on UP police briefings before being given a clean chit by CBI. The manner of reporting had forced advocate Surat Singh to move the Supreme Court for framing of a code of conduct for the police and media.

In response to the PIL, CBI said: “Sharing of information with the media has to be done in a professional manner without violating the right to dignity and privacy of individuals and also without violating the right of the accused to a fair investigation and trial.”

It suggested drawing up of a model code for police applicable to all states relating to interaction of cops with the media on investigations into a case and said “non-compliance of instructions and unauthorised leakage should lead to a departmental inquiry followed by disciplinary action” against the erring officer.

“If after departmental proceedings it is established that the officer has violated the instructions deliberately and caused harm in dignity, reputation, character or privacy of the individual, then suitable criminal/civil action may be taken as per the due process of law in addition to departmental action,” CBI said.

On setting up of a watch dog to monitor the coverage of news events in the print and electronic media, the agency agreed with the petitioner that this authority could evolve and enforce a code of conduct, norms and standards of reporting on newspapers and TV channels.

It suggested that all TV channels be directed to maintain proper record of news coverage footage for at least six months so as to allow people to proceed in case of misreporting.

“In case it is felt by anyone that the laid down norms have been violated, copies of telecast footage, duly authenticated, should be supplied to the designated authorities and citizens by the TV channels against payment of cost to enable them to take legal action,” the agency said.







Four new Supreme Court judges take oath

November 17th, 2009 – 4:42 pm ICT by ANI 

New Delhi, Nov 17 (ANI): Four High Court (HC) Chief Justices were today sworn in as judges of the Supreme Court (SC) taking the total tally of Supreme Court Judges to 26.

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan administered oaths of office to Justice A K Patnaik of (Madhya Pradesh High Court), Justice T S Thakur of (Punjab and Haryana High Court), Justice K S Radhakrishnan of (Gujarat High Court) and Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar of (Calcutta High Court) here today at a simple ceremony attended by judges and advocates of the apex court.

The appointment of Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran has been put on hold.

Dinakaran’s name has figured in the disproportionate assets case and he has been accused of amassing wealth and grabbing land.

The names of all the four judges were cleared by the apex court collegium headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan.

This takes the judges tally to 26 against the formal strength of 31 judges. (ANI)








High Court grants bail to Sreeleather senior GM

Express News Service

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0248 hrs Kolkata:

The Calcutta High Court today granted bail to Hirak Subhra Chatterjee, senior general manager of shoe-makers Sreeleather, who was arrested for violating the Wild Life Protection Act by the Regional Director Wild Crime Control Bureau (RDWCB) on October 30 when he surrendered in the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate’s Court in Kolkata.

The RDWCB had seized an animal skin from the showroom of Sreeleather at Lindsay Street on May 11.

Following this, the RDWCB had summoned Chatterjee on various occasions for clarification. Chatterjee had said that Pravat Kumar Sahoo, an eminent leather technologist, had gifted a cow skin after being processed by him to the company and it was displayed in the showroom.

After his surrender, Chatterjee was shifted to a hospital from the court on grounds of ill-health. The court had rejected his bail petition on November 11 following which Chatterjee moved the High Court.








HC sets Dec 7 deadline for unveiling civic poll calendar

Odeal D’Souza / DNA

Tuesday, November 17, 2009 10:12 IST

Bangalore: The High Court of Karnataka has finally cracked the whip to get the state government get its act together on conducting the much-delayed elections to the Bruhat Bangalore Mahaganara Palike (BBMP).

Going by the deadlines set by the court on fixing the ward reservations and also announcing the calendar of poll events, the BBMP elections are likely to be held by the first or second week of January.

On Monday, the High Court directed the state government to publish the ward reservation notification within November 30 and asked the State Election Commission (SEC) to announce the calendar of events for the BBMP polls by December 7.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice PD Dinakaran and Justice VG Sabhahit allowed an interlocutory application filed by the SEC and directed the applicant to announce the calendar of events for the BBMP elections and file a report on the same with it on or before December 7.

The SEC had filed the interlocutory application in the High Court, requesting the court to direct the government to publish the ward reservation notification.

SEC advocate KN Phaneendra submitted that the SEC was all set to hold the elections and had finished all related work including publication of the final voters’ list.

He pointed out that the court had earlier ordered to announce calendar of events on or before October 23 but a single-judge bench of the High Court had stayed the reservation guidelines issued by the urban development department.

On behalf of the state government, Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli submitted that the government would finalise the ward reservation within two weeks.

On the basis of the advocate general’s assurance, the High Court ordered the state government to publish the reservation notification within November 30.








’06 Malegaon blasts: why case given to CBI, HC asks state

Express News Service

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0018 hrs Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Monday directed the Maharashtra government to explain why the September 2006 Malegaon blast case was transferred to the CBI. The court observed that the reason for the transfer of the case when the ATS had already got the chargesheet ready needs to be examined.

The court was responding to a petition by three of the accused. “The court has asked the state to explain why investigation was handed to CBI after chargesheet was filed,” said public prosecutor P A Pol.

The petitioners had also urged the court for a report from the CBI on the progress made in the investigations after the case was transferred in 2006. They claimed that the CBI did not carry out proper investigations due to political intervention.

The CBI has sought two weeks to explain their stand, said petitioners’ lawyer Amin Solkar.

The three accused, Noorulhudha Samsudoha, Shabbir Masiullah and Moahmmed Jahid Ansari, expressing dissatisfaction over the investigations, have also sought a Special Investigation Team monitored by HC to probe the case.

The accused stated that they have been languishing in prison on the basis of fabricated evidence. They claim the government and police had shut their eyes to the alleged involvement of Hindu fundamentalist groups.

They stated that several incidents resulting in recovery of illegally possessed explosives and deaths of Hindus belonging to extremist groups in untimely explosions suggested that the perpetrators could not be Muslims.

The petitioners have also raised doubts on the police role in the case. They allege that police deliberately neglected prior information on the blasts. The petition states that Noorulhudha was under constant scrutiny of the police after he was picked up and detained in the Aurangabad arms haul and 2006 train blasts cases. “How could he have hatched the conspiracy when he was constantly under police scrutiny,” states the petition.

The applicants, relying on a recent affidavit by the lone approver in the case, Abrar Ahmed, who turned hostile this year, said Abrar was a police informer roped in to give false evidence in lieu of money. Abrar, through an affidavit in April 2009, had chosen not to remain an approver.

The petitioners have also raised doubts on the role played by Rajwardhan (a party to the petition), the then Superintendent of Police Nashik (Rural) who is now with the Intelligence Bureau, in the probe.








St Stephen’s case internal dispute: HC

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0200 hrs New Delhi:

Court lifts interim stay against Election Commissioner Qureshi from attending college governing body meet

Are disputes between the governing members of St Stephen’s College internal grievances, or do they come under “public law”? A Division Bench led by Chief Justice A P Shah on Monday wanted to know how the Delhi High Court has writ jurisdiction to pass orders or even admit a “purely internal dispute in the governing body of a college society”.

The query came even as the court lifted an interim stay against Election Commissioner S Y Qureshi from attending the college’s governing body meetings.

The order comes in the nick of time for Qureshi, as the next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday.

The stay order had been passed earlier by Justice Gita Mittal of the High Court on a petition filed by a former student, Ajay Singhla, who alleged that his removal was illegal. Singhla had argued that despite having a tenure till 2011, he was removed to accommodate Qureshi, who was nominated to the governing body by principal Valson Thampu.

Singhla had even accused Thampu of running the prestigious Delhi University college management in an “autocratic” manner following which, a temporary stay against Qureshi was granted.

Aggrieved by the single-judge order, Thampu had then moved the court of Chief Justice Shah in appeal. But matters came to a head today when the Division Bench questioned how the dispute had reached the High Court in the first place. “How does this come under public law? Please address us on our jurisdiction,” the court noted. The term “public law” means a body of law which governs relations between a State and its citizens. It deals with the structure and operation of the government and covers administrative law, constitutional law and criminal law.

“Do you consider this (college) society as a State?” the court asked, challenging the lawyers to explain why the court should even “admit” Singhla’s allegations.

Making it clear that the court is not prima facie disposed to maintain petitions on “internal disputes”, the Bench told the parties to file a civil suit if they wanted, and not evoke laws meant for repairing disputes which may have a public flavour.

Though the Bench referred the case back to Justice Gita Mittal for further hearing, Singhla’s lawyers, at that point, preferred to withdraw the litigation from High Court in toto. Today’s hearing follows a somewhat similar incident on Friday when another High Court judge said it is time the college authorities settle their own disputes.

Justice P K Bhasin had expressed concern about the continued legal battles among administrators of the elite institution. “Why do you keep fighting? Why don’t all of you sit down and settle down the differences?” Bhasin had asked the battery of lawyers appearing variously for the college, Thampu, and the governing body.

The High Court is seized with a number of rounds of litigation, engaged in by various members of the college administration, mainly the college governing body, the supreme council and the Bishop of Delhi, Reverend Sunil Kumar Singh, who is the chairman.








Failure to explain wife’s death can lead to husband’s conviction: HC–HC/542431/

Express News Service

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0154 hrs New Delhi/Noida:

The Delhi High Court has said that a man’s failure to explain the mysterious death of his wife in her matrimonial home can lead to his conviction.

As per the Indian Penal Code, a man and his immediate family are natural suspects under Section 498 (A) in case of his wife’s unnatural death within the first seven years of their marriage. The police, on receiving a complaint, should as a mandatory exercise probe if the woman was subjected to dowry harassment.

“In the case of an unnatural death of the wife on a premise to which an outsider may not have any access, it is for the husband to explain the ground for the unnatural death of his wife. The husband having failed to do so can be convicted under Section 302 of the IPC,” Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ajit Bharihoke said.

The court put forth its view while rejecting an appeal against a trial court order convicting Sanjay Kumar Jain for strangling his wife Anju to death on April 10, 1991 at his home, a year after their marriage. Jain remained absconding for three days before he was arrested.

A resident of Kailash Nagar, Jain was sentenced by the trial court to life term with a fine of Rs 20,000 in 1997. The convict, in his appeal, alleged the police framed him as it could not find the culprit and also on the ground that the weapon of the offence could not be recovered.

The High Court, however, did not find any infirmity in the lower court’s order and upheld the conviction on the ground that he could not give any cogent reason for his absence after his wife’s death and also that the convict alone had access to the place of death of the victim.








Comply or pay fine, HC warns panchayats

TNN 17 November 2009, 06:54am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday warned coastal panchayats in the state that it would impose a fine on a “day to day basis” on them for not complying with its directives regarding garbage disposal.

A division bench comprising Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice N A Britto made the statement during the hearing of a suo Motu writ petition questioning the garbage disposal system in the state. On February 18 this year the court had passed an order directing the coastal panchayats to collect, segregate and dispose garbage by constructing composting units. The court had also directed them to collect plastic waste for recycling.

During the hearing, amicus curiae Norma Alvares told the court that some of the panchayats had not yet filed their affidavits to explain how far they have complied with the court’s directives. It appears that some of the panchayats have not been able to finalize the sites for composting units, she pointed out. The court had also directed the panchayats to give details of the shredders used to dispose the plastic waste which has not been done till now, she alleged.

At this point, the bench said that if any panchayat is found to have not complied with the its earlier directives, then the Rs 25,000 deposited with the court registry by the panchayats would stand forfeited.

The court also directed the coastal panchayats who have not filed their affidavits to do so by November 19 failing which their affidavits won’t be taken on record. The court will hear the petition further on November 25.

The court had on June 23, directed the panchayats to deposit Rs 25,000 each for showing their bona fides in dealing with the serious garbage issue. This order was passed after a report was filed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) indicating that not a single panchayat had been sincere about complying with the courts directives.








ASI projects: Delhi HC orders to reconsider proposals

Tanvir A Siddiqui

Posted: Tuesday , Nov 17, 2009 at 0442 hrs Ahmedabad:

The six-member Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) headed by director-general of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) has processed as many as 400 projects for renovation or construction in the vicinity of ancient monuments.

This includes 10 of the 12 such proposals recommended by the Superintending Archaeologist of Vadodara Circle. But in a recent ruling, the Delhi High Court has not only asked the ASI to stop accepting new proposals, but also reconsider all proposals cleared since July 2006. This has put a big question mark on the future of hundreds of projects across the country.

These proposals include the controversial Kankaria Lake Front Development Project, construction of six commercial buildings within 22 metres of Bibi Achyut Kuki’s mosque in the Dudheshwar area, construction of Vir memorial near Rani Ki Vav in Patan and construction of residential buildings near Jami Masjid in Bharuch.

The approvals go against a Central government notification of 1992, which prohibits any construction activity within 100 metres of ancient or protected monuments. Deciding on a petition by a Supreme Court lawyer, a Delhi High Court bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Murlidhar described the EAC as “illegal” and the permissions as an “exercise without the authority of law”. “We have no doubt that the committee, formed with the approval of the Minister for Culture and Tourism, for advising the director-general on granting permission for construction/renovation in a prohibited area was without any legal basis,” the court ruled.

The bench also expressed concern over the ASI’s functioning, saying: “The ASI, which is entrusted with the constitutional and statutory responsibility of ensuring preservation of our ancient and protected monuments, is facilitating the violation of the notification by granting permission for construction in protected areas… For the ASI to set up a committee to consider relaxation of that norm (set in the 1992 notification) is unacceptable and impermissible.”

ASI director (monuments) A K Sinha said the “High Court order will have to be complied as directed”. He said the ASI was working on issues relating to this when asked if there was any plan to move the Supreme Court.







HC questions collection of advt tax

TNN 17 November 2009, 05:42am IST

LUCKNOW: The high court on Monday asked the municipal commissioner and deputy municipal commissioner (Advertising) to explain as to under which authority they were engaging private agencies for survey and collection of advertisement tax from the companies, which want to put advertisement kiosk along the roadside.

Municipal commissioner, Shailesh Kumar Singh and deputy municipal commissioner (Advertising) Pratap Singh Bhadoria, appeared on Monday before the bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi in compliance of earlier order. The officials could not clarify and justify before the court that under which part of the Municipalities Act, the municipal action was taken. Municipal Commissioner assured the court that within the next 15 days, he would explain the entire position before it.

The order came on the writ petition of the petitioner, Shobha Publicity, which stated that a private agency, M/s Astha Vigyapan Agency, engaged by the municipal corporation illegally took down its advertisement kiosk and replaced it with own kiosk. The court restrained the private agency from compelling the petitioner to remove its kiosk. It provided that MC was at liberty to take necessary action in accordance with law. The court fixed December 2 for the next hearing of the case.








HC fixes Nov 25 as date for no-trust motion

Ravi Dayal, TNN 17 November 2009, 06:35am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday fixed November 25 as the date of meeting of Arwal Zilla Parishad to take up motion of no-confidence against its chairman and vice-chairman.

A single Bench presided by Justice Navniti Prasad Singh issued the directive when the state chief secretary submitted in its affidavit before the court that he would take action against the Arwal DM as per direction of the court. The chief secretary submitted that he received a report wherein it stated that the DM had first fixed the meeting for no-confidence motion for which he was not authorized under the Bihar Panchayat Act. Later, the DM cancelled the said meeting after realising that he had erred in calling the meeting.

Earlier, the court had issued directive to the chief secretary for taking action against the DM after the petitioner’s counsel submitted that the DM had wrongly called the meeting, and, when he had called the meeting, he ought not have cancelled it as per the legal norms.

A member of the Arwal Zilla Parishad, Madheshwar Prasad Singh, had submitted in his writ petition that the chairman and vice-chairman did not pay heed to a petition submitted by him and other members to the duo requesting them to call the meeting of Zilla Parishad to take up a motion of no-confidence against them for alleged violation of norms.

The petitioners had moved the DM requesting him to convene the meet and the DM had called the same but cancelled it later.







Lawyers’ arrest aggravates judiciary-lawyers’ stand-off

Bhuvaneshwar Prasad, TNN 17 November 2009, 06:37am IST

KATIHAR: The stand-off between the judiciary and the striking lawyers was further aggravated with the arrest of 15 agitating lawyers in Katihar on Monday.

Katihar subdivisional police officer (SDPO) said the lawyers were arrested on the fourth day of their strike on Monday on charges of breaching prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC.

With no end in sight to the four-day indefinite ceasework and strike, a five-member delegation of lawyers, led by Katihar Bar Association secretary Mahanand Yadav, will call on Patna High Court acting Chief Justice (CJ) Shiv Kriti Singh. The representatives of the Bar Council will go along with them, too.

No wonder, work at the courts, including that of the Katihar district and sessions judge, remained grounded as the lawyers’ stir spilled over into the fourth day, said a spokesman of the striking lawyers, who demanded an immediate transfer of the district judge.

“Unless the DJ rescinds his order to remove the makeshift lawyers chambers’ from the court premises, we will not resume work,” he added notwithstanding the huge inconveniences being faced by the litigants and others.

As the district administration has already clamped prohibitory orders, the entire court premises wore the look of a virtual fortress.







Law students should speak about rights of people: CJI

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said law students should take responsibility to speak for rights of people.

Justice Balakrishnan, while speaking as a chief guest on the occasion of convocation of the National Law Institute University, Bhopal, said syllabus of law course should be designed as per the needs of democracy.

He stressed on the need for change in syllabus for law courses in view of changes in technology, international trade, economic development and intellectual rights.

Praising the educational standards of the National Law University, Justice Balakrishnan said the university has created a benchmark in the field of legal education.

He provided degrees to students of graduate and post-graduate courses. He also gave medals to meritorious students.

Madhya Pradesh High Court Justice A K Patnaik presided over the function. University Governing Council member and Higher Education Minister Lakshmikant Sharma and Law Minister Narottam Mishra were also present.

Earlier, Justice Balakrishnan administered oath to students receiving degrees.

Earlier, meeting of University Governing Council chaired by Madhya Pradesh Chief Justice and University Chairperson A K Patnaik concluded. Higher Education Minister Lakshmikant Sharma and Law Minister Narottam Mishra also took part in the meeting.









Preventive detention of Polish national nullified

Legal Correspondent

The appellant was found carrying foreign currencies worth Rs. 40.72 lakh. His writ petition was dismissed by the Madras High Court

The Supreme Court has quashed the order of preventive detention of a Polish citizen under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA) for trying to smuggle foreign currency into India.

On October 28, a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and H.L. Dattu ordered the release of Gimik Piotr forthwith and said it would give reasons later.

Giving its reasons on November 13, the Bench said: “preventive detention essentially deals with curtailment of a person’s liberty and is, therefore, a potential weapon for human rights abuses. In the United States, some State statutes authorise preventive detention, where there is clear and convincing evidence that the defendant is a danger to another person or to the community and that no condition or combination or conditions of pre-trial release can reasonably protect against that danger.”

Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Dattu said: “pre-trial detention is not to be employed as a device to punish a defendant before guilt has been determined, nor to express outrage at a defendant’s evident wrongdoing, but its sole purpose is to ensure public safety and the defendant’s future appearance in court when the government proves that conditions of release cannot achieve those goals.”

In the instant case, the appellant came to India on September 5, 2008 from Singapore and when he was due to return on September 7, he was intercepted at the Chennai airport by the Customs authorities and he was found carrying foreign currencies valued at Rs. 40.72 lakh. The foreign currencies were seized and subsequently he was detained under the COFEPOSA by an order passed by the Tamil Nadu government. His writ petition was dismissed by the Madras High Court and he filed the present appeal against that order.

Allowing the appeal, the Supreme Court Bench said the contention of the authorities that the detenu was part of a smuggling ring had no merit. Accepting the appellant’s counsel K.K. Mani’s submission that he was not a habitual smuggler, the Bench said, “There was no pressing need to curtail the liberty of a person by passing a preventive detention order.”

“There is higher standard of proof required in these circumstances involving the life and liberty of a person. The material provided by the respondents is not enough to justify the curtailment of the liberty of the appellant under an order of preventive detention in the fact and circumstances of the case,” the Bench said and quashed the detention order.








SC notice to Centre, J&K on mobile ban

 Monday,16 November 2009 20:10 hrs IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Cout Monday sought a response from the Centre and Jammu and Kashmir government on a petition alleging imposition of ban on pre-paid mobile phone services in the state has plunged militancy-affected areas and security of civilians into a “catastrophe”.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathasivam issued notices to the Ministries of Home and Telecom and the state government asking them to respond within two weeks about security concerns and economical issues raised in the PIL.

The PIL, filed by Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party which has challenged imposition of the ban on pre-paid mobile services in the border state, said “about 25,000 SPOs and village defence committee members who are operating in forests stand cut off from their operational headquarters plunging the militancy affected areas and security of the civilians into catastrophe”.

Advocate Bhim Singh, who is the Chairman of the party, contended the government’s order to ban pre-paid cell phone services in the state from November 1 was “authoritarian and arbitrary”. “The ban order is unconstitutional, improper, authoritarian and arbitrary and violative of the Article 14, 19 and 21 among other provisions of the Constitution of India,” according to the petition.








Supreme Court quashes irrelevant bail condition

J. Venkatesan

To examine if courts can impose odd conditions

The duo was held for trying to burn Indian and Sri Lankan flags

They must hoist the national flag in front of their houses every day for a week

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has set aside the bail condition imposed by the Madras High Court on two persons that they perform community service in an orphanage for three hours a day for one week. However, it has retained the condition that they hoist the national flag in front of their houses every day for a week.

A Bench of Justices B. Sudershan Reddy and Deepak Verma set aside the order after hearing the arguments of counsel for the petitioner and former Union Law Minister Ram Jethmalani and counsel for Tamil Nadu S. Thananjayan.

Admitting the appeal, the court said it would examine whether the trial courts and the High Courts could impose odd and irrelevant conditions while granting bail to the accused in a criminal case.

The prosecution case was that on April 25, the two persons assembled in front of the Coimbatore Collectorate. They were arrested when they attempted to burn the Indian and Sri Lankan flags to protest what they called the Sri Lankan Army’s attack on the Tamils.

After the trial court denied them bail, they approached the High Court, which enlarged them on bail on June 9, on the condition that they erect a pole in front of their houses and hoist the national flag, with due respect, every day for a week. The flag should be hoisted at 6 a.m. and lowered at 6 p.m. It should be monitored by the police. Another condition was that they do community service at an orphanage, to be named by the magistrate, for three hours daily for one week. As their plea for modification of the conditions was rejected on July 1, they moved the special leave petition.

While Mr. Jethmalani contended that such irrelevant conditions could not be imposed, counsel for the State said that asking the petitioners to hoist the national flag was not an onerous condition.

In its order, the Bench said: “The controversy centres on the condition that the appellants report before an orphanage that would be named by the magistrate to perform community service three hours a day. It is difficult to appreciate why such a condition has been imposed by the High Court . The said condition is totally unsustainable in law.”

The Bench set aside that condition and said the appellants should be released on bail on the modified condition, and the condition that they hoist the national flag should not be treated as a precedent for any purpose.








Insurance firm asked to pay for stolen truck, with interest


November 16th, 2009

CHANDIGARH – United India Insurance has been asked by the consumer forum here to pay Rs.400,000 plus interest to a customer who got a truck insured with the company but was not paid when the vehicle was stolen.

The district consumer disputes redressal forum directed the insurer to pay Rs.400,000 as cost of the lost truck to owner Anju Joshi and an interest of 7 percent from the date of her filing the theft report.

“My truck was insured with United India for Rs.400,000 from June 6, 2000 to June 5, 2001. I had paid the premium amount on time but my truck was stolen in July 2000,” Joshi, a resident of Mandi Gobindgarh town in Punjab, told IANS here Monday.

“Following this, I informed the police and the insurance company. I submitted all documents but the company did not entertain my claim, so I approached the consumer forum.”

Counsel for United India said in the company’s argument that the firm had not received the requisite documents from the complainant on time, which led to the delay in proceedings.

The forum, after hearing all arguments, directed the insurance company to pay the compensation amount along with interest to Joshi.







Top architect moves HC over nomination snub

TNN 16 November 2009, 02:28am IST

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government’s chief architect has moved the Bombay high court after the Delhi-based Council of Architecture (CoA) his nomination to the country’s apex body of architects.

Sankhe, the chief architect of the state, is in charge of designing public buildings and also coordinating with the team selected for designing the statue of Chhatrapati Shivaji off Marine Drive. Any architect desirous of practising within the country has to be registered with the CoA, an autonomous and independent body.

The high court has issued notices to the CoA and its

officers asking them to respond to Sankhe’s petition before the next date of hearing scheduled for November 30.

The petition is the latest development in the tussle between the Union government and the CoA, which began with the Centre transferring the function of regulating architecture education from the council to the All-India Council for Technical Education.

Sankhe was initially nominated to the CoA in November 2004 for a three-year term. The state renominated him in December 2008, but the CoA – through a communication dated January 9, 2009 – rejected his nomination. It asked the state to nominate another person, presumably on the grounds that there was a break in Sankhe’s term.

“The law provides that members of the council shall be eligible for renomination not exceeding three consecutive terms,” said advocate Mohan Gawade, Sankhe’s lawyer. “Sankhe has completed just one term and is eligible for two more terms. It is up to the state to decide who it wants to nominate and this decision is binding on the CoA.”

The act of rejecting the nomination was a “gross violation of the powers and rights vested to the state government and is a direct interference in its rights”, claimed the petition. Sankhe urged the court to ask the Centre to appoint a panel to conduct an inquiry into the “the illegal and arbitrary affairs and mismanagement in the functioning of the CoA”.






HC framing new rules for international adoptions

Swati Deshpande, TNN 16 November 2009, 01:59am IST


MUMBAI: International adoptions hold a fascination for many adoption agencies across the country. For the child, it is an opportunity to get a family’s love. But in a rising number of cases, children given in for adoption abroad, are abandoned or forced to come back to India for other reasons. And when that happens, usually they have nothing to fall back on. To fill in this lacuna and to ensure a safety net for cross-border adoptions, the Bombay high court is for the first time suggesting the establishment of a National Children’s Trust Fund for their rehabilitation.

Justice Dhananjay Chandrachud is in the process of finalising path-breaking guidelines on foreign adoptions and the steps that need to be taken to ensure the welfare of these children. On Friday, the judge at an in-chamber hearing in which Asha Bajpai of TISS and additional solicitor general Darius Khambatta are participating, the court considered shortlisting several key systemic changes to the procedure. The judge is of the view that children who are abandoned or forced to return to India cannot be left to chart their course through unknown territory and with no institutional help. In a radical proposal, it was suggested that $5,000 should be deposited by each foreign adopting parent/s before the adoption is finalised. The funds thus collected would then be used for supporting children who return to India.

In one case, that is still pending before the Bombay HC, Jennifer Haynes, now 27 and adopted 20 years ago by a US couple, was sent back on certain charges. She moved the high court, saying she has no identity left and nowhere to stay. In another case, a 14-year-old girl also adopted by a US family is now back after she developed psychiatric problems. The question is who would fund her treatment-Wide Horizons for Children (WHC), the adoption agency that had placed her for adoption and then flew her back in 2008 September or Indian government’s Central Adoption Resources Agency which gave the permission to bring her back or the Indian Council for Social Welfare (ICSW) under whose care she is now. The Indian council wants the adoptee parents and the WHC to pay for the medical treatment.

The HC has said that proper psychiatric evaluation prior to such international adoptions is also a must.

Advocate Jamshed Mistry, who has dealt with several cases of issues cropping in foreign adoptions, said that what needs to be done immediately is to ensure that records of foreign adoptions must be scrupulously kept by the agency that facilitated it for the 60-year period as mandated by the Hague Convention to which India is a signatory. But the practice is sometimes not followed. On adoption by a foreign national, the process of naturalisation of the child ought to begin immediately.







Lawyers, judges discuss challenges facing judiciary at seminar–judges-discuss-challenges-facing-judiciary-at-seminar/542091/

Express News Service

Posted: Monday , Nov 16, 2009 at 0739 hrs Mumbai:

The Progressive Lawyers Forum organised a seminar on ‘Role of lawyers in the current judicial scenario’ on Saturday. Speaking on the challenges of the present judicial system Justice SC Dharmadhikari, a sitting judge of the Bombay High Court, said that every attempt is being made to see that the common man loses his faith in the judiciary. He said the current judicial scenario is passing through a great crisis and vested interests encourage the media to come out and say openly certain things difficult to collaborate. He added that muscle power, mafia and especially media power have the potential of causing damage to the reputation and dignity of the system.

Justice Dharmadhikari said there is a tendency for lawyers to be seen adding that most of the times the cause of those making a show of injustice is espoused.

He said that a mediocre lawyer is a threat to the existence of the judiciary. “Every lawyer wants to go and straight away practice in the higher courts. The real pillar is the subordinate court where they learn the basics and get their foundation,” he opined.

Advocate Sureshkumar Panicker said there are those lawyers who earn in a dignified manner and those who earn crores through unfair means. “We are not mouth-pieces for our client,” Panicker said adding that lawyers must have self-imposed discipline. He criticised the recent incidents at the Madras High Court where lawyers clashed with the police and at the Bangalore High Court where judges were locked up. “A protest should be done in a strong way but in a dignified and polite manner,”said Panicker.








Judiciary should be made more accountable: Moily–Moily


Kochi, Nov 15 (PTI) Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily today said the government was planning to make judiciary “more accountable” but without compromising its independence and the respect for it.

“The government is planning to make judiciary more accountable. However, at the same time we would not like a compromise with the independence and respect for the judiciary,” he said here.

“I’m confident that steps which are being taken up by our government for judicial reforms would bring fruitful results,” he said speaking on ‘Judiciary Reforms’ in connection with the 95th birthday celebrations of former Supreme Court Judge V R Krishna Iyer.

The Judges Standards and Accountablity bill will be introduced in the next session of Parliament after consulting the judiciary. “We do not want to have confrontation with the judiciary,” he said.








Neglect of duty, rights abuse are different,+rights+abuse+are+different&artid=fi0VqVAbO7Y=&SectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&MainSectionID=wIcBMLGbUJI=&SectionName=rSY%7C6QYp3kQ=&SEO=
Express News Service

First Published : 15 Nov 2009 03:23:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 15 Nov 2009 06:45:10 AM IST


CHENNAI: Negligence by a public servant in discharging the duties and committing human rights violation are two different offences attracting two different punishments, the Tamil Nadu State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has ruled.

SHRC member Dr K Mariappan gave the ruling while passing orders on a complaint from S Paramasivam of Virasigamani village in Tirunelveli district against Senthamaram police inspector Mohammed Hussain.

The police department had already taken displinary action against Hussain. This might be the solution for the gross violation in discharging his responsibility, but not for the rights violation, the commission observed and imposed a fine of Rs 30,000 on the inspector, which should be given as compensation to the victim. The State should pay the amount in two mo nths and recover the same in instalments from the inspector’s salary, it said.

The charge against Hussain was that he demanded a ‘commission’ of Rs 5,000 from Paramasivam for settling a money dispute between the latter and one Mohammed Hanifa.

As Paramasivam refused to oblige, the inspector lodged a false case against him and produced him before a judicial magistrate, who remanded him to 15 days of judicial custody. After spending four days in prison, Paramasivam came out on bail and lodged the present complaint. During the argument, Hussain said that the department had already punished him.

PROVISIONS OF ELECTRICITY ACT UPHELD: The Madras High Court has upheld the amendments made to the Electricity Act, 2003, and the subsequent rules that provided for stringent punishment to persons indulging in power thefts.

“If it is seen in the light of the object of the 2003 Act and the need to check energy theft cases due to which revenue is siphoned off and the regulations having been made in a lawful manner, the attempt of the petitioners to attack the Act and the regulations as ultra vires the Act, cannot be countenanced,’’ Justice K Chandru observed. The judge was dismissing writ petitions challenging the Act, which provided for immediate disconnection of power supply and levy of penalties.

PLEA AGAINST LAND ACQUISITION: The Madras High Court has directed the land acquisition Officer, Mylapore-Triplicane taluk to consider the plea from three persons, whose land was acquired for laying a service road beneath the over-bridge on Cenotaph Road- Turnbulls Road junction.

When the writ petitions from J Gunalakshmi, J Raviraj and Sumathi Arul came up on November 10, Advocate-General PS Raman told Justice P Jyothimani that in respect of the petitioners’ property, beyond what was notified under the Land Acquisition Act, no other portion of their property was encroached upon for the formation of the service road.

“In view of the above submission of the AG, The LA officer shall consider the representations dated October 1 and 5, 2009, in accordance with law and pass appropriate order within two weeks,’’ the judge said and disposed off the writ petition.






Minority quota in 50-yr-old B.Ed. course at Shibli College


Submitted by admin3 on 14 November 2009 – 10:00pm.

By Salman Sultan, Special Correspondent,

Azamgarh: Shibli National College, Azamgarh, a premier minority institution in North India was established as National School in the year 1883 by the great oriental Scholar and Nationalist Allama Shibli Nomani. It was the vision of Principal (Late Shaukat Sultan) and College Management that B.Ed. classes were started in 1959. As 50% of the seats (100) were reserved for the minority community, the college was producing trained Muslim teachers in good number every year. But three years ago some official hurdles were created to block this flow of Muslim teachers, and consequently the college has not been able to run the B.Ed. classes since the 2007-2008 academic sessions.

Mrs. Nasreen Ahmad, Head, Department of Education said that in the beginning Shibli National Degree College was affiliated to Agra University and the College controlled the admission. In the beginning intake of students was in the teacher-student ratio of 1: 10 but when the College got affiliated to Gorakhpur University the ratio was enhanced to 1: 15 (1972-73) and it remained so even when the College (now Postgraduate) was affiliated to Purvanchal University, Jaunpur (1989). Later on, P.U. reduced the intake to 1: 10.

Dr. Iftekhar Ahmad, Principal told that as per 1995 G.O. College was empowered to take 50% admission to B.Ed. classes through test. The V.C., P.U., in order to maintain standard, was advised to send its nominee as an observer. Thereafter evaluation of answer sheets was done in presence of V.C. nominee and a list of 50 minority students were prepared duly signed by the Principal and V.C. In 2007-08 Kanpur University was asked by P.U. to conduct admission test in a single window system. As there was no specific order we conducted our own admission test in order to select 50% students (minority) and went to the V.C seeking an observer for evaluation. A deputy registrar of P.U. looking after B.Ed showed extra ordinary interest in seeking clarification from U.P. government. U.P. government sent an order, which was actually meant for self-financed Colleges though it was addressed to us. A 15% NRI quota was also given to us by Kanpur University, which, in fact, is given to self-financed Colleges. In 2008-09 Agra University conducted the test and given us only 50 seats. As selection process got delayed this session was declared as zero session.
Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi, Chairman U.P. Minority Commission was invited on 31st October 2009 in a function organized by Old Boys Association of Jamiatul Falah, Bilariyaganj (Azamgarh). On the invitation of College Principal, Mr. S.M.A. S.M.A. Kazmi briefly halted in the College on his way back to Lucknow in the afternoon. Principal discussed with him the problem faced in admission of minority students in B.Ed course and apprised him of the futility of accepting 50% minority students selected through a single window system. He argued that Department of Education was established to provide employment opportunities to Muslim minority of the region and therefore, College should be allowed to have a say in the admission of 50% minority students. Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi patiently listened to the grievances and assured him of an affirmative action. Principal gave copies of letters sent to C.M. and others in this regard to Mr. S.M.A. Kazmi.

As per news item in Urdu newspaper a letter has been sent by Mr. S.M.A Kazmi to the Secretary Higher Education seeking a report in 15 days.

Isabella Thoburn (IT) College, Lucknow, a constituent College of Lucknow University (as per Lucknow University Act 1921) is imparting B.Ed course since 1954. In 1987 State government framed U.P. State Universities (Regulation of Admission to Courses of Instruction for Degree in Education in Affiliated, Associated and Constituent Colleges) order. After this “order 1987” Lucknow University restrained I.T. College from holding Entrance test for admitting students. Committee of Management of I.T. College assailed action of Lucknow University by filing a writ petition no. 4530 of 1989 and a division bench of High Court passed an order dated 10.07.1987 allowing I.T. College to admit members of the minority community (whose interest they cater) on priority basis. Since then I.T. College was admitting students of minority community every year. On 7.8.1995 govt. issued G.O. no. 1310/1511-95-3(101)/92. As per G.O. a Committee will be constituted in every minority institution comprising of a representative of the University to be nominated by the V.C., Principal of the Minority Institution, a representative of Higher Education Department not below the rank of Higher Education Officer. This Committee was to lay down guidelines to maintain standard in University Institutions. In the G.O it was also mentioned that the same (guidelines) is being issued pursuant to the direction issued by S.C. in its order dater 6.12.1991 passed in writ petition no. 1868 of 1980 and 13213 of 1984.

I.T. College was, however, restrained to declare result for entrance test for admission to B.Ed course by Committee for Fairness and Transparency in Admission Procedure of Technical, Medical and Other Professional Courses (in short “Fairness Committee”) through its order dated 13.4.2007. Further by its order-dated 22.5.2007 Farness Committee held that I.T. College is not a minority institution. I.T. College filed a writ petition no. 2907 (2007) in the High Court of Judicature at Allahabad sitting at Lucknow. Honourable High Court allowed the writ petition and quashed the order dated 22.5.2007 passed by opposite party no. 2 (“Fairness Committee”).

LEGAL NEWS 16.11.2009

Prosecution of Developer for Selling Parking Space

C.R. No. 54                                                      RA-474-09





Revision Application No. 474 of 2009




Surenkumar B.Shetty

1/182, 18th Floor, Godrej Garden Enclave,

Pirjosha Nagar, Vikhroli (East),

Mumbai 400 079                                             ….Applicant




  1. The State of Maharashtra
  2. Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

Construction Division

Pirjosha Nagar, Vikhroli (East)

Mumbai 400 079.

  1. Adi Godrej, Director,

Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd.

Pirjosha Nagar, Vikhroli (East)

Mumbai 400 079.

  1. Maneek H. Engineer,

Vice President, (Construction)

Pirjosha Nagar, Vikhroli (East)

Mumbai 400 079.                                    ….Respondents


Coram: His Honour Special Judge Shri D.U.Mulla

Designated Court for BBC under TADA Act, 1987.


Dated: 05/10/2009 (C.R.No. 54)


Mr. S.B.Shetty h/f Mr. A.K.Menon Advocate for Applicant.


Mr. Subodh Desai h/f Mr. Amit Desai Advocate for respondent nos. 2, 3, and 4.


Mr. J.V.Desai APP for State.




  1. Heard Mr. A.K.Menon Advocate for Applicant.  Mr. Amit Desai Advocate for respondent nos. 2, 3, and 4. Mr. J.V.Desai APP for State.  Perused R & P.
  2. Being aggrieved by dismissal of his complaint u/s 203 of Cr.P.C passed by order dated 10.04.2008 by Learned Metropolitan Magistrate, 34th Court, Vikhroli; in C.C.No 60/Misc./2007, the original complainant carries the impugned order before me with a challenge to legality and propriety of the order.
  3. The applicant did not file copy of the complaint along with the revision application for the reason that record might be called by the Court, however, respondents have filed the copy of the complaint to show that applicant had purchased Flat No. 182 in Building No. 1A, Godrej Garden Enclave, situated at Vikhroli constructed and developed by Emminent Industrial House M/s Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Limited by registered Agreement dated 19.12.2002.  However, after this Agreement the accused company also accepted Rs. 35,000/- for allotment of open car parking space No. 09 under letter dated 02.06.2005 and as such committed breach of disputed Agreement under provisions of Maharashtra Ownership Flats Act (hereinafter referred to as MOFA). However, after formation of the Co-operative Housing Society of the building, Society laid its claim to the said open parking being property of the Society, therefore, the applicant demanded back his money but respondent declined contending that their action was perfectly right and they were entitled to dispose of by sale, the open parking slot within the boundary wall of building, the society was liable to take note of the said dispositions by owner/developer.  Therefore, applicant filed complaint u/s 4, 5, 13,13A and 14 of MOFA, 1963.
  4. The Learned Magistrate by impugned order observed that the applicant had voluntarily purchased car-parking slot from respondent before execution of final conveyance of entire property in favour of Co-operative Society by virtue of Agreement.  The description of common area and list of amenities was specifically mentioned. The respondent also made compliance with provisions of section 3 and 4 of MOFA and it was agreed between the applicant and the respondent that no right was created in favour of purchaser with respect to parking open place etc. and the rights therein remained with the developer until the property was conveyed to the Society.  Thus According to the Learned Jude there is no breach of contract and if there is any dispute, it is of civil nature.  Accordingly, the Learned Magistrate dismissed the complaint u/s 203 of Cr.P.C. holding that no prima facie case is made out.
  5. The revision was allowed by my Learned Colleague Shri Shembole after hearing the applicants and Learned Magistrate was directed to issue the process.  However, respondent challenged said order before Hon’ble High Court in Criminal Application No. 49/09 and the Hon’ble High Court remanded back the matter for fresh disposal after hearing respondent.
  6. Accordingly, the Learned Advocate Shri Amit Desai for respondent heard.
  7. At the outset, it is vehemently urged by Advocate Desai for respondent no.3 that there are no allegations made against respondent no. 3 at all and that part of the order of Learned Magistrate therefore, cannot be challenged because there were no sufficient allegations against respondent no. 3.  It is his contention that simply because Adi Godrej is Director he cannot be prosecuted on that count unless there are sufficient and specific allegations to the effect how vicarious liability is attachable to him for the act of the company.  In his reply Learned Advocate for applicant heavily relies on Case of M/s Malwa Cotton and Spinning Mills Ltd. V/s Virsa Singh Sidhu and other (2008 Cri.L.J. 4316) contending that the necessary allegations in the complaint would only indicate the person was Director and responsible for the conduct of business of the company.  Besides this, the complainant is not to plead or aver anything more.  Shri Desai relies on SMS Pharmaceuticals v/s Neeta Bhalla (2005(8) Supreme Court Cases 89) wherein the Hon’ble Apex Court held that the necessary averments ought to be contained in a complaint before a person can be subjected to criminal process.  The liability is fastened u/s 141 of N.I. Act to a person connected with company thought company is accused.  As such, this being departure from the rule in criminal law against vicarious liability clear case should be spelt out in the complaint against person sought to be made liable.  So far as ration is concerned, law is very clear that the Magistrate should be satisfied before issuance of process u/s 141 of N.I. Act against any person connected with company that necessary averment as required by section 141 of N.I. Act are made out in the complaint itself.
  8. Section 14 of MOFA Act contains similar provisions where the offences are committed by Companies.  Needles to say that now a days big conglomerates, industrial houses and other big and small private or public limited companies are in the business of Housing Development.  Most of the time company appoints paid servant to discharge their order by keeping such paid employees at the front of the instruments and making them authorized signatories. Such tactics should not make safe heaven to the back stage players who are benefited by the company and therefore vicarious liability is attached to them by special enactment so that paid servant only should not be made scape goat and the real culprits should savor on monetary benefits arising out of acts of companies by hiding behind the paid employees of the company.
  9. The perusal of the complaint shows that sufficient allegations are made in the complaint that accused no. 3 Mr. Adi Godrej is in charge and was also responsible to the company for the conduct of the business when the offence is committed.  The Hon’ble Apex Court in the case of Malwa Cotton and Spinning Mills reiterated the observations of Apex Court in the case of N.Rangachariand S.V.Mujumdar V/s Gujarat State Fertilizers which held that:-

“Therefore, a person in the commercial world having a transaction with a company is entitled to presume that the Directors of the company are in charge of the affairs of the company.  If any restrictions on their powers are placed by the Memorandum of articles of the company, it is for the Directors to establish it at the trial.  It is in that context that Section 141 of the Negotiable Instruments Act provides that when the offender is a company, every person, who at the time when the offence was committed was in charge of and was responsible to the company for the conduct of the business of the company, shall also be deemed to be guilty of the offence along with the company.  It appears to us that an allegation in the complaint that the named accused are Directors of the company itself would usher in the element of their acting for and on behalf of the company and of their being in charge of the company”.

  1. In the present case by making specific allegations as per Section 14 of MOFA Act the requirements of judgment in the Case of SMS Pharmaceuticals V/s Neeta Bhalla is complied with. In my opinion by virtue of judgment in M/s Malwa Cotton and Spinning Mills Ltd. V/s Virsa Singh Sidhu the respondent no. 3 was rightly arrayed as accused.  His prosecution is not simply because he is Director of M/s Godrej and Boyce Manufacturing Company.  Godrej family is century old industrial house.  The very name “Godrej” assures person dealing with them about the quality and purity if it is a commodity, durability, and efficiency if it is machinery or other consumer durable or chemical or industrial produce.  When such house enjoying not only trust but blind faith from public at large, enters into arena of building construction there is no denial that there also the purchasers of flats will be rest assured by the very name that if the project is sponsored by Godrej and Respondent no. 3 is connected therewith as Director the interest of the purchaser is in safe hands there will be every transparency in the deal. Not only this but Respondent no. 3 is the Chairman of Godrej Group of Companies and thus has certain role to play in conduct of business of all companies.  So the burden shifts to respondent no. 3 to establish that he was not responsible for conduct of day to day business of the company or that the offence was not committed under his consent or with his connivance or he attempted to prevent the commission of the offence.  For these reasons, the complaint lay sufficient material for prosecution of respondent no. 3 and there is no much force in the contentions of Advocate Desai that there was no sufficient allegations against respondent no. 3 and therefore, complaint was rightly dismissed against him.
  2. Learned Advocate Shri Desai also submits that Learned Magistrate has rightly held that dispute is between Society and the applicant and the Builders have nothing to do with it.  He also relies on Clause 12 of the Agreement which provides that the Purchaser will have no right, title or interest in the common areas, open areas and other amenities and the Builder will be owner thereof until the same are transferred to the Co-operative Society.  It is his contention that the parking lot was sold to the applicant, as respondent/Developer was owner thereof.  It is also his contention that the Mode Bye laws of Housing Society and particularly Bye law No. 78 too justifies the dismissal of the complaint contending that the Bye law itself allows a Member to hold open parking space if he has purchased it.  However, save and except Byelaw 78A it is Society, which can allot parking space to the members on first come first served basis. Advocate Shri Desai heavily relies on Clause 32 of the Agreement whereby purchaser is precluded from claiming any right except the flat sold to him.
  3. On the other hand, Learned Advocate for applicant heavily relies on Development Control Regulations, which declares that every Developer is under statutory obligation to provide parking spaces with specified marking and area for every purchaser of the flat. The applicant was not intimated as to whether respondents have separately allotted any separate area to the purchaser in parking slot and instead obtained separate money under the garb of Allotment of Parking Area to the applicant, which is clear breach of Section 3 of MOFA Act. It is his contention that the Agreement ought to have contained whether the parking space was provided to the applicant being purchaser of the flat as required by Development Control Regulation 36. If law says that parking is to be provided mandatorily under contract consent given by applicant becomes redundant and unenforceable because there cannot be any estoppel against law nor operation of law and particularly criminal law can be waived by consent or agreement between the parties.  There is much substance in submission of Learned Advocate for applicant.  In the case of Nahalchand Laluchand Pvt. Ltd. v/s Panchali Housing Society (2008(3) Bom.C.R.727) the Hon’ble Bombay High Court has exactly observed the same ration.  it is held that it is compulsory requirement to provide for parking space under D.C.R.No. 36 and the Builder cannot sell parking area carved out of common area and any provision to that effect in the Agreement would be contrary to law and guarantee available under MOFA Act and as such, the respondent could not have collected any amount from any Flat Purchaser of terms of Agreement.
  4. Learned Advocate Mr. Desai attempted to distinguish the authority contending that the subject of dispute before Hon’ble High Court was about the stilt parking or garage, which is not the dispute before us.  The authorities of superior courts cannot be distinguished by hair splitting. The Hon’ble High Court has considered legal provisions and has observed that under the MOFA Act Developer’s right is restricted to the extent of disposal of flat, shop and/or garages which means that only premises which is included in the FSI can be sold by the Developer/Promoter thus any space beyond FSI cannot be sold and particularly under the name of parking space.
  5. In the present case, the parking space is sold to the applicant merely by issuing a letter, which does not transfer any right as required under provisions of Transfer of Property Act.  The Builder cannot sell any immoveable property without registered Sale Deed and still retain right, title and interest therein to be transferred to the Society.  Once society is registered the Builder does not remain owner thereof and therefore, purchaser of parking slot without Registered Deed is no owner in the eye of law and Society may decline to take cognizance of his claim of purchase.
  6. Learned Magistrate ought to have considered that no term of any Covenant in breach of specific law can be enforced and Court cannot decline to take cognizance of an offence, which is committed in breach of specific provisions of law on the basis of such terms of the agreement.  Law is not supposed to bow down to the terms of the Agreement but Agreements are supposed to follow the law and contain requisite recitals according to law.  Any transgression by the agreement is not acceptable by law and Court should not therefore base their conclusions on the basis of such Agreements.  When Section 3 of MOFA Act requires that Builder should specify and disclose nature of fixtures, fittings and amenities provided or to be provided it include the provision for parking as required under Rule 36 of D.C.R. Rules. As such, this ought to have been mentioned in the Agreement being a sort of amenity and that too mandated by law.  When respondents accepted money and allotted parking slots separately nothing is required more to show that the said amenity was not disclosed in the Agreement or Advertisement and as such, the Act also comes u/s 3 of MOFA ACT.
  7. Shri Desai Vehemently argues that there are no allegations made in the complaint regarding breach of Section 3 of MOFA Act but in the revision, the said provision is also mentioned.  Needless to say, that applicant need not mention any specific provision.  It is court, which has to decide on the basis of averments and allegations as to offence under which provision of which law is made out and issue process under the relevant law.  When the allegations are disclosing commission of offence u/s 3 of MOFA Act there is no point and force in the submission of Learned Advocate.  By accepting Rs.35,000/- etc. for allotment of parking space, which, otherwise respondents were bound to provide in the Agreement of Sale of flat, itself, makes out clear case of breach of section 4 of MOFA Act. When respondents could not have accepted any extra amount out of the Agreement, they are trustees of the said amount and as such, breach of Section 5 of MOFA Act is also made out by the complaint.  Above all the offence u/s 13(3) of the MOFA Act is also made out.
  8. Thus, the dispute raised by applicant was not civil dispute but it was dispute about breach of specific penal enactment and therefore criminal court has also jurisdiction.  It is not mere case of breach of agreement.  The Promoter committed gross error by not providing the parking space and not reciting the same in the Agreement of Sale of flat, and by clandestinely accepting the amount for the facility for which they were bound to provide under law.  Therefore, the observations of Learned Magistrate that the dispute is of civil nature exhibits non-application of mind.  Even otherwise, in some commercial transactions the liability may arise in the nature of civil as well as criminal liability cognizable by both the Courts and can go hand in hand, as they are not alternate to each other.  Learned Advocate for applicant has rightly relied on the case of Indian Oil Corporation v/s NEPC India Limited (A.I.R. 2006 S.C.2780) to insulate this point.
  9. As breach of law is committed by respondents/Developer, the applicant has no reason to sue Housing Society, which has not committed any offence.  The Learned Magistrate therefore is not right in observing so.  It is to be noted that the respondent has allegedly sold open car parking slot which must be within the boundary wall of the building and as it is open, it must have been transferred to the society as an open area.  Therefore, there is no force in contention of Advocate Desai that parking is not shown as common area in the Agreement.  When the law requires that, the building should also provide parking area.   Needless to say that such parking space would be included in common area subject to allotment by the Management of Society as per Model Byelaws.
  10. In these circumstances, all the necessary requirements for issuance of process were satisfied by the applicant in the complaint but Learned Magistrate dismissed the complaint on wrong assumptions and miss-appreciation of the law and gave unnecessary precedence to the terms of the agreement, which manifestly is against the specific provisions of law.  Therefore, the impugned order needs to be interfered with, as it is illegal, improper and perverse.  For these reasons I allow the revision application and pass following orders:-



  1. Criminal Revision Application No. 474/2009 is allowed
  2. The impugned order dated 10.04.2008 passed by Learned Metropolitan Magistrate, 34th Court, Vikhroli, in C.C.No. 60/Misc./2007 is hereby set aside.
  3. The Learned Magistrate is hereby directed to issue process against Respondent Nos.2, 3, and 4 for the offence punishable u/s 3, 4, 5, 13, 13-A and 14 of MOFA Act.
  4. No order as to costs.
  5. Criminal Revision Application stands disposed off accordingly.




Special Judge,

Designated Court for BBC

Under TADA Act, 1987

Greater Bombay








HC asks Bellary RO to preserve EVMs

TNN 14 November 2009, 07:03am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Friday directed the returning officer of Bellary parliamentary constituency to preserve the EVMs. Congress election agent M Chandre Gowda had filed a petition challenging the election of Bellary MP J Shantha, sister of health minister S Sriramulu. The court adjourned the hearing to Decemeber 18.

BJP candiate Shanta was elected from Bellary (ST) Lok Sabha constituency defeating H Y Hanumanthappa, former chief justice of the Orissa high court, by a margin of 2,243 votes in the elections held on April 23. Chandre Gowda challenged Shantha’s election alleging falsification of caste, irregularities in counting and her residential status.

Shantha had earlier filed nomination claiming to belong to Valmiki (Hindu) caste based on a caste certificate issued by tahsildar. Six days later, she obtained a caste certificate from the tahsildar of Guntakal mandal as belonging to “Boya” caste which comes under OBC in both Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The returning officer overruled Congress’ objection and accepted her nomination. Also, the election process itself was vitiated, the petitioner has said.

Notice to BCI

The high court has ordered notice Bar Council of India and State Law University on a plea by several LLB aspirants seeking admission. The petitioners have challenged 45% minimum marks stipulation.

Yenepoya to admit student

The high Court on Friday directed the Yenepoya University to allow a student to continue her first year MBBS studies in the University.

Kavya JS, a resident of Mangalore, who was allotted seat in Yenepoya by Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) was later sent to Fr Muller’s Medical College as a seat had fallen vacant there, but was denied admission. She had approached HC seeking directions to the Yenepoya University.

A division Bench, headed by Justice V Gopala Gowda, directed the University to allow her to continue her studies after accepting tuition fees. The court had earlier fumed at KEA over the issue.

Students’ plea

The high court has ordered notice to KSSEB and others on a plea by 40-odd Tamil Nadu-based students seeking marks card and D.Ed completion certificates from Dr Radhakrishnan Techers’ Training Institute.







HC gives green signal to demolition on CG road

TNN 14 November 2009, 06:27am IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Friday gave a green signal to Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to demolish illegal structures in four cases where owners moved court seeking a stay.

Holding that AMC’s action of demolition is well within four corners of law’, a division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi dismissed all four petitions demanding a stay on AMC’s demolition drive.

Four petitioners, including shop owners in the basement of Shilp building and owner of Nalanda Hotel at Mithakhali had moved the high court after AMC started pulling down constructions illegally put up by them. However, they claimed that they had been owning the places for years and in some cases had paid ad-hoc impact fees for regularization.

The shop owners in the basement of Shilp building claimed that AMC tried to pull down their shops without any prior notice, while the owner of Nalanda Hotel claimed that the impact fee was paid years ago. But the judges did not buy their arguments. On the contrary, in each of these cases, the court highlighted how the petitioners have violated norms and ignored repeated requests and notices served on them by AMC for compliance of rules.

The high court has in various judgements asked AMC and other authorities to make builders and users of various complexes to comply with norms. But violation of norms continued to take place. The court has even set up a committee headed by a retired judge to look into such issues.







Settle scores yourself: HC to St Stephen’s, Thampu

Express News Service

Posted: Saturday , Nov 14, 2009 at 0030 hrs New Delhi:

It is time to settle the many ongoing disputes at St Stephen’s College, the Delhi High Court said on Friday.

Justice P K Bhasin of the Delhi High Court expressed concern about the continued legal battles between the who’s who of the elite institution.

“Why do you keep fighting? Why don’t all of you sit down and settle the differences?” the judge asked the battery of lawyers appearing variously for the college, principal Valson Thampu and the college’s Governing Body.

The court is hearing a number of rounds of litigation, involving various members of the college administration, mainly the Governing Body, the Supreme Council and the Bishop of Delhi, Rev. Sunil Kumar Singh, who is the Chairman.

The court’s comments came on a recent challenge by Thampu against a decision to put him under probation. He had submitted that it was just a pretext to remove him. On the other hand, the college administration alleged that Thampu’s arguments were false.

The lawyer for the Governing Body and Supreme Council, Sunil Mathews, said efforts were on to settle the issue out of court and as part of it, Thampu had agreed to withdraw the case against them.

But Thampu is strongly pitching his case, arguing that no principals in the past have ever been put on probation. “If my probation is not withdrawn I too cannot withdraw the case,” Thampu’s lawyer told the court.

It was then that Justice Bhasin intervened and asked both sides to thrash out their differences amicably through talks and come back to the court on January 17.

Thampu, meanwhile, approached a Division Bench against an order by Justice Gita Mittal staying the participation of election commissioner S Y Qureshi in the college’s Governing Body.

Qureshi had been nominated to the Governing Body by Thampu after the “illegal” removal of Ajay Singhla, whose three-year tenure as a member was to expire in 2011. Singhla had challenged his removal in court, accusing Thampu of running the management of the prestigious Delhi University college in an “autocratic” manner.






HC asks petitioner to move SHRC

TNN 14 November 2009, 03:08am IST

PATNA: A division Bench of Patna High Court, comprising acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma, on Friday disposed of a PIL filed by Guddu Baba alias Vikash Chandra, who sought a ban on the junior doctors’ strike at PMCH, asking the petitioner to move the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to seek redressal of its grievances.

Guddu Baba submitted that due to the strike by junior doctors, treatment of patients has suffered and several of them had died. He added that the striking doctors have virtually violated the human rights of the patients admitted to the PMCH.








HC asks petitioner to move SHRC

TNN 14 November 2009, 03:08am IST

PATNA: A division Bench of Patna High Court, comprising acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma, on Friday disposed of a PIL filed by Guddu Baba alias Vikash Chandra, who sought a ban on the junior doctors’ strike at PMCH, asking the petitioner to move the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) to seek redressal of its grievances.

Guddu Baba submitted that due to the strike by junior doctors, treatment of patients has suffered and several of them had died. He added that the striking doctors have virtually violated the human rights of the patients admitted to the PMCH.






HC allows Prasar Bharati CEO to finish tenure

Express news service

Posted: Saturday , Nov 14, 2009 at 0312 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a petition challenging extension of the official tenure of Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer B S Lalli, filed by the Centre for Public Interest Litigation, an NGO.

The Government pleaded before the HC that an amendment brought in to increase the upper age limit for the post from 62 to 65 years is applicable to the incumbent CEO. The order comes as a relief to Lalli who has faced ire of some members of the Prasar Bharati Board and the NGO during the past several months over functioning of the corporation.

“In the present case the continuation of Mr Lalli in office after April 20, 2009 is not inconsistent with Section 6 (2A),” the Bench said in its order. “If he has not yet completed five years he can continue in office till he so does or attains 65 years whichever is earlier. ”








HC dismisses LJP plea on office building

TNN 14 November 2009, 03:02am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Friday dismissed state LJP chief Pashupati Kumar Paras’ writ petition that had sought quashing of a letter of the building construction department. Through the letter, the department has cancelled the allotment of the Taylor Road house in the VIP area near the Patna airport to the LJP.

Justice Navniti Prasad Singh’s order, however, gave some respite to the LJP as it added that the party office could run from the the Taylor Road accommodation till the state government allots it another accommodation.








Bombay HC holds on to FIR against Sanjay Dalmia

14 Nov 2009, 0202 hrs IST, Almas Meherally & Nisha Podar, ET Now

The Bombay High Court has not quashed the FIR against Delhi-based industrialist Sanjay Dalmia for his alleged attempts to dupe Indiabulls Financial Services, but held that he should be given a notice of at least three days should the investigating authority want him to take to custody.

The division bench of Justice JN Patel and Justice Amjad Sayed on Friday observed: “We are prima facie of the view that at this initial stage where investigation is going on, the court should not interfere in the statutory powers vested with the police to carry on investigation.”

The observation came a day after Delhi-based investor Pramod Jain launched an unsolicited bid for Sanjay Dalmia’s Golden Tobacco (GTL), claiming that he wanted to prevent asset stripping of the maker of Panama and Chancellor brands. GTL also has real estate assets in Hyderabad and Mumbai. Mr Dalmia and his family owns a 27% stake in GTL, but voting rights on these shares are frozen, as they are attached with an arbitrator.

Indiabulls had lent Rs 225 crore to seven companies of the Dalmia Group, according to a FIR filed by Indiabulls against Mr Dalmia with the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of Mumbai police in July this year. Mr Dalmia is accused of alleged cheating and conspiracy for providing bogus security worth Rs 70 crore.

The court said Mr Dalmia has to present himself at the EOW office on Monday. It said whether Mr Dalmia’s arrest is required will be considered on the outcome of the investigation. A statement from the Dalmia Group said: “In the event, the police feels that the investigation cannot proceed further without custodial interrogation, they will first have to give a written notice of 72 hours prior and within this period.

Mr Dalmia can approach the court for relief, if desired. The court felt that, if Mr Dalmia co-operates with the police, there is no need for custodial interrogation.”

The case will be heard next on December 10.












ASI not doing its job, says HC

Puneet Nicholas Yadav / DNA

Saturday, November 14, 2009 1:52 IST

New Delhi: The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is supposed to preserve ancient and protected monuments across the country, but since 2006, it has been doing just the opposite, the Delhi high court has said.

Since July 2006, the ASI has permitted on 116 occasions construction or renovation activity within hundred metres of ancient monuments in Delhi alone. The approvals were granted by a six-member expert advisory committee set up on July 20, 2006. The panel, headed by the director-general of ASI and comprising eminent historians, town planners and architects, processed 400 applications from across the country (150 from Delhi) seeking similar permissions.

The approvals go against a central government notification issued in 1992, according to which no construction activity is allowed within 100 metres of ancient or protected monuments. The Ancient Monuments Archaeological Sites and Remains Act of 1958 describes the 100-metre limit as “prohibited area”.

The ASI was rebuked by a Delhi high court bench of chief justice AP Shah and justice S Muralidhar for conducting an “exercise without the authority of law” and the expert advisory panel was called “illegal”. “We have no doubt that the committee, formed with the approval of the minister for culture and tourism, for advising the director-general on granting permission for construction/renovation in a prohibited area was without any legal basis,” the court ruled.

The matter was brought to the court’s notice through a writ petition by supreme court advocate Gaurang Kanth. The petition challenged a permission granted by the committee to EMCA Construction Company for reconstructing a property within 86 metres of Humayun’s Tomb in Nizamuddin East area of the national capital. Interestingly, Kanth too has an office within 82 metres of the monument. Now, the court has asked the Centre to tell Kanth why he can’t renovate/reconstructhis own property.

The court has also told the ASI to stop accepting new proposals and instructed it to reconsider all approvals granted since July 2006. The bench also expressed concern over the ASI’s functioning, saying, “The ASI, which is entrusted with the constitutional and statutory responsibility of ensuring preservation of our ancient and protected monuments, is facilitating the violation of the notification by granting permission for construction in protected areas.”

The bench noted, “The committee, which has no legal basis for its functioning, has been granting permissions for constructions within 100 meters of protected monuments without any guidelines. For the ASI to set up a committee to consider relaxation of that norm (set in the 1992 notification) is unacceptable and impermissible.”

Though the court took a stern view of the ASI’s committee, it did not make any observation about construction activities that took place after the 1992 notification and before the ASI committee was set up.

“My property was built in 2002. There are at least a dozen other buildings that have come up post the 1992 notification, all within 100 meters of Humayun’s Tomb. All these are illegal but the court did not take any of them into account,” Kanth said.







‘Stolen’ gold: HC asks cop for details of assets

Shibu Thomas, TNN 14 November 2009, 01:45am IST

MUMBAI: Seventeen years after the Mumbai police seized 832 gms of gold from an Andheri-based businessman, it is in the dock after the precious metal was `stolen’ while in police custody. The alleged accused as it turns out are two policemen who were investigating the case. The HC has now stepped in to resolve the mystery and directed one of the officers (the other died pending probe) to furnish details of assets owned by him. The current market price of the gold is around Rs 13.72 lakh. “The police has to return the gold or compensate with money equal to the value of gold,” said advocate Harshad Bhadbhade.

The case dates back to Dec 1992 when Citibank lodged a complaint against two Andheri-based businessmen Deepak Shah and Farokh Kanga concerning a loan of Rs 53.33 lakh for the purchase of a flat. The EOW of the Mumbai police seized 832 gms of gold from Shah. The matter dragged on for close to a decade, before Citibank and Shah settled the dispute over payment with the bank and sought a closure to the criminal case. On April 4, 2001, the magistrate acquitted the duo and asked the police to return all the seized property, including the gold.

The JCP informed the court that the gold was stolen in 2001 and the matter was being investigated. The documents revealed that the investigating officer seized the gold, but reportedly did not deposit it in the locker. “The property is not available,” the police told the court. Not satisfied with the reply, the magistrate ordered the state to pay a compensation to the duo. This was challenged by the state in the HC.

Public prosecutor P A POl told the HC that the matter was being investigated by the Azad Maidan police. In its petition, the state said if the property seized by the police in discharge of their duties is misappropriated, the JCP could not be held responsible. Advocate Bhadbhade said the state was liable for actions of its officers. The lawyer pointed to the panchnama which mentioned that the gold was seized by investigation officer M Ansari and his assistant Ashok Jadhav.

On Friday, Justice Roshan Dalvi ordered inspector Jadhav to remain present in court. The court then sought details from him. The matter is scheduled for hearing on November 16.








HC dismisses Delhi bizman’s plea to quash cheating case

S Ahmed Ali, TNN 14 November 2009, 01:43am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday dismissed the plea of Delhi-based businessman Sanjay Dalmia that the cheating case filed against him and 13 others should be quashed.

It asked Dalmia to cooperate with the police. Dalmia and 13 other directors from his varioP4-3.TIMwere accused of cheating Indiabulls Financial services to the tune of several crores by mortgaging bogus property documents and obtaining loans and then defaulting. The Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of the Mumbai police registered a case of cheating last month.






SC turns down Mayawati appeal on building park


Published on Fri, Nov 13, 2009 at 17:20, Updated on Sat, Nov 14, 2009 at 16:07 in Politics section

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday refused to suspend its order halting all construction and maintenance work at the memorial sites of Dalit leaders in Lucknow to enable the Uttar Pradesh government to prepare for Dr B R Ambedkar’s death anniversary on December 6.

A bench of Justices H S Bedi and J M Panchal refused to suspend the apex court’s orders of September 8 and September 11, while refusing to accord an urgent hearing to the state government’s plea to allow it to take up maintenance work in the sprawling Ambedkar Park for the Dec 6 function.

The bench said it would hear the plea by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government for maintenance work in the park only on Nov 30, the day slated earlier by the court’s registry for the hearing.

The Mayawati-led government had moved the apex court seeking permission to prepare the sprawling park in the heart of Lucknow to celebrate the death anniversary of the Dalit icon and chairperson of the draft committee of the Indian constitution.

But the bench refused to oblige the government.

The court had on September 8 ordered the state government to halt further construction at various memorial sites in Lucknow. It was hearing a lawsuit by city resident Mithilesh Kumar Singh, who had challenged the government’s construction spree, building a slew of parks and memorials in Lucknow at an estimated cost Rs 26 billion.







Assets: ‘SC judges need not reveal more’—SC-judges-need-not-reveal-more-/540847/

Krishnadas Rajagopal

Posted: Nov 13, 2009 at 0901 hrs IST

New Delhi It seems the declaration of assets by the Chief Justice of India and his 21 judges on their website are just enough, if not more. A three-member Special Bench of the Delhi High Court on Thursday said the Right to Information cannot legally probe further. The reason, simply put, is that the RTI Act, 2005, does not ask for more. The Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justices Vikramjit Sen and S Muralidhar said Supreme Court judges are under no obligation to reveal more of their wealth

than what they have voluntarily declared to the Chief Justice of India.

On November 2, Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and his judges, one of them retired, posted details of movable and immovable properties owned by them and their spouses on the website.

The court is of the opinion that the SC judges may have even overreacted by revealing their spouses’ wealth though the 1997 Resolution of the Supreme Court expressly demands it. “What if the wife has her own business and is wealthy? Does it mean she has to declare her assets, income tax returns, etc?” the Bench said. “With great humility we notice an aberration in the Resolution. It is as if after marriage the wife is holding on to the husband’s property,” the Bench noted.

The Bench is hearing an appeal filed by the Supreme Court against a “too broad and slightly unnecessary” — as Attorney General of India G E Vahanvati puts it — verdict of Justice S Ravindra Bhatt of the High Court, directing the SC judges to make public their assets under the RTI.

The sweep of the RTI Act, 2005 seemed to shrink in the courtroom when Chief Justice Shah asked the AG, who appeared for the SC, what was “so complicated” about the issue of declaration of judges’ assets under the RTI.

“Earlier, the information on assets declarations was with the Chief Justice of India, held in confidentiality. Now, after they have been posted it on the website, there is nothing more to declare. There is no need to even put in an RTI application — the information is open to all. What is so complicated about all this? … RTI cannot ask further,” the Chief Justice said. As per the RTI Act, a public authority is only liable to give information available with it, that too, if the disclosure of the information is in public interest. To this, Vahanvati simply said: “I am happy.”

However, Justice Muralidhar, seemed dissatisfied. “But what if there is more to declare (by the judges)?” he asked Vahanvati. He continued: “We talk of ourselves, the judiciary, as a self-regulating and self-correcting body. The 1997 Resolution identifies certain values like declaration of assets. So when members of the judiciary identify certain values, isn’t it enough to make it binding?” At this point, the Attorney General clarified that though he strongly believes in RTI, he sincerely believes in protection of judges.






High Court okays CG Road demolition


Saturday, November 14, 2009 14:40 IST

  • Ahmedabad: A divisional bench of the Gujarat high court comprising Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi has rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by storeowners of CG Road urging the court to halt the demolition drive initiated by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC).

“It is a gross case of carrying out unauthorised construction, that too despite notices from the corporation. The petitioners (storeowners of CG Road) have no permission to put up the construction. The members of ‘Shilp’ and the owner of Nalanda Hotel have constructed four sheds and put them to industrial use,” the bench said in its judgment.

The court said that Nalanda Hotel and the members of Shilp complex had ignored and not complied with earlier AMC notices issued under section 260(1) of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act, and an order under section and 260(2) of the Act had been passed with regard to the constructions.

The AMC had earlier initiated its largest demolition drive of the last nine years, resulting in widespread opposition from storeowners and traders of CG Road and other areas.

However, amid the hue and cry over the demolition of the illegal structures, the Gujarat high court put a stay on the demolition of structures on CG Road. The members of ‘Shilp’ complex and owner of Nalanda Hotel had approached the court, alleging that the demolition was illegal. Senior advocates Yatin Oza and Shrusti Thula, the counsels for the petitioners, submitted that the storeowners had been occupying the shops for more than 20 years and had been paying property tax regularly.

The high court in its order said that permission had been granted to Nalanda Hotel for the construction of a cellar and hollow plinth for parking, where instead a restaurant and banquet hall had been built. Moreover, there was a lack of parking facilities near the hotel and, despite notices and reminders from the AMC, no alternate arrangements had been made, the court said. Regarding ‘Shilp’ complex, the division bend observed that shops in the basement of the building were being occupied, being neither authorised nor regularised.

Earlier, Oza, representing both Nalanda Hotel and ‘Shilp’, had submitted that the action of the AMC was unauthorised and that the civic body had not followed proper procedure. He further submitted that the shopkeepers should have been given reasonable opportunity to state their case before the demolition was carried out. Oza claimed that the authorities had full knowledge of building plans, and details of the constructions had been provided and had been duly sanctioned by the authorities concerned.






‘Justice delayed is justice denied’



NT Bureau | Sat, 14 Nov, 2009,01:11 PM
Chief Minister M Karunanidhi has said that the saying ‘justice delayed is justice denied’ would not come true for his State as far as the Mullaperiyar dam issue is concerned.

In a statement he said, ‘the State had approached the Supreme Court in December 1998.

Eleven years later when all were expecting Tamilnadu to get justice, the decision to refer the case to a Constitution Bench surely makes us wonder for how many more years one has to wait.’

Stating that it was not his practice to comment on Court judgements nor is he like his Kerala counterpart to pass a law that nullifies court orders, Karunanidhi said that he however has some doubts that need to be raised and cleared.

‘The Supreme Court had ordered raising of storage level in Mullaperiyar dam from 136 ft to 142 ft in 2006. It is said an apex court judgement is supreme to all. What happened to that judgement?’ he asked.

He also wanted to know as to what would happen if all the States start enacting laws to negate a Supreme Court judgement if it goes against them.

‘Is it acceptable that a State can pass such a legislation? What action was taken by the Supreme Court against Kerala for passing such a legislation in conflict of its order,’ he asked.

‘One cannot help asking why the Supreme Court takes no cognisance of a State passing legislation against its orders. Moreover, the court also allows their prayer to refer the case to a Constitution Bench,’ Karunanidhi added.


He said Tamilnadu’s counsel had given his consent to the case being referred to the Constitution Bench only after raising initial objections.

The apex court’s decision to refer the case to the Bench followed after senior counsel K Parasaran for Tamilnadu and Rajeev Dhawan for Kerala agreed that the issue involved delicate interpretation of Constitutional law.

In February 2006, the Supreme Court had allowed Tamilnadu to increase the water level from 136 ft to 142 ft, soon after which the Kerala Assembly passed the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, vesting with itself the powers to restrict the water level to 136 ft.

Kerala, which has cited ‘weakness’ of the dam to justify construction of a new dam, had recently received the Centre’s approval to undertake preliminary survey for the new dam. Tamilnadu had moved the apex court seeking a stay on the survey but the plea was rejected.








HC to hear PIL on doctors’ strike on Monday
By Our Legal Correspondent

First Published : 14 Nov 2009 07:38:50 AM IST

Last Updated :


HYDERABAD: A division bench of the AP High Court comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and Justice CV Nagarjuna Reddy on Friday gave time till Monday to respond to a Public Interest Litigation on the strike by junior doctors in the State.

Kopula Prasad Rao and others moved the High Court complaining that the strike was an annual affair. They contended that the junior doctors had no right to strike and the inaction on the part of the Government would cause great inconvenience to the public at large. The petitioners also contended that earlier the court had declared the strike by the junior doctors as illegal.

Meanwhile, Advocate General DV Sitaram Murthy informed the court that Chief Minister K Rosaiah was meeting the striking doctors and that the Government was taking necessary steps to ensure that the public did not suffer.

VMC given time to justify tax demand

A division bench of the AP High Court comprising Justice G Raghuram and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan on Friday granted a week’s time to the Municipal Corporation of Vijayawada to justify a tax demand made to the tune of over Rs 5 lakh on a 3-storeyed building at Benz circle Vijayawada. The bench heard a writ petition filed by K Venkateshwar Rao, complaining that the civic authorities failed to follow the procedure laid down by law. The petitioner pointed out that a representation to the Commissioner was not disposed of and as such the petitioner could not move the District Court for appropriate remedy.

The bench also pointed out and wondered how the assessment or revision was effected without giving a public notice as stipulated under the Act.

Contempt case against Law Secretary

A division bench of the AP High Court consisting of Justice VVS Rao and Justice Chandraiah on Friday gave two weeks time to the Government to report in a contempt case filed against the Law Secretary Ramachandra Reddy. The Court Masters and Personal Secretary to High Court Judges Association complained that despite on order of the court to fix their salary on a scale of Rs.10,845-00 to Rs.22,955-00, the Government failed to do so. They pointed out that the division bench of the High Court had granted three months time by its order of June 25, 2008 and so far no order was passed.

When the Government pointed out that it had made attempts to discuss the issue with the judiciary, the bench pointed out that they were done only after the contempt was filed. Justice Rao also observed that a decision could only be taken at the highest level.

Saakshi case adjourned by a week

A division bench of the AP High Court hearing the contempt case against Jagan Mohan Reddy, Kadapa MP and owner of `Saakshi’ adjourned the case by a week on Friday. As reported, the court is hearing a suo motto complaint against the newspaper and the TV channel for publishing and telecasting views of Ahobila Rao aka Billy Rao on rumours about a bench hearing the case relating to IMG Bharat.

Ahobila Rao, one of the contemnors today moved an application to cross examine two of the other contemnors: Ramakrishna Reddy, editorial director of the publication and Priyadarshini Ram, news director of the TV channel-both who are arrayed as co-contemnors.  






HC dismisses KSCSTE appeal
Express News Service

First Published : 13 Nov 2009 07:35:16 AM IST

Last Updated :


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court has dismissed the writ appeal filed by the Kerala State Council for Science, Technology and Environment (KSCSTE) and its executive vice-president E P Yesodharan against the interim order granting leave to scientist C.P.Rajendran to take up the Ramanujam Fellowship.

 C.P.Rajendran, a scientist at the Centre for Earth Science Studies (CESS), was denied leave to take up the prestigious Ramanujam Fellowship programme.

The High Court had to intervene twice to enable the petitioner, C P Rajendran, pursue his research work at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore. While the first order was a directive to the KSCSTE to grant leave to Rajendran for one year, the second one had extended the leave by one more year. The KSCSTE had filed an appeal against the interim order.

“We find from the earlier order that similarly situated persons had been granted leave for taking up employment abroad. Be that as it may, now that there is provision for leave without allowance for two years and since the writ petitioner had asked for one more year’s leave and since that alone is granted by the learned single Judge, we do not think that we should advert to the various contentions taken by the appellants,’’ said judges Kurian Joseph and C.T.Ravikumar in their judgment dismissing the KSCSTE appeal.

 Ramanujam Fellowships were instituted to give a boost to scientific research in the country by attracting brilliant scientists and engineers from all over the world to take up scientific research positions in the country.

“A prestigious fellowship has been awarded to the petitioner, which the respondent should be proud to proclaim from the roof-top. However, the respondent is determined to ensure that the petitioner is not in a position to take up the research work. The stand adopted by the respondent would, in my opinion, defeat the very purpose for which the Council was created,’’ Justice P N Ravindran had said in his interim order earlier.

 While the concept of providing sabbatical to senior scientists is followed in many institutes and universities across the world, the KSCSTE, surprisingly fails to recognise the merit and magnitude of the fellowship given even by the Central Government.






‘Judiciary steps in when executive fails in duties’

TNN 15 November 2009, 05:30am IST

LUCKNOW: Year 2004. Chief Justice of Jharkhand High Court Altamas Kabir and a senior judge MY Iqbal visit a lok adalat in Hazaribagh district. They spot a teenage girl, barely 13 years old and ask her what she was doing at the adalat. The girl quietly points at her amputed right leg. Her father tells the judges that they have been doing the rounds of the adalat for the past many months, all the way from Ramgarh, almost 40 Kms away, to get compensation for the accident wherein his daughter lost her leg. It’s been an endless wait, says the father.

When the judges enquire about the delay in release of compensation money, they are informed that the girl’s paper had not been duly filled. Shaken by the apathy, the judges gets the family relief in the form of Rs 5 lakh. As the father-daughter duo leave for their home happily, Justice Kabir asks the girl what she wants to become? The girl replies that she wants to become a doctor.

October, 2009: Justice Altamas Kabir, now a Supreme Court judge, receives a telephone call from the same girl who tells him that she has been selected for a medical college and had got 93% marks in her class XII. “It seemed as if an electric current flowed through me. I was very happy,” Justice Kabir, who was at the Ram Manohar Lohia National Law University on Saturday, recalled, as he finished the story. He was speaking as the chief guest at the 9th JK Mathur memorial lecture on “Citizen and Constitution of India” organised at the university.

The story narrated by Justice Kabir was virtually an appeal to scores of judges and lawyers to be “sensitive enough while they perform their duties.” He said the number of cases in lok adalats and tribunals may have reduced but their number is rising in the higher courts, which again is not a good sign.

He opined that the country may have progressed on a socio-economic path, but, ironically, it is “lopsided”. This has led to many social problems like child labour which still remains unanswered. “We have not been able to address the problem of child labour, which originates because of poverty,” he said. A child born in a poor family is like a bread earner. “If we send him/her to school, then what happens to the family,” he asked.

Judges attending the function largely maintained that “judiciary is dragged into jurisdiction when the executive fails to perform its duties.” “It is the indifferent attitude of executive…or in other words corruption…that judiciary has to come into picture,” insisted senior judge of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court Justice Pradeep Kant. He maintained that “right to good governance happens to be a fundamental right.” “But what should we do when these rights are violated?” he asked. “Don’t we have the right to enjoy clean drinking water, clean air and a better environment,” he said, adding that the large number of court cases shows that the society is ill.

Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court Chandramauli Kumar Prasad dittoed: “What is happening is not expected.” He cited the example of the executive not meeting the expectations in providing basic and primary education to children.






Warning! Fire-hit HC building may collapse any time

M Sagar Kumar, TNN 15 November 2009, 07:18am IST

HYDERABAD: In a development that can only be construed as alarming, a technical study commissioned by the state government has concluded that the recent fire that gutted a portion of the AP High Court on August 31 this year has caused severe damage to the structure and that the heritage building should not be put to use as there is a ‘possibility of a sudden collapse.’

“The damage to the structural members is indicating a serious instability and possibility of a sudden collapse of the dome, arches and the roof in turn may not be ruled out….In view of the severe structural damage, any restoration may not improve the strength and hence may not be advisable to put the building to use,” the technical report concluded.

The government had commissioned M/s Civil-Aid Technoclinic Pvt Ltd to evaluate and submit a report on the extent and cause of damage in the fire that took place in the first and the second floors of the main building of the HC in the early hours of August 31, 2009. The findings of the report was communicated to the registrar of the high court by T Babu Raj, chief engineer, R&B, few weeks ago. Warning that the building may face sudden collapse, the chief engineer said that “since the structure is very badly damaged and the safety of the building is at jeopardy, it is very much desirable to take immediate precautions to protect the building as suggested in the technical report.”

According to the technical assessment, the advocates lounge, library hall, conference hall, judges lounge, chambers of the judges, lifts and wooden staircase affecting a total area of 35,000 sqft out of the total 1,10,000 sqft was completely damaged.

In terms of the structural damages, the report said the arches supporting the roof structure got destroyed, the supporting stones in the ground and first floor jack arch roofs got loosened, the roof slabs got deformed, and cracks appeared on the central dome with the plastering getting peeled off and exposing the corroded steel girders.

The report said the plastering on many chunks of the roof got peeled away, cracks developed in the masonry walls, main supporting girders became deformed at many places and wooden doors and windows got completely gutted. The report recommended an immediate expenditure of Rs 1.59 crore towards protection of the heritage building from further untoward incident.

Though the R&B chief engineer gave a tentative cost estimate for protecting the heritage structure, he has indirectly hinted that the current HC building should be preserved as a heritage monument and that it should not be used as a court anymore.

This finding has come as a shot in the arm for lawyers who are campaigning for shifting the court from this structure even before a new court complex is built elsewhere.







Employees have no say in matters of transfer: HC

TNN 15 November 2009, 07:37am IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has ruled that in the matter of transfer, the government/employer is the best judge to utilise the services of its employees and to place and post them at its discretion. The court held that an employee has no legal say in the matter of his posting, except to bring to the notice of the authorities concerned his personal difficulty or hardship.

This ruling was given by Justice Pankaj Mithal of the Allahabad High Court while dismissing a writ petition filed by sub-inspector (special category) in UP police Rishi Pal Singh.

The petitioner was transferred by an order passed on September 16, 2009, from Gautambudh Nagar to Mau in public interest. The order of the transfer was passed by DIG (establishment) police headquarters, Allahabad with the approval of police establishment board.

The court has held that transfer of the petitioner which was approved by the board was not illegal. The counsel for the petitioner had submitted that police establishment board was not properly constituted, as DGP, UP was not chairman of the board, in the case of the petitioner.

Dismissing the writ petition of the sub-inspector, the court observed police is disciplined force established for the purpose of maintaining law and order and investigation of the crimes. Therefore, in order to maintain strict discipline, sometimes, wholesole transfers are necessary in administrative exigencies. Its a common phenomena that in such circumstances, a whole battalion or a brigade or a regiment is transferred, which may include generally constables\sepoys of a particular caste. The court permitted the petitioner to join at the transferred place within a week.







HC summons Bulandshahr DIOS

TNN 15 November 2009, 07:36am IST

ALLAHABAD: On a contempt petition, the Allahabad High Court has directed district inspector of schools (DIOS), Bulandshahr, Bhuri Singh to appear in person in the court on December 16 next in connection with the non-compliance of the court’s order.

The order was passed by Justice D P Singh on a contempt petition filed by a Committee of Management Intermediate College, Kakod Bulandshahr, through its manager Gajraj Singh. The petitioner had alleged that the high court on September 18, 2009 had directed the education authorities to permit him to continue functioning as manager of the committee of management of the institution.

The petitioner alleged that despite the court’s directive as well as that of the joint director of education, the district inspector of schools was not permitting the petitioner to function as the manager.






HC lawyers’ conduct objectionable: Moily,%20Veerappa%20Moily
Express News Service

First Published : 15 Nov 2009 05:29:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 15 Nov 2009 07:54:51 AM IST


BANGALORE: Union Minister for Law and Justice, Veerappa Moily, on Saturday sharply criticized the incidents of November 9 when agitating advocates at the Karnataka High Court locked up two judges and forcibly suspended court proceedings.

“The manner in which the High Court lawyers conducted themselves over the issue of justice Dinakaran is indeed objectionable,” Moily said in Bangalore at the 51st annual Coffee Planters Association meet.

He extended his criticism to the conduct of the advocates over the justice Dinakaran issue and likened it to the fence eating the crop. On the question of justice Dinakaran’s elevation to the Supreme Court, Moily said the union ministry has constituted a high-level committee to study the issue and that the ministry will take appropriate action keeping in view the rules and procedures of the constitution.

“It takes time to resolve the issues; just because it has taken a little time does not imply that the law should be taken into one’s own hands,” the minister said.

He added that the state’s High Courts have a glorious tradition and that it should not be destroyed because of a few stray incidents.








Diesel-run vehicles: HC decision eagerly awaited

Nidhi Singhi, TNN 14 November 2009, 09:33pm IST

LUDHIANA: State transport authorities as well as the autorickshaw unions are impatiently waiting for the decision of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on modification of its previous orders that banned the registration of diesel-run autos and buses in three major cities including Amritsar, Jalandhar and Ludhiana. The decision on their pleas is slated for the next court hearing on November 17.

Notably, the state government was going to get a fleet of 300 buses from the Central government under Jawahar Lal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) Scheme, but as all these buses were diesel-run and in its previous orders the court had banned the registration of diesel-run commercial vehicles, the delivery of buses was stopped. Thereby, the transport authorities applied for modification in the HC’s previous orders until they could arrange for CNG and LPG fuel pumps in these cities.

However, the autorickshaw unions are also waiting for some relief as the permission to register their newly purchased autos hangs on the HC’s decision. Om Prakash Jodha, president Auto Rickshaw Union said drivers who have just purchased their vehicles are at great loss as the registration of their autorickshaws is hanging fire. He hoped the court would modify its previous orders.

Giving information, Sumeet Mahajan, representing the case in the high court said that the transport authorities have applied for modification of the previous HC orders so that they could add new fleet of buses to the three cities under Central scheme. “The decision regarding it would be taken in the next court hearing,” he said.

Talking to the TOI, DS Jaspal, state transport secretary said they were waiting for the orders of the high court and then they would decide their further course of action. He informed that they were trying their best to arrange for more LPG fuel pumps in these cities.

Focus on LPG fuel pumps

The authorities have assured the court that they would try to arrange sufficient LPG supply in these three major cities of the state by May 2010. As principal secretary, local bodies, D S Bains has already revealed that the CNG pipeline cannot reach the state before 2012, the transport authorities were now concentrating on ensuring supply of LPG at the fuel pumps







Govt employees should be polite with public: HC–HC/541484/


Posted: Nov 14, 2009 at 1752 hrs IST

Madurai Observing that government employees are expected to be polite in their interaction with public visiting their offices, the Madras High Court bench in Madurai directed police to investigate a complaint accusing a staff of Passport office in Madurai of rude behaviour with two applicants.

Justice Raja Elango, disposing of a petition by one of the passport

applicants, a lawyer, directed police to verify the complaint given by him and register a First Information Report if any cognisable offence was made out.

The petitioner, Imam Hussain, said he had gone to Madurai Passport Office along with his wife on Sept 15 when one of the officials refused to accept bank passbook as a residential proof.

Then he took up the matter with the Passport Officer. This angered the staff, who quarreled with the lawyer and snatched the application, Hussain alleged adding the employee also asked the other staff not to accept their applications, and also asked the security personnel to push them out.






Preventive detention should not invade personal liberty: SC


Sunday, November 15, 2009 15:57 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has held that a person cannot be detained under the Preventive Detention Act in a casual manner as it would violate his fundamental right to personal liberty.

“Persons found guilty of economic offences have to be dealt with a firm hand, but when it comes to fundamental rights under the Constitution, this Court, irrespective of enormity and gravity of allegations made against the detainee, has to intervene,” a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and HL Dattu observed in a judgement.

According to the apex court, the gravity of the allegations resulting from such activities cannot be a justification for invading the personal liberty of a citizen, except in accordance with the procedure established by law.

Under preventive detention, a person can be kept in custody without trial for even over a year on the ground that if released he might resume his illegal activities again.

The Bench passed the judgement while upholding the appeal filed by Gimik Piotr, a Polish national, challenging his preventive detention by the Tamil Nadu government under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA).

“In the instant case as the facts reveal, that, there was no pressing need to curtail the liberty of a person by passing a preventive detention order. Foreign currency cannot be smuggled as the person cannot move out of the country on account of his passport being impounded,” the Bench observed.








LEGAL NEWS 13.11.2009

Delhi High Court reserves order on whether CJI’s office comes under RTI

PTI 13 November 2009, 05:07pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court reserved its verdict on an appeal filed by the Supreme Court challenging its order which had held that office of Chief Justice of India comes within the purview of Right to Information Act and details of judges’ assets should be revealed.

A full bench comprising Chief Justice A P Shah and Justices S Muralidhar and Vikramjeet Sen reserved its order after two days of arguments.

Appearing for the Supreme Court registry, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati contended the resolution regarding assets declaration by judges was non-statutory, non-binding and it could not force a judge to declare assets to the Chief Justice.

The Attorney General said the High Court single judge had erred in declaring that the office of CJI comes within the ambit of the RTI Act and had interpreted the provisions of the Act too broadly which was “unnecessary” and “illogical”.

“The resolution was meant for self-regulatory purposes and it cannot be binding,” he said.

The High Court had in its September 2 verdict on the controversial issue held that the CJI was a public authority and his office came within the purview of the transparency law.

The judgement was contrary to the stand taken by CJI K G Balakrishnan who had consistently been maintaining that his office is beyond the purview of the RTI.







Apex court turns down Mayawati appeal on Ambedkar park


November 13th, 2009

NEW DELHI – The Supreme Court Friday refused to suspend its order halting all construction and maintenance work at the memorial sites of Dalit leaders in Lucknow to enable the Uttar Pradesh government to prepare for Dr. B.R. Ambedkar’s death anniversary on Dec 6.

A bench of Justices H.S. Bedi and J.M. Panchal refused to suspend the apex court’s orders of Sep 8 and Sep 11, while refusing to accord an urgent hearing to the state government’s plea to allow it to take up maintenance work in the sprawling Ambedkar Park for the Dec 6 function.

The bench said it would hear the plea by the Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) government for maintenance work in the park only on Nov 30, the day slated earlier by the court’s

registry for the hearing.

The Mayawati-led government had moved the apex court seeking permission to prepare the sprawling park in the heart of Lucknow to celebrate the death anniversary of the Dalit icon and chairperson of the draft committee of the Indian constitution.

But the bench refused to oblige the government.

The court had on Sep 8 ordered the state government to halt further construction at various memorial sites in Lucknow. It was hearing a lawsuit by city resident Mithilesh Kumar Singh, who had challenged the government’s construction spree, building a slew of parks and memorials in Lucknow at an estimated cost Rs.26 billion.







Court dismisses suit against Prasar Bharati chief

November 13th, 2009 SindhToday

New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) The Delhi High Court Friday dismissed a lawsuit challenging the government’s decision to give extension to Prasar Bharati Chief Executive Officer (CEO) B.S. Lalli.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar dismissed the petition of NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation, which had alleged that Lalli’s extention is not within the law.

The high court had earlier reserved its order on the petition. The bench had reserved its verdict after hearing the contention of the central government, Lalli and the petitioner.

Additional Solicitor General Parag Tripathi had said during the hearing that the CEO’s tenure got extended as the government had brought amendment in law and increased the upper age limit for the post from 62 to 65 years.

It was alleged that Lalli, who was appointed in 2006, was to retire in April this year after attaining 62 years of age but his tenure was extended after the government applied the amendment with retrospective effect.







HC confers Indian citizenship on twins fathered through surrogacy

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Nov 12, 2009 at 0217 hrs Ahmedabad:

In a landmark judgment, the Gujarat High Court on Wednesday conferred Indian citizenship on two twin babies fathered through surrogacy by a German national in Anand district. The court directed the authorities to give them Indian passports.

Also, the court emphasised the need for ‘a comprehensive legislation’ dealing with all the issues and situations being created by the latest reproductive science and technology.

The two boys — Balaz Nikolas and Balaz Leonard, whose father is a German national, Jan Balaz — were conceived by an Indian surrogate mother, Marthaben Immanuel Khristi, in Anand in January 2008. An unidentified woman from India had donated the ova, which were fertilised with the sperm of Jan Balaz. The fertilised embryo was implanted at an assisted reproduction clinic in Anand.

Balaz had opted for the latest reproductive scientific technology after realising that his wife — Susanne Anna Lohle — was biologically unable to conceive. Balaz and his wife had also entered into a surrogacy agreement with Khristi.

After the birth of the two boys, they were issued Indian passports by the authorities. But after learning about Balaz’s foreign nationality and the surrogacy issue, they ordered him to surrender the passports. Aggrieved by the decision, Balaz moved the HC.

The Regional Passport Officer at Ahmedabad had told the court that under the provisions of the Indian Citizenship Act, the boys couldn’t be conferred with Indian citizenship since they were born out of surrogacy. However, the petitioner’s lawyer — Dhaval Dave — strongly contended that the boys are born in India through surrogacy. And since they have been born to a surrogate mother who herself is an Indian national, they are entitled to Indian citizenship.

Announcing the verdict, the division bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice A S Dave observed, “…lot of legal, moral and ethical issues arise for our consideration in this case, which have no precedents in this country.”

Raising a lot of questions related to surrogacy, the bench observed, “We are primarily concerned with the rights of two newborn, innocent babies, much more than the rights of the biological parents, surrogate mother, or the donor of the ova. Emotional and legal relationship of the babies with the surrogate mother and the donor of the ova is also of vital importance.”

After considering the case laws related to surrogacy of countries like Ukraine, Japan and the US, the court decided the case at hand by inclining to recognise the surrogate mother as the natural mother of the children. And since the woman is Indian, the children were granted Indian citizenship under the legal provisions.








HC bats for speedy compensation in motor accidents

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Nov 13, 2009 at 0004 hrs Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Thursday directed the state government to act on the Delhi High Court observations on implementation of section 158 (6) of Motor Vehicles Act.

The section provides various procedures that need to be initiated, especially by the police, in case of motor accidents so that the victims can be spared long delays in securing claims from insurance companies.

Taking suo-motu notice of the Delhi HC observations, the court observed that the section has not been enforced even though it has been in existence since 1993. The section makes it obligatory for the state police to register an FIR the moment an accident case is reported. The police are supposed to prepare a report and forward it to the Maharashtra Accidents Claim Tribunal, the magistrate concerned and the parties involved to do away with the tedious task of filing for claims.

 “The whole concept of filing claims is gone,” division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A M Khanwilkar noted.

The court, however, made it clear that the criminal proceedings will go on as the purpose is to only expedite the compensation. The court cautioned that if the police don’t act the court will enforce the rule next week.

The court has directed Advocate General Ravi Kadam to hold a meeting with the DGP, police commissioner, ASG, home secretary, transport commissioner and principal secretary, law and order, and prepare a report detailing how the provision will be enforced within two weeks.







Orissa HC gets a new CJ — for less than a week

Mohan Kumar

 Posted: Friday , Nov 13, 2009 at 0128 hrs Mumbai:


Justice Bilal Nazki of the Bombay High Court has been promoted as Chief Justice of the Orissa High Court, an elevation that has raised eyebrows in judicial circles as the judge is due to retire on November 18 and will hold the top job for less than a week.

Speaking to reporters in Mumbai on Thursday, Nazki said that he had been promoted and would be taking charge in Orissa on Saturday. He would sit in court for three days from Monday after which he would come back to Mumbai before returning to his home state of Jammu and Kashmir.

“With this posting, I will be serving in the High Courts of all four regions in the country,” said Justice Nazki, who has been a High Court judge for almost 15 years now and has served in J&K and Andhra Pradesh.

He added that he would probably return to practising as a lawyer, when asked about his plans, and also said that he had a project in mind to pursue at the International Court of Justice at The Hague in 2011.

Justice Nazki apparently did not have an inkling about his elevation to Orissa as he had met reporters earlier this week and merely said that he would be retiring on November 18. There was some talk in judicial circles about two months ago about the judge moving to Orissa among others being transferred or promoted but that decision had not come through. Known as a tough judge with a reputation of being hard on government agencies, Justice Nazki had recently pulled up the Maharashtra Police in the case of a missing child.

Last month, he was part of a bench which gave state minister Narayan Rane three weeks to explain his statement that there was a nexus between politicians and terrorists.








Deccan Odyssey’s lease to pvt operator under HC scanner

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Nov 13, 2009 at 0003 hrs Mumbai:

The leasing of Deccan Odyssey, the luxury train commissioned by Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC), to a subsidiary of private operator Thomas Cook has now come under the Bombay High Court’s scanner.

Division Bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and A M Khanwilkar on Thursday sought a reply from MTDC over the allegations made in a PIL that no tenders were invited while sub-leasing the luxury train and regarding its alleged re-routing. MTDC has been asked to reply within a week.

The Bench also observed that operation of the lease would be subject to final orders in the petition.

MTDC had launched the Deccan Odyssey in 2003, which touched the major tourist destinations of the state including Ajanta-Elora, with a view to attracting domestic and foreign tourists.

As per the petition filed by Harshad Gawde, a private tour operator from Vengurla, the train has now been leased to Luxury Travels, which has sub-leased it to Travel Corporation of India, a Thomas Cook subsidiary. He alleged that no tenders were invited while leasing the luxury train.

The PIL further says the train was introduced by MTDC with a funding from both the state and the Centre to promote tourism in Maharashtra. But the new route of the train — now renamed as Indian Maharaja — would cover Rajasthan, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, and not the tourist spots in Maharashtra, it alleged.

The state government has invested Rs 14 lakh in the train, the PIL says. The court adjourned the hearing for a week.








Jharkhand HC directed IT depart to file fresh report on the cases involving Koda

Jharkhand High Court directed the Income Tax department to produce fresh reports in connection with disproportionate asset cases filed against former Chief Minister Madhu Koda and a few former ministers of the state.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra and Justice D K Sinha passed the order while hearing a Public Interest Litigation filed by one Durga Oraon.

The court also asked the vigilance department to intimate about the steps taken in those cases.

Koda and his former ministers, including Bandhu Tirjey, Kamlesh Singh and Bandhu Tirky, were under vigilance scanner in DA case.

The court fixed November 26 as next date of hearing.









HC drops contempt case against Rabri

Ravi Dayal, TNN 13 November 2009, 07:41am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday dropped the contempt case against the leader of the Opposition in state Assembly, Rabri Devi, after she tendered an unqualified apology for her speech in Saran during 2009 parliamentary elections in which she allegedly said the media and the courts were under control of CM Nitish Kumar.

Tendering her apology before a division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shiva Kirti Singh and Justice Shyam Kishore Sharma, the former CM submitted in her showcause that she had made political statement making “innocuous reference of court” inadvertently and that she did not mean anything against court. Senior lawyer, Rana Pratap Singh, while representing Rabri Devi in the case submitted that she did not scandalize the court.

The Bench cautioned the politicians holding high offices to be careful in future in their utterances and restrain themselves from making undesirable comment against courts.

In his contempt petition, lawyer Ashutosh Ranjan Pandey, submitted that Rabri Devi, intended to lower the authority of the court in the eyes of the public when she said the judiciary were under control of CM Nitish Kumar. He cited media reports regarding such election speech of Rabri Devi in his contempt petition, adding that she had scandalized the courts.

Pandey submitted that for the Saran incident, the district election officer concerned had instituted an FIR against Rabri Devi under Section 171G of IPC for spreading hatred and for violation of model code of conduct during parliamentary elctions under Representation of People’s Act. Despite this, Rabri Devi had again on April 15, 2008, repeated her statement at Jamui, he added.

Rabri’s counsel Rana Pratap Singh submited that she had not repeated her statement which she had made during the election speech at Saran. The Saran speech was directed against her political bete noire in a politically surcharged atmosphere, he added.








IAF moves HC to stop construction near HQMC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN 13 November 2009, 06:23am IST

NAGPUR: The Union defence ministry has moved the Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench to stop an upcoming residential complex close to the boundary wall of its airbase at Vayusena Nagar in Nagpur.

The petition moved through the commanding officer of Head Quarters Maintenance Command (HQMC), Nagpur, came up before the division bench comprising justices Dilip Sinha and Filimino Reis. The bench directed the respondents, including Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), Dolly Enterprises of Byramji Town, and IVR Prime Urban Developers, to stop construction on the site till Monday.

According to the petitioner’s counsel Anand Parchure, NIT had sanctioned a residential complex on December 30 last year to be built by Dolly Enterprises in a joint venture with IVR Developers. The HQMC officers noticed while patrolling that construction activity was taking place close to the boundary wall of the IAF station. HQMC lodged a strong objection with the NIT, after which the civic body had asked Dolly Enterprises to halt construction on March 30. The builders submitted a reply to NIT stating that they had already invested heavily into the project.

Meanwhile, the HQMC had issued an official communication on May 5 to NIT, asking it to completely stop the construction activities at the site, citing security risk to the defence establishment. The petitioner cited the Works of Defence Act, 1903, and a communication by the defence ministry issued on February 14, 2007, which states that no construction activity should be allowed within 100 metres of air force stations.

However, the civic body on June 16 permitted the other respondents to resume construction at the site. The petitioner then approached the court demanding quashing of NIT’s order of March 30 allowing Dolly Enterprises to erect residential complex comprising flats at Khasra No 56/1 and 56/2 at area known as Hazari Pahad. It also prayed for immediate halt of all construction activities at the site.







Hard times for Karnataka executive, judiciary (Letter from Bangalore)

November 12th, 2009 SindhToday

Bangalore, Nov 13 (IANS) For the first time in Karnataka, both the executive and the judiciary are simultaneously passing through troubled times.

The legislature, meeting early next month, is set to be paralysed by an opposition waiting to clobber the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) first government in the state for the mess it is in.

An uneasy truce between Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and dissident ministers G. Janardhana Reddy (Tourism) and his elder brother G. Karunakara Reddy (Revenue) has been stitched by the BJP’s central leaders to save the state government.

That has, however, left the chief minister virtually without power as a coordination committee will have a final say on all major decisions taken by him. The committee is to be set up in the next few days.

The Reddy brothers have given a strong indication that senior BJP leader Sushma Swaraj, known to be close to them, will be a key player in running Karnataka affairs from now on.

While Yeddyurappa struggles to balance the dignity and authority of his chair and dissident ministers’ demand for unbridled freedom, the bar and the judiciary in the state are at loggerheads over the continuation in office of High Court Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran.

The lawyers, who are members of the Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB), are facing possible contempt of court action against them for trying to force Dinakaran and other judges of the high court to stop hearing cases Monday.

The AAB had called for a boycott of courts across Karnataka against Dinakaran holding proceedings in spite of charges of land grab against him in his home state of Tamil Nadu.

But several lawyers who are not AAB members not only opposed the call but also appeared for court proceedings Monday.

A ruckus followed in the court premises as a section of lawyers barged into the courts of Dinakaran and other judges, demanding they stop hearing the cases. An angry Dinakaran walked out of the court while two other judges were locked up in their chambers for a few hours for refusing to bow to the protesting lawyers.

An upset judiciary has issued a notice to AAB office-bearers asking why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them.

The lawyers also attacked journalists. A reporter and a TV cameraman suffered minor injuries. Several other journalists who went to their help were pushed around.

The legislature is to meet Dec 10 for its winter session. The opposition has been demanding an immediate session to discuss the dissidence against Yeddyurappa and the impact of the peace deal on the dignity of the chief minister’s post.

Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leaders have been lampooning Yeddyurappa and BJP central leaders for bowing to the financial might of the Reddy brothers.

State Congress president R.V. Deshpande has described the peace deal as “a marriage of compulsion. It has proved that the chief minister is very weak and, to keep his seat, he will go to any extent and sacrifice anything.”

JD-S state president and former chief minister H.D. Kumaraswamy has challenged Yeddyurappa to dissolve the assembly and go for elections.

“The administration has collapsed,” he said. “If the chief minister has any sense, he must dissolve the assembly.”

State BJP leaders themselves disagree with party central leaders’ statements that “everything has been solved”.

Karnataka BJP chief D.V. Sadananda Gowda said, “It would be foolish to think all issues have been resolved simply by raising hands.” He was referring to Yeddyurappa and Janardhana Reddy holding hands in the presence of Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi to announce the end of the crisis.

He and senior ministers V.S. Acharya (Home), K.S. Eshwarappa (Power) and S. Suresh Kumar (Law) have said the two-week crisis has dented the BJP’s image.







‘SC’s assets declaration order binding on judges’

TNN 13 November 2009, 03:41am IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court on Thursday observed that the resolution passed by the SC judges for declaring their assets could be seen as binding on judges as it was part of the self-regulatory mechanism for the judiciary.

“If we accept your (apex court registry) arguments (that resolution is not binding on judges), then it would have serious implication on self-regulation. It is binding and its non-observance has certain consequences,” a three-judge bench headed by the Chief Justice A P Shah said, in its preliminary observations while hearing SC’s challenge to a single judge verdict.

High court pointed out that the resolution for declaring assets by the judges to the CJI was part of the broader issue of maintaining judicial values and it cannot be said to be non-binding as in-house proceedings can be initiated against a judge for violating the values. The bench, also compromising Justices Vikramjeet Sen and S Muralidhar, however said it has to be considered whether assets of the judge’s spouses have also to be declared as it might amount to violation of their right to privacy.







Dinakaran issue: Collegium lobs ball in Centre’s court

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 13 November 2009, 03:11am IST

NEW DELHI: The collegium headed by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan will leave it to the Centre to take a call on the proposal to elevate Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, who is facing a host of charges relating to encroachment of large tracts of government land.

Anxious to steer clear of the troubled waters because of charges levelled against Justice Dinakaran and his resolute denials, the collegium has written to the Centre about its decision to disengage itself from the controversial issue. It will shortly forward to law ministry all inquiry reports and documents that were placed before it in relation to the accusations, highly placed sources told TOI.

The decision comes after Thiruvallur district collector stood by his finding that Justice Dinakaran had encroached 197 acres of public land in Kaverirajapuram village.

“The government would be supplied with full details of the discreet inquiry conducted by the CJI and the documents considered by the collegium and it will be for the Centre to take a call on the issue,” the source said.

With both CJI and law minister Veerappa Moily taking a strong stand that they do not want any tainted person in the Supreme Court as judge, the chances of Justice Dinakaran making it to the apex court appears slim.

Justifying the CJI’s decision to conduct a discreet inquiry on the allegations heaped on Justice Dinakaran, sources said Justice Balakrishnan only followed the principles of natural justice, which mandates that no one should be condemned without a hearing.

Justice Dinakaran had repeatedly denied allegations of land grabbing and had even went to the extent of trashing the collector’s report as motivated and wrong. “I have not acquired even a single inch of land after my elevation as a judge of the High Court,” he had consistently maintained.

But the alarm bells had started ringing after the collegium decided to “delink” the name of Justice Dinakaran from the list of five High Court Chief Justices it had recommended in September for elevation as judges of the Supreme Court.







Information not at the cost of judiciary’s independence: apex court

by Indo Asian News Service on November 12, 2009

New Delhi, Nov 12 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday contended that information which is within the control of a public authority should be given under the Right To Information (RTI) act but, at the same time, the consideration of independence of judiciary should be kept in mind.

Arguing before a three judge bench of the Delhi High Court comprising Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah, Justice S. Muralidhar and Justice Vikramjit Sen, Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati said: ‘Public right to know is fine but on the same hand, it should also be seen that such rights are not infringing on the independence of the judiciary.’

The court was hearing an appeal filed by the Supreme Court challenging the Delhi High Court’s single bench order that states that office of the Chief Justice of India (CJI) comes within the ambit of RTI act.

‘RTI and information are two different things and should not be mixed. In fact, there is a twin test as one is information held by a public authority and the other is information under the control of public authority,’ Vahanvati said.

Noting judges have voluntarily declared their assets, Vahanvati said: ‘The resolution of 1997 adopted by the supreme court judges is non-constitutional and non-binding on the judges.’

To a query from the bench as to whether the resolution also makes it mandatory that the family members of judges also declare their assets under the right of privacy, he said that the resolution was not clear about this.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, arguing on behalf of S.C. Aggarwal on whose RTI query the Central Information Commission (CIC) gave its verdict that CJI’s office is under RTI, said: ‘There are more specific rules regarding the evaluation of assets and should be calculated from the time the assets have been acquired and not on the present day prices.’

The arguments remained inconclusive and will continue Friday as well.

The High Court had in its Sep 2 verdict on the controversial issue held that the CJI was a public authority and his office came within the purview of the transparency law. The apex court in its appeal said the declaration of the assets by the judges is a voluntarily step and is not under the RTI act.








Karkare jacket part of rejected lot: PIL

Anil Singh, TNN 13 November 2009, 05:13am IST

MUMBAI: The bullet-proof jacket worn on 26/11 by Hemant Karkare, then chief of the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), was among a lot of 110 that had been rejected for being sub-standard but bought back from the same supplier without being tested, says a PIL filed by social worker Santosh Daundkar.

Daundkar and his lawyer, former IPS officer Y P Singh, used the RTI Act to dig out facts. The petitioner had filed an RTI query on this issue in December 2008 and the Mumbai police commissioner’s office replied in April this year, saying the file pertaining to the purchase of the jackets was not traceable and so it was not possible to give any information.

The petitioner went in appeal and the appellate authority instructed the public information officer of the commissioner’s office to provide whatever information was available. Accordingly, Daundkar was able to get some correspondence pertaining to the purchase of the jackets from the accounts department of the commissioner’s office. “Though skeletal, the information reveals a massive fraud in the purchase of the bullet-proof jackets,’’ says the PIL.

According to the petition, the Mumbai police commissioner issued a tender enquiry to buy 55 bullet-proof jackets on December 6, 2001. NTB Hi Tech Ceramics, a Pune-based firm with no record of making bullet-proof vests, submitted a quotation on January 3, 2002, in response to which the commissioner’s office issued a letter on March 30, 2002, indicating provisional acceptance.

Intriguingly, says the PIL, a proforma invoice that the material had been despatched was issued on March 30, 2002, itself.Documents provided by the accounts department show that the tender was finally accepted on June 4, 2002, and within a month the order was doubled to 110 jackets, which, the petitioner says, is against the rules.

The jackets, which cost Rs 24.71 lakh, ought to have been supplied in a month but they arrived only in 2004 and payment was made. But when they were tested at the firing range, they were found sub-standard and returned. Accordingly, the supplier handed back the payment, which was deposited with RBI on September 2, 2004.

The PIL, which will come up for admission shortly, says NTB Hi Tech Ceramics was neither penalised for supplying material late nor for the fact that its stuff was substandard. No one questioned the need to persist with the same supplier, says the petitioner, adding that “obviously, there was some invisible hand at work’’.

One of the visible defects in the jacket, noticed in the oft-repeated video clipping of Karkare donning the jacket on 26/11, is that it left a substantial part of his upper chest uncovered whereas the specifications of the DRDO say that a bullet-proof jacket should stretch from the neck to the groin.

The petition says the police commissioner’s office broke the rule by not testing the jackets prior to purchase. In fact, the rule says that for very important and expensive goods, 100% inspection should be done by independent agencies.

The commissioner’s office also made no effort to get the necessary written permission from the directorate of industries as the jackets did not bear the logo of the Bureau of Indian Standards.

By December 2004, NTB Hi Tech Ceramics re-supplied the jackets after “rectifying the technical defects’’. On July 14, 2005, a cheque for Rs 24.71 lakh was handed over to it. The PIL says there is no evidence that the re-supplied jackets were tested in a firing range.

The PIL contains excerpts from CM Ashok Chavan’s interview with a news channel in which he said Karkare had died because of bullet wounds to the head and neck and not to his torso. Chavan also maintained that there was nothing wrong with the purchase of the jackets. The petitioner has sought a probe into the matter.







PIL demands CBI probe into foodgrain scam

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Nov 12, 2009 at 0352 hrs Lucknow:

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking a CBI probe into the alleged foodgrain scam worth Rs 35,000 crore was filed in the Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on Wednesday.

Petitioner Vishwanath Chaturvedi submitted that in the foodgrain scam unearthed in 2001, the High Court order on a PIL demanding a CBI probe has not been complied with. The Union and state governments have not taken any positive step to identify and book the culprits, he added. Chaturvedi had filed the PIL for a CBI probe in 2005.

Alleging that senior officials involved in illegally exporting foodgrains to Nepal and Bangladesh are enjoying plum postings, Chaturvedi appealed to the court to get the scam probed by the CBI.

“In 2001, the scam concerning illegal export of foodgrain worth Rs 457 crore from Gonda and Sitapur came to light. Subsequent inquiry and media reports, however, suggested that the scam may have not been confined to the two districts,” said K K Singh, petitioner’s counsel. This led Chaturvedi to move the High Court in 2005 and demand a CBI probe.

 “When the state government admitted that scam could be to the tune of Rs 35,000 crore and more districts could have been involved, the High Court had ordered the CBI to probe the case in 2007,” said Singh.

The CBI’s failure to submit the probe report, however, prompted Chaturvedi to move Supreme Court this year. The court, while disposing the petition asked Chaturvedi to move the High Court first.

On Wednesday, CBI counsel Bireshwar Nath submitted that the agency was probing the scam in two districts — Lakhimpur Khiri and Ballia.

“We have prayed that all districts of the state be included in the probe,” said Singh.

A Division Bench of Justices Pradeep Kant and Ritu Raj Awasthi posted the matter for hearing in the next week. It also recommended a change in bench as one of the judges had contested as a Union government representative in the similar matter when it was filed earlier.






PIL against appointments of Chief Parliamentary Secretaries in Haryana admitted in P&H HC

A PIL against the appointment of nine chief parliamentary secretaries by Haryana chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in addition to a similar strength of ministers was admitted for regular hearing in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

A division bench of Chief Justice Tirath Singh Thakur and Justice Mahesh Grover admitted the PIL after the petitioner advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti made brief submissions about circumventing the provisions of the constitution by such inductions which exceed the permissible 15 per cent strength of the state legislature.

The bench, however, has not fixed any date for hearing, but ordered the PIL to be heard along with another two writ petitions preferred respectively by the present petitioner against such appointments made by Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal during his previous tenure and another by Anter Singh Brar advocate against similar appointments of CPSs by Capt. Amarinder Singh during his tenure from 2002-07.








SC admits writ on separate State of Coochbehar

Spl Correspondent
 NEW DELHI, Nov 12 – The Supreme Court has admitted a writ petition filed jointly by People’s Association and All Assam Koch Rajbongshi Students’ Union (AAKRSU) pressing for implementation of an agreement signed between the Government of India and the then King of Coochbehar. Responding to the pleas of the Central Government’s counsellor, the Apex Court granted him to respond to the petition. The case is now likely to come up for hearing in the third week of November.

The petitioners under the banner Renewed Demand for State Committee filed a Writ Petition submitting that on August 28, 1949, the then Home Minister Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel and King of Coachbehar Dipendra Narayan Bhop Bahadur signed a Treaty of Accession under which it was agreed that a ‘C’ category State of Coochbehar would be created comprising Goalpara district of Assam and six districts of West Bengal.

Subsequently, when the demand was not fulfilled by Government of India, the King moved the Calcutta High Court in 1962 and sought its intervention. In its direction, the High Court directed Government of India to resolve the matter through negotiations with the King.

The petitioner’s case is that despite the order of the High Court, the Government of India has not so far created a separate State of Coochbehar.










HC admits appeal in Manorama case
Source: The Sangai Express

Imphal, November 11 2009: The Principal seat of the Gauhati High Court at Guwahati has today admitted the writ appeal filed by Thangjam Ongbi Khumanlei Devi, mother of deceased Thangjam Manorama Devi.

Filed at the active initiative of the Human Rights Law Network (Manipur), the said writ appeal was placed before a division bench comprising of Justice Amitava Roy and Justice CR Sarma.

Senior Advocate of Supreme Court Colin Gonsalves appeared on behalf of the appellant and Advocate Meihoubam Rakesh assisted him during the hearing the matter.

After hearing the matter, the Court fixed November 26 for the final hearing of the appeal along with other appeals preferred by the Assam Rifles authority and the State of Manipur.

It may be recalled here that in the night of July 11, 2004, Thangjam Manorama Devi was arrested by personnel of 17 Assam Rifles from her residence but on the morning her bullet riddled body was found on the road side along Imphal-Yairipok road, about 4 kms ahead of her residence.

The State Government had consequently, instituted an inquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 to find out the facts and circumstances leading to the death of Thangjam Manorama Devi.

The Assam Rifles authorities had challenged the very constitution of the Commission of Inquiry by filing two writ petitions before the Gauhati High Court alleging that provisions of Section 2 (a) (d) of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952 read with entry 2 A of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution provides that to inquire into the conduct of the Armed forces or its personnel, acting in aid of civil power, it is only the Central Government and not the State Government, which is competent to constitute a commission of Inquiry.

On June 23, 2005, the learned single Judge of the High Court held that Union Government, which is the appropriate authority as required under Section 2 (a) (i) of the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, which is competent to appoint a Commission to make an enquiry into a matter relating to the Armed forces acting in aid of civil power.

Th Manorama’s mother challenged the decision of the learned single judge by preferring the above mentioned appeal.

At the same time the Assam Rifles authorities as well as the State Government also preferred appeals against the said judgment and order.








Green signal to form PMRDA by Maha govt

PMRDA got the green signal from the Maharastra government as it has issued an ordinance to form region development authority in the state. The district guardian minister will be the president of this regional development authority.

CJ: Datta Kamble



Thu, Nov 12, 2009 14:03:00 IST  

MAHARASTRA GOVERNMENT issued an ordinance to form region development authority in the state. The ordinance to set up the Pune Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (PMRDA) has become clear and now, the district guardian minister will be the president of this regional development authority.

Due to urbanisation, many cities and surrounded areas have been developed in an unplanned way. To search the solutions on this unplanned layout, government start the process to form the region development authority in the state. The Maharastra government formed the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) for the state. Except MMRDA, all regional development authority in the state was only on paper layout.

Satellites Township for roads of developing cities and creation of roads for city is the main specialisation of this region development authority. The formation of this regional planning was being discussed since last few years and government also made some changes in regional and urban act- Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practice Commission (MRTP).

Especially Congress-Nationalist Communist Party was so interested to form PMRDA before pre-assembly election, so they made some changes in MRTP Act. There was a need of grant of assembly to make some changes in National Residential Property Tax (NRPT) Act, so they issued an ordinance on May 16, 2009, to form the PMRDA. Later to transfer it into act, government passed it in the house legislative assembly and finally it was passed by the assembly.

But it couldn’t come in legislative council within time, so governor orders an ordinance on August 24, to form the PMRDA.








PIL against Madurai corpn for not paying AP Labourers

TNN 12 November 2009, 06:21am IST

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has sought details about 250-odd labourers from Andhra Pradesh employed for civic works by the Madurai corporation following allegations that they had not been paid their salary arrears totalling Rs 2 crore.

In a public interest litigation petition, president of the Mahaboob Nagar District Palamoori Migrant Labour Union P Narayanaswamy said 265 labourers from the district, the second most backward district in Andhra Pradesh were brought to work for the Madurai corporation by a contractor to clean up stormwater drains in several parts of the city. But, the petitioner alleged that they had not been paid from September 11, 2008 to May 30, 2009.

The seven-month arrears worked out to about Rs two crore. The union made representations to the collector, Madurai corporation commissioner and labour inspector, but got no response.

The petition came up for hearing before Justices D Murugesan and S Nagamuthu, who directed the counsel for the petitioner A Thirumurthy to submit details by Thursday about labourers, work days and daily wages fixed for different categories of workers and the arrears to be paid to them. They said that the corporation and the contractor of the project should be given an opportunity to check the veracity of the details.

Counsel for the corporation told the court that the contractor who had taken over the work was liable to pay the labourers. But, the contractor’s counsel said the sub-contractor had engaged the workers and that he had no direct links with them.






PIL urges Advani to show loyalty to his voters

TNN 12 November 2009, 04:50am IST

AHMEDABAD: A resident of Ahmedabad has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Gujarat High Court urging it to tell BJP leader LK Advani to remain loyal to his electorate in Gandhinagar before expressing loyalty to the party.

The petitioner has also urged the court to correct parliamentary practices in the country on the lines of those prevailing in Switzerland.

Eighty-year old KD Pandya made several suggestions along with reasons and solutions in his PIL. A division bench headed by the Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan referred the case to another bench headed by Justice MS Shah as the petition was drafted in Gujarati.

Pandya has stated in his PIL that MPs take important decisions without consulting the electorate. Hence, they should be directed to hold a referendum before taking important policy-related decisions.

Pandya has urged that this process is followed in European countries like Switzerland and should be adopted in India as well. The petitioner has sought the court’s direction to Advani to follow this procedure in his constituency Gandhinagar.

Pandya has also mentioned that Advani can build a forum in Gandhinagar, which deliberates on various issues and recommends solution to the MP. He has claimed that Advani has remained loyal to his party and not to his electorate.







MP CJ urges to raise public issues through PIL

Madhya Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Anang Kumar Patnaik has called upon the legal fraternity to raise the genuine public issues through the Public Interest litigation (PIL).

‘Since the court is not in a position to dispose all private matter. Hence, such cases could be resolved through PIL,’ Justice Patnaik said while addressing a seminar, organised by the Madhya Pradesh Legal Service Authority on the High Court premises to celebrate the National Legal Service Day.

He said that it should be the responsibility of every Indian to know about his or her legal rights and should work for improving the legal Literacy. He said the legal authority should also ensure that the people would get speedy justice within the time frame.

Talking about the importance of Lok Adalat, the Chief justice said, ‘the object of the Lok Adalat is not only to reduce the burden of pending cases in court, but to reduce the time, taken in settlement of certain type of case like the appeal against the motor accident tribunals, and civil matters also.’ Speaking on the occasion, Justice Deepak Mishra Executive Chairman, State Legal Service Authority, lauded the success of Lok Adalat.








MLC submits CD in Mall Avenue bungalow case

TNN 12 November 2009, 05:26am IST

LUCKNOW: MLC Sunil Singh on Wednesday submitted a CD in the high court in his Mall Avenue Bungalow number 8 case. The CD allegedly contains his recording of conversation with cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh and chief minister Mayawati’s principal secretary Shailesh Krishna regarding the take over of the said bungalow.

The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi fixed the petition on November 12 for next hearing. The CD was produced in a sealed envelope by way of supplementary affidavit. Additional advocate general JN Mathur raised objection regarding the maintainability of the petition with regard to the prayers of the MLC. The court granted liberty to MLC’s counsel senior advocate Prashant Chandra to amend the prayers.

Foodgrain scam: The High Court on Wednesday directed to connect a PIL with another pending PIL, seeking CBI probe into the alleged multi-crore foodgrain scam. The petitioner, Vishwanath Chaturvedi stated that a large scale bungling took place with regard to distribution of foodgrain meant for public distribution system. It was alleged that the foodgrain were siphoned off to foreign countries. The PIL will come up in next week for further hearing.

BEd counselling: The high court has extended the time for completing the third round of BEd counselling. The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi provided one month’s further time to conduct the said counselling.

The order came on an application moved by state government through chief standing counsel Devendra Upadhyay in a pending petition. About 15,000 seats are vacant. As the earlier time frame fixed by the court expired, the state government had to rush to the court for extension of the said period.







People are more conscious, but a lot to be done yet

Ajanta Chakraborty, TNN 12 November 2009, 05:02am IST

My fight for the Maidan dates back to 2001, when I filed my first PIL. There was a programme on Doordarshan on Calcutta’s greens. At the discussion, I had commented that political parties only filled up the Maidan, but didn’t beautify it.

My own words kept ringing in my ears. One day, in February, 2002, I found that the green Maidan was almost covered with plastic bags. I also noticed some black spots. On closer inspection, I found that garbage had been burnt, creating these spots. We managed to detect as many as 747 black spots.

Some days later, I met an 85-year-old local resident. He was walking on the ground. He told me that as a youngster during the British era he used to visit the Maidan. He flew kites, but wasn’t allowed to play football. He told me that the army had maintained the place differently in those days. Each and every piece of garbage was picked up, and sporting wasn’t allowed. In fact, a lot of restrictions were imposed by the army.

I looked around and felt depressed. People were defecating, drinking liquor, and some pockets had turned into dens for antisocials. Some 250 trees had been felled and the waterbodies dirtied. There were mountains of garbage. I took photographs and submitted them to the court in June, 2002.

Calcutta High Court set up a watchdog committee consisting representatives from police, PWD, Army and KMC. The committee never saw light of day.

In November, 2003, the HC observed on my PIL for the Victoria Memorial that fairs organised at the Maidan were harming it. It asked the state advocate-general to relocate fairs. In January, 2004, the advocate-general offered to relocate all fairs. But he sought some time, saying the government was planning a permanent fairground on the lines of Delhi’s Pragati Maidan. He told the court that funds had been disbursed and land identified. They recorded the statement. Most fairs had been relocated but the book fair continued till 2006.

We raised a question: When all fairs have been banished from the Maidan, why not the book fair? The government said that this would be the last time. The court recorded the resolve.

In 2007, just before the book fair, the army refused permission to the book fair organisers. They managed to influence the state government, which forwarded the request to Union minister Pranab Mukherjee. Mukherjee spoke to A K Antony, then defence minister, and the matter was resolved. We challenged this and the high court stopped the book fair.

In another petition relating to the Victoria Memorial case in 2006, three zones of the Maidan blue, red and yellow were identified. We petitioned that the zones be maintained. The court ruled that the Maidan was the city’s lungs and should be maintained accordingly. The army petitioned that rallies on the Maidan be stopped.

But all resolutions to increase vigil have come a cropper. I must say, though, that people are more conscious these days and restrictions are followed more. But much more can be done. TOI’s beautification programme should be allowed. Kolkata’s greenery is only 1% of its area, and 50% of this is the Maidan.






Salekh Chand Jain PIL in SC over MNS vandalism

Thursday, November 12, 2009

NEW DELHI: A PIL petitioner on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking action against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) legislators indulging in violence against another MLA for taking oath in Hindi.

Petitioner Salekh Chand Jain had earlier filed a PIL against the violence indulged in by MNS activists against north Indians and the apex court had issued notice on that PIL to the Maharashtra government.

Mentioning its fresh application in the pending petition, advocate Sugriv Dubey sought an early hearing on the petition and the present application saying “if the streak of violence started by MNS MLAs goes unpunished, then the nation will be divided into several parts on the basis of languages”.

Jain’s PIL had accused MNS activists of killing two doctor brothers — Ajay and Vijay — for refusing to close their clinic and charged the police and Maharashtra administration of doing nothing to arrest the accused.

“The representatives of MNS are committing offences and are going scot free,” the petitioner said and requested the court to direct the Maharashtra government to bring to book those who were indulging in violence inside and outside the assembly in the name of language.

Posted by Mahavir S. Chavan at 3:00 PM








No ‘love jihad’ in Kerala, DGP says again in High Court

Submitted by admin4 on 12 November 2009 – 4:41pm.

By Staff Correspondent,

Kochi: The Kerala state DGP Jacob Punnoose informed the High Court again that there was no evidence for the functioning of an organisation named ‘Love Jihad’ in the state. The matter was repeated in the additional report submitted in the High Court by the DGP as per the Court’s direction. The Court had directed the DGP to give additional explanation, if any, when considering the report submitted earlier on October 22.

The DGP also handed over the reports of the District Police officers in sealed cover to the High Court. However, the Director of the Intelligence Bureau of the central government asked for two weeks’ time to submit its report. Js KT Shankaran postponed the case to be considered again on December 1.

The DGP informed the Court that the investigation reports of district police officers said that there was no functioning of any organisation or movement called the ‘Love Jihad’ in Kerala. However, three reports stated that there were unauthorized reports about certain organisations trying for forceful conversion feigning love. The DGP reportedly stated in the Court that there was no evidence for these unauthorised reports. Detailed investigation would be conducted into the matter.

In another development Js KT Shankaran stated that the term ‘love jihad’ was not an invention of the High Court. The HC stated this while considering the petition filed by the secretary of the Association for Human Rights demanding a withdrawal of the terms ‘love jihad’ and ‘romeo jihad’ used by the Court. The High Court Judge made it clear that the Court had asked only whether such an organisation or movement was functioning in the state.

The ‘love jihad’ controversy came up when the High Court asked the state DGP to investigate and submit report on whether there was an organisation functioning in the state called ‘Love Jihad’ or ‘Romeo Jihad’ aiming at forceful religious conversions through feigned love. The court ordered the investigation on August 21 while considering the bail application of two Muslim young men, who were accused to have forcefully converted two non-Muslim girls to Islam by feigning love and then marrying them. The girls were then asked by the Court to go with their parents even though they reportedly said that they had accepted Islam on their own free will and that since they were Muslims it would be difficult for them to live with their parents during Ramadan. Considering this, the court asked the parents to provide all help for the girls to follow their religion and its practices. But when the case was considered on August 26 and later on September 8, both the girls informed the court that they wanted to go with their parents.

The DGP submitted his report on October 22 which stated that there was no evidence for any organisation called ‘love jihad’ functioning in Kerala so far. But he also added that there were reasons to suspect the existence of organised efforts to convert non-Muslim girls to Islam after Muslim boys feigned love with them. The Court then asked him to submit an additional explanation as the statements in the report were in cordiality with each other. The DGP submitted his additional explanation report yesterday in which he has repeated his earlier statement that there was no such organisation functioning in the state.

Another incident that happened related to the issue is the case of a Muslim boy from Kannur in Kerala and a Hindu-converted-to-Islam girl from Chamrajnagar near Mysore in Karnataka. The girl and boy fell in love when the girl’s family was visiting Kerala. The girl, who was an engineering graduate, ran away from her house in Karnataka and married the boy after converting to Islam. The couple began to live together. People from Karnataka (including the girl’s father) reportedly came to Kerala and tried to win the girl back but she was adamant on being with her husband. Then the girl’s father filed a habeas corpus in the Karnataka High Court and the couple went to the court. There also the court decided to send the 23-year old girl with her parents, ordering the police to conduct an investigation into the alleged functioning of an organisation called ‘Love Jihad’ and whether the boy had any relations with it.

The media in both states took up the issue and began to publish news stories on the alleged ‘Love Jihad’, its functioning, funding etc. The media quoted the Central Intelligence Bureau and the Special Branch for the exclusive reports they published. The boys began to be presented as terrorists. There were detailed reports about the ‘love jihad’ – its activities, functioning, how it trapped non-Muslim girls, etc.

The leading mainstream newspapers in Kerala came up with detailed reports on the ‘love jihad’ and its activities. One of the reports says that the Intelligence Bureau had warned of a friendship group called ‘Smart Friends’ (SF) which was functioning for the ‘Love Jihad’ in the campuses in Kerala. The report also informs the readers of the activities of the organisation. The mission of the ‘love jihadis’ was to convert non-Muslim girls to Islam by feigning love. The ‘love jihadis’ would get Rs 200 as daily allowance in addition to phone, bike and luxurious dress materials. They were directed to trap the girl in love within two weeks of familiarising. If that was not done, they were to leave the girl and go for some other girls. Once they were in love, the boys should convert and marry them in six months. As a result of this, the report says, the Special Branch has found that about 500 girls have been converted by the ‘Romeo Jihadis’ in the last year.

The report doesn’t end by merely stating the mission and rewards. It has a detailed knowledge of the organisation, it seems. The report says – “The ‘Smart Friends’ has been formed as a friendship group in several campuses in the state as well as fields like the IT where women work in large numbers. The message ‘Love at least one girl, Ruin at least one’s life’ was widely propagated as SMS connected to this organisation. The cadres who work with the aim to lure and convert girls are known by the code name of ‘Romeo Jihads’. It is known that certain women’s organisations too are helping the activities of the Romeos to trap non-Muslim women in love. The code name of these women cadres who help the Romeos is ‘love bomb’.”

Such venomous reports were published in the newspapers and magazines in Kerala and Karnataka. In Kerala, even some of the Christian churches joined the war in the side of the Sangh Parivar against Muslims. A notice was published in the name of a priest that warned the Christian girls of the trap of ‘love jihadis’. In Karnataka, the missing of several women from the Mysore area added to the anti-love jihad campaign. However, the spread of the venom of communalism came down as the serial killer Mohan Kumar was arrested in Karnataka. The murders he is supposed to have committed had been attributed to the ‘Love Jihad’. In Kerala, things came to a slow pace by the report of the DGP.

The campaign against ‘love jihad’ in the beginning itself had acquired an anti-woman nature but none of the feminists or human rights activists seemed interested in the matter, in protecting the attacked womanhood. They did not find any violation of human rights when the girls above 18 years of age were forced by the Court to go with their parents. Only the People’s Union for Civil Liberties dared question the Court order which they said were against the rights of a grown up major. The Karnataka PUCL decided to approach the Supreme Court against the decision of the state High Court. However, the human rights activists and cultural leaders who kept silent when the campaign was at its peak have now come with statements against giving away Kerala to communalists. A joint statement was signed by cultural leaders including Js VR Krishna Iyer against the menace coming to swallow Kerala up.

Even though the fierce campaign has come down and the cultural leaders have risen up to air their voice against communalising Kerala, the far-reaching social implications of the attempts for communal divide are yet to be known.








Court asks for details of undertrials in Tihar jail

by Indo Asian News Service on November 11, 2009

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Taking note of the increasing number of undertrials languishing in Tihar jail, the Delhi High Court Wednesday asked police to submit a detailed record of people who are in jail for more than seven years.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice S. Muralidhar asked the Delhi Police to submit the report and said: ‘This is a serious issue and needs to be looked at. We have seen undertrials spend more time in jails for the offences that have less punishment. This is unfair.’

The court directed the Delhi Police to file a complete report by Dec 2, the next date of hearing.

The court observed that prisoners booked under the narcotics law and the foreigners act face the most time consuming trials and asked Delhi Police counsel Meera Bhatia to submit a detail report on all people charged under these laws.

The court was hearing a suo moto plea of a lawyer Manish Khanna who has filed a Right to Information (RTI) application on the condition of undertrials in Tihar jail.







Nagpur University submitted false info to HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN 12 November 2009, 06:33am IST

NAGPUR: In a shocking revelation that came to the fore, the Nagpur University officials reportedly submitted false information before the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court. This information came to the fore following a Right to Information (RTI) query lodged by Prakash Bansod of Civil Human Rights Association (CHRA).

Following the revelation, the chancellor SC Jamir issued orders to vice chancellor SN Pathan to initiate appropriate action. It may be recalled that Bansod had filed a public interest litigation for alleged mismanagement in the university administration. Bansod had raised a slew of contentious issues that included misappropriation of students money worth Rs 7.34 lakh from the Nelson Mandela hostel for foreign students, in the plea. Accordingly, the division bench had directed the university officials to recover Rs 7.34 lakh from three employees of the Nelson Mandela hostel.

Bansod, in his letter to Jamir, has pointed out that though the university, in it’s affidavit, had admitted before the court to have recovered the money from the ‘tainted’ staffers. However, in fact a RTI query revealed that the case of misappropriation was pending with the sessions court in the city and efforts to recover the money would be made only after its verdict. Bansod has urged the chancellor to take sever action against the university officials for submitting false information to the court thus misleading the judiciary. The chancellor’s office immediately issued directives to the Pathan to initiate action in the case.







Nagalli land files missing: HC told

TNN 12 November 2009, 07:04am IST

PANAJI: The Taleigao Bachao Andolan (TBA) on Wednesday informed the high court of Bombay at Goa that files pertaining to the open space at Nagalli, allegedly encroached upon by a private builder, were missing from the town and country planning department (TCP).

Subsequently, a division bench of Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice N A Britto has asked the TCP, North Goa Planning and Development Authority and the Taleigao panchayat to file their replies in this case.

During the hearing, advocate Jamshed Mistry, appearing for TBA, told the court that the whole file relating to the sub-division plan approved in 1978 by TCP has been lost. Mistry told the court that Amit Juneja had applied under the Right to Information Act seeking the sub-division plan of the open space encroached upon by the builder. However, the TCP had replied that the file is missing from the department.

TBA’s petition was taken up for hearing along with petitions filed by Juneja and Sudha Ladha alleging that the open space, earmarked in Nagalli and shown in the outline development plan of Taleigao village, was encroached by the builder. In the same case, the builder has filed an application praying for vacating the stay granted by the court on October 14 against the construction until further orders.







HC admits plea on Batloo acquittal

TNN 12 November 2009, 07:01am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has on Wednesday admitted an appeal filed by the state government challenging the acquittal of Tariq Ahmed Batloo, charged with possessing explosives in 2006.

Batloo was arrested in 2006 by Goa police at the Margao railway station for allegedly possessing RDX and other explosives.

He was, however, released after one-and-a-half-year in prison as police failed to prove the charges. Batloo was re-arrested the same day by the Delhi police.

A Margao fast track court had acquitted Batloo on July 10 last year. The state government had immediately filed the appeal against the acquittal order.







HC tells prosecutionto come prepared Yogita Thakre case

Soumittra S Bose, TNN 12 November 2009, 06:15am IST

NAGPUR: “Six months have elapsed and what are your findings,” asked Justice A P Lavande of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court displeased by apparent lack of progress in Yogita Thakre death case. Justices Lavande and P V Varale were hearing the petition about the case and seemed unhappy with replies of the government pleader Nitin Sambre.

They finally adjourned the proceedings for Friday urging Sambre to come prepared with the required details along with senior police official who may have adequate knowledge about the investigation so far. Sambre had to face a barrage of queries from the bench.

“Is it suicidal, accidental or homicidal?” asked Justice Lavande during the argument on supposed unnatural death of seven-year-old Yogita, whose body was found in a car parked inside the premises of the state BJP president Nitin Gadkari in May. “What is the cause of the death? Investigation has to go in that direction,” Lavande continued. Sambre, who had a tough time before the bench, would often face the next one before he could furnish specific replies to the previous query. Justice Lavande categorically wanted to know whether a medical expert’s views were taken to ascertain the cause of death. The court also pointed out that it is crucial to ascertain the cause of death to rule out whether the victim died there or her body was planted inside the car.

Yogita, youngest daughter of Vimal and Ashok, was found dead under mysterious circumstances. There were injuries on her body and abrasion marks with clotted blood on the genitals. Kotwali police, which had initially registered the matter as accidental death, later added the sections of 302 and 201 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) (murder and destruction of evidence). The prosecution, however, soon switched back to accidental death theory and has been saying it was negligence and accidental suffocation that caused it.

The bench, which seemed to be keen on detailed replies on the certain issues like fitness of the car’s lock, specifically asked Sambre whether owner of the car was asked about the ‘malfunction of the lock’ and also noted the delay of 22 days since the incident on behalf of the investigating agency to record his statement.

Some of Sambre’s replies attracted remarks like ‘It cannot be digested’ by the bench. The court, while pulling up the prosecution, asked who was the investigating agency and under whose supervision the probe was being conducted. Interestingly, court also observed that it was quite unusual for a driver to have left the car unattended when its locks were not dependable. Justice Varale observed at this point how could a girl get inside at the first instance when the locks were malfunctioning. The government pleader, however, contended that he had required documents from the Regional Transport Office to support his argument.

Senior inspector R A Taide, in-charge of Kotwali police station, was present at the court. His predecessor R M Katole, now posted at Malegaon, had registered the case.







Return advancefees: HC tells NU

TNN 12 November 2009, 06:19am IST

NAGPUR: The Bombay High Court’s Nagpur bench pulled up the Nagpur University officials on Tuesday for taking advance charges from the managements of proposed colleges. It warned the officials against taking advance fees from colleges in future.

A division bench of justices Dilip Sinha and FM Reis also directed the university to return Rs 5.8 lakh taken from nine colleges. The colleges were from Hinganghat, Chandrapur, Gondia, Nagpur and other places. The university in its perspective plan for this year had invited applications from the interested parties for setting up new colleges before October 31.

However, the proposals of these colleges came after the last date and were rejected. The university official had accepted fees from various education societies for opening up to 15 colleges of different faculties in six districts under the university.

Indira Gandhi Gramin Vikas Sanstha of Hinganghat and Shubham Vikas Sanstha of Gondia were the petitioners in the case. The petitioners’ counsels Hemant Bhongade and Manjusha Awachat contended that since the university had accepted money in advance, it should ensure that the proposed colleges should get permission to operate.

When the court asked university counsel on why it took money in advance, he failed to provide satisfactory replies which irked the judges. He only informed that these colleges’ proposals were received on November 3, three days after the deadline, which led to their rejection. The judges asked the university to accept money only when college actually starts operations.







BBMP polls: SEC approaches HC again

TNN 12 November 2009, 03:31am IST

BANGALORE: With the recent political turmoil taking its own toll on the functioning of the government, and there being no initiative from the administration on the BBMP polls, the State Election Commission has once again knocked the doors of the Karnataka High Court.

It has filed an interlocutory application seeking a direction to the state for notification of ward-wise reservation list at the earliest to enable it to hold the polls.

“If the final list for all the 198 wards is notified at the earliest, we can hold the polls. We have taken all preparatory steps in this regard,” K N Phanindra, counsel for SEC, mentioned in the IA filed before a division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. The Bench posted the matter for hearing on Monday.

The IA is filed by the under secretary to SEC, C R Revanna. The SEC has stated it is not responsible for the delay in holding polls and has cited various communications sent to the urban development department, including the latest one on October 30 after a single Bench approved of the July 21, 2009, roster guidelines on October 29.

Former mayor P R Ramesh has sent legal notices to the urban development department and the SEC, stating that if they do not take immediate action, he may be constrained to initiate contempt of court proceedings. So far, the court has given time on four occasions for holding the polls since July last year.

On July 2, 2008, the court had set a 3-month deadline. On November 10, 2008, it gave four more months to hold the polls. In March this year, the court granted an extension due to the Parliamentary polls and fixed July 31 as the deadline. On September 17, it directed the SEC to announce the election schedule on or before October 23. In the meantime, a single Bench had stayed the July 21 roster guidelines and ultimately the petitions were dismissed on October 29.

Election to the city corporation was last held in 2001, and the BBMP was formed on November 2, 2006. An administrator is looking after the affairs since November 23, 2006.







HC orders Biscomaun board restoration

TNN 12 November 2009, 04:01am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court has ordered restoration of the board of directors of Biscomaun. A single bench presided by Justice Navniti Prasad Singh on Wednesday gave the order while allowing the writ petition of Sunil Kumar Singh, who had challenged his removal from the post of chairman of the board of directors and its dissolution.

The petitioner submitted that the deputy registrar, cooperative societies, had already held that no case could be made out against Singh as the audit balance was maintained.

The petitioner challenged the order of the registrar, cooperative societies, which accused the board of bungling. The HC upheld the order passed by the deputy registrar, cooperative societies.







Bill to deal with corruption complaints against judiciary


New Delhi, Nov 11 (PTI) The Centre plans to bring a “state-of-the-art” legislation in the Winter session of Parliament to deal with complaints of corruption against judges and ensure accountability in higher judiciary.

The Judges Standards and Accountability Bill will cover the “entire judiciary” and would not be a “one sided affair”. It would also provide appropriate protection to the judges so that “it will not be misused,” says Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily.

He said the Judges Inquiry Act of 1968 would be repealed once the proposed bill is adopted. “The Judges Inquiry Bill deals only with the impeachment process of judges. We want to replace it with a comprehensive Judges Standards and Accountability Bill,” he said in an interview to PTI.








New SC security system leaves lawyers stranded, fuming

TNN 12 November 2009, 03:42am IST

NEW DELHI: Protests by lawyers have not abated since Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishan inaugurated a state-of-the-art brand new security system for the Supreme Court that restricts entry to those having digital I-cards, called proximity cards.

A number of lawyers led by Supreme Court Bar Association president M N Krishnamani and other leaders Priya Hingorani, C D Singh and D K Garg on Wednesday protested loudly before a Bench headed by Justice Balakrishnan demanding relaxation of the strict rule and permitting advocates to enter the court complex with their I-cards.

A miffed CJI bluntly told them that the security system would not be diluted on any ground but added that he was willing to discuss the problems faced by the lawyers so as to find a solution to it.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to the advocates. I am ready to discuss the problem. All those advocates and registered clerks who want proximity cards should apply for it and we will see that it is issued expeditiously to them,” the CJI said while fixing Thursday afternoon for a meeting with the representatives of lawyers.

Both Krishnamani and Hingorani said that because of the denial of entry to the lawyers on Tuesday, several cases got dismissed and requested the CJI to restore these cases. But, the CJI did not relent.

The Bar Council of Delhi (BCD) also protested against the new security system and said: “Since Bar Councils are statutory bodies which issue identity cards to advocates enrolled with them after proper verification, these identity cards should be honoured to enable them entry into the Supreme Court.”







Collector stands by report on encroachment

J. Venkatesan

New Delhi: Notwithstanding the denial by Karnataka Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran, the Collector of Tiruvallur in Tamil Nadu has reiterated his finding that the judge is in possession of a total of 199.53 acres of government land which he encroached upon.

(Justice Dinakaran, in an interview to a newspaper, denied the allegations of land encroachment by him or his family members).

In his second report sent to Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan a couple of days ago, the Collector submitted further details to support the district administration’s stand that Justice Dinakaran and his family members had encroached upon government land.

The Collector enclosed a colour map, prepared by the Survey Department, indicating the various types of government land allegedly encroached upon by Justice Dinakaran. The report gave survey numbers of the plots. The Collector sent, besides documents, photographs of the barbed wire fencing put up around the land in question.

According to the report, “The entire lands are found in between and adjacent to patta lands in Kaverirajapuram [village in Tiruttani taluk] in Tiruvallur district.” The Collector said he inadvertently failed to mention in the earlier report about the existence of country fencing around the land.

Meanwhile, enquires reveal, a survey by the Survey of India, an independent agency, sought by the CJI is yet to begin. Following Justice Dinakaran’s denial of the Collector’s earlier report, the Supreme Court collegium headed by the CJI sought the assistance of the Survey of India, which comes under the Government of India’s Department of Science and Technology.

The Tamil Nadu government is also yet to respond to the CJI’s request for its views on the Collector’s report.

There are indications that the collegium will take a decision in respect of Justice Dinakaran, whose elevation to the Supreme Court has been put on hold, after receipt of the report from the State government. However, it is not clear whether the collegium will forward the Collector’s second report to Justice Dinakaran for his response.

Lawyers under the auspices of the Forum for Judicial Accountability sent petitions to the CJI levelling serious charges of land grabbing and other “irregularities” against Justice Dinakaran.

It was alleged that at Kaverirajapuram alone “the extent of lands possessed by the judge is approximately 500 acres.” It was alleged that vast extents of government poromboke land, government ‘anadeenam’ land (abandoned private land), lakes, canals, streams, common village pathways and an ancient mud fortress abutting his patta land were progressively encroached upon. The villagers were then prevented from accessing these common property resources. The CJI asked the Collector to verify these allegations and send a report.







‘Green Hunt will result in genocide of Adivasis’

13 November 2009, 12:00am IST

Gandhian Himanshu Kumar has been working among tribals in Bastar for more than 17 years. Though he has rehabilitated 30 villages devastated by the Chhattisgarh government’s anti-Naxalite campaign Salwa Judum, his ashram was demolished by the government in May this year. Kumar spoke to Jyoti Punwani :

How did you rehabilitate the villages?

As a Gandhian, I could not just stand by and watch when Adivasis who had fled their village because of Salwa Judum, were beaten up for having returned to their village to depose before the NHRC. I decided to set up camp in that village. If the Salwa Judum forces came to burn it, they would have to burn me first. We persuaded the villagers to come back. They had lost everything seeds, cattle because whenever they tried to return, the Salwa Judum forces hounded them into camps and burnt their village. We arranged for everything, helped them plough their land. Slowly others began returning. Peace reigned in those villages till last month when Operation Green Hunt began.

The Supreme Court has directed the government to rehabilitate the tribals. If the government is not willing, let me do it. I can bring peace in a week. You withdraw your forces and provide the amenities that were stopped after Salwa Judum started: doctors, schools, aanganwadis.

Will the Maoists allow these to run?

Medical officers tell me ruefully that it’s the CRPF that beat up their doctors who go into the jungle to treat patients. They beat up teachers too. They are furious that these people can travel safely inside the jungle, while they get blown up. I pointed out that doctors and teachers don’t go there with weapons like the CRPF does! Naxalites have said they will not interfere with my rehabilitation work because i have no political ambitions.

Is a dialogue possible?

What stops the government from talking to the Adivasis? You are a democratically elected government, find out what your people want. As for the Maoists, how can the Centre tell them to stop violence without stopping it first? Every day, your forces demand liquor, chickens, women… they behead a child in front of his grandfather, rape Adivasi women at will… And when the Adivasi picks up a lathi, they cry foul. Why are the forces there in Bastar? The Maoists weren’t marching into Delhi. Nor did the Adivasis plead for protection from them. When the police, the administration, the judiciary has turned against the Adivasis, the Maoists have stood by them. The forces are there only to hunt the tribals from their land, so that the state can hand it over to corporates. The state has no desire for peace and is too arrogant to acknowledge its crimes. We have tried to file 1,000 FIRs against the police; not one has been registered.

Salwa Judum saw a 22-fold increase in Maoist numbers. Green Hunt will result in genocide of Adivasis. Those who survive will become Naxalites.







Komal accuses NCW of doctoring her version

Thursday, November 12, 2009

In a shocking development in the Air India mid-air scuffle and molestation case, the In a shocking development in the Air India mid-air scuffle and molestation case, the victim, air hostess Komal Singh, has accused the National Commission of Women (NCW) of altering her deposition, her complaint to the NCW to favour the accused Air India pilots. In a sworn affidavit submitted to the Chairperson of the NCW, Girija Vyas, the air hostess has accused the NCW’s Stenographer Sarla Arya of knowingly and deliberately omitting and deleting words and facts from her complaint against her alleged molesters.
Komal in her affidavit has claimed that she was asked to compromise and advised against pursuing the case by a member of the NCW’s fact finding committee called Kuljit Kaur. The chairperson of the NCW’s committee on her complaint, Wansuk Syiem, Komal has claimed, had refused to hand her the copies of the unsigned cross examination statement till Komal decided on her course of action in her complaint.
11/11/09 Times








Komal Singh Case -Justice Delayed Or Denied?

By: Saras | 13 November 2009

The International flight IC 884 from Sharjah to New Delhi, was on its way on the 3rd of October, 2009. There was a mid air scuffle between the crew members which took a serious turn. One of the crew members, air hostess Komal Singh alleged that she was molested and assaulted by 2 pilots on board.

On the 6th of October a committee was set up to probe into the matter. All the 4 members of the crew, Ranbeer Arora, Aditya Chopra, Komal Singh and Amit Khanna were derostered, as the mid air scuffle between the cabin crew and the cockpit could jeopardize the life of 106 passengers on board.

In the report that the committee gave, Komal was chargesheeted by the inquiry committee for violating the code of conduct, by not paying any heed to the companies policies, speaking to the media and disobeying her seniors, while the pilots were given a clean chit by the Air India panel.

And to add insult to injury a senior Air India official said that the complaint lodged by Komal Singh regarding molestation and sexual harassment “is an after-thought.”

Komal Singh then turned to  National Commission For Women (NCW) for justice. She sent them an e- mail on the 5th of October and then lodged a written complaint. As she approached them she said, “I want justice. I’m here to submit the chargesheet that AI filed against me.”

Komal Singh met Girija Vyas, the chairperson of NCW with her complaint. Girija Vyas was  keen on helping Komal Singh, and on meeting her she assured her that justice would be meted out to her.

After that the NCW formed a 5 member committee to probe into Komal’s charges which was headed by Wansuk Syiem. The report was to be submitted to the Ministry of Women and Child Development.

On being questioned, she told TOI: The committee has asked for more time and some more evidence before it can submit the final report to the ministry of women and child development. The committee had also asked for a full internal inquiry report from Air India but only received a preliminary report, which is not sufficient. We are now waiting for a full report. The commission will try to get Komal justice. We are also preparing guidelines for the safety, security and dignity of air hostesses and will be submitting it to all airlines.”

NCW finally gave its report which has shocked everyone. Komal Singh who had her hopes pinned on NCW has accused that her deposition has been altered. She has accused that their steno Sarla Arya has deleted words and omitted important facts, from her complaint, on purpose. She also claimed that kuljit kaur, a member, of the probe committee formed by NCW, had asked her to compromise and withdraw the case. And worst of all, Wansuk Syiem, who was heading the panel has refused to give her the copies of the cross examination statement to be signed, unless she takes a definite course of action regarding her complaint.

As Komal  fights from pillar to post for her ‘honour’will she and her likes get justice? Time will tell.






New parole guidelines in couple of weeks: Official


November 11th, 2009

NEW DELHI – New guidelines for parole would be framed in a couple of weeks, a senior Delhi government official said here Wednesday.

The new proposed guidelines have already been sent to Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna last week for his approval. We are waiting for his approval and hoping that the decision will be taken in a week’s time, Delhi Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta told IANS.

The proposed guidelines include fixing of a specific time period (30 days) for police to complete the verification process when an inmate seeks parole.

A senior government official said, Another important point is that under the new guidelines, the parole period will be included in the prison term itself.

After the Lt governor’s approval, the file will be sent to the Delhi High Court for final clearance.

On Oct 21, the Delhi High Court while expressing concern for the inmates languishing in Tihar jail had asked the city government to formulate new guidelines within four weeks so that parole pleas of convicts can be heard early.

The court had passed the order on a plea of 28 Tihar jail prisoners who in a letter to the court complained about the delay in hearing their parole pleas.

The letter led to a follow-up report from the Delhi Legal Services Authority (DLSA), which said it reflects the state of affairs of prisoners in the capital.

“Prisoners in Delhi are… cut off from society… Our morale is low,” the Tihar inmates said in their letter written in Hindi and dated July 13.

“In other northern states, 90 percent prisoners get parole, whereas here only five to 10 percent are let off on parole – that too for a very little time,” they added.

As per the law, a prisoner can get parole for various reasons – to visit a dying or sick family member, building a house or to repair a badly damaged home, among others.

The high court Tuesday had asked the Delhi government’s home secretary to explain the reasons for the delay in disposing of the parole pleas of convicts.







More women should take part in politics: Activists

by Indo Asian News Service on November 11, 2009

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Women rights activists have emphasised on increasing the participation of women in Indian politics as they will be able to provide good governance in the country.

‘Women should come forward to achieve their goals. They should participate in the country’s election process and set an example for the entire world by efficiently working on issues that are close to their heart,’ National Commission for Women (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas said while addressing a workshop on Enhancing the Role of Women in Strengthening Democracy.

The workshop, which concluded Tuesday, was attended by women leaders from civic bodies, panchayats and legislators from various states. It was part of the NGO Centre for Social Research (CSR) and United Nations Democracy Fund (UNDEF) Project aimed at addressing the gender gap as well as the challenges faced by women in Indian political processes and institutions.

‘Women should get full freedom to rule the country. There should be more exposure for women in our political system. There will be a reduction in corruption if more women join politics,’ said Aarti Mehra, former Delhi Mayor.

Women political leaders stressed on the need for capacity building of Indian women to ensure their enhanced participation in state and national politics.

Zoya Hasan, professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University, said: ‘The larger issue is about the position of women in political parties. The political parties are the villains of peace. They only use women as gatekeepers to mobilise the masses. Also, economic and political empowerment of women should go hand in hand as without economic empowerment, political empowerment will not hold any meaning.’

The two-day workshop included discussions on the Indian constitution, political set-up, concept of collective responsibility in democracy, governance, gender issues and women in politics.

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