LEGAL NEWS 10.11.2009

Competition law regime: new regulations and uncertainties The decisions by CAT will remain valid even if the ordinance transferring the jurisdiction stops operating Lawfully Yours | AZB and Partners Through the Competition (Amendment) Ordinance 2009 promulgated by the President of India on 14 October, the competition law regime in India finally saw the end of the 40-year-old competition law regulator, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC). The ordinance provides that section 66 of the Competition Act, 2002, which deals with repeal and saving, has been amended such that all cases relating to monopolistic trade practices and restrictive trade practices, or those involving a combination of restrictive and monopolistic trade practices or unfair trade practices will stand transferred to the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) with effect from 14 October. However, such cases will be decided by CAT in accordance with the older legislation, that is, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act. Prior to the ordinance, these cases were to continue with the MRTPC for a period of two years with effect from 1 September and transferred to CAT only after the expiry of the two-year period. However, as the MRTPC stands dissolved with effect from 14 October, the two-year window granted to the MRTPC no longer exists. Illustration: Jayachandran / Mint Further, the ordinance provides that all cases pertaining to unfair trade practices will stand transferred to the National Commission under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986, with effect from 14 October, which the National Commission will decide in accordance with the MRTP Act. Apart from the changes mentioned above, the ordinance has not effected any other change to section 66 of the Competition Act. As far as all pending investigations or proceedings relating to unfair trade practices before the director general of investigation and registration under the MRTP Act are concerned, these are to be transferred to the National Commission, and all pending investigation or proceedings (other than unfair trade practices) before the director general will be transferred to the Competition Commission of India (CCI), with effect from 1 September. The CCI and the National Commission will have the power to conduct or order for conduct of such investigation or proceedings in the manner as they may deem fit. However, while these changes in the legal framework are noteworthy and will have a significant impact on the legal regime relating to competition, an important consideration is the nature of the promulgation bringing about this change. It may be noted that an ordinance is a law that is passed when Parliament is not in session and so the tenure of the ordinance is temporary. But during the life of the ordinance, it has the same effect as an Act of Parliament. When Parliament is not in session, the President can assume the legislative powers of both the houses of Parliament temporarily and promulgate an ordinance. Accordingly, each ordinance has to be tabled in Parliament when the houses reassemble for their approval. The ordinance will cease to operate six weeks after Parliament reassembles or before the expiry of this six-week period if both houses of Parliament disapprove the ordinance. In the latter case, the ordinance will cease to exist from the date the second house of Parliament (either the Lok Sabha or the Rajya Sabha) disapproves the ordinance. Therefore, the life of the ordinance extends to a maximum of six weeks from the date Parliament reassembles. However, it is noteworthy that the lapse or disapproval of an ordinance will not affect the initial validity of the ordinance and the acts done and completed under the ordinance. Also, the ordinance will not become void merely because it ceases to operate. Therefore, any decision taken by CAT with effect from 14 October until the ordinance lapses will not affect the validity of the decisions or orders passed by it. If the ordinance is passed by both the houses of Parliament, the ordinance will become an Act and the shift from the MRTPC to CAT will become permanent. In the unlikely event that the ordinance lapses or is disapproved, the government will have to bring into existence the same state of affairs as existed before the ordinance was passed, even though the MRTPC has been dissolved. This scenario would certainly cause uncertainty and confusion that could only be detrimental to industry, by shifting regimes back from CAT to the MRTPC (for the balance portion of the two-year period beginning 1 September). However, if the government is persistent in dissolving the MRTPC, in the case of lapse or non-approval of the ordinance, it could table a new amendment Bill for the same before Parliament. This column is contributed by Aparna Mehra of AZB & Partners, Advocates & Solicitors. Send your comments to My silence is not an admission of guilt: Justice Dinakaran A Subramani , TNN 9 November 2009, 12:45am IST Despite of a series of reports about his properties and other holdings, which has resulted in his elevation to the Supreme Court being put on hold, Karnataka high court chief justice P D Dinakaran has not spoken out his mind so far. Now, for the first time, in an exclusive interview to The Times of India, Justice Dinakaran says a war is being waged against the independence of the judiciary. He denies having encroached on any land and says, “In the end truth alone will triumph.” A few days ago you said silence was your strength. What made you open up now? Yes, I did say ‘silence is my strength’; My silence, however, should not be construed as an admission of these baseless allegations. The allegations against you concern your land holdings at Kaverirajapuram in Tiruvallur district near Chennai in Tamil Nadu. You are said to have encroached on 199 acres of anadheenam lands there? I can only laugh off the photos published by a section of the press and electronic media, who have unleashed a slander campaign against me. I reiterate my clarification to the Supreme Court collegium that I have not encroached on any government or public land; much less anadheenam lands, which are still under the possession and enjoyment of patta-holders (title-holders). We do not claim any interest or right, such as possession, ownership or enjoyment over these anadheenam lands or government poromboke lands. First of all, please understand what anadheenam lands mean: it means land once held by title-holders which was abandoned or neglected due to non-payment of land revenue for a long period. Patta-holders are entitled to reclaim right over these anadheenam lands on payment of arrears of revenue. These anadheenam lands are, therefore, not poromboke lands and do not belong to the Government. This principle is well settled in law. Assuming all these are anadheenam lands, is it right to put up a fence around them? Our patta lands alone are fenced by barbed wire, that too at the points identified by the survey authorities. These anadheenam lands are well outside the fence. They are currently possessed and used by the respective patta-holders for grazing cattle, sheep and goat. I am given to understand the legal heirs of these anadheenam lands, who are adjacent to my lands, have already approached revenue authorities for rectification of the error that crept into the records and are staking their legitimate claims. Also, on the other side of my land, there is a moat (dry trench) which was used by illicit arrack brewers. There were raids by the Prohibition and Enforcement Wing in the area during 2002-2005. Only in order to prevent such illegal activities in the trench area, barricades were erected by the villagers. But unfortunately, media and other busybodies have taken photographs from the other side of the fence and posted it as encroached land. For the past 16 years, no complaint had been made by whomsoever in whatsoever manner. Okay, but why should an attempt be made to remove the fence which would amount to tampering with evidence of encroachment available to revenue authorities? It is a mischievous accusation. Why should either I or my family remove the fence erected to safeguard our property? The story built up by the authorities is nothing but a vain attempt to escape from the earlier misleading statements of alleged encroachment. Well, what is the exact extent of lands standing in your name or your dependents? In all, 36 acres of land stand in my name and about 17 acres of land in my wife’s name. It was purchased much prior to my elevation on December 19, 1996. Nothing was purchased after I became a judge. My close and distant family members too own lands contiguous to that of ours. But I cannot talk on their behalf, for I hold no vakalat (brief) for them. What pains me is that all sorts of busybodies, in the guise of revenue officials and mediapersons, have barged into my lands and then cooked up unfounded stories. If they want to have a look on my farm, let them ask me, I will arrange a tour. But they have to bring some snacks and water, for the place is not a ranch or farmhouse as is made out to be. Villagers of Kaverirajapuram, including the panchayat president and other elders, tell me that mediapersons never approach them for clarifications. If views from a cross-section of the villagers are obtained, then these busybodies cannot go to town with canards against me. What about the collector’s report to the Supreme Court? Can he afford to be incorrect? It is unfortunate that revenue authorities have not taken into consideration the correct facts available on record, ground realities and the well settled legal principle on the issue. Sir, your defence of the Kaverirajapuram land holding pattern and anadheenam lands is perfectly legal. But this is not just another case for mere adjudication. It concerns your elevation to the highest court of the land. Is a legal defence enough? What about propriety…? Mr. Subramani, I have only explained the material facts on record, ground realities and the legal position relating to the anadheenam land, making it clear that I neither claim any interest or right on the anadheenam lands; nor am I concerned about anadheenam lands outside my fence. When once you yourselves agree that my stand in this regard is solidly legal, the propriety, undoubtedly, demands that the allegations against my elevation be rejected. What about the five residential plots on the IT Corridor at Sholinganallur in Chennai? It has been alleged that they were allotted to your family members by the Tamil Nadu Housing Board. Let them show what the illegality is. Much before the area was declared an IT corridor, the TNHB has published advertisements inviting applications for allotment of unsold plots. They applied under the general category. The plots were allotted in 2001. Payment was made from our known and declared sources of income, and it was duly disclosed in our income tax returns. Do you, by any means, expect me to donate my family’s income to these busybodies, instead of investing it gainfully? Mr. Subramani, allotment of the plots was not made under government quota or on preferential basis. What about irregularities in judicial orders which a memorandum to the SC talks about? I want to make one thing very clear. I will not comment on the judicial side of their allegations; nor about the decision of the collegium of the Hon’ble Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial body of the land, in which I have the greatest respect and confidence. I cannot discuss these matters in detail, because PD Dinakaran is not only an individual, but is also holding constitutional office of the chief justice of Karnataka High Court. If my orders were bad, an appeal remedy is always there, because, no judge can claim that his orders are not appealable. I as an individual, cannot be vilified on that count. You have formed four companies… Not by myself or by my wife/daughters. No new corpus was created. Lands already held by my relatives were transferred to the companies towards their respective equity share, which is permitted in law. It is an arrangement for convenient management of lands already held. Your landholdings at Shenoy Nagar and Anna Nagar in Chennai and the buildings coming up there, too, are subject matters of the memorandum to the Supreme Court. Do you think I have to go around explaining to everyone about my property, which I had acquired much before my appointment as a judge or out of known source of income filed in my returns? Why should I reply to these busybodies? The last memorandum to the SC talks about a case, in which one of the parties was your friend. You had allegedly enjoyed their hospitality when you were abroad and yet proceeded to pass favourable orders. Let them just show one line in my order — that they are talking about — passed in favour of any such friend. For your kind information, I am informed that the case they are referring to is still pending in the high court, and no finality has yet been reached. Tell me where is that favourable order? How is your family coping up with this phase, which, undoubtedly, is difficult? They are traumatized, to say the least. Let my doctor-wife tell you what we are going through (Dr. Vinodhini Dinakaran speaks: We are all under tremendous stress and pain, as all sorts of queries are hurled on us. We never intended or did any harm to anyone. The judge was always fair to everyone.) Karnataka HC stays boycott by Bangalore Advocates Association 11/9/2009 The Karnataka High Court stayed the proposed boycott of court proceeding by members of Bangalore Advocates Association on November 9 to protest Chief Justice P D Dinakaran attending courts before he was cleared of allegations against him. A Special Bench headed by Justice Manjula issued the stay order on a Public Interest Litigation filed against the boycott. The Association members, who met in the city on Friday, had resolved to abstain from the court proceedings on November nine. The Association had also called upon all the advocates in the City and District Bar Associations to abstain from attending the court proceedings on November nine. Meanwhile, the Association decided to go ahead with its plan of boycotting court proceedings as resolved earlier. UNI Karnataka HC order to hit Sabarimala pilgrims Express News Service First Published : 09 Nov 2009 01:17:00 AM IST Last Updated : 09 Nov 2009 11:12:53 AM IST KOZHIKODE: With the Karnataka High Court’s refusal to vacate the stay order on the ban on night traffic on roads connecting Gundalpet and Sulthan Bathery in Kerala and Gundalpet and Ooty in Tamil Nadu, thousands of Sabarimala pilgrims from other states, including Karnataka, are in for trouble. Hearing a petition, the Division Bench of the High Court had refused to vacate the stay order it issued on July 27, 2009, and said “the ban will continue for the next two months”. Both Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments had moved the court to get the ban lifted on traffic from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. The court in its latest order has also directed the Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments to file reports on regulatory measures adopted in other countries to protect wildlife in similar situations. It is feared the ban will badly affect most pilgrims from other states who opt to travel by NH 212 for their pilgrimage to Sabarimala. As the pilgrims have to visit the temple during daytime, a majority of their vehicles usually pass through the border areas between Sulthan Bathery and Gundalpet during night hours. Many organisations from Kerala have pointed out that the ban will also affect markets in the state during the Christmas season. Counsel representing both Kerala and Tamil Nadu governments had argued in the court that commercial and other interests of the two states had been affected by the ban. TEAM TO MEET UNION MINISTER To resolve the issue, a delegation of the Malabar Rail Users Association and the Calicut Chamber of Commerce & Industry will meet Minster of State for Railways K H Muniyappa on Sunday. Malabar Rail Users Association general secretary C E Chakkunni told reporters here that the delegation would demand that more trains be run to solve the problems of passengers, including the Sabarimala pilgrims. It will also demand extension of both the Yeshwantpur-Mysore-Mangalore train and the Yeshwantpur- Hassan-Mangalore train to Kozhikode and more compartments for the Kannur-Mangalore passenger, besides extension of Amritha Express to Kannur. HC directive to follow existing seniority list Express News Service First Published : 09 Nov 2009 03:19:19 AM IST THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Raising the hopes of the 18 odd sub-inspectors in the Kerala Police, who are being denied promotion, the High Court has directed the Government that promotions could be given on the basis of the existing seniority list. The Hight Court order came on November 4 while considering an appeal moved by the aggrieved officials against a stay order on the seniority list. A section of officials, who may face reversion once the aggrieved officers are given promotion, had approached the court against the seniority list. A section of police officers belonging to the Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribe communities are allegedly being denied promotion despite repeated directives of the High Court. It is also alleged that a section of officials in the Police Department is deliberately delaying the promotion, playing the communal card, though the DGP and Home Minister assured a favourable consideration of their grievance. The Kerala High Court in its latest order have also directed the Government that the promotions should be given provisionally and the final order should be passed on the appeals before December 31 this year. Meet fails to reach consensus on shack allotments, HC told TNN 9 November 2009, 06:25am IST PANAJI: The advocate general (AG) Subodh Kantak informed the high court of Bombay at Goa on Saturday that the meeting held by the director of tourism with The Traditional Goan Shack Owners Association (TTGSOA) and the Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS) on November 6 following the court’s directives had failed to reach a consensus on the issue of shack allotments for the current tourist season. When the matter came up for hearing, Kantak told the court that the director of tourism met the representatives of TTGSOA and SOWS on the morning and evening of November 6. However all efforts to reach a settlement on the issue had failed, he said. Advocate Nitin Sardessai, appearing for TTGSOA, told the court that in view of this development they would like to go ahead with hearing of their petition. At this point, senior counsel Atmaram Nadkarni, appearing for SOWS, prayed that the court should hear and pass orders on their intervention application before hearing the TTGSOA’s petition. Subsequently, the AG told the court that he had not been able to go through the intervention application and prayed that the court may adjourn the hearing to November 9 for arguments on the application. Thereafter, the bench adjourned the hearing to November 9 while extending the stay granted by it earlier restraining the tourism department from going ahead with the allotments of shacks till the next date of hearing. The court will on the next date hear arguments on the intervention application filed by SOWS. The court had on November 5 directed the representatives of TTGSOA and SOWS to hold a meeting with the tourism director for reaching a settlement on the issue of allotting beach shacks. The division bench of Justice V K Tahilramani and Justice N A Britto had passed the directives in a petition filed by TTGSOA. The SOWS had also filed an intervention application in the petition. Revert to policy on HC directives, demand GTSOA TNN 8 November 2009, 11:01pm IST MARGAO: The Goa Traditional Shack Owners Association (GTSOA) has come out strongly against the beach shack policy of the tourism department terming it as “violative” of the 2006 high court directives. Addressing a press conference on Sunday, Kennedy Afonso and Manuel Cardozo of the GTSOA demanded that the tourism department revert its policy of allotting shacks to the one that was in force from 2006-07 to 2007-08 “which was based on high court directives.” “From the year 2006-07 to 2007-08 there was no problem, as the tourism department was made to follow the directives of the high court– a person with one year and more experience should be considered in one category. This was a fair system as it was transparent, and not biased towards any group or association. It also gave an applicant a fair and equal opportunity at the draw of lots. However, suddenly, without any reason, the tourism department, under pressure and manipulation from the Shack Owners Welfare Society (SOWS), changed the policy and classified seniority into three categories, in direct violation of the high court directives of 2006,” Afonso told reporters. Pointing out to the various flaws in the new policy, the GTSOA has demanded that the authorities modify the policy “to do away with injustice” caused to traditional shack owners. HC plea blows lid off irregularities in govt appointments A Subramani, TNN 9 November 2009, 02:32am IST CHENNAI: Two writ petitions filed in the Madras high court have blown the lid off massive irregularities in the matter of appointment of assistant public relation officers by the state government. Recruitments, it was found, were made to these posts by relaxing conditions relating to age, educational qualifications, experience, registration in employment exchanges, quota for women and other weaker sections, etc. Fighting a legal battle for over 10 years now, two candidates who had unsuccessfully applied for jobs, AK Perumal and K Thangaraju, were finally able to convince Justice K Suguna about the irregularities; the judge has now slammed the government for such recruitments. Though she concluded that the recruitment of six persons, which alone had been questioned in this case, was illegal, the judge said she was not inclined to remove them from their jobs. “Taking note of the fact that they have completed nearly 10 years of service, I do not like to disturb their appointment,” she said. The six persons, who were appointed in 1999 and had a narrow escape now, are: VR Navaneethakrishnakumar, I Namasivayam, K Annadurai, R Suresh, T Senthilkumar and V Prabhukumar. Assailing the arbitrary recruitments, the petitioners said the recruitment was illegal, because every available rule concerning even basic requirements such as age and education were relaxed. To ensure that no other candidate remained in the fray, the authorities had issued the applications only to these candidates. Opposing the submissions, the government advocate said similar petitions filed by the petitioners were dismissed by the court in 2008, and that the petitioners did not submit their applications at the time of recruitment. Agreeing that government did have power to relax rules, Justice Suguna said, “but when qualified hands are available and waiting in queue from 1985 onwards in the employment exchange, totally ignoring their claims, by relaxing the conditions relating to age and other requirements, whether the appointments made is valid or not is the issue to be decided.” Pointing out that no reason has been assigned for relaxing rules and issuing applications only to these candidates, the judge said the appointments had been made in total violation of rules. She then asked the authorities to consider the case of the petitioners either immediately or as and when vacancies arise in future. ‘No malpractice during Gadchiroli LS polls’ Wadettiwar, Kowase tell HC TNN 9 November 2009, 03:35am IST NAGPUR: State minister Vijay Wadettiwar and Congress MP Marotrao Kowase have categorically denied allegations of rigging and malpractices during Lok Sabha polls of newly-created Gadchiroli-Chimur constituency. The allegations were made by defeated BJP candidate Ashok Nete through an election petition in the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. A single-judge bench comprising Justice Vasanti Naik then adjourned the hearing till November 20. The petitioner had contended that Wadettiwar who was the former minister of state for forests and water resources had allegedly misused his position to influence official machinery and also indulged in malpractices apparently to ensure Kowase’s victory. The petitioner had raised doubts over the sudden transfer of then district collector NK Sudanshu, who was known as a disciplined and straightforward IAS officer, a couple of months before the polls in February. He claimed that there was confusion over polling figures which were made public only on April 18, two days after the polling. While the provisional figures on the polling day indicated around 55% voting, the revised turn-out was 65%. This was nothing but manipulation and figures were revised to cover up bogus votes, he said. The petitioner also questioned the high voting count of 65%, which was much more than the state average. He contended that it looked unlikely since voting period was curtailed by two hours in the constituency owing to security reasons. Additionally, the electorate was not adequately informed about the reduced timings denying lakhs of genuine voters the right to exercise their franchise. Nete alleged that rampant bogus votes were stamped in Kowase’s favour taking advantage of this situation. He also questioned the reliability of electronic voting machines citing an instance of Gadchiroli segment where vote count was in excess of those polled by over 500. The defeated BJP candidate claimed that Kowase had polled 1.3 lakh ‘bogus votes’ and looking at the victory margin of around 28,000 votes, and demanded that latter’s election should be declared void. Besides Kowase, he had made Wadettiwar, returning officer and Gadchiroli collector Atul Patne as respondents. HC probe into R&R policies OUR CORRESPONDENT Cuttack, Nov. 8: Orissa Human Rights Commission has ordered an inquiry into the rehabilitation and resettlement of people who were displaced by projects that began in the fifties. The order was issued after complaint petitions were filed on behalf of Bisthapita Dahayak Sangha, a Rourkela-based NGO. “The commission has directed the commissioner-cum-secretary of revenue and disaster management to inquire into the statements made in the PIL and submit a report within six weeks,” said the NGO’s legal advisor advocate Bharat Kumar Mishra at a news conference here today. “The commission’s order was served on Thursday,” he added. Petitions allege that the government acquired landed property belonging to tribals for Hirakud Dam, Machchkund Hydro-electric Project, Mahanadi Valley Scheme, Rourkela Steel Plant and Madira Dam without providing R&R package for those displaced. “Though land was acquired between 1952 and 1957, till today the R&R has not been ameliorated,” the PILs further alleged. The PILs have also sought reverting of surplus land. According to conservative estimates around 4-lakh acres were acquired for the four projects, displacing nearly 40-lakh people. The land was acquired by under Orissa Development of Industries, Irrigation, Agriculture, Capital Construction and Resettlement of Displaced Persons (Land Acquisition) Act, 1948. “Ironically, the act had not received the President’s assent and was repealed in 1994, pushing the problems of compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement into further limbo,” the sangh’s legal advisor rued. Decks cleared for appointment of four SC judges 11/8/2009 The Centre has cleared the decks for elevation of four High Court Judges to Supreme Court. The elevation of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran has been put on hold for the time being in view of the allegations of land grabbing and corruption against him. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has sent the files to President Pratibha Patil, who is likely to sign the warrants of appointments next week. The judges to be elevated are Justice A K Patnaik (CJ of MP High Court), Justice Tirath Singh Thakur (CJ of Punjab and Haryana High Court), Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar (CJ of Calcutta High Court) and Justice K S Radhakrishanan (CJ of Gujarat High Court). UNI Mayawati parks: Lawyer says apex court registry gave him wrong dates By IANS November 9th, 2009 NEW DELHI – A Lucknow-based advocate approached the Supreme Court Monday accusing its registry of giving him the wrong dates for hearing of his lawsuit against the Uttar Pradesh government, which led to its dismissal due to his absence during its hearing. Crying foul against the apex court’s registry, advocate Sangam Lal Pandey sought revival of his lawsuit, which had objected to the Mayawati government’s plan to demolish the sprawling 195-acre Lucknow Jail and three historical temples within the jail premises, adjacent to city’s Ambedkar Park to pave way for an ecological park. An bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had disposed off Pandey’s lawsuit Nov 6 without granting him any relief after senior advocates Satish Chandra Mishra and Shail Dwiwedi, appearing for the Uttar Pradesh government, told the court that Pandey did not appear interested in pursuing his case as he was absent that day. They also pointed out Pandey’s absence on an earlier date, Oct 19. Pandey has now moved the apex court with the plea that he failed to appear on the last two dates as the apex court registry either informed him of wrong dates for hearing of his lawsuit or did not inform him at all. In his new application for restoration of his lawsuit, Pandey said that days before Oct 19, the date slated for hearing of his lawsuit, the apex court registry had sent him a notice that his matter has now been listed for hearing on Jan 18, 2010, instead of Oct 19, 2009. Pandey also annexed the registry’s purported notice dated Oct 3, 2009, with his application, and said that despite this notice the court heard the matter on Oct 19 itself. Explaining his absence on Nov 6, Pandey said that after the Oct 19 hearing, the matter was listed for Nov 27, but the hearing was again advanced to Nov 6 without any intimation to him. Acting on lawsuits by Pandey and some others, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court had halted the planned demolition of the jail in May this year as the petitioners had objected to the government’s plan to annex the sprawling 195 acres of the jail’s land to the adjacent Ambedkar Park, being developed into a statue gallery of Dalit leaders. The state government had moved the apex court in July this year and had persuaded it to suspend the high court’s order, assuring it that the jail’s land would be utilised only to make an ecological park with no statue or construction on it. After the state government, Pandey too moved the apex court. On Pandey’s lawsuit, the apex court Aug 7 stopped the state government from demolishing the jail till Aug 28. The court subsequently on Sep 4 also stopped the planned demolition of three temples inside the jail premises, and ordered that these would not be demolished till Sep 18 if they actually existed there. The state government had contended that they did not exist at all. But, Pandey told the apex court that despite pendency of his applications and lawsuits, the state government had been demolishing the temples and the jail building on various flimsy excuses. Now the government has got his lawsuit dismissed on account of his absence from the court, for which he was not to be blamed, Pandey told reporters. Dinakaran case fallout: Lawyers shut down Karnataka HC November 9th, 2009 SindhToday Bangalore, Nov 9 (ANI): Chaos broke out inside the Karnataka High Court today as some 14,000 lawyers demanding the ouster of tainted judge Dinakaran, refused to let the litigants come before the judge. Resorting to violence, the lawyers shut down all courtrooms and threatened to lock the judges inside. They wanted Dinakaran, the chief judge at the Karnataka High Court who is accused at amassing wealth, including grabbing land, to be removed immediately and to leave the courthouse. Defying an order of the High Court, the lawyers abstained from court proceedings in response to a call given by the Advocates Association Bangalore (AAB) in consonance with a resolution it passed last week to protest Dinakaran’s continuance. The resolution said the lawyers wanted to ‘uphold the dignity and integrity of the judiciary.’ Dinkaran, who was hearing cases, suspended the proceedings and later left the court hall after a section of advocates, resorted to slogans shouting against him. The matter took a turn for the worse after two judges reportedly locked themselves in and refused to exit courthouse No 2, resulting in angry lawyers breaking open the backdoor of the courtroom and trying to forcefully evict the judges. The latter were finally rescued by some of their colleagues. Several media persons present inside the courthouse were also caught in the fracas and became the unwitting targets. Several reporters were manhandled and one photojournalist was allegedly beaten up by the angry mob with chairs. The lawyers allegedly assaulted the journalists, as they were reluctant to have the press cover the violence unleashed in the agitation. After the incident press reporters staged their own dharna outside the High Court demanding action against the lawyers. Shortly afterwards the State law minister arrived at the High Court and confronted the agitation of the journalists. ‘I have come to know of this incident just now, I have yet to know the details. If it has happened – journalists are just doing their duty, and if advocates have assaulted them I feel sorry and advocates should clear the situation. I will talk to the Bar association,’ said the law minister. (ANI) [NF] ‘Arbitrator cannot properly deal with malpractice allegations’ BS Reporter / New Delhi November 09, 2009, 0:38 IST The Supreme Court (SC) has stated when there are serious allegations of malpractices and manipulation of accounts of a firm, the dispute cannot be properly dealt with by an arbitrator. It would be appropriate to let the civil court decide. In this case, N Radhakrishnan vs M/s Maestro Engineers, partners in the firm split and one of them wanted his share to be paid after resignation. However, there were disputes on the amounts due. The partner wanted arbitration which was denied by the district court. He appealed to the SC which dismissed his plea. It said when there are allegations of manipulation of accounts, fraud, misrepresentation and similar charges, it would not be proper to refer all these to an arbitrator. Therefore, the case was remitted to the civil court in Coimbatore. ‘Signature not by mistake’ When a person signs a document, there is a presumption he has read it and understood it and only then he had affixed his signature, the SC stated in the judgement, Grasim Industries Ltd vs Agarwal Steel. The presumption is stronger in the case of businesspersons as money is involved. The SC stated this while setting aside the judgement of the Madhya Pradesh high court in an arbitration case. The arbitrator held in this case though both parties signed the joint statement of account, one of them signed by mistake and therefore it was not binding. He then re-examined the accounts and held Grasim Industries liable to pay with interest. The dispute reached the high court where again the validity of the signature was debated. The SC remitted the matter to the high court after observing the signature was not under a mistake. Equal pay for equal work, but not always The SC last week set aside the judgement of the Allahabad high court on the question of equal pay for equal work for workers in the UP Electricity Board. The trade union moved the labour commissioner alleging employees of one filtration plant of Anpara Thermal Project were paid higher than the contract workers in a similar plant. The commissioner ordered the board to pay equal wages to both groups as they were doing the same work. This was upheld by the high court. On appeal, the board argued the workers for the main plant were recruited on eligibility criteria through an advertisement, while the second plant was run by those recruited by a contractor. Expedite road, state told The SC last week directed the state to set up a committee headed by the chief minister to implement the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor Project which will submit its report to the court on November 22. Though assurances have been given to the court by the government earlier about implementation of the project, a contempt of court petition has been filed alleging inaction, especially in allotment and possession of lands involved in the project. SC surprised by firms’ fight The SC last week dismissed a batch of appeals moved by state-owned Mysore Sales International Ltd against the judgement of the Karnataka high court in its dispute with United India Insurance. The firm, as agent of Hindustan Aeronautics, imported certain packages and kept them in the customs godown. They were lost in a fire. In the dispute following the claim, the civil court asked Mysore Sales to pay. Its appeal to the high court was unsuccessful. While dismissing its appeal, the SC stated it was “surprised” the arms of the central and state governments were fighting instead of settling the issues among themselves. PIL against govt for discrimination TNN 8 November 2009, 09:36pm IST BIJAPUR: Various progressive organizations of the city decided to file a public interest litigation against the district administration, including the deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner and slum board officer, for showing discrimination, while removing encroachments in the city last week. Talking to reporters here on Friday, the chiefs of the organizations, Hasimpeer Walikar, Prabhugouda Patil, Mahadevi Gokak and Reshma Padekanur said, by using the flood and development activity as the reason, the district administration removed all the huts in the slums without giving prior notice. On the other hand, the government staff did not touch the well-constructed buildings of well-to-do families, which clearly shows the discrimination. They said, “We are not opposing the development activity and beautification works, but on the other hand, neglecting the poor people is not tolerable. Even the elected representatives have not considered our requests,” they said. Considering all these aspects, all the progressive organizations like the State Human Rights Board, Fedina, Spandana Women and Children Development Society and Daye Society, have decided to file a public interest litigation against the district administration, they said. In addition to this, a protest rally has been arranged against such discrimination on November 10, in the city, they said. PIL on illegal fishing trade OUR CORRESPONDENT Cuttack, Nov. 8: Six months after the Indian Navy, Indian Coast Guard and Orissa police conducted a joint drive to gauge threat perceptions along Orissa coastline, a PIL was filed on Tuesday in the high court raising the issue of illegal operations conducted by fishing vessels. The coastal security drive was conducted to instil a sense of preparedness among local people and to make them understand the necessity of keeping a track of unusual movements along the 480km-long coastline. Twenty fishing villages of Puri, Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapada, Bhadrak, Balasore and Ganjam were covered under the week-long drive that included interactions with fishermen, boat operators and villagers. Their co-operation was sought in dealing with external forces that intended to destabilise the country. Pamphlets containing telephone numbers of nearest local police, coast guard centre and Indian Navy centres were distributed among villagers. Periodic seizures of deep sea trawlers off the coast of Paradip and Dhamra had brought the matter of coastal threats into focus. Fishing vessels from Bangladesh, Thailand and Myammar were often detected trespassing into Indian waters and violating Orissa Marine Fisheries Regulation Act. Nishikant Mishra, a member of Orissa High Court Bar filed the petition seeking to raise a PIL on the national threat due to illegal fishing operations. The government had granted licences to 630 fishing boats, of which 538 boats reportedly operate along the Jagatsinghpur and Kendrapara coastlines. “There is little information regarding owners of these boats,” stated the petition and sought a proper check. “Illegal fishing boats operate along the coast without any security checks. It is very easy for anti-nationals to enter the Indian coast,” the petitioner claimed pointing out to the Mumbai attacks. Comepensation to 26/11 victims: NHRC asked to intervene–NHRC-asked-to-intervene STAFF WRITER 18:14 HRS IST New Delhi, Nov 9 (PTI) Alleging that several victims of 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks were still struggling to get government compensation almost a year after the incident, a Maharashtra BJP leader today petitioned the National Human Rights Commission seeking its intervention in the matter. “Almost one year is complete into the 26/11 incident. The victims and their families are struggling to get relief and rehabilitation amounts announced by the authorities and provided under the law,” BJP leader Kirit Somaiya said in his petition. Accusing government agencies of becoming “totally insensitive” in the matter, he also urged the Commission to issue a directive to the Centre and Maharashtra government for completing the relief and rehabilitation work till November 26 this year. Out of 403 eligible victims the PMO has issued cheques to 118 only, he claimed in the petition and also urged the Commission to seek an explanation from the PMO on the delay.


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