LEGAL NEWS 11.11.2009

Constitution Bench to hear afresh Mullaperiyar case

J. Venkatesan

Three-Judge Supreme Court Bench accepts Kerala’s plea

New Delhi: Accepting Kerala’s plea, a three-Judge Bench of the Supreme Court on Tuesday referred to a five-Judge Constitution Bench a suit filed by the Tamil Nadu government questioning a law enacted by Kerala to prevent raising the water level of the Mullaperiyar dam beyond 136 ft. as against 142 ft. allowed by the Supreme Court judgment of February 2006.

A Bench of Justice D.K. Jain, Justice Mukundakam Sharma and Justice R.M. Lodha, after hearing counsel for both the States, referred the matter to the Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan for posting it before a five-Judge Bench.

The Bench asked both the States to maintain status quo, (viz to maintain water level at 136 ft.) without prejudice to the rights of Tamil Nadu to carry out proper repairs and maintenance of the dam and gave liberty to the parties to approach the court.

As agreed by counsel for the parties, a draft was submitted to the court to enable the Bench to pass a formal order. As per the draft order, “the issues framed in the suit require the court to decide substantial questions of law as to the interpretation of the Constitution, in particular Articles 3 and 4 read with Article 246; Article 131 read with Article 32 and 226; proviso to Article 131 read with Articles 295 and 363 of the Constitution and also the effect of the 2006 judgment. As the case involves the resolution of such questions, the suit may be placed before the CJI for necessary directions for placing of the case before a Constitution bench.”

When arguments began on Tuesday senior counsel Rajeev Dhavan submitted that the Kerala Legislature had the competence to enact the Kerala Irrigation and Water Conservation (Amendment) Act, 2006 Act. He said the 2006 judgment had the effect of taking over the executive and legislative power, which was subversive to the federal structure.

Last week Justice Lodha told counsel: “Even an erroneous finding operates as res judicata [a matter already settled in court]. You have to tell us how the findings rendered in a writ petition are not binding in a suit and why it is not res judicata.”

Mr. Dhavan, in his response on Tuesday, said that “under exceptional instances res judicata will not apply if basic jurisdiction is lacking.” He pointed out that in 2006 the court had no jurisdiction to give such a judgment under Article 32/226 writ petition. A dispute between two States could be adjudicated only by way of suit under Article 131. The principle of res judicata would not apply if a decision was wrong on law or obtained by fraud or the judgment was rendered without jurisdiction.

When Justice Lodha wanted to know whether the 2006 judgment was not binding on Kerala as an order of the Supreme Court under Article 141 (order binding on all courts), Mr. Dhavan said, “a faulty order cannot be executed and [is] not binding.” He wanted the matter to be referred to a five-judge Constitution Bench for interpretation of various issues involved in the matter.

Senior counsel K. Parasaran, appearing for Tamil Nadu, initially suggested that the three-judge Bench itself adjudicate the issue saying, “we want an early decision.” However, when the Bench indicated that the matter be referred to a five-judge Bench, he agreed on condition that Tamil Nadu be allowed to carry out repair and maintenance works.






CJI declines to comment on Dinakaran’s row


New Delhi, Nov 10 (PTI) “It’s all there in the newspapers,” was all that Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan said today when asked to comment on lawyers in Karnataka High Court preventing controversial Chief Justice P D Dinakaran from conducting court proceedings.

Asked on the sidelines of a function whether the action of the advocates amounted to “contempt of court” and “obstruction of the course of justice,” the Chief Justice merely smiled.

On Monday, lawyers had prevented Justice Dinakaran, who is facing corruption charges, from conducting the proceedings as they were demanding that he abstain from judicial work until he got his name cleared.

Justice Dinakaran’s elevation to the Supreme Court had been kept in abeyance by the apex court’s collegium which had recommneded to the government to delink his name from four other high court Chief Justices whose elevation has been approved in principle







Advocates raise slogans against CJI over new SC security setup


Posted: Nov 10, 2009 at 1902 hrs IST

New Delhi Scores of lawyers

on Tuesday shouted slogans against Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan for the new “high security zone” introduced in the Supreme Court.

“CJI go back, CJI go back”, “we are lawyers, we can’t be treated like this,” the lawyers screamed when the CJI came to inaugurate the new security system under which entry to the Supreme Court premises from Monday would be allowed by use of special “proximity card.”

Besides, the entire court complex has been kept under 24-hour surveillance through CCTV in the backdrop of reports of possible threat from terror elements.

The laywers also sat on a dharna near the gate for over an hour to register their protest but dispersed after the CJI left the place.

Security personnel, however, kept the lawyers at bay and the function was held smoothly.

Advocates, clerks besides, staff and journalists can now gain entry into the Supreme Court premises only if they swipe the photo proximity cards or digital photo identity cards. The latter is issued to visitors, clients and visiting officials.

The grievance of the agitating lawyers is that the proximity cards have been issued only to the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) members whereas those advocates who have their membership issued by the respective State Bar Councils will have to obtain a normal photo entry passes at special counters set up for the purpose.

Though a delegation led by the SCBA president M N Krishnamani and vice president Priya Hingorani took up the issue with the CJI, the latter firmly ruled out relaxation of the rules.

“We do not want to give the proximity cards to these Ghaziabad lawyers and others,” he remarked and went ahead with the inauguration of the new security system






From judges to babus, a fight from within for transparency

A Subramani, TNN 11 November 2009, 07:03am IST

CHENNAI: By going public with details of his assets, civil servant U Sahayam has joined an elite clique of individuals who have waged a relentless

battle from within, and made the system more accountable and transparent.

Advocate and Right To Information (RTI) activist Subhash C Aggarwal set off a judicial snowball by submitting an innocuous query seeking to know whether judges of the Supreme Court were adhering to the May 7, 1997 Restatement of Values and declaring their assets regularly.

When the apex court was still in the denial mode, with the Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan himself countering the pro-declaration arguments, Justice Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka High Court stepped out of the ranks and declared his assets on August 24. Justice K Kannan of the Punjab and Haryana High Court did not take long thereafter to blog his asset details. The war from within had well and truly begun.

That the Supreme Court refused to part with any asset-related information, that the Central Information Commission ruled that the office of CJI too was under the ambit of the RTI Act, that in an unprecedented act the apex court filed a writ petition before the Delhi High Court against the information panel’s ruling and that the Delhi HC concluded that the CJI’s office did come under the RTI umbrella, is history.

The logical conclusion was reached when, on September 28, the Supreme Court officially announced that its judges would voluntarily’ declare their assets. The disclosure was actually made on November 2.

With the last word yet to be said in the appeal proceedings before the Delhi High Court, the journey has already proved to be long and eventful for Aggarwal. Sagayam’s battle with babus seems to have just begun, given the fact that most of his colleagues in service are distinctly dismissive and reluctant to disclose. While the judiciary is done with its share of denials and protestations, the state bureaucrats have embarked on the journey only now.

Just compare the situations in Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh. The Tamil Nadu bureaucracy is not ready to join the transparency bandwagon, but the Madras High Court is all set to declare the assets and liability details of its judges on November 15. (In fact, Justice K Chandru submitted his details to Chief Justice HL Gokhale on Monday).

In Uttar Pradesh, a section of IAS officers serving in the state have already made public their asset details, whereas the 100-odd judges of the Allahabad High Court have adopted a resolution not to make public their asset details !







HC raps police, revenue officials in Land Grabbing cases

DNPUN20548 | 11/11/2009 | Author : Menaka Rao & Gitesh Shelke | WC :506 | Crime & Law

The court says the govt agencies failed to take action in accordance with law
The Bombay high court has pulled up the Pune rural police and district revenue department officials for failing to discharge their responsibility in connection with two separate land grabbing cases in the district.
The court has issued a show-cause notice to the government machinery asking as to why it should not direct the registration of criminal cases against the concerned police officials.
Superintendent of police (Pune rural) Pratap Dighavkar refused to comment saying that the matter was sub judice.
The court, earlier this year, had asked the Inspector General of Police (IGP, Kolhapur range) to furnish a report on the two cases of land grabbing after a Pune-based advocate Dinesh Gonjare —a resident of Yerawada — filed a public interest litigation (PIL). The IGP, however, submitted the report after March 5, the deadline set by the high court, drawing the attention of the court.
While hearing the matter, a quorum of the chief justice of Bombay high court Swatanter Kumar and justice AM Khanwilkar said that it had perused the report submitted by the IGP and the submissions made on behalf of the state. “Both submissions are unconvincing,” the court said.
“The concerned authorities have failed to discharge their functions in accordance with the law. Before we pass any further directions in this regard, we consider it necessary for the state to produce the original records in the court,” the court said, also directing the concerned IGP to remain present in the court on the next date of hearing (November12).
The police, in its submission before the court, had stated that a case had been filed under appropriate sections of the Indian Penal Code against Surekha Hanmant Pawar, one of the suspects in a case registered in Shirur. As for the second case of land grabbing, the police told the court that the matter was being investigated.
Urologist Dr Rohit Mehta had lodged a complaint against Pawar, alleging that the latter and her accomplices had prepared forged documents to claim possession of the land, which he legally owned at Shirur.
According to Mehta’s complaint with the Pune rural police, when he objected to the illegal possession, the suspects allegedly demanded extortion and terrorised him.
Advocate Amit Bhowmik, who is representing the case on behalf of Mehta, said revenue department officials attached to the Pune district collectorate, “despite knowing that the land belonged to Mehta, had demanded that he should pay the transgressor Rs50 lakh towards the cost of illegal construction, should he want his land back.”
The second case was filed by businessman Alim Chagla. No offence has yet been registered despite repeated requests to the police by Chagla.
Chagla, in his complaint to the Pune rural police, had alleged that a builder and then superintendent of police (Pune rural) had forcibly grabbed his land at Mulshi. The complainant had alleged that the then superintendent of police sent armed policemen to grab the land located at Mulshi. A senior police officer of the Pune rural on Tuesday told DNA said that the police had provided protection to Chagla.







HC summons Delhi govt babu

TNN 11 November 2009, 08:12am IST

NEW DELHI: The swiftness shown by Delhi government in granting parole to Jessica Lall murder convict Manu Sharma has attracted the attention of Delhi High Court, which sought to know on Tuesday why its standing order on smooth disposal of parole pleas of other convicts is being violated.

Summoning the home secretary of Delhi government to appear in person, the HC wants to know the reasons for delay in processing of parole pleas. It also sought a break-up of applications pending with the government since the beginning of this year. The parole pleas of ordinary convicts gather dust for months on official desks, despite HC’s directive that applications seeking parole by convicts from Tihar be decided in 10 days.

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

HC was hearing a petition filed by Sumedh Singh, a convict in the Connaught Place shooting case, seeking a parole of three months to file an appeal in SC against his conviction. He sought parole on the ground that his other family members were illiterate so couldn’t litigate for him.

Interestingly, Justice Kailash Gambhir had in September also lashed out at the government for the same reason. He had then observed, “Invariably it has been found that so many petitioners are approaching this court seeking their release on parole with a view to file SLP or on some other grounds, and in all such cases considerable delay takes place at the end of the state authority to dispose of their applications,” and expressed his displeasure over governments delay tactics in deciding the parole pleas of the convicts.







Sun Pharma gains on HC order


BS Reporter / Mumbai November 11, 2009, 16:01 IST

Sun Pharma touched a high of Rs 1,459 and finally ended at Rs 1,436, up 2% from the previous close. The counter clocked volumes of 234,664 shares on the NSE today. Cadila Healthcare erased all its losses and soared to a high of Rs 590. The scrip finally ended at Rs 589, up 3% from its previous close. The counter witnessed trades of 70,167 shares on the NSE.

(Updated at 1040hrs)

Sun Pharma has gained after the Madras High Court  has stopped Zydus Cadila (Cadila Healthcare) from selling anti-depressant drug, Venz (venlafaxine), in the domestic market for the time being, on the basis of the trademark complain lodged by the company. 

The stock opened at Rs 1,407 and soared to a high of Rs 1,423. The stock is now trading at Rs 1,422, up 1.5% from the previous close. The counter has clocked volumes of 4,058 shares on the BSE.

Cadila Healthcare opened at Rs 560 and slipped to a low of Rs 557, down 2% from the previous close. The stock has however recoverd and is now at flat at Rs 570. The counter has clocked volumes of 1,428 shares on the BSE.







HC orders probe into BSRTC affairs

TNN 11 November 2009, 07:10am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday directed the state vigilance investigation bureau to look into the alleged financial irregularities in the Bihar State Road Transport Corporation (BSRTC) and gave it four months’ time to complete the probe.

Hearing a petition filed by one Surendra Prasad Sinha, a division bench comprising Justice S K Katriar and Justice K K Mandal passed this order and fixed March 26 as the next date of hearing of the case.

Sinha, in his petition, has claimed that financial irregularities in BSRTC has led to non-payment of salary to employees and retiral benefits to former employees.

Sinha’s petition has also claimed that though BSRTC received funds to purchase 70 new buses, it purchased only 32 buses.








Driving schools must adhere to revised rules: HC

TNN 11 November 2009, 06:55am IST

CHENNAI: The transport department was well within its limits when it revised guidelines and introduced stringent rules to regulate driving schools in the state, the Madras high court has ruled.

Justice V Ramasubramanian, upholding the revised regulations which mandate driving schools to have a premises measuring at least 1,000 sqft and to have a vehicle not older than eight years, ruled that the circular issued by the transport commission to driving schools in this regard did not contravene any central rules.

The writ petitions, filed by the Tamil Nadu Driving Schools Owners Federation and others, challenged the validity of the circular issued by the transport commissioner on October 31, 2007.

Among other things, the circular said driving schools must have pucca fire-proof buildings, office room lecture hall, demonstration hall and traffic education room. Besides parking area, the circular said schools must submit solvency certificates for Rs 3 lakh each. Banning any vehicles more than eight years old, it also restrained the schools from using public roads during driving lessons.

However, during arguments advocate-general PS Raman agreed not to insist on the condition on payment of solvency, and said public roads could be used during the initial driving lessons.

Justice Ramasubramanian, pointing out that the advocate-general had fairly agreed not to insist of certain conditions, rejected the arguments that the transport commissioner had neither power nor competence to issue such circular. Ruling that there was no repugnancy in the circular, there was rationale behind the fixation of age limit for vehicles.

Though the judge rejected the plea for extension of the deadline beyond the six months, as provided in the circular, he said the schools were free to approach the transport commissioner for extension of time.







Engagement gifts aren’t dowry: HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN 11 November 2009, 05:01am IST

NAGPUR: Are gifts given during engagement ceremony dowry? May be not, if their value is not “excessive”! In a significant verdict, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Tuesday quashed a police complaint and chargesheet made by the girl’s father against the petitioners for getting back gifts handed over to them during engagement.

The court observed that any present, if it is customary in nature, will not attract punishable provisions of Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986. Asingle-judge bench comprising justice SS Shinde delivered this verdict citing Section 3(2)(b) of the Dowry Prohibition (Amendment) Act, 1986, which states that “nothing applies if such presents are made by, or on behalf of the bride, or any person related to the bride, and such presents are of a customary nature and the value thereof is not excessive having regard to the financial status of the person by whom, or on whose behalf, such presents are given.”

However, according to the act if a person, gives, takes or abets the giving or taking of dowry, he shall be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than 5 years, and with fine which shall not be less than Rs 15,000 or the amount of the value of such dowry, whichever is more. Groom’s mother Sunanda and groom Bhushan Kalkotwar were the petitioners in this case.

According to counsel for petitioner Rajendra Daga, Sunanda’s other son Pankaj was engaged to Yamini (name changed) from Brahmapuri in Chandrapur district. During the engagement day on May 22, 2006, Yamini’s father offered petitioners – Sunanda and Bhushan – clothes as per their customs and rituals. Five months later Sunanda’s youngest son went to Yamini’s father at Brahmapuri and asked him for a dowry of Rs 4 lakh. He also warned them that if they were unable to fulfill his demands, the proposed marriage would be cancelled. The girl’s father rejected this demand and that led to cancellation of wedding.







Advocate moves HC over cops failure to book MNS activist

Shibu Thomas, TNN 11 November 2009, 02:36am IST

MUMBAI: A petition was filed in the Bombay high court against the Dadar police station for not taking action against an MNS activist and his family for `allegedly’ assaulting a city advocate.

Advocate Sneha Shahsane, a resident of Sundar Nagar in Dadar, mentioned the case before a division bench of Justice J N Patel and Justice Amjad Sayed. The HC has scheduled the case for hearing on November 12.

The advocate said her neighbour Ganesh Kamble, an MNS activist, and his female relatives assaulted her on October 29. Both the families had filed complaints against each other earlier. Shahsane claimed that though she approached the Dadar police, they refused to take cognisance of her complaint. She subsequently moved the magistrate’s court, which told the police to investigate the case.

Shahsane told the HC that she was apprehensive that the Dadar police might close the case. “I had seven stitches. My mother and sister were also beaten up and we were forced to move out of our house,” Shahsane said, accusing the police of colluding with the accused and dereliction of duty.

The high court asked public prosecutor P A POl to take instructions in the case.






HC relief for chef in duty evasion case

TNN 11 November 2009, 02:31am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court admitted a petition filed by chef Ritu Dalmia, who runs a restaurant in Delhi, and stayed the prosecution initiated against her, her family and former company for customs duty evasion of crores of rupees.

Justice D G Karnik stayed the criminal action which the Mumbai Customs department had launched against Ritu, her brother Aditya, father Natwar and her former company La Grande Projects for `allegedly’ importing a huge number of diesel engines and evading duty way back in 1996. The stay means that the action, which had begun before a Mumbai magistrate in recent months with bailable warrants issued against the Dalmias, will not proceed further.

Advocate Sujay Kantawala, appearing for the Dalmias, said the criminal action was belated and smacked of “non-application of mind”. “The department cannot resume a stale prosecution especially when it is based on an old Customs commissioner’s report, which the court has stayed.”







Missing constable returns, suspended


Dehradun, Nov 11(PTI) The missing traffic constable Balakram returned safely giving some relief to Uttarakhand police, which is yet to find a clue.

Balakram, who went missing after his duty on November 7, returned last night, said Dehradun Senior Superintendent of Police Abhinav Kumar.

He has been placed under suspension for remaining absent from duty without information to seniors, the SSP said and added that an inquiry has also been set up against him.

Meanwhile, the police is still clueless about Sub-Inspector Thapaliyal, who went missing for the past one week.

Thapaliyal, who was heading the Circuit House police picket in the VIP Cantonment area had informed his seniors on November 4 that he was feeling unwell so unable to attend his duty on that day.







Guj HC rejects bail pleas of Patan gangrape convicts


Ahmedabad, Nov 10 (PTI) Gujarat High Court today rejected the bail pleas of six teachers convicted of repeatedly gang-raping a 19-year-old Dalit student in Patan district’s Primary Teachers’ Training College.

A division bench of Justices A L Dave and J C Upadhyay rejected the bail pleas, saying the accused have been convicted of a gruesome crime.

They further observed that the lower court had convicted the six accused — Manish Parmar, Mahendra Prajapati, Ashwin Parmar, Kiran Patel, Suresh Patel and Atul Patel — based on medical evidence and testimony of the victim.

Granting bail in such a matter where a Dalit girl was gangraped would send a wrong signal to the society, the court observed. Moreover, there were no convincing arguments made on behalf of the accused, it added.








Normalcy in Karnataka High Court returns

Normalcy returned in Karnataka High Court which witnessed chaos after advocates locked up two judges and jostled with Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, during protest against his continuance in the post till he was absolved of allegations against him.

More than 200 police personnel were deployed in and around the High Court to maintain law and order.

Chief Justice Dinakaran attended the court proceedings today.

Members of the Advocates Association of Bangalore (AAB), who abstained from court proceedings had barged into the court hall where the judge was holding proceedings and raised slogans against him.

The lawyers jostled with Justices V Gopala Gowda and B V Nagaratna, who refused to suspend hearing. They locked the judges in the court hall and disconnected power supply for an hour.

Normal functioning of other courts, including Civil, District courts and tribunals in the state were also reported.








Ambani family pact not binding on RIL: Counsel (Lead)

New Delhi, Nov 11

Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) Wednesday sought to impress upon the Supreme Court that the family pact between the promoter brothers — Mukesh and Anil Ambani — brokered by their mother Kokilaben was not binding on the company.

Proceeding with his arguments in the Krishna-Godavari gas dispute, RIL counsel Harish Salve also questioned the legality of a part of earlier rulings of the Bombay High Court and said private pacts between two people cannot bind a company and its shareholders.

“Admittedly, this document was not placed before the RIL board. Admittedly, it was not mentioned before the court. It was not shown to the RIL shareholders,” argued Salve, questioning the legal validity of the family pact on his client.

He was placing his arguments before a three-judge bench comprising Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice B. Sudershan Reddy and Justice P. Sathasivam, which has been hearing the matter.

“The MOU (memorandum of understanding, or the family pact) was in private domain and not in corporate domain,” Salve said, while admitting the existence of such a document.

“The MOU is binding upon the mother and the two brothers but not on RIL,” he contended, while questioning concurrent findings, both by the single-judge bench and a division bench of the high court, that RIL was also bound by it.

Salve sought to vehemently contest the findings of the Bombay High Court since the Supreme Court has consistently held that higher courts should refrain from hearing a second appeal on such matters.

The apex court has maintained that higher courts should permit a second hearing against concurrent findings of lower courts only if there was a very important question of law and fact is involved in it.

“The judge wrongly came to the conclusion that it’s binding upon RIL,” said Salve.

The dispute is over the supply of 28 million units of natural gas for 17 years at $2.34 per unit to Anil Ambani-led Reliance Natural Resources (RNRL) from the gas fields off the Andhra Pradesh coast, awarded to Mukesh Ambani-led RIL.

The price, tenure and quantity were all based on a family re-organisation pact in 2005, but RIL subsequently said it could only sell the gas for $4.20 per unit, as this was the price, the company claimed, that was fixed by the government.

Salve said the family pact had envisaged that it would only serve as a guiding document to arrive at the suitable arrangement for gas supplies and that the two brothers would arrive at a suitable agreement.

It does not matter even if the RIL chairman had signed the pact, said Salve, adding that the RIL board never approved it.

As the court proceeded to rise for the day, RNRL senior counsel Ram Jethmalani remarked: “At last there is some progress, since RIL has at least admitted there is a family MOU, though as worthless piece of papers.”

At this, Salve remarked: “No hearing is complete without Jethmalani’s quotes.”

Not to be left behind, Jethmalani shot back: “But I’m only quoting you.”

Last updated on Nov 11th, 2009 at 17:50 pm IST–IANS







PIL filed against BJP leader L K Advani in Guj HC


Ahmedabad, Nov 10 (PTI) A PIL has been filed against veteran BJP leader L K Advani in the Gujarat High Court asking the court to direct him to pay attention to his Parliamentary constituency Gandhinagar.

An eighty-year-old K D Pandya has filed an PIL in the court saying that before Advani expresses his loyalty to his party (BJP) he should remain loyal to the electorate of Gandhinagar.

The PIL was referred to a bench headed by Justice M S Shah by the division bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan as it was in Gujarati language.

In his petition, Pandya has said “MPs in our country take important decisions without consulting electorates and there is no participation on part of the citizens in the decision making process”.

Hence, they should be directed to take a referendum before taking important policy-related decisions.







HC dismisses PIL on MLAs’ salaries

Bangalore, Nov 10, DH News Service:

A division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar on Monday dismissed a PIL filed by Retired District Judge Padmanabha Kedilaya challenging the Government’s decision to increase the salaries, pensions, bills and allowances of legislators, under the Karnataka Legislature Salaries, Pensions and Allowances (Amendment) Bill 2009.
The petitioner had prayed the Court to issue a show cause notice to stay the proposal as it was adopted without calling for objections from the general public. The bench opined that the petitioner had not made out any case and dismissed the petition.

Hearing on 10-yr old case

The High Court division bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran directed the Government to consider a petition seeking investigation into the 10-year old case on excess payments made for a contract awarded for the Upper Krishna Project.

The petitioner H T Somashekar Reddy had alleged that a House committee investigation had reported on the excess payments, but no action was taken. The then government headed by H D Deve Gowda  had awarded the contract for minor works and allegedly paid an excess of Rs 73 crore to the company.







HC for round-the-clock helpline services for child labour


Wednesday, November 11, 2009 19:57 IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today asked the city government to explore the possibility of starting a round-the-clock helpline services for child labour in the national capital.

A bench headed by the chief justice AP Shah also asked the government to launch a website specifically dedicated to the problem of child labour.

The Bench, also comprising justice S Muralidhar, was hearing a PIL filed by NGOs seeking its direction to formulate guidelines for regulating and eradicating child labour in the capital.

Earlier, the court had allowed the police to initiate criminal proceedings against those employing children as labourers and to recover Rs20,000 from them as penalty without waiting for their conviction.

“We direct that the responsibility of lodging a police complaint against an employer, employing child labour, would lie with the Delhi Police and not the Labour Department,” the court had said in July.

The Court had said that for eradicating the problem, the police should be given power to take action against the erring employer and it should not be left to the labour department.

The Court had on September 24 last year directed the Commission to formulate a detailed Action Plan for strict enforcement and implementation of Child Labour (Prohibition & Regulation) Act, 1986 and other related legislations.






TTD to file counter affidavit


Express News Service

First Published : 11 Nov 2009 04:43:00 AM IST

Last Updated :


TIRUMALA: P Seshadri, popularly known as `dollar Seshadri’, Officer on Special Duty (OSD) at Tirumala temple did not attend to his duties today.

“I came to know that there is a PIL against my appointment as the temple OSD. But, I have not received any information from the TTD officials in this regard. But I am not attending duty,’’ he said.

“I will obey the orders of the TTD Trust Board. In fact, I never asked the Board or any TTD official to extend my service. The Board asked me to continue and hence I am rendering my services,’’ he clarified.

According to sources, the TTD management is planning to file a counter affidavit against the PIL proceedings.

The Board feels that Seshadri’s appointment was not a political one and that temple services should be treated as emergency services and Seshadri’s presence is a must to run the day-today services at Tirumala.






CIC Selection PIL is not yet heard: TOI mis-reported Judges’ questions during hearing for admission

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Dear fellow activists, Relax! Stop worrying! We haven’t lost our PIL against arbitrary selection of CICs. In fact, it hasn’t even begun. The report in Times of India wrongly suggests that the Chief Justice already gave an adverse order while dismissing our PIL. That is emphatically not the case!

The fact is that our PIL was very briefly heard for admission by Delhi High Court yesterday. In fact, it was not even properly heard; the main hearing is scheduled for 18th November, where we will be represented by well-known lawyer Prashant Bhushan.

Below is Advocate A Rasheed Qureshi’s detailed report of Chief Justice’s questions and his answers:

In the first call (10.45 AM), I mentioned that I was seeking a passover as Mr Prashant Bhushan was to appear in my matter. The Chief justice remarked that our matter was premature as the new CCIC had not yet been appointed. I said that our matter was not about canvassing for any particular person X,Y or Z to be made the CCIC. If that was the case it would surely be premature, because then we must wait to see who is made the CCIC, and then move the court. In the present case, we were saying that the 3-member selection group was acting without any guidelines, criteria, rules etc and hence was violative of the Constitution. Acting in a void, without administrative guidelines, meant that they could pick and choose any one of their choice to the detriment of the public at large.

I stressed that all that I was asking was that there must be administrative guidelines, some criteria and the process must be generally known through Rules under the RTI Act. In the absence of this, there was likelihood of persons being selected who had conflict of interest qua their duties under the Post held and the appointing class of persons i.e. politicians.

At this, the CJ asked, “Do you say that bureaucrats must not be appointed?” I said, No, I don’t say that either. All I say is that the Act contemplates that People of eminence in law, social activism etc. PLUS those in administration and governance. So people from other categories also must be considered for the post of CCIC. Also, this must be done keeping in mind that bureaucrats are likely to have a conflict of interest in discharge of duty. CIC’s work is a quasi judicial work which requires decision-making, and sometime hard decision need to be taken.

This Act is in a nascent stage in India while other countries like Australia, UK & Canada have already evolved Best Practices in this field which we need to incorporate. Advertising this post is one good way, though not the only way, to make it transparent.

The Court asked if I was challenging the RTI Act. I said, No.

The matter is adjourned to 18th November. That gives us 9 days to prepare with more case laws.

Warm Regards,


98215 88114
Courtesy: [rti4empowerment]

Posted by Dr. Mohammed Naved Khan at 8:05 AM









Tribunal asks GAIL to follow PNGRB order in transport fee case


Press Trust of India / New Delhi November 11, 2009, 12:52 IST

The energy tribunal APTEL has slammed natural gas firm GAIL India Ltd for trying to stall the enquiry by sectoral regulator PNGRB over allegations of excess transportation fee from the Andhra Pradesh Gas Power Corporation (APGPC).

Dismissing GAIL’s petition against the PNGRB order to settle the dispute with APGPC through arbitration, the Appellate Tribunal said “the appellant (GAIL) wanted to see that somehow or the other no enquiry is conducted by the Petroleum Board (PNGRB) on the complaint made by the respondent (APGPC) against GAIL, and also to ensure that no arbitration proceedings are conducted,” said APTEL bench headed by Justice M K Vinayagam.

The tribunal also asked the PSU to pay APGPC Rs one lakh for unnecessary litigation and directed it to comply with PNGRB orders for arbitration.

“The appellant is directed to comply with the orders passed by the PNGRB on …,” the tribunal said.

Slamming the PSU, the tribunal said, “GAIL, whose conduct is highly condemnable, has not come with clean hands and has driven APGPC from pillar to post, we deem it appropriate to impose sufficient cost on GAIL.”

APGPC, which has an exclusive agreement with GAIL for supply of natural gas since 1991, discovered in the financial year 2004-05 that the PSU had charged excess transportation fee for the gas supplied between 1992 to 2006.






Ex-servicemen protest tribunal at Chandimandir

TNN 11 November 2009, 01:23am IST

CHANDIGARH: The All-India Ex-Servicemen Welfare Association (AIESWA) in a representation to Justice Ashok Mathur – chairman principal bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal, based at Delhi, along with others – has lodged a strong protest against establishment of UT Benches of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) at Chandimandir.

The inauguration ceremony is slated for November 14 at Manekshah Stadium, Western Command, Chandimandir.

The association, which has a large number of its members practicing in various courts of the region, has also urged chairman of the Bar council of Punjab and Haryana as well as the Punjab and Haryana High to take up the issue with the authorities concerned so that the benches only function from Chandigarh, which is a centralized place.

The association has urged Pawan Kumar Bansal, minister of parliamentary affairs and water resources to take up the issue with the law and defence minister on priority basis.

Bhim Sen Sehgal, chairman, AIESWA, said, “The present location of AFT is more than 15-km from the city bus stand and around 12-km from the one in sector-43.”

He said this would not only cause inconvenience to legal professionals, but clients as well as the distance would be too much and cause hassle.






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