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.


One Response

  1. Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

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