LEGAL NEWS 21.02.2010

Himachal High Court Targets To Achieve 1 Year Pendency Within Year

Posted by Ravinder Makhaik on Feb 21st, 2010

Shimla: Setting out an ambitious target of making Himachal High Court a one year pendency court, incoming new chief justice Kurian Joseph on Saturday declared that the court would have Green Bench which would specifically deal with environmental issues.

Talking to the media, he said within 10 days of assuming office here, parameters had been laid out to reduce pendency. “For a start all old cases pending since the 1987, which number about 3000, would be cleared by 30th April,” said Justice Joseph.

He disclosed that the court had a total pendency of about 53,000 cases which was pretty high for a small state like Himachal. Within a year, this would be brought down to a level that no case would be lying pending before the High Court for more than a year, he said.

To get an overview of pendency in lower judiciary, a meet of all judicial officers was being organised on 13th and 14th April. After looking at the situation only would parameters for clearing pendency in lower judiciary been put out, he added.

Taking a leaf out from Kerala High Court, where Justice Joseph was the acting chief justice before being appointed chief justice of Himachal, he said that a Green Bench presided over by the senior most judge belonging to state would start functioning from 26th February.

For the purpose of consistency and consistency, the judges on the Green Bench would hail from the state and would sit on every Friday and if need be on Saturday’s also. Cases relating to environments, forests and mining would be heard by this bench, he said.

Responding to a central law ministry move about having administrative tribunal in states, the chief justice said that the possibility would be explored. However he cited that though the Himachal Administrative Tribunal was set in 1986 and yet there was pendency lying with the tribunal from 1987.

Speaking about the media being the messenger of the justice delivering system, he said that while criticism of judgements was welcome ‘don’t criticize the judge’ for he is only an instrument in justice delivery.

He said that while disposing of a case, a judge only hears two parties but the media listens to many people.

On the occasion, he also announced setting up of a media room in the High Court, and about initiating the process for appointing a public relation officer where information needs of media could be met at one point.

Court frames charges against Congress MP Raj Babbar

New Delhi: Pelting stones at a policeman during a protest march proved costly for Bollywood actor and Congress MP Raj Babbar as a city court framed charges against him and others for the incident here.
‘I charge you that you along with co-accused on May 9, 2000… in furtherance of your common intention formed an unlawful assembly and restrained complainant Sub-Inspector (SI) Mahender Singh and other policemen from performing their duties by throwing stones,’ the court said in an order passed earlier this week.

Babbar, the then Lok Sabha MP from Agra, expelled Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh and MP Sarvraj Singh, along with over 800 activists, tried to stage a rally outside the residence of the then prime minister against water crisis in his constituency, the chargesheet said.

Babbar, however, pleaded not guilty and claimed trial.

The court will now start recording the statements of prosecution witnesses on July 1.

Amar Singh was discharged from the case in 2004 by Delhi High Court which had set aside the lower court’s order of taking cognisance of the offence.

The leaders have been charged under provisions of the Indian Penal Code dealing with rioting, causing hurt, and assaulting policemen to deter them from performing duty.

Court pulls up government for investors’ plight

February 21st, 2010 SindhToday

New Delhi, Feb 21 (IANS) Coming to the rescue of an elderly couple who were fighting for their investments, Delhi High Court has pulled up the central government for subjecting them to litigation. It also directed the government to pay back their savings, along with the cost of Rs.15,000 each.

Justice S. Muralidhar directed the Commissioner of Payments to release Kishni Devi and her husband Ganga Dutt Gupta’s savings along with the interest.

Gupta had deposited his hard earned money with Ajudhi Textiles Mills Limited (ATML) in the form of five fixed deposits of Rs.6,500, Rs.3,136, Rs.2,500, Rs.6,000 and Rs.5,000, respectively, nearly four decades ago in 1970.

“By today’s standards, these may be moderate sums but for Kishni Devi and Ganga Dutt Gupta, they constituted their entire life’s savings,” the judge said in the order passed last week, while slapping a cost of Rs.15,000 each to be paid by the government for dragging the case for so long.

In 1971, ATML was taken over by the central government and later it was nationalised under the Sick Textile Undertakings (Nationalisation) Act, 1974 (STUN Act) and a commissioner of payments was appointed by the government for settling the claims of creditors and depositors of ATML.

Kishni Devi and Gupta presented their claims before the commissioner but were denied the same on various grounds.

They filed appeal against the commissioner of payments but the same was rejected.

“For the second time in September 2000, the court allowed their appeals. Fortunately, this time they were not sent back to the Commissioner. The court held that the liability of the government continued since it arose after the company in question had been taken over,” the judge said in the order.

Resultantly, a decree was awarded in favour of Kishni Devi and Gupta but the government remained unmoved and refused to honour the two decrees in their favour.

They then filed two execution petitions in September 2002 in the trial court, which ruled that payments should be made to the petitioners.

Challenging the order of the trial court, the government filed a petition in the high court in 2002 and the order was stayed.

“The harsh reality is that two small investors have not been able to recover from the central government their hard-earned life savings for nearly four decades. And for absolutely no fault of theirs. And that too after successfully fighting the government in court battles twice over for three decades,” the court said.

“The government cannot hide behind a statute that permitted it to take over the company in question and wash its hands off stating that in its ordering the priorities of claims… As a principle of law, as an instrument of social and economic justice ordained by the Constitution, this is simply unacceptable,” it said.

“Today when Ganga Dutt Gupta appeared in this court, he appeared shrivelled by the long years of waiting for justice, worn out by litigation fatigue, and weighed down by the unbearable burden of a vexatious case so mercilessly imposed on him by the mighty government.

“It was a pathetic sight to behold and signified the failure of the legal system to render timely justice to the weakest among our citizenry. It is the duty of a constitutional court in a situation like this to ensure that the law is not operated to mete out injustice to a citizen,” the court said while dismissing the petition.

RPMT examination paper was leaked: Raj Police tells HC–Raj-Police-tells-HC

Jaipur, Feb 20 (PTI) Rajasthan Police has told the State High Court that the RPMT examination 2009 paper was leaked and “impersonators” had appeared in the exam.

In a report filed by them in court, police said 15 candidates had secured admission in medical colleges owing to “cheating by impersonation”.

Police had begun the probe after the High Court took cognisance of the allegations levelled in a petition that some candidates had secured medical colleges in the state by engaging professionals to write their entrance examination.

The police said it found that the question papers of absent candidates at four examination centres — Jaipur, Jhunjhunu, Kota and Sriganganagar — had all the three seals broken.

State not to submit ward quota list

Express News Service

First Published : 21 Feb 2010 04:41:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 21 Feb 2010 08:00:48 AM IST

BANGALORE: Opting to confront the High Court on BBMP elections, the government has decided not to submit the ward wise reservation list as directed by it.

Transport Minister R Ashok, who is also in charge of Bangalore, told reporters that there was no question of submitting the reservation list. “It is impossible to prepare the list in such a short span of time,” he said.

The HC, on February 11, had ordered the government and the state election commission (SEC) to conduct BBMP elections by March end. It had asked the government to prepare the reservation list by February 20 and make it available to the SEC by February 22.

But the government filed a special leave petition (SLP) in the apex court on February 16, challenging the HC order and subsequently filed an interlocutory application in the HC asking for more time for submitting the list.

HC okays pension for ACP Tyagi

Abhinav Garg, TNN, Feb 21, 2010, 12.41am IST

NEW DELHI: Convicted for custodial violence leading to the death of two men in his charge, Delhi Police’s retd ACP, R P Tyagi, will now get his provisional pension with arrears, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

A division bench comprising Justices Anil Kumar and M C Garg, while upholding the decision of Central Administrative Tribunal, has dismissed the appeal by ministry of home affairs.

“In the circumstances, there are no grounds to interfere with the order of CAT as no illegality has been pointed out” HC bench noted, asking the MHA to release Tyagi’s provisional pension along with arrears since February 1, 2008.

The MHA had come in appeal against CAT ruling, arguing since Tyagi was a convicted cop, the ministry had blocked his pension. However, during the hearing, it transpired that Tyagi’s file is lying with the President who has to take a final call on.

Return Ramani her freedom: HC to cops

Utkarsh Anand

Posted: Sunday , Feb 21, 2010 at 0122 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court has abolished restrictions on movement put by the police on socialite Bina Ramani, accused in a cheating and forgery case related to model Jessica Lall murder.

The court, in its recent order, slammed the police for failing to file a chargesheet more than three years after registering a case against Ramani on charges of illegally serving liquor at South Delhi’s Tamarind Court restaurant where Lall was shot in 1999.

Justice V K Shali observed: “It is very strange that despite three-and-a-half years, the investigating agency is still not able to file a final report before the competent court. If on account of agency’s inept attitude or handling the final report is not filed within a reasonable time, it does not mean the accused, who has been enlarged (freed) on bail with the condition of surrendering his (or her) passport or seeking permission from the court to travel abroad, can be made to suffer.”

Referring to various Supreme Court rulings, Justice Shali held that continuing the restrictions on Ramani would be equivalent to taking away her right to go abroad, which is part of personal liberty.

Following the HC order, Ramani is not required any more to apply to a court for her passport and permission to go abroad. Instead, she can only inform the Registrar General of High Court of her itinerary and make herself available before investigators whenever required.

According to Ramani’s petition, she had been abiding with the conditions of her 2006 bail order but failure of the police to file the chargesheet should not curb her fundamental right to travel abroad.

Ramani’s petition also claimed she had “testified as a witness in Jessica Lall murder case and but for her testimony it would not have resulted in conviction of the accused”.

The police theory is Ramani made use of forged documents to claim she owned ‘Once Upon A Time’, a restaurant-bar also known as ‘Tamarind Court’, and that she had a licence to serve liquor there.

V-P may head committee on complaints against judges


New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) Vice-President Hamid Ansari, who is also the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha, is likely to head the Judicial Oversight Committee, a part of the proposed Judges Standards and Accountability Bill, to look into the merits of complaints against members of the higher judiciary.

The proposed committee would comprise the Chief Justice of India, a High Court Chief Justice nominated by the CJI and two distinguished jurists to be nominated by the President.

The bill is yet to be placed before the Union Cabinet for approval.

When asked to confirm the development, Law Minister M Veerappa Moily told PTI: “He (the Vice-President) is now listed to be the chairman of the Oversight Committee in his capacity as the Chairman of the Rajya Sabha.”

Moily hopes that the bill would be tabled in the Budget session of Parliament commencing next week.

“CIC need not be made party to writ petition when its order is challenged”

K. T. Sangameswaran

Whenever an order of the State or Central Information Commission is challenged, it is not necessary to make the Commission a party to the writ petition, the Madras High Court has ruled. The Commission is a statutory appellate authority and is expected to function within the four corners of the RTI Act.

In his order on two writ petitions challenging an order of the Tamil Nadu Information Commission (TNIC), Justice K.Chandru said if the Commission’s order was challenged, it was not expected to defend it. In a writ for certiorari, the order would have to speak for itself. “If the Commission is made as a party, it will be an unnecessary drain on the Commission to engage counsel to defend its orders.” In no case a court was expected to defend its decisions. More often, the Commission’s orders were being challenged by government departments or information officers at the government’s expense.

For calling for records or sending an order copy, the Commission need not be made a party. If proper records were not filed, a notice may be sent by the Registry to call for the records if the courts ordered it. Likewise, in complicated matters if any legal assistance is required, the court could appoint an amicus curiae. The Registry should, henceforth, tell the counsel who files petitions to delete the information commission from the array of parties. This would not only reduce paper work and administrative difficulties faced by the Commission, but also save it from draining its meagre resources, Mr.Justice Chandru said.

M.Velayutham and S.Pandian filed writ petitions against a TNIC order dated March 17, 2008. The Commission said Mr.Velayutham, who was the secretary of Rasipuram Teachers and Government Servants Cooperative Housing Society, should be placed under suspension. Disciplinary action should be initiated against Mr.Pandian, Deputy Registrar of Cooperative Societies (Housing), Salem, for disobedience of the Commission’s order. A maximum penalty of Rs.25,000 was imposed on them.

The first petitioner’s stand was that he and the other petitioner had submitted a reply to all 33 questions by an ex-president of Rasipuram Teacher and Government Servants Cooperative Housing Welfare Association. The petitioners said the penalty had been imposed on them without issuing notice.

Partly allowing the petitions, Mr.Justice Chandru set aside the direction to impose penalty and to take disciplinary action without due notice. It is left to the TNIC to pursue the action further in accordance with law after hearing the petitioners.

GI marker of Tirupati laddus gets nod

Express News Service

First Published : 20 Feb 2010 05:28:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 20 Feb 2010 08:12:39 AM IST

CHENNAI: The Geographical Indication (GI) Registry has not committed any illegality by registering Tirupati laddus as a geographical indication, the Registry has submitted in its counter-affidavit filed in the Madras High Court on Friday.

The counter-affidavit was filed in response to a public interest writ petition from J Mohan Raj, general secretary of the Jebamani Janata Party of Mylapore, seeking to declare the grant of GI registration to the laddus as ultra vires the Constitution.

The counter, filed by Assistant Solicitor General J Ravindran said that the registration had not endangered religious harmony and did nothing to damage the secular image of the country, as alleged by the petitioner. The registration was neither in transgression of constitutional and statutory safeguards nor was it violative of Articles 14, 21, 25 and 26 of the Constitution.

The writ petition was liable to be dismissed as the alternative remedy had not been availed of, the ASG contended.

Nothing lost in Mullaperiyar case: Karunanidhi


Friday, February 19, 2010

Chennai, Feb 19: Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Friday said that the state has not lost anything nor has it given anything to Kerala in the Mullaperiyar Dam case that is being heard by the Supreme Court.


The chief minister was reacting to the decision of the apex court to form a five member committee under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India A.S. Anand to go into all issues relating to the safety of the dam and the storage level.


In a statement issued here, Karunanidhi said: “The Supreme Court under Article 131 has appointed the five member committee, which will analyse the dam safety and its storage level and submit a report to the court in six months time.”


He said: “The Tamil Nadu government has not given out anything nor is the decision favourable to Kerala.”


Reacting to the apex court’s order, Kerala Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan Thursday said: “We are delighted by this judgment. We will present more facts before the committee as to why we say that the present dam is unsafe.”


Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam built under an agreement signed in 1886 between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the British administration.


The dam is on the headwaters of the Periyar river in Kerala. According to a 999-year lease agreement signed during the British rule, it is operated by Tamil Nadu.


Citing safety concerns, Kerala has been demanding the construction of a new dam, which Tamil Nadu has vehemently opposed while demanding to increase the storage capacity of the existing dam from 136 feet (41.5 m) to 142 feet (43 m) to meet the increasing demand of water for drinking and irrigation.


In 2006 the apex court had permitted Tamil Nadu to raise the water level in the dam up to 142 ft after carrying out some repairs. Subsequently, the Kerala Legislature passed the Kerala Irrigation and water Conservation (Amendment) Act 2006 to circumvent the Supreme Court order the legal validity of which is now being contested by Tamil Nadu in the apex court.


According to Kerala, the over a century-old dam has outlived its utility and its continued existence on its territory with the raised water level would be a consistent threat to lakhs of people in the state.


Reacting to the latest decision of the apex court in setting up of a five member committee, PMK founder S. Ramadoss said: “While the court’s decision is to be respected it seems the Supreme Court has let down Tamil Nadu with its decision.”


The safety of the dam and the environmental concerns were looked into in detail by experts earlier based on which in 2006 the apex court had permitted Tamil Nadu to increase the storage level to 142 ft, he added.


He said that the Tamil Nadu chief minister should call an all party meeting to find ways and means to make Kerala understand and stop its “intractable attitude”.




Posted by Selvam at 6:58 AM

CAT steps in to rescue AIIMS employees on pay scale


Sunday, February 21, 2010 11:43 IST

New Delhi: The Central Administrative Tribunal has held that an employee ofan autonomous organisation like AIIMS is entitled to similar pay and allowances akin to Central government servants.

“Applicants cannot be discriminated against despite being in autonomous organisation, where the government rules and instructions and the decision in pay and allowances would
mutatis mutandis (the necessary changes) extend to him,” the
Tribunal, comprising Members Ramesh C Panda and Shanker Raju, said.

The CAT passed the order on a plea of Sudesh Kumar and others, working as private secretaries and personal assistants in AIIMS, seeking parity in terms of pay scale with Central government employees.

Referring to its earlier order, the CAT said a discriminatory and contradictory stand is antithesis to the fairness in law and that the parity has always been maintained between the applicants and their counterparts in Central Secretariat Stenographers Service (CSSS), and the governing body of AIIMS has also approved the proposal.

Non-extension of the same, when all the functional requirements are identical, is violative of the principal of “equal pay for equal work”, which has assumed a fundamentalright, the Tribunal said.

Earlier, the Finance Committee recommended parity in grade pay scale between employees of CSSS and AIIMS but the finance ministry had conveyed to AIIMS that it was not possible.

Ministry of health and family welfare had also rejected the proposal of the Finance Committee following which the applicants approached the Tribunal.


One Response

  1. Kamal ji
    Why you were absent for such a long time. You have always been a regular in your postings.

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