LEGAL NEWS 13.04.2010

PIL in Bombay HC on Irda-Sebi spat about Ulips
http://www.dnaindia.com/money/report_pil-in-bombay-hc-on-irda-sebi-spat-about-ulips_1370987
PTI
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 18:56 IST
Mumbai: Even as the Security and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) have decided to approach court to seek direction on regulating Ulips, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Bombay high court, seeking reversal of SEBI’s ban on sale of unit linked insurance products (Ulips) by the insurance companies.
The petition, filed by an investor, is expected to come up for hearing on April 15.
Petitioner Rajesh Thacker, a Mumbai-based businessman, has claimed that lakhs of investors in the country are “suffering anxiety and uncertainty about their investments” due the order passed by Sebi.
Irda too has been made a party to the PIL.
Pending the hearing of PIL, SEBI as well as Irda be directed to issue a public notice “before passing orders which will affect the citizens of India” and to “formulate guidelines for overlapping areas of governance”, the PIL says.
On April 10, Sebi barred several insurance companies from selling Unit Linked Insurance Products as these are in the nature of mutual funds and not insurance.
The order said that these companies must register themselves with Sebi first, before they sold Ulips.
However, Irdahas argued that insurance companies could sell Ulips.

Govt scheme failed to check population: PIL
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Govt-scheme-failed-to-check-population-PIL/articleshow/5790540.cms
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Apr 13, 2010, 02.48am IST
NEW DELHI: Two years ago, Centre had promised the Supreme Court that it was implementing the National Population Policy 2000 in letter and spirit and was sure that by 2010, it would be able to arrest population growth by at least 5 crore. It had said that if population was allowed to grow without the NPP being in place, then India would be saddled with 116.2 crore mouths to feed by 2010. However, with the measures put in place under NPP, the population was expected to be capped at 110.7 crore. This statement had come from the Centre before the apex court on a PIL filed by NGO ‘Azadi Bachao Andolan’, which had sought urgent measures to implement the NPP to tackle rapid growth of population that was putting dwindling food stocks under severe strain. The SC had put the Centre and the chief secretaries of states on notice. Nothing much has moved since then and not many states responded to the SC notice. Appearing for the NGO, advocate Sanjay Parikh pointed out that the targets had all gone haywire. Though the NPP talked about capping population at 110 crore in 2010, the figure had reached around 115 crore, which was close to the estimate of 116 crore that would have been the population had no steps been taken under the much hyped policy, Parikh said.

PIL seeking CBI probe into alleged excise scam in Bihar
http://www.ptinews.com/news/608276_PIL-seeking-CBI-probe-into-alleged-excise-scam-in-Bihar
STAFF WRITER 19:6 HRS IST
Patna, Apr 13 (PTI) Rebel ruling JD(U) leader Shambhu Sharan Srivastava and Loktantrik Samata Dal president P K Sinha today petitioned Patna High Court seeking a CBI probe into the alleged excise scam in Bihar.”We filed a PIL in the High Court seeking a CBI probe or an inquiry by a member of revenue board in the multi-crore rupees scam,” Srivastava and Sinha told reporters here.Describing the alleged scam as “major one involving plunder of more than Rs 500 crore”, they alleged that “rampant irregularities” had been committed in allotment of tenders for sale of country and foreign liquor by the state excise department since 2006.Srivastava claimed that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had gone on record saying that the dismissed excise minister Jamshed Asraf was himself involved in the scam and rejected the charge of involvement of officials in CM’s secretariat in the irregularities.

OBC census: SC seeks govt response
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/OBC-census-SC-seeks-govt-response/articleshow/5790173.cms
TNN, Apr 13, 2010, 01.49am IST
NEW DELHI: A PIL in the Supreme Court on Monday made a strong pitch for utilising the elaborate ‘Census 2011’ mechanism to end the 80 long years of speculation about the exact population of other backward classes (OBC), which had been the basis for 27% reservation in jobs and educational institutions. PIL petitioner Kishore Govind Kanhere through counsel D K Garg said that while the Mandal Commission estimated that OBCs constituted 52% of the total population, the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) in its 61st round of survey (2004-05) had pegged it at 41% in its report on employment and unemployment situation amongst various social groups in India. Arguing before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan, the counsel said if the census took steps to identify the numbers of SCs and STs, why should the OBCs be left out of the purview of exact enumeration of their numbers. When the Bench looked up to Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam for a response, the law officer immediately assured the court that there was no need for the Bench to issue notice to the Centre and that he would get the response of the government on this issue within three weeks. The PIL said that the last caste-based census was held in the year 1931, wherein the OBCs were covered and complained that despite a large number of representations to the home ministry for inclusion of OBCs in Census 2011, there had been no positive response. It said the social justice and empowerment ministry had conceded that it had been fixing targets under various scheme for upliftment of OBC population without having the data about their numbers. Even this ministry had written to the census authorities for finding out the exact number of OBC population, but the request had been turned down, the petitioner said. The PIL referred to the law relating to 27% reservation for OBCs in central educational institutions and the subsequent challenge to its constitutional validity in the Supreme Court. “In order to provide reservations for backward classes among citizens in public educational institutions and for providing equal opportunity in public employment, it is necessary that census should cover OBCs as envisaged under Article 340 of the Constitution,” the petitioner said.

Employees strike: J&K govt may seek army and paramilitary services
http://www.dnaindia.com/india/report_employees-strike-j-and-k-govt-may-seek-army-and-paramilitary-services_1370908
PTI
Tuesday, April 13, 2010 16:19 IST
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government plans to seek services of army and paramilitary forces to maintain supply of essential services in the state in the wake of the ongoing employees strike which entered its 11th day today.
“In case the government, at any stage, feels necessary, it will also obtain the support of the army and paramilitary forces in maintaining essential services,” the government said in response to the directions passed by the high court on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) last Friday.
Advocate Bashir Ahmad Dar and advocate Reyaz Ahmad Khan filed the PIL seeking directions to the state government for ensuring smooth functioning of schools, colleges and other educational institutions.
In the 20-page response filed by deputy secretary to government, general administration department, Feroze Ahmad Sheikh yesterday, the state government gave details of the steps taken by it in maintaining essential services, including education, health care and food supplies.
It also gave details of the action initiated by the government against striking employees.
The division bench of the court comprising justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain and justice Muzaffar Attar, however, observed that the issues raised in the present petition were not properly replied to.
“Though some reports from the government functionaries like principal secretary to government medical education department, principals of medical colleges at Jammu and Srinagar, and divisional commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu have been placed on file but on three main issues we find further response of the government is required which are health care, education and supply of essential commodities like ration etc,” the bench observed. linary action against theemployees, who are on strike, but the court has not been informed about the steps taken to ensure normal functioning of the educational institutions in the city and rural areas.
“In these circumstances, we direct the principal medical college, Srinagar/Jammu, director medical institute Soura, to submit detailed information about the functioning of the institutions under their control. The director health services Jammu/Srinagar shall also submit similar information in respect of the hospitals functioning under their control,” the court said.
Director school education of both divisions of the state were also directed by the court to file detailed reply in respect of the working of the schools and colleges along with the attendance of the teaching staff.
“We also direct the director CAPD Jammu/Srinagar to inform this court about the details of the ration distributed from the ration depots functioning under them with details of item-wise rations distributed to the public during the period of last seven days,” the bench added.
In view of the issues raised and the urgency expressed, the court had directed the concerned officials to file the report today.
The court had directed the government to ensure the uninterrupted essential services like health care and food supplies to the general public which have been suffering due to the ongoing strike of employees in the state.
Over four lakh employees are on the strike to demand arrears of their revised salaries after sixth pay commission recommendations and enhancement of retirement age from 58 to60.

Madhya Pradesh HC dismisses PIL against Chouhan
http://www.ptinews.com/news/607014_Madhya-Pradesh-HC-dismisses-PIL-against-Chouhan
STAFF WRITER 20:57 HRS IST
Jabalpur, Apr 12 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh High Court today dismissed a PIL against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his wife, seeking a direction to the Lokayukta to expedite investigation against them in an alleged dumper (truck) scam.A division bench comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice Alok Aradhe dismissed the plea filed by former Samajwadi Party MLA Kishore Samrite.The PIL was “dismissed as withdrawn” on Samrite’s request after arguments from both sides, Madhya Pradesh Additional Advocate General Naman Nagrath told PTI.Earlier, the petitioner’s counsel argued that the PIL was of paramount importance as it was regarding “corruption involving the state’s head”.

Madhya Pradesh HC dismisses PIL against Chouhan
http://in.news.yahoo.com/20/20100412/1416/tnl-madhya-pradesh-hc-dismisses-pil-agai.html
Mon, Apr 12 09:05 PM
Jabalpur, Apr 12 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh High Court today dismissed a PIL against Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan and his wife, seeking a direction to the Lokayukta to expedite investigation against them in an alleged dumper (truck) scam. A division bench comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice Alok Aradhe dismissed the plea filed by former Samajwadi Party MLA Kishore Samrite.
The PIL was “dismissed as withdrawn” on Samrite”s request after arguments from both sides, Madhya Pradesh Additional Advocate General Naman Nagrath told PTI. Earlier, the petitioner”s counsel argued that the PIL was of paramount importance as it was regarding “corruption involving the state”s head”. The PIL sought direction for expediting the Lokayukta (Ombudsman) investigations, saying though the agency had registered a case against Chouhan and his wife Sadhna under IPC sections 420 (cheating) and 465 (forgery) among others, in November 2007, the challan (chargesheet) has not been put in the court till date.
On the other hand, the government counsel argued that Samrite was not fit to file the case according to the law, given that he had been convicted by a court in a criminal case and several cases were pending against him. (More) PTI COR LAL MAS RSY.

Sentencing in Lajpat Nagar bomb blast case on April 17
http://blog.taragana.com/law/2010/04/13/sentencing-in-lajpat-nagar-bomb-blast-case-on-april-17-21445/
By IANS
April 13th, 2010
NEW DELHI – A city court Tuesday decided to announce on April 17 the punishment against six convicts in the 2006 Lajpat Nagar market bomb blast case after the prosecution sought death penalty for four of them held guilty for murder.
After hearing the arguments of the public prosecutor and the defence counsel on the quantum of sentence, District and Sessions Judge S.P. Garg said that sentence against the convicts will be announced April 17.
Earlier, public prosecutor S.K. Das demanded death penalty for the four who have been convicted for murder. Defence counsel said the offence called for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment.
Fourteen years after 13 people were killed and 39 injured in a bomb blast in Lajpat Nagar market, the court on April 8 convicted six accused including a woman, and acquitted four due to lack of evidence. All the accused are from Jammu and Kashmir.
The blast took place on the evening of May 2, 1996 in the busy Central Market of Lajpat Nagar locality in south Delhi.

Khap mahapanchyat protests verdict in Haryana honour killing
http://blog.taragana.com/law/2010/04/13/khap-mahapanchyat-protests-verdict-in-haryana-honour-killing-21444/
By IANS
April 13th, 2010
KURUKSHETRA – The apex body of ‘khaps’ or traditional caste councils in Haryana and adjoining states Tuesday decided to extend its support to six people convicted in an honour killing case last month.
The khap mahapanchyat here even sought an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act seeking a ban on marriages within the same ‘gotra’ or subcaste. The khap leaders decided to proceed to National Highway No. 1 linking Delhi with important north Indian cities like Chandigarh and Ambala to block the road to protest the verdict.
A Karnal court last month sentenced five people to death and one to life imprisonment for killing Manoj and Babli who had married despite belonging to the same gotra.
Defiant khap leaders are headed for a confrontation with the state government and recent rulings of the Punjab and Haryana High Court over illegal decisions announced by various khaps, specially in cases of couples from the same sub-caste who get married.

BMW case: Police petition SC for review of HC view on rash driving
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/BMW-case-Police-petition-SC-for-review-of-HC-view-on-rash-driving/articleshow/5788817.cms
TNN, Apr 13, 2010, 01.12am IST
NEW DELHI: Should courts view plain rash and negligent driving resulting in deaths differently from a person doing so in a drunken state knowing fully well that in the latter case there were increased chances of accident and loss of lives? The Delhi Police on Monday petitioned the Supreme Court making these points before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan while seeking enhancement of punishment for Sanjeev Nanda, who was convicted for mowing down six persons in 2000 while driving his BMW car allegedly in a drunken state late in the night. Appearing for the police, Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam faulted the reasoning of the Delhi High Court, which took a lenient view and altered Nanda’s conviction from culpable homicide not amounting to murder (Section 304-II of IPC) to causing death by a rash and negligent act (Section 304A). Section 304-II carries a maximum punishment of 10 years, while 304A carries a maximum jail term of two years. The appeal against the July 20, 2009 verdict of the HC by the police evoked sharp protest from Nanda’s counsel — senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and Mukul Rohatgi. Both accused the police of trying to harass a young man who has served two years in jail, paid Rs 65 lakh in compensation and waited for 180 days to get married. “Now that he is married and undergone the sentence, the police have come up with the appeal to keep the Democles’ sword hanging on the young man’s head,” the counsel said only to be assured by Subramaniam that he was not against any individual but for setting right the HC’s faulty legal proposition. Though the court agreed to hear the preliminary submissions from both sides in July, it tried to assuage the frayed tempers by telling Nanda’s counsel that it was not issuing any arrest warrant against the accused.

HC verdict: Sourav can keep Salt Lake plot for market price
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hc-verdict-sourav-can-keep-salt-lake-plot-for-market-price/605592/0
Express News Service
Posted: Tuesday , Apr 13, 2010 at 0535 hrs Kolkata:
The Calcutta High Court today directed former Indian cricket team captain Sourav Ganguly to pay about Rs 43 lakh for maintaining the lease of a plot measuring 63.04 cottah at Salt Lake, which was handed over to him in April 2009 for setting up a school.
Delivering the final verdict, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit S Shah and Justice Pianki Chandra Ghosh said Sourav would have to pay the amount within six weeks or else the lease would be cancelled. The Urban Development Department had handed over the plot at CA block in Salt Lake to Sourav for Rs 20.54 lakh. Humanity, a social organisation, Arunangsu Chakraborty, a resident of Kolkata, and CA Citizen Association at Salt Lake had filed three separate public interest litigations in 2009 alleging the allotment was illegal.
Sourav had applied to the Urban Development Department on November 17, 2006 for a plot at BF block at Salt Lake for setting up a school against an advertisement published in newspapers on November 6, 2006. Following this, the state government handed over a plot of 48.295 cottah to Sourav in BF block in February 2008 on a lease for 999 years. Sourav paid Rs 5.79 lakh for the lease.
The cricketer, however, later requested Urban Development Minister Ashoke Bhattacharjee, in a letter on January 19, 2009, to allot a plot of land in CA block for the proposed school instead of the BF block. The Urban Development department then informed Sourav it could allot him a plot of 63.04 cottah in CA block but the land allotted to him in BF block would have to be surrendered by a registrar deed.
Following this, the Urban Development Department handed over a plot in CA block to Sourav in April 2009 for which the cricketer paid over Rs 20 lakh for the lease.
Today, the division bench said he would have to pay according to the rate prevailing in April 2009, which means Rs 43 lakh in addition to the Rs 20 lakh paid earlier. The petitioners had also alleged that the Urban Development Department could not change the plot use on Sourav’s request. But the High Court said the clause published in the advertisement in November 2006 mentioned that the state government reserved the right to change the plot according to its discretion. So, the allotment of plot to Sourav was legal, said the High Court.
Arunagsu Chakraborty and Amitava Mazumdar, spokespersons of Humanity, said they will move the Supreme Court challenging the verdict of the High Court.

HC orders desealing of cellphone towers
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/HC-orders-desealing-of-cellphone-towers/articleshow/5790056.cms
TNN, Apr 13, 2010, 01.30am IST
NEW DELHI: In a big relief to cellphone users in the capital, the Delhi high court on Monday ordered desealing of several cellphone towers spread across 35 sites in Delhi, including Malviya Nagar, Vasant Kunj, Vikas Puri, Karol Bagh and Naraina. The towers had been sealed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi. Justice Kailash Gambhir, in an interim order, asked MCD to immediately deseal the towers after hearing a petition by a cell tower manufacturer challenging the MCD’s tower sealing spree. The firm had approached HC seeking its directions to deseal the towers and to restrain the civic body from sealing more towers. It contended that the civic body has no authority to seal the towers and the act is violation of Telegraph Act. The petitioners also informed HC that while the MCD has revised its cell tower-related policy, it continued to deseal towers as per the older one, prompting HC to grant the relief on this ground. MCD had in the beginning of the year, started the sealing drive after it found that majority of towers were set up without its approval. The municipal body said that out of 5,364 towers in the city, only 2,412 have requisite permission and the remaining 2,952 were illegal. Consequently, the MCD had issued notices to 1,532 cellular operators, asking them to either apply for regularization or remove the towers. Then in February this year, HC unveiled a new policy on mobile towers with changes in licensing fee. It gave a month’s time to operators to get their towers regularized. According to revised guidelines, the amount payable by service providers to MCD for installing a tower has been increased from the present Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh. MCD said all municipal buildings, including community centres, will get the priority for site selection for new mobile towers and erection of cell towers on residential buildings will only be allowed when there is no alternative. The civic agency also informed HC that it has organized a camp for all the interested parties this month, who are seeking regularization of their towers. Justice Gambhir, while issuing notice to MCD on the petition, asked the petitioners to attend the camp and put up their grievances before MCD. toireporter@timesgroup.com

Drug firms move HC against govt fixing asthma drug price
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Pharmaceuticals/articleshow/5790074.cms
13 Apr 2010, 0135 hrs IST,Almas Meherally,ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Drug makers Ranbaxy Laboratories and Macleods Pharmaceuticals have moved the Bombay High Court challenging the government’s decision to fix
the retail price for anti-asthma drug Doxofylline. Government lawyer Advait Sethna told ET that the government had fixed the retail price for Doxofylline in November 2009 as the drug was a derivative of Theophylline, a scheduled bulk drug, which is sold at a fixed price. A bulk drug is a raw material for a formulation. However, pharma companies are yet to start selling Doxofylline at the new price. The case was heard on April 8. It is now scheduled to come up for hearing on April 21. The pharma companies had filed their applications separately with the High Court last December, saying that doxofylline is not included in the pharmacopoeia — a guide book for drug formulations published by the government or a pharmaceutical society — in India or any other country and hence it cannot be included in the bulk drug schedule. They also said in their petitions that none of the makers of the doxofylline drug enjoy more than 40% market share, claiming that there is competition in the retail trade of the drug, and hence it can be kept outside price control. Doxophylline is manufactured by Ranbaxy, Macleods, Cipla, Wockhardt, Unichem and Lupin. GS Sahu, deputy director of the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority, the government agency responsible for fixing and revising prices of controlled bulk drugs, has responded to the pharma companies’ argument in an affidavit, stating that the main objective is to ensure availability of the drug at reasonable rates. According to the pricing authority’s guidelines, firms selling Doxofylline will have to implement the new retail price. Currently, Dr Reddy’s Doxobid 400-mg costs Rs 78 for a strip of 10 tablets, and Ranbaxy’s Synasma 400-mg is priced at Rs 75, retail traders said.

Under land-grabbing, bribe heat, trial judge’s plea dismissed by HC
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/under-landgrabbing-bribe-heat-trial-judges-plea-dismissed-by-hc/605512/0
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: Tuesday , Apr 13, 2010 at 0217 hrs New Delhi:
The Delhi High Court has dismissed the plea of a trial court judge facing disciplinary inquiry under charges of land-grabbing, purchasing benami properties and passing orders in some cases “after receiving bribe”.
The judge, Jai Prakash Narain, also failed in his attempt to “delay the inquiry”.
A High Court Division Bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Veene Birbal in the recent judgment thrust aside Narain’s request to change the inquiry officer — another High Court judge. The Bench observed that no legal flaw could be established in the manner of the proceedings.
“We hold that present petition is premature and is an attempt to delay inquiry proceedings,” the Bench noted. “In any view of the matter, it is not a fit case for interference under Article 226 (writ jurisdiction) of the Constitution.”
Narain was inducted in Delhi judiciary in 1992 and functioned as a magistrate and civil judges in Tis Hazari and Karkardooma courts. Narain, who had heard important cases like journalist Shivani Bhatnagar and fashion designer Kunjum Budhiraja’s murders at one point, was served with a ‘Memorandum of Charges’ in December 2006.
The memorandum spelt out four sets of charges.
The first set accused him of involvement in purchase of four properties: in Gurgaon, Vasant Kunj, Hauz Khas and Kapashera. The properties were bought in the name of his wife and father-in-law while he was a judicial officer, according to the memorandum.
The second charge says he got a home loan of Rs 5 lakh to build one benami property without informing his employer — the High Court.
As for the third charge, the memo stated, “Narain passed orders in cases (five cases listed) after receiving bribe/extraneous consideration.”
The fourth said Narain grabbed a plot worth Rs 3.5 crore in Vasant Kunj by “forging documents” of an old widow.
Narain also put pressure on the woman by keeping her at a distant place near Bahadurgarh, in the house of his father-in-law, and forced her to sign the compromise deed by showing payment of Rs 5 lakh cash, the memo said.
The High Court had noted that these acts were “unbecoming of a judicial officer” and had ordered an inquiry against him. While the first inquiry officer, a High Court judge, recused himself from the matter, Narain accused the new officer of prejudice and bias.
He sought a change of the inquiry officer and claimed the proceedings were carried out in “illegal manner”.
But the High Court, defendant in the case, rubbished Narain’s contentions and said he “wants to derail and delay the inquiry”.
The Bench agreed that explanations by the High Court were logical and that the probe officer was yet to complete inquiry and submit his report.

HC orders Anand DSP to supervise probe into girl’s death
http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/vadodara/HC-orders-Anand-DSP-to-supervise-probe-into-girls-death/articleshow/5789325.cms
TNN, Apr 12, 2010, 10.42pm IST
VADODARA/ANAND: Gujarat high court has directed Anand police to investigate an alleged rape and murder of a girl in December 2009. Acting on a petition by girl’s father, Justice Anant Dave last week ordered Anand district superintendent of police to supervise investigations into the circumstances that led to the death of the girl and submit a report before the court on May 4. The girl’s father Purushottam Dala Makwana, a resident of Ambaliyara village of Anand’s Tarapur taluka, had moved the high court saying that though his daughter was allegedly murdered after being raped, Tarapur police had charged the accused Rajni Patel with only abetting the victim to commit suicide. As per details of the case, the victim, a first year student of Khambhat PTC college, was reported missing on December 5, 2009. Her father approached the police, claiming that Rajni Patel, a resident of the same village, had been harassing the girl. Next day, police recovered the girl’s body and arrested Rajni, but chargesheeted him only under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code. The victim’s father later filed a complaint before the local court in Khambhat challenging the police probe in the case. The court, however, dismissed his petition. Based on the arguments of the petitioner, who is being supported by NGOs, the high court has ordered that the investigations in the matter should be conducted and supervised by an official of the level of SP.

HC slams ‘backdoor’ entry in Council
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/hc-slams-backdoor-entry-in-council/605574/0
Express News Service
Posted: Tuesday , Apr 13, 2010 at 0453 hrs Lucknow:
Seven years after they were nominated to the Legislative Council and almost a year after the expiry of their term, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has slammed the state government for arranging a “backdoor entry” of nine politicians to the Upper House of the legislature.
Instead of eminent persons from the fields of art, culture, science, cooperative movement or social work, the BSP-BJP coalition government vide a notification issued on May 15, 2003, had nominated politicians to the Upper House.
Five of them belonged to the ruling BSP and four to its alliance partner BJP.
They were Heera Thakur (BSP), Mithilesh Kumar (RSS), Ram Chandra Tyagi (BSP), Shyam Nand Singh (RSS), Raja Ram (BSP), Raghav Ram Mishra (RSS), Kamla Kant Gautam (BSP), Mohan Lal Haddhar (BJP) and Sudhir Kumar Goel (BSP).
Delivering a judgment on a public interest litigation pending since 2003 and filed by K K Tripathi and argued by retired IAS and lawyer S N Shukla, the court admitted that constitutional provisions for nomination of eminent persons from different fields were ignored.
“It was like a backdoor entry into the august house,” a Bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Shabihul Hasnain ruled without deciding on the validity of the nominations.
“The judiciary has no business to go into the qualifications and credentials of persons who have been nominated to the council, but the court cannot remain silent if there was an apparent attempt to circumvent the constitution,” the Bench said, while “expressing its views on the important matter”.
Noting that the nomination was against the spirit of the constitution, the court found that none of the nine persons nominated to the Upper House had any special qualifications, experience or achievements as envisaged under the constitution.
It expressed surprise that the state Governor did not care to return the recommendations to the government for reconsideration.
The court said that since the term of the nominated members had already expired, neither the writ of certiorari nor the writ of quo-warranto can be issued.
BSP MLC takes oathUnmindful of the High Court strictures, the government has nominated Tilak Chandra Ahirwar, who handles BSP affairs in Bihar, as a member of the Legislative Council. He took his oath of membership on Monday. Ahirwar said he had been nominated for his distinguished services in the social sector. He said he had joined the BAMCEF, which was founded by Kanshiram, in 1987 as a 19-year-old and served the people. In 2002, he contested the Assembly election from Babina (reserved) constituency and lost. In 2009, he was the BSP nominee from Jalaun Lok Sabha seat and lost again.

Co-ops can sell unsold sugar in open market for now: HC
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/markets/commodities/Co-ops-can-sell-unsold-sugar-in-open-market-for-now-HC/articleshow/5789929.cms
13 Apr 2010, 0059 hrs IST,Ram N Sahgal & Almas Meherally,ET Bureau
MUMBAI: Around half a dozen sugar cooperatives from Maharashtra have moved the Bombay High Court questioning the Union government’s authority to issue an order for the conversion of unsold non-levy sugar to levy sugar. On Monday, according to a senior advocate representing the government, the Bombay HC adjourned the hearing of the matter to Wednesday and allowed sugar factories to sell the unsold sugar in the open market subject to the condition that they execute a bond in favour of the government, if the HC ruling goes against them. Under levy sugar quota, sugar producers are obliged to sell 20% of their stocks through ration shops to below poverty line (BPL) families far below the market cost, while the remaining can be sold in the open market at the ruling prices. Since sugar is a controlled commodity, the government announces each month the amount of sugar that can be sold under the levy and non-levy or free sale quota. In an attempt to put a lid on prices, which shot up beyond Rs 40 at the retail level in mid-January, the government in February mandated a weekly release of non-levy sugar against an earlier fortnightly release order. It further passed an order, which stated that unsold non-levy sugar would be converted into levy sugar to ensure equitable distribution of the essential commodity at a free and equitable price. Earlier the Allahabad High Court passed an order stating that the government had the power to issue orders for conversion of unsold non-levy sugar to levy sugar under the ECA Act, 1955. But sugar factories have filed special leave petitions against the Allahabad High Court order, which is currently pending for hearing before the Supreme Court. Sugar factories contend that in order to fulfil the demands of sugarcane growers and to generate funds, they have to earn money out of free sugar that is sold in the open market. In short, the highest price to growers and payment to sugarcane workers at a ‘good rate’ can be made by factories, only if they earn good price out of sale of free sugar in the open market. In a petition filed before the Bombay HC in August last year, a sugarcane factory stated that despite attempts to sell sugar in the open market, the offers received in the tenders were less than the cost of production, and therefore, instead of selling the sugar at a lesser price, the offers were not accepted, resulting in the said sugar being converted into levy sugar.

HC: Admit girls on boys quota in PTC course
http://www.3dsyndication.com/showarticlerss.aspx?nid=pwHk4Ez6bG0SM7Q/zRWTRV9Da8Dm79tMI3dPulsO5idLunQo=
DNAHM30450 4/10/2010 Author : Nikunj Soni WC :442 Crime & Law
Girls who want to pursue Pre-Teachers Training Course (PTC) in self-financed colleges will not have to face any quota constraints now. Paving the way for their smooth admission, the Gujarat high court has ruled that the government can’t deny admission to girls who enrol in the quota reserved for boys if it remains unfilled. Two different division benches of the high court gave such a ruling in the wake of petitions filed by self-financed PTC colleges of Rajkot and Junagadh. A PTC college of Junagadh had approached the high court as the Director of Primary Education (DPE) denied admission on the grounds that the college had not forwarded details of the admission of two girls who were enrolled under the quota of boy students. The college contended before the high court that, “the quota of male students remained unfilled and therefore, they had granted admissions to the two female students. Since the authorities were of the opinion that such admissions in excess of quota for the male students would not be legal, they had not forwarded the names of these two students to the authorities. However, later on they sent the details to the department. “Looking to the recent judgment of the high court, the government department should regularize the admission,” the court said.After hearing of the case, a bench headed by chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya recalled the judgement of the high court given on the same issue recently. The bench observed that, “the admission of women students on the quota meant for male students when such students are not available is no longer res integra.” The bench also directed the DPE to regularize the admission of both girl students. In December last year, a division bench of the high court said, “We are of the view that the stand of the respondent authorities is incomprehensible. The rule providing that in institutions with co-education, 50% seats shall be filled by male candidates and 50% shall be filled by women does not preclude the institutions from granting admission to women merely because the corresponding number of male candidates is not available.”Attributing the government stand as absolute, arbitrary and perverse, the bench further said, “The rule would come into operation only when the number of applicants is more than the number of seats. The object of the rule is obvious. The rule provides for reservation of 50% seats for women and not to deny women’s right to seek admission to the institutions on the basis of merits. When they seek admission to co-education institutions, they cannot be denied admission on the ground that the corresponding number of male candidates is not available.”

Law Minister will look into CJI suggestions: Manmohan
http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article395670.ece
J. Venkatesan
But Sonia says there is no need for changes in RTI Act
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan that his suggestions on amendments to the Right to Information Act will be looked into by the Law Minister.
Dr. Singh was responding to a letter written by Justice Balakrishnan, in which he had said: “Section 8 [providing for exempting certain information] needs to be suitably amended by inserting another specific clause to the effect that any information, the disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the independence of the judiciary, should be exempted from disclosure under the provisions of the Act.”
Dr. Singh’s said: “I have received your letter of September 16, 2009, regarding the RTI Act. I have asked the Minister of Law and Justice to look into the suggestions you have made.”
On a petition filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the Central Information Commission, and later the Delhi High Court, directed the office of the CJI to disclose certain information on declaration of assets by judges. The Supreme Court, however, stayed this order.
In the meantime, the CJI wrote to Dr. Singh, highlighting the need for amending the Act. He said that quite frequently, “information of a highly confidential and sensitive nature” in matters handled by the CJI was being sought to be disclosed under the RTI Act by applicant-citizens. “But such information has to be refused, as disclosure in those cases would prejudicially affect the independence of the judiciary.”
Mr. Agrawal, who has got a copy of the CJI’s letter and the Prime Minister’s reply, also obtained copies of the correspondence between Dr. Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi after Justice Balakrishnan made the suggestions. While Dr. Singh favoured amendments to the Act, Ms. Gandhi firmly said, “There is no need for changes or amendments.”
In her letter, she said: “The RTI Act is now four years old, and has begun to make a significant impact on the relationship between the people and the government at all levels. Much has been achieved in these initial years, and while there are still problems of proper implementation, RTI has begun to change the lives of our people and the ways of governance of our country. It is important, therefore, that we adhere strictly to its original aims and refrain from accepting or introducing changes in the legislation on the way it is implemented that would dilute its purpose.
“In my opinion, there is no need for changes or amendments. The only exceptions permitted, such as national security, are already well taken care of in the legislation.”
In his reply to Ms. Gandhi, Dr. Singh he fully agreed with her that the RTI Act “is one of the most effective pieces of legislation.” “However, as the implementation of the Act is still in its infancy, we are all learning as we go along. While we are taking steps to improve dissemination of information and training of personnel, there are some issues that cannot be dealt with, except by amending the Act.”
He said: “The Chief Justice of India has pointed out that the independence of the higher judiciary needs to be safeguarded in the implementation of the Act. There are some issues relating to disclosure of Cabinet papers and internal discussions. All these issues are being examined carefully in consultation with all stakeholders.”
Dr. Singh assured Ms. Gandhi that any amendment would be considered only after consultations and without diluting the spirit of the Act.

People watch IPL at night, don’t want to work next morning: CJI
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/People-watch-IPL-at-night–don-t-want-to-work-next-morning–CJI/605523
Krishnadas Rajagopal Tags : K G Balakrishnan, India, IP
Posted: Tuesday , Apr 13, 2010 at 0233 hrs New Delhi:
Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan is no fan of the Indian Premier League night cricket. He today said it prods people, “60,000 to 70,000 of them filled in a stadium”, towards all play and no work.
“Some of these stadiums have 60,000 to 70,000 people. All these people who watch IPL cricket at night time do not want to go for work the next morning. They only watch cricket during the nights without doing any work during daytime,” Chief Justice Balakrishnan ticked off litigant Subhas Dutta in open court.
Dutta, in all “good faith”, had appeared before the Chief Justice with a “novel idea” that the apex court should intervene for a change in IPL schedules from night-time to morning hours. He said he believes that this is the answer to “save power” and rescue the country from an “impending energy crisis”.
“Besides,” Dutta, who presented his case without a lawyer, said “this game of small ball can be played better in day light.”
In his petition, Dutta portrayed a dark picture of the “increasing demands for power”, telling the court how it is “extremely urgent that each individual should count his own footprint towards ecological imbalances and try to make day-to-day life more eco-friendly”.
But the Chief Justice did not agree: “Let them go and watch cricket matches, we cannot do anything on this”.
The bench, including the Chief Justice and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan, felt hardly any work is done during the day after an IPL match, and shifting match schedules to morning time will mean zero-attendance at work. The court dismissed the petition.

Law Minister will look into CJI suggestions: Manmohan
http://www.thehindu.com/2010/04/13/stories/2010041363800100.htm
J. Venkatesan
But Sonia says, “No need for changes in Right to Information Act”
NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has assured Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan that his suggestions on amendments to the Right to Information Act will be looked into by the Law Minister.
Dr. Singh was responding to a letter written by Justice Balakrishnan, in which he had said: “Section 8 [providing for exempting certain information] needs to be suitably amended by inserting another specific clause to the effect that any information, the disclosure of which would prejudicially affect the independence of the judiciary, should be exempted from disclosure under the provisions of the Act.”
Dr. Singh said: “I have received your letter of September 16, 2009, regarding the RTI Act. I have asked the Minister of Law and Justice to look into the suggestions you have made.”
On a petition filed by RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the Central Information Commission, and later the Delhi High Court, directed the office of the CJI to disclose certain information on declaration of assets by judges. The Supreme Court, however, stayed this order.
In the meantime, the CJI wrote to Dr. Singh, highlighting the need for amending the Act. He said that quite frequently, “information of a highly confidential and sensitive nature” in matters handled by the CJI was being sought to be disclosed under the RTI Act by applicant-citizens.
“But such information has to be refused, as disclosure in those cases would prejudicially affect the independence of the judiciary.”
Mr. Agrawal, who has got a copy of the CJI’s letter and the Prime Minister’s reply, also obtained copies of the correspondence between Dr. Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi after Justice Balakrishnan made the suggestions.
While Dr. Singh favoured amendments to the Act, Ms. Gandhi firmly said, “There is no need for changes or amendments.”
In her letter, she said: “The RTI Act is now four years old, and has begun to make a significant impact on the relationship between the people and the government at all levels. Much has been achieved in these initial years, and while there are still problems of proper implementation, RTI has begun to change the lives of our people and the ways of governance of our country. It is important, therefore, that we adhere strictly to its original aims and refrain from accepting or introducing changes in the legislation on the way it is implemented that would dilute its purpose.
“In my opinion, there is no need for changes or amendments. The only exceptions permitted, such as national security, are already well taken care of in the legislation.”
In his reply to Ms. Gandhi, Dr. Singh fully agreed with her that the RTI Act “is one of the most effective pieces of legislation.” “However, as the implementation of the Act is still in its infancy, we are all learning as we go along. While we are taking steps to improve dissemination of information and training of personnel, there are some issues that cannot be dealt with, except by amending the Act.”
Dr. Singh assured Ms. Gandhi that any amendment would be considered only after consultations and without diluting the spirit of the Act.

Collegium bid to transfer Dinakaran, only a proposal: CJI
http://www.zeenews.com/news618042.html
Updated on Saturday, April 10, 2010, 22:04 IST
Kochi: Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan today virtually confirmed reports that the Supreme Court Collegium has proposed the transfer of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, facing land grab charges, to Sikkim.
“We don’t divulge these things to the press unless a final decision is taken by the President. Transfer is effected by the President. So, until that, it is only a proposal,” Balakrishnan told reporters here. Justice Balakrishnan was asked about the Supreme Court Collegium’s reported recommendation on shifting Justice Dinakaran to the northeastern state. “Let them protest,” he said when asked about the Sikkim Bar Association opposing the transfer of Justice Dinakaran and appealing to the Supreme Court to reconsider the move.
The Association had yesterday decided to boycott the swearing-in of Justice Dinakaran as well as the Court he will preside over. Justice Dinakaran has not been performing judicial functions after Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari admitted a motion in December last seeking his impeachment on charges of corruption, land-grab and abuse of judicial office. He has denied the allegations. GCIC appeals to President on Dinakaran issue Bangalore: A Christian body today appealed to President Pratibha Patil to direct the Chief Justice of India to publish the findings of the Survey of India report that went into the issue of illegal land encroachment by Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. In a statement here, Global Council of Indian Christians claimed that it possessed a CD containing the documentary evidence by the fact-finding team along with the testimonies of the villagers and officials refuting the alleged land grabbing of the barren land in Kaverirajapuram (Tamil Nadu). “We have also seen the drawing submitted by Survey of India by a team led by Major General Siva Kumar showing nil encroachment and all the allegations of encroachment are baseless,” the statement added. PTI

Barin Ghosh to be sworn in CJ of Sikkim High Court
http://beta.thehindu.com/news/national/article395373.ece
Special Correspondent
The controversy over the Supreme Court’s recommendation to shift Karnataka Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran to the Sikkim High Court took a new turn on Monday, after an official announcement that Jammu and Kashmir High Court Chief Justice Barin Ghosh would be sworn in as Chief Justice of the Sikkim High Court on Tuesday, as per an earlier decision.
According to an official statement issued in Gangtok, Mr. Justice Ghosh would be sworn in at 5 p.m. on Tuesday by acting Governor M.K. Narayanan at the Raj Bhavan.
President Pratibha Patil had issued a warrant appointing Mr. Justice Ghosh as the Chief Justicet, before the Supreme Court collegium recommended the shifting of Mr. Justice Dinakaran to Sikkim.
Speaking to The Hindu on Tuesday, senior officials of the Union Law Ministry said: “As of now, we have not received any communication on the collegium’s decision.”

SC rejects PIL for ‘United Andhra’
http://www.asianage.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7961:sc-rejects-pil-for-united-andhra&catid=35:india&Itemid=60
Monday, 05 April 2010 20:48

New Delhi , April 5: The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a PIL petition for enforcing the 1956 agreement signed by leaders of all political parties from Telangana and Andhra regions for creating United Andhra Pradesh in letter and spirit to help in subsiding the demand for separate state.
“We can’t entertain such a petition,” said a bench comprising Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice Deepak Verma, while dismissing the PIL filed by M. Narasimha Swamy after a brief hearing.
Mr Swamy had pleaded for issuing notice to the Andhra government and the Centre for enforcing the 1956 accord, which was then hailed as “gentlemen’s agreement” reached between the leaders of the two regions for betterment of the United Andhra Pradesh.
The petitioner accused the successive governments of “discriminating” the poor people of Telangana in terms of the government employment, education and allocation of funds and described it as the main reason for fuelling the demand of separate state. If the accord was implemented in letter and spirit the issue would have not surfaced, the PIL said. “The violations of the agreement are cited as one of the reasons for demands for separate statehood,” the PIL said.

& tribals
http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Tribunal—tribals/605465
The Indian Express
Posted: Tuesday , Apr 13, 2010 at 0120 hrs
From the grandiosely self-titled Independent People’s Tribunal held in New Delhi, one might have come away curiously (and disturbingly) enlightened: that Operation Green Hunt is reminiscent of the McCarthy-era anti-communist witch hunts, or even the Vietnam War. (Where’s the napalm, one might ask.) It’s a war on the environment; a colonial persecution of marginalised peoples. The “consumerist” middle class is now “a grave threat to national security”. While the gamut of “activist” dislike for the state may appear to turn all logic on its head, it’s necessary to engage with this discourse to show where, and how, it misreads and misrepresents.
That India’s tribal communities are a national asset, uniquely enriching our “human biodiversity”, was never contested. That’s why their welfare must be disengaged from the Maoists and those same old activists allegedly crusading in their behalf. The latter, who claim to represent the marginalised, indulge in their own marginalisation — in omitting reference to Maoist violence or merely paying it lip service. They collate the facts that the “red corridor” overlaps not just some of the least developed districts but also some of the richest in natural and mineral wealth in arguing that Maoists are Robin Hoods providing the abject what the state doesn’t. Unsurprisingly, Maoists grew in influence where the state was the least visible. But Maoist activity has been a tale of obstructing the rule of law and development, destroying infrastructure, arson, extortion, kidnappings and executions, culminating in last week’s massacre of 76 security personnel.
In taking the anti-statist argument further, the “tribunal” also recommended replacing our development model — “exploitative”, “not suitable for the country” — by a “participatory” one, emphasising “agriculture and the rural sector”. Well, India has faulted in failing to take development to tribals, not in imposing development. Nor is it feasible to deprive the economy of resources it needs. Whoever extends the Avatar logic to preserving tribals in their “pristine” state, depriving them of the benefits of economic development, cannot be their friend. Leaving tribals “alone” is too romantic a notion that dangerously connives with Maoist bloodlust, which aims to ultimately overthrow the democratic state — ironically it is only a democratic state that allows the freedom of speech on display here. Restoring civil administration can initiate development and uplift the tribals — Maoists oppose that uplift since it’s their ticket to redundancy.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Tuesday, April 13,
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