LEGAL NEWS 14.04.2010

Bhopal Gas disaster: CJI tells CBI not to ask for adjournments

Updated on Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 00:45 IST

Bhopal: The final arguments in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy case began today when a court here snubbed the CBI for seeking repeated adjournments in its hearing.

CBI counsel C Sahay sought an adjournment after the court assembled this morning to which Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan P Tiwari replied: “this only showed the lack of interest on the part of the investigating agency to proceed with the case. “I can’t adjourn the case anymore. Please don’t request for adjournments.”

In the last hearing, the CJM had asked the CBI to table the written submissions today. However, the CBI said today it needed time for the same and sought adjournment of the case’s hearing which the CJM declined.

Sahay said Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parashar will argue the case and he needed time as he was busy.

Parashar was available for the final argument for three days from June 30, the court was told.


Caste honour is above law: Haryana khap leaders


Posted on Apr 13, 2010 at 15:27 | Updated Apr 13, 2010 at 16:18

Kurukshetra: Haryana’s khap (caste) leaders have said that caste honour is bigger than law during a mahapanchayat in Kurukshetra on Tuesday. Heads of 20 caste panchayats who assembled in Haryana’s Kurukshetra have announced that they will continue to deliver Taliban-style justice to stop people from marrying within the same sub caste.

The leaders also decided to contest the verdict in the honour killing case of Manoj and Babli in which five people were sentenced to death and one was awarded life imprisonment.

The khap leaders demanded that the Haryana government write to the Centre, seeking an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act so that same-sub caste marriages are banned by law.

“At today’s khap meeting we have banned marriages within the same sub-caste and village. We want the state and the Centre to amend the Hindu Marriage Act,” said a khap leader.

The mahapanchayat also ordered the members to block the Delhi-Chandigarh highway until the state government gives into their demand.

The meeting was held in the wake of a Karnal court ruling that sentenced five people to death for killing Manoj and Babli who defied the caste dynamics and got married.

Khap leaders justified their opposition to same sub caste marriages.

“A girl and a boy from two different villages but from same sub caste cannot get married. It is against our culture. We will not tolerate this,” said a khap leader. “We don’t agree to the judgement passed by law,” said another.

“Such an incident is not permissible by our Vedic Culture. We have never accepted it in the past, nor will we accept it in future too. The culture of our village should not be interfere with and I hope it sets an example for the next generation,” said other leaders.

The mahapanchayat was organised to discuss a Karnal court’s verdict convicting six people in the honour killing case of Manoj and Babli.

The court in Karnal on March 30 had given death sentence to five people and awarded khap panchayat leader Ganga Ram life sentence for killing the young couple. The driver, who was held guilty of kidnapping the couple, was given a jail term of seven years.

All the five who have been given the death sentence are relatives of the girl, Babli. They include her brother Suresh, cousins Gurdev and Satish, uncles Baru Ram and Rajender.

Manoj, 23, had married Babli, 19 from village Karora, against the wishes of her family. They lived in Karnal town and were murdered in June 2007 after village elders accused the couple of violating the code of conduct related to marriage.

(With inputs from Jyoti Kamal)

“Writ jurisdiction for district courts”

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The power to issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, among others, should not be restricted only to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Even the District Courts should be permitted to exercise the writ jurisdiction as provided under the Constitution, according to senior counsel K.M. Vijayan.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Writ of Certiorari’ organised jointly by the Indian Law Institute and the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Bar Association here on Thursday, the senior counsel pointed out that Article 32(3) of the Constitution enabled the Parliament to enact a law empowering any court to exercise the writ jurisdiction within the local limits of its jurisdiction.

He said that it was high time to bring in a law in accordance with Article 32(3) as it would help provide speedy justice to the common man who could approach the district courts to ventilate his grievances against the administration. He also said that the High Courts could be designated as the appellate courts to review orders passed by the lower courts.

Docket explosion

Stating that writ petitions were the major reason for the docket explosion in the High Court, he pointed out that nearly 4,700 such petitions had been filed in the Madurai Bench in the last three months. “When I took up the profession 30 years ago, around 7,000 writ petitions were filed in the Madras High Court in a year. But now, more than 40,000 writ petitions were being filed,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan was of the view that the High Courts would be relieved of their burden if the writ jurisdiction was given to district courts too. Judicial officers would also get an opportunity to get accustomed with the writ proceedings and it would help them as and when they get elevated to the High Court. “They need not take two to three years to settle down. They can straight away carry on with the work,” he said.

The senior counsel also said that the stature of district judges would be raised if they were empowered to issue writs against the Collectors, Superintendents of Police and other Government officials. Stating that district judges in many countries, including France, were authorised to issue writs against the public authorities, he said that a similar arrangement should be made in India too.

A writ of habeas corpus could be issued to free a person kept under illegal detention, while a writ of mandamus was issued to public authorities directing them to perform their official duty.

A writ of prohibition was issued to restrain a lower authority from taking up a case for want of jurisdiction and a writ of quo warranto was issued against a person who claims or usurps a public office. Writ of certiorari was used to quash illegal orders passed by the authorities.

Khap panchayats seek amendment of Hindu marriage act

13 Apr 2010, 1712 hrs IST,IANS

KURUKSHETRA: Defiant leaders of various ‘khap panchayats’ or caste councils on Tuesday decided to support six people convicted by a Haryana court

for an honour killing and sought an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act saying marriages within the same ‘gotra’ or sub-caste should be banned.

At a chaotic meeting of the mahapanchayat of over 20 khaps from across Haryana and adjoining states, a section of the leaders suddenly announced their decision to support the six convicts, five of whom were last month sentenced to death for killing Manoj and Babli in 2007 for marrying within the same gotra.

The decision of the Sarv Khap Sarv Jaat Mahasammelan was, however, opposed by a section of khap leaders from Haryana saying all views were not allowed to be expressed at the meeting.

Khap leaders blocked a road here in protest saying the Haryana government would have to assure them that it would write to the central government seeking an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to completely ban marriages within the same sub-caste and even the same village.

During speeches made by various khap leaders, some speakers said the conviction by the Karnal court was against the tradition maintained by the khaps.

“We don’t want a constitution or a law that goes against our age-old tradition,” one speaker said, virtually challenging the Indian Constitution.

The meeting also decided to collect Rs.10 each from all people who were part of any khap to meet the expenses of defending those convicted for the honour killing of the couple.

After HC rap, J-K staff strike called off–J-K-staff-strike-called-off/606135

Muzamil Jaleel

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0248 hrs Srinagar:

Dealing a major blow to the state government employees’ stir, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday termed it as illegal and asked the government to “take stern legal action” against the striking workers.

Soon after the court order, the employees at the Civil Secretariat called off their stir and are likely to resume work from April 15. The Joint Consultative Committee — an umbrella group of two major factions of employees’ joint action committee — meanwhile, has deferred its strike for five days and has asked the workers to resume work from Wednesday.

“There is no fundamental, legal or statutory right for an employee to go on strike. There is also no moral or equitable justification for the employees to proceed on strike and go on extending it,” a Division Bench of Justice H Imtiyaz Hussain and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar observed.

 “Even if there is injustice to some extent, as presumed by such employees, in a democratic welfare state, they have to resort to the machinery provided under different statutory provisions for redressal of their grievances. Strike as a weapon is mostly misused which results in chaos and total maladministration,” the Bench added.

The Division Bench asked the government to look into the employess’ grievances, provided they resume their duties. “What we expect is that the government should look into the demands of the employees if found just, provided the employees resume their work. It is expected that the employees also give up the path of strike and resort to legal means if they feel their demands are genuine,” the Bench observed.

HC upholds transport dept ban on 15-yr-old public vehicles

Express News Service

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0236 hrs Kolkata:

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday upheld the notification issued by the state Transport department in May 2005 banning the 15-year-old public vehicles from plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area.

The Transport department had issued the notification on May 24, 2005 which banned 15-year-old buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, trucks and other categories of goods vehicles from plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area with effect from January 1, 2006.

The notification stated that the Environment department as well as the West Bengal Pollution Control Board recommended imposition of restrictions on plying of such vehicles to reduce air pollution. So, the state government decided to impose a ban on 15-year-old vehiclse for reducing the level of pollution caused by auto-emissions, said Ashoke Sarkar, counsel of the state government.

Delivering the final verdict, a Division Bench comprising Justices Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Md Abdul Gani said the notification as published will have prospective effect only.

Earlier, Bengal Bus Syndicate had challenged the notification in the High Court.

On March 16, 2006. Justice Jayanta Kumar Biswash had set aside the notification stating that it was not legally valid.

Following this, the state government filed an appeal in a Division Bench in 2006 challenging the order passed by Justice Biswash.

Meanwhile, the state Environment department issued another notification on July 17, 2008 banning the 15-year-old vehicles from plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area with effect from April 1, 2009.

While upholding the notification issued by the environment department, the Division Bench headed by former Chief Justice S S Nijjar on July 18, 2008 through an interim order extended the deadline from April 2009 to July 31, 2009.

Accordingly, the state government enforced the ban on the 15-year-old vehicles from August 1, 2009.

The case is still pending in the High Court for final hearing.

Today’s order was passed by the Division Bench on the petition filed by the state government challenging the March 16, 2006 order issued by Justice Biswash.

Nehru museum: HC won’t interfere in appointment of director–HC-won-t-interfere-in-appointment-of-director/606136

Express news service

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0250 hrs New Delhi:

Almost eight months after a controversy erupted over the functioning of the prestigious Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), the Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with the appointment of leading historian Mridula Mukherjee as its director and observed that the two-year extension to her was as per the law.

In July-August last year, Mukherjee’s extension as the director of India’s premier library and museum was mired in controversy, with 57 scholars and think tanks petitioning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to choose her successor after her term ended in July.

Justice S Muralidhar found substance in the contention of the Centre and noted that nothing more remained to be done after the PMO’s approval.

Accused of misusing power, former Mohali MC chief moves HC

Express News Service

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0139 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the State of Punjab on a petition filed by Rajinder Singh, Rana, former president of Mohali Municipal Council who was removed from his post for allegedly misusing his power.

The high court, however, refused to stay the operation of the order wherein he was removed from the post. Notices have also been issued to the Mohali Municipal Council for April 15. The high court also refused the demand of Rana to stay the fresh elections for the post.

Senior advocate Ashok Aggarwal, counsel for Rana contended that the allegations leveled against Rana were totally false and concocted.

On June 11, 2007, the Congress-backed MC chief was issued a show cause notice by the then principal secretary D S Bains for allegedly misusing power.

The then executive officer (MC) J S Thind has submitted a report, accusing Rana of transferring three civic employees without having the powers to do so. Rana was also accused of repeatedly postponing opening of sanitation tenders, which Thind had alleged affected the MC’s work.

Thind had recommended action against Rana as per relevant provisions of the Punjab Municipal Act.

In his reply, Rana had, however, refuted the charges while claiming that he had transferred the civic employees from only one seat to another within the MC, asserting he had the powers to do so.

He had also claimed that he had postponed the tenders only to bring about changes in the terms of the agreement to “introduce more competition” among the contractors.

After concluding the hearing of Rana and Thind in October 2007, Bains had kept the decision in the case pending. Principal Secretary to Punjab Department of Local Government, C Roul, however, reopened the case recently and after conducting a few hearings, finally took a decision in the three-year-old case. Rana moved the High Court against the removal of orders.

Justice Saikia takes oath as Chief Justice of J&K HC

Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia took the oath as Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Governor N N Vohra, administered the oath of office to Justice Saikia at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan.

Registrar General of the High Court, Mr M K Hanjura read out the notification of appointment of Justice Saikia before an august gathering, comprising Governor’s wife Ms Usha Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, and Legislative Council Deputy Chairman Arvinder Singh among other senior civil and judicial dignitaries.

Born on April 7, 1949, Justice Saikia was enrolled as an Advocate on August 9, 1974. He practiced in Subordinate Courts and the High Court at Guwahati since 1974 in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional and Service matters.

Justice Saikia was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court on November 15, 2000.

He was appointed as Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court on March 7, 2009.


NHRC member decries diversion of food subsidy

Special Correspondent

National Human Rights Commission member K.R. Venugopal has expressed concern over food subsidy getting diverted, denying the benefits of public distribution system to the targeted sections.

Addressing the State conference of Andhra Pradesh Rytu Coolie Sangham of the CPI (M-L) here on Tuesday, the retired IAS officer said that though the country had achieved significant progress in food production, millions still go hungry for want of purchasing power. To help such people, the government devised the public distribution system to supply food grains and other essentials on subsidy. As the subsidy was getting diverted, the purpose of public distribution system had been defeated, he felt.

Chairman of Tarimela Nagi Reddy Memorial Trust Surya Sagar said that many people did not have basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter even 63 years after Independence. He felt the need for poor to launch another struggle to get their due.

Tribals’ struggle

Andhra Pradesh Rytu Coolie Sangham president Jhansi was in the chair. She explained the salient features of the struggle launched by Kafi Mulaya Adivasi Sangham in Koraput on the borders of Andhra and Orissa. The tribals were fighting for their rights facing arrack mafia, landlords and government repression. She exhorted all progressive organisations to express their solidarity with the tribals. The tribals gave cultural performances in their native Kuya tongue.

The conference would end on Wednesday after electing the State body.

Batla autopsy: NHRC released report but Delhi Police still


Submitted by admin3 on 7 April 2010 – 8:31pm.

By Staff Reporter,

New Delhi: Isn’t it surprising that while National Human Rights Commission last month released the autopsy reports of those killed in the Batla House encounter, the Delhi Police – whose Special Cell had carried out the encounter – has not been willing to release the report for about one and half years citing ongoing investigation, and still unwilling? Central Information Commission conducted a hearing today on an old RTI petition seeking autopsy report from the Delhi Police.

Despite the report released by NHRC to RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil on March 16, 2010 has already hit national headlines and reached into public domain, the Delhi Police still argue that the publication of the report will hamper investigation. The police also cite an old order of Delhi High Court accepting their appeal against the petition for publication of the report.

At today’s CIC hearing, presumably the last on the September 25, 2008 RTI petition seeking the report, the police presented their same arguments and CIC agreed to them. Petitioner Sahil also attended today’s hearing.

The attitude of the police in this case may lead one to think: If there is some more revealing autopsy report of the Batla House victims which the Delhi Police do not want to release. Though the report released by NHRC has already exposed loopholes in the police version of the encounter.
Sahil had filed the petition with the Delhi Police on September 25, 2008. He did not get any response from the police. He filed first appeal on October 29, 2008 and two days later he got a reply wherein he was told about the number of people killed in the shootout and that the FIR was filed on that day. He was not provided any other information nor any document.

Sahil filed second appeal with CIC on January 27, 2009. The hearing on this appeal should have been held within 90 days according to RTI law but the CIC itself took more than one year to conduct the hearing which took place on February 9.

But the activist was kept in dark for more than a month about what transpired in that hearing. In the last week of March he got a letter from CIC informing him about the next hearing on March 30. He attended it but the CIC fixed April 7 to hear on the issue of autopsy.


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