Legal News 05.05.2010

PIL: Make public report on CJ

DNBAN24379 | 5/5/2010 | Author : Odeal D’Souza | WC :304 | Politics & Governance

It is alleged that justice PD Dinakaran encroached government land in Kaverirajapuram in TN

The Karnataka high court on Tuesday adjourned hearing a public interest litigation petition (PIL) that sought a directive to the Survey of India to publish the report submitted to chief justice of India KG Balakrishnan regarding the alleged encroachment of government land by the state chief justice PD Dinakaran at Kaverirajapuram in Tamil Nadu.
A vacation bench comprising justices Javeed Raheem and Govindarajalu heard the petition and asked the petitioners to clarify on certain issues in the prayer so that the court could be convinced that there indeed was a case to pass an interim order.
The petitioners, KP Venkatesh and three others, are all practicing advocates.
The petitioners also sought an inquiry by the CBI into the incidents in the Karnataka high court on November 9, 2009, when striking advocates had locked up two judges and showed disrespect to the judiciary.
They also contended that the conduct of the Advocates’ Association of Bangalore in asking the chief justice not to conduct judicial proceedings was highly disgraceful and amounted to interference in the administration of justice.
The Supreme Court should take up a suo motu contempt case in this regard, they argued.
The petitioners said that though a demand was made before the Supreme Court to publish the Survey of India report and take suitable action against the Advocates’ Association of Bangalore, no action had been taken so far.
The petitioners also prayed that chief justice Dinakaran should not be transferred to any other high court and he should be directed to resume judicial work.
The petitioners also prayed for a directive to the Supreme Court to initiate suo motu contempt proceedings against the district collector of Thiruvallur district of Tamil Nadu for his false report against chief justice Dinakaran and misleading the judiciary and public, the petitioners have pointed out.

Pawar can be made party in PIL on IPL, says Bombay HC


Raising questions over “conflict of interest” if a minister was a member of a cricket body, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed impleading the Union Government in a PIL seeking levy of entertainment tax on IPL matches and allowed making Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar a party to the case.

A division bench of Justices P.B. Majmudar and R.G. Ketkar, while hearing the PIL filed by Shiv Sena leader Subhash Desai seeking a direction to the Maharashtra government to recover entertainment tax from IPL, asked the petitioner to make Mr. Pawar a party if he wanted to make allegations against him.

“If a minister holds a post in a cricket association, and the state cabinet is to decide on granting some exemption to the association…perhaps conflict of interest may arise,” the Bench observed.

“This is a very important issue,” the Bench said, seeking “assistance” of the Additional Solicitor General, who represents the Union, on this.

The court observed that “prima facie this activity (IPL matches) is covered under entertainment tax. If there is no exemption, then State has no option but to recover it“.

It sought the Centre’s view on whether any “conflict of interest” arose if a minister was a member of a cricket body.

According to the petitioner, the State Cabinet decided in January this year to impose entertainment tax on IPL matches, but the decision was never implemented, causing revenue loss to the cash-strapped Government.

BCCI’s senior counsel Raju Subramaniam clarified that Mr. Pawar currently had no connection with the BCCI or IPL, though he had headed the apex cricketing body two years ago.

However, advocate Joshi alleged that since the finance portfolio in the State Government was with NCP’s Sunil Tatkare, the decision not to levy the tax was “politically motivated”. Mr. Pawar is the NCP chief.

The State Government has maintained that no decision has been taken on whether to impose entertainment tax on IPL though the issue was “discussed” in a Cabinet meeting.

The court also allowed the petitioner to implead former IPL chairman Lalit Modi and incumbent Chirayu Amin in the case.

In the last hearing, the court had sought a reply from the State as to whether any code of conduct existed for ministers becoming members of sports bodies.

Dhairyashil Nalavade, representing the State, on Wednesday said he had sought information from the law and justice department on this and the “reply is awaited“.

Mr. Nalavade had also said during the last hearing that sports events, in general, were exempted from entertainment duty since 1964, but in view of a new format such as IPL, the Government would reconsider the exemption.

The case will now be heard on June 22.

Tenure of sport bodies: Centre to file affidavit in Delhi HC

Wednesday, May 5, 2010, 8:41 [IST]

New Delhi, May 5 (ANI): The tug-of-war between Union Sports Minister M S Gill and Indian Olympic Committee (IOC) chairman Suresh Kalmadi over the tenure of sport association heads notwithstanding, the Centre is all set to file an affidavit before the Delhi High Court on Wednesday.

In the affidavit the Centre will explain its stand on the implementation of a regulation clause.

The clause essentially limits the tenure of sporting bosses to 12 years or a retirement age of 70 years.

At the last hearing, the Delhi High Court had criticised the government for its indecisiveness on the clause.

Earlier Advocate Rahul Mehra had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) demanding more accountability in the functioning of national sports bodies.

The PIL states that National Sports Federations (NSFs) are not run by professionals, but by politicians, and added tat elections to these bodies are flawed.

Mehra tried to draw the attention of the court to the fact that that the IOA enjoys enormous power, which it misused.

Some of those who could be affected by the government’s decision are Kalmadi, who has been at the helm of the IOC for 15 years , exceeding his term by three years.

Digvijay Singh, who has been the Vice President of the IOC for ten years and has two years left can also be affected by the row.

Senior BJP leader V K Malhotra, who has been President of the All India Archery Association for 31 years, exceeding his tenure by 19 years, and Jagdish Tytler, who has exceeded his tenure by two years, are also in the eye of the storm.

Another senior BJP leaderYashwant Sinha has also exceeded his tenure as president of the All India Tennis Association by five years. (ANI)

PIL: Make encroachment details public

Express News Service

First Published : 05 May 2010 06:04:00 AM IST

Last Updated :

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court has adjourned hearing of the public interest litigation seeking direction to the Survey of India to publish the report submitted to CJI regarding alleged encroachment of government land at Kaverirajapuram in Tamil Nadu by Chief Justice of the Karnataka PD Dinakaran.

A division bench comprising Justice Javeed Raheem and Justice Govindarajalu instructed the petitioners to come clear about the contents of the PIL. The petitioner should convince the court for seeking interim order, the bench said.

The petitioners KP Venkatesh and three others, all practicing advocates, had sought a direction to the Supreme Court and Survey of India to publish the report. The petitioner also sought CBI enquiry into the incident of November 9, 2009 when advocates locked the two judges of the High Court inside the court hall and allegedly showed disrespect to the judiciary.

The PIL is in support of Chief Justice Dinakaran. The act of the Advocates Association Bangalore asking Chief Justice not to conduct judicial sitting was highly disgraceful and interfering in the administration of justice. The Supreme Court can take up a suo moto contempt case for disobedience of the court order, the petitioners said.

Though a demand was made before the Supreme Court to publish the report and take suitable action against the Advocates Association, no action has been taken so far. Vested interests are indulging in wrong acts in the High Court and the same had to be investigated by independent agencies, the petitioners said.

The petitioner also prayed that the Chief Justice should not be transferred to other High Courts and that he should be asked to resume judicial works in Karnataka, the petitioners said.

They also sought a direction to the Supreme Court to take legal action by way of initiating suo moto contempt proceedings against the district collector of Tiruvallur in Tamil Nadu who gave a false report against Justice Dinakaran and misled the judiciary and the public, the petitioners said.

Insurance firms open to Sebi regulating Ulips

Insurers, including ones that got Sebi notices, say it doesn’t matter which regulator they have to register with

Anirudh Laskar

Mumbai: While the capital market and insurance regulators slug it out over unit-linked insurance plans (Ulips), those selling the product say they’re not too perturbed over which agency has oversight.

In a reversal of their earlier stance, life insurance companies are open to seeking prior approval from market regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) before launching Ulips.

The war between the two regulators has reached the Supreme Court after the finance ministry had to step in to call a truce between the two sides.

At least five private life insurers told Mint that they were not opposed to registering Ulips with Sebi. The life insurers, among the 14 who received Sebi notices, had previously been strongly favouring the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) as the sole regulator for Ulips.

Yogesh Kumar/Mint

“We do not have any problem in taking Sebi approval for launching Ulips,” the chief executive of a large domestic private sector life insurer said. “We just need to know the modalities if we have to register Ulips with Sebi.”

Also Read | Ulips get long-term stamp, but pension products suffer

Ulips are insurance products that invest a part of the premium paid by investors in equity instruments, while another part accumulates as insurance.

“We are just looking for more clarity on the regulation of Ulips, but we do not have any problem with Sebi regulating Ulips,” said the chief executive officer of another private life insurer, which has a joint venture with a foreign firm. “We are ready to comply with the guidelines set by Sebi on Ulips.” All the executives quoted in this story spoke on condition of anonymity.

While the dispute is almost a year-and-a-half old, the row escalated when Sebi sent orders on 9 April to 14 privately held life insurers, banning them from selling Ulips.

Irda hit back immediately, asking the insurers to ignore the order and continue selling Ulips as usual. The insurance regulator, in fact, dubbed Sebi’s action as “misconceived” and said it did not have the authority to pass such an order. Ulips, according to Irda, are essentially insurance products and would continue to be under its jurisdiction.

According to a senior official at one of the fastest growing private sector insurers, firms are now more worried about the final verdict on Ulip regulations rather than the regulatory tussle.

“Irda has already made a number of changes to the norms governing Ulips in recent months and this made us redesign the products. Regulations are meant to enhance transparency and make products investor-friendly,” he said. “We are not worried whether Irda regulates Ulips or Sebi does it, or both. In all cases, norms will keep changing, so we do not have any problem with Sebi regulating us.”

Irda, in its reply to Sebi’s order, had said the ban could lead to a substantial loss to policyholders and insurers, besides destabilising the market. Sebi, which consulted the attorney general before passing its order restricting insurance firms from selling Ulips without its clearance, said the instrument has two parts—investment and insurance, the first of which comes under the capital market’s jurisdiction.

The apex court on Friday issued notices to the Union government and the 14 Sebi-banned life insurers on a petition by the market regulator, seeking transfer of all cases on Ulips from high courts to the highest court.

Two public interest litigation (PIL) suits related to Ulip jurisdiction have been filed so far.

Mumbai-based investor Rajendra Thacker filed one in the Bombay high court, seeking reversal of the Sebi ban. The PIL was filed on the ground that thousands of investors were anxious about their investments due to the Sebi order. Later, Dhruv Kumar, a lawyer and former insurance professional, filed a PIL in the Allahabad high court against Irda, seeking Sebi’s intervention and regulation of Ulips.

The matter is scheduled for hearing in the Supreme Court on 8 July.

Mumbai’s biggest playground declared silence zone

May 5th, 2010 – 6:08 pm ICT by IANS –

Mumbai, May 5 (IANS) The Bombay High Court Wednesday virtually banned noisy political rallies in the historic Shivaji Park, the biggest playground in the heart of Mumbai, by declaring it a silence zone.
A division bench of Justice F.I. Rebello and Justice Mridula Bhatkar delivered the interim order over a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city-based Veckom Trust and Dadar residents Sharad Dixit and J.D. Udeshi.

While declaring Shivaji Park a silence zone, the court said loudspeakers will be allowed in the park during functions related to the Republic Day Jan 26, Maharashtra Day May 1 and death anniversary of B.R. Ambedkar Dec 6.

The petitioners moved the court in September 2009 and sought a complete ban on non-sporting activities in the park.

“This is predominantly a sports ground. Why is it being used for non-sports functions?” questioned Dixit.

“Loudspeakers disturb the calm and peace of the area. Hence, we were forced to file a PIL,” added Dixit.

“It surely is a welcome order for the residents of Shivaji Park area. This will set a precedence for all other locations in the city that have not been notified as silence zones,” said Sumera Abdul Ali, a noise pollution activist from Awaz Foundation.

The PIL said Shivaji Park was shown in the city’s development plan as reserved for sporting activities and, therefore, it cannot be used for any other purpose.

Eminent cricketers like Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar started their cricketing journey by practicing at this historic ground.

Apart from sports activities, more than 8,000 people come to Shivaji Park every day for jogging and exercise, and morning and evening walks.

India court bans truth drugs, lie detectors

(AFP) – 6 hours ago

NEW DELHI — India’s Supreme Court on Wednesday banned police and intelligence officials from forcing suspects to take “truth drugs” and lie detector tests during investigations to extract information.

Law enforcement agencies in India have recently relied on the tests, including in the 2006 “House of Horrors” case in which 21 people were murdered in the New Delhi suburb of Noida.

“No individual can be forced and subjected to such techniques involuntarily,” the judges said according to the Press Trust of India news agency. “It amounts to unwarranted intrusion of personal liberty.”

The judgement, which followed petitions from several accused, was welcomed by many lawyers including Mumbai-based attorney Majeed Memon who said it “protected the constitutional right of personal liberty”.

Manoj Goel, a lawyer representing one of the petitioners, described the verdict as “a historic judgement and a big boost to human rights.”

But some police and intelligence officials expressed concern that they would be denied the chance to use essential tools.

“These techniques are used the world over,” Maxwell Pereira, a former top officer with New Delhi police, told AFP. “The ruling is a major setback for law enforcement agencies.”

In “truth drug” tests, chemicals such as sodium thiopental are injected into suspects or witnesses, lulling them into a semi-conscious state during which they are questioned.

Senior human rights lawyer and activist Colin Gonzalves described “truth drugs” and lie detectors as “a voodoo science, a kind of torture that is grossly misused by the police.”

“I am glad the Supreme Court has done this. In India we have many instances of people being coerced into saying things, admitting guilt,” he told AFP.

“These methods generate a form of compelled testimony and our constitution prohibits this.”

Information gained through the techniques is already inadmissible in Indian courts but Wednesday’s ruling states that police cannot use the tests, or investigate any leads provided by them, unless suspects had volunteered.

In 2007, police in Noida arrested businessman Monindher Singh Pandher and his domestic help Surinder Koli for the rape and murder of 21 victims.

The trial is ongoing and one murder charge has been proved against Koli after using leads from lie detectors.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved

India to send judgement of Mumbai court to Pak


New Delhi, May 4 (PTI) India may hand over to Pakistan the judgement convicting Ajmal Amir Kasab and press for the extradition of terrorists like Hafiz Saeed and Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who were also found guilty by a special court for the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

Government sources said the fresh documents will be sent incorporating all the evidence given to the court after receiving the copy of judgement delivered by special judge M L Tahiliyani in Mumbai.

New Delhi will tell Islamabad that as the Mumbai Special Court has indicted LeT founder Saeed and operations chief Lakhvi on the basis of solid evidence, they should be extradited to India to face the law here, the sources said.

India will also tell Pakistan to expedite its own trial taking into account the Mumbai Court’s speedy trial process, which was completed a little over one year.

Delhi High Court stays order of bringing stock exchanges under RTI

May 5, 2010 RTI

The Delhi High Court today stayed its order of bringing stock exchanges within the ambit of the Right to Information Act. A division bench headed by acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur stayed the operation of a single bench order which had on April 15 held that stock exchanges are “quasi” governmental bodies which are bound to disclose information to the public under the transparency law.

The court passed the order on an appeal filed by National Stock Exchange(NSE) which contended that it cannot be forced to reveal information under the RTI Act as it is a company and the government has no control over it.

HC raps motormen, directs them to start work at once

By Bapu Deedwania

Posted On Wednesday, May 05, 2010 at 03:09:28 AM

Expressing displeasure on the strike called by the motormen, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday said that the situation prevailing in the city shocks the conscience of the court that how a few people can hold the entire city to ransom and disturb normal life of civil society.

The HC directed the striking motormen of Central Railway and Western Railway to resume duties at once. But after this order was dictated, the HC was informed that the strike had been called off.

The division bench of Acting Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice S C Dharmadhikari later asked the union government to confirm about the strike being called off by Wednesday morning and adjourned the matter till then.

Earlier in the day, the Centre had moved the HC, seeking an ad interim relief and requesting it to direct the striking motormen to resume duties.

Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata told the court that the negotiations with motormen over their demands were on and a sudden strike was called in between the negotiations.
Khambata, after making amendments to the petition and the prayers told the court that the recognised unions of railway workers were not supporting the strike. He also informed the court that to tackle the situation the two general managers were making an appeal to the motormen to resume their duties.

Khambata informed the court that a fast track committee was constituted to deal with the issue of demands of motormen. “Between January and February some demands were met.

These included: revised rates of running allowance, national holiday allowances without ceiling limits, night duty allowance without ceiling limits and raising of income tax exemption limit from Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000 for running allowance which has already been referred to Ministry of Finance,” said Khambata.

The petitioners also added that the motormen are asking to be paid more than the Sixth Pay Commission.

While dictating the order, Justice Patel said: “Workmen who have gone on strike have no right to do so, therefore this court is far from satisfied that an ex-parte ad interim order is required to be passed to restore normalcy.”

The court also said that nothing prevents the authorities from seeking police protection for the motormen who want to resume work and are being threatened by other motormen.

HC issues notice to Haryana speaker over favour to kin

TNN, May 5, 2010, 03.27am IST

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought impleading of Haryana speaker Harmohinder Singh Chatha as party in a writ petition, alleging malpractice in appointment of a liaison officer in the assembly to favour his relative.

The HC also issued a notice to the speaker, asking him to file his reply on allegations — of favouritism and ignoring meritorious candidates in the selection process — levelled against him. The next hearing is on July 15.

Justice Permod Kohali passed these directions during resumed a hearing of the petition filed by Sirsa resident Ved Parkash, an applicant for the post. Parkash has alleged that according to information received from the state assembly, Gurinder Singh, son-in-law of Chatha’s sister had been selected for the post.
Alleging that meritorious candidates had been ignored, the petitioner sought quashing of this appointment and directions for considering the candidature of deserving students.

HC urged to scrap TTD’s gold malam project

TNN, May 5, 2010, 02.41am IST

HYDERABAD: Courts have got powers to direct governments to bring ancient structures under the ambit of the Archeology Act and hence the Andhra Pradesh High Court should direct the state to notify Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) as an ancient structure so that the ninth-century structure does not get tampered with by goldplating. This was one of the main points raised on Tuesday by the counsel for the petitioner G Raghava Reddy who has challenged the TTD’s goldplating project.

The TTD cannot be entrusted with handling sensitive religious issues like goldplating the inner Tirumala temple, asserted the counsel. “The abode of god cannot be tampered with like this and this is intrusion into religion and the TTD cannot be allowed to do this,” he said.

The bench comprising Justice B Prakasa Rao and Justice Reddy Kantha Rao, which resumed its hearing on the goldplating issue, heard the arguments against the project. The advocate for the petitioner said the citizens have an inherent right to seek a direction to ensure that rich cultural heritage is preserved.

He cited judgments of the Supreme Court given in 1954 to buttress the argument that religious issues cannot be tampered with by state or a body like TTD. He also cited the Unesco conventions which mandate the preservation of ancient heritage structures for future generations.

India is a signatory to this convention and the governments are duty-bound not to tamper with ancient structures, inscriptions etc., he said.

The petitioner contended that the engineering department was not consulted about the safety of structure if thousands of holes are drilled into the walls of the old structure to put up heavy plates of copper coated with gold.

Arguing against the goldplating, Ramesh Babu, a petitioner who impleaded himself in the case, brought to the notice of the court that an earlier circular supposed to have been issued by the commissioner of endowments making it mandatory for the authorities to obtain an opinion from the archeology wing before going for goldplating was ignored.

The arguments would continue again on Wednesday.

HC acquits man accused of murdering wife

Staff Reporter

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday acquitted a murder accused who had confessed to murdering his wife before a head constable at the Sultanpuri police station in Outer Delhi in 2004.

Setting aside the lower court judgment sentencing the accused, Mukesh, to life imprisonment, a Division Bench of the Court comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Suresh Kait said that the prosecution had not been able to prove that at the time of the murder, the accused was with her at their house.

Another vital lacuna in the investigation, which helped the accused, was that the statement of the children of the deceased, who were present in the house on that day, was not recorded.

“The possibility that the children of the couple were present at the house in question at the time of the murder of the deceased cannot be ruled out. It was thus incumbent upon the prosecution to examine the children of the couple, particularly their eldest child. However,the prosecution did not examine any of the children of the couple. In that view of the matter, this court would be entitled to draw an adverse inference against the prosecution,’’ the Court observed.

In his confessional statement before the police, the accused had said that he had murdered his wife as he was disgusted with her illicit relationship with his brother-in-law (sister’s husband).

However, the Court rejected it as the motive for killing his wife because the accused failed to lead to any evidence in support of it.

The trial court had sentenced him to life imprisonment admitting his extra-judicial statement as evidence.

Though the accused had admitted to his crime before the police, he had later retracted it in the trial court. In the court, he said that he found his wife murdered at his house when he returned home.

The police also failed to prove that the accused had not left his house in the morning on the fateful day. Not mentioning of the exact time of the death of the victim in the post-mortem report also helped the accused.

CHANDIGARH NEWS: Probe Charges Against Oil Industry – HC

Posted by admin in Wednesday, May 5th 2010

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Pet­it­ion­er M­an­j­it­ Sin­g­h had­ st­at­ed­ t­hat­ Fazilka-based­ Suraj­ Solven­t­ an­d­ Van­aspat­i In­d­ust­ries Lim­it­ed­ was n­ot­ on­ly­ violat­in­g­ provision­s of t­he Preven­t­ion­ of Food­ Ad­ult­erat­ion­ Ac­t­ by­ usin­g­ an­im­al fat­, but­ was also m­an­ipulat­in­g­ balan­c­e­ sheet­s t­o show hug­e losses t­o avail ben­efit­s from­ t­he B­o­ard­ fo­r Ind­u­strial and­ Financial Reco­nstru­ctio­n (B­IFR).

Ma­njit S­ing­h cla­imed he us­ed to­­ wo­­rk­ f­o­­r the indus­try­, s­elling­ o­­il under the bra­nd na­me o­­f­ A­ng­a­n a­nd S­wa­mi, a­s­ p­a­ck­­ a­g­ing­ incha­rg­e.

The co­­mp­a­ny­ wa­s­ f­a­cing­ ca­s­es­ in dif­f­erent co­­urts­ in the reg­io­­n, he cla­imed, a­nd la­bo­­ra­to­­ries­ ha­d decla­red the p­ro­­ducts­ a­s­ no­­t being­ f­it f­o­­r co­­ns­ump­tio­­n.


HC overturns new norms for admission to PG seats in medical college

Express News Service

Posted: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 at 2310 hrs Shimla:

Overturning the government’s move of changing the norms for admission to 38 seats in postgraduate courses in Indira Gandhi Medical College Shimla, the Himachal Pradesh High Court on Tuesday directed the government to conduct re-counselling on the norms that existed in the previous year.

The petition filed by the affected candidates challenging the new admission norms came up for hearing today before a division bench of Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice R B Mishra. The court in an interim order directed the government to conduct re-counseling on all the advertised seats, before May 26, when the petition is listed next.

The court directed the government to specifically mention the seats allocated for both the categories in various faculties — general duty officers (GDOs), who are serving doctors in the periphery and the direct entrants, who are not serving doctors—¿ that was not mentioned in the prospectus that was challenged in the court, said advocate for the petitioners Shravan Dogra.

The bench noted that the reservation roster will be implemented for each category from the point where it closed in the previous year.

Earlier, the GDOs are given 70 per cent reservation and direct entrants only 30 per cent seats for PG courses. The merit list for both the categories was prepared separately and their allocation in each faculty was also specified in advance.

However, this year the contention arose when the PG prospectus did not specify division of the exact number of seats between both the categories and a centralized (common) merit list for both the categories was prepared.

The doctors pleaded the direct candidates, who had higher merit in the written exam than the serving doctors were favoured with chunk of seats in most demanded faculties, in which they could not get even a single seat.

The counseling for the PG seats on the new norms this year was held on April 23. Of the 38 seats advertised, 27 were for GDOs (21 general and six for SC/ST) and 11 for direct entrants.

‘Hike trial court judges’ salaries’

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, May 5, 2010, 03.11am IST

NEW DELHI: In what could be the biggest-ever salary hike for lowly paid trial court judges, SC on Tuesday ordered states to implement the new pay scale that could treble their salaries translating into a monthly increase of Rs 20,000 at the entry level.

A bench comprising CJI K G Balakrishnan and Justices Deepak Verma and B S Chauhan directed that recommendations of the pay commission headed by Justice E Padmanabhan, who had submitted the report on July 27 last year to the SC, be implemented.

In his report, Justice Padmanabhan had proposed an average 3.07-fold hike in existing salaries, which was recommended by the first National Judicial Pay Commission.

Gas row judgment likely before CJI retires

Krishnadas Rajagopal , Maneesh Chhibber

Posted: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 at 2352 hrs New Delhi:

In the last one week, shares of Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and his younger brother Anil Ambani’s Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) as well as Reliance Power have fluctuated heavily.

While nobody knows for certain the real cause of the upheaval, most experts believe that this could be linked to the fact that the much-awaited judgment of one of India’s biggest and dirtiest corporate battles over supply of gas and gas pricing, which was being staged inside courtroom Number 1 of the Supreme Court, would be announced in the next few days.

While no date has been set for pronouncing the judgment, it would be before May 11, the last working day of present Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, who presided over the three-judge Bench, which reserved its judgment on December 18 last year.

The subject of the dispute is whether RIL is bound to honour a family pact to supply 28 million units of gas for 17 years at $2.34 per unit to RNRL from the Krishna-Godavari basin gas fields. Last year, the Bombay High Court had ruled in favour of RNRL.

However, a legal expert said in case the judgment was not pronounced before the retirement of Balakrishnan, the matter would have to be heard afresh by a new Bench.

The gas dispute is just one of the many cases wherein judgments have been reserved by the Benches headed by the outgoing CJI.

Another important case whose outcome could be known before May 12, the day the CJI retires, is the issue of constitutional validity of MP Local Area Development (MPLAD) funds.

A Constitutional Bench headed by the CJI had on January 21 last year reserved its judgment on the issue. Earlier, a Bench of the apex court had reserved its verdict in November 2009 on the same issue, but had to conduct some more hearings after the government requested permission to make some more submissions.

The SC is also expected to deliver its judgment in the next few days on whether law enforcement agencies were allowed under the Constitution to use modern scientific techniques such as polygraph test, brain mapping and narco-analysis tests during investigation in criminal cases.

On January 24, 2008, a three-judge Bench headed by the CJI had reserved its verdict in the matter.

The petitioners, who include the so-called Godmother of Rajkot Santokben Jadeja, have questioned the validity of suspects being subjected to intrusive scientific investigative tools without their consent.

Another important issue on which the CJI-led Bench’s final word is likely before he demits office is the subject of removal of Governors with the change of government at the Centre.

In 2004, then BJP MP B P Singhal had filed a PIL, challenging the removal of Governors of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Haryana and Orissa by the previous UPA government. The judgment in the case was reserved in September 2009.

On Tuesday, an apex court Bench headed by the CJI reserved its verdict in a case pertaining to alleged illegal mining by the Obulapuram Mining Company Ltd owned by Karnataka’s Reddy brothers in Bellary reserve forests in Andhra Pradesh.

Andhra Pradesh has challenged the decision of the High Court allowing mining activities by Obulapuram Mining Company, which was later stayed by the apex court in an interim order.

Esma Act India

Posted on 04 May 2010

The motormen strike in Mumbai, India clogged the city as the suburban train services, the back bone of the metropolis, remained closed for the second day. The strike was initiated on the 3rd of May 2010, as the motormen demanded hike in their grants and pay scales.

The railway spokesperson reported that motormen from Western Railways and Central Railways have been dismissed because they rejected to work. The police also confiscated twelve protesters who denied performing their duties, stated Sunil Ariya, the Central Railways’ Assistant G. Manager.

The paralysis of the city caused the Maharashtra Government to call up the ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) on the 4th of May 2010. Following the act more than hundred and fifty motormen have been taken into custody till now by the law enforcing agency for illegal assemblage.

The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Ashok Chavan is likely to address an emergency meeting aiming to scrutinize the burning affair of the motormen strike.

RR. Patil, the Home Minister of Maharashtra stated that the government has taken full control of the situation and is now looking forward to interfere with the matter to facilitate the commuters.

The eastern and western freeways were congested as the travelers

were left with no other mode of travelling except for roads.

Reports from the authorized personnel at the Railways suggest that only twenty percent of the trains served today. According to the Commissioner of the Railway Tukaram Chavan, more than hundred and seventy motormen remain in custody at the CST (Chatrapatti Shivaji Terminus). The motormen were apprehended for hindering the employees of the Railway from work and for creating illicit congregation.

‘No Bapu image on Mont Blanc pens’

TNN, May 4, 2010, 03.29am IST

NEW DELHI: Can Mahatma Gandhi be the poster boy for driving home the message that a super-expensive Mont Blanc pen is “mightier than the sword”?

Certainly not, said the Centre on Monday. Solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam told a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan that the Centre had refused permission to Mont Blanc to use Gandhi’s image on their pens, the cheapest of which cost around Rs 1.5 lakh.

“We have rejected their two applications seeking permission to use Gandhiji’s image on their pens saying national emblem cannot be used for commercial purposes,” said the SG, which significantly meant that Gandhi’s images have been regarded by the government as national emblem.

Appearing for the Swiss pen major, counsel Hari Shankar told the Bench that after permission was refused, Mont Blanc discontinued sale of the pens and withdrew the advertisements.

But PIL petitioner Harsh Vardhan Surna alleged that the pens manufactured by Mont Blanc were sold and they should be penalised for misuse of the national emblem. But the court decided to dispose of the case after the counsel for Mont Blanc gave an undertaking that the remaining pens and advertisements would be withdrawn forthwith.

Attaching Mahatma Gandhi’s name with the expensive pen rebelled against the values and ideals which the Father of the Nation believed in and fought for throughout his life, the petitioner had said.

When this blatant commercial use of Mahatma Gandhi’s name and insignia in violation of the Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, was taking place, “the government, the ruling political party and the Opposition were silent,” the petitioner had said.

The PIL pointed out that Entry A of the Schedule to the Act listed that “the name or pictorial representation of Mahatma Gandhi” as an item cannot be categorically used for the purpose of any trade, business or profession.

SC raps Centre for delay in disclosing soft drinks’ contents


The Supreme Court on Tuesday pulled up the Centre for delaying the notification making it mandatory for soft drinks manufacturers like Coca Cola and Pepsi to disclose actual contents of their products.

“Should people gulp down poison till then?” Justice Gyan Sudha Mishra, the sole woman judge in the apex court, snapped at the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSA) counsel, who submitted that it would take at least three months for the draft regulations to be issued.

Justice Mishra, who was part of the bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari, also told the Government that it was improper to appoint top executives of the Cola and other food products manufacturers to the “scientific panels” of the authority appointed to determine the quality of the products.

“How can they be made members of the panel? How can a person judge his own case?” Justice Mishra told Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising appearing for the Centre.

Concurring with her views, Justice Bhandari said the petitioner Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL) had a valid apprehension that appointment of executives from private companies in the scientific panel of the government body would lead to “conflict of interest”.

“People must have faith in the panel. People with vested interests cannot be part of the panel,” Justice Bhandari said.

The apex court made the remarks while granting three months time to the Food Safety and Standards Authority to finalise the draft regulations to regulate the sale and distribution of soft drinks and other food products throughout the country.

The CPIL had filed the PIL in 2004 seeking regulations and quality checks on the sale of soft drinks and cited various purported findings that they contained harmful substance.

Counsel for FSSA submitted that the proposed regulations under the Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 would not only regulate the quality of the soft drinks but also other food products in the markets like jams, jellies, etc.

CPIL counsel Prashant Bhushan alleged the general public was exposed to gastro-intestinal and other ailments due to heavy contents of pesticides, phosphoric acid and other dangerous substance present in the soft drinks.

However, K.K. Venugopal and Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for soft drink makers, submitted the manufacturers were taking all necessary steps to inform the general public by appropriately printing on the bottles or the caps the relevant contents of the products.

The apex court posted the matter for further hearing on August 3.

HC relief to man denied appointment

DNJAI15682 | 5/4/2010 | Author : DNA Correspondent | WC :363 | Crime & Law

The aspirant was selected as constable in 1996 but was denied job due to a pending case

An aspirant who was denied appointment as constable despite clearing the requisites like interview, physical test and medical examination got a breather after almost 14 years on Monday from the Rajasthan high court. The single bench comprising justice Mohammad Rafiq directed the state government to appoint the affected person and also provide him his notional benefits.
Giving details of the case and the judgment, Dharmveer Tholia the counsel for the petitioner Yonendra Sharma, told DNA on Monday, “The petitioner Sharma appeared for an interview on September, 8, 1996 after the state government had advertised for 69 posts of constables in Dholpur district. Later, he appeared for the physical test which was conducted from October, 23-26, 1996. The petitioner was subjected to medical examination conducted on November, 7, 1996 at Police Lines, Dholpur.”
“He was finally declared successful in all the tests. Yet in a verification that was conducted by the concerned authorities although the character of the petitioner was reported good yet it was noted that a challan was filed against him in an FIR at police station, Sirmathura for various offences and the petitioner was acquitted by a court on November, 15, 1996. He was falsely implicated in the case and thus was acquitted by the trial court,” Tholia added.
“We also argued before the court that the state government has given appointment to a few other applications against whom murder cases were pending. The court too found it quite strange on part of the state government and the concerned authorities,” Tholia added.
“Following our arguments the court has not only asked the state government to appoint Sharma but also asked the state government and concerned authorities to relate back the appointment to the selection held in the year 1996. Thus petitioner is also entitled to enjoy the seniority as per his merit placement of that selection,” Tholia added.
Asked if he would also get the salary since 1996, he said, “ No, he would only be entitled for the benefits including the seniority.”
Petitioner had applied for the post of constable  in 1996
Had cleared the interview, physical test and medical examination
But was denied job after his verification report mentioned a challan against him

Gujarat HC snub for Dinesh MN, bail plea rejected


Tuesday, May 4, 2010 12:36 IST

Ahmedabad: Justice HB Antani of Gujarat high court on Monday rejected the bail application moved by Rajasthan cadre IPS officer Dinesh MN who is lodged in the Sabarmati jail in connection with the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.

The IPS officer, who was SP in Udaipur in Rajasthan, had moved the bail application on the grounds that the trial was getting delayed. He stated that he has been in the jail for the past three years. His application said that the investigation in the case was earlier done by the Gujarat CID and now that it was transferred to the CBI, it will take the agency more time to probe it.

Opposing the bail plea, the government pleader said that the officer should not be given bail as he is accused of committing a serious offence and investigation is still going on. “Delay in trial” cannot be ground to grant bail, the pleader said.

After hearing both side, justice Antani rejected the application.
Dinesh MN, along with two Gujarat cadre IPS officers – DG Vanzara and Rajkumar Pandiyan, was arrested for their alleged role in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.
The state CID had earlier arrested 14 police officers in the case.

Bombay HC to hear RIL-NTPC case on 26 July

Published on Tue, May 04, 2010 at 12:15   |  Updated at Tue, May 04, 2010 at 12:41  |  Source :

The Bombay High Court will hear the high profile case between Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) and NTPC on 26 July. NTPC is locked in a legal battle with RIL to get gas at $2.34 per British thermal units.

Earlier, in the long-drawn battle RIL had said that it had no choice but to sell the gas at $4.2 per mmbtu to RNRL since that was the government approved price while RNRL maintained that it had to be the same as NTPC’s bid price of $ 2.34 a unit, as agreed upon in the Ambani family MoU.

RIL said even the NTPC bid was subject to government approval and attempted to prove this with various draft contracts between the two firms.

Meanwhile, the third party, the government argued that it was the owner of the gas fields and that two brothers had no right to merge or demerge govt property.  The solicitor general Gopal Subramanium even went on to say that the EGoM approved price and allocation policy cannot be challenged in this case, lashing out at RNRL’s stand.

The judgement could be more crucial for ADA Group as it will have an impact on the stocks of other group companies.

Meanwhile, CNBC-TV18 had learnt from sources earlier that the Supreme Court may pronounce a judgement on the sale of natural gas by RIL to Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) in the next few days, bringing to conclusion India’s most fiercely fought corporate battle.

Probe case of illegal detention: Bombay HC to cop

Hetal Vyas / DNA

Tuesday, May 4, 2010 2:21 IST

Mumbai: The Bombay high court on Monday directed additional commissioner of police (south region) K Padmanabhan to conduct an inquiry against two officers of Matunga police station in an alleged case of illegal detention.

“Considering the nature of allegations, we deem it appropriate to direct the additional CP (South) to conduct an inquiry into the allegations made by the petitioner,” observed the court.

A division bench of justice Dilip Bhosale and justice ARJoshi has directed Padmanabhan to conclude the inquiry against senior police inspector Deshmukh and police sub inspector Arjun Sawant at the earliest.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Abhaychandra Yadav, 28, a Chunabhatti-based businessman.

“How can we then expect citizens to come forward and help the police? This is the reason citizens are reluctant to come to police. If such incidents keep surfacing, who will trust the police?” the court remarked.

The court also questioned additional public prosecutor Sangeeta Shinde if any inquiry has so far been done against the police officers concerned.

Yadav, an automobile consultant, moved court last year alleging that he was illegally detained at Matunga police station for about 18 hours in August 2009. Yadav also alleged that he was beaten up by officers at the police station.

Yadav further stated that he was allowed to go home after 4.35pm on August 13, 2009. The additional CP had then directed DCP (Zone IV) to conduct an inquiry in this regard.

Delhi HC summons Delhi law secretary for delaying judicial process

Taking strong note of the non-appearance of the Government Counsel in several cases, the Delhi High Court summoned the Law Secretary of the Delhi government to explain its laxity in attending to the cases causing delay in the judicial process.

A bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Valmiki S Mehta directed the Law Secretary to appear personally in the court on May 11, and explain why, after repeated notices, the counsel was not appearing in the court.

Earlier also on several dates, the Government Counsel did not mark his attendance leaving the other parties handicapped as they cannot argue in absence of one party.

The court was hearing a matter filed by Delhi International Airport Ltd (DIAL) in which the Central Government, Delhi Government and MCD are the parties.

Though the MCD lawyer and Central Government lawyers were present in the court during each date, Delhi Government counsel was not present on several occasions leaving no option for the court but to defer the case to the next date.

DIAL’s counsel Bharat Bhushan Jain, told the court that an advance copy of the writ petition was served to the city government’s office but no one appeared on their behalf causing delay in the case, he added.


6 HC judges appointed

Six High Court judicial appointments by President Pratiba Patil were announced to fill some of 273 vacancies reported in 895 judgeships across India eight weeks ago.

The announcements included two Kerala High Court Additional Judges made permanent and four Additional Judges appointed to the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

Kerala High Court Additional Judges Mavulli Cholakkode Hari Rani and Thomas Puthenpura Joseph have been appointed Judges in that order of seniority.

Appointed Madhya Pradesh High Court Additional Judges for two years each: Brij Kishore Dube, Gulab Singh Solanki, Naresh Kumar Gupta and Anil Kumar Sharma.

All appointments take effect from the respective dates of assumption of office, the Ministry said.

But experts say the appointments may not make much of a dent in 30.50 per cent vacancies– 273 of 895 judgeships in the nation’s 21 High Courts– reported by Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily.

A count last month showed the vacancies have continued to rise from 265 or 29.61 per cent reported by the Justice Department on December 31, 2009 or from 26.41 per cent on July 1, 2009.

Those and 2,800 vacancies in 16,746 District Courts have been a cause of concern in a nation facing serious discipline issues compounded by court delays and mounting pendency.

The courts between them have an estimated 31.34 million cases pending, reflecting unresolved conflicts citizens live with and putting vacancies in a perspective.

The government knows that vacant judgeships contribute to increasing case arrears in courts.

Dr Moily told Parliament some time ago that ‘delay in filling up the vacancies of Judges is one of the main reasons for accumulation of pending cases in courts.’ A 1993 Supreme Court judgement turned over the function of appointing Judges to the Chief Justice of India and the Chief Justice of the concerned High Court.

The government ‘is periodically reminding’ the Chief Justices to initiate proposals in time to fill up existing vacancies as well as those anticipated six months ahead, Dr Moily said.

Even Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has emphasised the urgency of filling up Court vacancies. ‘The existing vacancies in High Courts are quite high in number and need to be filled up urgently,’ Dr Singh told a Joint Conference of Chief Ministers and Chief Justices almost nine months ago.

Dr Singh stressed not only ‘quickly filling up these posts,’ but appointing ‘meritorious individuals.’ His remark about merit reflected a concern voiced by professionals, even though the Indian judiciary has been appointing its own since the 1990s.

Supreme Court Bar Association President M N Krishnamani asserted at a Bar meeting some weeks ago that the appointment system since 1990s suffered without a ‘machinery to search for good candidates.’ ‘The authors of 1993 judgement dreamt that when judges discharge the function of appointing judges through a collegium, the quality of judiciary would improve and that we would have only the best.

‘This dream stands shattered neck and crop today,’ Krishnamani said, saying ‘the collegium has no machinery to search for good candidates for judgeship.’ Dr Moily has repeatedly spoken of government desire to steer clear of tainted persons in naming judges.

But scholars say persistent vacancies may in effect be stifling merit.

‘It is very unfortunate,’ said Prof S N Singh, dean of Delhi University Law Faculty, ‘that the Chief Justices and senior Judges do not find time to fill the vacancies.

‘The process perhaps results in bypassing many Judges with merit,’ Prof Singh pointed out.

Effort to fill vacancies is supposed to begin six months before a retirement is due a date known the moment a judge is appointed.

But the government acknowledged in Parliament in 2009 that eleven High Courts were yet to initiate proposals to fill up all posts ‘that were vacant in 2007.’ Opacity has been a major issue, notwithstanding a clamour for transparency.

Even provisions of a Right to Information notified in 2005 and projected by Dr Singh as a major United Progressive Alliance achievement, have been questioned by the judiciary.

Asked about the 1993 Supreme Court judgement by then Justice J S Verma, Prof Singh said the situation became worse after the judgement which placed the selection process in the domain of judiciary.

‘Assuming, of course, there was merit in reducing executive role, it could well have been a move towards transparency and perhaps public participation in the process.

‘I see no reason why the system should not allow public input by circulating names of proposed candidates before appointment.

Such measures do not require any Constitutional or legislative amendment.’ Experts agree that with some 31 million plus cases pending, many for decades, and just 17,602 judges sanctioned against a recommended 55,000 strength, vacancies may be the last thing Indian courts can afford.

Vacancies are indeed hard to explain considering that a pool of qualified candidates can be created to draw on.

‘There is no question of vacancy,’ says former Law Minister Shanti Bhushan. ‘The process of appointment is scheduled to begin six months or so ahead of a vacancy and should not take more than a couple of weeks. So where is the question of vacancy?’ The former Law Minister now practising as a senior advocate stresses transparency. ‘I see no reason except perhaps a lack of seriousness, unless there is an inclination to try to push favourites, which benefits from having vacancies to accommodate them.’


HC moved against CAT order on Thachankary

Express News Service

First Published : 04 May 2010 01:59:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 04 May 2010 09:27:13 AM IST

KOCHI: Raising serious allegations against suspended IG Tomin J Thachankary, the state government on Monday filed an appeal before the Kerala High Court against the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) which stayed the government order suspending him as Kannur IG.Thachankary was suspended for travelling abroad without prior permission of the state government.

“Tomin Thachankary has a controversial career record and there has been a series of allegations against him including, vigilance inquiry, criminal cases and disciplinary actions. The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau registered a case against him in connection with amassment of wealth around Rs 1 crore which was disproportionate to his known sources of income.

Pending Vigilance cases, he was placed under suspension for 15 months from July 10, 2007.” “It has also been revealed that he illegally imported electronics goods from Singapore. Other allegations against him include misuse of official vehicle, publishing photograph in uniform unauthorisedly, frequent foreign trips, possession of multiple passports, lock-up torture,’’ the state government submitted in its appeal.

‘’It was stated that Tomin Thachankary applied for leave travel concession(LTC) from February 15 this year to March 20.

Later, in a letter dated March 25 he sought LTC postponement and requested it from April 3 to April 9 for going to Gangtok in Sikkim.

On March 30, the government passed the order sanctioning his LTC. However, in total violation of permission granted for availing LTC and keeping it in the dark about his whereabouts, he went abroad on April 2 instead of going to Gangtok. He returned to India on April 12 after visiting UAE, Muscat Bahrain and Kuwait,’’ the government submitted.

‘’Besides, he did not travel with his family as claimed. He went abroad and came back alone.

It is revealed that his wife and children travelled abroad during this period. Thachankary also did not respond to the communique from ADGP Sibi Mathews requesting him to submit travel details from April 1 to 9,’’ the government said.

“Thachankary who sent a request to the Chief Secretary to ratify his visit to foreign countries did not produce the same before the CAT,’’ the government said.

The govt has also refuted Thachankary’s allegations that no disciplinary action was taken against P C Sanal Kumar, a retired IAS officer, and Sreelekha IPS, who also went on trips abroad without informing the govt. ‘’Disciplinary action was taken against Sanal Kumar. He was issued a charge memo due to which he lost two promotions. Action against him was dropped on June 15 last year as he was to retire the same month.

In the case of Sreelekha too disciplinary proceedings were dropped after it was found that due to her trip to Thailand for preparing a project report the Rubber Marketing Federation could save about Rs 25 lakh and the company had to bear only her travel expenses,’’ the appeal said.

Pappu Yadav to go back to jail: SC

TNN, May 4, 2010, 03.31am IST

NEW DELHI: Former RJD MP Pappu Yadav will be arrested and taken back to jail more than a year after being out as the Supreme Court on Monday cancelled the bail granted to him by Patna High Court in the Ajit Sarkar murder case.

The Patna HC was criticised by a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and A K Patnaik, which said it was in breach of the apex court’s April 2006 order clearly laying down that no court would entertain Pappu’s bail plea in public interest.

Setting aside the HC order granting him bail on February 18, 2009, the Bench said, “Despite clear orders passed by us in 2006 and 2007 that no bail should be granted by any court, it is a matter of regret that the HC has gone ahead and granted bail.”

In its November 16, 2006, order, the SC had said, “We are of the opinion that while it is true that Article 21 is of great importance because it enshrines the fundamental right to individual liberty, but at the same time a balance has to be struck between the right to individual liberty and the interest of society.”

Noting that Pappu had been in custody for a long period, the SC had said, “It would, in our opinion, be wholly inappropriate to grant bail when not only the investigation is over but even the trial is partly over, and the allegations against the appellant are serious.”

Pappu was convicted under IPC Section 302 (murder) and Section 120(b) (criminal conspiracy) for plotting the murder of Sarkar, a CPM leader, in June 1998. His appeal against conviction is pending in the HC.

Exemption to CJI among proposed RTI amendments

Vidya Subrahmaniam

New Delhi: It is official. The government is contemplating amendments to the Right to Information Act, 2005.

The Department of Personnel and Training, which admitted to considering about a dozen amendments to the Act in an April 30, 2010 letter to RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, was upfront about the nature of at least two of the amendments: exempting the office of Chief Justice from the RTI Act and barring applications which could be deemed to be “frivolous or vexatious.” Other amendments proposed relate to “disclosure of Cabinet papers”; constitution of “benches” of the Central Information Commission; and exemptions for organisations possessing sensitive information.

Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan recently wrote to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh seeking exemption of the office of CJI from the Act.

Details of cancelled visit of CJI to US can’t be given: SC on Tuesday, May 04, 2010, 00:31 IST


New Delhi: The Supreme Court has refused to disclose the details of the proposed foreign visits of the Chief Justice of India, which were later cancelled, saying it will be a breach of personal information.

Replying to an RTI application filed by S C Agrawal, the Supreme Court Registry said that information was exempted from disclosure under Section 8(1)(j) of the RTI Act.

The section cited by Chief Public Information Officer Raj Pal Arora says: “Information which relates to personal information the disclosure of which has no relationship to any public activity or interest, or which would cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of the individual unless the Central Public Information Officer or the State Public Information Officer or the appellate authority, as the case may be, is satisfied that the larger public interest justifies the disclosure of such information.

“Provided that the information which cannot be denied to Parliament or a State Legislature shall not be denied to any person,” it said.

Agrawal had sought information about the proposed visit of a high-level delegation comprising CJI K G Balakrishnan, Law Minister Veerappa Moily and Attorney General G E Vahanvati to Georgia University from April 2 to 4 to participate in a discussion.

He had asked for the copy of the invitation by the Dean, Rusk Centre for International Legal Studies at University of Georgia to the Chief Justice of India, copy of requisition by CJI or his office for a foreign-trip to visit the University.

He had also asked for the copy of a caution-letter against the proposed visit by Secretary (West) Vivek Katju in External Affairs Ministry along with inputs from Indian consulate at Atlanta and letter of opting out of the proposed visit by the CJI.


Lawyers and Judges asked to update knowledge

Submitted by Sunil Kashyap on Mon, 05/03/2010 – 13:24

In a recent development Chief Justice of India designate Sarosh Homi Kapadia cautioned today against judicial activism and made it clear that judges who judge comment on ethics of politicians should themselves is ethical morality. Justice Kapadia, who takes over as CJI from Justice K G Bal Krishnan on May 12, said, “When we talk of ethics, the judges normally comment upon ethics in the politicians, students and professors and others. But I would say that for a judge also, ethics, not only constitutional morality but even ethical morality should be the base of the judge”. He also added, “If the judge is clear on concepts… he will be able to decipher the difference between judicial activism and judicial restraint”.

He criticized senior lawyers of the Supreme Court for not sparing time to teach students while in other countries senior lawyers contributed to journals and taught students. He said, “Unfortunately, I don’t see that kind of dedication from senior lawyers of the Supreme Court. If the goal of legal education reforms was to be achieved, efforts had to be made by all sides”, he said. He said that the interpretation of the production sharing contract was a difficult area and we are not up to the mark in it.

NSF chiefs slam govt for tenure limit regulation

PTI, May 2, 2010, 09.06pm IST

NEW DELHI: National Sports Federation (NSF) chiefs were up in arms against the Government regulation to limit their tenure, saying they would move Supreme Court to thwart the move.

The Sports Ministry on Sunday modified a 1975 regulation which seeks to end the prolonged reign of a number of politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats who have been running the NSFs for more than a decade.

The regulation means Indian Olympic Association President Suresh Kalmadi and several NSF chiefs including V K Malhotra (archery), Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa (cycling), V K Verma (badminton), captain Satish K Sharma (aero club) and B S Adityan (volleyball) cannot seek a re-election after their present term expires.

While Kalmadi could not be contacted despite repeated attempts, Malhotra termed the move as “ridiculous” and said IOA, of which he is also the senior vice president, could go the Supreme Court if the Delhi High Court, which is hearing a PIL in the matter, rules in favour of the government.

“It is a ridiculous decision. These guidelines first came out during emergency in 1975 and court had issued notice asking under what law the government was to implement them.

“They were never implemented and after 35 years they have been brought in now, that too in a year when India is hosting Commonwealth Games,” Malhotra said.

The regulation suggests NSF Presidents cannot continue beyond 12 years, with or without break, while a Secretary or a Treasurer can serve two terms of four years each and can seek a re-election only after taking a four-year break.

“I have spoken to Kalmadi and have asked to call an IOA Executive Committee or office bearers’ meeting very soon. It will be in two or three days’ time. I have suggested him if Delhi High Court decides in favour of government IOA should go to Supreme Court,” he added.

Malhotra, who has been Archery Association of India chief for more than three decades, said India could face action from the International Olympic Council and Olympic Council of Asia if the Ministry order is implemented.

“IOC and OCA don’t allow government interference and may take action if they come to know this. Commonwealth Games Federation members are now here and it’s the most inopportune time to take the decision,” Malhotra said.

“It was a one-sided decision. The Ministry could have called all the NSFs to a meeting and then decide. It should be prerogative of the NSFs to decide on this,” Malhotra said.

Malhotra was aghast at the guideline that all members and officials of NSFs should retire at 70 years of age.

“In the name of good governance if the minister wants us above 70 years of age to retire then why was he (M S Gill) still minister?” he asked.

Indian National Lok Dal (INLD) leader and Table Tennis Federation of India President Ajay Singh Chautala also criticised the regulation and said NSFs should be judged only by performance.

“Performance should be the sole criterion, not how long we have been in charge. Before introducing such regulations, the government should have looked at how the current federation is doing, how many medals we have won, how much progress we have made,” he said.

Former players and athletes, however, welcomed the regulation with athletics legend Milkha Singh calling it a step in the right direction.

“I think this is a step in the right direction. So far, neither IOA nor the NSFs cared about the 1975 regulation and this new modified clause would right the wrong. I think it would lead to a situation where better people would join administration and the standard of sports would rise,” he said.

Hockey Olympian Aslam Sher Khan felt the Ministry guideline would encourage former athletes to join sports administration.

“More and more former players should come and join administration. Some of us always spoke against it but few took note. I think it’s time for former players to come out and join administration,” said Aslam.

Rakesh Mehra, the lawyer who filed the PIL in Delhi High Court in the matter, felt it was time for politicians and bureaucrats to leave NSFs for professionals.

“Why sports like hockey, football and tennis could not be marketed? Why is it so that these federations, years after years, go back to the government for 90-100 per cent of fund?

“On top of that these people hold on to honorary posts. Why cannot federation be run by the professionals? Why is it so that cutting across political lines, politicians make a beeline to head national sport bodies?” he asked.

Judgement Day for 26/11 terrorist (Lead)

Almost one-and-a-half years after 10 Pakistani terrorists struck in the heart of India’s financial and entertainment capital, the country is waiting anxiously for the verdict Monday on Mohammed Ajmal Amir Kasab, the lone gunman captured alive in the bloody 60-hour siege whose live TV coverage had much of the world in thrall.

Mumbai Special Judge M.L. Tahilyani will deliver his judgement in the case that has seen as many as 653 witnesses being examined, a 675-page written submission being filed and several ups and downs – even as Kasab stayed in a high security cell.

On Monday, Kasab will be pronounced guilty or otherwise. Then the quantum of sentence will be argued before the court and the actual punishment will be awarded. The maximum punishment Kasab can get is death penalty.

The case may or may not go into the higher courts depending on the judgement.

The audacious attack Nov 26, 2008, targeted sites like the World Heritage building of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel, Hotel Oberoi-Trident, the Cama Hospital and the Chabad House, a Jewish prayer centre, and the favourite haunt of foreigners, Leopold Café.

The assault and the massacre that followed stunned the world and left 166 people dead and 244 injured.

Kasab’s trial, which started April 15, 2009, was completed March 31 this year, after nearly seven months of hearing, excluding breaks and vacations. The prosecution case was led by Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam.

The witnesses included many survivors of the terror attacks, eyewitnesses, family members of the victims, police officials, several foreign nationals, Indian security officials and officials from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

The high-profile trial revolved around Kasab and two Indian co-accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed.

Kasab has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including waging war against the nation. Besides, he faces charges under the Explosives Act, the Arms Act, the Passport Act, the Prevention of Damage to Public Properties Act, the Customs Act, the Explosive Substances Act, the Bombay Police Act, the Foreigners Act and the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The two Indian co-accused have been charged with conspiracy in the terror attacks – preparing maps of the targeted locations and handing these to Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operatives.

The trio was lodged in Arthur Road Central Jail premises in south Mumbai where an air-conditioned Special Court was also set up for the trial, as part of security measures.

Kasab was lodged in a solitary ‘anda’ (oval) cell which was reinforced with layers of cement and steel capable of thwarting any major attacks or bomb blast.

Several roads outside the jail were made out of bounds for the general public or limited access was granted to vehicles after a thorough security check even before the trial as Kasab and his cohorts were lodged there.

A small section of the ongoing Mumbai metro railway project was also held up as it was close to the jail premises.

Kasab had come to Mumbai via the Arabian Sea route with nine other associates, all of whom were killed during the 60-hour operation by combined security forces. Their bodies were preserved in the morgue of Sir J.J. Hospital, barely a couple of kilometres away from Arthur Road Central Jail.

The Maharashtra government quietly disposed of the bodies in January this year. So far details of how and where the bodies were disposed of continue to elude the media.

Kasab seemed to enjoy the trial. At various times, he was seen laughing and giggling in court. He also complained of bad food, illness and attempts to poison him.

He made demands for things like perfumes, soaps, newspapers, permission to offer ‘namaz’ and new clothes – many of them rejected by the Special Court. All this prompted Nikam to call Kasab “an actor par excellence” several times.

The accused showed all his moods – sombre at times, jovial and cheerful often, crying at times, shocked and awed when shown some of the evidence or by the accounts of witnesses.

In July last year, Kasab grabbed headlines by ‘confessing’ to his crimes in the 26/11 attacks.

“Hang me, please,” Kasab pleaded two days after he made a dramatic confession and gave a chilling blow-by-blow account of his part in the attacks.

“I have committed the crimes on this earth and the people of the world should punish me. I don’t want god’s punishment. But, if somebody feels that I have confessed to escape the death penalty, the court can definitely hang me,” Kasab pleaded.

Later, he demanded a trial in an international court of justice, saying he had no faith in the Indian courts, while co-accused Ansari demanded video-recording of the entire trial.

The special judge promptly dismissed the pleas on grounds that they were “mischievous” and intended to “delay the proceedings”.

Besides Nikam, the defence lawyers, including Kasab’s lawyer K.P. Pawar, Ansari’s lawyer R.B. Mokashi and Ahmed’s lawyer Ejaz Naqvi, were involved when the final arguments were completed.

While one lawyer – S.G. Abbas Kazmi – was removed, another representing Fahim, lawyer Shahid Azmi, was killed during the trial in early February.

Two extra shifts can cut court backlog, says judge

2010-05-02 20:30:00
Last Updated: 2010-05-03 03:00:21

Ahmedabad: Supreme Court’s Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan has stressed the need for running courts in two extra shifts in addition to the normal court hours to reduce backlog of cases.

‘The judiciary in Gujarat runs evening courts in various districts of the state for just this purpose,’ he said  on Saturday night at a function here to mark the golden jubilee of the Gujarat High Court.

Apart from normal court hours, the judiciary should also run morning and evening courts to reduce pending cases and for prompt and effective disposal, said Justice Radhakrishnan, who headed the high court before his elevation to the apex court.

Speaking on ‘Bar – next decade’, Gujarat High Court Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya outlined his vision for computerization and introduction of an e-judiciary system that will help courts over the next decade to clear cases fast.

‘It will be timely and efficient, ensuring prompt disposal of cases,’ he added.

‘With the help of internet, people will be able to see their case status, orders and judgments online which would save a lot of time,’ he said.

A software will be introduced which will scrutinize cases as the registry does now. With the help of this software, research could be done on pending cases, reasons for frequent adjournment, and other statistical data, he said.

‘Such steps will go a long way in restoring public faith in the judiciary’s ability to deliver timely justice,’ he said.

The Gujarat High court, which was established May 1, 1960, started operations from a building meant for children’s hospital with five judges and 94 advocates. Today, it has 42 judges and about 1,100 regular practising advocates.

Former chief justice of India P.N. Bhagwati hoped the high court, which is a pioneer in public interest litigations, will do its best to ensure that the common man can enjoy his fundamental rights.

Chief Justice of Kolkatta High Court Mohit Shah, who considers the Gujarat High Court as his knowledge bank, said he was convinced the judicial institution would continue to deliver path-breaking judgments as it has done in all these years.

Advocate General Kamal Trivedi said that besides the education in a law school, junior advocates should be trained at the bar and practicing advocates should continue legal education for updating their knowledge in various areas of law.

HC to hear quota dispute today

DNJAI15651 | 5/3/2010 | Author : DNA Correspondent | WC :303 | Politics & Governance

Israni panel’s report to the state on Gurjar reservation demand likely to be made public

The Rajasthan high court would hear the reservation dispute on Monday after which the ongoing Gurjar protests for quota in government jobs are expected to change course of action.
The Justice IS Israni committee’s report to the state government about suggestions on the controversial quota demand is also expected to be made public on Monday.
The same day the Gurjars have called a mahapanchayat at Mehrawar near Bayana where agitation leader Kirori Singh Bhainsla would be announcing the protest’s future course of action. Hardly a kilometre from Mehrawar is Pilukapura where the Gurjars’ violent agitation of 2008 started. “If the Justice Israni committee report recommends prompt grant of 5% quota to Gurjars and three other communities, the agitation might end. Otherwise, the agitation that is going on for more than a month now shall be intensified,” warned Roop Singh, a close Bhainsla aide and spokesperson for the Gurjar Arakshan Sangharsh Samiti.
Bhainsla had set May 3 as the deadline for the state government to allow 5% quota for Gurjars. Even as the community leader has sought 5% quota within the 50% overall limit of reservation in the state, last week he made a representation before the Justice Israni committee seeking 5% quota within the 21% reservation allowed to other backward classes (OBCs).
This sparked off strong protests from members of various communities falling under the OBC category. Among others, the Jat and the Yadav communities, registered strong opposition to any division within the OBC quota.
Meanwhile, the Meena community leader Kirori Lal Meena supported the Gurjars’ demand for quota. On Sunday, the Meena leader reached Sikandara where the Gurjars have been staging a mass sit-in for the past 16 days. Addressing the protesters gathered along the Jaipur-Agra national highway at Sikandara, Meena said he would fight with “his blood” for the Gurjars’ right.

Supreme Court decides to shift Justice Dinakaran to Sikkim HC

The Supreme Court collegium headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan has finally decided to shift Karnataka High Court Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, who is facing charges of corruption and land grabbing, to Sikkim High Court where he will be allowed to carry on judicial functions also.

In Karnataka High Court, Mr Justice Dinakaran was not performing any judicial work since December last year after Vice-President of India and Rajya Sabha Chairman Mohammad Hamid Ansari constituted a three member committee headed by sitting Supreme Court Judge Justice V S Sirpurkar to hold inquiry into the allegations of corruption against him as part of impeachment process.

Sikkim High Court Bar Association has, however, protested against transfer of the controversial judge saying that Sikkim High Court is not a ‘dumping ground’.

Earlier, the Supreme Court collegium which also comprises of Justices Mr Justice S H Kapadia, Mr Justice Altamas Kabir, Mr Justice R V Raveendran and Mr Justice Dalveer Bhandari, had transferred Justice Barin Ghosh to Sikkim High Court who has now been shifted to Uttarakhand High Court as Chief Justice.

The decision to transfer Mr Justice Dinakaran to Sikkim High Court was taken on April 8 after he refused to abide by the advice of the collegium to go on leave.

The latest decision was taken by the collegium.

Meanwhile, Patna High Court Chief Justice, Mr Justice Deepak Mishra will be the new Chief Justice of Delhi High Court.

Present acting Chief Justice of Delhi High Court Justice Madan B Lokur will be shifted to Gauhati High Court as a Chief Justice in June when the present Chief Justice, Mr Justice Garg retires.

Sikkim has the smallest High Court in the country having only three judges, including the chief justice and the total pendency of cases in that High Court is only 88.

Justice F I Rebello will be the new Chief Justice of Allahabad High Court.


Delhi HC directs government to allow kidney transplant

In a bid to save lives, the Delhi High Court directed the Union Government to immediately frame a policy to legalise kidney transplant.

Justice S Murlidhar, hearing a petition of a patient Dinesh Gupta who is awaiting a donor from his family member for his kidney transplant, said that the Government should adopt a policy that should be able to save lives rather than a cumbersome policy which adds to the wes of the people.

Proper treatment should be given to such patients without harassing them in the name of the laws, the court held.

Gupta alleged that the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) referred him for the treatment to Safdarjung Hospital. AIIMS denied him the maintenance hemodialysis during the pendency of the availability of a donor, as part of his ongoing treatment.

Last week, Justice Muralidhar had directed Safdarjung Hospital to give treatment to Gupta and only after the court’s intervention the dialysis was given to him.

The court directed the Centre and the Health Ministry to frame a policy in this regard and place on record its outcome by May 11. The absence of any concrete rules is leading to the harassment of the patients, the court held.

The Government had imposed a ban on kidney transplant after a Kidney racket surfaced where private hospitals were illegally trading the organ. Thereafter, only blood relations or close relatives of the patient could donate their kidney causing a lot of problems to the patients, who in absence of a relative, has no option but to suffer.


Allahabad HC directs UP, Uttarakhand governments on Ganga pollution

The Allahabad High Court directed the Uttar Pradesh and the Uttarakhand governments to hold a chief secretary level meeting to ensure adequate water level in the river Ganga.

The court asked the governments to hold a meeting of the Chief Secretaries on the issue of pollution in the Ganga and dearth of water in the river and find its solutions.

Passing this order, a division bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Arun Tondon put a ban on use of polythene on the banks of the Ganga. The court directed Ganga Basin Authority to make sure that the use of ploythene is banned near Ganga completely.

The Court, in its order, directed the Allahabad Municipal Corporation to check the flow of dirty water in the Ganga and asked why the electric crematoriums in Rasulabad and Daraganj were not functioning. The Court directed the corporation to submit its report in this regard on May 21.

The court would next hear this case on May 21.


Recommendation to transfer HP HC CJ kept on hold?


New Delhi, May 2 (PTI) The Law Ministry is learnt to have kept on hold a recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium to transfer Himachal Pradesh Chief Justice Kurian Joseph to the Jharkhand High Court.

Sources said the Ministry’s move to put the recommendation on hold was made as Justice Joseph had taken over as the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court only in February this year.

Govt opposes judge transfer by SC panel

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times

Email Author

New Delhi, May 03, 2010

Deviating sharply from accepted practice, the government has turned down a recommendation of the Supreme Court collegium — the panel of its five senior most judges that decides judicial promotions and transfers.

It wants the transfer of Himachal Pradesh High Court chief justice Kurian Joseph to Jharkhand, within three months of his appointment at Shimla, recommended by the collegium, cancelled.

Perturbed by a slew of transfers of high court judges suggested by the collegium, days before the Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan retires on May 12, the law ministry has sent back Justice Joseph’s file, Hindustan Times has learnt.

Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, in a two-page letter to the CJI has pointed out it would not be correct to transfer Justice Joseph so soon. Joseph was sworn in as the chief justice of Himachal Pradesh High Court on February 8.

“The process of improvement initiated by Justice Kurian Joesph in Himachal is being widely appreciated. In case he is transferred now the process will suffer,” Moily wrote to the CJI Balakrishnan.

Moily’s letter suggests Justice Meenakumari, acting chief justice at the Andhra HC, whom the collegium wanted in place of Justice Joseph in Himachal, be sent to Jharkhand instead.

How the collegium will react is anybody’s guess. The rules say the government can return the collegium’s recommendation once, but if the collegium reiterates it, the government must fall in line.


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