LEGAL NEWS 14.05.2010

Gujarat riots: SIT submits report to Supreme Court


The Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the alleged role of Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi in post-Godhra killing of ex-Congress MP Ehsan Jaffrey on Friday submitted its report to the Supreme Court.

The SIT chief and former CBI Director R.K. Raghavan submitted the report in a sealed cover to the Supreme Court registry as directed by the apex court in its May 6 order.

The SIT had earlier sought time for submitting the report as it wanted to question VHP leader Praveen Togadia who was last week questioned by the SIT which had earlier questioned Mr. Modi and several other persons named in the complaint lodged by the slain MP’s wife Zakia.

The apex court had on April 27, 2009, asked the SIT to look into the complaint of Ms. Zakia about the alleged role of Mr. Modi and others in Gulbarg Housing Society killing in which the former MP was burnt alive along with several others during the post-Godhra 2002 communal riots in Gujarat.

Mr. Modi was earlier grilled by the apex court-appointed Special Investigation Team on his alleged role in the 2002 killing of Jaffery as the deceased, according to the complaint, had made frantic calls for help to police and the Chief Minister.

The Gujarat government had in a subsequent affidavit in the apex court questioned the SIT’s power to summon Mr. Modi for interrogation.

Earlier on May 6, the Supreme Court had restrained the trial court from pronouncing its judgement in 2002 post-Godhra communal riots cases but refused to stay the ongoing trial, as sought by certain NGOs and rights activists.

“The trial court shall proceed with the trial but no judgement shall be pronounced,” a bench of Justices D K Jain, P Sathasivam and Aftab Alam had said.

The apex court also appointed A.K. Malhotra, a former DIG of CBI, to verify allegations of lapses in investigations being conducted by the SIT into 2002 Gujarat communal riots.

The Bench had passed the direction while dealing with the plea of the NGO Citizen for Justice and Peace of Teesta Setalvad and some rights activists who sought a stay of the trial and sought reconstitution of SIT for its alleged bias.

The apex court said Mr. Malhotra would verify the allegations after examining the reply filed by SIT on the issue.

Gujarat government has strongly opposed reconstitution of the SIT and stay of the trial which it said was almost on the verge of conclusion as almost all witnesses had been examined.

The apex court granted permission to SIT to take steps for replacement of two public prosecutors who had withdrawn from the case alleging non-cooperation from the probe agency and one of them also attributed bias to the trial judge.

The bench agreed to the suggestion of amicus curiae and senior counsel Harish Salve that the two new public prosecutors would be appointed through consensus after eliciting the views of the petitioners also.

The 10 cases being monitored by SIT on the earlier directions of the apex court are — Gulberg Society, Ode, Sardarpura, Narodao Gaon, Naroda Patya, Baranpura, Machipith, Tarsali, Pandarwada and Raghavapura.







CJI shouldn’t express views on hot issues: Kapadia

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, May 14, 2010, 02.24am IST

NEW DELHI: You are wrong, if you think new Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sarosh Homi Kapadia is being strategically reclusive at a time when the media spotlight is focussed on the judiciary facing an unprecedented situation of two high court judges facing impeachment motions in Parliament.

And if you think Justice Kapadia breached the convention twice in quick succession by refusing the customary interaction with media — first, when he was designated as the CJI and 12 days later when he took oath as the top judge of the country — then he says it is “for very good reasons”.

“When a Chief Justice interacts with media, there are bound be questions on burning issues in the society and the cases in courts relating to the famous and infamous. As a matter of rule, I am against a CJI giving his views on either social issues or pending cases,” Justice Kapadia explained to TOI.

It was a little odd given the precedents of the media having free-wheeling interactions with previous CJIs — Justices Y K Sabharwal and K G Balakrishnan — and eliciting their views on issues as diverse as `necessity of death sentence’, the Ruchika molestation case, corruption in judiciary, row over Justice Dinakaran and khap panchayat abetted honour killings.

Customs and conventions, especially if they are related to media, are not going to sway Justice Kapadia from his firm and well-reasoned decision, which he thinks is for the good of judiciary. He felt the CJI’s comments on these issues could prove deleterious to an impartial judicial decision.

“If the CJI gives his views on a burning issue, which on most occasions lands up in judiciary for adjudication, or on a pending case, then it is bound to affect the merits of the cases. I do not want that to happen. Because these cases may reach the Supreme Court one day in the form of an appeal or a writ petition,” he said.

After expressing his views in such a strong manner, there was no way one could have persisted for his views on any issue. And if you do, he would most probably brush it aside by saying, “I speak through my judgments.”

Reddys still have to clear forest bench

TNN, May 14, 2010, 03.06am IST

NEW DELHI: Days after the Supreme Court provided relief to Karnataka’s mining magnates and powerful politicians — the Reddy brothers — by permitting resumption of mining in the undisputed areas near the Bellary Reserve Forest, it on Thursday injected some suspense that had the potential to erase smiles off the mine owners’ faces.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar referred to the special Forest Bench an appeal filed by Bellary Iron Ore Pvt (BIOP) Ltd, a rival of the Reddys’ Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC), for hearing on Friday.

In contrast, an apex court Bench comprising then CJI K G Balakrishnan had on May 10 permitted OMC to resume mining operations only in the undisputed areas 150 metres away from the Andhra Pradesh-Karnataka border.

This order was passed on the basis of an ambiguous report from a high-level Survey of India team tasked by the SC to report on the AP government’s allegations that the Reddy brothers had encroached into the Bellary Reserve Forest and that they were mining in areas far in excess of what was specified in the lease deed.

Appearing for BIOP, senior advocate Krishnan Venugopal challenged the AP High Court’s February 26 order permitting OMC to continue mining despite serious environmental apprehensions expressed by expert bodies, on the basis of which the AP government had ordered stoppage of mining.

He said OMC could not be allowed to “continue looting mineral resources from forest areas when no proper survey has been done of the mine lease areas by the authorities of the Union government and inquiry into serious allegations of encroachment into forest and land of neighbouring mine owners in violation of the Forest Conservation Act and the Mines and Mineral (Development and Conservation) Act”.

Appearing for OMC, senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi said it was a politically motivated appeal as the AP government had virtually been proved wrong by the Survey of India’s report, which gave a clean chit to OMC. Once, this was perused by the apex court, which allowed resumption of mining, the present appeal is not maintainable.

But, the CJI-headed Bench said that since the allegations pertained to mining in forest area, it would be appropriate that the issue was examined by the special Forest Bench.

With Justice K G Balakrishnan retiring on May 12, the new CJI in Justice Kapadia would now head the Forest Bench, which under him would have the first sitting on Friday. And it will be during the first hearing that the special Bench would examine the maintainability of BIOP’s appeal.

Mullaperiyar panel ready to start work

TNN, May 14, 2010, 02.40am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court’s fact-finding committee on the Mullaperiyar Dam headed by former CJI A S Anand is all set to commence work with he being joined by two more retired Supreme Court judges representing Kerala and Tamil Nadu.

While the DMK government of TN headed by M Karunanidhi has chosen Justice A R Lakshmanan, the Achutanandan government has nominated Justice K T Thomas as the representative of Kerala in the fact-finding committee, which has been asked by the SC to submit its report within six months on all contentious issues relating to the dam, including the raising of the storage water level from 136 feet to 142 feet.

“We will hold the first hearing on the issue on May 25 as we have also been joined by experts as members of the committee,” Justice Anand told TOI.

The SC had on March 23 acted tough against both the Karunanidhi government and the Centre for their audacious stands on the fact-finding committee on the Mullaperiyar dam safety issue and maintained that the Justice Anand-headed panel would start functioning from April 30.

Rejecting the TN government’s U-turn and plea for recall of its earlier order appointing the committee headed Justice Anand, a constitution Bench comprising Justices D K Jain, B Sudershan Reddy, M K Sharma, R M Lodha and Deepak Verma had virtually chastised the state for trying to wriggle out of its earlier consent to the committee just because the Kerala chief minister welcomed it.

The Bench had clarified that it alone would deal with legal issues involved in the matter and that the committee was just to help it apprise of the ground situation relating to the dam’s safety.

The Bench had also rejected an application filed by the Centre seeking a direction to the two states to share the expenses that would be incurred by the Justice Anand committee.

“It is shocking to learn that the Centre is pleading no funds because budget estimates were completed. It is not an inter-state water tribunal that the states would be required to share the financial burden. It is a committee appointed by the Supreme Court and the Centre would do well not to raise such pleas,” the Bench had said.

New CJI hears 37 cases in 29 minutes!

Posted On Thursday, May 13, 2010

New Delhi, May 13: 
Justice SH Kapadia marked the inauguration of his tenure as Chief Justice of India on a stunning note — by reversing a long-held practice of morning mentioning of urgent matters by lawyers. Later, he went a step ahead and said all frivolous PILs would incur costs from Thursday. If that was not enough to announce the change of guard, he also conducted hearings into 37 cases in 29 minutes flat. Within hours of assuming office, CJI Kapadia virtually stunned a crowd of advocates who had queued up before a three-judge Bench headed by him for mentioning petitions and applications for urgent listing, a long-standing practice, by bluntly telling them that henceforth, there would be no mentioning out of turn in the morning.
The silence that followed was audible. For just a minute back, the CJI — sworn in by President Patil on Wednesday morning — was being congratulated and being promised cooperation from attorney general G E Vahanvati and Bar Council of India chairman and solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam. When advocate K K Mani did the same on behalf of Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), a smiling Justice Kapadia said, “You are a good Bar. But I want a proactive Bar, not a reactive one.” But what followed after the silencing of the usually vociferous advocates queuing up for morning mentioning was equally stunning. There were 37 petitions listed for hearing before the Bench headed by the CJI and comprising Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar. The preliminary hearing in all of them were over in just 29 minutes.
Many a lawyer who had work in other courts was seen inquiring whether the CJI’s court was yet to sit. But when told that the day’s business in CJI’s court was over, there was disbelief writ large on their faces. During the hearing, the CJI made clear his no-nonsense fast-track approach. “No more frivolous PILs. This is the first day, so we are not imposing costs. But from Thursday, costs would be imposed on such PILs,” Justice Kapadia said. But amid the no-fuss approach, the CJI also showed his humane side. In a matter relating to revival of a sick unit, the CJI made it clear that all workers who had lost their jobs had to be accommodated first and permission to commence production would be given only on this condition. “We will see that workers do not lose their jobs,” he said.

PIL in SC seeking direction to allow Parvathi in India


New Delhi, May 13 (PTI) A PIL was today moved in the Supreme Court seeking immediate direction to the Centre to bring back Parvathi Ammal, 86-year old ailing mother of slain LTTE leader Vellupillai Prabhakaran for medical treatment.

The petition, filed by R Karuppan, a Chennai-based advocate, sought the apex court’s intervention to ensure that Parvathi was brought back to India in a special plane from Colombo for providing her medical treatment as she was suffering from various geriatic problems including paralysis.

It accused the Centre of acting in an unconstitutional manner by deporting last month Parvathi to Malyasia after she landed in India with a valid passport.

According to the petition, Parvathi Ammal was also a resident of India for more than 15 years between 1988-2003 and the deportation order was issued on the basis of a circular issued in 2003.

HC directs govt to conduct caste-wise census


Chennai, May 13 (PTI) Madras High Court today issued a fresh direction to the Centre to conduct caste-wise census in the country.

Allowing a PIL by lawyer R Krishnamoorthy, a Division Bench yesterday directed the Census Commissioner to take all steps to hold caste-wise enumeration.

The bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice T S Sivagnanam said the relief sought by the petitioner had already been answered in the affirmative by the court in an earlier verdict on a writ petition.

In its October 2009 judgement, the court had noted that after 1931 there had never been any caste-wise enumeration or tabulation.

Supreme Court refuses to help legislator who holds court

May 13th, 2010 SindhToday

New Delhi, May 13 (IANS) The Supreme Court Thursday declined to interfere with the Allahabad High Court’s proceedings looking into allegations that a Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) legislator from Uttar Pradesh holds a parallel court and dispenses justice.

A bench of Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan and Justice Swatanter Kumar let the high court deal with the matter as it was seized of a magisterial inquiry report into the activities of legislator Mohammad Iqbal, who represents Chandpur constituency.

As per the allegations levelled against Iqbal by a petitioner in the high court, he holds court every Sunday where people appear before him and after hearing the rival parties he gives his ruling. It has been alleged that he even levies “court fee” on the people who appear before him.

The matter came up before the apex court Thursday over a petition filed by the legislator, also known as ‘Thekedar MLA’.

He challenged the high court decision to consider April 15, 2010, a report of the district judge and a magistrate on his activities.

The chief justice of the high court had ordered the re-sealing of the report after reportedly describing it shocking.

A public interest ligiation (PIL) against Iqbal was filed in the high court by Sher Baz Khan.

Appearing for Iqbal in the apex court, senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi said the case against his client in the high court was, in fact, a private interest litigation inspired by a sense of retribution.

He told the apex court that the PIL was filed by Khan, who himself was facing 14 criminal cases involving cheating and impersonation.

Rohtagi told the apex court that the magisterial report on the basis of which the high court was proceeding against the legislator has not even been shown to him.

Rohtagi said that if the PIL was targeted at a particular person, the high court had to be careful to see if in the guise of public interest there is intent to unleash a private vendetta or personal grouse.

When the court met the ‘reincarnation of Vishnu’

Hetal Vyas / DNA

Thursday, May 13, 2010 0:24 IST

Mumbai: Being a court reporter has inured me to things most people would find startling.

The court days I look forward to the most are Wednesdays and Thursdays. These are the days on which public interest litigations (PIL) are heard, some of them so outlandish that even the judges are left stunned. These strange litigants throw googlies at them by way of obnoxious petitions and pleas.

On one such day, when I was standing in court expecting to find a ‘good story’, a man of medium build came towards the judges’ dais and proclaimed loudly that he was Lord Vishnu. Nobody, including the judges, at first understood what he was trying to say.
The man then went on to explain that he was a call-centre employee, and he was the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu, his avatar in Kalyug.

He claimed to be the reincarnation of Lord Ram and Gautam Buddha as well. That was not all. He also declared that his wife was the reincarnation of goddess Laxmi and their son was Rajiv Gandhi in his previous birth. For good measure, he threw in the ‘fact’ that his father was Lord Shiva, and that he was a Mughal emperor in his previous birth.

As if that was not enough, the man then asked the judges to direct the president of India to declare him God and hand over the affairs of the nation to him. He had the temerity to look affronted when the court burst into laughter.

It did not take the judges more than 10 minutes (as it was mandatory to first hear the man out at length) to dismiss the man’s petition, saying it was out of the jurisdiction of the judiciary to entertain such a petition.

More recently, the court dealt with another strange man who wanted an urgent order in his favour and had no time to spend in court. The reason?

“I am getting married, my lords, in May!” he told the judges. When the judges adjourned his case to June, the man, togged up in a suit and tie, almost broke into tears. “Why don’t you understand?” he pleaded, “I will get busy after the marriage…”

The highly-irritated judges had no option but to dismiss his case, with a parting shot, “Now go, get married and be happy.”

Gadkari dogged, SP plans to move HC

May 13th, 2010 22:41 Posted by Harita Shah

May 13: A day after calling the Samajawadi Party and RJD leaders “dogs”, the BJP president, Mr Nitin Gadkari, is busy apologising for his remark. However, the RJD chief, Mr Lalu Prasad Yadav, wants the BJP chief to “hold his ears and apologise”. The SP, on the other hand, threatened to move court against Mr Gadkari for his “objectionable” comments against party chief, Mr Mulayam Singh Yadav and Mr Lalu Yadav.

Taking a dig at their own chief, some saffron functionaries said on Thursday afternoon: “Woh to bhav mein bah gaye (He got carried away).” An angry Mr Lalu Yadav, meanwhile, said, “We will first try to give Gadkari tablets to cure his mental bankruptcy, then put him on capsules, and if the tablets and capsules fail, we will put him on injections.” The official BJP stand is that now that Mr Gadkari has apologised, “the chapter is closed”.

On Mr Gadkari criticising the SP, RJD and BSP for not supporting the NDA during the cut motion, alleging that they did so out of fear of the CBI, Mr Lalu Yadav said the BJP president was spearheading a campaign against the CBI to save several leaders of his own party who had allegedly stashed “unaccounted black money” in Swiss banks. “The BJP president is desperate,” Mr Lalu Yadav said.

“Our president held a press conference in Chandigarh today and explained the whole issue. He very quickly retracted his statement and apologised,” the BJP spokesperson, Mr Nirmala Sitharaman, said. The Samajwadi Party spokesman, Mr Mohan Singh, said his party was seeking legal opinion to sue the BJP chief.

Why are missing staff paid, HC asks MCD

Utkarsh Anand

Posted: Thu May 13 2010, 01:13 hrs New delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday slammed the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for its affidavit on the ‘ghost employees’ scam and sought to know why the missing 22,853 employees were being paid at all.

Censuring the affidavit that put the blame on the agency’s sanitation department and substitute employees, the court held that the civic body’s document concealed more than it disclosed. Disbursement of the money meant that Rs 11 crore was being given every month to ‘nobody’, the court noted.

“This affidavit conceals everything and discloses nothing. Moreover, it does not commit anything. We think even a half-page affidavit with relevant content would have been better,” a Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta told MCD counsel, BJP spokesperson and senior advocate Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Prasad said the affidavit filed along with the investigation report summed up how the issue of ghost employees cropped up due to their non-registration with the biometric attendance system.

After perusing the affidavit, Justice Lokur wanted to know whether the MCD had stopped paying salaries to these employees. Reluctant to answer the query, Prasad tried to draw the court’s attention to the fact that the problem surfaced due to substitute employees and the MCD had planned time-bound actions. “The court can see the investigation report and verify our bona fide,” he added.

His argument, however, failed to deflect the judge’s attention. “You first tell us whether you have stopped paying salaries to them. Your own document says those who have not been registered with the biometric system are not being paid money. You must ensure that these 22,853 employees are not paid salaries at all,” Justice Lokur asked.

Prasad then said the agency’s affidavit clearly stated that nobody “who was not working” was paid any money. “It is not about who is really working with you and who is not. All we want to know is if you have been paying salaries to them. If yes, you must tell us how you pay them without their being registered with your own identification system. Assuming you pay Rs 5,000 to each employee, you end up paying Rs 11 crore every month to nobody,” the Bench observed.

“The MCD’s affidavit does not disclose these facts. It is not clear whether 22,853 employees are being paid or not. A specific affidavit needs to be filed on this issue by May 26,” the court directed.

Newsline on Tuesday had highlighted the main points of the MCD’s report that admitted to the scam due to “collusion between the employees’ union that is affiliated to various political groups and some junior officers of the MCD”.

DDA top official told to appear in High Court
After top officials of the MCD and the Slums and JJ department, it will be the turn of the vice-chairman of the Delhi Development Authority to make an appearance in the court for not following its orders. On Wednesday, Justice Lokur passed an order seeking his presence on May 19. The directive was issued after the DDA counsel failed to submit their affidavit in court despite being given repeated opportunities. “It is high time you should realise the court’s orders are to be implemented,” the court said. The DDA was supposed to submit a report on the allotments of residential and commercial premises made for disabled category persons.

Adani withdraws petition from HC as CBI assures no arrest

Press Trust of India, May 13, 2010 (Mumbai)

Adani Enterprise Ltd (AEL) managing director Rajesh Adani, on Wednesday withdrew his petition filed in Gujarat High Court demanding quashing of the case registered against him by CBI, after the agency assured that they won’t arrest him again.

CBI on Wednesday submitted before Justice H B Antani that they have recorded the statement of Adani three times and now do not feel the need to interrogate him further.

Prosecution lawyer Y N Ravani assured the court on behalf of the CBI that there will be no arrest of Adani in connection with this particular case registered in Goa.

Following the assurance by the CBI, Adani sought permission from the court to withdraw his petition which was duly granted.

Adani was arrested by CBI on February 27 for allegedly evading customs duty on petroleum products, causing a loss of Rs 1.07 crore to state exchequer.

He got bail on the very same day of his arrest, after his brother Vasant Adani filed a habeas corpus petition before the Gujarat Hight Court.

Based on Vasant Adani’s petition Justice R M Doshit granted him bail and ordered his release.

CBI has registered a case against Adani, whose company is part of Rs 26,000-crore Adani Group, 10 Customs officials, Mumbai-based company Ganesh Benjoplast and Goa-based JAE Letavoson clearing firm.

HC stays sealing of cellphone towers till May 19

Express News Service

Posted: Fri May 14 2010, 01:04 hrs New delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Thursday stayed the sealing drive against illegal mobile towers till May 19, asking the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and the Cellular Operators Association to resolve the issue amicably.

Passing an oral directive, Justice Kailash Gambhir also issued a notice to the civic body, asking it to explain the reasons behind bringing in the new policy on the issue of regulating mobile towers in the Capital.

“It is a public interest matter and should be resolved amicably,” Justice Gambhir said during the hearing.

In their petition, the mobile phone operators alleged the sealing drive by the MCD was illegal as the powers under the Indian Telegraph Act are vested with the Central government and not any civic authority.

The MCD had sealed 24 illegal mobile towers in the Capital on Wednesday. There are 5,364 phone towers under the civic body’s jurisdiction. Of these, nearly 2,952 were declared illegal for being installed without the civic body’s permission.

The MCD has already sealed over 300 towers in the last few months. According to the MCD, mobile operators who have erected towers illegally were given one month’s time to get them regularised. The deadline expired last week.




HC asks Rajasthan ATS to present Ajmer blast suspect on May 21

Press Trust Of India

Indore, May 13, 2010

Madhya Pradesh High Court has directed the Rajasthan ATS to produce a suspect in the Ajmer blast before it on May 21.

A division bench of the HC, comprising Justice A K Shrivastava and Justice N K Modi yesterday also issued notices on the respondents including Rajasthan government, CBI and Rajasthan ATS.

The order came on a habeas corpus petition filed by the family of Ajmer blast suspect Chandrashekhar Barod (40), who alleged that the respondents have not provided information about Chandrashekhar’s whereabouts after he was picked up by them from Nadvoday School at Arnaya Kala in Shajapur district.

Barod’s advocate Bhuvan Deshmukh said that the Rajasthan ATS and CBI arrested Chandrashekhar unlawfully and he was forced to sit in a SUV on April 30.

Chandrashekhar had gone to fetch his daughter home from school when he was taken away, the petition said.





Corrupt babus must get life imprisonment: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN, May 14, 2010, 03.07am IST

MUMBAI: Seeking a tougher law to punish corrupt babus, the Bombay high court has recommended to the Centre to provide for a maximum punishment of life imprisonment for criminal offences committed by government officials.

“Offences by public servants, bankers… those holding key posts in important public organisations have increased in unimaginable proportion as there is hardly any deterrent punishment,” said Justice Chaudhari, adding in exceptionally strong words, “Looking at the upsurge in the cancer of corruption in the country, the only way… is now to provide life imprisonment in the Prevention of Corruption Act.”

Under the existing provisions in the PCA, a government officer held guilty can be awarded a maximum imprisonment of seven years, which the HC felt was not enough.

The courts remarks came during the hearing of a petition filed by an IAS officer, Akola civic chief Giridhar Kurve (54), who had urged the court to quash a criminal complaint lodged against him. Dismissing his plea, the HC asked the police to investigate the alleged fraud.

The court further asked the Centre to have a relook at the procedures where offences under the IPC involving criminal breach of trust committed by a public servant (Section 409) go to the magistrate’s court. Since the magistrate cannot award a prison term of more than three years, the HC has directed the government to consider sending such matters to the sessions court which has the powers to award life imprisonment.

The case relates to a decision by Kurve to deposit Rs 1.30 crore in the Vidarbha Urban Co-operative Bank in March 2009. A month later the bank shut down. A private complaint was lodged against the commissioner and following the court’s intervention an FIR was registered against Kurve. The civic chief claimed he had followed rules, but the court refused to accept this pointing out that the Vidarbha bank was not in the list of banks where a commissioner was allowed to deposit public funds.

“Prima facie, there appears to be a clear cut nexus between Kurve and somebody to dupe Akola Municipal Corporation,” said the judge. “No reasonable and prudent man … would deposit such a huge amount from the public money in such type of cooperative bank.” The court further castigated the commissioner saying that it failed to understand that when a nationalised bank (Dena bank) was operating from the premises of the AMC, why would Kurve “chose to deposit a huge amount belonging to the public with a co-op bank which eventually and to the full knowledge of the applicant was being closed down after about a month.”

The judge also asked the state to reconsider its decision to allow public money to be parked in co-op banks. The court has directed that a copy of its order be sent to the Union law ministry for action.






HC orders fresh auction of Calico Mills

TNN, May 14, 2010, 05.37am IST

AHMEDABAD: In a setback to real estate groups, the Gujarat High Court cancelled the auction of Calico Mills’ huge estate and directed the official liquidator to conduct it again by fixing a new base price. Calico is India’s first cotton thread manufacturing mill.

The public auction of plant, machinery and land of Ahmedabad Manufacturing & Calico Printing Mills Company Ltd was held last month by the official liquidator. Mumbai-based Ajmera and city-based Bakeri groups had nudged out four other bidders to win the auction for Rs 211 crore against a base price of Rs 203.46 crore.

The seemingly low valuation of the huge chunk of land in the prime area of the city had led to allegations that the real estate groups had formed a syndicate and did not allow the raising of its value during the auction.






HC: Banks can’t deny loan to management quota students

TNN, May 14, 2010, 03.34am IST

Banks must extend educational loans to engineering students admitted under management quota also, the Madras High Court has ruled.

“Once the eligibility for admission is established and a candidate is selected through any one of the mode of selection permitted by the monitoring committee, it is not open to the bank to refuse loan facility to a deserving candidate,” Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar said, passing orders on a petition filed by a student.

The student, S Saran Kumar, said in his petition that the Puducherry branch of the Karur Vysya Bank rejected his loan application on the ground that he had got admission under the management quota and not through the single window selection. Saran Kumar had got admission in the MRK Institute of Technology, a self-financing institution at Kattumannarkoil, for BE in electronics and communication in 2008-09.

After paying the first semester fee from his own pocket, the student approached the bank for an educational loan of Rs 3.4 lakh. Slamming the bank’s rejection order, the student contended that the RBI-framed scheme for sanction of loan did not bar loans to students admitted under management quota. The eligibility criteria for the Loan Scheme were the nationality of the student, admission mode, quantum of payment, he said.





Allegations of graft against UPTU registrar, HC directs govt to reply–HC-directs-govt-to-reply/618779/

Posted: Fri May 14 2010, 03:15 hrs

Hearing on a PIL challenging the appointment of U S Tomar as the Registrar of the Uttar Pradesh Technical University, a Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said it was a “serious issue” and asked the state government to file a detailed reply on the allegations levelled by the petitioner.

A n NGO , Nyay Vikas Samiti, filed the petition on Thursday at the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court saying Tomar used forged letters for his appointment as the registrar of the university.

“Using his influence in the bureaucracy, Tomar got himself appointed on the post, which is reserved for a PCS officer,” said Girish Chandra Sinha, counsel of the petitioner. The petitioner has claimed that Tomar is a relative of a senior bureaucrat. Sinha submitted the audit report showing Tomar’s alleged involvement in direct financial bungling to the tune of Rs 146 crore. The petitioner cited the reply given by the UPTU in an RTI query in which the university refused to give details of Tomar’s educational qualifications. The next hearing in the case has been scheduled for July.

Petitions question three-tier ministries, HC reserves order–HC-reserves-order/618778/

Express News Service

Posted: Fri May 14 2010, 03:15 hrs Lucknow:

The Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved its order on petitions seeking abolition of three categories of ministers — Cabinet, State and State ministers with Independent charge.

Two practising lawyers — Ashok Pande and Sesh Narayan Pande — had filed separate petitions in the High Court contending that the Constitution has made provision for only one class of ministers. The petitions accuse the government of misinterpreting “The Salaries and Allowances of the Minister ACT 1952” and “UP Ministers (Salaries, Allowances and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1981.”

“Under these Acts, the government has been conferred the powers to decide salaries and allowances, but it has instead created divisions in the ranks of ministers, which is against the Constitution,” Ashok Pande told the Bench of Acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi.

The petitions also challenge the validity of separate oaths of office and secrecy for state ministers or deputy minister.

“As per the prevailing practice in the Union government as well as state, only Cabinet ministers are invited to participate in the meeting of the council of minister, which is illegal as such meetings are not represented by more than 50 per cent of the ministers appointed under Article 75 (1) and 164 (1) of the Constitution,” said Sesh Narayan .

The petitioners have urged the court to declare such nomenclature of ministers illegal.

HC issues notice to CBI, Hyderabad commissioner

May 13th, 2010 22:56 Posted by Harita Shah

May 13: The AP High Court has issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Hyderabad city police commissioner seeking a reply on a petition that sought a direction to the CBI to register a case against the commissioner and the south zone task force personnel.
Mr Syed Shujath Ali, a resident of Begumpet, filed the petition alleging that south zone task force personnel foisted a case against his son, Mr Syed Faisal, at the behest of some influential persons under Section 21(B) of the Arms Act. He urged the court to direct the CBI to investigate into the matter.
Justice V. Eswaraiah issued notice asking the CBI and the city police commissioner as to why the petition should not be admitted in view of the averments made by the petitioner in his affidavit and posted the case after the vacation.

Honour killing: HC admits appeal against guilty verdict–HC-admits-appeal-against-guilty-verdict/618514

Express News Service

 Posted: Fri May 14 2010, 22:34 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today admitted the appeals of seven persons held guilty in a case of honour killing in Haryana.

A division bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice Jaswant Singh admitted the appeals and dismissed an application demanding parole filed by one of the guilty.

Terming the judgment passed against them as “whimsical and on sentimental grounds”, the seven persons held guilty for murdering one Manoj and his wife Babli for marrying within the same gotra (caste) had filed an appeal challenging the order of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Vani Gopal Sharma.

Those awarded death sentence are the girl’s brother Suresh; uncles Rajender and Baru Ram and her cousins Gurdev and Satish.

While Ganga Raj, leader of the khap panchayat that allegedly justified the killing has been awarded life imprisonment, one Mandeep Singh has been awarded seven years in jail for kidnap.

HC notice to KSPCB, Bescom

Bangalore, May 13, DH News Service:

The High Court on Thursday ordered issue of notices to Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and Bescom over a closure notice issued to a tobacco company.

Ma Sharada Tobacco Private Limited and Pan Parag Limited had approached the High Court stating that KSPCB had sent them a closure notice on April 9 based on a rule made in November 2003 that only agricultural activity would be allowed in the vicinity of the TG Halli reservoir.

The petitioners said that Bescom cut their electricity supply on April 24.

The petitioners challenged the closure notice stating that the company was a betel processing unit and hence should be treated as an agricultural activity. The closure notice was sent and our reply was not even considered, the petitioners alleged.

Notice has also been issued to the Department of Forest Environment and Ecology.

Notice to BBMP

The High Court also issued notice to BBMP over the procurement of vehicles for collecting solid waste.

The petitioner Huchappa had accused the BBMP of not following rules in accordance with the Karnataka Transparency in Public Procurement Act in inviting tenders for vehicles to collect municipal solid waste.

The petitioner said that 120 vehicles were needed for 30 divisions for the delivery of municipal solid waste and the tender was worth more than Rs one crore.

He further stated that the cost of these vehicles range from Rs 5-7 lakh while the prices being quoted were in the range of Rs 14-16 lakh. This would result in a loss to the exchequer, the petitioner argued.

Gujarat High Court agrees to take up plea on Lokayukta


May 12th, 2010

GANDHINAGAR – The Gujarat High Court Wednesday agreed to take up a petition alleging the state government’s inaction over appointment of a Lokayukta (ombudsman) but cautioned petitioners to cite reasonable grounds for taking up their suits.

Social activist Amit Jethwa through his advocate Vijay Nagesh had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) and questioned the state government’s inaction over appointment of the Lokayukta.

The petitioner sought the court’s direction pointing out that there was no Lokayukta in the state since November 2003.

He claimed that in the absence of a Lokayukta, aggrieved citizens were compelled to approach the high court, increasing the burden on the judiciary.

The grounds cited by Jethwa for taking up his plea did not impress the court. It said the petitioners should cite reasonable grounds while filing suits.

A division bench of Justice Bhagwati Prasad and Justice J.C. Upadhyay said that citizens were free to approach the high court in case of any difficulties with government officials or government bodies.

The division bench posted the matter to be listed for hearing after June 15.

Earlier, a division bench comprising Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi had refused to hear the PIL and directed that it should be moved before another division bench.






Delhi HC refuses to direct NACIL to stop payment for new planes

12 May 2010, 2247 hrs IST,PTI

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today declined to direct the National Aviation Company of India Ltd (NACIL) to stop payment for purchase of 47 new aircraft as a part of aircraft acquisition programme on the ground that state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines were facing huge financial losses since 2006.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta dismissed an application seeking a stay on the payment for 47 new aircraft which were supposed to be bought in the year 2012 as the aviation industry is facing loss despite the fact that the Standing Committee on Transport and Parliament Committee on Public Undertakings have given reports about the loss.

“To avoid further financial loss, the payment should be stopped,” argued Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the petitioner.

The Bench accepted Attorney General G E Vahanvati’s submission that the reports have been submitted in Parliament recently and Action Taken Report was to be submitted by the government this month.

The court also accepted the argument that after 26/11 (Mumbai terror attack) in 2008 the airline business has gone down considerably and new aircraft were inducted by the government in order to meet the international competitions as the airlines from other countries have launched highly advanced aircraft to improve the business.

The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation alleging the government went in for a huge unnecessary fleet expansion programme in which purchase orders for 111 aircraft were given at cost a Rs 67,000 crores.

Out of 111, 64 aircraft have been bought and payment for rest 67 are yet to be made.

“It is in the fitness of things that when such a huge loss has been caused to the public exchequer and reputation and functioning of national carriers have been damaged irreparably, an investigation be made so as to fix individual responsibility,” the advocate for NGO said.

He referred to the findings of two Parliamentary Committees which came to the conclusion that aircraft acquisition programme lacked transparency and needed to be probed.

“Direct an SIT/CBI investigation into the unnecessary purchase and lease of a large number of aircraft and deliberate loss of market share of National Aviation Corporation of India Limited (NACIL), formed through the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, through loss of profit-making routes, for unearthing the role of senior officers of the civil aviation ministry and top management of NACIL,” the petitioner submitted.
on the ground that state-owned Air India and Indian Airlines were facing huge financial losses since 2006.

A Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta dismissed an application seeking a stay on the payment for 47 new aircraft which were supposed to be bought in the year 2012 as the aviation industry is facing loss despite the fact that the Standing Committee on Transport and Parliament Committee on Public Undertakings have given reports about the loss.

“To avoid further financial loss, the payment should be stopped,” argued Prashant Bhushan on behalf of the petitioner.

The Bench accepted Attorney General G E Vahanvati’s submission that the reports have been submitted in Parliament recently and Action Taken Report was to be submitted by the government this month.

The court also accepted the argument that after 26/11 (Mumbai terror attack) in 2008 the airline business has gone down considerably and new aircraft were inducted by the government in order to meet the international competitions as the airlines from other countries have launched highly advanced aircraft to improve the business.

The Bench was hearing a PIL filed by an NGO Centre for Public Interest Litigation alleging the government went in for a huge unnecessary fleet expansion programme in which purchase orders for 111 aircraft were given at cost a Rs 67,000 crores.

Out of 111, 64 aircraft have been bought and payment for rest 67 are yet to be made.

“It is in the fitness of things that when such a huge loss has been caused to the public exchequer and reputation and functioning of national carriers have been damaged irreparably, an investigation be made so as to fix individual responsibility,” the advocate for NGO said.

He referred to the findings of two Parliamentary Committees which came to the conclusion that aircraft acquisition programme lacked transparency and needed to be probed.

“Direct an SIT/CBI investigation into the unnecessary purchase and lease of a large number of aircraft and deliberate loss of market share of National Aviation Corporation of India Limited (NACIL), formed through the merger of Air India and Indian Airlines, through loss of profit-making routes, for unearthing the role of senior officers of the civil aviation ministry and top management of NACIL,” the petitioner submitted.

HC says ‘no view’ on Haryana court demand–no-view–on-Haryana-court-demand/618166

Maneesh Chhibber

Posted: Thu May 13 2010, 01:12 hrs New Delhi:

While the Haryana Government continues to demand a separate High Court, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has refused to take a stand on the contentious issue. At a Full Court meeting held on April 20, the judges led by Chief Justice Mukul Moudgil decided instead, to leave it to the government to take a call.

The meeting was held after Union Minister for Law and Justice M Veerappa Moily wrote to Justice Moudgil, requesting him to communicate the stand of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the matter. Justice Moudgil is learnt to have conveyed the Full Court’s views to the Minister, stating in the letter that the Full Court “has no views to offer on the issue”.

At present, the two states of Punjab and Haryana have a common HC located in Chandigarh. The demand for a separate High Court assumed importance after the Haryana Assembly passed a unanimous resolution in 2005 demanding a separate High Court.

HC asks UT to protect identity of rape victim

Express News Service

Posted: Thu May 13 2010, 00:19 hrs Chandigarh:

Nari Niketan case: On April 28, the victim was produced in the district courts without any measures to hide her identify

To ensure that the mentally challenged girl raped in Nari Niketan, Sector 26, does not become an object of public gaze, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Chandigarh Administration to protect her identity the next time she is produced in the district courts.

The victim was summoned by the trial court on April 28. But the police had taken no measures to protect her identity.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih on Wednesday disposed of an application moved by additional amicus curiae Tanu Bedi regarding the matter.

Bedi had expressed strong objection to producing the rape victim in the district courts “like any other girl”. Bedi apprised the Bench that the victim’s face was not covered and took a dig at the prosecution for not doing its “homework”.

 “Unfortunately, no home work was done by the prosecution. The kind of questions asked by the prosecution demonstrated that they were not well prepared. They brought her just like any other girl. She was not muffled (sic). She became an object of curiosity and no precaution was taken to secure her identity,” Bedi said.

Justice Kant observed that “it is a very serious issue”. But the Bench made it clear that it does not want to pass any orders, which shall prejudice the trial court.

Senior standing counsel for the Administration, advocate Sanjay Kaushal, on the other hand, assured that all “earnest efforts” would be taken to save the victim from public gaze.

Victim to be assisted by Ashreya attendant in trial court

In an another significant decision, the High Court, with the consent of the Administration, has asked the prosecution to move an application before the trial court, seeking permission to appoint a female employee of Ashreya to stand with her and assist the court in understanding her correct deposition. The victim is a resident of Ashreya, Sector 47.

The directions were passed on an application submitted by Bedi, stating that the victim’s “cognitive capacity is retarded”.

“At times, the words uttered by her are not clearly understandable by a person who is not well acquainted and has not interacted enough (with her),” the application stated.

The HC has asked the trial court to decide the application within five working days, before the victim’s cross-examination.

“(The) true version/deposition of (the) victim needs to be correctly understood by everyone, including the Presiding Officer (trial court judge), prosecution and defence,” the Bench observed in its order.

Kaushal, meanwhile, has instructed the prosecution to file the said application on Thursday.

HC asks NHAI to explain why trees not planted on NH

Abhinav Sharma, TNN, May 13, 2010, 02.21am IST

JAIPUR: A division bench of Rajasthan High Court has sought an explanation from the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI), department of surface and road transport, New Delhi, and other state authorities for not planting adequate number of trees compensating the loss of plantation caused during the carving out of Kota-Chittorgarh National Highway No 76 and Tonk-Sawai Madhopur State Highway No 116.

The court issued show-cause notices on a public interest litigation filed by environmentalist Babulal Jaju, who brought to the notice of the court that while developing NH No 76, the NHAI had taken permission in 2005 to cut a certain number of trees.

“NHAI had taken permission to cut 3,946 trees in Bhilwara but as per the report of forest officer of the area, it uprooted as many as 13,927 trees in the division. Similarly, permission was obtained to cut 12,566 trees in Chittorgarh but 19,798 trees were cut while in Bundi 2,186 were cut,” Jaju alleged in his petition.

HC takes up Galgibaga turtles’ cause

TNN, May 13, 2010, 01.33am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa has suo motu taken up TOI’s April 23 report ‘Crawling bypass threatens turtle haven’ as a PIL after taking cognizance of a letter written by a lawyer refering to the report.

The letter had sought to know whether an environment impact assessment had been carried out in terms of the proposed highway’s impact on turtle breeding grounds at Galgibaga.

During the hearing the government brought to the court’s notice that Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) had addressed a letter to the PWD on April 26, 2010 stating that the area would be classified CRZ-I and directed them to stop further construction of the road and to restore the area to the original condition by removing the earth filling.

The GCZMA letter states that no approval was granted to construct the road. The construction of the road is in violation of CRZ notification, 1991 and an offence under the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the letter points out and further states that “the area is eco-sensitive and in so far as it affect the turtles, while nesting, it would attract the provisions wildlife (protection) Act, 1972.”

Appreciating the swift action taken by the government in the matter, a division bench comprising justices S J Vazifdar and U D Salvi directed PWD to comply with the GCZMA directions. The court has requested advocate Norma Alvares to appear as amicus curiae in the matter and posted the next hearing to June 21.

HC stays interim order on medical counselling

May 12th, 2010 22:43

Posted by Harita Shah

Hyderabad, May 12: A vacation bench comprising Justice V. Eswaraiah and Justice Noushad Ali of the AP High Court on Wednesday suspended the operation of two interim orders granted by a single judge with regard to admission to postgraduate medical degree and diploma courses for 2010-11.

The bench was dealing with two writ appeals filed by the NTR University of Health Sciences challenging the orders of the single judge.

Earlier, the court passed the orders in two writ petitions filed by Dr Penta Sunil Kumar, Dr Jamalpur Sravana Kumar and others, directing the university to consider the petitioners for admission into the courses without adhering to the cut-off date of March 31, 2010.

The single judge considered the plea of the petitioners that their case was not being considered by the university on the ground that they had not completed two years of service by the cut-off date.

Mr. D.V. Nagarjuna Babu, counsel for the university, contended that the university had adopted the cut-off date for completion of service for in-service and general category candidates to ensure the counseling process is complete by May 31, every year as per the directions of the apex court.

Land transfer to Kalki stayed

The vacation bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court stayed all further proceedings on an order issued by the government allotting land to Kalki Ashram in Argonda village of Chittoor district.

The bench was dealing with a petition filed by Mr M. Sreeramulu Reddy and others challenging the alienation of 84 cents of land in favour of Mr R.S. Satish Kumar, a pracharak of Kalki known as “Dadaji of Kalki”, on April 29, 2010.

Mr Gangaiah Naidu, senior counsel, appearing for the petitioners told the court that the land belonged to the Ardhagiri Anjaneyaswamy temple and the government had accorded permission for alienation on a nominal market value. He contended that the government action was contrary to the provisions of Endowments Act.

Status quo on plea by IPS officer

The Hyderabad bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has granted status quo on a petition filed by Mr Gopinath Jetty, an IPS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre.

Mr Jetty approached the CAT challenging the action of the UPSC in allotting the J&K cadre in spite of his merit.

While granting status quo, the CAT issued notices to the Centre and the UPSC, seeking their reply on the petition.

The matter was posted for further hearing on May 19.

HC stays order on Bt cotton seeds

A vacation bench comprising Justice V. Eswaraiah and Justice Noushad Ali refused to grant interim stay on implementation of an order issued by the state government fixing the maximum sale price of BG-I and BG- II cotton seeds at Rs 650 and Rs 750 per bag respectively.

The bench was dealing with a petition filed by the National Seeds Association of India represented by its executive director, Mr R.K. Sinha, and others complaining that the price fixation was arbitrary.

Compensate Mumbai commuters: HC

Posted: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 at 1819 hrs IST
Updated: Wednesday, May 05, 2010 at 1819 hrs ISTMumbai: Taking a serious view of the motormen’s strike that paralysed the city’s suburban rail network for nearly two days, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday said the Railways should compensate commuters hit hard by the stir.

The strike on May 3-4 by drivers of the suburban trains, used by seven million commuters daily, affected normal life as only around 20 per cent of services could be operated till last evening when the agitation was finally called off.

Sensing that the stir was paralysing normal life hitting hard office goers and students, the Centre moved the Court yesterday morning and sought its intervention for ending the stir by the motormen demanding a wage hike.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice J N Patel and Justice S C Dharmadhikari today observed that compensation should be paid to hapless commuters.

“Travellers are the victims. Why they should not be compensated? Railways can recover this money later from the employees,” the High Court said.

Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambata said the Railways would consider the suggestion.

The court said if political parties could be fined for organising `bandh’ and disrupting civic life, the same logic should apply in the present case too.

When Khambata told the court that the strike was deferred till June 15, the court adjourned the hearing till June 16.

HC raps govt, says Anganwadi staff not doing their work

Express News Service

Posted: Thu May 13 2010, 01:04 hrs New delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rapped the state government’s Department of Social Welfare for the “tragic situation” prevailing in its Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), popularly known as Anganwadis.

Hearing a petition over utilisation of funds received by the state from the Centre as also the Budget under the ICDS, a Division Bench of Acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta expressed its strong displeasure over the manner in which Anganwadis were working though as the department had around 13,500 workers.

“What do you do with the over 13,000 anganwadi workers? They are clearly not working. I just read this media report that almost 50 per cent of the children in India are suffering from malnutrition and we realise the situation is bad here as well,” Justice Lokur told the counsel for the department. The court further termed the situation as “tragic” that children were not being given proper nutrition and care.

The counsel had earlier submitted an affidavit in the court indicating the amount received by the department from the Centre and the state for the ICDS. As asked by the court, the affidavit also detailed how the amount had been utilised under specific heads and the beneficiaries.

The claims in the affidavit, however, did not move the Bench, which said everything was only on paper and that the truth was entirely different. “Your affidavit reads there is one anganwadi worker taking care of 30-40 children. You cannot tell us this. If you want, you yourself can go to any JJ cluster and show us any Anganwadi worker there. We are sure you will not find one,” Justice Lokur said.

While the counsel stuck to his guns and told the Bench that the affidavit was true and the financial records could be verified, Justice Lokur asked him if he had “personally” visited any Anganwadi centre till date. As the counsel replied in the negative, the judge said that if he wished, he could go to any centre right now and could come back in some time, for the reality would certainly be different from what the affidavit disclosed.

Toning down the intensity of his arguments, the counsel then said that “at least something” was being done for the children. “No, the situation is tragic. Benefits and services must reach those who deserve it and not anyone else,” Justice Lokur said.

Meanwhile, senior advocate Arvind Nigam told the court that the department could not be allowed to spend 52 per cent of the money in setting up distribution channels while only 42 per cent was being disbursed for the benefit of the children.

The court then refused to lend complete credence to the report and directed the counsel to get a survey conducted of the 20 “best” anganwadi centres. “We want a complete report and we give you the liberty to choose your best 20 centres. Submit a report with photographs by May 14,” the court directed.

Let judiciary decide on Kasab

I was not surprised but appalled by the statements made by the Law Minister M.Veerappa Moily and Union Home Secretary GK Pillai related to the death sentence awarded to Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab. It is to my mind not the duty of the Law ministry or the Home Ministry to give a projected date of hanging of the accused when the matter has to be decided by the judiciary. Both Moily and Pillai seem to have jumped the gun while stating that the 26/11 convict will be sent to the gallows this year itself. While Moily said that the higher courts will fast track justice, Pillai said that hanging would take place if he does not appeal against his sentence.

My concern is that where is the need for these responsible people to make irresponsible statements. The Mumbai court has done an exceptional job to uphold the rule of law and has after examining concrete evidence awarded the death penalty to Kasab. As per the legal norms, even if he does not appeal against the verdict, our justice system mandates that the death sentence has to be confirmed by the High Court. Therefore to set a time limit by functionaries other than those who are expected to do so in a court of law while following the procedures laid down by law is something that cannot be condoned.

There is no doubt in anybody’s mind either in this country or anywhere else that Kasab along with his associates was responsible for the killings on 26/11 in Mumbai. He was therefore tried for the crime and the court has awarded him the death sentence. The subsequent course of action will be taken once the higher courts are seized of the matter and after a thorough appraisal of the evidence on record come to a conclusion. There are no reasons to believe that the higher judiciary will not reach an appropriate verdict. But by speaking on matters, which do not fall under their purview as yet, the Law Minister and the Home secretary have not only committed a breach of propriety but also exhibited scant respect for the law of our land. I hold both of them in very high respect and to be honest did not expect this kind of faux pas from them. Hopefully, they will be more careful the next time.

Another thing, which in equal measure astounded and flabbergasted me while watching Times Now on Tuesday night, was the manner in which the TV channel conducted a discussion on the Ruchika Girhotra case. It surprises me how a TV channel can air something which is blasphemous and against the tenets of our legal system. The hearing of the case has ended and the court is expected to pronounce its judgement in about ten days. We all would want justice for the dead girl but it is for the courts to examine the evidence and reach a conclusion. But the channel seemed to have made-up its mind even before the court has pronounced its judgement.

The manner of presentation gave the impression that the channel has decided that Rathore should be sent behind bars and the timing of the programme could have easily been interpreted as an attempt to influence the judgement of the case. One participant, Siddhartha Luthra, an eminent Supreme Court lawyer tried his best to tell the anchor that lines of propriety were being transgressed but his sane appeals went unnoticed. It is indeed sad that these kinds of things have been repeatedly happening. I have said it earlier too that the media can help in highlighting what it perceives to be a case of injustice but it cannot sit in judgement over anybody. It is the job of the courts alone to evaluate evidence and then reach the appropriate conclusion. I hope my colleagues in the media will pay heed to this basic norm.

Posted by Pankaj Vohra on Wednesday, May 12, 2010 at 10:01 pm 

18 Karnataka HC judges declare assets

Johnson T A

Posted: Thu May 13 2010, 00:15 hrs Bangalore:

Nearly eight months after Justice D V Shylendra Kumar of the Karnataka High Court declared his personal assets, defying the position held by then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, as many as 18 of his colleagues Wednesday made their assets public.

The judges have posted details of their assets on the High Court’s website.

The court has 36 sitting judges. Among those who have not declared their assets is Chief Justice P D Dinakaran, who is the administrative in-charge of the court despite not wielding judicial authority in light of the impeachment probe initiated against him by the Rajya Sabha.

Disagreeing with the then CJI, Justice Kumar wrote in The Indian Express in August, 2009 that judges of the superior courts must not fear public declaration of their assets.

“It is a matter of utmost paradox that the Chief Justice of the most powerful Supreme Court in the world should be expressing apprehension for the safety and security of the judges of the superior courts in this country by saying that revealing the particulars of assets of the judges and throwing open the information to public domain may result in harassment to judges and in turn prevent the judges from performing their duties without fear or favor,” Justice Kumar wrote.

Soon after, the judge declared his assets on his personal website. The High Court Registry did not allow him to post details of his assets on the official website.

In the eight months that have elapsed since, judges of several High Courts across the country have made details of their assets public.

My only asset is my integrity: new CJI

Press Trust Of India

Posted on May 12, 2010 at 11:11

New Delhi: Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia, the senior most judge of the Supreme Court, was on Wednesday sworn in as the 38th Chief Justice of India by President Pratibha Patil.

Justice Kapadia, 62, would hold the post till September 29, 2012. He was associated with a historical judgment in which a five-judge constitutional bench had held that the law put in the Ninth Schedule was open for judicial review.

Justice Kapadia’s deep knowledge on wide ranging issues, particularly tax laws, has earned him accolades from the bench and the bar in equal measure.

The judge, who is known for maintaining strict judicial discipline, assumes the office at a crucial time when Indian judiciary is battling allegations of corruption and perceived failure of in-house mechanism on appointment and elevation of judges.

For the judge, who during his tenure in the apex court since December 18, 2003 has been associated with 771 judgments, his 28-month term as the CJI would be a challenging one against the backdrop of the need to reducing the number of pending cases.

However, the real test for Justice Kapadia would be to take a stand on whether or not the office of CJI comes under the ambit of the Right to Information Act as Justice Balakrishnan had consistently maintained that it has to be kept out of the purview of RTI.

The issue assumes importance as the Delhi High Court had dismissed the stand of Justice Balakrishnan after which the Supreme Court Registry appealed to the apex court.

In a letter to former Supreme Court Judge V R Krishna Iyer on May 3, Justice Kapadia had said the only asset he possesses is integrity and hoped to fulfill the Constitutional obligations to achieve the goal of “inclusive growth.”

“I come from a poor family. I started my career as a class IV employee and the only asset I possess is integrity”, he had said.

“Even as a judge of the Supreme Court, I have used my knowledge of accounts and economics for the welfare of the downtrodden including tribals and workmen.

“I hope to fulfill my obligation to the Constitution in the matter of achieving the goal of inclusive growth”, he had said in his letter, replying to a congratulatory message from Justice Iyer following his new appointment as CJI.

No politician will try to influence judiciary: CJI

May 10, 2010 14:02 IST

A day before he steps down, Chief Justice of India [ Images ] Justice KG Balakrishnan came out in strong defence of his colleagues at a time when the credibility and of judiciary has taken a hit. Excerpts from the outgoing CJI’s exclusive interview to CNN-IBN:

When asked if he felt pressurised during the recent Ambani gas dispute, CJI said, “I have never felt any pressure in any case that I have heard “

When pressed further, if anyone from the government had attempted to influence the case, CJI said, “People don’t understand the working of judiciary. No politician will like to come and meet a judge. He will be in trouble, suppose the judge exposes him, his political career can be in danger”

When asked if he felt hut by the growing number of cases of judicial corruption during his tenure, he said, “Corruption will always bother anyone. But considering the number of cases and judges, it’s actually miniscule. Situation is not very serious ”

On being asked if he had indeed transferred Justice Dinakaran to Sikkim high court and if he felt sad about serious allegations against a senior judge, the CJI said, “I felt sorry that some motives were attached to me as well. We work systematically following all norms.”

When asked if the credibility of judges was not taking a hit as a number of them go onto accept goverment posts after their retirement, he said,  “There are so many tribunals that have to be manned by retired judges of SC. There is TDSAT etc. People think that SC judges may favour the government to get these posts, but actually it’s the other way. The government wants us there. ”

When asked if he himself was considering taking up a government post after retirement, he said, ” I have not made up my mind as yet.”

SC upholds tribunals for fast-tracking corporate cases news

12 May 2010

In a judgement expected to have a strong positive impact on the business environment, a five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court has upheld the legality of the Companies (Second Amendment) Act 2002, providing for the establishment of the National Company Law Tribunal and National Company Law Appellate Tribunal to deal exclusively with company cases for their speedy disposal.

At the same time the five-judge bench, comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices R V Raveendran, D K Jain, P Sathasivam and J M Panchal, came down hard on the practice of filling posts in such tribunals with bureaucrats rather than judicially qualified members, saying adjudication of these matters needed a judicial bent of mind.

Justice Raveendran, writing the judgment for the Bench, said that bureaucrats at best could be made technical members of the tribunals and all appointments to the post of presiding officers had to be made in consultation with a committee headed by CJI (the Chief Justice of India) or his nominee and comprising a judge of the Supreme Court or a HC, secretaries in the ministries of company affairs and law and justice.

The judgement means that by eliminating several intermediate steps, NCLT will expedite the disposal of corporate disputes and winding up petitions.

At present, disputes are first raised at the level of the Company Law Board (CLB) and then the high courts.

Similarly, the winding up of companies is referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, an appellate body, and then the high courts. Once the changes are implemented, the references will be made directly to NCLT, the appellate tribunal and finally to the Supreme Court.

According to M R Umarji, one of the architects of the security enforcement law, this will quicken insolvency proceedings. ”India’s rating as a business destination suffered since there was no way to close down unviable businesses and dispose of assets. This will change. Now chartered accountants and legal practitioners can be official liquidators,” he said.

The apex court delivered its judgement on a petition filed by the union government, which had appealed against an earlier Madras high court order. The high court had ruled that the amendment to the Companies Act 1956 to set up the NCLT and NCLAT was unconstitutional.

Earlier, a three-judge bench of the Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Balakrishnan had referred the matter to a five judge constitution bench, saying that the issues raised in the appeals are of ‘seminal importance’ and are likely to have serious impact on the very structure and independence of the judicial system.

”We have been waiting for the establishment of NCLT for a long while,” said a senior official of the ministry of company affairs, while indicating that the government would shortly proceed on the amendments proposed by SC. ”It is well timed as the new Companies Act is expected to be passed (soon).”

Bride must convert to marry Muslim: Allahabad HC

R N Pandey, TNN, May 12, 2010, 04.13am IST

ALLAHABAD: In a judgment with far-reaching implications, the Allahabad high court has ruled that a non-Muslim bride must convert to Islam to marry a Muslim. Failing that, the matrimony with a Muslim man would be void as it would contradict Islamic dicta and tenets of the Quran, the court said.

The ruling on Monday by a division bench comprising Justices Vinod Prasad and Rajesh Chandra, came on a writ petition filed by Dilbar Habib Siddiqui. The petitioner had sought quashing of an FIR registered against him on March 17 under sections 323, 366 and 363 of IPC with Naini PS, Allahabad and prayed the court not interfere in his peaceful matrimonial life with Khushboo Jaiswal. The judges directed a speedy probe into the marriage of Siddiqui and ordered the cops to separate Khushboo Jaiswal, who was lodged in Nari Niketan, and hand her over to her parents.

The primary question for adjudication was on whether the FIR could be quashed or not. A perusal of the contents of the FIR indicated that Khushboo Jaiswal was alleged to have been abducted by the petitioner three months prior to its lodging. However, the petitioner had succeeded in preventing the FIR from being registered. The FIR was filed by the girl’s mother, Sunita Jaiswal, who alleged that the petitioner had abducted her daughter. She contended that Khushboo never converted to Islam and there was also no documentary evidence to suggest so.

“In our above conclusion we are fortified by the fact that in the affidavit filed by Khusboo herself subsequent to her alleged contract marriage, she has described herself as Khushboo and not by any Islamic name. As Khushboo, she could not have contracted marriage according to Muslim customs. In those documents she has addressed herself as Khushboo Jaiswal,” the verdict said.

“Thus, what is conspicuously clear is that Khushboo Jaiswal never converted and embraced Islam and therefore her marital tie with the petitioner Dilbar Habib Siddiqui is a void marriage since the same is contrary to Islamic dicta and tenets of Holy Quran,” the court ruled.

Gujarat HC upholds POTA court order in lawyer assault case

DNA Correspondent / DNA

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 10:56 IST

Ahmedabad: A division bench of Gujarat high court comprising Justice Jayant Patel and Justice ZK Saiyed has upheld the POTA court order in lawyer Hasmukh Lalwala attack case. The POTA court had convicted Mohammed Ashraf Ismail Nagori and Mohammed Tahir Mohammed Arif Bakaswala for conspiring and attacking the prominent Surat-based lawyer, Lalwala.

The court rejected the appeal of the petitioners who had challenged their conviction by the POTA court.POTA judge Sonia Gokani had awarded seven years’ rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs20,000 to the two for conspiring and attacking Lalwala to create an atmosphere of terror in society.

Nagori and Bakaswala had contended that they were coerced to make confessional statements, hence it would have no evidentiary value in the trial. They also contended that one of the accused had already undergone imprisonment as undertrial prisoner in another case and was freed as innocent after the trial, hence the court should consider the period of imprisonment undergone and reduce the conviction.

The court observed that conspiring and attacking Lalwala to teach the Hindu community a lesson was an act to create terror in society. The division bench was of the opinion that such acts by citizens of the nation would harm the integrity of the nation.

As per case details, Nagori and Bakaswala had attacked Lalwala on May 21, 2002 near a Jain temple at Makkai Bridge in Surat, in which Lalwala had sustained injuries. The police had booked five persons in the case. Two accused have died and one is still absconding.

The designated POTA court had convicted the present petitioners on August 4, 2005. The duo is also accused in ISI conspiracy and Haren Pandya murder case.

Moreover, the high court also dismissed the appeal of the state government to enhance the punishment. It confirmed the designated court’s discretion to award the maximum punishment for the offences under sections 307 and 120-B of IPC, section 25(1)B(a) of Arms Act and section 3(2) of the POTA.

Sari can’t end marriage: HC

Press Trust of India,

Email Author

Mumbai, May 11, 2010

Sari may be a bothersome garment but a marriage cannot be ended over it, Bombay High Court has held.

Dismissing the petition of a homeopathic practitioner, a division bench held that in-laws’ insistence on sari can’t amount to “cruelty” under the Hindu Marriage Act.

The petitioner, who got married in 2003, filed a criminal complaint against the husband and his family for subjecting her to torture for dowry. She also filed a divorce petition in the family court.

She cited instances of cruelty, including her husband’s illicit affair. Another grievance was that she was forced to wear sari by her in-laws.

After the family court rejected her application, she filed an appeal in the High Court. Upholding the family court’s verdict, the HC said the in-laws’ insistence on her wearing sari can’t be an act  of cruelty to dissolve the marriage.

HC respite to mobile service providers

TNN, May 12, 2010, 01.58am IST

NAGPUR: In a major setback to Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT), the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed it to remove the seals put on 52 mobile towers in the city. The bench also directed not to take any coercive action against mobile companies. The order of the vacation bench headed by Justice Vasanti Naik has thus given respite to mobile companies and a large number of consumers. The mobile service will resume on Wednesday.

NIT had started taking action against illegal mobile towers erected in 572 and 1900 layouts across the city and also sealed them.

Following this, Indus Towers, Essar Limited and GTL filed a petition in the high court against the NIT’s move. The petitioners stated that cellular services had been severely affected after the NIT started the drive.

The aggrieved petitioners said sealing of towers had led to chaos as signals were not received even at prominent places like the high court. Senior lawyers M G Bhangde and Atul Chandurkar appeared for the petitioners.

The petitioners informed the court that prior to NIT’s action, the NMC had issued demand notes of Rs 1 lakh for each tower to mobile service providers and also asked them to pay Rs 10,000 each as fine. The NMC stated that the towers were erected in its jurisdiction and recovered fine from them. Later, the NIT started taking action against the towers, stating that they came under its jurisdiction.

Enraged over this, Indus Towers, Essar Limited and GTL approached the high court. After hearing both the sides, the bench directed the NIT to remove the seals put on mobile towers. The HC also told the NMC that if any mobile tower comes under the jurisdiction of NIT and if the former collected fine then it should hand over money to NIT.

SC stays HC order on SHRC panel member

May 11th, 2010 22:34

Posted by Harita Shah

New Delhi, May 11: In a major relief to the Andhra Pradesh Government, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the state High Court order directing the Rosaiah administration to appoint the ‘non-judicial’ member of the State Human Right Commission within two weeks.

The stay was granted by a bench headed by the Chief Justice, Mr K.G. Balakrishnan, on the appeal moved by AP government through its standing counsel, Mr D. Bharathi Reddy.

The government in its appeal said though the consultation process for appointment was on, the HC had not given it enough time to complete it in an order passed on April 9.

The controversy had arisen with the direction of the AP Lokayukta on October 21, 2009, asking the state government to initiate process of appointing the non-judicial member of the state rights body. The government had challenged the Lokayukta’s order in the HC on the grounds that it had no power to issue direction for appointment of the state human rights commission member for which a clear provision is laid down in the law. The HC though had accepted the contention of the state government, but only gave a very limited time to complete the appointment process, which according the state’s SLP in apex court amounted to virtual revival of the Lokayukta order. Admitting the state’s petition, the apex court issued notice to the Lokayukta and the complainant, on whose petition it had acted.

Give relief on actual income, not projected earning: HC

Express News Service

Posted: Wed May 12 2010, 01:20 hrs New delhi:

Ruling out any “guess work” in calculating the compensation in motor accident cases, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday held that the damages had to be given to the kin only on the basis of the actual income of the victims and not on what they could have earned with their capabilities.

Justice S N Dhingra made it clear that while a motor accident claims tribunal had the discretion to award compensation after assessing the capabilities of the victims, the family of a victim could not legally ask for a compensation claiming the deceased was capable of earning far more than his present income.

“I consider that when a person is actually employed, the courts cannot enter into a guess work as to what would be the income of the deceased as per his capabilities. It would be more hazardous as the actual income of the deceased would go on the backburner and every claimant would seek compensation according to alleged potential or capabilities of the deceased,” held the judge.

The court was of the opinion that an unbridled discretion with a tribunal or a court in this regard would only create confusion when the victim had a fixed source of income and hence the damages should be based on the actual income only.

Justice Dhingra was adjudicating on an appeal by one G R Sachdeva, who had lost his son in a road mishap in February 1977. At the time of the accident, his son was working as Engineering Instructor with All India Radio on a monthly salary of Rs 1,287.

A tribunal, however, considered the fact that he was a brilliant student and was also selected for deputation by Oman Government for a period of two years. Hence, instead of taking his actual income for computing the compensation, the tribunal took a monthly income of Rs 2,700 into account and awarded Sachdeva a gross compensation of Rs 3.45 lakh.

Sachdeva, however, challenged it in the High Court and claimed that the compensation should have been computed on the basis of what his son would have earned in Oman. Unimpressed, the High Court dismissed his plea, citing an apex court ruling on the subject. The court observed that when the tribunal had already taken his son’s bright prospects into account, enhancing the compensation further was not justified and was also not in tandem with the settled legal principles.

HC adjourns Halappa’s bail plea till May 13


Bangalore, May 11 (PTI) Former Karnataka minister H Halappa, arrested on charge of rape, today claimed before the high court that the video footage on the alleged incident involving his friend’s wife had been tampered with.

Moving the bail application, senior counsel Ravi B Naik said the video had been tampered as if to make it appear as a rape case and the woman and her husband had falsely implicated Halappa to tarnish his reputation.

Naik argued that there were differences between the FIR and the purported video footage, claimed to have been shot by Chandravathy’s husband last November.

Justice B V Pinto, adjourning the hearing on the bail application to May 13, directed the public prosecutor to file objections, if any on that day.

School reopens after HC order
MC had taken possession forcing students to write class X exam on road

Chander Parkash
Tribune News Service

Guru Har Sahai (Ferozepur), May 11
The local Modern Public High School started humming with the activity today again following the resumption educational work after its possession was given back to its management committee by the local municipal council (MC).

As the school was constructed over a piece of land belonging to MC about three decades ago, the MC authorities locked the school gates on April 20, 2010 with the help of police and district administration and took its possession under its own command despite the fact that students were taking final examination of class X.

Dozens of students of matric class took the practical examination of agriculture subject while sitting on the road in front of the school on April 21, 2010 after the school was locked by the MC authorities.

Montu Vohra, municipal councillor and son of Shashi Vohra, president of MC, when contacted, said that possession of school was handed over to the school management on the basis of orders of Punjab and Haryana High Court which directed that management of the school must be allowed to run its affairs.

Sohan Singh Monga, manager school, said that school premises had been handed over to school management by the high court and hence school management had started imparting education to its hundreds of students today itself. He added that students in large number attended their respective classes today.

He said that possession of the school premises was taken by the MC authorities on April 20, 2010 despite the fact that he submitted the documents to it which established the fact that two writ petitions were lying pending in the high court in connection with the dispute of possession of school between MC authorities and school management.

He added that authorities concerned did not bother about these two writ petition and took the possession of school premises by bowing to political pressure. He said that management approached the high court again against the illegal action of the MC authorities of taking possession of the school premises.

HC issues notice to MLA, DC

Fazilka, May 11
A division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court comprising Chief Justice Mukul Moudgil and Justice Jasbir Singh today issued notice to the DC, Ferozepur, EO, Municipal Council, Fazilka, local MLA Surjit Kumar Jyani and one Kewal Krishan asking them to present their viewpoint before the court on August 17.

They have been summoned in response to a PIL, regarding an encroachment by Kewal Krishan at a rickshaw stand in the cycle bazaar of Fazilka.

Navdeep Asija, secretary, Graduates Welfare Association, Fazilka, filed the PIL in the court stating that one Kewal Krishan encroached upon some part of the rickshaw stand in the cycle bazaar and constructed a shop there at the behest of local MLA Surjit Kumar Jyani. According to the PIL, the council served repeated notices to Kewal Krishan but he did not vacate the council land.

The petitioner has prayed for issuance of directions to the Executive Officer, Municipal Council and the DC Ferozepur to get the illegal possession of rickshaw parking shed vacated immediately. — OC

Inquiries into old-age pension cases move at snail’s pace

Dist admn was told to conduct inquiries in Oct’ 09
Sushil Goyal
Tribune News Service

Bathinda, May 11
Despite the fact that the state government had written to the Bathinda district administration in October 2009 to 
conduct inquiries into the old-age pension cases and the cases related to financial assistance by the Department of Social Security, Punjab, to widows, destitute women, disabled persons and dependent children, the verification of about 50,000 such cases is continuing at a snail’s pace in the district.

In October last, the inquiry was ordered by the government in the light of complaints that a large number of ineligible persons were receiving old-age pension or financial assistance (Rs 250 per month) throughout the state. The deputy commissioners (DCs) were then asked by the Punjab Chief Secretary to conduct inquiries by the first week of November to detect the ineligible cases. In the inquiries, the old-age pensioners/beneficiaries of financial assistance schemes (whose cases have been sanctioned from September 1, 2002) had to be covered.

After the Chief Secretary’s letter in October, two letters were written to the district administration in February 2010 by the Principal Secretary and the Director of the Department of Social Security with an instruction of sending the requisite information in this regard by February 26.

When no report was sent, the Chief Secretary wrote to the district administration to send the same to the Director by March 31, 2010.

Sources in the administration told TNS that now on May 5, the Principal Secretary had written a letter to the DC, Bathinda, and expressed displeasure over non-submission of the inquiry report. He also stated that “despite writing a number of letters, no information, with regard to complete inquiry report, has been received from your side so far”. He has also asked the DC to send the report in this regard by May 10 to the Director, Department of Social Security.

However, DC Gurkirat Kirpal Singh, when contacted over phone, claimed that about a week ago, the government had extended the date for submission of the inquiry report till July-end.

In Bathinda district, these inquiries are being conducted by the SDMs of Bathinda, Talwandi Sabo and Rampura Phul. However, it is learnt that no SDM has submitted his inquiry report so far.

When contacted, two SDMs gave some reasons due to which they could not complete the inquiries so far. The reasons included non-availability of some of the beneficiaries at their homes, procurement of wheat, census duties, and other such works.

Lawyers replace judges at mediation centres

Rajneesh Lakhanpal

Ludhiana, May 11
The Punjab and Haryana High Court has appointed nearly 100 lawyers as mediators at 18 mediation and conciliation centres across Punjab and Haryana. These lawyers will replace judges, who were earlier heading these mediation centres from over one year. The move is to bring down heavy pendency of cases and encouraging parties to settle their disputes through dialogues.

Earlier, two judges – one of the rank of the Additional District and Sessions Judge and Civil Judge – were heading each of the centre.

These lawyers were given a 40-hour training in five days at the Judicial Academy, Chandigarh, under the supervision of Justice M M Kumar, Chairman of Mediation and Conciliation Committeee of Punjab and Haryana, a few days ago.

They were imparted training for making them perfect in breaking a deadlock between parties and resolve their disputes amicably. They were instructed not to share details of dialogues exchanged by parties during the mediation proceedings.

In the first sitting, all these mediators will hold a joint session of both parties and in the second, both parties will be heard separately to find out the real cause of their dispute and make efforts to resolve issues between them.

After the final settlement, a draft of settlement will be prepared by mediators and then sent to the court concerned for passing a decree or appropriate order. Mediation and conciliation centres were set in both states on November 8, 2008, by Justice S B Sinha, a Supreme Court judge, through videoconferencing.

These centres were set up at Ludhiana, Jalandhar, Amritsar, Sangrur, Hoshiarpur, Ferozepur, Patiala, Moga, Gurgaon, Faridabad, Rohtak, Sonipat, Jind, Karnal, Kurukshetra, Rewari and Hisar.

Hi-tech land record centre opened

Tribune News Service

Ferozepur, May 11
Raminder Singh, commissioner, Ferozepur and Faridkot divisions, said that computerisation of land records in Punjab state would be completed by December 31 this year.

While disclosing this at a function organised in connection with the inauguration of land computerisation centre in Mamdot sub-tehsil of this district, he said that with the opening of this centre, the land owners and cultivators would be able to get the official copy of Jamabandi, girdawri, intqual and roznamcha report on the spot.

Earlier, the applicants had to wait for two days for getting such copies after moving an application in same connection, he said while adding that 36th land record computerisation centre of Punjab had been opened in Mamdot sub tehsil.

He said that exercise of computerisation of land record in the entire state had been going on war footing.

He added that where the land record had been computerised and some faults had been found in the same, the data entry centres had been set up in each district to correct those faults so that functioning of the land record computerization centres could be made smooth.

Lovers don’t care for law and customs: CJI

TNN, May 12, 2010, 04.35am IST

NEW DELHI: In the midst of a controversy stirred by support from politicians like Naveen Jindal and Om Prakash Chautala to medieval diktats of khap panchayats, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan said society should be more tolerant of ‘people in love’.

On his last day in office, the CJI tried to avoid answering a question that is almost a political hot potato but he could not restrain his feelings brimming over at a crowded press conference here. “Laws do not govern the mindset of those in love. Once you are in love, you do not keep in mind the law,” he said on Tuesday adopting a sympathetic tone towards couples who have faced the ire of khap panchayats. This remark assumes significance since he was well aware of prohibited relations under Hindu marriage law.

Asked whether there was a need for amending the existing law, Justice Balakrishnan said, “Certain prohibitory relationships are codified in the Hindu Marriage Act. But laws do not generally address such problems. It is a social issue that needs debate. Amendments, if at all, can only be brought about by legislature.”

If the laws and social norms have blurred the line in the case of khap panchayats, the CJI also talked about a blurring line between legislature and judiciary.

Conditional nod by SC for company law tribunal

Once the changes are implemented, the references will be made directly to NCLT, the appellate tribunal and finally to SC

Manish Ranjan and Sangeeta Singh

New Delhi: A five-judge Supreme Court (SC) constitution bench on Tuesday cleared the decks for the establishment of a National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) on the basis of new guidelines on the composition and functioning of these tribunals.

By eliminating several intermediate steps, NCLT will expedite the disposal of corporate disputes and winding up petitions.

At present, disputes are first raised at the level of the Company Law Board (CLB) and then the high courts.

Similarly, the winding up of companies is referred to the Board for Industrial and Financial Reconstruction, an appellate body, and then the high courts.

Once the changes are implemented, the references will be made directly to NCLT, the appellate tribunal and finally to SC.

This is similar to the procedure pursued by the Competition Commission of India.

Presently, the various high courts of the country are clogged with regular civil and criminal cases, slowing the disposal of company disputes. CLB website shows that there are 2,870 cases pending for the 2008-2009 period.

According to the latest data from the law ministry, as of 30 June there were a total 52,592 cases pending before SC, an aggregate of 4,017,956 cases pending before the high courts, and 27,119,092 cases pending before all the subordinate courts put together—adding up to a total backlog of 31.18 million cases, the largest for any country.

“This is welcome news as the establishment of NCLT will reduce the pendency of cases,” said O.P. Dua, a Delhi high court lawyer. “It has been a trying time for CLB.”

The government envisaged the formation of NCLT through an amendment to the Companies Act in 2002.

NCLT was expected to take over the role of the high courts and CLB pertaining to various matters under the Companies Act.

However, the Madras high court in 2004 held the proposed NCLT to be unconstitutional and ruled that it encroached upon the powers of the judiciary.

Under the Companies Amendment Act, 2002, the members of the tribunal were to be appointed by the Central government and the head of the tribunal didn’t have to be a judge.

The apex court delivered its judgement on a petition filed by the Centre which had appealed against the Madras high court order.

The bench, headed by outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan, upheld the Madras high court judgement in principle and also warned against the tribunalization of the justice system and the placing of executive and technical members on a quasi-judicial body. Instead, it argued that the judiciary should be a key part of the process.

Accordingly, it cleared the establishment of the body subject to new guidelines. Under the proposed dispensation, NCLT would be headed by a retired high court judge.

Further, any bench consisting of both judicial and technical members would have a majority belonging to the first group.

Tribunal members will be appointed by a committee consisting of CJI, a serving SC judge or high court chief justice, the law secretary and the trade secretary.

“We have been waiting for the establishment of NCLT for a long while,” said a senior official of the ministry of company affairs, while indicating that the government would shortly proceed on the amendments proposed by SC. “It is well timed as the new Companies Act is expected to be passed (soon).”






CJI on the ambit of RTI in judicial domain

In commenting RTI Act as a legislation attributing to judicial interventions, outgoing Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan has confessed that administrative side of country’s judicial system is definitely under RTI purview.


Tue, May 11, 2010 12:16:17 IST

WHILE COMMENTING on RTI Act as a legislation attributing to judicial interventions, outgoing Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan has confessed that administrative side of country’s judicial system is definitely under purview of RTI Act as passed by the Parliament. As such all pleas in Supreme Court by its own registry against three CIC decisions relating to judiciary should lose ground.

It was mishandling of RTI petition by Supreme Court registry when it declined to reveal simple information sought on the unanimous resolution passed by all the judges of Supreme Court even though copy of the important document was provided by the registry itself. 

Another petition related to revelation by Justice R Raghupati of Madars High Court about some Union Minister having approached him. Such disclosures would expose influence, if any, by those in legislature on judiciary thus being in interest of judicial independence rather than against it as feared by some people in judiciary.

Third petition related to appointing judges at higher courts where even Chief Justice of India admitted High Courts were packed with favourites. Supreme Court collegium had to withdraw its recommendation for elevating PD Dinakaran to Supreme Court but only after media leaked news of an otherwise hidden recommendation in present non-transparent system of appointing judges. Legal luminary Fali S Nariman was shocked by revelation of behind-the-scenes bitter truth behind superseding of distinguished judges like AP Shah (earlier AK Patnaik also).

Judicial independence is a must. But sufficient checks are also necessary so that such independence may not be misused as tool of dictatorship/misconduct/corruption or any other malpractice in the system. RTI Act in present form has proved to be an effective tool to provide such a check, and must not be diluted. Otherwise also, legislature and bureaucracy are always accountable to judiciary. RTI Act has induced accountability to some extent in administrative side of judicial system.

CJI, KG Balakrishnan advocates for stringent law against terrorism-Govt. should heed him,-KG-Balakrishnan-advocates-for-stringent-law-against-terrorism-Govt-should-heed-him348.html

by SatbirSinghBedi, May 11, 2010 14:19

Kind attention is invited to the following news item in the Times of India dated 9th May, 2010:

“NEW DELHI: The acquittals in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case due to failure to prove conspiracy has made the Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to strongly advocate the need for a stringent law against terrorism to sufficiently enable the probe agencies to crack complex terror cases.

“India should consider putting in place a tough anti-terror law that can enable and help the probe agencies to crack terror cases as in most cases the conspiracies are hatched in foreign land and evidence collection is tough,” the CJI told TOI in an exclusive interview.

When asked whether the acquittals could possibly have resulted due to the inability of the ordinary criminal laws to appreciate the hard-to-come by evidence, the CJI said: “Most countries have drastic laws to deal with terrorism-related offences. Even Britain has it. So it is time for Parliament to debate the need of a suitable anti-terror law for India.” ”

The Govt. of India must listen to the Head of the country’s Apex Court and cutting across party lines, should make drastic laws to deal with terrorism-related offences.  This is the need of the hour and appeasement of Muslims or vote bank politics should not come in the way.

Satbir Singh Bedi, BH(Poorvi) 682, Shalimar Bagh, Delhi-110088

CJI’s parting shot


New Delhi, May 11: Outgoing Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan today said judges were not “government servants” and could not be censured or suspended.

He shrugged off suggestions that halfway measures — short of the long political process of impeachment that removes judges from office —were needed to discipline them.

“If the judge’s integrity is doubtful, you cannot censure or suspend him or tick him off. He is not a government servant. That should be the end of his career,” the CJI said at his last official news conference on his last day in office.

However, he agreed that the impeachment process was “long”.

Justice Balakrishnan blamed much of the controversies that took place during his three-and-a-half years as the country’s top judge on the heightened “public gaze” on the Supreme Court.

“If we don’t do anything, we won’t commit mistakes. If we do, you make some mistakes. It is not as if these things did not happen earlier. But the public gaze was not there. So anything that happens (nowadays) comes to light. Such things must have happened earlier too, but we never knew of it,” he said.

He denied that the apex court had a problem with becoming more transparent under the RTI regime.

“I never wanted the CJI out of the purview of the RTI. The Supreme Court has submitted the highest number of answers under the RTI. We do not have any problems sharing any information; we are giving all information,” he said.

He, however, qualified this by saying the institution’s opposition related only to a “very small area”. Some information lying with the CJI is of such a nature that it cannot be revealed, he said.


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