LEGAL NEWS 23.05.2010

Will study HC order on IHF and decide action:Gill
New Delhi, May 22 (PTI) Sports Minister MS Gill today said his ministry would study the Delhi High Court verdict reviving the Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) before deciding on the next course of action.The Delhi High Court yesterday quashed Government and Indian Olympic Association (IOA) orders derecognising and disaffiliating IHF in 2008 after its secretary K Jothikumaran was caught on camera taking bribes to select a player.Reacting to the order, Gill said, “I have not received a copy of the order, just read it in the newspapers. But my answer is simple. Whatever the High Court ordered, we have to accept that. My ministry will read it, think over it and then decide what to do.”After disbanding IHF, IOA first set up an ad hoc committee and then put in place Hockey India, merging men and women’s units, as directed by the International Hockey Federation (FIH).

Punjab & Haryana HC has 16 ‘uncle judges’
Saurabh Malik/TNS
Chandigarh, May 22The Punjab and Haryana High Court has as many as 16 Judges with their kith and kin practising in the same court. The Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court has already forwarded their list to the Union Ministry of Law and Justice.
The list was sent in response to a communication received by the high court from the ministry. In the beginning of this year, the ministry had asked the high courts across the country to identify and furnish the list of all such judges who have their kith and kin practising in the same court.
Available information suggests that some of the judges here not only have their sons, daughters but also their siblings and other relations like nephews and brothers-in-law practising in the same court. At least four judges have their relatives working in the office of the Punjab and Haryana advocates-general office. Some other judges have relatives appearing before the Bench in the same court.
The list forwarded by the high court mentions the names of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel, Justice Ashutosh Mohunta, Justice M.M. Kumar, Justice S.K. Mittal, Justice Hemant Gupta, Justice V.K. Sharma, Justice TPS Mann, Justice Mahesh Grover, Justice S.D Anand, Justice K.C Puri, Justice K.S. Ahluwalia, Justice Sabina, Justice Jora Singh, Justice M.S. Sullar, Justice Gurdev Singh and Justice Harbans Lal.
The issue again gained momentum only recently after Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily told The Tribune in an exclusive interview that the Law Ministry was asking the judges to give an undertaking at the time of their elevation that they would not function in a court where their relatives were practising.
Moily’s assertion had come in the presence of Attorney-General Goolam E. Vahanvati, Additional Solicitor-General Mohan Jain and Haryana Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda at a ceremony to felicitate the law minister.
The Law Commission has discussed the issue in its 230th report as well. The commission has made it clear that it is against the policy of transferring Chief Justices; and he should rather be from the same high court. But while making appointment of judges, advocates with kith and kin practising in a high court, should not be posted in the same high court. This would eliminate “uncle judges”, it said.The Punjab and Haryana High Court’s former chief justice, Justice B. K. Roy, too had earlier issued an administrative order barring a group of 10-12 judges from hearing any case argued by their relatives. In his order, Justice Roy had said: “It was generally believed that A, B, C and D (all judges) constituted a mutual cooperative society in the sense it was believed that each of the four judges (A, B, C and D) would protect the sons of the three other judges.” The order had led to widespread protests.
List of judges
Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel
Justice Ashutosh Mohunta
Justice M.M. Kumar
Justice S.K. Mittal
Justice Hemant Gupta
Justice V.K. Sharma
Justice TPS Mann
Justice Mahesh Grover
Justice S.D Anand
Justice K.C Puri
Justice K.S. Ahluwalia
Justice Sabina
Justice Jora Singh
Justice M.S. Sullar
Justice Gurdev Singh
Justice Harbans Lal

HC quashes rules framed by CIC prescribing appeal procedure
Updated on Sunday, May 23, 2010, 09:49 IST
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has struck down the rules framed by the Chief Information Commissioner on procedure for deciding appeals before it under the RTI, saying the CIC has no power to enact such regulations under the transparency law. “The Chief Information Commissioner has no powers to make rules under the RTI Act. Both the ‘appropriate government’ and the ‘competent authority’ have been empowered by the Rules to make rules to carry out provisions of the Act,” a bench of Justices Badar Durrez Ahmed and Veena Birbal said.
“The CIC by formulating the regulations and prescribing the procedure for deciding appeals, has clearly violated the provisions of the RTI Act,” it said. The order was passed on a plea of DDA seeking quashing of Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007 enacted by the Commissioner to decide procedure for special appeals before itself.
The court said the Act did not empower the CIC to make any regulations encroaching upon the subject matter of the rule-making power of other public bodies and the regulations had been framed in complete derogation of the provisions of the RTI Act. While deciding on the appeal, the bench also ruled that the Commission has no mandate to appoint committee having outside members to inquire into whether public body complied with the transparency law. Interpreting the provisions of the Act, dealing with powers and functions of the Commissions, the court said “It is apparent that the inquiry that is contemplated under the Act is an inquiry by the Information Commission itself. There is no provision for an inquiry to be conducted by any other committee for and on behalf of the Information Commission.” “There is nothing prescribed either in the Act or the Rules made thereunder, whereby the Central Information Commission could be said to have been empowered to delegate its power of inquiry to some other person or a committee of persons,” it said. PTI

HC directs OSLSA to probe into Kalinganagar violence
Cuttack, May 22 (PTI) Orissa High Court today directed the Orissa State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) to conduct an enquiry into recent violence at Kalinganagar in Jajpur district.Chief Justice Venkatgowda Gopalagowda and Justice Laxmikant Mohapatra, hearing a PIL filed by lawyer and social activist Ramachandra Ray, directed the member-secretary of OSLSA to submit the report by Thursday next.The petitioner had alleged state government-sponsored anarchy at Kalinganagar and had demanded a CBI or Human Rights Commission probe into the chaos and lawlessness in the area.Violation of human rights is rampant in the locality and tribal people are forcibly evacuated from their homes in Kalinganagar where the government is setting up a common corridor road to facilitate different industrial units coming up in the area, the petition had alleged.

Outgoing CJI, K.G. Balakrishnan, admits of corruption in judiciary
Emphasizing that there is ‘miniscule’ corruption in the higher judiciary, outgoing Chief Justice of India (CJI) K.G. Balakrishnan on Monday said he felt sad that motive had been attributed to him in Karnataka Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran’s case even though all norms had been followed.”No politician would like to come and meet a judge because he would be in trouble if the judge exposes him,” the outgoing CJI, who demits office on Tuesday, told a television news channel, in response to a question on whether politicians or government functionaries ever try to approach judges to influence a verdict.When asked about several cases of judicial misconduct that have surfaced in the recent past, Balakrishnan said: “Corruption in any instance will bother any Chief Justice but considering the number of cases, the number of judges in this country, it (corruption) is only miniscule.”The CJI also lamented that he had come under a cloud while dealing with allegations against former Karnataka Chief Justice Dinakaran, who has been accused of judicial misconduct and misappropriating government land.While refusing to answer whether Justice Dinakaran was transferred to the Sikkim High Court, he said: “Normally we don’t disclose all these things (but) some motives were attributed to me also. I felt sorry for that. We worked systematically, following all norms and so I felt sad when somebody attributed motives on something. Then you feel bad about it.”Speaking on the issue of post-retirement assignments for judges of the higher judiciary, Balakrishnan sought to discount the popular impression that “the Supreme Court judges may favour the government to get these posts”.He said the number of tribunals needing the services of retired judges far outnumber the retired judges.”People think that Supreme Court judges may favour the government to get these posts. But it is the other way: there are an insufficient number of judges to man these tribunals,” said the CJI.The CJI said: “Recently, I got letters from the government to suggest two names for two tribunals (but) we don’t have judges because after justice Tarun Chaterjee there has been no retirement.””You see many of the tribunals are manned by retired judges of the Supreme Court. How (else) will we carry on this work of the regulatory authorities as we are now in a regulatory regime.”On whether he would be accepting the government’s offer to man the post of national Human Rights Commission chairperson after his retirement, the CJI said: “I am not sure. I have not made up my mind on this.”The CJI, who recently gave verdict on high-voltage Ambani brothers gas dispute, said that he never felt any pressure while adjudicating any case.”I have never felt any pressure in any case that I have heard,” he said adding that “people do not understand the working of judiciary.” Date : 10/05/2010. News by

Moily: Centre for changes in Memorandum of Procedure of appointment of Judges
J. Venkatesan
So that the Executive will have more say in the appointments
The Centre is contemplating certain changes in the Memorandum of Procedure of appointment of Judges under, which the Executive will have more say, according to the Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily.
In an exclusive interview to The Hindu here on Thursday, Mr. Moily speaking on a wide range of issues said, at present the system of appointment of Judges was governed by the Supreme Court 1993 and 1998 judgments and the Memorandum of Procedure, viz. the collegium system of appointment, was evolved subsequent to the 1998 judgment.
He said the government after obtaining the opinion of the Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati on the two judgments had proposed certain changes in the procedure so that the Executive would have more say in the appointments even at the stage of selection of judges to weed out tainted persons from being appointed. He said the proposal was sent to the former Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan for his consideration. However, Justice Balakrishnan had left it to the present CJI S.H. Kapadia for his consideration and “we are awaiting his decision in this regard.” He pointed out that there were about 280 vacancies of posts of judges in the High courts and the government wanted to take the judiciary into confidence before any major step was contemplated.
Asked what would be the government’s response if the CJI did not accept the changes in the Memorandum of Procedure, he said, “we will have to go in for Constitution amendment to bring in necessary changes. I don’t think such a step is required at this stage. We are confident that the judiciary will accept these changes as they are in conformity with the two Supreme Court judgments.”
On the Judicial Accountability Bill, he said, the Group of Ministers had cleared the Bill and it would be introduced in the monsoon session of Parliament. It was expected to be placed before the Cabinet shortly, he said. Under the Bill there was a move to appoint an Oversight Committee to go into complaints against judges. The committee was empowered to recommend minor and major punishments like asking the judge concerned to go on leave or not to assign any work to him, giving him a warning or censure besides the removal procedure.
Regional Benches
Asked whether the government was in favour of setting up of Supreme Court Benches, he said, the government was not in favour of regional Benches. But as in the United Kingdom, he said, “we are contemplating courts of appeal in various regions to restrict the appeals in criminal and civil cases so that the Supreme Court can concentrate on constitutional matters.”
On the move to increase the retirement age of High Court judges from 62 years to 65 years, he said, the government was considering the proposal to make the retirement age of High Court judges on par with Supreme Court judges. But he said there was no proposal to increase the retirement age of Supreme Court judges from 65 to 68 years. He, however, said that no final decision had been taken in the matter.

Patna High Court allows screening of Kites in Bihar
Patna,(BiharTimes): Justice Navaniti Prasad Singh of the Patna High Court on Friday allowed the screening of Hindi film Kites after staying an order of a subordinate court in Sitamarhi district of Bihar.The court allowed the screening of the film after it admitted a writ petition filed by M/s Film Craft Production Pvt Limited challenging the stay ordered by the Sitamarhi court on the “international screening” on Friday.
On Thursday the Sitamarhi court had stayed its screening till May 24. The court responded after a bunch of petitions were filed by Laxmi Narain, an advocate, M/s Happy Enterprises and M/s Spectrum Enterprises raised the issue of violation of copyright and distributorship of the film in Bihar.
The court ordered issue of notices to the Bihar government and respondents to represent their sides on the writ petition in the court.

Writ filed to take action against Telugu Desam MLC
May 18th, 2010
Hyderabad, May 17: A writ petition was filed in the Andhra Pradesh High Court on Monday seeking a direction to the police to take action against the newly elected TD MLC, Mr P. Narender Reddy.
Mr Golla Ramchandraiah, a native of Shabad village in Ranga Reddy district, filed the petition alleging that the MLC slapped him and forcibly took him in his car and later confined him in a room to beat him up with rubber pipes. He further alleged that the MLC threatened him with dire consequences.
He told the court that he lodged a complaint against the MLC before the Shabad police, but they refused to entertain his complaint and he approached junior first class magistrate court at Chevella and filed the complaint and it was referred to the police to investigate the case.
He said that the Shabad police registered a case under Section 323, 364-A, 342 and 506 of the IPC against the MLC, but they did not take any action against the accused so far.
Plea filed against inaction on sarpanch
A writ petition was filed in the High Court seeking a direction to declare the action of the authorities in not removing Mr M. Narsa Goud from the post of the sarpanch of Gambhiraopet gram panchayat in Karimnagar district as illegal.
Mr K. Anjaneyulu, a resident of Gambhiraopet, filed the petition stating that the district collector issued a showcause notice to the sarpanch on March 30, 2010 for alleged misappropriation of the gram panchayat funds. He told the court the inquiries conduct against the sarpanch for his misconduct and alleged misappropriation of funds have been proved, but the district collector instead of removing the sarpanch from the post issued a memo on April 24, and reinstated Mr Narsa Goud as sarpanch.

Mangalore Air India crash: Accident or Negligence of authorities?
By Staff Reporter Published: May 22 2010
Air India Express from Dubai crashed outside Mangalore’s airport today, killing at least 160 people. Two organizations had filed a PIL in 2004 for allowing this 2nd runway to be built in negligence of applicable norms and standards

An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft arriving from Dubai with 167 on board 2010 tragically crashed at Mangalore International Airport at 6.30 am today. The plane overshot the runway while landing and fell over a cliff resulting in this disastrous crash.

The accident seemed to have occurred due to the bad condition of the runway. According to sources “The length of the runway is comparatively small but the cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. The airport at Bajpe, which is about 30 km from Mangalore is situated in a hilly area and is considered to be one of the most difficult airports to take off and land,”

Vimana Nildana Vistharana Virodhi Samithi (Local Communities Alliance Against Airport Expansion), Bajpe and Environment Support Group had repeatedly highlighted the high risk expansion of the Mangalore airport around 2004. And even after filing several PILs, the Government didn’t seem to react. The matter went to High Court even but was rendered baseless.

“This was no accident, but the direct result of deliberate failure of officials for allowing this 2nd runway to be built in negligence of applicable norms and standards. No one in authority cared to listen to our fervent pleas. This even when we demonstrated through a variety of representations that that the site chosen for expansion at Bajpe was surrounded by deep valleys on three sides of the runway and did not provide for emergency landing areas as required,” Said Leo F. Saldanha, Coordinator, Environment Support Group.

Arthur Pereira, Spokesperson (VNVVS) said “This neglect of our legitimate concerns forced us to move the High Court of Karnataka but then again, nothing really happened there. A key concern raised was that the 2nd runway in Mangalore could not meet the standards required in dealing with an emergency, particularly during landings and takeoffs – a time when air crashes are most likely to happen,”

“Six years later today we are mourning the unfortunate death of so many people who should have been alive. Of course all sorts of explanations will be on offer, but none of that can bring lost lives back or cure the tragedy that has wrongly befallen so many families,” Said Arthur.

India today is frantically building airports all over, and for all sorts of flaky reasons. It is truly sad that because of the failure of key decision makers so many innocent lives have been lost.

Parents hail government’s decision
TNN, May 22, 2010, 02.41am IST
NAGPUR: A parent from Aurangabad, Raju George, expressed happiness over the government’s decision and termed it as victory for the common man. “I thank the media and the judiciary for saving innocent students,” said George. Raju and other aggrieved parents had filed a PIL in the Aurangabad bench and had also written a letter to PM Manmohan Singh, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Union HRD minister Kapil Sibal against the domicile rule. They said that their children would be forced to take admissions in management quota by paying exorbitant fees (Rs 10-15 lakh) owing to change in domicile conditions. The same letter was also forwarded to chief minister Ashok Chavan, higher and technical education minister Rajesh Tope, director of technical education SK Mahajan, and former principal secretary for higher education JS Saharia. The other parents who were part of the petition include P Mohandas, P Padmanabhan, TN Rajan, PV Mohanan. Another parent, Kingshuk Kumar Mondal, had written a letter to the high court citing the TOI report.

Waterlogging: Court direction to Himanta
GUWAHATI, May 21 – The Division Bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising Chief Justice Ramesh Surajmal Garg and Justice Hrishikesh Roy, after hearing a PIL (No. 44/08) along with other connected PILs and writ petitions today directed Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister, Guwahati Development Department to file an affidavit in the said PILs. The PILs have been filed for the artificial flood and water logging problems being faced by various areas of Guwahati city.
During the course of hearing, the court observed that the Minister of Guwahati Development Department at a press conference made a statement before the media that the water logging problems faced by Guwahati can not be solved and also made some irrelevant statements on the issue. The court, considering the minister’s observation made to the press, directed him to file an affidavit justifying his statements in the said PIL within May 26.
The court has also passed similar direction in the PIL No. 81/09 which was filed by Ketaki Bardalai and Dr Santwana Bordoloi for a direction to ensure strict implementation of the provisions of the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (collection, removal and disposal of solid wastes and efficient cleaning and scavenging of streets, drains and premises) bye-laws, 2000.
Indraneel Lahiri and AA Mir, advocates appeared for the petitioner in PIL No. 44/08 before the court.

By churumuri
The following is the full text of a press release issued by Environment Support Group, a Bangalore-based NGO, on the air crash in Mangalore.
Doubtless, it represents one side of the story, but it lays bare the complicity of governments at the Centre and in the States, the judiciary in Delhi and Bangalore, local politicians, businesses, corporate bodies—and the apathy of the “general public”—that resulted in 160-plus lives being snuffed out, and hundreds of families being thrown in disarray.
What it also does is shine the light, and an ugly light at that, on the unquestioning thirst for “development” and the resulting cynicism of those who ask questions and are seen as obstacles in the path to progress.
An Air India Express Boeing 737-800 aircraft arriving from Dubai with 167 on board tragically crashed at Mangalore International Airport at 6.30 am today (22 May 2010). It is reported that the plane overshot the runway while landing and fell over a cliff resulting in this disastrous crash. Very few are known to have survived this horrific crash.
This was no accident, but the direct result of deliberate failure of officials at the highest level in the director general of civil aviation (DGCA), airports authority of India (AAI), ministry of civil aviation, and the government of Karnataka for allowing this second runway to be built in criminal negligence of applicable norms and standards.
Such a strong charge is being made as the likelihood of this kind of a crash (the worst case scenario) was predicted.
A series of public interest litigations (PILs) were fought by the undersigned to stop the construction of this second runway in Mangalore airport on grounds that the design simply did not conform to the most basic national and international standards of airport design.
The PILs also highlighted that the airport does not conform with the most minimum safeguards for emergency situations, particularly during landings and takeoffs, and could not have emergency approach roads within a kilometre on all sides of the airport as required.
It is truly sad that because of the failure of key decision makers at the highest levels so many innocent lives have been lost. It is quite possible that many lives were lost as emergency rescue teams could not access the crash site due to the difficult terrain (a valley) for over a hour after the incident, even though it was proximal to the site.
That such a crash has occurred at the Mangalore airport is unpardonable as a similar crash had occurred at this airport over a decade ago. (Fortunately the plane did not tip over into the valley and all passengers, including Union law minister Veerappa Moily, were fortunate to escape.)
Vimana Nildana Vistharana Virodhi Samithi (local communities alliance against airport expansion), Bajpe, and Environment Support Group had repeatedly highlighted the high risk expansion of the Mangalore airport during the late 1990s. The expansion was proposed to enable flight movements of wide bodied aircrafts, such as Airbus A 320.
Authorities were repeatedly informed that the proposal did not at all conform with the standards prescribed for runway design as laid down by the DGCA, national building code of India and ministry of civil aviation.
Further, considering that the airport was proposed for international flights, a case was also made that the second runway could not conform with international civil aviation authority standards due to terrain limitations.
No one in authority cared to listen to our fervent pleas. This, even when we demonstrated through a variety of representations that that the site chosen for expansion at Bajpe was surrounded by deep valleys on three sides of the runway and did not provide for emergency landing areas as required.
This neglect of our legitimate concerns forced us to move the High Court of Karnataka in a PIL in 1997 (Arthur Pereira and others vs the Union of India and others, WP No. 37681/1997). A key concern raised was that the second runway in Mangalore could not meet the standards required in dealing with an emergency, particularly during landings and takeoffs, a time when air crashes are most likely to happen.
AAI filed an affidavit in Court dismissing all our concerns and stated this, amongst other things:
“It is submitted that as regards the apprehensions of the petitioner that the length and width of the runway is insufficient for a plane making an emergency landing, the same is without any basis. It is respectfully submitted that all the requirements as per the ICAO recommendation will be met and that there has been no infringement of any of the recommendation and limitation therein.”
On the basis of this affidavit, hon’ble chief justice Y. Bhaskar Rao and the hon’ble justice A. M. Farooq (as their Lordships then were) dismissed this PIL ordering as follows:
“It is stated that the fear of the petitioners that the runway is insufficient for any emergency landing of a plane is without any basis since before the project is to proceed, the authorities will be meeting the recommendations of the ICAO. It is also stated that there is no basis for the allegations made by the petitioners to the effect that the various safety measures have not been followed. That on the other hand they will be getting all the relevant materials described by the petitioners which will be followed in letter and spirit without which the airport would not have been conceived in the first place.
“Thus it can be seen that the expansion of Bajpe airport project is at the initial stage and the second respondent has in their objections mentioned above unequivocally stated that all the safety measures etc, stated by the petitioners in their writ petition will be followed during the progress of the project and nothing can be said before the lands are handed over to the second respondent.
“Considering these facts, we are of the view that the petitioners have rushed to this court before commencement of the project itself and the writ petition is premature. It is not, therefore, necessary to consider the various grounds taken by the petitioners in the writ petition to allege that the respondents have been proceeding with the project in a casual manner.
“There is nothing to doubt about the statement made by the second respondent in their objection statement and we are sure that the respondents will be taking all necessary measures under the different enactments etc.., before proceeding with the project in question. The writ petition stands dismissed.“
Even though alternative sites existed, the authorities proceeded obstinately to expand the airport yielding to pressures from business, real estate and hotel lobbies who benefited immensely from an airport at Bajpe.
Politicians keen to make the expansion a part of their legacy overlooked all concerns raised. Even at the existing Bajpe alternative sites existed to expand the airport, that conformed with most safety norms, but this site was not pursued as it would affect large landholders and influential people. Consequently, nothing whatsoever was done to respond to the concerns we raised about the risks involved in the second runway.
AAI did not even have a proper feasibility study and claimed that such a critical information detail would only be prepared after the land was acquired for the airport. Surely this amounted to putting the cart before the horse, for the study, even if eventually prepared, would have been tailor made to justify the decision to so expand the airport.
Distressed by such a turn of events and the absolute lack of compliance with applicable norms and standards, we appealed to the ICAO to intervene in the matter. The ICAO claimed did not respond and so we returned to the High Court with a fresh PIL in 2002.
In this exhaustively researched PIL many significant concerns were raised and a case was made that the second runway could not conform with ICAO norms for the following reasons:
“Minimum area for stop-way: At page 155 of the said (ICAO) report, para 2-1 prescribes standards for providing the minimum area for a stop way and/or a clear way in the event an aircraft undershoots or overruns the runway. For instance, if an aircraft has initiated take off, and a technical flaw requires emergency stop, the standard prescribes the minimum area that should be kept free to enable such a stop.
“In the instant case, the runway distance itself is about 2400 metres, and even if the area left is most cautiously utilised, what is left is only about 300 metres on each end of the runway. By the prescribed standard, this is far below the required distance needed for an emergency stop way.
“Therefore, the chances of an aircraft that has achieved the decision speed forcing an emergency stop are critically minimised, and the inevitable consequence could be that the plane would come crashing down the hillsides from a height of 80-100 metres on either side of the proposed runway.”
(This safety standard of ICAO also applies to air crafts when landing. It is truly sad that today’s tragic air crash could be a consequence of the lack of conformance with this standard.)
The High Court of Karnataka dismissed this PIL initiative by their order dated 27 May 2002 (WP 20905/2002) stating the following:
“No doubt, in an appropriate case, this Court can issue directions, if there is gross violation of fundamental rights or if the issue touches the conscience of this Court, but not for personal gain or political gain. The construction of second runway and terminal tower in Mangalore Airport will otherwise be in the interest of public.
“Learned counsel has not been able to show how the construction of second runway and terminal tower in Mangalore Airport will be against the public interest. On consideration and in the facts of the given case no direction as prayed for can be issued in this PIL.
“The authorities concerned have to complete all formalities as per law before commencement of the project. Accordingly, this Writ petition is dismissed. However, it is made clear that dismissal of this petition will not preclude the concerned Authorities to take all necessary precaution and to complete the formalities as per law before proceeding with the project in question.”
In a desperate effort to stop the Mangalore airport from so expanding and needlessly exposing innocent people to unnecessary risk, we went on appeal against the High Court order to the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India.
Dismissing the appeal, the Supreme Court ruled 07 February 2003 in Environment Support Group and others. vs. Union of India and others [SLP(C) 1172 OF 2003] as follows:
“We see no reason to interfere with the impugned order. Accordingly, the special leave petition is dismissed. We, however, clarify that in constructing the airport, the Government shall comply with all applicable laws and also with environmental norms.”
One hopes with the benefit of hindsight that the DGCA or AAI had complied with this order of the Supreme Court and ensured Mangalore airport was developed in full conformance with applicable laws, standards and norms. In case the current site was not feasible, they could have easily explored alternate sites, as such sites did exist – within Bajpe itself, or even in Padubidri, between Mangalore and Udupi.
Instead, the authorities preferred to view the Supreme Court order as a victory, as did the Karnataka Government and Mangalore Chamber of Commerce and Industry which had systematically campaigned for the expansion.
Without any further hesitation the second runway construction began in 2004 and was commissioned in May 2006. No techno-economic assessment, feasibility study, or even an comprehensive Environment Impact Assessment was ever done for the second runway. Simply put, the runway was built in comprehensive violation of applicable laws, standards and direction of the Supreme Court.
On 8 March 2004, we wrote to Dr. Naseem Zaidi, chairman (additional charge) & joint secretary, AAI, ministry of civil aviation, reminding him of the need to comply with the Supreme Court direction.
In particular we highlighted that:
“…such action would jeopardize passenger safety, put local communities to risk, needlessly dislocate people by acquiring land on a location that in no way could comply with the said provisions and thereby contributed to gross wastage of public money and resources.”
We did not get any response.
Six years later today we are mourning the unfortunate death of so many people who should have been alive. We are clear that this is no accident, but a direct result of the series of deliberate failures of officials and key decision makers at the highest levels of all authorities connected with the decision to allow the 2nd runway to be constructed and commissioned. Of course all sorts of explanations will be on offer, but none of that can bring lost lives back or cure the tragedy that has wrongly befallen so many families.
India today is frenetically building airports all over, and for all sorts of flaky reasons. Such is the political, bureaucratic and corporate pressure to build and expand airports that anyone questing the rationale is quickly dubbed as a “busybody”, “useless interloper”, “promoted by vested interest” and raising “frivolous” concerns.
To ensure such incidents do not recur, we demand that the Union minister of civil aviation orders an impartial commission of enquiry into the causative factors of this crash, especially investigating the absolute lack of conformance with basic runway design standards and emergency approach measures.
As a small tribute to those who lost their lives in this tragic air crash, ESG offers to assist crash affected families to initiate a damage suits against the Government. We will also initiate criminal negligence proceedings against all authorities connected with the decision to commission the second runway at Mangalore in violation of the directions of the Hon’ble Supreme Court.
We take these corrective actions in the hope they would serve as a deterrence against the lackadaisical approach to critical decisions by key decision makers.
Leo F. Saldanha, coordinator, ESG, phone: 9448377403, leo@esgindia.orgArthur Pereira, trustee, ESG and spokesperson Vimana Nildhana Vistarana Virodhi Samithi, Bajpe,Mangalore, phones: 9449208264/9481439921,

Kasab gets copy of 26/11 judgement, can appeal in 60 days
22 May 2010, 1830 hrs IST,PTI
MUMBAI: Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab, sentenced to death for killing 166 people in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, has been handed over a copy of the judgement by the jail authorities. Kasab was given a copy of the judgement yesterday and he kept it with himself in the cell, jail sources said today. According to the jail manual, a convict can appeal to the high court by writing a letter within two months of receiving the judgement. At this stage, Kasab does not need a lawyer and he may inform the jail authorities that he intends to appeal against his conviction by writing a letter. The jail authorities would in turn submit his petition (letter) to the Bombay High Court in a prescribed format. When the high court hears the appeal, Kasab can engage a lawyer of his choice or, if he cannot afford to do so, the court may on his behalf appoint a lawyer. The trial court would also forward to the high court a copy of the judgement along with documents and affidavits of witnesses for confirmation of death sentence awarded to Kasab. The process is on and would be completed soon, sources said. The government can also file an appeal against the judgement which acquitted two accused Faheem Ansari and Sabauddin Ahmed. Kasab’s appeal, confirmation of death sentence awarded to him and the government’s appeal would be heard by the high court simultaneously. During the trial, Kasab was given legal aid by the court which appointed two lawyers to defend him. Kasab continues to be in solitary confinement in the Arthur Road central jail where he is guarded round-the-clock by Indo-Tibetan Border Police. The lone surviving 26/11 gunman has been put up in a bomb and bullet proof cell and his movements are watched through CCTV cameras installed in the jail. He spends most of the time reading story books in Urdu and Quran. Kasab offers namaz (prayers) five times a day and speaks to the guards occasionally when he feels lonely, the sources said.

Government thinking of raising retirement age for high court judges to 65
Friday, May 21, 2010 21:09 IST
New Delhi: Government is thinking of increasing the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years, law minister M Veerappa Moily said today.
“Earlier we were not thinking, now we are thinking…it is only for high court judges,” Moily told PTI here, ruling out enhancing retirement age of Supreme Court judges which is now 65 years.
He was asked when he would move the proposal to the Union Cabinet for approval. The increase in retirement age would require a Constitutional amendment.
“Raising the retirement age of high court judges from 62 to 65 years will also aid in elimination of vacancies,” a law ministry ‘Blueprint’ on legal and judicial reforms approved in principle by the Union Cabinet in November last year had said.
“If the retirement age of HC judges is increased, most HC judges would not like to get elevated to the SC…they want to come to the apex court as the retirement age in SC is 65 years,” a senior law ministry official said.
Interestingly, Moily had recently informed the Rajya Sabha that “government at present is not considering to increase the age of retirement of judges.”
There is a consensus among political parties to hike the retirement age of HC judges.
Over 40 lakh cases were pending in the 21 high courts of the country, which were facing a shortfall of 265 judges, according to latest official data.
While the sanctioned strength was 895, the 21 HCs were working with 630 judges.

HC slams CIC for exceeding powers
TNN, May 22, 2010, 12.39am IST
NEW DELHI: Delhi high court on Friday clipped the wings of the Central Information Commission while quashing the latter’s observations against the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) vice-chairman for failing to appear before it with regard to an RTI matter. The high court has said the Central Information Commission has exceeded its powers. “This is a case where the Central Information Commission and the Chief Information Commissioner have overstepped their jurisdiction and have thereby transgressed the provisions of the very Act which created them,” said a division bench of Justices B D Ahmed and Veena Birbal. The high court bench set aside the CIC’s September 2009 order against the senior-most officer of DDA and said “no adverse inference could have been drawn for the absence of the DDA vice-chairman”. HC clarified that the CIC could call any person to be present during the hearing before it only for the purposes of giving evidence — oral or written — or for producing any document. “The DDA vice-chairman was not summoned for either giving oral evidence or written evidence or to produce any document or things in his possession. He was directed to be present for other reason. That power is not there with the CIC,” the court added. The court also set aside the commission’s order appointing an inquiry committee to go into the details of dealing with the RTI Act by all wings and departments of DDA. On September 22 last year, the CIC had formed the committee comprising director of ministry of urban development Shujata Chaturvedi, Dunu Roy from the Hazards Centre and Pankaj KP Shreyaskar, joint registrar, and sought a report within 45 working days from the date of order. The commission order had come after DDA secretary V M Bansal was not able to clarify various points raised by the commission while hearing the plea of an RTI applicant Sarbajit Roy who had complained of poor implementation of RTI Act at the DDA.

Delhi HC revives IHF; Gill ecstatic
22 May 2010, 0320 hrs IST,ET Bureau
NEW DELHI: In a setback to the Union sports ministry, the Delhi High Court on Friday quashed the Indian Hockey Federation’s derecognition by the Indian Olympic Association (IOA). The court also reinistated KPS Gill as the sports body’s head. Describing the IOA’s decision to disaffiliate IHF as “knee jerk” reaction, the court said the action was illegal. “Unfortuntely for over two years now the petitioner, IHF, has continued to remain under an illegal suspension followed by an illegal disaffiliation and an illegal de-recognition. This situation calls for a restitutive correction.” Mr Gill said the judgment is in the interest of Indian hockey and that the IHF will soon be back in action. “We are already having the nationals and soon we will call the AGM of the IHF and take necessary steps to revive the game in the country,” he said. Mr Gill said the IOA and the sports ministry should accept the court’s verdict and allow the federation to function as the sole authority to run the sport in the country. “It is a detailed and well-reasoned out order. It is self-explanatory and it has been taken in the interest of hockey in the country. Now it is for all the concerned parties to respect this order,” Mr Gill said. IHF was disaffiliated by the IOA in 2008 after its secretary-general Jothikumaran was allegedly caught in a sting operation, demanding cash from players for selection in the national team.

Don’t dismantle Lakshmi Vilas, HC directs JDA
TNN, May 22, 2010, 04.03am IST
JAIPUR: A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court on Friday directed the Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) not to dismantle Lakshmi Vilas Hotel and Kanak Bhawan, in the premises of Rambagh Complex, sealed by it following an interim order of the court on May 10. The bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice M N Bhandari, while asking the JDA to keep the two properties intact, allowed it to remove encroachments from the Rambagh Complex. The JDA took over Lakshmi Vilas Hotel and Kanak Bhawan on Thursday. It had also evicted families of Madan Lal Sharma and Ram Das Atar from Lakshmi Vilas and H C Gupta from Kanak Bhawan. The three had purchased the properties from former royal Maharaja Bhawani Singh in 1986 but the sale agreement was later declared illegal. The court passed the order after counsel for evicted families Bajrang Lal Sharma opposed the court’s view that the two buildings were on encroached land. Sharma argued the court’s interim order, passed on May 10, has taken away the evicted families’ right to seek protection from Supreme Court. The court observed since the advocate would take more time to complete arguments, an interim order protecting the buildings is required to be passed. “We filed a progress report (in HC) on Friday saying the alleged buildings have been taken over by the JDA. The JDA told the court that we do not intend to demolish the buildings till hearing is conculded by the high court,” said R N Mathur, the JDA counsel. He said the JDA will not dismantle other properties inside the Rambagh Complex as it has been restrained from taking action by the previous stay orders of the court. “We have already filed details of these cases pending before the bench by way of an application and we do not propose to take any action against any occupants till the stay orders are vacated,” Mathur said. On Friday, the court asked the JDA to also keep the furniture, fixtures etc of the Lakshmi Vilas Hotel and Kanak Bhawan intact. The court had on May 10 asked the JDA to take possession of government land and properties like Lakshmi Vilas and Kanak Bhawan, which state had acquired in 1973. A PIL, filed by one Sanjay Tyagi, had alleged that the land of Rambagh Complex measuring 322 bighas is owned by the state government as it stood acquired three decades back. All the constructions on this land are encroachments and should be removed, the PIL said.

12 years on, HC relief for rape convict
Dipak Mishra, TNN, May 22, 2010, 04.34am IST
PATNA: Twelve years after the alleged rape of an IAS officer’s wife by a politician’s son rocked Bihar, the Patna high court on Friday set aside the trial court order convicting the mother-son duo and acquitted them. The trial court had convicted Mrityunjay Yadav of raping IAS officer BB Biswas’ wife Champa Biswas and his mother, former MLA Hemlata Yadav, of abetting the alleged crime. “A single-judge bench of Justice Mandhata Singh termed the allegation incorrect and found that the relationship between the two (Champa and Mrityunjay) was of consensual nature,” defence counsel S Verma told TOI. Mrityunjay himself appeared bitter. “I do not know how to react. I was made a scapegoat in the battle of BJP, then in opposition, and ruling RJD,” he said. He recalled he was forwarded to jail as a rape accused on August 26, 1998 and could secure bail almost four years later on May 9, 2002. His mother was in jail for three years and four months. “My life has been ruined,” Mrityunjay said and added he was studying in Hindu College, Delhi and preparing for civil services exam when he was booked in the case. “Many of my college friends are IAS and IPS officers,” he said. Mrityunjay was particularly bitter about a BJP leader who, he said, made it a public issue saying what would happen to common people during the RJD regime in the state where even an IAS officer’s wife was raped. The case created a sensation in the late 1990s. Champa alleged she was subjected to rape for more than two years by Mrityunjay and others, including IAS officials, politicians and VVIPs’ kin. The bureaucrat’s wife lodged an FIR on August 22, 1998. Mrityunjay was arrested while his mother, who was then chairperson of the Women Welfare Board, surrendered two months later. The episode had several turns and twists with Champa once writing to the Chief Justice of India against the trial judge for his failure to summon a top politician who also allegedly raped her. She even charged the public prosecutor with trying to destroy evidence. The trial court in March 2002 held Mrityunjay guilty under various Sections, including 376 (rape), of the IPC and awarded him ten years’ rigorous imprisonment. Hemlata Yadav was awarded three years’ RI. However, she was spared the ignominy of serving the jail term afresh as she had already been in jail as an accused for more than three years. When Jharkhand was carved out of Bihar in 2000, Champa’s husband was allotted the new state cadre. He later died of illness and Champa slipped into oblivion after she moved to Kolkata along with her two children.

Maharishi Valmiki was never a dacoit: Punjab & Haryana HC
Ajay Sura , TNN, May 22, 2010, 03.37am IST
CHANDIGARH: Maharishi Valmiki was not a dacoit before turning into a sage and writing the Ramayana. In a ruling that could change an age-old belief about the writer of the great epic, Justice Rajive Bhalla of the Punjab and Haryana High Court recently said that though “actual facts appear to be lost in the mists of antiquity,” he was basing his views on a research by a Punjabi University scholar. Justice Bhalla was hearing an appeal by a national television channel, asking the court to quash an FIR filed against it in Jalandhar for airing a serial that raised a question about Valmiki being a dacoit before he turned into a sage. “Admittedly, a character in the teleserial asks another character whether Maharishi Valmiki was a dacoit before he became a saint. The other character, while not denying this fact, makes laudatory references to Maharishi Valmiki. “The research appears to cast a doubt about the authenticity of the story that Maharishi Valamiki was a dacoit,” observed Justice Bhalla. He quoted the research done by the head of the Maharishi Valmiki Chair of the Punjabi University, Patiala, Manjula Sehdev, on the origin and authenticity of the belief that Valmiki was a dacoit. “We have watched the serial — Bidai — and the dialogues are derogatory. A character in the serial asks whether it is true that Valmiki was a dacoit before turning into a sage. Another character replies that he indeed was a dacoit before he underwent a change of heart. In the next dialogue, the character asks the other whether it is possible for a person to change so dramatically and the reply is in the affirmative. It is this second part of the dialogue that has been mentioned as ‘laudatory’ by the television company in its reply to the court,” says Navvikas, a member of the Valmiki community, who had filed the FIR on October 6, 2009, charging the channel under 295 of IPC for hurting religious sentiments. The judge stated the salient features of the research, saying that “from Vedic literature up to 9th century AD, there is no reference as such that Maharishi Valmiki led a life of a dacoit or highwayman.” It was also stated that in his own work ‘Ramayana’, Valmiki is called Bhagwan, Muni, Rishi and Maharishi and no reference of his highwaymanship is available there. Justice Bhalla dismissed the petition filed by the channel and observed: “Electronic media with its immense power and reach must pause, reflect and exercise a greater degree of restraint and responsibility, particularly when it seeks to disseminate religious information likely to affect the sensibility of its audience.” However, the high court made it clear that their opinion would not affect the investigation of the case, which is being conducted by the Jalandhar police against the channel.

HC to govt: Set up electric crematoriums on banks of Ganga–Set-up-electric-crematoriums-on-banks-of-Ganga/622276/
Express News Service
Posted: Sat May 22 2010, 03:40 hrs Allahabad:
The Allahabad High Court directed the state government on Friday to establish electric crematoriums in cities lying on the banks of Ganga.
Passing this order suo motto, a Division Bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Arun Tandon directed the state government to ask the nagar nigams or nagar palikas of these districts to initiate the work in this regard as soon as possible.
The court was of the view that cremation on the bank was a major source of pollution of Ganga water.
Appearing on behalf of the state government, Additional Advocate General S G Hasnain assured the court that the state government would comply with the order.
The government was also directed to prepare a detailed list of cities and banks where it would propose to set up the electric crematorium.
The next date of hearing is on July 9.
On April 30, the same court had asked the state government to initiate a dialogue with the Uttarakhand government for the release of adequate water in Ganga.

SC saw the problem, failed to resolve it
21 May 2010, 0548 hrs IST,Rajeev Dhavan,
Rajeev Dhavan, Senior Advocate Supreme Court
The Supreme Court’s judgment on governors in B P Singhal’s case, 2010, (the BJP MP had filed a PIL relating to governors being removed with a change in power) is welcome. But it is not enough. The legal controversy revolves around governors being appointed (a) at the President’s pleasure to be sacked when the PMwants or (b) for the guaranteed term of appointment of five years. The Sarkaria Commission (1988), set up to examine the Centre-state relationship, revealed that between 1947 and 1986 out of 154 tenures , 104 did not complete their five-year term! The merry-go-round has continued. The Bhagwan Sahay Committee (1971), seeking guidelines for constitutional heads, did not tackle the issue even though governor Dhavan raised it. The Sarkaria Commission shied from giving governors security of tenure. The Constitution Commission recommended a fixed five-year term with removal only by impeachment. In the Constituent Assembly, Ambedkar’s summary response was that prescribing reasons for removing governors was a matter of detail. The apex court examined the issue with legal detachment, overlooking that successive Union government treated a governor as agent, saboteur and doormat to be dismissed at pleasure. Even government peons have better protection. The SC response was half-hearted . It gave priority to the “pleasure doctrine” over the constitutionally prescribed five-year term. It failed to restrict the compelling reasons for removal to physical/mental disability, corruption or conduct unbecoming. It refused to require reasons for removal . It failed to accept its role of rigorous judicial review. In other words, the SC recognised the problem but failed to resolve it. Governors will continue to be as vulnerable as they were before, to be removed for silent reasons. The court also lost sight of the Constitution Commission’s recommendation for new collegiate appointment systems so that arbitrarily-appointed governors are not arbitrarily dismissed. The disappointment increases when we realise the governor is a head of state. He is not a beck-and-call appointment to be used and abused at pleasure. The whole system needs to be changed by constitutional amendment.

Ban two-wheelers on JJ flyover after midnight: Bikers
Menaka Rao / DNA
Friday, May 21, 2010 1:09 IST
Mumbai: The group of motorcyclists that opposed the ban of two-wheelers on JJ flyover has written to the traffic police giving suggestions on how the problem of accidents can be tackled.
The letter, written by Mubin Solkar, president of the group Indian Mumbaikars For Peace And Community Togetherness (IMPACT), was sent to the commissioner of police (traffic) and the deputy commissioner of police (traffic) last Saturday.
The group had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay high court last month. Dismissing the PIL on April 29, the court had held that the issue is beyond judicial review and that the group could give the traffic police suggestions for perusal.
Solkar has given 16 suggestions, mostly seeking to install safety devices like speed regulators, bigger and more prominent signboards, construction of rumbling strips, among others.
“If banning two-wheelers is still thought to be the only answer, then impose/enforce the ban only from midnight to early morning as most of the fatal accidents have occurred during night time,” the letter suggested.
The letter also said that policemen should stand on the dangerous stretch between Mandvi post office and Noor Hospital. Currently, they stand at two ends of the flyover.
The letter concluded that if the suggestions are implemented, then it will reduce the spate of accidents. It also warned that if the ban continues, the situation will get worse for residents, pedestrians and businessmen.
“Moreover, it needs to be borne in mind that many Mumbaikars still cannot afford the luxury of owning a car and are therefore compelled to use two-wheelers. Depriving them of using the flyover is therefore most unfair,” the letter said.

PIL co-petitioners condemn Maoist attack
Special Correspondent
‘Violence has no place in a democracy’
NEW DELHI: The co-petitioners of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition before the Supreme Court have expressed shock and horror over Monday’s blasting of a bus by Maoists in Chhattisgarh in which innocent civilians were killed.
“We condemn such senseless and inhuman violence and those responsible for it. Violence has no place in a democracy and those who adopt violent means to express themselves cannot and should not be condoned in any manner whatsoever. We convey our sympathy to the families of all those whose lives have been lost in this ghastly incident,” Nandini Sundar, E.A.S. Sarma and Ramachandra Guha said in a statement here on Tuesday.
They said it was unfortunate that innocent tribals and civilians were caught in the ongoing violence in Dantewada in Chhattisgarh and other parts of eastern and central India.
“We reiterate our consistent plea to the government to reach out to the tribals and the other local communities in these areas through tangible confidence-building measures, including the announcement and implementation of a policy that recognises the constitutional rights of the tribals in the notified areas,” they said.
They felt that any strategy based on violence would prove counterproductive in the long run.

Himachal high court judges make assets public
Posted by admin on May 21st, 2010 at 07:19 pm and filed under National.
Shimla, May 21 – The judges of the Himachal Pradesh High Court Friday released for public scrutiny the list of assets they were holding.
Releasing the list of assets on the website of the high court here, Chief Justice Kurian Joseph said: ‘The assets and properties of all the 11 judges have been put on the official website of the high court for public perusal.’
According to a post, Justice Joseph has a bank balance of Rs.13,814. He owns one Maruti Esteem car and one two-storied house. Also, he jointly owns a piece of land of 39.47 acres with his wife.
Justice Joseph, who assumed the charge as chief justice Feb 8 this year, announced soon after assuming charge that he was in favour of making public the assets of judges.
Besides the Supreme Court, the high court of Kerala, Karnataka, Delhi and Punjab and Haryana have publicly declared the details of assets and properties of serving judges.

HC respite to Advani in Ayodhya case
TNN, May 21, 2010, 04.25am IST
LUCKNOW: In a major relief to BJP leader Lal Krishna Advani, former UP chief minister Kalyan Singh, and other satraps of the Sangh parivar like Bal Thackeray and Uma Bharti, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday upheld the order of Lucknow CBI court whereby it had dropped criminal proceedings against the above accused in the Ram janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid demolition case. Justice Alok Kumar Singh held that in the order passed by the designated court, there was no embellishment either on factual or legal matrix. ‘‘Nothing is found against the correctness, legality, propriety or regularity in respect of any of the findings of the designated court,’’ observed Justice Singh. After the December 6, 1992, incident the first FIR was lodged at Ram Janmabhoomi police station against lakhs of unknown karsewaks. Immediately thereafter, the second FIR was also registered against eight persons naming L K Advani, MM Joshi, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Vishnu Hari Dalmia, Vinay Katiyar, Uma Bharti and Sadhwi Ritambhara under different crime numbers. These accused are facing trial before special CBI court at Rai Bareli. Besides these eight persons, 13 other persons were also made to face prosecution before especially formed court at Lucknow. On May 4, 2001, the Lucknow court discharged these 21 persons from further prosecution. The court also declined to proceed against the accused persons of 47 other cases relating to assault on mediapersons. The CBI filed revision before the HC against the discharge of 21 accused and demanded their trial as well as of other accused, prima facie found guilty of attack on media. Those advantaged by the HC order are: LK Advani, Kalyan Singh, Bal Thakeray, Uma Bharti, Satish Pradhan, CR Bansal, MM Joshi, Vinay Katiyar, Ashok Singhal, Giriraj Kishore, Sadhvi Ritambhara, VH Dalmia, Mahant Avaidhynath, RV Vedanti, Param Hans Ram Chandra Das, Jagdish Muni Maharaj, BL Sharma, Nritya Gopal Das, Dharam Das, Satish Nagar and Moreshwar Save as they will not have to stand on trial here at Lucknow before the designated court.

Delhi blasts case
Express News Service
Posted: Fri May 21 2010, 00:51 hrs New delhi:
Why come here, take exam in Ahmedabad, HC tells accusedThe Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed an application by Saqib Nisar, a suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist involved in September 2008 Delhi serial blasts, to allow him to appear for his MBA examination from Tihar Jail instead of Ahmedabad where he is lodged now. Asking him to appear at a centre in Ahmedabad, the court said there seemed to be “some hidden agenda in moving the petition”. “The University has a centre in Ahmedabad and if he is genuinely interested in taking the examination, he can do so there itself,” the court said. Nisar, now lodged in Sabarmati jail in connection with the Ahmedabad serial blasts, is doing his MBA from Sikkim Manipal University.
Two accused given copy of chargesheetA city court on Thursday handed over a copy of the chargesheet filed against suspected Indian Mujahideen militants Salman Ahmed and Mohammad Shahzad, accused in the 2008 Delhi serial blasts, to them. The chargesheet had been filed by the Special Cell on May 15. The defence counsel will submit its reply to the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Kaveri Baweja on May 24. Shahzad was arrested in February and Salman in March this year.

HC slaps Rs 1 lakh fine on Central govt
Express News Service Tags
Posted: Fri May 21 2010, 00:52 hrs New delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Thursday slapped a cost of Rs 1 lakh on the Centre for challenging a National Human Rights Commission order directing it to pay Rs 1 lakh in damages to a woman who lost her 28-year-old daughter due to administration of wrong medicine by a government dispensary. “This court is constrained to observe that this is a vexatious litigation needlessly pursued by the Central government,” said Justice S Muralidhar, while imposing the penalty for prolonging the agony of the victim’s mother.

Move suicidal Tihar inmate to hospital: HC
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: May 21, 2010 at 0049 hrs IST
New delhi Inside the formidable iron gates of the high-security Tihar Jail, the only ‘thing’ 31-year-old Sonali Sachdev talks to is a rag doll she made herself after stuffing some torn clothes. The doll probably reminds Sonali of her two-year-old daughter.
In the middle of a financial crisis, Sonali and her husband Pramod Sachdev allegedly poisoned their daughter Jia and seven-month-old son Jatin before consuming it themselves in their Mahavir Nagar house. While Pramod, a Delhi Jal Board employee, and the kids died, Sonali survived to find herself lodged inside the jail with the taint of killing her children and attempting suicide.
Sonali now spends her days inside a cell with the doll as six jail personnel keep constant vigil to prevent her from hurting herself. She keeps talking to herself about different ways to end her life and even requests jail officials to help. She is suspicious of every thing and every person around her.
Considering her situation, jail authorities got Sonali’s mental health checked by the Institute of Human Behaviour & Allied Sciences (IHBAS). The doctors said she was suffering from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, depression and was hence extremely suicidal.
However, in April, two trial courts refused to accept the Jail Superintendent’s request to get her admitted in IHBAS for treatment. Officials at the Delhi Legal Services Authority, however, comprehended the urgency and sent a communication to the Delhi High Court, which decided to treat it as a writ petition.
Najmi Waziri, Standing Counsel for the Delhi government, tendered his report before the court on Thursday and sought an immediate directive to get Sonali treated at IHBAS.
Annexing medical reports, Waziri told the court that it was imperative to take all precaution and keep anything that could be potential risk away from Sonali. “Such care and constant vigil can only be possible inside IHBAS,” he contended, adding that the trial courts should have taken a more compassionate view before dismissing the pleas on technical grounds.
The Division Bench of acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Mukta Gupta was in complete agreement. “The diagnosis and treatment is necessary in these circumstances. Let Sonali Sachdev be taken to IHBAS on Friday and her treatment would continue there. A report on her health be submitted by July,” the Bench noted in its order.

Married woman can’t be forced to establish conjugal rights: HC
Press Trust Of India
Allahabad, May 20, 2010
The Allahabad High Court on Thursday ruled that if a married woman was unwilling to cohabit with her husband then she could not be compelled to do so by way of a decree for restitution of conjugal rights.
The order was passed by Justice Rakesh Tiwari while dismissing an appeal of Rizwan Ali Khan, a resident of Badaun in Uttar Pradesh, who had moved the court challenging a lower court order which held that no decree for restitution of conjugal rights could be issued in his favour as his marriage was not consummated even after more than a decade of having tied the knot.
The Additional District Sessions Judge, Badaun, had passed the order on August 10, 2009, wherein it had also pointed out that while Khan had claimed to be married to one Nazma Siddiqui, the latter had refuted the same.
Moreover, Khan had failed to produce the Kazi, who had solemnised the marriage, before the court or his signature on the “nikahnama” for verification by handwriting experts, the ADJ had said.
Nazma who had not only denied having been married to Khan but also pleaded that “if a lady is married, the decree for conjugal rights is not enforceable and at the most compensation from her property, if she had any, could have been allowed” opposed the appeal before the High Court.
The court, while observing that it did not find “any illegality or infirmity in the order” said even if there had been no dispute regarding the petitioner’s marriage, “she can not be forced by a decree in suit to establish conjugal rights”.

Rajasthan HC: No horizontal quota in excess of 50 pc–No-horizontal-quota-in-excess-of-50-per-cent
Jaipur, May 20 (PTI) The Rajasthan High Court has held that there should not be any horizontal reservation in excess to the prescribed quota of 50 per cent fixed for various categories under the Consititution.A division bench of the court struck down the excess quota given to youths and women candidates in the Panchayat elections.The court passed this order while disposing a petition filed by one Sita Ram Sharma challenging the Rajasthan Panchayati Raj (second amendment) ordinance 2008 whereby the reservation for women was increased from 33 per cent to 50 per cent in the panchayat elections and persons in age group 21-35 years were given 75 per cent reservation.The court has earlier issued a similar order in case of municipal elections when a similar provision for reservation to women and youth was challenged.

HC upholds Metro re-alignment

Express News Service
First Published : 21 May 2010 04:21:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2010 08:28:58 AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High court on Thursday dismissed the writ petition requesting it to direct BMRCL to stick to the original alignment of the Metro rail.
Jakir-un-nisa and others had contended that BMRCL had deviated from the original alignment near South End Circle by 106 meters to favour some influential people, including the owners of Bangalore Hospital and Lakshmi Complex.
BMRCL submitted that the Metro alignment was shifted by 60 meters because the technical experts suggested that it would ease the traffic congestion.

HC restrains Vishal Retail from selling assets

Press Trust of India / New Delhi May 20, 2010, 20:21 IST

The Delhi High Court has restrained Vishal Retail from disposing of its assets till further orders, on a plea filed by the Singapore-based DBS Bank to wind up the debt-ridden retail chain.
Passing an interim order, Justice S K Mishra has directed Vishal Retail not to sell or dispose of its assets till November 25, the next date of hearing and to submit details of its properties.
“Till the next hearing, Vishal shall not alienate or otherwise encumber its assets,” said Justice Mishra in his order on May 11 directing the retail firm to submit its last three audited balance sheets.
Justice Mishra has also directed Vishal Retail to file an affidavit disclosing its all assets with detailed information of their locations and value. He also asked the firm to give details in which name (personal) the properties are held along with date of their acquisition. The court also directed the retail firm to submit current addresses its directors and the company secretary.
The company and its lenders had approached the CDR cell late last year following the accumulation of around Rs 730-crore debts. According to the order passed by the court last week, the debt-ridden retail firm has also been directed by the court to give details of its debtors and creditors with their complete addresses.
It has also submit details its employees and if any amount outstanding to them. Court’s direction came on a company petition filed by its creditor DBS Bank requesting to wind up the firm.
Earlier, during the last hearing on April 28, 2010 the court had directed the bank to file a copy of the Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR) scheme formulated by Reserve Bank for the company.
Vishal Retail, which is having around 170 outlets, is currently undergoing CDR exercise.

HC removes another hurdle to BMRCL
Friday, May 21, 2010
Odeal D’Souza. BangaloreThe Namma Metro project crossed yet another hurdle on Thursday with the Karnataka high court giving green signal for the acquisition of land near Jayanagar along RV Road for the construction of the South End station. A division bench of justices VG Sabhahit and Manohar dismissed a petition filed by Zakirunnisa and two others, requesting the court to direct the Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) to stick to its original alignment for the station. The petitioners alleged that the alignment had been changed based on the request of owners of a few properties which were sought to be acquired for the station, and contended that the BMRCL had shifted the original alignment by 106 metres. The court issued notices to BMRCL, which submitted that the alignment was shifted by 60 metres and not 106 metres as contended by the petitioners, and stated that the change was due to technical reasons, and not on the opinion of influential entities as alleged by the petitioners.It submitted that the action was taken to avoid vehicular congestion at the circle and to bring the station nearer to the commuter catchment area. Besides, to maintain a train headway of three minutes, stations had to be spaced at least four kilometres from each other.BMRCL’s plans to run the metro through RV Road and Nanda Road had run into huge opposition from locals. The alignment proposed to cut through a portion of Lalbagh necessitating the cutting of trees, which angered green activists, leading to protests. A PIL filed in the high court by Hasiru Usiru challenging the felling of trees in Lalbagh for Metro work was also dismissed.
posted by The Bangalorean @ 5/21/2010 04:03:00 AM

HC rejects CBI plea against BJP brass

Press Trust of India, Political Bureau Posted: Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2252 hrs ISTUpdated: Friday, May 21, 2010 at 2252 hrs IST
Lucknow: Providing relief to LK Advani, Murli Manohar Joshi and 19 others in the Babri Masjid demolition case, the Allahabad High Court on Thursday dismissed a CBI revision petition challenging the order of a special court to drop criminal proceedings against the BJP leaders.
The CBI had sought a direction for continuing proceedings against Advani and Joshi, Uma Bharti, Kalyan Singh and others in connection with the demolition of the Masjid on December 6, 1992.
In a 44-page judgment, Justice Alok Kumar Singh of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court said: “Nothing is found against the correctness, legality, propriety or regularity in respect of any of the findings of the lower court”.
“There is no embellishment in the impugned order dated May 4, 2001 neither on factual or legal matrix. Hence, there is no occasion for this court to make any interference in the impugned order,” he said.
VHP leader Ashok Singhal and Shiv Sena chief Bal Thackeray were among the 21 who got relief from the order of the special court. On May 4, 2001, the special court had dropped the conspiracy charge against Advani and the others.
The court today also partly allowed another petition filed by the then District Magistrate, Faizabad, Ravindra Nath Srivastava. It directed the CBI to indicate at the earliest as to the witnesses and documentary evidence it proposes to take up against the petitioner, so that he may not be deprived from effectively preparing and putting up his defence.
Srivastava had also contended that he could not be treated as an accused in this case. However, the court said that this point was not acceptable. Reacting to the High Court decision, the All India Muslim Personal Law Board said the CBI should move the apex court.
Board member Zafaryab Jilani claimed that the Central government and the CBI were not moving quickly in the demolition cases pending in Lucknow and Rae Bareli courts.

HC rules against refund of land tenure conversion fee
Express News Service
Posted: Fri May 21 2010, 01:37 hrs Ahmedabad:
In a recent order, the Gujarat High Court has held that a person cannot demand refund of money that he paid to the state authorities to convert his land from new tenure to old tenure and which was subsequently acquired for development under the Town Planning Scheme Act.
The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice A S Dave passed an order in this regard while acting on an appeal filed by the state government against an order of a single judge bench.
According to the details of the case, one Kirit Desai from Surat had applied to the government to change certain land in his possession in the district from new tenure to old tenure to remove certain restrictions on it under the provisions of the Bombay Tenancy & Agricultural Land Act, 1948. Subsequently, the concerned district collector had converted the land from new tenure to old tenure and demanded Rs 3.23 crore from Desai.
He paid the amount in three instalments under protest after he reliably came to know that the authorities are likely to acquire a part of the land for the Town Planning Scheme.
The Surat Municipal Corporation had informed Desai that around 5,925 square metres of his land is likely to be reserved under the provisions of the Town Planning Act.
Subsequently, Desai moved the HC with a prayer that he is entitled to get proportionate refund for the amount of Rs 97 lakh for the land which is now being taken over under the Town Planning Scheme. A single judge bench had given its verdict in Desai’s favour and directed the government to refund the amount within 12 weeks.
But the government challenged the order in the Division Bench. Government pleader Prakash Jani contended that the order was bad in law and requires to be quashed. Upholding Jani’s contentions, the bench allowed the appeal and set aside the order of the single judge bench.

Monitor Soharabuddin probe: US group to PM, CJI
May 18, 2010 08:43 IST

An India [ Images ]n American Muslim advocacy group on Monday urged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh [ Images ] and the Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia to monitor and ensure an intimidation free Central Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the alleged fake encounter killings of Soharabuddin, his wife Kausarbi and his associate Prajapati allegedly at the hands of the Gujarat police.
The Indian Muslim Council-USA in a statement today alleged that in order to subvert and discredit this CBI inquiry, a massive advertising campaign has been launched in the Gujarati media by unknown entities to defame the CBI and dub it with various defamatory labels.
In separate letters sent prime minister and the CJI, IMC-USA president Rasheed Ahmed said, “The advertising campaign aims to create a political atmosphere where it would not be possible for the CBI to conduct a fair investigation. As such, this constitutes active interference in the judicial investigative process and may result in the subversion of justice.”
Ahmed added that “A sincere investigation by the CBI into these fake encounter cases has, for the first time, the potential to implicate many powerful politicians within Narendra Modi’s [ Images ] administration who have been involved in terrorising minorities in the state of Gujarat”.
Calling for strong action to be taken against the people behind the anonymous entities running the advertising campaign, Ahmed dubbed it as a “tactic of subverting justice at the altar of manufactured public opinion”.
He further added that “without basic security and rule of law, no level of economic progress either lasts or earns the nation a global leadership status it may otherwise deserve.
“The Indian Muslim Council-USA said that lawsuits against the Gujarat police related to the fake encounter killings have already landed 15 senior police officials behind bars and the Supreme Court ordered CBI inquiry has the potential to indict several prominent politicians and ministers in the Narendra Modi administration. The Home Minister of Gujarat, Amit Shah, has reportedly gone into hiding fearing arrest by the CBI,” it said.
© Copyright 2010 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Tough to get justice in India: Neelam Katara
Posted on May 20, 2010 at 19:40
Chandigarh: Neelam Katara, the mother who set an example of fighting against the high and mighty, says it is tough to get justice in India after the much-awaited verdict on former Haryana DGP SPS Rathore in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case got deferred by five days.
A sessions court in Chandigarh was to deliver the verdict on Rathore’s plea challenging his conviction by a CBI court on Thursday. Now it will be delivered on May 25.
Rathore was given six months sentence before he was out on bail after the verdict. CBI and Ruchika’s family had appealed on enhancing his sentence.
After the verdict was deferred, Katara said: “It is very disappointing. Let the reason come out about why it has been deferred. Because that again has all kinds of misgivings. Someone who has been protected by a series of chief ministers, I am sure, has a lot to disclose if he is punished. And, possibly a lot of political support might be coming in as well.
“Definitely it is very difficult and especially now at this stage when you almost feel the justice will be done. The long fight for justice in this country is very difficult for any family to pass through. Aradhana’s family and Ruchika’s family need to be commended.”
She says our laws need to be amended since most of those have been taken from the IPCC which is 200 years old and based on the condition in the United Kingdom.
“The law needs to be amended and sentences need to be enhanced. The complete process needs an overhaul as it is not geared to fight with all these kinds of problems which have come up and the delays caused by political pressure or by officers misusing their power,” Katara pointed out.
Katara said, “There is a long way to go. Over these years the main reason why the rich and powerful delayed the case was because the witnesses were not available, the reports were not available.”
To fight against powerful people is not easy. But then blame lies in the common man who makes them high and mighty. Although there are lots of loopholes, the system can still work, Katara hopes.
Katara’s son Nitish was murdered by the son of a former Rajya Sabha MP D P Yadav from Ghaziabad.

Allowing women to be guardians: Panel examines bill
By Rana Ajit, IANS
May 23rd, 2010
NEW DELHI – A parliamentary panel is scrutinising a bill aimed at giving Indian women equal rights as men in adopting children and becoming guardians of minors, including their own kids – something they are barred from under existing law.
The Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2010 seeks to entitle women to equal rights as men on the issue of guardianship of minor children by removing a gender-discriminatory clause from a law of 1890 vintage – the Guardians and Wards Act. The bill, which also seeks to amend the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act, 1956, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha April 22 by Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily.
As the first step to examine the proposed legislation, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Law and Justice, headed by senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha member Jayanthi Natarajan, has solicited public opinion on the bill. Public views and opinion were sought by the Rajya Sabha secretariat last week. These have to be submitted by the month end. The house had referred the bill to the parliamentary panel for scrutiny and fine tuning.
The bill seeks to amend the Guardians and Wards Act to entitle a minor’s mother, besides the father, to be appointed as his or her guardian. The current provisions of the law authorise courts to appoint either the father or any other person, in case the father is not alive or not fit, as the guardian of a minor child.
The statement of objects and reasons of the bill explains that the amendment will “include the mother along with the father as a fit person to be appointed as guardian so that courts shall not appoint any other person as a guardian of a minor if either of the parents is fit to be the guardian of such minor.”
This amendment is being made under a recommendation in the 83rd report of the Law Commission of India, the bill explained.
Similarly, the bill seeks to amend sections 8 and 9 of the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act to give women equal rights as men in matters of adopting children or giving her children in adoption to others.
The bill entitles any major Hindu woman of sound mind to adopt a son or daughter.
However, if married, she will have to take the consent of her husband for adopting the children, “unless the husband has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind”, says the bill.
The bill also seeks to entitle the mother “to give her child in adoption if the father is dead or has completely and finally renounced the world or has ceased to be a Hindu or has been declared by a court of competent jurisdiction to be of unsound mind.”
The present provision of the law entitles only men to adopt children, give them in adoption, albeit in consultation with their living wife and not vice versa.
Explaining the reasons behind seeking to change the law, the bill says: “As per the census held in 2001, the female population in India constitutes about 48.26 percent of the total population.”
“The empowerment of women by various legislative as well as other measures is an avowed policy of the government and bringing complete equality for them in all spheres of life is a matter of utmost concern,” the statement said.
It added that while “the constitution of India guarantees equality of status and equality of opportunity to all citizens, irrespective of the fact whether they are men and women, there is also a growing demand for making laws free from gender bias and to provide legal equality to women in all spheres of life.”
(Rana Ajit can be contacted at

HI and IHF on collision course after court order
IANS, May 22, 2010, 09.37pm IST
NEW DELHI: Hockey India (HI) and the court reinstated Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) have interpreted the Delhi High Court order to suit their line of thinking and questioned each other’s existence. While HI secretary general Narinder Batra says Friday’s court order does not bar him from holding the election to the new body, which came into existence after the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) de-recognised IHF headed by K. P. S. Gill, a senior IHF functionary has questioned HI’s very right to exist. Batra said decks have been cleared for HI election in June and the election notice will be issued in four-five days. “The court order has no bearing on HI status as it is recognised by the International Hockey Federation (FIH) after it disaffiliated the IHF,” Batra said. “If you read the whole order, the judge clearly said ‘I am not here to decide the validity of HI’.” “It does not affect us. Yes it is true that two bodies cannot exist, but international federation has disaffiliated IHF and later the Indian Women’s Hockey Federation in 2000. They failed to merge the men’s and women’s units and since then they had affiliated Indian Hockey Confederation (IHC) which was also de-recognised later.” The IHF member says the HI cannot go ahead with the polls as the sports ministry has to respect the court order, having filed an affidavit that it did not recognise HI. “What is HI’s status? A five-member body cannot call itself a national federation. Now that the IHF has been reinstated, HI cannot hold the election, more so after the court clearly stated that the government and ministry should recognise IHF,” a top IHF official said. “Moreover, the ministry in its affidavit to the court has said that it does not recognise HI. Yes, the international body will recognise the unit that is affiliated to the National Olympic Commitee. So we are waiting for the response of the IOA and the ministry before deciding on the future course of action.” Batra said HI is ready to hold the election to replace the ad hoc body running the sport in the country. “There was a stay order in the elections in three courts of the country –Rajasthan, Mumbai and Tripura. We have got the stay vacated from all three courts, the last one was Tripura. We are waiting for a copy of that order and then we will go ahead with the election process.” On other court cases, Batra said: “They are minor disputes and it will not hamper the election.” “All 30 units and four institutions approved by HI are valid to take part in the elections.” “We have implemented all the government guidelines for free, fair and transparent election. A retired judge will be the returning officer as mandated by sports ministry. There will be separate election observers from the government, the IOA and the FIH. Also, voting will be held in secret ballot.” “We will issue the 21-day notice period before the elections in four or five days and it should take place in June. We are constant touch with the FIH and we keep them updated.” Asked about Amrit Bose, Pargat Singh and others crying foul over the manner in which HI is going about the election, Batra said: “I do not understand how can they criticise the process when Amrit Bose, Gurbax Singh, Pargat Singh are signatories to the affiliations given to the state units.”

No early hearing of plea against Soren
J. Venkatesan
The Supreme Court on Thursday declined to grant early hearing on a writ petition questioning the continuance of Shibu Soren as Jharkhand Chief Minister.
Justice G.S. Singhvi, heading a vacation Bench told counsel for the petitioner, Babu Lal Marandi, MP, that since there was no urgency in the matter it would come up for hearing in the normal course. Justice C.K. Prasad was the other judge on the Bench.
Mr. Marandi alleged that Mr. Soren had committed a fraud on the Constitution by repeatedly availing himself of the benefit of Article 164 (4) to become Chief Minister, but without getting elected to the legislature.
In the latest instance, he was sworn in as Chief Minister on December 30, 2009, and he could continue in the post only if he was elected to the Assembly within six months. But, owing to paucity of time, there was little chance of the Election Commission completing the poll process in the remaining 43 days of the six-month time available. Further, there was no vacancy in the legislature, the petition said.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Sunday, May 23,


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