LEGAL NEWS 06.06.2010

Top ULFA leaders to surrender soon: Pillai
Union Home Secretary G.K. Pillai says a number of top commanders and leaders of the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) based in Bangladesh and Myanmar are expected to surrender shortly and join the peace process.
“Some of them are senior leaders and commanders based in Bangladesh and Myanmar who have expressed their willingness to come over ground,” Mr. Pillai told IANS in an interview here.
Mr. Pillai was in Meghalaya on a three-day visit to review the security situation that concluded on Saturday.
“The Assam government has already initiated the peace process with the ULFA and we are very optimistic about a settlement,” the Home Secretary said in Guwahati while returning to New Delhi after his trip to Meghalaya.
He said the presence of the elusive ULFA ‘commander-in-chief’ Paresh Baruah was important for the peace talks, but claimed the rebel leader would find himself in a spot if he keeps away from the dialogue process.
“Paresh Baruah would be marginalised if he remains adamant and fails to respect the voices of the people of Assam,” the Home Secretary said.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi last week set the ball rolling by way of a Cabinet decision to open peace talks with the ULFA leadership, majority of them in jail now.
Six top ULFA leaders are in jail and that includes chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa, ‘deputy commander-in-chief’ Raju Baruah, ‘foreign secretary’ Sasha Choudhury, ‘finance secretary’ Chitraban Hazarika, ‘cultural secretary’ Pranati Deka, and political ideologue Bhimkanta Buragohain.
ULFA vice-chairman Pradeep Gogoi and publicity chief Mithinga Daimary are out on bail and currently drumming up public opinion for peace talks.
The only top ULFA leader who continues to be at large is Paresh Baruah.
“Paresh Baruah is probably somewhere in the borders between Myanmar and China’s Yunnan Province,” Mr. Pillai said.
ULFA general secretary Anup Chetia is in protective custody in Bangladesh since his arrest in 1997 in that country. His jail term was over, but continues to remain in Bangladesh as he had moved a writ petition seeking political asylum there.
“There are legal problems in extraditing Anup Chetia as he had moved a petition seeking political asylum,” the Home Secretary said.
Chetia would have to withdraw the petition for political asylum for enabling him to come to Assam and join the peace process.
Mr. Pillai, however, warned of possible strikes by the ULFA and the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) in Assam. NDFB chief Ranjan Daimary was handed over by Bangladesh to Indian authorities last month and is now in the custody of Assam Police.
“When militant groups get weakened they try to strike out of desperation and hence such a possibility for violent attacks is not ruled out and so a general alert and stepped up vigil is always there,” the Home Secretary said.

Visa Steel against recommending JSL for mining lease in Orissa
Debabrata Das
New Delhi, June 5
In its tussle for the Horomoto iron ore mining area, Visa Steel Ltd (VSL) claimed on Friday that the Orissa Government is wrong in recommending Jindal Stainless Ltd (JSL) for the prospecting licence of the area.
VSL was prior applicant for both the mining lease (ML) and the prospecting licence (PL).
The company had also signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Orissa Government two years before JSL signed its MoU with the State Government.
According to Mines and Minerals Development and Regulation (MMDR) Act, the party whose application is received earlier “shall have the preferential right to be considered for grant of reconnaissance permit, prospecting licence or mining lease”.
However, the MMDR Act also states that the State Government can, “for any special reasons to be recorded”, grant the PL and the ML to a party whose application was received later.
VSL claims that there is no justifiable reason for JSL to be recommended for the prospecting licence of the Horomoto area. “JSL has no requirement of iron ore at present as it has not even placed orders for iron ore value addition facilities let alone actually producing value-added products. According to the MoU, JSL should have put up a blast furnace for iron making within three years of signing the MoU on June 9, 2005,” said a Visa Steel spokesperson.
No intimation
When contacted, JSL officials said that the company doesn’t have any intimation of its name being recommended for the lease. A spokesperson for the company said, “The Orissa High Court order states that the Central Government is free to take a decision but such decision shall not be given effect without leave of the court and the decision so taken shall be subject to the result of the writ petition. Thus, even if our name has been recommended, the decision does not go against the High Court order dated July 8, 2009.”
Over the course of the last one year, VSL has made several representations to the Ministry of Mines with regard to the delay in getting the mining lease.
In a letter dated May 28, 2010, VSL wrote to Mr S. Vijay Kumar, Special Secretary, Ministry of Mines, that the company has already commissioned its first blast furnace within 15 months of signing of the MoU and has been running the blast furnace on purchased iron ore.
“Visa Steel proposes to expand the capacity to 2.5 MTPA for which a detailed techno-economic feasibility report has already been made by Chhattisgarh Engineering and Consultants.
“Considering this planned expansion, our iron ore requirement will increase to 4.86 MTPA by 2014,” the company said in the letter.

India Together: Implement the UNCRPD, say activists – 08 February 2010
India has ratified the UN Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but done very little to protect the rights of the disabled in accordance with it. Freny Manecksha reports. 08 February 2010 – The proposal by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment to introduce 101 amendments to the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act in the budget session has come under criticism. Several groups of disabled people, with whom the government has been holding consultations, have demanded instead a totally new law that is aligned with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities (UNCRPD), which India ratified in 2007. They say the proposed amendments are inadequate, and one must have a new law for the 70 million people with disabilities in India (figures according to civil society organizations) that contains everything in consonance with the Convention. Prasanna Pincha, who works as an independent disability rights activist, explains why the UNCRPD is so crucial and how in the 21st century it has brought about a paradigm shift in perspective. “UNCRPD adopts a human rights approach instead of the earlier medical approach to disability. This is a shift from viewing people with disabilities (PWD) as objects needing social protection and medical care to seeing them as subjects having human rights, fundamental freedoms,” he explains. Impairments, not disabilities Currently in India there are four different laws pertaining to the disabled. These are: The Mental Health Act, 1987, the Rehabilitation Council of India Act, (meant to provide minimum standards in training and qualification for rehabilitation professionals) the National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Mental Retardation and Multiple Disabilities Act, 1999 and lastly the Persons with Disabilities Act. Much of this legislation is medical oriented and adopts a welfare attitude. It looks at the physical impairments of people and labels these as disabilities. Present legislation does not include as many as 20 provisions of the UNCRPD, especially those pertaining to civil and political rights. (Above: A poster from a campaign for inclusive education by the NGO Arushi, based in Bhopal.) • The ability debates The UNCRPD, on the other hand, defines disability as an evolving concept, says Pincha. The Convention believes disability results from interaction of impairments with various barriers which hinders full and active participation in society on an equal basis with others. Pincha, who is himself visually impaired, illustrates this concept drawing on his own experiences. “If I arrive in a city and check into a hotel where the instructions on how to dial the operator and other information given to the sighted are also available in Braille, if the elevator has Braille signs, if the menu too is in Braille, then my blindness is only an impairment. It is not a disability,” he says. The medical approach, which was the norm for centuries, sought corrections for the individual. The rights-based approach adopted by UNCRPD seeks a society that is designed and structured to help all categories and sections to access facilities and opportunities. This accessibility is not just confined to building roads or constructing buildings that have ramps for wheel-chairs, but it means ensuring that the disabled can access public transportation systems, pedestrian signs (Braille and audio), public facilities like schools, sports auditoriums, clinics, hospitals, malls and so on. Even, perhaps, adding special fitting rooms in department stores for those on wheel-chairs. A rights-based approach Whilst the PWD Act has in place a set of concessions and policies for the disabled it does not included the notion of non negotiable rights, says Pincha. The disabled cannot claim accessibility features as a matter of right. Their availability is subject to either formulation of schemes by the government or as per the ”economic capacity and development” of the State. A new law is necessary, says Pincha, because India has ratified the UNCRPD, whereupon it is mandatory for the government to adopt the human rights approach which would necessitate bringing about changes in all other laws like the recent right to education, employment and so on. The changes required would be so numerous and of such substantial, fundamental nature that it is better to draft a new law, he adds. Saptarshi Mandal, of the Lawyers Collective points out how current legislation is not in tune with human rights obligations or with the advances in medicine and technology. For example, with technical advances available today, it should be possible for the visually impaired to access banks through ATMs and so on, but there is no enabling legislation to ensure the adoption of these technologies to serve the disabled. Likewise, there are laws on the books that have been framed during Colonial days, and have not been updated to reflect current knowledge or sensibilities. The Railway Act, for instance, says that people with leprosy cannot board trains even though it is now known that leprosy is not contagious and that a person with leprosy becomes non-infective within 24 hours of starting treatment. Rajive Raturi, National Director, Disability Rights Initiative of the Human Rights Law Network, says that present legislation does not include as many as 20 provisions of the UNCRPD especially those pertaining to civil and political rights, such as freedom from cruel and inhuman treatment, freedom of expression and access to information, right to marry and have a family and freedom to participate in political and public life. For example, according to current provisions of Indian law, those with mental illnesses cannot enter into contracts and have no property rights. The UNCRPD has made it clear that even the most severely affected people and the mentally retarded have rights and that the state must provide support networks to enable them to exercise these rights. Further, the UNCRPD specifically addresses issues pertaining to women with disabilities and the rights of children with disabilities – something that current Indian legislation lacks. Worse still, certain sections of law are abused in ways that hurt the rights of disabled persons. The Center for Advocacy in Mental Health of the Bapu Trust in Pune has highlighted how Section 19 of the Mental Health Act – dealing with ‘admissions to institutions under special circumstances’ is often abused by families to dump women in institutions. Litigation against discrimination Both Raturi and Pincha have been active in using the law as a tool of social change and have filed Public Interest Litigation Pleas to address the existing discrimination. Raturi, along with others, challenged the government’s postal life insurance scheme whereby disabled persons got lesser coverage and had to pay increased premiums. A writ petition was filed before the Delhi High Court citing UNCRPD and equality principles that the Constitution of India guarantees to all its citizens – including the disabled. The Court directed the Solicitor General (SG) to appear in person and respond to the discrimination. Appearing on behalf of the government, Gopal Subramanium (the SG) assured the court that the government will hold broad consultations with experts and also take advice from the insurance regulators to draft a fresh policy which will have no discriminatory clauses against the disabled. Subsequently the government has notified that the coverage under the scheme will be uniform but orders have yet to be passed. Raturi has also taken up the cause of deaf persons who are permitted to get driving licenses in many countries, but not in India. Pincha has challenged banking norms whereby restrictions were placed on blind persons for opening accounts and for issuing cheques. Admitting his writ petition related to access, use and enjoyment of banking services and facilities by blind people on an equal basis the Guwahati High Court passed an interim order directing the concerned bank authorities to open his account in accordance with the normal procedures, giving him cheque facilities and without insisting on any special undertaking as sought by the bank. Subsequently the banking sector has revised its guidelines and become more progressive. Pincha has also successfully taken up with the Chief Commissioner of Disability the issue of discriminatory treatment of disabled, air passengers who are forcibly seated at the rear end of the plane without consideration of their own preferences. The Director General of Civil Aviation, in consultation with various airlines, has consequently sought more progressive guidelines. For Pincha these PILs are part of an ongoing crusade against the culture of discrimination and politics of exclusion that disabled persons routinely experience. Activists for the disabled say that rights based efforts to create an enabling environment for the disabled are ultimately all about demonstrating the main premise of the UNCRPD – namely that disability is a part of human diversity, and that the rights of disabled must therefore be at par with those of others. ⊕ Freny Manecksha 08 Feb 2010
Posted by Rizwan at Saturday, June 05, 2010

Omar: discussion on amending Armed Forces Act in advanced stage
Shujaat Bukhari
Rejecting the People’s Democratic Party’s demand for convening a special session of the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly to discuss human rights violations and revocation of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah said his government was committed to zero tolerance of the violations, and discussions to bring about amendments in the AFSPA were in an advanced stage.
His reply came a few hours after PDP president Mehbooba Mufti shot off a letter, terming the AFSPA a “tool of repression.”
“Since its inception, the present government has been continuously striving for the amendment of the AFSPA, and it is in an advanced stage of discussion with the government of India, as a temporary measure till its complete removal,” Mr. Abdullah said in reply to the communication, which was sent in the backdrop of the killing of three Nadihal youths in a fake encounter at Macchil.
He said the National Conference-Congress coalition government was committed to zero tolerance of human rights violations and “has a proven track record of not sparing anybody found guilty of the same.”
“I stand committed to that resolve of my government,” he said, adding the Nadihal incident was an unfortunate one.
As for the AFSPA, he said: “I do not think it is appropriate or necessary to get into a blame game on the history of invoking AFSPA in the State except to say that it is unfortunate that nothing was done about the law in the five-and-a-half years that were available to you.”?
The Chief Minister said he found no merit in Ms. Mufti’s plea for a special Assembly session on the issue.
Complaints on encounters
PTI reports from New Delhi:
Speaking to NDTV, Mr. Abdullah said people were raising questions on almost every encounter. “J&K police is flooded with such complaints, and enquiries about encounters are now going back more than five-six years and in some case even eight years,” he said.
“We have dug up bodies and verified whether these encounters are genuine or not. This has really put a lot of additional work on the already burdened police force.”

Fatwa & a Khushboo judgement
Soli J Sorabjee
First Published : 06 Jun 2010 12:35:35 AM IST
Last Updated : 06 Jun 2010 01:43:17 AM IST

The Darul Uloom Deoband is one of India’s well respected Islamic seminaries. Its fatwas against suicide attacks and its condemnation of killing of innocent persons were most welcome. Of late it has issued fatwas that Muslim women should not work in offices where men too are employed and also that working in banks is un-Islamic. The Deoband has also declared that opting for an insurance policy is against the tenets of Islam because insurance policy is unlawful as it is based on interest and gambling. In the present age of trade and commerce and globalisation do these fatwas make sense? Realistically, will they be implemented by Muslim business and industrial houses? Are these fatwas recommendatory or mandatory? What penalty can be imposed for their breach? What is the response of the Muslim business community and Muslim civil society? An enlightened Muslim, Javed Akhtar, criticised these fatwas in moderate terms. The result was a huge hate-mail and aspersions that he is an irreligious Muslim. Fortunately there were voices in his support. More such voices are needed. These fatwas do no good to the Muslim community. They offer fodder to those who wish to defame Islam. The Deoband which is highly regarded even by non-Muslims may shed light on the subject in the interest of its own credibility.
SC Judgement in Khushboo: It is unfortunate that the Supreme Court judgement in Khushboo’s case has been grossly misunderstood by some well-meaning persons as promoting immorality by encouraging live-in relationship and pre-marital sex. The judgement does nothing of the sort. It recognises that in India marriage is an important social institution and that the mainstream view in our society is that sexual contact should take place only between marital partners. But as pointed out by Justice Dr B S Chauhan speaking for the Bench live-in marriages and engaging in sexual relations outside the marital setting, with the exception of adultery, is not an offence. Besides in the societal mainstream, there is a significant number of people who see nothing wrong in engaging in premarital sex. Notions of social morality are subjective. Criminal law cannot be used to interfere with the domain of personal autonomy when the acts complained of are not offences. The thrust of the judgement is that “we must lay stress on the need to tolerate unpopular views in the socio-cultural space. Under our democratic constitutional scheme different views are allowed to be expressed by the proponents and opponents”. Expression of opinion which is contrary to conventional notions of decency and morality has to be tolerated and the same cannot be a ground to penalise the author. Viewed in proper perspective the judgement highlights the need for tolerance, deprecates moral policing and attempts by intolerant bigots to penalise people holding contrary views by recourse to criminal law. And therein lies the real merit of the judgement.
Niranjan Jhaveri is no more: Jazz and stalwart jazz musicians came to India with the start of jazz festivals (yatras) since 1978, originally in Bombay and then in Delhi and other metros. Holding jazz yatras in India was the dream of a group jazz aficionados which incongruously included Niranjan, Niru, a strict vegetarian with a strict Jain upbringing. Nonetheless it was Niru, who sadly passed away last month, who made that dream come true. We had greats from USA: Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz, Freddy Hubbard, Woody Shaw, Max Roach and Dollar Brand. Also Stephanne Grappeli (France), Ronnie Scott (UK), Jan Garbarek (Norway), Allegro (Russia), Sadao Watanabe (Japan), all of whom thrilled Indian jazz fans and local musicians. The first 1978 yatra was opened in Bombay by India’s great Rudy Cotton. Organizing jazz yatras is an arduous task, involving extensive meetings, arrangements for transport and stay of musicians, rehearsals and sound checks and unforeseen contingencies. But for Niru’s indomitable spirit jazz yatras would not have happened. And for that the jazz fraternity in India owes him a debt of gratitude. I like to visualise Niru enjoying the company of his favourite jazz musicians with whom he is now relaxing.

SAIL v. Jindal Steel: A Historical Judgement
Saturday, June 5, 2010
In an earlier post I had discussed the existing spat between the Competition Commission of India (“CCI”) and the Competition Appeallate tribunal (“Compat”). In this post I shall look into the genesis of this dispute i.e. the Compat’s decision in SAIL v. Jindal Steel dated 15th Feb, 2010. The decision is historical in some senses as it lays down the foundation for the Supreme Court to examine some key questions relating to the Competition Act, 2002 for the first time since it became operational in May last year.Sometime in October last year Jindal steel made a complain to the CCI alleging that SAIL had entered into anti competitive agreements and/or had also abused its dominant position. Pursuant to this complain the CCI had asked SAIL to communicate its views on this matter within two weeks. SAIL had asked for an extension which was denied by the CCI. In the meantime based on the information produced by Jindal, the CCI was satisfied that there existed a prima facie case against SAIL and therefore decided to the refer the matter to the Director General (“DG”) for further investigation [This procedure is prescribed by S. 26(1) of the Act]. It is against this “direction” of the CCI that SAIL preferred an appeal before Compat. Based on the merits of the dispute two questions had arisen before Compat ; (i) Whether the appeallant (SAIL) had been provided with a reasonable opportunity to be heard and (ii) Whether the CCI was under any legal obligation to record its reasons as to why there existed a prima facie case against the appeallant. Both the questions were answered in favour of the appeallant. But the case seems to be of immense legal significance because of two preliminary questions that had arisen before Compat; (i) Whether the appeal was maintainable and (ii) Whether the CCI can be impleaded as a party in the case. MaintainabilityBoth Jindal and CCI had contented that the appeal cannot be maintained as only a “direction” was made under s. 26(1) of the Act to the DG to conduct further inquiries and since the CCI had not reached any conclusion on the alleged complain there was no question of Compat exercising its appellate jurisdiction. Rejecting this contention the Compat held that under S. 53A(1) it had the jurisdiction to hear an appeal even against a “direction” under S. 26(1). The reason afforded by Compat in this regard was that S. 53(A)(1) confers power on it to hear appeals against “any direction or decision made or order passed” by the CCI. In this regard compat noted that the use of the word “any” exemplifies the wide powers conferred on it by the legislature. The compat further noted that the use of the word “or” between the words “direction” and “decision” manifests that the clause under 53A(1) is disjunctive in nature. In other words an appeal can be made even against a mere “direction” of the CCI. In my humble view the literal interpretation of the clause by compat may be correct but the eventual finding is against the scheme of the Act. It is submitted that S. 53(A)(1) of the Act requires legislative correction. This can be done by incorporating an exclusionary clause under S. 53(A)(1) stating that the Compat would not have any jurisdiction pending the completion of any inquiry by the CCI. Such a clause would deter vexatious litigation and be administratively efficacious.ImpleadmentIn so far as the impleading of the CCI is concerned, the Compat after a perusal of S. 35, 53S and 53T of the Act noted that the former can only be impleaded as a party when it conducts a suo moto inquiry u/s 19(1) of the Act. The reason being that the CCI does not play any adversarial role, instead its role is only limited to that of an investigative nature.The CCI has preferred an appeal before the Supreme Court against the finding of the Compat primarily on the maintainability issue.
Posted by Ankit Mishra at 7:29 PM

SC/ST confusion in Census
Jun 06th, 2010 — PRAMOD KUMAR
While a group of ministers has been constituted to discuss the issue of listing castes in Census 2011, the ongoing demographic exercise is throwing up a complex problem. At present, even legitimate Scheduled Castes (SCs) and Scheduled Tribes (STs) are not being bracketed in their respective categories if they live outside their home state and do not figure in the list of STs and SCs notified by the state in which they reside.
“Bansis” and “Dagis” from Himachal Pradesh settled in Delhi are being considered in the general category in the national capital. However, both are notified SCs in Himachal.Some enumerators in Delhi said such people start arguing when they are not considered SCs. “We are helpless,” said one enumerator, adding that only those castes will be considered SCs which have been notified in Delhi. There are 36 notified SCs in the national capital. “Apart from these 36, no other castes will be considered as SCs in Delhi as far as the Census is concerned,” he added.Another said two families belonging to the “Gagra” and “Sanhal” castes, both of which are notified SCs in Punjab but not in Delhi, argued when they were put in the general category. “They asked why their caste was not notified in the capital when it was the case even in Uttarakhand. I did not have any reply,” he said. A family belonging to the “Banmanus” caste took two hours of convincing when bracketed in the general category though it is a notified SC in Uttarakhand.

Delhi govt reworking on properties registration bill
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, June 06, 2010
Delhi residents will have to wait a little longer to have a digitised and transparent mechanism for registration of properties as planned by the city government to replace the existing archaic system.
The Delhi government, which had drafted a bill modelled on the lines of the one existing in European countries for property registration, has been asked by the Centre to include certain provisions of the Land Titling Bill prepared by it in the proposed legislation.
“We were asked by the Centre to examine the Land Titling Bill 2010 prepared by the Union Rural Development Ministry before finalising our bill,” Chief Secretary Rakesh Mehta said.
He said the Delhi Government will finalise the new draft of the Delhi Urban Property Registration and Titling Bill within a month. The Government had prepared the bill after detailed discussions with experts and other stake holders for the last three years.
The city government decided to introduce a new system of property registration to prevent fraudulent transactions under which an online database of all genuine properties will be put in place to ensure transparency.
After clearance from the Centre, the bill will be tabled in Delhi Assembly.
“Now we are reworking on it to adjust key features of the central bill. The process will be completed within one month,” Mehta, who is the brain behind the scheme, said.
He said under the new system, the government plans to issue unique identification number and title to genuine owners of the properties.

Procedure to appoint judges in higher courts may be changed
Press Trust of India, Sunday June 6, 2010, New Delhi
The procedure of Collegium appointing judges to higher courts may undergo transformation with the government toying with the idea of changing the system in the wake of allegations of lack of transparency and delays.Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily has said the government is “thinking” of making changes in the appointment procedures as the present practice (Collegium) does not “fully reflect” the two Supreme Court judgements, which led to creation of the existing system.India may be among the few countries in the world where judges appoint themselves, a practice that started after 1993 replacing the system of government picking the judges for higher judiciary.Moily told PTI in an interview that the changes could be made either through judicial action or legislative method.”The 1993 Supreme Court judgement and the 1998 Supreme Court judgement led to the present Memorandum of Procedure (which governs the appointment of judges of the Supreme Court and High Courts). But the system does not fully reflect the two judgements in their letter and spirit,” Moily said.He underlined that at the moment, the government is “thinking” and “no decision has been taken”. Refusing to give details of the government plan, the minister said there were two options to go about it. “Either we amend the Constitution or make a fresh law, or the present Memorandum of Procedure is reviewed by a bigger bench of the Supreme Court,” he said.Moily said the draft of revised Memorandum of Procedure was referred to the then Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan for his opinion. But the minister did not say whether any response was received.After the two apex court judgements, the Memorandum of Procedure was adopted with the consent of the government and the judiciary.The changes in the procedure to appoint judges are being contemplated in view of allegations of lack of transparency in the present system.Asked whether the government was considering doing away with the Collegium system for appointment of judges, he said, “Don’t draw any conclusions.”Under the Collegium system, top five Supreme Court judges recommend names of judges to the government for their transfer or elevation.

For the keeps
Mustafa Plumber
Posted: Sun Jun 06 2010, 03:17 hrs

A forum seeks to mend marital disputes among Muslim couples
Alternate dispute redressal forums like the Lok Nyayalaya and plea bargaining have proved quite useful for people in cutting short the long and tedious legal process to secure justice. Even the judiciary in India promotes such new ways given the high pendency of cases in various courts.
Working on the same lines is the ‘Public Complaint Centre’, which has know come to be known as the ‘specialist’ in addressing the growing marital disputes among the Muslims. Located in the bylanes of Pydhonie in South Mumbai, the centre is run by a trust called the Bombay Social Service, since 1986, when it was first formed only to address to civic issues of residents in the area. However, with the increasing number of marital dispute cases pouring in, it has began to concentrate more on them now a days.
Abdul Razzak Maniyar, chief organiser of the centre, says: “There has been a huge increase in number of marital cases in the last five years. Now, we have cases of just married couples to those married for few years. These young couple don’t understand the sanctity of marriage and want to separate for petty reasons. Here we step in to resolve their issues, just like a school teacher guides their students in solving complex math problems”.
The centre is open to all communities but most of the cases that come here are of Muslims. It’s a weekly service, open for people on every Friday evenings. It provides legal help to all absolutely free of cost. A complainant has to only get a cardboard file in which all his future correspondence is stored and kept in the center’s office. Once a person files a complainant, a panel of four lawyers and Maniyar listens to them and as per the problem, provides advice. If required, the four lawyers on the panel issue a notice to the husband or the wife, to be present at the centre, for hearing, on a given date.

Mangalore IX 812 crash: Environmental group indicts top brass

By Team MangaloreanPics Rajesh Shetty
Mangalore, June 5, 2010: The Environmental Support Group of Bangalore has pointed out that ‘Serious structural deficiencies’ of the second expanded runway of the Bajpe airport has led to the horrendous air crash of the ill fated IX 812 on May 22. “This was not a human error but a systemic error which was a result of callous nature of our policy and decision makers. This culture of callousness in public domain cannot be tolerated anymore and the investigation on the crash of IX 812 cannot be left alone for an independent investigator but should be handed over to the Joint Parliamentary Committee” said Mr. Leo Saldanha of the Environmental Support Group of Bangalore here today. Addressing a press conference under the aegis of the Roshni Nilaya Social Work School Mr. Saldanha said, this callous nature of our law makers and decision takers has taken the life of 158 innocent passengers which is enough proof of careless handling of affairs pertaining to the Mangalore airport. The ESG had proposed a plan to the AAI, civil Aviation ministry showing them a runway path extending from Puchchala village to the existing terminal building in Kenjar village which would have given the airport a new runway having over 12000 feet of runway which was compatible with any international runway including Chennai, Mumbai and Delhi. “We could have brought not just 737-800 but also 747s and the megatops all international airlines to Mangalore making it one of the biggest aviation hub in the country. This could have paved the way for Mangalore to become one of the engines of development in the state if not the country and it would have warded off the dubious reputation of having one of the few unsafe tabletop airports in the world. And more importantly saved 158 lives from being usurped by the terrible flames that consumed the IX 812 on that fateful day” said Mr. Leo Saldanha.

Mr. Saldanha said this horrendous accident has to be attributed to AAI, DGCA, Ministry of Civil Aviation and largely to the judiciary that has brushed away the Public Interest Litigation the ESG and the Vimana Nildana Vistharana Virodhi Samithi (anti airport expansion committee) had filed with the High court and the Supreme Court. The judiciary had dismissed our PILs stating that the PIL was an act of mischief played by people with no better work than hindering national development” Mr. Saldanha said I am left with no alternative but to hold Mr. Bhaskar Rao and R.P. Sethia former chief justices of Karnataka High Court for dismissing our PIL against this dangerous project of expansion of airport.
Mr. Saldanha said the second runway of the Bajpe airport has been constructed despite the fact that the runway would not have met international safety standards like requirement of 12000 feet of runway, 300 feet of width of runway 90 meters of arrester and being a table top airport even an arrester barricade would have been erected by the AAI. All these safety aspects have been sidelined by the AAI, DGCA, Bureau of Indian Aviation Safety and more importantly the ministry of Civil Aviation, said Mr. Saldanaha. He said Mr. Praful Patel has stated that the government will extend the runway by another 1000 feet which does not meet the international standards at all. “You cannot land wide bodied aircrafts without giving enough runway for these big aircrafts and put the lives of people in jeopardy, in the future. He said the 737-800 was a fine aircraft and anybody can land it within 800 meters of runway. But there was something called human error which will have to be given some margin,” he said. The press conference was also attended by Mr. Arthur Pereira of the Samithi.
Air India disburses Rs 7.56 Cr compensation to 84 families
Air India has so far disbursed Rs 7.56 crore to 84 families of those killed in Air India Express IX 812 near Bajpe Airport on May 22.
According to a press release issued by Air India in its second sitting of disbursement of interim compensation over the last two days, an amount of Rs 57 lakh was disbursed to 30 people including 28 families of the victims and two survivors. This was the relief announced by the Centre from the Prime Ministers Relief Fund.
The Government had announced Rs 2 lakh for each of the 158 families of the deceased and Rs 50,000 for the injured. This amount will also be paid to those who had claimed Air Indias interim relief on May 28 and 29. Air Indias team of senior officials had visited Mangalore on May 28 and 29 to assist the survivors and the relatives of the victims in their claim for compensation. The team, accompanied by the solicitor officials of M/s Mulla and Mulla, is meeting the survivors and relatives of the deceased in batches to provide clarification regarding compensation, procedures, documentation and other things.
The airline will continue to extend full assistance and support to all survivors, relatives of the crash victims, relatives of the crew members in all activities after the crash, including hospitalisation and care of the survivors, counselling for trauma, interim compensation and disbursal of personal effects. The disbursement of interim compensation is expected to continue, the press release added.

HC asks govt to compensate for custodial death
Express News Service
Posted: Sun Jun 06 2010, 00:40 hrs New Delhi:
Saroj Rani, widow of Vinod Kumar, had never thought her husband would pay with his life for being an alcoholic. Arrested on June 9, 2007, by the local police, 25-year-old Kumar was found dead in his cell three days later.
Three years into the case, the Delhi High Court came to the rescue of Kumar’s family, including his two minor children, and ordered the Delhi government to pay Rs 6.4 lakh as compensation for the custodial death.
Indicting the Tihar Jail authorities for the incident, Justice S Muralidhar held them and the government jointly liable for the death.
“Custodial deaths in Tihar are not an uncommon phenomenon as is evident from some of the recorded cases of the Supreme Court and High Court. When such deaths occur, it is not only to the public at large that those holding custody are responsible, they are responsible also to the courts under whose orders they hold such custody,” said the judge in his Friday order.
During the argument, the police tried to shun the responsibility arguing Kumar, who worked as sewage cleaner, was an alcoholic and had history of creating nuisance and brawls. He was not tortured in custody but died in circumstances which are yet to be ascertained, they contended.
The court, however, brushed aside their argument and said the only logical and reasonable inference for his death could be that he was subjected to torture. On the question of his being an alcoholic, Justice Muralidhar said his societal status and state of mind must be understood to comprehend his habits.
“The arduous, deplorable and undignified work as a sewage cleaner perhaps explains why Kumar had to take to drinking. It is not uncommon to find those working with sewage and with corpses in mortuaries to take to (liquor) to be able to cope with the repulsive and revolting nature of their work,” he said.

HC restrains govt from appointing principals
TNN, Jun 6, 2010, 02.27am IST

CHENNAI: Appointment of at least 30 principals to government colleges in Tamil Nadu hangs in the balance, with a vacation judge of the Madras high court restraining the government from appointing any grade II principal without first issuing the seniority list. Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing interim orders on the writ petitions of four senior lecturers, said: “Without issuing the final seniority list, the authorities are taking steps to fill up the posts of principals. Therefore, there shall be an order of interim injunction.” He also ordered notices to the principal secretary to the government, higher education department and the directorate of collegiate education. Two recently appointed principals, A Dhanapakkiam and KM Ponnathal, who are principals of government women’s colleges at Krishnagiri and Dindigul respectively, too were issued notices. In their petitions, GP Raman and three others, who are assistant grade lecturers, submitted that the directorate of collegiate education published a tentative seniority list of selection grade lecturers/readers on March 23, 2010. As the names of the four petitioners were missing from the list, they approached the authorities for remedy. After being asked to submit their representations, they lodged their objections on March 31. Even while their objections and representations were pending before the authorities concerned, the government issued orders on May 10, promoting Dhanapakkiam and Ponnathal to the posts of principals grade II. Noting that a total of about 30 principals in various government colleges were to attain superannuation on May 31, the petitioners wanted the court to quash the appointment of Dhanapakkiam and Ponnathal as principals. They also wanted the court to direct the authoriteis to issue a final seniority list consisitng of all the readers/selection grade lectureres working in government arts colleges based on the effective date of their appointment/regularisation as assistant professors (selection grade lecruters) or the date from which they were upgraded as assistant professors and to fill up the posts only from that list.

HC quashes PSA against Ahsan Dar
Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir High Court has quashed Public Safety Act against five persons including Mohammad Ahsan Dar and asked authorities to release them forthwith in case they were not sought in any other case.According to Press Bureau of India After hearing the arguments from defense and prosecution, Justice Hasnain Masoodi found as inadequate the evidence produced by administration to make any person apt to be booked under the act. Justice Hasnain Masoodi subsequently quashed the detention orders against Mohammad Ahsan Dar, former chief commander of the Hizbul Mujahideen, Mohammad Salim Wani, and Mohammad Shafi Badyari. Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom, who is also the president KHBA had pleaded case on behalf of Dar and Badyari, Advocate Mir Shafaqat represented Wani while Mohammad Shafi was counseled by advocate Mehraj Azim. In a similar ruling, Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar quashed the detention orders under PSA against Bilal Ahmad Khan. Advocate Mir Shafaqat pleaded his case. (PBI)
Posted on 05 Jun 2010 by Webmaster

Maid, who got her employer arrested and released, commits suicide
Bapu Deedwania
Posted On Sunday, June 06, 2010 at 02:39:06 AM
Gurpreet Jaggi, a Navi Mumbai resident, was in for a rude shock on Saturday evening, when she returned from work to see her maid Stella Augustine hanging from the ceiling fan in her bedroom.A couple of months ago Gurpreet had approached the Bombay High Court to get an FIR registered by Stella quashed. It was lodged after she filed a complaint that she was being brutally beaten up by Gurpreet.
The police even registered a case but Stella then filed an affidavit stating that she had filed a false complaint.Mumbai Mirror had first reported the issue on February 27. On Saturday Gurpreet returned from work and was shocked to see that Stella had hung herself. “I was petrified. I could not believe my eyes.” she said.Gurpreet says that despite all odds she had stood by Stella and loved her. She had also made a statement before the HC saying she should not be separated from Stella. “She was not a maid, she was family for me. I have given my statement to the police and they are investigating the matter,” she added.Mumbai Mirror has learnt that Gurpreet has given some love letters she found in Stella’s possession, to the police. These were allegedly written to a young boy residing in the same building. She declined to elaborate on this.It is also learnt that on one of Stella’s hands, it was written – ‘I love you …”. The name of the boy was also written.Senior Inspector Rafique Bagwan of Navi Mumbai NRI Sagri Police Station said, “We are looking into all the aspects of the case. The post mortem report is out but I have not seen it so I cannot speak about it.”It may be noted that the HC had directed that Stella could stay with Gurpreet but had also instructed the police to visit once in two weeks and keep a track of her well being.However, despite the court order, the police did not visit even once. When questioned about this, Bagwan said that he will have to seek details on this from the officer handling the case.

Waste lights up GIDC at Naroda
Firm converts waste from nearby units into methane; greenhouse gas is chanelled into generator to produce electricity. Yearly savings add up to Rs 2.07 lakh

By Megha Bhatt
Posted On Sunday, June 06, 2010 at 03:50:28 AM

Industrial waste is powering lights at the Naroda GIDC. Naroda Enviro Projects Ltd collects waste from agro-based industries in the estate to generate electricity that lights up its premises. The firm is not just getting the best out of waste, it is creating wealth out of waste, too. The no-profit company generates 130 units of power every day. As one unit of electricity costs Rs 6. In a day, electricity worth Rs 780 is produced here. In a year, the savings add up to Rs 2.07 lakh. The green idea germinated after the Gujarat High Court in 1995 ordered factory owners to clean up their act and stop dumping hazardous industrial waste into the Sabarmati.
The HC directive prompted the state government to transform existing industrial estates in Gujarat into Eco-Industrial Parks (EIPs). Under the eco-networking concept designed by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the University of Kaiserslautern in Germany, waste from one industry will be used as raw material for another.The pilot project was introduced at Naroda Industrial Estate, which contains 900 industries. The estate approached the Centre for Environment Education for help. Former CEE Programme Director Dr R Gopichandran said, “As biodegradable waste could not be dumped, the idea was to convert it into an energy source. GEDA helped co-finance the project.”Naroda Enviro Projects Ltd (NEPL), a section-25 company, spearheaded the project by setting up a common effluents treatment plant in its premises.

The process
The firm collects degradable waste like sesame seeds, sugar syrup, decomposed fruits and vegetables, herbal waste, banana skin, potato skin, oil sludge and rejected bread from industries like Samrat Namkeen, Rasranjan, Azad Food, Gwalia Sweets, Monginis and Modern Bread. Everyday, it gets 2 to 6 tonnes of waste. Using a manual crusher, the refuse is turned into slurry and sent to an underground digester where the decomposed material generates methane. The gas is channelled into a dual fuel generator, which also uses 20 per cent diesel, to generate electricity. The power is used to light up the common effluent treatment plant at night. That’s not all. The plant also generates 245 kg of organic fertiliser each day. Sold at Re 1 per kg, it yields Rs 89,425 each year. Cleaner productionNEPL trustee Shailesh Patwari said, “The fertiliser is in demand even in Hong Kong. We began the project in 2002 to ensure cleaner production at Naroda GIDC. The waste generated by the industries were earlier discarded outside the units, creating filthy and unhygienic surroundings. When we tested the waste, we realised that it had calorific value and released gases. The pilot project was set up here for Rs 10 lakh. The Gujarat Energy and Development Agency (GEDA) bore 75 per cent of the cost. The rest was paid by the estate. “The research and development on waste was conducted in Vadodara. Today, the success of this project has motivated other industrial estates in the state to implement it on their premises,” said PatwariCarbon creditsThe project can be implemented at hospitals, hotels, vegetable markets or any place that produces waste. Since the project utilises methane — a relatively potent greenhouse gas — it will help the user earn carbon credits. To gather more waste, the NEPL has now approached the AMC. The request is under process. Meanwhile, the firm continues to light up the path for other industrial estates, the green way.

UGC bans distance learning in Physiotherapy
June 6th, 2010
Physiotherapy courses — a major component of which is practical training and hands-on experience — will no longer be conducted through the distant mode of education. University Grants Commission (UGC) in May banned all such professional programmes offered through the open and distance learning (ODL) mode.The directive followed after Delhi high court in April 2010 ruled that correspondence/distance education programmes in physiotherapy should not be conducted by the said institutions (against whom a case was filed by the Indian Association of Physiotherapists (IAP) in 2004) except with prior consent of the approved statutory bodies.On May 14, deputy secretary, UGC, V K Jaiswal, wrote to the registrar of Amity University, Noida, that ‘‘Further, Delhi high court in the matter IAP vs Union of India and others and vide orders dated January 3, 2007 prima facie opined that a professional course must also impart practical training and, therefore professional courses should not be allowed to be imparted through the distance education system. Accordingly, UGC has decided that courses in physiotherapy at any level should not be conducted through distance education mode.’’Speaking to TOI, general secretary of IAP, Dr Sanjiv Jha said that IAP filed the case primarily against three ‘erring’ universities — Allahabad Agricultural University, Allahabad, Janardan Rai Nagar University, Udaipur and Sikkim Manipal University, Sikkim — in 2004. ‘‘In the US and UK such courses have very stringent norms. But institutes in India have started offering these without any approval and through distance mode thereby diluting the standards. As it concerns the health of millions of people, IAP decided to move court against such practices,’’ said Jha.At present, India has around 26,000 practicing physiotherapists. Although the HC order was specific to three universities against whom the case was filed, UGC issued a blanket ban on such courses through the OLD mode. Chairman of Distance Education Council (DEC), V N Rajasekharan Pillai, said: ‘‘The court order and UGC’s directives are on the line similar to ours. We have made our stand clear that any institution wishing to offer such programmes must first get the approval of their respective council before approaching DEC for approval.’’UGC chairman Sukhadeo Thorat said: ‘‘Such courses have a major practical component and need hands-on experience. Therefore, distance mode is not the right platform for these.’’
Posted by: Saurabh

Bombay HC posts matter for Friday
Staff Reporter
Mumbai: The Air India on Wednesday moved the Bombay High Court against the ongoing nationwide strike of its employees.
Advocates Sudhir Talsani and M.V. Kini, representing the airline told journalists that they had filed a petition seeking a declaration from the court that the strike was “illegal.” The court posted the case for hearing on Friday.
“Our prayer is that we want urgent relief. We say that this strike is illegal,” Mr. Talsani said.
The respondents are the All-India Aircraft Engineers’ Association and the Air Corporation Employees’ Union and other office-bearers.

Pregnant women must get medical care: HC to govt
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: Sun Jun 06 2010, 00:20 hrs New Delhi:
Court says denial on ground of not producing a BPL card frustrates the objectives of healthcare schemes; orders compensation for victims
* On January 28, Shanti Devi, 35, a Scheduled Caste woman, died minutes after giving birth to a pre-mature girl. She had not eaten properly for three days prior to her delivery. Besides, she delivered the child at home, helped by a neighbour. She left behind two sons, aged six and eight, and the girl. Devi had had a brush with death earlier as well. Two years ago, Devi’s 32-week-old pregnancy was terminated when the fetus died in her womb. To get emegercy medical care, she was forced to approach four different hospitals in five days.* Fatema, 24, an impoverished illiterate woman, was forced to give birth under a tree, in full public view at a crowded Nizamuddin locality on May 29, 2009. Deserted by her husband after she became pregnant, Fatema had gone into labour in a critical condition compounded by epileptic fits. Her mother, Jaitun, had approached a maternity home run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi in Jangpura, but was turned away.
These are just two tales of failure of government healthcare programmes and denial of women’s reproductive rights in states like Delhi and Haryana. The issue, however, runs deeper.
Shocked at the lapse, the Delhi High Court has ordered the Centre and the governments of Delhi and Haryana to ensure proper implementation of schemes meant to prevent maternal and infant mortality rate and also put in place a system to review the schemes.
The schemes in question are National Maternity Benefit Scheme (NMBS), Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS), Janani Soraksha Yojana (JSY), Antodaya Anna Yojana (AAY) and National Rural Health Mission (NRHM).
Directing the Delhi government to pay compensation to Fatema and Shanti Devi’s family, Justice S Muralidhar said the policies were drafted to ensure that more people have access to minimal healthcare and a denial on the ground of not producing a BPL card, frustrates their objectives.
“When it comes to public health, no woman, more so a pregnant woman, should be denied the facility of treatment at any stage irrespective of her social and economic background. This is the primary function in the public health services,” the court held.
Adjudicating the two PILs filed on their behalf by Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves and advocate Divya Jyoti Jaipuriar, the court said to ensure benefits reach the poor, Special Cells should be set up by the state and Central government for constant review and monitoring of the schemes that have hundreds of crore of rupees as budgetary allocation.
The court said there must be an identified place that a pregnant woman can approach to get the benefits under the schemes.
Justice Muralidhar has asked the Delhi government to pay Rs 2.4 lakh in compensation to Devi’s family and Rs 50,000 to Fatema. The government has also been directed to provide scholarships for the children. The authorities have been asked to submit a compliance report in eight weeks.

Inclusion in select list is no guarantee of appointment: court
J. Venkatesan
A person whose name appears on the select list does not acquire any indefeasible right of appointment, the Supreme Court has held.
“Empanelment at best is a condition of eligibility for appointment and by itself does not amount to selection or create a vested right to be appointed. The vacancies have to be filled as per the statutory rules and in conformity with the constitutional mandate,” said a vacation Bench of Justice B.S. Chauhan and Justice Swatanter Kumar.
No reservoir
Writing the judgment, Justice Chauhan said: “Mere inclusion of a candidate’s name in the select list does not confer [on him] any right to be selected, even if some of the vacancies remain unfilled. The candidate cannot claim that he has been given a hostile discrimination. The select list cannot be treated as a reservoir for the purpose of appointments, that vacancy can be filled taking the names from that list as and when it is so required.”
The Bench said: “There may be vacancies available, but for financial constraints, the state may not be in a position to initiate the selection process. A bona fide decision taken by the appointing authority to leave certain vacancies unfilled, even after preparing the select list, cannot be assailed. Courts/tribunals have no competence to issue a direction to the state to initiate the selection process to fill the vacancies. A candidate has only a right to be considered for appointment, when vacancies are advertised and the selection process commences, if he possess the requisite eligibility.”
In the instant case, the Orissa government advertised for filling 15 vacancies of junior clerk in June 1995, with an indication that the number might be increased. Accordingly, the authorities decided to fill 33 vacancies, though a ‘select list’ of 66 persons was prepared. Persons whose names figured on the list but were not appointed moved the State Administrative Tribunal, which in April 2000 directed the government to offer appointments to all candidates until the entire ‘select list’ was exhausted.
Allowing the State’s appeal and setting aside the orders of the tribunal and the High Court, the Supreme Court said: “Once the selection process in respect of a number of vacancies so determined came to an end, it is no more open to offer appointment to persons from the unexhausted list. It is the exclusive prerogative of the employer/State administration to initiate the selection process for filling up vacancies that occurred during a particular year.”
The Bench said: “It is a settled legal proposition that vacancies cannot be filled over and above the number of vacancies advertised, as recruitment of the candidates in excess of the notified vacancies is a denial and deprivation of the right, under Article 14 read with Article 16(1) of the Constitution, of those persons who acquired eligibility for the post in accordance with the statutory rules subsequent to the date of notification of the vacancies. Filling of vacancies over the notified vacancies amounts to filling of future vacancies, and thus not permissible in law.”

Rathore in hospital after chest pain
India Blooms News Service
Chandigarh, June 6 (IBNS): Former Haryana DGP S P S Rathore, who is in jail for molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra in 1990, was admitted to a hospital early on Sunday after he complained of chest pain and restlessness at Burail Jial here late on Saturday.
Media reports said, doctors found that Rathore, who had undergone a heart surgery in 2007, had an increased heartbeat.The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of the 68-year-old tainted former Haryana top cop. The court would hear Rathore’s revision petition on June 29.On Thursday, the court had deferred a decision on the former Haryana DGP’s bail plea.Rathore had filed a bail petition in the high court on May 26, a day after the Chandigarh district and sessions court enhanced his jail term from six months to 18 months in the Ruchika Girhotra molestion case of 1990.Rathore’s bail was forfeited and he was sent to jail, ending the first round of fight by the family and friends of Ruchika for the last 20 years.Ruchika committed suicide in 1993, allegedly driven to desperation by the former cop who terrorised her family.Rathore had harassed the family of Ruchika and slapped false cases against her brother and got him arrested and tortured. The family had to move residence driven by the harassment of the former cop

Bhopal court to pronounce historic judgment in gas leak case on Monday
Mahim Pratap Singh
At midnight on December 2, 1984, Bhopal became a living manifestation of disastrous corporate negligence leading to the death of over 20,000 people and causing injuries to over 5 lakh, according to official and unofficial figures combined.
Twenty-five years, six months and four days later, the people of Bhopal eagerly anticipate what is being called a “historical” judgment by the City Judicial Magistrate (CJM).
On 7th June, i.e. on Monday, the CJM will pass judgment in the “Union of India through CBI versus Keshub Mahindra and others” case, probably the longest running criminal case of this magnitude in terms of the number of people it affected and continues to affect.
As the first judgment in any case related to the Bhopal gas disaster, it will indeed be historic. Another reason for it to be historic is the involvement of Keshub Mahindra, former Chairman of Union Carbide India Ltd, who, after Warren Andersen, is the prime Indian accused in the case.
Mr. Mahindra is now chairman of the Indian automobile giant Mahindra and Mahindra.
The case, based on a chargesheet filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 1, 1987 against 12 parties, was originally to be tried under Section 304 Part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder leading up to 10 years imprisonment) of the Indian Penal Code.
This, however, was challenged by the accused in the Madhya Pradesh High Court but the court upheld the charges. Subsequently, the accused approached the Supreme Court which, in a September 1996 order passed by Justice A.M. Ahmadi, diluted the charges against the Indian accused to Section 304 A — causing death by negligence with maximum imprisonment up to two years.
There have been 178 prosecution and eight defence depositions before the court since 1996. Several activists working with Bhopal victims do not consider significant the two-year maximum punishment possible under 304A.
Victims sceptical
“It is the first judgment in the Bhopal gas disaster and so in a way it is going to be historic,” says Balkrishna Namdeo of the Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha.
“But even if the judgment does pronounce them guilty, what punishment would it be? Just 2 years against the 26 years of misery by the victims? And the accused can appeal against the judgment to higher courts,” says Namdeo with apparent scepticism.
Activists have also questioned the CBI’s role in the matter as it has not been able to produce Warren Andersen, the then CEO of Union Carbide India Ltd and prime accused in the case, even after two arrest warrants were issued against him, the last one in July last year.
“The CBI seems to have been acting on an unsigned directive of the Central government,” says Abdul Jabbar, of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghathan, who has been working with the Bhopal victims since the tragedy struck.
Mr. Jabbar’s organisation had filed an application to the CJM court to amend the charges against the accused and charge them under Section 304 Part II of the IPC based on new oral and documentary evidence (e.g. February 2010 deposition of defence witness T.R. Raghuraman who stated that Warren Woomer, the then works manager of UCIL, had ordered the shutting down of refrigeration systems on January 7, 1982).
The application was, however, rejected by the CJM on April 26, 2010 on the ground that it was not supported by the Public Prosecutor of the CBI and that no court had the power to go beyond the apex court and change the charges to 304 part II.
“A judgment such as this one, with a high-profile accused, has the potential to shape the future of how big business operates in the country,” says Mr. Jabbar.

Plea filed against rituals during HC event
TNN, Jun 6, 2010, 02.42am IST

AHMEDABAD: A PIL has been filed in the Supreme Court against the religious rituals performed during a judiciary’s function, particularly by the Gujarat High Court on its foundation day. The PIL has urged the SC to declare the foundation stone laying ceremony by performing religious rituals at the high court premises as unconstitutional. A rights-based organisation, Council for Social Justice (CSJ) has filed the PIL challenging the ceremony of laying foundation stone of an auditorium in the high court premises as per the Hindu rituals. The apex court has kept hearing on this plea after the summer vacation. On May 1, the high court’s foundation day, governor Dr Kamla laid the foundation stone of the auditorium that is to be built in the extended campus at Sola. The ceremony was performed by a Hindu Brahmin and religious rituals were performed in presence of the judges of the high court, other members of Gujarat judiciary and three judges of the apex court. Before the ceremony took place, CSJ made a representation before the chief justices of HC, as well as, SC urging them to prevent performance of religious rituals looking at the fact that India is a secular country and following rituals of a particular religion is against the spirit of the Constitution. But the high court went ahead with the programme. CSJ later filed a PIL in the SC urging that the performance of religious rituals at the foundation stone laying ceremony by the high court should be declared as unconstitutional. The apex court has also been requested to direct the state judiciary not to arrange such ritualistic programmes in future, said CSJ secretary Valjibhai Patel.

Wind-power giant petitions Bombay high court against panchayat order
Hetal Vyas / DNA
Sunday, June 6, 2010 1:13 IST
Mumbai: Wind-power giant Suzlon has petitioned the Bombay High Court against an order passed by the gram panchayats of Satara demanding a property/building tax on wind farms.
A bunch of petitions filed by Suzlon and 29 other windmill owners say that in January this year, the sarpanch of villages in Satara sent them notices under the Bombay Village Panchayats Act, 1958 and the Maharashtra Village Panchayats Taxes and Fees Rules, 1960, seeking property/building tax.
The majority of the windmills in the state are in Satara and most of these are developed, run and maintained by Suzlon. The windmill owners are one of the power supply sources of Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Limited (MSEDCL).
The petitions states that the coercive action by gram panchayats would have an adverse affect on the functioning of the wind farms.
This, it says, would indirectly lead to a default on the part of the windmill owners in supplying the contracted power to MSEDCL. As a result, the State as a whole and the public at large, would suffer.
The petitioners have claimed that the Act does not envisage any such tax payable on a windmill per se. “The gram panchayats have raised demand with retrospective effect. It has not only raised demand of building tax for 2008-09 but also for the previous years from 2000 to 2006,” says the petition.
“Gram panchayats have raised exorbitant property tax demands ranging from Rs. 5,03,895 in one village to Rs. 1,40,25280 in another village within the same district. This establishes that the said charges as levied are arbitrary and whimsical,” said Filji Frederick, advocate for the petitioners.
The petition also states that the windmill owners made representations to the gram panchayats. However, the authorities failed to respond.
The petition claims that as per the Bombay Village Panchayat Act, a building is defined as a hut, shed, or other enclosure, whether used as a human dwelling or for any other purpose whatsoever and also includes walls, verandahs, fixed platforms, plinths, doorsteps and the like.
According to the petitions, a windfarm comprises of windmills and a small immovable structure, the- Central Monitoring Stations or CMS buildings. The CMS building houses computers and other equipment to facilitate the running of the windmills. The petition states that at the most, the CMS buildings may fall within the purview of the Act.

Families of Indians held captives in Egypt to seek High Court’s help for release
2010-06-05 19:40:00
Families of 30 men, hailing from Tamil Nadu have decided to file a petition in the Madras High Court to ensure their rescue in Egypt where they have allegedly been keep in illegal captivity and made to work as bonded labourers.
Lured by the promise of hefty salaries, these men of Thirumangalam city of Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district accompanied a middleman to Egypt. ut instead of the comforts and rewards promised to them, these men have allegedly been made to compelled to work as bonded labourers for the last one year; 18 hours a day for a pittance.
Their passports had been taken away on arrival in the country and they alleged that the middlemen now ask for Rs. 100,000 for their release.
The labourers managed to send letters to their family members and gave a detailed account of their plight at their work place.
“It was on the behest of a friend that my husband decided to go out to a foreign country for job opportunity and we spent 50,000 rupees for this. But later, we came to know that he was being tortured and humiliated there. His monthly salary has been deducted and after reaching there he has sent only 11,000 rupees. After that, we have not received any salary,” said Shanthi, wife of a victim.
The family members of these 30 men have now decided to approach the Madras High Court and already requested the Central Government to help them bring their family members back.
“The investigation at Indian embassy in Egypt is under process but…. we are not satisfied with that. The torture on them has only increased and we therefore plead for their early release. So we decided to file a petition in the High Court,” said Muthukaumar, an advocate. (ANI)

I-T notice to Vodafone for Rs 12,000 cr tax
Press Trust of India, June 05, 2010
The income tax department on Friday asked Vodafone to explain as to why it should not be taxed Rs 12,000 crore for its USD 11.1-billion deal with Hong Kong-based Hutchison in 2007 for acquiring its assets in the Indian joint venture with Essar. A show cause notice was issued to Vodafone for levying Rs 12,000 crore tax, a finance ministry official said.When contacted, Vodafone spokesperson confirmed the receipt of the notice. The show cause notice follows an order by the Income Tax Department that it has the jurisdiction to tax Vodafone. However, Vodafone has disputed the jurisdiction order, saying “no tax is payable” to the government of India on the deal between two foreign entities.Meanwhile, the IT Department has already filed a caveat in the Bombay High Court against Vodafone. The dispute concerns the Vodafone Group’s acquisition of 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar from Hutchison Telecommunications International in February 2007.Vodafone said the I-T department has no clear jurisdiction over the deal because Vodafone is a company incorporated in the Netherlands and Hutchison is a Cayman Islands-based company.However, the I-T department maintains that it has the jurisdiction to tax Vodafone, since the deal concerned the sale of 66.98 per cent of interest in Hutchison-Essar, an Indian company. It further said the deal was designed in such a manner so as to claim that it had taken place abroad and hence could not be taxed in the country. After regulatory clearances were given to the deal in 2007, the tax department issued a show-cause notice to Vodafone saying the company did not deduct tax, estimated at around USD 2 billion. In 2007, Vodafone received a show-cause notice from IT department asking it why it had not deducted tax.Following this, the company approached the Bombay High Court. After thehigh court dismissed Vodafone’s petition challenging the I-T department’s notice, the company moved the Supreme Court in January, 2009. The Supreme Court, which had refused to intervene in the tax dispute, had asked the department to check whether it has the jurisdiction to proceed further in the tax case.

Accused miss date with court, issued notices–issued-notices/630044
Express News Service
Posted: Sun Jun 06 2010, 02:59 hrs Lucknow:
With none of the 26 accused named in the Babri Masjid demolition case appearing before the Special Court (Ayodhya Prakaran) in Lucknow, the framing of charges against the lesser-known workers of the BJP, VHP and Shiv Sena did not take place on Saturday.
Taking cognizance, Special Judge Virender Kumar issued a showcause notice to the accused asking them why their bail application should not be cancelled and a non-bailable warrant be issued against them for not complying with court orders.
The “crucial formality” has been pending since years as the proceedings were halted due to pending appeals in the high court. Trials against the 26 accused, which include Pawan Kumar Pandey, Acharya Dharmendra Dev and Maharaj Swami Sakshi, resumed on May 29 after the CBI’s plea to proceed with criminal proceedings against Advani and 20 other high profile leaders was dismissed by the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court.
“The court has now fixed June 11 for the framing of charges,” said K P Singh, counsel for the CBI.
Two sets of cases — one against Advani and others who were reportedly on the dais at Ram Katha Kunj in Ayodhya on December 6, 1992, and the other registered against lakhs of unknown “kar sevaks” who were in and around the disputed structure — was lodged after the Babri Masjid was demolished.
In the first case, the trial proceedings are taking place in Rae Bareli and the cross-examination of IPS officer Anju Gupta is fixed for June 8.

Court dismisses bail plea of two accused in MCI graft case
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, June 05, 2010
A Delhi court today dismissed the bail plea of two accused in an alleged graft case involving former Medical Council of India president Ketan Desai.
“Considering the serious nature of the offence, the accused cannot be granted bail at this stage,” Additional Sessions Judge O P Saini said, rejecting the applications of Kanwaljit Singh and Sukhwinder Singh, both doctors of a Punjab-based private medical college.
The Delhi High Court had yesterday rejected Desai’s bail plea but granted relief to J P Singh, an alleged Delhi-based tout and a co-accused in the case.
Justice Mukta Gupta had said the trial court was justified in not granting bail to Desai as his role in the offence was more serious.
Besides J P Singh, Desai, Kanwaljit and Sukhwinder are in judicial custody till June 9.
The former MCI president was arrested on April 22 by CBI along with three others for allegedly accepting bribe of Rs two crore to give permission to Gyan Sagar Medical College, Patiala to recruit a fresh batch of students.
Desai, the alleged middleman and the doctors of the medical college have been booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act dealing with inducing a public servant to accept bribe, criminal misconduct and payment of money.
Based on contents of intercepted telephonic calls allegedly made by the accused, CBI had laid a trap outside the south Delhi residence of J P Singh, which led to his arrest and that of Kanwaljit.

Unaided recog schools can force teachers to retire prematurely
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, June 06, 2010

The Delhi High Court has held that unaided recognised private schools can force teachers to take premature retirement, saying it “eliminates stagnation” and “promote vibrancy” in organisations.
“An order of compulsory retirement is an important tool to keep any organisation vibrant and to prevent its clogging and decay by sheer weight of long standing employees who have ceased to be the dynamos to propel the organisation further and for achieving its goals,” Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said. Turning down the plea of a trained graduate teacher that there is no public interest involved in forcing her to retire, the court said schools should not be forced to continue with such person’s service at the cost of future citizens.
“The public interest in imparting education in the school requires vesting of powers with the recognised schools to compulsorily/pre-maturely retire teachers who fail to ignite the minds of students and fail to inculcate in them the inquisitiveness and knowledge,” the court said.
It held the order forcing an employee to retire could not be treated as a punishment and carries no stigma.
The right of the employer to ask for compulsory retirement of an employee will be limited only after he/she attains a certain age, the court said.
It passed the order on a petition filed by Leela Sharma, who had joined the service in 1988 as a TGT, challenging the decision of the school to force her to take premature retirement.
The school had contended that Sharma joined the service at the age of 45 years when it was not recognised by the government while the maximum age stipulated under the law was 30 years.
However, after being recognised by the government, the authorities started pressing for her retirement as per the norms of the Delhi School Education Act and Rules.

Notice to CBI on bail plea of two accused in NHAI graft case
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, June 06, 2010
The Delhi High Court has issued notices to CBI on the bail plea of two officials of a private construction firm in a corruption case in which two senior NHAI officials are also accused.
“Issue notice to the CBI and list the matter for hearing on June 11,” a Bench headed by Justice Sanjiv Khanna said while taking up the bail applications of accused, K S Bakshi and S K Dixit.
Besides Bakshi, Managing Director of Oriental Structure Pvt Ltd, and his employee Dixit, NHAI Chief General Manager SK Nirmal and General Manager Nitin Jain were also remanded to 14 days’ judicial custody on May 31 by the lower court when they were produced on the conclusion of their five-day-long custodial interrogation in the case.
The accused filed fresh bail applications after the lower court, on May 31, dismissed their plea saying “the investigation was at initial stage and considering the gravity of the offence, the accused do not deserve to be released on bail at this stage”.
The accused National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) officials, so far, have not filed bail applications.
“CBI have recovered Rs 2.41 crore and Rs 46 lakhs, that too in cash, from NHAI officials Nitin Jain and S K Nirmal,” the prosecutor had said.
It is on record that NHAI officials abused their official position to help the private firm in emerging winner in the bid process relating construction work, he said.
Emails were sent by the NHAI officials prior to the start of bidding process and the bidding time was reduced by 10 days which resulted into exclusion of four construction firms, CBI had said in the FIR.
The agency has alleged that the officers entered into a criminal conspiracy with the MD of the private firm and favoured it in bagging contracts for a project in Maharashtra and Madhya Pradesh.
The NHAI officials gave key confidential, strategic and vital information to the company during the tendering process, which in turn helped it gain greater financial benefits, it alleged.
Besides the cash, CBI also claimed to have recovered 360 grams of gold and five kilograms of silver from the bank locker of one of the accused.

Balakrishnan tarnished image of judiciary’
Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, June 05, 2010
The stubbornness with which Justice K.G Balakrishnan, who retired as Chief Justice of India last month, opposed the implementation of the Right to Information in the judiciary has damaged the image of the institution, according to rebellious judge D.V. Shylendra Kumar.
In one of the strongest attacks by any judge across the country on Justice Balakrishnan, who is set to take over as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) chief on Monday, Justice Kumar held him responsible for further eroding the faith of the people in the judiciary.
“Justice Balakrishnan, in an adamant manner, not only refused to divulge information on the functioning of the Supreme Court on the administrative side, but also tried to stonewall the judicial opinion expressed by the Delhi High Court in holding it (SC) amenable to part with information under RTI,” he wrote on his blog.
“This stubborn attitude greatly damaged the image of judiciary in the country, and the already eroding faith and confidence of the people in the judicial system only got further reduced in the wake of such an attitude on the part of the former CJI,” Justice Kumar wrote.
The only active blogger judge in the country’s higher judiciary, Kumar, in an open letter to the country’s citizens, has also taken a dig at Supreme Court judges, saying the top court of India is one of the most powerful in the world but not necessarily correct.
Known for voicing his views on transparency in the higher judiciary, Kumar has questioned the two-month delay by Supreme Court judges in declaring their assets after making announcing their decision.
The judge wanted to know if Justice Balakrishnan had the details of judges’ assets since 1997, when the judges of the top court passed a resolution to do so, and what prevented him from making these public the day after the announcement.

Police registers rape complaint on NHRC’s directive
Muzaffarnagar, Jun 6 (PTI) After three months of running from pillar to post, the National Human Rights Commission came to the rescue of the parents of a minor girl, who was allegedly gangraped, by directing police to register their complaint.The apex human rights body yesterday directed the police to register their complaint against Anuj Kumar and Prashant, who allegedly gangraped the 15-year-old victim on February 15.According to the complaint, which was later registered by the police, the girl was allegedly abducted and gangraped by two youths at Prasoli village. She was found in Delhi three days later.Police said the victim was sent for medical examination.The victim’s father had alleged that the police refused to register their complaint as the accused belonged to an influential family.

[rti_india] NHRC and RTI
Sunday, June 6, 2010

We oppose J Balakrishnan’s appointment as NHRC Chairman”Both Advocates and Judges have an equal responsibility towards the society. So both deserve equal respect from the people.”- J K G Balakrishnan, ex-Chief Justice of India and the incumbent Chairman of the National Human Rights Commission.”This stubborn attitude greatly damaged the image of judiciary in the country, and the already eroding faith and confidence of the people in the judicial system only got further reduced in the wake of such an attitude on the part of the former CJI,”-J D V Shylendra Kumar, Karnataka High Court Judge”He wants publicity and such a thing is not good for a judge. Judges should not be publicity-crazy.” – J Balakrishnan”On a legal place the CJI does not have the authority to speak for all judges of the Supreme Court, or High Courts, unless any of them have either confided in the Chief Justice or have authorised him to speak on behalf of others.”- J Shylendra KumarI present these four statements before you just to show that things are not exactly rosy in the Judiciary. The murmur of “all is not well” was there for a long time but during the last few years the situation has worsened a lot. And the worst so far has been seen in the tenure of J K G Balakrishnan who has just retired as the Chief Justice of India and is now appointed as the Chairman of NHRC. As per the NHRC’s own website -“The National Human Rights Commission is an expression of India’s concern for the protection and promotion of human rights.” We can fully understand what kind of custodian of Human Rights of the citizen of this Nation J Balakrishnan would prove to be, particularly when during his three year long tenure as the CJI all he earned is a reputation of being biased, politically motivated and anti-people. During his entire tenure, many of his judgments were being seen as being motivated to please different powerful politicians and political forum as per their rising future prospects at that time. I remember a remark made by a High Court Judge before whom I had appeared in a Writ Petition saying the party concerned in a matter of political significance that if he wanted a favourable decision he could very well go to the Supreme Court where the CJI would be more than obliged to do so. He also said this is what the CJI had being doing in all such cases. One can understand the situation when a High Court Judge can dare to say such disparaging things in the Open Court. I can never prove this statement of mine because in all certainty the concerned Judge will straight way refute this and might even call me a liar but the fact remains that J Balakrishnan had slowly started acquiring a reputation of being highly pliable and politically guided. The situation worsted in the J Dinakaran case where the controversial Chief Justice from Karnataka High Court was to be elevated to the Supreme Court despite all kinds of clear-cut allegations. The way J Balakrishnan behaved during the entire sequence of events, changing his stand every now and then, made every publicly-spirited person feel really humiliated. In one statement while defending J Dinakaran he said- “”All these allegations have been raised when his name was suggested to be elevated” The next to come was the Judges Assets episode. J Balakrishnan fought tooth and nail to keep the Judges out of the ambit of the RTI Act as regards their personal assets. As everyone can easily understand, no one in the land, including the Supreme Court and High Court judges are above law. There can be no discriminatory privilege to be enjoyed by a person just because he/she is a member of the Higher Judiciary. This single stand of J Balakrishnan generated so much hue and cry and exposed him to the general public that not only he but also the top judiciary started losing some of its shine. The Nation must be thankful to J Shylendra Kumar, the brave hero of this country, who must have had to face all kinds of humiliation, disturbances, threats and boycott from many fellow Judges as can be seen from the statement made by J Balakrishnan when he said that J Shylendra Kumar is publicity crazy. So, a person who is on a justified stand and who becomes the first Judge in the country to declare his assets publicly is “publicity crazy” and the person who goes to all possible extent and uses all his power and authority to stop this from happening is now the Chairman of India’s Human Rights Commission. One can very well understand what would be there is store for the people in an important case which involves any truly powerful persons from the government. In all certainty J Balakrishnan might shy away from delivering justice just the same way he had been shying away from declaring his and his fellow Judges assets.It is for this reason that we oppose the appointment of J Balakrishnan as the Chairman of NHRC and fully endorse the view expressed by J Shylendra Kumar that -“Balakrishnan tarnished image of judiciary'” and hence a suitable person must be chosen for this post which needs much of independent thinking.

Dr Nutan Thakur,Convener,National RTI Forum,Lucknow# 94155-34525

Woman Empowerment or Woman Endangerment
05 Jun 10
In the recent past a lot has been said about woman empowerment and much hype is given to it as well throughout the world. India is a country that has always over-pampered and over protected only one section of woman (young wives and daughters-in-law (DIL)), but has totally ignored and overlooked the other two-thirds section of woman (mothers and sisters of husband) to a large extent in every sphere of society by the Government, the law makers and the Judiciary.
The NCW and WCD Ministry has from years promoted and sensitized the false information of wives or daughter-in-law being harassed and tortured either by men or in-laws in order to extract huge funds from the UNICEF, USAID, UN and other funding agencies. The accountability and credibility of this information is never questioned whether the funds are really used for the purpose that should be served. The money is spent in false propaganda of woman being harassed for dowry or violence through the print and electronic media which has a great false impact on the mindsets of people in general.
Every other day some new women-centric, wife-oriented, one-sided and biased laws are proposed by the Feminists and NCW Ministry and propagated by the Male Feminists and Pseudo Bureaucrats. Thus the silent sufferers are the Men, the innocent husbands and their families. These Wife-centric laws are discriminatory in the same gender as well, as they do not serve the purpose of protection to the mothers and sister of husbands. The young wives and DILs are considered as women only by these Male-haters. They even go to the extent of spreading hatred not only for husbands but even his mothers and sisters are included in their hatred and denied any justice.
There are 15 laws for the protection of wife and DIL but not a single law for the protection of mothers and sisters of husbands from the Domestic Violence that they face at the hands of DIL. Is it not discrimination made in the laws made by the Lawmakers? Are we really talking of woman empowerment or creating endangerment in the same sex by the biased laws? Why don’t the Lawmakers realize the fact that violence can be faced by any one from woman to woman and also from woman to man or even from one woman to a whole family of her in-laws?
Recently in the TV news channel Aajtak a program was telecast showing in the state of Rajasthan in the Churu, Jhunjhunu and Savai Madhopur districts teenage girls are sold by their parents to Brokers. These girls get married to grooms from where they loot they families after marriage and elope with gold jewelry and cash which is shared by all involved in the racket. Do these sorts of acts fall into the category of woman empowerment or woman endangerment?
The mothers of daughters have a great responsibility towards society and the family upbringing and for the future generations. Just as in the olden times even the so called modern mothers should from childhood inculcate in their daughters these qualities – to be tolerant, responsible, adjustable, understanding and respectful towards their in-laws so that she can lead a happy family life. Empowerment of woman does come with arrogance, selfishness, egos, hatred and disrespectfulness for the in-laws.
Recently in a judgment made by the judges A K Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke, they have commented that male members in a matrimonial home perpetrate violence on the wife or DIL through the female members, so a woman in the in-laws (mother or sister) can face action under Domestic Violence Act. This is total discrimination and bias in the same sex since the wife or Dil cannot be tried even if she perpetrates violence on the old woman or another young woman or even the male members either mentally, verbally, physically, emotionally or socially for no reason whatsoever. Is this the kind of empowerment that the Feminists and Women’ Commission making such a hue and cry about.
Promotion of the concept of woman empowerment in the wrong direction by presenting false notions of independence and protection should be checked. Real empowerment is to sensitize and educate the younger woman with a sense of responsibility, tolerance, family oriented values, and respect for the elders and the male members in the society and family too. In fact today a woman does not require any empowerment as she is educated and capable of tackling any situation very well, over and above the young woman has all the Women Protective Laws the whole system of police, lawyers and above all the judiciary at her disposal.
Since the women protection laws are drafted with many loopholes instead of saying that the laws are misused as weapons or tools for spreading Legal -Terrorism it may be very well be said that Wrong Laws are used successfully with manipulated facts, concocted stories of torture and violence with a combination (tadka) of crocodile tears by the wives and Dil to harass the husbands and in-laws by false cases of 498A, DVA, Maintenance, Child custody, sexual harassment, rape etc. She is empowered to do all this with whole corrupted system backing her fully.
I am a woman and I honestly do not support such Woman Empowerment which degrades to be Woman Endangerment in the real sense of the term.

Women’s quota bill campaign reaches Aligarh
June 5th, 2010
ALIGARH – The ‘Reservation Express’ campaign which seeks to mobilise support for the women’s quota bill reached Aligarh Saturday on its way to the national capital.
“It was the Aligarh Muslim University that reserved seats for women in the employees union for the first time in India,” eminent historian Irfan Habib said, addressing a group assembled to welcome the campaigners as they reached Aligarh Saturday.
The women’s reservation bill that seeks to give women 33 percent of seats in the Lok Sabha and the state assemblies, has been passed by the Rajya Sabha but is yet to be taken up by the Lok Sabha.
Talking to IANS campaign leader Shabnam Hashmi said: “Wherever we went there has been tremendous response. Women in villages across India said they want reservation and it would definitely help in their empowerment. Our group includes Muslim and Dalit women also.”
Talking about opposition to the reservations, Shabnam said: “We are opposed to any kind of interference and mediation by the conservative religious heads. Let women decide what is good for them.”
Shahjad Alam, local organiser of the campaign told IANS: “Three groups have moved out to cover the whole country on a mass contact drive by road. The group members are holding interactive sessions with local women’s groups and mobilising support for the women’s reservation bill.
The ‘Reservation Express’ campaign was flagged off from Jhansi May 20. The campaigners, after travelling almost 20,000 km and covering 60 cities and towns across India, will reach Delhi June 6.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Sunday, June 06, 2010


LEGAL NEWS 05.06.2010

Former CJI Balakrishnan appointed NHRC Chairperson
The President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, has appointed former Chief Justice of India (CJI) K G Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
New Delhi, June 3 : The President, Pratibha Devisingh Patil, has appointed former Chief Justice of India (CJI) K G Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
Justice Balakrishnan, who was the 37th Chief Justice of India retired from his position on May 12, 2010.
As an advocate, he pleaded both criminal and civil cases in the Ernakulam court. He was later appointed as a Munsiff in the Kerala Judicial Services in 1973. He later resigned from the services and resumed practice as an advocate in the Kerala High Court, and was transferred to the Gujarat High Court in 1997.
Justice Balakrishnan became the Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court in 1998, and in 1999, he assumed charge as the Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Madras. While being Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court, he also discharged duties of Governor of Gujarat for about two months.
He was appointed as a judge of the Supreme Court on June 8, 2000 and sworn in as the Chief Justice of India on January 14, 2007 by the then President of India A P J Abdul Kalam.

Nine terrorists have sought commutation of death sentence
Vidya Subrahmaniam
26 petitions pending with President’s Secretariat
Terrorism knows no religion, and as much emerges from a scrutiny of 29 mercy petitions filed by Indian death row prisoners. Of these, 26 are pending with the President’s Secretariat, while the others, including the petition filed by Afzal Guru, who was convicted in the Parliament attack case, are “under examination” in the Home Ministry.
The details, which were accessed by Right to Information activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, show that in all, nine convicted terrorists, including Afzal Guru, have sought commutation of the death sentence.
But, significantly, Afzal Guru is the only “Muslim” terrorist on the list. His petition is also the most recent. Rajiv Gandhi’s assailants — Murugan, Santhan and Arivu — top the list with a mercy petition that dates back to 2000. The petition took five years to reach the President’s Secretariat, where it has since been pending
Next comes Devender Pal Singh, who was sentenced to death for a terrorist act by a Special TADA Court in August 2001. The sentence was confirmed by the Supreme Court in March 2003. The same year, Singh, who was convicted in a bomb blast case, filed a mercy petition. It reached the President’s office in 2005.
The third terrorism case involves Simon, Gnanaprakash, Madaiah and Bilavendra, who were convicted of killing 22 Karnataka police personnel by blasting landmines. In September 2001, a trial court in Karnataka awarded all of them life imprisonment, which was enhanced by the Supreme Court to the death penalty. Their collective mercy petition, filed in 2004, has been pending with the President since 2005.
Afzal Guru was sentenced to death in December 2002. The trial court’s sentence was confirmed by the Delhi High Court in November 2003 and by the Supreme Court in August 2005. His mercy petition, filed in 2006, has been going back and forth between the Home Ministry and the Delhi government.
Mercy petitions can be sent to either the President’s office or the Home Ministry. However, the Constitution prescribes no time limit for their disposal, leading to indecision by successive Presidents, and in some cases, by governments.
President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam decided only two mercy petitions — in 2004 he rejected the plea of rape convict Dhananjoy Chatterjee, who was later hanged, and in 2006, he commuted Kheraj Ram’s death penalty to life imprisonment.
President K.R. Narayanan did not clear any mercy petition.
President Pratibha Patil, who inherited a backlog of 25-odd cases, the earliest dating back to 1997, has decided only one case so far. In November 2009, she commuted R. Govindasamy’s death sentence to life imprisonment.

PIL filed in Gujarat against vacation in courts
DNA Correspondent / DNA
Friday, June 4, 2010 11:23 IST
Ahmedabad: A lawyer of the Gujarat high court has set in motion the debate over court vacations by challenging the practice in a public interest litigation. Girish Das, a practising lawyer, who filed the PIL in the high court said that the courts enjoy 155 days of vacation in a year and it is a violation of the fundamental rights of the citizens.
He has asked that in the interest of the people this practice should not be permitted. However, Das withdrew his PIL after justice DH Waghela asked him to make a representation before the chief justice of Gujarat high court.
Das moved a PIL on Thursday amid a month long summer vacation in the Gujarat high court and other civil courts of the state. Das argued in the high court that the Supreme Court in the case ofHussainara Khatoon v/s. Home Secretary, had held that speedy trial is an integral and essential part of the fundamental right to life and liberty.
He has requested the high court to hold that vacation by the court infringes the fundamental right of the litigants and such infringement cannot be permitted, in the interest of justice.
He also sought stay on the circulars issued to all district and sessions courts by the Gujarat high court asking them to observe the vacation. Das in the PIL also pointed out to the current scenario of unjust treatment of poor litigants who have no access to justice on account of vacation in courts and thus depriving them of their fundamental right to speedy trial guaranteed under article 21 in the constitution.
He further said that the challenge in the present petition was against the modality and patent of celebrating blanket “vacation” which totally paralyses and causes stagnation of the entire judicial apparatus.
He also said that during the vacation no alternate arrangement is made to maintain regular court proceedings. Das also mentioned a recent instance of a lawyer in the high court who opposed adjournment given by a high court judge beyond the vacation in case of his client’s bail plea.
He also said in the PIL that there are certain organisations, institutions and offices in the country that work 24/7 for 365 days.

HC: Pay Rs 4 lakhs on midday meal fiasco
Jun 04th, 2010 — Age Correspondent
New Delhi
The Delhi high court on Thursday directed the Delhi government to pay over Rs 4 lakhs as compensation to 126 students who has fallen ill after consuming midday meal in a state-run school last month.
After hearing a public interest litigation from an NGO Harit Recyclers Association, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Madan B. Lokur said, “The scheme has public character. It is the obligation of the state to see that it is properly worked out. No one becomes a victim and suffers from any kind of health hazard due to consumption of bad food. Here there can be no shadow of doubt that the state has to pay the compensation.”The court directed the government to pay Rs 3,000 each to 121 students who were taken ill after eating the midday meal.The court observed, “Young children suffered physical pain and mental agony. The mental shock of a child who goes to the casualty ward can be well imagined. The children who were admitted in ICU have suffered more than others. The psychology of young children has to be understood in proper prospective.” The bench passed the order after hearing a PIL from the NGO seeking direction to the government for implementation of Supreme Court’s guidelines relating to mid-day meal scheme. Filing the PIL, the NGO sought the court’s direction for a probe and prosecution of guilty officers responsible for such incident, apart from compensation for the victims.The NGO claimed that at least five girl students out of 126 in government girls’ middle school in Hauz Qazi, Lal Kuan area of old Delhi fell sick and others suffered from nausea and stomach ache after eating the meal provided by an NGO on May 6.

Kasab appeals against death sentence
2010-06-04 12:50:00Last Updated: 2010-06-04 12:59:17
Mumbai: Pakistani Ajmal Amir Kasab, convicted for the 26/11 Mumbai terror strike, has challenged the death sentence awarded to him by a Mumbai special court, an official said on Friday.
He did so even before the special court could send its judgement to the high court for confirmation of the sentence.
Kasab, awarded the death penalty by special judge M.L. Tahaliyani May 6 on various counts, approached the Bombay High Court through authorities at the Arthur Road Central Jail last week, it is learnt.
He forwarded an appeal along with the copy of the 1,588-page judgment to the high court through the jail authorities. Kasab has also requested that a lawyer be appointed to represent him in the high court. India should respect Pak court verdicts: Malik
Confirming the development, special public prosecutor Ujjawal Nikam said ‘every accused has a right to appeal the judgement in the higher court’.
‘Kasab did the same. It is perfectly fine and there is nothing illegal about it,’ Nikam said.
‘Kasab has an option of choosing a lawyer to represent himself. He also has the right to free legal aid, which was provided to him during his trial. The same will be repeated in the trial at high court, if the need arises.
‘As for presenting the judgment before the high court, it will be done soon. Then the high court will fix a date for the hearing,’ Nikam added.
Nikam – who successfully led the prosecution case against the sole surviving Pakistani terrorist – declined to give a specific date when the trial court judgment would be submitted to the high court. Kasab’s confessional statement presented before Pak SC
Kasab’s application is likely to be placed before acting chief justice J.N. Patel and senior judge, Justice Ranjana Desai.
Kasab and nine of his accomplices had held Mumbai hostage for 60 hours from Nov 26, 2008, killing 166 innocent men, women and children. Kasab was the only one captured alive.
On May 6, after an 11-month long trial, the special judge had sentenced Kasab to death charging him guilty of murder of seven people directly and 65 others in common intention with his dead partner Abu Ismail.
He was also convicted of waging a war against India, attempt to murder, kidnap and robbery. Kasab may be hanged in 2010: GK Pillai
Kasab had been represented by S.G. Abbas Kazmi and later by K.P. Pawar, both appointed by the government, in the trial court.

No relief for Rathore yet, bail plea hearing on June 29
Former Haryana DGP S.P.S. Rathore, undergoing an 18-month jail sentence in a molestation case, will remain behind bars till this month-end as the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday denied him relief saying that he had been found guilty of an “odious offence”.
Vacation judge Justice Ajay Tewari fixed June 29 for hearing, before an “appropriate” bench, the revision petition filed by the 68-year-old Rathore for suspension of the sentence and his bail plea.
The judge noted that normally where the sentence is up to three years, bail should be granted liberally since long pendency of the appeal/revision may result in the convict having to complete the jail term.
“In a case like the present, where the accused has been found guilty of a particularly odious offence, this rule can be departed from,” the judge observed.
He, however, held that in order to safeguard the right of the accused, hearing on the main petition must be expedited. With the judge fixing June 29 for hearing arguments on the revision petition filed on Rathore’s behalf by his lawyer-wife Abha, the former top cop will have to remain behind bars as his bail plea is also pending.
The judge admitted the revision petition of Rathore for suspension of sentence but held that “even though a detailed analysis of the merits is not necessary yet a broad brush overview of the facts would be required for the purpose of deciding an application under section 389/397 CrPC (for suspension of sentence in a revision petition, release of appellant on bail).”
Hours after the 15-page court order, Ms. Abha Rathore, in a last ditch effort to secure the release of her husband on bail, submitted that he was unwell but the court categorically told her that the matter has been fixed for June 29.

HC hands out rare penalty to unruly lawyers
Prabhash Dutta
New Delhi, June 4, 2010
Lawyers taking the law into their own hands is something rare. So the punishment meted out to them also had to be commensurate with the crime.
The Delhi High Court decided to hand out a unique punishment to nine lawyers who were involved in manhandling a judge and slapping him inside the court’s premises last year.
While hearing a suo motu contempt petition, the Delhi High Court on Thursday asked the lawyers to take up 24 cases each in one year and finish them without charging any money from clients.
In addition to this, the lawyers were also directed to deposit an amount of Rs 50,000 for the Rohini bar library fund.
The lawyers – Munish Chauhan, Rekha Sharma, Rajeev Tehlan, Jai Prakash, Vikas Gupta, Suresh Tomar, Rishi Pal, Praveen Dabas and Radheshyam – had already apologised in the court for their unruly behaviour.
The judgment is meant to send a signal to the legal fraternity towards maintaining the dignity of the country’s judicial system.
A special bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen, A. K. Sikri and Sanjay Kishan Kaul gave the verdict, bringing to an end the ugly chapter which tarnished the image of the judiciary.
Expressing satisfaction over the court’s order, Inder Singh Saroha, president of Rohini court bar association said: “This judgment of the court is well balanced.” In July last year, a group of lawyers had allegedly entered into an altercation with the then additional district judge Pankaj Gupta inside the Rohini courtroom.
The lawyers were incensed that the judge had issued a bailable warrant against a litigant.
Tempers flared and the lawyers allegedly manhandled the judge and slapped him inside the courtroom.
The incident had drawn the ire of the judicial services associations but the Rohini bar association denied that any manhandling had taken place and said it was a case of ‘ verbal altercation’. An FIR was registered against all the nine lawyers and Vikas and Rekha were arrested under various sections of the Indian Penal Code relating to rioting, damaging public property, hurting a government servant and obstructing him from discharging his duty.
The then chief justice of the high court, Ajit Prakash Shah, had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter after a letter of the district judge referring to the incident came to his notice.
A notice of contempt was also issued to the nine lawyers and a special bench was constituted by the high court to hear the case.

HC not to stay JIPMER entrance exam on June 6
TNN, Jun 4, 2010, 05.08am IST

CHENNAI: The June 6 all-India entrance examination for MBBS course in JIPMER, Puducherry will take place as scheduled, as the Madras High Court has refused to interfere with the admission process. When a writ petition, filed by a JIPMER faculty member apprehending denial of admission to his daughter came up for hearing on Thursday, the vacation judge N Paul Vasanthakumar refused to either stay the examination or order withholding of the declaration of results. Instead, he adjourned the matter by two weeks. The petitioner, M Bala Soudarassanane, contended that to ensure transparency and openness in the conduct of examination and to minimise the scope for any corrupt practices, the JIPMER authorities must allow the candidates to retain the coded answer sheets with them. They must also public the answer keys expeditiously so that the candidates would remember their answers and compare them with the keys. The JIPMER faculty member also levelled certain allegations against the authorities and apprehended that they might deny admission to her daughter Abirami as he had been making several representations against them. Denying the allegations, the JIPMER director KSVK Subba Rao said the prospectus for the entrance examination mentioned clearly that candidates have to return the question booklets along with answer sheets, and that non-return of the question paper would be considered as an unfair means of seeking admission. Noting that several other reputed central institutions too followed the similar pattern, Rao said JIPMER had never faced any criticism for unfair admission procedures. He said the petitioner ought not to have levelled such unsubstantiated allegations against JIPMER, that too without any concrete evidence. Noting that the institution had not received any complaint regarding evaluation process or the examination system, he said the petitioner had made false allegations against the office of dean and the institution with ulterior motives.

Cops defy Gujarat HC order, invite contempt of court charge
DNA Correspondent / DNA
Friday, June 4, 2010 11:18 IST
Ahmedabad: Two senior cops of the Gandhigram police station in Rajkot have been allegedly charged with contempt of court. JB Babariya (PSI) and Pravin Sinh (ASI) of Gandhigram police station allegedly went to a man’s house defying the Gujarat high court order in connection with the custody of a five-year-old boy.
The divorced parents of the boy had been fighting a custody battle for the child. Earlier, DNA has reported that the division bench of Gujarat high court comprising justice Jayant Patel and justice ZK Saiyed had ordered that the custody of the child be give to his father, Akram Sanghvani (name changed).
The mother, Rubina (name changed) had claimed custody of the boy before the court, but the boy had expressed his wish to stay with his father. Taking into consideration the child’s ‘sentiments’, the court had given custody of the child to the father for six months. Moreover, the court also directed that Rubina should be allowed to see the boy during the intervening period.
It also directed that Rubina be permitted to allow some time with the child in a separate room on the first of every month. The first visit was scheduled on June 1, 2010 from 9 am to 6 pm. The division bench had also directed that as there was no other complication, the concerned police inspector of Gandhigram police station should depute a lady constable during the said period. On June 1, Rubina was to visit to see her child.
But, she instead reached Akram’s house along with Babariya, Sinh and a lady home guard Kalpana.The women and the cops not only defied the high court order but also created a ruckus at Akram’s house.
“The cops along with Rubina assaulted me and my father,” said Akram. When Akram and his family members objected that as per HC order, Rubina was to visit the house along with a lady constable, the cops argued that they had come to prevent any untoward incident.
The situation was brought under control following the intervention of the neighbours. Moreover, the Gandhigram police station registered a complaint against Akram, his father, his brother and his sister-in-law who was not present at the spot during the ruckus.
They were charged for obstructing government officials from discharging their duties. Akram and his family members have written a letter to Rajkot commissioner of police.

HC stays transfer of doctors
Posted on: 04 Jun 2010
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Friday stayed the mass transfer of doctors in speciality cadre, till Monday. High court directed the state government to maintain statusquo in respect of transferers and postings of specialist cadre doctors. The direction was issued by Justice Antony Dominic while considering a batch of petitions by doctors challenging newly introduced rules relating to seniority of service of specialist doctors. Petitioners had sought to quash certain portions of a newly introduced rule, as per which seniority of doctors was not fixed on the basis of length of service.The court posted the case to Monday for further hearing. Alleging anamolies in the seniority list published, the Kerala Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) had urged its members not to accept relieving orders following which district medical officers had been asked to relieve the doctors imemdiately. Most of the doctors have opted for long leave instead of joining duties to their place of posting. Patients of various government hospitals in the state have been put to great hardships since yesterday as most of the doctors had kept away from work.

Cell phone towers must be installed with caution
Cell phones came as a boon for us but now we are having troubles with the cell phone towers. While few of them have been installed illegally, the legal ones are also not causing any less tribulation.
CJ: Priya Seht

Fri, Jun 04, 2010 17:26:56 IST
CELL PHONES came as a boon for us but now we are having troubles with the cell phone towers. While few of them have been installed illegally, the legal ones are also not causing any less tribulation.

These towers not only cause health hazards to humans but also to innocent animals and birds. The evident example is the decreasing number of house sparrows, which used to perch with their delicate wings on the bright days. The harmful electro magnetic radiations (EMRs) from the towers affect children and women the most adversely affecting their health.

These EMRs cause tumour, skin cancer, DNA disorders, death, etc. Studies reveal more than this data. EMR can cause memory loss, headache, allergies, etc. The rays have a frequency of 1900 Mega Hertz which can easily penetrate human bodies. The standards set by the International Commission of Non-Iodised Radiationare not being followed by the mobile tower operators. They tend to provide services to customers but in turn deplete their health. Instead of help, they are rendering hell.

Shimla has recorded 118 towers out of which only 18 are legal. It’s not that the legal ones are not causing any problem. The guidelines say that such towers need to be installed beyond 500 metres (in radius) from the schools and congested areas. The government needs to wake up soon otherwise there would be serious repercussions on the society both health wise and bio-diversity wise.

These towers cause electromagnetic Pollution also. Campaigns to save birds are launched but no one thinks about the other activities carried down. Inhabitants definitely can register a PIL and seek the redressal.

The Sealing of towers in Delhi is also a welcome step.

Child rights body to probe pupil’s death
TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 04.49am IST
KOLKATA: The National Commission for Protection of Children’s Rights has instituted an inquiry into the death of La Martiniere for Boys’ Class-VIII student Rouvanjit Rawla this February, following allegations that corporal punishment by the school’s principal and teachers pushed him over the edge. Rouvanjit’s father Ajay Rawla moved the commission with a clutch of evidence, that included voice recording of principal Sunirmal Chakravarthi admitting to caning his son days before his death, and a spate of accusations by classmates on social networking sites. “The commission believes there is merit in the case and will be here on Tuesday and Wednesday to conduct an enquiry into the matter. The evidence placed before the commission was vindicated by the school’s actions against its board members when they protested against corporal punishment,” Rawla said. The two board members, CISCE board chairman Neil O’Brien and former corporate top boss K S David, had lashed out at the school administrators for sweeping the issue of corporal punishment under the carpet. “We had attempted to instil a degree of good governance and integrity in the functioning of the schools and the board but failed as their stand was not compatible with that of the management,” one of them said. Murmurs about corporal punishment at the school increased after Class VIII student Rouvanjit Rawla committed suicide. When Rawla began digging into the past, a lot of murky details appeared. Social networking site Facebook, very popular among students, was abuzz with posts on how students at La Martiniere for Boys were suffering at the hand of Chakravarthi and other teachers. One of the students who was very vocal and graphic about corporal punishment at the school was allegedly thrown out. “Worse, when I confronted the principal, he brazenly admitted to caning by him and fellow teachers. Clearly, in the principal’s book, it is acceptable to hit and physically abuse students,” Rawla said. Corporal punishment was prohibited by Calcutta high court on February 6, 2004. Then chief justice Ashok Kumar Mathur, along with Justice Asim Banerjee, while hearing a PIL filed by Tapas Kumar Bhanja, ordered that if schools carry out corporal punishment, they would face action. “I hope students who have been victimized in the past depose before the commission on conditions of anonymity. I expect a lot of things that should not happen in school but are a feature at La Martiniere are exposed so that no other child is lost,” Rawla added.

‘Soft drink plants cause chromium pollution’
Special Correspondent
Coca Cola rejects findings; Pepsico says its plants meet Pollution Control Board norms
Your daily dose of cola could be poisoning the lives of communities living near soft drink manufacturing plants, according to a study by Hazards Centre.
The NGO found high levels of toxic chromium and other pollutants in the soil and water around five Coca Cola and Pepsico plants in northern India.
The study was released two months after a Kerala government panel ruled that Coca Cola must pay Rs.216 crore in compensation to villagers affected by pollution, and a depletion of groundwater resources, by its Plachimada bottling plant.
Now, five other communities — Mehdiganj and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, Kaladera and Chopanki in Rajasthan, and Panipat in Haryana — are also claiming that the soft drinks plants in their vicinity are responsible for their woes.
Could file PIL
“Our water is being contaminated…and the level of water has also dropped,” says Sharafat Ali, a Ghaziabad farmer who is also a member of the Azadi Bachao Andolan movement. “Our people are suffering from skin problems, stomach sickness,” he said, speaking at the release of the study in the capital on Friday.
Mr. Ali says villagers will first complain to local authorities, and could consider filing a PIL in the High Court later.
“We found that chromium was the most common pollutant,” said Dunu Roy, director of Hazards Centre. He said 59 of the 85 water samples showed chromium concentration above the permissible limit of 0.05 parts per million (ppm), with some samples going as high as 5.64 ppm.
“Chromium can cause skin rashes, upset stomachs and ulcers, respiratory problems and cancer,” said Mr. Roy.
Cadmium and lead were also detected in samples from Ghaziabad. Concentrations were high in samples collected from the drains where factory effluents were discharged, showing that it is finding its way out from the manufacturing process.
Interestingly, the Hazards Centre says that since these heavy metals are not supposed to be part of the process for manufacturing beverages, no standards are specified for them for this industry sector in the Environmental Protection Act, 1986. High Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD) levels also show that the effluent must contain a significant amount of chemicals other than the three heavy metals analysed, according to the study.
The Coca Cola rejected the study’s findings, saying that their operations conform to Pollution Control Board (PCB) norms.
The company says that a comprehensive 2009 study carried out by the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute and IL&FS Ecosmart at Kaladera and Mehandiganj found no adverse impacts on soil and groundwater quality.
“Water is the main ingredient in all of our products and we have a shared interest in protecting the quantity and quality of this precious resource. It would be unreasonable for anyone to think the company itself would contaminate its main raw material,” said a release from Hindustan Coca-Cola beverages Private Limited.
Declines to comment
The Pepsico insisted that its plants met PCB norms, but declined to comment on the specific charges, saying that the report had not been shared with them.
The study was conducted between 2006 and 2008, with samples being tested at the People’s Science Institute, Dehra Dun.

Chembur of commerce… & pollution
Simit Bhagat, TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 12.35am IST
Mumbai may be the commercial capital, but the impressive growth fails to hide the grim realities of the toll on the environment. Nowhere is this more evident than the suburban region of Chembur, where pollution levels have soared. Several decades after Chembur was planned, a survey by IIT-Delhi along with the ministry of environment and forests (MOEF) revealed some worrying facts. It found that as many as 88 industrial clusters in the country — Chembur being 44th on the list — were highly polluted. The comprehensive environment pollution index (CEPI) of the area was found to be a very high 69.19. The report, however, didn’t come as a surprise to lakhs of Chembur residents, who share their neighbourhood with major polluters like chemical factories and refineries. Besides the 110-hectare Deonar dumping ground and unauthorized slums, vehicular pollution and construction activities have all contributed to the soaring pollution levels. Dr Indrayani Gupta, senior scientist at NEERI, which had carried out an air monitoring survey in 2007, said, “We found that there were high levels of particulate matter around the Mahul area. The levels were way above the normal mark and even today things have not changed.” Shockingly, municipal records reveal that over 25% of the deaths registered in Chembur over the past two years were due to respiratory problems. In contrast, the figure for Matunga area, 8km from Chembur, was only 0.41%. Dr Neelam Rane, member of Smoke-Affected Residents Forum that filed a PIL against the dumping ground, says, “Chembur has been known as a gas chamber and people would even avoid marrying off their daughters to residents of the area.” A survey by KEM Hospital’s environmental pollution research centre revealed that a significant number of residents near the dumping ground had impaired lung function, persistent cough and asthma.

Tech-ing note: Gauhati HC converts an email into PIL
Akshaya Mukul, TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 02.25am IST

NEW DELHI: In a rare case, the Gauhati High Court has turned an email complaint about violation of National Council of Teacher Education norms into a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The email by one Jitendra Sharma to the Chief Justice of Gauhati HC, Justice R S Garg, pertained to violation of the NCTE norms in admission to the BEd programme. Sharma pointed out that NCTE by a gazette notification of August 31, 2009, had said that a candidate should have at least 50% marks either in the bachelor ‘s degree, master’s degree or any equivalent qualification for admission into BEd. However, Dibrugarh University, Sharma wrote to Justice Garg, issued a notice prescribing 45% marks in major or in aggregate at the bachelor’s degree or 45% marks in the master’s degree which is contrary to the instructions issued by NCTE. He had requested the HC to intervene and quash the university’s notice. Sharma also told the HC that any deviation from NCTE norms is illegal. The HC has issued notice to the state government, Dibrugarh University and the Centre to reply within four weeks. Sharma had earlier written to the university that fixing the eligibility criterion at 45% was illegal. NCTE sources also said that dilution of the eligibility condition was illegal and that it would take appropriate action. “Under the Right to Education Act, there is a lot of emphasis on the quality of teachers. The new law will have no impact unless there is a seminal change in the quality of teachers,” an NCTE official said. NCTE has already decided that in the next 2-3 years, BEd will become a two-year course, instead of the current one year, and the Diploma in Education course will be phased out.

JEE-2010 was not the first time that ambiguous instructions created confusion for the candidates. A close look at the JEE since 2006, when questions were first made available, reveals that it has been quiet frequent.
In fact, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is arguing a PIL on anomalies in the JEE, says he has been receiving a number of phone calls from parents and students who claim they did not get the expected result.
“Our plea is that candidates should be allowed a carbon copy of the answer sheet that they can take out. After the JEE, IIT should provide the answer key so that a student knows exactly how much he is going to score,” he says.
Ambiguous instructions relate to Multiple Choice Questions which have one or more correct answers without having any negative marking for selecting a wrong choice.
In 2006, questions carrying 72 marks had one or more correct answers without attracting any negative marking for a wrong choice. In 2007, such questions rose to 108 marks. In 2008, there was a marginal decline to 102 marks. In 2009 and 2010, questions carrying 96 and 93 marks, respectively, had oneor more correct answers without any negative marks.
In fact, after 2008 JEE, IIT itself published the questions and the answer key. It was found that for many questions all the options were correct. Therefore, it was possible for a candidate to get full marks by darkening all the bubbles.
When the matter came to light after this year’s JEE, IIT-Madras, which conducted this year’s JEE, told the Delhi High Court, which is seized of a PIL on the exam, that if any of the choices in such a question was found to be a wrong choice, the candidate would get zero.
The PIL has been filed by Rajeev Kumar of IIT-Kharagpur. As per the evaluation scheme submitted before the court, a candidate will get zero because he darkened a wrong choice along with correct answers.

Posted by Shashank

Bangalore fights to stay green
Maya Sharma,
Saturday June 5, 2010, Bangalore
Bangalore’s Garden City tag has been a little dusty off late, with thousands of trees lost to road-widening and infrastructure projects. People living near a Bangalore park, soon to be the location of a war memorial, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the project. But the High Court has ruled that the memorial can and will go ahead. Sajan Poovayya, lawyer for the project said, “We at the National Military Memorial Committee welcome that judgement. The Honourable High Court has considered all aspects of the matter and has come to a conclusion that the military memorial being constructed at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park is not illegal in any manner.” But some do believe the memorial would be a violation of the Parks Preservation Act – and they still hope to prevail. “We are very disappointed with the judgement, we are slightly shocked. There is a law for this purpose of preventing the use of a public park for anything else,” said Mohandas Pai,Infosys. “The legal recourse is – Special Leave Petition to the Supreme Court. We need to study the judgement,” added BC Thiruvengadam, advocate for the petitioners. Those using the park say they would miss the trees. “To cut them down and make it into a war memorial I don’t think is a good idea. It could be done somewhere else and leave this park for the enjoyment of people who walk here – the children who play,” said Sheela Panicker, a walker.

SC deplores land allotment in Mohali
TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 05.21am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that making hasty allotment of land to individuals is “arbitrary, unreasonable and unconstitutional” and deplored the Punjab government’s decision of sanctioning a residential plot to an “influential woman” in just 48 hours. “This is a unique case which reveals that an influential person can get the allotment of a residential plot under discretionary quota within 48 hours of submission of application and then assert in court that she has a right to the land at a throwaway price and not deposit the sale price for a quarter of a century,” the apex court said in a judgment. The land allotment was made in 1987. A bench of justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar gave its judgment while dismissing the appeal of Fuljit Kaur who challenged Punjab’s decision of seeking an additional Rs 2.19 lakh over and above Rs 93,000 “provisional” amount fixed for a 400 sq yd plot in Sector 70 of SAS Nagar. The administration on the basis of an application fro m Kaur on February 23, 1987, allotted her within two days a residential plot at Urban Estates, Mohali, through a letter dated February 25, 1987. In the allotment letter, it was made clear that as proper calculation could not be made and tentative price not determined, the allottee had to deposit provisional price of Rs 93,000 in four instalments by 15 October, 1989. Subsequently, through a letter dated 25 March, 1992, additional demand of Rs 2.19 lakh was made. However, instead of depositing the said amount, Kaur challenged the demand which was dismissed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, following which she moved SC. Interpreting the rules, the apex court said the authorities had rightly sought the additional money as the initial amount was only provisional in nature. “It may be pertinent to mention here that the allotment had been made to the appellant within 48 hours of submission of her application though in ordinary cases, it takes about a year. The appellant had further been favoured to pay the aforesaid provisional price of Rs 93,000 in four instalments in two years, as is evident from the letter dated 8 April, 1987. Making the allotment in such a hasty manner itself is arbitrary and unreasonable and is hit by Article 14 (equality before law) of the Constitution,” the apex court said.

SC admits petition on NRI child custody
Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, June 05, 2010
The Supreme Court has admitted a petition to decide whether the custody of a child holding Indian passport can be given to a parent on the basis of a foreign court order.
A vacation bench headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi has issued notice to an NRI woman who got her eight-year-old daughter’s custody even though the girl has been living and studying in India.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had permitted her to leave the country with the child for London.
The high court order had based its decision on a London court order that had in December last passed an ex-parte order granting the girl’s custody to the woman.
The Supreme Court bench yielded to the father’s request and restrained the mother from leaving the country until June 19 and directed the couple to appear before the court on that day.

Women too can face action under domestic violence Act
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Saturday, June 5, 2010 1:39 IST
New Delhi: Women relatives living in a joint family can face criminal action under the domestic violence Act (DVA) if a member’s wife lodges a plaint.
Putting to rest a long-standing dispute over whether section 2(q) of DVA applies only to men, the Delhi high court said on Friday though the provision used the term “male”, which wasn’t “satisfactorily worded”, it included female members, too.
Thus, a petition under DVA is “maintainable even against a woman”.
If a restricted interpretation is given, the very purpose for which this Act was enacted would be defeated, justices AK Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke said, rejecting a plea by Varsha Kapoor challenging the constitutionality of DVA and seeking quashing of the criminal proceedings initiated against her on her daughter-in-law’s complaint.
Dismissing her contention that DVA provided for action against males alone, the judges said it would be easy for a husband or other male members of a family to frustrate remedy by ensuring only female members perpetrated violence against a woman in that case.
It’s a fact that violence exists in matrimonial homes and the legislature enacted law making dowry-related violence a criminal offence by introducing sections 498A and 304 of IPC.
The judges said except for residence under section 19(1)(b) of DVA, a magistrate was competent to pass orders against relatives of a husband, including females.
It can restrain the respondent or his kin from entering any portion of a shared house in which the aggrieved person resides.

IM declared terror outfit
Vinay Kumar
NEW DELHI: The government has declared the Indian Mujahideen (IM), suspected to be a shadow outfit of the banned Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit.
The IM is allegedly involved in the serial bomb blasts in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bangalore and Mumbai. It has been added to the list of terror groups under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967.
“An order has been issued adding the Indian Mujahideen and all its formations and front organisations to the list of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 1967,” the Home Ministry said in a statement on Friday. Under the Act, the government has banned 34 groups and declared them terror outfits.
The IM came to light after the February 23, 2005 blast in Varanasi. Its hand was suspected in the incident. In 2008, it was allegedly involved in many terror attacks.
Intelligence agencies believe that the outfit is also a front group of the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al Islami (HuJI).

Legislative route by Centre for say in appointment of judges
The Union Government has decided to take the legislative route to have a say in the appointment of Judges of superior courts. At present the Supreme Court Collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India and comprising five senior most Judges of the apex court, including the CJI, has a final say in the appointment of the Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Court. According to Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily, the Union Government will not seek the review of the two Supreme Court judgements which introduced the collegium system and had laid down that the opinion formed by the CJI in consultation with other senior most Judges of the Supreme Court shall be final and binding on the government. The Union Government, which is planning to introduce a Bill in Parliament in the monsoon session for abolition of the collegium system will have to face the charge of trying to nullify the law laid down by the Supreme Court which is not permissible under the Constitution. The settled law is that the government cannot legislate a law to overreach the Supreme Court. Recently, the collegium system has been under fire from many quarters particularly in case of the recommendation of the name of Karnataka High Court Chief Justice PD Dinakaran for elevation to the Supreme Court against whom allegations of corruption and land grabbing had cropped up.UNI

Karnataka high court okays National War Memorial in Karnataka
Odeal D’Souza / DNA
Saturday, June 5, 2010 11:13 IST
Bangalore: The Karnataka high court on Friday allowed the construction of the National War Memorial at the Indira Gandhi Musical Fountain Park.
A division bench of justices Manjula Chellur and Mohan Shanthangoudar, dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the memorial’s construction, saying a National War Memorial was a laudable initiative, since it would instil patriotism in the hearts of the country’s citizens. Those against the memorial at the park said they would challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court (see box).
The PIL, filed by Krishna Apartment Welfare Association, a resident welfare association and non-profit organisation, wanted the HC to restrain the Bangalore Development Authority and the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP) from constructing a hall, to be called the National Military Memorial, at the park. It contended that the memorial would alter the landscape of the park, since trees would have to be felled.
The petitioners contended that information obtained by them from the BDA and BBMP through the Right to Information Act indicated that the proposed structure would cover an area of 1,000 sq mt and that 31 trees, including 14 Nilgiris and three Ashokas, besides a few eucalyptus trees, would be cut for the memorial.
The petitioners also told the court that the government had framed a policy not to allow any building within the park. In fact, on November 14, 1979, the government had not allowed even Bal Bhavan authorities to put up a temporary structure, citing the policy.
The petitioners had contended that the area covered by the park was formerly used by Electronics Research and Development Establishment (LRDE), a defence establishment, and it worked from temporary structures till 1998. The structures were removed and the park was created at the spot by retaining the old trees and planting fresh saplings. A musical fountain was also constructed at the park, they said.
But, dismissing the PIL, the court said that the proposed war memorial would not only make people curious to know what it contained, but also inspire Kannadigas to work for the betterment of the country. The proposed project was not meant to be an amusement park for the public and it would not create any inconvenience for those using the park, the court said.
The structure would be under the National Military Memorial Trust, headed by the chief minister. Since the chief minister himself would be in charge of the administration and maintenance of the structure, there was no reason for the petitioners to be worried about the park losing its appeal.
The project would be a pride of Karnataka. None of the objectives of the trust posed any kind of danger to society, the court said.During the hearing, the BDA had submitted to the court that the memorial would have a park, museum and a symbolic stone in memory of the martyrs. It said Rs15 crore had been allocated for the project.
The land was handed over to the BDA by the home department, which got the land from the Public Works Department (PWD) in 2009. The BDA said it was trying to create a park and a playground in the same area.
The National Military Memorial Trust, which was formed on February 28, 2009, had also filed a statement saying it proposed to have a sixty-foot monolithic stone at the motivation hall with names of martyrs etched on it. The hall would also have the national flag. There would be a bandstand of the army, air force, navy, and war materials would be exhibited in the hall. There would also be a 120-foot flag pole. The monolithic stone would have writings in Kannada and English, explaining the sacrifices made by Indian soldiers during wars.
The petitioners’ advocate, Thiruvengatam, had submitted that the memorial would be in contravention of the Parks Act. It would affect ecology and restrict movement of people in the park. The park would be without adequate lung space if seven acres were to be taken away for the memorial, he had said. Thiruvengatam had also said if the memorial became a reality, its sanctity would have to be maintained. But there was no guarantee that the sanctity would be protected against mischief by public.

Court refuses to grant bail to Ketan Desai
Nirnimesh Kumar
The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant bail to the dismissed Medical Council of India president, Ketan Desai, in a bribery-cum-disproportionate assets case. Justice S. L. Bhayana dismissed the application, admitting a submission by the CBI that it had received 225 complaints against Dr. Desai from various places in the country that had to be probed.
The counsel for the CBI further said if Dr. Desai was enlarged on bail, there was a strong possibility that he would influence witnesses and tamper with evidence.
However, the Court granted bail to one co-accused Jitendra Pal Singh, on furnishing of a personal bond of Rs.1 lakh, with one surety of the same amount.
A Delhi court had on May 3 dismissed his bail application saying that the probe into the allegations against him was at the initial stage.
In his bail application, Dr. Desai submitted that the alleged bribe money of Rs.2 crore was not recovered from him.
So far as granting recognition to medical colleges was concerned, decisions were by taken by a three-member committee, of which two happened to be independent medical professionals, the petition said.
Dr. Desai and three others were arrested by the CBI on April 23 for allegedly demanding and accepting a bribe of Rs.2 crore from the owners of a medical college in Patiala for permitting them to admit students despite lack of infrastructure. Later, searches at the premises owned by Dr. Desai led to recovery of huge amounts of cash, investment papers and gold worth several crores of rupees.

Best-of-five: ICSE-affiliated schools to move court–ICSE-affiliated-schools-to-move-court/629821/
Express News Service
Posted: Sat Jun 05 2010, 04:23 hrs Pune:
The schools affiliated to the ICSE Board in the city have decided to move court on the “best-of- five” formula applicable to SSC students. The parents and school authorities will file a petition in the Bombay High Court through Unaided Schools’ Forum next week.
The Bishops’ School on Friday had convened parents’ meeting on Friday to deliberate on the issue. All the parents present for the meeting showed readiness to move the High Court on the issue.
The parents of the ICSE board students are not happy with the state government’s best-of-five formula for the SSC board students. It will automatically increase their percentage while taking admission in class 11. However, for ICSE Board students marks of all seven subjects will be calculated.
“It is unconstitutional and unfair on the part of state government to come up with such move. The government has been compromising with the quality. Our students will stand no chance to get admissions in the good colleges,” said Frank Freese, principal of Bishop’s School.

Delhi’s ‘tongas’ forced to ride into the sunset
By Neha Lall (AFP
NEW DELHI — India’s rapid modernisation is set to claim another victim with the expulsion of the horse-drawn carriages, or tongas, that have plied the streets of Delhi since the days of the Mughal emperors.
The favoured mode of transport for the city’s elite at the height of the British Raj, the status of the iconic tongas has now officially been downgraded to “public nuisance”.
Barely 250 tongas remain in the capital, but the municipal government has ruled that — in a city of five million cars — getting rid of the carriages will somehow help ease Delhi’s chronic traffic congestion.
The decision is being challenged with a last-ditch appeal to the High Court and by a public outcry over what many see as an unnecessary effort to erase a part of the capital’s cultural heritage.
Delhi Mayor Prithvi Sawhney is unmoved.
“With traffic congestion increasing, a tonga ride is a waste of time and problematic for both passenger and driver,” Sawhney told AFP.
“In the old days, tongas were used to carry passengers. Today they just carry luggage and a few tourists. Barely anyone uses them for daily travel,” he said, adding that the new metro system had “revolutionised” transport in the city.
In the absence of any last-minute reprieve, Kishen Lal, a third-generation “tonga-wallah,” may hang up his saddle and reins on Sunday for the last time.
The government has offered the drivers a path to alternative employment in the form of a vendor’s licence, but those like Lal, who is 73, say it is far too late to change trades.
“We know no other profession except this,” said Lal, whose grandfather drove a tonga in Delhi back in the early 1940s, before independence.
“If they want to stop the tongas, they should do it in phases and not all in one go,” he said. “It will give us all great sadness if we have to stop riding tongas. They are the pride and majesty of this city.”
The decision to banish the tonga-wallahs coincides with the general facelift that Delhi is receiving ahead of the Commonwealth Games in October.
The government is looking to the Games to showcase the “new India” — an emerging economic powerhouse which aspires to the same sort of infrastructural transformation undertaken by its giant neighbour China.
It’s a vision that has no place for the humble tonga — a fact that distresses people like Delhi historian and writer Radha Kumar.
“Growing up, I often used tongas to commute from Old to New Delhi. Feeding the horse was my biggest high,” recalled Kumar, while insisting that his objection to their disappearance wasn’t based on nostalgia alone.
The argument that expelling several hundred horse-drawn carriages would improve traffic congestion in a city of more than 20 million souls is, Kumar argues, barely credible.
“And the government has no right to make arguments or decisions on the economic viability of such a small group of people,” he said.
“They are not causing any damage. You can maybe go after them on sanitation grounds — the hygiene of the stables. But you can’t just evict them.”
As well as offering a flavour of a bygone era when Delhi city devoid of flyovers and shopping malls, tongas are lauded by their fans as a clean transport alternative in a city choked by vehicle pollution.
Supporters also point out that most of the carriages ply their trade around tourist spots and are particularly popular with out-of-town visitors.
“I think they give you a feel of the real India,” said tourist Sadaf Hussain.
The High Court appeal will be heard on July 14, but the municipal government has insisted that the tongas get off the roads from Monday, having already given them a one-week stay.
“We are praying for God to intervene,” said Lal. “But in the end we will also comply by the court’s ruling.”
Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

High Court Ahmedabad asks woman to breastfeed love childJun 5, 2010 The Gujarat High Court has ordered Ahmedabad Civil Hospital authorities to ensure that a woman breastfeeds her newborn girl, who was weaned away by her parents because this was a love child and they did not approve of the relationship.When the court was informed that the parents had forced the separation of the mother and child, the court asked the hospital staff to take help of woman constables if the parents interfered.Last year Sarita, a married Marwadi woman in Vadaj area of Ahmedabad eloped with a Marathi boy, Hitesh. Sarita’s parents filed a habeas corpus petition in the high court. She was brought to the court by cops on July 27 last year, but she refused to go with her parents. The parents claimed she was already married, but the court silenced them saying Sarita was not a minor and had expressed her intention to live with Hitesh.The couple began living together and Sarita got pregnant. That’s when her family took her away. Sarita later lodged an FIR against Hitesh and his two friends for rape. Shocked, Hitesh approached the court to get the FIR quashed and explained how the girl preferred to stay with him instead of going with her parents last year.Hitesh was in the meantime arrested by police and sent to the Sabarmati Central Jail in February. The high court immediately ordered release of the boy on bail and stayed the probe. The girl was called before the court to explain why she had complained against Hitesh even as he asserted that the unborn child was his and he was willing to stay with Sarita for the rest of his life.But looking at the advanced stage of pregnancy, Sarita was ordered to stay with her parents, who shifted her to the Civil Hospital for delivery. The high court also ordered the hospital staff to take proper care in this case, and not to discharge her after delivery till further orders.On May 10, a girl was born to Sarita, but as per the hospital’s report it was found the mother was not feeding the infant at the behest of her parents, though she was capable. The neonatology unit was looking after the baby. This led the court to ensure that the infant got right to her mother’s milk. The court asked Sarita to be present in court fo another hearing scheduled next week.(Names have been changed to protect identities)

State lacking in providing for disabled: High Court
4 Jun 2010
Dealing with the challenge to the dispossession of over-age inmates at the blind hostel,the Delhi High Court in a recent decision ruefully noted the stark lack of facilities for the under-privileged in the country. Noting the facts relating to overstay by inmates uptil age of 25-35 years in a hostel meant for young visually challenged students in Classes I to VIII, the High Court couldn’t express its resentment to the aghast shortage of infrastructure.

The High Court observed in this regard as under;
13. The above submissions have been considered by this Court. The facts narrated underscore the problem of acute shortage of decent accommodation for the economically disadvantaged disabled students in the capital city. They also are a pointer to the general problems that beset state managed institutions for social welfare. It appears that the institutions that provide shelter to the disabled are no different from other state-run quasi-penal custodial institutions like Observation Homes for children and Nari Niketans. The problems are essentially of lack of resources, trained and sensitive manpower, poor standards of hygiene, overcrowding, lack of accountability and the continued affront on the rights to life, liberty and dignity of the inmates. The decisions of the Supreme Court in B.R. Kapur v. Union of India (1989) 3 SCC 387, Rakesh Chandra Narayan v. State of Bihar 1989 Supp 1 SCC 644, Supreme Court Legal Aid Committee v. State of Madhya Pradesh (1994) 5 SCC 21 and Dr. Upendra Baxi v. Agra Protective Home (1983) 2 SCC 308, (1986) 4 SCC 106 are some instances in the past where the courts have noted with anguish the decrepit state of state-run institutions, meant for the care and protection of the socially, economically, physically and mentally disabled. This Court too repeatedly confronts these issues in its PIL jurisdiction while dealing with state-run institutions in Delhi like the Beggars‟ home at Lampur (See e.g. the order dated 15th October 2001 in M.S. Pattar v. Govt. of NCT of Delhi). The obligation of the state to protect and respect the rights to life, liberty and dignity of inmates of state-run institutions have been repeatedly emphasised in the above decisions. Therefore, while examining the problems faced by inmates of a state-run institution like the Andh Mahavidyalaya the above basic principles which are traceable to Article 21 of the Constitution require to be foregrounded.
14. In the context of the inviolable human rights of the disabled, it is necessary to take note of the binding and mandatory provisions of the Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995 (specifically Sections 26 and 30) (`PDR Act‟) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (`CRPD‟) which has been ratified by India. In particular, Article 7 which set out the obligations of the States towards children with disabilities, Article 9 which obliges the States to take appropriate measures to ensure access to “schools, housing, medical facilities”, and Article 24 which deals with the right to education are relevant. In the context of the present case, reference may be made to Article 24(2) CRPD which read as under:
“Article 24 – Education . . . .2. In realizing this right, States Parties shall ensure that:
(a) Persons with disabilities are not excluded from the general education system on the basis of disability, and that children with disabilities are not excluded from free and compulsory primary education, or from secondary education, on the basis of disability;(b) Persons with disabilities can access an inclusive, quality and free primary education and secondary education on an equal basis with others in the communities in which they live;(c) Reasonable accommodation of the individual’s requirements is provided;(d) Persons with disabilities receive the support required, within the general education system, to facilitate their effective education;(e) Effective individualized support measures are provided in environments that maximize academic and social development, consistent with the goal of full inclusion.”
15. More recently in the context of the right to education we have the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 (`RTE Act‟). The statute operationalises the constitutional mandate which obliges the state to provide free education to a child between the ages of six and fourteen. It appears that on 31st March 2010 an amendment was introduced to the RTE Act in Parliament to specifically include within its ambit a child with disability.
16. Therefore, in the context of a disabled child housed in a state-run institution there are a cluster of laws and a bouquet of rights, all of which can be traced to the fundamental rights to liberty and life with dignity. Given the Parliamentary intent of making the right to education a fundamental right for every child between the ages of six and fourteen, which naturally therefore would include a disabled child, the primary responsibility of taking measures that preserve and protect this right is on the state. International human rights law, in the form of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights would view this as an obligation of conduct of the State which cannot be avoided on the plea of lack of resources. The State will be obliged to take positive measures to enable realization of this right for those who are relatively weak and disadvantaged. In a lexical ordering of priority of rights, those that involve the weakest, socially and economically, deserve special treatment.
17. In the facts of the present case, the Andh Mahavidyalay is a state-run educational institution which also provides shelter to a doubly disadvantaged child, up to the age of fourteen. Such child combines in herself or himself a bundle of inviolable rights: as a person, as a young person, a disabled young person, a disabled young person whose right to education is guaranteed. In the context of a young person receiving education in a state-run institution as a resident scholar, the right to shelter and decent living is an inalienable facet of the right to education itself. Then we have other survival rights of such child including the right to health which is an integral part of the right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution. Therefore, when the State takes over the running of an educational institution that caters to the needs of the disabled children its constitutional and statutory obligations are manifold. It has to account for the `cascading effect‟ of multiple disadvantages that such children bear the burden of.
18. Viewed in the above background, it is clear that primary purpose of having a hostel attached to the Andh Mahavidhyalya was to ensure that visually challenged young students, up to Class VIII, are provided shelter during their stint at the school. The policy of restricting the hostel facility to children who have not yet completed Class VIII is a reasonable one considering the limited scope of availability of the fundamental right to education to the age group of six to fourteen. At a practical level also, it is understandable given the shortage of space in the hostel attached to the Andh Mahavidyalaya. If inmates, are permitted to stay on in the hostel long after completing Class VIII, then it restricts the right of access to the institution by other deserving young visually challenged students who are in need of education and shelter. There is limitation as to resources and all the visually challenged persons at present at the Andh Mahavidhyalya, irrespective of their age, cannot possibly expect to be allowed to live there irrespective of their age. The primary purpose should be to cater to the needs of young children studying up to Class VIII. If this primary object is not kept in view, then it may result in an unfair denial of the right to education of other deserving young students who are visually challenged.
19. The present case highlights the competing demands by two groups of disabled inmates of an hostel attached to an educational institution: one comprising the young children studying up to class VIII and the other comprising the older inmates who have completed Class VIII, some of them many years ago, and are still staying in the hostel for the simple reason that they have not yet been evicted. It is not possible to agree with the submissions on behalf of the five inmates who are facing eviction that only because there are others of the same age group or older who are staying on in Andh Mahavidyalya they should also be permitted to stay on. It is not desirable to have different age groups of inmates living under the same roof in a cramped space. This will not be healthy for either the body or the mind. If there are other older inmates, they too will have to make way for the younger and more deserving lot of students in need of shelter during their studying years. That cannot justify the petitioners who have been asked to be evicted staying on indefinitely.
Have a look at the decision.
Penned by Tarun Jain on 6/04/2010

Students hail common law test
TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 05.11am IST

JAIPUR: As the Bar Council of India (BCI) gears up to organise common test for law graduates, the aspirants see it as a step forward in the right direction. The five-year integrated law programme at the National Law University, Jodhpur and Rajasthan University has hailed this as a revolutionary move. However, colleges with three-year law programme have termed it non-relevant. The BCI on April 10, 2010 had adopted a resolution on conducting an All India Bar Common Entrance Test, the passing of which will entitle an advocate to practice law in India. Mridual Srivastave, director, Integrated Law College, RU said, “This examination will add to the credibility of law graduates. It will enable the serious and devoted students to practice law.” She feels that it will draw the line of demarcation between the good and bad lawyers. “In this exam only those candidates will succeed who will pay full attention in the classroom,” added Srivastave. The five-year integrated law programme is different from three year course. The eligibility for latter is graduation with 45% marks whereas, students have to clear the entrance test after Class XII for admission in five-year degree programme. On the contrary, the students of three-year law programme have decided to oppose the move. “It seems that BCI has lost its faith from its own designed curriculum in law colleges across India,” said Rishi Raj Singh, a third-year law student, at law department, RU. Experts said the decision has been taken in order to minimise the entry of unscrupulous elements in the profession. It is observed that many with the vested interest seek admission in the law colleges in order to harbour their illegal activities from legal angles. U C Sankla, vice-principal, law department, RU confirmed that every year many students with an intention of staying in the college enrol for the law course. Seeking admission at RU’s three year law programme is like a cakewalk. It has 720 and 360 seats in the morning and evening college, respectively. The admission is based on the graduation marks in which minimum required in 45%. Most of the student unions leaders have enrolled for this programme which means they can contest elections in the RU for three years. They hold a view that students who clear entrance test should be assured a place in court or an opportunity to fight government cases. Students said the government should make uniform rules and regulations for the exam. BCI has empowered state bar councils to set the question papers and date. Few also fear that this will encourage private coaching institutes to open a new branch and to mint money. Already, they are exploiting students on every entrance test, now they would start the coaching institutes. The claims of experts are confirmed by a private tutor, who said, “We are thinking to open a crash course on the test soon,” said a private coaching institute head.

Delhi HC orders govt to educate kid born on road
Parikshit Luthra , CNN-IBN
Posted on Jun 05, 2010 at 11:29 Updated Jun 05, 2010 at 11:56
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ordered the state government to bear the cost of education of a child who was born on a pavement because no hospital in Delhi admitted his mother when she was in labour.
After the court’s order directed the Centre and state governments to compensate her for the hardships she endured from the stage of pregnancy till the time she gave birth to a baby girl 24-year-old Fatima is all smiles.

Months before delivery Fatima had visited the maternity centre run by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for vaccination and also to inquire about the cash benefits she was entitled to. But she got no response, and then on the May 29, 2009 she gave birth to a child under a tree in full public view without any medical assistance.
“The court’s order is absolutely correct. We were made to run around a lot,” says Fatima.
Finally with the help of human rights groups she knocked on the doors of the Delhi High Court which after hearing her plea ruled that while there were several schemes such as the Janani Suraksha Yojana, the Integrated Child Development Scheme and the National Maternity Benefit scheme there was a huge gap as far as implementation was concerned.
“The court has asked the government to implement all schemes properly,” says lawyer Divya Jyoti.
The court also directed the government to aid her daughter Alisha’s education till the time she completed high school. For a child who celebrated her first birthday just a week ago, there could not have been a better birthday gift.

HC tells govt to stop debris dumping into Durgam Cheruvu
TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 04.56am IST

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the A P High Court comprising Chief Justice Nissar Ahmad Kakru and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar on Friday directed the state government and local authorities to take steps to prevent dumping of debris and other waste material into Durgam Cheruvu near Madhapur here. The bench took up suo motu the reports that appeared in newspapers aboutdebris being dumped into the lake. Treating the reports as a writ petition, the division bench had directed the authorities to take steps to save the water body. Subsequently, a writ petition filed by the Forum for Sustainable Development complaining encroachments into Durgam Cheruvu and inaction of the government departments concerned was also clubbed with the suo moto petition. On Friday, the counsel for the respondent informed the court that the persons dumping the debris were identified and the process of issuing notices was underway. The bench directed the various departments, local bodies and government to ensure that dumping was stopped forthwith and then adjourned the matter by two weeks to enable the respondents to place all the material before the court. Writ closed A division bench of the A P High Court comprising Chief Justice Nissar Ahmad Kakru and Justice A P Sanjay Kumar on Friday closed two writ petitions pertaining to repairs to the high court buildings. The bench took on record the fact that the restoration works were underway. The writ petitions were filed complaining that both government and the high court failed to take up any restoration work after the fire damaged the court building last year. They complained that even after several months, no substantive work was taken up. The counsel for the high court reported that the works were underway and the bench closed the writ petitions. Land acquisition notification quashedJustice L Narasimha Reddy of the A P High Court on Friday quashed the notifications issued to acquire 112 acres of land in Ambapuram village of Vijayawada rural mandal. The judge gave the ruling on a batch of writ petitions filed by MVN Sailaja and others who argued that the Vijayawada Guntur Tenali Mangalagiri Urban Development Authority (VGTMUDA) issued the notification seeking to acquire 112 acres in their village allegedly for township development. The judge called for records and stated that the public purpose mentioned in the notification was vague and not specific, and set it aside.

HC to govt: Students of other boards also eligible for Vidhya Sahayak posts
Express News Service
Posted: Sat Jun 05 2010, 01:40 hrs Ahmedabad:
Education officials have assured of necessary modification in website for other students to apply
The Gujarat High Court, on Friday, ordered the state government to consider applications from students clearing their Class XII from schools in Gujarat — affiliated to any board besides the state board — for the 10,000 posts of Vidhya Sahyaks to be filled by the state Education Department.
Justice D H Waghela passed an interim order to this effect while acting on the 30 petitions moved by students of the Central Board of Secondary Education.
The students had moved the application following an advertisement by the state Education authorities in a local daily on May 26 inviting applications from eligible candidates for the 10,000 posts of Vidhya Sahayaks across Gujarat.
One of the petitioner lawyers, S H Iyer, said that one of the eligibility criterion for applying for the posts was passing the Class XII examination from the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB).
“This was clear a discrimination towards students who had cleared their examination from boards other than GSHSEB. So, we moved the petition praying direction to the state Education authorities to consider students from other boards for the appointments too,” he added.
The state government and the Director of Primary Education have been named as respondents in the petitions.
The petitions were heard by the HC on Friday.
Iyer said the court has passed an interim order and directed the government to consider all eligible candidates who have passed their Class XII examination from schools in Gujarat, but affiliated to any other board in the country. The procedure to apply for the posts has been made available online and candidates have to apply online too.
But due to the confusing eligibility criterion, the petitioners and many others were unable to apply for the posts. The last date for applying for the posts is June 6. State Education Department officials who were present in the court on Friday have assured that a necessary modification will be made on the website so that the students of other boards can apply for the posts in time. Further hearing of the petitions is slated for June 16.

Dholikui demolition: HC grants interim stay
TNN, Jun 4, 2010, 11.03pm IST
VADODARA: The Gujarat high court on Friday ordered the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) to maintain an interim status quo at Dholikui where people affected by a demolition drive were staying till further hearing of the case on June 15. The order was given on a petition filed by People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) that had urged that the persons whose houses were demolished be allowed to stay at the location till they were provided housing facility by the civic body. PUCL moved the high court on Thursday stating that it in 2000 had ordered the VMC to provide alternative accommodation to the residents of Dholikui within six months when the civic body had had started a demolition drive. The petition states this was not done and in 2007, a government resolution was issued for providing alternative accommodation to the residents of the area. On May 12, 77 families were given allotment letters for houses and these houses and those of even others were demolished on May 25 forcing the people to live in the open. The petition has stated that the residents were forced to live in the open in summer and the monsoon was also set to arrive.

PIL against blockade : HC gives 10 days to DG
Source: The Sangai Express
Imphal, June 04 2010: A Division Bench of Gauhati High Court has given 10 days’ time to the Manipur Police to produce the president of All Naga Students’ Association, Manipur (ANSAM), David Choro.A ruling to this effect was issued today following assurance given by DGP Y Joykumar that effective steps would be taken up to produce David Choro before the Court on June 16 .The DGP gave the assurance before the Court that all possible steps including declaring David Choro a proclaimed offender and a wanted person with a prize on his head would be taken up within a week.A Division Bench comprising of Justice TNK and Mutum BK Singh issued the ruling after hearing a writ petition.The Court also asked Senior Government Advocate Th Ibohal to report to the Court about the action taken by the DGP.It further instructed Central Government Standing Counsel C Komal to report the steps and actions taken up by the National Highway Authority.The petition filed by RK Joysana mentioned that ANSAM imposed the indefinite economic blockade on both NH-39 and NH-53 from April 6 demanding amendment of the Manipur (Hill Areas) District Council (3rd Amendment) Act 2008 .Due to the blockade, essential commodities have become quite scarce in Manipur leading to sharp increase in the prices.The petitioner contended that resorting to highway blockades in pursuit of some demands from the Govt was illegal.The indefinite blockade is anti-national and is an act of terrorism which challenges the right to life of all citizens of Manipur, it asserted.Advocate M Hemchandra appeared on behalf of the petitioner.Earlier hearing the case on May 13, the Court asked the DGP to give explanation for failure of the State Police to produce David Choro.It also asked as to why contempt proceedings should not be initiated.In response, the DGP produced show cause statement before the Court on June 2.Respondents listed in the case the Union of India (represented by the Union Home Secretary), the Chief Secretary, DGP, IGP (L/O), IGP (Intelligence) and ANSAM (represented by David Choro).

HC refuses to allow MCD to seal illegal mobile towers
New Delhi, Jun 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today stayed its order for constituting a committee of technical and medical experts to examine potential health hazards from over 5,000 mobile phone towers in the capital and refused to allow MCD seal 2,952 illegal towers in the city.A division bench headed by Chief Justice Dipak Misra stayed the single judge Bench order of May 31 directing Telecommunication Secretary and the MCD Commissioner to constitute a broad-based committee drawing representatives from NGOs working in the field of telecom, associations of cellular operators.The court had on May 13 restrained the civic body from sealing illegal mobile phone towers after cellular operators approached it challenging the decision of the MCD to seal the towers of the operators who did not deposit the raised fee of Rs. five lakh.

HC stays NPSC results
Dimapur, June 4 (MExN): Gauhati High Court has clamped Stay on the Nagaland Public Service Commission results for NCS, NPS, NSS and allied services 2009. The court’s order was passed on April 8, 2010 in the Chakhesang Public Organization Vs State of Nagaland & Orgs. The results are held until further order. The government sought permission of the high court to declare the 2009 NPSC results but the court “was not inclined to pass any order and had deferred the case to be listed after June 16, 2010,” a notice from NPSC secretary Dellirose M Sakhrie informed today.

HC chides Goa police on failure to get model’s statement
Panaji, Jun 4 (PTI) The failure of Goa Police to record the statement of a Swedish model Lucky Farmhouse, a crucial witness in police-drug peddlers nexus case, has drawn criticism from the Bombay High Court.”The records show that an interview was recorded by PTI of a lady who claimed to be friend of the said Atala but till date her statement has not been recorded (by the police),” the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court said in its June 2 order granting bail to one of the accused, police inspector Ashish ShirodkarJustice N A Britto granted bail Shirodkar, who is among the seven policemen arrested for their alleged nexus drug peddlers, but not before pointing out the glaring loopholes in the investigation by Crime Branch which is probing the case for more than two months now.

HC adjourns plea against setting up Islamic bank
Express News Service
First Published : 04 Jun 2010 04:00:40 AM IST
Last Updated :

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday adjourned the petition challenging the establishment of a financial organisation under the Islamic banking system in Kerala to September 7.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Jasti Chelameswar and Justice P N Ravindran adjourned the petition on a request of Reserve Bank of India (RBI) seeking more time.
“The contentions raised by the petitioner involves a policy decision to be taken by it, which is under consideration,” counsel for the RBI submitted.
The petition challenging the decision of the State Government to establish Al-Barakh Financial Services Corporation, a non-banking finance company based on Shariah law, with 11 percent stake for Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC), was filed by Janata Party chief Subramaniam Swamy.
Considering Swamy’s petition, a Division Bench of the High Court on January 5, 2010, had restrained the State Government and KSIDC from commencing the operation of an Islamic financial institution on the lines of Islamic bank till further orders.
The KSIDC, in 2009, had proposed the first state-aided Islamic Bank in Kochi. The proposal was to register the bank as a non-banking finance company (NBFC) and later transform it into a Shariah- compliant bank.
Another petitioner, R V Babu, submitted that it was unfair that the KSIDC, which has a mandate to promote industrial activities in the State, is joining hands with a non-banking financial company.

HC directive on civic issues in city
LAW REPORTER GUWAHATI, June 4 – The Gauhati High Court today heard all the PILs filed on issues relating to water-logging, encroachment, disposal of garbage, etc., of the Guwahati city.
After taking a public hearing by the Minister, Guwahati Development Department as per a direction of the court earlier, the Commissioner & Secretary, Guwahati Development Department Dr AK Bhutani filed an affidavit before the court informing the steps proposed to be taken by Guwahati Municipal Corporation to tackle the problems of water-logging, encroachment, garbage collection, etc., problem facing the city.
Advocate BD Das, appearing for Ketaki Bardalai and Dr Swantana Bordoloi in PIL No. 81/09, submitted before the court that specific direction may be issued to the authorities to impose penalty on persons littering garbage, as provided under the Municipal Corporation Act.
The Division bench of the Gauhati High Court, comprising Chief Justice Ramesh Surajmal Garg and Justice Hareswar Baruah, after hearing all PILs and after going through the affidavit filed by Dr Bhutani, directed the Municipal Corporation/State Govt./Administration to inform the court by filing an affidavit as regards the action taken by the said organization on the proposed steps as reflected in its affidavit.
The case is fixed for further hearing on June 8.

Deny consitutional releif SAD (Panch Pardhani): Govt urges HC
By Parmjit Singh
Published: June 4, 2010
Chandigarh/ Ludhiana (June 04, 2010): During the hearing on a petition moved by Shiromani Akali Dal (Panch Pardhani) in Punjab and High Court to seek judicial relief against ban on “Holocaust memorial march” imposed by Punjab Government, State’s counsel raised serious objections and claimed that Panch Pardhani is not entitled to receive any sort of relief under Indian Constitution, as it adhere to the ideology of Khalistan.
The Punjab Government also objected that this party places the photo of Baba Banda Singh Bahadur along with that of Sant Jarnail Singh Bhidranwale. Government’s contention is that Bhindranwale was a terrorist who was killed during an army operation in June 1984. Addn. Advocate General, Amarjeet Singh Jatana, while pleading the case on State’s behalf, argued that Article 4 of Panch Pardhani’s Constitution pleads for securing federal structure in India as per Anandpur Sahib resolution and Amritsar Declaration, but this Article says that ultimate goal of Sikh Nation is to implement the concept of Raj Karega Khalsa. This clarifies that this party do not believe in Indian constitution; thus it is not entitled to claim any relief under it. State’s counsel also asserted that “bans on various activities of Panch Pardhani were imposed earlier also”.
On the other hand SAD (Panch Pardhani) maintained that earlier no ban was imposed by the Government on any activity of the party. Rajwinder Bains, counsel for Panch Pardhani, strongly contended the claim of State’s attorney and pleaded that pleading of implementation of federal structure does not deprive his client from seeking judicial relief for protection of its’ lawful rights.
While talking to media persons Panch Pardhani’s secretary general, Harpal Singh Cheema, said that they should be allowed to exercise their democratic rights. He said that Sant Jarnail Singh was declared to be Great Sikh of 20th Century in year 2001 from Sri Akal Takht Sahib. “Sant Bhindranwale occupies same place in 20th century Sikh history, that was occupied by Baba Banda Singh in 18th century.” he added.
It is notable that it was Shiromani Akali Dal, the current ruling party of Punjab, that adopted the Anandpur Sahib resolution in 1973 and led a struggle, for decades, to seek its implementation. Recently the Governor of Punjab, Shivraj Patil, in his inaugurating address in Punjab assembly, affirmed that Punjab government is committed to secure the demands mentioned in Anandpur Sahib resolution and advocated implementation of federal structure in India.
Hon’ble Judge of High Court, Rajan Gupta, said that this matter required serious and detailed discussion, therefore he has fixed 5 July, 2010 as next date of hearing.

HC reopens 1993 custodial killing case

CJM directed to probe the matter afreshIshfaq TantrySrinagar, June 04: In a judgement which can be a trend setter, High Court Friday re-opened 17-year-old custodial killing case of a Batamaloo resident and directed Chief Judicial Magistrate Srinagar to inquire into the matter afresh and submit the report within four weeks.Munawara Sultan widow of late Gowhar Amin of Srinagar had approached High Court with a writ petition through her counsel Advocate Mian Qayoom to seek fresh probe into the custodial killing of her husband by BSF men in 1993.In the petition, she submitted that her husband was picked up by 4th battalion BSF on April 7, 1993 from his Batamaloo residence. “He was killed in custody by BSF men. Several bullets were pumped into his head and chest and his body was handed over to PCR Srinagar. After conducting post mortem at Police Hospital, police handed over the body for burial on April 8, 1993.”The petition further states that FIR No 74/93 was registered by Police station Shergari under section 364/302 RPC on April 20, 1993 but no investigations were carried out and the guilty BSF men were not punished.The widow sought fresh investigations into the case and arrest of the accused BSF men involved in killing of her husband. She has also demanded an exgratia relief of Rs. 2 lakhs, a government Job and further compensation of Rs. 10 lakhs from the accused for dragging the petitioner from pillar to post from 1993 to 2007 for seeking justice. After entertaining the petition, High Court issued notices to respondents in the case including SDPO Shergari. Subsequently, the SDPO Shergari in his compliance report on February 26, 2010 submitted that on 8/4/1993 a written report was lodged by Commanding Officer of 4th bn BSF in P/S Shergarhi in which he had said that during a cordon operation undertaken by 4th, 21st, 22nd 82, 92, 107th 109th ,110th and 137 battalions of BSF, militants had attacked the search party. “In the retaliatory firing, two militants were killed and some arms and ammunition recovered from the spot,” SDPO had said.He said a case under FIR No 65/93 U?S 3/25 I A Act, 3(2) TADA (P) Act was registered at PS Shergari and investigations taken up by D O Batamaloo SI Ghulam Nabi Nawabaz. “The alleged militants were identified as Gowhar Amin son of Mohammad Amin of Batamaloo and Javaid Ahmad son of Ghulam Qadir of Baran Pather Batamaloo,” SDPO told the court.Quoting opinion of the doctors, who conducted post mortem of the deceased at Police Hospital, the cause of death was stated as multiple gunshot wounds, damage to vital organs (brain and lungs), shock and sudden cardio respiratory arrest. In his compliance report, SDPO Shergari further submitted that the case was closed as ‘untraced’ on 10/4/1995 by IO and it was agreed by the then SHO PS Shergari on 12/4/1995. After hearing arguments of both sides, Justice Hakim Imtiyaz in his interim order announced this week said that in view of the conflicting stands taken by the parties, an inquiry in the matter is required. He directed Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Srinagar Mohammad Ibrahim to inquire into the case and submit his report within four weeks. The CJM has already issued notices to the parties involved in the case. On June 3, SDPO Shergarhi presented the case diaries to CJM for his perusal. The CJM has directed the CPO, the counsel for the BSF Advocate S Gouhar and counsel for the petitioner to submit their statements in writing before the court on next date of hearing.

HC puts on hold chargesheet against Virbhadra
Shimla: The Himachal High Court today put on hold putting up of challan against Union minister Virbhadra Singh in the CD case till disposal of another application put up by the latter seeking quashing of FIR in the case. The court has now listed the case for final hearing on June 25. Earlier, Virbhadra’s lawyers had moved the court against the vigilance bureau’s move to file a challan till they application on quashing of the FIR was decided by the court.
Release on recorded telephonic conversations by a CD released by former Congressman Vijay Singh Mankotia before the Parliamentary by-election in Hamirpur in May 2007, having conversation, allegedly of Virbhadra Singh and his wife with a former bureaucrat regarding some finantial dealing. The BJP government had ordered an inquiry after coming to power in the state, and a case was registered in August, 2009.

Punjab and Haryana HC gives interim relief to sacked PUNWIRE employees
Punjab Newsline Network
Friday, 04 June 2010
CHANDIGARH: At last law have considered the apathy of the workers of Punjab Wireless Systems Limited, Mohali which was one time blue chip company in India in the field of Electronics and Communication. The Punjab & Haryana High Court have accorded interim relief of 25% of claims as assessed by the Chartered Accountant for the said purpose. The payment is to be made by the Official Lequidator within a period of six weeks this would result in payment of more than 4 crores to the workers as their past dues. This was stated here Friday by Shahid Ahmed President and Bhal Singh General Secretary of the PUNWIRE employees Federation

Kerala HC: Devaswom Board cannot be constituted without politicians
The Kerala High Court observed that in the present political situation, the Travancore Devaswom Board could not be constituted without politicians in it. A Division Bench, comprising Justices C N Ramachandran Nair and P S Gopinathan, also observed that ‘in a democracy like ours, political parties have their own role.’ The court further observed that the Board should be constituted with politicians of impeccable character as public and courts were observing the constitution of the Board. The administrative decisions get implemented in countries like China in 30 days, where as their comrades here would take more than 30 years to implement the decisions, the court said. The Division Bench, however, declined to interfere in a writ petition filed by SNDP challenging the proposed constitution of the Board, as it was an anticipatory writ petition. The court directed the petitioner to amend the writ petition suitably and move it, if found necessary, after the constitution of the new Devaswom Board. The court made the observations while hearing a writ petition of K K Mahesh of Kanichukulangara SNDP Yogam challenging the proposed constitution of the Board. UNI

Case of missing chargesheet waits for judge
TNN, Jun 5, 2010, 02.08am IST
NEW DELHI: Eighteen years and two judges later, the fate of the ‘missing chargesheet’ in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case still remains undecided. A trial court on Friday deferred till July 14 the pronouncement of order on an application filed by prosecution seeking clarification on whether a chargesheet allegedly involving Congress leader Sajjan Kumar can be clubbed with another 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. It is the second time in a fortnight that the matter was deferred at the time of delivering the order. district judge Bimla Maken had decided to adjudicate the matter after a sessions judge recused himself from hearing the case. Additional sessions judge V K Goyal, who earlier heard the arguments on the matter, had on May 21 recused himself from the case citing personal reasons on the day when he was to deliver the order. The district judge, to whom the matter was referred to by ASJ Goyal, had then decided to hear the matter herself after allowing the plea to transfer the case. The judge had reserved the order on June 2 after hearing the arguments at length from the prosecution as well as the victims’ counsel. Interestingly, sources said the order in the matter is not likely to be decided even on July 14 as the incumbent judicial officer is going to retire on June 30. In fact, the sources added, the matter will be taken up by the new district judge who will replace Maken and it would now be heard afresh on the next date of hearing. Meanwhile, riots victims association counsel H S Phoolka said he will move the Delhi high court to know the reasons as to why ASJ Goyal had recused himself. His decision to move the HC comes after Maken had asked Goyal to spell out the reasons for seeking transfer of the case in a sealed envelop. The judge had then ordered that the documents would not be opened without an order of the Delhi HC. The matter before the district judge pertains to clubbing of a chargesheet, prepared against Sajjan Kumar but never produced before a judicial officer, with another anti-Sikh riots case. According to the prosecution, the chargesheet was prepared in the case based on FIR number 67/87 in police station Nangloi, naming Sajjan Kumar as accused on April 8, 1992, but it was dumped in the police file and never brought before the court. The prosecution had then sought clubbing of the chargesheet with the case.

Forest workers under NREGS: Circular misunderstood by junior officers, says department
Anupam Chakravartty
Posted: Sat Jun 05 2010, 01:45 hrs Vadodara:
On april 21, Justice K S Jhaveri of the Gujarat High Court passed an oral order reiterating an earlier HC order stating that NREGS funds were not to be utilised for making payment to workers who have been on the state government rolls for many years. Justice Jhaveri’s order was on a petition filed by the Gujarat Forest Produce and Forest Workers’ Union against the state government’s move to bring them under NREGS.
The HC had merged the forest workers’ petition with that of the Public Works Department (PWD) Workers’ Union that had approached it with a similar plea, and got the court to bar Deputy Conservators of Forests (DCFs) from issuing job cards under NREGA.
Incidentally, the same day, Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the state cabinet had a meeting where it was decided to order all “labour oriented” work to be brought under NREGS. Various departments were asked to put up the proposals.
An official order to this effect was issued to the Forest Department on April 22, stating: “Van Vibhag Haithan na “Labour oriented” shakya tamam kamo NREGA yojana haithan haath dharva babat” (“all labour-oriented works of the Forest Department are to be brought under NREGA”). But now, with the Union Ministry for Rural Development investigating the issue of proposed usage of NREGS funds to pay regular forest workers, senior Gujarat Forest officers say the circular was “misunderstood” in some areas, including Gora Range.
In the wake of the government circular, K J Maharajah, Gora Range Forest Officer in Narmada district, had issued a notice on May 14, asking all forest workers within his range to enlist themselves under NREGS before June 15. But he was soon asked to withdraw it. Maharajah said: “We had issued a notice to get all workers registered under NREGA. But on the advice of senior officials and demands from the workers over a disparity in pay, we had to scrap the move.”
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Pradip Khanna said the circular actually meant only to say that labour-oriented work “as far as possible” should be under NREGA. “Lower ranking officers sometime misunderstand circulars, this has now been rectified,” he said. He added that the workers’ unions had started panicking while the Gujarat government was only ensuring that they can earn more, with the help of various state and Central schemes.
On being asked why workers already employed by the Forest Department were being brought under NREGA, Khanna said, family members of workers are issued NREGA cards, and on many occasions, existing workers also get included as a member of that family.
State forest officers further said the government’s move was only to “augment the work opportunities” in the forest areas. Workers were to be brought under NREGS as they were quite irregular in turning up for work and also because they could not have consistently enough work, they said.
Khanna said: “Not all of them work round the year. Depending on the available works, the labourers are called from the neighboring villages and this is how they get employment. Earlier, such work used to be undertaken by the Forest Department, but now it is NREGA which is employing them.”
Elsewhere, both PWD and Forest workers, cite pay disparities between NREGA and the state Forest Department wages as justification for opposing the move.
On his part, Khanna said the pay disparity depends on the work. “If they do not show up for work, be it under NREGA or the Forest Department, they will lose employment. Now, the Gujarat government has assigned work amounting Rs 60 crore under NREGA,” said Khanna.
NREGA promises 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every rural household whose adult members volunteer for unskilled manual work at the minimum wage rate notified for agricultural labour in the state, or else an unemployment allowance. The Act’s objective is to supplement wage employment opportunities in the rural areas, and in the process, also build up durable assets.
Now a probe panel headed by Amita Sharma, the Joint Secretary of the Union Ministry for Rural Development, will investigate the NREGS issue on the orders of the Central government following a report by The Indian Express.

Justice for Kargil heroes

Next month India will commemorate its victory in the Kargil war and the extraordinary sacrifices of the soldiers. They fought in some of the most brutal terrain in the world to achieve the objective of throwing the Pakistani intruders out. In his speech of July 26, Union Defence Minister A.K. Antony, a politician known for his commitment to probity, must set to rest the ghosts that haunt the battlefield. It has long been known that many who played a key role in ensuring victory were disgraced so that superiors who ought to have been penalised for their wartime failures could receive medals and honours. Last week, the Armed Force Tribunal held that the officer with direct supervisory responsibility for the conduct of the war, former XV Corps commander Lieutenant-General Kishan Pal, falsified battle records to deny a key subordinate credit for his stellar conduct of operations. This action, which seems to have been driven by a desire to cover up command failures, cost 70 Brigade commander Devinder Singh a medal and a promotion. That it took 11 years to deliver justice to Brigadier Singh is shocking: the Tribunal’s judgment has only affirmed what the Army has known all along. Several accounts of the war, including Lieutenant-General Y.M. Bammi’s magisterial, Kargil: The Impregnable Conquered, former army chief General V.P. Malik’s memoirs, and Brigadier Gurmeet Kanwal’s official history of the war, made it clear that Brigadier Singh had been instrumental in India’s victory in the Batalik sector. The Tribunal received testimony from Brigadier Singh’s subordinates and superiors lauding his bravery and acumen — testimony that was available to Army headquarters years ago. Yet successive Chiefs of Army Staff and Defence Ministers did nothing to undo the mischief.
In the build-up to Kargil Day, Mr. Antony will do the Army, his Ministry, and the country proud if he summons the courage to offer Brigadier Singh an apology and restore to him the honours to which he is entitled. But he needs to do more. There are other cases pending before the Tribunal seeking redress; they revolve around decisions made by XV Corps — notably those of 121 Brigade commander Surinder Singh and Major Manish Bhatnagar. Some officers with reason to consider themselves aggrieved, like Colonel Pushpinder Oberoi, chose not to move the court for justice. The Defence Ministry must set up a body to conduct a transparent audit of these cases and set wrongs right. It must also conduct a thoroughgoing examination of the official Kargil Review Committee, which relied heavily on a tainted account of events. Armies in which promotions depend on personal prejudices, rather than dispassionate assessments of professional capability, will see poor quality leadership rise to the top. In the end, their war-fighting capacities will be eroded. Telling the truth will, doubtless, be a painful process — but the Army as well as India will emerge the stronger for it.

Sukna scam: Tribunal turns down Lt Gen Prakash’s plea…/629444/
Posted: Fri Jun 04 2010, 10:46 hrs New Delhi:

The Armed Forces Tribunal on Friday turned down former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avdesh Prakash’s plea to allow his realtor friend as a witness in the reconvened Court of Inquiry (CoI) in the Sukna land scam case.
“Calling prosecution witness as defence witness is uncalled for. Prosecution witness cannot be juxtaposed as defence witness,” the Tribunal bench headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha said here.
Lt Gen Prakash, who has been indicted by a CoI in the Sukna land scam, had approached the Tribunal on Wednesday to allow him to produce the witnesses before the reconvened CoI in the case.
Prakash had filed a plea seeking permission to produce as witness his realtor friend Dilip Agarwal, who is alleged to have benefited by the ‘No Objection Certificate’ issued by the Army for construction of an educational institute on a piece of land adjacent to the Sukna Base in West Bengal.
The Army counsel had opposed the petition, saying that Agarwal had already appeared before the CoI and could not beproduced as a defence witness again.
Army’s COI had blamed Prakash for influencing the former 33 Corps Commander Lt Gen P K Rath for issuing the NoC.
After hearing both sides, the Tribunal Bench had reserved its order till the next hearing.
After his retirement on January 31, Prakash had approached the Tribunal against Army’s decision to initiate disciplinary proceedings against him and contended that Army Rule 180, which allows Army personnel to be present if somebody is raising questions over their military character, was not applied.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Saturday, June 05, 2010

LEGAL NEWS 03.06.2010

Ruchika case: Rathore’s bail plea deferred again
IANS, Jun 3, 2010, 03.15pm IST
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday again deferred a decision on the bail plea of former Haryana Police chief SPS Rathore, who has been convicted of molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra in 1990. The verdict is expected on Friday. Rathore was sentenced to 18 months rigorous imprisonment by the district and sessions court here on May 25. Rathore is currently lodged in the Burail jail here.

CIC to challenge Delhi high court order in Supreme Court
Thursday, June 3, 2010 16:30 IST
New Delhi: The Central Information Commission will move the Supreme Court against a decision of the Delhi high court scrapping the procedures being followed by the panel in disposing of appeals.
This was decided at a meeting of all the information commissioners early this week.
The commission, while deciding to move the apex court, took note of a Patna high court ruling which had allowed Bihar’s state information commission to frame its own rules for the conduct of its business.
“There seems to be a contradiction between the Patna high court and Delhi high court decisions. We have decided to approach the Supreme Court so that the matter could be clarified,” chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said today.
A decision by the Supreme Court will also bring uniformity in the functioning of the information commissions across the country, he said.
The commission, meanwhile, has decided to continue with its routine business and conduct daily hearings.
The Delhi high court had last month struck down the rules framed by the chief information commissioner on the procedure for deciding appeals before the panel under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, saying the commissioner had no power to enact such regulations under the transparency law.
The order was passed on a plea of the DDA (Delhi Development Authority) seeking quashing of the Central Information Commission (Management) Regulations, 2007, drawn up by the commissioner to decide the procedure for special appeals before the panel.
“The chief information commissioner has no powers to make rules under the RTI Act,” a bench of justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and justice Veena Birbal had said.
Both the “appropriate government” and the “competent authority” have been empowered by the rules to make rules to carry out provisions of the Act,” the bench said.
“The CIC by formulating the regulations and prescribing the procedure for deciding appeals has clearly violated the provisions of the RTI Act,” the court added.
Concern was also expressed by one information commissioner that the high court ruling impinged upon the functional autonomy of the panel.
“Not only autonomy in the functioning of the CIC has thus been impinged upon, but the future course of action, in respect of protecting the rights of information seekers, has been halted at the cost of jeopardising the RTI movement launched by the civil society and strongly supported by the UPA government,” MM Ansari said.
According to Ansari, the implication of the high court order was that a single or division bench cannot decide an appeal before the commission.

Locus standi: Students will have to fight their own cases, says High Court
Express News Service
Posted: Thu Jun 03 2010, 00:38 hrs New delhi:
Sending across a loud message that students would have to marshal their own cause, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday dismissed three PILs, two of which challenged the credibility of the IIT-JEE examination system and flaws in its 2010 question paper. The court also refused to entertain the third PIL challenging the admission procedure for Delhi University’s undergraduate programmes.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur held that petitions could be entertained only if the students moved court and not people who had no locus standi in the matter. “We cannot entertain the PIL. Let the students approach the court. The aggrieved person should approach the court through a guardian and the petitioner cannot espouse the cause of students. It is open to the students to approach the court,” said the Bench dismissing the PIL filed against the DU admission system. The petition had contended that the marks in the subject in which the student wants admission should be made the sole criteria for admission.
The PIL was filed by Advocate Sunil Kumar, challenging the criteria followed by the University for admission in undergraduate programmes. He pleaded that a student is taught only one subject in detail in graduation and the other two are not main subject and so the admission should be granted only on the basis of marks obtained by a candidate in the main subject in 10+2. Noting that he failed to establish his legal standing in the case, the Bench dismissed his plea and said students would have to approach either personally or through guardians if they were aggrieved in academic matters.
Similarly, while adjudicating the PILs relating to IIT, the Bench dismissed the PIL filed by one Chetan Upadhyaya, who had asked for a stay on the publication of results and a re-examination because of alleged errors in the question paper. As the Supreme Court had earlier questioned Upadhyaya’s locus standi in the case, Justice Misra took no time in throwing out his petition, holding he was neither a student nor could relate to them in any manner for entertaining the petition.
The other PIL filed by Professor Rajeev Kumar of IIT-Kharagpur also met the same fate, even though the petitioner’s counsel argued that his plea related to the discrepancies and non-transparency of the IIT-JEE examination system. Asked to respond, the counsel for the IIT said the petitioner too had no locus standi as no students, before the result or after it, had come to the court with grievances.
The Bench agreed to the contention and said it would dismiss this PIL too by a written order, a copy of which would be made available only on Thursday.

Govt plans headcount of undertrials in jails
TNN, Jun 3, 2010, 04.49am IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi government on Wednesday told the Delhi high court that it intends to do a headcount of undertrials languishing in prison despite having got bail because they were unable to arrange for surety. In an affidavit submitted in HC, the government said the Tihar administration is going to compile a list of such undertrials on a monthly basis so that their cases can be forwarded to the district judge. The affidavit came in response to a petition filed by an advocate serving with Delhi HC Legal Services who came across 91 such cases in Rohini jail where prisoners continued to be behind bars because they were unable to furnish a surety or pay bail bond money. The lawyer complained in his petition, that while the rich accused barely spend hours in jail once granted bail as they can immediately arrange for money and surety it is the poor who bear the brunt of the stringent bail conditions imposed by Delhi courts, making them rot in jail despite getting the relief on paper. In his petition, the advocate pointed out the anomaly between the treatment meted out to convicts getting parole and to undertrials getting bail, as conditions are often relaxed for the benefit of convicts to enable them to taste freedom even though undertrials get no such benefit. Arguing that by keeping undertrials behind bars, the state was robbing them of an opportunity to prepare their defence for the trial, take care of finances, meet their family, the lawyer urged HC to direct loosening of stringent bail conditions imposed by the courts. Most of the undertrials come from other states so they have no one to turn to for surety and are too poor to pay the bail amount, the PIL further states.

Orissa HC concludes hearing on PIL on “police excess”
Updated on Thursday, May 27, 2010, 21:27 IST
Cuttack: Orissa High Court today completed hearing on the PIL seeking a probe by either CBI or human rights commission into the alleged police excess at Kalinganagar industrial complex in Jajpur district.
The vacation bench of Justice L Mohapatra and Justice B P Ray completed hearing of the case after Advocate General Ashok Mohanty submitted to the court to dispose off the petition as it “lacks merit.” Earlier, as directed, the Orissa State Legal Services Authority (OSLSA) filed its report in the court after conducting investigation at Kalinganagar for two days. The HC on May 22 had directed the member secretary of OSLSA to conduct a probe into the allegations made in the PIL. Alleging government-sponsored anarchy at Kalinganagar, lawyer and social activist Ramachandra Ray of the locality had filed the PIL seeking CBI or Human Rights Commission probe into the “police excess”.
The PIL also urged the High Court for a direction to stop the ongoing evacuation at Kalinganagar area until disposal of the petition. The petitioner alleged that rehabilitation and resettlement policy of central and state governments were not being sincerely adhered to. PTI

PMCH sans CT scan machine despite HC directive
Madhuri Kumar, TNN, Jun 3, 2010, 04.05am IST
PATNA: Notwithstanding Patna High Court directive to expedite the process of purchasing a new CT scan machine, the 1675-bed Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) is still bereft of this facility. Founder of Ganga Bachao Abhiyan Vikas Chandra alias Guddu Baba on Tuesday held a dharna to protest the lack of basic infrastructure at PMCH. The dharna was also held in the backdrop of the Patna High Court directive issued on April 20 last on a PIL filed by Guddu Baba on the ill-equipped condition of PMCH. The court had then directed both the state government and PMCH authorities to expedite the process of purchasing a CT scan machine, procure life saving drugs within a period of four weeks, to properly equip the ICU and make MRI facility available. Incidentally, the hospital did install an MRI machine following the court’s directive but it remains non-functional. But a CT scan machine is yet to be purchased, though a tender has already been floated in this regard. As principal secretary, health, CK Mishra said, “The MRI machine has been made functional recently. However, the technicians could not repair the old CT scan machine and a new one will be purchased soon.” It may be mentioned here that the CT scan machine is lying defunct for the last five months causing hardship to patients, particularly those who cannot afford to undergo it at private diagnostic centres. This despite the fact that the state government had retierated its promise of providing better health care to the people during the last session of the state legislature. According to hospital sources, many patients turn up at PMCH every day for CT scan. But they have to go back without availing the service or approach a private disgnostic centres where they have to cough up exorbitant charges. The cost of a CT scan at PMCH is Rs 800 per patient, while at private centres the minimum charge is Rs 1,800. Health minister Nand Kishore Yadav had also told TOI that as the installed machine is quite old and outdated, procurement of faulty parts has proved to be a stupendous task. The minister said an agreement has been reached with another company and soon the CT scan services would be resumed. It may mentioned here that the CT scan machine of 800-bed Nalanda Medical College Hospital (NMCH) is also non functional. The principal health secretary said the CT can facilities are available in one or two other medical colleges of the state. According to sources, the CT Sacn at DMCH is also non-functional for the last four months. However, the CT scan at ANMCH, Gaya and JLNMCH, Bhagalpur, are in order.

HC fast-tracks draw of lots in CGHS society
TNN, Jun 3, 2010, 05.14am IST
NEW DELHI: In a ruling that could bring relief to a number of members awaiting allotment of flats under the cooperative group housing society (CGHS) scheme in Dwarka for the past four years, the Delhi high court has fast-tracked the holding of draw of lots for all 74 members of a society. A division bench comprising Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Valmiki J Mehta has asked the Registrar of Cooperative Societies (RCS) to forward the case of 74 members of Apni CGHS to DDA for the holding of the draw. In the process, HC permitted bypassing of scrutiny of the society’s records by a special committee entrusted with the job by a previous HC bench. In its 2008 order, another HC bench had said all 57 societies in Dwarka which were investigated by the central bureau of investigation (CBI) would have to get their records verified by a “committee under rule 90” before their case is forwarded to DDA. However, while going through the case of Apni CGHS, Justice Kaul and Justice Mehta realised that the CBI had already given a clean chit to the records of the society and that there was no need to subject the waiting members to another committee. HC also made it clear that its previous order was a general one outlining the broad modalities to be followed while the Apni CGHS case was an exception. “We see no reason why members of the petitioner society should continue to await their due entitlement of flats, four years having already gone by,” the bench noted while asking the RCS and DDA to swiftly process the claims. The bench also remarked that the case need not be referred to the “non-functional” Justice Chopra Committee, which was set up after another Delhi HC order in August 2008. Its responsibility was to scrutinise the documents of members once again after these were cleared by the rule 90 committee. “After this judgment, it is even more apparent that societies which had submitted their documents for draw of lots to the RCS office before October 19, 2007, when both the committees were not in existence, should not have been routed through these two committees,” said Ashok Kumar, convener of Association of Suffering Members of CGHS. He added that in another judgment of Ashadeep CGHS in 2009, the HC had observed that if against newspaper advertisements issued by the societies inviting objections, no complaints are received, then all the members should be allotted their flats. “All societies both those investigated by CBI and those which have not had issued such advertisements as per the court order and there was no objection. We are taking up the matter with the LG, quoting these two judgments,” Kumar said.

I-T dept files caveat against Vodafone in HC

BS Reporter / Mumbai June 2, 2010, 22:09 IST
The Income Tax (I-T) department has filed a caveat in the Bombay High Court in the Vodafone tax case, according to a television news channel. The caveat was filed to avoid ex-parte proceedings.
Apart from the 761-page order, the I-T department has also issued a seven-page showcause notice to Vodafone, which allows the department to start fresh proceedings against Vodafone and representative assesses.

Briefly Nation
Press Trust of India
Posted: Thu Jun 03 2010, 00:38 hrs
HC stays film opposed by Asaram followers
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Wednesday stayed the release of film ‘Swaha’, which allegedly has a character based on the life of spiritual leader Asaram Bapu. Asaram Mahila Utthan Ashram, a trust looking after the administration of various Asaram Bapu ashrams, filed an appeal in the High Court after a lower court dismissed its application. Vacation judge of the High Court, Justice Rajesh Ketkar, on Wednesday continued the interim stay imposed earlier, and adjourned the hearing till June 9. According to the trust, the leading character in the film, which is directed by Pravin Bharadwaj, resembles Asaram Bapu, and defames him.
Sukna: Lt Gen goes to Army Tribunal
NEW DELHI: Former Military Secretary Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash, who has been indicted by a Court of Inquiry (COI) in the Sukna land scam, approached the Armed Forces Tribunal on Wednesday to allow him to produce witnesses before the reconvened COI in the case. Prakash filed a plea seeking permission to produce as witness his realtor friend Dilip Agarwal, who is alleged to have benefitted by the ‘No Objection Certificate’ issued by the Army for the construction of an educational institute on a piece of land adjacent to the Sukna Base in West Bengal.
Abdul Samad moves court for bail
MUMBAI: Abdul Samad Bhatkal, arrested in a 2009 arms seizure case and a suspect in the Pune blast case, has approached a sessions court for bail. Samad, who was sent to judicial custody on Tuesday in connection with the arms case, moved the sessions court after the metropolitan magistrate rejected his bail plea stating that investigation was still in progress. The bail plea will be heard on Thursday.

Mentally-ill women find a friend in HC
Harish V Nair , Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi , June 03, 2010
More than 2,500 mentally ill women roam the streets of Delhi, exposing themselves to the hardships of daily life.
On Wednesday, the Delhi High Court issued a series of directions to various civic authorities to ensure rehabilitation of these women in seven homes to come up in identified in Dwarka, Rohini and Narela.
A Bench of Justice A.K. Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke was hearing a PIL filed by Pratibha Chopra, a Delhi University law student, drawing the court’s attention towards the plight of mentally ill people in the Capital.
The PIL was inspired by the plight of Gitanjali Nagpal, a model found begging on the streets of Delhi three years ago.
Nagpal (32), who once walked the ramp for top designers in the country, was found begging at a market in south Delhi. The Delhi Commission for Women (DCW)
took her to VIMHANS Hospital, where doctors diagnosed her with fear psychosis.
The petitioner referred to Nagpal’s case and said there were more than 2,500 women in Delhi who were mentally ill and do not receive any aid from the government,
leading to their exploitation.
The Delhi Development Authority had identified the spots for shelter home for such women after the court expressed its anger over the delay during the last hearing.
The court had also directed the Delhi police to amend its training module to change chapters on how to deal with and handle mentally ill people.
The court said for proper implementation of the provisions of the Mental Health Act 1987, the standard operating procedure for police officials had to be formulated.
The court also mooted the idea of sensitising magistrates.

HC orders action against leprosy centre encroachers
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: Thu Jun 03 2010, 00:55 hrs New delhi:
Days after a report revealed that even the land meant for leprosy patients was grabbed by the city land mafia, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the government to evict unauthorised persons to ensure the benefits reached the targeted persons.
A Division Bench of Chief Justice Dipak Misra and Justice Madan B Lokur told the counsel for the Social Welfare department that they were obligated to take action against illegal encroachments. The counsel said that the Delhi cabinet had decided to constitute a seven-member committee to look into the matter. The court asked the committe to submit a report in six weeks.
The court had taken a suo motu cognizance of the matter last year that the 50-acre land meant for leprosy patients in Tahirpur Leprosy Complex, Northeast Delhi, was encroached on by the land mafias. The Delhi government and the welfare department were asked to take action. The department, however, repeatedly bought time for inspection and scrutinising the claims of those residing in the complex.
The court then summoned the Director of the Social Welfare department, after which it was assured that the matter would be considered by the Delhi cabinet.
Senior Advocate Arvind Nigam, amicus curiae in the matter, told the Bench that no positive action could be expected from the authorities as “they were scared to visit the society because of the nature of the ailment”.
Taking strong note, the Bench asked the Committee to hold its first meeting within 15 days to chalk out a plan of action.
Tahirpur Complex was set up as a colony exclusively for leprosy patients on a 50-acre plot in the 1970s. The MCD and the Social Welfare department are the owners of the plot.
After a survey, the Deputy Commissioner (Northeast) had submitted a report that of the 1,810 houses constructed for leprosy patients at Tahirpur, 1,614 had been illegally occupied. Besides, many shops were run in the area by “outsiders”. While there are panchayats and pradhans to manage the affairs, the report stated they obtained hefty amount for commercial use.

Delhi HC ruling may delay RTI cases
TNN, Jun 3, 2010, 12.18am IST

HYDERABAD: The waiting period between filing a petition at the Andhra Pradesh Information Commission (APIC) and its date of hearing might just get longer if a ruling of the Delhi High Court is declared binding on state information commissions across the country. The recent high court ruling has directed commissions to function as one bench and not as separate benches headed by the information commissioners as is presently the case. Aimed at ensuring that the commission functions as a holistic unit, this move is also to bring about a transparency in the functioning of the commissions. Given that out of every 100 petitions filed at APIC, only 77 get disposed off within the stipulated time period of thirty days, officials in the state commission are worried that the statistics might get worse if the Delhi High Court ruling is made binding on all states. “It is an impractical idea wherein the cause of RTI Act will be severely impacted,” said CD Arha, state chief information commissioner. According to the figures available, around 40,000 fresh cases are admitted by the APIC each year, complaints and second appeals put together. Add to that the pending petitions from the previous year and the numbers get worse. Given the situation, the last thing APIC would want is all four information commissioners, including the chief information commissioner, to comprise one single bench to pass orders on one case at a time. The justification behind such a move is to ensure that the order passed by the commission is approved by all commissioners and not decided by the one commissioner hearing the case. If APIC is reeling under so many pending cases at any given time, the chief information commission, Delhi, is not much better placed. With 10 commissioners holding separate hearings now, 10,000 is the number of pending cases there. After hearing about the Delhi High Court directive the APIC commissioners have asked for a copy of the judgment to get legal help from its counsel in understanding the ramifications of the judgment. APIC commissioners told TOI that they would move higher authorities if the judgment is made binding on them as well.

Reconsider arms plea of wakf unit chief: HC to govt
TNN, Jun 3, 2010, 12.21am IST

HYDERABAD: Noting that the state should be responsible for protecting lives and properties of the citizens in tune with the amended Arms Act and allow good citizens to possess arms for self defence, the A P High Court on Tuesday quashed a memo issued by the state home secretary that rejected an application of a citizen for an arms licence. Justice C V Nagarjuna Reddy, while allowing a petition filed by one Syed Afzal Mehdi, president of Rajendranagar area Wakf committee in Ranga Reddy district, directed the state home secretary to reconsider the petitioner’s application for an arms licence within two months. Afzal had applied for an arms licence stating that he wanted to protect his life and the wakf properties under him, which were worth Rs 17,000 crore. Police authorities verified his claims and rejected his application on the ground that there was no necessity for him to possess a weapon for self protection. Aggrieved by the order, Afzal approached the court. Justice Reddy reminded the state that independent India had felt it necessary as far back as 1959 to repeal the repressive Indian Arms Act, 1878 which prohibited people from possessing simple weapons like bow and arrows, swords, daggers, etc., even for self defence. There is no point in keeping the people unarmed when anti-nationals possess dangerous ammunition, the judge said. If the police are satisfied that the antecedents of the applicant are good then they should not hesitate to issue the licence, he said. The judge did not accept the reason cited by the police in the present case that the applicant was a resident of a communally sensitive area. Since the police found the applicant to be good, they should consider his application afresh, the judge said.

Meenakshi Arora withdraws consent to be Delhi HC Judge; CJI wants review of the 5 member list;%20CJI%20wants%20review%20of%20the%205%20member%20list&page=brief&id=766
Bar&Bench News Network
Jun 02, 2010

Chief Justice of India, S.H. Kapadia (CJI) [pictured] has recommended that the names of five senior lawyers who were recommended by former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice A.P Shah for their appointment as judges to the Delhi High Court be reviewed.
According to media reports, the collegium headed by the CJI has written to the Union Law Minister, Veerappa Moily regarding the issue. Justice A.P. Shah had recommended senior lawyers, Abhinav Vasisht, Rajiv Virmani, Anusuya Salwan, Meenakshi Arora and Maninder Acharya for elevation to the High Court.
Soon after recommending these names to the collegium, Justice Shah retired. The CJI therefore wants the newly appointed Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court, Justice Dipak Misra to approve the elevation before it can be taken any further. Another reason being touted as the reason for review of the appointment is the withdrawal of consent by constitutional lawyer, Meenakshi Arora regarding her appointment as a judge. Speaking to Bar & Bench, she said, “Yes, I have withdrawn my consent to be a judge and the reasons are personal. I do not want to discuss the reasons with the media.”
Justice A.P. Shah had openly expressed his disappointment at not being elevated to the Supreme Court. Incidentally, Justice Kapadia was a part of the panel which recommended the names of elevation of judges to the apex court.

Supreme Court says live-in relationships are fine but don’t expect ancestral property’t%20expect%20ancestral%20property&page=brief&id=762&gn=0
Bar&Bench News Network
Jun 01, 2010
The Supreme Court held that a child born out of a live-in relationship is not entitled to claim inheritance in Hindu ancestral coparcenary property (in the undivided joint Hindu family) and can only claim a share in the parents’ self-acquired property.
The Bench set aside a Madras High Court judgment, which held that children born out of live-in relationships were entitled to a share in ancestral property as there was a presumption of marriage in view of the long relationship.
Reiterating an earlier ruling, a Vacation Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said, “In view of the legal fiction contained in Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 (legitimacy of children of void and voidable marriages), the illegitimate children, for all practical purposes, including succession to the properties of their parents, have to be treated as legitimate. They cannot, however, succeed to the properties of any other relation on the basis of this rule, which in its operation, is limited to the properties of the parents.”
The Apex Court also stated that while the marriage exists, a spouse cannot claim the live-in-relationship with some other person and seek inheritance for the children from the property of that other person. The relationship with some other person, while the husband is living is not “live-in-relationship” but “adultery”. The illegitimate children have got inheritance rights from the property of the husband and not that from the other person. It is further clarified that “live in relationship” is permissible in unmarried heterosexuals (in case, one of the said persons is married, the man may be guilty of adultery and it would amount to an offence under Section 497 of the Indian Penal Code).
Geeta Luthra, Senior Counsel, speaking to Bar & Bench said that the judgment is interpreting the fiction of Section 16 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, in relation to the declaration of children born out of a void/voidable marriage and a child being deemed legitimate for the purposes of inheritance due to the fiction created. She further said that for the first time, recognition was given under the Domestic Violence Act, 2005 to entitle women with some sort of protection with regard to live in relationships. Secondly, in the case of Actress Khushboo, the 3 Judge Bench, headed by Juctice Balakrishnan shed light on pre-marital sex and live-in relationship for the first time in India. The relevance of pre-marital sex and Khushboo’s comments, connect her with criminal cases filed against her. The present judgment does not deal with the concept of live-in relationship per se. It says that a child can only make a claim on the person’s self acquired property, in case the child is illegitimate. It can also be interpreted in a way in which a child could lay a claim on the share of a parent’s ancestral property as they can ask for that parents share in such property, as Section 16 permits a share in the parents property. Hence it could be argued that the person is not only entitled to self acquired property but also a share in the ancestral property.
Suruchi Suri Grewal, a lawyer, notes that this is yet another instance where the judiciary has accepted the existence of live-in relationships in contemporary society and clarified the rights of those involved and persons likely to be affected by such a relationship. This ruling of the highest court of the land is welcome as there will be no room for doubt vis-a’-vis inheritance rights of children born out of live-in relationships.
Sanjay Agnihotri, an Advocate with Suri & Company says that the judgment, though in accordance with law as of today, does not differentiate between children borne out of live-in relationship, where both the partners/parents are single. The judgment talks about a scenario where one of the partners in a live-in relationship is committing adultery. One can understand the ratio of the judgment in such a case. While the judgment does lend some sort of credence to “live-in” relationships, yet it deprives the children borne out of such a relationship, to what should be their rightful inheritance, which would have come to them but for the formal ceremony of marriage.
The Apellants, Bharatha Matha and another were represented by Advocate K. Ram Kumar and the Respondents, R. Vijaya Renganathan and others were represented by Sai Krishna Rajagopal along with Advocates Hari Shankar K., Vikas Singh Jangra and Bharat S. Kumar presenting the case.

Bar Council logs in with Rainmaker: Bar Exams, Law School in every state, Oppose Foreign Law Firms,%20Law%20School%20in%20every%20state,%20Oppose%20Foreign%20Law%20Firms&page=brief&id=765
Bar&Bench News Network
Jun 02, 2010

The Bar Council of India (BCI) has today released its vision statement for the next two years covering 2010-2012. The ceremony, which was convened by Law Minister Veerappa Moily,was also attended by Gopal Subramanium, Solicitor General of India and Chairman, Bar Council of India; Dhanpal Raj, Vice President of BCI; Prof. V.B.Coutinho, Directorate of Legal Services and Nikhil Chandra, CEO Rainmaker. The Law Minister also inaugurated the new design of the website of the BCI. BCI governs more than 1.1 million advocates and approximately 1,000 law schools with more than 60,000 students graduating each year and it was time for an overhaul of the website that will provide comprehensive information.
The ceremony took place at the Imperial Hotel in New Delhi where according to Gopal Subramaniam, the Declaration of Independence was signed. The Solicitor General talking about the vision statement said “Some important issues include raising the quality of Bar, with education and training, access to knowledge and having a database of all lawyers, law schools and law students all at a common platform are urgent requirements and we will address them”.
Speaking about The All India Bar Exam (Bar exam) he said, “The exam will help in identifying value and standard that will improve the identity of the legal profession as a whole”.
Nikhil Chandra, said that the Bar exam will be scheduled across India on December 5, 2010. The Bar exam will be a benchmark test to ensure a basic level of skill and knowledge in those joining the legal profession and intending to practice law in India. The exam is not retrospective and shall be mandatory for all law students graduating from the academic year 2009-2010 onwards. Nikhil Chandra also presented a brief overview about the bar exam, a presentation is available here. The BCI and Rainmaker will provide the preparatory material for the Bar exam. “The Bar exam will meet highest standards of transparency, security and fairness” he said.
Veerappa Moily, Law Minister said “Great changes in the legal education will not happen unless there is a change in the legal profession”. “There is wealth, prosperity and progress in the legal profession. The market is not only India, it is the whole world at large, as an advocate and an individual” he said. Laying out his vision for the country he said “We have to set up one National Law School in each State”.
Various questions relating to the Bar exam, health insurance and foreign law firms were raised, to which Gopal Subramaniam answered in detail clearing the doubts in the minds of students and lawyers. “A Student quizzed on what would happen if he fails the Bar exam and when can he repeat the exam?” The Chairman answering these questions said the Bar exam will be held twice a year and there are no limit in the number of attempts by a law graduate.
The BCI has partnered with Rainmaker to manage and conduct the exam.The exam fee will be Rs.1,300 ($28). The revenues generated from the Bar exam will be divided equally between the BCI, State Bar Councils and Rainmaker. Gopal Subramanium also said that the BCI had evaluated several agencies and zeroed in on Rainmaker as they had the ability to adhere to timelines with respect to the academic material, the ability to translate into nine languages and take the test to centers across India.
The Chairman was also asked about the entry of foreign law firms to which he said “The present stand is to oppose the entry of foreign lawyers in India as the standard of practice of law in our country is not consistent. In foreign countries law is a profession while in India it is still a service and the role of the BCI is to protect the professional identity of the Indian lawyer”.
There will be no ranks and the result will be based on Pass/Fail. The application form period will be starts from July 15, 2010. Model papers will be available from August 16, 2010 on the BCI website.
A copy of the Bar Council’s vision statement 2010-2012 is available here.

Collegium system to be scrapped?
Satya Prakash , Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, June 02, 2010
The judiciary may no longer have monopoly over the appointment of judges of high courts and the Supreme Court.
The Centre is getting ready for a constitutional amendment to change the system of appointments to the higher judiciary in which, since 1993, the executive does not have any meaningful say.
“There are two ways to solve this problem. One is to file a petition in the Supreme Court seeking review of its 1993 and 1998 judgments that established the collegium (a panel of top SC judges) system of appointments. The other is to go for a constitutional amendment. We will take the legislative route,” Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily told HT on Wednesday.
“Everybody agrees that the collegium system has failed and it needed to be changed,” Moily said referring to the reports of the Law Commission and Parliamentary Standing Committee on Law and Justice that advocated a change.
He said the amendment bill will be separate from the Judges Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010.
Successive governments have been criticising the collegium system but it’s for the first time that the Centre has said it will bring in a constitutional amendment to change the collegium system. The BCI, too, had demanded it be scrapped.
Under Article 124(2) and Article 217(1) of the Constitution, judges of the Supreme Court and those of a high court respectively have to be appointed by the President after “consultation” with the CJI. The Government was not bound by the CJI’s recommendation.
But in 1993, the SC introduced the collegium system and effectively took over the primacy in appointments. Then, five years later, a nine-judge Constitution Bench ruled that the “consultation” must be effective and the CJI’s opinion shall have primacy in the matter.
Under the present system, the government is bound by the names recommended by the collegium. If the government does not agree, it can only return it once and if the collegium reiterates it, the government is bound by it.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Thursday, June 03, 2010

LEGAL NEWS 02.06.2010

Relief for apartment owners: Court makes sale easier, reins in realtors
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: Jun 02, 2010 at 0014 hrs IST
New delhi Owners of apartments in Delhi have so far had to struggle to sell off their properties or obtain a loan on them. But with a new directive from the Delhi High Court, sales transactions and mortgaging of apartments is set to become easier.
With a view to protect their interests as well as tighten the noose around law-flouting real estate developers, the Delhi High Court has drafted point-wise guidelines to be implemented by the state government so that the laws relating to the ownership of apartments, including a group housing cooperative society, are not violated.
A Division Bench headed by Justice A K Sikri has asked the government to appoint within 30 days a ‘Competent Authority’ to ensure all builders and promoters fall in line with the Delhi Apartment Ownership Act. The law that came into force in 1987 had many provisions benefiting the owners, but due to the lack of effective implementation, owners were left at the mercy of the builders.
The verdict, which came on a PIL filed by Advocate V N Jha in 2007, says a builder will now have to hand over a ‘deed of apartment’ to apartment owners and it will then be registered. The rule will also apply to those who were given the possession through a sale deed or a lease deed. In case of a leasehold land, the deed will be executed by the owner, the builder and the Land Development Officer.
This ‘deed of apartment’, as per the Act, will entitle every owner to “exclusive ownership and possession of the apartment so allotted, sold or transferred otherwise”. An owner will then also have the right to such undivided interest in the common areas and facilities available in the society.
The Act had contemplated this provision so as to confer a “heritable right” so that an owner had the absolute ownership, “capable of transfer” as per his or her wishes. The owners so far had been transferring the ownership executing a power of attorney as they did not have the absolute right on an indivisible land. The directive will also do away with the difficulties in getting bank loans as the title of the property rests with the society.
Jha had specifically mentioned in his PIL that the contractors and “henchmen” who maintained the societies charged “exorbitant amounts” from the owners. The owners also did not get the profits if earned from the common facilities in the society in accordance with the Act, the petition had alleged, adding that the government was feigning helplessness in enforcing the provisions of the Act as it did not provide any remedial or penal action.
After the government accepted that it did not have a mechanism to prosecute the builders who violated the provisions and that a new legislation was being drafted, the court pulled it up for their “inaction and apathy”.
Other important directivesCompetent Authority must ensure compliance by issuing notices to the builders and also prosecute them for evading duties and registration charges if they fail to do so.
All societies must have an ‘Apartment Owners’ Association’ of its own instead of private contractors maintaining the societies after collecting money from the owners. The association will take over the management from the builders and promoters within six months.
Delhi Government must introduce the Delhi Apartments Ownership Bill without further delay.

Ambiguous instructions in earlier JEEs too
Akshaya Mukul, TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 03.18am IST
NEW DELHI: JEE-2010 was not the first time that ambiguous instructions created confusion for the candidates. A close look at the JEE since 2006, when questions were first made available, reveals that it has been quiet frequent. In fact, senior lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who is arguing a PIL on anomalies in the JEE, says he has been receiving a number of phone calls from parents and students who claim they did not get the expected result. “Our plea is that candidates should be allowed a carbon copy of the answer sheet that they can take out. After the JEE, IIT should provide the answer key so that a student knows exactly how much he is going to score,” he says. Ambiguous instructions relate to Multiple Choice Questions which have one or more correct answers without having any negative marking for selecting a wrong choice. In 2006, questions carrying 72 marks had one or more correct answers without attracting any negative marking for a wrong choice. In 2007, such questions rose to 108 marks. In 2008, there was a marginal decline to 102 marks. In 2009 and 2010, questions carrying 96 and 93 marks, respectively, had one or more correct answers without any negative marks. In fact, after 2008 JEE, IIT itself published the questions and the answer key. It was found that for many questions all the options were correct. Therefore, it was possible for a candidate to get full marks by darkening all the bubbles. When the matter came to light after this year’s JEE, IIT-Madras, which conducted this year’s JEE, told the Delhi High Court, which is seized of a PIL on the exam, that if any of the choices in such a question was found to be a wrong choice, the candidate would get zero. The PIL has been filed by Rajeev Kumar of IIT-Kharagpur. As per the evaluation scheme submitted before the court, a candidate will get zero because he darkened a wrong choice along with correct answers. “This implies that a wrong choice nullifies all the positive marks scored due to correct choices. This is contrary to the published instructions that there are partial marks and no negative mark. Rules are changed after the game is over,” argues Prashant Bhushan, Kumar’s counsel. He questions how evaluation was done since 2006 because if the ambiguity was noticed earlier, the instructions would have been corrected.

Beloved lifelines
Ayesha Banerjee, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, June 01, 2010
Vinod K Jain, founder-chairman of the NGO Tapas, recently took a boat ride to the more polluted stretches of the river Yamuna in Delhi but had to turn back in a hurry as he started feeling sick. “You are likely to faint if you go to the more polluted parts… or even die,” says the man whose RTI query recently got the Delhi Jal Board to admit that the treated sewage water was only fit for horticultural purposes, and not for bathing. That is the sorry, shameful state to which the holy Yamuna has been reduced to today… surprising, since the river supplies almost 70 per cent of Delhi’s water needs. Jain, a jewellery exporter who also taught commerce at Delhi University for some time, runs Tapas with his own money because he doesn’t want any interference in the tough battles he fights. Recounting the filing of a PIL in the Delhi High Court, and later the Supreme Court, for the protection of the Yamuna flood plains and cleaning, Jain says he had to work hard to spread his message. “I went for seminars and conferences to educate the media and the people about related issues, met the chief minister, the lieutenant governor, the union urban minister and wrote to other bodies,” he says. “The response that I got to my RTI query was surprising. No one was willing to take responsibility for the river, not the state government, nor the DJB, nor the Delhi Development Authority (DDA), the MCD, Ministry of Water Resources, or the Central Water Commission,” Jain adds. So taken aback was he that this water activist showed the responses he had received to the judges of the Delhi High Court to his petition. To not take responsibility for a river that’s a lifeline to millions is unforgivable, he feels. “Why is it then that when it comes to the doling out funds, everyone stands in queue for the money,” he asks.For someone who doesn’t believe in collecting crowds and shouting slogans to attract attention to his cause, Jain has triumphed often. He has been instrumental in getting the ban on plastic bags in place. Thanks to him, the DDA has had to revise a zonal plan for 2006 for theYamuna and formulate a new one which disallows concretisation of areas near the river and gives the the go-ahead to green activities. A court order following Jain’s PIL on delinking of sewerage from storm-water drains was also accepted by the Delhi government. A law was also passed disallowing disposal of flowers and other material for puja into the river, “though nobody has been challaned till now”, rues Jain. Such issues have been duly highlighted by the media and pressure has been built on government authorities to come up with solutions — “one of them being the laying of sewer lines in 189 rural villages,” says Jain.What is interesting, he adds, is that during some of his ‘save Yamuna’ awareness programmes, a lot of young people and schoolchildren have come up to him to ask how they can contribute to the revival of the river. The answers to their questions might well be with Vimlendu Jha, 30, founder and executive director of NGO ‘Swechha – We for change’, which educates people about the condition of the Yamuna. Young Jha is at the moment busy with a new programme, optimistically titled ‘Influence’. It provides an opportunity to young people to do volunteer work for the environment, including the river Yamuna. So far, says Jha, “we have got 350 volunteers from different parts of Delhi and we will place them in various NGOs for experience in conservation and welfare work”. “I had wanted to start a chai shop,” he laughs. “I got into conservation work more by accident. He started Swechha (then taglined ‘We for Yamuna’) in 2000 “for my personal love for the river. And when the movement began we had lots of people joining us,” he says. Should money be the motivating factor for someone wanting to become a conservationist?“Look at me,” says Jha, “I’m not dying of poverty, I can take care of myself. You don’t have to be a billionaire to be a happy person. One does not have to wear khadi and hawai chappals to be a river conservationist. You can wear Levis and flaunt a Blackberry. It depends on how socially responsible you are – so you can be a doctor or an engineering dude and at the same time do something for the revival of the river.” For Jain, money doesn’t matter, dreams do. “The river is effectively dead, there is no aquatic life in it. I hope things improve and one day we see people going for walks by the riverside.”And we all live on in hope.
What’s it about?You can work for the conservation of our rivers in various ways. An NGO worker creates awareness among the public or pressurise the government and related authorities to improve the state of polluted rivers. A water engineer specialises in water treatment at waste-treatment plants. A hydrologist studies the movement, distribution and quality of water. You also have to study watershed management and thus can get involved in identifying sources of the pollution that is reaching the river. Environmental engineers are involved in water- and air-pollution control, recycling, waste disposal, and public health issues. One can also study environmental law to tackle the legal issues connected to river-water pollution
Clock WorkThis is what a day in the life of Vinod K Jain could look like?8 am: Read morning papers, do some gardening.9 am: Have breakfast before attending to business matters11 am: Go to court and attend legal proceedings in connection with a PIL filed for river pollution5 pm: Attend to business matters, do some designing for a jewellery collection8 pm: Give time and attention to environmental issues one has taken up9 pm: Talk to the media, friends

High Court disposes IA on ArcelorMittal
Bangalore, June 1, DHNS:
The High Court has disposed off an application in connection with the land allotment to steel giant ArcelorMittal.

Hearing an interlocutory application by the petitioner Arun Agrawal, who had moved the High Court in connection with a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the High Court has disposed the matter following the State Government’s submission that there is no MoU at present with any of 88 companies which have expressed interest to invest in the State.Earlier, Agrawal in his PIL had challenged the State Government’s decision to allocate over 4,000 acres of land in the state to set up a steel plant with a dedicated mine.The High Court bench headed by Justice V G Sabhahit on April 6 had termed the petition as premature and granted the petitioner the liberty to approach the court in case of any notification. The petitioner in his IA mentioned about the notification and sought directions against the notification. He pointed out that ArcelorMittal have deposited a sum of Rs 260 crore with the state government. MoU not signedMentioning that the iron belonged to the people of Karnataka, the petitioner had claimed that the State Government had no right to allocate the precious mineral at a meagre price.The State Government submitted that there were only in principle agreement and there were no MoU signed with any company. They also submitted that all agreements would conform to the rules of Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957. About Arcelor, the state’s counsel submitted that the company had advanced technology and could extract iron with 47-48% of Ferrous content. The main petition will be heard on July 13.

Lawyer leaves wedding midway to defend clients
TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 05.06am IST

AHMEDABAD: Little did Ejaz Qureshi, 26, know that the biggest day of his life would see a death sentence. The advocate defending five of the six persons convicted in the Akshardham terror attack case, had been fighting for an early decision ever since his clients moved the Gujarat high court. And it had to come on his wedding day! For two years after the high court heard the case, nothing had moved. Finally when the high court chose June 1 to pronounce its judgement, Ejaz was getting married. He hurried to the court room early on Tuesday morning, put on his black coat and cloak, obviously not very prepared for the session. When the judgement was pronounced, he quickly interpreted it for the relatives of the convicts waiting outside the courtroom, consoled them, attended questions by mediapersons and then rushed for his wedding reception at Paldi. “I had not expected the order to come on this day and that too when the high court is on vacation. I would have married earlier, had I known this to happen on my wedding day,” he said chuckling, as he rushed to say ‘kubool hai’ to his bride.

HC upholds death for three in Akshardham terror attack
TNN, Jun 2, 2010, 03.52am IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday upheld the special Pota court’s verdict and confirmed death sentence for three of the six convicts in the Akshardham temple terror attack, Gujarat’s first major terror attack to avenge the post-Godhra riots. A division bench of Justice RM Doshit and Justice KM Thaker confirmed gallows for Chand Khan alias Shaan Miya from Bareilly, Adam Ajmeri and Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri from Dariapur area in Ahmedabad for conspiring and providing logistics to the terrorists that stormed the temple on September 24, 2002, killing 34 and injuring 81. The HC also confirmed life imprisonment of Mohammed Salim Shaikh, 10-year jail term for Abdullamiya Qadri and five-year term for Altaf Hussain Malek. Two fidayeens, identified as Murtuza Hafiz Yasin and Ashrafali Mohammed Farooq, members of Tehriq-e-Qasas, a wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba, opened fire in the temple that evening with AK-56 rifles and hand grenades. They were killed in a night-long battle by the National Security Guards (NSG). A note from the Tehriq was found on the gunmen which said the attack was a “gift to L K Advani and Narendra Modi for the killings of Muslims in Gujarat”. It exhorted other Muslims to take up arms and avenge the 2002 Gujarat riots. The HC upheld the Pota court’s conviction order of July 1, 2006, on basis of the confessions under section 32 of the now repealed terror act, of all accused except Qadri. The bench observed, “Some foreign nationals, presumably religious fanatics and members of the terrorist groups, out of hatred for Hindus, decided to commit crime against the Hindus in Gujarat and accomplished their ill-will without any loss to themselves. These foreign nationals utilized Indian nationals and their hard earned money to accomplish their cherished dream of massacre of the Hindus — the men, women and children of all ages and an unborn child, too. This could have been avoided had the community leaders been vigilant. Instead of fuelling the hatred, they could have utilized their authority to pacify the people and to douse the sense of hatred.” The order was delivered in the open court where the media was barred. The judges said, “Not only that those innocents and their family members are the victims but the accused before the court, too, are the victims of the same crime as they are going to lose their life to the gallows or in jail. Their families will have to suffer for rest of their lives. We only wish that these young people who are easily lured into committing the crime in the name of religion are also made aware of the consequences that may befall upon them and their families. Their energy and idiosyncrasies could be diverted for constructive work for betterment of themselves and the society.”

HC asks telcos to submit account books to CAG
2 Jun 2010, 0109 hrs IST,PTI
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday asked telecom companies to submit their account books to the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG). CAG had been asked by the Centre to check under-reporting of revenue for calculating the licence fee. A division bench comprising Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Valmiki Mehta directed telcos to provide details of their revenue sharing to CAG. “We direct that without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the parties, the petitioners (telcos) will make available the revenue sharing details/documents to the CAG for auditing,” the bench said in an order. Over the telcos plea that they are private industry players and do not fall under the domain of the CAG, the court said, “in our considered view, prima facie the interest of the government is the revenue generated under the licence agreement.” The court, however, also said the CAG will not ask for any further document except the details relating to revenue sharing. “No further material would be asked from petitioners except those concerning the revenue sharing arrangements,” the court said. The court further directed the CAG not to disclose information given by telcos to the public domain or to any third-party. “Since this information is being directed to be disclosed without prejudice to the rights and contentions of the petitioners, the said information shall not fall into the public domain and will not be disclosed to any third party,” the court said. The court, however, admitted the petition filed by the GSM lobby Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and CDMA lobby, Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUSPI) and issued notices to the department of telecom and sectoral regulator, Trai. The COAI and AUSPI had challenged the recent CAG direction to the telcos to submit their revenue sharing details for auditing. Earlier on May 20, telecom tribunal TDSAT had also declined a similiar request from Bharti Airtel and Vodafone to stay the CAG audit.

Gujarat HC upholds POTA court’s verdict, death penalty to three
Express News Service
Posted: Wed Jun 02 2010, 03:45 hrs Ahmedabad:
The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday upheld the Special POTA court’s verdict handing down death sentences to three out of the six accused in the 2002 terror attack on Akshardham Temple that left 33 people dead.
The Division Bench of justices R M Doshit and K M Thaker pronounced the judgment without enhancing or remitting the punishment awarded to the six accused by the Special POTA court. The verdict has come two years after all arguments were rested in the case.
The HC confirmed the death sentences of Shan Miyan alias Chand Khan from Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh, and Adam Ajmeri and Mufti Abdul Qayyum Mansuri from Ahmedabad.
The other three who have been slapped with sentences are Mohammed Salim Shaikh, Abdul Miyan Qadr·both residents of Ahmedabad’s Dariapur area· and Shahpur resident Altaf Hussain Malek.
On July 1, 2006, Designated POTA Judge Sonia Gokani had sentenced Mohammed Salim Shaikh to life imprisonment, while Abdul Miya Qadri and Altaf Hussain Malek were handed down 10-year and five-year sentences respectively. Following the judgment by the Special POTA Court, the six accused had filed an appeal in the HC against their conviction. The state government had, at the same time, approached the HC to get the mandatory confirmation of death penalty awarded to the three accused.
Since April 25, 2008, the judgment was kept reserved by the Division Bench. In November last year, the convicts had also moved a petition praying pronouncement of the judgment.
Special public prosecutor J M Panchal and additional public prosecutors Umesh Trivedi and K J Panchal had appeared before the HC on behalf of the state government. Panchal told mediapersons after the verdict that the court took serious note of the fact that the accused, despite fully knowing the gravity of their acts, had provided logistical support and aid to the terrorists to carry out the bloody attack.
He also said that the court has accepted the confessional statements of five of the accused under the provisions of POTA and corroborative evidence put forward by the prosecution.
Panchal said that in its judgment, the HC has considered the fact that the convicts are Indian citizens. “However, the court also did not ignore the fact that the convicts participated in anti-national activity with full knowledge of its consequences.”
On September 24, 2002, two armed Pakistani militants belonging to the Laskhar-e-Toiba (LeT), stormed the Akshardham Temple, which is run by the Akshar Purshottam Swaminarayan Sansthan. They lobbed grenades and opened indiscriminate fire on devotees in the temple premises.
Twenty-nine visitors, two National Security Guard (NSG) commandos and two state commandos were killed and 81 people injured in the attack. NSG commandos, after a nightlong gun battle, killed the terrorists, identified as Murtuza Hafiz Yasin (code name Doctor 2) and Ashrafali Mohammed Farooq (Doctor 3). The militants were connected to Tehreeq-e-Qasas, a wing of the LeT. There were 34 accused (including the two militants who were killed) in the case, of whom the police arrested only six. The main accused, Abu Hamza, is still absconding.
The then Assistant Commissioner of Police G L Singhal, now posted as Superintendent of Police at Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad, had investigated the case.
Media shunted out of courtroomThe media was kept out from the courtroom during the verdict pronouncement on Tuesday even though it was admitted in the courtroom during the hearing earlier. Court officials ordered mediapersons sitting inside the courtroom to move out, saying they had orders from the court. It maybe mentioned that the special POTA court had also allowed the media inside the courtroom during the pronouncement of verdict in July 2006. The trial then was held inside the high-security Sabarmati Central Jail in Ahmedabad.

Vishal to move HC for relief from asset sale order
Mumbai, Jun 2 (PTI) Buoyed by robust sales in the last two months, Vishal Retail today said that it is planning to approach the Delhi High Court to seek relief from an order restricting it from selling any of its assets over the next six months.Vishal Retail is eyeing sales to the tune of Rs 1,800 crore this fiscal.On a petition filed by Vishal’s Singapore-based creditor DBS Bank, the High Court had, on May 11, passed an interim order barring the cash-strapped company from selling any of its assets before November 25.Vishal, which had already received approval from the lenders for a possible takeover by PE firm TPG Capital, is is yet to clear dues of DBS Bank, amounting to Rs 40 crore.”We will move the HC this month with our plea. We are quite hopeful that the judgement will be in our favour.

Institute red-faced as HC won’t ban IIT topper’s book
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: Jun 02, 2010 at 0027 hrs IST
New delhi Faridabad boy Nitin Jain, who topped IIT-JEE exam in 2009 and also bagged the top position in the All India Engineering/Architecture Entrance Examination (AIEEE) that year, has won another bout. The Delhi High Court has dismissed a petition by FIITJEE, the coaching institute where he prepared for the exams, seeking an interim restraint order against publication and distribution of The Secret of My Success, a book penned by Nitin, who now studies at IIT-Delhi’s Computer department.
While the 252-page book, which hit the bookstores last month, elaborates the efforts made by 18-year-old Nitin along with his tributes to those who contributed to his success, the coaching institute was aggrieved that certain portions of the book were “defamatory, offensive and fallacious”. FIITJEE also moved the court seeking a permanent injunction against the publication of the book and also a declaration that the remarks against it were unjustified. It also sought a directive from the court to remove all such statements made by Nitin and his father N C Jain in the book.
But after a Single Judge refused to entertain the plea, FIITJEE challenged it before the Division Bench of Justices Vikramjit Sen and A K Pathak, which also refused to stay the publication or distribution of the book. “All these facts are within the personal knowledge of the author and his parents. In case the appellant disputes the same it has to prove to the contrary, for which it has to lead evidence discrediting the version of the author and his parents,” the Bench held. On Wednesday, the High Court will take up the main case regarding the permanent injunction.
In the book, Nitin has denied writing any ‘letter of appreciation’ crediting his triumph to FIITJEE and its faculty. While the letter was part of several of the institute’s advertisements and brochures after Nitin’s success, the book claimed he was “subtly pressurised” and “cajoled” into writing the letter and most of it was not true.
FIITJEE, however, claimed Nitin and his parents had given several interviews saying the institute’s role in his success was most important. FIITJEE also took offence to a statement by Nitin’s father that the institute made them make several rounds for disbursing the monetary award to the topper of their ‘Talent Reward Exam’. Moreover, the book says Nitin got just Rs 75,000 instead of the Rs 1 lakh declared.
N C Jain said the order has armed him with another reason to fight for the cause of students, who are looking to emulate his son. “The main case is listed for tomorrow and I am going to stick to all the statements made in the book, for they are absolutely true,” said Jain, adding that Nitin did not know about the legal issues as he was occupied with his second semester exam.
Despite repeated attempts, FIITJEE could not be contacted.

HC slams Punjab Police for ‘trafficking’ minor girl
Express News Service
Posted: Wed Jun 02 2010, 05:38 hrs Chandigarh:
The police had handed over the abducted girl to the father of the accused and forced her parents to settle the matter
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday came down heavily on the Punjab Police for colluding with a self-styled spiritual leader whose son had abducted a minor girl and forcing the girl’s parents to enter into a compromise.
Justice Ajay Tewari slammed the police for “handing over the girl to the father of the abductor, Baba Jeevan Shah, a resident of Hoshiarpur, rather than giving the custody of the girl to her parents”. The police had forced the father of the girl, Dev Raj, to write in the compromise letter that after the girl turns an adult, she will be married to the abductor Raj Kumar.
“I am shocked. This is extremely unfortunate. What kind of police officers are these? They are trafficking girls. Why was the minor girl not sent to the Nari Niketan?”, Justice Tewari asked.
Interestingly, the girl who was present in the court refused to return to her parents. “Woh mujhe maarte hain, main nahin jaoongi (They beat me, I do not want to return to my parents),” said Ranta. She claimed she was married to Raj Kumar. However, the court held that there was no proof to substantiate the statement.
The judge also had some harsh word for the girl and her to return to her parents.
The court also came down heavily on Sub-Inspector Tirath Ram who was posted at Hoshiarpur. The father of the girl in his petition had alleged that Ram, in connivance with Baba Jeevan Shah, forced him to sign the agreement.
The court has given a week’s time to the Punjab law officer to look into the matter. Till then the girl will remain with her parents.

HC upholds driving licence through post
Express News Service
First Published : 02 Jun 2010 05:46:47 AM IST
Last Updated : 02 Jun 2010 09:03:16 AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court upheld the state government’s order on issuing driving licence (DL) to applicants on Tuesday.
While dismissing the writ petition filed by Janath Driving School and others, Justice Ananda Byrareddy upheld the government order, issued on February 2010 directing all the Regional Transport Officers (RTO) not to issue DLs directly to the applicant or the driving schools.
The government in the circular had directed the RTOs to send DLs to applicants through speed post and not issue them directly.
Earlier, the petitioner had contended that the government’s order was against the Motor Vehicle Act, while the government had contended that the circular issued does not violate any act.
HC summons home secretary
The High Court has directed the home secretary to appear before the court on a petition challenging the registration of a case.
While hearing the petition filed by Hulikal Nataraj, Justice Rammohan Reddy directed the home secretary to appear before the court on June 4.
The petitioner’s counsel had argued that the petitioner was involved in exposing a racket involving evil beliefs and purported miracles but the police had registered a case against him at Madikeri and without any summons, the lower court had also issued a non-bailable warrant against him.
Notice to BBMP Commissioner
The High Court has issued contempt notice to Bharat Lal Meena, Commissioner of BBMP, Subeer Hari Singh, Principal Secretary of UDD, Tushar Girinath, Managing Director of Bescom and Uttam Chand Bhandari, President of Lord Adinath Jain Swethambar temple trust for violating the court order by demolishing the temple at Chikpet cross in Bangalore.
While hearing the petition filed, the division bench headed by Justice VG Sabhahith issued the notices.
Meanwhile, the petitioner alleged that the authorities had demolished the temple, which was considered as the monument in the city, despite the court issuing a stay order against the demolition of the temple.

HC upholds life term to man for killing girlfriend
New Delhi, Jun 1 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has upheld the life imprisonment of a man who killed his girlfriend after suspecting her of falling in love with her employer.A Division Bench of Justices A K Sikri and Ajit Bharihoke accepted the dying declaration of the girl and rejected the convict’s argument that it was taken without following the rules laid down by the Supreme Court.The court upheld the sentence awarded to convict Abhishek Sharma by the trial court.According to the prosecution, Sharma and the deceased girl were working together in a call centre in Saraswati Vihar. On the night of September 20, 2007 both of them left in Sharma’s car for home.The Police PCR van found the girl in flames near the Queens Marry School in Model Town and she was rushed to the LNJP Hospital where she succumbed to burn injuries.

In public interest
The strong views of the new CJI, Justice S.H. Kapadia, on frivolous public interest litigation sharpen divisions within the judiciary and outside it.
Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia, the senior-most judge in the Supreme Court, succeeded Justice K.G. Balakrishnan as the 38th Chief Justice of India (CJI) on May 12. Justice Kapadia, who will be the first CJI born after Independence, will have a tenure of two years and four months, as Supreme Court judges retire at the age of 65. He is known within the legal fraternity as a tough judge, and his appointment has aroused high expectations.
Justice Krishna Iyer, a former Supreme Court judge, hailed Justice Kapadia’s appointment. He said it filled him with hope “that we are on the verge of an era of constitutional justice”. In a letter to him, Krishna Iyer said: “India is a poor country and poverty jurisprudence and social justice must receive high priority.” In his reply, Justice Kapadia spoke about his humble origins, how he started his career as a Class IV employee and went on to state that his only asset was his integrity.
Expressing his resolve to fulfil his obligation to the Constitution in the matter of achieving the goal of inclusive growth, Justice Kapadia 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….”
However, the CJI’s views on public interest litigation (PIL) have caused disquiet among those who consider it an effective method to achieve social justice. He said on his first day in office, while hearing a PIL as part of a three-judge Bench: “Huge cost will be imposed for filing frivolous PILs.”
On May 15, while hearing another petition, he said: “PIL petitioners have been moving the courts straightaway without even bringing the problem to the notice of the authorities. And the courts have been entertaining these PILs, virtually taking over the function of the authorities. We will not allow such bypassing of the authorities to take place any more.” In this case, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) had sought the implementation of road safety measures by the Andhra Pradesh government. The CJI sought to know whether the NGO had issued notice to the authorities concerned before approaching the Supreme Court.
Some may wonder whether the executive has to be reminded about its duty to implement road safety measures and whether such a reminder serves any purpose. The CJI’s views could trigger a debate on the PIL and whether it should be the last option. The general perception is that waiting for the executive to show sensitivity to a grievance would mean letting it aggravate.
It will be of interest to examine the CJI’s views on PILs in the light of the Supreme Court’s judgment in the Balwant Singh Chaufal case, delivered on January 18. In this case, the High Court had directed the Uttarakhand government to decide whether the appointment of a person who was more than 62 years old as Advocate General of the State was valid or not. The law on this issue is settled: there is no upper age limit for a person to be appointed to the post.
The Supreme Court allowed the appeal and said: “The State of Uttarakhand was a part of the State of U.P. [Uttar Pradesh] a few years ago. In the State of U.P., a large number of Advocate Generals appointed were beyond 62 years of age at the time of their appointment. The petitioner, a local practising lawyer, ought to have bestowed some care before filing this writ petition in public interest under Article 226 of the Constitution…. In our considered view, it is a clear case of the abuse of process of court in the name of the public interest litigation. …The petitioner ought to have known that the controversy which he has been raising in the petition stands concluded half a century ago and by a Division Bench judgment of the Nagpur High Court and was approved by a Constitution Bench of this court.” The Supreme Court imposed an exemplary cost of Rs.1 lakh on the respondents for filing the frivolous PIL before the High Court.
The Bench then traced the evolution of the PIL in India. In the first phase of its evolution, the court tried to preserve and protect the fundamental rights of the marginalised and the deprived and poor sections of society by relaxing the traditional rule of locus standi and broadening the definition of aggrieved persons. The Supreme Court and High Courts earned great respect and acquired great credibility in the eyes of the public because of their innovative efforts to protect and preserve the fundamental rights of people belonging to the poor and marginalised sections.
The second phase began sometime in the 1980s and was marked by innovation and creativity of the courts, where directions were given to protect the environment.
Unfortunately, of late, it was increasingly felt that the method was being abused blatantly to file petitions with oblique motives. “We think time has come when genuine and bona fide public interest litigation must be encouraged, whereas frivolous public interest litigation should be discouraged,” the court said and laid down guidelines for High Courts on PILs. The Supreme Court directed all High Courts to frame and notify their rules in this regard.
The Supreme Court is monitoring the implementation of its directives, and the case came up for hearing on May 3 before the Bench of Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra. The Bench found that some High Courts had responded and others sought time to do so before the next hearing on July 19.
In its January 18 judgment, the Supreme Court Bench, comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Mukundakam Sharma, laid down the following guidelines to be followed while admitting PILs:
The courts should prima facie verify the credentials of the petitioner before entertaining a PIL;
prima facie be satisfied about the correctness of the contents of the petition;
be satisfied that substantial public interest is involved;
ensure that the petition that involves larger public interest, gravity and urgency is given priority;
before entertaining a PIL, ensure that it is aimed at the redress of genuine public harm or public injury;
ensure that there is no personal gain, private motive or oblique motive behind filing the PIL; and, finally,
ensure that petitions filed by busybodies for extraneous and ulterior motives are discouraged by imposing exemplary costs or by adopting similar novel methods.
Some observers have suggested that the judgment is silent on the need for such uniformity in the Supreme Court in entertaining PILs. Further, such a guideline can be seen as judicial legislation being implemented in a sphere where there is no law. In a system where there is a clear separation of powers, the sphere of legislation should be left to the legislature,
They wonder whether it would be feasible to verify the credentials of petitioners, considering the volume of litigation in India. Regarding the guideline that the court should prima facie satisfy itself as to the correctness of a petition, it is pointed out that every petition is supported by an affidavit of the petitioner. In case a false statement is made therein, he or she is liable to be prosecuted for the offence of perjury.
The guideline that the court should be satisfied that substantial public interest is involved has also led to some concern. In most cases, this can be done only when the court hears the parties on merits. Imposition of exemplary costs on frivolous petitioners too, observers say, can only be done after the court hears the parties. In the Balwant Singh Chaufal case, the petition might well have been a frivolous one. The High Court did not find it so and the Supreme Court decided it to be so only after hearing the parties concerned. If High Courts are to filter PILs according to their discretionary standards of frivolity, it would start a disturbing trend and undo some of the achievements of the PIL movement.
Conflicting tendencies
To many, the CJI’s view conceals the fact that there are two conflicting tendencies among Supreme Court judges on the question of PILs. In University of Kerala vs Council of Principals of Colleges, Kerala, decided on November 11, 2009, reported at (2010)1 SCC 353, Justice Markandey Katju and Justice A.K. Ganguly have referred the question of judicial legislation by courts in PILs to a larger Bench. The questions referred to that Bench are
1. Whether the court by an interim order dated September 22, 2006, can validly direct implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee’s Report (on holding of student union elections in colleges and universities);
2. Whether the order dated September 22, 2006, really amounts to judicial legislation;
3. Whether under the Constitution the judiciary can legislate, and, if so, what is the permissible limits of judicial legislation. Will judicial legislation not violate the principle of separation of powers broadly envisaged by the Constitution;
4. Whether the judiciary can legislate when in its opinion there is a pressing social problem of public interest or only make a recommendation to the legislature or concerned authority in this connection;
5. Whether Article 19(1)(c) and other fundamental rights are being violated when restrictions are being placed by the implementation of the Lyngdoh Committee report without authority of law; and
6. What is the scope of Articles 141 and 142 of the Constitution? Do they permit the judiciary to legislate and/or perform functions of the executive wing of the state?
The CJI is yet to constitute a Constitution Bench to consider these questions. However, the divisions within the Supreme Court on the question of PILs are becoming sharper, with some judges openly advocating restraint and others articulating a nuanced approach to the admissibility of PILs on the basis of guidelines that are debatable.
But there are certain public interest petitions that do not require lengthy hearing to decide whether they are frivolous. On May 5, a PIL petitioner sought the Supreme Court’s direction to introduce the text of the Constitution in primary classes. He argued that the Constitution should be learnt as quickly as possible as it was the foundation of all laws in the country. Another petitioner wanted the court to direct the Union to repeal laws, including the Indian Penal Code, which the colonial British wrote for the country as, in his view, only those laws passed by Parliament should continue. Another petitioner wanted total abolition of paper currency. No doubt these deserved to be dismissed, and indeed were rejected, at the entry stage.
Former Supreme Court Judge Justice P.B. Sawant once said a judge should develop a strong sense of smell. If something stinks, then he must be extra careful. It is the right judicial instinct and the skill of the judiciary that will stop the misuse of PILs and restore to them their pristine and useful character. Any amount of guidelines, laws and rules in this regard can only lead to suspicions regarding the judiciary’s real intent with regard to PILs.

Panel clears Balakrishnan as next NHRC chief
Express news service
Posted: Wed Jun 02 2010, 23:31 hrs New Delhi:
Decks were cleared on Tuesday for appointment of former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan as Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
According to sources, the decision to appoint Balakrishnan, who retired on May 12, was taken at a meeting of the committee headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh here on Tuesday. The committee includes Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar, Home Minister P Chidambaram, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Arun Jaitley and Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman K Rahman Khan.
Balakrishnan will have a tenure of five years or till he reaches the age of 70 years, whichever is earlier.
According to sources, some members present in meeting also raised the issue of the need to amend the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993 to ensure that the post of chairperson doesn’t remain vacant for long due to paucity of eligible candidates. Under the present Act, only a person who has been CJI and is below 70 years of age is eligible. The post has been lying vacant since May 2009 after the retirement of Justice Rajendra Babu.
Responding to a PIL in the Supreme Court, the government said though the two former CJIs, R C Lahoti and Y K Sabharwal, were eligible, they couldn’t be appointed as they were either not inclined or not found suitable.
At one stage, the Centre was even considering amendment to the Act to allow retired judges of the Supreme Court to be considered and appointed to the post. However, the move was shelved at the planning stage itself.

Bikers come up with 16 points for JJ flyover
Nitasha Natu, TNN, Jun 1, 2010, 01.39am IST

MUMBAI: Unhappy with the ban on two-wheelers on the JJ flyover, motorcyclists have submitted a letter to the traffic police with a 16-point suggestion list. Earlier, the bikers’ association had filed a PIL in the Bombay high court, challenging the ban, but the it was dismissed. However, the court had said in its order that the issues raised by the association deserved to be considered. “The court order says that if concrete suggestions are made to the authorities, they can consider the recommendations and take a decision on the issue,’’ advocate Mubin Solkar, who represented the bikers in court, told TOI. “What we mainly want is that two-wheelers should not be completely prohibited from using the JJ flyover; the ban can be enforced only at night. Since the flyover has been closed to bikers, they have been using Mohammed Ali Road that runs below the bridge. But this stretch will be crowded with devotees during Ramzan and other festivals and it would become difficult for motorcyclists to take that route.’’ Among the suggestions made by the bikers’ association is the need for installing safety devices, like cat’s eyes and high-powered reflectors on the flyover. Signs should also be put up at dangerous turns, particularly near Mandvi post office, to warn motorists of risks involved in speeding. “The existing signboards can hardly be noticed. They need to be larger in size and lit up with neon lights or high-reflecting paint and placed at strategic points,’’ Solkar said. “Speed arrestors should be placed in a zig-zag postion so that motorists would not be able to dodge the device in any way and would be compelled to reduce the speed. Closed-circuit cameras, which can capture the numberplates of every vehicle, should also be installed. Later after going through the CCTV grabs, the police can penalise the offenders,’’ Solkar added. The bikers’ association has also suggested that separate lanes be demarcated for two- and four-wheelers on the flyover to avoid collision and sudden lane-cutting by either of them. A four-feet divider should be constructed between two lanes of the flyover so that speeding vehicles cannot drive into the flank of the bridge, ramming into vehicles coming from the opposite directions. “Instead of deploying traffic cops on the two ends of the flyover to enforce the ban on motorcycles, they should be posted at the dangerous spot near Mandvi post office,’’ the list stated. DCP (traffic) Nandkumar Chaugule said they had already written to the MSRDC about the safety devices that needed to be installed. “Most accidents took place during the day, so enforcing the bike-ban only at night is pointless,’’ he added.

Food or drink?
The Maharashtra government’s scheme to subsidise production of alcohol from foodgrains attracts strong criticism.
On January 7, a Division Bench of the Bombay High Court consisting of Acting Chief Justice J.N. Patel and Justice B.R. Gawai asked the representative of the Government of Maharashtra: “Do you have so many funds as to spend on these people [the distillery owners]? What is an essential commodity for you – liquor or foodgrains?” With this rhetorical question, the judges stayed the disbursement of funds, almost Rs.50 crore each to the 23 distilleries licensed to make alcohol from coarse cereals under a 2007 scheme called “Foodgrain-based Liquid and Integrated Material Financial Aid”.
The judges provided temporary relief to the petitioners, the Bhimshakti Vichar Manch, a non-governmental organisation from Aurangabad, and Chetan Kamble, a social activist, who had filed a petition under public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the scheme. But their triumph was short-lived. Two months later, the court dismissed their petition saying the judiciary did not have the jurisdiction to interfere in a policy decision. The State government is now free to disburse Rs.50 crore to each of the 23 licensed distilleries.
Business of subsidies
The background to these developments goes back to June 8, 2007, when Vilasrao Deshmukh was the Chief Minister. A government resolution announced aid for alcohol production from foodgrains such as wheat, rice, jowar and bajra. The alcohol produced was to be potable. Under the scheme, a subsidy of Rs.10 was to be granted to manufacturers for each litre of alcohol produced from foodgrains. This would be in the form of a rebate on excise duty payable by the distillery owner.
A total of 32 factories were to be granted permission to manufacture liquor under this scheme. Four factories were already functioning. So, a total of 36 factories were ultimately to be producing liquor from grain.
There was no dearth of takers for the scheme, and by January this year 23 licences were issued. The total alcohol production capacity from the 23 distilleries would be 10.85 lakh litres a day or about 25 crore litres a year. This is a significant quantity considering that the State’s 2008-09 output of spirit, both industrial and potable, was 36 crore litres. And the business of making spirit becomes more profitable when subsidies are available. If the distilleries are set up in the notified backward ‘D’ zones such as Marathwada and Vidarbha, they are offered capital reimbursement of up to 150 per cent or Rs.37.50 crore (whichever is less). And if they are in the even more backward ‘D+’ zone, this increases to 200 per cent or Rs.50 crore (whichever is less).
“Clearly, the government wanted a rush of investment and they achieved it,” said Krishna Khopkar, State vice president of the All India Kisan Sabha. “Political leaders have benefitted the most from this scheme. The entire exercise is designed to promote the younger generation of politicians…. It is an opportunity to make money swiftly.” Kamble too had noted in his PIL petition that it was the wealthy who derived the maximum benefit from this scheme.
State’s stand
The government claims that the alcohol industry needs subsidies because the capital expenditure involved is relatively high. However, its assertion that the scheme will help farmers who lacked irrigation facilities and grew only rain-fed crops such as jowar has been challenged by the Opposition. In the 2009 winter session of the State Assembly, the Shiv Sena said the scheme would lead to a scarcity of foodgrains and rise in food prices.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan defended the scheme but said new projects would be suspended. He said, “Many people have invested crores of rupees and it is difficult to scrap the scheme at this stage. However, since Maharashtra is facing a major foodgrain crunch, we are going to suspend all new projects of making alcohol from foodgrains.” This was the only time that the government agreed with the argument presented in the PIL petition, which said: “The foodgrain that is used to make alcohol can be used to feed the poor. Maharashtra has a scarcity of essential foodgrains and is compelled to import from foreign countries.”
Debunking the scheme as an “eyewash”, Khopkar said: “Coarse foodgrains are usually in short supply in the market. More than 40 per cent of them come to the market almost immediately after harvest because farmers are desperate for money. This desperation makes it easy for middlemen to purchase for less than the mandatory Rs.10 a kilogram. Grain is usually purchased at Rs.8 a kilo. And it is purchased mainly by the factory agents.”
The State government’s stand on food security has seen a series of flip-flops. In February, while replying to the petition, it asserted that there would be no threat to food security if jowar was used to produce alcohol. An affidavit filed by Prakash Gaud, Joint Secretary, Home Department, said: “Under the Public Distribution System (PDS), jowar has not been distributed from January 2006 to December 2009. Therefore, there was no threat to food security in using jowar as raw material for production of alcohol.” The affidavit also claimed that “jowar is not the primary staple in Maharashtra”.
Khopkar pointed out that the scheme was launched with a view to pick up spoiled grain for the production of industrial alcohol. This was meant to help farmers if their grain went bad but what has happened is something else.
“The soiled or rotten grain is collected by PDS agents, who sell the good grain with them to distillery agents and the bad grain through the PDS. Thus needy people in the PDS system get bad grain to eat, while the good grain goes into the making of alcohol,” he said.
When faced with criticism about the ethics of growing a cheap, nutritious cereal for alcohol production, the State government justified the project by saying that it fetched better prices for farmers. Quoting the economist Sulabha Brahme, Khopkar said the amount of money made from jowar-based alcohol was 11 times more than what was paid to the farmer. At the same time, it argued, the subsidy offset the greater costs involved in producing alcohol from grain rather than from molasses.
Critics allege that the profits the distilleries made are disproportionate to any advantage that the farmer might get from diverting his produce for non-food use. In reality, the scheme protects distilleries from the volatility in the prices of molasses. But similar safety nets are not available for the farmer who will continue to fall prey to the wiles of market intermediaries since the distilleries source grain not directly from them but through agents. Neither is there a minimum procurement price prescribed to protect the farmer. Thus, the subsidies are trade-distorting and divert grain that would have been consumed by people – especially the poor – or used as animal feed.
Gaud’s affidavit underlined the main intention of the scheme. It stated: “There was a surge of 80 per cent in the demand for industrial alcohol in recent years over the average consumption of 20-22 crore litres per annum. During the last two years, the requirement of alcohol, both for potable as well as for industrial use, had gone up substantially…. Combined expected future requirement for industrial and potable sectors was projected at around 60 crore litres.”
The affidavit stated that the worldwide trend was to use foodgrains for liquor production. It pointed out that molasses, preferred until now for the production of alcohol, had been replaced by coarse cereals. The switch is a convenient one. When the cultivation of sugarcane was criticised as a criminal waste of water and land, all objections were brushed aside by the cane lobby. Gaud’s affidavit states that bringing more areas under sugarcane cultivation was not a “realistic or feasible option” and that the processes involved in producing molasses are polluting. The government had chosen to ignore these facts earlier. Why? Because at that time the production of alcohol from coarse cereals was a cottage industry and its huge commercial value had not been discovered. The fact is also that molasses have now been diverted to the making of industrial ethanol. For investors, coarse cereals are the new sugarcane since they are cheaper to grow, are not water-intensive, and can be cultivated widely.
Given the gap between demand and availability, it is not clear where the raw material will come from. As per current indications, the 36 factories would require a total of 70 lakh tonnes of foodgrains to produce around 15 lakh tonnes of liquor. Over the past 10 years, the production of jowar has been falling. In 1996-97, 56.92 lakh hectares of land was under jowar. By 2003-04, this fell to 45.43 lakh ha. According to Economic Survey of Maharashtra 2008-09, “during the year 2008-09, the area under foodgrains reduced by 20 per cent, resulting in reduction of crop production by 31 per cent in total kharif foodgrains production. This fall was mainly in kharif jowar, bajra and all pulses.”
Khopkar says that in the past 25 years, the State government has relaxed restrictions on prohibition with a view to amassing revenue from excise. First came the wineries, under Nationalist Congress Party president Sharad Pawar’s initiative; then came the sugar factory distilleries; and now the coarse grain alcohol project. And all this, he says, “is done in the name of helping the poor”.

Rathore bail petition plea deferred till Wednesday
2010-06-01 17:50:00
The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday deferred the hearing on former Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) S.P.S. Rathore’s bail petition till Wednesday.
Rathore, who is now lodged in Chandigarh’s Burail jail, had moved the High Court with a review petition, seeking bail on medical grounds.
However, the High Court’s single vacation bench of Justice Ajay Tewari deferred the matter for Wednesday after it was told to him that Ruchika’s family advocate Pankaj Bhardwaj was indisposed.
Earlier, the Chandigarh District and Sessions Court had rejected Rathore’s appeal against his conviction in the Ruchika Girhotra molestation case.
The court had enhanced Rathore’s jail term to 18 months from six months.
His lawyer-wife Abha Rathore pleaded with the judge to hear the case, arguing that her husband was facing severe health problems.
She also initiated a process for a revised petition against the verdict in the court of Justice S.S. Saron, contending that the appellate court had passed the order under media pressure. (ANI)

Vodafone says no tax is payable in $11.1bn Hutchison deal
Press Trust of India, June 1, 2010 (New Delhi)
Disputing the claims of the Income Tax Department, telecom service provider Vodafone on Tuesday said that “no tax is payable” on the $11.1-billion deal with Hutchison in February 2007.”Vodafone remains fully confident that no tax is payable by Hutchison in this transaction and that Vodafone has no liability in any event, and all the taxation and legal advice received continues to be consistent with this view,” Vodafone Group said in a statement.The I-T department, yesterday, said that it has full jurisdiction over taxing Vodafone.”We have jurisdiction over taxing Vodafone…We will send the tax demand to them within few days,” Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) chairman S S N Moorthy had said.Though Moorthy has not mentioned the tax liability of Vodafone, it is estimated to be around $2 billion.”Vodafone will be reviewing the documents in detail. The Supreme Court granted Vodafone the right of appeal to the Bombay High Court if we disagree with the tax authorities determination,” the company said.Vodafone confirmed that it has received an order from the tax department on the preliminary issue of jurisdiction. The dispute concerns Vodafone Group Plc’s acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchison Essar from Hong Kong’s Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd. The I-T department is of the opinion that the transaction is taxable in India.Earlier, Vodafone had also approached the Supreme Court, which had refused to intervene in the tax dispute between the telecom firm and the I-T department and had asked the department to check whether it has the jurisdiction to proceed further in the tax case.Vodafone had paid $11.1 billion for a 67 per cent stake of Hutchison in Hutchison-Essar (since renamed Vodafone Essar) in 2007.The government approved the deal in May, 2007, itself. After regulatory clearances were given, the tax department issued a show-cause notice to Vodafone saying the company did not deduct tax, estimated at around $2 billion.In 2007, Vodafone received a show-cause notice asking it why it had not done this. Following this, the company approached the Bombay High Court.After the high court dismissed Vodafone’s petition challenging the I-T department’s notice, the company moved the Supreme Court in January, 2009.The primary question that Vodafone requested the apex court to answer was whether Indian authorities have the jurisdiction to tax a transaction that occurred outside India between two global players.

Kapadia for review of Delhi High Court move on five new judges
2010-06-01 16:40:00
A Supreme Court panel of judges headed by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia has asked the Delhi High Court’s panel on judicial appointments to review its recent recommendation for appointment of five high court lawyers as judges.
A senior law ministry official told IANS Tuesday that the apex court’s five-judge panel, also known as the collegium, pointed out some inherent problem with the proposal sent by the high court for appointment of the lawyers as judges.
‘To begin with, one of the woman lawyers, Meenakshi Arora, whose name was recommended for appointment had withdrawn her consent for the same,’ said the official.
Asked if she had withdrawn her consent for appointment as a high court judge, Arora, an expert on constitutional law, said: ‘I have.’ She however, did not elaborate on the the reasons for her decision.
Law ministry officials said there were other problems with the appointment proposal as well.
Firstly, the proposal had been sent by the high court’s panel, headed by its former chief Justice A.P. Shah, and that too, shortly before his retirement, said the official.
The new Chief Justice of India wanted the new and present Delhi High Court’s Chief Justice Dipak Misra to approve the proposal, the official said.
The five lawyers associated with the Delhi High Court Bar Association and whose names were recommended for appointment by the high court’s panel headed by former chief justice Shah are: Abhinav Vasisht, Rajiv Virmani, Anusuya Salwan, Meenakshi Arora and Maninder Acharya.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Thursday, June 03, 2010

LEGAL NEWS 01.06.2010

Corruption a common norm in Dewasom Board : HC
Posted on: 01 Jun 2010
Kochi: The Kerala High Court observed that corruption has become a common norm in the Travancore Dewasom Board. There is dispute only in sharing the deal. The higher officials in the board function as they wish. It is the government’s inefficiency that the Dewasom Board is not reorganised, the HC alleged.The HC also felt that an Administrative Reforms Panel should be set up. The board is full of corruption, inefficieny due to political interference. It also said that the state of temples in Kerala can be compared to orphanages.In the present situation political persons cannot be excluded from the board. True and sincere persons should be included in the board. the HC observed.

HC chides Jayakumar
Express News Service
First Published : 01 Jun 2010 04:30:51 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Jun 2010 09:04:32 AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday severely criticised Devaswom Chief Commissioner K Jayakumar for staying the transfer order of Travancore Devaswom Board employees regarding which a dispute is pending before the High Court.
Terming the Commissioner’s action as intervention in the judicial powers of the court, the Division Bench comprising Justices C N Ramachandran Nair and P S Gopinathan asked whether the Devaswom Chief Commissioner was above the judiciary.
The court directed Devaswom Commissioner Nalinakshan Nair to appear in person before the court on Tuesday and produce all the files. The court also asked the Advocate-General to be present in the court on behalf of the government.
The Travancore Devaswom Board had transferred its employees last year which they challenged in the High Court.
The court came to know about the stay of the disputed transfer order through the newspapers on Monday.

‘Raajneeti’ survives two stay petitions as HC dismisses pleas
by Jasmine – June 1, 2010 – 0 comments
Critically acclaimed filmmaker Prakash Jha’s film ‘Raajneeti’ successfully survived two different petitions seeking stay on the release of the film on Monday as Bombay High Court dismissed both the pleas.
First petition filed against the film sought a stay claiming that the character played by Katrina Kaif is based on Congress president Sonia Gandhi and is an attempt to defame her.
Second petitioner sued the filmmaker claiming copyright infringement.
The highly-anticipated film ‘Raajneeti’ is all set to be released nationwide on June 4. The film features Katrina Kaif, Ranbir Kapoor, Ajay Devgan, Manoj Bajpai, Naseeruddin Shah, Arjun Rampal and Nana Patekar in the main lead.
Contents of defamation petition against ‘Raajneeti’First petition was filed by some self proclaimed Congress loyalist Naseem Khan, who wanted stay on the film, because he believed that film is an attempt to defame Sonia Gandhi.
Another one of his objections was that Katrina is not fit to play a role based on such a high profile personality. However, Justice R.G. Ketkar found both charges ridiculous and dismissed the petition.
Khan did not stop there and last week went on to file a petition with session’s court. The matter will be heard on June 2.
Copyright infringement caseA scriptwriter Yogendra Konkar, recently, filed a copyright infringement against filmmaker Prakash Jha, claiming that Jha took the idea for ‘Raajneeti’ from his script.
As per Konkar’s lawyer, his client had sent out his script to several filmmakers including Jha. Konkar’s lawyer also said that script is registered with Indian Motion Picture Association in March 2009.
Jha’s lawyer counterattacked by saying that filmmaker had registered his script with the association in December 2008, hence “there is no way we could have copied his script.”
Justice S. J. Kathawala ruled in favor of Prakash Jha and said in the end: “You will not find the story of any Hindi film which is not similar to another. You can’t claim relief on similarity ground [sic].”
Last edited by Harpreet Bhagrath on Tue, 2010-06-01 15:24
Write to author: Jasmine

HC adjourns hearing on Rathore’s bail
Express News Service
Posted: Tue Jun 01 2010, 04:51 hrs Chandigarh:
In court, Abha Rathore describes her husband “a man of high moral character and honesty”
Heated arguments were witnessed in the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday during resumed hearing of the revision petition filed by former DGP S P S Rathore against the enhanced sentence awarded to him in the Ruchika molestation case.
Terming Rathore a “man of high moral character and honesty”, Abha Rathore, wife and counsel of the former DGP, made a forceful plea before a vacation bench for his immediate release but to no avail.
Claiming her husband to be a man of “exceptional honesty and integrity”, Abha accused the witnesses in the case of being “not so clean”.
Terming Ruchika’s father S C Girhotra a “greedy man”, Abha alleged that he was “persuaded for money” by Rathore’s rivals to lodge a case against him.
About R R Singh, former DGP of Haryana who had submitted an adverse report against Rathore, Abha said that “R R Singh is not such a clean person”. In response, the court intervened and told Abha not to get personal.
She further alleged that the entire case was based on a forged document — the statement given 19 years ago by Ruchika to the Haryana Police. Abha repeatedly alleged that Ruchika’s signatures were forged.
The HC adjourned the case till June 1 (Tuesday), when the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) would file its reply to the revision petition.
Contesting Abha’s accusations, CBI counsel and Assistant Solicitor General of India Anmol Rattan Sidhu said, “Ruchika and Aradhana Girhotra were minor girls. No father will pull his minor girl in a controversy for money. Why should they lie? Why should they attempt to settle enmity with the so-called rivals of Rathore, which has not been established”.
Arguing on the merits of the case, Sidhu, who was assisted by advocate Ajay Kaushik, said, “There is so much of direct evidence to prove Rathore’s guilt. He has spent only five days behind the bars. Two courts have given their exhaustive findings over the case. The purpose of criminal jurisprudence will be at stake if he is released on bail after five days against a sentence of 18 months. Rathore did his best to delay the trial for two decades by filing transfer petitions.”
When Justice Ajay Tewari asked what should be the minimum sentence that Rathore, according to Sidhu, should serve, the CBI counsel said “at least one third (six months)”.
Making it clear that the CBI is prepared to argue the main revision petition, Sidhu proposed that hearing of the revision petition be made time-bound. He demanded that till the revision petition was decided, Rathore should be kept behind bars.
Responding to Abha’s contention that Rathore was old and not in good health, Sidhu said, “The best medical facilities are being offered in Burail Jail.” Reacting to this, an angry Abha said if that was the case then “all of you can sit in the jail”.
Subsequently, the court advised Abha not to address the counsels, as it was not Sidhu’s personal case, following which Abha apologised.
The counsel for complainant Madhu Prakash, advocate Pankaj Bhardwaj, said, “Presumption of innocence is not available in this case, as two courts have held Rathore guilty. What is the urgency in this case? Why such a hurry, what is so special about this that Rathore shall be released immediately? Heaven is not going to fall. Let him remain behind bars for six months.”
Responding to the argument, the HC said the case had “larger ramifications”. Further, expressing disagreement with the trial court, the bench remarked that the media did have an impact on the outcome of the case.
Justice Tewari made it clear that the case would not be allowed to linger on. And since Sidhu had sought adjournment for July on the ground that he has to go abroad on Wednesday, the HC adjourned the case to till Tuesday.
Revision petition or appeal?May 26:Abha Rathore filed a petition, challenging Rathore’s enhanced sentence of 18 months and called it a revision petition.
May 28:Took a U-turn; called it an appeal in which bail is a matter of right.
May 31:Abha started the arguments calling it a revision petition. After an hour, when Abha failed to get Rathore’s bail, she stated that the petition is in fact an appeal.

HC orders arrest of Maldivian ship
TNN, Jun 1, 2010, 03.44am IST
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has ordered the arrest of a Maldivian ship after a Tamil Nadu firm approached the court saying the shipping company owes about Rs 1.29 crore dues to it for carrying out repair works on four ships. The ship is anchored at Tuticorin port at present. Vacation judge Justice D Hariparanthaman granted the arrest orders after M/s Rarefield Engineers Private Limited contended that they had done repair works on four ships owned by Wadhee Shipping and Trading Company of Male, Maldives. Noting that the company’s ship — MV Waadhee Progress — is likely to leave the Tuticorin port any time now, Rarefield said the Maldivian company had not disputed the sum payable by them and if the ship was allowed to sail out there was no other security to recover the amount. Though the repair works were done since March 2006, the Maldivian company started defaulting since May 2009, the company said, adding that instead of remitting 10,000 US dollars every month as agreed upon, the Maldivian company deposited only 5,000 US dollars in March this year.

Cell towers a threat? HC panel to probe
Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, June 01, 2010
The ongoing tussle between the Cellular Operators and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) over mobile tower sealing took a new twist with the Delhi High Court constituting a high-level panel on Monday to ascertain if such towers are a health hazard.
The court has also asked if there is a need for regulating installation of mobile towers and antennas.
Citing a UN report, the high court said, “Thanks to improved connectivity owing to a large number of cell towers, more people in India have access to mobile phones than toilets, but concerns of health problems caused by radiation cannot be ignored.”
Asking the MCD and the telecom ministry to form a committee comprising technical and medical experts, NGOs, cellular associations and public spirited persons, the court sought a report on the harmful effects of radiation within three months.
Sealing of towers stayed till Sept 15
Justice Kailash Gambhir provided an interim relief to the cellular operators by allowing them to operate mobile towers in the city by depositing Rs 2 lakh instead of Rs 5 lakh as demanded by the MCD.
Justice Gambhir put on hold MCD’s policy of hiking installation fee and new norms for installation of tower till September 15 when the court will decide on the petition filed by the operators challenging it.
Whether they have to pay the entire amount will depend on the final judgment of the court.
The court order comes short on the heels of a report of Cogent, a Delhi-based company working on radiation safety solutions, that radiation emitted from these towers was so high that four-fifth of the Delhi’s areas fall under the “unsafe” category.
It mapped 100 radiation hotspots in the city.
The court said a panel had to be formed owing to “conflicting views” on radiation.
While the MCD said the hiking of fee and the new policy was aimed at regulating installation of harmful towers that cause “fatigue and loss of memory”, cell phone operators placed reliance on the World Health Organisation reports saying the radiation did not affect human health.
Radiation scanners in all scrap markets
The High Court on Monday sought the Centre’s response on a petition seeking direction for installation of gamma radiation scanners in all scrap markets following the Mayapuri radiation exposure incident.
The court issued notices to the environment and the commerce and industry ministries besides the Department of Atomic Energy and sought their reply by July 7.
Bone of contentionn Installation fee hiked from the previous Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakh n No towers on schools, hospitals and dispensaries n Owner of building to be made co-applicant n Green signal needed from occupants in group housing societiesn Installation preference only over municipal buildings and vacant plots
Case timelineFeb 9: MCD issues new cell phone tower policy. New norms for installation, fee hiked from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 5 lakhMay 7: The last date for operators to adhere to new rules and apply for regularisation May 12: MCD begins sealing of towersMay 13: Cell Phone operators challenge sealing in Delhi HCMay 14: Court stays sealing; seeks explanation from MCD

CJI sends back 5 names cleared by Delhi HC collegium for judges
Maneesh Chhibber
Posted: Tue Jun 01 2010, 02:51 hrs New Delhi:
Chief Justice of India (CJI) S H Kapadia is learnt to have sent back names of five lawyers recommended for elevation as Judge by the Delhi High Court collegium.
The names had been recommended by the collegium of which the then Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah was a member. In fact, the names had been recommended with just a few days left for Shah to retire.
Sources told The Indian Express that the CJI has asked the HC collegium, which is headed by new Chief Justice
Dipak Misra, to reconsider the recommendations.
Sources said apart from five lawyers — Abhinav Vasisht, Rajiv Virmani, Anusuya Salwan, Meenakshi Arora and Maninder Acharya — for elevation as judges, the HC collegium had also recommended the name of a District and Sessions judge for elevation to the HC Bench.
While senior functionaries of the Supreme Court as well as the Delhi High Court remained tightlipped on the issue, sources in the Union Ministry of Law and Justice confirmed the CJI’s move. CJI Kapadia has reportedly written to Law Minister M Veerappa Moily informing him of his decision to send back the recommendations.
“The new collegium will reconsider the names sent by the previous collegium and, if it deems fit, make changes. It may even drop some names,” said a source.
Author of many landmark judgments, including the one that ruled the office of CJI as within the purview of the Right to Information Act and another that de-criminalised consensual homosexual sex between adults, Shah retired on February 12, but not before expressing his “sense of hurt” at being denied the opportunity to sit in the Supreme Court. Kapadia had been part of the collegium that finalised the names of judges for elevation to the apex court.

Supreme Court notice to Haryana over Mirchpur Dalits
J. Venkatesan
New Delhi: Taking a serious view of 150 Dalit families from Mirchpur village in Haryana’s Hisar district being forced to leave the village after two of them were killed allegedly by the dominant Jat community, the Supreme Court on Monday issued a stern notice to the Haryana Government for its response to a petition highlighting their plight.
Mirchpur, about 150 km from Delhi, is a large village comprising about 1,700 Jat (dominant caste) households, 250 Balmiki families, 350 Chamar, 25 Dom and a handful of Brahmin households.
Issuing notice, a Vacation Bench of Justice G. S. Singhvi and Justice C. K. Prasad asked the State counsel to come out with a plan for rehabilitation of these 150 families, now camping at a temple in Delhi.
The Bench asked the local Deputy Commissioner to be present in the Court this Wednesday with relevant facts after taking instructions about the rehabilitation plan.
After hearing senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the petitioners, Jaswant and two others, Justice Singhvi told the State counsel that atrocities had been committed against the people and they were being forced to leave the village which was a very serious matter. “We want to know what action has been taken by the Government for their rehabilitation,” he said.
The petition arose after an attack on the Dalit families by dominant castes in Mirchpur where two persons were killed, 35 homes destroyed, looted and burnt and 50 houses ransacked and 25 persons injured.
Thereafter repeated meetings of a Khap Panchayat were held to continue the reign of terror and force the Dalits to withdraw their cases against the accused.
Almost the entire community of Balmikis was forced to leave their homes and “they are now staying in a temple in Delhi. Their children are without education. Their families are without food, clothing and other essentials. Their lives have been disrupted. The Khap Panchayats continue to threaten them”.
The petitioners sought directions to the respondents to constitute a Special Investigation Team to probe the atrocity against the Scheduled Caste community; payment of adequate compensation, relief, rehabilitation; and immediate arrest of the accused.
They also asked for continuous protection to all the Scheduled Caste families so that they are not under any threat in future.

Supreme Court Dismisses Plea on Suspected Staged Shootout
New Delhi, May 31 – The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition filed by the parents of a paralytic man allegedly killed by Uttar Pradesh Police in a staged shootout in Mathura May 15-16.
Petitioner Jhadmal and his wife Juhari had filed the petition to get the possession of the body of their son Saleem.
The vacation bench of the apex court headed by Justice G.S. Singhvi and comprising Justice C.K. Prasad dismissed the petition as withdrawn after the Uttar Pradesh government filed an affidavit saying that Saleem’s body was handed over to his cousin who identified it in the mortuary.
The court said that for the remaining dimensions of the case, the petitioner could move the state high court.
The court permitted this after counsel for the petitioner B.S. Baloria said that he would like to move the high court.
During the last hearing of the case, the senior counsel Ratnakar Dash appearing for the state government said that the body of Saleem has been handed over to the deceased’s relatives May 16 and it was buried.
The court had asked the state government to give an affidavit on its oral submissions.
After being satisfied that the body was handed over to the deceased’s relative, the court disposed off the case asking the petitioner to move the high court.
Jhadmal claimed that officials of three police stations – Mathura Refinery, Chhata and Farah – killed Saleem alleging that he had stolen a vehicle.
Police claimed that Saleem stole a Bolero jeep belonging to Pratap Singh Pradhan of Jundvai village along with other criminals, who managed to escape.
The petitioner said his son could not have stolen a vehicle because he was incapable of committing any crime due to a paralytic attack he suffered after an accident Nov 11, 2009.
The court was told that Saleem was not the lone victim of suspected staged shootouts under the Farha police station. Twenty other people have been killed by police in the last two months, the petitioner alleged.

Ajai Shukla: Fundamentally defensive

If the MoD is serious about indigenisation, it must create the legal and regulatory framework required for supporting Indian companies
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi June 1, 2010, 0:51 IST
For the last seven months, an Italian company, Selex Sistemi Integrati, had blocked a crucial aspect of India’s defence readiness in Indian courts, until an irate Supreme Court threw out a Selex petition on May 24. Since November 2009, the upgrading of 30 operationally vital military airfields had been effectively suspended by India’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) after Selex filed a writ petition in the Delhi High Court challenging the MoD’s award of that contract to a consortium led by Tata Power’s Strategic Electronics Division (SED).
Selex pleaded that, in awarding the Modernisation of Airfield Infrastructure (MAFI) contract to the Tatas, the MoD had erred since the Tata consortium had neither the experience, nor the technical capability to execute such a contract. Selex also alleged that the Tatas had squeaked ahead in close bidding (the Tata bid: Rs 1,094 crore, or $234 million; the Selex bid: Rs 1,141 crore, or $244 million) by leaving out expenses like transfer of technology within the country.
Selex has effectively lost its case, and perhaps a great deal more in future business since the MoD will not easily forgive the slur of being labelled incompetent. But Selex’s ill-advised foray into the Indian judicial system has spun off what will be a landmark judicial exercise: a careful legal examination of the rights of foreign companies in Indian tenders. At stake here is an issue that will reverberate beyond national security: Can a foreign company allege a violation of its fundamental rights in contesting the award of an Indian contract?
This issue, which will now be examined by a bench of the Delhi High Court, rests on three articles of the Constitution of India. The first, Article 226, under which Selex went to court, empowers the high court to consider writ petitions from those who believe their rights, including fundamental rights, have been violated. The second, Article 14, provides equality before the law to all people within the territory of India. And the third, Article 19, provides citizens of India (Note: not foreign nationals) a number of freedoms, such as those of movement, speech, assembly, formation of unions, etc. Article 19(1)(g), which has been critical in this case, allows citizens of India “to practise any profession, or to carry on any occupation, trade or business”.
Selex pleaded to the Delhi High Court for the award of the contract, initially invoking all three articles before backing off from Article 19(1)(g). It approached the Delhi High Court under Article 226, claiming its right to equality under Article 14, read in conjunction with Article 19(1)(g). Now what will be examined afresh by a Delhi High Court bench is whether a foreign company, without Indian shareholders, can claim constitutional protection under Article 14 without it being read through the window of Article 19(1)(g).
Recognising the importance of clarity on this issue, the two-judge Delhi High Court bench that referred this question to a higher bench, noted: “Almost all large tenders today are being challenged in writ proceedings before the court and are coming up for judicial scrutiny. It is thus necessary to settle the legal issue in question. The question which thus arises for consideration is whether in the matter of scrutiny and award of tender, the fairness of procedure under Article 14 of the Constitution of India can be examined dehors the rights under Article 19(1)(g) of the Constitution of India to carry on the business and trade at the behest of a foreign company invoking the jurisdiction under Article 226 of the Constitution of India, especially keeping in view the fact that the issue of fairness in treatment and absence of arbitrariness when involved on the basis of Article 14 in tender matters is relatable to the doctrine that the state has to be fair in distribution of state largesse to its citizens.” If the high court bench rules that protection under Article 14 necessarily flows through the guarantees of Article 19, this will effectively deny foreign companies a remedy under the Constitution of India, i.e. the writ petition route, to challenge the award of contracts. Left with only the time-consuming recourse of a civil legal challenge, foreign disruptions to the contracting process will be minimised.
Besides the fine legal issues that have emerged from this confrontation, the national security dimensions of defence contracting merit a comment. It says as much about globalisation as about Indian defence procurement rules that a foreign company, which has built most of China’s airfield network, and which has continuing interests in China and Pakistan, can challenge in court the MoD’s right to award a crucial airfield turnkey project to an Indian company.
Indian companies entering defence production are sinking tens of crores of their own money, largely unsupported by government, into creating indigenous capabilities. If the MoD is serious about indigenisation, it must create the legal and regulatory framework required for supporting Indian companies with security-sensitive projects, even when their bids are marginally more expensive than those of foreign bidders.

Court orders panel on Delhi’s mobile phone towers
2010-05-31 17:00:00
The Delhi High Court Monday ordered the central government and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to form a panel and submit a report by Sep 15 on issues related to regulation of mobile phone towers.
Justice Kailash Gambhir said that the department of telecommunication and the MCD commissioner will constitute a committee consisting medical and technical experts and NGO representatives to look into health risk caused by illegal towers and the regulation policy for towers adopted in developed countries.
‘The secretary, telecommunication, and Commissioner, MCD, shall constitute a broad-based committee of technical and medical experts who can examine all these various studies and the technology and policy adopted by the developed countries in regulating the
installation of cellular towers and antennas,’ the court said.
Justice Gambhir said that till the time the court does not come up with a final decision on the matter, the telecom operators will deposit Rs.2 lakh per each illegal tower in the high court.
‘And if two mobile companies are sharing a tower, then an additional Rs.50,000 should be deposited,’ said Justice Gambhir, hearing a petition filed by cellphone operators against a sealing drive launched by the MCD against illegal towers.
The MCD sealing drive against illegal towers is on hold for now.
There are 5,364 mobile phone towers within the MCD’s jurisdiction in the city. Of these, as many as 2,952 have been declared illegal for having come up without the civic agency’s authorisation.
Under the revised MCD guidelines unveiled Feb 9, the licence fee to be paid by a telecom operator to the civic agency for installing a tower has been increased from Rs.1 lakh to Rs.5 lakh.
Cellular operators have, in their petition, termed the hike totally arbitrary and said: ‘The licence fee earlier was Rs.1 lakh for 20 years, which has now been increased to Rs.5 lakh for a period of five years. When the MCD increased the fees, did it make any arrangement to increase the facilities attached to the tower?’
The MCD has sealed about 300 towers in the past few months. But 41 were again made operational after the phone companies completed the formalities.
According to the civic agency, mobile operators who have set up towers illegally were given one month’s time to get these regularised. The deadline expired in the first week of May.
On the last date of hearing, the MCD informed the court that it is not ready to lower the licence fee.
The court May 13 restrained the MCD from sealing illegal mobile towers till May 24, while asking the civic agency to explain the grounds for hiking the licence fee.
The MCD had filed a detailed reply explaining the rationale behind the increase in the licence fee and said: ‘Our main concern is to regularise the towers as they are a great health hazard and public at large will suffer.’
But the court was not impressed with the MCD’s reply and said: ‘Your reply is not satisfactory and you failed to establish the correlation between the fee hike and the benefits linked to it.’

Close illegal bottled water units, says HC
TNN, May 31, 2010, 02.53am IST
NEW DELHI: To prevent the spread of water-borne diseases in summer, the Delhi high court has directed the government to tighten the noose around illegal units manufacturing and selling bottled drinking water. Justice S Muralidhar directed government agencies to crack down on units manufacturing and selling drinking water without a licence and Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) certification. It also constituted a committee for the purpose. The HC was hearing a petition filed by Bottled Water Processors Association. The association moved the court, alleging there are a large number of units in Delhi not complying with norms. They also claimed that despite the central government’s attention being drawn to illegal manufacturers, no action was taken to stop such activities. HC constituted a task force against units without a licence and BIS certification. ‘‘The force will comprise the secretary of the ministry of health and family welfare, senior representatives of the department of prevention of food adulteration and the BIS, and a senior Delhi Police officer,’’ the court said in a recent order. ‘‘The task force will coordinate amongst various departments and constitute special crack units which will undertake surprise checks at various locations of manufacture of packaged drinking water and initiate strict action in terms of provisions contained under the Prevention of Food Adulteration Act, as well as the BIS Act, and rules made under those statutes,’’ the court said.

HC strikes down decision to ban rickshaws in parts of Noida
Press Trust Of India
Allahabad, May 30, 2010
The Allahabad High Court has struck down the decision of Noida authorities to ban plying of cycle-rickshaws in some parts of the city.
A Division Bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Virendra Singh delivered the verdict on May 27 on a writ petition filed by NOIDA Rickshaw Chalak Vikas Samiti.
The Samiti has challenged the decision of Noida authorities to prohibit plying of cycle-rickshaws in Sector 18 and six main roads of the city.
Pronouncing the judgement, the Court took exception to the fact that the decision to prohibit plying of rickshaws was taken at a meeting of the Traffic Management Cell comprising officers of the administration and of the (Noida) Authority.
The views of cycle-rickshaw pullers and the public were not obtained nor taken into consideration, it said.
“The cycle-rickshaw pullers are one of the poorest sections of the society,” the Court observed.
“The public in general who uses the cycle-rickshaw as the most frequent and cheap means of transport may also be put to inconvenience by restrictions unless their convenience is also taken into consideration,” the Bench said.
It, however, said “restrictions can be imposed in the public interest, but all aspects of the matter have to be looked into by the authorities.”
The Court directed the Noida authorities “not to create any hindrance in the rights of rickshaw pullers from plying their rickshaws in any part of the city.”

Bangalore: HC Dismisses Habeas Corpus Petition on Lawyer Pritam Kumar
Monday, May 31, 2010 12:50:26 PM (IST)
Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (SP)
Bangalore, May 31: The state High Court has dismissed the habeas corpus petition filed by the parents of young advocate from the city, Pritam Kumar, who had gone missing all of a sudden. The young lawyer had gone missing mysteriously in January this year.
The case hogged limelight for sometime, as the local Bar Association in March this year, served an ultimatum of ten days on the state government to entrust the case to Central Bureau of Investigation. In the meanwhile, Congress leaders had blamed the district in-charge minister, Krishna J Palemar, of putting his weight behind the abductors of the lawyer. The minister was accused of shielding the parents of a girl, who are said to be known to the minister, and who allegedly managed the abduction, as they objected to the love affair between their daughter and Pritam.
In the petition, Umesh, father of Pritam, had sought the court’s direction to the government to find his missing son. He had expressed the suspicion that Raviraj, an officer in the forest department, would have masterminded the abduction of his son.
The judge dismissed the petition, after asking the petitioner to cooperate with the policemen in their investigation. On behalf of the prosecution, E S Indiresh had placed arguments before the bench.
In the past, the parents of Pritam had refused to oblige, when the policemen had sought their blood samples to conduct DNA test to confirm the identity of a body they had found from Kota in Udupi taluk. While the policemen suspected that the body belonged to Pritam, the parents of Pritam had refuted this claim. Now, the next move by the parents of Pritam will decide the future course of investigation.

Dividing apex court a distant dream
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Monday, May 31, 2010 0:21 IST
Mumbai: There’s utter confusion on the need for splitting the Supreme Court (SC) into different zones or setting up a court of appeals to unburden SC of matters that have no constitutional importance.
Certain recommendations have been made by the law commission and groups working in public interest that SC must be divided into zones so that litigants staying in faraway places don’t have to travel to New Delhi to seek justice. This, they would argue, goes well with the government’s commitment to bring justice at people’s doorsteps.
But the top judiciary rubbished the recommendation, saying SC can’t be divided. The law ministry has followed what noted jurist KK Venugopal suggested — that without touching the seat of the apex court, courts of appeals be set up between the high courts and SC.
Even as the debate rages, a parliamentary panel has taken an independent line by discarding the opinions of the government and SC. It has reminded the government of its earlier recommendation to establish “a constitutional bench and other benches of SC” for “manifold benefits”.
That the law ministry couldn’t put forward its arguments opposed to the panel’s views is evident. It talked of wide-ranging amendments to the constitution. At a full-court meeting, the Chief Justice of India (CJI) also didn’t find justification for establishing “other benches” of SC, it said.
Conscious of the fact that parliament is supreme in a democracy and that it’s also bound by the constitutional mandate to ensure that the poor get justice from courts nearer to them, the panel says it’s “not in agreement with the ministry and the opinion of CJI”.
Moreover, it feels unwillingness to establish “other benches” of SC can’t be “justified on the grounds that it would attract a cumbersome process of constitutional amendment”.
With such divergent views, dividing SC or creating courts of appeals appears a distant dream.

Debate over selection panel for judges to intensify
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Monday, May 31, 2010 1:28 IST
New Delhi: The government feels there may not be any need for a special body assigned with the sole task of selection and appointment of Supreme Court and high court judges.
The Centre is confident that its concerns regarding correct interpretation of the crucial 1993 judgment, which hasn’t been done so far, would be taken into account by the apex court collegium headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SH Kapadia.
The law ministry had sent a detailed note to the collegium when justice KG Balakrishnan was CJI but, regrettably, it had been ignored.
The note based on the opinion given by attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati highlights the government’s concerns regarding the selection of SC judges as it feels the 1993 judgment by former CJI JS Verma categorically states that a person with questionable antecedents can’t be elevated to the apex court, and that the collegium is bound by the government’s recommendation.
“What can I do when the 29-page judgment by a majority of five judges isn’t interpreted correctly by the collegium? It may not be correct for some, but it’s unambiguous,” says justice Verma.
The government is confident that its note will be favourably considered by the collegium and there won’t be any need to create a panel for selection of judges, says a law ministry source.
However, a leading law officer says the scope for misinterpretation of 1993 judgment had been left unaccounted for.
The 1993 judgment had expressions “shall be” and “may be” in the core paragraphs. “Non-appointment of anyone recommended, on the ground of unsuitability must be for good reasons, disclosed to CJI to enable him to reconsider and withdraw his recommendation on those considerations,” it said.
“If CJI does not find it necessary to withdraw his recommendation even thereafter, but the other judges of SC who have been consulted in the matter are of the view that it ought to be withdrawn, the non-appointment of that person for reasons to be recorded, may be permissible in the public interest.”
The government also has doubts about the term“healthy convention”. In exceptional cases, the government has given in writing “strong and cogent” reasons to CJI, indicating that a particular person chosen by him is not suitable for appointment.
But the judgment says: “However, if the stated reasons (given by the government) are not accepted by CJI, and the other SC judges who have been consulted in the matter reiterate the recommendation, the appointment should be made as a healthy convention.”
Thus, it is argued that when the emphasis has been on selection of proper judges, and the government is well armed with confidential reports gathered from different intelligence and revenue agencies relating to a candidate for the high legal position, its disapproval must not be rejected on the ground of “healthy convention”.
Around the time when justice Kapadia was to succeed justice Balakrishnan as CJI, eminent jurist Fali S Nariman had told a conference: “The performance of the collegium all these years has been zero, though the performance of judges was not bad, but come CJI Kapadia, things will definitely improve.”

Tribunal upholds I-T stand on Vodafone tax
Posted: Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010 at 2340 hrs ISTUpdated: Tuesday, Jun 01, 2010 at 2340 hrs IST
New Delhi: The Mumbai Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has upheld Indian tax authorities’ jurisdiction to tax capital gains arising from the $11.2 billion share sale of Hong-Kong based Hutchison Telecom International’s (HTIL) stake in Hutch-Essar Ltd, now Vodafone Essar.
The ITAT order regarding capital gains tax to be levied on the $11.2 billion transaction between two foreign firms—Dutch firm Vodafone and Cayman Island-based Hutchison– was given on Monday. ITAT has passed an order under section 201 (1) and 201 (1A) of the Income Tax Act.
The income tax deparment is yet to calculate the tax liability of the firm. Sources said Vodafone could face a liability of Rs 10,000 crore (or $2 billion) by the way of capital gains tax.
The ITAT order follows the directive of the Supreme Court earlier given in the appeal filed by Vodafone against the Bombay High Court order. The Bombay High Court too had upheld the department jurisdiction over the matter. Vodafone on Monday confirmed it has received an order from the tax department on the preliminary issue of jurisdiction. “Vodafone remains fully confident that no tax is payable by Hutchison on this transaction and that Vodafone has no liability in any event; and all of the taxation and legal advice received continues to be consistent with this view. Vodafone will be reviewing the documents in detail.
The Supreme Court granted Vodafone the right of appeal to the Bombay High Court if we disagree with the Tax Authorities determination,” it said in a statement.
Vodafone, which was issued show-cause notices by the tax department, had submitted a voluminous response to it while company officials have been appearing before the tax department in Mumbai for personal hearings.
The company has been maintaining that the Indian tax laws do not apply in the case since Vodafone is a Dutch company (registered in the Netherlands) and Hutchison is incorporated in the Cayman Islands.

Samba spy case: Tribunal asks for court martial documents–Tribunal-asks-for-court-martial-documents/627631
Express news service
Posted: Tue Jun 01 2010, 02:20 hrs New Delhi:
In a ray of hope to soldiers who were jailed in the Samba Spy Case in 1975-76, the armed forces tribunal on Monday asked the Army to produce documents of their court martial. The tribunal is hearing a petition by the five soldiers who are hoping to clear their names in the spying case in which 60 personnel were punished on charges of spying for Pakistan. After hearing the plea by Milkhi Ram, Satpal, Harish Singh, Banarasi Das and Balkar Singh, the tribunal directed the Army to produce the documents related to the court martial by June 30 failing which “adverse inference” would be made by the Bench.

Produce GCM documents of Samba spy case, Tribunal to Army–Tribunal-to-Army/627236/
Posted: May 31, 2010 at 1414 hrs IST
New Delhi The Armed Forces Tribunal on Monday asked the Army to produce court martial documents of five soldiers punished for their involvement in the over 30-year-old sensational Samba spy case.
In the case, around 50 personnel of 168 Brigade deployed along the Line of Control were punished after being accused of spying for Pakistan on the basis of statements of former gunners Sarwan Dass and Aya Singh.
The Tribunal Bench headed by Justice S S Kulshreshtha asked the Army to produce the general court martial (GCM) documents of gunners Banarasi Das, Milkhi Ram, Satpal, Harish Singh and Balkar Singh, who have served jail terms, before it by June 30.
The appeals of the soldiers who are seeking to get their names cleared were among the cases transferred from the High Court to the Tribunal after it was launched in August last year.
The Tribunal said failure to produce the documents would draw an “adverse inference” about Army’s contention in the case.
“This is the first time in over 30 years since the case came up that we would get to see the court martial documents. I am hopeful that this will make it easier for us to get justice,” counsel for the five gunners Deepak Bhattacharya said.
In the case of two other accused Captain A K Rana and Captain R S Rathore, whose pleas are still pending in the Supreme Court, the Tribunal said it would hear their case on September 7.
Rana said that he and Captain Rathore were cleared by the Delhi High Court in 2000, but the verdict was challenged by the Army in the Supreme Court.
After the HC verdict, they filed pleas seeking compensation for the jail term served by them which have also been transferred to the Tribunal.

27 out of 1,846 police encounters were fake: NHRC
Panel finds 1,819 cases of “genuine” police encounter too
Jasleen Kaur New Delhi May 21 2010
The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has given credence to the feeling that at least some of the “police encounters” are fake. As many as 27 encounters out of 1,846 cases the panel investigated turned out to be stage-managed.
The NHRC has registered 2,956 cases in connection with police encounters in different parts of the country, since its inception in October 1993, the panel said in a release on Friday. These cases include 1,590 cases registered on the basis of information received from the public authorities about encounters by police and 1,366 cases registered on complaints received from public alleging fake encounters by police.
As many as 1,819 cases were found to be “genuine” police encounter and the remaining 1,110 cases are at different stages of consideration in the Commission, it said.
In all the cases, the Commission has recommended that the state authorities take punitive action against the guilty officials and pay monetary relief to the next of the kin of the deceased.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Tuesday, June 01, 2010
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