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


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