LEGAL NEWS 21.07.2010

Skewed growth to blame for rise of Naxals: SC
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 02.29am IST

NEW DELHI: This is the worst that the government could have ever got from the Supreme Court. Terming the developmental policies as “blinkered”, the apex court has said that the promised rights and benefits never reached marginalised citizens fuelling extreme discontent and giving birth to naxalism and militancy, which are threatening the sovereignty of the country. Referring to largescale displacement of tribals from forest land in the name of mining and development, the SC said non-settlement of their rights and non-provision for timely compensation of their lost land has created the worst kind of hatred among them towards development, possibly giving birth to extremism. “To millions of Indians, development is a dreadful and hateful word that is aimed at denying them even the source of their sustenance,” a Bench comprising Justices Aftab Alam and B S Chauhan said on Monday. “It is cynically said that on the path of `maldevelopment’ almost every step that we take seems to give rise to insurgency and political extremism which along with terrorism are supposed to be the three gravest threats to India’s integrity and sovereignty,” it said. The anguish of the apex court brimmed over when it dealt with a case relating to acquisition of tribal land by Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd in Sundergarh district of Orissa, which is a Maoist hotbed, and found that those who lost their land were not paid compensation for 23 years. This extreme example of governmental apathy shook the conscience of a Bench forcing it to ask a series of questions — “Why is the state’s perception and vision of development at such great odds with the people it purports to develop? And why are their rights so dispensable? Why do India’s GDP and human development index (which is based broadly using measures of life expectancy, adult literacy and standard of living) present such vastly different pictures?” It said: “With the GDP of $1.16 trillion (of 2008) Indian economy is 12th largest in US dollar terms and it is the second fastest growing economy in the world. But according to the Human Development Report 2009 (published by UNDP), the HDI for India is 0.612 which puts it at 134th place among 182 countries.” It said the counter argument was that very often the process of development that most starkly confirms the fears expressed by Dr Ambedkar, who had said though politically one man had one vote of equal value, in social life one continues to deny one man one value. Justice Alam, writing the judgment for the Bench, said this was because despite the philanthropist approach of entrepreneurs and governmental efforts the human factor in the most mineral rich areas have not been able to solve their displacement from forests, despite they being called the oldest dwellers of the area. On the yet-to be-settled rights of tribals whose land was acquired and no compensation was paid for 23 years, the Bench took assistance from Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and counsel Janaranjan Das to frame a scheme. Under the scheme, the Centre being the owner of Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd would determine and pay the compensation to the erstwhile landowners. The SC appointed a former judge of the Orissa HC, Justice A K Pasricha, as chairman of a commission to prepare a report on the land acquired within four months and submit a report to the apex court.

Delayed response forces MCX-SX to drag SEBI to court
Published on Tue, Jul 20, 2010 at 21:59 Updated at Wed, Jul 21, 2010 at 10:13 Source : CNBC-TV18
Last Friday the MCX-SX put out an advertisement on SEBI’s delayed response with regard to MCX-SX application to be recognized as a stock exchange. Today it has gone a step further and filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court against SEBI, reports CNBC-TV18’s Sajeet Manghat.
The MCX Stock Exchange or MCX-SX has lost its patience against SEBI and is seeking the Bombay High Court’s intervention to get a response from SEBI on its application that it filed on April 15, 2010.
On April 15, MCX-SX had filed an application with the Securities Exchange Board of India complying with MIMPS regulation which requires the promoters of a stock exchange to bring down this stake to nearly 10% and that has been done through the scheme of capital reduction and arrangement which was approved by the Bombay High Court.
As per that requirement MCX-SX and FT have brought down this stake to 5% each and in return MCX-SX has also issued 119.66 crore warrants. This was in lieu of the cancelled shares that has happened as part of the scheme of arrangement.
It is these warrants which has been issued to the promoter entities, i.e. FT and MCX, which is the bone of contention and the reason why SEBI hasn’t responded to the application yet.
Sources say that SEBI has been served a copy of the MCX-SX writ petition and it has confirmed that they have received it. SEBI is not likely to respond before they appear before the court.
Sources add that the MIMPS guidelines is silent on the issue of convertible instruments. Though the guidelines talk about bringing down equity to 10%, it doesn’t talk about convertible instruments.
In this case, it is the transferable warrants which could be converted after a period of 6 months into equity leading to the entire issue. Sources say the Bimal Jalan Committee on stock exchanges and market infrastructure is expected to come out with its recommendations in the next two months and SEBI doesn’t want to take a decision before those recommendations come in.

Notification to hire district judges stayed

Express News Service
First Published : 21 Jul 2010 03:58:28 AM IST
Last Updated : 21 Jul 2010 08:43:18 AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras HC has stayed the operation of a notification dated June 24, 2010 of the Secretary, Public (SpecialA), inviting applications for recruitment to the post of 17 District Judges in the State.A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice KK Sasidharan granted the injunction on Tuesday while passing interim orders on a writ petition from advocate Manikandan Vathan Chettiar of Egmore, seeking to declare the notification as ultra vires of Articles 14 and 141 of the Constitution and consequently praying for a direction to the government to issue a fresh notification in consonance with all constitutional diktats.
According to petitioner, an aspirant to the post, there was gross callousness for the law of the land as laid down by the Supreme Court by virtue of Article 141 of the Constitution, inasmuch as the apex court had been consistently upholding for the past 25 years that marks allotted for viva voce should not exceed 12.50 per cent of the total marks. The notification prescribed as much as 25 per cent for viva voce.
Unconstitutionality was writ large on the face of the notification inasmuch as, apart from 100 per cent marks, the length of bar experience was slated as a criteria for shortlisting to the viva voce. It was devoid of any explanation as to the manner in which its was proposed to be done. No syllabi had been prescribed contrary to all canons of reasonableness. He had sent a representation on July 7 last to the authorities concerned, but there was no action, petitioner contended.

NGOs back demolition drive
Shillong, July 20: The Steering Committee against Murder of Democracy, consisting of Civil Society Women’s Organisation and Khasi Students Union among others, met today and demanded that the Meghalaya government should continue the demolition drive against illegal structures on the banks of Wahumkhrah in Polo.
On July 6, the Meghalaya Urban Development Authority could not carry out the demolition drive based on a May 25 court order as the move was stalled by a temporary stay order from Gauhati High Court.
The matter came up in the high court yesterday.
Chief Justice of Gauhati High Court, Madan B. Lokur, yesterday transferred the hearing of the two writ petitions filed by the Greater Iew Polo Welfare Association to the Shillong bench.
The hearing on the two fresh writ petitions will be taken up by the Shillong bench on Friday. The NGOs under the banner of the committee, will meet urban affairs minister Founder Cajee tomorrow to carry on with the demolition drive.

Division bench rejects KSHA secretary’s plea
Bangalore, July 20, DHNS:
A division bench of the Karnataka High Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with the order passed by a single bench directing Hockey India to consider Gayathri Murthy and A B Subbaiah as representatives of Hockey Karnataka at the national body’s elections.

While disposing an appeal filed by K Krishnamurthy, Secretary, Karnataka State Hockey Association, the division bench headed by Justice KL Manjunath observed that the inclusion of two members from Hockey Karnataka to the electoral list of Hockey India is subject to the result of the writ petition pending before the single bench.On July 7, the single bench of the High Court had directed Hockey India to include Hockey Karnataka members in the electoral list for its polls on July 28. On July 13, the single judge modified the earlier interim order, directing Hockey India to consider Gayathri Murthy and AB Subbaiah as Hockey Karnataka representatives. Krishnamurthy challenged the order, stating it was illegal and beyond the scope of the writ petition. Krishnamurthy stated that Hockey India wanted to keep him away from the elections. The division bench observed that if any order was passed at this juncture it would not help the appellant as his nomination papers had already been rejected by Hockey India.The nominations were scrutinised in New Delhi on Tuesday and the returning officer had rejected Krishnamurthy’s nomination.

SC to be moved for law on prevention of cow slaughter
Bangalore, July 20, (PTI):
The Federation of organisations working for cow protection on Tuesday said it will soon a file a writ petition in the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Union Government to enact a uniform law on prevention of cow slaughter.

“We will soon file a writ petition in Supreme Court seeking directions to the union government to enact a uniform national law on cow protection,” National Convenor of the federation, Dayanand Swamy said during a convention here. Governor H R Bhardwaj was appealed to approve the Karnataka Prevention of Cow Slaughter Bill which was recently passed by the state Legislature.A memorandum was submitted to Bhardwaj in this regard. “There is a misconception among the general public that we (Muslims) are against ban on cow slaughter. It is not so at all. The ban is already in force in Gulf countries since long,” Anees-Ul-Haq, national convenor of Muslim Rashtriya Manch, said at the convention.Swamy said the Federation proposed to constitute a 30,000 member force to prevent cow slaughter throughout the country. The Federation also held a rally in the city on cow protection.

Assess environmental impact of gas project, court tells RIL
Express news service Tags : Reliance Industries, gas project, Madras High Court Posted: Tue Jul 20 2010, 01:30 hrs Chennai:
Sternly reminding corporate behemoth Reliance Industries of the importance of social responsibility and environmental concern, a division bench of the Madras High Court asked the company to first assess the impact of its natural gas project on the local population and environment.
Disposing of a public interest writ petition moved by MS Saj Kumar of Yanam, a region falling under Andra Pradesh under the administrative control of Pondicherry Union Territory, the bench directed Reliance Industries to prepare an environment management plan that should be approved by experts. The UT administration must ask for and obtain an impact report from the expert bodies, it added.
In the backdrop of rising environmental concerns, the bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice GM Akbar Ai ordered that the government must satisfy itself that any damage, which might be caused by the operations of the natural gas project, was not irreversible. RIL should be prepared and must sufficiently secure the cost of reversing any damage.
The petitioner had alleged that the project to establish a block valve station and pipeline on the Godavari basin in Dariyalatippu village in Adavipulam in Yanam will affect the livelihood of fishermen there and the local environment.
“The attitude of the RIL disturbs us. We expect the RIL to have greater social responsibility. If an environmental disaster strikes, it would strike the mighty and the weak equally. We do not understand why RIL should have commenced the production and then obtained the approval,” said the bench, ordering that the government should set up necessary infrastructure to conduct periodical surveys and enforce the stipulations, subject to which the permit might be granted.
However, before granting approval, the government should ask Reliance to publish its proposal so that the public, particularly those likely to be affected by the project, were made aware of it to ensure transparency. On a critical note, the bench added that this would at least safeguard against the decision of the government based solely upon narrow political objectives.

1 held for cheating company of Rs 90L
S Ahmed Ali, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 03.32am IST

MUMBAI: Dilip Bacchubhai Patel, a former LIC agent who, along with his two associates, duped a sick company of Rs 90 lakh, was arrested by the MRA Marg police on Tuesday. Patel (35) was arrested after the Bombay high court dismissed his writ petition for quashing a FIR of cheating and forgery registered against him. Last year, Vinod Faria, the director of Genelac, had filed a private complaint with the Ballard Pier Metropolitan court, which directed the MRA Marg police to register a FIR and investigate. In August 2009, the MRA Marg police registered a cheating case against Dilip Patel, Shailesh Behra and Mangilal Jain who went into hiding. “The court on Tuesday dismissed Patel’s petition and the police arrested him,” said advocate Vijay Thorat, who is representing Genelac company. Patel has been remanded in police custody till July 27. Genelec, which was declared sick by the Board of Industrial and Financial Reconstruction and owes several crores to various banks and other institutions, has registered a case of cheating against three persons for siphoning Rs 90 lakh under the pretext of liaisoning for it.

Babli dam hearing in SC scheduled in Aug
Wednesday, July 21, 2010, 12:07 [IST]
Nanded, Jul 21: The hearing before the Supreme Court on Babli barrage issue had been scheduled on Aug 2010.
The apex court had permitted Maharashtra government to proceed with the dam project in Apr 2007.
But Andhra Pradesh had claimed that the Babli Barrage was being constructed within the backwaters of the Pochampad Dam in the Telangana region.Andhra Pradesh also claimed that Maharashtra is violating the GWDT agreement of Oct 1975, and challenged the matter in the Supreme Court.TDP chief N Chandrababu Naidu with his other associates were arrested when they were trying to enter into the project site to verify the situation on Jul 16.But Maharashtra government finally had withdrawn its charges against TDP leader and send him to Hyderabad.OneIndia News

No objection for CBI probe – Justice Hegde

By Team Mangalorean Bangalore
Hubli July 20, 2010: Karnataka Lokayukta Santosh Hegde today categorically stated that he had no objection if the State Government orders CBI inquiry into the illegal mining.
Talking to newsmen here, he denied report in a section of press that he had expressed his dissatisfaction over handing the illegal mining cases to CBI. ” I have already submitted a report on illegal mining to the Karnataka Government long back and there is no objection for CBI inquiry,” he said.
Taking strong objection to a reported statement of Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa giving a clean chit to the owners of mines at Bellary and his ministerial colleagues, Justice Hegde said “if at all they were not involved in such cases why should the Government order an enquiry ?” “Also there was no need for any such institution like Lokayukta if the Government went on giving such certificates,” he added. He said the CM issuing such statements before the start of the inquiry will lead to confusion.
Stating that he had completed his investigation report up to 2008 on the alleged illegal mining and the Government has ordered to further investigate on the mining issue, Justice Hegde said people at the helm of affairs have not taken the report seriously and never took action.
Justice Hegde said iron ore-laden trucks had to pass through seven check-posts from Hospet to Karwar port. “When we seized the iron ore illegally transported to Belakeri port, there was nothing to suggest that it had been checked at the check-posts. A truck owner or a firm can’t ensure such a free passage. You might assume what sort high influence is required to get that done and the persons behind it,” he said without naming anyone.
In his report he had indicated that there were 49 illegal mining companies and suggested action against all those companies. He was awaiting action against these companies.
Justice Hegde said he has now been assigned the work of investigating the recent mining violations. As there was exhaustive information about the ports exporting iron ore in Karnataka, he would try to get information from the ports outside the state through which the ore was exported. If the report was not made available by them, he would appeal the Union Government to provide the information.
According to his information, about 8.5 lakh tonnes of iron ore made “a mysterious” disappearance from the Belekere Port in Karwar in Karnataka, he told reporters. There have been allegations that besides Belekere port, iron ore was exported illegally from Vishakapatnam port in Andhra Pradesh.
The Lokayukta probe would also bring under scanner the “raising contract” that has been prevalent in illegal mining, Hedge said. Under the raising contract, a person is permitted to carry out mining activity on behalf of the mining lease holder.
Regarding the power vested to him, he said all his demands were not met. The Government has placed an amendment bill in the House for Lokayukta law and within this framework he would try to contain corruption in the state.
Lokayukta would conduct investigation into illegal mining of sand in many parts of state, he added. Earlier, he honoured senior journalist Dr Patil Puttappa at his residence and enquired about his health.

Will SC give hope to ’93 blasts convicts?
Swati Deshpande, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 02.58am IST

MUMBAI: Actor Sanjay Dutt’s lawyers will be heading off to Delhi next Monday. They are preparing for the final showdown in the Supreme Court against his conviction for illegal possession and destruction of an AK-56 rifle days before the serial bomb blasts that ripped through Mumbai on March 12, 1993. The blasts had killed 257 and left over 700 injured in what is still the largest terror strike on the country’s commercial capital. But it’s not just Dutt, over 60 of the 100 convicted by a special Tada court will be training their sights on the Supreme Court on July 26. On this day, the apex court will decide how and when to fix the date for a final hearing on all appeals against the blasts verdict. In what promises to be a mammoth exercise and a lengthy hearing, the Supreme Court has to decide on the confirmation of 12 death sentences. Those sent to gallows include Yakub Memon, brother of prime absconding accused Tiger Memon, who along with underworld don Dawood Ibrahim and Mohammed Dossa are alleged to have hatched the conspiracy in Dubai to target Mumbai after communal riots had ravaged and scarred the city in January 1993. The statistics alone appear daunting. The special trial judge P D Kode, who has since been elevated as a judge of the Bombay high court, convicted 100 of the 123 accused who faced the main trial. He sent 12-the maximum in one criminal trial-to the gallows and 20 for life imprisonment. Soon after the conviction and sentencing that ended in 2007, 51 separate appeals were filed by individual convicts. Some of these were filed jointly by several convicts against the verdict. Those on the death sentence have also appealed. The Maharashtra government, through the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), has also filed 48 appeals against acquittal or to seek enhancement of punishment. The CBI has appealed against the acquittal of Ajay Marwah, a friend of the actor charged with hiding his revolver, but has not filed any appeal against the actor’s acquittal for offences under Tada. Advocate Shree Prakash Sinha, one of the lawyers in the Supreme Court who represents seven convicts, said the SC judges will have to decide which of the appeals it will first hear-confirmation of death sentences or appeals by others in jail. The court has posted the matter on July 26 only to fix the date of final hearing. Of the 59 petitions by the convicts, 32 are from jail. It is expected that given the paperbook in this case, even though the judgment copies and the evidence have been circulated among lawyers in a digital form, is still humngous, the hearing is likely to begin only after two months. Sinha said the CBI submitted CDs of the text of all the evidence that runs into 1.2 lakh pages, a week ago. The CBI filed most of its appeals only on December 24, 2009. Dutt, who is out on bail and freed from charges of terror conspiracy, has claimed that he cannot even be held guilty of possession of a firearm. He says that the conviction is based only on retracted confession statements and hence he must be acquitted. If his case is heard first and decided, it could help others who have gone in appeal. The judge, while holding the actor guilty under the Arms Act, had said, “Lots of evidence has been led. His own (Dutt’s) confession as well as those of his co-accused are there. There is evidence of recovery and statements from four witnesses.” The court had accepted most of Dutt’s confession. A MATTER OF APPEALS No appeal filed by CBI against Sanjay Dutt’s acquittal under Tada The actor on July 31, 2007, was sentenced to six years’ RI under the Arms Act The state has not spared two women, one of whom was convicted CBI has filed appeals against the two women-Zaibunnisa Kazi (convicted under Tada for keeping arms delivered to her by Abu Salem after visiting Dutt) and Rukshana Zariwala (who was acquitted)

Students take bar exam to SC as writ petition count hits 9
Written by Neha Chauhan Tuesday, 20 July 2010 13:21
A group of law graduates from Delhi University have invoked the Supreme Court’s writ jurisdiction under Article 32 of the Indian Constitution as two students of the NUALS Kochi have filed yet another petition before the Kerala High Court against the All India Bar Examinations.The petitioner students Anoop Prakash Awasthi, Rahul Kumar and Prashant Narang told Legally India that their writ petition (diary number 21289/2010) has surpassed procedural hurdles and will be listed for hearing towards the end of July with the Supreme Court registry after having cleared all the objections.The petitioners have challenged the Bar Council of India’s rule making power under which amendments had been brought to provide for the bar exams as ultra vires and arbitrary.While pleading violation of the fundamental rights, the petitioners have relied upon the case of V Sudeer vs BCI as the main point of contention. Awasthi had interned with Sudeer in the past.Excerpts from the petition read: “That the impugned amendment as claimed to be made under section 49(1)(ah) of the Act, is beyond the rule making power of Bar Council of India as held by this Hon’ble Court in V. Sudeer v. Bar Council of India (1999) 3 SCC 176, as: pre-enrolment training and examination constitute a topic which the legislature in its wisdom entrusted to the State Bar Councils and not to the Bar Council of India.” “That the impugned amendment violates the fundamental rights of petitioners as conferred by Constitution of India vide Article 14, Article 19(1)(g) and Article 21.”Meanwhile, the Hindustan Times has reported that the BCI has taken an affirmative step to club together all the pending petitions, seeking their transfer before the SC in order to be heard together. Legally India had reported on 13 July that the BCI’s planned to club the petitions into one Supreme Court petition. In Kerala, the petition filed by Sujith Menon and Sriram of Thripunithura is at least the eighth such case after at least seven writ petitions have been reported as filed before the various high courts of the country.Also, SCBA president and BJP Rajya Sabha member senior advocate Ram Jethmalani has opined against the bar exam.

Insurers to pay more for road deaths: SC
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 17, 2010, 01.56am IST
NEW DELHI: The next of kin of motor accident victims can now expect a much higher compensation from insurers. The Supreme Court has ruled that only the income tax component can be deducted from a victim’s salary to arrive at his net income for the purpose of calculating the claim amount. Till now, the monthly income of the victim was calculated after deducting from the gross salary loan repayment premiums, contribution to provident fund and even life insurance payments. This helped insurance companies greatly reduce the victim’s `income’ on which the compensation is based. While delivering a judgment in a compensation dispute, the Supreme Court has put a stop to this practice. “While ascertaining the income of the deceased, any deductions shown in the salary certificate as deductions towards GPF, life insurance premium, repayment of loans etc, should not be excluded from the income,” a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale said. Applying this principle, the court ordered an increase in the compensation to the widow, three children and parents of a 36-year-old police sub-inspector who was killed in an motor accident in 1990, from Rs 14.6 lakh to Rs 19.7 lakh. The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal had calculated the income of the sub-inspector as Rs 9,489 after taking into account various deductions from a gross salary of Rs 13,794. Applying the relevant multiplier, the tribunal had awarded a compensation of Rs 14.44 lakh. When the kin of the police official appealed against the tribunal before the Delhi High Court, it enhanced the compensation by Rs 32,000. However, it reduced the interest payable on the compensation amount to 6% from 9% awarded by the tribunal. The SC did not interfere with the interest rate awarded by the HC, but by applying the new rule for computation of income of the deceased, increased the compensation amount by more than Rs 5 lakh.

SC warns RComm on call conversion
Indu Bhan Posted: Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010 at 2300 hrs ISTNew Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday warned Anil Ambani Group firm Reliance Communications that its interconnect agreement will be cancelled if charges against it of masking international calls as domestic ones through auto call-rerouting were proved.
Public sector telecom service provider BSNL has alleged that RComm had been indulging in illegal conversion of its international calls as local calls since 2004, thereby causing huge loss to BSNL.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia while flaying BSNL for “not stopping the arrangement” with Reliance said: “Why didn’t you stop the arrangement. You just relied on the penalty clause. It is a serious matter. We will examine it. Steps should be taken to stop such practices.”
“ If that is so (BSNL’s allegations), we will cancel its (Reliance) interconnect agreement and take stringent measures against it,” Justice Kapadia observed while posting BSNL’s petition along with the one filed by Reliance for hearing on August 27.
However, RComm’s senior counsel C S Vaidhynathan and counsel Manali Singal said that the company had nothing to do with rereouting of calls.
Reliance has now taken a stand that that some unscrupulous subscriber had been indulging in such illegal activities, the BSNL said in its petition.
BSNL has challenged the TDSAT judgment of May this year that directed it to hand over the relevant call detail records (CDRs).
It submitted that CDRs were already available with Reliance and such direction would serve no useful purpose as the Ambani firm itself had its own records of call details.
“Reliance in a completely malafide and illegal manner tampered with the Caller Line Identification (CLI) of incoming international calls which were handed over to BSNL camouflaging such calls as local calls and by doing so, Reliance had violated the terms and conditions of the interconnect agreement between the parties,” BSNL stated.
It added that the private telecom service provider had deliberately jeopardised the national security and in doing so had connived and participated in illegal activities.
Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium it had found in 2004 that RComm had been indulging in illegally converting its international calls and thereby “securing to itself a gigantic unlawful profit/benefit to itself and unlawful loss to BSNL”.
Such an illegal activity was also found to be fradulent by DoT, which had proceeded to impose the maximum prescribed penalty of Rs 150 crore on the three telecom licences of Reliance, he added.
The tribunal had also upheld the penalty imposed on RComm for violating the licence conditions which resulted in handing over of international calls to BSNL as local calls.
Reliance’s appeal against the tribunal’s order is pending before the apex court.
According to the petition, there were strict clauses in the interconnection agreements between the parties prohibiting Reliance from tampering or modifying CLI of the calls or wrongly handing over the international calls as local calls in trunk groups designated for local and domestic calls.
It further said that international calls had much higher Interconnection Usage Charges (IUC) as compared to local and domestic calls.

Consumer fora can’t direct award of certificates: SC–t-direct-award-of-certificates–SC/649415/
Posted: Jul 20, 2010 at 1949 hrs IST
New Delhi The Supreme Court has held that the consumer fora cannot direct a statutory examination board to award certificates to students as it is beyond the purview of the Consumer Protection Act.
“The respondent as a student is neither a consumer nor is the appellant rendering any service. The claim of the respondent to award B.Ed. degree was almost in the nature of a relief praying for a direction to the appellant to act contrary to its own rules.
“The National Commission, in our opinion, with the utmost respect to the reasoning given therein, did not take into consideration the aforesaid aspect of the matter and, thus, arrived at a wrong conclusion,” the apex court said in a judgement.
A Bench of Justices B S Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar gave the judgement while upholding the appeal filed by Maharishi Dayanand University challenging a direction to award B.Ed degree to a girl student Surjeet Kaur.
The university had refused to grant certificate to the girl student for her B.Ed course on the ground that she had concealed the fact of simaltaneously pursuing her M.A in Political Science in Government College, Gurgaon.
However, the National Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (NCDRC) directed the University to award her the degree, following which the varsity approached the apex court.
Citing its earlier judgement in the Bihar School Examination Board case, the apex court said the Consumer Protection Act does not intend to cover discharge of a statutory function of examining whether a candidate is fit to be declared as having successfully completed a course by passing the examination.
Moreover, in the present case, the apex court said the student was pursuing the two courses simaltaneously though the rules clearly prohibited this.
The bench said the Commission had come to an erroneous conclusion that the student was “tortured” by the varsity by denying her the certificate.
“We wish to make it clear that the National Commission felt that the respondent had been “harassed” and has also gone to the extent of using the word “torture” against an officer of the appellant.
“The appellant is an autonomous body and the decision of the appellant and the statutory provisions have to be implemented through its officers. This also includes the implementation of all such measures which have a statutory backing and if they are implemented honestly through a correct interpretation, the same, in our opinion, cannot extend to the degree of torture or harassment,” the apex court said while upholding the varsity’s plea.

Court sentences 10 to prison
Dimapur, July 20 (MExN): A landmark judgement was passed by the District and Session Court, Dimapur last week where two persons were sentenced to twenty years rigorous imprisonment and eight others to undergo rigorous imprisonment for ten years for offences under the Arms Act. On November 15, 2005 a gang of dacoits shot dead Rafique Ahmed at around 12:45 midnight at a grocery shop of one Nandu Shah at Ghorapatty, Dimapur. The case was registered at East Police Station, Dimapur and after investigation, Police had arrested the ten accused persons while one is still absconding. In a meet with media personnel, Additional Public Prosecutor, Dimapur Hutoi Yeptho, stated that the case was a one of its kind criminal case in Nagaland. The APP stated that the case involved the highest crime in the state where eleven accused are involved in a case of dacoity with murder. It was also revealed that the accused were also involved in another dacoity case registered at the west Police Station, Dimapur where the victim was seriously injured. It was also informed that all legal process of the case is completed just the judgement is yet to be pronounced. It was further revealed that as per the charge sheet submitted by IO, the accused persons are also involved on other similar crimes committed in Assam and have several cases booked against them. When APP Hutoi was asked why the case took almost five years, he responded that “the delay was because of several reasons like witnesses failing to turn up on fixed date for evidence and also one of the accused was arrested after six months.” Hutoi also stated that the landmark judgement makes an impact on the security of the public as after arresting the accused persons such instances of dacoity with murder have not been reported and wa said to have decreased. He also said that there has been no occurrence of such kind of crimes especially in Dimapur. He also stated that the role of Prosecutors have a vital role in dealing with criminal cases. “With the active investigation of the Police by providing all the necessary information and documents, this case could be successfully disposed off” he said.

Orissa in a fix over Posco mines, had promised iron ore to 49 projects–had-promised-iron-ore-to-49-projects/649431/
Dilip Bisoi Posted: Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 2103 hrs ISTBhubaneswar: The Orissa High Court’s judgement on Posco-India’s Khandadhar iron ore mines has put the state government’s policy to provide prospective investors with mineral wealth in jeopardy. The judgement is likely to deter the state government from deciding on allotment of mines invoking section 11(5) of the Mines and Minerals (Regulation & Development) Act 1957.
The state government has lined up 49 steel projects in the state with promises that they would be provided captive iron ore mines. Even though there are hoards of applications for each of the iron ore mines in the state, the government was confident that it would be able to prioritise the application of the project promoters taking advantage of provision 11(5) of the MMRD Act.
The Orissa government is consulting with senior counsellors of the Supreme Court to decide its next course of action. Sources in the government told FE two eminent lawyers of the apex court have been consulted on the issue. The government is soon going to take a decision on whether it will contest the high court order in the Supreme Court, sources said.
The state government had recommended the prospecting licence of Khandadhar mines in favour of Posco-India on the ground that it would add maximum value to the iron ore in the state. The Orissa High Court, however, has directed the state government to reconsider its decision and hear all the 226 applications once again, pointing out that the “relative merit is insufficient” while deciding the case in favour of Posco-India.
The Jagatsinghpur district administration, meanwhile, is preparing to launch the land acquisition drive for the Posco site. After the announcement of the Rehabilitation & Resettlement Package for the affected villagers, the district administration is planning to move to the site from July 28, to make arrangements for eviction of villagers.

Congress seeks Naveen Patnaik’s resignation
First Published : 20 Jul 2010 10:16:02 PM IST
Last Updated : 20 Jul 2010 11:43:59 PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Hours after BJP demanded the chief minister’s resignation in the wake of Orissa High court’s observation on state’s “inconsistent” mineral policy, Congress today asked Naveen Patnaik to step down from office to prove his respect for law of the land.
“Patnaik often says that law will take its own course.
Now the court of law (Orissa HC) has indicted the state government in strongest words finding it on wrong foot while disposing a case relating to recommendation of Posco-India’s name for prospecting license (PL) over an iron ore reserve,” senior Congress leader Narashingha Mishra told reporters here.
Dubbing Patnaik as a person who had “no respect” for the laws, courts and Constitution, Mishra challanged him to go by law in context to recent High Court judgement.
Citing an instance of the chief minister’s alleged lack of respect for law, the senior Congress leader pointed out that Lok Pal’s direction in connection with the land acquisition for Vedanta University project, was also not abided by the state government.
Though the Lok Pal had asked the state government to take action on its recommendation on Vedanta University case within 90 days, nothing was done, Mishra said.
In the much-hyped mining scam also the state government failed to arrest the real culprits or seize minerals worth Rs 110 crore stolen by a private company even after one year, he alleged.
Cautioning the chief minister, the Congress leader said that Patnaik should step down voluntarily as the law has been chasing him on different cases.
“Now the chief minister is liable to criminal prosecution in view of the observations made by the High Court on mineral policy,” Mishra said.
Quoting a portion of the HC judgement of July 14, Mishra said “This clearly shows that the stand taken by the government is totally inconsistent and the mineral policy of the state is totally in a mess and the state government has adopted a policy that would suit to the situation and suit to favoured parties.”
Meanwhile, the agitating Congress MLAs already on dharna over coal scam demanded a probe by Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG).
Accusing the chief minister of shielding the two ministers in the coal scam, leader of opposition Bhupinder Singh alleged that more ministers could be part of the irregularities.

Former Attorney General Milon K Banerji passes away
PTI, Jul 20, 2010, 05.21pm IST

NEW DELHI: Milon Kumar Banerji, who held the office of Attorney General of India twice between 1992-96 and 2004-09, died here today after months of illness, family sources said. Banerji, 82, was not keeping well since he suffered a stroke in December 2009. He breathed his last at around 3:30 am at the Apollo Hospital. His last rites will be performed at the Lodhi Road electric crematorium tomorrow evening, the family said. Banerji is survived by two sons who are also practising advocates. His wife had predeceased him some years ago. Debal Banerji, his elder son, is a senior lawyer practising in Calcutta High Court and the Supreme Court while younger son Gourav Banerji is the Additional Solicitor General. Banerji was first appointed the Attorney General in the P V Narasimha Rao Government from 1992 to 1996 and then in the UPA-I government of Manmohan Singh. He also served as Solicitor General from 1986 to 1989 and as Additional Solicitor General from 1979 to 1986. Banerji, during his 50-year career, had appeared in the Supreme Court and various High Courts and was associated with a number of important cases. During the Narasimha Rao government, the day he took over as the AG on November 24, 1992, he had appeared in the Ayodhya Ramjanambhoomi Babri Masjid case and told the Supreme Court that the situation had reached a boiling point and any inaction would make it irreversible. The judgement in the case upholding the validity of the Acquisition of Certain Areas in Ayodhya Act, 1993, was another landmark in his career. He had also argued cases involving issues of Election Commission’s power and the citizenship of Congress President Sonia Gandhi. The national awards, like the Bharat Ratna and the Padma awards, were revived by the Supreme Court after a long break, accepting Banerjee’s arguments and suggestions. More than a decade after the apex court’s judgement, he was awarded with Padma Vibhushan in 2005. Banerji obtained his LLB degree in 1950 from Allahabad University and completed his LLM from Cambridge University in 1953 before enrolling as an advocate of the Allahabad High Court in 1955. He also practised in the Calcutta High Court. He became a designated senior advocate in May 1972. He was a member of Permanent Court of Arbitration and was recently appointed as a member of the Permanent Court. He was recently elected to the prestigious position of Honorary Bencher of the Society of Lincoln’s Inn, London, which also included Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair among its Benchers.

‘BJP MP behind whistleblower’s murder’
21 Jul 2010, 1125 hrs IST
A day after an RTI activist was shot dead outside the Gujarat High Court in Ahmedabad after filing a recent PIL against illegal mining, the family of Amit Jethwa allege BJP MP behind his murder. Jethwa’s family on Wednesday (July 21) alleged foul play saying that BJP MP from Junagadh — Dinu Solanki was behind the murder. Bhiku Jethwa, Amit’s father said, “I strongly suspect that Dinu Solanki is behind my son’s murder. Because he has threatened me on telephone. He also threatened Amit many times. Amit was threatened in Kodinar and Khamba towns in front of large crowds, a thousand strong. But nobody dared to report the matter.” Amit Jethwa was killed by 2 unidentified assailants on a motorcycle as he was coming out of the court. Police say the assailants ran away from the spot after shooting Jethwa. He had recently filed a PIL in the Gujarat High Court against illegal mining in Gir forest. Following his PIL, the authorities had cracked down on the illegal mining activities in Gir forest and other areas on the Saurashtra coast.

Bangalore: Upa Lokayukta’s Appointment Questioned in Court
Daijiworld Media Network – Bangalore (SP)
Bangalore, Jul 20: A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the state High Court, seeking to quash the appointment of Justice S B Majage as the state Upa Lokayukta. Justice Majage had taken over charge as the Upa Lokayukta on Monday July 19.
In the PIL, a person named R L N Murty, who is a city-based advocate, has claimed that Justice Majage’s appointment to the post is illegal as it violates Karnataka Administrative Tribunal Act 1985. The division bench of the High Court comprising Justice N K Patil and Justice A S Bopanna, which took up the petition, said that the same would be heard on Wednesday July 21.
The main contention of the litigant is that a person, who has already worked in an administrative tribunal, is barred from being appointed to any other post of the government. He has pointed out that Justice Majage has functioned as the vice president of Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) from 2005 to 2008. As per section 11(e) of the act, a member, president or vice president of KAT is barred from being chosen for government appointments. Further, section 3 (2)(b) of Karnataka Lokayukta Act 1984 prescribes that only High Court judges can be appointed as the Upa Lokayuktas. As such, Justice Majage is not eligible to hold this post, the petitioner has contended in his petition.

Cabinet plugs holes in Arms Act
Satya Prakash, Hindustan TimesEmail AuthorNew Delhi, July 21, 2010
First Published: 00:52 IST(21/7/2010)Last Updated: 00:54 IST(21/7/2010)
Taking cognisance of a large number of licenced weapons falling into the hands of criminals, particularly in Rajasthan and Punjab, the UPA government has finally decided to amend the Arms Act, 1959 to plug loopholes in the law. The Cabinet on July 15 approved an amendment to Section 13 of the act making it mandatory for the police to file verification for issuance of an arms licence within 60 days. It also approved deletion of Section 13(2A) that was being misused for issuing licences without verifying antecedents of applicants.
The amendment comes months after the Centre told the Supreme Court it had issued detailed guidelines for issuance, renewal and transfer of arms licences. It had also asked the states to dispense with Section 13(2A), which empowered authorities to grant arms licences without waiting for police verification.
HT first reported on September 5, 2007 that army officers had been selling their personal weapons illegally in the grey market in Rajasthan. Thereafter advocate Arvind Kumar Sharma had filed a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the gunrunning scandal, allegedly involving the army and Rajasthan government officials.
Responding to the PIL, the Union home ministry told the court it had written to states and union territories to ensure strict compliance of the rules.
The proposed amendments would obviate chances of arms licences being issued to persons with criminal background.
Earlier, admitting irregularities in issuing arms licences, the Centre had instructed state officers not to delegate powers given to them under the act to any other officer. It requested state governments to advise their deputy commissioners or collectors to follow scrupulously the provisions of the Arms Act.
The Rajasthan government has admitted before SC irregularities in 325 cases, out of which 227 licences had been cancelled and 98 were under review.

Oppn netas spend night in House
Gyan Prakash, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 03.48am IST

PATNA: In probably a first in the annals of Bihar legislature, nearly 100 opposition MLAs and MLCs spent the whole night in the state legislature building after the honourable ruling and opposition members of the legislative assembly, in an unusual display of muscle, had their sleeves rolled up earlier in the day when they trooped into the well of the House, uprooted the reporters’ table ahead of the Speaker’s podium and threw reporters’ chairs at each other, leaving quite a few among them-selves bruised on Tuesday. Rumour mills worked overnight and SMSes were sent saying the legis-lators had been locked and denied food while power supply to the premises had been snapped on the orders of chief minister Nitish Kumar. However, the agitating legislators had a different tale to tell. “We are sitting on an indefinite dharna in the well of the House,” RJD MLA Akhtarul Iman said, adding power supply was on. “We had our dinner and we are now going to sleep,” RJD MLC Ghulam Gaus told TOI around midnight. It all started with opposition members pressing for an adjournment mo-tion and demanding the resignation of chief minister Kumar and deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi for the government’s involvement in the alleged irregular withdrawal of Rs 11,412.54 crore from the state exchequer for various welfare schemes. Opposition members shouted slogans and entered the well of the House. Ruling NDA members followed them in the well, and demanded the resignation of the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government for its fail-ure to contain rising prices. Slogans like “Khazana loot ki andhi ayee, Nitish-Modi mausere bhai”, “Khazana chor, gaddi chhor” and “Nitish, Modi hai-hai”as well as “Yeh dekho Congress ka khel, kha gayee chini, pi gayee tel” and “Jo sarkar mehangai na roke, woh sarkar nikammi hai” rent the air. One MLA snatched the writing pads of reporters to use them as missiles, and a free-for-all ensued. Cooperative minister Giriraj Singh joined NDA MLAs in throwing the huge reporters’ table at the RJD bench. RJD’s Abdul Bari Siddiqui came under the table but somehow saved himself. However, it left Lalit Yadav (RJD) and Murari Gautam (Congress) hurt. Elsewhere, others were engaged in scuffles. As the Speaker’s repeated pleas for peace and calm fell on deaf ears, he adjourned the House for the day. Yet, the entire opposition stayed back in the well of the House. “We will sit on an indefinite dharna against the `goondagardi’ of the government in the House,” Siddiqui said. RJD su-premo Lalu Prasad later reached the legislature building to express solidarity with the agitating legislators. He was, however, not allowed in. At least five opposition members — Lalit, Prema Chowdhary, Vibha Kumari (all RJD), Gautam (Congress) and Rajendra Prasad Singh (CPI) were seen nursing their wounds. Ruling JD(U)’s chief whip Shrawan Ku-mar said four of his party MLAs — Jai Kumar Singh, Bilat Paswan, Ram Prit Paswan and Ashok Yadav — too had to be given first aid. Both the opposition and ruling NDA members later said it was “a black day in the parliamentary democracy”. Siddiqui and Awadhesh Narain Singh of Congress blamed it on the CM and deputy CM. “Had they not instigated their party MLAs to take on us, the situation would not have worsened,” Siddiqui said. Incidentally, the Patna high court is also seized with the matter of al-leged irregular withdrawals. While hearing a PIL, the HC on July 15 even favoured a CBI probe into it and directed the CBI director to present him-self before it on July 26. The PIL alleged that the withdrawals took place between the financial years 2002-03 and 2007-08 and that the Accountant General-Bihar was not furnished the required bills. The Nitish Kumar government has moved the HC and pleaded that the CAG report on the withdrawals and expenditures is yet to be adopted by the state legislature as it is under the scrutiny of the Public Accounts Committee of the assembly. all its drawing and disbursing offi-cers to procure the bills for the expenditures that have now turned controversial. Ironically, the period of controversial withdrawals includes 42 months of the Rabri Devi-led RJD-Congress government and President’s rule and 28 months of the Nitish Kumar-led current NDA government. The opposition, however, has chosen to remain blissfully ignorant of this.

Safety of 150 kids doesn’t bother BBMP
Civic authorities ignore High Court and Lok Ayukta orders to inspect a school building and report on its safety

Shyam Prasad
Posted On Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 05:22:30 AM

The BBMP is sleeping over four orders — one from the High Court and three from the Lok Ayukta — directing it to report whether a school near BEL Circle is safe.Students of Vyasa International School in Lottegollanahalli face danger from falling bricks from floors under construction. A public interest case filed by a neighbour, seeking the school’s closure, is also coming up for hearing soon.At the first hearing, the court had said it did not want to close the school in the middle of the academic year as it would affect the students’ future.It had also set July 17 as the deadline for the BBMP to inspect the building and submit a report.On Feb 23, Bangalore Mirror had reported how the construction had put students in danger. R Venkatesh, who filed the PIL on March 26, has cited this report in his petition.After the High Court heard the PIL and served a notice, the BBMP cancelled the ownership deed of the land (5 acres and 11 guntas) on which the school is situated.“The BBMP’s failure to submit the report amounts to contempt of court. It seems they are deliberately delaying it. A Supreme Court order of March 27, 2009, says that the land does not belong to the school. There seems to be a bigger conspiracy to take over the land under the pretext of running a school,” said advocate Pavana Chandra Shetty, who filed the PIL on behalf of Venkatesh. The school has about 150 students.The Lok Ayukta had on February 19, March 20 and again on March 30 asked the BBMP to inspect the building and submit a detailed report on its safety. The letter had said, “On the face of it, the charges that children are in danger from falling construction material is real.”The BBMP gave permission for the construction on November 27, 2009. After the building is done, the BBMP has to certify that it is safe for conducting classes. The Lok Ayukta has asked: How are classes being conducted without the occupancy certificate being given by BBMP?When the BBMP failed to reply to its notice, Lok Ayukta officers inspected the school on March 18, 2010. On March 30, the Lok Ayukta extended the deadline by 40 days. The BBMP later replied to the Lok Ayukta saying it was waiting for a reply from Srinivasaraju, the owner of the property.

From the frying pan to the fire
Nitin Jain,nitin-jain
Posted: Jul 21, 2010 at 0240 hrs IST
Mohali Earlier, they were made to sit in unsafe classrooms in a dilapidated school building; now, they are exposed to the vagaries of nature.
A week after a report in The Indian Express spoke about how the Government Senior Secondary School at Amlala village continues to hold classes in a building declared unsafe on August 21, 2009, the school authorities have now begun to take classes outside the school building, in the courtyard.
There are 400 students and 17 teachers in this village school near Chandigarh.
There are no desks and chairs in the courtyard and students now sit on the floor. There are no mats and blackboards in the school either.
No recent repair work has also been initiated by the authorities.
The 40-year-old building, which is spread across an acre, was declared unsafe by the Public Works Department; but until last week, classes were held inside the building.
Although eight of the total 13 classrooms were vacated and classes held outside after the building was declared unsafe, they were once again shifted inside after it started to rain.
“We have been asked to vacate the unsafe classrooms again,” said school principal Parneet Kaur.
In the absence of any alternate arrangement, the classes are being held in the open, she added.
The principal’s office has also been declared unsafe. “We are also made to sit in the open or the verandah,” said economics teacher Gurinder Preet Kaur. “Parents had objected when he had shifted the classes outside. Now we don’t know what to do,” said Punjabi teacher Harminder Pal Singh.
The temporary repairs conducted by some villagers and parents at their own cost to make their children study under a roof were also washed away in the recent rains.
Labourer Pal Khan’s son, Rubal, is a Class XII student. “Till our son returns home, we keep fearing for his life” he said.
Like Khan, most parents are so poor that they cannot afford to shift their wards to other private schools in the area.
But despite all odds, the school has shown excellent results over the years.
All its students cleared the 2010 Class X and XII board exams, and six girl students scored between 90-99 per cent marks in mathematics.
Officialspeak“Since the High Court is already apprised of the matter, I can not comment,” said Krishan Kumar, Special Secretary-cum-Director General, School Education, Punjab.
“This is not the only such school; six to seven more schools in the district and many others in other districts of Punjab are also functioning from unsafe buildings. We have sought funds from the government to construct new buildings, and till then, we have requested village panchayats to provide alternate places to conduct classes,” said Niranjan Singh, District Education Officer (Secondary), Mohali.
HC noticeTaking suo motu notice of the news report in Jansatta, the Hindi daily of the Express Group, a Division Bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court, comprising Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Ajay Tewari had on July 16 sought details from the states of Punjab and Haryana with regard to infrastructure and other issues.
“We are of the view that taking into account the enormity of problems that poor students studying in government schools are facing, it would be appropriate to convert this public interest litigation (PIL) into an all-state exercise,” the HC order read.
The Punjab and Haryana governments have been directed to file affidavits stating the present state of infrastructure in government schools in both states. Affidavits will also state the provision for mid-day meals in the schools, the Bench had ruled.
“Education now being a Fundamental Right under Article 21 of the Constitution, it is evident that education provided in state schools must meet basic necessities that have been designated. How many working days of teachers of government schools are utilised in non-educational activities?” the court has asked the states.
(With inputs from Raghav Ohri and Harjeet Singh)

BAI and SAI to be treated as non-recognised federations
Special Correspondent
The Badminton Association of India (BAI) and the Swimming Federation of India (SFI) would be treated as non recognised federations even though no such official notification had been issued by the Union Government.
The Joint Secretary, Union Sports Ministry, Injeti Srinivas said on Tuesday that the ministry had taken note of the reports of the observers at the recent BAI and SFI elections where officials were elected in contravention of the Union Government guidelines.
The ministry was also in receipt of a letter from the Returning Officer for the BAI elections stating that the elections were held in a fraudulent manner.
“Any federation which is non-compliant (of the guidelines) will have to work as a non-recognised federation from now on. We will submit a report before the Delhi High Court on August 18 (when the court resumes hearing in a PIL). Our position is also known to the International Olympic Committee,” he said.
He clarified that the Indian teams being prepared for the Commonwealth Games and Asian Games would be “insulated” from the consequences of the government stand since the ministry would not think of bringing an abrupt end to such preparations.
The funding, in such cases, would be routed through the IOA or the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

Supreme Court rejects plea for NRI voting rights
By siliconindia news bureau
Tuesday, 20 July 2010, 16:00 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has made it clear that it will not consider PILs concerning policy matters and refused to entertain a petition seeking voting rights for non-resident Indians (NRIs). The court also noted that since the Bill relating to grant of voting rights to NRIs is pending with the government, it would not like to interfere in the matter.
To bring uniformity in the treatment of PILs, a Bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swatanter Kumar said, “From now onwards, the Supreme Court will not entertain matters which strictly fall within the policy domain of the government. And no PIL will be entertained if the petitioner has not represented the authorities about his grievances.” Having clarified about its approach towards PILs, the Bench sought to know from Amar Dave, counsel for PIL petitioner Ahammed Adiyottil, whether the NRI working in Qatar had ever filed his income tax returns in India to claim voting rights. Dave and advocate Harish Beeran pointed out that the provisions of Representation of People Act clearly mandated that absence from a constituency for specific periods, because of working abroad, would not be a ground for striking off the name of the person from the voters’ list. Faced with difficult questions from the Bench about tax returns and property acquisition rights, Dave informed the Bench that the government had drafted a bill in 2006 seeking to give voting rights to NRIs. The Bench immediately said, “That is precisely the point. If the government grants voting rights to NRIs, we are not coming in the way. But we will not grant it as we do not know the consequences of it. So, let the government decide and pass the law.” It allowed the counsel to withdraw the PIL.

PIL filed as higher education in a shambles in Balangir
Pioneer News Service Balangir
After the sorry state of primary education, it is the same state of affairs with higher education in Balangir due to shortage of lecturers and non-appointment of principals.
Seeking appointment of lecturers and principals in different colleges of the town to impart higher education to students properly, PIL has been filed in the Odish High Court by general secretary of the All Kosal Students’ Union Dolamani Pradhan.
According to the petition, Balangir-based Rajendra College, once the premier higher educational Institution of this entire region, is now in a shambles with vacant posts of lecturers and the principal.
Against the sanctioned posts of 64 lecturers, there are only 22 lecturers now posted in the college. And out of them, two teachers have been transferred and another is on long leave, leaving only 19 teachers in the college, which imparts education to students from the Plus-2 level to that of postgraduation.
The Government Women’s College also suffers the same fate. Against the sanctioned 32 lecturers’ posts, as many as 18 posts are lying vacant. Ironically, at least two posts sanctioned in the department of Economics since last five years has not been filled. Moreover, there is no principal in the college.
The Balangir College, established in 1982, also has a similar situation. Functioning in an old and unsafe building in a daily market, it has only six lecturers against the sanctioned strength of 12.
Besides, the continuous neglect of the second Sanskrit College of Odisha, established in 1908, has pushed it to the verge of closure. The only degree Ayurvedic College of the district also suffers from shortage of lecturers as it now functions with only 12 lecturers against the sanctioned strength of 28. Besides seeking appointment of lecturers, principals in the colleges, petitioner Dolamani Pradhan has sought strict implementation of a transfer policy of lecturers.
The All Kosal Students’ Union general secretary has filed the PIL through advocate Ashis Mishra, urging the HC to direct the Government to take appropriate steps in this regard with a stipulated time.

Victims to get protection officers within two months
City lawyer filed PIL regarding Domestic Violence Act after Mirror report. The HC has disposed of the case

By Chaitraly Deshmukh
Posted On Tuesday, July 20, 2010 at 11:12:34 PM

A report published in the Pune Mirror on June 8, 2009 which said the State government had committed to the Bombay High Court that it would appoint full time protection officers to implement the Domestic Violence Act of 2005 within two months, prompted city lawyer Rajendra Anbhule to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the regard. On June 26, the High Court had ordered the State government to form a high-level committee to handle this issue. On Thursday, July 15, 2010, the State government filed its compliance report before the High Court bench of Chief Justice Mohit S Shah and justice S C Dharmadhikari saying that the cabinet has taken a decision to form the committee in its meeting on May 26.The State Government also submitted a copy of a Government Resolution dated June 8, 2010 pertaining to the formation of the high power committee headed by the secretary of the Women and Child Welfare department. Other committee members include the commissioner, deputy secretary, deputy commiserate of Woman and Child Welfare department and representatives of the Law and Judiciary department, Home department, State Woman Commission, State Headquarters, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Karve Institute of Social Science and Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work.The State government sought three months time to appoint full time protection officers to implement the Act. It informed the court that advertisements for recruitment of protection officers have been released but examinations and interviews of candidates are yet to be conducted. However, the High Court instructed the State Government to complete the task in two months and disposed of the petition.Anbhule says, “I have been struggling for this cause for the last 11 months and the court has upheld my demand. However, complete outsourcing of the tasks of protection officers may prove against the interest of women. Providing security to women is the core function of only the state and it may not have effective control on the protection officers if their tasks are outsourced. While appointing protection officers, care should be taken to ensure that they are sensible, sensitive and firm enough to do justice to their duty.”Appointment of full time protection officers is crucial for the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act because of the nature of the powers vested in them and their duties. As per the law, the protection officer should preferably be a woman with a post graduate degree in social work.Protection officer’s roleA protection officer (PO) works under the supervision of the court. The responsibilities of the PO areFacilitating an aggrieved woman’s access to the court and assisting the court in discharging its functionsService providers engaged in providing services, to women are to be registered under the Act 12. By registering under this law, they attain the status of public officersThe State is to notify medical facilities and shelter homes which cannot refuse services to aggrieved womenPolice are bound to provide information on this law to women approaching them with complaints of domestic violence. This is in addition to their duties to register complaints under criminal lawThe court may also order the police to assist POs in discharging their functions. POs are responsible for facilitating an aggrieved woman’s access to legal aid

PIL alleges malpractices by MLAs, CM; seeks CBI probe
Mumbai Tuesday, Jul 20 2010 IST
A Pune-based social activist today filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court, seeking CBI probe and narco-analysis tests on 65 MLAs, including Chief Minister Ashok Chavan, who allegedly adopted malpractices to win the Assembly elections of 2009. In the PIL, Hemant Baburao Patil alleged that the candidates had adopted malpractices and won the elections and thereby promoted the act of corrupt practices and committed breach of rules and code of conduct framed by the Election Commission.
He demanded that the 65 candidates be disqualified and the respondents–the Maharashtra Government and the Chief Electoral Officer, be directed to hold fresh elections in these constituencies.
In the petition, he said the CBI be directed to conduct the probe into the matter and investigation should be time bound. Those named in the PIL, include Mr Chavan, President Pratibha Patil’s son Rajendra Shekhawat, Samajwadi Party MLA Abu Asim Azmi, Union Power Minister Sushilkumar Shinde’s daughter Pranati, Maharashtra Industries Minister Rajendra Darda, Gopoinath Munde’s daughter Pankaja Munde, Vilasrao Deshmukh’s son Amit Deshmukh, Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh and state NCP chief Madhukar Pichad. The petition is likely to come up for hearing before a division bench next week. Patil, 40, is President of Rashtriya Bhrashtachar Virodhi Jana Shakti. Earlier, he had filed a PIL on the same issue. However, the Bombay High Court directed the State Human Rights Commission, Mumbai, to consider the representation. On April 20, the State Human Righs Commission, dismissed the complaint on the grounds that it was beyond the purview of the commission and observed that specific allegations on human rights had not been mentioned in the complaint.
”A government of the people has remained a dream as power is now vested in the hands and in interest of money-holders and money-makers and thus the election process has become a toy in the hand of capitalists. The common man still remains a common man. Harsh action needs to be taken by courts,” Patil said.

Explain income source: Income Tax department to Congress leader Kripashankar Singh
Jul 21, 2010 Income Tax
Congress leader Kripashankar Singh, who is currently under various investigating agencies’ scanner for allegedly amassing huge wealth, has been asked by the income-tax department to explain his income source for properties acquired in the city and elsewhere. The I-T department will also estimate the properties’ value.
In its affidavit, the -IT department informed the Bombay high court that it has asked Singh to submit “documentary material” after registering a complaint filed against him in February 2010. A notice seeking details about how he managed to buy properties worth crores was sent some time ago and that the department expects a reply over the next few days. “There are properties in the name of his family members too. We should be ready with our reply to file in the High Court when the matter comes up for hearing on August 5,” an official told reporters.
I-T sources said that Singh had not filed his returns for 2005-06. In the subsequent years, the returns were filed much after the due date. “However, he has filed the current returns in time. It appears that he got an inkling of the investigation, which prompted him to do so,” the source said. It is not clear how the department chronologically co-related his source of acquistion of alleged assets and their accountablility.
Meanwhile, I-T sources said that a scrutiny of the bank account details has not yielded much positive results. “There have been several transactions with some builders. We are investigating with the builders too,” the source said.
A leading nationalised bank has told the I-T department that neither Singh nor his wife had any account with them. One of the suspects in the infamous Madhu Koda scam held an account in this bank. Meanwhile, the affidavit filed by Kailash Mangal, deputy director of IT (investiagtion) said the “prematurely filed” PIL filed against Singh must be dismissed with “heavy costs.”
Under The Lens
A 1,355 square-foot duplex flat with an exclusive 550-square-foot terrace in Vile Parle East worth Rs 2.5 crore
A 1,100-sq-ft shop worth Rs 1 crore in Panvel
250 acres in Wadapeth, Ratnagiri, worth Rs 25 crore
A commercial complex in Jaunpur, UP, worth Rs 2 crore
Rs 1.17 crore in wife’s a/c with Samata Sahakari Bank
His son allegedly owns:
A triplex flat worth Rs 48 crore in Band Stand, Bandra
22,500-sq-ft office in BKC worth Rs 112 crore
A 12,000-sq-ft office space in Wadhwa building at BKC

AP HC grants bail to all but former chief
HT Correspondent, Hindustan TimesEmail AuthorHyderabad, July 20, 2010
First Published: 13:53 IST(20/7/2010)Last Updated: 12:34 IST(21/7/2010)
The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Tuesday granted bail to five former Satyam Computer executives, including the brother of former chairman B Ramalinga Raju. All accused in the case have now got bail except Ramalinga Raju, whose petition was rejected last month. Ex-managing director B Rama Raju,
ex-chief financial officer Vadlamani Srinivas and their three former colleagues were implicated in the Rs 14,000-crore fraud in January 2009 when Ramalinga Raju, the chief architect of the scam, confessed to diverting Satyam funds to two family-run firms – Maytas Properties and Maytas Infrastructure.
A CBI investigation is on.
On June 25, former PricewaterhouseCoopers auditors S Gopalakrishnana and Prabhakara Gupta, who were arrested last year, also got bail.
The court granted bail despite Solicitor General of India Gopal Subrahmaniam advising it not to for fear the accused may tamper with evidence.
Last year, Tech Mahindra took over Satyam Computer, subsequently renaming it Mahindra Satyam.

HC orders further probe in a ’02 riots case
TNN, Jul 20, 2010, 11.52pm IST
AHMEDABAD: Eight years after the riots, the Gujarat High Court has ordered further investigation in a post-Godhra violence case asking the DSP of Ahmedabad (rural) to complete the probe within three months. Three persons were killed on the outskirts of Viramgam town on February 28, 2002. The police lodged FIR three days after the incident. The local police investigated the case and filed a charge-sheet in a sessions court against 10 persons. The trial began in 2006. On January 19 this year, a witness Dosh Mohammed Bhatti filed an application in the sessions court demanding further probe into the case. His contention was that though there were other eye witnesses to the incident, police did not record their statements. Bhatti claimed that his own statement was not recorded up to his satisfaction. The petition alleged that police deliberately ignored mentioning injury marks despite their clear visibility. The trial judge, however, rejected the petition. Bhatti then moved the high court reiterating his contentions through advocate Bhushan Oza that the registration of FIR was late. One of the deceased, who died much later in Gandhi Hospital in Viramgam, described the violence before policemen but no FIR was lodged on his statement. The police authorities did not even record his dying declaration. After hearing the plea raising doubts on the investigating agency’s objective, Justice Akil Kureshi noticed that though there were several eye witnesses to the incident, the investigating officer had recorded statement of just one. Other witnesses’ testimony may throw some light on the incident and this angle should be probed further, the court observed. The high court finally asked the superintendent of police, Ahmedabad (rural) to carry out further investigation, particularly bearing in mind the possibility of recording statements of other eye witnesses.

RIL pipeline: Avoid environmental damage, says HC
TNN, Jul 20, 2010, 11.49pm IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has declined to restrain Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) from putting up a block valve station and pipeline in the Godavari river bed area in Yanam, which is part of the Union Territory of Puducherry. However, the division bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice GM Akbar Ali laid down social responsibility norms for the company so as to ensure that there is minimal environmental impact due to the project. “After all, when environmental disaster strikes, it would strike the mighty and the weak alike,” it observed. The bench was passing orders on a public interest writ petition filed by MS Sai Kumar of Yanam, which said that the territorial administration had allowed RIL to proceed with the project without mandatory clearance as provided in the Madras River Conservancy Act 1884. The project envisaged drawal of gas from the Bay of Bengal, pipeline for 250 km and construction of a jetty, substation, block valve station, control cabin building, etc. The petition said 25 per cent of the residents of Yanam were fishermen who depended on the river Godavari for their livelihood and the project would destroy coconut plantation and mangrove forests in the region, exposing the region to flooding. AL Somayaji, senior counsel for RIL, submitted that use of natural gas is of great national importance and that the project was producing approximately 45 million standard cubic metres of gas, which is equivalent to 50 per cent of gas production in the country. He said RIL had got clearance from all statutory authorities and that the project would not harm the environment. Within the territory of Yanam, the only activity is the extraction of gas and regulation of gas flow with safety measures, Somayaji submitted. The judges, making it clear that they would have dismissed the PIL had it not highlighted some serious environment and public safety issues, said: “While we accept the claim made by RIL that the project is one of great importance for production of hydrocarbons which is a vital natural source, we do not understand why RIL should have commenced production and then obtained the approval.” Pointing out that the Puducherry government merely regularised the constructions put up by the RIL, the judges said RIL should undertake the social responsibility schemes it had outlined in its affidavit. As regards the RIL’s land use conversion applications pending before the authorities, the judges said the government must ask for and obtain an environmental impact report from expert bodies. To prevent future damage, the state government must also be satisfied that the damage was not irreversible, they said, adding that the government must have in place the necessary infrastructure to maintain periodical surveys. The RIL must be asked to publish its proposals so that the public, particularly those likely to be affected by the project, were made aware of the proposed plan, they said.

Quota row: HC notice to GMADA on Aerocity project
TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 01.23am IST

CHANDIGARH: The much-talked about Aerocity housing project floated by Greater Mohali Development Authority (GMADA) has again come under the scanner of Punjab and Haryana High Court, with the HC issuing notice to GMADA on a petition seeking inclusion of mentally challenged and mentally ill persons in the category of disabled persons. Besides GMADA, court also issued notice to the social welfare department of Punjab, seeking their reply on the contentions raised by the petitioner. Justice Surya Kant of the HC issued the notice on Tuesday while hearing a petition filed by a mentally challenged person from Ludhiana, Gurcharan Singh, through his son. After hearing the petition, Justice Surya Kant also observed that the matter involves public interest and it should be heard as a public interest litigation (PIL) on the next date of hearing, which is August 13. During hearing of the case, Samarjit, son of the petitioner, informed the court that the reservation policy for allotment of houses and plots in Punjab Urban Development Authorities (PUDA) for physically handicapped/blind in the advertisement dated June 7 issued by GMADA is in violation of Section 43 read with Section 2 (i) of the Persons with Disabilities Act. The petitioner also sought directions to modify the reservation policy for allotment of houses and plots in PUDA projects by including mentally challenged and mentally ill in the category of disabled persons since the Act does not differentiate between physically and mentally disabled. He further sought directions to GMADA to consider the application of the petitioner in the reserve category for disabled, who though is suffering from mental illness since 1985 and getting treatment from PGIMER, Chandigarh, was not allowed to apply under the reserve categories due to lacunas in the policy and the advertisement and had to apply in the general category.

Explain delay in funds for new court campus: HC to govt
Ravi Singh Sisodiya, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 02.42am IST

LUCKNOW: While taking notice that the construction of new campus of the Lucknow bench of the high court has yet not started in Gomtinagar, though the then Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan had laid foundation stone of the building in December last with the expectation that construction would be completed within the next two years, the high court has sought reply from the Central and state governments by August 6, on delay in allocation of funds. A division bench comprising Justice Rajiv Sharma and Justice Raj Mani Chauhan has taken note that the work load of the bench has increased manifold in the past 25 years and that there is acute shortage of space in the bench for keeping the court records, what to say about sitting space for the officials and officers of the registry. The court also took note that verandahs, which were once used by the litigants and advocates, have either been converted into court rooms or for accommodating sections of the registry. The court came across the said difficulties by way of an application moved by an official of the registry of the high court, Nawab Agha, who was replying to an inquiry ordered against the conduct of a dealing assistant of the registry in a pending writ petition of 1986, relating to a promotion matter of a professor. In the application, Agha disclosed the difficulties of the officials of the registry further stating that the officials have to work in adverse conditions without any basic amenities, which is bound to result in mistakes being committed by the officials ultimately resulting in affecting the administration of justice. The application preferred through lawyer, Amit Bose, indicated numerous other reasons which cause inconvenience to the litigants, officers and officials of the registry and the members of the bar. To meet the demand of the court, a new compound of the high court is to be constructed at Gomtinagar where the land has been allotted and handed over by the government to the court for construction of the court building. Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan had laid the foundation stone of the building seven months ago, but till date, the construction work has not started, submitted Bose and stressed that the construction has not started because the respective governments, both at the Centre and state, have not allocated funds for the purpose. The state lawyer sought time to seek instructions and to inform the court with regard to the status of sanction of funds for construction of high court building complex at Gomtinagar. The judges also directed the registry of the court to send copy of the order to the chief secretary of the state government in order to apprise him of the situation and take the necessary step. The high court also directed the Assistant Solicitor General of India I H Farooqui to obtain instructions from the Central government with regard to allocation of fund for the purpose of construction of the high court building. The bench of same judges will next hear the matter on August 6.

HC asks govt, Kondaiah to file objections
TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 12.03am IST
BANGALORE: Refusing to intervene, the high court on Tuesday asked the Reddy brothers and health minister B Sriramulu to reply to the show-cause notice issued by the Election Commission of India over the office-of-profit controversy. It, however, extended the deadline to file a reply to July 26 instead of the earlier July 25, which is a Sunday. Justice Mohanashantanagoudar, while adjourning hearing of the petitions by a week, asked the state government and Congress MLC K C Kondaiah to file objections to these petitions. Ministers Karunakara Reddy, Janardhana Reddy and B Sriramulu have challenged the June 3 reference sent by the governor to the Election Commission, based on a complaint by Kondaiah and the June 23 show-cause notice issued by the commission asking them to reply by July 15. The court had given them 10 more days to reply to the notice. The Election Commission, meanwhile, has replied to these petitions contending that it is a design to retard the pending process before the constitutional authorities like the commission and the governor. However, the petitioners have contended that there is no specific question either in the reference or the show-cause notice. They claim that the material on hand doesn’t attract section 9 (A) of Representation of People’s Act, 1951. “To disqualify a person on holding an office of profit as contemplated under Article 191 (1)(e) of the Constitution, there should have been a specific case as per Article 192(1). The complaint is bald and vague in nature and also the governor’s earlier notices sent to the petitioner are general in nature. They speak of illegal mining in Bellary and Chitradurga districts and links him to Anantapur Mining company and also Obulapuram Mining company in Andhra Pradesh. The Supreme Court has clearly held that holding a mining lease doesn’t come under office-of-profit explanation,” the petitioners have said.

HC dismisses SP MLA’s plea
TNN, Jul 20, 2010, 11.00pm IST

ALLAHBAAD: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition filed by Samajwadi Party MLA from Gyanpur Vijay Mishra regarding the show cause notice issued by the district magistrate, sant Ravidas Nagar on February 24, 2010. The DM had issued show cause notice to the MLA, asking reply to him as to why his licence of pistol and rifle be not cancelled. The notice was issued on the recommendation made by the police. Considering the criminal history of Mishra, the police had recommended cancellation of his arm licences. Justice Dilip Gupta passed this order on a writ petition filed by the MLA. The court dismissed the writ petition as pre-mature. The petitioner had alleged that his security had been withdrawn by the state government and there was a threat to his life. It has also been stated in the writ petition that several false criminal cases had been filed against him at the instance of ministers Rangnath Mishra and Rakeshdhar Tripathi.

‘Blacklisted’ firm okayed building HC notice to BMC, MMRDA
Swati Deshpande, TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 01.46am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday issued notices to BMC, MMRDA and Mumbai Metro One Pvt Ltd (MMOPL) for allowing a `blacklisted’ firm of structural engineers to carry out an audit of an Andheri building reportedly damaged by the use of vibrohammer during the ongoing work on the Metro project. Advocate Simran Puri for Varshana Co-operative Housing Society informed a bench of Justices Ajay Khanwilkar and Amjad Sayed that Structwel Designers & Consultants Pvt Ltd was “blacklisted by the BMC in February 2010 with no fresh work to be allotted to them for a year”. Yet, she said the firm was appointed by the MMRDA to audit the building later in February. The court was hearing a review petition filed by the housing society against a April 9, 2010 order of the HC. By that order, the HC had expressed its inability to determine under its writ jurisdiction the correctness of two different and varying reports on the same building. It thus disposed of an application filed by the housing society as well as a PIL filed by Monica Matani, one of the residents. Matani had alleged that it was the vibrohammer used without a licence by Mumbai Metro One that was causing structural damage and had weakened their residential building. The residents filed its review petition now saying that it had only on May 17 learnt that the BMC had removed Structwel from its panel on February 5, 2010 for a year. They now want a fresh audit to quantify the damage to their building and to suggest remedial measures. The residents said that an earlier report by independent structural engineers had noted “extensive structural damage to the building…due to violent vibratory motion” and recommended urgent repairs and quantification of the damage. The housing society said Structwel, appointed by MMRDA, had issued an “interim stability report” but in its final report attributed the damage to the age of the building and the poor construction quality, ignoring “rapid deterioration to the building after the metro work had begun.” Earlier this year when the society’s application was being heard seeking a structural audit, MMOPL had voluntarily deposited Rs 10 lakh with MMRDA towards payment of any audit fees and interim repairs. Incidentally, Structwel is one of the two firms which has been entrusted with the task of carrying out the pre-condition survey and mapping all buildings that come on the second metro line of Charkop-Bandra-Mankhurd. MMRDA officials when contacted said they could not comment on the issue but claimed not to know about BMC removing Structwel from its panel. The next date of hearing is August 3 by when the authorities may file their say.

Allahabad HC quashes case against officer who probed Mayawati
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Wednesday, July 21, 2010 0:45 IST
New Delhi: While refraining from pointedly holding Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati responsible for retaliation against a meritorious deputy superintendent of police who had interrogated her in corruption cases when she was out of power, the Allahabad high court (HC) last week quashed charges filed against Dhirendra Kumar Rai and directed the state to pay him Rs2 lakh in compensation for causing him trauma and agony.
Rai had not made Mayawati a party in his suit though he was able to show that she was responsible for the “oppressive” action.As a member of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) team in 2005, Rai was a part of the team that investigated the Taj corridor scam and Mayawati’s role in the same. Rai had collected evidence linking “fake donors”, who were not traceable earlier, to the corpus of Mayawati, who was then a member of parliament.
For his “skillful investigation”, the CBI had rewarded him Rs5,000. A bench of justices Devi Prasad Singh and SC Chaurasia said that it appeared that Rai had searched Mayawati’s premises and also interrogated her.
The UP government didn’t deny the court’s observation but the state’s counsel said since Rai had not impleaded Mayawati as a respondent, no mala fide intention could be attributed to her without hearing her defence.
The UP government had suspended Rai after he and his team encountered a dacoit gang, in which six policemen were killed, in July 2007. Rai had made 29 calls to his seniors, seeking help, but to no avail. He then led his team back to the police station, losing six men on the way. The UP police later charge sheeted him for misconduct in taking the decision to head back.
The HC said the decision could be called wrong, but it did not amount to misconduct. In fact, the HC wanted action taken those officers who ignored his SOS, and thus put the force at risk.
The judges said the UP government’s action against Rai was based on no evidence or evidence that does not constitute misconduct, and also based on records that appear to have been fabricated. The action was laced with fraud to create evidence against Rai, the bench said.
Deviating from Rai’s case, the Allahabad HC quoted the global corruption index saying India figures at 84 in the list of most corrupt countries and said a substantial number of persons holding high offices have criminal antecedents.
The judgment also expressed concern at criminalisation of politics, in letting then Union Carbide Corp chief Warren Anderson escape from the country. The court also expressed concern at the corruption cases against politicians and the mining scam in Karnataka.

Tata Sons drags Greenpeace to HC
Ronojoy Banerjee Posted: Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 2342 hrs ISTUpdated: Wednesday, Jul 21, 2010 at 1048 hrs IST
New Delhi: Tata Sons has moved the Delhi High Court against leading environmental NGOs Greenpeace India and Greenpeace International following a game that makes direct refrences to the company which are “disparaging” and “libelous” in nature. The online game Turtle vs Tata ( is modelled on the popular computer game Pacman.
The game shows four-headed ball-like creatures with Tata insignias embossed on them, trying to catch a helpless turtle which is desperately trying to escape.
Tata Sons has now moved the court seeking an immediate injunction on the game and slapped a Rs 10-crore defamation suit against the NGOs. The company has also claimed that Greenpeace has infringed the Tata trademark.
A Tata spokesperson said, “Greenpeace has used the Tata trademark as well as ‘T within a circle’ device without any authorisation and permission of Tata Sons, thereby infringing its trade mark rights. Greenpeace has also maligned the reputation of Tata Sons. Therefore, Tata Sons has moved the high court to seek protection for its rights on the trademark/ name TATA as well as the ‘T within a circle’ devices.” The company also said the port in question — Dhamra Port Company, which is 50-50 JV with Larsen & Toubro, has been approved by all government authorities.
New Delhi-based law firm Anand & Anand is representing the Tatas. The court has served notice to the NGOs and asked them to respond by July 27.
The game seeks to create awareness on the alleged environmental impact of Tata Steel’s deep water port in Orissa on turtles.
Ashish Fernandez, who is heading the campaign against the Tatas, told FE that so far the NGOs had not received any notice from the court and declined to comment further.
Fernandez explained that the game was an awareness-creating exercise that seeks to compel the government and corporate houses to come up with environment-friendly projects. He added that the NGO was demanding that either the project be relocated or an impact-assessment programme be carried out by the company before starting operations. “The impact assessment should be done to find out the feasibility of the project in an area like this,” Fernandez said. He said the initiative was also to make an appeal to the ministry of environment and forests to come out with stricter guidelines on such projects.
Meanwhile, the NGO has posted a letter addressed to environment minister Jairam Ramesh wherein it urges the minister to insert a…

HC clean chit to man accused of raping wife
Court dismisses case; model now faces charges for sending herself threatening e-mails
Bapu Deedwania
Posted On Wednesday, July 21, 2010 at 03:37:33 AM
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday held a woman, who had complained of rape by her estranged husband, unreliable and acquitted the accused. Further, the HC said the woman had the habit of lodging false complaints.
“We have gone through the complaint of the wife and on the peculiar facts of this case, we are satisfied that even prime facie there is no material in support of the charge under section 376-A of the IPC (forced intercourse with wife during separation).Despite the fact, both the husband and wife are engaged in series of litigation right from civil court to the Supreme Court, as of now, we do not find any reason to subject the husband for an inquiry into this case,” the court said.
According to the prosecution, Rakesh Rohiara, a businessman from Powai, tricked his second wife, Priyanka, to stay with him at a hotel, where he forced her to have a physical relationship with him.After hearing Rohiara’s defence, the Division Bench of Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice Anoop Mohta said, “The couple stayed at the hotel between June 13 and June 15, 2008, and the complaint was filed on July 16.Though the wife has been before this court in August 2008, she did not disclose that she has registered a case against her husband.The complaint, in fact, shows the wife came with the husband on her own and by way of afterthought, the case has been registered one month later and this information was even suppressed from the HC.”Now, Powai police have registered a case against Priyanka for creating an email account in her husband’s name and sending threat messages to herself from that account.Priyanka was unavailable for a comment, while Rohiara said, “For the past three years, I have been harassed by Priyanka in the courts. Now, I have some hope.”

Bombay HC: MCOCA is applicable in Malegaon blast case
The Bombay High Court ruled that the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) will be applicable in the Malegaon blast case of 2008 in which Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit are the prime accused. The court passed the order on an appeal filed by Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), challenging the MCOCA court order, which had dropped the applicability of the act on the Sadhvi and ten other accused on the grounds that the prosecution failed to produce evidence that the accused were part of an organised crime syndicate. The Malegaon blast investigations were the first instance of an official probe, which charged a Hindu terrorist group with involvement in serial blasts.UNI

HC satisfied with ATS’ response to murder plot of RSS chief

Mumbai, July 20, 2010
The Bombay High Court on Tuesday said it was satisfied with the measures adopted by anti-terrorism squad police in connection with the alleged conspiracy to murder RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.
Samir Kulkarni, one of the accused in the 2008, Malegaon blast case had sent a letter to the court from the jail stating that two witnesses had confessed to police about a plan to kill the RSS chief.
Kulkarni had sought action on these statements. On the last occasion, ATS had told the court that measures have been taken to ensure Bhagwat’s safety.
Today, after reading the report filed by additional commissioner of ATS, the division bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and Anup Mohta said that no further directions were required. The petition was later disposed of.
The ATS report said the alleged plot as revealed in the statements of Shyam Apte and Nitin Joshi (both prosecution witnesses) was probed, but it led to no further clues.
Concerning filing a separate FIR in this regard, ATS said that the chargesheet in blast case has already been filed and entire evidence, including these statements, will be placed before the special MCOCA court at the time of framing of charges.
“We are satisfied that ATS has taken notice of the statements… No further direction is required,” the division bench said.

Kolkata HC judge questions RS panel’s authority
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Justice Soumitra Sen of the Calcutta High Court, who is facing an impeachment motion for alleged financial irregularities, on Tuesday said the Rajya Sabha-appointed committee did not have the authority to conduct a probe against him as he did not commit any impropriety as a judge.

Senior advocate Shekhar Naphade, who appeared for Justice Sen before the committee, said there was no obligation under the law for a judge of a high court to come to the witness box and give evidence when the probe pertained only to his conduct as a court receiver and not as a judge.The committee constituted by Vice President Hamid Ansari comprises Supreme Court judge B Sudershan Reddy, Punjab and Haryana High Court Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and noted jurist Fali S Nariman and has been hearing charges against Justice Sen. Naphade argued that the panel could not probe into the charges of financial misappropriation against Justice Sen. He said only the order of the high court division bench, exonerating him of any wrong-doing in his professional misconduct, could be challenged before the Supreme Court. Advocate Siddharth Luthra, who appeared for the committee, had on Monday read out various entries of bank accounts held by Justice Sen in his personal and professional capacity as the court-appointed receiver and highlighted the alleged discrepancies. Justice Sen, before being appointed as a judge, had allegedly misappropriated funds to the tune of Rs 33.22 lakh as a court-appointed receiver in a case he was handling, said Luthra.Justice Sen, who was appointed as the judge of the high court on December 3, 2003, deposited Rs 57.65 lakh in a bank in 2006, the amount allegedly received by him while he was a receiver.A single judge bench of the Calcutta High Court, in its order, had held that Justice Sen had “misappropriated” funds. However, a division bench of the high court set aside the findings of the single judge and pronounced him innocent. Justice Reddy wanted to know from the counsel whether the committee could give a report to Parliament that the motion (of removal proceedings) was invalid. He asked: “Can we say that this committee is not competent to look into the charges?”Naphade said no authority, including the present committee, could go into the charges made against Justice Sen as a receiver of the high court as there was a constitutional bar under Article 215 (high Courts to be courts of record) and only an appeal under that order could be made in the Supreme Court.

HC favors Qayoom’s shifting


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State gets notice on Shaheen’s detentionISHFAQ TANTRYSrinagar, July 20: High Court Tuesday asked the government to consider shifting of detained Kashmir Bar Association President Mian Qayoom from Hiranagar jail to Central jail, Srinagar while the Court serviced notices to the State in a writ petition challenging the detention of Bar General Secretary G N Shaheen under PSA.

Qayoom was arrested on July 7 from his home and booked under PSA. He was shifted to Hiranagar sub-jail.Qayoom challenged his detention before the High Court through his counsel Advocate Zaffar Shah and Advocate M Ashraf Bhat by filing a habeas corpus writ petition. The counsels also sought shifting of detained Bar President from Hiranagar jail to Central Jail, Srinagar. While arguing the transfer application (CMP) last week, Qayoom’s counsel Zaffar Shah had told the Court that under Section 10 of Public Safety Act, it is the Government which can determine the lodgment of the detenue and District Magistrate or Divisional Commissioner has no authority to determine the lodgment beyond the jurisdiction of their respective areas.Subsequently, after hearing arguments of defence and prosecution, Justice Hakim Imtiyaz had reserved his decision into the application seeking shifting of Bar President from Hiranagar jail.The case came up for hearing today and Justice Hakim announced that the CMP related to the shifting of Qayoom is allowed.In his 18-page order, Justice Hakim directed the government to consider the lodgment of the detenue in the light of the law laid down by the Supreme Court in A K Roy case (supra) and Shabbir Ahmad Shah case (supra). In a related case, the State today filed its counter into the main writ petition challenging the detention of Qayoom under PSA. After taking the counter on record, the court gave one week time to the petitioner side to file the rejoinder if any, before posting the petition for final hearing on July 29.Meanwhile, Bar Association General Secretary G N Shaheen today challenged his detention under PSA by filing a habeas corpus petition through his counsel Advocate Zaffar Ahmad Qureshi. After entertaining the petition, the High Court issued the notices to the respondents (State) and posted the matter for hearing on July 27.Shaheen was detained on July 18 near Awantipora while on way to home. He was booked under PSA and has now been lodged at District Jail Dongri, Rajouri.In another petition relating to detention of Hurriyat (G) chairman Syed Ali Geelani, the government today filed its objections and opposed his transfer from Cheshmashahi sub jail to Central Jail, Srinagar.After taking on record the objection, High Court posted the matter for final hearing on July 29.Geelani was arrested on June 20 from Kupwara and subsequently booked under PSA. He has been lodged at Cheshmashahi sub-jail.

Ishrat case: HC directs state govt to file affidavit
20/07/2010 20:46:00
A division bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari asked advocate general Kamal Trivedi, appearing for the state, to explain why despite instruction from the court before commencement of the hearing the state government did not file any affidavit.If the state is opposed to transfer of Ishrat encounter case to CBI it has to explain it with reasons for its opposition, the court told Trivedi.The court would also like to know what material the state was relying upon to take such a stand. The state needs to file its reply in writing, it said.The apex court has laid down certain parameters for transferring a case to CBI, and the petitioners have contended that the case falls within those parameters, the court said, adding the state has not indicated its stand despite earlier order.Trivedi told the court that he would file an affidavit on Tuesday.Ishrat was gunned down along with Javed Ghulam Sheikh alias Pranesh Kumar Pillai, Amjad Ali alias Rajkumar Akbar Ali Rana and Jisan Johar Abdul Gani by Gujarat Police in Ahmedabad on June 15, 2004.

Twin cities bare claws on HC site
Bhubaneswar, July 20: Members of the Bar associations of the twin cities are on a collision course over the location of Orissa High Court with those in the capital saying it should be located there and not in Cuttack.
The Bhubaneswar Bar Association passed a resolution at its executive body meeting last evening, demanding the shifting of the high court to the capital.
Bhubaneswar Bar Association president Kishore Kar claimed that “nowhere in the country”, the high court was located outside the state capital.
“Bhubaneswar is the only exception. People across the state are suffering on account of it,” Kar argued, forgetting that the high courts of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh are not located in the respective state capitals.
The high court of Uttar Pradesh is located in Allahabad, Rajasthan’s is in Jodhpur and that of Madhya Pradesh is situated in Jabalpur.
Justifying the association’s demand, Kar said the state government had allocated nearly 11 acres of land near Patia for establishment of the high court.
“In the eighties, the government had also allotted a number of plots to senior advocates, including the advocate-general, in Bhubaneswar so they would not have any difficulty in discharging their functions staying in the state capital,” he said.
Kar threatened that the association would intensify the protest in the coming days to press for shifting of the high court.
Hrudananda Routray, senior advocate and a former president of the Bhubaneswar Bar Association, said since the high court was in Cuttack, about 30km from the capital, the entire government machinery had to move during hearing of a case.
“Huge sums of money can be saved if the high court is shifted to Bhubaneswar,” he said.
Orissa High Court Bar Council president Tahali Charan Mohanty rebutted the argument and said shifting was an unjustified demand. “After Bhubaneswar and Cuttack were declared twin cities, there is no need to shift the high court,” he said.
Mohanty pointed to a high court judgement of November 13, 1991. The high court had turned down a similar demand, he said.
“The state government has not yet objected to the judgement,” Mohanty said. He added that on several occasions, the full bench court had also turned down the demands of shifting the high court to Bhubaneswar.
Mohanty said a new eight-storied building had been constructed near Ravenshaw Collegiate School in Cuttack where many offices of the high court would be located in future.
The high court Bar association is also not in favour of establishment of any circuit bench in any part the state.
“We are opposed to it. The entire judiciary process should not be allowed to be fragmented on the wishes of a selective group of influential people,” said a senior lawyer on condition of anonymity.
Other lawyers of the high court argued that as the state government had appointed a commission headed by Justice C.R. Pal to look into the issue, all should wait for it.
However, the Bhubaneswar Bar Association alleged the judgement was misinterpreted.
Sources said the demands for shifting the high court gained momentum after Union law minister Veerappa Moily recently said the Centre would consider the demands of the lawyers to set up a high court bench in western Orissa.
The Bhubaneswar Bar association has supported the demands of the lawyers of western Orissa.
The state capital was shifted from Cuttack to Bhubaneswar in 1948. Subsequently all major offices also shifted to the capital, but the high court remained in Cuttack. It is one of the oldest cities in the state and serves as the administrative headquarters of Cuttack district.

Delhi HC rejects Sajjan Kumar’s plea in 1984 anti-Sikh riots case
The Delhi High Court dismissed senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar’s petition challenging a trial court’s order for the charges to be framed against him in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case. The former MP was facing prosecution for inciting a mob against the Sikh community in the aftermath of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s assassination on October 31, 1984. The prosecution alleges that it led to killings of six people. Hearing the case, Justice Vipin Sanghi cast aspersions on Delhi Police for cancelling the FIR against the politician when the matter was still being probed by the CBI. A trial court had termed the case as ‘untraced’ in July 2008 after the Delhi Police filed a cancellation report stating that the complainant was not traceable. Rejecting Kumar’s plea, Justice Sanghi directed the trial court to hold the proceedings against him expeditiously in the anti-Sikh riots cases. The trial court had framed charges under Sections 302 (murder), and 153A (promoting enmity between different communities) under the IPC.UNI

HC orders Centre to pay pension to 85-year-old freedom fighter
Madurai, July 20 (PTI)
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Madras High Court today directed the Centre to grant within eight weeks freedom fighter pension to an 85-year-old man who participated in the Quit India movement, observing it may not be fair to ask him to produce official records which have been ”destroyed”.

The Madurai Bench of the court was disposing of a petition by R S Mupidathi of Tirunelveli, who went underground between August 1942 and September 1943 as police were searching for him for participating in the freedom struggle.He submitted that the government directed him to produce arrest warrant or documents of court proceedings for consideration of pension.But the documents had been destroyed, he said.Though he produced personal knowledge certificates from several fellow freedom fighters, including former Maharashtra governor C Subramanian, the government had rejected his application.Justice M Jeyapaul pointed out that one of the certificates issued by fellow freedom fighter Mayandi Bharathi clearly stated that police attempted to arrest Mupidathi.Besides, the district collector had certified that the records relating to 1942 had been ‘destroyed’.The Centre should also consider the fact that the Tamil Nadu government had made some relaxations and granted the state government’s freedom fighter pension to the petitioner, the Judge said.In the absence of documentary evidence the Central government should have given importance to the certificate issued by other freedom fighters, the judge said

Ex CJI A M Ahmadi resigns as chairman of BGMT
The Supreme Court accepted the resignation of former Chief Justice of India A M Ahmadi as the chairman of Bhopal Gas Memorial Trust (BGMT), which is controlling the management of the hospital set up for Bhopal Gas leak tragedy victims. A bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia, Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Swantanter Kumar also permitted the Union Government to take over the management of the trust. Earlier Attorney General of India G E Vahanvati appearing for the Union Government submitted before the court that the resignation submitted by the former Chief Justice of India through his letter dated June 20, 2009, may be accepted and the Union Government may be permitted to take over the management of the trust in larger public interest. Recent media exposures had showed that private patients were being given preference for monetary gains at the cost of gas leak victims, most of whom were illiterate and belonging to the weaker sections of society. The hospital was set up with the money deposited by Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) as compensation in a criminal case and was exclusively meant for the gas leak victims. On December 3, 1984, about 26 years ago, poisonous Methyl Isocyanate had leaked from the Bhopal unit of UCIL leaving 15,274 people dead and thousand others handicapped for the rest of their lives. The patients, though entitled to free treatment, were being told to buy costly medicines from the market, according to media reports.UNI

Honour killings are cold blooded murder: NHRC chief
TNN, Jul 21, 2010, 02.19am IST

NEW DELHI: Former CJI and National Human Rights Commission chief K G Balakrishnan on Tuesday described honour killings as “cold blooded murder”, adding that more than a new law, awareness was needed in society against such inhuman acts. The statement comes at a time when the National Commission for Women and prominent women rights activists have been demanding a separate legislation to define honour crimes. Balakrishnan was speaking at a seminar organised by the All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) on honour killings. Underlining the deep-rooted problem, NCW chairperson Girija Vyas said the commission was dealing with 50 cases that had poured in the last two months. AIDWA vice-president and CPM politburo member Brinda Karat slammed political parties for pandering to vote bank politics and remaining silent on the issue. Society should have no right to control what women wear or do, she said, adding, “For example, if we criticise fundamentalists for making women wear burqa, we should also criticise western governments who have banned women from wearing the burqa in public places.” In keeping with its demand to define honour killing and include in its purview all other kinds of physical and mental intimidation, AIDWA has drafted a proposed law that recognises young people’s right to life, liberty and bodily integrity. The government has already set in motion amendments to various laws to recognise such killings as murder and bring speedy justice to the victims.

Whistleblowers who went to CVC suffered, stem rot: Ex-CJI to Sonia
Krishnadas Rajagopal
Posted: Wed Jul 21 2010, 02:32 hrs New Delhi:
Former Chief Justice of India RC Lahoti has written to UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi to say that the Central Vigilance Commission’s (CVC’s) initiative to protect whistleblowers, started after the murder of NHAI engineer Satyendra Dubey, has failed miserably.
Every whistleblower who has risked his life to approach the CVC has “come to grief”, even as the culprits roam free, Justice Lahoti has said. In the letter dated July 5, Justice Lahoti has squarely blamed the “dysfunctional” attitude of senior officers of the CVC for this situation.
“Let me take but one example, it would be recalled that after the unfortunate murder of Satyendra Dubey, while working in the NHAI, CVC issued a resolution extending protection to whistleblowers to save them from violent consequences,” Lahoti wrote. “Information available show that after the issue of this resolution, every whistleblower who approached CVC came to grief, while culprits remain, by and large, unharmed to this day.”
Dubey was shot dead in 2003 in Gaya for exposing corruption in the Golden Quadrilateral highway project in Bihar.
Lahoti says that he has on previous occasions through his NGO ‘India Rejuvenation Initiative’, tried to draw the attention of “high officials” in the CVC to the “unsatisfactory manner” of its functioning, but with no results.
He points out that two posts of Vigilance Commissioners have been lying vacant for the past seven months, even as the present CVC Pratyush Sinha prepares to demit office in two months.
The “deleterious consequences” at the CVC are not due to systemic failures, but the failure of those appointed to “high positions” in the commission, Lahoti writes.
Noting that the rot in CVC can be eradicated through “political resolution rather legal regulations”, he has pointed out to Sonia that a “wrong selection process” would give the government a “perfect alibi”, but would leave the public with a sense of dissatisfaction.
Advocating a transparent appointment process under public scrutiny, Justice Lahoti acknowledges the role that public scrutiny played in preventing the elevation of Justice P Dinakaran to the Supreme Court. The current practice of keeping the selection process secret only “perpetuates the present state of dysfunctional institutions”, he says.

SC gives last chance to AP on Jogini kids
July 20th, 2010
New Delhi, June 19: The Supreme Court on Monday gave the last opportunity to the Andhra Pradesh government to make its stand clear on the appointment of a commission for looking into the “misadministration” of “Joginis” children’s homes in the state.
“What is your position on appointment of the commission?” a bench, headed by Chief Justice of India, S.H. Kapadia, asked the state government counsel.
The bench said a public interest litigation (PIL) has raised the issue of “deplorable condition” of the children home.
“The state is given four weeks to appoint a commission,” the CJI in an order after acceding to the request by the state’s lawyer for adjournment.
The “Joginis” homes are reportedly run by a women’s organisation as temporary shelters for children, but they lacked basic facilities.
However, even the state government has done little to improve the condition of these homes and for the rehabilitation of delinquents.
As per the PIL the organisation had been running several such homes in the state but the government has not provided substantial help under its welfare schemes.
After the PIL was admitted in 2007, the government had proposed to set up a commission to look into the functioning of the Joginis homes on the court’s suggestion, but till date the court has not received a reply from the government.

NGO headed by former judge fined Rs 1 lakh for ‘frivolous’ PIL–frivolous–PIL/649046/
Krishnadas Rajagopal
Posted: Jul 20, 2010 at 0306 hrs IST
New Delhi Three months after the Chief Justice of India warned public interest litigants of heavy costs for frivolous petitions, a former Delhi High Court judge and an NGO of which he is “patron-in-chief” are the first casualties.
The Delhi Citizen Forum For Civil Rights was today directed to pay Rs 1 lakh as fine for espousing, as public interest litigation (PIL), the “private cause” of two “disgruntled” serving district judges of Delhi.
As for Justice J K Mehra, retired Delhi High Court judge and patron-in-chief of the NGO, the Supreme Court wondered aloud why a “retired judge, one who was part of the judiciary, should be party to this campaign”.
“If he wants publicity, he should do something else. This is vexatious litigation in the name of PIL to espouse the private cause of judicial officers who were not appointed as judges in the Delhi High Court,” a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly observed.
The NGO has not had a successful run, to say the least. The Delhi High Court dismissed the same case on March 8, 2010 and imposed a fine of Rs 10,000. Today, the Supreme Court said the High Court fine was “too conservative”. It clarified that the Rs 1 Lakh is in “addition” to the High Court’s.
This is the first such instance after the CJI, on May 12, announced the apex court’s zero-tolerance for “frivolous and vexatious public interest litigation”.
“We are convinced that this is a frivolous litigation. A sum of Rs 1 lakh is imposed as additional costs to that of Rs 10,000 ordered by the Delhi High Court. The petitioner (NGO) shall deposit this amount with the Delhi High Court Legal Services Authority within one month,” the court ordered.
Advocate Joginder Tuli, who is the NGO’s chairman, struggled to convince the Bench of the good intentions involved as regards the two senior judges.
But the court countered Tuli: “They are law graduates, they are literate. So why can’t they come on their own instead of through you? What is your locus standi and why do you intervene here?”
The two judges are PS Teji, District Judge, Karkardooma courts and IS Mehta, District Judge, Dwarka courts. Tuli argued that both were denied appointment to the Delhi High Court on the basis of an “arbitrary and unconstitutional procedure”.
“The names of two senior District Judges belonging to SC/ST Shri PS Teji, District Judge, Karkardooma courts and Shri IS Mehta, District Judge, Dwarka courts have not been considered for elevation to the Delhi High Court. This arbitrary and unconstitutional procedure adopted by the Delhi High Court has created great disgruntlement among SC/ST officers from the Delhi Judicial Services as well from other services in the country,” Tuli argued.
To Tuli’s comment that there was already complaints against the appointment of another district district judge to the Delhi High Court, the bench asked him how he got “that information” and went on to suspect that his source was his “patron-in-chief”.
“How did he (Justice Mehra) get hold of the records? He has abused his past position as judge of the high court. This is the grossest abuse of the process of court,” the bench said.
But advocate Tuli is still optimistic: “The court just wanted to know why we were in support of the two judges. Now, this means that court wants the two judges to themselves approach the court. This turns out good for them.”

Most dangerous Judge is one who doesn’t speak – Ram Jethmalani
July 21, 2010
Boris Paul
The Pune Bar Association has opposed the Bar Council of India’s proposal for holding mandatory entrance exam for law graduates. Those who pass can argue in court. Your take on this?I do not agree with the Bar Council of India’s (BCI) decision to make it (exam) compulsory for students who have already got their law degree to allow them to argue cases in the court
Why are you opposed to the entrance exam for the law graduates?The Advocates Act says that one has a right to practice as an advocate once one gets the law degree. The Act does not contemplate two classes of advocates. The exam does nothing.
It is not warranted by law. One cannot become a good advocate by passing an extra entrance exam. Rather, senior lawyers must be encouraged to train young lawyers in their office.
Can any Indian SC Judge stand the kind of cross-examination of the kind Elena Kagan faced?Barack Obama, president of USA, nominated Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court. In USA, the judges must be first approved by a committee of Senators.
They have to face the cross-examination by 18 Senators for three days. Kagan’s cross-examination was a televised public hearing.
She was asked various questions regarding the articles she had written, her professorial job, and a lot more. She gave excellent answers on jurisprudence and constitutional law.
Most of all, she could withstand these three days of horror with ease. Questions from Republicans were more tough as she was nominated by Obama, who is a Democrat.
You said during your interaction with law students here that in India, nobody knows why a judge is selected, refused appointment, or who will get promotion. Please elaborate.Not one SC Judge from India can stand the cross-examination that Kagan faced. Judges and lawyers are members of the same family. So, they should not assume that they are somebody superior.
Lawyers must have a say in the appointment of Judges because every lawyer knows whether an aspiring judge is honest or not. But the sad fact is that the Bar has lost its voice, it has turned into a bunch of flatterers.
We don’t need lawyers who want to put their sons and relatives on the Bench. When this happens, people like Justice Dinakaran get through. This lack of transparency must be taken out.
In fact, Justice V Krishna Iyer said, “This appointment system (of judges) is the most incestous”, and all incest is in secrecy.
During the Q&A session, you said non-speaking judges are the most dangerous. Please elaborate.Judges who never tried cases under even section 323 of IPC are deciding matters of life and death in the Supreme Court. I have appeared before judges who have no knowledge of criminal law.
If judges don’t have full knowledge about a particular of law, they must have the decency to go to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and admit it. How many of them have the gumption to do it?
The most dangerous judge is a non-speaking one, because only if he reacts or talks would you come to know if he has understood the case, or not.
Another statement of yours today — “Out of the past 12 CJIs, half have been corrupt”. Will you comment further on this?Supreme Court advocate Prashant Bhushan said that out of the past 12 CJIs, half have been corrupt. But then, a contempt of court case was filed against him, Is it right do so against a person who has the courage to say such a thing?
Even S P Bharucha when Chief Justice of Gujarat HC, said that more than 80 per cent of judges in this country are corrupt. Does anybody have the gumption to file contempt of court proceedings against him? We all know who gets bitten the most by corruption
(Interview published in

Court’s concern at development at the cost of livelihood of landowners
J. Venkatesan
To millions of Indians, development is dreadful word aimed at denying them even source of sustenance
Why is state’s vision of development at such great odds with the people it purports to develop?
New Delhi: The Supreme Court has expressed concern that the path of development by depriving landowners of their land seemed to give rise to insurgency and political extremism which, along with terrorism, are supposed to be the three gravest threats to the country’s integrity and sovereignty.
A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and B.S. Chauhan, in a judgment on Monday, said: “the whole issue of development appears to be so simple, logical and commonsensical. And yet, to millions of Indians, development is a dreadful and hateful word that is aimed at denying them even the source of their sustenance.”
The Bench said “the resistance with which the state’s well meaning efforts at development and economic growth are met makes one to think about the reasons for such opposition to the state’s endeavours for development. Why is the state’s perception and vision of development at such great odds with the people it purports to develop? And why are their rights so dispensable? Why do India’s GDP and HDI [Human Development Index, which is broadly used as measure of life expectancy, adult literacy and standard of living] present such vastly different pictures? With the GDP of $ 1.16 Trillion [for 2008] Indian economy is twelfth largest in U.S. Dollar terms and it is the second fastest growing economy in the world. But according to the Human Development Report 2009 [published by UNDP], the HDI for India is 0.612 [for 2007] which puts it at the 134th place among 182 countries. India has maintained the same HDI and rank since the previous year, and it continues to be categorised under ‘Medium Human Development’.”
Writing the judgment, Justice Alam said the fears expressed by Dr. B.R. Ambedkar in the Constituent Assembly had been confirmed. “A blinkered vision of development, complete apathy towards those who are highly adversely affected by the development process and a cynical unconcern for the enforcement of the laws lead to a situation where the rights and benefits promised and guaranteed under the Constitution hardly ever reach the most marginalised citizens.”
The Bench said: “This is not to say that the relevant laws are perfect and very sympathetic towards the dispossessed. There are various studies that detail the impact of dispossession from their lands on tribal people. On many occasions laws are implemented only partially. The scheme of land acquisition often comes with assurances of schools, hospitals, roads, and employment. The initial promises, however, mostly remain illusory. The aims of income restoration and house resettlement prove to be very difficult. Non-compliance with even the basic regulations causes serious health problems for the local population and contamination of soil and water.”
The court expressed concern that violent group of political extremists had been able to gain sufficient strength to pose a threat to constitutional governance of the state. “This group openly defies the democratic system of the country and is committed to overthrow the Constitution by brutal and murderous means. According to news paper reports, in the district of Sundergarh, where the acquired lands are situated, the extremist group looted 550 kg of explosives in April 2003 and in August 2009 blew up a railway station. The other fact is that this is not an isolated case. We have come across many such cases of land acquisition.”
In the instant case, Mahanadi Coalfields Ltd. the appellant, challenged the order of the Orissa High Court directing the Centre and the MCL to pay compensation to the landowners (petitioners before the High Court) whose lands in the Revenue Village of Gopalpur in Sundergarh district, Orissa, were acquired in 1987 to facilitate mining of coal in those areas.
The Bench took into the consideration the fact that the landowners were not paid compensation for the last 23 years and directed the Centre to set up a Claims Commission to determine the payment of compensation in six months. Thereafter the amount would be paid in two months. The matter was directed to be listed after the receipt of report from the Centre.

Pending PILs fail to pass CJI scrutiny

Mail Today Bureau
New Delhi, July 20, 2010

When it comes to public interest litigations (PILs), Chief Justice of India (CJI) S.H. Kapadia thinks differently from his predecessor K.G. Balakrishnan.
In fact, he doesn’t mind going against the former CJI’s views. A bench presided over by Justice Kapadia on Monday not only screened fresh PILs but also dismissed some others being heard by the court since 2007.
“We are not here to set up public toilets,” Justice Kapadia said while dismissing a PIL, filed in 2007, seeking implementation of a sanitation campaign launched by the government in 1999.
On January 7, 2008, a bench presided over by the then CJI Balakrishnan had issued a notice to the government on the PIL and had sought a report on the progress made in providing sanitation facilities in rural areas.
The matter, thereafter, was listed before the court on seven occasions until it was abruptly dismissed on Monday by the new chief justice.
The PIL on public sanitation was preceded by one relating to road accidents and this, too, suffered the same fate. The petition was filed in 2007 by one Pankaj Kumar Mishra and this was the 13th listing of the case.
“How can this court prevent road accidents?” Justice Kapadia asked while refusing to entertain the petition.
The petition said 1,500 tribals had died in accidents on a 145-km stretch of a road in the Siddharth Nagar district of Uttar Pradesh since 2003, but nothing had been done.
A bench presided over by Balakrishnan had in 2007 issued notice to the UP government on Mishra’s PIL, but CJI Kapadia apparently took a different view.
Another petition relating to the efficacy of some tribunal filed by one R.V. Sheth in January was dismissed during the hearing on Monday. The petition had passed the initial scrutiny, with a bench presided over by Balakrishnan issuing a notice to the Centre on January 5.
Earlier, a writ petition seeking voting rights for NRIs was withdrawn after Justice Kapadia stressed that it was not for the courts to interfere in policy matters.
“These must stop now. We can’t interfere in matters of policy and governance,” Justice Kapadia, who seemed to be on a mission to educate litigants, said.
Dismissing yet another PIL seeking an increase in the quota for women in Parliament, he said the court had no right to issue such a writ.
“How can we increase reservation?” he said while attempting to convince the octogenarian petitioner.
The CJI, however, was not totally averse to taking up matters of public interest. He decided to fast- track a matter concerning the plight of children of joginis (who are similar to devdasis) in Andhra Pradesh.
The matter was pending since 2007 when the court had taken suo motu cognizance of the problems faced by such children.
When the matter was taken up for hearing, the state government counsel said the government would file a counter affidavit.
“We don’t want a counter. We want a statement on constitution of a commission to look into the problems of such children,” Justice Kapadia said.
The counsel thereafter sought an adjournment for seeking instructions from the government.
Justice Kapadia has already made public his strong views against the tendency to consider PILs as a panacea for all ills.
Soon after taking charge, he had stated such petitions would be dismissed with costs.
His decision to dismiss the PILs which had already passed the scrutiny of the court earlier may have surprised the petitioners, but not lawyers who have been witness to such decisions since he took over.
Among other petitions, he had refused to entertain a PIL questioning the relevance of forcing socialism on political parties.

DU, DUTA to continue talks
HT Correspondent, Hindustan TimesEmail AuthorNew Delhi, July 21, 2010
First Published: 00:45 IST(21/7/2010)Last Updated: 00:47 IST(21/7/2010)
The Delhi High Court (HC) on Tuesday said that the negotiation process between the Delhi University Teachers’ Association (DUTA) and Delhi University (DU) over the implementation of the semester system would continue. The court set July 26 for the next hearing. The new academic session begins on Wednesday but the impasse over the implementation of the semester system in 13 science courses continues. The negotiations between the representatives of DUTA and DU failed to reach any consensus.
Some colleges have toed the DUTA line till now. They have already prepared the time table according to the annual examination system. Others were waiting for Tuesday’s judgment.
On Tuesday, the registrar of DU, in a letter to all the college principals asked them to implement the semester system in all the 13 science courses.
The letter also asked the principals to follow the new syllabus and prepare the time table according to the semester system.
The high court had earlier asked DUTA and DU to resolve the issue through discussions.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Wednesday, July 21, 2010

LEGAL NEWS 13.07.2010

Reddy gets time to reply to EC notice

First Published : 13 Jul 2010 05:57:25 AM IST

Last Updated : 13 Jul 2010 11:23:26 AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday granted 10 more days to Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy to reply to the show cause notice issued by the Election Commission of India (ECI).

While hearing a writ petition filed by Karunakara Reddy, Justice Mohanshantan Gowder issued notice to the secretary to the Governor, Election Commission of India and K C Kondaiah, MLC.

Reddy is seeking the quashing of the show cause notice issued by the ECI on June 23, 2010 and the Governor’s letter of June 3, 2010 to the ECI.

Acting on the complaint of Congress leader Kondaiah, the Governor wrote a letter to ECI: “Prima facie evidence shows that illegal mining has become a critical problem in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh and very powerful influences are hampering the investigation.

“The allegation needs not only thorough investigation by an independent agency to deal effectively with the offenders, but it also warrants that the opinion of the ECI should be obtained to take on the question regarding disqualification of the members of the Assembly.”

Based on this letter, the ECI issued notices to the Reddy brothers, asked them to reply to the notices on or before July 15 and to file written documents regarding the complaints.

The petitioner stated that based on a false complaint, the ECI had issued notice and that OMC was situated in Andhra Pradesh. However, the petitioner is a member of the Karnataka Assembly. So the consideration of disqualification of membership does not arise, he said.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Infrastructure Minister G Janardhana Reddy and Health Minister B Sriramulu have also filed writ petitions in the High Court. Both are challenging the show cause notice issued to them by the ECI. The matter will come up for hearing on Tuesday.

HC notice to govt on renaming of Kadapa

By Our Legal Correspodent

First Published : 13 Jul 2010 07:32:15 AM IST

Last Updated : 13 Jul 2010 10:37:14 AM IST

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the AP High Court comprising Chief Justice Nisar Ahmad Kakru and Justice Vilas Afzulpurkar on Monday ordered notice to the state government on a writ petition questioning the renaming of Kadapa district after the former chief minister Dr. YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

Jayashree, a practising advocate and a functionary of the Human Rights Forum, Kadapa, and others questioned the manner and merits of the decision taken by the state government.

It was contended that the decision is contrary to the provisions of the Districts Formation Act 1974. In the writ petition, it was also contended that the authorities are required to consider, at the time of such application, the historicity connected to the existing name and also the need for change.

It was complained that objections relating to the person, after whom the district was renamed, were not considered by the government. The objections deal with allegations of a life littered with criminal acts including those of illegal mining, factionalism, etc. and that the name is a bad example to civic society.

State advocate general DV Sitaram Murthy strongly objected to the various allegations and said that it was not justiciable as naming districts was a decision best left to the government.

It was also argued that the only issue that can be judicially reviewed was whether the government followed the statutory provision. He specifically referred to allegations which he termed as wild and unwarranted against a former chief minister who was arguably one of the best seen in recent times.

He said that making such wild and vile allegations against a dead person was totally unwarranted and should be expunged from pleading in a court of record.

When he pointed out that the state cannot be called upon to meet such allegations, the Chief Justice said the government respond only to those allegations that it thinks necessary as the bench did not admit the case and was only ordering notice before admission.

Petition against term “socialist” in Constitution rejected

J. Venkatesan

The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed as withdrawn a writ petition challenging the validity of Section 2 of the Constitution (42nd Amendment) by virtue of which the word ‘socialist’ was inserted in the Preamble to the Constitution.

The petition, filed by the Good Governance India Foundation, also challenged the validity of Section 29 A (5) of the Representation of the People Act, which was inserted by way of Section 6 of the RP (Amendment) Act, 1989 making it incumbent upon every political party registered in India to pledge allegiance to the socialist ideal, failing which such a party would be rejected from registration.

A three-Judge Bench comprising Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia and Justices K.S. Radhakrishan and Swatanter Kumar, after hearing senior counsel Fali Nariman, Solicitor-General Gopal Subramaniam for the Centre and counsel Meenakshi Arora for the Election Commission permitted the petitioner to withdraw the petition saying that the issues raised would be left open and decided as and when the situation arose.

Mr. Nariman submitted that the 42nd Amendment, evolved in the climate of national Emergency, violated the basic structure of the Constitution. Prior to the amendment, the Preamble read as follows “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign democratic republic.” After the amendment, the Preamble read: “We, the people of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a sovereign socialist secular democratic republic.”

Ambedkar’s opposition

Mr. Nariman read out debates in the Constituent Assembly to drive home the point that Dr. Ambedkar had opposed the inclusion of word ‘socialist’ in the Constitution. He said the court should go into the question whether the powers under Article 368 to amend the provisions would include the power to amend even the Preamble. Justice Kapadia, however, told Mr. Nariman that so far no political party had challenged this and every one had subscribed to it. The court would consider it when the Commission faced challenge from any political party.

The NGO, in its petition, contended that the 42nd Amendment altered the Preamble, which was impermissible as it contained the ideals and aspirations or the objects which the Constitution-makers intended to be realised by its enacting provisions. It said that such an insertion was wholly inconsistent with the phrase ‘liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship,’ in the Preamble itself.

The petitioner submitted that the 42nd Amendment attempted to create a particular ideological basis for adherence to the Constitution, which was against the principles of a multi-party democracy and which breached the unity and integrity of the nation. The ingestion of the socialist principle was antithetical to the principle of democracy, which was considered a basic structure of the Constitution.

Foreign citizenship, domicile no bar for courts to take up matrimonial cases

Special Correspondent

Indian courts have jurisdiction to take up matrimonial proceedings involving two Hindus governed by the Hindu Marriage Act (HMA) even in cases where the opposite party is a foreign national having his domicile outside India, the Madras High Court has held.

Dismissing an appeal against a single Judge’s order, a Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and K.K. Sasidharan, in its judgment said when a wife was given the right to initiate proceedings before the local District Court where she was actually residing, such a provision could not be defeated by taking a technical plea that no such proceedings would lie on account of foreign citizenship of the husband or his domicile in another country.

The substantial issue in the appeal pertained to legality of a matrimonial proceedings initiated by actor R. Sukanya before a family court in Chennai against her husband having his domicile in New Jersey (USA.)

R. Sridharan was an Indian citizen and, on migration to the US, was granted that country’s citizenship.

The actor was residing adjacent to his residence in Chennai. Their marriage was solemnised on April 17, 2002 as per Hindu rites and customs at the Balaji temple in New Jersey.

In January 2003, the actor came to India for a short visit promising to return after completing her dance programme. Later, against her promise she started acting in films with no plans of returning to the US. She filed a divorce petition before the Principal Family Court, Chennai, on grounds of cruelty.

Mr. Sridharan was not aware of the proceedings. An ex parte order of divorce was granted in July 2004. After he took steps, the Family Court set aside its order. On his appearance, he filed the counter.

In the meanwhile, Mr. Sridharan filed a petition before the Madras High Court seeking a writ of prohibition contending that the Family Court, Chennai, had no jurisdiction to entertain the divorce proceedings as he was a US citizen. The court in India had no jurisdiction.

The actor countered that the marriage was solemnised with Hindu rites and customs.

Hence, the rights and obligations of the parties ran from the HMA.

A single Judge said the court in India exercising jurisdiction under the HMA had jurisdiction to entertain the divorce petition irrespective of the present residence of the opposite party. He dismissed the writ petition. Hence, the present appeal.

The Bench said that earlier under section 19 HMA (court to which petition shall be presented) it was not possible for a woman to initiate proceedings before the court in whose jurisdiction she was residing. Because of this, serious prejudice was caused to women.

Following an amendment, the wife was now entitled to file a matrimonial petition before the District Court in whose jurisdiction she was residing.

The legislation had to be given an extended coverage even outside the territory to which it ran. When the parties were governed by the HMA, the jurisdiction and the grounds for annulling the marriage should be as provided under the Act.

The domicile or citizenship of the opposite party was immaterial in a case like this. It was the wife’s residence which determined the question of jurisdiction in case the proceedings were initiated at her instance, the Bench said.

As the divorce petition was pending before the Family Court since 2004, the Bench requested the lower court to decide the petition as expeditiously as possible, in any case within two months.

Court orders recount after EVM slur


Calcutta, July 12: Calcutta High Court today asked the Election Commission to recount the votes cast during last year’s Lok Sabha polls in the Balurghat constituency, following allegations of error in counting.

Justice Maharaja Sinha issued the directive on a writ petition moved by the Trinamul Congress candidate of the constituency, Biplab Mitra.

Mitra had lost the elections, held in May last year, to the RSP’s Prasanta Majumdar by 5,105 votes.

The results delivered by EVMs are tabulated in two forms. In the first form, the result from each individual machine is tabulated and the final results are compiled in the second form.

After losing the Balurghat Lok Sabha seat last year, Mitra had complained that the tabulation from the individual machines — there were 1,232 polling stations — had indicated that he had won the election.

However, when the final compilation was made, Mitra found that he had lost.

“My client had earlier complained to the chief electoral officer of the state. But since there was no reply, he approached the high court,” said Bimal Chatterjee, Mitra’s advocate.

The court ordered that the results of the two forms be compared on July 26.


Book row: Udayanraje to file curative petition–Udayanraje-to-file-curative-petition/645507

Express News Service

 Posted: Tue Jul 13 2010, 00:10 hrs Pune:

NCP MP and direct descendant of Maratha warrior Chhatrapati Shivaji, Udayanraje Bhosale on Monday announced that he would file a curative petition against the apex court judgement lifting ban on the book Shivaji: The Hindu king in Islamic India authored by James Laine as it contains derogatory remarks about the Maratha king.

“The apex court judgement needs to be challenged as it lifts the ban on the book that has derogatory remarks on the national hero,” Bhosale said.

“We will not tolerate derogatory remarks made on the Maratha warrior. The state government should take action against all those who helped the author of the book.” Bhosale said he would soon meet the President Pratibha Patil demanding her to give directions to government on framing law that would not allow anyone to make derogatory remarks on the national heroes. The NCP leader said he has also urged the city cyber crime department to take action against the websites that carries derogatory remark on the Maratha warrior.

Maharashtra, Karnataka fight over Belgaum

Posted on Jul 13, 2010 at 08:14 | Updated Jul 13, 2010 at 09:39

Belgaum: The border dispute between Maharashtra and Karnataka is spiraling out of control after the case took an important turn in the Supreme Court on Monday, as the court permitted the Maharashtra government to amend its original suit challenging the validity of a law that allowed the inclusion of some areas with a Marathi-speaking population in Karnataka five decades ago.

The decision of the Supreme Court to reject the affidavits filed by Karnataka as well as the Centre had sparked the violence. The miscreants from both sides attacked buses coming from the other side of the border. Three Maharashtra state buses were burnt at Kittur in Belgaum district by suspected activists of the Kannada Rakshana Vedike. MNS activists allegedly torched Karnataka state buses in Thane, Pune, Kolhapur and Solapur. Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation then decided to cancel buses to Karnataka for next two days.

Activists of the Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) were lathicharged by Belgaum Police. The activists were protesting the Centre’s affidavit in the Supreme Court saying Belgaum district in Karnataka cannot be ceded to Maharashtra merely because it has a large Marathi speaking population.

Here’s the history of five-decade old border dispute and when did it all begin:

On 1956: the Belguam district was incorporated into the newly formed Mysore state.

On 5 June, 1960: Government of India constituted Mahajan Committee to look into the border dispute.

Mahajan commission rejected Maharashtra’s claim on Belgaum city. The Maharashtra Ekikaran Samiti (MES) came into being in 1948 for the sole purpose of getting Belgaum into Maharashtra.

On 27 October, 2005: the MES-controlled Belguam City Corporation passed a resolution for the merger of disputed border areas in the district of Belgaum.

Pro-Karnataka group called Kannada Rakshana Vedike manhandled the BCC mayor Vijay More, former mayor Shivaji Sunthakar and former legislator B I Patil, in Bangalore.

On 21 November, 2005: the Karnataka government dissolved the Council, under pressure from Kannada activists.

Shiv Sena Chief Bal Thackeray warned that Kannadigas in Maharashtra will be attacked if even a single Marathi-speaking person in Belgaum is targeted.

On 15 March 2006: the Maharashtra government filed a petition in the Supreme Court.

On 25 September, 2006: for the first time Karnataka government convened a five-day Assembly session in Belgaum to assert its hold over the border city. The Houses unanimously adopted a resolution, endorsing the Mahajan Commission report.

The Supreme Court began its hearing on Maharashtra’s petition on January 17, 2007.

ICSE board also discriminatory: Supreme Court

Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 0:28 IST

New Delhi: Amidst utter confusion over the differential criteria adopted for the junior college admissions, the Supreme Court on Monday asked the state government to file an affidavit explaining its decision of introducing the best-five rule for SSC students.

During the two-hour hearing of the case, senior counsel Harish Salve defended the government’s decision in bringing out the rule which the Bombay high court had struck down as “discriminatory”.

Justices VS Sirpurkar and Cyriac Joseph said they were not keen on examining the board’s powers to frame guidelines. However, they were interested in examining the merit of SSC students who passed in all six subjects and ICSE students who passed five subjects out of seven.

The judges felt the ICSE board’s system was also discriminatory as one student may study hard and secure a certain percentage, but his other classmates who concentrate only on five subjects and fail in two may score higher marks.

Salve contended there was lack of uniformity in the education sector all over the country. The judges observed that if the dichotomy seen in the best-five case could be resolved by an amendment in law, it would be of great redress to students.

“Students are students. Let’s not describe them as their [ICSE] students and our students [SSC[,’’ the court remarked.
Under the policy, an SSC student’s top five scores in six subjects are considered while calculating his percentage.

Cheques on bets: Gambler lands in Supreme Court

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 04.15am IST

NEW DELHI: Gambling and betting may be illegal but yes, cheques accepted.

In an unusual case, Delhi-based Jatin Thakker, who betted heavily on cricket matches and lost, was abducted by those whom he owed money and was coerced to pay the dues through cheques. The cheques bounced and, surprisingly, the creditors moved the trial court under section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act against Jatin to recover the dues.

Their action did not end there, either. To recover the betting amount, the complainants began threatening Jatin and his wife Falguni that their daughters would be kidnapped.

Caught in a vicious web, where going to police could land them in jail for participating in gambling while harm could come to them if they did not pay up, the Thakkar family — husband, wife and their two minor daughters — moved Supreme Court on Monday, seeking protection.

Appearing for the petitioners, advocate H A Raichura pleaded before a Bench comprising Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale that it was a mercy petition to help a beleaguered couple harassed by those running betting syndicates.

“The petitioners are trapped in a blackmail situation where consequences of approaching police or court could be even worse,” he said. But the Bench said there was little the courts could do to protect the petitioners, who should approach either police or the court concerned.

The petitioners said Jatin was abducted from Akshardham temple in Delhi by unknown people and kept in illegal custody for four days during which “about 120 cheques and several bonds and promissory notes were extorted from him before being released”. This made the family migrate to Gujarat to escape the tormentors, Raichura said.

The couple, in their 30s, told the court that they were living in abject fear and “had made dying declaration and kept it in bank locker No. 1142, Kalupur Cooperative Bank, Ahmed Nagar Branch, Ahmedabad”.

With the apex court not willing to entertain their writ petition, Raichura said he would withdraw the petition and move an appropriate forum for relief.








Why bias against ICSE, SC asks Maharashtra

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 04.23am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday questioned Maharashtra Secondary Education Board’s seemingly discriminatory attitude towards students of ICSE schools seeking admission to Class XI in state board-run colleges.

Under new rules for admissions to Class XI, the state board stipulated that the average of all seven subjects would be applicable to ICSE students. However, ‘the best of five’ subjects criterion applies to CBSE students and pupils of the state board, who have to study six subjects in Class X.

In another glaring anomaly, if an ICSE student fails in two of his subjects and does very well in the other five, he stands to sail through the admission process. In contrast, if an ICSE student appears in all seven, does well in five but gets poor marks in two, then his average for the purpose of admission to a state board-run junior college gets pulled down, because the average would be calculated for all seven subjects.

After explaining in detail the logic behind the new admission rule, which has been struck down by the Bombay High Court as discriminatory, the state board’s counsel Harish Salve dropped loud hints that he would consult the authorities about extending the ‘best of five’ option to ICSE students and get back to the court on Tuesday.

The state board had, through the new regulation, intended to provide a level playing ground for its students by specifying that in matters of admission to Class XI, the marks in five out of six subjects would be considered, leaving out the least scoring subject.

A bench comprising Justices V S Sirpurkar and Cyriac Joseph did not object to this regulation. But it objected to the rule which stipulated that ICSE students, who are required to appear in seven subjects in Class X, would not get the same benefit while seeking admission in junior state board colleges. An ICSE student is declared pass if he scores pass marks in five out of seven subjects. So, if a student fails in two subjects and applies for admission in a state board-run junior college, he would get the benefit of best of five.

SC allows Maharashtra to amend its suit on Belgaum

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 02.54am IST

NEW DELHI: Attempting to repair the damage caused to it over the contentious Belgaum issue, the Maharashtra government on Monday told the Supreme Court that it wanted to amend its suit claiming to include Belgaum in the state by specifying how the wishes of people in the area were not taken into account while drawing the boundary of the state with Karnataka.

Conspicuous by his absence on Monday’s hearing before a Bench comprising Justices J M Panchal and A K Patnaik was the lawyer for the Centre, which recently filed an affidavit stating that there was no anomaly in the inclusion of Marathi speaking area of Belgaum in Karnataka.

In the suit filed by Maharashtra challenging the inclusion of Belgaum in Karnataka under the State Reorganization Act 1956, the Centre had filed an affidavit stating that language was never the sole criterion in deciding reorganization of states and that Maharashtra had no right over Belgaum.

Appearing for Maharashtra and pressing for amendment to the suit, senior advocate Harish Salve said there were certain settled principles on which boundary disputes between states were decided in the past. Wishes of people and linguistic criteria were not considered while ceding of Belgaum area to Karnataka, he said, intending to point this out in the application.

The Bench permitted the state to file an amended suit within four weeks. Meanwhile, it asked the Karnataka government, represented by senior advocate Fali Nariman, to respond to it within eight weeks. The matter was posted for further hearing after three months.

Interestingly, throughout the proceedings, the Centre was conspicuous by its absence. It was the Centre’s affidavit that created ripples last week with the Union home ministry affidavit claiming “language of the people has been one criteria, but not the sole criterion for inclusion of any area, that is, village, taluka, municipal area in a state”.

The affidavit further said that reorganization of states was carried out in 1956 and 1960 on the basis of various criteria with language being one such factor. It even justified the transfer of certain areas to then Mysore (now Karnataka) claiming that the Parliament and Union government considered all relevant factors while considering the reorganization of states.

However, in a later clarification issued by the home ministry, it maintained that it stuck to its original stand on the matter of reorganization since the affidavit was filed in response to an application and not in the main matter.

India to improve quality of judiciary: Moily

Updated on Saturday, July 10, 2010, 15:28 IST

London: India would take measures to improve the quality of the judiciary by reforming the legal education system and making the country the most preferred destination for investors by setting up international arbitration courts with a mandate to dispose off any litigation within a year.

“The Government of India would like to improve quality of the judiciary through reforming the legal education. We need to make India the most preferred destination of investment,” Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily said last night.

Moily, a former chief minister of Karnataka and Chairman of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission, said: “any investment above Rs five crore will be decided in commercial courts within a year.”

He said that the Indian government’s first priority is to reform the legal education and upgrade the course contents in the 933 law colleges across the country.

“There are more than one million lawyers in India. We intend to restructure the faculty of our law colleges and make them world class. The second priority for the Government is to strengthen and widen the centres of excellences and establish more National Law Schools, at least one each in each of the 28 states,” he said.

Deputy High Commissioner to UK RN Prasad was present along with Moily during his interactions with journalists.

Moily said the Government would like to put in place a legal regulatory regime and an oversight mechanism for the smooth functioning of the judiciary without infringing on the independence of the judiciary.

“In the first stage, with a view to fast track the delivery of justice and creating centres of excellence, we established National Law Schools. Now in the second stage, we would like to introduce the second generation legal reforms.

At present litigation in India involves delay of over 15 years. The Government would like to reduce this delay to less than 3 years,” he said.

Moily said the Commercial Court Bill would soon become a law, paving the way for speedy disposal of cases through arbitration. Lok Sabha has passed the Bill and it will go before the Rajya Sabha now.

The Minister said the amendment of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act would remove the distractions and make the legislation more vibrant.

Moily, who is visiting the UK at the invitation of the British Secretary of State for Justice Kenneth Clarke, said he had very warm, coordial and fruitful meeting with Clarke and he was quite happy with his visit.

He said Clarke reiterated the resolve of the coalition government to develop a special relationship with India and build closer ties in all spheres including the judiciary.

Expressing his admiration for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Clarke acknowledged India’s “powerful regard for the rule of law” and spoke of the challenges the Indian judicial system faces.

Moily also had meetings with the Lord Chief Justice and the Attorney General. Moily will return back home tomorrow.

The minister also met Chairman of the Legal Services Board David Edmonds and Chair of the Judicial Appointments Committee Baroness Usha Prashar.

He had a Round Table discussions with the Bar Council of UK, Law Society of UK, Society of Asian Lawyers and the London Court of International Arbitration which he described as “constructive and purposeful.”

Moily also interacted with several UK law firms and the UK India Business Council, visited the Supreme Court of UK to witness the proceedings and attended a reception at the House of Commons.

Emphasising that India has evolved a National Litigation Policy, Moily said Government at the Centre and States are the biggest litigants and efforts were on to settle them at the earliest.

In rural areas, the Gram Nyayalaya including Mobile Courts have been set up and the Gram Nyayala would dispose off cases within six months. In the next five years, there will be 5,000 Gram Nyayalayas (village courts), he said.

On the question of opening up the Legal system to foreign legal firms, he said, the issue is being discussed with the Bar council of India.

“There is slight change in their perception,” he said.

Answering a question on the Bhopal Gas issue, he said “in future it will not be repeated”.

Replying to a specific question of Britain wanting to have a Special Relation with India, he said: “Government of India is also enthusiastic about having a Special Relationship with Britain in several spheres.”


Named by police as Maoist ‘mastermind’, Lingaram protests his innocence

Aman Sethi

Smita Gupta

Academic threatens to take stern action against the police for “act of gross defamation”

In a press conference on Sunday, S.R.P Kalluri, Senior Superintendent of Police of Chhattisgarh’s Dantewada district, identified the prime suspect behind the July 6 attack on the house of Congress worker and civil contractor Avdesh Singh Gautam. According to a press release circulated by the Chhattisgarh police, “this attack was masterminded by Lingaram Kodopi, a resident of Sameli village.”

“In the last few months, Kodopi had received training in terrorist techniques in Delhi and Gujarat,” the release stated, claiming that Lingaram was “in touch” with writer Arundhati Roy, activist Medha Patkar and Nandini Sundar, a sociology professor at the Delhi School of Economics. The police also said that Kodopi was tipped to succeed Communist Party of India (Maoist) central spokesperson Azad, after the latter was killed by the Andhra Pradesh Police on July 2 this year.

Those named in the press release have condemned this attempt to drag them into the case and Professor Sundar said she intended to take stern action against the police for what she described as an act of gross defamation.

Curiously, despite naming Lingaram the Chhattisgarh-in charge of the Maoists, the State police have so far made no attempt to arrest him, raising questions whether the police even believe their own version of events. Lingaram is currently enrolled in a journalism programme at the International Media Institute of India in Noida. He held a tearful press conference in New Delhi on Monday protesting his innocence.

Security experts have questioned the rationale behind the police publicly announcing the name of a possible Maoist “mastermind” and only then seeking to apprehend him. “Frankly, they [the police] have destroyed the case before they made it, if they did ever have a case,” said Dr. Ajai Sahni, Executive Director of the Institute for Conflict Management. “If Lingaram wanted, he could have gone underground by now. They have been compromised operationally and legally.”

Director-General of Police, Chhattisgarh, Viswarajan, told The Hindu a police team had been dispatched to Delhi to question Kodopi. “We are acting on information that a contact passed on to SSP Kalluri,” said the DGP. “Arrests, if any, will be made only after questioning Lingaram.”

Speaking to reporters, Lingaram broke down as he narrated his past experiences with the Chhattisgarh police. “I have no connection with the Maoists,” he said. “The police is simply harassing me.” His lawyers said he was ready to answer any questions the police might have.

“In September last year, the Dantewada police picked me up from my village and kept me in detention for 40 days,” Lingaram said, alleging that the police repeatedly tried to force him to become a Special Police Officer. “The police released me only when my family approached the Chhattisgarh High Court in Bilaspur and filed a habeas corpus petition.”

Fighting back tears, he said he would prefer to kill himself to facing the prospect of being arrested and tortured by the Chhattisgarh police again.

Writ petition (habeas corpus) No. 5469/2009, filed in the High Court on September 18 2009 by Lingaram’s brother, Masaram Kodopi, alleges “that the police picked up Lingaram Kodopi from his house on 26/27th August 2009. When the members of his family and villagers went to the police station the police refused to accept that he was in their detention and then after the villagers persisted in their enquiries they stated that Lingaram had come of his own accord to become an SPO.”

In an order dated October 6 2009, the High Court directed that Lingaram be allowed to return to his family. The court, however, noted that he himself had made no allegations of illegal detention.

At his press conference, he said he did not speak about his confinement before the judge because the police had threatened him with dire consequences.

He said he left Chhattisgarh soon after his release as he feared for his personal safety, but is worried that the police may now harass his family members who are still at Sameli village. In April, he appeared before the Indian People’s Tribunal in Delhi along with a dozen or so victims of police atrocities – including several teenage widows — whom he had fetched from Dantewada at great risk to himself.

“The only Lingaram I know is a young boy staying at Delhi Forum [an NGO],” said writer Arundhati Roy in a statement emailed to The Hindu. “He has spoken at several public forums and told the story of being kidnapped by the Salwa Judum. For the police to say he was a replacement for Azad and is in charge of Chhattisgarh operations is delusional.”

Prof. Sundar said that she met Lingaram when he moved to Delhi last year. “I met Linga when he moved to Delhi after being tortured and forced to become an SPO by the Dantewada police,” she wrote in an email. “It is preposterous to suggest he is the mastermind of the attack on Avdesh Gautam. By linking him, and, in turn, all of us, to the attack, the Chhattisgarh police appear to have completely lost their minds.” Prof. Sundar, who has filed a PIL petition in the Supreme Court against Salwa Judum atrocities, said the police wanted to prejudice the case by falsely claiming that civil society critics like herself were linked to the Maoists.

Gujarat riots: 13 officials booked for false relief claims

Anupam Chakravartty

Posted: Jul 13, 2010 at 0451 hrs IST

Vadodara Following a Gujarat High Court order last month, a police complaint has been filed by Panchmahals district’s deputy district development officer Bhupensinh Bhabhor against a taluka development officer (TDO) and 13 others, including the local sarpanch who is also an accused in a 2002 rioting case, for siphoning off riot relief funds by recording false claims.

Eight years after her house in Naroda village of Khanpur Taluka was reduced to rubble in the 2002 riots, Farida Sayeed and her three sons were paid Rs 1.5 lakh in compensation for the goods and property that they claimed was worth Rs 10 lakh.

Farida smelt a scam, given the fact that her neighbour Usman Gafur Shaikh got Rs 17.4 lakh from the riot relief fund in 2009.

Farida’s son Mayur Ahmed Sayeed then approached Junagadh-based Dr J B Panesaria, an observer for All India Anti-Corruption and Human Rights Watch (AIACHRW) who later filed a Public Interest Litigation against 23 officials, including former Khanpur taluka development officer (TDO), retired TDO Gunvantlal Bhavsar, former TDO Chandu Ninama, who is presently deputy DDO, Vadodara district panchayat, and Anil Modi, the sarpanch of Pandarwada village between February 2002 and July 2003. “We were asked to cough up Rs 10,000 to get the compensation. We did not pay,” said Mayur’s younger brother, Wasim Sayeed.

Farida’s husband worked as a range forest officer (RFO) until his untimely death in 1989 after which the family shifted from Virpur village to Naroda, about 20 kilometres away.

“Initially, riot victims got Rs 5,000-6,000. For a long time after that, there was no sign of the relief amount coming while some people, who actually stayed elsewhere, got good compensation. Having written to a number of government officials but to no avail, I and 15 other families approached Dr Panesaria,” said Mayur, who works as a clerk at Bakor in the Forest Department.

Asked about the survey, brothers Wasim and Mayur and their mother Farida said nobody informed them when they came to collect the information about the losses during the 2002 riots.

“Whoever from the village offered money to the sarpanch got their compensation amounts doubled,” said Mayur.

Incidentally, the sarpanch, Anil Soni, who is also named in the FIR, is reportedly an accused in the Panderwada massacre in which 50 persons were killed by a mob in 2002.

Mayur, along with Dr Panesaria, has also filed a separate PIL against the district panchayat in the High Court, which will hear it on July 19. The PIL names 33 other officials allegedly involved in siphoning off the relief funds.

“We have not yet arrested the 13 named in the FIR as I have been deputed to Ahmedabad for the rath yatra. Once I get back to Bakor, I will be able to say something,” said circle police inspector S N Parmar, who is investigating the case.

According to the FIR, the accused swindled Rs 38.25 lakh by allegedly forging documents to claim compensation. They submitted fake documents, collected the cheques and deposited it in other accounts, the FIR said.

Others who have been named include Hakji Bhabhor, (retd) former TDO, Piyush Makwana, ex-TDO who is now TDO at Santrampur, Kirit Shah, (retd) ex-TDO, Indrajitsinh Raul, ex-additional engineer, Mahendra Joshi, ex-junior clerk, Moti Damor, ex-additional engineer, Govind Vankar, former additional engineer, Jayanti Patel, ex-TDO, Sabirhussain Rasool, senior clerk, J J Joshi, incharge deputy accountant, and Gulam Kharadi, a resident of Pandarwada village.

High Court takes note of TOI report on whistleblower

By India News, Latest News in India, Live News India, India Breaking News – Times of India

Chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana HC took suo moto cognizance of a TOI report highlighting the plight of a whistleblower being harassed by Punjab Police and on Monday listed the case for hearing as a PIL on July 14.

HC asks UP to file reply on PIL challenging “party-less” polls

Updated on Wednesday, July 07, 2010, 13:14 IST

Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court Wednesday asked the Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply within two weeks on a PIL challenging the proposed move to hold “party-less” local body elections in the state.

Passing the order, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice F I Rebello and Justice A P Shahi also asked the petitioners, People’s Union for Civil Liberties and Mathura-based Congress leader Abdul Jabbar, to file their rejoinders within a week of the filing of the counter- affidavit by the state government.

The court has fixed August 3 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The petitioners have challenged a clause in the UP Municipalities (election of Corporators, Chairmen and Mayors), Rule, 2010, whereby it has been laid down that election symbols of political parties would not be used in the civic bodies polls.

The petitioners have alleged that the aforesaid provision, which has also been published in the official gazette dated June 18, 2010, was ultra vires of the Constitution.

The petitioners were represented by Ravi Kiran Jain and Shamim Ahmed while Advocate General Jyotindra Mishra appeared on behalf of the respondents.


TDCM to file PIL against BRO for non-maintenance of NH-53

15 hours, 48 minutes, 59 seconds ago

IMPHAL, July 12: The Transporters and Drivers Council of Manipur (TDCM) would file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) within this week against the Border Road Organization (BRO) for failing to maintain the NH-53 for the last 40 years.

Speaking to media-persons today at the office of TDCM, president H. Ranjit stated that the council is very much concerned about the development of NH-53 which serves as a major lifeline of the state. The BRO has been entrusted the task of maintaining the NH-53 since 1968 but the roads are in the most deplorable condition unfit even for light vehicles to ply on, he said.

The BRO has been siphoning the funds meant for the development of NH-53 for the last many decades depriving the rights of the people of Manipur. The BRO should be held responsible for all miseries and sufferings of the people and it should also pay adequate compensations for the losses incurred by the people, Ranjit asserted.

The TDC also demanded for proper investigation into fund misuse case of the BRO by an independent agency like CBI.

In the meantime, the TDC has initiated repairing of NH-53 by sending 147 trucks loaded with boulders and ballu shingle. The council has been trying to develop the deplorable road stretch from Barak to Keimai by utilizing all its available manpower and resources.

The president of TDC, H. Ranjit further maintained that the state government should pay proper attention to open up the NH-53. He said that in a recent meeting the works minister assured that the repairing works of NH-53 would be taken up in full swing and seven competent contractors have also been appointed to carry out the road opening works from Tupul to Makru Bridge.

He also appealed the people to render utmost help and support in the development of NH-53 and appreciated those persons who have rendered financial assistance to the council for the purpose of repairing of NH-53.

PIL filed as higher education in a shambles in Balangir.

Balangir, July 12 — After the sorry state of primary education, it is the same state of affairs with higher education in Balangir due to shortage of lecturers and non-appointment of principals.

Seeking appointment of lecturers and principals in different colleges of the town to impart higher education to students properly, has been filed in the Odish High Court by general secretary of the All Kosal Students’ Union Dolamani Pradhan.

According to the petition, Balangir-based Rajendra College, once the premier higher educational Institution of this entire region, is now in a shambles with vacant posts of lecturers and the principal.

Against the sanctioned posts of 64 lecturers, there are only 22 lecturers now posted in the college. And out of them, two teachers have been transferred and another is on long leave, leaving only 19 teachers in the college, which imparts education to students from the Plus-2 level to that of postgraduation.

The Government Women’s College also suffers the same fate. Against the sanctioned 32 lecturers’ posts, as many as 18 posts are lying vacant. Ironically, at least two posts sanctioned in the department of Economics since last five years has not been filled. Moreover, there is no principal in the college.

The Balangir College, established in 1982, also has a similar situation. Functioning in an old and unsafe building in a daily market, it has only six lecturers against the sanctioned strength of 12.

Besides, the continuous neglect of the second Sanskrit College of Odisha, established in 1908, has pushed it to the verge of closure. The only degree Ayurvedic College of the district also suffers from shortage of lecturers as it now functions with only 12 lecturers against the sanctioned strength of 28. Besides seeking appointment of lecturers, principals in the colleges, petitioner Dolamani Pradhan has sought strict implementation of a transfer policy of lecturers.

The All Kosal Students’ Union general secretary has filed the PIL through advocate Ashis Mishra, urging the HC to direct the Government to take appropriate steps in this regard with a stipulated time.x

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Madani moves HC for advance bail

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 04.09am IST

BANGALORE: Kerala PDP leader Abdul Nassar Madani, one of the accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts case, has filed an anticipatory bail application before the high court on Monday.

The petition is likely come up for hearing on Wednesday, P Usman, counsel for Madani, told TOI. Madani has moved high court after the fifth fast track court had dismissed his anticipatory bail application on July 9.

City Crime Branch police named Madani as the 31st accused in the blast case.

“The police have falsely implicated my name, there was no prime-face case made out against me,” Madani has claimed in his bail petition.

HC refuses to interfere with vigilance probe against IG

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 01.04am IST

CHENNAI: Declining to interfere with a vigilance inquiry against inspector-general of police AK Viswanathan’s assets, the Madras high court has ruled that there was no illegality in the proceedings against the officer.

Justice V Dhanapalan, dismissing Viswanathan’s writ petition against the inquiry against him on Monday, said: “A committee constituted by the government consisting of the chief secretary, home secretary and vigilance commissioner ordered a detailed inquiry against Viswanathan, based on preliminary reports. Therefore, when a competent authority is inquiring into the matter and in the absence of any incompetency, this court cannot interfere in the matter…In the given situation, no interference is called for.”

Viswanathan said the panel was set up on August 28, 2009 and he came to know about it only through newspapers. Noting that he was being targeted by some senior officers for having spoken out against the February 19, 2009 police-lawyer clash on the HC campus, he said a deputy superintendent of police-level officer was handling the case and that he had not been given details of the inquiry so far.

The government, on its part, filed a counter-affidavit, stating that it was service matter and that Viswanathan should have approached the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT). The question of prior sanction would arise only if prosecution is launched against the officer after issuing a charge memo, it said, adding that prima facie materials were available to establish possession of disproportionate assets by him.

Justice Dhanapalan, while holding that the writ petition of Viswanathan was maintainable and that the court, not the CAT, had the jurisdiction to decide the legality of the proceedings under the Prevention of Corruption Act, said: “High court can restrain the police officer from misusing his legal powers only if the court is convinced that the power of investigation has been exercised in a malafide manner. I see no malafide exercise of power of investigation in this case.”

Ruling that the investigation officer had not committed any breach of any statutory provisions causing serious prejudice to the personal liberty and property of Viswanathan, the judge said allegation of malafide was not supported by strong and convincing evidence. He also held that Viswanathan was entitled to access the details of the materials and evidence gathered during the investigation.

Noting that a three-member committee duly constituted by the government had handled the issue initially, the judge said, “when a competent authority is inquiring into the matter and in the absence of any incompetency, the court cannot interfere in the matter of detailed inquiry, which is in accordance with provisions of the DVAC Manual.” The judge also asked the authorities to complete the inquiry as expeditiously as possible.

Civic bodies earn HC wrath for bad roads

Abhinav Garg, TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 01.23am IST

NEW DELHI: It’s not just the commuters negotiating Delhi’s potholed roads during the monsoon who are feeling short-changed by authorities. A fuming Delhi high court on Monday blasted civic agencies for shoddy upkeep of city roads, and wondered how the capital will host Commonwealth Games scheduled later this year when “one short spell of rain causes total chaos.”

Justice Kailash Gambhir slammed authorities including MCD, PWD and Delhi government for “total insensitivity to the plight of our citizens” and demanded a detailed zone-wise report from MCD on steps taken by it in the past four months on maintenance and construction of roads.

“Roads are symbols of the prowess of a nation but it seems like an oxymoron in the context of Delhi. Despite various directions by this court the picture is more dismal than what is being shown to the court through affidavits,” HC curtly observed while examining a report submitted by MCD.

Referring to last weeks rains that lashed the city, HC indicted the agencies for substandard construction, “In one short spell of rains Delhi experienced total chaos. Roads have caved in due to water logging and most of main roads suffered long traffic jams bringing the city to a standstill.”

“Looking at the present state of affairs, the capital of the country with its megacity dreams has an uphill task ahead unless it provides smooth, even and quality roads without any potholes” the judge noted reiterating earlier warnings of a city headed downhill if it didn’t focus on its roads.

The judge pointed out that Delhi government “charges a very high amount towards road tax” but in return doesn’t provide smooth and worthy roads to its citizens. “Why should common man expect to have good roads only before an international event?” HC questioned, saying how is it that roads in diplomatic area of Chanakyapuri are smooth all the year round yet the same doesn’t happen elsewhere in Delhi.

HC also empathized with motorists who “are distressed as they don’t get optimal use of their vehicles because the life of the vehicles also gets shortened after the same are driven on bumpy, uneven roads.”

Giving MCD time till August 3, HC asked it to file a status report explaining the steps taken on maintenance of roads and proving its claims of using good quality construction material after getting it checked in various labs. In its affidavit the agency also said it undertakes regular inspection to ensure contractors stick to desired standards.

This isn’t the first time HC has trained its guns on MCD over pathetic roads in Delhi. Last year too HC had similarly reprimanded agencies over failure to maintain roads and wondered how it could think of organizing an event like the CWG 2010. But as HC itself realized on Monday, its observation seemed to have fallen on deaf ears.

Bombay HC denies bail to ‘Naxalite’

Shibu Thomas, TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 03.28am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has refused bail to suspected Naxalite Arun Ferreira and two other co-accused.

“The grounds that no case is adequately described against them and that there is no incriminating material available with the prosecution does not, prima facie, appear to have any foundation,” said Justice A H Joshi, dismissing the bail applications of Ferreira (37), and co-accused Manoj Sonule (25) as well as Sudarshan Ramteke (22).

According to the trio, who have been charged under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, the prosecution had not named the banned organisation that they were accused of being part of.

HC tells govt to file counter affidavit on abduction of minor

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 03.29am IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Monday directed the state government to file counter affidavit to a criminal writ petition of the nature of habeas corpus seeking direction from the DGP and other senior police officers to ensure the release of a minor child from his captors.

A division bench comprising Justice Navin Sinha and Justice Jyoti Saran issued the directive while hearing the criminal writ petition of Mohd Shakeel who submitted that his son, Wakar, was kidnapped on April 30, 2008, from Alamganj locality in Patna City. Later, the kidnappers demanded Rs three lakh as ransom, the petitioner submitted stating that he informed the police about some suspects, but Wakar had not yet been recovered. Wakar was merely three-year-old when he was kidnapped in 2008, the petitioner submitted.

Ransom demands were made by unknown kidnappers on May 5, 7 and 8, 2008, from petitioner, he added. He annexed two letters addressed to the then principal secretary, home, and IG, Patna, to direct the police to investigate the case to get the minor child released.

The petitioner claimed that he informed the police after six months of kidnapping of Wakar about the suspected involvement of some people in kidnapping of the kid. But nothing concrete was done to recover the child, he added. The petitioner has made the then principal secretary, home, DGP, ADG, IG, Patna, and senior SP, Patna, and SP, Patna City, as respondents in the case seeking direction to them to hound the kidnappers to secure the release of his child.

Advocate on Record: A division bench comprising Chief Justice and Justice S K Katriar on Monday admitted for hearing a writ petition challenging the system of advocates on record adopted in Patna High Court for the practising advocates. The writ petition was filed by an advocate of the high court, Chakrapani.

HC takes up case of whistleblower

Ajay Sura, TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 04.42am IST

CHANDIGARH: Chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court took suo motu cognizance of a TOI report highlighting the plight of a whistleblower being harassed by the Punjab Police and on Monday and listed the matter for hearing as a public interest litigation (PIL) on July 14.

Referring to the news item, ‘Punjab cops get after whistleblower’, published on July 9, chief justice Mukul Mudgal observed, “The matter deserves to be looked at in PIL jurisdiction of this court.”

Justice Mudgal observed that the news report highlights the high-handedness of the Punjab Police, which is out to help Jay-Polychem, a politically influential company, which has filed a complaint against its ex-employee Samdeep Mohan Varghese with the Rajpura police. Varghese had dared to complain against the company disclosing instances of money laundering, circular trading and diamonds and other financial irregularities.

“The news report revealed that Verghese had reported the alleged illegal activities of the company in November 2009 to the authorities in India and Singapore and on his complaint the probe is on with the IT department, DRI and enforcement directorate,” observed Justice Mudgal.

“It is further revealed by the news item that Varghese moved to Singapore fearing arrest. The Punjab police at Rajpura registered a case against him and others for registering a website and putting defamatory content on it — nine days after the domain name was booked but soon after Varghese’s complaint to the authorities,” Justice Mudgal added.

In its report, TOI had highlighted how a whistleblower’s life has turned into a nightmare. Not just him, his family and another young man who protested against his persecution are being hounded by the Punjab Police on the basis of a complaint.

Ever since November 2009, has moved to Singapore, fearing that he will face arrest, and worse, if he were to return.
His elderly mother, Mariamma Mathew was also hounded by the Punjab Police, which went to Kochi to arrest her. And an ex-associate of Varghese — an HIV patient, Rajesh (name changed) was picked up from Mumbai, taken to Rajpura in Punjab, and allegedly tortured.

The Punjab Police’s hyper-activity was on account of a complaint filed by a director of the company in Rajpura accusing Varghese and others of registering a website, http://www.jaypolychem, and putting up defamatory information about the company.

PPSC scam: Bench recuses itself
A full bench of the Punjab and Haryana High Court, hearing cases pertaining to recruitments made during the controversial tenure of Ravi Sidhu as the chairman of Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC), recused from hearing of cases on Monday. Withdrawing itself from the case, the bench referred the matter to the chief justice of the high court for further consideration. This happened when some advocates informed the bench that as per the law laid down by the apex court, no judge who has been part of any committee, which inquired into the matter on administrative side, can hear the same case on judicial side. They said the matter should be heard by some other high court. Now, the matter would be decided by the chief justice.

Get encroached quarters vacated: HC to govt

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 03.17am IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat High Court on Monday asked the state government to vacate all government quarters occupied in the state capital in unauthorised manner within two months.

A bench of Chief Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice KM Thaker directed the government to remove all encroachers in government houses in Gandhinagar after the state government submitted a report stating that 96 houses are occupied illegally.

The HC on May 11 directed the government to find out how many government bungalows and quarters are occupied in the state capital in unauthorised manner and submit a report in this regard. The secretary of Roads & Buildings Department, Gandhinagar district, collector and the controller of accommodation, Ahmedabad, were asked to conduct a survey to find out such buildings.

In 1999, the HC had taken suo motu cognizance of the issue that even after retirement, many officers do not vacate the bungalows and quarters allotted to them. Moreover, it also came to the court’s notice that in many cases, not officials but their relatives were the real occupants of the official residence.

Surprisingly, the status report said that most of the unauthorised occupants in government houses belong to Class III employees, said the government pleader Prakash Jani.

Mumbai cops better than Pune’s: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 03.59am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Monday rapped the Pune police even as Mumbai police came in for some praise. Despite being a large city, the police machinery worked smoothly in Mumbai as compared to the Pune police, remarked a division bench of Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice Roshan Dalvi while hearing a petition against the Pune police’s failure to nab a builder’s killers eight months after he was murdered.

Coming down on the “lethargy” of the Pune police, the judges said that the the force seemed to be overburdened with VIP and bandobast duty to effectively tackle crime. The HC has directed Pune police commissioner Satyapal Singh to furnish a list of unsolved rape, murder and dacoity cases in the past one year. The list, to be submitted in two weeks’ time, should comprise details of cases which are undetected, pending investigation and those where chargesheets had not been filed, the court said. The judges added that the Pune police’s crime investigation skills had become “blunt”.

The petition was filed by Ashwini, wife of builder Nikhil Rane and a resident of Bhosale Nagar in Pune. Rane was gunned down by assailants while he was climbing the stairs of his office on November 23, 2009. Rane died seven days later.

The police arrested four persons for allegedly making extortion calls to Rane prior to his murder. Following investigations the quartet was charged with offences related to extortion, but no murder charges were filed against them. In her petition, Ashwini claimed that, despite repeatedly following up with the Shivajinagar police, the only response that she got was that “investigation was going on”. Ashwini accused the police of not relying on modern investigation techniques and felt the force was “not at all serious about investigating” her husband’s murder.

Additional public prosecutor Mankunwar Deshmukh submitted an affidavit filed by commissioner Singh who said that the police was investigating the case. Singh said that the police had recorded the statements of 34 witnesses and taken the help of the dog squad and ballistic experts. He, however, admitted “no incriminating material had been found against anybody for the commission of murder”.

This is the second time in a week that the Pune police has come in for criticism. Last Thursday, the court issued showcause notices to two police officers for remaining mute spectators as 50 goons ransacked the house of documentary film-maker Poornima Prabhu in Shivajinagar in December 2008. “Shame to the vardi (uniform) that they wear,” said the judges.

HC makes licence mandatory for sale of drinking water

Parimal Dabhi

 Posted: Tue Jul 13 2010, 05:01 hrs Ahmedabad:

The High Court has made it mandatory to get licence from the competent authority before venturing into the business of selling drinking water. The HC passed the order recently while observing that hygienic and clean drinking water is an essential part of human existence and that the industry has to be regulated.

The order came in the wake of a petition filed by the Federation of Packaged Drinking Water Manufacturers, Vadodara. The federation had sought HC direction to the Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) for the strict compliance of the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standard Act, 1986 (BIS Act) and the Prevention of Food Adulteration (7th Amendment) Rules, 2000, in the business of packaged drinking water in Surat city.

The petitioner said a number of traders in Surat were into this business without the mandatory legal permission but the SMC had failed to implement the law in this regard in spite of them making a representation in this regard.

In an interim order, the HC directed the civic body to decide on the representation of the federation. The SMC subsequently sealed a number of commercial premises running without procuring the licence. After this, the traders whose commercial premises were sealed also moved the HC against the SMC’s action, contending that their business did not require procuring licence. They argued water sold by them was extracted from underground source and such water is treated by them with a system known as Reverse Osmosis (RO).

They added the water derived from the RO system is pure and fit for human consumption. They further argued they are into the business of non-packaged drinking water, which is out of the ambit of the Prevention of Food Adulteration Rules.

The HC observed, “There is no product like non-packaged drinking water.” The court also observed if traders are allowed to sell drinking water as non-packaged without the mandatory legal permission, “it would result in disastrous consequences”. “Non-packaged drinking water could be adulterated at any stage. Besides, there would be no way to ascertain whether the water was adulterated at the time of manufacture, transit or sale,” it added.

Neither police nor residents understand the significance of lane driving: HC–HC/645716

Express News Service

 Posted: Tue Jul 13 2010, 04:52 hrs Chandigarh:

The Chandigarh Police had to face the wrath of the Punjab and Haryana High Court for “not understanding the significance of lanes or lane driving”.

In a scathing order, Justice Rajive Bhalla of the High Court has directed the Chandigarh Administration to provide “zebra crossings at all relevant places”.

The government has also been directed to file an affidavit about the CCTV cameras that it claims to have installed at lightpoints.

Taking the affidavit of Hardeep Singh Doon, Superintendent of Police, Traffic, on record, Justice Bhalla ruled: “The roads in Chandigarh are demarcated into different lanes, in accordance with the provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act. But neither the police nor the residents of Chandigarh appear to understand the significance of lanes or lane driving. In addition, all V-I roads are provided with slow carriage ways, which are not used by the public. The counsel for Chandigarh is directed to ensure that all vehicles drive in their demarcated lanes and slow moving vehicles make use of the slow carriage way, wherever provided.”

The court has also asked the Chandigarh Police to “demarcate cycle tracks and where they are not available, a separate lane shall be made for cycles. The number of pedestrian crossings in Chandigarh are woefully inadequate. The police shall take measures to provide adequate crossings and ensure that pedestrians do not cross the road at unauthorised places”.

Moreover, the court has ruled that “all traffic lights shall have a provision for the sign ‘Walk’ and all vehicles will have to stop before a zebra crossing to allow pedestrians to cross the road.”

Man fined Rs20,000 by Gujarat HC over PIL issue


Tuesday, July 13, 2010 8:38 IST

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat high court has fined a litigant for arguing with the court even after an order was pronounced. A division bench comprising chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and justice KM Thaker directed that the petitioner Dilip Shah deposit Rs20,000 as fine with the state legal services authority.

Shah had filed a PIL challenging a land transaction.

He alleged in the petition that a fraud of Rs12 crore by the Ben Lilawati Lalbhai Trust and the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation had been done while allocating the land in question to an energy company.

The high court however dismissed the petition on the grounds that there was no public interest in the case.

However, Shah’s advocate Girish Das began arguing even after the order was pronounced. The high court then imposed the fine.

Delhi HC gives compensation to anti-Sikh riot victim


Monday, July 12, 2010 20:52 IST

New Delhi: The Delhi high court has awarded a compensation of Rs7 lakh to a 90 year-old man who lost his young son in 1984 anti-Sikh riots here.

Directing the government to pay the amount within 8 weeks, justice S Muralidhar said “if the payment is not made within time, the government has to pay further 6% rate of interest per annum”.

“It appears to be a genuine case where a 90 year-old father has been fighting for justice for the death of his son in the unfortunate incident that took place in Delhi in the aftermath of the assassination of the former prime minister Indira Gandhi,” the court said and allowed a petition filed by S Hardayal Singh seeking a direction to government to grant compensation.

According to Singh, on November 11, 1984 his son Arjun was returning home in an oil tanker from Ghaziabad and a mob had stopped the truck driven by a Sikh man and later set the vehicle on fire.

He was denied compensation as there was a delay on his part in registering the FIR.

“In any event, many of the families of Sikhs were living in fear and could not gather the courage to immediately go and lodge a complaint with the police. Many FIRs remained to be investigated,” justice Muralidhar said.

Trust moves HC seeking demat accounts for Hindu deities

PTI, Jul 12, 2010, 04.51pm IST

MUMBAI: Can Hindu deities have demat accounts to enable them transact in shares and debentures on the stock market?

The Bombay High Court will decide the issue after a religious trust filed a petition challenging the decision of National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) to refuse it permission for opening demat accounts in the names of five Hindu deities.

“When the Income Tax department has issued PAN cards to these five deities why should NSDL not allow opening of demat accounts in their names?” the trust has asked in the petition, which is likely to come up for hearing later this week.

The deities of the Sangli-based trust “Ganpati Panchayatam Sansthan” are Lord Ganesh, Chintamaneshwardev, Chintamaneshwaridevi, Suryanarayandev and Laxminarayandev.

The trust, belonging to the Patwardhan family, the erstwhile royals of Sangli, had obtained PAN cards in the names of deities in 2008. Recently, the trust applied for opening demat accounts in the names of these deities through a private bank but the request was turned down by NSDL.

The trust contended in the petition that various High Courts and the Supreme Court have given decision in different cases allowing Hindu deities to acquire property.

HC nod to Bishop Cotton transfers

Express News Service

First Published : 13 Jul 2010 06:07:02 AM IST

Last Updated :

BANGALORE: The High Court on Monday upheld the  transfer of the Principals of the Bishop Cotton’s Schools by dismissing the public interest litigation challenging the same.

A division bench headed by Justice NK Patil dismissed the petition filed by James P Arun Kumar, a city-based advocate.

The petitioner had sought the quashing of the transfer of Col John Ellis, principal of Bishop Cotton’s Boys School and Princess Franklyn, principal of Bishop Cotton’s Girls School. Both the principals were transferred on May 7 this year.

The petitioner stated that the transfer of the principal was against the rules and that the board of the management of the school was interfering in the day-to-day administration of the school.  However, the HC has dismissed the petition, based on the ruling of a single bench that had upheld the transfer order.

Bombay HC to hear Lalit Modi petition on July 14

Suspended Indian Premier League (IPL) Commissioner Lalit Modi’s petition against BCCI’s decision to suspend him and praying for quashing of the disciplinary proceedings of the Board against him is expected to come up for hearing on July 14.

The petition, which was moved through his constituted attorney Mehmood Abdi , was mentioned before the court which fixed July 14 as the date of hearing.

Senior Supreme Court lawyer Harish Salve has agreed to defend Modi in the court, sources said.

In the petition, Modi prayed that the court appoint a mutually acceptable and independent person or panel to consider his replies to the three show-cause notices issued to him by the Board alleging various irregularities in the conduct of the T-20 League.

Modi has prayed for recall and withdrawal of the suspension order and further proceedings on the three notices.

The suspended IPL Commissioner also prayed for restraint on Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) from taking any further steps in pursuance of the three show-cause notices and from proceeding further with the hearing of the three-member disciplinary committee.

Modi has also challenged SGM’s ratification of BCCI secretary N Srinivasan’s decision to refer his matter to the disciplinary committee and has termed the action of the Board in this regard as malafide, illegal, perverse, unconstitutional and liable to be quashed and set aside.

The suspension order was issued to Modi by the BCCI on April 25 following which he was slapped show-cause notices on April 26, May 6 and May 31.


News in brief: HC directs KPTCL to give details on power supply

Bangalore Jul 13: Karnataka High Court today directed Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL) to furnish details on the supply of power during this year’s examination months of March and April on a contempt petition filed on alleged violation of interim order on the matter.

The division bench comprising Justice N K Patil and A S Bopanna directed KPTCL to furnish details on supply of power during examination months of March and April 2010 on a contempt petition filed by advocate G R Mohan against KPTCL and the state government on the matter and adjourned hearing of the petition to next week.

The court had earlier on an interim order in a writ petition filed by Mohan, directed the respondents (KPTCL and state government) to ensure uninterrupted supply of power to the students during the examination months.

The court had also directed the respondents to supply additional two hours of power supply to farmers in the rural areas till the onset of monsoon.The contempt petition was filed in view of the alleged violation of the interim order.


Bellary ministers question EC notices

Bangalore, July 12, DHNS:

The Karnataka High Court on Monday issued notices to the Election Commission of India (ECI), secretary to the Governor and MLC K C Kondaiah, based on a writ petition filed by Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy, seeking quashing of notice served on him by the ECI.
Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar also gave 10 more days for the minister to reply to the notice issued by the ECI based on the Kondaiah’s complaint forwarded by the Governor of Karnataka for its opinion.

Congress MLC Kondaiah had filed a complaint with the Governor against Tourism Minister G Janardhana Reddy, his brother and Revenue Minister G Karunakara Reddy and Health Minister B Sreeramulu, under Article 192(2) of the Constitution (relating to disqualification) on June 3. 

The Congress leader, in his complaint, had sought the Reddy brothers’ disqualification, charging that as ministers, there was a conflict of interest with them having business interests in mining in Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. The Governor forwarded the complaint to the ECI on June 3.

Based on the letter, the ECI had issued notices to the three ministers asking them to reply by July 15. Reddy argued that the notice was based on a false complaint and the Obulapuram Mining Company was based in Andhra Pradesh whereas he was a member of the Karnataka Assembly. Hence, the question of disqualification did not arise, he contended. Janardhan Reddy and Sreeramulu have also filed writ petitions. The hearing is slated for Tuesday.

Anticipatory bail
Abdul Nazir Madani, the leader of Kerala’s Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) filed an anticipatory bail application in the High Court on Monday. Madani is one of the accused in the June 2008 serial blasts case in Bangalore.

The application came after the fifth fast track court refused to entertain his anticipatory bail application on July 9 and it will come up for hearing on Wednesday.

The PDP leader has sought anticipatory bail in view of the Bangalore police filing an additional chargesheet on June 11 listing him as the 31st accused in the blast cases.
He was charged with visiting Laggeri in Somawarpet taluk in Kodagu district and participating in the conspiracy to commit the offence. Bangalore police maintain that they have enough evidence against Madani in the case. Twelve of the 32 chargesheeted are absconding.

In his petition, Madani contended that there was no prima facie evidence that he was involved in the blasts. He also stated that his travel programme from 2007 were recorded by the Kerala police and it clearly showed that he was not in Kodagu as recorded by the Karnataka police.


HC directs establishing of juvenile homes


Srinagar, July 12: At time when lawyers were accusing police of booking children in different cases and keeping them in lock-ups, Jammu and Kashmir High Court directed the state government to establish juvenile boards, juvenile courts, separate juvenile homes and observation homes.
 The division bench of the High Court passed the orders two public interest litigation cases. The petitioners advocate Yawar Ali Masoodi and Abdul Rashid Hanjura had submitted that the State has failed to implement the provisions of juvenile Justice Act.
 They had informed the Court that the Sate government has failed to set-up Juvenile Homes and Juvenile Courts for the juveniles.
 In response, the secretary to Government Revenue Department Ejaz Iqbal submitted to the Court that his department has examined the request of the Social Welfare Department for allot 30 kanals of land, 15 each in Jammu division and Kashmir province respectively for establishing Juvenile Homes. 
 He said the divisional commissioner Jammu and the divisional commissioner Kashmir have been directed to identify 15 kanals of the State land each at Jammu and Srinagar for construction of Juvenile Homes, Special Homes, Observation Homes for boys and girls.
 The Court after hearing both the sides said there was basic difference between Juvenile Justice Act and the ordinary law.
 The act says there should be special court that must be set up under the Act to adjudicate matters in which the accused are juveniles, below the age of 18 years. Under the law the State government has to constitute one or more Juvenile Boards for district or group of districts for dealing with matters where juveniles in conflict with law are dealt with. Under the Act the bail provisions for young offenders are more liberal than those applicable under the Criminal Procedure Code. The Section 18 of the act states that whether the juvenile commits a bailable or non-bailable offence, the child shall be released on bail with or without surety. If the law enforcing authority feels that the detention is necessary, under the law they can only detain to keep him observation home, not in prison or police station.
 The Court directed the State Government to take all steps required to be taken under the provisions of the Act and the rules to implement the Act in letter and spirit within a period of three months.  The petition was first filed in 2006 by Yawar Ali. Subsequently Abdul Rashid Hanjura also filed petition seeking implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act in the State.
 Yawar Ali who had filed the petition as student in 2006, is now practicing in the High Court. He had prayed for shifting of all juveniles presently in detention should be shifted to police Station. Hanjura, a social activist had prayed that by not implementing the Act has adversely affecting the development of child who is being accused of in confrontation with law. “It exposes him to baneful influences and alienating him from society.”
 The Court said that efforts of both the petitioners in bringing to the notice of the Court the failure of the Government in implementing the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act is commendable.

Aradhana hardly knew Ruchika, Rathore’s wife tells HC

Press Trust Of India
Chandigarh, July 12, 2010

First Published: 18:56 IST(12/7/2010)
Last Updated: 19:04 IST(12/7/2010)

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today resumed day-to-day hearing on SPS Rathore’s revision petition challenging his conviction in Ruchika molestation case with his lawyer wife Abha arguing that the sole witness Aradhana was hardly close to the victim. Stressing that the incident of molestation, as described by the sole witness, was “not possible”, Abha

sought to build up a case that Aradhana hardly knew Ruchika despite the former’s claims that the two were close friends, who used to play tennis together.

In support of her argument, Abha told the Judge that Aradhana was not even aware of Ruchika’s pet name, which was Ruby. She also said that Ruchika had not shared with Aradhana the fact that the former’s father SC Girhotra had re-married.

She said Aradhna was also not aware that Ruchika’s brother Ashu too played tennis at the Haryana Lawn Tennis Association grounds at Panchkula, where the two girls used to play together in 1990.

Pointing out “contradictions” in the statements of Aradhana during her examination in the case, she submitted that the witness was interested in getting Rathore convicted as this family had feelings of “vengeance and vendetta” against him.

Asked by Justice Jitendra Chauhan how long she would take to conclude her arguments, the former Haryana DGP’s wife and counsel said by Wednesday or Thursday she should be able to wind up.

The High Court which is conducting hearing in the case on day-to-day basis, heard Abha’s arguments for about an hour before adjourning the case till tomorrow.

Abha had on May 26 filed a revision petition in the High Court for suspension of sentence and grant of bail to Rathore, a day after the session’s court awarded him 18-month jail term for molesting budding tennis player Ruchika Girhotra.

68-year-old Rathore has been lodged in the high security Burail jail since May 25.

Ruchika had committed suicide three years after being molested by Rathore on August 12, 1990.

HC lifts fishing ban during rocket launch

July 9th, 2010

The Madras high court has restrained authorities from banning fishing in and around Pulicat and Ennore for a period of 15 to 20 days when rockets are launched from Sriharikota.

A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice K.K. Sasidharan granted the interim injunction on a petition filed by the South Indian Fishermen Federation (SIFF).

The petitioner said that ever since the Sriharikota spaceport started to function, the livelihood of fishermen living in the area had been under threat.

Whenever a rocket is kept on standby or a countdown begins, the authorities impose a ban on fishing, for about 15 to 20 days, from Ennore to Sriharikotta terming these areas as danger zones. The ban is imposed through a circular and sometimes it is even extended by another 10 days, said the petitioner.

During this time, the families of fisherfolk starve. Though they have approached the Tiruvallur collector in the past, seeking compensation, authorities have not taken any action so far, said the fishermen federation.

Tamil Nadu consists of 950 km of coastline which has 526 hamlets. Of this, 16 are in Pulicat and 13 in Ennore. All these villages depend heavily on fishing. Pulicat fishermen go for fishing from Kattupalli to Sriharikota covering 25 to 30 nautical miles from the south to the north, whereas the Ennore fishermen go from the east of Ennore to Pulicat or sometimes even up to Sriharikota.

The SIFF also sought a direction to the authorities to pay compensation to its members when a ban is imposed on fishing to enable rocket launching from Sriharikota.

Exercise caution in banning books: Supreme Court


The Supreme Court has held that banning a book/publication was a “drastic” power vested in the government and should be exercised cautiously lest it violates the “right of privacy” and Constitutional guarantee of freedom of speech and expression.

Dismissing Maharashtra government’s appeal challenging the Bombay High Court’s decision to quash the ban and confiscation of the controversial book — “Shivaji – The Hindu King in Muslim India,” the apex court said the ban on notification failed to clearly spell out the so-called enmity it could provoke between the communities/people as claimed by the authorities.

“Undoubtedly, the power to forfeit a newspaper, book or document is a drastic power in as much as it not only has a direct impact upon the due exercise of a cherished right of freedom of speech and expression as envisaged in Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution, it also clothes a police officer to seize the infringing copies of the book, document or newspaper and to search places where they are reasonably suspected to be found, again impinging upon the right of privacy.

“Therefore, the provision has to be construed strictly and exercise of power under it has to be in the manner and according to the procedure laid down therein,” a Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and H.L. Dattu said in a judgement.

The Supreme Court said the ban issued under Section 95 failed to satisfy the requirement of the law for its justification as the State government could not identify the communities that could be affected by the circulation of the book.

“It is manifest that the notification does not identify the communities between which the book had caused or is likely to cause enmity. Therefore, it cannot be found out from the notification as to which communities got outraged by the publication of the book or it had caused hatred and animosity between particular communities or groups.

“We feel that the statement in the notification to the effect that the book is ‘likely to result in breach of peace and public tranquillity and in particular between those who revere Shri Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and those who may not’ is too vague a ground,” it said.

The book written by American author James Laine and published in 2003 by the Oxford University Press, was banned by Maharashtra government after 150 members of Sambhaji Brigade had ransacked the Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute (BORI) in Pune on Januray 5, 2004 alleging that it was derogatory to the great Maratha leader.

The State government had earlier approached the apex court after the High Court had in 2007 lifted the ban on the book on a petition filed by advocate Sanghraj Rupawate, documentary filmmaker Anand Patwardhan and social activist Kunda Pramila.

The High Court had, in its order, said the notification issued by the State government was not sustainable in the light of the apex court’s order which had quashed criminal proceedings against Mr. Laine over allegations that the book promoted social enmity.

The State government had issued the ban on January 15, 2004, under section 95 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

CJI speaks to PM about Rs 7000cr grant for trial court infrastructure

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 02.43am IST

NEW DELHI: Within two months of taking over as Chief Justice of India, Justice S H Kapadia has prepared a blueprint to improve the infrastructure of trial courts groaning under a pendency of more than 2.50 crore cases and has spoken to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the need for an additional grant of Rs 7,077 crore to make lower judiciary capable to fight the menace.

This requirement was in addition to the Rs 70.08 crore provided under the 11th Plan. “Total estimated cost of infrastructure needs of district and subordinate courts now calculated is of Rs 7,077 crore (excluding Allahabad, Delhi and Jammu and Kashmir of which data was not provided by the respective High Courts). Rs 2,162 crore is required in 2010-11 itself,” said the report made public on Monday.

A special Bench comprising Chief Justice Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and K S Radhakrishnan sought responses of the Centre, states and HCs to the report, which was given to the PMO by the SC.

“I have had a discussion with the PM. I have given the cost estimates to the PMO. They have some problems. We should wait for some time for their response. If they do not do it, then we will take it on the judicial side,” Justice Kapadia said while dealing with a similar case.

The report presented a pitiable picture of the lower judiciary. It said court fees were abysmally low in most cases, leading to a deluge in trial courts. It requested the Centre and state governments to take immediate measures to revise court fees so that a balance was struck between welfare measures on one side and commerce on the other.

Taking the example of complaints under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act for cheque bouncing offences, it said a complainant just had to pay Rs 1.25 to file a complaint in Delhi. No wonder around 30 lakh such cases are pending in various courts.

“It is common knowledge that the courts of magistrates are almost getting crushed under the weight of cheque bouncing cases in urban areas. These matters consume a lot of time and energy and are blocking litigation of all other nature. Still, shockingly, steps have not been taken by many states to rationalise Court Fees Act. For example, in Delhi, the court fee for a complaint under Section 138 NI Act is just Rs 1.25,” the report said.

The report suggested utilising the cost and fines imposed by courts to improve the infrastructure and lessen the burden on the exchequer. “It is necessary to create separate `infrastructure fund’ head of account under control of respective HCs or `special purpose vehicle’ where the costs, court fees and fines imposed by the HCs and the subordinate courts can be deposited and the HC or SPV should be able to allot funds to state judiciary mainly for the purpose of construction and maintenance of court buildings,” it said.

It said since 1993-94, the central government has been implementing centrally sponsored schemes for the development of infrastructural facilities for the judiciary by way of matching grant to be accorded by state government.

“The roadmap prepared for providing infrastructural facilities has not reached its logical end as many courts are still functioning in rented premises with insufficient space and even in dilapidated structures sans basic amenities,” it said.

Blaming the delay on paucity of funds, the report clarified that “the Union government and the state governments are duty bound to provide infrastructure commensurate with the functioning of the courts with all requisite facilities…. prima facie there is lackadaisical approach on the part of authorities implementing the centrally sponsored schemes and appropriating the funds in a proper manner”.







Infrastructure to judiciary: Supreme Court raps govt

Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA

Tuesday, July 13, 2010 0:30 IST

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has criticised the government for not providing proper work infrastructure to the judiciary. The court’s views support what the law commission had said two years ago.

The court was at the first sitting on Monday of a special bench set up by Chief Justice of India (CJI) SH Kapadia to hear long-pending petitions on matters relating to the subordinate judiciary,

“Prima facie, it appears there is a lackadaisical approach on the part of the authorities in implementing the centrally-sponsored scheme and appropriating funds in a proper manner,” said a report prepared by the CJI that was presented in court.

The Supreme Court bench, comprising CJI Kapadia and justices Aftab Alam and KS Radhakrishnan, perused the report and sought the response of all state governments, Union Territories and high courts.

The report pointed out the poor conditions in which lower courts function. It also said that states are “duty bound” to provide all facilities for setting up well-equipped courts. The report also regretted that the roadmap for providing infrastructure has not reached its logical end as many courts are still functioning in rented premises with insufficient space and “in dilapidated structures sans basic minimal amenities”.


Jharkhand drags SAIL to SC over entry tax


First Published : 13 Jul 2010 11:57:49 AM IST

Last Updated :

NEW DELHI: Jharkhand today approached the Supreme Court over its dispute with SAIL on entry tax on movement of raw and finished materials within the state. A bench comprising Justices DK Jain and HL Dattu while admitting Jharkhand petition, criticised the state for the delay in challenging the Jharkhand High Court order.

The bench also directed the matter to be tagged with other entry tax-related cases, which would be now heard by a higher bench. Jharkhand claimed that under the section 3 of the Bihar Entry Tax Act, it has right to impose levy on goods of SAIL in transit within the state.

The state demanded Rs 66 lakh from SAIL on account of movement of its goods through vehicles. This was challenged by SAIL before the High Court which had quashed said section 3 and held it violative of Article 301 of the Constitution which ensures freedom of trade and commerce across the country.

Earlier, on a bunch of petition involving entry tax by various states, a Constitution bench had asked the CJI to constitute a larger bench to decide its validity.

Army to appeal against tribunal order on Kargil

TNN, Jul 13, 2010, 02.49am IST

NEW DELHI: The Army remains firm that there was no fudging, falsification or doctoring of the 1999 Kargil war history despite the claims made by a few of its field commanders during the conflict.

The Army will file a review petition against the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) order in May, which held that three paragraphs in the official war records must be rewritten to correctly reflect the role played by the then Batalik-based 70 Infantry Brigade commander Devinder Singh, who has since retired.

“The appeal is likely to be filed in AFT on Tuesday. The decision has been taken after voluminous Kargil documents, ranging from situation reports and unit war diaries to battle-performance reports and military operations papers, have been perused,” said a senior Army officer.

While the Army maintains no correction in official records is needed, it will not challenge the AFT direction to expunge Brig (retd) Devinder Singh’s Annual Confidential Report (ACR) written by then 15 Corps commander Lt-General Kishan Pal.

The AFT had held the ACR was “not written in an objective and unbiased manner” after Brig Singh complained his successes as the 70 Infantry Brigade commander had been downplayed, denying him a gallantry medal and promotion.

The Army, however, maintains that “no bias” was shown against Brig Singh, who failed to get promoted to the rank of a major-general despite getting five “looks” or promotion board chances as opposed to the “normal” three. “Brig Singh did not make the grade based on his overall profile and comparative merit within his course, as evaluated by different selection boards from 2002 to 2006. Despite his claims, he was also never recommended for a Maha Vir Chakra,” the officer added.

The Army also says the AFT judgement, which gave relief in only two of the eight grievances of Brig Singh, did not give “any consequential benefits” — like the “notional rank” of a major-general — to the former Batalik brigade commander.

As for its appeal, the Army says official records clearly show that another officer, Brig Ashok Duggal, did indeed “oversee” operations on the eastern flank of the Batalik sector for the last seven days, while Brig Singh handled the western one.

Brig Singh, on his part, claims his achievements were belittled since Brig Duggal was present only for 72 hours to help in “coordination” and did not oversee operations.

It’s a fact that several other senior officers were rewarded after the Kargil conflict despite ignoring early warnings about the massive intrusions. Wrong assessments and flawed leadership during the conflict had led to the death of 527 Indian soldiers.

Fees for Technical Services – Ashapura Minechem

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

We have discussed at length the controversy last year over taxation of fees for technical services. In brief, the Supreme Court had taken the view in Ishikawajma that s. 9(1)(vii) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 applies only when services by a non-resident are both rendered and utilized in India. This appeared inconsistent with the plain text of the provision, and with a subsequent Explanation inserted by the Finance Act, 2008. However, the Explanation was not sufficiently unambiguous to conclude the matter, and High Courts and Tribunals across the country differed on whether it had the effect of nullifying Ishikawajma. The 2010 Finance Act seemed to have finally put the matter to rest, by providing expressly that s. 9(1)(vii) applies even when services are not rendered in India.

Recently, the first opportunity to test the scope of the new Explanation arose before the Mumbai ITAT, in Ashapura Minechem v. ADIT. Ashapura Minechem entered into an agreement with a Chinese company – China Aluminum International Engineering Corp Ltd [“CAIEL”] – whereby it agreed to pay a fee of $1 million in consideration for bauxite testing services performed by CAIEL. Ashapura Minechem contended that it was not liable to deduct tax at source under s. 195, because the principal sum of $1 million was not exigible to tax under s. 9(1)(vii). For this proposition, Ashapura relied principally on the decisions in Ishikawajma and Clifford Chance. Ashapura also argued, in the alternative, that the sum did not qualify for taxation under Art. 12 of the Indo-China Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement [“DTAA”].

The Tribunal correctly rejected the submission that Ishikawajma continues to be good law. Noting that the retrospective amendment inserted by the 2010 Finance Act is free from any ambiguity, the Tribunal held that the law in India is that fees for technical services paid to a non-resident are taxable when those services are utilized in India, regardless of where they are rendered. The Tribunal clearly demonstrated that this is not inconsistent with the principle of “territorial nexus”, observing that there are broadly three models of taxation of non-residents – “territorial tax systems”, such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands, where tax liability is fastened only on income earned within the borders of that country; “source” taxation, where the source of income is located within the country levying tax, and “residence” taxation, where the taxpayer is resident in the country levying tax. Most countries follow a combination of source and residence taxation, and the ensuing conflict is sought to be resolved internationally by a network of bilateral agreements, known as Double Taxation Avoidance Agreements or DTAAs. In the absence of such a treaty, there is nothing to prevent both countries from taxing the same transaction, and no legal principle is available to a taxpayer to challenge such a levy. Thus, as the Tribunal noted:

It is thus fallacious to proceed on the basis that territorial nexus to a tax jurisdiction being sine qua non to taxability in a jurisdiction is a normal international practice in all systems. This school of thought is now specifically supported by the retrospective amendment to section 9.

The second contention that Ashapura Minechem raised was far closer, and raised an interesting question as to whether Indo-Sino treaties treat fees for technical services differently. Art. 12(4) of the Indo-China DTAA defines “fees for technical services” as “any payment for the provision of services of managerial, technical or consultancy nature by a resident of a Contracting State in the other Contracting State…” [emphasis mine] Art. 12(6), the deeming provision, provides that “royalties or fees for technical services shall be deemed to arise in a Contracting State when the payer is … a resident of that Contracting State.” Ashapura argued that Art. 12(4) is a peculiar provision that applies only when services are both rendered and utilized in India, and based this submission on the expression “provision of services… in the other Contracting State”. It contrasted this with other treaties that omit a deeming provision for fees for technical services. The Tribunal rejected this submission by noting that such transactions are in any case taxable under Art. 12(6) and noted that Ashapura’s view of Art. 12(4) would render Art. 12(6) meaningless, for every transaction to which it could conceivably apply would be covered by Art. 12(4).

In sum, the controversy over taxation of non-residents for fees for technical services appears to have been finally settled.

Teen ‘killed’ by cops, family says NHRC relief first step to justice

Manish Sahu

Posted: Mon Jul 12 2010, 04:02 hrs Lucknow:

For the family of Durgesh, the 13-year-old boy killed allegedly by policemen at his Badaun residence in 2008, the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) recommendation for a Rs 5-lakh compensation is only the first step towards justice. The ends of justice, they say, will be met when the four policemen — sub-inspectors Sachidanand Rai, Jaidev Malik and constables Ajay Rana and Ram Nath — who “killed” Durgesh are convicted.

The government is yet to give permission for the prosecution of Rana. The other three were earlier arrested, but released on bail.

Last Thursday, the NHRC directed the state government to pay Rs 5 lakh to Durgesh’s family and asked for a compliance report, along with information on the outcome of the criminal case registered in the matter. It also asked for the status of the disciplinary proceedings against the sub-inspectors concerned.

“The police killed Durgesh brutally in their attempt to know the whereabouts of his elder brother, Sunny, against whom a complaint of theft had been lodged. They beat up Durgesh and later tied a belt around his neck, which caused his death. After Durgesh died, they hanged his body and left,” said Durgesh’s father Uma Shankar, a resident of Harila locality of Dataganj police circle in Badaun.

While a case of murder was initially registered after the incident, now the police are asserting that it was a case of suicide. The accused cops, they say, were guilty of abetment.

Bareilly Circle Officer Prakash Swaroop Pandey, who is conducting the investigation, said: “We have not found anything that shows the boy was killed by the policemen. It seems to be a case of abetment of suicide. Investigation is still on.”

Durgesh’s grandfather, Ram Swaroop, and elder brother, Rajeev, had reportedly witnessed Durgesh’s “killing”. They were also allegedly tortured by the policemen in the same room.

Durgesh, a Class VIII student, was the youngest of four sons of Uma Shankar. According to him, on January 12, 2008, Meena, a eunuch, filed a complaint with the Dataganj police station, alleging that two persons, one of whom was Durgesh’s elder brother, Sunny, had stolen her money.

During the inquiry, the police visited Sunny’s house, but failed to find him.

On January 20, 2008, four policemen again arrived at Uma Shankar’s house and inquired about Sunny. When the family failed to provide any information, the police reportedly started beating Sunny’s elder brother, Rajeev, Durgesh and their grandfather. One of the policemen then allegedly tied his belt around the neck of Durgesh, which caused his death.

“I was working in the fields. On learning of my son’s death, I rushed home and found him hanging. Rajeev and my father were lying injured in a corner of the house,” said Uma Shankar.

He added: “One of the neighbours called senior police

officers who sent the body for postmortem. Later, a murder case was lodged against the four policemen.”

The Badaun police investigated the case till November 2009, when Bareilly IG ordered that the investigation be transferred to Bareilly.

Torture and deaths in police remand violate Constitution: Must be resisted

The newly appointed Chairman of the Human Rights Commission Prof Mizanur Rahman has the other day criticised custodial deaths and ‘missing’ of citizens, saying the Commission will no longer tolerate such incidents. Expressing concern over the recent custodial deaths and missing of citizens, the NHRC chairman told journalists such incidents are harmful for the state and also damages the country’s image abroad.

In an interview with a foreign radio station Prof Rahman also admitted that there were incidents of people reported to be missing after being picked up. He is not sure if law enforcing agencies are involved in such incidents, but a number of people has approached him to tell their stories of missing father, son or husband.

Meanwhile, the Ain O Salish Kendra, a human rights organization, has recorded 16 such cases of people missing after being picked up. The description of the incidents lead to the conclusion that only a law enforcing agency can do this, an ASK researcher told journalists.

People are being subjected to inhuman torture in remand and many custodial deaths can be traced to this. Last week the High Court asked the government to constitute a committee

to investigate custodial deaths and ordered the Metropolitan Police Commissioner to submit a report in two weeks on steps taken under the Criminal Law against those responsible for the deaths.

The HC also asked the government and police why action should not be taken against the responsible people and summoned the police chief, sub-inspectors and assistant sub-inspectors of Gulshan and Dar-us-Salam Police Stations on July 19.

In June the High Court said it would no more tolerate deaths in custody and defiance of its orders to stop such murders. All these points to the stark reality of lack of security of life that is spreading panic among the citizens.

Fact remains that security of life and property is the first fundamental right guaranteed in the Constitution which also strongly prohibits torture. Article 31 of the Constitution provides, “To enjoy the protection of the law, and to be treated in accordance with law, and only in accordance with law, is the inalienable right of every citizen, wherever he may be, and of every other person for the time being within Bangladesht”Article 35, clause (5) states, No person shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment or treatment.

Way back in 2003, the High Court had issued a 15-point directive on the government, asking it to amend Sections 54 and 167 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to stop the arrest of people just on suspicion and torturing them during remand. The government however has not yet taken any step to execute the directives, said advocate Idrisur Rahman, one of the lawyers who in last May moved a Public Interest Litigation with the HC that issued the directive.

Law Minister Shafique Ahmed has been quoted to have said it would implement the directives once the Appellate Division upholds those. The government is waiting for the final orders of the apex court as an appeal against the verdict is pending with it, he said.

The Supreme Court has to establish accountability of the police as law enforcers and not as law violators. The courts have to be bold to say no to police remand unless security of the country so demands. The present democratic government must realise that law enforcers must not be tolerated as violators of the Constitution. Under a democratic government police must not be allowed to behave as if Bangladesh is a police state and they have no public accountability

Thinking of setting up commercial courts: CJI


New Delhi, July 10, 2010
Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia on Saturday said setting up of commercial courts to achieve quick disposal of cases is being considered as other judges of the apex court favoured promotion of alternative dispute resolution mechanism to reduce the burden on courts.

Speaking at a seminar on mediation, Justice Kapadia blamed lack of settlement culture in the country for the rise in pendency of cases and people not preferring out-of-court resolution of disputes.

“We are thinking of setting up commercial courts,” he said.

Speaking about huge arrears of cases in courts, Justice Kapadia said, “in India we, do not have a settlement culture. People are not picking settlement culture (in India).

Mediation and arbitration as a mode of dispute settlement is popular and successful in other countries,” he said.

“We must understand the value of time. This is one of the areas we need to focus on how to promote that culture,” he said.

Other Supreme Court judges at the conference also expressed similar views and emphasised the need to promote alternative dispute resolution mechanism to reduce the pressue on courts.

“Nobody can be blamed for the load of work we have. But we have to find a solution to get out of this mess,” Justice Altamas Kabir, the senior-most judge, said.

“It has become difficult to pay attention to the cases which deserve attention because of increasing number of cases.

Space is to be created in courts to deal with cases which cannot be resolved through mediation like criminal, election and administrative cases,” Justice R V Raveendran said.

“We need to have space to focus on important cases,” he said.


NHRC seeks report from C”garh Police on detention of tribals

Mon, Jul 12 02:11 PM

New Delhi, Jul 11 (PTI) The NHRC has sought a report from the Chhattisgarh Police on a complaint alleging that five “innocent” tribals were kept under illegal detention for about a month before they were shown arrested in connection with the killing of 76 CRPF personnel by Maoists in Dantewada in April. Issuing a notice to Chhattisgarh DGP, the Commission has asked him to submit a report in response to the allegations within a month.

“In default, the Commission may proceed to take such action as it deems proper,” it said. The Commission took cognisance of the case on the basis of a complaint filed by a rights activist and lawyer Radhakanta Tripathy.

In his complaint, Tripathy alleged that Oyam Hidma, Kowasi Budra, Oyam Ganga, Dura Joga and Podiyam Hidma of Minapa village were picked up by security forces from different locations in Chhattisharh in early April, kept under illegal detention for about a month and tortured. These tribals were later shown arrested along with an alleged Naxal commander Barsa Lakma in connection with the April 6 Dantewada massacre case, he charged.

“Their parents ran from pillar to post for their release but to no avail,” Tripathy claimed. Seeking the Commission”s intervention, Tripathy pleaded it to take appropriate action to ensure the release of these “innocent” people and “restore faith amongst the tribals who are being sandwiched between the Maoists and the security forces.


Revival of human rights issue in Kashmir

By Balraj Puri

Prime Minister’s visit to Kashmir on June 7 and 8 just coincided with when the mood of the people changed from happy to anger, of course inadvertently. People were celebrating with pleasure and pride the success of the Kashmiri boy Shah Faisel in topping the list of successful candidates in the Indian Administration Service for the first time. The separatist could neither join these celebrations nor oppose them. This mood gave way to that of anger over killing of three persons at Machil in Kupwara district in North Kashmir by the army alleged to be infiltrators, who were later found to be local innocent civilians.

The incident was followed by the protest throughout the Valley and reopened many old wounds which similar incidents had caused in the past. Protestors raised slogans against Indian army and demanded its withdrawal and enquiry by international agencies into all cases of fake encounters in the past. Even mainstream parties joined in. As an offshoot of Machil incident, an 18 year old was killed in Srinagar who, according to the police, was part of the stone pelting demonstrations and was killed by a pelting stone. Locals say he was killed by a teargas shell while he was playing cricket.

Chief Minister’s political advisor Mubarak Gul pleaded helplessness of the State government and directly held security forces responsible for killing innocent persons. The State Congress Chief Saif-ud-Din Soz urged the centre to withdraw the policy under which awards and cash are given to the army personnel who kill militants. This policy, he said, was a major cause of fake encounters. People’s Democratic Party has reiterated its demand for withdrawal of Armed Forces Special Power Act which gives immunity to the forces to commit human rights violations.

The issue of human rights in Kashmir has been revived at the national and international levels. Many activists have raised the issue and media has taken cognizance of it Times of India devoted a full page for articles on the subject. Amnesty International expressed serious concern over the killing of three youth in Machil and demanded a probe though independent and impartial bodies into all extra judicial killings in Kashmir. It urged Indian government to allow the UN Special Rapporteur on Extra judicial summary execution to visit the state to make an on the spot study of cases of fake encounters in the State.

By now there is welcome realization on the part of the State and Central governments that nothing damages national interest more than human rights violations. It was the policy of the administration in early nineties in crushing the militancy, without bothering about killing of innocent in the process, which turned it into mass insurgency. I may cite only one witness to prove my point.

A Pakistani diplomat, who met me, by chance, in Geneva, told me how excesses by the State were helping the cause of his government. He said, “When Mirwaiz Farooq was killed, we soon realized our miscalculation as the initial popular reaction was anti-Pakistan. But when his funeral procession reached in the narrow lanes of his ancestral house in Rajouri Kadal in Srinagar, it was fired upon by the Indian security forces which, according to official figures, killed 67 persons, including women, old and children. This turned anti-Pakistan sentiment to anti-India. I wish we could give highest award to these who was responsible for the firing.” Many lessons have certainly been learnt since then by the security forces and the government. In the case of Machil killings, the State government has registered a case against army officers. Three persons, including a trooper, are already arrested on the charge of allegedly kidnapping three boys from Nadihal in Baramulla district who were later killed by the army in a fake encounter. Army has suspended a major while the commanding officer of 4 Rajput Regiment, responsible for the fake encounter has been removed from the command but asked not to leave Kashmir. Police has begin probe into killing of 19 “militants” during “infiltration” attempt on the LoC from March 23 to May 8 this year.

The State Chief Minister said that there was a question mark on all infiltration claims by the army. He got a positive response from the Union Defence Minister A K Antony who promised enquiry into all such cases and cooperation with the state police. The Prime Minister, during his stay in Srinagar, gave an assurance that his government would act to ensure that security forces respect the rights of civilians while tackling terrorism. “We will act to remove any deficiency in the implementation of these instructions,” he said.

No doubt this is the first time some prompt action has been taken by the state and central governments against alleged faked encounter. Much would, however, depend on the results of the enquiry.

Meanwhile an observation of the new Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission Justice K G Balakrishna deserves attention. He has recommended to the government extension of the apex human rights body’s jurisdiction “in full rigour to the State of Jammu and Kashmir.” Use of force alone cannot bring solution to all its problems, he added. He has suo moto issued notice to the army to explain killing of two persons in Keller in Shopian alleged to be militants. The ban on jurisdiction of the Commission to the State is clearly a misuse of Article 370 in the name of protecting the autonomy of the State. The votaries of autonomy should rethink on the question whether rights of the people are more important or the powers of the government.

The NHRC, for instance, requires that all district authorities in other State should report to it any case of custodial death. Why is the J&K State exempt from this requirement? Much also needs to be done to bring the J&K State Human Rights Commission at par with other states. It has no investigation machinery of its own and its reports are sent to district authorities for enquiry.

It was on account of the vitiated atmosphere that Prime Minister’s generous financial aid and other popular welfare measures announced by him at Srinagar did not have the full impact that would otherwise have been the case.

NHRC notice on violation of students’ rights at Gujarat school

J. Balaji

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has issued notice to the Primary Education Secretary of the Gujarat government on media reports which stated that the students of Riverdale School in Surat were asked to walk on burning coal and broken glass pieces to “build their confidence.”

The factual report should be sent within four weeks.

The NHRC, which took up the April 20 incident suo motu, observed that if the contents of the press report were true, it raised a serious issue of the violation of children’s human rights and their physical torture.

Reports quoted school officials describing the challenges set at a summer camp as “important exercises that will make a child strong and determined.”

Eighty children aged 9-14 walked on hot coal, while 110 students walked over broken glass pieces. No one suffered any injuries, the school authorities said.

NHRC to move SC over Nandigram

8 Jul 2010, 1120 hrs IST

NEW DELHI, India: In what could come as an embarrassment to the civic poll battered Left Front government ahead of the assembly polls in West Bengal, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is seriously mulling moving the Supreme Court, as it had done in Gujarat riot cases, to ensure compensation to victims of the Nandigram violence in 2007.

The NHRC full Bench comprising chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan and members — Justices G P Mathur and B C Patel and P C Sharma and Amrit Pal — recently decided to seek legal opinion from Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam regarding moving the SC in the face of a defiant stand taken by the Buddhadeb Bhattacharya government on payment of compensation.

During the much criticised police action and violence between March and November 2007 relating to opposition by locals to acquisition of vast tracts of land in Nandigram for setting up of a chemical hub, 14 people had died and nearly 300 were injured.

In the face of allegations that the state government paid compensation to those who were CPM loyalists, the NHRC had sent a team to inquire into the incidents and recommended that the government should publish an advertisement in two Bengali newspapers asking those who had not been paid compensation to make fresh claims.

But, the state had brushed aside the recommendation saying it had acted fairly in giving compensation and that no further action needed to be taken. The state had also unsuccessfully challenged in the Supreme Court a Calcutta High Court decision to entrust the CBI with the probe into the Nandigram incidents while asking the state to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to the dead, Rs 2 lakh to those raped and Rs 1 lakh to the injured.

With the state not ready to do the minimum required to provide compensation to one and all, the NHRC full Bench agreed that it could move the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the state to provide an opportunity to all victims to claim compensation.

But, to make its case fool-proof, the NHRC decided to seek legal opinion from the Solicitor General. Subramaniam confirmed that he was looking into the matter and would soon give his opinion to the apex human rights body.

Among the 12-point recommendations given by NHRC to the state government, those relating to claims on compensation were:

* Publish a complete list of persons whose houses were damaged in the incidents from March 14 to November 2007 related to SEZ issue in Nandigram area, giving details like address, nature of construction, extent of damage, exgratia amount paid or proposed to be paid

* List of applications received so far in this regard and status thereof may be published

* A date may be indicated in the publication by which time anyone who likes to make an application or submits a representation can do so

* List may be displayed on the notice boards in gram panchayat and block offices and copies may be given to the district level representatives of all recognised political parties in the state. Copies may also be given to representatives of Bhoomi Uchhed Pratirodh Committee (BUPC)

LEGAL NEWS 12.07.2010

Chavan defends Centre on border issue
Special Correspondent
In a bid to quell the discontent over its affidavit in the Supreme Court on the Maharashtra-Karnataka border issue, the Centre is likely to make it clear in Monday’s hearing that this is not its final stand, according to reliable sources in the Maharashtra government.
Last week, the Centre, in its affidavit, opposed Maharashtra’s application challenging the constitutional validity of certain provisions of the States Reorganisation Act, 1956, and the Bombay Reorganisation Act, 1960. The suit was filed by Maharashtra in 2004 seeking transfer of certain Marathi-speaking areas of Belgaum and other parts of Karnataka to it. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan on Sunday expressed confidence in the Central government. He said he had sought an all-party meeting with the Prime Minister on July 14 and he would know by Monday whether that was possible. He said there was no change in the State’s stand and it was firm that 865 villages and other parts of the border areas should come to Maharashtra.
Addressing a press conference on the eve of the monsoon session of the Legislature, Mr. Chavan denied the Opposition charge that the Centre or Congress president Sonia Gandhi were insensitive to Maharashtra’s sentiments. The Centre had no antipathy towards the State. He clarified that the Centre’s affidavit was in response to an interim application filed by Maharashtra and was not against the main petition. The issue should not be politicised and all parties in the State were one on the border issue.
The Shiv Sena and the Bharatiya Janata Party attacked Mr. Chavan for failing to secure any success in three important cases in the Supreme Court.
The Opposition boycotted the Chief Minister’s customary tea party on the eve of the session.

Time to review 27% OBC quota in education?
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 12, 2010, 02.35am IST
NEW DELHI: This is the third academic year after Supreme Court on April 10, 2008, upheld the legislation providing 27% reservation for other backward castes (OBCs) in admissions to central educational institutions. The apex court had excluded the creamy layer from benefiting under the 27% quota and said unfilled seats would be go back to the general category. The government had also assured the court that general category seats would not shrink as the institutions would create more seats to absorb the reservation requirement. We can discount the chaos of filling the seats created for OBCs under the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Admissions) Act, 2007, in 2008-09 as teething problem despite the admission process getting extended till October. However, the data for the next two academic years gives an impression that the quantum of 27% may have been far in excess of what was needed to meet the demographic demand. In 2009-10, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) transferred 83 of the 413 seats reserved for OBCs to the general category. Of the 10,183 OBC seats in Delhi University, there were no takers for nearly 2,300 seats. This year too, DU is witnessing a similar story. University officials are fearing that nearly 6,000 seats may get transferred to general category for want of suitable candidates from backward classes, despite the cut-off being 10 marks less than the last general category candidate taking admission in the institution. The general category may not be complaining. But the increased number of seats will definitely put pressure on the already stretched faculty, library facilities and allied educational resources available with the institution. This is what happens when the political class, without any scientific survey, fixes quota without identifying what constitutes backwardness in the social and educational maze. The Supreme Court had repeatedly warned against this, right from Indra Sawhney judgment in 1992 till the Ashoka Kumar Thakur judgment in 2008. Socially and educationally backward classes (SEBCs), who are entitled for the 27% reservation in government-run colleges and institutions, are at present determined solely on the basis of the backwardness of their caste. In both these judgments relating to OBC reservation in employment and admission, the apex court had stressed that caste could not be the sole criterion for identifying the social and educational backwardness of a person. So, without a proper identification of SEBCs, their number was guesstimated and a percentage of seats was kept reserved for them. The apex court realised it but was hampered without contradicting data to fault the socially affirmative action. That is why it suggested periodic review of the quantum of quota as well as the necessity of reservation in admission for SEBCs. “There must be periodic review as to the desirability of continuing operation of the statute — Central Educational Institutions (Reservations in Admission Act, 2007. This shall be done once every five years,” the five-judge constitution Bench had said in Ashoka Thakur case. Is the government prepared to review working of the 2007 law? If not, then it could utilise the opportunity provided by the census exercise presently underway to determine the exact number of persons to be included in the socially and educationally backward category to help work out the percentage of reservation needed.

SC calls bullfight dangerous, wants strict measures
Express news service
Posted: Mon Jul 12 2010, 03:54 hrs New Delhi:
Terming the traditional bullfight or Jallikattu in Tamil Nadu as a money-spinning industry with little regard for human safety or animal welfare, the Supreme Court has asked the Animal Welfare Board (AWB) and Tamil Nadu to explore stringent measures to deter people from patronising the event.
A Bench of Justices R V Raveendran and H L Gokhale last week said the state government and the AWB ought to debate possibilities to raise the advance deposit to Rs 20 lakh from the present Rs 2 lakh to
curb the sport. The deposit would be used by the state to compensate for the human casualties which occurred during the event.
The court, in its order on June 9, further said that the government should restrict the period of the event to two months on an annual basis. Currently, bullfights are organised from January to May every year. Both authorities have to get back to the SC with their opinions within the next four weeks.
“It has become an industry. We do not know whether people are making money. It should not have even spread towards summer but it is extending towards the monsoon,” the bench said. “Think of the danger to human beings. The bulls become ferocious and run amock after they are fed liquor. This must be restricted to two months.”
The apex court’s remarks came after Solicitor General of India Gopal Subramaniam submitted that the state had come out with Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act -2009 to restrict the sport. He said that 129 spots have been identified for conducting bullfights, but last year only 46 were used for the simple reason that many organisers were unable to afford the deposit of Rs 2 lakh.
Holding the event on an un-notified area would also invite imprisonment of one year, he demonstrated the government’s cause.
The court, however, said bullfights should be restricted to January and February during the Pongal (Tamil New Year) season. The hearing was on a PIL filed seeking a ban on the sport as it endangered human lives and also amounted to cruelty on animals.

Maha explores legal options to ban Laine’s book on Shivaji
Press Trust Of IndiaMumbai, July 11, 2010
First Published: 20:55 IST(11/7/2010)Last Updated: 20:59 IST(11/7/2010)
With the Supreme Court lifting the ban on James Laine’s controversial book on Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Maharashtra Government today announced setting up of a three-member committee to explore options to stop its printing and circulation in the state. “At no cost, there should be printing and circulation of the book in the state,” chief Minister Ashok Chavan said addressing a press conference after the customary session eve tea party which was boycotted by the Opposition.
Home Minister R R Patil said the state government would write to the Centre recommending a stringent Act to stop defamatory writings against the iconic figure.
The Chief Minister said his government shared the strong sentiments of the people of the state over the objectionable references made to the legendary Maratha king in the book.
“Since, the apex court has given its verdict of lifting of the ban, the state has decided to proceed legally in this matter. The committee comprising Advocate General, Law Secretary and Additional Chief Secretary(ACS) Home will explore legal options and advise the government accordingly,” Chavan said.
Patil said the committee will give its views on the matter in two days. “The Centre has to enact such a legislation. The state government would write to the Centre recommending a stringent act,” he added.
On whether action will be taken against historians in the state especially in Pune for providing defamatory information about Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj, Patil said police had questioned the historians mentioned in the book by Laine and all of them had categorically denied that they had provided any such information.

Legal mechanism to rein in khaps by mid-August
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Jul 12, 2010, 02.15am IST

NEW DELHI: Law Commission is soon expected to come out with comprehensive suggestions on a legal mechanism to deal with khap-dictated honour killings. The report of the commission headed by Justice P V Reddy, expected by mid-August, could come to the rescue of the UPA government, given the division of opinion within the Union Cabinet over the efficacy of home ministry’s bill suggesting amendments to the Indian Penal Code to rein in khaps. Justice Reddy told TOI that the issue was referred to the commission some time back but it was taken up in right earnest only after he assumed charge as chairperson in April. “We have studied the issue from various angles, including the social aspect, and have held wide consultations with public bodies,” he said. Asked about the legal issues being deliberated by the commission, Justice Reddy said, “It is basically two — whether an amendment to the existing penal laws would serve the purpose or a wholesome standalone law is needed to deal with the menace.” He refused to elaborate further. In fact, the issue being deliberated by the commission was the same that created a debate within the Cabinet on Thursday. While the home ministry’s bill proposed amendment to Section 300 of IPC to insert an additional clause “fifthly” to include all khap participants in a murder decision to be liable for the crime of honour killing, legal eagle Kapil Sibal had a different take. According to Sibal, the issue was not as simple as just amending Section 300 to have an additional clause, which in reality could be a tool for harassment of innocent people by police. He said the IPC already provided for making a person a co-accused in a murder case if he had been always a party to the planning and conspiracy to a killing, thus the proposed amendment was redundant. However, Sibal and other colleagues suggested that one could explore the need for a separate law to specifically deal with honour killings on the lines of Prevention of Corruption Act. The issue was then referred to a group of ministers (GoM) for wider consultation. Justice Reddy said the commission had already held wide-ranging consultations and crystallised certain views. “Now we have to carefully examine the contents of all these deliberations before giving our report to the government. It will take some time,” he said.

Afzal should be punished: Muslim leader
PTI, Jul 11, 2010, 09.57pm IST

NEW DELHI: Parliament attack case convict Afzal Guru, who is on death row, should be punished as decided by the judicial system of the country, a top leader of a prominent Muslim organisation said. General Secretary of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind Maulana Mahmood Madani said those apprehending strong protest from the Muslims if the punishment against Guru was carried out actually want to gain “political mileage” out of the issue. “I do not think the community will oppose it. Some crazy people may oppose it but it will not be the community,” he told a hindi news channel, replying to a question. “There is a judicial system in the country and people have full faith and confidence in it. After the judicial process, it has been proved that the man is guilty.” Without naming Guru, Madani said if somebody has committed a crime then he must be punished. “I can say with full confidence that if somebody has committed a crime then he must be punished at any cost what ever be the repercussions. You should do justice,” he said. Asked whether some people were trying to defame the community by saying that it will react strongly if Guru is hanged, he replied: “yes”. “In a way they are defaming the community. They want to take political benefit,” he said. However, he added he cannot give “guarantee” that there will be no protest or violence if Guru’s sentence is carried out. The Supreme Court had in 2005 upheld the Delhi High Court verdict confirming the trial court judgement which had awarded capital punishment to Guru for his role in the conspiracy behind the December 13, 2001, terror attack on Parliament.

‘State case had no basis’
Dharmendra Jore, Hindustan TimesEmail AuthorMumbai, July 12, 2010
First Published: 03:03 IST(12/7/2010)Last Updated: 03:06 IST(12/7/2010)
The Maharashtra government’s case against James Laine’s controversial book on Shivaji in the Supreme Court had weakened because the state could not prove it hurt religious sentiments. Sources in the Law and Judiciary department told Hindustan Times that the state’s case did not have any basis like it had when books of authors like Salman Rushdie were banned. “We couldn’t e that Shivaji’s defamation amounted to hurting people’s religious sentiments,” said an officer from the department on the condition of anonymity.
The state government had banned Laine’s book, Shivaji: Hindu King in Islamic India, in 2004 but the Supreme Court on Friday upheld the Bombay High Court’s verdict that the ban be lifted with immediate effect.
Chief Minister Ashok Chavan said, “As far as banning the book is concerned, we share strong sentiments with the Opposition. We will ensure that the book is not sold or circulated in the state.” Chavan, however, did not have specific information on how the government planned to do that.
“We have formed a committee of the Advocate General and Secretaries of the Home and Law and Judiciary departments to take further legal action in the case,” Chavan said.
The Maharashtra government has demanded that the Centre frame a law to enable states to ban books that defame any person, dead or alive, who is revered by the people.
The state’s failure to get the book banned has triggered widespread violence.
Opposition parties boycotted the chief minister’s customary tea party held on Sunday, the eve of the monsoon session of the state Legislature.
They demanded Law and Judiciary Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe Patil’s resignation for the fiasco. Chavan said there was no merit in the Opposition’s demand.
“But I will inquire deeply in this case and other cases (border dispute and Best-5) that we have lost in the courts.”
Home Minister RR Patil, who was instrumental in banning two of Laine’s books in two years, demanded a stringent law.
“We will request the Centre to frame a law for this. Nobody is going to accept derogatory remarks against any person of the stature of Shivaji Maharaj,” he told journalists after the tea party.
An officer from the Law and Judiciary department said that the state had the option of filing a review petition in the Supreme Court.

Law dept not consulted in Best-5 case
Yogesh Naik, TNN, Jul 12, 2010, 02.43am IST
MUMBAI: While lakhs of SSC and thousands of ICSE students await the result of the Supreme Court hearing on the best-5 rule on Monday, it has come to light that the state education department did not consult either the law and judiciary department or the attorney general before clearing the file. This, despite senior ministers asking the education department to refer the file to them. Even education minister Balasaheb Thorat confirmed that he had not sent the file to the law and judiciary department. Incidentally, the state government has clarified that if the judgment is delayed, it will announce the admission process to junior colleges on Tuesday. A senior minister said, “I had personally told chief minister Ashok Chavan to tell the education minister to consult the state law and judiciary department. We have already lost miserably in the high court. What’s the point in doing a lot of legal consultations now? This should have been done much earlier. The law and judiciary department scans every file closely and gives its honest opinion.” The chief minister is quite hopeful that the government will win the Best-5 case in the Supreme Court, but Thorat is not. He agreed that the law and judiciary department was not consulted and neither was the AG. “The SSC board is an independent body. They had consulted a legal firm, Little and Company, from whom they take advice. The proposal was completely studied. Besides, we had invited suggestions and objections from people and they were heard for nearly two months. Since the SSC board is an independent body, we did not consult the state law department,” said Thorat. The state legislature is starting from Monday and the state education department is likely to face heavy criticism for the mess created for admissions to junior colleges. The Opposition will also question Thorat on how and where the government failed. Thorat was initially given the agriculture portfolio and was given an additional charge of school education till alternate arrangements are done. The Opposition had also made a demand to shift Thorat. But the CM recently said that he was doing good work and there was no need to shift him. “There are many ministers with additional charges,” Chavan had added.

Healthy criticism usher in a whiff of fresh air
First Published : 12 Jul 2010 08:11:23 AM IST
Last Updated : 12 Jul 2010 10:26:37 AM IST

‘A life which is not criticised is not worth living’ is an old adage.
There is a vertical division of opinion among mainstream political parties about the right of citizens and politicians to criticise judicial verdict. This is a subject to be analysed against the backdrop of history and contemporary socio-economic political milieu to generate more light than heat on the issue. To err is human and individuals and institutions, including Judiciary, can err. But the impact and extent of error can be minimised if institutions and individuals can operate in a system of checks and balances in a civil society. When Deng said “Let a hundred flowers bloom: Let a hundred schools of thoughts contend “ he suggested that clash of ideas is a healthy sign of a vibrant society which aims at progress and welfare. Again German philosopher Hegel propounded the idea of Dialectics, and he meant that it is quite natural for thesis and anti-thesis to interact and culminate in a Synthesis as happy denouement of mental thought process. History is replete with mistakes of old judicial and quasi-judicial bodies which made permanent scars on human conscience and exploded the myth of judical infallibility.
Socrates, the first free thinker of human civilization, was awarded capital punishment by then Greek authorities.
Pontius Pilate , Roman Governor vested with judicial and administrative powers sentenced Christ to cricifixion after declaring Christ was guiltless.
Holy Inquisition, the apex judicial court of the Church, awarded brutal punishments to scientists and thinkers for believing in ideas opposed to views of the Church.
More recently, many judgments pronounced by learned judges prove that judiciary Itself is a divided house.
In the most important constitutional cases of Golaknath case and Keshavananda Bharathi case about powers of Parliament to amend fundamental rights, full constitutional benches took divergent views and the majority opinions prevailed. All the learned judges studied the same Constitution and laws and heard the same arguments, but subjectivity influenced their judgements and hence the major differences of opinion on crucial subject of vital import. Right and wrong are relative and Relativity operates not only in science but in human affairs too. The trajectory of certain cases from lower courts to apex court shows that sometimes judgments take a zig-zag course justifying Soli Sorabji’s observation about relativism of judiciary. Some of the rules in the statute books of India date back to the colonial era of 19th century. Contemporary relevance or irrelevance of many rules can be determined only through a process of free, frank and fearless and uninhibited discussion, dialogue and debate. The concept of infallibility of judiciary is pernicious to society.
Laws to be enacted by legislative bodies and their interpretation by courts should be a reflection of the needs and aspirations of the people. Legislature, Executive and Judiciary should function in tandem for the general health of body politic. Unbridled freedom or right for any system or institution can wreak havoc with the country as it happened with monarchy, dictatorship , feudalism etc of the past.
In British Judiciary, there were instances of humorous repartees and retorts between Bench and Bar and both took them in a spirit of humour and tolerance without malice. The basic philosophy and objective of law are an old parody of Biblical verse written by A G Gardiner “Man is not made for rules ; but rules are made for man. “ There is a school of thought which insists that criticism of judiciary should be confined to ideological discussion only.
Such a criticism bereft of ground realities of national life and concrete situations will only lead to pious wishes like Directive Principles of State policy in the Constitution devoid of any innate strength to deliver the goods. Modernism and post-modernism have influenced literature, art, music, philosophy, business etc, but jurisprudence is a lover of the past which keeps at bay every modern trend.
The obsolete and archaic language itself is a barrier which fortifies an anachronistic legal system which keeps common man at arm’s length. Institutions of Legislature, Executive and Judiciary have suffered erosion of credibility.
It will be a stagnant society which forbids criticism and prevents change of rules and conventions. A healthy criticism is essential to usher in a whiff of fresh air in society just as the incisive writings of Voltaire and Rousseau sent waves of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity across the world.

India-UK to enhance collaboration between ‘judicial and legal systems’
London, July 11(ANI): Union Law and Justice Minister Dr.M.Veerappa Moily has met British Secretary of State for Justice, Kenneth Clarke to enhance relationships between the two countries in all spheres, including the judicial system.
Moily said that his meeting with the Secretary of State on Wednesday was very warm, cordial and fruitful.
“Kenneth Clark told me about the high regard he has for our Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh and how much he admires the transformation that has taken place in India, particularly in the Indian economy, under Dr. Singh’s leadership,” Moily said in a statement.”Clark also acknowledged India’s powerful regard for the rule of law and spoke of the challenges the Indian judicial system faces,” he added.He also had meetings with the Lord Chief Justice and the Attorney General.Besides, he had Round Table discussions with the Bar Council of UK, Law Society of UK, Society of Asian Lawyers and the London Court of International Arbitration, which he said were “constructive and purposeful”.He also interacted with several UK law firms and the UK India Business Council, and visited the Supreme Court of UK to witness the proceedings and attended a reception at the House of Commons.The objective of these discussions was to enhance collaboration between the judicial and legal systems of the two countries by sharing mutual experiences.”My interactions with the UK authorities have helped me understand the functioning of the judicial system in the UK,” Moily added. (ANI)

SC status to dalit Muslims might wait for some time: petitioners
Submitted by admin4 on 12 July 2010 – 10:06am.
By Md. Ali,,
New Delhi: UPA government has done it again. It was the 8th extension, which the Central government sought for the hearing of a PIL lodged in Supreme Court, for inclusion of Dalit Muslims in Scheduled Caste category, by Akhil Maharastra Khatik Samaj (AMKS).
Representing the government side, Gopal Subramanyam, solicitor general of India, told the apex court that the government needs some more time to take a stand on this whole issue, particularly now when Ranganath Mishra Commission has submitted its report, recommending SC status to the Dalit Muslims.
To inform our readers, the National Commission on Religious & Linguistic Minorities or Ranganath Mishra Commission, as it is popularly called, headed by Justice Ranganath Mishra, former Chief Justice of India, submitted it’s Report to the Prime Minister on 22 May, 2007.
The Ranganath Mishra Commission report has recommended the government to delink religion for the consideration of SC status and to make Schedule Caste net as religion neutral.
Reportedly the government counsel said that the proposal is yet to be discussed by the concerned high power Group of Ministers (GoM) which is Cabinet Committee on Political Affairs (CCPA).
Talking to, Shamsuddin Kadir from the legal cell of AMKS pointed out that, “It has been quite a journey for us in our decade old fight to get SC status to dalit Muslims. After 8 extensions and delays the situation now is that, it is the extreme and climax of the case. The UPA government is just adopting the delay tactics, which is the easiest way out when you don’t want to do any thing. In the next hearing we will request the apex court not to give further time to the government.”
The actual petition was filed by AMKS on 25th January 2008 but in spite of the delays and 8 extensions he sees some positives developments about the case.
“There used to be a time when no body used to turn up from the government side. It is a positive path breaking achievement for this case that the government has responded to our petition.”
He is also hopeful that the government doesn’t have much option but to give dalit Muslims Schedule Caste status.
“One day it has to include dalit Muslims into SC category because its own Commission, in the form of Ranganath Mishra Commission has recommended it and constitutional body like National Commission for Schedule Caste and Schedule Tribe has cleared it. So there is nothing it can put against the proposal, besides what has been happening with dalit Muslims is completely unconstitutional. That is why it is very clear for the apex court to see that it is out and out unconstitutional. ”
Akhil Maharastra Khatik Samaj (AMKS) is not alone in fighting for this, Franklin Xaviers along with center for Public Interest Litigation, had filed a PIL in the Supreme Court, way back in March 2004, for the dalit Christians and Muslims to be included in Schedule Caste category. Their side is represented by well known human rights lawyer Prashant Bhushan.
The story with their PIL is the same as that of AMKS. Their next hearing is on 15th of July. Franklin who is the second petitioner in this case, told this correspondent, that they will request the apex court not to give further time to the government and insist for an immediate reply from the government.
Many believe that government might be delaying because of political considerations. But Franklin has solution for that also.
“If legal means is not enough and the government wants political campaigning then for that we have called for a nation wide rally on July 21, 2010, to express the urgency and gravity of Christians’ Muslims’ and secular-minded peoples’ for the just demand for the SC status to dalit Muslims and Christians.”
He pointed out that, this rally is expected to be attended by more than 15,000 dalit Christians and dalit Muslims. Political leaders like D Raja, Brinda Karat, Ali Anwar prominent among others, are expected to address this rally.
What is the problem and why Dalit minorities need to be given SC status?
As far as the issue of SC status to Dalit Muslims and Christians is concerned, from 1935 to 1950, all Dalit irrespective of their religion, were provided with reservations. However, on January 26, 1950 when constitution of India came into force, an order was passed by the then president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad, which denied SC status to Dalit of any community other than Hindu.
The third paragraph of the order said, “notwithstanding anything contained in para 2, no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Castes.”
Now the problem with this presidential order was that it was against, many provisions enshrined in the constitution, like Equality before the law (Article 14), Prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion (Article 15) and Freedom to profess and practice any religion (Article 25).
That is why probably, there were two amendments first in 1956 and second in 1990 in the Constitution and Sikhs and Buddhists respectively were included in the Scheduled Caste category and thus they were allowed to avail the benefits of reservation.
Dalit Muslims
Across the country there are around 35 castes of Indian dalit Muslims which include Nutt, Bakkho, Khatik, Bhatiyara, Kunjra, Dhunia, Kalal, Dafali, Halakhor, Dhobi, Gorkan, Meershikar, Rangrz, Darji, Mochis, Mukris and Garudis etc.
Their condition is worse than any other community in India, a fact which was proved by the Sacchar Committee report. SC status to Dalit Muslims has been overdue for a long time now, because it’s not only that they have been a part of the same profession but it is also a fact, that they have been going through the same social discrimination as their counterpart Dalit Hindus.
Many social scientist point towards increasingly good condition of Dalit Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists, and for which they give credit to the reservation, they enjoy because of their SC status.

‘Case backlog due to lack of settlement culture’
Posted by IANS-CT in National
New Delhi, July 10 (Calcutta Tube) Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia Saturday said that the absence of a settlement culture among litigants was the single most important factor in the flooding of courts with cases.
He said that in foreign countries, people prefer settlement over litigation and made a specific reference about the prevalence of this culture in Taiwan in his inaugural address at the two-day National Mediation Conference of judges of the Supreme Court, high courts and eminent jurists.
Winning a case and not settling it is core to the mindset of people who have very big egos, Kapadia maintained.
Coupled with this, people have little appreciation for the value of time. Thus, for recovering Rs.5, people will spend 15 years in the courts, he pointed out.
Kapadia said that the real challenge is to develop a settlement culture across the board and in this, the role of the mediator was much more important than that of the courts.
He said that the court presents the litigants with a win-lose scenario whereas in mediation, one has to create a win-win situation for the contending parties.
For making mediation a success, Kapadia called for judicial, bar and legislative reforms.
He underlined the need for good mediators who, besides being well trained and skillful, must have wisdom. He said at present there was no proper training of the mediators, particularly to handle commercial disputes.
Kapadia called for good training programmes for mediators, codification of the concepts of mediation in each sector and making them available to mediators who in turn would train others.
Justice Altamas Kabir of the Supreme Court said that judicial officers could not be faulted for delays because of the filing of large numbers of cases.
He said that a win-win situation that is provided by mediation also ensures continuation of relationship between the contending parties whereas the win-lose situation related to litigation spells termination of that relationship.

CIC can peruse oil-for-food scam file: Supreme Court
The Supreme Court has dismissed the Enforcement Directorate plea seeking exemption from production of documents related to investigations into the “oil-for-food” scam before the Central Information Commission.
The Commission had directed the ED to produce the file of the probe into the scam for its perusal to decide on its disclosure under the RTI Act.
The scam led to the ouster of former External Affairs Minister Natwar Singh from the Cabinet in 2004 for his alleged role.
The bench comprising Justice A.K. Ganguly and Justice G.S. Singhvi trashed the arguments put forth by the government against the production of file before the CIC. In his observations, Justice Ganguly said CIC has powers to peruse the file. He said there was so much of corruption in the country and the RTI Act was a “breath of fresh air”. He said the Act has even been applied to the judiciary and “we welcome it.”
“The ED kept saying that they are investigating the case for the last five years but they are shying to show the progress to Central Information Commission. The file will now have to be shown to the CIC,” Prashant Bhushan, senior lawyer who appeared for applicant Arun Agrawal said.
RTI applicant Mr. Agrawal had sought the entire file containing note sheets relating to the report of Virendra Dayal, appointed by the government as special envoy to coordinate with UN officials on the Paul Volcker Committee report.
After initial reluctance and repeated transfers, the Finance Ministry accepted that the file was with the Enforcement Directorate, which is an exempted organisation under the transparency law.
The Paul Volcker Committee was set up by the United Nations in April 2004 to probe corruption and fraud in its Oil-for-Food Programme in Iraq, in which name of former External Affairs minister Natwar Singh also allegedly figured as a beneficiary.
The Central Information Commission had directed the Enforcement Directorate to produce the file before it prior to deciding on the records’ exemption from disclosure under the RTI Act.
The Enforcement Directorate had challenged the decision in the High Court, pleading that the CIC had expanded the scope of the appeal pending before it.
It said the Commission cannot call for records pertaining to ongoing investigations in the light of its limited powers.
However, the High Court had said “CIC has jurisdiction to decide whether proviso to Section 24 (1) of the Act is applicable and whether conditions mentioned in section 8(1) of the Act are satisfied. To satisfy and have a just and fair decision, CIC can direct production of records and examine them.”

Nityananda commences preaching
Posted: Sun Jul 11 2010, 22:15 hrs Bangalore:
With the Karnataka High Court lifting conditions imposed on his spiritual activities, self-styled godman Nityananda Swami, facing rape and other criminal charges, today resumed religious discourses and delivered a talk on freedom at his Bidadi ashram.
Earlier, while granting bail to Nityananda the court had last month observed he had fallen short of his image as a spiritual head and restrained him from conducting spiritual preaching classes except yoga and meditation.
However, following an interlocutory application from Nityananda that stated that the conditions took away his freedom of speech, the court last week relaxed them.
Apart from his ashram members, more than 100 visitors attended his religious discourses, ashram sources said.
Delivering his first public discourse after nearly 80 days, Nityananda recalled his life in prison. After his arrest in April, he was released on bail on June 13.
Nityananda was embroiled in a controversy after a purported video footage showing him in a compromising position with a Tamil actress was aired on some local TV channels in March. Cases of rape and other offences were registered against him in Tamil Nadu and transferred to Karnataka.

Court curbs on converting park into water tank
IANS, Jul 11, 2010, 05.59pm IST

NEW DELHI: The judicial battle of the residents of the Rohini neighbourhood to save a park has started on a positive note with the Delhi High Court restraining, for now, the civic agencies from converting the green area into an underground water tank. “Till further orders, the respondents (civic agencies) are directed to maintain status quo in regard to the site in question,” Justice SN Aggarwal said while restraining the Delhi Development Authority and the Delhi Jal Board. The court’s direction came on a petition filed by the Residents Welfare Association of Rohini. The petition said that there was only one park in the neighbourhood with 13,000 residents and its conversion into a a tank would harm the environment. “Destruction of the park and the playground would adversely affect the ecological balance and healthy environment in the area,” said the petition. It also said that the court must direct the authorities to use the vacant space nearby for the construction of the tank. The court, after hearing the arguments, stayed the construction of the tank in the park and directed the government and civic authorities to file their replies. The next date of hearing is July 22.

UoP bans first-year degree admissions at 249 colleges, 95 institutes
Vishwas Kothari, TNN, Jul 12, 2010, 03.08am IST

PUNE: The University of Pune (UoP) has released a revised list of 249 affiliated colleges and 95 recognised institutes, located across Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts, asking them not to admit students to the first-year degree courses for the academic year 2010-11. The university directive comes on account of the failure of these colleges and institutes to appoint full-time principals/directors before the May 31, 2010 deadline that was set by the Supreme Court. Wasudev N Gade, director of UoP’s board of college and university development (BCUD), has cited the apex court’s order besides the state government’s order of January 30, 2010 while justifying the directive. The revised list has been posted on the UoP’s official website: Gade’s letter, however, does not specify the action to be taken against those colleges/institutes which go ahead with admissions in defiance of the university’s directive. The action is critical, considering that admissions to degree-level institutions, particularly arts, science and commerce colleges, are already into the final stage. The university has a total of 612 affiliated colleges and more than 200 recognised institutes across the three districts. Soon after the May 31 deadline, the university had declared that there were 340 affiliated colleges and 132 recognised institutes, which were operating without the key appointees. However, some of these colleges/institutes had initiated the process for filling up the key vacancies while some others preferred moving the Supreme Court to seek a fresh extension of the deadline. The apex court did grant a six-month relief to those colleges convinced the court about the genuine efforts taken for filling up the key posts. The relief, however, is applicable only to those colleges/institutes which moved the apex court. On its part, the university has taken a position that it won’t allow admissions to first-year degree courses at those colleges/institutes, which did not take any effort to appoint principals/directors. In between, the UoP held a special camp at the varsity campus to sanction its approval to candidates appointed as either principal/director by various institutes. All this brought down the number of colleges and institutes without the key appointees from 340 to 249 and 132 to 95, respectively. According to the revised list, Pune district has maximum 136 colleges and 52 institutes where first-year admissions have been banned. Nashik district has 59 colleges and 31 institutes while Ahmednagar district accounts for 54 colleges and 12 institutes. It may be noted that the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court had pronounced a verdict on December 3, 2008, laying a time-bound programme for all government-run, aided and unaided colleges and recognised institutes to ensure that they have full-time principals/directors in place by May 31, 2009. The state universities were asked to act against the colleges/institutes failing to meet this deadline by banning admissions to first-year degree course at the defaulting institution and initiating de-affiliation process in case of continuing default. Several colleges/institutes in the state had moved the Supreme Court against the high court verdict. The apex court had then granted a year-long extension till May 31, 2010 for the institutions to effect the key appointments.

Ambiguity over DOB rectified after HC order
Express News Service
Posted: Mon Jul 12 2010, 01:54 hrs Ahmedabad:
A Woman from Dakor in Kheda district had to pass through three rounds of court litigation to get the erroneous date of birth in her Birth Certificate and School Leaving Certificate (SLC) rectified and get the same inserted in her passport.
The round of petitions ended at the Gujarat High Court recently after it ordered the Regional Passport Authority to issue her a new passport with the updated date of birth.
The woman has been identified as Khambholiya Jaimini. Due to some mistake, Jaimini had different dates of birth in the Birth Certificate and the SLC. She even got a passport with her date of birth as mentioned in the SLC.
But the difference of dates in the two documents became a hurdle for her when it came to getting a visa for a visit abroad. She approached the Regional Passport Authority to get the date changed in the SLC, which in turn, asked her to get an order from a competent court.
Initially, she moved the Gujarat High Court with a petition for the remedy to her problem, but withdrew it and approached the concerned court of Judicial Magistrate First Class (JMFC), Dakor. After an inquiry into the issue and after issuing a public advertisement, the JMFC ordered the school authorities to change the birthdate of Jaimini. The school authorities complied with the order.
But when she again approached the passport authorities to get a new passport with the changed date of birth, they asked her to get an order from the HC.
After considering the order of the Dakor JMFC, the High Court ordered the Regional Passport Authority to issue Jaimini a new passport with the changed date of birth. The court also directed Jaimini to deposit Rs 5,000 with the Regional Passport Authority as cost of the petition.

Bombay HC reduces jail term of girl who killed abusive brother
Mayura Janwalkar / DNA
Monday, July 12, 2010 0:31 IST
Mumbai: Raju Gedam was a police constable who died owing to multiple injuries from stabbing. His killer was sentenced to 10-year imprisonment for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. The Bombay high court, however, took a lenient view towards his killer, for she was his 26-year-old sister.
Sharda Gedam was convicted and sentenced to 10-year rigorous imprisonment by a trial court.
The court had handed out the maximum sentence under section 304 Part I (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) even though it spared Sharda the charge of murder.
Arrested in April 2009, Sharda spent 14 months in jail before her appeal, filed from the Akola central prison, was heard by the Nagpur bench of the high court. Sharda’s counsel told the court that Sharda’s attack on her brother Raju was out of “grave and sudden provocation”.
According to the FIR lodged by the police on April 30, 2009, Raju’s body was found in the courtyard of his house under a guava tree. It was soaked in blood. The court’s order stated that Raju had come home drunk and abused his mother, Sharda, and the other sister, Vinita. He flung the plate of food given to him and lifted a wooden plank and threw it on his mother. The court was told that Raju always ill-treated the women in his family.
Raju’s post-mortem report indicated that he had several injuries on his chest, neck, arms, wrist, back and ribs. The defence also argued that this could not be one person’s doing and Sharda alone could not have inflicted so many injuries. The court, however, said the prosecution had not investigated if any other persons were involved in the attack.
Sharda’s mother and sister, who witnessed the incident, both turned hostile to the prosecution in the trial court and supported her case. The high court inferred, that although the circumstances were not enough to prove sudden provocation in this case, the FIR also brought out the ill-treatment meted out to Sharda and her family.
“Considering the age of the accused and that she is a woman and, undoubtedly, she was led to a peculiar set of mind to retaliate the behaviour of the deceased, this court is satisfied with the submission that the gravity of her act undoubtedly is toned down and the circumstances do mitigate the need of softer sentence,” justice AH Joshi observed.
Holding that the sentence already undergone by Sharda was sufficient punishment, the court ordered her release from the prison.

Delhi HC gives 18-yr-olds right to choose
Kanu Sarda / DNA
Monday, July 12, 2010 0:45 IST
New Delhi: Delhi high court has said that youth above 18 have the right to lead life on their own terms and that parents cannot force their will on them.
The court was hearing 18-year-old Shubha Arya’s plea for protection against her family. Arya had gone to America to make it big but her family persuaded her to return, saying her father was ill. The moment she returned, they took away documents and locked her up at home.
After somehow managing to escape from her family’s clutches, the girl approached Delhi high court, asking for the right to live life in accordance with her wishes.
In her petition, Shubha alleged she had been tricked into returning to India as her father was not ill. The real reason her family got her to return was because they wanted to get her married.
The teenager’s parents snatched away her certificates and passport and did not allow her to leave home. When she slipped away, her parents filed a missing report with police. It was then that Arya approached the court, fearing that police will take her back to her family.
Justice SN Dhingra said in response to the petition, “Being a major, Arya has the right to decide for herself and she has the right to pursue a career of her choice. Parents cannot force their will on her, in respect of marriage or in respect of career.”
The court also issued notice to Shubha’s parents to appear before it on July 21 and bring along her passport and marksheets. The court also ordered her parents and the police not to harass her. It directed the police to provide Shubha adequate protection and not to force her to reveal her present address. “In case Shubha feels it is safe for her to disclose her address to the police, she may do so.”
“The police are directed to protect Shubha from her family,” the court said.

Special LMC force licensed to demolish encroachments
Pankaj Shah, TNN, Jul 12, 2010, 02.32am IST
LUCKNOW: A dedicated force to wipe out encroachment from the city. That’s the plan Lucknow Municipal Corporation (LMC) is toying with to remove encroachment from the city. Having failed badly on the front, often inviting the ire of the high court, the municipal body has petitioned the state home department as well as the director general of police to let the civic body have a ‘dedicated force’ armed with ‘policing’ powers enabling it to punish the encroachers. Talking to TOI, city mayor Dinesh Sharma said that non-availability of police force at the time of need has been the gravest constraint before the corporation in dealing with encroachers. So, LMC has demanded the state government to either allocate a dedicated police force or let them constitute one on its own. Sharma said that they do not seek any funds for the force. “The LMC would be able to generate enough funds to pay the personnel,” he said. “The idea is to allocate a set of force to each zone in the state capital. This team would be used by the zonal officers as and when the need arises,” the mayor said. The demand appears to be based on the provisions mentioned in the constitutional 74th Amendment Act which arms a local body to have city police under its control. The fact that in removing encroachment LMC heavily depends on the availability of the police personnel makes the demand even more significant. When contacted, principal secretary, home, Kunwar Fateh Bahadur said that they are yet to look into the proposal. “It is only after the proposal is studied in close details that they would say anything,” he said. Bahadur said that overall they’ll have to check on to how to go about constituting such a force. The proposed move enabling a civic body to have force of its own to remove encroachment is unlikely to have a smooth sailing, given the fate of proposal to have a dedicated security force for security of memorials in the state capital. The proposal was taken back by the Mayawati government, reportedly, on the grounds that there cannot be two forces with similar powers to register an FIR and interrogate. A force dealing with encroachers too demands such powers, which therefore has weak chances of being accepted. LMC, as a matter of fact, has been earning a bad reputation for not being able to remove encroachment even as a series of HC proceedings went heavily against it. In fact, there has been very little or no improvement in some of the localities like Aminabad, Charbagh and Hazratganj where encroachment has been rampant. More so, unauthorised constructions too have been contributing their bit in the overall poor performance of the civic body in dealing with the menace. Significantly, the UP Municipal Act, 1959 has provisions to punish the encroachers by slapping challans and recovering fine. In fact, the state urban development department has been mulling over putting in place provisions which would enable the civic bodies to slap fine and recover them on spot.

Accused of graft, Assam minister looks for cyanide
HT Correspondent, Hindustan TimesEmail AuthorGuwahati, July 12, 2010
First Published: 00:15 IST(12/7/2010)Last Updated: 00:18 IST(12/7/2010)
A Cabinet minister in Assam has sought cyanide after an RTI activist accused him of graft besides digging up “missing” documents pertaining to murder and extortion he was allegedly involved in two decades ago. “Am I the only politician in the state involved in graft? Give me cyanides to swallow if that can cleanse politics in Assam,” Assam Health and

Welfare Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said here on Sunday.
The minister’s outburst followed RTI activist Akhil Gogoi’s allegations that he owned assets “including a TV channel disproportionate to his income”. Gogoi is the leader of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti.
Gogoi began going for Sarma’s jugular in June when he claimed RH Khan had gifted him a luxury car. Khan is a key accused in the Rs 1,000-crore scam in Dima Hasao district (erstwhile North Cachar Hills) involving diversion of government funds to a militant outfit.
Gogoi produced documents suggesting that Sarma and his wife had paid cash to buy two cars worth Rs 40 lakh in 2008 for their five-year-old daughter. The minister shot back saying the cars were purchased by his wife through bank loans.
Last Friday, the RTI activist produced a letter written by a bureaucrat to the state’s chief secretary in 2005 in which he sought security after Sarma had threatened him with dire consequences.
The minister played down the incident to a case of misunderstanding.
Gogoi fired another salvo on Saturday producing “missing” original documents, including case diaries of two TADA cases of the early 1990s. Sarma was accused of abetting the murder of a Youth Congress leader in one and of extortion in another. The Gauhati HC had dismissed the cases.
“We will submit them (documents) to the Supreme Court, seeking reopening of the cases,” Gogoi said.
Sarma countered: “My confessional statement, produced by Gogoi and recorded by police, was fabricated and taken under duress.”

HC grants stay to Retailers and Multiplexes from levy of service tax on rental income
Jul 11, 2010 Service Tax
Opposing the government’s decision to levy service tax on rentals, several retailers and multiplexes across cities have obtained stay orders against the move from their respective high courts over the last one month. The Union Budget for 2010-11 had brought the rental income from immovable property under the purview of service tax with retrospective effect from June 1, 2007 by treating the renting of immovable property as a service. With the best of retailers in the country making a net profit of about 2%, a service tax at 10.30% would have adversely impacted their operational viability. This forced the Retailers Association of India (RAI), the Multiplex Association of India and other retailers to go to court against the government’s move to levy service tax.
According to Thomas Varghese, CEO, Aditya Birla Retail, all major retailers like Aditya Birla Retail, Shoppers Stop, Croma, Trent, Home Solutions, Major Brands, SP Life Style, Inox and PVR Cinema filed petitions before Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad high courts and obtained interim stay against the service tax levy.
Retailers have two main grievances. One, that this was a state subject and the central government was trying to intervene by levying service tax, that too with retrospective effect. Two, the goods and services tax (GST) was yet to be introduced. Moreover, retailers feel that the sector is at a disadvantage due to significant VAT (value added tax) credits.
Also, according to Govind Shrikhande, CEO, Shoppers Stop, “Unlike other sectors, modern retailers cannot pass on the service tax to consumers. Logically, if GST had come into effect this year, we would have been able to set off the service tax against other items. We are hopeful that GST would come into effect next year.”
Varghese said, “Due to the high cost of occupation in India (as high as 12% of the turnover), the retail business has already become much more difficult. This is in sharp contrast to the average cost between 3% and 5% across the world.”
He said that the impact of service tax on rentals will be to the tune of 0.8% to 1.3% of the turnover, which will be a huge burden for retailers, rendering the business completely unviable.

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Monday, July 12, 2010
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