LEGAL NEWS 01.08.2010

Notice on plea against Pyramid Saimira ordered
Express News Service
First Published : 01 Aug 2010 02:50:05 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Aug 2010 09:13:03 AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has ordered notice on a writ petition praying for a direction to the Regional Provident Fund Commissioner to recover Rs 1.55 lakh from Pyramid Saimira Theatre Limited on GN Chetty Road, T Nagar, and disburse the same to the petitioner.
Justice V Ramasubramanian ordered the notice, while entertaining a writ petition from S S Vijayakumar of Kodambakkam, on July 30.
According to petitioner, he was appointed as the chief executive officer in Pyramid Saimira in February, 2009 for a salary of Rs 1.50 lakh per month.
However, petitioner alleged that he was never paid the full amount.
The management recovered sizeable amounts towards PF and ESI remittances from the salary of the employees.
A sum of Rs 8,160 was deducted from petitioner’s salary towards PF contribution at the rate of 12 per cent of the basic pay of Rs 68,000. The management had to contribute an equal amount.
But the company did not remit the money to the authorities. Meanwhile, the company also went into liquidation.
Petitioner contended that the PF authorities committed a default in enforcing the PF provisions.
They ought to have verified the number of employees working in the company and recovered the PF dues for all the employees including the petitioner. Hence, the present petition for a direction to the PF authorities to recover Rs 1.55 lakh from the company and to disburse the same to the petitioner.

ICSE schools try to rope in parents now
Shruthi Balakrishna, TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 03.08am IST

BANGALORE: With human resources development minister Kapil Sibal firm on implementing the Right To Education (RTE) Act, schools and allied organisations are gearing up on various fronts to fix what they perceive as anomalies in the Act. Schools are preparing to send circulars to parents which are designed to create awareness about the Act. On Monday, all schools coming under the Act will be issued a fresh circular from Mohan Manghnani, president, Association of ICSE Schools in Karnataka. Among other issues, the circular will highlight 20 points about certain clauses. “Currently, parents of under-privileged children are compelled to enrol their children to Class 1 as they’re aware they cannot get admission later. But the Act allows schools to permit admission in an age-appropriate class. Parents might take advantage of this and make the child work for some time before they admit her. We cannot verify anything about the child’s background when they come for admission. Though it’s compulsory education, the options are wide open,” Mohan added. Yet another issue is that schools cannot give Transfer Certificates to children. “If a child’s behaviour is unpardonable, we cannot do anything about it as the Act does not permit it,” he said. Schools also fear for the safety of teachers if there are disciplinary issues. Other debatable points are addressing the challenges of educating children with special needs and no examinations up to Class 8. “We need clarity on all these issues before the Act comes into force” said Manghnani. He added that a similar circular would be issued by the CBSE school association. A few organisations have approached the Supreme Court to amend certain clauses. P T Joseph, senior vice-president and executive committee member, Independent Schools’ Federation of India, said: “We have filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court. The next hearing is on September 7,” he said. “We appreciate the government’s efforts on universal education. Our objection is only regarding certain clauses which will affect the functioning of unaided and minority schools. If these schools are kept out of the ambit of these clauses, the bill is acceptable to us,” Joseph said in his petition. Mansoor Ali Khan, general secretary, Management of Independent CBSE Schools Association, said before approaching Supreme Court, the association plans to study the bill once again and write to the government about it. “If we get a favourable reply, then we won’t go to the SC. Otherwise, we certainly will,” he added.

‘No transfer at the fag end of service’‘no-transfer-at-the-fag-end-of-service’/194468.html
Express News Service
First Published : 01 Aug 2010 02:48:48 AM IST
Last Updated : 01 Aug 2010 10:57:38 AM IST

CHENNAI: No dislocation at the fag-end of service of a person will be in the interest of justice, the Madras High Court has observed.
Justice V Ramasubramanian made the observation on July 28 while disposing of a writ petition from C K Rajendran challenging an order dated May 27, 2010 of the general manager, TN State Transport Corporation, Coimbatore Division- I, transferring him from Pollachi branch-III to Uppilipalayam.
Advocate R Y George Williams contended that the transfer was vitiated by mala fides.
Disposing of the petition, Justice Ramasubramanian observed that though admittedly the petitioner held a transferable post and though there were no violation of statutory rules, one point in favour of the petitioner was that he was due to retire on attaining the age of superannuation on October 31, 2010.
Since hardly three months were left, it might be difficult logistically to approve the pension papers and terminal benefits, the judge said, and directed the corporation to reconsider the transfer order taking into account the fact that the petitioner was due to retire on October 31 this year and that no dislocation at this stage would be in the interest of justice.
The corporation should pass appropriate orders within a week, the judge added.

Court reins in Goa coast violations
Author(s): Gerard D’souza
Issue: Aug 15, 2010
Panchayats pulled up for inaction
THE High Court of Bombay in Goa has come down heavily on the state’s coastal village panchayats for structures built in violation of the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) notification 1991.
CRZ regulates activities on coastal stretches within 500 metres of the high tide line on the landward side. On June 14, the court ordered the panchayats to file detailed affidavits about illegal structures demolished, and the status of structures whose cases are still pending before the Directorate of Panchayats. A number of property owners had approached the directorate to appeal against the demolition. A final decision on the matter is pending.
Following an article in a Goa newspaper on July 31, 2006, that pointed out CRZ violations, the court suo moto filed a writ petition and issued orders—the 24 coastal village panchayats and two coastal municipalities had to “identify from the Directorate of Settlement and Land Record survey maps, structures existing within CRZ-III as on 19-2- 1991”. Structures built after 1991, the year the regulation came into effect, had to be issued show-cause notices and the respective panchayat or municipality had to demolish them. The court added, “The demolition process shall not operate in cases where the owners/ possessors of such illegal structures have approached the higher authority and obtained a stay.” Taking advantage of this clause, most owners approached the Directorate of Panchayats.
In the past four years, only 114 illegal structures have been demolished against a total of 6,983 (see graph). According to the information furnished before the court, in South Goa district, of the 154 structures listed for demolition, only 99 were razed. The rest managed to secure a stay. In Calangute, the Queen of Beaches, just nine of the 40 marked for demolition were razed. The rest approached the directorate. Those who did not have the means to file an appeal lost their homes. Most of these homes were of fishers.
Matanhy Saldanha, general secretary of Goenchea Raponkaraco Ekvott (association of Goa’s traditional fishermen, raponkar), is livid: “The government has done nothing to protect fishers.” The CRZ notification provides for construction and reconstruction of dwelling units of communities in the CRZ area, he commented, but this clause has not been implemented. “The law has a provision. All the government had to do was file an affidavit in the court saying that such and such structures belong to traditional fishermen, toddytappers and others involved in traditional occupations,” Saldanha added.
Down To Earth got in touch with Michael de Souza, member secretary of the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority and director of the Science and Technology department, for his comment, but he did not reply by the time this story went to press. Fishers claim the state government liberally granted building permissions even in the no-development zones (NDZ). In popular tourist beach villages like Candolim and Calangute in North Goa and Palolem, Agonda and Varca in South Goa, the number of structures in the NDZ increased almost three times. It was only after the court’s intervention that new construction was stopped.

Amit Shah said forget about probing officers: Cop to CBI–Cop-to-CBI/654198/
Hiral Dave
Posted: Jul 31, 2010 at 0428 hrs IST
Ahmedabad “Shah e kahiyu kai ek PI ni su taakat che kai e senior officers same tapas kare? Papers javaa do (Shah said how dare a Police Inspector conduct a probe against his senior officers? Forget those papers).” CBI sources said this is what IGP Geeta Johri, who was leading the Gujarat CID probe into the 2005 killing of alleged gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh and the “disappearance” of his wife Kausar Bi, told Inspector V L Solanki who was then investigating the case under her charge.
In his statement to the CBI, Solanki alleged that Johri, on the instruction of then junior Home Minister Amit Shah, asked him to forget the papers and evidences in the case against top police officers, including then Border Range DIG D G Vanzara, SP Rajkumar Pandian and Udaipur SP Dinesh M N. But he did not follow the orders.
“Mara pita nu naam Lalji che. Jo Laljibhai kahe to pan papers nahi javaa dau kem kai e loko e ek nirdosh stri ni hatya kari che (My father’s name is Lalji. I could not have let the papers go even if Laljibhai had asked me to do so, because they (the officers) killed an innocent woman),” Solanki was quoted as having told the CBI.
The sources said CBI’s second round of questioning of Johri is likely to be based largely on Solanki’ statement about the alleged pressure to change the course of investigation.
Solanki had begun investigating the case under Johri’s supervision in June 2006. In his earlier statement to the CBI, he said that a request he filed on December 13, 2006, seeking permission to interrogate Tulsiram Prajapati in Udaipur jail, “disappeared” from the files — Prajapati was the lone witness when Sohrabuddin and Kausar Bi were taken away by Gujarat and Rajasthan policemen from a Hyderabad-Sangli bus.
A fortnight after Solanki put in a request to question him, Prajapati was shot dead — on December 28, 2006 — at Chappri village in Ambaji by Gujarat and Rajasthan policemen. CBI sources said the missing Solanki paper is a link that connects the cases of Sohrabuddin and Prajapati — Gujarat police had all along maintained that the two cases were not related.
Incidentally, in an interim report to the Supreme Court on May 12, 2007 in connection with a writ petition filed by Sohrabuddin’s brother Rubabuddin Sheikh, Johri sought permission to interrogate Prajapati — five months after he had been shot dead.
The Supreme Court then slammed Johri for failing to produce Solanki’s second report on the probe: “We have observed that from the record, it was found that V L Solanki, an investigating officer, was proceeding in the right direction, but Ms Johri had not been carrying out the investigation in the right manner…”
“It appears that Ms Johri had not made any reference to the second report of Solanki, and though his first report was attached with one of her reports, the same was not forwarded to this court… we are of the view that her mentioning the criminal background of Sohrabuddin and the discussion among the accused officers concerning Sohrabuddin was meant to obfuscate the enquiry,” the SC had observed.

President wants prompt justice
India Blooms News Service
New Delhi, August 1 (IBNS): President Pratibha Devisingh Patil on Saturday suggested a review of the number of pending cases before various courts which totals to some 3.1 crore in the country.
Her remark was following Chief Justice Sarosh Homi Kapadia view that more than 50 per cent of the cases counted as “arrears” were registered only a year back, during the inauguration of a two-days seminar on judicial reforms in New Delhi organised by the Confederation of Indian Bars.“Current figures reveal that the arrears in high courts exceed 40 lakh cases, while in the subordinate courts, it surpasses 270 lakh. Now as the Chief Justice of India has talked about the difference between arrears and pendency in cases, I think we will have to review these figures,” said President Patil.She added that the universal role of the judiciary is to dispenser of justice fairly, promptly and transparently but people have frustrating experiences in court due to the delays. Marking shortage of judicial manpower and low judge to population ratio as the prime cause behind the congestion of court cases, she suggested that the state governments, lawyers and judges should find out innovative ways to clear the backlog.Patil also favoured for making the language of law simple and to use technology including computer and other progressive steps under the National E-Governance plan to make the judicial system cost and time effective with improve accuracy of information and enhance common people’s access to justice.She also favored for fast appointment of judges, infrastructural improvement and working conditions in court so that people can get justice fairly, promptly and transparently.The President however, expressed her satisfaction that the National Mission is endeavouring to implement an Action Plan to reduce pendency of cases from 15 years to 3 years by 2012.India is taking seriously for reforms in the judicial system particularly to find innovative methods to liquidate backlogs in a time bound manner.During the 13th Finance Commission, the centre has earmarked Rs 5,000 crore to state governments to mitigate case arrears and the state governments together with the bar and bench are trying hard to find methods to liquidate backlogs in a time-bound manner

Gujarat engineering students make fee plea to justice Mehta
Published: Sunday, Aug 1, 2010, 10:19 IST Place: Ahmedabad Agency: DNA

Engineering students of self-financed colleges approached Justice Akshay Mehta, chairman of the Fee Regulatory Committee (technical) on Saturday to demand a rollback of the fee hike.
The students with the backing of the National Students Union of India (NSUI) took out a silent rally from Polytechnic College in Panjarapol to Akshay Mehta Committee’s office. As many as 150 engineering students participated in the rally. The students then met Justice Mehta to talk about the issue of hike in fee. The meeting between Vishwanathsinh Vaghela, general secretary of NSUI, a few students’ representatives and Justice Mehta lasted two hours. The meeting also saw some heated exchanges about the justification for the fee hike. To this, Justice Mehta said that the management of several colleges had come with their audit reports and annual expenditures. “They asked our permission to hike the fee to meet with the expenditure and we approved,” he said.Vaghela alleged that every year Rs3 lakh to Rs4 lakh are taken as donation from the students and no receipt for the same is issued to them.
“Bring a few such incidences to my notice and we will cancel the registration of the college,” said Justice Mehta. Vaghela said that they will hire a lawyer to fight their case.

Justice at doorstep settles 3,000 cases in Pune district
Express News Service
Posted: Aug 01, 2010 at 0439 hrs IST
Pune The mobile court that visited various talukas in Pune district from July 5 to July 31 settled over 3,000 cases. The mobile court was launched by Maharahstra State Legal Services Authority as part of its maiden “Mobile legal services-cum-lok adalat” scheme started this year.
As part of the scheme, a van is converted into a court room for ‘justice at doorsteps’ where Lok Nyayalayas are held at village-level with an attempt to settle cases by compromise, thus saving the effort of rural litigants to visit far-away courts.
Approximately 13,982 criminal, civil, domestic violence, cases falling under Negotiable Instruments Act and those in pre-litigation stage were put up before the mobile court from Pune district. Out of these, 3,132 cases were settled. “A total of 50 cases under the Motor Vehicles Act were heard, of which 16 were settled. Around 1,016 civil cases were put up and 86 were settled, whereas 2,016 criminal cases were put up and 190 were settled,” said judge R H Mohammad, member secretary, Pune district legal services authority. The largest number of cases settled was of cheque bounce cases from Pune district — 2,678. Other than that, 138 out of 8,000 pre-litigation cases and 24 out of 132 cases of protection of women from domestic violence Act, 2005 were settled, he said.
The concluding ceremony took place today at Shriram Mangal Karyalaya in Khadki. “A total of 260 cheque bounce cases of Bajaj Finserv Lending (Bajaj Finance) were settled,” said advocate Sunil Jape of Khadki Cantonment Court.

26/11: Judgement on Lakhvi’s bail plea reserved
A Pakistani anti-terrorism court conducting the trial of seven suspects charged with involvement in the Mumbai attacks on Saturday reserved its judgement on a bail plea filed by LeT commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi and is expected to deliver it at the next hearing on August 7.
Judge Malik Muhammad Akram Awan, who is conducting the trial within the heavily-guarded Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi, reserved his decision on the bail plea after hearing arguments from the defence lawyers and prosecution.
The prosecution contended that Lakhvi, described by Pakistani investigators as the mastermind of the Mumbai carnage, should not be freed as there was adequate evidence linking him to the attacks.
The defence lawyers argued that the charges framed against Lakhvi were based on dossiers containing the findings of investigations by Indian security agencies and claimed that there was no direct evidence connecting him to the 2008 attacks.
They also said Lakhvi had never faced such allegations and had a clean “track record.”
The defence lawyers also claimed that the case against Lakhvi and the six other suspects had been built up by Pakistan due to pressure from India and other foreign countries.
They noted that the case had dragged on for a year and eight months and only two witnesses had testified during this time.
The prosecution has nearly 200 witnesses and the trial is expected to go on for a long time. In view of this, Lakhvi should be freed on bail, the defence lawyers said.
The defence also noted that the prosecution had filed only three interim chargesheets and is yet to file the final chargesheet. It cited this as another reason for Lakhvi to be granted bail.
On the completion of arguments, Judge Awan adjourned the case to August 7. He is expected to give his decision on Lakhvi’s bail plea at the next hearing.
Lakhvi and the other suspects have been booked under the Anti-terrorism Act, Pakistan Penal Code and a cyber crime law.

CAT asks MCD to consider woman employee for promotion
New Delhi, Aug 1 (PTI) The Central Administrative Tribunal has pulled up the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) for rejecting the claim of a woman ad-hoc employee and directed the civic agency to consider her for promotion. “It is not proper for the MCD as a model employer to deny consideration as a fundamental right to the applicant in the matter of promotion and they cannot approbate and reprobate simultaneously,” the Tribunal bench comprising Members Veena Chhotray and Shanker Raju said. The Tribunal passed the order on the petition of one Bimla Devi challenging removal of her name from the list for promotion to the post of Ayurvedic Compounder despite being eligible for it. The MCD had contended that the eligibility for the post is three years of regular service. “The applicant, who is yet to be confirmed, is still working on ad-hoc basis and is not eligible,” the MCD had said. Citing an apex court judgement, the Tribunal, however, said, “Right to be considered for promotion in accordance with rules and on equitable and fair basis constitutes a fundamental right.” “Deeming the eligibility of the applicant under the recruitment rules, we direct the MCD to consider her claim for promotion on an apt methodology from the date her immediate junior was considered with all consequences,” it said.

Media entitled to fair criticism of court judgement: SC
New Delhi, Jul 30 : The Supreme Court has said that media is entitled to fair criticism of the judgement delivered by the court and such criticism is part of the fundamental rights of freedom of speech and expression under Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India.
A bench comprising Justices J M Panchal and A K Patnaik in their judgement noted ”national interest requires that all criticism of the judiciary must be strictly rational and sober and proceed from the highest motive without being coloured by any partisan spirit or tactics.” ”There is no manner of doubt that freedom of expressions contemplated by Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution of India is available to the press and to criticise a judgement fairly albeit fiercely is no crime but a necessary right,” the bench said. The apex court, while dropping contempt of court proceedings against Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal, leading English daily The Times of India and its former Supreme Court correspondent Rakesh Bhatnagar for criticising corruption in judiciary, further said ”a fair and reasonable criticism of a judgement which is a public document or which is a public act of a judge concerned with administration of justice would not constitute contempt”.In fact, such fair and reasonable criticism must be encouraged because after all no one, much less judges, can claim infallibility.The message examined the evils prevailing in the judicial system and was written with an object to achieve maintenance of purity in the administration of justice and the message was exposition of Mr Sibal’s ideology.Contempt of court proceedings were initiated against Mr Sibal and others for an article published in the leading English daily from Delhi on April 16, 1995 in which Mr Sibal, who was a senior advocate at that time, is alleged to have made a frontal attack on the corruption in judiciary.The 27-page judgement has been written by Justice Panchal for the bench.

CJI’s calculation puts arrears at 1cr cases, not oft-cited 3cr
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 01.58am IST

NEW DELHI: Over three crore pending cases in the trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court got reduced to just over one crore in a matter of seconds, thanks to a new practical way of looking at statistics by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia that virtually forced President Pratibha Patil to do a rethink. Speaking prior to the President, who for years have been raising concern over the mounting arrears in judiciary, Justice Kapadia on Saturday took the bull by the horn and said: “My brothers judges, who include all trial court judges, have done an excellent job in maintaining a high disposal of cases. But, instead of getting compliments, they have been at the receiving end.” The CJI, who is as adept in economics and statistics as law, said: “For years I have been listening to speaker after speaker at Vigyan Bhawan slamming the judiciary for mounting arrears. They must know filing of a case today becomes a pending case tomorrow. But, is that an arrear? Statistics reveal that 60% of the cases pending in trial courts were less than one year old. So, if we take a realistic look at the arrears and exclude those pending for just one year, then the arrears are only one crore cases.” Speaking immediately after the CJI, Patil struck her usual note by saying: “The justice delivery system has been afflicted by explosion of litigation. Current figures reveal that the arrears in the high courts exceed 40 lakh cases, while in the subordinate courts it surpasses 270 lakhs.” But she did take into account the CJI’s new method of reading statistics and said: “Now as the CJI has talked about the difference between arrears and pendency in cases, I think we will have to review these figures!” But, she went on to say: “While a litigant has one life, litigation transcends generations. Towards curtailing waste of precious judicial time, we must re-engineer and simplify court procedures, which otherwise tend to make litigations unduly slow and protracted. Frequent demands and liberal grant of adjournments, filing multiple suits and similar tactics make judicial productivity sluggish. Timely pronouncement of judgments and quick execution of decrees would be beneficial.” Having been successful in inducing a rethink about court arrears among the audience at the seminar on judicial reforms organised by Confederation of Indian Bar, Justice Kapadia conceded that arrears of one crore cases were not a small figure and unveiled a three-track mechanism to deal with them. Track-I would comprise “sticky cases” involving complex questions of law and would justifiably take a long time for adjudication. Track-II would include “subversive” cases, where one of the parties always tries to delay the hearing. Track-III cases would be those which have been delayed due to delay in serving of notices and summons. Having captivated the audience with his brilliant statistical dissection, the CJI said everyone was crying hoarse about judicial reforms, but seldom did anyone talk about urgent reforms needed at the Bar and the process of legislation. Amidst all the play of statistics and countering of charges, Justice Kapadia did not forget to ask the seniors among the advocates to contribute towards helping the judiciary in complex cases. “I do not see any senior advocate in the Supreme Court except on Mondays and Fridays,” the CJI said obliquely hinting that the seniors were interested only in attending court on those two days when the volume of cases heard was large giving huge fees to them.

Women groups oppose GR under domestic violence Act
TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 03.21am IST

PUNE: The Stree Mukti Andolan Sampark Samiti has pressed for the immediate cancellation of the general resolution (GR) to appoint a non-government security officer under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. Representatives from over 20 women’s organisations in the city will join the Samiti members during a sitting agitation on August 2 outside the Collectorate office at 3 pm, to press for the demand. A signature campaign to this effect will also be carried out throughout the city, said a press release from the Stree Mukti Andolan Sampark Samiti. The move comes in the wake of a state-level meet organised in the city recently, by Yuva Grameen and Oxfam on the issue of domestic security and protection of women against domestic violence and abuse. The meet had 50 representatives from various women’s organisations from different parts of the state, who have decided to launch a state-wide post-card against the government decision to appoint a non-government security officer under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005. The participating representatives have also demanded effective implementation of this particular act. Activists like Archana More, Asunta Pardhe, Lata PM, Dutta Patil and Jyoti Nagarkar, were among the 13 members that were appointed to be a part of a working committee that would look into this matter. Bajirao Jadhav, commissioner of women and child development for Maharashtra, and deputy commissioner Ravi Patil had attended this meet on its second day. “The decision taken by the government to outsource’ women’s security is invalid and against the administrative ethos. Be it domestic violence, dowry deaths, child marriage, or the issue of devdasis,’ outsourcing’ the responsibility to an NGO to protect the rights and security of women, is like depriving citizens of their fundamental rights,” said Jaya Sagade, vice-principal, ILS Law College, at the meet. Other organisations like Lawyers’ Collective, Masoom and WPC, also made their presentations at the meet. “In the last years, despite the appointment of 4,000 security officers, only 400 cases of violence against women have been registered,” pointed out a representative from Lawyers’ Collective. “Right from informing abused women about their legal rights to assisting them in getting justice, the security officer has a vital role to play, The law itself states certain direct and indirect responsibilities of such an officer,” further stated the press release. Appointment of the security officer as a Class 1 gazetted officer, separate allocation of funds to solve cases related to violence against women, and proper coordination between the officer, NGO and a support home to give necessary assistance to the aggrieved woman, are some of the demands put forth by the Samiti for immediate consideration and implementation.

It’s raining troubles for yet another Rajus
TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 01.06am IST

HYDERABAD: If there is one Hyderabad-based firm apart from the scam-hit Satyam and Maytas that has been dogged by controversy for over a year now, it is infrastructure player Nagarjuna Construction Company Ltd. And that is not just because of the general perception that the Rajus of NCC, which was founded in 1978 by Alluri Venkata Satyanarayana Raju or AVS Raju as he is known, were related to disgraced Satyam and Maytas founder B Ramalinga Raju. If last year NCC was in the news for its association with Maytas Infra, with whom the former had as many as eight joint venture projects, more recently it hit the headlines after some of the fishermen protesting against the group’s 1320 mw thermal power project at Sompeta in the coastal district of Srikakulam in mid-July were killed in police firing. The fishermen were voicing their dissent against the power plant which they felt would threaten marine life in the wetlands of the region as well as their livelihood. To make matters worse for the company, the incident was followed by the National Environmental Apellate Authority revoking the ecological clearance given by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to the project, soon after the tragic incident. On Friday, a high-level central committee set up by the MoEF to look into the matter made a recommendation against setting up the power plant in an ecologically sensitive site like Sompeta, where NCC has already purchased 573 acres of land from local farmers in addition to the 972 acres allotted by the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation. The recent brouhaha has also put a spanner in the works for the company’s plans to divest nearly 49% of its stake in the Sompeta project to a strategic partner to raise funds for the project. The bad news for NCC does not end here. The group is also staring at losses from its National Games Housing Project at Jharkhand capital Ranchi, where it constructed nearly 1796 apartments for the 34th National Games that were originally scheduled to be held in November 2007 but have been postponed five times due to the political uncertainty dogging Jharkhand. The company, which spent over Rs 250 crore on the project, and is trying to sell off the apartments through a rental-cum-sale deal after the conclusion of the Games in December this year, has also ended up in a legal mess with a local NGO — Adivasi Unnati Samaj — filing a PIL in the Jharkhand High Court against the Jharkhand government and NCC for inadequate compensation to land owners. NCC’s woes began in January 2009 when many of its projects floated jointly with Maytas Infra came to a grinding halt after Ramalinga Raju’s confessions to cooking Satyam’s accounts. Interestingly, the promoters of NCC had more in common than just a surname with the erstwhile promoters of Maytas. NCC’s promoters too had pledged a substantial chunk of their stakeholding in the company to banks and financial institutions to raise money. NCC’s promoters had pledged nearly 44.63% of their total stakeholding of 24.38% in Nagarjuna Construction as per shareholding data declared for quarter ended March 31, 2009. This startling fact came to light after they were forced to declare the quantum of stake pledged after Sebi made it mandatory for promoters of companies to declare details of encumbered shares in the wake of the Satyam scam. Though subsequently, NCCs promoters have reduced the component of pledged equity, over the past few months have again been on a pledging spree. Currently the promoters stake holding in NCC stands at 20.15%, of which 10.38% was pledged as per June 30, 2010 shareholders data made available on BSE. The stake of FIIs and FIs has in the meantime risen to 50.54% from 46.69% in June 30, 2009. While NCC’s holding company AVSR Holding Pvt Ltd holds 7.04% stake in the company, all of which is unencumbered, the remaining 12.75% promoter stake is held by a number of family members. Incidentally, while on the NSE the company has shown only 8.64% of promoter equity as pledged as of June 30, 2010, on the BSE it has declared 10.38% of the total promoter equity of 20.15% as pledged. The company also has on its board ‘big bull’ Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, who along with his wife Rekha holds nearly 6% stake in the company. US-based FII Blackstone too has invested over $100 million in the company and currently holds around 8.33% stake. NCC also boasts of independent directors like retired Union power secretary P Abraham, who has recently been appointed as principal secretary to AP chief minister K Rosaiah. The company also has on its board independent directors like former Lloyd Steel Industries CEO S Venkatachalam, former Canara Bank CMD RV Shastri as well as ex-CEO of Emaar AJ Jaganathan. Founded by AVS Raju, who hails from the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, the company is now run by his son A Ranga Raju and claims to be among the top 5 construction companies in India with a turnover of around Rs 5900 crore, an order book of Rs 148 billion and nearly 4000 employees. Listed on NSE and BSE in 1992, with GDRs listed on the Luxembourg Stock Exchange in 1995, the company started off with building and housing projects in 1978, and has since ventured into transportation, water and environment, irrigation, electrical works and over the past five years into oil & gas, metals, mining, power and railways. Today, the group also has subsidiaries in Dubai and Muscat where it is trying to make inroads into transportation, water and sanitation and buildings.

CBI move is an attack on Gujarat judiciary, says Modi
Manas Dasgupta
‘Centre behaving as if Gujarat is not part of India’
Centre “diverting its anger against him” to judicial system
“It is trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the State”
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched a scathing attack on the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government for the Central Bureau of Investigation’s move to shift the trial of the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case outside Gujarat.
“It is an attack on the judiciary in Gujarat,” he said, and added that the Centre was “diverting its anger against him” to the judicial system in the State. “Now it is crossing all limits. After attempts to defame the State government, the State police and even the people of the State, it is now trying to defame and insult the judiciary in Gujarat. This can never be tolerated,” Mr. Modi said, at a function of the Gujarat University to launch its “van mahotsava” programme here.
Mr. Modi said the Centre was behaving as if Gujarat was not part of India “but an enemy nation.” He said the Centre could not tolerate Gujarat’s progress and development with peace and co-operation from all and was trying to vitiate the atmosphere in the State. “What does the Centre expect Gujarat to do? Should we lock up all our courts, our lawyers, our law colleges, our law university and everything connected with the judiciary?” Mr. Modi asked.
Defending the State’s police administration and the judicial system, he referred to the Best Bakery and Bilkis Bano 2002 communal riot-related cases which were shifted out of the State earlier. “What was the result?” he asked, and pointed out that the Best Bakery case was tried in the Mumbai court only on the basis of the investigations made by the Gujarat police. Though the CBI held a fresh investigation in the Bilkis Bano case and added a number of accused, “the Mumbai court found only those accused guilty who were arrested and charge-sheeted by the Gujarat police. Every one of those added as accused by the CBI, were acquitted by the court,” he pointed out and asked “Why is the Gujarat police still being defamed and discriminated against?”
He said the Centre with all its might and its investigating agencies had not been able to solve the cases of terror attacks in Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Ayodhya, Lucknow and many other places, but the Gujarat police had not only quickly solved the Ahmedabad bomb blast and Akshardham temple terror attacks, they also made important contributions in solving the blasts in Jaipur and many other parts of the country. “Have the Gujarat police committed any crime by arresting the terrorists responsible for the serial bomb blast and Akshardham attack alive,” he said.
He said it was the duty of the government to annihilate terrorism, Naxalism and Maoism which were trying to disrupt the peace and prosperity in the country. “But when Gujarat is trying to fulfil its duty, why are the hindrances created in its way?” he asked. He said the Congress government for the sake of its vote bank politics was trying to “harm the patriots and protect the anti-national and anti-social elements.”
Pointing out that peace prevailed in the State for the last eight years without a single day of curfew in any part of the State, Mr. Modi said, those who were envious of the peaceful atmosphere and the good governance in the State were conspiring to destabilise the State. “If you don’t like me, you are free to take any action against me but spare the people, the police and the judiciary of Gujarat,” Mr. Modi said. He also expressed the resolve that he would continue to fight for “Gujarat’s rights, its pride and its interests, come what may.”
In reply, the state Congress president, Siddhartha Patel, wondered how Mr. Modi was making “such noises” when he should “feel ashamed” for the arrest of his Minister of State for Home Amit Shah and several senior police officers on such serious charges like extortion and murder. He questioned Mr. Modi for dragging in the “people of the State” and said the people had nothing to do with the “exposure” of the Home Minister and police officers. He believed that Mr. Modi was “making such empty noises” only because the people did not support the BJP’s attempts to “take the fight to the streets” after Mr. Shah’s arrest.

Politicians can influence judiciary: Sohrab aide
Saeed Khan, TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 03.40am IST
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi may be indulging in a high pitched vitriol to counter the CBI’s bid to transfer the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case outside Gujarat, but the reason for the demand is starkly mentioned in the chargesheet submitted in the Supreme Court. The document mentions an instance as to how the judiciary came under the ‘influence’ of politicians. The chargesheet contains the statement of Noor Mohammed Goghari, an accomplice of slain gangster Sohrabuddin Sheikh. He reveals how veteran politician and former BJP MP from Dhandhuka, Ratilal Verma successfully got him bailed out of Sabarmati central jail in 2004. Goghari alleges that the same judge had denied him bail at least seven times earlier. According to the statement, Goghari worked for suspended cop Abhay Chudasama in his unofficial operations and was once asked by the officer to accompany Sohrabuddin to Indore to collect a weapon. Both of them went to Indore in 2001 in an anti-terrorist squad (ATS) vehicle and brought the weapon to Ahmedabad. Upon their return, Chudasama arrested Goghari in an arms case. He tried hard to get bail, but did not succeed. “BJP MP Ratilal Verma assured me that I would get bail, and the same judge Dholakia granted bail this time. Earlier, he had rejected my bail applications seven times,” he told CBI. Goghari belongs to Padana village in Dhandhuka, which was the constituency Verma represented in Parliament for six terms. In his statement given to CBI, Goghari further said that he, along with his son, was picked up by the state police’s ATS after Sohrabuddin was killed in the encounter in 2005. Suspended SP Rajkumar Pandian fractured his hand and they were tortured for days together. DG Vanzara, Pandian and Chudasama threatened to kill him or one of his sons — Nazir, Mukhtiar or Ejaz — in a Sohrabuddin-like encounter and demanded money. “I had to pay them Rs 40 lakh for our release. The payment took place through an ATS sub-inspector Waghela,” the statement reads. Similarly, another accomplice of Sohrabuddin, Mahendrasinh Zala also complained of being abducted by ATS sleuths on December 8, 2005. When he was in illegal custody of ATS, Tulsiram Prajapati and Sylvester were brought from Udaipur jail for remand. He also accused Vanzara, Pandian and Chudasama of extorting Rs 15 lakh from him before he was released.

Bill will bar tainted persons from judiciary: Moily
Special Correspondent
No one with a tainted reputation can become a judge, once the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, 2010 comes into force, Union Minister for Law and Justice M. Veerappa Moily said on Saturday.
Speaking at a seminar organised here by the Legal and Human Rights Department of the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee, he said that only people with “absolute merit, impeccable integrity and respect for inclusive justice” would be able to enter the judiciary once the Bill was passed.
The Centre was launching a scheme on August 20, the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, to identify and support 10 bright first-generation lawyers from munsif and magistrate courts and train them in the best legal academic institutions, he said. When the scheme got going, over 10,000 people would get special training every year, added Mr. Moily.
He said that 14 law universities would be opened in addition to the 14 which are already functioning. Five institutions of research would be started with an aim to provide quality faculty to the law colleges.
Undertrials released
Mr. Moily expressed satisfaction with the success of the drive to decrease pendency of cases, stating that as on August 31, over 2.25 lakh undertrials had been released.
Congress spokesperson and Member of Parliament Abhishekh Singhvi proposed that an all-India judicial service examination be started to draw bright young people into the judicial system. He said the dichotomy in the retirement age of High Court and Supreme Court judges, 62 and 65, should be done away with.
Responding to the demand for a Supreme Court Bench in Bangalore, Mr. Singhvi dismissed it as “impractical” and said that also diluted the integrity of the Supreme Court.

Panel to finalise charges against Dinakaran today
J. Venkatesan
NEW DELHI: The three-member committee, constituted by Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari, will meet here on Sunday to finalise the charge sheet to be given to the Chief Justice-designate of the Sikkim High Court, Justice P.D. Dinakaran, who faces removal proceedings in Parliament.
Highly placed sources told The Hindu that the meeting, to be held at the residence of the Chairperson, Justice V.S. Sirpurkar of the Supreme Court, would go through the charges formulated, and once approved, a proper charge sheet would be issued to Justice Dinakaran, probably at the next meeting.
The Chief Justice-designate of the Karnataka High Court, Justice J.S. Khehar, and senior advocate P.P. Rao are the other members of the committee.
The charges against Justice Dinakaran, as mentioned in the motion admitted in Parliament, are possessing wealth disproportionate to the known sources of his income; unlawfully securing five Housing Board plots in favour of his wife and two daughters; entering into transactions prohibited and punishable under the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988; and possessing agricultural holdings beyond the ceiling under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act, 1961; illegal encroachment on government and public property to deprive Dalits and the poor of their right to livelihood; violation of the human rights of Dalits and the poor; destruction of evidence during an official inquiry; obstructing public servant on duty; repeated undervaluation of property at the time of registration of sale to evade stamp duty; carrying out an illegal construction in breach of the Town Planning Law and the planning permit; and misuse of his official position to unlawfully secure property and facilitate other illegal acts for personal gain.
Justice Dinakaran is also facing the charge of passing dishonest judicial orders contrary to the settled principles of law to favour a few individuals or for his own unjust enrichment at the cost of the exchequer and the country’s natural resources, and in matters where he had a personal and direct pecuniary interest to secure property for his family. The other charge is that he had constituted Benches and fixed rosters of judges to facilitate dishonest judicial decisions and made arbitrary and illegal appointments and transfers.
Meanwhile, the Chennai-based Forum for Judicial Accountability on Saturday sent a representation to Justice Sirpurkar and the two members to hear its objections on the constitution of the committee before taking any further step.
Forum convener R. Vaigai said the Rajya Sabha Chairman had set up the committee without addressing the objections raised by the Forum. Since the committee was going ahead with its proceedings without giving notice to the Forum, she requested that the Forum be put on notice, and its objections considered before further action was taken . It also wanted its request for participation in the proceedings allowed.

Beleaguered Hockey India to hold elections on August 5
Armed with a Supreme Court ruling, Hockey India (HI) announced that it will hold its much-awaited elections, postponed four times for various reasons, here on August 5.
Vacating the stay orders of Bombay and Delhi High Courts, the apex court had on Friday allowed the beleaguered HI to hold elections for its executive body but restrained it from implementation of the results.
“The International Hockey Federation (FIH) has agreed to send its observer Antonio von Ondarza for the elections to be held at Delhi on Thursday, 5th August 2010,” a HI statement said.
The elections were adjourned sine die on July 8 following a Delhi High Court ruling.
The Delhi High Court had stayed the election process following the failure of the Central government to clarify its legal position regarding HI and the erstwhile KPS Gill-led Indian Hockey Federation (IHF).
The Bombay High Court had also stayed the polls for three weeks on a petition filed by the Mumbai Hockey Association.
The Delhi High Court had earlier directed the government to dissociate itself from the HI elections as it is a private body and held that the IHF is the sole recognised body for the sport in the country.
It had also asked the government to withdraw its observer appointed to monitor the HI election.
The High Court had on May 21 set aside the decision of the government and the Indian Olympic Association (IOA) to de-recognise the IHF.
The International Hockey Federation (FIH) had threatened to bar India from participating in international tournaments, including next month’s women World Cup in Rosario, Argentina, if elections were not held by today.
Former Indian Women’s Hockey Federation president and interim HI chief Vidya Stokes and ex-India captain Pargat Singh are contesting for the post of President.

High Court rejects petition to transfer Gulberg Society case
Manas Dasgupta
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected a petition filed by a few victims and witnesses of the Gulberg Society communal riots massacre, for transferring the trial from the designated court of B.U. Joshi on the grounds of “bias” of the judge against them.
A Division Bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari rejected the petition, stating that “alleged apprehension of bias for seeking transfer cannot be termed as ‘a reasonable apprehension’ to attract the power of transfer of the cases.”
Petitioners Imtiyazkhan Pathan and others had alleged that Mr. Joshi was “biased and adopted an unsympathetic behaviour” towards the witnesses, and feared “injustice” from his court.
Though the Bench rejected the plea, it directed the designated judge to be “sober” to the parties in the case.
“We hope that the learned session’s judge will have a sober approach to the witnesses in the conduct of the trial. While exercising judicial powers, he would also, as far as possible, avoid making any uncalled for comments or remarks, unless he finds that the same are directly relevant for exercising his judicial functions,” the court observed.
Mr. Joshi was selected by the High Court to conduct the trial of the Gulberg society massacre, an incident where 69 people including the former Congress member in the Lok Sabha, Ehsan Jafri, were killed during the 2002 communal riots in Gujarat. The petitioners had moved the High Court after the Ahmedabad sessions court turned the plea down on grounds of jurisdiction.
The Division Bench, however, made it clear that the Chief Justice of the High Court or the Supreme Court could still make changes in the designated court. “We find it proper to observe and clarify that the present order shall not operate as a bar to the Honourable Chief Justice in exercising the power on administrative side for transfer of the case or other cases if any contingency so arises, independently or if it is so observed and directed by the apex court.”
Meanwhile, the Gujarat government on Thursday submitted in the High Court a list of its top police officers for possible induction in the Special Investigation Team to conduct inquiry into the alleged fake encounter case of Ishrat Jahan.
The Court had asked for the list from both the State and the Central governments in the event it thought it necessary to change the composition of the present SIT or induct some new faces to continue the probe. The order for submitting the list was issued on a petition filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar and Gopinath Pillai, the father of Pranesh Pillai alias Javed Sheikh.
Ishrat, Javed and two Pakistani nationals were killed in June 2004.

Scarred in 1993 riots, Hari Masjid to don new look
S Ahmed Ali, TNN, Aug 1, 2010, 05.16am IST

MUMBAI: Hari Masjid or the Hillal Mosque, which became the symbol of all that went wrong with Mumbai in the aftermath of the Babri Masjid demolition, is all set to get a new look. The Hillal Masjid Committee has taken up the task of redeveloping the 50-year-old mosque, which will make way for a two-storeyed building. The committee hopes that the move will also help to erase the scars from the minds of those who visit the mosque daily for prayers. The redevelopment of the mosque has just begun and the contract has been given to Lakdawala Associates. The project is likely to be complete in one-and-a-half years. The mosque is spread over around 3,500 sq ft, but does not look like a conventional mosque. The new mosque, which will be a ground-plus-two-storey structure, will have a huge dome and two minars. The Hillal Masjid committee said that the estimated cost of the project is Rs 3 crore and that the committee and the trust were still pooling in resources for the redevelopment. “The mosque is very old and does not have a proper building but, once the redevelopment is done, it will accommodate around 5,000 people,” said Mohammed Ismail, a resident of the area. “There is a huge space crunch on Fridays and during the Id namaz,” added Parvez Khatri. But it is not only the masjid, situated on Rafi Ahmed Kidwai Marg between Sewri and Wadala, that is undergoing a change. It is surrounded by slums which, too, are undergoing redevelopment. The Muslim-majority lower-middle-class locality has witnessed a huge change in the last decade with several small-scale factories coming up; many of the hutments have been turned into manufacturing units for ready-made garments. The news of the redevelopment comes in the backdrop of Friday’s Supreme Court ruling that upheld an earlier Bombay high court order for a CBI probe into the police firing inside the Hari Masjid in 1993; six people had died and many others were injured in the firing. The Supreme Court, while directing the CBI to continue the probe into the firing inside the mosque, wondered why the Maharashtra government was objecting to the high court order for a CBI investigation even though, in February 2008, it gave its consent for a probe by a central agency. The apex court said that the CBI should investigate and file the report in six months. Farooq Mapkar is a complainant in the case. He is one of the several persons who received bullet injuries when police inspector Nikhil Kapse and his team barged inside the masjid and fired several rounds on devotees. “The mosque will look beautiful once it is redeveloped, but the memories of cops firing inside the masjid will continue to haunt me,” Mapkar said.

Aman Kachroo case – playing to the gallery
By Ravinder Makhaik on Jul 31st, 2010 and filed under Opinions Shimla: Death by ragging, be it suicide or the victim dying because of injuries, have not stopped since the medico Aman Kachroo’s death was reported from Tanda Medical College in March 2009.
Kachroo’s death did cause a national furor and stern punishment was sought and is desired for those found guilty.
But none would want to subvert the law processes involved and deny the liberties permitted under the law of the land even to the under trials.
The investigation was completed in record time, the charges framed and the case was moved into a fast track court.
The four accused were arrested within days of Kachroo’s death and had been languishing in jail for 16 months without bail.
Since the fast track trial court has not been able to complete the judicial process and many witness still need to be examined, the presiding judge by going through the facts on record did grant bail to all four on 17 July, 2010.
At the same time, the trial court also did admit a bail cancellation application from the prosecution and granted time to the accused for responding to it.
Thus far it is a standard judicial procedure practiced all over the country.
But the High Court interrupting the process and taking suo motto cognizance of a media report, summoning the accused to hear why their bail should not be cancelled? – is not standard procedure.
Subsequently the bail stands cancelled, the accused have surrendered before the trial court and prosecutors’ application before the trial court for canceling of the bail is rendered infructuous.
In a country where convicts are allowed to contest elections and sit in parliament, one, even as he was convicted for murder and while the matter was pending in appeal, did become chief minister of a state, surely the four accused in the Aman Kachroo case are at least entitled to bail during the trial period.
This is not a case of trying to subvert the law like in the high profile Jesscia Lal, Nitish Katara and Sanjeev Nanda case, wherein a sustained media campaign did keep the trial within the public glare till ends of justice were met.
Let the accused be punished for their acts in the Aman Kachroo case too but not before a fair trial and denying them liberties permitted under the law, till proven guilty, is like condemning them as convicts without completing the judicial process.
The intervening High Court may have snatched the power to grant bail from the trial court in the case but after all, the matter would still need to be decided by the trial court and it is here where a justified intervention could speed up the process.

Courts shouldn”t interfere with decisions of expert panels: SC
New Delhi, Aug 1 (PTI) The Supreme Court has held that courts should not interfere with the decisions made by panels of experts in the academic field vis-a-vis selection of candidates, unless clear malafide is established in the process. “Courts have a very limited role particularly when no malafide has been alleged against the experts constituting the selection committee. It would normally be prudent, wholesome and safe for the courts to leave the decisions to the academicians and experts,” a Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and T S Thakur observed in a judgement. The apex court passed the ruling while quashing a Karnataka High Court judgement which had set aside the appointments of two Readers in Sericulture in the Mysore University. Even though the Expert Committee of the varsity had selected Dr Basavaiah and Dr D Manjunath in 1999 after due consideration, their appointment was set aside by the High Court on the petition of a lecturer H L Ramesh. Aggrieved, the Readers filed the appeal in the apex court and the university took the stance that the selection process was conducted in a transparent manner and the appointments were made purely on the basis of the qualifications prescribed for the post. It was submitted that the Committee consisting of five highly qualified and distinguished experts evaluated the qualification, experience and the published work of the appellants, only after which the appointments were made. “In our considered opinion, the Division Bench was not justified in sitting in appeal over the unanimous recommendations of the Expert Committee consisting of five experts. “The Expert Committee had in fact scrutinised the merits and de-merits of each candidate including qualification and the equivalent published work and its recommendations were sent to the University for appointment which were accepted by the University,” the Bench said. According to the apex court, the experts had evaluated the qualification, experience and published work of the two candidates and thereafter recommendations for their appointments were made. “The Division Bench of the High Court ought not to have sat as an appellate court on the recommendations made by the country’s leading experts in the field of Sericulture. “As a matter of principle, the courts should never make an endeavour to sit in appeal over the decisions of the experts. The courts must realise and appreciate its constraints and limitations in academic matters,” the Bench said in its judgement.

AMU should abort its regional centers plan; Govt should adopt it
Submitted by admin4 on 1 August 2010 – 11:43am.
By Shahidur Rashid Talukdar,
At first, The Kerala High Court stayed the opening of AMU off-campuses in June and now the Allahabad High Court, not surprisingly rather inevitably, also follows the suit. It is not necessarily because of whether one supports or opposes the proposal, rather the move itself, given the set of legal and operational constraints, is prone to such questions and hence it has been questioned. Agreed that the opposition from the rightists and antagonists of AMU is malicious, but stringent criticism from AMU’s well wishers makes the decision worthy of a rethinking and reconsideration of alternatives as to what best can be done to avoid problems in future becomes imperative.
Why should AMU give up its claim on the off-campus centers?
The problems with the proposal to set up five regional off-campus centers of AMU in remote states such as Maharashtra, Kerala, Rajasthan, West Bengal and Bihar are manifold. Some of these problems can be fixed while others are almost incorrigible.
First and foremost is the legal difficulty of setting up such off campus centers. As the AMU Act does not support establishment of off-campus centers beyond the limit of 25km jurisdiction from the AMU (Sir Syed) mosque, the judgments of the Honorable Allahabad High Court and Kerala High Court are quite inevitable. This was to happen at any point of time. Thus, there is no element of surprise in the fact that the stay orders have been passed. Rather what surprises one is the fact that how can AMU, being fully aware of its limitations, make this decision in the first place, despite having faced a huge setback in the past regarding one such off-campus center in Dubai. Established during the tenure of Vice Chancellor Dr Mamoodur Rehman in 1997, the Dubai campus was forced to roll back owing to legal issues. So a similar move, maintaining the same legal status, seems utterly uncalculated and far from being judicious enough. Although this legal hurdle is not insurmountable, the AMU Act is amendable, but it is yet to be done. The pre-requisite has been pushed to post-consideration which makes a mockery of the whole issue.
Setting aside the legal issues, there are host of operational difficulties which may bar the way of managing and controlling such off-campus centers. AMU, by nature as well as by legal jurisdiction, is a residential university based in and within Aligarh. It does not and cannot even accommodate the affiliation of local colleges, including those at Aligarh city. The entire operational and administrative mechanism is apt for a one campus residential university. Many in the Aligarh community opine that with many faculties, myriad departments, over 30,000 students, and poor administrations, AMU has been finding it difficult to maintain the status quo in one campus, consequently the academic and quality and administrative grip are gradually deteriorating. A retrospect on the recent past will prove that this contention is not entirely unfounded.
While the university used to be in the top in post independence era, it hardly finds a decent place in the recent popular educational rankings. Though there are allegations against the methodology and credentials of the ranking agencies, it is hard to ignore all of them altogether. So if given an iota of credibility to those rankings, the academic leadership of AMU seems to be constantly relegating. The administrative strength is another area of grave concern. In the last decade all the four Vice Chancellors have been dragged to controversies and in most cases have been forced to leave the campus. Why do these high caliber people, who have otherwise excelled in their respective roles, failed so miserably at AMU?
In nearly every VC’s reign there has been incidences of major violence on the campus leading to the closure of the university. Since 2007, AMU has been closed twice evacuating the entire campus, besides continual unrest on smaller issues. In last three years, the university administration has suspended about 150 students and quite a few staff members as well. Many of these suspensions were found illegal by the courts and the university had to repeal its decision. This shows that the judgments were not sound enough and hence question the credibility of the AMU administration as an efficient body.
In some cases, the students might be motivated by vested interests, and hence created atmosphere of unrest without any legitimate cause but in some other cases there are genuine demand of students which the university, rather than addressing them, suppressed by curbing the students voices, suspending and finally expelling the students involved. The present administration, being charged with corruption and financial irregularities by the Auditor General of UP, is facing multiple enquiries instituted by the Central Government, and is embroiled in controversies. Student politics, being driven by petty issues and dominated by regionalism, local politics and vested interests, contribute further to the weakening of the administration and embitterment of the entire scenario.
If such a situation persists what will be the fate of the off-campuses which will have to deal with additional problems of their own? Can an administration which is not capable of running one campus smoothly be entrusted to run 5 other campuses without creating a total havoc? The factionalism among AMU teachers is another well known factor. The faction which is pro VC supports these AMU off-campuses but the other faction does not and, in fact, vehemently opposes the same. So what happens when the present VC leaves AMU? Will the regional centers receive the attention they deserve or will be rolled back like the Dubai campus?
In this regard two prominent observations are worth pondering upon. First, the prominent leader Syed Shahabuddin in a letter to Mr Salman Khurshid wrote, “I personally see the impossibility of the AMU running Satellite Universities (Regional Campuses), even if, it becomes constitutionally & legally competent to do so even to run in a centralized manner a full-fledged college, general or technical, outside scattered in different parts of the country on a permanent basis. Given the record of the AMU, this will be an impossible task from a purely administrative and management point of view. Secondly, it will erode the standard and culture of the mother university. Thirdly the proposal cannot & should not create replicas of the AMU elsewhere or the Satellites will draw students from different regions and develop their own culture”.
In another write up the veteran journalist MJ Akbar observes, “AMU does have serious problems that demand urgent redress: there is no reason why any quality Indian university should slip towards a lower common denominator. Its administration is, at this moment, a scandal fuelled by sectarian politics at which Delhi is adept. If AMU is required to create affiliated units then it must possess the administrative ability and academic quality needed, otherwise it will be cheating the very Muslims it claims to serve. Rather than lifting its affiliates, the children could drag down the mother even further”.
Further, why should AMU take this legal and administrative challenge at the cost of its integrity and resources? Is the payoff worth the sacrifice? The answer is “not really”! It has been widely observed that as of now, without any formal minority status ascribed to AMU, these regional centers in various states will stand as educational institutions with no particular affiliation to the Muslim community. Being secular and fair centers, they will not be able to give preference to any community on the basis of religion only. So the only benefit from these centers the Muslim community gets is the physical proximity. This benefit can be availed by the people even without any affiliation or attachment with AMU.
A dispassionate analysis of the ground realities pretty much lays it down that AMU should a priori concentrate on improving its internal academic and administrative conditions rather than extending its wings afar and hand over this “Regional Center” project to the center. To benefit the Indian Muslims, AMU should strengthen itself first and strongly lobby for gaining its much awaited minority status.
Why should the HRD ministry embrace the proposal?
First of all, India being an emerging leader among the developing countries needs to focus much more on higher education. A recent World Bank finding indicates that India spends the least on higher education as a fraction of its GDP. The result of which is clear from various studies. According to Sachar Committee Report (according to the 2001 Census data) only about 7 per cent of the overall population aged 20 years and above are graduates or hold diplomas against overall literacy rate of over 65%. As per em>Report of the Higher education in India, Issues Related to Expansion, Inclusiveness, Quality and Finance, the access to higher education measured in term of gross enrolment ratio in 2006/7 is about 11 percent. By 2012, (the end of 11th plan objective) the GER is expected to increase to 15%. As per the plan, India needs many more quality universities than it already possesses. In this context, it becomes imperative for the Ministry of Human Resources Development (MHRD) to set up new universities in underserved pockets. The districts under consideration, such as Murshidabad, Mallapuram, Kishanganj, etc. are all educationally backward districts and register much lower literacy rates, and higher education indicators, as compared to the national average. Hence, they deserve special attention from the MHRD.
Now, the initiative is already underway – thanks to the AMU administration. As a result of the intense interest and pro-activism of the VC – Dr PK Abdul Azis and the union Finance Minister Mr Pranab Mukherjee, partial fund has already been sanctioned, and due to a high degree of co-operation of the respective state governments, the required land has been secured in most cases. In addition, the governments are extending full cooperation; the respective communities are not only happy and welcoming but rather overwhelmingly so. It seems there is no bar in setting these universities in motion. Plagued by AMU’s internal issues, such a highly demanded project should neither be delayed nor be paralyzed. So rather than waiting for AMU and facing all sorts of troubles, the MHRD should immediately take up the project on its own hand and establish five more central universities in these pockets along with other places.
This will proffer political advantage for all the parties: no opposition from the right wing organizations, as there is no religious affiliation, legally trouble free independent universities, and no problems of the remote AMU-administration. This way the government can kill many birds with just one stone. The MHRD should come forward with this motto: serving the disadvantaged, serving the nation.
In this context, a few suggestions become concomitantly relevant. First of all, the Government(s) should seriously think of setting up a few good quality High Schools and Community (degree) Colleges in these districts so that the planned universities get a constant supply of good quality students. If the Govt. is seriously interested to better the plight of the underprivileged people in these backward areas, then it might and should consider some sort of regional reservation so that people from the locality get preference in admissions and in jobs in these universities.
Such a shift of responsibility of the project is mutually beneficial. AMU gets the credit for taking the initiative, adds another feather on its crown for fostering more offsprings like JMI, gets rid of the legal, operational, and administrative difficulties. The Government also gets rid of all these problems and at the same time serves the same purpose without making anyone unhappy. It is, from every respect, a win-win situation.
(The author, originally from Assam, India, is a PhD student at Texas Tech University, Texas, USA)

Saturday, July 31, 2010
In India, Bombay High Court tells government to clarify stance on disabled students in professional and health science courses
The Times of India:
MUMBAI, India — The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra government to clarify its stand on allowing visually challenged and other disabled students from pursuing professional and health science courses.The court was hearing a petition filed by a 17-year-old visually challenged Ruparel College student who is seeking admission to the physiotherapy course at G S Medical College attached to KEM Hospital. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice S C Dharmadhikari has sought the information from the government by August 2.The judges have also asked the authorities to allow the student, Kritika Purohit, to attend lectures, even as the bench asked the Directorate of Medical Education and Research to keep one seat vacant.Kritika’s lawyers, Jamshed Mistry and Kanchan Pamnani, informed the court that she had cleared the MH-CET (Maharasthra common entrance test) and medical tests and was ranked third in the physically challenged category. The government sought a year’s time to make arrangements for visually challenged candidates to take the course.The court has asked the petitioner’s lawyers to make state disability commissioner, G S Medical College and Maharashtra University of Health Sciences, parties in the case.Kritika, one of the first visually challenged students to get admitted to the HSC, science stream, in the state, after scoring 82% in her SSC examinations, moved the High Court when she was barred from appearing for the MH-CET examinations.The High Court intervened to allow her to appear for the exams.The state pointed to the Medical Council of India rules, which specify that only a disabled person with a locomotive disability of the lower limb (50% to 70%) could apply for MBBS courses.According to Kritika’s lawyers, the state has not applied its mind on whether visually challenged students can pursue other health science and paramedical courses such as physiotherapy, which do not involve invasive surgical procedures.The Persons With Disabilities Act makes it mandatory for 3% reservation for disabled persons in college admissions. Students who are visually challenged, though, are unable to get admissions to several courses, her lawyers have claimed.
Posted by BA Haller at 3:49 AM

MCHI in High Court against Service Tax on Construction Contracts
Sunday, August 1, 2010
Amendment made vide Finance Act 2010 in relation to construction of complex service
· Construction of a complex intended for sale by the builder before, during or after construction is deemed to be a service provided by the builder to the buyer;
· No service tax is leviable if entire payment for the property is paid by the buyer after completion of the construction including certification by the local authorities;
· Thus service tax has been levied on any commercial or industrial construction of residential complex prior to obtaining completion certificate by creating a deeming fiction.
Directions by the Bombay High Court

· Maharashtra Chamber of Housing Industry (MCHI), an umbrella organization of more than 500 developers, filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court challenging the constitutional validity of construction of complex service as amended by the Finance Act, 2010;
· On 23 July 2010, while admitting the writ petition the Bombay High Court directed that no coercive steps shall be taken against the petitioners for recovery of service tax in relation to the provisions in question;
· Further, the Bombay High Court observed that the assessments may continue in accordance with law;
The matter is now posted for hearing on 3 August 2010.

In Parliament
On the agenda this month in Parliament
M R Madhavan
The sixth parliamentary session during the UPA government’s second term is being held between July 26 and August 27. The government managed to fulfil only a small part of its stated legislative agenda last session, and may attempt to take up some of those bills this session.
It is not clear whether the government would be willing to take up the Women’s Reservation Bill in Lok Sabha. The bill was passed by Rajya Sabha in March but several parties that support the UPA government are opposed to the bill. Though the bill will likely muster a two-third majority support with the aid of the BJP and Left parties, the Congress party may be reluctant to offend its UPA allies.
The Nuclear Liability Bill has been referred to the standing committee which is scheduled to submit its report on the second day of the session. This bill sets a mechanism for no-fault liability in case of nuclear incident from a nuclear power plant, and sets maximum liability limit of SDR300 million (about Rs 21 billion) with the operator’s liability capped at Rs 5 billion with the rest to be borne by the Union government. [See the May 2010 issue of Pragati for an analysis of this bill]. The BJP and Left parties have opposed the bill, and it would be interesting to see whether the government makes some amendments that address the issue related to the liability cap.
The National Advisory Council (NAC) chaired by Sonia Gandhi has recommended a Food Security Bill. At the initial stage, every household in one fourth of the most disadvantaged districts or blocks will have access to 35 kg of food-grains per month at Rs 3 per kg. In other districts, a similar facility will be available to vulnerable groups including scheduled castes and scheduled tribes while all others would be entitled to 25kg of food-grains at an appropriate price. There would be a category that would be excluded based on transparent and verifiable criteria. The NAC has recommended that the bill be drafted based on these principles. This bill is unlikely to be introduced this session.
The NAC has also commented on the Communal Violence bill, and recommended several changes. This bill, pending in Rajya Sabha since 2005, increases penalties for crimes committed during communal violence, provides for fast-track courts, and for compensation and rehabilitation of victims. The government may choose to redraft the bill before taking it up in parliament for consideration and passing.
Three ordinances have been promulgated since the Budget Session. The first ordinance supersedes the Medical Council of India with a new board for a period of one year. This move followed the arrest of the head of the council on corruption charges. The second ordinance was issued after a spat between the securities and the insurance regulators related to unit linked insurance products (ULIPs). The ordinance sets up a mechanism to resolve disputes between financial markets regulators, and clarifies that ULIPs and similar products would be regulated by the insurance regulator. The third ordinance amends the Enemy Property Act, 1968 with retrospective effect to keep the enemy property vested with the custodian even if the original owner has ceased to be an enemy, or whose legal heir is an Indian citizen. These ordinances will lapse if parliament does not ratify them.
The Prevention of Torture Bill was passed by Lok Sabha in the Budget Session and is pending in Rajya Sabha. This bill defines torture as grievous hurt caused by a public official with the intent to extract information. Any complaint has to be filed within six months of the act of torture. Prosecution requires prior sanction of the Union or state government to which the accused public official belongs.
Several important bills have been pending for the last few years. In the last session, the agriculture ministry circulated amendments to the Seeds Bill, 2004, but the bill was not discussed. The amendments have addressed many contentious issues including exemption from registration of inter-farmer sale of seeds and requirement of special approval for genetically modified seeds.
The government has been silent on the bills related to financial markets. These include a bill to provide statutory backing to the pension regulator, bills related to insurance markets, a bill to permit options trading in commodities and a bill to regulate micro-finance institutions. It is unlikely that these bills will be on the agenda during this session.
The finance ministry has issued a paper discussing the feedback on the draft Direct Taxes Bill. Many controversial clauses have been dropped including the minimum alternate tax on assets, tax at withdrawal of certain savings and pension schemes, presumptive tax on house rent, and voiding of double taxation treaties. Given that the finance minister has expressed his desire to bring the new tax structure in force by the next financial year, the revised bill could be introduced this session.
Other than the legislative agenda, parliament will likely discuss several issues of national importance. The opposition will likely raise the issue of pricing of petroleum products following recent policy changes. Though headline inflation as well as food inflation have been creeping down, the current double digit levels could induce yet another discussion on price rise. The proposal to permit FDI in multi-brand retail stores could also be discussed. Other discussion issues could include the recent foreign minister-level talks with Pakistan and the situation in Jammu & Kashmir.
Parliament may also see a rare event—the impeachment of a high court judge. Two cases related to Justice Soumitra Sen of Calcutta High Court and Chief Justice P D Dinakaran of the Karnataka High Court have been referred to inquiry committees. Press reports indicate the inquiry committee looking into the Justice Sen case is close to finalising its report. It is possible that the issue may figure in Parliament this session. In this context, it is important to note that a new Judges Inquiry Bill was introduced in 2006 which has lapsed. Last year, the law minister stated his intent to enact the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, but it is yet to be introduced.
The UPA government had announced an ambitious legislative agenda through the President’s address in July 2009 and February 2010. While political opposition from allies—as in the case of land acquisition bill—may make it difficult for the government to push through some bills, we hope the government uses this session to redeem at least part of its pledge.

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Govts must exercise restraint in approaching courts: PresidentHindustan TimesEarlier, CJI SH Kapadia had made distinction between the arrears andpendency of cases and said the calculation has to be reviewed as there areflaws in it. …<I” target=_blank>>I

NDIA AND AROUNDBy ABHINAV CHOUDHARYIn September 2009, top legal luminaries Shanti Bhushan, Fali Nariman, AnilDivan and Ram Jethmalani met then CJI K G Balakrishnan with a memorandumrequesting him not to elevate Justice Dinakaran to the SC, alleging he wasembroiled in …<>

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HC rejects NOTE plea against Big BTimes of IndiaPANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Friday dismissed a revisionpetition filed against film actor Amitabh Bachchan for alleged violation ofanti …<>

Keep special child on rolls: HC tells schoolTimes of IndiaNow, with the father of Amrita Vidyalayam’s class III student Aswin Nairapproaching the Delhi high court, HC has taken a dim view of the school’saction …<>

Intimacy on marriage promise is not rape, says HCIndian ExpressThe Delhi High Court on Friday quashed an FIR lodged against a youth andexonerated him from all charges of having physical relations with a womanon the …<–says-HC/654326>

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Builders accused of selling flats twice, HC orders FIRTimes of IndiaCHENNAI: The Madras high court has directed the Rajamangalam police in thecity to register criminal cases against three persons who had developed ahousing …<>

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HC: Banking institute beyond RTI Act ambitAsian AgeThe Delhi high court has said an organisation cannot be forced to discloseinformation under the RTI Act just because it is substantially financed byPSUs …<>

HC seeks opinions on road repairExpress BuzzThe Kerala High Court on Friday sought responses from the state governmentand the Kochi Corporation regarding implementation of the recommendationsmade …<>

PIL to be filed in HC regarding Minto HallCentral ChronicleBy Our Staff Reporter Madhya Pradesh Mantralaya Bar Association presidentSanjay Gupta said that if Minto Hall is given to private company forconvention …<>

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Cong MLA released form jail on conditional bailIBNLive.comHC judge Justice BK Patel had completed the prolonged hearing on his bailpetition on Tuesday and had reserved order till today. As per the HC orderhe …<>

Whistleblowers seek Act for their safetyTimes of India… up where the RTI activists have been implicated in false cases to deterthem from getting the desired information, said RTI activist advocate HCArora. …<>

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Bombay HC declares no premium for FSI exemption on lifts and …By PallaviiBombay HC declares no premium for FSI exemption on lifts and staircases. ByPallavii Pitale. While calculating the FSI, certain areas have beenexempted including lifts and staircases under the development controlregulation no. …<>

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NHRC chairperson favours continuance of death penaltyNDTV.comPTI, Updated: August 01, 2010 17:33 IST New Delhi: Amid continuing debate over whether death penalty should be abolished in India, NHRC chairperson KG …

Workers in a ‘world-class’ cityThe Hindu… in turn appointed a Monitoring Committee which included Arundhati Ghose, a former diplomat, and Lakshmidhar Mishra, Special Rapporteur of the NHRC. …

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Raid at PFI centres: NHRC seeks report from DGPChairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Justice K G Balakrishnan today said the Commission had sought a report from Director General of …

NHRC seeks report on Kashmir youth killing. – Free Online LibraryFree Online Library: NHRC seeks report on Kashmir youth killing. by “The Pioneer (New Delhi, India)”; News, opinion and commentary General interest.

Armed Forces Tribunal office for NE set upMorungExpressThe regional branch of Armed Forces Tribunal was opened in Guwahati at a function on Saturday. The tribunal addresses the grievances of armed forces …

Facing contempt case, CAT recalls orderTimes of India… the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has recalled its original order which had put it on a collision course with the judiciary. …

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The Hindu : New Delhi News : NCW, FRRO ordered to pay compensationNEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court has directed the National Commission for Women ( NCW) and the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) to pay Rs.20000 …

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Monday, August 02, 2010

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