LEGAL NEWS 02.12.2011

Woman’s household chores also count as work, rules court

Jayant Sriram

Posted: Fri Dec 02 2011, 01:14 hrsNew Delhi:

The contribution of a woman to her household equals her contribution to the workplace because a working woman bears dual responsibility. This is what a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) decided while awarding compensation to the family of a bus rapid transit (BRT) employee, who met with a fatal accident in 2010.

Anita Devi, employed as a cleaner at the BRT corridor in Krishi Vihar, was run over by a speeding truck. While her family laid claim to a substantial settlement on the basis of Devi being a full-time employee who earned about Rs 5,000 a month, the insurance company offered far less. Employment records for three months produced by the investigating officer showed that while Devi was employed, she did not work on all days of the month — often only for 10-15 days.

MACT judge Nirja Bhatia, however, held that her salary was to be assessed as that of a full-time worker. The duration of her absence should be taken as “time spent managing her household”, she said. “It is common knowledge that working women bear dual responsibility, which comprises managing the household as well as doing outside work aimed at providing supplementary income to the family. Their contribution to the household alone is well-recognised by the Supreme Court, as seen in the ‘Lata Wadhwa versus State of Bihar-2001’ case. Accordingly, the period of her absence from duty is to be construed as time spent fulfilling household obligations,” the judge observed in her order.

In the Lata Wadhwa case, the Supreme Court had framed guidelines for determining compensation for housewives — taking domestic services rendered by them into account. The amount was fixed at Rs 3,000 per month.

In the present case, the MACT judge did not differentiate between the two roles, holding that the deceased can be considered as a working woman in both cases. She stated that though Devi had not worked through the entire month, her capacity to work regularly could not be dismissed in this manner.

Stating that the victim’s absence from the workplace could have been due to commitments at home, the judge said, “The work period of the deceased for the given three months, the record of which has been placed, may have been reduced due to special circumstances, such as her involvement with children’s exams or health issues.”

NHRC asks Jharkhand govt to return Rs 20 crore to RINPAS

PTI | 08:12 PM,Dec 01,2011

New Delhi, Dec 1 (PTI) The National Human Rights Commission has once again directed the Jharkhand Government to pay back Rs 20 crore to Ranchi Institute of Neuro Psychiatry and Allied Sciences (RINPAS) which, it said, was “wrongfully” held by the administration. The money was deposited in excess of the stipulated amount by the RINPAS in the state treasury on specific directions of the then Health Secretary of the state. The Commission said it is not satisfied by the responses of the state government that it has already compensated more than the amount by allotting a total of Rs 32 crore as budgetary support to RINPAS. “The Commission expects an appropriate clarification from the state government within one month and if it is not received, it may have to summon the Chief Secretary of the state again for clarification,” the NHRC said in a statement here. The Commission observed that “allocation of funds by the state government as grant-in-aid for RINPAS is an ongoing process. “It is primarily meant for patients coming from Jharkhand. It is nothing to do with the funds which were diverted by RINPAS to the state government,” it said. The Commission took suo motu cognisance of the issue after the matter came to its knowledge at the Regional Review meeting of Mental Hospitals in the eastern region on June 5, 2009 at Ranchi. The Commission had asked the Chief Secretary to refund the amount to RINPAS and issued two summons after there was no response.

Cops beat boy to death: UP pays Rs.5 lakh on NHRC’s order


The Uttar Pradesh government, on the orders of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), has paid Rs.5 lakh to the family of a boy – Durgesh (12) – who was beaten to death and later hanged by a police sub-inspector and four cops.

The boy was picked up for an interrogation into the theft case in Data Ganj of Badayun district of the State. The U.P. government had also informed the Commission that a criminal case had been registered and charge-sheet filed in the court against the police personnel and the annual increment for the sub-inspector had been withheld for a year.

The incident happened on January 20, 2008, and the Commission enquired into the case following a complaint lodged by Human Rights Observer Editor R.H. Bansal.

Durgesh was not only badly beaten up by the cops and hanged afterwards, his house was also ransacked by the police personnel, the complainant alleged.

Death threats to human rights defender Dr. Lenin Raghuvanshi

Submitted by admin3 on 1 December 2011 – 9:15pm

By TCN News,

Varanasi: Eminent human rights activist and Secretary General of Peoples’ Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (PVCHR), Dr Lenin Raghuvanshi has received threat calls from one J.P. Mishra, a resident of Gorakhpur. Dr. Lenin is pursuing the case of murder of one Sohrab Ahmed, also resident of the same district. Regarding the murder, Dr. Lenin in August this year had written to Uttar Pradesh Governor, NHRC and others highlighting anti-Muslim activities of Hindu Wahini group supported by Gorakhpur BJP MP Yogi Adityanath.

Talking to TCN, Dr. Lenin said the caller described himself as J.P. Mishra and resident of Gorakhpur and connected with goons. He perceived him (Dr Lenin) as a government officer. In the first call, the caller gave threats and next he gave some missed calls.

On 29th November, 2011 around 5:27 pm Dr. Lenin received threatening call from a mobile number on his mobile. The caller was using filthy words after using the words Human Rights. He also gave life threat saying “You will be towed” and “if you speak too much you will be shot out”. At that time, Dr. Lenin was busy in the meeting with its associates in his office.

At mean time around 5: 42 pm Dr. Lenin immediately released an urgent release in facebook. Around 6:22 pm Dr. Lenin rang on the caller’s number but he did not receive any response from that side. Then again he ranged this time he succeed to know the identity of the caller. The caller said, “My name is J.P. Mishra, I am resident of Gorakhpur. You did not know about my power. I can do anything. Son, I have relation with many person you know Tulsi Singh. Now you understand what type of person I am. I lived in Mumbai I can do anything. If you are Governor or Chief Minister of the state, understand I have worth to do anything. Then he threat what is your worth monthly earning of only 10 thousand and 20 thousand”. The caller was speaking in Bhojpuri mixed Hindi language.

Immediately letter through email was sent to Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission and Director General of Police and on 30th November, 2011 same letter was sent through post.

It is noted that in the wake of Dr Lenin’s letter dated 4th August 2011, Governor, Uttar Pradesh had asked the chief secretary to look into the murder case. And later an enquiry was conducted under the supervision of state DGP.

Mr Mritunjay, office in-charge of PVCHR, gave details about Sohrab’s case to TCN. Sohrab Khan, son of Jameel Khan, was murdered in the intervening night of 23-24 March 2011. He was coming home from Haryana to attend a marriage ceremony scheduled at home on 26th March. Till 10 pm he was in contact with his brother at home. At that time he was at Bargadwan area of the district. Then his mobile went silent. Next day the family members went out in search of him. Local police first asked them to look for him at auto stands and elsewhere but meanwhile a low-level policeman told them about a dead body found early morning on that day. When they asked the station in-charge about the dead body, then he showed them his picture and they identified him.

According to Mirtunjay, the area where Sohrab was killed is the stronghold of Hindu Vahini and Muslim can’t dare to entre those areas after sunset. He said many such incidents have occurred with Muslims in recent past.

He further said that Hindu Vahini has full support of the BJP MP. When any member of the group is caught by police for any wrongdoing, the MP calls or appears at the police station and threatens them and secure release of Vahini member.

NHRC to collect facts on Kishenji killing

New Delhi, Nov 28 : Taking note of allegations that Maoist leader Kishenji was killed in a staged shootout, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Monday said it will collect facts about the incident.

In a statement issued here, the NHRC said it has asked its Director General (Investigation) to collect facts on the Nov 24 shootout.

“The National Human Rights Commission has taken cognizance of a complaint alleging that Maoist leader Koteshwara Rao alia Kishenji was killed in a fake encounter in West Bengal,” the statement said.

“The Commission today asked its Director General (Investigation) to collect facts and requisite reports within six weeks,” it said.

Kishenji was killed in a gunfight with security forces at Burisole jungle in West Midnapore district of West Bengal on Nov 24.

Rights activists have alleged he was tortured and killed in captivity and it was later shown as a shootout death.

UP govt acts after NHRC’s intervention in minor boy’s death

Published on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 18:06 |  Source : PTI

Updated at Wed, Nov 30, 2011 at 20:24

Business English Courses IndiaCan.Com/English

New Delhi, Nov 30 (PTI) After intervention by the NHRC in the death of a 12-year-old boy allegedly in custody, Uttar Pradesh government has found five police personnel guilty and paid Rs five lakh compensation to the victim’s family. An NHRC spokesperson said the state government has complied with NHRC recommendations and paid Rs five lakh to the family of Durgesh. “This amount has been distributed equally among his four relatives,” the spokesperson said. The government has imposed upon the sub-inspector a penalty of withholding one year increment and the charge sheet has been submitted in the court against him and other police personnel. The National Human Rights Commission received a complaint from R H Bansal, editor of Human Rights Observer, alleging that Durgesh, resident of Data Ganj in Badayun district, was beaten up by police while being interrogated in connection with a theft in the area on January 20, 2008, and thereafter he was hanged to death by them. It was also alleged that the five police personnel ransacked Durgesh’s house.

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High court asks I-T tribunal to consider member’s promotion

CHENNAI: Ruling in favour of a judicial member of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in Chennai, who claimed he was superseded by a junior to the post of vice-president, the Madras high court has asked the tribunal to consider his claim and complete the entire exercise within two months.

In his plea, Uttam Bir Singh Bedi contended that the selection committee was misguided by the annual confidential reports (ACRs) of all the candidates, and hence appointed P Mohanarajan as vice-president of the tribunal. The selection committee comprised a sitting Supreme Court judge, president of the tribunal and the secretary of ministry of law and justice.

Passing orders, a bench of Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice D Hariparanthaman observed that the gist of the ACRs from the year 2002-03 to 2007-08 showed that the petitioner was a “hard-working and knowledgeable person” but behaved in a “rude manner” with colleagues. His rigid nature invited many problems, resulting in frequent transfers, the bench said.

Bedi argued that the president of the tribunal could not write his ACRs since he only exercised administrative control over the benches. Bedi said the ACRs could not, in turn, be reviewed by the secretary of ministry of law and justice since the ITAT was a judicial body and therefore, should have judicial autonomy.

Finding strength in these arguments, the bench said, “Personal enmity or difference of opinion, if any, between the judges or the authorities discharging quasi-judicial functions must take a back seat and it is the bounden duty of judges to maintain utmost decorum on and off the dais.”

The tribunal has a total of 126 members and is constituted at 27 benches in different cities.

I-T Tribunal judicial member pulled up

Express News Service The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has pulled up Uttam Bir Singh Bedi, judicial member of the Income-Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in Chennai, for his arrogant behaviour.

“The material on record would depict a gloomy picture about the petitioner that he is arrogant and always threw to the winds the well-established judicial conventions,’’ a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice D Hariparanthaman observed on Thursday. No institution could survive in a democracy unless it earned the public esteem by discharging its duties impartially and expeditiously.

The judiciary was no exception from this principle, the bench added and directed Bedi to mend his ways and conduct himself in a dignified manner and follow the established judicial conventions to maintain the decorum on and off dais.

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Road mishap victim gets Rs 59-lakh relief

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, December 01, 2011

A senior citizen, who has been in coma since he met with a road accident over two-and-a-half years ago, has been awarded a compensation of nearly Rs 59 lakh by a tribunal.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) awarded the damages to 61-year-old Model Town resident Partap Sain

Katyal, noting that he continued to be comatose since his accident in May 2009 and there were bleak chances of his recovery.

MACT Judge Dinesh Bhat ordered the payment of compensation on the victim’s wife Sharda Katyal’s plea. Holding the driver and owner of the offending car, Amit Gupta, guilty of causing the accident, the MACT directed the National Insurance Company, with which the vehicle was insured, to pay R58,20,785 to Katyal. “In view of the documents available, it is prima facie proved that the petitioner (victim) suffered injuries due to rash driving of the car driver,” the MACT said.

The court awarded the relief, noting the deposition by the victim’s wife that she had already spent over R20 lakh on his treatment. She had sought R59 lakh as relief, saying her husband, who ran a firm in partnership, earned R50,000 a month, while she was likely to incur an expense of R1 lakh per month on his treatment.

Writ plea for shelters in all city bus stops

Express News Service The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: A writ plea for a direction to the Chennai Corporation and the Metropolitan Transport Corporation (MTC) to provide shelters in all the bus stops in the city has been made in the Madras High Court.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam, before which the public interest writ petition from Nethaji Pokkuvarathu Thozhilalargal Pathukappu Thozhir San gam, by its treasurer A Vijayararan, came up on Wednesday, ordered notice returnable in three weeks.
Sangam advocate R Y George Williams contended that almost all the bus stops in the city had no proper shelters. They were either removed, damaged or encroached upon.
The commuters had to wait for buses under the scorching sun or rains.
The drivers and conductors were at the receiving end from the travelling public and the union had also been receiving complaints in this connection, Williams said.

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Hells Angels Biker in Nevada Court Over Shootout

By SCOTT SONNER Associated Press

RENO, Nev. December 2, 2011 (AP)

A California member of the Hells Angels pleaded not guilty Thursday to second-degree murder for his role in the death of his chapter president in a September shootout in a Nevada casino.

Cesar Villagrana of Gilroy also pleaded not guilty to shooting and wounding two members of the rival Vagos motorcycle gang in the melee.

Villagrana is not suspected of shooting his longtime friend and San Jose chapter leader Jeffrey “Jethro” Pettigrew. However. authorities said he was charged with murder because he was a principal participant in the brawl the led to the death in Sparks on Sept. 23.

Washoe District Judge Connie Steinheimer set a tentative Jan. 17 trial date for Villagrana, the same day Ernesto Gonzalez of San Francisco — a Vagos member indicted for murder — is due to stand trial.

Authorities suspect Gonzalez fired the shots that killed Pettigrew

The judge, however, indicated the trial might not begin until the end of 2012.

Prosecutor Karl Hall expects suspect Gary Stuart Rudnick, who was arrested in Los Angeles in connection with Pettigrew’s killing, to be returned to Reno and arraigned before Dec. 7.

Rudnick, vice president of the Vagos Los Angeles chapter, was indicted on a second-degree murder charge.

Rudnick, who goes by the nickname “Jabbers,” is not accused of firing any shots, but police said he was to blame for starting the fight that turned the casino floor into a shooting gallery during a biker rally in Reno-Sparks.

Investigators later retrieved dozens of shell casings and bullets — one lodged in a slot machine, others in bar stools, a card table and a metal poker chip holder.

The two Vagos members shot that night survived. A third Vagos was shot near the casino the next morning and also survived. Police have no suspects in that shooting.

Villagrana’s defense attorney Richard Schonfeld said after Thursday’s arraignment that he intends to seek a separate trial for his client. He also plans to file motions challenging unspecified actions by the grand jury.

In court, Schonfeld objected when the judge said she intended to ban colors, patches, emblems or insignias showing gang affiliation in her courtroom during the trial.

The Hells Angels are a motorcycle club, not a gang, and should be referred to that way, Schonfeld said.

Schonfeld said there’s a difference between a leather jacket and red clothing associated with the Hells Angels and a “‘nice button up shirt” with a subtle insignia bearing the club emblem. He asked one member in the audience to stand and display his black shirt with the club’s emblem about the size of the palm of his hand above his left pocket.

“It’s not offensive, per se,” Schonfeld said. “They are not ashamed of being members of the Hells Angels motorcycle club. They don’t want to appear they are hiding from it.”

Schonfeld said a federal judge in Las Vegas allowed full leather jackets with patches at a trial involving a deadly brawl between the Hells Angels and rival Mongols at a 2002 motorcycle rally in Laughlin, a resort town about 100 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

“I don’t want people identified as one motorcycle club against another motorcycle club when in the courtroom,” the judge said.

HC to hear PIL on UP split on December 2

TNN Dec 1, 2011, 11.48AM IST

LUCKNOW: A public interest litigation has been filed in the registry of the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Wednesday seeking quashing of the state government’s proposal to split Uttar Pradesh into four states. It is likely to come up for hearing on December 2.

The PIL has been filed by a local lawyer MP Singh challenging the November 21, 2011 decision of the state government to split the state. It has been pleaded that the state government is not empowered to divide any state because the said power vests with the Centre. It has been contended that the state government’s decision is arbitrary, unconstitutional and beyond public interest.

Maha told to consider handing over Maval firing case to CID

PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 01,2011

Mumbai, Dec 1(PTI)The Bombay High court today asked the Maharashtra government to consider handing over the investigation into the police firing on farmers at Maval in August to CID if no police officer was willing to probe the case. The court was hearing two Public Interest Litigations (PIL) filed seeking handling over the case to CID or CBI. “If no officer is ready to probe the case then consider handing over the probe to the Crime Investigation Department (CID),” said justice S A Bobade. One of the PILs was filed by social activist Balasaheb Jambulkar, who claimed to be present at Maval when the firing took place and according to him the police chased the people and shot at them. While other PIL was filed by I G Khandelwal on whose complaint an FIR was registered in the Maval court. Khandelwal’s lawyer Rajeev Pandey argued that no police officer was willing to investigate the case and said that after one Deputy Superintendent of Police expressed inability to probe the case on medical ground, the Superintendent of Police, Pune (rural) handed over the case to another DSP. The police on August 9 had fired on the protesting farmers who had gathered to oppose the government’s decision to lay a closed pipe line that would go through their fields to supply water from Pavna dam to the limits of Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporation in Pune. After the firing incident the then SP of Pune (rural) Sandeep Karnik was transferred. He is presently the DCP in Mumbai. According to sources, top police officers are reluctant to investigate the case due to its political sensitivity. The case was adjourned till December 8. PTI VI ABC

City Briefs; Woman hangs self, husband arrested

Express news service

Posted: Fri Dec 02 2011, 02:17 hrs;-woman-hangs-self-husband-arrested/883081/

CHANDIGARH: A 26-year-old married woman, Monica, committed suicide by hanging her self from the ceiling fan at her house in Maloya colony on Thursday. Veerbhan, the brother of the victim, in a police complaint alleged that Monica, who had been married for six years, took the extreme step as her husband used fight with her. The police arrested her husband, Vinod, a driver by profession, on charges of abetting the suicide.

Haryana, Punjab submit report on hookah bars

CHANDIGARH: Haryana government has sealed five hookah bars in Panipat and two in Panchkula, while the Punjab government has carried out raids on eight such bars which were found serving nicotine in the hookahs beyond permissible limits. The two states submitted the status report during the resumed hearing of a PIL demanding action against the hookah bars illegally serving nicotine. The PIL was filed by social activist Hemant Goswami.

Increase safety, rescue measures: HC to state

Express News Service The New Indian Express

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the State Government to consider the representations of a petition which sought increased safety and rescue measures at Puri beach where a series of drowning cases have been reported this year.

�Acting on a PIL writ petition which prayed that for safety of tourists during sea bath at the beach in Puri, a division bench of the HC, comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra, directed the State Government to consider the representation of the petitioner and take steps in terms of the direction issued by the Orissa Human Rights Commission.

� The petitioner, Beach Protection Council of Odisha, a registered NGO, had filed the PIL writ petition appealing to the court to issue directions to the State Government to engage 200 trained and qualified lifeguards with proper equipment for safety of tourists and to rescue the victims.

�During bathing at the sea, the petitioner stated, tourists are vulnerable to drowning due to lack of protection and the casualties are increasing day by day. It was further stated that even though the State Human Rights Commission has already passed directions to deploy personnel for protection, till today adequate measures have not been undertaken by the Government.

�The bench considered the petition and issued the direction. Over 20 tourists have died by drowning at the Puri beach in recent times.

APNewsBreak: Ala. Trains 16K Cops on Immigrant Law

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. December 1, 2011 (AP)

After confusion and misgivings from some police about how to enforce Alabama’s new immigration crackdown, the state is now requiring special training in the law for more than 16,000 law officers — every sworn officer in the state.

Officials hope the unusual move will alleviate uncertainty about the law on the front lines of law enforcement.

Police chiefs, prosecutors and judges have said that the lengthy law’s complicated provisions were hard to understand, and federal court rulings that blocked some sections while letting others take effect only made life tougher for officers on the street. Some departments have relied on little more than news reports for information about the law, officials say.

Alan Benefield, head of the Alabama Police Officers’ Standards and Training Commission, said Thursday the panel decided last month to take the unusual step of requiring four hours of training for every sworn officer in the state because of the law’s complexity and the lingering confusion. He said new laws or court rulings are sometimes added to the state’s normal training curriculum, but full-blown courses for specific laws aren’t held very often.

More than 1,000 officers already have finished the courses, he said, and thousands more officers from local, county and state agencies will go through training in coming weeks. Benefield said refresher sessions and curriculum updates will likely be required as courts issue new rulings on challenges by the Obama administration, immigrant rights groups and other opponents of the law.

The law has caused confusion in some areas.

On Nov. 16, in a case that made international news, a German manager with Mercedes-Benz was arrested under the law for not having a driver’s license with him while driving a rental car. The Tuscaloosa city attorney said the charge was later dismissed after the man provided the documents in municipal court. State officials said the case was handled properly under the law.

But in an incident just this week, Honda Manufacturing of Alabama said a Japanese worker temporarily working in the country was cited under the immigration law. A person with knowledge of the case said the man was ticketed by a city officer at a routine roadblock even though he had a valid Japanese passport and an international driver’s license.

Statehouse Republicans said descriptions of the incident didn’t appear to match up with the law itself, which doesn’t include a provision for ticketing someone. Also, the law states that police should accept a passport with valid stamps as proof that someone is in the country legally.

The president of the Alabama Circuit Judges Association says he’s heard reports of police setting up roadblocks near mobile home communities where Hispanic people live and a municipal judge saying that anyone without a driver’s license would be arrested under the law.

Signed by Republican Gov. Robert Bentley in June, the law is considered the nation’s toughest state crackdown on illegal immigration both by supporters and opponents.

In lawsuits filed by the Justice Department and others, courts have blocked sections of the law, including a one-of-its-kind provision requiring public schools to check the citizenship status of students. But other sections began taking effect in late September, including one that requires police to detain people if they’re discovered not to have valid documents during a routine encounter like a traffic stop.

Comatose victim given Rs 59 lakh compensation

Last Updated: Thursday, December 01, 2011, 14:26

New Delhi: A senior citizen, who has been in coma since he met with a road accident here over two-and-a- half years ago, has been awarded a compensation of nearly Rs 59 lakhs by a tribunal.

Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) awarded the damages to 61-year-old Model Town resident Partap Sain Katyal, noting that the victim continued to be comatose since his accident in May 2009 and there is bleak chances of his recovery.

MACT Judge Dinesh Bhat ordered payment of compensation on his wife Sharda Katyal’s plea for it. Holding the driver and owner of the offending car Amit Gupta guilty of causing the accident, the MACT directed the National Insurance Company, with which the vehicle was insured, to pay Rs 58,20,785 to Katyal.

“In view of the statements and documents available on record, it is prima facie proved that petitioner (victim) suffered injuries due to rash and negligent driving of the car driver,” the MACT said.

The court awarded the compensation, noting the deposition by the victim’s wife that she has already spent over Rs 20 lakhs for her husband’s treatment.

She had demanded Rs 59 lakh as compensation, saying her husband, who ran a partnership business firm, earned Rs 50,000 a month, while she was likely to incur an expanse of Rs 1 lakh per month on his treatment in future.


Judiciary can review decisions of constitutional bodies, says SC


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has said that constitutional status of the Union Public Service Commission cannot stop the judiciary from quashing its illegal decisions or actions. The apex court held as illegal UPSC’s decision to reject the candidature of an applicant for the post of legal advisor in the land and building department of the Delhi government.

“It is true that the commission is a constitutional body but its actions and decisions are not immune from judicial review,” said a bench comprising Justice GS Singhvi and Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya in its judgement.

“If a competent judicial forum finds that the impugned action is ultra vires, the Constitution or any legislation or is otherwise arbitrary or discriminatory, there will be ample justification to nullify the same.”

It dismissed the appeal of the UPSC, challenging order of the Delhi High Court, which upheld the order of the Central Administrative Tribunal nullifying its decision rejecting the candidature of the concerned applicant.

UPSC had rejected the application on the ground that there was no document enclosed by the applicant to show that he was awarded a degree in law by a recognised university, which was an essential qualification for the post. Additional solicitor-general Indira Jaisingh on behalf of UPSC had told the apex court that both CAT and the high court had “committed serious error by tinkering with UPSC’s decision, which is a constitutional body”.

The applicant, however, said he had the prescribed qualification and had produced the relevant documents but UPSC arbitrarily rejected his candidature.

Dismissing UPSC’s appeal, the bench said that since the applicant had attached the certificate issued by theBar Council of UP with his application, the commission was not justified in refusing to entertain his application for the legal advisor’s post.

NHRC to hear petition on Mullaperiyar dam safety on Monday


The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), in its full Commission meeting on Monday next, will hear the petition filed by some of the Kerala MPs seeking its “humanitarian intervention” to save the people of Idukki and adjoining districts who are likely to be affected if the Mullaperiyar dam bursts as apprehended.

The MPs, including P.T. Thomas (Idukki) and K.P. Dhanapalan (Chalakudy) (both Congress) and Jose K. Mani (Kottayam) (Kerala Congress-M), in their petition to NHRC member Justice G.P. Mathur here on Wednesday, claimed that the entire Kerala was panic stricken over the possible collapse of the 116-year old dam constructed with lime and surky. “Four districts of Kerala are under severe threat and millions of people will be washed away if the dam collapses if there is an earthquake of high intensity.”

People of the area were not leading a normal and peaceful life and some of them had even started looking for relocation. Even students were reluctant to go to school. “For millions of innocent people, it is nothing but a tussle between the life and the death,” they said.

The MPs, joined by some MPs from the Congress and the Left parties in Kerala, staged a dharna near the Gandhi statue in the parliament complex on the issue.

Meanwhile, Union Minister of State for Home Mullapally Ramachandran has written a separate letter to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to take urgent steps to find an amicable solution to this Kerala-Tamil Nadu dispute. He toldThe Hindu that the Prime Minister had promised to look into the issue and resolve it as it involved the interests of the people of both the States. “Water for Tamil Nadu and safety for Kerala is the slogan and I hope everything will end in a peaceful manner,” he said.

Meanwhile, CPI MP from Tamil Nadu (Tenkasi) P. Lingam dismissed as “mere media hype and false propaganda” on reports of fear expressed in Kerala about the safety of the dam. That State had even flouted the Supreme Court direction on increasing the water level up to 142 feet and what was the guarantee that Tamil Nadu would continue to get water if the new dam was allowed to be constructed, he wanted to know.

Woman fined Rs 5 lakh for false sexual harassment case filed 15 years ago

Smriti Singh, TNN | Dec 2, 2011, 07.03AM IST

NEW DELHI: Filing a false sexual harassment case 15 years ago against a now retired senior officer of Northern Railwayshas landed a woman in trouble with a court directing her to pay Rs 5 lakh to him “to console the hurt victim”.

Holding that the woman had defamed the 74-year-old man, who has now retired, additional district judge Rajender Kumar Shastri directed the woman to pay compensation, saying “every man has his own status, however humble, and he has a right to guard his reputation”.

The woman had alleged that she was sexually harassed in 1996, while working as secretary to the then chief personnel officer in Northern Railways. The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) had ruled in her favour, but the Delhi High court in 2008 set aside the order, terming it “invalid”.

The man had filed a defamation suit against the woman seeking damages of Rs 10 lakh for the “emotional trauma” he underwent.

He claimed that she had filed the complaint of sexual harassment after he had reprimanded her for not doing her work properly. He also said the prolonged litigation caused him humiliation among his peers.

ADJ Shastri said, “The plaintiff (man) was a senior officer, who served the Indian Railways. There is no evidence against plaintiff about any misconduct except the complaint lodged by present defendant, which was proved as false.”

The court, however, showed leniency towards the woman while deciding the compensation amount after she pleaded that she was a widow and could not afford such a penalty. “I agree that status of claimant in society is a factor to be considered by the court in awarding compensation but status and financial position of other party ie defendant (woman) also cannot be ignored. The objective of providing compensation is to console the victim and not to punish the defendant by imposing such a penalty which she cannot afford from her means,” it said.

Times View

There can be no dispute that stringent laws are needed to deal with sexual harassment. However, it’s also true that strong laws are more prone to being misused. To prevent this, it could be stipulated that where a complaint is proved to be false, the accuser must not only suffer amonetary penalty but face a jail term too. That would be a real deterrence against abuse of the law.

Of course, the mere fact that the accused in a sexual harassment case is acquitted should not suffice to trigger this provision. It should be up to the accused to provethat the complaint is false and has been filed with mala fide intent.

HC sets aside CAT order

PTI | 11:12 PM,Dec 01,2011

Chennai,Dec 1 (PTI):Setting aside a Central Administrative Tribunal order,Madras High Court today requested the Selection Committee, headed by a Supreme Court Judge, to reconsider the claim of a Judicial member of Income Tax Appellate Tribunal for appointment as its Vice-President. Allowing a writ petition challenging the order,a Division Bench,comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and D Hariparanthaman requested the Commitee to reconsider the claim de hors, the Annual Confidential Reports illegally recorded by the ITAT President and reviewed by the Law Ministry. The petitioner, ITAT Judicial member Uttam Bir Singh Bedi had earlier approached CAT, which after accepting contention of the official authorities and considering the fact that Mohanarajan, after getting selected as Vice-President, had attained superannuation in Nov 2009,dismissed Bedi’s petition. Hence, the present petition before the High Court. Bedi contended the committee had been misguided by ACRs of all eligible candidates placed before it. He claimed that the ITAT President had no authority to write ACRs of Members and the Law Ministry could not act like a reviewing authority. Mohanarajan was junior to him, he said. The Bench said the ITAT President had recorded in the ACR that Bedi though a hard working and knowledgeable person, behaved rudely with his colleagues. ‘The ITAT President has no power or authority to write ACRs of the members.Being a judicial body,ITAT should have judicial autonomy and therefore the first respondent (Law and Justice Ministry) cannot act like a reviewing authority,’ it said. Stating that the ACRs seemed to have pushed the petitioner to a disadvantageous position, compared to other candidates, and since the remarks made against Mohanarajan by the Supreme Court in a case were also not placed before the committee, the Bench held that no proper material was placed before the selection panel to arrive at a just conclusion. The Judges said they were setting aside the order and allowing the petition without going into many other aspects. The Bench directed the petitioner to mend his ways and conduct himself in a dignified manner and follow established judicial conventions to maintain decorum on and off the dais.


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