LEGAL NEWS 13.12.2011

Over 80 cases delayed at tribunal due to lack of stenographer

Utkarsh Anand

New Delhi Workers battling labour disputes related to wages, leave, retrenchment and closure are being made to wait for a final word on their cases before a Central Government Industrial Tribunal (CGIT) due to a ‘technical’ problem.

For more than 10 months now, the Tribunal-cum-Labour Court-1 at the Karkardooma Court Complex in Delhi has been without a stenographer, who is required to take down judgments by the presiding officer. Consequently, Judge R K Yadav has been unable to pass the final orders in more than 80 cases, though the arguments have been concluded.

Officials said the judge is unable to pass the final orders because he does not have a designated staffer to write down the verdicts. In some of the cases, he had to pass the verdict in his own handwriting.

The situation, however, may change. A lawyer has brought the matter to the notice of the Delhi High Court, which has given the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment time till Wednesday to appoint a staffer at the tribunal.

A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw has censured the ministry’s response to a public interest litigation, filed by advocate M A Niyazi. Niyazi had pointed out that no stenographer or personal assistant was posted by the ministry and, as a result, the work of the CGIT had virtually come to a standstill.

The petition further highlighted that in the absence of a stenographer, the Presiding Officer was facing difficulties in dictating daily orders, and was unable to pass the final orders in as many as 86 industrial disputes. “The government cannot create tribunals and then refrain from providing staff for it. How is a judge supposed to work if he does not even have a stenographer? Let the ministry do whatever is required by December 14. In case of failure, we would like the Director in the Ministry to appear before us,” the bench said.

The court had earlier taken strong exception to the situation, saying: “For proper and efficient functioning of any court or tribunal, it is necessary that adequate staff is provided. Further, it is also not in dispute that with respect to CGIT-cum-Labour Court-1, it is the duty of the Ministry of Labour and Employment to post the necessary staff.”

The ministry’s counsel replied that they would have to send a request for recruitment to the Staff Selection Commission (SSC). The counsel, however, could not tell the court whether any requisition had already been sent to the SSC in this regard.

“This is strange. The judge cannot hire a staff on his own as they (SSC) will not act on his request, and you (the ministry) don’t know whether you have sent any request to the SSC. It cannot be allowed to work like this. You must make a proper request to the SSC. In the meantime, the ministry should take steps for posting a stenographer/personal assistant to the CGIT-cum-Labour Court-1 from its surplus staff quota,” the bench ordered.

However, during a hearing last week, the court noted that nothing had changed ever since, prompting it to give the ministry a week’s time to appoint a stenographer or face action.






Lavasa case: HC to decide on NGT’s jurisdiction

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court will decide on January 31 whether the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has the jurisdiction to decide on the petitions filed by and against the Lavasa Corporation Limited.

While the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest said that the tribunal can decide the issue, Lavasa was of the opinion that it was too late to place the matter before the NGT.

“All the reliefs sought by Lavasa and the other petitioners who are challenging the construction are now a subject matter of the Green Tribunal,” Additional Solicitor General D J Khambata told the court.


enior counsel Shekhar Naphade, appearing for Lavasa, however, said that the petitions were filed in the high court in December 2010 and hence there was a long delay before placing the matter before the tribunal.

A division bench of justices SA Bobade and VK Tahilramani, however, said there was not much delay and added that it would hear all sides on the jurisdiction issue on January 31.

The court had in the last hearing raised a question of jurisdiction to hear the cases pertaining to Lavasa after the tribunal was set up.

Ashish Mehta, lawyer for Suniti SR, who has filed a PIL seeking action against Lavasa for illegal construction, told the court that the NGT is not competent to decide the issues raised by them in their petition.

Mehta also filed an additional affidavit which said that even the MoEF does not have the authority to grant clearance to Lavasa.

“On the contrary State Environmental Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) of Maharashtra is the Competent Authority to deal with,” states the affidavit.

Noting that a bad precedent is being set by Lavasa, the affidavit says that there is no provision for “Post-Facto” clearance in Environmental Impact Assessment Notification 2006.






Martyrs of the Endosulfan tragedy

“The people of the Kasaragod district are not just the victims of the endosulfan tragedy, they are also the martyrs,” said activist Medha Patkar here on Monday.

She was inaugurating the protest by the Endosulfan Peeditha Janakeeya Munnani (a front of endosulfan victims) before the Secretariat.

Upholding the demands raised by the victims, including rehabilitation, and setting up of a tribunal to determine the compensation, she said, “A tribunal set up for the endosulfan issue should not end up like the Plachimada Tribunal.” The legislation to ensure compensation to victims in Plachimada– the Plachimada Coca Cola Victims Relief and Compensation Claims Special Tribunal Bill was yet to get the President’s assent.

Ms. Patkar said that the sufferings of the endosulfan victims spoke about the carelessness of the State towards the victims. She added that the people of Kerala should get together to create awareness about the harmful effects of endosulfan.

“The wrong policies of the Government lead to corporatisation, destructive development, and the corruption of nature and life,” Ms. Patkar said. She added that the politicians, bureaucrats and the self-righteous corporate were responsible for the never ending sufferings of the victims of endosulfan tragedy.

“The actions taken by the State leaders in the issue of endosulfan have not been effective because they were not based on comprehensive studies,” said activist B. R. P. Bhaskar.

R. V. G. Menon, C.R. Neelakantan, Vilayadi Venugopal and Ambikasutan Mangad also addressed the gathering.

The sculptures made by artist Vinod Ambalathara were exhibited along with the photographs of the victims of endosulfan.






Court upholds punishment for drunk cop

CHENNAI: Showing zero-leniency to a drunk constable, who was dismissed from service for having attacked an innocent bystander , the Madras high court has upheld his removal.

On February 2, 2002, constable K Chelliah assaulted Karuppiah , who was waiting to board a bus at the Kallimandapam bus stand in Dindigul district. Besides verbally abusing, the constable kicked and slapped him. Chelliah’s past conduct was taken into account by the inquiry officer, who pointed out that he had been punished five times for similar misconduct.

Chelliah preferred an appeal before the jurisdictional deputy inspector-general of police, besides approaching the erstwhile Tamil Nadu state administrative tribunal against the dismissal . After the abolition of the Tribunal, the matter was transferred to the HC.






No toilets’ fundamental right violation: Supreme Court

Concerned over pathetic state of affairs in government run schools where children are denied drinking water and another basic facilities, the Supreme Court has directed the Centre and all states to ensure that hospitable conditions are provided to children as their refusal violate right to education and fundamental right.

“It is imperative that all schools must provide toilet facilities; empirical researches have indicated that wherever toilet facilities are not provided in the schools, parents do not send their children (particularly girls) to schools’’, a bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra said while hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Environmental & Consumer Protection Foundation (ECPF) seven years ago. The law suit has sought better education facilities and proper schooling in order to check the rapid drop out graph.

Expanding the scope of the petition and taking into account the contentions made by counsel Ravinder Bana, the court has already asked all the district magistrates nation-wide to file comprehensive affidavits within a month regarding availability of basic facilities such as potable drinking water, toilets both for boys and girls, electricity, boundary walls and mid-day meal in primary schools.

They have been asked to specify whether primary schools have requisite number of teachers. In its latest order, the bench said denial of the basic right to water and toilet facilities “clearly violates the right to free and compulsory education of children guaranteed under Article 21-A’’.

Referring to its office report filed on December 3 last, the court said it indicates that despite opportunity granted, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Meghalaya, West Bengal, Arunachal Pradesh, Punjab, Goa, Tripura and Union Territory of Lakshdweep have not filed their affidavits.

DNA has already reported that India has about 6,88,000 primary schools and 1,10,000 secondary schools.

According to the statistics available, two third of school going age children are enrolled in schools but the figures are deceptive as many don’t attend schools regularly. At least half of all students from rural area drop out before completing school.

Giving a wider scope of the hearing, the Supreme Court has asked the Union ministry of drinking water and sanitation to file an affidavit within a month indicating the latest position about the problem of drinking water in the country.




Vacancies of primary school teachers in UP:HC strikes down ad

Allahabad, Dec 12 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today quashed an advertisement brought out by Uttar Pradesh government for vacancies for the posts of teachers in primary schools wherein candidates were allowed to apply from not more than five districts. Justice Sudhir Agrawal passed the order on a writ petition of Sarita Shukla and others who had challenged the advertisement dated November 30, 2011, in which all those who had cleared the state’s Teacher’s Eligibility Test (TET) were allowed to apply but with the condition that applications must not be made from more than five districts. The petitioners had contended the selection process was to be conducted district-wise and hence either candidates should be allowed to apply only from their home districts or from anywhere across the state and that the state government’s insistence on applications from not more than five districts was illegal. Allowing the writ petition, the court directed the state government to bring out a fresh advertisement for the vacancies.




Notice issued to Centre on wage board notification

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Centre on a writ petition filed by Rajasthan Patrika challenging the notification to implement the recommendations of the Justice Majithia wage board for journalists and non-journalists.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai issued notice after hearing senior counsel K.V. Viswanathan, appearing for the petitioner. The Bench granted two weeks to the Centre for filing its response on the main petition and on the application seeking interim stay of the notification. The petition is expected to be listed in the second week of January 2012.

Senior counsel Gopal Jain made a mention that petitions filed by ABP Ltd., publishers of The Telegraph and other newspapers, and Bennett Coleman and Co. Ltd., publishers of The Times of India and other newspapers, and the Indian Newspaper Society challenging the report and the subsequent notification could also be listed along with the writ petition filed by Rajasthan Patrika, and the Bench directed that all the petitions be tagged and listed together.


Rajasthan Patrika had challenged the constitutional validity of the Working Journalists and Other Newspaper Employees (Conditions of Service) and other Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1955. It said this Act interfered with the prerogative of the management to manage its enterprise, which was an inherent right of every employer and recognised globally.

Referring to the November 11 government notification, the petition said that if the recommendations of the wage board were accepted they would drive many newspapers out of business as the wage board had created unreasonable classification among newspapers without any rational basis.


Contending that the notification would amount to overreaching the orders of the Supreme Court when a batch of petitions was pending adjudication,Rajasthan Patrika sought quashing of the notification and an interim stay of its operation.





Ambala Central Jail’s health care in ‘sorry state’–sorry-state-/887079/

Express news service

Posted: Tue Dec 13 2011, 01:11 hrsChandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Monday, issued notices to Haryana converting a letter written by Ambala Judge into a writ petition.

The lower Court Judge had written to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court apprising the sorry state of medical and healthcare condition in Ambala Central Jail.

The Judge has written that as against the sanctioned post of four doctors, the jail has only one dental surgeon. The Judge has submitted that the posts for four medical officers are pending since 2008. There are a total of 1,130 prisoners including eight children who have to be transported to Ambala General Hospital, in the city, for routine check up.

Highlighting the sorry state of affairs, the lower Court Judge has submitted in his letter, sent last week, that in some cases the prisoners have to be brought to Chandigarh for medical help. Despite repeated representations to the Police authorities, no action has been taken to fill up the vacant posts. Haryana has been asked to respond to the letter.





Grant of autonomy does not entitle grant: HC

A self-financing college of science may have been recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) and also granted autonomous status. But that does not make the institution entitled to demand ‘autonomy grant’ as a matter of right, the Madras High Court Bench here has ruled.

Justice K. Chandru passed the ruling while dismissing a writ petition filed by a self-financing science college near here seeking a direction to the UGC to release forthwith the ‘autonomy grant’ to the institution from the academic year 2006-07 to 2009-10.

“If the UGC takes a policy decision not to release any assistance to self-financing colleges, no right accrues to the petitioner college in demanding such financial assistance, merely because it has been recognised as a college under Section 2(f) or eligible to get assistance under Section 12-B of the UGC Act,” the judge said.

Further, stating that the college had no legal or enforceable right to seek a direction to release funds, he said: “It is one thing to state that a person has been made to come within the zone of consideration for receiving financial assistance and another thing to state that as soon as the institution comes within the zone of consideration, it automatically leads to release of grant by the UGC.”

Mr. Justice Chandru also pointed out that the UGC had made it clear in categorical terms on different occasions that conferment of autonomy would not entitle a self-financing college to autonomy grant and that the latter would have to follow procedures as applicable to other colleges.

The stand has been made clear to the petitioner college since 2005 when the UGC communicated its tenth plan document to all colleges.

Nevertheless, the college persisted in its demand and kept on sending letters to the UGC periodically demanding the grant.

The UGC too gave a series of replies to the college in November 2008, January 2009 and February 2009 stating that it had taken a policy decision not to release the grant until a committee constituted for the purpose of scrutinising the issue of grants to self-financing colleges submitted its report.

Not satisfied with those replies, the college filed a writ petition in 2009 seeking a direction to the UGC to dispose of letters written by it between 2006 and 2009.

The High Court too passed an order on August 12, 2009 directing the UGC to consider those letters within a time frame.

Subsequently, the UGC wrote another letter to the college on October 1, 2009 stating that at present, the UGC does not give grants to self-financing colleges though the matter was under active consideration of the commission.





UT orders schools to withhold admissions

Ritika Jha

Posted: Tue Dec 13 2011, 02:11 hrsChandigarh:

The ongoing controversy over the procedure being followed by the UT’s private schools for admission to entry-level classes took a new turn today after the UT Education Department directed all private unaided schools to withhold the admission process “till further instructions”. “All schools are directed not to finalise the list of candidates either by point system or holding of draw or by any other procedure till further instructions are issued by the office,” a communication issued by the UT District Education Officer (DEO) to all schools stated. The DEO’s letter also mentioned the writ petition filed by some parents in the Panjab and Haryana High Court challenging the admission procedure in one of the city schools recently.

“The schools are free to follow the schedule regarding sale of forms/ prospectus and acceptance of forms for registration as per due dates,” the letter added. Asked why blanket instructions have been issued to all schools while the petition in the High Court relates to just one school, DPI (Schools) Sandeep Hans said, “The order of the High Court may or may not define an admission procedure for the school. To avoid a similar situation relating to the admission process being followed in other schools, we have asked all of them to wait for the court orders.”

Hans added, “We have circulated the instructions in view of both the schools as well as the parents’ interests. There are still about two months available for the schools to take up the admissions. Why cant they wait for some time?” A group of 10 parents, whose children were not given seats at St Kabir School (Sector 26) during the pre-nursery class admissions two weeks ago, had filed a petition in the Punjab and Haryana High Court against the school last week.

The complainants had challenged the school’s admission process and the Education Department officials were asked to look into the matter. The case will come up for hearing on Tuesday





Govt tables Amendment Bill to deal with recovery of bad loans

The government on Monday introduced an Amendment Bill in Parliament to enable banks and financial firms to effectively deal with the problem of bad loans.
The move could help bring down lending rates for home and corporate loans, experts said. Enforcement of Security Interest

and Recovery of Debts Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2011, which was introduced by minister of state for finance Namo Narain Meena in the Lok Sabha, seeks to strengthen recovery process of secured loans.

It seeks to amend the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act 2002 and Recovery of Debts due to Banks and Financial Institutions (RDBF) Act 1993.

The amendment in SARFAESI Act will “provide for conversion of any part of the debt into shares of a borrower company and such conversion shall be deemed always to have been valid as if the provisions of said conversion were in force at all material times.”

Besides, it seeks to bring multi-State cooperative banks under the category of the bank.

At the same time, it will enable to increase the period of response to be sent by the banks or financial institutions to the representation of the borrowers to 15 days from 7 days.

It will also empower banks or financial institutions to accept the immovable property in full or partial satisfaction of the claims of the bank against the defaulting borrower.

The amendment will allow district magistrate or the chief metropolitan magistrate to authorise any subordinate officer to take possession of assets or forward assets to the secured creditors.

The Bill has also proposed to amend the RDBF Act 1993 that among other things would “enable the banks and financial institutions to enter into settlement or compromise with the borrowers and also to empower Debts Recovery Tribunals to pass an order acknowledging such settlement or compromise.”

It also seeks “to permit the multi State Cooperative banks, with respect to debts due before or after the commencement of the proposed legislation, to opt either to initiate proceedings under the the Multi-State Co-operative Societies Act 2002 or to initiate proceedings before the Debt Recovery Tribunal.”

To ensure expeditious adjudication and recovery of dues of banks and financial institutions, remove legal anomalies and strengthen the Recovery Tribunal, the RDBF Act was amended in the years 1995, 2000 and 2004, the Bill said.

“Once the Bill is cleared, procedural changes in loan recovery is expected to lower the cost of funds for borrowers,” Ernst & Young partner Ashvin Parekh said, adding that risk premium on secured loans will soften.






We don’t extort money to probe cases, Oshiwara police tell HC

The Oshiwara police have denied that they extort money from complainants for investigating cases. The affidavit mentioning this, filed in the Bombay high court, comes in the wake of a petition filed by a city-based advocate claiming that the Mumbai police and the Economic Offences Wing

(EoW) demands money from complainants for investigation.

An affidavit filed by senior inspector of police, Dilip Rupawate, denied the state police retains 40% of the recovered amount in the offence.

Petitioner Mahesh Kukreja’s lawyer, Pradeep Havnur,  said he had lodged a complaint with the police against a doctor couple, Ajit Malusare and his wife Ashwini, who had allegedly cheated him of Rs15 lakh in 2006.

Kukreja’s petition states that he was aghast when the then assistant police inspector of Oshiwara, one Khade, said it is a norm in the Mumbai police and the EoW to get 40% of the recovered amount.

Rupawate, in his affidavit,  denied these allegations and stated that the probe has been transferred between different police officials to expedite it and Khade has also been transferred to the local arms division.

The affidavit states that the police had custody of Malusare for questioning following his arrest by the EOW for cheating banks.  Meanwhile, the Central Bank of India has also filed for recovery of money from Malusare in the Debt Recovery Tribunal for cheating the bank of Rs19.3 lakh.






Actor’s wife comes to court seeking divorce

CHENNAI: The 60-year-old wife of Tamil film actor Sarath Babu made an appearance in the family court on Monday in connection with a divorce case filed by her . She had sought divorce from the actor , now 62 , on grounds of mental torture , her petition said . Sarath Babu was also present in court . The two were directed to attend counselling by Santhakumari , judge , third additional family court and the case was adjourned to December 24 for further hearing .

The petitioner , Snehalatha Dixit ,isthedaughter of veteran film actor M N Nambiar who passed away three years ago . Snehalatha , a resident of Gopalapuram , met Sarath Babu at a time when she was estranged from her first husband .

Sarath Babu had been divorced from his actor wife Rama Prabha when he met Snehalatha . They first became acquainted at the Boat Club after which they decided to get married . While their marriage was registered on May 28, 1990 , the wedding reception was held on July 2, 1990 at Hotel Trident . Snehalatha filed a petition for divorce on July 27, 2001. In her plea , Snehalatha also mentioned that she was entitled to his share of wealth .

Sarath Babu , whose real name is Sathyanarayana Dikshit,has a backgroundin the film industry that goes back nearly four decades . He hasworkedin Tamil ,Telugu , Kannada and Malayalam films . He began his career with the K Balachander-directed ‘Nizhal Nijamagirathu’ in 1978 . He is remembered for his roles in the Rajinikanth-starrer ‘Mullum Malarum’ which released the same year and for his performances in other movies like ‘Uthiripookkal’ , ‘Salangai Oli’ , ‘Annamalai ‘ and ‘Muthu’ .






Traders form body to take on the taxman

Read More:Vidarbha Taxpayers’ Association|Stress|PIL|NCCL|Nagpur Municipal Corporation|Forum

NAGPUR: A group of businessmen have joined hands to take on the taxman through judicial activism. Thirty businessmen from the city have formed a new body under the name Vidarbha Taxpayers’ Association (VTA) with its main objective of filing public interest litigations (PIL) in taxation related matters. The stress would be to ensure the right use of tax-payers’ money.

Registered as a society last month, it was formally launched on Sunday with city-based transporter J P Sharma as the president and builder Tejindersingh Renu as honorary secretary.

The VTA will start with two major litigations, which relate to property tax charged by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) and income tax, Renu told TOI on the sidelines of the function. The association also pursued the PIL on early completion of Ram Jhula bridge, when they were members of the Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Limited ( NCCL), but left it due to internal differences. A fresh petition is planned to be filed in this matter.

Although the basic rate of the property tax levied by the NMC is fixed at 2%, the delay in payment attracts interest up to 24%. The VTA compares this rate with that offered by the government on delayed income tax refunds, which is not more than 9%. In such a case, even the penal interest including that charged by the NMC should be within this limit, Renu told TOI adding that a PIL on this issue will be filed soon.

A similar PIL is being filed on fixing the responsibility on such income tax officers, demand orders by whom are completely turned down at a higher level of appeal.

“It often happens that officers of assistant commissioner level wrongly increase the tax liability while assessing the returns, which is reduced to an extent at the next level and many a times completely turned down by the income tax appellate tribunal (ITAT). Such demands are raised due to sheer misinterpretation of certain basic provisions of law. Any officer proven to have committed such an error must be penalised. A person who joins the elite Indian Revenue Service (IRS) cadre cannot be expected to make such a mistake”, he said.

Apart from these two, a third PIL is planned to be filed for reducing the number of returns to be filed under various laws. “Under the proposed Food Safety Act, returns have to be filed also for the amount of milk in an eatery joint, which is draconian,” he said. Even other tax laws including those related to income tax indirect taxes have a plethora of returns the third PIL would insist on simplifying the system, he said.

The forum would also take up issues related to tax affecting the salaried class, said J P Sharma, the president.

On the reason behind forming the association, Renu said they believe that judiciary is the right forum for raising such issues as politicians and bureaucracy often turn a blind eye to them no matter how vehemently the demands are raised.




Guidelines on police reforms may overlap with Lokpal Bill’

Express news service

Posted: Tue Dec 13 2011, 00:31 hrsNew Delhi:

The Supreme Court today expressed second thoughts about going ahead with passing guidelines on sweeping police reforms based on a PIL pending for several years, saying it did not want any “conflict or overlap” with the provisions of the Lokpal Bill pending in House.

A three-judge bench led by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia said the court did not want to pass any guidelines for implementation only to find that they have impinged on the Lokpal Bill finally enacted by the Parliament.

“At the end of the day we should not face the situation that a law comes after we have gone through everything… Please tell us what areas we can go into. Our brief was to give guidelines until the law comes. Will the present Lokpal Bill impinge on any of the areas we are concerned with, there should not be any overlap or conflict,” the Bench observed.

The court had already set up an expert committee under former Supreme Court judge, Justice K T Thomas, who had filed an extensive report recommending reforms across states.

The court also enquired whether suggestions to include the CBI Director under the Lokpal Bill has been included. Senior advocate Prashant Bhushan who appears in the PIL for petitioner Prakash Singh said the “final shape of the legislation may affect control over CBI”.






Respond to gas panel proposals: SC to state

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 05.26AM IST

BHOPAL: The Supreme Court has granted two weeks time to Madhya Pradesh government to file its response to the recommendations of the monitoring committee set up to oversee the functioning of hospitals meant for the treatment of victims of Bhopal gas disaster.

A bench comprising Chief Justice S K Kapadia and Justice Swatanter Kumar passed the order on public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan and others, seeking court intervention to protect the interests of victims of gas tragedy which killed thousands of people and rendered lakhs with health ailments on the intervening night on December two and three in 1984.

The Apex court made it clear that no further adjournment would be granted on this count. Union Ministry of health and family welfare will also file its reply in this case.

Twenty years after the World’s Worst Industrial disaster, the state government had set up a monitoring committee in 2004 under the chairmanship of O P Mehra to oversee the functioning of hospitals meant for the treatment of gas victims.

The committee made eight recommendations regarding gas victims’ hospitals, quality of medicines and so on so as to improve the functioning of these hospitals which caters to a vast population affected by the toxic methyl iso-cyanide (MIC) gas which leaked from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), a subsidiary of multinational Union Carbide Corporation (UCC).

However, the committee became defunct after the death of its chairman O P Mehra till it was re-constituted under the chairmanship of Dr H S Trivedi, a prominent doctor. The newly set up monitoring committee also submitted its recommendations on April one this year.

According to a monitoring committee member Poornendu Shukla, the panel needs specific powers to effectively implement its decisions to improve the functioning of hospitals.






MoEF clearance to Lavasa illegal, says petitioner


The environmental clearance granted by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to Lavasa is illegal as the MoEF is not a competent authority to grant the clearance, a petitioner argued during the hearing of the Lavasa matter in the Bombay High Court here on Monday.

Suniti S.R., a petitioner who filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the project on behalf of the National Alliance for People’s Movement (NAPM), said in an affidavit filed before the court that the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) was the competent authority to deal with environmental clearance.

“The Environment Impact Assessment Notification and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986 does not provide for any such post-facto clearance and what is warranted is the ‘prior’ environmental clearance, which the project proponent has failed to seek,” the affidavit stated.

It said that by granting post-facto clearance to Lavasa, the Ministry had established a “disastrous precedent [that] projects don’t need a ‘prior’ EC [environment clearance]”. It also stated that though Lavasa Corporation violated EIA notification of 1994, 2004 and 2006, the MoEF “deliberately kept silent about the violation of EIA Notification 1994 and 2004.”


Lavasa Corporation and the MoEF are slated to file a reply to the affidavit before the next hearing to be held on January 31, 2012.

Meanwhile, the Division Bench of Justices Sharad Bobde and V.K. Tahilramani asked the petitioners, including the MoEF and Lavasa Corporation, about the jurisdiction of the National Green Tribunal and whether the matter could be transferred there.

In the last hearing more than a fortnight ago, the court asked the petitioners to consider if the cases related to Lavasa Corporation could be transferred to the tribunal.

While Lavasa and the NAPM told the court they would prefer the hearings to continue in the High Court, the MoEF has shown an inclination to approach the green tribunal.

During the hearing, another petitioner told the court that the MoEF had given the nod to the first phase of Lavasa despite it fulfilling only two of the five pre-conditions.






Provide night shelters to those without roof’
SC directs northern states to act immediately

New Delhi, December 12

Making it clear that not a single person should be allowed to die for lack of protection against the winter this season, the Supreme Court today directed Punjab, Haryana and other northern states to immediately provide night shelters with adequate amenities to all those living without a roof over them.

A Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra passed a series of separate orders in respect of each state, asking the Chief Secretaries to file affidavits by January 3 confirming compliance with its rulings. Even if the states were not in a position to provide permanent night shelters immediately, they should make arrangements for temporary shelters which should have water, sanitation, electricity and other basic amenities, the Bench clarified.

The Bench explained the urgency, citing the onset of the winter season and the need for protecting the lives of people as guaranteed under the Constitution.

Haryana said it had 51 night shelters, of which only two were permanent. “Why are you not constructing permanent night shelters,” the Bench asked. The state counsel said four were under construction and assured the court that he would consult the government and come back.

Senior counsel Colin Gonsalves, arguing for the PIL petitioner (People’s Union for Civil Liberties), complained that Punjab had filed a very vague affidavit, without specifying how many night shelters were in place. The state merely had given the number of “identified, earmarked and sanctioned” cases of night shelters, he explained. At this, the Bench passed a separate order asking the Chief Secretary to file by January 3 a detailed status report.

Jammu and Kashmir claimed that the state did not have a single person without any shelter. The Bench asked the PIL petitioner to verify and give its response.

Asking the state governments to ensure that no one was made to sleep on pavements, parks or other open public places, the apex court also passed similar orders in respect of several states, including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Uttarakhand and Maharashtra.

The Bench would review the status again on January 9.

Punjab report ‘vague’

Punjab merely had given the number of “identified, earmarked and sanctioned” cases of night shelters. The Bench has asked the Chief Secretary to file a detailed status report by January 3.

Make permanent ones: haryana told

Haryana said it had 51 night shelters, of which only two were permanent. Another four are under construction. “Why are you not constructing permanent night shelters,” the Bench asked.

Big claim by Jammu & Kashmir

Jammu and Kashmir claimed that the state did not have a single person without any shelter. The Bench asked the PIL petitioner to verify and give his response.





Govt must take steps now’

As the visuals of the terrible fire in a Kolkata hospital were beamed on TV, Bangaloreans are reminded of the tragedy the city went through during the Carlton Towers fire in February 2009, which exposed the unpreparedness of the city to tackle fire accident resulting in the loss of many lives.

The Kolkata tragedy should be a wake-up call for the civic and fire services agencies in Bangalore and I urge the BBMP to take immediate steps to inspect to ensure compliance of fire safety rules by high-rise buildings, especially in hospitals, schools, colleges, government offices and buildings frequented by the public.

The fire services department must conduct surprise checks to ensure the fire-fighting equipment in high-rise buildings are in working condition. The Namma Bengaluru Foundation supported Beyond Carlton’s PIL in the Karnataka high court, and it resulted in the BBMP forming guidelines for fire safety in high-rise buildings in Bangalore and the government notified it in July 2011. It is important that the BBMP must not lose sight of safety guidelines and ensure thorough compliance to prevent loss of lives or loss of property.

The fire in AMRI shows the institutional collapse in cities all over India.

People will continue to die as a direct consequence of negligence by governments and due to absence of regulation of public safety. This is because programmes like JNNURM are supposed to revitalise and reform governments but have become taxpayer-funded spending programmes with no outcomes or objectives.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, MP and convener, ABIDe






SC asks whether Lokpal deliberations will affect police reforms

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 03.54AM IST

NEW DELHI: Ahead of the discussion on Lokpal bill in Parliament, a key member of Team Anna on Monday said no one was sure about the shape of Lokpal that would emerge after the parliamentary debate but stressed that the inclusion of CBI in the anti-corruption watchdog’s ambit would be a step forward in resolving the standoff between the government and civil society.

“When will Lokpal come and in what shape, no one knows. Even if CBI is included within the ambit of Lokpal, it would relate to the agency’s investigations relating to corruption cases. But this should not deter the Supreme Court from directing the Centre and the states from implementing its 2006 judgment on police reforms,” advocate Prashant Bhushan told the Supreme Court on Monday.

Arguing for former top police officer Prakash Singh for implementation of the SC’s 2006 judgment ordering radical police reforms, Bhushan allayed apprehensions of a bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices Aftab Alam and K S Radhakrishnan that the portion of the matter could overlap the discussions being taken up in Parliament relating to Lokpal.

The bench said, “We do not want a situation where we are told later that our efforts in implementing police reforms were a waste since the Lokpal has come into effect. We do not want to be seen as pre-empting any discussion in Parliament.”

Bhushan said, “The bone of contention between civil society and the government is the inclusion of the corruption investigation wing of CBI in Lokpal. The Parliament discussion will touch on this issue among a host of other issues linked to the shape and powers of Lokpal.

“Since CBI is a specialized anti-corruption agency, the logic for its inclusion in Lokpal is to utilize its infrastructure and expertise rather than create a new force under the anti-corruption watchdog. The demand is either to completely insulate CBI from the government or bring it under the ambit of Lokpal.”

He said while CBI should function under the Lokpal, state police anti-corruption wings, popularly referred to as CB-CID, should be brought under the Lokayuktas. However, he clarified that implementation of police reforms – separation of investigation work from law and order duty and giving fixed tenure to top officials – could not in any way overlap with the discussion in Parliament on Lokpal.

The bench said, “We have to examine it in the context of federal structure of the country.” It said several states, including Tamil Nadu, had objected to the implementation of court-directed police reforms. Bhushan said Maharashtra, Karnataka, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh were the defaulting states and the court should seek a status report from them.

The court asked additional solicitor general Gaurab Banerjee to examine the police reforms, as directed by the SC in its 2006 judgment, from the context of federal structure and whether the Lokpal bill debate in Parliament would in any manner touch on the issues being dealt in the case for implementation of police reforms.

The court adjourned hearing on Prakash Singh’s petition till January 9.






Mullaperiyar: SC to hear pleas of TN, Kerala Govt

New Delhi: The Supreme Court will hear a petition from both the Tamil Nadu and Kerala government on the Mullaperiyar Dam. The Jayalalithaa government has been asking for a court direction to prevent the Kerala government from making any further controversial statements.

Kerala and Tamil Nadu have been at loggerheads over the dam, built under an 1886 accord between the then Maharaja of Travancore and the erstwhile British Raj.

Tamil Nadu wants the dam’s storage capacity to be increased from the current 136 feet (41.5 metres) to 142 feet (43 metres) as per a Supreme Court order, while Kerala wants a new dam in its place.

n December 9, the Kerala assembly passed a resolution that the central government should sanction a new dam and till this happens, the storage level in the existing dam should be brought down to 120 feet.

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa on Sunday announced that a special session of the assembly will be convened on December 15 to pass a resolution that the state will not give up its rights over Mullaperiyar Dam in Kerala because of the “imaginary threat to its safety.”

Earlier, 50 persons were injured on Sunday when police made a lathicharge to disperse protesters who gheraoed Tamil Nadu Finance Minister O Panneerselvam and allegedly threw slippers at him at the state border near Kumili after he tried to persuade them to give up their agitation on the Mullaperiyar dam issue.

Police said the minister escaped unhurt and was later taken away from the spot via another route.






SC to examine PIL on Manipur blockade

PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 12,2011

New Delhi, Dec 12 (PTI) The Supreme Court will examine on Wednesday a PIL seeking direction to the Centre and the Manipur government on the economic blockade by ethnic groups in the state causing severe hardships to people and skyrocketing prices of essential commodities. A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhya today tagged the matter for being heard along with the case relating to killing of Dalits in Haryana’s Mirchpur village in which the court is examining the financial and criminal liabilities of arsonists and protesters in such agitations. The PIL filed by retired UP DGP Prakash Singh through counsel Rohit K Singh has alleged that “the state government of Manipur is not enforcing the law of the land and the Central Government is acting a mute spectator to intransigent groups taking law into their own hands.” According to the petition the blockade resorted to by the Kuki and Naga tribes had subjected the general public in the State to severe hardships and cited reports that while petrol was being sold Rs 200 per litres, gas cylinders was costing Rs 2000. There was “shortage of essential commodities whose prices have sky-rocketed”. The blockades “impinge on Article 21 of the Constitution of India which guarantees to all its citizens the protection of life and personal liberty. “That the current blockade has curtailed the rights of the people of Manipur to move freely throughout the territory of India guaranteed under Article 19 (d) of the Constitution of India,” the petition said. It urged the court to direct the Centre and Manipur to impose penalties on the agitators for resorting to the economic blockade.





SC asks CBI to file final report on top Maoist leader killing

PTI | 08:12 PM,Dec 12,2011

New Delhi, Dec 12 (PTI) Observing that “conclusions do not support” the fake encounter theory, the Supreme Court today directed the CBI to file its final report by January 23, 2012, on the killing of top Maoist leader Cherukuri Rajkumar and a journalist by Andhra Pradesh Police in July last year. “One or two conclusions does not support the theory of the encounter being fake,” a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai observed, after briefly examining the current “status report” submitted by Additional Solicitor General Harin Rawal on behalf of the CBI. The bench made the observation after counsel Prashant Bhushan appearing for the deceased journalist’s wife Bineta Pandey sought copies of the status report filed by the CBI. The apex court told Bhushan that once the CBI files its final report, his plea can be considered and he would be allowed “to render full assistance” to the court on the issue. On April 25, the apex court had asked the agency to try complete the investigation within three months. The case was transferred from the local police to the CBI in April 21 last year on the intervention of the Supreme Court. The state government had transferred the case to CBI after the apex court issued notice to it on January 14 on separate petitions filed by social activist Swami Agnivesh and Bineeta Pandey, wife of the deceased scribe Hemchandra Pandey, seeking a judicial probe into the incident. The bench had earlier expressed displeasure over the incident and remarked that “we cannot allow the republic killing its own children.” Azad, a senior member of banned CPI (Maoist) Central Committee, and Pandey, who was dubbed by the police as a Maoist, were killed in an alleged fake encounter in Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh on the intervening night of July 1-2, 2010. (More)






Sr executive held for colleague’s suicide denied bail

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 04.16AM IST

MUMBAI: A sessions court on Monday rejected the bail application of a senior executive of a private firm arrested for abetment of suicide after his junior colleague was found dead under mysterious circumstances in October.

Praval alias Preetam Kalita was arrested in November for the alleged suicide of Poonam Chugh (25), an MBA working with Vantage Insurance Brokers Private Ltd as a marketing manager since August 2010. Kalita was her boss. Chug was found dead at her friend’s residence in Jogeshwari (W).

Her sister filed a case against Kalita, who was out of town for three days after the incident. Her advocate, Swapna Kode, who appeared with advocate Sonal Parab, said the court rejected his bail application, and after looking at Kalita’s conduct, found that he could tamper with evidence.

The police said Chugh had consumed poison after Kalita avoided talk of marriage.






Witness completes deposition in deep-freezer murder case

PTI | 08:12 PM,Dec 12,2011

Dehra Dun, Dec 12 (PTI) S K Pradhan, whose sister Anupama Gulati was brutally killed allegedly by her New Delhi-based software engineer husband last year, today completed his final deposition in a court here Pradhan is one of the key witnesses in the deep-freezer murder case which is being heard at Dehra Dun district and sessions court. Pradhan was also cross-examined by the defence, police sources said. The next hearing will be held on December 22, they said. Software engineer Rajesh allegedly killed Anupama and cut her body into pieces to hide them in a deep-freezer last year. Uttarakhand police had filed a chargesheet in the case making Gulati as the only accused in the case. In the 350-page chargesheet, the motive behind the murder of 33-year-old Anupama has been described as the fallout of strained relations between the couple and alleged second marriage of Rajesh with Jhuma Dutta of Kolkata. The chargesheet contains the names of 77 witnesses besides police case diary and findings of investigations corroborated with evidences. The murder of Anupama was unearthed on December 12 last year when her brother Pradhan lodged a report with the police after not getting a satisfactory reply from Gulati about his sister’s whereabouts. When police arrested Gulati from his rented house at Prakash Vihar locality here, he confessed to have strangled Anupama, cut her body into pieces and hid them in a deep-freezer for nearly two months. Later, police also recovered some of her body parts from the foothills of Mussoorie.






Attempt to murder: Marne, 6 aides acquitted–Marne–6-aides-acquitted/887198/

Express news service

Posted: Tue Dec 13 2011, 02:56 hrsPune:

Additional Sessions judge V K Shewale acquitted gangster Gajanan Marne and his six accomplices in an attempt-to-murder case owing to lack of sufficient evidence and discrepancies in investigation. Gajanan alias Gajya Pandharinath Marne (46), Srikant alias Babya Sambhaji Pawar (23), Ganesh Namdeo Hundare (27), Bapu Srimant Bagal (24), Pradeep Dattatraya Kandhare (26), Sagar Kalyan Rajput (24) and Shashank Maruti Bodke (23), all residents of Kothrud were acquitted by the court. The prosecution examined 10 witnesses including the victims but except Shinde and Deshmukh everyone turned hostile.

According to the prosecution, on May 13, 2009, businessman Sameer Madan Patil and his friends were going towards his residence near Vanaz company from Chandani Chowk when Marne and his gang members had allegedly opened fire and attacked him with swords near Bhusari Colony in Kothrud.

Patil, his friends Rajshekhar Birajdar, Ashok Patil and driver Navnath Deokar had escaped with minor injuries.

Patil is engaged in the business of export of fruits and vegetables. Earlier, Patil’s car was allegedly damaged by the accused and since then there was a quarrel between them.

A case was registered by Patil at Kothrud police station under Sections 143 (unlawful assembly),147 (rioting),148 (rioting with deadly weapon), 307 (attempt to murder), 427 (causing damage to Rs 50) of IPC, the Indian Arms Act and the Bombay Police Act.

Defence lawyers N D Patil and Vijay Thombre also brought to the court’s notice that police failed to obtain sanction of the Commissioner of Police or deputy commissioner of police before filling the charge sheet under Arms Act.






Ruling on death sentence in 2003 blasts case deferred

The Bombay High Court on Monday postponed the confirmation of death sentence to three accused in the 2003 Mumbai blasts case. One of the accused is a woman.

The verdict will be pronounced either next week or in the first week of January, after the vacation, Justice A.M. Khanwilkar said in his chamber on Monday.

“The court cited technical reasons for the postponement of the verdict. Since Justice Kode has been transferred to Nagpur, the Division Bench is finding it difficult to sit together to complete the judgment. The judge told us that the verdict will be out next week or in the first week of January,” Sushan Kunjuraman, counsel for Ashrat Ansari, told The Hindu.

On August 25, 2003, blasts at the Gateway of India and Zaveri bazaar killed 54 persons and injured 244. The Mumbai Police arrested the trio — Ashrat Ansari (32), his aide Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and wife Fehmida Sayed (43) — along with others. They were charged under various sections of POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act) and the IPC (Indian Penal Code).

The special POTA court awarded death sentence to the trio in 2009. They were sentenced under three Sections: 120B of the IPC for hatching a criminal conspiracy to cause bomb blasts, 120B read with Section 302 (punishment for murder) of the IPC, and 120B read with 3 (2) (a) of the POTA, stipulating the punishment for a terror act.

The prosecution then moved the Bombay High Court for confirmation of the death sentences, while the accused filed an appeal against the special POTA court’s verdict.

According to the prosecution the conspiracy was hatched in Dubai and certain Pakistani nationals had supported the attack. It said the attack was carried out to avenge the death of members of the minority community post-Godhra.

The defence argued that there were no direct eye-witnesses to the planting of the bombs. “I argued that all the eye-witnesses were fabricated. Ashrat is accused of planting the Zaveri bazaar bomb but the driver of the taxi in which the bomb was planted, died. So there are no direct eye-witnesses. I pleaded that he should either be given the benefit of doubt or should be released due to lack of evidence,” Mr. Kunjuraman said.

The Division Bench had last month reserved the judgment after the final arguments of the defence and the prosecution. It had said it would declare the verdict on December 12.




Drunk driver arrested in hit-and-run case in Pune

Published: Monday, Dec 12, 2011, 13:43 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Camp residents witnessed high drama on the streets when a speeding Zen car carrying a drunken driver and three youngsters, including two female collegians, hit four people on Saturday at around 11.30 pm. Four people were injured due the rash driving.

Angered by the incident, a group of people and the police beat marshal chased the car for nearly 3 km before forcing it to stop near Narpatgir Chowk. The youths were thrashed by the irate public before being handed over to the police.

A case was lodged by one of the victims, Deepak Laxmanrao Chavan (29), a resident of New Mangalwar Peth, against Mohseen Mujahid (23), a resident of Mominpura in Ghorpadi Peth. Mujahid has been charged under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.

At the Samarth police station, Mujahid, who was in a drunken state, allegedly misbehaved with the woman police naik and molested and manhandled her. Two separate cases of hit-and-run and of manhandling and molesting a woman police naik were registered by the police at the Cantonment police station.

Senior inspector Sushma Chavan of Cantonment police station told DNA that Mujahid is a driver by profession.
As per the statement given by his friend, collegian Prachi Seth (21), she and Mujahid, gym instructor Tausif Mujavat (24) and collegian Kim Valentina (23) met at Wonderland on MG Road for a party as it was a Saturday. Mujahid purchased liquor and they went to an isolated area near Ghorpadigaon.

Mujahid and Tausif imbibed liquor, while the two girls had snacks. At 9 pm, they decided to have dinner and Mujahid started driving the car under the influence of liquor. The car entered the lane at Naaz Chowk, violating the ‘no entry’, but hit an Activa scooter and sped away.

Later, the car hit a motorcycle at Mahavir Chowk and damaged the complainant’s bike. According to Chavan, the patrolling beat marshal chased the car for 3 km from Mahavir Chowk. The car again hit a motorcyclist, Prakash Jain, at Sassoon Quarters, and finally hit a two-wheeler rider, Sandip Barve, at Narpatgir Chowk.

An angry mob assaulted them and later handed them over to the police at 11.30 pm. The victims were rushed to a nearby private hospital and discharged on Sunday morning. The occupants of the car were taken to Samarth police station. Woman police naik Vidya Nikalje (43) requested Mujahid to dress properly, but he abused her, manhandled her and indulged in obscene behaviour.

He was arrested and the remaining three friends were allowed to go home. On Sunday, Mujahid was produced before the court of judicial magistrate (first class) and remanded in judicial custody.

The police said that soon after his release on bail, the suspect would be rearrested by Samarth police in the case of manhandling and molesting the police naik.






M Katju for filtering offensive material on social network sites

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal today got support from the Press Council whose chief Justice Markandey Katju said that he favoured filtering of “offensive material” on social networking sites as it could promote religious hatred.

“The pictures and other contents show religious figures of certain communities in a highly offensive and even pornographic manner. Such material is bound to create religious hatred and lead to most undesirable consequences,” Katju said in a statement.

Katju’s comments come in the wake of the controversy triggered by Sibal’s comments about objectionable material on the Internet.

The Press Council chief said that following the controversy he had carefully examined the contents, pictorial and the rest on the Internet and had come across highly offensive material.

“The pictures I have seen not only hurt the religious sentiments of members of certain religious communities, but are also outrageous, inflammatory and egregious, and are bound to disturb peace and result in serious law and order problems,” he said.

Katju said that as per section 153A of the IPC, it is a criminal offence to promote, or attempt to promote disharmony, feelings of enmity or hatred or ill-will between different religious communities or groups, or do an act which is prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony between different religious groups or communities, and which is likely to disturb the public tranquillity.

“I have carefully perused the material in question and am of the opinion that there can be no manner of doubt that they attract Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code,” the former Supreme Court judge said.

“Hence I am of the view that such offensive material should be removed or filtered out from the social network sites on the Internet immediately,” Katju said.

“Article 19(1)(a) of the Constitution which provides for freedom of the media, is subject to Article 19 (2) which states that restrictions can be placed on this freedom in the interest of public order, decency and morality,” Katju said.

He said that freedom must always be enjoyed within reasonable restrictions.

“I strongly support freedom of the media, no freedom is absolute, and all freedoms are subject to reasonable restrictions in the public interest,” he said.

Observing that India is a country of great diversity, Katju said the only way our country can be held together is by giving equal respect to all communities.

“The media and all persons should take care that the religious and other sentiments of any community should not be hurt,” Katju said.






Govt moves to stem corruption in judiciary

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times

The Cabinet on Tuesday will consider four key changes proposed by a parliamentary panel in the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, which for the first time allows citizens to complain against corrupt judges, and also seeks to streamline the procedure for removal of judges. The

Cabinet is set to discuss amendments in the judicial accountability bill, along with changes in the whistleblower’s bill. It will also consider the draft grievance redressal bill (known as the citizens charter).

The government hopes to address the issue of corruption in the judiciary with the bill.

A controversial recommendation of the parliamentary panel that judges should be debarred from making “unwarranted oral comments” in open courts against other constitutional authorities while hearing cases has been accepted by the government.

The law ministry, in its Cabinet note seeking the nod for changes in the bill, has supported the parliamentary standing committee’s view.”

According to the bill, in such cases, the judge would be rendering himself liable for “judicial misconduct.”

The government has also proposed to make it mandatory for judges to stay away from maintaining “close relations or close social interaction” with lawyers of the same court.

Another recommendation of the panel to incorporate a necessary provision to have in- camera (secret) proceedings of the committee that will scrutinise complaints against judges, has also been accepted by the government.

The House panel report had stated such an arrangement was necessary to ensure that the judge in question does not face “unwarranted defamation” in the initial stage of investigation.

The legal arm of the government is also in agreement with the panel to reduce the punishment and imposition of a fine against those individuals, whose complaints against judges would be found to be frivolous.

The latest proposal includes three months of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of up to Rs1 lakh. The government had earlier proposed to send those filing wrong complaints against judges to jail for five years.








PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 12,2011

According to the revised bill, in case any judge who According to the revised bill, in case any judge who makes oral comments against other constitutional authorities and individuals, would render himself/herself liable for “judicial misconduct.” The government has also proposed to make it mandatory for judges to stay away from maintaining “close relations or close social interaction” with lawyers who practice in the same court. Another key recommendation of the panel to incorporate a necessary provision to have in-camera proceedings of the committee which will scrutinise complaints against judges has also been accepted by the government, sources said. The Bill seeks to lay down judicial standards and provide for accountability of Judges and establish credible and expedient mechanism for investigating into individual complaints for misbehaviour or incapacity of a Judge of the Supreme Court or of a High Court and to regulate the procedure for such investigation. The same panel had recommended that the Ministry of Personnel consider bringing the members of the Council of Ministers, the judiciary, including the higher judiciary, regulatory authorities and even the corporates within the ambit of the Whistle-blowers protection bill by making necessary amendments.





HC lets debarred student take exam

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 03.40AM IST

MUMBAI: Observing that a direction issued by the University of Mumbai is “harsh” and “arbitrary”, the Bombay High Courton Monday allowed a final year engineering student to appear for the remaining papers of the seventh semester examinations.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice Amjad Sayed was hearing a petition filed by Bontika Patel, who lost four academic years due to “health and other reasons”. She was debarred from the examination on account of a 2002 university circular, which requires undergraduate engineering students to complete the Bachelor of Engineering (BE) course within eight years of taking admission.

Patel, a student of Andheri’s Sardar Patel Institute of Technology, took admission in the Bachelor of Engineering course in the Information Technology stream in the 2003-2004. She passed her second year examinations in 2005-06. According to her petition, she could not pursue the course due to “health and other issues”. She appeared for her third year examinations last year. The student claimed that for her final year examinations, she received her hall ticket and even appeared for the viva and a practical examination. However, on November 28, 2011 her principal informed her that she has been debarred from appearing for her semester examinations, which commenced from December 2, 2011, citing the university’s 2002 circular.

Patel’s advocate Mukesh Vashi argued that the university’s 2002 ordinance was brought into effect in 2004 and hence it is not applicable to Patel, who was admitted in 2003.

“This is unreasonable and arbitrary. For someone who cannot appear for reasons beyond his/her control, this is harsh,” said Justice Deshmukh. The judges also wondered whether the circular implied that a person must go back to square one and restart the course.

The university’s advocate Rui Rodrigues submitted that the condition in the varsity’s 2002 ordinance has already been upheld a division bench of this court in another matter, terming it as reasonable and a sound policy decision.

Vashi informed the court that one paper of the examinations was over and three are remaining. The judges issued an ad interim order allowing Patel to appear for the remaining papers. They posted the matter for hearing on December 14, 2011.








HC pulls up magistrate in FIR filed against Raje, son

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 06.58AM IST

JAIPUR: Three days after Ashok Nagar police station in the city registered an FIR against former chief minister Vasundhara Raje and her son Dushyant Singh, the Rajasthan High Court on Monday took a suo motu congnizance of the fact that the FIR has virtually named three high court judges as co-conspirators in the alleged conspiracy favouring Raje and her son for getting allotment of a precious land at Dholpur.

The FIR was registered pursuant to the orders issued by metropolitian magistrate No. 11 Ravi Bala Singh Choudhary on a complaint filed by a lawyer Srijina Shreshta and a journalist Babulal from Sikar. It was alleged in the complaint that the government did not oppose tenancy rights granted on a pasture land by a revenue court owing to the influence of Raje as the then principal secretary, law took a decision of no appeal and conspired with Raje and her son to help them amass huge property at Dholpur.

Justice M C Sharma also took suo motu cognizance of a news item published by a local daily that the then principal secretaries, who were not named in the complaint, include Justice Guman Singh (Retd), Justice Mahesh Bhagwati and Justice Sajjan Singh Kothari. Justice Sharma directed magistrate Ravi Bala to appear in the court at 2 pm, but since she was on leave, the link court officer appeared with the records before the court.

Not satisfied with the mechanical manner in which complaints are being sent for investigation under Section 156(3) of CrPC by the magistrate courts to police, Justice Sharma observed: “The magistrates in the state have made the provision of Section 156(3) a laughing stock. You people do not know law. There is no shame in making a query from lawyers or senior judges instead of making a cryptic order if you have a hitch. This case is a good example of it where a magistrate has directed an FIR to be registered against two sitting high court judges and one retired judge who served as principal secretary, law. Magistrates do not apply mind at all before sending complaints for investigation, they are supposed to be more vigilant.”

“Since a prior permission of Chief Justice is required for investigation against high court judges, this court deems it appropriate to stay any police investigation by CID (CB) or by local police against three high court court judges namely Justice Mahesh Bhagwati, Justice Sajjan Singh Kothari and Justice Guman Singh (retd),” the court said.

Justice Sharma also issued a showcause notice to chief secretary, principal secretary, department of home affairs, and DGP to asking as to why the police fails to register FIRs, forcing unnecessary litigation as also on the issue as to how the unwarranted complaints under Section 156(3) of CrPC can be checked.

The court also directed registrar, vigilance to make an inquiry into the functioning of the magistrate Ravi Bala and other magistrates exercising power to sent complaints to police within a period of one week and file a detailed report.







HC rejects plea against Benaulim bridge

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 05.10AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently dismissed an application seeking to restrain the state government from proceeding with the construction of the proposed bridge linking Benaulim and Sinquetim.

The application was filed by George Barreto, who alleged that the construction of the bridge over River Sal was illegal. He sought an interim order from the court for stopping the construction, pending the hearing and final disposal of the petition filed by him. The applicant pointed out that the consent given by the Goa Coastal Zone Management Authority (GCZMA) was not as per the procedure prescribed under the CRZ notification, 2011.

While rejecting the application, a division bench comprising Justice A P Lavande and Justice U V Bakre observed thus: “We are of the opinion that the petitioners have failed to make out a case for the interim relief that is claimed. The project is a construction of a bridge needed in public interest and the same has already been delayed, thereby resulting in cost escalation. Further delay will cause further escalation.”

The court also noted that since the GCZMA has granted Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance, it cannot be said that the procedure prescribed under paragraph 4.2 of the CRZ Notification, 2011, is not followed.

The court also held that ‘admittedly, the petitioner filed the application, on October 19, 2011, by making averments from his own knowledge about the absence of permissions/approvals from concerned authorities and without incorporating the subsequent events in the writ petition’.

“The petitioners did not bother to approach the concerned authorities and to inquire from them as to whether the required permissions are obtained,” the court stated.

During the hearing of the application, advocate general Subodh Kantak argued that the petition, though filed as a public interest litigation, is obstructing a project which is in public interest. The petitioner has made the statement without approaching the authorities to find out whether the permissions are obtained or not. Referring to the affidavit of an executive engineer, the advocate general said that permissions, as required by law, have been obtained.





HC imposes fine on man who hid facts

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 06.45AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has imposed a cost of .25,000 on a person who constructed two buildings in place of a temple without permission , and later moved the court against a stop-work notice, suppressing vital details.

A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice D Hariparanthaman , passing orders on a contempt of court petition against the then Chennai Corporation commissioner, CMDA member secretary, Villivakkam inspector of police, and Kesavan.

“Kesavan could not be permitted to put up construction under the guise of renovation of temple, on the road side margin , causing hindrance to the public as well as to K Dasarathan for access to his house property ,” the bench said. Kesavan has been asked to pay the cost of the case .25,000 to Dasarathan within four weeks.

The matter relates to illegal constructions made by Kesavan under the guise of renovating Thandava Vinayaga Temple , Villivakkam. Noting that the buildings blocked access to his house, Dasarathan wanted the court to stop further constructions and raze the illegal structures.

The court had directed the corporation commissioner to inspect the building. The first report submitted stated that it did not cause any hindrance. Later, the commissioner filed a report conceding that the structures were built on the road margins and impeded traffic.

Meanwhile, Kesavan had moved the court against the stop-work notice and demolition notice issued to him. He, however, did not mention the details related to buildings without planning permit and the connected court rulings.

HC: Lokayukta can’t exceed its powers

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 01.40AM IST

MUMBAI: Lokayukta cannot exceed its powers, the Bombay High Court said on Monday while admitting a petition challenging the former’s order restraining the Dadar Parsee Gymkhana from renting its ground for marriages and social functions.

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a petition filed by the gymkhana challenging the Lokayukta’s May 2 order restraining it from using the ground for any purpose other than sports. The order was passed after a resident of the area, Jyotibhaskar Salgaonkar, lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta saying “these functions cause nuisance to people residing in the area”.

In its petition, the gymkhana said that its trustees have over the years the taken permission from the BMC to give the ground on rent for marriages, festivals and social functions. It learnt of the Lokayukta’s order after being served a notice by the BMC. Thereafter, the high court stayed the order.

Additional government pleader A S Saluja said the Lokayukta had issued a “recommendatory report” due to “inaction of public servants”. He added that the municipal commissioner is a public servant and came under the ambit of the state government.

The judges questioned how the BMC could execute Lokayukta’s order. “How can you decide? Every authority must function within its powers under the statutes,” Justice Majmudar said.

BMC advocate Priti Purandare replied that the civic body issued the notice to the gymkhana after being directed by the Lokayukta. She said the land has been leased to the gymkhana for 99 years and the lease is valid till 2030. She also told the court that the BMC had allowed gymkhana to give its ground on rent for social events till September 2011. Gymkhana’s counsel E P Bharucha contended that the Lokayukta cannot look into grievances against municipal officers. The judges observed that the Lokayukta could not pass such directions.

Saluja said the Lokayukta was looking into a complaint of noise pollution. But judges said pollution is not a subject matter of the Lokayukta and but for the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board and the BMC.

“Prima facie, we feel the Lokayukta has no jurisdiction. It cannot exceed its powers under the (Lokayukta) Act,” said the judges while admitting the petition. They have posted the matter for final hearing in April 2012. They also directed the BMC to process the gymkhana’s application and consider the noise pollution aspect before allowing it.








HC upholds Pokker’s suspension

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 04.14AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Monday upheld the suspension of P K Pokker from Calicut University and dismissed the petition filed by the professor challenging the suspension.

Declining to accept Pokker’s contention that thevice-chancellor did not have the power to suspend him after a court gave a clean chit to him on allegations of corruption, Justice T R Ramachandran Nair ruled that the vice-chancellor had jurisdiction for suspension.

The court also pointed out that the suspension was following ratification by the syndicate of the university. Pokker had contended that the syndicate was a nominated body and, therefore, did not have the credence to approve the suspension.

The allegation against Pokker was related to an international book festival held in Kozhikode in 2007. A case was registered against Pokker and others after it was found that there were discrepancies in the expenditure account related to the book festival.

According to the prosecution, misappropriation of Rs 41,860 was found in the expenses related to the transportation, food and accommodation of delegates. When the case came up for trial before a vigilance judge in Thiruvananthapuram, the court discharged Pokker from all charges, except for clearing bills without inspection.

However, Pokker, who had returned to the service of Calicut University as a professor in the department of philosophy in June this year after serving as the director of Kerala State Institute of Languages, was suspended from service based on a communication from the state government.

In the petition, Pokker had said that he was suspended even though the judgment of the vigilance court discharging him of allegations was available to the vice-chancellor.






HC contempt notice to district magistrate

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 12.33AM IST

NOIDA: The Allahabad High Court has issued a contempt of court notice to the district magistrate of Gautam Buddh Nagar and others for failing to comply with a court order given on November 17, 2011, which asked for the status quo to be maintained in relation to work on a plot of land in Sultanpur village in Noida.

The petitioner, a resident of Asgarpur village, had approached the Allahabad HC to seek relief in a case where a plot of land bearing khasra number 624 in Sultanpur village had been allotted for afarmhouse despite being in the category of abadi land. HC had, on November 17, ordered the status quo to be maintained. But constructionactivity did not cease, which forced the petitioner to move court again. The court, in its order dated December 8 had directed the district magistrate and others to submit a reply as to why status quo was not maintained.





No Odisha name change for HC, several PSUs

Ashok Pradhan, TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 05.35AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: Orissa became Odisha from November 1. But that is not going to change the spelling of Orissa used in the name of scores of statutory bodies and institutions such as Central University of Orissa, the Orissa High Court or the Orissa Road in London, automatically.

“Central University of Orissa (CUO) was formed by an act of Parliament. Only the Parliament can change its name,” said Dr Surabhi Banerjee, vice-chancellor of CUO. Similarly, Odisha Assembly only can change the name of Orissa University of Agriculture and Technology (OUAT) formed under the OUAT Act, 1961.

The High Court of Orissa is unlikely to change its name. “There is no change in the name. It can be done only by alteration in the appropriate legislation,” said Jayant Das, president of Orissa HC Bar Association. The HC came into existence July 26, 1948 under the Orissa High Court (Amendment) Order, 1948.

Courts generally don’t change names. Madras High Court, Bombay High Court and Calcutta High Court, established under British royal charter, continue to hold their original names though the city names changed to Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata, respectively. These three HCs were formed by letters patent dated June 26, 1862, issued by Queen Victoria under the authority of the British parliament’s Indian High Courts Act 1861.

There are over dozen public sector undertakings with Orissa as suffix or prefix. These PSUs were registered either under the Cooperative Society Act 1962, The Companies Act 1956 or were formed by an Act of the state Assembly. For example Omfed is registered under the Cooperative Society Act 1962 while IDCO was formed under The Orissa Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation Act, 1980 by the Assembly. The changes of spelling have to be taken at the appropriate level, accordingly. “We will shortly apply for the change to the registrar of cooperative societies,” said Satyabrata Sahu, managing director of Omfed.

Other such PSUs include Industrial Development Corporation of Orissa Limited (IDCOL), Orissa State Financial Corporation (OSFC), Orissa Tourism Development Corporation Limited (OTDC), Orissa Mining Corporation Limited (OMC), Industrial Promotion & Investment Corporation of Orissa Limited(IPICOL), Orissa Small Industries Corporation Limited (OSIC), Orissa Rural Housing & Development Corporation Limited (ORHDC), Orissa State Beverage Corporation (OSBC), Industrial Infrastructure Development Corporation of Orissa Limited (IDCO), Orissa State Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC), Orissa Computer Application Centre(OCAC), Orissa State Electronics Development Corporation (OSEDC) and Orissa State Co-operative Milk Producers Federation (OMFED).










Lavasa wants HC, not green tribunal, to decide its petition

Lavasa Corporation Ltd wants the Bombay high court, and not the National Green Tribunal, to hear and decide its petition challenging the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) action against it over its hill city project in Pune district. Last month, the high court had asked

petitioners and respondents in the Lavasa case to consider whether the appropriate forum to decide the case should actually be the tribunal, set up under the National Green Tribunal Act of 2010.

On Monday, Shekhar Naphade, counsel for Lavasa, said he was worried the tribunal may not have the jurisdiction to decide the challenge to the constitutional validity of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification, and certain provisions of the Environment Protection Act.

Additional solicitor general Darius Khambata, representing MoEF, said all issues raised in the petition filed by Lavasa as well as most of the public interest litigation pertaining to the hill city project was under the jurisdiction of the tribunal.

During the course of the hearing on the petition and the bunch of PILs earlier, the division bench of justice Sharad Bobde and justice VK Tahilramani said the tribunal was the appropriate forum for deciding issues pertaining to environmental clearance.

The court has posted the matter for hearing on January 30 when the final decision on whether to transfer the petition and the PILs to the Green Tribunal is likely to be taken.

Lavasa Corporation has filed a petition challenging proceedings initiated by MoEF for going ahead with its hill city project without obtaining mandatory environmental clearance.

The MoEF had, on November 9, granted environmental clearance for the first phase of the hill city project covering 700 hectares of land on which the construction of 257 buildings had already started.






HC rejects plea against UD tax, govt set free to recover tax

PTI | 11:12 PM,Dec 12,2011

Jaipur, Dec 12 (PTI) The Rajasthan High Court today rejected petitions challenging the constitutional validity of the Urban Development (UD) tax imposed by the government in year 2007. A division bench upheld the scrapping of house tax and substitution of the same with UD Tax. All the local municipal bodies had recently served dwelling units with an exorbitant demand raised as per the new provision of UD tax that replaced the old house tax which was a nominal one. A bunch of petitions had challenged that the formula adopted by the local bodies in computing the UD tax based on DLC rates is exorbitant and the housing units will now have to pay 10 to 15 times more tax. “We have pleaded that the methodology adopted by the government bodies in computing tax is not proper as also ultra vires for no such methodology has been provided in the municipality law. It was also contended before the court that the calulation of tax is much higher as compared to the old house tax. However, other issues on the merit have been left open, said Kamlakar Sharma, advocate appearing for the petitioners. The division bench upheld the contention of the state government that the maximum limit of UD tax payable comes around 0. 05% of the total area of the house and which cannot be said to be exorbitantly high. The High Court held that the methodolgy adopted by the state bodies is not arbitrary nor beyond their competency to have a reasonable formula for computation of the tax. The court has thus approved the formula adopted based on DLC for computation of the UD tax. PTI CORR








HC asks PMC to remove ‘khatals’

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 02.46AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Monday directed Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) to draw a plan for removal of ‘khatals’, or cowsheds, from the main thoroughfares of the state capital.

A division bench of Justice T Meena Kumari andJustice Vikas Jain passed the order while hearing a PIL filed by Varun Kumar Sharma. Petitioner’s lawyer Sunil Singh said the court also directed thePMC to form a separate wing to oversee the work. The court also sought an action taken report.

The civic body was also directed to create public awareness about the problem as the ‘khatals’ in residential areas cause inconvenience to the people.







Madras HC dismisses Roche case against Intas

The patent-infringement suit filed by Swiss drugmaker Hoffman La Roche against local drug company Intas, regarding the former’s lung-cancer drug erlotinib, has been dismissed by the Madras High Court.

The suit filed by Roche has been dismissed by the Madras HC due to the lack of jurisdiction, Mr A. Mohan, advocate at the Madras HC, confirmed to Business Line. Mr Mohan, from intellectual property firm Mohan Associates, handled the case for Intas.

Roche had filed a case against Intas to stop the sale of erlotinib, on the basis of a single sale from a retail chemist in Chennai, he said. Intas’ application said that the Court should not have granted permission for Roche’s case to be registered in the first place, he explained.

Erlotinib is the generic version of Roche’s Tarceva, but Roche officials were not reachable for comment on the development.

The Madras HC allowed Intas’ application, and dismissed the case on the lack of jurisdiction, he said.

The single sale was from a retailer not authorised by Intas, the company said, and did not tantamount to a commercial sale.

Further, Intas said in a separate suit that Roche was already fighting a patent-infringement suit against another local drug maker Natco, on the same drug, at the Delhi High Court. As a result, Intas cannot be sued for marketing the same drug, he added. With the main case at Madras HC being dismissed on lack of jurisdiction, the other applications were seen as being fructuous, he said.

Erlotinib has been at the heart of other high-profile patent-infringement litigation that Roche had filed against local drugmakers in the past, including Cipla. Though they are patent-related cases, price has also added a dimension, as locally made erlotinib costs a fraction of Tarceva, sold at about Rs 1 lakh a month.







Mullaperiyar: Madras HC lawyers abstain from work

City advocates on Monday abstained from courts, including Madras High Court, sessions courts and tribunals, over the contentious Mullaperiyar dam issue.

The advocates, led by Madras High Court Advocates Association president G. Mohanakrishnan, staged a demonstration in front of the High Court and also took out a rally in the court premises.

They also burnt an effigy of Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and raised slogans against the Centre and Kerala governments.

The advocates sought an amicable solution to the issue.

Tamil Nadu and Kerala are locked in a row over the dam, with the latter wanting to dismantle the 116-year-old structure on safety grounds and construct a new one.

Tamil Nadu is opposed to it, saying the dam is safe.





List steps to control traffic: HC to highway authority

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 03.21AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court has asked deputy commissioner of police, Panchkula and the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to provide details of steps proposed by them to control traffic hazards on the Parwanoo-Zirakpur stretch of the highway. Similar information has also been sought from municipal committees (MCs) of Pinjore and Kalka by the court to check traffic menace on the highway crossing these cities.

Issuing directions Justice Rajive Bhalla of the HC observed that respondents are directed to file a reply with respect to serious congestion of traffic on NH-22, particularly the stretch between Zirakpur and Parwanoo, giving all material particulars, including proposals with respect to the management of traffic, the cuts allowed in medians and all other relevant particulars that may be necessary to ensure a free flow of traffic.

The directions were passed by Justice Bhalla after taking cognizance of letter written to the high court by a former judge, Justice P K Palli, highlighting the traffic disruption on this stretch. Importantly, Justice Rajive Bhalla is already hearing the issue pertaining to traffic regulations on highways and has already issued various directions for traffic management in Chandigarh and adjoining highways. Earlier, it has issued specific directions to take actions against those violating lane driving norms and zebra crossing.

It was only after HC guidelines that special signboards creating awareness about traffic rules were placed in city. It had also directed the NHAI for creating pedestrian’s path along the Panchkula-Pinjore stretch of the highway.






Give way for residents, HC tells Cusat

TNN | Dec 13, 2011, 03.29AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday directed Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat) to construct a road through the campus of the university to allow the residents in the area to pass through.

Ending a year-long dispute based on the right of way of the residents that worsened the relationship between the university, which is governed by the pro-LDF syndicate, and Congress-led Kalamassery municipality, a division bench of Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice K Vinod Kumar ruled that Cusatcould continue with the move to construct outer walls for the campus, leaving a road for the residents to pass through.

Cusat should leave a road leading from Aluva-Pipeline Road to Thrikkakkara-HMT Road near the men’s hostel and the water authority building, the court ruled. The road should have a width of three metres from the water authority building and extend to a width of nine metres when it reached the men’s hostel area, the court held.

When the case had come up in the high court a few months ago, the municipality had contended that the pedestrian ways crisscrossing the campus of Cusat were in existence even before the campus came into being and were used by the residents.

Four girl students of Cusat had approached the court seeking measures to ensure their protection as the campus lacked proper compound walls. Responding to the petitions, the municipality had said that the pedestrian ways were being used by those residing near the campus and those were the people who had lost their land when the government acquired land to set up the Cusat campus, and were therefore, authorized users.

When the dispute grew bitter, the municipality had served a stop memo on the construction of buildings on the campus. The municipality had informed the court that 62 of the 92 building complexes inside the campus were built without obtaining any building permits.

Facilities such as post office, bank and dispensary within the Cusat campus were being availed of by the residents and building a compound wall would restrict access to those facilities. As the area was isolated, those facilities were being heavily depended upon by the residents, the municipality had contended.







Kumaraswamy moves HC seeking quashing of private complaint

PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 12,2011

Bangalore, Dec 12 (PTI) Former Karnataka chief minister and JDS state unit president H D Kumaraswamy today filed a criminal petition before the Karnataka High Court, praying for quashing the private complaint against him accusing him of facilitating illegal mining during his tenure. In his petition, moved four days after Lokayukta police registered an FIR against him, two former chief ministers and 11 officials, Kumaraswamy also prayed for quashing the December 2 Lokayukta probe order under section 156 (3) of CrPC and the investigation being conducted into the matter. He contended that the complaint filed by social activist T J Abraham was “not maintainable” as an earlier one filed by an advocate on the matter of renewing mining lease of Jentakal Mining Company was dismissed by the high court on October 21. “And therefore since it is the second complaint on the same matter, it amounts to double jeopardy”, he submitted. Referring to the mining lease granted to another firm Sai Venkateshwara, Kumaraswamy contended that “no offence has been committed under the PC Act” and that the Lokayukta report has not sought criminal prosecution against him with regard to leases granted to two others. He also contended there was no loss to the state exchequer because of these two mining leases as these were not given effect to and no mining operations took place. On Abraham’s charge, one also levelled earlier by mining baron Janardhan Reddy against him that he had collected Rs 150 crore from the mining firms when he was chief minister in July 2006, Kumaraswamy pointed out that Reddy’s petition had been dismissed by the Supreme Court.






HC extends Garlosa, Hojai bail terms
Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 12 – The Gauhati High Court today extended the conditional interim bail period of DHD (J) chairperson Jewel Garlosa and outfit’s self-styled commander-in-chief Niranjan Hojai by two months.

The court, in response to the bail extension plea submitted by advocate Bijon Mahajan last week on behalf of the accused, allowed extension of the bail period keeping in view the developments taking place in the peace process.

The four-month bail period of Garlosa and Hojai – both accused in the National Investigation Agency case number 1/2009 and 2/2009 relating to fund diversion towards militant activities and abetting waging of war against the Government – expired today.

The cases were registered under Sec 120(B)/121/121(A) of the IPC read with Sec 16/17/18/19/20 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act and Sec 25(1) (d) of the Arms Act.

The next date of the hearing has been fixed on February 28.

NIA as well as the Assam Government, it may be mentioned, had earlier submitted before the court that that they had no objection if the duo was granted interim bail.

Garlosa was arrested from Bangalore on June 3, 2009, while Niranjan Hojai was nabbed on the Bihar-Nepal border on July 1, 2010.






HC-Kalamukku stretch repair from next week

Express News Service The New Indian Express

KOCHI:� Maintenance works on the road stretch from the High Court to Kalamukku will initiated by the district administration next week, District Collector P I Sheik Pareeth said. He was speaking at a workshop organized by Better Kochi Response Group (BKRG) on Saturday.

Three projects were launced at the workshop- Zero Waste, Own Vegetables and Road Watching with the support from the Ernakulam District Residents Association Apex Council (EDRAAC) Suchitwa Mission, Kerala Horticulture Mission, Kerala and District Tourism Promotion Council, DTPC.

Pareeth said that an amount to the tune of Rs 2 crore has been earmarked for the projects. “The work will be carried out under public monitoring offered by BKRG. District Administration will extend every support to the initiatives charted for the betterment of the people,” he said.

The first project to come under discussion was the Waste Zero project. In order to process kitchen wastes at the source itself, BKRG recommends either to produce compost or biogas. “Compost can be made in three pot method of Clean City Kochi using bioculture solution. The space needed for it is just 2 sq ft, it can handle up to 1.5 kilos of kitchen waste a day.

The initial cost is just Rs 1,700. For apartments, villas and flats, large sized fibre bins can be used, said S K K Nair, Project Convenor, BKRG. Various other processes were also discussed in the section. Shivdas V Menon, who spoke on the project Own Vegetables, said that with a little additional expense, one can have drip and fertigation systems by which 1000 to 1500 sq ft area can be cultivated without any additional help.

Kurien Mathew, Vice President, BKRG also spoke on the various specifications to be looked into while undertaking the maintenance of roads. Architect S Gopakumar introduced the topics for the discussion, Representatives from various residents associations, Suchitwa Mission, Horticulture Mission, District Transport Promotion Council also participated in the function.






Kajauli water scheme: HC tells Punjab and Haryana to respond to UT’s letter–HC-tells-Punjab-and-Haryana-to-respond-to-UT-s-letter/887097/

Express news service

Posted: Tue Dec 13 2011, 01:20 hrsChandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today directed Punjab and Haryana to file their responses to a letter sent by Chandigarh Administration to Chief Secretaries of both states on the issue of Augmentation of Water Supply Scheme of Kajauli.

On December 8, the Administration shot off a letter to Chief Secretaries of Punjab and Haryana seeking their consent on the issue of widening the diameter of the pipeline to be laid so that instead of 40 million gallons daily (mgd) of water, 80 mgd can be carried through the pipeline. Responses from Punjab and Haryana are awaited.

This was apprised to the High Court by Advocate Sanjay Kaushal, senior standing counsel for UT Administration. Minutes of the meeting held earlier this month were placed on record wherein Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and Chandigarh Administration have approved the widening of the pipeline’s diameter.

The case will now come up for resumed hearing on January 24.

The Municipal Corporation had earlier prepared a proposal for enhancing the water supply to the city through Phases V and VI of Kajauli. Punjab government refused to release water stating that water from these phases would be required in Mohali. Thereafter a proposal for Phase VII and VIII was prepared. Discussion was held with Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) to allow Chandigarh to lay pipelines on the same stretch where Punjab was to lay pipelines.

It was proposed that the diameter of the pipelines could be increased so that these can carry more water. Instead of four, just two pipelines would serve the purpose.





Deputy collectors move Bombay HC to skip election duty

Published: Tuesday, Dec 13, 2011, 8:00 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Deputy collectors have moved the Bombay high court seeking direction to the State Election Commission (SEC) from putting them on election duty during the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

The 36 deputy collectors from various departments said they are being called in for all elections to work as returning officers and thus their work is suffering.

Advocate Mihir Desai, appearing for the officials, said: “They are being asked to work even in Mira Road municipal council elections. Assistant municipal commissioners of the BMC have been conducting the corporation elections for years till 2007, when the state government decided to direct deputy collectors to work as returning officers. This practice can be stopped.”

The SEC counsel said the plea was premature as the notification to appoint them for election duty has not yet been issued. “The civic body staff is employed in election duty so why can’t these officials work during the corporation elections,” the court said.
The court has directed the SEC and the corporation to file their replies and adjourned the hearing till December 19.






Delhi HC upholds move to revoke By Cell’s UASL

Express news service

Posted: Tue Dec 13 2011, 01:20 hrs

The Delhi High Court has upheld the government’s decision to revoke ByCell Telecommunications’ Unified Access Service (UAS) licence owing to security concerns.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had in May 2009 revoked the approval granted to the company, which is a joint venture company of Switzerland-based ByCell Holding AG and Bitcorp Pvt Ltd, to undertake activities of GSM based cellular telephone services in India.

By a separate communication in the same month, the Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), also withdrew the security clearance given to ByCell for offering mobile telecom services in Assam, Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal and Northeast circles.

The operator’s licence was cancelled in the wake of the Home Ministry’s concerns about ByCell’s shareholding structure and its source of funding and the lack of clarity about the company.

Create own brand in corporate governance: Singh to India Inc

New delhi: Minister of State for Corporate Affairs RPN Singh has said that India Inc must work towards establishing its own brand in areas of good corporate governance practices to mark their presence across the globe. In fact, the efforts should be seen as genuine, effective and reliable that may eventually act as a catalyst for enhancing their image, he said while delivering a lecture on the ICSI foundation day.

He said that several factors like legal and regulatory environment, emergence of new forms of corporate entities like Limited Liability Partnership and One Person Company are new forms of corporate entities providing alternative forms of business entities to the entrepreneurs and they will boost the corporatisation of the Indian business and governance.

“As per the India Vision 2020 report of the Planning Commission, the overall process of governance will be greatly improved by making government agencies of all types at all levels more responsive,” he added.


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