LEGAL NEWS 28.12.2011

Error of Commission

The Election Commission ponders the “novel challenge” posed by Anna Hazare and his team, which has vowed to campaign against the Congress in the five states that will hold elections in the near future. According to Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, this raises questions of “propriety and ethics”. The EC, he said, would watch carefully for any breach of the model code of conduct, for any hate speech or law-and-order problem that might come up. While Quraishi agreed that “in a democracy, they had the right to support or oppose anybody”, he also wondered aloud whether this movement was entering into politics, and that it was for Team Anna to make sure it did not end up on the wrong side of the law. While Team Anna was free to campaign against any party, he said that if it ended up campaigning for a particular party or candidate, that cost would be added to the party’s tab.

Team Anna’s right to criticise — or endorse — any candidate has to be fiercely protected. Speculation by the CEC on Team Anna’s politics is entirely avoidable. As Quraishi himself said, everyone has a right to openly agitate against any political party — and this becomes problematic only when they become shadow-warriors for another party.

But it is not the EC’s mandate to speculate about such eventualities — its role is limited to ensuring free and fair elections, and for that, to make sure it stays away from any appearance of political slant or bias. Constitutionally guaranteed full independence, the EC has been the one institution that has done India proud. Despite a few occasional controversies, the commission has been a role model for others around the world — for all the disillusionment expressed about other institutions, India has placed enormous trust in its EC, and the elections they oversee. Many election commissioners have emphatically asserted their independence vis-a-vis the political establishment, some almost taking it too far. Impartiality, and the appearance of impartiality, is central to the job description. While the EC has not taken any steps that suggest it is less that scrupulously neutral, it should also refrain from commenting on the political fray until it interferes with the freedom and fairness of the election.








Reforms commission looking at uniform legislation for banks



Our Bureau


Amendments to allow preferential allotment by private sector still not carried out

Mumbai, Dec. 26:

The Financial Sector Legislative Reforms Commission (FSLRC) is considering a single, harmonised and uniform legislation applicable to all banks and giving the central bank the power to sanction takeover of a co-operative bank by commercial banks, said Mr Anand Sinha, Deputy Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

The fact that different banks are governed by different laws has resulted in an uneven playing field and this need to be addressed. The Commission was set up by the Government earlier this year to recommend radical overhaul of laws governing the financial sector.

For example, while amendments were carried out to enable State Bank of India, SBI subsidiary banks and nationalised banks to issue preference shares, though at different points of time, banks in the private sector cannot issue preference shares as the amendments to the Banking Regulation Act is still to be carried out.

Similarly, while bilateral netting (the amount that is due to or from the insolvent counterparty) in the event of liquidation is admissible for private sector banks (which are governed by the Companies Act and the normal bankruptcy laws), the position in this regard for public sector banks, SBI and its subsidiaries is not clear, explained Mr Sinha in his address at the Financial Planning Congress.

“A single, harmonized and uniform legislation applicable to all banks will provide transparency, comprehensiveness and clarity and provide ease of regulation and supervision to the RBI,” said the Deputy Governor.

He observed that there is also a need to sort out the conflicts and overlaps between the primary laws governing the banking sector and other applicable laws. For example, the Competition Act, 2002 is in conflict with the provisions of the BR Act, SBI Act and other statutes dealing with the amalgamation of banks.

Considering the challenges faced in quick resolution of failed cooperative banks, certain enabling provisions in the BR Act facilitating RBI to sanction a scheme for takeover of banking assets and liabilities of

a cooperative bank by commercial banks would be desirable. Partial merger of certain businesses or assets and liabilities of banks also may need to be examined, said Mr Sinha.

Voluntary mergers and transfers help consolidation in financial sector and pave the way for stronger financial institutions to rescue the weaker ones, he emphasised.

Appropriate amendments may have to be carried out in the BR Act to provide a statutory backing for the banking secrecy laws and the limits on the privacy of customers should be laid down.











State human rights commission has failed to perform: Panel chief

Former Justice Narayan Chandra Sil, acting chairperson of the West Bengal Human Rights Commission, today admitted that the state commission had not been able to accomplish its task of educating people about human rights.

Speaking at a seminar organized by the National Human Rights Commission and Calcutta University, Sil said the commission received lot of complaints daily but many of them were not acceptable.

The complaints were often on subjects such as land, service and relations between husband and wife, which did not come under the purview of human rights. So it was the duty of the human rights commission to make people aware of the concept of human rights and its legal provisions.

The West Bengal Human Rights Commission, set up in 1995, was the first human rights commission at the state level in India. However, the commission had been running with an acting chairperson for more than three years. Besides, there is only one member in the commission. Therefore, the panel had failed to organize seminars at the district level to educate people about human rights, said Sil.

Addressing the seminar, former Justice G P Mathur, member of the National Human Rights Commission, said there was a relation between human rights and development. The poor are deprived from human rights in India, whereas development is confined to the affluent and rich, he said.












Planning Commission junks its 12th Five-Year Plan, Montek Singh Ahluwalia unhappy with draft


NEW DELHI: More than four years in the making, with barely 90 days before it is to be published and released, the Planning Commission is unhappy with the way the document of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan has turned out.

The Plan strategy, it feels, is neither credible nor compelling enough as a masterplan for India’s medium-term future. The think-tank’s Deputy Chairman, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, will meet members in January to decide whether the XIIth Plan should be deferred by a few months so that the Plan strategy can be reworked and the bulky document rewritten.

Ahluwalia and his commission colleagues have read and discussed the current approach paper for the Twelfth Plan, which will come into effect between 2012 and 2017, after receiving critical feedback that it doesn’t match up to the commission’s stated intentions when it began the planning process. “We ourselves didn’t feel convinced after we read the Plan and feel it is unfinished work,” Planning Commission member Arun Maira told ET.

While there have been delays in the commencement of five-year plans in the past, the government had promised a paradigm shift in its approach to the XIIth Plan to make sure that development plans turn into reality rather than remaining statements of good intent.

The Eleventh Plan, which expires on March 31, 2012, had set 27 unwieldy goals around the theme of inclusive growth, but has delivered little. The idea for the XIIth Plan was to break the silos that exist within the government and align the actions of all ministries and agencies towards a dozen common themes.

11th Plan ends on March 31

Most of the feedback that members of Planning Commission got is that the Twelfth Plan reads like any other Plan of the past and silos still exist because there are no magnets to draw different departments towards common goals. “With the country in a state of policy confusion and economic slowdown, if at any time you needed the Planning Commission to perform, this is the time,” said Maira.

“It needs to provide the magnets to drive policy with strategic thinking, not just keep tinkering with schemes and budgetary allocations,” he said. The reason for the disconnect between the Plan’s intent and stated strategy is that while the commission spent time to understand the most critical issues facing India, it reverted to the old planning structure of writing different chapters for each sector.

For instance, many aspects of the Plan approach that deal with skill development, urbanisation, industry or the farm sector allude to creating more and better livelihood for people. But the Plan approach, titled ‘Faster, Sustainable and More Inclusive Growth’, does not project this.

“Livelihood is a more concrete concept unlike inclusive growth, which has become about subsidies and handouts,” Maira pointed out. Similar ‘magnetic’ concepts being explored across the approach, but not stated explicitly, include improving governance structures and building consensus with all stakeholders so that stop-start reforms like allowing FDI in the retail sector don’t become a habit.

The think-tank is hopeful it can fill in these missing pieces and distill the Plan’s message in time. Technically, the Eleventh Plan period is over on March 31. When the commission’s members meet in January, they have to decide whether to have the Plan ready by March 31 just to meet the deadline or take a few more months.






Election Commission asks for transfers of six police officials


Punjab Newsline Network

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

CHANDIGARH: With the Election Commission of India (ECI) team comprising of Dr.S.Y.Quraishi, CEC,  V.S.Sampath, ECI, H.S.Brahma, EC, Alok Shukla, DEC, Parveen Kumar, CEO, P.K..Dash and  Akshay Rout both DGs to begin its visit of Punjab today, the Election Commission (EC) has asked for  transfer of six senior police officers. 


The transfer orders of police officers, including five SSPs, are expected to be implemented soon as Punjab Election Commission gets clearance from the ECI panel. Five SSPs of Patiala, Barnala, Moga, Mansa and Muktsar and SP (HQ) of Patiala were likely to be  transferred or shifted include Gurpreet Gill, Surjit Singh, Snehdeep Sharma, S S Chahal, Inder Mohan Singh and Gurdeep Singh Pannu, said highly placed sources.


These officials are being transferred as some of them  have links and are related to candidates while others have an allegedly questionable integrity and background. The Department of Home has also drawn a list of officers to replace those to be transferred.


##ad_2##Meanwhile, state election commission has also  reportedly sought another report from the Deputy Commissioner of Mansa, Ravinder Singh pertaining to the incident in which Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal had been asking students to urge their parents to vote for Akalis in the upcocoming elections. The DC in his earlier reports had stated that none of the officials present at the spot had heard contents of Harsimrat’s speech.


The function had taken place on December 8. The Election Commission also cancelled recruitment for the post of Assistant Professor (Punjabi) at Punjab Institute of Technology at Mansa on Monday.


Meanwhile among the 117 assembly segments in the state, 30 had been declared as ‘sensitive’ by the election commission.These assembly segments are-Qadian, Batala, Fatehgarh Churian and Dera Baba Nanak in Gurdaspur, Ajnala and Majitha in Amritsar, Tarn Taran, Bholath in Kapurthala, Jalandhar Cantt, SAS Nagar, Dera Bassi, Ludhiana South, Moga, Dharamkot, Zira, Jalalabad, Fazilka, Lambi, Gidderbaha, Muktsar, Faridkot, Kotkapura, Rampura Phul, Talwandi Sabo, Mansa, Bhadaur, Barnala, Rajpura and Patiala. Besides this, 19 ‘expenditure sensitive’ constituencies are Ajnala, Rajasansi, Majitha, Amritsar North, Attari, Roopnagar, Chamkaur Sahib, Fatehgarh Sahib, Ludhiana East, Ludiana South, Baghapurana, Moga, Dharamkot, Lambi, Gidderbaha, Faridkot , Rampura Phul, Bathinda Urban and Patiala.













Mumbai attack: Indian envoy meets Pak minister


Islamabad: India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan Sharat Sabharwal and Interior Minister Rehman Malik have discussed matters relating to Mumbai attack and the visit of a judicial commission to India.

The meeting took place on Monday, reported Associated Press of Pakistan.

India on November 5 welcomed Pakistan’s decision to send the judicial commission.

Pakistan’s High Commissioner Shahid Malik had met Indian Home Minister P Chidambaram and conveyed to him that the Pakistani government would be sending the commission to take forward the process of bringing to justice the perpetrators and conspirators of the Mumbai carnage.

The commission is expected to record the statements of Mumbai Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate RV Sawant Waghule and investigating officer Ramesh Mahale, who had recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Amir Kasab, convicted of the terror attack.

Kasab is the lone surviving terrorist caught alive during the 26/11 attacks and he has already been convicted in the case by an Indian court.

Islamabad has contended that the charges against seven LeT militants, including its ‘operation commander’ Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi, who are currently lodged in a Pakistani jail, were based on Kasab’s statement and hence the magistrate and the investigating officer’s statements were necessary to furnish before the anti-terror court.















Frivolous petitioner told to pay up


CHENNAI: Strongly condemning frivolous petitions, the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission has fined a Perambur-based businessman Rs 25,000 for re-sending a previously withdrawn petition that alleged corruption among the consumer commission members.

The petitioner, VR Krishnakumar, had filed a petition with the State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission in 2006 seeking compensation of Rs 2 crore from American Express bank for causing him loss of business by not extending a Letter of Credit to sanction credit facilities for his current account. This, despite his requests made to the bank for the same, he alleged. Krishnakumar’s case had already been dismissed by the Banking Ombudsman, while efforts to take the issue to the Director General of Foreign Trade, Central Vigilance Commission and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, Chennai, had all proved futile.

In its order in November 2008, the commission dismissed the complaint. Kumar filed another petition, alleging that the members who dismissed his complaint had been collecting bribe for over two years and repeatedly granted adjournments without recording them in the court record docket. When this case was posted before the commission for maintainability because the opposite parties in the petition – the commission members – enjoyed protection from their official duties, Krishnakumar endorsed withdrawal of his complaint. Following this, the said complaint SR No 989/2009 was rejected.

And yet, he then filed the same petition with the state consumer disputes redressal commission in another typeset, alleging corruption on the part of the commission members. When the case was brought up again, Krishnakumar did not appear at all. It was then that the president of the commission M Thanikachalam fined the petitioner Rs 25,000.

In a strongly-worded order, M Thanikachalam has stated that such “mudslinging upon the opposite parties, ….. most frivolous vexatious unwarranted case on earth, should be rejected with cost” and ordered the fine to be paid within 10 days. The president, in his order, also noted that the petitioner did not opt for an appeal when his first petition was dismissed, to question the correctness of the finding of the members. A source in the commission confirmed that the petitioner made the fine payment.













TDSAT directs Viacom to pay Rs 2.68 cr to MSM Discovery


New Delhi: Broadcast tribunal TDSAT has held that Viacom’s move to terminate its pact with MSM Discovery in June last year “was not legal” and asked it to pay damages equivalent to three months of profits to the channel distributor.

Passing the 193-page order, the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal has asked broadcaster Viacom to pay Rs 2.68 crore.

MSM Discovery is a 74:26 JV between Multi Screen Media (Sony group) and Discovery Communications to distribute their channels. Viacom, on the other hand, broadcasts popular channels such as MTV, Colors, Nick and VH1.

On February 11, 2009, the two signed a pact for the distribution of Viacom’s channels by MSM.

However, Viacom alleged later that MSM Discovery had misrepresented and under-reported its subscribers’ base.

It also said that the distributor packaged Colors in an unfair manner, as despite being one of the best-rated Hindi entertainment channels, it was not included in the basic tiers/bouquets/packages of DTH operators like Tata Sky and Dish TV.

When MSM Discovery placed their own channel Sony in more prime packages right on the top, on June 13, 2010, Viacom terminated the distribution agreement.

The matter was taken before TDSAT by both parties.

MSM contended that Viacom terminated the pact without serving the 90-day mandatory notice. It also said that Colors become the most popular channel only after MSM Discovery became its distributor.

There was also dispute on return of IRDs/decoders/viewing cards from MSM Discovery. The tribunal has directed the two to convene a meeting and settle the issue.

The tribunal has also agreed with Viacom’s offer to pay Rs 11 lakhs to MSM Discovery as ‘incentive charge’ which it had to give to its distributors.

“We, therefore, are of the opinion that grant of three months? profit as damages subject of-course, to the adjustment of due amount to Viacom in terms of the agreement would sub-serve the ends of justice; claim of damages under other heads having not been proved.

“For the financial year 2011, the total collection was Rs.71.50 crores. For three months, therefore, the amount would be around Rs 17.87 crores. We may assume that the profit element would amount to 15 per cent of the said amount. The amount of damages payable in favour of MSM Discovery would, thus, be Rs 2.68 crores,” said the tribunal.





Relief for over-aged OCS aspirants


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 04.05AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: In an interim relief to over-aged Orissa Civil Services (OCS) aspirants, the Orissa Administrative Tribunal, Cuttack, has allowed applicants eligible for the years 2007 to 2010 to apply for the vacancies advertised recently.

The tribunal on December 21 sought reply from the government within three weeks, specifically indicating vacancy positions of 2007 to 2010 for which no advertisements were published, to take a decision on whether those vacancies would be filled on the basis of the amended rule of 1993 or rule 2011.

In a petition, one Debasis Rout had contended that the government had advertised for 494 vacancies recently, with eligibility age being considered as on January 2011. Since no advertisements were made between 2007 and 2010, applicants eligible for those years should also be considered eligible, he pleaded.

In the latest advertisement, candidates under 32 years and over 29 years of age as on January 2011 are eligible to apply. The upper age limit is relaxable by five years for candidates belonging to scheduled castes, scheduled tribes, socially and educationally backward classes, women and eligible ex-servicemen.

The last date for receipt of applications is December 31.

In the advertisement in 2006, the government had considered all those eligible between 2000 and 2006 for applying for the posts because no advertisements were issued between 2000 and 2005.

D Routray, the petitioner’s counsel, said the tribunal has issued orders to all respondents and posted the matter for the next hearing in the first week of February.




Team Anna is not soft on communalism: Kejriwal


Staff Reporter

‘All religions, castes are standing with us and against corruption’

Key member of Team Anna, Arvind Kejriwal, has sought to dispel any impression that social activist Anna Hazare’s anti-corruption movement is soft on the issue of communalism.

“Corruption does not discriminate between Hindus and Muslims. It affects all communities, and a corrupt officer is neither Hindu nor Muslim. The UPA can try to project Annaji’s agitation as anti-Dalit or anti-Muslim, but the fact remains that all religions and castes are standing with us and against corruption,” Mr. Kejriwal said.

The statements were made on Sunday, after Mr. Kejriwal had a long discussion with representatives of many Muslim NGOs such as the Mumbai Aman Committee, the Impact India Foundation, the All India Ulema Council and Federation of Muslim NGOs (AIUC).

“Communalism is a bigger danger than corruption. We have said repeatedly that we are totally against communalism,” he said.

Explaining the last-minute change in the venue of the meeting, AIUC chief Maulana Mehboob Daryabadi said: “We were scheduled to meet at the Islam Gymkhana Club but they were being pressurised by some members of the Congress party, so we decided to change the venue and avoid unpleasantness. We had long and frank discussions with Mr. Kejriwal and we are with him and Annaji in the fight against corruption.”

Mr. Kejriwal sought to allay fears that a larger gathering at the fast venue could lead to trouble or violence. “In Delhi, lakhs of people got together on the Ramlila grounds, yet there was no trouble. This is because we asked everyone to be vigilant.”

Meanwhile, Congress spokesperson Kishore Joshi said in a statement that Mr. Hazare’s agitation was directed only at the party, which had been instrumental in introducing the Lokpal Bill, while the Shiv Sena had opposed it and challenged Team Anna to launch an agitation against its chief Bal Thackeray.

PIL seeks CBI probe into Team Anna’s funding

J. Venkatesan reports

from New Delhi:

A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Supreme Court for a CBI probe into the sources of funding for the protests launched by Team Anna. It will be heard on January 16.

In his petition, advocate Manoharlal Sharma said the probe should be conducted against Anna Hazare, Manish Sisodia, Arvind Kejriwal and Kiran Bedi. Besides the Centre and the Central Bureau of Investigation, the Ford Foundation has been cited as a respondent.

Mr. Sharma said that according to the statement released by Team Anna, the expenditure for its recent agitation on the Ramlila Maidan in New Delhi was Rs. 1.5 crore for organising Mr. Hazare’s sit-in camp; Rs. 52 lakh for public meetings; Rs. 26 lakh for printing pamphlets; Rs. 9.8 lakh towards travel and conveyance, and Rs. 45 lakh for sending over 30 crore SMSes.

Since 2005, the Ford Foundation had allegedly been funding/promoting Team Anna in various agitations through the media under the banner, ‘Fight against corruption,’ the petition said.

On November 1, when Congress leader Digvijay Singh questioned the source of funds, Team Anna declared that it had received Rs. 42 lakh from unknown sources, via bank transfer, in August 2011 and said it was planning to return the money. However, Mr. Sharma said, Team Anna did not reveal the funding allegedly received from the Ford Foundation.

The PIL sought a direction to the Centre and the CBI to conduct an impartial judicial inquiry under the court’s supervision to find out the source of Team Anna’s funding, to fix responsibilities in accordance with law and to prohibit foreign-sponsored agitations.






Civic body in Badlapur is building a mall on forest land : PIL–pil/942948.html



PTI | 05:12 PM,Dec 26,2011

Mumbai, Dec 26 (PTI) The Municipal Council in Badlapur town of nearby Thane district is planning to construct a shopping mall on a forest land without permission from the authorities, a public interest litigation (PIL) alleged today before the Bombay High Court. The PIL said the forest land, on which the mall was planned to be built, had trees of 200 valuable species and the Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council was cutting down some trees to accomodate construction of the shopping centre. Justice M L Tahaliyani and Justice Girish Godbole decided to hear the matter on December 28, while allowing Jayshri Jamhale, an environmentalist and petitioner, to serve notices to the civic body, forest office and the contractor. The PIL alleged that the land belonged to the forest department since 1905 when a bungalow was built there. The land is also in the possession of forest department since then and this is reflected in the entries made in land records. However, in 1995, Thane Collector had given possession of the land to the Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council. Eight years later, the forest department sought return of the land. The Civic body called a general body meeting in 2004 and resolved to construct the shopping mall on the impugned plot of land. In 2006, forest department of Maharashtra wrote to the Ministry of Environment and Forest asking a query whether the land was forest. However, the Ministry gave an ambigious reply not clarifying the position, the PIL alleged. The petitioner also tried to lodge FIR with police last year but they refused to register the complaint. Various protests, including fast, were held but the Council did not budge from its position. Meanwhile, the PIL alleged that another bunch of 25-30 trees were cut by the Council to pave way for the mall. PTI SVS DK DK






Give autonomy to CBI, lokpal should not be a behemoth’


The lokpal should not be an “all-encompassing behemoth”, but the bill is another opportunity to make the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) an autonomous body in a real sense, journalist and social activist Vineet Narain has said. “Team Anna is asking for the moon,” Narain told HT.

“There is an urgent need to strengthen the existing mechanism of CVC (Central Vigilance Commission) and the CBI.”

To this end, he suggested three first steps: abolish the single directive — a rule to have prior sanction before probing officials of the rank of joint secretary or above; financial autonomy for the CBI; inclusion of more members in the CVC to make it broad-based.

“I hope the MPs would bring amendments in this regard,” said the journalist, whose PIL in the Jain hawala case in the Supreme Court had provided the first glimmer of hope for an autonomous and efficient CBI.

The 1997 SC judgment in the case provided for statutory powers for the CVC, quashing of the single directive, fixed tenure for the CBI director among other provisions for its autonomous functioning.

But, according to Narain, far from quashing the single directive, the NDA included it in the CVC Act of 2003. The CVC has monitoring power over the CBI, so the inclusion of the single directive in the CVC Act became a major hindrance in the CBI’s functioning. This is one reason why the anti-corruption stance of the BJP cannot be termed serious, Narain said.

“If the government doesn’t want to fully abolish the single directive, it should at least be made time-bound,” he said. If the CBI seeks permission to investigate senior officials, the department concerned should be duty-bound to reply within a stipulated time. “If permission is denied, an explanation should be included,” Narain added.








Rehabilitation of child beggars a challenge


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: With no previous case to compare it with, the city police are grappling with the rehabilitation of more than 210 children they rescued on December 2, 2011 from begging on the streets. With representatives from the police department, Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and eight other non-governmental organisations working together, the focus is primarily to ensure the safest rehabilitation for these children.

“We are learning on the case. We need a new process of investigation because we have not come across such a case especially on this scale,” said Pranab Mohanty, Joint Commissioner of Police, Crime, West Division. He explained that the key questions that need to be answered are why these children were found begging, whether this is part of a bigger racket involving child trafficking and how to go about rehabilitating the rescued children.

The Child Welfare Committee, a quasi-judicial body is preparing reports for every child rescued, by talking to the child and those claiming to be his parents. Meena Jain, Chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, said that this procedure is called a ‘social investigation’ which is part of the procedure specified by the Juvenile Justice Act. Once the CWC generates a report for each child, the police intervenes if there are any irregularities in any case. Meena Jain said that the fundamental challenge for her committee is in matching documents produced by those claiming to be the parents of children. “There are false or no documents in most cases. We are not comfortable with the documents given by the adults who come to claim children as their own. And this is a matter of concern,” said Jain.

She also said that in the case of some children who have been sent to schools, it has been found that some of them have returned to the streets instead of attending school. “We have sent case workers to check if these children are going to schools,” she said. With a recent rescue operation in Yelahanka where some more children and women were rescued, she said it is possible that this entire case is part of a bigger racket.

“What we want people to refrain from giving money to child beggars. They should click their pictures and send them to police. It will help us in our probe,” said Jain.






NIA’s Headley chargesheet leaves Mumbai crime branch red-faced


PTI Dec 26, 2011, 01.52PM IST

NEW DELHI: Mumbai Police’s elite Crime Branch’s probe into the role of Fahim Ansari and Sabbauddin Ahmed in the conspiracy behind 26/11 finds no mention in the exhaustive charge sheet filed by NIA regarding the role of Pakistani-American LeT terrorist David Headley in the Mumbai attack.

The 60-page charge sheet, filed by National Investigation Agency(NIA) on Saturday before a special court in New Delhi, details reconnaissance activities carried out by 50-year-old Headley of the targets attacked by Lashker-e-Taiba(LeT) terrorists on November 26, 2008 that left 166 people dead.


Mumbai Crime Branch had accused Ansari and Sabbauddin of providing details of the targets attacked by the LeT during 60 hour gun battle and had to face embarrassment twice when the trial court and the Bombay High Court acquitted the two saying there was no evidence against the two.

Former Commissioner of Mumbai Police Hasan Gafoor and the then in-charge of the Crime Branch, Rakesh Maria, who is at present head of Anti Terror Squad, had repeatedly claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had carried out reconnaissance of various targets attacked by Lashkar terrorists on November 26, 2008.

In its revision petition, the Crime Branch had again claimed that Ansari and Ahmed had played a role in providing details to to the Pakistan-based terror outfit about the targets attacked by terrorists on November 26.

The NIA has given details about how every target attacked by LeT terrorists was scouted by Headley, who is at present in a Chicago jail.

The investigation agency has gone into the role of Headley and eight others including founder of Lashker Hafiz Saeed, mastermind of 26/11 Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and two serving Pakistani Army officials.

But it has not mentioned a word about Ansari or Ahmed or the claims of Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal D Nikam, who said the 10 LeT terrorists entered the country’s financial capital with the help of hand-written maps drawn by Ansari.

The statement of Headley, who was recruited by Lashker, to the US authorities and NIA before a magistrate, which forms as one of the annexures of the charge sheet, talks about his role in carrying out the survey of the locations attacked by the terrorists on 26/11. This had left Mumbai Police red-faced and punctured their theory of criminal conspiracy involving only Ansari and Ahmed.

The claims by Nikam about terrorist entering into Mumbai with the help of hand written map provided by Ansari was rejected by the trial court, saying better maps were available on Google and that the hand-written map, recovered from one of the killed terrorists, was fresh and had no wrinkles on it.

The division bench of Bombay high court comprising justices Ranjana Desai and R V More while dismissing the plea of state government earlier this year had said “we are of the view that the view taken by learned Sessions Judge so far as involvement of the duo in this case is concerned, cannot be called unreasonable, palpably false, manifestly erroneous and demonstratively unsustainable which merits our interference.”

The high court concurred with the view taken by Sessions Judge that the map recovered from killed terrorist pocket should have some wrinkles on it and blood spots as the LeT terrorist was badly injured in the gun-fight.





State govt sanctions Rs 294 cr for jails’ security upgrade

The state government has sanctioned Rs 294.38 crore to upgrade security at the main prisons in the state and initiated the tendering process to acquire multi-zone door frame metal detectors, handheld metal detectors, walkie talkie sets, mobile detectors and CCTV cameras.

The information is part of an affidavit filed by Rajendra Dhamne, Deputy Inspector-General of Prisons, and submitted to the Bombay High Court.

The affidavit was submitted to the court by Additional Public Prosecutor P S Hingorani during the hearing of appeals filed by Rajesh Chaudhari and Mohammed Irfan Shaikh, who were convicted by a sessions court for committing the murder of Sayyed Ajgar Mehandi inside the Arthur Road Jail, where they were lodged as undertrials, on January 28, 2007.

Observing that adequate steps were not taken by the government, the court had earlier questioned the jail authorities over how the weapons used for committing the murder — a stainless steel knife, an iron knife, a screwdriver and sticks with blades — were acquired by the accused inside the prison. The court had also asked the authorities about the steps they propose to take to prevent the smuggling of weapons into prisons.

Dhamne’s affidavit states, “To ensure that no weapons of assault are smuggled into the jail, effective search is being conducted at the time of admission of prisoners and staff in prison.” The affidavit states that according to the Government Resolution of March 10 issued by the home department, “Rs 2,943.84 lakh was sanctioned to upgrade security measures”. The necessary equipment for enhancement of security measures will be availed by all prisons in the state through an “effective plan” over the next five years.

The affidavit states that after the 2007 incident, disciplinary action was initiated against Lahu Kanaskar, working as Jailor Group II in the prison, and his increment for two years was stopped.

The appeals filed by Chaudhari and Shaikh have been admitted by the court, however, their bail applications have been rejected.







Court grants bail to doctor


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.31AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has granted bail to a gynaecologist arrested for negligence, leading to a woman’s death shortly after giving birth, after the police failed to prove the charges.

Additional sessions judge Ravinder Kaur allowed the bail plea of the woman doctor who worked in a Dwarka clinic, saying the police have not been able to link the death to the doctor’s negligence. “The prosecution has failed to show what act of the accused was negligent in conducting the delivery of deceased Lata and what was the nexus between the negligent act of the accused and the excessive bleeding resulting in her death,” the court said.












1 Lakh compensation for rape victim


Smriti Singh, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: Expressing anguish over the “indifference of the state to the plight of rape victims”, a trial court has directed the Delhi government to pay an interim compensation of Rs 1 lakh to a rape victim and work for her rehabilitation.

In a first of its kind order, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau has asked the Delhi government to also provide the victim with vocational training and assistance “so that in future she is in a position to take care of her financially and is not dependent on anyone”.

“The trial of the case is yet to conclude and the physical condition of the victim is life threatening, requiring urgent medical attention and state intervention. I hereby direct the GNCT of Delhi through principal secretary (Home) to grant an interim compensation to the tune of Rs 1 lakh,” ASJ Lau said, while also asking the state departments to co-ordinate with each other to rehabilitate the victim.

The court’s order came when the victim told the judge that after the incident her family suffered immense social and psychological harassment and trauma and she had no further capacity to pursue the matter in the court or anywhere else.

The victim was raped when she was all of 13 years of age. She had attempted suicide by consuming acid soon after. She survived but suffered extensive damage to her internal system as a result of which an artificial food pipe had to be inserted. Her condition has been deteriorating and no medical assistance was provided by the state in the past four years.

The judge was shocked to know that despite several guidelines laid down by the Supreme Court, no effective scheme for restorative and compensatory justice to rape victims has been put in place by the government.

“It is cases like these which the ministry of women and child development needs to target for restorative justice so that medical and legal assistance, professional psychological counselling, shelter and other support is provided to the victim,” the judge said while directing the state to get the treatment of the victim done from a specialty hospital like AIIMS.

The court also asked the government to examine the possibility of permanent reconstruction of the food pipe of the victim and to submit the details of expenses involved on the next date of hearing.

The victim was raped when she was 13. She had attempted suicide by consuming acid soon after. She survived but suffered extensive damage to her internal system, as a result of which an artificial food pipe had to be inserted










Court Diary: Youth convicted for molesting minor

Additional sessions judge MG Chilbule sentenced 23-year-old youth to 6 years rigorous imprisonment for molesting a minor girl and slapped a fine of Rs 1,000. The incident took place on July 15 in 2007. According to the prosecution, Rahul alias Babu Ashok Shinde of Yerawada, not only outraged the modesty of the girl from the same locality, but also used derogatory language as the victim belonged to a Dalit family. Shinde tried to stop the girl on road while she was going home with her nephew. But when the girl did not stop, Shinde dragged her to a vacant plot and molested her.

Man gets life term for killing wife

Additional sessions judge, S D Tulankar sentenced Vishal Haridas Shinde (28) of Satara to life imprisonment for killing his wife Shubhangi alias Kanchan (24). The victim’s brother Yuvraj Sarjerao Magar had filed a complaint. According to the prosecution, Vishal had married Shubhangi but he had illicit relations with another woman. Shinde raped that other woman under the pretext of marrying her. However, she committed suicide and he was arrested by the police in Satara in 2008. On December 18, he was released on bail. His wife Shubhangi had left their house after finding out about his crime. After repeatedly calling her, Shinde met her on January 2 in Pune and took her to Diveghat jungle, where he strangled her to death. Additional public prosecutor, Nileema Vartak, examined 26 witnesses in the case.

Kotlikar new president of lawyers’ association

Advocate Sunil Kotlikar has been elected as the new president of the family court lawyers’ association for the year 2011-12. Advocates Ganesh Kawade and Pradip Chitale has been elected as vice-presidents while Zakir Maniyar was unanimously elected as the secretary, Dattatraya Bhujbal as treasurer and Shirish Purohit as deputy secretary.The executive members elected include Sujata Darbe, Radhika Kirthiraj, Meenakshi Dimble and Nanda Pawar. The bar association has appointed Nivedita Kale as the chief returning officer.







HC breather for Babu Bajrangi, bail stands–bail-stands/892544/

In a breather for Babu Patel alias Babu Bajrangi, one of the main accused in the 2002 Naroda Gam and Naroda Patiya massacre cases, the Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected the state government’s application to cancel his regular bail granted in October, 2002.

Justice R H Shukla passed the order on a petition moved by the state government in 2010 demanding to quash the order of the Ahmedabad Sessions Court granting regular bail to Bajrangi in the Naroda Gam massacre case.

To back its case, the state government had also highlighted the sting operation broadcast by a private news channel wherein Bajrangi was found making “confessions” of his role in the 2002 riots.

However, Bajrangi’s counsel argued his client was granted conditional bail by the sessions court in 2002 and to date, he had not violated any conditions. He stated he has not threatened any witness and is attending the court regularly.

He also argued that others accused of bigger role than that of Bajrangi have been granted bail and their bail orders have been confirmed by the HC.

Bajrangi also argued that the trial is almost over in the case and all the witnesses have been examined by the court and so his bail should not be cancelled.







Info chiefs push for citizens’ charter to save sunshine law


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 03.38AM IST

MUMBAI: The query filed under the Right To Information Act (RTI) in August was quite clear but even after four months, there seems to be no hope of getting a reply to it. And even information commissioners are aware of the hurdles the applicants have to face.

The applicant wanted to know if there was any Airports Authority of India (AAI) rule that prohibited an employee from discussing with other staffer any air-traffic or air-safety incidents. A month later, the applicant, an AAI employee, received a response saying answering the question would drain AAI’s resources. The applicant filed an appeal with the AAI appellate authority Jyoti Prasad, who ruled that AAI should reply to the query within a month’s time. A month later, the applicant received a letter from AAI which said they could not reply to the RTI query as the “question was not clear”. Now, it has been four months since the seemingly simple query was first filed, but there has been no hope of getting a reply to it.

Every month, hundreds of RTI applications, especially the ones posing controversial queries, are stonewalleby government officials with impunity. If the RTI Act was to be honoured the above-mentioned applicant should have received a reply in September. “It was a simple question and it is hard to see how replying to it could have strained AAI’s resources as claimed by the AAI’s public information officer,” the source added. None of the AAI officials has been hauled up or fined for violating the RTI deadline and denying a reply, despite an order from the AAI appellate authority. Such instances are commonplace and activists and RTI information commissioner say if the said manner of dodging/delaying RTI queries continues, the ever-increasing number of pending appeals will eventually render the Act impotent. The central information commission (CIC), headquartered in Delhi, had as many as 22,725 RTI appeals (if an appellate authority denies information, the applicant can approach an information commissioner) pending before it as on November, 2011. With each passing month, the number of pending appeals goes up, increasing the time it takes to get a response.

The fact was registered in the November meeting of central information commission when information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi proposed the need for a citizens’ charter. The draft charter, presented in the meeting, underlined, apart from other points, the immediate need to set deadlines for disposal of appeals. The draft set the deadline to 2015 to achieve a list of objectives. The first was to ensure that over 95% appeals and complaints are adjudicated within 120 days of reaching CIC. “Ensure that non-compliance of CIC’s orders is brought to less than 5%. All public authorities are routinely complying with their obligation to disclose certain categories of information suo motu,” it added. And finally, digitization of records and use of e-processes in the working of CIC.








Indian legal system is slow: Imran Khan



Actor Imran Khan, who had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court against Maharashtra government’s decision of raising the age limit of drinking to 25, believes that the slow legal system is delaying the case. “It’s around two months now but I haven’t heard from the court yet. You know how slow the legal system of India is. I don’t know when I will get the date of the first hearing or even how long it will take to get a verdict on the case,” says Imran who filed the petition in September.

“I have learnt that PIL hearings are held on Thursdays. Lets see when my turns come,” adds the actor,  who took up the resolve to fight against the issue post Delhi Belly release in July.

Before the release of  Mere Brother Ki Dulhan in September, the actor was seen juggling hectic promotions with completing formalities for filing the petition.

Incidentally, there was some uncertainty on his eligibility to file a PIL in India as he is a US citizen but queries under the Right to Information (RTI) Act had confirmed that he could go ahead with it.

“I will not let it go. My lawyers are working on it. Sooner or later, there has to be some hearing on the PIL that I have filed,” says the actor.

Imran has just completed shooting Shakun Batra’s directorial debut, Ek Main Aur Ekk Tu, in which he stars opposite  Kareena Kapoor.

The rom-com will release on February 10 next year. 








Without legal reforms Lokpal will fail: Study


IANS Dec 27, 2011, 09.29AM IST

BANGALORE: Scholars at the university set up by IT czar Azim Premji seriously doubt the effectiveness of the all-powerful Lokpal, advocated by Anna Hazare and his team, to fight corruption without legal reforms.

“Without highly contentious legal reforms, an extremely powerful agency, which the Jan Lokpal Bill (advocated by Hazare and his team) promises to establish, can at best marginally improve investigation rates and filing of chargesheet in corruption cases without securing more convictions,” they assert.

The scholars also fault the Jan Lokpal bill as well as the central government’s Lokpal bill that is being debated in the Lok Sabha, for not taking into account the experience of Lokayuktas (state ombudsmen).

“We conclude that a bill that does not assimilate the experience of existing anti-corruption agencies in states like Karnataka is doomed to fail,” A. Narayana, Sudhir Krishnaswamy and Vikas Kumar of Law, Governance and Development Initiative of Bangalore-based Azim Premji University said in their recently released study.

“The presumption of a criminal conviction model is at the core of the Lokpal bill, which means that it will come up against the same environmental limits – the efficacy of the criminal justice system – that the Lokayukta in Karnataka confronts.

“The proposal for the Lokpal at the moment fails to address this core problem and for that reason is bound to fail to achieve its primary purpose: the criminal conviction of corrupt officials,” the study said.

Narayana has a Ph.D. from the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, Krishnaswamy a D.Phil in Law from Oxford and Kumar was a doctoral fellow in economics at university of Hamburg.

Their findings are based on a study of the debate that has been raging for several months on the Jan Lokpal bill as proposed by Hazare and his team and the working of the Karnataka Lokayukta, the most active state ombudsman in India.

The Karnataka Lokayutka was the first in India to be set up in 1986 but became highly active only since 2001 and made history in July this year by indicting the then chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa for corruption in illegal mining scandal.

Yeddyurappa, the first Bharatiya Janata Party ( BJP) chief minister in south India, was forced to quit July 31 following the indictment.

Noting that while there was “agreement on the core moral imperative to tackle corruption seriously”, the study said the debate “has quickly moved from this agreed premise to the questionable conclusion that we need a powerful national institution to prosecute and convict the corrupt under the criminal law.

“To our knowledge the choice of appropriate legal instruments to deal with corruption has not been debated,” it pointed out.

The study said: “There has been no systematic effort to evaluate or assess the experience of existing anti-corruption agencies in the states.”

“Our analysis suggests that the policy debate on the Lokpal has focused on issues that have been anticipated and largely resolved by existing legislation and institutional design of the Lokayukta in, say, Karnataka and has ignored critical issues that may have little or nothing to do with the design of the Lokpal itself but affect its performance,” it said.

The study said the Karnataka experience showed that sanction of prosecution and completion of investigation were not an issue at all as both were done in overwhelming majority of the cases handled by the state Lokayukta.

“The Indian public debate on the Lokpal has focused extensively on the need to equip the institution with extraordinary powers of investigation. Our analysis leads to the conclusion that much of the Indian debate has sought to extinguish a problem that does not have a very significant impact on the effectiveness of anti-corruption agency,” the study said.

However, it noted, that “the story changes after chargesheets are filed”, that is at the trial end.

It said the average time taken for the trial to be completed was over five years and conviction rate was very low.

“The Indian debate on the Lokpal has focussed extensively on the remedying institutional inefficiencies at the complaint and investigation stage in the Lokpal. No matter how successful these innovations are, they will not tackle the core problem with a criminal trial in India: the trial stage,” the study said.

“If we use criminal conviction as the measure of success then the best Lokayukta in the country (that is Karnataka Lokayukta) is undoubtedly a failure. But a caveat is in order: the Lokayukta does not administratively control the criminal court. Hence, we should attribute this failure to the choice of a criminal conviction model as the centrepiece of our anti-corruption strategy,” the study advocated.

It noted that between 1995 and 2011, Karnataka Lokayukta carried out only 357 raids on its own – the power to conduct raids on its own was given only early this year – against individual officials but received and responded to over 2,159 complaints against 2,681 officials.

“Interestingly, institutional leadership (a reference to the head of the Lokayukta panel) is seen to have a significant impact on the agency’s performance. For instance, in Karnataka more than 66 percent of the raid cases by the Lokayukta were initiated between 2006 and 2011, when Justice N. Santosh Hegde was the Lokayukta.”

The five-year term of Hegde, a former Supreme Court judge, ended Aug 2.







CBI files chargesheet in NCHAC scam case


Last Updated: Monday, December 26, 2011, 16:25


New Delhi: The CBI has filed two chargesheets in three separate cases of alleged corruption in the management of North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council at a special court in Guwahati.

A CBI spokesperson said here on Monday that the “first case relates to alleged misappropriation of a sum of over Rs 13 crore for execution of works relating to different schemes under Social Welfare Department.”

In its chargesheet, CBI has accused Mohet Hojai, the then chief executive member, NCHAC, R H Khan, the then deputy director, Social Welfare Department, Haflong besides three other officials and two private contractors Debasish Bhattacherjee and Amjad Ali of misappropriating government funds of Rs 13.53 crore.

“The CBI has booked these officials and contractors of Social Welfare Department of autonomous council under sections of Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy and cheating among others. Relevant sections of Prevention of Corruption Act have also been pressed in the charge sheet,” she said.

CBI alleged that during the probe, cash amounting to Rs 13.45 crore was recovered from a secret chamber constructed in the garage of the brother-in-law of the accused Deputy Director R H Khan, sources said.

In the second case relating to Soil Conservation Department, CBI has named divisional soil conservation officers Arup Rai and Amitabh Rai, Subrata Hojai, Executive Member, Dima Hasao Autonomous Council, Haflong, L Chetia, Range Officer (since Retired) besides three others officials for alleged misappropriation of an amount of Rs.1.66 crore sanctioned for execution of works relating to water harvesting and land development in the area.









Junagadh hospital superintendent, blood bank staff booked for homicide

The Junagadh police today booked the superintendent of civil hospital and officials of pathology laboratory and blood bank for culpable homicide not amounting to murder following an order by the Gujarat High Court after 23 thalassemic children registered with the hospital were infected with HIV.

The B-Division police registered an FIR under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including 308 (culpable homicide) and 328 (causing hurt). The complaint has been registered in the name of Ravji Sandarva, father of one of the children who were infected with HIV between January and August.

“An offense has been registered against JCH superintendent, pathology laboratory officials and authorities of Sarvoday Blood Bank, a voluntary organisation that collects blood for the hospital,” said Investigating Officer inspector A R Jankant.

“We need to check all the records and data of the 23 affected children. (We will investigate) the source of blood, how many times transfusion was done, what kind of testing kits were used, the condition of testing and storage facilities as well as the roles of blood bank and laboratory staffers,” added the officer.

While 23 of the over 150 thalassemic children registered with the hospital were tested positive for HIV between January and August, the matter came to light in September after parents of one of the affected children approached a non-government organisation.

Soon after the issue hit the headlines, the state government sent an inspection team from the health department, Gandhinagar, to Junagadh.

Though the government had given a clean chit to the hospital and blood bank claiming the children were affected prior to their admission to the hospital, it transferred and terminated contract of over 10 employees of the in-house laboratory.

Subsequently, a team of Food and Drug department officials inspected the hospital and sealed its pathology laboratory and Sarvoday Blood Bank on November 4, which reopened after 24 hours.

The blood bank is run by a voluntary organisation headed by senior BJP leader and Junagadh MLA Mahendra Mashroo. The organisation has been allotted two rooms in the hospital premises.

Like the Congress, Mashroo had also written to the government seeking a detailed inquiry into the incident, action against those responsible and best medical facilities for the affected children.










Shankar Rao attack case: 11 more arrested


TNN Dec 27, 2011, 03.36AM IST

HYDERABAD: The LB Nagar police on Monday arrested 11 more persons in connection with the attack on textiles minister Shankar Rao. With the latest arrests, the number of people held in the case has reached 20.

On December 20, the minister was assaulted by a mob led by local Congress workers when he went to visit the family members of LB Nagar history-sheeter Jahangeer Ali at NTR Nagar.


The agitators, who according to the minister were the henchmen of home minister Sabita Indra Reddy and local MLA Sudheer Reddy, hurled stones, eggs and tomatoes at him. Shankar Rao’s Innova got damaged in the attack and he was admitted to Nims. Following the attack, the LB Nagar police have arrested nine members, including a corporator and two ward members on Saturday.

On Monday, the minister alleged that police arrests were a mere eye-wash and the real culprits have not been arrested. Shankar Rao also threatened to approach the SC&ST Commission if the real culprits were not arrested.

After the minister’s statement, the LB Nagar police swung into action and by evening arrested 11 more culprits namely Ranga Reddy district NSUI president Santosh Reddy, Saroornagar division Congress president Kondal Reddy, R K Puram division president Sudheer Reddy, Green Hills Colony division president Yadav Reddy, Srinivas Goud, Madhusudhan Reddy, Hafeezullah, Devender, Lingaiah, Someshwar and Mohammed Lal under sections 341 (Wrongful restraint), 323 (Voluntarily causing hurt) and 504 (Insult intended to provoke breach of peace) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The arrested were produced in court and remanded in judicial custody.





Legal system of India lacks pace: Imran Khan


Zeenews Bureau

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Imran Khan is one of the many who feel that India’s legal proceedings lack pace. According to Imran the judiciary must find a way out so that cases are dealt in a speedy manner.

The actor had filed a Public Interest Litigation this September in the Bombay High Court against Government of Maharatshtra’s decision to raise the age limit for alcohol consumption from 21 to 25.

Talking to a daily, Imran said, “It’s around two months now but I haven’t heard from
Court yet. You know how slow the legal system of India is. I don’t know when I will get the date of the first hearing or even how long it will take to get a verdict on the case.”

The young man is waiting earnestly to hear something on his petition.

“I have learnt that PIL hearings are held on Thursdays. Let’s see when my turn comes.”

Imran happens to be a US citizen but had filed a PIL under the RTI. He is determined to maintain his stance and will do everything possible to ensure a hearing on the PIL that he has filed.

“I will not let it go. My lawyers are working on it. Sooner or later, there has to be some hearing on the PIL that I have filed,” said the actor.












Court issues arrest warrants against two lawyers


Bhuvaneshwar Prasad, TNN Dec 27, 2011, 05.45AM IST

ARARIA: The court of first class judicial magistrate, Araria, has issued permanent warrants of arrest against two lawyers here recently.

The court of first class judicial magistrate Pritam Kumar Ratan passed the orders against the two lawyers — Basukinath Jha and Prabhakar Mishra – and declared them absconders after they failed to comply with the court’s order to appear before it by December 13 in a complaint case lodged by the general register (GR) clerk Anil Kumar Das.

Das had lodged a complaint case in 2000 charging Jha and Mishra with escaping with the records relating to a case at Tarabari in the district.

The court clerk had averred in his complaint that the two lawyers had wanted to peruse the case records of GR/86/2000 and GR/393/2000. While he was engaged in some important work in the office, the two lawyers disappeared with the case records. The two lawyers did not care to appear before the court of the first class judicial magistrate despite notices and earlier warrants issued against them, court sources said.



PIL wants court to stop Hazare, IAC from fasting


Published: Monday, Dec 26, 2011, 19:14 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 0:36 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Even as volunteers of the India Against Corruption (IAC) along with other NGOs take part in Anna Hazare’s three-day fast against a weak Lokpal Bill, the vacation bench of the Bombay high court will hear a public interest litigation that has sought to declare the movement as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

Filed in the Bombay high court by social worker Mangleshwar Tripathi alias Munna on Monday evening, the PIL asks the court to restrain Hazare and his followers from resorting to unconstitutional and pressure tactics like fasting and jail-bharo andolan.

Advocate Yusuf Iqbal, who filed the PIL on Munna’s behalf, said that Hazare and the IAC be “restrained from turning the anti-Lokpal stir’ into a political matter”. Alleging that Hazare has been propped up by certain people with vested interest, the PIL wants the court to restrain them from making any statement against any particular party.

Another contention made by the PIL is that by resorting to a fast, on the three days when the Bill will be debated in the Parliament, the respondents are attempting to exert undue influence and put pressure on the Central government and the Parliament to accede to their demands. Without waiting for Parliament’s decision, Hazare and his followers rejected the proposed Lokpal Bill and are going on nationwide protest, the PIL said.

Warning that allowing the Anna trend will tear the fabric of democracy, the PIL contends: “It’s highly wrong and incorrect if a group of a person (who have no electoral mandate) are allowed to ride roughshod over the government of a country and force upon the elected representatives and legislators to accept their version of the law.”







Now, court battle to procure air guns


K Kumaraswamy, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 07.13AM IST


PUNE: The Indian shooters will board the flight for Doha on Wednesday to take part in the Asian Championships with a mixture of excitement and apprehension.

Excitement because the quadrennial event from January 11 to 22 offers the last chance to win a few more Olympic quotas and apprehension due to a recent notification of the Customs department at the IGI airport in New Delhi.

The Customs, in its order, had said that air weapons without license would not be allowed to be imported following the Delhi High Court’s ruling earlier this year, making it mandatory for anyone possessing an air gun to acquire license.

The government, in an effort to promote shooting as a sport, had exempted air weapons from license under the Arms Act 1959, but that was struck down by the Delhi HC in May while giving its verdict on a case filed by People For Animals, an NGO headed by Maneka Gandhi.

The vexing part is that there is no authority to issue license because of the government’s policy. “The result is that, one can carry firearms now, but not an air weapon,” an Arjuna awardee shooter observed.

NRAI secretary Rajiv Bhatia said the athletes need not worry. “The PIL in the Supreme Court comes up for hearing on January 2. We are hopeful that the verdict would be in our favour,” he said.

Although the Customs notification mentions “import of Air-Pistols, Air-Guns and Air-Rifles may not be allowed”, a senior official clarified that it would also apply to old guns.

“One may carry the weapons out of India but they would not be allowed to return (without license). The weapons would be detained,” K K Jain, a Deputy Commissioner of Customs at the IGI airport, told TOI on Monday.

When asked whether the rule would be applied for national shooters when they return from Doha, Jain said: “Yes, they (weapons) would be released once they produce the license.”

The sport’s governing body NRAI, which has filed a PIL against the Delhi HC’s order in the Supreme Court, was taken aback by the Customs department’s stand.




RTE Act top priority of CBSE


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 04.30AM IST

CHENNAI: Effective implementation of the Right to Education Act (RTE) and the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) in schools are the top priorities of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) said Vineet Joshi, chairman of CBSE .

He said CBSE has instructed all schools to implement RTE act. “The reservation of 25% of seats for less privileged students would not create a burden to the schools” he said. Joshi also said “Under the CCE pattern, it is aimed at reducing burden and pressure on students with the priority for monthly tests.

He also said CBSE is planning to shift exams online. “Online mode of exams is effective, however, there are difficulties in implementation,” he said.











Traffic cop’s upright act gets him 1K



TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 02.12AM IST


NEW DELHI: A traffic head constable stopped a vehicle to issue a challan despite being “warned” that an officer of IG rank was seated inside it. Not only did he issue the challan, he also walked up to the senior officer in the car, saluted him as protocol demanded and let the vehicle go. After the senior officer recommended him for a reward, the traffic police has given the head constable (HC) a cash reward of Rs 1,000 on Monday.

The incident was reported on Friday in south Delhi when HC Neeraj Kumar, posted in Delhi Traffic Police’s chase-and-challan wing, flagged down a vehicle that jumped a red light at the Kautilya Marg-Sardar Patel Marg crossing while moving from Gyarah Murti towards Dhaula Kuan. When the HC told the driver that he would be issued a challan, the driver reportedly told him that a joint director at the home ministry was in the vehicle and he was in a hurry.

“The driver told Neeraj the officer had asked him to drive quickly to their destination. But Neeraj told him that no police functionary would tell anyone to jump a red light and proceeded to continue with issuing the challan. The senior officer inside the vehicle continued to observe the proceedings without interfering,” said a senior traffic officer.

The senior officer later told traffic officers about the good behaviour of the head constable, who had joined the force in 2008. “Head constable Neeraj showed commendable behaviour by remaining undaunted by his senior’s name and this was commented favourably on by the senior officer who recommended him for a reward,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg.










Lokayukta appointment: Fresh hearing begins in HC

Justice V M Sahai of the Gujarat High Court on Monday began hearing on the petition of the state government challenging the appointment of Justice (retired) R A Mehta as the Lokayukta.

The court while continuing hearing ordered the advocate of the HC to give details of when Justice (Retired) J R Vora was appointed as the director of the Gujarat Judicial Academy, said senior counsel Girish Patel, who is appearing for one of the interveners in the petition.

The hearing will continue on Tuesday.

On August 25, Governor Kamla Beniwal had appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta. The appointment was challenged by the government at the HC while it unconstitutional.

A division bench of Justices Kureshi and Gokani had pronounced a split verdict over the appointment. Justice Kureshi had upheld the appointment of Justice Mehta whereas Justice Gokani had quashed the same.

Subsequently, the matter was referred to Justice Sahai after which the division bench framed the points of disagreement over the petition for Justice Sahai.







Board urges HC to revive body set up to look after shelters

For providing better civic facilities to the homeless and improving co-ordination between all stakeholders, the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) has urged the Delhi High Court to revive a joint apex advisory committee.

In a report comprising minutes of the meeting held on the directive of the court, the DUSIB has agreed with the court’s suggestion that there should be a revival of the committee with the DUSIB CEO as its chairperson and Amod Kanth, general secretary of PRAYAS, as its vice-chairman. Other members of the committee will comprise nodal officers from the civic bodies, including MCD, NDMC, Delhi Police, DDA, and representatives from the NGOs working for the homeless in Delhi. The first such committee was set up in 2002-03 and it had helped in establishing some permanent shelters for the homeless in the city.

“The court may issue necessary directions to the heads of the departments concerned for appointment of their nodal officers for the proposed joint apex advisory committee within seven working days,” the report, submitted in the court on Friday by standing counsel for the Delhi government Najmi Waziri, stated.

The report endorsed by DUSIB Director (Night Shelter) V K Sharma stated that the option to have multiple use of building — for different work during the day and as shelters at nights—will also be explored.

However, regarding the number of temporary night shelters, the affidavit stated that it was agreed upon that in the first phase, 50 shelters will be erected and a decision can be taken later by the committee over requirement of more such shelters. Currently, 32 shelters are in operation and the remaining 18 will become functional within a week’s time, the report said.

The number of temporary night shelters is still way short of the 84 insisted upon by the court. If the government fails to set up 84 shelters, it will be held in contempt of court. The contention over number of night shelters is expected to come up during the next hearing on January 4.




AMTS’s privatization bid challenged before HC


TNN Dec 27, 2011, 04.10AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Monday issued notice to the civic body over a PIL filed by a trade union challenging further privatization in its transport service – Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Service (AMTS).

Petitioner Gujarat Masdoor Sabha has sought HC intervention to restrain AMTS from going ahead with its Request for Proposal (RFP) to invite private operators to operate 550 buses with private staff. The PIL has claimed that under the Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporations Act, AMTS is duty-bound to provide services to people, and setting up and maintaining the infrastructure and human resource as statutory duties. Any privatization of its services is against the law, the PIL contended.


The petition stated that AMTS has at present approximately 1000 permanent drivers and 1250 permanent conductors. There are 543 buses owned by AMTS and 317 private buses. Apart from the permanent staff, AMTS also employs 617 temporary conductors, and 250 contract drivers. The petitioner union claimed that awarding contract to manage buses to private players would render its daily wagers and contract drivers and conductors jobless.

It was submitted during the hearing that the industrial tribunal by an award has granted payment of wages to temporary and daily wagers of AMTS at par with permanent workmen. And the privatization bid is just to frustrate the award of industrial court, the petitioner argued. Further hearing on this issue is kept in January.





HC cancels Rajagopal’s bail


TNN Dec 27, 2011, 02.54AM IST

HYDERABAD: Former mines official and third accused in the illegal mining case V D Rajagopal suffered a setback on Monday after the AP High Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the CBI court.Former mines official and third accused in the illegal mining case V D Rajagopal suffered a setback on Monday after the AP High Court cancelled the bail granted to him by the CBI court. Finding fault with the trial court for granting bail to Rajagopal at a time when the investigation was at a crucial stage, the said Rajagopal had “vested interests” in the scam-hit Obulapuram Mining Company of Gali Janardhan Reddy.

After hearing the arguments of counsels for the accused and CBI, Justice N R L Nageswara Rao said there was conclusive material gathered on the illegal mining when Rajagopal was at the helm of the mining department. The CBI investigation established commission of serious lapses by him and his vested interests in OMC in which his brother-in-law was a director, the judge pointed out. “Therefore, CBI’s theory of conspiracy in which Rajagopal has played a key role cannot be said to be ill-founded,” Justice Rao contended.

Agreeing with the CBI contention that the investigation into the scam did not end with mere filing of a chargesheet, Justice Rao said releasing Rajagopal at this stage would be `an adventure’ in itself. “The chances of his interference in the investigation and influencing witnesses cannot be ruled out.” In a stinging remark against the lower court, he said the court while granting bail to Rajagopal had neither admitted the chargesheet nor applied its mind.

The judge described the scenario as most disturbing and said that it needed to be tackled with all seriousness. “What we are seeing is the picture of an unscrupulous politician in a position of authority finding willing accomplices, even from the top echelons of administration, who would go to any length either for making or breaking the rules for personal gains,” he observed. The judge cited the report of the empowered committee of the Supreme Court and also the findings of a three-member committee appointed by the state to drive home his point.

He said when the illegal mining case came up before the Supreme Court, it had expressed a desire to have a look at the chargesheet and posted the matter to January 20, 2012. “What must be the purpose of the apex court in doing so can only be known on January 20 when it hears the matter,” the judge observed.

The CBI court earlier granted bail to Rajagopal with certain conditions but CBI appealed against the order of the trial court expressing apprehensions about the safety of witnesses in the case.


Tilaknagar Industries wins trademark battle in Bombay HC

India Infoline News Service / 08:43 , Dec 27, 2011

TI is a leading player in the IMFL industry with a dominant presence in South India and continues to successfully extend its footprints on a pan-India basis

Tilaknagar Industries Ltd, a leading and well established player in the Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) industry, announced that the Bombay High Court has dismissed the Notice of Motion no. 993/2009 in Suit No. 632 / 2009 filed by UTO Nederland B.V. seeking to restrain Tilaknagar Industries Ltd. from the use of Trademarks ‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’.

Commenting on this development Dr. Keshab Nandy, Chief Legal Officer, said, “We are pleased by the judgment passed by the Bombay High Court, which we believe provides fair justice and validates our stance. However, we are awaiting a copy of the judgment. We have in the past, focused immense energies & investments towards the brands ‘Mansion House’ and ‘Savoy Club’ and developed them as sustainably successful products in the Indian alcobev sector. Thus going ahead, we remain committed to drive growth and fortify our long standing presence in the industry on the back of a solid business model with strong brands and geographic reach.”

Sales of Mansion House Brandy closed in on nearly 6 million cases in FY 10-11 and is expected to show a healthy growth in FY 11-12. Mansion House Brandy is the second largest selling brandy in the world as per the latest reports of Euro Monitor and remains one of the fastest growing brands in the world.

TI is a leading player in the IMFL industry with a dominant presence in South India and continues to successfully extend its footprints on a pan-India basis as well as in several overseas territories. TI has over the years, widened its product and brand bouquet, which today consists of more than 40 brands at attractive price points for varied customer preferences and tastes. TI has strived to establish its distinct identity in the liquor industry and positions itself in the premium segments by continuously introducing brands. TI’s brand array houses two millionaire brands, Mansion House Brandy and Madira Rum which have also been recognized as the fastest growing domestic brands in a study by Euromonitor.

The Company has achieved a healthy volume growth across its brands, with its well-established manufacturing facilities along with several lease and tie up arrangements with manufacturing units across India. TI is confident on exploring ample growth opportunities that the sector offers, to deliver solid performance on a sustained basis.







Outfit presses on against ex-MCI boss in HC

Seeking a direction to the Gujarat Medical Council to implement a decision of the Medical Council of India to suspend the medical licence of Dr Ketan Desai, a voluntary organisation has moved an appeal before a division bench of High Court challenging a single-judge bench’s order, which had dismissed its application.

Former MCI chief Desai is facing criminal cases of corruption and disproportionate assets.

The appeal was moved by the voluntary organisation, People for Better Treatment, through its president Dr Kunal Saha. According to Saha, the MCI, acting on his complaint, had suspended medical licence of Desai on the grounds of professional misconduct and violation of medical ethics in October 2010.

Desai was arrested by the CBI for taking bribe from a private medical college when he was the MCI president. Subsequently, he was booked in a case of disproportionate assets.

Subsequently, on October 9, 2010, MCI’s Board of Governors decided to suspend Desai’s right to practise medicine. However, the GMC refused to follow MCI decision.

The GMC, according to the petitioner, has taken a stand that MCI rules are not binding on it.








Two Court Managers for each district soon: Lokur


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KARIMNAGAR: Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice Madan B.Lokur visited some prominent places in Karimnagar district on Sunday.

He was accompanied by two HC judges GV Seethapathy and V Eeswaraiah. Lokur expressed happiness over visiting some historical places in the district.

Then he proceeded to Warangal. On way, he laid foundation stone for three court buildings at Huzurabad.

Addressing a gathering of advocates there, he said that a video conference system would be installed soon at the High Court so that judges could have conferences with district judges easily and dispose cases soon, he said.

He said that recruitment to the court manager posts, created recently, would be taken up soon. Two managers will be recruited for each district to facilitate HC’s interaction with district Judges and district administration.

For the first time in Karimnagar district, three HC benches were set up for disposing pending cases, he said.

Lokur also visited NTPC’s station at Ramagundam. The three judges, came to the district to attend the valedictory of the three-day ‘Mega Lok Adalat’ on Saturday.

Later, they visited Vemulawada Raja Rajeswara Swamy temple and offered prayers to Lord Siva. On Saturday night, they went into Godavarikhani-11 underground coal mine.







Demand up for special teachers



R Uday Kumar, TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 06.38AM IST


MYSORE: The Government Teachers Training Centre for Visually Handicapped and Hearing Handicapped in Tilak Nagar is in great demand after a landmark judgment from Delhi High Court. This centre conducts a two-year D Ed course for special teachers.

The demand for trained special teachers increased after the Delhi HC passed an order for appointing special teachers in Delhi schools. The demand went up further after the National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) granted approval to B Ed ( special education) and to D Ed courses.

The training centre is getting requests for special teachers from private schools and NGOs. However, the centre complains that the students are absorbed well before the completion of their course.

States like Delhi and Rajasthan have already started the process of recruiting special teachers after the court verdict. The state government is also planning to fill the vacant special teachers’ posts at various schools.

The special teachers training centre in Tilak Nagar is the only centre in the state of offer D Ed (special education) under department of empowerment of differently abled and senior citizens, Government of Karnataka.

The Helen Keller Government Teachers Training Centre for Visually Handicapped (primary level) was started in 2000-2001, while Government teachers training centre for Hearing Handicapped (primary level) was started in 2001-02.

Keshavamurthy, in-charge deputy director of the centre said, “Duration of each course is 2 years. Candidates with minimum 50% in PUC are eligible for the course and not more then 25 are admitted for each course.” From its inception, the centre has produced 500 special teachers. These teachers are already working in different special schools and NGOs in the state. The government has set up special schools in Mysore, Bellary, Hubli, Davanagere and Belgaum apart from private schools.

Opportunities for successful candidates from the training centre are plenty. They can work as special teachers, resource teachers in Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, field workers in DDRC, MRW, VRW and as home-based teachers at rural level.

The selection of candidates is based on common entrance test conducted by Rehabilitation Council of India, New Delhi. Admissions for these courses are through All India Online Aptitude Test.






Man drags land-grab cell to high court


TNN | Dec 27, 2011, 04.32AM IST

CHENNAI: A 58-year-old man has accused an entire team of police officials in charge of the specially created land-grab cell in Tiruvallur district of forcibly grabbing his property. In a petition filed in the Madras high court, N Moorthy of Manavala Nagar said the officers detained him and his wife in the police station and got a property registered by coercion. The high court has issued notice to the government seeking its reply.

The petition naming a DSP, three sub-inspectors and four constables of the land-grab wing of the crime branch police came up for hearing before Justice A Arumughaswamy on Friday.

Moorthy said on November 11 he and his wife were woken up at 3am and taken in a police vehicle to the district superintendent of police office premises where the special cell is located by a sub-inspector. All through the journey they were abused with filthy language and threatened by the personnel, he said, adding that at the station they were made to sit on the floor and wait for a deputy superintendent of police (DSP). The DSP came in the morning and told them that they would be booked under Goondas Act and sent to jail over their purchase of a 1.57-acre land at Perambakkam village in the district in 2006.

Moorthy said that though he had a sale agreement with a Robert Gnanaraj, it was purchased from Gnanaraj’s wife Ajit Mary as he had died before the sale transaction. The present dispute arose after Ajit Mary sold the same property to another person as well.

In his petition, Moorthy said the DSP and other personnel asked him and his wife to sign necessary papers canceling the sale deeds existing in their favour and threatened to slap them with ganja cases if they did not do so.

While keeping them in custody, the police personnel purchased stamp papers, got them typed and escorted the him and his wife to the Perambakkam registrar office, where a cancellation deed was executed by force, Moorthy said. He said though he lodged a complaint with the SP in this regard, no action was taken.

Naming a DSP, three sub-inspectors and four constables attached to the land-grab wing of the district crime branch police, he wanted the court to direct the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption to register a case against the police personnel and investigate the matter.

After the Jayalalithaa government came to power, it set up special cells to crackdown on land-grabbing. Several DMK leaders, including former ministers, were arrested.







New high courts will not impact justice delivery: Justice Goel


PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 26,2011

Shillong, Dec 26 (PTI) As there is a proposal to allot separate high courts for the three Northeastern states of Meghalaya, Manipur and Tripura, Chief Justice of the Gauhati High Court A K Goel today said separation was a ‘political decision’ and it would not have any impact on justice delivery system. Justice Goel, who called on Meghalaya Governor R S Mooshahary at the Raj Bhavan here, said, ”The number of cases does not depend on the separation of courts; it is a matter of political decision and the aspiration of the people.” Goel said, “The only difference is that it (separation) will only have separate Chief Justices (for each new Court)”. The Gauhati High Court has jurisdiction over seven states with provisions for separate Benches for each of the states. The new proposal will have separate High Courts in Shillong, Imphal and Agartala. Asked on the number of pending cases, Goel said their number was not very large. Till November 2011, there are 52, 897 pending cases in the Gauhati High Court for which Shillong Bench accounts for 812 cases, Imphal Benches has 3794 cases and Agartala Benches has 6393 pending cases. While till December 31, 2010, there were 40,636 pending cases in the Gauhati High Court. Goel maintained, “Justice delivery system will not change except the magnitude of cases.” Justice A K Goel replaced Madan B Lokur as the Chief Justice of the Guwahati High Court. He was accompanied by Justice Jasbir Singh of Punjab and Haryana High Court.







PILs in Bombay, Karnataka High Courts to declare Anna Hazare’s fast as “illegal”


PTI Dec 26, 2011, 09.45pm IST

MUMBAI: On the eve of Anna Hazare’s fast in Mumbai, two separate PIL petitions were moved before the Bombay High Court and the Karnataka High Court today with a plea to declare the Gandhian’s protest action as “illegal and unconstitutional”.

The petition filed by Mangaleshwar Tripathi, a social worker, also sought Bombay High Court’s direction to Hazare and his supporters to ensure they do not break law and order and to restrain them from turning the agitation into a political matter.

Hazare is undertaking a three-day fast to protest against a “weak” Lokpal Bill that is before Lok Sabha. “Hazare through such fasts and ‘Jail Bharo aandolans’ is exerting undue pressure on the government. The Lokpal bill is currently under debate and such actions of Hazare are highly unconstitutional and subversive to the principle of democracy,” the petition states.

It also sought directions to Hazare to be restrained from making any statement against any political party. “If such actions are allowed and encouraged then it would tear the democracy of our country and will lead to complete chaos and anarchy. It is highly wrong if a group of persons who have no electoral mandate are allowed to force the government and elected representatives to accept their version of a law,” the petition claims.

Tripathi, who is the president of a social outfit “Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad”, said he would mention the matter before the vacation judge tomorrow. In his PIL before the Karnataka High Court, advocate A V Amarnathan pleaded that Hazare’s protest be restrained as it amounted to ‘a criminal conspiracy and offence against public tranquility.’ He contended that Hazare was making ‘nuisance’ by mobilising public for ‘an illegal and unconstitutional’ fast.

The petition filed by Mangaleshwar Tripathi, a social worker, also sought Bombay High Court’s direction to Hazare and his supporters to ensure they do not break law and order and to restrain them from turning the agitation into a political matter.

Hazare is undertaking a three-day fast to protest against a “weak” Lokpal Bill that is before Lok Sabha. “Hazare through such fasts and ‘Jail Bharo aandolans’ is exerting undue pressure on the government. The Lokpal bill is currently under debate and such actions of Hazare are highly unconstitutional and subversive to the principle of democracy,” the petition states.

It also sought directions to Hazare to be restrained from making any statement against any political party. “If such actions are allowed and encouraged then it would tear the democracy of our country and will lead to complete chaos and anarchy. It is highly wrong if a group of persons who have no electoral mandate are allowed to force the government and elected representatives to accept their version of a law,” the petition claims.

Tripathi, who is the president of a social outfit “Uttar Bhartiya Vikas Parishad”, said he would mention the matter before the vacation judge tomorrow. In his PIL before the Karnataka High Court, advocate A V Amarnathan pleaded that Hazare’s protest be restrained as it amounted to ‘a criminal conspiracy and offence against public tranquility.’ He contended that Hazare was making ‘nuisance’ by mobilising public for ‘an illegal and unconstitutional’ fast.





HC dismisses Bhatt’s plea seeking relief in atrocity case


Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt’s plea for stay on ongoing criminal proceedings against him in a 1990 incident of alleged police atrocity that resulted in the death of one person.

Bhatt, in his petition, had challenged the legality and validity of the order of a Jamnagar district court refusing to defer framing of charges against him in the 21-year-old case.

He had sought quashing of the order of Jamnagar court and further demanded stay on all proceedings against him in relation to the case till the criminal revision application filed by him there is decided upon first.



Justice MR Shah, hearing the case, dismissed Bhatt’s petition saying that there was no need to restrain the court from framing charges against the accused.

The High Court, however, observed that framing of charges against Bhatt would be subject to the outcome of his criminal revision application which the Jamnagar court would decide upon after hearing him and the prosecution.

Justice Shah during the course of arguments further said that framing of charges against the accused after 21 years was denying justice to the victim.

The Jamnagar court is scheduled to frame charges against Bhatt and six other accused in the case tomorrow.

On December 9, a fast track court of Jamkhambhalia taluka in Jamnagar rejected Bhatt’s application seeking deferment on framing of charges against him.

Bhatt’s advocate I H Syed argued that the Jamnagar court, while rejecting the plea for deferment of framing of charges, did not consider the criminal revision application and plea for condonation pending before the same court.

The Jamnagar court’s framing of charges against Bhatt and other accused would render the suspended IPS officer’s criminal revision application infructuous and cause prejudice against him, he added.

Bhatt’s petition was opposed by the state government and the victim’s advocate who alleged that it was merely delaying tactics to avoid prosecution in the 1990 case.

As per case details, one Prahbudas Vaishnani, who was arrested during a communal flare-up at Jamkhambhalia town at Jamnagar in 1990, died in a hospital few days after he was released from police custody.

Following this Vaishnani’s family members filed a complaint against Bhatt and six others for police atrocity leading to the death of a person.

The case was probed by the state CID, which gave Bhatt and other cops a clean chit, but the magistrate presiding over the case did not accept CID report and initiated criminal proceedings against Bhatt and others.

The Gujarat government had then the position that Bhatt and others had acted in discharge of their official responsibilities and filed a revision petition in the session court in 1996 halting the criminal proceedings.

This revision petition was withdrawn by the state government in July thereby exposing Bhatt and others to prosecution.








HC refuses to let Chandra visit Singapore

Sanjay Chandra, the managing director of Unitech Wireless Pvt Ltd who is a co-accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case, on Monday withdrew his plea from the Delhi High Court seeking permission to take his nine-year-old son to Singapore for treatment.

Chandra who planned to fly out to Singapore Monday withdrew his petition after the High Court refused him permission.

Chandra had moved the High Court after a lower court refused his request.

The CBI had opposed the plea in the lower court, arguing that probe into the 2G scam case was still on.

Besides, it added, somebody else could accompany the child to Singapore.

“The investigation in the case is being looked at by two agencies, the CBI and the Enforcement Directorate. Investigation related to the money trail in the 2G spectrum allocation scam case is going on,” the CBI had said. “ ED has sent Letters Rogatory to its counterpart in Singapore and is yet to receive the reply.”

Chandra and Unitech were put on trial in the 2G case on October 22 this year. Chandra was granted bail by the Supreme Court on November 23.








Whiff of fresh air for undertrials


Published: Tuesday, Dec 27, 2011, 8:00 IST
By Kanu Sarda | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

More than 2.5 lakh undertrials languishing in over-crowded jails across the country saw a ray of hope when the Supreme Court arrested that ‘bail is the norm and jail is an exception’ and refusal of bail only for the purpose of giving “him (accused) a taste of imprisonment as a lesson” is a wrong notion. All thanks to the high-profile accused in the 2G spectrum allocation scam, the top court said this after they had already spent more than six months in jail.

These words may not be new to legal experts, but judges often seem to forget it, resulting in an increase in the number of undertrials, who often belong to the lower strata of society and do not have the means to hire lawyers or to fulfil the bail conditions financially.

These words of the apex court upholding the right to speedy trial, which overrides the necessity to deny bail, may bring some relief to a majority of the 67 per cent of the jail population in the country.
According to the government data regarding undertrial prisoners, the number of jail inmates has drastically gone up by 50,000. There are several people who languish in jail without being produced before a magistrate even once.

Though their prolonged and unexplained incarceration defies the fundamental right to life and liberty, the state has failed to arrange justice for them.

This judgment opened a Pandora’s box with several pleas reaching various courts in the country — the latest being the application of former Commonwealth Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi approaching the Delhi high court seeking bail saying that when the 2G scam accused can be granted bail, then why he can’t be given bail.

Scoffing at the common perception of bail, the Supreme Court had said, “In this country, it would be quite contrary to the concept of personal liberty enshrined in the Constitution that any person should be punished in respect of any matter, upon which he has not been convicted or that in any circumstances, he should be deprived of his liberty upon only the belief that he will tamper with the witnesses if left at liberty, save in the most extraordinary circumstances.”

The court also asserted that the right to bail is not to be denied merely because of the sentiments of the community against the accused, which means that courts are not run by the societal pressures but only by the rule book.

However, the same court had, in 2006, cast gloom on many influential persons who had been incarcerated during their trial in a variety of heinous crime cases. It was held that the gravity of offence must be considered while granting bail in such cases.

Scrapping the Allahabad high court order granting bail to a lawyer husband and his wife who are facing the charge of murdering their friend in their own bedroom, the apex court had said: “By now it is well-settled principle of law that one of the considerations in granting bail in non-bailable offences is the gravity and the nature of the offence.” (The Court has the power to grant bail in certain cases involving non-bailable offences too).

Earlier in the case of former UP minister Amarmani Tripathi and his wife Madhumani who were charged with hatching a conspiracy to murder Amarmani’s poetess ‘friend’ Madhumita Shukla, the top court had observed that various circumstances must be considered while granting bail in a serious crime.

The court has to see whether there is any prima facie or reasonable ground to believe that the accused had committed the offence. It must look into the nature and gravity of the charge and severity of the punishment in the event of conviction. It should be probed if a bail seeker could abscond or flee, if released on bail, the top court said and added that his or her character, behaviour, means, position and social and economic standing must not be overlooked.

The court must be sure that the accused wouldn’t repeat the offence if let out on bail or may not intimidate or pressure witnesses or tamper with the evidence. It’s the duty of court concerned to ensure that the accused on bail would not thwart justice.

A bench of justices HK Sema and RV Raveendran had said that the high position that an accused holds can’t be ignored while considering the possibility of tinkering of the evidence or influencing the witnesses in case such a person is let of on bail.

Known as a lawyer for most of the accused who are politically and financially heavyweights, Ram Jethmalani feels chances of absconding can be judged from social circumstances of the accused. If a person is arrested for allegedly committing an offence which isn’t that grave, he shouldn’t be denied bail. There is the least possibility of him absconding from the trial, he added.

The object of bail is to secure presence of the accused. Bail cannot be denied as punishment. Grant of bail is rule to provide fair trial to the accused and to prove his innocence as guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution, Jethmalani recently told the Supreme Court while seeking bail for some of the 2G scam accused persons. Law laid down under the Supreme Court decisions are binding, he added.

At a recent interactive conclave, chief election commissioner SY Qureshi touched upon the issue of the right of prisoners to participate in the electoral process. He said there are approximately 2.68 lakh undertrials lodged in different jails across the country. They have been languishing in the jails for many years waiting for completion of their trials.

These undertrial inmates lose the right to vote, a statutory right. Qureshi said that except those undertrial prisoners who had committed heinous crimes such as rape, murder, kidnapping, terrorism and grave acts of fraud, all others ought to be granted bail.

However, the undue delay in introducing reforms in police administration and management, which would make the law enforcement agencies sensitive to the self respect of citizens, is also a major cause for the rising prison population.

Moreover, the neglected judicial reforms, which are also much awaited so that speedy dispensation becomes a reality, do add to the woes of undertrial prisoners.






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