LEGAL NEWS 30.12.2011

Higher education Bills unconstitutional’


K. Venkataramanan

‘Under Tribunals Bill, institutions, teachers and students can’t go to High Court for immediate relief’

Three proposed Bills pertaining to higher education are unconstitutional, as Parliament lacks the legislative competence to enact them, according to the Association of Self-Financing Universities, New Delhi.

The body has appealed to the Union government to put on hold these legislation and hold talks with higher education institutions and other stakeholders on how to deal with the issues they seek to address.

“We consulted three former Chief Justices of India, and their opinion is that these Bills will go against the provisions of the Constitution and the [doctrine of] separation of powers. They will take away the powers of the State government,” Association president G. Viswanathan said in an interview to The Hindu.

The Bills are the Educational Tribunals Bill, 2010 that was passed in the Lok Sabha and is pending in the Rajya Sabha, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Educational Institutions, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, 2010, and the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, 2010.

The former Chief Justices, A.S. Anand, M.M. Punchhi and K.N. Singh, who were approached by the Association for their opinion on the validity of these Bills, especially in the light of appropriate entries in the Union and State Lists in the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, reckoned that “Parliament does not have the legislative competence for matters of universities in view of clear exclusion of universities from Entry 44 in List I (the Union List) and express inclusion in Entry 32 of List II (the State List).”

While Entry 44 in the Union List deals with “Incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporations, whether trading or not, with objects not confined to one State, but not including universities,” Entry 32 in the State List refers to “Incorporation, regulation and winding up of corporations, other than those specified in List I, and universities, unincorporated trading, literacy, scientific, religious and other societies and associations, cooperative societies.”

Mr. Viswanathan, who is also the founder-chancellor of VIT University, said the Educational Tribunals Bill, if enacted, would mean that aggrieved institutions, teachers and students could not go to the High Court for immediate relief, but only to the tribunal. “The State tribunal has no powers to pass interim orders, so we will have to wait till the judgment is pronounced. And even after that, one can go only to the national tribunal, which also has no powers for granting interim orders.”

Noting that prohibiting capitation fees was the original intention of the law, Mr. Viswanathan held corruption as the main reason for institutions collecting capitation fees. “We, as an association, will support the government in abolishing capitation [fees], but unless corruption is eradicated, it cannot be curtailed.”

Asked to elaborate on corruption, he said: “There is corruption at various levels — it begins at the panchayat level, and [is there at] the district level, the State level and the national level. Either departments of the government or the regulatory authorities of the State and Central governments — all of them have to be paid now. And it has to be paid in cash.” If controls were increased, corruption would also increase, resulting in an increase in capitation fees.

Encourage competition

According to him, the solution lay in encouraging competition among institutions and creating enough seats for students. Harassment of those running institutions was a major impediment to the expansion of higher education. “Asking the government to fix the fees of institutions will inhibit competition. Only if there is competition, quality will go up and the cost of education will come down.”

Mr. Viswanathan said accreditation should not be made mandatory, as envisaged in the proposed law, but only voluntary. It should also be done by professionals and not solely by government agencies. “We want the Prime Minister’s liberalisation policy in business and industry to be extended to education.”

He also favoured serious steps to attract talent to the teaching profession. And if at all foreign universities should be allowed to set up campuses in the country, they should be allowed to function with a local partner. They could be asked to bring at least 50 per cent of teachers from their own countries, and only reputed universities should be allowed to operate.











Workers eligible to claim wages even if dismissal order is withdrawn, says High Court


Chennai, Dec. 28:

Even if an organisation withdraws its dismissal order of workers, they are entitled for claiming wages during the period when the order was in force, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Hearing a writ petition on imposition of selective lockouts by management of a Coimbatore-based firm vis-à-vis eligibility for claim of wages by workers, the court held that the Labour Court, Coimbatore that deliberated the issue “was right in computing wages in favour of workmen”.

If the contention Messrs Alpha Helical Pumps was accepted, then it would defeat the very purpose of Section 33 of Industrial Disputes Act, Mr Justice K. Chandru ruled in his order. The Labour Court took note of the fact that the management withdrew its July 15, 2004, order dismissing the workers. It was in that view that the labour court held that withdrawal of dismissal order did not disentitle workmen from claiming wages for period of “illegal” dismissal.

The petitioner contended that dismissal of workmen was preceded by regular domestic enquiry and they were dismissed for “grave” act of misconduct. Hence, they were not eligible for wages. It was in welfare of other workers, a partial lockout was declared on August 6, 2002. The said power to declare partial lockout was very much available to the management under the Act.

The labour court placed reliance on judgment of Labour Appellate Tribunal in Associated Cement Companies vs workmen reported in 1953 II LLJ 369. In that case, the tribunal opined that proceedings before it were deemed to have commenced by legal fiction created under Section 20(3). It also opined that it was not complete until order of reference was actually received by it.

The labour court held that workmen need not get really dismissed or penalty adjudicated by any court. Since the dismissal order itself had become void ab initio, workmen were entitled to claim wages.

The petitioner submitted that inasmuch as they were not even aware of order of reference, it could not be said that by a legal fiction, an obligation was created on management.

The judge held that the fact that summons were received from the labour court subsequent to the dismissal and that the petitioner was not aware of pendency of dispute could not hold water because the management had participated in conciliation proceedings.

Since no case was made out to interfere with impugned order of the labour court, the writ petition stood dismissed, the Judge said.








Jatara: Displaced tribals seek compensation


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Tuesday issued notices to the Warangal district collector, ITDA project officer at Euturunagaram, Mulug RDO, MRO, VRO, endowments commissioner, principal secretaries of revenue, excise and tribal welfare on a writ petition relating to the SammakkaSarakka Jatara. The biennial state festival will take place from February 5 to 8.

The petitioner, Urattum gram panchayat sarpanch Ch Jaganadha Rao, sought the court’s direction to the respondents for payment of compensation to tribals whose lands measuring 600 ares are acquired from December to June for jatara.

The villagers, who depend on farming, lose their livelihood during that period. Besides, they are are not paid any compensation from the Rs 20crore jatara revenue, 33 pc of which went to priests and the rest to the government, he said. The case was posted for hearing to January 18.










Anna Hazare calls off fast, jail bharo stir


Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 12.58AM IST


MUMBAI: In a dramatic climb-down, activist Anna Hazare abruptly broke his fast and scrapped his jail bharo campaign to pressure the government to set up a Lokpal fitting the design prepared by his civil society colleagues.

The announcement came against the backdrop of worries about the health of Hazare who started his three-day fast on Tuesday and signs of dwindling popular interest in the anti-corruption agitation under his aegis.

Although the attendance at MMRDA crowds was approximately 3,000 more than the disappointing turnout on Tuesday, it fell far short of the organizers’ expectations and triggered the perception that Team Anna may have run out of steam.

Even as Hazare vowed to persevere and threatened to campaign against Congress, accusing it of being the main stumbling block for the anti-corruption fight, he looked tired and disappointed.

Times View

On December 23, we wrote a Times View saying Team Anna “must not overplay its hand” and that such a “crucial piece of legislation…should not be passed in haste or under duress”. The events of the past two days appear to have validated our view. Team Anna has lost some ground, for a variety of reasons. But the concerns raised by it remain very relevant. It is for the political class, across the spectrum, to deliver on the demand for clean and honest governance. There isn’t any one perfect formula to do it; also, it would be foolhardy to believe that corruption can be banished by the wave of a magic wand. What the people are looking for is at least a genuine and serious effort from our lawmakers.











Bank auctions wrong plot


Deepender Deswal, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 07.01AM IST

ROHTAK: In a strange case, the state bank of India (SBI) auctioned a plot of a senior citizen to recover the amount following default of repayment of loan taken by another person.

The owner of the auctioned plot had been running from pillar to post for the last six months but he failed to get any relief from the bank, the police or the court. His plot was auctioned on Tuesday on the orders of the debt recovery tribunal (DRT) in Chandigarh.

According to information, Jai Singh and Om Prakash had purchased plots measuring 107 square yard and 124 square yard respectively from one Malha Ram in 1980 in Rohtak. Jai Singh disposed off his plot to another person, Dharambir Singh in 1998.

The dispute began when Jai Singh allegedly furnished an old registry of the plot (which he had sold) as guarantee in bank for one Rajesh of Chiri village who had taken loan in 2004. Rajesh defaulted in payment of the loan and the bank started the process of auction of the said plot in February 2011.

The problem began when the bank earmarked the adjacent plot owned by Om Prakash instead of Jai Singh’s plot for auction. Om Prakash was shocked to find a notice from the DRT, Chandigarh, pasted on the boundary wall of his plot. When he approached the bank officials and told them that they had “erred in serving notice” on him, they told him that they had identified the right plot for auction.

Om Prakash lodged a complaint with the police against Jai Singh alleging fraud and also wrote to the public grievances department of the SBI. But he got no relief from the police or the bank authorities and finally he filed a petition in a Rohtak court demanding stay on the auction.

The court however declined to stay the auction. He filed an appeal in the district court in Rohtak on Tuesday, but the DRT officials auctioned the plot the same day.

Stating that it was a fraud, Om Prakash alleged, “I suspect that the bank officials are hand-in-glove with Jai Singh and Rajesh who defaulted in loan repayment and I am being made to suffer for the misdeeds of the duo”.

SBI’s chief manager at Rohtak Hans Raj told TOI that they had earmarked the right plot for auction on the basis of location and dimensions mentioned in the documents regarding guarantee. “We have received the complaint and referred it to the higher authorities for further action,” he added.











‘Take over Goan clubs’ assets in Mumbai’


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 01.45AM IST

PANAJI: The Indian council of management executives (ICME) has urged chief minister Digambar Kamat to take over the assets of Goan clubs in Mumbai so that the interests of members are protected and also to set up family courts and a state mediation commission to resolve pending matters in civil courts.

The issue of old Goan clubs which were known as ‘kuds’ locally, was raised during a meeting with the chief minister by a delegation of ICME led by David Joseph, a Mumbai based solicitor.

In a memorandum submitted to Kamat, ICME has claimed that there were around 1,000 Goan clubs in Mumbai several years ago which were properties of villagers of Goa and that now around 260 clubs are remaining. ICME has said that as the villagers are unable to maintain and take care of the clubs, landsharks, builders and developers and even some registered organizations are taking over the prime assets by misguiding them and taking advantage of the simplicity of the Goan villagers.

Control of assets should be taken over by the government of Goa or alternatively a team of experts should be appointed immediately to study the clubs’ assets and submit a report to the government on the options available, the memorandum said.

“On the basis of the report of the experts panel, the government should appoint a minister for clubs who will among others, liaison with the government of Maharashtra to protect and improve the market potential of the clubs thereby bringing joy and happiness in the hearts of the villagers,” ICME said.

Raising another important issue with the chief minister, ICME delegation urged the government to immediately set up family courts in Goa and also state mediation commission headed by a retired Supreme Court judge.

Joseph said that today special courts and bodies are the need of the hour in order to strengthen the faith and hope of the justice delivery system in Goa. “There are several contentious issues of law which need specialized bodies to decide and settle the same which go a long way in building peace and prosperity in Goa.”

ICME has said that mediation, which is also known as alternative dispute resolution, is proving to be a very satisfactory method of resolving disputes in every sphere of life, pointing out that there are several disputes pending in courts – inventory and civil courts – concerning inheritance, succession and properties.

In this situation, mediation is an answer. Hence, setting up of both the bodies – a family court and Goa state mediation commission – will bring speedy justice to the peole of the state.











CEO orders probe into Kushwaha, Badshah name controversies


Shailvee Sharda, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 01.52AM IST


LUCKNOW: Chief electoral officer has ordered a probe into the name controversy relating to former cabinet minister Babu Singh Kushwaha. Orders to this effect were given on Tuesday. Speaking to TOI, Umesh Sinha, chief electoral officer said, “I have asked district election officer to submit a report in a week’s time.”

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on November 18 had directed the principal secretary of the UP Legislative Council to hold an inquiry into the allegations against former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha for defrauding with the public office he held as a cabinet minister by not using his real name Ram Charan Kushwaha and further directed him to furnish the report in the court within six weeks. A division bench of Justice Abdul Mateen and Justice VK Dixit also issued notices to the chairman of the UP Legislative Council, chief election commissioner and chief electoral officer of UP to place their response within six weeks.

The PIL was filed by Sabhajeet Singh who stated that Babu Singh Kushwaha’s real name, according to his educational records, is Ram Charan Kushwaha while ‘Babu’ is his nick name. But instead of filing nomination with his official name, he used it along with his nickname. Singh also pointed out that the permanent addresses of the two names have been shown differently. The election commission is also taking a strong view in case of former labour minister Badshah Singh who has been indicted by UP Lokayukta Justice NK Mehrotra in a similar case.

Probing allegations levelled by Akhilesh Upadhaya, a Samajwadi Party worker from Mahoba, the Lokayukta found that Badshah Singh’s original name was Ramendra Singh and he had used it to get possession of unauthorised properties. Lokayukta’s report stated that Singh had contested the nagar panchayat election from Kharela in the name Badshah Singh. However, when he contested the assembly election in 1989, his name in the voters’ list was Ramendra Singh. In 1991, when Singh contested the state elections, he used the name Badshah Singh.

The Lokayukta referred the case to the election officer asking them to verify how the name Ramendra Singh, mentioned in his Class X mark sheet, was changed to Badshah Singh in the voters’ list.

Legal experts point out that, in case EC is convinced that the name change was deliberate, action can be initiated under section 31 of Representation of People’s Act. Using the provisions, electoral registration officer can lodge an FIR against the candidate in question which could mean one-year in jail.





Cry to check tourism-induced pollution at Simlipal Ambika shrine


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 06.48AM IST

BARIPADA: Massive influx of tourists and the resulting air and noise pollution at the famous shrine of goddess Ambika at Deokund, in the eastern fringes of Simlipal Wildlife sanctuary, has upset a cross-section of residents in the region, who are demanding curbs to check the menace.

An all time record number of 563 noisy and polluting vehicles, including 306 four wheelers, 20 buses, 27 auto rickshaws and scores of two wheelers carrying nearly 7,000 tourists visited the shrine on December 25, said sources in the forest department and the Deokund Development Committee.

The shrine, also known as the Panchasagar Tirtha or Shakti Peetha, a hotspot for tourists and devotees of goddess Ambika, was visited by 1,06,350 tourists last year, tourism department sources said here on Wednesday.

Only 20 four wheelers are allowed to ferry tourists through the Pithabata check gate, while another 40 four wheelers are allowed to enter the tourism zone of the STR (Simlipal Tiger Reserve) through the Kaliani check gate for day tourism in the reserve. Visitors are allowed to enter the reserve before 9 am in the morning and leave by 5 pm.

But for visiting the Ambika shrine in the vicinity there are no such rules in place to combat noise and pollution and preserve sanctity and peace in the sanctuary and the shrine, said Uttam Behera, a member of the executive committee of Deokund Development Committee.

Behera suggested that the forest department should allow the parking of vehicles at least five kilometers away from the boundary of the wildlife sanctuary at Budamara and vehicles should never be allowed to enter beyond the village. Only bullock carts or battery-driven vehicles should be allowed to carry tourists from Budamara to the shrine, he added.

“If the forest department does not wake up to the need to restrict the number of Deokund-bound vehicles, stop eco-vandalism of a different kind existing in the region, we shall soon go for a PIL to stop dust and noise in the shrine,” Behera said.

A local tribal leader, Durga Tudu, has also joined Behera in his cry for a PIL to get rid of the pollution and ensure a noise-free sanctuary.



Haryana finds nobody responsible for Rathore’s promotions


Sukhbir Siwach, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 07.02AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Even after two years of conviction of S P S Rathore in the Ruchika molestation case, the Haryana government has not held anybody responsible for his promotions from an IG to DGP despite the fact that it happened even after his indictment by then DGP R R Singh in the case in 1990.

In different affidavits in connection with an ongoing PIL in the Punjab and Haryana high court filed by human rights activist Ranjan Lakhanpal, the state government has revealed the sequence of incidents leading to his promotions without commenting on the role of officials and politicians concerned.

On September 3, 1990, DGP Singh had recommended that a case be got registered under appropriate sections of the IPC on the basis of Ruchika’s statement.

According to one of the affidavits, it was desired at the level of the then chief minister Hukum Singh on February 1, 1991 that the views of new DGP may be obtained (regarding Ruchika molestation case.)

When then DGP R K Hooda recommended departmental action against Rathore, the CM ordered issuance of a chargesheet against him. After three years of it, then Bhajan Lal government dropped disciplinary proceedings against Rathore on July 7, 1994, though, the Centre was informed about it after two years of the decision.

At a meeting regarding promotions held on October 31, 1994, then DGP Lachhman Dass stated that no disciplinary proceedings were pending against Rathore and three other officers. However, the ACR record of Rathore was not complete. Just two days after it, Rathore was found suitable for promotion and was promoted to the rank of ADGP by the committee.

Rathore’s ACR was not found complete again when a screening committee met on May 19, 1999 to decide suitability of IPS officers for the post of DGP. After finalization of the ACR, when the matter was placed before the committee the next day, it observed that Rathore was chargesheeted for major penalty under All India Services Rules for his alleged lapses in granting parole to one Dheeraj Pahwa, whose chargesheet was pending. Then, the committee kept its recommendations in a sealed cover, which was not to be opened till the termination of the disciplinary proceedings against him. Thereafter, the chargesheet against Rathore was withdrawn and opening of the sealed cover was allowed at the level of the then chief minister Om Parkash Chautala on September 30, 1999 and in view of the recommendations of the committee, Rathore was promoted to the rank of DGP.

Later on December 29, 1999, Rathore was booked for molestation charges on the directions of the Supreme Court.







Trial on PIL challenging APSHRC chairman appointment deferred


PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Hyderabad, Dec 28 (PTI) Andhra Pradesh High Court today adjourned to January 3, hearing on a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the appointment of retired judge Nisar Ahmad Kakru as the chairman of the State Human Rights Commission. A division bench comprising of Justice Gulam Mohammad and Justice Nooti Ram Mohan Rao, called for the file pertaining to the appointment of Kakru as the Andhra Pradesh State Human Rights Commission (APSHRC) chairman, in a sealed cover before adjourning the trial. In his PIL filed recently, petitioner S Satyam Reddy, an advocate, challenged the appointment claiming that Kakru, who was the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court till his retirement in October this year, was inaccessible to the public due to the ‘Z’ category security enjoyed by him. Kakru also does not know the local language — Telugu, he added. Kakru had taken charge as the APHRC chairman on December 22.





Bhatt writes a letter, Sreekumar rebuts


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.47AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The blame game has begun between senior cops who are speaking against the Narendra Modi government for its inaction in the 2002 riots. It all started with former DGP R B Sreekumar’s dashing off a letter to the Nanavati-Mehta commission, in which he said that suspended IPC officer disregarded orders from higher ups to file affidavit in the past.

A day after Sreekumar’s charge, suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Wednesday counter-alleged Sreekumar of hiding “inconvenient and incriminating” information from Godhra commission. Stung by Sreekumar’s accusations, Bhatt replied him with all ‘personal standards of decency and professional atiquette’, “Suffice to state that the Government of Gujarat succeeded in their strategy of ensuring that certain inconvenient and incriminating details encompassed by references (a), (b) and (c) of the Terms of Reference of the Commission were excluded from your Affidavit dated 06/07/2002 filed on behalf of the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB)… As you have always claimed, the Affidavit was exclusively and solely authored by you and you alone. It would therefore be improper and inappropriate at this stage for me to speculate or comment on the reasons and motives behind your having disregarded the plethora of information that was then available with the SIB.”

Bhatt claimed that then DGP A K Bhargav asked only those officers to file affidavits, who had done so earlier. Bhatt also showed the circulars to establish that he was not supposed to file any affidavit. However, Sreekumar does not seem to be convinced with Bhatt’s explanation and maintained that as “staff officer” of then ADGP SIB, G C Raiger, Bhatt should have filed affidavit before the probe panel.

Sreekumar continued questioning Bhatt’s credentials besides accusing him of taking a convenient stand to avoid clash of interests with the government. “I filed affidavits later without direction from the higher officers. Similar action was reportedly taken by Rahul Sharma also. Does your prolonged silence owes its genesis to some ulterior motive hitherto unknown to people? Even today instead of filing an affidavit, you are asking for so much of data from the government. Do you expect the government to present data harming their political interests to you on a platter? Further, even your role in undermining the PIL by Mallika Sarabhai is yet to be presented to any judicial body by you,” Sreekumar questioned.





State Minority Commission may be formed soon


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 04.32AM IST


HYDERABAD: Under pressure from various quarters, including the National Commission for Minorities, the state government is expected to announce the formation of the State Minorities Commission soon.

According to sources, chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy has started holding talks within his Congress party and elsewhere on the question of the composition of the commission and selection of its chairman. The term of the last SMC ended in March 2009, a few weeks before the general election.

The then chief minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy was reportedly unhappy with SMC for outsourcing inquiry into the excesses committed by the police on the Muslim youth following the bomb blasts at Mecca Masjid, Gokul Chat Bhandar and Lumbini Park in 2007. The inquiry had indicted the police and recommended measures to compensate for the illegal detention of the youth.

Against this backdrop, after winning the elections, the chief minister did not show any hurry in forming the commission. His successor K Rosaiah followed YSR’s footsteps. In the meantime the NCM wrote to the CM wherein one of its six recommendations was to establish the commission.

Meanwhile Taraq Quadri, a former member of SMC, filed a PIL in the high court in April that was taken up a few days ago. When the government pleader informed the court that the government was in the process of forming the commission, he was told to file an affidavit. Though no date has been fixed the case is expected to come up for hearing soon.

The government is keen on forming this commission with representatives from all minority communities as the previous body didn’t have Parsi and Sikh representation.





Koda and ex-ministers examined by team of military doctors


PTI | 07:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Ranchi, Dec 28 (PTI) A team of Indian Army doctors today checked ‘ailing’ former chief minister of Jharkhand Madhu Koda, his alleged aide and two former ministers at Namkom Military Hospital (NMH), about ten days after Jharkhand High Court ordered the prison authorities to take them to Namkom cantonment for check-up. “Madhu Koda, Kamlesh Singh, Bhanu Pratap Sahi and (Koda’s alleged aide) Vijay Joshi were checked by a team of army doctors at NMH,” a senior official at Birsa Munda Central Jail told PTI. The four-some, now in judicial custody, were checked by the military doctors after the high court had on December 19 directed the IG (Prison) to make arrangements for a health check-up at NMH at Namkom cantonment situated on the outskirts of Ranchi. The court’s direction came after a PIL by social activist Durga Oraon moved the court accusing them of using their political clout to stay in Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIIMS) on the pretext of being ill instead of staying in jail. While Koda was admitted to RIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by the jail inmates a couple of months ago, the three others have been admitted for various “ailments”. It was Oraon who had filed the original petition in 2009 accusing Koda and his former cabinet colleagues of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2005 and 2008 when they were in power, leading to their arrests and subsequent remand in judicial custody. While Koda and Kamlesh Singh were arrested on November 30, 2009, ex-health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi surrendered before a special CBI court in connection with a medicine scam this year.







Three get life term in murder case



TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.41AM IST


AHMEDABAD: Trying to resolve a fight over a road accident cost Himmatsingh Thakore his life. He was stabbed to death by members of one of the fighting groups in Chamanpura in 2009. City sessions court on Tuesday sentenced three people to life imprisonment and acquitted one in the case. According to the case details, police officials arrested Arjun Shakaji, Govind Vanzara, Ramesh Shakaji and Bhagwan Vanzara – residents of Meghaninagar in 2009 and booked them under IPC 307, 302 and 324 for stabbing Thakore. After hearing the arguments, the court acquitted Arjun and sentenced the three others to life imprisonment. The court has also fined the three sentenced Rs 5,000.

On July 4, 2009, Thakore had tried to settle matters between Popatlal Atamaram and the arrested during an accident. However, a day later the arrested got hold of Thakore in Chamanpura and allegedly started beating Thakore and later stabbed him. During the hearing, 20 witnesses had given their statement and police produced around 21 documentary evidence to suggest the involvement of the arrested.




One Yr On, Govt Yet To Answer Army On Machil Killings

Srinagar, Dec 28: Even one year after the High Court asked it to file objections, the state government has not responded to the army’s plea to transfer the Machil fake encounter case to a military tribunal.

The High Court’s latest orders had come on December 14, giving the state two weeks more to reply in the killings last April where 11 persons, including an army colonel and a major, have been charged with murder and conspiracy by the police.

Three Nadihal villagers from the Baramulla district had been gunned down allegedly by the army in the frontier Machil sector of Kupwara district in late April 2010 after being lured by an SPO with offers of high-paying jobs.

Passed off as foreign militants by the army, the victims’ bodies had been exhumed in May on the insistence of their kin, leading to a police indictment of two top ranking military officers and other personnel.

The High Court has stayed their trial in Baramulla when the army challenged orders by the district and sessions judge for the officers to be brought before the law.

The army has been fighting the case on issues of jurisdiction, ironically stipulated by the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which chief minister Omar Abdullah has been trying to lift from selected valley areas.

The army contends that personnel charged with offenses during active duty can be prosecuted by their commanding officer.

The police charge sheet in July last year names  Colonel D K Pathania of the 4 Rajput Rifles, Major Upendra Singh, Major Maurya (Adjutant), Subedar Satbir, Hawaldar Bir Singh, Sepoy Chadra Bhan, Sepoy Nagendra Singh, Sepoy Narendra Singh and Abbas Hussain Shah of the Territorial Army (TA).









Kerala mulls legal move against technical committee


PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 28 (PTI) Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said the state will decide on moving court against the alleged unilateral approach by members of the Supreme Court-appointed empowered panel on the Mullaperiyar issue during their recent visit to the dam site. “We are discussing with our counsel in Delhi and will take an appropriate decision at the right time,” he told reporters after a cabinet meeting. He said the state’s Mullaperiyar Cell Chairman M K Parameswaran Nair had personally appeared before the cabinet today and briefed about the recent developments. A decision on legal action would be taken only after consultations with the state’s advocate, he said. Earlier in the day, Revenue Minister Thiruvanchur Radhakrishnan had indicated that the “unilateral way in which the members conducted their proceedings would be brought to the notice of the apex court, where the long-drawn dispute between Kerala and Tamil Nadu is pending. “It is difficult for Kerala to accept certain unilateral views expressed by technical member C D Thatte. We will decide what to do on this after consultations with the legal experts,” he said. Kerala officials had stayed away from the visit of the technical members last week alleging they did not hear the state’s views on the dam’s safety aspects. Two technical members on the panel — Thatte and D K Mehta — had a two-day inspection tour of dams in Idukki district including the 116-year-old Mullaperiyar reservoir which Kerala wants to be replaced with a new one citing safety concerns. Thatte had allegedly declined to heed views of the Kerala officials during the inspection conducted on December 23. Meanwhile, Kerala Police, in charge of the dam’s security, objected to certain maintenance works sought to be carried out by Tamil Nadu on the ‘Baby dam’ close to the main reservoir. State officials held that undertaking maintenance work unilaterally would amount to violation of the apex court orders in the dispute.











Chandni murder case: Two accused get death by hanging


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 06.14AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The judiciary in Gujarat gave its 14th death sentence of 2011 on Wednesday when two persons were awarded death by hanging by a trial court in Junagadh in the much publicized 2007 Chandni murder case.

Additional sessions judge G M Patel convicted Mohan Hamir and Mahesh Chauhan of killing Chandni Vinjvadia and raping her friend, and ordered them to be hanged till death as he put the case in ‘the rarest of the rare” category.

In his 132-page order, the judge observed that acquitting the accused would be dangerous for society. Public prosecutor D N Mori said the two were also fined Rs 25,000 each. The case had become a political issue after local MPs and MLAs got involved. Santokben Jadeja, on whose life the film ‘Godmother’ was made, too was arraigned in this case for allegedly harbouring the accused, but she died while the case was pending.

The incident took place on May 13, 2007, when Rajkot-based Ramjibhai Vinjvadia’s family had gone to Datar Hill in Junagadh for pilgrimage. Fifteen-yearold Chandni and her 18-year-old friend were left behind and stranded in a deserted place while the family was returning. The two girls were allegedly abducted by the accused. When they resisted, Chandni’s throat was slit and her friend was raped. The duo was arrested in 2009.

The testimony of Chandni’s friend nailed the accused as she not only identified them in court but also described the incident in detail. The case became controversial after members of Koli community came out in support of the family. Koli leader and Gujarat minister for fisheries Purshottam Solanki had even resigned from the cabinet at one point to build pressure on investigating agencies.

The police had even secured the court’s permission for Santokben’s narco test in the case. The legal battle had gone up to the Supreme Court, resulting in a landmark verdict that the test could not be conducted without the consent of the person.











Bills on judiciary may be delayed further


PTI | 10:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

New Delhi, Dec 28 (PTI) A much-delayed bill which provides for a mechanism to investigate complaints against judges could be held up further in Parliament along with another measure which seeks to increase the retirement age of High Court judges. The discussion on the two bills – the Judicial Standards and Accountability and the Constitution (114th Amendment) Bill, 2010– remained inconclusive in the Lok Sabha today as the House was adjourned abruptly today after uproar created by BJP which wanted voting on the two bills. The Constitution amendment bill requires that it be passed by a two-third majority of the members present which should not be less than half the strength of the house. A senior minister told PTI that the two bills were not part of tomorrow’s agenda. Tomorrow is the last day of the extended Winter session. The Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill 2010, which is an amended version of the one introduced last year, provides for a mechanism to investigate complaints against judges. The 114th Constitution Amendment Bill seeks to raise the retirement age of High Court judges from the present 62 years to 65 years, bringing it on par with the retirement age of Supreme Court judges. Questions are also being raised over whether the Whistle-blowers’ Bill will be taken up in the Rajya Sabha tomorrow. The Bill has already been approved by the Lok Sabha. The Rajya Sabha is expected to devote the entire day tomorrow on the Lokpal Bill.









Lokpal law vulnerable to repeal, say experts


J. Venkatesan

Without constitutional status, it can be scrapped in one stroke if the ombudsman proves inconvenient to any government

With the proposed Lokpal law failing to get constitutional status, there is a danger of its being repealed in one stroke by an ordinance if the institution proves inconvenient to any government in future, feel former Chief Justices of India and other eminent constitutional experts.

If the Lokpal law were given constitutional status, it could not be repealed as easily as any other piece of legislation. For, even for repealing the law with constitutional status, it would require a two-thirds majority of the members present and voting and at least 50 per cent of the total members voting in favour of the amendment, say the experts.

The former CJI, Justice V.N. Khare, cited two instances of Lokayukta laws in Punjab and Haryana having been repealed in quick succession as the then governments felt embarrassed when some inconvenient questions were asked by the Lokayuktas.

By an ordinance, these bodies were scrapped and the Lokayuktas asked to vacate their bungalows immediately. “I am giving these instances only to show that when somebody in power wants to act smart and throw away the legislation, it can be done by an ordinance and later a Bill to repeal the law can be passed by a simple majority,” Justice Khare pointed out.

Conferring constitutional status on the Lokpal, like it was done for the Election Commission, would lend the institution greater autonomy and power rather than making it a statutory body, he said.

Asked whether the government could bring in another amendment in the next session and confer constitutional status on the Lokpal, Justice Khare said: “In such matters, there is no estoppel and government will be free to bring in another amendment within six months.”

“Political decision”

Another former CJI, Justice J.S. Verma, agreed with Justice Khare and said: “It is beyond one’s comprehension that political parties want a strong Lokpal but at the same time did not want to give constitutional status to it. Everyone knows that constitutional status is higher than statutory status, but still if they oppose, I will only say it is a political decision.”

Justice Verma said: “This Lokpal Bill even if it is made into a law can be repealed by a simple majority if the government of the day feels there is no need for such an institution.” Asked whether the government could bring in another amendment, he said: “There is no res judicata [no finality] in this case and government could bring it in the next session. There is no point in waiting further.”

The former Attorney-General and senior advocate, Soli Sorabjee, felt that though constitutional status would give the Lokpal a higher position, the present Lokpal Bill, if it was passed in Rajya Sabha, could enjoy the same powers. Lack of a higher status would not undermine its credibility or authority. “The government is not barred from bringing in another amendment to confer constitutional status on the Lokpal in the next session if it feels so.”

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan said: “Like any other law, Lokpal law can be repealed by a simple majority. The real danger is Lokpal law is not immune from such threat.”

“Red herring”

Describing Tuesday’s event as ‘red herring,’ Mr. Dhavan said: “The government’s response seems to be — ‘we wanted to make the Bill strong, but the Opposition did not let us do’.”

On the clause that said funds for State Lokayuktas would be provided from the Consolidated Fund of India, he asked: “How can the Centre impose something on the States. Only the State Assemblies concerned can impose such a provision. If this clause is allowed to remain it will impinge on the financial federalism of the States, whose autonomy will collapse.”



3 more special CBI courts to come up in Delhi


Last Updated: Wednesday, December 28, 2011, 15:49


New Delhi: In a bid to fast track pending CBI cases, three more special courts will be functional in the national capital from January 2.

Delhi, which alone has 1731 CBI cases pending with it in comparison to 9996 such matters across the country as on August 31, will now have 21 special CBI judges working from January 2 to deal with the corruption and heinous crimes, probed by the agency. The number of special courts will go up to 21 from the existing 18.

This follows concerns raised by the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia over growing list of pending CBI cases.

Singh, CJI and his predecessor K G Balakrishnan had advocated creation of more CBI courts across the country to deal with the growing number of undecided cases. The CJI also wrote to Chief Justices of the High Courts to expedite hearing in corruption cases.

Besides Delhi, Andhra Pradesh, Gujarat, West Bengal, Orissa, Chhattisgarh, Assam and Goa were the states which did not either set up the sanctioned number or only partially implemented the Prime Minister’s advice given in 2009. The Delhi High Court passed an administrative order paving the way for creation of three CBI courts at Tis Hazari, Saket and Patiala House district courts complexes, to be presided over by Anu Malhotra, Ravinder Kaur and Swarna Kanta Sharma, all of the ranks of Additional Sessions Judge, respectively.









High Court reserves order on Srilakshmi bail


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.56AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice N R L Nageswar Rao of the A P High Court on Wednesday called for the records pertaining to the grant of mining lease to Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC) and reserved his orders for Monday on the plea of the CBI that sought the cancellation of the bail given to Y Srilakshmi, former secretary of state industries and mines wing.

While hearing the rival contentions, the judge said that though Srilakshmi claimed that it was the Centre that was empowered to give the final nod for the mining lease, she kept on writing to the Union government making a strong case in favour of OMC. It seems, the judge said, she did not sign the OMC file as a clever precaution to avoid any future responsibility for removing the word ‘Captive Mining’ in the GOs issued in June 2007.

“Though she has been maintaining that provisional lease to OMC was granted (in 2005) even before she took (she joined in May 2006) charge of the industries (mines) department, things started moving only from January 2007. Time limit granted to OMC was over by that time and she did not seek any explanation from OMC for the same. She displayed undue haste in pursuing the file”, the judge said.

Senior counsel C Padmanabha Reddy, appearing for Srilakshmi, said that the whole controversy was about illegal mining carried out by OMC in Karnataka and the leases granted to them in AP had never been an issue of controversy. “Till today neither the state nor the Centre nor even the Supreme Court took any steps to cancel the leases,” he said.

CBI counsel P Kesava Rao said that OMC was given preference citing captive use as the main reason while another firm called Zympex was in dire need of iron ore for similar purpose at its steel plant. But OMC never used it for captive purposes, he said .

The judge said that the trial court which granted Srilakshmi bail cited the nearing of 90 day deadline for filing the chargesheet and saw no scope of CBI doing it. But the CBI filed the chargesheet the next day, he said.

Srilakshmi’s counsel replied saying that even the chargesheet filed in the case did not name her because they do not have any material to fix her. The CBI did not even seek the sanction from the Centre for her prosecution, he said. The CBI counsel said they do not need such sanctions now.



Telugu actress’ death: Court reduces sentence of convict

Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: December 29, 2011 09:11 IST

Hyderabad:  The Andhra Pradesh High Court Wednesday reduced the jail sentence of G Siddhartha Reddy, a convict in the death of Telugu actress Pratyusha in 2002, to two years from five years earlier awarded.

The trial court in 2004 sentenced Reddy to five years’ imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs. 5,000 on charges of abetment in her suicide and one more year of imprisonment and a fine of Rs. 1,000 for attempting suicide.

Pratyusha died under mysterious circumstances in Hyderabad Feb 24, 2002.

On Reddy’s plea challenging the order of the trial court, Justice N. Ravi Shankar reduced his jail term to two years but increased the fine to Rs. 50,000.

The high court directed Reddy, who is out on bail, to surrender before police by Jan 15.

Reacting to the judgment, Pratyusha’s mother P Sarojini Devi told reporters that she would challenge it in the Supreme Court. Her family alleged that Reddy murdered her.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which probed the case, dropped murder charges against Reddy but concluded that he drove Pratyusha to suicide.

According to the investigating agency, Reddy and his classmate Pratyusha were in love and decided to get married. However, Reddy’s family opposed their proposed marriage.

Reddy met Pratyusha at a beauty parlour Feb 23, 2002, and took her away in his car. He bought pesticide from a shop and both of them consumed it after mixing it in cola.

Later, Reddy took Pratyusha to hospital where both of them were admitted. Pratyusha died the following day.









Presumption of innocence a human right: SC


Published: Thursday, Dec 29, 2011, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Stretching the scope of fundamental rights to suspected accused involved in a variety of criminal cases, the Supreme Court has said they are entitled to the sacred guarantee until they are found guilty by the court.

An accused is presumed innocent and he cannot be held guilty on the basis of suspicion however strong it may be, the top court said quashing an order passed by the Assam High Court holding an accused guilty of committing murder.

“It is equally well-settled that suspicion, howsoever, strong can never take the place of proof,” a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari said.

Raising doubts over the conduct of the police that investigated the case, the court passed stricture on the investigating agency.

However, the entire force cannot be condemned for the act of one policeman, the court added.

“There is no reason for us to generalise and say that there is an attempt not to register cases against assailants and when such cases are registered loopholes are intentionally left to facilitate acquittals or that the evidence led in the courts is deliberately distorted’’, the court said. It termed such lapses in certain cases as “aberrations’’ .

While the police force may have much to be sorry about and while there is always room for improvement in terms of infusing spirit of commitment, sincerity and selfless service towards the citizens, it cannot be said the entire force stands discredited, the bench added.

Earlier, while dealing with a case regarding the death sentence to a Parliament attack accused, another bench of the court had recently said, “human rights violation cannot be the prerogative of a few privileged as it is as much available to other deprived sections of the society and victims of violence’’.

Union home minister had told Parliament that India’s conviction rate in criminal cases is 39.02 %. The average conviction rate of crimes under the Indian Penal Code has been constant for sometime.









Cop kills cop: Gets life term


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.22AM IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi high court has sentenced a police officer to life imprisonment for killing a constable almost two decades ago.

Almost two decades after an Uttar Pradesh police officer shot dead a Delhi Police constable in the city’s main railway station, he has been awarded life imprisonment by the Delhi High Court.

Mahesh Babu, a sub-inspector with UP police, shot the constable, Raj Kishore, at point blank range with a revolver because the victim expressed his inability to immediately book a railway ticket and reserve a berth for him one October night in 1992.

A division bench comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal held Babu guilty of murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment for the crime.

“There is no evidence of there being any sudden fight or the offence having been committed in a heat of passion upon a sudden quarrel. It is not a case of the appellant having fired only once but of having fired four shots. One of the shots hit the deceased in the right side. Two shots were hit at the back and one in the right thigh. It is absolutely clear that the appellant wanted to finish constable Raj Kishore and he succeeded in doing so,” the bench noted in its judgment.

Babu wanted to go to Kanpur when he alighted at New Delhi Railway Station from Garh Mukteshwar in 1992. He then marched to the nearest police post and demanded from the constable on duty that his berth for onward journey be booked. When Kishore pointed out that it was past midnight and all reservation counters were closed, offering to instead arrange for Babu’s travel next morning, the latter flared up and hurled abuses at Kishore. HC went by the testimony of another Delhi Police official who tried to intervene and assuage Babu. He informed the court that as soon as Kishore went to the bathroom of first class passenger waiting room after bearing the brunt of Babu’s anger, the accused followed him inside and pumped four bullets into the hapless policeman, killing him on the spot.

When onlookers raised an alarm Babu fled from the spot and was apprehended after almost an hour long chase through the by-lanes near the main railway station. His service revolver was confiscated. Later, Babu was granted bail, after being convicted by a trial court in 1997.





Make citizen’s charter public, says HC


Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 01.50AM IST

NAGPUR: Team Anna’s efforts to have a citizen’s charter for all government departments received a big boost with Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court directing Maharashtra government to affix copy of the charter on notice board of all departments.

“It’s important that provisions of citizen’s charter by the government’s administrative departments must be made known to common man for whom it is meant,” a division bench of justices Dilip Sinha and Ashok Bhangale observed.

The judges directed citizen’s charter be displayed in the front lobby or at such a place which is easily visible to visiting public at all government offices. “The entire exercise must be completed by departments within two months. We also expect the government to finalize the rules to carry out purpose of the Act without further delay and notify the same in official gazette,” the court said before disposing of a petition in this regard.

The court’s directives came on a PIL filed by Nagpur Chamber of Commerce Ltd (NCCL) for early implementation of rules for ‘Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005. Harnish Gadhia was counsel for the petitioner and NCCL secretary Tejinder Singh Renu.

Earlier, additional government pleader Bharti Dangre informed that there were 29 departments of the Maharashtra government and all had prepared and posted the citizen’s charter on their website.

Government had also set up a mechanism for carrying out administrative audit to see the provisions of ‘Maharashtra Government Servants Regulation of Transfers and Prevention of Delay in Discharge of Official Duties Act, 2005’, were being properly observed. She also contended that rules under Section 14 of the Act were in final stage of preparation and would shortly be notified.

The court noted that though all the departments were supposed to prepare and publish citizen’s charter within six months of enactment of the Act, some had failed to do so.

Earlier, the petitioner argued that legislation regarding citizen’s charter was enacted on June 1, 2006, and it specified deadlines for movement of files in a government office and final disposal of a matter. It stipulated that a file could not remain with any official for more than seven days. It also gave 45 days for a final decision on any matter. Failure to comply is punishable with issuance of a warning and adverse remarks in annual confidential report.


HC stops Badlapur civic body from cutting trees on forest land


PTI | 05:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Mumbai, Dec 28 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today restrained the Municipal Council in Badlapur town of nearby Thane district from cutting trees to pave way for construction of a shopping mall on forest land. The injunction was granted by Justices M L Tahaliyani and Girish Godbole on a PIL which claimed that Kulgaon-Badlapur Municipal Council was planning to construct a mall without permission of the authorities. The PIL said the forest land on which the mall was planned to be built had trees of 200 valuable species and the Council was cutting down some of them to accommodate the shopping centre. The PIL, which has been adjourned for hearing after the winter vacation, alleged the land belonged to 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 entries in land records, it said. However in 1995, Thane Collector had given possession of the land to 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 ambiguous 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 another bunch of 25-30 trees were cut by the Council to pave way for the mall. PTI SVS DK SCY





RWA moves HC over mosque


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.35AM IST

NEW DELHI: Residents of Jangpura in south Delhi have moved Delhi high court alleging the Delhi Wakf Board has ignored violations of court orders on public land.

The residents recently claimed before HC that Wakf Board and a charitable society failed to comply with the court’s earlier order which allowed only 10 devotees to offer prayer at the site of a mosque razed by Delhi Development Authority (DDA) in January, as it stood on public land.

The board and Noor Charitable Society countered it, saying they had complied with the court’s order.

HC was hearing a case where Jungpura Residents’ Welfare Association (JRWA) have sought removal of the mosque on the ground that it is an encroachment on public land inhibiting free movement of traffic, causing inconvenience to local residents in the area. After HC orders, last year the DDA demolished the structure constructed on public land leading to protests and stone-pelting.

Later, when the matter once again landed before HC, the DDA assured the court that Noor Charitable Society, which ran the mosque, could be given 400 sqm land just 100m away from where the previous structure stood. Even as parties concerned negotiated for a settlement, the RWA informed HC that violations of interim orders have occurred.

The RWA through advocate R K Saini also presented some photographs of the area before Justice Vipin Sanghi during the hearing and said, “Though the banner and the tin structure have been removed, occupation is still there”.

Disagreeing with the contentions of JRWA, counsel for the board and the charitable society said all structures from the site have been removed. After hearing both the parties, HC ordered the board and the charitable society to remove the box from the site and also ordered to keep the prayer mats at some other place.






HC strikes down provisional admissions to higher courses


Ravinder Makhaik, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 07.05AM IST

SHIMLA: Striking down the provisional admission process in universities, technical institutions and other institutes of higher learning, the Himachal Pradesh high court on Wednesday issued strict directions to streamline admissions for the 2012-13 academic year by admitting only those students who had cleared the qualifying exam.

The orders came from the division bench headed by Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Sanjay Karol in a petition filed by student Khwaja Bahuddin, who has alleged that a private polytechnic institute at Kala Amb had admitted him though he had not passed a matriculation examination. Having paid all due fees, he was not being assigned a roll number for appearing for the first semester examination to be held soon, the petitioner had stated in the court.

During the course of the hearing the petition, director, higher education, submitted before the court that UGC guidelines permitted only those students to be admitted to higher courses who had passed the qualifying examination as on the date of admission. On learning that an ordinance of the university that permitted admissions against norms prescribed by UGC, the judges decreed, “There must be a uniform cut off date in the state for admission to each higher course. Only such candidates who have become qualified in having passed the qualifying exam as on the date of admission shall be given admission to higher courses.”

Making all universities, including private universities in Himachal as additional respondents in the case, the judges cautioned, “It is made clear that in case any management or any institute for that matter admits any student without the certificate of having passed the qualifying examination, be it polytechnic colleges, ITI, or any college, the head of the institution shall be liable for appropriate action for contempt and also for other permissible action under the law. It is also made clear that in case they are private institutes, they shall be deaffiliated/derecognized forthwith.”

With a counsel pointing out that students who fail to pass in one subject and are this placed in the compartment category would lose one year, the judges observed, “It is not a question of a candidate losing one year. The crucial question is admission of a student with eligible qualification.” In case the candidate has failed, such candidates can certainly appear in the next available chance till they pass in all the subjects. Admission to higher courses shall only be after passing the qualifying examination, the judges ordered.





Punjab and Haryana HC asks Ghaziabad SSP to appear before it


PTI | 11:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Ghaziabad, Dec 28 (PTI) The Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked SSP Ghaziabad Raghubir Lal to appear before it and provide details regarding murder of an engineering college chairman. A division bench has asked the SSP to appear in person before it within six weeks. Sunderdeep Engineering College Chairman Suresh Chand Gupta was shot dead in April in Model Town area here. The High Court issued the order on a petition filed by one Yogesh Sangwan whose name figured in the case



HC Stays Order to Close Down Bar Hotels in Kozhi


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the implementation of the Kozhikode District Collector’s order to close down bar hotels in the district on New Year eve. Justice V Chitambaresh passed the order while considering a petition filed by P Ajaikumar, managing partner, Sea Queen Hotel, Kozhikode, challenging the order issued by the Collector under Section 54 of the Kerala Abkari Act.

The Collector had issued the prohibition order on December 24 directing to close down all bar hotels in Kozhikode after 8 p m on December 31. The petitioner alleged that the order was based on a vague report of the district police chief. The police had reported that the people had a tendency to get drunk, wander in motorcycles and vehicles and even fight with each other in public on the New Year eve. The petitioner alleged that similar orders were issued during the past three years in connection with New Year. But in the previous years, the court had permitted to open bars on that day.








Visually-impaired student moves HC to get DU hostel seat


In august, when Shakti Agarwal completed LLM with first division from Delhi University’s Faculty of Law, the sky seemed to be the limit. Back then, his application for PhD in Law was also under consideration.

Battling blindness and osteoporosis, 32-year-old Agarwal felt he had accomplished quite a feat — enthusiastically looking forward to becoming the second ever visually-impaired candidate in the university’s history to pursue a doctorate in law. “Having scored 64 per cent marks in LLM, I was assured I would get the admission. And I did. However, I did not get to stay in DU’s Gwyer Hall hostel, where I was housed since 2006, when I enrolled for LLB. I was the highest-scoring candidate to apply for the hostel, and was the only one who was pursuing his Ph D in Law,” said Agarwal. The hostel authorities, however, would not let him in.

“I had submitted the application form to the hostel authorities in August, when my Ph D was under consideration. After being selected for the doctorate course, the authorities were supposed to return my form so I could re-submit it after getting endorsement from the course guide. They did not return my form, and I had to submit another one. The final hostel admission list came out on December 2, but it did not have my name. When I submitted my objections to the list, I was threatened,” Agarwal told Newsline. He had now moved a petition in the Delhi High Court.

Reading out from a petition filed through advocate Lalit Kumar Jha, Agarwal said the decision of the authorities was “filled with malice” because they were disgruntled over another writ petition he had filed in 2009, alleging inadequate security in the university campus and its hostels.

Agarwal’s previous petition pertained to the theft of his laptop from his hostel room. He reported the incident at Maurice Nagar police station on September 20, 2009, but the FIR was not registered immediately on the grounds that his complaint was not forwarded by the hostel warden. Finding the explanation “unacceptable”, the court sought a response from the DCP (North) as well as one from the university over stepping up security in the university campus.

Last month, a fine of Rs 3,000 was imposed on the police for not filing its reply. This matter will now be taken up in February.

“I was told that I was not being allotted a seat because of this petition, besides a stipulation that a student cannot be allowed to continue in a hostel for more than five years,” Agarwal said.

On Wednesday, when the matter came up for hearing before Justice Hima Kohli, the university’s counsel argued that Agarwal cannot stay for more than five years, irrespective of the course.

“But dissimilar people cannot be treated equally. The petitioner is visually impaired and has osteoporosis with severely increased fracture risk, when compared to the normal population. All the other hostels have been allotted, so why deny Gwyer Hall to somebody who is taking a course in Ph D Law? The hostel has vacant seats, and it must be given to the petitioner,” argued Jha.

To this, Justice Kohli asked the university’s counsel to ascertain if there were any vacant seats in the hostel, and if there are, what reservations do the hostel authorities have for allotting it to the petitioner. The court posted the matter to first week of January.




Civil cases pile up as city Lok Adalat shuts down


association estimate, even a hearing on such cases would now be pending for not less than six months.

The Punjab and Haryana high court order has shifted all cases to regular courts.

“At least 500 written orders were to be pronounced by the Lok Adalat when it stopped working after the HC order,” said Bal Krishna Bhardwaj, bar association secretary.

The HC order cited no particular reason for shutting down the Lok Adalat in Gurgaon.

Though the regular courts have begun hearings for civil suits that spilled over, they have not been able to devote adequate time to such cases.

They already have to deal with a long list of pending cases, 100-150 a day.

While the Lok Adalat exclusively dealt with civil matters throughout official working hours, the regular courts only have a one-hour slot — 3pm to 4pm.

Raj Kumar Sharma, an elderly litigant, had a hearing scheduled in the Lok Adalat for December 21. Now, his case has been deferred till the next month.

“I was hoping to get my matter resolved within a couple of months. Now, I can’t expect to settle a property feud with my sisters in less than 6-8 months,” he said.

Lok Adalat is a system of alternative dispute resolution.  It is a system where mock courts are held by the state authority, district authority, Supreme Court Legal Services Committee, High Court Legal Services Committee, or Taluk Legal Services Committee.

They are held periodically for exercising such jurisdiction and are usually presided over by retired judges, social activists, or other members of the legal profession.

Lok Adalats can deal with all civil cases, matrimonial disputes, land disputes, partition/property disputes, labour disputes etc.






Build toilets on your land to get extra FSI


Prasad Kulkarni, TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 03.04AM IST


PUNE: Private land owners in the city wanting to take benefit of increased floor space index (FSI) and transfer of development rights (TDR) have a new option. The new draft development plan (DP) for the old city has proposed that extra FSI be granted to those ready to give a chunk of their land to build public toilets.

A development plan (DP) lays out policies and proposals for development and use of land in the city.

Though the draft is yet to become public, minutes of the city improvement committee (CIC) meeting, a copy of which is available with TOI, said that discussions were held about the draft highlights like the key steps proposed in the plan. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) administration submitted the draft DP to the CIC recently.

“The existing DP rules have no provisions for providing extra FSI or TDR for encouraging construction of public toilets,” the minutes stated, adding that changes in the proposed DP rules have been suggested to increase public toilets in the city.

“If the owner of an establishment of over 4,000 sq m builds a toilet for public purposes and hands it over to the PMC, the owner will be able to get the benefit of extra FSI. Double FSI compared to the space given for toilet will be granted. But it will be mandatory to provide a separate entrance for the public toilet,” the proposed rules said.

The benefit of TDR will be given to those who hand over vacant land for construction of the toilet, which will be built by the PMC. “If any owner decides to hand over the land to the PMC for building a public toilet, the owner will get benefit of extra TDR. Double TDR compared to the land given will be granted to the owner,” the proposed rules stated.

The civic body has so far built 7,886 toilets and 1,336 urinals, while the actual need is 15,000 toilets and 3,000 urinals. The civic administration failed to utilise the Rs 1 crore allocated in the 2010-11 budget to construct public toilets and urinals since it could not find land to build the same.

Pune’s earlier development plan was drafted in 1982 and passed in 1987. It was to expire in 1997. However, since only 20% of the DP was executed till 1997, it got a 10-year extension till 2007. When the DP was due to expire, the civic body sought another extension from the state government and a new deadline of December 2011 was set. As per the DP sanctioned in 1987, the total number of reservations was 519, covering an area of 827 hectares.






No interim stay on Bidari’s appointment


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 06.20AM IST


BANGALORE: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Bangalore bench, on Wednesday declined to grant an interim stay on the appointment of Shankar M Bidari as director general of police (DGP) of Karnataka.

“I don’t think there are enough grounds for considering grant of an interim prayer. Though it was stated that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had indicted the respondent (Bidari), there is no document produced,” Leena Mehandale, administrative member of the tribunal who presided over the vacation bench, observed. She adjourned the hearing to January 11.

The bench ordered notices to the department of personnel and training, government of India, Karnataka chief secretary, Union Public Service Commission and DG&IGP Shankar Bidari, and asked them to respond to the petition filed by A R Infant. Bidari’s counsel appeared before court and sought time to file objections to the petition.

Infant, DGP for fire and emergency services, and director of civil defence and commandant general of Home Guards, challenged the November 30 appointment of Shankar Bidari to succeed Neelam Achuta Rao.

“There seems to not be much gap as regard seniority as they are due for retirement on the same day, May 31, 2012. Anyway, you can produce the evidence in support of your (petitioner’s ) claim at the next date of hearing,” the bench observed before adjourning the hearing. The bench also felt that the representation sent by Vimochana, an NGO, to the governor on human rights violations , could be engineered to queer the pitch.

Infant also alleged that the state government had ignored the National Human Rights Commission’s findings of serious rights violations of villagers by the Special Task Force (STF) formed to nab forest brigand Veerappan, and commanded by Bidari.


Bidari, Infant are 1978 batch officers Both are due to retire on May 31, 2012 Infant (in pic) claims Bidari may get term extended till November 2013 Infant claims human rights violations by STF commanded by Bidari Bomb attack in Bangalore during Bidari’s term.




Five persons get 10 years’ jail term for drug trafficking


PTI | 09:12 PM,Dec 28,2011

Ahmedabad, Dec 28 (PTI) Five persons including a woman were sentenced to ten years’ rigorous imprisonment for drug trafficking by a local court here today. Judge M P Sheth also imposed a fine of Rs one lakh each on them. If the fine is not paid, the sentence would be extended by two years. Those sentenced are: Subhash Singh, Jay Rathod, Suresh Sanchla, Kamaljeet Kaur and Prakash Bavlekar. “Originally there were six accused. But Manoj Gohil, the key conspirator, died during the trial which had begun in July 2007,” special public prosecutor Sudhir Gupta told PTI. “They all have been convicted under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and Indian Penal Code.” According to the prosecution, Bavlekar was the kingpin of the racket, with Gohil as a manager who hired transporters such as Kaur and persuaded them to transport the drugs across India from Jammu and Kashmir for a handsome remuneration. Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had apprehended Subhash from the city with 265 kg of hashish hidden in a cavity above the driver’s cabin. His interrogation revealed the names of Gohil as the manager of the operation, of Rathod and Sanchla who were the local contacts in Ahmedabad and of Kaur, the owner of the truck. Their questioning led the investigators to kingpin Bavlekar.







When crime rose and police reputation reached an all-time low


Preetu Venugopalan Nair | Dec 29, 2011, 01.50AM IST

PANAJI: Perhaps for the first time in the history of the Goa police service, a director general of police (DGP) officially admitted to political interference in the functioning of the police department. Former DGP Aditya Arya might have admitted to the interference, but he could do little to change it. The effort that he did make to break the police-politician nexus ended on a bitter note when he was shunted out of the state within seven months of being posted in Goa.

Even when he was leaving, Arya created quite a controversy when he said, “When I was posted to Goa as the police chief, President Pratibha Patil asked me to “clean up the beaches”. Elaborating, he said they are “obvious things that happen on the pristine beaches”.

Even as Arya’s statements made it to the front pages of newspapers, incidents of crime in the state rose and detection stood at an all-time low. Picture this: The provisional figures provided by the police reveal that in 2011, there were 3,371 cases reported, of which only 2,045 were detected. In contrast, in 2010, about 3,293 cases were reported and 2,103 were detected.

Of the 47 murder cases reported in 2011, almost 43 were detected. Of the 22 attempt-to-commit murder cases reported, 19 were detected and of the six cases of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, only two were detected. Of the 29 cases of rape, 26 were detected, of the two cases of dacoity, one was detected and of the 23 cases of robbery, 12 were detected. Also, of the 70 cases of burglary by day reported in 2011, almost 27 were detected and of the 240 burglary by night cases, only 57 were detected.

There has also been an increase in auto thefts this year, with 449 cases reported and detection in only 134 cases. There were also 629 other kinds of theft reported, of which only 203 have been detected. Of the 134 cheating cases that were reported, 102 were detected and of the 45 cases of criminal breach of trust, 29 were detected. There were 30 cases of counterfeit currency reported and only four cases were detected. And the most shocking moment came when PSI Vaibhav Naik was arrested by the Calangute police in July for allegedly giving fake notes to three persons to be used in casinos.





Ex-defence officer got 2 crore from builder, says CBI


TNN | Dec 29, 2011, 02.36AM IST

PUNE: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Wednesday chargesheeted retired defence estates officer (Pune circle) Sevak Ram Nayyar stating that he had received Rs 2 crore as illegal gratification from a builder in the army land scam and that he had utilised part of the money for ‘benami’ purchase of a flat in the controversial Adarsh society in Mumbai.

The others named in the chargesheet are Lohegaon village ‘talathi’ Balbhim Rama Gaikwad, builder Haresh Virumal Milani, Kevin Pinto and Mohammad Ishraque Khan alias Zarip Khan.

The chargesheet was filed before special judge D R Mahajan by CBI inspector N M Parab through special public prosecutor Vivek Saxena.

According to the chargesheet, Nayyar had received Rs 2 crore from Milani by demand draft drawn in favour of Genesis Education Society run by him as a reward for showing favour to Milani for submitting a letter/certificate saying that S. No. 233-A does not belong to the Army.

The chargesheet adds that Nayyar had utilised part of the amount for ‘benami’ purchase of a flat in Adarsh society while the remaining amount was used to construct a college in Pune.

The chargesheet says that, in September 2007, the PMC submitted a proposal to the military headquarters, Pune Sub Area, for transferring defence land admeasuring 4498.59 of S. No. 233-A at Lohegaon village for constructing a road from airport to the Ahmednagar Road.

The proposal was forwarded to Nayyar. Though no entry of S.No. 233-A was found in the military land register (MLR), the property card of 7/12 extract of the land, found in the defence estates office (DEO) record, shows that the land belonged to the military, investigations revealed.

Nayyar wrote a letter to the Pune Sub Area and dishonestly informed them that, as per the records the land does not belong to the military. He calculated the value of the land as Rs 4,45,35,744 as per the instructions received from the office of the director general of defence estates (DGDE), New Delhi. PMC deposited Rs 4,45,35,744 with the defence authorities as compensation for acquisition of part of the land after it had received an approval from the DGDE.

Meanwhile, according to the chargesheet, Khan established contacts with Nayyar and managed to get copies of important documents, which were used by Pinto and Milani to claim ownership of S.No. 233-A. On February 26, 2008, Pinto submitted an application at the office of the ‘tahsildar’ for deleting the name of military and entering his name on the 7/12 extract of the said land, but the ‘tahsildar’ issued a letter to the DEO asking them to give documents of S.No. 233-A and 235-B.
In the DEO’s reply to the ‘tahslidar’, Nayyar wrote that he was not in possession of the documents of S. No. 233-A. The chargesheet says that he dishonestly did not mention his opinion whether to delete the name of military from the property card of the said land. On S.No. 235-B, Nayyar informed the ‘tahsildar’ that three ‘gunthas’ shown in the DEO record was requisitioned for defence purpose.

The ‘tahsildar’ forwarded the documents received from Pinto and Nayyar to ‘talathi’ Gaikwad for taking action after verifying the documents. Investigations had revealed that Gaikwad had allegedly inserted the name of Pinto in S. Nos 233-A and 235-B on the basis of which he claimed ownership of S. No. 233-A.

The CBI chargesheeted the suspects as it was revealed that they had used false documents to induce revenue authorities and had made an attempt to obtain possession of the land at S. No. 233-A. The suspects were chargesheet under the Indian Penal Code and the Prevention of Corruption Act.




Play by rule book, officials told


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: State Government officials have been directed to maintain strict neutrality during the general election to the three-tier panchayati raj institutions (PRIs).
‘It is of utmost importance that Government officials including police at all levels should maintain strict neutrality in the discharge of their duties and do not act in any manner in the furtherance of the prospects of election of any particular candidate or party, Chief Secretary BK Patnaik said in a circular to all heads of departments.
Referring to the Orissa Gram Panchayat Act, 1964, the Chief Secretary said that any Government servant and employees of local authority who committed breach of the provisions of Section 28 of the Act will be liable to have his or her service terminated.
The Chief Secretary said that official vehicles, machinery and personnel belonging to the Government, public sector units, cooperatives, local bodies and PRIs should not be allowed to be used in the electioneering work in any manner.
Government, semi-government, PSUs, local bodies and PRIs have been asked not to issue any advertisement at the cost of the public exchequer portraying the achievements of the Government in power until the completion of the election.
The Police Department was also instructed to act on the complaints of criminal intimidation, violence and violations of several sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) including 153A, 153B, 171B, 171C, 171D, 171G, 171H and 505 promptly and firmly without any bias.
While the State Election Commission has banned the transfer of officials involved in the election work, the Chief Secretary said that the ban would apply to all officials actually or likely to be associated with the electioneering process.
Secretaries of Government departments, director-general of police, Revenue Divisional Commissioners, heads of the departments and district collectors have been directed not to give ad hoc promotion or temporary appointments at lower levels till February 22, 2012.
As per the code of conduct, grant of leave other than casual leave of officials connected with the conduct of election is also prohibited, he said.





CBI says no conspiracy behind Swami Nigamananda’s death


NetIndian News Network

New Delhi, December 28, 2011

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today filed a closure report in the case relating to the death of Swami Nigamananda in Uttarakhand in June this year, saying there was no conspiracy behind it as had been alleged in some quarters.


“Detailed investigation by the CBI revealed that there was no case of poisoning, a statement from the agency said here.


The closure report was filed in the Court of Special Magistrate, CBI, Dehradun.


Swami Nigamananda had gone on a fast for 65 days at Haridwar in Uttarakhand against illegal mining in the Ganga riverbed during February-April this year


“The technical, clinical, medical investigation has concluded that the cause of death was malnutrition leading to Wernike’s encephalopathy and associated complications due to prolonged fasting. Chemical analysis of the viscera of Swami Nigamanand did not detect any poison, including organo phosporous poison,” the statement said.


The statement said a medical board headed by experts from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) was constituted to examine the cause of death of Swami Nigmanand.


The board also heard a representative of the complainant, doctors who treated late Swami Nigmanand in different hospitals in Haridwar and Dehradun, as well as those who performed first and second post-mortem examination on Swami Nigmanand were also invited by the board.


“After an in depth analysis and detailed deliberations the medical board concluded that the cause of death was malnutrition leading to ‘Wernike’s Encephalopathy and associated complications due to prolonged fasting’. The medical board also concluded that there were no clinical and post-mortem evidences supportive of any poisoning including organo phosphorus poisoning as alleged in the complaint. Also no evidences came on record showing nexus between the suspected persons named in the FIR,” the agency said.


Swami Nigmanand had gone on fast for 73 days from January 20, 2008 for stopping mining, quarrying and crushing in the Kumbh area.


He again sat on fast to protest against the orders of the High Court of Uttarakhand from February 19 to April 24 this year, during which he was under medical check-up every day. After that, although he was continuously under medical care, he expired on June 13.


A complaint was lodged on May 5 with Inspector Kotwali, Haridwar alleging that a doctor of a Haridwar Hospital in criminal conspiracy with the proprietor of a stone crushing company attempted to kill Swami Nigmanand by getting administered poison through an unknown nurse during his treatment in the District Hospital, Haridwar.


Later on it was also alleged that poison was given in the ambulance while Swami Nigmanand was being transferred from District Hospital, Haridwar to Doon Hospital, Dehradun.


CBI had registered this case under section 120B read with 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) on the request of State Government.



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