LEGAL NEWS 30.01.2012

Sadhvi writes to Prez, claims torture by ATS


Vikas Pathak, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 29, 2012

Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, who is in Nashik central jail for her alleged involvement in the Malegaon blasts of 2008, has written to President Pratibha Patil from prison, seeking an inquiry into her “ill treatment and torture” by officials of the Maharashtra ATS.

In the letter

written on December 30, 2011, she requested the President to ask the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to take action in this regard and ensure that the officials concerned are brought to book.

Thakur has claimed that ATS officials whipped her severely with belts and subjected her to verbal abuse in jail.

She has added that she often fell unconscious and suffered from stomach pain and disorders because of the brutal treatment. Thakur has also accused the government of trying to appease “a particular community” and deliberately demeaning the path of sanyas (renunciation) prescribed by dharmagurus of Sanatan Dharma (Hinduism).

She also alleged that the late ATS chief Hemant Karkare forced one of her disciples to beat her up.











Child Rights’ panel demands report on Dewas debacle


TNN | Jan 29, 2012, 07.48AM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) has in a letter to the Collector Dewas district on Saturday sought details about reports of the incident where a small boy was shown bathing under a cold water tap despite the winter chill at the district Municipal Corporation’s tableau during the Republic Day parade on Thursday.

Commission member Vibhangshu Joshi said, “The commission has asked for an investigation report of the incident from the Dewas collector. Also a medical examination report of the boy has been sought.”

Mukesh Chandra Gupta, collector of district Dewas, which is 150 kms from the state capital Bhopal, had attended the Republic Day parade where the tableau of the Dewas Municipal Corporation was shown. With a theme related to water, it depicted a person opening the tap of a water tank and an eight-year-old child taking bath under it.

A few photo-journalists present on the occasion noticed the plight of the child, stripped to the waist and taking bath under the tap and shivering in the winter chill. They asked the authorities to save him from further trouble and to take him off from this live demonstration of the civic body’s ample water supply.

Commission members said they were appalled at the incident and that they also feared for the health of the boy. “The medical examination report has been sought for the same reason as the boy could possibly contract pneumonia,” said a member.

“Not just a medical report, the child should be monitored for a month to check for other symptoms,” said another.

“Increasingly, incidences of child abuse were coming to fore in the state,” rued a member indicating to the Chhindwara incident of the tribal boy tying shoelaces of a minister.

The Dewas collector has been asked to submit the report within a week’s time, informed the members.







Corporate bribe” in U.P. Assembly poll, EC acts tough


The Election Commission on Saturday directed seven district election officers of Uttar Pradesh to register criminal cases against 11 party candidates, who had claimed that they taken money from corporate houses for fighting the poll as quid-pro-quo to serve their interests after getting elected by organising groups of “vested interests” in the Assembly.

The Commission, besides alerting the Investigation wing of the Income-Tax office in Lucknow about the claim, also called for an action taken report from U.P. Chief Electoral Officer by Sunday.

The Commission, which took suo motu action, following a “sting operation” conducted by a Hindi channel – India TV, which was telecast on January 26, was shocked to hear from some of the prospective candidates that they spend between Rs. one to three crores, which includes expense in the name of dummy candidates, liquor for the electors and other expenses, though the maximum expense allowed in a Assembly poll as per rule is only around Rs.16 lakh.

Acting tough on the issue, the Commission directed the election officers in charge of the districts, where the 11 persons (supposed to be candidates) hail from, to file criminal cases against them. As the incident amounted to taking bribe, the persons, if convicted by the court, might have to spend up to one year in jail or pay fine. Besides they might face disqualification for continuing as the MLA, if elected, and also barred from contesting any poll in future, the EC warned.

The Commission, which went through the transcript of the sting – “Operation MLA”, also appealed to the political parties, to which the “candidates’ allegedly belonged to, inquire into the matter and advise all their functionaries to refrain from such activities.

“The Commission has reiterated its stand that such bribery under the IPC should be made a cognizable offence. The Commission has once again approached the government to pass an ordinance to make suitable changes in the law, as the matter is quite serious”, the EC said.

The Commission directed all the poll officials in U.P. to deal with firmly any incident of “bribe” taken by the candidates or offered. The entire liquor production, sale and distribution should be monitored everyday and any illicit liquor seized.

Movement of unaccounted cash should be monitored and seized. “If any person raises funds in cash as mentioned in the sting operation, the Income Tax department has to be alerted to deal with such donors firmly and investigate about the source of such bribe money,” the Commission directed.








PIL against illegal fishing methods


TNN | Jan 29, 2012, 05.40AM IST

MADURAI: Alleging that illegal methods of fishing are used by big fishermen owning high-power boats, those who own country boats and small-sized mechanized boats have filed a petition in the Madurai Bench of the Madras high court seeking a direction against the use of high-power boats and prohibited nets.

The TN Fishermen Labour Union Federation, which consists of fishermen using country boats and small size mechanised boats, has filed the petition. In it, they said Rameswaram and other nearby fishing areas lying in Palk Strait were rich in coral reefs, rare fish and other marine organisms.

Coral reefs being enriched with high vitamins and minerals were places where fish multiply. Hence, the union government had declared the areas around Palk Strait as ‘Mannar Bio Reserve Area’ in order to protect fish and other natural resources. But continuous violations of the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Marine Fisheries Regulation Act 1983 by fishermen who use high-power boats and pair trawlers and seine nets was leading to the depletion of marine wealth in the Mannar Area.

The petitioners stated that the enactments regulating fishing methods and use of vehicles for conservation of fish and scientific fishing were in force, but they were being violated without any remorse. They also claimed that rich fishermen were in cahoots with government officials and were using mini ships for fishing. By the use of such vessels, already a large number of fish varieties had become endangered. The fishermen added that the conventional method of fishing by single trawl nets would be environment-friendly and would not affect the reproduction of fish. But big fishermen were least bothered about the welfare of the environment and were using every means available to earn quick money.

Fishing using purse-seine nets will catch even small fish, which do not attain maturity. Hence fish were being endangered. They further said, “As the authorities also do not take any action, it is ultimately the small fishers who get affected.”









Former Isro chief G Madhavan Nair gives up IIT post; hopeful of getting justice through RTI


Surojit Gupta, TNN Jan 28, 2012, 11.14AM IST

NEW DELHI: Former Isro chief G Madhavan Nair, who has been barred from any government work for his alleged lapse in the Antrix-Devas deal, on Friday voluntarily stepped down from the post of chairman of the board of governors of the upcoming Indian Institute of Technology, Patna.

The government decided to bar Nair and three other ex-Isro scientists from any government work for their alleged lapses in the Antrix-Devas deal.


“I came here to say goodbye. I am voluntarily stepping down. This college is very close to my heart and it’s my moral responsibility to give them the message. I have nothing to do with the government. It has hurt me very badly. I have not been told anything by the government so far,” the top space scientist told TOI on phone from Patna.

Sources said Nair refused to chair the meeting of the board but was persuaded to stay on as he was associated with the planning for the college for a long time. Nair said he had filed an application under the RTI Act and had sought the two inquiry committee reports.

“I am sure the government will not refuse it. After studying the reports , we will take appropriate action. It’s a question of my prestige and it has to be restored ,” he said. “We do not know what were the terms of the committees, what are their recommendations .

We do not know what processes they followed to secure such an unilateral decision from the government,” he added. In February 2011, the UPA government scrapped the controversial contract between Antrix Corporation and Bangalore-based Devas Multimedia for the lease of space segment in S-band. The government had said it could not grant S-band spectrum to anyone including Antrix due to strategic reasons.

The controversy over the deal surfaced at a time when the government was battling corruption charges over the allocation of 2G spectrum. The government promptly appointed two committees – one headed by former cabinet secretary B K Chaturvedi and another by former central vigilance commissioner Pratyush Sinha – to probe lapses in the deal.

Nair said the Chaturvedi panel allowed them to present their case but the Sinha panel only sent a questionnaire, suggesting that they were denied the right to be heard. “We answered all the questions and sent it to them but we have not received any reply,” the ex-Isro chief said, adding that government’s decision to bar him from official work was against the process of natural justice.

Devas Multimedia has moved the International Court of Arbitration to settle the issue but Antrix has not responded favourably to the arbitration . The SC is expected to hear Antrix’s petition on the issue early in February.

The ICA has appointed a three-member panel to go ahead with the arbitration proceedings. Former CJI A S Anand has been appointed as one of the members of the arbitration panel.









CBI gets 5 more days to submit report in Dara case


TNN | Jan 29, 2012, 04.50AM IST

JAIPUR: The CBI has got five more days to submit its report before the Supreme Court in the Dara Singh encounter case. As the court had directed the CBI to complete probe against all the accused in the case, the deceased’s family members are hopeful that the agency will finally say something concrete about the role of former minister Rajendra Singh Rathore, the only accused against whom the probe is pending for the past seven months.

SK Sinha, lawyer of Dara’s wife Sushila Devi, said the CBI is yet to file the status report on the probe before the Supreme Court on February 2.

“The Supreme Court in the previous hearing in the case had asked the CBI to complete probe against all accused by January end. Former BJP minister Rajendra Singh Rathore is the only accused against whom investigation has been pending,” said Sinha.

He added that it is to be seen whether the CBI says something about Rathore’s role in the report.

Dara’s family members have raised doubts over the credibility of agency saying when they are showering praises on their officers for extraordinary competency in solving nurse Bhanwari Devi case, they are yet to complete probe into the encounter case, that too when it had already been cracked seven months ago.

Dara’s wife Sushila Devi claims to have written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Central Vigilance Commissioner demanding action against CBI officers including its director.

She added that CBI had completed its probe against two IPS officers and other police officers involved in the crime but kept the investigation pending against Rathore in its charge-sheet almost seven months ago.

CBI had filed the chargesheet in a court in Jaipur on June 3.

A team of state police’s special operations group (SOG) gunned down Dara Singh in an alleged fake encounter on the outskirts of Jaipur on October 23, 2006. The CBI had named 15 police officers as accused in the chargesheet while investigation was kept pending against Rathore under Section 173(8) of CrPC.

Former minister in the CBI chargesheet

– Rajendra Rathore tried false implication of Dara and his associate in a murder case in the case of FIR 143/05 dated 21.12.2005 P S Malsisar.

– During police remand Arshad Ali, ASP, SOG (an accused in this case) made Vijendra talk to Rajendra Rathore from his mobile phone and then Vijendra apologised to Rajendra Rathore saying SOG put pressure on him to nab Dara Singh.

– Rajendra Rathore as per call details was in touch with ADGP A K Jain from Oct 04 to 19, 2006.

– As per prosecution witness Omprakash, Dara Singh had conveyed to him months before his death that Rajendra Rathore would get him killed.

– Rajendra Rathore on phone told one Debu that he should part company with Dara Singh as his count down has begun.

– After a month of the killing of Dara Singh as per Debu, Rajendra Rathore came to his village and threatened that Dara has been killed and one Tilliya would meet the same fate on release from jail.






Haryana Agri univ prof ordered to be appointed ICAR scientist


PTI | 11:01 AM,Jan 29,2012

New Delhi, Jan 29 (PTI) An associate professor of Haryana Agriculture University has been ordered by the Delhi High Court to be appointed as a principal scientist in the Indian Council for Agricultural Research. A bench of justices B D Ahmed and V K Jain directed the Agriculture Scientists Recruitment Board (ASRB) to appoint Virender Singh Lather as a principal scientist in ICAR within eight weeks. “Respondents (Ministry of Agriculture and ASRB) are directed to appoint the petitioner (Lather) to the available post of Principal Scientist (Genetics/Cytogenetics) in ICAR subject to his fulfilling all the requirements, post interview in which he was selected. The respondent shall comply with this order within eight weeks,” the bench said. The court gave its order after the government informed it that there was no vacancy currently for the petitioner in ASRB but a post of principal scientist was available in ICAR and he could be accommodated there. Hissar-based Lather has moved the Delhi High Court against the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) order dismissing his plea against the ASRB’s decision not to appoint him on the post despite the fact that he had qualified for the post in an interview held for it in 2002. The board had declined to issue appointment letter to the senior professor for the post of Principal Scientist (Genetics/Cytogenetics) in ASRB on the ground that he did not fulfil the requisite criteria of having three years experience as senior scientist.









Panel upholds sacking of IFS officer for bigamy


Published: Sunday, Jan 29, 2012, 11:29 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

An Indian Foreign Service officer had to pay dearly for marrying the second time during existence of his first marriage and getting her treated abroad at the state’s expense with the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) upholding his dismissal by the government.

“The article of charge is not only as regards the second marriage while the first marriage was still subsisting but also taking his second wife to his place of posting (in Columbia) and claiming reimbursement for her medical treatment as well,” the panel headed by its Chairman V K Bali said, while upholding the dismissal of Bharat Singh Rawat.

The CAT order came on Rawat’s plea, challenging his ouster contending that his sacking was inflicted upon him without an inquiry and the punishment was unjust and unfair.

The question of recording evidence in order to prove his guilt never arose as he never denied the charges, it said.

“Present is thus not a case where the punishment inflicted upon the applicant may be shockingly disproportionate to his proved guilt,” the panel said.

Rawat had been charged with marrying for a second time during the subsistence of his first marriage in violation of Rule 21 of Central Civil Services (Conduct) Rules.

He had also been indicted for taking his second wife to his place of posting and claiming reimbursement of over Rs 1.4 lakh for her medical treatment.

Pleading for a sympathetic approach, Rawat said he had also moved court for divorce from his first wife in July 2009.

The Tribunal, however, refused to give him any relief as the records showed that he had a second wife since 2006 for whom he had even obtained a valid passport.









Electricity tribunal for independent person as ombudsman


He should not hold any other position in the Commission

The Appellate Tribunal for Electricity has directed all State Power Regulatory Commissions and the Secretary to the Forum of Regulators to ensure that an independent person was appointed in time as ombudsman to deal with consumer interests.

The tribunal, comprising chairperson M. Karpaga Vinayagam and technical member Rakesh Nath, gave this direction on Friday acting on a petition filed by the Delhi Electricity Regulatory Commission seeking a review of its earlier order.

It said: “The Ombudsman is a separate body. He has to decide the issues independently and he should act independent of the State Commission. Ombudsman plays an independent role of a judge to decide the issues of the consumers and others and so he should not hold any other position in the Commission.”

The tribunal noted that in response to its earlier directions, “Ombudsmen are functioning in almost all States. We have received the respective reports from all the State/Joint Commissions which have shown that they have acted in compliance with our directions by putting in place the institutional mechanism by filling in any void and as also by submitting periodical status reports.”

Further, it said: “State Electricity Regulatory Commissions are established in all States. Supply codes and standards of performance of licensees are in place and easily available in the public domain. Needless to say, this is a necessary step in the consumers knowing their rights and remedies for their grievances. ”

However, it said since there were a number of posts lying vacant “we feel that there is an urgency to give suitable directions even during the pendency of this review petition in order to ensure that the State/Joint Commissions are not allowed to be inundated with deluge of consumer grievances which will hamper their vital regulatory and specialised role as a Regulator to the power sector in each State.”

Apart from the appointment of an Ombudsman, the Secretary of Forum of Regulators should continue with the dissemination of best practices in consumer interest through annual conferences, the tribunal said.









Aspiring MLAs breaking law with impunity


Himanshi Dhawan, TNN Jan 29, 2012, 04.51AM IST

NEW DELHI: Potential lawmakers have no qualms in breaking the law. Across the three states – Uttarakhand, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh – that are going to polls next week, over 30% of the candidates have never filed their income tax returns. To make matters worse, about 13% have not given their PAN card details.

According to data analyzed by Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR) – a think-tank working for electoral reforms – some of the most prominent candidates have not filed their I-T returns.

In UP, a total of 96 candidates (34%) out of the 284 candidates, who are contesting in the first phase of election, have declared that they have never filed I-T returns. About 40(14%) candidates have not declared their PAN details of which 10 are from SP, BJP (9), JD (U) (7), Peace Party (6), INC (4) and BSP (3).

Among the candidates with maximum assets but who have never filed I-T returns are SP’s Farid Mahfuz Kidwai contesting from Kursi with total assets of Rs 3.52 crore, followed by Congress’s Gauri Sankar from Mahadewa (Rs 2.88 crore) and BJP’s Ram Sajivan from Ram Nagar (Rs 2.57 crore).

In Punjab, 23% or about 92 candidates out of 408 have declared that they have never filed I-T returns. These include Congress’s Karan Kaur contesting from Muktsar with total assets of Rs 128 crore, followed by his colleague Ramanjit Singh Sikki from Khadoor Sahib (Rs 20.12 crore) and SAD’s Gurpartap Singh Wadala contesting from Nakodar (Rs 13.71 crore). About 12% or 47 candidates do not have a PAN number of which five each are from Congress and SAD, PPP (7) and BSP (18).

A similar pattern is evident in Uttarakhand, where ADR found that 99 or 36% of the 278 candidates have admitted that they have not filed their I-T returns. Among them Shahjad of BSP has the highest assets of about Rs 6.52 crore, followed by Kaleem of BJP (Rs 3.15 crore) and Congress’s Sarwaryar Khan from Udham Singh Nagar (Rs 1 crore). About 15% or 42 candidates have not declared their PAN card details.









Govt dithers over law to protect journalists


Prafulla Marapakwar, TNN Jan 29, 2012, 05.20AM IST

The attack on the Times of India Building is not an isolated act of vandalism. Acts of violence against reporters and media houses have been rising across Maharashtra, even as the Congress-NCP government dithers on introducing a comprehensive legislation that will protect journalists. Maharashtra has had five chief ministers since the proposal was first taken up by the media more than 10 years ago. Between August 2009 and December 31, 2011, there have been 209 attacks on journalists and 35 acts of vandalism on media houses in the state.

More than a decade ago, when a newspaper office was vandalized, media houses had knocked on the doors of the then CM Vilasrao Deshmukh asking for a law to prevent attack on scribes. At the time, Deshmukh was non-committal and his successor Sushilkumar Shinde, too, showed little interest in the matter. The proposal gained momentum when Ashok Chavan took over as CM in December 2008. He set up a committee headed by principal secretary Anand Kulkarni to draft a legislation to prevent attack on journalists.

Kulkarni drafted a legislation along the same lines of a legislation to prevent attacks on doctors. “It proposed that any attack on a scribe or media house should be a nonbailable offence, and that compensation to the affected party should be double the cost of damage,” said a senior official.

But after a group of journalists in Nagpur were attacked by the police for covering a BJP-called bandh, Chavan, when confronted by the media, expressed his inability to introduce the bill in the legislature claiming that leaders of political parties were against it.

After Chavan’s unceremonious exit in the wake of the Adarsh scam, Prithviraj Chavan took over as CM in November 2010. He set up a committee headed by industries minister Narayan Rane to study the proposal for a special law to prevent attack on journalists. Though he maintains that he is in favour of a law, he has yet to measures to introduce it.

While NCP president Sharad Pawar, deputy CM Ajit Pawar and Shiv Sena leaders have opposed the proposed legislation on the grounds that it can be misused against politicians, home minister R R Patil and leader of opposition Eknath Khadse have extended their support. “The fact that the law can be misused shouldn’t be a reason to prevent it from being enacted. If the government is serious about protecting journalists, a special law must be brought in immediately,” Khadse said.








Varsities in state lax on SC quota’


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Sun Jan 29 2012, 03:22 hrs


The National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC), currently on a visit to the state, is not satisfied with the implementation of the reservation policies for scheduled castes in government institutes, including universities, in Gujarat.

Speaking to reporters after having parleys with the authorities of the Gujarat University (GU) on Saturday, NCSC member Raju Parmar said that excepting nationalised banks and some public sector units, he did not find any other institution effectively implementing the reservation policy of the central government pertaining to the scheduled castes.

Parmar, who visited as many as seven universities during the last 10 days of his tour in the state, said he did not find any university, including the GU, which had properly implemented the reservation policy.

Claiming there were a large number of vacancies meant for SC candidates in these universities, he said none of the universities had made provisions of reservation for SC candidates in various bodies like senate, syndicate, admission committee and recruitment committees.

Parmar said thousands of posts meant for SC candidates in Class III and Class IV categories were lying vacant in these universities.

He said he had asked the authorities of these universities to start filling up these posts.

A former Rajya Sabha member hailing from Gujarat, Parmar said representation of SC members in governing bodies of the educational institutions was a must to empower the community.

Parmar said he had asked the vice-chancellors and other authorities of the universities to ensure that SC candidates got suitable representation.

GU V-C Parimal Trivedi, when contacted, said the statutes of the universities needed to be amended to provide reservation to SC candidates in various bodies of different universities. He said he would write to the state government to take appropriate steps in this direction.

Group petitions against GU dean’s suspension

Representatives of the Gujarat Rajya Scheduled Caste/Scheduled Tribes/Other Backward Castes College and University Teachers Association on Saturday submitted a memorandum to the NCSC, saying while the teaching posts for SC candidates were not being filled up in the Gujarat University and its affiliated colleges since 2005, several posts meant for SC members on the administrative side had been filled up with candidates from the general category. The association also took up the issue of suspension of GU Arts Faculty dean Pradeep Prajapati, saying he, being an OBC member, was victimised since he was a witness in the atrocity case against vice-chancellor Parimal Trivedi.









Punjab Poll 2012: Court stays arrest of Congress candidate from Kapurthala


A local court today stayed the arrest of Congress candidate from Kapurthala seat, Rana Gurjit Singh, his son and some other party leaders who had allegedly defied prohibitory orders ahead of January 30 Assembly polls. District and Sessions Judge Sunita Sharma stayed the arrest of Rana Gurjit Singh, his son Vir Partap Singh and a few other local Congress leaders till January 31.

Rana, Vir Partap Singh and some other local Congress leaders were booked for staging a dharna outside the District Court complex on Friday allegedly defying prohibitory orders clamped in the district. The Judge also stayed the arrest of some other local Congress leaders including Councilor Sham Sunder Aggarwal, Jarnail Singh Meripur, Rajesh Verma, Narinder Singh and Baba Jiwan Singh till January 31. All these leaders were booked by Kapurthala police for damaging the four cars of SAD candidate Sarabjit Singh Makkar on Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Rana Gurjit Singh, at a press conference here today, alleged the district administration and police were supporting Makkar in the distribution of liquor to woo voters. He further alleged Makkar supporters were openly carrying lethal weapons and threatening the voters.








Case against Raj Thackeray in UP


Meerut: A case has been registered in a local court in Meerut against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray for allegedly saying that terror activities are on the rise due to influx of north Indians.

Uttar Pradesh Navnirman Sena leader Amit Jani filed the case in the court of Additional Sessions Judge AK Mishra.

The next hearing for the case is scheduled on February 3. Thackeray had attacked north Indians after two men from Bihar were arrested in the 13/7 serial blasts case.

“I have been saying that due to influx of north Indians, terror activities are on the rise. The arrest of terrorists hailing from Bihar, in the 13/7 serial blasts case, has confirmed my claim,” Raj had said.

Speaking to reporters after filing the case, Jani said, “Before making derogatory comments about north Indians, he should tell where have Chhota Rajan, Dawood Ibrahim and Vadhrajan come from.”

Thackerey is doing this for cheap publicity, he said.

In a first, lower court awards death to one in narcotics case


Express news service : Chandigarh, Sun Jan 29 2012, 00:53 hrs


In a first, a local court of Chandigarh, on Friday, awarded the death penalty in a case of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS). The Court of Shalini Nagpal, Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ), awarded death sentence to 56-year-old, Paramjeet Singh, holding him guilty of possessing

10 kilos of heroin.

Prosecution lawyer Kailash Chander said, “The NDPS Act stipulates that a person caught with possession commercial drugs more than once can be awarded death penalty.”

Till now, no local Court of Chandigarh has awarded death sentence in a case of narcotics. A resident of Amritsar, Paramjeet Singh, was first convicted by a lower Court of Delhi for a period of ten years in June 2005. He was released on parole in 2007. Paramjeet was again caught red-handed in 2007 with 10 kilos of contraband in Sector 39, Chandigarh.

The Court also awarded 15 years of rigorous imprisonment to Paramjeet’s co-accused, Festus Benson, a 35-year-old. The duo were arrested on November 30, 2007 by the officials of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). According to the prosecution, acting on secret information, the NCB sleuths had laid a trap and arrested the two red-handed with the contraband.

Taking a strict view against Paramjeet, who already stands convicted for possessing narcotics, the lower Court awarded him death sentence.









Ex-Minister files bail plea


DMK functionary and former minister M.P. Saminathan and another party member Kanagaraj moved bail plea before the district sessions court here on Saturday.

The former minister and Mr. Kanagaraj were arrested in Tiruppur district in connection with a land grabbing case a few days ago. Both were produced before a court in Dharapuram, which remanded them to 15 days of judicial custody.

Sources said a lower court in Dharapuram turned down the bail plea moved by Mr. Saminathan earlier. As a result, the former minister moved a bail application in the district sessions court here.

The bail application was expected to come up for hearing in the next week, sources said.









Court turns messiah for runaway couple, orders police protection


Deevakar Anand, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, January 29, 2012

It seems the city is becoming a safe haven for runaway couples. In the fourth such incident this month, an engineer couple, who married against the wishes of their family last month, approached the Gurgaon district and sessions court seeking protection from the girl’s family. The court directed Gurgaon police commissioner and SHO (City) for ensuring the couple’s safety, who has been sent to a shelter home till February 3 along with a security personnel.

Manoj Sharma (26) from Mathura and Ekta Verma (19) from Agra met each other a year ago while working together as engineers with a company in IMT Manesar.

They got married at an Arya Samaj Mandir in Delhi on December 1 last year. The couple then went into hiding only to re-surface two months later.

Though the boy’s family earlier objected to the relationship due to a caste difference, they have now accepted the couple.

Manoj and Ekta told HT that they would never part ways and were ready to face all challenges.

However, the couple’s lawyer Durgesh Bokan alleged that the girl’s family was threatening to eliminate Manoj.

Earlier, three runaway couples had approached courts in Gurgaon, while seeking police protection.

The couples were subsequently sent to shelter homes.








BJP Councillor among seven held


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Vattiyoorkavu police have arrested seven people including BJP’s corporation councillor Rajeev in connection with organising a protest march to a place of worship the other day.

The act was reported a couple of days before and had led to eruption of tension in the area. The protest march was said to be in response to an incident of cow slaughter which occurred in central Kerala.

With the arrest of councillor and six others, the total tally of those apprehended have risen to 18. The arrested have been charged under half a dozen sections of Indian Penal Code, including that of unlawful assembly and promoting enmity between different groups on the basis of religion.








Cheating case against groom for calling off marriage


TNN Jan 29, 2012, 04.02AM IST

HYDERABAD: In a bizarre incident, a cheating case was booked against a 30-year-old grocery store owner after he refused to marry his fiancee citing ill-treatment by her family members.

According to LB Nagar sub-insector (SI) M Mallikarjun, family members of the man from Malkajgiri and the 25-yer-old girl from Mansoorabad agreed for their marriage on December 12, 2011,.

Subsequently, on January 25, the couple got engaged in a ceremony held at the girl’s house and the wedding date was fixed as February 29. “However, two days after the engagement, suddenly the groom told the bride’s family that he is not interested in the marriage and it should be called off,” the SI said.

When grilled by the family members of the girl for the sudden change of decision, the groom informed them through his family that he did not like the way he was treated by the bride’s family and hence decided against marrying the girl.

Enraged with the tantrums of the bridegroom, the girl’s family members, who had already spent a lot of money for the engagement ceremony and booking marriage hall, lodged a complaint against him at the LB Nagar police station.

Based on the complaint lodged by the girl’s father, police have booked a cheating case against the bridegroom under section 420 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).









Liquor parties most likely cause of hit & run cases


Published: Saturday, Jan 28, 2012, 12:39 IST
By Prashant Thakor | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

People in the city are not only ignorant about the technical aspects of the vehicles they drive, they also do not hesitate to violate traffic rules and norms. This has increased the number of hit and run cases in Ahmedabad. According to lawyers, police officials and road safety experts, all accused in hit and run cases must be punished severely for killing innocent citizens because of sheer negligence and ignorance.

IH Syed, a senior lawyer, said majority of the fatal accidents involve people belonging to rich and influential families. Since such families have influence over the system, they somehow manage to save their acquaintances from going behind bars. “As per Section 279 of Indian Penal Code, the court can give punishment up to 6 years of imprisonment. But it can be only done if a proper charge sheet has been filed by the police, which doesn’t happen in most of the cases,” said Syed. He believes that police don’t conduct proper investigation after the accidents. Judgment of the court depends upon the report submitted by police. “I believe that police usually try to cover up the case rather than giving an unbiased report to the court,” said Syed.

According to him, liquor parties happening in the vicinity of the city are the main cause behind the accidents. Youth drive recklessly under the influence of liquor and hit innocent people with their speeding cars.

“Police have failed at all the fronts. If cops are able to put an end to the liquor parties, such accidents will come to an end automatically. The city traffic cops also fail to keep a check on the roads and cite ‘staff crises’ as the reason behind the same,” said Syed.

Similarly road safety experts also believe that there are many loopholes in the law enforcement in India as compared to other countries. According to Samir Pathak, a road safety expert, the fine collected for violation of rules is very less in India.

“In western countries, one has to pay a hefty fine for minor traffic violations. In some cases, even licences are suspended. However, law breakers in India easily get away by paying a petty fine of either Rs50 or Rs 100,” said Pathak. In 2008, RTO suspended licences of 388 persons who were involved in fatal accidents. “In January we have suspended 21 licences till date. We can only suspend the licence for 6 months. However, after this the person has to fight his case for fatal accident,” said JM Bhatt, head of Ahmedabad RTO.








Naroda Patia accused want more people to testify


Published: Saturday, Jan 28, 2012, 12:46 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The accused in Naroda Patiya case, on Friday, objected to the Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) decision to not allow more witnesses to testify in the case. The SIT had, on Friday, sought to stop further deposition by witnesses in the Naroda Patiya massacre in 2002.

The accused submitted before the special court that many important witnesses were yet to testify and the court should not allow the SIT to close the procedure of deposition of the witnesses. The court will issue the verdict on the plea on January 31.

The Supreme Court-appointed SIT has showed 650 witnesses in the charge-sheet. Out of these, 327 have already been examined by both, defence counsels and prosecutors. On Friday, the SIT’s counsel moved a plea before the special court judge, Jyotsna Yagnik, to close testimonies.

Defence lawyer Rajesh Kikani said, “Witnesses who can unfold significant facts of the case of the prosecution and who are eye-witnesses as per the charge-sheet, have been dropped and have not been examined before the court. No proper and cogent reason in the matter has been given. Such a situation works against the accused and does not help the cause of justice.”

In the plea, Kikani submitted that important witnesses, who, as per the statements of the accused during the investigation, prepared telephone call details, verified the correctness of the dialogues during the sting operation and who prepared the map of the place of offence in 2002 have not been examined yet.

Naroda Gam counsels put in papers
The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team’s (SIT) special public prosecutor Ajay Choksi and assistant public prosecutor Vaibhav Vyas have resigned from their assignments of riot cases in Gujarat HCin the cases of Naroda Gam and Prantij British nationals’ murder.

Choksi has reportedly resigned from the service as he wants to be with his wife during her treatment. Vyas resigned as he was assisting Choksi in important assignments of the riot cases.

Confirming the development, Vyas said, “Ajay Choksi has resigned as special prosecutor of the riot cases and I resigned as I was assisting him.”

Choksi was involved in three high-profile important assignments. He was special counsel for all riot cases before HC except the Godhra train carnage case. He was also special counsel in Naroda Gam and British nationals’ murder cases. He was appointed as counsel a year and a half back. Choksi is the second special prosecutor to resign in the Naroda Gam case after Nigam Shukla and his assistant Kalpen Goswami.

Earlier, Gulbarg Society case public prosecutor RK Shah and his assistant Nayna Bhatt had resigned from their assignments.










Govt apathy forces blind children out of home


New Delhi: At a time when the Supreme Court has asked the state governments to provide shelter to the homeless, a group of visually challenged students in Delhi have been forced to live out in the open, after their shelter in the Virender Nagar area near Janakpuri in west Delhi was sealed without notice by the authorities.

Till 2010, the nearly 30 visually-challenged students of the Louis Welfare Blind Association (LWBA) had a roof above their heads. However, two years back, their shelter was sealed without any prior notification. Two years on, hope seems to be ebbing for them.

Ashwin, the group’s caretaker, said, “There were nearly 35 of these children then. Now only 12-13 are there, as they don’t know how to cope with the situation. All their certificates are also inside the shelter.”

Despite a High Court order allowing the children to enter what was once their home, the students are being forced to live out in the open, battling the sun, the rain and the winter chill.

What is worse is that none of the concerned authorities seems to be interested in taking responsibility.

The HC order, dated May 2011, clearly indicates that the Delhi Urban Shelter Improvement Board (DUSIB) allowed the students of the LWBA to enter the building. However, the building is yet to be de-sealed.

Kamlesh, one of the students, said, “Nobody is telling us what to do. We have been to many authorities, from the MCD to the DDA to the police. But for the past one and a half years, we are just being made to run from pillar to post.”

When contacted, Delhi Chief Minister Shiela Dikshit said, “You are telling me this is near Janakpuri area…? I will ask DUSIB why haven’t they done anything so far.”

The students, meanwhile, hope that this promise will possibly turn into action.








HC annuls exemption to FACT


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The High Court has stayed the government order to exempt the vehicles used by Fertilisers and Chemicals Travancore Ltd (FACT) to transport ammonia during day time by road from its Udyogamandal division. A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon passed the interim order that no transportation should be made between 11 am and 3.30 pm.

The interim order was passed while considering a petition filed by former Thiruvamkulam grama panchayat member Vijayan Therampillil and M Sajeev Kumar of Vaduthala. Theysubmitted that the order clearly violated the court’s earlier order directing that no transport of ammonia be made between 7 am and 8 pm.

The petitioners also pointed out that the court had also directed the company to take immediate steps for arranging transport through insulated vessels by water. The govt issued the order on January 9, 2012, on the request of FACT to exempt its good vehicles from rule 336A of the Kerala Motor Vehicles Rules which banned transportation of hazardous goods during day time by road.

The court had said that the company should ensure compliance with the terms of transport, which meant that no load should be released from Udyogamandal division after 7 am and before 8 pm. While asking the FACT to take steps for transporting ammonia by river, the court had observed that the loads passed through thickly populated areas and therefore there was risk in the event of accidents even during night.

The impact of an accident and possible leak probably might be less during night. However, it was not as if such an eventuality would not affect public safety. Though the company’s counsel had submitted that obstruction was caused by fishermen when it was being transported through waterways, the court asked the company to approach the government.









50% entrance exam marks enough for admission: HC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CHENNAI: Doctors who have secured 50 pc marks in the entrance tests for admission to super-speciality courses against the 90 marks are eligible for admission in the open category, the HC has observed.

The 10 marks awarded for doctors in service, at the rate of one mark per year, could be added only for arriving at the rank of candidates and it could not be treated as eligibility for admission, Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar said while disposing of a writ petition from Dr Jayanth V Kumar, on Jan 27, last.

Kumar applied for super-speciality course (M Ch) and appeared for the entrance exam conducted by the DME in May, 2011, and secured 48.75 marks. But he was not selected on the ground that he had not obtained 50 pc out of 100.

He contended that the eligibility criteria fixed by the MCI was only 50 pc . The government could not add 10 marks for experience and fix minimum eligibility as 50 marks out of 100. Since he had secured 48.75 out of 90 marks, he was entitled for admission, he added.

In the light of the stand taken by the MCI that 50 marks were to be secured by a candidate in the competitive test and the experience gained could not be part of competitive test, the judge said that he was of the view that the petitioner could not be treated as ineligible for admission as he had secured 48.75 marks in the entrance exam out of 90 marks.

Since the cut off date for admission for 2011-12 was over on Sept 30, last year, petitioner could be accommodated for 2012-13 if no other general candidate was available with marks higher than his, the judge said.








HC rejects plea to halt Metro Rail project


Express News Service, The New Indian Express


CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has rejected a writ plea from the George Town Building Owners Welfare Association seeking to restrain the government and the Chennai Metro Rail Limited (CMRL) from constructing the underground metro rail line from Washermenpet to Mannadi via Seven Wells, GT and Prakasam Road in Corridor-I.
The consequential prayer of the petitioner, which was also rejected, was to direct the authorities to construct the rail line via Old Jail Road and Prakasam Road, as per the original alignment. The petitioner contended that if the construction work was allowed as per the changed alignment, their buildings situated in congested areas, which were already dilapidated, would collapse. Further, the closure of the borewells would deprive them of their right to life.
In contrast, the Old Jail Road route would entail much less damage as the area was poorly populated and was mainly open lands, the petitioner said. Further, no opportunity of hearing was provided.
Dismissing the writ petition, Justice Vinod K Sharma observed that apprehensions of the petitioner that the construction was likely to pose grave danger to their life and building were misconceived. The CMRL had categorically stated that the construction was being raised in a safe manner by protecting the life and liberty of the persons concerned.
The interest of the people had been safeguarded by affording alternative borewells or compensation. The petitioner, therefore, could not have any grievance. Necessary opportunity of hearing and notices had also been issued to the people, the judge pointed out.







Human Rights programme launched


TNN Jan 29, 2012, 01.46AM IST

PUNE: Justice Sambhaji Shinde, of the Aurangabad High Court bench launched the Human Rights and duties Education Programme at the University of Pune on Saturday. He inaugurated the online programme on the university website.

In the keynote address, Shinde highlighted the role of the Indian judiciary and international instruments along with specialised agencies of the United Nations in promoting and protecting human rights.

Sanjay Chahande, vice-chancellor in his presidential address elaborated upon the global significance of human rights programme in the contemporary educational system. He also focused on the relevance of human rights and duties education in the backdrop of recent incidents of gross human rights violation.








Hazare case: Singhvi moves court to annul summons


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 29, 2012

Rajya Sabha member Abhishek Manu Singhvi has moved a Delhi court seeking withdrawal of its summons to him to depose as a witness in a complaint against social activist Anna Hazare and his team.

Singhvi had moved the court of Kamla Market metropolitan magistrate, who had issued

summons to him on complaint by a person alleging that Team Anna instigated the public against the government during his anti-graft campaign in August.

“The applicant seeks direction for withdrawal of the summons issued to him since he has no connection with the complainant or the present complaint case,” he said in an application filed on his behalf.

The complaint by a Haryana resident, Satbir, had named Singhvi as a witness without his consent.

While dismissing Satbir’s plea for registration of criminal case against Hazare and his team members for allegedly instigating the public against the government during his anti-graft campaign, the court had allowed him to lead evidence in support of his allegations.

“The applicant upon receiving the summons made enquiries as to the nature of the complaint and on getting the record inspected wishes to state that he does not know the complainant nor is he in any way connected with the institution of the present complaint,” Singhvi said.

“Even in the status report filed by the police there is no reference to him,” he added in his application for withdrawal of summons, issued by the court of erstwhile Kamla Market metropolitan magistrate Tyagita Singh, who has since been transferred to another court.

Singhvi also said the summons were issued to him despite his name and address being wrongly mentioned by the complainant in his list of witnesses.

While filing the application through his counsel, Singhvi also sought exemption from personal appearance saying, “He is a senior advocate practising at the Supreme Court and is a Member of Parliament. The applicant is ready and willing to abide by the directions of the court but due to exigencies of prior unavoidable professional/official work he cannot appear in person and is moving this application through his duly appointed counsel.”



Judge sets aside warrant against Jayalalithaa


Principal District and Sessions Judge (Cuddalore) K. Uthirapathy on Saturday ordered the setting aside of the Non-Bailable Warrant issued by the Parangipettai Judicial Magistrate against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a case relating to the filing of nominations for the 2001 Assembly elections.

The Judge also instructed the JM Court that if it had already issued any NBW in this regard it should take steps to take it back.

The Judge has scrapped the NBW based on two aspects: first, the issuance of an NBW to a person to whom no notice or summons has been sent is against all canons of law; and secondly, the Supreme Court on July 10, 2007 had ordered status quo on the main petition (regarding the filing of nominations).

The Judge observed that “unless otherwise the Supreme Court varies the said order, the trial court shall cease to have any power to make any headway in the trial proceedings and issuing of an NBW to secure the presence of the revision petitioner (Ms. Jayalalithaa) is wholly contrary and in gross violation of the SC order. Therefore, the error that has happened in the proceedings of the trial court has to be rectified.”

The Judge also noted that “there are other matters which require action from this court on the administrative side. This shall be taken up separately in the administrative side.”

Separate enquiry

The Judge also pointed out that Chief Minister’s counsel A. Sankaran of Tindivanam had “thrown a needle of suspicion about the genuineness of the endorsements made by the Judicial Magistrate in a concur sheet. Therefore, the court shall make a separate enquiry about the said endorsements in separate departmental proceedings.”

The case relates to the Returning Officer of the Bhuvanagiri Assembly Constituency A.G. Selvamani filing a case before the Parangipettai JM Court in 2007, alleging that by filing four nominations for the Assembly constituencies of Bhuvanagiri, Krishnagiri, Andipatti and Pudukottai in 2001 Ms. Jayalalithaa violated the provisions of the Representation of People Act, 1951.

Parangipettai Judicial Magistrate Gomathi Sakthi Sorupam, who has since been placed under suspension on the order of the Madras High Court on the charges of corruption and tampering with records in a case relating to a private concern at Salem, had on June 27, 2011 ordered issue of an NBW and posted the case on February 16, 2012, requiring the presence of Ms Jayalalithaa at the JM Court.

The revision petitioner came to know of the JM order on January 4, 2012 and immediately moved the District Sessions Court through counsel Sankaran. Accordingly the court stayed the NBW till Saturday and passed the orders setting aside the NBW.

No other orders

The Judge clearly stated that his order was restricted to the issuing of the NBW only. Since the Supreme Court had already ordered status quo in the matter this court was not embarking on any misadventure of passing any orders in any other aspects.

Counsel commended

The Judge commended the role of counsel Mr. Sankaran for his cooperation and handling the case without sensationalising it.









Demand for Speaker’s resignation quashed


TNN Jan 29, 2012, 07.14AM IST

MANGALORE: Ahead of the legislature session, set to begin on Monday, chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda and home minister R Ashoka have sprung to the defence of the Speaker K G Bopaiah. Dismissing demands of opposition leader Siddaramaiah seeking Bopaiah’s resignation in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling setting aside the Speaker’s order disqualifying five independent MLAs, they said the Speaker has acted legally.

Noting that Siddaramaiah’s criticism of the Speaker was not a correct step, Ashoka told reporters here on Saturday that SC judgment of not recognizing the disqualification has been honoured and already implemented. “There are two types of judgments in this case. While the single and double bench of the high court has upheld the Speaker’s action, the SC has quashed the same,” Ashoka observed.


The apex court’s decision, Ashoka said, is not a loss of face for Bopaiah as the opposition is striving to project it. Ashoka said: “Bopaiah has taken all decisions within the purview of the powers given to the Speaker.” Noting that Congress does not have any issue to confront the government with, the CM told reporters at the helipad said: “This is a two-month-old judgment, full text of which since has been received.”

Describing the SC judgment on disqualification and its fallout a closed chapter, the CM said, with RSS leadership effectively intervening to put a lid on leadership issue in the BJP, the Congress, which was making noises about party issues, does not have any other issue. “The Speaker is capable of holding his own on any matter,” the CM said, adding that Congress is trying to keep it alive and making an issue out of a non-issue.










Court dismisses kin’s petition to exhume body


Rosy Sequeira, TNN Jan 29, 2012, 05.31AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Friday dismissed a petition filed by a man alleging that his brother’s widow and her two children conspired to murder his brother to usurp property. Instead, the court concluded that the petitioner was the villain.

The property, which includes a bungalow, Harbour, on Mount Carmel Road, is valued at over Rs 10 crore. A division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice R G Ketkar, in their verdict, said, “We are of the opinion that the writ petition is not a bona fide petition but is completely motivated. In all probability, the petitioner is acting under instructions of persons who wish to redevelop the valued property, Harbour.”

Bertram Dsilva (52), a resident of Jharkhand, filed a habeas corpus petition in January 2011 for the production of his brother, Irwin (60), claiming that Irwin may have been murdered and if so, his body must be exhumed. He said Irwin was “induced” in 1996 into remarrying Suman (now 65), who has two children, Simmi and Faruk, from a previous marriage.

In December 2010, he lodged complaints with the Bandra police, stating that his brother was being wrongfully confined by Suman. In January 2011, he moved the HC, alleging that the police was conniving with Suman. The police told the court that Irwin was admitted to Nair Hospital for a kidney ailment and died on December 22, 2010 in Sion hospital. He was cremated the same day. Bertram alleged that his brother was cremated instead of being buried to destroy evidence.

Suman said she and her children were living with Irwin since 1996 after they got married. Irwin was in good health until he suffered chronic renal failure in 2009, she said. He died and was cremated in accordance with his wishes, she added. She alleged that Bertram and his friends, Robert Sequiera and Dirk Allams, were hell-bent on misappropriating the property.

The judges relied on the notarized declaration written by Irwin on December 16, 2010, saying it “speaks volumes and belies the entire case” of Bertram. Irwin stated that Bertram and his friends threatened him when he was in Nair Hospital on December 14. The judges said the ‘incident’ indicates that the attempt was to get rid of Suman and her children by implicating them in false cases. They noted that Bertram visited Mumbai for the first time on December 11, 2010. “There is no justification as to why the petitioner has become conscious and emotional about the well-being of his brother,” said the judges.










High Court clears 3 govt doctors for PGCET


TNN Jan 29, 2012, 02.56AM IST

BANGALORE: It was 11th hour relief for three government doctors who wanted to do higher studies in medicine and dentistry.

A special bench of the Karnataka high court on Saturday permitted the trio to appear for the Post-Graduate Entrance Test – 2012 today by issuing the necessary hall tickets.


Justice B S Patil directed the Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) to permit Dr H T Prathima, working as a dentist at the Government Hospital, Koratagere in Tumkur district, Dr Afzal Ur Rahman, general duty medical officer, Primary Health Centre in Sira taluk and Dr K G Jagadish, general duty medical officer at Community Health Centre, Pavagada taluk to appear for the exam.

He also directed issuance of emergent notices to secretaries of department of health & family welfare, medical education and the registrar of RGUHS while adjourning the hearing to February 8.

The court said it needed to check whether the petitioners were diligent enough with regard to filing their application. The court also said they cannot claim any equity based on the interim order.

The petitioners complained that though they applied for PGET-2012 in time through the competent authority (district health officer), RGUHS did not upload their hall tickets till January 24 saying that though online applications were received, the applications sent through the department were not yet received.

They claimed the authorities did not heed their request to consider their case as they did not suffer from any sort of disqualification and due to their age, they may not get another opportunity in future.

The RGUHS issued the notification for applications on November 21, 2011. The petitioners registered online between December 12 and 14. After completing the online registration, they submitted their applications with all necessary testimonials through the district health officer,Tumkur for him to forward to the RGUHS.

The DHO forwarded the applications on December 19 and 20.










CWC says child was found begging on Marina


Denies charges of asking the couple for English translation of proof

Responding to the reports ‘Now, a Norway in Chennai’ and ‘They run from pillar to post to get back their children’ that appeared in The Hindu dated January 28, 2012, the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has said that the police had taken custody of the child, Lakshmi, when she was found begging on Marina beach.

The CWC has said its enquiry revealed that the family came to Chennai and was living here for more than two years, but the child had never been to school. “There are several children denied of their rights and neglected, especially the children of migrant labourers,” the CWC said in its response.

But, Santoshi, who was waiting on the CWC premises on Friday, told The Hindu that the family had come to Chennai only one-and-a-half months ago, and were taking up construction work around Poonamallee High Road. Santoshi said she was standing right beside her daughter who was buying sweets at a stall near the Marina on Pongal Day, when three police officials came and took Lakshmi away.

Denying that it had asked Santoshi and Gabbar, the couple from Chhattisgarh, to get their ration card in Hindi translated to English as proof, the CWC has said in its response that it is taking the help of volunteers and its resource centre in translation. However, Gabbar had told The Hindu that the CWC wanted the ration card in English, and that he tried asking in several shops, “even big ones,” if they could translate it, but didn’t succeed.

Lakshmi was sent with her parents on Friday evening, the CWC has said.








Giving unwanted babies a home, better life


Published: Saturday, Jan 28, 2012, 10:51 IST
By Merlin Francis | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Unwanted children of poor parents, who cannot look after them, need not be abandoned. The Missing Children’s Bureau (MCB) of the department of women and child development will be setting up cradles to curb the number of children being abandoned at railway stations and dustbins.

According to an official with the MCB, “Parents who are unable to look after their newly born infants now do not have to dump them in dustbins or kill them. The aim of this project is that every child is looked after and does not have to grow up on the streets or be killed because his/her parents do not want them.”

The bureau plans to put up cradles in parks, railway stations, bus stations, hospitals and major junctions, where parents can leave their unwanted children, said the official.

“Such cradles will be set up in major districts and cities in the state, where children tend to be ‘dumped’,” he added. Apart from Bangalore Urban and Rural districts, cradles will be set up in 18 districts such as Bagalkot, Hassan, Tumkur, Kolar, Mysore, Mandya, Ramanagar, Yadgir, Chitradurga, Raichur, Bidar, Bellary, Gulbarga, Davangere, Dharwad, Haveri, Shimoga and Kolar.
“These are the places where the MCB has its offices and staff in each district, which will coordinate to make sure the children have a home,” said the official, adding that suitable NGOs that are already working with children will be given the responsibility of coordinating with the MCB in the project.

The official added that such a project already exists in Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “We felt the need for such a project in the state, considering that a number of infants are found in the garbage in cities like Raichur, Mysore and, to a large extent, in Bangalore too. As a start, we are beginning the project in all the cities where the MCB has an office.”

Although the project was inaugurated recently at Gadag, it currently has no funds. “We are looking at IT companies and so on to sponsor the cradles that we will put up. The infants will then be handed over to the CWC, who will, in turn, take care of the education of the child,” he said.









Revisit RTI provisions you framed: CIC to Rajasthan HC


NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Mumbai, Sun Jan 29 2012, 02:25 hrs


The Central Information Commission (CIC) in New Delhi has asked the Rajasthan High Court to revisit a number of provisions framed by it pertaining to the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The commission passed the order in response to an appeal by a Mumbai-based RTI activist, Sunil Ahya. Ahya sought to know the reasons why the Rajasthan HC framed certain rules under the Rajasthan Right to Information (High Court and Subordinate Courts) Rules, 2006, which he contended, were contrary to significant provisions of the original act. Significant regulations which were brought to light stipulate that the applicant has to attach a self-attested photograph to the application and has to make several declarations in his plea, including a statement that the “motive for obtaining such information is proper and legal.” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra noted that these rules are “not in conformity with the provisions of the Right to Information (RTI) Act, 2005.”

Further, the rules of the Rajasthan HC in Section 5 (1) hold that “if the requested information does not fall within the jurisdiction of the authorised person, it shall be conveyed to the applicant in Form C as early as practicable.” The original rules, however, stipulate that if the information is not available with public information officer, he should transfer the application to the relevant public authority.

Goregaon resident Ahya approached the commission after he was denied information regarding the reasons for framing these rules. The panel noted, “Section 28 of the RTI Act vests the power to make rules in the competent authority in order to carry out the provisions of the Act; it does not give any power to the competent authority to frame rules to restrict the rights conferred by the Act.”

Adopted daughter seeking rly job gets solace from Tribunal


Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN Jan 29, 2012, 05.24AM IST

CHENNAI: After turning a deaf ear to 33-year-old T Amul’s request for compassionate appointment following her father’s death seven years ago, Southern Railway authorities cited technicalities to reject her plea in March 2010.

Setting aside the rejection order, B Venkateswara Rao, judicial member, Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has now directed the railways to reconsider Amul’s claim and “pass a reasonable order” within three months.

Amul’s father A Thirumalai was a compound gangman – a group D post – in the office of the Section Engineer (Works) in the city. In 1987, he had adopted two children, Amul and Thennarasu, when they were nine and two years old respectively.

Due to medical reasons, he was terminated from service on October 23, 2003.

After he was discharged, Thirumalai sought an appointment for his son in any group D post but this was rejected through a communication dated February 17, 2004 as his son did not possess the minimum qualification of passing standard VIII.

However, Thirumalai was advised to apply for an appointment for any other ward who was suitably qualified. Before he could do so, he passed away in December, 2004. His wife, Rajeshwari, submitted an application on Amul’s behalf on June 24, 2005, but there was no reply. Another representation was made in February, 2009, but still got no response.

Following a direction from a bench of CAT, Southern Railway authorities passed an order in March 2010 rejecting Amul’s claim for compassionate appointment saying the adoption deed was registered only in November 2004 and that certain documents such as Amul’s transfer certificate did not support her stance that she was Thirumalai’s daughter.

Amul contended that as per Section 17 of the Registration Act, 1908, an adoption deed need not compulsorily be registered.

Passing orders, judicial member Venkateswara Rao observed that the general manager and divisional railway manager, personnel branch, Southern Railway were not justified in rejecting her claim.

“Had they ever doubted the genuineness of composition of family members furnished by Thirumalai, they could have taken appropriate action against him for such misconduct in accordance with rules in 1992 itself,” he observed.


State cannot act arbitrarily, tender should be judged on merit, says court


It is a well settled law that presumption has to be drawn that official work has been done according to legal procedure unless proved otherwise.

Also, the government has a right to enter into a contract with any person, but the State or its instrumentalities cannot act arbitrarily as tender should be judged on its own intrinsic merits as per the terms and conditions of the tender notice, the Madras High Court has said.

Justice Vinod K.Sharma said this while allowing writ petitions and quashing a tender and the subsequent act of granting work order to 16 persons for laying highway roads in Villupuram district.

He held that the facts and circumstances of the case showed that the authorities had not discharged their duty in accordance with rules by offering the tender at a much higher rate. They had denied right of participation of the petitioners in the tender.

It is the case of the petitioners, V. Devagi, S. Rama and S.M. Elumalai that in spite of the court order, tender schedule was not issued to them till the threat of contempt proceedings was issued.

The petitioners said no fair procedure had been followed in the entire tender process. The process was stage-managed to show that the tender was awarded in a fair and lawful manner. The petitioners sought to quash the proceedings in the tender advertisement of November 28 last year by the Divisional Engineer (Highways), NABARD and Village Roads, Cuddalore Division, and all acts done pursuant to the impugned order.

The authorities said once it was not admitted that the petitioners were prohibited from submitting the tender application, the petitioners had no locus standi to challenge the grant of tender, having not participated in the process.

Mr. Justice Vinod K. Sharma said the Divisional Engineer had not been able to give any justification as to why the tender applications were not sold to the petitioners and it was sold only pursuant to a court direction. It could not be believed that a person who approached the court to get the tender application would not submit the form within the stipulated time. The petitioners stand was further fortified from the postman’s report.

An attempt was made by the authorities to file a counter to deny that the postman came to their office to deliver the tender applications; but the postman’s positive report left no doubt that the petitioners’ stand deserved to be accepted.

The Judge said it had been proved that the acceptance of tenders of 16 persons was illegal.









Act in film on sports? Sure!: Bhaichung Bhutia


Published: Sunday, Jan 29, 2012, 9:59 IST
By Sneha Mahadevan | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Bhaichung Bhutia, considered the torchbearer of Indian football, announced his retirement from international football at the age of 34. Ever since, he has been involved with causes close to his heart, one amongst them being to help the victims of the Sikkim earthquake. He has joined hands with actor Rahul Bose’s NGO, The Foundation, which will host a sports auction on February 11. Bhutia has donated five items that include former Italian football star, Roberto Baggio’s jersey to the auction, the proceeds of which will go to the victims of earthquake hit-areas of Sikkim.

Talking about the initiative, he says, “Last year when Rahul came to me for the auction, I gave him one of my jerseys. This year, he approached me and said that he would have a special fund for the proceeds that he gets for my jerseys and I have donated five items this time. With the money, I am hoping to build a football ground in Sikkim.” Talking about his farewell match in Delhi against Bayern Munich, he says the turnout was unexpected. “Around 35,000 people watched the match at the floodlit Jawaharlal Nehru stadium. I didn’t expect so many people to turn up in Delhi. All Bayern Munich stars were also kind. After playing for 15 years for the country, I guess it was my moment,” he smiles.

The football icon does enjoy things beyond football. “I watch a lot of sports on TV.I watch F1 if there is any Grand Prix being held. I am not into Bollywood films. I rely on my friends’ suggestions about films that I should go for,” confesses Bhaichung. But he knows Rahul who’s from Bollywood? To whichhe adds, “Besides Rahul,I know John Abraham who’s a huge football fanatic. I’vealso met Shah Rukh Khan. All of them seem genuine.” And what about taking up any film offers? “No plans at the moment, but I am not saying an outright ‘No’ to it. If there is anything that has something to do with sports or football, that would be interesting,” he signs off.







Act against attackers of Times office in Mumbai: Katju to Chavan


PTI Jan 28, 2012, 10.09PM IST

NEW DELHI: Condemning the attack on Times of India’s office in Mumbai as “unacceptable”, press council chief Markandey Katju has written to Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithvi Raj Chavan asking him to ensure that action is taken against the hooligans who were part of the act.

“I have come to know through various sources about the attack and vandalism in the Mumbai office of Times Of India. This is totally unacceptable in a democracy,” Katju wrote in his letter to the Maharashtra CM.

“Under Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution of India, the media enjoys freedom, and under section 13 of the press council of India Act, it is the duty of the Press Council to maintain the freedom of the Press,” Katju added.

He said when mediapersons or media offices are physically attacked, it constituted a gross violation of the media’s Constitutional right.

The press council chief said it was Maharashtra Government’s duty is to maintain law and order and also uphold the Constitution.

Addressing the Maharashtra Chief Minister, Katju demanded that action be taken against the perpetrators of the attack.

“Please therefore let me know at the earliest what action have you taken against the hooligans who committed this outrage. In particular, please inform me whether the delinquents have been arrested and any criminal proceedings launched against them,” Katju said in the letter.

He said it was not the first time that such an incident has happened in Maharashtra.

“I had written to you earlier also about such assaults and harrassment of journalists.. I therefore must tell you now that the press council may now have to take a serious view of the matter and take suitable action if such incidents are not curbed in your state,” Katju wrote.

Apparently irked by a report in Marathi daily ‘Maharashtra Times’ which speculated that a sitting Shiv Sena MP was on his way to NCP, alleged Sena workers today vandalised the reception area of Times of India (TOI) building in Mumbai.



LEGAL NEWS 28.01.2012

Supreme Court panel report on Bellary illegal mining in early February


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court-appointed committee investigating illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka is tying up loose ends in Bellary district and will be submitting its final report early next month. The court’s forest bench is to hear the case again on February 3.

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), whose investigations prompted the Supreme Court to suspend mining in iron ore-rich areas of the state, affecting nearly a fourth of the country’s production, has looked into every aspect of the ore’s mining in the state. Investigations have been on for a year.

Of the 150-odd mines in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tunkur, only a fifth, or 26 leases, have so far been found blameless. The court’s interim mining ban since July applied to all, except state miner NMDC, which was asked to supply a million tonne a month to sustain state steel and sponge iron plants.

Sources close to the panel said it could recommend allowing some more mine to resume operations. Meanwhile, Karnataka has already recommended cancellation of 24 mines based on the interim reports of the Lokayukta and CEC.

The current report will not cover the role played by corporate houses JSW and Adani, as had been sought by the court, as it could take another six months, an official said. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is yet to submit its chargesheet in the Karnataka matter, has also been asked to look into a boundary dispute of a mine owned by NMDC.

The CEC’s current trip to Bellary was to review certain complex boundary disputes. For example, it went looking for a worn out land record document in the sub-registrar’s office, which was too delicate to be moved. The document has a map and a line on it, which is missing in subsequent documents.

This reference line could determine the fate of mines belonging to Ramgad Minerals, a sister concern of miner MSPL, and that of its neighbours Trident Mineral, P Vengannashetty & Brothers and SB Minerals. Incidentally, Bellary’s first collector was Thomas Munroe, who laid down the Ryotwari system under which the state could collect revenue directly form individual landowners.

The team was to also visit a mine belonging to MSPL in the Vyasanakere area of Bellary and the mines of SB Minerals, with whom it has an ongoing legal dispute. It also stopped by three mines-Vibhuti Gudda Mines, Tumti and Y Mahabaleshwarappa-which are close to the border with Andhra Pradesh.

Thus far, the CEC has conducted a survey of lease boundaries and encroachments with the Lokayukta and state officials and submitted several interim reports. It has also initiated auction of 25 million tonnes of mined iron ore, of which 18 million tonnes have already been auctioned for Rs 3,500 crore. The committee has also sold 700,000 tonnes of overburden, which is produced as waste dump during mining, averaging Rs 1,187 a tonne, compared with Rs 15-150 that they were fetching earlier.

Between November and end-December, the panel also heard individual miners, including NMDC and Sesa Goa, who had contested the findings of the joint survey. They appeared at CEC’s courtroom in Delhi with bags full of documents and sometimes teams of lawyers to make their case.

The panel, assisted by Karnataka’s forest and mines officials, will be differentiating between miners who are blameless, the irregular who could be let off with a penalty, and the big violators whose licence could be revoked. Earlier, the CEC had suggested a fine equal to five times the normative market value of looted mineral, but it could be rethinking the penalty on lines of contributions towards an environment development fund.








Finance Ministry may dangle threat of service tax levy on AC travel if rail fares are not hiked

 New Delhi, Jan. 26:

The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, may have finally found a way to get Ms Mamata Bannerjee to toe the Centre’s line on Railway finances.

Although Ms Bannerjee relinquished the Railway Minister’s job to become West Bengal Chief Minister, her writ continues to run in Rail Bhawan since a Trinamool Congress appointee is the Railway Minister.

And the Trinamool Congress chief has been implacably opposed to increasing railway passenger fares, despite the deteriorating financial position of the Railways.

The bargaining tool this time round is the Centre’s plan to usher in a ‘negative list’ approach to taxation of services in the upcoming Budget. The Finance Ministry could slap a service tax on AC passengers, in effect raising the fares, if the Railways does not directly hike passenger fares.


Simply put, a negative list of services implies: First, a list of services that will not be subject to service tax. Second, it is implicit that all services other than the ones mentioned in the negative list will become taxable.

If Ms Bannerjee does not relent on a fare hike in the Railway Budget, there is always the prospect of the Finance Ministry using the Union Budget to indirectly increase rail passenger fares.

By bringing the air–conditioned train travellers under the service tax net (10 per cent tax rate), the Finance Ministry can mop up an estimated Rs 720 crore. This is a drop in the ocean when seen against the overall service tax kitty of nearly Rs 80,000 crore.

But from the standpoint of rail passengers, this would amount to a rail fare hike of 10 per cent, if implemented.


However, this has to be seen in the context of the Finance Ministry’s unsuccessful attempts in implementing service tax on rail freight earlier. Since April 1, 2010, when the service tax was originally proposed to come into force, the levy on rail freight has been deferred six times.

The latest date when service tax on rail freight is proposed to come into effect is April 1, 2012. This move would have translated into revenues of Rs 1,500-2,000 crore for the exchequer, at an effective service tax rate of 3.5 per cent of the freight earnings.









No mixed land use in residential areas


Staff Reporter

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the authorities to stop issuing permission forthwith for mixed land use (including commercial) as per the Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2015 for Bangalore city in areas that were classified as ‘residential zones’ in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) 1995.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the interim order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Citizens’ Action Forum (CAF) in 2008 challenging the RMP 2015.

“We direct that in the following areas of the city — Malleshwaram, Richmond Town, Vasanthnagar, Jayanagar, Vijayanagar, V.V. Puram, Rajajinagar, R.T Nagar, etc., — wherein purely residential use was permitted as per the CDP, no further permission shall be granted for redevelopment or reconstruction, except for residential use,” the Bench said.

“This order shall not be construed in any manner as conveying the approval of the court for other uses,” the Bench said, adding that it would pass orders on the next date of hearing (February 3) on permission already granted for non-residential uses in residential areas as per the RMP 2015.

The CAF, in its application before the court in July last year, pointed out that granting permission to use residential buildings for commercial purposes as per “mixed residential area classification” of the RMP 2015 must be stopped immediately because the State Government itself had “doubts on the credibility and implementation of the RMP 2015”.

The application said that the Government had appointed a committee headed by the former Chief Secretary A. Ravindra in December 2009 to scrutinise the negative aspects of zoning regulations with specific reference to the impact of the RMP 2015 on residential areas.


Pointing out that the Ravindra Committee, in its recommendations, had discussed modification of the RMP, the CAF had claimed that zonal regulation, if not stayed, would have an adverse impact on residential areas since the authorities were permitting commercial activities as per the RMP, which came into force in mid-2007.

The Bench took note of an observation in the Ravindra Committee report, which states, “Change of land use has been curtailed for small properties on small roads. The notion of ancillary use of a property has also been done away with. These two provisions have caused much pain to communities by mixing commercial development in what should be residential areas only.”










Economic reforms confined to the corporate sector only

By Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Founder, Manushi Sangathan

Poverty is concentrated in the informal sectors of the Indian economy, with people in these occupations amongst the worst affected from the pernicious Licence Quota Raid Raj. This is illustrated by the sarkari controls that trap the livelihoods of some of our nano entrepreneurs – cycle-rickshaw owners and pullers – in a web of illegality. Cycle-rickshaws are an inexpensive mode of commute in many cities, and do not cause any air or sound pollution.

Instead of encouraging this ecofriendly mode of transport, government agencies wage a daily war against them. It took Manushi 15 years and a PIL before the Delhi High Court declared, in February 2010, the existing cycle-rickshaw laws as unconstitutional. But the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Traffic Police have challenged the order in the Supreme Court so that they can continue with the corruption-friendly Licence Quota Raid Raj.

In Delhi, the rickshaw quota began at 600 during the 1960s, which rose to 52,000 in 2007. But according to MCD’s own admission, there are more than 6 lakh rickshaws plying in the city. Almost all licensed rickshaws carry the “illegality” stigma, because of absurd restrictions that govern the trade. No person can ply a rickshaw without two licenses-a puller’s and an ownership license. Plying one without them invites confiscation and destruction of the vehicle.

Possessing more than one rickshaw or allowing another to ply yours are also punishable . The ostensible justification for this law is to protect pullers from exploitative fleet owners. But its real intent becomes clear if we consider that the overwhelming majority of rickshaw pullers (over 95%) are seasonal migrants who find it impractical to own their own vehicle.

But the “owner must be puller” regulation ensures that almost every rickshaw puller and owner becomes illegal. The police make a killing by imposing unrealistic and arbitrary bans on rickshaw entry, including banning them from all arterial roads in Delhi, ensuring that pullers cough up daily bribes. As per calculations made by Manushi in 2001, the rickshaw trade loses at least Rs 360 crore a year by way of bribes and fines in Delhi alone. In response to a sustained campaign by Manushi, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced a rational policy framework for the cycle-rickshaw trade in August 2001.

Instead of implementing the policy, the government machinery went to great lengths to sabotage it. That is why we appealed to the high court, which scrapped the licensing regime. The court ruled that the city government must provide equitable road space for non-motorised vehicles, or NMVs. It ordered the government to appoint a task force for evolving a new transport policy that treats NMVs as an integral part of city traffic.

The task force has replaced the arbitrary licensing system with registration on demand and mandated the creation of dedicated NMV lanes. However, our efforts to get the new legislation implemented are being met with stiff resistance. The government clearly prefers the pretense of ‘mai baap sarkar’ with corruptionfriendly and wasteful schemes for the poor such as NREGA even while it goes about actively wrecking livelihoods and depressing incomes of the poor. The poor need no subsidies, no concessions. All they need is the freedom to earn a dignified living through their own enterprise and hard work.










Age row: Supreme Court likely to hear Army Chief’s plea on Feb 3


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 26, 2012 20:22 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court is likely to hear Army chief, General VK Singh’s plea, who is battling the government over his age.

Last week, the court had dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that was filed in support of the Army chief. The PIL was filed by an association of ex-army officers.

General Singh took the government to court last week – the first serving military chief to do so – in the hope of establishing that he is correct in claiming that he was born in 1951, not 1950. Documents with the Army reflect both dates.

In a petition filed in the Supreme Court last week, he has asked for an explanation of why his claim that he was born in 1951 and not 1950 has been rejected by the Ministry of Defence.

The government says that documents that list the date of birth as 1950 trump the others. It also says that many promotions granted to General Singh used 1950 to establish his seniority. Going by 1950 as the year of birth means the General has to retire at the end of May; accepting 1951 as his birth date would qualify him for another year in office, though he has said in his petition that it is the government’s prerogative to determine his tenure.

The Army Chief had met with Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju who had publicly criticised him for setting an “unhealthy precedent” by taking his dispute to court. Defence Minister AK Antony had said he is “sorry and sad” about the government’s dispute with the army chief about how old he really is.

Now Anna seeks law to make gram sabhas “above parliament”

AP File photo of activist Anna Hazare during his fast for a strong Lokpal Bill in Mumbai. The anti-corruption activist now seeks gram sabha law reforms.

Decrying the failure of Rajya Sabha to pass the Lokpal bill, Anna Hazare on Thursday made a curious suggestion to bring a law to empower gram sabhas that will be above Parliament.

In a video address to Team Anna’s seminar ‘Rebuilding the Republic’, he said people will have to be ready for a big agitation like the one for Jan Lokpal Bill if the government does not bring a law for empowering village sabhas.

“Lok Sabha thinks it is above everyone. This is wrong. People have made you. So they are above you… It is the sacred temple of democracy. In such a sacred place, what has happened in Rajya Sabha in the last day (of the Winter Session) on Lokpal Bill.

“550 people were giving their own suggestions. Nobody has asked people. So we need another law. Assemblies and Lok Sabha think that they are above gram sabhas. But gram sabhas are above you. We need a new law which gives such a power to gram sabhas,” he said in his 30-minute address.

Asserting that the incidents during the last day of Rajya Sabha’s Winter Session was wrong, Mr. Hazare added, “The elected members were giving their views on their own. This is not right democracy. Why this happened? Because the masters were sleeping.”

He said there should be provisions in the new law that a panchayat can be dismissed if it spends money without consulting the gram sabha and getting their consent.

Arguing for strong gram sabhas, Mr, Hazare cited the acquisition process for Special Economic Zones saying the owners in the villages and the village sabhas do not know when the government acquires their land straightaway without their permission.

“We the masters were sleeping when the servants were looting our treasuries. Now we have awakened. If the government does not bring a law, we will have to organise an agitation similar to the August 16 (Ramlila Maidan) agitation for a strong Lokpal Bill,” he said.

Claiming that today’s democracy is not for the people, by the people, and of the people but that of officialdom, Mr. Hazare said corruption increased because of exclusion of people from the law making process.

“Those who are to safeguard the treasuries are the ones who are looting it. The responsibility lies with people as they fell asleep after sending elected representatives to Parliament and Assemblies.

“We sent them as our servants but they are behaving like our masters…The laws being made are weak because you are not consulting the masters,” he said.

Mr. Hazare said there is no difference between the British rule and the present system if the government does not take the opinion of people while making laws.

He also made a fresh demand for Right to Recall and Right to Reject laws.

Taking on from what Mr. Hazare said, his close aide Arvind Kejriwal said, “If a bill is passed in Parliament, our representatives should distribute them to people and ask their opinion.”

He said they were being asked to have faith in Parliament but “how do we do that.”

“When we close eyes to visuals of Parliament, we see the faces of (more than) 163 other criminals sitting there. I don’t remember there was a movement such big where people came to streets in such numbers for a law. Then Lalu Prasad says no MP wants Lokpal. How do we believe that they represent us?”

“Parliament has become hostage to ruling party rather than ruling party being accountable to Parliament. This situation of ruling party High Command becoming virtual kings is dangerous,” he said.

On the Lokpal Bill, he said the law that went to Parliament was “useless“.

“97 amendments were introduced by opposition. Their speeches were different from the amendments they moved. The ruling party had the majority and they did what they wanted.

Was it just a formality? Was it just a show? The people whom we sent turn to their High Command for orders,” he added.

Another Team Anna member Shanti Bhushan said the reason for the establishment of Republic was to give power to people for lawmaking.

“But something has gone wrong. To bridge the gap, a people’s movement is needed and its bugle has been sounded.

There will be a peaceful movement that will stretch to the nook and corner of the country,” he said.

Justice Bhandari is nominee for ICJ post


By-election scheduled for March

The government of India has officially nominated Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a sitting Supreme Court judge, as India’s candidate for the post of Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the casual vacancy caused in Asia following the resignation of Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh from Jordan in October 2011 after his appointment as the Prime Minister of that country.

Being a casual vacancy the term is for the reminder period of six years. In September, 2011 a regular Asian vacancy (for a nine-year term) had arisen due to the retirement of Japanese Judge Hisashi Owada. But, despite strong expectation, India missed the opportunity and did not nominate its candidate. However, now India is perceived as a strong candidate in the coming by-election in March 2012 to fill the casual vacancy.

Having missed an opportunity to contest in the normal vacancy, India can now seek the support of other countries to get elected at least in the casual vacancy.

In the past, Justice B.N. Rao (1950s), Dr. Nagendra Singh (1970-80s) and Justice R.S. Pathak (1988-90), former Chief Justice of India, had served as Judges of the ICJ. In 1991, Justice Pathak, who was re-nominated, lost the election and thereafter India did not contest. Two persons served as ad hoc Judges namely: M.C. Chagla in a dispute with Portugal in the 1950s and Jeevan Reddy in a dispute with Pakistan in 2002. The list of sitting judges or the past judges of the ICJ reveal that most of them had been law professors or diplomats.

Taking all these factors into consideration, India has now nominated Justice Bhandari as its official candidate and it remains to be seen whether he will be elected unopposed. There will be election if Jordon also decides to contest for the reminder of its term.

The ICJ is the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations. It consists of 15 Judges who serve for nine years. At present, among the 15 Judges on the Bench of ICJ, two representatives from Asia are: Hisashi Owada from Japan, who is also the president, and Xue Hanqin from China.

Supreme Court advocate Mohan Katarki, familiar with the working of the ICJ, said: “Though there is no formal provision for distribution of Judges, in practice, distribution among the principal regions of the world exists. Out of 15 Judges, the distribution is 3 for Africa, 2 for Latin America, 3 for Asia, 5 for Western Europe and other States and 2 for Eastern Europe. Another practice is that, a national of each of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council is always represented on the Bench. The principle behind such selection is that the ICJ does not decide disputes based on hard and fast rules, but brings out a solution to the dispute to achieve peace.”

Justice Bhandari (64), who has vast experience in international law and is familiar with the working of the U.N. organisations, is the preferred candidate of the Indian government. He is due to retire in September this year. Justice Bhandari was the chairperson of the Delhi Centre of the International Law Association for several years. He was invited to deliver a keynote address in the International Conference organised by the United Nations on “Intellectual Property” at Auckland (New Zealand). He was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court on October 28, 2005.

On March 13, 2006, he was invited to address the International Conference on “Judicial Education on Equality Issues in South Asia: What we have accomplished Together,” organised by the Asia Pacific Advisory Forum at Kathmandu (Nepal). On January 13, 2007, he was invited to deliver a keynote address on “Gender Justice & Sensitisation of Judiciary – An Overview,” organised by the Asia Pacific Advisory Forum on Judicial Education on Equality Issues at Karachi (Pakistan).

He has been selected as one of the 15 most illustrious and distinguished alumni in the 150 years history of the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, U.S. He was unanimously elected president of the India International Law Foundation.









Unsound mind defence may save Santosh Mane: Lawyer


Published: Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 20:30 IST
By Manasi Saraf Joshi | Place: Pune

Although a driver who causes the death of a person due to rash and negligent driving faces maximum punishment of life imprisonment and/ or fine under section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, 1960, Santosh Mane, who claimed 8 lives may be go scot free if he succeeds in proving that he had an unsound mind at the time of commission of the offence.

Senior lawyer, SK Jain, said such cases attract charges under section 304 (A). The quantum of punishment depends on circumstances like number of deaths and damage to property.

However, he added, if the accused claims he was suffering from unsound mind, the trial cannot commence until he recovers enough to understand what is going on. In such cases, he is sent to a mental hospital for treatment.

Even on conviction, such person is likely to be sent to a mental hospital for treatment, according to Jain.

No legal help for Pune rogue driver


PTI | Jan 27, 2012, 03.39AM IST

PUNE: Santosh Mane, the state transport driver who went on a rampage mowing down eight persons and injuring 27 others, was on Thursday remanded in police custody till February 3 by a local court with lawyers refusing to appear for him.

There was no sign of remorse on 30-year-old Mane, who was produced in the court of judicial magistrate V B Borha, has been charged under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 381 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code in addition to offences related to damage to public property.

The district government pleader Ujwala Pawar, who sought 14 days police remand of Mane, submitted to court that the accused had committed a heinous crime and it was necessary to investigate matters related to his behaviour in the state transport department prior to the act. She said police would also require time to gather necessary evidence in the case. Magistrate Borha, however, remanded the accused in police custody till February 3.











Why not ban asbestos, HC asks Centre


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the government of India should think of prohibiting the import, manufacture and use of asbestos to prevent health hazards. “Asbestos, including the fibre and its products, is banned in all developed countries as it is known to be hazardous to health and is one of the causes of lung cancer. So India should think of its prohibition,” the court said. The court also asked the Central Government and the Customs Commissioner to file a report in this regard.

A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph passed the order while considering a petition filed by C Muthuswami of Bangalore against the detention of a consignment of asbestos fibre at the Walayar check-post.

“Of course the raw material with which asbestos sheets and pipes are made are cheap and affordable to common man. This may be the reason that prevents developing countries like India from banning it,” the court observed.

The court pointed out that John Varghese, counsel for Customs, informed that there was no ban on the import of asbestos fibre and related materials though they are hazardous to health. The government should consider the prohibition of asbestos to save people from health hazards, the Bench observed and directed the registry to post the case before the Acting Chief Justice’s court which hears PILs.











Ruling buoys parole seekers


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Jan 27, 2012, 02.32AM IST

NEW DELHI: Prisoners awaiting decision on their appeals in Delhi high court can now benefit from an HC ruling where it has brought them on a par while seeking bail, with convicts who have lost their case and seek parole.

HC has clarified the legal position on grant of interim bail to prisoners awaiting their appeal and said their bail pleas should be considered on the same grounds taken into account while granting parole.The court said nothing stops such convicts from seeking bail for maintaining social ties, serious illness of a family member, critical condition among others.







Man-animal conflict: Karnataka HC sets up task force


Published: Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 15:32 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Karnataka high court has set up a task force to help in resolving the man-animal conflict in the state, responding to a suo motu public interest litigation seeking steps to prevent elephant deaths in Karnataka.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen set up the task force, which will be headed by Dr Raman Sukumar of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Other members of the taskforce are Ajay Desai, member of Project Elephant, Sharat Chandra Lele, sociologist and member of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Dr CH Basappanavar, retired forest officer, Dr SS Bisht, former director of Project Elephant, N Ravindranath Kamath and BR Deepak, advocates, and MK Madhusudhan, elephant expert and Green Oscar awardee. The division bench of the high court asked the taskforce to present its report on April 15.
The division bench gave the following directions to the task force:• Look into the entire gamut of issues related to human-elephant conflict in Karnataka with special reference to Hasan–Kodagu area and make recommendations to bring about a more effective conservation and management regime for the species and its habitat in Karnataka with focus on participation of local communities.• Study the composition of the elephant population in Kattipura area and its movement pattern.• Examine a report on feasibility of providing a proper corridor or habitat, if need be, by acquiring private land and recovering the encroached land within the periphery of forest lands.• Consider the need or feasibility of translocation of elephants or local inhabitants from the relevant habitats.• Examine and report on the present status or steps taken by forest authorities in respect of electric fencing and trenching or any other corridor formation within and outside the forests in Hassan–Kodagu area and whether such steps are ill-advised or improperly implemented. • Examine and report on the achievements made or present status of or implementation of short- and long-term comprehensive action plan submitted to this court.













HC: Rectify Defects Within 7 Weeks


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted seven weeks’ time to rectify the defects pointed out by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) on the installation work at the Kureepuzha waste treatment plant in Kollam. A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon passed the order while considering a petition filed by Kollam Corporation seeking police protection for installing a waste treatment plant.

The petitioner submitted that Manushyavakasha Paristhithi Samrakshana Samiti and some residents of Kureepuzha were

obstructing waste-carrying vehicles and the employees were manhandled several times.











Madras HC rejects HRD Ministry’s appeal


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 26,2012

Chennai, Jan 26 (PTI) The Madras High Court has upheld a single judge’s order directing the Centre to consider a deemed university’s proposal of 2007 to set up an off-campus centre in Tiruchirappalli by applying the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines which existed prior to 2010. A bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam in their recent order said that as noticed by the single Judge, though Section 26(3) of the UGC Act conferred power to make a regulation, including with retrospective effect, no retrospective effect should be given to any regulation so as to prejudicially affect the interest of any person to whom it may be applicable. The Bench was dismissing an appeal by the Human Resources Development Ministry challenging the single judge’s order on a petition by SRM University (Deemed) near here directing the Ministry to consider its application in the light of the UGC’s recommendations of September 2009 to the Centre clearing the proposal. The Ministry claimed that the single Judge was wrong in directing the university’s application to be considered under the old guidelines after the same had been superseded by the 2010 regulations. The university, however, submitted that grave prejudice was caused to it on account of the ministry’s direction to apply afresh under the 2010 regulations as the news rules came into force during the pendency of its proposal. The university said the power under the regulation itself was prospective and could not prejudice anyone. MORE PTI GR VS








Gujarat HC had opted for CBI in 2 cases


Published: Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 17:06 IST
By Nikunj Soni | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Gujarat high court had earlier refused to hand over the investigation of two encounter cases to the special task force (STF) headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice MB Shah.

The Gujarat government had sought an investigation by the STF in the Sadik Jamal and Ishrat Jahan encounter cases. The government’s argument was heard by the high court during the hearing of two different petitions filed by the kin of Sadik Jamal, Ishrat and Pranesh alias Javed Shaikh. However, the high court had rejected a probe by the STF and handed over the cases to the CBI.

Mukul Sinha, who was lawyer of the victims’ kin in both the cases, had expressly opposed a probe by the STF headed by justice MB Shah.

The high court had ultimately asked the CBI to investigate the Sadik Jamal encounter case and find out whether the encounter was genuine or not. The Ishrat Jahan encounter was found to be fake following an investigation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the high court bench of justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari.

Justice Shah is already in charge of a mammoth task. He is chairman of the enquiry commission set up by the Central Government to investigate charges of illegal mining of coal. Last year, he was appointed vice-chairman of the special investigation team set up by the Supreme Court for investigation of black money parked abroad.

In addition, justice Shah is the head of the enquiry commission set up by the state government to investigate corruption charges levelled against the government by the Congress.

When contacted, justice Shah said he had already started work on the probe into corruption charges levelled against the state government by the Congress. “I am not aware of the Supreme Court order on the encounter cases. Hence I can not comment on it,” he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Supreme Court judgment, Nitya Ramakrishnan, counsel for petitioner BG Verghese, said, “We are very happy that a Supreme Court judge will probe and monitor the encounter cases.”








HC judgment on age limit in nursery today


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 27, 2012

The Delhi high court will on Friday pronounce its crucial judgment on a PIL seeking banning private schools from admitting children below four years of age in nursery classes. The PIL by NGO Social Jurist also urged the court to fix uniform age pattern for nursery and KG classes in all schools. The court had reserved its order on January 19 after hearing the petitioner, schools and the government.

The NGO accused the government of not enforcing the court’s September 2007 order, which had asked it to implement Ashok Ganguly Committee’s recommendations that favoured fixing of four years as the minimum age for admission in pre-primary classes and disfavoured considering nursery as part of formal schooling.

“KG should be considered as entry level while most schools treat nursery as an official start to schooling, leaving little scope for fresh admissions in KG,” Agarwal submitted. He also demanded that nursery class should not be considered as “feeder for KG class”.

During the hearing, the court asked the government to frame guidelines for admission to pre-primary classes that will be applicable to all schools in the Capital.











MP HC restrains AICTE from derecognizing tech colleges


Joseph John, TNN | Jan 27, 2012, 04.54AM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday passed interim orders, directing the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) not to cancel recognition of any institution for not complying with its new policy which prescribed mandatory subscription of foreign e-journals by technical institutions.

Admitting a petition moved by Private Technical Colleges Association (Feprotech), the bench comprising justice K K Lahoti and Justice Mrs Vimla Jain granted interim relief to the petitioners, directing AICTE not to cancel recognition of any technical institute for non-compliance of its guideline for mandatory subscription of foreign e-journals.

The court also issued notice to AICTE, directing the technical education regulator to file its reply by February six.

The petitioners had challenged AICTE’s revised policy on journals in which for the first time it had prescribed mandatory subscription of foreign e-journals on computers, engineering management, pharmacy, architecture, bio-technology and hotel management. The annual subscription costs of these foreign e-journals varied from 1000 to 6000 US dollars.

In its petition, Feprotech challenged AICTE direction on e- journals arguing that such a policy would put tremendous financial burden on technical institutions which otherwise would not be so high in subscribing e-journals from Indian companies.

During the hearing, Petitioner’s counsel Siddharth Radhelal Gupta argued technical institutions per se were not opposed to the idea of subscribing foreign e-journals. “However, AICTE had only kept foreign e-journals in its list hence technical institutions, affiliated to AICTE, would not be in a position to subscribe e-journals from Indian companies which doesn’t figure in the list. ” AICTE cannot keep Indian companies out of this list”, he argued.











Supreme Court stays probe against SM Krishna


Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: January 27, 2012 15:23 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today stayed the lokayukta police probe against External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. Mr Krishna had challenged the registration of an FIR by the Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) police on allegations that he had illegally de-reserved forest blocks for mining when he was chief minister 1999-2004.

A bench of Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra heard the matter today and said since the further report by the lokayukta has to be submitted, they feel the “FIR is premature.”

Mr Krishna’s petition had said that that policy decision of the government could not be looked into by the courts and the Cabinet decision was a collective decision of the Council of Ministers for which no one individual could be singled out for probe.

The FIR was registered by police on the order of Lokayukta court judge NK Sudhindra Rao directing a probe in the wake of private complaint by a Bangalore businessman TJ Abraham. Mr Krishna’s two successors, N Dharam Singh and HD Kumaraswamy and 11 serving and retired senior officials will also be probed.

In his complaint, Mr Abraham had alleged that during his tenure as chief minister, Mr Krishna “illegally amassed wealth in the name of his family members, including his children and in-laws, and also in the names of his erstwhile close cabinet colleagues in return for de-reserving forest land for private companies”.

Mr Krishna is facing a probe for de-reserving 34 forest blocks in Bellary and other places and allegedly allowing 10 private companies to mine in the area, despite opposition from the then state forests minister and the secretary of the forests department.










Reply to RTI queries or face penalty: CIC warns AI


Updated on Thursday, January 26, 2012, 11:52

Zeebiz Bureau

New Delhi: The Chief Information Commissioner has sent notice to Air India for refusing to reply to specific RTI queries pertaining to the use of carrier for former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel’s daughter Poorna Patel and some IPL players.

Allegedly, a scheduled Delhi-Coimbatore flight that was cancelled on April 20, 2010, was used to ferry these people on the request from Poorna Patel.

The official documents accessed through RTI, show the request was made by India Cements Limited, Chennai owners of Chennai Super Kings.

RTI activist Subash Chandra has filed another RTI this time seeking copy of complete documents/correspondence/file etc which the Air India has refused to serve citing commercial confidentiality..

Taking cognisance of the issue the Chief Information commissioner has put Air India on notice by asking them to reply to the RTI or face a penalty.










Traders’ body seeks to defer Food Safety Act


TNN | Jan 27, 2012, 04.31AM IST

MADURAI: The merchant community in Madurai has termed the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as detrimental to the interests of farmers and self-help groups in its present form and urged the Centre to postpone the enforcement of the Act.

Hoisting the tricolour to mark the Republic Day, S P Jeyapragasam, president of the Madurai-based Tamil Nadu Foodgrain Merchants’ Association said the Act that has come into force from September last year would curtail farmers’ opportunity to sell products at remunerative prices. “According to the Act, farmers who grow the food products and traders are liable for action for deficiency in the products. The deficiency in quality of agro products due to changes in weather should also be taken into account,” he said.

Jeyapragasam noted that the government was selling liquor while admitting that consuming liquor was injurious to health. “Similarly, cigarette and beedi packets are sold with the warning that smoking is injurious to health. The government that permits sale of these injurious products tends to penalise heavily traders if the product they sell is substandard without taking into account the quality change due to weather. It is not fair on the part of government,” he said.

He also noted that the products made by SHG members cannot be brought under the purview of the act. “They will be forced to stop production,” he said, urging that the government should postpone enforcement of the Act by at least three years to hear grievances of farmers and traders.

The association demanded that food testing laboratories be established in all districts before the Act is implemented.

The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce president N Jegatheesan in his Republic Day address demanded that foreign direct investment in retail sector should not be allowed. “The chamber welcomes foreign investment in infrastructure sector but not in retail. Though the Centre has dropped the proposal for now, the government may start a campaign soon after the assembly elections in few northern states claiming that FDI in retail was good for farmers. It should not be allowed,” he said.



LEGAL NEWS 26.01.2012

Conversation with Vodafone Counsel Anuradha Dutt

Bar & Bench spoke to Vodafone Counsel Anuradha Dutt, Partner at Dutt & Menon. Anuradha has been representing Vodafone in this matter since 2008. She spoke on her involvement in the matter, initial reactions on the decision, impact of the decision on investor community and revenue department, important principles of law brought out by the Supreme Court in this decision.

Bar & Bench: Your initial reactions on the decision . You have been involved in this matter since 2008.

Anuradha Dutt: Actually, I have been involved since the first round in Supreme Court in December 2008 when on 23 January 2009 the Supreme Court remanded the matter to the Assessing Officer and then to the Bombay High Court and then to the Supreme Court who remanded Vodafone back to the Assessing Officer for quantification from which the SLP was pending. So we have had a long journey and three years of my life I don’t think I did much of any other work. I was involved in it quite deeply. So apart from the sense of relief, it’s a joy. When you work hard and get a good reward at the end, that’s the feeling that one gets.


I think it’s an important judgement as the certainity in law has been created. I think what is important is that when Multinationals take a decision to invest, one of the main factors they consider is what is the rule of law and the state of the judicial system in that country. I think when Vodafone decided to come, it obviously did not envisage such a situation, because not only there was no law but there was no practise of tax department assessing such offshore transactions. Law and practise are very significant for a person outside this country to see what this country is all about. After Vodafone came in and the way Vodafone had to fight the court case which had been dragging for the past three years it impacted the foreign investors and had created lot of anxiety among the potential investors.


I think that this judgment has shown that the rule of law is really supreme and we are a very mature judicial system. The judgement says that these are policy decisions, and if India wants a piece of the cake when an investor is making money when he is exiting, it should make laws. To my mind that is really important to uphold the rule of law and allow the potential investor to know that there is a very mature judicial system in place in this country unlike many other developing countries.


Bar & Bench: Impact of the Vodafone decision on the investor community and of course the revenue department. 


Anuradha Dutt: The foreign investors consider various factors like infrastructure, government delays etc before investing in a country. But I think one of the key factors is a judicial system and the rule of law. This decision has definitely given a positive message to the world and I think that is what we really need to celebrate.


This decision has settled a three year long litigation that had created a lot of uncertainty for foreign companies. This decision will repose confidence in cross-border mergers and acquisitions and further boost such investment coming to India.


The point is the tax department started something which they should not have, without amending the law. I think they took their chances, they even held out the first round when Vodafone lost in the Bombay High Court that this is a ‘test case’. The concurring judgement has stated it very well that this demand of Rs.12000 crore is like giving a capital punishment to a capital investor. It is really the sentiment that was being felt by not only Vodafone but lot of other similar cases.


Bar & Bench: Who were the Senior Counsels involved in the matter? What were the main arguments put forth by Vodafone before the Supreme Court? 


Anuradha Dutt: We briefed Mr. Harish Salve  and Dr. Abhishek Manu Singhvi. There were four grounds that we had raised in the matter. The first ground was that this transaction was not taxable at all and second was, even if the transaction is taxable because it is a payment from one Non Resident to another Non Resident outside India, Section 195 of the Income Tax Act will not apply. These were argued by Mr. Salve.


We had two other issues, that the amendment in Section 201 of Income Tax Act which came in after the Vodafone matter started in Bombay High Court in 2008 and was given retrospective effect was also challenged.  Lastly, we challenged that under Section 191 of the Income Tax Act unless Hutch is given a notice, you can’t come against Vodafone. These two aspects were to be argued by Dr Singhvi, but in the end only gave written submissions on these two issues because the Bench said that they would really hear first only the taxability issue and the applicability of Section 195.


So, we had Mr. Salve argue on the aforesaid two aspects and Dr. Singhvi on the latter two aspects. The entire groundwork, pleadings and arguments before Assessing Officer were handled by our firm and principally I and Fereshte Sethna (Partner, Mumbai Office) handled it.


Bar & Bench: Important Principles of law brought out by the Supreme Court in this decision. 


Anuradha Dutt: The first important aspect is that the Supreme Court has said that the provisions of Section 9 of the Income Tax Act relate only to a capital asset situated in India. Only if there is a transfer of such a capital asset then Section 9 can be invoked. The Revenue argued that Section 9 is a ‘look through’ and even if there is an indirect transfer i.e. if two foreign companies enter into an agreement and buy shares of a foreign company which has an effect of  transferring the control of the Indian company then Section 9 can be invoked. The Court has rejected this argument and  observed that Section 9 is not a ‘look-through’ provision and indirect transfers are not covered.


Second aspect they have dealt is to do with the Mauritian Treaty. The Revenue argued  that the Mauritian Treaty would not have been available to Vodafone which argument has been rejected. What is more important is that the Court has made a distinction between genuine investors like Vodafone and round tripping (where Indian investor takes money abroad then circulates it and bring it back). The Supreme Court has held that the benefits of the India-Mauritius tax treaty could not be denied in the absence of a ‘Limitation of Benefits’ provision, even if the initial investment did not initiate in Mauritius. However, minority concurring judgment has held that the existence of a tax residency certificate (TRC) does not prevent enquiry into a tax fraud like round tripping or other illegal activities.


Therefore, Essar or such other companies who have Indian investment companies and Mauritian Investments and Mauritian Entities, they will really have to show to the tax authorities, when they claim any Mauritian Treaty benefit you know that this is not round tripping. So it is significant for Indian investors who think that they can set up Mauritian Entities.


Another important aspect is, the majority judgement is saying is that the investment was a bonafide structured investment into India. In fact the Court has not frowned upon tax havens the way the Revenue argued. They have said Mauritius or Cayman Islands are tax neutral jurisdictions, which can be used by Multinationals for their investments to various developing countries including India and they can route it through Mauritius or such other countries which provide Treaty benefits.  They have said that it’s a policy decision which the Government of India has taken. And till today Mauritian Treaty is unamended and various other treaties which we had shown to the Court like Singapore, UAE, etc they have brought in limitation of benefit clauses are missing in Mauritius Treaty. In India-Australian Treaty, an indirect transfer is discussed. So, the the majority judgement says these are policy decisions and the government should enact the law. This is not what court is supposed to do. So they have basically said take policy decisions and have the courage to amend the law.


The Supreme Court has also held that tax planning is legitimate because revenue had tried to argue that Azadi bachao is bad law. The Supreme Court has held that the judgments in Azadi Bachai Andolan and McDowell were not conflicting and both adopted the correct interpretation of the law. In McDowell the Supreme Court had upheld tax planning as legitimate as long as it was within the framework of the law; colourable devices though could not be said to be legitimate. The Azadi Bachao Andolan case is good law in the context of the India-Mauritius Tax Treaty and there is no conflict between the Azadi Bacho Andolan case and McDowell case concerning tax evasion/avoidance.


The apex court has listed the host of factors namely, duration of time during which the holding structure existed, the period of business operations in India, generation of taxable revenue during the period of business operation in India, the timing of the exit, continuity of business on such exit, etc. which one is required to consider to reach a finding that the transaction evidences are a preordained transaction or investment to participate.


The Court has laid down a business purpose test which is new to Indian jurisprudence. The ruling also acknowledges that use of holding companies and investment structures are driven by business/commercial purpose and the use of these entities in international structures does not imply tax avoidance.


These are the key issues you know that come out from the majority judgement and the concurring judgement is almost similar. One of the aspect different is that the majority judgement says that you should bring in a law for ‘round -tripping’ but does not go to the extent of saying that in tax fraud and round tripping you can go behind the TRC which the concurring judgment upholds. So let’s see whether that will be the next issue that the Revenue will be raising in future cases.


Bar & Bench: The SC has enunciated the principle of the ‘look at’ approach and the importance of looking at the transaction as a whole. What are your thoughts on the concepts of ‘look through’ and ‘look at’ and how will it affect future the cross border transactions? 


Anuradha Dutt: The Revenue had argued that you have to look through a transaction, go behind the transaction and see what is the commercial purpose and then tax it.  The majority judgement says you cannot dissect a transaction. Transaction has to be ‘looked at’ holistically and the legal effect of it has to be seen to consider whether a transaction is taxable. The Supreme Court pronounced the principle of ‘look at’ approach and emphasized the importance of ‘looking at’ the transaction in its entirety and then see whether there is some fraud or what is the timing or what is the legal effect. The transaction could not be dissected into transfer of shares outside India and of the transfer of some assets within India.


If the Government wants to apply the ‘look through’ principle, they must bring the changes in the laws or amend the tax treaties. If the tax treaties don’t have the limitation of benefits then they cannot look through those entities and lift the corporate veil to look at the beneficial owners. The decision makes it very clear that government needs to look into the policy reforms and bring in certainty in the tax policies. The government doesn’t want to make policy changes and instead wants judicial pronouncements to help them.


This will definitely have an impact on the cross border transactions. Today there is clarity; people know what is the rule of law in this country and what is the judgement which is the law of the land. Till now, the law was that outside transfers, outside India even if they had an indirect effect of controlling the company were not being taxed, suddenly one big transaction in the country comes with big numbers and the government starts changing its practise and that too without bringing in legislation.


Bar & Bench: Do you think the Government will file a review petition?


Anuradha Dutt: I am hearing that the Government is going to file a review petition. To my mind the Government of India should accept this verdict and bring legislative changes or Treaty changes if they want and not again find means and ways to whittle down this judgement in any manner because that definitely will be a bad signal to the world.


Bar & Bench: According to media reports, the Government is likely to amend tax laws in this coming budget session to ensure that overseas sale of a foreign company with assets in India is subject to capital gains levy. Your views. 


Anuradha Dutt: I don’t think any Multinational or any foreign government or anybody else can say that India should not have legislative changes. Let me tell you in Australia they have in all their Treaties and law that if there are any transfer that takes place outside Australia but has the effect of transferring a domestic company’s control which is in mining sector, it will be taxed in Australia. Similarly, UK has it for Oil and Natural Gas.


So, India can either across the board or find whichever sector they want to have a piece of the pie, amend laws or treaties, accordingly. However, there has to be express legislation and it has to be prospective and that really is the way to go about according to me.


Bar & Bench: How will this decision have an impact on similar cases under scrutiny?


Anuradha Dutt: The decision will have far-reaching implications as it clearly states that the rule of law will prevail. The Court held that this is a bona fide structure. The decision has laid down certain tests like look at the transaction and not dissect it. Bonafide genuine transactions, continuity, the person who has sold has not wound up the next day etc. are tests that will be applied to a host of cases that are pending in court and wherever these tests are crossed successfully, such cases will escape the tax net and if there is any one of these cases on facts where there is an issue that will have a problem.


Bar & Bench: So now what will be your advise to your foreign clients?


Anuradha Dutt: As of now, my advise is that we have a mature democracy and mature judicial system and prefer that this should be the country you should invest in. At least today we can tell them that these are the tests and if you fulfil the tests definitely this is the law  as of today and in future when the law changes of course the advise changes.


Child labour: Centre pulls up state govt


Rajiv Shah, TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 01.57AM IST

GANDHINAGAR: In a sharply-worded letter to Gujarat chief secretary A K Joti, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), the Centre’s child rights watchdog, has asked the state government to provide to the commission a complete action taken report (ATR) within a month on large number of cases of violation of child labour laws in Gujarat submitted to it by different voluntary agencies.

The letter was in response to a communication from principal secretary, labour, P Panneervel, seeking postponement of the NCPCR’s public hearing, which was to take place in Ahmedabad on January 27 to 28.

The public hearing, which was to take place on matters related to child labour, right to education (RTE) and child rights issues, has been put off for a month, but not without objecting to the reasons given by the state officialdom seeking postponement. Hiding behind procedural issues, the government, apparently, did not want public hearing, wondering under which law the NCPCR was seeking to carry it out in Gujarat, even while insisting that the NCPCR follow National Commission for Human Rights (NHRC) in seeking details on child rights issues.

The letter to the chief secretary warned, during the one-month period till the public hearing takes place, the State government should ensure that “nobody (the child, parents / family members / NGO representative) involved in the referred cases are harassed by anybody directly or indirectly.” It also wanted the state government to inform “concerned departments and district magistrates/ district collectors” to remain present during the hearing, now to take place in February-end.

The complaints to the NCPCR range from existence of child labour in cotton fields of North Gujarat and plight of migrant workers’ and fishermen’s children, to the state government decision to close down 3,000 primary schools on the ground that their strength is less than100 each. Then, there are complaints on closure of five schools in Rajkot city, some of them a century old; a dilapidated school in Akbarpur in Khambhat town where children cannot use the class rooms; a school in Vadodara city where 300 children are forced to sit in a single room; and lack of school for slum dwellers in the Kandla special economic zone.



13/7 Mumbai blasts: Naqi Ahmed’s family wants Delhi police testimony


PTI Jan 24, 2012, 07.50PM IST

NEW DELHI: The family of Naqi Ahmed, arrested by the Maharashtra ATS as the man behind 13/7 Mumbai blasts, today said it would ask for the testimony of Delhi Police Special cell officials whom the 22-year-old was helping to solve a terror case by remaining undercover.

Naqi’s brother Taqi Ahmed (24) told reporters here that he and his associates have approached the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), National Commission for Minorities, Delhi Police Commissioner and Union Home Minister P Chidambaram to obtain help for his “innocent” brother who has been wrongfully framed by the ATS in the serial blasts case which claimed 27 lives.

“My brother is innocent. He was helping the Special Cell (of Delhi police) from December 9, 2011 to January 9 recently after they had approached him for help in a case they were pursuing. We will go to the court and other forums to get justice for my brother,” Taqi said at a press conference here.

Taqi was flanked by the representatives of Jamia Teacher’s solidarity association and social organisation– ANHAD.

Taqi, during the conference, also claimed that he met the two officials of Special Cell, with whom Naqi had gone to Mumbai, two days back and they have assured him that they would stand by his brother’s “innocence”.

“The two Special cell officials assured me that they would go to the court and testify that my brother Naqi was indeed helping in their investigation and that he is innocent,” he said.

Maharashtra ATS chief Rakesh Maria had yesterday announced in Mumbai the arrest of Naqi and said he was indoctrinated by IM head Yasin Bhatkal and also that Naqi helped the IM mastermind to rent the third floor flat in Habib Building at Byculla last year






Godhra riots: HC reserves order on treating sting footage as evidence


Agencies : Ahmedabad, Tue Jan 24 2012, 10:31 hrs

Gujarat High Court reserved the order on the petition by Salim Zarda, sentenced to death in the Godhra train burning case, seeking that CDs of a TV sting operation be brought on record as evidence in the case.

A Division Bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyay reserved the ruling after hearing both the sides on Monday.

Zarda, who was awarded death sentence along with 10 others in the Godhra case, has also sought examination of journalist Ashish Khaitan, who had carried out the sting operation in 2007. The sting footage shows a person admitting that he gave a false statement against some of the accused.

Senior counsel Nitya Ramkrishnan, representing Zarda, submitted that Special Investigation Team appointed by the Supreme Court which had probed the Godhra case had taken on record the CDs of the sting operation as evidence in the Gulberg and Naroda Patiya riot cases. But, in the Godhra case itself it was not treating the same CDs as evidence, she said.

She further said the trial court, which gave the verdict in the Godhra case, erred by not calling Khaitan as a witness.

Senior advocate Sushil Kumar, appearing for SIT, however opposed demand to call Khaitan as a witness, now that the trial court had given its verdict and the matter was before the high court.

Kumar said that SIT had applied for the cross-examination of Khaitan regarding his CD, but trial court did not allow that.






Eunuchs can access justice like any citizen’


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 03.08AM IST

MUMBAI: Eunuchs are equal under the law and can access justice like any citizen, said the Bombay High Court on Tuesdayy, while hearing a PIL by eunuchs for better conditions.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a petition filed by the NGO, Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs, whichh, among others has sought amendments in criminal law, particularly sections 375 (rape), 376 (punishment for rape) and 377 (unnatural sex) of the IPC, to include transgenders as a separate category.

The NGO’s chairperson, Piyush Saxena, said, “When we call them chakka or hijra, it is very humiliating for them.” He added that provisions of the Atrocities Act should be made applicable in such cases.

“You are equal under the law. In a given case, when a particular offence occurs, you can always access justice,” said Justice Dalvi. Saxena said, “We have tried but did not get success. Calling an eunuch a hijra is not an offence under the law.” Justice Shah said, “You basically want to be under a third category.”

Additional government pleader G W Mattos submitted that as per news reports, the Centre was contemplating amendment to criminal laws to incorporate the neuter gender.

Central government advocate Rui Rodrigues sought time to take instructionsin the matter.- Rosy SequeiraThe heaing is adjourned to March 8, 2012 for the State and Centre to make their stands clear.





TDSAT reserves order on telcos’ plea against DoT penalty


Updated on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 18:42

New Delhi: Telecom tribunal TDSAT has reserved order on operators’ plea to stay the penalty imposed on them by the government for failing to complete the directive to reverify prepaid connections in Assam and North East service areas.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) bench, headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha, reserved the order on Monday.

Operators had sought stay on the penalty imposed by the DoT’s Telecom Enforcement Resource and Monitoring (TERM) cell.

Dishnet Wireless, Vodafone, Bharti Airtel and Idea Cellular also questioned Department of Telecom’s circular to reverify their existing prepaid connections.

Earlier, GSM industry lobby group Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) had approached TDSAT on the issue. However, on January 13 the tribunal asked the operators to file individual petitions as well.

COAI said the government circular for re-verification of subscribers was prepared “without any application of mind” and “in a totally casual manner”.

According to them, DoT has simply extended the guidelines of J&K service area to Assam and North East.

COAI has said that as per the circular issued last year by the Department of Telecom, certificates by Village Panchayat Head or its equivalent authority as well as caste and domicile certificates with photographs provided by state governments, were not treated as ID proof.

Moreover, Voters Identity Cards issued before 2008 were also kept outside the list.

The DoT move came in view of apprehensions raised by the security establishment which said that militants were using pre-paid connections for subversive activities as they were made available easily.

The telecom companies fear that it may result in loss of a huge chunk of their 20 million-odd customer base in the Northeastern region.

“It is submitted that while extending such guidelines DoT failed to notice that these guidelines had been issued keeping the peculiar conditions applicable only to J&K in mind. They could not therefore, without proper modification, be applied in case of Assam and North East Service Areas,” said COAI.


Supreme Court slams Centre over Pak prisoners

A Vaidyanathan, Updated: January 24, 2012 18:06 IST

New Delhi:  The government today came in for severe criticism from the Supreme Court for keeping the foreign nationals, especially Pakistanis, in jail even after completion of sentence. The court termed it as “infraction of human rights of the worst order.”

“There is total inaction and laxity on the part of the government. We are more concerned about the liberty of the persons who continue to be in jails despite serving their sentences,” said a bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale while observing that some prisoners had been kept in detention even without having any case registered against them.

“Please show us the procedure under which you have detained and kept them for prolonged incarceration. We are more concerned with the question of substantial justice which should prevail over the procedures,” the justices said.

Observing that “liberty is precious”, the court told the government, “We don’t want your bureaucrats to sleep over the files and go into slumber. We don’t want clarifications from section officers, please give us comprehensive details as to whether there is any bilateral policy.

“Don’t compel us to summon the presence of a senior officer for clarification,” the bench said.

The government informed the court that 286 foreign prisoners, mostly from Pakistan, are in jail at present. Of these, the nationality of 46 persons are yet to be verified. The  government also informed the court that a Pakistani delegation was in New Delhi for the verification process.

The Supreme Court has directed the government to deport five Pakistani prisoners, who have completed their sentence, within one month. Other foreign nationals in Indian jails are also to be deported to their countries within one month of their finishing their jail terms. The court also asked the government to submit a compliance report by the February 28.

The court said, “We disapprove the adhoc manner in which the whole exercise is done by the Government of India concerning the foreign nationals who have served out their sentence.”

The court wanted to know details of those who had completed their sentence and why those inmates were still in jail. The government has also been asked for details of the verification process being carried out by Pakistan and other countries, and how long that would take.

The court also observed that an “agreement between India and Pak for counsellor access to their inmates has not been followed which has resulted in gross delay.”

The Supreme Court made these observations while dealing with two separate public interest litigations (PILs) relating to alleged prolonged incarceration of Pakistani and Bangladeshi nationals in Indian jails.









Supreme Court pulls up Army in Pathribal encounter case


Legal Correspondent

“You don’t allow the criminal justice system to go ahead”

The Supreme Court on Monday pulled up the Army for stalling the prosecution in the 2000 Pathribal encounter case in Jammu and Kashmir, initiated by the CBI against five officers, by not taking action under the Army Act and not allowing the criminal courts from proceeding with their prosecution.

Responding to the court’s query on January 20 on the stand of the Army, Additional Solicitor-General P.P. Malhotra told a Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar that the Army was not interested in taking over the case and court-martialling the officers under the Army Act.

The Bench is hearing petitions relating to the Centre’s claim of immunity and applicability of the controversial Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) in the North East and Jammu and Kashmir. The CBI, on the other hand, registered cases against Army men, treating some of the killings as encounter deaths, and filed charge sheets in the courts concerned. Shocked to hear this response from the Army, Justice Swatanter Kumar told the ASG: “You [the Army] don’t want to take over the case and initiate court martial proceedings against them. You don’t allow the criminal justice system to go ahead.”

Justice Chauhan observed: “The victims cannot be remedy less. No person can be harassed. No jawan should exceed limits. You cannot interpret and misinterpret the law and expect citizens to wait.”

“We cannot take over the case,” Mr. Malhotra said. “The Armed Forces are bound to protect their men.”

The Army contended that in a disturbed area, where the AFSPA was in force, no inquiry could be initiated against armed forces personnel called in to assist the civilian police, without the government’s sanction let alone a charge sheet being filed.

“They are protected under Section 6 of the AFSPA,” Mr. Malhotra said. This had vitiated the entire CBI inquiry into the episode. The Army personnel shot dead seven alleged militants in the incident. The Army had then claimed that they were responsible for killing several Sikhs in an earlier encounter in Chhattisinghpora during the former U.S. President Bill Clinton’s visit to India. But the J&K government later sought sanction for their prosecution after some evidence came to light that it was a fake encounter.

Not satisfied with the ASG’s response, the Bench sought Army records to show whether these cases had been put up before the Commanding Officer (CO) of the area for his decision. The CO was the authority to decide whether to court martial the men or allow civilian courts to try them.

The Bench also suo motu impleaded the Union Home and Defence Secretaries and asked them to explain their position on whether sanction was a must even for filing an FIR. The Bench said: “These officers will now have to protect themselves. But the Union of India has a dual responsibility. It has to ensure that the innocent are acquitted and the guilty punished.”

The Bench wondered why the Army was reluctant to try these cases when it did not have to take any sanction from the government to act against them. “Article 21 of the Constitution [right to life] is for both the accused and the victims,” The Bench said. It wanted to know from the Army whether in any prior case sanction from the government had been sought for investigating any case.

The Bench directed that the matter be listed for further hearing on February 3.









Attack on Rajkot Cong leader: Court summons cops


Express news service : Rajkot, Wed Jan 25 2012, 05:11 hrs
Rajkot Chief Judicial Magistrate V D Barot on Tuesday summoned Pradhyumannagar police with details of the threat case against Congress city President Jaswantsinh Bhatti after he accused police of violating human rights by arresting him without evidence.

Bhatti, who had refused to apply for bail and instead opted for jail custody after being arrested by Pradhyumannagar police on Monday, had filed a plea with Rajkot court alleging he had been arrested without any evidence on a “false” charge of threatening BJP leaders against him, which is “violation of human right laws”.

In response to his plea, the court on Tuesday summoned investigating officer of Pradhyumanagar police Ajitsinh Zala with all details.”

“The officer has submitted details and the hearing is scheduled for Wednesday,” said Bhatti’s counsel Ashok Vaghela.

Meanwhile, Rajkot Bar Association, in a general board meeting held on Tuesday, passed a resolution to file a writ petition in Gujarat High Court to quash complaint against Bhatti, who is also a lawyer.

Representatives of Rajkot Bar Association also met Bhatti at jail requesting him to take bail. “Bhatti has maintained that he will not opt for bail until Rajkot police apologise for ‘false’ case against him,” said Congress leader Kashmira Nathwani.

The Congress also staged a dharna in front of Commissioner of Police Geetha Johri’s office on Tuesday.

Bhatti, on complaint filed by former Rajkot Mayor and BJP councillor Uday Kangad, was booked for issuing life threats and causing property loss.







Decks cleared for CHB scheme draw of lots


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Wed Jan 25 2012, 01:21 hrs


In a sigh of relief for Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) and the Chandigarh Administration, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has cleared decks for the draw of lots for over 160 flats under the Self-Financing Housing Scheme of 2010 in Sector 51, Chandigarh. The draw was deferred in March last year after the High Court had ruled that the final outcome of the draw of lots will be subject to outcome of three petitions which had challenged the draw of lots.

The decks have been cleared since the three petitions challenging the draw were withdrawn today. The petitions were withdrawn after the Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) filed a detailed affidavit stating that a lawyer had orchestrated the filing of writ petitions and had “threatened” the officials of Chandigarh Housing Board (CHB) to not go ahead with the draw of lots since the case was pending before the High Court.

Arguing on behalf of CHB, Advocate Sanjay Kaushal contended that an effort was made to intimidate the officials by the lawyer who had got the petitions filed. Kaushal added that the grievance of the said lawyer was that he (lawyer) was not considered at the time of draw of lots.

Vehemently contesting this claim, Advocate Sanjay Kaushal averred that the contention of the lawyer was factually incorrect since the lawyer had never filed his application with the CHB. last year CHB had put the draw of lots on hold.

CHB, in its affidavit, also produced the details and contents of SMSes sent by the lawyer to the CHB officials. The High Court took serious note of the allegations levelled by the CHB.

The petitioners later withdrew the petitions. Last year the High Court, while making the outcome of draw of lots subject to the decision of the writ petitions, had ruled that “ the procedure adopted by the Housing Board prima facie appears to be an attempt to confine the draw of lots to a particular group of candidates”.





Krishna moves SC for quashing of complaint on illegal mining


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 19:26 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking quashing of private complaint and probe by Lok Ayukta police against him over alleged illegal mining during his tenure as Karnataka Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004.

The petition by Krishna challenged the January 20 decision of the Karnataka High Court by which his plea for quashing the private complaint and proceedings ordered by the Lok Ayukta Special Court against him was declined.

He termed as erroneous the high court verdict that held that investigation will continue into a Cabinet decision on dereserving of forest area.

The petition, filed through advocate Vijay Lakshmi Menon, contended that the Cabinet decision was a collective one taken by 34 ministers and an individual cannot be held responsible for it.

Further, the policy decision of the government cannot be challenged in the court of law, the petition said.

The high court had ordered that investigation should continue into offences relating to dereservation of forest area in mineral-rich fragile zones.

Krishna, Chief Minister from 1999 to 2004, however, had got some relief as the high court had quashed the charges of mismanagement of state-owned Mysore Minerals Limited by him on the ground it does not constitute any cognisable offence and do not call for investigation.

In the high court, it was submitted on behalf of Krishna that there was a minister incharge of Forest Department and also for Mines and Geology Department in his government, which was not the case with successive governments.

The proceedings by a Lokayukta Special Court was initiatedon December 8, last year on a private complaint against him.

Krishna had challenged the Lokayukta court order in the high court which had on December 15 last stayed the FIR against him.

Social activist TJ Abraham had filed a private complaint against Krishna, HD Kumaraswamy and another former Chief Minister N Dharam Singh, seeking action against them for allegedly facilitating illegal mining.

Singh, however, had withdrawn his petition from the high court, seeking quashing of the proceedings against him in the wake a PIL pending against him on the same issue.

In a seperate order, the high court had also refused to grant any relief to Kumaraswamy.

The decision of the Cabinet led by Krishna in dereserving forest for mining had also reached the Karnataka High Court in 2003 as an advocate had filed a PIL challenging it.

It was dismissed on July 18, 2004 on the ground that there was no public interest involved in the petition.

The court had then held that the petitioner has not been able to show the government has no power to issue such notification.




Panchkula to Court: 487 stray cattle caught since November


Express News Service : Panchkula, Wed Jan 25 2012, 02:08 hrs


The Panchkula administration on Tuesday informed a local court that action is being taken for removal of stray cattle, but as per law, “statutory time” and “proper opportunity” is to be given to defaulters, which delays complete eradication.

In a joint reply filed by Deputy Commissioner, Additional Deputy Commissioner, and Municipal Council Panchkula before Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM) Gurvinder Kaur, pleaded that action is being taken for getting rid of stray cattle nuisance.

The reply was filed on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed Pankaj Chandgothia and his wife Sangeeta Chandgothia on getting rid of stray cattle menace in Panchkula. The authorities informed the court that 487 stray cattle were captured between November 2 last year and January 21 and only nine have been released after a fine was paid.

The Deputy Commissioner of Police, Panchkula, Maneesh Chaudhry filed his separate reply stating therein that “he is doing his duty in accordance with law.”

He further said that it is the “prime responsibility of the Municipal Corporation to catch stray cattle and to take them to a proper cattle shelter”.

Chandgothia contended that the authorities must take strict and expeditious action to rid the city of stray cattle so that the pedestrians and commuters do not face any risk to life and property. “The administration is turning a blind eye to the menace and woke from its slumber only after the court orders and even then its actions were incomplete and intermittent,” he pleaded.

Acting upon a PIL the CJM on October 20, 2011 had issued orders to the Deputy Commissioner, Panchkula; Municipal Council, Panchkula; ADC, Panchkula and DCP Panchkula “to take all necessary measures and steps to ensure that menace of stray cattle is completely eradicated to ensure public safety.”

However, when authorities failed to check the menace, Chandgothia filed a contempt petition alleging disobedience of the court orders.

Taking cognizance of the contempt petition, the CJM had asked all the concerned officials to file a detailed status report about the action taken to implement court orders. The case will come for hearing on February 13.






Army refuses to destroy explosives seized by Punjab Police


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.08AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Army’s Western Command has made it clear that it has no intentions to destroy the huge stocks of RDX and other explosives lying in malkhanas of Punjab police at various police stations of the state because it has already trained the to destroy such ammunition.

The response has come in the wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions for disposing off huge stocks of RDX stocks and other explosive materials lying as “case properties” in police stations all over Punjab. In an affidavit placed before the HC on Monday, Colonel Rajiv Khanna of Western Command headquarters, Chandimandir, stated that the ministry of defence (MOD) has made several requests to Punjab governments that they should raise their own bomb disposal squads because Army resources for disposal of explosives are limited and mostly committed operationally; and to deal with such kind of situations is not the primary task of the Army. “The only practical way to resolve this matter is that Punjab police should develop its own capability in the field of destruction/disposal of explosives. Army could provide further necessary training for this purpose on specific request from the police,” he informed.

Colonel Khanna further stated that Army has given training to 59 Punjab police personnel from constable to inspector rank in bomb disposal tasks and these officials can be deployed to destroy the seized material. He also disclosed that selected personnel were also provided on training with the Army bomb disposal team involved in Operation Sanyam (where huge stocks of explosives lying at Dhadari Kalan Dry Port, Ludhiana were destroyed by the Army), thereby these personnel are fully competent to deal with the situation.

Petitioner in this case had alleged that the Army authorities were not responding to the pleas of Punjab police for destroying the huge stocks of RDX and other explosives lying in police malkhanas. After placing on record Army’s affidavit, HC adjourned the matter for January 27 for further hearing.






Government defends merger of Kannada schools–kannada-schools/223718-60-115.html

Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: The state government on Monday defended its action to merge schools with less than five and 10 students and submitted an affidavit before the High Court saying the decision would help students develop competitiveness.
The state filed this reply in connection with a public interest litigation filed by litterateurs and Jnanpith award winners G S Shivarudrappa, Girish Karnad, Chandrashekar Kambar and U R Ananthmurthy, seeking to quash the gazette notification to close Kannada schools across the state.
The state, while filing a reply said, “The decision to merge those schools with less than five and 10 students with bigger schools nearby would favour students and is aimed at developing competitiveness.”
While giving information on the strength, it said that 131 primary schools had zero strength, 551 had less than five students and 2,480 schools enrolled less than 10 students. Among higher primary schools, there were no students in 74 schools and there are less than 10 students in 380 schools.
The affidavit also said the state will merge these schools with those 3 km away and will provide Rs 300 a month to each student of schools that are being merged.
The government, which has already merged 370 Kannada schools having less than five children, prayed to the court to dismiss the PIL. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna adjourned the petition for further hearing.






SC relief for doctors, lawyers


Aniruddha Ghosal, TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 02.41AM IST

NOIDA: Commercial activity may have been disallowed by the December 5 Supreme Court order, however, thousands of professionals were given relief by the apex court on Monday. In a hearing held on January 23, the apex court said that 25 per cent of the Floor Area Ratio of the total residential area would be permissible for professional use as opposed to the previous order wherein it had been stated that only 30 per cent of the residential area on the ground floor could be used.

Professionals, including doctors, lawyers, architects and chartered accountants, had previously said that displacing them from residential areas would deny residents easy access to essential public services. “Professionals such as doctors, who operate from residential areas, provide valuable public services to residents at nominal prices and it is very convenient for residents to avail to these services. Displacing them would have an adverse effect on the social life in the city,” said Dr NK Sharma of the Noida Doctors’ Association.

The SC’s decision to make permissible the use 25 per cent of the FAR of residential areas for commercial use has come as a welcome relief for professionals operating in the city. “As per the order, doctors will be allowed to run OPDs in residential areas. But any nursing homes operating in the area will have to shift out,” added Sharma.

“What this means is that professionals like advocates, architects, doctors, etc will be allowed to use a part of their residences,” said Captain SK Diwedi, CEO, Noida Authority. “These professionals need to make sure that they shall use the premises for no other purpose other than the practice of their professions,” added the CEO.

While the Authority has started brainstorming to come up with policies to accommodate around 76 bank branches and 50 odd nursing homes displaced by the SC order, it has also shot off notices to such plot owners who have rented out their residential properties to the commercial units. According to the Authority, this has been done to ensure that the latter shut operations within a maximum of 15 days. The Authority has warned these plot owners that in case of non-compliance, their lease deeds would be cancelled.

However, the plot owners in the city are still apprehensive about the Noida Authority’s claims that they have sufficient land to accommodate banks and nursing homes. “While our hands are tied for at least six weeks, the Authority needs to understand that the displaced units can’t simply be flung to vacant plots. A number of factors like the cost and time of construction of suitable buildings need to be taken into consideration by the Authority,” said Rohit Sapra, a plot owner.





Graft case: HC upholds dismissal of court staff


Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi: New Delhi, January 25, 2012

The Delhi high court on Tuesday upheld the dismissal of a female court staffer, who took bribe from an accused, promising to influence the judge and secure him bail.
“We have no hesitation in holding that such acts bring disrepute to the entire justice administration system and have the dangerous potential of tarnishing the image of those who are manning the system,” said a bench of justices BD Ahmed and VK Jain.

Kanta Rani, who demanded Rs 1 lakh for “managing” the bail, was arrested while accepting the first part payment of R55,000, was working as a reader in the court of an additional sessions judge.

Rani was arrested on January 20, 2001 on the complaint of one VP Gulati, who was the accused in the case and whom she had promised to help.

A trap was laid by the CBI, who arrested her when she came to the house of the accused to collect Rs 55,000.






Court: Bangla immigrant votes hamper eviction


TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 03.58AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has criticized the government for indulging in “petty votebank politics” and preventing action against three crore Bangladeshi nationals, who are illegally staying in the country and enjoying the benefits meant for the citizens of this land.

“It is unfortunate that while genuine citizens of this country continue to suffer in abject poverty, it is petty votebank politics which prevents a firm, resolute and intense government action against the three crore Bangladeshi nationals staying illegally in our country, enjoying the benefits which otherwise are the entitlements of citizens, thereby compelling the courts to step in,” additional sessions judge Kamini Lau said.

The court’s remarks came while awarding a four-year jail term to a Bangladesh-based man, who was convicted for illegally staying in the national capital. The court said Fazlu, who was also involved in various other criminal cases in the national capital, was maintaining a family in Bangladesh but had taken advantage of the “porous border” to frequently come to India.

“I may observe that convict Fazlu is a foreigner being a Bangladeshi.

“He is maintaining a family in Bangladesh but in an attempt to create his rights in India, is also maintaining a family consisting of two wives (whose citizenship he has withheld from the court) and seven children in India.

“Further, as per information from the investigating officer, Fazlu, taking advantage of the porous border frequently crosses over and while in India has involved himself in a number of criminal cases,” it said while directing the authorities to deport Fazlu to Bangladesh after his jail term ends.

The court said the 47-year-old man placed before it a “fake” ration card in order to prove himself a citizen of this country.

The judge also referred to a Delhi high court order saying even the division bench had wondered how ration cards were being issued to illegal migrants whereas foodgrains were to be supplied to the needy.

Fazlu was arrested on January 9, 2004, at Haiderpur along with five others for allegedly preparing for dacoity.

Out of the six accused, four were Bangladeshi nationals.

Two of them were declared proclaimed offenders during the trial while one died during the pendency of the case.

The court, which convicted Fazlu under the provisions of the Indian Foreigners Act, acquitted him and one Mohan of the charge of preparing for dacoity, as the prosecution failed to prove its case against the accused.






Property grab: Court upholds conspiracy charges against man


Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Jan 25 2012, 01:01 hrs


A city court has upheld the order of another court that had charged a man with involvement in the conspiracy to grab the property of Hindi writer, the late Vishnu Prabhakar.

Dismissing Sanjay Sabharwal’s revision petition, Additional Sessions Judge Illa Rawat at the Rohini courts complex last week upheld a May 2011 order, charging him with criminal conspiracy to cheat and commit forgery along with his brother, who was Prabhakar’s tenant.

The case has its origins in an April 2000 petition, which Prabhakar filed against his tenant of 10 years, Deepak Sabharwal. Deepak had failed to pay the rent for the writer’s Pitampura house, and did not honour an undertaking he had given before the Delhi High Court, saying that he would vacate the premises before March-end. Prabhakar also secured an order to recover the unpaid rent.

In April 2010, Deepak went to court with an objection, claiming he had purchased the property from a man to whom Prabhakar had sold it to. Sanjay claimed to be the witness to the deed, which said that a man named Om Pal Singh — who purportedly purchased the property from Prabhakar — sold it to Deepak. In his contention, Prabhakar told the court that his tenant had connived with officials of the DDA and sub-registrar’s office, and conspired with Sanjay and Singh to grab his property.

Charges were framed against the co-accused, including the forger Deepak Bhargava, but, Sanjay went absconding and was declared a Proclaimed Offender. He was later arrested.

Judge Rawat upheld the trial court’s order, but suggested some changes: “However, the learned trial court is directed to modify, amend or reframe the charge framed against the accused to specify the sale transaction(s) or documents pertaining to petitioner Sanjay Sabharwal.”

Padma Bhushan Vishnu Prabhakar died in April 2009 at the age of 96.







PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Zafaryab Gilani, legal advisor of Personal Law Board, Zafaryab Gilani, legal advisor of Personal Law Board, said, “We had only demand that he should not be allowed to come to India because he, according to us, has committed an offence under Indian Penal Code.” BJP said the entire episode exposed the “worst communal vote-bank politics” of Congress. “Rushdie episode has exposed Congress for its worst communal vote-bank politics…the move to ask four authors to pack up and leave Jaipur was also an attack on freedom of speech,” BJP spokesperson Prakash Javadekar said. “The attempt to block the video link also must be viewed from vote-bank politics angle. It also exposed Congress of its real intentions to impose censorship on internet communication,” he added. Rubbishing BJP charge that it was “match fixing” by the Congress and the intelligence agencies, Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh said, “there is no question of match fixing. Satanic Verses has been banned by the Government of India and the ban continues. “To quote rom a banned book whether it violates any law has to be seen by the state government.” Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy said the Central government should be thoroughly condemned for the episode. “The fight for democratic freedoms can succeed only when there is eternal vigilance and a commitment to defend even those with whom we do not agree,” he said. The Rushdie affair at the five day meet and the way it ended sparked a flurry of emotions and wide ranging reactions from people who witnessed the events at what is billed at Asia’s largest literature festival. While journalist-author Tarun Tejpal termed it a momentary setback in the fight against bigotry, lyricist Javed Akhtar said it was a wakeup call for people who have been selective in their protest against it. “I don’t think it is a setback. It is rather a wakeup call,” said Akhtar. “You should have woken up much earlier. You are sitting in a state where a film Jodha Akbar passed by the censor board was not allowed to be released and there was no protest. You are sitting in a country from where its most popular painter was thrown out without much protest,” he said. PTI WAJ SDA RBL EKA





CWG scam: Three more granted bail


Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 20:57

New Delhi: A CBI special court has granted bail to former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee (OC) officials ASV Prasad and Surjit Lal and a private firm`s promoter, PD Arya, in a corruption case related to the games.
Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Judge Talwant Singh, in an order made available Tuesday, granted bail to foremr OC joint director general (sports) Prasad, former OC director general (procurement) Lal and Faridabad-based Gem International`s promoter Arya.
“After hearing both sides, without going into the merits of the case, I am inclined to grant bail to all the three accused…on ground of parity as other four accused persons are already on bail,” the court said Monday.
With this, seven of the nine people, including former OC chief Suresh Kalmadi, also booked in the case, have been released on bail.
Two companies have also been booked for irregularities in the award of a contract for timing, scoring and result (TSR) equipment for the 2010 Games
The two accused now left in jail are A.K. Madan, another promoter of Gem International, and A.K. Reddy, official of Hyderabad-based company A.K.RConstruction.

The court directed the accused who were granted bail not to intimidate any witness. They were also restrained from leaving the country without court permission.
Bail was granted to Arya on a personal bond and two sureties of Rs.5 lakh each, while bail to Prasad and Lal was granted on a personal bond and sureties of Rs.2 lakh each.
Kalmadi was given bail by the Delhi High Court Jan 19 along with his aide V.K. Verma. Former OC secretary general Lalit Bhanot and former treasurer M. Jayachandran were granted bail two days later by the trial court.
The CBI in its first charge sheet in the case against Kalmadi and 10 others described him as a prime accused and the mastermind in the corruption case related to financial irregularities in awarding the Rs.141 crore contract for the TSR system.
The officials and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.






Man gets 7-year RI for killing brother


Express News Service : Pune, Wed Jan 25 2012, 02:29 hrs
Additional sessions judge A P Kurhekar sentenced 27-year-old Devaram Kuparam Chauhan of Rajasthan to seven years rigorous imprisonment for murdering his younger brother Rajaram (22) allegedly for eying his wife.

The Wadgaon Maval police had charged Devaram, a resident of Pimple Gurav , under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The court, however, convicted him under Section 304 (ii) (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) of IPC. Inspector Maruti Ingawle and sub-inspector Deshmukh investigated the case.

The prosecution said Devaram, who worked at a provision store in Bopodi, was married to a woman who stayed opposite the store. They have a five-year-old daughter and two-year-old son. Devaram has six brothers and two sisters.

Rajaram often visited Devaram’s house when he was not at home. Rajaram allegedly molested Devaram’s wife many times and was trying to have illicit relations with her. She had complained to Devaram and his family and Rajaram was let off with a warning three-four times, said additional public prosecutor Vikas Shah.

On October 18, 2010, Rajaram, who had come from Mumbai, told Devaram that he wanted to visit Lonavala. Both of them had boarded a train to Lonavala, but alighted at Vadgaon station after Rajaram said that he had hidden money in shrubs.

Rajaram took Devaram to a compound along the railway track near the station.

Devaram’s complaint stated that once they had entered the compound, Rajaram took out a knife and attacked him. However, Devaram grabbed the knife and stabbed him instead. He then surrendered before the Vadgaon Maval police.






Law Commission’s new draft wants khap panchayats on marriages declared illegal

 Aarti Dhar

According to its Bill, such offences will be cognisable, non-bailable

Rejecting the government’s proposal to amend Section 300 of the Indian Penal Code to include ‘honour killings’ within the definition of murder on the ground that the existing provisions are adequate to take care of the situations leading to such killings, the Law Commission has drafted fresh legislation that seeks to declare such panchayats unlawful.

The Prohibition of Unlawful Assembly (Interference with the Freedom of Matrimonial Alliances) Bill, 2011 proposes no person or any group of persons shall gather with an “intention to deliberate on, or condemn any marriage, not prohibited by law, on the basis that such marriage has dishonoured the caste or community tradition or brought disrepute to all or any of the persons forming part of the assembly or the family or the people of the locality concerned.”

Marriage, according to the draft law, includes a proposed or intended marriage. The Collector or the District Magistrate has been entrusted with the responsibility of ensuring the safety of the persons targeted in case any illegal decision is taken by the khap panchayat and he/she shall take necessary steps to prohibit the convening of such illegal gatherings.

Any violation of the Bill will attract imprisonment up to three years and a fine of up to Rs 30,000. All offences under the proposed Act will be cognisable, non-bailable and non-compoundable. The cases will be tried in Special Courts presided over by a sessions judge or additional sessions judge. The Special Court can take suo motu cognisance of the cases.

Illegal intimidation

There has been a spurt in illegal intimidation by self-appointed bodies for bringing pressure against sagotra (same gotra) marriages and inter-caste, inter-community and inter-religious marriages between two consenting adults in the name of vindicating the honour of family, caste or community.

In a number of cases, such bodies have resorted to incitement of violence and such newly married or couples desirous of getting married have been subjected to intimidation and violence which has also resulted into their being hounded out of their homes and sometimes even murdered.

“Although such intimidation or acts of violence constitute offences under the IPC, yet, it is necessary to prevent assemblies which take place to condemn such alliances,” the proposed Bill says, adding it seeks to nip the evil in the bud and prevent spreading of hatred or incitement to violence through such gatherings. Criminal intimidation will have the same meaning as is given in Section 503 of the IPC.

The Bill further says that any member of an unlawful assembly who alone or in association with other such members counsels, exhorts or brings pressure upon any person or persons so as to prevent, or disapprove of the marriage which is objected to by the said members of the unlawful assembly, or creates an environment of hostility towards such couple shall be deemed to have acted in endangerment of their liberty.

The Law Commission’s consultation paper says panchayats gathered on caste lines assume to themselves the authority to deal with “objectionable” matrimonies and exhibit least regard for life and liberty and are not deterred by the processes of administration of justice. The penal law lacks direct application to the illegal acts of such caste assemblies and needs to be amended.

Pointing out that the same gotra marriages are not prohibited by law, whatever may be the view in old time, the Law Commission says the Hindu Marriage Disabilities Removal Act, 1946 was enacted to dispel any doubts in this regard.

Vindicating honour

The Act expressly declared the validity of marriages between Hindus belonging to the same gotra, different sub-divisions of the same caste. “The view of village elders or family elders cannot be forced on the willing couple and no one has the right to use force or impose far-reaching sanctions in the name of vindicating community honour or family honour,” it says.

Drawing attention to the proposals to amend Section 300 of the IPC, the Commission says the motive behind killing a person did not furnish real justification to introduce a separate provision in this Section, as the addition of such a clause may create confusion and interpretational difficulties.





Reading ‘The Satanic Verses’ not a punishable offence, say legal experts


In a surprising move, the legal community has come out in support of the four authors who read out from controversial author Salman Rushdie’s book at the Jaipur Literary Festival recently.

The experts opined that downloading The Satanic Verses from the internet was not banned, nor reading the book was a punishable offence.

Addressing the fest on January 20, author Amitava Kumar had said: “The Satanic Verses was banned in this country. The publication of the book Satanic Verses was central to this controversy, sadly. It is a book that has never been read publicly in this country. So we are going to do that.”

A chasm of trouble had opened when Kumar and Hari Kunzru organised this joint session reading passages from Rushdie’s banned book. In a separate session, writers Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi also did the same.

Criminal complaints followed against the four authors seeking police action for what was seen as the acts of defiance. They were also advised to make a hasty exit from the festival.

In a new twist, however, legal experts say the writers have nothing to fear because they have not broken the law at all.

They said that in September 1988 only the import of the book was banned under the Customs Act. The ban became effective nine days after the book was released in the United Kingdom. Hence, the copies of the book that already existed before that could be possessed and read.

Importantly, the four authors who were threatened prosecution did not even read out from the book. They actually read from print-outs of select passages from The Satanic Verses.

Legal experts confirmed that there was no ban on downloading copies of the book from the internet.

Delhi-based cyber law expert Pavan Duggal said, “Even if the book is physically banned, in the physical world, that still does not really impact the said information being made available on the internet. There is nothing under the Indian mother legislation being the Indian Cyber Law, which actually bans the reading of the extracts of a book which is physically banned in the world. Technically speaking there is nothing wrong if you go ahead and read such contents on the internet.”

However, the organisers of the festival chose to play it safe.

The organiser of the fest, Sanjoy Roy, said, “We have not received a copy of the law under which this particular book was banned. Whoever may give you this opinion, if we are able to receive a copy of what law it was banned under, all of this would be clear. But right now it’s not.”

The state government can prosecute the authors under Section 153B of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which bans hate speeches. But that will mean having to prove that the passages they read out might have inflamed communal passions.

For now, the action plan remains unclear. The legal community though has been sure that mixing misunderstood law with freedom of speech is just a bad idea for everybody.






CIC issues show cause notice to Alliance Air


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Central Information Commission has issued a show cause notice to Air India subsidiary Alliance Air for not disclosing information about a flight which was pulled out of its scheduled departure to ferry an IPL cricket team, despite its orders. The Delhi-Coimbatore flight was aborted on April 20, 2010 and the aircraft was reportedly used to ferry IPL players and Poorna Patel, daughter of the then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel from Chandigarh to Chennai. Based on these news reports, activist Subhash Agrawal had sought details about this flight from Alliance Air which informed that owner of Chennai Super Kings, India Cements, had requested for the chartered flight and the payment was also made by them in advance. However, the airlines did not give complete file notings and other details. Information Commissioner Sushma Singh on February 23, 2011 ordered the Airlines to disclose complete information. But within a month Alliance Air replied saying that the information is “commercially sensitive” and cannot be disclosed according to exemption clauses of the RTI Act. Agrawal filed a fresh application seeking details but was denied again after which he filed case of non-compliance before the Commission. In the recent hearing, Singh ordered, “The CPIO is hereby directed to provide complete information to the appellant and to show cause why a penalty of Rs 25000 under section 20 of the RTI Act should not be imposed on him for causing a delay of more than 100 days in providing the information to the appellant.”






Orissa High Court bar association suspends Advocate General


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Cuttack, Jan 24 (PTI) In an unprecedented move the Orissa High Court Bar Association today passed a unanimous resolution putting the State Advocate General (AG) Ashok Kumar Mohanty under suspension from the association and issued a show-cause notice to him. “The bar association in an extraordinary general body meeting on the day passed a resolution suspending the Advocate General for his alleged misbehaviour and showing disrespect to the office bearers of the bar,” said the bar association secretary Piyush Kumar Mishra. It was also decided by the Association that a show-cause notice would be issued to the AG as to why he conducted himself in such unbecoming manner, Mishra said.      Sources said some office bearers of the Association, including its secretary had gone the AG’s residence on Monday evening to seek his consent for inaugurating the January 26 inter-bar cricket tournament as chief guest of the occasion. “But without any provocation, the AG misbehaved with the office bearers and asked them to go away,” said a member of the association executive body.      When contacted, the AG refused to comment on the issue saying he was yet to know about the allegations against him. “I would be in a position to comment on the issue only when I am informed about the allegations against me,” Mohanty told this correspondent over telephone.










Court seeks details on Bombay Dyeing new construction


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 03.10AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked Bombay Dyeing to give details regarding the status of its construction on over 10 hectares of mill land in Naigaum, Dadar (E) and Lower Parel.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing a petition by Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company Limited, seeking to differ handing over one-third of its mill land to BMC and another one-third to Mhada for construction of recreation grounds and housing for mill workers and transit accommodation. To submissions by its counsel, Navroze Seervai, stating the the firm would anyway hand over the land after completing 30% of the proposed construction, the court asked what good it would do to differ transfer of land.

“Whether it will take two years or fifty, will you also differ handing the land to these authorities,” asked Justice Shah. Raising concerns that such activity could be differed indefinitely, Justice Dalvi intervened to ask Seervai how much of the construction has been completed till date. Seervai said he had to take instructions. The judges also asked him to state the time-frame by when they would complete 30% of the work.

(Additional government pleader G W) Mattos took umbrage to the conduct of Bombay Dyeing who, before the monitoring committee, had promised to hand over the land once their plans were amended. “Subsequently, they changed their stand, saying they would have to look into the aspect of construction of the mill workers’ houses on site,” he said. He also argued that permission for closure of the Bombay Dyeing Mills was conditional to the handling over of the requisite land to BMC and Mhada. The judge, on suggestion by Mattos, directed BMC to furnish particulars for the proportion of construction on site by the firm, and adjourned the matter to February 3.

Bombay High Court on Tuesday asked Bombay Dyeing to give details regarding the status of its construction on over 10 hectares of mill-land at Naigaum, Dadar (East) and Lower Parel and the time-frame for its completion.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi were hearing a petition by Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company Limited seeking to differ handing over one-third of its mill-land to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation and another one-third to Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority for construction of recreation ground and housing for mill-workers and transit accomodation. To submissions by its counsel Navroze Seervai that it would anyway hand over the land after completing 30 percent of the construction, the court sought to know what good would it do differ transfer of land.

Whether it will take two years or fifty years, will you also differ handing the land to these authorities?” asked Justice Shah. Raising concerning that such activity could be differed indefinitely, Justice Dalvi intervened to ask Seervai how much of the construction was carried on till date. Seervai said he had to take instructions.The judges also asked him to state the time-frame by when they will complete 30 percent of the proposed construction.

Mattos took umbrage to the conduct Bombay Dyeing who before the monitoring committee had promise to hand over the land once their plans were amended. Subsequently they changed their stand saying they would have to look into the aspect of construction of the mill-workers houses on site,” he said. He also argued that the permission for closure of the Bombay Dyeing mills was conditional to the handing over of the requisite land to BMC and MHADA. The judges on suggestion by Mattos directed BMC to furnish particulars for the proportion of the construction carried on site by Bombay Dyeing and adjourned the matter to February 3, 2012.

Amit Shah moves court to let him return to Gujarat


Legal Correspondent

The former Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Amit Shah, an accused in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, moved the Supreme Court on Tuesday seeking a direction to relax the bail condition that he should not enter Gujarat.

Soon after the Gujarat High Court granted him bail, the CBI filed an appeal for cancellation of the bail and the matter was being heard by a Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai. The Supreme Court in October 2010 restrained Mr. Shah from entering the State. The present application seeks to relax that condition.

Mr. Shah said he had complied with all the bail conditions, including marking presence before the CBI every month, as stipulated in the order of grant of bail i.e. for a period of one year.

He said: “It is not even the CBI’s case that the applicant has, in any manner, interfered with or influenced the investigation in any manner whatsoever.”

He said he had kept his assurance given to the court and never entered Gujarat since October 30, 2010 though he represented one of the largest Assembly constituencies in the country and was holding several responsible positions in various organisations.

He said he was in active public life for about 25 years and had a blotless political career to his credit with no criminal antecedents. He was elected MLA from the Sarkhaj constituency for the last four consecutive terms with increased margin of votes that showed the faith of electorate in him, he said.

A section comprising vested interest political groups had been alleging that many police encounters were taking place in Gujarat and the victims belonged to a particular community, he said. The allegation was deliberately misleading as per records.

Gujarat, which had the longest coastal border and land border with the neighbouring country, faced a potent threat of infiltration of terrorist groups and the number of encounters was minimum as compared to other States. He said tremendous hardship was caused to him and others owing to his long absence from the constituency and the condition not to enter Gujarat “deprives him of discharging several important responsibilities.”

He prayed for a modification of the order passed by the court.




HC refuses to stall release of 5 on bail


Rosy Sequeira, TNN Jan 25, 2012, 02.47AM IST

MUMBAI: Merely because the injured is a doctor or medical officer, the accused cannot be treated differently, the Bombay high court said on Tuesday while directing the release of five persons on bail.

They allegedly beat up the doctor and ransacked Wockhardt Hospital in Nashik after a patient turned critical.

Justice J H Bhatia was hearing the hospital’s application for cancellation of bail by the sessions court to Babanrao Tile and four others. Tile’s wife Pushpa was referred by an ESIC hospital in Nashik to Wockhardt for balloon mitral valvuloplasty (a minimally invasive procedure done to fix a heart valve). Dr Sunil Sonawane had taken the relatives’ consent and informed them of the high risk in performing the procedure. But during the procedure, she did not respond and was shifted to the intensive care unit.

When the doctor called Tile to discuss further treatment, the five allegedly assaulted him and dragged him into a car. But the cops stopped them and took them to the police station. Pushpa subsequently died.

Wockhard’s advocate Subodh Desai said their bail must be cancelled as their acts were intended to cause death. Justice Bhatia said after perusal of medical records and CCTV footage that it was impossible to make that conclusion.









HC notice to C’garh govt on poem advt


Express news service : Raipur, Wed Jan 25 2012, 00:09 hrs
The Bilaspur High Court Tuesday issued a notice to the Chhattisgarh government, asking whether it had paid local newspapers to carry poems by some BJP leaders. It also asked the newspapers if the government had ordered them to do so.

The Indian Express had first reported about poems by some unidentified BJP leaders that were published as a government advertisement — Nai Duniya and Haribhoomi mentioned they were released by Samvad, the government’s PR agency — on November 9, 2011.

Government spokesman N Baijendra Kumar claimed the newspapers mentioned Samvad’s name by mistake. A bench asked the newspapers to explain who paid them for the advertisement.

CWG: Court cites parity, 3 get bail

A special CBI court granted bail to three accused, including two former CWG Organising Committee (OC) officials, in the Commonwealth Games case on grounds of parity. The court granted bail to OC’s former joint director general (Sports) A S V Prasad, former director general (Procurement) Surjit Lal and promoter of Gem International P D Arya, observing that four other accused, including former OC chairman Suresh Kalmadi, were already out on bail.









HC directs probe by Mum police commissioner in assault case


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Mumbai, Jan 24 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed the city Commissioner of Police to personally conduct an inquiry against three of his officers accused of assaulting two social workers from suburban Mumbai, who reported a water theft case to the police. A division bench of Justices AM Khanwilkar and SS Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by the social workers – Avinash Joshi and Sunder Singh Bisht – who have claimed that they were assaulted by Ghatkopar police on September 28, 2011. According to the petition, the duo on the day of the incident saw water tankers filling water illegally from the municipal corporation’s water pipe. The petitioners called up the police control room and soon policemen arrived at the spot. “Instead of taking cognisance of the water mafia filling up the tankers, the police started assaulting the petitioners. They were taken to the police station where four police officers Ashok Mahale, Govind Jadhav, Santosh Pawar and Kaustubh Mithbawkar assaulted them further,” the petition alleges. Advocate Prakash Wagh, appearing for the social workers, told the court that instead of registering FIR against the water mafia, the police lodged a complaint against the petitioners for assaulting a public servant and not allowing him to discharge his duty. “Law abiding citizens go to jail and illegal activities will be allowed to continue. Such matters should be personally looked into by the police commissioner,” the court said directing the matter to be posted for further hearing on February 7. Additional public prosecutor Jayesh Yagnik told the court that the deputy commissioner of police of that zone had taken a serious note of the allegations and assigned a senior police officer to investigate. The court, however, directed for the police commissioner to conduct the inquiry. PTI SP VKV







HC orders FIR against BMC men for graft


Shibu Thomas, TNN Jan 25, 2012, 07.00AM IST

MUMBAI: Taking a serious view of allegations of corruption against BMC officers who demanded protection money from a shopkeeper, the Bombay High Court on Tuesday ordered the police to lodge an FIR against the civic staff.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Juhu resident Baldev Gupta, who claimed that three BMC officers had demolished a portion of his shop as he did not meet their demand for Rs 50,000.

“The complaint reveals a cognizable offence,” said a bench of Justices A M Khanwilkar and Sadhana Jadhav.










HC directs TN police to hand over sexual abuse case to CBI


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Chennai, Jan 24 (PTI): Dissatisfied with investigation by Tamil Nadu police into alleged sexual abuse of a four-year-old girl by a teacher and principal of a private school,the Madras High Court today handed over the case to the CBI. “We have noticed the manner in which the investigation has proceeded and also recorded our dissatisfaction.Therefore,this is a fit case where investigation has to be transferred to the CBI,’ the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said The bench passed the order on a petition by A Ramalingam, a member of Villupuram district ‘Human Rights Protection Centre’, in connectin with the abuse of the girl. The matter relates to alleged sexual abuse of the UKG girl at a private school in Kallakurichi in Villupuram district by an LKG teacher and the Principal. A complaint had been preferred by the child’s mother on August 3 last and a case registered by police for wrongful confinement, voluntarily causing hurt, criminal intimidation and unnatural offences. Directing the crime branch-CID of state police to hand over all records pertaining to the case to CBI, the Bench directed the central investigation agency to file the final report within 60 days of receipt of today’s order. The bench reiterated its earlier assertion that the girl should not be subjected to any more medical tests and that investigation should proceed on available medical opinion. “The repeated insistence by CB-CID to subject the girl to further medical examination creates a serious doubt in the minds of this court as to whether CB-CID is serious in prosecuting the matter or it is an attempt to shield the accused,” the bench said.









HC allows Koda, ex-cabinet colleague to be examined at AIIMS


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Ranchi, Jan 24 (PTI) The Jharkhand High Court today directed the state government to allow former Chief Minister Madhu Koda and his ex-cabinet colleague Bhanu Pratap Sahi, currently in judicial custody, to get examined in Delhi’s AIIMS at their own cost. Responding to a petition of Koda and Sahi, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Prakash Chandra Tatia and Justice Apresh Kumar Singh directed the government to get them examined within one month at the hospital at their cost and if necessary allow them to get treated there. The court, however, directed the government to provide physiotherapists to treat Koda inside the Birsa Munda Jail here prior to his visit to AIIMS. The petition was filed by Koda and Sahi in the wake of doctors at the Namkum Military Hospital declaring them fit enough to be treated in the Birsa Munda Jail here. Koda had suffered a fracture on October 31 last, while Sahi is having other health problems. The petitioners claimed that the military hospital had no proper apparatus and its report on their health contradicted that of the Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) here. The two, who were in the RIMS till December 28, returned to the jail the next day after a medical team declared that they did not require admission. The court’s direction to get them checked by the military doctors came after a PIL by social activist Durga Oraon accusing them of using their political clout to stay in RIMS on the pretext of being ill instead of staying in jail. Koda was arrested on November 30, 2009 in connection with disproportionate assets case, while Sahi surrendered to a court last year in connection with a medical scam. PTI COR PVR PR









2G scam: Delhi HC notice to CBI on Goenka’s plea


TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 03.32AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday issued notice to the CBI and sought its response on the plea of D B Realty MD Vinod Goenka challenging the order on framing of charges against him by the trial court in the 2G scam.

Goenka was arrested on April 20, 2011, for his `role’ in the scam and was granted bail on November 23 by the Supreme Court. So far, of the 17 accused, 10 have moved the HC challenging the trial court’s October 22 order.

Goenka, former telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura, Reliance ADAG officials – Group MD Gautam Doshi, Senior VP Hari Nair and Group President Surendra Pipara – and Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, Rajeev Agarwal and Asif Balwa, directors of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Private Ltd have moved the HC. Telecom firms, Reliance Telecom Ltd and Unitech have also challenged the lower court’s order.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini had framed charges against the 17 accused for offences of conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating, forgery and abuse of official position under the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The Special Judge had said Goenka along with Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Usman Balwa and others, was prima facie involved in the money trail and “created false documents to show the bribe amount of Rs 200 crore (from DB Group to DMK-run Kalaignar TV) as a loan and with a view to use them in any stage of judicial proceedings and thereby committed offence punishable under Section 193 (giving false evidence) along with 120B IPC (criminal conspiracy)”.

CBI had alleged the accused had conspired and caused a loss of Rs 30,984 crore to the state exchequer in the grant of 2G licences to various telecom firms in 2008.








HC upholds Tis Hazari staffer’s dismissal


Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Jan 25 2012, 00:59 hrs


Being found at the house of an accused has cost a court employee dear. Describing Kanta Rani’s conduct as one that could tarnish the image of those manning the justice administration system, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday upheld her dismissal from service.

A bench of Justices B D Ahmed and V K Jain said that the charges against Rani, who was at the time posted as a reader in a trial court, was “grave” in nature and amounted to gross misconduct and, hence, her dismissal from the job was not disproportionate to the accusations proved against her.

Rani was apprehended by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on January 20, 2001, from the residence of one V P Gulati, whose trial in a corruption case was being held in a Tis Hazari court. Rani was working in the same court. Gulati had lodged a complaint with the CBI, alleging that she demanded Rs 1 lakh as bribe to get him bail. A trap was laid and Rani was caught from Gulati’s house in Old Rajinder Nagar, allegedly with bribe money amounting to Rs 55,000.

Following an inquiry, the District and Sessions judge concluded that even though accepting bribe could not be established beyond reasonable doubts, her presence at Gulati’s house connoted that she had failed to maintain absolute integrity and had compromised the position of trust and confidence reposed in a court official. The judge dismissed Rani from service by an order in July 2009.

She subsequently filed a petition before a single judge bench, which found no merit in her plea and maintained the disciplinary authority’s order.

Rani filed a petition before a division bench and contended that the charge against her pertained to accepting the bribe and, hence, penalty for visiting the complainant’s house was an erroneous decision. She claimed that she had visited Gulati’s house because she knew him through a common acquaintance.

The bench discarded her plea and said she knew it very well that Gulati was facing prosecution in the court where she was posted as a reader and, moreover, it was established that she handled the tainted money.

“We are in full agreement with the inquiry officer and the disciplinary authority that the act of the petitioner in visiting the house of a person, who was facing trial in the court in which she was posted as reader, and being found present there, constituted an act which clearly exhibited lack of absolute integrity,” noted the bench.














HC flays railways for ignoring disabled


Rosy Sequeira, TNN Jan 25, 2012, 02.34AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday lambasted the Railways for not implementing its own circular of 1998 for providing general commuter amenities including separate toilets and low height ticket windows at every station for the disabled.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi were hearing a public interest litigation filed in 2007 by the Disability Rights Initiative for for making railway facilities accessible for the disabled. The NGOs advocate Kranti L C said though by its own circular dated December 30, 1998 the Railways were to provide one accessible toilet and one ticket window at every station, it has taken a stand that it is not possible. Western Railway advocate said that this circular was not pointed out before.If you have your own guidelines, then why do you need someone else to tell you?” asked Justice Shah to Western Railway advocate Beni Chatterji.

Kranti also pointed out that a meeting was taken by Additional Solicitor General Darius Khambatta on the court’s instruction but even his recommendations that the Railways should provide at least one accessible toilet and one ticketing window at every station as a start was not complied with. Chatterji said the NGO must give details of the deficiencies. According to us , all is in place,” he added. Kranti said the last audit in May 2011 shows that basic facilities are missing at the railway stations.

The judges directed the chairperson of the committee to be present in court. When Chatterji sought court’s order to have a railway officer to assist the committee, the judges were perturbed at his request. Why do you want the court to pass such orders? This is a bureaucratic approach,” said Justice Shah. In their order, the judges accepted the request of the Railways to have the Additional Divisional Railway Manager (Operations) to assist the committee.

The judges have directed the Railways to submit an action plan for implementation of amenities within four weeks. Additionally, they also directed that the railways should forthwith take steps to build accessible toilets and ticket windows at every station.

The matter will be heard on March 1, 2012.










HC reserves order on plea to bring Modi before Nanavati panel


The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday reserved its order on a petition demanding to summon Chief Minister Narendra Modi and three others at the Nanavati-Mehta Commission for their cross-examination.

A division bench of HC comprising Justices Akil Kureshi and Sonia Gokani reserved the order on the application moved by one Amrish Patel from Jan Sangharsh Manch (JSM), which is representing some of the 2002 riots victims at the Commission.

According to petitioner’s lawyer Mukul Sinha, they had originally demanded a direction to summon Modi. However, the petition was subsequently amended and a direction was sought to the Nanavati-Mehta Commission to summon Modi and four others, which include the then minister of state (home) Gordhan Zadaphia and the three former staff members of the Chief Minister’s Office, Omprakash Singh, Tanmay Mehta and Sanjay Bhavsar. The three were ordered by the Commission to file their affidavits over certain issues but their cross-examination was never allowed by others. The Commission has not summoned Modi at all.

Zadaphia has been summoned and cross-examined.

Originally, the petitioner had moved an application in this regard before the Nanavati-Mehta Commission, which turned it down. The petitioner then moved the HC, where a single-judge bench upheld the Commission’s order.

The petitioner then challenged the order before a division bench comprising the then Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi, which heard the petition and kept the order reserved. However, following elevation of Justice Mukhopadhaya to the Supreme Court, the petition was heard afresh by the division bench comprising Justices Akil Kureshi and Sonia Gokani.








HC grants bail to five who beat up Nashik doctor


TNN Jan 25, 2012, 04.42AM IST

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday granted bail to five persons who had allegedly beaten up a doctor and ransacked Wockhardt Hospital in Nashik after one of their relatives turned critical. The high court said merely because the injured was a doctor or a medical officer, the accused cannot be treated differently.

Justice J H Bhatia was hearing application by the hospital for cancellation of bail granted by the sessions court to Babanrao Tile and four others. Tile’s wife Pushpa was referred by an ESIC hospital in Nashik to Wockhardt for balloon mitral valvuloplasty (BMV) procedure. Dr Sunil Sonawane had taken consent from the relatives and also informed them of the high risk in performing the procedure.

However, during the procedure she did not respond and she was shifted to the intensive care unit. When the doctor called Tile to discuss further treatment and course of action, they allegedly assaulted him and dragged him into a car. The police stopped them and took them to the police station. Pushpa subsequently died.

Wockhard’s lawyer Subodh Desai urged that their bail be cancelled pointing out that the acts of Tile and others were intended to cause death of the doctor and therefore, an offence of Section 307 (attempt to murder) was registered.

But Justice Bhatia said after perusal of medical records and the footage from closed circuit television camera, it was impossible to come to a conclusion that they attempted to murder Sonawane. He said it was a “simple assault” by persons who were agitated and annoyed with the doctor and “gave him blows and another or two with the chair”.

Justice Bhatia said fracture of the nasal bone could not be life threatening by any stretch of imagination and could fall within sections 323 (simple hurt) and 325 (punishment for voluntarily causing grievous), which are bailable. Justice Bhatia said while it is true that the act of patient’s relative is absolutely improper in assaulting the doctor,but

the accused cannot be treated differently than other accused in similar circumstances. Just because the injured doctor was from a big hospital like Wockhardt, this court cannot interfere, the judge added.








HC raps bank for stopping old staffer’s pension


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Jan 25, 2012, 02.55AM IST

MUMBAI: Stating that depriving former employees of their pension rights was an arbitrary move, the Bombay High Court has directed Allahabad Bank to restart the fund of an 87-year-old man.

“Pension constitutes an important source of wherewithal for senior citizens so that they can live the twilight years in dignity,” the HC said. Criticizing the nationalized bank’s conduct in withholding the pension of an old employee, the court said service conditions set by the state authorities could not be modified arbitrarily.

“The deprivation in the present case has taken place patently in violation of law and flouts the guarantee of equal protection under Article 14 of the Constitution,” said a bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice Amjad Sayed on January 19, while deciding in favour of Shapoor Mehta who retired from Allahabad Bank in 1986 after working there for 39 years.

Last October, the bank discontinued the pension scheme in lieu of gratuity pending amendment to the Officers Service Regulations and stopped paying Mehta a monthly pension of Rs 5,660. In HC, Mehta’s counsel K J Presswala said retirement benefits were not a largesse and sudden stopping of pension of an 87 year old who was an “award staff”, was blatantly unlawful, unconstitutional and against natural justice. Pension was governed by the Pension Rules that were in force even prior to nationalization of banks and the same terms were to continue later, he said.

Opposing the petition, bank’s counsel Ashish Mehta said as the bank, following a Supreme Court order, had to pay gratuity under the Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 only, it was within its rights to stop paying pension. Finding “no merit” in the argument, the HC said, “As a matter of first principle,

Retirement benefits, including pension and gratuity, constitute a valuable right in property…. Where the employer is a public sector firm, the rights are constitutionally protected and their deprivation must stand scrutiny. Employers cannot grant or withhold retirement benefits at their whim and caprice.”

Pointing to the flaw in the bank’s argument, the HC said the SC held that “pension and gratuity were separate retirement benefits and so, the statutory right to paying gratuity could not be withheld on the grounds that the employees received pension”. The HC said the SC judgment “has been met with a reprisal by depriving employees their right to a pension. Nothing more arbitrary can be conceived of.” Stopping such payment unilaterally by an executive act was arbitrary as the SC had held that the employees were entitled to gratuity in addition to pension as getting gratuity was a statutory right.





Govt waived Village EWS clause, so floor area ratio cut: DDA to HC


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Wed Jan 25 2012, 00:51 hrs


In a spot over calculation of the floor area ratio (FAR) at the Commonwealth Games Village complex, the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) has told the Delhi High Court that the complex was to have a provision of 15 per cent of the FAR for the economically weaker section (EWS) but the total permissible area was reduced when Emaar MGF was given a waiver by the Central government.

DDA counsel Ajay Verma told the court he had to disclose this fact since Emaar had been claiming that the total permissible FAR was 2,20,000 sq metres and not 2,05,000 sq metres as was being said by the civic body.

The counsel said that Emaar, under the Master Plan 2021, was obligated to reserve 15 per cent of the FAR built in a group housing residential colony for the EWS but the DDA had to bear this responsibility after the builder wrote to the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) to get this condition waived. “Emaar wrote a letter to the Central government to waive the condition of 15 per cent EWS and also density criteria, following which the MoUD asked the DDA to sanction the plan accordingly. We thus calculated it as 2,05,000 sq metres in accordance with the relaxation given to them. That is why they (Emaar) cannot now claim that the total permissible area was 2,20,000 sq metres,” Verma said.

The DDA response came after Emaar’s counsel, senior advocate Arvind Nigam, said that as per the Master Plan, 2,20,000 sq metres was the permissible limit and if the DDA calculated 5 per cent of this as compoundable area, no demolition would be required.

“Under the rules, DDA can compound excess FAR to the extent of 5 per cent of the total area. Therefore, 5 per cent of 2,20,000 sq metres would cover the entire excess construction of around 12,000 sq metres and no demolition would be required,” Nigam said.

Appearing for the MoUD, Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok also emphasised on the Master Plan stipulating 2,20,000 sq metres as the permissible FAR and said that if the facts stated were correct, the Ministry would not even have to intervene. “Moreover, the DDA itself sanctioned 2,20,000 sq metres as permissible FAR in their agreement with Emaar,” the ASG said.

At this, the DDA counsel said Emaar cannot now take refuge under the Master Plan or the sanctioned plan when the civic body was asked to relax the EWS condition and consequently the DDA took it upon itself to provide for 15 per cent EWS in the complex. Justice Hima Kohli decided to go through the sanctioned plan and noted that while the DDA claimed that Emaar earned the relaxation owing to MoUD’s intervention, the documents did not mention these facts or a stipulation.

“It seems you (DDA) took your chances when you did not mention in the agreement that Emaar will not contest the permissible FAR in view of the relaxation they got with respect to the EWS and density,” Justice Kohli said.

The DDA counsel said that at the next date of hearing, he would produce the communication between the MoUD and the DDA on the basis of which the civic body assumed the responsibility of providing houses to the EWS and restricted the FAR to 2,05,000 sq m.

Emaar’s counsel contended that the EWS issue was unnecessarily being raised now.

Justice Kohli asked the MoUD to take into account all the aspects and take a decision on the excess FAR by the next date of hearing in February.








VLS Finance moves HC for CBI probe against hotelier S P Gupta


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

New Delhi, Jan 24 (PTI) VLS Finance, which is enganged in a legal battle with hotelier S P Gupta, has moved the Delhi High Court seeking a CBI probe into the case relating to theft of documents from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA). The private firm, a non-banking-finance-corporation, was the complainant in the case alleging fraud, forgery and deceit by the hotelier who attracted attention after reports that an FIR against him was withdrawn allegedly at the behest of Home Minister P Chidambaram, his former lawyer. VLS Finance filed a petition before the high court saying Gupta had created pressure on the probe agency and “was interfering in the investigation by seeking closure of the investigation in the FIR by misusing government machinery”. The firm said the Economic Offences Wing (EOW) of Delhi Police had “hurriedly” filed the chargesheet against Gupta “in order to help the accused and avoid transfer of probe of the case to CBI for proper investigation into all aspects including under the Prevention of Corruption Act”. It alleged the Delhi Police had conducted the probe in a “shoddy and tardy” manner under the pressure of Gupta. “It is pertinent to note that not a single accused was arrested nor put to custodial interrogation in such a serious case, where government of India’s files had been removed by the accused from the MCA and recovered from the residence of the accused, which files were initiated to take action against the accused,” it said. The company said Gupta had made complaints to the Central Vigilance Commissioner against officials of the probe agency, the public prosecutor and even the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate who was presiding the lower court conducting trial in the case.










HC quashes four cases against DMK Rajya Sabha member


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Chennai, Jan 24 (PTI):The Madras High Court today quashed four cases against DMK Rajya Sabha member Vasanthi Stanley,who had been charged with offences,including cheating and forgery. In his order,Justice T Mathivanan said that from a perusal of Stanley’s submissions and ‘no due’ certificates issued by respective banks,it could be seen that all dues had been fully paid by way of final settlement and so was allowing her prayer to quash the proceedings against her. In her petition, filed through counsel Abudu Kumar Rajarathnam, Stanley submitted her husband had been accused of obtaining loans from Syndicate Bank, the then Centurion Bank (later merged with HDFC Bank), Bank of India and Vijaya Bank. She said she was the guarantor/co-applicant in the loan transactions. Her husband and some other accused were said to have submitted forged documents. After her husband’s demise, she had come to know cases were pending against her due to his alleged involvement, she said, adding she had settled all dues totalling about Rs 54 lakh with the banks and obtained ‘no due’ certificates from them. Hence she sought quashing of the criminal proceedings against her. PTI GR APR








HC to hear DA cases against Sorens separately


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Ranchi, Jan 24 (PTI) Jharkhand High Court today rejected a petition seeking to tag cases of disproportionate assets cases against Deputy Chief Minister Hemant Soren and his father JMM president Shibu Soren along with ex-CM Madhu Koda and other ex-ministers to hear them simultaneously. Dismissing the petition filed by social activist Durga Oraon, the division bench of Chief Justice Prakash Chandra Tatia and Justice Apresh Kumar Singh observed that it was not appropriate to tag the two sets of DA cases as hearing of cases against Koda and others were in advance state. The court said it would hear DA cases against the Sorens separately. The court has been hearing DA cases against Koda, former ministers Kamlesh Singh, Enos Ekka, Harinarayan Rai and Bhanu Pratap Sahi after Oraon had filed a PIL in 2008 accusing them of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income during their ministerial terms between 2005 and 2008. Koda, Singh, Rai and Ekka are in judicial custody after their arrest in 2008, while Sahi surrendered before a court last year in connection with a medical scam.









Post HC rap, govt agrees to help CBI


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 16:59 IST

The Gujarat government has decided to provide infrastructure facilities and security to the team of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) which is probing Sadik Jamal and Ishrat Jahan fake encounter cases.

Government pleader PK Jani, on Monday, furnished details of a meeting conducted by the top brass of the state government in connection with providing infrastructure and security to the CBI team camping in the state, to comply with Gujarat high court order.

Jani furnished the details during the hearing of an application moved by the CBI alleging non-operation by the government to the team entrusted with the probe of Sadik Jamal encounter case.

During the hearing, Justice MR Shah asked the state government why it had failed in providing proper infrastructure to theinvestigating agency in the last six months. “You have not done anything else, except for exchange of correspondences in this period,” the court observed.

Following criticism from the high court, government pleader Jani said that all the required infrastructure facilities, including 2,500 square feet office space in Gandhinagar with internet and telephone connection and security guards, would be provided within 10 days.

Jani also said that six personnel of the State Reserve Police (SRP) would be provided to the CBI.

Sadik was killed in an encounter by city crime branch officials in Naroda area on January 12, 2003.

The high court had transferred the probe of the case from Gujarat police to the CBI on June 16, 2011 and had directed the CBI to complete the investigation within six months.

But last week, the CBI, in its application to the high court, had sought six months’ extension in the case, citing non-availability of proper infrastructure for carrying out the investigation. The CBI had stated that it was conducting investigations from the Circuit House and Vishram Gruh (government rest house), as there was no infrastructure facility provided by the state government, “which was one of the causes of the delay in the probe”.

Further date of hearing in the case is fixed on February 7.








Frame guidelines to allot subjects: HC


TNN Jan 25, 2012, 03.57AM IST

NEW DELHI: Slamming a private school for shifting a student from science to commerce stream in the middle of an academic year, the Delhi high court on Tuesday directed the Central Board of Secondary Education to frame proper guidelines for schools in this regard.

Justice Hima Kohli directed the education body to frame the guidelines and circulate it within six weeks for the compliance of schools. She also issued a slew of directions to the New Era Public School, Mayapuri for the “mistake” of allocating science stream to one Karan Raj Singh, despite his marks being ineligible for the stream.

HC accepted the school’s argument that Singh was ineligible to be admitted in science stream as he had scored the grade point of 5.8, which was less than the required grade point of 6.7 for the science stream. It allowed the school to rectify its mistake and make loss of classes suffered by Singh due to its action. The school must ensure that Singh comes to terms with the syllabus and if required, given special coaching, the court said.

“The school shall make good the loss of classes in the commerce stream suffered by him by giving him special classes without burdening him or his parents with additional fee”, it said, asking it not to charge any fee from him for next six months. The school must foot the bill of books and study material purchased by Singh for the commerce class, HC added.








HC stays poll violation cases against DMK MP


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 24,2012

Madurai, Jan 22 (PTI) The Madras High Court Bench here today stayed the trial court proceedings of two cases relating to alleged election code violation filed against DMK MP Ritheesh Kumar during the assembly elections last year and the Parliament elections in 2009. Justice T Sudanthiram stayed the trial proceedings for two weeks. Police had filed a case against Ritheesh Kumar and nine others for allegedly taking a large number of people to the election office on Mar 23, 2011 in the run up to the assembly elections last year when the DMK candidate Suba Thangavelan filed his nomination papers at Tiruvadanai. The Ramanathapuram MP was also charged with providing two lorry loads of sand for a local temple during the Lok Sabha polls, in which he contested. The cases had been filed based on the complaint given by the police inspectors of Thiruvadanai and R S Mangalam (in Ramanathapuram district). The petitioner submitted that the complaint had not been given by the competent person, and said the police inspector could not give a complaint regarding election violation. Only election officials could give the complaint and hence the cases registered against him should be quashed, he contended. The Judge gave interim stay to the trial court proceedings and posted the case for hearing after two weeks.











Allahabad HC upholds EC order on covering statues


Last Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 15:16
Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the Election Commission’s order to cover statues of elephants installed at various parks and memorials across Uttar Pradesh where Assembly polls are due next month.

The Division Bench comprising Justice Amar Saran and Justice Ramesh Sinha had earlier reserved its order on the PIL on January 16.

The petition was filed by one local businessman Dheeraj Singh.
Singh had moved a similar petition earlier which was “dismissed as withdrawn” by the court on January 11 as the Public Interest Litigation was found to have “technical shortcomings”.
It was submitted by Singh’s lawyer Anil Bisen that the petitioner was “a devout Hindu who has felt hurt by the Election Commission’s order as the figure of an elephant represented the venerable Lord Ganesha”.
The Election Commission had passed the order for covering of statues of elephants as well as those of state Chief Minister Mayawati on January 7, saying it wanted to ensure no political party was allowed to “derive political advantage”.
Elephant is the election symbol of the state’s ruling Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) and has protested the EC’s order.
Mayawati, who is also the BSP supremo, had described the EC’s order as one-sided and claimed her sympathisers were likely to view it as a “casteist” move.







HC extends stay on probe against Kannada producer


Press Trust of India, Updated: January 24, 2012 15:39 IST


Bangalore:  The Karnataka High Court today extended the stay till January 30 on the investigation by Bagalur police against a Kannada film producer arrested in a murder case.

Justice Subhash B Adi extended the stay when film producer Govardhan Murthy’s petition challenging the order of Director General and Inspector General of Police (DG and IGP) Shankar Bidari to transfer the case to the CID came up for hearing.

Vinod Kumar, an upcoming Kannada actor, was allegedly murdered by Goverdhan Murthy in a guest house in Bagalur on October 6, 2008.

A charge-sheet was filed and a trial began soon thereafter. Murthy then challenged the criminal proceedings in the high court as well as the Supreme Court.

Both petitions were dismissed. After two-and-a-half years, the trial had reached its fag end.

Last month, Bidari issued an order for transferring several cases, including Murthys, to the CID for further investigation and when the case came for hearing earlier this
month, the court granted stay till today (Jan 24) on the re-investigation.









HC dismisses PILs on splitting UP


PTI Jan 24, 2012, 08.59PM IST

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court today dismissed two PILs challenging the Uttar Pradesh government’s proposal regarding division of Uttar Pradesh into four states and a resolution adopted by the legislature in this regard.

The Lucknow Bench, comprising justices Pradeep Kant and Shabihul Hasnain, pronounced the judgement on the PILs filed by M P Singh and two others.

In its judgement, it said “both the petitions are based on misapprehension of the fact that the state legislature has decided to divide the state of UP into four parts and that the procedure prescribed from doing so shall not be followed. They are accordingly dismissed.”










HC tells BDA to remove land encroachment


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: The High court on Monday directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena remove the encroachment on the site which is under challenge over denotification of the land acquired by BDA during 1979 for the formation of Nandini Layout extension at Jarakabandekaval village.
Mahalakshmi Layout MLA N L Narendra Babu, in a PIL, had alleged that former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and BDA officials were involved in granting approval to drop the acquisition of the land to benefit an applicant. He had alleged that the land in question was acquired for public purpose with scheme being fully executed as per the provisions of the BDA Act, 1975, and the denotification order is without any application of mind and with malafide intention.
Earlier, the government had submitted that it was reconsidering the issue of withdrawing the denotification of the land acquired. The court had earlier ordered to maintain status-quo in respect of one acre of land denotified in Nandini Layout, till further orders.
Hearing the petition, a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the BDA Commissioner Bharat Lal Meena to evict the board in 48 hours and adjourned the matter for further hearing.

Will Gujarat HC order on fixed wages impact state budget?


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 17:09 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The high court’s direction to the state government to pay wages as per the Sixth Pay Commission recommendations to employees drawing fixed wages, is giving sleepless nights to the authorities.

It is feared that the state government’s budget could go for a toss in view of the order, which is expected to lead to a burden of anywhere from Rs2,800 crore to Rs3,900 crore.

“The amount involved is huge and can disturb all calculations,” said a senior government official. Minister of state for finance, Saurabh Patel, said that they were studying the judgment of the high court, and working out its financial impact.

The official said that the state government planned to approach HC for certain clarifications with regards to its order.

“The high court has used the term ‘Minimum of pay scale’ and also the term ‘Total pay’ in its judgment. We plan to file an application seeking clarification in this regard from the court,” said a finance department official. The official said that wage revised as per ‘Minimum of pay scale’ would lead to an additional burden of Rs350 crore per annum on the government, while the implication of the term ‘Total pay’ was estimated at Rs1,400 crore per annum.

“We feel that further clarity is needed in the matter,” the official said. Officials also said that the arrears that would have to be paid to fixed wage earners were still being worked out. “Preliminary estimates show that the arrears payable would be in the region of Rs2,500 crore. However, this figure is not final,” said an official.

An official pointed out that the massive recruitments announced by the chief minister last year would lead to further strain on government resources.

“The CM had announced that the government would recruit 50,000 persons in a year. Fulfilling this promise alone would lead to an annual burden of around Rs1,000 crore on the state government,” said an official. He, however, pointed out that freezing recruitments was also not feasible as a large number of government employees were slated to retire in the next couple of years.


LEGAL NEWS 25.01.2012

IPO aspirants may take cue from Palco Recycle, move SAT over issue delays


MUMBAI: Several firms may knock on the doors of the Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT), a quasi judicial body, to decide the fate of their IPOs which have been hanging fire for months. They are emboldened by Palco Recycle Industries, an Ahmedabad-based firm, which moved SAT to pursue its IPO application pending before the capital market regulator, Sebi, since November 2010.

The regulator is understood to be holding back some of the applications amid fears of price manipulation in the primary market. According to the Sebi website, around two dozen IPOs are yet to receive Sebi’s approval and about a similar number of companies are awaiting clarifications from their lead managers.

Around one-third of these documents (currently under process) were filed over a year ago. Palco Recycle Industries, which filed its Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP) in November 2010 and received an in-principle approval to list almost a year ago, filed an appeal before SAT, seeking the tribunal’s intervention. The company said that it had responded to all queries raised by Sebi from time to time.

“In spite of complying with all the queries raised by the board (Sebi) and repeated reminders, the board has not issued its approval for the proposed public issue of the company.” It said that Sebi cannot keep its application pending indefinitely.

Sebi, even as it raised an objection with regard to maintainability of the appeal, said that it would take a final decision on the application within a period of six weeks from January 6. Companies rarely move SAT to pursue their listing plans.

“It is possible that the regulator is cautious and has been slow in processing applications. The recent move may prompt other companies to approach SAT as a large number of companies are waiting for the final outcome for more than a year,” said a securities lawyer who deals in due diligence related to IPOs. He felt that the regulator would refrain from rejecting any application as it could provoke the company to challenge the decision.

Sebi did not respond to ET’s email query. Sebi chairman UK Sinha recently said that to expedite the clearance of IPO applications, the board was planning to put in place a time-frame within which firms would have to respond to regulator’s queries.

“We are going to make it obligatory that the response to Sebi’s queries has to be given in a particular time-frame, and if it is not given, the case will be closed,” Sinha had said. He had also said that there were companies that deliberately delayed their response to buy time in a bad market.

However, there are companies whose projects are stuck midway with the listing plan running into a hurdle. “The delay is hurting us. Sebi should decide either way so that we can look for alternative sources of funding. Even a bank approves or rejects loan application.

What stops the capital market regulator from taking a decision?,” said a senior official of a company that filed its DRHP a year ago. Updating all the documents continuously can be painstaking, said the person who refused to be named.

Securities lawyers point out that there are instances where the regulator is either suspicious of certain transactions in the company’s books or dissatisfied with the quality of disclosures and corporate governance standard. “If Sebi rejects any application, it opens the way for litigation as the company may challenge the rejection. So, it may be better not to spell out its stand in some cases,” he said.

Sebi has taken a number of steps to cleanse the IPO market from manipulation. It recently barred seven companies, their directors, merchant bankers and other related entities from participating in the securities market till further order for not complying with the disclosure norms in their IPO prospectus. Significantly, OneLife Capital Advisors, banker to the IPO of Palco Recycle, was among them. OneLife has appealed to SAT on the matter.

Any adverse outcome may add complications for Palco even if Sebi allows the company to raise funds through primary market. Under the circumstances, Sebi’s stand on the Palco Recycle’s IPO could be relevant to other companies.









Sebi moves Supreme Court against PW in Satyam case


Indu Bhan : New Delhi, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:08 hrs
Sebi on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking stay on the sectoral tribunal’s order that allowed audit firm Price Waterhouse to cross-examine the accused in the Rs 7,000-crore Satyam Computer Services scam, including Satyam founder B Ramalinga Raju.

The Securities Appellate Tribunal in June last year had asked Sebi to allow Price Waterhouse, the scam-tainted company’s external auditor, to cross-examine Ramalinga Raju, his brother and managing director B Rama Raju, and former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas. It also asked Sebi to furnish copies of their statements to Price Waterhouse, if necessary.

A bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia asked Attorney General GE Vahanvati and counsel Pratap Venugopal, appearing for Sebi, to apprise the court of the scope of enquiry into the matter under the Sebi Act, and the consequences of the criminal prosecution initiated by CBI and the proceedings initiated by ICAI. Such clarity is required so that no confusion is created resulting in the accused getting away, it said.

Sebi had relied on the statements of Raju and the other accused to issue show-cause notices to Price Waterhouse asking them why they should not be debarred from carrying out auditing work for listed companies for a particular period. FE








Supreme Court rues homelessness 64 years after freedom


People sleeping on pavements and footpaths even after 64 years of independence is a matter of concern, the Supreme Court said on Monday while asking States to comply with its order to provide roofs to the homeless facing threat to their lives while sleeping in open and intense cold.

Quoting Article 21 of the Constitution, which deals with the fundamental right of life and liberty, the apex court said the “right to shelter” is also right to life and the authorities, particularly in northern states where the winter is likely to continue till March, must gear up “to preserve and protect” the lives of the people of weaker sections and destitute.

“We direct the authorities, particularly in northern states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to provide at least temporary night shelters to preserve and protect the lives of homeless people in consonance with the philosophy of the Constitution under Article 21,” a bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra said.

The court, which asked the states to comply with its order within three weeks, said “nothing is more important for states than to protect and preserve lives of the homeless people”. “Threat to life is perceivable in severe cold and states must comply with all its obligations under Article 21 by providing shelter to the homeless people,” the bench said.

It asked the authorities in states like Maharashtra and West Bengal, which are lagging behind the apex court’s deadline to erect temporary and permanent structure as night shelters, to discuss the issue at the highest level, including their chief ministers.

“For a civilised society, people sleeping on pavements and footpaths even after 64 years of independence is a matter of concern,” the bench said while dealing with the steps taken by Maharashtra government.

The bench expressed its displeasure over the tardy progress made by West Bengal government in providing night shelters for the homeless and asked the state authorities to take up the matter with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

“You have a very sensitive chief minister. What are you doing? You take it up with the chief minister,” the bench said when the counsel for West Bengal submitted that out of the requisite 134 night shelters, only six were operational.

The court expressed satisfaction that Madhya Pradesh government had provided all facilities in 38 night shelters and around 61 were under construction.

The court appreciated state government’s counsel for visiting the state and placing an affidavit, annexed with photographs of night shelters made operational with all facilities in various districts of the state.

The court posted the matter for further hearing on February 27, while directing a joint inspection of the night shelters in various states by civil society members and court-appointed commissioners within two weeks.

The court had during the last hearing on January 16 asked the authorities to carry out its order in “letter and spirit” to “preserve and protect” the lives of homeless people.

The bench had, in an earlier hearing, said it cannot permit its own children to die in winter.

The NGO, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties’ (PUCL), had submitted there are night shelters which had “near zero occupancy.”

The apex court is monitoring the implementation of its 2009 order for providing night shelters to the homeless across the country and has appointed court commissioners to inspect the progress in building and equipping them properly.

A recent report submitted to the court said “in almost all States, homeless persons continue to sleep in the open and lead a life of exclusion and destitution. Most of the state governments continue to show poor compliance of the directions of the Supreme Court.”

As Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday told the court that there are no homeless people in the state, it was told to file an affidavit in this regard.

Himachal Pradesh too had told the court that “there were no homeless persons” there and the court had recorded the undertaking.

The court had also directed the states to ensure that the night shelters were equipped with basic facilities like potable water, separate toilets for men and women, bedding, and medical facilities in the existing night shelters.







Supreme Court sets honourable precedent with Vodafone ruling


Shailesh Haribhakti, Hindustan Times
January 23, 2012

From September 2007, when a tax notice was first issued to Vodafone, to January 2012, when the Supreme Court pronounced its verdict, the Vodafone case has been by far controversy’s favourite child! While the Apex Court decision has given Vodafone a reason to cheer by stating that a transaction of transfer of shares of a foreign company between two non-residents is not taxable in India, it has also propounded the Indian judiciary’s views on such tax debates, with key takeaways.

 The Vodafone decision brings a great sense of transparency and stability to the Indian industry. Tax costs are always an integral factor, if not the sole factor, in a strategic business decision. This decision would make corporate planning more accurate, as companies could now have a fair idea of their tax costs, and tax costs will not be determined by creative interpretation of the law by tax authorities.

The key takeaway from this judgment is the emphasis of the Supreme Court to provide clarity to the foreign investor at the time of entry into India. In fact, the court has specifically held that the tax law in India, as it stands today, does not provide for such transactions to be taxed in India and accordingly no withholding taxes are attracted. The court has stated that if the tax department wishes to tax such transactions, they should specifically provide for such legislation after considering the impact on foreign investments. Without a specific provision, there is no necessity to lift the corporate veil in case of legitimate transactions.

It can only be hoped that the tax authorities respects this landmark ruling and don’t attempt to override it with retrospective legislation.

This landmark decision re-emphasises the time-honoured principle that taxpayers are entitled to plan their economic affairs within the framework of law and legitimate transaction structures cannot be disregarded merely because of the tax benefits arising out of them.

This decision is being welcomed with open arms by the global business community which has used similar offshore holding structures, and has provided tremendous certainty to investors.

The author is chairman of BDO India, a unit of BDO — a worldwide network of public accounting firms







Ready to order independent probe into MNREGA scam: Centre to HC


PTI | 11:01 PM,Jan 23,2012

New Delhi, Jan 23 (PTI) The Centre today informed the Allahabad High Court that it would order an independent probe into the alleged irregularities in the MNREGA implementation in Uttar Pradesh, if the court desires. In its counter-affidavit, the Centre has said that it was imperative to have a preliminary enquiry conducted by an independent agency like CBI. The counter affidavit, filed in response to a PIL challenging inadequate implementation of the Act by the state government, said Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had written to UP Chief Minister Mayawati twice suggesting CBI probe into the alleged scam. In his letters to Mayawati late last year, Ramesh had said if she was serious about tackling misutilisation of MNREGA funds then she should order for a CBI inquiry into the irregularities reported from seven districts. The Centre filed its counter affidavit as per the direction of the Allahabad High Court.







Corruption chorus grows against Sikkim chief minister Chamling

A Vaidyanathan, Updated: January 23, 2012 15:27 IST

New Delhi:  The government in Sikkim faces serious accusations of corruption, and the Supreme Court has now intervened. Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling, the Centre and the CBI have all been asked to respond to allegations that Mr Chamling and his ministers have misused government funds.

The Supreme Court’s actions today are based on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL). The petitioners, two residents of Sikkim, say a CBI report confirms that the state government is guilty of corruption and that the Chief Minister and several others in his Cabinet have assets that cannot be accounted for.

Mr Chamling, who heads the Sikkim Democratic Front or SDF, has been the Chief Minister of Sikkim since 1994. In December, the CBI asked his government for permission to prosecute him and was reportedly turned down.









Army Chief refuses to comment on age row


New Delhi, Mon, 23 Jan 2012 ANI

New Delhi, Jan 23 (ANI): Chief of Army Staff, General V.K. Singh, on Monday refused to comment on the ongoing issue surrounding his date of birth, saying the matter is sub-judice.

“What is it that you want to know, that particular issue is sub-judice. So. I can’t say anything about it,” General Singh told mediapersons here.

The Supreme Court had earlier on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a direction to the government to restore the date of birth of Army Chief as May 10, 1951, and said it was not maintainable in law.

An apex court bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said: “In our view, the writ petition filed at the behest of an association is not maintainable. The writ petition is dismissed as not maintainable. This is purely a service matter.”

The bench expressed its disappointment that the PIL filed by The Grenadiers Association (Rohtak Chapter) annexed the opinions of former chief justices of India in the petition on the age row of Army Chief when they themselves said it is not for being putting up before the court.

The apex court bench further said the affected person was not before it and entertaining a PIL based on newspaper headlines will set a “bad precedence” and lead to a “chaotic situation”.

General Singh, who has become the first serving military chief to take the government to court, had earlier filed a petition before the apex court seeking a direction to the government that his date of birth be treated as 10.5.1951 and not 1950. (ANI)









V-C appointment delayed again


Express news service : Pune, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:56 hrs
The University of Pune’s (UoP) wait for a Vice-Chancellor (V-C) just got longer. The state government has asked for two weeks’ time to file its say in a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Thane-based activist in the Bombay High Court saying the appointment procedure violates the University Grant Commission (UGC) norms.

Though the PIL had been filed, the court had given a go-ahead for the interviews to be conducted on January 9, following which five candidates were shortlisted. However, the procedure has not been completed because the PIL contends the entire process, including the appointment of the search committee.

Suresh Patil-Khede, the petitioner, in his PIL, has said as per the UGC guidelines, a person who has been attached to the university in any way cannot be part of the search committee. “The expert committee needs to have a composition of people from the field of education. Also, a member of the search committee has been involved with the UoP. The present search committee should be scrapped and the procedure restarted,” said Patil-Khede.

VB Tiwari, Patil-Khede’s counsel, said, “The government has asked for two weeks’ time to file its say. The V-C will not be appointed in that period.”








Summons issued to board chairpersons


Staff Reporter

It is in connection with a PIL on manual scavenging

Expressing displeasure over steps taken to mechanise the process of cleaning of sewerage in the State in spite of orders passed by it earlier, the Karnataka High Court on Monday directed the chairpersons of Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB) and Karnataka Urban Water Supply and Drainage Board (KUWSDB) to be personally present in the court on January 31.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order while hearing a public interest litigation filed by Peoples Union for Civil Liberties-Karnataka in 2009 on manual scavenging and deaths of workers engaged in it.

Following this PIL, the court had earlier entrusted the task of studying the problem to the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority (KSLSA), which in June 2011 submitted report on the issues and its recommendations.

UGD facility

The KSLSA pointed out that there is no underground drainage (UGD) facility in 56 municipal councils, 66 town municipal councils and 13 city municipal councils and suggested that the State should be directed to take steps to ensure that there is an UGD facility.

It also recommended mechanisation of sewerage cleaning system through jetting equipment, among a series of suggestions.

Based on this report, the Government in July last year had given an undertaking to the court that it would provide one jetting machine to each urban local body in six months besides buying 48 more such machines for Bangalore city in addition to the existing 76 machines.

“They (chairpersons BWSSB and KUWSDB) have taken courts orders too lightly. Human beings are dying in gutters. Non-compliance with the undertaking given to this court shall entail serious consequences…,” the Bench observed during the hearing on the PIL on Monday on noticing the lapse on the part of the State.

School merger issue

While justifying its decision to merge primary and secondary schools with less than 5 students with other schools in the vicinity of three km, the State Government has claimed that the decision was taken in the interest of the students.

In its written response to the PIL filed by litterateurs, G.S. Shivarudrappa and others, challenging the decision, the Government stated that decision was taken to provide better learning environment, to enhance competitiveness, and teacher-student interaction in schools. The Government also said that it will be giving conveyance allowance of Rs. 300 per month to each student who will have to travel to the nearby school due to the merger.








Litigants’ body PIL seeks better sanitation facilities on court premises


Express news service : Pune, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:51 hrs


The Maharashtra Litigants’ Association, since its inception in May last year, has filed its first public interest litigation (PIL) demanding better sanitation and hygienic condition in courts across the state. The PIL has been filed against the law and judiciary department, building and communication department and principal secretary (planning) of the state and prays for additional public toilets on court premises, their maintenance and better drinking water facilities.

Bhalchandra Joshi, secretary of the Association and its president Narendra Chapalgaonkar filed the PIL through their lawyer Asim Sarode in the Bombay High Court on Monday.

The PIL states that except for Solapur, advocates from all over the state have complained about the inadequate number of the toilets on court premises and their sorry state of maintenance. “There is no monitoring committee or agency to look after the issue of sanitation, cleanliness, drinking water — the basic necessities for litigants who come to the court and, at times, have to spend the entire day in the court,” the PIL states.

The PIL pointed out that in the 11th Five Year Plan, a certain budget was proposed for infrastructural developments in the country’s courts.

“However, the Planning Commission of India and the State Planning Commission are not looking into the issues related to betterment of the court premises and the secretary (planning) of Maharashtra is not marking any specific budget for the same,” it states.

Among other recommendations, the PIL seeks to form a committee consisting of representatives of judges association, bar council, litigants association and judicial employees association to monitor hygiene and sanitation in the courts.

“The local bar associations shall be given responsibility of looking after such issues and they can work in coordination with the respective court administration,” the PIL states. The PIL is expected to come up for hearing next month.








Others occupying houses meant for slumdwellers?


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Even as the real beneficiaries are running from pillar to post to get a roof over their heads, it is alleged that followers of local politicians and goons have occupied houses built by the Karnataka Slum Development Board (KSDB) at Lakshmidevinagar in Jaibhuvaneshwari Nagar ward near Nandini Layout.

The Board has constructed around 1,300 houses for slumdwellers, of which 400 are already allotted. It is alleged that while it is preparing to allot the remaining 900 houses, followers of corporator and goons have allegedly acquired some of these houses. Some, have rented out these houses. The slumdwellers continue to live in sheds next to the newly built houses. They were deprived of houses due to the dominance of money and influence, it is said. Officials from KSDB have allegedly colluded with the politicians and goons and were not willing to vacate the illegal occupants, the slumdwellers have complained.

“Several families don’t have legal documents. They are from the neighbouring states and reside in these houses by paying up to `1,500 rent,” said Pushpa, chief secretary of Samata Sainika Dala, a Dalit organisation. Illegal occupants stay by bribing local leaders and officials,” said Kumar, who lives in a shed. He is also mulling to file a PIL in the High Court in this regard.

Corporator Thimmaraju, however, denied the charge that his followers had acquired houses. When asked that houses were being allotted for extra money, he said: “I have also heard about such allegations. Police should act against illegal occupants.”








Historic Gokhale Hall is awaiting glorious days


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CHENNAI: Finding Gokhale Hall isn’t easy. Which is surprising, considering the fact that it is on the same heritage grade as the down-the-street neighbour, the gaily coloured Armenian Church. Even on Armenian Street, all the three people whom we asked for directions seemed clueless about ‘Gokhale Hall’ or ‘YMIA’, until we met Rafi, a soda-crate hauler. “There’s an old building next to the Syndicate Bank there, but I don’t know if it’s the one you want,” he suggests on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Turns out it is.

Impressioned in cement are the letters YMIA, the only sign that this run-down (dare we say), visually near-collapsible structure houses the greatest oration centre Madras has ever known. “It’s been many years, decades even, since any young men came here,” says Mukhtar, whose son owns a grocery shop in the vicinity. “We thought that it would be fully knocked down when they first began demolition in 2007-08,” he adds.

Built by the likes of Dr Annie Besant and CP Ramaswamy Aiyer, the building has clearly seen better times. The European-fashioned dome still has shades of its original red and blue as well as chambers along the first floor, from where the crowds listened to Nehru, Rajaji and Kamaraj. When one round of demolition happened, the stage (made of Burmese teak) and a few ramparts had been torn and stowed in the entrance way.

Apparently, they would have razed the structure to a rubble of heap, if the Madras High Court hadn’t restrained them from doing so following a PIL from a Sowcarpet resident. “We heard rumours that they (YMIA) were planning to rebuild a commercial high rise here that would help young men,” Mukhtar reveals. But that might not be on the cards, according to an examination done by INTACH. “We completed the study and submitted a report which suggested that demolishing this heritage structure could be avoided. Repair work and strengthening would help in ensuring that it is safe to use,” asserts S Suresh, State Convenor – INTACH.

The dust hasn’t moved for years and the wooden floorboards from the upper level hang dangerously overhead, but if renovated, the space might well serve as a memorial to the words of our country’s greatest. If not, it will still have the glory and splendour of an oration hall, from ages past.








Department of telecommunications to move Supreme Court against TDSAT


A miffed department of telecommunications (DoT) will move the Supreme Court against telecom tribunal Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) challenging the government’s policies and licence norms by offering relief to telecom companies in several cases in the recent past.

Telecom secretary R. Chandrashekhar.told Mail Today that his department is exploring the option of moving the Supreme Court (SC) against the TDSAT decision giving relief to telcos on 3G roaming pact even as the DoT had termed it illegal and had asked the operators late last month to stop such services.

“Either of the party can go in for an appeal before the Supreme Court. Ultimately, we have to see and we are looking into the matter. Our legal team is taking care of it. Whatever action will be taken will be taken. We will first take into consideration all facts before we go ahead,” said the telecom secretary.

In the recent past telcos have been challenging numerous policy decisions taken by the government and have moved the TDSAT. In most cases they have succeeded in getting a stay from the TDSAT, which has not gone down well with the DoT.

For instance, much to the embarrassment of the government, recently the TDSAT not only turned down the DoT’s decision banning 3G roaming pact between leading operators but also set aside all penalties – amounting to over Rs.300 crore – imposed by DoT on new telecom operators for missing out roll out obligations of its services.

Sources said the action has widened the rift between the TDSAT and the DoT.

Early this month, the DoT had questioned the jurisdiction of TDSAT to entertain plea by telcos challenging government’s policy issues and licence norms. The DoT had told the tribunal that it has no jurisdiction to entertain the petitions, which are altering the terms of telecom licences.

DoT has told TDSAT that the inter-circle 3G roaming pacts were illegal. The service providers cannot operate 3G services where they do not have the designated spectrum, it said. Filing an affidavit before the TDSAT, the DoT had requested the tribunal to dismiss the petition by telecom operators challenging the government directive to stop 3G roaming immediately.

The telecom ministry officials said they are now over-cautious before initiating action against the telecom operators. Top DoT officials have been asked to ensure there is no room left for telcos to move the TDSAT and take a stay.

According to a PTI report, apprehending that the government may appeal against the TDSAT order, which dismissed its plea that the telecom tribunal has no jurisdiction over the intra-circle 3G roaming pacts, private operators have filed caveat in both the SC as well as the High Court.

By filing the caveat, the operators have ensured that the courts would pass no orders on the DoT plea without hearing their counsel, or get an ex-parte relief.

The government had questioned the role of TDSAT, which gave a lifeline to telecom operators on December 24, by entertaining their plea during the winter vacations and asking DoT not to take any coercive step against them.

Confirming the move, one of the counsels representing the operators said that chances are that DoT may move the High Court, which is already hearing a similar issue in a PIL.









Peace Party fields SC, Muslim women


RAMENDRA SINGH : Lucknow, Tue Jan 24 2012, 04:55 hrs


The Peace Party, which aims to make a Muslim UP’s chief minister by following BSP’s methods, is attempting its own form of social enigeering. In an attempt to highlight the issue of what it calls “Dalit Muslims”, for whom it wants SC status, the party has fielded two rather interesting candidates.

Shabnam alias Sarvesh, its candidate for Chandausi (SC) constituency in Bhimnagar district, and Aisha alias Rani in Puranpur(SC) constituency of Pilibhit district, are both scheduled caste women married to Muslims. While Sarvesh is married to Shauqin Ahmed, a farmer from Thakurdwara tehsil of Moradabad, Rani is married to Rizwan Khan, a farmer from Puranpur in Pilibhit district. Shabnam’s maiden name is Sarvesh Jatav. Her husband Ahmed says he married Sarvesh in 1996.

It was a love-marriage. Sarvesh was the resident of nearby Hauspura village,Ahmed said, and added Chandausi has about 1lakh Muslims and about 2 lakh scheduled castes.

He says the chances of his wife winning the election are high as Chandausi has been reserved constituency for more than 30 years. About one lakh Muslim voters this time have a candidate who belongs to a Muslim community and they would definitely support her, he says. Sarvesh says it was in 2005 that she had decided to contest the election of pradhan from Abdullahpur Leda village which was then reserved for SCs and she got her SC certificate to contest the seat.

Sarvesh is the first person from Ahmed’s family to have contested an election. Later, in 2010 she won the election for the member of Moradabad Zila Panchayat, also a reserved seat. Claiming she will get support from Muslims as well as Dalits, Sarvesh is confident of winning the seat. She says during her earlier contests as pradhan and Zila Panchayat member too she got the votes from Muslims and Dalits. Sarvesh says if she won the election she would fight for giving Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Muslims.

She also want my children to get the benefits which a scheduled caste child gets, she says referring to her sons Sanu, Sabu and daughter Tabassum. Sarvesh will be contesting against BSP sitting MLA Girish Chandra, BJP candidate Gulabo Devi, SP candidate Lakshmi Gautam, and Congress candidate Satish Premi. While Peace Party’s Puranpur candidate Aisha alias Rani has also won the election for member of Pilibhit Zila Panchayat which was also reserved for scheduled castes, in 2010.

Aisha whose maiden name is Rani, belongs to the Kumhar caste. She got her scheduled caste certificate when she planned to contest for Zila Panchyat’s reserved seat. She says she met Rizwan when he used to drive a taxi in his locality in Puranpur town. She says there are about one lakh Muslims in Puranpur assembly constituency and she will get their votes as there is no other Muslim candidate contesting from the seat. Rani’s husband Rizwan says. No one in my family has ever contested any election and it was my wife who contested the first election for Zila Panchayat member and got elected.

Rani will contest against BJP candidate Ramratan Paswan, Congress candidate Sukhlal, BSP candidate Dinesh Bharti, and SP candidate Pritam Ram.

SC gives Noida week to allot land to banks


Dipankar Ghose : Noida, Tue Jan 24 2012, 02:27 hrs
The Supreme Court on Monday gave the Noida Authority one week’s time to come up with a scheme for the rehabilitation of banks that have been ordered to move out of residential areas, for disobeying norms of land use. The Supreme Court had summoned CEO of the Noida Authority, Captain SK Dwivedi, to explain what measures had been taken for the shifting of the 104 banks affected by the order.

“The court has asked us to come out with a scheme for banks within one week. We will adhere to the order as there is commercial space available in several sectors,” said Captain Dwivedi.

After a survey conducted by project engineers last week, the Authority said there is close to 17 lakh square feet of land available for banks and other commercial institutions.

“The also gave six weeks time, starting today, to adhere to the initial order that all banks must clear out from residential premises,” said Captain Dwivedi.

On December 4, the apex court had given the banks two months to vacate their residential plots.

“A resolution of the problem depends on what scheme the Noida Authority comes out with in the next week. We are hopeful of a beneficial scheme, which will be agreeable to both sides,” said Rohit Sapra, secretary of NRBA.







BJP, Cong men among 7 in court


Express news service : Jaipur, Tue Jan 24 2012, 03:22 hrs


The reading of excerpts from Salman Rushdie’s banned book, The Satanic Verses, at the Jaipur Literature Festival last week resulted in seven court petitions in Rajasthan and a police complaint. While the courts are yet to issue any directions to the Jaipur police, the police have begun inquires into the issue but have not filed any FIR.

The court petitions include one at a local court in Ajmer, filed by Muzaffar Bharati, a primary member of the Rajasthan Congress party. The remaining six, in Jaipur courts, have been filed by Daulat Khan, a BJP leader in the minority manch, Abdul Latif from the All India Milli Council and four others, Mohammed Hussain, Mohammed Naimuddin, Zahid and Nasir Zahid of the Muslim Mahasabha. Ashok Kumar, a resident of Jaipur, submitted a complaint to the Jaipur police on Saturday.

While Khan’s petition will be heard on Tuesday, Bharati’s petition will be heard on Wednesday and the remaining five have been slated for February 2.

The complaints name authors Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Ruchir Joshi as well as JLF organiser Sanjoy Roy. The four authors had read excerpts from the book on January 20. Kunzru and Kumar had even tweeted their intentions before the sessions and were thanked by Rushdie. However, during the reading, the organisers stopped them.

All court petitions include Sections of the IPC for uttering words with intent to hurt religious feelings (298), malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings (295a), promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion (153a) and criminal conspiracy (120b). Bharati’s petition includes Section 505 (creating mischief) and Section 296 (disturbing religious assembly).

‘Info on threat based on intel’

The Rajasthan government on Monday rubbished Salman Rushdie’s claims that he had been lied to by the Rajasthan police in a “plot” to keep him out of the Jaipur Literature Festival. The state home department stated it had based the information on threat to Rushdie’s life on intelligence inputs.







State govt probe against MSEDCL director Deore


Abhilash Botekar, TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 02.39AM IST

NASHIK: The state government has ordered an inquiry against Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd director (projects) M K Deore after allegations of corruption and amassing wealth disproportionate to known sources of income were raised against him during the assembly session in Nagpur.

Power minister Ajit Pawar has directed state energy secretary Vidyadhar Kanade to look into the technical aspects of the allegations being levelled.

“We have initiated an inquiry against the officer and the report has to be presented to the state government,” Kanade told TOI. However, he did not give a time-frame for presenting the report.

Deore said he has not received any communication from the government over it. “I have overheard something… but nothing in black and white. As and when things come up, I will face it. I know, I have not done anything wrong anytime,” he told TOI.

MSEDCL managing director Ajoy Mehta refused to comment.

At the assembly session in Nagpur, the leader of the opposition, Eknath Khadse, had moved a motion alleging several charges of corruption against Deore and demanded an inquiry by the anti-corruption bureau.

“There are several allegations of corruption against Deore right since he joined service, including amassing of huge wealth. In 1996-97 the then energy minister had made a statement that Deore should not be given a posting where he comes into public contact,” Khadse had charged.

However, Pawar had said “I think the officer has good conduct” but asked the energy secretary to look into the technical aspects of it.

Deore was the chief engineer of the Nashik zone from 2007 to 2009, during which industrial consumers from Malegaon had objected to his billing decisions, while the city-based Veej Grahak Sanghatana, representing power consumers, filed a public interest litigation against him in the Bombay High Court.

During his tenure in Nashik, there were a lot of controversies surrounding Deore, including allegations of implementing load-shedding on industrial feeder at Dyane in Malegaon.

“We had been demanding continuous power from the industrial feeder but we were asked to pay for transmission and distribution losses of MSEDCL on that feeder. The officer even produced a memorandum of understanding that said the industrialists had to pay for the transmission and distribution losses. But neither did the MoU have any signatures on it nor were we aware of any such MoU,” alleged Swapnil Kothari, the then president of the association of plastic manufacturers at Dyane.

“We even filed a criminal case in the district and sessions court of Malegaon,” he said.

Lawyer Siddharth Soni, who represents Veej Grahak Samiti in Nashik, claimed that when the officer was being promoted from chief engineer to executive director (corporate planning) and then as the director (projects), there were criminal cases pending against him in Malegaon and Nashik district and sessions court.

“In Nashik, he is alleged of helping an individual in power theft. We have therefore challenged his appointments by way of PIL and it is pending before Bombay High Court Bombay,” Soni claimed.

Jayalalithaa files complaints against daily and Tamil bi-weekly


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 8:50 IST
Place: Chennai | Agency: PTI

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Tuesday filed separate complaints in the Principal Sessions court against a Tamil bi-weekly and a leading English national daily accusing them of publishing ‘derogatory and defamatory’ comments against her about her eating habits.

The complaint filed on behalf of the Chief Minister by the city public prosecutor against the Editor, Joint Editor and a Reporter of Nakkheeran and a reporter and the Editor-in-Chief of The Hindu seeks to punish them under IPC sections 500 (punishment for defamation) and 501 (printing or engraving matter known to be defamatory).

When contacted, Siddharth Varadarajan, Editor of The Hindu said, “we will study the matter and respond accordingly”.

Nakkheeran on January 7 had faced the wrath of irate AIADMK supporters who attacked its office and burnt copies over publication of the report about Jayalalithaa’s eating habits.

Facing contempt proceedings, Editor R Gopal had expressed regret in the High Court on January 12 for publishing the article and said a regret message would be carried on the cover page of the magazine’s next issue.

The chief public prosecutor submitted that if an article, which appeared as a news item, was one relating to the personal life of a public official, it would be necessary for the member of the press or media to publish it only after a reasonable verification of the facts.








Bombay High court clears oldest pending appeal


Published: Tuesday, Jan 24, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The oldest criminal appeal of 26 years was finally disposed of on Monday.

The Bombay high court dismissed the appeal filed by the state government, challenging the acquittal of seven accused in a 1984 murder case.

“After 26 years, we do not find any reason to interfere with the order passed by the trial court,” said the division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice ML Tahaliyani.

The seven accused were acquitted by a sessions court in 1985. “The state had appealed against the acquittal in the high court,” said additional public prosecutor Pradeep Hingorani.

The seven accused, suspected to be local gangsters, allegedly murdered Maxi Pascol, allegedly a goon from the Powai area, on February 2, 1984, when Pascol was travelling in an autorickshaw to the Andheri metropolitan court to attend a case hearing.A taxi overtook his autorickshaw near Powai lake and stopped suddenly. Soon, another taxi stopped. Pascol sensed something was wrong. He rushed out of the auto and started running in the opposite direction.

According to the police, the accused, armed with choppers and knives, chased him. Pascol fell into a trench and the accused allegedly assaulted him.

Two motorcyclists saw the incident, noted down the taxi numbers and informed the police about it. He was rushed to a hospital where he was declared dead on admission.

Based on the taxi numbers, the accused were arrested and a case of murder and rioting was slapped against them.
During the trial, the prosecution examined 21 witnesses. The sessions court said the prosecution had failed to prove any motive behind the murder.

On December 24, 1985, the accused were let off and the state government appealed against their acquittal.

On September 1, 1986, the high court allowed the state to appeal and the petition was admitted. Since then, it had been pending. “As per the note forwarded by the registry, this was the oldest criminal appeal pending in the court,” said Hingorani.







Court to frame charges against 120 Somali nationals


Express News Service : Mumbai, Tue Jan 24 2012, 00:26 hrs
A Sessions court is scheduled to frame charges against 120 Somali nationals, who are alleged to be pirates, on January 31. The accused, currently lodged at Taloja Jail, were arrested in March 2011 for allegedly hijacking ships like Vega 5 and Al-Murtuza.

According to the chargesheet filed by the Yellow Gate police station, they will be tried under the stringent Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act (UAPA) in addition to attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and for carrying weapons. Four separate chargesheets have been filed against the accused.

On Monday all 120 were brought to the Sewri sessions court in six vans. However, the court took objection to their arrival as it had not summoned them to the court.

Unable to contain the accused in the court, they were made to wait in the van. The court tried contacting the Taloja jailor through video conferencing, to ask him why the escort officers had brought the accused to court.

However, the video connection could not be established. They were also unable to get their own lawyers, appointed by the court.

Seventy hostages belonging to Thailand, Philippines, Bangladesh, Iran, Turkey, Myanmar and Pakistan were rescued by the Navy. Arms like AK-47 assault rifles with magazines and rocket launchers were also recovered from them when nabbed off the western coast of India.









Stay on NBW against Jayalalithaa extended


A. V. Ragunathan

The judge will pass orders in this regard on January 28

District and Sessions Court Judge K. Uthirapathi has extended till January 28 the stay on a non-bailable warrant (NBW) ordered by the Parangipettai Magistrate Court against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa in a case relating to filing of nominations for the 2001 Assembly elections.

The judge will also pass orders in this regard on January 28. The petition came up for hearing before the district sessions court on Monday.

A. Sankaran of Tindivanam, counsel for Ms. Jayalalithaa, argued that when the Supreme Court had stayed the proceedings on the main petition and ordered status quo on July 10, 2007 an NBW would be out of place.

He said that no process had been filed by the complainant (the then Returning Officer of the Bhuvanagiri Assembly Constituency A.G. Selvamani) nor any notice or summons served on the revision petitioner (Ms. Jayalalithaa) till date. It was the elementary principle of law that no warrant could be issued in the absence of summons. Moreover, the main complaint was not taken on file till date.

Mr. Sankaran contended that the order passed by the Parangipettai Magistrate Court was a glaring defect of serious nature that had resulted in grave injustice. The order was passed in a slipshod manner without the application of mind, touching upon the fundamental rights of the petitioner.

Mr. Sankaran pleaded that the District Sessions Court, exercising both judicial and administrative control over the magistrate court, had to set aside the impugned order in the “interest of justice, equity and fair play.”

After hearing counsel, Judge Uthirapathi said that after going through the records he would issue detailed orders on January 28.

The impugned order issued on January 4 by the then Parangipettai Magistrate R. Gomathi Sakthi Sorupam (since placed under suspension by the Madras High Court on charges of corruption and alteration of records in a case pertaining to a private company in Salem) created a sensation as it called for the personal appearance of the Chief Minister before the magistrate court on February 16.

The recall petition filed by the Chief Minister’s counsel too was posted for February 16. Meanwhile, counsel moved the District Sessions Court and obtained a stay on the impugned order.

The main petition filed by Mr. Selvamani in 2007 relates to purported violation of the Representation of the People’s Act by Ms Jayalalithaa as she filed nominations in four Assembly constituencies of Bhuvanagiri, Andipatti, Krishnagiri and Pudukottai in 2001.











An accused let down by justice system, yet again


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 24, 2012

The alleged suicide by National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam key accused Sunil Verma at his Lucknow residence exposes the weaknesses of our criminal justice system that has once again failed to protect an accused (and a possible witness) in a high-profile case.

The fact

that Verma’s is the fourth mysterious death in the scam being investigated by the CBI only highlights the gullible ways in which the “premier” agency deals with such cases, as it cannot be given the benefit of doubt regarding possible threats to the accused/witnesses in the case.

The saddest part is that rather than being an aberration, the mysterious deaths in the NRHM scam are a part of a larger pattern in high-profile corruption cases in India.

Shyam Bihari Sinha, the kingpin in the fodder scam – allegedly involving RJD chief Lalu Prasad – died under mysterious circumstances. Witnesses/accused have also  died under mysterious circumstances in at least in two SC-monitored cases – the Ghaziabad provident fund scam allegedly involving judges, and 2G-spectrum scam (See Box).

It goes without saying that witnesses are the eyes and ears of justice. Even to make a document admissible as evidence one needs a witness. But unlike the US and many other developed nations, India does not have any witness protection programme.

Witnesses and accused (particularly those likely to turn approver) need protection both during investigation and at the time of trial to ensure that not only is the case solved and a proper chargesheet is filed but also the charges are proved in the court.

Law Commission Vice Chairman KTS Tulsi said: “Witness protection involves changing their identities and relocating their entire families. We need to have enough financial provision for it. Until it’s done, at least cancel the bail granted to all the accused in cases where witnesses are dying.”

There are lots recommendations by the law commission, Mallimath committee, the SC and various high courts. But political will is lacking.

The legislative route may take time. Till then. the government should at least notify the guidelines framed by Delhi HC in Neelam Katara case in 2003 as an interim measure.


ITAT graft: CJI seeks action–CJI-seeks-action/903325/


Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Jan 24 2012, 03:05 hrs
With the CBI widening its probe into whether decisions of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) were allegedly fixed and authored by outsiders, Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia is learnt to have asked the Law Ministry to take “appropriate” action in the issue.

Sources said the CJI, in a meeting with Law Minister Salman Khurshid sometime ago, also expressed concern over the manner in which his ministry was sitting for over three years on the CBI’s request for sanction to prosecute 20 ITAT members and officials for allegedly outsourcing writing of decisions to private individuals.

As first reported by The Indian Express, the CBI, after chargesheeting suspended ITAT member Jugal Kishore and five others for fixing ITAT decisions, had recently decided to examine allegations against other members of the tribunal for corruption.

The Law ministry will reportedly seek more information from the CBI and other agencies before taking a final call on the request for sanction to prosecute the ITAT officials.








Turf battle erupts around blast arrest

Mumbai says culprit, Delhi says informer

Jan. 23: Investigators in Maharashtra today announced the arrest of two youths allegedly linked to last year’s serial blasts in Mumbai but the “breakthrough” was challenged by Delhi police sources who claimed one of the suspects was their informer.

The Delhi sources also said that arrest in haste had alerted three key suspects and given them time to escape.

Security officials not involved with either side said the brawl appeared to be a manifestation of the scramble for credit and territorial mistrust plaguing the country’s terror-fighting networks.

Anti-terrorism squad (ATS) chief Rakesh Maria said in Mumbai that Naqi Ahmed Waqi Ahmed Sheikh, 22, and Nadeem Akhtar Ashfaq Sheikh, 23, both from Darbhanga, Bihar, had been booked on charges of terrorism under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act, Explosives Act and murder and conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

The blasts on July 13, 2011, had killed 27 people. As many as 26 people died in Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House while a blast in Dadar killed one person. Over 120 people were injured.

The investigators said the two suspects stole two Activa scooters from South Mumbai which were used in the blasts at Zaveri Bazaar and Opera House. The ATS claimed to have seized from Darbhanga two motorcycles which were apparently stolen for future use.

Naqi and Nadeem have been sent to police custody till February 2. The ATS has also sought the custody of a third accused, Haroon Rashid Naik, 33, for investigation into the economic trail and the conspiracy. Naik was arrested in August in a counterfeit currency case.

According to the ATS, the main accused in the conspiracy is the Indian Mujahideen leader, Ahmed Zarar Siddibappa alias Yasin Bhatkal alias Imran. Two other accused, who were referred to as “A” and “B” and suspected to be Pakistani citizens, are also at large.

“Yasin Bhatkal had given Naqi Ahmed Rs 1.5 lakh to aid, assist and abet the crime. Nadeem was called to Delhi by Yasin Bhatkal who handed over a cloth packet to be given to Naqi, who was supposed to give it to the wanted accused. This packet had the detonators and explosives used in the blast,” Maria said.

He claimed that the entire conspiracy had cost Rs 10 lakh, routed through a hawala transaction.

The ATS said the explosives were assembled in a flat at South Mumbai’s Byculla, which Bhatkal had rented with the help of Naqi. The ATS has recorded the statements of the estate agent and the landlady who rented out her flat. The Byculla flat is located not too far from the ATS headquarters.

Naqi, who owns a leather business, has been living in Mumbai since 2010-end. The ATS claimed that Bhatkal was known to him since 2008. “Naqi had also facilitated the recce of the blast sites by helping enrol one of the wanted accused in a gym near Zaveri Bazaar. He would visit the gym in the evening between 7 and 8pm for the recce,” Maria said.

According to Maria, Naqi and Nadeem, along with six others, were arrested this month by the ATS while pursuing leads to a racket in obtaining SIM cards through bogus papers.

Indirectly referring to suggestions that Naqi is a police informer, Maria said: “Much has been written about the innocence of Naqi. It is not that he didn’t know about the antecedents of Bhatkal. Bhatkal used to visit him at Darbhanga, where indoctrination programmes were held to induct young boys into the modules.”

Media reports in the past week have suggested that Naqi was a Delhi police informer.

Delhi police sources today iterated that Naqi, who knew Bhatkal, was supposed to lead a Delhi police team camping in Mumbai to the three men living in the Byculla flat.

But before that, the ATS arrested Naqi in the forgery case after getting whiff of the Delhi police investigations in the ATS backyard. The arrest also alerted the three — Bhatkal and the two unidentified suspects, the Delhi sources claimed.

Maria today rubbished claims of a botch-up, saying that he had been working closely with Delhi police. “The so-called high-handedness of ATS is absolutely unfounded and far from the truth. The main accused in the case, Bhatkal, was in the city only in the month of June for some time and in July before the blasts. He left on July 13, while the other two left in November, around the same time when Delhi police arrested six IM men in a nation-wide operation.

“The reports have claimed that he was to return to the city to collect his rent deposit and that he would have been arrested then by Delhi police and that the ATS botched up the operation. This is not true. Would the terrorists come back for Rs 84,000?” Maria asked.

But sources in Delhi police said Naqi was first contacted by their special cell in December to trace IM militants responsible for the Mumbai serial blasts. On January 8, Delhi police officers had taken him to Mumbai to identify two suspects, they added.

According to Naqi’s brother Taqi Ahmed, Delhi police officers had taken Naqi to several places in Mumbai in search of terrorists. “I spoke to him on January 10 and he told me he would return home in a couple of days. But later I learnt that he was picked up by the Maharashtra ATS at night. He is suffering because of the ego clash between Delhi police and their counterparts in Mumbai. Whenever I call up Mumbai police, they abuse me,” Taqi said.

Taqi stays in Jamianagar in south-east Delhi and owns a small leather shop.

A Delhi police officer said: “They (the Maharashtra ATS) felt bad when Delhi police solved the Pune bakery blast case last year. Now it will be difficult for them to prove Naqi’s involvement.”

But a top security officer said: “It’s nothing but a turf war between the Maharashtra ATS and the Delhi special cell. Let them prove Naqi’s involvement in the court of law.”

Government sources in Delhi said there was no clash among agencies but conceded lack of clarity on sharing of information among different central and state agencies.

The Union home ministry is expected to meet directors-general of police next month to sort out problems of co-ordination between the ATS, central agencies and Delhi police.










Women harassment cases going up


S. P. Saravanan

‘Most differences between couples are about supremacy’

Blame it on issues over supremacy, financial or educational status or discontent in marriage life, complaints of harassment against women are on the rise in the city in 2011 when compared to 2009 and 2010.

Yet, 70 per cent of the victim’s problems were solved through counselling by the city police and 30 per cent were left for logical conclusion before a court of law.

Harassment against wife includes, beating of woman by husband in inebriated condition, abuse by mother-in-law, father-in-law and relatives, suspecting fidelity of the woman, blaming wife for childlessness, blaming her parents, disability harassment, spying on their activities, verbal and nor-verbal abuse are the forms of harassment reported.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Hema Karunakaran said that most of the differences between wife and husband were over supremacy and that too in the age group of 21 – 30 years.

When a woman approaches an All Women Police Station to file a complaint, priority is given for resolving the issue through expert counselling. The last option is registering a case, she added.

When a husband or relative subject her to cruelty, a case would be filed under Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code in which, the guilty, upon conviction would get three years of imprisonment and fine.

In case of harassment, case would be registered under Section 4 of Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women Act 2002 provides a maximum of three year imprisonment or Rs. 10,000 fine or both.

In case of dowry harassment, the District Social Welfare Officer K. Aruna has to conduct an inquiry with the husband and wife and submit a report to the police station, after which the case is registered.


Expert counselling is provided only if the couple wanted it, she added.

However, a police official said that some women misuse the law by preferring complaints over petty issues with the husband or his family.

They seek legal recourse to settle scores or intimidate the husband’s family. Such petitions are often resolved by offering adequate counselling.

This accounts for nearly 40 per cent of the dowry harassment cases registered.







Ex Min held in land grab case


A Subburaj, TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 03.22AM IST

COIMBATORE: Senior DMK leader and former highways minister Vellakovil Saminathan was arrested along with a party colleague on Monday morning in connection with a land grab case filed by an egg exporter. While Saminathan was arrested from his residence at Muthur, his close aid and real estate dealer Kanagaraj was arrested from Tirupur.

The Crime Branch Police arrested Saminathan based on a complaint filed by R Gopinath from Vellakovil in Tirupur district, who operates an egg export business in Namakkal. In his complaint, Gopinath accused Saminathan and a few others of land grab and criminal intimidation.

As per the complaint, in 2007, when the DMK government was in power, Gopinath bought 32 housing plots behind the CODISA complex at Peelamedu in Coimbatore from Sivasamy. An advance of Rs 32 lakh was paid to Sivasamy who transferred the power of attorney to Gopinath. A few months later, Gopinath sold the housing plots to Kanagaraj of Tirupur and executed a sale agreement. Kanagaraj, a DMK party cadre was a real estate agent. Gopinath received Rs 32 lakh as advance from Kanagaraj and transferred the power of attorney to him.

Gopinath soon realized that the power of attorney provided by Sivasamy was forged and the latter had hatched a conspiracy with four others to dupe him. Around this time, Kanagaraj started demanding Rs 85 lakh from Gopinath to nullify the agreement, along with the Rs 32 lakh he had paid as advance. When Gopinath refused to pay, Kanagaraj used his clout in the government and forcibly took over five and a half cents of land owned by Gopinath’s wife, seizing ownership documents from her.

Kanagaraj continued to demand Rs 85 lakh. When Gopinath refused to pay, he approached Saminathan for help. Based on Saminathan’s instructions, two persons took Gopinath forcibly to the DMK party office at Moolanur near Dharapuram on July 10, 2007. Saminathan instructed Gopinath to pay Rs 85 lakh to Kanagaraj. When Gopinath refused to pay the amount, the former minister verbally abused him. Kanagaraj and two others beat him up severely in the presence of the then minister.

A few months after the incident, Kanagaraj wanted to possess 4.5 acres of agricultural land owned by Gopinath’s cousin brother Sundararajan at Avinashi. He threatened to send Gopinath to jail, if any of them put up a resistance. Unable to withstand the pressure, Sundararajan surrendered the land worth Rs 15 crore to Kanagaraj.

Even after the AIADMK government came to power, Kanagaraj and his associates threatened Gopinath frequently. Unable to withstand the trauma, he lodged a complaint with the District Crime branch (DCB) in Tirupur. After conducting a detailed inquiry, the police have registered a case against Kanagaraj, Saminathan and their associates under section 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy), 342 (wrongful confinement), 323 (causing simple hurt), 294(b) (using filthy language), 387 (extortion), 420 (cheating) and 506 (i) (criminal intimidation) of Indian Penal Code.

“We have arrested the former DMK minister and his party member Kanagaraj. Others involved in the crime will be nabbed soon,” said V Balakrishnan, superintendent of police, Tirupur.













Competition Commission closes case against GGCL

PTI, 23 Jan 2012 | 10:32 PM

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“The commission, prima facie, is of the opinion that the conduct of GGCL is not abusive in terms of the provisions of the Act. There is no prima facie case made out for referring it to investigation,” CCI stated in the order on Monday.


Competition Commission of India on Monday ordered closure of case filed by the Gujarat Government against BG group subsidiary, Gujarat Gas Company Ltd (GGCL), accusing it of arbitrarily hiking CNG prices in Surat.

“The commission, prima facie, is of the opinion that the conduct of GGCL is not abusive in terms of the provisions of the Act. There is no prima facie case made out for referring it to investigation,” CCI stated in the order on Monday.

Since Petroleum and Natural Gas Regulatory Board Act is a special legislation for regulating the price mechanism and to ensure fair trade and competition among the entities, the Competition Act cannot be invoked complaining of increase in price, etc, the order said.

The commission on Monday passed the order after conducting hearing in two separate cases: one filed by the Gujarat Government and the other by the Gujarat Textile Processors Association (GTPA).

Both the complaints essentially alleged that GGCL had abused its dominant position by creating artificial scarcity of natural gas and increasing prices by 25 per cent during 2010-11 to reap windfall gains.

GGCL, a city gas distribution (CGD) company in Gujarat, supplies natural gas to domestic consumers, commercial establishments and industry in Surat, Bharuch and Ankleshwar. The company has a gas pipeline network of around 3,200 km.

The Gujarat Government had moved CCI against GGCL in November last year, saying it had received a lot of complaints against the company, regarding its price hike.

In June 2008, GGCL had raised the prices of natural gas from Rs 27.50 per kg to 39.75 per kg, according to the government.

The CCI order observed that operating margins of Indraprastha Gas Limited, a peer company operating in Delhi, were higher than that of GGCL.

Gujarat government was of the view that the case should be probed as the price hike was not driven by market forces and the company had hiked the prices as it was enjoying a monopoly. Gujarat Textile Processors Association had also moved Competition Commission saying GGCL had arbitrarily hiked the gas prices though it was sourcing it cheap.

GGCL currently distributes around 3.5 million metric standard cubic meters per day (mmscmd) of natural gas to nearly 3.30 lakh customers.









HC hauls up civic body for ‘acting like a civil court’


HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 24, 2012

The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was hauled up by the Bombay high court on Monday over the case involving a plot at Worli owned by pharma group Glaxo Smithkline. The court said the BMC had assumed quasi-judicial authority and was acting like a civil court in the matter.

The division bench of justice SA Bobade and justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing a petition filed by Glaxo Smithkline Pharmaceuticals Ltd challenging an October 2009 order passed by the then civic commissioner revoking certain permissions granted to the company, including its transaction with I-Ven Realty for part of the Worli property.

Glaxo Smithkline’s counsel Aspi Chinoy argued that the order was passed without giving the pharma giant the chance for a personal hearing, when the civic commissioner had passed the order after hearing a representative of I-Ven Realty.

“Before the order was passed, notice was issued to us and we had requested a personal hearing. But the civic body only gave the other party a hearing,” the senior advocate submitted.

BMC counsel Anil Sakhare, on the other hand, stated that giving a personal hearing was not a must under the law and therefore the company could not make any grievance about it.

Sakhare also pointed out that the assistant municipal commissioner, estates, who had granted permission for sub-division of the plot, had no authority to do so and only the Improvements Committee has been authorised to handle issues pertaining to land.

The judges, however, reacted sharply to the approach of the civic authorities. “Once you (BMC) have assumed that you have powers to decide without giving a hearing, how can you then discriminate by hearing only one party?” they asked.

The judges were further irked to note the working of the commissioner’s order, which sounded like a decree by a civil court. “This is as if the commissioner has all the powers of a court,” the judges remarked and asked, “How can BMC act like a civil court?”

The bench further said if all sides are not given a hearing before a decision was taken then the order could be bad in law. The matter has been posted for final hearing on February 6.








HC raps state govt for not providing facilities to CBI


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.21AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court came down heavily on the state government on Monday for not providing proper infrastructure to the CBI, which is probing the 2003 Sadiq Jamal Mehtar encounter case. The government has been directed to give the CBI a 2,200 sq m office in Gandhinagar by Monday evening. The court also asked the government to provide all necessary facilities, including accommodation to CBI officials in circuit houses within 10 days.

The investigation had been handed over to the CBI in June 2011. “Six months later, all things are still on paper and nothing has been provided to CBI. You have not done anything else, except for exchange of correspondence in this period,” Justice M R Shah told the government pleader.

When the government pleader tried to argue loudly, blaming CBI for raising trivial issues, the judge commented, “By raising your voice, do not try to make the issue sensational and controversial.” The government objected to providing six air-conditioned rooms to CBI sleuths, but the judge remarked, “Do not compel us to speak out. You provide 600 AC rooms for different purpose. I do not want to speak such things from the dais.”

CBI counsel Yogesh Ravani told the court that the delay in the probe was due to lack of infrastructure. But counsel for Mehtar’s brother, Mukul Sinha, complained that the CBI’s investigations in the case had been slow in Maharashtra as well, where the agency can’t say it does not have infrastructure.

To this, Justice Shah noted that CBI had already examined 107 witnesses, and kept the next hearing on CBI’s demand for a six-month extension in February.







HC asks BWSSB boss: Have you entered a sewer in your lifetime?


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 03.50AM IST

BANGALORE: Expressing its displeasure at the manner in which its orders have been received by BWSSB and KUWSDB, the Karnataka high court on Monday directed the chairpersons of these boards to appear before it on January 31.

“They have taken the court’s orders too lightly. Human beings are dying in gutters. If Delhi has gone mechanical, there is no reason why it can’t happen in Bangalore? Have they (chairpersons of boards) entered a sewer once in their lifetime? Even if they go once in a week we would have forgiven them. They must do so to show empathy. Anyway, let them appear before the court at the next date of hearing,” a division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen observed while adjourning the hearing of a PIL.

The counsel for tthe petitioners, People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka, told the court that since the last order passed on July 20, 2011, eight more persons had died while cleaning drains in addition to the 16 deaths mentioned in the petition.

Directive to BDA on denotified land

A division bench of the Karnataka high court headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Monday directed the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to remove all billboards/signboards on a 1-acre plot in Jarakabandekaval near Nandini Layout, apart from ensuring the land remained with the authority.

The bench then adjourned the hearing of a PIL filed by N L Narendra Babu, Congress MLA representing Mahalakshmi Layout, where the land is located. The next hearing is on March 23.

In the last hearing, the government had said it’s reconsidering the denotification but failed to show any action. The BDA maintained it had possession of the land before denotification. Babu challenged the January 12, 2010 order of the urban development department, denotifying the land based on then chief minister BS Yeddyurappa’s recommendation and ignoring the law department’s advice. The land was acquired by BDA in the 1980s for forming the Nandini Layout.

Yeddyurappa has also been arraigned as a party in the petition.









HC slams govt for not filing reply in T Nagar sealing case


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 07.11AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has slammed the state government for seeking more time to file its reply to the batch of cases concerning the sealing of 25 buildings in T Nagar for violating rules.

“The advocate-general seeks time to file counter-affidavit. It is unfortunate that despite the matter being heard on many dates and going up to the Supreme Court, till date no counter has been filed by the state,” observed the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Jjustice T S Sivagnanam on Monday.

The bench, however, did grant the government time till January 31 to file its response, and adjourned the matter to February 7 for further hearing.

The batch of cases are before the first bench after the apex court stayed its order directing the building code violators to approach the court-appointed monitoring committee to get the seals removed.

The first bench also directed the senior advocate for the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) to submit a chart containing details such as the blueprints of the buildings that violated norms, the extent of unauthorized constructions by them and whether the plans were sanctioned or not.

The judges said: “We expect that the lawyers will not give an impression to the Supreme Court that the court was reluctant to hear the matter.”

More than 20 buildings were sealed by the CMDA and the Chennai Corporation on October 31, 2011. The matter is before the first bench for a third round of hearing.










HC denies bail to Kobad Ghandy


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.13AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday dismissed the bail application of Maoist leader Kobad Ghandy in a criminal case registered against him in Patiala.

Ghandy was booked by the Patiala police in January this year following a tip-off that he visited Punjabi University, Patiala, under a fake identity. In his petition filed before the HC, Ghandy had pleaded innocence alleging false implication in the matter.

The FIR was registered against the 63-year-old Ghandy and one Manoj alias Rajesh at the Sadar police station, Patiala, under sections 10, 13, 18 & 20 of the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and Section 419 and 120B of IPC. Ghandy, a politburo member of the banned CPI (Maoist), was arrested in September 2009 in Delhi, following a joint operation by intelligence agencies and the police. Since then he has been behind bars.

In its petition filed through advocate R S Bains, Ghandy had pleaded innocence stating that he was booked for delivering a lecture in Punjabi University in April/May 2009 for spreading Maoist activities. He pleaded that at that time CPI (Maoist) was not banned. CPI (Maoist) was banned in June 22, 2009, he argued.

He also pleaded that the Lt governor of Delhi had stayed all proceedings against Ghandy pending in various other parts of the country while exercising powers under Section 268 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPc). As such, Ghandy has right to get bail, the petition said.

It was also contended by Ghandy’s counsel that witnesses of the prosecution agency in the case had not signed their statement. Claiming that Ghandy was an intellectual and had written two books, his counsel sought directions for granting bail in the case. After hearing his contentions, however, Justice V S Malik dismissed his bail application.








HC reduces life term of 6 HuJI men to 8 yrs


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 04.56AM IST

NEW DELHI: The life sentences awarded to six Harkat-ul Jihad-al-Islami (HuJI) terrorists, including three Pakistanis, by a trial court for plotting to kidnap cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly in 2002, were reduced to eight years each by the Delhi high court on Monday

While upholding the trial court’s 2010 judgment, a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg, however, modified the order on their sentence and reduced the life term awarded to them to eight years on the ground of parity. HC reduced the sentence, acceding to the pleas of the HuJI militants that three other key accused, who had earlier confessed to their crime, were awarded 8 years’ jail term in 2007 under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities (POTA) Act.

The court’s verdict came on appeals by three Pakistani convicts Tariq Mehmood, Arshad Khan and Ishaq Ahmed and their three Indian accomplices, Ghulam Mohammed Dar, Ghulam Qadir Bhat and Mufti Mohammed Israr, who had been convicted under the provisions of the POTA, the IPC and the Arms Act.

Besides plotting to kidnap the cricketers, the HuJI terrorists had planned to assassinate former President A P J Abdul Kalam when he was a scientist and bomb Bhabha Atomic Research Centre to secure the release of two Pakistani terrorists lodged in Indian jails.

On Monday, during the pronouncement of the verdict, Ghulam Qadir Bhat, one of the convicts, sought acquittal in the case on the grounds that he pleaded not guilty. HC then asked him to file an affidavit stating whether he accepts the reduced sentence or he wants to argue for an outright acquittal in the case.

Except Dar, five others have already spent over nine years in jail and as a consequence, they will be released unless required in other cases, the court said.






HC reprieve for 39 ‘polluting’ buildings


TNN Jan 24, 2012, 05.55AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has granted relief to 39 malls, commercial buildings and residential complexes that were fined by the Delhi Pollution Control Committee (DPCC) for causing air and water pollution.

A division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Nandrajog and Justice Pratibha Rani upheld a single judge’s order and said the DPCC has no power to levy penalties in case it comes across any violations. If the violations are not corrected despite DPCC’s inspection, the latter can file criminal complaints against the violators in court, HC said.

HC was hearing an appeal filed by DPCC after it lost the case before a single judge. The board had slapped notices to most of the leading builders and realtors in the city for erecting commercial and residential complexes in violation of sections of Water (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, and Environment (Protection) Act.

On their part, the builders defended their case, claiming they were not covered under these laws and DPCC illegally levied fine on them. Some of the prominent names against whom the DPCC notices were quashed include DLF Saket, Vasant Kunj Mall, Splendor Forum, TDI Mall at Rajouri Garden and Galleria Shopping Mall at Mayur Vihar.

“The power to issue directions under the Water Act and the power to issue directions under the Air Act doesn’t confer the power to levy any penalty …only courts can take cognizance of offences under the Act and levy penalties, role of pollution control boards is to initiate proceedings before the court of competent jurisdiction and no more,” the division bench added.








HC directs AP Transco to re-employ disabled lineman


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 02.37AM IST

HYDERABAD: Noting that the authorities should interpret the Acts pertaining to persons with disabilities in a humane manner and not in a whimsical way, Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP High Court on Monday directed the APTransco to give posting orders within three weeks to a former employee of the corporation who lost both his legs and right hand while discharging his duties.

The judge was dealing with a petition filed by S Venkataramana who was with AP Transmission Corporation as its junior lineman before the accident rendered him disabled in June, 2008. The corporation paid him Rs 4.92 lakh as compensation. Though it was decided later on humanitarian grounds to provide him the job of an attendant, somehow it did not materialise so far.

“The payment of compensation would not absolve the employer of his duty to provide suitable job under Section 47 of the Persons with Disabilities Act, 1995. In such a situation, it is the employer’s responsibility to see that the workman is shifted to some other post with the same pay and service benefits”, Justice Chandra Kumar said while dealing with the writ petition. The court also directed the corporation to ensure that the petitioner was allowed to perform his duties without anymore physical or mental strain.








2G case: Delhi HC to hear final arguments by Loop, Essar


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will hear final arguments by Loop Telecom and Essar Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case on Tuesday.

Loop and Essar had earlier filed a petition asking if their case was to be heard by a magistrate court or a special CBI court.

A special CBI court had accepted CBI’s chargesheet against Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case and issued summons to all the eight accused named in the chargesheet.







Multicrore Scam: HC Rejects Bail to 5 Officials


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: The High Court on Monday refused to grant anticipatory bail to fiveBBMP officials—B G Prakash Kumar, M Prabhu, C A Shivappa, Keera Naik and Ramesh, accused in the multicrore bogus bill scam.

The accused approached the Court after a lower court rejected anticipatory bail filed by 13 Palike officials on the grounds that the investigation of the scam was still under progress.

The FIR was filed against them by the Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force (BMTF) in connection with the alleged irregularities in three divisions – Gandhinagar, Rajarajeshwari and Malleswaram. The scam was estimated at `1,540 crore. CID sleuths are now investigating the case.

After the investigation was handed over to the CID, Executive Engineer Idiya Vendon was arrested.

The Bangalore Metropolitan Task Force had registered a FIR and it was found that the officials had indulged in forgery of work code and also clearing bills for work which were not completed.








Govt not able to justify scrapping of post: HC


TNN | Jan 24, 2012, 07.21AM IST

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government lost yet another legal battle in the Madras high court on Monday when its order abolishing the 12,618 Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (welfare workers) posts was quashed by a single judge.

Justice K Suguna, ordering the immediate reinstatement of all the workers, said the government order dated November 8, 2011 had been issued due to “political and extraneous considerations.” “Unfortunately, the government had not brought before this court any record to substantiate the reason mentioned in the order and no argument was also advanced by the advocate-general with regard to this,” she said.

Noting that it was a serious humanitarian problem and that 12,618 employees could not be sent home abruptly overnight, Justice Suguna said: “Viewing from any angle, a perusal of the details reveals that the stand of the counsel for the petitioners that the order had been passed for political reasons has to be accepted.” Appointed on contract basis, welfare workers, two in each village panchayat, are supposed to monitor implementation of the government’s welfare schemes. The judge referred to the fact that the posts were first created by the DMK government in 1989, and were abolished by the subsequent AIADMK government in 1991. The posts were created again in 1997 when the DMK returned to power, only to be scrapped by the AIADMK government in 2001. Again the DMK restored the posts and re-appointed the workers in 2006, and the present AIADMK government disbanded them in 2011.

Noting that theses details clearly revealed that the reasons for the disbandment of the posts were political, Justice Suguna said: “A political party assuming power is entitled to engraft the political philosophy behind the party. But, in the matter of execution of a decision taken by the previous government which does not involve any political philosophy, the successive government is duty-bound to continue the same rather than put an end to that.”

When it is brought to the notice of the court that for extraneous considerations and political reasons, orders are repeatedly passed so as to affect more than 12,000 employees, the court certainly has to look into the matter and see whether the abolition of posts is justified, Justice Suguna observed.

Once a budget sanction is made for a particular post, then it will get its sanctity on a par with other regular posts, she said, reiterating her conclusion that the government had not been able to justify the abolition of posts with right reasons.

The judge also pointed out that the workers had been involved in polio prevention camps, AIDS awareness camps, cattle census, assisting disabled persons and monitoring implementation of various schemes.







Sting op: HC reserves order on plea by Godhra convict


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Jan 24 2012, 04:01 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Monday reserved its order on a petition by a convict in the 2002 Godhra train carnage case demanding to bring on record evidence related to a sting operation in which a key prosecution witness is purportedly seen stating he was bribed by the then investigation officer Noel Parmar to give a tutored statement.

J R Mothaliya, the investigation officer who is part of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT), had deposed before the trial court saying the CD related to the sting operation was “inaudible”. The SIT, however, had produced the same CD before other courts trying cases related to Gulberg Society and Naroda Patiya massacres.

The petition before the HC was moved by Salim Zarda, one of the 11 convicts sentenced to death by a special trial court last year in the 2002 Godhra carnage case.

A bench comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyay reserved its order after Zarda’s lawyer Nitya Ramakrishnan and state government’s counsel Sushil Kumar concluded their arguments on Monday. Both Ramakrishnan and Kumar are advocates from the Supreme Court.

Ramakrishnan argued that the SIT has adopted a “pick and choose theory”, relying on the CD when it is against the accused and not doing so when it may exonerate the accused.

Sushil Kumar argued against the practice of sting operation being carried out by media houses, saying it cannot be allowed by the court.

However, Kumar was strongly opposed by Ramakrishnan, who argued that if relevant evidence, even if recorded illegally, is admissible as evidence.

Trial Court to visit Naroda Patiya site

The special trial court for the 2002 Naroda Patiya case is expected to visit the massacre site on January 30. The court of Jyotsana Yagnik on Monday ordered SIT officials and the prosecution to remain present there during their visit, special assistant public prosecutor in the case, Gaurang Vyas, said, adding the court kept it open for the defence advocates to remain present. Ninety-eight people were killed in the massacre on February 28, 2002 and 61 are undergoing trial in the case, including former minister, Dr Maya Kodnani.









JNU MMS case: HC dismisses plea of JNU student expelled for making porn clip


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Jan 24 2012, 01:40 hrs

The Delhi High Court dismissed the petition of one of the students expelled by the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), for reportedly being involved in the act of creating pornographic MMS clips and distributing it on campus last year.

Justice Hima Kohli dismissed the petition of MCA student Balbir Chand, who had been indicted by the JNU authorities for helping a co-accused in making a CD of a pornographic film and abetting the crime.

Chand, who was then a second year MCA student and a resident of Tapti Hostel, had moved the court last year seeking permission from the court to sit for his semester exams. His petition had also sought quashing of a letter dated April 8, 2011, issued by the University, declining him permission to appear in the semester examination and also attend classes.

During the hearing, counsel for the JNU, however, emphasised on the legal infirmity in Chand’s petition. The counsel contended the writ petition was not maintainable since Chand had not challenged the order passed by the JNU Chief Protector, communicating to him the decision of the Vice-Chancellor to expel him from the University and removing his name from the rolls.

“Further, Chand was directed not to enter the JNU campus. The petitioner failed to challenge this order by the university. Hence, the petition is not maintainable in this form,” said the counsel.

Finding favour with JNU’s argument, Justice Kohli noted that the present writ petition was filed in April, by which date JNU’s Office Order dated February 12, 2011, had already been passed. “But for reasons best known to the petitioner, the same has not been challenged till date,” the court observed.

Admitting the lapses, Chand’s counsel then sought to withdraw petition in view of the legal glitch and said he would first challenge the expulsion order.

“At this stage, counsel for petitioner seeks leave to withdraw the present writ petition while seeking leave to challenge the aforesaid Office Order dated February 12, 2011, in appropriate proceedings. The petition is dismissed as withdrawn, along with the pending application,” ordered Justice Kohli.

The varsity was rocked by the scandal in February last year after its security officers informed the authorities about a video recording purportedly showing two students in a compromising position in a hostel room.

An inquiry by the JNU subsequently indicted Chand and Janardan Kumar, the students in the MMS clip. The report mentioned that the accused boys were blackmailing the girl after filming the obscene act and the CD was made on the campus itself.

After receiving a report from the JNU, the police registered an FIR against the two under section 292 (sale of obscene material) and sections 66E and 67 of the Information Technology (IT) Act.







Help CBI probe Sadiq Jamal case, High Court tells Gujarat government


Manas Dasgupta

State government promises to do the needful in 10 days

The Gujarat High Court on Monday took the State government to task for its failure to provide necessary infrastructural facilities to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for probing the Sadiq Jamal alleged fake encounter case.

The High Court issued the State government notice for immediate steps to provide the necessary facilities to the CBI probe team following which the Narendra Modi regime filed an affidavit promising to do the needful in 10 days.

CBI seeks 6 more months

The High Court reprimanded the State government on an application filed by the CBI requesting for six more months to complete the investigation claiming that absence of infrastructural facilities due to the non-cooperation by the State government was causing the delay in the probe.

The CBI in its application had stated that it was conducting investigation from the circuit house here and the government rest house as there was no infrastructure facility provided to them by the State government, which had allotted only three vehicles and two rooms in the Ahmedabad circuit house which is causing difficulty in investigation.

Gujarat assurance

On being told by the CBI that in the last six months since the High Court handed over the alleged fake encounter case to it, the government had only wasted time in formalities and promises to provide necessary facilities, the High Court issued the notice to the State government following which the government pleader Prakash Jani assured the court that the CBI would be provided a separate office in the Yojana Bhavan campus in Gandhinagar to conduct its probe in the fake encounter case. The arrangements would be finalised in 10 days, he said.

The Bhavnagar-based youth, Sadiq Jamal Mehtar, allegedly involved in some petty crimes, was killed in an ‘encounter’ in Narmda area on the outskirts of Ahmedabad in January 2003, after which the State Police had described him as a Lashkar-e-Taiba operative out to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi and others. The doubts about the genuineness of the encounter was raised following a statement in Mumbai MCOCA court by a local journalist Ketan Tirodkar that he was an eye-witness to an incident in the Borivili national park when Sadiq was “handed over” to the Gujarat police by the Maharashtra “encounter specialist” Daya Nayak, a few days before the incident.

Godhra review plea

Meanwhile, the High Court completed its hearing and reserved its order on the review petition of the Godhra train carnage accused Salim Jarda to summon a journalist, Ashish Khaitan, who had conducted a sting operation on behalf of Tehelka magazine on the train carnage, as a witness.

Salim was one of the 11 accused awarded death sentence by the special fast-track court as he was found by the court to be part of the “pre-planned conspiracy” and had arranged for petrol to set the coach of the ill-fated S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express afire at the Godhra station. In the sting operation, the owner of the petrol pump was shown telling the journalist that he had given “false evidence” against Salim. The trial court had rejected his demand for summoning the journalist and awarded him the death sentence following which he filed the review petition in the High Court.







Supreme Court rejects Hasan Ali Khan’s bail review petition

Staff Reporter

The Supreme Court has rejected the plea of Hasan Ali Khan, Pune-based businessman accused of massive money laundering, to review its decision of rejecting his bail application. “Hasan Ali Khan had filed a review petition in the Supreme Court last year, seeking review of the Supreme Court’s order rejecting his bail plea. The court rejected it,” an official from the Enforcement Directorate (ED) told The Hindu on Monday.

“We have gone through the Review Petition and connected papers. We do not find any merit in the same. Accordingly the Review Petition is dismissed,” the Supreme Court’s order stated. It was passed last week.

Hasan Ali had applied for bail in the special Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) court in July last year. The special judge had then rejected his application. He then moved the Bombay High Court challenging the lower court’s order.

In August 2011, the High Court granted him bail. But the ED filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court seeking a stay order on the Bombay High Court’s decision. “The order was stayed on 16th August, 2011 by Justice Altamas Kabir and S. Nijjar. Subsequently, the Bail granted by the High Court was cancelled by the Supreme Court by its order on September 30, 2011,” the officer said.








Supreme Court upholds verdict matching NREGA pay with state wages


ET Bureau Jan 24, 2012, 06.45AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has refused to stay a recent Karnataka High Court verdict that has said the central government is liable to pay higher wages under the country’s flagship rural employment programme in tandem with that of the state minimum wage rate. It has further asked the government to find a way to end the disparity between the wages paid under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Act (MGNREGA) and state mandated rates under the Minimum Wages Act.

The move might mean an additional outgo of around Rs 900 crore in the current financial year from the central government to six states which have a minimum wage rate that is higher than the MGNREGA rate. The Karnataka High Court had in September directed the central government to match the wages under MGNREGA with the state’s minimum wage rates.

The central government had however decided to file a Special Leave Petition to the SC contesting the order. The SC, however, stayedthe order on the payment of arrears prior to the Karnataka high court order providing the central government some relief. The Court stated that non-payment of minimum wages under the scheme is tantamount to forced labour.

It had further strongly urged the Solicitor General to harmonise the MGNREGA wage rates with minimum wages in a manner in which the state Minimum Wages Act is respected. The court also said that the matter should not be treated in an adversarial manner and asked the government to resolve the issue in a consultative manner.

Earlier rural development minister Jairam Ramesh had favoured softening the central government’s stance by complying with the KHC order while suggesting an amendment to create a special wage rate for MGNREGA under the Minimum Wages Act to tackle the issue on a long term basis.

Ramesh, however met opposition from the Finance Ministry and the Law Ministry and on the insistence of PM Manmohan Singh had to file the SLP. The six states with disparate wage rates are Andhra Pradesh , Rajasthan, Kerala, Karnataka , Mizoram and Goa.



LEGAL NEWS 23.01.2012

Plan panel to allocate Rs 5000 crore to develop civilian plane

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s ambitious plans to develop a 90-seater passenger aircraft are set to get a boost with the Planning Commission expected to allocate Rs 5,000 crore for the project in the 12th Five Year Plan.

“The Planning Commission is expected to sanction Rs 5,000 crore for the design and development phase of the project in the 12th Plan,” officials said.

The civilian aircraft project was proposed by a 15-member High Powered Committee (HPC) for National Civil Aircraft Development (NCAD), set up by the CSIR in May 2010 under the aegis of former ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

The HPC had recommended that the government should fund the development phase of the aircraft and suggested a joint venture with a private partner for the production phase.

However, the Planning Commission suggested creation of a joint venture (JV) with private equity participation for both the development phase as well as for the production phase.

Acting on the plan panel’s suggestion, the CSIR had set up a committee chaired by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar to the identify industry partner for the joint venture and suggest equity structure for it.

The joint venture will have to be structured in such a way that it ensures that linkages are maintained between both the phases, the officials said.

The Kelkar Committee is expected to float Expression of Interest inviting private participation in the design and development phase of a 90-seater Regional Transport Aircraft.

The officials said a consortium of aerospace industry companies, on the line of the Europe’s Airbus Industries, would be a desirable option.

“A total of seven prototypes are proposed to be developed by CSIR-NAL to prove the design and demonstrate compliance with respect to airworthiness requirements and certification,” said a 12th Plan working group report for CSIR.

The aircraft will be tailored to suit Indian requirements and is expected to have attractive operating economics.

As per aviation market projections, the country will require about 500-600 regional aircraft, while the global market is estimated to be about 5,000-6,000 aircraft.

A technical committee, chaired by aerospace engineer Roddam Narasimha, is examining the the NCAD programme and guiding CSIR-NAL to create a detailed document for its implementation and identifying the work modules.





IOA issues suspension order against Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot: Sources

New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has suspended and served a show cause notice to former Commonwealth Games (CWG) OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

CNN-IBN accessed a copy of an interim suspension order passed by the Ethics Commission against Suresh Kalmadi, Former Secretary-General of CWG OC Lalit Bhanot and and former Director-General VK Verma.

The order is dated December 6, 2011 but is being served against them now as all three were in jail. The order has been issued by the Ethics Commission of the Indian Olympic Association and has been signed by Former Supreme Court judge Justice UC Banerjee.

The suspension order is a part of a show cause notice which has been served against all three. Sources told CNN-IBN that Kalmadi, Bhanot and Verma will challenge the members of the Ethics Commission.

Kalmadi, who was granted bail by the Delhi High Court on January 19, has decided to step aside as the IOA president though he has not officially resigned from the post yet.

Kalmadi had sent a letter to acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra earlier this month asking him to continue discharging his duty as the acting president of the IOA and that he would not represent the body for some time.

The former CWG OC chief had nominated the senior IOA vice president Malhotra as the acting president before being arrested for alleged corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.





Unable to redetermine tariff: OERC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) on Saturday expressed its inability to redetermine power tariff for 2010-11 and 2011-12 in view of the stay on the revised tariff for the current fiscal and pendency of tariff- related cases in legal fora.

‘’Redetermination of tariff for the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12, as per Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) order, is not feasible at this stage in view of the stay on revised tariff for 2011-12 on domestic consumers by the Orissa High Court as well as pendency of the bulk supply tariff (BST), transmission charges and retail supply tariff (RST) orders for 2010-11 and 2011-12, challenged in the appellate tribunal by the licensee,’’ said the three-member commission headed by chairman SP Nanda.

The regulatory commission, however, determined the voltage-wise cost of supply and calculated cross-subsidy in tariff on the basis of cost of supply to different categories of consumers for both the financial years.

The cross subsidy in tariff for 2011-12 has been reduced in comparison to 2010-11 and the tariff of each voltage-wise consumer has been calculated on the basis of the average cost of supply keeping the cross subsidy in declining trend from year to year, the OERC order said.

‘’This order is subject to the result of appeal filed by Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) before the Supreme Court and the outcome of the writ petition pending in the Orissa High Court as well as the appeal filed in ATE by Gridco, discoms (distribution companies) and others against the BST, transmission charges and RST orders for 2010-11 and 2011-12,’’ the regulatory commission said.

The implementation of the ATE order would entail re-fixation of retail tariff for different categories of consumers. The re-fixation of tariff would change the annual revenue requirement (ARR) of discoms which would in turn result in re-fixation of BST of Gridco and transmission charge of OPTCL and charge of the State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC), the commission said.

In two separate orders on May 30 and September 2 last year, the ATE had directed OERC to redetermine the cross subsidy for different consumers after determining the cost of supply voltage wise.

While the BST, transmission tariff and RST orders for 2010-11 and 2011-12, have been challenged in the ATE, the Cesu has also challenged the May 30 and September 2 orders of the ATE in the Supreme Court.





Alternative methods for dispute resolution


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: There is an urgent need to strengthen the judicial system and to effectively employ all alternative methods of dispute resolution like arbitration, mediation, conciliation, lok adalat, gram nyayalaya and village panchayat, Supreme Court judge Dalveer Bhandari said here on Saturday.

Inaugurating an international conference on ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution – Conciliation and Mediation’, organised by the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) here on Saturday, Justice Bhandari said that the problem of pendency of cases was not soluble in the law courts alone. The problem was so monumental that for effectively dealing with the same, multiple steps had to be taken. As on March 31, 2011, as many as 2.74 crore cases were pending before the subordinate courts in the country. Over 42.92 lakh cases were pending before the High Courts and 58,000, before the Supreme Court. Realistic evaluation of prevalent condition revealed that the court cases were likely to further increase because of the increasing social awareness, inadequate number of judges and judicial officers, inadequate infrastructural facilities and increased legislative activity.

Bhandari said that litigation was not usually designed to create hormony. Ordinarily, litigation breeded bitterness in the mutual relationships of the parties, whereas mediation and conciliation improved the relationship and goodwill between them, since they themselves reached at a workable solution.

P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, said that India had not fully exploited the potential dispute resolution mechanisms like conciliation, mediation and arbitration. If the three mechanisms were made more efficient, the demand for adjudication in regular courts would definitely decrease. To reap the fruits of ADR mechanism, qualified mediators and conciliators were needed. Necessary awareness must be created, infrastructural facilities improved and more references made to the ADR process by the regular courts.

Madras High Court Chief Justice MY Eqbal said that in the present scenario of globalisation, the biggest challenge the justice delivery system was facing was the huge backlog of cases and delay in disposal and, as such, survival of the system depended upon timely, cheaper and fair justice to all and, for this, one had to accept and adopt ADR mechanism to resolve the disputes.

Karnataka Governor and ICADR chairman HR Bhardwaj said that the ADR method should be taken at the international level.






Illegal mining caught on camera: A hill on Aravalli destroyed

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 22, 2012 07:34

Alwar:  Despite the Supreme Court’s direct intervention to stop illegal mining in Rajasthan’s Aravalli range, it continues unabated, a fact that was caught on NDTV cameras, just ahead of a hearing in the apex court on Monday.

As NDTV shot images of men illegally quarrying quartz stone in Kakh-naul in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, machines had already cut down half a hill.

The Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had come for an inspection along with the District Magistrate and police chief but were prevented from getting far. In its report to the court, the committee writes, “The road near the crushers located in village Udhanwas was found deliberately blocked with huge boulders and stones. This is, however, for the first time that the CEC was prevented from carrying out the site visit, something most unfortunate.”

The committee also says Rajasthan officials showed them random places across the border in Haryana, so that the team wasn’t able to complete its planned visit.

So far the court-appointed panel has only managed to inspect three mining blocks in one district of Rajasthan, and in each case it found that rules were being flouted.

Labour activist Swami Agnivesh has petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter. “If the Central Empowered Committee had acted with the mandate given by the Supreme Court then things could have been prevented,” he said.

Illegal mining is hugely profitable as a truckload of quartz stone used in construction and road building can fetch upto Rs. 6000.

The CEC report was submitted to the court in October 2010, but even since then the Rajasthan government has yet to provide details about the 14 districts in the Aravalli range in which illegal mining is taking place.







Farmland acquired, turned into housing plots for govt staff


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.55AM IST

CHENNAI: Rob Peter to pay Paul, so goes the idiom. Perhaps inspired by the phrase, the state revenue department had taken over 8.63 acres of farmland near Sriperumpudur as ‘surplus’ land from a farmer and then ‘reserved’ it for housing plots to be distributed among its employees.

Coming down heavily on the department, more than 25 years after the land was acquired, a division bench of the Madras high court comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice N Kirubakaran said it was improper on the part of the government to acquire land and then give it to staff at their request. “The government’s action to take a decision at the request of the staff, in our considered opinion, is not proper,” they said.

The acquisition notification was issued in 1986 under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act to take over 8.63 acres of land in Sriperumpudur. The land was then “reserved” for distribution as housing plots to staff of the revenue department’s division that deals with the land reforms. T M Sulochana Ammal, owner of the land, first approached the land commissioner, then the assistant commissioner (land reforms) and later the special appellate tribunal of the revenue department against the notification. After rejection of her requests, she approached the high court where a single judge dismissed her writ petition and upheld the decision to acquire the land.

In her appeal, Sulochana Ammal pointed out that the land commissioner had no jurisdiction to allot the land to the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Staff Co-op House Site Distribution Society Limited, which comprised members of his own department.

The government, however, said the department’s April 1990 order had become final and there was no scope for interference with the appellate tribunal’s order of July 1992. Assigning the acquired land is the prerogative of authorities, as per the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules 1965, it was argued.

Rejecting the submissions, Justice Elipe Dharma Rao said “Distribution of an acquired land should be done to reduce disparity in ownership of farmland and such land should be given to landless so as to serve the common good and increase agricultural production.”

Allotting the land for construction of houses is contrary to provisions of the act, Justice Elipe Dharma Rao said, adding, “This colourable exercise on the part of the government is in utter disregard to the principles underlying the enactment.” Quashing the government’s plan to distribute it to the society members, the judges asked it to consider the landlady’s plea to restore the land to her.

The judge said: “Distribution of an acquired land should be done to reduce disparity in the ownership of land and such land should be given to landless so as to serve the common good and increase agricultural production.”

The action of the government to take a decision at the request of the staff, in our considered opinion, is not proper









Order on jobs for minors challenged


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 04.20AM IST

MADURAI: The Labour and Employment department’s recent order barring a minor from applying for compassionate appointment has been challenged in the high court.

The impugned order says persons who have completed 18 years alone can apply for compassionate appointment. In such a case, a lot of children whose parents die while on duty will not be able to get jobs on compassionate grounds. The Tamil Nadu Government Office Assistants and Basic Servants Association, represented by its deputy general secretary,

R Sathiamoorthy, has filed the writ petition challenging the impugned order. According to the petitioner, the department has issued an order stating that a minor cannot apply for compassionate appointment at all and persons who have completed 18 years alone can do so. The order was passed by way of a clarification of the department and such a clarification goes against the very purpose of the previous government order. The principal secretary of the Labour & Employment department has no powers to amend the order in the name of the name of clarification and any such clarification is liable to be set aside as unconstitutional, the petitioner claimed. The petitioner said that before issuing such a clarification, there was system wherein even a person within the age of 18 could apply for compassionate appointment and his or her application would be considered after attainment of the age of majority. The petitioner said there was a government order which said that the minor could apply for compassionate appointment before the expiry of three years from the date of attainment of 18 years. Now in the name of a clarification, such a right available to minors is conveniently lifted. The object of compassionate appointment is to provide employment to the family and save it from a sudden crisis. Such a noble objective is defeated by the clarification. The petition is likely to come up for hearing next week.








Verdict on dismissal of workers tomorrow


The Madras High Court will pronounce orders on January 23 on two writ petitions challenging the Tamil Nadu Government’s order disbanding the posts of Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (MNP) and ousting them.

The petitions have been filed by the Tamil Nadu Makkal Nala Paniyalargal Munnetra Sangam (TNMNPMS) and the Dindigul Mavatta Makkal Nala Paniyalargal Sangam.

After hearing arguments, Justice K. Suguna reserved orders on December 16 last year. The court had earlier stayed the operation of the Tamil Nadu G.O. of November 8 last year disbanding the posts. In the petition, the TNMNPMS stated that the MNPs were working under the control of the District Collectors.

There was every need for their services for proper and better implementation of the scheme, more particularly the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.





2G scam: Order reserved till Feb 4 on Swamy plea for Chidambaram’s trial


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 02.56AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Special CBI Court on Saturday wrapped up its hearing on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking prosecution of Union home minister P Chidambaram in the 2G scam.

“Put up for orders on February 4,” Special CBI judge O P Saini said after Swamy concluded his arguments in support of his allegations against Chidambaram.

Swamy said the evidence he had brought on court’s record prima facie show that Chidambaram is equally culpable as former telecom minister A Raja, who is facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation scam. “A Raja and P Chidambaram had committed the offence together. Prima facie Chidambaram had conspired and colluded with Raja to commit offence of criminal misconduct,” he said.

He told the court that the evidence that he had bought before it was sufficient to show that Chidambaram, as the then finance minister, has prima facie committed offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal laws.

“It is clear that at this stage all I need to do is to show that evidence brought on record is sufficient to show that Chidambaram, at present not an accused in the case, has prima facie committed offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal laws,” Swamy contended.

Referring to the court’s October 22 order on framing of charges in the case, Swamy said that offloading of shares by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to foreign firms Etisalat and Telenor respectively was only a “trick”.

“I can lean on the pillars that the court has provided by its order on framing of charges. The share dilution was only a trick because it permitted licences to be transferred,” Swamy argued. He also contended that Chidambaram, along with Raja, was empowered by the October 2003 Cabinet decision to discuss and finalize spectrum prices.

“Since he (Chidambaram) had colluded, conspired and consented with Raja, he did not call for a Cabinet meeting although the officers (of ministry of finance) had kept Chidambaram apprised of the whole thing,” Swamy argued.

On January 7, Swamy had completed recording of his statement and had deposed that Chidambaram was also “guilty of breach of trust of national security” as he had not disclosed that Etisalat and Telenor, to which Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless had diluted their shares, were blacklisted.






Terror accused’s family explores bail options


Shalini Narayan : Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:03 hrs


Days after Mohammed Naquee, a leather factory owner, was arrested by the Mumbai ATS for alleged links with terror suspect Yasin Bhatkal and the 13/7 serial blasts in Mumbai, his family members are looking at legal options to help him secure bail. Currently in custody, Naquee will be produced in a Mumbai court on Monday.

A resident of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, Naquee was picked up by the Mumbai ATS for arranging a one-room tenement for Bhatkal and his two aides, Waqas and Tabrez, in Byculla East through a broker who too is being questioned.

While the Mumbai ATS claims that he willingly helped Bhatkal and was, therefore, linked to the blasts, the Special Team of the Delhi Police claims that Naquee was an informer who they had taken to Mumbai to identify Bhatkal’s flat. The team has been camping in Mumbai since December 11.

Following his arrest, his family members say they too are on the ATS radar.

Hailing from Darbhanga in Bihar, Naquee studied there till Class XII. He applied for a BCom course in Hyderabad which he decided to pursue via correspondence from Delhi.

Police sources claimed that Naquee was introduced to Bhatkal in Darbhanga where the latter was known as Dr Shoaib. A school friend, Ghayur Jamali, introduced Bhatkal and asked Naquee to arrange a flat for him in Mumbai, the sources said.

Naquee’s brother Tauquee, studying for an MBA, said the arrest of his brother was “uncalled for” since Naquee had no clue that the man he was helping find a flat in Mumbai was wanted by the police.

Tauqee said that on December 9, Razi Ahmed, their cousin from Mumbai, arrived in Delhi from Kolkata to visit them at Abul Fazal Enclave.

“He had just boarded an autorickshaw when two men, later identified as policemen, got in and sat on either side. When Razi reached the Shaheen Bagh bus stop where he was to meet me, the two men asked me to call my brother Naquee,” Tauqee said.

Naquee was called and the policemen asked him about Jamali. Naquee said he knew him since his days in Darbhanga.

“The policemen asked him if he had helped arrange a flat in Mumbai for two men. My brother was asked to assist them in their investigations,” Tauquee said, adding that Naquee was taken to the Lodhi Colony office of the Special Cell where he met Jamali.

Naquee was then taken to Mumbai where he was made to identify the flat which he had helped the two men rent. They returned to Delhi on December 13.

On January 8, Naquee took a train to Mumbai after he received a call that the two men had returned to the flat and that he was required to identify them.

On January 9, he called his brother to say that his work was almost over and he would be returning home the next day. But the same night, he was picked up by the ATS.

According to Tauqee, the ATS reached Deora Bandhauli in Darbhanga on January 17 where they seized a “stolen” motorcycle.


PIL seeks shrouding of statues of Cong leaders, freezing of party flag


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 01.18AM IST

ALLAHABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Allahabad High Court on Saturday seeking direction to the chief election commissioner (CEC) for freezing the flag of the Indian National Congress, restraining its use in campaigning by the party and shrouding statues of Congress leaders as well as those from other political parties.

The PIL has been filed by Adivasi Samajotthan Evam Kalyan Samiti, Allahabad, through its president Ram Kumar Maurya. The CEC, Union of India through home secretary, chief secretary of the UP government, Indian National Congress through its president/general secretary, BJP through its president/general secretary and SP, BSP, NCP and RLD through their presidents have been made parties in the PIL. The PIL would come up for hearing on Wednesday. The petitioner, claiming to be a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, has also prayed that the CEC be ordered to issue a circular — in continuation to its circular dated January 8 — directing the UP chief secretary to cover the statues of Congress presidents Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and leaders of various other political parties that have been installed at public places at the cost of state exchequer.

The EC’s January 8 circular had directed for shrouding of statues of BSP chief Mayawati and party symbol elephant in view of state assembly elections. The PIL has also sought that any order of the Election Commission (EC) that creates a distinction between the statues of living and non-living political personalities be quashed.

The society further urged for a direction to the opposite parties so that no political party is allowed to use its symbol at any public place during the elections. Also, EC should restrain the Indian National Congress from using the national tricolor for campaigning, the PIL pleaded. “As flag of the Indian National Congress has been closely associated with the freedom movement and bears a very close resemblance to the national flag, the party has been continuously deriving undue advantage of the glory and legacy of the national freedom movement which is very strongly etched in the minds of people of the country,” PIL said. tnn

The petitioner, in view of the aforementioned facts, demanded that it would be appropriate for the EC to issue suitable directions for freezing the said flag and restrain the party from using it in campaigning.

The PIL further alleged that the Congress could derive publicity through statues of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, who were also the party presidents, built at the cost of state exchequer all over the country.

“This gives undue advantage to the Congress in UP as well as in other states going to polls. Therefore, all such statues need to be covered with fabric/plastic sheets, etc., so that other political parties are not deprived of a level-playing field,” the PIL pleaded.

The PIL also sought curbs on distribution of bicycles, hand pumps, etc., by political parties at state expense.





Court moved on Modi’s ‘expensive’ security ring


Mahesh Trivedi

22 January 2012

AHMEDABAD — Narendra Modi’s Z-plus security is the subject of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Gujarat High Court here.

Jigensh Goswami, a 35-year-old executive of a private firm has through his PIL sought details of the security provided to the Gujarat Chief Minister and asked if the expenses incurred on it are audited.

The court has admitted the PIL aimed at easing the problems faced by the common man, and fixed the next hearing for February 2 after asking the petitioner to submit the details of the two patients (mentioned in the PIL) who died due to blocking of the traffic to ensure smooth passage to Modi’s convoy some time ago.

According to the PIL, Modi moves around with 32 black commandos in a convoy that has at least nine high-end four-wheelers, a medical van, a well-equipped fire-fighter, besides other car-borne officials.

The roads on the CM’s route are off-bound for traffic for up to an hour, putting the common man to extreme hardship, 
it said.

“People many times get late for office, urgent meetings and home,” Goswami told journalists, adding that even 108 emergency ambulance vehicles with two critically ill patients were not allowed to move as the CM’s convoy was to pass that way. The patients died as a result, he alleged.

Goswami told Khaleej Times that about Rs700,000 was spent every month on the CM’s security. This, he said, was the tax payers’ money.

“We want to know if there is a government resolution or a norm prescribed for providing security to the CM and are the expenses audited. We have prayed that the status report be presented in court,” said Goswami who has made the chief secretary, the finance department secretary and Modi respondents. to the PIL. 





Rushdie took own call, can’t stop him under law: Govt


Express news service : Jaipur, Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:01 hrs
The government today asserted that it played no role in the decision taken by Salman Rushdie to cancel his visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival, saying there was no restriction on his coming for the event that began today.

Rushdie’s decision followed protests by some groups over his visit. Incidentally, the Booker Prize-winning author had earlier attended the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2007, without much fuss.

“Calling off the visit is Rushdie’s personal decision and the government has nothing to do with it… Who has stopped him?… He does not need a visa to come to India,” party general secretary Digvijaya Singh told reporters in Lucknow, adding that “there is no law” to stop the author from visiting the country.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said: “The party and Congress-led UPA government stand steadfast in their absolute commitment to freedom of expression… certain agencies giving certain inputs does not mean that the government of India has been working from behind to stop his visit (there were reports of officials warning of a “security threat”). The government has not changed its stand and decision that there is absolutely no restriction on his visit.”

He added that that it was up to an individual whether to visit a place or not and his choice should be respected.

At the same time, Singhvi disapproved of some Indian writers reading out from Rushdie’s banned book ‘The Satanic Verses’ at the event, saying law will take its course if some people resort to such acts either to “shoot themselves in the limelight” or to “create a provocative atmosphere”.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed satisfaction that the confusion prevailing over Rushdie’s visit had ended. “There was resentment among the people of minority community and we talked with them. We also spoke to the organisers and I am happy that the organisers made efforts to resolve the matter,” he said.

Deoband Vice-Chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani welcomed Rushdie’s decision, adding that the author should never be allowed to set foot on Indian soil. “It is a victory of democracy because some Muslim organisations, including Darul Uloom Deoband, had opposed the visit to India in a democratic way,” he added.

Other Muslim groups like Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said the Rajasthan government “should have been more sensitive to the demands of the people and refused to allow Rushdie to participate in the event”. “We welcome the decision, but are disappointed by the attitude of the Rajasthan government,” said Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s Maulana Arshad Madani.

With the author not

coming, their protest no longer stands, the Muslim groups said.






State law commission lying in coma, govt ready to pull the plug


KapilDave : Gandhinagar, Sun Jan 22 2012, 06:31 hrs


The Gujarat government is likely to close down the nearly defunct State Law Commission, which it says has not contributed anything significant for years. One short extension was given to the commission till June 30, 2012, a few days ago.

The commission, which was formed in December 1998 to review existing laws and suggest new ones for better governance, has failed to give any report to the state government since June 2005, when it gave its last report to amend the Bombay Police Act, which is still pending with the state home department.

Since 1998, the commission has given 58 reports to the state government for repealing and amending old acts and enacting new ones.

In August 2011, the tenure of Justice (retired) J N Bhatt, the last chairperson of the commission, ended after which he was appointed as the chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The post has been lying vacant since. In his three-year term, Justice (retired) Bhatt did not file a single report.

The State Law Commission is a three-member body. However, the post of two members (one government nominee and the other an independent citizen) have been lying vacant for several years.

The commission has around 20 full-time employees, from the level of deputy secretary to the office boy.

The state’s legislative and parliamentary affairs department gave one more extension to the commission after its term ended on last December 31.

Sources in the department said, “Though the department has given one more extension to the commission, the state government is in no mood to continue with it since there is no substantial work for the commission. The government intends to close down the commission soon.”

State’s Law, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dilip Sanghani said, “At present, we are not considering the names of any new chairperson or other members for the commission. The government will decide in due course on the issue.”

He avoided any specific reply on the future of the commission.





Rushdie issue continues to haunt Jaipur litfest

Muslim organisations planning to sue organisers

The controversy over the cancellation of author Salman Rushdie’s participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival refuses to go away, with his name popping up in many sessions on Saturday, second day of the event, as well.

On the other hand, Muslim organisations are planning to sue the organisers and authorities for the reading of excerpts from Mr. Rushdie’s controversial novel The Satanic Verses by some authors on the opening day. The All India Milli Council, Rajasthan, blamed the police and the administration for lapses which led to the speakers reading out excerpts from the banned book. “We are upset at the developments. They were angrily reacting to the cancellation of Mr. Rushdie’s visit to the Festival. We are looking for the course of action we could pursue legally,” said secretary Abdul Lateef Arco.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Arco said reading out from the banned book “appears to us as a pre-planned programme. We blame the organisers, the police and the government for this serious lapse.” The Milli Council would approach court on Monday or Tuesday after considering all legal aspects. “We also propose to make parties in the petition the authors who had read from the book and those who commented on Mr. Rushdie, and Mr. Rushdie himself for his comments thereafter,” Mr. Arco said.

The Muslim Ekta Manch in Ajmer has also threatened to approach court. Its spokesman Musaffar Bharti said author Hari Kunzru reading out from the banned book amounted to inciting religious passions. However, every Muslim did not seemingly share this aggressive viewpoint. “This is stretching the matter too far. Since Muslims have registered their resentment over inviting Mr. Rushdie to the festival and he is keeping away, they should stop at that. Stretching the matter any further would be unproductive for the community,” Hasan, a Muslim academic, said at the festival venue.

Both the festival organisers and the Rajasthan government appear to be playing safe, talking very little to the media. This when author after author, participating in the sessions, blamed the police and the government on the Rushdie issue. Government sources said they had no specific role in the developments.

In the morning session on “Gandhi, Ambedkar, and the crossroads at Jantar Mantar,” the panellists, who included Sunil Khilnani, Aruna Roy and M.J. Akbar, regretted the “denial of passage” to Mr. Rushdie. Dalit activist S. Anand even charged the organisers with taking a “pusillanimous” stand over the issue.

The developments made the organisers send a fresh advisory to the panellists and speakers. It reiterated the stand of the organisers on freedom of expression but asked for caution on the part of the participants.

“The Jaipur Literature Festival continues to uphold the right to free speech and expression and the right to dissent within the constitutional framework. We hope all authors express their personal views in an appropriate and responsible manner. Please refrain from actions or readings that might cause incitement to public violence and endanger the festival and the spirit of harmony in which it is conceived. This is to advise you that The Satanic Verses is banned in India and reading from it may make you liable to prosecution and arrest,” said the advisory from Namita Gokhale, one of the directors of the festival.







Magistrate who issued arrest warrant against Jayalalithaa suspended

G.S. Sorupam facing charges of corruption, alteration of date in court records

The Parangipettai Judicial Magistrate R. Gomathi Sakthi Sorupam, who issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, has been placed under suspension by an order issued by the Madras High Court following corruption charges.

The Judicial Magistrate created a sensation on January 4 by ordering issuance of the NBW against the Chief Minister and calling for her personal appearance before the Court on February 16 in connection with a case relating to filing of nominations for the 2001 Assembly elections.

Chidambaram Judicial Magistrate-II Eswaramurthy has been made in-charge of the Parangipettai Magistrate Court.

According to a source, when Ms. Sorupam was serving as Judicial Magistrate-V in Salem a complaint was preferred by A. Selvam, representing M/s Nirmala & Co, Salem, against her alleging corruption and alteration of date in court records, with the Madras High Court and the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.

Though the Administrative Committee of the High Court called for her explanation several times, this was not forthcoming and hence the suspension notice, dated January 20, 2011, was issued by Registrar General of High Court Chockalingam.

Cuddalore Judicial Magistrate Shanmuganathan, who received the suspension order, went to Ms. Sorupam’s residence to serve the notice. It was locked and he pasted it on the door. A source said that the High Court has directed her to stay in Parangipettai and obtain prior permission before leaving the place.

Her suspension comes at a time when the case relating to the non-bailable warrant ordered by her against Ms. Jayalalithaa is scheduled to come up before the District Sessions Court Judge for hearing on January 23.

In her order of NBW against Ms. Jayalalithaa in the election-related case, the Magistrate had noted: “Accused called absent — NBW (non bailable warrant) pending — SC matter stayed — call on 16-02-2012.”

Soon, a recall petition was filed by the Chief Minister’s counsel A. Sankaran of Tindivanam in the Parangipettai Magistrate Court but it was rejected. Mr. Sankaran moved the District Sessions Court and obtained a stay of the magistrate order.

The case against Ms. Jayalalithaa filed by the then Returning Officer of Bhuvanagiri Assembly Constituency A.G. Selvamani in 2007 alleged that she violated provisions of the People’s Representation Act by filing nominations from four places — Andipatti, Bhuvanagiri, Krishnagiri and Pudukottai — for contesting the Assembly elections in 2001.





Trial in Kush Katariya case set to begin


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 04.27AM IST

NAGPUR: The Kush Katariya case will be heard by the district and additional sessions judge GJ Akarte. The case was committed for sessions trial by the judicial magistrate first class on Saturday.

The next hearing for the case is to be heard by the sessions court on February 10 next month. The accused Ayush Pugliya and his elder brothers Nitin and Navin were present in the court.

The chargesheet of the sensational Kush Katariya case was sent by Nandanvan police earlier this month. Kush, an eight-year-old boy, was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by neighbour Ayush Pugliya on October 11 last year.

His body was traced from an under construction building from Kalamna after two days with the help of Ayush who took the cops to the place where the murdered boy was dumped.

While the state government has announced the name of special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Katariyas have appointed advocate Rajendra Daga to assist the prosecution.




Flexibility of alternative dispute resolution mechanism hailed


Mediation and conciliation address emotions underlying dispute: P. Sathasivam

If alternative methods of dispute resolution are carefully conceived and implemented, they will go a long way in accomplishing the Constitutional goal of access to fair, inexpensive and expeditious justice, said Justice Dalveer Bhandari of the Supreme Court here on Saturday.

He was inaugurating the International Conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) — Conciliation and Mediation, organised by the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR)

Huge backlog

Pointing out that because of the delay in administration of justice, a cynicism about the effectiveness of the judicial process had developed and, “at times, law’s delays benefit the unworthy and penalise the honest,” Justice Bhandari said the problem was not soluble in courts alone. He said as on March 31, 2001, a total of 2,74,28,466 litigations were pending in subordinate courts, 42,92,104 in High Courts and 58,519 in the Supreme Court.

“We need to strengthen the present judicial system and to effectively employ all alternate methods of dispute resolution such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation, Lok Adalat, Gram Nyayalaya and village Panchayat.”

He said that one distinct advantage of ADR over traditional court proceedings was its procedural flexibility, as “it can be conducted in any manner to which the parties agree; in fact, the parties themselves evolve their own procedure.”

Justice P. Sathasivam of the Supreme Court said that the country had not fully exploited the potential of dispute resolution mechanisms and if they were made more efficient, the demand for adjudication would decrease.

“Mediation and conciliation not only address the dispute, they also address the emotions underlying the dispute,” he said adding that in mediation, both parties were given opportunity to express their opinion with complete confidentiality.

Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Justice M.Y. Eqbal said that in the present scenario of globalisation, the survival of the system depended upon timely, cheaper and fair justice to all and for this the country had to adopt ADR mechanism to resolve the disputes of the litigant.

“Even after a bitter battle in the corridors of courts, by sheer magic of mediation along with its counterparts like Lok Adalat, conciliation and arbitration, the parties can walk holding their hands in perfect harmony and friendship.”

Justice Eqbal said that the slow and stagnant pace of judicial discourse should not be allowed to dash the hopes of millions of the marginalised.

Call for nation-wide movement

Former Union Law Minister and Governor of Karnataka H.R. Bhardwaj stressed the need for launching a nation-wide movement for promoting ADR as it was inexpensive, speedy and delivered substantial justice to the common man.

He said there should be no retirement for judges, and Supreme Court Judges should be made “life-time Judges” and his proposal in this regard was pending before the government.

Mr. Bhardwaj said that it was not a good idea to hold a seminar on ADR in a five-star hotel.






SC’s Bhandari front-runner for ICJ judge post


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.03AM IST

NEW DELHI: Senior Supreme Court Judge Justice Dalveer Bhandari has emerged as the front-runner for getting India’s nomination for a Judge’s post in Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) by pipping an ex-legal advisor of the ministry of external affairs with myriad international diplomacy experience to the post.

The India chapter of Permanent Council of Arbitration (PCA), responsible for selecting the candidate and recommending it to the government for placing it formally for election before the international body, has recommended Justice Bhandari’s name after a two-month-long scrutiny and deliberations on the two candidates’ antecedents.

“The ministry of external affairs has received the recommendation of PCA in favour of Justice Bhandari,” official sources told TOI. The opportunity for India to place its nominee in the prestigious ICJ comes after 20 years. Former Chief Justice of India R S Pathak was the country’s last representative at ICJ.

Interestingly, just a few months ago, the MEA, with the approval of the Prime Minister’s Office, had suggested the ex-legal advisor’s name to the PCA to consider his nomination to the ICJ as a Judge.

Though PCA’s recommendation is not binding, traditionally the government has always honoured it. Two eminent jurists, who are part of the three-member PCA, had earlier veered around the government’s suggestion, but Justice Bhandari’s pro-poor and pro-social equity judicial disposition tilted the scales in his favour and the trio agreed that he would be eminently suitable for becoming a Judge in ICJ.

In recent past, Justice Bhandari has authored judgments that requested Parliament to take a fresh look at divorce laws to permit irretrievably break down of marriage as a ground for annulling it, attempted to make the public distribution network for subsidized ration for poor responsive and pressurized government to provide free night shelters to urban homeless and poor suffering in open in biting cold conditions.

The chance for India to put its nominee up for selection as a judge in ICJ came after Jordan’s king sacked his prime minister and brought back ICJ judge Justice Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh to take the reins of the administration. India’s support helped Justice Al-Khasawneh to get elected to ICJ.

So, as a diplomatic quid pro quo, MEA circles believe that India’s nominee for the judge’s post in ICJ will get support from Jordan along with friendly neighbours like Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh.

India has had three permanent judges in ICJ, starting with the little remembered B N Rau, who was a judge of ICJ from 1952 to November 30, 1953. Rau even played a crucial role in the drafting of the Constitution and was a prospect for the race to the UN secretary-general’s post.

But India’s most significant representative in ICJ came through Nagendra Singh, who was a Judge there from 1973 to 1988. From 1976 to 1979, he was the vice-president of ICJ, and became its president from 1985 to1988.




Court slams decision to ‘reserve’ ‘surplus’ land for housing society


K. T. Sangameswaran

The Madras High Court has described as “a colourable exercise of power,” the act of the government in ‘reserving’ lands acquired as ‘surplus’ under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act from a person for the members of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Staff Cooperative Housing Society.

Allowing an appeal by a landlady challenging a single Judge’s order, a Division Bench of Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N. Kirubakaran, in its judgment observed that “allotting agricultural lands without changing the nature of the land to suit construction of houses is contrary to the provisions of the Act and this colourable exercise of power on the part of the government is in utter disregard to the principles underlying the enactment of the Act.”

Originally, T.M. Sulochana Ammal filed a writ petition seeking to quash a G.O. of May 31, 1991 and the consequent notice of the authorised officer allotting 8.63 acres owned by her at Moulivakkam, Sriperumbudur, to the cooperative housing society.

A single Judge dismissed her plea. Hence, the present appeal.

The appellant contended that the authorities had no jurisdiction to allot the land to the housing society.

Allowing the appeal and setting aside the G.O. and the single Judge’s order, the Bench observed that the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules, particularly Rule 13, could not be said to deviate from the Act’s object, by fixing ceiling on the lands and distribution of land to the landless poor for increasing agricultural production and promoting justice, social and economic.

Though the State was empowered to reserve the land so acquired under Rule 13, it could not be for purposes that had not been contemplated under the Act and rules.

As per Rule 13, the government may, if it considered that any surplus land was required for any public purpose, reserve the land for that purpose.





Constable among duo arrested for cheating


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 01.27AM IST

HYDERABAD: Two candidates at the constable recruitment drive – one of them is already an APSP constable – were on Saturday arrested for allegedly indulging in malpractice while participating in the five kilometre run organised by the police as part of the selection process.

Ramgopalpet police said that A Raju and Kiran Kumar Yadav have been arrested for engaging dubious means in the test.

Kiran Kumar is an APSP constable who is attached to Raj Bhavan. He was aspiring for a constable’s post under the civil category.

“Both participated in the five kilometre run, which has to be completed in 25 minutes. But Kiran Kumar and Raju failed in accomplishing the task.

“Organisers of the run directed the successful candidates to enter Sanjeevaiah park and Raju and Kiran Kumar secretly joined those candidates.

“But both were exposed during verification and arrested,” Ramgopalpet inspector V Raja Rao told TOI.

The five kilometre run was between Rotary Club and Sanjeevaiah Park.

The accused have been arrested under section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code and were sent to judicial remand.






MP anti-graft bill may get nod soon


Joseph John, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 06.24AM IST

BHOPAL: Pending before the Centre for long, the Madhya Pradesh Special Courts Bill 2011 is all set to get clearance, paving way for confiscation of property amassed by government servants through corrupt means and its for public cause.

“We came to know that Union home ministry has already got legal opinion that the provisions of the bill are legally and constitutionally valid. Now, it’s for the home ministry to approve it as early as possible and forward it for Presidential assent,” top state government sources told TOI.

Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha had passed the “MP Vishesh Nayayalaya Adhiniyam 2011″in April last year for setting up of special courts to try public servants accused of amassing wealth through illegal means and for confiscation of their property.

As per the provisions of the bill, the special courts to be set up under the new Act will have power to attach the properties of the corrupt officials, and put them to use in public interest. District sessions judges and additional sessions judges would be in charge of the special courts.

Currently, corrupt officials were being prosecuted under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, CrPC 1973 and Indian Penal Code 1860; however there was inordinate delay in the disposal of such cases. The bill is aimed at quick disposal of cases within a year and completes the hearings on property attachment cases within six months.

Chances of bill getting early Presidential assent brightened at a time when the BJP government has been trying to score political points by accusing the UPA government, led by the Congress, of delaying clearance to the anti-corruption bill. When the Anna Hazare’s campaign for Jan Lokpal was at its peak, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made a trip to Delhi and called on President, Prime Minister, home minister and others to press for early clearance of bill.

Earlier in the day, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had told newsmen that he would visit Delhi again to press for immediate clearance of the bill. “Take the case of former union minister Sukhram, who has been convicted now for 1996 telecom scam. Does conviction after so many years make any sense?” he asked adding the new state law would help dispose of corruption cases within a year.





Bigamy case against HD Kumaraswamy adjourned


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 14:21 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The Karnataka High Court on Friday adjourned by two weeks a case alleging that former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had committed bigamy and he should, hence, be disqualified as a parliamentarian.
In a public interest litigation filed in October last year, advocate Shashidhar Belagumba had submitted before the court that Kumaraswamy was punishable under Section 495 of Indian Penal Code by marrying actress Radhika without separating from his first wife Anitha.
However, no action was taken against him, the petitioner said.
Belagumba contended that every citizen should be treated equally. Otherwise, it would be a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.





Case against BDA for neglecting Nayandahalli underpass work


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 14:17 IST
By Santosh Kumar RB | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The neglect of traffic police’s repeated request to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to provide proper lighting in the underpass at Nayandahalli junction allegedly caused the accident, which claimed a life and damaged 12 vehicles on Friday morning.
The Byatarayanapura traffic police have booked a case of negligence against the BDA, along with the absconding driver of cement mixer lorry truck, which hit the vehicles at the junction.
“We have booked a case under the provision of Section 304(a) of Indian Penal Code about the accident. We have named the BDA engineer as the first accused and the lorry driver as second accused,” an investigation officer said.
The police said the underpass near Nayandahalli Junction is nearly 200 metres long, but the lighting on this stretch is poor and have caused many accidents in the past.
“The BDA had installed lights in the underpass earlier, but they were not maintained properly. Most of them are not working. More than 10 accidents have taken place on this stretch, but luckily, nobody died in earlier incidents. We had written letters to the BDA for proper lighting in the underpass, but they have ignored us,” Byatarayanapura traffic police inspector Mallesh said. He explained that while entering the underpass, motorists often find it hard to see things inside due to poor lighting.
There is a need for 24-hour lighting to avoid such incidents, he added. Interestingly, the BDA installed new bulbs on Friday evening, after the crash, the inspector said.
After the accident, passers-by hurled abuses at policemen. “The common public is not aware that the incident took place due to BDA negligence,” another police officer said.
The police said the truck driver, too, was at fault as he did not switch on the headlights after entering the underpass. The police have registered a case against the driver and BDA official.
“We will write to the BDA commissioner regarding the incident. We will find out the engineer concerned and take legal against him,” an investigation officer said.





HC asks for scientific handling of coconut husk


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday sought the opinion of the Forest Department and the Travancore Devaswom Board on the handling of the husk of tender coconuts that piles up at Sabarimala during the pilgrimage season.
The HC move comes in the wake of a number of scientific reports highlighting the environmental threat it poses.
U S Sarma of Central Coir Research Institute had made a presentation before the court regarding the disposal of waste from tender coconuts and suggested that it could be utilised to make mats, umbrellas and other materials. The technology and the process could be implemented through an agency, he submitted.
Most people are unaware of the radical developments in the field of research relating to subjects which affect day-to-day life, the court said. The court asked the Forest Department, the Devaswom Board and the Pollution Control Board to come up with a positive and practical decision regarding management of the waste from tender coconuts.
Considering a petition by a tender coconut vendor challenging the high court’s directive that banned dumping of husks at Sabarimala, the court had earlier asked the Coconut Development Board to suggest ways to dispose of the husk scientifically.
The vendor approached the court after an earlier order resulted in the banning of tender coconuts and pineapple vendors. The court added that the waste generated through vending of tender coconuts had to be properly handled to exclude environmental hazards.






Nizam Trust urges HC to appoint arbitrator


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: The Nizam Charitable Trust has approached the High Court seeking appointment of an arbitrator to settle the dispute between the trust and the state government. When the petition came up for hearing before chief justice Madan B. Lokur on Friday, its trustee said there had been large-scale violations in management of the NIMS which include leasing out of lands to various bodies to the AP Centre for Emergency Medicare (APCEM) and others.
He said the land housing Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences was leased to the state government for 99 years on certain terms and conditions. However, there have been large-scale violations and failure to give proper priority to the poor in providing medical care.
The petitioner also maintained that despite repeated attempts, the government did not agree to appointment of an arbitrator. On the other hand, the government contended that there was no need for an arbitrator as there was no dispute between them. The chief justice adjourned the case by four weeks.
Charges against govt Among the violations by the govt are leasing out of NIMS land to others and failure to give priority to the poor in providing medicare






Give all fixed-wage employees pay panel wages: Gujarat HC


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 16:24 IST
By Nikunj Soni | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The year 2012 promises to be one of huge financial benefit to government employees who were appointed to different jobs on fixed monthly wages. In a landmark judgement on Friday, the Gujarat high court ruled that the scheme of fixed wages adopted by the state government for government jobs was a ‘violation of fundamental rights’ and a ‘violation of the principle of equal pay for equal work’.
The high court has directed the state government to modify the current scheme of fixed wages within one and grant the employees the lowest pay in the pay-scale recommended for their rank by the pay commission and approved by the state government.
The bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala further said that the benefits to the employees shall be given to them from the date of their appointment.
The judgment has come as a great relief to fixed-wage government employees as they will now get the benefits of the sixth pay commission. The recommendations of the sixth pay commission were recently approved by the state government for various cadres. The court also directed that the period of government service of such employees will be taken into consideration in the future in deciding their retirement benefits and all other benefits if they are found suitable after probation.The high court rejected the state government’s contention that the case should not be considered a PIL as it concerned service matter as per the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Uttar Pradesh Land Corporation.
Rejecting the government’s contention, the bench said that it was considering the petitions because they had not been filed by an employee and the issue is of public interest and importance. Earlier, a PIL was filed by an NGO, Shree Yogkshem Foundation of Human Dignity, through the advocate, DJ Bhatt, challenging the recruitment of government employees against fixed wages. Those recruited under this scheme included primary and higher secondary teachers, police constables, police sub-inspectors, and all class 3 and 4 employees of the government. The salaries paid under the fixed wages scheme ranges from Rs1500 to Rs6000 per month. There are more than 1 lakh teachers employed by the government as Vidya Sahayaks who are paid fixed wages of Rs2500 to Rs4500. Thousands of other jobs have also been filled by recruitments made under the fixed wages scheme. Senior counsel Yatin Oza, who was appointed amicus curie in the case, had submitted that the scheme of fixed wages violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. It’s also exploitation of the employees.Advocate DJ Bhatt had contended that the scheme of fixed wages amounts to exploitation of the employees as they were paid less than the minimum wages standards set by the government’s labour department.





HC seeks daytime ban on tipper lorries in towns


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday observed that the operation of tipper lorries should be prohibited at least in towns and cities during the daytime.
The court also sought the view of the state police chief on the desirability of introducing prohibitory orders against the operation of tipper lorries during the daytime in all municipalities and corporations.
A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Babu Mathew P Joseph passed the order while considering an appeal filed by Canon Granite Private Ltd, Thrissur, against the single judge’s order that upheld the decision of the state to ban the operation of tipper lorries from 8 am to 10 am and between 3 pm and 5 pm.
The Bench held that the police officials who are entrusted with traffic regulation were entitled to issue such a ban to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
“The ban during the day time will not only decongest traffic but will ensure safety as tipper lorries were involved in large number of accidents,” the court said.
The petitioner argued that the ban order was passed by the police without any statutory authority.
The state police chief had shown discrimination in restricting the plying of tipper lorries alone in Thrissur and permitting other lorries to operate.
“The single judge’s order was unsustainable. The report by the commissioner of police that tipper lorries caused large number of accidents was without any evidence,” the petitioner pointed out. The court posted the case after 10 days.





Karnataka HC jolt to former CMs in illegal mining cases


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 14:19 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

In a major upset to external affairs minister SM Krishna, the high court on Friday gave the green signal to Lok Ayukta police to probe into charges that he had de-reserved forests for illegal mining during his tenure as state chief minister.
It was a bad day for former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy too as the court allowed investigation into the charges that he had granted licence for illegal mining during his term.
While pronouncing the orders in Krishna’s case, Judge N Ananda said the de-reservation of forests done pursuant to cabinet decision on December 16 2002 was confirmed.
However, he quashed the allegations made against Krishna in relation to illegal acts committed in the management of Mysore Minerals Limited (MML).
The judge said the complaint against Krishna was the reproduction of the relevant parts of the Lok Ayukta report. Hence, it was not possible to hold that he was being subjected to prosecution and humiliation on the basis of a false and wholly untenable complaint.
Therefore, there was no bar to initiate prosecution on the report of the Lok Ayukta submitted to the competent authority under the section 12(3) of Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984.
“I hold that the allegations made against Krishna in relation to alleged illegal activities committed in the management of MML do not constitute any cognisable offences against him and they do not call for investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC,” he said. “The averments of complaint made against him in the matter of de-reservation of forest accepted on their face value would constitute offences against him and they warrant investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC,” the judge said.
While pronouncing the orders in Kumaraswamy’s case, the judge said there was no bar to initiate prosecution or investigation into allegations on the complaint that he had approved mining lease illegally in favour of Shree Sai Venkateshwara Minerals.
The allegations reiterated the relevant portion of the Lokayukta report. Therefore, it was not possible to hold that the allegations, which were reiterations of the relevant portions of the report, did not constitute an offence, the judge said. However, he quashed other allegations.
“The allegations that he had collected Rs150 crore from the department of mines and geology (which was reported by a leading newspaper on 15 July 2006) is quashed,” the judge said.
“The allegations that he had misused his official position to renew licence in favour of Janatkal Enterprises and that he had inserted pressure on the commissioner of mines and geology department to issue permit to Janatkal for lifting of old dump of one lakh metric ton of low grade iron and manganese and the reference under section 156(3) of CrPC for investigation into these allegations are quashed,” the judge said.






Gujarat HC rap to AMC: Open seals on 50 green belt party plots


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 16:58 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) lost the case against the owners of party plots which fall under the category of green belt as a bench of Gujarat high court, on Friday, asked the civic body to open the seals.
The bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala, however, clarified that the AMC shall open the seals if the party plot owners fulfil three conditions specified by the high court. The conditions are: the party plots should have plot area exceeding 2,000 square metre; they should be on 18-feet wide road; and the owners would not make fresh construction and abide the possible Supreme Court ruling on green belt land.

The civic body had sealed 170 party plots, including 50 plots that fall under green belt category, in 2010-2011 on the grounds of illegal construction, improper fire safety system and parking facilities.

“We approached the high court as it earlier directed the AMC to open seals on the party plots which are not on green belt land,” said Dhaval Dave, senior counsel appearing for six party plot owners who challenged the civic body’s action.

“We contended before the court that the high court should also give relief to us as there should not be any discrimination between common party plots and green belt ones,” Dave added.

Earlier, Gujarat high court, when party plot owners challenged the sealing process, did not grant relief to the green belt party plot owners as the AMC lodged protest on the ground that an important petition relating to green belt land has been pending before the Supreme Court and it ordered to maintain status quo.
Dave, however, protested AMC’s argument by saying that there is no connection between status quo and the sealing drive. A revenue case relating to green belt in the town planning scheme in the urban areas is pending before the SC. According to government decision, there should not be any construction on the land which falls under category of the green belt in order to maintain environment and pollution-free climate.





HC flays TN govt action


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 21,2012

Chennai, Jan 21 (PTI) Slamming the Tamil Nadu government for taking over 8.63 acres of farmland from a farmer as ‘surplus’ and then reserving it for its employees, the Madras High Court has said the authorities’ action was not proper. In its order on an appeal by the landowner Sulochana Ammal, whose land was declared ‘surplus’ and acquired by the state revenue department over 25 years ago, a Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N Kirubakaran, said it was improper for the department to acquire the land and then hand it over to its staff at their request. “The action of the government to take a decision at the request of the staff of the adjudicating authority, in our considered opinion, is not proper,” the Judges said. The acquisition notification under the provisions of Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act, taking over 8.63 acres at Moulivakkam village in Sirperumpudur, was issued in 1986. The landlady first approached the Land Commissioner and then Assistant Commissioner (land reforms). After her requests were rejected, she approached the High court where a single judge dismissed her writ petition, confirming the decision of the Special Appellate Tribunal of the Revenue Department. In her present appeal, Sulochana Ammal pointed out that the land commissioner had no jurisdiction to allot the land to the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Staff Co-op House Site Distribution Society Limited, comprising members of the department. The government, however, stuck to its stand that the April 1990 order of the department had become final and that there was no scope for interference with the appellate tribunal’s July 1992 order. Assigning the acquired land was the prerogative of the government as provided for in the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules 1965, it was argued. MORE





Aruna Roy slams govt for challenging HC ruling on minimum wages


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.07AM IST

NEW DELHI: National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy has slammed the government’s decision to oppose pegging rural employment guarantee wages lower than minimum wages as “shocking and grossly insensitive”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Roy said the move is unmindful of the concerns of the country’s poor.

Roy, a prominent member of the Sonia Gandhi-led Council and one of the brains behind the Act, has protested against the UPA’s decision to challenge in the Supreme Court the Karnataka HC order that said that no MNREGA worker could be paid less than the minimum wage, and ordered that the workers be paid the state minimum wages. She urged the PM to immediately withdraw the Special Leave Petition in the apex court.

The decision to challenge the HC order was taken after the rural development minister Jairam Ramesh sought to defend the decision, but was overruled.

“The GOI has in fact chosen to ignore the interim orders of both the High Courts, and been in contempt of the interim order of the AP High Court for over two years. It is an irony that the poorest and most disadvantaged workers in this country are not provided the most basic protection that must be provided to every worker in the country,” Roy has written.

“I am deeply distressed, dismayed, and shocked …This decision reflects the gross insensitivity of the Central government towards the rights of the country’s poor,” she added.

Many have pointed out that enforcement of wage rates under the employment programme sets a benchmark for the labour market in hinterland, and prevents exploitative low rates.

Roy, too, backed the argument, saying, “When the GOI as an employer asserts that it is not obliged to pay minimum wages on government works, it loses its moral authority to enforce the minimum wages Act, and gives a message to all exploitative industry, big landlords, and private sector employers that minimum wages can be violated with impunity”.





Land acquisition: HC hikes compensation to farmers


Last Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2012, 09:59

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ordered a 10 per cent hike in compensation to farmers for acquisition of their land in three urban villages having “locational advantages” like IGI Airport in the vicinity.

“I find the aspect of higher potentiality of the acquired lands being in close vicinity of the IGI Airport, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum Depots and of Railway line passing through Village Bharthal…has somehow missed the attention of the reference (lower) court,” Justice Sunil Gaur said while “partly” allowing a bunch of pleas for hike in compensation.

The court’s judgement came on petitions of farmers from Bharthal, Bijwasan and Pochanpur villages, seeking enhanced compensation for their plots acquired in December, 2000 for planned development of Dwarka Phase-II.

The Central government had classified plots in ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories and had awarded Rs 13.82 lakh and Rs 12.32 lakh as compensation per acre respectively for them.

The farmers, after failing to get the desired reliefs from the court of an additional district judge, which had acted as a reference court under the Land Acquisition Act to determine the compensation, had moved the high court for raise in it.

The farmers of Barthal and Bijwasan had sought compensation of Rs 50 lakh per acre, while residents of Pochanpur sought compensation of Rs 30 lakh per acre.

Allowing the pleas partially, Justice Gaur said, “The market value of acquired lands of these three villages in question is determined at the rate of Rs 16.50 lakh per acre for category ‘A’ land and at the rate of Rs 14.69 lakh per acre for category ‘B’ lands in question.”

The high court considered the locational advantage and the prospect of higher building potentiality while enhancing the compensation.

“I am inclined to grant 10 per cent increase over and above the market value of the acquired lands determined by the reference court in these matters on account of the aforesaid locational advantages providing a higher building potentiality in the acquired lands in question,” Justice Gaur said.

“On account of locational advantages, the acquired lands in question, certainly assume higher building potentiality being in vicinity of Dwarka Phase-I. What persuades this Court to grant 10 per cent increase over and above market value of the acquired lands as assessed by the Reference Court on account of the higher building potentiality in the acquired lands is the settled legal position…,” the court said.

It, however, said that it would be very difficult to provide a definite value in relation to potential, and “in view of the fact that exactness can never be achieved in the matters of assessing fair compensation.

“It is broad probabilities of the instant cases, which persuades me to treat them with equivalence by uniformly applying the Government’s minimum prices for the agricultural lands for computing the fair market value of the acquired lands as there are no special features to treat the acquired lands differently.”






Lawyer moves CBI against SAD govt


Alkesh Sharma, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 06.28AM IST

CHANDIGARH: More trouble is brewing for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal as the assembly elections draw closer. A Chandigarh-based lawyer approached CBI on Friday, appealing for the lodging of an FIR against the “illegal exercise of power” by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, and Bikram Singh Majithia.

Lawyer Himmat Singh Shergill had earlier filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana high court. However, the HC on December 15 had asked him to approach an investigation agency and thereafter, approach the court if the problem remains unsolved.

“Badal and his son exercised their executive power in an illegal and manipulative manner to provide monetary benefits to the companies owned by their family. I had started with their transport company but later found anomalies in various businesses,” Shergill told TOI.

“Most irregularities happened after they come into power in March 2007. This is a well-planned and institutionalized corruption, and I have demanded a thorough probe from CBI,” he said.

Shergill said he submitted the annual returns, director’s reports and balance sheets of various companies that “established ownership of Parkash Singh Badal and his family”. “They are running family businesses out of the state’s exchequer”, he pointed out in his complaint.

Few days ago, former state industries director V K Janjua had moved a petition before a local court alleging that Sukhbir Badal had implicated him in a false corruption case as he “refused to pay him a Rs 1 crore bribe”. This case is pending in the court.





BJP demands Congress to sack Krishna


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


NEW DELHI: With the HC refusing relief to S M Krishna on alleged illegal mining during his Chief Ministership, BJP today demanded his head, and asked the Congress-led government to sack him. Former CM B S Yeddyurappa was also shown the door after the Lokayukta indicted the state.
“Krishna holds the sensitive portfolio of external affairs. After the order of the
Karnataka High Court, he should resign purely on moral grounds as his case will be investigated by the Lokayukta police,” said BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad. He also wondered whether Congress will follow the example of BJP when it had asked Yeddyurappa to step down after the Lokayukta report indicted his government. “They campaigned against him for two years. As soon as the report came, we asked him to resign, which he did,” Prasad said.
The Congress, however, down played the matter.
“This is a normal legal process. I am sure Krishna and his lawyer will deal with the matter in accordance with the law. There is no final verdict and there is going to be further appeal,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Decision was collective, says smk counsel

Bangalore: Arguing against the Lokayukta probe into External Affairs Minnister S M Krishna’s role in de-reserving forest land, Uday Lalit, counsel for Krishna had argued that the Cabinet decision was a collective one taken by 34 ministers and an individual cannot be held responsible for it. Lalit also had submitted that there was a Minister in charge of Forest Department and also for Mines and Geology Department during Krishna government, which was not the case with successive governments.



Chhattisgarh govt to SC: Review order in Lalu Prasad’s DA case


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 02.58AM IST

NEW DELHI: In an unusual step, Chhattisgarh government has requested the Supreme Court to reconsider its two-year-old judgment giving relief to RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi in a disproportionate assets (DA) case, in which it had held that the state government had no role to file appeal in a case investigated by the CBI.

In the Lalu Prasad case, the apex court had ruled in April, 2010 that the state government could not file appeal against acquittal of the accused even in cases where the CBI refuses to challenge the trial court or High Court’s decision favouring the accused. It had dismissed Bihar government’s decision to appeal in the HC against the trial court’s decision to acquit Prasad and his wife in the DA case.

The Raman Singh government, moving the apex court challenging the acquittal of ex-CM Ajit Jogi’s son Amit in a 2003 murder case, said the judgment was contrary to the criminal justice system under which the primary authority relating administration of justice vested in the state government.

It said under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, under which the CBI functions, a limited federal jurisdiction in investigation was created. But this did not oust the state government from its role of administering the criminal justice system, including prosecuting for violation of IPC and should, therefore, continue to have a right to appeal an acquittal.

“The decision of the apex court in Lalu Prasad Yadav’s case requires reconsideration for not only is it flawed in the manner in which it construed the state, but unwittingly upset the delicate balance between the Union and the State in relation to administration of justice,” said the state government in its appeal filed through advocate Atul Jha.

In the prevailing circumstances where allegations are afoot that closeness to the central dispensation decided how seriously the CBI went after the accused politician, the denial of right to the state to appeal acquittals could seriously dent the criminal justice dispensation system.

“As a result of the 2010 judgment, the power of the state to appeal an acquittal is taken away. A reading of the judgment shows that there are serious legal issues that warrant a reconsideration of the judgment,” the BJP government said.

Though 31 were accused in the murder of a political leader, the trial court in its May, 2007 judgment convicted 29, and acquitted Amit and another person. State government filed an appeal in HC in July, 2007. “The CBI deliberately and intentionally delayed the filing of appeal by more than three and half years. While the state’s appeal was dismissed following the SC’s 2010 judgment, the CBI appeal was dismissed on the grounds of delay.”

The question raised by Chhattisgarh government before the apex court is: “whether the state government is competent to file an appeal against the order of acquittal of main accused in a case which has been investigated by the CBI”.






Yahoo plea: HC seeks Delhi Police response


Express news service : New Delhi, Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:07 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the Delhi Police on a petition of Yahoo India Pvt Ltd, challenging the summons issued to it by a magistrate for allegedly hosting objectionable content. The court issued a notice to the police for February 10. The court also allowed Yahoo India’s plea that its case be heard separately from two other petitions by Google India and Facebook India, which are already in the court against the magistrate’s order.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for Yahoo India, said, “It is a case where summons were issued without application of mind by the trial court as there was no material against me (Yahoo India)”.

Nigam said the complaint and the order of the magistrate have dealt with alleged objectionable material retrieved from various websites including Zombie, Orkut, Youtube, Facebook, Blogspot and none of them pertained to Yahoo.

He also referred to the complaint filed by Vinay Rai, a journalist, to buttress his argument that no objectionable material has been downloaded from Yahoo India which forms part of the case in which 20 other websites have also been summoned.

“I am not a social networking site like other accused in the case. I only provide email and chat services. Moreover, no objectionable material has been attributed to me and hence my case is different from others,” said Nigam.

“Then why you have been made an accused?” Justice Kait asked while allowing the plea of Yahoo that its case be heard separately.

The court had on Thursday deferred the hearing on the petitions of Google India and Facebook India to January 23. A lower court had on December 23 issued summons to 21 websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and obscene objects to young persons.

The central government had earlier filed a report before the lower court, saying there was sufficient material to proceed against 21 websites for alleged offences of promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration.




CB-CID to probe plaint against cop


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The Madras HC has directed the CB-CID to hold investigation on a complaint from a woman alleging that an inspector attached to MGR Nagar police station had taken away her 60 sovereign jewellery, and complete the investigation within three months.

Justice D Hariparanthaman gave the direction on a petition from Jeera Behgam.

According to petitioner, she gave her jewellery to her sister Shaheela for safe custody in her house. Subsequently, Shaheela’s jewellery were stolen from her house but petitioner’s jewellery were intact and Shaheela returned them to her. On a complaint from Shaheela’s husband, a theft case was registered. Thereafter, when the petitioner wanted to go to Bangalore, where her daughter Sarah was employed, the jewellery were given to Sarah’s colleague Ameer Abbas, working in Chennai. Ameer kept the jewellery in the locker of his brother-in-law Abdul Aziz in the SBI, Vadapalani branch.

While so, Seetharaman, the inspector investigating the theft case, came to her residence on Jan 13, 2011, and enquired about the jewelleries returned to her and took away the purchase bills. Informing Ameer and Abdul that he entertained suspicion on the jewellery that were kept in the locker, Seetharaman took them away from the locker. He also enquired petitioner’s another daughter Safura.

The next day Safura was arrested and remanded. Later she came out on bail. However, Seetharaman did not return the jewellery.

Petitioner made several representations to various authorities stating that her daughter was falsely implicated in the case and her jewellery were illegally taken away by the inspector. Since, there was no response, she filed the present petition.





Why was Marad probe team dissolved, HC asks DGP


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the state police chief as to why the special team constituted to investigate the larger conspiracy behind the second Marad communal carnage was dissolved in the middle of investigation.
The court asked the police chief to explain as to why the court should not order restoration of the same investigation team if the investigation is not complete.
The court also asked the state government to file a detailed statement in this regard.
A Division Bench Comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph passed the order while considering a petition filed by Kolakkadan Moosa Haji of Kozhikode seeking a CBI probe into the larger conspiracy behind the second Marad communal carnage. The court issued notice to the state, Crime Branch ADGP Vinson M Paul and Superintendent C M Pradeep.
The petitioner submitted that pursuant to the first Marad communal carnage, a retaliatory attack took place in 2003 on Marad beach. Eight Hindus and a Muslim lost their lives in the carnage. “The Crime Branch ADGP revealed that the second Marad communal carnage was planned and was a result of deep-rooted conspiracy. A lot of members of the ruling party of the then coalition government were involved in it,” the petitioner submitted.
The petitioner also said that proper investigation was not possible since political leaders were involved in it, and the members of the team were transferred to other districts.
Superintendent of Police Pradeep, who headed the investigation team, was transferred to Thiruvananthapuram to take up an assignment at the Kerala State Human Rights Commission.
“Members of the SIT were credible but they will not be able to investigate the involvement of foreign hand and foreign funds. The Inquiry Commission had found that 15 persons, including four foreigners, conspired in a hotel in Kozhikode. The commission also reported that prominent IUML leader A P Moideen Koya and state secretary Mayin Haji were involved in the planning and execution of the massacre. The state does not want an inquiry by an independent central agency as it only wants to protect the members of the coalition government. So the CBI has to investigate the larger conspiracy which culminated in the communal carnage,” the petitioner submitted.






APERC cant extend deadline for Discoms: HC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: Allowing the writ appeals filed by the high-tension electricity consumers, a division bench of the High Court has held that the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission has no power to enlarge the time stipulated for entertaining applications from distribution companies (Discoms) for determination of fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA). In its order on Friday, the bench comprising chief justice Madan B. Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar said Discoms’ FSA claims for 2008-09 were hopelessly time-barred.
Discoms have to submit their proposals on FSA within 30 days after completion of every quarter. If submitted after the prescribed time limit, the APERC should not entertain such proposals.
The division bench did not agree with the earlier judge’s comment that the commission had the power to condone the delay in filing applications by the licensees (Discoms) claiming FSA beyond the time prescribed. “We are of the opinion that in a situation covered by Regulation 45-B(4), it is not open to the commission to step in and undo the irreversible consequence of the failure to abide by the time stipulation therein i.e. forfeiture of future FSA claims by the Discoms for such period by taking recourse to Regulation 59 of the Business Regulations.
The commission has no such power and must necessarily give effect to the forfeiture clause stipulated in the regulation. Being an independent and autonomous body mantled with balancing of consumers’ interests with that of the Discoms in recovering the cost of electricity in a reasonable manner, the commission cannot seek to favour one side as it has chosen to do in the present case. We are fortified in our view by the unequivocal observations made by the Supreme Court in the Maya Mathew case that the special rule framed subsequent to the general rule would undoubtedly prevail,” the bench said





Destitute kids allowed to attend school


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.40AM IST

NEW DELHI: There is good news for 44 of the 392 destitute children at Asha Kiran Home in Rohini, who had been denied admission in a mainstream school despite being found eligible for formal schooling. After intervention by the chief secretary, Delhi, the department of social welfare agreed to send these children out of the home to attend classes at a nearby school. The admission process for these children was started on Saturday with the filling up of forms for six students.

TOI had reported on November 7, 2011, how a tussle between the education and social welfare departments of the Delhi government had got in the way of the children being sent to school. The children aged between five and 18 years were found eligible for mainstream education on the basis of an HC order and assessment by 12 resource teachers from the DoE.

Two arrested for killing mediator

Two persons, wanted in a murder case in Bawana, were arrested on Saturday. Identified as Rajan and Sonelal, residents of Samaipur Badli, they had reportedly beaten to death one Ram Sewak when he tried to intervene in a street fight last August.



Karnataka gets 2nd Upa Lokayukta after 3 months


Anil Kumar M, TNN Jan 21, 2012, 08.41PM IST

BANGALORE: Three months after the post fell vacant, the Karnataka government on Saturday appointed Justice Chandrashekaraiah as the second Upa (deputy) Lokayukta. Governor HR Bhardwaj will administer oath of office to him on Sunday at Raj Bhavan.

Justice Chandrashekaraiah, belonging to Vokkaliga community, comes in place of Justice R Gururajan, who resigned from the post in October, 2011, citing health reasons. The first Upa Lokayukta is Justice S B Majage. The choice was made by chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda in consultation with opposition leaders. Justice Chandrashekaraiah was in race along with Justice A M Farooq, Justice Gururajan and Justice Ramanna.

Though Justice Gururajan cited health aspects for his resignation, there were media reports that he owned more than one immovable property in Bangalore. As per the information he has posted on the Karnataka Lokayukta website, he has a 42×60 site in Judicial Layout. He bought it in 2001 and spent Rs 23 lakh on the land and construction of the building. He also has two apartments, including the Chitrapura Society apartment in Malleswaram where he resides. Later he defended stating: “I live in an apartment. The land belongs to the Chitrapura Housing Co-operative Society. I have share certificates. It is like the tenant-membership system which is common in Mumbai. I do not own the land on which the apartment has been built. The structure is on a land leased for 99 years.”

However, Karnataka Lokayukta, once considered a role model for other states, is headless after Lokayukta Justice Shivaraj V Patil resigned in mid-September, 2011 after allegations of his family members owning residential sites in violation of law. Only one Upa Lokayukta, S B Majage, who suffered a heart attack a day after he assumed office last year, is in charge of the institution now. Though state government has proposed former Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath’s name for Lokayukta’s post, governor Bhardwaj is yet to clear it.

Justice Chandrashekaraiah practiced in the Karnataka HC and in the Supreme Court. He was appointed as permanent Judge of Karnataka HC in December 1995. After his retirement, he was appointed as Chairperson, Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ( KSCDRC).






Court rejects Sadhvi’s plea to fly or travel by AC

A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Saturday rejected 2008 Malegaon blast key accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s application seeking permission to travel by air or by an air-conditioned coach to Bhopal for the trial of the murder of Sunil Joshi, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist.

‘To move Bombay HC’

“We are going to move an application in the Bombay High Court against this court’s order now,” Sadhvi’s lawyer Ganesh Sovani told The Hindu on Saturday.

‘Willing to bear expenses’

Sadhvi had filed an application on January 16 seeking permission to travel to Bhopal by air or by an air-conditioned coach in the train citing health reasons. She had said that she was willing to bear the expenses of the travel.

The trial of Sunil Joshi murder case is underway at a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court.

The MCOCA court here on Saturday rejected Sadhvi’s application on the grounds that there is no such provision in the jail manual.

“The judge said that the accused will have to travel in the general compartment,” Mr. Sovani said.

The court will soon start hearing her bail application.

Next hearing on Feb. 4

“The arguments will start from February 4,” Mr. Sovani said.





Court protects widow’s pension rights


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.55AM IST

KOLKATA: It has taken a high court order to entitle a widow to her pension, sparking a debate whether a woman who had married a man after his retirement could claim dependent’s rights. Calcutta high court has not only ruled in the widow’s favour, but has declared the company law used for depriving her as contravening the provisions of the Constitution.

Shibani Das, 56, was denied the widow pension because Anil Kumar Das, a driver of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), happened to marry her after his retirement. When her pleas with her husband’s employer fell on deaf ears, Shibani moved court in 2008. A fortnight ago, Justice Debashis Kar Gupta passed the final judgment, declaring the sections of the Port Trust Regulation Act on widow pension ultra vires of the Constitution. The company law – as cited by KoPT – bars an employee’s widow from getting financial benefits if the marriage took place post superannuation.

Anil had retired from KoPT in 1982. His first wife died in 1989, and he remarried the very next year. He died in 2008 at the age of 84. Shibani, his second wife, then aged about 52, approached the KoPT with her pension claims. But the latter refused her claim, citing certain sections of the Port Trust Regulation Act that said that the wife of a man who had married after leaving the organization could not be considered for pension.

KoPT reasoned with Shibani that had she married Anil while he was with KoPT, she would have been a natural pension claimant. Or, had his first wife been alive, she would have been allowed the privilege since her name was registered with the company’s records.

Shibani had no other option but to move court, challenging the sections cited by KoPT. She filed a writ petition in Calcutta high court on November 11, 2008.

The matter came up for final hearing a fortnight ago and Justice Kar Gupta delivered the judgment saying that the particular sections of the Port Trust Regulation Act dealing with widow pension go against Article 14 of the Constitution which says that no individual could be discriminated against from availing of pension rights. The court further observed that Shibani was entitled to the pension since her marriage to Anil Das was legal. And, as Anil’s legally wedded wife, she was entitled to all the benefits due to a widow.





High court tells govt to ensure clarity in medical reports


Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 22, 2012

In directions aimed at fast tracking criminal trials, the Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to take immediate steps to ensure there is no delay in furnishing of medical and scientific reports before courts.
The court also called for more clarity in postmortem and medico-legal reports (MLC) furnished before the courts in terms of the language used so that there is no delay in understanding these reports. The court preferred computerised records rather than handwritten ones.

“Government is to take the views of different stakeholders including that of the doctors concerned and Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) and formulate a time bound scheme so that there is no delay in trials on account of want of requisite and proper medical and scientific reports in time,” said justice ML Mehta.

The court said because of delay in FSL reports many avoidable orders were passed and it adversely affected the administration of justice.

The court also criticised the trend of doctors, who prepare MLCs, for not appearing in courts but sending their juniors or trainees to explain the report, which they mostly fail to do so.

The judge said a doctor who attends any victim, injured or dead, shall also take photographs of the clothes, as it is very crucial evidence in a criminal trial.

The court’s order came on an appeal filed by the state against the order of an additional sessions judge who had issued these directions. The state contended that the judge had no power to give such kind of directions to the government in policy matters. But the high court concluded: “The directions are quite laudable and seem to be based on the difficulties faced by the trial courts.”





High court resolves dispute between couple


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 04.17AM IST

MADURAI: Setting an example on how proactive courts could be in resolving family disputes through mediation, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court abridged an estranged husband and wife who parted ways on account of differences in opinion.

By appointing an amicus curiae and through mediation, the Bench of Justices of N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass made T Ramesh of Andipatty and Sivalakshmi live together in Gujarat peacefully and happily. Ramesh married Sivalakshmi and the couple was blessed with two children. He works as a salesman in a confectionary at Baroda. Ramesh used to visit his house at Andipatti once in three months. On December 4, when he was in Baroda, he received a call from his relative, Balraj, stating that his wife and children went missing and their whereabouts could not be traced. He also asked Ramesh to start for Andipatti immediately. Thereafter, Ramesh rushed to his native place but even after a hectic search, his efforts to find his family went in vain. Unable to find his wife and children, a complaint was lodged before the Inspector of Police, Andipatti, but no action was taken. Hence, Ramesh preferred a habeas corpus in court.

When the matter came up for hearing before the Bench, the police produced the wife and children. The judges found that there was some difference of opinion between Ramesh and Sivalakshmi regarding their place of residence (whether to reside at Baroda or at Andipatti). Ultimately, the judges felt that if mediation was conducted, there would be a possibility for settlement. Hence they appointed B Saravanan, a lawyer, as amicus curiae to represent Sivalakshmi and her children. The bench then agreed to post the matter before the mediation and conciliation centre attached to the Madurai bench of the high court.

Mediation was conducted and a report also submitted by the mediator. The report said both parties attended the sessions and had decided to live together. Sivalakshmi agreed to go along with her husband to Baroda, burying their differences to live happily. Ramesh also agreed not to consume liquor and promised to live for his wife and children.

Disposing of the petition, the judges appreciated the petitioner’s counsel, S Balakarthick, and the amicus curiae for earnest efforts taken by them. They directed the High Court Legal Services Committee to pay a sum of Rs 3,000 to the amicus curiae and the mediator as remuneration.




High court’s expansion plans hit by own verdict


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 22, 2012

It couldn’t get more ironical for the Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court has upheld its 2006 order on 100m prohibited area around ASI-protected monuments, a move that is likely to cause problems for its proposed expansion plans. The apex court has upheld that the distance of 100 metres (prohibited area of 0-100 metres) has to be measured from the outer boundary wall of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments and not from the physical structure.

Located on the Sher Shah Suri Marg, the court complex lies next to the 16th century Sher Shah Gate and Khair-ul-Manazil. Both monuments are ASI-protected.

The Delhi High Court is preparing an expansion plan, which include additional courtrooms, judges’ chambers and also chambers for lawyers in buildings taller than existing ones.

In November, the high court had directed the authorities concerned to prepare heritage byelaws for these monuments for new construction in the regulated area (101-300 metres from the protected monument). The Archaeological Act does not permit any new construction within the prohibited area.

At a meeting earlier this week, high court chief justice and five other judges had reviewed the process. Representatives of the High Court Bar Association (HCBA), Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), ASI, Air Force and conservation experts and urban planners had attended the meeting.

Sources said, the official from Air Force operations unit had objected to the height, stating it can hinder an aircraft’s flight path while flying over the India Gate during Republic Day parade. A site inspection was also carried out.

But even before heritage byelaws could be finalised, came the Supreme Court ruling. If the measurement (0-100 metres) has to start from the boundary wall of the monuments, a majority of the high court complex will come under the prohibited area.

But the court authorities are not exactly in agreement with the order. AS Chandiok, HCBA president, said, “The intent of the Supreme Court and the (archaeological) Act is to safeguard monument. Therefore, the 100 metres start from the monument.”  

“(But) the interpretation of the apex court’s ruling has to be clarified by the authorities – either ASI or the National Monument Authority (NMA). Only then can heritage byelaws be finalised,” said AGK Menon from the Indian National

Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a body taken on board by the ASI for preparation of heritage byelaws.  

It is the NMA, which will ultimately ratify the monument-specific heritage byelaws. “Wherever there is a boundary wall, measurement will start from that point and not from the monument, which can be somewhere inside,” said Pravin Shrivastava, NMA member secretary.

It now remains to be seen as to how the high court authorities and the NMA interpret the Supreme Court ruling.






Supreme Court dismisses tax case against Vodafone


In a major setback to the government, the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday quashed a Bombay High Court judgment that had allowed the Income Tax (I-T) authorities to impose a Rs.11,000 crore tax on Vodafone for the Rs.55,000 crore acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchinson Essar Ltd’s telecom business in India.

Vodafone had questioned the tax demand on the ground that the two firms involved in the deal were not incorporated in India and the deal had not taken place in India but in Cayman Islands.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, in two separate but concurring judgments, directed the government to return Rs.2,500 crore taken as an interim amount during the pendency of the appeal with an interest of four per cent within two months.

The SC registry has also been directed to return within four weeks, the bank guarantee of Rs.8,500 crore given by the telecom major.

“Shareholding in companies incorporated outside India is property located outside India. Where such shares become subject matter of offshore transfer between two non-residents, there is no liability for capital gains tax,” Justice Kapadia and Justice Swatanter Kumar said in their judgment.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan agreed with the majority verdict but chose to use harsher words. “The demand of nearly Rs.12,000 crore by way of capital gains tax, in my view, would amount to imposing capital punishment for capital investment since it lacks authority of law and, therefore, stands quashed,” he said in a separate judgment.

Justice Kapadia, who wrote the majority judgment, said there was no liability to pay tax as the transaction concerned an “outright sale” between two non-residents of a capital asset (share) outside India.

“We hold that the Offshore Transaction herein is a bona fide structured FDI investment into India which fell outside India’s territorial tax jurisdiction, hence it is not taxable,” the Chief Justice said, adding that the offshore transaction evidences participative investment and not a sham or tax avoidant preordained transaction.

It is the task of the court to ascertain the legal nature of the transaction and while doing so it has to look at the entire transaction as a whole and not to adopt a dissecting approach as adopted by the revenue authorities, Justice Kapadia said.





Lokpal Bill bound to come: CIC–CIC/902415/


Press Trust of India : Chennai, Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:08 hrs
Observing that people “had lost faith and trust in the government,” the Chief Information Commissioner on Friday said that the Lokpal Bill was “bound to come”, adding that it would come under focus in the forthcoming Budget Session in Parliament.

“Lokpal or the Jan Lokpal… is likely to again spring back to the central stage as soon as the Budget Session is announced…It is bound to come because people have lost faith, trust in the government. Not so much in the government, but in the government servants,” said Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra while addressing a workshop on the RTI Act here.

Holding that Lokpal was an “insistent demand”, the CIC said: “Lokpal is a very important institution. I hope some day, it will come.”










With 26k cases due, CIC losing relevance


Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 02.44AM IST

NEW DELHI: With an addition of nearly 2,500 complaints every month, the Central Information Commission (CIC), which has an astounding 26,049 pending cases is well on its way to becoming redundant. The reason: the CIC disposed off 22,414 cases last year, which means that there is a pendency of 14 months for every appeal and complaint making the information received by the applicant outdated and often useless.

Commission chief Satyananda Mishra expressed concern saying, “If the pendency continues increasing, the waiting period will also increase. We are very concerned and will have to think of radical ways to tackle the problem. One of the issues that we will discuss is `summary disposal’ of cases through just speaking orders to save time.”

The CIC has six information commissioners, including its chief, though it has a sanctioned strength of 10. One of the first tasks undertaken by Mishra on taking over was to write to the government asking for more commissioners keeping in view the large number of cases coming to the CIC. However, there has been little progress in ramping up the strength so far.

RTI activists are concerned and have been vocal in their disapproval of the long waiting time. One prominent RTI activist, who did not wish to be named, said, “The hearing for a case where I had sought information took place three months ago and in fact only the formal order had to be issued since I was given the impression that the decision had been taken. However, I have still not heard from the office of the information commissioner.

Prof Rajeev Kumar, formerly with IIT-Kharagpur, said that he had sought information on IIT-Madras in 2010 and only managed to get hearing in September, 2011. “I received the order after three months in December, 2011 and even then the institute gave me only part of the information. It was of no use. Despite the long delay the no penalty was charged. CIC has become infructuous,” Kumar said.

Sources said that some cases as old as 2006 were still pending before the Commission with no action being taken.












LEGAL NEWS 13.01.2012

Indian High Commission lodges protest with BBC over “racist” programme

Hasan Suroor

Top Gear appears to “mock” Indian culture and reinforce cultural stereotypes

The Indian High Commission here has protested to the BBC over a programme on India that it said was “replete with cheap jibes and tasteless humour and lacked the cultural sensitivity that we expect from the BBC.”

Top Gear, a popular motoring programme watched by millions of viewers, is presented by Jeremy Clarkson, one of the “star” presenters who has been previously involved in a series of controversies, including allegations of racism made by, among others, the Chinese and the Mexicans.

‘Light-hearted road trip’

When the BBC sought permission to film a special edition of Top Gear, it described the programme as a “light-hearted road trip” whose “key ingredients will be [India’s] beautiful scenery, busy city scenes, local charm and colour within these locations, areas to illustrate the local car culture that exists in India.”

The High Commission, however, was shocked that the finished product shown over Christmas bore little resemblance to the promised format.

Instead, it appeared to “mock” Indian culture and reinforce cultural stereotypes about India.

India House said the BBC was in “breach” of the agreement on the basis of which it was given permission to film in India.

It demanded that the BBC make “amends, especially to assuage the hurt sentiments of a large number of people.” Given India’s long and “valued” relationship with the BBC, it was “extremely disappointed” and felt let down.

The High Commission was reportedly deluged with angry phone calls and letters from Indian viewers. The BBC admitted that it had received 23 complaints and said it would respond directly to the High Commission in “due course.”

Labour MP Keith Vaz called for a “swift apology” from the BBC and Mr. Clarkson.

Spoof ‘trade mission’

The 90-minute programme, dressed up as a spoof British “trade mission” to India, opens with a scene outside Number 10 Downing Street, purporting to show Prime Minister David Cameron waving to Mr. Clarkson and his team as they leave for India. It appeared to suggest misleadingly that the programme had the Prime Minister’s “blessings.”

The scenes to which viewers have objected include one wherein Mr. Clarkson shows off a car with a lavatory fitted on its roof and says: “This is perfect for India…”

In another, he is stripped to his underpants as he shows off a trouser press to Delhi’s “good and the great” at a party, saying it had a huge market potential in India.

Banners found offensive

Viewers also objected to banners reading “British IT is good for your company” and “Eat English muffins” that the Clarkson team attached to a train. When the carriages split, the messages become obscene.

Some, however, said the Indians were “over-reacting” and that in fact the programme mocked the British government for its claims to promote trade with India.





Khurshid courts another controversy

J. Balaji

After a show-cause from the Election Commission for “violating the model code of conduct” in Uttar Pradesh, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid has again landed himself in a controversy with it.

This time, the EC is writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking strong exception to Mr. Khurshid’s comment that the Commission came under the administrative control of the Law Ministry.

“This letter by Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, which is drafted but yet to be sent, has nothing to do with the ongoing election process and we just wanted to stress the independence and autonomous stature of our constitutional body,” a senior EC official told The Hindu on Thursday. He described the Minister’s comment as “wishful thinking.”

In a recent interview to a private TV channel, Mr. Khurshid reportedly said the Centre possessed some sort of administrative control over the EC and cited the example of the Law Ministry signing crucial documents when one of its Commissioners went abroad for a vacation. Mr. Khurshid was referring to Team Anna’s reservations about the Centre gaining some sort of control over the CBI under the new Lokpal Bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha.

“If the Law Ministry thinks it can control the Commission through foreign tours, it is sadly mistaken,” the EC official said, adding the “Law Ministry serves just like a post-office … only the President approves EC foreign tours,” he said.





No infirmity in clearance to Posco: MoEF tells Green Tribunal


Updated on Thursday, January 12, 2012, 16:24

New Delhi: The Environment Ministry has told the National Green Tribunal that there was no infirmity in its decision to grant environmental clearance to Posco’s mega steel project in Orissa.

“It is submitted that the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) granting the environment clearances is fair and fully informed after taking into account the relevant factors and applicable laws.

“In view of the foregoing, it is submitted that there is no infirmity in the environmental clearance issued by the MoEF and the appeal filed by appellant is liable to be dismissed,” the affidavit filed by the MoEF said.

The MoEF submission to the country’s apex quasi-judicial panel to adjudicate environment issues, came in response to a petition seeking quashing of the environmental clearance granted to Posco on ground that it was “contrary to the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006” and was “illegal and arbitrary”.

Prafulla Samantray, an environmentalist, had filed the petition though advocate Ritwik Dutta contending that the Memorandum of Understanding between the Orissa government and POSCO states that the project is for production of 12 million tons of steel per annum (MTPA).

The EIA report, however, has been prepared only for 4 MTPA steel production in the first phase, while the impact on environment in case of steel production by the plant to its full capacity would be much more, he pointed out.






TDSAT sets aside penalities on new operators; DoT to refund


Updated on Friday, January 13, 2012, 13:22

New Delhi: In a major development, the telecom tribunal TDSAT, Friday set aside all penalties imposed by the government on new telecom operators for delay in meeting roll out obligations of services.

The TDSAT bench headed by Justice S B Sinha said that DoT did not follow “principals of natural justice” and did not give any opportunity to the telecom operators before imposing penalty or liquidated damages.

The tribunal further directed the government to refund the amount collected from the operators with 12 percent interest within 4-weeks from Friday.

According to estimates available, the DoT has collected so far over Rs 300 crore against claims of about Rs 400 crore from the new telecom operators as liquidated damages during the last one year.

Penalties have been imposed on new telecom operators, including Etisalat DB, Videocon, Loop, Aircel and Uninor among others.

TDSAT’s ruling came forward over a batch of 70 petitions filed by various telecom operators challenging liquidated damages imposed on them by DoT for various circles.

It also directed DoT to give a fresh hearing to the telecom operators on this issue in accordance with today’s judgement.

The tribunal further said that if there was any ambiguity in the terms of licence, the benefit has to be given in favour of licensee (operator) and it is against the licensor (DoT).

It also held that the DoT has not suffered any damages according to the law.

Earlier, passing an interim order in this matter, the tribunal had directed various telecom operators to deposit 60 percent of the liquidated damages imposed by the DoT.

Following today’s order, now the government will refund the amount along with the interest to the operators.

The DoT had imposed penalty over the operators who were alloted spectrum in 2008 during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja for delay in raising necessary infrastructure to commence their service obligations.







AISF opposes education bills

Staff Reporter

National council meeting in April to chalk out course of action

All India Students Federation (AISF) national council meeting in April will decide the future course in the second phase of agitation against the controversial Foreign Educational Institution bill, Education Tribunal bill, Higher Education bill and the Right To Education Act-2010 which are contrary to the interests of the student community, according to AISF national general secretary Abhay Taksal.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, he said that the AISF is totally opposed to the bills which were referred to the standing committee of Parliament, the Chairman of which was Oscar Fernandez. The Education Tribunal bill is being opposed only to prevent tribunalisation of education. If this is passed issues relating to education would be relegated to controversies and will be in danger of getting blocked in tribunals. A bill of the kind is not good for democracy, he said. Similarly the Foreign Education Institutions bill does not guarantee quality of education through foreign institutions nor were any checks ensured for verifying the bona-fides of foreign institutions. The bill has not created any mechanism to detect fake foreign institutions. Many students are in danger of falling into the trap of bogus institutions.

‘No plan’

The AISF general secretary said that the government has no plans to strengthen the government schools and institutions which were experiencing 85 per cent drop-out at the primary school level throughout the country.

Earlier, addressing Industrial Training Institute (ITI) students who participated in the state conference at Andhra University campus here on Wednesday, Abhay called upon the students to fight for qualitative education and employment opportunities to the ITI diploma holders.

About 400 delegates from around the state participated in the conference.

AITUC state honorary president B.V.Rama Rao said that the ITI students should be given scholarships and hostel facilities apart from creating job opportunities to students who complete their respective courses.

AITUC state convenor A.Ayyaswamy and CPI district secretary J.V.V.Sathyanarayana and several district leaders participated.






Govt faces Supreme Court ire over pendency


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 06.11AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said pendency of 3 crore cases could not be effectively dealt with unless the government created more courts and filled vacancies because annual disposal of cases by trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court only matched the numbers filed every year, leaving the backlog untouched.

If a bench of Justices A K Ganguly and T S Thakur questioned additional solicitor general Harin Raval on the Centre’s policy decisions on judicial reforms including speeding up of justice delivery, another bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar was critical of the UPA government’s decision to scrap fast-track courts.

The bench of Justices Ganguly and Thakur accepted Raval’s contention that it would be a mismatch if the government was asked to create more posts of judges when a large number of such posts was lying vacant.

But it wanted to know from the ASG whether any of the policy decisions intended to create more courts in view of a finding that the country would require 75,000 more trial judges in the next three decades.

It asked the Centre to refer to the Law Commission, which is doing a comprehensive study in this regard, to include in its terms of reference the need for increasing the number of courts and ways and means to deal with the vacancy problem.

On the other hand, amicus curiae and senior advocate P S Narasimha drew the attention of a bench of Justices Patnaik and Kumar to the scrapping of fast-track courts from March 31, 2011.

The bench said during the All India Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, there was unanimity that FTCs had played a constructive role in reducing arrears and should be continued.

It looked into the law ministry’s file relating to discontinuation of these courts and found that a decision had been taken to run morning and evening courts in place of fast-track courts. Narasimha said whenever there was an attempt to hinder speedy justice, constitutional courts had inherent power to take necessary corrective measures to ensure financial grants to sustain existing justice delivery system. The bench reserved verdict on the issue.







Plea against maritime VC dismissed

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.12AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has dismissed a writ petition against the appointment of Captain M Baweja as vice-chancellor of the Indian Maritime University (IMU), effectively vacating a stay order issued last week.

Justice B Rajendran, who stayed the appointment last week, dismissed the main writ petition itself on Thursday in view of certain new facts that were brought to his notice. First, the former vice-chancellor P Vijayan, who had challenged the appointment of Baweja, had not revealed the fact that after his tenure had ended he had been appointed director and he had reported for duty as director on November 23, 2011. Baweja had assumed charge as VC on November 18 itself.







Protection sought to wakf properties

Special Correspondent

Syed Farees Ahmed, a businessman, has filed a writ petition in the High Court against the misuse of valuable wakf properties in the State and sought action against the encroachers.

Mr. Ahmed told presspersons here on Wednesday that nearly 80,000 acres of the 1.50 lakh acre wakf land was under encroachment. The Wakf Board was unable to protect its property for want of adequate staff. Government should give permission to the Board to recruit staff since a large number of persons had retired over the years. By not approving cadre strength in time, the government was causing loss to the wakf properties. Mr. Ahmed accused K.M. Arifuddin, secretary, Majlise Shura Dasti Parcha Bafi Harmain Shareefain of grabbing wakf properties in the city and sought action against him.






Prepare teachers to check cheating during exams, HC tells Jamia


Express news service : New Delhi, Fri Jan 13 2012, 00:02 hrs

Taking note of the rise in cases of cheating during examinations, the Delhi High Court has asked educational institutions to instruct their invigilators to curb such activities. The court also said a clear message needs to be sent out to students against cheating.

“It is unfortunate that the malady of examinees resorting to unfair means seems to be spreading like wild fire. Every other day, there are reported cases of blatant cheating by examinees themselves or with the assistance of accomplices,” said Justice Hima Kohli, who adjudicates writ petitions pertaining to educational institutions.

The court was adjudicating a petition by a student of a part-time MBA course in Jamia Millia Islamia, who was denied a promotion to the next year after he was found in possession of an objectionable paper while taking his exam on January 18, last year.

While the student argued that the paper was an official document and had nothing to do with the exam, the university cancelled all his exams for that year and withheld his promotion.

During the hearing, the student produced the photo copy of the impugned paper, leaving the court to wonder how could it have been in his possession. Subsequent enquiry by the court disclosed that nobody from the invigilation team had confiscated the paper.

This meant there was no proof to establish that the impugned paper could have helped the petitioner cheat, noted the court.

Left with no alternative, the court then gave the benefit of doubt to the petitioner and set aside Jamia’s adverse order.






2G scam case: Court proceedings interrupted by striking lawyers

PTI Jan 12, 2012, 02.53PM IST

NEW DELHI: The ongoing trial in the 2G case was disrupted today due to the day-long strike being observed by all district court lawyers to press for their demand to transfer property dispute cases from the Delhi High Court to lower courts.

The trial in the 2G case began as scheduled in the morning with the examination of prosecution witness Tarun Das, a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) official, but it had to be adjourned after striking lawyers repeatedly entered the courtroom and requested to stop the proceedings.

“All the lawyers please go out of the court room. I am requesting you all and please cooperate with us. We are not fighting for an individual. We are fighting for the rights of you people (lawyers). This (2G) case is going on daily basis and not much harm will be caused if it is adjourned for a day,” New Delhi Bar Association Secretary Sunil Chaudhary told other lawyers present in the court room.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini adjourned the matter till tomorrow after the members of the bar association interrupted the proceedings thrice.

Rajiv Khosla, spokesperson of the Co-ordination Committee of the bar associations of all the six district courts, claimed, “The strike is a complete success. Not even a single lawyer is appearing in any matter in any trial court”.

At present, all property disputes up to the value of Rs 20 lakh are handled by district courts and those exceeding the amount are taken up by the High Court, he said, pointing out that 95 per cent properties in Delhi are valued more than that as per the new circle rates announced by the government.

Khosla said the decision to go on a day-long strike was taken last week by the bars’ co-ordination committee to draw attention of the Centre and the Delhi government to the plight of litigants who have to approach the Delhi High Court for settlement of their civil disputes irrespective of the fact that it causes “great inconvenience” to them.

He also claimed the time taken in disposal of a case in the high court is approximately 10 to 12 years in comparison to two to three years taken by a district court.






‘CBI director needn’t appear before trial court’

January 12, 2012


New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed a joint director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to appear before a trial court in place of the agency’s chief, who had been summoned over some missing documents related to an alleged land scam here.

“In my opinion, it would be difficult for the director of CBI to appear personally before the trial court as he has to oversee entire function of the agency,” the court said.

Special Judge A.K. Mendiratta Dec 21, 2010 had issued notice to the CBI director to appear before it Jan 12.

“Joint director of CBI would appear before the trial court instead of CBI director, the order of trial court dated Dec 21, 2010 is modified to that extent,” Justice Suresh Kait ruled.

“CBI should ensure that it shall provide complete details and assistance to the trial court,” the high court said.

The CBI director had Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court against the trial court order.

The case relates to Delhi Vidhan Sabha canteen’s former contractor Ashok Malhotra, who was arrested Aug 6, 2007 along with Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Development Authority officials for allegedly conspiring to acquire plots – in Molarband in south Delhi and Dheerpur in north Delhi – meant for resettlement of slum dwellers.

The CBI chief was summoned to explain the circumstances in which facts regarding the missing documents were suppressed in the trial court.

The trial court came to know about the missing documents Nov 28, 2011 when it was told by the CBI that the documents and the statements could not be filed in the court as the investigating officer of the case, Inspector D.K. Thakur, was arrested in a corruption case.

The CBI also told the court that the case record was not handed over by Thakur to any other colleague and the documents relied upon by the probe agency could not be recovered from his office.

Special CBI judge in his order said: “Notice be issued to the director, CBI, to appear in person to explain the circumstances in which facts regarding the missing documents were suppressed.”

“The matter is of exceptional nature as the sensitive documents relating to the case have not been placed along with the chargesheet and are stated to be missing,” said the court.







Congress ‘convicted’ candidate: High Court reserves verdict

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 08.42PM IST

LUCKNOW: Justice Ajay Lamba of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved verdict on the criminal appeal filed by Dilip Kumar Verma, Congress candidate from Nanpara assembly constituency.

The appeal is against judgement of a trial court in Bahriach which sentenced Verma to five year’s jail term for offences under Arms Act and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The trial court had convicted Dilip and Kuldip Verma for assaulting a police constable Shiv Sahay and a home guard Ram Bahadur Singh in full public view.

Verma’s lawyer Nagendra Mohan, however, argued that since a police officer to the rank of sub-inspector had investigated the matter, the conviction under SC/ST Act does not sustain. He also contended that since the appellants had not used the weapons, the offences under Arms Act were also not established. It is unnatural that two cops armed with official weapons could be assaulted without any offering any resistance, argued the lawyer. Additional government advocate Rajendra Kumar Dwivedi vehemently opposed the appeal and said that the apex court held that an investigation conducted by an inferior officer would not vitiate the judgement rendered by the trial court. “If the weapons are put on chest to threaten the persons, it cannot be said that the weapon is not used. In fact it is misused,” argued Dwivedi.

Dilip carries a long criminal history of seven cases including murder and attempt to murder registered in different police stations of Bahraich. The investigating officer had collected the said antecedent and cited in the case diary. Dilip is also facing trial in a Bahraich court relating to attempted murder in which he along with his supporters had attacked upon a police station and assaulted police officers, when he was a MLA of the Samajwadi Party in 2004.






What if it is your family’s obscene image?: High Court to Google

Harsimran Julka, ET Bureau Jan 12, 2012, 10.12PM IST

The Delhi HC on Thursday refused to quash a criminal complaint against Google and Facebook on inflammatory content, saying that today it may be obscene images of Gods and Goddesses but tomorrow it can be ‘a family member’s image’ posted on social networks.

The Hon’ble Judge Suresh Cait refused to accept Google India’s argument that it is just a distributor of Google Inc’s Adwords program but added that liability falls on it as it is a ‘beneficiary’ and does business in India.

“If a contraband is found in your house, it your liability to take action against it,” the judge told lawyers from Facebook India and Google India, 100% subsidiaries of the world’s two largest internet companies.

The Judge has scheduled Monday, January 16, as the date of a furthur hearing. He refused to quash the criminal complaint pending in the Patiala House court, which is due for hearing on Friday.




PIL for CBI probe into MGNREGA bungling in HC


11.1.2012 (UNI) Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply by January 30 on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

A division bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Rituraj Awasthi gave this direction on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sachidanand Gupta, who demanded a CBI probe into the irregularities committed by the state government in MGNREGA.

The petitioner has alleged a large-scale bungling in the public money sent by the Centre under MGNREGA. It also demanded action against those involved in the irregularities.

The court has fixed January 30 as next date of hearing. UNI







State govt not opposed to preserving Hope Bridge

TNN Jan 12, 2012, 11.06PM IST

AHMEDABAD: State government on Thursday told the Gujarat high court that it is not averse to preserving the Hope Bridge on river Tapi and suggested that the court constitutes a committee to find out the possibilities of preserving the 130-year-old structure.

In response to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by retired IPS officer J S Bindra, government pleader Prakash Jani submitted an affidavit stating that the state government is not against the demand of the petitioner. The only concern it has is to examine all aspects for the purpose of preservation of the bridge.

Senior counsel Jani also submitted that the committee should be formed consisting director of geology, an official from central geological department, experts from Archeological Survey of India, an expert structural engineer to check strength of the bridge and concerned officials from Surat Municipal Corporation. This committee needs to be directed to give their opinion as early as possible.

The government pleader also brought it to the notice of the court that the ASI has expressed its willingness to help the authorities in preserving the structure. However, the process requires a nod from the Centre, if the structure is to be preserved as a heritage monument.

Though the state government is the owner of the bridge, SMC has been looking after it because the bridge has been handed over to the civic body by the government. SMC, however, has expressed its reservations against the state government’s willingness for preservation of the bridge. Its counsel argued that SMC has decided to pull down the unstable structure and to construct a new bridge in its place.

When SMC’s lawyer contended that a contract to dismantle the bridge has already been awarded and dismantling work had started, the bench of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice J B Pardiwala remarked that the contract was awarded after PIL was filed.

However, SMC is to file its affidavit next week in response to the state government’s stand. Further hearing will take place on January 19, and until then, SMC has assured that dismantling work will not resume.






No evening courts, says chief justice
– 67 additional ones to cope with backlog


Ranchi, Jan. 12: Jharkhand will not be getting evening courts anytime soon owing to its law and order situation and will have to do with 67 additional courts proposed by Chief Justice Prakash Tatia to cut down on judicial arrears.

In an exclusive interview to The Telegraph, Tatia, who took over as chief justice of Jharkhand High Court in September last year, said the evening court plan, as conceived by the 13th Finance Commission, was not feasible in the state.

Appearing to hint at the Maoist menace, the chief justice said he had proposed 67 additional courts, including 31 headed by district judges and 36 by judicial magistrate-rank officials, to reduce the number of pending cases.

He added that the state government would not have to bear the cost of additional courts as central funds were available under the 13th Finance Commission to foot the bill.

The chief justice revealed that family courts had been authorised to function on Sundays for which judges and other staff would be paid extra. “Holiday courts will be introduced as it was found that several litigants were working couples for whom it will be convenient to contest cases on a holiday,” he said.

Maintaining that vacancies in the lower judiciary would be filled up by April-end, Justice Tatia, who was shifted to Jharkhand from Rajasthan High Court, said non-execution of warrants by the police was one of the main reasons why cases remained pending.

“We have set up a task force at the district level to serve summons on accused and ensure appearance of witnesses to take cases to their logical end. We are working on a special cell to ensure the presence of witnesses in sensitive districts like Khunti where the police are not able to serve summons,” he said, adding that old cases and litigation involving senior citizens, women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes were in focus. “We have assigned one bench to hear heinous crime cases and another to hear and monitor corruption cases,” he said.

Lauding the role of public interest litigations (PIL), Tatia said they have been good for Jharkhand, in an obvious reference to registration of corruption cases against several high profile persons. However, he was quick to add that several steps were being taken to weed out frivolous PILs.

The chief justice said under the state litigation policy, every PIL petitioner would have to first move the nodal officer appointed in every department seeking remedy to his/her problem. “If the government fails to serve the public interest, then he will file the petition along with the reply from the government,” Tatia pointed out.

He said the senior-most judge of the high court (Justice R.K. Merathia) would scrutinise the letters received by the court for conversion into a PIL.

In order to usher in more computer usage, Tatia said judicial officers, around 438 of them, were being taught to communicate through email. “They have been asked to check their mail everyday for communiqués from the high court to act upon or if they want to send any query about the status of a case,” he said.

The chief justice said a huge number of cases have been pending in subordinate courts for years because they had been stayed by Jharkhand High Court. In some cases, it was found that the high court had not stayed the case but the lower courts had been misled.

“The high court found that a case of property dispute has been pending in the Ranchi civil court for 20 years on the grounds that it had been stayed. But in reality, there was no stay,” Tatia said, adding he had directed judicial officers to immediately get in touch with the high court to know the actual status of cases. An assistant registrar has been deputed to respond to queries from judicial officers.


The chief justice said a large number of cases are gathering dust in the lower courts on the ground that they had been stayed by the Patna High Court before Jharkhand was created. A special messenger was being sent to Patna to get the status of all such cases.

“Pendency is a stigma for the judiciary. So, we are going to go to the root of the problem to get the real data of pending cases,” he added.

Over 2.8 lakh cases are pending in subordinate courts, while those in Jharkhand High Court are pegged at over 62,000.

“We have begun monitoring the subordinate judiciary through video conferencing. The purpose is to motivate officers and not to find fault. But, they will face the music if they fail to improve,” Tatia signed off.






‘43% of ore exported in 2010-11 illegally extracted’

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 03.08AM IST

PANAJI: Goa Foundation on Thursday claimed that 43% of ore exported from Goa in 2010-2011 was illegally extracted.

Goa Foundation director Claude Alvares said, “From official figures provided by two separate and independent government sources-directorate of mines and geology (DMG) and Indian bureau of mines (IBM)-it is clear that more than 43% of iron ore exports from Goa in 2010-11 came from illegal or unauthorized mining operations.”

He added that illegal ore exports in the year 2009-10 were to the tune of 33%.

Data giving details of production and exports for 2009-10 and 2010-11 was provided as an affidavit in response to the Goa Foundation PIL on illegal mining in the high court of Bombay at Goa.

Alvares claims that DMG and IBM had provided divergent data on the number of working leases.

While DMG stated that 91 leases operated in 2009-10, IBM said 114 leases operated the same year. Alvares questioned as to what had happened to ore produced and royalty payments of those 23 missing leases.

Alvares also noted that according to the DMG affidavit, in 2010-11 total production was 48.38mt (million tons) of iron ore while the exports were 54.03mt. Hence exports exceeded production by 5.65mt.

The DMG affidavit does not disclose the sources from where unaccounted 5.65mt were obtained. The sources of this ore are important to ascertain that it was not extracted from illegal mines, Alvares said.

IBM data clearly and unambiguously declares that production from so called “reject dumps” is “excess production” which is outside and beyond permitted production. Hence it does not have the sanction of IBM which is the concerned statutory authority and is therefore illegal.

The DMG affidavit acknowledges that 12.60mt of ore were produced from dumps in 2009-10. The corresponding IBM figure for that year is 7.11mt. The difference of 5.49mt reported by these two statutory authorities is truly astonishing, Alvares said. He added that it appeared that mining companies are reporting different quantities to different statutory authorities or else the variations would not have occurred.

Based on information provided by DMG in 2009-10, 39 mining leases with environmental clearance (EC) limit of 17.31mt, produced 24.64mt, an excess of 7.33mt. The combined EC limit of 31 leases was 14.82mt while they produced 27.06mt, an excess of 12.24mt.

Even data from IBM confirms that in 2009-10, 31 mining leases exceeded their target by 3.26mt while dumps production in excess was 7.11mt, a total of 10.37mt.

DMG states that their figure of illegal extraction is 6,000 tonnes from a single mine in the year 2010-2011, which is based on records available in the office. Goa foundation feels this a fit case for a CBI inquiry. tnn






Mayawati shuts all her parks

Neha Shukla, TNN Jan 12, 2012, 07.08AM IST

(Covering the giant-sized jumbos proved to be a mammoth task for the 100-odd workers at Gomtinagar’s Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal here on Tuesday as gutsy winter wind made the task difficult.)

LUCKNOW: With cardboard shielding Mayawati statues from public gaze and yellow tarpaulin draping the elephants, the government took the unusual step of closing down the city’s parks altogether.

The EC on Saturday ordered covering of Maya’s statues and that of her party symbol, the elephant, at the city’s parks till the polls were over to ensure BSP does not have an edge over other parties in publicity. Wednesday was the deadline to complete the cover-up operation.

But the government decided to not just stop with the cover-up exercise. “The ECI had ordered draping of statues, we decided to close down the parks completely,” Lucknow DM Anil Kumar Sagar told TOI. Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said: “We will talk to the EC of India about this tomorrow (Thursday) and see what it has to say.” On Wednesday, when TOI visited the parks, reporters weren’t allowed in, with the guards saying the parks were closed to public. There are nine such parks in the city dedicated to dalit icons and built at an estimated Rs 3,500 crore. On Wednesday, the government made no formal announcement about the closure of parks.

Initially, it appeared the parks were closed because of the presence of labourers draping the statues. But that was not the case, though no one was venturing an explanation. The security supervisors at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan sthal, Gomtinagar, merely informed that all the parks have been closed till polls are over.

The staff said, they had been told that it’s an EC direction. But, EC officials denied there were any such directions. Public entry has been barred to parks that allow ticket-based entry. Premises like Smriti Upvan were open to the public, though journalists were not allowed inside.

The government, after covering all the statues, submitted its status report to the Election Commission of India. However, while the statues of Mayawati have been covered at all places with ply-boards, elephants at some of the places were not covered till late Wednesday evening. EC had given a deadline of 5 pm on Wednesday to cover all the statues.

PIL dismissed

Allahabad High Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL against the January 7 EC order asking UP government to cover all Mayawati statues and those of elephants installed in Lucknow, Noida and other places by January 11. The judges said the petitioner hadn’t disclosed his credentials and the PIL stood dismissed as withdrawn.






Age (issue) of honour, integrity: Army chief

New Delhi, Fri Jan 13 2012, 01:27 hrs

Maintaining that he has not yet thought of the next course of action regarding the controversy over his date of birth, Army Chief General V K Singh today refused to get into the details of the issue during his annual interaction ahead of Army Day, saying that he doesn’t want to vitiate the environment with comments that can be given a “vicious spin”.

Downplaying the controversy, Gen. Singh said that the issue has always been one of “honour and integrity” and has not affected relations between the Army and the Defence Ministry in any way.

“It (the controversy) is an issue that I will desist from answering anything. Someone has gone to court (referring to a PIL on the matter that is pending before the SC) and all kinds of speculations are going on. There is no point in vitiating things the way they are,” Singh said.

“The issue is that of integrity and honour, right from the time the issue came to the forefront, it has been tackled by me in organisational interest,” he said, adding that the only impact of the controversy has been on his family, and within the four walls of his house.

Singh said that he needed time to think of his next course of action. “Please leave it to my judgement what I want to do. It is an issue that concerns me and I may decide on some actions after I get time to think about it. I have to find time to think about it,” he said adding that if the facts are viewed in a neutral manner, the image of the armed forces has not been affected by the age controversy.






Prosecutor scuttled sonography case: PIL

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 13, 2012A public interest litigation has been filed against an additional public prosecutor for being absent during court hearings to allegedly help an accused go scot-free in a case related to the misuse of sonography machines. Appearing for petitioner, Prakash Pise, advocate VP Patil

argued before the Bombay high court that the additional public prosecutor of Solapur sessions court was continuously absent to help the accused get a discharge from the case. Patil also contended that the government pleader was hand-in-glove in the matter by not filing an appeal in this regard.

Although Patil sought time to get back to the court on details regarding the offences registered against the accused, a division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice Mridula Bhatkar took serious note of this and directed public prosecutor PA Pol to reply on what action the state is proposing to take in this matter.

“They are appointed to protect the interest of justice. Prosecutors can’t remain absent like this,” the court said.

“If they remain absent like this, what will happen to the system,” the court observed.

Patil had reproduced the judgement of the Solapur sessions court which had observed that in spite of calling the additional public prosecutor on various occasions, he remained absent. No application for adjournment was made, the judgement also noted.

Pise has now sought for action to be taken against the officials by the principal secretary (Law and Order). Pise, who is an advocate and social worker, has also sought for restraining the officials from continuing with their work before the concerned court.






Unhappy court visits rape spot

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 02.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: Not satisfied with the police probe in a case where an epileptic girl was allegedly gang-raped, a trial court on Thursday took the investigation in to its own hands. For the first time, a trial court judge visited the place of the incident to find the missing links in the story of the prosecution so that the victim is given justice.

When the investigating officer failed to prepare a site plan of where the girl was purportedly held captive for three days, it led to a lot of disagreement between the defence and the prosecution. To put the “controversy” at rest, Additional Sessions judge Kamini Lau visited the crime spot.

“During the course of arguments a major controversy and disagreement has emerged on the issues with regard to the house of the maternal uncle of the victim where she had come on a visit, the place from where the victim was allegedly kidnapped and the place where the victim was held captive for three days and allegedly gang-raped. Also, the place where the victim was allegedly spotted and recovered is not clear. No site plan (rough or scaled) has been placed on record either by the prosecution or by the defence on the basis of which the said controversy can be determined and decided,” the court observed in its order.

The judge said linking the missing dots was “material” to the case. “In the interest of justice in order to appreciate the evidence on the aforesaid aspects in the present trial it has become necessary for the Court to visit and inspect the following spots,” it said while intimating the Delhi high court about its decision.

The court’s decision found acceptance with the defence as well as the prosecution. After the visit, the court filed its report, which will be taken into consideration while deciding the case. The case will be heard again on January 13.

The court’s decision found acceptance with both defence and prosecution. It has filed the report that will be taken into consideration while deciding the case






City Briefs: Land scam: CBI gets 4 weeks to trace missing documents

Express news service : Fri Jan 13 2012, 02:36 hrs

Land scam: CBI gets 4 weeks to trace missing documents

New Delhi: A special CBI court at Tis Hazari on Thursday gave the agency four weeks time to trace missing documents relating to the Molarband and Dheerpur land scam, involving food vendor Ashok Malhotra. Special CBI Judge A K Mendiratta gave the direction to the agency as its Deputy Inspector General of Police S K Palsania appeared before him and submitted that over 200 documents have already been traced while the statements of some witnesses are still missing. The case will come up for hearing on February 15. “It is a case of extraordinary circumstances. The IO of the case was arrested in a trap case and sent to judicial custody. He came out only after 60 days,” Palsania told the court.

Judge inspects scene of crime

New Delhi: To verify evidence in a gangrape case involving an epileptic minor girl, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau on Thursday conducted a personal inspection of the crime scene, as police had failed to prepare a site plan for the incident. ASJ Lau’s action came after an argument on Wednesday regarding the places from where the girl was allegedly kidnapped, held captive and gangraped, and finally spotted and recovered. The judge was accompanied by the public prosecutor and the counsels for the defence.

Domestic help arrested for looting

NEW DELHI: A domestic help was arrested on Thursday for allegedly looting gold jewellery and a mobile phone — a total worth of around Rs 4.14 lakh — from Safdarjung Enclave. Anita was arrested after her employer Jaya Rakesh complained that she was looted at knife-point by the domestic help, hired recently. Jaya said Anita had locked her inside the bathroom and ransacked the house. Police recovered four gold bangles, a gold chain with pendant and a mobile phone from Anita.






Man gets 8 years imprisonment in fake currency case

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.29AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Additional District Judge (ADJ) XXVI, Anil Kumar Singh on Thursday sentenced Amir Mahfooz, the main accused in fake currency case to eight years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 75,000 under Section 389 B and 389 C of Indian Penal Code(IPC) after fake currency amounting to Rs 6,500 was recovered from his possession on August 14, 2008 by a team of Ghoorpur police near Iradatgunj railway station.

Pleading the case, government advocate, Irfan Ahmad said that the accused Amir Mahfooz, resident of Chak Hidayatpur under Ghoorpur police station was arrested by a team of Ghoorpur police station near Iradatgunj railway station on August 14, 2008 and fake currency amounting to Rs 6,500 in denominations of 12 notes of Rs 500 and 5 notes of Rs 100 were recovered from his possession.

At that time, Mahfooz’s links were also traced with the banned students outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI) and he was found involved in illegal activities, after which a team of Mumbai and Gujarat police led by the slain chief of Anti Terrorist Squad(ATS) of Mumbai police, late, Hemant Karkare had also come to the city to interrogate him.

After hearing the argument, ADJ, XXVI, convicted the accused to 8 years of rigorous imprisonment alongwith a fine of Rs 50,000 under Section 389 B of Indian Penal Code(IPC).Besides this the judge also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the accused under Section 389 C of IPC and ordered that failure to pay the sum would entail additional imprisonment of six months.






Jarawa dance: Case registered against unknown persons


Posted: Jan 12, 2012 at 1323 hrs IST

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Port Blair Police have registered a case against unknown persons in connection with the shooting and uploading of a video showing semi-naked Jarawa tribal women dancing in front of tourists.

The case was registered under the Indian Penal Code, Information and Technology Act, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes and Protection of Aboriginal Tribes, official sources said here today.

Andaman and Nicobar Police have formed a special team led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police which will seek help of cyber cells of central agencies in cracking the computer from where it has been hosted.

The case has been registered under section 292 of Indian Penal Code (showing obscene material), section 67 of IT act (Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form), section 3 (2) of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes (forces a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance).

The case has also been registered under section 7 (entering buffer zone for commercial activities) and section 8 (promoting tourism activities through any advertisement about Jarawa tribes) of Protection of Aboriginal Tribes.

The issue had sparked controversy when London-based newspaper ‘Observer’ reported the alleged incident and also uploaded a video.

The Centre has sought a report from the Union Territory administration.

In its preliminary report, the administration had said it would initiate prosecution against the videographer involved in the coverage for a British newspaper for “inciting” the tribals to dance in front of tourists.

The video footage was condemned as “obnoxious and disgusting” by Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo. According to reports, there are just 403 surviving members of the Jarawa tribe who live in reserve forests on south Andaman.

The Home Ministry had directed the local administration to find out when the video was photographed, how the primitive tribals living in seclusion came in contact with outsiders and to find out the people responsible for their exploitation.

The Home Ministry may take punitive action against people responsible for the alleged act and if the reports are found to be genuine, an official said.






Gujarat CM, HM culpable in 2002 riots: Ex-DGP

Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 22:25 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

Former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar today filed his ninth affidavit before the Nanavati Commission, in which he claimed that Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the then Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadafia among others were culpable under IPC section 166 in relation with the 2002 riots.

Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 166 is applicable for offence by public servant in disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person.

In his affidavit, Sreekumar, who was ADGP (intelligence) in 2002 has further asked the Commission to take necessary action with regard to his new affidavit.

“Manipulation of the criminal justice system as delineated in my reports to the government was intimated to the chief minister. Home department officials and DGP were also aware of this despicable ground situation. Still no remedial action suggested in my report dated April 24, 2002 was taken,” he claimed.

“The government did not question information in my reports and my supervisory officers also did not ask me to furnish any clarification or explanation on inputs in my reports. This had established that the government had accepted my intelligence assessment reports,” he added.

“The above facts categorically establish that DGP, Home department officials, MOS home and chief minister were culpable for offence under section 166 IPC,” Sreekumar said.






Cabinet defers decision on Piracy Bill

Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 18:33

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday deferred a decision on having a new law that will make piracy at sea a criminal offence.

The Piracy Bill, which was listed for discussion at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was deferred following a request from External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

The Bill seeks to define the offence of piracy and make a a new provision in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to deal with the crime.

India till now has no law on piracy at sea as a result of which the Navy found it difficult to deal with captured pirates.

The Bill seeks life imprisonment for persons indulging in acts of piracy and setting up of special courts to hold speedy trials against pirates.

It also seeks to empower the Navy and Coast Guard to take on pirates in high seas as also the exclusive economic zone.








Vigilance head okays V.S. Achuthanandan probe

Jan 13, 2012


The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau director, Mr. Venugopal K. Nair, on Thursday ordered his officials to register a case against the Opposition leader, Mr. V.S. Achuthanandan, and seven others in connection with the allotment of land to his relative in Kasargod.

The case will be registered at the VACB Kasargod unit and first information report will be submitted before the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance), Kozhikode on Friday.

Charges against the accused include Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for abusing official authority as well as various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.

Mr. Achuthanandan will be arraigned as the first accused. The preliminary probe was conducted by a Vigilance team, led by Northern-range SP, Mr. Habeeb Rahman.

The Vigilance case puts Mr Achuthanandan in a tight spot and pressure is likely to mount on him from within and outside the party to step down as the Opposition Leader. Mr Achuthanandnan, who had taken a principled position in the SNC Lavalin case, demanding that the party secretary, Mr Pinarayi Vijayan, step down from the party post will find the going tough.

The CPI (M) is yet to comment. Mr Vijayan remained silent when reporters sought his comment at a public function. Mr Achuthanandan defended the decision, saying it was done with the full knowledge of the Cabinet.

“Such antics by a ministry, comprising six tainted Ministers, will not wash. Some of them like, Mr P K Kunhalikutty, derives pleasure out of foisting false charges on me”, quipped Mr Achuthanandan.

However, the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, said Mr Achuthanandan only needed to answer whether the beneficiary was his relative and whether officials had acted behind his back.

Now, the question before the party is whether to back Mr Achuthanandan as it had done in the case of Mr Vijayan at the height of the anti-Lavalin campaign.

The central leadership had justified Mr Vijayan, saying he needn’t quit because he did not hold any elective public office. Mr Achuthanandan can afford to remain in office only if Mr Vijayan and the Central leadership lend him a long rope.






CWG scam: Argument on charge from Feb 1

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) A day before starting daily hearing, a special CBI court here Thursday said the argument on charge in a corruption case related to purchase of time-scoring-result (TSR) system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) will start Feb 1.

“The argument on charge on the CWG TSR scam will be held from Feb 1,” said Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh, adding that the case will be taken up on daily basis from Friday.

The court decided Jan 4 that the case would be taken up on daily basis.

The CBI in its first charge sheet in the case against former CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and 10 others described him as a prime accused and the mastermind in the corruption case related to financial irregularities in awarding the Rs.141 crore contract for the TSR system.

The accused officials and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

©Indo-Asian News Service





HC cancels Sai’s CBI custody

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 02.23AM IST

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Thursday suspended the seven-day CBI custody of V Vijay Sai Reddy, accused number two in the Jagan assets case. A vacation bench comprising Justices L Narasimha Reddy and KG Shankar gave the order after hearing a plea filed by the defendant.

The bench noted that the extension of custody was given by an in-charge court on a day when the regular judge of the CBI court was on leave. The court, however, allowed the CBI to move the petition seeking custody before the regular CBI court.






HC issues notice to UP NRHM

Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 08:35

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh NRHM director on a PIL challenging the alleged illegal and arbitrary attitude of the state government in not submitting utilisation certificates to the Centre which has resulted in non-release of further funds.

The petitioner prayed to the Lucknow bench comprising Justices Abdul Mateen and Sunil Halithat that since the authorities are not submitting utilisation certificates, medicines under NRHM scheme are not being procured for the PHCs of the state.

The PIL sought a direction for release of funds for procurement of medicines and directing the state government for completing all formalities for sanctioning of the grant for the procurement under the scheme.

The mission director was directed to file any objection within four weeks.







HC seeks affidavit over surety for Channel

Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 19:28

Mumbai: Hearing the plea of news channel “Times Now” to allow it to furnish corporate guarantee instead of bank guarantee for Rs 80 crore in a defamation suit, the Bombay High Court on Thursday sought an affidavit from the company wanting to give such an undertaking.

“Let the company which wants to give corporate guarantee on behalf of the Channel file an affidavit on January 16,” a bench headed by Justice D K Deshmukh said after hearing a petition seeking modification of an earlier High Court order that asked the broadcaster to give Rs 80 crore bank guarantee.

The petition was filed by Times Global Broadcasting Company, which runs Times Now news channel.

The judges also asked the petitioner to identify the assets it proposed to place before the court in lieu of the bank guarantee amounting to Rs 80 crore.

“The prothonotory of the court will not accept anything without inviting objections from the other side (respondent),” they said.

A Pune court had ordered the news channel to pay Rs 100 crore as damages to former Supreme Court judge P B Sawant for defaming him. The channel had challenged the order in the high court which asked it to deposit Rs 20 crore and furnish a bank guarantee for the balance amount.

The channel prayed that instead of furnishing bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore, the court may permit Bennet Coleman and Co Ltd to give a corporate guarantee on their behalf. The channel said it was facing difficulty in procuring a bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore as the company is required to provide 75 per cent to 100 per cent margin and commission to the banks to avail this facility.

“It would be unviable for the applicant (Times Now) to incur such high costs and to continue to run its operations effectively until the matter is finally disposed of,” it said.

Justice Sawant had sued the channel for displaying his photo wrongly during telecast of a bulletin on September 10, 2008 on a Provident Fund scam allegedly involving a Calcutta High Court judge. The report had showed Justice Sawant’s photograph in place of the high court judge.






HC Postpones BSY’s Pre-Arrest Bail Petition to Jan 16

PTI | Bangalore | Jan 12, 2012


Karnataka High Court today posted to January 16 for orders the anticipatory bail applications of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and state Housing Minister V Somanna apprehending arrest in connection with an FIR against them in an alleged land scam case.

Justice Subhash B Adi posted the matter for orders after conclusion of arguments by both sides. Besides, Yeddyurappa and Somanna, the latter’s wife has also sought the relief.

The FIR was filed on November 26 after Lokayukta Judge N K Sudhindra Rao directed Lokayukta Police to conduct a probe into a private complaint and submit its report.

Complainant Ravi Krishnareddy has alleged that Somanna secured denotification of 22 guntas (one gunta is about 1,086 square feet) of land in Nagadevanahalli in Kengeri Hobli for an educational institution run by his wife Shailaja in violation of rules when Yeddyurappa was the chief minister.

Counsels for Yeddyurappa and Somanna, Ashok Haranahally, Murthy Dayanand Naik and Krishna Kumar submitted allegations made out out in the complaint against the accused did not constitute any offence as denotification by itself does not amount to a criminal offence.

Earlier, the court sought clarification on whether an order of denotification can be passed after issue of final notification acquiring land by the competent authority and whether the complainant has mentioned actions that constitute offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC.

Reddy has alleged that Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had acquired the land in 1998 and Yeddyurappa ordered for denotification in 2009.

The court adjourned to January 17 another petition by Yeddyurappa seeking quashing of the state Governor’s order asking Lokayukta court to initiate criminal proceedings against him on the basis of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench comprising Justice K Bhaktavatsala and K Govindarajulu directed the counsel for the Lokayukta Police submit all the records pertaining to the case by January 17.

Earlier, the respondents in the case including the Lokayukta, Lokayukta police and the Governor’s Secretary filed their objections.

On August 3 last year, Governor H R Bhardwaj accorded sanction to prosecute Yeddyurappa on the basis of the Lokyukta report on illegal mining submitted by then Lokyukta Sanotsh Hegde and subsequently an FIR was registered against him.

Filed On: Jan 12, 2012 20:29 IST







HC to HSSC: Produce candidate’s answersheet–Produce-candidate-s-answersheet/899129/


Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Jan 13 2012, 00:21 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) to produce the answersheet of one Sukhwant Kaur who had taken the test for the post of assistant secretary.

Kaur, a resident of Fatehabad, had sought directions to the HSSC to produce her answersheet of the written test. The HSSC had said no to the said information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, she alleged.

The petitioner said as per her information, she had scored more marks than the candidate who was selected for the said post. She alleged the HSSC was deliberately denying information to her.

Justice K Kannan of the High Court issued notices to the HSSC and directed the law officer for HSSC to seek requisite information from the HSSC for the next date of hearing.







HC dismisses petition challenging election duty

Express news service : Mumbai, Fri Jan 13 2012, 01:14 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to grant relief to a group of district level officials who challenged the state government’s decision to allot election duty only to officers above the post of deputy collector in the upcoming municipal elections. Disposing of the petition, a division bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar said, “Having heard the matter, we are of the considered view that the subject matter of this petition is purely administrative in nature. In our opinion, this is not a fit case for the exercise of jurisdiction of this court.”

The judges further noted that election duties are part of the responsibilities of the officials and state government has the power to decide as to whom the work should be allotted. The petition was filed by a group of 35 officials, who contended that imposing election duty would have an adverse impact on their regular work.






HC asks governor’s office to file replies


TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 05.26AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court has asked the governor’s office, the competent authority under the Lokayukta Act, former chief minister N Dharam Singh and the government to file replies in two weeks with regard to a PIL. It seeks action against Dharam Singh following the interim report on illegal mining submitted on December 18, 2008 by Justice Santosh Hegde. The governor was then Rameshwar Thakur.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Thursday gave this directive after counsel representing the governor’s office sought time. Petitioner D Natesh claimed that though action was recommended against the former CM in the interim report , none was taken. In a related development , Justice N Ananda adjourned to Tuesday the hearing on a criminal petition filed by Dharam Singh and others challenging the FIR registered against them by Lokayukta police on the same issue.






HC asks CBI to probe IAF cook’s death in 1997


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri Jan 13 2012, 06:51 hrs

The High Court has ordered further probe by the CBI into the death of an Indian Air Force cook, who was allegedly killed by some IAF officials under the suspicion of stealing liquor in Jamnagar in 1997.

Girja Ravat was found dead after he was allegedly taken into custody by eight IAF personnel on suspicion that he had stolen a liquor bottle from the store.

Following his death, a case of murder was registered against the eight and an investigation was carried out by Jamnagar City Police.

However, not satisfied, the deceased’s wife, Shakuntala, had approached the HC with a demand to hand over further investigation to the CBI. The HC stayed investigation in the case in 2003.

“Meanwhile, the state government also expressed inability to efficiently investigate the case because a number of IAF officials were involved and had indicated that an independent agency like CBI would be able to properly investigate the case,” said Shakuntala’s lawyer Mitul Shelat.

On Thursday, a single judge bench of Justice M R Shah ordered the CBI to further probe and submit a report before a competent trial court.





HC throws out Swami’s plea against warrant in murder case


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri Jan 13 2012, 06:48 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition by Petlad-based Swami Sachchidanand challenging a non-bailable warrant issued against him by a trial court at Petlad in connection with the murder of one Babu Mohaniya near the Swami’s ashram on July 17, 2006.

Babu’s cousin Dhana Mohaniya had filed a petition in the High Court to initiate criminal proceedings against Sachchidanand. The plea was granted and the HC order was upheld by the Supreme Court also.

Following this, the concerned trial court had summoned Sachchidanand. However, when he did not respond, the court had issued an NBW against him, which was challenged by Sachchidanand at the HC.

However, a single-judge bench of Justice M R Shah has dismissed the petition and ordered him to appear before the trial court on January 31.

According to Dhana, Babu had gone to get some food from Sachidanand’s ashram. However, Swami’s followers insulted him and there was a scuffle. Sachchidanand came out and fired at Babu from his revolver. Babu died a few days later in Ahmedabad.

Dhana had lodged a complaint with a magisterial court in Petlad after police did not register any complaint against Sachchidanand and his followers. Dhana had accused them of murder along with the violation of Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Arms Act. The magisterial court had rejected his complaint by an order dated September 12, 2007.

Dhana had challenged the magistrate’s order in the HC, which allowed the petition ordering criminal proceedings against Sachchidanand under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act.






HC relief to accused in cheque bounce case

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.06AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur Bench of Bombay high court suspended the imprisonment orders issued by the sessions court against Madhukar Wankhede. HC also suspended the fine of Rs 5000 imposed on the Wankhede. He was granted bail on the surety of Rs 25,000

Counsel for the petitioner Kishor Ghugguskar informed that his client had taken a housing loan from Gruh Finance on May 9, 2000 by way of term-loan of 15 years at 13.5% interest. He was to repay it in equal monthly installments. However, the cheque given by him bounced due to insufficient funds in his account. The finance company then filed a case against him in the JMFC court under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. After finding him guilty, the sessions court had sentenced him to three months’ jail.

HC declines pre-arrest bail in stone-pelting case

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court refused to grant pre-arrest bail to nine out of 10 persons. The court, however, granted bail only to 61-year-old Mamtaji Nand Jadhav. These persons had moved to the judiciary when their anticipatory bail pleas were rejected by Chandrapur session’s court on December 12, last year. Sonu Mangaram had lodged an FIR with the Jivati police claiming that the accused along with 40 persons had surrounded his vehicle and pelted stones during elections of Sarpanch and deputy sarpanch on November 19, 2011.





SC asks HC to examine shipbreaking rules

Staff Correspondent

The Supreme Court yesterday sent two rules framed by the government regarding shipbreaking to the High Court so that the latter can examine whether they were prepared as per previous HC directives.

One of the two rules, Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Rules, 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Industries on December 12 last year.

On January 8 this year, the ministry amended the rule in compliance with SC’s December 14 directive which said the rule had not ensured the protection of workers and the environment.

The second, Hazardous Waste and Ship Breaking Management Rules 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Environment and Forests on December 22 last year.

The rules were sent by a five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain yesterday after the government and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) placed them before it.

Bela’s lawyer, Advocate Iqbal Kabir Lytton, said they will submit an application to an HC bench to examine the rules as the Appellate Division did not specifically mention any bench for it.

Following Bela’s writ petition, the HC, at different times since 2006, directed the government to frame the rules to ensure a pollution-free shipbreaking industry and workers’ safety.

On December 15, 2010, the HC asked the government to frame the rules in three months in light of six existing laws.

The laws are — Basel Convention Act, 1989; Bangladesh Environment Protection Act, 1995; Bangladesh Marine and Fisheries Ordinance, 1989; Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006; Bangladesh Territorial Water and Maritime Zone Act, 1974; and Environment Protection Rules, 1997.

Barrister Fida M Kamal appeared for Bela while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the government.





Madras HC dismisses Subhiksha’s plea

Gireesh Babu / Chennai January 13, 2012, 0:19 IST


The Madras High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd, which questioned the authority of a representative of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd who had filed a winding up petition on behalf of the bank.

The appeal was filed by Subhiksha against an order passed by the High Court in December 2011, in which it said V Bhaskaran who was representing the bank did not have any authorisation to file winding up against Subhiksha, which owes Rs 40 crore to Kotak Bank.

Kotak Mahindra counsel argued that Bhaskaran, associate vice president, had been authorised to represent the bank in any court of law, consumer court or tribunal in connection with the legal proceedings initiated by or against the bank.

He was also authorised to do all such acts and deeds as may be necessary, including that of appointing advocates to appear on behalf of the bank to file or defend any suits by or against the bank and to execute all such documents.

He was authorised by the company by a board resolution and was also a principal officer of the company. Hence, the verification done by him was proper.

After hearing both the sides, the bench comprising Justice C Nagappan and Justice M Sathyanarayanan passed an order, in which they said “…this court is of the view that the conduct of the appellant-company would clearly lead to the inference that its intention is only to drag on the proceedings to suit its convenience.”

“The conduct of the appellant-company would clearly indicate that it intended to drag on the proceedings to suit its convenience and, accordingly, very belatedly, took out the present application raising objections on hyper-technical grounds,” the order said.

The bank had filed the petition saying the company had failed to repay the amounts due and payable to the bank.





HC summons Shimla DC, SP over car parking in auto-free zone

PTI | 12:01 PM,Jan 12,2012

Shimla, Jan 11 (PTI) Taking serious note of illegal parking of tourist vehicles in Shimla’s auto-free zones on New Year’s Eve, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned top administrative and police officials. The bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjay Karol directed Shimla Deputy Commissioner and SP to appear in the court on January 13 with record regarding permissions granted to motorists to park vehicles on sealed and restricted roads. “We were shocked to find that on New Year’s Eve, vehicles were parked on the sealed and restricted areas…Not only this, vehicles were also parked in the core area of Shimla town from Shimla Club to the Lift. In fact, there was double parking on this road and on enquiry, we were told that some orders have been passed by the DM and SP, permitting the tourists to park their vehicles in these areas,” it said. Taking note of the orders passed by the district administration for permitting parking, the bench said, “This power of relaxation is not even available to the state as far as the core Mall Road area is concerned. If the state does not have the power to relax the provisions for the core Mall Road area, we fail to understand how the DM or the SP could have relaxed the provisions of the Act and granted permission to the tourists to park their vehicles in the core Mall Road area.” “It is expected that the officials, especially the DM and the SP, enforce the law and it is not expected that they should themselves start violating the law,” it said. In its earlier order in the same petition, dated December 30, the court had questioned plying of vehicles belonging to Army on restricted routes, without valid permits. PTI PCL AVT





High Court notice to Haryana on nuclear power project

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Jan 13 2012, 03:48 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to Haryana, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, and Ministry of Environment and Forest on a plea challenging the acquisition of land for setting up 2,800 MW Gorakhpur atomic power project.

A division bench headed by Justice Hemant Gupta also issued notices to the Land Acquisition Collector, Fatehabad.

Terming the exercise of land acquisition by Haryana “arbitrary, unjust, whimsical and against law”, the petitioners have sought quashing of the notifications issued by the state for setting up the nuclear power project. As many as 60 villagers have moved the High Court. The land for the project is being acquired in three villages: Gorakhpur, Kajal-Heri and Badopal in Fatehabad district.

The petitioners have sought shifting of the project site towards barren/less fertile land in the adjoining villages/districts.

“The proposed site has highly populated villages with thousands of population around it and having two major cities, Hisar and Fatehabad, and sub-divisions of Bhuna and Barwala within the radius of 30 to 35 km,” said the petition.

The case has been adjourned to first week of February.





CCI to undertake suo moto probes into anti-trust practices

PTI Jan 12, 2012, 02.57PM IST

NEW DELHI: Under fire for not proactively taking up cases, competition watchdog CCI has now decided to undertake suo moto investigations into anti-trust practices, beginning with key sectors like construction, highways, education and health.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which became fully functional in May, 2009, has so far taken up only five suo moto cases, including price rise in onions, air tickets and cartelisation of sugar rates.

“We are mulling suo moto action against key industry sectors like construction, highways, education and health. Our action is mainly based on economic survey reports. Will soon order DG investigation based on prima facie evidence of anti-competitive practices in the sectors,” a senior official told news agency.

The official said primary education was one area which required serious attention even from the point of view of the regulatory mechanism guiding them.

“We have prima facie found that some loopholes in the regulatory mechanism, too, have given rise to anti-competitive practice in these sectors,” he said.

Another source added that it would be a difficult attempt to prove and proceed against cases against which there are no formal complaints. Complaints and prima facie evidence usually form the basis of the CCI initiating a probe against any enterprise or body.

“The decision to take up suo moto cases was taken after much debate within the Commission,” he said.

Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act empower the CCI to take up cases relating anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, respectively.

The investigations would be ordered under section 26 of the Competition Act, 2002. The section empowers the Commission to order an inquiry by the Director General into a matter if it finds that a prime facie case exists with respect to violation of competition laws.






Bhopal “bureaucrat club” to come under RTI: State CIC

Mahim Pratap Singh

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Information Commissioner has ruled that the elite Arera Club of Bhopal, associated chiefly with bureacucrats and the city’s wealthy, shall be under the purview of the Right to Information Act.

Chief Information Commissioner Padmapani Tiwari in an order passed on Thursday, rejected the club officials’ contention that the club was a private body and did not fall under the purview of the RTI act.

The CIC order came on an appeal made by Transparency International activist Ajay Dube who had sought information regarding the financial activities of the club. The club administration refused the information on the grounds that the club was not covered under the RTI act.

“It is clear that the club was established by the State government and State funding is provided to it from time to time. Therefore, the club administration is ordered to provide the information sought by the applicant immediately,” read the order.

The club’s information officers were not present for the hearing.

“The Arera Club’s activities are funded by the State government, lavish dinners are organised by the club with public money and so there is no reason for it to be exempt from the RTI act,” Mr. Ajay Dube, the applicant told The Hindu.





No reason to disclose info on sexual harassment accused: CIC

Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 17:33 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Central Information Commission has upheld CISF’s decision that identity of security force personnel facing sexual harassment and corruption charges cannot be made public, saying the disclosure may cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual.

The CIC gave its view following an appeal against Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) seeking details of name and designation of the central police force men facing such charges.

“The Commission sees no reason to disagree with the decision of the Respondent (Central Public Information Officer of the CISF) that the name of the officer, with designation, against whom case has been registered or is being investigated cannot be disclosed since disclosure of such information may cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual and no larger public interest would be served,” Information Commissioner Sushma Singh said in an order.

In its reply to an RTI query filed by PTI, the CISF had said that 261 cases of corruption and sexual harassment were registered against its personnel between 2001 and 2010 but refused to give information including their names, designation, details of the case and action taken report.

Of the 261 cases, 223 were related to corruption and 38 to sexual harassment, the reply said adding that no case of human rights violation was reported in the past ten years.

Aggrieved over the replies of both the CPIO and First Appellate Authority of the CISF, the appellant had moved CIC, which upheld their decisions.

The 1.45 lakh strong CRPF is responsible for guarding country’s major government installations including airports, nuclear and space facilities.





Sharma’s plea premature, hasn’t replied to notice yet: Govt to CAT

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.35AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The state government has urged the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to dismiss IPS officer Rahul Sharma’s “premature” application challenging the chargesheet served on him for misplacing evidence in the form of CDs containing call details during the 2002 riots.

The state home department stated that Sharma rushed to the tribunal without replying to the notice, while the government is yet to appoint an inquiry officer. The government also claimed that Sharma’s contention is completely misplaced, as neither the chargesheet nor the show-cause notice issued to him have anything to do with his revelations before the Nanavati commission in 2004.

The affidavit, submitted by senior counsel Bhaskar Tanna on behalf of the government, claimed that the departmental inquiry against Sharma was sought to be conducted “wholly and exclusively on a very different ground”, and it has nothing to do with his deposition before the commission. Hence, Sharma’s defence that he gets immunity under section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act as information furnished before the probe panel cannot be used against him, does not stand.

The affidavit made it clear that Sharma has been charged for professional misconduct and not for handing over the CDs to the commission. The senior cop is charged with not submitting the CDs as case property to the then supervisory officer of riots cases – ACP SS Chudasama or investigating officers G L Khunti, D A Rathod and K M Waghela of the city crime branch. He illegally carried the evidence with him, and while relinquishing charge as DCP (control room), did not give it to his successor or the IO of Naroda police station.

The affidavit also claimed that the government found out about the leak of details from the CD only during proceedings of the Nanavati-Shah commission in 2004. “Until then, the home department was blissfully unaware of any of such CDs and therefore had a preliminary inquiry conducted to investigate the whereabouts of the CDs,” the affidavit read.

Dealing with Sharma’s contention of protection against prosecution, the government submitted that Sharma is not protected by section 6 of the Act, because he revealed the CD during cross-examination, and not when deposing before the commission or in response to any of the questions put across by the commission.






TN: HC sets aside order quashing of DGP appointment

Press Trust of India

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday set aside an order of Central Administrative Tribunal quashing appointment of senior woman IPS officer Letika Saran as Tamil Nadu DGP in November 2010 and held that there was no illegality in the government’s decision.

Allowing Saran’s petition, a division bench comprising justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal said it was the prerogative of the state government to choose its police chief from a list of names recommended by the Empanelment Committee.

The CAT had quashed her appointment as DGP on a petition by IPS officer R Nataraj challenging the government’s decision on the ground that he should be appointed to the post as he was senior to Saran and his name topped the list of three names selected by the committee.

Saran was first appointed state DGP on January 8, 2010 but Nataraj challenged it before the CAT on the ground that he was senior to Saran and that the process of selection and appointment to the post was not followed as per the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.

However, the CAT dismissed his plea and Nataraj moved the high court, which concluded that the dictum laid down by the apex court had not been followed and ordered a fresh selection to be done by an empanelment committee constituted by UPSC.

The committee on November 10, 2010 forwarded a list with the names of Nataraj, K Vijayakumar and Saran and on November 27, 2010 the state government appointed Saran as police chief.

On a fresh petition by Nataraj, CAT quashed the appointment of Saran and directed the government to consider Nataraj’s name for the post of DGP. This was challenged by Saran in the high court.

The high court bench pointed out that the apex court had specifically observed that the DGP of the state “shall be selected by the state government from amongst the three senior most officers of the department, who have been empaneled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC”.

“Therefore, being a post requiring high level of confidentiality and capacity to meet challenges of new heights every day, the state government is definitely having its own choice of selecting an individual from the panel of personnel prepared by the UPSC,” they said adding they could not accept the argument by Nataraj that the government “has no say” in the matter of appointment of its own DGP.

Noting that they would have appreciated an argument by Nataraj had the state government appointed a person whose name did not figure in the list, the judges said they could not accept the submission that the government should not have exercised its choice from the panel of officers forwarded by the UPSC.

To the question whether empanelment itself would give any right for an officer to be appointed to the post for which he was empanelled, the Judges said their answer would be an emphatic “no”.

They cited rulings of the Supreme Court that “inclusion in the panel of eligible officers confers no right to be promoted” and “putting a government servant’s name in a panel for promotion confers only a right to be considered for promotion”.

Referring to the Tribunal’s observation that Saran was on leave and the post of DGP was lying vacant and hence had to be filled up on a permanent basis, the Bench held that Saran proceeding on leave would not create any right for Nataraj to get appointed to the post.

In fact, from the materials presented on record, she had proceeded on leave since stat assembly elections had been announced in Tamil Nadu and to facilitate the newly appointed DGP (Elections) to conduct the polls and pre-poll process smoothly, the judges said.

“This fact has been completely ignored by the Tribunal, which has resulted in its arrival of an illegal conclusion,” the Bench said.

A complete perusal and analysis of all the materials placed on record would show ‘no illegality or irregularity’ had been committed at any stage in the appointment of Saran as DGP, the judges held adding that the tribunal was not justified in interfering with the appointment of Saran as DGP by the state government in concurrence with the state governor.


LEGAL NEWS 12.01.2012

New Act has cops’ task cut out

Citizens can now claim their copies of FIR and missing reports of documents or mobiles on the same day, once the Karnataka Guarantee of Services to Citizens Act is effective. State police will have a lot on their plates as 13 services have been listed under the Act. The new Act has stipulated 20 days time for passport verification and seven days for visa extension NOC. Passport verification had been a long standing issue with public complaining of unnatural delay and police lamenting staff crunch.

From last year, May 16 the city police launched passport verifications clearing drive at police stations every Sunday. “The Station House Officer (SHO) at the police station will have to issue a copy of the FIR immediately after filing it, while a receipt of petition will be given within 30 minutes of submission. Similarly, police will henceforth get only 15 days to for a petition disposal,’’ a senior police official said.

Every designated officer or his subordinate public servant, SHOs and Circle Inspectors in the police services, will be liable to pay a compensation of Rs 20 per day for the period of delay, subject to a maximum of Rs 500 per application. The Act has also stipulated time for competent officers to complete their jobs and for appellate authority to act on a complaint of deficiency in service. The act specifies that an officer’s penalty can also be debited from his salary.

At the senior police officers meet, Principal Secretary for Home Department S.M. Jaamdar said, the Act will be an additional challenge for the department that already handles agencies like SHRC, NHRC and RTI. “Apart from these measures, Police Complaint Authority will also be soon established. The state government has already finalised on the judge who will head the authority.”

“If an officer fails to meet the stipulated time for a service he have to pay Rs 500 penalty, but the amount will get doubled on an appeal,’’ he said.







Election Commission stalls 4.5% sub-quota in poll states


TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 04.08AM IST

NEW DELHI: Even as quota for Muslims has led to sharp political divisions, Election Commission on Wednesday said 4.5% sub-quota for minorities within the 27% OBC quota announced by the central government on December 22 last year should be put on hold in the five poll-bound states till the election process gets over.

The poll panel, in its order, noted that the decision to give sub-quota was taken two days before the model code of conduct came into force. However, EC said the office memorandum issued by the department of personnel & training about the sub-quota decision would not be implemented in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Goa and Manipur.

EC had received petitions saying Centre’s decision to give 4.5% sub-quota for minorities be stopped.

On Tuesday, EC had issued notice to law minister Salman Khurshid for his announcement that 9% sub-quota would be carved for minorities within the OBC quota of 27% and it would benefit Muslims. EC said it was prima facie violation of model code of conduct. He had made the statement in Farrukhabad from where his wife Louise Fernandez is a candidate. Already, district authorities have issued notice to Louise. EC has asked Khurshid to send his reply by January 12.

EC’s order comes when the quota for “backward” Muslims, designed to help Congress attract members of the minority community, has already become a big wedge issue during the campaign, with the BJP alleging that it would hurt the interests of Hindu OBCs. The saffron outfit, whose hopes of bettering its performance rest on its outreach to OBCs, attacked the government, with Uma Bharti, a prominent OBC face of the party, saying that the quota was tantamount to country’s second partition.

The hardline is designed to lure OBCs away from the SP and BSP who are constrained not to criticize the quota for the fear of losing Muslims votes, while putting a spoke in Congress’s own plan to gather the support of MBCs.

BJP’s jibes have failed to deter Congress which is showcasing the quota as a huge initiative for Muslims. Khurshid on Monday disclosed that the party’s manifesto will pledge a 9% quota for “backward” Muslims. Soon, Rahul Gandhi, who leads Congress’s charge, challenged Mulayam Singh, rival contender for Muslim support, to match the quantum of quota. Muslims had turned their back on the Congress after the demolition of Babri Masjid.

Although the Congress’s smart performance in the 2009 Lok Sabha elections was facilitated by the return of sections of the community, there have lately been indications that the party may have failed to build upon the breakthrough. The leadership feels that quota will help the party make up for the failure, and seems to reckon that BJP’s criticism may actually help impress upon Muslims the significance of the party’s quota gesture.

Interestingly, there are indications that Samajwadi Party may pick up the gauntlet to overtake Congress in the race for Muslim support by promising a bigger quota for “backward” Muslims in its manifesto.

SP, which emerged as the firm favourite of Muslims because of Mulayam’s “muscular” secularism but lost chunks of Muslim vote during the Lok Sabha elections, seems to have succeeded in stemming the trend. It seems to be seeing the quota as the device to stay ahead of Congress.






SAT admits former Integrated Capital promoter’s appeal against SEBI order

Our Bureau

Mumbai, Jan. 11:

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) allowed the appeal of Ms Indra Gulati and dismissed the appeal of Mr. O P Gulati against a SEBI adjudication order imposing a fine of Rs 1 lakh each on the couple for failure to disclose acquisition of shares of Integrated Capital Services under the takeover code.

The two erstwhile promoters of Integrated Capital Services acquired a 30 per cent stake from March 31, 1998, to March 31, 2004, and did not comply with the provisions of the takeover code, according to SEBI.

Counsel’s defense

The counsel for the appellants submitted that Ms Indra Gulati never acquired the shares and hence could not be held responsible for non-disclosure under the takeover code.

The counsel also submitted that the shares were acquired by Mr O P Gulati and it was for him to declare the same to the company and to the exchanges.

Hence SAT allowed Ms Indra Gulati’s appeal and dismissed Mr O P Gulati’s appeal. It ruled that the SEBI adjudicating officer was right in imposing the on Mr O P Gulati.

No undue loss

SAT observed that the two appellants had not caused any undue loss to investors.

It also added that a technical breach of regulation had occurred and neither the promoters nor the management took any undue gain or advantage.






CBI to widen probe to other tribunal benches


Rahul Tripathi : New Delhi, Thu Jan 12 2012, 03:19 hrs


Widening its probe into the alleged fixing of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) by an accounting firm, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is set to register a preliminary enquiry (PE) to examine allegations against other members of the tribunal. This comes after investigation showed alleged anomalies committed by various ITAT benches across the country. The agency recently filed a chargesheet naming accountant member of the ITAT Kolkata bench, Jugal Kishore, and five others including personnel of S K Tulsiyan & Co, a CA firm.

Sources said the PE will be registered based on the findings of the present case in which pre-dated judgments were found from the hard discs of the firm. “There is prima-facie evidence to suggest the involvement of other members of ITAT across various benches,” said a top CBI official.

The pre-dated judgments of the ITAT benches seized from the hard discs of the firm were mostly related to Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata. S K Tulsiyan, who runs S K Tulsiyan and Co, also owns an office in Mumbai which is being run by his brother Sashi Tulsiyan and son Ravi Tulsiyan also named in the chargesheet.

As first reported by The Indian Express, the agency has also charged the six accused with destruction of evidence. The chargesheet alleged that Jugal Kishore demanded Rs 30 lakh as gratification.





Sexual harassment law may soon cover domestic workers

Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 05.45AM IST


NEW DELHI: Domestic workers could soon have the right to complain against sexual harassment. The women and child development ministry is likely to review its position and accept the recommendations of a parliamentary panel to include domestic workers within the ambit of the ‘Protection of women against sexual harassment at workplace bill’.

When asked if domestic workers will be brought within the ambit of the bill, WCD minister Krishna Tirath said, “We are in favour of inclusion of domestic workers in the sexual harassment bill.” The ministry is still working on details of how a place of residence will be monitored like an office or institution.

The bill provides for a secure working environment for women and mandates setting up of internal committees both in the formal and informal sectors to ensure that complaints are addressed.

The ministry’s change of stance comes after a parliamentary committee dismissed government’s view that there were “practical difficulties” in implementation of the law within the confines of a home.

Domestic workers comprise 30% of the female workforce in the unorganized sector. There are 47.50 lakh registered domestic workers in the country.

Incidentally, the National Commission for Women (NCW) – set up for protection of women’s rights which works under the ministry of women and child development – also shared the panel’s view. The commission said that reservations of enforcing the provisions of the bill within the privacy of the home were “unfounded” as the Domestic Violence Act had broken this myth allowing legal scrutiny and extending protection to the confines of the home.

The committee had received representations from several domestic workers associations including 5,000 postcards advocating “domestic work is work and domestic workers are workers” for inclusion.

The sexual harassment bill was introduced in Lok Sabha on December 7, 2010 and was referred to the standing committee on December 30, 2010. It submitted its report in the winter session last year.





16 UP officials get marching orders by Chief Electoral Officer


Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 9:45 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Agency: DNA

The Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday ordered the transfer of five District Magistrates (DMs), two Deputy Inspectors General (DIGs) of police and six district police chiefs.

Meanwhile, all statues of Mayawati and those of the elephants in Lucknow and Noida were covered by the Election Commission’s deadline of 5pm on Wednesday.

UP’s CEO Umesh Sinha informed reporters here that the transfers had been ordered after vetting several complaints about the officials received from several sources. He said that the Election Commission had satisfied itself about the veracity of the complaints before taking the action.

On the other hand, covers went up on about 400 statues in Lucknow and 60 in Noida in keeping with the EC instructions.

The EC had ordered the draping of these statues after widespread complaints that they would afford undue benefit to the ruling BSP in the UP Assembly election. Sources said it had cost about Rs1 crore to cover the statues in Lucknow and about Rs27 lakh in Noida.

UP BSP chief Swami Prasad Maurya has described the EC’s order as biased. “The EC is clearly functioning like a puppet in the hands of the Congress,” he told reporters in Kushi Nagar in east UP. “This order has put a question mark on the EC’s impartiality,” he said.

A PIL filed against the EC’s order to drape the statues was dismissed in the Allahabad High Court on Wednesday with liberty to file a fresh application.

BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra has said that a weak writ was deliberately filed by the party’s opponents only to get it dismissed, thus getting the court’s stamp on the EC order.

He said the BSP had nothing to do with the writ. “We will take this issue to the people’s court in the elections,” he said.





Kochi Customs seeks installation of scanners at port gates

Our Bureau

In response to a writ petition, the Kochi Customs has submitted an affidavit before the Kerala High Court seeking a directive to be issued to Kochi Port and India Gateway Terminal to provide adequate space and infrastructure for installation of container scanners and Indian Customs Electronic Data Interchange System .

The Customs also sought the help of the Court to demarcate a non-processing area at Vallarpadam ICTT for discharging their statutory functions.

The Assistant Commissioner (Legal), Mr Jacob Cherian, said the Customs department had no control over the main exit and entry gates at the ICTT.

The Customs’ role, he said, was restricted to verification of the seals of imported/exported containers at an inner gate.

The issue had been taken up with higher ups and the Development Commissioner, SEZ.

The Customs had also taken up the issue of installation of container scanners with the Directorate of Logistics, New Delhi.

Export containers stuffed at the container freight stations/Kochi Port/warehouses etc. were permitted entry into the ICTT after verification of the seals of the containers. The imported containers were also moved to the freight stations/warehouses after examining their seals.

The existing procedure did not ensure 100 per cent examination of the cargo and only selected containers were now subject to checks in the terminal, the affidavit said.





Popular Front of India withdraws case filed in Bench

Staff Reporter

Judge refuses to give permission for public meeting on January 26

Popular Front of India (PFI) on Tuesday withdrew its writ petition filed before the Madras High Court Bench here against an order passed by the Tirunelveli City Police rejecting permission for conducting a Freedom Parade-cum-Public Meeting at Melapalayam on January 26.

The PFI’s counsel S.M.A. Jinnah preferred to withdraw the case after Justice K.K. Sasidharan said that he was inclined to pass orders directing the police to grant permission for the public meeting on any date except the Republic Day when police would be engaged in other events. However, the counsel pointed out that PFI’s National Executive Council which met at Calicut on January 8 and 9 had decided not to hold the public meeting on any other day as it would not serve the purpose of honouring the freedom fighters and inculcating patriotic fervour among the people.

Earlier, filing a counter affidavit to the writ petition, the Tirunelveli Police Commissioner Karunasagar, said that permission was rejected for the event only after careful examination of factors such as security, public peace, safety and law and order implications.

On dress code

Claiming that the route requested by PFI for the parade was densely populated by various communities, he stated that the dress code and drill prescribed by the petitioner organisation for the participants resembled that of “army and police formation.”

The Commissioner also stated that the proposed parade, if permitted, would lead to communal clashes as per intelligence reports. Further, such parades conducted by PFI regularly to highlight the sacrifices of Muslim freedom fighters had been banned in Kerala and Karnataka.

“In Kerala, following the attack on Professor T.J. Joseph on July 4, 2010, the Kerala police unearthed incriminating anti-national and anti-social materials such as CDs showing inhuman punishment practice adopted by Al-Qaeda and Taliban aimed to train PFI activists to commit similar crimes,” he said.

Mr. Karunasagar went on to state that PFI was portraying itself as an army of the Muslims and it had an agenda of establishing ‘Darul Islam’ (the land of Islam). In such circumstances, permitting it to conduct a parade-cum-public meeting would provoke Hindu organisations to conduct similar programmes.

Taking strong exception to the allegations levelled against PFI, its Tirunelveli district president M. Anwar Mohideen filed a rejoinder urging the court to direct the Police Commissioner to withdraw the allegations. He alleged that the Commissioner was indulging in mud slinging to defame the organisation.

According to him, the Kerala government had filed a counter affidavit before its High court on September 6, 2010 stating that there was no evidence regarding alleged connection of PFI with terrorist organisations such as Hizb-ul-Mujahideen, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Al-Qaeda.

He claimed that PFI had been honouring freedom fighters without religious discrimination and eminent personalities such as Mayandi Bharathi and Vaithiyalingam were honoured during a similar parade-cum-public meeting conducted in Madurai in 2008.






2G Trial Court serves summons on Khaitans

Published on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 17:52 |  Source : CNBC-TV18

Updated at Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 18:40

The 2G Trial Court has once again issued summons to the accused in Loop Telecom license matter, reports CNBC-TV18’s Malvika Jain.

Justice OP Saini had first issued summons on the 21st of December as per Section 63 and 64 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973. Summons were issued after taking cognisance of CBI’s second supplementary chargesheet in the 2G Scam which names five individuals – Ravikant Ruia, promoter, Essar Group; Anshuman Ruia, promoter, Essar Group; Kiran Khaitan, promoter, Loop Mobile Holding; IP Khiatan, promoter, Khaitan Group; Vikas Saraf, director M&A, Essar Group  and three companies – Essar Teleholdings, Loop Telecom & Loop Mobile.

Out of this, four individuals accused Ravikant and Anshuman Ruia and Mr and Mrs IP Khaitan are non resident Indians. Neither these four accused nor their male representatives were present to receive summons on their behalf. As a procedure of law summons have now been pasted outside certain premises and are deemed to have been served. The trial in this matter will begin on the 27th of January.

CBI sources suggest that summons have been sent to addresses available as per Government records as these four persons are Indian passport holders. Nonetheless, some accused believe that summons should have been sent to the current residential addresses of the Ruias and the Khaitans.

In an official statement, Loop Telecom said that any suggestions that its promoters, the Khaitans, are avoiding summons are completely incorrect. The statement added that summons is required to be served at the residence of the accused. A spokesperson for the Essar Group said that Ravi Ruia and his son Anshuman, who are also non residents, have not yet received the summons.





Supreme Court sentences Alistair Pereira to three years in prison

A Vaidyanathan and Rashmi Rajput, Updated: January 12, 2012 20:51 IST

New Delhi:  Alistair Anthony Pereira will have to go to jail for three years. The Supreme Court has cancelled his bail and agreed with the Bombay High Court, which had found Mr Pereira guilty of running seven people over while he was drunk in Mumbai.

The Supreme Court said, “It is high time that law makers revisit the sentencing policy reflected in Section 304 A IPC (death due to negligence). It is true that the appellant has paid compensation of Rs. 8, 50,000 but no amount of compensation could relieve the family of victims from the constant agony. ”

The Supreme Court also said that it considers a three-year sentence meager, but cannot increase the time in prison because the state of Maharashtra didn’t appeal for a tougher sentence.

In November 2006, Mr Pereira was 21 years old when he lost control of his Toyota Corolla on the city’s famous Carter Road seafront. Mr Pereira drove onto a group of construction workers sleeping on the road. Seven people died, eight were injured.

Mr Pereira was initially sentenced to six months in jail by a Mumbai court; this provoked much criticism. The Bombay High Court then intervened and enhanced the jail term to three years, convicting Mr Pereira of unintentional killing.

Mr Pereira appealed against this order in the Supreme Court and was given bail in 2007.

Mr Pereira, who comes from a wealthy family of real estate developers, was returning from a party at a five-star hotel; four other friends were in his car when the tragedy occurred. When being taken into the Khar police station, hours after the accident, he told reporters that it was a “mistake”, and that “mistakes happen.” His friends tried to hide their faces; Mr Pereira’s comments were seen to imply a lack of remorse. Blood tests revealed that Mr Pereira had been drinking before he began his journey home.






Centre for stopping telecom companies from violating 3G license terms


PTI Jan 11, 2012, 09.16PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre today told the Delhi High Court that it favours stopping telecom companies from providing 3G services to its subscribers in those circles for which they have not been granted licenses.

It told a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri that it was, however, not able to do so due to a stay granted by Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) in favour of telecom operators.

The bench, also comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, fixed the matter for hearing on January 18 after Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok, appearing for the Centre, said TDSAT would hear the issue a day earlier.

“Due to the Tribunal’s order, I (Centre) have not taken any step including the issuance of show cause notices and termination of licenses,” the ASG said.

He, however, sought directions from the court to stop telecom operators from providing 3G services in circles for which they have not been granted the requisite licenses.

The court was hearing a PIL alleging misuse of 3G spectrum license conditions by operators including Bartel, Idea Cellular and Vodafone, purportedly causing a huge loss to the public exchequer.

During the hearing, advocate A M Singhvi, appearing for telecom companies, opposed the government law officer’s plea, saying the same contention was raised before the Tribunal and rejected.

TDSAT had, earlier on the pleas by telecos, directed the Centre not to take any “coercive” action against three of them over inter-circle roaming (ICR) agreement on 3G.





Bedi Commission resumes probe


Srinagar, Jan 11: The one-man Commission of Inquiry (CoI) comprising of Justice H. S. Bedi, probing the mysterious death of National Conference (NC) worker Haji Yousuf, has resumed investigation in the high profile case. Yousuf died in the custody of Crime Branch after being handed over to it by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at his residence on September 29 last year.
Soon after the arrival of Justice Bedi, a former Supreme Court Judge, Secretary of the Commission, Additional District Judge anti-corruption Jammu, Jaffar Hussain Baigh issued a public notice today asking the people and groups who want or who are acquainted with the case to depose in the form of affidavits.
“The Commission of Inquiry issues this notice inviting all individuals, groups of persons, associations, institutions and organizations having knowledge directly or indirectly of facts and circumstances relating to the matter referred to the Commission, and having interest in the proceedings before the Commission, or are otherwise acquainted with the matter to furnish to the Commission statement(s) relating to the above terms of reference. Such statement(s) should be in form of an affidavit(s) in respect of the facts set out in the statement(s),” reads the notice issued by the Commission.
The notice further says: “Further, person(s) furnishing statement shall also furnish to the Commission along with the statement list of documents, if any, on which he /she propose/s to rely and forward to the Commission, wherever practicable, the originals or true copies of such of the documents as may be in his/her possession or control and shall state the name and address of the person(s) from whom the remaining documents may be traced.”
The CoI notice also says that the persons who will submit their statements can also be summoned by it.
Meanwhile, sources told Greater Kashmir that the Commission is likely to quiz people including Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, MoS Nasir Sogami, IGP Crime Raja Aijaz Ali and some key witnesses of the case.
Earlier, in December last year, Justice Bedi adjourned the probe pending the hearing of a Public Interest Litigation related with the case in the Supreme Court. The PIL was filed by Panthers Party legislator Balwant Singh Mankotia seeking direction for CBI probe into Yousuf’s death. However, State government has vehemently opposed CBI probe into the death and has also challenged the justification behind the petitioners approaching the Supreme Court without first exhausting other options including going to the High Court.
Another development took place on the hearing day (December 15, 2011 ) with Panthers Party supremo Bhim Singh filing fresh application seeking Apex Court’s direction to stay operation of the one-man CoI.
Following the death of Haji Yousuf, a major controversy was triggered in the Valley as two National Conference workers Abdul Salam Reshi and Yousuf Bhat alleged that the deceased had taken Rs 34 lakh and Rs 84 lakh from them for getting them berths in the state legislative council and council of ministers.






7 Vikhroli station shops to relocate by March

Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Vikhroli station in the central suburb may finally become easily accessible to commuters from April. This in turn will clear the way for the railways to extend the Foot Overbridge (FOB) connecting the eastern and western sides of the station at the accident-prone junction.

Seven shop owners outside the station have given an undertaking to the Bombay high court (HC) that they will relocate their shops by March 31. They gave the undertaking after the court refused to grant them relief.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi has asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to identify other illegal shops and structures outside the station and initiate steps in accordance with the law.

Earlier, the HC had directed the corporation to clear illegal encroachments on both sides of the station, latest by March 31, 2012, to ease commuters’ woes.

The high court has directed the railways and the corporation to raze all illegal shops and structures which fall in the line of extension of the FOB and which are abutting platform number 1 of the railway station.

The court direction had come on October 14 last year, during the hearing of a PIL stating that several deaths take place at the Vikhroli level crossing, and yet the railways has not constructed an FOB of required length.

The court even rapped the BMC for failing to take action against the illegal shops, including Vinayak Arcade, which are obstructing the extension of the FOB.

Geeta Joglekar, advocate for the civic body, said that they would verify with the ward office whether the undertakings were filed and then take necessary action.





Coal India’s new pricing rule faces opposition

NEW DELHI: Coal India’s new pricing system faces strong opposition from consumers across the country as it has pushed fuel costs up by up to 70% for the small and medium steel and cement industries that face a shutdown now.

Power companies too are facing the heat and said that tariffs would rise by at least 40% to factor in the price hike.

Since January 1, Coal India has begun pricing coal based on gross calorific value or heat produced by burning it. Earlier, prices were fixed based on moisture and ash content present in coal.

The pricing mechanism will be reviewed after three months. Steelmakers alleged that Coal India was misusing its monopolistic position to profiteer without taking stakeholders’ views, but a coal ministry official termed the new pricing policy as the most consumer-friendly reform by Coal India ever and said that it is globally accepted method and will lead to improvement in quality of coal.

Industry representatives from Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Jhark-hand, West Bengal, Orissa and Andhra Pradesh met coal secretary Alok Perti on Tuesday to convey their grievance.

“Worldwide, coal pricing is done after taking out intrinsic impurities and a universally-accepted analysis. Coal India started the new pricing policy without proper analysis. The company is misusing its monopoly to earn hefty profits. All small and medium enterprises will be wiped out,” Chhattisgarh Sponge Iron Manufacturers Association president Anil Nachrani said.

Coal India’s largest consumer NTPC expects a 60-70% impact on tariff. “This will mean about a 70 paise per unit rise in generation cost, which will be passed on to consumers,” a company executive said. The power ministry has asked the coal ministry to move back to the old pricing mechanism.

A coal ministry official said “the company moved to the new pricing system after recommendations by the TL Shankar committee and the Planning Commission’s Integrated Energy Policy”. He said the move was revenue neutral for Coal India. Analysts, however, said that the new pricing would increase the company’s revenue by 15%.

A Coal India official said that even after the revision, coal price would be 77% lower than international prices for power, fertiliser and defence sectors. Coal India has been asked not to implement the new policy for West Bengal power companies till January 16 after a non-profit organisation, Howrah Ganatantrik Nagarik Samity, filed a PIL in the Calcutta High Court accusing the company of making abnormal profits by repeatedly raising prices.






Judge bats for school event at Shivaji Park

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 02.27AM IST

MUMBAI: “Playgrounds are for children,” the Bombay High Court said on Wednesday while allowing Balmohan Vidyalaya in Dadar to hold ‘Bal Din’ (a children’s day function) at Shivaji Park.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi was hearing an application by the Dadar school for permission to organize a “culture programme” on January 16, a day after Makar Sankranti.

The state government said it has taken a decision not give the park to private parties 15 days prior to events like Republic Day and Maharashtra Day to make arrangements for the parade at the ground.

The judges questioned why the government required 15 days to make arrangements for state functions when it would take 2 to 3 days and also if they would use that as an excuse to close entry to the general public. “We are going to replace the tiles in the high court. We are not going to shut the high court for six months,” said Justice Shah.

Additional government pleader M D Naik said dignitaries, including the governor, were expected to attend the function.

“The Chief Justice of Maharashtra is also attending the function,” said Naik, Justice Shah riposted, “May be, but we will pass an order.” The school’s advocate, A S Khandeparker, said the function was being organized annually since the past 70 years. “It’s keeping up a tradition. A small stage will be erected that will be dismantled later. It is essential to invite parents also as there is need for retention of Marathi students. Marathi medium schools will not survive,” said Khandeparker.

Wecom Trust, which filed a PIL and got Shivaji Park declared as a ‘silence zone’, opposed the use of loudspeakers. Judges said even if loudspeakers are used on a small part of the ground, the sound will not reach the other side. “It is not some rock concert. Why was the ground declared a silence zone in the first place?” wondered Justice Shah.

To a query, the court was told Hinduja Hospital is nearby. “It is nice to hear children sing. A playground is for children,” Justice Shah said. “Children should not be prevented from playing on the grounds. Why do they require permission? Kids must be encouraged to attend such functions. Instead of watching Little Champs (sic)and other TV programmes,” he added.





HC seeks report on gang-rape victim

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CUTTACK: The alleged gangrape of the 18-year-old Dalit girl in a Pipili village, who has gone into a coma since, has begun to turn the heat on the police and the medical authorities with the Orissa High Court on Tuesday seeking a comprehensive report on her health by Wednesday.

�The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has also directed the Puri SP to depute a DSP- level officer to investigate the alleged gangrape incident and submit its status report in a week along with arresting the accused.

�Treating a letter petition filed by advocate Prabir Kumar Das as PIL, the bench instructed the Chief Medical Officer of Capital Hospital to evaluate the treatment given to the victim and also if the patient was responding to the treatment. The CMO should also inform the Court if the victim was required to be shifted to a better-equipped hospital for more effective medical care and attention.

�Considering the threat perceptions, the Court also directed the DCP Bhubaneswar to keep watch over the victim, who is being treated at the Capital hospital and deploy personnel for round-the-clock surveillance in and around her. A lady cop should also be posted at her bedside, the bench ordered.

�The petitioner on Tuesday drew the attention of the Court to the plight of the girl and her family, who have been subjected to intolerable suffering due to denial of treatment and inaction of police in rendering them justice. The girl stood witness in the case of molestation of her friend in January 2008, who had committed suicide after the incident. The accused had been threatening her and her family to withdraw as the witness.

� The victim girl had allegedly been gangraped in November 2008 and was rescued in an utter naked and comatose state by the locals. She had been taken to the Pipili hospital, Capital Hospital and SCBMCH where she had been treated on the floor for 17 days before being discharged.

� The girl’s family members filed a police complaint against the accused but the Pipili police took no action in the matter.

�The plight of the girl was brought to the notice of the State Commission for Women on January 7 and she was taken to the Capital Hospital from where she was referred to SCB MCH Cuttack. However, she was allegedly denied admission by doctors at the SCB, the petitioner complained.

�The gangrape and subsequent denial of proper medical treatment coupled with alleged inaction of police amounted to violation of Right to Life under Article 21 of the Constitution, the petitioner submitted.

�Meanwhile, the Crime Branch on Tuesday took up investigation into the incident.

A special investigation team headed by a DSP under supervision of a lady Additional SP has been formed and has started its procedures, the CB on Tuesday revealed.






Court directs MoEF to take call on Kalu dam in 4 weeks

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 12, 2012


The Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) to take the final decision on a proposal forwarded by state government seeking permission to utilise nearly 600 hectare of forest land for construction of a dam on Kalu river in Thane district. The dam is meant for augmenting drinking water supply to Mira-Bhayander and Navi Mumbai.

MoEF counsel Gauri Godse had sought six weeks’ time for taking a decision, but the division bench of justices DD Sinha and VK Tahilramani reduced the period to four weeks saying that the central ministry should have already taken a call by now.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Shramik Mukhti Sanghatana, an NGO, alleging that the dam over the river was being built without required permissions from the forest department. The dam, if built, is likely to submerge 2,100 hectare of land, including around 1,000 hectare of dense forest and, and displace people from four villages.

Responding to the PIL, the MoEF had earlier informed the court that projects like the Kalu dam, meant solely for the purpose of drinking water and where there will be no irrigation and hydro-electricity generation, don’t require permission from the MoEF.

The work on the dam began in October 2010. Although the work has begun only on non-forest land, Gayatri Singh, counsel for the petitioner, contended even this could not have started without permission from the MoEF. She pointed out a guideline stating that public projects taken up partly on forest land and rest on non-forest land should not be started without obtaining permission from the MoEF for carrying out construction on forest land.

According to Singh, the work order had been issued on May 29, 2010, and only after the filing of the PIL did the state government apply for permission to the chief conservator of forests, in June 2011. Singh sought stay on further construction, but the court rejected the plea, noting, “This is a matter of public interest where the society is going to be affected if water is not provided, and therefore stay cannot be granted.”
The matter will now come for hearing on February 17.







HC: Cancellation of sand quarrying lease

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: Apprehending depletion of river water and adverse effect on cultivation, two agriculturists from Kadapa district filed a PIL (public interest litigation) in the High Court here on Tuesday with a request to set aside the lease granted by the mines department in for sand quarrying in Cheyyaru river.

They requested the High Court to direct the lessee to forbear extracting any sand or taking it away from the Komarunipalle sand reach in Nandalur mandal in Kadapa district.

According to petitioners G Gopinath Reddy and T Narasimha Reddy, they have cultivable lands in Siddavaram, Kothapalli of Rajampeta, Penagaluri and Nandaluru mandals, and Cheyyaru river is the major irrigation source for these lands.

The assistant director of mines and geology called for tender-cum-public auction with a minimum bid amount of ` 62.5 lakh for grant of quarrying rights of ordinary sand in Nandaluru mandal for a period of two years i.e. up to March 31, 2013.

There was only one bidder, A Veera Krishna Reddy, who participated in the auction on June 3, 2011 and was declared as the successful bidder. He made some payments pursuant to the auction.

The zilla parishad chairman and the district-level sand committee passed a resolution on June 24, 2011 not to grant sand quarry lease and for cancellation of the above auction.

But the secretary to mines department ordered that the lease had to be executed in favour of the bidder on the ground that there was no provision for cancellation of auction.

Accordingly, the department issued proceedings dated December 14, 2011 allowing the bidder to carry on quarrying which is detrimental to the agriculturists of all the neighbouring lands.

Besides, 30 villages are dependent on the river for cultivation and household purposes, the petitioners said.






Soon, no junk food within 1,500 feet of schools


Published: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 22:41 IST | Updated: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 22:49 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS


The Delhi high court Wednesday asked the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India to frame guidelines on a PIL seeking a ban on the sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within 1,500-foot radius of schools.

Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw granted six months time to FSSAI and sought a compliance report by July 25.

The court said: “FSSAI is directed to consider the issue in six months. It may invite the All India Food Processors Association and restaurant associations for consultation and development of guidelines.”

The AIFPA had earlier told the court that its members were dealing with processing of fruits and vegetables, meat and fish, milk and milk products and biscuits and confectionery products.

The association had contended that petitioner had failed to specify as to what kind of food should be included in the definition of junk food or fast food.

It further said that Prevention of Food Adulteration Act did not define anything as junk food or fast food.

The court had earlier asked the health ministry to apprise it of the steps taken to create awareness among students about the “harmful effects of increased consumption of junk foods”.

The NGO sought a ban on the sale of junk food and carbonated drinks within 1,500-foot radius of schools.

The petition by Rahul Verma and Rakesh Prabhakar of Uday Foundation said: “It is… time we change the way kids eat in schools. Such a ban will set new standards for healthy food. On the one hand, children are taught in classroom about good nutrition…, on the other, we continue to make junk food available to them.”






Govt to foot prosthetic bill of blast victims


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 01.21AM IST


NEW DELHI: The Delhi government was on Wednesday categorically told by the high court to bear the costs for providing artificial limbs to victims injured in the blast at HC’s reception counter in September last year. HC was hearing a PIL filed by a lawyer accusing the state government of red tapism and failure to abide by court directions to provide treatment and relief to blast victims.

After hearing the petitioner, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw gave a month’s time to the state government to ensure victims are provided with prosthetic limbs through AIIMS. It said the government must foot the bills in case the victims get treated from any hospital other than the AIIMS.

The PIL was filed by one Gaurav Bansal seeking a direction to the government to provide prosthetic limbs to the blast victims, including one Vipin Kumar Gautam. Bansal argued Gautam became permanently incapacitated as his left leg had to be amputated following injuries sustained in the blast which killed 17 people and injured over 90 others. Gautam said he had requested deputy commissioner, Delhi government, to provide him the best prosthetic leg. But to-date he was waiting for a response. When he approached AIIMS for an artificial limb, the institution asked him to first pay the bills, leaving him running from pillar to post for the artificial limb.






Talks with corporate raises some hope for Hope Bridge


Himansshu Bhatt, TNN | Jan 11, 2012, 10.56PM IST

SURAT: There is a glimmer of hope for the 130-year-old Hope Bridge that is going down the hammer.

Talks between Surat Citizens Council and Heritage Trust with some big corporates to take over the maintenance and preservation of the bridge have started afresh. The talks had fallen apart few months ago.

Senior functionaries of the council, which has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Gujarat high court seeking stay on the dismantling of the bridge, said there has been positive development about involvement of some corporate firm to take over the maintenance and preservation of the structure. Sources said city-based business group engaged in real estate and other businesses is reportedly interested in this work. However, council members refused to disclose the name as there is no firm commitment by the group.

“There is some progress, but the talks have not reached a final stage,” a senior functionary of the Surat Citizens Council said. “It is a viable alternative and in Surat it is not difficult to find people willing to take up such work as their social responsibility. However, this is possible only after the dismantling is stayed,” he said.

Gujarat government’s heritage policy, too, emphasizes on the maintenance and perseverance of heritage structures. Surat Municipal Corporation (SMC) has also said in its policy that around 2,300 buildings and structures of the city, including Hope Bridge, must be preserved.

A heritage expert Jaydev Nancy said, “It is very clear that the initiative must come from the state government. On one side, SMC talks of preserving heritage structures and on other it is singling out this bridge for demolition.”





PIL alleges apathy by TN on cyclone shelters


TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 03.57AM IST

CHENNAI: Despite the eastern coast, particularly the stretch between Orissa and Tamil Nadu, being cyclone-prone, state governments in the region have done little to put in place disaster management measures, such as shelters and all-weather roads, says a PIL filed in the Madras high court.

Had Tamil Nadu and Puducherry completed these safety structures by the deadline of December 31, 2010, the recent Cyclone Thane would not have killed 46 people, the PIL, filed by advocate M Vetri Selvan, said.






PIL seeks declaration of Tirumalai hill as ancient monument

Madurai,Jan 11 (PTI) A PIL seeking declaration of Tirumalai hill in Sivaganga district as an ancient monument was filed in the Madras High Court bench here today.
Admitting the PIL, Justices Chitra Venkatraman and Karuppiah ordered issue of notice to the Central and State Archaeological Department heads, among others, returnable within 15 days.
The petitioner contended that the hill in Tirumalai Konneripatti village in Sivaganga district had rock paintings, Tamil-Brahmi inscriptions, Jain beds and also a rock cut temple of Kluntheerswarar and Bagampiriya Ammai temple, dating back to the eighth century AD.

He said all Jain abodes throughout India had been declared as monuments. This particular one was unique as both Jain inscriptions and temples were found in the same place.
There were also 30 Tamil inscriptions of 13th Century. Similar rock paintings are not found anywhere in Tamil Nadu and only in another place in Madhya Pradesh, he said.

Though he had made representations to the government on various occasions last year to protect the monument and declare it as an archaeological site, no action had been taken, he said.

The petitioner also alleged that anti-socials are vandalising and defacing the monument.

Assistant Advocate General Chellapandian submitted that Superintendent of Police had been asked to provide protection for the temple.

The Judges then ordered notice to officials of the archaeological department of the state and centre





Eunuchs file PIL for better conditions

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 01.45AM IST

MUMBAI: A PIL has been filed in the HC seeking orders to put an end to harassment faced by eunuchs and ensuring that they are able to secure voter’s id cards and passports. The PIL filed by a Navi Mumbai-based organization ‘Salvation of Oppressed Eunuchs’ and three eunuchs from Virar is likely to come up for hearing later this week.

The petitioners said that eunuchs are the target of physical abuse. The PIL said a major problem faced by the community is lack of identity and residential proof. The PIL has urged the court to order the state to carry out a survey about the conditions of eunuchs.

The demands in the PIL include changing the definition of “rape” in the IPC to include transgenders and transsexuals and extend the protection of the Atrocities Act to eunuchs. The PIL has asked for medical certificates to be issued to eunuchs so that castrations can be carried out by qualified surgeons.





PIL against covering BSP’s elephant statutes withdrawn


Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Jan 11, 2012, 04.27PM IST

LUCKNOW: Dhiraj Pratap Singh, who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the order of the Election Commission (EC) to cover statutes of elephants installed in dalit memorials built by Mayawati government, has withdrawn his petition after the Allahabad high court pointed that the the PIL was poorly drafted.

Singh, in his petition, had said that the elephant is considered to be a symbol of Lord Ganesha and covering it would hurt sentiments of the Hindus.

The high court has left the option open of a fresh petition. Significantly, the BSP had also moved an application before the court claiming that it has nothing to do with the petition.

The order to cover the statues was given by the EC on the complaints of the opposition parties which alleged that the elephant is the election symbol of the ruling BSP and it is using them to influence voters in the coming elections.

The BSP has accused the Election Commission of not giving it an opportunity to present its defence and playing into the hands of Congress-led UPA government.






Harassed by police, lawyer commits suicide; CBI probe ordered

PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Jaipur, Jan 11 (PTI) A lawyer allegedly committed suicide after he was said to be harassed by the police, prompting the Rajasthan High Court to order a CBI inquiry into the matter. Body of Murlidhar Yadav was found in a well in Barwarda village near Samod town in the district this morning, following which advocates in the High Court and Sessions Court boycotted work and protested on roads. “Prima facie, the advocate committed suicide,” police said. Justice Mahesh Sharma of the Rajasthan High Court ordered a CBI inquiry while hearing a petition filed by Bar Association of the High Court and directed the investigation agency to file status report by January 13. Following the court order, the CBI has registered a case. Yadav’s family members alleged that he was being harassed by the police in connection with a case of scuffle lodged against him with the Murlipura police station, police said. As soon as advocates in the courts came to know about the alleged suicide by Yadav, they boycotted work and protested on roads near the Sessions Court and the High Court and blocked roads. Tension prevailed in the area as the agitating advocates tried to damage a police van in which security force was sent to control the situation near the Sessions Court. Demanding immediate arrest of the accused, the advocates have announced that they will continue their boycott tomorrow.





Siddhartha Reddy gives himself up

January 12, 2012



G. Siddhartha Reddy (34), whose conviction was recently upheld by the High Court of Andhra Pradesh in connection with the suicide of actress Pratyusha, surrendered before a Nampally court on Wednesday evening. He turned up along with his father Rameshwar Reddy, and other friends, and surrendered before Metropolitan Sessions Judge Mr G. Shyam Prasad as per High Court orders.

The High Court, on December 28 last year, while reducing his sentence to two years from the five years awarded by the lower court had directed him to surrender before the trial court within 15 days. “He deposited the Rs 50,000 fine in court as directed by the High Court in its order, and was later shifted to the Chanchalaguda prison,’’ said Mr P.R. Narendranath Reddy, the counsel for Siddhartha Reddy.

According to the investigation by the CBI, Pratyusha and Siddhartha Reddy attempted suicide on the evening of February 23, 2002 as his mother refused permission for their marriage. But the issue attracted wide media attention as the doctor after autopsy declared that it was a case of rape and murder, and ultimately the case was handed over to the CBI under the supervision of the High Court.

A Nampally court on February 23, 2004 convicted Siddhartha Reddy under section 306 (Abetment to suicide) and 309 (attempt to commit suicide) of IPC. He was awarded five years of rigorous imprisonment, and Rs 5,000 fine under section 306 of the IPC, and one year imprisonment under section 309 of IPC. On appeal the High Court recently reduced the sentence to two years and increased the fine to Rs 50,000. Siddhartha Reddy will shortly move a bail application in Supreme Court and will challenge the High Court order.





Acquittal of doctors in kidney scam upheld

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday upheld a lower court’s acquittal order of 2005 discharging five doctors allegedly involved in a kidney racket.

Hearing an appeal filed by the State government to set aside the October 19, 2005 orders passed by the IV Additional City Civil and Sessions Judge, acquitting doctors Adil and Syed Adil Ahmed, K S Siddaraju, Dilip Patil, Dilip C Dhanpal from the offence of committing kidney thefts, Justice V Jagannathan upheld the lower court order and quashed the chargesheet.

The government had contended that police had filed a chargesheet against the doctors for offences punishable under various sections of the IPC for illegally transplanting kidneys of victims by theft to other patients.

The doctors subsequently filed applications for discharge under Section 227 of the CrPc and the lower court acquitted them. Later, the State government had filed an appeal to set aside the order.

The court upheld the doctors’ contention that the donors were aware of kidney transplantation as also the consent form executed by the donor.

Reinvestigation of Murder Case Stayed

The High Court on Tuesday stayed the reinvestigation of realtor-cum-film producer Govardhan Murthy who is facing charges of murdering his friend and actor Vinod Kumar. The present DGP Shankar Bidari had ordered reinvestigation of the case when he was the chief of Criminal Investigation Department.

Kiran Kumar, brother of the victim Vinod Kumar, had filed a petition in the High Court stating that reinvestigation is not required as the case is being already investigated and the witness have been examined. Hearing the petition, Justice N Anand allowed the interim prayer and stayed the reinvestigation till January 24 and adjourned the case for further hearing.

Govardhan Murthy was booked for allegedly murdering his friend Vinod Kumar in an inebriated state. Murthy, who had produced two films had invited Vinod to a party at his farm house on October 7, 2008 and shot him after a heated argument. Vinod Kumar, before his death, had stated that Murthy had shot him.





Man ordered to pay `19K a month to wife

Jan 11, 2012 |

Age Correspondent

New Delhi

A Delhi court has enhanced the monthly maintenance of a woman from `15,000 to `19,000 holding that an estranged woman living separately from her husband is entitled to the living standard of her husband.
“It is well settled law in plethora of judgements that the wife is also entitled to live as per the status of her husband,” said additional sessions judge (ASJ) Savita Rao, while enhancing the maintenance of a North Delhi woman, living separately from her husband along with her son.
The court order came on an estranged couple’s cross-appeals against a magisterial court order with the husband terming the maintenance amount of `15,000, awarded to the wife by the magisterial court as steep and the wife seeking its enhancement.
While the man contended in his appeal that his wife too was earning, the woman countered that she was living along with her son and it was her estranged husband responsibility to maintain both of them as per his financial status. The sessions court rejected the husband’s contention that he has his own expenses and liabilities to meet while his wife herself was earning.
“It is for the appellant to manage his expense considering the liability of maintenance toward his family,” the court said, adding “merely giving the details of expenses does not absolve him of his liability to maintain his wife and child.”
While working out the amount of maintenance to be paid by the man to his estranged wife and child, the court, however, took into account the couple’s total income and divided it into equitable shares for all the three, including the child.





Regulate teachers’ training schools: SC

January 12, 2012



New Delhi

In the backdrop of the HRD ministry citing shortage of properly trained teachers a major reason for lack of quality education in the country, especially in rural areas, the Supreme Court in an important judgment has directed the Centre, states and Union Territories to stop all private unrecognised teachers training institutions from enrolling the students forthwith.

Describing the unrecognised teachers’ training schools as “commercial ventures”, a bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Ganguly in a common judgment on the appeals of 37 such institutions said the Centre, states and Union Territories must regulate teachers training schools as per the mandate of National Council for Teacher Education Act, 1993.
“Regulations framed under the Act has been actually deficient and the objects sought to be achieved by enacting the special legislation, namely, planned and coordinated development of teacher education system in the country, the regulation and proper maintenance of norms and standard in the system, have not been fulfilled so far,” the top court said.
In order to stop the “commercial exploitation” of students granted admission by unrecognised institutions, the top court issued 18-point guidelines to the Centre and states on regulation with a direction that “no institution shall admit any student to any teacher training course or programme unless it has obtained recognition under Section 14 and Section 15 of the 1993 Act.”






HC stays proceedings against Dr Unmesh

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

Kochi | Posted on Jan 11, 2012 at 11:39am IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday stayed the proceedings initiated by the Thrissur Sessions Court against Dr A K Unmesh, assistant professor at Thrissur Government Medical College, in connection with the Soumya murder case. The Thrissur Sessions Court had earlier directed the authorities to file a complaint, before the magistrate court concerned, against Unmesh for having committed an offence under Section 193 IPC (Punishment for false evidence). The court had found that he had falsely deposed before the court, contrary to the evidence tendered by the prosecution witness.

During the trial in the Soumya murder case, Unmesh had deposed before the court that he conducted the postmortem of Soumya’s body, and not Dr Sherly Vasu, head of the Forensic Department.

The court, while delivering the verdict in the murder case, had directed the police to register a case against Unmesh for taking a stand that was favourable to the accused. The court also observed that he failed in his duty and breached service rules. The doctor is now under suspension.

The Thrissur Fast Track Court had earlier found that Unmesh was guilty of giving false evidence while accepting the petition of Malayalavedi state president George Vattukulam.

Counsel for the petitioner, advocate T A Shaji submitted that the observations and findings of the Sessions Judge were not supported by any materials available on record.

The High Court adjourned the hearing of the petition to January 17. The court also admitted the petition and issued notice to the state government.






HC satisfied with Keralas safety steps

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday expressed satisfaction over the steps initiated by the state government to ensure the safety of the people if the Mullaperiyar dam breaks. “The state has taken substantial measures to safeguard the interests of the people,” the court observed.

The court was reviewing the petitions expressing concern over the safety of the dam and the people. However, when the case came up for hearing, most of the petitioners said they were satisfied with the steps taken by the government, which was recorded by the Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjulla Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon.

“The state has taken positive steps. The intensity of the matter is not as it was, and summer season is approaching,” the bench observed and added that the situation has been defused and the authorities will take necessary steps if a situation arose. Meanwhile, advocate Sivan Madathil, appearing for the Save Kerala Movement, sought time for filing an affidavit after conducting an on-the-spot inspection.

The court permitted the petitioner to visit the place and submit a report before January 30.

The petitioner sought a directive to take effective steps in the event of a dam collapse by adopting modern devices and also to make the public aware about the measures taken by the state. The court also disposed of the petition filed by V S Achuthanandan citing inadequate safety measures. Achuthanandan had sought a direction for calling the Army Engineering Corps in case of an emergency situation. The Central Government in an affidavit had submitted that it will take immediate action if a situation arose.

“There is no need for an undertaking from the Army. The Defence authorities are duty-bound to act in case of an emergency,” the court said.Meanwhile, environmentalist C R Neelakantan has approached the court seeking a directive to the state to take urgent safety measures.





HC asks media to show restraint in reporting land dispute case

Published: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 16:11 IST
Place: Jammu | Agency: PTI

Jammu and Kashmir High Court has asked media to show restraint in reporting court proceedings on a land dispute after some news reports mentioned the name of a Congress minister despite him not being a party to the case.

A single judge bench of Justice Hasnain Massodi said this while taking serious note of reports on the case in a section of the press.

“The media is expected to observe restraint and avoid publishing any news item or making comments without permission of the court, seized of the matter, on the nature of dispute or involvement of anyone, not a party to the dispute in the controversy,” said Justice Massodi.

“Once the media is aware that dispute between the parties is subject matter of a trial before the court, it is expected to observe restraint and allow the court to deal with and decide the matter in accordance with law, free from any pressure, likely to be generated” due to reporting, the judge said.

The high court order came on a plea by Additional Advocate General (AAG) Gangan Basorta, who alleged in the court that “an effort is being made by the media to use the dispute as a tool to drag some public figures, commanding respect in the society, in the controversy over litigation between the parties.”

The case pertained to a dispute over 2 kanals of land in Muthi area of Jammu district.





Companies approach HC on free sugar

January 12, 2012


The AP High Court will start hearing on a batch of petitions challenging the intervention of the Centre in selling of sugar stocks in the open market by various private sugar factories of the state from Jan. 23. Several sugar companies moved against the decision of the Union ministry of consumer affairs and public distribution is arbitrary and violative of their rights guaranteed under the Constitution.

They also challenged Section 3 D of the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 and the Clause 4 of the Sugar (Control) Order 1966 and urged the court to declare the provisions as unconstitutional. The companies also pointed out that they are unable to clear the dues payable to sugarcane growers that due to the restrictions imposed by the Centre.

While granting an interim direction, the court permitted certain petitioners to sell the free sale sugar produced during 2011-2012 to discharge its contractual and statutory liability, on condition that the petitioners clear the dues payable to the farmers for the sugarcane crop of previous years and for the present crop year on priority basis. However, the Union ministry objected the interim order, saying that permitting the petitioners to sell the total free sugar at a time may result in hoarding of the commodity, scarcity after the season comes to an end, and may lead to inflation. The union ministry said that the Union ministry issued a policy by imposing certain restrictions on sugar mills with a view to control, supply and equal distribution of the sugar round the year and across the country. It also pointed out that the petitioners did not challenge the Centre’s policy.

PIL against Judge selection
Challenging the selection process for recruitment of district judges, Vasire-ddy Prabhunath, a practicing advocate, filed a public interest litigation in the High Court. The HC had issued a notification on December 22, 2011, for the recruitment of district judges. The petitioner said that the authorities allowed a candidate who studied abroad without intimating the Bar council and does not have seven years standing at the Bar and therefore does’nt meet the criteria. The vacation bench of will hear the case on Thursday.






Channel urges HC to allow them furnish Corporate guarantee

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) Times Global Broadcasting Company (TGBC), which runs “Times Now” News Channel, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking modification of its order asking it to furnish Rs 80 crore bank guarantee towards damages in a defamation suit filed by a former Supreme Court Judge. The application came up today before a bench headed by Justice D K Deshmukh who adjourned the matter till tomorrow. A Pune court had ordered “Times Now” News Channel to pay Rs 100 crore as damages to former SC judge P B Sawant for defaming him. The Channel had challenged the order in the Bombay High Court which asked it to deposit Rs 20 crore and furnish a bank guarantee for the balance amount. The Channel prayed that instead of furnishing bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore, the court may permit Bennet Coleman and Co. Ltd. to give a corporate guarantee on their behalf. The Channel said it was facing difficulty in procuring a bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore as the company is required to provide 75 per cent to 100 per cent margin and a commission to the banks in order to avail this facility. “It would be unviable for the applicant (Times Now) to incur such high costs and to continue to run its operations effectively until the matter is finally disposed of,” it said. Justice Sawant had sued the news channel for displaying his photo wrongly during telecast of a bulletin on September 10, 2008 on a Provident Fund scam allegedly involving a Calcutta High Court judge. The report had showed Justice Sawant’s photograph in place of the High Court Judge. On a suit by Justice Sawant, the Pune district court had ordered the company to pay him Rs 100 crore as damages. An appeal was filed in the High Court which asked “Times Now” news channel in September 2011 to deposit Rs 20 crores in the Court and furnish a bank guarantee for Rs 80 crore. The Company then filed an appeal in the Supreme court which refused to interfere with the High Court order. PTI SVS SK





HC stays NITTTR order on transfer of 5 faculty members

PTI | 11:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Chennai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Madras High Court has stayed an order of the National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research here, transferring five faculty members to different places. Issuing the interim stay on the December 23 order of the institute’s senior administrative officer, Justice K Chandru admitted a petition by a professor of Electronics Engineering Dhanasekharan and four others, challenging their transfers. Claiming that they were the most qualified and specialised faculty members of separate departments, performing distinctly specific functions, the petitioners submitted that by the order, they had been transferred to places where no posts as those being presently held by them were available. They contended that the order was arbitrary as there was no provision in the rules for transfer. PTI GR APR ZMN





Notice to cops on Facebook, Google plea

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 11, 2012

The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued notice to the city police on petitions filed by Facebook India and Google India challenging the trial court order, which had summoned them and other websites to face a criminal case for allegedly allowing objectionable content.
The trial court

had on December 23 summoned  representatives of 21 social networking sites including Facebook, Microsoft, Google, Yahoo and Youtube taking cognisance of a private criminal complaint.

The metropolitan magistrate had also directed the Centre  to take steps and also file a report  in the court by January 13.

The magistrate had said, “It appears from a bare perusal of documents that prima facie the accused in connivance with  each other and other unknown persons are selling, publicly  exhibiting and have put into circulation obscene content.”

The magistrate noted that in the material — submitted by the complainant — contained derogatory articles pertaining to Prophet Mohammad, Jesus Christ and various Hindu gods.






Bombay HC warns pvt hospital over ill-treatment of patients

PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today warned of action against super speciality hospital Seven Hills Healthcare if it was found to be ill-treating patients referred there by municipal corporation-run hospitals. A Division Bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar gave the warning while hearing a petition filed by Seven Hills challenging the notices issued by the Municipal Corporation of Greater Mumbai (MCGM) asking the former to vacate the seven-acre premises allotted to them to run the medical facility in suburban Marol. The corporation had issued the notices after the private hospital allegedly breached the agreement with MCGM by not allotting enough beds for treating patients referred there by civic hospitals. MCGM counsel Ashutosh Kumbhakoni told the court that a special officer was appointed to verify and ensure that appropriate treatment and services are provided to poor patients at Seven Hills. “However, there have been several instances of ill-treatment of these patients,” he alleged. “We will take action against them (hospital) if this is true,” Justice Bobade said while adjourning the matter for further hearing on January 18. According to an affidavit filed by the special officer Santosh Salagre, the private hospital was ill-treating the poor patients and charging them exorbitant amounts when they are supposed to levy only MCGM-prescribed rates. Salagre is a doctor from MCGM-funded KEM Hospital. PTI SP RSY HKS





Unauthorised tenants: HC asks BPCL, state, MHADA to settle grievance


Mumbai, Thu Jan 12 2012, 02:06 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked the state government, the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) and the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) to amicably settle BPCL’s grievance regarding the alleged unauthorised occupation of the tenements constructed for its employees.

The court said petroleum refineries are the lifeline of our country and everybody, from the armed forces to the common man, needed them. It was hearing a petition filed by BPCL, which contended that in December 1951, it entered into an agreement with the government, under which the MHADA built 664 flats for its employees in the Sahakar Nagar area of Chembur. BPCL, in its petition, stated that a number of tenants continued to occupy the flats even after they ceased to be employees of the company.

BPCL had challenged an order passed by the state in 1998 transferring ownership of 664 tenements to its occupants. According to BPCL’s petition, the order was illegal because as per the agreement of 1951, “MHADA had no power to allot the tenements in favour of the unauthorised occupants”.

BPCL wrote to MHADA on several occasions urging it to evict the alleged unauthorised tenants so that its present employees could be accommodated in the 664 flats. MHADA, however, stated that its correspondences were not heeded by the housing body.

The land, formerly owned by the Mafatlals, was acquired by the state government under the Urban Land Ceiling Act, 1976. Under the Development Plan, the land was then earmarked for housing BPCL workers, assistant government pleader G W Mattos said.





E-journal row: HC blow to AICTE

TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 03.30AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has restrained the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), the statutory body established for the development of technical education in the country, from taking any coercive action against any institution for not subscribing an e-journal. The AICTE had recently put out a list of e-journals compelling self-financing engineering colleges to subscribe to them at mandatory rates for the academic year 2012-13.

Justice Vinod K Sharma on Wednesday passed the interim order on the writ petitions filed by the Association of Management of Coimbatore Anna University-affiliated Colleges and the Consortium of Self-Financing Professional Arts and Science Colleges in Tamil Nadu.

“The authorities are restrained from taking any coercive action against the institutions for not subscribing to a particular journal detailed in annexure 1,” the judge said. The matter will be taken up for further hearing in March.





HC sets aside summons to Ajit Pawar in cooperative electn case

PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Mumbai, Jan 11 (PTI) Bombay High Court today set aside an order directing Ajit Pawar, Deputy Chief Minister of Maharashtra, to appear before a lower court to answer the charges of corrupt practises during election at a cooperative sugar factory. Division bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and Anoop Mohata quashed the order of a single judge of High Court. The matter pertained to Malegaon sugar factory in Baramati district, which conducted election for board of directors three years ago. During the campaign, Pawar had given a speech and the panel backed by him eventually won. The election was challenged by the defeated panel by by filing an election petition which is still pending before the Revenue Commissioner. Petition takes objection to Pawar’s speech, among other things. Petitioners filed an application before the Commissioner, seeking permission to produce CD of Ajit Pawar’s speech. They also demanded that Ajit be summoned as a witness. The application was rejected by Revenue Commissioner, against which the defeated candidates moved the High Court. A single judge, on November 28, allowed production of speech CD, and the summons to Pawar. The elected candidates, represented by advocate Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, then filed an appeal before the division bench of the High Court which today quashed the order of the single judge.





HC seeks report on Pipili rape victim

Ashok Pradhan, TNN Jan 11, 2012, 11.42AM IST

BHUBANESWAR/CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Tuesday sought a report from police on a 19-year-old girl, who was allegedly gangraped on November 28 after she agreed to be a witness in a molestation case. The girl, a native of Pipili, about 20 km from here, is in a critical condition at Capital Hospital.

A division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra directed the Puri SP to initiate a probe into the incident by an officer of DSP or higher rank, and supervise the case himself. It also asked Capital Hospital authorities to submit a status report on the condition of the girl by Wednesday and directed the Bhubaneswar DCP to provide adequate protection to her.

The directions came in response to a petition filed by lawyer and human rights activist Prabir Das seeking justice and proper treatment for the victim. “We cited before the court that the victim’s condition was very critical and she needed proper treatment,” Das said. The court has fixed the next hearing on Wednesday.

Amidst mounting pressure from various quarters, the state government handed over the probe to the crime branch. “An investigation team led by a deputy SP will look into the matter. A woman additional SP will assist him in the probe,” the crime branch said.

The SCB Medical College and Hospital, where the victim was admitted from November 29 to December 14, said she had been suffering from hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy and mentioned the cause as partial hanging.

“In common parlance, she suffered brain damage due to poor oxygen and blood supply,” said Dr S N Swain, spokesperson of the Capital Hospital. This could be a result of hanging or attempted strangulation. Dr Swain said the hospital was trying to arrange the best medical help for her. “She is in the ICU. A medical team is looking after her. We have asked the SCB authorities to send a neurologist for her,” he said.

The girl’s family had got her discharged from the Cuttack hospital on their own, as they could not afford the cost of her treatment. They had also approached the State Commission for Women (SCW) on January 7. The SCW took her to Capital Hospital, which referred her to Cuttack again. But instead of going to Cuttack, she took shelters at a relative’s place in Bhubaneswar and approached the Orissa Human Rights Commission on Monday. She was subsequently re-admitted to the Capital Hospital.

According to the girl’s family, the Class IX girl was raped by two persons for being a witness in a case of sexual assault of one of her friends in 2008.





HC summons Shimla DC, SP over car parking in auto-free zone

Shimla, Jan 11 (PTI) Taking serious note of illegal parking of tourist vehicles in Shimla”s auto-free zones on New Year”s Eve, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned top administrative and police officials.

The bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjay Karol directed Shimla Deputy Commissioner and SP to appear in the court on January 13 with record regarding permissions granted to motorists to park vehicles on sealed and restricted roads.
“We were shocked to find that on New Year”s Eve, vehicles were parked on the sealed and restricted areas…Not only this, vehicles were also parked in the core area of Shimla town from Shimla Club to the Lift. In fact, there was double parking on this road and on enquiry, we were told that some orders have been passed by the DM and SP, permitting the tourists to park their vehicles in these areas,” it said.

Taking note of the orders passed by the district administration for permitting parking, the bench said, “This power of relaxation is not even available to the state as far as the core Mall Road area is concerned. If the state does not have the power to relax the provisions for the core Mall Road area, we fail to understand how the DM or the SP could have relaxed the provisions of the Act and granted permission to the tourists to park their vehicles in the core Mall Road area.”
“It is expected that the officials, especially the DM and the SP, enforce the law and it is not expected that they should themselves start violating the law,” it said.

In its earlier order in the same petition, dated December 30, the court had questioned plying of vehicles belonging to Army on restricted routes, without valid permits.





HC directs TN govt to expeditiously restore power

PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

Chennai, Jan 11 (PTI) The Madras High Court today directed Tamil Nadu government to expeditiously restore electricity in the cyclone-hit Cuddalore district. Hearing a PIL filed by advocate M Vetri Selvan, seeking a direction to the state and Puducherry governments to put in place a disaster management plan, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said they “hope that at least the electricity supply shall be restored in Cuddalore district as expeditiously as possible”. The petitioner alleged that despite continuous warnings since December 25 last by the meteorological department about the cyclonic storm ‘Thane’ and regular monitoring of its intensity, the Tamil Nadu and Puducherry governments had failed to act in accordance with the laid down guidelines. Holding the two governments responsible for the loss of lives and damages due to the cyclone, the petitioner said ‘on account of the failure of the governments to take any preventive measures, 46 persons lost their lives.” The advocate sought a court direction to the authorities concerned to prepare the preventive measures within a time frame. Counsel for the petitioner submitted that as per Section 6 of the Disaster Management Act 2005, the National Disaster Management Authority was required to take all measures to prevent of disaster or mitigate the sufferings of victims. As per the guidelines of the Act, Tami Nadu and Puducherry governments and the Centre, should have completed cyclone-resistant structures, shelters, coastal embankments and cattle mounds along the entire cyclone-prone area in the two states. Though the deadline for completing the structures ended on December 31, 2010 itself, the two governments had not even thought of constructing such shelters for potential victims. The authorities ought to have commenced the works in 2008-09, the PIL said.





HC reserves order on 2G case accused plea on CBI documents

PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 11,2012

New Delhi, Jan 11 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today reserved its order on a plea by a 2G spectrum case accused for an early decision by the trial court on the objections raised by him and others on admissibility of some documents placed by CBI as evidence. Asif Balwa, a businessman facing trial in the case before Special judge O P Saini, had pleaded to the High Court that the special judge continues with the trial without deciding on the objections questioning the document’s evidential value by various accused. The trial court’s failure to promptly decide his objections against the documents would prejudice the case against him, he had contended. “The judgement is reserved,” Justice M L Mehta said after hearing arguments on behalf of Kusegaon Fruits and Vegetables Pvt Ltd’s Director Balwa and those of CBI. Initiating arguments, Balwa’s counsel Vijay Agarwal said the Delhi High Court rules say that any objection raised by lawyers about the “reliability and admissibility” of a document as evidence be decided promptly. “Such decisions (by the trial judge) would make the accused aware as to whether the documents, produced by CBI or by the witness, would be relied upon and read against them or not at the time of final judgement in the case,” he said. “The objection about admissibility of a document, produced by a witness during the trial, as a piece of evidence should be decided then and there by the trial judge. And, if such objections are not decided, then it would amount to denial of fair trial to the accused,” he said. Sonia Mathur, appearing for CBI, however, opposed the plea saying “if the trial judge is forced to decide objections promptly, then the purpose of having day-to-day trial would be defeated.” Balwa is accused of playing a role in routing of Rs 200 crore to DMK-run Kalaignar TV as bribe from a firm promoted by Shahid Usman Balwa, an alleged beneficiary of the scam. PTI SJK RKS RAX






HC reserves order on Krishna’s plea, stay extended till orders


Karnataka High Court on Wednesday reserved orders on a petition by External Affairs Minister S M Krishna seeking quashing of the private complaint accusing him of facilitating illegal mining during his tenure as state Chief Minister between 1999 to 2004.

Justice N Ananada also extended the stay granted by the high court on all proceedings of the Lokayukta court including the FIR filed by Lokayukta police against Mr. Krishna last month till the pronouncement of final orders.

On December 15, the high court had granted four weeks stay on the proceedings pending before the Lokayukta court.

The Lokayukta police had on December 8 filed an FIR against Krishna and two other former Chief Ministers N Dharam Singh and H D Kumaraswamy and 11 officials on a directive by the Lokayukta Court given on a private complaint filed by T J Abraham.

Earlier resuming arguments, Abraham submitted that though earlier it was decided by the state government that dereservation of forest land to encourage mining by private sector would be done in non-fragile areas, it was done in fragile mineral bearing regions despite opposition from the forest department.

“Important files on dereservation went missing and in December 2002, the decision (to dereserve) was intentionally taken with the knowledge of the head of the state (who was S M Krishna that time)”, he alleged.

At this the Judge observed “show the culpability of the Chief Minister in dereservation. He cannot be held responsible for all the illegalities committed”.






HC disposes of ‘defector’ MLAs contempt petition

Express News Service : Chandigarh, Thu Jan 12 2012, 03:10 hrs

Disposing of a contempt petition filed by Hisar MP Kuldeep Bishnoi, against three ‘defector’ MLAs for not complying with court directions, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday gave Bishnoi the liberty to get the contempt petition revived, in case the Supreme Court dismisses the appeal filed by the Vidhan Sabha speaker and the MLAs.

Haryana Speaker Kuldeep Sharma and the five ‘defector’ MLAs had moved the Supreme Court against a high court judgment, dated December 20, 2011 that had declared the five MLAs as unattached. The Apex Court had stayed the operation of the judgment delivered by the subordinate court.

Prior to the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the speaker, Kuldeep Bishnoi had filed a contempt petition in the high court seeking contempt proceedings against the three defector MLAs who were continuing to hold office despite the court’s directions.

The said contempt petition was on Wednesday disposed off by Justice Surya Kant with the liberty that if the apex court dismisses the appeal filed by the Speaker, then Bishnoi can get the contempt petition revived by merely filing a review application.

On the other hand, Bishnoi withdrew a petition seeking quo warranto proceedings against the Haryana chief minister.

Senior lawyer Satya Pal Jain, counsel for Bishnoi, withdrew the petition in wake of stay granted by the Supreme Court.





HC rap for state on speed governors

Mumbai, Thu Jan 12 2012, 02:00 hrs

The state government’s delay in putting into practice a rule mandating speed governor devices in vehicles came under criticism from the Bombay High Court on Wednesday.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by NGO Suraksha Foundation, demanding prompt action on the issue. Arguing for petitioners on Wednesday, lawyer Anil Sakhre told the court that several other states — notably Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana — have issued notifications and have begun implementing the rule.

Reacting to this statement, the division bench of Justices D D Sinha and V K Tahilramani said, “If other states can take steps towards implementation of this rule, we see no reason why Maharashtra should not follow suit.”

The court directed the state government to issue a notification implementing the rule within two months. The government has also been directed to form a committee to put the regulations into practice.

The judges were irked while noting that the state government had earlier issued a draft notification on the issue, but was now planning to withdraw it or make modifications in it. “We cannot go on granting time. There needs to be a reasonable cause for delay. Why have you not taken action?” Justice D D Sinha asked.

The court said the notification should be issued “as early as possible” and observed that it is a matter of major public concern.





Adulterated milk: HC asks govt to reply by January 25

TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 01.36AM IST

NEW DELHI: Taking cognizance of a TOI report on rampant milk adulteration in the capital, the Delhi high court on Wednesday sought a response from the Central and state governments by January 25.

A bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Shah took suo motu note of the report that 70 per cent of the milk samples picked up from the city were found to be contaminated, in a survey. HC issued notice to the city government’s food adulteration department and the Food Safety Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), which comes under the Central government.

The report highlighted adulteration of milk relying on a survey by a government agency.

The FSSAI survey was conducted across the country and “elsewhere in the 33 states and UTs studied, milk was found adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, besides the age-old dilution with water. Across the country, 68.4% of the samples were found contaminated.”

According to FSSAI, 70 per cent of the milk samples, taken for testing from the capital, were found to be contaminated with glucose and skimmed milk powder.

The report further claimed that almost 69% of the samples tested by the government agency across the country were found to be adulterated with detergent, fat and even urea, besides water. According to the report, the samples taken for testing by FSSAI from urban areas included both packed as well as loose milk.

The Delhi government has instructed big milk suppliers in the capital to adhere to prescribed safety standards by establishing a number of checks and balances at every stage and upgrade their laboratories.

Health Minister A K Walia chaired a meeting with big milk suppliers on Wednesday. “The test of milk quality and purity should be conducted at the first level, that is, procurement of milk from initial producers, in-house testing during processing of the milk and random testing by way of picking up a few marketed pouches of milk from various localities,” said Walia.





‘SC can’t seek RTI exemption for CJI office as case is pending’

TNN Jan 5, 2012, 01.06AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has observed that the Supreme Court cannot demand blanket exemption of information held by the office of the Chief Justice of India while a case is pending before it. While admitting that not all matters related to SC’s in-house procedures and vigilance matters can be disclosed the CIC said that if the legislature had intended for complete exclusion of the office of the CJI from the scope of the RTI Act, it would have kept an express provision for the purpose.

The Commission also ruled that the procedure of judges’ appointment should be in the public domain while asking the apex court to disclose communication between CJI and the law ministry on the question of proposed changes in appointment procedure for judges.

Hearing cases related to the SC filed by activist S C Agrawal, chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra said, “While we concede that due to the stay granted by the Supreme Court, all information relating to the in-house procedure of the Supreme Court and vigilance matters relating to the Judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court should not be disclosed we cannot agree that every information held in the office of the CJI should not be disclosed till the Constitutional Bench officially disposes of the issues referred to it by the Division Bench….Acceptance of this argument would virtually mean the complete exclusion of the CJI from the scope of the RTI Act which certainly is not the case.”

He said the claim that said file containing the correspondence between the law ministry and the CJI is not available with the registry may be true but it does not clarify if this is available anywhere else in the SC such as in the office of the CJI or not.

“Therefore, the CPIO must look for this information once again and, if found, provide to the appellant. We direct the CPIO to do so within 10 working days of getting this order,” he said

The Commission has also directed that procedure of appointment of judges should be disclosed and not seen as providing information on individual cases. “The procedure of appointment of judges or any proposal for modifying that procedure should necessarily be available in the public domain so that the citizens know what is transpiring among the major stake holders, in this case, the government of India and the CJI, in respect of such a vital matter as the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court of India,” Mishra said in an order.

Rejecting the arguments of the SC that the information related to judges’ appointment cannot be disclosed as there is a stay, the Commissioner said a distinction needs to be made between the process of appointment of an individual as a judge and the procedure for making such appointments.

The case relates to plea of activist Subhash Agrawal seeking disclosure of law ministry’s draft of revised memorandum of procedure of appointment of judges in higher courts and the related exchange of communication between the then CJI K G Balakrishnan and the law minister.

The Supreme Court Registry had objected citing a pending stay on disclosure of information related to the in-house procedure of appointment of judges and said the details sought by the applicant do no constitute “information” under RTI.

It said the office of CJI was not constitutionally or statutorily required to hold this information hence it does not come under section 2(j) of the RTI Act. Both the arguments were rejected by CIC.





High Courts must not allow seat increase in private medical colleges through interim orders: Supreme Court

TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 06.19AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday frowned upon the practice in some high courts to pass interim orders permitting private medical colleges to increase their MBBS seats despite the regulator, Medical Council of India, refusing to allow hike in student intake after scrutinizing the institution’s infrastructure and teaching facilities.

This ruling came from a bench of Justices H L Dattu and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad, which allowed the MCI’s appeal against a Karnataka HC interim order permitting JSS Medical College to increase its student intake from 150 to 200 for the academic year 2011-12. This means, the college will now have to cancel the admission of the 50 additional students.

The college had applied to MCI in June last year seeking increase of its seats from 150 to 250. After the inspecting team gave a report on the college’s inadequate infrastructure, clinical material and faculty, MCI declined the request. Later, the college approached the Karnataka HC, which by an interim order granted the relief.

The bench rejected contentions of senior advocate K K Venugopal, who appeared for the college, and said in normal circumstances, HCs should not issue interim orders granting permission to increase seats in medical colleges as in case of reversal of such decisions, students would suffer.

Accepting MCI counsel senior advocate Nidesh Gupta’s argument, the apex court said, “In most such cases, when finally the issue is decided against the college, the welfare and plight of the students are ultimately projected to arouse sympathy of the court. It results in very awkward and difficult situation.”

Justice Prasad, who authored the judgment for the bench, said, “If on ultimate analysis it is found that the college’s claim for increase of seats is untenable, in such an event the admission of students with reference to the increased seats shall be illegal. We cannot imagine anything more destructive of the rule of law than a direction by the court to allow continuance of such students, whose admissions are found illegal in the ultimate analysis.”

Though the court set aside the HC’s interim order, it requested the HC to expeditiously decide the college’s petition on merit without being influenced by the observations made by the bench.






Delhi blast case: Supreme Court quashes death sentence awarded to Pakistani

J. Venkatesan

The Hindu A division bench of the Supreme Court on Wednesday passed a split verdict on the plea of a Pakistani national challenging his conviction and death sentence awarded to him in the 1997 Delhi blast case.

Bench split on whether to order fresh trial or set the accused at liberty

Underlining the importance of fair trial and due procedure contemplated under Article 21 of the Constitution even to a foreign national, the Supreme Court on Wednesday set aside the death sentence awarded to a Pakistani terrorist found guilty in the 1997 Delhi bomb blast case.

Though the Bench, comprising Justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad, set aside the Delhi High Court judgment, the judges gave a split verdict in the case. Justice Dattu ordered a fresh trial, holding that the trial was vitiated as the appellant was not provided with counsel to defend himself properly, while Justice Prasad held that the trial was illegal and directed him to be set at liberty and ordered his deportation.

Justice Dattu said: “I direct the trial court to conclude the trial as expeditiously as possible at any rate within an outer limit of three months from the date of communication of this order and report the same to this Court.”

Justice Prasad said: “The appellant must be seeing the hangman’s noose in his dreams and dying every moment while awake from the day he was awarded the sentence of death, more than seven years ago. The right to speedy trial is a fundamental right and though a rigid time limit is not countenanced, in the facts of the present case, I am of the opinion that after such a distance of time it shall be a travesty of justice to direct de novo trial.”

However, in view of the split verdict, the Bench requested that the matter be placed before the Chief Justice of India to seek another Bench to decide whether the case was to be given a fresh hearing or the accused should be set at liberty.

Mohammad Hussain alias Zulfikur Ali, the appellant, was awarded the death sentence after having been found guilty of placing a bomb in a blue line bus at Rampura bus stand here on December 30, 1997, and causing an explosion in which four persons were killed and 24 sustained injuries.

Justice Dattu said the trial court “ought to have seen to it that the accused was dealt with justly and fairly by keeping in view the cardinal principle that [the person] accused of a crime is entitled to counsel which may be necessary for his defence, as well as to facts as to law. The necessity of counsel was so vital and imperative that the failure of the trial court to make an effective appointment of counsel was a denial of due process of law.”

Justice Prasad, however, said: “Howsoever guilty the appellant upon the inquiry might have been, he is, until convicted, presumed to be innocent. The fate of the criminal trial depends upon the truthfulness or otherwise of the witnesses and, therefore, it is of paramount importance. To arrive at the truth, its veracity should be judged, and for that purpose, cross-examination is an acid test. It [cross examination] tests the truthfulness of the statement made by a witness on oath in examination-in-chief. Its purpose is to elicit facts and materials to establish that the evidence of witness is fit to be rejected.”

Justice Prasad said the appellant was “denied this right only because he himself was not trained in law and not given the assistance of a lawyer to defend himself. Poverty also came in his way to engage counsel of his choice. It is true, in that incident, four persons have lost their lives and several innocent persons have sustained severe injuries. Further, the crime was allegedly committed by a Pakistani, but these factors do not cloud my reason. After all, we are proud to be a democratic country and governed by rule of law.

“By passage of time, it is expected that many of the witnesses may not be found due to change of address and various other reasons and a few of them may not be in this world. Hence, any time limit to conclude the trial would not be pragmatic.”





Supreme Court chides itself, govt for judicial backlog

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 05.57AM IST

NEW DELHI: Anguished over the state of affairs of the justice delivery system, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said people’s faith in judiciary was dwindling at an alarming rate, posing a grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance of the country.

If the apex court highlighted the non-filling of nearly 300 posts of high court judges to reflect the deficiency in itself as HC judges are selected and recommended for appointment by a collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India, it was highly critical of the government for talking tall about fighting the pendency of 2.77 crore cases in trial courts but doing nothing on the ground.

A bench of Justices A K Ganguly and T S Thakur was unsparing in its comments while candid in acknowledging the woes – large number of vacancies in trial courts, unwillingness of lawyers to become judges, failure of the apex judiciary in filling vacant HC judges posts and the dragging of feet by the Centre in keeping its promises.

On the vacancies in HCs, the bench said, “The Allahabad High Court is the largest high court but 50% of judges’ post are lying vacant. It is an area of grave concern. People are getting more and more aware of their rights and want speedy justice. The courts cannot stop filing of cases on the ground that there are vacancies. But the vacancies in the HCs are not getting filled. This is posing grave threat to constitutional and democratic governance system as people are resorting to extra-judicial methods to sort out their disputes.”

Turning its attention to the government, the bench said UPA-2 had with much fanfare announced the Vision Document promising to appoint 5,000 ad-hoc judges to wipe out a pendency of 2.77 crore cases in the trial courts. “Three years have gone by. Except for the announcement, nothing has been done. The scheme is also wholly unworkable as lawyers were not interested in permanent posts of judges and would they take up ad-hoc appointments to dispense justice on a daily wage?”

Amicus curiae and senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam, who as solicitor general had contributed to the drafting of the Vision Document in 2009 when M Veerappa Moily was the law minister, joined the bench in criticizing the government. “When the government says it respects the judiciary and its independence, there is a hidden line in it. The courts are not being given importance that is why the justice dispensation system is in such a disarray,” he added.

But, the bench said how would the judiciary ask the government about what it has done. “The government will say ‘out of 900 sanctioned strength of high court judges 300 are lying vacant, why don’t you appoint’,” it said.

However, it wanted to seek answers from the government on amicus curiae’s suggestion that access to justice must be made a constitutional right and consequently the executive must provide necessary infrastructure for ensuring every citizen enjoyed this right. It also wanted the Centre to detail the work being done by the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms. The hearing would continue on Thursday.





High Court questions government favouring jallikattu

Staff Reporter

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday questioned the authority of the State government to take a stand in favour of Jallikattu when the Centre had issued a notification on July 11 last prohibiting the use of bulls in public performances.

A Division Bench of Justices Chitra Venkataraman and R. Karuppiah directed Additional Advocate General (AAG) K. Chellapandian to obtain instructions from the government on the question posed by them and make his submissions by Thursday.

The direction was issued during the hearing of a batch of writ petitions filed both in favour as well as against the conduct of Jallikattu. Those against the sport included Animal Welfare Board of India and S. Radha Rajan, an animal lover from Chennai. Arguing on behalf of the latter, senior counsel R. Ashok Vardhan contended that the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests had rightly banned the use of bulls for such events by exercising its authority under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

However, Additional Solicitor General M. Ravindran sought two weeks time to file a counter affidavit as the issue involved legal questions such as a conflict between the Centre’s notification and Tamil Nadu Regulation of Jallikattu Act, 2009.

Then, the AAG intervened and said that the Bench could permit Jallikattu this year alone by ordering strict compliance of the conditions imposed by the Supreme Court in a series of interim orders passed by it between January 2008 and March 2011 on the issue.

Not in agreement with such a plea, Ms. Justice Chitra Venkataraman said that the Supreme Court orders were passed before the Centre’s notification and hence those orders would not be relevant in the present scenario when there was a specific ban on using bulls as ‘performing animals.’

“Let there be a ban for two weeks until they (the Centre) file their counter,” the judge said prompting the AAG to say that banning the event would create a law and order problem. He said that Jallikattu had been a traditional sport of Tamils for more than 400 years.

“It is your [State government’s] duty to maintain law and order. We did not expect this kind of submission. You could have challenged the notification. What were you doing since July when you pretty well knew that after July, it will be January?” the judge retorted.

Then, M. Ajmal Khan, counsel for one of the petitioners who was in favour of the sport, contended that Section 21 of the PCA Act, which empowers the Centre to issue such a notification, was unconstitutional as it gave unfettered right to the executive to override even State legislations.





Rescued street children do a vanishing act

Published: Wednesday, Jan 11, 2012, 10:43 IST
By Imran Gowhar | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

A child begging racket was busted and 300 children rescued in December, but now the so-called parents and caretakers of these children have hoodwinked the authorities and taken custody of children by producing fake documents such as address proof.

Sources in the Child Welfare Committee-I — in charge of rescue and rehabilitation of boys — said that they came across at least five cases wherein people claiming to be parents furnished fake documents to get the children released from custody. The committee handed over the children after the parents gave undertakings that they would take care of them.

But when Child Welfare Committee (CWC) members, along with the police, tried visiting the residences earlier this month to ensure the well-being of these children, they were shocked to learn that the addresses given by the ‘parents’did not exist. “We suspect that the parents, fearing constant scrutiny, may have gone back to their native places; 70% of them hail from Bihar, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan,” said a committee member.

“Suspecting something fishy, we have intensified our operations on checking the details of the children who have been taken away by their parents,” said the member. CWC rescued 40 children in December. Among them, 12 boys in the age group of seven to 18 years have been admitted to various schools under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, he said. The rest of them were sent back with their parents.

Similarly, with CWC-II — in charge of rescuing and rehabilitating girls — there are several cases wherein ‘parents’ have returned home with their children. Now, the CWC suspects that many ‘parents’ provided false addresses.

CWC-II chairperson Nina Jain said the committee will meet on Friday to discuss the issue and submit a report to the government. Joint commissioner of police Pranab Mohanty is shocked by this revelation. “The committee cannot be so irresponsible while dealing with this issue. How can it hand over the children without verification? If this is true, it is serious and action will be taken against the persons responsible,” he said.





Traffic dept includes school bus drivers in safety drive

Prajakta Chavan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 12, 2012

Following the school bus mishap in which nine-year-old Viraj Parmar lost his life in November and mounting pressure to enforce the school bus policy, the transport authorities are making drivers of these buses attend sessions on road safety during their ongoing road safety drive. This is the first time a session has been scheduled for school bus staff, in which the drivers and cleaners of school buses are counselled and sensitised about safety measures. 

“Each school bus ferries 45 to 50 students, and therefore providing traffic and safety knowledge to those who drive them is essential. Besides, considering the past incidents, we decided to make them aware of road safety measures, traffic violations, school bus policy, safety rules, and so on,” said Ravinder Patil, senior police inspector of DN Nagar traffic division, which invited over 100 bus drivers from 35 schools in and around DN Nagar to Children Welfare Center (CWC) High School, Yari Road, on Wednesday.

“School bus accidents are on the rise and therefore educating their drivers and cleaners about safety norms is in the students’ interest. We will soon have a session for degree college students, too. The importance of safety rules like wearing seat belts, helmets, following traffic norms, etc. has to be inculcated in people through public awareness,” said Ajay Kaul, principal of CWC high school.

The Andheri regional transport office (RTO) had conducted an awareness program for school bus drivers on January 4 at their office. “We dedicated an entire session for school bus drivers in which 150 drivers from 80 schools participated. These drivers are responsible for around 50 lives, so educating them and clearing their doubts is the first step towards safety of children,” said DV Modak, assistant RTO, Andheri.

Other programs like eye and medical check up, counselling sessions for auto and taxi drivers informing them about various traffic violations and penalties, are also being held across the city.






RTI not to be used for judicial orders: CIC

New Delhi, Jan 11, DHNS:

The Central Information Commission has held that the Right to Information (RTI) Act cannot be used to get details of orders or judgments from the Supreme Court or the High Courts.

Significantly, the transparency panel clarified that since the Supreme Court as well as High Courts prescribed their own set of rules for providing judicial records, the information seekers could not use the RTI Act for that purpose.

“We have very clearly held that the Right to Information (RTI) Act does not override the provisions of such rules and orders made by the Supreme Court or the High Courts as there is nothing inconsistent in those rules and orders.

“Section 22 of the Right to Information (RTI) Act comes into play only in cases of inconsistency in any existing law. Since the disclosure of information is the common objective of both the Right to Information (RTI) Act and the rules and orders of the Supreme Court and High Courts, the latter will continue to prevail in matters of disclosure of certified copies of judicial records,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said.

The Commission was hearing an appeal filed by Delhi resident Het Ram challenging the decision of the Chief Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court directing him to approach the particular department under the relevant rules to get a copy of an order passed on his application filed in 1992.

Ram wanted to know the “fate” of his application filed in connection with a special leave petition (SLP) pursued by him.

During the hearing before Commission, the SC officials submitted that Ram could seek the copy of the order after filing an application under rules.

The panel headed by Mishra allowed the contention of the apex court. “We have also held that wherever any citizen is seeking the certified copy of any judicial record from the Supreme Court or the High Court, he should get such copies from the respective court under the respective rules and orders of the court and not under the Right to Information (RTI) Act,” the panel held.






Cong woos sadhus with promise to scrap Public Trust Act

Express news service : Rajkot, Thu Jan 12 2012, 05:08 hrs

Cashing in on protests by various religious bodies and leaders, including Dwarka Sharda Peeth Shankaracharya Swarupanand Saraswati, against the Narendra Modi government, the Congress today promised to scrap the Gujarat Public Trust Act 2011 if the party is voted to power in the next Assembly elections.

“This is a draconian Act. The Congress will scrap the law when it comes to power,” said Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Arjun Modhwadia during the Sardar Sandesh Yatra at Bhuj in Kutch district.

On BJP’s claims that the Congress had supported the Bill when it was passed by the Assembly in July last year, Modhwadia said, “Even then the Congress was against the act, and even today It is against it. It has become a major issue as the Act would affect even the people in small villages across the state.”

He maintained that not only the Act, but also the Sadhavana Mission has irked saints and sadhus. “First Modi used the 2002 riots to divide people on religious ground to come to power. Now, he has been trying to reach out to Muslims to reach Delhi.”

The Act, which is yet to be implemented, has landed the BJP in the soup in the election year with leading religious figures from various sects putting their foot down demanding its complete rollback.

Sankrachaya, who last week chaired a meet attended by several saints and sadhus from across Gujarat at Dwarka, formed a group to oppose the Act.

They have asked the state government to scrap the Gujarat Public Trust Act or face consequences in the next Assembly elections.






Sex determination test: 3 doctors sent to jail

PTI | Jan 12, 2012, 08.54PM IST

BEED(MAHA): A court here today sentenced three doctors to one-year rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 5,000 on each of them for conducting a sonography test to determine sex of the foetus.

Chief Judicial Magistrate S S Salvi pronounced Dr Madhav Sanap, Dr Sayyad Tareq and Dr Arun Satpute guilty under the Pre-Conception Pre Natal Diagnostic Test (PCPNDT)Act and awarded the punishment. According to the Prosecution, on September 7, 2005 social activist and lawyer Varsha Deshpande had conducted a sting operation by sending four-month pregnant woman Kavita Lokhande as decoy patient to Bhagwan Hospital belonging to Dr Madhav Sanap.

Advocate Shaila Jadhav and Maya Pawar had accompanied Kavita as her relatives and asked for sex determination of the foetus. Dr Sanap called radiologist Dr Sayyad Tareq and carried out sonography of Kavita and informed them about the sex of the child. Dr Arun Satpute who owned the sonography machine had taken Rs 1,050 by way of charges for the illegal test. On September 12, 2005, Former District Civil Surgeon Dr B D Pawar seized all articles of the hospital and a case was registered under the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques (PCPNDT) Act 1993 and 2003 against the three doctors.






Congress ‘convicted’ candidate: High Court reserves verdict

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 08.42PM IST

LUCKNOW: Justice Ajay Lamba of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved verdict on the criminal appeal filed by Dilip Kumar Verma, Congress candidate from Nanpara assembly constituency.

The appeal is against judgement of a trial court in Bahriach which sentenced Verma to five year’s jail term for offences under Arms Act and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The trial court had convicted Dilip and Kuldip Verma for assaulting a police constable Shiv Sahay and a home guard Ram Bahadur Singh in full public view.

Verma’s lawyer Nagendra Mohan, however, argued that since a police officer to the rank of sub-inspector had investigated the matter, the conviction under SC/ST Act does not sustain. He also contended that since the appellants had not used the weapons, the offences under Arms Act were also not established. It is unnatural that two cops armed with official weapons could be assaulted without any offering any resistance, argued the lawyer. Additional government advocate Rajendra Kumar Dwivedi vehemently opposed the appeal and said that the apex court held that an investigation conducted by an inferior officer would not vitiate the judgement rendered by the trial court. “If the weapons are put on chest to threaten the persons, it cannot be said that the weapon is not used. In fact it is misused,” argued Dwivedi.

Dilip carries a long criminal history of seven cases including murder and attempt to murder registered in different police stations of Bahraich. The investigating officer had collected the said antecedent and cited in the case diary. Dilip is also facing trial in a Bahraich court relating to attempted murder in which he along with his supporters had attacked upon a police station and assaulted police officers, when he was a MLA of the Samajwadi Party in 2004.






Erring judges: Government, Supreme Court differ on response

Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 06.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: At a time when judicial accountability is being hotly debated, the government and the Supreme Court appear to have shrugged off responsibility on the procedure to deal with complaints against erring judges with both giving contradictory RTI responses.

While the justice department said that the chief justice of the high court concerned and the CJI (for judges of the SC and the chief justices of other courts) had the competent authority to ascertain facts and take appropriate action, the then CJI Y K Sabharwal had in response to an RTI plea in 2006 rejected a complaint for action against an HC judge on the basis that neither the SC nor the CJI were “appointing or disciplinary authority” in respect of judges of superior courts.

Significantly the government has also said that there was no provision to restrict HC judges from their entitlement of post-retirement benefits even if the judges had resigned prematurely to avoid contempt proceedings.

When asked in an RTI plea by activist S C Agrawal on action taken against judges, the justice department in its reply dated December 30, 2011 referred to a conference of chief justices in 1990, saying that the CJI had summed up the position by saying, “The CJ of the HC has the competence to receive complaints against the conduct of the judges of his court… where he is satisfied that the matter requires to be examined, he shall have facts ascertained in such a manner as he considers appropriate keeping the nature of allegations in view and if he is of the opinion that the matter is such that it should be reported to the CJI, he shall do so. The CJI shall act in a similar manner in regard to complaints relating to conduct of judges of the SC and CJs of high courts.”

In the 2006 reply to Agrawal, SC registrar and appellate authority Hemant Sampat quoted the then CJI Sabhawal and said, “Neither the SC nor the CJI were appointing or disciplinary authority in respect of judges of superior courts, including judges of HCs.” Agrawal had in October 2005 complained against an HC judge misusing his position to former CJI R C Lahoti. No action was taken against the complaint. Agrawal approached the Central Information Commission (CIC) which in an order in April 2006 asked the SC to disclose the status of the complaint. Sabharwal’s order in response to the CIC direction was that the he had examined the matter and found no merit in the complaint.







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