LEGAL NEWS 31.12.2011

Tribunal stays Group-I interviews

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 04.52AM IST

HYDERABAD: In a setback for the state government, the AP Administrative Tribunal (APAT) on Friday stayed the interviews for Group I services scheduled to be held from January 4.
The tribunal bench comprising its chairman Justice G Yethirajulu and member AK Goel gave this interim order after hearing scores of applicants who took the test in Telugu medium.
They alleged that several bloomers crept into the questions translated from English to Telugu.
The bench directed the state to file an additional counter by January 20 replying to the contentions and questions raised by the applicants.
Owing to the translation errors, the applicants who took the test lost as many as 300 marks, the petitioners said and charged the AP Public Service Commission with not rectifying things. It did not even answer our doubts in its counter, they said.
The bench verified with the counsel for the commission and came to a conclusion that certain mistakes did creep in and they were left unattended to. Hence, the bench thought it fit to stay the ongoing process of selection and directed the authorities to file a detailed counter.
The tribunal asked APPSC to answer the following questions such as What was the criteria for selecting candidates for the interview? Was the assessment of answersheets done in a transparent way? What was the key that was taken as a standard in both English and Telugu medium answersheets? What were the inquiries you made so far into the objections raised by the aggrieved students?
The matter will now be heard again on January 20.

Parliament fails to approve even a single education bill
First Published: 20:33 IST(30/12/2011)
Last Updated: 20:34 IST(30/12/2011)
Sibal had got three bills — National Institute of Technology, Indian Institute
of Technology and Education Tribunal — that were approved by the Lok Sabha in previous sessions. These bills were, however, not taken up for consideration in Rajya Sabha apparently because of paucity of time.

The same reason, however, did not apply for some other bills such as Factoring Regulation and National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions), which got approval of the Upper House within a week of getting assent of Lok Sabha.  
The UPA government’s minority position in Rajya Sabha has proven a bane for Sibal, who has four bills pending for approval in the Upper House. Sibal had tried to reach out to members of Parliament to get the bills approved in the last two months but the opposition was not convinced.
In addition, Sibal introduced two new bills in Rajya Sabha — the Copyright (Amendment) and National Education and Research Bill, 2011 — not without much drama.
Couple of members prevented Sibal from introducing the Copyright Bill in the first go citing conflict of interest as his son was a lawyer of a music company. However, he managed to introduce the bill another day amid the din. But, he had problems with introduction of the Architects (Amendment) Bill, which was vehemently opposed by the BJP.
Among the 17 bills approved by Parliament in the winter session, not a single bill was from the HRD ministry. When Parliament meets again for budget session in 2012, the HRD minister will have about half a dozen new bills ready for introduction, including Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical Education Institutions, which has been approved by the Union Cabinet.
The government could not introduce reform legislation, the Pension Regulatory Bill, in Lok Sabha after its ally Trinamool Congress objected to certain clauses. The Judicial Accountability Bill was deferred by Lok Sabha after being considered for almost four hours because of paucity of time.
The Parliament, however, cleared the Cable Television Network (Amendment) Bill imposing new stringent rules for offending television channels and a bill to set up an academy for scientific and innovative research.
During the session, the government introduced 30 bills (27 in Lok Sabha and three in Rajya Sabha) out of which 17 were passed. Among the bills not passed was the Lokpal bill, which got approval of Lok Sabha on Tuesday but failed to get assent of Rajya Sabha as discussion remained inconclusive.

Court calls for Lal Mandir antique idol

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/delhi/Court-calls-for-Lal-Mandir-antique-idol/articleshow/11309919.cms

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 01.53AM IST
NEW DELHI: An antique idol of Lord Mahavira placed in the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir at Chandani Chowk, one of the oldest temples in the city, has been the subject of a legal battle for the past four years and now it is going to be produced before a trial court next month.

Metropolitan magistrate Aparna Swamy issued summons to a representative of Jain Panchayat (Jain organisation), with the direction that he produce the idol on January 31, 2012, as the trial has finally started against three persons who allegedly were trying to sell it in the international market.

The court’s order came while allowing the plea of the counsel of the accused, who submitted that the examination of witnesses could not be continued further until the case property was brought before it. Allowing his plea, the court issued the summons.

The idol, which is worth crores of rupees, was recovered from three persons who claimed to be contractual labourers, on February 21, 2007. Police filed an FIR alleging that the suspects were about to sell the “stolen” idol, weighing 4.2kg in the international market.

As the idol was lying in the storeroom of the Kashmere Gate police station in central Delhi for few years with no rightful claimant, Prachin Shri Aggarwal Digambar Jain Panchayat, a Jain organization, moved the court to take the idol on conditional possession and instal it in the Shri Digambar Jain Lal Mandir for performing its religious rituals.

The community submitted that the idol was a work of art and sculpture and belonged to society as a whole. He said the idol would be installed in a manner that it could be removed if required, as the Jain scriptures provided for ‘chal pratishtha’ (movable establishment).

Even as Delhi Police opposed the application, the court had in an order on April 9, 2007, allowed the conditional release of the idol on a payment of Rs 5 crore to the applicant organization.

12 diamantaires to arrive home from China on Jan 6

Melvyn Thomas, TNN Dec 30, 2011, 10.36PM IST

SURAT: The two year-long wait for the family members of the diamond merchants incarcerated in China may end soon with the court likely to order the deportation of 12 out of the 13 diamond merchants acquitted in the diamond smuggling case on January 5, 2012.
The family members of 13 diamond merchants – released by the Chinese court in the $ 7.3 million diamond smuggling case on December 7 – have been eagerly waiting for their safe return since that fateful day of January 8, 2010 when the Shenzhen customs had detained them along with nine other diamond merchants on charges of smuggling diamonds.
While 12 diamond merchants will be able to arrive home in January, the 13th one will have to spend another two-and-a-half-months in the Chinese jail due to some legal tangle.
“An appeal has been filed against one of the 13 diamond merchants in the Chinese court against the verdict. However, it will take another two to three months for the court to dispose of the appeal and deport the diamond merchant to India. The rest 12 diamond merchants are likely to be deported from China on January 5,” said Dinesh Navadia, president, Surat Diamond Association (SDA).
Navadia said the diamond merchants released by the Chinese court were expected to arrive on December 30. But the legal procedure regarding the deportation of the 12 diamond merchants was delayed following the administrative procedures in China.
Vijay Sheth, leader of the Hong Kong diamond industry, told TOI, “The Indian embassy in China is in constant touch with the Chinese authorities for the deportation of 13 diamond merchants released by the Chinese court. One of the diamond merchant is facing an appeal in the higher court and that the 12 diamond merchants will reach Surat latest by January 6.”
Sheth said that the family members of all the 13 diamond merchants are camping in Shenzhen from the past many days to secure the release of their men. They (family members) and the leaders of the diamond trade in China and Hong Kong and the officials of Indian embassy are coordinating with the Chinese authorities to complete the deportation procedure at the earliest.

83 ‘illegal’ PDKV staffers given pink slip

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Dec 31, 2011, 01.37AM IST

NAGPUR: Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) served termination notices to 83 employees on Thursday for getting illegally recruited by flouting norms.
The action was taken by vice chancellor Vyankatesh Mayande after getting orders from governor and chancellor K Sankaranarayan. He gave a green signal as per recommendations of Justice SW Dhabe inquiry committee report.
This is the second biggest setback to the Akola-based agriculture university after Nagpur bench of Bombay high court had ordered to demolish its farmers’ communication centre and centenary auditorium built on reserved land on North Ambazari Road.
Interestingly, PDKV has also filed a caveat in the Nagpur bench praying for not grating interim orders to any terminated staffer without giving notice in case of filing of a petition.
The VC confirmed the development to TOI from Akola stating that the action was taken as per directives from the chancellor’s office in Mumbai.
“We’ve given them one month’s time till January 29 to pack their bags,” he said. He added that Justice Dhabe report had found that all these appointments were illegal. “The report is placed on university’s website,” he said.
Earlier, Mayande had suspended five members of selection committee – Vandan Mohod, ER Patil, ND Jogdande, Sudhir Suradkar, and Dinkar Deshmukh – who made these appointments.
Justice Dhabe’s panel was set up by the chancellor following a litigation in public interest (PIL) by two former vice-chancellors of PDKV – BG Batkal and VT Rahate – former dean of postgraduate institute in Akola BS Phadnaik and retired professor of agronomy BS Chimurkar.
Sources alleged that PDKV had made appointments gradually from September 6 to 15, 2005 while selecting underqualified applicants on grounds of favouritism and manipulation. Selection committee chairman Patil and secretary Mohod had allegedly increased the number of posts to be advertised for senior research assistants (SRA) and junior research assistants (JRA) by double. Against 24 vacant posts of SRA, 55 were filled while for 37 JRA posts, 76 were recruited. Among them, 15 had left PDKV while 33 were nominated/selected for promotion. As per Dhabe panel report, 131 posts were illegally filled. The retired judge had recommended immediate cancellation of these appointments and action against those involved in irregularities during interviews held between June 12 and 25, 2005.

Campaign launched against bheri fill-up

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 03.47AM IST

KOLKATA: Activists swung into action on Friday following TOI’s report on the encroachment of Collector Bheri, a 43-bigha waterbody in Chowbagha mouja of Ward No. 108 in South 24-Parganas, shooting off letters, launching a signature campaign and contemplating legal action.

Environmentalist Bonani Kakkar, who had launched a campaign to check encroachment of wetlands two decades ago, wrote to the state chief secretary, Kolkata police commissioner and South 24-Parganas district magistrate, demanding urging for immediate action against the culprits. “I have requested chief secretary Samar Ghosh to convene a meeting of the East Kolkata Wetlands at the earliest to discuss the grave matter,” said Kakkar. Ghosh is the chairman of the EKW Management Authority, a body that was set up to protect and preserve the wetlands following its listing as a Ramsar site.

Kakkar had visited rushed to the spot seven months ago when there was an attempt to dump earth in the lake located next to Heritage School. Though the land sharks lay low for a while, they launched a major drive to drain the lake a month ago. “This is a crime and ‘criminals’ should be taught a lesson,” she said.

Green crusader Subhas Dutta, who has successfully used the PIL route to stop encroachment in the past, is considering legal action. “I will be going to the site to check it out in person on Saturday or Sunday
If the administration sits on the case and fails to act, I will take the matter to court,” he said, adding that it was time to stop rampant encroachment of wetlands.
“This is so shocking. It has happened so many times in the past. The same old practice of turning geography into history by cutting trees or filling water bodies. Unless exemplary measures are taken, we will lose all waterbodies and greenery in the near future,” he said.
Scientist AK Ghosh has begun a signature drive to whip up support against encroachment of wetlands with particular reference to the blatant conversion at Collector Bheri. “The campaign will lead to an appeal to chief minister Mamata Banerjee, urging her to step in decisively and save the rampant destruction of wetlands,” Ghosh said.
Condemnation on the lack of administrative action despite stop-work notice and FIR by East Kolkata Wetlands Management Authority (custodians of wetlands) has been swift.
Ecologist and wetland expert Dhrubajyoti Ghosh, who was instrumental in listing of the wetland under Ramsar, called for decisive action against the culprits. “No water body can be filled up without requisite approval from government departments. And if it is in the EKW area, it cannot be touched,” he clarified.
Kalyan Rudra, a river expert, was also shocked stunned to learn about how the massive waterbody had been blatantly encroached upon despite a police case by a statutory authority. “This is grossly illegal and should be immediately stopped,” he added.
Ornithologist Sumit Sen said that loss of the wetland would affect migratory birds and other species of fauna that depend on marshlands for survival for survival
“Even otherwise, wetlands have an ecosystem of their own that will get destroyed once it the wetland is encroached upon,” he added.

City Briefs : Handling charges: Govt warning to automobile dealers

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/city-briefs-handling-charges-govt-warning-to-automobile-dealers/894098/

Handling charges: Govt warning to automobile dealers
New Delhi: The Delhi government on Friday said it would cancel licences of automobile dealers who continue to take thousands of rupees from buyers as “handling charges” without authorisation. The Delhi High Court had recently directed Transport Commissioner R Chandra Mohan and Deputy Commissioner Ranjeet Singh to appear before it by January 4 and give an explanation. The court was hearing a PIL filed by advocate C Rajaram.

Govt says kids not infected with HIV in Civil Hospital

Published: Friday, Dec 30, 2011, 20:28 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The state government, on Thursday,
denied allegations that the 23 thalassemic kids were infected with HIV in the Junagadh general hospital during blood transfusion.
The government responded to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking action against Junagadh hospital authorities. The parents of the infected kids also sought compensation of Rs5 lakh. Earlier last week, the high court bench had directed police to file FIR in the incident.
The chief district medical surgeon of the Junagadh general hospital, Dr Govind Dayalu submitted in the affidavit that the 23 kids were not regular patients who come for blood transfusion and so they may have been infected from other healthcare providers.
He further stated that the hospital regularly conducts tests on blood bags and the kids may have contracted HIV many years ago.

The incident came into limelight couple of months back when the 23 thalassemic children came to know that they are infected with HIV. They were among 100 children across the Junagadh district who received blood transfusion in the hospital. One of the kids died recently.

Probe plea against ministers quashed

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Thursday dismissed a criminal petition filed by an advocate, P Sudershan Reddy of Nellore, party-in-person in the case alleging that some ministers and IAS officers abused their power and committed irregularities.
The advocate had filed the petition seeking to quash the order of the special court for CBI cases which had dismissed his petition recently.
In his earlier petition, he pleaded with the CBI court to order an inquiry against some ministers and senior IAS officers concerned in connection with the illegal assets case of Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy. He wanted the court to direct the CBI to register FIRs against them for their complicity.
Justice NRL Nageswara Rao of the High Court said in his order on the criminal petition (No. 13993 of 2011) that the private complaint had been rightly rejected by the lower court. The petitioner filed a complaint before the CBI special judge to take cognizance of the offences against some of the ministers and also secretaries of the government. His contention was that all these people have abused their power and committed acts of irregularities. The reason for this complaint to be initiated is the fact that in the public interest litigation in WP No.794 of 2011 and connected batch, the High Court ordered investigation into some of the allegations alleged in that complaint. It is not in dispute the CBI to inquire into the particulars of the allegations and it is not in dispute that the investigation is still in progress. Besides, the private complaint is filed against the respondents on the ground that they have committed corrupt practices by using their position and this fact is linked with the investigation ordered by the Division Bench to be conducted by the CBI.
Therefore, there cannot be any parallel enquiry to be taken up by the CBI Court. If there are any deficiencies in the CBI’s investigation, which wanted to be projected in the complaint, he can approach the division bench on the above PIL for necessary directions. But, however, the presentation of this complaint is not warranted and it being premature and the allegations there being not established by any evidence supported by the complainant.
Section 210 of the CrPC has no application and the complaint had been rightly rejected by the lower court, the judge observed.

Koda shifted back to Birsa Munda jail from hospital
Former Jharkhand chief minister Madhu Koda, who was admitted to a hospital after being allegedly beaten up by jail inmates on October 31, has been shifted back to Birsa Munda Central Jail. Besides Koda, his former cabinet colleague Bhanu Pratap Sahi and his alleged aide, Vijay Joshi, were
discharged from Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIIMS) on Friday night, a jail official said in Ranchi on Friday.

They were discharged a day after a team of Indian Army doctors had checked them at Namkom Military Hospital after the high court on December 19 ordered the prison officials to get the trio and ex-minister Kamlesh Singh checked up there.
Singh has not been discharged by RIIMS, the official said, but refrained from commenting whether the other three were discharged on the advice of the team of army doctors.
The court’s direction to check them by the military doctors came after a PIL by social activist Durga Oraon moved the court accusing all of them of using their political clout to stay in RIIMS on the pretext of being ill instead of staying in jail.
While Koda was admitted to RIIMS after being allegedly beaten up by the jail inmates, the other three had been admitted for various “ailments”.
Oraon had filed the original petition in 2009 accusing Koda and his former cabinet colleagues of amassing wealth disproportionate to their known sources of income between 2005 and 2008 when they were in power, leading to their arrests and subsequent remand in judicial custody.
While Koda and Kamlesh Singh were arrested on November 30, 2009, ex-health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi surrendered before a special CBI court in connection with a medicine scam this year.

Precedence, SC order allow extension of House session

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 06.12AM IST
NEW DELHI: There is precedence as well as a Supreme Court ruling that supports the discretion of a presiding officer to extend the sitting of a House and negate the arguments that led to the abrupt adjournment of the Rajya Sabha on Thursday midnight.

On Thursday, parliamentary affairs minister Pawan Kumar Bansal told the Rajya Sabha that the House cannot continue since it was called for three days and a further extension by a day or even into the new year would be unconstitutional.

Bansal reasoned that the first session of a year has to begin with a joint address by the President. But it was not long ago – as late as 2003-04 – that the Lok Sabha did continue with winter session called in December after being adjourned sine die.

But a writ petition by Ramdas Athawale of Republican Party of India praying the extended session be declared “unconstitutional” was dismissed by the Supreme Court in March 2010. The apex court upheld the then Speaker Manohar Joshi’s decision to take the session to a new year without President addressing it.

When asked of the precedent, Bansal said it had come up for discussion in the government but he had felt Congress’s decision to go along at that time was wrong. “I felt it would not be correct to repeat the mistake,” he said.

On Thursday night, opposition sensed a “choreographed sequence” to delay voting and kept asking Chairman Hamid Ansari about the duration of the session. Constitutional expert Subhash C Kashyap told TOI, “It for the House to decide if it can continue beyond midnight. It can continue till morning and there is no problem even if a new day and date sets in.”

BJP’s S S Ahluwalia, who had raised the issue in the House, said the rules clearly give the Chairman the power to extend the sitting keeping in mind the state of business. “These procedures are laid out in rules 11, 12 and 13,” he said.

On Thursday, Ansari seemed to have made up his mind. As the clock struck midnight he asked for the Vande Mataram to be played leaving no choice for the members, majority of whom wanted the House to continue till wee hours on Friday.

In 2003, the winter session of Parliament commenced on December 2 and was adjourned sine die on December 23. The House was reconvened on January 29, 2004. The SC said, “The resumption of its sittings on January 29, 2004, by no stretch of imagination, could be characterized as commencement of a new session. The House merely resumed its sittings and continued the session which actually commenced on December 2, 2003. As the House was adjourned sine die on December 23, 2003, the resumption of its sittings is nothing but reconvening of the same session after it adjournment sine die.”

The SC also clarified that term “first session of the year” as mentioned in Article 87(1) of the Constitution has “no reference to resumption of the adjourned session.”

The SC also clarified that the constitutional provision does not require summoning of every session of Parliament which was adjourned for its own reasons after it commenced pursuant to summons of the President. “It is only when a House is prorogued and a new session summoned the President’s address is required,” it said.

Commission can build confidence in women

BANGALORE: Emphasising on the need for regular training programme for the officers and members of Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW),Chief Justice of Kerala High Court Justice Manjula Chellur said that the commission should begin half yearly or annual training programme for its officers, which will help in building confidence in women.

Justice Chellur was speaking at the interactive session held by Karnataka State Commission for Women (KSCW) here on Friday. The workshop witnessed the participation of women from different work fields who shared their personal experiences and raised question on dealing with harassment, members of the commission working across districts and law counsels from the Karnataka High Court.
She also maintained that women commission can play pivotal role in building confidence among women. She said that during the course of investigation, the officers should look for authenticity in the complaint filed because it is observed that many people file false complaints in personal avenge.
Besides, it was also proposed that Karnataka State Women Commission will approach the Karnataka Judicial Academy to organise three-day training programmes for its members in district offices.

Zadaphia lied, Sanjiv Bhatt tells Godhra commission

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 04.54AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has claimed that former state home minister Gordhan Zadaphia had lied before the Nanavati-Mehta commission when he claimed of being unaware of major massacres during post-Godhra riots and that call details provided by senior cop Rahul Sharma were not correct.
A day after the commission made the copies of Zadaphia’s deposition public, Bhatt wrote a letter to the probe panel on Friday stating that the former minister was constantly posted with the developments in the city on February 28, 2002, by the State Intelligence Bureau (SIB).
Bhatt has annexed the fax massages sent to chief minister Narendra Modi, Zadaphia and higher cops informing how mobs were gathering around Gulbarg Society and Naroda Patia, and how former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri was sending SoS.
Fax messages sent to Modi and Zadaphia show how SIB informed about the situation. A first message said that mob was gathering. In a second alert, the ministers were told that Jafri and his family were in danger.
Bhatt also told the commission that he has studied the call details furnished by Sharma and that the call data procured by himself is also the same.
He urged the commission to prevent further destruction of documents by the state government, for it is headed by Modi who is “the most leading and most culpable dramatis personae” of the 2002 riots.

Pakistan judicial commission to visit India in January

NEW DELHI: Indian Home Minister P. Chidambaram on Friday said a Pakistan judicial commission will visit India in January 2012.
Talking to reporters he said: “We have informed Mumbai High Court that the Pakistani commission’s desire to visit India in January and they suggested some dates. We asked the Chief Justice of Mumbai High Court to agree and give suitable instruction to judicial authorities. Once we hear from the Chief Justice we will convey it to Pakistan,” Chidambaram added.
Pakistan formally conveyed to India that its nine-member judicial commission will visit next month to interview key persons linked to the probe into 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.
It will take statements of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R V Sawant Waghule & Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who have recorded a confessional statement by Ajmal Kasab.
On November 26, 2008, Kasab and nine armed gunmen, attacked various places in Mumbai, killing 166 people, injuring several others. Kasab, who was sentenced to death by a trial court, is currently lodged in high security Arthur Road Jail.

Punjab polls: Election Commission enhances cash carrying limit to Rs 2.50 lakh

Viney Sharma, ET Bureau Dec 31, 2011, 03.39am IST

CHANDIGARH:Relenting to the business community’s demand, the Election Commission has enhanced the limit of carrying cash from 1 lakh to 2.50 lakh during the period when model code of conduct is in force.
EC had recently banned carrying of more than 1 lakh in cash if it was unaccounted in view of Punjab Assembly elections. Around 4 crore has been seized across the state since the poll schedule were announced.
However, the traders across Punjab, especially from hosiery sector, feel it’s still on the lower side and that the condition should be waived off.
The order led to harassment of people across the state and had drawn protests from various quarters, including traders.
Announcing the new directions special chief electoral officer Punjab Usha R Sharma told reporters on Friday that the intentions of the Election Commission were clear that black money should not be used during the Assembly elections in the state.
She made it clear that the persons will have to carry relevant documents disclosing the source and use of the money they were carrying. Sharma said the Election Commission has asked for a panel of police officers to replace Police Commissioner, Ludhiana, Sharad Satya Chauhan who joined on July 24, 2011.
APEX Chamber of Commerce (Punjab) has written a letter to chief election commissioner SY Quraishi in this regard. “Ludhiana is known for hosiery business. In this winter season customers from outside Punjab come to Ludhiana to buy hosiery in bulk and hence they have to carry heavy cash,” the chamber of commerce president P D Sharma said.

One gets life imprisonment in murder case

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 04.37AM IST

One of the two accused in the ex-municipal councilor Dimple Patel murder case got life imprisonment, while his accomplice was sentenced to five-year imprisonment by a court here on Friday.
Additional city sessions judge V M Naik sentenced Harish Kataria, the main accused, to life imprisonment and his accomplice Mahesh Galchar to five-year jail for helping Harish hide after committing the crime in 2009.
Patel was murdered on March 6 at his office at BG Tower near Delhi Darwaza.
The crime branch probe revealed that Patel was killed after he was thrown out of his office window by Harish and his friends. Harish was prompted to kill Patel after Patel refused to withdraw a loot complaint against him, investigation revealed.
Mahesh had booked a hotel room for Harish in his name and also helped him destroy evidences of the crime.

Rape accused’s jail term commuted

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 01.51AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has convicted a Nepalese senior citizen for attempting to rape a physically and mentally challenged minor girl. The court, however, freed him as he had already spent over three years in jail. Taking into consideration the convict, Padam Bahadur, was the sole earning member of his family, the court freed him.

“Keeping in view the family background of Bahadur, a lenient view is taken as he is sentenced to rigorous imprisonment for the period already undergone (three years, five months and eight days),” additional sessions judge, Kamini Lau said.

Bahadur pleaded guilty and apologized for the crime before the court, saying he was drunk at the time of incident.tnn

Undertrials set unique record

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 06.15AM IST
KANPUR: The undertrials set a new record in Kanpur court in 2011. As many as 14 accused facing trial managed to escape from the court premises.

As many as 10 undertrials escaped in 2005 but the number reduced in subsequent years.

In 2011, an accused identified as Sanjay Gupta was the first to escape from court on January 5. The last undertrial identified as Raghav escaped on December 9.

The modus operandi was almost common. Most of the undertrials escaped after offering eatables or drinks mixed with intoxicants to the cops who brought them to court.

Another mode of escape was to get the hand freed from the handcuff when the courtroom was overcrowded. This year two unique methods of running away were noticed.

In one case, the cops escorting undertrials named as Naresh and Hemant set them free to bring snacks and water. Earlier, they had a drink session inside the court. The undertrials escaped, leaving the two heavily drunk cops.

In another case, an undertrial named as Sameer managed to escape from session lockup on October 31. He got an opportunity when there was a melee at the gate of sessions lockup and guards were not alert.

The police authorities had instructed the cops not to allow the undertrials to receive edibles from friends and family members. According to a police official, undertrials try to escape when they are denied bail or sometimes to settle scores.

PSC rank holders cry for justice

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 07.34AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala Public Service Commission (KPSC) rank holders have alleged that the PSC has been very casual in filling the government vacancies on time. In a press meet held here on Friday, the members of the rank holders’ association said the PSC officials were least bothered about the vacancies that occur in various government departments.

“We have to move from one office to another looking for vacancies. If we come across any, we report that to the PSC. It is really unfortunate to make the rank holders beg for vacancies in various departments and bring it to the notice of PSC officials,” said Biju B, secretary. The members alleged that the PSC has never extended any rank lists to more than 28 to 30 days. “They claim that they cannot extend the rank list as the PSC had already done it before. If that had been the case there would not have been so many unemployed rank holders here,” Biju said.

The members appealed to the PSC to change its casual attitude towards the job aspirants. “The PSC is only concerned about publishing the rank lists every three years. They seldom inquire whether recruitments are made from those published rank lists or not. Even when the government reports to PSC about vacancies, the officials cause undue delay in the procedures, eventually sealing the fate of a job aspirant,” said Suji, a PSC rank holder.

Talking about the PSC’s refusal to prolong the tenure of various rank lists till April 2012, Biju said the decision was unjust. “PSC has to be more considerate towards the plea of rank holders. Every time a rank list expires, they publish a new list and the old candidates are ignored. There has to be a law which should make it mandatory for PSC to complete the recruitment of candidates included in the old list and then consider the new rank list.”

Crime graph soared in State in 2011
Staff reporter
GUWAHATI, Dec 30 – While peace talks between the Government and the banned insurgent outfits gained momentum in the year 2011, there was hardly any respite for the common man when it came to ensuring safety and security of lives and property.

Like previous years, the year 2011 was marked by utter failure of the law-and-order machinery, a fact evident by a whopping 52,560 cognizable crime cases registered in the State till September.
Noticeably, compared to last year, this year the rate in which crime cases were reported, took a steep leap.
While 973 murder cases were reported across the State till September, the number of rape, abduction, dacoity, robbery, extortion, burglary, theft and rioting cases stood at 1312, 2887, 230, 670, 763, 2666, 6290 and 1823 respectively.
Similarly, over 700 cases of criminal breach of trust, 1123 cases of cheating and 45 cases of counterfeiting were registered during the same period.
Besides, 31,752 cases under various sections of Indian Penal Code were registered with different police stations of the State. Moreover, 346 cases of Arms Act, 102 cases of Essential Service Act and 869 cases of other Acts find place in the crime register this year.
Besides, 1317 number of cases were also registered under local and special laws.

SHRC becomes hunting ground for legal eagles

TNN Dec 31, 2011, 05.14AM IST

HYDERABAD: The State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) is emerging as a “client scouting” hub for lawyers out to make a quick buck with promises of speedy hearings and expeditious settlement of cases. Around two dozen lawyers have turned SHRC and its periphery into their workplace, employing their time in scouting for their ‘preys’. And, apparently, it has turned into a problem of such proportions that the commission has been trying hard to put a stop to it.
“Most petitioners coming here are poor and innocent without any knowledge of the procedures. Some lawyers who lurk around the premises win the confidence of these petitioners and promise to not only help them with the procedures but get their case accepted by the commission. The gullible victims fall into this trap and end up paying them hefty fees,” said a staff member of the commission on condition of anonymity.
As per law, the commission, unlike courts, has no room for private lawyers since a petitioner can argue his own case. “Private advocates have no role almost to play in the proceedings of the commission. According to rules, where the petitioner is unfamiliar with formalities, the commission staff is supposed to help him to the extent of even filing the petition on his behalf,” said an official.
But it has been a while now that the commission has been grappling with this problem. Seven months ago, private lawyers stationed on the commission premises tried to form a ‘Bar Association of Human Rights’ but were thwarted upon instructions from the then acting SHRC chairman K Peda Peri Reddy. But lawyers have continued to take advantage of the hapless petitioners. They charge anything between Rs 500 and Rs 2,000 for filing and submitting petitions. For some, this practice provides a flourishing livelihood.
A stone’s throw from the commission is the office of a movie artist-turned-lawyer who has reportedly “prospered” over the years in this enterprise. Someone with political connections, this lawyer reportedly draws his victims’ attention to himself by making them believe that he is capable of solving cases under any jurisdiction or area for a hefty fee.
A woman with marital problems was allegedly duped of Rs 50,000 by the lawyer recently and was about to move SHRC but backed out as she was afraid of the media glare.
SP Ismail, secretary of AP State Human Rights Commission said that action against the erring private lawyers cannot be initiated by the commission.
“The exploited victims should approach the Bar Council and file a complaint against the lawyers in question. Once proven, the council is authorised to take action against them.”

For Anna tweet, scribe accused of waging war against nation

Sukanya Shetty
Posted: Dec 30, 2011 at 0032 hrs IST
Mumbai A Mumbai court has directed the police to register a complaint against senior journalist Nikhil Wagle for “waging war against the nation” among other charges, following a complaint by a group of lawyers for allegedly criticising the judiciary on twitter in connection with the Bombay High Court’s observations about Anna Hazare’s fast.

The court has also ordered the police to probe the matter.
Wagle had reportedly tweeted: “If the state/ judiciary together attempts to curb democratic dissent will our constitution be safe? Or is it an open invitation to Naxalites?” When contacted, Wagle said, “I have not received any complaint yet.

Ahmedabad couple in trouble for religious conversion

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 05.15AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Kaushangini Kadia and Altaf Mirza are suffering for committing a mistake of not following procedure of obtaining permission from authority for religious conversion.
Altaf is in jail for past nine days along with the maulvi who converted the Hindu girl to Islam before her marriage with Altaf.
The couple got married in October last year as per Islamic rituals. Before the marriage, the maulvi in Navtad mosque near Ghee Kanta converted Kaushangini into his fold.
However, the woman’s family members were against this union and filed a complaint against Altaf with Vejalpur police.
Kaushangini appeared before Gujarat high court (HC) to testify that the boy had not committed any crime.
HC quashed the FIR and ordered police to escort the couple to Altaf’s home in Behrampura. However, Kaushangini’s mother Bhavika Kadia filed another plaint with the Karanj police last month against Altaf and the maulvi for illegal religious conversion.
As per the amended Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, a person is required to obtain permission from the district collector before converting to other religion. In this case, this permission was not obtained.
On December 22, Altaf and the priest were arrested and a local court sent them to judicial custody.
Their bail applications were rejected by a magisterial court. Now Kaushangini is pursuing the case before the city sessions court, where the proceeding is scheduled on Monday. She claims that she had filed an affidavit before her marriage that she was not forced into conversion.
“I maintain that I did not convert under pressure. I did it on my free will. We were living happily, but my father does not want us to stay together. Even policemen are harassing us and force me to give statement of their liking,” she said, adding that she plans to challenge the conversion law.

Punishment awarded without following procedure is void: HC

PTI | 07:12 PM,Dec 30,2011

Chennai, Dec 30 (PTI) Setting aside punishment awarded to a teacher at a Government Higher Secondary School, the Madras High Court has held that any punishment which lacked the procedure contemplated under the rules “is void or of no value”. Allowing a petition by a Post Graduate teacher R Lalitha Bai, challenging a December 2006 charge memo of Nagercoil Chief Education Officer(CEO) and other disciplinary proceedings against her, Justice V Dhanapalan observed that a punishment of ‘censure’ did not hinder the future prospects of an employee. In service jurisprudence, whenever there were allegations and counter allegations, the authorities concerned were required to follow the procedure and only thereafter arrive at a definite conclusion, the Judge said. According to the petitioner, she was serving as a Post Graduate teacher in a Government Higher Secondary School, with over 20 years of experience. The department could not pinpoint any omission during her entire service, she claimed, but added the headmistress of the school and one of her close relatives, also a PG teacher, kept troubling her. In Dec 2006, the petitioner was issued a charge memo by the CEO after she had made a complaint that her signature in the school attendance register on June 22, 2006 had been erased and in its place ‘casual leave’ had been marked. She said she had approached the CEO after the headmistress had not taken any action over the alleged incident. The CEO issued a charge memo to her relying on two complaints against her and a letter by the headmistress. But the three documents were not enclosed with the charge memo. The petitioner said since no inquiry was held, copies of the complaints were not shown to her, denying her an opportunity of perusing the complaints and submitting an explanation. The authorities concerned denied her allegations and said the charge memo had been issued as per the law.

Ensure animal birth control programme follows HC guidelines: Activists to PMC

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/ensure-animal-birth-control-programme-follows-hc-guidelines-activists-to-pmc/894123/0

Animal activists recently met PMC Commissioner, Mahesh Pathak to ensure the civic animal birth control (ABC) programme follows guidelines laid down by the Bombay High Court in 2001.

Supriya Bose, animal welfare officer with the committee to monitor animal welfare laws in Maharashtra (appointed by the Bombay High Court), Ashwini Khare Dasgupta, volunteer at the dog pound, and Darshana Muzumdar, founder of the PALs Yahoogroup met Pathak regarding the issue.
“In the past one week, there have been six cases of stitches opening up. The organisation – SPCA, Latur-Udgir, which is conducting the CNVR (Catch Neuter Vaccinate Release) programme at the pound should observe the dogs before releasing them,” pointed out Khare.
Pathak have asked animal volunteers to conduct another meeting with Dr S T Pardeshi, acting PMC Health Chief, on January 2 at 4 pm.
“The PMC Commissioner was very understanding of what we were saying. If the ABC programme is conducted as per guidelines then there will be no reason to complain,” said Bose.
Both Muzumdar and Khare said the terms of the work contract of the agency at the pound seem ambiguous. “Are they supposed to feed the dogs, look after injured dogs, give antibiotics?” asked Khare.
Clarifying on the contract Dr Pardeshi said the work order of the agency will be shown to the volunteers during their January 2 meeting.
“They have a right to see it, however, we don’t want any interference from these animal lovers anymore,” Dr Pardeshi said.
Dr Pardeshi clearly pointed out, giving food to the animals or caring for injured or sick animals is not their duty.

HC relaxes Katta Juniors bail conditions

BANGALORE:The vacation bench of the High Court allowed a petition filed by former minister Katta Subramanya Naidu’s son Jagadish seeking relaxation of his bail conditions to accompany his father to London for medical treatment. Senior counsel for the petitioner C V Nagesh stated that Lokayukta Special Court on December 12 granted bail to Jagadish in KIADB land scam case.

 He has been given permission to go to London along with his father on January 2, 2012, as he is Naidu’s only son and treatment is scheduled to begin a day later.
 Justice V Jagannathan granted relaxation of the bail and allowed him to collect his passport.

Penetration must for rape conviction: Bombay HC

Published: Saturday, Dec 31, 2011, 9:15 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
A man can be convicted for rape only if there is penetration, the Bombay high court observed on Friday as it set aside the sentence of a 37-year-old who was charged with raping the daughter of his stepsister in May 2006.
Satish Shinde, who was arrested in December 2006, will now walk free from prison after having served five-and-a-half years of his seven-year rigorous imprisonment, handed out to him by a sessions court on November 26, 2007.
Shinde had approached the HC challenging the order of the sessions court.
The prosecution told the HC that the girl, who lives in Korphale village in Solapur, was slapped by her mother on May 2, 2006. The upset girl called up Shinde, her mother’s stepbrother, who said he would pick her up from a bus stop junction and drop her to her maternal uncle’s house in Dhorle. The prosecution alleged that Shinde raped her on the way.
Ujwal Agandsurve, Shinde’s advocate, argued that the girl’s evidence was unreliable. The medical evidence showed there was no penetration at all. Also, the chemical analyser’s report showed that no traces of semen were found on the clothes which the girl wore on that day.
Agandsurve pointed out to the court that the girl’s uncle was not examined. Also, the aunt turned hostile and did not support the prosecution before the trial court.
Acquitting Shinde, the court observed: “As such, there are serious doubts about the genuineness of the prosecution’s case. It is highly risky to rely upon the evidence of the girl in view of the other evidence brought on record.”

Can’t deny insurance claim on technical grounds: HC

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 05.32AM IST
CHENNAI: Insurance companies should not mechanically reject claims on technical grounds, the Madras high court has said, and asked the United India Insurance Company to pay Rs 1 lakh to the widow of a sand quarry worker who died in an accident while at work.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing orders on a writ petition filed by Valli of Chennai, said: “The United Insurance India Company should not refuse to entertain the claim mechanically in all cases, particularly when there are enough materials to suggest that the claim is based on accidental death. Otherwise, the very purpose of the insurance scheme would get frustrated. Being a central government organization, it should act fairly and should not reject claims mechanically.”

In her petition, Valli said her husband, a sand quarry worker, was buried alive when sand caved in in October 2003.

The Madhavaram Milk Colony police registered a case of death under suspicious circumstances the same day, and a postmortem report stated that the death was due to the accident.

In July 2004, the statutory Tamil Nadu Construction Workers Welfare Board sanctioned her Rs 12,000 treating it as a natural death and not as an accidental death, which would have made her eligible to claim Rs 1 lakh compensation. Valli refused accept the amount, and approached the board to get her husband’s group insurance claim of Rs 1 lakh, as he was a member of the board.

When the board wrote to the insurance company in 2007, the company initially sought a plethora of documents to prove the cause of death. When all nine documents such as the FIR and postmortem report proved that it was an accidental death, the insurance claim was repudiated on the ground of delay.

Noting that such claims should have been made within one month, the company said it could not entertain Valli’s claim after four years.

Justice Hariparanthaman, noting that all the nine documents demanded by the insurer had been furnished to it and they proved that the death was due to an accident, said the insurance company was not justified in raking up a technical issue to deny the claim of Valli.

“It is a different matter if the case was not reported to police immediately and postmortem was not conducted. In that case, it would have been difficult for the insurance company to ascertain the truth,” Justice Hariparanthaman said.

Faulting the welfare board for making the insurance claim after a delay of four years, the judge asked it to pay interest at the rate of 6 per cent on Rs 1 lakh from the date of death of Valli’s husband till date.

Justice Pal sworn in as Gujarat HC judge

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/justice-pal-sworn-in-as-gujarat-hc-judge/894073/0

Justice Mohinder Pal, who has been transferred from the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the Gujarat High Court under controversial circumstances, was on Friday morning administered the oath of office by acting Chief Justice H C Bhaskar Bhattacharya at an official function.

Interestingly, senior counsel Yatin Oza, who heads the Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA), and has been vehemently opposing Justice Pal’s transfer, was present at the swearing-in function attended by judges of the High Court and the subordinate judiciary, besides Advocate General Kamal Trivedi, Additional Advocate General Tushar Mehta and Gujarat’s Minister of State (Law) Pradipsinh Jadeja and others.
According to the registry of the Gujarat High Court, Justice Pal has been assigned the business of “appeals from orders” and “special civil applications” where orders of the lower courts have been challenged. He will be presiding over a single-judge Bench from January 9 next year, when the HC resumes after the winter vacation.
The Indian Express had reported on December 6 that Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi of the Punjab and Haryana High Court had apprised the Chief Justice of India (CJI) of “illegalities and irregularities” in an order delivered by Justice Pal.
Justice Gogoi had told The Indian Express that this order was one of the “major reasons” behind Justice Pal’s transfer. Justice Pal had said he was not aware of the reason for his transfer.
Following this, GHAA headed by Oza had passed a resolution requesting the Chief Justice of India to “reconsider” Justice Pal’s transfer and, in the meantime, put the move “on hold”.
When contacted, Oza refused to talk about the future course of action of GHAA. “This was a function organised by the Gujarat High Court and so I attended it,” he said.

Gujarat HC sets up panel to probe hygiene issues in hospitals

Published: Friday, Dec 30, 2011, 20:44 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA
Coming down heavily on the state and civic machinery for its ‘lethargic’ approach towards health and hygiene issues of the city, the Gujarat high court on Thursday constituted an investigating committee of nine members, which has been asked to furnish a detailed report of the prevailing conditions at all civil and private hospitals of the state.
While hearing a PIL filed by activist Illa Pathak and advocate Ami Yagnik on the poor conditions at civic hospitals, the division bench headed by the acting chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala on Thursday constituted the committee of health experts which will be headed by the Dilip Mavlankar, dean of the Indian Institute of Public Health, Gandhinagar.
The committee has been directed to submit its report by March 31, 2012.
The court held the authorities responsible for the pathetic and unhygienic condition of the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital that has allegedly directly led to the death of a doctor and a nurse. “Because of the negligence of hospital and government authorities, the court has to play the role of ‘Garbage Supervisor’,” the court observed.
The court observed that the civic body has failed to take action even after the order of the court. “The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Commissioner also did not take any action against its subordinate officers of respective zones for not doing their duty nor was any explanation sought from them,” the court observed. It was then that the court suggested, “The state and civic authorities shall shed their ego about the court verdict passed in the public interest litigation which must be accepted in the right spirit.”
Apart from the report on the hygiene conditions of the hospitals, the committee is also directed to identify the reason for the death of a doctor and a nurse, overall situation of civil hospitals of state in terms of sanitation, solid waste management and cleanliness.
The committee will recommend appropriate measures that should be taken for health and hygiene to prevent diseases like dengue and malaria. The committee will also probe the negligence on the part of hospital management and government authorities. A study will be held to find out the defects of the solid waste management setup of the AMC.
Apart from Dilip Mavlankar, the committee of nine members include vice-chancellor of Gujarat Vidhyapith, Sudarshan Iyangar, one expert from the National Institute of Malaria Research (Nadiad), one expert from the National Institute of Occupational Health, officer of regional offices of ministry of health and family welfare, one expert from NHL Municipal Medical College, one expert from BJ Medical College, medical officer and solid west management officer of AMC and deputy health officer of AMC.

150-plus KU employees to lose job

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 07.16AM IST
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Lokayukta verdict on Kerala University assistant examination and appointment might have come at a time when the country is talking about arresting corruption, but on the flip side, it has come as a shocker to those who earned the jobs through the proper channel.

“I was working in a multi-national company in Kochi when the university notified the posts. I wrote the exam and when I was selected, I had to accept the job because my family wanted me to become a government employee. Now my fate hangs in balance,” one of the employees who was affected by the verdict told TOI, under conditions of anonymity.

The case is no different for many others.

Many of them appeared for the exams leaving other jobs but the verdict has come as a blow to them. “We have worked hard to earn our job. Why should we be punished for some others’ wrongdoings?,” asked another employee who got married just after he got the job.

Barring a small group who allegedly made it through unfair way, most of them out of the 150-plus employees who are on the verge of relinquishing their jobs have made it through the proper channel.

The aggrieved are preparing to approach the high court against the verdict.

“The Justice Sukumaran commission appointed by the HC to look into the matter had said that there was no nepotism in the appointments. It had pointed out only the procedural irregularities which obviously are not the mistake of the applicants. So those who have come in the right way should be protected at any cost,” K Sunil Kumar of State Confederation of University Employees Organisation told TOI. He said that the organisation would throw its weight behind the employees who have been affected by the verdict.

The Lokayukta on Thursday had scrapped the rank list of the tests conducted to the posts of assistant grade-II in the Kerala University citing irregularities and cronyism in the appointments. It was alleged that out of the 160 candidates who were posted, 60 were close to the Left political leaders.

26/11: Govt informs Bombay HC about Pak Commission visit

PTI | 06:12 PM,Dec 30,2011

New Delhi, Dec 30 (PTI) The Government has informed the Bombay High Court about Pakistan judicial commission’s desire to visit the country and interview key persons linked to the probe into 2008 Mumbai terror attacks including the official who had questioned Ajmal Kasab. When asked about the visit of the Commission, Home Minister P Chidambaram today said, “We have informed the High Court of Bombay that the Pakistani Commission desires to visit India in January and they have suggested some dates and we have asked the Chief Justice of Bombay High Court to agree and give suitable instructions to the judicial authorities. “Once we hear from the Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court we will convey it to Pakistan. I hope this will go through in January 2012,” he said. New Delhi was informed on Tuesday that the Pakistan judicial commission will visit India in January 2012, official sources said. The commission will take the statements of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate R V Sawant Waghule and Investigating Officer Ramesh Mahale, who recorded the confessional statement of Ajmal Kasab, the lone surviving terrorist involved in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks, to pursue the case in Pakistan. It also wanted to take the statements of the two doctors who carried out the post mortem of the terrorists killed. Government had to inform the High Court about the visit of the judicial commission as the terror incident and the trial of the case had taken place under its area of jurisdiction.

High Court rejects plea, says no live music in hotels after 1.30 am

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/high-court-rejects-plea-says-no-live-music-in-hotels-after-1.30-am/894142/

Restaurants and hotels in the city will not be able to play live music after 1.30 am on New Year’s day. The Bombay High Court on Friday rejected a petition by the Indian Hotel and Restaurant Association seeking permission to play live orchestras till 5 am on the first day of the new year.
The Division Bench of Justices M L Tahilyani and Girish Godbole held that it cannot interfere with the state government’s decision and noted that the association should have raised the issue earlier. On December 23, a recent state government circular was put before the court, according to which city establishments have been allowed to stay open till 5 am instead of 1.30 am on December 25 and December 31.
“Though the circular allowed the hotels to remain open and serve food and liquor, it did not give any permission with respect to orchestras. The association should have raised this point earlier, but they missed the bus,” said government pleader J S Saluja.

Supreme Court insulated 2G case from interference

J. Venkatesan

2011 is a watershed year for Kapadia’s team

The year 2011 was a watershed for the Supreme Court, and its judges, led by Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia, left their mark on all walks of life, especially in exposing corruption in high places and ensuring filing of three charge sheets in the 2G spectrum allocation case.
Justice Kapadia, heading a three-judge Bench, sent a clear message early this year of what the court proposed to do under him for the rest of the year.
Entertaining a public interest litigation petition, he held that those holding high offices should be above board and free from any charges. He set aside the appointment of P.J. Thomas as Central Vigilance Commissioner on the ground that he was cited as an accused in the palmolein import case pending in the court of special judge, Thiruvananthapuram.
After ordering a CBI probe in December last into the 2G spectrum case, the Supreme Court started monitoring the investigation to ensure that there was no interference, either political or otherwise, from any quarter. It not only ensured that a charge sheet was filed against the accused but also directed day-to-day trial and appointed a special public prosecutor for the CBI to prosecute the case. After filing the initial charge sheet in April, the CBI filed two supplementary charge sheets.
The monitoring of the case had a telling effect on the grant of bail to the accused, as both the Special CBI Court and the Delhi High Court rejected bail petitions. Even the Supreme Court declined to grant bail to the accused, including Kanimozhi, daughter of the former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister, M. Karunanidhi. The court made it clear that she could seek bail after the charges were framed. As a result, the accused had to wait for more than six months to get bail.
Similarly, the Supreme Court enlarged on bail Ramalinga Raju and other accused in the Satyam accounting fraud case only after they spent more than two years in jail.
The court also jailed the former Kerala Minister, R. Balakrishna Pillai, for one year in the Edmalayar dam case.

No personal exemption

It was equally firm when it refused to grant Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa personal exemption from answering the remaining questions under Section 313 of the Cr.PC in the disproportionate assets case in a Bangalore special court.
YSR Congress founder Jagan Mohan Reddy also suffered a setback when the court refused to interfere with the Andhra Pradesh High Court ordering a CBI probe into his alleged disproportionate assets and of his associates. Nor did it interfere with a High Court ordering a CBI probe against the former Chief Minister, Chandrababu Naidu, and his associates. (The High Court itself granted relief later, staying the order of a single judge).

On starvation deaths

While hearing petitions relating to the streamlining of the Public Distribution System, the Supreme Court expressed serious concern at the increasing number of starvation deaths and wanted the government to ensure that no starvation death took place.
“See what the stark contradiction is in our whole approach. You say we are a powerful economy. You have a bumper crop this year and our godowns are full and it is a happy situation, no doubt. When you have your godowns full and people are starving, what is the benefit? You cannot have two Indias,” it observed.
The court asserted its supremacy, especially in protecting human rights, by declaring that mere membership in a terrorist organisation would not make a person a terrorist. Extending this concept, it granted bail to Binayak Sen, who was arrested by the Chattisgarh government on the charge of supporting Naxalites.

Personal liberty

Sending a clear message to the detaining authorities that procedural safeguards meant for the protection of personal liberty must be strictly followed, the court quashed the preventive detention of four persons under the Conservation of Foreign Exchange and Prevention of Smuggling Activities Act (COFEPOSA). In cases of preventive detention, the representations received from those detained must be disposed of expeditiously, and every day’s delay must be properly explained, and unexplained delay would be a ground for quashing the order.
While hearing a petition filed by Devender Pal Singh Bhullar, facing the death sentence, the court, with a view to laying down guidelines for disposal of mercy petitions, directed the Union government to file a comprehensive affidavit, giving details of all such petitions pending before the President and the Governors.
The Centre has been asked to provide details of the date of conviction; the date on which mercy petition was sent to the Union Home Ministry and the date on which it was sent to the President and similar information in respect of mercy petitions pending before the Governors.
Time and again, various courts had upheld land acquisition for public purposes. But the Supreme Court decried the practice of mechanical acquisition of land from farmers and others on the pretext of public purpose. It expressed concern at misuse of the Land Acquisition Act, a colonial law, by all the States. In the name of globalisation and land development, the States had marginalised farmers, paying them a pittance in compensation.
Observing that the 1894 Act had become outdated as it did not provide for rehabilitation of the displaced from their land though compulsory acquisition affected their livelihood, the court called for its replacement without delay.

Trust in the court

On the whole, the Supreme Court reinforced the public confidence that the gavel in the judge’s hand will act as a deterrent against any wrongdoing, and that the court will stand up to protect the rights of the common man.

NHRC notice to Railway board chairman

CUTTACK: The Railways, which has been trying to brush aside the incident of a TTE allegedly pushing off an unemployed youth from the running train near Jajpur Road Railway station in 2009 as an accident, has once again come under the scanner of the National Human Rights Commission.

The NHRC has prima facie held the TTE responsible for pushing Benudhar Bhoi (24), an unemployed youth, off the running train for not possessing a ticket and issued notice to the Chairman of the Railway Board directing him to show cause as to why the victim should not be provided with compensation. The Chairman has been directed to file response within six weeks.
Bhoi had allegedly been pushed by the TTE between Jakhapur and Jajpur Road railway station in May 2009. He was serious injured and had to undergo amputation of his leg.
Taking up his matter, advocate Prabir Das had filed a petition with NHRC which had asked the Railway Ministry and the Railway Board to respond to the allegations as back as May 2009. Pursuant to the directions of the NHRC, the Chief Commercial Manager had submitted that a team of two officers had probed the incident and found that Benudhar and his cousin Pradeep were travelling without ticket on May 11, 2009.
They were caught between Jakhapur and Jajpur Road station and the TTE asked them to get down at the next stop. When the train slowed down Benudhar jumped off and sustained injuries. He was shifted to the SCBMCH where his right leg had to be amputated.
 As he was a ticketless traveller, he was not eligible for compensation but the ECoR Railway Women’s Welfare Organisation had paid Rs 10,000 for his treatment. The enquiry also concluded that the TTE was not at fault.
However, the petitioner Das countered the Railway’s contention stating that Government Railway Police Bhadrak has investigated the matter and has submitted a chargesheet against the TTE in the court of the sub divisional judicial magistrate Bhadrak for trial. The Commission deemed the chargesheet as prima facie evidence of the culpability of the TTE in the incident and issued notice to the Chairman Railway Board.

Modi fasts: RTI activists move CIC against CMO

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/Modi-fasts–RTI-activists-move-CIC-against-CMO/894166/

Two Vadodara-based RTI activists, Rohit Prajapati and Trupti Shah, have filed an appeal before the Chief Information Commissioner against the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) in connection with their RTI application demanding details related to the expenses incurred on the Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana fast programme from September 17-19.
In their appeal moved before the RTI Commissioner, the two have demanded that a fine of Rs 25,000 be imposed on the CMO for failing to provide the information and a direction to it to provide the same for free.
In their RTI application dated September 17, 2011, Prajapati and Shah had demanded a number of details relating to the expenditure incurred during Modi’s Sadbhavana fast programme. According to Shah, the CMO transferred the RTI application to the home department, which disposed of the application after providing partial information, saying other details would be available with other departments of the government and so it should be sought from the concerned departments.
Shah has said the CMO must know as to which details are available with which department and they ought to have either collected those details from those departments and given to them or could have directed them to specific departments.

CIC tells MEA to disclose details of Krishna’s UK trip

TNN | Dec 31, 2011, 03.54AM IST
NERW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the ministry of external affairs to make public the details of the ‘private visit’ undertaken by its minister S M Krishna to the United Kingdom in June this year.

Based on media reports that Krishna got his five-day visit in June extended to watch a Wimbeldon match, activist Subhash Agrawal had sought to know from the MEA the purpose of the trip and file notings made while planning it.

He also sought to know the daily programme schedule of his visit. Both queries were denied by the ministry, saying disclosure may have an impact on foreign relations.

After perusing the file related to the visit of the foreign minister, central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi said some file notings specially the pages, where it was mentioned that extended period of visit was private for which the minister made payments from his pocket, can be disclosed.

“Page six of the noting may be relevant since it mentions that the foreign minister’s visit for second and third July 2011 was private and payment for these days has been made by the minister,” Gandhi said, while directing to disclose this information after severing the sensitive portions.

He accepted the ministry’s plea that the record of discussions of the foreign minister’s with various people of different countries could not be disclosed. Gandhi, however, directed the ministry to disclose the programme schedule.

Defence Min rejects Army chief’s plea on age issue

Last Updated: Friday, December 30, 2011, 22:40
New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has rejected General VK Singh’s statutory complaint to consider May 10, 1951 as his date of birth and conveyed to him that he will have to retire on May 31 next year.
Singh had filed the statutory complaint with DefenceMinister A K Antony, the first chief of the 1.2 million-strongarmy to do so, after the government on July 21 issued an ordersaying that it will consider May 10, 1950 as his date ofbirth, which would have denied him another ten months inoffice.

The Ministry’s decision on the issue of his date of birthwas today conveyed to the army chief, sources said here.

After the Ministry decision on the statutory complaint,the army chief has exhausted the in-house remedies availableto him and can approach a court of law which can either be theArmed Forces Tribunal (AFT) or the High Court.

The sources said the Ministry has taken the decision ofconsidering May 10, 1951 as his date of birth on the basis ofthe third opinion given by the Attorney General (AG).

The AG had recently given his opinion on the statutorycomplaint filed by the army chief where he stuck to hisearlier two opinions against giving any relief to the General.

After these developments in Defence Ministry headquartersin South Block, the army chief went to meet Finance MinisterPranab Mukherjee.

After the meeting, he denied having any information aboutDefence Ministry’s decision on his age issue.

On December 16 also, the army chief had held a meetingwith Mukherjee after discussing his age issue at length withthe Defence Minister.

Mukherjee was the Defence Minister when the controversyover army chief’s age erupted in 2005 at the time of hisappointment as Corps Commander of a Strike Corps.

The Ministry decision has come more than three weeksafter the army chief handed over a reminder to the DefenceMinister asking him to expedite decision on the age issue.

The raging controversy over Gen Singh’s age started whenthe army on basis of an RTI application changed his date ofbirth from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951, which would havegiven him an extra 10 months in office.

Later, the Defence Ministry stepped in and on basis oftwo opinions from the Attorney General, decided that May 10,1950 will only be considered as Singh’s date of birth as hehad agreed on it in written undertakings.

Soon after the ministry order, Gen Singh filed astatutory complaint with the Defence Minister against thegovernment decision to treat May 10, 1950 as his date ofbirth.

A few weeks later, Antony said Singh’s date of birth isMay 10, 1950 and he will have to retire on May 31 next year.After his retirement, Eastern Army Commander Lt Gen BikramjitSingh is most likely to take over as the Army Chief.

If 1951 was accepted as the year of birth of Gen Singh,he would have been in office for another ten months. Thiswould have also changed the succession plan of the army and LtGen KT Parnaik would have been the front-runner for the postof army chief.

Impact fee’ Act stuck in fine print

http://www.indianexpress.com/news/impact-fee-act-stuck-in-fine-print/894156/

Final notification for the Gujarat Regularisation of Unauthorised Development Act, 2011, which was cleared by the Governor nearly two months ago, is likely to be further delayed at least by a month since the state government has not been able to resolve complications related to revenue laws.
The Act, which seeks to regularise unauthorised buildings for an “impact fee”, was passed by the state legislature in March 2011. However, its notification has been held up since a final decision on payment of stamp duty and premium for conversion has not been taken.
A meeting of revenue officials chaired by the state’s revenue minister on Friday could not reach to a decision and the meeting was postponed.

Separate marriage act for Sikhs to be implemented soon: DSGPC

PTI Dec 30, 2011, 06.29PM IST
NEW DELHI: Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee (DSGPC) on Friday said the demand for implementation of the Anand Marriage Act (Sikh’s separate marriage Act) would soon be fulfilled by the government.
An assurance to this effect was given by Law Minister Salman Khurshid to a DSGPC delegation which met him recently, its president Paramjeet Singh Sarna said.
“This has been a long pending demand and we thank the government for keeping its promise,” he said.
“We have learnt that after being cleared by nine ministries there is no impediment now in the implementation of the Anand Marriage Act,” Sarna said.
The DSGPC President also said he was for the inclusion of religious institutions under the Lokpal. “We support the inclusion of religious institutions under Lokpal so that there is greater transparency,” he said.
Sarna said the DSGPC would provide free medical insurance to Sikh families who live below the poverty line all across Delhi. There would be 20-25000 people who would benefit from this scheme he said.

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