LEGAL NEWS 05.01.2012

Quraishi hits back at Badal

Pawan Sharma, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, January 04, 2012

The friction between the Punjab government and the Election Commission (EC) intensified on Tuesday after chief election commissioner (CEC) SY Quraishi asked chief minister Parkash Singh Badal not to do anything that could undermine the ongoing election process in the state.

 Quraishi also urged Badal to reconsider his stated position about questioning actions of EC officials in Punjab.

The cold war between the state government and the EC became public on Sunday when Badal released a statement criticising the functioning of officials of the poll watchdog in Punjab.

Badal had appealed to the CEC to ask commission officials “to act within the parameters of their constitutional brief”. He had stated that the manner in which the EC officials were taking decisions was causing confusion about the lines of administrative control. “And that can be dangerous for peace and law and order,” Badal had said.

On Tuesday, the CEC posted a letter addressed to Badal on the EC website, expressing ‘deep dismay’ over his statement that questioned “actions of the commission’s officials during the election period.”

“I am particularly disappointed that you have chosen to communicate with me and the commission through the media rather than directly, for which several channels are always available,” the CEC said.

Quraishi stated that if there had been any deviations in the EC work, the commission would be “grateful if you (Badal) bring specific cases to our notice.”

Assuring Badal that the commission valued his standing as a political leader and statesman, besides fully respecting his high office, the CEC said: “Hence, the commission is concerned that you have made general allegations of interference against its officials and questioned their conduct without any basis.”

According to official sources, the bone of contention between the Badal government and the EC has been the transfer of officials, especially police officials, ahead of the January 30 polls.

In his letter, the CEC said the maintenance of law and order during the elections was a basic pre-condition for free and fair polls, and as such the commission could only have a vested interest in ensuring the same rather than ignoring it. “I need to assure you that the same is being done in right earnest.”

“In view of the above, we would request you to kindly reconsider your stated position on the working of EC officials,” he said.

“You would agree that we must not do anything at this juncture that can undermine the election management, the ongoing election process and overall electoral democracy in Punjab as well as the country,” the CEC added.

‘Raising cash limit not sign of weakness’
Regarding the enforcement of measures against the use of black money in the elections, SY Quraishi said the EC’s action was backed by national consensus and also by the concerns expressed by all political parties. He said the EC decision to raise the cash-carrying limit from Rs 1 lakh to Rs 2.5 lakh was not a sign of weakness; instead, it was the action of a responsive commission.

Housing regulator gets cabinet approval

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.25AM IST

MUMBAI: Developers in Maharashtra will have to display details of their projects on the website of the Housing Regulatory Authority before a transaction.

The state cabinet has approved the setting up of the Housing Regulatory Authority and the Housing Appellate Tribunal (HAT), though it will take at least nine months before the two are constituted.

The Maharashtra Ownership Flats (Regulation of the Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act 1963 is being sought to be repealed and replaced with the Maharashtra Housing (Regulation and Promotion of Construction, Sale, Management and Transfer) Act, 2011. The Act will establish a Housing Regulatory Authority (HRA) and a Housing Appellate Tribunal (HAT).

The government is likely to place the Bill before the state legislature during the budget session in March. Once approved it will require the assent of the Governor and then the President as the Bill also covers the Transfer of Property Act and Contract Act which is the domain of the central government.

“It will take a minimum of six to nine months before the Act comes into force,” said officials from the housing department.

The proposed rules will certainly bring succour to flat-buyers. The note approved by the cabinet states it will be the liability of the promoter to construct flats according to specifications approved by the local authority. Promoters shall make an application to the HRA for registration of ongoing projects and where occupation certificate is to be obtained. Failure to do so will invite a penalty.

No alterations or additions can be carried out without the approval of the HRA once the plans are disclosed. If possession is not granted within a specified time then the amount is to be refunded with interest not exceeding 15% per annum. Moreover, the advance or deposit taken from a buyer cannot exceed 20% of the price. Defects noticed within three years have to be rectified by the developer free of cost.

Promoters will take steps to form a co-operative society within four months of the issue of occupation certificate or if 60% of buyers have taken possession.

Court puts sealing on hold for now

IANS | Jan 4, 2012, 02.38AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday ordered no further sealing of unauthorized structures or their regularization or change in land use in Delhi till it examined the National Capital Territory of Delhi Laws (Special Provisions) Bill, 2011, and the challenge to the Master Plan 2021.

A special bench of Justice G S Singhvi and Justice Swatanter Kumar added that the authorities would ensure that there was no encroachment of lands belonging to government and public institutions. The court also ordered that there would be no construction on the government land that have already been encroached. However, it permitted the monitoring committee to inspect the premises where unauthorized construction has taken place.

The SC bench passed the order while hearing a matter relating to the sealing of unauthorized commercial and industrial units in the areas other than those earmarked for them.

The court will fix the date for further hearing in March on Thursday.

The court decided to hear the main petition and examine the Act after counsel Mukul Rohtagi, appearing for one of the private petitioners, drew the attention of the court to the bill passed by Parliament that protects all the unauthorized structures from any punitive action.

Saying that people will be happy at the order putting on hold any further sealing, amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar pointed out that there was connivance between the people engaged in unauthorized constructions and the officials of agencies concerned in frustrating the latter part of the order. At this, the court said: “We are sure that no authority will take the chances (of defying the court order).”

Slamming the way the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) works, Justice Kumar said: “When DDA wants to know, then no brick would be put anywhere and when it does not then….” Justice Singhvi then added in that case, even a “double storey building would come up”.

The bill, which was passed by Parliament on December 14, 2011, seeks to put on hold all punitive action till December 31, 2014, in respect of all the unauthorized colonies, including village settlements and their extensions, storages, warehouses and godowns for farm produce besides some other categories. The Act is aimed at facilitating realistic revision of Master Plan for Delhi.

Supreme Court denies bail to Bangalore blast accused Abdul Naseer Maudany

PTI Jan 3, 2012, 01.44PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of Abdul Naseer Maudany, arrested for his alleged role in the 2008 serial terror blasts in Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Jaipur.

A bench of justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar, however, directed the Karnataka government to provide medical treatment to Maudany, founder of Peoples Democratic Party in Kerala, at the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala in Bangalore for his various health problems.

The apex court passed the directions for medical help to Maudany, while declining to entertain senior counsel Sushil Kumar’s plea for interim bail to him to enable him undergo treatment at the Kottakkal Arya Vaidya Sala in Kerala’s Malappuram district.

Kumar pleaded that Maudany be released on bail as he was falsely implicated and cited his acquittal in the Coimbatore bomb blast case after nine-and-half years of incarceration as proof of his innocence.

He further submitted that the accused, who had to undergo amputation of one of his legs and was suffering from serious spinal problems and associated symptoms, was no threat to the law enforcing agencies.

Maudany’s counsel Kumar’s argument, however, failed to impress the court, which observed, “in a lighter vein, we would like to say, people need not do things physically. They can do wonders even while sitting at one place”.

Senior counsel MN Krishnamani and standing counsel Anita Shenoy, appearing for Karnataka, strongly opposed Maudany’s bail plea and treatment in Kerala on the ground that he was involved in a number of cases and posed a threat to security.

Kerala plea to reduce water-level turned down

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: The Supreme-Court-appointed Empowered Committee on Mullaiperiyar dam on Tuesday rejected Kerala’s demand to reduce the water-level to 120 feet in the disputed structure.

The committee took this stand on the water-level, citing the recent Supreme Court order, which had ordered a status quo on the current level of 136 feet. Kerala had appealed to the Empowered Committee that the water-level be reduced to 120 feet to ensure that safety was not compromised as the dam is in a seismic zone.

At the same time, the Empowered Committee has decided to ask the Geological Survey of India to give a detailed report on earthquake possibilities in the dam area within one month.

The Committee took this decision following repeated pleas from Kerala that the frequent tremors could result in the collapse of the dam and could pose a threat to the lives of lakhs of people living in districts around it.

The committee on Tuesday also discussed the report submitted by the two members of their team who had made a visit to the dam site last month. The two technical experts—C D Thatte and D K Mehta—had submitted their report on Monday.

It is learnt that the report has ruled out any damage to the dam structure due to the recent earthquakes in the region. Kerala had been anchoring its demand for a new dam on the frequent tremors experienced in the dam area. According to the two experts who had visited the site, the tremors have not affected the dam in any way.

The report, according to sources, has, however, blamed Tamil Nadu for not carrying out maintenance work as directed by the Supreme Court. The two experts had visited the dam site in December after Kerala had repeatedly expressed fears in the wake of recent tremors in the area.

Kerala had on Monday claimed that the report by the two-member expert panel was biased and opposed its consideration by the five-member committee.

The five member Empowered Committee will be meeting again on January 24 and 25 to finalise its report, which will be submitted to the Supreme Court in February.

The Empowered Committee under the chairmanship of former Chief Justice of India A S Anand was set up in 2010 with the mandate of examining all aspects of the dispute over the dam between the two states.

Plea for police protection to run garbage treatment plant

PTI | 06:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Kochi, Jan 3 (PTI): Kerala High Court today admitted a writ petition seeking police protection to run the Vilappilsala garbage treatment plant at Thiruvananthapuram. Admitting the petition by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation, complaining of threat from Vilappilsala Panchayat authorities, a division bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice, Manjula Chelloor and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon issued notices to the Panchayat and police through a special messenger. Earlier the panchayat had closed the unit forcefully. According to Corporation, this act of panchayat amounts to taking law into hands. The case will be heard on January 9. There has been a stand off between Thiruvananthapuram city corporation and the village panchyat on the outskirts,where the waste processing plant is located, with locals there demanding that it be re-located as its presence was causing serious health problems in the area. Though Chief Minister Oommen Chandy held talks with the panchayat and corporation authorities in December last, no solution could be found to the issue.

IMU VC posting order stayed

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The operation of an order dated November 18 last year, posting Captain M Baweja as Vice-Chancellor of the Indian Maritime University in Uthandi near Chennai, was stayed by the Madras High Court on December 29.

Vacation judge KBK Vasuki granted the interim injunction while admitting a writ petition from Dr P Vijayan, hitherto the Vice Chancellor of the university, seeking to quash the November 18 order of the Under Secretary to Union Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways placing Baweja to hold the charge of the post of VC with effect from November 19 last year in addition to his existing duties on completion of the tenure of Vijayan on November 19.

Advocate KS Jeyaganesan pointed out that under the Indian Maritime University Act, the competent authority to make appointment to the post of Pro-Vice-Chancellor or Vice-Chancellor was the President of India, who was also the visitor of the university.

Holding that Jeyaganesan’s submission that the Under Secretary had no authority to pass the impugned order thereby placing Baweja to hold the additional post of VC deserved merit and acceptance, the judge stayed the operation of the posting order.

Ferreira sues state for Rs 25 lakh compensation

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.38AM IST

NAGPUR: The alleged Naxal top cadre Arun Thomas Ferreira has filed a criminal writ petition against the state and others before the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Tuesday. He is seeking compensation for infringement of his fundamental rights of liberty and freedom of movement guaranteed under the constitution and a speedy trial.

Ferreira has sought compensation of Rs 25 lakhs and an apology for him and his family for the undue harassment meted out by the jail authorities and different police units in the last few years after he was caught by city police in 2007. The hardened left wing activist has also sought quashing of all cases and proceedings against him.

Ferreira has also challenged the vexatious and mala fide prosecution, including delayed proceedings for showing arrests and his abduction from outside the jail premises by implicating him in different cases.

Counsel Surendra Gadling, who appeared for Ferreira, said the notice has been issued by justice AH Joshi, vacation judge, to the concerned respondents after the petition was filed before the vacation bench. Further hearing of the case has been scheduled for January 23.

Bar Council probe against lawyer

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 07.21AM IST

BANGALORE: A division bench of the high court has directed the Registrar General to forward its order in a habeas corpus petition to the Bar Council of Karnataka to take necessary action against a lawyer, Sudhakar, from Frazer Town.

The order by justices DV Shylendra Kumar and CR Kumaraswamy follows a habeas corpus petition filed by the lawyer’s sister Vathsala through a telegram which said: “My brother Diwakar was taken by Frazer Town police at about 12 noon on November 30. His whereabouts are not known.” The high court registry received the telegram on December 3 and registered it as a writ petition (suo motu) for issue of writ of habeas corpus. The matter was listed before the division bench on December 8.

When the petition came up for hearing , public prosecutor HS Chandramouli placed an affidavit of SB Maheshwarappa , inspector, Pulikeshinagar police station , which indicated that one Latisha, a resident of Peace Garden, Bagalur, had lodged a complaint with the Pulikeshinagar police. Latisha had stated in her complaint that she and her sister Jayasheela had engaged advocate Sudhakar in connection with a property dispute. She had paid Rs 3 lakh as fee to him. As he had not taken up the follow-up action even after three months, she had demanded the return of the amount and a ‘no objection certificate’ to engage another counsel.

She stated that the advocate, his brother Diwakar and other women members of the lawyer’s family assaulted both the sisters. Police after registering a criminal case arrested Sudhakar and Diwakar and produced them before the eleventh additional metropolitan magistrate on December 1. Both were remanded to judicial custody till December 15.

’02 Britons’ killing: Court to ask MEA about status of summons to ex-envoys

The special trial court hearing the case related to the 2002 killings of four British nationals at Prantij in Sabarkantha district is likely to directly enquire with the Ministry of External Affairs about the status of its summons issued to two former British envoys in India to appear as witnesses in the case.

The court had summoned the two former British envoys, Howard Parkinson and Ian Reakes, as witnesses since they were privy to some evidence related to the case.

The court is likely to take further decision in this regard on January 20.

In October 2011, the special trial court presided over by Sabarkantha principal district judge Gita Gopi had issued summons to the two former British envoys to depose before it. The summons, ordered to be served through the British High Commission in India, were issued on a plea by the complainant in the case, Imran Dawood, also a British national, said Imran’s lawyer A M Malek.

“The court has kept the next hearing for January 20. In the meantime, the court will enquire with the MEA about the status of the summons issued to the two ex-envoys,” Malek said.

In 2002, Imran visited India for the first time along with his UK-based uncles, Saeed Dawood, Shakeel Dawood and Mohammed Aswat. On February 28, 2002, the four were returning to their native village of Lajpur near Navsari in Gujarat after visiting Agra and Jaipur when a mob attacked them near Prantij.

Three of them were killed while the fourth, who went missing, is now presumed dead.

According to Malek, the British High Commissioner’s office had got some calls and letter(s) related to the case at the relevant time.

Reakes, who was with the British High Commissioner’s office, had also visited Gujarat following recovery of some bones and ashes related to the killing.


Corporation fined Rs. 5 lakh for dog bite

Press Trust of India, Updated: January 03, 2012 12:25 IST

The Karnataka High Court today ordered the city corporation to pay Rs. five lakh compensation to a five-year-old boy,who survived an attack by a pack of canines and take necessary steps to check dog menace.

The order came on a PIL filed by parents of the boy G Jishnu, who sought compensation for the dog bite and prayed for action from the city corporation against canine menace.

Jishnu, who was attacked by dogs on July six last year, received Rs. 26,500 from the corporation towards treatment on June 21, but the authorities failed to respond to the plea for Rs. five lakh compensation.

The petitioners contended that the Corporation has not acted as per the Animals Birth Control Rules and failed to discharge its duties in clearning garbage and ensuring that stray dogs do not conglomerate in one place.

Taking serious note of dog menace, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagaratna directed Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (city corproation) to pay Rs. 5 lakh compensation to Jishnu.

The court also directed BBMP to ensure packs of stray dogs do not congregate in any locality in large numbers and ensure that streets are cleared of garbage and waste in locations where street dogs are prone to gather.

The court also directed BBMP to compile a status report on measures taken by it to curb dog menace.

Notice on PIL to fill up judicial vacancies

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The first bench of the Madras High Court has ordered issuance of notice to the government and the TN Public Service Commission (TNPSC) on a writ petition praying for a direction to them to fill up the vacancies of presiding officers in all the labour courts and to the district munsif courts in the State.

The bench compirsing Chief Justice MY Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam directed the registry to put up the matter on January 9 along with a similar writ petition pending before it. In his public interest writ petition, KM Ramesh, secretary of Labour Law Practitioners’ Association, submitted that the posts of presiding officers for the principal labour court and two additional labour courts were remaining vacant for several months, resulting in accumulation of arrears running to 12,000 cases. The same was the case in the districts also.

In the case of district munsif,the High Court had cleared the ground for TN Public Service Commission to proceed with the recruitment. But, TN Public Service Commission had not taken any steps to issue recruitment notification, so far, he said, and added that the non-filling of vacancies amounted to violation of the provisions of the Industrial Disputes (Service Rules) Act.

Banks approach SC to get respite

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 03.30AM IST

NOIDA: Banks in the city have finally approached the Supreme Court for getting relief from the order due to which they have to shut down operations and shift from residential plots to commercial areas by February 4. For the first time since the order was passed by the apex court nearly a month back, about 50 branches of 15 private and public banks across residential plots in Noida moved an application in the Apex court on Tuesday seeking a hearing.

According to the Lead District Manager of the State Bank of India, Arun Kumar, while the application was accepted in the Court, the next date of hearing in the matter is not yet known. The banks have requested the apex court to give them a hearing in the matter and are seeking an extension in the two-month time limit provided to them.

The banks have already been pitching for policy level changes with the Noida Authority to accommodate the affected branches in the vicinity of residential and commercial areas in Noida and have now requested the court for an extension in the deadline at least till the Noida Authority comes up with alternate locations. The SC order affects about 20 lakh account holders in the city.

“Ever since the SC order, the affected banks have maintained their inability to shut operations within the two month period. The subsequent meetings with the Noida Authority have not led to anything so far,” a State Bank of India official said. “With the February 4 deadline approaching, the banks had no choice but to approach the court and we were just waiting for the it to reopen after the winter break. We are hopeful of getting a hearing sometime next week,” she added.

Meanwhile, the Noida Authority, which had been maintaining a stoic stance since the court order directing banks, nursing homes, etc to shift out of residential plots, has now announced a formal crackdown of all defaulting commercial units. The Authority conducted a meeting of all project engineers last evening regarding the same.

As per the preliminary reports compiled by the Authority, about “40 per cent of the total allottees of residential plots in Noida have rented out parts of their properties for commercial activities.” All such units are now being asked to close down by next month or face action.

The SC had directed all banks and nursing homes to move out of residential plots and had particularly directed such plot owners to ensure that the occupant banks, nursing homes, companies or persons carrying on any commercial activity in the residential sector shift out and that these properties must be reused for residential purposes only by February 4.

Life sentence for man

Staff Reporter

The District Sessions Court-II, Kancheepuram, Judge E.M.K.S.Siddharthar has awarded life sentence to Karthik of Mannar Samudhiram, Thiruvaiyaru taluk, Thanjavur district, for murdering a hotel watchman here in 2008.

The accused joined as a waiter at a hotel on Railway Road in July 2008 and after working for a week he murdered the hotel watchman, Loganathan, who was sleeping near the cash counter on July 18. Karthik fled the scene after taking a sum of Rs.9400 from the cash counter and two mobile phones.

Conversion case: Maulvi denied bail

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.34AM IST

AHMEDABAD: A city sessions court refused bail to the priest of Navtad mosque at Ghee Kanta, Maulana Yusufkhan Pathan on Tuesday in connection with a religious conversion case. The priest was denied bail after public prosecutor Sudhir Brahmbhatt brought it to the court’s notice that he was facing three complaints for converting girls to Islam without obtaining prior permission from district collector.

As per section 2, 3 and 4 of the amended Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, obtaining prior permission of district magistrate is mandatory in a case, wherein a person is converted from one religion to another fold, the prosecutor contended. Pathan was seeking bail in a case, wherein he solemnized the nikah of one Kaushangini Kadia with a Muslim boy Altaf Mirza in October 2010, but before that the Hindu girl was converted to Islam. Since the girl’s family members were not happy with the marriage, her mother filed an FIR with the Karanj police station under the new religion conversion law.

Mirza and the priest were arrested on December 22. A magisterial court had already denied bail to both of them. Even the sessions court refused bail to the priest, since two other similar cases of conversion are pending against him and the prosecutor claimed that all three cases require further investigation also.

On the other hand, the ordeal came to an end for the couple, as additional sessions judge, B S Upadhyay granted bail to the boy. The court released Mirza, who is an executive with a citybased pharmaceutical firm, after his counsel Dilshad Pathan argued that the girl had already made an application to the collector announcing that she was converting to Islam, and there was no pressure on her for conversion.

He submitted that section 4 of the Act cannot be applied in this case because it can be invoked upon complaint filed by the girl. It is only section 5(3) of the Act that can be applied in this case. After hearing the case, the court released Mirza on furnishing bond of Rs 10,000 and on condition of registering presence at the police station every month.

Justice Majumdar to head PIL bench from today

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.31AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court would start working from Wednesday after a 10-day winter sojourn. Justice PB Majumdar would head the division bench looking after public interest litigations along with justice Ashok Bhangale. He will replace Justice Dilip Sinha, who has been assigned the principal bench at Mumbai. The second division bench for writ petitions would remain the same with Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Justice Pramod Kode at the helm. The criminal division bench would be led by Justice Pratap Hardas, and Justice Prasanna Varale will be his colleague. Other judges including Justice Vasanti Naik, Justice Ambadas Joshi, Justice Arun Chaudhari, Justice Ravi Deshpande and Justice MN Gilani would head the single-judge benches.

HC clears Forest Officers’ Training Centre

The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has given green signal to the Forest Officers Training Centre at village Kundal in Sangli. The court’s nod for the pet project of state forest minister Patangrao Kadam came while hearing a PIL by senior BJP functionary Shobhatai Fadnavis alleging gross mismanagement by forest officials in Vidarbha and particularly in Chandrapur, Gadchiroli and Wardha districts. Earlier, the government informed the court that clearances were been obtained from all other authorities, including the Union Environment Ministry, and they were just awaiting clearance from the high court.

Director of Health Services visits Shanti Bhavan

PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Thrissur, Jan 3(PTI) District Medical Officer V V Veenus and other officials today visited the Shanti Bhavan at nearby Avanoor from where the 41 mentally weak persons were freed yesterday after complaints of torture and admitted to government mental hospital here. The director of Health Services Dr P K Jameela along with the district medical officer visited the patients at the government mental hospital where 41 patients from Shanti Bhavan were shifted to. One Joshy (50) and his wife Alphonsa (45) who had allegedly encroached the land of another person was running the Shanti Bhavan with the pretext that they had permission for the mental health centre at Avanoor. The patients were freed yesterday following the order of the Judicial Magistrate after which they were admitted to the government mental hospital. Following complaints, the District Medical Officer had visited the Shanti Bhavan on Dec 23 and submitted a report to the Thrissur Chief Judicial Magistrate. Cases had been charged against Joshy and Anphonsa under section 324 and 342 of the Indian Penal Code and sections 25, 82 and 83 of the Mental Health Act, 1987, police said. Meanwhile, the Director of Health Services P K Jameela said that a team of doctors had been constituted to examine the 41 mental patients and submit a report within 10 days. PTI COR MVG

Accused in 1992 Ajmer sex scandal case arrested

IANS Jan 3, 2012, 10.15PM IST

JAIPUR: Rajasthan Police on Tuesday arrested an accused in the infamous 1992 Ajmer sex scandal case in which over 100 schoolgirls were blackmailed on the basis of their photographs in compromising positions, officials said.

The girls were allegedly sexually exploited by a group of about 18 blackmailers.

The state police’s Special Operations Group (SOG) arrested Saiyed Saleem Chishty, 42, from Khalid Mohalla in Ajmer town, some 150 km from Jaipur.

“Chisty is an accused in the 1992 case of blackmailing some schoolgirls in Ajmer. The victims were lured into coming to farm houses on the outskirts of the town at different times. They were sexually exploited and photographs with their being in compromising positions were shot by a gang of criminals,” Additional Director General of Police (SOG) Kapil Garg told media persons.

The girls were then blackmailed on the basis of these photographs and were forced to repeatedly visit the farm houses.

“Chishty, who was one of the men who blackmailed these girls, carried a cash reward of Rs 25,000 on his head. We came to know that he was hiding in Ajmer. A trap was laid and he was nabbed Tuesday morning,” said the officer.

About 11 others have already been arrested in the case. Seven of them were sentenced to life imprisonment by a court, the officer said.

“Chishty has told us that he was hiding in Bangladesh and Mumbai before he came to Ajmer recently. He has been booked under various section of IPC (Indian Penal Code) and those of the Indecent Representation of Women Act,” said the officer.

Chishty will be produced in a court Wednesday.

82-year-old sentenced to life in jail for rape, murder

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.43AM IST

PUNE: Additional sessions judge S D Darne on Tuesday sentenced Mohiniraj Kulkarni (82) to life imprisonment for murder of a 10-year-old girl. The girl was found dead on the terrace of Kulkarni’s bungalow in Narayan Peth on October 14, 2009.

Kulkarni was also sentenced to 10 years of rigorous imprisonment for raping the girl and three years’ RI for destroying evidence. All the sentences will run concurrently.

The court has imposed Rs 10,000 fine on Kulkarni for rape and Rs 2,000 for destroying evidence. Since the convict did not deposit the fine, he will have to undergo additional six months and three months of imprisonment.

Additional public prosecutor Vikas Shah submitted before the court to inflict death sentence on Kulkarni as he had committed the crime in a gruesome and diabolic manner for satisfying his lust.

Shah argued that, leaving Kulkarni’s age, there were no mitigating circumstances in his favour and that his age cannot be a criterion for showing leniency. He described the accused as a menace to society and pleaded to impose death sentence as the offence committed by him falls in the category of rarest of rare cases as per the Supreme Court guidelines.

Kulkarni’s lawyer Suhas Jadhav cited various Supreme Court rulings and pleaded before the court to impose minimum punishment as his client was a senior citizen and that he did not have criminal antecedents. Jadhav said that his client was not a threat to the society.

After hearing both sides, judge Darne observed that the accused was an elderly persons and it cannot be said that he was dangerous to the society for imposing death penalty by calling this case as rarest of rare cases. Sentencing the accused to life term would be adequate as it would serve both the purpose of deterrence and reformation. Kulkarni will be entitled to premature relief as per section 433 of the CrPC, if the state government decides to commute his sentence.

Jadhav later told reporters that the convict will challenge the verdict in the high court.

The court on Monday pronounced Kulkarni guilty of committing offences punishable under sections 302 (murder), 201 (destroying evidence) and 376 (2) (f) (committing rape of a girl below 12 years) of the Indian Penal Code.

The girl’s mother Rekha Randive (28) of Ambilodha colony in Dattawadi, who was an accused in the case, had turned approver and supported the prosecution’s case by testifying against the accused. She was released as she was given ‘tender of pardon’ by the prosecution.

The case was investigated by senior inspector Motichand Rathod and assistant commissioners of police Bharat Bhushan Sharma and Ranjit Dhure.

Sanjiv Bhatt to face trial in torture case

Last Updated: Tuesday, January 03, 2012, 15:08

Ahmedabad: In a setback to suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, the Gujarat High Court has rejected his plea seeking quashing of a complaint in a 1998 custodial torture case and directed the Porbander district court to proceed with the criminal trial against the senior cop.

Justice M R Shah recently rejected Bhatt’s application in the 13-year-old case when he was SP of Porbander district. Bhatt had sought quashing of the criminal complaint filed against him.

The court also vacated the stay, granted by it in December 2010, on conducting criminal proceedings against Bhatt in the case.

The court has further directed the magistrate of the Porbander court to proceed further with the trial and conclude the same within 12 months. All those concerned with the case have been directed by the court to coop erate with the trial court for early disposal of the case.

“This court is of the opinion that this is not a fit case to exercise the powers under section 482 of the Code of Criminal Procedure to quash and set aside the impugned complaint and/or order passed by the learned magistrate directing to issue process against the applicant (Bhatt),” the HC stated in its order.

Bhatt, along with constable Vajubhai Chau, has been charged for the offence punishable under sections 330 (causing hurt to extort confession), 324 (causing hurt with dangerous weapon) read with section 34 (action done by several persons with common intent) of the Indian Penal Code on the complaint against them by one Naran Jadav in 1998 for causing him physical and mental torture in police custody for extracting confession in a TADA and Arms Act case.

New mayor faces seven cases

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 01.39AM IST

HYDERABAD: City’s first citizen Mohammad Majid Hussain is an accused in seven cases, including an attempt to murder, criminal assault and intimidation. All these cases have been registered at the Humayun Nagar police station in whose jurisdiction his Ahmednagar residence is located.

As per the case (crime number 38/2011) registered at the Humayun Nagar police station on January 20, 2011, Majid Hussain was booked under section 353 (assault or use of criminal force to deter a public servant from discharge of his duty) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for stopping police from conducting searches and vehicle checking at 1st Lancer. Subsequently, when Hussain approached the high court the investigation was stayed.

On February 6, 2011, a group of assailants attacked one Syed Altaf with knives and iron rods at Ist Lancer. Altaf suffered injuries in the attack and police booked an attempt to murder case (crime number 38/2011) under section 307 of the IPC against the assailants, who directly participated in the attack, and also Majid Hussain, who was suspected to be the conspirator. In this case, except Hussain, all the other accused have been arrested by the Humayun Nagar police.

Similarly, on November 4, 2011, based on the directions of a local court, the Humayun Nagar police had booked a case against Majid Hussain under sections 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 352 (assault or criminal force otherwise than on grave provocation), 355 (assault or criminal force with intent to dishonor a person) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC. The case was booked after Shaik Mannan Sayeed, a local PRP leader, approached the court with a petition alleging that local police had not responded to his complaint against the Ahmednagar corporator. The petitioner alleged that during the Rachabanda programme at Ist Lancer in 2011, Majid Hussain had abused and physically assaulted him.

Apart from these three criminal cases, police said four petty cases were booked against Hussain for creating nuisance and threatening people, including a gas agency dealer in the locality, under section 506 (criminal intimidation) of the IPC, 70 – B and 71 of the Hyderabad City Police Act.

HC rejects DLF plea against SEBI probe, imposes Rs 2 lakh cost

Press Trust of India, 03 Jan 2012 | 08:22 PM

Justice Vipin Sanghi turned down DLF’s plea against the market regulator’s order, saying “I dismiss the writ petition with costs quantified at Rs 2 lacs. Cost to be paid within four weeks.”

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday imposed a cost of Rs 2 lakh on realty major DLF while dismissing its plea against market regulator SEBI’s order to probe an allegation that it duped a city-based businessman of Rs 34 crore in collusion with its associate firm Sudipti Estates.

Justice Vipin Sanghi turned down DLF’s plea against the market regulator’s order, saying “I dismiss the writ petition with costs quantified at Rs 2 lacs. Cost to be paid within four weeks.”

Justice Sanghi dismissed the DLF plea saying the order of the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) against it was “based on reasons”.

“A perusal of the impugned order (of SEBI) shows that it certainly cannot be said that it has been passed arbitrarily or is irrational. The impugned order is clearly based on reasons which are relevant and material,” it said.

DLF, in its petition, had sought quashing of SEBI’s order, issued on October 20, for investigation into the allegations of complainant Kimsuk Krishna Sinha in 2007 against it and Sudipti Estates.

The court, in its 61-page judgement, said the SEBI Act has not put any bar on the market regulator to consider any evidence to form its opinion to order an investigation.

“There is no bar or impediment cast on the Board by the SEBI Act to say that it would not entertain or look into evidence that the complainant may rely upon in support of his complaint made earlier, while considering whether or not to direct an investigation,” it said.

The high court said SEBI’s powers should not be restricted as it has been created to look into the issues pertaining to stock exchanges.

“There is no reason to put any such fetter on the powers of the Board or to read such restrictions into the statute, which are clearly not there. The Board is the sole authority created by law to deal with the complex issues which arise in the management and supervision of the securities markets. Any such restrictions, artificially introduced, would denude the Board of its powers and hamper its functioning,” it said.

DLF had, in its petition, said SEBI’s order was passed “erroneously and in blatant non-compliance with the principle of natural justice”. The court, however, rejected the plea.

The court also rejected the contention of DLF’s alleged associate Sudipti that SEBI has no authority to investigate its role as the firm’s shares have not been traded through the stock exchanges on which the regulator enjoys powers.

“SEBI by the impugned order has directed investigation into the allegations levelled by the complainant against the petitioner about the breach of the SEBI (disclosure of Investor Protection Guidelines) 2000, read with the relevant provisions of the Companies Act, and in relation to the disclosure of information required to be made in the red herring prospectus by the petitioner-DLF,” the court said.

SEBI had earlier ordered a probe into the issue of IPOs after the high court had asked it to look into the complaint of Sinha against DLF Group and Sudipti Estates and pass an order in three months.

In the FIR lodged against Sudipti in Delhi, Sinha had alleged the company and its directors/agents had “lured and compelled” him to transfer certain plots of land and did not fulfill the promise of developing the land and providing him higher returns. (More) PTI AHA SJK HMP RAX The market regulator had said in its order that “the Securities and Exchange Board of India shall investigate into the allegations levelled by the complainant in respect of DLF Limited and Sudipti Estates Pvt Limited.”

“The investigations would focus on violations, if any, of the provisions of the erstwhile SEBI (Disclosure and Investor Protection) Guidelines, 2000, read with relevant provisions of the Companies Act, 1956,” SEBI had further said.

Sinha had alleged Sudipti, DLF Home Developers Limited and DLF Estate Developers Limited were sister concerns inextricably linked and were part of the DLF Group.

DLF has, however, maintained Sudipti is a separate legal entity owned and controlled by different individuals.

The construction major in a Draft Red Herring Prospectus (DRHP), filed for a public issue in May 2006, had mentioned that Sudipti was its associate company.

The DRHP, however, had been withdrawn and thereafter, it filed a fresh prospectus in January, 2007, wherein Sudipti was not mentioned as an associate.

HC stays new VC order to maritime University

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.23AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has stayed the appointment of a new vice-chancellor (VC) for the Chennai-headquartered Indian Maritime University, which has jurisdiction over all maritime institutions throughout the country.

Days after the university’s first VC, P Vijayan, completed his term, the Centre had appointed a Coast Guard officer, Capt. M Baweja, as the VC on November 18, 2011. Baweja was to hold the VC post in addition to his existing responsibilities.

Opposing the appointment, Vijayan filed a writ petition contending that the President alone had the power to appoint a vice-chancellor.

According to him, Baweja’s appointment was made by an under secretary of the union ministry of shipping violating norms. Justice KBK Vasuki stayed the appointment of Baweja and has issued notices to the Centre as well as Baweja, directing them to file their replies by January 11.

HC blast suspects’ custody extended

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 02.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: A special NIA court has extended the judicial custody of suspected terrorists Wasim Akram Malik and Amir Abbas Dev, arrested for their alleged role in the September 7 blasts outside the Delhi High Court premises. District Judge H S Sharma extended the judicial custody of Dev till January 16 while Malik’s custody has been extended till January 17 after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said they want the accused to be produced in the court on separate days, court sources said.

Both the accused were produced in the court during an in-chamber hearing after the expiry of the tenure of their judicial custody. According to court sources, NIA told the court that investigations into the blast, which killed 15 people and injured 70, was still ongoing.

The court had earlier dismissed NIA’s plea for a polygraph test to be conducted on Malik after he had expressed “unwillingness” to undergo the test.

A polygraph test is conducted to ascertain the truthfulness of a person’s statements given in response to the probe agency’s queries but according to a Supreme Court ruling, a person cannot be compelled to undergo such tests .

HC dismisses petition on illegal bike racing

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.25AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has refused to pass a general direction asking the city police to impose a blanket ban on the illegal bike racing that mostly takes place in Besant Nagar, Kamarajar Salai, East Coast Road and Poonamallee High Road.

Dismissing a public interest writ petition by advocate A Vasudevan seeking a complete ban on the racing, the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said the PIL had been filed based on a news item publishing in The Times of India on December 12. According to the news report, a 55-year-old man was killed by the bike racers when he was knocked down on the ECR.

The judges, however, said: “The news item states that police authorities had planned to install CCTVs on some stretches of ECR and Elliots Beach to nab the violators.” They said when the police were taking steps to curb illegal bike racing in the city, no general directions as sought by the PIL could be issued.

HC takes suo motu cognizance of ill-treatment of mental patients

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.16AM IST

THRISSUR: The Kerala High Court has taken suo motu cognizance of news reports on the ill-treatment of patients in a mental health centre at Avanoor, from where 41 mental patients were rescued by the medical officials on Monday.

The court sought a report on the case on Tuesday and asked the Thrissur district medical officer to submit it to the high court registrar. On the basis of the court order, the DMO officials sent a copy of the report to the advocate-general.

P K Jameela, director of health services, said that inspection in mental health centres in all districts would be strengthened. “There are allegations that mental health centres run by religious organizations have been eluding the inspection of health inspectors. It will not happen again. Regardless of institutions run by religious organizations, inspection will be strengthened in all districts and strong action will be taken against the guilty,” she said.

The functioning of Community Health Centres for mental patients would be extended to all districts. She said the government was trying to fill the vacant posts of psychiatrists in district mental hospitals in Thiruvananthapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode. The centre at Avanoor was functioning in violation of the Mental Health Act 1987.

Jameela visited the mental patients at the District Mental Hospital where they are undergoing treatment. Dr. N K Babu, superintendent of the hospital, said that they were getting in touch with the relatives of the patients.

Many patients belong to Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, West Bengal, Orissa and Bihar.

HC quashes compulsory retirement of civil judges

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 01.20AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court on Tuesday set aside an order issued on June 23, 2009 by the then governor Rameshwar Thakur compulsorily retiring 15 civil judges in public interest on various grounds including corruption and inefficiency.

Ordering the reinstatement of the 10 judges who had petitioned the high court against their compulsory retirement, justice Anand Byrareddy also held as invalid the constitution of a committee in 2005 by the then chief justice of the Karnataka high court NK Sodhi for reviewing the performance of judicial officers and including the same in their confidential records.

The 15 civil judges had been compulsorily retired after the committee had in June 2009 recommended the same in public interest under Rule285(4) of Karnataka Civil Service Rules. PD Dinakaran was the chief justice of Karnataka high court at that time and Rameshwar Thakur was the competent authority as the governor of Karnataka. It was alleged that the civil judges were found “unfit” to hold the post for various reasons, including inefficiency, conduct and corruption charges against them.

Justice Byrareddy said that the reinstatement will be accompanied by continuity in service and all consequential benefits.

“In view of the Supreme Court direction in the All India Judges Association case, the constitution of the committee is invalid and contrary to the law. In the same way, Rule 285(4) too is no longer applicable to judicial officers. It is not possible to treat judicial officers like any other government servant on the question of desirability, ability and suitability to continue in service or to retire them from service in public interest. Any retirement from service can only be on the ground of proven misconduct,” the judge ruled.

“Though the material before the court speaks of several allegations of corrupt practices, they were not taken to their logical conclusion in spite of reports being obtained from confidential and preliminary inquiries. The order of compulsory retirement is apparently passed as a ‘short-cut’ to avoid departmental inquiry/inquiries and is clearly a punitive measure,” the judge further observed.

The petitioners had claimed that individual cases were not reviewed, no enquiry was held and no reasonable opportunity in terms of principles of natural justice was provided for them. They further claimed that though the action was compulsory retirement, it virtually amounted to dismissal from service.

What was the committee?

A committee was set up in September 2005 by the then chief justice of the Karnataka high court, N K Sodhi, to review the performance of all the judicial officers in the state and include the same in their confidential records.

The review was conducted in respect of those who were above 50 years of age and those who had completed 20 years of service so as to decide on the suitability of continuing them in service. In the case that was adjudicated on Tuesday, a full court meeting attended by all the judges of the high court had adopted the report recommending the compulsory retirement of 15 judicial officers.


“Though the material before the court speaks of several allegations of corrupt practices, they were not taken to their logical conclusion in spite of reports being obtained from confidential and preliminary inquiries.The order of compulsory retirement is apparently passed as a ‘short-cut’ to avoid departmental inquiry/inquiries and is clearly a punitive measure,”

Justice Anand Byrareddy

Karnataka high court

The petitioners

The 10 civil judges whose reinstatement has been ordered on Tuesday are T Nagappa, CR Javid Pasha, Anwar Davalsab Ansari, Shivanand Narasingappa Dhage, Channal Bapuji Thimmappa, Martand Parapa Tonne, Lakshmikant Ramappa Desai, Mahantagouda Biradar, Rudramuni Rudrappaiah, and Ullas Eshwar Balekundri.

HC directs state to provide benefits to 150 teachers

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.28AM IST

MADURAI: Disposing a batch of writ petitions filed by 150 retired teachers claiming that they were not given due scale of pay till their superannuation, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Tuesday has directed the state government to extend benefits, which is due to them within a period of eight months.

All the petitioners were originally appointed as secondary grade assistant/ secondary grade teachers/ physical education teachers. Some of them on completion of their service period even after reaching the age of superannuation, had not been promoted. However, they were given the benefit of selection grade and special grade after completion of 10 and 20 years of their respective services. Now, the grievance of the petitioners is that they were not given the benefit of scale of pay of selection grade and special grade as per instructions given in the two government orders, which were issued in 1993 and 2010.

Passing a common order on the batch of petitions, Justice T Raja pointed out that the chief educational officers of Pudukkottai, Villupuram and Salem would cumulatively show that the benefit conferred in GOs has been invariably extended to almost all the similarly placed persons.

Narrating the legal dispute that was settled by various forums, the judge further said, “When the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal has given a direction to the authorities to refix the scale of pay of the applicants, the high court has also categorically issued a direction and as against that, a special leave petition filed by the state also came to be dismissed.”

The court also held that the authorities are directed to extend the benefit of GOs to all the petitioners on receipt of their detailed representations consisting of their service particulars. Since all the petitioners are senior citizens, on receipt of their individual applications with full details of their date of reaching selection and special grade, date of retirement etc, the authorities are directed to dispose of their applications by extending the mentioned benefits within a period of six months from the date of receipt of their applications enclosed with this order copy.

After the court had passed the order, K Chellapandian, additional advocate general sought for considerable time to disburse the amount by mentioning the financial problem faced by the department.

However, R Singgaravelan, counsel for the petitioners submitted that since the teachers have already retired from service and are senior citizens, six months time could be reasonable for fixation of the amount. In turn, the additional advocate general further expressing the practical difficulties sought for minimum one year’s time as the amount involved could be running to several crores.

HC to hear Ajay Chautala’s plea in DA case tomorrow

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

New Delhi, Jan 3 (PTI) Haryana legislator Ajay Singh Chautala today moved the Delhi High Court challenging a special court order to try him for allegedly possessing wealth exceeding his legal income. The plea of the son of former chief minister Om Prakash Chautala would be taken up for hearing by Justice M L Mehta tomorrow. In his petition filed through counsel Amit Sahani, the Indian National Lok Dal leader challenged the special court’s order contending that he was not a public servant till May 24, 1993, when the CBI’s alleged ‘check period’ began. Special CBI judge P S Teji had, on September 23, found “prima facie” evidence against Ajay and had framed charges under various provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act against him for allegedly possessing assets, found to be 339.27 per cent exceeding his legal income between May 1993 and May 2006. His legal income in that period was Rs 8.17 crore, while he had acquired assets worth Rs 27.7 crore, the CBI had said in its charge sheet. Ajay, however, contended, in his petition, “Since petitioner was not a public servant as on May 24, 1993 the entire purpose of holding trial with the charge of having acquired assets disproportionate to his known source of income for the period May 24, 1993 to May 31, 2006 is against the provisions of PC Act.” He contended the same fact has been concealed by the CBI in its charge sheet filed in the court on December 24, 2009. The special court while framing charges against Ajay had said “Ajay Chautala had purchased “benami” properties in the name of five co-accused in the case.

HC issues notices to Centre, Punjab gov on Sehajdhari issue

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Chandigarh, Jan 3 (PTI) Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Centre, Punjab government, SGPC and Gurudwara Election Tribunal for February 8 on a PIL by Sehajdharis (non-baptised Sikhs), seeking fresh elections of SGPC and inclusion of Sehajdhari in revised list. On December 20, the High Court had quashed the Centre’s notification debarring Sehajdharis from voting in the Sikh body’s polls. The petitioner appealed that till the fresh elcetions are held, newly elected members of SGPC, which is the apex religious body of the Sikhs, be restrained from acting. It was submitted by the petitioner that the election of SGPC held on September 18, 2011 was made conditional and outcome of the writ petitions challenging notification issued by the Central government on October 8, 2003 disfranchising Sehajdharis by the full bench of the High Court as well as by the Supreme Court in the Special Leave Petition. It was contended by the counsel of the petitioners that with the quashing of the notification by a full bench of the court, the election to SGPC was non-est and continuation of the SGPC was not in accordance with law. A bunch of three petitions were filed in the High Court. In one of the writ petition Sehajdhari Sikh federation had challenged the notification dated October 8, 2003 issued by the union of India whereby in section 49 and 92 of the Sikh Gururdwaras Act 1925 the word “Sehajdari” was omitted. In another writ petition, the constitutional validity of section 44 of the 1925 Act was challenged being ultra vires of the Constitution. The third petition had questioned the validity of notification being in contradiction to the definition of “Sikh” as contained under the provisions of section 2(9) and 2(10-A) of the 1925 Act.

HC allows distribution of new media cards with rider

After Advocate General Anindya Mitra could not appear before the Division Bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose and Justice Mrinal Kanti Choudhury on Tuesday owing to illness, the Calcutta High Court fixed January 16 to hear the PIL related to new rules on issuing of accreditation cards to media persons by the state government.

The state Information and Cultural Affairs department had issued a notification in October to introduce new rules for issuing of accreditation cards to media persons. Arunagsu Chakraborty, a media person had filed a Public Interest Litigation in November challenging the government notification alleging the state was not empowered to frame such rules and that it should be declared invalid and unconstitutional. Meanwhile, Justice Markandey Katju, chairman of the Press Council of India, during his visit to the state in December. requested the government not to distribute the press cards under the new rule.

Chakraborty on Tuesday apprised the High Court that the state Information and Cultural Affairs Department has already started issuing the new cards to the media persons under the new rule and requested the court to intervene into the matter. The card distribution has been undertaken ignoring the request of the Chairman, Press Council of India, he said.

The High Court said the state could distribute the new cards but the fate of the new cards would be decided according to the final order passed by the bench.

HC lawyer to be citizen candidate in Colaba Linah Baliga

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.15AM IST

MUMBAI: Colaba will have its own citizen candidate for the for thcoming civic elections. Educated professionals and entrepreneurs from Colaba have come together to form My Dream Colaba. They plan to use that platform to launch Makarand Narwekar (33), a Bombay high court lawyer.

Narwekar runs a free legal aid cell for the underprivileged in Colaba and has taken up several high-profile cases. He has also taken up several social causes in his area. Narwekar believes that pleading his case at civic general body meetings will be no different from what he does in court.

“It’s important for a person to have legal knowledge of proceedings and rules of the MCGM Act. It’s not going to be different as I am a litigating lawyer. The people we are electing are unaware of development control regulations or civic laws,” said Narwekar.

Ghanashyam Hegde, a member of My Dream Colaba, said there was citizenawakening in the locality.

“We asked people if we were getting the quality of life they deserved. The answer was a resounding ‘no’,” said Hegde. He said that their vision was to make Colaba a model locality by adopting participative community development techniques.

“We want to build a network of volunteers from each housing society who will be pseudo-representatives for all purposes, including interaction with the civic body. There will be public-private partnership to change the face of Colaba,” Hegde said. Prema Singh ( Congress) is the sitting corporator for ward 227. The ward which was reserved is now in the open category.

Piravom bypoll: HC seeks explanation from EC

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.15AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday admitted a petition challenging the delay in declaring election in Piravom Assembly constituency and ordered to send notice to the Election Commission.

Considering a petition by a voter, K K Joy, challenging non-declaration of election in Piravom constituency along with the declaration of election in five states, Justice S Siri Jagan asked the Election Commission to file an affidavit explaining the reason for the delay.

The voter has alleged that non-declaration of election in the constituency is due to extraneous reasons as no situation to delay the election process exists in the constituency. The petitioner is also seeking a court order to the Election Commission to declare election in the constituency.

Rail accidents: Who will arrange ambulance? HC tells state, railways to decide

Published: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

To ensure that railway accident victims are provided immediate medical attention during the ‘golden hour’ (within one hour of an accident), the Bombay high court (HC) asked the railways and the Maharashtra government to sort out their differences over transporting victims to the nearest hospital. It has been established that getting a victim to a hospital within the golden hour gives him/her a high chance of survival.

The court was hearing a contempt petition filed by social activist Samir Zaveri who lost his legs in a railway accident. Zaveri filed the petition since the railways failed to comply with the HC’s directions in connection with his public interest litigation (PIL) regarding commuters’ safety. The petition sought jail for chief commissioner of railways, general manager of Western Railway and officers of the railway board.

Earlier, during the PIL hearing, the railways and the government passed the buck to each other while addressing the question of whose responsibility it was to make ambulances available at railway stations. The railways had written to the government in June 2011 saying that it should provide ambulances like other state governments do. However, the government said in court that taking victims to hospital was the duty of the railways.

In 2004, the HC gave the railways several directions. One of them was that the rail accident victims should be shifted immediately to the nearest public or private hospital. However, several of these directives have not been implemented fully.l Turn to p4

Amicus curie (friend of court), Advocate Jamshed Mistry, told the court that it was necessary to take up three issues on a priority basis. They were: transportation of victims, removal of dangerous poles near tracks and updating the railways website with details of accident victims.

Suresh Kumar, advocate for the railways, said that it had prepared a form to register accident victims’ details. He said the railways’ technical team was working on updating the website and this will be completed by mid-January with help from the Government Railway Police (GRP).

The HC asked that a meeting be held between railways and the authorities concerned (government and GRP) along with the advocates to resolve all issues.

Co-accused’s statement not enough for conviction: HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.30AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that an accused can’t be convicted just on the basis of a co-accused’s statement. “The statement of co-accused can always be used if the accused is being tried primarily on other evidence. But his statement cannot be foundation to convict the accused when that is only the sole material,” the court said.

A single judge bench of justice Ambadas Joshi then acquitted an accused for offences of theft, cheating and forgery. “Allowing the trial to proceed would mean nothing but waste of time of the court, the prosecution, and would burden the state exchequer. Apart from that it tends to disrepute the criminal law administrative system,” a justice Joshi observed before disposing of the plea.

“Permitting trial on such unsustainable material would be vexing the accused and burdening the courts with prosecution which cannot be reasonably expected to fructify or at least could be worthy of trial,” the court said before absolving accused Pravin Kalmegh who filed the petition through his counsel Akash Moon and PS Mohgaonkar of all charges.

Kalmegh (co-accused) along with Vijay Kene, the prime accused, were charged under sections 420, 34 and 379 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). On First Information Report (FIR) of July 16, 2009, the Imambada police station arrested the duo and subsequently filed a chargesheet on September 20 in same year.

The petitioner filed four separate petitions contending he was prosecuted in four crimes only on the basis of Kene’s version and there is no other evidence available against him. He further argued that Kene named him just to satisfy his personal grudge and enmity and falsely implicated him in the crime.

The HC found there indeed was no other proof on record against petitioner. The court citing many Supreme Court and HC judgments quashed and set aside the criminal proceedings in all four cases.

Traders tense as panel defers de-sealing pleas

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The new year for the High Court-appointed monitoring committee began on a tense note after the Supreme Court pulled up the HC on relegating the T Nagar traders’ de-sealing application to the monitoring panel, as anxious and angry traders gathered in front of the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority to know their fate.

The HC had asked the business establishments to approach the committee and submit details about the building plan for removal of lock and seal. With the SC posting the hearing on Jan 9, barely a week before Pongal, traders from Ranganathan Street Merchants Association, Tamil Nadu Vanigar Sanghankalin Perammaipu and landowners who were present at the meet venue are keeping their fingers crossed. A M Vikramraja, the head of the TN Vanigar Sangam Peravai, who held deliberations with the Housing and Urban Secretary and vice-chairman of the CMDA, has urged Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa to intervene so that shops could open during Pongal. “We are under pressure and many of the traders have incurred huge debt. This festival season is the only hope for traders. More than 1,500 people who have invested in chits in jewellery and utensils establishments in the area will be dejected if the building continues to be locked. This will create a law and order problem,” he warned.

Member Secretary of CMDA, R Venkatesan, said the monitoring committee met the representatives who requested desealing and decided to defer the hearings for those who approached the committee following the SC order. “We hope by Jan 9 we will get a favourable order,” he said. Meenakshi of Meenakshi Real Estate alleged, “The authorities say that a fire engine will find it difficult to enter Ranganathan Street, but the truth is that it would not be able to turn into Ranganathan street because of the bridge built by the previous DMK government on Usman Road.”

With the SC judgement, aspersions were being cast on the role of the monitoring panel by some sections of the Association of Professional Town Planners (APTP) alleging that it was appointed to examine the issues arising out of regularisation of unauthorised and deviated constructions, which had come up till Feb 28, 1999, during the First master plan.

Compulsory retirement orders of 10 Ktk. HC judges set aside

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Bangalore, Jan 3 (PTI): The Karnataka High Court today set aside compulsory retirement orders of 10 High Court judges and directed their reinstatement with consequential service benefits. Hearing the writ petitions filed by the 10 judges, Justice Anand Byrareddy set aside the order of their compulsory retirement passed by former Karnataka Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. On June 23, 2009, the then Chief Justice P D Dinakaran had ordered compulsory retirement of 15 judges on the grounds that they were “unfit” to hold the post for various reasons, including low rate of disposal of cases, conduct with the lawyers not being good and also complaints against them. Subsequently, 13 of 15 judges challenged it and sought quashing of the order, stating that the grounds were false, no proper explanation was given to them and that the procedure under Karnataka Civil Service Rules had not been followed. Agreeing with the reasons stated by the petitioners, the court said the judges had been ‘unceremoniously’ sent home without proper interpretation of the rules and set aside the order. The remaining three petitions are yet to be heard. PTI BH MSR APR

Accused should clarify the cause of injuries to victims: HC

PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

Mumbai, Jan 3 (PTI) The onus of explaining how the injuries were caused to the victim lies on the accused in those cases where he/she is last seen with the victim, the Bombay High Court has observed in connection with an appeal filed by a man convicted for unnatural sex. The court also made it clear that failure on part of the accused in explaining the cause behind injuries to the victim may lead it to conclude that the accused is responsible for the same. The observation was made by Justice M L Tahaliyani while deciding on an appeal filed by Ramkisan Surajmal Harijan challenging his conviction for having unnatural sex with a ten-month-old girl child. According to the prosecution, on January 1, 2006, Harijan, who was the neighbour to the victim’s family had taken the baby to a secluded place under the pretext of playing with her and raped her. The mother of the victim who rushed to the incident spot after hearing the cries of the child saw the accused dropping the baby and fleeing the place. “Prosecution has established that the victim child was last seen with the convicted accused. The only question which needs to be examined is whether it was the accused or somebody else who had caused the injuries to the victim,” the court observed. Harijan’s lawyer Irfan Sait had argued that none of the prosecution witnesses had seen the appellant (Harijan) indulging in unnatural intercourse with the ten-month old victim. “In the present situation, the accused was under the obligation, in view of the provision of the Evidence Act, to explain as to how the victim suffered injuries since the victim was in the custody of the accused. He (accused) was under obligation to explain the same. If he has not given any explanation then the court can draw only one conclusion that he himself is responsible for the injuries,” Justice Tahaliyani remarked. The court while upholding Harijan’s conviction under section 377 (unnatural offences) of IPC, however, reduced his jail term from ten years to seven years. PTI SP NSK


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 03,2012

It prayed that if that was not possible, the court may It prayed that if that was not possible, the court may appoint a special officer for disbursing the cheques. The petition is likely to be moved tomorrow before the court of Justice Jayanta Biswas, Majumdar said. More than 90 persons, most of them patients, died after inhaling poisonous smoke at the centrally air-conditioned seven-storey AMRI annexe building on December nine. While six directors and two officers of AMRI are in judicial custody, director R S Agarwal is in hospital on account of illness. All of them have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder among other charges.

Provide shelter to homeless in state: HC directs UP govt

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.03AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to provide shelters to homeless, who are forced to spend night in open, across the state.

A division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi further directed the state government to furnish details of death toll occurred due to cold wave in the state.

The court also asked the state government as to what effective steps it had taken for night shelter to the homeless. The court noted that newspaper reports stated that no effective steps have been taken by the state government for such poor, destitutes and slum dwellers. The order came on a PIL filed by a local lawyer AK Mishra, who alleged that despite apex court’s strict directions, the poor and homeless are forced to spend nights in open.

AMRI hospital files petition in Kolkata HC to disburse compensation

Published: Tuesday, Jan 3, 2012, 21:13 IST
Place: Kolkata | Agency: PTI

The AMRI Hospital, where a devastating fire claimed more than 90 lives, on Tuesday filed a plea before the Calcutta High Court seeking direction to Kolkata Police Commissioner to disburse compensation to victims’ families or appoint a special officer in this regard.

The petition by AMRI Hospitals Pvt Ltd stated that 88 patients and two nurses died in the horrific incident on December nine and claimed that one patient who had been released a day before, had died at a government hospital.

Stating that it would give compensation to all the 89 patients including the one who died at the government hospital, the hospital authorities said it has already paid Rs five lakh each to the families of the two nurses from Kerala.

The AMRI Hospital authorities, seven of whose directors have been arrested, claimed that it had sent four letters to Kolkata Police Commissioner RK Pachnanda requesting him to finalise the number of victims and the amount and disburse the cheques to the victims’ families, counsel for the hospital Utpal Majumdar said.

The hospital authorities alleged that the office of the police commissioner had not responded to its letters in this regard.

The petitioner, claiming that it was not in a position to distribute the cheques on its own as the hospital had been closed after the incident, prayed that the court direct the police commissioner to receive the cheques from it and hand them to the families of the victims.

Casual workers too are eligible for maternity leave: HC

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.31AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has asked the government to regularize the services of a woman who was denied leave and job by the authorities, reiterating that even casual workers are entitled to three-month paid maternity leave if they had worked for 80 days in 12 months preceding child birth.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing orders on a petition filed by L Kannaki, who was first denied maternity leave, then not allowed to re-join duty and then refused regularization of job, said: “Kannaki was unjustly denied maternity leave and employment when she reported to duty after delivery of a child. The action of the authorities is totally illegal…”

Kannaki was a casual labourer at the Exotic Cattle Breeding Farm in Thanjavur since 1988. Since 1993, the government regularized services of more than 800 casual labourers. In 1996, Kannaki became pregnant and requested maternity leave. The authorities told her that she was not entitled to maternity leave as she was a casual labourer. After child birth in September 1996, she reported for duty. The authorities refused to provide her employment. She sent several requests and reminders seeking reinstatement and regularization of her services.

In 1999, though the Tamil Nadu Administrative Tribunal directed the department to reconsider its decision to deny her employment, the authorities rejected her claim for reinstatement and regularization.

Justice Hariparanthaman, citing legal precedents supporting the claims of Kannaki and slamming authorities for their refusal, said that as per Section 5(2) of the Maternity Act, women employees who had rendered more than 80 days of service during 12 months preceding the date of expected child delivery, were entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave with wages.

As for authorities’ claim that if a job break is more than 90 days, a casual worker cannot be reinstated without consulting the employment exchange, Justice Hariparanthaman said the break in service was due to pregnancy and it had been proved by documents that she delivered a male baby in September 1996. He directed the department to reinstate Kannaki within two months and regularize her job, besides paying her the monetary benefits from the date of regularization.

Andhra High Court cancels Srilakshmis bail

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Monday set aside the bail granted by a lower court to IAS officer Y Srilakshmi, an accused in the Obulapuram mining scam case. The officer was ordered to surrender before the CBI special court before Jan. 6 failing which the CBI can arrest her.
Pronouncing the order on CBI’s petition contesting the bail granted to her, Justice N R L Nageshwara Rao said it would be difficult for the agency to gather evidence on the mining scam if Srilakshmi was given bail. It was during her time as secretary, industries, that crucial decisions in the case were taken, including granting mining leases to the OMC Since the investigation into these decision has not yet been completed, the judge found merit in the CBI’s argument that Srilakshmi was in a position to destroy evidence if she were at large.
The judge said Srilakshmi was a “brilliant and intellectual person” and therefore it was “really sad and unbecoming” of a secretary to the government to contend that the GOs were issued in her name without her knowledge. The judge found little basis to her claim of not having seen or signed the GOs. He pointed out that Srilakshmi’s subordinates had vouched that the GOs were issued with her concurrence.
“The respondent (Srilakshmi) cleverly wants to shift the blame to the subordinate staff. All this has to be mentioned by me for the reason that consideration for bail shall be based on the character of the person involved in the crime. The conspiracy cannot be proved by documentary evidence alone and unless oral evidence is entirely collected by the investigating agency, mere documentary evidence is not sufficient and such a right of the investigating agency cannot be deprived,” the judge noted.
Citing the verdict of the Supreme Court in the Amarmani Tripathi case, judge Nageshwara Rao said the apex court has laid down that in considering bail, the status and conduct of the accused must be taken into consideration apart from the nature and gravity of the charge.
“There is more than sufficient material available on record as to how the respondent was associated with the grant of mining leases and GOs which favoured OMC, ignoring the vital condition that the leases be for ‘captive mining’ only.”

Chief priest asks court to end proceedings

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 06.14AM IST

KOCHI: Sabarimala chief priest Kandararu Maheshwararu has requested the Kerala High Court to end the proceedings based on his earlier letter protesting against the denial of entry for his grandson Rahul Easwar into the ‘sreekovil’ of Sabarimala temple.

Through a letter received in the high court on Tuesday, the chief priest has asked the court to end further proceedings. On December 2 last year, the court had ruled against granting entry for Rahul into the ‘sreekovil’ until further orders.

The chief priest had been provided three assistants named by him and also a male attendant. Therefore, the chief priest’s daughter’s son Rahul Easwar need not be allowed into the ‘sreekovil’, the court had held.

In the first letter, the chief priest had stated that his grandson was brought along to assist him and was not intended to allow him to do the rituals that the chief priest had to do.

Sabarimala executive officer M Satheeshkumar had told the media then that Rahul could not be permitted to enter the main temple as he was not a member of the three ‘santhis’ (helping priests) named by the chief priest to assist him in the rituals. The TDB official had also said that Rahul could not function as the priest in the temple as ‘makkathayam’ (son after father’s tenure) was the custom being observed.

Supreme Court notice to GNOIDA, UP on land acquisition row

PTI Jan 3, 2012, 10.07PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today issued notices to Uttar Pradesh government and Greater NOIDA authority on a petition filed by a group of farmers challenging the acquisition of their agricultural land by the authorities in Garhi Bachchera village of Gautam Buddh Nagar district.

The petition pleaded “mindless acquisition” of agriculture land would lead to a food crisis in the country.

A bench of justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale sought a response from the authorities within four seeks on the special leave petition filed by five of the aggrieved farmers challenging the judgement of the Allahabad High Court which had on October 21 last year upheld the acquisition.

High security licence plates hit many roadblocks nationwide

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.03AM IST

NEW DELHI: While the Delhi government defaulted on Supreme Court mandated December 31 deadline – later revised to March 31, 2012 – for high-security registration plates (HSRP), the story is no different in other states. The scheme that seeks to curtail counterfeiting and duplication of number plates has run into hurdles that range from legal challenges to the notification, to the cost, making governments chary of executing the order.

In Madhya Pradesh, the government recently floated HSRP tenders with deputy transport secretary Rajneesh Shrivastava saying, “The process for implementing HSRP has started. We’re waiting for the response. Once we get the bids, the government will analyse the capacity of firms concerned to execute the orders within the deadline.” MP has around 70 lakh vehicles (2009-10 figures).

The transport department of Tamil Nadu floated tenders calling for bidders in September 2011. “We haven’t selected a bidder yet, but we are at it,” said a senior transport department official, but non-committal on deadline.

Rajasthan’s transport commissioner Deepak Upreti said, “The bidders have been invited to establish necessary infrastructure for issuing and fixing HSRP. The last date for submitting tenders is January 17. The SC made an exception for Rajasthan for not filing affidavits on December 8 because of a pending litigation relating to tender process.”

Authorities in West Bengal said they aim to meet the fresh deadline of March 31. “We’ve done 80% of the job. Even in North Bengal, we have set up HSRP facilities. If no untoward situation emerges, we can fully comply with the apex court order well before the deadline,” said MD of West Bengal Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation Dhiman Mukhopadhyay.

The Regional Transport Office of Pune (RTO) said it has not received any directions from the state government. RTO Arun Yeola said, “We require guidance on implementation of HSRP. We can’t move otherwise.” The government is still to finalize on the implementing agency, he said.

Kerala, too, does not look ready for March 31. “The deadline is over, but we couldn’t implement the order as certain agencies have approached the court and obtained a stay against the tender invited by Motor Vehicles Department,” said Ernakulam RTO T J Thomas. He also said the HSRP rates were high compared to the normal number plates. “It will cost about Rs 750 for motorcycles and Rs 1,000 for four wheelers,” Thomas said.

Uttar Pradesh, too, hasn’t been able to do much as the state government’s tendering process has been challenged in the high court.

Eyeing Pongal, T Ngr traders go to Supreme Court

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 05.06AM IST

CHENNAI: Their shops lying under lock and seal for more than two months now, the small and big merchants of T Nagar are knocking at almost every available door to resume business.

On Tuesday, a special leave petition filed by the Ranganathan Street Merchants Association came up for hearing in the Supreme Court. The petition challenged the Madras high court’s December 22 order refusing to ‘de-seal’ the locked premises.

The high court, instead, had asked the business establishments to approach the court-appointed monitoring committee, which is the expert body, and furnish relevant documents. The committee shall, the court said, analyse the documents and building plan permits and pass individual orders expeditiously.

When the petition came up for hearing before a bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari and Justice Dipak Mishra on Tuesday, the bench wondered whether the high court could refer the matter back to the monitoring committee, and asked the government to file its reply by January 9.

Simultaneously, a large number of owners and tenants of sealed buildings approached the monitoring committee seeking immediate ‘de-sealing’ so as to enable them to do their seasonal Pongal business.

“The monitoring committee has received our representations, submitted as per the directions of the high court. We were, however, informed that the members would process the documents and pass orders on our representations only after the outcome of the hearing on the petition in the SC is known on January 9,” said advocate Siva Rajasekaran, counsel for Saravana Stores.

Saravana Stores has told the committee that its twin buildings bearing no. 12 and 13, Ranganathan Street, have been sealed though no notice was issued in respect of shop bearing door no. 13, Ranganathan Street. “We have told the committee that we are ready to divide the shop, as no. 13 is strictly as per the building rules, while no. 12 was built before 1999,” he said.

As for the two shops run by Rathna Stores, its senior counsel G Rajagopalan told the committee that the shop on Usman Road was purchased through a court auction and that it was well within the cut-off date, thereby making it eligible for exemption.

The monitoring committee met today and discussed the HC order asking it hear representations of traders for de-sealing. A Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority release said the monitoring committee and the Chennai Corporation processed all appeals filed till January 2.

Funded by RIL Trust, Network18 buys ETV channels from RIL

Published: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Team DNA | Place: Mumbai

First, a caveat: this deal is Complex, in capitalletters.

In essence, a buyer is acquiring stake from a seller, largely using money lent by the seller, even as he benefits massively from an announcement-led boost in share price.

Here’s how: Broadcaster Network 18 on Tuesday announced plans to acquire various channels (some fully, some partially) of ETV for Rs2,100 crore, using money lent by Independent Media Trust, which is promoted by Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL).

ETV, promoted by Hyderabad-based media baron Ramoji Rao, is also substantially owned by RIL through its investment vehicles.

Network18, with a market cap of Rs1,881 crore as of Tuesday, will make a rights issue of Rs5,400 crore (Rs2,700 crore each in group companies TV18 Broadcast and Network18 Media & Investments).

That would be a 19% and 30% premium, respectively, to the market price of those shares on Tuesday — and that too, after both shares surged 20% apiece.

Arithmetically, that’s a potential injection of Rs5,400 crore into the broadcast company. However, since Network18 holds a 50% stake in TV18, the net rights issue proceeds would be Rs4,000 crore.

While promoter Raghav Bahl & friends will inject as much as Rs1,700 crore to subscribe to the rights, the rest Rs2,300 crore will have to be brought in by other shareholders.

In case they don’t subscribe, the promoters will pick up that portion too — which, again, would be funded by the RIL Trust.
The maximum the trust will fund, therefore, will be Rs4,000 crore.

In return, the Network 18 companies will issue optionally convertible debentures to the trust, which should be convertible to equity in 2-3 years, according to analysts.

How much stake the trust ends up with post conversion is anybody’s guess.

Yet, after all this, Bahl, the promoter, editor and managing director of Network18, will end up with a majority stake because there will be an enormous equity dilution through rights.

At the rights issue valuation, the market capitalisation of Network18surges to Rs7,700 crore. That’s a rise of 309% from Tuesday’s Rs1,881 crore — without a change in guidance on business prospects — other than the statement that the company becomes debt-free.

It currently has debt of around Rs1,400 crore.
RIL said it had invested about Rs2,600 crore in ETV channels for a substantial but undisclosed stake — and it will not be selling it all away.

TV18 would get 100% ‘economic interest’ in ETV’s regional news channels in Hindi including ETV Uttar Pradesh, ETV Madhya Pradesh, ETV Rajasthan and ETV Bihar and ETV Urdu.

TV18 would also get 50% ‘interest’ in ETV Marathi, ETV Kannada, ETV Bangla, ETV Gujarati and ETV Oriya.

A leading media player in Telugu, ETV also has a Telugu news channel and an entertainment channel.

TV18 would get 24.5% ‘interest’ in these two channels.

Interestingly, apart from saying that it would acquire a specific “interest” in these channels, TV18 has not disclosed the equity holding it would end up with. Neither TV18 nor RIL explained the difference between economic interest and equity stake.

“The funding is being provided by the trust as an accretive investment for RIL shareholders,” Bahl said in a conference call with analysts on Tuesday.
Bahl has refused to give finer details of the deal including the details of the total shareholding of RIL in ETV.
He also refused to divulge the financials of these channels and the incremental addition to TV18’s balance sheet subsequent to the completion of the deal.
“We will be able to provide the details only on consummation of the deal. There are several steps that are still to be crossed before concluding the deal. The completion of the rights issue is a condition precedent to the entire acquisition. There are various clearances that are yet to be sought including one from the Competition Commission of India (CCI). But, we are sure that we will be able to squeeze these assets (ETV channels) and focus on profitability in the next 12 to 24 months,” Bahl explained.
Apart from divesting its interest and funding the deal, RIL has also entered into a content distribution agreement with TV18 and Network 18.
As per the agreement, Infotel Broadband, a subsidiary of RIL, would have preferential access to all their content for distribution through the 4G broadband network being set up by it. Infotel would have preferential access to the content of all the media and web properties of Network 18 and its associates and programming and digital content of all the broadcasting channels of TV18 and its associates on a first right basis as a most preferred customer.
“Following the completion of this deal, TV18 will have minimal debt, which along with higher subscription revenues is a huge positive over the long term,” said Abneesh Roy, analyst with Edelweiss Securities, in a note after the deal announcement.
“Post the deal, the TV18 bouquet will include more than 25 channels which will boost subscription revenues in both domestic and international markets and impart it higher bargaining power with advertisers … Key risks/concerns are huge dilution, competition in Kannada and Telugu markets with Sun TV (who is TV18’s distribution partner) and potential merger blues,” Roy said.

Former AG seeks probe against ex-Union Secretary

Express News Service , The New Indian Express

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:  An unusual case in which a former Accountant-General digging out allegedly forged reports which denied him a posting as a member of Central Administrative Tribunal has emerged, thanks to the RTI Act.

Interestingly, a former union secretary and a popular ex-MLA-cum-former bureaucrat are the respondents in the case.

The Division Bench of the Kerala High Court comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chelur and Justice Ramachandra Menon has directed the Secretary (Personnel), Government of India, and the Director, CBI, to submit affidavits in response to the writ appeal filed by James K Joseph, former Accountant-General, seeking a CBI probe into a conspiracy and fraud alleged to have been committed by the then Secretary (Personnel), A N Tiwari and others. The case is posted for hearing on January 4. Earlier, on September 23, 2011, the Division Bench comprising the then Chief Justice Chelamalleswar and Justice Ramachandra Menon had admitted a writ appeal against the judgment of the single judge dismissing the writ petition.

In his writ appeal, James K Joseph has maintained that he was selected by the selection committee headed by then Supreme Court Justice K G Balakrishnan for appointment as Administrative Member, CAT in October, 2004. He alleged that A N Tiwari had conspired with Alphons Kannanthanam, former civil servant and ex-MLA, and forged an adverse report as if framed by the Intelligence Bureau.

As per this report, James K Joseph was “forced” to take voluntary retirement while working as Accountant-General, Kerala, due to an adverse inquiry report against him.

In June, 2005, Justice R C Lahoti, Chief Justice of India, ordered a verification of this report by the Selection Committee. James K Joseph further alleges that five months later, after the retirement of Justice Lahoti, Tiwari submitted to Justice Sabarwal, Chief Justice of India, another ‘forged document’ which endorsed the forged ‘IB Report.’ This was purported to be the minutes of the selection committee meeting stated to have been held in Ernakulam on September 24, 2005. The allegedly fraudulent input, according to James K Joseph, resulted in the denial of appointment to him.

The copy of a letter from the Comptroller and Auditor-General of India negating the adverse report and a letter from the Department of Personnel stating that it had no knowledge or records about the selection committee meeting have been produced as Exhibits along with the petition. It is stated that all documents were obtained through the RTI Act. Interestingly, the source of the “Minutes of the selection committee meeting” as well as the information that no records are available about the said meeting, which came through the RTI Act, is with the office of the respondent itself.

Inexcusable act: Omar

TNN | Jan 4, 2012, 04.36AM IST

URI: Angry protesters on Tuesday confronted J&K CM Omar Abdullah as he visited the family of a youth killed in Central Industrial Security Force’s firing on people protesting power shortage at Boniyar in North Kashmir’s Baramulla district a day earlier.

Five CISF men, including a sub-inspector, have been arrested on murder charges for killing Altaf Ahmad Sood, a class XII student, in the firing outside an NHPC power station in Boniyar. Two others, including a 70-year-old man, were injured in the incident.

The CM came out of his car to address the protesters, who blocked the way of his motorcade. He pacified them by acknowledging that excessive force had caused the death of Sood, who was shot twice in his chest.

“This is inexcusable act where CISF men fired on the crowd and targeted a student, who, according to his parents, was coming from his tuitions. The state government has announced a judicial probe and registered a murder case,” Omar said.

Omar told the protesters that he was visiting the remote village to console the family and assure them that Sood’s killers would not be allowed to go scot-free. “I have come to express my deep sorrow to the bereaved family and share their gloom and grief,” he said.

Later, the CM met the youth’s parents and assured them that he would take “the case to which ever court necessary” to get them justice. The CM promised the residents that the power supply would improve within two days.

Separately, Kashmir Economic Alliance (KEA), a representative body of various traders and industrialists, called for a complete shutdown to protest power shortage on Friday.

Edit: Time to act

Published: Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012, 8:00 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The declaration of dates for the elections to the BMC and other municipal corporations and districts councils in the state will at least end the frenzy of announcements by the state government desperate to woo the electorate, particularly in Mumbai, where the Congress-NCP alliance believes it has a good chance of winning.

Not that the Shiv Sena and the BJP will give in easily. The allies are fighting hard and have been strengthened with the Republican Party of India (Athavale) joining them. They have taken up the issue of corruption as made out by Anna Hazare against the Congress at the Centre. Whether a national issue will play a role in what is essentially a local election, or whether voters will prefer the sops dished out by the Congress-NCP, will be known in good time. But few will deny that the results will have a bearing on the 2014 state elections.

A strong performance by the Congress-NCP will strengthen CM Prithviraj Chavan’s hand. A defeat for the Sena-BJP in Mumbai will put Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray under tremendous pressure to reunite with estranged cousin Raj Thackeray, who broke away five years ago to set up the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena. A victory, on the other hand, will consolidate Uddhav’s position and put Raj’s fledgling party under strain.

The elections are also a test for the city’s perennially complaining middle and upper classes. Traditionally, these classes have shunned the civic poll, seeing it as something that only concerns their help. Yet, they are the first to complain about potholed roads and water scarcity. It would be a travesty if those who groan about the city’s state again shirk their responsibility. The middle class must get out and vote. Democracy is strengthened only by the participation of all people, and no politician will then ignore the voice of the middle class.


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