LEGAL NEWS 06.01.2010



PTI | 12:01 PM,Jan 05,2012

Among nearly 2882 litigants, who were awarded Among nearly 2882 litigants, who were awarded compensations in MACT and criminal cases, 1083 were women and 317 persons were in jails as undertrials. The OSLSA also revealed that 379 benefactors belong to SC and 246 were ST. Eight children were awarded compensations by different Lok Adalats in the entire year, sources said. The Lok Adalts in the whole year disposed of 647 civil cases and 714 matrimonial cases. Besides, 150 labour cases, 9811 bank cases, 1099 negotiable instrument Act (NIA) cases, 379 writ petitions and 27 land acquisition cases were disposed of through the Lok Adalats between January 2011 to December 2011, sources added.







Election Commission blocks 400 government jobs in Goa


PANAJI: The Election Commission of India (ECI) has declared as “null and void” over 400 jobs, six Goa government departments recently awarded as the appointments violated the model code of conduct in the run-up to the March 3 state assembly polls.

Joint Chief Electoral Officer Narayan Navti Thursday said the decision covered all the government jobs which were offered Dec 24, immediately after the announcement of elections.

“Some 416 appointment orders which were given by six government departments post-Dec 24, when the election code of conduct came into force, have been declared null and void,” Navti told IANS.

The official said action would be taken against the head of departments who signed the appointment letters in “clear violation” of the electoral code of conduct.

The Bharatiya Janata Party had complained against the illegal grant of jobs, following which the action was taken by the poll authorities.

The party now claims that hundreds of similar orders were issued by other government departments in violation of job recruitment procedures like mandatory medical examination, police verification, before the midnight of Dec 23, a day before the poll code of conduct came in force.

“All those jobs too are illegal. The ECI should act against them too,” state BJP president Laxmikant Parsenkar said.







TDSAT has no power to hear 3G plea: DoT


OUR BUREAU Jan 4, 2012, 01.48PM IST

NEW DELHI: The telecom ministry questioned the jurisdiction of tribunal TDSAT on entertaining the petitions of five telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, challenging the government’s directive to stop 3G roaming agreements.

The development came even as the tribunal began hearing operators’ petition challenging the government’s recent move to declare 3G roaming pacts between mobile operators illegal. For operators, the tribunal extended relief till January 9, the next date of hearing, implying that the roaming deals can continue till then.


Telecom department’s legal counsel additional solicitor general AS Chandiok on Tuesday cited a recent judgement of the Supreme Court that mentions that the tribunal could not entertain petitions on altering terms of telecoms licence. DoT said it would file separate application in this regard within the day after the tribunal asked it to do so.

Operators will have to reply to this application by Friday, January 9, which has been kept as the next date of hearing for the case. Government-owned BSNL requested the tribunal to make it a party to the case since it would be affected by the outcome of the case.

TDSAT chairman Justice SB Sinha said BSNL’s inclusion would be decided once preliminary issues raised by the DoT are resolved. On December 24, mobile phone companies then obtained a stay on the DoT order from the Telecom Dispute Settlement & Appellate Tribunal.

On December 23, last year, the DoT issued notices to the telcos ordering them to stop these services offered on these pacts within 24 hours. Mobile phone companies then obtained a stay on the DoT order from TDSAT even as they slammed the government of reneging on promises with “retrograde”, “irrational” and “illegal” decisions. The department of telecoms on Monday lashed out at leading telcos, accusing these companies of ‘suppressing material documents’ and also alleging they had ‘not come with clean hands’ on the 3G roaming issue.

Further intensifying the bitter war of words between the industry and the government , DoT had alleged that the telcos had not submitted required documents. The operators replied that they had submitted their agreements in a seal cover before the tribunal, and were not supposed to give it to DoT.

However, TDSAT said that DoT’s counsel could inspect the agreements. Earlier last year, operators, such as Bharti, Idea, Vodafone, Tata Teleservices and Aircel, entered into 3G roaming deals, enabling them to sign up 3G customers across the country even in areas where they did not have third-generation spectrum.

These pacts allowed them to use each others’ airwaves and offer 3G services such as video calling and high-speed internet on phones seamlessly across the country. Bharti, Idea and Vodafone entered into one agreement while Tata and Aircel forged another.







Kerala plea to reduce water-level turned down


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 AS Anand was set up in 2010 with the mandate of examining all aspects of the dispute over the dam between the two states.









Counsels outsmarted security agencies


Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.53AM IST


NAGPUR: The Indian Association of People’s Lawyers (IAPL) representing alleged Naxal ideologue Arun Thomas Ferreira had left the security agencies with no option but to free the man. After helping Ferreira get acquitted in 10 cases, his counsels got bail for him.

The security agencies only kept on slapping cases against Ferreira and others but failed to gather proper evidence to prove their involvement. His lawyers carried out a double-pronged attack by arguing and also helped shape propaganda for justice. They kept highlighting the police’s infringement of constitutional rights in media. It was IAPL activists’ constant highlighting of repeated preventive actions and re-arrests that got the agencies.

Ferreira was rearrested on September 27 last year from the gate of the central jail even though he was acquitted by a court in Chandrapur. He was then slapped with two more cases. Ferreira’s lawyers first made a complaint at Dhantoli police station after he was rearrested. Ferreira was acquitted in one of them and granted bail in another last year. But, his lawyers did not hurry in furnishing the bond.

On Monday, Ferreira’s family furnished personal bond and completed other formalities. On Tuesday, the lawyers filed a writ petition before the High Court citing his rearrest. and malicious prosecution with the jail authorities and security agencies as respondents.

This went a long way in keeping the cops from the jail gate from where they had made it a habit to rearrest alleged Naxalites.








Rizvi Springfield amass 716-9 in Harris Shield final


Maria Bilkis, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 03.12AM IST

MUMBAI: As the day’s proceedings began at the Brabourne Stadium, on Wednesday, all eyes were riveted at the crease where the fiery duo from Rizvi SpringfieldUsama Parkar and Vikasdeep Yadav – stood sending the IES VN Sule bowlers on a leather hunt. Five wickets down and with 348 on the board, the boys had the onus of keeping the run machine in order. And they did as much.

With a century each, Usama (126) and Vikasdeep (103) forged a 194-run partnership, helping Rizvi amass 716 for 9 at the end of the second day of the Harris Shield final.

It may have been his first-ever Harris Shield, but Usama took to the occasion like a seasoned batsman, evaluating each ball and planning his shots with clinical precision. That he was the main reason behind the frustration, writ large over the face of the opponents, became evident through the relief that his dismissal brought. Having sent the opposition all over the park with his 20 boundaries and two sixes, Usama fell victim to a wrongly judged shot, to be finally bowled by Omkar Jadhav.

“I can vouch for his ball-sense and it is pretty rare,” says coach Raju Pathak. “He has been a consistent player and plays for the team, which is the main thing.”

“He, of course, played a bad shot and got out, but overall he is a guy you can count on when in a sticky spot,” Pathak added.

While, one would expect the 14-year-old to be on top of the world, Usama knows better. “Of course, this is my highest score in Harris, but I played a foolish shot and let it all go.” It is the confrontation with his father that the Rizvi wicketkeeper-batsman is anticipating. “Abba is not home and he isn’t happy hearing I wasted a good innings because of a bad choice.” And when your father is former Mumbai stumper Zulfiqar Parkar and your uncle is India international Ghulam Parkar, cricket is as serious as it gets.

With the natural aspiration of representing the country some day, the teenager, at present, is eyeing the trials for the State selections in the coming two days. “I need to keep performing well and I have been training well for the occasion.”






Selection of judges questioned


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the High Court comprising justice G Raghuram and justice G Krishna Mohan Reddy on Tuesday admitted a writ petition questioning the ongoing selection process for appointing district judges in the state.
Sai Kalyana Chakravarthy, an aspirant to the district judge post, moved the court stating that the authorities had erred in altering the criteria midway.
In a related petition, another aspirant contended that as the new set of rules were not published, they cannot be given effect to.








Bomb case: couple alleges harassment


Staff Reporter

A married Muslim couple from Tenkasi in Tirunelveli district have filed a writ petition in the Madras High Court Bench here alleging that a police inspector was harassing them in connection with a case related to implanting of a pipe bomb under a causeway at Alampatti near here when Bharatiya Janata Party leader L.K. Advani’s Jan Chetna Yatra was to pass through the route on October 28.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan directed a government counsel to take notice on behalf of the police and adjourned the matter to January 18.

The petitioners, S. Safurnissa and A. Syed Sulaiman Sait, alleged that they were being harassed for the only reason that the latter was an accused in a murder case, and a co-accused in that case was a prime suspect in the bomb planting case too.

Claiming that they were living peacefully after the release of Sait on bail in the murder case, the duo stated that it had nothing to do with the bomb planting case.

They sought for a direction to the Director General of Police to initiate appropriate action against Inspector Chakravarthi, attached to the Special Investigation Team, for allegedly harassing them in the guise of investigation.

Another accusation

Already M. Hakeem (32), who was under judicial custody in connection with the bomb plating case, had filed a writ petition in the High Court Bench last month seeking a Central Bureau of Investigation probe into the case.

He too had accused the local police of subjecting him to third degree methods and keeping him under illegal confinement for a couple of days.

The matter is pending adjudication.








Government can issue job orders to VAOs


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The State government is at liberty to issue appointment/posting orders to the selected candidates for the post of village administrative officers (VAOs) within four weeks, the Madras High Court has said.

Justice K Suguna made the observation while passing interim orders on a batch of writ petitions seeking to quash a notification dated July 21, 2010, of the TN Public Service Commission, as far as it earmarked 1,077 posts of VAOs as shortfall vacancies for SC/STs.

Petitioners claimed that the shortfall of SC/ST vacancies for the VAO posts was only 197. But the notification erroneously earmarked 1,077 posts, which affected the chances of other community candidates.

Advocate-General A Navaneetha krishnan submitted that the total number of shortfall vacancies for SC/ST was about 1,232.

The judge observed that the strength of vacancies could be dealt with only at the time of final disposal of the writ petitions. If actually, any excess quota had been reserved for SC/ST, the same could be adjusted in the future selections. As far as the present position was concerned, according to both the sides, the selection was already over and the selection list had also been announced. Apart from this, the post of VAOs was a very important one with regard to local administration.

“For these reasons, the interim (stay) order already granted is not extended and the stay petitions filed in the writ petitions are dismissed and consequently, the vacate stay petitions are closed and the respondents (government) are at liberty to issue posting orders within four weeks,’’ the judge said on December 23.



Pay retirement benefits or face contempt: TNSTC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: If the monetary benefits after retirement are not paid to one of its employees on or before February 2, suo-motu contempt proceedings will be initiated against the MD of TN State Transport Corporation, Coimbatore division, the Madras High Court has warned.

Justice K Chandru gave the warning on Wednesday while passing an interim order on a writ petition from

S Chelladurai, who worked as conductor and retired on January 31, 2006.

According to advocate R Y George Williams, the charge against Chelladurai was that he collected the bus fares from the passengers, but not issued the tickets, in 1983. Ultimately, he was dismissed from service on May 19, 1983. He raised an industrial dispute and the Labour Court in Coimbatore ordered his reinstatement with continuity in service but without backwages, in April 1996. Both Chelladurai and the STC moved the High Court with writ petitions, the former seeking backwages and the latter questioning reinstatement. Both the petitions were dismissed in February, 2005. The STC preferred an appeal, but it was returned due to deficiencies. Chellladurai retired on January 31, 2006. As the retirement benefits were not paid till date, he filed the present writ petition, Williams added.









Ensure safety of old buildings: Court


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.58AM IST

NEW DELHI: Three months after the Chandni Mahal building collapse that claimed seven lives, a trial court has asked Delhi Police and MCD to evolve a mechanism for ensuring safety of old buildings that face the risk of collapse due to unauthorized construction or demolition in it or in an adjacent building.

Special CBI Judge A K Mendiratta also asked the MCD and Delhi Police commissioners to hold their officials accountable for any unauthorized constructions or demolitions that take place in the areas under their jurisdiction.

“Irrespective of the investigation in the present case (of Chandni Mahal building collapse), it needs to be ensured by MCD and police that in cases of unauthorized demolition and construction of old structures, some preventive action is immediately taken to ensure the safety of adjacent buildings to avoid loss of precious lives,” the court said.

“To ensure safety of buildings adjacent to those under unauthorized construction, some modalities and guidelines need to be laid down and followed by the commissioner MCD in consultation with commissioner of Police, Delhi, to ensure timely action where unauthorized demolition and construction of buildings is carried,” the court said.

The court’s order came while dismissing the bail plea of contractor Jalaluddin, arrested for his criminal culpability in the September 2011 collapse of an old building in the Chandni Mahal area due to ongoing work in the adjacent structure.

The court also sought a probe into the role of local police and MCD officials in the Chandni Mahal building collapse. “The role of the local police, which remained silent till the entire building was demolished, also needs to be looked into to prevent similar incidents wherein precious lives were lost,” the court said.

While rejecting Jalaluddin’s bail and his contention of getting parity with co-accused Anil who has already been granted bail, the court said, “The case of the applicant cannot be said to be analogous to Anil as the applicant was the contractor and the demolition of the adjacent structure had been carried out without ensuring the structural safety of the other parts of the building.”







Five of family get lifer


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.39AM IST

AMRAVATI: Achalpur court sentenced five members of a family to life imprisonment for setting afire their daughter-in-law.

Victim Vanmala alias Uma Pawar (21) had married Shiva Pawar during mass marriage ceremony on August 13, 2008. Vanmala’s husband and in-laws started harassing her immediately after marriage. Tired of mental and physical torture, Vanmala left her husband’s home. However, the two reconciled after some relatives intervened.

Finally, Vanmala returned to her in-law’s house in Wadner Gangai in Daryapur tehsil. The very next day i.e. on December 17, 2009 Vanmala was set afire. In her dying statement, Vanmala revealed that her in-laws bashed her black and blue, impounded her in one of the rooms before setting her afire.

On the basis of her statement, offences were registered against Shiva, brothers-in-law Shakti Pawar and Vishnu Pawar, mother-in-law Chandrakala and father-in-law Panjab Pawar.

Before delivering the verdict, court examined 17 witnesses. District and session judge RU Deshmukh convicted Shiva and four other accused of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment. They were slapped fine of Rs 1,000 for murder and two years imprisonment along with fine of Rs 250 each under Domestic Violence Act.







Defence Ministry begins search for next Army chief

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has begun the search for the next Army chief in a bid to avoid any confusion in case General VK Singh quits or if a court rejects his plea before his official tenure comes to an end.

The government says he will retire in April this year, but General Singh is fighting a legal case to have his birthdate moved back one year, thereby giving him another year in service.

Meanwhile, an ex-servicemen’s NGO has filed a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) in the Supreme Court backing General Singh’s claims.

The Grenadier’s Association of Rohtak filed a PIL demanding that the apex court fix his birth date as May 1951.

BMC to get green vehicles


Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 02.13AM IST

MUMBAI: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC’s) much-delayed plans to purchase non-polluting Bharat Stage IV (akin to Euro 4) compliant vehicles may finally see light of the day, in no small measure due to the gentle prod from the Bombay High Court. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi on Wednesday asked the corporation to go ahead with its plans to purchase/invite tenders for 211 vehicles, including fire engines, ambulances, dumpers and garbage compactors.

The court was hearing an application filed by the BMC seeking exemption from the Bharat Stage IV rules, saying manufacturers were not able to supply vehicles which comply with the BS-IV emission standards.

The court said that the civic body could not be permitted to violate the rules. It has asked the corporation to place orders for the vehicles where tender process had been completed. In other cases, the court directed the BMC to invite tenders, but award the bids only after the civic polls on February 17 as the election code of conduct was in place. “Do the spade work (to procure the vehicles) now, you can award the tenders later,” said the judges. The HC asked the manufacturers, Tata Motors and Ashok Leyland, to expedite delivery of the vehicles for which orders had been placed.

Advocate Geeta Joglekar, counsel for the BMC, said though the corporation had issued tenders for some vehicles in 2010, they were not delivered yet since BS-IV vehicles were not available. “This is affecting the day-to-day functioning of the corporation,” she said. As per a 2010 rule enacted by the Centre, all vehicles purchased after April 2010 had to be BS-IV complaint.

The BMC’s application was in connection to a PIL filed by the Smoke Affected Residents’ Association and the Bombay Environmental Action Group over a decade ago. As a result of the PIL and HC orders to implement the V M Lal committee report, over 45,000 polluting taxis running on diesel were converted to CNG. Over 1 lakh autorickshaws plying in the suburbs also had to covert to CNG engines. All commercial vehicles like buses and trucks which were over eight years old were banned from Mumbai, unless they converted to CNG. The BEST’s entire fleet was changed to CNG or BS-IV.

The PIL’s plea to implement the committee’s other recommendations -a traffic restraint scheme -is pending before the HC.


PIL seeks probe into pilots’ license issued to UP Cabinet


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Secretary Allahabad, Jan 04 (PTI) A Public Interest Litigation has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking an inquiry into the issuing of pilots’ license more than three decades ago to Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh. The PIL has been filed by an advocate Chitaranjan Das Agrawal who has demanded an inquiry by the Director General, Civil Aviation, into “the circumstances under which pilots’ license was granted to Singh”. The PIL was today placed before a Divison Bench comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice Ran Vijai Singh which posted the matter for hearing on January 12 even as the state’s Chief Standing Counsel M C Chaturvedi opposed the petition saying it could not be treated as a Public Interest Litigation. Singh had begun his piloting career in the 1970s. After retirement, he became closely associated with Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati who made him the Cabinet Secretary after becoming the UP Chief Minister in 2007. Petitions challenging Singh’s appointment as Cabinet Secretary on the ground that he is not from the IAS or the Provincial Civil Service and that states do not have such a post are pending both before the Allahabad High Court as well as the Supreme Court.







PIL against pilot licence issued to cabinet secretary

A PIL has been filed in the Allahabad High Court seeking an inquiry by the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) into the circumstances under which Uttar Pradesh Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh was granted a pilot’s licence. The court has fixed January 12 as the next date of hearing and directed the petitioner to file a supplementary affidavit informing it about the source of information on the basis of which the PIL has been filed.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice S R Alam and Justice R V Singh, heard the PIL filed by Chitranjan Agarwal, an advocate from Allahabad, for nearly two hours before passing the order.

The counsel for the petitioner, senior advocate S M A Kazmi, argued before the court that granting the licence caused Singh to become the beneficiary of additional emoluments and bonus and helped him in climbing the bureaucratic ladder.

“I argued before the court that the grant of licence helped in his appointment as a senior official in the UP government’s civil aviation department. He first became a director and then secretary of the same department and, finally, rose to the highest post in the state bureaucracy though he was not qualified for it,” said Kazmi.

The PIL said that when Singh, a former Army helicopter pilot, was granted the licence (called open rating licence) for the first time in 1986, he was not qualified under rules. “The case of the petitioner is that a pilot can be given this particular licence, on the basis of which he joined the Civil Aviation Department of the UP government, only if he had an experience of 1,000 hours of flying an aircraft of a certain weight category, which Singh allegedly did not have,” said Kazmi.








Stung, party’s scam exposing panel goes into a huddle

The induction of expelled BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into the BJP has cast a shadow on the BJP’s grand plan to expose scams in the ruling party.

Led by national secretary Kirit Somaiya, the BJP had planned to file a public interest litigation in the Allahabad High Court after the winter vacation seeking a court-monitored probe into certain financial dealings of Chief Minister Mayawati, party general secretary S C Mishra and people around them.

Senior BJP leader Keshri Nath Tripathi, who was consulted by Somaiya on the subject, said he was not aware when the PIL will be filed. “I was only consulted on the possibility of filing the PIL. I do not know when it will be done,” said Tripathi, also a senior HC advocate.

Asked about the likely impact of Kushwaha’s induction in the party on the campaign, Tripathi said: “I don’t exactly know the justification (of him joining the party). I am yet to talk to the national president about it.”

Somaiya could not be contacted despite repeated attempts. His Mumbai office said he was in Delhi, but efforts to reach him in Delhi proved futile.

A party office-bearer who is closely associated with the “expose scam committee”, which was constituted to help Somaiya, said the fact that Kushwaha was an insider in the Mayawati regime might help in making a stronger court case against the chief minister.

“After all, there has been talk that even the CBI wanted him to be an approver,” said the office-bearer, who did not want to be named. He maintained, however, that the PIL will be filed but “finetuned to make Mayawati the main target’’.

Somaiya had taken a deep personal interest in advancing the cause of exposing scams in the BSP. Recently, he submitted several documents to the CBI to support his allegation of money-laundering by the chief minister’s brother Anand and Satish Mishra. He also dug up records of the bogus firms that were allegedly floated for this purpose. Somaiya had claimed that he had met the chiefs of the CBI, the ED and the chairman of the Central Board of Direct Taxes on the issue and these agencies had sought “more documents from him”.








File affidavit on law school: HC to state


Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.33AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday directed the Maharashtra government to file an affidavit on the issue of setting up state’s first National Law School (NLS) in Nagpur.

A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Pramod Kode granted three weeks to government pleader Nitin Sambre for the purpose. Earlier, Sambre sought four weeks to take instructions from the government and make a statement on the contentious issue.

The high court resumed working after 10-day winter vacations where the petition was listed before Justice Dharmadhikari’s bench. The PIL was filed by Maha-Arya Lawyers Association’s vice-president Shrikant Khandalkar after media reports were published. Vishal Anand and Kishor Ghugguskar appeared for the petitioner.

During the last hearing, minister for higher and technical education Rajesh Tope had informed that he had dispatched a letter to the central government appealing them to set up the prestigious institution in Nagpur.

Khandalkar, a lawyer himself, named Union law minister among supporters of this project stating that even a land was identified at Koradi for the same. Justifying Nagpur as first choice to establish the prestigious project, the petitioner contended that the city has excellent rail, road and air connectivity coupled with its strategic location in the middle of the country. He prayed to retrain the respondents from shifting the project to Mumbai for the benefit of large number of local students.

During recent assembly session in Nagpur, Tope had cleared confusion, stating that the Centre would fund only one NLS while other two would be raised by the state and those would be at par with similar infrastructure and facilities.

The uncertainty was created following demands from three cities – Mumbai, Aurangabad and Nagpur – to establish the prestigious institute at their places. It was followed by promises by chief minister Prithviraj Chavan and deputy CM Ajit Pawar to open three NLS in the state. Interestingly, India has 16 such law schools with only one in each state.






Consumers may have to pay for pole removal


Ashish Roy, TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.58AM IST

NAGPUR: If you want the electric poles, standing on the middle of the roads, to be removed, you might have to shell out 130 per month. MSEDCL has filed a petition at the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court to recover 50 crore of its share. The petition will be heard by MERC on Thursday.

Court had ordered NMC and MSEDCL to remove all the 8,384 poles by April 30, 2012 and had ordered them to share the cost equally. MSEDCL had appealed in the Supreme Court unsuccessfully. The cost of this work is about 100 crore and MSEDCL wants to recover 50 crore through levying a surcharge from consumers of Congress Nagar, Mahal, Gandhibagh and Civil Lines division. While NMC in the standing committee meeting held on December 23 had sanctioned its share.

MSEDCL wants to recover this amount from consumers, but is not doing anything to recover over 200 crore from its power franchisee Spanco, whose dues have been increasing gradually. The company has also not refunded the extra surcharge collected under zero load-shedding (ZLS) scheme from Nagpurians.

Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) has strongly opposed MSEDCL’s plea. RB Goenka has stated in his objection that the petition should to be rejected as cost of infrastructure development and similar works can be recovered through power tariff only and not through any surcharge.

Goenka pointed out whenever VIA had demanded lower tariff for Vidarbha, as it was a power surplus region, MERC had rejected its contention stating that differential tariff could be levied. Based on the same principles, the surcharge would be a grave injustice to consumers.

Goenka further stated that while MSEDCL wanted Nagpurians to pay for pole shifting the power infrastructure of the city was in an extremely bad shape. He pointed out that the system had totally collapsed in May after a thunder storm and a large part of the city was in darkness for more than three days after the franchisee took over. He further stated that overhead distribution lines were in a very poor condition and the tap off service lines to consumers were done in non-technical manner, without using proper material which led to voltage drop and floating neutral consequently damaging electrical appliances.

Pramod Pande of Janmanch, the consumer organization that had filed the public interest litigation (PIL) for removal of poles, termed the decision as against the spirit of HC order. “The decision is unjust. MSEDCL should foot the cost. Nagpurians are not responsible for the mess so why should they pay for it,” he demanded.

MSEDCL officials, however, have a different take on it. “There are several such demands from various cities in Maharashtra. We cannot pay for each and every work from our pockets. Ultimately, it will burden the consumers through increased tariffs. So it is better that only the beneficiaries pay,” an official said.







A rail mishap turned him to activism


Published: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Samir Zaveri has been to hell and back. The commuter activist, who has filed several public interest litigations and who has been active in saving lives of commuters, saw his world come crashing down after a railway accident about 13 years ago.

“I was hit by a train on August 26, 1998, while crossing near Borivli and I lost my legs. I owe my life to two men, who within five minutes rushed me to the Bhagwati Hospital, about 4km away,” he said.

But others weren’t so supportive. After he lost his legs, his employers and his fiancé, who was also a distant relative, turned their backs on him. “No relatives or friends stood by me during this difficult time,” he told DNA.

Zaveri, however, lives by the motto ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’. In time, he got himself a pair of Jaipur feet, married and has two children now.

Zaveri now fights for rail accident victims.

He is making sure that those hurt on railway tracks are given immediate medical attention. In 2008, he filed a PIL in the Bombay high court, following which India’s first emergency medical room was set up at the Dadar station last March.









SC rejects Kannamthanams plea against Chandy


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

NEWDELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed a petition seeking an independent panel of IPS officers for monitoring the probe into the palmolein case.

A Bench comprising Justice Aftab Alam and Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai declined to act on the petition submitted by the IAS officer-turned-politician Alphonse Kannamthanam to investigate Chief Minister Oommen Chandy’s alleged role in the scam.

Kannamthanam had moved the apex court challenging the Kerala High Court’s order, dated October 28, 2011, wherein it declined to entertain his plea for monitoring the probe into the case, pointing out the decision to import palmolein in 1991 was a collective decision of the Cabinet.

Kannamthanam, who joined the BJP last year, wanted the case to be monitored by the Supreme Court in line with the 2G spectrum scam. He also sought constitution of a special investigation team (SIT) comprising a distinguished panel of IPS officers to take over the investigation.

Notably, on October 18, the Kerala government had informed the High Court that it had no objection to the vigilance court’s decision ordering an investigation into the role of Chandy in the case.

SC respite for air gun shooters


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 05, 2012

Ace or aspiring, shooters will no longer need to acquire licences for using air guns, air pistols and air rifles for target practice.

The Supreme Court on Wednesday stayed a Delhi high court order, which made it mandatory for marksmen to get licences. The SC order came on a petition filed

by the Centre, National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) and manufacturers of toy air guns, rifles, pistols and pellets, challenging the May 2011 HC order.

A Bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam also issued a notice to the Maneka Gandhi-led NGO, People For Animals (PFA), on whose petition the HC order had come. The HC had rejected the NRAI’s argument that air guns, air rifles or air pistols used for target practice were not firearms as defined under the Arms Act, 1959, but were toys and as such these did not fall under the purview of the licencing regime.

The PFA had argued that these arms were used for killing or maiming animals and birds.

The high court had quashed a July 13, 1962 government notification that exempted these arms from all regulations and controls under the Arms Act, 1959, including the requirement of a valid licence.

“It is safe to conclude that air guns, air rifles, air pistols are not mere toys…and they are very much subject to the provisions of the Act, being firearms,” the HC had said. The order was coming in the way of shooters’ training and many of them had openly spoken against it as only members of a military mess, club or association were treated as exception.

Maintaining that no citizen had a blanket right to carry firearms, the court said nobody, even NRAI members, could claim a right to secure a licence. “They have, at best, a right to apply for, and be considered for the grant of a licence, subject to fulfillment of the prescribed qualifications,” the HC had said.







Govt stands firm as SC set to hear plea on Gen’s age


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 12.56AM IST

NEW DELHI: A petition in the Supreme Court on the date of birth controversy relating to Army chief V K Singh that is expected to come up on Thursday may help settle the controversy even as the government is determined not to alter its view that the general’s plea cannot be entertained.

While the general might take a cue from how the SC responds to the petition that supports his claim that his year of birth is actually 1951 and not 1950, the government will also draw up its response accordingly. Gen Singh has contested the military secretary branch record of his year of birth as 1951.

There is unanimity in the government that the record cannot be changed and that Gen Singh has taken up the matter rather late in his career. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh held a half-hour meeting with defence minister A K Antony on Wednesday, but the Army chief’s case did not come up for discussion.

There is a view in the government that Gen Singh has “pushed the line” on his age issue and refused to take the ministry’s decision as final even after his statutory petition was rejected. Gen Singh’s supporters, including Congress leaders from Punjab, feel the controversy should have been dealt with greater finesse.

Punjab PCC chief Amarinder Singh wrote to Antony in his “private” capacity and some other senior leaders have also broached the subject with the defence minister.

There is speculation that Gen Singh may either petition the Supreme Court or resign to “restore his honour and integrity” after the defence ministry rejected his claim of being born on “May 10, 1951”.

If Gen Singh takes either of the unprecedented steps, it will come as a major embarrassment for the government – already on the back-foot on several other issues. But MoD is sticking to its decision, which came after seeking the law ministry and attorney general’s opinions, that Gen Singh’s date of birth will stand at “May 10, 1950”.

MoD is ready to contest the Army chief’s claim in court if it comes to that, as reported by TOI earlier. Simultaneously, MoD has begun the process to announce Gen Singh’s successor, the current Eastern Army commander Lt-Gen Bikram Singh, on March 31, two months before Gen Singh retires on May 31, as is the norm.

Even finance minister Pranab Mukherjee has stepped in to work out “a compromise formula”, which even includes a post-retirement ambassador or governorship to Gen Singh. But the Army chief, who leaves for Myanmar on Thursday morning for a five-day trip, is yet to accept the offer.

With competing lobbies working overtime, the 1.13-million strong Army’s entire chain of succession hangs in balance. As of now, Lt-Gen Bikram Singh is slated to become the next Army chief when Gen Singh retires on May 31. But if Gen Singh’s year of birth gets settled at 1951, then Northern Army commander Lt-Gen K T Parnaik will the next chief because the former will continue in office till March 2013. A Service chief can serve for three years or up to the age of 62, whichever is earlier, as per rules.







After 13-year trial, blueline bus driver let off


Last Updated: Wednesday, January 04, 2012, 15:13

New Delhi: A blueline bus driver, sentenced to six months in jail for causing grievous hurt to a woman passenger by his rash driving, has been let off by a Delhi court with a fine on the ground that he faced trial for over 13 years in the accident case.

Additional Sessions Judge Lal Singh modified driver Raghunath’s sentence awarded by the magisterial court after he showed repentance for his act and assured the court that he would be a “useful citizen in society” in future.

The judge showed leniency to him as he had four minor children and was the sole earning member of the family.

The driver also prayed that he was facing trial in the case since 1998.

“Accused (Raghunath) is stated to be having four young children and youngest girl is of two years and he is the sole bread earner in his family. Keeping in view this fact also, the accused deserves some leniency. In my view, Raghunath deserves an opportunity to reform himself without going to jail,” the judge said.

“So far as the present case is concerned it relates to the year 1998 and the appellant (Raghunath) is facing the trial for such a long period. Otherwise, also the accused who is present in the court reflected repentance and assured to be a useful citizen in the society in future,” the judge said.

The court, however, said from the testimonies of the witnesses and case record, it was clear that Raghunath was negligent and the accident was caused due to his rash driving.

“It is amply clear that Raghunath was negligent and he had started the bus without ensuring that all the passengers had alighted from the bus. It was clear that accident was caused due to rash and negligent driving of Raghunath and due to that the victim sustained injuries on her left leg,” the court said.






Sayali Bhagat moves HC, seeks cancellation of ex-PR agent’s bail

Former Miss India-turned-actor Sayali Bhagat has moved the Bombay High Court seeking the cancellation of the bail granted to the owner of a public relations firm which had formerly represented her.

Bhagat, in her petition, has stated that Anant Narayan (25), whom she met in July 2011, had obtained bail from the sessions court without notices being issued to either the Cyber Police Station in Bandra-Kurla Complex or Bhagat who had lodged a complaint against him.

Bhagat had lodged a complaint against Narayan under sections of the Information Technology Act, 2000, after he allegedly issued a press release on her behalf on October 24 last year providing defamatory and false information. Bhagat has claimed in her petition that Narayan’s company Crème Talent Management had circulated the press release in the media, stating that Bhagat had faced prolonged sexual harassment in the film industry and was hence, quitting the industry to pursue a modelling career in Milan. It had also named some well-known Bollywood personalities, alleging they were involved.

Bhagat said she had issued a clarification after she got calls from various media houses about the press release. She said that the information was completely false and not issued with her consent. However, the press release allegedly issued by Narayan had multiplied on the Internet by then.

Narayan, in an affidavit filed in reply to Bhagat’s petition, had stated that he was illegally detained by the police even when the sections he was booked under were bailable. He said the sessions court’s order granting him bail is not flawed.

Additional public prosecutor Geeta Mulekar said the court was likely to pass an order in the case on Friday.







Youth gets life term for killing school trustee

A Sessions court on Wednesday sentenced a 23-year-old youth to life imprisonment for killing a school trustee over a land dispute. Dedaroom alias Almas Khan had murdered Aslam Hussain, the founder trustee of a Urdu school, Anjuman Kausar at Govandi, over a land deal that went sour.

According to the complainant, Hussain’s wife Anjum Fatema, he had bought a patch of land from Khan near his school. However, a few months after Hussain made the payment of Rs 7 lakh and the property was transferred in his name, Khan suddenly changed his mind and asked Hussain to return the land.

On May 16, 2010, as Hussain was heading towards the mosque to offer his afternoon namaz, Khan followed him and attacked him with a knife. Hussain managed to make a call to his wife and narrated the entire incident. However, when Hussain was rushed to a hospital, he succumbed to his injuries.







20 years on, gangster convicted for firing at cop


Published: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A gangster belonging to the Amar Naik gang, who was wanted for 20 years in an attempt-to-murder case, for firing at a cop in Girgaon chowpatty in 1991, was convicted by the sessions court last week.

“Rustum Sevak Asli alias Rushi, 45, was sentenced to three years’ rigorous imprisonment by the sessions court on December 29. The court also slapped a fine of Rs2,000,” said senior police inspector Ajit Surve of DB Marg police station.

The shootout took place in October 1991. Rustum Sevak, involved in several serious offences, was on his way to Girgaon chowpatty from Opera House on his motorcycle.

When intercepted by a police team, Rustum whipped out an imported revolver and fired a round at point blank range.

The bullet pierced the thigh of constable Rajesh Janbhare.

When the then police inspector Anil Nalawade and other policemen of the traffic police branch rushed to the spot to help Janbhare, they succeeded in nabbing Rustum.

He was brought to the DB Marg police station where he was booked for attempt to kill an on-duty policeman with a firearm. Meanwhile, the injured cop was rushed to the JJ Hospital.

After the investigation, the police filed a charge sheet against Rustum in the sessions court. However, he jumped bail and has never appeared before the court for hearings of his case. The court pronounced him an absconder.

In August 2011, assistant police inspector R Chavanke, police sub-inspector Sunil Pukale and the staff of DB Marg police station got information that Rustum was hiding in Alibaug in coastal Raigad district. The team rushed to Alibaug and arrested him on August 20, added Surve.








IT firms strengthen visa, legal departments


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 01.44AM IST

BANGALORE: Indian IT companies are bolstering their immigration, visa, and legal departments to deal with the rising number of immigration issues in the West, the primary markets for these companies.

All the major tech firms today have in-house teams of 25 to 50 people. A few years ago these areas had just a few people and were part of either the HR department or were outsourced to travel agents and law firms.

TCS, Wipro and Infosys have teams of around 50 each. MphasiS has 25. The Indian operations of global firms like Accenture, HP and IBM also have large departments. Small and medium size IT providers too are hiring for the space.

The visa case that Infosys Technologies is fighting has made tech providers particularly vigilant. Wipro recently hired Inderpreet Sawhney as general counsel of the company. Sawhney previously was a partner in Santa Clara-based Chugh Firm. She is the head of Wipro’s legal function and is responsible for helping the company run the business ethically and transparently.

“Most companies are asking for people to ramp up their visa, immigration and legal departments,” says B S Murthy, CEO of executive search firm LeadershipCapital. Immigration rules, he says, are more stringent today. “America is going to elections. So Indian providers are doubly conscious about not messing up in their bread-and-butter market.”

The number of immigration compliance violation charges is rising, as is visa rejections. About 50% of L1 visas are rejected now, compared to 30% a year ago. Some companies have gone out of the US Consulate’s priority visa processing scheme, Business Express Programme, meant for those that file a minimum of 30 business visas.

Stella Nagesh, head of immigration at MphasiS, says LI visa rejections are mostly because “specialised talent” is wrongly defined by the Consulate or misunderstood by Indian companies. L1B visa is a type of intra-company transfer visa, which mandates ‘specialised knowledge’. ‘Specialised knowledge’ is defined as any knowledge that specifically concerns the employer company’s and/or the client company’s procedures, methodologies, products, tools, technologies, framework, etc, that is uncommon, noteworthy and is not commonly available in the US IT industry.

“Business visas too are misunderstood and violated sometimes,” says Nagesh. One of the criteria for business visa eligibility is that the employee must not be performing any activity that would be benefiting the US client. In general, efforts of the applicant during the US stay should not be billed to the client. If billed, it is a clear case for a training visa or a work permit (H1B or L1).

Immigration, visa and legal issues today are key to enterprises as they are directly related to business. “Travel delays directly impact business flow, kills customer satisfaction and has the potential to block repeat business,” says the legal head at a leading tech firm.

It is critical to keep the travel channel clear and you can’t expect HR or finance to know the basics of immigration. “Every company runs a visa and immigration drive internally. They are increasingly hiring law professionals to support contract drafting, contract vetting, compliance management, policy drafting, handling issues of sexual harassment etc. Some are even hiring fresh law grads,” says Nirupama V G, MD of recruitment firm AdAstra.






Court asked to explain civil judge exam ‘anomalies’


Aman Sethi

Supreme Court directive follows PIL accusing judicial officers of manipulating results

The judiciary may lie outside the ambit of the Lokpal Bill, a proposed anti-corruption legislation introduced in Parliament, but a petition lying unheard in the Chhattisgarh High Court accuses the State’s judicial officers of manipulating the results of the civil judge examinations of 2008 to favour children and relatives of senior judges and politicians.

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court sought a response from the Registrar-General of the High Court on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition alleging that examiners inflated the marks awarded to the children of Justice Radhe Shyam Sharma, a sitting judge of the High Court and former Principal Secretary Law in the Chhattisgarh government, the niece of Brij Mohan Aggarwal, former Law Minister and present Minister for Public Works, Education, Religion, Culture, Tourism and Parliamentary Affairs.

The petition was filed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform on the basis of a Right to Information request filed by Rashmi Nanda (37), who also took the test but was not selected. “I took the exam four times [in all] and each time made it to the interview stage,” said Ms. Nanda, who is an Assistant Public Prosecutor. “This time [in 2008] I was sure I had made it… all my papers had gone well and so I filed an RTI.”

Answer scripts released under the RTI Act revealed that the examiners had violated norms that mandated each candidate’s marks be noted in numerals and words. As per the petition, the marks awarded to Jyoti Aggarwal, the niece of Mr. Aggarwal, were changed in two places, while Abhishek Sharma, son of Mr. Justice Sharma, was given three extra marks that allowed him to clear the waiting list by one mark. Mr. Justice Sharma’s daughter, Vibha Pandey, was allegedly given eight out of 10 marks for incorrectly translating a particular passage. In each case, the marks were noted only in numerals, allowing, the petition alleges, the marks to be altered subsequently.

In a telephone conversation, Ms. Nanda said lawyers at the High Court refused to appear on her behalf, forcing her to represent herself. “Two judges recused themselves from hearing my case without giving any reason… the petition was not heard for two years,” she said.

Ms. Nanda finally approached Prashant Bhushan, convener of the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reform and a member of Team Anna, the coalition campaigning for a strong Lokpal Act.

Mr. Bhushan said: “This case shows how appointments to the lower judiciary are manipulated with the involvement of the High Court. Appointments are taking place by wilfully neglecting the successful candidates.”

CJI’s office cannot withhold all information: CIC


J. Venkatesan

Supreme Court’s CPIO asked to give information to RTI activist

The Central Information Commission (CIC) has held that all information in possession of the office of the Chief Justice of India is not completely exempt from disclosure under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“While we concede that due to the stay granted by the Supreme Court [in the assets case], all information relating to the in-house procedure of the Supreme Court and vigilance matters relating to the judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Courts should not be disclosed, we cannot agree that every information held in the office of the CJI should not be disclosed till the Constitution Bench officially disposes of the issues referred to it by the Division Bench,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said in his order.

He said acceptance of the argument that information could not be provided because of the stay would virtually mean complete exclusion of the office of the CJI from the scope of the RTI Act, which was not the case. “Had the intention of the Legislature been so, there would have been an express provision in the law to exclude the office of the CJI from the operation of the RTI Act or the information held in the office of the CJI would have been kept out of the definition of information as given in Section 2 (f) [relating to exemptions].”

Appellant RTI activist Subash Chandra Aggarwal had sought a variety of information in 11 cases. Some of these questions were about the appointment of some individuals as judges and some others related to questions arising out of the conduct of judges, based upon some newspaper reports. No information had been provided by the Supreme Court’s Central Public Information Officer (CPIO), and this order was confirmed by the appellate authority. The present appeal was filed against this order.

“During the hearing, the appellant had specifically prayed for the disclosure of the information relating to the correspondence between the Union Law Minister and the Chief Justice of India on the proposed procedure for appointment of judges,” Mr. Mishra said. “In dealing with this specific request, a distinction needs to be made between the process of appointment of an individual as a judge and the procedure for making such appointments.”

Disagreeing with the CPIO’s stand that such information could not be provided, Mr. Mishra said: “Both these classes of information cannot be equated. The procedure of appointment of judges is freely available in the public domain. Even if the appointment of an individual is made following such a procedure, the details of that appointment cannot be disclosed now, since there is an express stay on the disclosure… of such information. There is already a laid-down procedure. If the Union Law Minister has proposed, in a certain communication to the CJI, about a modification of the existing procedure and if the CJI has responded to him with his view, this correspondence cannot be equated to the appointment of a particular individual as a judge under the existing procedure.”

He said: “It cannot be anybody’s case that the change in the procedure of judges should happen completely outside the notice or the knowledge of the citizens of India, and that the citizens of India should not be given an opportunity to articulate their views. The objective of the RTI Act is precisely to help create an informed citizenry so that it can hold the state and its instrumentalities to account.”

Mr. Mishra directed the CPIO to look for this information once again and, if found, give it to the appellant in 10 days.








Top court to revisit anti-defection law


Published: Thursday, Jan 5, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The Supreme Court has decided to finally settle the dispute between a Speaker of a legislative assembly and a high court over the power to declare a group of legislators disqualified for divorcing their parent political party and joining the ruling class.

It has stayed a Punjab and Haryana HC order disqualifying five MLAs who had left the Haryana Janhit Congress and joined the Congress led by chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in 2009.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and SS Nijjar on Wednesday issued notices to the aggrieved Kuldip Bishnoi-led HJP, the Election Commission, the concerned MLAs and the state government on a lawsuit filed by Speaker HS Chatha, who suffered strictures of the HC on December 20.

The Speaker’s lawyer and attorney general Goolam E Vahanvati argued that the HC’s direction declaring five MLAs detached “ex facie suffer some lack of jurisdiction and non application of mind to the settled law”.

While admitting Bishnoi’s petition complaining that the Speaker had not declared disqualified, the MLAs who left his party to join the Hooda government, the HC had observed that a period of two years has been “consumed by the Speaker to take a decision”.

“The law against defection was enacted to save the sanctity of democratic institution whereas in the present case, the basic object of that law appears to have been lost,” the HC had said.

It also said that the five MLAs would not hold any office until the Speaker decides on Bishnoi’s petition seeking their disqualification by April 30, 2012.They will be “detached”.

The core issue the top court is likely to decide is whether a legislator can be declared “unattached”, a term unknown to the anti defection law.

The amended anti-defection law stipulates that a legislator stands disqualified if he has voluntarily given up membership of his political party, or if he votes or abstains from voting in a House contrary to any direction issued by his parent party or by any authorised person or the party’s authority.








HC directive to Centre on plea for CAT Bench in Madurai


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Madurai, Jan 4 (PTI) Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today directed the Centre to consider a plea for setting up a full or circuit bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) here. A bench comprising Justices Chitra Venkataraman and R Karuppiah gave the direction to the Union Law and Justice Ministry and Chairman of CAT while disposing a public interest litigation petition. Petitioner A.Haja Mohideen, an advocate, submitted that government officials seeking legal remedies for service matters had to travel to Chennai to initiate proceedings before the present CAT bench there. As already there was a large number of cases pending in the Chennai CAT bench, it was difficult to get remedy there, he contended adding he filed the petition as there was no response to his representations to the Centre and the CAT Chairman on establishment of a bench here. The Judges said setting up a CAT bench was a policy matter which had to be considered on the representation made. So without waiting for a decision on the representation, which was receiving the due consideration of Union Ministry of Law and justice and the Chairman of the CAT, this court could not grant the relief as sought for in the petition. However, the judges the directed the Union Ministry of Law and Justice and the CAT Chairman to take note of grievance of the petitioner and pass orders on the same.






Accused in Bhanwari Devi case arrested by Pune police


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Pune, Jan 4 (PTI) The city crime branch today arrested Bishnaram Bishnoi, one of the accused in the Bhanwari Devi disappearance case, from Lonavala near here, police said. The accused was found at an industrial warehouse in Lonavala during the combing operation launched by the police last night following tip-off by the CBI, Pune police commissioner Meeran Borwankar said here. 26-year-old Bishnoi, allegedly involved in disposal of the victim’s body, was arrested on the charges of criminal conspiracy and abduction under Indian Penal Code. Bishnoi, who was produced in a court after the arrest, has been sent to a two-day transit custody, and would be handed over to the Jodhpur police. The accused was a notorious criminal, wanted in various criminal cases in Rajasthan, it was stated. Bhanwari Devi, a nurse, went missing from Jodhpur’s Bilara area on September 1. PTI HBJ KRK DEP








Man who shot at constable lands in police net after 20 yrs

The law finally caught up with a 43-year-old man who was arrested by the D B Marg police on December 29 in connection with an attempt to murder case registered against him 21 years ago. Rustam Sevak Asli alias Rushi had allegedly fired at a policeman and was absconding for 20 years after having jumped bail. He was recently produced in court and has been sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment.

Senior police inspector Ajit Surve of D B Marg police station said, “Officers who were probing a murder case in 1991 had traced his location to Opera House in Girgaum. When they went to the spot, he got to know of it and tried to escape. Before fleeing on a motorcycle, he shot at a constable in his right thigh. The injured constable was rushed to hospital.”

Rushi, who was allegedly associated with the Amar Naik gang, was arrested by the police later that year and booked under Sections 307 (attempt to murder) and 333 (voluntarily causing hurt to deter a public servant from doing his duty) of the Indian Penal Code. He was also booked under sections of the Arms Act for carrying a prohibited bore revolver.

The police had filed a chargesheet in the case. “Rushi got out on bail and remained absconding for 20 years. The court had declared him an absconder and we were told to trace him. Efforts were being made all these years. Our officers then traced him to Alibaug in December, where a team was sent to nab him. He was produced in court and sentenced to three years rigorous imprisonment under the Arms Act. He was acquitted in the other two offences,” said Surve.

After being arrested, Rushi moved the Bombay High Court for bail but his application was rejected.

Officers also produced the constable Rushi shot at along with the former investigating officer as witnesses in the case.

“We traced the location of the former investigating officer in the case. Retired Assistant Commissioner of Police S Patil, who was then police inspector at the D B Marg police station; and the victim, constable Janbhare, who is now with the traffic police, were produced as witnesses. They identified Rushi in court. Their testimony held the key and we were able to present evidence to convict him,” said Surve.

Officers found that Rushi has also been booked under the Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA), an Arms Act case in Gamdevi police station and a murder case at Dadar police station.







Essar GM gets bail in Naxal payouts case


A Dantewada district court has granted bail to the Essar general manager, who is one of the accused in the alleged payouts of the protection money by the multinational to Maoists in Chhattisgarh. Observing that the case of the accused DVCS Verma is different from that of the other

accused, the district and sessions court judge AK Beck granted him bail saying the police have failed to produce enough evidence against him even three months after his arrest, defence counsel KK Dubey told reporters here today.

The court ordered Verma’s release on two bonds of Rs two lakh each, he said.

The Dantewada police had on September 27 last arrested the senior Essar official under different sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the provisions of the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Regulation.

A contractor from Kirandul BK Lala and one Lingaram Kodopi too were nabbed along with Rs 15 lakh cash in connection with the alleged payouts of the protection money to the Red Ultras besides Verma.

A tribal school teacher and alleged naxal conduit Soni Sodhi was apprehended from Delhi in this connection.

The court also observed that the Essar official was arrested only on the statement given by BK Lala and the investigators could not produce any additional evidence against him.

The Essar had denied the allegations of any payouts made to the Maoists by the company or its officials.






After four years, ‘Naxalite’ Arun Ferreira walks free


The district and sessions court of Gadchiroli on Wednesday granted bail to Mumbai-based alleged Maoist Arun Thomas Ferreira (40) who was arrested by the anti-naxalite squad in connection with a police-naxalite encounter in the district.

Ferreira, who was arrested along with senior naxalite

leader Arun Satya Reddy alias Murali in Nagpur in 2007, was acquitted of 11 different cases, including a case of unlawful activities by the sessions court in Nagpur. However, whenever he was acquitted of one charge and was ordered release, the state police re-arrested him on fresh set of charges.

He was booked by the Gadchiroli police last year after he was acquitted by the local court in another charge.

It was alleged that Ferreira was involved in a police-naxalite encounter near Jafargarh under Korchi tahsil in Gadchiroli district in April, 2007.

Jagdish Meshram, the counselor of Ferreira informed that the principal district and session judge, SS Ahmed granted him a bail on condition that he should report to the nearest police station at Bandra in Mumbai once in a month and a personal bond of Rs 50,000.

It was an emotional moment for Ferreira and his relatives at the central jail here on Wednesday afternoon after his release. A group of lawyers, his parents and well-wishers received and he immediately proceeded for Mumbai.

Fed up with the alleged bias of the state police and jail authorities for re-arresting him on one case after being acquitted in another, Ferreira filed a petition before the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Tuesday against the state authorities and slapped a compensation of Rs 25 lakh.

The bench on Tuesday served notices to the state home secretary, the jail authorities and seven other respondents for allegedly harassing him since his arrest in 2007.

Responding to Ferreira’s petition, Justice AH Joshi directed the respondents to reply within the next 20 days.

While filing the petition, Ferreira said that the jail authorities and state police had violated his fundamental rights of liberty. Whenever he was released by the lower court, he was allegedly abducted by the police from the Nagpur central prison premises in connivance with the jail authorities and was re-arrested by them on other charges.

He urged the court to direct the state to compensate him Rs 25 lakh and book the police and jail authorities who have re-arrested him several times on ‘flimsy’ grounds after acquitting from the lower courts. Farreira also demanded a judicial inquiry by a retired high court judge or a sitting session judge to probe his abduction from prison and re-arrest after release from the court.

Ferreira said that the act of the police and the jail authorities were criminal, arbitrary and malafide. “The authorities were putting him in the jail deliberately without a speedy trial,” he contended and sought an apology from the state machinery.

The alleged naxalite was arrested, along with a senior naxalite leader, Murali, on May 8, 2007 at Nagpur when they were trying to hold a secret meeting at Deekshabhoomi. They were charged with Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, Indian Arms Acts and 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The suspected Maoist was since then in custody.

However, he was acquitted from these charges a couple of years ago as the police had failed to substantiate charges. The court also found contradictory evidences from the police in connection with the case.

He was re-arrested with another case of naxalite violence in Gadchiroli immediately after he was released by the court. He even went for an indefinite hunger strike in protest against the “police harassment” at the jail premises, along with other jail inmates.

It was also alleged that the alleged Maoist, along with other suspected naxalites were subjected to third-degree torture during the police interrogation. His soles were whipped with batons while ice was kept on his genitals.

An alumnus of St Xaviers College, Mumbai, Ferreira passed out from the institution in 90s. His college also came out openly in support of him and requested the chief minister Prthviraj Chavan to intervene into the matter a few weeks ago.

It was said that the Bandra resident, Ferreira was proficient in computers and was the in-charge of propaganda and communication network of CPI (Maoist) while Murali was the divisional secretary of North Gadchiroli division of CPI (Maoist).

As police alleged that both the hardcore naxalites hardly disclosed anything to the investigation agency, they were allowed to conduct narco and brain-mapping tests of Ferreira and Murali. However, police did not get much from the tests.







5 revenue officials dismissed for accepting bribe


PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Chandigarh, Jan 4 (PTI) Five revenue officials in Hisar district of Haryana have been dismissed from service with immediate effect after they were found guilty of allegedly accepting bribe. The ‘patwaris’ were caught State Vigilance Bureau sleuths while taking bribe. The order to dismiss them was issued by Hisar Deputy Commissioner Amit Kumar under Prevention of Corruption Act, and the Indian Penal Code, an official spokesman said here today. He said the patwaris are Chandan Singh of village Chaudhariwas, Krishan Kumar of Dhansu, Ram Kishan of Khairampur, Mahender Singh of Dabra and Jai Narayan of Narnaund tehsil.










PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

In Lucknow, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said BJP had in In Lucknow, Congress leader Pramod Tiwari said BJP had in recent days accused Kushwaha of playing a big role in the NRHM scam and now suddenly it has taken a U-turn. In Delhi, Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said the BJP has become a “dust bin” for corrupt people. “Till the time they are in other parties, they are corrupt but the day they joined BJP, they have taken the holy dip in the Ganges,” he said. CBI officials said that a case has been registered in respect of upgradation of 134 district hospitals for an amount of Rs 13.4 crore by C and DS, a unit of UP Jal Nigam. They said that the work was given to M/s Surgiocoin (Ghaziabad-based firm) on the basis of forged documents and the materials installed in the hospitals were found to be of sub-standard quality. Besides, four cases have been registered in connection with alleged irregularities in awarding contracts in the procurement/purchase of medicine and medicinal equipment, expenditure incurred on printing of publicity material, hoardings, banners, etc by unknown officials of Directorate General (Family Welfare) in connivance with certain private persons and others. “The procurement of these items was done through a State owned Public Sector Unit at exorbitant rates which were four-five times more than the prevailing market rates,” the official said. Former DG (Family Welfare) S P Ram, Moradabad-based firms M/s Guru Kripa, M/s Kapil Medical and M/s Sidhi Traders, M/s Shreeton India, an UP Government PSU and two firms — M/s Radhey Shyam Enterprises and M/s Axis Marketing — have been named in the other four cases registered by CBI alleging loss of nearly Rs 28 crore, he said. CBI sources said that all accused can be charged under relevant sections of Indian Penal Code (for criminal conspiracy and cheating) and Prevention of Corruption Act. “So far, during the course of searches huge unaccounted cash from the accused public servants and incriminating documents related to wrong utilisation of NRHM funds have been recovered,” the official said. The Allahabad High Court had on December 15 last year directed the CBI to conduct preliminary enquiry into the alleged NRHM scam and asked the agency to complete the inquiry in four months. Besides, probing five cases, the CBI is looking into three Preliminary Enquiries (PEs) registered in the matter.









CIC asks SC to disclose info on judges’ appointment procedure


The procedure of appointment of judges and any proposal for its modification should be in public domain, the central information commission (CIC) has held.

The CIC said this while directing the Supreme Court to disclose communication exchange between chief justice of India and the

law ministry on the question of proposed changes in appointment procedure for judges.

“The procedure of appointment of judges or any proposal for modifying that procedure should necessarily be available in the public domain so that the citizens know what is transpiring among the major stake holders, in this case, the Government of India and the CJI, in respect of such a vital matter as the appointment of judges to the High Courts and Supreme Court of India,” chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra said in an order.

Rejecting the arguments of the Supreme Court that the information related to judges’ appointment cannot be disclosed as there is a stay, the commissioner said a distinction needs to be made between the process of appointment of an individual as a judge and the procedure for making such appointments.

The case relates to plea of activist Subhash Agrawal seeking disclosure of Law Ministry’s draft of revised memorandum of procedure of appointment of judges in higher courts and the related exchange of communication between the then chief justice of India K G Balakrishnan and the law minister.









On CIC order, CBSE reveals engg exam’s answer keys


Akshaya Mukul, TNN Jan 5, 2012, 01.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: After initially refusing to part with the answer keys of All India Engineering Entrance Examination ( AIEEE) of 2010 and 2011, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) – under order from Central Information Commission (CIC) – has finally given them, but without the question papers.

In its September 30, 2011, order, CIC had asked CBSE to give answer keys in line with decisions of the Commission and the courts in this regard. RTI applicant Rajeev Kumar had asked for answer keys along with question papers and model answers. But the demand for model answers was dropped after CBSE said court cases are underway.

In 2007, CIC’s order had resulted in IITs disclosing answer keys, question papers etc of JEE, 2006, to Kumar. In August, 2011, even the Supreme Court said that all examining bodies should permit examinees to have inspection of their answer books. Apart from IIT-JEE, examination bodies of state governments have started disclosing answer keys along with question papers.

Kumar has written to CBSE stating that without question booklet, the supplied answer keys are of no value. At times even wrong questions have been asked – as happened in case of JEE in the last two years.

It has been nearly 20 months since the first RTI was filed in this regard. Initially, CBSE had refused to supply answer keys, stating that the “larger public interest does not warrant disclosure of such information”. When Kumar appealed against the order, the appellate authority said “as a policy matter of CBSE, the answer-keys cannot be supplied”. Then, CBSE took the plea that possibly records were destroyed. But it was pointed out that destruction plea of CBSE is wrong since RTI seeking disclosure of answer keys was submitted to CIC on June 15 – only a few weeks after the results were declared. However, CBSE has been regularly divulging details of All India Pre-Medical Entrance Test (AIPMT).









High Court refuses to stay elections

Responding to a petition challenging ward formation in Mumbai, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday refused to grant a stay on the upcoming civic elections in the state.

“The Election Commission has already issued a notification declaring the schedule of the elections. At this stage, the court cannot stay the process. We do not see this issue as having enough gravity to justify stalling of elections,” a Bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar said.

The BMC elections are scheduled on February 16.

The petition was filed by city residents Rupesh Andhari and Sanjay Tahiliani, who challenged a notification issued last August in which the Maharashtra Election Commission issued the ward formation draft for the city. The petitioners submitted that the wards had been formed based on the 2001 Census and there has been a major shift from the city to the suburbs since then. Counsel for the petitioners, Anil Sakhre, said this change should have been taken into account while deciding the limits of the wards.

The petitioner also pointed out that the 2011 figures have been used in other districts of the state. The State Election Commission had, however, stated in an affidavit that the ward formation in Mumbai was based on the Census of 2001 as it would take two more years to obtain the block-wise population break-up based on the Census data of 2011.








High Court directs union, state govts to form Elephant Task Force


Press Trust of India, Updated: January 05, 2012 00:58 IST

Bangalore:  Taking cognisance of increasing number of elephant deaths, the Karnataka High Court today directed the state and the Union governments to constitute a task force within 10 days to work towards mitigating man-elephant conflicts.

Hearing a petition over the issue, the division bench of Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the governments to constitute the force, comprising experts from various fields, including the forest, environment and also scientists and to specify short-term and long-term steps to prevent elephant deaths.

While hearing this petition in November last, the court had said permission for translocation cannot be granted unless experts’ opinion is got. It also directed the Centre to seek advice of conservation experts of Africa or any other country.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forests and Chief Wildlife Warden B K Singh had then stated the main reason for man- animal conflict in the state was ‘island fencing’ of coffee estates in Kodagu, loss of forest area and indiscriminate eco-tourism.

He had said that thick growth of weeds like parthenium, lantana and eupatorium in wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in Karnataka created food scarcity for pachyderms in forests. He had also referred to mushrooming resorts and farms on the Kaniyanpura Elephant Corridor and sought directions to remove fences around large private farms for uninterrupted elephant movement.

“Our exercise to translocate two jumbos has failed. We will now translocate families of five at a time,” he said.

However, Chief Justice Sen said, “You said that a resort has come up at Bandipur on the corridors. Have you recommended for removal of the resort or the elephants? You should be protecting the animals not people.”








High court stays recruitment of primary teachers in state

The Allahabad High Court on Wednesday stayed the proceedings of UP Teachers’ Eligibility Test (TET), which was conducted for the first time in the state, to fill up 72,000-odd vacancies of primary teachers.

The court also summoned two senior officers — principal secretary (Basic Education) and secretary of Basic Education Board — to be personally present in the court on January 11, the next date of hearing in the case.

The court has stayed the proceedings primarily on the ground that the advertisements issued for the purpose were wrong as per rules. TET has been approved by the National Council for Teachers’ Education as a tool to bring out uniformity in the quality of teachers across the country, as part of providing free basic education to the children under the Right to Education Act.

On a petition filed by one of the TET candidates, a single judge bench of Justice Sudhir Agarwal passed the stay order asking the respondents to explain whether advertisements for vacancies were issued as per rules. The court also questioned the handling of the entire issue that has led to “unnecessary litigation”.

Counsel for petitioner, Alok Kumar Yadav, said the petition was filed on December 21 nd was taken up for hearing on Wednesday. “Our main contention was that the advertisement was wrongly issued by the Basic Education Board for all the districts. Under the service rules for primary teachers, it is the individual Basic Shiksha Adhikari, who is competent to issue the advertisement for vacancies and recruit teachers against the same,” said Yadav.

The TET examination in the state was held on November 13.









Supreme Court breather for five Haryana legislators

New Delhi, Jan 4 (IANS) In a breather to five legislators of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bhajan Lal party, the Supreme Court Wednesday stayed a high court order on their temporary disqualification from the assembly.

The legislators, who sought to merge their party’s legislative wing with the Congress, faced temporary disqualification after the Punjab and Haryana High Court’s order. The high court also directed the assembly speaker to decide their fate.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar suspended the operation of all high court orders.

The judges also suspended the operation of the high court’s interim order which put on hold the Nov 9, 2009 decision of the speaker accepting the merger of the Haryana Janhit Congress-Bhajan Lal (HJC-BL) with the ruling Congress.

The apex court issued notice to Kuldip Bishnoi, president of the HJC-BL, who approached the speaker seeking the disqualification of the five legislators.

The court also directed making the Election Commission of India as a respondent. The case would come up next Feb 15.

The legislators who got the relief are Satpal Sangwan, Rao Narinder Singh, Dharampal Chokker, Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma.

Sangwan and Narender Singh are cabinet ministers in the government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda of the Congress.

Vinod Bhayana and Zile Ram Sharma are chief parliamentary secretaries.

The high court, while hearing a plea for their disqualification, held that they will not sit in the assembly as Congress members.

The apex court passed the stay order after Attorney General G. Vahanvati told the court of the strictures passed by the high court against assembly speaker and the high court’s ‘temporary disqualification’ of the five lawmakers.

As Bishnoi’s counsel sought to describe the stay of high court verdict as ‘unfortunate’, the court advised him not to use such words.






CWG scam: Delhi High Court refuses to stay proceedings against Swiss firm Swiss Timing


PTI Jan 4, 2012, 08.59PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today refused to stay a possible coercive process against Switzerland-based accused firm Swiss Timing for not putting in appearance in a graft case involving the award of a Commonwealth Games-related contract to it allegedly at an inflated cost.

“There cannot be a stay on the trial court proceedings,” Justice Mukta Gupta said while asking CBI to file a status report in two weeks giving details of its actions in the case.

Justice Gupta was hearing the petition of Swiss Timing seeking a stay on possible coercive measures against it by the lower court and alleged that it has not been served with the summons as per the law dealing with offshore companies.

“Improper service of summons outside India impinges on the sovereignty of that country (Switzerland) if it is not in accordance of the law,” senior advocate Amit Desai, appearing for the foreign firm, said.

“Till date, CBI has not been able to establish that it has served the summons on the company in Switzerland as there was no proof in this regard and it (CBI) misled the lower court on the issue. No order can be passed in contravention of treaty obligations vis-a-vis foreign nationals,” he said, adding that any coercive measure will have world-wide repurcussions.

The court asked CBI and the Swiss firm to file written submissions and posted the matter for hearing on January 30.

CBI earlier said that it had served summons to Swiss Timing in the manner prescribed under the treaty between two countries but the firm being under the jurisdiction of Switzerland, it would take time in bringing it to the jurisdiction of the Indian court.

Sacked Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi and other co-accused are accused of illegally granting the contract to Swiss Timing which caused a loss of over Rs 90 crore to the exchequer.








Malegaon case: Stay against interrogation of Purohit extended


The Supreme Court on Wednesday extended its order restraining the National Investigation Agency not to interrogate 2008 Malegaon blast accused Lt. Col. Shrikant Prasad Purohit and Sudhakar Dhar Dwivedi till further direction.

A bench of justices H.L. Dattu and C.K. Prasad extended the stay of the Bombay High Court order allowing the agency to interrogate him and also impleaded the NIA on the bail plea of Lt. Col. Purohit.

Lt. Col. Purohit approached the Supreme Court challenging the High Court’s October 20, 2011 order allowing the NIA to take him from the judicial custody to interrogate him.

The bench asked the NIA, the Centre and the Maharashtra government to file their response within a week and posted the matter for final disposal after two weeks.

On December 16, 2011, the bench had stayed the operation of the High Court’s order.

Mr. Dwivedi also challenged the order of the High Court and the trial court allowing the NIA to take him from judicial custody for his custodial interrogation.

Lt. Col. Purohit’s bail was rejected on November 9, 2011 by the High Court which had allowed liberty to another co-accused Ajay Rahirkar on certain conditions.

“Lt. Col. Purohit was not just involved in talking about Hindu rashtra but is alleged to have been instrumental in making RDX available,” the High Court had said while rejecting his bail.

“Reliability of evidence about his bragging to a witness that he had RDX in his possession and the evidence about finding of RDX on a cotton swab would have to be decided at trial. Therefore, he would not be entitled to bail,” the High Court had said.

Mr. Rahirkar was ordered to be released on bail on his furnishing a personal bond of Rs. 1 lakh with one or more solvent sureties of the same amount.

Lt. Col. Purohit was arrested and issued a charge sheet in connection with the Malegaon bomb blast on September 29, 2008 leaving seven persons dead.










HC sets aside election of Wrestling Federation of India chief


PTI | Jan 4, 2012, 09.08PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday set aside the poll process conducted by Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) for selection of its president and ordered a fresh election for the post.

“The orders dated April 5, 2011 and April 8, 2011 of the returning officer, insofar as they hold that Article XIII (d) was effective and operative in relation to the election process in question, and insofar as the petitioners nomination for the post of President was rejected, are set aside.

“The respondent number one (Wrestling Federation of India) is directed to initiate fresh process for holding the election to the post of president in terms of its amended constitution forthwith. The notification for conduct of elections should be issued within the next two weeks,” Justice Vipin Sanghi said.

The court said that the elections held by the WFI during April 5-15, 2011 were illegal.

The decision came on a petition of office bearers of the Haryana Wrestling Association (HWA) seeking quashing of the election of “respondents Dushyant Sharma, Raj Singh and Hamza Bin Omar as the president, secretary general and senior vice president respectively of WFI”.

It was alleged the election of WFI office bearers were held in violation of the constitution of WFI.

However, later HWA and its officials chose not to dispute election of other office bearers of WFI except the selection of Dushyant Sharma as the WFI president.

The court, however, made it clear that though it quashed the election of president only, but others may also approach and contest the election of other office bearers of the WFI.

“However, since the petitioner has given up the challenge to the elections for the posts of senior vice president and general secretary in the election process in question, and the same has not been challenged before me in these proceedings, the elections to the said posts is sustained, without prejudice to the rights of any other person to challenge the same independently in other proceedings,” the court said.

“I also find merit in the petitioner’s submission that the election has not been fairly held, on account of the tight time schedule fixed by the then general secretary for conduct of elections…

“Pertinently, the publication of the Electoral College was scheduled for April 5, 2011, that is on the same day on which the process of filing of nomination papers of candidates for various posts members of the Executive Committee started,” it said.

It is well-known that unless an eligible member, who may be desirous of contesting the elections is made aware of the electoral college, he may not be able to take a call on whether, or not, to file his nomination, it said.

“A candidate is entitled to know as to who all constitute the electoral college sufficiently in advance so as to enable him to assess his chance on the basis of the support that he may enlist. It is for this reason that not only the government observer, but even the government itself called upon the respondent/WFI to fix a time schedule which would lead to conduct of elections in a transparent manner and to maintain the purity of the election process,” the court, in its 33-page judgement, said.








HC enhances compensation for parents of deceased and injured

Finding legitimacy behind the demand to enhance compensation for parents of those children who died and those who suffered injuries in the accident in Ambala. A division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi, on Wednesday, enhanced the compensation and also issued notices to Chandigarh, Punjab and Haryana on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Prithvi Raj Yadav, a resident of Panchkula, Haryana. The Court increased the compensation to Rs 5 lakh for parents of the deceased, and Rs 1 lakh for parents of those kids who were injured.

Notices have been issued to Director General of Police (DGP) of Punjab and Haryana and Arjun Public School, Ambala. The petitioner has sought directions to the three states to not “allow school buses/vans to carry students beyond the capacity of the vehicles, to stop speeding and to follow the speed limit of 40 km/h”.

The petitioner has also sought directions to the states to not “allow a single bus/van to take several rounds for bringing children to school and a single bus be not allowed to take more than one round while carrying the children to school or while taking them back home”.

The petitioner has sought “directions to make all the schools in their states follow the rules for plying of school buses and action be taken against the school”. The petitioner, appearing in person, contended that the practice of overloading school buses is prevalent in both Punjab and Haryana.

“There is no check on such practice adopted by the school managements if norms are followed properly such incidents could be averted” the petition read. The petitioner averred that Haryana had declared only meager compensation of Rs 25,000 to each of the parents of the deceased children.

The petitioner sought action against Haryana for its “inaction and the school management for its over-zealousness” to overload students in a school van.







HC breather for unsuccessful candidates


TNN Jan 5, 2012, 07.50AM IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) on Wednesday set aside the result of the 53rd-55th Combined Common Preliminary Competitive Examination, 2011, conducted by the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC).

However, the court ruled that successful candidates would not be disturbed and would remain unaffected by the judgement.

It may be mentioned that some questions were found to be wrong in the said examination as a result of which some unsuccessful candidates had approached the HC for redressal of their grievances. The expert committee set up on court’s earlier directive, which looked into the questions, found nine questions wrong.


In view of the wrong questions, a single bench of the HC presided by Justice Ajay Tripathi on Wednesday, while setting aside the result, ordered re-evaluation of the merit list though not disturbing the successful candidates.







HC relief for senior citizen


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 03.01AM IST

NEW DELHI: A daughter-in-law has no right to reside in the house of her mother-in-law if the husband is alive and lives separately, Delhi high court has said.

Coming to the rescue of a 78-year-old woman being harassed by her daughter-in-law, Justice Valmiki J Mehta dismissed the suit filed by the daughter-in-law where she claimed residential rights on the house owned by her mother-in-law.

“In the ripe old age of 78, surely citizens of this country are entitled to peace of mind and being not harassed by their next generation – the children or their daughter-in-law,” Justice Mehta said while granting the relief to the senior citizen.

HC further said the mother-in-law in her advanced age cannot be forced to keep the daughter-in-law in the suit property when the son had moved out and was living separately. However, to ensure the son and the mother don’t connive to turn out the wife from the house, the court directed that “in case it is found that the husband was residing in the house, then in such circumstances, the daughter-in-law would have the right to live on the premises.”

After a lower court decreed against her, the daughter-in-law had moved HC insisting that according to Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act she had a right to reside at her matrimonial home. On her part the ailing mother-in-law told HC she was being harassed by her daughter-in-law and that her life was made miserable as she abused and ill-treated her. The aged woman told HC, she had to serve legal notice on both her son as well as daughter-in-law to vacate the house.







HC notice to GMADA, Centre on tree cutting


TNN Jan 5, 2012, 06.46AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Acting on a petition seeking stay on cutting of a large number of trees for the widening of the road from Mullanpur-UT boundary till the T-junction of Kurali-Siswan road, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday issued a notice to the Greater Mohali Area Development Authority (GMADA) and Union ministry of forest asking them to respond to the contentions raised in the petition. The high court has also issued a notice to the DFO, Mohali and Omaxe Infrastructure and Construction Ltd that has been assigned the road widening project.

The matter reached before the high court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by one Jeet Bhumbla.

The petitioner has sought directions to quash the sanction letter given by GMADA issued on November 23 last year whereby permission has been granted to cut 1,827 trees and 664 young plants on both sides of the road, besides 560 poles for the purpose of widening of the road from Mullanpur-UT boundary upto the T-junction of the Kurali-Siswan road. It was submitted that the said sanction is illegal and contrary to the forest laws because felling of 1,100 trees on one side of the road is avoidable. Till now 50 trees have been cut.

The PIL further informed that GMADA had awarded a contract worth Rs 70.4 crore to Omaxe Infrastructure and Construction Ltd for widening the road of the said stretch of the highway. The total length of the stretch is 8km with a proposed width of 200 feet, while three bridges on the said road are also planned.
The case would come up for further hearing on February 27.









HC pushes process further


TNN Jan 5, 2012, 04.58AM IST

CHANDIGARH: The anxiety of parents seeking admission for their kids in city private schools has got more intense with Punjab and Haryana high court adjourning the hearing on the petition alleging admission controversy in St Kabir School once again and this time to March 5, two months from now.

Earlier, the hearing was adjourned as the inquiry committee was asked to submit the probe report as an affidavit on January 4 and this time the high court has asked the education department to submit their reply, that is – they do not have a say on the 75% of seats in private schools, in written on March 5.
Shipra Bakshi, mother of a kindergarten applicant, said, “March 5 means two more months. I feel the matter is being unnecessarily being dragged.”

Vikram Khanna, another parent said, “I had never thought that getting your child admitted in a good school would turn out to be this difficult. From last one month my wife and I have been checking school websites in which we have applied, everyday to know the final draw date, but after today’s decision it feels as if the anxiety is going to continue.”

“It is just admission and could have been carried on peacefully but because of one school thousands of parents are suffering. Already there is so much of stress as the chances of admission are bleak due to less number of seats and this delay is become a headache,” said Ashima Bhardwaj, mother of a nursery applicant.

“The education department should now let the other schools take forward the admission process as it has been a month of waiting now. Instead, the department should strictly direct schools to make sure that there are no irregularities. We also want to get over with this pressure of admissions,” said Ashok Verma, father of a 4-year-old son.

On the other hand, other private schools are eagerly waiting for UT education department to decide whether other private schools can go on with the admission process or not. Private schools had withheld the nursery class admissions, following directions from Director Public Instructions (school) office on December 12.

However, this time they are expecting positive response from the education department as no school is willing to wait till March to 5.

Manav Mangal School director Sanjay Sardana said, “Education department should now give us some outline because if now the matter is kept pending, it will lead to chaos. The session must start by first week of April or else the burden of completing syllabus would fall on teachers.

Most importantly parents are also suffering and department should take a decision which is in best interest of parents and schools.”

DAV-15 principal Dr Rakesh Sachdeva said, “It would have been good if the matter would have settled today. But now the matter should not be delayed beyond March 5.”

Education cum finance secretary V K Singh said, “We will decide upon the next action on Thursday or definitely by Friday.” DPI(S), Sandeep Hans was not available for the comments.


Bombay HC not in favour of stalling civic polls


PTI | 06:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) Refusing to interfere in policy decisions, the Bombay High Court today said it was not inclined to grant a stay on the upcoming civic elections in Maharashtra. A division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar was hearing petitions filed by citizens Rupesh Andhari and Sanjay Tahiliani challenging the notification issued in August last year, in which the Maharashtra Election Commission issued a ward-formation draft within the limits of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) allegedly based on the 2001 census. The petitioners have contended that the wards in 11 other municipal bodies in the state have been formed based on census data of 2011. “The election commission has already issued a notification yesterday declaring schedule of the elections. At this stage we (court) cannot grant stay on the elections. We do not see this issue with such a gravity that the elections have to be stalled,” the court said while posting the matter for final hearing and disposal. Andhari’s counsel Anil Sakhre told the court that the fact that there has been a fall in the population in the city and a rise in the suburbs should have been taken into account while forming wards. “Population census of 2011 is available then why has figures of 2001 been used,” the lawyer argued. According to the petition, the draw for declaration of ward-wise reservation should have been conducted after determining number of wards, fixing ward limits and earmarking number of reserved seats based on the latest Census figures, as mandated by the Mumbai Municipal Corporation Act, 1888. The petition points out that the State Election Commission (SEC) had used figures of Census 2011 for conducting elections in neighbouring Thane and Ulhasnagar, whereas ward-wise reservations for civic elections in Mumbai were drawn on the basis of census 2001 figures. Polling for ten municipal corporations, including Mumbai will be held on February 16 and 27 Zilla Parishads across the state will exercise their franchise on February 7.







HC notice on parole plea of convict in Shivani murder case


PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

New Delhi, Jan 4 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought a response from the city police on a plea of sole convict in journalist Shivani Bhatnagar murder case that he be granted parole for re-establishing his family contacts. “Let a status report be filed,” Justice Mukta Gupta said and posted the plea of Pradeep Sharma for hearing on March 14. The conviction and award of rigorous life imprisonment to Pradeep Sharma by the lower court was recently upheld by the High Court which, however, acquitted senior IPS officer Ravi Kant Sharma and two others in the case. Seeking parole, his counsel said he had been granted bail for two months on October 8, 2009. The convict be allowed to be released on parole for re-establishing his family and social ties as there was no allegation that he had earlier breached conditions imposed by the court, the lawyer said. The court had acquitted R K Sharma, who once served as Officer on Special Duty at the PMO, and co-accused Sri Bhagwan Sharma and Satya Prakash in the case by giving them the benefit of doubt. It had, however, upheld the conviction of Pradeep Sharma for killing Shivani, then working with the Indian Express newspaper, who was found murdered in her Navkunj Apartment flat at I P Extension in East Delhi on January 23, 1999. It had held that though the motive for the crime remained “unclear” it was established that Pradeep had visited the victim on the day of the murder. The lower court had on March 24, 2008, convicted four persons, including R K Sharma. It had, however, had acquitted co-accused Ved Prakash Sharma and Ved, alias Kalu, in the case.








HC recommends action against IO


TNN Jan 4, 2012, 02.01PM IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad high court has directed UP home secretary home to refer a matter for investigation to the CB-CID where a former district judge VP Shukla allegedly harassed brother of his son-in-law JP Mishra alias Babloo and his family members in a matrimonial dispute.

Passing the above directions, a division bench consisting of Justice DP Singh and Justice VK Mathur directed that departmental proceedings be initiated against investigating officer (IO) Pradeep Kumar of this matrimonial dispute.

It is alleged that IO without acting on the directions of the DIG Varanasi had sent the chargesheet to the circle officer concerned for approval of this dispute.

The court directed that DIG Varanasi might initiate departmental proceedings against sub-inspector Pradeep Kumar for gross insubordination in view of aforesaid fact.

The brother of the petitioner, Gyan Prakash Mishra, was married to daughter of VP Shukla on June 30, 2010. Later, a matrimonial dispute arose between the younger brother of the petitioner and his wife. As a result, several criminal cases were lodged against the petitioner and his family members and they were allegedly harassed at the instance of the former district judge. The petitioner had alleged that investigation was being conducted under the pressure of the former district judge.





HC issues notice to Santosh Hegde


PTI | 04:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Bangalore, Jan 4 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today issued notice to former Lokayukta Santosh Hegde in connection with an appeal filed by a senior IPS officer challenging a lower court order dismissing his defamation suit against the former Supreme Court judge. Justice Anand Byrareddy gave the order for issuing the notice when the the appeal filed by Superintendent of Police (Intelligence) Hemanth Nimbalkar came up for hearing. Following a Lokayukta raid in March 2009, when Nimbalkar was SP in Belgaum, the then Lokayukta Hegde had alleged that the officer had amassed wealth of Rs 250 crore. Hegde had reiterated the claim in the press meet held in Bangalore the following day. Since the allegation was made in here, Nimbalkar had filed a defamation suit at the local court, which subsequently dismissed his suit. Nimbalkar then approached the High Court challenging the lower court’s decision. He was aggrieved over Lokayukta’s assertion that he possessed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. Hegde had earlier said that he stood by his decision to make the details of the raid public. “This is nothing new as such litigations have been filed earlier,” he had observed. Hegde, when asked to comment today’s High Court order, told PTI “I do not wish to comment or say anything about it till I get the notice from the court”.







HC allows Maneka’s NGO to care of Parulekar’s pets


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed the Commissioner of Police, Pune to ensure that Maneka Gandhi’s NGO – People for Animals – is allowed to take care of over 500 animals sheltered at the residence of Lila Parulekar, daughter of veteran journalist Nanasaheb Parulekar. A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi asked the police commissioner to assist the NGO after it was informed that the NGO members were not being allowed to take care of the animals in pursuant to an earlier court order. In December last, the court had allowed the NGO’s intervening application and allowed it (NGO) to look after the animals which were being allegedly ignored as Parulekar is bed-ridden and needs care herself. Ravi Lokhande, advocate for the NGO, informed the court today that the security guard posted at Parulekar’s bungalow in Pune was not allowing them to enter the house. Showing certain photographs of animals which were in bad condition due to lack of proper care and food, Lokhande said that some of the dogs were poisoned and their bodies dumped. Chief Justice asked whether it was possible to shift the 500 odd animals to another place where People for Animals could look after it. To this, Lokhande said that the animals were large in number and they did not have sufficient place in Pune to keep them. Jamshed Mistry, advocate for Pronoti Vyas who had filed a petition seeking medical attention for Parulekar, said that the court could ask the committee, including officers of Animal Welfare Board, to once again inspect the premises and condition of the animals.


Register case against actor for not repaying loan: HC


TNN | Jan 5, 2012, 05.39AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras HC has directed the KK Nagar police to register a criminal case against actor, D Bhuvaneswari, and file chargesheet, if needed, within six weeks. The matter relates to a complaint by an interior decorator that she had borrowed Rs 1.5 crore from him and had been refusing to repay the sum.

Justice T Mathivanan, disposing of a petition filed by R Gurunathan of KK Nagar on Wednesday, said : “The police are directed to register a case based on the complaint dated August 29, 2011 and if any prima facie case is made out during the course of theinvestigation, a reportwillbesubmitted to the judicial magistrate concernedwithin six weeks.”

In his complaint, Gurunathan saidthat after being introduced to the actor by a friend, he had given her Rs 1.5 crore as loan. Though she had sought the money for producing a tele-serial, no such venture was made, forcing him to demand return of the money.

He said that attempts to contact her and recover the money failed. Gurunathan said that Bhuvaneshwari had joined a political party as its secretary and that the party was a poll ally of the AIADMK. Charging her with threatening him, Gurunathan said the probe into the transaction too ran into obstacles due to her political connections.








HC stays recruitment of teachers in UP primary schools


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Allahabad, Jan 04 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today stayed recruitment of teachers in primary schools of Uttar Pradesh till January 11 while asking top officials of the state’s department of basic education to appear before it and reply to objections raised over advertisements issued as part of the selection process. The order was passed by Justice Sudhir Agrawal on a writ petition of one Yadav Kapildeo Lal Bahadur who had contended before the court that advertisements inviting applications for appointment of teachers were issued for all the 75 districts of the state in one go. The petitioner had further contended that as per Rule 14 of UP Basic Education (Teachers) Service Rules, advertisements can be issued on behalf of only the appointing authority of an individual district and hence there should have been separate advertisements for the districts on behalf of respective Basic Education Officers. The court, while staying the recruitment process, asked the state’s Secretary, Basic Education, and the Secretary, Basic Shiksha Parishad, to appear before it on January 11 and “explain and justify how this kind of advertisement can be issued on behalf of all District Basic Education Officers and whether it is so permissible under law”.





HC criticises TN govt


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Chennai,Dec 4 (PTI) The Madras High Court today flayed the Tamil Nadu government, saying it was unfortunate that despite the court’s observations it had not taken any steps to arrest three police personnel for allegedly raping four ST women on November 22 for reasons “best known to it.” When the matter came up before the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam, the Judges sought to know why the guilty police officers had not been arrested. The Public Prosecutor submitted they would be arrested in due course. In its earlier order the Bench had observed that if a woman went to a police station and complained about sexual harassment or rape by a named person, the police officer did not hesitate to arrest that person immediately. “If that be so, why the law made applicable to the common man should not be applied to the police officers?” the Bench had wanted to know. However, following repeated requests by the Public Prosecutor for more time to conclude the investigation, the Judges adjourned the case by two weeks to enable the state to complete the probe and take appropriate action against the police officers allegedly involved in the offence. The case relates to the alleged rape of four women belonging to the Irular community after they were arrested in connection with a criminal case on November 22 and taken in a police van from their residence in T Mandappam to a nearby eucalyptus grove.





HC asks BMC to place order for 140 essential vehicles


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 04,2012

Mumbai, Jan 4 (PTI) Rapping the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) for delaying placement of orders for essential vehicles like dumpers, fire engines and ambulances, which are in compliance with the Bharat Stage 4 (BS 4) norms, the Bombay High Court today directed the Corporation to place order for 140 vehicles within two weeks. BS 4 – the emission standard for heavy vehicles in India – has been implemented in the city since April 2010. BMC, however, wants to continue with the Bharat Stage 3 for some of its vehicles providing essential services. The Corporation had filed an application seeking permission to continue using or purchasing essential vehicles with BS 3 norms as the ones with BS 4 norms are still not available. The civic body’s requirement is of 211 vehicles. However, so far they have placed orders for only 71 vehicles including dumpers and fire engines. Questioning the delay in initiating process for purchasing vehicles with BS 4 norms, a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi directed the Corporation to start inviting quotations and issue tenders. Although it was decided in 2005 itself that the BS 4 norms vehicles would have to be used in Mumbai from April 2010, the BMC waited till June 2010 to issue tenders and call for quotations for essential heavy vehicles. The Chief Justice even asked the Corporation as to why it was placing orders through intermediary agencies instead of placing orders with the manufacturers. “That delays the process. Place order with the manufacturers, they will supply faster,” remarked the Chief Justice. The matter has been kept for hearing on January 24. PTI SP VKV





HC mum, parties gear up for bypoll


Sanjay Ojha, TNN Jan 4, 2012, 11.21PM IST

RANCHI: Even before the Jharkhand high court gives its final judgment over the recounting of the Hatia assembly election, political parties have started preparing for a byelection.

Political leaders, who are in race for the ticket, are so impatient that they have started organizing meeting of party members.

Recounting for the Hatia assembly took place on December 19 on the directive of the high court. The recounting was ordered on a petition of BJP candidate Ramji Lal Sharda, who was defeated by Congress nominee Gopal Sharan Nath Sahdeo by a margin of 25 votes. However, Sahdeo died last year and the seat had fallen vacant. In the recounting, the original result remained unchanged and this has given reasons to the parties to prepare for the byelection. “We know that the high court is yet to announce the decision, but we cannot wait for long. If we start preparation after the result is announced, it will be very late,” said a Congress leader.

Former BJP president Yadunath Pandey expressed hope of support from the allies during the byelection. “We hope that we will have the support from all our allies,” said Pandey.

Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) leader Sahabudin, who is aspiring for a ticket, has already put up posters greeting the voters of the Hatia assembly segment. “The sitting MLA has died and the election will be announced soon and I don’t see anything wrong in preparing for the byelection,” he said.

Ajsu spokesperson D S Bhagat confirmed that the party had started preparation for the byelection. “We have always worked for the development of people in Hatia and are ready for the byelection,” said Bhagat.

Babulal Marandi-led Jharkhand Vikas Morcha has called a meeting of its members on Wednesday to chalk out the strategy for the byelection.




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