LEGAL NEWS 09.01.2012

222 MACT cases disposed off by Lok Adalat on a day


PTI | 01:01 PM,Jan 08,2012

Cuttack, Jan 8 (PTI) At least 222 motor accident claim tribunal (MACT) cases were disposed off at a district-level Lok Adalat held here. This was done at the 390th district level Lok Adalat of Cuttack district yesterday in which nearly 260 MACT cases were listed for adjudication, sources said.         Cuttack district sessions judge Shatrughna Pujahari, member secretary of Odisha State Legal Services Authority Bijay Kumar Rath and additional district judges K D R Dora, Prakash Chandra Mohapatra, Muralidhar Pradhan and Debendranath Pradhan conducted the Lok Adalat and disposed off the cases awarding a combined compensation of over Rs 3.26 crore.         As many as 73 cases involving an government insurance company were disposed off on the day in which Rs 1,03,46,000 was awarded as damage to the claimants. Another 112 cases involving three other government insurance companies were disposed off on the day.         Three private insurance companies participated in the Lok Adalat and a total 38 cases involving them were disposed off. They were asked to pay damage to the tune of a little over Rs 55,000.








Encounter questioned, Delhi govt orders inquiry

Almost six years after five people were killed in an encounter with the Special Cell of Delhi Police in Sonia Vihar, Northeast Delhi, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has termed the encounter as “fake” — prompting the Delhi government to launch a magisterial probe.

Interestingly, three officers involved in the encounter had received the President’s Police Medal for gallantry in 2010.

On Saturday, the entire scene of the encounter was recreated with the help of public witnesses, and the policemen involved were summoned to the spot in the presence of Divisional Commissioner Vijay Dev. The NHRC, in its report, observed that the five men may not have opened fire on the police team because there was no trace of gunpowder on their palms, nor fingerprints on the firearms recovered from them. The Delhi Police had said in its FIR that the five men had opened fire, which is why they retaliated — killing them on the spot.

The officers include several high profile policemen of the elite Special Cell and Crime Branch of Delhi Police, such as Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police Sanjeev Yadav, Assistant Commissioner of Police S K Giri, Inspector Manoj Dixit and 23 other policemen.

The encounter took place around 10.45 pm on May 6, 2006, near the Sonia Vihar Water Treatment Plant in Khajuri Khas, Northeast Delhi. The Special Cell team had reportedly killed the five men, believed to be members of a notorious gang active in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The victims were identified as Sanjay (30), Aslam (25), Manoj (25), Shehzad (30) and Ayub (32).

Prabha Jatav, the widow of Sanjay, and Zamal Ahmed, father of Aslam, had moved a petition with the NHRC, alleging that they were picked up from their house in Meerut and killed in cold blood after being taken to Delhi. The NHRC completed the probe, and based on forensic evidence, came to the conclusion that no “cross firing” had occurred.

The report was submitted to the Delhi government in July 2010, and a magisterial inquiry was initiated in September. On December 23, 2011, the DC issued newspaper advertisements asking members of the public to share information about the encounter from 6 to 8 January, 2012, at his office.

Officials said several witnesses have approached them, and they were still collecting the details. “We are recording statements of witnesses. The entire scene of encounter was recreated on Saturday and policemen were asked to share all the details,” a senior officer said.







UP Polls: Election Commission wants UP DGP, home secretary removed


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.03AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Election Commission (EC) late on Saturday directed the UP government to remove director-general (DGP) of police Brij Lal and principal secretary home Fateh Bahadur Singh. Brij Lal and Singh were replaced by Atul Kumar and Manjit Singh. Opposition parties had demanded the removal of the officers to ensure free and fair elections.

The BSP called the removal of the two officers belonging to scheduled castes as “an insult to the dalit community”.

BSP general secretary Satish Chandra Mishra announced the EC order to remove the officers. When contacted, UP Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha, said he has not received any official communique from the EC or the government about the transfers. Even Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) S Y Quraishi did not mention the transfers while speaking to reporters in the evening.

Quraishi was on a two-day visit to Lucknow to review the election process. He said he has received complaints from opposition parties demanding removal of a number of officers whom they claimed were “biased”.

Officials have been directed to work in a free and fair manner, said Quraishi. Three hours after his press conference, Mishra informed the EC decision to transfer the DGP and the home secretary.











PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 08,2012

Justice Muralidhar, in his 20-page judgement, asked the Justice Muralidhar, in his 20-page judgement, asked the ICA to nominate a sole arbitrator in two weeks of receipt of a certified copy of this order. “Considering that the disputes between the parties have been pending resolution for many years, the learned sole Arbitrator is requested to pronounce the fresh reasoned award within a period of six months from the date of commencement of proceedings before the sole arbitrator,” the court said. “This court holds that the procedure adopted by the Tribunal (ICA) in the present case was far from satisfactory and was not consistent with the requirement of Section 18 of the Act. This is another ground on which the impugned Award is unsustainable in law and is hereby set aside,” it said. The dispute between the firms first arose in 2001 when the Indian firm, which was sub-assigned works for the amount of Rs 3.8 crore, alleged that French company owed it a balance sum of Rs 38 lakh.






Agitators demand tribunal for Jharkhand river water share


PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Ranchi, Jan 7 (PTI) The Sone Anchal Kisan Sanghars Samiti today demanded setting up a tribunal to decide Jharkhand’s share from the Sone river after the bifurcation of the erstwhile Bihar in 2000. “It is 11 years since Jharkhand has become one of the five riparian states in the Sone river system which passes through Palamau and Garhwa districts. Therefore, we demand setting up a tribunal by the Central government to ascertain our share of water in the interest of the farmers in those districts,” Samiti Convenor Saryu Roy said here. Stating that even Patna High Court had disposed off his petition last year with a direction to the Centre to constitute a tribunal under the provisions of the Inter-State Water Disputes Act, 1956, Roy said he met Bihar and Jharkhand Chief Ministers Nitish Kumar and Arjun Munda and apprised them of the matter. “A delegation of the Samiti will visit Delhi next week to meet the Union Water Resources Ministry officials and draw their attention to the court order,” he said. Roy said earlier there were three riparian states – Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, and after the bifurcation Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh were added to the list of riparian states. As per the Bansagar agreement reached in 1973, Roy said, the total annual average availability of water in the Sone river was assessed at 14.25 Million Acre Feet (MAF), out of which 7.75 MAF water allocated to the united Bihar while UP’s share was 1.25 MAF and united MP’s was 5.25 MAF. “Now that Jharkhand has been carved out from Bihar, a tribunal should be set up to mark its annual share,” Roy said. Considering the drought-prone Palamau and Garhwa districts as rain shadow areas, he said early setting up of tribunal would help the farmers of those districts. “In the last monsoon, water level rose to 22 feet above danger mark in Palamau district, but there is no dam to block and control water for future requirement,” Roy said. PTI PVR AMD








Mine rehabilitation, reclamation plan ready


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 06.54AM IST

BANGALORE: A model mine rehabilitation and reclamation plan based on mines in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts, will be submitted to the Supreme Court and Karnataka government, says V K Bahuguna, director-general , Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), Dehradun.

“We have done an environment impact assessment (EIA) study on this issue. An eight-member team, including experts, foresters and wildlife scientists conducted a field study. We will submit the report to the Supreme Court on January 20, and also to the Karnataka government ,” he told reporters in Bangalore on Saturday.

ICFRE’s advanced centre for mining rehabilitation in Bangalore undertakes a systematic study on the topic. It has been functioning since October last year, he said.









Doctors re-postmortem ordered


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: The High Court on Friday ordered re-postmortem on the body of Dr M.Srinivasa Rao, an orthopaedic specialist at the government hospital at Eluru in West Godavari district, who had committed suicide by hanging himself on December 6 last.Rao’s father, Dr M Tejo Murthy of Bhimavaram, approached the High Court when the local police authorities failed to take action on his request for repostmortem by exhuming the body of his son. Murthy grew suspicious over the nature of his son’s death as his son’s relationship with daughterinlaw Annapoorna was strained due to personal reasons. Hearing Murthy’s writ petition, justice Ramesh Ranganathan directed the West Godavari district superintendent of police to exhume the body and conduct repostmortem with a forensic expert except the doctor who had done postmortem in the past, and to submit a report to the court by January 19.Murthy said in his petition the postmortem conducted at 2.20 pm on December 7 was not done properly. Later, he found discrepancies in the postmortem certificate and the postmortem conducted on the body. He said he had found that the abdomen and the scalp were not opened giving rise to suspicions about the death. Besides, the certificate does not mention that the viscera was collected from the body.







New TNPCB offices to increase polluting units


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

VELLORE: The Vellore Citizens Welfare Forum (VCWF) has opposed the proposed move of the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) to set up zonal offices in five locations across the State, including Vellore.

The forum stated that such zonal offices were just an eyewash meant to speed up the mechanism of granting “consent” to set up new industrial units that could be potential polluters.

Honorary secretary of the forum, P S Subrahmanian said that while the proposed zonal offices should have a more effective role in preventing pollution, such offices blindly gave the go-ahead to polluting industrial units.

Moreover, in response to a writ petition filed by the forum against leather industries, the apex court in its verdict in 1996 had said that ‘consent’ should not be given for new polluting industries to be set up in the State. Section 25 of the Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974 made it mandatory that without the consent of the TNPCB, the industries should not use any new or altered outlet to discharge sewage or trade effluents into water bodies.

The forum pointed out that in the case of Vellore district, the Palar river and its tributaries have been polluted for over three decades by chemical industries and tanneries approved

by TNPCB. It revealed that the ecological damage to these places has been huge with water bodies in several areas turning unfit for use.

The forum felt that the proposed zonal offices were redundant and the State should not permit new industries to be set up in Vellore, Tiruchy, Kancheepuram, Dindigul and Erode.







Remove solar fencing in Elephant Corridor


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the government to immediately remove all illegally-erected solar energised electrical fencing, including those of the proposed parties, in the elephant corridor in the Nilgiris district. A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice N Kirubakaran gave the direction while passing interim orders on a writ petition from R Vishnu Ram Saravanavel of Anna Nagar West, on Friday.
The bench noted that while passing final orders on a writ petition on April 7 last year, it had observed that each private holding was bound by solar electric fencing, virtually cutting across the elephant corridor and thus the people were developing the area for the pleasure of individuals at the cost of elephant and wildlife, thus recognising the threat being posed by such illegal erections by greedy people to wildlife and allowing the creation of elephant corridor by the government.
SLPs were filed in the Supreme Court challenging the final order. But, the apex court, except for staying a portion relating to dispossession and demolition of the buildings for two months, had not intervened in the other directions given by the High Court towards creation of elephant corridor, the bench pointed out.
However, so far, nothing fruitful seems to have been done by the government towards removing the illegally erected solar energised electrical fencing, which were restricting the free movement of the animals and virtually cutting across the elephant corridor, the bench said and gave the direction. The matter will be taken up after two weeks.





Faced with NBW, Sukhram surrenders in telecom scam


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 12.54AM IST

NEW DELHI: Hours after a trial court threatened to issue a non-bailable warrant (NBW) against former Union minister Sukhram if he failed to surrender before it on Saturday, the 86-year-old politician appeared before the court after coming in an ambulance.

The politician surrendered before special CBI judge Sanjiv Jain, who sent him to jail to serve his three years’ sentence in the 1993 telecom scam case. On Friday, Sukhram’s counsel had told the court that he had slipped into coma and that he may be taken into judicial custody in the hospital itself. However, doctors attending on him had claimed that he was not in a state of coma and only feeling drowsy.

When the judge heard the matter in the morning, Sukhram counsel Anil Nag clarified before the court that the former minister was not in coma but in a state of drowsiness and would surrender before the court. He also stated that the issuance of the warrant would adversely affect their case pending in the Supreme Court. Nag told the court that the advocate who appeared for Sukhram on the last hearing had gone “over the board” while stating that the former minister was in coma.

The court then instructed the court staff to inform the authorities concerned to make adequate arrangements in case Sukhram comes to surrender in an ambulance and is unable to move on his own. As Sukhram reached the Patiala house court complex in an ambulance, the doctor, who accompanied him, told the court that the “patient” was still unconscious. The judge then said that the doctor could accompany Sukhram in the ambulance till he reaches Tihar Jail.

The judge ordered Sukhram to be taken to jail in the same ambulance and directed the prison authorities to provide him necessary medical aid as per norms. “As requested by the counsel for the convict (Sukhram), lock up/jail authorities are directed to provide necessary medical aid to the convict in accordance to the norms,” the judge said.

Sukhram was directed by the Supreme Court to surrender before the trial court on January 5 but he avoided the same citing medical reasons. The high court had on December 21 last year upheld the lower court’s 2002 judgment holding Sukhram, former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a Telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad’s Advanced Radio Masts (ARM) which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT.

Runu Ghosh and Rama Rao had surrendered before the trial court on January 5 and were sent to jail to serve their sentence of two and three years respectively along with Rs two lakh fine. The three convicts had approached the apex court to grant them relief so that they would not have to surrender. The apex court, however, refused to entertain their plea, saying that their appeal against the Delhi High Court would be listed for hearing only after they surrender before the trial court.









Family of four held for land grabbing


Special Correspondent

False documents created to claim ownership

A jaggery merchant who owned 13.5 acres of land at Alangulam-Sambakulam stretch near Perungudi off Madurai airport got back his property after intervention of the Madurai Rural Police.

Four of a family, who were originally working in the farm of the landlord, allegedly created false documents and claimed ownership of the property worth Rs. five crore. Despite court orders in favour of the landlord, the accused not only refused to vacate the property, but also demanded Rs. 10 lakh for handing back the possession.

Under such circumstances, Suresh Gandhi, the landlord, a jaggery merchant in Amman Sannidhi, lodged a complaint with Superintendent of Police Asra Garg.

According to the petitioner, he had bought the land in 1983 and registered it in the name of himself and his family members.

He had planted coconut saplings on the land and appointed one of his shop workers Mookiah Thevar, son of Ramu Thevar, of Alangulam.

The complainant had also built a small dwelling for Mookiah’s family to live in and take care of the land.

In 1990, Mookiah, along with his sons, quit the job and in a “jamabandhi” organised by the Revenue Department, submitted a petition praying to include his name as well in the ‘patta’ along with Suresh Gandhi and others.

In 2005, Mookiah Thevar had approached the Munsif court to get his name included in the property as co-owner since he had been managing the affairs and was in his possession for long. However, the court had dismissed the plea.

An appeal by Mookiah also went in favour of Suresh Gandhi. When Mookiah was compelled to hand over the possession, he had demanded Rs. 10 lakh in exchange for vacating the place and dragged on without obeying the court directive.

Tirupparankundram Inspector of Police Jayachandran, who investigated the crime, registered a case and arrested Mookiah Thevar, his wife Lingammal, son Kannan and daughter-in-law Meenakshi.

Mr. Garg said that the accused had failed to obey the court directive and such acts would be dealt as per law.

He commended the Inspector of Police for his swift action in retrieving the property.






IMC in a fix over illegal hoardings


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 04.59AM IST

INDORE: Pulled up by the Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court (MPHC) for turning a blind eye to the hoardings placed illegally in the city, the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) has planned to tighten the noose around flex printers, who print these hoardings. However, civic body is not clear about the way to implement its idea.

Civic body believes that if it is made compulsory to print the name and address of the printers on every flex, then they can take action against those who place it.

Officials are of the view that with the help of identity of the printers, they can easily trace out the person who had printed it. In case any printer does not cooperate, they can take action against them as well.

Municipal commissioner Yogendra Sharma said they are trying to find out the ways to implement the idea. “This cannot be implemented by the IMC alone. We will need support of the district administration as well,” he said.

Deputy commissioner (Market) Rakesh Sharma said, “IMC has removed around 300 hoardings in the last one month. But most of them were placed back late night and hence it was difficult to get hold of the people who placed them. Officials, without any proper evidence, cannot even take action against those whose photographs and names are generally printed on the flex.

“Many a time, people featured on the hoardings say that hoardings were placed without their knowledge,” said Sharma adding action can be taken only when they catch hold of the people while placing hoardings.

Civic officials pointed out those traffic policemen, who spend most of their time on roads, can play a major role in checking illegal hoardings. However, traffic department officials said that their department was under-staffed and removing hoardings was purely the job of civic body.

Interestingly, the PIL filed on illegal hoardings by Sanjay Mittal has made the state government, collector Indore, SSP Indore and IMC respondents.

Justice S S Kemkar and Justice Prakash Srivatav, during hearing recently had asked all the parties to file their replies by first week of February.

Advocate P K Shukla on behalf of the petitioner had submitted a list of around 30 places where illegal hoardings were placed. To make his case strong, he had also submitted the photographs of such places.










Artists plan rally to protest ‘culture scam’


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 02.52AM IST

KOLKATA: Renowned artists and sculptors in the city will come together on January 10 to demand punitive action against those responsible for faking Tagore paintings for an exhibition held last March. More than 50 artists and thousands of citizens are expected to gather at Metro Channel seeking “an end to the cultural scam” that has put the state to shame. The meet is being organized under the banner of Calcutta Art Forum.

“Let all artists, intellectuals and Kolkatans pray to the government to take active steps and identify the culprits through a proper inquiry. Those responsible should be exposed and penalized for using public money to exploit Tagore’s works at an age-old, government institution,” said a statement issued by the Forum. Artists like Asit Paul, Anil Sen, Rajrishi Mukherjee, Chandan Roy and Ashok Kumar Dey will take part in the meet.

In March, 2011, the Government College of Art and Craft had organized an exhibition of 23 Tagore paintings. A section of art-lovers and artists had alleged that many of the works were fake. A PIL had been filed at Calcutta high court asking the Archaeological Survey of India to analyse the paintings.

A committee of experts appointed by the ASI carried out a scientific and stylistic analysis and concluded that 20 of the 23 paintings were fakes.

“This is an assault on the cultural sensibilities of the people of Bengal. It’s also a dangerous trend that has to be curbed. We appeal to all right-thinking people to come together and condemn this. We also appeal before the court to award an exemplary punishment to those found guilty,” said Debashish Dhar, a painter and member of the Calcutta Art Forum.

Fake tagore paintings

Let all artists, intellectuals and Kolkatans pray to the government to take active steps and identify the culprits through a proper inquiry











Panels report on mining to SC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: After two days of intense field survey at the mining sites at Bellary, Chitradurga and Tumkur districts, the ten-member team headed by Dr VK Bahuguna, Director General, Indian Council of Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE), will be submitting the model rehabilitation and reclamation plan to the Supreme Court by January 20.

Addressing media persons on Saturday, Dr Bahuguna said, “Based on the scientific facts of whatever damage has been done, the scientists have analysed the slopes, engineering structure and the extent of green cover loss due to mining, and how all these can be rehabilitated.”

“In addition, we have also made a study of how sustainable scientific mining can be practised in the area. However, the practice has to be monitored by a reputed institute all throughout, as we have found that the mine owners do not have expertise in the particular field,” he added.

Bahuguna said, “Taking the instances of underground mining in Sweden, we have just suggested a feasible study.”








Murder accused commits suicide


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.56AM IST

NAGPUR: A 42-year-old mentally disturbed man, an accused in murder case, set himself ablaze at his residence at Pandhrabodi on Saturday morning.

Bablu Banode, who appeared to have doused himself with kerosene before setting himself afire with a matchstick inside a locked room, sustained serious burn injuries. Bablu’s family members tried to rescue him by breaking open the door, but to no avail. Family sources said that he was declared dead at Government Medical College and Hospital.

Bablu, father of two, was under medication. According to sources, Bablu had recently attacked a man hallucinating him for an attacker.

Ambazari police have registered a case of accidental death.

Bablu was released from Nagpur Central Jail last year after he got bail from the apex court where he had appealed against conviction in the murder of Mukesh Malik. Bablu and two others were sentenced to life imprisonment by the sessions court. The decision was upheld by the high court.

The murder case, registered in November 2004, was in news again in the first week of this month when Bablu’s younger brother Sanjay was arrested. Apart from Bablu and younger brother Sanjay, there were two other accused in the case.







Drug peddler hurls sandal at judge in Jamnagar court


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Rajkot, Jan 7 (PTI) A drug peddler, who was given a 10- year prison term today, hurled a sandal at the additional sessions judge at Jamnagar who pronounced the verdict, police said. Sushant Sardeshwar Lal (26), a native of Odisha, was arrested in 2009 for possessing drugs in Jamnagar. The verdict in the case was pronounced by additional sessions judge P A Gadhvi. When the judge sentenced him to 10 years rigorous imprisonment under two different sections of IPC and slapped a fine of Rs 2 lakh on him, Sushant took out his sandal and threw it at the judge, police said. However, the judge ducked. Sushant was immediately rounded up by policemen present at the court. He later apologised in writing for his misbehaviour and the judge too forgave him.




Court rejects Gorhe, Narvekar plea on voice samples

Additional Sessions Judge V G Joshi on Saturday dismissed a petition by Shiv Sena MLC Neelam Gorhe and Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray’s personal secretary Milind Narvekar against collection of their voice samples by police.

Police had earlier charged them with engineering clashes in Pune during a bandh in December 2010 against shifting of a statue of Dadoji Konddeo from Lal Mahal. The voice samples were sought to be used for matching a conversation allegedly between the two, intercepted a day prior to the bandh.

Police said their voice samples were crucial evidence. A magistrate court had earlier directed the police to collect the voice samples, but Gorhe and Narvekar, through their lawyer Shrikant Shivade, had filed a revision petition on March 6. The petition stated that asking them to give their voice samples was a violation of Article 20 (3) of the Constitution as it compels them to be a witness against themselves.

Special Public Prosecutor Prakash Suryavanshi cited orders of the Supreme Court and the Bombay High Court to show that it was not a violation of constitutional rights. “The court dismissed the petition of Gorhe and Narvekar,” Suryavanshi said.

Gorhe said, “Our lawyers will get a copy of the verdict and approach the Bombay High Court. Our battle is for freedom of speech….”

According to the tapped conversation, Narvekar had allegedly given instructions to Gorhe to cause violence by stone-pelting, burning buses and rioting while simultaneously informing TV crews to cover it during the bandh on December 28, 2010. In February last year, Bundgarden police officer Suhas Nadgouda had moved an application in the magistrate court seeking permission to collect the voice samples.

“It is important evidence to strengthen the case,” Nadgouda had said. The court had permitted the police to collect the voice samples on February 26, but Gorhe and Narvekar failed to turn up at the police station. They said they had not received a copy of the court order.







Justice eludes gang-raped girl


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: Justice, sometimes, is a chimera for the socially weak. Who knows it better than the family of a 19-year-old girl, allegedly gang-raped and subjected to grievous injuries in Puri’s Pipili in November last year.

Unable to get justice from the police and appropriate treatment at hospitals, the victim’s father brought her to the State Commission for Women (SCW) here on Saturday. The victim, in a comatose state, lay bundled in an autorickshaw before she was rushed to Capital Hospital by City police.

SCW Chairperson Dr Jyoti Panigrahy visited her in the hospital. Given her critical condition and the absence of adequate health care facilities there, she was referred to SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. The Cuttack hospital too returned the patient saying she was in a terminal stage. Babuli Behera, the victim’s father, had no option but to take her back home.

And this is not the first time. Earlier too, Behera, a resident of Arjunagada village under Pipili Police Station, had tried to seek treatment at these hospitals but was turned away.

On November 28, the girl was found in a distressed state near the village. Behera alleged that she was gang-raped by two persons who also attempted to asphyxiate her. The assailants had left her to die but the girl survived. She suffered serious injuries and slipped into a coma. The family had tried to get her treatment but without much success.

It was not about treatment alone. Behera alleged that he had tried to lodge a complaint with police which initially did not receive it. Once the FIR was registered, no action was taken against the accused, Behera said.

The victim was a key witness to a molestation that had occurred in the area in January 2008 when she too was assaulted. The girl was receiving regular threats since then while the case has gone on trial at Puri, her father said.

Panigrahy said the Commission wants police to initiate necessary action in the case so that she can get justice although she admitted that the complaint, lodged with police, does not mention many of the allegations. “Our first concern was to ensure that she gets medical attention since she is in a serious condition. We are monitoring the case and will take necessary action,” Panigrahy said.








Several vehicles challaned, unaccounted money recovered


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.49AM IST

KANPUR: Over 190 vehicles, including two and four-wheelers were challaned. As many as 14 two-wheelers and 15 four-wheelers were seized and Rs 2.30 lakh in cash, 12 litres of IMFL, two licensed firearms, 40 cartridges were recovered during a vehicle checking drive on Saturday. The drive was held in view of the coming Assembly elections.

Three persons were booked under Section 188 of Indian Penal Code and 144 CrPC and Section 6 of Excise Act, DIG Rajesh Rai said.

A case has been registered with Raipurwa police regarding the recovery of Rs 2.30 lakh in cash. Those carrying the money were not able to produce documents related to it. The Election Commission has been informed about it.

In view of the Assembly elections, the Election Commission has imposed restrictions on movement of unaccounted cash of over Rs 2.5 lakh.







Capital’s crime rate registers a 4% jump in 2011

Delhi Police attribute the increase to prompt and fair registration of cases

Incidents of crime registered an over four per cent increase with cases of kidnapping for ransom, attempted murder and rape recording a sharp rise in the Capital last year comparison with 2010. The Delhi Police have attributed the increase to a prompt and fair registration of cases.

As per police statistics, a total of 53,353 cases under the Indian Penal Code were registered during the year as against 51,292 cases reported in the previous year. There was a rise of 3.93 per cent in heinous crimes, from 2,085 to 2,167 cases. “The increase is primarily due to fair registration of cases. We are not much concerned about the data part, but real emphasis is on public perception regarding their safety,” said Police Commissioner B. K. Gupta at the annual conference here on Friday.

Cases of kidnapping for ransom increased from 18 to 25 and 386 attempted murders were reported last year compared to 311 in 2010. Rape cases also recorded an increase of 12 per cent, from 507 to 568. Molestation cases also increased from 601 to 653, 95 per cent of which were solved. “We have taken measures like issuing direction to BPOs and other companies to ensure safety of women employees and creating women help-desks at police stations.”

There was a sharp decline of 11.67 per cent in snatching cases, six per cent in robbery and over three per cent in murder cases last year.

About six per cent increase was registered in detection rates, eight per cent in IPC crimes. The police arrested 1,770 snatchers compared to 1,592 in 2010, but only 76 per cent cases could be solved. The police found that 86 per cent were first-time offenders. While 98 per cent of the rape cases were solved, the police found that people known to the victims were involved in almost 98 per cent cases. All but one case of kidnapping for ransom were solved and all the victims rescued.

“An analysis of motives in murder cases revealed that only 13 per cent were crime related. Fire arms were used in only 12 per cent cases, where as sharp-edged weapons were used in 37 cases,” he said, noting that 95 per cent of the murder accused had no previous criminal records.

Mr. Gupta expressed satisfaction over decline in vehicle thefts, from 14,966 to 14,668. In all, 20 per cent of the vehicles were recovered as against 13 per cent in 2010. “We arrested 3,988 auto-lifters compared to 3,258 in the previous year. There was 56 per cent increase in recovery of vehicles,” said

Mr. Gupta, adding that stolen property recovery recorded a whopping 50 per cent increase.

The Police Commissioner said another area of focus was safety of senior citizens and 4,431 new elderly persons had been registered last year, taking the number to 12,788.

Seven thousand more criminals were arrested last year. There was a significant jump of 172 per cent, from 1,597 to 4,347, in the arrest of proclaimed offenders. Habitual criminals were targeted, 510 absent bad characters were traced as against 128 and externment proceedings initiated against 1,035 as against 300 in 2010. New history sheets were opened in 623 cases compared to 68 the previous year. The police arrested 38 criminals under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act and initiated 13 new proposals under the law.

Stating that drug abuse was also linked to incidents of crime, Mr. Gupta said the police carried out more arrests and seizures. About five times more cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act were registered.

In order to check street crimes, the police also focussed on gunrunning gangs. While 1,190 people were arrested compared to 1008 and 562 firearms seized as against 461 in 2010.







19-yr-old criminal found murdered in Hadapsar


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.53AM IST

PUNE: A criminal in police record was found dead in an open space near the Noble hospital in Hadapsar on Saturday morning.

According to the Hadapsar police, Gopal Namdeo Bhalerao (19), a resident of Mavlinagar in Magarpatta, had six cases, including five body offences and a robbery case registered against him with the Dombivli (East) police station between 2001 and 2011.

Senior inspector Pandharinath Mandhare said Bhalerao shifted to Pune after he was externed for two years in 2011. He lived in Mavlinagar with his wife and had picked up a job of housekeeping at a private hospital in Hadapsar.

Investigations have revealed that on Friday, a person known to Bhalerao met him at the hospital gate and invited him to join a party, the reason being the person had received his salary. Bhalerao accepted the invitation and told his wife, Asha (19), who was with him at the time, to go home. He said he’d follow her in a while.

When Bhalerao did not reach home till late night, Asha made several attempts to contact him on his cellphone, but in vain.

Mandhare said Bhalerao’s body, with injuries on his head and back, was found at an open plot near Noble hospital on Saturday morning. A liquor bottle, an earphone, and a cement block were found at the crime scene.

The victim’s wife has named three suspects responsible for her husband’s murder in her complaint registered with the Hadapsar police station under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code. No arrests have been made so far.







Journos condemn top cop’s action


PTI | 01:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Rajkot, Jan 6 (PTI) The Rajkot District Media Association today strongly opposed city Police Commissioner Geetha Johri’s action against scribes of a leading daily news paper for publishing a photo of hers dancing in a party, on the eve of the New Year. Kana Batwa (editor), Aniruddh Nakum (reporter) and Prakash Ravrani (phtographer) of the daily have been booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The dispute between the scribes and the city police commissioner began on December 30 at a city-based club where photographers of various news papers were invited. The police commissioner was caught in the camera while dancing and the photo was published by a couple of newspapers. The commissioner had also allegedly slapped the photographer to stop him from clicking her picture. On the police commissioner’s direction, police booked the trio under various sections of the IPC on January 4. However, journalists from various newspapers and news channels gathered at the circuit house today and marched to the police commissioner office and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner of Police R M Pandey. Kana Batwa the editor of the daily termed the police commissioner’s action as “fabricated” and said she was trying to suppress media’s voice. The trio have already secured anticipatory bail but have not been arrested, police said.


NU prof files complaint against ‘govt official’


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 02.01AM IST

NAGPUR: A senior professor and author, posted as head of department of Ambedkar Thoughts in RTM Nagpur University, lodged a complaint at Rana Pratap Nagar police station against a man who is likely to hold a senior position in a Central government department for an alleged fraud on Saturday.

Rana Pratap Nagar police registered an offence of cheating under section 420 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) against Arvind Sontakke for duping Pradeep Aglawe to the tune of 3.96 lakhs on the pretext of ensuring posting of seven candidates as probationary officers in the Reserve Bank of India.

Aglawe said, Sontakke assured him to use his ‘high profile’ contacts as a senior official to ensure postings. Sontakke then demanded 35,000 to be deposited by each candidate in an account number that he gave Aglawe. Sontakke was not reachable when TOI tried to contact him. A senior officer said, cops are yet to find Sontakke’s real identity.







Give us one good reason why these gentlemen should not be taken to task


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
January 07, 2012

Andhra Pradesh director general of police V Dinesh Reddy’s statement attributing increase in rape cases to women provoking men by wearing “flimsy and fashionable” dresses has triggered another debate. The statement attracted almost instant condemnation from various quarters, including the

Central Government. “I strongly disagree with that statement. Everyone is entitled to dress the way he or she pleases as long as he or she has regards to the occasion, the place and the context. Obviously, you don’t wear whole lot of clothes to play football or tennis and you don’t wear swimwear and go to a cocktail party,” Union home minister P Chidambaram had commented.

In fact the right to wear a dress of one’s own choice is covered under Article 19(1)(a) of the Indian Constitution, which guarantees freedom of speech and expression subject to certain reasonable restrictions, including public order, decency and morality.

Reddy is not the first or the only person in power to make such a statement. Even in western countries there have been instances of moral policing. A Canadian policeman was forced to apologise after suggesting women could avoid sexual assault by not dressing like “sluts”.

While the western world grapples with the issue, as the Slutwalk showed, in a country like India where women are far less empowered and crimes against women are shockingly high – according to the National Crime Records Bureau, the total reported crimes in 2010 against women including rape and sexual harrassment were 213585 – such statements only worsen the situation by putting the onus of safety on women.

While the Canadian cop’s famous statement was a one-off that triggered a worldwide movement, in India, every time such a statement is made there is hue and cry, debate and discussion and the issue subsides. There is hardly any action against the persons making the offending statements. Can they be dragged to court for allegedly abetting or inciting crimes (such as rape and outraging modesty of women) offences against women?

According to section 107 (first part) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), “A person abets the doing of a thing, who instigates any person to do that thing.”

Section 108 of the IPC that defines “abettor”, says, “A person abets an offence, who abets either the commission of an offence, or the commission of an act which would be an offence, if committed by a person capable of law of committing an offence with the same intention or knowledge as that of the abettor.

According to Explanation 2 of Section 108 of the IPC, “To constitute the offence of abetment it is not necessary that the act abetted should be committed, or that effect requisite to constitute the offence should be caused.”

Section 505(1)(b) of the IPC, says, “Whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report with intent to cause, or which is likely to cause, fear or alarm to the public, or to any section of the public whereby any person may be induced to commit an offence against the State or against the public tranquility; or (c) with intent to incite, or which is likely to incite, any class or community of persons to commit any offence against any other class or community, shall be punished with imprisonment which may extend to three years, or with fine, or with both.

Can statements like the one made by the Andhra Pradesh DGP amount to abetting or inciting a crime against women?

Senior advocate Rajeev Dhavan says such a statement has the potential to create public mischief and, depending upon facts of a particular case, it can attract Section 505 of the IPC.

“Such comments are highly irresponsible. Instead of protecting women, we find police officers saying that they are wrong to dress in the way they dress, which the officers find provocative. This shows that his mind is tainted and biased. Equally, such a statement can cause fear or alarm to women and may induce a person to commit crimes against women.”

Condemning the statement, Dhavan said: “It appears to be a statement of policy to blame the victim of a rape or sexual harassment and to absolve the rapist or the harasser. This will simply not do.”

But senior counsel Pinky Anand is clear that such statements cannot amount to inciting or abetting offences against women. “I don’t think any offence is made out…. for the simple reason that abetment has to be towards commission of a crime.” She said: “No doubt the statement by the senior officer is  unfortunate, improper and out of place. But to attract the provisions of criminal law there has to be intention to incite or abet a crime.”

Senior counsel and law commission vice chairman KTS Tulsi agrees. “It can amount to justifying a crime. But it can neither be termed as abetment or instigation. To categorise such statements as a crime would be stretching it too far.”

Tulsi, however, said, “Such statements reflect society’s male chauvinist mindset. By proceeding to rationalise or justify crimes against women, they are inadvertently promoting unacceptable behaviour on the part of men towards women.”

Advocate Anand Grover, who fought a long-drawn legal battle to decriminalise homosexual acts between consenting adults in private, says, “It’s an open question. Nobody has tried it. A lot would depend on what the person said and under what circumstances.”

He, however, said: “Crime or no crime, to say that dresses can provoke men to rape is obnoxious. It creates an environment in which people think it’s ok to rape women. No person, particularly a police officer, has a right to talk like this.”

Has the time come to drag such people to the court of law for their irresponsible statements?







NIA opposes bail plea of Malegaon blast accused Pragya Singh


Press Trust Of India
Mumbai, January 07, 2012

National Investigating Agency on Saturday opposed the bail plea of a key accused in the Malegaon 2008 blast, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, in the special Mcoca court, saying she aided and abetted the other accused with the full knowledge of the strike and had offered all


On November 18, Thakur had filed a bail application in the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (Mcoca) court for the third time saying that she was falsely implicated in the case.

While opposing the bail, NIA’s public prosecutor Rohini Salian told the court that, “The investigating agency has concrete evidence against her linking to the blast. She is member of an organised crime syndicate and has aided and abetted the other accused with the full knowledge to accomplish the object of conspiracy.”

“A motor cycle registered in her name was used to plant the bomb,” she stated.

The application filed by the NIA states that Thakur was in association with the arrested as well as accused Ramchandra Kalasangraha and Sandeep Dange who executed the blast and that there is enough material against her in the charge sheet.

Thakur, against whom there is ample material, has not made out a case to satisfy the court to hold that there are reasonable grounds for believing that she is not guilty of offences, which are leveled against her, it said.

Further arguments over the bail plea would be heard on January 21.

Her two bail applications filed earlier, one saying that the ATS had failed to file the charge sheet in time and another one on the ground that she was ill, were rejected by the court.

In her latest application, she had stated she should be given bail on the ground of parity as three other accused in the case, Shyam Shahu, Shivji Kalsangrah and Ajay Rahirkar were given bail.

Twelve persons including Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and Lt Col Prasad Purohit were arrested for carrying out blast at Malegaon on September 29, 2008, killing six persons and injuring 100 others.

The accused have been booked under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA), Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA), besides the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The trial is yet to commence as some of the accused have challenged the invocation of MCOCA in the case before the Supreme Court, which is pending.

“Thakur along with other accused entered a criminal conspiracy to strike terror in the minds of people by exploding bomb in Malegaon,” the NIA claimed adding that Thakur, a member of rightwing organisation Abhinav Bharat “had offered all logistics support required for bomb blasts at the target place and insisted to procure RDX and also offered service of a close confident.”

The statements of witnesses had revealed that the accused have previously discussed about the Malegaon bomb blast. Kalasangraha, the witness claimed, had admitted having planted bomb on the motor cycles of Thakur by erasing chassis and engine number at Malegaon. Thakur had asked Kalasangraha how come very few people died in the blast, the NIA said.

“Kalasangraha replied that he did not get chance to park the motorcycle in the crowded area so he had parked it at a less crowded place,” NIA said.

“Purohit had stated that Malegaon has a large number of Muslims. It was necessary to do some action there. If bomb explosion is carried out there, it will be good retaliation of atrocities on Hindus. At this time, Thakur showed her readiness to provided men for such action,” the NIA stated.

Asking the court to reject Thakur’s bail plea, the top agency stated, “There is every likelihood of Thakur committing further offence if bail is granted. There is every likely-hood that she would tamper with evidence and witnesses in the case. The probe is still in progress and two main wanted accused are still at large and granting bail to Thakur will jeopardize the final outcome of the case.”







Charges framed against Madhuri Gupta in espionage case


PTI Jan 7, 2012, 04.09PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today framed charges against former Indian diplomat Madhuri Gupta for allegedly passing on sensitive information to Pakistan’s ISI.

Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain charged Gupta under Section 3 and 5 of the Official Secrets Act for spying and also section 120B of the Indian Penal Code for criminal conspiracy.

The court fixed March 22 for starting the trial. Gupta, 53, posted as Second Secretary (Press and Information) at Indian High Commission in Islamabad, was arrested on April 22, 2010 by the Special Cell of Delhi Police for passing on sensitive information pertaining to defence to Pakistan’s ISI.

She has been charged with breach of trust, criminal conspiracy and various other provisions of the Official Secrets Act.

It was alleged that Gupta revealed certain classified information to Pakistani officials and was in touch with two ISI officials, Mubshar Raza Rana and Jamshed.

According to the charge sheet filed in July 2010, Gupta was involved in a relationship with Jamshed whom she planned to marry. She used to communicate with Jamshed who had a code name ‘Jim’.

The diplomat was using a computer installed at her residence in Islamabad and a Blackberry phone to be in touch with the two Pakistani spies, it said.

She had also visited Jammu and Kashmir in March 2010 on the instructions of Rana to allegedly procure the Annual Plan Report of the state. Rana also wanted information on the proposed 310 MW hydro-electric power project to be set up in the state by 2020, it said.







Apprehension of bail being granted no ground for preventive detention’


J. Venkatesan

Right to life and liberty cannot be taken away sans due procedure, says Supreme Court

Observing that the right to life and liberty guaranteed to a citizen under Article 21 of the Constitution cannot be taken away without following due procedure, the Supreme Court has held that mere apprehension of the authorities that an accused was likely to be released on bail was not a ground for passing preventive detention orders.

A three-judge Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S.S. Nijjar and J. Chelameswar while giving this ruling held that such prevention detention was “not justified.”

Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Kabir said: “Article 21 of the Constitution enjoins that no person shall be deprived of his life or personal liberty except, according to procedure established by law. Although the power is vested with the concerned authorities, unless the same are invoked and implemented in a justifiable manner, such an action of the detaining authority cannot be sustained, inasmuch as, such a detention order is an exception to the provisions of Articles 21 and 22 (2) of the Constitution.”

The Bench also rejected the contention that going by the previous conduct of the accused, viz. if he was a habitual offender or he was involved in several other cases earlier, he could be detained under preventive detention law.

The Bench said: “When the Courts thought it fit to release the accused on bail [as had been done in this case] in connection with the cases in respect of which he had been arrested, the mere apprehension that he was likely to be released on bail as a ground of his detention is not justified.”

The Bench said: “There is no live link between the earlier incidents and the incident in respect of which the detention order had been passed. As has been observed in various cases of similar nature by this Court, the personal liberty of an individual is the most precious and prized right guaranteed under the Constitution. The State has been granted the power to curb such rights under criminal laws as also under the laws of preventive detention, which, therefore, are required to be exercised with due caution as well as upon a proper appreciation of the facts as to whether such acts are in any way prejudicial to the interest and the security of the State and its citizens, or seek to disturb public law and order, warranting the issuance of such an order. An individual incident of an offence under the Indian Penal Code, however heinous, is insufficient to make out a case for issuance of an order of preventive detention.”

In the instant case, Yumman Ongbai Lembi Leima, the appellant, challenged the judgment of the Gauhati High Court upholding the order of preventive detention of her husband, Yumman Somendro @ Somo @ Tiken, under the National Security Act on January 31, 2011. The said detention order, approved by the Governor of Manipur on February 7, 2011, was passed on the ground that the detenu was likely to be released on bail by the normal criminal Courts in the near future. Allowing the appeal, the Bench quashed the detention order and directed the appellant’s husband to be released forthwith.



HC reduces prison term for man who sodomised baby

The Bombay High Court has reduced punishment for a man convicted of sodomising a 10-month-old girl child, accepting his contention that he lost control over himself as he was living away from his family.

Although the court upheld his conviction under Section 377 of the IPC, it reduced the sentence handed out to Ramkishan Harijan, who worked as a labourer with a brick-trader in Mumbai, from 10 years to seven.

In his judgment, Justice M L Tahaliyani also said that the six years Harijan had already spent in jail be taken into account.

“Trial judge was aware of the fact that the appellant (Harijan) was married and (had) two children and his family was staying in Uttar Pradesh… No doubt, this by itself may not be a reason for lenient sentence. However, had it been considered in the proper perspective, the learned trial court probably would have imposed lesser sentence than 10 years,” Justice M L Tahaliyani wrote in his judgment recently.

According to the prosecution, Harijan was a neighbour of the victim, and both lived on Mankhurd-Ghatkopar Link Road. On January 10, 2006, he took the child to a deserted place near her house and sodomised her while her father was away.

The victim’s mother came to the spot on hearing the child’s cries and claimed to have seen Harijan fleeing. The child was bleeding from her private parts. Harijan was arrested the next day.

On January 1, 2008, a sessions court acquitted Harijan of charges of rape but held him guilty under Section 377 on charges of sodomy.

Arguing against the quantum of sentence awarded to Harijan, his lawyer Arfan Sait said he was poor and “living alone, away from his native place and therefore probably he lost control over himself”.






Paryaya: Legal battle in offing


Published: Saturday, Jan 7, 2012, 10:14 IST
By M Raghuram | Place: Udupi | Agency: DNA

The feud between the two Madhva mutts on permitting Sugunendra Thirta of Puttige Mutt to participate in the Paryaya fest is heading for a legal showdown.

A group belonging to the Sode Vadiraja Mutt has not paid heed to appeals of the state religious endowments minister VS Acharya or the advice of scholars.

“We have tried to bring some sense of responsibility in the administrators of Sode Vadiraja Mutt, but in vain. We have to look into the legal aspects,” said Sripathy Tantri, a leader of Madhva Brahmin community.

“The problem was not with the young Sode Mutt swamiji Vishwavallabh Thirtha, but with the people around him, including his advisor Rathnakumar and the swamiji’s father. They are keeping everybody else away from him. I pity the young swamiji, who is now confined to a room in the mutt. He has been kept under solitary confinement by the mutt authorities,” said Prof Tantri.

The act of social or religious boycott of a person or a group has been declared as a social dogma and such practices have been banished in India since 1935.

“Imposing social, religious and economical ban on a person irrespective of his crime cannot be accepted in the modern world. He can be tried in the court of law but not by any religious body or group of people. Sugunendra Thirta going abroad is not a crime. If hardliner administratorssee foreign trips as a sacrilege, they can award some sort of penance or suggest rectification process within the Ashtamutt swamiji’s council, but banning a swamiji or any other individual for that matteris anti-constitutional,” said

KL Acharya, a legal expert on religious matters.

In 2008, when a similar dispute had surfaced involving Puttige Swamiji, the high court had directed the Ashtamutts to allow Puttige Swamiji to conduct the Paryaya (2008-09) according to the tradition of Udupi.

He maintained that the direction by the court was still binding on the Ashtamutts.

“If they do not allow the swamiji to participate in the Paryaya on January 18, it will be a contempt of court,” said Prasannachar, administrator of Puttige Mutt.









Call for women’s quota in judiciary


A Subramani, TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 05.22AM IST

CHENNAI: Despite having had a woman Prime Minister and several woman chief ministers, the country is yet to have a woman attorney-general or solicitor general. Also, the Independent India has not seen a single advocate-general leading the Bar in any of its states.

This was the lament of P H Parekh, president, Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA), while speaking at a national conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers here on Saturday.

Wondering as to why women advocates were not getting what they genuinely deserved, Parekh called upon the big gathering of women lawyers from several states to revolt demanding reservation of at least 50% of all judicial officer posts.

Justice P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, in his speech said the judiciary was performing the role of a ‘social reformer’ and pointed out that it had been taking care of problems and interests of women.

“In the context of gender justice and equality, the judiciary has attempted to venture into the critical role of a social reformer by upholding the rights of women especially the victims of subordination and suppression,” Justice Sathasivam said.

“The contribution made by the judiciary to the improvement of status of women, protection of and access to fundamental rights and provision of conditions of dignity of life can be discerned from a number of decisions delivered while interpreting laws and the Constitution,” he said.

Justice Sathasivam said the root cause of all evil practices faced by women are illiteracy, economic dependence, caste restrictions, religious prohibition, lack of leadership qualities and apathetic and callous attitude towards women. He also urged the Bar members to be conversant with new amendments and technological development.

Justice Ranjana Prakash Desai, judge, Supreme Court, referring to destruction of millions of female fetuses every year, rape, bride burning, sexual harassment at work places, physical and mental cruelty, domestic violence and denial of property rights, said the police, prosecutors and courts had failed to give relief to women though the Constitution zealously protected women. Women lawyers can make a difference in enforcement of laws relating to women and children, though they can handle all kinds of cases, she said.

Justice M Y Eqbal, chief justice, Madras high court, said women in India are empowered in real sense of the term whereas in many countries they had just got or had to fight for their right to even vote. He said he had already recommended to the state government to constitute at least one family court in each district.

“Women’s empowerment remains an enigma trapped in mystery, in spite of tall claims made by social activists and lip service of administrators,” Justice Eqbal said.







Aarushi murder case: With Supreme Court vacating stay, Talwars out of options


Neeraj Chauhan, TNN | Jan 7, 2012, 01.24AM IST

NEW DELHI: With the Supreme Court rejecting Dr Rajesh and Nupur Talwar’s plea for quashing proceedings against them in the case of their daughter Aarushi’s murder, the couple has run out of options for now.

The SC has sent the case back to the trial court, which had taken a strict view of the CBI’s findings on circumstantial evidence and statements of witnesses and made Talwars the accused.

In her order on February 9, 2011, CBI special judge Preeti Singh had built her decision to name the parents of Aarushi as the accused on the basis of circumstantial evidence pointed out by CBI in its case diary and statements of several witnesses who had not seen the murders being carried out but helped in building the sequence of events and prove the complicity of Talwars.

Some of the witnesses who were listed as important in her order by Singh included some friends of Talwar, domestic helps and Noida police officers. The court had made elaborate observations on several points, including a V-shaped injury mark on both bodies (Hemraj and Aarushi’s), presence of only family members inside the house, cleaning of Aarushi’s private parts, Talwar’s reluctance to open the door of the terrace on May 16, 2008, bloodstains on the stairs and the doctor’s opinion that only a surgically trained person could have killed both. The judge had cited these points as the main grounds to charge the couple for murder and destruction of evidence.

One of the most important points which the court had stressed upon were the circumstances proving that ‘there were only four persons in the house that night, including Aarushi and Hemraj’. Talwar’s driver, Umesh, a neighbour, Puneet Rai Tandon, Anita Durrani and servant Krishna’s landlord, KN Johri, were important witnesses too in backing this fact. Umesh had said, “I had seen Rajesh Talwar, Nupur Talwar, Aarushi and Hemraj in the house around 9.30 pm on May 15 when I went there to return the car keys”.

A maid working in the house, Bharti, had observed: “When I went to the house at 6 am on May 16, only Rajesh and Nupur Talwar were present. Aarushi was lying on her bed and blood was coming out from a wound on her neck while Hemraj was not there”. The Talwars had accepted that they were only ones present in the house.

The court had ruled out the involvement of any outsider in the murders on the basis of statements of Sector 25 Jalvayu Vihar’s colony guards – Virender Singh, Sanjay Singh, Ram Kumar, Chandrabhushan, Devender Singh and Ram Vishal – who had stated that they did not see anyone coming to or going out of Talwar’s house.

The court had also ruled out the involvement of the servants on the basis of statements of Anita Durrani, who said that Rajkumar was present in her house till 12.30 on that night, while Puneet Rai Tandon said his servant, Vijay Mandal, was in his garage. K N Johri, landlord of Krishna, stated that Krishna was sleeping in his house with his family.

Observing that there was cleaning of Aarushi’s private parts, the court had taken note of Dr Sunil Dohre’s statement that there were no marks on Aarushi’s face or body of any resistance but the vaginal opening was wide and there was a white discharge near it.

The court had also cited testimony of a telecom department official who stated that the internet was switched on and off at regular intervals and that an outsider could not have done that.








Zakia moves Supreme Court to protest SIT ‘inaction’


J. Venkatesan

‘Ask SIT to forward final report on Gulberg Society carnage to Ahmedabad court’

Alleging inaction on the part of the R.K. Raghavan-led Special Investigation Team, Zakia Jafri has moved the Supreme Court seeking a direction to the SIT to forward a final report, along with the entire material collected by it, to the Ahmedabad court, which had taken cognisance of her complaint in connection with the 2002 riots in Gujarat.

Acting on the complaint of Ms. Jafri, wife of the former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri, who was killed in the Gulberg Society carnage, against Chief Minister Narendra Modi and 61 others, the Supreme Court on September 12, 2011 asked the SIT to submit its final report under Section 173 (2) Cr.PC to the magistrate, on the further investigation it conducted on her plea.

The Supreme Court said: “Before submission of its report, it will be open to the SIT to obtain from the amicus curiae copies of his reports submitted to this court. The said court will deal with the matter in accordance with law relating to the trial of the accused, named in the report/charge sheet, including matters falling within the ambit and scope of Section 173(8) of the Code.”

The present application by Ms. Jafri and Teesta Setalvad of Citizens for Justice and Peace said: “The petitioners are anxious about the steps the SIT is planning to take in the matter as there have been varied newspaper reports which indicate that the SIT may actually file a closure report.”

The application said: “The petitioners have written to the Chairman, SIT, on more than one occasion, requesting him to indicate the status of the report so that the petitioners are also able to prepare themselves and assist the court concerned should the need arise. There has been no reply so far to any of the letters.” It had been more than three months since the judgment was passed by this court “but there have been no steps taken by the SIT to their knowledge.”

Ms. Zakia Jafri and Ms. Setalvad said, “The trial in the CR 67 of 2002 is also in the final stage and further delay in that trial would frustrate the very purpose of the setting up of the SIT and the monitoring of the cases by this court. Further, more than 338 witnesses have deposed in that trial and as many as 18 have identified the accused and withstood the hostile cross-examination of defence in an extremely hostile atmosphere.”

They said: “One of the key witnesses in a connected trial [Naroda Patiya] was recently murdered and the petitioners apprehend it was in connection with the present complaint, as he would in all likelihood have been a key witness in the present case and the SIT has recorded his statement as well. Following the suspicious circumstances under which he was killed, the applicants have assisted eyewitnesses/survivors — anxious about the status of evidence in Naroda Patiya and related cases, as also their own safety to make specific applications, vis-à-vis protection, to the SIT.”

Even now the SIT Chairman was available only on very few occasions at Gandhinagar, the petitioners said. “It is critical that the matter commences at the earliest and the SIT files its report in the court,” they said, and sought a direction to the SIT to submit its report to the court concerned within 30 days.







Filmmaker’s harassment plea dismissed


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 03.48AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has dismissed a plea of Malayalam cinema producer K P Shaju, to order a CBI probe into his alleged harassment at the hands of S Sreejith, an IPS officer of Kerala cadre, with the connivance of P Balasubramanian, then commissioner of police, Madurai city.

Shaju claimed that he and Sreejith, DIG crime branch, were close friends and had produced two movies in Malayalam. Sreejith had written the storyline for one film ‘Out of Syllabus’ and he was the creative consultant of another film ‘Suryakereedom’.

Shaju submitted that owing to financial matters, the relationship between him and Sreejith turned sour. Thereafter Sreejith, using his powers, started to harass him in many ways. He said that on 28 November 2010, he was arrested at Cochin by the central crime branch, Madurai, at the instigation of Sreejith and upon instructions from then Madurai commissioner of police Balasubramanian, in a false cheque bounce case alleging cheating and breach of trust, on a complaint by one R Kumar. He was granted bail and then moved the present petition on February 2011 seeking a CBI probe into the arrest.

He said he was assaulted at the instance of Sreejith against whom proceedings were initiated before the courts in Kerala. He said in case a complaint was investigated by the local police, he would not get justice in view of the influence exerted by Sreejith. He would further submit that there were paper reports indicating that the third respondent was involved in various financial dealings outside the purview of his duties and as such, any investigation conducted in Kerala or Tamil Nadu by the local police would not give any result. Therefore, the matter should be investigated by the Central Bureau of Investigation, Shaju claimed.

Dismissing the petition as a case was not made out, Justice K K Sasidharan pointed out that the affidavit filed in support of the writ petition contained details about various cases involving Sreejith and others. Those details give a clear indication that the petitioner was also aggrieved by certain actions of Sreejith. Declining to order a CBI probe, the judge pointed out that Shaju had already moved the magistrate court at Kerala and a crime case was registered before the Palarivattom Police Station against the police. He now admitted that a writ petition was also filed before the high court of Kerala.

When the incident in question happened within the territorial jurisdiction of the Kerala high court and in the light of the complaint already preferred by the petitioner before the magistrate court and a writ petition initiated before the high court of Kerala, he cannot be permitted to take parallel actions before this court.








Bombay High Court issues notices to Maharashtra chief secretary, Shiv Sena MP


Published: Saturday, Jan 7, 2012, 15:02 IST
Place: NAGPUR | Agency: PTI

The Bombay High Court Bench here has issued notices to Maharashtra Chief Secretary, Co-operation Secretary, Washim Shiv Sena MP Bhavna Gawli (Patil) and others on a public interest litigation (PIL).

A Division Bench of Justice PB Majumdar and Justice Ashok Bhangale issued the notices yesterday while hearing the PIL filed by Subhash Uttamrao Dewde, a resident of Washim district who has alleged irregularities in administration of Shree Balaji Particle Board, owned by Gawli.

Principal Secretaries of Finance and Planning Departments, National Co-operative Development Corporation (NCDC) and Ashok Gandule, PA to Gawli are the other respondents in the case. They were asked to file replies by February 14.

The PIL has demanded probe by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) of police officers into a “fraudulent” deal involving the company. Dewde also sought setting up of a judicial panel headed by a retired High Court Judge to probe the matter.

The petitioner has alleged that Gawli acquired Shree Balaji, which has State Government’s investment worth Rs42 crore, from the Board of Liquidators at a throwaway price of Rs7 crore in the name of Bhavna Agrotech.

Her PA Gandule is said to be the “proprietor” of Bhavna Agrotech. The Sena Lok Sabha MP is a former Chairperson of the Board of Liquidators







High Court restrains deduction of service tax from film distributors

Press Trust of India, Updated: January 07, 2012 17:57 IST

Chennai:  The Madras High Court has restrained Tamil Nadu Cinema Theatre Owners Federation (TNCTOF) and Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors’ Association (TNFEA) from deducting Service Tax from the distributors share of income by following a recent circular of the Central Board of Excise and Customs.

Granting the interim injunction on a petition filed by city-based Mediaone Global Entertainment Limited, Justice M Jaichandren ordered notice to authorities concerned and Tamil Nadu Cinema Theater Owners Federation and Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitor’s Association.

The firm, carrying on business by producing and distributing films, said it was aggrieved by the circular of the Under Secretary, (Tax Research Unit), Central Board of Excise and Customs, New Delhi, with respect to levy of Service Tax on distributors/sub-distributors of films and exhibitors of movies.

The petitioner claimed that the official without jurisdiction had completely bypassed earlier circulars of the Chief Commissioner of Central Excise, Chennai, and a circular of February 2009.

The February circular categorically held that the screening of a movie was not a taxable service, the petitioner said adding the Under Secretary had not adverted to it and had proceeded to give an erroneous interpretation placing reliance on the provisions of the Finance Acts of 2010 and 2011.

The arrangement between the distributor and an exhibitor was a profit sharing device carried by two or more persons, who bore the risks equally through a contractual agreement, the petitioner said.







Court hikes compensation for land acquired


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: A division bench of the Andhra Pradesh High Court has fixed a compensation of Rs 25,000 per acre for land at Rampur village in Warangal district in an acquisition case.

The bench comprising Justice V Eswaraiah and Justice K.S. Appa Rao pronounced the judgment in the case (AS No 1963) filed in 1998 by B Lingaiah and 31 others against the Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) of Warangal. The bench allowed the former’s appeal in part and dismissed the appeal filed by the LAO.

The main contention of the claimants was that the Reference Court, without taking into consideration the market value of the land at Rs 40,000 per acre, had fixed a compensation at about Rs 16,000 per acre. They sought an enhancement of compensation. But the government pleader sought to reduce the compensation awarded by the reference court.

The bench, took into account that the land was located far away from the highway and fixed the amount at Rs 25,000. The division bench, in its order, stated that during the course of arguments, both the counsels placed reliance on the findings of the court in AS No.1891 and AS No. 1895 of the year 2000 and AS No. 775 of 2001 in which the market value fixed by the reference court at Rs 48,500 was confirmed by the court. In these orders, the land acquired was meant to establish an industrial estate.

“Before going into the merits of the case, it is to be seen whether the reliance placed by the LAO as well as the Reference Court on the documents marked either side for fixation of the market value is in accordance with the sound principles of the law as per the Act. Admittedly the land in question was acquired for setting up of an industrial estate by the APIIC. Once an industrial estate is established in the acquired land, automatically the value of the land will be increased irrespective of the factum of the interiority”, the bench observed.









SC to hear bail plea of Sukh Ram, others tomorrow


PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 08,2012

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) The bail pleas of former Union minister Sukh Ram, who surrendered and was sent to jail to undergo a three-year term in the 1993 telecom scam, will be taken up tomorrow in the Supreme Court. A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam, would also hear the bail plea of veteran politician’s co-accused former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao. The bench had earlier on January 5 refused to entertain their appeal against the Delhi High Court’s order convicting them in the scam and awarded three years jail term for Sukh Ram and Rao and two years of imprisonment for Ghosh. The bench had said that it would hear their plea only after they comply with the high court’s order and surrender before a trial court to undergo sentence. Thereafter , Ghosh and Rao had surrendered on the same day. Sukh Ram initially evaded surrendering on health grounds saying he is hospitalised but two days after he appeared in the trial court, he was sent to jail. Earlier on December 21 last year, the high court had upheld the lower court’s 2002 judgement holding Sukh Ram, Ghosh and Rao guilty of being part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the state exchequer by awarding a telecom equipment supply contract to Hyderabad’s Advanced Radio Masts which had supplied inferior goods at a higher rate to the DoT. Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government. The CBI had filed the charge sheet in March 1997, accusing Sukh Ram and Ghosh of entering into a criminal conspiracy with Rao. Subsequent to the registration of various cases, the CBI, in 1996, had seized Rs 3.6 crore in cash which was concealed in bags and suitcases from Sukh Ram’s residence. PTI AAC RKS ZMN








SC dismisses PIL for CBI probe against Gehlot


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 09:34

New Delhi: In a respite to Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot, the Supreme Court has rejected a PIL seeking CBI probe into the allegation of corruption charges against him in award of contract to corporate houses.

A bench of Justices HL Dattu and Chandramouli Kumar Prasad dismissed the appeal filed against the Rajasthan High Court order which had also refused to order any probe into the allegations.

The petition filed by Shrikrishna Kukkad, a resident of Ganganagar in Rajasthan, was turned down even without issuing notices.

Earlier, the high court, in May 2011, had dismissed the PIL seeking a probe into allegations saying no ground is made out for the investigation.

The high court had said that Kukkad had failed to provide any documentary proof of all the allegations in order to prove direct involvement of Gehlot in the decision making.

BJP had also charged Gehlot with seeking favours from corporate houses for monetary gains to his son Vaibhav Gehlot and daughter Soniya Ankhad and in turn allotting various contracts to the two corporate houses.

The petition had claimed that since Gehlot came to power both the companies of Muhnot group and Kothari group, which are allegedly close to the chief minister, have shown surprising growth in their business.

It was also alleged that a large number of government contracts have been given to the companies owned by Kothari Group as Vaibhav was working as a legal adviser with the firm.






HC rejects anticipatory bail to Nithyananda’s ex-disciple


Press Trust Of India
Chennai, January 07, 2012

The Madras high court has rejected the anticipatory bail plea of former disciple of controversial self-styled godman Nithyananda and another person, who apprehended arrest in connection with a blackmail complaint.   The complaint by one Nithya Atma Prabhananda had accused the duo — Lenin alias Dithya Dharmanantha and K Kumar —  of having blackmailed Nithayananda using a video film showing the godman in a compromising position with an actress.

Dismissing bail applications filed by Kumar and Lenin, who had earlier claimed to have shot the video, which led to the arrest of Nithyananda early last year, Justice Palanivelu said there were prima facie materials available against the petitioners, showing that they participated in the demands made on the swami.

Granting anticipatory bail to them at this stage could hamper further investigation. Besides, there was every likelihood of them tampering with witnesses, the Judge said and dismissed the anticipatory bail applications.

Investigation of the case has been transferred to the crime branch-CID of the Tamil Nadu police.

Nithayananda, who has his ashram near Bangalore, was arrested in Himachal Pradesh on criminal charges including rape after the controversial video was telecast by TV channels. He was later released on bail.






HC stays mining activities by JSPL in Chhattisgarh


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Raipur, January 07, 2012

The Chhattisgarh high court has granted interim relief to petitioners who are the owners of land wherein the Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) was excavating the coal “without” having secured the permission from the land owners. A single bench of Justice S K Agnihotri stayed the mining activities carried out by the JSPL over the land in dispute till the next hearing.

The HC cited the earlier decision of the Supreme Court where the latter held that ‘the right to excavate the mines from the land of private owner is based on the agreement; unless the lessor gives his consent, no lessee has a right to enter upon his land and carry on mining operation’.

“Prima facie, it appears that the balance of convenience is in favour of the petitioners and if the interim relief is not granted the petitioners may suffer irreparable losses”, the court stated. 

The JSPL official here told HT that the land was acquired by the state government and allotted to them for mining after diligently following all prescribed rules and processes.








HC to recruit clerks

For the first time, the Punjab and Haryana High Court is conducting examination and holding interviews for the posts of clerks to be posted in all Districts of Punjab and Haryana.

Till now, the concerned Sessions Court used to hold examination and recruit clerks. However, the process has now been made centralised. “The HC in the recent past had received numerous complaints on the issue of recruitment to the post of clerks” said a senior official of the High Court.

The selection process is already on and thousands of candidates are appearing for the post of clerks.

It might be mentioned here that last year, the High Court had removed the senior most Sessions Judge of Haryana posted in Rewari for the alleged fraudulent selections made by him for the post of clerks.

As many as three High Court Judges, a single Bench and a division bench, had passed scathing judgments against the Sessions Judge following which he had resigned.






HC declines to stall panchayat election


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 03.43AM IST

CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Friday declined to stall the ensuing panchayat election preparations. The court gave the direction in response to a petition filed by one Balamukund Das of Dunguripalli, challenging the guidelines of the state election commission regarding allocation of reservation and delimitation of constituencies.

The petitioner had urged the court to stall the elections scheduled in February. The petitioner cited that at least 27% of reservation has been allocated for the other backward class (OBC) category, due to which the quantum of quota for SC, ST and OBC candidates breached the 50% limit.

Opposing the prayer, counsel of state election commission, Pitambar Acharya, cited that procedure for the panchayat elections have already started and it would not be proper for the high court to interfere in it. The bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra ruled in his favour.







HC evolves plan to enhance security in Madurai bench


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 03.47AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has evolved a plan to enhance its security measure, on the lines of the principal bench of the Madras high court.

Sources said the new plan was evolved in a recent meeting of judges and registrars of the Madurai bench, police officers, revenue and PWD officers. The plan would be sent to the administrative committee of the Madras high court for further approval. The state government has already allocated funds to the tune of Rs 84 lakh for the security measures.

Five metal detectors were procured and it would be put in place at important points of the high court building. It was also proposed to set up closed circuit monitoring units and watch towers at crucial vantage points of the campus.

In addition to the present strength of police personnel, additional police forces would be deployed in the court campus. The security measures are expected to be put in place shortly.







Bombay HC protects police chiefs tenancy rights


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Mumbai commissioner Arup Patnaik is a relieved man, with the Bombay High Court protecting the eight Chembur tenements of which he is a direct tenant from redevelopment, which would have lead to the loss of his tenancy rights. The court has ordered the developer to maintain a status quo.

The commissioner is the tenant in Sukhi Nivas, which belongs to one Sukhibai Voral, on Mahul road. The commissioner can allot the eight rooms under his tenancy as official service quarters.

The history behind the legal battle dates back to 1961, when Sukhibai moved a plea before the Controller of Accommodation (CoA) for de-requisiting the property, which was then in the police possession, as under the Bombay Land Requisition Act. The order was passed in favour of Sukhibai. However, in a few years, she agreed to allow the commissioner to be her tenant again.
In the mid-2000, Sukhibai entered a redevelopment agreement with developer Ajai Nensee.

Following this, Sukhibai moved yet another plea before the Controller of Accommodation to evict the commissioner, taking re-course to the 1997 Supreme Court ruling that directed the state government to de-requisite all properties requisitioned by it. “Accordingly on September 24, 2009, the CoA passed an ex-parte order evicting the Commissioner. The next day possession of the tenements was handed to the developer,” said Additional Government Pleader G W Mattos.

The then police commissioner D Sivanandhan moved the General Administration Department (GAD) challenging the CoA order, following which in March 2010 it was set aside and the government body directed to hear the plea afresh after serving a notice to the police commissioner. The police chief also wrote a letter to the Brihanmumbai Municipal commissioner, requesting him not allow any redevelopment permission. The BMC sent a notice to the developer, which he challenged by him along with the government’s order rejecting the CoA’s earlier decision.

When both petitions were recently heard, Mattos placed on record a suit copy filed by the Sukhibai in the court of small causes in 1966, demanding that the commissioner pay his rent as a tenant.

Mattos argued “Since the Police Department was in possession of the premises as a tenant, which are outside the provisions of the Requisition Act, the tenancy rights could not have been disturbed.”Based on the submissions made by him, the court passed an order to maintain status quo.







HC sets aside arbitral award of Rs 46 lakh against French firm


PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 08,2012

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) In a relief to French firm Degremont Ltd, the Delhi High Court has set aside an award of Rs 46 lakh against it on the ground that Indian Council of Arbitration “erred” by appointing a three-member panel instead of sole arbitrator as asked by parties to a dispute also including an Indian company. “The ICA appears to have proceeded on the basis that there was no agreement between the parties that the disputes should be referred to sole arbitrator. This was clearly erroneous. ICA committed further error by proceeding … of the ICA Rules by constituting a three-member tribunal,” Justice S Muralidhar said. The court’s judgement came on the petition of Degremont Ltd, which deals in ‘water and waste water technologies’, challenging the award of ICA in favour of Indian company Yamuna Gases and Chemicals Ltd. The French firm had given a sub-contract to Yamuna Gases and Chemicals Ltd for works relating to installation of Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in Haryana under Yamuna Action Plan. Owing to a financial dispute, the firms wanted the matter to be referred for arbitration and approached the ICA for appointment of sole arbitrator. The ICA ignored contentions of both firms and rather constituted a three-member panel which asked the French company to pay over Rs 46 lakh to Indian company along with interest at the rate of 10 per cent. Aggrieved by the aribitral award, the French company moved the high court which found the “error” as “sufficient to set aside the impugned award.” MORE


HC declines to stay proceedings against Virbhadra, wife in graft case


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.58AM IST

SHIMLA: Not giving any respite to Union minister Virbhadra Singh in a corruption case registered against him and wife Pratibha Singh by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau in 2009, Himachal Pradesh high court on Saturday declined to stay the proceedings of trial court, saying that the trial court is free to examine the accused.

A division bench of chief justice Kurian Joseph and justice V K Ahuja, which had reserved its order on Janurary 5, said, “the trial court in Shimla is free to examine the accused.”

In his petition filed before the high court, Union minister of micro, small and medium enterprises, Virbhadra Singh, had sought the transfer of corruption case to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and quashing of police complaint against them. He had also petitioned for a stay on trial court proceedings.

“In case the petitioners are discharged in the process of consideration under section 239 CrPC, it’s not necessary to consider other prayers in the writ petition. On the contrary, in the process, in case the charges are framed against the petitioners, only then other contentions need be looked into, including the one for investigation by CBI,” the court said.

Virbhadra Singh and Pratibha Singh were booked by state police on August 3, 2009 under Prevention of Corruption Act for alleged misuse of his official position and criminal misconduct when Virbhadra was chief minister of the state in 1989.

“The trial court has already summoned the petitioners by order dated October 23, 2010. That order has become final. The next stage is consideration of charges. Having not challenged the order under section 204 CrPC… the petitioners have to face the next stage of consideration of charges,” the bench said, adding, “consideration of charges does not mean that charges have been framed”.

“The petitioners and respondents have advanced several arguments and have raised several contentions including maintainability of the writ petition. We do not think it necessary, at this stage, to go into all those aspects,” the bench said.

“The trial court has posted the case for consideration of charges. As we have clarified the legal position, consideration of police charges and documents sent therewith is an exercise to be undertaken by the trial court. The trial court is free to examine the accused,” it said.

However, the high court posted the writ petition after the orders of trial court under sections 239 and 240 CrPC came.

The government had filed a chargesheet against the couple in the court of special judge B L Soni in October 2010. Soon after registration of the case in 2009, the couple moved the high court.

A single bench of the high court on September 3, 2010, had turned down the minister’s petition to transfer the case to CBI under section 482 of the Criminal Procedure Code.








HC declines to stay All-India Bar exam


PTI | 01:01 PM,Jan 07,2012

Chennai, Jan 6 (PTI): Madras High Court today declined to stay the All India Bar Examination scheduled for January 8 in Tamil Nadu but directed police to provide necessary protection to those appearing for the test at Vellore, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli centres in view of their apprehensions. Passing orders on a petition by city-based law graduate Deepika Murali, Justice S Rajeswaran said the direction was to ensure that the examination, conducted by the Bar Council of India, was held smoothly and without any disturbance what-so-ever. The petitioner said when the test was to be held on earlier occasions, there were protests against it preventing her and others from sitting for the examination. The Judge said in view of the petitioner’s apprehension that it may not be possible for candidates to take the exam on January 8 because of the liklihood of it being disturbed he had directed the state DGP to take the necessary precautions. In April 2010, the BCI had notified that law students, graduating from that year onwards should pass the examination in order to practise law in any court in the country. On January 3, the BCI had stated that the examination would be held on January 8 for candidates, who were unable to write the earlier examination in Chennai. The petitioner said the Bar council should have ensured better security arrangements instead of arbitrarily cancelling the earlier examination and charged it with non-application of mind for postponing the examination and fixing a fresh date days later and in the allotment of the exam centres. She had sought a stay of the examination. Counsel for BCI submitted that of the nearly 25,000 students slated to write the examination about 3,500 were from Tamil Nadu.

HC orders status quo till Tuesday


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court has ordered that status quo be maintained till Tuesday in a grievance relating to appointments to the post of Assistant Grade-II at the Kerala University.

The order will be applicable to the 31 candidates who had moved the court challenging an Upa Lok Ayukta order.

Justice T R Ramachandran Nair passed the order while considering a batch of petitions filed by the Assistant Grade staff seeking the issuance of a directive to the Kerala University to stop it from taking actions pursuant to the Lok Ayukta’s recommendation. The Lok Ayukta had recommended the University to cancel all appointments to the post of Assistant Grade II, made from a rank-list after conducting a written test in 2005 and a subsequent interview in 2007. The Lok Ayukta had also suggested to conduct a fresh selection. The university had short-listed 2,114 candidates and initially appointed 160 of them to the post.

The petitioners submitted that the report and the findings are vitiated and has not considered relevant facts. The Upa Lokayukta had asked the officials of the Kerala University to produce the answer sheets of the entrance examination, but that has not been done so far. “The candidates cannot be put to suffer due to serious prejudice on account of technical lapses on the part of the university. Regarding non-production of the evaluated answer scripts are concerned, lapse on the part of the university was serious. But that may not be taken as a ground to cancel the appointment,” the petitioners argued. The petitioners also requested to quash the findings of the Lok Ayukta and added that this will affect the candidates who managed to get this job purely on merit.








HC seeks explanation from government secretaries


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the Chief Secretary and the Environment Principal Secretary to explain why the state decided to challenge one of its order regarding the establishment of septage treatment plants.

A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice K Vinod Chandran had directed the State Government to take steps to set up plants in every district on a petition filed by advocate R Sudha. After this an interim order was passed appointing an advocate commissioner for studying the feasibility of a pilot project for a septage treatment plant at Brahmapuram. The government after accepting the report of the advocate commissioner challenged the interim order before the Supreme Court.

The court severely criticised the state for moving the Supreme Court and asked the secretaries to file separate affidavits to explain on whose advice and decision the special leave petition was filed. The Advocate General on July had submitted that immediate steps would be taken to execute the proposal for a plant at Brahmapuram. The court asked the state to file whether the AG’s advice was sought before filing the petition. The court also asked the Chief Secretary to file the litigation policy, if any, before the court.

The court observed that the state or the municipal authorities had not provided any mechanism for collecting, storing or treating toilet waste. It was reported that septage was being transported in tanker lorries and dumped at night in rivers, backwaters and public vacant lands causing pollution. The court pointed out that despite many orders, the authorities did not take any steps to set up the treatment facility. Nobody has ever bothered to find out where sepatge is being dumped, the court said.









HC seeks report on power units


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday directed the Ministry of the Environment and Forests and Chief Conservator of Forests to submit a report on the status of the mini-hydro power projects that are being set up at Kenchanakumari reserve rain forest area of Western Ghats in Sakleshpur. Chief Justice Vikaramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna, hearing a petition filed by one, Prashant Yavagal, directed the Ministry and the CCF to file a report within a week. The petitioner submitted that the projects were flouting the rules mentioned in the Wildlife Act.









Free and fair elections need impartial officials’

The Election Commission (EC) has forwarded a letter written by Advocate H C Arora to the top brass of Punjab Police. Arora had written to the EC requesting the commission to ensure that no tainted police official or government servant is posted on election duty in the forthcoming elections.

Talking to Newsline, a Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) from Punjab confirmed the development. He said an official communication from the Election Commission has been received which has referred to a representation sent by Advocate H C Arora.

In his representation, Arora had said that the concept of “free and fair elections pre-supposes posting of honest and impartial government servants on election duty”.

The representation further reads. “Police officials play a very vital role for conducting such free and fair elections. In fact, their role in elections is much more important than the other civil servants posted on election duty. It cannot be disputed that police officials who are facing criminal cases cannot be expected to perform their election duty in an impartial manner”.

Arora said that he had sought information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act with regard to tainted police officers in all the offices of SSPs in Punjab. So far information has only been received from SSP Gurdaspur’s office.

Under RTI it was revealed that a total of 31 cases are pending against police officers posted in Gurdaspur, Punjab. Surprisingly, some of them are facing charges of murder, rape and attempt to murder.

Submitting this information made available under RTI, Arora had requested, in December to ensure that no tainted police official is posted during Vidhan Sabha elections.










Transit home will house street children from Jan 15


TNN Jan 8, 2012, 05.36AM IST

MANGALORE: The city will soon get a permanent transit home to take care of street children, rag-pickers, child labourers and abused children rescued by the officials of labour department, women and child welfare department and the police.The transit home will be opened at a building in the premises of Govt Higher Primary School in Kapikad near here.

The home, to be maintained by Prajna Counselling Centre (PCC), will have all facilities for children. PCC has already appointed warden, consultant doctor, counsellor, teachers and cook to maintain the home which will be opened soon.The government had directed Dakshina Kannada district unit of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyana (SSA) to identify school drop-outs, children addicted to drugs, beggars, child labourers, distressed and runaway children (in 6-14 age group) and produce them before Child Welfare Committee (CWC). SSA, with the help of NGOs, identified 19 children in various parts in the district. The children need to be shifted to transit home as per rules.

But with no permanent transit home at present, they are being lodged at PCC’s rehabilitation centre. SSA deputy project co-ordinator N Shivaprakash told TOI that 19 children are being lodged in the rehabilitation centre in Kankanady here. “The central government has sanctioned Rs 15.22 lakh for the maintenance of the home. Meanwhile, Rs 1.80 lakh has already been released, and works on constructing toilets and other facilities have been taken up,” he said, adding that children will be shifted to the new home on January 15.”In addition to food, shelter and security, the inmates of transit home will be given treatment for ailments and counselling. A bridge course will be imparted to children based on Nali-Kali (the mode through which the government is imparting education).

Normally, children are kept in such homes for a maximum period of one year. Later, they will either be handed over to their parents or will be sent to nearest schools,” he said, adding that the home can accommodate 50 children at a time. The project of identifying children from the street was launched in Bangalore on a pilot basis before being introduced in other districts.








Security beefed up at district court


TNN | Jan 8, 2012, 01.52AM IST

PUNE: Lawyers visiting the district and sessions court here will have to necessarily carry their identity cards and undergo thorough search from Monday onwards, in view of the security threat underlined by the police last week.

The Pune district and sessions court and Pune police officials held a meeting on Saturday to take stock of the security following inputs that some people may dress up like lawyers to create trouble on the court premises. The police commissionerate’s letter was addressed to principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar.

Additional commissioner of police (crime) Anant Shinde said the meeting was held to make a security audit and also to decide what more needs to be done to improve security in the court.

Milind Pawar, a member of the privilege committee of the Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, who was present in the meeting, said the police have appealed to lawyers and litigants to cooperate during the stringent security checks that would be in place from Monday. The bar council will sensitise lawyers practising at the taluka court to carry their identity cards if they visit to the district court, Pawar added.

Bar council member Harshad Nimbalkar, who was also present for the meeting, said that it has also been decided to have watch towers at all the three gates of the court. Policemen at these gates will thoroughly check relatives of suspects and litigants, if need be.

Deputy commissioner of police (special branch) Makarand Ranade said there are 50 policemen posted on the court premises, which includes personnel from the crime branch and special branch.

Ranade said the court and bar association has been very supportive whenever a meeting was called to take an overall review of the security. The meeting was attended by police officials, Pune Bar Association president Dhananjay Taur and lawyers. The last time security in the court was tightened was when a 24-year-old youth was murdered in May 2010.








Courts, tenant can’t dictate terms to landlord: SC


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 09:09

New Delhi: The Supreme Court has ruled that a landlord cannot be told either by courts or the tenant as to for what purpose the premises has to be used, and requirement of house in question also need not be for “dire necessity”.

The apex court passed the ruling upholding Mohd Ayub’s appeal challenging findings of the lower courts which held that the owner cannot run his business from premises occupied by the tenant as the latter was running his own photography business for several years.

“It is for the landlord to decide which business he wants to do. The court cannot advise him. Similarly, length of tenancy of the respondent in the circumstances of the case ought not to have weighed with the courts below.

“The district court has erroneously gone on to observe that the appellants can buy another building and start business. It has also observed that the appellants had purchased the building to make profit,” a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash observed.

Though the rent control court and the district court ruled in favour of tenant Mukesh Chand who was running the shops in four rooms of Ayub, at Rs 35 per month, the Uttarnachal High Court modified the order by saying that the owner be given at least one room back to enable his sons start a business.

“It is well settled the landlord’s requirement need not be a dire necessity. The court cannot direct the landlord to do a particular business or imagine that he could profitably do a particular business rather than the business he proposes to start.

“It was wrong on the part of the district court to hold that the appellants’ case that their sons want to start the general merchant business is a pretence because they are dealing in eggs and it is not uncommon for a Muslim family to do the business of non-vegetarian food,” the bench said.

The apex court said the hardship faced by the owners in the present case by not occupying their own premises would be far greater than the hardship the tenant would suffer by having to move out to another place.

“The fact that a person has the capacity to purchase the property cannot be the sole ground against him while deciding the question of comparative hardship, Justice Ranjana writing the judgement said referring to the tenant’s plea that the owner was financially well off to start his business elsewhere.






CIC says Air India must disclose details of planes rolled out for VIPs

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 07, 2012 18:24 IST

New Delhi:  Air India, which is already struggling with cash crunch, has run into fresh trouble. The Central Information Commission, acting on an RTI query, has directed the national carrier to provide details of who ordered the change of one of its aircraft on a Bangalore-Male flight last year.

Media reports said that in April 2011, a bigger plane was pressed into service by Air India on the Bangalore-Male route, apparently because the then Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel’s family had to travel business class and there were not enough business class seats in the smaller aircraft that used to ply on that route.

Reacting on these reports, Mr Subhash Agarwal had filed an RTI petition last year asking for details of who ordered the aircraft change as well as who the passengers on the special flight were.

But Air India refused to give the passenger list saying those details were confidential. They also cited commercial interests. Mr Agarwal then went to the Information Commission and argued his case and the CIC ruled in his favour saying the public interest outweighed the commercial interest that Air India needed to protect.

The CIC has also asked the airline to provide the information within 10 days of receiving the order. But it remains to be seen if the national carrier complies with the order or challenges it in court, as per the law.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: