LEGAL NEWS 10.01.2012

First phase of UP polls rescheduled


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 08, 2012

First phase of UP polls rescheduled

The first phase of Assembly polls in UP to be held on February 4 has been rescheduled and fresh date will be announced soon, the Election Commission said today citing uncertainty about the date of ‘Barawafat’ festival, the birth anniversary of Prophet Mohammad, which may also fall on the same day.

 The poll panel said the law and order enforcing agencies and District Election Officers of the state had also referred to the possibility of the Barawafat festival coinciding with the with the first phase of polls, during the Commission’s two-day review meeting in Lucknow last week.

A poll panel official told PTI that a revised schedule will be announced soon.

“The Commission has today decided that the notification for 60 Assembly constituencies going for poll on February 4 shall not be issued on January 10 as scheduled. This is due to uncertainty about the date of ‘Barawafat’ festival which may also fall on February 4,” an EC statement said.

“The law and order enforcing agencies and DEOs of Uttar Pradesh also raised this point during Commission’s review meeting at Lucknow on January 6 and 7. The revised schedule for 1 st phase ACs (60 ACs) will be announced by the Commission separately,” it said.

The Commission also requested Governor of Uttar Pradesh not to issue the notification for 1st Phase scheduled to be notified on January 10.

According to the earlier announcement, the Uttar Pradesh elections was scheduled for seven phases between February 4 and 28.








Mayawati’s statues to be draped today on Election Commission’s order

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 09, 2012 17:27 IST

Lucknow/Noida:  An exercise to cover up many massive statues of Mayawati, and of the elephants that are her political symbol, at Ambedkar parks in Lucknow and in Noida, near Delhi, will begin today.

For those counting, there are nine Mayawati statues and 25 elephants that will need to be covered at the Lucknow park and two Mayawatis and 52 elephants at the Noida park that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister inaugurated with much fanfare only a few months ago. The Election Commission has given the UP administration time till Wednesday, 5 pm, to complete the task.

The elephant motifs and her four-faced statues in the company of Dalit greats are Ms Mayawati’s attempt at immortality. For the time being, the Election Commission saw them as hampering a “free and equal” electoral process. Uttar Pradesh votes to elect a new government in seven phases of polling all through next month.

It’s no easy task covering those almost 100 massive statues with cloth sheets. The task poses both physical and political challenges in BSP-ruled UP. So on Sunday, when government officials began the exercise, there was much drama. First, the officials ran out of sheets to cover the giant statues. They also ran out of ideas on how to effectively go about the task. Those ruminations were quickly pushed to the back by the realisation that an official order to cover the statues was yet to be received from the Election Commission. So the sheets that had been draped came off.

The Lucknow District Magistrate finally received the order on Sunday evening and it will be implemented from today. Noida officials said they would measure the statues today to get the right size of cloth to cover them.

Political reactions to the Election Commission’s decision have ranged from “happy” to “irrational” and even “utter nonsense.” TS Krishnamurthy, former Chief Election Commissioner, explains why what seems like a “strange decision” is necessary. “It needs to be done keeping in mind fair elections…This decision may look strange and some people may even call it idiotic…unfortunately, this is a consequence of a distorted democracy that we have,” he said of the present EC’s order.

Mr Krishnamurthy points to a precedence. “In the 2004 Parliament election, we had a similar situation with hoardings on the national highway for projects of the National Highway Authority of India. We had to cover the pictures of the former prime minister (Atal Bihari Vajpayee) in order to provide a level-playing field for all political parties.

The Congress is smug. In UP’s Devariya, senior Congress leader Pramod Tiwari says, “We never asked for the elephant to be covered…but we welcome the decision of the Election Commission. Covering the hand symbol (the Congress’ election symbol) is impossible because that too will need a hand.”

The Election Commission’s directive virtually endorses the Congress’ stand that the statues were Mayawati’s campaign material. Campaigning in Gorakhpur in Uttar Pradesh, Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi drove home the association between the elephant and what he calls Mayawati’s misrule when he said, “The miraculous elephant which Mayawati has created eats out of poor people’s pockets.”

But in a very high-stakes political battle, Mayawati’s Bahujan Samaj Party is already turning adversity into advantage, signalling to its core Dalit votebank that the party’s opponents are targeting them and not Mayawati or her monuments.

“Will the Election Commission also ban the cycle during the elections in the state?” asked BSP leader SC Mishra. The bicycle is the election symbol of Mulayam Singh Yadav’s Samajwadi Party, the third big player in the UP elections.

Not that all rival political parties find merit in the Election Commission’s decision that Mayawati’s statues should be covered.

JD (U) leader Sharad Yadav, who is also the convenor of the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) which includes the BJP, the fourth political angle in the UP elections, said, “We don’t know on whose advice this decision has been taken. Those are statues and especially the elephants; you go anywhere in India, you go to Khajuraho, Konark, elephants will look like elephants…These are nonsensical talks even if Congress says so or Mayawati says so. This is utter nonsense.”

Left leader D Raja said, “This is I think a bit of an irrational order. The Election Commission should have applied its mind properly before issuing such an order because this will lead to many other questions.”

And from faraway Mumbai comes a wry tweet that could be the last word on the cover-up. “A covered Mayawati statue will get more attention than an uncovered one. People will say, ‘Oh that is Mayawati’s statue covered,'” tweeted actor Anupam Kher. The BSP will be counting on that happening.








SC admits Sahara plea against refunding Rs17,400 cr to investors


Published: Monday, Jan 9, 2012, 13:29 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Supreme Court on Monday admitted Sahara’s plea against a tribunal order to refund around Rs17,400 crore to its investors.

The stay on Securities Appellate Tribunal order to continue till further directions, said the apex court.




TDSAT asks Etisalat to renew 25% of bank guarantee

PTI, 08 Jan 2012 | 04:49 PM

In Loop’s matter, the tribunal observed that it has not started its operation in 14 out of 21 circles, for which spectrum has been alloted. Loop had said that it can provide information in respect of the circles where it has started information only after January 15.

Giving some relief to new telecom operator, telecom tribunal TDSAT has asked Etisalat DB to renew only 25 per cent of its financial bank guarantee submitted by the operator to government at the time of allotment of spectrum.

However, it directed Loop Telecom to renew its entire financial bank guarantee of Rs 580 crore submitted for a pan India licence within a week.

“We are of the opinion that interest of justice will be sub-served if the petitioner (Loop) is directed to renew the Bank Guarantee within a period of one week from date without prejudice to its rights and contentions, subject to the observations made hereinbefore,” the tribunal said.

Passing an interim order, a TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha asked Etisalat DB to renew the 25 per cent of the bank guarantee within a week.

The tribunal added that “bank guarantees must be operative from the date of the expiry of the existing bank guarantees”.

It also directed that Etisalat DB, a JV between UAE based telecom firm Etisalat and DB to “furnish an undertaking supported by an affidavit that it would, in the event this petition is dismissed or this order is otherwise modified or varied, furnish appropriate bank guarantees”.

However, in Loop’s matter, the tribunal observed that it has not started its operation in 14 out of 21 circles, for which spectrum has been alloted. Loop had said that it can provide information in respect of the circles where it has started information only after January 15.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal also consented with the operator and said that as per the terms and condition of licence conditions a “contractual obligation has been cast on DoT to make periodic reviews” after services are rolled out of service.

Wondering over DoT’s inaction, the TDSAT observed, “There is absolutely no reason as to why such periodic review could not be conducted for more than a year”.

Etisalat, which has been awarded a licence of 16 circles, has submitted a bank guarantee of Rs 330 crore. As per the licence terms, such bank guarantee are to be periodically reviewed and it is brought equivalent to the licence fee paid by any operator for two quarters.

However, it was not done and Etisalat approached TDSAT requesting it to withdraw the financial bank guarantee and replace it with revised guarantees equivalent to the estimated sum equivalent to licence fee for two quarters.







We never recommended mining in Western Ghats: ICFRE


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 10:25 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

In an interesting twist, the Indian Council for Forest Research and Education (ICFRE), on Saturday claimed that reports of the ICFRE recommending mining in the Western Ghats have been highly exaggerated and falsified.

“We have not recommended to the government that mining should be taken up in the Western Ghats. We have, however, asked them to do a feasibility study on doing underground mining in those areas,” said an exasperated Dr VK Bahuguna, director general, ICFRE Dehra Dun, at a press conference at the Institute of Wood Science and Technology (IWST).

He also suggested that the groups that have filed the writ petition in the apex court against the suggestions made by ICFRE in its macro-environmental impact assessment report to the Supreme Court are ill-informed.

“We are talking about bringing in technology that will make underground mining possible. It’s being done in Stockholm, Sweden and we want to know if it is feasible in the Western Ghats as well,” questioned Bahuguna. He also elaborated that if the study finds underground mining not feasible financially or otherwise, then it won’t be done.

Bahuguna also announced that an advanced centre for mining rehabilitation and reclamation has already been set up at the IWST that will deal in rehabilitation of the affected areas of Bellary, Tumkur, and Chitradurga.

“We have five scientists working on it and one IFS officer in charge of the operation. The centre will educate and train land owners who do not have the correct expertise on rehabilitation of land and re-building slopes and more. We will also be presenting a mining rehabilitation and reclamation model to the Supreme Court on January 20,” he said.

He added that rehabilitation of Bellary, Tumkur, and Chitradurga would cost approximately Rs14 -Rs15 crore.







Homeless crave for shelter


Ishita Mishra, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 04.17AM IST

KANPUR: Rampal Singh’s fight with life begins every evening when, after pulling rickshaw the entire day, he is unable to find a roof under which to sleep in this biting cold weather. This 60-year-old rickshaw-puller’s attempts to find night shelters or raen baseras mostly prove futile. His thin sweater and shawl are just not enough to beat the chill, still they are more than what a number of destitute in city can boast of.

The drastic dip in mercury has added to the woes of many homeless persons in the city. Lack of adequate night shelters has heightened their problems, forcing them to spend chilly winter nights on the verandah of shops, bus stands and at railway stations. The functional shelter homes are in such a bad shape that the poor and destitute prefer not to spend the nights there. Though the Kanpur Nagar Nigam (KNN) has converted many maternity centres and other public places into temporary night shelters, these places can accommodate only a very few people.

The civic body has also invited criticism for not constructing any new permanent night shelter for the poor this year. ” A large number of rickshaw-pullers, migrant labourers and beggars are forced to spend nights on the verandahs of shops in Nayaganj Bazaar, Jhakarkati bus stand, but the civic body is not bothered about providing a decent shelter to them,” said Vikram Sahu, a social worker.

Shikha, another social activist, said the civic body had failed to address the issues of poor homeless people. Despite court’s directive, the KNN has not managed to construct a single permanent night shelter this year and the temporary shelter homes seem to be in a hopeless condition. “Despite the fact that harsh weather conditions are increasing the death toll in the city, the KNN is yet to show promptness in setting up raen baseras (temporary shelters),” added Shikha.

People also claimed that destitute women did not stay at the shelter homes due to anti-social elements misusing the place. Last year, KNN had set up more then 10 temporary shelter houses for labourers, rickshaw pullers and the homeless at Green Park, Chakeri police station, CTI crossing, Cooperganj, Parmat crossing, Babupurwa, Nawab Ganj, Express Road and Sarsaiyya Ghat.

The Supreme Court passed an order on writ petition 196/2001, People’s Union of Civil Liberties versus Union of India, clearly stating that in six metropolitan cities of the state – Lucknow, Agra, Meerut, Varanasi, Allahabad and Kanpur – the city development authorities along with the State Urban Development Agency (SUDA) would set up one permanent shelter house for every one lakh population. But, the number of shelter homes has not increased in accordance with the number of poor and homeless in city.

However, the KNN authorities refuted the allegations of having insufficient shelter homes in the city. “We are aware of the problems of the homeless. We have made adequate arrangements for the homeless and provided them with blankets. We have already managed more than seven permanent night shelters for them. We planned to set up 23 new shelters in the city this winters but the work got delayed,” said UP Agarwal, caretaker of shelter homes, KNN.

“The requirement of the city is for 28 shelter homes and we are managing with seven old shelters. All the 23 newly constructed shelter homes will start functioning within a fortnight. Then we will not need any more temporary shelters,” added UP Agarwal.

The official, while commenting on the issue of rising number of anti-social elements at shelter homes, said it was the genuine responsibility of locals to complain of any such activity and proper action would be taken.







EC issues order to cover statues of Maya, poll symbol


TNN Jan 8, 2012, 06.53PM IST

LUCKNOW: In a formal order, the Election Commission of India on Sunday issued directives for covering “each and every statue of elephant and each and every statue of Mayawati”, which was constructed or erected in public places in Uttar Pradesh.

The entire work of veiling the statues, the EC has ordered, will have to be completed by 5pm on January 11. The district election officer of the districts concerned have also been directed to submit to the commission a compliance report in this regard by January 11.

The EC also that that all statues that were built or erected using government expense and which were the subject matter of the a 2009 writ petition before the Supreme Court of India, will be covered to ensure that these statues do not influence the minds of the electors disturbing the level playing field during the current general election to the Uttar Pradesh Legislative Assembly.

In an order issued by the EC on Sunday evening, the expense for covering the statues will have to be borne by local authorities under whose jurisdiction the various statues were built or erected.







2G: Unitech MD moves HC for quashing of charges


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 08, 2012

Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra, an accused in the 2G scam case, has moved the Delhi high court seeking quashing of the charges framed against him, saying the order by the trial court was passed in a “casual and perfunctory manner”. He said the order was passed without application of judicial mind as there was no evidence to show that he had conspired with any public servant for wrongful financial gain.

“The impugned order has been passed in a casual and perfunctory manner and without due application of judicial mind,” he said, adding “there was no evidence to show that the petitioner (Chandra) had in any manner conspired with any public servant to cause wrongful gain to himself or wrongful loss to the government of India.”

He said there was no evidence that he or his company had paid bribe for securing the Unified Access Services Licences.

Haryana yet to probe schools violating RTE norms


Posted: Jan 09, 2012 at 0135 hrs IST


Panchkula Even as some schools in Panchkula are accused of conducting interviews for admission to nursery classes, the Haryana government has yet to probe similar allegations against four other prominent schools in the state that were accused of conducting screening tests and profiling children for admissions to nursery classes.

Four schools in Gurgaon were accused by a civil rights group, working in the field of the Right To Education (RTE) Act, for violating the RTE norms. The schools against whom a compliant was lodged at the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) include the Scottish High International School, K R Mangalam school, Salwan Montessori school, Suncity school and the Bluebells Public school. The NCPCR had issued a notice to the Haryana government, urging it to probe the allegations against the four schools. The Haryana government officials, however, claim to have not received any such notice.

“ We have yet to receive the letter from the NCPCR and when we get it, we will probe the allegations,” said an official of the basic education department, Haryana.

Meanwhile, there are allegations that parents had undergone a screening procedure in a few schools at Panchkula during admissions for the lower classes.

Amidst the reports, education officials in Panchkula have said they would conduct a probe into the issue. “ As of now we have not received any compliant about violation of the norms for admission to nursery. But we will investigate if we receive any complaint from any parent or a guardian,” said an official of education department.

The principal of Bhavan Vidyalaya in Sector 15, Panchkula, Shashi Banerjee said the school was only conducting counselling sessions for the LKG admission process. “ Candidates seeking admission to the school have to get themselves registered with Bhavan Vidyalaya. We later conduct counselling sessions where we check the date of birth certificate and other certificates for admission to all levels,” Banerjee said. The manager of the another private school in Panchkula, Blue Bird High School also said the school was following norms while admitting children at the nursery level. The private schools in Panchkula had recently come under sharp criticism for their failure to file self-declaration forms regarding compliance of the RTE. A majority of them only began filing the self-declaration forms after court intervention after a public interest litigation (PIL) regarding implementation of the RTE came up for hearing.









The Supreme Court must step in

Prakash Katoch | Monday, January 9, 2012

How can you expect the youth to be attracted to the army when even the office of a service chief is being dealt with in a deplorable manner without compunctions of willfully denigrating the military in the process? Misinformation has been ‘planted’ in the media and even through statements in Parliament that the year of birth of the present army chief is 1950 instead of 1951 and that he has been asking for ‘change of date of birth’, whereas he has never once asked for change of date of birth.

The impression created of Gen VK Singh craving for one more year is grossly untrue. The mischief originated in the Military Secretary’s Branch (which is no authority on an officer’s age) 36 years after Gen VK Singh was commissioned. He has been representing to the MS Branch and army chiefs for ‘reconciliation’ of his birth date since then but the issue has been soft pedaled deliberately. The Adjutant General’s Branch (the sole authority on an officer’s age) has throughout maintained his birth date as May 1951. The Attorney General first agrees the birth date as 1951 and at a subsequent stage changes it to 1950. What more proof of mischief is required when the defence ministry directs the MS Branch to undertake an inquiry into the birth date of Gen VK Singh “in conjunction with the AG’s Branch’, and the inquiry is NOT held and the MoD rejects the petition for ‘reconciliation of age’ describing it a petition for ‘change of date of birth’, also citing the findings of the inquiry ordered by MoD (never held).

Meanwhile the political interlocutor keeps singing lullabies, exhorting the chief to be patient and not go to court till the latter shut down for the year last year and next day reject his statutory complaint for ‘reconciliation of age’. The law minister says on TV that ‘rules are rules’, that ‘change of date of birth’ can only be taken up within three years of service but does not explain such role is applicable in this case where change of date of birth has never been applied for.

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The PIL filed on the same issue is being deliberately delayed. First, the judge heading the bench discovers at the last minute that he knows the army chief and needs to be taken off and now leisurely the constitution of the new bench will take many days.

Media investigations have recently spoken of the land and arms mafias. Of course, big ticket army related contracts are in the offing — artillery and air defence, helicopters and what not. That notwithstanding, where the Supreme Court has to even direct Delhi citizens to wear seat belts and helmets, it would be only appropriate for the esteemed apex court to take suo motu notice of this case, summon both parties and give expeditious verdict.

Akin to Parliament being the symbol of democratic India, the service chief is the symbol of the military. The Supreme Court must take note of the attack being mounted on the military that will have far reaching repercussions and intervene. Should the case go to Court in the normal route, all out efforts can be expected to delay the verdict beyond May 31, 2012, the government-purported date of retirement of Gen VK Singh. That would be yet another shameful day for India.







SDPI to enter election fray, will field SC, ST, minorities


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 03.38AM IST

MARGAO: The Socialist Democratic Party of India (SDPI) is determined to enter the political fray in the March 3 assembly elections by contesting in several of the constituencies where the minority community has a sizeable presence.

SDPI’s national general secretary in-charge of Goa desk Mehboob Shariff from Bangalore conducted a number of meetings with party workers at Margao, Davorlim, Housing board and Ponda on Saturday and Sunday.

While deliberating on the poll strategy of the party for the elections at these meetings, the party workers were also informed about the performance of the SDPI in civic polls in Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala, party sources said.

Sources said that the SDPI leadership has decided to field candidates in Margao, Navelim, Ponda, Fatorda, Curtorim, and is also considering contesting from Mormugao and Valpoi constituencies as well.

The SDPI is being supported by the Popular Front of India (PFI), a confederation of Muslim organizations in India, and is in the process of finalizing its candidates from the minority communities including the scheduled castes, tribes and dalits, sources said.

Speaking to TOI, chief of the Goa unit of the SDPI, Zia Ricarty said that the candidates will be finalized within the next one week.

“In constituencies where the SDPI will not contest, we will support clean and non-corrupt candidates. Our agenda is to clean up the corrupt political system of India,” Ricarty said.

Abdulmatin Daud Carol, a SDPI member, said that the party has a considerable number of its cadre in Goa, who will dedicatedly work for the party’s success in the assembly polls.

“The minority community has been sidelined by the Congress for long. Besides, there has been a lot of interference in the affairs of minority community institutions during the Congress rule. People are now yearning for a change,” Carol said.







Aarushi case: Rajesh Talwar on bail till Feb 4


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, January 09, 2012


Giving a breather to dentist Rajesh Talwar, the Supreme Court on Monday directed that he will remain on bail and not be arrested till February 4 when he will appear before a Ghaziabad court to face trial along with his wife, Nupur, in the twin murder case of his daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

A bench of justices AK Ganguly and JS Khehar said that any further proceeding regarding his bail will be decided by the Ghaziabad court which will hear the case on February 4.

It also said that the dentist will not leave the city without informing the local police station and his passport will remain in the custody of the Magistrate.

It, however, allowed the CBI to approach the trial court to file any application in the matter.

Senior Advocate Harish Salve, appearing for Rajesh, submitted that his client will appear before the trial court on February 4 in the twin murder case.

14-year-old Aarushi, the only daughter of the Talwars, was found dead with her throat slit at the family’s Noida residence on the intervening night of May 15-16, 2008 and the body of domestic help Hemraj was found on the terrace the next day.

The apex court had, on January 6 asked the dentist couple to face trial in the murder of Aarushi, a class nine student, and Hemraj.

The bench had said there was nothing wrong in the Ghaziabad magistrate’s order taking cognisance against them and putting them on trial as the trial judge passed the order after applying his mind.

“We feel constrained to observe that the court should exercise utmost restraint before interfering in the magistrate’s order,” the bench had said adding, “The magistrate has applied his mind to come to the conclusion of taking cognisance in the case”.

The investigation in the case was initially carried out by the Uttar Pradesh Police which had arrested Aarushi’s father on May 23, 2008.

The probe was subsequently handed over to the CBI on May 29, 2008 and Rajesh was granted bail by the Ghaziabad court on July 11, 2008.

The CBI after probing the murder for over two-and-half years filed its closure report in the case in the Ghaziabad special CBI court, saying it had been unable to find out any evidence to prosecute the Talwars.

The trial court, however, rejected the CBI closure report, saying there was enough prima facie material in the agency’s report to put the couple on trial for their alleged involvement in the twin murders and had issued summons to them to face trial.

The magistrate took cognisance of the case and summoned Talwars on February 9, 2011.

Rajesh and Nupur had subsequently gone to the Allahabad High Court, which had dismissed their pleas to quash the trial court summons and the proceedings initiated against them.

The Talwar couple then approached the apex court which had on March 19 last year stayed the trial against them but it vacated the stay on Friday.






SC dismisses plea on tendering process


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: In a major relief to the State-owned Orissa Power Generation Corporation (OPGC), the Supreme Court dismissed the special leave petitions filed by BJP leader and former minister Manmohan Samal and others challenging the Orissa High Court Order on the tendering process of the Ib Thermal expansion projects.

A division bench of the apex court consisting of Justices D K Jain and A R Dave while dismissing the SLP declined to interfere with the November 15, 2011 order of the High Court.

Earlier, the Orissa High Court had rejected the application filed by Kailash Chandra Gupta of Dhamnagar in Bhadrak district challenging the balance of plant (BoP) tender process floated by OPGC for its third and fourth units at Banaharpali in Jharsuguda district.

In its order, a division bench of the High Court said that the petitioner had not made out a prima facie case that public interest would be affected by not following the guidelines of Central Electricity Authority.

“No material facts are stated or documents are produced to substantiate the plea that there would be loss of Rs 300 crore to the opposite party in not following the guidelines, the order said.






SC grants bail to SukhRam, two others


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 08, 2012


The Supreme Court on Monday gave interim bal to former Union minister Sukhram. A bench headed by justice P Sathasivam also issued notice to the CBI and clarified that its order on bail would operate till January 16, the day when the court would take up Sukhram’s bail application for further hearing.

The 86-year-old former telecom minister had surrendered before a trial court on Saturday to serve his three year sentence in the 1993 telecom scam case. But soon after reaching Tihar jail, Sukhram was admitted to ICU of Deen Dayal Upadhyay hospital.

The SC also granted interim bail to former bureaucrat Runi Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao.

It also asked the trial court to impose requisite bail conditions on the three who have also challenged the Delhi high court verdict holding them guilty of corruption in the 19-year-old scam.

Counsel for the trio submitted before the court that their clients had been on bail for last 20 years and there was no fear of them running away.









Setback for Sena leaders in rioting case


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 12:52 IST
By Ashish Jadhav | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Two senior members of the Shiv Sena, including party spokesperson Neelam Gorhe, have suffered a setback in a case accusing them of conspiring to provoke rioting and arson in Pune in December 2010.

On Saturday, additional sessions judge Vinay Joshi dismissed the revision petition filed by Gorhe and Milind Narvekar, personal assistant to Sena executive president Uddhav Thackeray, with regards to the rioting case during the agitation over the removal of the controversial Dadoji Konddev statue from the historic Lal Mahal in the city.

Narvekar and Gorhe had filed the petition for setting aside the order passed by a lower court, directing the police to collect their voice samples for investigating the conspiracy.

In a case filed by the Pune police after tapping their telephonic conversation, Narvekar and Gorhe were accused of hatching a conspiracy to create a law-and-order problem in Pune during a bandh called by the Sena-BJP on December 28, 2010, following removal of the Konddev statue by the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC).

In order to avoid possible arrest in the alleged crime, the two leaders surrendered before the court of judicial magistrate (first class), RL Wankhade, on December 30, 2010. On February 23, 2010, Wankhade allowed the Pune police to collect their voice samples.

However, both the Sena leaders skipped their date with the Pune police on February 26 last year to submit their voice test.

On March 14 last year, the Bund Garden police filed a 17-page chargesheet against them in the court of Wankhade.

Pleading for dismissal of the petition, special public prosecutor, Prakash Suryawanshi, told the court that voice samples of the two suspects were an integral part of the investigation. He also cited the judgment by the Bombay High Court in the case of fake stamp paper scam and told the court that as per article 20 (3) of the Constitution, no person accused of an offence shall be compelled to be a witness against himself.

On December 27, 2010, the Pune city police had tapped the cellphone and landline of Neelam Gorhe, after the Sena had called a Pune bandh the next day. According to the prosecution, Gorhe had received a call from Narvekar, who allegedly instructed her to stage-manage a riot and create panic in Pune on the bandh day. Narvekar allegedly instructed Gorhe to direct the party cadres to damage public buses in the main city areas, instigate violence and create terror in the people’s minds.

As a part of the voice test, the suspects are made to read books. The natural voice and pitch is recorded in the morning, afternoon and night and then they are sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory (CFSL), Chandigarh and to the Mumbai Forensic Science Laboratory for analysis.







Who cast the other vote?

At Mohali SDM is also the Returning Officer for the district. A frequent visitor at his office is an elderly Sikh gentleman who contested the municipal elections as an Independent candidate last time, and intends to enter the fray for the Assembly elections this year. The gentleman secured two votes last time – one his own, and the other of a mystery voter. He now has only one query – he is desperate to know the identity of the other person who voted for him so that he can take him along for canvassing.


The recent direction by the Punjab and Haryana High Court to the lower Courts to send status reports of the cases disposed of and those pending on monthly basis is keeping the judicial officers on their toes. On the other hand, the High Court is also keeping a close watch on the functioning of lower judiciary and apprising the performance of lower court Judges to their respective District and Session Judges. Recently, two Judges who were found “underperforming” (from Punjab) were informed through their Sessions Judge to perform else remain prepared to blame themselves for adverse remarks in annual confidential reports.

 ‘Ingenuity’ on display

At a recent press conference regarding the police catching a gang of vehicle thieves, a number of two wheelers recovered as case property from the accused were put on display. While some vehicles stood out as fairly new, others were in a crumbling condition and it appeared as if they had not been moved for years. The idea of these being stolen could not be imagined. Many were of the opinion that the police should have at least got them washed before the press conference to make them appear as a “genuine” recovery.

Who will bell the cat?

In past ten days huge hoardings have come up at various sectors in Panchkula with colourful pictures of politicians. Though it is not any poll time in Panchkula like neighbouring Punjab, but politicians here had come up with a novel method to greet the people on new year through these hoardings. Though these hoardings have been put in violation of norms, the Panchkula Municipal Corporation is a mute spectator to the defacement of the city. May be the officials of civic body are afraid of the politicians and need their permission to pull the hoardings down.

Excuse Me!

Elections are here and so are the election duties for government employees. But unlike in the past when people were willing to on elections duty simply for the fact that it would give them a chance to skip work, its just the opposite these days. Since the day, Punjab elections have been announced Mohali Deputy Commissioner has been flooded with requests for elections duty. Not for being sent on one, but for requesting him to excuse them from the duty. One government teacher came to meet the DC, Mohali in his office all the way from Dappar, near Dera Bassi, to request him for making recommending his case against the duty. When he turned down her request, she reached his residence pleading his case. Finally the DC had to tell her that if gets involved in all this, he will end up doing it till the day of elections, so rather she should excuse him.

Old Wine in New Bottle

The General House of the Municipal Corporation might be full of a large number of fresh faces this time, but the demands of the councillors remain the same. Some of them have started raising the issue that they should be given bags as has been the trend in the past House. The others are worried that the proposal to increase their remuneration has not yet been accepted. Laptops are another issue of concern.

(UN) Welcome visitors

In the recent few weeks, the Panjab University Vice Chancellor Prof R C Sobti’s office had much more than the regular visitors. It was the University faculty members who had thronged his office to congratulate him on extension of his term. With some section of media misinterpreting the Senate’s decision on mere recommendation of extension in his term and retirement age to the MHRD as the decision, the Vice Chancellor was at loss of words each time he was visited by the University staff to wish him. What is interesting is the fact that the faculty members, a few reported to be very senior ones who had been in the University for last four decades, are clueless about the University functioning and its guidelines, that too in such a major decision affecting the term of its head.

Surprise over confusion

Recipients of the New Year’s greetings cards sent by the Haryana government this week were forced to take a closer look at the envelopes in which the cards came in. Curiously enough, the senders (Haryana Government officials in this case) had put pasting revenue stamps over the envelopes in place of postal stamps. More interesting was the fact that the glaring error seemed to have escaped the eyes of the postal department as well, which, in turn, ended up delivering the cards.






Child’s welfare key concern in disputes: Jurists

Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.50AM IST

CHENNAI: While deciding family disputes, the best interest of the child alone should be given prime importance, felt two women judges of the Madras high court here on Sunday. They were participating in discussions at the National Conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers (AIFWL).

While Justice Chitra Venkataraman recommended the need for lawyers to prepare clients for the litigation itself in cases of family disputes, Justice Vimala stressed on the importance of individuals going in for pre-marital counselling.

“Both judges also said that when a child is taken in for giving evidence on family matters, the child should not be bombarded with questions as is done with a chief and cross examination, but be enquired politely,” said advocate Adhilakshmi Logamurthy.

“Mediation is often the best way to resolve some of the most challenging problems in family disputes. The mediator should seek the best interest of the child in such cases,” said advocate Baby Lathika, member, Child Welfare Committee of Kannur district in Kerala. She practices at the district and sessions court, Thalassery.

Her colleague, Alice Krishnan, who practices in Kasaragode district of Kerala, said there was an inherent need for training of district judges, counsellors and protection officers to sensitise them to the issues involved in family disputes.

“Consideration for women and children should be the prime criterion for appointing judges to the family court. Since judges are transferred from other district courts to family courts, they should be given training and proper guidelines so that they can understand the intention of the legislation while passing orders,” she said.

The delegates resolved to work on the urgent need for the country to develop a law on surrogacy and for it to be enacted after wide consultations with women’s groups working on the issue. A resolution was also adopted to develop a legislation to tackle the problems of honour killings in India.

“The AIFWL will study the draft framed by the Law Commission on the Bill and send in its comments. We chose themes for the conference based on the burning issues. Though surrogacy and honour killings are hot trends today, there are no laws governing them,” said Amee Yajnik, vice-president, AIFWL, a senior lawyer from the Gujarat high court.

Dr V Shanta, chairman, Cancer Institute, Adyar, Ruth Manorama, president, National Alliance of Women and Vanitha Mohan, managing trustee, Siru Thuli were recipients of the social activism award.




Debar MLAs who quit, force bypolls: Consumer rights protection


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 11:44 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The all-India Consumer Rights Protection Trust has sought an amendment to Chapter 3 and 4 of the representation of the people’s act by incorporating a clause debarring those MLAs who resign from the legislative assembly and then contest by-elections.

At a conference on Saturday, trust president Gnana Prakash said that a by-election is a wasteful exercise and should be avoided.
The same candidate should not be given more than one chance to contest elections.

He pointed out that in Karnataka every now and then there is a by-election and quite often a candidate is made to resign from one party and joins another and then contest a by-election.

Prakash said this should not happen and felt that if an MLA resigns during his tenure, he should be debarred from contesting elections for a period of 6 years and the expenditure incurred for his conducting his election should be recovered from him.

He should be punished under the Indian penal code as due to his resignation the money spent by the state exchequer on his election goes waste, he added.

Only in extreme situations like the death of a sitting MLA or if he becomes terminally ill should a by-election be allowed, Prakash said.

He further added that the trust has submitted a letter raising this issue to central minister Salman Khurshid and he has replied saying he would look into it.

CR Narayanappa, former chairman of Karnataka state slum clearance board and patron of the trust, said that he too will pursue the matter.







CID reveals casting, script of Munnabhai-style scam

Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 10:35 IST
By Imran Gowhar | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Where there is will, there is a way. Eleven doctors who could not score well in the postgraduate medical entrance exam in an earlier attempt, got top 11 ranks in 2011. The only smart work they had to do in this regard was joining hands with an insider and shelling out money.

The CID has busted a group of 17 doctors who colluded to leak the question paper of the postgraduate medical entrance exam held in 2011. They even provided answers to the 11 candidates, right in the exam hall. The main culprit who facilitated the con-job is Dr Vinayaka Prasanna, assistant professor, forensic department, Vijayanagar Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS),

Bellary. He used his good ties with the staff of the VIMS and Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS) to get the job done for his clients, who are his junior colleagues.
Each of the 11 candidates agreed to pay a hefty amount to Prasanna to help them get good rank in the exam. Getting high rank in the exam ensures
admission to a government medical college, where the fee is nominal.
The CID’s chargesheet regarding the case reveals the intricate process through which Prasanna executed his plan. He has a good rapport with the employees of the RGUHS and the VIMS and he used it to the hilt. With the help of computer programmer of the RGUHS, he ensured that all the 11 candidates were allotted the same exam hall, in VIMS.
Then, Prasanna joined hands with another VIMS official and saw to it that all the candidates got seat in the same row, so that they can copy easily without attracting attention. Prasanna then approached Dr Kantesh Yallapur, the VIMS lecturer who was to be the invigilator of the exam hall where the 11 candidates were to write their exam. Yallapur agreed to distribute the answer chits to the candidates.
Prasanna too had applied for invigilator duty on the day of the exam. From the exam superintendent, Dr Manjunath, he obtained the sealed envelope of question papers about a couple of hours before the exam. He opened the envelope in his chamber and took photos of the question paper with his digital camera. He gave the camera to Dr Kiran Chand, junior division medical officer, VIMS, and asked him to take it to the house of Dr Firdos Sultana, a postgraduate doctor working with VIMS.
Sultana, with the help of Dr Vanaja (Prasanna’s wife and assistant professor, VIMS) and others, prepared eleven answer sheets. They were sent back to Prasanna. Then, Chand was instructed to hand over 10 chits to the candidates, which he did. Prasanna handed over one answer chit to Dr V Suresh, who is the 26th accused in the CID’s chargesheet.
The scam came to light after some of the examinees smelled a rat in top 11 ranks coming from the same examination hall. They filed a complaint with the RGUHS and police. The case was handed over to the CID. Many employees of the RGUHS and VIMS who have been accused of being part of the scam told the CID that they did what Prasanna asked them to and they were not aware of the larger picture—the scam. These accused testified before the CID, which helped the officials crack the case.
All the accused have been booked under various sections f of Indian Penal Code and Karnataka Education Act.









From forged plastic money to hard cash


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 03.46AM IST

PANAJI: The 12 accused arrested by the Panaji police had adopted a new modus operandi to cheat casino operator in Panaji to the tune of Rs 39 lakh in two days: they would visit the casino as tourists and purchase chips to play. But instead of playing, they would return the chips at the casino counter and encash it claiming it to be their winning amount.

Police said that few of them would use fake credit and debit cards to withdraw money to purchase the chips and then instead of playing in they would pass on the chips to the other gang members who would also be present in the casino. “Once they got the chips, they would then return to the casino counter and return them claiming that they had won the same. Then they would leave the casino with cash,” said police sources.

The Panaji town police arrested 12 persons for allegedly duping a casino to the tune of Rs 39 lakh, by using bogus credit and debit cards, on Saturday evening.

Representative of a casino Srinivas Nayak had lodged a complaint with the Panaji town police that some persons were cheating the casino by using forged cards. Accordingly, the police laid a trap and caught Ravi Kiran, Farhaan Tangekar and Nazir Shaikh-all three from Thane-Mumbai; M Ajmal Sharief (Bangalore), Abdul Waheed Shaikh (Orissa), Juneid Shaikh, Hidayat alias Ruhaan Khan, Rajesh Bhosle, Vjid Bikla and Sangeeta Shilkar all from Mumbai and Shati Baaz Shaikh and Neha Ticker from Hyderabad.

The accused would allegedly prepare forged documents and prepare credit and debit cards in different names by printing and embossing the details. Then they would use these forged cards to withdraw cash and purchase chips from the casino.

All the accused were arrested under Section 468 (forgery), Section 471 (using as genuine a forged document), Section 420 (cheating), Section 120 (b) (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 34 (common intention) of the Indian Penal Code.

In two days, they are suspected to have used more than 40 cards in the casinos.






Nakkeeran editor, AIADMK MLA file cases on each other


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.38AM IST

CHENNAI: Zam Bazaar police have registered a first information report against ‘Nakkeeran’ editor R R Gopal and AIADMK MLA M K Ashok after the attack on the Tamil magazine’s office on Saturday.

An AIADMK worker from Royapettah lodged a complaint stating that the magazine staff had threatened him when he went to ask them about the allegedly defamatory article published in ‘Nakkeeran’ about chief minister J Jayalalithaa. Based on his complaint, police filed a case against Gopal under sections 147, 148 (rioting), 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 505 (statements leading to public mischief) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code on Sunday.

Later, the magazine’s manager Suresh Kumar lodged a complaint against M K Ashok, party MLA from Velachery constituency. Cases were filed under section 147, 148, 427 (causing damage to the amount of fifty rupees or upwards) and 294b (obscene acts and songs).

Meanwhile, tension prevailed in Royapettah for the second day after reports of AIADMK cadres attacking the ‘Nakkeeran’ office spread. A statement released by Gopal alleged that Metrowater staff tried to disconnect the water supply at 10am on Sunday.

He said that at noon another group of AIADMK cadres armed with logs and stones launched a second attack. “They told residents and shopkeepers to go inside and continued their attack,” Gopal said in his statement. He exhorted everyone to protest against the curbing of freedom of expression.

On Saturday, AIADMK cadres ransacked the Nakkeeran office after the latest issue of the magazine hit the stands. Across Tamil Nadu, ruling party workers staged protests and burnt the copies of the magazine. The party’s legal wing filed a petition with the Chennai police commissioner seeking action against the magazine and its editor.

DMK organising secretary T K S Elangovan said that attacks on a magazine for publishing an article is like sounding a warning to all media houses. “They should have taken legal action rather than attacking the office and trying to cut water and power connections. The government itself could have filed a defamation case. This is an attempt to curb freedom of the press,” said Elangovan.

A senior Metrowater official denied any move to cut the water connection in ‘Nakkeeran’ office. “The staff usually cut the connection for maintenance. Otherwise, there will be no such move without informing the consumer. If there is a complaint, the concerned person can approach the Metrowater senior officials including the managing director. Necessary action will be taken,” said the official.






Homeopathy: Placebo or science? IIT Powai finds out

Mumbai: Sceptics and scientists alike say homeopathy is a placebo. However, scientists at IIT Powai have done some ground-breaking research, and plan to release a new study this March.

The British Medical Association has passed some serious judgment on homeopathy, liking it to witchcraft and black magic, “all placebo and no science”.

The debate over homeopathy is not new. Some of the criticism is over the quality of compounds which are heavily diluted with water. The final solution often contains only a millionth of the original ingredient. Researchers in IIT Bombay have found that these white pills work on the principle of nanotechnology.

A team of experts at the institute prepared a highly diluted solution of pills and checked them under powerful electron microscopes and found that even after extreme dilutions, the final solution did retain the original compounds.

Jayesh R Bellare, Professor of Chemical Engineering at IIT-B, said, ”We have shown for the first time that there is a scientific basis to the material aspect of homeopathy. Now it is possible for others to take on this and show that there is or there is not, a medical action based on this. And if there is a medical action, whether the particles that were originally there, are still there in the final medicine and whether they play a role or not.”

The medicinal potency of the drugs after dilution still needs to be studied, but the debate does not bother homeopaths.

One homeopath customer CNN-IBN spoke to, said, “These findings and debates are for scientists, not for common man. I have been using it for over 60 years and I trust it.”

Noted filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya too seems to be a proud supporter of homeopathy. He said that while allopathy was all well and good, in the end, it turned human being into a vegetable. “You wake up in the morning, you are grog, you sleep at night, you are grog.. Is that well being? So that is where homeopathy comes in.”

Finally, it may just remain a matter of trust, till the science catches up.








Convict hurls sandal at judge in Jamnagar


Published: Sunday, Jan 8, 2012, 19:42 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Rajkot | Agency: DNA

Angered by a judgment, a person convicted under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), hurled a sandal at the judge of a court in Jamnagar on Saturday, police said.

According to police sources, additional sessions Judge BA Gadhvi found 24-year-old Sushant Sareshwar Sahu guilty under the NDPS Act and sentenced him to 20 years imprisonment and fined him Rs2 lakh.

“After hearing the judgment, the convict lost his mental calm and flung a sandal at the judge, which didn’t hit him,” a police constable present in the court said. However, Judge Gadhvi did not press any charges against the youth. “I understand his feelings and mental condition. I would like to maintain decorum of the court and would not like to press any charges against him,” he said.

Police have taken Sahu in custody and sent him to prison. Sahu was arrested in April 2009 with 13.150 kg of opium in his possession. “He was arrested following a trap laid for him at Dared GIDC in Jamnagar while trying to deliver the opium to his local customers. He is a resident of Odisha and does not have any local contacts,” police sources said.








Won a case? Wait six months for order copy


A Subramani, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 05.57AM IST

CHENNAI: For a common man fighting a motor accident claim case or a rent control case in the city, it seems winning the litigation is not as tough and frustrating as obtaining a copy of his hard-fought order.

It takes not less than six months for a litigant to get a certified copy of a judgment/decree. Court officials admit that right now they are “in the process of issuing” copies of orders delivered in July-August 2011. Reason: “There is only one photocopier machine for the 21 courts here – 16 Small Causes Courts and five Fast Track Courts,” said a court employee.

“Yes, it does take about six months for the Registry to issue a certified copy of judgments. It will take you at least two months to join the ‘Xerox Queue’ . And it would take about four months thereafter for you to see a certified copy of the judgment/decree,” said a lawyer specializing in motor accident claims cases.

And what does the law say?

According to Section 168(2) of the Motor Vehicles Act 1988 the claims tribunal should arrange to deliver copies of the award to the parties concerned “expeditiously” and in any case, within a period of 15 days from the date of the award.


Even the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicles Accidents Claim Tribunal Rules 1989 lays down similar condition. As per the Rules, the tribunal should issue copies of awards and decrees free of cost within 15 days from the date of the award.

Krishnamurthy, 67, and his wife, from Nagapattinam , met with a road accident in Keelkattalai and suffered injuries. In July 2011, the tribunal awarded them 80,000 and 70,000 respectively . But till this day, they are yet to get a fair copy of the order and hence could not claim the award amount, said their counsel.

Till December-end in 2011, nearly 6,000 new road accident claim cases were filed in the courts, called MCOP Tribunals, and about 3,000 rent control cases in Chennai.

The Small Causes Courts 1 to 6, which handle MCOP cases exclusively, manage to dispose of anywhere between 40 to 80 cases a month. But, the problem lies in the actual delivery of the certified copies of the judgments.

It is strange that the five fast track courts (FTCs), located at Singaravelar Maaligai in the collectorate campus, over a kilometer away, also stop with pronouncing judgments. “Copies have to be collected only from the high court premises. Why can’t they issue fair copies there itself. It will reduce the burden,” said a leading accident case specialist.

“One can understand delays in litigations, given the huge volume of cases pending in subordinate courts. But, absence of enough photocopier machines is definitely not an acceptable reason for delays,” said a senior lawyer.








HC allows probe against Central Wakf Council secy


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 12:47

New Delhi: The Centre has been allowed by the Delhi High Court to probe into the alleged irregularities of Central Wakf Council Secretary Mohammad Rizwanul Haque in making appointments in the Punjab Wakf Board when he was its officiating administrator over a decade ago.

Dismissing Haque’s plea for quashing the probe against him, Justice V K Jain said the court should not interfere in the disciplinary proceedings at this initial stage.

“The normal rule is that the court should not quash a show-cause notice or a charge-sheet and it is only in exceptional cases such as the charge-sheet having been issued without jurisdiction or being otherwise illegal that the court can interfere at the interim stage,” the court said.

Haque, appointed as secretary of Central Wakf Council in 2000, was also given the additional charge of Punjab Wakf Board till 2002.

The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment had received some complaints against Haque in 2002 and had sent the same to the CBI.

In 2004, after examining the complaints, the probe agency had recommended major penalty proceedings against Haque for allegedly committing the irregularities.






Remote for HC blast smuggled from LoC trade


Last Updated: Sunday, January 08, 2012, 14:47

Srinagar: Security agencies probing the Delhi High Court blasts are in the process of joining the dots as certain leads have emerged pointing to the remote used for triggering the explosion being smuggled from Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir (PoK) through LoC trade.

An examination of the circuit used in the September seven, 2011 blast at the Delhi High Court, that left 15 people dead and scores others injured, showed that terrorists had used a three-battery remote for triggering the explosion, official sources said on Sunday.

The three-battery remote has been used earlier by terrorists thrice last year — Sangrama in Sopore of North Kashmir, Udhampur in May during an unsuccessful attempt on the life of an Army officer and assassination of Jamiat-e-Ahl-e-Hadees head Maluana Showkat Ahmad Shah in April.

The three-battery remote has more range then earlier used by the terrorists as the technology used here gives them some lead time to facilitate an easy escape from the scene of crime.

A team of National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing the High Court blast, has collected the sample from the scene of the Udhampur blast and also that of Sangrama IED, which had failed to detonate because of a high frequency jammer, the sources said.

The forensic evidence in the Molvi Showkat’s case was also examined but it could not give any leads other than the triggering mechanism which also pointed out at a three-battery remote, the sources said.







1985 rape-murder case: HC slams shoddy probe, state govt

In a 26-year-old case where a minor girl from Surendranagar district was allegedly impregnated by her schoolteacher and died while undergoing an abortion by an incompetent person, the Gujarat High Court has slammed the poor investigation and inaction of the state government in not challenging an order whereby the charges of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder were dropped by the concerned trial court in 1986.

The HC did so recently while confirming the trial court’s order acquitting all the five accused in the case, including the schoolteacher and the woman who had allegedly tried to abort the pregnancy.

The victim girl in the case has been identified as 16-year-old Mamta Pravinchandra. Mamta’s body was found in an almost decomposed condition from Bhogavo river in March 1985.

Mamta’s father had lodged a complaint against five persons in connection with the case. The five accused have been identified as Joshi Nayna, Joshi Dinkrray, Joshi Kanaiyalal, Trivedi Praful, Suthar Parsottam and Joshi Niru.

According to the prosecution case in the matter, Suthar was Mamta’s schoolteacher as well as a private tutor. The teacher had allegedly involved in the illicit relationship with Mamta who later became pregnant. Nayna was an ‘aaya’ at a government hospital and the other accused were alleged abettors in the case having charges like kidnapping, illegal miscarriage, rape, murder and destruction of evidence etc.

According to prosecution, under the instructions of Suthar, on March 17, 1985, Mamta – from Adarniya village – had left for the house of his aunt in Dhrangadhra and then for Surendranagar. From Surendranagar, under the instructions of Suthar, she was taken to Joravarnagar and there her illegal abortion was undertaken. It was alleged that Nayna had given an injection to Mamta which resulted in her death. Following her death, the accused allegedly tampered with the evidence.

Interestingly, before the trial court framed charges against the accused, they moved an application to remove charges of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder against them. The application was allowed by the concerned trial court in September 1986. This order was never challenged by the state government at the higher forum.

Subsequently, the trial court acquitted all the accused from the remaining charges like kidnapping, destruction of evidence, illegal abortion and criminal conspiracy one month later in October 1986, and it was this order of acquittal which was challenged by the state government at HC.

A division bench of HC comprising of Justices R R Tripathi and G B Shah dismissed the petition while slamming the police investigation and the state government inaction in not challenging the September 1986 order of the trial court to drop charges of murder and culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the accused.

“It is really painful that in a matter of such nature wherein a minor and illegal abortion and death of minor is involved, the investigation is not carried out with required precision. On account of lack of precision, the prosecution is not able to bring home the guilt of the accused. The law is very well settled on the point that unless the prosecution is able to establish the guilt of the accused beyond reasonable doubt, the accused cannot be held guilty and cannot be punished,” the court observed.

“This court is at loss as to why the prosecution did not challenge that order, which was passed on an application filed by the accused for deleting the charge of Sections 302 and 304 of IPC. The learned counsel appearing for the defence submitted that the said application was given because there was nothing on record to show that the death of Mamta was homicidal. May be, that reason was found very convincing by the prosecution and therefore, the prosecution decided not the challenge that order,” it added.

Dismissing the petition the court observed, “This court has no doubt that the death of minor Mamta was not a natural death. It is on record that she was found pregnant and at first sight, the account of offence may lead to an inference that minor Mamta was pregnant and an abortion was attempted and in that attempt, she died. But the question will still remain as to whether this inference is sufficient to connect the accused with the offence alleged against them. The answer is in negative.”

Speaker refuses to play ‘courier’ for HC summons


Published: Monday, Jan 9, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Agency: DNA

A strange situation has come up before the Allahabad High Court which has been awaiting execution of summons issued for BJP MP Maneka Gandhi in September last.

Despite several attempts made to serve the summons on her in connection with a petition regarding suspected misutilisation of MP local area development fund (MPLAD) that she had allocated to a school, the HC has at last been told by Lok Sabha secretariat that the Speaker can’t undertake the responsibility to serve any legal process, civil or criminal, on a court’s direction.

“The summons sent for service through Lok Sabha Secretariat have been returned back with the letter of VR Ramesh, joint secretary, with reference to the direction of Government of India that Speaker of Lok Sabha Secretariat will not undertake to serve any legal process, civil or criminal or other communications, received from courts or other authorities or members of Parliament. The summons have been returned,” the HC has been told.

Faced with this unusual situation, it has directed that a notice is sent to her Ashok Road (Delhi). In case the summons aren’t served on Ms Gandhi, HC warned that “itmay be constrained to make publication of the avoidance of service by her and may issue service by Advocate Commissioner or recovery of the amount involved in the matter by coercive steps.”

On a law suit saying Rs8.85 lakhs sanctioned by Ms Gandhi under MPLAD to a college at Pilibhit was underutilized, the HC had ordered in an inquiry and it was revealed that the college couldn’t verify expenditure of Rs1.14 lakh.

Since the amount sanctioned under MPLAD scheme and released by the Central government can’t be recovered as arrears of land revenue under the UP Public Money Recoveries Act, 1972, the HC said it would examine the legality of the prohibition. Moreover, it said there’s another important question that looks for a reply: The accountability of the concerned Member of Parliament for proper utilization of fund that he or she had released from the exchequer.

This issue assumes significance in view of several reports about susceptible utililisation of MPLAD.

There are also serious concerns expressed by certain stake holders that delay in completion of the process such execution of summons and serving notices that there’s been increasing pendency of cases.








HC upholds externment of man accused of extortion, gambling–of-man-accused-of-extortion–gambling/897390/

Refusing to grant relief to a man accused of running an extortion and gambling racket in Chembur, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday upheld an externment order, which barred him from entering Mumbai city and suburban districts.

Bharat Ramtara had filed an appeal against an externment order passed on May 16 last year. The order of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone VI), while referring to 22 criminal cases against Ramtara, cited one specific case as reason for the order. The case was registered under Sections 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace) and 506 (2) (punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

According to the order, Ramtara had been engaged in criminal activities, including gambling and extorting money from shopkeepers, hawkers and residents since 2004. The order had also noted that victims and witnesses were unwilling to come forward to give evidence against him as they had been intimidated.

Arguing before the Bench headed by Justice A M Khanwilkar, lawyer for the petitioner, U N Tripathi, contended there was no material to support the opinion of the externing authority with respect to intimidation of witnesses. However, the court said the evidence in the show cause notice issued to Ramtara, which contained the gist of in-camera statements of three witnesses, would have to considered in the case.

It further observed that all three witnesses referred to separate incidents in 2011. It further took note of the statement of additional public prosecutor J P Yagnik to the effect that three more cases were registered against Ramtara even after the order of externment was passed.







HC asks for state’s reply on rehab of slum loft occupants


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.15AM IST

MUMBAI: Observing that lakhs of slumdwellers will be affected, the Bombay High Court has sought the state government’s reply on a petition challenging the exclusion of those living in lofts/upper floors of hutments in the slum rehabilitation scheme.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar was hearing petitions challenging the government resolution (GR) dated July 11, 2011, which states that occupants of lofts/upper floors are excluded from rehabilitation.

One petition was filled by Gunaji Pagade, a resident of Panchsheel Housing Society at Bandra (E), which is to be redeveloped. On July 28, 2011, the slum rehabilitation authority ( SRA) held him ineligible for rehabilitation on the grounds that he is an occupant of the upper floor/loft structure, even though he claims he has been staying there since before 1976. While the order noted that Pagade’s photo pass and other documents are in order, his claim was being rejected only on the basis of the GR.

According to Pagade’s petition, the GR is ultra vires and contrary to the statutory provisions of the Maharashtra Slum Areas (Improvement, Clearance and Redevelopment) Act 1971, which states that the dwelling structure is inclusive of a loft/upper floor. It points out that under the Act, a ‘protected occupier’ means an occupier of a dwelling structure who holds a photo pass, while a ‘dwelling structure’ means a structure used as a dwelling or otherwise and includes outhouses, sheds, huts or other structures, whether of bricks, masonry, wood, mud, metal or any other material whatsoever. Thus, states Pagade, he is a protected occupier.

Pagade’s petition also states that the GR was meant for the purpose of issuing a photo pass and he has been issued one in 1976. His name is also reflected in voters’ list of January 1, 1995. Pagade urged the court to quash and set aside the SRA’s order, the GR and to direct his name to be included for rehabilitation. Advocates Anil Anturkar and Sugandh Deshmukh argued, “The parent statute includes provision for a loft. Can a GR nullify the parent statute?” The judges said that they would like to know the state’s response. “After all, it will affect lakhs,” added Justice Bobde. The judges have granted the state two weeks to file a reply.

Petitioner Gunaji Pagade’s claim was being rejected only on the basis of a GR that states that a slumdweller is not entitled to be rehabilitated if he stays in the loft.







AIDWA to protest against news report on Aarushi


Special Correspondent

The All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) will submit a memorandum to Chief Justice of India S.H. Kapadia to protest against a report published in the January 7 edition of the Times of India that had “lurid and objectionable” details of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) report on the Aarushi Talwar double murder case. The Association will demand action against the newspaper for carrying this report defaming and maligning the young girl’s character and will appeal to the CJI to act against those responsible for the CBI report.

‘Graphic and gory’

The article, titled “Hemraj-Aarushi intimacy proved fatal,” blatantly highlights the name of a young girl, along with descriptions of her alleged sexual behaviour, and the alleged actions of her mother, which are graphic, and gory, and have not been proved in court, a statement issued by Shyamali Gupta, AIDWA president, and Sudha Sundararaman, general secretary, has said.

“The publicising of a CBI report on such a sensitive matter relating to a young child of 14 years, who has been done to death, violates all norms of decency. It casts aspersions on Aarushi’s character and defames her. This is patently against the law,” the statement said.

“Those responsible for this leakage must be held accountable for their action. The publicity given to such a report by a reputed newspaper like The Times of India is also highly objectionable,” the AIDWA statement added.

When asked, The Times of India executive editor Arindam Sengupta refused to comment on the AIDWA statement or on the alleged defamation.







Tribunal pulls up army for not complying with 2-year-old order


PTI | 04:01 PM,Jan 08,2012

New Delhi, Jan 8 (PTI) Pulling up Army for not complying with its almost two-year-old judgement in a court martial case, the Armed Forces tribunal (AFT) has given two weeks to implement the order, failing which it will impose a cost on it for each day’s delay. The AFT issued this order last week in a case involving Major S S Chillar, who was acquitted of charges of possessing a particular grenade allegedly recovered from under his pillow in April 2010. “The order in question was passed on April 1, 2010 and we are in 2012. Still the order has not been fully complied with. In case this order is not complied with within two weeks then we will saddle a cost on the respondents on everyday’s delay,” AFT Chairperson Justice A K Mathur said in his order. In 2010, the AFT had acquitted Chillar after terming his court martial as “totally illegal and unsustainable in law”. Giving relief to Chillar, the AFT had asked the armed forces to appoint trained prosecutors and presiding officers for such cases as otherwise they would turn into acquittals. The AFT has been seeking civil contempt powers to get its orders executed but not much progress has been made in this direction. A proposal in this regard has been pending for some time as it would require an amendment in the AFT Act, 2007 passed by Parliament. The Armed Forces Tribunal Act, 2007, however, provides for “criminal contempt” under Section 19, the only power under the contempt provisions for the tribunal.







Can’t deduct rent of staff who refuses govt accommodation’


Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 08, 2012

An employee’s refusal to occupy a government accommodation unilaterally allotted to him cannot be treated as misconduct and authorities cannot deduct rent towards such accommodation from his salary, the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ruled. A bench of CAT chairman VK Bali and member Ramesh Chandra Panda on December 23 said government was obliged to refund the rent deducted from the salary of an employee who had been allotted official accommodation without applying for it.

The ruling came on a petition by Pramod Kumar, a technical officer in Dehradun who was transferred to the research centre of central soil and water conservation research and training institute at Datia in MP on July 24, 2002. The authorities allotted him quarter on June 17, 2003 and directed him to occupy it by June 30, 2003, otherwise rent would be deducted from his salary.

Kumar’s case was that, the said quarter lacked basic amenities like electricity and drinking water and he informed the authorities that he was not interested as his family was in Dehradun. But the licence fee and HRA were deducted from his salary from September 2003.

When he objected, on June 6, 2004 he was asked to look after the maintenance of new office-cum-laboratory building and civil and electrical works of residential quarters and his services were declared as essential.

Rejecting his representations, the authorities on April 12, 2007 directed him to live in the quarter else face action. Notwithstanding his April 26, 2007 reply, Kumar was placed under suspension by an order dated May 11, 2007 under Rule 10(1) of CCS (CCA) Rules, 1965.

A charge memo dated October 9, 2007 was issued to him alleging that as technical officer he disobeyed instructions of the head, research centre, Datia as well as the directions issued to him regarding occupying the quarter allotted. It was alleged that he exhibited lack of devotion to duty and acted in manner unbecoming of a council’s employee. Inquiry was conducted and charges were proved.

The disciplinary authority passed order on July 19 2008 imposing penalty of reduction by two stages from 8300 to 7900 in the time scale of pay of 6500-200-10500 for a period of two years with immediate effect. It was also directed that he would not get increments during the period of reduction and on the expire of this period of reduction would have the effect of postponing his future increment. On his representation, the authorities modified the penalty to non-cumulative but kept the rest as unchanged. 

However, the CAT quashed the disciplinary proceedings and directed the authorities to refund the licence fee deducted from Kumar’s salary for the period of non-occupation of the quarter allotted to him.

It also directed that he would also be granted admissible HRA and transport allowance for the period he stayed in rented accommodation.

“The fact remains that applicant discharged his duties and carried out the functions given to him. The only disobedience which has been attributed to

him is non-occupation of the quarter allotted to him… non-occupation of a quarter unilaterally allotted to him by no stretch of imagination could be called as disobedience, less to speak of a misconduct,” the bench said.









Verdict reserved: Delaying orders makes judiciarys name ugly

Rakesh Bhatnagar | Monday, January 9, 2012

It is presumed in all fairness to litigants and the dispensation system that courts, including high courts and the Supreme Court, are governed by the principle of fairness and rule law.

The undue delay in the completion of a trial is seen as unfair and against the rule of law. Delay in disposal of a case, if not explained satisfactorily, is detested.

At a time when serious concerns have been expressed to mitigate the trauma being caused to innocent consumer of justice due to the cumbersome procedural wrangling, it becomes pertinent to point out that huge backlog of cases isn’t always due to the varied tactics adopted by the parties in a trial or a civil suit.

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A lawsuit can’t be said to have been disposed unless the court that examined it has delivered the verdict on the dispute and that too within a “reasonable” time.

Over a decade ago, the Supreme Court observed that “a long delay in delivery of the judgment gives rise to unnecessary speculation in the minds of parties to a case”.

The problem of excessive time taken by the courts to arrive at a decision on the disputes put forth before them by the litigating parties isn’t new.

A government set up Arrears Committee that examined the recommendations of the Chief Justices’ conference in 1989 strongly suggested that reserved judgments should ordinarily be pronounced within six weeks (one and half month) from the conclusion of the arguments.

On the other hand, the Criminal Procedure Code states that the judgment in every trial shall be pronounced in open court immediately after the completion of proceedings in every trial.

Does it happen in practice? The answer is in the negative.

While instructions have been issued for the subordinate courts to abide by the strict time frame in passing judgments or orders, little can be done for the HC and SC judges because of the silence of the Constitution on this aspect.

This issue had been considered by the top court in 2001 and it passed a slew of directions which are applicable to the HCs alone.

The principle specified by the SC for expeditious judgment can’t be denied to the top judiciary. The term speedy justice doesn’t differentiate between different legal forums set up under a law or the Constitution.

In the famous Anil Rai case in 2001, a bench of justices KT Thomas and RP Sethi examined the ill effects of delay in delivering a judgment and opined that early judgment enforces people’s faith in the dispensation system.

They said delay in disposal of cases facilitates the people to raise eyebrows, sometimes genuinely which, if not checked, may shake the confidence of the people in the judicial system.

“For the fault of a few, the glorious and glittering name of the judiciary cannot be permitted to be made ugly,” they said but their words seem to have been forgotten with the passage of time.







Everybody to blame for poor state of women’


TNN | Jan 9, 2012, 02.51AM IST

CHENNAI: Indicating their outrage over atrocities committed on women, top judges of the country on Sunday made scathing remarks about living conditions of women in India.

Speaking at a national conference of the All India Federation of Women Lawyers here, justice P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, said: “The traditional system of female infanticide whereby female child was done away with after birth by poisoning or letting her choke on husk continues in a different form by taking advantage of advanced medical techniques. Unfortunately, developed medical science is misused to get rid of a girl child before birth.”

The other judge from the Supreme Court at the conference, Justice Ranjana Prasad Desai, said, “Independent India is 65 years old. Yet, women’s lot has not improved. Most of them live in sub-human conditions and are treated like chattel.”

The hugely popular justice Ranjana Desai, who was described as the ‘favourite child of mother justice’ by the organizers, did not spare anyone for the sorry condition of women. Besides blaming all castes and communities for violence against women, she said even the criminal justice system had failed to protect women.

“The police, the prosecutors, the courts and, in fact the entire criminal justice administration system has failed to give relief to women though the Constitution zealously protects women,” Desai said.

Noting that millions of female fetuses are destroyed every year and women are trafficked at will, she said conviction rate of registered cases continued to be low.

On his part, chief justice of the Madras high court, Justice M Y Eqbal said, “Women’s empowerment remains an enigma trapped in mystery, inspite of tall claims made by social activists and lip service of administrators.”

He added, “Women’s empowerment includes not justice granting them the right to vote or earmarking certain percentage in representation in democratic institutions, but also giving a woman the chance to bloom from her own groundings and surroundings.”







Court acquits four convicts 20 years after murder

The Bombay High Court recently acquitted four men, who were handed out life sentences for a murder committed over 20 years back, observing that surrendering to the police on their own was not sufficient ground to hold them guilty.

The incident dates back to June 29, 1989. According to the prosecution, the four accused — Vijay Kadam, Dilip Ambre, Ramakant Ligam and Kedar Yadav — from chawls in Charni Road, Walkeshwar and Worli, had allegedly attacked Vishnu Rane with choppers. Rane, who suffered 29 wounds after the attack near the Matulya Mills junction in Lower Parel, succumbed to the injuries.

The accused were released on bail during the trial. However, after being pronounced guilty by a sessions court on September 17, 2004, they were lodged in prison.

The trial court had convicted the accused observing that they had given no reason for surrendering to the police when they should have in fact filed an anticipatory bail application. This inference of the subordinate court, Justice V M Kanade and Justice M L Tahaliyani observed, was “clearly erroneous and contrary to the settled position in law”.

The court noted in its judgment, “An inference about guilt of the appellants cannot be drawn merely because they had surrendered on their own since the burden is squarely on the prosecution to establish its case beyond reasonable doubt.”

The key prosecution witness in the case was assistant sub-inspector Wahid Khan, attached to the Traffic Control Branch. Khan was posted near the junction for patrolling as trade union leader Datta Samant, killed later in 1997, had called a strike on the day of the incident. Khan told the police that around 4:30 pm, he saw four men attacking Rane while he was 70 feet away. He claimed the accused fled as they saw him approaching.

The court, however, held that Khan’s statement cannot be trusted as he had given no description of them in his statement to the police. Also, the identification parade conducted on July 2, 1989, was not according to the prescribed guidelines, the court said.

“The incident had taken place in broad daylight on a street in Mumbai. However, the prosecution has not examined any other eyewitness,” the court observed. Setting aside the order of the sessions court, the court ordered the release of the accused who have served over seven years in prison.








Sec 377 ruling fails to get gay man reprieve in court


Menaka Rao, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 09, 2012

More than two years after the Delhi high court decriminalised consensual gay sex, a Girgaum magistrate’s court has rejected a discharge application filed by a man booked for having ‘unnatural sex’ with another man.
In 2009, the Delhi high court had read down Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) that defines “unnatural sex” ruling that consensual gay sex between adults was not an offence. An appeal against the order is pending in the Supreme Court, which has not stayed the Delhi high court order.  

In Mumbai, the discharge application was filed by Rommel Fernandes (name changed), a merchant navy officer. Fernandes was allegedly the gay partner of Anand Gupta (name changed), a Peddar Road businessman. Gupta’s wife of 17 years had filed a police case against her husband and Fernandes for having “unnatural sex” in February 2009. Gupta and his wife have a nine-year-old son.

The police booked Fernandes and Gupta under Section 377 of the IPC, Section 498A (domestic violence) and criminal intimidation. The maximum punishment under Section 377 is life imprisonment.

Fernandes cited the Delhi high court order to seek discharge in the case. The court, however, did not accept the argument.

“Section 377 of IPC is still alive in statute. There are sufficient allegations against both accused. In the premises (sic), prima facie case is against accused,” additional chief metropolitan magistrate UK Aher stated in his order dated January 5.

“The Delhi high court judgment has held that gay sex amounts to an offence only if it involves a minor victim. The Supreme Court has not granted a stay on the order. I will challenge the magistrate court’s order in the higher courts,” said advocate Vivek Kantawala, who appeared for Fernandes.

Lawyers said the 2009 judgment had persuasive value in city courts as well. “The 2009 Delhi high court judgment has a bearing on the Bombay high court, and therefore all the courts in Maharashtra,” said advocate Anand Grover, who argued for petitioners, Naaz Foundation, before the Delhi high court.

Other lawyers said territorial jurisdiction of the judgment was a grey area. “There is a judgment of the Supreme Court, which states that if one high court strikes down a law, it is struck down throughout the country. Also, article 266(2) states that all high courts have territorial jurisdiction throughout the country. This order is worth challenging in the higher court,” said Mihir Desai, a human rights lawyer.

The magistrate, however, discharged Fernandes under section 498A, which deals with domestic violence.








Govt should re-look at quota policy, says High Court

Emphasising on merit and balance with respect to reserved seats for admissions in MBBS courses, the Delhi High Court has asked the Central government to have a re-look at its policy of reserving seats in medical colleges, especially for the candidates sponsored by it on certain criteria.

“We can only say that the Central government should re-examine the matter (of reservation in MBBS admissions),” observed a Bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Siddharth Mridul, as they disposed of a petition by three girls who had been denied admission in any of the Delhi medical colleges despite having cleared the Delhi University Medical-Dental Entrance Test 2011. “Examples are galore that even when general category candidates perform so well, they miss out and are not able to get admission because of the reservations. It is expected that these aspects would be looked into by the respondents (government) and a decision taken thereon within three months,” said the court.

The three girls, through advocate Aman Hingorani, had questioned the reservation of seats for the government nominees in various medical colleges and the manner in which they were admitted in various Delhi medical colleges. In certain cases, such students did not have to sit through examinations or even go through any sort of screening before they were admitted.

Noting that since it was too late for the court to grant any relief to the students as the September 30, 2011 deadline for taking admission in medical colleges had already expired, the Bench said the authorities must take steps to ensure these contentions do not crop up again in 2012.

“This may all justify giving a re-look by the government at the extent of nomination seats that need to be reserved for being filled up by its nominees,” said the court.

The government’s argument that many states, particularly in Northeast and some union territories, did not have medical colleges of their own and hence a preferential treatment, did not find favour with the court, which pointed out that in the new economic scenario,

several private and state-funded medical collages had come up in various states, including those in the northeastern region.

Holding that the reservation policy still had its legal validity, the court said the government also required to ensure there was no “imbalance” with respect to general category candidates and that the reserved seats were evenly distributed among different medical colleges.



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