LEGAL NEWS 11.01.2012

SHRC tells state to improve beggar homes


Posted: Tue Jan 10 2012, 00:32 hrs Mumbai:

Chiding the state government for lack of adequate infrastructure and poor security arrangements at beggars homes across the state, the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) has directed it to take immediate measures to ensure no inmates escape from the homes.

The SHRC chairperson has described the apathy shown towards the matter as a “sorry state of affairs’’. The matter was referred to the state commission by the National Commission after an inmate named Baliram alias Usuf Ali from the Satara beggars home went missing on December 21, 2002.

Despite the NHRC directing the state to launch a search into the missing case, no action was taken. SHRC chairperson Kshitij Vyas has observed that the Satara case was not the only case, but the issue of inmates escaping from these homes was prevalent across the state.

“The superintendents of these homes (beggars home/ juvenile homes/ remand homes situated in different parts of the state) have informed the commission about the missing/ absconding/ escapes of inmates from the respective homes,” observed Vyas in the order.

Observing that an urgent review is needed, the commission has asked the Chief Secretary to intervene in the matter and review the functioning of these homes. He was also asked to take necessary action for apprehending the escaped inmates.

The beggars home complexes across the state have run-down structures with several rows of small barracks built half a century ago. The homes are established under The Bombay Prevention of Begging Act, 1959, that makes begging in public places a punishable offence.

The barracks, that are in a state of extreme neglect and disrepair, serve as a temporary home for over 180 men and over 200 female beggars rounded up by the police and brought to the home to be reformed and imparted vocational training.

However, none of the beggar homes has enough personnel deployed, making it easy for the inmates to escape from the barracks. The commission has asked the superintendent of each beggar home to submit an exhaustive report on the causes and circumstances under which certain inmates have absconded or escaped from these homes.








DoT asks TDSAT for copy of 3G deals, telcos fear information leak


NEW DELHI: The legal battle between service providers, which entered into 3G roaming agreements, and department of telecom (DoT) took a new turn on Monday after the latter asked the telecom tribunal for copies of the agreements.

However, mobile operators, including Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea Cellular, opposed this request fearing leakage of commercially sensitive information from DoT to the telcos’ rivals.

Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) deferred the decision on the matter till January 17, allowing operators to offer services.

Last year, operators entered into pacts that allowed them to use each others’ airwaves and offer 3G services, such as video calling and high-speed internet on phones seamlessly across the country, even though none had all-India airwaves. Bharti, Idea and Vodafone entered into one agreement while Tata and Aircel entered another.

DoT sought roaming agreements from the tribunal and assured that they would be kept confidential. Telecom department’s legal counsel said that the telcos had shared the agreements with the sector regulator Trai and hence could share them with the department, who was the licensor. DoT did not put in a written request. But lawyers representing the telecom companies opposed this demand and said that the move would be unfair to the telcos.

CS Vaidyanathan representing one of the mobile operators said that the court should tell DoT to file an application for getting the agreements to which the telcos will file a reply.

“If they want a copy, let them file a proper application and then we would file our objection,” said Vaidyanathan.

Last week, DoT questioned the tribunal’s jurisdiction on entertaining the petitions of five telecom operators, including Bharti Airtel and Vodafone, challenging the government’s directive to stop 3G roaming agreements.

Telecom department’s legal counsel additional solicitor general AS Chandiok had cited a Supreme Court judgement that mentioned that the tribunal could not entertain petitions on altering terms of telecom licence.

DoT earlier termed roaming agreements between operators as illegal and in violation of various terms and conditions of the licence and notice inviting applications for auctions in 2010.

On December 23 last year, DoT issued notices to the telcos ordering them to immediately stop these services within 24 hours.

Mobile phone companies then obtained a stay on the DoT order from TDSAT even as they alleged the government of reneging on promises with “retrograde”, “irrational” and “illegal” decisions.

The tribunal barred the telecom ministry from taking any “coercive” action against telcos offering them temporary respite. Operators had said they had entered into these roaming deals with the full knowledge and blessings of the DoT, which they said had allowed such pacts before the 3G airwaves auction.







Show no violence in shows, says BCCC


Divya Pal, TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 12.00AM IST

There’s someone watching what you’re watching. The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), a body formed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation in June last year, has received 3441 complaints against Indian TV programmes in a period of just six months.

Of these, 479 complaints have been considered seriously and action taken on them. “Ghazab Desh Ki Ajab Kahani“, a show hosted by Rakhi Sawant, which got into trouble after a participant committed suicide, got the highest number of complaints – 58. Sunny Leone’s participation got “Bigg Boss 5” the second highest number of complaints at 36.

Wajahat Habibullah, chairperson of the National Commission for Minorities and a member of BCCC, said, “A majority of these complaints have been made by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting. There are many which are not substantive. These complaints not only raise an objection to the content of the show, but also the impact these shows can leave on kids if not aired during restricted hours. Hence, we have had discussions with the TV companies along these lines. BCCC has also taken strong action on complaints filed against the victimization of women and the graphic depiction of violence against them. The issue is that when a crime is aired on TV, women shouldn’t be shown as victims. If it has to be shown, then it should be done with some degree of sensitivity. Graphic descriptions detailing how her arm was twisted or how she was attacked by a dagger or even burnt, should be avoided. These matters were also taken up by representatives of the National Commission of Women (NCW) in the meeting.”

According to Anoop Soni, who has been hosting “Crime Patrol” for close to two years, the crime-based show’s main motive is to make people aware of violent crimes. Hence, it is important for the director to ensure the stories get a real portrayal. “”Crime Patrol” is based on factual stories of crime. If we dramatize real-life crime, it is to make people aware of what’s happening in society. And to ensure these stories are kept real, the representation, at times, has to be intense, if not graphic. We have reduced the bloodshed shown on the show because we don’t want to sensationalize things. We want to sensitize people instead,” he says, adding, “The response from viewers has been so positive that we have been requested to air the show in the primetime slot.” BP Singh, director, “CID”, tells us he is, at times, told by the viewers that the show teaches people how to commit crimes. “I don’t understand this viewpoint. How can one create awareness without showing crimes? Aur jisko jo seekhna hai, woh wohi seekhega. In our show, we make it a point that no woman is ill-treated by the cops. We avoid showing blood-splattered floors or bodies in a pool of blood. Agar zyaada blood hota hai toh usko bhi hum edit kar dete hain,” he says.

For actor Karanvir Bohra, who plays an over-possessive and abusive husband and physically attacks his wife in “Dil Se Di Dua Saubhagyavati Bhava“, stringent legal action against real life criminals is more important. “There are several women in India who are subjected to domestic violence and abuse. Don’t you think we should pay more attention to real life cases? Why is there a spurt in such instances? Because those who are guilty are never punished. We can change this by making women aware of their rights and the legal help they can seek. Through our show, we have tried to tell viewers that a man who suffers from bipolar disorder needs medical help. So we portray violence – by using shadows or silhouette – to spread the message. I may be playing a violent husband, but that’s to help women understand what they can do if placed in a similar situation.”

BCCC can scrutinize complaints filed against any non-news and current affairs content programme broadcast that:
Works against national interest
Has slanderous content
Disrupts racial and religious harmony
Promotes kissing, sex/nudity
n Endorses violence/crime, gambling, horror/occult
Besides viewers, NGOs, RWAs, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, etc also have the right to file a complaint.
Action taken by the BCCC
Gazab Desh Ki Ajab Kahaniyaan: The BCCC said that the content of the episode telecast on August 5, 2011, is not suitable for children and young viewers, and so the channel should exercise discretion in future while selecting the content of the programme.
Bigg Boss 5: The BCCC called the channel for a hearing on December 23, 2011. On Sunny’s entry in the show and the alleged promotion of pornography, it directed Colors to exercise caution while selecting participants for such shows in the future. But it agreed with the channel’s position that content of the show by itself is not violative of self-regulatory guidelines and also that there is no evidence to suggest that there is a link between Colors and cross promotion of Bigg Boss 5 being done on Leone’s websites.

“In a meeting that was held on Friday, it was decided that victimization of women shouldn’t be encouraged on the small screen. The tendency on TV is to deal with violence against women in a graphic way. So we have discussed the same with some channels. In some cases, we have issued a warning and in others, we have asked them not to repeat the programmes. Besides Colors, we also asked Sony not to repeat “Prayshchit Gunahon Ka”. We also considered “Crime Patrol” for the way violence in general and against women specifically was treated on the show. We also passed an order against a show called “Keya Patar Nouko” on Zee Bangla, in which the male lead brutally beats up every woman. We have decided to issue a general advisory to all channels to avoid the same in future. As for restricted hours, they begin from 11pm and go on till 5am. We have also issued an advisory to ensure controversial promos of the shows are not aired during afternoons.
Justice AP Shah, chairperson, BCCC







Supreme Court seeks report on interlinking of rivers

The Supreme Court on Monday wanted to know about the work done by the Centre on the project for interlinking of rivers and asked the amicus curie to file a short note on it.

A three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, asked advocate Ranjit Kumar, who is assisting the court, to file the report within a week.

Earlier, the apex court had said that it would not favour interlinking of rivers if it causes huge a financial burden on the Centre and asked for a report on its costs.

“My concern is only with what is the financial liability of the project. We want to make it clear that we would not pass order on it if it causes huge financial burden,” the bench had said.

The river interlinking project was the brainchild of the NDA government and in October 2002, the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had formed a task force to get the project going against the backdrop of the acute drought that year.

The task force had submitted a report recommending division of the project into two —— the Peninsular component and the Himalayan component.

The Peninsular component —— involving the rivers in southern India —— envisaged developing a ‘Southern Water Grid’ with 16 linkages. This component included diversion of the surplus waters of the Mahanadi and Godavari to the Pennar, Krishna, Vaigai and Cauvery.

The task force had also mooted the diversion of the west-flowing rivers of Kerala and Karnataka to the east, the interlinking of small rivers that flow along the west coast, south of Tapi and north of Mumbai and interlinking of the southern tributaries of the river Yamuna.

The Himalayan component envisaged building storage reservoirs on the Ganga and the Brahmaputra and their main tributaries both in India and Nepal in order to conserve the waters during the monsoon for irrigation and generation of hydro-power, besides checking floods.






Baba Ramdev: Supreme Court eye on Ramlila swoop ‘lie’


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

The Supreme Court has put the Home Ministry and Delhi police on alert saying if it’s found that the affidavit filed by them in the mid night swoop on Yoga guru Ramdev’s followers and attack on him in early June is misleading, it would initiate proceedings against the ministry and Union government.

While continuing with the suo motu proceedings questioning the reported police highhandedness against Ram Dev and the innocent yoga learners at Ram Lila ground, a bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice Swantanter Kumar on Monday took serious note of the contention made by Rajeev Dhawan, who is assisting the court in this matter, that June 4-5, 2011 crackdown was pre-planned by the home ministry and to derive political benefits.

In its affidavit, police commissioner BK Gupta had claimed that it acted on its own during the crackdown.

It had also blamed Baba Ramdev for organising the unlawful assembly as the authorities had granted permission to the Yoga teacher to use the ground only to hold a yoga camp and not for any other purpose such as anti corruption agitation.

Rajeev Dhawan, who is the amicus curiae or senior lawyer assigned to assist the court, had said in the last hearing that it was upon Chidambaram’s advice that the police intervened.

Dhawan also said that records, which include Chidambaram’s interviews at the time show that the crackdown on the camp had been planned by the government well in advance.When the crackdown was staged, the yoga teacher had been in negotiations with senior ministers over how they should recover black money stashed abroad.

According to Dhawan the documents including a press release from home minister P Chidambaram’s office on June 8said, “A decision was taken that Baba Ramdev would not be allowed to organize any procession or to undertake any fast at the Ramlila Maidan ground. If he persisted in his efforts to do so, he will be directed to remove himself from Delhi.”Dhawan drew the court’s attention to the press note.

“This suggests that the decision was taken at the home minister’s level, but suspended while talks with Ramdev were on… and when talks failed, the police enforced the decision,” he said while rubbishing the police claim that it had acted of its own.










PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

The FIR was registered following Supreme court’s order on The FIR was registered following Supreme court’s order on April 8 last on a writ petition filed by Narmada Bai, Prajapati’s mother. Bai’s petition formed the basis of the FIR, and the probe was being conducted by the special investigation team (SIT) of CBI officers which had earlier probed the Sohrabuddin Sheikh case. Bai had alleged that her son was killed in a fake encounter by the Gujarat police as he was a key eyewitness in the November 2005 killing of Sohrabuddin Sheikh. CBI also sought help of the forensic experts in reconstructing the alleged fake encounter of Prajapati by Gujarat police in 2006. The CBI had questioned Yashpal Chudasama and Ajay Patel, two police officers believed to be close to Shah in the last week of December for about four hours. CBI has shown Chudasama and Patel, along with Shah, as accused in the charge sheet they filed in the Soharabuddin case. They have been accused of trying to influence witness and derail CBI probe in the Sheikh encounter case.








2G case: Court rejects CBI plea to declare witness hostile


NEW DELHI: The CBI Special Court on Monday refused to declare ‘hostile’ a prosecution witness after he allegedly retracted one of his statements given to the CBI during investigation, in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Special CBI judge OP Saini rejected the CBI’s plea to declare Vardharajan Srinivasan – ex-RCOM executive who is currently HDFC Bank’s assistant vice-president for trade and finance – as a hostile witness when he never met or spoke to Hari Nair, Reliance ADA Group senior vice president, an accused in the 2G case.

Judge Saini said “since the matter pertains to a limited point, the witness is not declared hostile but the prosecutor is permitted to cross-examine the witness for the reason that he is resiling from his previous statement”.

The judge also asked him whether he was under “any threat, pressure or coercion”. “Are you making your statement voluntarily and as per your own free will?” the judge asked to which Srinivasan replied in the negative and said that he was making his statement as per his own free will.

CBI’s legal counsel said that Srinivasan, who had earlier said that Nair had told him and another senior executive to submit a form to HDFC Bank for opening an account for Swan Telecom, was not standing by his statement and therefore should be declared hostile.

During cross-examination, Srinivasan said he had taken instructions regarding the letter from his superior AV Venkataramani and on that basis, he had submitted the documents to the bank.

Nair and two other senior group executives – Gautam Doshi and Surendra Pipara – are facing trial for cheating and abetment in the 2G case. They, however, have denied all the charges levelled against them.







Notice to CBI on Unitech MD’s plea for dropping charges against him


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 05.26AM IST

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Monday issued notice to the CBI on a plea by Unitech MD Sanjay Chandra for quashing charges framed against him by the agency in the 2G case.

Justice M L Mehta asked the CBI to file its response by March 13 after Chandra argued that the special CBI judge had framed charges against him “in a casual and perfunctory manner and without due application of judicial mind”.

“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 argued through his counsel.

The petition said there was no evidence that he or his company had paid any bribe for securing the Unified Access Services Licences (UASL) and this distinguishes his case from the rest of the accused.

“Despite this admission of the respondent (CBI), the trial court wrongly linked the bribery allegation and the Unitech Wireless Companies in its order on charge. “In the light of this categorical admission by the respondent (CBI), the petitioners case is no different from that of any of the non-prosecuted persons/companies who were granted LOIs in January 2008 or licences up to March 2007 and subsequently issued licences, or which were granted licences up to March 2007 at the entry fee determined in 2001,” Chandra argued. He said the order of the trial court is not maintainable as the entire case of CBI has failed to apportion any criminality against him.

Chandra, who is currently out on bail, was on April 2, 2010, charged by the CBI along with former telecom communications minister A Raja’s the then personal secretary R.K. Chandolia, ex-telecom secretary Siddhartha Behura and Swan Telecom’s Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka. The trial court had framed charges against him under various provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act also dealing with criminal conspiracy, cheating, and forgery.

It said he cheated the Department of Telecommunication, despite the fact that eight of the group firms were not eligible for the licences on the date of application.

The trial court had observed that it prima facie appeared that Unitech Wireless (Tamil Nadu) Pvt Ltd was ineligible for 2G licences and by offloading shares immediately after getting the licences, it bagged huge ill-gotten profits.

The court had discussed the profits earned by Unitech Wireless even though it did not have telecom as its business objective in the Memorandum of Association.







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.






Scrap unique ID project, says plea in high court


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 04.20AM IST

CHENNAI: Without a parliamentary permission to collect personal and biometric details of citizens, the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDA), which issues the all-purpose Aadhaar identity cards, is an illegal entity deserving to be scrapped, a PIL has said in Madras high court.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki, before which the PIL filed by S Raju of Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore district came up for admission, refused to stay the functioning of the authority but issued notices to central and state governments, besides the Unique Identification Authority of India, on Monday.

When the matter was taken up for hearing, advocate NGR Prasad, counsel for Raju, submitted that the authority was constituted through an executive order and that it had no powers to compile personal details of people. Headed by co-chairman of Infosys Nandan Nilenkani, the authority has so far spent Rs 673 crore between January 2009 and November 2011. The estimation for the period 2011-2012 would be Rs 1,500 crore, he said. Prasad pointed out that when attempt was made to introduce a bill in the Parliament, the standing committee on finance discussed and rejected the bill. “One of the grounds raised is that the Aadhaar project is a threat to national security and misuse of date of residents,” he said.

Without any statutory source for its existence, the authority has been entering into memorandum of understanding with state and central government organizations and private entities to execute the project, the PIL said, adding that people are being asked to provide details such as name, age, address and scanned image of their finger prints and iris. The Aadhaar card insisted on biometric and demographic information, it said. “It is significant to state that in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, there is no mention of collecting biometric data from people,” the PIL said.







Remove UT’s ‘disturbed and dangerous’ tag: PIL


Posted: Tue Jan 10 2012, 02:14 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and UT Administration on a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding the removal of the “disturbed and dangerous” area tag from Chandigarh.

Notices have also been issued to the Ministry of Home Affairs in this regard.

Surinder Bhardwaj, president of the Janta Dal (United) in Chandigarh, has sought directions from the court for the abolition of the Disturbed Area Act — enforced in 1986 in the city owing to terrorism in the region. The petitioner has contended that if the Act — enshrined under Section 3 of the Armed Forces Special Power Act — is abolished, the powers of Administrator for Chandigarh will vest with the Adviser.

He added that in 1986, after the Act was made operational, the Punjab Governor was handed over the additional charge of the UT Administrator.

It has been argued that once the Act will be abolished, the post of the chief commissioner will again come into force and the Adviser will become the Administrator, instead of the Punjab Governor.

Bhardwaj has also stated that the Act should be abolished since it is hampering the tourism prospects of the city. The petition added that to visit Chandigarh, a foreign national has to take special permission from the Chandigarh Administration because of the Disturbed Area Act. Once the Act is abolished, no special permission will be required to visit the city and this will promote tourism. This will also help in the demand for permanent status of Union Territory for Chandigarh, stated the petition.

Bhardwaj submitted that the same Act, which was enforced in Punjab and Haryana as well, was removed in 1997. Such an Act can only be justified in states like Jammu and Kashmir and Assam, he added.








PIL against ‘obscene’ display of women undergarments in shops


Ashish Tripathi, TNN Jan 9, 2012, 06.41PM IST

LUCKNOW: A public interest litigation has been filed in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court requesting the court to direct the union ministry of women and child development to pass and order making it mandatory for all the shops selling women undergarments at least have a woman employee and a dressing room room. The petitioners also prayed that shops should also be restricted from ‘improper’ display of women undergarments as being done through a female bust.

The petition has been filed by Nutan Thakur and Urmila Pandey, social activists from Institute for Research and Documentation in Social Sciences (IRDS), Lucknow. They also requested the court to direct the ministry to ensure that the order on having a female employee and dressing room besides restriction on obscene display of undergarments is properly monitor and duly complied with.

The petitioner also said that each women and girl have to face many specific women related problems in their day to day dealing in these hops. Many of these shops have only male staff and have no trail room. As a result women are not able to explain their requirements. Wearing of unfit undergarments can also have health side-effects. They also said that obscene display of undergarments in shops is at times embarrassing for women. They referred to the latest law passed in Saudi Arabia allowing only women to work in undergarment shops.








PIL seeks to scrap Nandan Nilekani’s Aadhar project


CHENNAI: Describing the process of preparing all-purpose Aadhar identity cards as illegal, a PIL filed in the Madras High Court has sought to scrap the project, saying personal and biometric details of citizens are being collected without the permission of Parliament.

When the petition filed by S Raju of Vriddhachalam in Cuddalore district came up for admission today, the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki declined to stay functioning of the Unique Identity Authority of India (UIDAI) but issued notice to the Centre, Tamil Nadu government and UIDAI.

When the petition was taken up, Raju’s counsel N G R Prasad submitted that the UIDAI, constituted through an executive order, had no powers to compile personal details of people for Aadhar cards. Headed by co-chairman of Infosys Nandan Nilekani, UIDAI has so far spent Rs 673 crore between January 2009 and Nov 2011, while estimated cost for 2011-2012 would be Rs 1,500 crore.

The counsel pointed out that when an attempt was recently made to introduce a Bill in Parliament, the Standing Committee on Finance discussed and rejected it on various grounds. “One of the main grounds raised by the committee is that the Aadhar project is a threat to national security and misuse of data of residents,” he claimed.

Without any statutory source for its existence, UIDAI has been entering into MoUs state governments, central government organisations and private entities to execute the project, it said, adding people are being asked to provide details like name, age, address, apart from scanned images of fingerprints and iris.

“It is significant to state that in the Citizenship (Registration of Citizens and Issue of National Identity Cards) Rules 2003, there is no mention of collecting biometric data from the residents.”

Prasad noted that collection of such details without any permission from any statutory authority or Parliament is unconstitutional and that it amounted to serious infringement of the constitutional rights of citizens.

Prasad expressed apprehensions over the Centre’s claims that the details are being compiled for the purpose of security and getting welfare schemes and contended that the possibility of misuse of personal details was very high. “If the project is aimed at distributing welfare schemes, how come income and health related details are not excluded?” he asked.

Noting that the Citizenship Rules 2003 talked only about “visible identification mark”, the PIL said the card is being made mandatory for services like LPG supply and banks. Describing it as “surveillance profiling” and “compulsory extraction of movements” of citizens, the petition sought disbanding of the authority and putting its activities on hold with immediate effect.








PIL filed against the Election Commission’s order to drape statutes


Ashish Tripathi, TNN Jan 9, 2012, 05.07PM IST

LUCKNOW: Even as state government officials started draping statutes of UP chief minister Mayawati and that of elephants and other Dalit leaders in the memorial of Dalit leaders on Monday, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Allahabad High Court against the Election Commission (EC) order to drape statutes. The court has admitted the petition and fixed January 11 as the date of hearing.

On the other hand, the EC has ordred removal of all publicity material highlighting achievement of Mayawati as chief minister from the websites of the state government and its departments. The order came on the complaints of the Opposition parties which said that government websites are being used by the BSP to highlight achievements of Mayawati rule and the promises made her, which is violation of the election code of conduct.

According to initial reports, the PIL has been filed an Allahabad based lawyer against EC’s order to cover elephants.The EC had on Saturday issued directions to cover all the statutes of elephants in Dalit memorials and that of Mayawati so that they cannot be used to influence voter. The decision was taken on the request of the opposition parties who wanted a level playing field in elections. The EC had also directed to cover the statutes of Congress leaders and former prime ministers later Rajiv Gandhi and Indira Gandhi.

The EC had directed to cover statutes of elephants because it is the election symbol of the ruling BSP. The BSP had opposed the decision on grounds that it was not given an opportunity to present its defence. BSP leader Satish Chandra Mishra had also questioned whether EC will ban use of lotus (BJP’s election symbol), cycle (SP’s election symbol) and hand (Congress election symbol). He had also pointed out that statutes of elephant can be found in every temple in the country and are in President’s house and the Parliament. “Will EC cover them during general elections?” he had questioned.







Withdraw petition for union: HC to students


HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 09, 2012

Students of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) hoping to form a students’ union on the lines of the Delhi University Students Union (DUSU), will have to wait some more. In a singular judgment, the high court has asked the petitioners to withdraw their case against the university.

The three petitioners, led by Afroz Alam Sahil, convener of Forum for Student Democracy, had filed a writ petition in the high court in December, seeking directions for electing a students’ union along with judicial intervention for lifting the ban on students’ union elections.

The university has asserted that it has been following the guidelines laid down by the Lyngdoh Committee.

“Jamia has adequate students’ representation. In line with the Lyngdoh Committee recommendations, classes elect their student representatives. We have been avoiding the involvement of political parties in the process, which is what happens when student unions are elected in other universities,” said Najeeb Jung, vice chancellor, JMI.

They have also challenged the petitioners’ credibility, claiming that while Sahil was an ex-student of the university, the other two were complete outsiders.

“Sahil and the two other people are not students of Jamia. Sahil’s name had been struck off the rolls because he was not a serious candidate and was short on attendance. The two other petitioners were never even part of Jamia. We will not permit outsiders to disrupt the peace of the university like this,” added Jung.

The petitioners, however, are not taking this lying down. While they have accepted the court’s order, they are ready to file another public interest litigation (PIL) once they garner adequate student support within Jamia.

“Jamia is trying to flout the Supreme Court norms because the court had mentioned very clearly that no university can ban students union elections and Jamia is going against that,” said Sahil.






City is still ‘disturbed area’


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 06.33AM IST

CHANDIGARH: While Punjab has withdrawn status of ‘disturbed area’ 15 years back, UT still holds the tag by virtue of special notification of the central government. However, taking cognizance, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put on notice the Chandigarh administration as well as the ministry of home affairs ( MHA) to respond. Importantly, if the notification is nullified, the post of chief commissioner would be restored, which is held by the Punjab governor, who acts as the Administrator of the city.

The matter would now come up for hearing before the high court on March 5.

The issue surfaced before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover while hearing a public interest (PIL) filed by Sector 7 resident Surinder Singh Bhardwaj.

Petitioner sought directions to quash the notifications issued on December 2, 1986 and December 5, 1991 whereby Chandigarh had been declared as disturbed area by the administrator of Chandigarh. He had also annexed some information obtained under the RTI Act in which UT had recently conceded that the Chandigarh Disturbed Area Act, 1983 is still in place in city.
PIL submitted that the said act was implemented in city along with Punjab during the peak time of militancy in Punjab. However, Punjab has already removed the said act in October 1997, but UT is yet to remove it despite the fact that wholesome and peace has been restored in Punjab and Chandigarh.

It was also submitted by the petitioner that due to the Act, extra forces have been posted at many places in city.





SC Order Pongal Gift for Traders


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: After more than two months, respite for T Nagar traders came in the form of a Supreme Court order to deseal 27 shops and establishments in T Nagar on Monday.

Traders heaved a sigh of relief, but many shop owners are yet to pull up shutters as they are waiting to get a glimpse of the order, said Feroze Khan, treasurer and a partner of Shabnam Garments. The Chennai Corporation and Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) had taken action against commercial establishments on Ranganathan Street and Usman Road in T Nagar on October 31, following a directive of the Madras High Court to the CMDA, the Corporation, Metrowater and the Tamil Nadu Electricity Board.

“This is happy news after more than two months and it is a consolation to many of us that the shops are opened for at least six weeks,” said Khan. Worries were writ large on the faces of many traders fearing creditors, who would be demanding their money.

“Till the shops were closed, we had an excuse that we could not pay the debts because the shops are closed. But now, we have no excuse,” said a trader who owns a shop in a complex.

Suresh, another trader who owns Priya Dresses in V K K Complex, said that this was a respite after 69 days. “We will be knowing the exact nature of loss only when we open our shops on Tuesday. Garments will be damaged and I will have to sell a garment worth `400 for just `50. We have been reduced to penury,” he rued.

But, shopowners like Suresh may still have the Pongal shopping season to help cut losses.

N Sukumaran, secretary of Ranganathan Street Merchants Association and owner of a shop where Jayachandran Textiles is housed, said that he felt relaxed after the court judgment. “It would have been better if they had opened the shops before December 20, We could have had Christmas, New Year and Pongal shoppers. This year has begun on a sour note,” he added.






Court rejects bail application of Milap


PTI | 07:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Patna, Jan 09 (PTI) A local court today dismissed the anticipatory bail application of the then Director of Central School Organisation C P Milap in connection with alleged misbehaviour with a tribal girl. Additional district and sessions judge B N Mihsra rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Milap. Milap has been charged with misbehaving with a tribal girl from Gumla district in Jharkhand in October 2002. The case was registered with the Patrakar Nagar police station in Patna on October 8, 2010. Earlier the court had issued warrant of arrest against Milap who was director of Central School Organisation between 2002 and 2004 in Gwalior. PTI CORR AJK NN HKS 01091907 NNNN






Accused brought late to court, state not liable’


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 17:34

New Delhi: An inadvertent delay in producing an accused before the trail court from the lock up cannot be termed as state’s lack of seriousness in conducting the trial, a Delhi court has said.

Additional Sessions Judge Bimla Kumari made the observation while setting aside a magisterial court’s notice to the public prosecutor and the Tihar jail superintendent seeking their explanation in delay in producing a theft case accused accused before it on April 29, 2011.

The judge said as the accused was in judicial custody and had been brought to the lock-up room from the jail, the jail superintendent was not at fault and also “it cannot be said that the prosecution was not serious in conducting the trial of the accused”.

The magisterial court had issued notices after the accused could not be produced before it from the lock-up room of Tis Hazari court premises, while the prosecution witness and the complainant kept waiting.

The court had issued notices to the jail superintendent observing it has become a routine that the lock-up in-charge does not produce the accused in time. It issued notice to the prosecutor wondering “whether the prosecution is serious in conducting the trial of the cases”.

The judge, however, set aside the magisterial court’s order saying, “It is worth noting that now-a-days, the jails as well as well as lock-ups are overcrowded. It is further worth noting that lock-up in-charge produces the accused on the basis of strength of police officials, who are deputed in this regard by the government.”

She added that if there was any delay in the opinion of the trial court, it could have issued notice to the lock-up in-charge.






Midnapore skeleton case: Trial to begin from January 11


Published: Monday, Jan 9, 2012, 18:56 IST
Place: Midnapore | Agency: PTI

Trial of the twenty accused including CPI(M) MLA Sushanta Ghosh for alleged abduction and murder of five Trinamool Congress workers will begin in West Midnapore sessions court on next Wednesday.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Kallol Das fixed the date today when the former CPI(M) minister and 19 others were produced before him in connection with the Garbeta skeleton recovery case.

A total of 58 persons were made accused in the case, but only twenty persons have so far been arrested. Property of the all absconding accused were seized.

All the accused were charged with abduction, murder, criminal intimidation, tampering of evidence and possession of illegal arms among others.

Five skeletons were dug up from a pit near Ghosh’s ancestral house at Benachapra village in West Midnapore district in June last. Ghosh was arrested by CID on August 11 and the chargesheet was filed on September 23.

According to the charge sheet, five Trinamool Congress workers were killed by the accused on September 22, 2002 at Piyasala village and buried at Benachapra.

DNA tests confirmed two skeletons of two missing Trinamool Congress workers Ajay Acharya and Swapan Singh alias Raju. No DNA test could be conducted on other skeletons because of degeneration of bone marrow, police said.








Demons of 2001 encounter spell trouble for next army chief


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 9:00 IST
By Iftikhar Gilani | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

A March 1, 2001, encounter on the outskirts of South Kashmir’s Anantnag township is likely to come between Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s chances of succeeding General VK Singh as army chief.

A foreign militant called Mateen Chacha was killed in the encounter along with two civilians and two army personnel, according to the First Information Report (FIR).

Two others, including Lt Gen Bikram Singh, then a Brigadier heading the 5-sector Rashtriya Rifles headquartered at Janglat Mandi (Anantnag), and a civilian, Ajaz Ahmad Bhat, were injured.

Zaituna, the mother of the alleged militant killed in the firing, however, has accused the general of staging a fake encounter. She filed a writ petition in the Jammu & Kashmir high court, seeking that the case be reinvestigated by a special investigation team. Many innocent Kashmiris were gunned down by the army and government-sponsored gunmen called Ikhwanis, and were later passed off as foreign militants, Zaituna alleged.

According to seniority, General Bikram Singh is set to become the next army chief on May 31, 2012. An adverse order or even an observation by the court is bound to result in a far greater embarrassment for the army and defence ministry than the ongoing age row involving present chief General VK Singh. Therefore, the army and the defence ministry are pulling strings from New Delhi and Srinagar to avoid embarrassment to the future chief.

The police in Jammu have absolved General Bikram Singh of the charges, stating that the encounter between the army and militants was genuine.

However, the petition is proving to be a hindrance to the career prospects of the general who shot to prominence as the army’s face during the Kargil war.

In view of the petition, the court in its order on October 13, 2011, issued notices to the state government and defence ministry and asked them to file objections. It has also asked for all records pertaining to case FIR 72/2001 from the district sessions court, Islamabad, for perusal. Both parties have sought many adjournments since then.

Police chief Kuldeep Khuda said his force has nothing against General Bikram Singh as far as the FIR and investigations are concerned. Army officials in South Block, which houses the defence ministry, refused to comment. “We have nothing to say,” an army official said.

Petitioners Zaituna and her daughter Jana submitted to the court that the killed ‘foreign militant’ Mateen Chacha of Pakistan’s North Western Frontier Province was actually Abdullah Bhat, son of Qadir Bhat of Machil Kupwara. The petitioners wanted the remains of Bhat to be exhumed for a DNA test. “The DNA profile should be matched with those of his family members. The photographs of the victim taken by the police must also be shown to the family for identifying the victim,” the petitioner said.

Last November, NGO Yes-Kashmir approached prime minister Manmohan Singh, defence minister AK Antony and the state authorities and demanded that the case be revisited.





Placement agencies need regulator: Court


IANS | Jan 10, 2012, 05.09AM IST

NEW DELHI: Acquitting a rape accused, a Delhi court has recommended a regulatory mechanism to check placement agencies which allegedly exploit migrant domestic helps and subject them to sexual abuse.

“I may observe that there are increasing incidents of gross misuse and abuse of the laws relating to rape and sexual abuse and exploitation of uneducated, ignorant and uninformed domestic workers by unscrupulous persons or placement agencies for their personal gains,” said Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau in a court order made available on Monday.

If a regulator was set up, then the chances of the existing penal provisions being misused to implicate innocent people would be reduced and and no one who is guilty would go scot free, Lau said.






Lawyers to be frisked at Shivajinagar court

Posted: Tue Jan 10 2012, 04:02 hrs Pune:

Two days after an intelligence alert of a security threat at Pune District and Sessions Court, Shivajinagar, the police personnel deployed on the premises of the court have been given the permission to not just check the identity cards of lawyers but also frisk lawyers and check their belongings, if necessary.

“We have appealed to the lawyers to cooperate with us as there have been incidents in the past where they have expressed discomfort when asked for identification by the police,” said principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar, who took a round of the court premises to take stock of the security arrangements on Monday.

“Since, the intelligence alert is not for a specific period, we plan to pursue the system where lawyers, visitors and litigants will be randomly frisked,” said a senior court official.

The district judge had received a letter from the police commissioner last week stating that one or more persons, impersonating as lawyers, are likely to attack individuals in an apparent gang-war.

“We shall also issue circulars to members of various taluka bar associations to ensure that those coming from taluka courts should also carry their identity cards with them,” said senior lawyer Milind Pawar.

The problem of security on court premises had surfaced in May 2010, when a 24-year-old youth who had come for court proceedings, was murdered inside the court premises by rival gang members.

Following the incident, the then committee of Pune Bar Association had demanded installation of CCTV cameras, among other measures such as increasing the height of the compound wall, erecting watch towers, having door-frame metal detectors and more police force in the court.







Justice eludes victims falsely arrested in Mecca Masjid blast case

Hyderabad: They are the worst victims of physical and mental torture by police in the Mecca Masjid blast case. But like justice, compensation too seems to elude them till date. A few hours before Mohammed Raeesuddin was to receive a cheque of Rs 300,000 along with 15 others, his name was deleted from the list. Syed Imran Khan and his uncle Shoaib Jagirdar, who were among the first to be arrested on false charges for the May 18, 2007, blast, did not find a place in the list.

There are others who were subjected to police harassment, but are yet to receive the compensation on the ground that there are some cases pending against them. Out of 84 suspects rounded up by police after the blast, the government identified 70 for compensation and paid them Rs 70 lakh. More than 15 of them were denied compensation in last minute changes to the list.

The victims say it is a deliberate attempt by police to deny them the compensation on the pretext of other false cases. Take the case of Mohammed Raeesuddin. He was picked up by police and tortured because he was a witness in another case in which the Gujarat police had shot dead a youth, Mujahid Saleem, in Hyderabad in 2004. “I am a witness in the case. He was my friend and I want the Gujarat police officers who killed him to be punished,” Raeesuddin told IANS.

“They lifted me from the road. I was kept in a farmhouse for eight days where I was stripped, thrashed and given electric shocks. The police wanted me to withdraw as witness in the Mujahid case. They threatened to implicate me in the Mecca Masjid case if I did not withdraw,” recalls Raeesuddin, who was working in a jewellery shop when he was picked up by police and kept in illegal detention.

Raees feels more than compensation, a character certificate would help him in getting a job. “People don’t give me a job as they still view me with suspicion because of the stories cooked up by police,” he said.

He complains that police harassment is still continuing. “The police come to my house or call us to police stations on dates like ‘Bonalu’, ‘Ganesh Chaturthi’ and Dec 6. They do all the harassment in the name of maintaining peace and law and order in the city.”

Syed Imran was an executive in a leading private bank and was about to join a multi-national bank when police picked him and his uncle, Shoaib, in connection with the Mecca Masjid blast case. They were accused of involvement in bringing RDX into the city. Though acquitted, Imran, who spent 18 months in jail, says it is not possible to again lead a normal life. He is now working in a small private firm.

The youngster and his uncle have not been paid the compensation as they are accused in a case of making an illegal passport. The case was booked a few months before they were arrested for the Mecca Masjid blast. “The police accused us of making illegal passports, but the fact is that not even an application for a passport was filed,” says Shoaib, a kerosene dealer in Jalna, Maharashtra.

“I don’t want money. All I want from them is a character certificate so that I can continue with my job,” said Imran, a resident of Bowenpally in Secunderabad.

The son of a retired central government employee, Imran says he will never get a job in a multinational company. “I am still carrying the terrorist tag and facing social stigma. We were once behind bars. we have come out, but we feel that mentally we are still in jail,” he said.

There are others who were booked in various cases during their detention in the blast case. “One of them was booked for using a mobile phone in the jail. Such cases are because the police implicated them in the Mecca Masjid case,” said Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) legislator, Akbaruddin Owaisi, who wants the government to withdraw all cases against them and pay them the compensation.






FIR filed against Nakkheeran Gopal


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: A day after angry AIADMK workers protested against Tamil bi-weekly ‘Nakkheeran’ for publishing a scurrilous article on Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, police on Sunday registered a case against its editor,

Gopal. Zam Bazaar Inspector N P Rajendran told Express that a case had been registered against the editor under various sections of the Indian Penal Code on the basis of a complaint lodged by an AIADMK functionary, Anbu of Royapettah.

In his complaint, Anbu claimed that the article was aimed at tarnishing the popularity of the AIADMK leader and, hence, he came to its office in Triplicane to register his protest. Anbu alleged that he was beaten up and threatened with dire consequences. The police also booked Velachery AIADMK MLA M K Ashok in connection with the protest at the magazine’s office.






Doctor held for obscene campaign against woman techie


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.33AM IST

HYDERABAD: Crime Investigation Department (CID) sleuths have arrested a 29-year-old MBBS graduate for harassing a US-based woman techie by creating fake social networking profiles.

Three years ago, Manohar, 29, of Nellore, finished MBBS from the Government Medical College in Anantapur and subsequently got admission to the post-graduate programme of the prestigious AIIMS, New Delhi.

However, Manohar did not join AIIMS and began drifting away. During the final stages of his undergraduate course, Manohar developed a habit of giving missed calls to random mobile numbers.

“On noticing a missed call, some people used to call him back. If the a caller was a woman, Manohar used to make serious efforts to befriend them,” CID additional SP U Rammohan said.

Using the same technique, Manohar became friends with a software engineer from Hyderabad. The phone friendship continued for about a year but when the doctor finally proposed, the girl rejected his proposal.

Enraged with the rejection, Manohar began abusing her over the phone. He also started sending abusive SMSs and emails to harass the woman. Finally a year-and-half ago, she got married and left for the United States.

At that time, Manohar created fake profiles of the victim on social networking site, Orkut, using obscene photo graphs and description.

“From the fake profile, Manohar had sent requests to many people including some of the friends and colleagues of the victim,” Rammohan said.

Some of the victim’s friends, who saw the fake profile, brought it to her notice and her shocked family members approached the CID a month ago.

Police booked a case under sections 66-A, 67 of the IT (Amend) Act 2008 and sections 507, 509 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and launched a probe.

During the course of investigation, police managed to trace the IP addresses used by the accused and he was arrested at his relative’s house in the city on Monday.

Police seized a laptop, and data card used by the accused. He was remanded in judicial custody.





Order of issue process against cop confirmed


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 02.27AM IST

PUNE: As many as 141 affidavits were filed before the Justice M G Gaikwad (retired) committee probing into the Maval firing on Monday. Ninety seven affidavits were filed by Pune rural police officials, including former superintendent of police Sandeep Karnik and state reserve police force officials through lawyers Sureshchandra Bhosale, Chinmay Bhosale and Uday Nalawade. Another 44 affidavits were filed by private persons. The committee had earlier received 40 affidavits. The total number of affidavits filed till date is 181. Committee secretary K D Patil on Monday told TOI that the committee had extended the deadline for filing affidavits for the revenue department till January 13 as they have not yet appointed a public prosecutor.

Pune: Additional sessions judge S P Tavade has confirmed the order of issue process against police inspector Dattatraya Temghare for allegedly causing grievous harm to gangster Bandu Andekar in 2009. The court dropped charges against Temghare under sections 452 and 504 read with 34 of the IPC.

Andekar had erected flex boards in the jurisdiction of the Samarth police station condemning Temghare for allegedly committing atrocities on his family members.

The police had arrested Andekar at Hadapsar on February 21, 2009 and had allegedly beaten him up. Andekar had complained of ill-treatment when he was produced in court the next day. Sassoon general hospital had given a report that Andekar’s leg was fractured.

An inquiry instituted by the then chief judicial magistrate R H Mohammad had indicted the policemen and, accordingly, a complaint against the policemen was registered under sections 326, 452, 504 read with 34 of the Indian Penal Code. Lawyer Bilal Shaikh appeared on behalf of Andekar. tnn

Couple gets bail in cheating case, man arrested again

Pune: A magisterial court on Monday granted bail to Adwait Datar (31) and his wife Neelima (28) for allegedly duping several people on the pretext of giving them good returns on their investments.

The couple were released on a personal bond of Rs 30,000 each with one or two sureties of the like amount. They were warned not to tamper with the evidence and co-operate with the police whenever they were called for questioning. They were directed to give attendance at the Kothrud police station every Monday and Thursday between 10 am and noon till chargesheet was filed. The court directed them not to leave Pune without its permission.

Adwait was arrested later in a similar case registered with the Cantonment police station.

One December 17, estate agent Amresh Rao, had lodged a complaint against the Datars for allegedly duping him of Rs 5 lakh. Later, others also lodged complaints against the couple and the amount of money involved in the fraud has gone up to Rs 50 lakh.





Three convicted for abduction, rape and assault of minor girl


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Ahmedabad, Jan 9 (PTI) Three persons have been sentenced to imprisonment of different durations, while five others were acquitted by a local court here in connection with abduction, gangrape and assault of a minor girl. One Mohabbat Rasulkhan Malek was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment and Jignesh Dave got seven years in jail for abduction, rape, wrongful confinement and other sections of the Indian Penal Code. While, one Hayat Malek was sentenced to two years in prison for abatement in the crime, and allegedly ‘selling off’ the minor girl for Rs 5000. Five others accused in the case were acquitted by the court following lack of evidence. Judge P C Thakkar presiding over the case observed that the three convicts were responsible for making the minor girl go through a hell-like experience. The court further observed that the convicts were responsible for the degradation of the society. It further said that the girl’s testimony of her 13-month ordeal at the hands of the accused also cannot be disregarded. According to case details, Mohabbat from Gedia village of Ahmedabad district had eloped with the 16-year-old girl on December 20, 2007 under the pretext of marrying her. But he did not marry her and had physical relation with her for seven months, during which he also abused and assaulted her. The girl then complained to village Sarpanch Hayat, who instead of helping her sold her off for Rs 5000 to Jignesh Dave who in turn raped her and then sold her to another person. This ordeal of the girl continued for 13 months after which the girl along with her family registered a complaint with the Bavla police station. Following investigation into the complaint, eight persons were arrested and trial was conducted, in which the court today convicted three and acquitted five others. PTI PB PD








Kalmadi may threaten witnesses, CBI tells court


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 20:33

New Delhi: Former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee chief Suresh Kalmadi may intimidate prosecution witnesses if granted bail in a corruption case linked to the 2010 sporting event, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) told the Delhi High Court Monday.

The probe agency also opposed the bail plea of VK Verma, an aide of jailed MP Kalmadi, before Justice Mukta Gupta, who fixed Jan 10 for the next hearing.

Kalmadi was arrested April 26 for his alleged role in awarding a contract for installing the timing-scoring-result (TSR) system to Swiss Times Omega at an exorbitant cost of Rs 141 crore, allegedly causing a loss of over Rs 95 crore to the public exchequer.

The probe agency said that the CBI had tangible evidence to show “these persons (accused) have in the past intimidated persons who are today witness of the prosecution”.

“After the scrutiny of documents is over, the CBI is ready for day-to-day trial,” CBI counsel said.

Kalmadi and Verma moved the court for bail on the observation of the Supreme Court in the 2G case that “bail should be the rule and jail an exception”.

The trial court in June 2011 rejected Kalmadi’s bail plea, after which he approached the high court.

The accused individuals and two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and booked under the Prevention of Corruption Act.






Help accident victims, cops will behave


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Rajendra Aklekar | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The government wants you to be a Good Samaritan and help accident victims reach hospital ASAP. And if you are thinking, ‘Of course I want to, but the legal wrangles and questioning by the police is too much to deal with’, there’s some good news: the law is on your side.

Following an alarming rise in road accidents and related deaths, and to encourage the public to act quickly and take the victim to a hospital in the golden hour (within an hour of accident), the Union transport ministry has dug out an old circular that was originally prepared by the Delhi Police.

The circular states…
When an accident victim is brought to a hospital, the police need to take immediate action to save the victim, and those who have brought the victim should, under no circumstances, be detained in the hospital for interrogation. They should be treated with courtesy.

Members of the public, who rendered voluntary help to accident victims, should not unnecessarily be questioned. If they are unwilling to give their particulars, they should not be forced to.

The local police should also pay the person who brings a victim to hospital whatever he/she spent on the transportation.

The circular has been sent to all states and union territories asking them to follow it. “On many occasions, accident victims remain unattended for a long time without any medical or public help till the police arrive. The public hesitates to get involved as it leads to questions and endless follow-ups,” says the order.

“Keeping in view the unnecessary loss of human life, it becomes imperative to train our police personnel accordingly to save the victim,” it adds.

A latest report by the Union transport ministry shows that Mumbai tops the country in accident deaths. Research shows that a number of the accident victims could have been saved had they received immediate medical attention.

The circular also quotes a Supreme Court order that states that the effort to save the victim should be the top priority not only of the medical professionals but also of the police or any other citizen who happens to be connected with that matter or who happens to notice such an incident.

Senior transport department officials said that comprehensive training and awareness needs to be imparted to the traffic police and the public for effective implementation of the order.

No legal provisions
There are no provisions in the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Procedure Code or Motor Vehicles Act, which prevent doctors from promptly attending to seriously injured people and accident cases before the arrival of the police and their taking cognisance of such cases, preparing FIR, and other formalities.







HC: Road audit case fit for PIL


Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.10AM IST

MUMBAI: The BMC’s decision to appoint Swiss firm SGS Consultancy as quality auditor for Rs 900-crore road works without calling for tenders has come under the scanner of the high court.

Corporator Niyaz Ahmed Vanu, has filed a petition challenging the decision to waive the requirement to invite bids. A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar on Monday said it was a fit case for a PIL. The court directed that the petition filed by Vanu be converted into a PIL.

Last week, the BMC had appointed the Geneva-based firm to carry out regular audits of major and minor road works at a cost of Rs 6.78 crore. The works are being carried out by contractors for all major (more than 30-ft wide) and minor roads (less than 30-ft wide) at a cost of over Rs 900 crore.

“When it is a question of monitoring work of such large magnitude, the BMC should have ideally called for tenders, which it does every year,” said Vanu. “This is a clear violation of norms and sets a bad precedent.”

Vanu, a corporator for the last 25 years from Antop Hill, is the House leader for the NCP. “I had raised queries in writing before the BMC, but the administration did not give me any reply and I had no recourse except to move the high court,” said Vanu.

Vanu said the municipal commissioner has discretionary powers to sanction works not exceeding Rs 50 lakh. “On what basis have the works, which exceed Rs 6 crore, been awarded by bypassing the standing committee?” argued Vanu.

The BMC had pointed to the urgency of the works to justify not calling for tenders, but Vanu argued that quality audit was a routine and annual affair. “The BMC should have simultaneously called for tenders to conduct quality audits when it invited bids for the road work,” he said.

Vanu also claims that the firm’s appointment has come at a steep cost to the corporation. He has pointed to neighbouring Thane where the consultant is paid 0.35% of the total cost of the road works, as opposed to the BMC, which will pay SGS a consultancy fee of 0.85%. “It is not the BMC’s case that there were no other firms who do similar work. If the corporation had called for tenders, they might have got a cheaper rate, which would have benefited the BMC coffers,” said Vanu.

Additional municipal commissioner Aseem Gupta had earlier said in standing committee meetings that “SGS Consultancy has world-class standard and has experience of auditing road work in this part of the world”.

The petition is scheduled to come up for hearing before the PIL bench later this week.






HC declines to stay ZP polls


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 01.53AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Monday declined to stay the zilla parishad polls but admitted the petition filed by ZP member challenging cancellation of reservation in various constituencies for the ZP and panchayat samiti (PS) polls for final hearing. The ZP and PS polls will be held on February 7.

A division bench comprising justices PB Majumdar and Ashok Bhangale deferred the hearing after government pleader Nitin Sambre informed the court that principal bench at Bombay high court had admitted a similar petition for final hearing and would soon deliver the verdict. Another plea on similar grounds was pending in the Aurangabad bench as well.

Two petitioners – Devendra Godbole, a ZP member from Mouda Babdeo in Nagpur, and Sanjay Jagtap – had moved the high court demanding conducting ZP polls with 2011 census data instead of 2001 census figures.







HC asks chief secy to convene meeting

To decide whether investigations should be transferred to a special Tribunal

To decide whether the investigation of the case pertaining to alleged illegal land acquired by bigwigs, including IAS/IPS officers and politicians, be handed over to a Tribunal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Monday directed the Chief Secretary of Punjab to convene a meeting with other state Secretaries.

The High Court has ordered that the Chief Secretary will conduct a meeting with concerned Secretaries from other departments and apprise the High Court whether the investigations of the case should be handed over to a Tribunal.

The development took place during the resumed hearing of a Public Interest Litigation arising out of a suo motu notice taken by Justice Ranjit Singh of the High court on the issue of alleged illegal properties grabbed by various high-ups in the periphery of City Beautiful.

On the last date of hearing, a law officer appearing on behalf of the Punjab government had stated that since the investigation, being carried out by a Special Investigation Team, is in its final stage, it will not be prudent to hand over the case to a special Tribunal at this stage. On the other hand, the High Court observed that the case in question is equivalent to the infamous 2G spectrum case.

Newsline was the first to report the “discrepancies” in the list of properties furnished by as many as 115 officers of the Punjab government. Information from a total of 2,734 officers was sought by the SIT of which information regarding “115 officers do not tally mainly as either they have not disclosed their properties in the prescribed proforma issued by the inquiry officer or in the annual property returns”.

The SIT had suggested that cases of these officers (115) may be sent to the concerned administrative departments for verification and further necessary action. The case has been posted for resumed hearing on January 19.






HC extends stay till Jan 19 in case against Speaker Bopaiah


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Bangalore, Jan 9 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today extended its stay till January 19 on Lokayukta Court proceedings and further probe by police in the case filed against state Assembly Speaker K G Bopaiah for alleged misuse of funds in a lake development project. When the petition filed by Bopaiah seeking quashing of the FIR in the case came up before Justice N Ananda, he extended the interim stay and adjourned the case for final hearing on January 19. Earlier, the court ordered issue of notice to Lokayukta police in the case. On December 19 last, Justice B V Pinto had granted the stay for four weeks. Bopaiah had sought quashing of the FIR on grounds including that no prior sanction was sought for doing so from the concerned authorities (in this case, Governor). On a direction from Lokayukta Court, the Lokayukta police in Madikeri on December 8 filed an FIR against Bopaiah and three other government officials in a complaint by a Congress member Saritha Poonacha alleging “misuse” of funds sanctioned for lake contruction in Titimathi, about 60 km from here. Apart from Bopaiah, the other three named in the FIR are: Zilla Panchayat Member S N Raja Rao, Kodagu Nirmiti Kendra Project Managerr Yoga Narasimha, ZP CEO N Krishnappa. Meanwhile, Justice Subhash B Adi adjourned further hearing to January 20, the anticipatory bail applications filed by the other three accused in the case. The FIR was filed in pursuant of the directions of the District and Sessions Judge, Ashok Nijagannanavar, also the judge of the Special Court for prevention of corruption cases.







Uraniam found in 241 water samples, Punjab tells HC


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 06.24AM IST

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government on Monday informed the Punjab and Haryana high court that out of total 1,260 water samples gathered from various districts of the state, presence of uranium has been found in 241 samples. It was also stated that to make the water fit for drinking, the government has started installing reverse osmosis (RO) systems in affected villages of the state.

This was stated by chief engineer, department of water supply and sanitation, through an affidavit filed before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover the HC in response to a PIL filed on the issue of increasing uranium levels in drinking water in Punjab.

To make the water of affected area fit for human consumption, the government has installed 933 ROs in various districts and installation of 878 more such systems is on the cards, the affidavit said. This would cost the state around Rs 216 crore. The state also furnished a list of 13 districts, in which 933 systems have been installed. It was also claimed that it has not made any kind of favouritism towards any area in installing these systems. After placing the state’s affidavit on record, the bench adjourned hearing of the case to Wednesday.

The petitioner, Mohali-resident Brijender Singh Loomba, had sought directions for adequate relief to affected people and kids due to discharge of uranium in water and soil of Bathinda, Faridkot and Ludhiana districts of Punjab. The petition had also sought directions for investigation to find out sources of leakage of radioactive material and uranium in drinking water and steps required to check its spread.

Responding to the petition, Bhabha Atomic Research Center (BARC) had recommended that only reverse osmosis (RO) system would be helpful in reducing uranium content in drinking water in various parts of Punjab.






Mullaperiyar: HC asks Engineers Assn to approach SC


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 15:08

Madurai: Madurai Bench of the Madras High court on Monday advised the Tamil Nadu PWD Senior Engineers Association not to sensationalise the Mullaperiyar Dam issue, and wondered whether the High court could interfere when the Supreme Court was seized of the matter.

Asking the petitioner to approach the Supreme Court directly, a Division Bench of Justice Chitra Venkatraman and Justice Karuppiah said it was the duty of the government to protect the rights of the people.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the Association vice-president RVS Vijayakumar seeking a direction to remove illegal encroachments in the Mullaiperiyar dam area.

“The case is pending in Supreme court. We cannot presume there is encroachment. We don’t see the need to superimpose on the matter. We cannot interfere in the matter pending before the Supreme Court”, the court held.

However, the case has been posted for further hearing next week as the petitioner submitted that senior counsel would be appearing.

The Kerala government advocate said the empowered committee appointed by the Supreme Court was looking into all the issues. It was contended that the writ petition was not maintainable as the dam was under Kerala High court jurisdiction, and the apex court was seized of the matter.





Govt reply on SPP appointment fails to satisfy HC


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 04.49AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Monday expressed its dissatisfaction over the state government’s affidavit saying that the file about formation of policy to appoint special public prosecutors (SPPs) is not traceable.

The process to form a policy for appointing SPP in special cases was initiated following HC directive way back in 1971. The state government told the court that the file had gone missing and what happened to the process initiated later could not be known. The affidavit filed by the legal department also sought apology from HC for not following court directive.

However, justice M R Shah was not satisfied with the content of the affidavit and orally observed that the issue of framing policy has nothing to do with the file. It is up to the government to go ahead with formation of a policy as per HC directions. Dissatisfied with the content of the affidavit, justice Shah asked the government to file another affidavit by Tuesday making it clear what time will it take to form the policy to govern appointments of distinguished lawyers in cases by paying special fees.

The issue came up before the court when senior counsel Prakash Thakkar filed a petition on behalf of one Madhabhai Asar questioning appointment of SPP in a murder case in Jamnagar. It was contended that SPP was appointed in the case as per provisions of criminal procedure code on payment of higher fees by the government because the complainant in the case had political clout.

Advocate Thakkar argued that other states have a policy in place governing appointment of SPPs, clearly setting guideline in which cases the government should make higher payment towards advocate’s fee. Though the high court had asked Gujarat government to come up with such a policy four decades ago by fixing criteria to extend the facility of SPPs, no heed was paid to that.

Following this argument, HC asked the government to state what action was taken to implement the 1971 order. The affidavit filed on Monday failed to satisfy the court, and further proceeding has now been kept on Tuesday.







HC appoints advocate commission to inspect Vilappilsala plant


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.43AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday appointed an advocate commission to inspect the operation of the waste management plant at Vilappilsala in Thiruvananthapuram. The court also directed the police to give protection to the advocate commissioner to inspect the plant.

Considering a petition by Thiruvananthapuram Corporation seeking police protection to dispose of waste at the Vilappilsala plant, a division bench of acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon appointed advocate K Meera as the commission to inspect the plant.

The court also asked the commission to inspect the plant on Saturday and submit a report by next Tuesday. The inspection should be done by the advocate commissioner along with the officials of the Kerala State Pollution Control Board, the court directed.

Based on the petition filed by the corporation last week, the court had sought explanation from Vilappilsala panchayat and the state government. In the petition, the corporation had highlighted that the life of the people in the city were affected due to the stand taken by the panchayat not to allow disposal of waste at Vilappilsala. The corporation also challenged the confiscation of waste disposal machinery by the panchayat.








HC directs VTU VC to file an affidavit on his marks


PTI | 09:01 AM,Jan 10,2012

Bangalore, Jan 9 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today directed Visvesvaraya Technological University Vice-Chancellor H Maheshappa to file an affidavit on the “confusion” over his marks and the allegations associated with it. The division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna Maheshappa stated this after senior counsel Nanjunda Reddy, appearing on behalf of the VC, submitted that he had scored first class marks but it has been “misinformed” by Mysore University. The bench directed him to clarify the confusion pertaining to his marks and procedure adopted by VTU in selecting the VC. Reddy said Maheshappa after failing in the ninth semester, secured first class in the supplementary exams and if these are added to what he secured in the 10th semester, he (Maheshappa) gets above 60 per cent. “If the failed marks are included, he will be declared second class,” he said. The Court also questioned Maheshappa’s affidavit in which he has stated that the CV submitted to the selection panel was “by mistake”. When the court sought to know why he had not mentioned it in the affidavit, counsel said he was not aware of it. “You have a Vice-Chancellor who does not know his class. What is he going to do?” the Chief Justice asked. The bench then directed the Vice Chancellor to file an affidavit and petitioner J H Anil Kumar who had moved court challenging the appointment to find out the facts. The court also directed the petitioner to inform it about on the criteria to declare class. PTI BH APR SCY







HC rejects bail plea of accused in hidden gold case


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 01.53AM IST

NAGPUR: A man who claimed to be falsely implicated in a case of duping another man, under the pretext of selling hidden gold treasure, had moved the judiciary for an anticipatory bail. However, a division single-judge bench comprising justice MN Gilani at Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court declined his application.

As per the petition, Washim-resident Nilesh Rathod called on Sukhdev Patil telling him that he had found a hidden treasure having 4-5 kgs of gold and wanted to sell it off at throwaway prices. Patil apparently fell into trap and agreed to his demands. The deal was finalized at Rs 9 lakh, which was to be exchanged at Chikhalgad Shivar on January 1. When Patil reached there, he was looted by a gang of five to six persons who also snatched his gold chain worth Rs1 lakh. He subsequently lodged a complaint with Asegaon police station in Washim against Nilesh and Ravi Rathod along with unknown persons under Section 420 and 395 of IPC.

The cops later picked the petitioner Vithal Pawar and seized ornaments including a gold chain and a motorcycle. He however claimed that he was falsely implicated in the case as his name did not figure in the original FIR. He stated that the seized gold chain was purchased by him three months back. He also argued that he was only person arrested in the case whereas the main accused, mentioned in FIR, were still at large. Pawar later filed a bail application in Washim sessions court. The court rejected his application stating that the seized chain was a part of loot. Moreover, his other accomplices were still untraceable and hence he was required for the investigations. Even HC rejected his plea, confirming the sessions court’s observations.






HC questions EOW’s lack of financial experts


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 10, 2012

The Bombay high court on Monday was amused to notice that the independent branch of the Mumbai police, which probes cases related to economic offences, did not have officers who are well versed in commerce.   The court was hearing a case regarding the progress of investigation in a Rs 60 crore alleged bank fraud by its former directors in connivance with some borrowers.

A petition was filed by the Co-operative Bank Employees Union seeking recovery of money and action against the culprits through arrest and attachment of properties.

The court had last month pulled up the Economic Offences Wing for not taking appropriate action in the case that has affected around 16,000 investors.

Public prosecutor PA Pol informed the court on Monday that out of the 17 former directors of the Veerashaiva Co-operative Bank, six have been arrested while three of them have expired.

One director has secured anticipatory bail while another director is abroad, the court was told.

Pol added that seven out of 24 borrowers have also been arrested and the accounts of all the arrested persons have been frozen.

On court’s query, Pol said that about seven crores have been traced from the arrested persons.

“What about the remaining 53 crores?” a division bench of justice A M Khanwilkar and justice Rajesh Ketkar asked.

The judges went on to ask as to why the agency was not arresting the remaining directors and borrowers as well as freezing their accounts and attaching their properties.

After the investigating officer was posed with further probing by the court regarding the accounts to which the officer did not have proper statistics, the judges asked as to whether he was a commerce graduate.

“Why are you taking so long to scrutinise the accounts?” the court asked.

Being an independent branch (that probes economic offences) gives all the more reason to have someone with knowledge of accounts, justice Khanwilkar said.

The court finally suggested that the agency should take some assistance from a banker.

Pol tried to justify it by saying that the agency is already over burdened.

Meanwhile, the court was told that the FIR has named 19 directors and not 17 as stated by the state.

The court has directed Pol to file a detailed report in this regard by January 17, indicating the reasons for not arresting the remaining directors and borrowers, accounts under scrutiny, status on freezing of further accounts and attachment of property.

According to the petition, the Reserve Bank of India had conducted an inspection in which various illegalities were found after which an inquiry was initiated.






HC lawyers abstain from work


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 02.09AM IST

PATNA: Patna high court lawyers on Monday abstained from their work in protest against near collapse of stamp reporting in the high court.

Absence of stamp reporting results in undue delay in disposal of cases thereby causing harassment to both lawyers and litigants, the lawyers said. In view of the lawyers staying away from work, the court’s functioning was greatly affected.







Telecom tower firm moves HC against levy of property tax


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Mumbai, Jan 9(PTI) A telecom tower firm has moved the Bombay High Court against imposition of property tax on mobile towers levied by Kalyan Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC). Viom Infra Networks, a telecom tower firm, approached the high court challenging the property tax levied by KDMC on the company for four of their towers at Dombivli. The property tax was levied on the basis that such towers and equipment set up on roof tops and terraces constitute a new building/structure and hence are independently subjected to property tax. In May 2011, Viom received property tax bill from KDMC for one of their towers installed above Anand Bhuvan building at Dombivli and in December received similar bills in respect of four other sites. According to the petition, the company also started receiving calls from KDMC officials threatening to take action if payment was not made. A division bench of Justices V K Tahilramani and M L Tahiliyani while issuing notices to KDMC and the municipal commissioner has restrained them from taking any action like demolition of the towers pending hearing of the petition. The court has directed the corporation and the commissioner to file their replies on January 23. According to Viom, it has entered into Leave and License Agreements with owners of the building to install the towers and that as precautionary measure, permission was also sought from the corporation. “The telecom towers are not permanent structures. They are temporarily installed. Installation of such towers are crucial for the functioning and operation of a mobile telephone system,” the petition stated.




HC admits NCP corporator’s disqualification petition


PTI | 09:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

Mumbai, Jan 9 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today admitted the disqualification petition of an NCP corporator from suburban Kurla challenging a lower court order setting aside his election. Abdul Rashid Malik was disqualified by a lower court on December 10, 2010 for concealing his original name in the ballot paper. The lower court had also declared as elected Khammanchand Jain of BJP, who had polled the second highest number of votes in the bypoll. Challenging the order, Malik approached the high court on the grounds that the small causes court did not have the power to set aside his election. The petition will come up for hearing in due course of time.








Law on roadside meetings upholds Constitution, govt tells HC


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 03.42AM IST

KOCHI: The piece of legislation overcoming the Kerala High Court’s ban on roadside meetings was intended to uphold the constitutional right of the people to conduct meetings and rallies, the state government told the high court on Monday.

The legislation, Kerala Public Ways Restriction of Assemblies and Processions Act, 2011, was meant to impose restrictions on the constitutional right to conduct meetings and rallies and did not violate the rights of the people, as granted by the Constitution, the government submitted to the court through an affidavit.

While hearing a contempt of court petition filed by Khalid Mundappilly on December 3, a division bench consisting of one of the judges who originally banned roadside meetings had ruled that the judges who imposed the ban would hear further related cases.

It was the division bench of Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice P S Gopinathan that banned roadside meetings citing violation of the right to move freely, which is guaranteed by the Constitution.

While Justice C N Ramachandran Nair was the acting chief justice, Kerala government’s legislation to overcome the high court ban on roadside meetings was stayed by the bench headed by him. While considering Khalid Mundappilly’s petition citing violation of the court order by DYFI activists at Muvattupuzha, acting Chief Justice C N Ramachandran Nair’s bench had ordered for a stay on Kerala Public Ways Restriction of Assemblies and Processions Act, 2011 on November 2.

After the Supreme Court upheld the high court ban on roadside meetings, the LDF government brought forward the legislation in February this year. When the bill came up for consideration of the Legislative Assembly, it was unanimously supported by both the LDF and UDF fronts.

Through the Act, the government gave power to district administrations to decide on permissions to conduct roadside meetings. While issuing a stay on the Act, the court had observed that the order banning roadside meetings was issued as it was a violation of the fundamental rights of citizens.

Along with staying the government legislation, the court had issued instructions for sending urgent messages to the director-general of police to ensure that the court order banning the Act and roadside meetings was being implemented.

While upholding the high court ban, the apex court had pointed out that such meetings hindered movement of the public as well as vehicles in the narrow roads of Kerala.

On November 15, the apex court had criticized the high court’s judgment sentencing CPM state secretariat member M V Jayarajan for speaking against the ban on roadside meetings. Jayarajan was sentenced to undergo six months of imprisonment by the high court for contempt of court but was granted bail by the Supreme Court. The apex court also criticized the high court verdict that denied Jayarajan a chance to prefer an appeal.






2G: Delhi HC to hear Essar’s plea on charges


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court will hear the Essar Group’s plea in the 2G spectrum scam. Essar had approached the HC last week, challenging the court’s jurisdiction to frame charges against it.

The company has also sought quashing of charges against it, arguing that the special CBI court is not the right court to hear their case.

A special CBI court had accepted CBI’s chargesheet against Essar Group and Loop Telecom in the 2G spectrum scam case and issued summons to all the eight accused named in the chargesheet.






Nakkheeran’s Editor moves HC for police protection


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 22:38

Chennai: Tamil bi-weekly Nakkheeran’s Editor R R Gopal has moved the Madras High Court seeking a direction for police protection to him and others in the wake of the attack on the magazine’s office by AIADMK workers over publication of a report about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa.

In a petition, he sought police protection to him, his family members and Nakkheeran employees in the wake of the attack and damage caused to the magazine office here on January 7 over the report which had references to the DMK chief’s eating habits.

Meanwhile, Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan in a mention before the First Bench comprising the Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice K B K Vasuki today said that he proposed to file a contempt petition against Gopal for flouting a 2006 order of the high court, regarding publication of matters in the magazine pertaining to Jayalalithaa.

Gopal submitted that since about 10 AM AIADMK party members had come in batches, stoned the office and threw brooms, damaging the building and cars parked there. He said he had informed the police telegraphically and through email about the attack.

“Whenever AIADMK party comes to power, our Nakkheeran Publications and its team of journalists face violent reactions from the party supremo Jayalalithaa,” he alleged listing the attacks on the magazine, its staff and property since 1991.

Claiming that his life and that of his employees were in danger and property was likely to be destroyed, Gopal sought the court’s intervention. The petition is likely to be heard tomorrow.

Gopal and some employees of the magazine also filed petitions seeking anticipatory bail apprehending arrest in connection with the publication of the report.

In a related development, AIADMK’s Tiruvallur district joint secretary of advocates wing A Vasudevan moved the high court seeking a direction to the police to register a case against Gopal for the “objectionable, derogatory and defamatory” news article against the chief minister.

The article had been published with an ulterior motive, the petitioner alleged adding he had filed a complaint on January 7 with police but was not even given an acknowledgement.

Earlier, a group of advocates burnt copies of the magazine in front of the high court, protesting publication of the article.






HC adjourns hearing on Yeddyurappa’s petition


Last Updated: Monday, January 09, 2012, 21:08


Bangalore: Karnataka High Court on Monday adjourned to Tuesday hearing on the petition filed by former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa seeking quashing of the two corruption cases filed against him.

Justice Anand Byrareddy adjourned the matter when the petition came up for hearing before him.

Responding to the arguments put forward by senior counsel for the petitioner Jayakumar S Patil on January 6, respondent advocate Sirajin Basha’s counsel Nitin said sanction for prosecution need not be accorded for each and every offence.

It is in connection with these two corruption cases out of the five filed by Basha that the Lokayukta Court had ordered issue of summons against Yeddyurappa on August 8 last year which subsequently led to his arrest.







Supreme Court grants interim bail to Sukh Ram

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 09, 2012 13:03 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today granted interim bail till January 16 to former Union Minister Sukh Ram who had surrendered and had been sent to jail to serve a three-year term in connection with a telecom scam in 1993.

A bench headed by Justice P Sathasivam also granted interim bail to former bureaucrat Runu Ghosh and Hyderabad-based businessman P Rama Rao who are co-accused in the case.

The bench had, on January 5, refused to entertain their appeal against the Delhi High Court’s order convicting them in the scam and awarded a jail term of three years 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 complied with the high court’s order and surrendered 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 was 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 Department of Telecommunications (DoT).

Sukh Ram was telecom minister between January 18, 1993 and May 16, 1996, in the Narasimha Rao government.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had filed the chargesheet 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.







Property tax on cell towers? Bombay High Court to rule


Published: Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Can a municipal corporation levy property tax on mobile towers and equipment on rooftops and building terraces? The Bombay High Court will decide on the issue while hearing a petition filed by Viom Infra Networks, a telecom company.

A division bench of Justice VK Tahilramani and Justice ML Tahiliyani has issued notices to the Kalyan-Dombivli Municipal Corporation (KDMC) and its municipal commissioner, asking them to file a reply by January 23.

In the meanwhile, the high court has also restrained the KDMC from taking any coercive action against the mobile towers of Viom Infra Networks, pending the hearing of its petition. The court has specifically ordered the KDMC to not dismantle or demolish the mobile towers till their final order.

Viom Infra Networks had filed a petition in the high court challenging notice issued to them by the KDMC levying property tax for cell towers and equipment installed on rooftops and building terraces.

Viom received property tax bill from KDMC in May 2011 for one of their towers at Anand Bhuvan building in Dombivili.

They received similar bills in respect of four other sites in December 2011 and also started receiving calls from KDMC officials threatening coercive action against the cell phone towers.

Property tax was levied on the basis that such towers or equipment constitute a new building/structure and hence is independently subject to property tax.

The municipal corporation also levied penalty on Viom on the pretext that the cell towers are illegal and unauthorised.

According to Viom’s petition, it has entered into leave-and-licence agreements with the building owners before installing the said towers and that as a precautionary measure it has also permission from the corporation for doing so.

The firm’s petition also states: “The telecom towers, which are not permanent structures, are temporarily installed. Further, the installation of such towers are crucial for the functioning and operation of a mobile telephone system.”









CIC to President office: Make info on black money stashed abroad public


TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 06.39AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the President’s secretariat to make public details of correspondence among various ministries and the Delhi Police related to black money.

The order came following an appeal by RTI applicant Milap Choraria, who had sought to know the action taken on reports on the letters written by him to finance and external affairs ministries among other public authorities, in connection with unaccounted cash stashed abroad.

During the hearing, Choraria also submitted that he was mainly interested to get from the office of the President Secretariat the file notings concerning its correspondence with the banking division, finance ministry, MEA and the Delhi Police.

“It seems the Appellant had written a number of letters to various authorities regarding the Indian citizens illegally depositing black money in various foreign banks…The Central Public Information Officer (of the President Secretariat) had provided him with some information while advising him to approach the remaining authorities to know about the action taken by each one of them.

“After carefully considering the facts of the case, we do not see any problem in disclosing this information,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra said in his order.

The CIC directed the CPIO to provide information within 10 working days, including photocopies of the file notings from the relevant files in which his letters had been processed and correspondence made with the banking division, ministry of finance, MEA and the Delhi Police.








PTI | 05:01 PM,Jan 09,2012

However, the High Court had said there may be a situation where disclosure may affect the security, strategic, scientific and economic interests of the State but the present case is not such a one. The Central Public Information Officer of the DMRC in July, 2009, declined the information sought on the ground that it was intellectual property of the DMRC and considerable cost and time had been spent in preparing the design. Later, the CIC had directed the DMRC to supply the information as sought by the RTI applicant.






Child Labour Act may be tweaked to be on RTE page


Akshaya Mukul, TNN | Jan 10, 2012, 05.16AM IST

NEW DELHI: Within days of Sonia Gandhi-led National Advisory Council (NAC) recommending that the Child Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act be amended in sync with the Right to Education (RTE) Act – promising free and compulsory education for children aged between 6 and 14 years – the labour ministry will hold a meeting with HRD officials on Wednesday.

This is the first concrete action on NAC’s recommendation. NAC’s proposal, being supported by the HRD ministry, states that child labour should be prohibited till 14 years. Another amendment being proposed is that children till 18 years should not be employed for hazardous tasks. Labour ministry sources said NAC’s proposal would act as a template and there could be modifications, but implication of the RTE Act would be factored in the Child Labour Act.

Child Labour Act defines a child as a person who is below 14 years of age. The Act also says that no child should be employed for hazardous work. NAC said after the enactment of RTE Act the distinction between “prohibited and regulated employment that underwrites Child Labour Act is no longer tenable.”

Educationists as well as the HRD ministry has been arguing in favour of changing the child labour law to bring in more children in the education net. “The child who works instead of being in school loses opportunities to break out of poverty, and suffers severe and irreversible damage to her physical and mental health,” NAC said. It also argued that the “current regime of graded legality of child work is not in consonance with the fundamental rights of every child, including her right to be in school”.

While recommending a ban on child labour till the age of 14, NAC has also said that the law should not penalize parents for making their children work. “Nor should the law criminalize children assisting their parents in work at home, in the fields or vending after school hours or during holidays,” NAC said. But it has also recommended that since penalties under the Child Labour Act are “weak and poorly enforced”, all offences under the Act should be made “cognizable and non-bailable.”

NAC has said HRD and women & child development ministries should be entrusted with the job of rehabilitating child workers through child-supportive programmes.



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