LEGAL NEWS 13.01.2012

Indian High Commission lodges protest with BBC over “racist” programme

Hasan Suroor

Top Gear appears to “mock” Indian culture and reinforce cultural stereotypes

The Indian High Commission here has protested to the BBC over a programme on India that it said was “replete with cheap jibes and tasteless humour and lacked the cultural sensitivity that we expect from the BBC.”

Top Gear, a popular motoring programme watched by millions of viewers, is presented by Jeremy Clarkson, one of the “star” presenters who has been previously involved in a series of controversies, including allegations of racism made by, among others, the Chinese and the Mexicans.

‘Light-hearted road trip’

When the BBC sought permission to film a special edition of Top Gear, it described the programme as a “light-hearted road trip” whose “key ingredients will be [India’s] beautiful scenery, busy city scenes, local charm and colour within these locations, areas to illustrate the local car culture that exists in India.”

The High Commission, however, was shocked that the finished product shown over Christmas bore little resemblance to the promised format.

Instead, it appeared to “mock” Indian culture and reinforce cultural stereotypes about India.

India House said the BBC was in “breach” of the agreement on the basis of which it was given permission to film in India.

It demanded that the BBC make “amends, especially to assuage the hurt sentiments of a large number of people.” Given India’s long and “valued” relationship with the BBC, it was “extremely disappointed” and felt let down.

The High Commission was reportedly deluged with angry phone calls and letters from Indian viewers. The BBC admitted that it had received 23 complaints and said it would respond directly to the High Commission in “due course.”

Labour MP Keith Vaz called for a “swift apology” from the BBC and Mr. Clarkson.

Spoof ‘trade mission’

The 90-minute programme, dressed up as a spoof British “trade mission” to India, opens with a scene outside Number 10 Downing Street, purporting to show Prime Minister David Cameron waving to Mr. Clarkson and his team as they leave for India. It appeared to suggest misleadingly that the programme had the Prime Minister’s “blessings.”

The scenes to which viewers have objected include one wherein Mr. Clarkson shows off a car with a lavatory fitted on its roof and says: “This is perfect for India…”

In another, he is stripped to his underpants as he shows off a trouser press to Delhi’s “good and the great” at a party, saying it had a huge market potential in India.

Banners found offensive

Viewers also objected to banners reading “British IT is good for your company” and “Eat English muffins” that the Clarkson team attached to a train. When the carriages split, the messages become obscene.

Some, however, said the Indians were “over-reacting” and that in fact the programme mocked the British government for its claims to promote trade with India.





Khurshid courts another controversy

J. Balaji

After a show-cause from the Election Commission for “violating the model code of conduct” in Uttar Pradesh, Union Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid has again landed himself in a controversy with it.

This time, the EC is writing to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh taking strong exception to Mr. Khurshid’s comment that the Commission came under the administrative control of the Law Ministry.

“This letter by Chief Election Commissioner S.Y. Quraishi, which is drafted but yet to be sent, has nothing to do with the ongoing election process and we just wanted to stress the independence and autonomous stature of our constitutional body,” a senior EC official told The Hindu on Thursday. He described the Minister’s comment as “wishful thinking.”

In a recent interview to a private TV channel, Mr. Khurshid reportedly said the Centre possessed some sort of administrative control over the EC and cited the example of the Law Ministry signing crucial documents when one of its Commissioners went abroad for a vacation. Mr. Khurshid was referring to Team Anna’s reservations about the Centre gaining some sort of control over the CBI under the new Lokpal Bill that was passed by the Lok Sabha.

“If the Law Ministry thinks it can control the Commission through foreign tours, it is sadly mistaken,” the EC official said, adding the “Law Ministry serves just like a post-office … only the President approves EC foreign tours,” he said.





No infirmity in clearance to Posco: MoEF tells Green Tribunal


Updated on Thursday, January 12, 2012, 16:24

New Delhi: The Environment Ministry has told the National Green Tribunal that there was no infirmity in its decision to grant environmental clearance to Posco’s mega steel project in Orissa.

“It is submitted that the decision of the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) granting the environment clearances is fair and fully informed after taking into account the relevant factors and applicable laws.

“In view of the foregoing, it is submitted that there is no infirmity in the environmental clearance issued by the MoEF and the appeal filed by appellant is liable to be dismissed,” the affidavit filed by the MoEF said.

The MoEF submission to the country’s apex quasi-judicial panel to adjudicate environment issues, came in response to a petition seeking quashing of the environmental clearance granted to Posco on ground that it was “contrary to the provisions of the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) Notification 2006” and was “illegal and arbitrary”.

Prafulla Samantray, an environmentalist, had filed the petition though advocate Ritwik Dutta contending that the Memorandum of Understanding between the Orissa government and POSCO states that the project is for production of 12 million tons of steel per annum (MTPA).

The EIA report, however, has been prepared only for 4 MTPA steel production in the first phase, while the impact on environment in case of steel production by the plant to its full capacity would be much more, he pointed out.






TDSAT sets aside penalities on new operators; DoT to refund


Updated on Friday, January 13, 2012, 13:22

New Delhi: In a major development, the telecom tribunal TDSAT, Friday set aside all penalties imposed by the government on new telecom operators for delay in meeting roll out obligations of services.

The TDSAT bench headed by Justice S B Sinha said that DoT did not follow “principals of natural justice” and did not give any opportunity to the telecom operators before imposing penalty or liquidated damages.

The tribunal further directed the government to refund the amount collected from the operators with 12 percent interest within 4-weeks from Friday.

According to estimates available, the DoT has collected so far over Rs 300 crore against claims of about Rs 400 crore from the new telecom operators as liquidated damages during the last one year.

Penalties have been imposed on new telecom operators, including Etisalat DB, Videocon, Loop, Aircel and Uninor among others.

TDSAT’s ruling came forward over a batch of 70 petitions filed by various telecom operators challenging liquidated damages imposed on them by DoT for various circles.

It also directed DoT to give a fresh hearing to the telecom operators on this issue in accordance with today’s judgement.

The tribunal further said that if there was any ambiguity in the terms of licence, the benefit has to be given in favour of licensee (operator) and it is against the licensor (DoT).

It also held that the DoT has not suffered any damages according to the law.

Earlier, passing an interim order in this matter, the tribunal had directed various telecom operators to deposit 60 percent of the liquidated damages imposed by the DoT.

Following today’s order, now the government will refund the amount along with the interest to the operators.

The DoT had imposed penalty over the operators who were alloted spectrum in 2008 during the tenure of former telecom minister A Raja for delay in raising necessary infrastructure to commence their service obligations.







AISF opposes education bills

Staff Reporter

National council meeting in April to chalk out course of action

All India Students Federation (AISF) national council meeting in April will decide the future course in the second phase of agitation against the controversial Foreign Educational Institution bill, Education Tribunal bill, Higher Education bill and the Right To Education Act-2010 which are contrary to the interests of the student community, according to AISF national general secretary Abhay Taksal.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday, he said that the AISF is totally opposed to the bills which were referred to the standing committee of Parliament, the Chairman of which was Oscar Fernandez. The Education Tribunal bill is being opposed only to prevent tribunalisation of education. If this is passed issues relating to education would be relegated to controversies and will be in danger of getting blocked in tribunals. A bill of the kind is not good for democracy, he said. Similarly the Foreign Education Institutions bill does not guarantee quality of education through foreign institutions nor were any checks ensured for verifying the bona-fides of foreign institutions. The bill has not created any mechanism to detect fake foreign institutions. Many students are in danger of falling into the trap of bogus institutions.

‘No plan’

The AISF general secretary said that the government has no plans to strengthen the government schools and institutions which were experiencing 85 per cent drop-out at the primary school level throughout the country.

Earlier, addressing Industrial Training Institute (ITI) students who participated in the state conference at Andhra University campus here on Wednesday, Abhay called upon the students to fight for qualitative education and employment opportunities to the ITI diploma holders.

About 400 delegates from around the state participated in the conference.

AITUC state honorary president B.V.Rama Rao said that the ITI students should be given scholarships and hostel facilities apart from creating job opportunities to students who complete their respective courses.

AITUC state convenor A.Ayyaswamy and CPI district secretary J.V.V.Sathyanarayana and several district leaders participated.






Govt faces Supreme Court ire over pendency


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 06.11AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday said pendency of 3 crore cases could not be effectively dealt with unless the government created more courts and filled vacancies because annual disposal of cases by trial courts, high courts and the Supreme Court only matched the numbers filed every year, leaving the backlog untouched.

If a bench of Justices A K Ganguly and T S Thakur questioned additional solicitor general Harin Raval on the Centre’s policy decisions on judicial reforms including speeding up of justice delivery, another bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar was critical of the UPA government’s decision to scrap fast-track courts.

The bench of Justices Ganguly and Thakur accepted Raval’s contention that it would be a mismatch if the government was asked to create more posts of judges when a large number of such posts was lying vacant.

But it wanted to know from the ASG whether any of the policy decisions intended to create more courts in view of a finding that the country would require 75,000 more trial judges in the next three decades.

It asked the Centre to refer to the Law Commission, which is doing a comprehensive study in this regard, to include in its terms of reference the need for increasing the number of courts and ways and means to deal with the vacancy problem.

On the other hand, amicus curiae and senior advocate P S Narasimha drew the attention of a bench of Justices Patnaik and Kumar to the scrapping of fast-track courts from March 31, 2011.

The bench said during the All India Conference of Chief Justices and Chief Ministers, there was unanimity that FTCs had played a constructive role in reducing arrears and should be continued.

It looked into the law ministry’s file relating to discontinuation of these courts and found that a decision had been taken to run morning and evening courts in place of fast-track courts. Narasimha said whenever there was an attempt to hinder speedy justice, constitutional courts had inherent power to take necessary corrective measures to ensure financial grants to sustain existing justice delivery system. The bench reserved verdict on the issue.







Plea against maritime VC dismissed

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.12AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has dismissed a writ petition against the appointment of Captain M Baweja as vice-chancellor of the Indian Maritime University (IMU), effectively vacating a stay order issued last week.

Justice B Rajendran, who stayed the appointment last week, dismissed the main writ petition itself on Thursday in view of certain new facts that were brought to his notice. First, the former vice-chancellor P Vijayan, who had challenged the appointment of Baweja, had not revealed the fact that after his tenure had ended he had been appointed director and he had reported for duty as director on November 23, 2011. Baweja had assumed charge as VC on November 18 itself.







Protection sought to wakf properties

Special Correspondent

Syed Farees Ahmed, a businessman, has filed a writ petition in the High Court against the misuse of valuable wakf properties in the State and sought action against the encroachers.

Mr. Ahmed told presspersons here on Wednesday that nearly 80,000 acres of the 1.50 lakh acre wakf land was under encroachment. The Wakf Board was unable to protect its property for want of adequate staff. Government should give permission to the Board to recruit staff since a large number of persons had retired over the years. By not approving cadre strength in time, the government was causing loss to the wakf properties. Mr. Ahmed accused K.M. Arifuddin, secretary, Majlise Shura Dasti Parcha Bafi Harmain Shareefain of grabbing wakf properties in the city and sought action against him.






Prepare teachers to check cheating during exams, HC tells Jamia


Express news service : New Delhi, Fri Jan 13 2012, 00:02 hrs

Taking note of the rise in cases of cheating during examinations, the Delhi High Court has asked educational institutions to instruct their invigilators to curb such activities. The court also said a clear message needs to be sent out to students against cheating.

“It is unfortunate that the malady of examinees resorting to unfair means seems to be spreading like wild fire. Every other day, there are reported cases of blatant cheating by examinees themselves or with the assistance of accomplices,” said Justice Hima Kohli, who adjudicates writ petitions pertaining to educational institutions.

The court was adjudicating a petition by a student of a part-time MBA course in Jamia Millia Islamia, who was denied a promotion to the next year after he was found in possession of an objectionable paper while taking his exam on January 18, last year.

While the student argued that the paper was an official document and had nothing to do with the exam, the university cancelled all his exams for that year and withheld his promotion.

During the hearing, the student produced the photo copy of the impugned paper, leaving the court to wonder how could it have been in his possession. Subsequent enquiry by the court disclosed that nobody from the invigilation team had confiscated the paper.

This meant there was no proof to establish that the impugned paper could have helped the petitioner cheat, noted the court.

Left with no alternative, the court then gave the benefit of doubt to the petitioner and set aside Jamia’s adverse order.






2G scam case: Court proceedings interrupted by striking lawyers

PTI Jan 12, 2012, 02.53PM IST

NEW DELHI: The ongoing trial in the 2G case was disrupted today due to the day-long strike being observed by all district court lawyers to press for their demand to transfer property dispute cases from the Delhi High Court to lower courts.

The trial in the 2G case began as scheduled in the morning with the examination of prosecution witness Tarun Das, a Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) official, but it had to be adjourned after striking lawyers repeatedly entered the courtroom and requested to stop the proceedings.

“All the lawyers please go out of the court room. I am requesting you all and please cooperate with us. We are not fighting for an individual. We are fighting for the rights of you people (lawyers). This (2G) case is going on daily basis and not much harm will be caused if it is adjourned for a day,” New Delhi Bar Association Secretary Sunil Chaudhary told other lawyers present in the court room.

Special CBI Judge O P Saini adjourned the matter till tomorrow after the members of the bar association interrupted the proceedings thrice.

Rajiv Khosla, spokesperson of the Co-ordination Committee of the bar associations of all the six district courts, claimed, “The strike is a complete success. Not even a single lawyer is appearing in any matter in any trial court”.

At present, all property disputes up to the value of Rs 20 lakh are handled by district courts and those exceeding the amount are taken up by the High Court, he said, pointing out that 95 per cent properties in Delhi are valued more than that as per the new circle rates announced by the government.

Khosla said the decision to go on a day-long strike was taken last week by the bars’ co-ordination committee to draw attention of the Centre and the Delhi government to the plight of litigants who have to approach the Delhi High Court for settlement of their civil disputes irrespective of the fact that it causes “great inconvenience” to them.

He also claimed the time taken in disposal of a case in the high court is approximately 10 to 12 years in comparison to two to three years taken by a district court.






‘CBI director needn’t appear before trial court’

January 12, 2012


New Delhi

The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed a joint director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to appear before a trial court in place of the agency’s chief, who had been summoned over some missing documents related to an alleged land scam here.

“In my opinion, it would be difficult for the director of CBI to appear personally before the trial court as he has to oversee entire function of the agency,” the court said.

Special Judge A.K. Mendiratta Dec 21, 2010 had issued notice to the CBI director to appear before it Jan 12.

“Joint director of CBI would appear before the trial court instead of CBI director, the order of trial court dated Dec 21, 2010 is modified to that extent,” Justice Suresh Kait ruled.

“CBI should ensure that it shall provide complete details and assistance to the trial court,” the high court said.

The CBI director had Wednesday moved the Delhi High Court against the trial court order.

The case relates to Delhi Vidhan Sabha canteen’s former contractor Ashok Malhotra, who was arrested Aug 6, 2007 along with Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi Development Authority officials for allegedly conspiring to acquire plots – in Molarband in south Delhi and Dheerpur in north Delhi – meant for resettlement of slum dwellers.

The CBI chief was summoned to explain the circumstances in which facts regarding the missing documents were suppressed in the trial court.

The trial court came to know about the missing documents Nov 28, 2011 when it was told by the CBI that the documents and the statements could not be filed in the court as the investigating officer of the case, Inspector D.K. Thakur, was arrested in a corruption case.

The CBI also told the court that the case record was not handed over by Thakur to any other colleague and the documents relied upon by the probe agency could not be recovered from his office.

Special CBI judge in his order said: “Notice be issued to the director, CBI, to appear in person to explain the circumstances in which facts regarding the missing documents were suppressed.”

“The matter is of exceptional nature as the sensitive documents relating to the case have not been placed along with the chargesheet and are stated to be missing,” said the court.







Congress ‘convicted’ candidate: High Court reserves verdict

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Jan 12, 2012, 08.42PM IST

LUCKNOW: Justice Ajay Lamba of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday reserved verdict on the criminal appeal filed by Dilip Kumar Verma, Congress candidate from Nanpara assembly constituency.

The appeal is against judgement of a trial court in Bahriach which sentenced Verma to five year’s jail term for offences under Arms Act and SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act. The trial court had convicted Dilip and Kuldip Verma for assaulting a police constable Shiv Sahay and a home guard Ram Bahadur Singh in full public view.

Verma’s lawyer Nagendra Mohan, however, argued that since a police officer to the rank of sub-inspector had investigated the matter, the conviction under SC/ST Act does not sustain. He also contended that since the appellants had not used the weapons, the offences under Arms Act were also not established. It is unnatural that two cops armed with official weapons could be assaulted without any offering any resistance, argued the lawyer. Additional government advocate Rajendra Kumar Dwivedi vehemently opposed the appeal and said that the apex court held that an investigation conducted by an inferior officer would not vitiate the judgement rendered by the trial court. “If the weapons are put on chest to threaten the persons, it cannot be said that the weapon is not used. In fact it is misused,” argued Dwivedi.

Dilip carries a long criminal history of seven cases including murder and attempt to murder registered in different police stations of Bahraich. The investigating officer had collected the said antecedent and cited in the case diary. Dilip is also facing trial in a Bahraich court relating to attempted murder in which he along with his supporters had attacked upon a police station and assaulted police officers, when he was a MLA of the Samajwadi Party in 2004.






What if it is your family’s obscene image?: High Court to Google

Harsimran Julka, ET Bureau Jan 12, 2012, 10.12PM IST

The Delhi HC on Thursday refused to quash a criminal complaint against Google and Facebook on inflammatory content, saying that today it may be obscene images of Gods and Goddesses but tomorrow it can be ‘a family member’s image’ posted on social networks.

The Hon’ble Judge Suresh Cait refused to accept Google India’s argument that it is just a distributor of Google Inc’s Adwords program but added that liability falls on it as it is a ‘beneficiary’ and does business in India.

“If a contraband is found in your house, it your liability to take action against it,” the judge told lawyers from Facebook India and Google India, 100% subsidiaries of the world’s two largest internet companies.

The Judge has scheduled Monday, January 16, as the date of a furthur hearing. He refused to quash the criminal complaint pending in the Patiala House court, which is due for hearing on Friday.




PIL for CBI probe into MGNREGA bungling in HC


11.1.2012 (UNI) Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to file its reply by January 30 on Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA).

A division bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Rituraj Awasthi gave this direction on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Sachidanand Gupta, who demanded a CBI probe into the irregularities committed by the state government in MGNREGA.

The petitioner has alleged a large-scale bungling in the public money sent by the Centre under MGNREGA. It also demanded action against those involved in the irregularities.

The court has fixed January 30 as next date of hearing. UNI







State govt not opposed to preserving Hope Bridge

TNN Jan 12, 2012, 11.06PM IST

AHMEDABAD: State government on Thursday told the Gujarat high court that it is not averse to preserving the Hope Bridge on river Tapi and suggested that the court constitutes a committee to find out the possibilities of preserving the 130-year-old structure.

In response to the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by retired IPS officer J S Bindra, government pleader Prakash Jani submitted an affidavit stating that the state government is not against the demand of the petitioner. The only concern it has is to examine all aspects for the purpose of preservation of the bridge.

Senior counsel Jani also submitted that the committee should be formed consisting director of geology, an official from central geological department, experts from Archeological Survey of India, an expert structural engineer to check strength of the bridge and concerned officials from Surat Municipal Corporation. This committee needs to be directed to give their opinion as early as possible.

The government pleader also brought it to the notice of the court that the ASI has expressed its willingness to help the authorities in preserving the structure. However, the process requires a nod from the Centre, if the structure is to be preserved as a heritage monument.

Though the state government is the owner of the bridge, SMC has been looking after it because the bridge has been handed over to the civic body by the government. SMC, however, has expressed its reservations against the state government’s willingness for preservation of the bridge. Its counsel argued that SMC has decided to pull down the unstable structure and to construct a new bridge in its place.

When SMC’s lawyer contended that a contract to dismantle the bridge has already been awarded and dismantling work had started, the bench of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice J B Pardiwala remarked that the contract was awarded after PIL was filed.

However, SMC is to file its affidavit next week in response to the state government’s stand. Further hearing will take place on January 19, and until then, SMC has assured that dismantling work will not resume.






No evening courts, says chief justice
– 67 additional ones to cope with backlog


Ranchi, Jan. 12: Jharkhand will not be getting evening courts anytime soon owing to its law and order situation and will have to do with 67 additional courts proposed by Chief Justice Prakash Tatia to cut down on judicial arrears.

In an exclusive interview to The Telegraph, Tatia, who took over as chief justice of Jharkhand High Court in September last year, said the evening court plan, as conceived by the 13th Finance Commission, was not feasible in the state.

Appearing to hint at the Maoist menace, the chief justice said he had proposed 67 additional courts, including 31 headed by district judges and 36 by judicial magistrate-rank officials, to reduce the number of pending cases.

He added that the state government would not have to bear the cost of additional courts as central funds were available under the 13th Finance Commission to foot the bill.

The chief justice revealed that family courts had been authorised to function on Sundays for which judges and other staff would be paid extra. “Holiday courts will be introduced as it was found that several litigants were working couples for whom it will be convenient to contest cases on a holiday,” he said.

Maintaining that vacancies in the lower judiciary would be filled up by April-end, Justice Tatia, who was shifted to Jharkhand from Rajasthan High Court, said non-execution of warrants by the police was one of the main reasons why cases remained pending.

“We have set up a task force at the district level to serve summons on accused and ensure appearance of witnesses to take cases to their logical end. We are working on a special cell to ensure the presence of witnesses in sensitive districts like Khunti where the police are not able to serve summons,” he said, adding that old cases and litigation involving senior citizens, women, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes were in focus. “We have assigned one bench to hear heinous crime cases and another to hear and monitor corruption cases,” he said.

Lauding the role of public interest litigations (PIL), Tatia said they have been good for Jharkhand, in an obvious reference to registration of corruption cases against several high profile persons. However, he was quick to add that several steps were being taken to weed out frivolous PILs.

The chief justice said under the state litigation policy, every PIL petitioner would have to first move the nodal officer appointed in every department seeking remedy to his/her problem. “If the government fails to serve the public interest, then he will file the petition along with the reply from the government,” Tatia pointed out.

He said the senior-most judge of the high court (Justice R.K. Merathia) would scrutinise the letters received by the court for conversion into a PIL.

In order to usher in more computer usage, Tatia said judicial officers, around 438 of them, were being taught to communicate through email. “They have been asked to check their mail everyday for communiqués from the high court to act upon or if they want to send any query about the status of a case,” he said.

The chief justice said a huge number of cases have been pending in subordinate courts for years because they had been stayed by Jharkhand High Court. In some cases, it was found that the high court had not stayed the case but the lower courts had been misled.

“The high court found that a case of property dispute has been pending in the Ranchi civil court for 20 years on the grounds that it had been stayed. But in reality, there was no stay,” Tatia said, adding he had directed judicial officers to immediately get in touch with the high court to know the actual status of cases. An assistant registrar has been deputed to respond to queries from judicial officers.


The chief justice said a large number of cases are gathering dust in the lower courts on the ground that they had been stayed by the Patna High Court before Jharkhand was created. A special messenger was being sent to Patna to get the status of all such cases.

“Pendency is a stigma for the judiciary. So, we are going to go to the root of the problem to get the real data of pending cases,” he added.

Over 2.8 lakh cases are pending in subordinate courts, while those in Jharkhand High Court are pegged at over 62,000.

“We have begun monitoring the subordinate judiciary through video conferencing. The purpose is to motivate officers and not to find fault. But, they will face the music if they fail to improve,” Tatia signed off.






‘43% of ore exported in 2010-11 illegally extracted’

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 03.08AM IST

PANAJI: Goa Foundation on Thursday claimed that 43% of ore exported from Goa in 2010-2011 was illegally extracted.

Goa Foundation director Claude Alvares said, “From official figures provided by two separate and independent government sources-directorate of mines and geology (DMG) and Indian bureau of mines (IBM)-it is clear that more than 43% of iron ore exports from Goa in 2010-11 came from illegal or unauthorized mining operations.”

He added that illegal ore exports in the year 2009-10 were to the tune of 33%.

Data giving details of production and exports for 2009-10 and 2010-11 was provided as an affidavit in response to the Goa Foundation PIL on illegal mining in the high court of Bombay at Goa.

Alvares claims that DMG and IBM had provided divergent data on the number of working leases.

While DMG stated that 91 leases operated in 2009-10, IBM said 114 leases operated the same year. Alvares questioned as to what had happened to ore produced and royalty payments of those 23 missing leases.

Alvares also noted that according to the DMG affidavit, in 2010-11 total production was 48.38mt (million tons) of iron ore while the exports were 54.03mt. Hence exports exceeded production by 5.65mt.

The DMG affidavit does not disclose the sources from where unaccounted 5.65mt were obtained. The sources of this ore are important to ascertain that it was not extracted from illegal mines, Alvares said.

IBM data clearly and unambiguously declares that production from so called “reject dumps” is “excess production” which is outside and beyond permitted production. Hence it does not have the sanction of IBM which is the concerned statutory authority and is therefore illegal.

The DMG affidavit acknowledges that 12.60mt of ore were produced from dumps in 2009-10. The corresponding IBM figure for that year is 7.11mt. The difference of 5.49mt reported by these two statutory authorities is truly astonishing, Alvares said. He added that it appeared that mining companies are reporting different quantities to different statutory authorities or else the variations would not have occurred.

Based on information provided by DMG in 2009-10, 39 mining leases with environmental clearance (EC) limit of 17.31mt, produced 24.64mt, an excess of 7.33mt. The combined EC limit of 31 leases was 14.82mt while they produced 27.06mt, an excess of 12.24mt.

Even data from IBM confirms that in 2009-10, 31 mining leases exceeded their target by 3.26mt while dumps production in excess was 7.11mt, a total of 10.37mt.

DMG states that their figure of illegal extraction is 6,000 tonnes from a single mine in the year 2010-2011, which is based on records available in the office. Goa foundation feels this a fit case for a CBI inquiry. tnn






Mayawati shuts all her parks

Neha Shukla, TNN Jan 12, 2012, 07.08AM IST

(Covering the giant-sized jumbos proved to be a mammoth task for the 100-odd workers at Gomtinagar’s Samajik Parivartan Prateek Sthal here on Tuesday as gutsy winter wind made the task difficult.)

LUCKNOW: With cardboard shielding Mayawati statues from public gaze and yellow tarpaulin draping the elephants, the government took the unusual step of closing down the city’s parks altogether.

The EC on Saturday ordered covering of Maya’s statues and that of her party symbol, the elephant, at the city’s parks till the polls were over to ensure BSP does not have an edge over other parties in publicity. Wednesday was the deadline to complete the cover-up operation.

But the government decided to not just stop with the cover-up exercise. “The ECI had ordered draping of statues, we decided to close down the parks completely,” Lucknow DM Anil Kumar Sagar told TOI. Chief Electoral Officer Umesh Sinha said: “We will talk to the EC of India about this tomorrow (Thursday) and see what it has to say.” On Wednesday, when TOI visited the parks, reporters weren’t allowed in, with the guards saying the parks were closed to public. There are nine such parks in the city dedicated to dalit icons and built at an estimated Rs 3,500 crore. On Wednesday, the government made no formal announcement about the closure of parks.

Initially, it appeared the parks were closed because of the presence of labourers draping the statues. But that was not the case, though no one was venturing an explanation. The security supervisors at Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Samajik Parivartan sthal, Gomtinagar, merely informed that all the parks have been closed till polls are over.

The staff said, they had been told that it’s an EC direction. But, EC officials denied there were any such directions. Public entry has been barred to parks that allow ticket-based entry. Premises like Smriti Upvan were open to the public, though journalists were not allowed inside.

The government, after covering all the statues, submitted its status report to the Election Commission of India. However, while the statues of Mayawati have been covered at all places with ply-boards, elephants at some of the places were not covered till late Wednesday evening. EC had given a deadline of 5 pm on Wednesday to cover all the statues.

PIL dismissed

Allahabad High Court on Wednesday dismissed a PIL against the January 7 EC order asking UP government to cover all Mayawati statues and those of elephants installed in Lucknow, Noida and other places by January 11. The judges said the petitioner hadn’t disclosed his credentials and the PIL stood dismissed as withdrawn.






Age (issue) of honour, integrity: Army chief

New Delhi, Fri Jan 13 2012, 01:27 hrs

Maintaining that he has not yet thought of the next course of action regarding the controversy over his date of birth, Army Chief General V K Singh today refused to get into the details of the issue during his annual interaction ahead of Army Day, saying that he doesn’t want to vitiate the environment with comments that can be given a “vicious spin”.

Downplaying the controversy, Gen. Singh said that the issue has always been one of “honour and integrity” and has not affected relations between the Army and the Defence Ministry in any way.

“It (the controversy) is an issue that I will desist from answering anything. Someone has gone to court (referring to a PIL on the matter that is pending before the SC) and all kinds of speculations are going on. There is no point in vitiating things the way they are,” Singh said.

“The issue is that of integrity and honour, right from the time the issue came to the forefront, it has been tackled by me in organisational interest,” he said, adding that the only impact of the controversy has been on his family, and within the four walls of his house.

Singh said that he needed time to think of his next course of action. “Please leave it to my judgement what I want to do. It is an issue that concerns me and I may decide on some actions after I get time to think about it. I have to find time to think about it,” he said adding that if the facts are viewed in a neutral manner, the image of the armed forces has not been affected by the age controversy.






Prosecutor scuttled sonography case: PIL

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, January 13, 2012A public interest litigation has been filed against an additional public prosecutor for being absent during court hearings to allegedly help an accused go scot-free in a case related to the misuse of sonography machines. Appearing for petitioner, Prakash Pise, advocate VP Patil

argued before the Bombay high court that the additional public prosecutor of Solapur sessions court was continuously absent to help the accused get a discharge from the case. Patil also contended that the government pleader was hand-in-glove in the matter by not filing an appeal in this regard.

Although Patil sought time to get back to the court on details regarding the offences registered against the accused, a division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice Mridula Bhatkar took serious note of this and directed public prosecutor PA Pol to reply on what action the state is proposing to take in this matter.

“They are appointed to protect the interest of justice. Prosecutors can’t remain absent like this,” the court said.

“If they remain absent like this, what will happen to the system,” the court observed.

Patil had reproduced the judgement of the Solapur sessions court which had observed that in spite of calling the additional public prosecutor on various occasions, he remained absent. No application for adjournment was made, the judgement also noted.

Pise has now sought for action to be taken against the officials by the principal secretary (Law and Order). Pise, who is an advocate and social worker, has also sought for restraining the officials from continuing with their work before the concerned court.






Unhappy court visits rape spot

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 02.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: Not satisfied with the police probe in a case where an epileptic girl was allegedly gang-raped, a trial court on Thursday took the investigation in to its own hands. For the first time, a trial court judge visited the place of the incident to find the missing links in the story of the prosecution so that the victim is given justice.

When the investigating officer failed to prepare a site plan of where the girl was purportedly held captive for three days, it led to a lot of disagreement between the defence and the prosecution. To put the “controversy” at rest, Additional Sessions judge Kamini Lau visited the crime spot.

“During the course of arguments a major controversy and disagreement has emerged on the issues with regard to the house of the maternal uncle of the victim where she had come on a visit, the place from where the victim was allegedly kidnapped and the place where the victim was held captive for three days and allegedly gang-raped. Also, the place where the victim was allegedly spotted and recovered is not clear. No site plan (rough or scaled) has been placed on record either by the prosecution or by the defence on the basis of which the said controversy can be determined and decided,” the court observed in its order.

The judge said linking the missing dots was “material” to the case. “In the interest of justice in order to appreciate the evidence on the aforesaid aspects in the present trial it has become necessary for the Court to visit and inspect the following spots,” it said while intimating the Delhi high court about its decision.

The court’s decision found acceptance with the defence as well as the prosecution. After the visit, the court filed its report, which will be taken into consideration while deciding the case. The case will be heard again on January 13.

The court’s decision found acceptance with both defence and prosecution. It has filed the report that will be taken into consideration while deciding the case






City Briefs: Land scam: CBI gets 4 weeks to trace missing documents

Express news service : Fri Jan 13 2012, 02:36 hrs

Land scam: CBI gets 4 weeks to trace missing documents

New Delhi: A special CBI court at Tis Hazari on Thursday gave the agency four weeks time to trace missing documents relating to the Molarband and Dheerpur land scam, involving food vendor Ashok Malhotra. Special CBI Judge A K Mendiratta gave the direction to the agency as its Deputy Inspector General of Police S K Palsania appeared before him and submitted that over 200 documents have already been traced while the statements of some witnesses are still missing. The case will come up for hearing on February 15. “It is a case of extraordinary circumstances. The IO of the case was arrested in a trap case and sent to judicial custody. He came out only after 60 days,” Palsania told the court.

Judge inspects scene of crime

New Delhi: To verify evidence in a gangrape case involving an epileptic minor girl, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau on Thursday conducted a personal inspection of the crime scene, as police had failed to prepare a site plan for the incident. ASJ Lau’s action came after an argument on Wednesday regarding the places from where the girl was allegedly kidnapped, held captive and gangraped, and finally spotted and recovered. The judge was accompanied by the public prosecutor and the counsels for the defence.

Domestic help arrested for looting

NEW DELHI: A domestic help was arrested on Thursday for allegedly looting gold jewellery and a mobile phone — a total worth of around Rs 4.14 lakh — from Safdarjung Enclave. Anita was arrested after her employer Jaya Rakesh complained that she was looted at knife-point by the domestic help, hired recently. Jaya said Anita had locked her inside the bathroom and ransacked the house. Police recovered four gold bangles, a gold chain with pendant and a mobile phone from Anita.






Man gets 8 years imprisonment in fake currency case

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.29AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Additional District Judge (ADJ) XXVI, Anil Kumar Singh on Thursday sentenced Amir Mahfooz, the main accused in fake currency case to eight years of rigorous imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 75,000 under Section 389 B and 389 C of Indian Penal Code(IPC) after fake currency amounting to Rs 6,500 was recovered from his possession on August 14, 2008 by a team of Ghoorpur police near Iradatgunj railway station.

Pleading the case, government advocate, Irfan Ahmad said that the accused Amir Mahfooz, resident of Chak Hidayatpur under Ghoorpur police station was arrested by a team of Ghoorpur police station near Iradatgunj railway station on August 14, 2008 and fake currency amounting to Rs 6,500 in denominations of 12 notes of Rs 500 and 5 notes of Rs 100 were recovered from his possession.

At that time, Mahfooz’s links were also traced with the banned students outfit, Students Islamic Movement of India(SIMI) and he was found involved in illegal activities, after which a team of Mumbai and Gujarat police led by the slain chief of Anti Terrorist Squad(ATS) of Mumbai police, late, Hemant Karkare had also come to the city to interrogate him.

After hearing the argument, ADJ, XXVI, convicted the accused to 8 years of rigorous imprisonment alongwith a fine of Rs 50,000 under Section 389 B of Indian Penal Code(IPC).Besides this the judge also imposed a fine of Rs 25,000 on the accused under Section 389 C of IPC and ordered that failure to pay the sum would entail additional imprisonment of six months.






Jarawa dance: Case registered against unknown persons


Posted: Jan 12, 2012 at 1323 hrs IST

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Port Blair Police have registered a case against unknown persons in connection with the shooting and uploading of a video showing semi-naked Jarawa tribal women dancing in front of tourists.

The case was registered under the Indian Penal Code, Information and Technology Act, Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes and Protection of Aboriginal Tribes, official sources said here today.

Andaman and Nicobar Police have formed a special team led by a Deputy Superintendent of Police which will seek help of cyber cells of central agencies in cracking the computer from where it has been hosted.

The case has been registered under section 292 of Indian Penal Code (showing obscene material), section 67 of IT act (Publishing of information which is obscene in electronic form), section 3 (2) of Schedule Caste and Scheduled Tribes (forces a member of a Scheduled Caste or a Scheduled Tribe to drink or eat any inedible or obnoxious substance).

The case has also been registered under section 7 (entering buffer zone for commercial activities) and section 8 (promoting tourism activities through any advertisement about Jarawa tribes) of Protection of Aboriginal Tribes.

The issue had sparked controversy when London-based newspaper ‘Observer’ reported the alleged incident and also uploaded a video.

The Centre has sought a report from the Union Territory administration.

In its preliminary report, the administration had said it would initiate prosecution against the videographer involved in the coverage for a British newspaper for “inciting” the tribals to dance in front of tourists.

The video footage was condemned as “obnoxious and disgusting” by Union Tribal Affairs Minister V Kishore Chandra Deo. According to reports, there are just 403 surviving members of the Jarawa tribe who live in reserve forests on south Andaman.

The Home Ministry had directed the local administration to find out when the video was photographed, how the primitive tribals living in seclusion came in contact with outsiders and to find out the people responsible for their exploitation.

The Home Ministry may take punitive action against people responsible for the alleged act and if the reports are found to be genuine, an official said.






Gujarat CM, HM culpable in 2002 riots: Ex-DGP

Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 22:25 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

Former Gujarat DGP RB Sreekumar today filed his ninth affidavit before the Nanavati Commission, in which he claimed that Chief Minister Narendra Modi and the then Minister of State for Home Gordhan Zadafia among others were culpable under IPC section 166 in relation with the 2002 riots.

Indian Penal Code (IPC) section 166 is applicable for offence by public servant in disobeying law with intent to cause injury to any person.

In his affidavit, Sreekumar, who was ADGP (intelligence) in 2002 has further asked the Commission to take necessary action with regard to his new affidavit.

“Manipulation of the criminal justice system as delineated in my reports to the government was intimated to the chief minister. Home department officials and DGP were also aware of this despicable ground situation. Still no remedial action suggested in my report dated April 24, 2002 was taken,” he claimed.

“The government did not question information in my reports and my supervisory officers also did not ask me to furnish any clarification or explanation on inputs in my reports. This had established that the government had accepted my intelligence assessment reports,” he added.

“The above facts categorically establish that DGP, Home department officials, MOS home and chief minister were culpable for offence under section 166 IPC,” Sreekumar said.






Cabinet defers decision on Piracy Bill

Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 18:33

New Delhi: The Union Cabinet on Thursday deferred a decision on having a new law that will make piracy at sea a criminal offence.

The Piracy Bill, which was listed for discussion at a meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, was deferred following a request from External Affairs Minister S M Krishna.

The Bill seeks to define the offence of piracy and make a a new provision in the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to deal with the crime.

India till now has no law on piracy at sea as a result of which the Navy found it difficult to deal with captured pirates.

The Bill seeks life imprisonment for persons indulging in acts of piracy and setting up of special courts to hold speedy trials against pirates.

It also seeks to empower the Navy and Coast Guard to take on pirates in high seas as also the exclusive economic zone.








Vigilance head okays V.S. Achuthanandan probe

Jan 13, 2012


The Vigilance and Anti-Corruption Bureau director, Mr. Venugopal K. Nair, on Thursday ordered his officials to register a case against the Opposition leader, Mr. V.S. Achuthanandan, and seven others in connection with the allotment of land to his relative in Kasargod.

The case will be registered at the VACB Kasargod unit and first information report will be submitted before the Enquiry Commissioner and Special Judge (Vigilance), Kozhikode on Friday.

Charges against the accused include Section 13 of the Prevention of Corruption Act for abusing official authority as well as various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, tampering with evidence and conspiracy.

Mr. Achuthanandan will be arraigned as the first accused. The preliminary probe was conducted by a Vigilance team, led by Northern-range SP, Mr. Habeeb Rahman.

The Vigilance case puts Mr Achuthanandan in a tight spot and pressure is likely to mount on him from within and outside the party to step down as the Opposition Leader. Mr Achuthanandnan, who had taken a principled position in the SNC Lavalin case, demanding that the party secretary, Mr Pinarayi Vijayan, step down from the party post will find the going tough.

The CPI (M) is yet to comment. Mr Vijayan remained silent when reporters sought his comment at a public function. Mr Achuthanandan defended the decision, saying it was done with the full knowledge of the Cabinet.

“Such antics by a ministry, comprising six tainted Ministers, will not wash. Some of them like, Mr P K Kunhalikutty, derives pleasure out of foisting false charges on me”, quipped Mr Achuthanandan.

However, the Chief Minister, Mr Oommen Chandy, said Mr Achuthanandan only needed to answer whether the beneficiary was his relative and whether officials had acted behind his back.

Now, the question before the party is whether to back Mr Achuthanandan as it had done in the case of Mr Vijayan at the height of the anti-Lavalin campaign.

The central leadership had justified Mr Vijayan, saying he needn’t quit because he did not hold any elective public office. Mr Achuthanandan can afford to remain in office only if Mr Vijayan and the Central leadership lend him a long rope.






CWG scam: Argument on charge from Feb 1

New Delhi, Jan 12 (IANS) A day before starting daily hearing, a special CBI court here Thursday said the argument on charge in a corruption case related to purchase of time-scoring-result (TSR) system for the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) will start Feb 1.

“The argument on charge on the CWG TSR scam will be held from Feb 1,” said Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh, adding that the case will be taken up on daily basis from Friday.

The court decided Jan 4 that the case would be taken up on daily basis.

The CBI in its first charge sheet in the case against former CWG Organising Committee chairman Suresh Kalmadi and 10 others described him as a prime accused and the mastermind in the corruption case related to financial irregularities in awarding the Rs.141 crore contract for the TSR system.

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

©Indo-Asian News Service





HC cancels Sai’s CBI custody

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 02.23AM IST

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Thursday suspended the seven-day CBI custody of V Vijay Sai Reddy, accused number two in the Jagan assets case. A vacation bench comprising Justices L Narasimha Reddy and KG Shankar gave the order after hearing a plea filed by the defendant.

The bench noted that the extension of custody was given by an in-charge court on a day when the regular judge of the CBI court was on leave. The court, however, allowed the CBI to move the petition seeking custody before the regular CBI court.






HC issues notice to UP NRHM

Last Updated: Friday, January 13, 2012, 08:35

Lucknow: The Allahabad High Court on Thursday issued a notice to the Uttar Pradesh NRHM director on a PIL challenging the alleged illegal and arbitrary attitude of the state government in not submitting utilisation certificates to the Centre which has resulted in non-release of further funds.

The petitioner prayed to the Lucknow bench comprising Justices Abdul Mateen and Sunil Halithat that since the authorities are not submitting utilisation certificates, medicines under NRHM scheme are not being procured for the PHCs of the state.

The PIL sought a direction for release of funds for procurement of medicines and directing the state government for completing all formalities for sanctioning of the grant for the procurement under the scheme.

The mission director was directed to file any objection within four weeks.







HC seeks affidavit over surety for Channel

Last Updated: Thursday, January 12, 2012, 19:28

Mumbai: Hearing the plea of news channel “Times Now” to allow it to furnish corporate guarantee instead of bank guarantee for Rs 80 crore in a defamation suit, the Bombay High Court on Thursday sought an affidavit from the company wanting to give such an undertaking.

“Let the company which wants to give corporate guarantee on behalf of the Channel file an affidavit on January 16,” a bench headed by Justice D K Deshmukh said after hearing a petition seeking modification of an earlier High Court order that asked the broadcaster to give Rs 80 crore bank guarantee.

The petition was filed by Times Global Broadcasting Company, which runs Times Now news channel.

The judges also asked the petitioner to identify the assets it proposed to place before the court in lieu of the bank guarantee amounting to Rs 80 crore.

“The prothonotory of the court will not accept anything without inviting objections from the other side (respondent),” they said.

A Pune court had ordered the news channel to pay Rs 100 crore as damages to former Supreme Court judge P B Sawant for defaming him. The channel had challenged the order in the high court which asked it to deposit Rs 20 crore and furnish a bank guarantee for the balance amount.

The channel prayed that instead of furnishing bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore, the court may permit Bennet Coleman and Co Ltd to give a corporate guarantee on their behalf. The channel said it was facing difficulty in procuring a bank guarantee of Rs 80 crore as the company is required to provide 75 per cent to 100 per cent margin and commission to the banks to avail this facility.

“It would be unviable for the applicant (Times Now) to incur such high costs and to continue to run its operations effectively until the matter is finally disposed of,” it said.

Justice Sawant had sued the channel for displaying his photo wrongly during telecast of a bulletin on September 10, 2008 on a Provident Fund scam allegedly involving a Calcutta High Court judge. The report had showed Justice Sawant’s photograph in place of the high court judge.






HC Postpones BSY’s Pre-Arrest Bail Petition to Jan 16

PTI | Bangalore | Jan 12, 2012


Karnataka High Court today posted to January 16 for orders the anticipatory bail applications of former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa and state Housing Minister V Somanna apprehending arrest in connection with an FIR against them in an alleged land scam case.

Justice Subhash B Adi posted the matter for orders after conclusion of arguments by both sides. Besides, Yeddyurappa and Somanna, the latter’s wife has also sought the relief.

The FIR was filed on November 26 after Lokayukta Judge N K Sudhindra Rao directed Lokayukta Police to conduct a probe into a private complaint and submit its report.

Complainant Ravi Krishnareddy has alleged that Somanna secured denotification of 22 guntas (one gunta is about 1,086 square feet) of land in Nagadevanahalli in Kengeri Hobli for an educational institution run by his wife Shailaja in violation of rules when Yeddyurappa was the chief minister.

Counsels for Yeddyurappa and Somanna, Ashok Haranahally, Murthy Dayanand Naik and Krishna Kumar submitted allegations made out out in the complaint against the accused did not constitute any offence as denotification by itself does not amount to a criminal offence.

Earlier, the court sought clarification on whether an order of denotification can be passed after issue of final notification acquiring land by the competent authority and whether the complainant has mentioned actions that constitute offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act and IPC.

Reddy has alleged that Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) had acquired the land in 1998 and Yeddyurappa ordered for denotification in 2009.

The court adjourned to January 17 another petition by Yeddyurappa seeking quashing of the state Governor’s order asking Lokayukta court to initiate criminal proceedings against him on the basis of the Lokayukta report on illegal mining.

When the petition came up for hearing, a division bench comprising Justice K Bhaktavatsala and K Govindarajulu directed the counsel for the Lokayukta Police submit all the records pertaining to the case by January 17.

Earlier, the respondents in the case including the Lokayukta, Lokayukta police and the Governor’s Secretary filed their objections.

On August 3 last year, Governor H R Bhardwaj accorded sanction to prosecute Yeddyurappa on the basis of the Lokyukta report on illegal mining submitted by then Lokyukta Sanotsh Hegde and subsequently an FIR was registered against him.

Filed On: Jan 12, 2012 20:29 IST







HC to HSSC: Produce candidate’s answersheet–Produce-candidate-s-answersheet/899129/


Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Jan 13 2012, 00:21 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) to produce the answersheet of one Sukhwant Kaur who had taken the test for the post of assistant secretary.

Kaur, a resident of Fatehabad, had sought directions to the HSSC to produce her answersheet of the written test. The HSSC had said no to the said information under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, she alleged.

The petitioner said as per her information, she had scored more marks than the candidate who was selected for the said post. She alleged the HSSC was deliberately denying information to her.

Justice K Kannan of the High Court issued notices to the HSSC and directed the law officer for HSSC to seek requisite information from the HSSC for the next date of hearing.







HC dismisses petition challenging election duty

Express news service : Mumbai, Fri Jan 13 2012, 01:14 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Thursday refused to grant relief to a group of district level officials who challenged the state government’s decision to allot election duty only to officers above the post of deputy collector in the upcoming municipal elections. Disposing of the petition, a division bench of Justice S A Bobde and Justice Mridula Bhatkar said, “Having heard the matter, we are of the considered view that the subject matter of this petition is purely administrative in nature. In our opinion, this is not a fit case for the exercise of jurisdiction of this court.”

The judges further noted that election duties are part of the responsibilities of the officials and state government has the power to decide as to whom the work should be allotted. The petition was filed by a group of 35 officials, who contended that imposing election duty would have an adverse impact on their regular work.






HC asks governor’s office to file replies


TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 05.26AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court has asked the governor’s office, the competent authority under the Lokayukta Act, former chief minister N Dharam Singh and the government to file replies in two weeks with regard to a PIL. It seeks action against Dharam Singh following the interim report on illegal mining submitted on December 18, 2008 by Justice Santosh Hegde. The governor was then Rameshwar Thakur.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Thursday gave this directive after counsel representing the governor’s office sought time. Petitioner D Natesh claimed that though action was recommended against the former CM in the interim report , none was taken. In a related development , Justice N Ananda adjourned to Tuesday the hearing on a criminal petition filed by Dharam Singh and others challenging the FIR registered against them by Lokayukta police on the same issue.






HC asks CBI to probe IAF cook’s death in 1997


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri Jan 13 2012, 06:51 hrs

The High Court has ordered further probe by the CBI into the death of an Indian Air Force cook, who was allegedly killed by some IAF officials under the suspicion of stealing liquor in Jamnagar in 1997.

Girja Ravat was found dead after he was allegedly taken into custody by eight IAF personnel on suspicion that he had stolen a liquor bottle from the store.

Following his death, a case of murder was registered against the eight and an investigation was carried out by Jamnagar City Police.

However, not satisfied, the deceased’s wife, Shakuntala, had approached the HC with a demand to hand over further investigation to the CBI. The HC stayed investigation in the case in 2003.

“Meanwhile, the state government also expressed inability to efficiently investigate the case because a number of IAF officials were involved and had indicated that an independent agency like CBI would be able to properly investigate the case,” said Shakuntala’s lawyer Mitul Shelat.

On Thursday, a single judge bench of Justice M R Shah ordered the CBI to further probe and submit a report before a competent trial court.





HC throws out Swami’s plea against warrant in murder case


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri Jan 13 2012, 06:48 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday dismissed a petition by Petlad-based Swami Sachchidanand challenging a non-bailable warrant issued against him by a trial court at Petlad in connection with the murder of one Babu Mohaniya near the Swami’s ashram on July 17, 2006.

Babu’s cousin Dhana Mohaniya had filed a petition in the High Court to initiate criminal proceedings against Sachchidanand. The plea was granted and the HC order was upheld by the Supreme Court also.

Following this, the concerned trial court had summoned Sachchidanand. However, when he did not respond, the court had issued an NBW against him, which was challenged by Sachchidanand at the HC.

However, a single-judge bench of Justice M R Shah has dismissed the petition and ordered him to appear before the trial court on January 31.

According to Dhana, Babu had gone to get some food from Sachidanand’s ashram. However, Swami’s followers insulted him and there was a scuffle. Sachchidanand came out and fired at Babu from his revolver. Babu died a few days later in Ahmedabad.

Dhana had lodged a complaint with a magisterial court in Petlad after police did not register any complaint against Sachchidanand and his followers. Dhana had accused them of murder along with the violation of Scheduled Caste & Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act and the Arms Act. The magisterial court had rejected his complaint by an order dated September 12, 2007.

Dhana had challenged the magistrate’s order in the HC, which allowed the petition ordering criminal proceedings against Sachchidanand under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code and Arms Act.






HC relief to accused in cheque bounce case

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.06AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur Bench of Bombay high court suspended the imprisonment orders issued by the sessions court against Madhukar Wankhede. HC also suspended the fine of Rs 5000 imposed on the Wankhede. He was granted bail on the surety of Rs 25,000

Counsel for the petitioner Kishor Ghugguskar informed that his client had taken a housing loan from Gruh Finance on May 9, 2000 by way of term-loan of 15 years at 13.5% interest. He was to repay it in equal monthly installments. However, the cheque given by him bounced due to insufficient funds in his account. The finance company then filed a case against him in the JMFC court under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act. After finding him guilty, the sessions court had sentenced him to three months’ jail.

HC declines pre-arrest bail in stone-pelting case

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court refused to grant pre-arrest bail to nine out of 10 persons. The court, however, granted bail only to 61-year-old Mamtaji Nand Jadhav. These persons had moved to the judiciary when their anticipatory bail pleas were rejected by Chandrapur session’s court on December 12, last year. Sonu Mangaram had lodged an FIR with the Jivati police claiming that the accused along with 40 persons had surrounded his vehicle and pelted stones during elections of Sarpanch and deputy sarpanch on November 19, 2011.





SC asks HC to examine shipbreaking rules

Staff Correspondent

The Supreme Court yesterday sent two rules framed by the government regarding shipbreaking to the High Court so that the latter can examine whether they were prepared as per previous HC directives.

One of the two rules, Ship Breaking and Ship Recycling Rules, 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Industries on December 12 last year.

On January 8 this year, the ministry amended the rule in compliance with SC’s December 14 directive which said the rule had not ensured the protection of workers and the environment.

The second, Hazardous Waste and Ship Breaking Management Rules 2011, was issued through a gazette by Ministry of Environment and Forests on December 22 last year.

The rules were sent by a five-member bench of the Appellate Division headed by Chief Justice Md Muzammel Hossain yesterday after the government and Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (Bela) placed them before it.

Bela’s lawyer, Advocate Iqbal Kabir Lytton, said they will submit an application to an HC bench to examine the rules as the Appellate Division did not specifically mention any bench for it.

Following Bela’s writ petition, the HC, at different times since 2006, directed the government to frame the rules to ensure a pollution-free shipbreaking industry and workers’ safety.

On December 15, 2010, the HC asked the government to frame the rules in three months in light of six existing laws.

The laws are — Basel Convention Act, 1989; Bangladesh Environment Protection Act, 1995; Bangladesh Marine and Fisheries Ordinance, 1989; Bangladesh Labour Act, 2006; Bangladesh Territorial Water and Maritime Zone Act, 1974; and Environment Protection Rules, 1997.

Barrister Fida M Kamal appeared for Bela while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the government.





Madras HC dismisses Subhiksha’s plea

Gireesh Babu / Chennai January 13, 2012, 0:19 IST


The Madras High Court has dismissed an appeal filed by Subhiksha Trading Services Ltd, which questioned the authority of a representative of Kotak Mahindra Bank Ltd who had filed a winding up petition on behalf of the bank.

The appeal was filed by Subhiksha against an order passed by the High Court in December 2011, in which it said V Bhaskaran who was representing the bank did not have any authorisation to file winding up against Subhiksha, which owes Rs 40 crore to Kotak Bank.

Kotak Mahindra counsel argued that Bhaskaran, associate vice president, had been authorised to represent the bank in any court of law, consumer court or tribunal in connection with the legal proceedings initiated by or against the bank.

He was also authorised to do all such acts and deeds as may be necessary, including that of appointing advocates to appear on behalf of the bank to file or defend any suits by or against the bank and to execute all such documents.

He was authorised by the company by a board resolution and was also a principal officer of the company. Hence, the verification done by him was proper.

After hearing both the sides, the bench comprising Justice C Nagappan and Justice M Sathyanarayanan passed an order, in which they said “…this court is of the view that the conduct of the appellant-company would clearly lead to the inference that its intention is only to drag on the proceedings to suit its convenience.”

“The conduct of the appellant-company would clearly indicate that it intended to drag on the proceedings to suit its convenience and, accordingly, very belatedly, took out the present application raising objections on hyper-technical grounds,” the order said.

The bank had filed the petition saying the company had failed to repay the amounts due and payable to the bank.





HC summons Shimla DC, SP over car parking in auto-free zone

PTI | 12:01 PM,Jan 12,2012

Shimla, Jan 11 (PTI) Taking serious note of illegal parking of tourist vehicles in Shimla’s auto-free zones on New Year’s Eve, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has summoned top administrative and police officials. The bench comprising Justices Deepak Gupta and Sanjay Karol directed Shimla Deputy Commissioner and SP to appear in the court on January 13 with record regarding permissions granted to motorists to park vehicles on sealed and restricted roads. “We were shocked to find that on New Year’s Eve, vehicles were parked on the sealed and restricted areas…Not only this, vehicles were also parked in the core area of Shimla town from Shimla Club to the Lift. In fact, there was double parking on this road and on enquiry, we were told that some orders have been passed by the DM and SP, permitting the tourists to park their vehicles in these areas,” it said. Taking note of the orders passed by the district administration for permitting parking, the bench said, “This power of relaxation is not even available to the state as far as the core Mall Road area is concerned. If the state does not have the power to relax the provisions for the core Mall Road area, we fail to understand how the DM or the SP could have relaxed the provisions of the Act and granted permission to the tourists to park their vehicles in the core Mall Road area.” “It is expected that the officials, especially the DM and the SP, enforce the law and it is not expected that they should themselves start violating the law,” it said. In its earlier order in the same petition, dated December 30, the court had questioned plying of vehicles belonging to Army on restricted routes, without valid permits. PTI PCL AVT





High Court notice to Haryana on nuclear power project

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Jan 13 2012, 03:48 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to Haryana, the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Nuclear Power Corporation of India, and Ministry of Environment and Forest on a plea challenging the acquisition of land for setting up 2,800 MW Gorakhpur atomic power project.

A division bench headed by Justice Hemant Gupta also issued notices to the Land Acquisition Collector, Fatehabad.

Terming the exercise of land acquisition by Haryana “arbitrary, unjust, whimsical and against law”, the petitioners have sought quashing of the notifications issued by the state for setting up the nuclear power project. As many as 60 villagers have moved the High Court. The land for the project is being acquired in three villages: Gorakhpur, Kajal-Heri and Badopal in Fatehabad district.

The petitioners have sought shifting of the project site towards barren/less fertile land in the adjoining villages/districts.

“The proposed site has highly populated villages with thousands of population around it and having two major cities, Hisar and Fatehabad, and sub-divisions of Bhuna and Barwala within the radius of 30 to 35 km,” said the petition.

The case has been adjourned to first week of February.





CCI to undertake suo moto probes into anti-trust practices

PTI Jan 12, 2012, 02.57PM IST

NEW DELHI: Under fire for not proactively taking up cases, competition watchdog CCI has now decided to undertake suo moto investigations into anti-trust practices, beginning with key sectors like construction, highways, education and health.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI), which became fully functional in May, 2009, has so far taken up only five suo moto cases, including price rise in onions, air tickets and cartelisation of sugar rates.

“We are mulling suo moto action against key industry sectors like construction, highways, education and health. Our action is mainly based on economic survey reports. Will soon order DG investigation based on prima facie evidence of anti-competitive practices in the sectors,” a senior official told news agency.

The official said primary education was one area which required serious attention even from the point of view of the regulatory mechanism guiding them.

“We have prima facie found that some loopholes in the regulatory mechanism, too, have given rise to anti-competitive practice in these sectors,” he said.

Another source added that it would be a difficult attempt to prove and proceed against cases against which there are no formal complaints. Complaints and prima facie evidence usually form the basis of the CCI initiating a probe against any enterprise or body.

“The decision to take up suo moto cases was taken after much debate within the Commission,” he said.

Sections 3 and 4 of the Competition Act empower the CCI to take up cases relating anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position, respectively.

The investigations would be ordered under section 26 of the Competition Act, 2002. The section empowers the Commission to order an inquiry by the Director General into a matter if it finds that a prime facie case exists with respect to violation of competition laws.






Bhopal “bureaucrat club” to come under RTI: State CIC

Mahim Pratap Singh

The Madhya Pradesh Chief Information Commissioner has ruled that the elite Arera Club of Bhopal, associated chiefly with bureacucrats and the city’s wealthy, shall be under the purview of the Right to Information Act.

Chief Information Commissioner Padmapani Tiwari in an order passed on Thursday, rejected the club officials’ contention that the club was a private body and did not fall under the purview of the RTI act.

The CIC order came on an appeal made by Transparency International activist Ajay Dube who had sought information regarding the financial activities of the club. The club administration refused the information on the grounds that the club was not covered under the RTI act.

“It is clear that the club was established by the State government and State funding is provided to it from time to time. Therefore, the club administration is ordered to provide the information sought by the applicant immediately,” read the order.

The club’s information officers were not present for the hearing.

“The Arera Club’s activities are funded by the State government, lavish dinners are organised by the club with public money and so there is no reason for it to be exempt from the RTI act,” Mr. Ajay Dube, the applicant told The Hindu.





No reason to disclose info on sexual harassment accused: CIC

Published: Thursday, Jan 12, 2012, 17:33 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Central Information Commission has upheld CISF’s decision that identity of security force personnel facing sexual harassment and corruption charges cannot be made public, saying the disclosure may cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual.

The CIC gave its view following an appeal against Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) seeking details of name and designation of the central police force men facing such charges.

“The Commission sees no reason to disagree with the decision of the Respondent (Central Public Information Officer of the CISF) that the name of the officer, with designation, against whom case has been registered or is being investigated cannot be disclosed since disclosure of such information may cause unwarranted invasion of the privacy of an individual and no larger public interest would be served,” Information Commissioner Sushma Singh said in an order.

In its reply to an RTI query filed by PTI, the CISF had said that 261 cases of corruption and sexual harassment were registered against its personnel between 2001 and 2010 but refused to give information including their names, designation, details of the case and action taken report.

Of the 261 cases, 223 were related to corruption and 38 to sexual harassment, the reply said adding that no case of human rights violation was reported in the past ten years.

Aggrieved over the replies of both the CPIO and First Appellate Authority of the CISF, the appellant had moved CIC, which upheld their decisions.

The 1.45 lakh strong CRPF is responsible for guarding country’s major government installations including airports, nuclear and space facilities.





Sharma’s plea premature, hasn’t replied to notice yet: Govt to CAT

TNN | Jan 13, 2012, 04.35AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The state government has urged the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) to dismiss IPS officer Rahul Sharma’s “premature” application challenging the chargesheet served on him for misplacing evidence in the form of CDs containing call details during the 2002 riots.

The state home department stated that Sharma rushed to the tribunal without replying to the notice, while the government is yet to appoint an inquiry officer. The government also claimed that Sharma’s contention is completely misplaced, as neither the chargesheet nor the show-cause notice issued to him have anything to do with his revelations before the Nanavati commission in 2004.

The affidavit, submitted by senior counsel Bhaskar Tanna on behalf of the government, claimed that the departmental inquiry against Sharma was sought to be conducted “wholly and exclusively on a very different ground”, and it has nothing to do with his deposition before the commission. Hence, Sharma’s defence that he gets immunity under section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act as information furnished before the probe panel cannot be used against him, does not stand.

The affidavit made it clear that Sharma has been charged for professional misconduct and not for handing over the CDs to the commission. The senior cop is charged with not submitting the CDs as case property to the then supervisory officer of riots cases – ACP SS Chudasama or investigating officers G L Khunti, D A Rathod and K M Waghela of the city crime branch. He illegally carried the evidence with him, and while relinquishing charge as DCP (control room), did not give it to his successor or the IO of Naroda police station.

The affidavit also claimed that the government found out about the leak of details from the CD only during proceedings of the Nanavati-Shah commission in 2004. “Until then, the home department was blissfully unaware of any of such CDs and therefore had a preliminary inquiry conducted to investigate the whereabouts of the CDs,” the affidavit read.

Dealing with Sharma’s contention of protection against prosecution, the government submitted that Sharma is not protected by section 6 of the Act, because he revealed the CD during cross-examination, and not when deposing before the commission or in response to any of the questions put across by the commission.






TN: HC sets aside order quashing of DGP appointment

Press Trust of India

Chennai: The Madras High Court on Thursday set aside an order of Central Administrative Tribunal quashing appointment of senior woman IPS officer Letika Saran as Tamil Nadu DGP in November 2010 and held that there was no illegality in the government’s decision.

Allowing Saran’s petition, a division bench comprising justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal said it was the prerogative of the state government to choose its police chief from a list of names recommended by the Empanelment Committee.

The CAT had quashed her appointment as DGP on a petition by IPS officer R Nataraj challenging the government’s decision on the ground that he should be appointed to the post as he was senior to Saran and his name topped the list of three names selected by the committee.

Saran was first appointed state DGP on January 8, 2010 but Nataraj challenged it before the CAT on the ground that he was senior to Saran and that the process of selection and appointment to the post was not followed as per the principles laid down by the Supreme Court.

However, the CAT dismissed his plea and Nataraj moved the high court, which concluded that the dictum laid down by the apex court had not been followed and ordered a fresh selection to be done by an empanelment committee constituted by UPSC.

The committee on November 10, 2010 forwarded a list with the names of Nataraj, K Vijayakumar and Saran and on November 27, 2010 the state government appointed Saran as police chief.

On a fresh petition by Nataraj, CAT quashed the appointment of Saran and directed the government to consider Nataraj’s name for the post of DGP. This was challenged by Saran in the high court.

The high court bench pointed out that the apex court had specifically observed that the DGP of the state “shall be selected by the state government from amongst the three senior most officers of the department, who have been empaneled for promotion to that rank by the UPSC”.

“Therefore, being a post requiring high level of confidentiality and capacity to meet challenges of new heights every day, the state government is definitely having its own choice of selecting an individual from the panel of personnel prepared by the UPSC,” they said adding they could not accept the argument by Nataraj that the government “has no say” in the matter of appointment of its own DGP.

Noting that they would have appreciated an argument by Nataraj had the state government appointed a person whose name did not figure in the list, the judges said they could not accept the submission that the government should not have exercised its choice from the panel of officers forwarded by the UPSC.

To the question whether empanelment itself would give any right for an officer to be appointed to the post for which he was empanelled, the Judges said their answer would be an emphatic “no”.

They cited rulings of the Supreme Court that “inclusion in the panel of eligible officers confers no right to be promoted” and “putting a government servant’s name in a panel for promotion confers only a right to be considered for promotion”.

Referring to the Tribunal’s observation that Saran was on leave and the post of DGP was lying vacant and hence had to be filled up on a permanent basis, the Bench held that Saran proceeding on leave would not create any right for Nataraj to get appointed to the post.

In fact, from the materials presented on record, she had proceeded on leave since stat assembly elections had been announced in Tamil Nadu and to facilitate the newly appointed DGP (Elections) to conduct the polls and pre-poll process smoothly, the judges said.

“This fact has been completely ignored by the Tribunal, which has resulted in its arrival of an illegal conclusion,” the Bench said.

A complete perusal and analysis of all the materials placed on record would show ‘no illegality or irregularity’ had been committed at any stage in the appointment of Saran as DGP, the judges held adding that the tribunal was not justified in interfering with the appointment of Saran as DGP by the state government in concurrence with the state governor.



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