LEGAL NEWS 23.01.2012

Plan panel to allocate Rs 5000 crore to develop civilian plane

Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s ambitious plans to develop a 90-seater passenger aircraft are set to get a boost with the Planning Commission expected to allocate Rs 5,000 crore for the project in the 12th Five Year Plan.

“The Planning Commission is expected to sanction Rs 5,000 crore for the design and development phase of the project in the 12th Plan,” officials said.

The civilian aircraft project was proposed by a 15-member High Powered Committee (HPC) for National Civil Aircraft Development (NCAD), set up by the CSIR in May 2010 under the aegis of former ISRO Chairman G. Madhavan Nair.

The HPC had recommended that the government should fund the development phase of the aircraft and suggested a joint venture with a private partner for the production phase.

However, the Planning Commission suggested creation of a joint venture (JV) with private equity participation for both the development phase as well as for the production phase.

Acting on the plan panel’s suggestion, the CSIR had set up a committee chaired by former Finance Secretary Vijay Kelkar to the identify industry partner for the joint venture and suggest equity structure for it.

The joint venture will have to be structured in such a way that it ensures that linkages are maintained between both the phases, the officials said.

The Kelkar Committee is expected to float Expression of Interest inviting private participation in the design and development phase of a 90-seater Regional Transport Aircraft.

The officials said a consortium of aerospace industry companies, on the line of the Europe’s Airbus Industries, would be a desirable option.

“A total of seven prototypes are proposed to be developed by CSIR-NAL to prove the design and demonstrate compliance with respect to airworthiness requirements and certification,” said a 12th Plan working group report for CSIR.

The aircraft will be tailored to suit Indian requirements and is expected to have attractive operating economics.

As per aviation market projections, the country will require about 500-600 regional aircraft, while the global market is estimated to be about 5,000-6,000 aircraft.

A technical committee, chaired by aerospace engineer Roddam Narasimha, is examining the the NCAD programme and guiding CSIR-NAL to create a detailed document for its implementation and identifying the work modules.





IOA issues suspension order against Suresh Kalmadi, Lalit Bhanot: Sources

New Delhi: The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has suspended and served a show cause notice to former Commonwealth Games (CWG) OC Chairman Suresh Kalmadi.

CNN-IBN accessed a copy of an interim suspension order passed by the Ethics Commission against Suresh Kalmadi, Former Secretary-General of CWG OC Lalit Bhanot and and former Director-General VK Verma.

The order is dated December 6, 2011 but is being served against them now as all three were in jail. The order has been issued by the Ethics Commission of the Indian Olympic Association and has been signed by Former Supreme Court judge Justice UC Banerjee.

The suspension order is a part of a show cause notice which has been served against all three. Sources told CNN-IBN that Kalmadi, Bhanot and Verma will challenge the members of the Ethics Commission.

Kalmadi, who was granted bail by the Delhi High Court on January 19, has decided to step aside as the IOA president though he has not officially resigned from the post yet.

Kalmadi had sent a letter to acting IOA president Vijay Kumar Malhotra earlier this month asking him to continue discharging his duty as the acting president of the IOA and that he would not represent the body for some time.

The former CWG OC chief had nominated the senior IOA vice president Malhotra as the acting president before being arrested for alleged corruption in the conduct of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.





Unable to redetermine tariff: OERC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) on Saturday expressed its inability to redetermine power tariff for 2010-11 and 2011-12 in view of the stay on the revised tariff for the current fiscal and pendency of tariff- related cases in legal fora.

‘’Redetermination of tariff for the financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12, as per Appellate Tribunal for Electricity (ATE) order, is not feasible at this stage in view of the stay on revised tariff for 2011-12 on domestic consumers by the Orissa High Court as well as pendency of the bulk supply tariff (BST), transmission charges and retail supply tariff (RST) orders for 2010-11 and 2011-12, challenged in the appellate tribunal by the licensee,’’ said the three-member commission headed by chairman SP Nanda.

The regulatory commission, however, determined the voltage-wise cost of supply and calculated cross-subsidy in tariff on the basis of cost of supply to different categories of consumers for both the financial years.

The cross subsidy in tariff for 2011-12 has been reduced in comparison to 2010-11 and the tariff of each voltage-wise consumer has been calculated on the basis of the average cost of supply keeping the cross subsidy in declining trend from year to year, the OERC order said.

‘’This order is subject to the result of appeal filed by Central Electricity Supply Utility (Cesu) before the Supreme Court and the outcome of the writ petition pending in the Orissa High Court as well as the appeal filed in ATE by Gridco, discoms (distribution companies) and others against the BST, transmission charges and RST orders for 2010-11 and 2011-12,’’ the regulatory commission said.

The implementation of the ATE order would entail re-fixation of retail tariff for different categories of consumers. The re-fixation of tariff would change the annual revenue requirement (ARR) of discoms which would in turn result in re-fixation of BST of Gridco and transmission charge of OPTCL and charge of the State Load Despatch Centre (SLDC), the commission said.

In two separate orders on May 30 and September 2 last year, the ATE had directed OERC to redetermine the cross subsidy for different consumers after determining the cost of supply voltage wise.

While the BST, transmission tariff and RST orders for 2010-11 and 2011-12, have been challenged in the ATE, the Cesu has also challenged the May 30 and September 2 orders of the ATE in the Supreme Court.





Alternative methods for dispute resolution


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: There is an urgent need to strengthen the judicial system and to effectively employ all alternative methods of dispute resolution like arbitration, mediation, conciliation, lok adalat, gram nyayalaya and village panchayat, Supreme Court judge Dalveer Bhandari said here on Saturday.

Inaugurating an international conference on ‘Alternative Dispute Resolution – Conciliation and Mediation’, organised by the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR) here on Saturday, Justice Bhandari said that the problem of pendency of cases was not soluble in the law courts alone. The problem was so monumental that for effectively dealing with the same, multiple steps had to be taken. As on March 31, 2011, as many as 2.74 crore cases were pending before the subordinate courts in the country. Over 42.92 lakh cases were pending before the High Courts and 58,000, before the Supreme Court. Realistic evaluation of prevalent condition revealed that the court cases were likely to further increase because of the increasing social awareness, inadequate number of judges and judicial officers, inadequate infrastructural facilities and increased legislative activity.

Bhandari said that litigation was not usually designed to create hormony. Ordinarily, litigation breeded bitterness in the mutual relationships of the parties, whereas mediation and conciliation improved the relationship and goodwill between them, since they themselves reached at a workable solution.

P Sathasivam, judge, Supreme Court, said that India had not fully exploited the potential dispute resolution mechanisms like conciliation, mediation and arbitration. If the three mechanisms were made more efficient, the demand for adjudication in regular courts would definitely decrease. To reap the fruits of ADR mechanism, qualified mediators and conciliators were needed. Necessary awareness must be created, infrastructural facilities improved and more references made to the ADR process by the regular courts.

Madras High Court Chief Justice MY Eqbal said that in the present scenario of globalisation, the biggest challenge the justice delivery system was facing was the huge backlog of cases and delay in disposal and, as such, survival of the system depended upon timely, cheaper and fair justice to all and, for this, one had to accept and adopt ADR mechanism to resolve the disputes.

Karnataka Governor and ICADR chairman HR Bhardwaj said that the ADR method should be taken at the international level.






Illegal mining caught on camera: A hill on Aravalli destroyed

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 22, 2012 07:34

Alwar:  Despite the Supreme Court’s direct intervention to stop illegal mining in Rajasthan’s Aravalli range, it continues unabated, a fact that was caught on NDTV cameras, just ahead of a hearing in the apex court on Monday.

As NDTV shot images of men illegally quarrying quartz stone in Kakh-naul in Rajasthan’s Alwar district, machines had already cut down half a hill.

The Supreme Court appointed Central Empowered Committee (CEC) had come for an inspection along with the District Magistrate and police chief but were prevented from getting far. In its report to the court, the committee writes, “The road near the crushers located in village Udhanwas was found deliberately blocked with huge boulders and stones. This is, however, for the first time that the CEC was prevented from carrying out the site visit, something most unfortunate.”

The committee also says Rajasthan officials showed them random places across the border in Haryana, so that the team wasn’t able to complete its planned visit.

So far the court-appointed panel has only managed to inspect three mining blocks in one district of Rajasthan, and in each case it found that rules were being flouted.

Labour activist Swami Agnivesh has petitioned the Supreme Court to intervene in the matter. “If the Central Empowered Committee had acted with the mandate given by the Supreme Court then things could have been prevented,” he said.

Illegal mining is hugely profitable as a truckload of quartz stone used in construction and road building can fetch upto Rs. 6000.

The CEC report was submitted to the court in October 2010, but even since then the Rajasthan government has yet to provide details about the 14 districts in the Aravalli range in which illegal mining is taking place.







Farmland acquired, turned into housing plots for govt staff


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.55AM IST

CHENNAI: Rob Peter to pay Paul, so goes the idiom. Perhaps inspired by the phrase, the state revenue department had taken over 8.63 acres of farmland near Sriperumpudur as ‘surplus’ land from a farmer and then ‘reserved’ it for housing plots to be distributed among its employees.

Coming down heavily on the department, more than 25 years after the land was acquired, a division bench of the Madras high court comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice N Kirubakaran said it was improper on the part of the government to acquire land and then give it to staff at their request. “The government’s action to take a decision at the request of the staff, in our considered opinion, is not proper,” they said.

The acquisition notification was issued in 1986 under the provisions of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act to take over 8.63 acres of land in Sriperumpudur. The land was then “reserved” for distribution as housing plots to staff of the revenue department’s division that deals with the land reforms. T M Sulochana Ammal, owner of the land, first approached the land commissioner, then the assistant commissioner (land reforms) and later the special appellate tribunal of the revenue department against the notification. After rejection of her requests, she approached the high court where a single judge dismissed her writ petition and upheld the decision to acquire the land.

In her appeal, Sulochana Ammal pointed out that the land commissioner had no jurisdiction to allot the land to the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Staff Co-op House Site Distribution Society Limited, which comprised members of his own department.

The government, however, said the department’s April 1990 order had become final and there was no scope for interference with the appellate tribunal’s order of July 1992. Assigning the acquired land is the prerogative of authorities, as per the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules 1965, it was argued.

Rejecting the submissions, Justice Elipe Dharma Rao said “Distribution of an acquired land should be done to reduce disparity in ownership of farmland and such land should be given to landless so as to serve the common good and increase agricultural production.”

Allotting the land for construction of houses is contrary to provisions of the act, Justice Elipe Dharma Rao said, adding, “This colourable exercise on the part of the government is in utter disregard to the principles underlying the enactment.” Quashing the government’s plan to distribute it to the society members, the judges asked it to consider the landlady’s plea to restore the land to her.

The judge said: “Distribution of an acquired land should be done to reduce disparity in the ownership of land and such land should be given to landless so as to serve the common good and increase agricultural production.”

The action of the government to take a decision at the request of the staff, in our considered opinion, is not proper









Order on jobs for minors challenged


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 04.20AM IST

MADURAI: The Labour and Employment department’s recent order barring a minor from applying for compassionate appointment has been challenged in the high court.

The impugned order says persons who have completed 18 years alone can apply for compassionate appointment. In such a case, a lot of children whose parents die while on duty will not be able to get jobs on compassionate grounds. The Tamil Nadu Government Office Assistants and Basic Servants Association, represented by its deputy general secretary,

R Sathiamoorthy, has filed the writ petition challenging the impugned order. According to the petitioner, the department has issued an order stating that a minor cannot apply for compassionate appointment at all and persons who have completed 18 years alone can do so. The order was passed by way of a clarification of the department and such a clarification goes against the very purpose of the previous government order. The principal secretary of the Labour & Employment department has no powers to amend the order in the name of the name of clarification and any such clarification is liable to be set aside as unconstitutional, the petitioner claimed. The petitioner said that before issuing such a clarification, there was system wherein even a person within the age of 18 could apply for compassionate appointment and his or her application would be considered after attainment of the age of majority. The petitioner said there was a government order which said that the minor could apply for compassionate appointment before the expiry of three years from the date of attainment of 18 years. Now in the name of a clarification, such a right available to minors is conveniently lifted. The object of compassionate appointment is to provide employment to the family and save it from a sudden crisis. Such a noble objective is defeated by the clarification. The petition is likely to come up for hearing next week.








Verdict on dismissal of workers tomorrow


The Madras High Court will pronounce orders on January 23 on two writ petitions challenging the Tamil Nadu Government’s order disbanding the posts of Makkal Nala Paniyalargal (MNP) and ousting them.

The petitions have been filed by the Tamil Nadu Makkal Nala Paniyalargal Munnetra Sangam (TNMNPMS) and the Dindigul Mavatta Makkal Nala Paniyalargal Sangam.

After hearing arguments, Justice K. Suguna reserved orders on December 16 last year. The court had earlier stayed the operation of the Tamil Nadu G.O. of November 8 last year disbanding the posts. In the petition, the TNMNPMS stated that the MNPs were working under the control of the District Collectors.

There was every need for their services for proper and better implementation of the scheme, more particularly the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme.





2G scam: Order reserved till Feb 4 on Swamy plea for Chidambaram’s trial


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 02.56AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Special CBI Court on Saturday wrapped up its hearing on Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy’s plea seeking prosecution of Union home minister P Chidambaram in the 2G scam.

“Put up for orders on February 4,” Special CBI judge O P Saini said after Swamy concluded his arguments in support of his allegations against Chidambaram.

Swamy said the evidence he had brought on court’s record prima facie show that Chidambaram is equally culpable as former telecom minister A Raja, who is facing trial in the 2G spectrum allocation scam. “A Raja and P Chidambaram had committed the offence together. Prima facie Chidambaram had conspired and colluded with Raja to commit offence of criminal misconduct,” he said.

He told the court that the evidence that he had bought before it was sufficient to show that Chidambaram, as the then finance minister, has prima facie committed offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal laws.

“It is clear that at this stage all I need to do is to show that evidence brought on record is sufficient to show that Chidambaram, at present not an accused in the case, has prima facie committed offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act and other criminal laws,” Swamy contended.

Referring to the court’s October 22 order on framing of charges in the case, Swamy said that offloading of shares by Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless to foreign firms Etisalat and Telenor respectively was only a “trick”.

“I can lean on the pillars that the court has provided by its order on framing of charges. The share dilution was only a trick because it permitted licences to be transferred,” Swamy argued. He also contended that Chidambaram, along with Raja, was empowered by the October 2003 Cabinet decision to discuss and finalize spectrum prices.

“Since he (Chidambaram) had colluded, conspired and consented with Raja, he did not call for a Cabinet meeting although the officers (of ministry of finance) had kept Chidambaram apprised of the whole thing,” Swamy argued.

On January 7, Swamy had completed recording of his statement and had deposed that Chidambaram was also “guilty of breach of trust of national security” as he had not disclosed that Etisalat and Telenor, to which Swan Telecom and Unitech Wireless had diluted their shares, were blacklisted.






Terror accused’s family explores bail options


Shalini Narayan : Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:03 hrs


Days after Mohammed Naquee, a leather factory owner, was arrested by the Mumbai ATS for alleged links with terror suspect Yasin Bhatkal and the 13/7 serial blasts in Mumbai, his family members are looking at legal options to help him secure bail. Currently in custody, Naquee will be produced in a Mumbai court on Monday.

A resident of Shaheen Bagh in Delhi, Naquee was picked up by the Mumbai ATS for arranging a one-room tenement for Bhatkal and his two aides, Waqas and Tabrez, in Byculla East through a broker who too is being questioned.

While the Mumbai ATS claims that he willingly helped Bhatkal and was, therefore, linked to the blasts, the Special Team of the Delhi Police claims that Naquee was an informer who they had taken to Mumbai to identify Bhatkal’s flat. The team has been camping in Mumbai since December 11.

Following his arrest, his family members say they too are on the ATS radar.

Hailing from Darbhanga in Bihar, Naquee studied there till Class XII. He applied for a BCom course in Hyderabad which he decided to pursue via correspondence from Delhi.

Police sources claimed that Naquee was introduced to Bhatkal in Darbhanga where the latter was known as Dr Shoaib. A school friend, Ghayur Jamali, introduced Bhatkal and asked Naquee to arrange a flat for him in Mumbai, the sources said.

Naquee’s brother Tauquee, studying for an MBA, said the arrest of his brother was “uncalled for” since Naquee had no clue that the man he was helping find a flat in Mumbai was wanted by the police.

Tauqee said that on December 9, Razi Ahmed, their cousin from Mumbai, arrived in Delhi from Kolkata to visit them at Abul Fazal Enclave.

“He had just boarded an autorickshaw when two men, later identified as policemen, got in and sat on either side. When Razi reached the Shaheen Bagh bus stop where he was to meet me, the two men asked me to call my brother Naquee,” Tauqee said.

Naquee was called and the policemen asked him about Jamali. Naquee said he knew him since his days in Darbhanga.

“The policemen asked him if he had helped arrange a flat in Mumbai for two men. My brother was asked to assist them in their investigations,” Tauquee said, adding that Naquee was taken to the Lodhi Colony office of the Special Cell where he met Jamali.

Naquee was then taken to Mumbai where he was made to identify the flat which he had helped the two men rent. They returned to Delhi on December 13.

On January 8, Naquee took a train to Mumbai after he received a call that the two men had returned to the flat and that he was required to identify them.

On January 9, he called his brother to say that his work was almost over and he would be returning home the next day. But the same night, he was picked up by the ATS.

According to Tauqee, the ATS reached Deora Bandhauli in Darbhanga on January 17 where they seized a “stolen” motorcycle.


PIL seeks shrouding of statues of Cong leaders, freezing of party flag


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 01.18AM IST

ALLAHABAD: A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Allahabad High Court on Saturday seeking direction to the chief election commissioner (CEC) for freezing the flag of the Indian National Congress, restraining its use in campaigning by the party and shrouding statues of Congress leaders as well as those from other political parties.

The PIL has been filed by Adivasi Samajotthan Evam Kalyan Samiti, Allahabad, through its president Ram Kumar Maurya. The CEC, Union of India through home secretary, chief secretary of the UP government, Indian National Congress through its president/general secretary, BJP through its president/general secretary and SP, BSP, NCP and RLD through their presidents have been made parties in the PIL. The PIL would come up for hearing on Wednesday. The petitioner, claiming to be a registered society under the Societies Registration Act, has also prayed that the CEC be ordered to issue a circular — in continuation to its circular dated January 8 — directing the UP chief secretary to cover the statues of Congress presidents Jawahar Lal Nehru, Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi and leaders of various other political parties that have been installed at public places at the cost of state exchequer.

The EC’s January 8 circular had directed for shrouding of statues of BSP chief Mayawati and party symbol elephant in view of state assembly elections. The PIL has also sought that any order of the Election Commission (EC) that creates a distinction between the statues of living and non-living political personalities be quashed.

The society further urged for a direction to the opposite parties so that no political party is allowed to use its symbol at any public place during the elections. Also, EC should restrain the Indian National Congress from using the national tricolor for campaigning, the PIL pleaded. “As flag of the Indian National Congress has been closely associated with the freedom movement and bears a very close resemblance to the national flag, the party has been continuously deriving undue advantage of the glory and legacy of the national freedom movement which is very strongly etched in the minds of people of the country,” PIL said. tnn

The petitioner, in view of the aforementioned facts, demanded that it would be appropriate for the EC to issue suitable directions for freezing the said flag and restrain the party from using it in campaigning.

The PIL further alleged that the Congress could derive publicity through statues of former prime ministers Jawaharlal Nehru, Indira Gandhi and Rajiv Gandhi, who were also the party presidents, built at the cost of state exchequer all over the country.

“This gives undue advantage to the Congress in UP as well as in other states going to polls. Therefore, all such statues need to be covered with fabric/plastic sheets, etc., so that other political parties are not deprived of a level-playing field,” the PIL pleaded.

The PIL also sought curbs on distribution of bicycles, hand pumps, etc., by political parties at state expense.





Court moved on Modi’s ‘expensive’ security ring


Mahesh Trivedi

22 January 2012

AHMEDABAD — Narendra Modi’s Z-plus security is the subject of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Gujarat High Court here.

Jigensh Goswami, a 35-year-old executive of a private firm has through his PIL sought details of the security provided to the Gujarat Chief Minister and asked if the expenses incurred on it are audited.

The court has admitted the PIL aimed at easing the problems faced by the common man, and fixed the next hearing for February 2 after asking the petitioner to submit the details of the two patients (mentioned in the PIL) who died due to blocking of the traffic to ensure smooth passage to Modi’s convoy some time ago.

According to the PIL, Modi moves around with 32 black commandos in a convoy that has at least nine high-end four-wheelers, a medical van, a well-equipped fire-fighter, besides other car-borne officials.

The roads on the CM’s route are off-bound for traffic for up to an hour, putting the common man to extreme hardship, 
it said.

“People many times get late for office, urgent meetings and home,” Goswami told journalists, adding that even 108 emergency ambulance vehicles with two critically ill patients were not allowed to move as the CM’s convoy was to pass that way. The patients died as a result, he alleged.

Goswami told Khaleej Times that about Rs700,000 was spent every month on the CM’s security. This, he said, was the tax payers’ money.

“We want to know if there is a government resolution or a norm prescribed for providing security to the CM and are the expenses audited. We have prayed that the status report be presented in court,” said Goswami who has made the chief secretary, the finance department secretary and Modi respondents. to the PIL. 





Rushdie took own call, can’t stop him under law: Govt


Express news service : Jaipur, Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:01 hrs
The government today asserted that it played no role in the decision taken by Salman Rushdie to cancel his visit to the Jaipur Literary Festival, saying there was no restriction on his coming for the event that began today.

Rushdie’s decision followed protests by some groups over his visit. Incidentally, the Booker Prize-winning author had earlier attended the Jaipur Literature Festival in 2007, without much fuss.

“Calling off the visit is Rushdie’s personal decision and the government has nothing to do with it… Who has stopped him?… He does not need a visa to come to India,” party general secretary Digvijaya Singh told reporters in Lucknow, adding that “there is no law” to stop the author from visiting the country.

Congress spokesperson Abhishek Singhvi said: “The party and Congress-led UPA government stand steadfast in their absolute commitment to freedom of expression… certain agencies giving certain inputs does not mean that the government of India has been working from behind to stop his visit (there were reports of officials warning of a “security threat”). The government has not changed its stand and decision that there is absolutely no restriction on his visit.”

He added that that it was up to an individual whether to visit a place or not and his choice should be respected.

At the same time, Singhvi disapproved of some Indian writers reading out from Rushdie’s banned book ‘The Satanic Verses’ at the event, saying law will take its course if some people resort to such acts either to “shoot themselves in the limelight” or to “create a provocative atmosphere”.

Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot expressed satisfaction that the confusion prevailing over Rushdie’s visit had ended. “There was resentment among the people of minority community and we talked with them. We also spoke to the organisers and I am happy that the organisers made efforts to resolve the matter,” he said.

Deoband Vice-Chancellor Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani welcomed Rushdie’s decision, adding that the author should never be allowed to set foot on Indian soil. “It is a victory of democracy because some Muslim organisations, including Darul Uloom Deoband, had opposed the visit to India in a democratic way,” he added.

Other Muslim groups like Jamat-e-Islami Hind and Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind said the Rajasthan government “should have been more sensitive to the demands of the people and refused to allow Rushdie to participate in the event”. “We welcome the decision, but are disappointed by the attitude of the Rajasthan government,” said Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind’s Maulana Arshad Madani.

With the author not

coming, their protest no longer stands, the Muslim groups said.






State law commission lying in coma, govt ready to pull the plug


KapilDave : Gandhinagar, Sun Jan 22 2012, 06:31 hrs


The Gujarat government is likely to close down the nearly defunct State Law Commission, which it says has not contributed anything significant for years. One short extension was given to the commission till June 30, 2012, a few days ago.

The commission, which was formed in December 1998 to review existing laws and suggest new ones for better governance, has failed to give any report to the state government since June 2005, when it gave its last report to amend the Bombay Police Act, which is still pending with the state home department.

Since 1998, the commission has given 58 reports to the state government for repealing and amending old acts and enacting new ones.

In August 2011, the tenure of Justice (retired) J N Bhatt, the last chairperson of the commission, ended after which he was appointed as the chairperson of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC). The post has been lying vacant since. In his three-year term, Justice (retired) Bhatt did not file a single report.

The State Law Commission is a three-member body. However, the post of two members (one government nominee and the other an independent citizen) have been lying vacant for several years.

The commission has around 20 full-time employees, from the level of deputy secretary to the office boy.

The state’s legislative and parliamentary affairs department gave one more extension to the commission after its term ended on last December 31.

Sources in the department said, “Though the department has given one more extension to the commission, the state government is in no mood to continue with it since there is no substantial work for the commission. The government intends to close down the commission soon.”

State’s Law, Legislative and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Dilip Sanghani said, “At present, we are not considering the names of any new chairperson or other members for the commission. The government will decide in due course on the issue.”

He avoided any specific reply on the future of the commission.





Rushdie issue continues to haunt Jaipur litfest

Muslim organisations planning to sue organisers

The controversy over the cancellation of author Salman Rushdie’s participation in the Jaipur Literature Festival refuses to go away, with his name popping up in many sessions on Saturday, second day of the event, as well.

On the other hand, Muslim organisations are planning to sue the organisers and authorities for the reading of excerpts from Mr. Rushdie’s controversial novel The Satanic Verses by some authors on the opening day. The All India Milli Council, Rajasthan, blamed the police and the administration for lapses which led to the speakers reading out excerpts from the banned book. “We are upset at the developments. They were angrily reacting to the cancellation of Mr. Rushdie’s visit to the Festival. We are looking for the course of action we could pursue legally,” said secretary Abdul Lateef Arco.

Talking to The Hindu, Mr. Arco said reading out from the banned book “appears to us as a pre-planned programme. We blame the organisers, the police and the government for this serious lapse.” The Milli Council would approach court on Monday or Tuesday after considering all legal aspects. “We also propose to make parties in the petition the authors who had read from the book and those who commented on Mr. Rushdie, and Mr. Rushdie himself for his comments thereafter,” Mr. Arco said.

The Muslim Ekta Manch in Ajmer has also threatened to approach court. Its spokesman Musaffar Bharti said author Hari Kunzru reading out from the banned book amounted to inciting religious passions. However, every Muslim did not seemingly share this aggressive viewpoint. “This is stretching the matter too far. Since Muslims have registered their resentment over inviting Mr. Rushdie to the festival and he is keeping away, they should stop at that. Stretching the matter any further would be unproductive for the community,” Hasan, a Muslim academic, said at the festival venue.

Both the festival organisers and the Rajasthan government appear to be playing safe, talking very little to the media. This when author after author, participating in the sessions, blamed the police and the government on the Rushdie issue. Government sources said they had no specific role in the developments.

In the morning session on “Gandhi, Ambedkar, and the crossroads at Jantar Mantar,” the panellists, who included Sunil Khilnani, Aruna Roy and M.J. Akbar, regretted the “denial of passage” to Mr. Rushdie. Dalit activist S. Anand even charged the organisers with taking a “pusillanimous” stand over the issue.

The developments made the organisers send a fresh advisory to the panellists and speakers. It reiterated the stand of the organisers on freedom of expression but asked for caution on the part of the participants.

“The Jaipur Literature Festival continues to uphold the right to free speech and expression and the right to dissent within the constitutional framework. We hope all authors express their personal views in an appropriate and responsible manner. Please refrain from actions or readings that might cause incitement to public violence and endanger the festival and the spirit of harmony in which it is conceived. This is to advise you that The Satanic Verses is banned in India and reading from it may make you liable to prosecution and arrest,” said the advisory from Namita Gokhale, one of the directors of the festival.







Magistrate who issued arrest warrant against Jayalalithaa suspended

G.S. Sorupam facing charges of corruption, alteration of date in court records

The Parangipettai Judicial Magistrate R. Gomathi Sakthi Sorupam, who issued a non-bailable arrest warrant against Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, has been placed under suspension by an order issued by the Madras High Court following corruption charges.

The Judicial Magistrate created a sensation on January 4 by ordering issuance of the NBW against the Chief Minister and calling for her personal appearance before the Court on February 16 in connection with a case relating to filing of nominations for the 2001 Assembly elections.

Chidambaram Judicial Magistrate-II Eswaramurthy has been made in-charge of the Parangipettai Magistrate Court.

According to a source, when Ms. Sorupam was serving as Judicial Magistrate-V in Salem a complaint was preferred by A. Selvam, representing M/s Nirmala & Co, Salem, against her alleging corruption and alteration of date in court records, with the Madras High Court and the Department of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption.

Though the Administrative Committee of the High Court called for her explanation several times, this was not forthcoming and hence the suspension notice, dated January 20, 2011, was issued by Registrar General of High Court Chockalingam.

Cuddalore Judicial Magistrate Shanmuganathan, who received the suspension order, went to Ms. Sorupam’s residence to serve the notice. It was locked and he pasted it on the door. A source said that the High Court has directed her to stay in Parangipettai and obtain prior permission before leaving the place.

Her suspension comes at a time when the case relating to the non-bailable warrant ordered by her against Ms. Jayalalithaa is scheduled to come up before the District Sessions Court Judge for hearing on January 23.

In her order of NBW against Ms. Jayalalithaa in the election-related case, the Magistrate had noted: “Accused called absent — NBW (non bailable warrant) pending — SC matter stayed — call on 16-02-2012.”

Soon, a recall petition was filed by the Chief Minister’s counsel A. Sankaran of Tindivanam in the Parangipettai Magistrate Court but it was rejected. Mr. Sankaran moved the District Sessions Court and obtained a stay of the magistrate order.

The case against Ms. Jayalalithaa filed by the then Returning Officer of Bhuvanagiri Assembly Constituency A.G. Selvamani in 2007 alleged that she violated provisions of the People’s Representation Act by filing nominations from four places — Andipatti, Bhuvanagiri, Krishnagiri and Pudukottai — for contesting the Assembly elections in 2001.





Trial in Kush Katariya case set to begin


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 04.27AM IST

NAGPUR: The Kush Katariya case will be heard by the district and additional sessions judge GJ Akarte. The case was committed for sessions trial by the judicial magistrate first class on Saturday.

The next hearing for the case is to be heard by the sessions court on February 10 next month. The accused Ayush Pugliya and his elder brothers Nitin and Navin were present in the court.

The chargesheet of the sensational Kush Katariya case was sent by Nandanvan police earlier this month. Kush, an eight-year-old boy, was allegedly kidnapped and murdered by neighbour Ayush Pugliya on October 11 last year.

His body was traced from an under construction building from Kalamna after two days with the help of Ayush who took the cops to the place where the murdered boy was dumped.

While the state government has announced the name of special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam, Katariyas have appointed advocate Rajendra Daga to assist the prosecution.




Flexibility of alternative dispute resolution mechanism hailed


Mediation and conciliation address emotions underlying dispute: P. Sathasivam

If alternative methods of dispute resolution are carefully conceived and implemented, they will go a long way in accomplishing the Constitutional goal of access to fair, inexpensive and expeditious justice, said Justice Dalveer Bhandari of the Supreme Court here on Saturday.

He was inaugurating the International Conference on Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) — Conciliation and Mediation, organised by the International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR)

Huge backlog

Pointing out that because of the delay in administration of justice, a cynicism about the effectiveness of the judicial process had developed and, “at times, law’s delays benefit the unworthy and penalise the honest,” Justice Bhandari said the problem was not soluble in courts alone. He said as on March 31, 2001, a total of 2,74,28,466 litigations were pending in subordinate courts, 42,92,104 in High Courts and 58,519 in the Supreme Court.

“We need to strengthen the present judicial system and to effectively employ all alternate methods of dispute resolution such as arbitration, mediation, conciliation, Lok Adalat, Gram Nyayalaya and village Panchayat.”

He said that one distinct advantage of ADR over traditional court proceedings was its procedural flexibility, as “it can be conducted in any manner to which the parties agree; in fact, the parties themselves evolve their own procedure.”

Justice P. Sathasivam of the Supreme Court said that the country had not fully exploited the potential of dispute resolution mechanisms and if they were made more efficient, the demand for adjudication would decrease.

“Mediation and conciliation not only address the dispute, they also address the emotions underlying the dispute,” he said adding that in mediation, both parties were given opportunity to express their opinion with complete confidentiality.

Chief Justice of the Madras High Court Justice M.Y. Eqbal said that in the present scenario of globalisation, the survival of the system depended upon timely, cheaper and fair justice to all and for this the country had to adopt ADR mechanism to resolve the disputes of the litigant.

“Even after a bitter battle in the corridors of courts, by sheer magic of mediation along with its counterparts like Lok Adalat, conciliation and arbitration, the parties can walk holding their hands in perfect harmony and friendship.”

Justice Eqbal said that the slow and stagnant pace of judicial discourse should not be allowed to dash the hopes of millions of the marginalised.

Call for nation-wide movement

Former Union Law Minister and Governor of Karnataka H.R. Bhardwaj stressed the need for launching a nation-wide movement for promoting ADR as it was inexpensive, speedy and delivered substantial justice to the common man.

He said there should be no retirement for judges, and Supreme Court Judges should be made “life-time Judges” and his proposal in this regard was pending before the government.

Mr. Bhardwaj said that it was not a good idea to hold a seminar on ADR in a five-star hotel.






SC’s Bhandari front-runner for ICJ judge post


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.03AM IST

NEW DELHI: Senior Supreme Court Judge Justice Dalveer Bhandari has emerged as the front-runner for getting India’s nomination for a Judge’s post in Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ) by pipping an ex-legal advisor of the ministry of external affairs with myriad international diplomacy experience to the post.

The India chapter of Permanent Council of Arbitration (PCA), responsible for selecting the candidate and recommending it to the government for placing it formally for election before the international body, has recommended Justice Bhandari’s name after a two-month-long scrutiny and deliberations on the two candidates’ antecedents.

“The ministry of external affairs has received the recommendation of PCA in favour of Justice Bhandari,” official sources told TOI. The opportunity for India to place its nominee in the prestigious ICJ comes after 20 years. Former Chief Justice of India R S Pathak was the country’s last representative at ICJ.

Interestingly, just a few months ago, the MEA, with the approval of the Prime Minister’s Office, had suggested the ex-legal advisor’s name to the PCA to consider his nomination to the ICJ as a Judge.

Though PCA’s recommendation is not binding, traditionally the government has always honoured it. Two eminent jurists, who are part of the three-member PCA, had earlier veered around the government’s suggestion, but Justice Bhandari’s pro-poor and pro-social equity judicial disposition tilted the scales in his favour and the trio agreed that he would be eminently suitable for becoming a Judge in ICJ.

In recent past, Justice Bhandari has authored judgments that requested Parliament to take a fresh look at divorce laws to permit irretrievably break down of marriage as a ground for annulling it, attempted to make the public distribution network for subsidized ration for poor responsive and pressurized government to provide free night shelters to urban homeless and poor suffering in open in biting cold conditions.

The chance for India to put its nominee up for selection as a judge in ICJ came after Jordan’s king sacked his prime minister and brought back ICJ judge Justice Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh to take the reins of the administration. India’s support helped Justice Al-Khasawneh to get elected to ICJ.

So, as a diplomatic quid pro quo, MEA circles believe that India’s nominee for the judge’s post in ICJ will get support from Jordan along with friendly neighbours like Sri Lanka and Bangaldesh.

India has had three permanent judges in ICJ, starting with the little remembered B N Rau, who was a judge of ICJ from 1952 to November 30, 1953. Rau even played a crucial role in the drafting of the Constitution and was a prospect for the race to the UN secretary-general’s post.

But India’s most significant representative in ICJ came through Nagendra Singh, who was a Judge there from 1973 to 1988. From 1976 to 1979, he was the vice-president of ICJ, and became its president from 1985 to1988.




Court slams decision to ‘reserve’ ‘surplus’ land for housing society


K. T. Sangameswaran

The Madras High Court has described as “a colourable exercise of power,” the act of the government in ‘reserving’ lands acquired as ‘surplus’ under the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act from a person for the members of the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Staff Cooperative Housing Society.

Allowing an appeal by a landlady challenging a single Judge’s order, a Division Bench of Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N. Kirubakaran, in its judgment observed that “allotting agricultural lands without changing the nature of the land to suit construction of houses is contrary to the provisions of the Act and this colourable exercise of power on the part of the government is in utter disregard to the principles underlying the enactment of the Act.”

Originally, T.M. Sulochana Ammal filed a writ petition seeking to quash a G.O. of May 31, 1991 and the consequent notice of the authorised officer allotting 8.63 acres owned by her at Moulivakkam, Sriperumbudur, to the cooperative housing society.

A single Judge dismissed her plea. Hence, the present appeal.

The appellant contended that the authorities had no jurisdiction to allot the land to the housing society.

Allowing the appeal and setting aside the G.O. and the single Judge’s order, the Bench observed that the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules, particularly Rule 13, could not be said to deviate from the Act’s object, by fixing ceiling on the lands and distribution of land to the landless poor for increasing agricultural production and promoting justice, social and economic.

Though the State was empowered to reserve the land so acquired under Rule 13, it could not be for purposes that had not been contemplated under the Act and rules.

As per Rule 13, the government may, if it considered that any surplus land was required for any public purpose, reserve the land for that purpose.





Constable among duo arrested for cheating


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 01.27AM IST

HYDERABAD: Two candidates at the constable recruitment drive – one of them is already an APSP constable – were on Saturday arrested for allegedly indulging in malpractice while participating in the five kilometre run organised by the police as part of the selection process.

Ramgopalpet police said that A Raju and Kiran Kumar Yadav have been arrested for engaging dubious means in the test.

Kiran Kumar is an APSP constable who is attached to Raj Bhavan. He was aspiring for a constable’s post under the civil category.

“Both participated in the five kilometre run, which has to be completed in 25 minutes. But Kiran Kumar and Raju failed in accomplishing the task.

“Organisers of the run directed the successful candidates to enter Sanjeevaiah park and Raju and Kiran Kumar secretly joined those candidates.

“But both were exposed during verification and arrested,” Ramgopalpet inspector V Raja Rao told TOI.

The five kilometre run was between Rotary Club and Sanjeevaiah Park.

The accused have been arrested under section 420 (cheating) of Indian Penal Code and were sent to judicial remand.






MP anti-graft bill may get nod soon


Joseph John, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 06.24AM IST

BHOPAL: Pending before the Centre for long, the Madhya Pradesh Special Courts Bill 2011 is all set to get clearance, paving way for confiscation of property amassed by government servants through corrupt means and its for public cause.

“We came to know that Union home ministry has already got legal opinion that the provisions of the bill are legally and constitutionally valid. Now, it’s for the home ministry to approve it as early as possible and forward it for Presidential assent,” top state government sources told TOI.

Madhya Pradesh Vidhan Sabha had passed the “MP Vishesh Nayayalaya Adhiniyam 2011″in April last year for setting up of special courts to try public servants accused of amassing wealth through illegal means and for confiscation of their property.

As per the provisions of the bill, the special courts to be set up under the new Act will have power to attach the properties of the corrupt officials, and put them to use in public interest. District sessions judges and additional sessions judges would be in charge of the special courts.

Currently, corrupt officials were being prosecuted under Prevention of Corruption Act 1988, CrPC 1973 and Indian Penal Code 1860; however there was inordinate delay in the disposal of such cases. The bill is aimed at quick disposal of cases within a year and completes the hearings on property attachment cases within six months.

Chances of bill getting early Presidential assent brightened at a time when the BJP government has been trying to score political points by accusing the UPA government, led by the Congress, of delaying clearance to the anti-corruption bill. When the Anna Hazare’s campaign for Jan Lokpal was at its peak, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had made a trip to Delhi and called on President, Prime Minister, home minister and others to press for early clearance of bill.

Earlier in the day, chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had told newsmen that he would visit Delhi again to press for immediate clearance of the bill. “Take the case of former union minister Sukhram, who has been convicted now for 1996 telecom scam. Does conviction after so many years make any sense?” he asked adding the new state law would help dispose of corruption cases within a year.





Bigamy case against HD Kumaraswamy adjourned


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 14:21 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The Karnataka High Court on Friday adjourned by two weeks a case alleging that former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy had committed bigamy and he should, hence, be disqualified as a parliamentarian.
In a public interest litigation filed in October last year, advocate Shashidhar Belagumba had submitted before the court that Kumaraswamy was punishable under Section 495 of Indian Penal Code by marrying actress Radhika without separating from his first wife Anitha.
However, no action was taken against him, the petitioner said.
Belagumba contended that every citizen should be treated equally. Otherwise, it would be a violation of Article 14 of the Constitution.





Case against BDA for neglecting Nayandahalli underpass work


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 14:17 IST
By Santosh Kumar RB | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The neglect of traffic police’s repeated request to the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) to provide proper lighting in the underpass at Nayandahalli junction allegedly caused the accident, which claimed a life and damaged 12 vehicles on Friday morning.
The Byatarayanapura traffic police have booked a case of negligence against the BDA, along with the absconding driver of cement mixer lorry truck, which hit the vehicles at the junction.
“We have booked a case under the provision of Section 304(a) of Indian Penal Code about the accident. We have named the BDA engineer as the first accused and the lorry driver as second accused,” an investigation officer said.
The police said the underpass near Nayandahalli Junction is nearly 200 metres long, but the lighting on this stretch is poor and have caused many accidents in the past.
“The BDA had installed lights in the underpass earlier, but they were not maintained properly. Most of them are not working. More than 10 accidents have taken place on this stretch, but luckily, nobody died in earlier incidents. We had written letters to the BDA for proper lighting in the underpass, but they have ignored us,” Byatarayanapura traffic police inspector Mallesh said. He explained that while entering the underpass, motorists often find it hard to see things inside due to poor lighting.
There is a need for 24-hour lighting to avoid such incidents, he added. Interestingly, the BDA installed new bulbs on Friday evening, after the crash, the inspector said.
After the accident, passers-by hurled abuses at policemen. “The common public is not aware that the incident took place due to BDA negligence,” another police officer said.
The police said the truck driver, too, was at fault as he did not switch on the headlights after entering the underpass. The police have registered a case against the driver and BDA official.
“We will write to the BDA commissioner regarding the incident. We will find out the engineer concerned and take legal against him,” an investigation officer said.





HC asks for scientific handling of coconut husk


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday sought the opinion of the Forest Department and the Travancore Devaswom Board on the handling of the husk of tender coconuts that piles up at Sabarimala during the pilgrimage season.
The HC move comes in the wake of a number of scientific reports highlighting the environmental threat it poses.
U S Sarma of Central Coir Research Institute had made a presentation before the court regarding the disposal of waste from tender coconuts and suggested that it could be utilised to make mats, umbrellas and other materials. The technology and the process could be implemented through an agency, he submitted.
Most people are unaware of the radical developments in the field of research relating to subjects which affect day-to-day life, the court said. The court asked the Forest Department, the Devaswom Board and the Pollution Control Board to come up with a positive and practical decision regarding management of the waste from tender coconuts.
Considering a petition by a tender coconut vendor challenging the high court’s directive that banned dumping of husks at Sabarimala, the court had earlier asked the Coconut Development Board to suggest ways to dispose of the husk scientifically.
The vendor approached the court after an earlier order resulted in the banning of tender coconuts and pineapple vendors. The court added that the waste generated through vending of tender coconuts had to be properly handled to exclude environmental hazards.






Nizam Trust urges HC to appoint arbitrator


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: The Nizam Charitable Trust has approached the High Court seeking appointment of an arbitrator to settle the dispute between the trust and the state government. When the petition came up for hearing before chief justice Madan B. Lokur on Friday, its trustee said there had been large-scale violations in management of the NIMS which include leasing out of lands to various bodies to the AP Centre for Emergency Medicare (APCEM) and others.
He said the land housing Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences was leased to the state government for 99 years on certain terms and conditions. However, there have been large-scale violations and failure to give proper priority to the poor in providing medical care.
The petitioner also maintained that despite repeated attempts, the government did not agree to appointment of an arbitrator. On the other hand, the government contended that there was no need for an arbitrator as there was no dispute between them. The chief justice adjourned the case by four weeks.
Charges against govt Among the violations by the govt are leasing out of NIMS land to others and failure to give priority to the poor in providing medicare






Give all fixed-wage employees pay panel wages: Gujarat HC


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 16:24 IST
By Nikunj Soni | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The year 2012 promises to be one of huge financial benefit to government employees who were appointed to different jobs on fixed monthly wages. In a landmark judgement on Friday, the Gujarat high court ruled that the scheme of fixed wages adopted by the state government for government jobs was a ‘violation of fundamental rights’ and a ‘violation of the principle of equal pay for equal work’.
The high court has directed the state government to modify the current scheme of fixed wages within one and grant the employees the lowest pay in the pay-scale recommended for their rank by the pay commission and approved by the state government.
The bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala further said that the benefits to the employees shall be given to them from the date of their appointment.
The judgment has come as a great relief to fixed-wage government employees as they will now get the benefits of the sixth pay commission. The recommendations of the sixth pay commission were recently approved by the state government for various cadres. The court also directed that the period of government service of such employees will be taken into consideration in the future in deciding their retirement benefits and all other benefits if they are found suitable after probation.The high court rejected the state government’s contention that the case should not be considered a PIL as it concerned service matter as per the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Uttar Pradesh Land Corporation.
Rejecting the government’s contention, the bench said that it was considering the petitions because they had not been filed by an employee and the issue is of public interest and importance. Earlier, a PIL was filed by an NGO, Shree Yogkshem Foundation of Human Dignity, through the advocate, DJ Bhatt, challenging the recruitment of government employees against fixed wages. Those recruited under this scheme included primary and higher secondary teachers, police constables, police sub-inspectors, and all class 3 and 4 employees of the government. The salaries paid under the fixed wages scheme ranges from Rs1500 to Rs6000 per month. There are more than 1 lakh teachers employed by the government as Vidya Sahayaks who are paid fixed wages of Rs2500 to Rs4500. Thousands of other jobs have also been filled by recruitments made under the fixed wages scheme. Senior counsel Yatin Oza, who was appointed amicus curie in the case, had submitted that the scheme of fixed wages violated the fundamental rights guaranteed under the Constitution. It’s also exploitation of the employees.Advocate DJ Bhatt had contended that the scheme of fixed wages amounts to exploitation of the employees as they were paid less than the minimum wages standards set by the government’s labour department.





HC seeks daytime ban on tipper lorries in towns


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday observed that the operation of tipper lorries should be prohibited at least in towns and cities during the daytime.
The court also sought the view of the state police chief on the desirability of introducing prohibitory orders against the operation of tipper lorries during the daytime in all municipalities and corporations.
A Division Bench comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Babu Mathew P Joseph passed the order while considering an appeal filed by Canon Granite Private Ltd, Thrissur, against the single judge’s order that upheld the decision of the state to ban the operation of tipper lorries from 8 am to 10 am and between 3 pm and 5 pm.
The Bench held that the police officials who are entrusted with traffic regulation were entitled to issue such a ban to ensure smooth flow of traffic.
“The ban during the day time will not only decongest traffic but will ensure safety as tipper lorries were involved in large number of accidents,” the court said.
The petitioner argued that the ban order was passed by the police without any statutory authority.
The state police chief had shown discrimination in restricting the plying of tipper lorries alone in Thrissur and permitting other lorries to operate.
“The single judge’s order was unsustainable. The report by the commissioner of police that tipper lorries caused large number of accidents was without any evidence,” the petitioner pointed out. The court posted the case after 10 days.





Karnataka HC jolt to former CMs in illegal mining cases


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 14:19 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

In a major upset to external affairs minister SM Krishna, the high court on Friday gave the green signal to Lok Ayukta police to probe into charges that he had de-reserved forests for illegal mining during his tenure as state chief minister.
It was a bad day for former Chief Minister HD Kumaraswamy too as the court allowed investigation into the charges that he had granted licence for illegal mining during his term.
While pronouncing the orders in Krishna’s case, Judge N Ananda said the de-reservation of forests done pursuant to cabinet decision on December 16 2002 was confirmed.
However, he quashed the allegations made against Krishna in relation to illegal acts committed in the management of Mysore Minerals Limited (MML).
The judge said the complaint against Krishna was the reproduction of the relevant parts of the Lok Ayukta report. Hence, it was not possible to hold that he was being subjected to prosecution and humiliation on the basis of a false and wholly untenable complaint.
Therefore, there was no bar to initiate prosecution on the report of the Lok Ayukta submitted to the competent authority under the section 12(3) of Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984.
“I hold that the allegations made against Krishna in relation to alleged illegal activities committed in the management of MML do not constitute any cognisable offences against him and they do not call for investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC,” he said. “The averments of complaint made against him in the matter of de-reservation of forest accepted on their face value would constitute offences against him and they warrant investigation under section 156(3) of CrPC,” the judge said.
While pronouncing the orders in Kumaraswamy’s case, the judge said there was no bar to initiate prosecution or investigation into allegations on the complaint that he had approved mining lease illegally in favour of Shree Sai Venkateshwara Minerals.
The allegations reiterated the relevant portion of the Lokayukta report. Therefore, it was not possible to hold that the allegations, which were reiterations of the relevant portions of the report, did not constitute an offence, the judge said. However, he quashed other allegations.
“The allegations that he had collected Rs150 crore from the department of mines and geology (which was reported by a leading newspaper on 15 July 2006) is quashed,” the judge said.
“The allegations that he had misused his official position to renew licence in favour of Janatkal Enterprises and that he had inserted pressure on the commissioner of mines and geology department to issue permit to Janatkal for lifting of old dump of one lakh metric ton of low grade iron and manganese and the reference under section 156(3) of CrPC for investigation into these allegations are quashed,” the judge said.






Gujarat HC rap to AMC: Open seals on 50 green belt party plots


Published: Saturday, Jan 21, 2012, 16:58 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) lost the case against the owners of party plots which fall under the category of green belt as a bench of Gujarat high court, on Friday, asked the civic body to open the seals.
The bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala, however, clarified that the AMC shall open the seals if the party plot owners fulfil three conditions specified by the high court. The conditions are: the party plots should have plot area exceeding 2,000 square metre; they should be on 18-feet wide road; and the owners would not make fresh construction and abide the possible Supreme Court ruling on green belt land.

The civic body had sealed 170 party plots, including 50 plots that fall under green belt category, in 2010-2011 on the grounds of illegal construction, improper fire safety system and parking facilities.

“We approached the high court as it earlier directed the AMC to open seals on the party plots which are not on green belt land,” said Dhaval Dave, senior counsel appearing for six party plot owners who challenged the civic body’s action.

“We contended before the court that the high court should also give relief to us as there should not be any discrimination between common party plots and green belt ones,” Dave added.

Earlier, Gujarat high court, when party plot owners challenged the sealing process, did not grant relief to the green belt party plot owners as the AMC lodged protest on the ground that an important petition relating to green belt land has been pending before the Supreme Court and it ordered to maintain status quo.
Dave, however, protested AMC’s argument by saying that there is no connection between status quo and the sealing drive. A revenue case relating to green belt in the town planning scheme in the urban areas is pending before the SC. According to government decision, there should not be any construction on the land which falls under category of the green belt in order to maintain environment and pollution-free climate.





HC flays TN govt action


PTI | 08:01 PM,Jan 21,2012

Chennai, Jan 21 (PTI) Slamming the Tamil Nadu government for taking over 8.63 acres of farmland from a farmer as ‘surplus’ and then reserving it for its employees, the Madras High Court has said the authorities’ action was not proper. In its order on an appeal by the landowner Sulochana Ammal, whose land was declared ‘surplus’ and acquired by the state revenue department over 25 years ago, a Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N Kirubakaran, said it was improper for the department to acquire the land and then hand it over to its staff at their request. “The action of the government to take a decision at the request of the staff of the adjudicating authority, in our considered opinion, is not proper,” the Judges said. The acquisition notification under the provisions of Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Act, taking over 8.63 acres at Moulivakkam village in Sirperumpudur, was issued in 1986. The landlady first approached the Land Commissioner and then Assistant Commissioner (land reforms). After her requests were rejected, she approached the High court where a single judge dismissed her writ petition, confirming the decision of the Special Appellate Tribunal of the Revenue Department. In her present appeal, Sulochana Ammal pointed out that the land commissioner had no jurisdiction to allot the land to the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms Staff Co-op House Site Distribution Society Limited, comprising members of the department. The government, however, stuck to its stand that the April 1990 order of the department had become final and that there was no scope for interference with the appellate tribunal’s July 1992 order. Assigning the acquired land was the prerogative of the government as provided for in the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Disposal of Surplus Land) Rules 1965, it was argued. MORE





Aruna Roy slams govt for challenging HC ruling on minimum wages


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.07AM IST

NEW DELHI: National Advisory Council (NAC) member Aruna Roy has slammed the government’s decision to oppose pegging rural employment guarantee wages lower than minimum wages as “shocking and grossly insensitive”.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Roy said the move is unmindful of the concerns of the country’s poor.

Roy, a prominent member of the Sonia Gandhi-led Council and one of the brains behind the Act, has protested against the UPA’s decision to challenge in the Supreme Court the Karnataka HC order that said that no MNREGA worker could be paid less than the minimum wage, and ordered that the workers be paid the state minimum wages. She urged the PM to immediately withdraw the Special Leave Petition in the apex court.

The decision to challenge the HC order was taken after the rural development minister Jairam Ramesh sought to defend the decision, but was overruled.

“The GOI has in fact chosen to ignore the interim orders of both the High Courts, and been in contempt of the interim order of the AP High Court for over two years. It is an irony that the poorest and most disadvantaged workers in this country are not provided the most basic protection that must be provided to every worker in the country,” Roy has written.

“I am deeply distressed, dismayed, and shocked …This decision reflects the gross insensitivity of the Central government towards the rights of the country’s poor,” she added.

Many have pointed out that enforcement of wage rates under the employment programme sets a benchmark for the labour market in hinterland, and prevents exploitative low rates.

Roy, too, backed the argument, saying, “When the GOI as an employer asserts that it is not obliged to pay minimum wages on government works, it loses its moral authority to enforce the minimum wages Act, and gives a message to all exploitative industry, big landlords, and private sector employers that minimum wages can be violated with impunity”.





Land acquisition: HC hikes compensation to farmers


Last Updated: Sunday, January 22, 2012, 09:59

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has ordered a 10 per cent hike in compensation to farmers for acquisition of their land in three urban villages having “locational advantages” like IGI Airport in the vicinity.

“I find the aspect of higher potentiality of the acquired lands being in close vicinity of the IGI Airport, Indian Oil and Bharat Petroleum Depots and of Railway line passing through Village Bharthal…has somehow missed the attention of the reference (lower) court,” Justice Sunil Gaur said while “partly” allowing a bunch of pleas for hike in compensation.

The court’s judgement came on petitions of farmers from Bharthal, Bijwasan and Pochanpur villages, seeking enhanced compensation for their plots acquired in December, 2000 for planned development of Dwarka Phase-II.

The Central government had classified plots in ‘A’ and ‘B’ categories and had awarded Rs 13.82 lakh and Rs 12.32 lakh as compensation per acre respectively for them.

The farmers, after failing to get the desired reliefs from the court of an additional district judge, which had acted as a reference court under the Land Acquisition Act to determine the compensation, had moved the high court for raise in it.

The farmers of Barthal and Bijwasan had sought compensation of Rs 50 lakh per acre, while residents of Pochanpur sought compensation of Rs 30 lakh per acre.

Allowing the pleas partially, Justice Gaur said, “The market value of acquired lands of these three villages in question is determined at the rate of Rs 16.50 lakh per acre for category ‘A’ land and at the rate of Rs 14.69 lakh per acre for category ‘B’ lands in question.”

The high court considered the locational advantage and the prospect of higher building potentiality while enhancing the compensation.

“I am inclined to grant 10 per cent increase over and above the market value of the acquired lands determined by the reference court in these matters on account of the aforesaid locational advantages providing a higher building potentiality in the acquired lands in question,” Justice Gaur said.

“On account of locational advantages, the acquired lands in question, certainly assume higher building potentiality being in vicinity of Dwarka Phase-I. What persuades this Court to grant 10 per cent increase over and above market value of the acquired lands as assessed by the Reference Court on account of the higher building potentiality in the acquired lands is the settled legal position…,” the court said.

It, however, said that it would be very difficult to provide a definite value in relation to potential, and “in view of the fact that exactness can never be achieved in the matters of assessing fair compensation.

“It is broad probabilities of the instant cases, which persuades me to treat them with equivalence by uniformly applying the Government’s minimum prices for the agricultural lands for computing the fair market value of the acquired lands as there are no special features to treat the acquired lands differently.”






Lawyer moves CBI against SAD govt


Alkesh Sharma, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 06.28AM IST

CHANDIGARH: More trouble is brewing for the ruling Shiromani Akali Dal as the assembly elections draw closer. A Chandigarh-based lawyer approached CBI on Friday, appealing for the lodging of an FIR against the “illegal exercise of power” by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal, deputy CM Sukhbir Badal, and Bikram Singh Majithia.

Lawyer Himmat Singh Shergill had earlier filed a case in the Punjab and Haryana high court. However, the HC on December 15 had asked him to approach an investigation agency and thereafter, approach the court if the problem remains unsolved.

“Badal and his son exercised their executive power in an illegal and manipulative manner to provide monetary benefits to the companies owned by their family. I had started with their transport company but later found anomalies in various businesses,” Shergill told TOI.

“Most irregularities happened after they come into power in March 2007. This is a well-planned and institutionalized corruption, and I have demanded a thorough probe from CBI,” he said.

Shergill said he submitted the annual returns, director’s reports and balance sheets of various companies that “established ownership of Parkash Singh Badal and his family”. “They are running family businesses out of the state’s exchequer”, he pointed out in his complaint.

Few days ago, former state industries director V K Janjua had moved a petition before a local court alleging that Sukhbir Badal had implicated him in a false corruption case as he “refused to pay him a Rs 1 crore bribe”. This case is pending in the court.





BJP demands Congress to sack Krishna


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


NEW DELHI: With the HC refusing relief to S M Krishna on alleged illegal mining during his Chief Ministership, BJP today demanded his head, and asked the Congress-led government to sack him. Former CM B S Yeddyurappa was also shown the door after the Lokayukta indicted the state.
“Krishna holds the sensitive portfolio of external affairs. After the order of the
Karnataka High Court, he should resign purely on moral grounds as his case will be investigated by the Lokayukta police,” said BJP chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad. He also wondered whether Congress will follow the example of BJP when it had asked Yeddyurappa to step down after the Lokayukta report indicted his government. “They campaigned against him for two years. As soon as the report came, we asked him to resign, which he did,” Prasad said.
The Congress, however, down played the matter.
“This is a normal legal process. I am sure Krishna and his lawyer will deal with the matter in accordance with the law. There is no final verdict and there is going to be further appeal,” said party spokesperson Abhishek Manu Singhvi.

Decision was collective, says smk counsel

Bangalore: Arguing against the Lokayukta probe into External Affairs Minnister S M Krishna’s role in de-reserving forest land, Uday Lalit, counsel for Krishna had argued that the Cabinet decision was a collective one taken by 34 ministers and an individual cannot be held responsible for it. Lalit also had submitted that there was a Minister in charge of Forest Department and also for Mines and Geology Department during Krishna government, which was not the case with successive governments.



Chhattisgarh govt to SC: Review order in Lalu Prasad’s DA case


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 02.58AM IST

NEW DELHI: In an unusual step, Chhattisgarh government has requested the Supreme Court to reconsider its two-year-old judgment giving relief to RJD chief Lalu Prasad and his wife Rabri Devi in a disproportionate assets (DA) case, in which it had held that the state government had no role to file appeal in a case investigated by the CBI.

In the Lalu Prasad case, the apex court had ruled in April, 2010 that the state government could not file appeal against acquittal of the accused even in cases where the CBI refuses to challenge the trial court or High Court’s decision favouring the accused. It had dismissed Bihar government’s decision to appeal in the HC against the trial court’s decision to acquit Prasad and his wife in the DA case.

The Raman Singh government, moving the apex court challenging the acquittal of ex-CM Ajit Jogi’s son Amit in a 2003 murder case, said the judgment was contrary to the criminal justice system under which the primary authority relating administration of justice vested in the state government.

It said under the Delhi Special Police Establishment Act, under which the CBI functions, a limited federal jurisdiction in investigation was created. But this did not oust the state government from its role of administering the criminal justice system, including prosecuting for violation of IPC and should, therefore, continue to have a right to appeal an acquittal.

“The decision of the apex court in Lalu Prasad Yadav’s case requires reconsideration for not only is it flawed in the manner in which it construed the state, but unwittingly upset the delicate balance between the Union and the State in relation to administration of justice,” said the state government in its appeal filed through advocate Atul Jha.

In the prevailing circumstances where allegations are afoot that closeness to the central dispensation decided how seriously the CBI went after the accused politician, the denial of right to the state to appeal acquittals could seriously dent the criminal justice dispensation system.

“As a result of the 2010 judgment, the power of the state to appeal an acquittal is taken away. A reading of the judgment shows that there are serious legal issues that warrant a reconsideration of the judgment,” the BJP government said.

Though 31 were accused in the murder of a political leader, the trial court in its May, 2007 judgment convicted 29, and acquitted Amit and another person. State government filed an appeal in HC in July, 2007. “The CBI deliberately and intentionally delayed the filing of appeal by more than three and half years. While the state’s appeal was dismissed following the SC’s 2010 judgment, the CBI appeal was dismissed on the grounds of delay.”

The question raised by Chhattisgarh government before the apex court is: “whether the state government is competent to file an appeal against the order of acquittal of main accused in a case which has been investigated by the CBI”.






Yahoo plea: HC seeks Delhi Police response


Express news service : New Delhi, Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:07 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Friday sought a response from the Delhi Police on a petition of Yahoo India Pvt Ltd, challenging the summons issued to it by a magistrate for allegedly hosting objectionable content. The court issued a notice to the police for February 10. The court also allowed Yahoo India’s plea that its case be heard separately from two other petitions by Google India and Facebook India, which are already in the court against the magistrate’s order.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for Yahoo India, said, “It is a case where summons were issued without application of mind by the trial court as there was no material against me (Yahoo India)”.

Nigam said the complaint and the order of the magistrate have dealt with alleged objectionable material retrieved from various websites including Zombie, Orkut, Youtube, Facebook, Blogspot and none of them pertained to Yahoo.

He also referred to the complaint filed by Vinay Rai, a journalist, to buttress his argument that no objectionable material has been downloaded from Yahoo India which forms part of the case in which 20 other websites have also been summoned.

“I am not a social networking site like other accused in the case. I only provide email and chat services. Moreover, no objectionable material has been attributed to me and hence my case is different from others,” said Nigam.

“Then why you have been made an accused?” Justice Kait asked while allowing the plea of Yahoo that its case be heard separately.

The court had on Thursday deferred the hearing on the petitions of Google India and Facebook India to January 23. A lower court had on December 23 issued summons to 21 websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and obscene objects to young persons.

The central government had earlier filed a report before the lower court, saying there was sufficient material to proceed against 21 websites for alleged offences of promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integration.




CB-CID to probe plaint against cop


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The Madras HC has directed the CB-CID to hold investigation on a complaint from a woman alleging that an inspector attached to MGR Nagar police station had taken away her 60 sovereign jewellery, and complete the investigation within three months.

Justice D Hariparanthaman gave the direction on a petition from Jeera Behgam.

According to petitioner, she gave her jewellery to her sister Shaheela for safe custody in her house. Subsequently, Shaheela’s jewellery were stolen from her house but petitioner’s jewellery were intact and Shaheela returned them to her. On a complaint from Shaheela’s husband, a theft case was registered. Thereafter, when the petitioner wanted to go to Bangalore, where her daughter Sarah was employed, the jewellery were given to Sarah’s colleague Ameer Abbas, working in Chennai. Ameer kept the jewellery in the locker of his brother-in-law Abdul Aziz in the SBI, Vadapalani branch.

While so, Seetharaman, the inspector investigating the theft case, came to her residence on Jan 13, 2011, and enquired about the jewelleries returned to her and took away the purchase bills. Informing Ameer and Abdul that he entertained suspicion on the jewellery that were kept in the locker, Seetharaman took them away from the locker. He also enquired petitioner’s another daughter Safura.

The next day Safura was arrested and remanded. Later she came out on bail. However, Seetharaman did not return the jewellery.

Petitioner made several representations to various authorities stating that her daughter was falsely implicated in the case and her jewellery were illegally taken away by the inspector. Since, there was no response, she filed the present petition.





Why was Marad probe team dissolved, HC asks DGP


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the state police chief as to why the special team constituted to investigate the larger conspiracy behind the second Marad communal carnage was dissolved in the middle of investigation.
The court asked the police chief to explain as to why the court should not order restoration of the same investigation team if the investigation is not complete.
The court also asked the state government to file a detailed statement in this regard.
A Division Bench Comprising Justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice Babu Mathew P Joseph passed the order while considering a petition filed by Kolakkadan Moosa Haji of Kozhikode seeking a CBI probe into the larger conspiracy behind the second Marad communal carnage. The court issued notice to the state, Crime Branch ADGP Vinson M Paul and Superintendent C M Pradeep.
The petitioner submitted that pursuant to the first Marad communal carnage, a retaliatory attack took place in 2003 on Marad beach. Eight Hindus and a Muslim lost their lives in the carnage. “The Crime Branch ADGP revealed that the second Marad communal carnage was planned and was a result of deep-rooted conspiracy. A lot of members of the ruling party of the then coalition government were involved in it,” the petitioner submitted.
The petitioner also said that proper investigation was not possible since political leaders were involved in it, and the members of the team were transferred to other districts.
Superintendent of Police Pradeep, who headed the investigation team, was transferred to Thiruvananthapuram to take up an assignment at the Kerala State Human Rights Commission.
“Members of the SIT were credible but they will not be able to investigate the involvement of foreign hand and foreign funds. The Inquiry Commission had found that 15 persons, including four foreigners, conspired in a hotel in Kozhikode. The commission also reported that prominent IUML leader A P Moideen Koya and state secretary Mayin Haji were involved in the planning and execution of the massacre. The state does not want an inquiry by an independent central agency as it only wants to protect the members of the coalition government. So the CBI has to investigate the larger conspiracy which culminated in the communal carnage,” the petitioner submitted.






APERC cant extend deadline for Discoms: HC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: Allowing the writ appeals filed by the high-tension electricity consumers, a division bench of the High Court has held that the AP Electricity Regulatory Commission has no power to enlarge the time stipulated for entertaining applications from distribution companies (Discoms) for determination of fuel surcharge adjustment (FSA). In its order on Friday, the bench comprising chief justice Madan B. Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar said Discoms’ FSA claims for 2008-09 were hopelessly time-barred.
Discoms have to submit their proposals on FSA within 30 days after completion of every quarter. If submitted after the prescribed time limit, the APERC should not entertain such proposals.
The division bench did not agree with the earlier judge’s comment that the commission had the power to condone the delay in filing applications by the licensees (Discoms) claiming FSA beyond the time prescribed. “We are of the opinion that in a situation covered by Regulation 45-B(4), it is not open to the commission to step in and undo the irreversible consequence of the failure to abide by the time stipulation therein i.e. forfeiture of future FSA claims by the Discoms for such period by taking recourse to Regulation 59 of the Business Regulations.
The commission has no such power and must necessarily give effect to the forfeiture clause stipulated in the regulation. Being an independent and autonomous body mantled with balancing of consumers’ interests with that of the Discoms in recovering the cost of electricity in a reasonable manner, the commission cannot seek to favour one side as it has chosen to do in the present case. We are fortified in our view by the unequivocal observations made by the Supreme Court in the Maya Mathew case that the special rule framed subsequent to the general rule would undoubtedly prevail,” the bench said





Destitute kids allowed to attend school


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.40AM IST

NEW DELHI: There is good news for 44 of the 392 destitute children at Asha Kiran Home in Rohini, who had been denied admission in a mainstream school despite being found eligible for formal schooling. After intervention by the chief secretary, Delhi, the department of social welfare agreed to send these children out of the home to attend classes at a nearby school. The admission process for these children was started on Saturday with the filling up of forms for six students.

TOI had reported on November 7, 2011, how a tussle between the education and social welfare departments of the Delhi government had got in the way of the children being sent to school. The children aged between five and 18 years were found eligible for mainstream education on the basis of an HC order and assessment by 12 resource teachers from the DoE.

Two arrested for killing mediator

Two persons, wanted in a murder case in Bawana, were arrested on Saturday. Identified as Rajan and Sonelal, residents of Samaipur Badli, they had reportedly beaten to death one Ram Sewak when he tried to intervene in a street fight last August.



Karnataka gets 2nd Upa Lokayukta after 3 months


Anil Kumar M, TNN Jan 21, 2012, 08.41PM IST

BANGALORE: Three months after the post fell vacant, the Karnataka government on Saturday appointed Justice Chandrashekaraiah as the second Upa (deputy) Lokayukta. Governor HR Bhardwaj will administer oath of office to him on Sunday at Raj Bhavan.

Justice Chandrashekaraiah, belonging to Vokkaliga community, comes in place of Justice R Gururajan, who resigned from the post in October, 2011, citing health reasons. The first Upa Lokayukta is Justice S B Majage. The choice was made by chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda in consultation with opposition leaders. Justice Chandrashekaraiah was in race along with Justice A M Farooq, Justice Gururajan and Justice Ramanna.

Though Justice Gururajan cited health aspects for his resignation, there were media reports that he owned more than one immovable property in Bangalore. As per the information he has posted on the Karnataka Lokayukta website, he has a 42×60 site in Judicial Layout. He bought it in 2001 and spent Rs 23 lakh on the land and construction of the building. He also has two apartments, including the Chitrapura Society apartment in Malleswaram where he resides. Later he defended stating: “I live in an apartment. The land belongs to the Chitrapura Housing Co-operative Society. I have share certificates. It is like the tenant-membership system which is common in Mumbai. I do not own the land on which the apartment has been built. The structure is on a land leased for 99 years.”

However, Karnataka Lokayukta, once considered a role model for other states, is headless after Lokayukta Justice Shivaraj V Patil resigned in mid-September, 2011 after allegations of his family members owning residential sites in violation of law. Only one Upa Lokayukta, S B Majage, who suffered a heart attack a day after he assumed office last year, is in charge of the institution now. Though state government has proposed former Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath’s name for Lokayukta’s post, governor Bhardwaj is yet to clear it.

Justice Chandrashekaraiah practiced in the Karnataka HC and in the Supreme Court. He was appointed as permanent Judge of Karnataka HC in December 1995. After his retirement, he was appointed as Chairperson, Karnataka State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission ( KSCDRC).






Court rejects Sadhvi’s plea to fly or travel by AC

A special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court on Saturday rejected 2008 Malegaon blast key accused Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur’s application seeking permission to travel by air or by an air-conditioned coach to Bhopal for the trial of the murder of Sunil Joshi, a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) activist.

‘To move Bombay HC’

“We are going to move an application in the Bombay High Court against this court’s order now,” Sadhvi’s lawyer Ganesh Sovani told The Hindu on Saturday.

‘Willing to bear expenses’

Sadhvi had filed an application on January 16 seeking permission to travel to Bhopal by air or by an air-conditioned coach in the train citing health reasons. She had said that she was willing to bear the expenses of the travel.

The trial of Sunil Joshi murder case is underway at a National Investigation Agency (NIA) court.

The MCOCA court here on Saturday rejected Sadhvi’s application on the grounds that there is no such provision in the jail manual.

“The judge said that the accused will have to travel in the general compartment,” Mr. Sovani said.

The court will soon start hearing her bail application.

Next hearing on Feb. 4

“The arguments will start from February 4,” Mr. Sovani said.





Court protects widow’s pension rights


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 03.55AM IST

KOLKATA: It has taken a high court order to entitle a widow to her pension, sparking a debate whether a woman who had married a man after his retirement could claim dependent’s rights. Calcutta high court has not only ruled in the widow’s favour, but has declared the company law used for depriving her as contravening the provisions of the Constitution.

Shibani Das, 56, was denied the widow pension because Anil Kumar Das, a driver of Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT), happened to marry her after his retirement. When her pleas with her husband’s employer fell on deaf ears, Shibani moved court in 2008. A fortnight ago, Justice Debashis Kar Gupta passed the final judgment, declaring the sections of the Port Trust Regulation Act on widow pension ultra vires of the Constitution. The company law – as cited by KoPT – bars an employee’s widow from getting financial benefits if the marriage took place post superannuation.

Anil had retired from KoPT in 1982. His first wife died in 1989, and he remarried the very next year. He died in 2008 at the age of 84. Shibani, his second wife, then aged about 52, approached the KoPT with her pension claims. But the latter refused her claim, citing certain sections of the Port Trust Regulation Act that said that the wife of a man who had married after leaving the organization could not be considered for pension.

KoPT reasoned with Shibani that had she married Anil while he was with KoPT, she would have been a natural pension claimant. Or, had his first wife been alive, she would have been allowed the privilege since her name was registered with the company’s records.

Shibani had no other option but to move court, challenging the sections cited by KoPT. She filed a writ petition in Calcutta high court on November 11, 2008.

The matter came up for final hearing a fortnight ago and Justice Kar Gupta delivered the judgment saying that the particular sections of the Port Trust Regulation Act dealing with widow pension go against Article 14 of the Constitution which says that no individual could be discriminated against from availing of pension rights. The court further observed that Shibani was entitled to the pension since her marriage to Anil Das was legal. And, as Anil’s legally wedded wife, she was entitled to all the benefits due to a widow.





High court tells govt to ensure clarity in medical reports


Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 22, 2012

In directions aimed at fast tracking criminal trials, the Delhi High Court has asked the Delhi government to take immediate steps to ensure there is no delay in furnishing of medical and scientific reports before courts.
The court also called for more clarity in postmortem and medico-legal reports (MLC) furnished before the courts in terms of the language used so that there is no delay in understanding these reports. The court preferred computerised records rather than handwritten ones.

“Government is to take the views of different stakeholders including that of the doctors concerned and Forensic Science Laboratories (FSL) and formulate a time bound scheme so that there is no delay in trials on account of want of requisite and proper medical and scientific reports in time,” said justice ML Mehta.

The court said because of delay in FSL reports many avoidable orders were passed and it adversely affected the administration of justice.

The court also criticised the trend of doctors, who prepare MLCs, for not appearing in courts but sending their juniors or trainees to explain the report, which they mostly fail to do so.

The judge said a doctor who attends any victim, injured or dead, shall also take photographs of the clothes, as it is very crucial evidence in a criminal trial.

The court’s order came on an appeal filed by the state against the order of an additional sessions judge who had issued these directions. The state contended that the judge had no power to give such kind of directions to the government in policy matters. But the high court concluded: “The directions are quite laudable and seem to be based on the difficulties faced by the trial courts.”





High court resolves dispute between couple


TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 04.17AM IST

MADURAI: Setting an example on how proactive courts could be in resolving family disputes through mediation, the Madurai bench of the Madras high court abridged an estranged husband and wife who parted ways on account of differences in opinion.

By appointing an amicus curiae and through mediation, the Bench of Justices of N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass made T Ramesh of Andipatty and Sivalakshmi live together in Gujarat peacefully and happily. Ramesh married Sivalakshmi and the couple was blessed with two children. He works as a salesman in a confectionary at Baroda. Ramesh used to visit his house at Andipatti once in three months. On December 4, when he was in Baroda, he received a call from his relative, Balraj, stating that his wife and children went missing and their whereabouts could not be traced. He also asked Ramesh to start for Andipatti immediately. Thereafter, Ramesh rushed to his native place but even after a hectic search, his efforts to find his family went in vain. Unable to find his wife and children, a complaint was lodged before the Inspector of Police, Andipatti, but no action was taken. Hence, Ramesh preferred a habeas corpus in court.

When the matter came up for hearing before the Bench, the police produced the wife and children. The judges found that there was some difference of opinion between Ramesh and Sivalakshmi regarding their place of residence (whether to reside at Baroda or at Andipatti). Ultimately, the judges felt that if mediation was conducted, there would be a possibility for settlement. Hence they appointed B Saravanan, a lawyer, as amicus curiae to represent Sivalakshmi and her children. The bench then agreed to post the matter before the mediation and conciliation centre attached to the Madurai bench of the high court.

Mediation was conducted and a report also submitted by the mediator. The report said both parties attended the sessions and had decided to live together. Sivalakshmi agreed to go along with her husband to Baroda, burying their differences to live happily. Ramesh also agreed not to consume liquor and promised to live for his wife and children.

Disposing of the petition, the judges appreciated the petitioner’s counsel, S Balakarthick, and the amicus curiae for earnest efforts taken by them. They directed the High Court Legal Services Committee to pay a sum of Rs 3,000 to the amicus curiae and the mediator as remuneration.




High court’s expansion plans hit by own verdict


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 22, 2012

It couldn’t get more ironical for the Delhi High Court. The Supreme Court has upheld its 2006 order on 100m prohibited area around ASI-protected monuments, a move that is likely to cause problems for its proposed expansion plans. The apex court has upheld that the distance of 100 metres (prohibited area of 0-100 metres) has to be measured from the outer boundary wall of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI)-protected monuments and not from the physical structure.

Located on the Sher Shah Suri Marg, the court complex lies next to the 16th century Sher Shah Gate and Khair-ul-Manazil. Both monuments are ASI-protected.

The Delhi High Court is preparing an expansion plan, which include additional courtrooms, judges’ chambers and also chambers for lawyers in buildings taller than existing ones.

In November, the high court had directed the authorities concerned to prepare heritage byelaws for these monuments for new construction in the regulated area (101-300 metres from the protected monument). The Archaeological Act does not permit any new construction within the prohibited area.

At a meeting earlier this week, high court chief justice and five other judges had reviewed the process. Representatives of the High Court Bar Association (HCBA), Delhi Urban Arts Commission (DUAC), ASI, Air Force and conservation experts and urban planners had attended the meeting.

Sources said, the official from Air Force operations unit had objected to the height, stating it can hinder an aircraft’s flight path while flying over the India Gate during Republic Day parade. A site inspection was also carried out.

But even before heritage byelaws could be finalised, came the Supreme Court ruling. If the measurement (0-100 metres) has to start from the boundary wall of the monuments, a majority of the high court complex will come under the prohibited area.

But the court authorities are not exactly in agreement with the order. AS Chandiok, HCBA president, said, “The intent of the Supreme Court and the (archaeological) Act is to safeguard monument. Therefore, the 100 metres start from the monument.”  

“(But) the interpretation of the apex court’s ruling has to be clarified by the authorities – either ASI or the National Monument Authority (NMA). Only then can heritage byelaws be finalised,” said AGK Menon from the Indian National

Trust for Arts and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), a body taken on board by the ASI for preparation of heritage byelaws.  

It is the NMA, which will ultimately ratify the monument-specific heritage byelaws. “Wherever there is a boundary wall, measurement will start from that point and not from the monument, which can be somewhere inside,” said Pravin Shrivastava, NMA member secretary.

It now remains to be seen as to how the high court authorities and the NMA interpret the Supreme Court ruling.






Supreme Court dismisses tax case against Vodafone


In a major setback to the government, the Supreme Court (SC) on Friday quashed a Bombay High Court judgment that had allowed the Income Tax (I-T) authorities to impose a Rs.11,000 crore tax on Vodafone for the Rs.55,000 crore acquisition of a 67 per cent stake in Hutchinson Essar Ltd’s telecom business in India.

Vodafone had questioned the tax demand on the ground that the two firms involved in the deal were not incorporated in India and the deal had not taken place in India but in Cayman Islands.

A three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, in two separate but concurring judgments, directed the government to return Rs.2,500 crore taken as an interim amount during the pendency of the appeal with an interest of four per cent within two months.

The SC registry has also been directed to return within four weeks, the bank guarantee of Rs.8,500 crore given by the telecom major.

“Shareholding in companies incorporated outside India is property located outside India. Where such shares become subject matter of offshore transfer between two non-residents, there is no liability for capital gains tax,” Justice Kapadia and Justice Swatanter Kumar said in their judgment.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan agreed with the majority verdict but chose to use harsher words. “The demand of nearly Rs.12,000 crore by way of capital gains tax, in my view, would amount to imposing capital punishment for capital investment since it lacks authority of law and, therefore, stands quashed,” he said in a separate judgment.

Justice Kapadia, who wrote the majority judgment, said there was no liability to pay tax as the transaction concerned an “outright sale” between two non-residents of a capital asset (share) outside India.

“We hold that the Offshore Transaction herein is a bona fide structured FDI investment into India which fell outside India’s territorial tax jurisdiction, hence it is not taxable,” the Chief Justice said, adding that the offshore transaction evidences participative investment and not a sham or tax avoidant preordained transaction.

It is the task of the court to ascertain the legal nature of the transaction and while doing so it has to look at the entire transaction as a whole and not to adopt a dissecting approach as adopted by the revenue authorities, Justice Kapadia said.





Lokpal Bill bound to come: CIC–CIC/902415/


Press Trust of India : Chennai, Sat Jan 21 2012, 22:08 hrs
Observing that people “had lost faith and trust in the government,” the Chief Information Commissioner on Friday said that the Lokpal Bill was “bound to come”, adding that it would come under focus in the forthcoming Budget Session in Parliament.

“Lokpal or the Jan Lokpal… is likely to again spring back to the central stage as soon as the Budget Session is announced…It is bound to come because people have lost faith, trust in the government. Not so much in the government, but in the government servants,” said Chief Information Commissioner Satyanand Mishra while addressing a workshop on the RTI Act here.

Holding that Lokpal was an “insistent demand”, the CIC said: “Lokpal is a very important institution. I hope some day, it will come.”










With 26k cases due, CIC losing relevance


Himanshi Dhawan, TNN | Jan 22, 2012, 02.44AM IST

NEW DELHI: With an addition of nearly 2,500 complaints every month, the Central Information Commission (CIC), which has an astounding 26,049 pending cases is well on its way to becoming redundant. The reason: the CIC disposed off 22,414 cases last year, which means that there is a pendency of 14 months for every appeal and complaint making the information received by the applicant outdated and often useless.

Commission chief Satyananda Mishra expressed concern saying, “If the pendency continues increasing, the waiting period will also increase. We are very concerned and will have to think of radical ways to tackle the problem. One of the issues that we will discuss is `summary disposal’ of cases through just speaking orders to save time.”

The CIC has six information commissioners, including its chief, though it has a sanctioned strength of 10. One of the first tasks undertaken by Mishra on taking over was to write to the government asking for more commissioners keeping in view the large number of cases coming to the CIC. However, there has been little progress in ramping up the strength so far.

RTI activists are concerned and have been vocal in their disapproval of the long waiting time. One prominent RTI activist, who did not wish to be named, said, “The hearing for a case where I had sought information took place three months ago and in fact only the formal order had to be issued since I was given the impression that the decision had been taken. However, I have still not heard from the office of the information commissioner.

Prof Rajeev Kumar, formerly with IIT-Kharagpur, said that he had sought information on IIT-Madras in 2010 and only managed to get hearing in September, 2011. “I received the order after three months in December, 2011 and even then the institute gave me only part of the information. It was of no use. Despite the long delay the no penalty was charged. CIC has become infructuous,” Kumar said.

Sources said that some cases as old as 2006 were still pending before the Commission with no action being taken.













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