LEGAL NEWS 28.01.2012

Supreme Court panel report on Bellary illegal mining in early February


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court-appointed committee investigating illegal iron ore mining in Karnataka is tying up loose ends in Bellary district and will be submitting its final report early next month. The court’s forest bench is to hear the case again on February 3.

The Central Empowered Committee (CEC), whose investigations prompted the Supreme Court to suspend mining in iron ore-rich areas of the state, affecting nearly a fourth of the country’s production, has looked into every aspect of the ore’s mining in the state. Investigations have been on for a year.

Of the 150-odd mines in Bellary, Chitradurga and Tunkur, only a fifth, or 26 leases, have so far been found blameless. The court’s interim mining ban since July applied to all, except state miner NMDC, which was asked to supply a million tonne a month to sustain state steel and sponge iron plants.

Sources close to the panel said it could recommend allowing some more mine to resume operations. Meanwhile, Karnataka has already recommended cancellation of 24 mines based on the interim reports of the Lokayukta and CEC.

The current report will not cover the role played by corporate houses JSW and Adani, as had been sought by the court, as it could take another six months, an official said. The Central Bureau of Investigation, which is yet to submit its chargesheet in the Karnataka matter, has also been asked to look into a boundary dispute of a mine owned by NMDC.

The CEC’s current trip to Bellary was to review certain complex boundary disputes. For example, it went looking for a worn out land record document in the sub-registrar’s office, which was too delicate to be moved. The document has a map and a line on it, which is missing in subsequent documents.

This reference line could determine the fate of mines belonging to Ramgad Minerals, a sister concern of miner MSPL, and that of its neighbours Trident Mineral, P Vengannashetty & Brothers and SB Minerals. Incidentally, Bellary’s first collector was Thomas Munroe, who laid down the Ryotwari system under which the state could collect revenue directly form individual landowners.

The team was to also visit a mine belonging to MSPL in the Vyasanakere area of Bellary and the mines of SB Minerals, with whom it has an ongoing legal dispute. It also stopped by three mines-Vibhuti Gudda Mines, Tumti and Y Mahabaleshwarappa-which are close to the border with Andhra Pradesh.

Thus far, the CEC has conducted a survey of lease boundaries and encroachments with the Lokayukta and state officials and submitted several interim reports. It has also initiated auction of 25 million tonnes of mined iron ore, of which 18 million tonnes have already been auctioned for Rs 3,500 crore. The committee has also sold 700,000 tonnes of overburden, which is produced as waste dump during mining, averaging Rs 1,187 a tonne, compared with Rs 15-150 that they were fetching earlier.

Between November and end-December, the panel also heard individual miners, including NMDC and Sesa Goa, who had contested the findings of the joint survey. They appeared at CEC’s courtroom in Delhi with bags full of documents and sometimes teams of lawyers to make their case.

The panel, assisted by Karnataka’s forest and mines officials, will be differentiating between miners who are blameless, the irregular who could be let off with a penalty, and the big violators whose licence could be revoked. Earlier, the CEC had suggested a fine equal to five times the normative market value of looted mineral, but it could be rethinking the penalty on lines of contributions towards an environment development fund.








Finance Ministry may dangle threat of service tax levy on AC travel if rail fares are not hiked

 New Delhi, Jan. 26:

The Finance Minister, Mr Pranab Mukherjee, may have finally found a way to get Ms Mamata Bannerjee to toe the Centre’s line on Railway finances.

Although Ms Bannerjee relinquished the Railway Minister’s job to become West Bengal Chief Minister, her writ continues to run in Rail Bhawan since a Trinamool Congress appointee is the Railway Minister.

And the Trinamool Congress chief has been implacably opposed to increasing railway passenger fares, despite the deteriorating financial position of the Railways.

The bargaining tool this time round is the Centre’s plan to usher in a ‘negative list’ approach to taxation of services in the upcoming Budget. The Finance Ministry could slap a service tax on AC passengers, in effect raising the fares, if the Railways does not directly hike passenger fares.


Simply put, a negative list of services implies: First, a list of services that will not be subject to service tax. Second, it is implicit that all services other than the ones mentioned in the negative list will become taxable.

If Ms Bannerjee does not relent on a fare hike in the Railway Budget, there is always the prospect of the Finance Ministry using the Union Budget to indirectly increase rail passenger fares.

By bringing the air–conditioned train travellers under the service tax net (10 per cent tax rate), the Finance Ministry can mop up an estimated Rs 720 crore. This is a drop in the ocean when seen against the overall service tax kitty of nearly Rs 80,000 crore.

But from the standpoint of rail passengers, this would amount to a rail fare hike of 10 per cent, if implemented.


However, this has to be seen in the context of the Finance Ministry’s unsuccessful attempts in implementing service tax on rail freight earlier. Since April 1, 2010, when the service tax was originally proposed to come into force, the levy on rail freight has been deferred six times.

The latest date when service tax on rail freight is proposed to come into effect is April 1, 2012. This move would have translated into revenues of Rs 1,500-2,000 crore for the exchequer, at an effective service tax rate of 3.5 per cent of the freight earnings.









No mixed land use in residential areas


Staff Reporter

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the authorities to stop issuing permission forthwith for mixed land use (including commercial) as per the Revised Master Plan (RMP) 2015 for Bangalore city in areas that were classified as ‘residential zones’ in the Comprehensive Development Plan (CDP) 1995.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the interim order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by Citizens’ Action Forum (CAF) in 2008 challenging the RMP 2015.

“We direct that in the following areas of the city — Malleshwaram, Richmond Town, Vasanthnagar, Jayanagar, Vijayanagar, V.V. Puram, Rajajinagar, R.T Nagar, etc., — wherein purely residential use was permitted as per the CDP, no further permission shall be granted for redevelopment or reconstruction, except for residential use,” the Bench said.

“This order shall not be construed in any manner as conveying the approval of the court for other uses,” the Bench said, adding that it would pass orders on the next date of hearing (February 3) on permission already granted for non-residential uses in residential areas as per the RMP 2015.

The CAF, in its application before the court in July last year, pointed out that granting permission to use residential buildings for commercial purposes as per “mixed residential area classification” of the RMP 2015 must be stopped immediately because the State Government itself had “doubts on the credibility and implementation of the RMP 2015”.

The application said that the Government had appointed a committee headed by the former Chief Secretary A. Ravindra in December 2009 to scrutinise the negative aspects of zoning regulations with specific reference to the impact of the RMP 2015 on residential areas.


Pointing out that the Ravindra Committee, in its recommendations, had discussed modification of the RMP, the CAF had claimed that zonal regulation, if not stayed, would have an adverse impact on residential areas since the authorities were permitting commercial activities as per the RMP, which came into force in mid-2007.

The Bench took note of an observation in the Ravindra Committee report, which states, “Change of land use has been curtailed for small properties on small roads. The notion of ancillary use of a property has also been done away with. These two provisions have caused much pain to communities by mixing commercial development in what should be residential areas only.”










Economic reforms confined to the corporate sector only

By Madhu Purnima Kishwar, Founder, Manushi Sangathan

Poverty is concentrated in the informal sectors of the Indian economy, with people in these occupations amongst the worst affected from the pernicious Licence Quota Raid Raj. This is illustrated by the sarkari controls that trap the livelihoods of some of our nano entrepreneurs – cycle-rickshaw owners and pullers – in a web of illegality. Cycle-rickshaws are an inexpensive mode of commute in many cities, and do not cause any air or sound pollution.

Instead of encouraging this ecofriendly mode of transport, government agencies wage a daily war against them. It took Manushi 15 years and a PIL before the Delhi High Court declared, in February 2010, the existing cycle-rickshaw laws as unconstitutional. But the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Traffic Police have challenged the order in the Supreme Court so that they can continue with the corruption-friendly Licence Quota Raid Raj.

In Delhi, the rickshaw quota began at 600 during the 1960s, which rose to 52,000 in 2007. But according to MCD’s own admission, there are more than 6 lakh rickshaws plying in the city. Almost all licensed rickshaws carry the “illegality” stigma, because of absurd restrictions that govern the trade. No person can ply a rickshaw without two licenses-a puller’s and an ownership license. Plying one without them invites confiscation and destruction of the vehicle.

Possessing more than one rickshaw or allowing another to ply yours are also punishable . The ostensible justification for this law is to protect pullers from exploitative fleet owners. But its real intent becomes clear if we consider that the overwhelming majority of rickshaw pullers (over 95%) are seasonal migrants who find it impractical to own their own vehicle.

But the “owner must be puller” regulation ensures that almost every rickshaw puller and owner becomes illegal. The police make a killing by imposing unrealistic and arbitrary bans on rickshaw entry, including banning them from all arterial roads in Delhi, ensuring that pullers cough up daily bribes. As per calculations made by Manushi in 2001, the rickshaw trade loses at least Rs 360 crore a year by way of bribes and fines in Delhi alone. In response to a sustained campaign by Manushi, then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced a rational policy framework for the cycle-rickshaw trade in August 2001.

Instead of implementing the policy, the government machinery went to great lengths to sabotage it. That is why we appealed to the high court, which scrapped the licensing regime. The court ruled that the city government must provide equitable road space for non-motorised vehicles, or NMVs. It ordered the government to appoint a task force for evolving a new transport policy that treats NMVs as an integral part of city traffic.

The task force has replaced the arbitrary licensing system with registration on demand and mandated the creation of dedicated NMV lanes. However, our efforts to get the new legislation implemented are being met with stiff resistance. The government clearly prefers the pretense of ‘mai baap sarkar’ with corruptionfriendly and wasteful schemes for the poor such as NREGA even while it goes about actively wrecking livelihoods and depressing incomes of the poor. The poor need no subsidies, no concessions. All they need is the freedom to earn a dignified living through their own enterprise and hard work.










Age row: Supreme Court likely to hear Army Chief’s plea on Feb 3


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: January 26, 2012 20:22 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court is likely to hear Army chief, General VK Singh’s plea, who is battling the government over his age.

Last week, the court had dismissed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that was filed in support of the Army chief. The PIL was filed by an association of ex-army officers.

General Singh took the government to court last week – the first serving military chief to do so – in the hope of establishing that he is correct in claiming that he was born in 1951, not 1950. Documents with the Army reflect both dates.

In a petition filed in the Supreme Court last week, he has asked for an explanation of why his claim that he was born in 1951 and not 1950 has been rejected by the Ministry of Defence.

The government says that documents that list the date of birth as 1950 trump the others. It also says that many promotions granted to General Singh used 1950 to establish his seniority. Going by 1950 as the year of birth means the General has to retire at the end of May; accepting 1951 as his birth date would qualify him for another year in office, though he has said in his petition that it is the government’s prerogative to determine his tenure.

The Army Chief had met with Minister of State for Defence Pallam Raju who had publicly criticised him for setting an “unhealthy precedent” by taking his dispute to court. Defence Minister AK Antony had said he is “sorry and sad” about the government’s dispute with the army chief about how old he really is.

Now Anna seeks law to make gram sabhas “above parliament”

AP File photo of activist Anna Hazare during his fast for a strong Lokpal Bill in Mumbai. The anti-corruption activist now seeks gram sabha law reforms.

Decrying the failure of Rajya Sabha to pass the Lokpal bill, Anna Hazare on Thursday made a curious suggestion to bring a law to empower gram sabhas that will be above Parliament.

In a video address to Team Anna’s seminar ‘Rebuilding the Republic’, he said people will have to be ready for a big agitation like the one for Jan Lokpal Bill if the government does not bring a law for empowering village sabhas.

“Lok Sabha thinks it is above everyone. This is wrong. People have made you. So they are above you… It is the sacred temple of democracy. In such a sacred place, what has happened in Rajya Sabha in the last day (of the Winter Session) on Lokpal Bill.

“550 people were giving their own suggestions. Nobody has asked people. So we need another law. Assemblies and Lok Sabha think that they are above gram sabhas. But gram sabhas are above you. We need a new law which gives such a power to gram sabhas,” he said in his 30-minute address.

Asserting that the incidents during the last day of Rajya Sabha’s Winter Session was wrong, Mr. Hazare added, “The elected members were giving their views on their own. This is not right democracy. Why this happened? Because the masters were sleeping.”

He said there should be provisions in the new law that a panchayat can be dismissed if it spends money without consulting the gram sabha and getting their consent.

Arguing for strong gram sabhas, Mr, Hazare cited the acquisition process for Special Economic Zones saying the owners in the villages and the village sabhas do not know when the government acquires their land straightaway without their permission.

“We the masters were sleeping when the servants were looting our treasuries. Now we have awakened. If the government does not bring a law, we will have to organise an agitation similar to the August 16 (Ramlila Maidan) agitation for a strong Lokpal Bill,” he said.

Claiming that today’s democracy is not for the people, by the people, and of the people but that of officialdom, Mr. Hazare said corruption increased because of exclusion of people from the law making process.

“Those who are to safeguard the treasuries are the ones who are looting it. The responsibility lies with people as they fell asleep after sending elected representatives to Parliament and Assemblies.

“We sent them as our servants but they are behaving like our masters…The laws being made are weak because you are not consulting the masters,” he said.

Mr. Hazare said there is no difference between the British rule and the present system if the government does not take the opinion of people while making laws.

He also made a fresh demand for Right to Recall and Right to Reject laws.

Taking on from what Mr. Hazare said, his close aide Arvind Kejriwal said, “If a bill is passed in Parliament, our representatives should distribute them to people and ask their opinion.”

He said they were being asked to have faith in Parliament but “how do we do that.”

“When we close eyes to visuals of Parliament, we see the faces of (more than) 163 other criminals sitting there. I don’t remember there was a movement such big where people came to streets in such numbers for a law. Then Lalu Prasad says no MP wants Lokpal. How do we believe that they represent us?”

“Parliament has become hostage to ruling party rather than ruling party being accountable to Parliament. This situation of ruling party High Command becoming virtual kings is dangerous,” he said.

On the Lokpal Bill, he said the law that went to Parliament was “useless“.

“97 amendments were introduced by opposition. Their speeches were different from the amendments they moved. The ruling party had the majority and they did what they wanted.

Was it just a formality? Was it just a show? The people whom we sent turn to their High Command for orders,” he added.

Another Team Anna member Shanti Bhushan said the reason for the establishment of Republic was to give power to people for lawmaking.

“But something has gone wrong. To bridge the gap, a people’s movement is needed and its bugle has been sounded.

There will be a peaceful movement that will stretch to the nook and corner of the country,” he said.

Justice Bhandari is nominee for ICJ post


By-election scheduled for March

The government of India has officially nominated Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a sitting Supreme Court judge, as India’s candidate for the post of Judge of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the casual vacancy caused in Asia following the resignation of Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh from Jordan in October 2011 after his appointment as the Prime Minister of that country.

Being a casual vacancy the term is for the reminder period of six years. In September, 2011 a regular Asian vacancy (for a nine-year term) had arisen due to the retirement of Japanese Judge Hisashi Owada. But, despite strong expectation, India missed the opportunity and did not nominate its candidate. However, now India is perceived as a strong candidate in the coming by-election in March 2012 to fill the casual vacancy.

Having missed an opportunity to contest in the normal vacancy, India can now seek the support of other countries to get elected at least in the casual vacancy.

In the past, Justice B.N. Rao (1950s), Dr. Nagendra Singh (1970-80s) and Justice R.S. Pathak (1988-90), former Chief Justice of India, had served as Judges of the ICJ. In 1991, Justice Pathak, who was re-nominated, lost the election and thereafter India did not contest. Two persons served as ad hoc Judges namely: M.C. Chagla in a dispute with Portugal in the 1950s and Jeevan Reddy in a dispute with Pakistan in 2002. The list of sitting judges or the past judges of the ICJ reveal that most of them had been law professors or diplomats.

Taking all these factors into consideration, India has now nominated Justice Bhandari as its official candidate and it remains to be seen whether he will be elected unopposed. There will be election if Jordon also decides to contest for the reminder of its term.

The ICJ is the Principal Judicial Organ of the United Nations. It consists of 15 Judges who serve for nine years. At present, among the 15 Judges on the Bench of ICJ, two representatives from Asia are: Hisashi Owada from Japan, who is also the president, and Xue Hanqin from China.

Supreme Court advocate Mohan Katarki, familiar with the working of the ICJ, said: “Though there is no formal provision for distribution of Judges, in practice, distribution among the principal regions of the world exists. Out of 15 Judges, the distribution is 3 for Africa, 2 for Latin America, 3 for Asia, 5 for Western Europe and other States and 2 for Eastern Europe. Another practice is that, a national of each of the 5 permanent members of the Security Council is always represented on the Bench. The principle behind such selection is that the ICJ does not decide disputes based on hard and fast rules, but brings out a solution to the dispute to achieve peace.”

Justice Bhandari (64), who has vast experience in international law and is familiar with the working of the U.N. organisations, is the preferred candidate of the Indian government. He is due to retire in September this year. Justice Bhandari was the chairperson of the Delhi Centre of the International Law Association for several years. He was invited to deliver a keynote address in the International Conference organised by the United Nations on “Intellectual Property” at Auckland (New Zealand). He was elevated as a Judge of the Supreme Court on October 28, 2005.

On March 13, 2006, he was invited to address the International Conference on “Judicial Education on Equality Issues in South Asia: What we have accomplished Together,” organised by the Asia Pacific Advisory Forum at Kathmandu (Nepal). On January 13, 2007, he was invited to deliver a keynote address on “Gender Justice & Sensitisation of Judiciary – An Overview,” organised by the Asia Pacific Advisory Forum on Judicial Education on Equality Issues at Karachi (Pakistan).

He has been selected as one of the 15 most illustrious and distinguished alumni in the 150 years history of the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, U.S. He was unanimously elected president of the India International Law Foundation.









Unsound mind defence may save Santosh Mane: Lawyer


Published: Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 20:30 IST
By Manasi Saraf Joshi | Place: Pune

Although a driver who causes the death of a person due to rash and negligent driving faces maximum punishment of life imprisonment and/ or fine under section 304 (A) of the Indian Penal Code, 1960, Santosh Mane, who claimed 8 lives may be go scot free if he succeeds in proving that he had an unsound mind at the time of commission of the offence.

Senior lawyer, SK Jain, said such cases attract charges under section 304 (A). The quantum of punishment depends on circumstances like number of deaths and damage to property.

However, he added, if the accused claims he was suffering from unsound mind, the trial cannot commence until he recovers enough to understand what is going on. In such cases, he is sent to a mental hospital for treatment.

Even on conviction, such person is likely to be sent to a mental hospital for treatment, according to Jain.

No legal help for Pune rogue driver


PTI | Jan 27, 2012, 03.39AM IST

PUNE: Santosh Mane, the state transport driver who went on a rampage mowing down eight persons and injuring 27 others, was on Thursday remanded in police custody till February 3 by a local court with lawyers refusing to appear for him.

There was no sign of remorse on 30-year-old Mane, who was produced in the court of judicial magistrate V B Borha, has been charged under sections 302 (murder), 307 (attempt to murder), 326 (voluntarily causing grievous hurt), 324 (voluntarily causing hurt), and 381 (theft) of the Indian Penal Code in addition to offences related to damage to public property.

The district government pleader Ujwala Pawar, who sought 14 days police remand of Mane, submitted to court that the accused had committed a heinous crime and it was necessary to investigate matters related to his behaviour in the state transport department prior to the act. She said police would also require time to gather necessary evidence in the case. Magistrate Borha, however, remanded the accused in police custody till February 3.











Why not ban asbestos, HC asks Centre


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday held that the government of India should think of prohibiting the import, manufacture and use of asbestos to prevent health hazards. “Asbestos, including the fibre and its products, is banned in all developed countries as it is known to be hazardous to health and is one of the causes of lung cancer. So India should think of its prohibition,” the court said. The court also asked the Central Government and the Customs Commissioner to file a report 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 C Muthuswami of Bangalore against the detention of a consignment of asbestos fibre at the Walayar check-post.

“Of course the raw material with which asbestos sheets and pipes are made are cheap and affordable to common man. This may be the reason that prevents developing countries like India from banning it,” the court observed.

The court pointed out that John Varghese, counsel for Customs, informed that there was no ban on the import of asbestos fibre and related materials though they are hazardous to health. The government should consider the prohibition of asbestos to save people from health hazards, the Bench observed and directed the registry to post the case before the Acting Chief Justice’s court which hears PILs.











Ruling buoys parole seekers


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Jan 27, 2012, 02.32AM IST

NEW DELHI: Prisoners awaiting decision on their appeals in Delhi high court can now benefit from an HC ruling where it has brought them on a par while seeking bail, with convicts who have lost their case and seek parole.

HC has clarified the legal position on grant of interim bail to prisoners awaiting their appeal and said their bail pleas should be considered on the same grounds taken into account while granting parole.The court said nothing stops such convicts from seeking bail for maintaining social ties, serious illness of a family member, critical condition among others.







Man-animal conflict: Karnataka HC sets up task force


Published: Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 15:32 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Karnataka high court has set up a task force to help in resolving the man-animal conflict in the state, responding to a suo motu public interest litigation seeking steps to prevent elephant deaths in Karnataka.
A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen set up the task force, which will be headed by Dr Raman Sukumar of Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore.
Other members of the taskforce are Ajay Desai, member of Project Elephant, Sharat Chandra Lele, sociologist and member of Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, Dr CH Basappanavar, retired forest officer, Dr SS Bisht, former director of Project Elephant, N Ravindranath Kamath and BR Deepak, advocates, and MK Madhusudhan, elephant expert and Green Oscar awardee. The division bench of the high court asked the taskforce to present its report on April 15.
The division bench gave the following directions to the task force:• Look into the entire gamut of issues related to human-elephant conflict in Karnataka with special reference to Hasan–Kodagu area and make recommendations to bring about a more effective conservation and management regime for the species and its habitat in Karnataka with focus on participation of local communities.• Study the composition of the elephant population in Kattipura area and its movement pattern.• Examine a report on feasibility of providing a proper corridor or habitat, if need be, by acquiring private land and recovering the encroached land within the periphery of forest lands.• Consider the need or feasibility of translocation of elephants or local inhabitants from the relevant habitats.• Examine and report on the present status or steps taken by forest authorities in respect of electric fencing and trenching or any other corridor formation within and outside the forests in Hassan–Kodagu area and whether such steps are ill-advised or improperly implemented. • Examine and report on the achievements made or present status of or implementation of short- and long-term comprehensive action plan submitted to this court.













HC: Rectify Defects Within 7 Weeks


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday granted seven weeks’ time to rectify the defects pointed out by the Pollution Control Board (PCB) on the installation work at the Kureepuzha waste treatment plant in Kollam. A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon passed the order while considering a petition filed by Kollam Corporation seeking police protection for installing a waste treatment plant.

The petitioner submitted that Manushyavakasha Paristhithi Samrakshana Samiti and some residents of Kureepuzha were

obstructing waste-carrying vehicles and the employees were manhandled several times.











Madras HC rejects HRD Ministry’s appeal


PTI | 10:01 PM,Jan 26,2012

Chennai, Jan 26 (PTI) The Madras High Court has upheld a single judge’s order directing the Centre to consider a deemed university’s proposal of 2007 to set up an off-campus centre in Tiruchirappalli by applying the University Grants Commission (UGC) guidelines which existed prior to 2010. A bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam in their recent order said that as noticed by the single Judge, though Section 26(3) of the UGC Act conferred power to make a regulation, including with retrospective effect, no retrospective effect should be given to any regulation so as to prejudicially affect the interest of any person to whom it may be applicable. The Bench was dismissing an appeal by the Human Resources Development Ministry challenging the single judge’s order on a petition by SRM University (Deemed) near here directing the Ministry to consider its application in the light of the UGC’s recommendations of September 2009 to the Centre clearing the proposal. The Ministry claimed that the single Judge was wrong in directing the university’s application to be considered under the old guidelines after the same had been superseded by the 2010 regulations. The university, however, submitted that grave prejudice was caused to it on account of the ministry’s direction to apply afresh under the 2010 regulations as the news rules came into force during the pendency of its proposal. The university said the power under the regulation itself was prospective and could not prejudice anyone. MORE PTI GR VS








Gujarat HC had opted for CBI in 2 cases


Published: Thursday, Jan 26, 2012, 17:06 IST
By Nikunj Soni | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

The Gujarat high court had earlier refused to hand over the investigation of two encounter cases to the special task force (STF) headed by retired Supreme Court judge Justice MB Shah.

The Gujarat government had sought an investigation by the STF in the Sadik Jamal and Ishrat Jahan encounter cases. The government’s argument was heard by the high court during the hearing of two different petitions filed by the kin of Sadik Jamal, Ishrat and Pranesh alias Javed Shaikh. However, the high court had rejected a probe by the STF and handed over the cases to the CBI.

Mukul Sinha, who was lawyer of the victims’ kin in both the cases, had expressly opposed a probe by the STF headed by justice MB Shah.

The high court had ultimately asked the CBI to investigate the Sadik Jamal encounter case and find out whether the encounter was genuine or not. The Ishrat Jahan encounter was found to be fake following an investigation by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) constituted by the high court bench of justices Jayant Patel and Abhilasha Kumari.

Justice Shah is already in charge of a mammoth task. He is chairman of the enquiry commission set up by the Central Government to investigate charges of illegal mining of coal. Last year, he was appointed vice-chairman of the special investigation team set up by the Supreme Court for investigation of black money parked abroad.

In addition, justice Shah is the head of the enquiry commission set up by the state government to investigate corruption charges levelled against the government by the Congress.

When contacted, justice Shah said he had already started work on the probe into corruption charges levelled against the state government by the Congress. “I am not aware of the Supreme Court order on the encounter cases. Hence I can not comment on it,” he said.

Meanwhile, reacting to the Supreme Court judgment, Nitya Ramakrishnan, counsel for petitioner BG Verghese, said, “We are very happy that a Supreme Court judge will probe and monitor the encounter cases.”








HC judgment on age limit in nursery today


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, January 27, 2012

The Delhi high court will on Friday pronounce its crucial judgment on a PIL seeking banning private schools from admitting children below four years of age in nursery classes. The PIL by NGO Social Jurist also urged the court to fix uniform age pattern for nursery and KG classes in all schools. The court had reserved its order on January 19 after hearing the petitioner, schools and the government.

The NGO accused the government of not enforcing the court’s September 2007 order, which had asked it to implement Ashok Ganguly Committee’s recommendations that favoured fixing of four years as the minimum age for admission in pre-primary classes and disfavoured considering nursery as part of formal schooling.

“KG should be considered as entry level while most schools treat nursery as an official start to schooling, leaving little scope for fresh admissions in KG,” Agarwal submitted. He also demanded that nursery class should not be considered as “feeder for KG class”.

During the hearing, the court asked the government to frame guidelines for admission to pre-primary classes that will be applicable to all schools in the Capital.











MP HC restrains AICTE from derecognizing tech colleges


Joseph John, TNN | Jan 27, 2012, 04.54AM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh High Court on Wednesday passed interim orders, directing the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) not to cancel recognition of any institution for not complying with its new policy which prescribed mandatory subscription of foreign e-journals by technical institutions.

Admitting a petition moved by Private Technical Colleges Association (Feprotech), the bench comprising justice K K Lahoti and Justice Mrs Vimla Jain granted interim relief to the petitioners, directing AICTE not to cancel recognition of any technical institute for non-compliance of its guideline for mandatory subscription of foreign e-journals.

The court also issued notice to AICTE, directing the technical education regulator to file its reply by February six.

The petitioners had challenged AICTE’s revised policy on journals in which for the first time it had prescribed mandatory subscription of foreign e-journals on computers, engineering management, pharmacy, architecture, bio-technology and hotel management. The annual subscription costs of these foreign e-journals varied from 1000 to 6000 US dollars.

In its petition, Feprotech challenged AICTE direction on e- journals arguing that such a policy would put tremendous financial burden on technical institutions which otherwise would not be so high in subscribing e-journals from Indian companies.

During the hearing, Petitioner’s counsel Siddharth Radhelal Gupta argued technical institutions per se were not opposed to the idea of subscribing foreign e-journals. “However, AICTE had only kept foreign e-journals in its list hence technical institutions, affiliated to AICTE, would not be in a position to subscribe e-journals from Indian companies which doesn’t figure in the list. ” AICTE cannot keep Indian companies out of this list”, he argued.











Supreme Court stays probe against SM Krishna


Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: January 27, 2012 15:23 IST

New Delhi:  The Supreme Court today stayed the lokayukta police probe against External Affairs Minister SM Krishna. Mr Krishna had challenged the registration of an FIR by the Karnataka Lokayukta (ombudsman) police on allegations that he had illegally de-reserved forest blocks for mining when he was chief minister 1999-2004.

A bench of Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Surinder Singh Nijjar and Justice Gyan Sudha Misra heard the matter today and said since the further report by the lokayukta has to be submitted, they feel the “FIR is premature.”

Mr Krishna’s petition had said that that policy decision of the government could not be looked into by the courts and the Cabinet decision was a collective decision of the Council of Ministers for which no one individual could be singled out for probe.

The FIR was registered by police on the order of Lokayukta court judge NK Sudhindra Rao directing a probe in the wake of private complaint by a Bangalore businessman TJ Abraham. Mr Krishna’s two successors, N Dharam Singh and HD Kumaraswamy and 11 serving and retired senior officials will also be probed.

In his complaint, Mr Abraham had alleged that during his tenure as chief minister, Mr Krishna “illegally amassed wealth in the name of his family members, including his children and in-laws, and also in the names of his erstwhile close cabinet colleagues in return for de-reserving forest land for private companies”.

Mr Krishna is facing a probe for de-reserving 34 forest blocks in Bellary and other places and allegedly allowing 10 private companies to mine in the area, despite opposition from the then state forests minister and the secretary of the forests department.










Reply to RTI queries or face penalty: CIC warns AI


Updated on Thursday, January 26, 2012, 11:52

Zeebiz Bureau

New Delhi: The Chief Information Commissioner has sent notice to Air India for refusing to reply to specific RTI queries pertaining to the use of carrier for former Civil Aviation Minister Praful Patel’s daughter Poorna Patel and some IPL players.

Allegedly, a scheduled Delhi-Coimbatore flight that was cancelled on April 20, 2010, was used to ferry these people on the request from Poorna Patel.

The official documents accessed through RTI, show the request was made by India Cements Limited, Chennai owners of Chennai Super Kings.

RTI activist Subash Chandra has filed another RTI this time seeking copy of complete documents/correspondence/file etc which the Air India has refused to serve citing commercial confidentiality..

Taking cognisance of the issue the Chief Information commissioner has put Air India on notice by asking them to reply to the RTI or face a penalty.










Traders’ body seeks to defer Food Safety Act


TNN | Jan 27, 2012, 04.31AM IST

MADURAI: The merchant community in Madurai has termed the Food Safety and Standards Act, 2006 as detrimental to the interests of farmers and self-help groups in its present form and urged the Centre to postpone the enforcement of the Act.

Hoisting the tricolour to mark the Republic Day, S P Jeyapragasam, president of the Madurai-based Tamil Nadu Foodgrain Merchants’ Association said the Act that has come into force from September last year would curtail farmers’ opportunity to sell products at remunerative prices. “According to the Act, farmers who grow the food products and traders are liable for action for deficiency in the products. The deficiency in quality of agro products due to changes in weather should also be taken into account,” he said.

Jeyapragasam noted that the government was selling liquor while admitting that consuming liquor was injurious to health. “Similarly, cigarette and beedi packets are sold with the warning that smoking is injurious to health. The government that permits sale of these injurious products tends to penalise heavily traders if the product they sell is substandard without taking into account the quality change due to weather. It is not fair on the part of government,” he said.

He also noted that the products made by SHG members cannot be brought under the purview of the act. “They will be forced to stop production,” he said, urging that the government should postpone enforcement of the Act by at least three years to hear grievances of farmers and traders.

The association demanded that food testing laboratories be established in all districts before the Act is implemented.

The Tamil Nadu Chamber of Commerce president N Jegatheesan in his Republic Day address demanded that foreign direct investment in retail sector should not be allowed. “The chamber welcomes foreign investment in infrastructure sector but not in retail. Though the Centre has dropped the proposal for now, the government may start a campaign soon after the assembly elections in few northern states claiming that FDI in retail was good for farmers. It should not be allowed,” he said.




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