LEGAL NEWS 28.02.2012

EVMs are safe, say Election Commission observers


TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 03.07AM IST

LUCKNOW: Twenty-four hours after water from an overhead tank flooded a building where electronic voting machines for two constituencies of Lucknow are kept, the Election Commission observers and candidates confirmed there was no damage to the EVMs.

EC observers Arvinder Singh and Ashim Khurana conducted a detailed assessment of the building on Sunday morning. The candidates of the two affected constituencies, Sarojininagar and Mohanlalganj, were asked to remain present when the seals of the strongrooms were broken on Sunday evening. “We’ve had a look at the place. We’ve also spoken to the candidates and the BSP agent who was present,” Khurana told TOI, adding, “They wanted to know whether the EVMs were safe. Prima facie, there doesn’t seem to be much. That was our assessment. But the point was that the rooms were still locked. So we wanted to satisfy the candidates that all is well.”

In accordance with EC guidelines, the entire proceeding – from breaking the seal, candidates’ inspection of EVMs and resealing of the strong room – was video taped. Khurana said Sarojininagar EVMs were stored in two rooms on the ground floor. Although a small puddle was noticed outside one, both the rooms were opened to candidates in assure them there was no damage.

“Everything was done in a transparent and objective manner, in conformity with the EC directives,” said Khurana.

Candidates who inspected the strong rooms said they were satisfied. Congress’s Gaurav Chaudhary said, “Although there were wet patches, the EVMs were safe. We could see dampness in the room, but I don’t think there is any need to ask for a re-poll. We hope though the district administration would be more careful in future.”

There was panic on Saturday after water from an overhead tank flooded the room where EVMs for two constituencies were stored after February 19 polling.










Pipli rape case: NCSC steps in, summons Orissa officials


PTI Feb 26, 2012, 07.32PM IST

NEW DELHI: Taking serious note of the rape case of Odisha’s Puri District where the victim slipped into coma after being treated for snake bite, National Commission for Schedule Caste (NCSC) has issued a notice to senior state and district officials to appear before them and submit an “action taken report” in the matter.

“We have issued a notice to Odisha’s Director General of Police and the SP and DM of Puri District to submit an ATR in the alleged rape case of a Dalit girl in November last year,” NCSC Chairman P L Puniya told PTI.

The 19-year-old girl was found in a semi-naked and unconscious condition in a paddy field in Arjungada village under the Pipili police station in Puri district on November 28 last year.

“She was transfered from one hospital to another without proper medical check-up, and was later administered anti-venom medicine following which she slipped into coma,” Puniya said.

“We have asked DGP, SP and DM as why no action has not yet been taken in the case,” he added.

Puniya also mentioned that such cases are rampant in various backward districts of Odisha.

NCSC officials in Odisha said the Commission has asked DGP, SP and DM to appear before it on March 12.

The state government had ordered a judicial probe into the incident and a team of the National Commission for Women (NCW) probed into the incident.










Banks have to do a balancing act during debts recovery”


The Hindu G.S.Hegde, Principal Legal Advisor to Reserve Bank of India speaking at a workshop on SARFAESI in Madurai on Saturday. Photo: G. Moorthy

Two-day workshop on SARFAESI Act inaugurated

Banks have to do a great balancing act when it comes to the subject of debts recovery. They have to ensure that the bank recovers the debts and protects its liquidity and at the same time it should not put the borrower in embarrassing situation said, G.S.Hegde, Principal Legal Advisor to Reserve Bank of India.

Delivering the inaugural address at the two-day workshop on SARFAESI Act (The Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act, 2002,), titled ‘Is SARFAESI a complete code for recovery,’ here on Saturday, Mr. Hegde talked about the days of debts recovery prior to the days of Debts Recovery Tribunal Act and the transitions and also cited how the Delhi High Court had mentioned that the DRT Act as unconstitutional.

SARFAESI Act allows banks and financial institutions to auction properties (residential and commercial) when borrowers fail to repay their loans. It enables banks to reduce their non-performing assets (NPAs) by adopting measures for recovery or reconstruction.

Mr. Hegde mentioned that the banks should have only trained recovery agents and every bank shall have a grievance redressal forum with regard to debt recovery. He also spoke on how important it is to deal with humaneness and cited Justice A.R.Lakshmanan’s observations in a case where he says how recovery agents have become modern day Shylocks in his words “A man’s self-respect, stature in society are all immaterial to the agent who is only primed at recovery. This is the modernised version of Shylock’s pound of flesh.”

Speaking earlier, D. Stanley David, presiding officer, DRT, Madurai said that bank officers should not have a closed mind and drive out the borrower but have to help him at the maximum to see whether he could avail loan.

A seminar book was released by N. P. Rajan, Deputy General Manager, Indian Bank, Madurai Zone and the first copy was received by K. Lakshmipathikumar, DGM, Canara Bank, Madurai circle.

The workshop among others deals with topics on, What is fair valuation of secured interest, Priority of charges, Agricultural Land and The Companies Bill-2011. Pala Ramasamy, Advocate, L. Balaji, Valuer were the convenors of the workshop.









Haryana: 1,930 cases settled in Lok Adalats

Last Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 18:52

Chandigarh: As many as 1,930 cases were on Sunday settled on in Lok Adalats organised by Haryana State Legal Services Authority.

These Lok Adalats were held at Hisar, Hansi, Karnal, Narnaul, Rohtak and Rewari.

43 cases of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) pertaining to death or injury arising out of vehicular accidents were settled in these Lok Adalats and Rs 81.19 lakh was awarded as compensation to the victims.

1,887 cases pertaining to other categories including civil, petty criminal, matrimonial and family disputes, 138 cases of Negotiable Instruments Act and of bank loans pending were also settled.











Goldsmiths protest death of man who died in custody


TNN Feb 26, 2012, 06.55AM IST

MADURAI: Even as the police have earned the wrath of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) for the encounter killings of five suspected bank robbers in Chennai, goldsmiths in Madurai raised a banner of revolt against the Madurai police, demanding a through probe into the alleged police torture that led to the death of a fellow goldsmith.

Under the aegis of the Federation of All Viswakarma Workers Associations, goldsmiths in Madurai gathered at the Jhansi Rani Park on Saturday and demanded that the mysterious death of one of their ilk should be probed by a judge. The agitation, led by A Senthil Kumar, state president of Tamil Nadu Viswakarma Youth Forum charged that police torture was the reason behind the death of Saravanakumar (36) from Munichalai. “It was nothing but the inhuman treatment meted out by the police that led to the death of Saravakumar,” he said.

Saravanakumar was arrested for allegedly creating fake gold jewellery and pledging them in unauthorised pawn shops to make money. Police said that when they raided his shop, they found Rs 2.29 lakhs cash and five fake gold bangles. But a day later, he was admitted to the hospital where he died. Police claimed that Saravanakumar was produced before a judicial magistrate after the interrogation. It was after that he was sent to the prison where he developed health complications, police said while denying the charge of torture. But the victim’s father E Arumugam, charged that the police were trying to save face after beating his son to death. Saravanakumar’s wife Kalarani too alleged that when she spoke to her husband after he was taken into custody, the latter had lamented to her that he was being severely beaten by the cops. The relatives of Saravanakumar as well as the goldsmiths demanded that action should be taken against the police personnel who took him into custody and interrogated him.

Meanwhile, a judicial magistrate visited the government hospital where the body of Saravanakumar was kept and inspected the post-mortem. The judicial magistrate also conducted an inquiry of the police and health officials as well as the relatives of the deceased. The entire post mortem process was videographed.












NGO for probe into encounter


The police encounter in which five persons were killed should be probed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) under the supervision of the Madras High Court, ‘Evidence’, a human rights organisation, said on Sunday.

Releasing the report of a fact-finding team A. Kathir, executive director of Evidence, questioned the police version that the five persons continued to stay in an apartment in Velachery even after the bank heist at Keelkattalai.

Mr Kathir said the police could have easily arrested the bank robbery suspects because the house in which they had stayed was in a narrow lane with a single entry and exit point.











CAT rules in favour of 3 teachers, can be given posts


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Mon Feb 27 2012, 01:35 hrs


The three teachers who had filed a case in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) regarding Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan (SSA) recruitment will be considered for appointment.

The full bench of the Central CAT has passed an order in this regard which reads, “Aarti Rana and Simarjit Kaur are declared eligible for consideration for the appointment to the post of Social Studies mistress. In the case of Shalu Chawla, she is declared to have made the grade and becomes entitled for considerations to the relevant appointments”.

The case dates back to 2007 when UT Director Public Instructions (Schools) had advertised the posts of teachers for social studies. The qualifications which were required was 50 percent marks in any two of seven elective subjects by the department.

Rana and Kaur had applied for the post and were not invited for the interview even after faring well in the exam. Rana had been ineligible on the premise that they did not have the required combination of subjects for appointment.

Kaur was declared ineligible stating that she had not studies two relevant subjects in the BEd course.

Shalu Chawla on the other hand had stated that after having announced the appointments, the marks obtained by the candidates in the short-listing process were counted by issuing a corrigendum stating the same. Such an action affected the final merit list ousting her application.

The counsel of both Kaur and Rana had argued that the advertisement did not mention anywhere the relevant subjects which would be deemed to be relevant subjects for the purpose of determination of eligibility. Rana’s counsel had further argued that she was holding a similar appointment under Sarv Shiksha Abhiyaan.

One of applicants had attached information furnished by the NCTE regrading the qualifications that would make them eligible for the post of social science mistress. Moreover, the applications had also given instances where teachers with the same combinations were appointed to the post.

The order has asked for compliance of order within one month from the date a copy is presented in the office of the competent authority.











Court ruling today on fate of Sankararaman murder trial


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 03.51AM IST

CHENNAI: The fate of the stalled murder trial against the Kanchi Sankaracharyas and others in the Sankararaman murder case will be known on Monday, when the Madras high court delivers its judgment on a batch of writ petitions.

Sankararaman, manager of the famous Varadaraja Perumal temple in Kancheepuram, was hacked to death inside the temple premises on September 3, 2004. Both heads of the Kanchi mutt – Jayendra Saraswathi and Vijayendra Saraswathi – were arrested, along with others, in connection with the murder. On a petition from them apprehending foul play, the Supreme Court shifted the trial to Puducherry.

While the trial was hurtling along in the sessions court at Puducherry with several key witnesses, including Sankararaman’s wife Padma turning hostile, it was stayed by the high court on August 25, 2011, after a petition was filed by advocate P Sundararajan alleging that audio tapes containing certain conversations had surfaced recently, indicating attempts to influence the trial through unfair means.

Several more petitions, including two by Padma, were later filed seeking registration of an FIR facilitating a probe into the origin and authenticity of the audio tapes, besides a fresh trial against the accused. After the interim orders were passed, the matter was placed before Chief Justice M Y Eqbal to be posted before another bench. The matter then went to a division bench headed by Justice D Murugesan, before being placed before a bench of justice K N Basha and justice N Paul Vasanthakumar. According to a cause list published by the high court, Justice Basha, sitting single, will pronounce the judgment. Justice Paul Vasanthakumar is sitting in the Madurai bench at present.

Yet another twist was added to the tale, when the then trial judge, T Ramasamy, was transferred a few weeks ago. The appointment of a new judge is awaiting formal notification by the Union Territory of Puducherry, as it is a deputation.

With most of the trial done and the original trial judge not at the helm anymore, whether the high court would vacate the stay; whether the court would order resumption of trial from where it was stalled last August; or whether it would order a fresh trial will become clear on Monday when justice Basha reads out the judgment.












Special courts to check graft in job schemes


Express News Service

SANGAREDDY: With a view to provide legal assistance to the rural folks at their doorstep, we are planning to set up ‘Grama Nyayalayalu ‘ (Village Courts) in villages, chief justice of the AP High Court justice Madan B Lokur has said.

This is to lessen the burden on the courts at the district level and also to help solve small cases and issue speedy disposals at the mandal level without forcing litigants to rush to the districts, he said.

Speaking after inaugurating a special mobile court here on Sunday, justice Lokur said persons resorting to corrupt practices in the developmental s cheme s pa r t i cul a r l y NREGS would henceforth be tried by special mobile court in the state.

The Sangareddy mobile court will be the first of the 13 such courts being set up in the state as part of the Andhra Pradesh Promotion of Social Audit and Prevention of Corrupt Practices (APPSA&PCP) Ordinance, 2011.

The court would take cognizance of the cases and hold trial in the village, on a dayto- day basis, where the irregularities were reported.

The courts would deliberate at the door steps of the victims on injustice and corrupt practices.

The special courts were intended to fast-track the cases related to irregularities in the rural job scheme.

They would ensure trial of such offences and expedite disposal of cases.

Justice Lokur said just by setting up courts would not serve the purpose and asked the government to appoint the required staff including public prosecutors.

The mobile courts should go to the people, elicit their opinion and thoroughly investigate the malpractices, he said.

Lokur also called upon the people and the public representatives to be alert and follow up the case and not wash off their hands after making a complaint.

The purpose of special mobile courts would be served only when the NREGS functions without any irregularities.

He also asked the people to avail themselves of the RTI Act and suggested to the government to take steps to create awareness among the people about the Act.

Rural development minister D Manikya Varaprasad speaking on the occasion said mobile courts were a boon to curb irregularities in employment schemes.

Law minister E Pratap Reddy and women and child welfare minister V Sunitha Reddy also felt that under the ordinance, criminal prosecution of persons accused of embezzlement of funds would be based on the findings of the social audit rather than the police investigation.

Principal secretary R Subrahmaniam, law secretary Damodar Reddy chief vigilance officer Sudharani, district collector S Suresh Kumar attended the programme.










Court allows foot overbridge project citing safety


TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 02.28AM IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi high court has allowed the railways and the state government to go ahead with the construction of a foot overbridge (FOB) at a residential colony saying that public safety is paramount.

A bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, while dismissing a petition filed by a group of persons claiming the land in Harkesh Nagar residential colony, upheld the single judge’s order dismissing their plea on January 31.

“The railways deemed it necessary in the interest of safety of the public residing in the neighbourhood of the railway tracks to construct an FOB at the said site, the said developmental activity in the larger public interest could not be interfered by the court,” the bench said.

The court also rejected the petitioner’s argument that this very court had earlier dismissed a plea for FOB construction and it should restrain railways, the government, MCD and DDA on the issue.

The court accepted the argument of the railways that the shops of the petitioners are within the boundary of railway land and those were unauthorized occupation and encroachment.

The boundary wall was repeatedly damaged by residents for crossing rail tracks from the said point, endangering their lives, the railways said. PTI










Ex-guv for zero tolerance to rights’ violation


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 08.20PM IST

PATNA: Former governor of Chhattisgarh and Tripura D N Sahaya said that in a proactive civil society, judiciary and state itself, zero tolerance to violation of human rights and total absence of misplaced sympathy with the delinquents, reorientation, attitudinal change and sensitization of security forces about human rights are essential for checking human rights’ violation.

Speaking at the valedictory session of the two-day UGC-sponsored national seminar on “State: Protector or violator of human rights”, organized by the political science department of Magadh Mahila College, on Sunday, Sahaya said one of the most powerful ideas in contemporary world is human rights. Human rights are, in fact, those conditions of social life without which no man can seek, in general, to be himself at his best. He said human rights are inherent in human nature, ethos of human civilization and inalienable from human dignities.

He added that a distinction must be made between the violation of human rights by the state and its individual functionary and the security forces.

Participating in the seminar, former DGP and member, State Human Rights Commission, Neelmani, said Bihar was better placed in respect of custodial deaths, ranking 12th in the country. Maharashtra tops the list. College principal Dolly Sinha and pro VC J P Singh were among others present at the seminar.









Advocates’ body holds graft seminar


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 09.32PM IST

GUWAHATI: The Advocates’ Association, Guwahati, which is celebrating its silver jubilee, on Sunday organized a seminar on ‘Role of Judiciary in combating Corruption’ at the District Library and stressed on the need for faster disposal of corruption cases in the state as there are over 300 anti-corruption cases pending in the state’s courts .

Established in 1987-88, the Advocates’ association completed 25 years of service in the region and held a two-day long celebration here, which started on Saturday. Speaking at the seminar, Gauhati high court judge B P Katakey said the state is reeling under the burden of corruption cases for a decade now.

“Till December 31, 2011, there were 189 pending proceeding in anti-corruption cases in lower courts. Out of them, two cases had been registered in 1991, which are still pending. The judiciary must be strengthened to combat corruption cases in the state.”

He said, “119 anti-corruption cases, mostly forwarded from the lower courts, are pending in the high court too. The judiciary has not been able to provide justice to these cases on time.”

“Money is a major factor for the delay. In most of the anti-corruption cases, the complainers are from poor backgrounds and they usually give up the lengthy court procedures due to their poor financial state. We must take steps to change the situation,” he added.

On Saturday, the association took out a ceremonial rally to mark the occasion. Chief justice of Gauhati high court A K Goel also participated in the programme.









AP judiciary proposes establishment of rural courts


PTI | 08:02 PM,Feb 26,2012

Sangareddy(AP), Feb 26 (PTI) Stressing on the need to make judicial system accessible to rural population, Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court Justice Madan B Lokur today said the judiciary has proposed establishment of ‘Gram Nyayalayas’ (Rural Courts) in the state. “It (Rural Courts) is a part of the judicial reforms that are needed in our state,” Lokur said, adding the matter has been taken up with the state government. Speaking after inaugurating a special mobile court here to deal with cases pertaining to corrupt practices in MGNREGS and other developmental schemes, Lokur said 75 percent of the population in the country stays in rural areas “and we cannot overlook this population and making available justice to them is our responsibility.” The Sangareddy mobile court is the first of the 13 such courts being set up in the state as part of the Andhra Pradesh Promotion of Social Audit and Prevention of Corrupt Practices (APPSA&PCP) Ordinance-2011. The Sangareddy court, that will cover Medak and Karimnagar districts, would take cognisance of the cases and hold trial in villages on a day-to-day basis, where irregularities were reported. Lokur said though the government was implementing various schemes for the benefit of people, they were not reaching the poor and there was a need to look into this. “If the MGNREGS is properly implemented it will definitely contribute for sustainable development of rural regions,” he said. PTI VVK VKV










JGLS wins All India Moot Court


Express News Service

BANGALORE: Bangalore University’s Jnana Bharathi Senate Hall on Sunday was host to a fierce war of words waged by petitioner Rajiv Gandhi National Law University (RGNLU) from Patiala and defence Jindal Global Law School (JGLS) from Haryana in front of five sitting judges from the Karnataka High Court.

As the parties rested their cases, the bench decreed its verdict in favour of Jindal Global Law School, who emerged the winners of the 16th All India Moot Court competition organised by University Law College.

The three day moot court competition that began with 28 participant law colleges from all over the country concluded on Sunday. The case that was fought on the final day was ‘Constitutional Environmental Law and Writ Petition’.

“Moot court helps us understand law in a practical manner. We argued in front of sitting judges, which is the best experience we could ask for,” said Harshitha S, a II year BA-LLB student from JGLS.

“We will not get another chance like this to express our skills in front of real judges from a High Court. I enjoyed the competition that was very well arranged,” said A Velan, a 5th year law student from RGNLU.

The judges who heard the prepositions were Justice Bhaktavatsala, Justice Ram Mohan Reddy, Justice Suhash B Adi, Justice B V Nagarathna and Justice Arvind Kumar.

“Moot court is not a joke. I believe that students, after their legal education, should be in a position to face the court confidently. Moot court helps them let go of any fears or lack of confidence,” said Bhaktavatsala, adding that effective body language is crucial for advocates. Commending the efforts put in by the mooters, Ram Mohan Reddy urged the students to go beyond just mooting. “What I have seen today is tremendous intelligence and confidence. Apart from becoming advocates and judges, you can become good politicians and administrators,” he said.








Justice Iyer seeks assistance for Asraya Bhavans


Express News Service

ALUVA: The organisations like Grameena Asraya Bhavan which aims at protecting the destitute mothers and innocent girls from exploitation, have become the need of the hour, pointed out Justice V R Krishna Iyer in a memorandum to the Chief Minister Oommen Chandy.

Grameena Asraya Bhavan, a joint venture of Pain and Palliative Care Unit, and Janaseva Sisubhavan, proposed to operate in every panchayat.

The project would be a great relief to the unfortunate mothers and girls. The project proposes to bring them to the mainstream of the society, Iyer pointed out.Krishna Iyer urged the Chief Minister to exempt Asraya Bhavans from the control of Orphanage Control Board and Child Welfare Committee and entrust the controlling power to concerned panchayat.

He sought the interference of the Chief Minister to accord sanction of grant and other financial assistance for Asraya Bhavans. The project was inaugurated by Justice D Sreedevi recently.

The inaugural meeting which was attended by more than thousand women, unanimously elected District Panchayat President Eldhose Kunnappilly as its chief patron.





Letter sent to Chief Justice on Lokayukta


Express News Service

MANGALORE: Chief Minister D V Sadanannda Gowda said he has sent letters the Chief Justice of the High Court, Opposition leader and others highlighting the importance of selecting a suitable candidate for the post of Lokayukta soon.

The chief minister, who arrived at Mangalore Airport on Sunday to participate in the post-death rituals of Dr V S Acharya in Udupi, said six days ago, a letter highlighting the need to select a candidate for post of Lokayukta within 15 days was sent to the Chief Justice of the High Court, Opposition Leader, Speaker and the Chairman of the Legislative Council.

Dismissing JD(S) leader Kumaraswamy’s comments of “not doing anything for state as the chief minister”, Gowda said he was listening from one ear and was getting rid of pointless criticisms from the other.

‘CBI misuse by Congress to be bypoll plank’

Udupi: The Udupi-Chikmagalur Lok Sabha by-election would focus on national concerns like India’s internal security, intrusion by foreigners and the misuse of agencies like the CBI by the Congress, Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda said.

Addressing the BJP workers’ convention at Kaup on Sunday, Gowda said though the Congress ruled the state for over 50 years and the JD(S) for a few years, the development was negligible. On the other hand, the BJP’s rule for the last four and a half years brought in real development. “When present Opposition leader Siddaramaiah presented the budget as finance minister its volume was only `27,500 crore. When Yeddyurappa presented the first budget of the coalition government in the state it was for `36,000 crore. In the last budget, it rose up to `85,500 crore. Even the state’s revenue collection went up,” he said.













Seized weapons to be produced before court


Express News Service

KOCHI: The Special Investigation Team (SIT) of Kerala Police will produce the weapons seized from the Italian oil vessel Enrica Lexie, allegedly used by the Italian Naval marines to kill two Indian fishermen, before the Chief Judicial Magistrate’s Court in Kollam on Monday. The weapons were seized on Sunday after an extensive search on the ship, which lasted for 16 hours. The weapons, including eight guns and ammunition along with documents, have been kept in trunk boxes and shifted to the Harbour police station.

The search and seizure of weapons and other documents started late on Saturday and came to an end in the early hours of Sunday. Indian Navy personnel, the Coast Guard, Customs, Central Industrial Security Force, representatives of the Forensic Department, ballistic experts, fingerprint experts, Italian officials, defence attache, Revenue Department officials, advocate Sujesh Menon representing B Raman Pillai Associates, interpreter Jose Hilton and two Italian ballistic experts comprised the large team present in the vessel during the seizure procedure.

Speaking to media at the oil terminal after seizing the weapons, Kochi City Police Commissioner M R Ajith Kumar said, “We have seized almost all material evidence related to the case. The Customs officials have conducted extensive search of the entire ship. The technical aspects were taken care of by the Coast Guard. The arms verification was conducted by the Navy. These materials have been moved to the Harbour police station and will be produced before the Magistrate on Monday. Search and seizure list and the report on the status of the investigation will also be produced before the court,” the Commissioner added.

The Italian ship will remain docked at the Kochi port till it gets a no-objection certificate from the police and the approval from the High Court. “Until the investigation carried out by the Kerala Police is complete and a final decision comes from the High Court in the admiralty petition filed by the kin of the deceased fishermen, the ship cannot leave Indian territory,” Ajith Kumar said. He appreciated the co-operation shown by the Italian delegates and crew members during the search operation and added that the security cover provided by the police will continue. When asked if the police will seek an extension of the custody of the accused, he said that the investigation team will take a call on it. The accused were remanded in police custody for three days. Later, this was extended for seven more days. The remand period comes to an end on Thursday.






Fishermen’s killing: Indian law, not Italy, to dictate probe, says Antony


TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 04.45AM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: India will not yield to any pressure from Italy in the investigation into the killing of two fishermen. The investigation into the February 15 incident off the Kollam coast and subsequent action would be under the Indian laws, said Union defence minister A K Antony. He expressed “satisfaction over the probe, which “is on the right direction.”

The centre has pledged all its support to the state government. “The centre would take all steps to strengthen the Coast Guard to avert such incidents in future. I assure you that there should not be any apprehension and the investigation will be carried only as per the Indian law,” he said while speaking to reporters here on Sunday.

The country has a strong and independent judicial system. The prosecution of the marines will be carried out according to the law of the land, in the most independent manner. The investigation is on the right path and the Centre has full confidence in the state police, he added.

Antony later visited the house of Valentine Jelestine, one of the fishermen killed by the Italian naval guards.











Shooting row: Italian foreign minister in India Tuesday


Indo-Asian News Service
With his deputy unable to break the impasse with India over the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast, Italy’s foreign minister Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’ Agata is arriving in New Delhi on a two-day visit on Tuesday to push a resolution of the crisis that threatens to cast a shadow on bilateral ties.

The Italian foreign minister’s visit to India was scheduled much before the Feb 15 incident in which two Italian marines on board an Italian ship shot dead two Indian fishermen, mistaking them for pirates, but the shooting row has lent the visit an added significance.

In fact, this would be the first high level visit from Italy since the new government was formed there in November last year.

External affairs minister SM Krishna will hold talks with his Italian counterpart and discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest, the external affairs ministry said in New Delhi on Sunday while formally announcing the much-speculated visit.

Besides bilateral relations, the situation in Afghanistan, the Iranian nuclear crisis and the eurozone crisis are among global issues that are expected to figure in the discussions, said informed sources.

Terzi’s visit comes days after Italy’s deputy foreign minister Staffan de Mistura held talks with Indian officials and also met Kerala chief minister Oommen Chandy to find a diplomatic solution to ease the crisis over the fishermen’s killing.

But the positions of the two sides remain poles apart as India maintains that the arrested Marines should be tried according to the Indian Penal Code while Italy has insisted that the incident took place in international waters.

However, the two sides indicated partial accommodation when the Kerala court hearing the shooting case allowed joint ballistic examination of the weapons used in the killing, which started Saturday and is expected to be complete before the Italian foreign minister comes here Tuesday.     

There is a strong possibility that the Italian foreign minister offers a hefty compensation package to the slain fishermen.

The two Italian marines, Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, the security officials on board the Enrica Lexie, have been arrested for shooting dead two Indian fishermen Feb 15 after mistaking them to be pirates.

Three days ago, a court in Kollam had extended the police custody of the marines after police told the judge they needed more time to interrogate them.

The next hearing will be Tuesday, the day the Italian foreign minister touches down here.

Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45, were mistaken for pirates and shot dead by the marines from the Italian cargo vessel Feb 15, off Alappuzha in Kerala.

The two sisters of Binki have filed a petition in the high court demanding Rs.2 crore (around $400,000) as compensation. Gelastine’s wife has filed a petition demanding a compensation of Rs.1 crore (around $200,000).







You are punishing me for doing my duty, Mahatma told judge


TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 06.41AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The trial, which lasted for 100 minutes on March 18, 1922 at the Old Circuit House in Shahibaug, witnessed an intense conversation that took place between the Mahatma and the judge, R S Broomfield. Gandhi accepted the charge of sedition in court and said: “Some of the most loved of India’s patriots have been convicted under it (Section 124-A ). I consider it a privilege therefore to be charged under it.”

“I do not seek mercy… I am here to invite and cheerfully submit to the highest penalty for what in law is a deliberate crime and what appears to me to be highest duty of a citizen,” he said. Calling upon the judge to convict him with the harshest of punishment , Gandhi also proposed that the judge resign if he considered the system wrong.

“Millions look upon you as a saint. It is my duty to judge you as a man subject to the law, who has by his own admission broken the law,” judge Broomfield said, in his reply, and later sentencing Gandhi to six years of simple imprisonment.

“… I knew that I was playing with fire… I do not ask for mercy. Section 124(A), under which I am happily charged, is perhaps the prince among the political sections of the Indian Penal Code designed to suppress the liberty of the citizen. Affection cannot be manufactured or regulated by law,” Gandhi told the court.











IAC lodges complaint against ward 24 councillor


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Mon Feb 27 2012, 01:30 hrs

In a first of its kind action, members of India Against Corruption (IAC) lodged a complaint with the police, on Sunday, against ward 24 Councillor Rajinder Kaur Rattu under Section 420 of Indian Penal Code. In the complaint they have alleged that even two months after she was elected, Rattu is yet to undertake any work in the ward.

They claimed that Rattu had not attended any meetings in the ward and whenever the residents approach her, it was her husband who takes the call. The complainants claimed it to be a breach of trust.

Team Anna claimed that they have conducted a survey in Vikas Nagar in around 2,000 houses, “There were several problems being faced by people including lack of streetlights, absence of police in beat box, lack of facilities like transport, cleanliness and water supply among others. They complain that a report of the survey was given to her two weeks back, but she has not responded,” said a member of IAC.

The complainants have stated that this amounted to breach of trust as a promise was made during elections and then not fulfilled. A complaint was given to the police to register case against under Section 406/420 of the Indian Penal Code.

Rattu meanwhile said that the name of Anna Hazare was being used for cheap publicity. “The work of the people of the area will be done. I am in touch with the people and listening to their problems regularly. Their grievances will be addressed,” she said.












CCI slaps penalty on 12 regional film bodies for anti-competitive decisions


MUMBAI: India’s trade practices regulator has penalised 12 state film associations across the country for taking anti-competitive decisions, including discrimination against Hindi films and forcing producers to become their members.

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has asked film associations of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Bihar and Orissa, among others, to pay 10% of their annual income to the different petitioners, after clubbing all similar cases filed by different producers against different associations.

Producers such as Reliance Entertainment, UTV and Eros called it a landmark judgement that will change the dynamics of film business, while officials of some state film associations said they will challenge the order in higher courts.

“This historic order will change the business dynamics of this country,” said Sanjeev Lamba, CEO of Reliance Entertainment.

KV Chandrasekhar, president of the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce, said the association will challenge the order. “We are going to appeal to the tribunal and the Karnataka High Court that these linguistic issues do not come under the purview of CCI,” he said.

Reliance was the first to approach CCI in June 2010 when the KFCC refused to allow its film, Raavan, to be released across the state. A month earlier, it had faced the same problem with Kites. Subsequently, other producers such as UTV, Eros, Ashtavinayak and Filmkraft too filed cases against different state associations.

Their complains included curbs on release of prints of Hindi films, making it mandatory for producers to become members of associations before releasing a film and insisting that DTH or satellite release must be held back for six months to a year, or pay a penalty.

In its order, the CCI said film associations should not discriminate between regional and non-regional films, or compel anyone to become members as a pre-condition for exhibition of the films.

Siddharth Roy Kapur, CEO of UTV Motion Pictures, said the CCI judegment unshackles producers and distributors from the archaic bylaws of defunct associations, driven by vested interests.

“It is a huge step forward in ensuring that the rules that govern the Indian movie business are reflective of current business practices, and not those practiced in the last century,” he said.


Man sentenced to seven year imprisonment


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 26,2012

Rewari, Feb 26 (PTI) A person was today sentenced to seven years in prison by a local court for making a bid on the life of his wife two years ago. Additional District and Sessions Judge J R Chauhan yesterday sentenced Samay Singh, holding him guilty of attempting to kill his wife Poonam in May, 2010. The Judge also imposed a fine of Rs 17,000, prosecution said. According to the prosecution, Poonam, a resident of of Gurgaon got married to Singh on February 16, 2004. She was persistently harassed for more dowry by her husband, he said. Samay, in a state of inebriation, brutally thrashed and tried to strangle Poonam to death on May 10, 2010.











Court directs protection, counselling to witness in dilemma


PTI | 12:02 PM,Feb 26,2012

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI) A girl, a crucial witness to her brother’s murder, has been ordered by a Delhi court to be given police protection and professional counselling to tide over her dilemma whether to depose in the case against her family members’ wishes. Additional Sessions Judge Rakesh Tewari ordered police protection and professional counselling for 21-year-old Neelam after she began crying in the witness box, saying her family members, including her mother, do not want her to depose. At this, ASJ Tewari summoned the SHO of Sultan Puri police station and directed him to “not only take the protection measures of the witness (Neelam) but also get her counselled for her dilemma and fear against her own family members.” As Neelam began crying in the witness box, the judge asked her as to why was she crying. As the judge consoled her, she uttered that she wanted to depose against the accused but was being stopped by her mother and a cousin. She also apprehended legal action against her mother now that she had disclosed she was stopping her from deposing in the matter. Observing that she was under a dilemma whether to depose truthfully or succumb to the pressure from her family, the court said, “Even after her deposition till the pendency of this case, a periodical visit to her house by any responsible police official, not below the rank of SI, and preferably by the SHO himself, be given so as to ensure protection in her mind and confidence in her day-to-day life. “On the dates when she may be coming to the court either for her examination-in-chief or cross examination, she may be escorted not only by female police officials but also by male police officials and certain mobile phone or other device should be provided to her at her residence so that in case of any emergency, she may seek police assistance,” the ASJ said. The court also said in view of her fears, “the accused, who are present in judicial custody in the court, are directed to be seated at the backseats of the court premises.” Neelam had also told the court she was suffering from a neuro-ailment for which she was undergoing treatment at a mental health institute at West Delhi. Neelam is a crucial witness in the killing of her brother in 2009. As per prosecution case, about three years back, when Neelam, along with her mother, was standing outside their house in Sultanpuri, accused Sudhir and Sunil were passing by and made some obscene gestures at her upon which her mother asked them to behave. At this, her brother Subhash came out and picked up an argument with the accused, who left the spot on to return shortly, armed with baseball bat, iron rod, glass bottles and knives and started beating her brother, who was later rushed to the hospital and was declared dead there.









Pune shootout: 3 accused remanded in custody


Published: Sunday, Feb 26, 2012, 14:03 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

The three accused in Maharashtra Navnirman Sena’s Bhor unit chief Sandip Bandal murder case, who have been rearrested in Thursday’s shootout outside the district and sessions court, were remanded in police custody till March 3 by judicial magistrate first class MY Doiphode on Saturday.

The arrested include Sangram Dileep Gholap, 26, of Mangalwar Peth, Ravindra Laxman Chavan, 30, and Akshay alias Lala Kaluram Pawle, 26, both residents of Ambegaon Pathar. The trio was produced before the court on Saturday afternoon with a report seeking their police custody.

Arguing for 10-day police custody, assistant public prosecutor Rajendra Suryawanshi informed the court that custodial
interrogation of the trio was necessary for recovery of the pistol and vehicle used in the crime as well as to arrest
other persons involved.

Vijay Dinkar Karke, 25, was injured in the firing that took place at Kamgar putla slums outside the district and sessions court at Shivajinagar on Thursday. The firing took place after Karke stepped out of the court after attending the hearing in Bandal
murder case.

Gholap, Chavan and Pawale are accused in the Bandal murder case. They have been released on bail in that case.

The court had permitted the police take them in custody to facilitate investigations in Thursday’s shootout. The Shivajinagar police arrested them formally on Friday.









Sasikala appears before court


BANGALORE: Sasikala, the estranged companion of Tamil Nadu CM J Jayalalithaa, appeared before the 36th City Civil and Sessions Court and the Special Court forhearing of the disproportionate assets case against Jaya.Sasikala appeared on Saturday and replied to 69 questions, thereby completing 172 questions.

Most of the questions were related to the purchase of vehicles in her name for Sasi Enterprises, Anjaneya Printers, JJ TV, Metal King, Jaya Publications and Namadhu MGR newspaper. Sasikala admitted vehicles were purchased in her name but there was no irregularity in the dealings.

When she was asked about whether the accused persons purchased properties on the the outskirts of Chennai, Vellur and other areas by threatening land owners, she said the allegations were baseless and accused the police of threatening a witness to frame Jayalalithaa and her.

Earlier, Judge B M Mallikarjunaiah rejected the plea filed by the counsels of the three accused to conduct three-day proceedings in a week.

Advocates Manishankar and Kumar, representing Sasikala, Ilavarasi and Sudhakaran, appealed to the judge to hold hearings on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as daily attendance will be inconvenient for the accused.

However, the judge said the court will conduct daily proceedings as per higher court, including the Supreme Court orders.

Further, the hearing was adjourned to February 29.









Aarushi murder: Supreme Court reserves order on Talwars’ case transfer plea


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 27, 2012 14:25 IST

New Delhi:  In the Aarushi murder case, the Supreme Court today reserved its order on the petition of the Talwars, who want the trial of their daughter’s murder shifted from Ghaziabad to Delhi.

Aarushi’s parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar, had quoted security concerns in the court and also said that most of the witnesses are in Delhi.

During the last hearing, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had opposed the transfer and said since there is no anticipatory bail provision in Uttar Pradesh. The Talwars want the case shifted to Delhi. The counsel of the investigating agency had told the court that it can provide security to Aarushi’s parents. It had, however, sought time to file a detailed reply to their plea seeking transfer of the trial.

In their plea filed in the Supreme Court on February 3, the Talwars had cited security reasons. They had contended that Rajesh Talwar had faced a hostile atmosphere in the Ghaziabad court where he was assaulted with a knife by a person in January 2011. The couple also claimed that most of the witnesses were based in Delhi.

The Talwars did not appear in the Special CBI Court in Ghaziabad on February 4. Their counsel made a request for stopping the proceedings, saying that the Supreme Court is hearing a plea filed by them for transfer of the trial to a court in Delhi.

Last month, the Supreme Court had cleared the decks for the Talwars’ trial, dismissing the couple’s plea to quash criminal proceedings against them for the twin murders of their teenage daughter and their domestic help Hemraj in 2008.

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










Post-Godhra riots continue to dog Modi’s political career


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 27, 2012

Gandhinagar on March 27, 2010.

A decade on, the burning of S-6 coach of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra, which left 59 karsevaks dead and triggered massive communal riots across Gujarat, remains the biggest blemish on chief minister Narendra Modi’s political career. Hundreds of Muslims were killed, thousands displaced, and several homes destroyed in the post-Godhra riots of 2002.

Modi, his cabinet colleagues and other government functionaries have been accused of deliberate inaction in containing the anti-minority riots. Even the Nanavati Commission appointed by the state government to enquire into the post-Godhra riots has not submitted its report.

Activists have also accused Modi of subverting justice and protecting perpetrators of the riots. While probe in the Godhra carnage moved rapidly, investigations into the riot cases have been slow, they allege.

In the Godhra carnage case, 11 people have been sentenced to death and 20 others given life imprisonment by a trial court. However, though a decade has gone by, judgments have been pronounced only in a few riot cases.

Social activist and National Advisory Council member Harsh Mander, who runs an NGO that helps survivors of the 2002 carnage, said the carnage “looked planned” as well as the “systematic subversion of justice” that followed it.

In 2008, the Supreme Court had appointed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI chief RK Raghavan to investigate major cases. The cases included the Gulberg society and Naroda Patiya cases in which 95 persons were killed, Naroda Gam case in which 11 people were killed, Dipda Darwaja case in which 11 people were killed, Ode where 30 people were killed in two separate cases, and Prantij where four persons, including three British nationals, were killed.

The accused include several politicians. MLA Maya Kodnani is an accused in Naroda Patiya and Naroda Gam cases, former VHP leaders Jaydeep Patel and Babu Bajrangi in Naroda Gam, and Prahlad Gosa, former BJP MLA, in Dipda Darwaja case. However, no one has been sentenced and the trial is still on.

In September last year, suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt alleged that Modi and others were complacent with the rioters and Modi gave directions to the police and other officers “to allow Hindus vent out their anger” at a meeting on February 27, 2002 which he claims to have attended. Modi has, however, denied the allegation. So far, two commissions have probed the Godhra incident and arrived at different conclusions. The UC Banerjee Commission, appointed by the then railway minister Lalu Prasad, said the fire in the S-6 coach was accidental. The Nanavati Commission in the first part of its report said the Godhra carnage was pre-planned.

Slew of events planned
On Monday, the 10th anniversary of the incident, the VHP will lead a rally to the S-6 Coach, which is now kept at the Godhra railway yard. A number of Godhra carnage-hit families will pay homage to the deceased and offer prayers in temples. Around 45 NGOs have decided to come together to demand justice for the riot victims. Many other rallies, dialogues with the victims and prayers have been planned.

Major riots cases probed by SIT

Feb 27, 2002: Godhra train burning case
59 kar sevaks burnt to death. Trial completed and 11 accused have been sentenced to death while 20 others were awarded life imprisonment by POTA court on March 1, 2011. ‘Main conspirator’ Maulavi Umarji acquitted.

Feb 28, 2002: Gulberg Society (Ahmedabad) massacre
69 people including former Congress MP Ehsan Jafri killed. Trial under way. The court began final hearing last month. Jafri’s widow, Zakia, had sought criminal prosecution of 63 people including chief minister Narendra Modi for allegedly conspiring to allow anti-minority riots. The Supreme Court had asked the SIT to examine the role of Modi and others. The SIT has filed its final report reportedly seeking closure of the case for “for lack of prosecutable evidence” against the persons named in the complaint.

Feb 28, 2002: Naroda Patia (Ahmedabad) massacre case
95 people were killed. Trial under way. Among the main accused are former Gujarat minister Maya Kodanani and VHP leader Jaidip Patel.

Feb 28, 2002: Naroda village (outskirts of Ahmedabad) massacre case
11 people killed. Trial under way. Maya Kodanani and Jaidip Patel are among the accused here also.

Feb 28, 2002: Dipada Darwaja (Mehsana) murder case
11 people were killed. Among the accused are former Visnagar BJP MLA Prahalad Patel. Trial in final stage.

Mar 1, 2002: Ode village (near Anand) massacre cases (two cases)
23 killed. Trial under way.

Mar 1, 2002: Prantij (north Gujarat) massacre case
Three British nationals killed. Trial under way. Around 24 accused are being tried.

Mar 1, 2002: Sardarpura (Mehsana) massacre case
33 killed. Special trial court convicted 31 accused for murder and other charges, acquitted 42.










Jaitley welcomes SC verdict on Ramlila maidan crackdown


New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley on Sunday welcomed the Supreme Court judgement on crackdown on Ramdev’s supporters but said the charge of “contributory negligence” on the protesters needs to be debated and reconsidered as it amounts to surrender of the right to protest.

In an article, Jaitley said the apex court judgement lays a “landmark law” as it upholds the right to protest in a peaceful way as a fundamental right of speech and assemble.

“However, it shakes the foundation of the fundamental right by laying down a highly doubtful proposition that once the right to protest is denied, the protester must meekly accept the denial or run the risk of a contributory negligence to the police oppression,” he said.

The Supreme Court has held the protesters responsible for “contributory negligence” and asked Ramdev’s foundation-Bharat Swabhiman Trust – to pay 25 per cent of the compensation to the dead and the injured.

“This part of the judgement requires to be extensively debated and possibly reconsidered,” Jaitley said.

The eminent lawyer said this charge by the court against Ramdev and his supporters undoes the advantage of an otherwise landmark judgement.

“If a protester is within his constitutional rights to organise a peaceful protest, he is equally within his rights not to accept an illegal order denying his right to protest.

He runs the risk of being punished if the order is held to be lawful,” Jaitley said.

He insisted that a citizen cannot be compelled to abdicate his fundamental rights merely because the state decides to restrict his right to protest.

Jaitley said the verdict is understood to mean that every time a person’s fundamental right to protest is intercepted by the state, he must immediately comply with the order or run the risk of being liable for contributory negligence.

“Admittedly, neither the imposition of section 144 in this case nor the withdrawal of permission or the manner of forcible eviction were lawful (in Ramdev’s case). Why should the protesters have accepted such an order? How then can the principle of contributory negligence be imposed on a protester who was exercising his fundamental right to protest?” he asked.

Jaitley defined contributory negligence as a defence where a person who is wronged could have acted in his own interest and taken due care and caution so that not to contribute to the injury.

“Its application to restrict the exercise of fundamental right is wholly unwarranted and legally untenable…It cannot be used to dilute the width and exercise of a fundamental right,” the BJP leader said.








SC rules out death penalty for rape & murder accused


Published: Monday, Feb 27, 2012, 9:45 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Putting to rest the controversy over whether a person charged with rape and murdering his victim should be sentenced to the extreme penalty of death, the Supreme Court has ruled that in such a rarest of rare case an accused can’t be given the capital sentence but life term till the end of his life.

This ruling has given a new thrust to the raging debate on compulsorily giving the extreme sentence of death to a rapist. But conscious of the consequences of such a legislation that could lead to serious ramifications, it is argued that the victim couldlose the life too after having suffered the worst kind of brutality.

In a recent verdict, the top court has set aside a judgment by the Allahabad high court that upheld the sentence of death to one Amit, a teenager who raped and murdered a 13-year-old school going girl seven years ago.

“In such cases of rape followed by murder by a young man, instead of death sentence a life imprisonment should be awarded with a direction that life sentence imposed will extend to the full life of the appellant (accused) but subject to any remission or commutation at the instance of the government for good and sufficient reasons,” the court added.

A trial court and the HC had observed that the offence committed by Amit squarely fell in the ‘rarest of rare’ category, thus the appropriate sentence would be death.

The court expressed the hope that the accused would be reformed and turn out to be a better citizen in future. They said he had never committed such an offence in the past and a chance must be given to him to become a good citizen.

In 2008, the top court had however taken into account the increasing number of rape and murder cases as it handed down death sentence to a resident of Pune for raping and killing a girl living in his neighbourhood.

“A large number of cases in recent times coming before this court involving rape and murder of young girls, is a matter of concern,” judges had added.

They also rejected the plea for mercy made by the accused and said, “Undue sympathy to impose inadequate sentence would do more harm to the justice system to undermine the public confidence in the efficacy of law.”











Citing SC remark, govt may ban gutkha, pan masala


Express news service : New Delhi, Mon Feb 27 2012, 00:39 hrs
The Union Health Ministry is all set to ban gutkha, pan masala and other such edible forms of tobacco on the basis of a Supreme Court observation that all these products are food and as per the law it is illegal to mix harmful materials like tobacco in food.

Addressing a gathering during the launch of a new tobacco control campaign, ‘Tobacco is eating your baby alive’, Additional Secretary K Desairaju said: “We are in the process of sending a notification to states. The SC in a case on gutkha packaging had observed that gutkha is food. We are awaiting a final SC ruling in the matter, but our stand is that if gutkha is food and as per the Food Safety and Standards Act it is illegal to mix harmful things in food, then tobacco and zarda, which are known harmful items, should not be mixed in food. This is what we will tell the states.”

However, he conceded that it is really a question of law in which the SC has the final word.

The SC had observed that since pan masala, gutkha or supari are eaten for taste and nourishment, they are all food within the meaning of Section 2(v) of the PFA Act.

The ministry has already cracked down on the gutkha industry by making it mandatory for gutkha packets to carry statutory health warnings and the SC ruled that it can only be packed in plastic pouches to ensure there are no metallic contaminants.

“The menace of smokeless tobacco is unique to India, and is especially prevalent among women. So we have our own ways of tackling the problem. This does not in any way mean that we are going slow on cigarettes, but this is a focus area,” Desairaju said.

The ministry is still locked in a tussle with the Information and Broadcasting ministry on the issue of banning smoking in films. The matter will be sorted out “soon” Desairaju said






Dalit rape: SC panel summons Orissa top cop, Chief Secy–SC-panel-summons-Orissa-top-cop–Chief-Secy/917153/


Debabrata Mohanty : Bhubaneswar, Mon Feb 27 2012, 03:20 hrs

Taking serious note of the alleged rape of a Dalit girl in Puri district and the subsequent inaction of the police and doctors, National Commission for Schedule Caste chairman P L Punia has summoned Orissa Chief Secretary and Director General of Police to appear before him on March 13 and submit an action taken report (ATR) in the matter.

“We have issued a notice to Director General of Police and Chief Secretary to submit an ATR in the rape case. The way her unconscious body was found near her home made it clear that she was raped. But the doctors who treated her did not care for medical examination. It speaks volumes about their medical competence,” Punia told The Indian Express over the phone.

The 18-year-old Dalit girl of Arjunagoda village in Pipili block of Puri district was allegedly gangraped by local youths on November 28 last year. After the gangrape, they allegedly tried to strangulate her, which damaged the girl’s cerebral cortex, leaving her in a state of coma. Doctors supervising her condition have said that she has very bleak chances of survival.

Punia said the way the doctors in Bhubaneswar and then in Cuttack treated her, violated all medical ethics. Punia said, “We will soon write to the Medical Council of India to take action against the errant doctors.”

Earlier, the National Commission for Women had also lambasted the local police over its failure in filing FIR.

Surprisingly, the State Women’s Commission’s report says that the girl was not raped. The report does not blame the police for inaction, rather it blames the girl’s parents for not mentioning rape in their complaint.





Court raps police over Iranian’s visa application


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 01.38AM IST

MUMBAI: Police must not hold grudge against those who move court for enforcement of their rights, said the Bombay High Court while hearing a petition filed by an Iranian.

Mohammad Naeimi was brought up in Pune and passed his Bachelor of Engineering exams in 2007 from Pune University. His petition said he has a resident visa which has been extended from time to time. When he went to get it converted to business visa, he was ordered by the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Special Branch and Foreigners Registration Office, Pune to leave the country by December 3, 2011. He moved HC, which on November 28, 2011 directed the authorities to decide on his application

When he went for a hearing, DCP R S Marathe was angry on him because Naeimi had moved HC and threatened that he would not him grant visa extension and would put him behind bars. Only after he moved HC for further directions, an order was passed on 26th January 2012 asking him to leave India. Naeimi then challenged this order.

On February 23, 2012 before a division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode , public prosecutor Pandurang Pol denied receiving Naeimi’s application and also that there was a spat between Naeimi and Marathe.

The judges upheld Naeimi’s counsel Vishwas Chitnis ‘s argument that in spite of court’s directions, no hearing was given to Naeimi and an order was subsequently passed to leave the country. The said order therefore is patently illegal and contrary to directions given by this court,” they said, quashing it.

The judges have directed that Naimi be given a hearing and his application decided afresh on merits and in accordance with law. Further, that if any adverse order is passed, it shall not be implemented for two weeks.

The judges said they do not wish to make an issue about non-compliance of their order but expect that in future whenever directions are given, the concerned officer should not take it as a personal affront and should not hold any grudge against the petitioner or any citizen merely because he has approached this court for the enforcement of his constitutional and statutory rights,” they noted. We expect that all the (police) officers act and comply with the spirit of law and not the letter of law,” they concluded.









Delhi HC blast: Indian Mujahideen suspected to be behind attack


Published: Sunday, Feb 26, 2012, 17:44 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Banned Indian Mujahideen terror outfit is suspected to be behind the low intensity blast outside the Delhi High Court in May last year.

The NIA, which took over the probe in December last year after the Special Cell of Delhi Police failed to make any headway, has got some leads to suggest that the blast on May 25 last year was a handiwork of the banned terror outfit, official sources said.

The investigations into this blast had virtually slipped into the background after the High Court premises were rocked on September seven by an explosion that left 15 people dead.

The sources said initial investigations into the case had come with an assumption that it could have been dry run for the blast in September but during the course of probe that the May 25 was a work of a different group all together.

The explosive material used in the May 25 blasts were similar to those used by the terror group on earlier occasions, the sources said and added that “we have some information that would be shared later”.

The NIA has re-registered the case under various sections of Explosives Substances Act and Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The low-intensity blast had taken placed near the footpath of the Delhi High Court boundary wall parking area at Gate number seven and broken eight month lull after a similar explosion near Jama Masjid ahead of the Commonwealth Games in 2010.

The triggering mechanism of May 25 blast remained a mystery for the investigators as it could not be established conclusively so far in the explosion that took place in a service lane outside the court where lawyers’ vehicles were parked.

In the September seven blast, NIA had arrested three people while the probe agency was on look out for three more people who were holed up in higher reaches of Kishtawar in Jammu region.










Setback as Allahabad University fails to get NAAC grading


TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 03.19AM IST

ALLAHABAD: The authorities of Allahabad University have set the ball rolling for the intake of fresh students for various courses being run by different institutions but it would be yet another year when the university would start the admission process without any grading by National assessment and accreditation council (NAAC).

NAAC is an autonomous entity under the University Gants Commission which rates universities on various parameters like infrastructure, teacher taught ratio (TTR), amenities for students etc and gives a specific rating to the institution concerned. The ranking given as grade is for a period of five years. In terms of Allahabad University, it was B++ grade in December 2003 and it expired in December 2008. The university should have got itself inspected before expiry of the time limit given by NAAC, but the authorities failed to do so within stipulated time. The NAAC team, which visited AU in 2003, had also inspected other constituent colleges and given suitable grades. Colleges like Arya Kanya, Hamidia Girls and Rajashri Tandon Degree College got B+ grade. Ewing Christian College (ECC) and SS Khanna Degree College were given B++ while Jagat Taran managed a B+.

The university authorities constituted a four-member committee, chaired by the dean, arts, Prof NR Farooqui, which was entrust the responsibility of preparing a report to be sent to NAAC with a formal request to inspect and give grading. The other members of the committee were Avinash Chandra Pandey, head, department of atmospheric and ocean sciences, JN Bhargava and HC Mukerjee.

Most of the departments finished the work and submitted the reports. As many as 10 departments failed to submit the report. As a result, the university administration, which was determined to send the report to NAAC by February 10, 2011, failed to keep its own schedule.

These departments have still not provided details of achievements, researches and future plans that the university has to submit to NAAC while applying for reaccreditation. “Getting the NAAC grading does help the institution get better stuff as the present day youth are quite aware and when they surf the net in finding the best institution for themselves, NAAC grading is one thing that gives the institution an edge over others,” said a faculty member.











HC grants freedom to doctors, urges better pay


Mahir Haneef, TNN | Feb 27, 2012, 04.40AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala high court has ordered the immediate release of 17 doctors who have completed one-year compulsory service.

While directing their release from government service, Justice S Siri Jagan also asked the state government whether it was willing to pay salaries, being paid to regular employees, to these doctors also.

All of them have been undergoing compulsory government service after the completion of medical courses in merit seats.

Though they had been signed in for a year’s service as per a 2008-order, the period was extended to three years following a subsequent order issued while they were in service.

The petition was filed by Dr Arjun A from Cherthala and 16 others, after the government denied relieving them from compulsory service upon completing one year of employment after MBBS.

When the petitioners approached the principals of medical colleges, where they were serving, upon completion of compulsory service, they were denied certificates and release, citing a government order that stated senior resident doctors shouldn’t be relieved even upon completion of compulsory service until further government orders.

In the petition, the doctors pointed out that at the time of joining the compulsory service, a government order issued in October 2008, which stipulated service of one year, was in force. However, the government subsequently issued another order that made it compulsory for students to undergo compulsory service for three years.

While the earlier government order stipulated one year compulsory service for doctors, the new order said one year of compulsory service mandatory for each course. Thus, a student who completes super specialty degree would have to undergo three years of compulsory service.

Accepting the argument by the counsel for the doctors that the terms of bonded service was based on the earlier government order, the court directed the government to release all doctors who completed compulsory service of one year, as stipulated in the 2008 order.

While considering the petition, Justice S Siri Jagan asked the government to clarify whether it was willing to pay doctors in compulsory service salaries that were equal to assistant surgeons.

The scale is about Rs 32,000.The court also asked the government to explain its position as the government counsel was unable to provide a ready answer to the court’s query on salary rates. At present, the government is paying Rs 15,000 a per month for doctors who completed MBBS, Rs 23,000 for doctors with post graduation, and Rs 25,000 for super specialty degrees, as per the government order of 2008.



LEGAL NEWS 27.02.2012

Produce certified copy of phone bills: Panel to Ijaz


Press Trust Of India
February 25, 2012

A Pakistani judicial panel probing the memo issue has asked star witness Mansoor Ijaz to produce a certified copy of phone bills he presented as proof of his conversations with former envoy to the US Husain Haqqani.
On the third day of Ijaz’s deposition before the Supreme Court-appointed commission on Friday, the main accuser in the memo scandal presented four pages of a 39-page BlackBerry phone bill to back up his claims about his conversations with Haqqani, who was then the Pakistani envoy to the US.

The four pages he presented were related to his communications with Haqqani on May 23, 2011, Ijaz claimed while deposing via a video link from the Pakistan High Commission in London.

Ijaz claimed 11 conference calls were made between him, former US National Security Advisor Jim Jones and Haqqani during May 2011.

Zahid Bukhari, the counsel for Haqqani, said the copies of the bill did not contain any names or phone numbers and were thus ineligible as evidence.

Ijaz contended that his phone was registered in his company’s name and he could not reveal the bill’s total contents because they were “classified”.

The three-judge commission, which is conducting the proceedings from Islamabad, then ordered Ijaz to obtain a certified copy of the bill from his phone company and send it to Islamabad.

Heated words were exchanged between Ijaz and Bukhari during the proceedings. At one point, Ijaz said Bukhari was speaking “nonsense” and Bukhari’s aide objected to his behaviour. The commission ordered Ijaz to behave in accordance with the norms of a court.

US envoy’s secret cable on pak havens

Meanwhile, in a separate development, in a “top-secret” cable to the Obama administration, America’s envoy to Kabul has warned that the existence of terror sanctuaries in Pakistan and insurgent activities of the “lethal” Haqqani network were a “deal-killer” for the US strategy in Afghanistan.

The cable written by Ambassador Ryan C Crocker last month “amounted to an admission that years of US efforts to curtail insurgent activity in Pakistan by the lethal Haqqani network, a key Taliban ally, were failing,” the Washington Post reported on Saturday.

“Because of the intended secrecy of that message, Crocker sent it through CIA channels rather than the usual State Department ones,” it said.

“The sanctuaries are a deal-killer for the (Afghan war) strategy,” a senior defence official, familiar with the ongoing debate, was quoted as saying by the daily. The State Department refused to comment on the authenticity of the cable.

“We are not in a position to comment on alleged leaked cables,” its spokesman Mark Toner said when asked about the news report.

“Our position on the Haqqani network remains as we’ve expressed it publicly. Safe havens continue to pose a threat to Pakistan, Afghanistan,” Toner said.












Commission of errors


Karan Thapar, Hindustan Times
February 25, 2012

Let’s start with the Salman Khurshid affair before we delve deeper. There’s a core question many forgot to ask while several overlooked the answer given by the Election Commission. How serious was his original lapse and did it merit censure? I have no doubt his subsequent defiance was indefensible. But it’s just possible it was provoked by the Commission’s questionable censure. Not that that would forgive his thoughtless outburst leave aside Beni Prasad Verma’s. But, at least, it might explain it. Which is another reason for asking: What is it that Khurshid said and was it really so terrible?

Khurshid promised the voters of Farrukhabad a 9% sub-quota for OBC minorities. Now, before you jump to conclusions, remember reservations are a part of the Constitution. Other parties, like the BSP and SP, have also promised them. And reservations for minorities is not unconstitutional.

Incidentally, the Commission accepts this. What worried it were two separate concerns. First, “whether the respondent (Khurshid) has violated the model code of conduct by making a new promise”. Second, whether the promise was made by Khurshid “as a Congressman” or “as the Union minister for law and minority affairs”.

The Commission concluded this was a new promise because though both previous and the present Congress manifestos promise minority reservations, they do not specify the percentage. Khurshid did and that made this a new promise. As such, the Commission deemed it a breach of the model code.

Now reflect on what this means? It implies that party leaders cannot promise anything that is not specifically mentioned in their manifesto. In other words, they cannot go beyond it. So, if an issue arises after the manifesto is released, a politician cannot tackle it. If this is really what the model code stipulates, it needs to be promptly revised!

The Commission’s ruling also makes clear that it wasn’t the promise of minority reservations it objected to but the fixing of a percentage. If Khurshid hadn’t mentioned the percentage, the Commission would have had no problem.

On the second concern, the Commission concluded that Khurshid made the promise as a minister and not a Congressman because his private secretary and, subsequently, the district Congress committee president, while making arrangements for his Farrukhabad visit, referred to him as a minister.

No doubt they were wrong to do so but, given he’s a minister, it’s a mistake that’s easily made. More importantly, it’s not a big thing. It would only be if Khurshid himself had instructed that his ministerial privileges be exploited for his party’s gain. But even the Commission doesn’t suggest that. And I’m told Khurshid travelled in a private car.

Quite frankly, the Commission’s peculiar logic lead it to pronounce a strange censure. Salman Khurshid had done nothing wrong. If his staff had erred it was only marginally. The censure, however, was not on them but their boss.

I wanted to interview the Chief Election Commissioner about all this. He agreed but his colleagues stopped him. The interview would have started with the Khurshid issue but the deeper, broader subject would have been the model code. Is it being correctly interpreted by the Commission? Or is a strict, legalistic reading making the Commission appear mechanical and unthinking? And, most importantly, does it need to be revised?

These are critical issues and if the Commission wants to circumvent the threat of statutory status it must answer them. In fact, the sooner the better. Silence can only make matters worse.






Child rights commission to be set up in state


Express news service : Kolkata , Sun Feb 26 2012, 02:34 hrs

The State Cabinet will soon approve the proposal for the formation of a commission for the protection of child rights in West Bengal.

“The structure for the seven-member West Bengal Commission for Protection of Child Rights has been finalised. It has been formulated on the basis of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act, 2005,” said a senior state government official. The proposal was mooted in the wake of an increase in child abuse incidents in the state.

Vivek Joshi, joint secretary of the Union ministry of women and child development, wrote to the state government a couple of months ago requesting it to expedite the process of setting up the commission in West Bengal. The file regarding the setting up of the commission lay at the state finance department for almost a year during the Left tenure.

Sources at Writers’ Buildings said the Chief Minister had sent back the file to the women and child development department seeking clarifications over appointment, qualification and removal of the chairperson of the commission and its members.

Sikkim, Assam Bihar Chattisgarh, Maharashtra, Delhi, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, Punjab and Rajastan have already set up the child rights commission.










HC directs compensation to deceased CBI officer’s family


PTI | 10:02 AM,Feb 26,2012

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI) Nearly nine years after the death of a young CBI officer in a road accident, the Delhi High Court has directed the insurance company to pay Rs 23.5 lakh as compensation to his family. It also directed the company to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to a senior officer, who became permanently disabled, and further ordered Rs 1.5 lakh to be paid to another CBI officer who had sustained injuries in the accident that had taken place on May 21, 2003. While hearing the petition of Anita Pathak for enhancement of compensation awarded by the Motor Accident Claimant Tribunal (MACT), Justice G P Mittal increased the compensation amount from Rs 19.5 lakh for the death of Ashutosh Pathak, the 28-year-old inspector. “It was established that he was a young boy of 28 years and had a bright future. His salary as Rs 12,960 was established by salary certificate. He was entitled to an increase of 50 percent in the salary by way of future prospects. The Claims Tribunal erred in deducting an amount of Rs 4,710 as income tax from the deceased’s monthly income,” the court said. The court ordered the Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Co Ltd to pay Rs 3.5 lakh to ASP Vijay Kumar, 51, who was declared permanently disabled and Rs 1.15 lakh to 53-year-old SI Harjeet Singh Sachan for the injuries he had sustained. Justice Mittal directed the insurance company to pay the compensation amount with 7.5 per cent rate of annual interest to the victims through the Delhi High Court Registrar General within a month. In May 21, 2003 these CBI officers were returning from Lucknow to Delhi after conducting a raid in the van hired from the Unique Tour & Travel in Lucknow. The driver of the vehicle had lost the control and the car got hit against a tree. PTI PNM ZMN










Road accident victim’s parents awarded Rs 21 lakh compensation


PTI | 11:02 AM,Feb 26,2012

New Delhi, Feb 26 (PTI) The parents of a road accident victim have been awarded a compensation of more than Rs 21 lakh by a tribunal, after the matter was mutually settled with the offender. Presiding Officer of Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) Nirja Bhatia directed United India Insurance Company Ltd, with which the offending vehicle was insured, to pay Rs 21,46,000 to the parents of Sunny Kant Kedia, who died in an accident with a motorcycle last year. “An award for an amount of Rs 21,46,000 is passed in view of the statement (of both the parties). The insurance company is directed to make the payment of the award amount failing which it shall be liable to pay interest at 12 per cent per annum for the period of delay,” the court said. During mediation, Kedia’s father Nem Dass agreed to accept the amount from east Delhi resident Amit Sharma, whose motorcycle was involved in the accident, as full and final settlement for the claim. The accident took place on November 1 last year when Sharma, who was riding his motorcycle rashly, hit Kedia at Mathura Road here. Due to the impact, Kedia received grievous injuries and died. The tribunal awarded the compensation amount to the victim’s parents, residents of Amar Colony, after recording their as well as the insurance firm’s statement regarding the mutual settlement. Out of the total money, the MACT divided the amount equally in favour of Kedia’s parents.











Indian Railways fall under CCI’s ambit: HC


Last Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 11:48

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has held that the Indian Railways is an ‘enterprise’ and the Competition Commission of India (CCI) is empowered to hear complaints against it for alleged abuse of its dominant position in goods transport sector.

Holding that there is a “commercial angle” to the services rendered by the railways, Justice Vipin Sanghi dismissed the railway ministry’s plea challenging the CCI jurisdiction to decide cases related to it.

“The petitioner (Ministry of Railways) is also carrying out an activity of running the railways, which has a commercial angle and is capable of being carried out by entities other than the state, as is the case in various other developed countries.

“It is not an inalienable function of the state and the submission of the petitioner that it is not covered by the definition of enterprise has no merit and is rejected,” the court said while dismissing the ministry’s plea.

The railways had taken a plea that it was not an “enterprise” as defined under the Competition Act and the CCI lacked jurisdiction to hear a complaint that it was allegedly abusing its dominant position in the trade of goods transport.

The judgement, which broadened the ambit of the panel by bringing railways’ commercial activities under it, came on the plea of the public carrier against a CCI verdict.

The CCI, earlier, had rejected the railways’ plea, allowing a private firm’s allegation that the public carrier had “abused its dominant position through its various acts/ conduct, viz, by increasing charges for various services; by not providing access to infrastructure such as rail terminals, etc….”

The private firm, as per public-private-partnership policy of the railways, had entered into an agreement with the railways on May 9, 2008 for operating container trains over rail network for domestic as well as for export and import traffic and had also invested Rs 550 crore in its project.

It later approached the CCI alleging that the railways used its dominant position by imposing unreasonable conditions on it.

The railways, however, said since the complainant company had a contract with it, the issue of abuse of dominant position should be decided by an arbitrator tribunal as per the agreement between them.

The high court brushed aside the contention that a tribunal should hear the matter, saying an “arbitral tribunal would neither have the mandate, nor the expertise, to conduct an investigation which may be necessary to decide issues of abuse of dominant position by one of the parties to the contract.”

Agreeing with the competition watchdog, it held the railways is covered under the definition of ‘enterprise’ as running of the railways is not an inalienable function of the state.

The court also said the government had not issued any notification exempting it from the ambit of the Competition Act, regarding the services rendered by the Indian Railways.

“The exemption under the Competition Act could be granted in relation to the activities relatable to sovereign functions of the government, and not in relation to all the activities of such an enterprise.

“Pertinently, there is no notification issued. This clearly shows that the central government does not consider any of the activities of petitioner (Ministry of Railways) as relatable to sovereign functions,” the court said.









In preventive detention, subjective satisfaction of authority key: Bench


‘Court will not interfere in the issue except in exceptional cases’

In preventive detention cases, the court cannot interfere with the subjective satisfaction reached by the detaining authority (DA) on breach of public order, except in exceptional cases and on extremely limited grounds, the Supreme Court has held.

A Bench of Justices P. Sathasivam and J. Chelameswar said, “The court cannot substitute its own opinion for that of the DA when the grounds of detention are precise, pertinent, proximate and relevant, that sufficiency of grounds is not for the court but for the DA to form subjective satisfaction that the detention of a person with a view to preventing him from acting in any manner prejudicial to public order is required and that such satisfaction is subjective and not objective.”

Writing the judgment, Justice Sathasivam said: “The object of the law of preventive detention is not punitive but only preventive and further that the action of the executive in detaining a person being only precautionary, normally, the matter has necessarily to be left to the discretion of the executive authority. It is not practicable to lay down objective rules of conduct in an exhaustive manner. The satisfaction of the DA is, therefore, considered to be of primary importance with certain latitude in the exercise of its discretion.”

In the instant case, the appellant Subramanian of Tiruchirapalli, a habitual offender, was detained by the Tamil Nadu government under the Goondas Act on July 21, 2011 and his preventive detention for one year was upheld by the Madras High Court. The present appeal is directed against the dismissal of his writ petition.

“Habitual offender”

Dismissing the appeal, the Bench said: “We perused the entire grounds of detention. The order shows that there is a compelling necessity to detain the appellant in order to prevent him from indulging in such activities in future which are prejudicial to the maintenance of public order. The details show that the detenu was a habitual offender and as such instances shown are not stale as argued by the appellant’s counsel. These aspects have been taken note of by the High Court. All the incidents mentioned in the grounds of detention clearly substantiate the subjective satisfaction arrived at the by the DA as to how the acts of the detenu were prejudicial to the maintenance of public order.”

The appellant’s representation to the Advisory Board for reconsideration of his detention had been rejected and the Board had confirmed his detention and there was no delay in considering the representation by the authorities, the Bench noted and dismissed the appeal.








Process to merge BHMRC, central body begins


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 06.08AM IST

BHOPAL: After a string of controversies, Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BHMRC), meant for the victims of gas tragedy, is in the process of integrating itself with the centre’s Department of Health Research (DHR), official sources said.

As a petition related to the BMHRC is slated to come up before the Supreme Court for hearing on March 2, DHR officials have set in motion the process to finalize a blue print of modalities such as service books of employees so as to bring them at par with employees of DHR. BMHRC is under Indian Council for Medical Research (ICMR) after it was handed over from the department of atomic energy in January this year.

While hearing a petition filed by the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPHUS) and others in December 2011, the apex court had sought a clarification from the Centre on the employees demand for Sixth Pay Commission after BGPHUS lawyer stated that a proposed strike by the employees would adversely affect the interest of gas victims.

While the Centre is supposed to file reply on March 2, BMHRC nurses association on Friday moved the Supreme Court with a writ petition seeking implementation of the Sixth Pay Commission along with various other reliefs.

The BMHRC nurses body had a meeting with BMHRC and DHR officials on Saturday and categorically stated that they would accept nothing less than Sixth Pay Commission.

However, BMHRC director K K Maudar cited procedural delay in the non-implementation but assured the nursing employees of an early solution on the issue.

BMHRC sources said, however, maintained that in the present circumstances revised salary is unlikely to be implemented before April and the management is considering provisional sixth pay commission status only.










PIL seeks CBI probe into ‘misuse’ of funds in Chitrakoot


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 25,2012

Allahabad, Feb 25 (PTI) An advocate moved the Allahabad High Court today seeking a CBI probe into alleged “misuse” of Central funds given to the Uttar Pradesh government for development of Chitrakoot district in Bundelkhand region. Petitioner Jagdish Singh Bundela filed an PIL alleging that the Centre had released a sum of Rs 7,266 crore under the Bundelkhand Special Package out of which Rs 422.26 crore meant for Chitrakoot was “misused”. Bundela has claimed that, likewise, money released for Chitrakoot under schemes like ‘Pichhda Kshetra Anudan Nidhi’ and ‘Rashtriya Sam Vikas Yojana’ has also been “misappropriated”. The PIL is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday.








PIL against NCTC order dismissed


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a public interest writ petition seeking to set aside the undated National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC) Order, 2012. The first bench said the writ petition could not be entertained on the basis of an undated notification.

The counsel for the petitioner could not satisfy the bench as to wherefrom the undated notification was procured. Discussions and deliberations were going on between the Centre and different States relating to the implementation of the order and the final notification had not yet been issued. “Keeping in mind the facts and circumstances of the case, we are not inclined to entertain the writ petition,” the bench said and dismissed it.








PIL seeks setting up of AIEEE, AIPMT exam question papers in regional languages


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 06.58AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has ordered notice to the Union government on a petition seeking to conduct the All India Engineering/ Architectural Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and All India Pre-Medical/ Pre-Dental Entrance Examination (AIPMT) in regional languages. The petitioner wanted the government to set the question papers in all languages, including those listed in the VIII scheduled of the constitution of India, particularly in Tamil along with English and Hindi.

The bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah gave the order to the Union government and the Central Board of Secondary Education, (CBSE) to reply to the petition within four weeks.

According to the petitioner, K Pachaimal, a retired Tamil teacher in Kanyakumari district, the Union government through CBSE is conducting the All India Common Entrance Examination for admission to engineering, architecture, medical and dental courses in various Central government institutions and for 15% seats in state government institutions. CBSE has now announced the AIEEE – 2012 and scheduled its examination on April 29 for offline examination and May 5 and May 26 for online examinations. It also announced the AIPMT – 2012 exams scheduled to be conducted on April 1 (preliminary) and May 13 (final).

The petitioner contended that in these circumstances, the students, those who complete their higher secondary examination through Tamil as medium of instruction and from schools run by the government of Tamil Nadu, government-aided and self-financed, will be forced to appear in the above common entrance examination either in English or Hindi, which is against their right to equality.

“Majority of these students are from urban poor, rural and weaker sections of the society and have deep knowledge in their necessary subjects through their mother tongue, will definitely lose their opportunity due to the language of the question paper prepared in English and Hindi by the CBSE,” she contended.

The petitioner further added, “The students studying in their mother tongue should also be given an equal opportunity to appear and express their ability, in terms of subject knowledge, comprehension, reasoning and analytical ability through their mother tongue. Otherwise there will be a great prejudice, injustice and discrimination caused to the similarly placed students.” Therefore, the Union government ought to conduct the common entrance examinations in regional languages, particularly in Tamil to provide equal opportunity by the students studying in their mother tongue.”

Madurai: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has ordered notice to the Union government on a petition seeking to conduct the All India Engineering/ Architectural Entrance Examination (AIEEE) and All India Pre-Medical/ Pre-Dental Entrance Examination (AIPMT) in regional languages. The court asked the government to set the question papers in all languages, including those listed in the VIII scheduled of the constitution of India, particularly in Tamil along with English and Hindi.

The bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah gave the order to the Union government and the Central Board of Secondary Education, (CBSE) to reply to the petition within four weeks.

According to the petitioner, K Pachaimal, a retired Tamil teacher in Kanyakumari district, the Union government through CBSE is conducting the All India Common Entrance Examination for admission to engineering, architecture, medical and dental courses in various Central government institutions and for 15% seats in state government institutions. CBSE has now announced the AIEEE – 2012 and scheduled its examination on April 29 for offline examination and May 5 and May 26 for online examinations. It also announced the AIPMT – 2012 exams scheduled to be conducted on April 1 (preliminary) and May 13 (final).

The petitioner contended that in these circumstances, the students, those who complete their higher secondary examination through Tamil as medium of instruction and from schools run by the government of Tamil Nadu, government-aided and self-financed, will be forced to appear in the above common entrance examination either in English or Hindi, which is against their right to equality.

“Majority of these students are from urban poor, rural and weaker sections of the society and have deep knowledge in their necessary subjects through their mother tongue, will definitely lose their opportunity due to the language of the question paper prepared in English and Hindi by the CBSE,” she contended.

The petitioner further added, “The students studying in their mother tongue should also be given an equal opportunity to appear and express their ability, in terms of subject knowledge, comprehension, reasoning and analytical ability through their mother tongue.”. Otherwise there will be a great prejudice, injustice and discrimination caused to the similarly placed students. Therefore, the Union government ought to conduct the common entrance examinations in regional languages, particularly in Tamil to provide equal opportunity by the students studying in their mother tongue.”







Goa: Baba Ramdev to hold day-long fast today


New Delhi: Yoga guru Baba Ramdev will be holding a day-long fast in Goa on Sunday protesting corruption, black money and illegal mining.

This will be Ramdev’s first step into the limelight after the Supreme Court held him equally responsible for the Delhi Police crackdown on his supporters in June last year.

Yoga guru Baba Ramdev on Thursday claimed victory in the Ramlila crackdown case after the Supreme Court came down heavily on the state and Delhi Police for the midnight violence. However, he said that it was not right to say that he was equally responsible for the incident.

“It is not correct that I was equally responsible. Delhi police edited the CCTV footage which was shown to the court. Let me read the entire verdict then I will react to what the court has said about holding me partly responsible for the incident. Is holding protest a crime? Ramdev said.

“Government misused it powers and violated human rights. Amicus curiae had given all proofs to the court that senior police officers were taking directions from the Home Ministry. I told the crowd to maintain peace. I could not have done more. I told the cops present there to arrest me and told them not to do lathi charge but they did not listen,” Ramdev said in a press conference.

He said that he will continue his agitation against corruption. “Let me read the entire verdict then I will react to what the court has said about holding me partly responsible for the incident. Is holding protest a crime? Ramdev said.

The Supreme Court has pulled up yoga guru Baba Ramdev and the Delhi Police in the Ramlila Maidan crackdown case, saying that both were responsible. The Supreme Court ruling said that Ramdev is guilty of negligence in the midnight crackdown case, but at the same time the court also said that the police crackdown on June 5, 2011 was unnecessary.

Observing that it was a glaring example of trust deficit between the people and the government, the court also blamed Ramdev, who was on an anti-corruption fast along with his followers at Ramlilla Maidan, for the violence.

Senior Supreme lawyer Ram Jethmalani said that Home Minister P Chidambram should step down.

“Who gave power to the Home Minister of India not to allow the demonstration and deport people from Delhi. The entire crowd was sleeping when the attack took place,” he said.













Outside SC lens, a massacre trial wrecked by hostile witnesses


Parimal Dabhi : KIDIYAD, Sun Feb 26 2012, 01:52 hrs

The state highway cutting through greenery and leading to the village of Kidiyad in Sabarkantha district of central Gujarat lifts the mood, unless one allows in the memories of March 2, 2002, when nearly 75 Muslims fleeing their village in two mini trucks to Lunawada in the Panchmahals district were burnt alive and killed.

Leading the rioters at Limbadiya chowk in the Panchmahals was Kalu Maliwad, who was let off after witnesses turned hostile in the court. Maliwad went on to become an MLA from Lunawada on a BJP ticket in the Assembly polls held in December 2002. He was last seen organising Chief Minister Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana mission fast in Godhra on January 20, 2012.

The former MLA has a reason to breathe easy. The case against him has come a full circle 10 years later. After the Godhra sessions court acquitted Maliwad and eight others in 2002, the state government filed an appeal in the High Court. The state police also extended the investigation on the basis of the statements of the witnesses and submitted three more chargesheets against 23 new accused in the massacre case which is not being probed by the Supreme Court-appointed SIT.

In the re-trial which started January last year, 26 of the 37 witnesses examined turned hostile. They denied that the police ever recorded their statements and absolved the accused. In the earlier trial, the prosecution was roundly criticised for ignoring the trend of witnesses turning hostile.

Public prosecutor in the case, Dushyant Pathak, pleads helplessness. “At present, we cannot do anything about this (witnesses turning hostile) except for declaring them hostile and contradict their statements (given before court and police),” he says.

“If, the court acquits the accused on the basis of the retracted statement of a witness, we may write to the legal department to initiate perjury proceedings against such witnesses,” he says.

Salim Sindhi, one of the witnesses in the case, says nearly 100-120 Muslims of Kidiyad had left their village in two tempo trucks to move to a safer place in Modasa after communal tension gripped the state following the Godhra train carnage.

“However, the road towards Modasa was blocked. So, we moved towards Lunawada. But when we reached Limbadiya chowk (crossroads), a huge mob of Hindus armed with sharp-edged weapons attacked the two tempo-trucks and killed around 75 people,” says Sindhi, who is in one of the ill-fated tempo trucks. Later, the rioters ransacked and looted Muslim properties in the surrounding villages.

Today, the Muslim locality of Kidiyad still wears a deserted look, its half-collapsed houses still standing witnesses to the mayhem. Muslims here now plan to repair the local mosque destroyed back then.

Of the total 100-120 Muslim families that lived here then, only 10 have returned. The rest settled in Modasa.

Salim Sindhi, who was then the sarpanch of Kidiyad, say of the 200 homes in the village then, 50 were of Muslims. Today, the Thakor community rules here with around 100 houses.

Ismail Sindhi’s was the first family to come back to Kidiyad three years ago, after first spending months at a relief camp in Modasa and then living at a house provided by Islamic Relief Committee in Modasa. “We have got land in the village. There is no point staying in Modasa if we are to cultivate crops in the land for survival. We are not happy with what happened but, one needs to move on,” says Nanumiyan Sindhi, who has rebuilt his mud home. Kidiyad is a fertile and well-irrigated village.

“If we do not stay here, you never know what would happen to our land in our absence. So, we have returned to our village to look after our fields,” says Shabbir Sindhi.

The villagers have slowly started getting basic amenities like electricity and drinking water.

Master alive, ‘Lucky’ back “Lucky”, a Marwari horse owned by Ismail Sindhi’s family, was tethered outside their house when the rioters stormed the village.

“We had taken shelter in a nearby farm. One of the rioters stole the horse and gave it to one of his relatives,” says Ismail Sindhi. “But, one of my two sons (who is no more now) had identified the person and told us after reaching a relief camp in Modasa,” he says.

Ismail’s other son, Gulam Sindhi, says they finally got “Lucky” back with the help of a social worker and police intervention. The person who had stolen it confessed and returned Lucky, says Gulam, adding they did not want to lodge a police complaint in the communally charged atmosphere.

The Sindhis now earn around Rs 1 lakh per year renting

Lucky at various marriage and other functions. And, yes, Lucky is a master “dancer”.







Our laws, their laws


Meghnad Desai : Sun Feb 26 2012, 02:29 hrs


I had a call the other day from a friend in Italy. She is a journalist covering India expertly and has been here several times. She asked as to why the sentiment in India was so anti-Italian. After all, there had been disputes about fishermen killed at sea between India and Sri Lanka. So why was this dispute so different?

My guess was that Italy being a European country, the memories of colonialism came into play with any such violent incident where Indian lives had been lost. It had nothing to do, I assured her, with Sonia Gandhi’s Italian background as this issue had not come up in India at all. In this matter, it would help immensely if the Catholic Church kept completely out of this dispute which is not about religion. The fact that the Vatican is in Italy is irrelevant.

As far as India is concerned, the issue is straightforward. Two Kerala fishermen have been killed by Italian naval personnel—Massimiliano Latorre and Salvatore Girone—who were guarding Enrica Lexie. The fact that the fishermen could have been mistaken for pirates, adds insult to the injury. It may be that the location was technically outside the limits as defined by UN Convention of the Law of the Sea but it was close enough. What is more, it was an Indian ship, and, by Indian law, that is Indian territory.

Italians are relying on international law and arguing that as the incident was at high seas, the Italian law should apply since international law says so. They want their soldiers to be tried in Italian court.

Whose law should prevail? Ours, theirs or the international law?

Few Indians doubt what their answer would be. The case would have been even stronger had the incident taken place within the limits as defined by UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

But then there is the case of the children of Sagarika and Anurup Bhattacharya who have been taken into care in Norway and their law dictates that the children be kept there until they are adults. Indians are outraged, of course, and feel that the Norwegians are being stupid, ignorant of our culture and insensitive. Yet it is Norway’s territory and its law which is being applied.

The background here is that across Scandinavia, there has been a strong welfare state which takes a very active role in family relations. This has been developing for the last seventy years or so. Gunnar Myrdal, the well known economist and his wife Alva Myrdal, would be familiar names to Indians of a certain vintage. They were leading thinkers of the welfare state philosophy which said that you have to apply the most recent research in psychology and child health to make sure that families bring up children properly. If they fail to do so, the State must take over. There is no choice for Norwegian families in this matter. The State knows best.

It is not a doctrine which has much support in Anglo-Saxon welfare states nor in the rest of Europe but that is very much the Scandinavian way. It is difficult from a distance to know what evidence the authorities had to conclude that the children were alienated or neglected. It is unlikely to have been arbitrary. There is now some familiarity with other cultures in Scandinavian countries though not as much as in UK, France or Germany.

The UN Rights of the Child is not clear on this issue. It urges countries both to respect the rights of the child against abuse (most often from within the family) as well as respect for cultural differences and identity. As in the Italian case, so in this one, domestic law and international law conflict. My experience as a non-lawyer is that international law is most often hopelessly vague and difficult if you want an unambiguous conclusion. I found this when we were discussing the Iraq War in 2003.

But the two disputes do pose a paradox in justice. If we apply domestic law, the Italian naval personnel are to be tried in a Kerala court. But then are the children of the Bhattacharyas legitimately held by the Norwegian welfare agencies?











Natarajans bail plea rejected


Express News Service

THANJAVUR: The Thanjavur district sessions court on Friday dismissed the bail plea of M Natarajan, husband of Sasikala, and two others in connection with land grab charges. The Thanjavur anti-land grab cell registered a case against Natarajan and five others based on a complaint filed by Ramalingam. The Thanjavur police arrested Natarajan on February 18 and lodged him in the Tiruchy central prison.

Hearing the arguments district sessions court magistrate in-charge Mohammed Ali dismissed the bail petitions and an anticipatory bail petition.

Natarajan’s Brother Seeks Anticipatory Bail

M Saminathan, brother of Sasikala’s husband M Natarajan, has sought anticipatory bail at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court apprehending arrest in two cases. The Thanjavur police have booked Saminathan under Section 120B (Punishment of criminal conspiracy), 147 (Punishment for rioting), 352 (Punishment for assault), 447 (Punishment for criminal trespass) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the IPC, in connection with cases related to land grab and damage to property.

Claiming that the police had threatened Ramalingam to lodge a false complaint against him, Saminathan pleaded innocence. He also assured to co-operate with the inquiry and offer substantial sureties for his bail.

He approached the HC Bench after the District Sessions Court at Thanjavur dismissed his bail petition.



Court firing: Three sent to police custody remand till March 3


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 07.08AM IST

PUNE: A magisterial court on Saturday sent three suspects to police custody remand till March 3 for allegedly opening fire on criminal on police record Vijay Dinkar Karke (25) at Kamgar putla slums behind the district and sessions court at Shivajinagar on Thursday.

The suspects are Sangram Gholap (26) of Mangalwar Peth, Ravindra Chavan (30) and Akshay alias Lala Pawle (26), both residents of Ambegaon Pathar.

Karke was at the court to attend the hearing for his friend Avinash Shilamkar, an eyewitness, in the murder case of Sandeep Bandal, MNS leader from Bhor taluka.

All three are also suspects in the Bandal murder case and Shilamkar had deposed against them in the court. The Shivajinagar police arrested the suspects on Friday after seeking permission from the court.

Senior inspector Pandharinath Patil produced the suspects before the court of judicial magistrate first class M Y Doiphode for seeking 10-day police custody.

Assistant public prosecutor Rajendra Suryawanshi submitted before the court that the suspect’s custodial interrogation was essential for recovering the firearms, arresting their absconding suspects and for recovering the vehicle used in the crime.

Opposing the prosecution’s plea, defence lawyer Makarand Walunj argued that the police had arrested the suspects merely on suspicion. The court then sent the suspects to police custody remand till March 3.








Woman released by welfare home to estranged father, goes missing


Jayant Sriram : New Delhi, Sun Feb 26 2012, 00:36 hrs


A Delhi Sessions Court has asked the superintendent of a children’s welfare home to explain why a woman was released from their custody to her father, who had been threatening to kill her for marrying against his wishes. Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau also ordered the woman’s father detained after police submitted that she could not be found, and expressed the fear that “something drastic” could have happened to her.

The court was hearing a case registered against one Prem Raj, based on a complaint from the woman’s father. The father had allegedly kidnapped his daughter, then claimed to be 15 years old, in February last year. However, a month later, the woman contacted the police and told them that she was actually 20 years old, and competent to make her own decisions.

She said she had known Prem Raj for two years, and they had already tied the knot in a temple. She claimed that her parents had been threatening her as well as her in-laws since then.

In the same month, Raj surrendered before a magistrate’s court and was taken into police custody. The woman also surrendered at the police station, and was taken to the BJRM hospital for a medical examination. After doctors estimated her age to be anywhere between 18-19 years, she registered a statement with a magistrate, stating that she was in love with Raj but her parents were not willing to come to terms with their marriage. The woman said she did not want to go back to her parents because they were threatening to kill her.

Following this, the woman was admitted to a welfare home. However, police recently said the welfare home had released the woman to her father, who was not divulging any information on her whereabouts. ASJ Lau issued a non-bailable warrant for the father, and had him detained. However, despite being questioned, he refused to give in.

According to police, the woman’s in-laws suspect that she has been married off to somebody else. The judge has now remanded the father in civil prison until she can be traced by police. The superintendent of the welfare home, located on Jail Road, West Delhi, has also been asked to explain why the woman was released to her father.











Five minors booked for sodomy bid in Jalandhar


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Alawalpur, February 25, 2012

Five school dropouts in the age group of 10 to 12 years have been booked on the charges of attempting to sodomise a Class-6 student of Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1, Adampur, in Punjab’s Jalandhar district and circulating an MMS clip of the incident.

A case has been registered under sections 377, 506 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and various sections of the Information Technology Act.

Resham Singh, an ex-serviceman, in his complaint to the police, said the boys (names withheld as the offenders are juvenile), all residents of Alawalpur village, used to play with his son on the campus of the government elementary school for girls here.

“About six months ago, one of them took my son to his house in search of a ball and tried to sodomise him. Two others attempted to commit the unnatural act later,” he alleged, adding that his son did not report the incident to him out of fear. “My son became the butt of jokes among his friends,” he alleged.

Family members came to know about the incident through the MMS clip. “We promptly reported the matter to the police, seeking stringent action against the accused,” Resham said.

The complainant as well as the accused belong to the Dalit community. The latter’s parents work as labourers.

Sources said the parents of the accused had offered to pay compensation to the victim’s family, but a compromise fell through.

Superintendent of police Rajinder Singh said the police had conducted raids on houses of the accused on Friday, but they were found absconding. “Now, their parents have produced them before the investigating officer, who is questioning them about the incident,” he added.

As per Section 377 of the IPC, “carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any man, woman or animal” is a cognisable offence, but no arrest can be made without a warrant or without a magistrate’s order. The crime is punishable with imprisonment for life or a term extendable up to 10 years.










Yeddyurappa, daughter booked in land allotment scam


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 04.28AM IST

SHIMOGA: Lokayukta police filed an FIR against former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa, his daughter B Y Arunadevi and six others on a complaint lodged by local advocate Vinod Kumar in the special court here on Saturday. The case has been filed under Section 13(1) of the Indian Penal Code.

The advocate alleged that Arunadevi got four sites in the Karnataka Housing Board (KHB) colony at Kashipura Extension in Shimoga which were allotted to four of her assistants in 2007 under the journalist quota. She reportedly prevailed on her father, then deputy chief minister, to allot sites (each measuring 135sqft) to Shivashankara, Krishna, Sandesha Gowda and Manjuanth who worked in her institution. She mentioned that all four were senior journalists.

Yeddyurappa wrote to the then housing commissioner Dyaberi to allot four adjacent sites to the four people in July 2007 under the Press quota. As per the commissioner’s direction, assistant executive engineer S Haleshappa, without verifying the records or antecedents of the applicants, allotted the sites in violation of rules.

The KHB authority allotted the sites and registered them in the name of the allottees. A few months later, Arunadevi transferred all four sites to her name and registered the sites by showing she bought all the four by paying a premium.

Sensing foul play in the allotment and later transfer of sites, advocate Vinod filed a complaint in the district special court seeking cancellation of allotment and initiating action of all eight people involved in the fraud. The court found a prima facie case and directed the Lokayukta to investigate. Police have filed FIR against all the eight people – Yeddyurappa, Arunadevi, KHB commissioner, executive engineer and four beneficiaries involved in the illegal deal.










Ground report: fishermen community waiting for justice


Kochi: Even as the Italian deputy foreign minister maintains that they wish to maintain good ties with India, the Kochi Police has brought the Italian ship to the Kochi port and is expected to search the Italian ship for weapons on Monday.

However, at the Neendakara harbour, the fishing community is still struggling to get back to their normal lives.

A week after two of their men were shot dead by the Italian Navy guards, the fishing harbour in Neendakara is limping back to normalcy. And all that remains of the St Antony Boat which had carried the Indian fishermen, is four bullet marks.

One of the two, Jelestin, was on the wheels of the boat, when the first bullet struck his right ear. The other, Pinku, was standing on the backside. The other 9 fishermen on the boat say that they were taking a nap when the sound of gunfire woke them up. They woke up to the sight of their two fellowmen lying in a pool of blood. Immediately they steered the boat away from the ship, brought it back to the Needakara harbour and informed the coastal police station.

Joy and Peter, who took out the bodies of the fishermen from the boat, want the guilty to be brought to book.

Says Joy, “All those who were there on the boat that day are now scared to go to sea. A sense of insecurity prevails as this is the first time that our men have been shot down at sea.”

Peter says, “If they were genuine, they would have informed the Coast Guard about the threat of pirates. They were drunk and shot down our men as if it’s a joke. Why was there a delay in arresting them? They would have tampered with the evidence.”

Silence fills the air at Jelestin’s house. His widow recalls him as a fearless man who loved the sea. With the state government’s promised compensation of Rs 5 lakhs still to reach them, the family is staring at an uncertain future.

Says Dora, Jelestin’s wife, “We want justice and don’t want this to be repeated. My husband was the sole bread-winner of the family. We have no one to take care of the children’s education, family debts etc.”

For the fishermen community in Neendakara, the very sea which was the symbol of prosperity and happiness has now become a source of fear. By punishing the guilty, they want the government to send out a strong message to the world, that Indian fishermen and their small boats cannot be treated as mere toys in the hands of the rich and the mighty.

Impose fines for adjournments: Ex-CJ of England


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 04.47AM IST

MUMBAI: Set a time-table for each case and impose huge costs for adjournments, said Lord Justice Harry Kenneth Woolf, former chief justice of England and Wales, while giving tips to reduce the piling up of cases in Indian courts.

Woolf, Law Lord, Houses of Lords, was speaking at a seminar on Saturday on reforms in the civic justice system in the central court of the Bombay High Court. Lord Woolf, who is credited with bringing changes in the English civil justice system, admitted it was “difficult” to introduce changes and he had to persuade his fellow judges to get “proactive”. “Reform of the civil justice system is just doing sensible things which an ordinary person says is much better than the way things were done,” he added.

Lord Woolf said judges have to make orders meaningful and clients and advocates must be made to pay costs forthwith when they seek adjournments. “This small change has had a most sanitary effect. Once the message gets around, attitudes will change,” he explained. He also supported mediation, saying “it may not get you a judgment you like, but the results are more beneficial to you than it would take up in court proceedings.” Lord Woolf advocated getting professionals from other fields to assist in improving court protocol.

In his introductory address, Bombay HC Chief Justice Mohit Shah said that even with amendments in the Civil Procedure Code in 2002, our “mindset has not changed”.

Former director of National Law School, Bangalore, N R Madhava Menon, said it is seldom that the system of civil justice changes, even though socio-economic and technological changes have taken place in society. He stressed on judicial activism from the level of magistrate and district courts for the speedy disposal of cases.









Sensitivity must to defend human rights’


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 07.06AM IST

PUNE: Future lawyers need to equip themselves with knowledge and information if they want to deal with complaints relating to human rights violations, said Supreme Court justice Balbir Singh Chauhan on Saturday. He was speaking on the “Role of judiciary in protection of human Rights” at the Justice Y V Chandrachud lecture series 2012.

The function, attended by judicial officers and lawyers, was organised by the Pune Bar Association (PBA) at the Ashoka hall of the district and sessions court.

Justice Chauhan, the chief guest for the event, emphasised the need to introduce more courses on human rights violations, as such events have become rampant in the country.

Describing the incident of Baba Ramdev’s rally at Ramlila Maidan last year as a clear case of human rights violations, the SC judge advised lawyers to have a sensitive approach while dealing in human rights violations cases. He also criticised the police for abusing its authority by inflicting injuries on a sleeping crowd in the garb of invoking Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

Citing the case of film actress Khushboo, who had to face 28 litigations by lawyers, and remained in prison for six weeks, because she had given an interview on live-in relationship, the judge said there was no law to initiate prosecution in such cases as none of the lawyers were defamed.

Among the others who spoke at the function include Justice Abhay Thipsay of the Bombay High Court, principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar, Harshad Nimbalkar, member of Bar Council of Maharashtra and Goa, PBA president Dhananjay Taur and others.

Later, attending the Justice P N Bhagwati International Moot Court competition at the New Law College, Justice Chauhan traced the history of legal education in India and commented on the quality of legal education and applauded the high professional quality existing today in law colleges across India. He also spoke on natural justice as well as human rights being the most essential components for dignified humanity.

Total 26 teams from national law schools and six foreign teams from the UK, the US and Europe have participated in the competition. The guests were introduced by Mukund Sarda, dean and principal of the college.







No more leniency to govts in delayed appeals: SC


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.58AM IST

NEW DELHI: For long, government and its departments have been getting away lightly in the judiciary as courts have been lenient in viewing the delay in filing of appeals by them.

But, the Supreme Court on Friday put an end to it and decided to treat government with the same yardstick used for other litigants when it comes to filing of appeals after the statutory deadline.

Dismissing an appeal filed by the chief of the Post Master General against Living Media India Ltd; after 427 days of the statutory period of limitation, a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar said the apex court was no more willing to buy the stock response of government departments – delay was due to red-tape and pendency of file on a bureaucrat’s desk for long.

“The law of limitation undoubtedly binds everybody including the government,” the bench said refusing to accept the contention that delays in filing of appeals by government departments are due to impersonal machinery and inherited bureaucratic methodology of making multiple notes.

“Why the delay is to be condoned mechanically merely because government or wing of the government is a party before us?” the bench asked.

“It is the right time to inform all the government bodies, their agencies and instrumentalities that unless they have reasonable and acceptable explanation for the delay and there was bona-fide effort, there is no need to accept the usual explanation that the file was kept pending for several months/years due to considerable degree of procedural red-tape,” said Justice Sathasivam, who wrote the judgment.

This could hit governments hard as they are the biggest litigant before the judiciary accounting for about 40% of total cases pending in various courts either as petitioner or respondent. The sheer volume of work and lack of enough equipped manpower often leave the decision of whether to file an appeal in a limbo till higher-ups take a view of it. Besides, the decision to reduce government litigation has not trickled down.

Justice Sathasivam said: “The government departments are under a special obligation to ensure that they perform their duties with due diligence and commitment. Condoning of delay is an exception and should not be used as an anticipated benefit for government departments.”

He said the law must weigh every litigant on the same scale and “should not be swirled for the benefit of few”. On the case at hand, the court slammed the postal department, saying “From day one the department or the persons concerned have not evinced diligence in prosecuting the matter to this court by taking appropriate steps”.











Judiciary unable to control pendency of cases: UP Governor


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 25,2012

Lucknow, Feb 25 (PTI) Uttar Pradesh Governor B L Joshi today said despite the judiciary working diligently to redress the grievances of masses, it has been unable to arrest the mounting pendency of cases. “The result of this malady has been that justice and the recipients of justice have both received a set-back due to delays in the disposal of pending cases,” Joshi said, inaugurating the first regional conference of Central Zone on Mediation, organised by UP State Legal Services Authority here. He said the constitutional vision of justice can be visualised only when the ever increasing work-load on regular courts mounting day-by-day is checked. Stressing that mediation and conciliation can help reduce the work load of courts, he said the two methods can resolve disputes and also assist rival parties in reaching an agreement. “Mediation and conciliation may be methods which may help resolve the problem faced by regular courts in dealing with large number of pending cases,” Joshi said. PTI SAB PG KKS HMI











Govt shortlists 3 names for CIC top post


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 04.37AM IST

NEW DELHI: The government has shortlisted former Intelligence Bureau chief Rajiv Mathur, ex-environment secretary Vijai Sharma and Syndicate Bank CMD Basant Seth as new Information Commissioners of the Central Information Commission.

A panel headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has shortlisted these three names against existing vacancies in the CIC. The panel includes Union law minister Salman Khurshid and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj.

Sources said that a formal announcement on the appointment of new information commissioners would be made shortly.

Mathur, a 1972 batch IPS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, has served IB for nearly three decades, including a 15-year stint in Washington. He took over the reigns of the agency in January, 2009. Sharma, a 1974 batch IAS officer from UP cadre, was secretary in the environment ministry. He had retired in December, 2010.

Seth, who is the CMD of Syndicate Bank, Bangalore, has held senior positions in Small Industries Development Bank and Bank of India.












PhD must to become Principal: High Court


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sun Feb 26 2012, 00:59 hrs
In a significant development, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that in order to become the Principal of a College, a lecturer will have to possess a PhD degree. Dismissing a petition challenging the rule of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) and notification issued by the Chandigarh Administration, the High Court has made it clear that seniority in the list for promotion to the post of a Principal is not sufficient to become the Principal.

So that a lecturer can become the Principal he/ she will have to possess a PhD degree. The degree coupled with the seniority will be considered for promotion to Principal. A petition was filed challenging the rules for promotion. The same was dismissed by the High Court today. In October, 2010 the Central Administrative Tribunal had dismissed the petition filed by Achala Dogra, officiating Principal at Post Graduate Government College for Girls, Sector 11, Chandigarh.

The petitioner had contended that a lecturer who does not possess the PhD degree but is senior in the list for promotion should be made the Principal. On the other hand, the UT Administration has argued that as per the UPSC guidelines, a PhD degree is a must for promotion to the post of a Principal. Showing little conviction in the averment raised by the lecturer, the High Court today dismissed her petition.

Three officiating principals of government colleges had initially moved the CAT demanding promotion to the post of principal being the senior-most in the list for promotion. However, those lecturers who were not given the charge of officiating principal in 2009 had also moved the Tribunal stating that as per new rules introduced by the Chandigarh Administration in March 2010, for being a principal of a college, possessing a degree of Phd was a must.

Terming the rules “unconstitutional”, counsel for the petitioners had stated that according to rules, for being appointed as a lecturer possessing the Phd degree is not a requirement and that after so many years of service a lecturer is now being asked to possess the degree to be appointed as a Principal. Calling the new rules as unfair, the petitioner’s counsel had demanded that those lecturers who have put decades of service and are at their fag end of their careers should be considered for promotion to the post of principal.

On the other hand, counsel for those lecturers who have the degree had objected to the demand made by the non Phd degree holder lecturers. The counsel had rebutted the argument stating that the new rules drafted by the Administration have to be adhered to.











Where courts function for only two weeks a month


Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 02.14AM IST

GADCHIROLI: Crowded courts and high pendency of cases is common in courts across India. But, at Armori and Kurkheda talukas in Naxal-affected Gadchiroli, few cases come to the court and, as a result, they function for only two weeks in a month.

People’s apathy to file cases and their poor economic condition means less work for courts. The presence of ‘tanta-mukti’ committees – which settle disputes without legal or police intervention in villages – is another reason. “Long-drawn legal tussles also discourage people from approaching courts,” said a district resident.

According to a court employee, the absence of development in the region and lack of infrastructure also contribute to fewer cases being filed in the courts. Sometimes, the tribal population approaches Naxals for instant justice. The Naxals often take suo moto cognisance in many cases and settle these at gunpoint.

A dearth of minimum number of cases saw the Bombay high court directing the taluka-level courts in Armori and Khurkheda, where the Naxals wield considerable influence, to function only for a fortnight every month.

There are around 300 criminal and 55 civil cases before the Armori court and 440 criminal and 48 civil cases are being heard before the Kurkheda court. According to a local legal expert, the number of pending cases before Armori and Kurkheda courts do not fulfil the provision of minimum cases for a taluka-level court to function as per judicial guidelines.

The high court has ordered that the presiding officer of the court of civil judge junior division (CJJD) and judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) in Gadchiroli to function during the second fortnight of every month at Armori. Similarly, it has directed the CJJD and JMFC of Wadsa Desaiganj court to work for two weeks at Kurkheda court. Apart from the home taluka, the Kurkheda court has a jurisdiction over Korchi.

It is also being said that one of the two courts in Chamorshi taluka has been closed down due to few cases being filed. However, this could not be confirmed.

“The tanta-mukti committees are intervening in disputes without any legal awareness. They are passing judgments in non-compoundable cases which are not supposed to be amicably settled and also handling issues of domestic violence and sexual abuse which needs court’s permission,” said Shyam Joshi, an advocate who practices at Armori court.

Chandrakant Darekar, another advocate from Armori, said that the court’s administrative staff is present and hence there are expenses. “Yet, the court doesn’t function throughout the month,” he said. “The litigants, mostly impoverished population of the tribal district, are forced to travel 30 kms for court-related work or to appear as witness.”

“The police too are inconvenienced as they have to take the accused to others courts when the taluka courts are closed. It is also dangerous as the police have to travel through Naxal heartland along with the accused,” said another lawyer.

Damodar Nimje, who had come for a hearing, said that with fewer working days, he is less likely to get justice in a short time. “I will have to wait for a long time for justice,” he said.

Another elderly person, talking to TOI outside Kurkheda court, said that poor people avoid approaching courts for fear of having to bear hefty legal expenses. “Forcing a litigant to travel to another taluka means additional expense and mental torture,” he said.











Vilappilsala: High Court suggests CRPF role


P Ramdas

KOCHI: Coming down heavily on the inaction of the State police in implementing the High Court order to provide police security for transporting solid waste to Vilappilsala, the Court on Friday orally observed that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) would be asked to provide security for transporting waste.
The Thiruvananthapuram Corporation submitted that the police was inactive for executing the Court directive in connection with the Vilappilsala garbage issue.
The Court observed that the intervention of the police force in the issue was not at all effective and hence the Union Government, along with the CRPF, must be impleaded in the case.
A Division Bench Comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon adjourned the hearing of the case after one week.
The Court had earlier directed to provide police protection for running the Vilappilsala treatment plant without any obstruction and had asked to open the locks of the gates of the plant to enable garbage vehicles to enter the plant.
However, panchayat president Shobhana Kumari, along with the agitators, organised protests and blocked the movement of garbage trucks, the petitioner submitted. A crowd of more than 5,000 people, consisting of young and old, women and children and physically challenged, had put up a stiff resistance and upset the plans of the Thiruvananthapuram Corporation to send garbage lorries to the Vilappilsala plant on February 13.
A contempt case has been pending before the Court against the panchayat president, Janakeeya Samithy president Burhanudeen and secretary Beneckson, the petitioner pointed out.
The Corporation said that as soon as the copy of the interim order was received by the Corporation, a representation was submitted before the Director General of Police for extending police protection. However, no steps were taken by the police to offer protection.
Still, the Corporation decided to resume the functioning of the treatment plant. When the two lorries reached the outskirts of the plant, a huge crowd of men and women under the leadership of panchayat president obstructed the lorries.
The unruly mob at the site became violent and they started pelting stones at the police and consequently police had used force by resorting to a mild lathi-charge and also fired tear gas shells.
The counsel for the petitioner Nandakumara Menon submitted that Vilappil panchayat authorities and the residents are trying to scare the Corporation. Due to the non-cooperation of the police, valuable machinery brought from Pune could not be taken to the factory site. The Corporation was ultimately forced to unload the machinery on the premises of the Corporation office.
The machinery was brought on February 17 for the purpose of the construction of the leachate plant at Vilappilsala, the Corporation submitted.
The Corporation argued that it could not implement the order passed by the Court due to the agitation. The Corporation argued that the residents and the Vilappil panchayat had prevented them from enforcing the High Court order.










Supreme Court upholds death for killer of five


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 01.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has upheld death penalty to a young man Sonu Sardar, who along with his brother and accomplices, killed five persons of a family, including a woman and two children, in cold blood during a dacoity bid in Chhattisgarh’s Cher village in November, 2004.

A bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swataner Kumar rejected the plea for leniency advanced by the convict on the grounds that he was a young man and that his role in the crime committed by five persons was not revealed by the prosecution.

Justice Patnaik, writing the judgment for the bench, said: “Five members of a family, including two minor children and the driver, were ruthlessly killed by the use of a knife, an axe and an iron rod and with the help of four others. The crime was obviously committed for money after pre-meditation with absolutely no consideration for human lives.”

The bench upheld concurrent views of the trial court as well as the Chhattisgarh high court that the convict deserved capital punishment and said, “Even though the appellant was young, his criminal propensities are beyond reform and he is a menace to the society.”

When the gang of five struck at the house of scrap-dealer Shamim Akhtar on November 26, 2004, and demanded money by placing a knife on his neck, his daughter Shabana (10) tried to come to Shamim’s rescue. The accused attempted to assault her too but she managed to give them a slip and ran away to the house of her father’s acquaintance.

She came back to the house with help to find the bodies of her father, mother and two siblings along with their driver. The trial court had convicted the accused mainly on the basis of Shabana’s evidence, and the apex court felt that there was no infirmity in the process of conviction recorded by the trial court.













Controversy over SRK’s bungalow: Plea filed in SC


Press Trust Of India

Sunday, February 26, 2012 (New Delhi)


The controversy over Shah Rukh Khan’s palatial bungalow ‘Mannat’ has reached the Supreme Court with the filing of a petition alleging violations by the megastar while constructing his dream house.

The petition has alleged that there were violations of archaeological laws and coastal regulation zone in the construction of Mannat.

Simpreet Singh and Amit Maruand of Mumbai approached the apex court challenging the Bombay High Court’s order which had dismissed their petition against Khan.

The high court had, on January 28, dismissed the PIL filed by the duo and imposed a cost of Rs 20,000 on them saying that it was a “publicity petition”.

The PIL had alleged that the actor had constructed the building inside the compound of his bungalow in violation of environment and heritage laws.

Khan had, however, contended that there was no violation of rules and the construction was allowed by the municipal body.





High Court seeks report on privatisation of lake

Express News Service

BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday asked the state government to file a report on the privatisation of lakes in Bangalore. The order concerns a PIL that sought the cancellation of privatising the Nagawara, Hebbal, Vengaiah and Agara Lakes. The petitioner, Environment Support Group, said that the Lake Development Authority had permitted the privatisation of four lakes and had given the goahead for commercial activities like boating.
Such activities, it contented, was changing the lake structure and inflow into it.
They prayed that the privatisation of lakes be cancelled. A division bench headed by Justice Sridhar Rao passed the order. HC issues summons on Kumble Case The High Court on Friday issued summons to the Bharathinagar police inspector to appear before the court over not filing an FIR complaint against cricketer Anil Kumble.
Kumar Jagirdar, the biological father of the former cricketer’s custodial daughter filed it. He accused the police of not taking action against Kumble, who allegedly forged his signature in the daughter’s passport.He added Kumble’s affidavit copy obtained from RTI was different from the copy submitted by the police as Kumble’s. The affidavit copy submitted by the police contained the dictionary meaning of ‘father’. However, according to Jagirdar, Kumble’s original affidavit had no dictionary definition and Chetana, the biological mother was not mentioned.
Both affidavit copies carried the same date. Justice Abdul Nazeer adjourned the matter to February 28 for further hearing. Rajakaluve Issue: Plea in HC
A contempt petition was filed before the High Court on Friday against the BBMP for not taking action against the encroachment of Rajakaluve (storm water drain) after court orders.
The petitioner, Umesh S, stated that the court directed the BBMP to demolish all structures built on the Rajakaluve and submit monthly reports, which it failed to do. The structures were not demolished










Samjhauta blasts: Visa denials to kin of victims; petition in HC


Anita Singh, TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.06AM IST

PANIPAT: Lawyer Momin Malik has moved a petition in the Punjab and Haryana high court seeking legal recourse to get visas for the kin of victims of the Samjhauta blasts, who were denied to visit the country by the Indian high Commission in Islamabad for not having enough cash in their bank accounts. The case is likely to come up for hearing in the court on Monday.

Talking to TOI, Malik said that several relatives of the blasts’ victims were unable to visit the country to pay tributes at the graves of their loved ones at the graveyard in Mehrana village.

Malik said that he had raised the contention in the plea which has been put up for consideration in the high court that if actresses like Veena Malik, who had court controversies by posing nude in magazines could be granted the visas to visit the country and move around freely anywhere, why the relatives of the victims of the blasts were being singled out.

Family members of Pakistani nationals Mohammad Vakil, Sayed Iftikar Ali, Rajiya Sultana, Ijhar Hasan and Jarina, who had been killed in the blasts were denied visas as they did not have sufficient bank balance. He said they were struggling to get visas to pursue their compensation claim cases in the railway tribunal.

Malik said he had already written to the Union ministry and the Indian high commission in Islamabad to take a sympathetic view of the misery being suffered by relatives of the victims. The pleas had failed to provoke the desired result.









HC detains ship till Monday


Express News Service

KOCHI: In a major setback to the efforts by Italian authorities, the Kerala High Court on Friday directed the deputy conservator of the Cochin Port not to issue clearance for moving the vessel out of the port till 5 pm on Monday. A Division Bench comprising Justice V Ramkumar and Justice K Harilal passed the order while considering a petition filed by Doramma, wife of Jelestine alias Valentine, who was shot dead by Italian marines, challenging the Single Judge’s order.

The Single Judge had earlier directed the Italian vessel to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakh against the admiralty claim of Rs 1 crore.

“The brutal murder should not have been equated with a mere accident compensation case,” the petitioner said adding that the bank guarantee is very meagre.

“Jelestine died due to the negligence of the ship staff. They violated international conventions. Therefore, the owners of vessel are liable to provide maximum compensation,” she said.

The petitioner submitted that the fishermen’s killing has deeper ramifications, as it affects the livelihood of their families.

“The arrogance by the master of the ship was unforgivable,” she said.

A maritime claim has to be considered in international perspective based on UN conventions, the petitioner said.







HC blasts police inaction at Vilappilsala plant


Express News Service

KOCHI: Coming down heavily on the inaction of the state police in implementing the High Court order to provide security for transporting solid waste to Vilappilsala, the court on Friday observed that the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) may be asked to provide security for the same.
The Thiruvananthapuram Corporation submitted that the police were not extending their full support in executing the court directive in connection with the Vilappilsala garbage issue.
The court observed that the intervention of the police in the issue was not satisfactory and hence the Union Government along with the CRPF must be impleaded in the case.
The court had earlier directed to provide police protection for running the Vilappilsala treatment plant. A Division Bench Comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon adjourned the hearing of the case to next week.
Earlier, the residents of the Vilappil panchayat, along with panchayat president Shobhana Kumari, had organised protests blocking the movement of garbage trucks and prevented the implementation of the court order, the petitioner submitted.
Due to the non-cooperation of the police, the machinery brought from Pune for the construction of a leachate plant at Vilappilsala could not be taken to the plant. The machinery was unloaded on the corporation office premises.






Drug abuse in Punjab jails: HC notice to state


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.03AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Taking up a plea seeking directions to control the menace of drug abuse in various jails of Punjab, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Saturday put the state home department, DGP (prisons) and director of state health services on notice.

While issuing the notice, a division bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi asked the state authorities to file a reply on the issue before the court. The matter reached before the high court through a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a local NGO, Lawyers for Human Rights International (LHRI), seeking issuance of direction to the state government to formulate an action plan jointly by the departments of police, prisons, health with the help of NGOs working in the field. The PIL suggested that it is the only way through which jails in Punjab, that have become safe haven for narcotic traders and consumers, can be made drug free.

Petitioner’s counsel Navkiran Singh said that at present alcohol, opium and sophisticated drugs like cocaine and heroin are easily available in Punjab jails. Singh stated that there are some narcotic traders who are lodged in the jails and even though they have been able to obtain bail from their respective courts they are not filling their bails bonds, because the trade of narcotics is more profitable inside the jails and also safe since the jail staff is easily pliable.

The PIL also submitted that out of the 18,000 prisoners lodged in various jails of Punjab, 30% of them are charged with illegal possession of drugs. In Patiala Central Jail alone, out of the total 1,910 inmates, 1,100 are reported to be undergoing trials or serving terms under NDPS Act. Even women inmates are accused of such offences. To manage 18,000 prisoners there are 2000 sanctioned staff in the jail department.












Madras HC quashes tender notification


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has set aside the tender notification issued by the Vellore City Municipal Corporation for auctioning seven shops in the Tharaparavedu bus stand in Katpadi taluk. Justice K Venkataraman, who quashed the notification, observed that the notification was issued in a small newspaper having poor circulation.

Passing orders on a petition from M Sunil Kumar, a ward councilor, the judge said the Commissioner of VCMC was at liberty to cause publication in newspapers which have got larger circulation in the locality and also to make broader publication in the notice boards regarding the auction pertaining to the shops in question.

The judge pointed out that senior counsel P Wilson has categorically stated that the notification was made only in a Tamil newspaper, having circulation of only 20 copies in the locality. When such a categorical averment was made, the Commissioner of VCMC has not disputed the said fact while filing the rejoinder affidavit.

“It is not known why effective paper publication was not made by the commissioner in other newspapers also,” the judge added.

The judge said the Commissioner of VCMC, by publishing the tender notification only in the paper, which has got a limited circulation in the locality, has projected that he has done everything in accordance with the provisions of the TN Tender Transparency Act and Rules. Had the publication been effected in newspapers which have got larger circulation in the locality, there would have been more competition to participate in the tender process, the judge said.

The aim of the Commissioner of VCMC primarily should have been to auction the shops at the maximum price. If that objective was in his mind, he would have caused publication in newspapers which have got larger circulation in the locality, he added.













HC: Swamy’s plea for recovery of dues from IIT


Last Updated: Sunday, February 26, 2012, 10:13

New Delhi: A court here has agreed to hear a plea of Janata Party chief Subramanian Swamy, who has sought recovery of over Rs 19 lakh as alleged dues from IIT-Delhi for his services there as an assistant professor between 1972 to 1991.

The court’s order came while dismissing an application of Director, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi, who had sought dismissal of Swamy’s civil suit on the ground that his plea was time barred and beyond the jurisdiction of the court.

“Keeping in view the discussion, application of defendant (Director, IIT-Delhi) is hereby dismissed. The suit will progress forward from the stage immediately prior to the passing of this order,” Additional District Judge Neelam Singh said.

The IIT Director, while opposing Swamy’s plea, has said that he has sought recovery of Rs 19.50 lakh along with an interest of 18 per cent with effect from February 1991 and his total claim was Rs 70.20 lakh which is beyond the pecuniary jurisdiction of a lower court here.

It said Swamy’s claim for alleged dues was constantly denied by the IIT as he has failed to provide the details of the amount earned from his employment for the period between December 11, 1972 to March 27, 1991.

Swamy, who had filed the plea for recovery of his dues, however, opposed the application by the IIT Director, saying that he came to know about his dues only in 2009 after filing RTI applications which revealed that the Director has “falsely” presented the case for his dues before the Board of Governors.

The court dismissed the application of IIT Director saying, “At this stage, it will be immature to hold that the suit of plaintiff (Swamy) is without any cause of action when the averments, if taken prima facie, discloses the cause of action in favour of the plaintiff and against the defendant (IIT Director).”

The court has now fixed the matter for April 27 for cross examination of witnesses in the case.

Swamy had filed the suit to recover salary and allowances in revised grade from December 12, 1972 till May 21, 1991 along with interest at 18 per cent with effect from February 20, 1991 till the date of payment and gratuity, pension.

Swamy said that in December 1969, he was Assistant Professor, Department of Economics at Harvard University and had an informal interview with Director of IIT who had asked him to start work immediately as a Professor.

He said in October 1972, he was appointed as Professor of Economics on the unanimous recommendation of a nine-member selection committee headed by Manmohan Singh, who is presently the Prime Minister.

He said that through an office memo dated December 11, 1972, his appointment was illegally and with malafide motive, terminated with effect from December 11, 1972.

After several rounds of litigation, his termination order was declared as null and void by a court here which said that he was entitled to be treated as continued in the service of the IIT without interruption, he said.

However, he, through a letter in March 1991, requested the IIT to permit him to demit the office as a Professor which was accepted.










HC dismisses plea on national anti-terror agency


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.33AM IST

CHENNAI: Declining to entertain a plea seeking to stay the operation of an order on the proposed National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), the first bench of the Madras high court comprising of Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice Aruna Jagadeesan dismissed the matter.

“At the very outset, we are of the view that the writ petition cannot be entertained on an undated notification,” the bench said and added that petitioner’s counsel Manikandan Vathan Chettiar could not satisfy as to where the notification was procured from.

“Apart from that, this court would take notice of the fact that discussions and deliberations are going on between Centre and different states relating to the implementation of this order and the final notification has not yet been issued,” the order said.

The petition, by Vijayalakshmi Shanmugham, challenged an undated notification, ‘National Counter Terrorism Centre (Organisation, Functions, Powers and Duties) Order, 2012’ issued by the ministry of home affairs, on the grounds that it encroached upon the subjects of public order and police, which were in the state list, in the Constitution.

“No consultations were held with stakeholders before the decision was thrust upon the nation”, the petitioner said.

In his submissions, Chettiar said the Centre was trying to create the agency through an “undated executive order”, whereas the bill introduced in Parliament itself didn’t have the details the executive order had.

The matter first came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice N Kirubakaran.

At the time the judges wondered how a proposed legislation to tackle a national security issue could be dragged to court.

Justice Elipe Dharma Rao had mentioned that the Prime Minister had been quoted as saying that the proposed set-up did not infringe on the federal structure of the nation.

The bench had directed the court registry to post the matter before the first bench headed by the Chief Justice.

LEGAL NEWS 25.02.2012

Chennai robberies: Human rights commission sends notice to police over encounter deaths

Press Trust of India, Updated: February 24, 2012 17:38 IST
New Delhi: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) today issued notices to Director General of Tamil Nadu Police and Chennai District Magistrate asking them to investigate the death of five suspected burglars in a police encounter.

The direction came after the commission received a complaint on the basis of media reports regarding the Chennai encounter yesterday in which the police killed five persons suspected to be involved in bank burglaries.

The notices have been issued to Tamil Nadu’s Director General of Police and the District Magistrate and the Senior Superintendent of Police in Chennai.

“The commission has directed them to respond to its notices within eight weeks along with the magisterial enquiry report, the post-mortem report and the independent investigation report into the incident as per the guidelines of the commission,” an NHRC spokesperson said.

Responding to the claims made by the Human Rights activists that people never heard any gunshots, J K Tripathy, Chennai Police Commissioner, said that it is for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) – which is investigating the case – to find out.

“It is only the initial information that was furnished to the concerned DGP or to the press on the basis of documents that were available with the criminals. I don’t think the criminals carry even the original documents. It is expected that there identity cards might be bogus. It is for the investigation to confirm it. It is being investigated by the judicial magistrate now. The investigating agency will take follow up on this,” he said.

Quoting reports, the commission said that the police was on look out for a gang of robbers reportedly involved in a series of bank robberies in the city.

In this connection, they surrounded a house at Velachery in Chennai where some suspects were lodged. According to the police, the encounter happened when instead of surrendering, the alleged suspects opened fire at the police injuring two inspectors.

The five persons, four from Bihar and one from West Bengal, were identified with the help of voters ID cards and driving licences recovered from the spot. The deceased are Chandrika Ray, Harish Kumar, Vinay Prasad, Vinod Kumar (all from Bihar) and Abhay Kumar from West Bengal.

In less than a month, branches of Bank of Baroda and Indian Overseas Bank in Chennai were robbed of Rs. 19 lakh and Rs. 14 lakh on January 23 and February 21 respectively in daring daylight heist by armed men, sending shock waves. The police had set up 30 special teams to crack the cases.

BJP criticises Supreme Court verdict

BJP Rajya Sabha member Ram Jethmalani with yoga guru Baba Ramdev at a press conference in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: Shanker Chakravarty
Taking exception to the Supreme Court verdict charging yoga guru Baba Ramdev of ‘contributory neglect’ that led to the midnight police crackdown at the Ramlila Maidan in June last year, the Bharatiya Janata Party has said that by the same logic Mahatama Gandhi contributed to the crackdown by the British raj on his protests.
Spokesperson Prakash Javadekar also objected to the Baba Ramdev trust being asked to bear 25 per cent of the compensation the court asked the police to pay to the victims of the crackdown. Mr. Javadekar said the apex court was ‘diluting the right to protest.’
Indictment of the Delhi police for the crackdown did not amount to clean chit to the Union government, he said.
Mr. Javadekar argued that the Delhi police alone should not be held guilty for the human rights violations as it was “acting at the behest of their bosses in the Central government, namely, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Union Ministers P. Chidambaram and Kapil Sibal.”
“Such an attack on peaceful supporters of Ramdev would not have been possible without political clearance at a very high level. The policemen have suffered but what about political accountability,” he asked.
Elaborating on the issue of indictment of Ramdev, Mr. Javadekar said that it would have been justified only if the crowd had been violent. The party welcomed the court observation that the whole scenario was avoidable.
PTI reports:
Top lawyer Ram Jethmalani, who appeared for Ramdev in the Supreme Court in the case, demanded the resignation of Home Minister P. Chidambaram, holding him responsible for the police action.

Draw water or not, pay charges to Chennai Metro

CHENNAI: Whether owners or occupants of flats in apartments draw water or not, they will have to pay the water charges to the Chennai Metro Water Supply & Sewerage Board, the Madras High Court has ruled. A division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal gave the ruling on February 21 while dismissing a writ appeal from Akshay J Mehta and nine others challenging an order of a single judge, who made the same ruling.
According to appellants, the Board had provided a common sump in their apartment on Govindappa Naicken Street in Washermanpet. They did not apply for individual water supply and were not drawing water from the common sump. The other owners/occupants used the sump. However, the Board issued individual notices to the appellants also demanding Rs 5,050 from each. They challenged the same and a single judge rejected their plea. Hence, the present appeal.
Dismissing the appeal, the bench referred to Sec 2(4) of the CMWS & SB Water Supply Charges (Levy and Collections) Regulations, which stated that any person who drew water or had sewerage connection or provided with a service connection by the Board was a ‘consumer’.
This clause did not make any difference between the person drawing or not drawing water from the service connection provided by the Board. The use or non-use of water was immaterial, the bench said, and dismissed the appeal.

Principals appointment set aside

CHENNAI: The appointment of R Balaji Naidu as principal of Dr Ambedkar Law College in Chennai was set aside by the HC on Thursday. Justice V Ramasubramanian set side the appointment while allowing a quo-warranto writ plea from D Ganesan. Naidu was promoted as principal by a GO dated June 17 last year. Petitioner contended that he was not qualified for the post. The Masters Degree (ML) obtained by him through correspondence was not recognised by the Bar Council of India. The government stated that on the basis of the adhoc rules for the post, as amended by a GO dated March 12, 2010, Naidu was promoted. Neither the college nor the govt could give a go by to the UGC Regulations, 2010, the judge said and allowed the plea.

HC bans book for using foul language

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 05.20AM IST
LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Thursday put a ban on the publication of a book, which allegedly used foul language against the Lucknow bench and its judges. A bench of Chief Justice Syed Rafat Alam and Justice SN Shukla directed the principal secretary of the state to immediately take notice of the allegations made in the writ petition as well as contents of the book and consider to take appropriate actions u/s 95 of CrPC to stop the publication, printing, sale and circulation of the book.
The bench posted the matter on March 3, further directing the principal secretary (Home) to consider to seize all the copies of the book, which are available in the state. The bench observed that the allegations levelled in the book against the Lucknow bench and its judges are highly scandalous.
“The book contains derogatory remarks against the judiciary and the judges of this court,” said the bench. The allegations have potential to disturb the respect of the judiciary among the general public, observed the court.
The book, which is authored by Devendra Kumar Dikshit contains foul language against the higher judiciary. A local lawyer Dinesh Kumar Tripathi had filed a PIL seeking ban on the book titled ‘Nyaylay Bana Bhrastalay’. The petitioner stated that the publication not only contains highly scandalous and derogatory remarks against the Lucknow bench and its judges, but also tends to destroy the respect of the judiciary and damage the whole institution of judiciary. It was contended that the publication had not been made after seeking approval u/s 9 of the Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867.
The petitioner further said that the author and publisher committed offences u/s 153(A), 153(B) and 292 (IPC). He further said that since the circulation of the book has to be immediately stopped, he has instead of approaching the government authorities, rushed to the court for quick interference.
The court found the submission of the petitioner correct and issued notice to the author for his response. The court also directed its registry to issue copy of the order to the chief standing counsel Upendra Nath Mishra on the day itself for forthwith compliance by the state authorities.

High court sets aside law college principal’s appointment

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 04.25AM IST
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has set aside the promotion of R Balaji Naidu as principal of Dr Ambedkar Government Law College. Justice V Ramasubramanian, who passed orders on the matter on Thursday, held that his appointment was contrary to the University Grants Commission (UGC) Regulations, 2010, which were adopted by the Tamil Nadu Dr Ambedkar Law University (TNDALU) and accepted by the Bar Council of India (BCI).

A writ petition was filed by D Ganesan, state organizer of the Revolutionary Students Youth Front, asking that the high court issue a writ of quo warranto directing Naidu to show cause by what authority he continued to hold the post.

Tracing Naidu’s job profile, the petitioner said his appointment as a junior professor of sociology at the Government Law College was ratified on January 22, 1985. Later ad hoc rules were framed for the post of junior professor in a non-law subject, as per which an ML degree with 50% marks and enrollment as an advocate was made compulsory.

Later, Naidu acquired a BL degree from Madurai Law College (evening college) and an ML degree from Annamalai University through a correspondence course. With the state government amending the ad hoc rules in March 2010 and making lecturers in both law and non-law subjects eligible for promotion to the post of principal, Naidu was appointed to the post. He is due to retire from service on June 30, 2012.

Passing orders, the judge noted that UGC Regulations said a principal had to have a master’s degree with at least 55% marks and a PhD degree. Since Naidu did not have a PhD degree, he was not qualified as per the UGC guidelines. The ad hoc rules framed by the government could not have overriding effect upon the UGC regulations, the judge said.

Moreover, the BCI had made it clear in its counter-affidavit in this case that the master’s degree should have been obtained through a regular course and only then could the principal be able to impart and train students well. This stand had been given due weight by the Supreme Court as well, Justice Ramasubramanian observed.

Writ petition in HC seeking Rs 50L compensation for rape victims

TNN Feb 23, 2012, 01.04PM IST
INDORE: A writ petition has been filed in the Indore bench of the Madhya Pradesh high court questioning the safety of women in the state in the wake of the alleged gang-rape of two sisters in Betma village on February 10 and seeking Rs 50 lakh compensation for the rape victims.
Satpal Anand trustee of Aand Trust, which filed the writ petition on Tuesday, challenged chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s tall claim of providing security and safety to the girls in Madhya Pradesh. Satpal has referred to some of the popular schemes including Ladli Laxmi and Beti Bachao Abhiyan. Apart from the chief minister, the petitioner has also made the police a party in the case.
With specific reference to the alleged Betma rape victims, the petitioner questioned the guarantee to life under the Constitution. He argued that the state government must give a compensation of at least Rs 25 lakh each to the victim and emphasized that nothing less than that was admissible.
Meanwhile, ASP Padmavilochan Shukla informed that the two accused in the Betma gangrape case, Ashu and Golu, who were arrested on Tuesday, were sent to judicial custody on Wednesday. The three absconders are yet to be unidentified.
Madhya Pradesh State Congress’ wing President Archana Jaiswal has sought the intervention of National Women’s Commission in the gangrape case. Party has accused the police of lackadaisical attitude even after the crime had come to light. “I have written to the chairperson of National Commission for Women Mamta Sharma to take cognizance of the case and ensure that the victims get justice,” said Jaiswal. She said that a video clipping of the crime was made public on a mobile phone. “But the police took no action and remained a mute spectator till the victims went up to the police station,” she said.

Bhatt questions SIT’s intentions

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.55AM IST
AHMEDABAD: Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt on Thursday questioned intentions of Supreme Court appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) for not putting the evidence provided by him with regard to Godhra carnage case, on record of the trial court, which convicted 31 persons last year.
Bhatt alleged that if SIT had used the phone call records that he had collected while he was DCP with the State Intelligence Bureau, for prosecuting the accused, it would have brought out the fact that Godhra train burning incident was unlikely to have been premeditated, thereby demolishing the conspiracy theory.
“In November 2009, during course of my deposition in connection with an enquiry entrusted to SIT by the SC, I had provided seven original floppies containing phone call records of all the AT&T and Celforce mobile phones operating in Godhra on 26 and 27 February 2002 to SIT member A K Malhotra,” Bhatt said adding it was provided with a request to share the same with the team investigating Godhra train burning incident. tnn & agencies”But when I asked the SIT member (Malhotra) in March 2011, if the data provided by me was used by them, he said they were yet to see the data. This action of theirs puts question mark on their intentions on using the data provided to them,” Bhatt said. TNN & AgenciesBhatt was of the opinion that a proper analysis of the said data would have “brought out the fact that the Godhra incident was unlikely to have been premeditated, thereby demolishing the so-called conspiracy theory.”
In March last year, a trial court had awarded death penalty to 11 persons and life imprisonment to 20 others, and acquitted 63 others in the Godhra carnage case.
The suspended IPS officer has been approached by a lawyer representing some of the convicts of the Godhra carnage case, who have appealed against the verdict of trial court in the High court. He wants to use the phone call data for their defence.
The lawyer has sought the phone call data which was submitted to the SIT. Bhatt has in a letter to the lawyer asked him to approach the SIT as the original record is with the agency.

Subramanian Swamy moves SC against Chidambaram in 2G scam

Feb 24, 2012, 03.24AM IST
NEW DELHI: Unsuccessful in convincing the 2G spectrum scam trial court to proceed against P Chidambaram for his alleged role as the then finance minister in the irregular allotment of wavelengths for mobile services, Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Thursday moved the Supreme Court in appeal to agitate the issue.

Giving up his option of approaching the Delhi High Court, Swamy said the Special Judge erred by not proceeding against Chidambaram despite accepting his plea that the Union minister was party to two decisions – “that is, keeping the spectrum prices at 2001 level and dilution of equity by the two companies (the precise two activities for which the main accused A Raja has been charged).”

The trial court had held that the two acts alleged against Chidambaram were not per se criminal in nature and rejected Swamy’s plea for either a CBI probe into the minister’s role or include him as an accused in the case.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had refused to pass any order on Swamy’s plea for ordering CBI probe into the alleged role of Chidambaram as the finance minister in the 2008 spectrum scam saying the matter was pending before the trial court that would take a decision. The trial court on February 4 had rejected Swamy’s plea.

Nitish Katara case: Court to hear plea against convicts

New Delhi: A Delhi court is expected to hear Nitish Katara’s mother’s complaint against convicts Vikas and Vishal Yadav on Friday. Katara’s mother Neelam Katara had earlier claimed they have been enjoying preferential treatment at Tihar Jail.
CNN-IBN had reported that both the accused had made 151 medical outings in four years.
The Delhi High Court on February 1 asked Tihar Jail authorities to produce medical records of Vikas Yadav who is serving a life term, on a plea that he had visited hospitals 87 times by misusing his financial and political influence.
The court’s order came on the petition of Neelam Katara, mother of the victim, seeking a direction to the jail authorities and AIIMS to produce entire record relating to Yadav’s ailments and his visits to the premier hospital.
While the convicts had moved the high court seeking reversal of the trial court’s findings in the case, the Delhi Police and Nilam Katara had filed appeal for award of death penalty for them on the ground that the offence fell under the ‘rarest of rare’ category.
Neelam Katara, in her petition, had referred to the responses received from Tihar Jail authorities under the RTI on the issue.
Nitish Katara, a business executive, was abducted from a marriage party in Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and was later killed by the convicts for his alleged intimacy with Bharti Yadav, sister of Vikas Yadav.

HC seeks fresh report from Khurda collector

TNN Feb 23, 2012, 11.15AM IST
CUTTACK: The Orissa high court on Wednesday refused to accept the affidavit filed by the deputy collector of Khurda furnishing status report of the alleged spurious liquor tragedy that claimed 36 lives in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar.
The division bench of Chief
Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra objected to filling of the affidavit by the deputy collector and directed the collector of Khurda to submit the affidavit within February 24.
Notably, the high court had asked both the collectors of Cuttack and Khurda to file status report on the incident, but instead of the collector, the deputy collector of Khurda had filed the affidavit.
In a related matter, a PIL was filed by a Balangir-based NGO, Abirbhav, last year to check the sell of spurious liquor in the state. Adjudicating the PIL, the high court had directed the then state excise commissioner to take appropriate action to check the ill practice in the state. The petitioner had recently filed a contempt petition against the
then excise commissioner citing that the court’s order was not implemented properly. “Taking note of the contempt petition, the high court has directed the then excise commissioner Sudarshan Nayak to reply to the allegations within a week,” said Ashis Mishra, the petitioner’s counsel.

Notice to govt over SC/ST students’ fee

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.39AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday issued showcause notices for contempt of court to the principal secretary of the social justice department and school education department for not complying with its order to reimburse fees of SC/ST and backward-class students.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More was hearing a PIL saying after the state stopped reimbursing fees in 2007, students had been harassed by schools.

On April 28, 2011, the HC ordered the reimbursement of fees to various schools. On behalf of the schools, it was submitted that non-reimbursement of fees was making it difficult for them. When the assistant government pleader was asked about the reason behind the non-reimbursement, the judges were told that the state had issued a GR directing a monthly support of Rs 100-150 to below-poverty-line students who study English-medium schools. The advocates for petitioners and schools pointed out that the order did not cover the fees for them. Concurring with them, the judges directed the issue of showcause notices.

HC admits petition on Skycity project

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 04.24AM IST
KOCHI: A public interest litigation ( PIL) challenging the proposed Rs 467-crore Skycity project by Yashoram Infra Developers Pvt Ltd at Chilavannoor was admitted by the Kerala High Court on Thursday.

Considering the petition by Indian Institute of Architects, division bench of acting chief justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P R Ramachandra Menon directed the central and State governments to file affidavits explaining their stands on alleged violation of coastal zone regulations.

The petition, filed through advocate Sivan Madathil, alleges that the Skycity project, which involves construction of two flyovers across Chilavannoor backwaters, is in violation of coastal zone regulations as backwaters are also covered under the regulations.Citing Swaminathan Committee Report, the petitioner alleges that the lake falls under the regulated zone as it is a part of Vembanad lake.

More trouble for Kripashankar Singh after Income Tax department finds serious lapses

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 23, 2012 12:28 IST
Mumbai: The former chief of Mumbai Congress, Kripashankar Singh and his son are entangled in a graft case where the Income Tax department has found serious lapses.

The I-T department says interest free loans were given to Mr Singh by big builders like DB realty, HDIL and Dinshaw Trapinex Builders.

The department also says that Mr Singh and his son Narendra possessed two PAN cards; the leader, however, claims he did not use the second PAN card and that the earlier one was made after he lost his PAN card in 2005.

There are also allegations that HDIL had lent the space it has leased in Hotel Grand Hyatt for hosting Mr Singh’s son Narendra Kumar’s engagement. Also, between 2006 and 2010 Kripashankar’s son did reveal correct tax according to his income.

In a huge embarrassment for the Congress, Mr Singh quit yesterday after the Bombay High Court asked the Mumbai police to file an FIR against him for “criminal misconduct” under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“The commissioner of police shall obtain sanction from the government to prosecute Kripashankar Singh for criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Roshan Dalvi said.

The bench further said that Commissioner Arup Patnaik shall collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties of Mr Singh and his family, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law, who will also be prosecuted for aiding in the crime.

“The immovable properties of Kripashankar shall be attached. We do not want to pass any directions regarding the bank accounts of the respondents as it is alleged that the money might have been washed out,” the court said.

The court was hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income.

The court, while keeping the PIL pending, directed the Commissioner of Police to file a compliance report on April 19.

A prayer by Kripashankar’s lawyer seeking a stay on the order was rejected.

In his complaint, Mr Tiwari alleged that Mr Singh had been close to former Jharkhand Chief Minister Madhu Koda, who is currently in jail for alleged involvement in a multi-crore hawala scam.

He alleged that several monetary transactions had taken place between them.

Mr Singh’s counsels had opposed the PIL, calling it politically motivated and one that served BJP’s interests.

Slumdweller brought down city Cong chief

Clara Lewis, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 06.10AM IST
MUMBAI: Sanjay Tiwari seems an unlikely person to file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against someone as politically powerful as the city’s Congress chief. Tiwari lives in the Kajupada slums of Saki Naka, Andheri (East) and works as a supervisor in a private firm.

Tiwari’s tryst with anticorruption crusades began after the July 2005 floods. “People were given Rs 2,000 and made to sign a receipt for Rs 5,000 by government officials. Along with my friends we went door-to-door asking who received money and who didn’t. For the first time I used the Right to Information (RTI) Act to procure information from the government. We collected affidavits from local residents and filed a complaint against government officials. Nine officials were suspended,” he recalled.

Then there was the widening of the 90-foot road from Saki Naka to Kurla. “This was the second time we used RTI and discovered two Development Plans for the same area. We were able to save nearly 20 shops from demolition,” he said. There was also the issue of Sheetal Talao, Kurla, where both the BMC and Mhada claimed to have spent funds on upkeep. An RTI query revealed that only the BMC had spent money.

A few months after the 2009 assembly elections, Tiwari came upon the affidavit filed by Kalina MLA Kripashankar Singh. He then filed an RTI query to obtain the affidavit Singh filed for the 2004 elections. “The first discrepancy I discovered was that in 2004 he showed his educational qualifications as BSc and in 2009 as Std XII pass. The first affidavit made no mention of property. I then began seeking information under the RTI about his income-tax returns, his property etc,” Tiwari said. He obtained information about the flat obtained for his son-in-law at Powai under the chief minister’s discretionary quota, about property at Bandra and so on.

As word got around that Tiwari was making inquiries into Singh’s assets, people began approaching him with documents. “A person close to Singh brought me details of 10 to 12 of his bank accounts. The documents clearly traced how crores of rupees had passed through these accounts. We filed several complaints with the I-T department, but when nothing happened I filed a PIL in the Bombay high court in 2010,” he said. After he filed the PIL, farmers from Ratnagiri told him they were fighting to recover their land from Singh. They showed him documents on which signatures of dead people were allegedly used to grab their land. “The land records showed nearly 225 acres in the name of Malti Devi, his wife,” he said.

Tiwari credits the RTI Act for the success so far. “RTI ka bahut fayda hua. Agar yeh Act na hota, hum sachhai tak pahunch hi nahin sakte (I benefitted immensely from RTI. If not for this Act, we would not have reached the truth),” he said.

Surprisingly, while he was threatened during his fight to save the 20-odd shops, this time round there were no threats either to him or his family. “Since I had already fought and won on two earlier occasions, I was not afraid this time either,” he said.

BIADA jobs: Petitioner told to move Lokayukta

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 03.37AM IST
PATNA: A division bench of Patna high court comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Gopal Prasad on Thursday asked the petitioner against appointments on contractual basis in Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority, to approach the state Lokayukta.
Petitioner Deepak Kumar had challenged the appointments made after 2007, alleging irregularities and terming them as misuse of public money.
In another case, a single bench presided by Justice A K Tripathi on Thursday directed the state government to conduct Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) for appointment of fine arts teachers in different schools in the state and prepare its syllabus within six months. The order was passed on a PIL filed by Bihar Fine Arts Teachers’ Association.
In a separate contempt of court case, a single bench presided by Justice V N Sinha directed the state government to take action against the officials of Bihar State Housing Board responsible for the delay in allotment of house to one Harikant Thakur despite the court’s earlier directive.
The court ordered action against the erring officials and allotment of house to Thakur within two months.

PIL challenges order on Counter Terror unit

CHENNAI: A writ petition seeking to set aside the National Counter Terrorism Centre Organisation, Functions, Powers and Duties) Order, 2012, has been made in the Madras High Court. A division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N Kirubakaran, before which the public interest writ petition from advocate S Vijayalakshmi came up on Wednesday, referred the matter to the Registry for placing it before the first bench led by Chief Justice MY Eqbal.
Her counsel Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, among other things, contended that no consultation with the stake-holders was done before passing the Order.
Nine Chief Ministers, including TN CM J Jayalalithaa, had objected to the Order. But, the Centre had not even considered them, petitioner added.

Court reserves order on PIL seeking FIR against Amar Singh

Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 17:46
New Delhi: A sessions court has reserved for March 1 its order on a plea by a key witness of the 2008 cash-for-vote case challenging a magistrate’s order, which had rejected his complaint to lodge an FIR against Rajya Sabha MP Amar Singh and two others for allegedly kidnapping him.

Hashmat Ali, a key witness in the cash-for-vote case, has filed a revision petition in the sessions court challenging a December 12 order saying the magistrate had committed “legal error” by dismissing his plea as offences were clearly made out against Singh, his secretary Tarun and aide Ramesh.
Ali alleged that Tarun and his aide Ramesh had kidnapped him from Khan Market here on September 25, 2008, the day he was to depose before a parliamentary inquiry committee probing the case.

Additional Sessions Judge Neena Bansal Krishna has reserved the order after hearing the submissions put forward by Ali’s counsel.

“Submissions heard. To come up for orders on March 1,” the judge said.

Ali, in his plea, said the magistrate had “ignored” the material placed on record by him and proceeded on the basis of the “unfair inquiry” conducted by the Delhi Police.

“The trial court has committed legal error by dismissing the petition of the petitioner (Ali) whereas the cognizable offences are clearly made out against all the accused and it was a fit case for order, directing the SHO Tuglak Road, to register criminal case against the accused…,” he said.

Ali said that the magistrate had “wrongly appreciated the status report filed by the police ignoring the complaint which clearly indicates that cognizable offence is committed by the accused.”

Officer withdraws plea to quash transfer order

Express News Service
HYDERABAD: IAS officer VS Bhaskar who is facing charges of sexual harassment of a woman colleague, on Wednesday withdrew his writ petition filed before the High Court seeking to quash the interim order of the Central Administrative Tribunal transferring him from his posting as UIDAI deputy director-general.
On Wednesday, the petitioner’s counsel P Bhaskar sought permission of the bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and Justice PV Sanjay Kumar to withdraw the petition filed by his client.
The assistant solicitor-general had earlier informed the court that the Planning Commission has requested the department of personnel and training to repatriate Bhaskar to his parent cadre (Assam-Meghalaya).
It may be recalled that Bhaskar had stated in his petition that there may be some technical errors in constitution of the complaints committee and the enquiry procedure.
The applicant S Padmaja, assistant directorgeneral, UIDAI had complained of sexual harassment by Bhaskar and the tribunal had directed the Centre to take action not later than 15 days from February 3.

Panel: Bring NGOs, PPPs under RTI

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 23, 2012
Every non-government organisation (NGO) and Public-Private Partnership (PPP) project should come under purview of the Right To Information Act, a panel appointed by Prime Manmohan Singh has said.

A high-level panel on public health has told the government that RTI should be made
mandatory for all NGOs and public private partnerships working in the social sector such as health to improve transparency and accountability.
The definition of the partnership involves hospitals built by a private entity but a land for which was given at a highly subsidised rate by the government. There are several such hospitals across India, which falls under this category, but they refuse to abide by the transparency law.
Transparency watchdog, the Central Information Commission (CIC), has said any project where the government provides land at a subsidised rate or provide annual financial assistance of Rs one crore or more should come under the ambit of RTI.
Planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia had refused to bring all PPP projects under RTI saying the CIC will have to decide on individual projects.
K Srinath Reddy, who headed the PM-appointed panel, said transparency was a must to ensure accountability of PPP institutions working for national building and providing basic amenities to people.
“Many of these institutions were set up with the government’s help. We have asked the government to ensure that they come abide by RTI,” he said.
The Public Health Foundation of India, which Reddy heads, was one such PPP institution started in 2006 with Belinda and Bill Gates Foundation. It had been voluntarily providing information to citizens but from this March it will appoint a Public Information Officer (PIO) to meet the requirements of RTI on the directives of the CIC. To be first public private body to come under RTI, Reddy said they have decided to abide by the CIC decision and will not appeal against it. Reddy’s panel wants PPP under the RTI as number of schemes to provide universal access to public health to all with the help of private entities

Government, judiciary not interested in RTI disclosures: CIC Satyananda Mishra
NEW DELHI: At a time when the Congress-led UPA government has been battling with Team Anna over a comprehensive anti-corruption legislation, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has taken on the government and the judiciary over the transparency issue saying not even a single public authority has been following disclosure norms.

Even six years after the implementation of the Right to Information Act 2005, the final appellate authority for the legislation feels that the government has not voluntarily disclosed information on its ministry and department websites, as required under Section 4 (1) (b) of RTI Act.

Speaking to ET, Central Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra said, “The biggest issue on RTI Act implementation is whether the government departments have implemented Section 4 (1) (b) and voluntarily disclosed information on their websites. We have got a study done and when I say that none of the websites of Government of India follow the disclosure law, it is not an exaggeration. Even the high courts are no better.”

Each government department is required to disclose information, including number of employees, their education, salary drawn, the tenure of employment, records held by the department, records destroyed, areas of responsibility and similar information.

Mishra said, “When we see websites of the government, we find half-hearted attempt to disclose information. If you randomly go to websites, you will find names of people who have retired and in some cases have even died. There is no updated information. We have sent repeated letters to the government on how they can improve the information delivery mechanism, which would ultimately mean less number of RTI applications. After all RTI applications cost money not only to the applicant but also to the government.”

CIC’s suggestion that each ministry should publish a “negative list”, which would include information that the ministry would not provide, has also not been followed. “Our national goal should be that no citizen is required to use RTI Act. But our suggestions have not been followed,” Mishra said.

CIC had suggested in 2010 that each government department appoint a transparency officer to oversee the implementation of RTI Act. So far, of the 2,200 public authorities registered with CIC, only 324 (about 15%) have followed this.

It is not just the government but also the judiciary that does not seem to be following the rule book. CIC has found that only Guwahati High Court has a website that gives “exemplary information”. CIC has directed all the high courts to get their act together by April 1.

Hearing an appeal filed by Hyderabad-based RTI activist C J Karira, CIC has ordered that high courts should voluntarily disclose information as the law provides. Mishra said, “There are other issues like harsh RTI rules also. Allahabad high court has levied a fee of Rs 500 per application and per item, which means that if you ask more than one question they will charge Rs 1,000. We have directed them to at least follow what Supreme Court is doing – levying a standard fee of Rs 10.”

CCI approves Sasan Power Infra merger with Reliance Power

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, February 23, 2012
Competition watchdog CCI has approved the merger of Sasan Power Infrastructure with its parent firm Reliance Power, which is promoted by billionaire Anil Ambani.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI), in an order, said, “Based on the facts on record and the details provided in the notice filed under sub-section (2) of Section 6, the proposed combination is not likely to give rise to any adverse competition concern … the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination.”
CCI further noted that Sasan Power Infrastructure (SPIL) and Reliance Power (RPL) are not engaged in production, supply, distribution, storage, sale or trade of identical or similar goods or provision of services.
“The activities of SPIL and RPL are also not related at different stages of levels of production chain different markets,” it said, adding, “Further, the control over the activities carried on by SPIL and RPL before and after the proposed combination remains with the management of RPL”.
RPL is engaged in development, construction and operation of power generation projects, and development of coal mines associated with such projects.
CCI added that in its filing, RPL has stated that SPIL (RPL’s wholly-owned subsidiary) is currently not carrying on any business activities and is holding investments in the group companies.
It is to be noted that SPIL is not implementing the Sasan ultra-mega power project.
The CCI is empowered by an Act of Parliament to scan high voltage merger and acquisition deals.
Under the Competition Act, 2002, companies with a turnover of more than Rs 1,500 crore will have to approach the CCI for approval before merging with another firm. Also, companies with combined assets of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or a combined turnover of Rs 3,000 crore or more, would require the CCI’s nod.

Police chief to act after getting court order

Mateen Hafeez, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 06.08AM IST
MUMBAI: City police commissioner Arup Patnaik on Thursday said he would wait till he gets a copy of the Bombay high court order before deciding the further course of action on probing the disproportionate assets case against former city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh. The court on Wednesday directed Patnaik to register an FIR against Singh for “criminal misconduct” under the Prevention of Corruption Act, attach the Singhs’ movable and immovable properties, personally investigate the case and submit a status report on April 19.

“The high court has directed us to probe the case,” said Patnaik. “I have read about it in the newspapers and watched on TV channels. However, I am yet to get a copy of the court order. I will decide a plan of action after going through the order.” The police chief added that since it was a court matter, commenting without reading the order wouldn’t be proper. The FIR could be registered at the Colaba police station as the HC comes under its jurisdiction. However, the appointment of investigating officers would have to be decided by the police chief.

The court passed the order while hearing a 2010 Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that alleges that Singh and his family have amassed disproportionate assets worth hundreds of crores of rupees. Patnaik refused to comment on the pattern the investigation could take. “It’s too early to say anything,” he added.

It is learnt that Patnaik may form a team of handpicked officers to probe the case. Officers who have worked with the Economic Offences Wing and the Anti-Corruption Bureau may get a place in the police chief ‘s probe team. Sources said that seasoned officers could be part of the investigation and keep Patnaik informed about each and every action since he would be the highest investigating authority.

The HC directed that the PIL’s memo be treated as an FIR. The court asked the police chief to investigate the criminal case against Singh, his wife Malti Devi, son Narendra Kumar Singh, daughter-in-law Ankita Singh, daughter Sunita Singh and son-in-law Vijay Pratap Singh and submit a report by April 19. The high court ordered the attachment of about 15 immovable properties, estimated in the PIL to be worth Rs 320 crore, owned by the Singh family.

Raj Thackeray’s acquittal sets off blame game

Sanjeev Shivadekar, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 03.38AM IST
MUMBAI: The state home department on Thursday said it relied on its law and judiciary department’s report to close the case against Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray. On Tuesday, the Bombay High Court had quashed a case against Thackeray for his provocative speech against the north Indian migrant community delivered in 2008.

“The home department had sought law and judiciary department’s opinion on Raj Thackeray’s inflammatory statement and tirade against migrants, especially those hailing from north Indian community. On the file seeking sanction to prosecute Thackeray, the law and judiciary department stated that speech of the accused (Raj Thackeray), if read in totality, will not fall under Section 153 (A) of IPC. Hence, the case is not fit for accounting sanction to prosecute the accused under Section153 (A) of the IPC,” a senior home department official said on condition of anonymity.

In 2008, Vikhroli police arrested Thackeray and registered a case against him under Section 153 (A) of IPC.

Court issues notice to CBI on Balwa’s plea

NEW DELHI, INDIA: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea filed by Swan Telecom promoter Shahid Balwa seeking to quash charges against him in the 2G case.
Justice M.L. Mehta sought the CBI response by March 13.
Balwa, who was released on bail by a CBI special court, moved the high court to quash the main and supplementary chargesheet filed by the investigating agency against him.
“There is no circumstantial evidences of conspiracy, to be proved either directly or indirectly, against the petitioner, thus, the alleged accused could not be held responsible even for the offences of criminal conspiracy punishable under section 120 B of IPC (Indian Penal Code),” Balwa said.
Seeking discharge from charges under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the petitioner said: “There is no evidence on record to prove these facts that the accused had obtained for himself or for any other person any valuable things or pecuniary advantage.”
Balwa, along with other accused, was booked under penal provisions related to criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, cheating and forgery. He was also booked under the anti-corruption law.
The court framed additional charges against him under penal provisions for giving false evidence and criminal conspiracy for creating false documents to show as loan transaction the Rs..200 crore allegedly paid to the DMK-run Kalaignar TV.

Karnataka forest minister summoned by court

Published: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 19:56 IST
Place: Bangalore | Agency: PTI
One more BJP Minister in Karnataka landed in legal trouble with a court today summoning CP Yogeshwar and four others in cases relating to alleged irregularities in a real estate project promoted by him.
Eighth Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) Kiran Kini directed Yogeshwar, holding charge of Forest portfolio, to appear in the court after two weeks in the cases relating to the Mega City project.
Taking a cognisance of 14 cases filed by the Union ministry of corporate affairs, the ACMM observed there was prima facie evidence to proceed against Yogeshwar under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Companies Act.
The judge also issued summons to four other accused.
The Serious Fraud Investigation Office (SFIO) of the Corporate Affairs Ministry, which investigated complaints from investors in the project, had pegged the alleged “misappropriation” committed by Yogeshwar, Managing Director of Megacity Developers and Builders Limited (MDBL), at Rs39 crore.
The SFIO revealed that from 2005-06, MDBL entered into 450 sale agreements but sold only 62 sites. After verifying 21 agreements, SFIO found that all of them were fraudulent and made with false documents.
MDBL had claimed that it had entered into an agreement with farmers for purchase of land and paid them money.
However, the balance sheet provided by MDBL could not provide evidence to prove that the amount was actually paid to farmers, the SFIO report had said.
Yogeshwar is the latest BJP minister to face court proceedings after Industries Minister Murugesh Nirani and Housing Minister V Somanna. Former Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa is facing a spate of corruption cases.
Others against whom court cases are on include former ministers SN Krishnaiah Setty, H Halappa and Katta Subramanya Naidu.

Fishermen killings: India, Italy to continue discussions today; marines’ custody extended by a week

NDTV Correspondent/ Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: February 24, 2012 12:12 IST
Kochi/New Delhi: India and Italy will continue discussions in New Delhi today on issues relating to the killing of two Indian fishermen by the Italian crew of ‘Enrika Lexie’.

The meeting, scheduled for this afternoon, comes a day after a Kerala court extended by one week the police custody of the two Italian marines arrested in connection with the killing. The police told the judges that they needed more time to interrogate marines Latorre Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone. Their three-day period for police interrogation expired on Thursday. The next hearing will be February 28.

Italy has offered to cooperate, but said the weapons of the two arrested marines should be examined in their presence and underlined that the vessel was in international waters.

Italy’s Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan de Mistura voiced appreciation at the way the two Marines were being treated, but there was no end to the unprecedented diplomatic row between Rome and Delhi.

With the Italians agreeing to cooperate with the investigation, they are likely to be taken on Friday to the cargo vessel, from where the Marines fired at the fishermen on February 15, mistaking them to be pirates. The weapons used in the shooting of Ajesh Binki and Jelestine are likely to be seized by police.

A Kollam court on Monday had permitted the police to search the Italian ship to seize the arms allegedly used by the two naval guards to shoot and kill the fishermen.

“We will cooperate for the ballistic examination, but we should also be present. Hope it will bring out justice,” de Mistura told reporters after meeting the two marines at the CISF guest house at Wellington in Kochi on Thursday morning.

The minister added that once the Italian vessel, now berthed in Kochi, was inspected, “our version will be proved right”.

Mr Mistura, however, reiterated that the firing incident took place in international waters and expressed sadness for the families of the dead fishermen. “We expressed regret.”

“We stick to our stand that the vessel was in international waters when the incident took place. It was 22.5 nautical miles of Kollam coast,” he said.

“We have expressed our appreciation in the manner in which they (Marines) have been treated,” de Mistura told reporters in Kochi after meeting Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Kottayam. A day earlier, he met Minister of State for External Affairs Preneet Kaur in New Delhi in a bid to defuse the row.

New Delhi has said that since the incident involved an attack on an Indian vessel, the accused should be tried under the Indian penal code.

India has not relented on Italy’s demand that the case be taken out of a Kerala court. External Affairs Minister S. M. Krishna said any decision on how to pursue the case against the two accused should be left to the Centre and Kerala government.

A petition was filed in the Kerala High Court on behalf of two Marines on Wednesday seeking quashing of the murder charges filed against them in the trial court.

Appearing for the Italians in the high court, laywer Sunil Dutt told the judge that the incident took place in international waters and so the two men could only be tried in an international court.

The counsel told the court — and the judge agreed — that Italian officials should be present if the Marines were interrogated onboard the ship.

The counsel for Italians also told the Kerala High Court on Thursday that the state police had no jurisdiction to investigate the Italian marines.

The director general of prosecution T. Asaf Ali told the court that the weapon used for committing the crime was yet to be recovered from the ship. The court asked notices to be served on the central and state governments.

Meanwhile, the two sisters of the 25-year-old fisherman Ajesh Binki filed a petition in the high court demanding Rs. 2 crore (around $400,000) as compensation.

The court asked the ship owner to increase the bank guarantee from Rs. 2.5 million to Rs. 5 million.

Jelestine’s wife has filed a petition demanding a compensation of Rs. 1 crore.

HC maintains stay on PDKV staffers’ termination

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN Feb 23, 2012, 03.25PM IST
NAGPUR: In a respite to beleaguered employees of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krishi Vidyapeeth (PDKV) who were issued termination notices, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Wednesday extended the status quo by a week.
A division bench comprising justices PB Majmudar and Prasanna Varale was hearing petitions of PDKV employees challenging termination of their services by the Akola-based university for their failure to produce caste validity certificates.
Earlier, the petitioners citing documents obtained under RTI alleged that the chancellor’s office had failed to take action in a similar case related to university. They pointed out that the chancellor in his letter of August 24 last year, expressed his inability to pass orders stating that he had “no jurisdiction to cancel the proceedings of the selection committee as he is not an authority as per provisions of Section 29 of Maharashtra Agriculture University Act, 1983”. The case was related to an inquiry conducted by the Director General of Maharashtra Council for Agricultural Education Research (MCAER) regarding irregularities and illegalities committed by the selection committee appointed by PDKV in 2006 and 2008 for selecting candidates on teaching posts. The report was submitted to chancellor for annulling the decisions taken by the selection panel.
The petitioners further argued in same vein chancellor’s December 16 order of last year which directed termination of PDKV employees were issued without any jurisdiction vested in him. They demanded that this order along with another December 29 order passed by PDKV vice chancellor on chancellor’s directives for termination should be quashed and set aside. Caste Scrutiny Committee and College of Horticulture in Akola, besides PDKV are other respondents in the petitions.

Ruchika case: HC summons inquiry report

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 24 2012, 03:13 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Thursday, directed the Chandigarh Administration to place on record the copy of the inquiry report prepared against Sacred Heart School which had allegedly expelled Ruchika Girhotra at the instance of SPS Rathore, former Director General of Police (DGP), Haryana.
The report was summoned during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by World Human Rights Protection Council through its Chairman, Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.
The petitioner had moved the High Court seeking action against the school and framing of guidelines to take immediate action against influential persons and police officers involved in such incidents.
The case has been deferred to March 20 by the High Court for resumed hearing.
The report prepared by Chandigarh Administration had read that “Ruchika Girhotra was thrown out in a selective, arbitrary, biased and unwarranted manner by the school under outside compelling circumstances”.
The report prepared after a Magisterial Inquiry had further read that “this would certainly have contributed to mortifying the self-esteem, self-confidence, integrity and reputation of a young minor girl, thereby traumatizing and indelibly scarring her impressionable mind”.
The 45-page report had recommended that Principal Sister S Sebastina should be stripped of the State Award conferred on her in 2005.

Approve Games Village flats fast: HC to DDA

Abhinav Garg, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.37AM IST
NEW DELHI: Paving the way for possession of flats by Commonwealth Games village owners, the Delhi high court on Thursday asked the DDA to expedite the process of issuing completion certificates to the flats.

“DDA shall complete the issuance of completion certificate as expeditiously as possible. Regarding the towers in dispute on the issue of FAR ( floor-area ratio), let the developers pay the applicable charges liable under the statute to the DDA,” Justice Kohli said while asking the authority to fast-track the process in connection with a total of 30 towers while keeping four towers separately.

HC also made it clear that the compounding charges have to be calculated on the basis of Master Plan 2021 and building byelaws. Also no contractual demand should come in the way of issuing the certificate, the court added. Justice Kohli also took a serious view of the DDA’s pick and choose policy in issuing certificates to the flats and choosing towers arbitrarily for itself. It directed the land owning agency to keep four towers – number 5 and 15 (Emaar MGF share), and 26 and 29 (DDA’s own share) – separately from the total 34 towers so that these can be allotted later to flat buyers in case some flats are demolished for violating building bylaws. The court passed the order after DDA’s standing counsel, Ajay Verma, submitted the agency has begun the process of issuing completion certificate to the builder. The lawyer informed HC it would shortly issue certificates to the other towers after the builder clears all due.

HC allowed DDA to start preparation for the auction of 110 flats. The urban development ministry came under fire for its failure to place its stand on the issue of resolving non compoundable excess FAR. Directing the ministry to file the affidavit within a week, the court warned any further delay will result in the secretary UD ministry being summoned.

Hiranandani to challenge HC’s restraint order

TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 06.19AM IST
MUMBAI: Developer Niranjan Hiranandani on Thursday said he was consulting his lawyers to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court to challenge the Bombay High Court order against his Powai project.

On Wednesday, the high court restrained the developer from further construction on the remaining portion of the land without its consent. The court also ordered the developer to build 3,100 affordable homes of 430 sq ft and 861 sq ft as per the agreement between Hiranandani, state government and MMRDA more than two decades ago.

A petition filed by activist Medha Patkar said the developer never built these affordable homes, but instead illegally amalgamated them and sold them as single units to high-end clients.

Speaking to TOI on Thursday, Hiranandani said his company had stopped selling flats in its sprawling Powai complex since the past three years. “Although construction continued, we did not sell any apartment after a petition was filed in the high court,” he said.

Hiranandani said he did not agree with the court’s interpretation of the tripartite agreement signed over two decades ago. “We will challenge this in the apex court and hope the state government also does the same,” he added.

Asked about the implications of building public housing on the land as directed by the court, he said he was still to work out the calculations and financial implications of this order. The Powai land is spread over 230 acres and Hiranandani built about 70 towers which house 4,000 families. Around 15% to 20% of the land is yet to be developed. The developer was to construct 50% of flats of 430 sq ft and the remaining 861 sq ft. However, these apartments were merged into 4,000 to 5,000 sq ft flats and sold for up to Rs 7 crore each.

The Powai land was also exploited by the developer to construct a private hospital, business park, hotel, supermarket, entertainment zone, food courts and other recreational activities like clubhouses and swimming pools.

HC dismisses appeal by former STF personnel

The Karnataka High Court on Thursday dismissed a writ appeal filed by several personnel of the Special Task Force (STF), who were part of anti-Veerappan operations, seeking sites instead of cash awards.
A Division Bench comprising Justice K.L. Manjunath and Justice V. Suri Appa Rao dismissed the appeal after the Government informed the court that the appellants have been given cash awards calculating it at the rate of Rs. 210 per sq. ft due to non-availability of sites.
They had challenged the order passed by the single judge upholding the cash reward announced by the State Government in May 17, 2010, in lieu of sites.
Initially, the Government in 2005 had issued a notification announcing cash awards and sites to all 754 eligible STF personnel, who were on duty in the anti-Veerappan operations when the forest brigand was killed in an encounter on October 18, 2004. Later, the Government decided to give cash awards due to non-availability of sites.
Direction to SHO
The High Court on Thursday directed the Station House Officer (SHO) of the K.R. Puram police station, Bangalore, to appear before the court on Saturday in connection with a petition filed by a senior citizen, Albert.
The petitioner alleged that illegal construction is under way on four acres of land belonging to his sister and himself at Sannathammanahalli and these persons were threatening him.
However, the jurisdictional police have not registered a case in this regard and are not protecting him even though he had an injunction order in his favour from a civil court, he said.

HC slams cops over senior citizen attack

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.43AM IST
MUMBAI: Senior citizens staying alone even in major cities in the state had no protection from physical attacks, the Bombay High Court said on Thursday.

“An old helpless woman is assaulted. Is the entire police station supposed to help a builder? Senior citizens who have no one, have nobody to protect them. What has it come to in Maharashtra!” said a division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode. Pulling up the police for failing to protect an elderly woman, the court has directed the crime branch to register an FIR against the builder accused of assaulting a 68 year old.

The bench was hearing a petition by Worli resident Anusuya Patil (68) saying builder Sandesh Gawadkar, his wife and 10-12 people assaulted her on December 9, 2011, in the presence of police inspector from the Dadar police station Vilas More. After she wrote to the police commissioner, a preliminary inquiry was initiated on December 17, 2011 and the report submitted on February 17, 2012.

The judges said a glance at a complaint discloses cognizable offences but the “police turned a deaf ear”: “Instead of registering an FIR, the police acted as mute spectators. Prima facie, it is clear that they colluded with the developer and not taken action,” the bench said.

Earlier, additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia argued that More was on duty at Siddhivinayak Temple at the time of the alleged incident. “More was not present on the spot. This is a false allegation against an officer,” she said, submitting the movement register to HC. But Patil’s advocate Jitendra Mishra said the spot was five minutes drive from the temple.

Justice Kode questioned why a preliminary inquiry was done on December 17, 2011, and not on the day of the incident, December 9. “What is the difference in the complaint in the NC and the preliminary inquiry? You were waiting to prepare the papers?” asked Justice Kode.

The judges disallowed Gawadkar’s advocate Ashok Saraogi to intervene. Justice Kanade said, “You have no locus. She (Kantharia) has argued for the builder. She has done a better job than you!” Observing that “Dadar police officers have failed in their duty”, the judges directed the crime branch to register an FIR and submit a report in four weeks. They have also directed the police chief to conduct a departmental inquiry against More. “Citizens have no rights. Police are there to help only builders and influential people,” said Justice Kanade.

Son rise: HC nailed Kripashankar Junior too

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 24, 2012, 02.03AM IST
MUMBAI: While former city Congress chief Kripashankar Singh is in the dock for allegedly amassing hundreds of crores worth of disproportionate assets along with his family, it is his son Narendra Kumar Singh who received the most attention from the Bombay High Court. A bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi, while directing the city police chief to file an FIR against Kripashankar, devoted five pages of the order to Narendra, the most for any Singh family member.

In a damning observation, the court-without actually directing the registration of a money-laundering offence-said money exchanges between Kripashankar and Narendra “demonstrate only an attempt to create cross entries, the common feature and attribute of money laundering”.

The judges found Narendra’s “wealth grossly disproportionate to his own known source of income of Rs 1 lakh (a month) as a pilot”. Narendra quit his pilot’s job in the mid-2000s. The court said he gave inflated, misleading and wholly unexplained expenses. “His income, prima facie, emanates from income and dealings of Kripashankar Singh, his father, who as a public figure would be able to generate such funds, albeit only by illegal means, thus showing the son to be an abettor in criminal prosecution,” said the judges.

The court noted that Narendra says he returned Rs 5.5 crore to Dynamix Realty, but showed no income for the same. When told that Narendra gave Rs 1.4 crore to his wife, the judges asked, “Is it pocket expense paid by a husband who earns Rs 1 lakh to a wife who earns nothing?” The judges noted that Narendra would repay banks partly, but private individuals fully and, while owning four residential premises, paid Rs 1.15 crore for another.

Narendra was a Jet Airways pilot who trained in the US and, on his “modest income, he had taken a Rs 60 lakh loan from Standard Chartered Bank for (the) purchase of one flat”. Any other prospective loan applicant would have to produce solid proof of security. The HC observed, “It is not known what was the security given to the bank or income shown.”

The Singh name easily secured bank loans for Narendra, who also got Rs 38 crore from private firms, companies and developers with no specific purpose shown. ICICI Bank loaned him Rs 8 crore on a mortgage for his Bandra bungalow. He got a Rs 21 lakh loan for his BMW, which is then shown as sold for Rs 22 lakh. “We wonder when the loan was taken and repaid?” the court asked. Narendra got a second loan of Rs 43 lakh from the same bank for another BMW. He also sold for Rs 1 crore a flat whose ownership was never shown. He “returned” large amounts to “various family members”. The HC noted that the “Income Tax department report speaks eloquently of such dubious transactions, of huge unsecured loans from builders beyond business rationale and large interest-free loans and gifts from friends and associates”.

“What could a pilot of Jet Airways have to do with so many individuals and private firms for extensive loans taken without any apparent reason?” the court asked. The flat at Oceanic Park (Bandra West), valued at Rs 63 lakh, for which a Rs 60 lakh loan was taken from Standard Chartered Bank, was sold at a loss for Rs 50 lakh, the court said. Only Rs 40 lakh was returned to the bank. “What is not known or shown is when was the flat sold, to whom, when was the loan repaid,” the court said. Narendra’s bungalow was valued at Rs 3 crore, but he took a Rs 8 crore loan for it and two other flats valued at Rs 62 lakh. The judges asked if a Jet Airways pilot could afford to own these four properties worth Rs 9 crore. They added, “We wonder whether he paid even society charges of these properties from his salary income.”

The judges also found incredible that articles in Narendra’s bungalow were shown to be worth Rs 1 crore, but his bank accounts showed a “credit balance of not more than (a) few thousand rupees, with one account having zero balance”. The court was told that Narendra’s household expenses rose from a total of Rs 1 lakh from 2002 to 2005 to Rs 27 lakh from 2006 to 2010.

After going through Narendra’s various properties and transactions, the HC said, “Unlike his mother (who deals in gold and silver futures), Narendra trades in loans and advances of outlandish amounts with various parties, none of who are questioned, interviewed or

HC has stayed I-T order to attach co assets: Mahindra Satyam

Last Updated: Friday, February 24, 2012, 00:08
Mumbai: Mahindra Satyam on Thursday said the Andhra Pradesh High Court has stayed the provisional order from the Income Tax Department to attach land and buildings of the company in the Rs 617-crore tax-demand case.

“Upon hearing the petition filed by the company, the Hon’ble High Court Judicature of AP stayed the provisional attachment order dated January 30, 2012 from the Additional Commissioner of Income Tax, central Range – 3, Hyderabad, attaching land and buildings of the Company under section 281B of the Income Tax Act, 1961,” Satyam said in a filing to the BSE.

The I-T Department had issued notices to the company seeking Rs 617 crore tax for assessment years 2003-04 to 2008-09–the period when the company was run by its founder B Ramalinga Raju.

Subsequently, the company deposited a bank guarantee of Rs 617 crore in last April with the I-T department as directed by the Supreme Court and the bank guarantee furnished was valid until December 31, 2011.

Once a leading Indian IT company, Satyam was hit by a multi-crore rupees corporate fraud, after Raju admitted fudging account books for years together.

Consider unified police command: HC tells states

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 24 2012, 03:02 hrs
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Thursday, asked Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to consider the methods adopted by foreign countries to tackle incidents relating to crime against children and having a unified police command.
This suggestion was made by Justice Mahesh Grover of the High Court during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation seeking directions to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh to constitute a unified police command.
While the Punjab government had given its consent for constituting such a command, the Haryana government had expressed its reluctance stating that the Haryana Police already has such a wing. The Haryana government however had undertaken to cooperate if a unified police command is constituted.
The three states have been directed to read the method adopted by the United Kingdom and other foreign countries and submit their reports. The directions were passed during the resumed hearing of a PIL filed by World Human Rights Council through its Chairman Advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.
The petitioner had also sought a CBI probe into the abduction and murder of five-year-old Khushpreet. The petitioner had sought strict possible action against the errant Chandigarh Police officers allegedly responsible for the murder. Submitting that the police have failed to arrest the murderers, the petitioner had stated that the investigation into the case should be handed over to the CBI. Blaming the Chandigarh Police for “inaction” and “lackadaisical attitude”, the petitioner had also demanded adequate compensation for the family of the deceased.
The public interest litigation also sought directions to the Chandigarh Administration to constitute a special cell to deal with similar situations and employ specially trained police staff.

HC holds Gehlot govt guilty of contempt of court

Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 18:23
Jaipur: Holding the Ashok Gehlot government guilty of contempt of court, the Rajasthan High Court has asked state Chief Secretary S Ahmed and DoP Secretary Khemraj to appear before it on February 27.

The matter pertains to giving seniority to general class employees, including RAS officials over Scheduled Caste, Scheduled Tribe candidates, who were given reservation and accelerated promotions in more than 110 services of state.
The order came on two contempt petitions filed by one Babaulal and ‘Samta Andolan’.

The High Court had earlier in case of one Surajbhan Meena held that the government cannot give reservation in promotion to the SC and ST candidates and all such officers of Rajasthan administrative services were to be reverted but the government filed an appeal in the matter to Supreme Court, which also upheld the high court’s order.

The contempt petition was heard for almost a year and the state government issued a notification to protect the seniority and promotions given to reserved class candidates but the division bench of Justice NK Jain and RS Rathore held it a graver contempt of court.

The bench has directed and allowed the state government three days time to comply with the order and if not complied than the chief secretary and DOP secretary have been directed to appear in person on February 27 to hear the punishment.

It is noteworthy that a maximum of two years of imprisonment and fine or both is the provision under law.

Why court said no to Lokesh’s police remand: Case diary not produced, already chargesheeted–Case-diary-not-produced–already-chargesheeted/916074/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 24 2012, 04:01 hrs

Finding “no merit” in the application moved by the National Investigation Agency (NIA) seeking police remand of Lokesh Sharma — eight months after his arrest in the Samjhauta blast case — a Panchkula court on Wednesday had declined the request on the ground that the NIA has already filed a chargesheet against Sharma.
The other ground based on which the Court of Additional District and Sessions Judge (ADJ) Kanchan Mahi declined the request was the non-production of “police file” relating to interrogation of Kamal Chauhan — a co-accused — by the NIA. “It is pertinent to mention here that when asked to produce the police file (jimni) relating to investigation and interrogation of Kamal Chauhan, the court was informed that it is lying at Delhi,” reads the one-page order. The court added that “under these circumstances, it could not be verified”. “It is relevant to note here that prosecution has already furnished charge sheetagainst Aseemanand and Lokesh Sharma,” stated the ADJ.
The judge also observed that the application seeking police remand of Sharma, who was arrested on June 16, 2011, has been moved at a stage when the case is “fixed for consideration of framing of charges”.
Special Public Prosectuor for NIA, Advocate R K Handa, had relied upon Section 43 (d) of Unlawful Activities Act to demonstrate that police remand can be sought even after an accused has been remanded to judicial custody. Showing little conviction, the Court ruled: “In my opinion, Section 43 (d) of the Unlawful Activities Act is of no help as the same is applicable in cases where investigation is pending.”

LEGAL NEWS 24.02.2012

Vijayakant moves court against suspension


Case posted for March 2

The Madras High Court on Wednesday admitted a writ petition by Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) president and Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Vijayakant, challenging his 10-day suspension from the House by a resolution.

When the petition came up before Justice S. Rajeswaran, the Government Pleader took notice for the Assembly Secretary. The Judge ordered that the matter be posted for March 2 to enable the respondent to argue the matter with regard to both maintainability of the writ petition and the application seeking stay of the operation of the impugned resolution.

Mr. Vijayakant sought a declaration that the resolution adopted on February 2 by the Assembly was illegal and null and void.

In the petition, filed through counsel, S.Manimaran, Mr.Vijayakant said the Assembly Secretary by a letter dated February 3 informed him that a resolution had been passed by the House that he should be suspended from participating in the proceedings in the session that was under way and also in the next session continuously for 10 days.

Also, during the suspension period, he would not be entitled to pecuniary benefits, salary, concessions and other privileges in his capacity as the Leader of the Opposition and MLA with effect from February 2.

He was directed to surrender the car allotted to him to the Assembly Secretary’s office.

Mr. Vijayakant said he could not even receive and forward petitions regarding the legitimate grievances of the people of his constituency (Rishivanthiyam) to the government authorities for redressal.

He had been forbidden from attending any government meeting.

He said that by denying him his position as MLA, the people who had elected him as their representative had lost their right and opportunity to redress their grievances through him. This would amount to penalising the electors.

Even the copy of the privileges committee’s report was not furnished to him.

A copy was collected by him from the House Secretariat only after he was suspended.

Thus, all principles of natural justice had been violated.

He submitted that the resolution could not in itself seek to remove or prevent him from exercising his right as an elected representative outside the House.

When a person was elected as the Leader of the Opposition, it was a post which carried with it high responsibilities and indeed the post enjoyed a Cabinet Minister rank.

This privilege could not be interfered with by the ruling party through a voice vote resolution as it would amount to interfering with the working of the opposition party itself.











Nod to fill up Civil Judge vacancies


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging a GO and a subsequent notification relating to filling up of 185 vacancies to the posts of Civil Judges in the State. “No case is made out to interfere with the GO and the notification,” Justice K Suguna said on Tuesday. While the GO passed in January this year delegated power to the HC to make the recruitment directly, the subsequent notification inviting applications stipulated various conditions and concessions relating to experience, age and qualifications.
The main contention of the petitioners was that the government and the High Court could not usurp the power to make the recruitment, which vested with the TN Public Service Commission (TNPSC) alone, the constitutional body.
The judge, however, admitted a writ petition challenging a sub-clause of a particular rule stipulated in the notification.





Court upholds detention of ex-councillor


The Madras High Court on Wednesday upheld the detention of K. Dhanasekaran, a former Chennai Corporation DMK councillor, under the Goondas Act.

The order was passed by the Chennai Police Commissioner on September 16, 2011. The detenu is in Central Prison, Vellore.

Challenging the order, his wife D. Vijayakumari filed a habeas corpus writ petition.

The petitioner submitted that the grounds for detention did not reveal that the pre-detention representation of September 6 sent by the detenu to the Home Secretary. The police Commissioner was considered the detaining authority. No order rejecting the representation was communicated to the detenu.

Therefore, on this ground alone, the detention order was liable to be set aside.

In its order, a Division Bench, comprising Justices K. Mohan Ram and G.M. Akbar Ali, said admittedly the averments/allegations made in the pre-detention representation were found in the anticipatory bail petitions placed before the detaining authority.

The same had been referred to and considered by the detaining authority in the grounds of detention. Therefore, non-placement of the representation would not amount to non-application of mind by the detaining authority.

Therefore, on this ground, the detention order could not be set aside, the Bench said and dismissed the petition.

The Bench observed that when the personal liberty of the detenu was being curtailed by the detention order, the detaining authority should take proper care as to whether the pre-detention representation had been placed before him.

It was true that in view of the huge volume of correspondence received at the Commissioner’s office, it would be difficult for the detaining authority to remember the pre-detention representation received. But, that could not be an excuse.

The police Commissioner or detaining authorities should set up a separate cell or a section to exclusively deal with the representations received from persons who anticipated their detention or had been detained.

If such a facility was available and it maintained a register, it would be possible for the Commissioner at the time of passing the detention order to call for details from such cell as to whether any pre-detention representation had been received from the detenu.

Ban on banners: Time to file counter granted


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The government was granted time till February 27 to file its counter-affidavit on a writ petition seeking ban on erection of banners and pandals in public places. Passing interim orders on a public interest writ petition from social worker ‘Traffic’ K R Ramaswamy on January 3 last, the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam had granted four weeks time to the government to file the counter giving details regarding the steps taken to regulate erection of banners and pandals in public places.
When the matter was taken up today, no such counter was filed. Following a plea from Advocate-General A Navaneethakrishnan to grant more time, the bench directed him to file the counter by that date stating specifically the steps taken for redress of the grievance of the petitioner.








Silicosis victims from M.P. meet Gujarat governor


Silicosis victims from Madhya Pradesh met Gujarat governor Dr. Kamla Beniwal on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum to her regarding the “insensitive and indifferent attitude” of the Gujarat government to their plight.

Silicosis, the killer scourge, affects a substantial population of migrant labourers from Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua, Alirajpur, Badwani and Dhar districts who cross the border to work in quartz-crushing factories in Godhra and Balasinore in Gujarat.

In 2010, the National Human Rights Commission took cognizance of the death of 238 such labourers and directed the Gujarat government to provide compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to the families of the diseased. The NHRC also directed the Gujarat government to rehabilitate 304 silicosis-affected labourers.

However, the Gujarat government has not abided by the NHRC directives till date and has maintained that the labourers are liable to be compensated either under the Employee State Insurance Scheme under the ESI act or under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

However, none of the affected has received compensation under either law because of lack of “evidence” (for instance the ESI card or a factory issued identity card) of having worked in a silicosis-causing hazardous industry.

The delegation of victims was led by the Silicosis Peedit Sangh (Silicosis Victims’ Union) and NGO Shilpi Kendra.

“The governor took the matter seriously and assured the victims of quick action on her part,” Amulya Nidhi of Shilpi Kendra , one of the few organizations working with silicosis victims in the region, told The Hindu.

Khumsingh, a victim from Dhyana village of Alirajpur, told the Governor that his three sisters had succumbed to silicosis and he had been forced to sell his cattle and even his farm for treatment.

According to estimates provided by organizations working in the region, over 1,100 labourers from 71 villages of Dhar, Jhabua and Alirajpur are suffering from the disease which has no known cure.









Family of killed fisherman asks for 1 crore in court; India vs Italy row continues


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 22, 2012 15:53 IST

New Delhi:  The Italian ship involved in the shooting of two Indian fishermen cannot leave India till it provides a bank guarantee of 25 lakhs with a Kerala court.

The family of one of the two fishermen shot dead by Italian marines off the coast of Kochi has asked for one crore as compensation in the Kerala High Court. The fisherman, Jelestine, was killed last week along with his friend, Pinku. The Italian navy men reportedly mistook them for Somalian pirates.

In response to the petition filed by Jelestine’s family, the Kerala High Court has said that the Italian ship involved cannot leave India till a bank guarantee of 25 lakhs is provided in court. However, this is an interim order – both parties will now file counter-affidavits.

The Enrica Lexie was sailing Singapore from Egypt when two of the six armed guards on board the merchant vessel shot the fishermen. (India vs Italy over fishermen deaths: 10 developments)

The deaths have led to huge anger in the large fishing community of Kochi. It’s also turned into an international confrontation, with Italy describing India’s decision to arrest the marines as “unilateral” and “coercive.” A talk between senior officials today did not pave the way for a compromise. Preneet Kaur, India’s junior minister for Foreign Affairs met Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura this morning. “Two innocent lives have been taken,” she said. “The law will take its own course.”

Mr De Mistura said the incident took place in international waters “and investigation will ascertain the exact position” of the Italian ship.  “We are taking it seriously. We are definitely expressing terrible sadness and regret over the loss of lives,” he said.

Italian officials have stressed that their laws require armed guards to be on board their ships, ; they say  the marines should be tried at home according to international laws.  But India says that the incident took place within its waters, and that the fishermen were shot at without any provocation. A case of murder has been registered against the two Italians.













HC asks ECoR to take a decision

Express News Service

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has directed the General Manager of East Coast Railways (ECoR) to take a decision on having a scheduled stoppage of the Rajdhani Express at Jajpur Keonjhar Road railway station in eight weeks.

Acting on a PIL filed by advocate Jeetendra Pratihari, the division bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has directed the petitioner to submit a representation to the General Manager, ECoR, with all documents to support his claim.

The petitioner had approached the court seeking a direction for having a scheduled stoppage of Rajdhani Express at the Jajpur Road station, which is the only major station for the entire Jajpur and Keonjhar districts and also home to the industrial hub of Kalinga Nagar.

The petitioner submitted that there has been continuous demand for stoppage of the Rajdhani Express there and a representation had been filed before the Member, Railway Board (traffic), in 2006. The petitioner was subsequently informed by the Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of ECoR that the matter was under consideration and the demand would be recommended to the Zonal headquarters within a short period. However, no action had been taken even after a lapse of more than six years.










Panel to re-examine Welukar’s appointment as vice-chancellor


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 23, 2012

A year-and-a-half after his appointment as vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai, an aspect of Rajan Welukar’s eligibility will be re-examined by the Search Committee, set up for shortlisting candidates for the post. The decision came in response to two public interest litigations challenging Welukar’s appointment as vice chancellor of Mumbai University.

The PIL petitioners, social workers Niteen Deshpande and Vasant Ganu Patil, and AD Sawant, former vice chancellor of Rajasthan University, had questioned the appointment before a division bench last year, contending Welukar did not fulfill requisite eligibility, and therefore could not have been appointed as vice chancellor.

While chief justice Mohit Shah had found no fault with Welukar’s appointment and had rejected all the contentions, justice Girish Godbole had held that at least one of the mandatory qualifications was required reconsideration by the Search Committee — whether Welukar had to his credit minimum five research publications in peer-reviewed or referred international research journal after PhD.

Following the split verdict delivered on June 16 last year, a reference was sent for determination to justice SJ Vajifdar. The third judge, on Wednesday, partly concurred with the view taken by justice Godbole and held that the aspect of five research publications was required to be re-examined by the Search Committee, headed by professor AS Kolaskar, vice chancellor, KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar and comprising of professor P Balaram, director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and JS Saharia, principal secretary, relief and rehabilitation.

The Search Committee had first shortlisted 20 candidates from the list of 98 applicants, and ultimately recommended five names, including that of Welukar, to the governor for appointment as vice chancellor. Now, the court is likely to take the final decision about Welukar’s appointment after receiving the committee’s report on the issue.









Hiranandani cant construct on plot before making affordable homes: HC


Published: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In a major setback to Hiranandani developers, the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday restrained them from carrying out any further development at their Powai township before constructing affordable homes as contemplated under the tripartite agreement between the developer, state government and the MMRDA.

The court observed that they were issuing directives for corrective steps instead of punitive action against the developer and government officials. The HC, however, granted liberty to the petitioners “to take up the issue of corruption in a criminal prosecution against any errant public officers and the developer”.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi directed the petitioners, Hiranandani developers and MMRDA metropolitan commissioner, to prepare a statement of buildings and structures put up by Hiranandani in Powai Area Development Scheme (ADS) along with the names, description and number of area and units/flats therein within four weeks.

While hearing two public interest litigations (PIL) by Rajendra Thacker and Medha Patkar respectively, the also directed them to prepare a plan of vacant areas of plots under the Powai ADS within four weeks.

“The developer shall not put up any further construction whatsoever in the remainder of the plot before specifying vacant land and buildings that can be constructed,” the HC said in its order running into more than 30 pages.

The court said that the developer would be entitled to commence any further construction only after obtaining specific permission from the court. The HC observed that the very purpose of the tripartite agreement was to construct smaller flats for affordable housing.

“The developer as well as the flat purchasers appear to have thrown this essential requirement to the winds,” the court observed. “Consequently, the land which was leased upon a pittance of Rs1 per hectare came to be developed as a goldmine realising from such investment millions of rupees worth of real estate.”

The developer has been directed to construct 1,511 flats of 40 square metres and 1,593 flats of 80 square metres without amalgamating any flats. “No two flats shall be sold to the same person or two members of the same family,” the court ordered.

The direction came in the wake of allegations in the PIL that in order to overcome some development conditions, the developer had constructed amalgamated flats or sold adjoining flats to different members of the same family. The PIL further alleged that the flats were converted for commercial use, thereby breaching the terms of the agreement and conditions imposed under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.

Another condition set by the HC for further construction is that the developer shall sell to the state government 15% of the total FSI consumed in plot in form of constructed tenements at Rs135 per square feet.










Narendra Modis Sadbhavana aimed at goodwill: Gujarat HC


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 17:14 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Gujarat high court on Tuesday rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging chief minister Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana fasts across the state and the huge expenditure made on them, saying ‘Sadbhavana’ was launched for goodwill and in good faith.

A bench consisting of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice JB Pardiwala said: “If such questions are allowed to be raised before court, every expenditure of the state can be called in question, both as to the nature and extent thereof, in which event the functioning of the government itself will be hampered.”

Regarding court’s jurisdiction, the bench said: “Judicial interference is permissible when the action of the government is unconstitutional and not when such action is not wise or that the extent of expenditure is not for good of the state. All such questions must be thrashed out in the legislature and not in courts.” The court also set aside the contention of the petitioner that the Sadbhavana fasts were politically motivated. The court observed: “Assuming for the moment that a government is indirectly canvassing solely in the interest of the political ideology to which it belongs, even then this court, in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution, would not undertake judicial review of such aprogramme.”

Defining the word ‘Sadbhavana’ the court said: “Sadbhavana, as the name denotes, is a programme launched by the state government for goodwill or in good faith.”

The court further said, “It appears that under the programme, the chief minister decided to visit different places all over the state and meet people at large.

As a part of the programme, the people of different regions within the state are being apprised of the work undertaken by the government according to their political manifesto and also to apprise the citizens as to what the state government intends to do in future for the welfare of the people.”

One Rajesh Mota had filed the PIL challenging Sadbhavana fasts on the ground that, the government had organised such fasts to get political gain and huge expenditure had been made on the events.The counsel for the petitioner, Ratna Vora, said: “We will challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.”










Plea challenging NCTC to be posted before First Bench


The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Registry to post a public interest litigation petition (PIL) challenging the validity of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (Organisation, Functions, Powers and Duties) Order 2012, before the First Bench.

In the petition, filed through counsel Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, the petitioner Vijayalakshmi Shanmugam stated that the order was issued by the Union Home Secretary.

The petitioner said that no consultations were held with the stakeholders before passing the order.

“Organisation stillborn”

The proposed organisation was stillborn.

It had no cadre of its own and proposed to borrow strength from existing entities.

The haste shown in fixing the date of March 1 and notifying the same, when no cadre had been raised made the decision a highly suspicious one.

Nine Chief Ministers had raised objections to the National Counter Terrorism Centre.

“Quash the order”

The petitioner prayed the court to call for the records and quash the impugned order as ultra vires the Constitution.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N. Kirubakaran, directed the Registry to post the matter before the First Bench.











Dont cut or prune trees for parking facility: Bangalore HC


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 11:46 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore

The high court has directed the state government not to cut or prune trees for constructing a multi-level car parking facility in the vacant space of the legislators’ home until the next hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL).

Ramesh Babu, in his PIL, had sought direction from the court to stop the work for the parking facility to save trees in the Cubbon Park from the axe.

Babu said that when he visited the premises of the legislators’ home in the second week of January, he found that several trees had been cut for the project. He said that the government wanted the parking facility to come up.

On August 6, 2010, the state government had filed an application in the high court for the construction of the multi-level parking facility in the vacant land around the legislators’ home. The court had then rejected the application to protect Cubbon Park’s green cover.

Despite this, the government started construction work there by cutting several trees in violation of the constitution, Babu said.
Cubbon Park is the city’s central lung space. The government is not applying its mind for the proper development of the city nor is it giving any importance to the maintenance of the eco system, the petitioner said.

A division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen, on Tuesday, directed the state government not to cut or prune trees in the vicinity of the legislators’ home for the construction of multi-level car parking facility.

The bench issued notices to the state government and directed it to file the counter affidavit within two weeks.










Give report in stray dogs case: HC


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 04.25AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has sought a status report from the authorities on a PIL seeking compensation for seven students bitten by stray dogs, inside a government school campus.

In the PIL, Anandharaj, an activist of Evidence NGO, sought a direction to the district authorities to construct a compound wall in Alanganallur Girls Higher secondary School and consequently to direct them to pay compensation to the girl students, who had taken treatment at the primary health centre for the dog bite.

According to the petitioner, on 23 January, when the school assembly session was on, the stray dogs, which had entered the school and were the fighting with each other. Seeing this, the scared students ran helter-skelter. In the melee, the dogs charged on the girls and bit them. The students sustained injuries and were taken to the primary health centre for treatment.

The petitioner said the government school is situated around five acres of area. As the school is not covered completely by a compound wall, stray dogs roam around in the said school, freely. Plastic wastes and garbage are being dumped near the school and people who are living in the adjacent area use the school as a thoroughfare even during school hours distracting the students.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah, the government advocate, who appeared on behalf of the Madurai district collector was directed to file a status report.










Don’t treat mentally-ill as lesser beings, stop bullying welfare institutions: HC to babus


Express News Service : New Delhi, Thu Feb 23 2012, 04:33 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said mentally-challenged persons should not be treated as lesser human beings, and the bureaucracy cannot be allowed to have its way with social welfare projects.

Adjudicating a PIL over construction of half-way homes for mentally-challenged persons in the city, a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri said: “These persons are equal human beings and they must be treated on a par with others. We will do and make the government authorities do whatever is best for their interests. We will not let them be thrown out on the streets, but instead ensure that they get proper care and treatment.”

The court made these observations after Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, who runs a shelter for mentally-challenged persons in Kabir Basti, North Delhi, under the banner of ‘Sudinalay’, complained against the non-cooperative attitude of social welfare officials. Chaudhury said she would rather shut down the home and hand over the inmates to the authorities.

In response, the bench said the court would ensure that the inmates are taken care of. “Hold on to your patience. We will ensure that all the inmates are treated like human beings, and the bureaucracy does not have its way with projects of social welfare,” the bench said.

Earlier, an inspection report of the centre was submitted in court by the Social Welfare department. Highly critical of the shelter’s functioning, the report said: “Sudhinalaya is barely managing a shelter place for destitute and mentally-ill men and women. The services given to inmates, and the documentation, are below satisfaction… The inmates are living in a pathetic condition, without any recreational, counselling and rehabilitation facilities.”

The court, however, said that it would go through Chaudhary’s response to make sure that the adverse report was not part of the bureaucracy’s plan to “settle scores” with her.

During the hearing, the court was also informed by the state-run Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) about plans to construct five half-way homes to provide social integration and rehabilitation facilities to mentally-challenged patients.

The court, however, expressed displeasure over the laxity of the DDA in responding to a query over relocating a power sub-station from one of the areas allotted for construction of half-way homes. If no response is received in this regard by the next date of hearing, its vice-chairman shall have to personally present himself in court, it added.

The court will take up the matter on March 14.










City Cong chief quits after court orders corruption probe


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 23, 2012

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Mumbai police to register a FIR against Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Kripashankar Singh and his family members for possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. Singh quit his post after the order.


“We can easily prima facie conclude that there is cognizable offence disclosed,” the court observed, while appointing Mumbai’s police commissioner Arup Patnaik as investigation officer of the case, with a direction that all the movable and immovable properties held by the Congress leader and his family members be attached.

The court has also directed the commissioner to treat the memo of the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city resident Sanjay Dinanath Tiwari in this connection as an FIR, and submit a report of investigation by April 19, 2012.

During the course of hearing on the PIL, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had conducted an inquiry and came to the conclusion that 11.59 per cent of the assets held by Kripashankar Singh and his wife Maltidevi were disproportionate to their known sources of income.










Karnataka Lok Ayukta appointment: PIL withdrawn


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 11:48 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

A PIL filed in the high court seeking speedy appointment of the Lok Ayukta was referred to another bench, while another PIL on the same issue was withdrawn, on Tuesday.

The case came up for hearing before a division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen which referred it to another bench.

Siddanagouda C Patil of Belgaum filed the PIL, contending that the post of Lok Ayukta has been vacant for the last six months. Due to this, people are put to hardship. It is important to fill such an important post as soon as possible so that corruption can be looked into.Another PIL, on the same issue, was withdrawn after it came for the hearing. A Bangalore resident, Gajendra, had filed the PIL in January.









Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh quits as HC orders probe into assets


MUMBAI: Mumbai Congress received a major jolt on Wednesday after the high court ordered the police to carry out an investigation into allegations of criminal misconduct by city president Kripashankar Singh. The court ordered the Mumbai police commissioner to collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties owned by Singh. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan later said Kripashankar Singh had resigned from his post.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. The court while keeping the PIL pending, has directed the police to file a compliance report on April 19.

“The commissioner of police shall obtain sanction from the government to prosecute Kripashankar Singh for criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi said.

The bench said CP Arup Patnaik shall collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties of Kripashankar and his family, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law, who will also be prosecuted for aiding the crime.

“…We do not want to pass any directions regarding the bank accounts of the respondents as it is alleged that the money might have been washed out. The PIL shall be treated as an FIR and the report submitted by the state anticorruption bureau in March 2011 showing Kripashankar’s income and expenditure shall be treated as investigation,” the court said.








Taxi, auto drivers being cheated by moneylenders, credit societies: PIL


Mohan K Korappath, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 23, 2012

The Mumbai Taximen Sangathan has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay high court (HC) seeking the implementation of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1972, and a notification to that effect by the central government.

According to the petition filed by the association and two law students, taxi and auto drivers are being cheated by the moneylenders and credit co-operative societies due to the non-implementation of the act.

With the transport commissioner and regional transport authorities failing to check the hire-purchase agreement and money lending licences, the moneylenders and credit co-operative societies are running a taxi and auto permit mafia in the city, states the petition.

Hire purchase is a type of installment credit under which the hire purchaser, called the hirer, agrees to take the goods on hire at a stated rental, which is inclusive of the repayment of principal as well as interest, with an option to purchase. Under this transaction, the hire purchaser acquires the property (goods) immediately on signing the agreement, but the ownership or title of the same is transferred only when the last installment is paid.

The Sangathan points out that the moneylenders always keep the copy of the original registration book of the vehicle with them, along with the duly signed RTO Forms.

The lenders also snatch the vehicle forcibly from the loan borrower and hand it over to other taximen on rent, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, adds the petition.

The petition further claimed that black money amounting to more than Rs2,500 crore is involved in the taxi and auto rickshaw permit system, which is being ignored by the government.

The petitioners stated that it is to regulate these discrepancies that a central government notification to that effect is necessary.

The petitioners have urged the court to direct the union government to issue the notification and to declare all the hire-purchase agreements until now as null and void.



SC asks Centre, states to give details on pending mercy pleas in three days


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 02.05AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took exception to the delay in getting information relating to pending mercy pleas by condemned prisoners before the President and the governors and asked the Centre and states concerned to provide details about such pendency within three days.

Expressing anguish over the casual approach of the governments, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyay said this was the final opportunity to the governments concerned and posted petitions on this issue for final hearing on March 1.

The court asked home secretaries concerned to supply required data to the office of the additional solicitor general in Supreme Court dealing with the case. The court also asked advocate Siddharth Dave, who appeared for the Centre, to bring all details about pending mercy pleas on the next date of hearing.

A petition by condemned prisoner Devender Pal Singh Bhullar about inordinate delay in consideration of his mercy plea by the President had persuaded the apex court to take note of the plight of similarly placed death row convicts who were living in jails with an uncertain future.

Bhullar, who was convicted for masterminding a bomb blast that killed nine people in Delhi, has been on death row since August 25, 2001. His mercy petition was pending with the President for eight years and was finally dismissed late last year.

Since January 2011, he has been undergoing treatment for depression at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) for mental trauma and he had moved the apex court for clemency on the ground of delay.

Finding no reason for the Centre and states to inordinately delay decision on mercy petitions, the bench said, “We want to know from the date mercy petitions reach the competent authority, what is being done.”

There is no time limit to consider mercy petitions, but the delay by the government is viewed as a serious violation of right to life and liberty of condemned prisoners.





Ramlila crackdown: SC blames cops, pulls up Ramdev


Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 15:38

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Thursday held Baba Ramdev and Delhi Police guilty of negligence in connection with the midnight crackdown on yoga guru’s followers at the Ramlila Maidan on June 4-5 last year during his anti-corruption agitation.

The apex court, while stressing that the authorities could have avoided the violent incident, said that both Baba Ramdev and the police acted in an irresponsible manner.

“There was abuse of power by the Delhi Police and there was violation of fundamental rights of people,” the apex court bench of Justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said.

“The incident shows might of the state which strikes at the foundation of democracy. It is a glaring example of trust deficit between people governing and people being governed,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court also directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Police Commissioner to register a case against officers who caused injury, and those who used lathicharge and tear gas in the crackdown.

The court further asked the authorities to give a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of Rajbala, the woman who died due to the injury suffered in the police crackdown.

Besides, the court also ordered a compensation of Rs 50,000 for those who sustained serious injuries and Rs 35,000 for those with minor injuries during the incident.

Importantly, the apex court asked the yoga guru to share 25% of the total compensation to be given to the victims.

Meanwhile, the family members of Rajbala have refused to take any compensation from the yoga guru’s trust, saying that he was not responsible for the unfortunate incident.

The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports purportedly showing brutality of police action against the sleeping followers of Ramdev, including women and children.

Ramdev had alleged the police action was carried out on the instructions of their political masters and demanded action against all people who had directed the mid-night crackdown.

Ramdev was agitating along with his followers against corruption and demanding that the UPA government must make sincere efforts to bring back black money illegally parked in secret foreign bank accounts by tax evaders.

Delhi Police, however, claimed Ramdev had instigated his followers to indulge in violence, forcing the police to act at that time of the night.









Court rejects NIA plea seeking suspect’s custody


Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times
Panchkula, February 22, 2012

In a setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a Panchkula court on Wednesday rejected its application seeking 15-day remand for Samjhauta train bombing suspect Lokesh Sharma.
The February 2007 train blasts close to Diwana railway station near Haryana’s Panipat town killed 68 people, most of them Pakistanis.

The court of additional district and sessions judge Kanchan Mahi was hearing the case on Wednesday as NIA judge Subhas Mehla was on leave.

The NIA submitted in the court, through special public prosecutors RK Handa and Rajan Malhotra, that due to the arrest of RSS member Kamal Chauhan, the case had taken a new turn.

The NIA said Chauhan had named Lokesh Sharma — so the latter’s intensive interrogation was required to know about the preparation and procurement of explosives, their planting and how the people were trained in handling explosives and arms.

Sharma, who has been made an accused in the chargesheet, was also required for identification of various places where meetings of the blasts executers had taken place, the agency said.

According to the chargesheet, he was one of the conspirators as he participated in the main conspiracy meeting at Valsad, Gujarat, in June 2006. But the arrest of Chauhan and revelation that Sharma was allegedly one of the four bomb planters has turned the focus towards identifying the other two planters.

Sharma’s counsel Ajay Kaushik said he was “interrogated briefly outside the court” when he was brought to Panchkula on June 18, 2011. “After that he was sent in judicial custody,” Kaushik said. “There is no association between Sharma and Chauhan as is being alleged by the NIA.”

Statement not recorded
The NIA is yet to record the statement of Kamal Chauhan, whose remand ends on February 24. The investigating agency is likely to seek to interrogate him further. His house had been searched and some material reportedly seized by NIA.

On February 14, while coming out of the court Chauhan told mediapersons that he had carried out the blasts out of his own accord.

The NIA says he underwent extensive training in handling of weapons and explosives. He reportedly took training at Karni Singh shooting range in Faridabad (Haryana) and Bagli in Dewas (Madhya Pradesh). He was arrested as a witness Shivam Dhakkar had named him.

Chauhan’s counsel Shailendar Babbar, however, said they had moved the National Human Rights Commission against his arrest. “He had been interrogated earlier by the CBI too,” Babbar said. “He (Chauhan) was under their watch for about a year.”

The case was listed for framing of charges on Wednesday but the hearing was adjourned.

While coming out of court, Aseemanand, key accused in the case, while replying to a question, said that he did not know Chauhan, and alleged this was a “conspiracy” of the NIA.

Aseemanad had given a confessional statement in the case but later backtracked.

Who is Lokesh Sharma?
Sharma, a close associate of Sunil Joshi (the suspected ‘mastermind’ behind the blasts who was later murdered), allegedly planted a bomb on Samjhauta Express.
The Indore resident’s name has cropped up in the Ajmer blasts and Mecca Masjid blasts of Hyderabad as well Sharma was arrested on June 17, 2010 for the Ajmer blasts and on June 18, 2001 for Samjhauta blasts.














Court orders trial in illegal tele exchange case


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 15:55

New Delhi: A Delhi court has ordered trial of a man for allegedly running an illegal telephone exchange to mask international calls as local ones and causing loss of over Rs two crore to the public exchequer.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Narinder Kumar upheld the magisterial court’s order on framing of charges against Naveen Grover for cheating and violating provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act on maintaining and using unauthorized telegraphs.

“From the material available on record, prima facie it appears that by receiving and switching international calls on the lines obtained from the complainant and others (service providers), Grover used to run a telegraph, otherwise, than as permitted by law. Therefore, prima facie he made himself liable for offences punishable under the act,” the ASJ said.

The FIR against Grover was lodged in 2004 on a complaint by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) vigilance manager to the Special Cell of Delhi Police.

VSNL was renamed as Tata Communications Ltd after Tata Group acquired a controlling stake in it from the government in February 2008.

A separate vigilance report by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had stated that Grover had caused a total loss of Rs 2.13 crore to the exchequer.

The magisterail court had framed charges against Grover and put him on trial in October 2009 but the same had been challenged by Grover in the sessions court.

Grover had argued that no charges of cheating or breach of the Indian Telegraph Act was made out against him.

The prosecution, however, defended the charges levelled against him. Moreover, it said, another section of the Act dealing with ‘intentionally damaging or tampering with telegraphs’ is also attracted against Grover.

On prosecutor’s allegation that Grover also damaged and tampered with telegraphs, the sessions court said the additional charge of violating Section 25 of Indian Telegraph Act by tampering with telegraphs, could be added by the trial court on a plea by the police.

“Having regard to provision of Section 216 CrPC (court’s power to alter charges) state shall be at liberty to make application and trial court shall also be at liberty to consider such prayer for alteration of charge so as to add provisions of Section 25 of Indian Telegraph Act,” the ASJ said.

The sessions court, however, held that no case of ‘breach of condition of (telegraph) license’ is made out against Grover as he used to run telegraph without any permission.

The court also directed Grover to appear before the magistrate court to face trial.

The trial court had held that prima facie it appeared that Grover was running an illegal telephone exchange at his premises in Delhi and Gurgaon.

Grover ran his business in the name of ACE Polyvaricon Electronics Pvt Ltd and applied for telephone connections from various service providers including Reliance, Dishnet, DSL, MTNL and BSNL without disclosing that the connections could be used for the purpose of running illegal telephone exchanges, the magistrate had said.

There have been several cases across the country, of ‘masking’ of international calls as local ones to avoid paying revenue to the government.

In few of these cases, top officials of several telecom companies have also been booked.








Lawyer alleges harassment by Traffic Police


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Thu Feb 23 2012, 05:19 hrs


An advocate in the District and Sessions Court has lodged a complaint with the Police and the Administration regarding harassment at the hands of the Traffic Police as they were allegedly sending traffic violation slips in his wife’s name without a reason.

According to complainant Ajay Sood, he had lodged a complaint against three police personnel: constable Kaptan Singh, Sub-Inspector Gurdev Singh and DSP Jagbir Singh in the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

The PCA had passed an order on December 2, 2011, where it made a recommendation for suspending and departmental action against Kaptan Singh and Gurdev Singh. The Authority had also recommended disciplinary action against DSP Jagbir Singh.

In his complaint, Sood had written that his wife Babita Sood had received a traffic violation slip few days ago in which she was shown to be driving a car without wearing a seatbelt on June 14, 2011. He has further said that he and his wife do not own any car by that number and own an Activa scooter. He further mentioned that even if the the police had erred in writing down the number of his wife’s scooter, the challan had been done for a wrong traffic violation (not wearing a seatbelt).

He further stated that the car was registered in the name of a Sector 41 resident who he or his family members were not associated in any professional or social way, “Even if Babita was driving the car, the challan should have come to the address of the vehicle owner and not to his house.”

He has requested the authorities to investigate the matter and wants appropriate action to be taken against the erring police officials who were trying to harass his family.

DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar, who was out of the city, said , “I am not aware of the complaint, but appropriate action will be taken if anyone is found guilty.”








Justice Katju’s latest: He wants Maharashtra govt dismissed…/915590/


Express news service : New Delhi, Thu Feb 23 2012, 03:11 hrs

Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju today sent a show cause notice to the Maharashtra government warning it of dismissal for “failing to uphold the Constitution”.

The provocation was attacks on 800 journalists over 10 years in the state, including the “most shocking” murder of J Dey.

In a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Katju said his two previous letters had gone unanswered. “…Why I should not recommend to the President to dismiss your State Government under Article 356 of the Constitution…,” Katju asked.

The former Supreme Court judge gave the CM three weeks to respond, failing which he “will take such action as is fit”.

“The Maharashtra government has failed in upholding the Constitution as it has failed to uphold the freedom of the press,” Katju said. “…It seems to me that your government is neither able to maintain law and order nor prevent attacks on journalists.”

Katju told The Indian Express he had sent the first letter to Chavan over a month ago. “I sent the third letter today after… eight journalists from Maharashtra made a representation to me.”

A Maharashtra subcommittee is reported to have concluded recently that there is no need for a law to protect journalists. But Chief Minister Chavan is yet to take a final decision.

The CM was in Nashik on Wednesday and could not be reached for his response.









Saif Ali Khan says he was assaulted by nose he broke


Published: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 9:45 IST | Updated: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 10:00 IST
By Somendra Sharma | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Saif Ali Khan was embroiled in a controversy after Iqbal Sharma, an NRI from South Africa, alleged that the actor assaulted him during an altercation at Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant at the Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba, around 12.30am on Wednesday. The police on Wednesday evening arrested Saif and two others — Bilal Amrohi and Shakeel Ladak — in connection with the incident, but immediately granted bail to the trio for Rs15,000 each.

“I am a law-abiding citizen. All allegations against me are false and justice will be done,” Saif told a bevy of onlookers while leaving the Colaba police station. He was accompanied by his lawyer Mohan Jaikar.

The police failed to trace Saif or establish contact with him despite visiting his residence and offices in Bandra, Juhu and Khar on Wednesday afternoon. Saif, who was in an office in Raheja Towers at Nariman Point, reached the police station around 8pm in a black SUV.

Sharma said the incident occurred when Saif accompanied by girlfriend Kareena Kapoor, her sister Karisma Kapoor, Malaika Arora-Khan, Amrita Arora and others, was having dinner at Wasabi.

“Sharma and his family were seated close to the table where Saif and 10 of his friends were having dinner. Saif’s group was making a lot of noise and therefore, Sharma requested them to lower their voice. This led to a heated argument and a scuffle between Saif and Sharma,” said Iqbal Shaikh, assistant police commissioner, Colaba division.

“Saif and two others from his group then bashed up Sharma, resulting in the Johannesburg businessman suffering a nasal bone fracture,” Shaikh said.

The police said Sharma was very upset with the incident. “He consulted his friends and first went to GT hospital. He then came with his medical report and lodged a complaint against Saif and two others,” senior inspector Vinod Sawant said.

“Since Sharma is an NRI, we asked him whether he wanted to pursue the case as he will have to be present for further legal procedures. He said he will fight till the end,” Sawant said. “He told us that he would also come to court for the proceedings. The punishment according to section 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code is maximum seven years imprisonment or fine. The trial can take place in a magistrate court.”

Lawyer Mahesh Vaswani, who represented Amrohi and Ladak, said: “He (Sharma), hurled abuses first and initiated the fight. He also used bad language against the girls in the group. My clients never assaulted him.”

The incident involving an actor came weeks after Shah Rukh Khan slapped director Shirsh Kunder last month.










AFT staff seek pay arrears, work–seek-pay-arrears-work/232602-60-118.html


Express News Service

UDUCHERRY: Workers of the Anglo-French Textile (AFT) mills gathered on the factory premises on Tuesday, seeking salary arrears and reopening of the mill at the earliest. Owing to severe funds crunch, the employees have been on ‘leave with salary’ for the past 51 days. At present, only the tailoring unit and the showroom of the factory are open.
Led by AIADMK MLA A Baskar, the workers met AFT’s joint managing director S D Sundaresan and other top officials to press for their demands.
The AIADMK leader urged the mill officials to take steps to immediately renovate the infrastructure of the mill and resume production in its three units.
The MLA also urged them to disburse the salary arrears.
According to a source in the factory management, the employees would be given the salary arrears for a month, on Wednesday.
The staff were earlier given the salary arrears on December 29, a day before cyclone Thane struck, causing widespread destruction to the factory premises and other infrastructure.
At present, the factory employs 1,962 persons including all the officials, staff and workers in its three units.
A sum of Rs 3.7 crore is needed to meet the salary requirement of a month.









Gujarat riots: Rahul Sharma to file reply to charge sheet till March 1


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 17:19 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

IPS officer Rahul Sharma, on Tuesday, got time till March 1 to file a reply in response to the charge sheet issued to him for not handing over controversial mobile call data CDs that became instrumental to nab many riot accused in the state, including former minister Maya Kodnani and former VHP leader Jaideep Patel.

The government agreed to grant more time to the IPS officer during hearing before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), where he challenged the charge sheet issued by the state government last year. The CAT has posted the hearing for March 1.

Sharma’s counsel Mukul Sinha and KG Pillai tendered long arguments on the line that the officer was being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission probing the 2002 communal riot cases. They further said he should have full immunity under section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 from all civil and criminal proceedings except for perjury.

Meanwhile, government counsel Bhaskar Tanna sought time from CAT bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar to refer to some more documents before making final submissions on admission of Sharma’s petition.

However, Sinha submitted before the CAT that Sharma’s deadline to file reply is ending today and it should be extended as the state has sought time and it can take any action against the officer. Tanna agreed to this after consulting home department officials present in the court room.

The government has issued charge sheet to the officer for not handing over original CDs to investigating officials who are probing the Naroda Patia, Gulbarg Society and other riot cases. Sharma has though claimed that he had sent the CDs in question through a police messenger to the then JCP PP Pande after which the CDs became untraceable.









HC notice to CBI on Balwa’s plea


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 23:08

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the CBI’s response to plea by Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa seeking quashing of charges against him in the 2G A bench of Justice M L Mehta issued notice to the CBI and sought its reply by March 13, the next date of hearing.

Balwa, out on bail now, has moved the high court for quashing of the charges framed against him by Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

“There is no circumstantial evidence of conspiracy, to be proved either directly or indirectly against the petitioner, and thus, the alleged accused could not be held responsible even for the offences of criminal conspiracy punishable under section 120 B of IPC,” Balwa said in its petition.

“There is no evidence on record to prove these facts that the accused had obtained for himself or for any other person any valuable things or pecuniary advantage,” it added.

The trial court had framed charges against Balwa under various provisions of the IPC, including the criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery, besides various other offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.

Pay Rs 25 lakh to leave port, HC tells Italian crew


New Delhi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday said that the Italian ship Enrica Lexie, whose crew members had killed two Indian fishermen near Kochi port, could leave Kochi after paying Rs 25 lakh. The court maintained that the ship could not leave the port without paying the guarantee.

The High Court further said that the ship could leave only after getting a clearance from the probing agencies.

Wife of one of the fishermen who were killed by the Italian guards had moved the Kerala High Court demanding that the ship should not be allowed to leave without paying the compensation.

Meanwhile, according to sources, Italy has demanded a joint probe into the killing of the fishermen, reiterating that the incident occurred in international waters.

The demand was made by the Italian Consul General in a meeting with Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Jacob Punnose. The Italian envoy requested Punnose for adequate facilities to be made for the accused in the jail.

Punnose responded by saying that the points could be mentioned in the court, following which the court would take a decision, said sources.

This came even as a five-member Italian delegation, led by deputy foreign minister Staffan De Mistura, met Home Ministry officials in Delhi to secure the release of the two naval officers.

The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said that his country “wants to isolate the firing incident from wider bilateral relations”.

He is now slated to meet Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the families of the victims to personally express his regret over the incident. A high level meeting is also expected between him, Chandy, DGP Punnose and other top officials at Kottayam on Wednesday night at 10.30 pm.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who himself will visit the country on February 29, has instructed De Mistura to continue, at the political level, the work already carried out by the delegation of Italian experts from the Foreign, Defence and Justice Ministries.

After the meeting, the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said that the situation needed to be analysed. “This tragic incident needs to be analysed. A proper dialogue was needed to have a proper solution to this,” De Mistura said.

He also said that it was important to find out the exact location of the incident. “We do sadly recognise that two Indian citizens died. The incident happened in international waters, but the exact location needs to be found out. We all want the truth to come out,” De Mistura said.

However, India remained firm and said that law would follow its course. Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs Preneet Kaur said, “Both sides have a different interpretation of the law, we will go by our law.”

“We assured them that our judiciary is free and it will take a right decision,” she added.

Italy wants the two accused to be investigated by Italian authorities in their country.

India has said that there is no diplomatic immunity for the accused and they must be tried in an Indian court. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated that the case came under the state government’s jurisdiction and that the government was very serious about the probe.

Chandy said his government would ensure that the guilty “are brought to book”.

He said, “Police is seriously questioning the culprit. We will continue to take all actions under the IPC.”

“There is a lot of concern about the safety of fishermen… will not let the guilty escape from here,” said Chandy.










MP dumper scam: HC asks for records

Express news service : Bhopal, Thu Feb 23 2012, 04:37 hrs

The alleged dumper scam on Wednesday returned to haunt Shivraj Singh Chouhan when the Madhya Pradesh High Court called for records from a Special Court that had given a clean chit to the Chief Minister in the case of alleged corruption.

The Bhopal-based Special Court had on August 11, 2011 accepted the closure report filed by the Lokayukta Police, which said no case of corruption could be made against Chouhan for misuse of office.

In a criminal revision before the HC’s Jabalpur-based principal bench, petitioner Ramesh Sahu challenged the Special Court’s decision to accept the closure report.

When the 29-page criminal revision came up before a division bench on Wednesday, the petitioner said he had not been provided annexure that were part of the probe report, and requested the court to call for records and the case diary for reference.

Additional Advocate General Naman Nagarath said the court accepted the plea that the records were needed for reference before arguments could commence or notices could be issued.

The bench of justices Rakesh Saxena and M A Siddique said the matter be listed immediately after the documents were received.

Taking cognizance of a private complaint filed by Sahu in 2007, the Special Court had ordered the Lokayukta’s Special Police Establishment to probe the allegation and submit a report to it.

Sahu had alleged that a private industrial group had favoured Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh in exchange of a mining lease he allotted to it.










Italian authorities move Kerala HC to quash FIR


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 17:30

Kochi: Questioning the jurisdiction of Indian courts and police, the Italian government and two naval guards of an oil tanker on Wednesday moved the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the FIR charging the marines with murder of two fishermen while firing from the ship off the state coast.

As the diplomatic row between the countries continued since the February 15 incident, Italian Consul General in Mumbai Gian Paolo Cutillo and the two accused – Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone – filed the petition seeking to quash the FIR registered by Kollam police in Kerala.

The petitioners submitted that Kerala Police have no authority to conduct investigation in the case and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred beyond its territorial waters.

The marines, suspected to have shot dead the fishermen, took the legal recourse two days after they were arrested by the state police capping four days of hectic negotiations between Indian and Italian officials on the issue of submitting them to Indian authorities.

Italy has been maintaining that the incident occurred outside Indian territorial waters and the marine’s action was taken assuming the fishing vessel to be carrying pirates.

In a related development, the court admitted a petition by the family of one of the deceased fishermen seeking Rs 1 crore compensation and directed the owners of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakh.

Justice Harun-UL-Rasheed admitted the petition by Doramma Valentine, wife of Valentine alias Jelstine (45), and issued notices to the ship owners, accused, and Cochin Port authorities.

The high court directed the port authorities to ensure that the ship is arrested in the port till the bank guarantee was furnished.

Valentine’s counsel insisted on a bank guarantee for Rs 1 crore but the court turned it down and limited it to Rs 25 lakh. He complained that the in the eyes of the ship owners, Indian citizen will not have much value.

The petitioner, who sought the compensation from the ship’s owners, captain and the two marines, had submitted she did not have Rs 8, 18,400 to pay as court fees required under section 22 of the Kerala Court Fee and Suit Valuation Act and should be declared as pauper.

The shipping company objected to the petitioner’s plea to waive the stamp duty after declaring them as pauper. Valentine also filed an application seeking exemption from appearing in the court to present the petition.

The petitioner’s counsel informed the court that the last rites of her husband were underway and the family was in a state of shock and was not in a position to appear today.

The ship owners’ counsel contended that they had to pay Rs 30 lakh per day for three days as demurrage charges to the port. The vessel is berthed in the outer port area with Coastguard and Police keeping a close watch.









HC summons trial court records on Yahoo’s plea


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 22:36

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today allowed internet portal Yahoo India’s plea for calling of the records of the trial court which has summoned it for allegedly hosting objectionable content.

A bench of Justice Suresh Kait directed the registry to produce the records of the trial court. The matter is listed for hearing in the high court on March 1.

“Registry of this court is directed to produce the records of the case in sealed cover,” Justice Kait said.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for the website said no prejudice would be caused to any party as the matter is listed before the trial court on March 13.

Yahoo India has moved the high court challenging a lower court order summoning it for allegedly hosting objectionable content on its web pages. The high court, however, has refused to stay the criminal proceedings against Yahoo India.

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

The magisterial court had on December 23 issued summons to 21 websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and objects to young people.

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

Out of the 21 websites, Google India and Facebook India had also moved the high court against the magistrate’s order, saying the summons be quashed as they did not commit any offence.







Arya orphanage case: HC orders in-camera hearing


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 02.57AM IST

NEW DELHI: Informing the Delhi high court that Arya Anathalaya doesn’t have adequate residential accommodation for children, the administrator of the orphanage recommended that further admissions be put on hold.

Submitting a report outlining the progress of the probe into the alleged sexual assault and harassment of children, the administrator P P Dhal said he has banned the entry of the three accused into the orphanage and ordered installation of CCTV cameras. After going through the report, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw decided to conduct in-camera hearings from Thursday. “Some stray incidents shouldn’t result in other children living under fear. We have to look for a solution. Our order should not have adverse impact on the psychology of the children who will appear for their examinations soon,” the bench observed while refusing to stop the city government from setting up any other committee to inquire into the matter.

In his report, the administrator said, “It has been felt that the orphanage does not have a proficiently qualified officer-in-charge and counsellors. In a plea to HC, the orphanage argued that the government should be restrained from setting up any other panel. Orphanage president V P Chaudhary said more than 1,600 children have been staying at the 95-year-old home and the whole organization cannot be blacklisted on the basis of stray incidents.

The court said that no other committee has been set up so far and asked Chaudhary to approach the court if he has objections to any other panel set up by the government. HC took cognisance of the matter by way of an email received by Justice Sikri. The email alleged that children were subjected to sexual abuse and other sufferings at the orphanage. The court had then sought a report from the administrator. The Delhi government had appointed an administrator on February 13 after several TOI reports alleged sexual exploitation of children.

Chaudhary said that all allegations against the children’s home were baseless and it had no objection even if the court appointed a judicial officer to conduct an inquiry . During the last hearing, HC indicated it will look into the larger prospect of the issue, including of running NGOs without registering under the relevant laws.










Privacy doesn’t confer right on consenting adults to do illegal act’


High Court verdict erroneous, argues Delhi child rights panel

The Delhi High Court judgment, declaring ultra vires Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code relating to unnatural sex between two consenting adults and holding that it is violative of the right to privacy, is clearly erroneous, Amarendra Saran argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Making his submissions before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya, the senior counsel appearing for the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said the right to privacy did not confer any right on consenting adults to commit an act which was illegal. It “does not confer any immunity to crimes committed by consenting adults in private.”

Counsel noted that the High Court, while reading down Section 377 had held that it was constitutional morality alone that could pass the test of compelling state interest and public morality had no role to play. But “public morality has been a very important consideration in framing a law as is evident from the provisions contained in Articles 19, 25 and 26.”

The Bench intervened and wanted to know from counsel whether there was any data to show that Section 377 of the IPC had actually been used to harass the gay community and whether the risk of HIV/AIDS was higher among those people. Mr. Saran said the community had a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and that was all the more reason to ban such behaviour.

The Bench asked counsel: “How many cases have been registered under Section 377 after 1947? Has it been enough to prove harassment?”

The Commission opposed the High Court decision on the ground that this provision, which had stood the test of time for about 150 years, was required to check exploitation of children. Mr. Saran told the court: “Tomorrow dowry-seekers can say that they are being discriminated [against] by non-dowry seekers. Can they be allowed to challenge the validity of Section 304 B IPC (dealing with dowry deaths)?”

Justice Singhvi asked counsel “whether there was data to back its [commission’s] claims. Is there any scientific study to show this? Has the government or the National Aids Control Organisation done anything on this?”

Additional Solicitor-General P.P. Malhotra, appearing for the Centre, said several studies had been conducted and there was enough data.

Justice Mukhopadhyay wondered how the gay community could come under the sweep of the Section when it did not make carnal intercourse per se an offence.

Justice Singhvi said a member of the younger generation might want to run naked on the street. That could be a natural right “but is it a fundamental right? In such cases what happens to the right of dignity of others, or the right of privacy? What about exchange of wives?” the judge asked and said the court must envisage all these scenarios.








Decision on Sec 377 could affect other sexual offences in IPC: SC


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 02.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said its final decision on the correctness of the Delhi High Court judgment — which decriminalized Section 377 of Indian Penal Code covering a sexual act in private between consenting adults — could have far reaching impact on several sexual offences listed in the penal laws.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya requested the counsel for parties to keep in mind the evolving social ethos as the key words in the HC judgment — “consenting adults committing a sexual act in private” – could have a bearing on several other sexual offences enumerated in the IPC.

“Though the focus of our judgment would remain on Section 377, but keep in mind that it could have bearing on provisions relating to other sexual offences. Obscenity could be one such provision,” the bench told senior advocate Amarendra Saran, who was arguing against the HC verdict on behalf of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).

The court was possibly hinting at offences like adultery and obscenity in public, mostly misused by police to harass couples in parks.

Section 497 defines adultery. According to it – “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”

In this case, the consent of the woman is immaterial and the consenting sexual act still would constitute an offence if the consent of her husband was not taken.

Saran said NGOs had challenged the legality of Section 377 before the HC on the ground that it targeted homosexuals as a class and hence violated the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) group’s right to equality guaranteed under Article 14, right to privacy under Article 21 and the constitutional guarantee under Article 15 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation of such persons.

He argued that right to privacy did not confer right on consenting adults to commit an act in private which was illegal. “In other words, right to privacy does not confer immunity to crimes committed by consenting adults in private. Hence, the reasoning of the HC that Section 377 is violative of right to privacy is clearly erroneous,” Saran said.

He said Section 377 did not suffer from class bias. “It applies uniformly to any man or woman if such person indulged in carnal intercourse which is against the order of nature,” he said and cited a 1990 Supreme Court judgment to back his argument that all “non penile-vaginal” intercourse would fall within the meaning of “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, which has been classified as an offence under Section 377.

The DCPCR counsel said “there was a vast cultural difference in the Indian society and other societies of the world” and faulted the Delhi HC judgment for basing its reasoning on foreign court rulings.


LEGAL NEWS 23.02.2012

Beni to appear before EC on Feb 24


Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma was on Tuesday granted personal hearing by the Election Commission to explain his minorities sub-quota remarks for which the poll body slapped a notice and he is likely to appear on Friday.

The Commission, which met here this evening, decided to grant personal hearing to the minister following his request in this regard.

“The Minister had sought a personal hearing before the Election Commission on the matter and the poll body granted him so. He will explain his position either in person or through his lawyer on February 24 now,” a top EC official told PTI.

During his hearing on Friday, Mr. Verma is expected to explain to the Commission on why action should not be initiated against him for violation of model code of conduct, sources said, adding that he had made a request to the EC in this regard to explain his position with regard to the minority sub-quota remarks.

Mr. Verma, in his reply to the Commission on Monday, expressed regret over his sub-quota remarks but has contended that he did not violate the model code of conduct and that his remarks were made as a Congress leader in line with the party’s manifesto and not as a minister.

The Election Commission had on Saturday issued notice to Mr. Verma over his remarks on sub-quota for minorities, holding that prima facie it was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and had sought his reply by Monday evening.

While addressing a poll rally on Wednesday night in Farukkhabad in the presence of Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Mr. Verma had said, “Reservation for Muslims will be increased and if the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me.”

Mr. Verma is the second Union minister after Law Minister Salman Khurshid to get an EC notice for poll code violation over the sub-quota remarks.

Sources in the EC said that Mr. Verma is toeing the line taken by Law and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who was also issued a notice by the poll body over the minorities sub-quota remarks.

Sources said the Election Commission had taken serious note of his comments, particularly for daring the poll body to take action against him.

Govt says no move to curb powers of Election Commission


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: A political storm broke out on Tuesday over reports that the Centre is considering a proposal to give statutory status to the electoral model code of conduct and remove it from the purview of the Election Commission with the opposition accusing the government of trying to undermine the poll panel’s authority.

Faced with the charge that it is keen to reduce EC to a “toothless body” after several Congress leaders were pulled up by the poll watchdog, the government sought to put a lid on the controversy saying it was not considering any such proposal but admitted that “in course of discussions, incidental references were made to the code of conduct”.

However, a note for the meeting of the group of ministers on corruption scheduled for Wednesday says, “It was also suggested that the legislative department may also look into the aspect where executive instructions of the EC will be required to be given statutory shape.” The reference seems fairly direct.

Interestingly, the note indicates that law minister Salman Khurshid – who recently apologized to the EC over his advocacy of minority quotas – sought a review of the code. “The chairman (finance minister Pranab Mukherjee) was also of the view that code of conduct was one of the biggest excuses to stall development projects and thus agreed with the request of the law minister to flag this issue and its inclusion in the agenda paper,” the note says.

Senior ministers denied that the government was mulling changes over who will administer the code of conduct although Khurshid said giving legal status to it could be discussed if political parties wanted a debate. The minister might have been calculating that most political parties have been red flagged by the EC and might want the code’s operation to be reviewed.

It is also intriguing that the proposal on the code of conduct was to be discussed by the GoM on corruption with the note stating that the secretary of the legislative department has been requested to make a presentation on the progress made in the matter regarding giving legislative backing to the code. The department of personnel and training, however, argued that “state funding of elections” was a key mandate given to the GoM and the code was related.

Opposition parties were quick to latch onto the proposal, saying that once a violation of the code became a matter to be settled by the courts, hauling up offenders would take years.

The EC did not officially react to reports, but sources said the code was the main instrument by which the panel enforced free and fair polls. “If the power to implement the code is taken away, then the EC’s hands will be tied,” an official said. It ensures that correctives are applied while an election is still in progress.

The code is a voluntary compact political parties agree to adhere to and has the backing of the Supreme Court. The EC is a quasi-judicial body that issues notices to those who flout the code, hears them, looks at evidence and takes a decision. It can reprimand and censure offenders.

The code prevents governments and ministers from making policy and financial announcements and misuse of official machinery for electioneering. Some in the government feel there is a case for shortening the duration of the policy freeze that comes into effect when elections are announced.

A number of ministers on the GoM on corruption — Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and M Veerappa Moily — denied there was any proposal to rein in EC by giving statutory backing to the code.

“The contents of the report are totally misconceived as there is no such move under contemplation of the government or the GoM,” the ministry of personnel and training said in an official statement. “The GoM has not made any recommendation to make the MCC statutory or to take it outside the purview of the commission,” it added.

Mukherjee said, “There is no such thing. I don’t know from where this idea has come. But in the GoM agenda, there is nothing.”

Khurshid said the issue of giving statutory shape to executive instructions issued by the EC was not on the draft agenda. “But if it is raised by any political party during the course of discussion, we will take it as and when it happens,” he said.

The government said, “The GoM, in its last meeting held on September 30, 2011 considered a presentation made by the secretary, legislative department on the viability of various alternatives on the question of state funding of elections. In the course of discussions, incidental references were made to the issue of code of conduct.”

It added, “The subject has, accordingly, been receiving the attention of the GoM at its deliberations from time to time and the legislative department of law ministry has been updating the GoM on the several initiatives taken by that ministry and by the Election Commission on issue of state funding of elections along with other electoral reforms.”





NCW’s intervention sought in Indore gangrape case


PTI | 01:02 AM,Feb 22,2012

Indore, Feb 21 (PTI) Accusing to police of adopting a casual approach in the case related to the gangrape of two women here, the Madhya Pradesh Congress’ women wing today urged the NCW to intervene and ensure justice to the victims. “I have written to the chairperson of National Commission for Women Mamta Sharma to take cognisance of the case and ensure that the victims get justice,” Archana Jaiswal, who heads the women wing, said. She alleged that a video clipping of the crime was made on a mobile phone which was distributed. “But the police took no action and remained a mute spectator till the victims themselves walked to the police station.” According to police, the two women were gangraped by 18 persons in Betma area on February 10 and a case was registered on the women’s complaint on February 18. They said 15 people have been arrested in the case, including Vikas Bharti, the son of a BJP counsellor Rajni Bharti and grandson of a Congress councillor Dilip Kushwah. The BJP has expelled Rajni from the party.









Court: foreign lawyers must fulfil norms of Advocates Act to practise


No bar on their visits on a ‘fly in and fly out basis’ for cases

Foreign law firms or foreign lawyers cannot practise on the litigation and non-litigation side unless they fulfil the requirements of the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India (BCI) Rules, the Madras High Court said on Tuesday. However, there was no bar either in law or the rules on the firms or lawyers visiting India on a ‘fly in and fly out basis’ for giving legal advice to their clients regarding foreign law or their own system of law and on diverse international legal issues.

The First Bench of Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam was disposing of a writ petition by A.K. Balaji, who sought a direction to State and Central authorities for taking action against foreign law firms or foreign lawyers who practised illegally in India.

The petitioner also sought a further direction to them to forbear from having any legal practice either on the litigation or in the field of non-litigation and commercial transactions in any manner in India. The court also said that having regard to the aim and object of the International Commercial Arbitration introduced in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, foreign lawyers could not be debarred from coming to the country and conducting arbitration proceedings in respect of disputes arising out of a contract relating to international commercial arbitration. Business process outsourcing companies providing a wide range of customised and integrated services and functions to their customers did not come within the purview of the Advocates Act or the BCI Rules. However, in the event of any complaint against these companies violating the Act, the BCI may take appropriate action against such erring companies. The petitioner contended that law practice by foreign law firms or any foreign lawyer was illegal and impermissible. The Bench observed that it had been categorically stated that foreign lawyers visited India for giving advice on their own system of law or on English law. It found force in the submission by counsel for foreign law firms that if the firms were not allowed to take part in negotiations for settling documents and conduct arbitrations in India, it would have a counter-productive effect on the government’s aim to make India a hub of international arbitration.

International arbitration was growing big-time in India and in almost all countries. India was a signatory to World Trade Agreement.










Monitor liquor probe, HC urged


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.24AM IST

HYDERABAD: Expressing apprehensions that the ongoing ACB probe into the liquor syndicate-politician nexus may not reach its logical end, a citizen’s activist filed a petition in the A P high court on Tuesday urging it to monitor the probe on a regular basis and also provide functional independence to ACB.

O M Debara, member of Forum for Better Hyderabad, filed the writ plea contending that the court should supervise the probe. He said the court should facilitate unearthing of the full magnitude of the liquor scam. He said excise, police and other departments, besides politicians, had a big role in the racket.

He said the liquor syndicate was destroying scores of poor families in the state and time had come to put an end to this menace. He said ministers in the state cabinet were trying to settle scores and save their men involved in the scam.

The petitioner also mentioned in his plea that as many 450 requests of ACB to prosecute corrupt public servants were turned down by the state since 2003. He also sought the quashing of a government memo issued in 1999 restraining ACB from booking cases against the errant members of legislature in this regard.

The matter was posted to Friday for further hearing.










Official charged in teachers’ test scam moves HC


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.42AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Secretary, Board of Secondary Education, Prabha Tripathi, has approached the Allahabad High Court seeking stay of her arrest in connection with the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) scam.

Tripathi, through a writ petition, has raised apprehension of her arrest in connection with the TET scam and submitted that she had nothing to do with it.

A division bench of the Allahabad High Court, though has not granted her interim relief, but asked the state government counsel to seek instructions in this case. The bench of Justice D P Singh and Justice V P Pathak has directed to hear the case on February 24. It is believed that soon after the arrest of Board director, Sanjay Mohan, in connection with the TET scam, the petitioner was also apprehending her arrest and therefore she approached the High Court seeking stay of her arrest.

Pointedly, the secretary has not been attending her office and her whereabouts were not known since last Sunday. The Board officials were also ignorant about her current whereabouts and were not in a position to tell if she was on leave.

Appointments quashed: The Allahabad High Court has quashed the appointment of three persons as stenographer in judgeship Moradabad, holding that their appointments were against the statutory rules. The order was passed by Justice Sudhir Agarwal, allowing the writ petition filed by Kumari Minakshi and others, challenging their appointment.

The writ petition was filed on the allegation that all the three persons were found extremely inefficient in typing test and had performed below the prescribed minimum limit but they were given appointment as stenographer by means of order dated June 5, 1990 on their assurance that they will improve their typing.

The high court after hearing the counsels quashed the order of appointment and allowed the writ petition with a cost of Rs 25,000 against
the then district judge of Moradabad.










Plea on recruitment of judges dismissed


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.38AM IST

CHENNAI: Clearing the decks for the recruitment of 185 civil judges for the subordinate judiciary, the Madras high court on Tuesday dismissed a batch of public interest writ petitions against the exercise.

A specially constituted division bench of Justice K Suguna and Justice M M Sundresh dismissed the PILs saying there were not enough reasons to interfere with the January 21 notification calling for applications.

The matter pertains to writ petitions filed by various bar associations and individual advocates on the grounds that the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission and the state government ought not to have ceded their recruitment powers in favour of the high court even as a one-time measure.

The January 21 notification sought to recruit 185 civil judges for the state judiciary. At least eight writ petitions were filed raising several issues concerning the advertisement. While some petitions say the TNPSC could not be undermined in the selection process, others demanded filling up backlog vacancies meant for SC/ST first, besides relaxation of upper age limit for SC/ST candidates.

A clause that law graduates in Madras high court service and employees of the high court are ineligible to participate in the selection drive too had been questioned.










Notice to Centre, Bihar on MPLAD scheme guidelines


The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and the State of Bihar on a public interest writ petition questioning the guidelines framed by the Bihar government for implementation of the MPLAD scheme, contrary to the guidelines formulated by the Centre.

A Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Anil R. Dave issued notice returnable in four weeks on the writ petition filed by Capt. Jai Narayan Prasad Nishad, Member of Parliament, after hearing senior counsel Jayant Bhushan and counsel Ravi Shankar Kumar challenging the guidelines of the State government dated November 10, 2011.

The petitioner said “the question that arises in the present writ petition is as to “whether the State Government is justified in framing independent guidelines contrary to those of the Central Government framed for implementation of its fully funded Government of India’s Schemes under “Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme.”

He said the Principal Secretary of the Department of Planning and Development, Bihar, by an order dated November 10, 2011, had framed a new guideline for implementation of the “MPLADS” within the State of Bihar and made a separate procedure for Selection of Plan, Allocation of fund, Selection of Agency, Procedure and method for implementation, approval of Schemes etc.

He said that due to the framing of new Guidelines, the progress of implementation of the “MPLADS” for the year 2011-12 “is very poor in the State of Bihar, and till December 2012, a very minimal amount had been spent and the development works under “MPLADS” are badly affected. The public at large are on the verge of deprivation of basic amenities under the Central Government Development Schemes.”

He said “the public of the State have equal rights and opportunities for development under the Central Government’s fully funded Schemes to be implemented under the “MPLADS”. For the schemes covered under the Central List, the Central Government is only empowered to frame rules for its implementation while the State Executive has no power under Rule of Executive Business to frame Guidelines.” Hence, he sought quashing of the guidelines dated November 10, 2011 by holding them as ultra vires the Constitution.










Declare Adarsh a security threat: Army


Rajshri Mehta, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.22AM IST

MUMBAI: With the Maharashtra government shying away from implementing the 2011 ministry of environment & forests order to demolish Adarsh, the defence ministry has opened another front to reclaim land on which the controversial 31-storey building stands in Colaba.

The local army unit has filed a writ demanding that Adarsh be declared a security threat to the Colaba military station. Calling it a ‘private’ society, the petition said Adarsh being the tallest building overlooks military establishments like the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) workshop, a storage and disbursal depot for petrol, oil and lubricants, within 27 metres to a maximum 400 metres.

“The entire top decision-making echelons-the General Officer Commanding (GOC) window being clearly visible-at the headquarters of the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa (MG&G) area can be eliminated with sniper rifles and other hand-held weapons with the building barely 200 metres away,” the petition filed through Deepak Saxena, major general (chief of staff) of MG&G area, said.

Citing the case of US president Barack Obama watching live in Washington the operation to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the petition pointed out that it may be possible for residents of the building to observe numbers and types and movement of personnel, specialist and general purpose vehicles that may be parked in the workshop, from which their availability/serviceability can be analyzed.

“…potential residents of Adarsh and their guests, who could be foreign nationals, will not be under the jurisdiction of the Indian Navy or Indian Army authorities and hence not amenable to security checks,” army officials added, detailing a range of hand-held weapons available with terrorists that can be smuggled into Adarsh.

The army pointed to violations in provisions of development control regulation 16, which states the municipal commissioner can reject a building proposal if he considers it to be source of danger to the health and safety of inhabitants of the neighbourhood.

The role of five GOCs from 1999 to 2010 as being responsible for the security risk arising from the building was also pointed out. “Each successive GOC, be it A R Kumar, V S Yadav, T K Kaul, Tejinder Singh and R K Hooda, or their family members, were given a flat and thus, none objected to the land under occupation and owned by the army to Adarsh,” officials said.

To buttress security concerns, the army cited the example of Pakistani American national David Coleman Headley, currently in US custody, who surveyed sites across the city before the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The army said that to ensure a Adarsh-like situation is not repeated, they (in addition to the Western Naval Command) have sent a proposal to the defence ministry to restrict the construction and height of private buildings around 500 metres of the military station.

It added that as early as June 2003, the then defence estate officer has raised the issue of a security threat with the collector of Mumbai. In fact, it mentioned that the occupation certificate (OC) was issued to Adarsh despite a written request to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority ( MMRDA) to withhold its issuance, citing security concerns in 2010.








Aarushi murder case: CBI opposes Talwars’ plea for trial in Delhi


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 03.02AM IST

SC wants to know what is the harm in transfer

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday wondered why the CBI was objecting to Rajesh and Nupur Talwars’ plea for transfer of the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi and asked what the agency’s objection could be when most of the witnesses were in Delhi.

The Talwars, who had unsuccessfully moved the apex court against the trial court’s decision to summon them as accused despite the CBI filing a closure report in the case, had sought transfer of the trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi on the ground that they feared for their safety. In January last year, a person had attacked Rajesh Talwar with a cleaver, inflicting serious cuts on his face and neck.

When additional solicitor general Harin Raval sought time for the CBI to file reply to the transfer petition filed by the Talwars, a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar wanted to know what possible objections the agency could have to such a plea. Raval said the CBI was prepared to provide security to the accused couple in the Ghaziabad court and sought time to file a comprehensive reply. The bench posted hearing on Monday and asked the agency to file its reply by then.

What was virtually given up as a perplexing blind murder case was revived on January 6, when the SC cleared the decks for the dentist couple’s trial for the murder of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and their servant Hemraj.

The SC upheld the trial court’s decision to summon the Talwars as accused in the case. The SC was apparently convinced by the evidence and arguments presented by the CBI that there was indeed a prima facie case against the couple. The two-judge bench of Justices A K Ganguly (since retired) and J S Khehar, however, had allowed the couple to remain on bail till their appearance before the trial court and refused to comment on the merits of the case.

The murder of Aarushi, a Class IX student of Delhi Public School, Noida, on May 16, 2008, and the subsequent discovery of Hemraj’s body the next day on the terrace of the Talwars’ flat not only developed into a bizarre whodunnit but also led to heated debate on the ethics of media reporting about the UP police’s allegations against the couple and the alleged motive behind the killing.






CWG: District judge sends file back to trial court


New Delhi: The Delhi district judge on Tuesday sent the file of a corruption case releated to the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) to the trial court for hearing on February 23 and deferred the proceedings on a defence counsel’s allegation doubting a fair trial.

District Judge Sunita Gupta listed the matter for March 5 for hearing the submission of prosecution over allegations of defence counsel.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh on February 16 adjourned the hearing of the CWG case and sought directions from the district judge after defence counsel Ramesh Gupta, appearing for former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot raised doubts over getting a fair trial.

Counsel Gupta along with former CWG Organising Committee’s chief Suresh Kalmadi’s counsel Siddharth Luthra told the district judge that the submission was made to point out the daily proceedings of the case affecting the life of the accused and others.

“Since date of scrutiny is fixed on February 23, so there is no need for the accused to be present in court on every day in between as the scrutiny is to be done in the chambers of the advocates and not in court,” Gupta had said before Judge Singh.

Judge Gupta sent the file to the trial court to take up the matter on February 23.

Judge Singh also denied Gupta’s allegation and termed it false. He refused to hold any proceedings till a direction was given by the district judge to whom he sent the case file.

The special court was hearing a case against Kalmadi, Bhanot and nine others in a corruption case related to alleged financial irregularities in awarding a Rs 141 crore contract for the time scoring and records system for the 2010 mega sporting event held in New Delhi.









Divorce cases dip in Chennai


Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.30AM IST

CHENNAI: Married couples in the city appear to be getting more tolerant of each other’s differences with statistics showing a decrease in the number of divorce cases filed at the family court last year.

The four family courts in the city recorded 3,742 cases of divorce and divorce by mutual consent in 2011. In 2010, as many as 3,803 cases had been filed in these courts.

Statistics available with TOI for the period from 2000 to 2011 indicate a slowdown in the rate of growth of divorce cases that are being filed as well. While the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) stood at 12.4% from 2001 to 2006, it tumbled to 4.9% from 2006 to 2011.

Lawyers say this could be due to the efforts made by the court in getting couples to settle their differences; even reunite, by sending them for mediation and counselling.

“Once a petition for divorce is filed, the couple are immediately referred to counselling. In the mofussil areas, they are sent to the Lok Adalat if there are no family courts there. If the couple do reunite, the case is dismissed as withdrawn. Perhaps these cases were not taken into account when the statistics were compiled. This could explain the fall in the growth rate,” an advocate said.

Lawyers add the slow down in the city should be matched by other areas of the state as well. “There is an increase in matrimonial cases from suburban areas. Thursday has been reserved for matrimonial matters at the Tambaram sub-court. We can get an idea of whether there divorce cases are reducing if we can get statistics from family courts in Coimbatore and Madurai along with data from the mofussil courts,” said advocate Adhilakshmi Logamurthy.

Pointing out cases continued to stagnate for years on end, lawyers said that concerted efforts had to be taken for speedy disposal of cases.

“Why does a person have to wait for eight years and why should his/her life hinge on the orders on a divorce petition? Close to 200 petitions relating to various issues are filed at these family courts every day. During the session between 10.30am and 1pm, the judges just call the cases and adjourn them. Matters are taken up for final hearing only during the later half of the day. A better system needs to be worked out so that cases are taken up for disposal in the morning itself. The process has to be simplified,” advocate Sheila Jayaprakash said.



Jamia students’ union polls; HC seeks varsity’s response


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought response from Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) on a plea seeking a direction to the university administration to conduct polls to the students’ union which remains dissolved since 2006. A division bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher directed the university to file a detailed affidavit within four weeks to the plea of Hamidur Rehman, a final year BA student, for a direction to hold the elections. Directing Atyab Siddiqui, the counsel for Jamia, to file the response, the bench fixed March 18 for further hearing of the petition. The petition alleged JMI was not conducting the students’ union election since 2006 on the ground that the atmosphere is not conducive despite several representations made in this regard before the administration. Alleging that Jamia administration had dissolved the elected body in March 2006 without giving any reason, the petitioner said, “Jamia was not conducting and allowing the students’ union election since 2006 onwards till date despite several representations and request made by students to various authorities including the vice chancellor.” The request for conducting the election was made time and again but no action has been taken, said the PIL, filed through lawyer Sitab Ali Chaudhary. “There is nobody in the campus to address the students’ grievances and problems and that is why they are being harassed frequently,” the lawyer submitted. It also claimed the HRD Ministry and the UGC have also asked the university to hold polls. Jamia has been charging Rs 50 annually from each student as union fee since 2006 but the authorities have “no intention to hold the election,” the petition said. (More)










Lawsuit on offensive content motivated, says Yahoo India


NEW DELHI: Yahoo India on Tuesday said in a reply to a Delhi Court that the lawsuit against it on ‘objectionable’ content was motivated and reflects an “abuse of the power of law”.

“The suit is a complete abuse of the process of law,” Yahoo India said in a reply to the lower court’s direction to file a compliance report to 21 websites to remove objectionable content from their web pages. Yahoo had asked for the removal of its name as a party in the case.

“The present proceedings are somewhat akin to a public interest litigation (PIL), wherein the plaintiff has sought certain reliefs, which do not directly concern the plaintiff and without there being any actual existing interest in the subject matter,” the website said in its written submissions to the court of Additional Civil Judge (ACJ) Praveen Singh. The Delhi High Court has refused to quash summons against Yahoo India, despite its plea that it is not an online social network.

Yahoo is asking for the removal of its name as a party in the lawsuit. The website pleaded that it should not be clubbed with Google and Facebook.

The website said in its written submissions that “it has been made a party in the case on the patently mistaken assumption that it is a social networking website and thus there is no cause of action against it”. Yahoo India’s lawyer Arvind Nigam further argued that since it is not a necessary party in the case, striking out its name would not affect the proceedings (against Google and Facebook).

The case in the lower court was filed last year by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, founder of, against 21 websites for carrying ‘objectionable’ content. The government has sanctioned prosecution of the websites, on grounds, that they declined to come out with a mechanism to remove content. Government’s meetings with Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, last year on the issue, failed to draw a conclusion.









Don’t cut trees for legislators’ parking lot: HC


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.48AM IST

BANGALORE: Construction of a multi-level car parking facility near the Legislators’ Home (LH) is in limbo now. The high court on Tuesday issued an interim direction to the authorities not to prune or fell trees without the court’s permission.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to the government and the BBMP, asking them to file replies within two weeks on a PIL filed by advocate Ramesh Babu.

“You (government) have to show how it doesn’t form part of Cubbon Park,” the division bench observed when the government advocate said the earlier application seeking permission was withdrawn as it was found that the area in question isn’t part of Cubbon Park. The government advocate said the project has been taken up to set up parking facilities for visitors to Vidhana Soudha and the LH. The petitioner complained that though the government had withdrawn its application in October last year seeking the court’s permission for construction of the facility, work was going on and eight trees had been cut.









CID arrests 4 constables for custodial death


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The state Crime Investigation Department (CID) has arrested four constables attached with the Ulhasnagar police for their alleged role in the custodial death of Narayan Rathod in March 2011, the state government told Bombay high court.

Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol told the division bench of Justice SA Bobade and Justice R Dhanuka that the CID has lodged an offence against seven and is investigating the case.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Hardas Tharwani, a social activist from Ulhasnagar, seeking an independent probe against the alleged killing of Rathod in custody.

As per the PIL, Ulhasnagar residents Govardhandas, 70, and Kavita Dalwani, 65, were killed on February 25, 2011. Govardhandas was a retired CRPF official. After two days, the police called in their son-in-law, Rathod, for questioning. He was called on three other occasions.

On March 1, 2011, however, the constables beat him during questioning, which caused his death, the PIL claimed.


HC declines to hear PIL


PTI | 08:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

Patna, Feb 21 (PTI) Patna High Court today declined to hear a public interest litigation seeking quashing of land allotment by the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority to the relatives of politicians and bureaucrats allegedly in irregular manner. A division bench comprising Justices T Meena Kumari and Gopal Prasad disposed of the PIL filed by a Samata Party leader P K Sinha and asked him to submit a representation to the chief secretary raising all his grievances about the alleged irregularities in the land allotment.










Court quashes PIL seeking recovery of expenditure on Modi fast

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking recovery of the expenditure incurred on the three-day fast observed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi under ‘Sadbhavna Mission’ here last year.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala rejected the PIL filed by one Rajesh Mota on the grounds that the expenditure on functions was decision of the executive government and there was no need for the judiciary to interfere into the matter.

The petitioner’s counsel Ratna Vora, who is also state president of the Women’s Cell of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said they would challenge the high court’s decision in the Supreme Court.

In the PIL, the petitioner had alleged that Modi’s three-day Sadbhavana fast, held between September 17 and September 19, 2011, was neither part of any government programme nor it served any public cause.

Dubbing the Sadbhavna mission as a ‘drama’, Ms. Mota further contended that the fast was aimed at deriving a political mileage, and hence, the expenses incurred on the event should be footed by the ruling BJP or the chief minister himself.

The petitioner had also sought directions from the high court for recovery of over Rs 100 crore, which was reportedly spent on the event, either from BJP or Mr. Modi’s personal account.

This petition was the third such PIL filed with regard to the Sadbhavana fast and the expenditure incurred on it.

Last year also Mr. Mota had moved the court questioning the huge expenditure incurred on the much—publicised programme but later withdrew it when the judges pointed out certain technical flaws in the petition.

Another litigation on the same issue was filed by advocate K.G. Pandit who had cited newspaper reports in his prayer seeking recovery of the expenditure.

However, the high court rejected his petition for lack of any evidence.

Mr. Modi had undertaken the three-day fast in September last year for promoting peace, unity and harmony in the state.

He recently concluded a series of one-day fasts in all districts of Gujarat. In all, he held 33 one-day fasts in various districts and cities of the state, during which he also announced huge financial packages for development.

The opposition Congress had dismissed the fasts as a political drama and a drain on public exchequer.










PIL on land distribution: Last call for counters


BANGALORE: The High Court on Tuesday gave the final adjournment to file objections to the state government, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Department of Urban Development (UDD) and other beneficiaries of ‘G’ category sites in connection with a public interest litigation petition (PIL) alleging irregularities in the distribution of sites.

The petitioner and a city-based advocate S Vasudeva, submitted to the court, that since 2003, the state government acted arbitrarily while allotting G category sites by violating the provisions of the BDA Act. He stated that G category sites were allotted to 316 persons including seven ministers, five MPs, 143 MLAs and MLCs from February 2, 2006 to October 8, 2007 in violation of the Bangalore Development Authority Site Allotment Rules, 1984.

Earlier, the High Court had issued notices to all these 316 respondents.

However, only six have filed objections so far. Looking into the matter, the division bench comprising Justices K L Manjunath and Govindarajulu directed all the respondents who have not yet filed their objections to file the objections within a week’s time.

The bench further stated that if respondents fail to file objections, the Court will start hearing the case and adjourned the case for further hearing .












SC slams Guj over ‘spurious case’ against Teesta


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Gujarat government for “victimising” social activist Teesta Setalvad and initiating a “spurious case” against her over her alleged role in illegally exhuming the bodies of the 2002 riot victims.
“This is a spurious case to victimise the petitioner. This type of a case does no credit to the state of Gujarat in any way,” said a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai while hearing Setalvad’s appeal challenging the Gujarat High Court order which declined to quash the FIR against her.

A case was lodged against Setalvad at the Panchmahal district police station after she got bodies of post-Godhra riots victims exhumed from a graveyard near Panam river. The Gujarat HC had on May 27 last year declined to give the activist relief from facing prosecution.

The SC, on the other hand, said it wasn’t correct on the Gujarat government’s part to go ahead with the case. “You may be right in other cases. But not in this one,” the bench said.

It asked senior advocate and state counsel Pradeep Ghosh to go through the FIR and advise the government not to proceed with it. The bench said: “You advise your client not to proceed with this type of a case. You should show some responsibility and tell the government not to proceed with the case.”

The bench added that its interim stay — imposed on July 29, 2011 — on criminal proceedings against Setalvad in the case would continue till the next date of hearing.

The Gujarat government justified the registration of the case against her. The state said the activist had planned and executed the digging of graves without any permission in 2006. The government had said the other accused have claimed innocence and had blamed Setalvad for instigating them to carry out the exhumation, which is a penal offence.











Lawyer’s plea to renounce faith quashed


Nitin Yeshwantrao, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.16AM IST

THANE: Karl Marx’s famous line about religion being the opium of the people appears to have been taken too literally by a local lawyer, whose unusual petition in the Thane sessions court to declare him as ‘non-religious’ was struck down by the Justice SS Todkar here recently.

Shrirang Balwant Khambete, a practicing advocate here pleaded that he was no longer eager to be identified with any particular traditions or faith and wished to abandon his religion.

The 50-year-old advocate said in his petition that the present day strife and struggle was a result of traditions rooted in religious faith. He said a value system based on principles of secularism or non-religious traditions is the key to spread peace in the region and therefore sought the court’s orders to be henceforth referred to as ‘non’ religious’ just like the constitution of India.

Religion and caste are purely man- manufactured. People will be happy and content only when they break-free of all man-made traditions of faith. Animals are not governed by any religious practices and so they lead a peaceful life. If man sheds his self-made beliefs of religion and instead accepts the larger humanity as his religion, it will put an end to disputes,” Khambete said.

The one-of-its kind petition, filed way back in 2009, invited attention among the legal fraternity as also the citizens here who were anxious about the fate of this plea given the fact that religion, caste and creed are considered as integral part of the Indian society

Khambete, who was born in a Marathi-speaking Brahmin family here, argued further that, religion cannot be imposed on a person merely due to the fact that he was born into a family where the parents preached a particular faith. If politicians can be referred to as Independens and the Constitution be called secular then by the same logic I wish to be non-religious,” he said.

Arguing his case in the court debate, advocate VP Patil told the court that the petitioner intends to abandon his caste and religion as per rule 13 (1) (ii) of the Hindu Marriages Act and that he does not want to take up any other religion after that. If the court can sanction change of religion then the person should legally be allowed to give up religion entirely,” Patil said in his petition.

Justice Todkar in his order stated that the view about religion and faith are purely the personal opinions of the petitioner and cannot be imposed on others. Quoting Article 25 of the Right to Freedom of Religion, the court observed that any person is free to embrace or give up his religion and if t the petitioner intends to give up his case and religion then he is within his rights to do so.

Justice Todkar said should the court sanction the title of non-religious” it could possibly complicate matters for the family members of such a person as after his death they would be caught in a legal trap on several issues of heir to the property or rituals etc.









Businessman faces trial for forging US mission letters


Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Feb 22 2012, 05:32 hrs


Upholding a magisterial court order, Additional Sessions Judge Rajeev Bansal has directed a businessman to stand trial on charges of cheating and forgery.

Ranjan Sukhani has been accused of forging letters of the United States Embassy and of officials of the United Nations to avail a substantial bank loan.

Sukhani had appealed against the magistrate’s 2004 order, and the sessions court has now asked him to appear before the former.

“I do not find any infirmity in the order assailed by the petitioner in these proceedings. The present petition is thus devoid of merits and is hereby dismissed,” said ASJ Bansal.

The case was registered against Sukhani the Vijaya Bank wrote to the Economic offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police, claiming that he had approached them for a loan of Rs 45 lakh.

Along with other loan documents, Sukhrani had submitted three letters purportedly written by the chief travel coordinator of the Embassy of USA, travel coordinator of an organisation of the UN and Videocon International Ltd. The bank had approached the police after it grew suspicious of their authenticity.




Adarsh probe: Maharashtra govt seeks interim report


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.28AM IST

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has filed an application before the Adarsh commission seeking an interim report on the scam inquiry. The commission of Justice (retired) J A Patil and member P Subrahmanyam will hear the application on February 24.

The state, represented by senior advocate A Y Sakhare along with advocates R Vasudev and Uday Nighot, sought the report on two of the 13 issues before the commission–who owned the land that was allotted to Adarsh and whether the plot was reserved for housing Kargil war widows.

The application says that it may take time for a final report on the 13 issues the commission is probing. The state has pointed out that the notification appointing the commission has a provision for an interim report.

The commission will decide on February 24 when to call former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and other high-profile politicians named in the scam.

The commission’s other terms of reference include, whether reduction of width of the Capt Prakash Pethe road and change of reservation to residential was in accordance with law, was the deletion of reservation of plot reserved for BEST and conversion to residential in accordance with law, did the state violate MRTP provisions to allow Adarsh to build a 31-storey tower, who approved non-eligible persons to become society members, did Adarsh obtain CRZ and MoEF clearance and the persons who were involved in the scrutiny of applications. –Shibu Thomas













Lokpal, lokayuktas face challenge from private complainants post SC order


Sanjay Sharma, TNN Feb 21, 2012, 06.16PM IST

CHANDIGARH: The recent Supreme Court judgment on the petition of Subramanian Swamy in the 2G scam has posed a big challenge to lokpal and lokayuktas in states while seeking prosecution of a public servant from the levels of a constable to a chief minister.

Now, a person can seek prosecution of chief minister from the governor of the state on the basis of a complaint supported by credible evidence without the governor being allowed to inquire into the complaint through some other probe agency and the accused being given an opportunity to be heard, experts in probe agencies and legal fraternity told The Times of India seeking anonymityThe only stumbling block in the direct prosecution through this route is that the appointing authority, which also has the power to remove any public servant, can refuse prosecution on the basis of its own assessment and the decision of the prosecuting authority is not open for judicial review, they said.

Now anybody in the government could be directly prosecuted if the petitioner approaches the authority that can appoint and remove a “public servant”.

The judgment allows the prosecution to be sent directly to a trial court that will further work on the trial on the basis of the application of the prosecution.

As soon as the prosecution is sanctioned, it carries the same status as a chargesheet filed by investigating agencies after a tedious process of gathering evidence through arrest and police coercion.

Sources said all prosecuting authorities do not have professional skills and infrastructure of the level of investigating agencies – police and CBI – to gather evidence.

Courts will now have a challenge to proceed on the basis of the quality of evidence collected by a private person who does not have coercive power of an investigating agency. Now, a lot of RTI information may lead to seek prosecution against a suspected public servant.

Conviction in large number of these cases will be difficult as very rarely can a private person’s quality of evidence be matched with that of investigating agencies to prove a corrupt act, sources said.

Another interesting development that may emerge after the judgment is that a large number of people will seek prosecution of chief ministers from the governors, especially in those states in which non-Congress parties are ruling.

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh may be immediately affected by the judgment.

This judgment has made the private complaint even more powerful than the lokpal or lokayukta as it can only recommend prosecution to the governor and the legislature but they might refuse the same to the lokayukta to further proceed.










Let the verdict speak


The Indian Express : Wed Feb 22 2012, 03:13 hrs

2G case is on, Justice Ganguly should avoid commenting on the ‘meaning’ of his judgment

The recently retired Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly can look back on his innings with satisfaction — in his own words, he always played “with a straight bat”. He has always upheld the highest ideals of the judiciary — in his interview with this paper, he said he didn’t want any holidays when he died, a reference to the many delays and holidays that hold up the system and clog the courts. He capped his career with the 2G case, which he and Justice G.S. Singhvi had presided over from Court 11 since 2010. Right before he retired, he delivered some ringing judgments in the case — first, ordering that sanctions to prosecute public officials must be granted within four months, and second, cancelling the 122 licences awarded by then telecom minister, A Raja, in 2008.

In a recent interview, Ganguly clarified and nuanced certain aspects of the judgment. He explained that the court had not recommended auctions as the only way to allocate all natural resources and that the criticism of the first-come-first-serve method was confined to the context of the 2G case. He also explained why the judgment has drawn a distinction between the prime minister and his office, why the focus was on Raja’s dodgy decision-making, rather than the cabinet’s collective responsibility.

Ganguly was scrupulous about not going into the “nitty-gritties of the judgment”. He repeatedly underlined that his judgment would not have an impact on the ongoing criminal proceedings against Raja in the trial court. But given the saturation coverage of the 2G case, his most recent comments on the verdict have been splashed everywhere. So, with all due respect, even this trickle of commentary is perhaps avoidable, given that the 2G case is still under judicial consideration. There is a trial on in the lower court and some of the parties affected by the cancellation order have said they intend to file a review or seek the court’s clarification. While Justice Ganguly is free to reflect on his own decisions — and such reflection does richly add to public discourse — it would be advisable to refrain from any commentary while the legal process is on. For, the verdict and only the verdict should speak for itself.









I want younger lawyers to join the judiciary: CJI


PTI | Feb 21, 2012, 07.58PM IST

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia today expressed concern over many younger lawyers not preferring to join judiciary and asked them to enter the profession to serve the country.

“Today the problem is that many of the young people would like to go for non-litigation matters. They prefer to sit in cozy air conditioned chambers. I am not blaming them. They prefer to draft documents. Economic circumstances are such so I am not blaming anyone. But I want the younger people to join the profession. I want younger people to join the judiciary so that they can serve the country and the people,” Justice Kapadia said.

The CJI, who was speaking at the convocation function of the Indian Law Institute, also praised the younger generation for their objective view in dealing with their jobs.

“I am putting this in public domain today. Today in most complicated cases, very eminent senior lawyers are appearing in the Supreme Court but at the end of the day we find that it is the material by the young junior lawyers who are working very hard.

“I am proud of the younger generation because they think objectively and I am sure that all of you will take my advise and focus on clarity, confidence and commitment,” he said.





Vodafone case: PIL claims conflict of interest by CJI


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 12.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: A petition filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday has sought a reconsideration of the apex court’s judgment quashing the Rs 11,000 crore tax demand on Vodafone, saying that Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia who gave the lead verdict should have recused from hearing the case.

The petitioner, advocate M L Sharma, said that while ruling in favour of the telecom major, the Justice Kapadia-led three-judge bench considered a due diligence report filed by Ernst and Young — the global consultancy firm with which the CJI’s son Hoshnar Kapadia has been working as senior manager since 2008.

In a prompt response to the “conflict of interest” charge, Supreme Court’s deputy registrar H K Juneja confirmed that Hoshnar was employed with Ernst and Young (India) but said he was not part of the tax department of the firm which was engaged by Vodafone.

Juneja, also principal private secretary to the CJI, further emphasized that the Vodafone transaction predated Hoshnar joining Ernst and Young, and that he was not working for the UK chapter of the consultancy that provided the advice to Vodafone. “The Vodafone transaction is dated February 11, 2007. At that time, his lordship’s son was not in Ernst and Young (India). Further, the due diligence report dated February 11, 2007 has been given by Ernst & Young (UK) and not by Ernst and Young (India),” Juneja said.

The CJI’s response to Sharma’s charge will be keenly awaited. In an earlier instance, while hearing a case relating to Vedanta, Justice Kapadia had voluntarily disclosed that he had shares in the aluminum major’s sister concern. He continued hearing the case only after no “conflict of interest” objection was raised.

In November 2009, Justice R V Raveendran had withdrawn from hearing a high stakes legal battle in the Supreme Court between the Ambani brothers over KG Basin gas because his daughter worked with a law firm that had advised one of the parties to the dispute.

Sharma said if it was true that the CJI’s son was working in E&Y at the time of hearing of the Vodafone case, then it resulted in “an unexpected scenario” warranting setting aside of the January 20 judgment. He requested the apex court to post the Vodafone case for fresh hearing before a constitution bench.

The Centre has already sought recall of the Vodafone judgment on the ground that it was “erroneous” as well as “contradictory”. If the 266-page concurrent judgments — one by Justices Kapadia and Swatanter Kumar and the other by Justice K S Radhakrishnan — had miffed the government, not only on account of losing out on Rs 11,000 crore in revenue but also on being misunderstood on factual aspect, then it found expression in the hard-hitting 100-page review petition filed jointly by the Centre and the I-T department.

The government listed 121 grounds, each pointing to an error in judgment, to seek review of the January 20 order and said it was surprised by the apex court’s decision to give relief to Vodafone on the ground that its offshore transaction was a structured foreign direct investment into the country when in reality not a single penny came as investment into India.






CIC files charges against Viquar & his associates


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.11AM IST

HYDERABAD: Over two and half years after the arrest of the founder of Tahreek Ghalba-e-Islam (TGI) Viquar Ahmed, the police framed charges against him on Tuesday in cases related to attacks on cops on two different occasions.

Viquar with the help of his associates had formed the militant organization TGI reportedly to avenge the killing of Muslims in police firing following the bomb blast in Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. The State Counter Intelligence Cell submitted the charges in the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge at Nampally in cases pertaining to the killing and attacking of cops. Viquar was brought to Nampally courts premises amidst tight security on Tuesday.

The CIC also filed charges besides Viquar, against Syed Sulaiman alias Amjad, Dr. Haneef, Zakir, Riyaz Khan, Sayeed, Izhar Khan and Vinod Kumar Sahu.











CAT adjourns hearing on Sharma’s petition against chargesheet till March 1


Express News Service : Ahmedabad, Wed Feb 22 2012, 04:04 hrs
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) bench in Ahmedabad on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on a petition moved by Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rahul Sharma against the departmental chargesheet issued against him by the state government till March 1.

The tribunal adjourned the hearing after the state government made a statement that Sharma may file his reply by March 1 to the departmental chargesheet.

The departmental chargesheet has been issued to Sharma by the state Government for not submitting the original CDs containing mobile call data during 2002 riots to the concerned authorities.

Sharma has challenged the proceedings while inter alia claiming immunity under the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

He has stated that since he deposed before the Nanavati Commission related to the CDs, he cannot be made subject to any criminal or civil proceedings in that regard under the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

However, the state government has opposed this saying its action to initiate departmental proceedings against him are independent and have nothing to do with his deposition before the Nanavati Commission.

On Tuesday, Sharma’s lawyer Mukul Sinha completed arguments. The state government sought time to give a reply to Sharma’s rejoinder.

Sinha said that the state government has been granted time by the tribunal while considering the state government’s statement that Sharma would get time till next date of the hearing which is on March 1 to file his reply to the departmental chargesheet.

The tribunal is presently hearing the petition on the limited aspect of whether Sharma has got immunity against any government action in connection with his deposition before the Nanavati Commission.








Hasan Ali’s anticipatory bail rejected


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.36AM IST

HYDERABAD: A local court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail petition moved by Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali in the Passport Act case booked by the Central Crime Station (CCS) of the Hyderabad police.

On Tuesday, the VIII Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge of Nampally Criminal Courts Complex rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Hasan Ali in the case.

Based on information provided by the Enforcement Directorate, the CCS police had booked cases against Hasan Ali under sections 177 (Furnishing false information), 420 (Cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 12 (1) (B) of the Passport Act.

The allegation against Hasan Ali was that when his passport was impounded, he applied for a new one on September 30, 2000 by giving his Banjara Hills address and naming his divorced wife Mehbubunnisa Begum as his spouse and secured a second passport (No. Z1069986).

Hassan Ali is currently lodged at the Arthur Road jail, Mumbai.










J Dey murder: Journalist Jigna Vora charge-sheeted


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 13:12 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 13:35 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The Mumbai Crime Branch on Tuesday charge-sheeted journalist Jigna Vora under stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and various other penal offences for her alleged role in the sensational murder of senior crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey.

Vora has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence, besides stringent provisions of MCOCA and the Arms Act.

The special MCOCA court took cognisance of the charge sheet and extended the custody of all accused till March 12. Jigna has been shown as the 11th accused in the case.

The Crime Branch, which is investigating the murder of MiD-Day journalist J Dey, had on December 3 filed its first charge sheet in the case against against 12 accused including fugitive underworld don Chhota Rajan which did not name Vora, who was arrested on November 25.

Vora, deputy chief of bureau of Asian Age was arrested under the MCOCA on charges of supplying licence plate number of the motorcycle and address of the slain journalist to Rajan.

Dey was claimed to have been shot dead on the orders of Rajan, who allegedly gave Rs5 lakh to the accused for the contract killing that took place in suburban Powai on June 11.

The chargesheet had described the role of each accused but did not mention that of Vora who has now been named in the supplementary charge sheet.

The police had seized her mobile phones and computer records.

According to police sources, Vora’s name had figured in the telephonic conversations between the accused and Rajan.

The accused against whom charge sheet had been filed were Rohee Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Anil Waghmode, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, Vinod Asrani, Paulson Joseph and Deepak Sisodia. All of them are in custody under MCOCA charges.

Chhota Rajan and his aide Nayan Singh Bisht were shown as absconding.

According to police, two articles written by Dey against Rajan on May 31 and June 2 could have cost the journalist his life.

Though the first charge sheet filed in the case had not named Vora, police suspected that her professional rivalry with Dey could have led her to get involved in the sensational killing. Crime branch sources said Vora had spoken to Rajan over phone quite a few times before the crime.

The charge sheet had named 176 witnesses and had on record the statements made by them.

Three of the arrested accused — Paulson Joseph, Deepak Sisodia and Arun Dake — had also given their confession in keeping with provisions of MCOCA.

The charge sheet said Satish Kalya, Anil Waghmode, Arun Dake, Abijeet Shinde, Nilesh Shendge, Sachin Gaikwad and Mangesh Agawane were at the scene of the crime.

According to the charge sheet, Kalya had fatally shot Dey, while Vinod Asrani had shown the target to Anil and Dake. Absconding accused Nayan Singh and Sisodia had supplied weapons to the accused, while Paulson had given Rs5 lakh contract money to the killers.

The 3055-page charge sheet ran into three volumes.










Anti-north Indian tirade: HC quashes FIR against Raj Thackeray


Agencies : Mumbai, Tue Feb 21 2012, 19:44 hrs

In a major relief for Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, Bombay High Court today quashed a 2008 case registered against him for delivering a speech against north-Indians which allegedly led to violence in the city.

Raj had been accused of “promoting enmity between two groups”, under sections 117, 151 and 153 (a) of the Indian Penal Code. He had been arrested by suburban Vikhroli police and released on bail the same day.

Raj had approached the High Court, seeking that the case be quashed, as the police had not taken the mandatory sanction from the state government before initiating action.

Accepting the arguments of Thackeray’s lawyers Rajendra Shirodkar and Shayaji Nangare, the division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode today set aside the FIR.








Italy works back channels, sea law to get marines off Indian hook


Sandeep Dikshit

Two sides keen to ensure incident does not affect ties

The New Delhi-Rome standoff over the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast is not over yet with the detention of two marksmen, although the two sides are trying to isolate the incident from their “multi-faceted” bilateral ties.

Besides engaging diplomatically, Italy is working the Catholic channels via the Vatican to allow the two marines to leave for Rome after paying some compensation to the families of the killed fishermen. “But India is firm. Their case will be investigated here. And then, unless the courts decide otherwise, they should be tried here,” said highly placed sources, while disputing all the three legal approaches Italy is taking to secure the release of its two citizens.

The Italian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister will meet his counterpart Perneet Kaur on Wednesday and the Foreign Minister arrives next week on a prescheduled visit to convince New Delhi that any of their nationals involved in criminal activity anywhere are subject to Italian law.

“This is their main approach,” said the sources while pointing out that Section 4 of the Indian Penal Code says that any crime committed against an Indian or on an Indian vessel “wherever it may be” can be tried in India.

“So there is extra-territorial application of both Indian and Italian laws. As representatives of India, we will go by the legal process here. There are differences with Italy on facts, procedure and processes but we are willing to engage with them. If they so desire, we will provide consular access to the two detained by the Kerala Police,” said official sources.

The second approach Italy is taking is to argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) permits prosecution only by the state whose flag the ship is flying or the state of which the citizen is a national (in both cases Italy). The third is that their ships have the right to take on pirates.

“We think Italy is overdoing this. According to us, Article 97 of UNCLOS to which they are referring deals only with collision of vessels and other such incidents. Italy also feels it has the right to take action against pirates. In this too they are in the wrong. This right is given only to naval vessels and not merchant ships,” said highly placed sources, basing their explanation on the advice given by the MEA’s legal cell.

Officials here also confessed that both sides are facing an issue like this for the first time.

Asked if there were precedents of this nature, official sources pointed out that an Indian fishing vessel was attacked by nationals of another country in 2008 and “we know what happened after that in Mumbai.”

They also felt whether the ship was in India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or not shouldn’t be an issue. “Italy and India have the same clauses pertaining to extra-territorial jurisdiction. The ship was over 5,000 km away from the Italian coast. Don’t make an issue of the EEZ aspect.”

“Our goal is to isolate this incident. That’s why we explained the legal framework on Sunday to the Italian delegation. Besides law and order is a state subject,” added the sources.










NMA clears way for HC complex expansion


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Wed Feb 22 2012, 05:53 hrs


Rapped by the Delhi High Court for “stalling and delaying” the development and expansion of the court complex, the National Monument Authority (NMA) on Tuesday submitted in the court the approval of the heritage bylaws pertaining to Sher Shah Suri Gate and Khair-ul-Manazil. The HC complex falls within the regulated area (101-300 metres from a protected monument) of the heritage structures.

The bylaws will be a first for any monument in India. The bench, headed by Justice Pradeep Nandarajog, had earlier this month ordered all NMA members to be personally present in court with an explanation, if they failed to notify the bylaws by Tuesday.

The bylaws have proposed a maximum height of 21 metres for new constructions so that they do not affect the view of the monuments or the angle of vision.

While the bylaws will not apply to the court’s main building or its two existing blocks — which are more than 30 metres in height, the upcoming Block C would have to abide by the fresh rule and will be restricted to four-stores.

Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok, who appeared for the High Court Bar Association, contended that the court had recorded that the recently acquired 2.74 acre of land abutting the court complex and the area where Block C is being constructed did not fall within the regulated area of the monuments and, hence, did not require any cap on its height. The court had put this on record after the official concerned from the ASI had agreed to the position.

Block C has been planned as a multi-storey building with 44 court rooms, including eight rooms for the joint registrars. The court complex currently has 36 court rooms, out of which two are makeshift rooms.

During the hearing, the ASG told the bench that with the bylaws in place and in the wake of a recent Supreme Court verdict prohibiting construction of multi-storey buildings within 100 metres of protected monuments, they had no objection in going ahead with the construction of the building. He said the Bar would still try to have 44 court rooms in the proposed four-storey structure.

Chandhiok, however, objected to a regulation in the bylaws that stipulated maximum permissible coverage on ground as 25 per cent of the area of the site and maximum permissible Floor Area Ratio (FAR) as 125 per cent of the site area. He referred to the Delhi Master Plan 2021, which allowed 30 per cent of the site area to be earmarked as integrated office complex and FAR as 200 per cent.

Justice Nandarajog then directed the NMA to consider the anomalous position and resolve it.

In November 2011, the bench had directed the Central government to notify the NMA within 30 days under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 2010. The order was passed since only the NMA could sanction plans pertaining to regulated areas. A delay in notification held up the infrastructure and expansion plan of the court.

Subsequently, a competent authority under the Act apprised the bench in January that the draft heritage bylaws pertaining to Sher Shah Suri Gate had been submitted to the NMA and it now required their sanction.

The bench then posted the matter to February first week, asking the NMA to take a decision on the proposla by then. However, the court was informed that bylaws were yet to be finalised, compelling the court to pass the order: “If within two weeks, the heritage bylaws pertaining to Sher Shah Suri Gate are not notified, all members of the NMA shall be personally present in the Court at 10.30 am on February 21.”

Also, it was a nudge by the bench that more than nine Central and state government authorities had “put their heads together” that led to a clearance for the construction of an underground multi-level automated parking lot near the High Court. The fully automated six-level underground parking with a capacity to accommodate 1,500 cars on Sher Shah Suri Marg had been mired in controversy since its began in 2008 with conservationists expressing fears that it threatened a tomb in the vicinity. Thanks to the bench, the parking facility is currently having its trial run and is expected to be operational soon.











Bombay HC: Pvt persons cant impose fine on citizens


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai

The Bombay high court on Tuesday once again questioned the authority of Clean-Up marshals to impose fines on citizens found littering and engaging in non-civic behaviour. “If allowed to punish citizens, then private persons might even be allowed to jail people in future,” a division bench of justices SA Bobade and RD Dhanuka observed.

“Show us the clause that allows you to allow private persons to collect fines,” the bench said, while refusing to lift its earlier oral curb on Clean-Up marshals from collecting fines. The court made the observations during its hearing of a plea by ESS Infra Projects, a body of ready-mix cement truck owners that has challenged the marshals’ right to fine truck owners “for dirtying the roads with mud”.

As per its plea, Clean-Up marshals have been levying a fine of Rs10,000 on the ready-mix cement trucks found to have mud around their wheels. Failure to pay ends up in the vehicles being detained for hours, leading to a loss worth Rs30,000, as once mixed the cement must reach its destination within three hours or else it dries up. The next hearing of the plea will come up after vacation.













HC quashes extension to retired official, fines Punjab govt


Ajay Sura, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 03.24AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Weird grounds preferred by Punjab government in retaining a 78-year-old retired Lt Colonel as district Sainik welfare officer (DSWO), Jalandhar, failed to impress the Punjab and Haryana high court, which on Tuesday not only quashed the appointment, but also imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 50,000 on the state.

Lt Col Manmohan Singh was retained in service by the state in complete contravention of service rules on grounds that he is “drawing a salary of Rs 1 per month only”, his “name was recommended for Padma Bhushan award” and he has done an “excellent job”. This was the plea of the state government as well as Lt Col Singh before the court.

Quashing the appointment, a division bench headed by Justice M M Kumar also directed the chief secretary, Punjab to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances under which the retired army officer was given extensions, flouting all rules and also to fix responsibility for making illegal appointment of Singh. The court has also held that government would be at liberty to recover the cost of Rs 50,000 from the officer found guilty in the inquiry.

The matter was raised through a PIL filed by H S Rathi, who contended that the appointment was violative of Punjab Defence Services Welfare Officers (Group A) Rules, 1986, which provided the upper age limit as 55 years for the said post. The petitioner alleged that the Lt Colonel was given appointment as DSWO for the last 24 years, purely on pick-and-choose basis, without issuing any advertisement or inviting applications from eligible persons, and without making regular appointment to the said post through Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).










Illegal construction: HC rejects plea of 44 traders


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 04.14AM IST

NEW DELHI: Saying the menace of unauthorized construction is “eating into our city”, the Delhi high court on Tuesday said that such constructions shouldn’t be tolerated. A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw made the observation while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by 44 shopownersof Diamond Mall, Karol Bagh.

The owners had approached HC, challenging the decision of the MCD to seal their shops. They had argued that they were subsequent purchasers of their respective shops, not the owners of the plot or developers of the construction on the plot. According to the MPD 2021 and the zonal development plan, the MCD is required to frame redevelopment plans and schemes for these areas, they further argued. The shop owners accused the MCD of adopting double standards.

According to the MCD, the building plans for the construction over three plots was sanctioned in 2004 and the property was permitted for commercial purposes. MCD alleged, unauthorized constructions in the shape of deviations excess coverage of basement and other floors with projections on municipal land led to demolition action by the civic agency. Sealing action was also taken and some of the floors were sealed in the last few years. “The petitioners even as subsequent purchasers owed a duty to satisfy themselves of the illegality of the title which they were seeking to require…the present is a clear case where the entire construction of Diamond Mall by illegally amalgamating three distinct plots is unauthorized,” the bench observed, dismissing the plea.










HC rap for Clean-Up marshals


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.49AM IST

MUMBAI: “You’ll put people in jail also,” the Bombay High Court said on Tuesday in response to a complaint by Clean-Up marshals that they were being restrained from collecting fines from offenders.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by an association of ready-mix concrete truck owners, alleging that Clean-Up marshals appointed by Sulabh Security were detaining its vehicles and releasing them on the payment of a Rs 10,000 fine for littering roads with mud.

On February 7, the judges had questioned under what powers had the BMC allowed a private party to collect fines; it had orally directed that no fines should be collected till the next hearing.

Advocate Sunil Dighe, appearing for two intervener security agencies, said the BMC had directed them to stop collecting fines following the court order. “The burden is on the private agencies. We cannot collect fines from the defaulters,” he added.

BMC’s advocates Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and Jernold Xavier said the agencies might be permitted to collect fines and the amount should be deposited in court. “If fines are not collected, it will lead to littering,” argued Kumbhakoni.

The judges reiterated it was for the BMC to collect fines and not private parties. “We are equally concerned about cleanliness. That does not mean you (BMC) authorize private persons to collect fines,” said Justice Bobde. “You’ll (marshals) put people in jail also. Once you have the power to punish people, there is no end to punishment.” The matter was adjourned by a week.










HC dismisses plea by jewellers seeking relief from sealing


Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Feb 22 2012, 05:55 hrs


Favouring a stern approach against the menace of unauthorised construction in the city, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by jewellers whose shops in Karol Bagh-based Diamond Mall was sealed for being in breach of municipal bylaws.

Also handing out a word of caution for all those who purchase such properties, the court held that illegality in the form of unauthorised construction could not be condoned and it was the purchasers’ duty to enquire well about a property before buying it.

“The menace of unauthorised construction is eating into our city and cannot be tolerated. Merely because the petitioners claim to be innocent subsequent purchasers cannot be a ground for this court to allow them to retain the illegality,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

A petition by owners of 44 jewellery shops in Diamond Mall at Karol Bagh had moved the court against a sealing order passed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in August last year. The jewellers submitted that they were just subsequent purchasers of shops and not the owners of the plot or developers of the construction on the said plot. The petition further disputed the fact that their shops was situated on residential plot and also sought a court directive to the MCD to first framing redevelopment plan for the area and defer action till then.

The MCD’s affidavit in the court, however, disclosed that the mall was built up after merging three different plots, out of which only one was permitted to be used for commercial purposes and the remaining two were for residential purposes. It further said the redevelopment plan for the said area was still under preparation and, hence, commercial activities could be allowed only on the plots designated under the Delhi Master Plan 2021.

The MCD also referred to a Supreme Court’s order holding that no court other than the Supreme Court will have any jurisdiction to order a de-sealing of premises sealed under its orders.

Finding substance in the MCD’s submissions, the court noted that though petitioners claimed to be subsequent purchasers of the shops, the fact remains that their claim was steeped in illegality. It dismissed the petition saying the construction of Diamond Mall was done illegally by amalgamating three distinct plots.










HC asks govt why illegal banners aren’t removed


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.31AM IST

CHENNAI: With chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s birthday just two days away and the city witnessing a spurt in digital banners and hoardings on main roads, the Madras high court has asked the authorities to spell out action taken against those who put up unauthorized banners.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam gave the directions on Tuesday, on a public interest writ petition of social activist K R ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy.

Pointing out that the bench had adjourned the matter on January 3 with a direction to the government pleader that a counter-affidavit be filed in four weeks, the judges expressed dissatisfaction when informed on Tuesday that the counter-affidavit was yet to be filed. Describing it as ‘unfortunate’, they said: “The counter-affidavit must be filed stating specifically as to what steps the authorities had taken for redressal of the grievances of the petitioner (Ramaswamy).” They, however, acceded to the request of advocate-general A Navaneethakrishnan who wanted more time to file a counter-affidavit. The matter has now been posted to February 27 for further hearing. In this regard, they pointed out that when the matter came up for hearing on January 3, the bench had given four weeks for the authorities to file an affidavit narrating the action taken to regulate the erection of banners and pandals in public places.

In his PIL, Ramaswamy had stated that authorities were indifferent to largescale violation of court orders and the relevant law by party men who put up huge digital hoardings and also damage roads. He said most of the police stations were not ready even to acknowledge complaints about such violation.











Pay 5L to ragging victim: HC to TTD


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.56AM IST

HYDERABAD: The TTD found itself in an embarrassing situation when the AP high court on Tuesday directed the authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to a student of TTD’s Veda Pathasala at Tirumala in connection with the ragging and physical abuse by senior students.

The victim, a junior student, was sexually assaulted by his seniors in the school. The court ordered the authorities to pay the compensation to the boy’s family for the trauma they had undergone all these months. The court’s order comes close on the heels of its earlier directive in which it had ordered the authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to another boy who was also abused physically by seniors.

After the issue rocked the state, the court took the matter suo motu and appointed amicus curiae Naveen Rao to probe the activities in the Veda Pathasala. It also directed the authorities to provide medical assistance to another boy of the school, who was allegedly abused by his seniors.

In another case, the High Court imposed Rs 5,000 fine on the state government for not filing its counter to a petition that charged the state with inaction in controlling the mushrooming of statues in public places in an unlawful manner.

A bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar while dealing with a petition filed by TDP leader Ch Ayyanna Patrudu ordered the state government to submit a report within two weeks on the erection of statues of late political leaders without permission in busy public places in Visakhapatnam.


LEGAL NEWS 22.02.2012

Finance, law ministries differ on top tax tribunal


Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

In a setback to the government’s efforts to stem the rot in the allegedly scam-tainted country’s top income tax tribunal, the finance and law ministries differ on who should be appointed to head the troubled institution.
The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), which deals with appeals against the orders of income tax commissioners, has been in news for wrong reasons. Faced with complaints of judgments being allegedly outsourced for writing by some ITAT members, the government wants a course correction, but the two key ministries are unable to reach a common ground.

Former law minister M Veerappa Moily, had in last May asked finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to amend the Income Tax Act so that serving or retired high court judges could also be appointed to head the tribunal. In his reply, Mukherjee assured Moily that the issue has been addressed in the Direct Taxes Code Bill, introduced in Parliament in August 2010.

“The Direct Tax Code proposes to replace the Income Tax Act of 1961 and the issue has been adequately addressed,” Mukherjee wrote.

The finance ministry informed the law ministry that the Direct Taxes Code Bill states, “The central government may appoint a person, who is, or has been a chief justice of a high court to be the president of the ITAT.” The law ministry did not agree with the proposal to restrict the eligibility of the post only for judges.

“While making the request to widen the zone of consideration of persons eligible for appointment to the post by including serving or retired judges was not to exclude others,” the legal affairs department informed the appointments committee of the cabinet last month.

Khurshid, in a letter to Mukherjee on January 10, asked for reconsideration of the matter. “The relevant clause of the bill should be substitiuted to state that a person who is or has been a high court judge or a judicial member of the tribunal shall be eligible to head it,” he wrote.

The government is under pressure to improve the tirbunal’s image following a letter  from the chief justice of India.








Did SIT ignore Haren Pandya testimony?


Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 20, 2012

Former Gujarat minister of state for home Haren Pandya was one of the important witnesses who had accused the Modi administration of allowing the 2002 anti-minority riots in which 1,200 people were killed. He had even testified before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (CCT) on 2002 Gujarat riots.


Pandya, then juniour revenue minister, had told the tribunal that chief minister Narendra Modi had convened a meeting on the evening of February 27, 2002 after the train burning incident at Godhara and reportedly told the police to go slow on Hindus who were angry as 59 kar sevaks had been killed in Godhra.

“The tribunal received direct information through a testimony from a highly placed source of a meeting (on February 27, 2002) where the CM, two or three senior cabinet colleagues, the Ahmedabad police commissioner and an IG police were present. The meeting had a singular purpose: the senior-most police officials were told that they should expect a “Hindu reaction” after Godhra. They were also told they should not do anything to contain this reaction,” the tribunal noted in the report referring to Pandya’s testimony.

Now, former Bombay high court judge Hosbet Suresh, who was a member, along with former Supreme Court judge PB Sawant, of the body headed by justice Krishna Iyer, has revealed that even audio recording of Pandya’s testimony exists. Justice Suresh had told the SIT about Pandya’s testimony, which can be treated as evidence against Modi.

However, SIT officials claim Pandya’s testimony did not qualify as admissible evidence to seek somebody’s prosecution. “One cannot take the testimony on face value because Pandya himself was not present in meeting and secondly, he did not disclose his source who told him what transpired in the meeting,” said a senior SIT official. “What Pandya stated before the tribunal are mere allegations without any corroborative material,” the official added.

Justices Sawant and Suresh had visited Gujarat shortly after the anti-Muslim riots broke out in 2002 and recorded their statements before the SIT in 2009. Their evidence was based on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was later murdered on March 26, 2003.





WB rape: Govt’s response premature, says NCW


Last Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 00:24

New Delhi: Terming as “premature” the West Bengal government’s response to the Park Street car rape case, the National Commission for Women on Monday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the incident was fabricated could influence the investigation process.

“NCW is concerned of the reported statements of the West Bengal government saying the claim of the woman was fabricated. The reaction should have been given after a thorough investigation of the matter and such premature reaction can influence investigation,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said in a statement here.

Banerjee had said the rape of the Anglo-Indian woman was a “fabricated story” intended to malign her government and blamed some TV channels for projecting it.

The NCW also slammed Kolkata Police for purportedly not cooperating with the victim and pulled them up for the delay caused in her medical examination.

The Commission has also sought response from the state government on the progress made in the investigation and the relief provided to the victim.

On February 5, five man picked up the woman, in her mid-30’s and a mother of two children, in a car from outside a night club on Park Street in central Kolkata and raped her at gunpoint.

She alleged that the police ignored her complaints when she mustered courage to report the incident four days later at Park Street police station.







Supreme Court ruling on 2G will affect other sectors: Kapil Sibal


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Sibal said.

The apex court, cancelling licences allocated by the then Telecom Minister A Raja, had stated that auction was the best way for allocation of scarce natural resources. The court had also defined natural resources as both renewable and non-renewable.

Sibal added that the government is studying the implications of the judgement and would take a view on the way how it should proceed.

“We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.

Sibal cited example of the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act that governs mineral resources in the country and auction of these resources can pose challenges.

“Suppose we want to mine a particular mineral and we find that for the prospecting of that mineral because you don’t know what are the quantities of that mineral embedded in earth and you don’t know where it is embedded so naturally you will request entrepreneurs to come and prospect,” Sibal said.

After entrepreneurs spend $ 600 million on prospecting, and find the mineral, should it be the policy to auction it. These are the questions which need to be looked into, he said.

Telecom Minister said that the Supreme Court judgement would have impact on the future of investments in the country.

“We have to study all those things and then come to a considered view as to what extent it will impact and how we have to deal with it. So, we have not taken a position on it but these are all issues that need to be addressed,” Sibal said.








SpeakAsia panellists accuse EOW of harassment, move court


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Shahkar Abidi | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A group of over 15 lakh panellists of Singapore-headquartered SpeakAsia Online company has moved the Bombay High Court, claiming that officials of the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the city police are harassing them with repeated attempts to extort money.

The panellists have in their writ filed in court claimed being threatened of being booked in a criminal case if they didn’t cough up the money demanded by the police. While over 150 panellists have so far been called in for questioning by the city police, a senior EOW official denied the charge saying it was aimed at derailing the ongoing probe, sources said.

Represented by Melwyn Crasto and Ashok Bahirwani, president and secretary respectively of the All-India SpeakAsia Panellists Association (AISPA), the association with a 15-lakh members, including over 3.5 lakh in Mumbai alone, has charged the police of using the company’s seized records to target members of the general public, who constitute the panellists.

One of the paragraphs in the criminal writ plea points to the unabashed means of police officers, who openly demand a certain amount from the panellists or ask them to face arrest. “It is public knowledge that Rs5,000 is the going rate for avoiding police harassment. If these corrupt officers are able in collect the sum from every panellist, they would end up with a total of Rs1500 crore,” it adds. Demanding an inquiry by the CBI into the case, the petitioners’ counsel Ahmed Abdi claimed that so far no probe by any investigating agencies in the country has found anything wrong with the company.










Father seeks CBI probe in son’s murder


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.15AM IST

MADURAI: Alleging that his son was brutally murdered by his wife under the pretext of self defence, the father of Veeranan alias Jothibasu has filed a writ petition seeking a CBI probe into the incident. Usharani, the woman, had assaulted her husband with a cricket bat when he allegedly attempted to molest their daughter.

Later, she was let off by the investigation officer citing that she had acted in self defence. In his petition, Veeranan’s father S Samayamuthu said since self defence was the only possible way to escape criminal action, the woman cleverly fabricated a false statement saying the deceased tried to rape his own daughter.

According to the petitioner, on February 9, his son Jothibasu was murdered by his daughter-in-law Usharani, who was assisted by her father, brother, her employer and two others. Even after receiving the complaint from him, the inspector of police, Oomatchikulam, did not conduct a proper enquiry by taking into account the previous animosity between the couple. He said the inspector had only accepted his daughter-in-law’s version. The father alleged that the injuries which were identified on his son’s body, clearly revealed multiple injuries and seemed to be caused by several persons. Samayamuthu also pointed out that his daughter-in-law, on earlier occasions, with the intention to murder his son, had attacked him and later he was admitted in hospital. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.










The Tamil Nadu government had filed a writ appeal in the


PTI | 12:02 AM,Feb 21,2012

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court seeking to stay the order of the single judge. R Anbalagan, Superintendent of Prisons, Madurai, submitted that in the earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on leave for a total of 14 days on three different occasion along with heavy police escort party headed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Surveillance. But now, the High Court had directed to grant at least two weeks ordinary leave, which was a “very long duration,” he said. The state government said that the prisoner was involved in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or prejudicial to public peace and tranquility and the security of the prisoner also would not be safe. The government pointed out the prisoner had also not paid escort charges to the tune of about Rs 1.3 lakh that had been spent when he had gone on leave. In the event of his release further, he had to pay a large amount as escort charges, it said. The deployment of a large number of policemen in Virudhunagar district as escort for the prisoner, would also affect the normalcy in the area, it added. PTI SSN ARP

High Court dismisses six writ petitions


The petitions challenged land acquisition for National Highway

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed six more writ petitions challenging the Government for acquiring land for widening the National Highway 66 (former NH 17) to 60 m (right of way) in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told The Hindu that the petitions were dismissed on January 13, 16, and 23, 2012. Earlier last year, the court had dismissed/ disposed of seven writ petitions which had challenged the Government’s land acquisition for the widening project.

With this, of the 20 writ petitions before the High Court challenging the land acquisition to 60 m (right of way), the court had dismissed/ disposed of 13 petitions till February 16. Many petitioners wanted the highway to be widened to 45 m and acquire land only to that extent, the sources said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had taken up the widening of the highway stretch between Kundapur and Surathkal, and Nanthoor Junction and Talapady under phase III of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) under build, operate, and transfer (BOT) basis.

The single judge of the court who dismissed the writ petitions last month observed that he was dismissing them on the same grounds of the court’s judgment of October 17, 2011 while dismissing the writ petition nos. 27610-27627/2010 and 28088-28097/2010 which had challenged the land acquisition for the same project.

In the October 17, 2011 judgment the court observed: “…The NHAI cannot be charged with excessive acquisition with any rate of success. Some chunks of the land figuring in the preliminary notification do not figure in the final notification implying that they are dropped from the acquisition proceedings. It shows that the NHAI has not indulged in reckless, indiscriminate or excessive acquisition…”

The court said the manual prepared by the Indian Road Congress contained only the guidelines or norms. “It can always be modified to suit the requirements of a given situation…”

“…Further the court takes the judicial notice of the rolling out of lakhs of new vehicles on the roads everyday in the country. If the future requirements are anticipated by the decision-maker, he cannot be blamed for the same. Any road widening project has to be in the perspective of the long term requirement…”

In the judgment, a copy of which is with The Hindu, the court took note of the fact that the petitioners’ lands constituted only five per cent of the totally acquired land for the project.

Of the six writ petitions dismissed last month included the one filed by T. Sukumar, former Secretary, State Public Works Department, Ajjarakadu, Udupi; and others (W.P. No. 4988-5070/2011 (LA-RES)). It was dismissed on January 13, 2012. Two writ petitions were dismissed on January 16, 2012. They were W.P. No. 13929-14007/2011 (LA-RES) Ashok Raj and others, and W.P. No. 14888-14956/2011 (LA-RES) Lakshmindra Bhat and others.

The remaining three writ petitions were dismissed on January 23, 2012. They included W.P. No. 25910/2011 by Anasuya, W.P. No. 25911/2011 by N. Jayaram Shetty, and W.P. No. 18198/2011 by Nagaraja Shetty.








Apex court to hear appeal in case against Jayalalithaa


The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a special leave petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging a Madras High Court judgment setting aside the ‘three lakh US dollars case’ against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the ground of inordinate and unexplained delay in the investigation and trial stage.

A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir will hear the appeal against the impugned judgment dated September 30, 2011 pronounced on the petition filed by Ms. Jayalalithaa praying for quashing the FIR.

The CBI’s allegation against Ms. Jayalalithaa was that while functioning as Chief Minister, she accepted 89 demand drafts worth Rs.2,00,00,012 drawn in her favour from various banks in Tamil Nadu in the names of 57 persons on the occasion of her birthday in 1992 and received Rs.15 lakh in cash, totalling Rs. 2,15,00,012 and disclosed the same in her Income Tax returns as gifts.

She also received remittance of $3 lakh by way of demand draft dated December 23, 1991 issued by Bankers Trust Company, New York, drawn on ANZ Grindlays Bank, St. Halia, Jersey.

Investigation revealed that there was no evidence in respect of the first offence and investigation was continued regarding the receipt of $3 lakh.

Acting on a petition from Ms. Jayalalithaa that there was inordinate delay in the investigation and trial, the High Court quashed the proceedings. The appeal is directed against this judgment.

The CBI in its appeal contended that though the alleged offence took place in 1992, it came to the notice of the Income Tax Department only in 1996 and was communicated to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary for taking action. There was no delay.

The High Court ought to have seen that as per the allegation in the FIR, detailed investigation was to be conducted in various countries, which took considerable time. In the light of the material available, without testing them at the trial, proceedings could not be quashed merely on the ground of delay, the CBI said and prayed for quashing the impugned judgment and interim stay of its operation.










85-year-old man let off in secrets case after 30 yrs


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has let off an 85-year-old man, who was chargesheeted by CBI three decades ago under Official Secrets Act for procuring a classified document about a government contract for setting up an ammonia plant, after he pleaded guilty.

Jawand Singh Khurana, who worked as a liaison assistant with a private firm, pleaded guilty years after he was chargesheeted by CBI under the OSA for procuring the document related to the contract.

Four of the seven accused are already dead during the pendency of the trial.

Facing trial since 1983, Khurana, earlier, had settled for plea bargaining with the CBI to win his freedom. “Considering the mutually satisfactory disposition arrived at between the CBI and accused Jawand Singh and in view of the submissions made on the point of sentence, Jawand Singh is hereby fined Rs 5,000 for various offences under Official Secrets Act and IPC,” said additional sessions judge Kaveri Baweja, while letting off Khurana.

While working as a liaison assistant with a private firm in 1979-80, Khurana and six others, including the personal assistant of a director in the department of chemical and fertilizers, then under Union ministry of petroleum, were involved in leakage of a government tender document for setting up of an ammonia plant in India.

The CBI case dates back to 1979 when the Centre had given the contract of setting up of ammonia plants at Thal-Vaishet in Maharashtra and Hazira in Gujarat to US-based M/s C F Braun and Company.

The CBI had registered the case in March 1981 and its probe found K L Arora, the personal assistant of a director in chemicals and fertilizers department, responsible for leaking out secret information for monetary considerations.

Khurana won his freedom after he moved an application for plea bargaining saying he was willing to confess his guilt in exchange for lesser punishment.










Court asks commissioner to explain ‘shoddy theft probe’


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 02.27AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has sought an explanation from the Delhi Police commissioner on why no action was taken against two cops for an alleged shoddy probe in a theft case even as a vigilance enquiry found them to be “unprofessional”.

“Report be called from the commissioner of Police in respect of the fact as to on what ground no action was taken against SI Dharmendra and IO inspector Khanduri though the preliminary vigilance inquiry has found both of them to be unprofessional,” Metropolitan Magistrate Ekta Gauba said.

The report was called for on a plea by RTI activist Vivek Garg complaining police inaction in a case of theft lodged by him in June 2010 with the Daryaganj police station. Garg had reported a case of theft of crucial information, cash and books by three of his employees at his publishing house.










Adnan, Sabah still married’


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.27AM IST

MUMBAI: The Adnan Sami-Sabah Galadari divorce dispute drama is like them playing a game-now we are married, now we are not. A family court judge at Bandra said on Monday that they still are, as it held that a divorce certificate issued by Darul-Qaza, an Islamic body, invalid as it is contrary to the provisions of a codified 1939 law that governs dissolution of Muslim marriages.

With this, the judge dealt Sami a blow and rejected his objections to the maintainability of a divorce petition filed in 2009 by Sabah and pending before the family court. The court’s order is likely to have “widespread ramifications on the resolution of disputes by a Kazi and parallel institutions under provisions of the Muslim law,” said Sami’s lawyer, Vibhav Krishna.

Syed Noorie of Raza Academy questioned the family court order that renders illegal the certificates issued by Darul Qaza and similar institutions.

Sami would have benefitted and the latter would have suffered if the divorce petition in the family court were to be held infructuous as argued by him. That’s because a wife can file a domestic violence (DV) complaint in the family court where a divorce petition is filed. Sabah had filed a DV plea to protect her residence rights in their Andheri flats and got an order in her favour, which is being battled in appeal before the HC, as Sami lives there with his latest wife.

This is the second time that the Pakistani singer’s attempt to question Sabah’s divorce plea has come to a naught. After their divorce in 2004, they remarried in April 2007. When Sabah filed for divorce in 2009 and demanded over Rs 5 crore, Sami sought to slide the second marriage in the “null and void” slot, as he said Sabah did not perform the mandatory ‘halala’ (marry another man, consummate it and divorce him) practice. The Bombay High Court saw no merit in it and upheld the 2007 marriage.

In March 2011, Sabah who also approached Darul-Qaza with identical allegations of cruelty and alcoholism against Sami, as in her divorce plea, was given a faskh-e-nikah or “abrogation of marriage”, said her lawyer Mrinalini Deshmukh. The resolution was published in a prominent Mumbai newspaper. In September 2011, Sami seized its importance and through his lawyer argued that since Sabah had obtained the certificate and he has not challenged it, the divorce is accepted as final under Islamic law and that the case before the family court no longer stands. The divorce she obtained is valid, he said.

But Deshmukh said the certificate was “not relevant” in wake of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, that empowers a Muslim woman to seek divorce from a court. She said she had “merely sought to strengthen the hands of the family court by placing additional documents from an independent body that supported her case, to show why a divorce should be granted by the court.”

She said since their 2007 marriage was registered at the sub-registrar’s office, it needs to be dissolved by a civil court under the 1939 law.

Sami applied for a stay of the order to enable him to challenge it. The family court will hear his plea on Friday.










Water Board’s STP project in Lingam Kunta kicks up row


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.45AM IST

HYDERABAD: After Hussainsagar and Taj Banjara Lake, it is now the Lingam Kunta in Chanda Nagar in Ranga Reddy district that has fallen prey to a state government-backed Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) project. And much like in the case of the others, here too the STP is being constructed right in the middle of the lakebed __ on its full tank level (FTL). While the Andhra Pradesh High Court had issued a directive restraining authorities from going ahead with the project in November last year, local activists from the area rue how work at the site is still on. The STP is being built by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB).

“Only last week, we had noticed some dumping activity near the water body. The workers admitted they were deployed by the water board,” said Rajkumar Singh who had, in 2010, filed a petition against the government department for tampering with the lake. The court order of 2011 was issued against his PIL. Now, with water board officials refusing to move out of the area and even claiming that the High Court judgment was in fact passed in its (HMWS&SB) favour, Singh has decided to file a contempt of court case against the department on Tuesday.

Originally spread over a massive area of 20 acres, the water body has now been reduced to half over the last few years. Apart from illegal residential complexes, even religious structures have been erected on the lake area, say locals. Predictably, this new project that is part of a Rs 200 crore-worth venture undertaken by the HMWS&SB would further eat into the water spread, they add.

“And this is being constructed when there is no need for a STP here. A lesser expensive sewerage diversion pipe would have been enough to resolve the issue of sewage flowing into the lake,” said Jasveen Jairath, founder convener of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) pointing out how the Taj Banjara Lake too has been `killed’ by the water board the same way. “Here also, the department has unnecessarily undertaken a STP project when there is also a pipeline being laid to drain the sewage out of the area. Just because there is a certain amount earmarked for such projects does not mean you build STPs that too on the FTL of lakes for no reason,” Jairath added. She also stressed on how the `custodians’ of safe drinking water (the water board) were themselves working towards further reducing the water table by encroaching on lakes.

S Jeevanand Reddy, well-known environmentalist from the city is, however, not surprised. Noting how the government has ruined the Hussainsagar by allowing commercial activity not just on the FTL of the lake but also on the 30 metre (from the FTL, which is also supposed to be remain untouched as per a Supreme Court order) buffer zone, he said that the government offices have always been negligent towards Hyderabad’s water bodies.

When contacted HMWS&SB officials, however, claimed that all was well at the Lingam Kunta and they had committed no contempt of court. “The STP is near the lake not on it. Also, the court order was in our favour. It is only being misinterpreted by the petitioner,” said Y Anjani Kumar, general manager, project division (VIII) passing the blame of filling the water body, on the locals of the area. “It is the people of the neighbouring area who want to construct a community hall at the site where the STP is set to come up, trying to rake up a controversy over the issue. By turning this into a court case, these people want to win back this land from the government,” Kumar said.



MP backs tourism in tiger reserves


Milind Ghatwai : Bhopal, Tue Feb 21 2012, 00:25 hrs


Making a pitch for tourism in tiger reserves, Madhya Pradesh has told the Supreme Court that people living in reserves pose more danger to the big cats since both compete for the same resources.

As the hearing on a PIL seeking a ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves enters a crucial phase, the state has stuck to its stand that runs contrary to the position of the NTCA and the Centre that says core areas are meant to be kept inviolate. The Wildlife Trust of India has also backed activist Ajay Dubey’s plea, saying there is no control over hotels and resorts around the reserves.

The state told the court that tourism does not exploit resources on which wildlife depends for survival and propagation, and can’t be kept in the same category as other human activities.

The government argued that states have allowed tourism in core areas by developing necessary safeguards to regulate tourism and minimise the adverse impact on the habitat. It claimed that reserves where tourism has been allowed for the past 40 years continue to support highest wildlife densities.

It also argued that buffer areas don’t get the same level of legal protection as core areas and will never be able to satisfy the visitors due to a lack of “high density of wild animals and pristine wilderness’’. Also, local communities are given the nistar rights over forests in buffer areas.

“The court’s decision is likely to have national and international implications on wildlife as well as people and businesses dependent on wildlife tourism,” the state’s affidavit said, requesting the court to hear all states and UTs before passing any order.

Those opposed to tourism told the court that allowing it will further the sense of injustice among local people who will think that while they are being driven out, the rich are being let in.








Plea to detain anti-KNPP activist moved to Chennai


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 23:59

Madurai: The Madras High Court Bench here on Sunday transferred a PIL seeking invoking of National Security Act agsint SP Udayakumar, who is spearheading the protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), to Chennai.

R Sivakumar, a Madurai-based hotelier, had filed the PIL seeking to direct the district authorities of Tirunelveli, where the plant is located to take deterrent steps to put down the “violent activities” of Udayakumar, the coordinator of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMA), and detain him under NSA.

Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass said there was an administrative order issued by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to transfer cases relating to KNPP to the principal seat, and transferred the case.

The petitioner’s counsel M Patturajan said unless the High Court intervened in the matter and directed authorities to take deterrent steps to put down the “violent activities” of Udayakumar and apprehend him under NSA, “this agitation will not come to an end in the near future”.

In the PIL, the petitioner said a Peace Committee, made of members of the local population living around the plant, also came to the conclusion that the villagers who are agitating against the KNPP were being “thoroughly misled”.

Udayakumar was instigating the people to siege KNPP and he was “intimidating” the scientists and authorities at the Plant to remove uranium from the site, he alleged.









Taxi union moves court, wants Centre to implement Hire-Purchase Act, 1972


Express news service : Mumbai, Tue Feb 21 2012, 02:38 hrs


Claiming the involvement of black money to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore in the auto and taxi permit system in the city, the Mumbai Taximen Sangathan (MTS) has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking the implementation of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1972, by the Central government.

Money lenders and credit co-operative societies are cheating the taxi and auto drivers in the city due to the non-implementation of the Act, the PIL claimed. It is further alleged that the money lenders and the credit co-operative societies are running a taxi and auto permit mafia in the city.

The MTS said that the transport commissioner and the regional transport authorities do not check the illegalities in the hire-purchase agreement or the validity of the money lending license of those selling the vehicles. The petitioner stated that under hire-purchase installments, the hire- purchaser or the hirer agrees to take the goods on hire at a stipulated rental cost including the repayment of principal as well as interest, with an option to purchase. Under this transaction, the hire-purchaser acquires the property immediately on signing the hire-purchase agreement, but the ownership or title of the vehicle is transferred only when the last installment is paid, the petition said.

The MTS pointed out that the money lenders always retain the copy of the original registration book of the vehicle along with the RTO forms. They also allegedly take away the vehicle from the loan borrower and hand it over to other taximen on rent, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, the petition says.

In order to regulate the alleged discrepancies, a Central government notification to that effect is necessary, the MTS contended. The petitioner has urged the court to direct the union government to issue the notification and to declare all the hire-purchase agreements till date as null and void. The PIL is likely to be heard on March 1.









SC quashes Colonel’s court martial


PTI | Feb 21, 2012, 03.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has quashed a general court martial (GCM) proceeding against an Army Colonel that was initiated for alleged financial irregularities committed by him in making some purchases. The Supreme Court though rued the acquittal of several other officers involved in the scam.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad set aside the GCM proceedings, ordered against Colonel Rajvir Singh for alleged financial irregularities committed by him during 2005-2007, causing a loss Rs 60.18 lakhs to the exchequer. In 2005-07, as officiating commandant of the Central Ordnance Depot, Chheoki, Singh had procured materials worth Rs 2.2 crore, allegedly violating rules and causing wrongful loss of Rs 60.18 lakhs to the state exchequer.

Singh had moved the SC challenging an August 19, 2011 ruling of the Armed Forces Tribunal, rejecting his plea that direction to court martial him was time-barred as section 22 of the Army Act, 1950 provides that the trial must be concluded within three years from the date of its cognizance.








SC Vodafone verdict may hamper tax transparency, says govt



Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Feb 21 2012, 02:27 hrs


The review petition filed by the Centre against the Supreme Court judgment on the overseas deal between Vodafone International Holdings (VIH) and Hutchison Group says the verdict will have “consequences” on the government’s measures to promote tax transparency.

The petition contends the judgments suffered errors on the face of the record, and refutes the court’s finding that “the question involved in this case is of considerable public importance, especially on Foreign Direct Investment”.

The Government says the case did not involve any inflow of monies into India because the sale consideration was admittedly paid outside India by VIH, a British Virgin Island Company to Hutchison Telecommunications Int (Cayman) Holdings Ltd a Cayman Island company.

The Government says that the FDI policy was in no way under challenge or scrutiny in the instant case. Besides FDI policy of the government and the interpretation of taxing statutes operate in two different realms, it added.

It argues that it was a patent error in the finding that the offshore transaction, which gave the Vodafone holding company a 67 per cent stake in Hutch-Essar, was “bonafide,” “structured FDI” into India.

A three-judge Bench on January 20 declared that both Vodafone and Hutch were not “fly by night” operators or short-term investors and had contributed substantially — Rs 20,242 crore — to the exchequer between 2002-03 and 2010-11, both by way of direct and indirect taxes.

The review finds fault with the court relying on the provisions of the Direct Tax Code Bills of 2009 and 2010 as one of the reasons to base its judgments on. The petition questions why the court relied on Direct Tax Code Bill 2009, when the Bill has not even been presented in Parliament, but was only a draft put up for public discussion.

The Centre said the court had failed to appreciate that Vodafone had a presence in India at the time of the transaction; it was a joint venture with Bharti Airtel.

Court ruling to affect other sectors: Sibal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Sibal said. “We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.









After 13 years, charges to be framed in Chennai jail riot case


Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 02.44AM IST

CHENNAI: Thirteen years after one of the worst prison riots in Tamil Nadu’s history broke out at the Central prison in Chennai, charges will be framed against 41 accused next week. Twelve prisoners and two jail officials were killed in the incident on November 17, 1999.

The case, which came up for hearing on Monday, has been adjourned to February 28 for further hearing by fourth additional sessions court judge S Rajagopalan. M Prabavathi, additional city public prosecutor, said close to 165 witnesses would be examined in the course of trial.

According to documents furnished by the police department, the unprecedented violence was triggered by the news of the death of ‘Boxer’ Vadivelu, a gang leader from Power Kuppam near Kasimedu. Detained under the Goondas Act, the history-sheeter was suffering from diarrhoea and admitted to the Government General Hospital. However, he died in the early hours of November 17, 1999.

“Around 7am, his associates created a ruckus saying none of the prisoners should eat as they claimed Vadivelu was beaten to death. About half an hour later, a riot broke out in the prison. Rahamatullah, one of the wardens from the Tower Block where the prisoners were housed, ran out and warned deputy jailor Jayakumar about it close to 20 minutes later,” said V Kannadasan, former counsel for prisons department, who was part of the Justice David Christian Commission of Inquiry that probed the incident.

When police lathi-charged the mob, the prisoners dispersed, only to regroup a while later. They climbed the roofs of the jail buildings as well as trees in the compound, throwing stones, pieces of tiles and other objects they could lay their hands on while shouting slogans, a report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said.

“After the warning, Jayakumar walked towards the remission office where records are stored when he was hit by a stone. By then, some of the prisoners had run to his office near the main gate and taken his pistol from the desk and were searching for him. Another group looped a thick metal hook into warder Natarajan’s thigh and dragged him out. He died on the spot. More than 20 prison officials were attacked. The prisoners proceeded to the record room where they found Jayakumar. They chopped off his fingers, put hooks in his stomach and hit him, before setting the documents in the room on fire,” Kannadasan said.













Now, runaway couple on the run from police for fake wedding


Navjeevan Gopal : Amritsar, Tue Feb 21 2012, 00:49 hrs


Runway couple Sumit Sharma and Shivani Arora, who had approached the court of Amritsar District and Sessions Judge for police protection, are now running for cover — not from their families but from the police after a case of forgery was registered against them for producing fake documents in court to secure police protection.

Besides Sumit — a resident of Sector 11 in Panchkula — and Shivani, a resident of Rudrapur in Uttrakhand, the police have also booked five members of Sumit’s family, including his parents and a maternal brother for connivance in the case.

The case was registered on the directions of Amritsar Session Judge Harminder Singh Madaan. On June 15, 2011, during vacations, in-charge Sessions Judge P P Singh had ordered that police protection be given to the couple in Amritsar and Uttrakhand. The couple had alleged in their petition Shivani’s parents and two other families could harm them.

In July, Shivani’s father, a lawyer by profession, moved an application in the court stating that the couple had submitted fake documents in court and prayed that the June 15 order be set aside. Following a probe into the matter, the marriage certificate and the employment letter provided by the couple turned out to be fake.

The couple had produced a marriage certificate purportedly issued by head priest of Durga Mata Mandir on Majitha Road. The head priest, during investigation, denied having performed their wedding ceremony. A certificate issued by a telecom company also proved to be fictitious.

The court has now ordered to revoke the protection order. “A case has been registered against Sumit and Shivani, besides Sumit’s family,” said Amritsar Commissioner of Police R P Mittal.











Trial in Radhakrishnan assault case commences


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 20,2012

Chennai, Feb 20 (PTI): Trial in an assault case in which Kanchi Mutt Seer Jayendra Saraswati is the prime accused, commenced at a sessions court here today. The case is being heard by the First Additional Sessions Judge S Kalavathi. The complainant Radhakrishan was examined-in-chief. The examination will continue on March 9. According to the prosecution, Radhakrishnan, a mutt employee and his wife and brother were assaulted at their city residence on September 20, 2002 and sustained serious injuries. They had undergone treatment at a private hospital. Acting on a complaint by Radhakrishnan, police registered a case against 12 persons and arrested the Seer in 2005. The chargesheet was filed in 2006. All the accused, including the Sankaracharya have been granted bail in the case. Except for the seer, all other accused were present in court today. Meanwhile, the Judge rejected a bail application by P Ravisubramanian, an accused turned approver in the case and also in the Sankararaman murder case,being tried by Puducherry Principal District and Sessions Judge and the Seer is also an accused. Stating that he has been in jail for over seven years, Ravisubramanian pointed out that all accused were out on bail. He claimed that his aged mother was in ill health and required constant attention. Besides he too was suffering from various ailments, he had submitted. Claiming he was in no way connected with both cases, he charged police with keeping him in illegal custody in the murder case.










Raj Khurana in trouble even before Swamy judgment


Sanjay Sharma, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 03.42PM IST

CHANDIGARH: The former BJP chief parliamentary secretary of Punjab Raj Khurana, who should have been the first to have been affected by the Supreme Court judgment in the 2G scam on the complaint of Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday, has already lost immunity against sanction of prosecution in the bribery case he is facing.

“There is no need of seeking prosecution sanction from the Punjab government against Khurana as per Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) which says there is no need for the sanction of prosecution if a person is booked for demanding a bribe to get a work done from a government servant,” sources in the CBI told The Times of India.

If Khurana was booked under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) for demanding a bribe to do some job himself, the prosecution sanction was required, he said.

Khurna loses the immunity even due to another reason of his term in public office during which he was accused of committing a crime has come to an end. Even if he is elected again, Khurana is not protected against prosecution sanction for the term that has ended, the sources said.

Now, his situation is similar to that of Parkash Singh Badal and speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, both of whom did not get immunity against prosecution in corruption cases, as the charges they faced related to a previous term.

Sources in the CBI said the clarification on Raj Khurana has recently been made clear.

The recent judgment by the division bench of justice Ak Ganguly and justice GS Singhvi is also fraught with dangers for Khurana as, if the other provisions did not work, then the government would have been forced to decide on granting sanction in a hurry.

Sources said Raj Khurna was one of the rarest minister level functionaries of the government who has attracted section 8 of (PCA as a large number of lawyers who demand money for income tax officials attract the provision.

Legal experts say though the court has fixed the time limit for deciding on prosecution sanction, there is another fight for bringing the denial of prosecution sanction under judicial review and allowing the investigating agency inquiry against an officer of joint secretary and above rank without a prior permission. On the contrary, vigilance bureau of Punjab is free to hold inquiry against officer of any level.

The judgment of justice Ganguly and Singhvi has placed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a peculiar situation as he may be forced to order an inquiry to find out as to who in PMO lapsed on the issue of 2G scam prosecution sanction.









74 Andhra women rescued from GB Road


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

Seventy-four women from Andhra Pradesh, including 16 minors, were rescued from brothels in central Delhi’s GB Road area on Monday, police said. The operation, one of the biggest in the last six months, was conducted by a joint team of the Delhi Police and CBCID of Andhra Pradesh state police. It was carried out between 11am and 11:30am.

“We conducted the operation after we were intimidated about the presence of a large number of women, who had been forcibly trafficked from their homes in Andhra Pradesh and were being pushed into prostitution, by NGOs,” said a senior police officer.

According to the police, the parents or relatives of many women, who have been rescued, had registered missing complaints back home.

At least a dozen people, who were present at the brothels while the raids were conducted, have been detained.

“As per information, many victims were lured to the Capital by acquaintances, on the pretext of jobs or marriage, and forced into prostitution. Detentions have been made to ascertain the relationship of these people with the victims,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, as those detained were whisked away to the Kamla Market police station for questioning, the rescued minors were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) before being taken to a juvenile home.

“The adult women who were trafficked have been taken to Nari Niketan in west Delhi’s Hari Nagar area. A case has been registered,” the officer said. Monday’s operation is the fourth this year.

On January 18, two girls, including a minor, who were allegedly trafficked from West Bengal, were rescued.

Just a week before that, nine girls, all from west Bengal, had been rescued by a DelhiPolice team. More than 130 such victims from different parts of the country had been rescued last year.








Two accused released on bail in case


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 20, 2012

On Tuesday, the warden, Ramesh Maurya, and chief warden, Surendra Singh Chauhan, of Arya Orphanage were released on bail. The two had been arrested on Saturday for ignoring the complaint of the mother of a 10-year-old sodomy victim of the orphanage. An orphanage spokesperson said the two have already been suspended.

The guard Navrattan, who has been arrested for raping an 11-year-old resident, however, continues to be in jail.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has decided to conduct a medical examination of those children who had complained about being sexually abused first. This move comes when the government has barely a day left to submit a report to the high court over the alleged sexual abuse in the orphanage, The Child Welfare Committee will be getting in touch with the Delhi Police to get the names of all those children. “Due to holidays in this week, we have not been able to start the medical examination. We will be starting the medical examination from tomorrow,” said Sushma Vij, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Mayur Vihar.  

CWC members and the government appointed administrator will discuss the issue in a meeting on Tuesday.

To strengthen their case Delhi Police have also decided to include statements of more children in the chargesheet. “We will go to the orphanage on Tuesday with the counsellors to convince other children to record their statements. A number of them are now very scared and don’t want to say anything” said a senior police official.

One of the girls, who had given her statement to the police, has also been shifted out of the orphanage.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday ordered an inquiry into the case asked officials to go “deep down” to issues being faced by inmates to prevent their recurrence.

An 11-year-old girl, a resident of the Arya orphanage, had died on December 24 after being raped over a period of time.




Court relief for former postal chief


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.14AM IST

MUMBAI: In some relief for former chief postmaster general (Maharashtra & Goa), who was arrested while receiving a bribe in February 2010, the Bombay High Court recently upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal’s order quashing his suspension and directing his reinstatement.

The allegation against Manjit Singh Bali was that he had demanded Rs 1.5 crore for issuing an NOC no-objection certificate in respect of development of a Thane plot reserved for a post office in Thane.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice R Y Ganoo was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging CAT’s October 14, 2011 order. CAT set aside Bali’s suspension on the grounds that it was not reviewed within 90 days from the effective date of suspension. The Central government’s contention was that review within 90 days from the date of Bali’s release from custody was sufficient compliance with the Central Civil Services Rules, 1995.

The Centre’s advocate Heena Shah contended that effective date of suspension was irrelevant but date of release from custody was relevant. Rejecting her contention, the judges observed that Bali was not in custody on the expiry of 90 days and therefore the date of his release is irrelevant.

February 19, 2012

Mumbai: In a relief for former Chief Post Master General (Maharashtra and Goa) , who was arrested while receiving a bribe in February 2010, the Bombay High Court has upheld Central Administrative Tribunal’s order quashing his suspension and directing his reinstatement.

The allegation against Manjit Singh Bali was that he had demanded Rs 1.5 crores for issuing a no objection certificate in respect of development of a plot reserved for a post office in Thane.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice R Y Ganoo on February 15, this year heard an appeal filed by the Central government challenging CAT’s October 14, 2011 order. Bali was arrested by CBI on February 25, 2010. He was suspended on March 3, 2010 but effective from February 25, 2010. He was released from custody on March 12, 2010.

CAT set aside Bali’s suspension on the ground that it was not reviewed within 90 days from the effective date of suspension. The Central government’s contention before HC was that review within 90 days from the date of release of Bali from custody was sufficient compliance with the Central Civil Services Rules 1995.

Bali’s advocate Sandeep Marne argued that the effective date of suspension of Bali was from the date of his arrest. According to the Rules, the suspension automatically becomes invalid if it is not reviewed and extended within 90 days from the effective day of suspension,” said Marne.

Central government’s advocate Heena Shah contended that effective date of suspension was irrelevant but date of release from custody was relevant. Rejecting her contention, the judges observed that Bali was not in custody on the expiry of 90 days and therefore the date of his release is irrelevant.

Marne also informed the court that CAT’s order to reinstate him was implemented and Bali was appointed CPMG of West Bengal circle for a day and again suspended. Bali has challenged the second suspension before CAT.







Maj Gen Rathore Army’s new Judge Advocate General


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 19:49

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has cleared the appointment of Maj Gen Prabhu Singh Rathore, a veteran military law expert, as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Indian Army.

The JAG is the top law officer of the service and the chief legal adviser of the Army chief in matters pertaining to the force’s laws.

The appointment of the JAG was cleared on Friday and the officer will take over in the next few days, Defence Ministry sources told .

The top legal post in the Army has been lying vacant after the retirement of previous incumbent Maj Gen B V Nair, who superannuated on January 31.

The appointment was delayed as a Lieutenant Colonel had approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) alleging that Rathore had attempted to adversely impact his career.

After admitting the case, the Kolkata Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal had stayed Rathore’s promotion but vacated it last month.

The case is still on in Kolkata.

Rathore was earlier serving as the Deputy Judge Advocate General (D-JAG) in the Jaipur-based South Western Army Command before proceeding to Army Headquarters here after promotion recently.

With his appointment as JAG, Rathore will have to look after several important ongoing cases in the Army courts including the final outcome in the Sukna land scam where Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash has been recommended for dismissal.











Insurance Co rebuked by consumer forum for ‘high handedness’


PTI | 04:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The National Insurance Company Ltd has been ticked off by a district consumer forum for its “high handedness” of dismissing an insurance policy holder’s claim for compensation for his car, damaged in a road mishap, on the ground that his documents were not valid. Holding the insurance company to be “highly negligent,” the Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to complainant Raghunath Prasad Tyagi for harassing him. The bench also directed it to pay him a compensation of Rs 1,70,598 as recommended by the company’s surveyor saying the “insurance company was highly negligent and deficient in service in not considering his claim.” The district consumer forum’s order came on a plea by Tyagi, accusing the state insurance firm denying him the compensation for damages sustained by his car in a mishap, in which its driver and a passenger had lost their lives. Relying upon the validity of the driver’s driving licence, the firm had awarded compensation to kins of both the driver and the passenger, but it has rejected his claim for compensation against damages to the vehicle, saying the driver did not have a valid licence, Tyagi had said in his complaint. The forum also held that documents, which the insurance firm was not considering for the claim, were already validated by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here as the company itself had agreed before the tribunal that the driving license was valid. “The deficiency in service on the part of the respondent (insurance firm) in this case is writ large. In the MACT case, driving license verification report was filed by the insurance company itself showing that driving license was found valid on the date of accident. (More)









J Dey murder: Crime Branch to file supplementary chargesheet


Mumbai: The Crime Branch is likely to file a supplementary chargesheet detailing the role allegedly played by journalist Jigna Vora in the murder of Mumbai-based journalist J Dey.

“We are likely to file a supplementary chargesheet against Vora tomorrow (Tuesday). We have gathered enough evidence against her to make a case,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Devendra Bharti said.

Vora has been accused of criminal conspiracy in the case and was arrested on November 25, 2011. The police believe the murder may be related to Dey’s reporting on the oil mafia.

Sources said that she will be charged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

J Dey, a senior crime journalist with MiD Day, was shot dead in Mumbai on June 11, 2011 by four bike-borne assailants.

Mumbai Crime Branch had filed a chargesheet against 10 other accused on December 3, 2011.

The chargesheet filed in the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court runs into 3,055 pages and has described in detail the role of 10 men involved in Dey’s murder.

Fugutive don Chhota Rajan has also been named in the chargesheet. However, police mention that Rajan and another accused, Nayan Singh, are still untraced and ion the run.

Though Bharti did not give further details on the evidence against Vora, sources in the crime branch said that police have enough reasons to support their theory that it was Vora’s professional rivalry with Dey that claimed his life.

According to police, Vora had allegedly provided Dey’s mobile number and his exact location to Rajan.

With Additional Inputs from Agencies









FIR against Rahul Gandhi for violating model code of conduct


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 20, 2012 23:56 IST

Kanpur:  An FIR has been filed against Rahul Gandhi for alleged model code of conduct violation in Kanpur.

Mr Gandhi’s road show allegedly did not take the route for which they had permissions for causing traffic snarls in the city.

“The district administration had allocated time till noon and fixed a 20-km route for Rahul Gandhi’s road show. This was done as today is Shivratri and there could be a traffic problem,” District Magistrate Hari Om said.

“But this road show completely violated the election code of conduct as it started at 10.30 AM continued till 3 PM It did not stick to the prescribed route and instead covered a stretch of 38 kms. Therefore, the organisers of the road show will be booked for violating the election code,” he added.

Mr Gandhi and 39 others have been booked under sections 188 (violation of prohibitory orders under 144), 283 (causing public inconvenience and nuisance) and 290 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who was part of the road show, denied there was any violation of the model code of conduct and accused the district administration of trying to stop Rahul’s mass contact programme at the behest of the Mayawati Government.

According to the District Magistrate, the road show organisers had sought permission for a 38-km stretch but they had been informed last night about the conditions. “Still they violated the rules and chose to follow the route for which permission had not been granted,” he said, adding, “There could have been a security breach or there could have been a clash”.

Ms Joshi, however, countered that the detailed programme of the Congress general secretary, including the route, was handed over to the district administration by the district unit well in advance and was also cleared by the SPG.

“The administration, however, revised the programme last night and sent it to the SPG,” she claimed. She said that as the people had already been informed about the entire programme, it was not possible to carry out last minute changes.

“During the entire mass contact programme neither Rahul Gandhi addressed a meeting, nor did he take out any procession. Therefore, he has not violated the model cone of conduct,” the state Congress president claimed.

She alleged that the Mayawati government was “nervous and shaken” after the “success” of Rahul’s roadshow in Lucknow. Jaiswal said, “Rahul Gandhi has not violated any election code. Was there curfew in the town, that he should not have visited those areas?”

Rahul’s road show began at the Circuit House this morning and crossed through all the five assembly segments here with people standing on both sides of the roads to greet the leader.

In Muslim-dominated Chunnigang area, people welcomed him by showering flowers while the Congress leader garlanded an Ambedkar statue in Bajaria area.

Kanpur will go to polls in the fifth phase of February 23.

The state Congress said that Rahul received a tumultuous welcome during his road show, creating “a new atmosphere in favour” of the party.

UP Media Campaign Committee chairman Raj Babbar said the road show witnessed large crowds with the youth, women and children particularly eager to meet the Congress leader.







CVC to review 2G probe with CBI, ED, I-T dept


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Vigilance Commission will hold detailed review of the probe into the 2G scam by various agencies in the wake of the Supreme Court order asking it to regularly monitor investigations into the case.

The Supreme Court had on February 2 asked the CVC to carry out regular review of the probe by agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax.

“Keeping in view the nature of the case and involvement of a large number of influential persons, we feel that it will be appropriate to require the central vigilance commissioner and the senior vigilance commissioner appointed under Section 3(2) of the 2003 CVC Act to render assistance to the court in effectively monitoring further investigation of the case,” an SC bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly had said in its order.

Sources said the CVC is now drawing up plans for review meetings with the investigation agencies. First off the block will be the ED, which is set to carry out a detailed briefing for the CVC on Wednesday. Two days later, on February 24, the income tax department will hold a detailed briefing.

A meeting of the CBI chief with the CVC was yet to be scheduled, sources said. However, a PTI report said the CBI would make its presentation on the progress in its investigations on Tuesday.

“The officials have been called to discuss the probe in 2G matter. They will be giving a detailed presentation before the commission,” PTI quoted sources as saying.

The SC had tasked the CVC to regularly monitor investigations into the 2G case, after a petition was moved seeking setting up of a Special Investigation Team to oversee the 2G case.

The CVC will be reviewing the progress in investigations into the 2G case on a regular basis, sources said. The trial in the 2G case is already underway, involving 17 accused, including three companies — Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech Ltd. All the 17 accused are charged under various provisions of Indian Penal Code for criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, cheating, forgery and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Former telecom minister A Raja, his former private secretary R K Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar are among those facing trial.

Also facing trial in the 2G case are six corporate executives – Reliance ADAG Group managing director Gautam Doshi, its senior vice-president Hari Nair, group president Surendra Pipara, Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka and Sanjay Chandra. Also facing trial are Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal.










No security threat to Taloja jail: Govt to HC


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The state government has informed the Bombay high court that there is no security threat to Taloja jail near Alibaug as expressed by an inmate.

Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, had written a letter from the jail stating that there is a security threat to the prison and the inmates from the high rises around the jail.

The HC had taken suo moto cognisance of the letter and converted it into a petition asking the government to file its reply.

Additional government pleader Ajey Gadkari informed the court that the threat claim made by Upadhyay was uncalled for. The prison is built by latest hi-tech material and there is proper security inside and around the jail.

The buildings, including the high rises, have come up as per the sanctioned plans by the concerned authorities, added Gadkari.

An affidavit was filed by the home department stating that “outer walls of the jail are constructed using ultra-modern technique wherein the movements and activities of the prisoners cannot be viewed from outside”.







Bombay HC grants reprieve to bank facing eviction


Swati Deshpande, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 06.29PM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has granted a reprieve to ING Vysya Bank against being immediately dispossessed of its Opera House rental premises. The bank filed a Suit in the Bombay high court and sought interim reliefs against the Landlord M/s Modern Reality Private Limited and Mr Bhavesh P Seth from dispossession.

Through its lawyers Nishit Dhruva and others it accused the bank of forcibly changing the locks on its branch premises on February 12, 2012 and refusing to hand over the bank’s security deposit.

The Bank contended that under the Leave and License Agreement simultaneously upon handing over possession to the Landlord, the Bank was entitled to receive the security deposit.

The bank said it was “compelled” to file a police case and move the court to restrain the landlord from entering the bank premises. The HC will now hear the matter on February 21.









Eligibility of 1,000 MCA students questioned by HC


Ramendra Singh, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 05.15AM IST

BHOPAL: An order by the Madhya Pradesh high court with regards to eligibility norms for Masters in Computer Application (MCA) has dashed the hopes of almost 1,000 students from different colleges of the state. All the students were admitted after undertaking the entrance exam conducted by the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) and through counseling. The court order has termed their admissions illegal.

The issue started in September 2011 after MCA colleges refused to give admissions to the candidates who were BCA degree holders but did not have mathematics as a subject at the 10+2 level. These students moved court and got an interim relief from the high court in December.

However, last week, the high court termed their admission illegal saying that the court cannot interfere in the rules framed by AICTE.

“Whose mistake is this”, asked a dejected student. “We students or the Board that conducted the exam or the colleges. Who should be blamed”, he said.

Hailing from Jhansi, Nikita said that MPPEB conducted the pre-MCA exam in March 2011. “We appeared and cleared the exam. The board should have, in fact rejected our applications for the entrance test if there was any problem about our eligibility,” she added.

First they admitted us and now they say the admission is illegal. They should have not admitted us,” another MCA student, Vandana Kumari, said. Now, it’s a trauma for me and my family,” a dejected Vandana who hails from Patna said.

When contacted, public relations officer of MPPEB, Sunil Shrivastava, said that the board conducts exam on the basis of rules and regulations framed by the respective department and in this case, it is director of technical education. “Our job is to conduct exam. We put everything on our official website about the eligibility criteria for respective exams,” Shrivastava maintained.

Now, the aggrieved students plan to move the SC.








Heritage byelaws to be presented in HC


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

Approved heritage byelaws for the ‘Sher Shah Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil’ — the first for any monument in Delhi and also in India — would be presented before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.
The National Monument Authority (NMA) is set to submit it in connection with the court’s expansion case. Following an amendment in the Archaeological Act, the NMA can permit any building/repair/ renovation, etc, only as per the heritage byelaws.

The court intervention expedited the procedure for the byelaws as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was going too slow with it since the amendment in March 2010.

“Byelaws would be finalised as per commitment before the high court,” said Pravin Shrivastava, NMA member secretary.

The final byelaws — touted as model byelaws — would set a precedent for allowing or disallowing construction of new buildings up to the height of existing structure in the periphery of 101-300 metre among other issues.

It includes heritage control matters such as elevations, facades, drainage systems, roads and service infrastructure (including electric poles, water and sewer pipelines) for areas around monuments.

The amendment bans new construction within 0-100 metre of an ASI-protected monument and puts restrictions on properties/ new construction within 101-300 metre of the same.

Sources said the first set of byelaws had witnessed a debate of sorts between the byelaw makers and the NMA. While the court’s main building is 15 metre tall, other buildings on the premises vary in height more than it, with one reaching up to 30 metre.

“The byelaws submitted to the NMA proposes maximum height of the new construction at 21 metres based on the fact that it does not affect the view of the monument – Sher Shah Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil – and study of angle of vision,” sources said, adding, “NMA members had sought to know the ‘rational’ for the proposed 21 metres height when the main building was just 15 metres high.”

The high court complex is part of the Central Vista , which includes India Gate and surroundings. The Central Vista Committee has not yet defined any height restriction in tune with the master plan.











Tribal women not raped, TN govt tells HC


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.01AM IST

CHENNAI: More than two months after announcing a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to four tribal women allegedly raped by policemen in Villupuram district, the government on Monday told Madras high court it was not a case of rape.

The jurisdictional judicial magistrate who had begun an inquiry into the issue on November 26, 2011, is yet to submit her finding. Without her report, the police are unlikely to file the chargesheet.

The women lodged a complaint on November 26, 2011, stating that a group of Tirukovilur police officers took them into custody and raped them on November 22, 2011. When the issue became a controversy, the state government announced Rs 5 lakh relief to each woman on December 2, 2011. The amount was put in fixed deposits in the names of the women on December 4, 2011. But now the government says a case of rape has not been made out.

When a PIL filed by advocate P Pugalenthi seeking transfer of case to CBI, besides criminal proceedings against those concerned, came up for hearing before the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam on Monday, the state home secretary and the director-general of police filed identical but separate counter-affidavits.

The officer investigating the rape allegation concluded that there were discrepancies in the statements of the women. “Medical evidence did not indicate injury, either in the genital area or in any other part of the body, that could indicate rape or struggle or resistance,” DGP K Ramanujam said, quoting the investigation report.

On the claim that the medical examination was conducted four days after the incident, the DGP said senior doctors were on record stating that it would take eight to 10 days for complete healing of hymenal rupture.

R Rajagopal, principal secretary, home department, in his counter-affidavit said there was “no medico-legal evidence” to suggest a sexual assault. He said the sum of Rs 5 lakh each was given to the women on humanitarian grounds.

Both the officials agreed that the women and children, who were not wanted in any case, should not have been taken into custody. It was an unwarranted act, and the government will not shield the guilty, they said.

M Radhakrishnan, counsel for petitioner, decried the government’s stance as shameful and said Rs 5 lakh was the price fixed for the women’s dignity. The bench asked the petitioner to file a reply in three weeks.










Ex-MP knocks HC doors for pension


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.25AM IST

HYDERABAD: Kanety Mohan Rao, one of the members of the first Lok Sabha during 1952- 1957, is now knocking the doors of the AP High Court for revised pension. Mohan Rao, 87, was elected MP from the Rajahmundry constituency.

Though the pension of former MPs has now gone up to Rs 20,000 per month, only Rs 1,400 is being credited to the Andhra Bank account of the octogenarian. When it was Rs 300, he received the pension through the treasury department. Though it was enhanced to Rs 1,400 in 1982, he continued to get only Rs 300 for a long time. But things got better when the government started paying pension directly into the account of the MP. But he never got his pension regularly, said Mohan Rao in his petition.

In spite of the amendments brought to the Act that governs the pensions of Parliament members and the enhancement of the monthly pension, only Rs 1,400 is being credited to his account at Tallarevu branch in East Godavari, the former MP lamented. His counsel VVLN Sarma told TOI that the former MP was now in a pathetic condition unable to make ends meet. The matter was posted to next week.












Why murder case not filed, HC asks Punjab Police


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Tue Feb 21 2012, 03:32 hrs


Two months after its own senior officer submitted an inquiry report recommending registration of a murder case in the “mysterious” death of Thapar University (Patiala) student Gagandeep, Punjab Police is still awaiting receipt of the inquiry report through “official channels” to register a murder case. Earlier, Punjab Police had registered a case of “rash and negligent driving” in the death of 21-year-old Gagandeep and his friend on September 28, 2010, claiming it to be an accident. However, last December Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report, stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” is required and recommended the registration of murder charges.

Till now the case has not been registered. When contacted, Amrik Singh, a sub-inspector with Punjab Police posted at Rajpura, told Newsline, “We are yet to receive the inquiry report through an official channel, only after which we will be able to register a case.” Peeved with this attitude of Punjab Police, Gurbax Singh Bains, father of the deceased, has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court again seeking directions to the police for registration of a murder case.

Taking note, the High Court has issued notices to Punjab asking why the murder case has not been registered till now. Also, the High Court, as demanded by the father, has asked Punjab Police why the investigation of the case should not be not handed over to an independent agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Bains has submitted that he has no faith in Punjab Police and that the case should be handed over to an independent agency like the CBI. Days after DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had given his report, the Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) refused to accept the “recommendation” and ordered the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT).

Taking strong note of this, Punjab Deputy Secretary (Home Affairs & Justice) O P Bhatia had ordered the immediate disbanding of the SIT. Opining that the constitution of the SIT would “lead to tampering with the evidence”, the deputy secretary had ordered the upholding of the “recommendation” of registration of a murder case by the DIG.

The developments had taken place as a fallout of a petition filed by Gurbax Singh Bains, a local lawyer who had alleged that his son had been “murdered” in an accident by three youths. One of the “assailants”, the father had alleged before the High Court, is the son of a former Patiala Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

The father had alleged that since the then Patiala SDM is an influential person, he managed to save his son and his son’s friends and rather projected that his (SDM’s) son had suffered serious injuries in the accident. It has also been alleged that with the help of the Rajpura police, a case of rash and negligent driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder was registered against a truck driver who was not at fault.

Personal enmity between his son and the SDM’s son has been alleged to be the motive behind the “murder”. Pursuant to directions from the Punjab Home Secretary last year, the inquiry was got conducted by the DIG.










Writ to be filed in HC against new devices


Somit Sen, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.25AM IST

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Rickshawmen’s Union plans to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court on Thursday to oppose compulsory installation of e-meters in all autos.

Union leaders said they were not against e-meters if they were foolproof. “The state transport department has not taken auto unions into confidence nor proved to us that the new meters will be tamper-proof. This is in violation of Supreme Court guidelines, which stipulate that any new meter introduced should be foolproof,” said union leader Thampy Kurian, who will be a petitioner.

He stated that the union will not accept responsibility if the e-meters are found to be tampered with after installation. “We are suggesting in our petition that the state take a bank guarantee/deposit from meter manufacturers. If any driver is caught for meter-tampering by the RTO, the fine should be deducted from the deposit,” said Kurian, adding that the guarantee should be of more than Rs 1 crore.

He stated that at a recent meeting organized by the state-appointed committee on e-meters, which auto unions attended, the manufacturers had claimed that all e-meters post-2010 were tamperproof. “We are made to believe that if we try to fiddle with the new meters, they will display an ‘Error’ message and the system will hang. But the transport department has not yet given us a demo or told us to check the new gadgets. I challenge them, I can tamper with the new devices too,” he stated.

The petitioners plan to show the judiciary how the electronic meters can be tampered with. They will also demand that the state upgrade the model of autos in Mumbai and provide comfortable seating for drivers and passengers, and then install e-meters.

“Unlike taxis, our meters are exposed to sunlight, dust and rain. How will we protect the electronic gadgets which are expensive?” said a union activist.

A Mantralaya official said the union will be given a month to put forward queries on the new meters. A transport commissioner’s office official claimed that the new meters were tamper-proof. Transport commissioner V N More was unavailable for comment.




HC refuses to quash case despite settlement with bank


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 20,2012

New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by an industrialist, charged with fraudulently obtaining loan of more than Rs one crore from a bank eight years ago, to quash a criminal case against him on the ground that he had reached a settlement with the bank. Dismissing a petition filed by Faridabad-based Y N Kashyap and his father, Justice Suresh Kait accepted CBI’s argument that the FIR should not be quashed as there was a loss of Rs 20 lakh to UCO bank despite their settlement and ‘No Dues’ certificate issued by the bank to them. “Though the petitioners have paid the agreed amount and settled with the bank. The bank has also issued ‘No Dues Certificate. However, under the ‘One Time Scheme’, they have caused the net loss to the public exchequer. In such situation, I am of the considered view, where the parties have played tricks, documents were forged or adopted by illegal means, due to which the government/public sector undertaking has been duped and suffered loss, the parties are not entitled for any favour or lenient view,” the court said. The court rejected Kashyap’s argument that matter was settled amicably by paying a sum of Rs 68 lakhs on September 30, 2009 to the bank against outstanding dues to the tune of more than Rs 87 lakh. The court, however, relied on CBI’s affidavit, filed through its counsel Narender Maan, that the petitioners were hand in glove with the bank officer and forged the title deed of their property in sector 14 in Faridabad as the same was already mortgaged in a another bank and obtained loan from the UCO bank of Delhi High Court complex under the One Time Scheme (OTS) in January 2005.











HC stays trial proceedings against Khushboo


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.20AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has stayed a proceedings at Nattham court against actor Khushboo in a case registered against her for an alleged poll code violation during the last assembly poll campaign.

Last week, she filed a petition in the Madras high court seeking to quash the case registered against her. Justice T Sudnathiram, before whom the matter came up for hearing, has granted a stay on the proceedings in the Nattham court. During the assembly poll campaign, she lobbied for DMK candidate Vijayan at a public meeting on March 27, 2011 without permission of poll officials and thereby caused disturbance to public by creating a traffic jam.

Following the complaint lodged by the poll officials, the Nattham police registered a case against her and the candidate.

Last month, the star campaigner of the DMK appeared before Nattham Judicial Magistrate Court in the case.












HC to get new building, parking lot


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.08AM IST

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High Court will soon have a building on the premises of the old Nayapul Hospital next door.

The roads and buildings (R&B) department and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have been asked by the high court authorities to work out plans for the proposed new building with multi-level parking facility. Official sources said plans for a seven-storied building have been prepared by the R&B department. However, with some court officials expressing apprehension that the seven-storied building with cellar and sub-cellars might not be safe, the R&B and GHMC have been asked to work out another plan with two blocks, one for the courts and another exclusively for parking. The exclusive multi-level car parking would be designed to accommodate 600 to 800 cars.

The corporation had earlier requested the HC to part with about 4,500 square yards towards Madina on the main road for a vertical parking complex in view of the heavy traffic flow near Charminar. GHMC officials feel that the traffic volume and tourists flow would increase once the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP) is completed.

The GHMC is working on two plans, one, a parking complex to be taken up on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis by private persons and another to be taken up by the civic body on its own. “In the multi-level parking complex, lawyers and petitioners can utilise the parking space during the day, while tourists and others can use it during night-time,” an official of the GHMC said.

Meanwhile, construction of a multi-level parking complex near Khilwath on 2,150 square metres area would begin in a month’s time with the GHMC and the project developer, a consortium led by Futurage Infrastructure India Pvt Ltd, signing an agreement recently. The parking complex would have five floors and accommodate over 400 four-wheelers and 200 two-wheelers. Conventional ramps would be in place for parking floors below the ground level, while an automated machine would take vehicles to floors above the ground.











Koda probe report in HC next week


Sanjay Ojha, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 06.55AM IST

RANCHI: Three investigating agencies – the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), income tax (I-T) and enforcement directorate (ED) – will submit the progress report in the multi-crore scam related to former chief minister Madhu Koda in the Jharkhand high court on February 29.

Sources in the CBI said they were preparing the report on the status of investigation in the multi-crore scam of Koda and his associates. The former chief minister has been accused of amassing around Rs 3,300 crore by misusing his office between 2006 and 2008.

A senior officer of the CBI said they had made substantial progress in the case and submitted a 200-page report a couple of days back to the UAE government to extradite Sanjay Chaudhary, a close associate of Koda. Chaudhary was arrested by the Interpol last year in Dubai.

“According to extradition agreement with the UAE, the language of extradition is English. A detailed report was submitted in English soon after the arrest of Chaudhary in Dubai. On the request of the UAE government, we submitted the report in Arabic so that the court which is hearing the case of extradition does not find any difficulty in understanding the evidence against Chaudhary,” said the officer.

The extradition of Chaudhary is important not only for the CBI but also for the ED and the I-T departments because he is the person who managed the foreign investments of Koda and his close aides.

An I-T officer said according to the present assessment the total worth of assets of Koda and his aides was around Rs 3,300 crore but it is likely to increase as they still don’t have exact details of Chaudhary’s assets.

“We expect that the local court will soon give permission for extradition as evidences submitted to the UAE government has all details of misappropriation of funds and violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act,” said the CBI officer.










HC asks East Coast Railway to consider stoppage for Rajdhani


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 04.18AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa high court recently asked the East Coast Railway (ECoR) to examine if the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express can have a stoppage at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station. Acting on a PIL, the court asked the ECoR to take a decision on the matter within eight weeks.

Petitioner J K Pratihari, in his petition, had pleaded that the Rajdhani Express has stoppages at all district headquarters from its originating point besides Tata Nagar, Bokaro Steel City, Gomoh and Koderma, but not at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station, which caters to two districts, Jajpur and Keonjhar.

The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Biswanath Mohapatra asked Pratihari to send a representation along with the court order to the chairman of Railway Board and others within two weeks. The court told the Railways to take a decision within eight weeks after submission of the representation, Pratihari said.

In 2006, Pratihari had filed a representation with the Railway Board member (traffic) seeking the stoppage. The railway authorities had conveyed to him that the demand was under consideration but no action was taken for over six years, following which he filed the PIL, Pratihari stated in his petition.










HC: Dying declaration has to be corroborated before conviction


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 21, 2012

Reiterating its earlier stand on the admissibility of uncorroborated dying declarations, the Bombay high court recently set aside a trial court’s conviction of a father-son duo from Ahmednagar based solely on the deceased’s narration to a doctor.

“(A) dying declaration has to be proved beyond any shadow of doubt whatsoever, it being a piece of evidence sought to be trusted without any scrutiny of cross-examination of its maker,” justice AH Joshi observed while acquitting the two on February 8.

The Ahmednagar police had charged Madhav Kharat, 64, and his son Shivaji, 34, for the murder of his brother Deochand on January 17, 1997. They were arrested the day after Deochand succumbed to injuries suffered in an alleged brutal assault.

While undergoing treatment at a Shirdi Hospital, Deochand had narrated the incident to a doctor and alleged that Kharat and Shivaji had assaulted him. The trial court had convicted the duo primarily on the basis of the dying declaration.

Kharat was convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, while his son received a six-month jail term for causing grievous hurt to the deceased.

Both moved the Aurangabad bench of the HC in appeal in 1999. Their counsel SP Chapalgaonkar argued that the convictions cannot be maintained since they are based solely on an uncorroborated dying declaration, in absence of any eyewitness or circumstantial evidence. However, assistant public prosecutor DR Kale justified the conviction contending the dying declaration was trustworthy.

The HC found the prosecution had not even bothered to examine the doctor who had recorded Deochand’s dying declaration in order to prove the deceased was in condition to give a statement. Justice Joshi set aside conviction of the duo stating that to maintain the convictions would mean to maintain them on suspicion, which cannot be done.

A division bench of the court had taken a similar view in December last year when it set aside the life sentence awarded to four persons by a Nashik sessions judge for the murder of a woman solely on the basis of her dying declaration.












HC upholds dismissal of ‘fake’ AI trainee pilot


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.19AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has upheld the dismissal of a trainee AI pilot who had joined the national carrier by producing fake results of his commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) examinations.

Last June, the airline had nipped the flying career of Saurabh Lokhande, a 29-year-old Mumbai resident, before it could take off. AI dismissed Lokhande a month after the Delhi crime branch arrested him for allegedly using a fake CPL certificate to join the airline as a trainee pilot on a five-year contract in 2010. Lokhande, after three failed attempts to clear the examinations in India, had allegedly paid Rs 3 lakh to a tout in 2008 and secured a fake licence to fly. He was finally arrested last year and though released on bail, faces a cheating and forgery case and his CPL has been suspended.

He flew into the long arms of law finally last year and though released on bail faces a cheating and forgery case and his CPL is suspended.

The worrying rise in the number of fake pilots across airlines last year had led to a crackdown by the top brass as the Directorate general of Civil Aviation. Lokhande was the second AI pilot to be arrested. The airline had earlier dismissed another pilot, J K Verma, for producing a fake CPL certificate. The HC, however, last August directed the airline to hold an inquiry and keep him under suspension. Last November, the Supreme Court stayed the HC order.

Lokhande too moved the HC against AI. His lawyer, Mohan Bir Singh, argued that dismissal cannot stem from mere allegations. “There is no finding by any authority that the CPL documents are fake,” said Singh. But AI, whose aircraft had crashed in Mangalore in 2010 killing all on-board, took a tough stand through its law firm M V Kini & Co. “The safety of passengers is of paramount consideration,” it said.

“The lives of passengers would be in danger if Lokhande, whose qualification as a CPL holder is based on fake documents, is allowed to fly an aircraft,” it said. As a pilot, Lokhande was governed by the terms and conditions of contract which were

signed by him and AI. Clause 31 of the agreement is very clear, said AI, and it empowers termination with immediate effect without assigning any reasons, if it is found at any stage that the pilot relied on false documents.

A bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and R Y Ganoo last week had no sympathy either. In a brief order, the bench brushed off all arguments against AI.

The HC said, “The petitioner was merely a trainee pilot. It appears he was arrested for submitting a fake result card. In this situation, no fault can be found with the order of termination.”,” and disposed of the matter

Lokhande is likely to challenge the HC order, his lawyer said.











HC order for parole to Rajiv case convict challenged


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.10AM IST

MADURAI: The state government on Monday challenged a single judge order directing it to grant ordinary leave to Ravichandran, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, for a period of 15 days.

P Ravichandran, who was cited as accused no 16, found guilty of participating in criminal conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, was sentenced to death along with 25 others by a Special Court for TADA cases on January 28, 1998.

Later, the Supreme Court commuted his sentence to life. Ravichandran is presently undergoing life imprisonment in the Madurai Central Prison. He has spent more than 20 years inside jail. His mother Rajeshwari had filed a writ petition in the Madurai bench seeking release of her son on 30 days’ ordinary leave for settling family disputes and also to make arrangements for maintenance of lands and properties.

On December 20, Justice V Ramasubramanian directed the authorities to grant ordinary leave to Ravichandran at least for a period of 15 days and pass appropriate orders within two weeks. prescribing the date, time and modality for the working out of other details.

While passing the order, the judge also pointed out that the prisoner had gone out only on three occasions for short spells. On all those occasions, his conduct and character in society had not come to adverse notice.

Now, the state government has filed a writ appeal in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court seeking to stay the order of the single judge’s order. On behalf of the state government, the writ appeal was filed by R Anbalagan, superintendent of prisons, Madurai.

The state government said that on earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on leave for 14 days in 3 different times along with strong police escort headed by a deputy superintendent of police (surveillance). But now, the high court in its order had directed to grant 15 days’ ordinary leave to the convict. The government termed the leave very long and added that had the prisoner been released on leave without police escort in earlier instances, the situation would have worsened.

As this prisoner is involved in the assassination of a former prime minister, his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or prejudicial to public peace and tranquility. These points were not factored into account by the high court, added the state government.

Moreover, the state pointed out that the prisoner had not even paid escort charges totalling Rs 1,39,391 for having gone on leave. In the event of release of this prisoner further, he has to pay a large amount as escort charges.

The government added that the deployment of a large number of police personnel in the Virudhunagar district as escort would affect normalcy in the area.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass, the Additional Advocate General K Chellapandian sought time to put forth the state government’s further contentions in the matter.

The matter now has been adjourned to February 29 for further hearing.











BMC can change transit camp for tenants: HC


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.42AM IST

MUMBAI: There is nothing illegal in the BMC shifting tenants from one transit accommodation to another, said the Bombay High Court recently.

The court was hearing a petition by tenants of a municipal chawl in Parel who are to be shifted to a regular transit accommodation a decade after they were housed in a school.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka heard a petition filed by Harishchandra Sawant and others after the BMC, on June 28, 2011, issued them a notice to shift to the transit accommodation. The petitioners were residents of Bogdha Chawl on Jerbai Wadia Road, Parel. They were among 205 tenants who were shifted to the transit accommodation in 1998 at Baradevi Municipal School on Acharya Donde Marg, Wani Chawl and Pratiksha Nagar. The petitioners occupy the third and fourth floors of the dilapidated school.

An earlier bench had rapped the BMC for the delay. After seeing pictures of the new transit camp, the court had said, “Don’t treat people as animals.” According to the petition, the tenants formed a cooperative housing society. In June 2005 BMC gave permission to Tejaswini Group to redevelop the chawl but in May 2010 issued a show cause notice for termination for not beginning the work. BMC has now told the court that a new developer has been appointed and construction shall commence within 36 months from the date of issue of commencement certificate.

Petitioner’s advocate P G Lad said that reconstruction of permanent accommodation has taken a long time already and the action of BMC in trying to remove them from the presenting temporary alternate accommodation to shift them to another temporary alternate accommodation is neither legal nor proper. The judges at the hearing on February 10, 2012 disagreed. Prima facie we do not see any breach of any particular state or GR (government resolution) in regard to the impugned action,” they said, adding that no interference is called for by the court.

At the request of Lad that the children’s ensuing school exams are to take place in April, the judges in the interest of justice” directed BMC not to effect the shifting till April 31, 2012.










Jelestines wife to move HC against captain


Amritha K R

KOCHI: Dora Jelestine, wife of Valentine Jelestine who was gunned down by Italian marines on board the oil tanker ‘Enrica Lexie,’ will file a case under Admiralty Law against the Italian vessel in the Kerala High Court. The decision came at a meeting of various fishermen organisations, boat owners associations and the Kollam Diocese held in Kollam on Saturday. The procedures for the case will be undertaken under the supervision of the Quilon Social Service Society, an organisation under the Quilon Diocese. This is the first legal action undertaken by the victims’ family after the incident that took place on February 15. Apart from compensation, the petitioner will also demand the arrest of the captain and the ship owner.

“The two Italian Navymen are being made scapegoats and the rest of the crew members will go scot-free. This cannot be allowed,” said the director of the Quilon Social Service Society, Fr Rajesh Martin. To protest against the gruesome incident, a massive rally will be taken out to the Kollam Collectorate with the participation of various fishermen organisations, trade unions and members of the Kollam Diocese.

“We have a charter of demands. All measures must be taken to ensure that such an incident will not be repeated on our waters. Fishermen should be able to carry on with their livelihood without fear and due compensation must be paid to the families of the victims,” said Fr Steven Kayathil of the Quilon Social Service Society.

Speaking to mediapersons on Friday Ernakulam IG K Padmakumar had said: “If the petitioner files a case under the Admiralty Law before the High Court, the ship can be released after the victims’ families are paid compensation. The Advocate-General can appear for the case.”


LEGAL NEWS 21.02.2012

Quota row: Beni Prasad files reply to EC


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 15:08

New Delhi: Congress leader and Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Monday replied to the Election Commission notice for violating the model code of conduct.

‘I respect the Election Commission and will adhere to its instruction in this case,” Verma said while replying to reporters.

The poll panel had issued a show cause notice to the Steel Minister seeking his explanation on his controversial minority sub-quota remarks latest by the evening today.

The notice was issued after the election watchdog went through the video footage of the election rally where Beni is said to have made the quota remarks.

The Election Commission had taken serious note of his comments, particularly for daring the poll body to take action against him.

Verma landed in a soup for his remarks, “Muslims don’t have their homes; they don’t have jobs and 70 percent of them work as labourers. Non-Congress governments in the state have not done anything for their betterment.”

“We will make sure that quota for them is increased if the Congress comes to power in Uttar Pradesh,” he said while addressing a political rally at Kayamganj Assembly constituency in the Farrukhabad district last wek.

Beni Prasad is the second Congress minister to have faced the EC ire over the quota remarks.

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid had recently caused a huge furore when he promised a 9% Muslim sub-quota if the Congress won the elections.




Assessing officer can’t be part of tax appellate body deciding the appeal


MUMBAI: An income-tax commissioner, responsible for an assessment order, cannot be a part of the body that decides the appeal against the same order, a tax tribunal has said.

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), the second appellate forum that decides on tax disputes, said that involving a tax official in deciding an appeal against an assessment order would be against the principles of natural justice, especially if the official had been party to the same assessment order.

The ITAT gave this order last month on an appeal filed by Lionbridge Technologies against an order of the Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP), a body set up exclusively under the Income-tax Act for resolving transfer pricing related disputes.

The company claimed that the DRP had disposed off its objections without addressing the issues and moved the second appellate forum, ITAT. Lionbridge said that a member of the DRP was also the jurisdictional commissioner i.e. the commissioner in whose jurisdiction the company was located. This is contrary to the principles of natural justice, the company pointed out.

The company also cited an Uttarakhand High Court order in the case of Hyundai Heavy Industries, in which the high court had underlined the need to appear impartial while giving judicial orders. The ITAT held that if a jurisdictional commissioner is nominated as a member of the DRP, the order passed by the DRP is liable to be set aside.

“The functions of DRP are judicial in nature and therefore it is required to have certain autonomy and impartiality. If the jurisdictional commissioner is part of the DRP there would be a real likelihood of bias,” KPMG in a note on the order said.










More Muslims than Hindus died in firing by policemen


Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 19, 2012

The Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government does not acknowledge the Concerned Citizens Tribunal, but is on the same page with it on one facet of the 2002 riots in the state. More Muslims died in police firing during the riots than Hindus, show the government’s statistics and the report of the tribunal headed by former Supreme Court judge justice VR Krishna Iyer.

According to the tribunal, which conducted its own probe into the massacres, this skewed body count defies logic because the riots were largely led by Hindus.

The casualty figures due to police firing vary too. The tribunal states 104 of the 184 people killed were Muslims. Government puts the death toll at 170 – 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

According to state government records, of more than 1,200 people killed in the riots, nearly 950 were Muslims.

The riots had erupted after the torching of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra on February 27, 2002.

Most of the 59 passengers killed in the train carnage were kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya.

The tribunal said in its report of November 2002, “The shocking levels of police complicity in the Gujarat carnage cannot be over-emphasised… not only did the local police not do anything to stop the Hindu mobs; they actually turned their guns on the helpless Muslim victims.”

In 2004, when Indian Police Service officer Rahul Sharma deposed before the Modi government-appointed Nanavati Commission probing the riots, he had said after more Hindus died in police firing than Muslims in Bhavnagar, Gordhan Zadaphia, the state’s the then junior home minister, had asked him to maintain ratio.

Sharma was the superintendent of police of Bhavnagar district during the riots.

According to Sharma, “Zadaphia had called, on March 16, 2002, and said that the toll in police firing in the district was weighted too heavily against the Hindu community as against the Muslims – at 5 to 1.”

“I had explained to the minister that the casualty ratio in police firing depended on the composition of the mob… if 90% of the mob is Hindu, then obviously 90% of the casualty will be Hindus,” he had deposed.








2G auction: Govt may allow foreign cos bid without Indian partner


NEW DELHI: The government plans to allow foreign companies to bid without an Indian partner, or as 100% foreign entities, in the upcoming sale of second generation (2G) airwaves, following the cancellation of 122 mobile phone permits by the Supreme Court. This will allow the likes of Norway’s Telenor to bid for 2G bandwidth and induct a local partner later on if they are successful in the auctions.

But both the telecom department and sector regulator Trai are unlikely to agree to the demands of Telenor, Videocon, S Tel amongst others that the upcoming auctions be restricted to those players whose licences were quashed by the apex court. These telcos have told Trai that incumbents and others who want to participate in the bandwidth sale should only be allowed at a later stage with a higher reserve price.

In a bid to avoid any controversies, or allegations of notional loss, the government plans to allow the more than 30 companies, including DLF and Moser Baer that failed to bag mobile permits in 2008, after former telecom minister A Raja arbitrarily changed the cutoff date, to bid in the upcoming 2G spectrum auctions, said a government official.

Another official said allowing companies to bid as 100% foreign entities would only be an extension of provisions in the third generation and broadband wireless (BWA) spectrum auctions held in 2010. In the broadband auctions of 2010, US-based chipmaker Qualcomm, which won 4G bandwidth in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala for about Rs 5,000 crore, was given a six-month window to reduce their holdings to 74%, the maximum FDI allowed in telecom companies.

Norwegian communications major Telenor which has claimed compensation from its Indian partner Unitech Ltd is learnt to be exploring the option of bidding for airwaves by itself.

Scandinavia’s largest telco may look at inducting a strategic minority partner after the bandwidth sale process as it believes that it may not be possible to resolve its conflict with Unitech and induct a new partner into the JV prior to the auctions, executives tracking the development said. Other foreign players who want to enter India may also look at this model.

The Empowered Group of Ministers, looking into all spectrum-related issues, will take the final call on the eligibility criteria for companies in the upcoming 2G bandwidth sale. But with the telecom department favouring throwing open the auctions to all the 30 companies that had applied for licences in 2008, an official said this would also pave the for companies outside this list as well as incumbents to participate in the sale process.

Communications minister Kapil Sibal last week announced that all future licences would be delinked from spectrum, which would be sold in a market linked process.

Incumbents such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL have asked Trai to ensure that auctions are open to all operators. “This will ensure the most efficient allocation of the spectrum, and is necessary to derive a fair market price,” Vodafone had said in its communication to Trai.

India’s largest telco by revenues and customers Bharti Airtel, has told Trai that restricting the the upcoming bandwidth sale to a specific ‘class of operators’ would be contrary to the judgement of the Supreme Court, may again give rise to litigation, favour only one set of players, and seriously suppress the market value of spectrum due to limited participation.


Gaonkar petitions SC over illegal mining


TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 02.10AM IST

MARGAO: Antonio Gaonkar, leader of the erstwhile Save Goa Front (SGF), has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court over the issue of illegal mining in the state.

Gaonkar, in the petition, has sought directions from the apex court to the concerned authorities “that the boundaries of all the mining leases be determined/demarcated” by the Survey of India, mines department, forest department and revenue department of the state.

The petition raises pertinent questions like “whether the mining activity in Goa can be legal when not a single mining lease and/or prospecting licence was granted since 2001”, “whether mining activity can be allowed even when there is no forest clearance from the ministry of environment and forests as in the case of 32 mines”, and “no environmental, wildlife, air and water clearance” in the case of three mining companies. The petition has raised questions over the legality of mining through “raising contractors like urban development minister Joaquim Alemao when they operate the mines without being registered with or recognized by the directorate of mines or any other authority under the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act, especially when such mining on private lands goes on unaccounted “.

Gaonkar has pointed out that besides Alemao, Vedanta (Sesa Goa), Minescape (Dinar Tarcar) and Timblo Pvt Ltd are operating several mines as “raising contractors”. Gaonkar, in the petition, has also made a case for handing over mining activity in Goa to public sector undertaking “for compliance of various provisions of Mines and Minerals laws and Forest and Wildlife laws in order to end the menace of illegal mining.”









Try tea tycoons for defence leaks: Court


TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 05.08AM IST

NEW DELHI: A special CBI court has paved the way for commencement of trial against the owners of the world’s first tea plantation company – K K Jajodia and his son Aditya Jajodia -for allegedly dispatching documents pertaining to security of the nation to two European countries.

The Jajodias are founder members of Assam Company Ltd (ACL), the flagship company of Duncan Macneill Group, established in 1839 by a deed of British Parliament. It was the first tea plantation company in the world and was awarded a royal charter by Queen Victoria in 1845.

On February 13, the court of special CBI judge Pradeep Chaddha ordered framing of charges against the duo in a 25-year-old case where they were booked along with senior government officials for allegedly leaking and dispatching a report of the defence ministry. The report reportedly contained details of equipment including radar and ‘flycatchers’ for detection and tracking of low-flying enemy aircraft.

“On face of it, it would indicate that both father and son were engaged in dispatching/selling documents pertaining to security of the nation,” said Judge Chaddha. He said he found sufficient prima facie evidence against the duo to frame charges under criminal conspiracy and a few sections of Official Secrets Act.

The court has also framed charges against N W Nerukar, then advisor in the department of electronics, and against Brigadier R S Deol, who served in the directorate of weapons and equipment, Army Headquarters, between March 1986 and March 1988.

As per the CBI, on April 13, 1987, acting on a tip-off, senior CBI officials picked up two couriers from a courier company at Barakhamba road. The first packet was addressed to one Marc De Saint Dennis of Paris and contained a photocopy of “User Evaluation Trial Report on RATAC-S Battlefield Surveillance Rader (BFSR) phase-I”. The second cover was addressed to Mr J W H Weavers, Netherlands, and contained typed draft in 13 pages containing details of radar, flycatcher and other arms and ammunition. Following this interception, the CBI teams raided Jajodia’s Vasant Vihar residence and allegedly found more documents pertaining to details of utility helicopters required by the army from K K Jajodia’s bedroom.

“Seizure of further documents from the house of Jajodias raises suspicion that they were involved in the peddling of secrets. Had nothing been recovered from their residence probably opinion of the court would have been different but further recovery from the residence clinches the issue for the time being and it seems that they were indeed involved with leakage of defence secrets,” said Judge Chaddha, who has now put the case for February 23.



2002 post-Godhra riots: Ex-UK envoy deposes before Gujarat court


Published: Monday, Feb 20, 2012, 0:18 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

A former British envoy has deposed before a special court through video conferencing (VC) in connection with a post-Godhra riot case, where four persons, including three British nationals, were killed in Sabarkantha district.

Former Deputy British High Commissioner to India Ian Reakes during the 2002 riots, deposed yesterday from an office of a human rights organisation in London before designated judge Geeta Gopi.

The court had issued summons to Reakes and his colleague ex-Deputy British High Commissioner to India Howard Parkinson after the British government granted permission to the court to examine the envoys in the case last year.

The examination of the duo was sought by the original complainant and prime witness in the case Imran Dawood, a British national himself who had survived the attack on him and others near Prantij in Sabarkantha.

Reakes was posted as vice counsel with the office of British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai from August 1999 to May 2002, where he was in-charge of protection of British nationals in India.

He is presently an analyst with the Cabinet office of the United Kingdom.

During his deposition, Reakes told the court that he had visited Prantij on March 8-9, 2002 and gone to the scene of offence and other surrounding places with Gujarat police.

Reakes said he had visited Prantij on request of one Bilal Dawood, relative of one of the deceased in the case.

Reakes said he had found human bones at the spot near the scene of offence which were sent to Hyderabad Forensic Science Lab (FSL). Tests proved that the one of the bones was that of one of the deceased in the incident Saeed Dawood.

As per the case details, three British nationals — Saeed Dawood, Mohammed Aswat Nallabhai, Shakil Dawood and their Gujarati driver Yusuf Sulaiman were burnt to death during the post-Godhra violence on National Highway 8 near Prantij in Sabarkantha on February 28, 2002.

Shakil’s body was not found, hence after the passage of seven years, he was declared dead.

Imran was badly injured in the incident, but he was saved by a patrolling police vehicle. He later lodged the FIR.

Deposition of Imran and four other witnesses have already been recorded by the court during the trial.

In his application, Imran had sought examination of Reakes on the ground that he was present with the then investigating officer during collection of ashes and bones of the dead bodies.

He wanted statement of Parkinson to be recorded by the court because the officer had got an anonymous letter informing about the incident along with names of accused persons.

Six people are facing trial in the case.









Court grants plea to amend complaint


Caesar Mandal & Suman Chakraborti, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 01.51AM IST

KOLKATA: The city metropolitan magistrate on Sunday granted the petition to amend the complaint from ‘rape’ to ‘gang rape’. The latter entails rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years and may be extended to life term and shall also be liable to fine.

During the court proceedings, none of the accused spoke a single word.

Following the initial probe, police have reasons to believe that Sumit, who hails from an affluent family in Gariahat, was driving his own car and Johny was seated in the front. Naseer and Kader were in the back seat along with Nishad. The CCTV footage shows Nishad and Naseer boarding the car and Kader taking the back seat before them. Sumit is seen standing in front of the car and later, opening the front door, which suggests he was probably at the wheel.

The car that was confiscated is registered in the name of Bajaj Transport Company, which Sumit’s family owns. Police sources said Johny hails from Entally area and has a place to stay in Ekbalpore. But as soon the case was flashed in the media, they fled. The car will be sent for forensic tests, said Joint CP (crime) Damayanti Sen.











Fishermen killing: Law will take its own course, says Krishna


PTI Feb 19, 2012, 02.45PM IST

BANGALORE: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today said the law of the country would take its own course in fishermen killing case in which the crew of an Italian ship fired at and killed two Indians off Kollam coast in Kerala.

“The law of the land will take its own course in the incident where the crew of an Italian ship Enrica Lexie fired at and killed two Indian fishermen (off Kollam coast in Kerala),” he told reporters on the sidelines of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee meeting here.

Krishna said the captain and two members of the Italian ship must cooperate with Kerala law agencies to arrive at an amicable solution.

“We have advised the Italians to cooperate with the Kerala law agencies to find an amicable solution,” he said.

Refuting claims of Italian embassy officials in Delhi that the Indian vessel attacked the Italian ship in international waters, Krishna said “the fishing vessel was only carrying fishing nets and fish”.

The fishermen Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45) were killed on February 15 off Kollam coast near Kerala when armed guards of the ship fired at their boat, suspecting it to be a a vessel belonging to pirates.

Krishna said there were agitations in Kerala over fishermen’s killings.

Krishna said he has been in talks with Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Giulio Maria Terzi and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on the issue.

The minister said he was looking forward to Terzi’s visit to India on February 28.











German Bakery blast: Doctor deposes before court


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 12:13 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Dr Pravin Survase, 27, the surgeon from Sassoon General hospital, who treated German Bakery blast victims deposed before additional sessions Judge NP Dhote saying the victims he had treated were injured in a blast. However, when the special public prosecutor asked him whether he meant a bomb blast, he said it could be any blast.

Survase has been working as a resident doctor with the surgery department of Sassoon hospital since May 2009. He had examined 12 German Bakery blast victims on February 13, 2010.

Survase informed the court that the patients he examined suffered burns, injuries due to splinters, abrasions and others wounds that may take place due to a blast.

During cross-examinatio, Survase said a fall could result in such injuries, but the way they were suffered cumulatively indicated that there was a blast or explosion. When special public prosecutor Raja Thakare asked him whether he meant the German Bakery blast, the doctor replied in affirmative. Himayat Baig, the sole arrested accused in the case, could not be produced before the court due to staff shortage in the police department as most personnel were busy with security arrangements for the civic elections.










Naroda Patiya accused seek stay


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 19:58 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Two accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre case have sought stay on the case’s trial till the decision of a case pending before the Supreme Court. Special judge Jyotsna Yagnik has fixed hearing of the case for February 23.

The two accused, Manoj Kulkarni and Vipin Panchal, have stated in their plea that the trial should be stayed as an important matter related to alleged complicity of social activist, Teesta Setalvad, in the case for filing doctored affidavits is pending before the Supreme Court.

The special court of Naroda Gam had directed registrar of the city civil and sessions court to file case against Raees Khan and others after he alleged that he and Teesta had filed doctored affidavits in various courts during riot cases’ hearing.

ACP to probe charges against GU V-C


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 16:25 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Corruption charges against Gujarat University’s vice-chancellor Parimal Trivedi and other officials would be conducted by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) of the B division of the city.

A local court, on Saturday, allowed a plea moved by the Police Inspector (PI) Gujarat University police station who sought a probe by an ACP level officer.

The PI of Gujarat University police station had moved an application in city civil and sessions court that, “Under section 17 of Prevention of Corruption Act, the charges imposed on the vice-chancellor and other accused can be probed only by Assistant Police Commissioner or Deputy Superintendent Police level officials. We do not have powers to investigate this matter.”

On February 8, a local court had ordered inquiry against Trivedi and others accused under section 156(3) in connection with the complaint filed by the suspended professor Pradeep Prajapati.

In his complaint Prajapati alleged, “Parimal Trivedi, in-charge registrar Minesh Shah, an officer Vaishali Padhiyar and one Wilson Printers have committed financial irregularities amounting to Rs1.56 crore.

A contract of printing of examination papers has been illegally given to Wilson Printing Press for the years 2007 to 2011.”He further stated that, “University authorities have withdrawn the fixed deposit of Rs100 crore from State Bank of India. This decision has caused loss of around Rs3 crore to the university as penalty and interest.”









Procedural errors no ground for quashing conviction: SC


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 12:00 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Procedural errors cannot be the sole ground for quashing conviction or ordering retrial in a criminal case unless there was manifest miscarriage of justice to the accused, the Supreme Court has ruled.

“Decidedly, there has to be a fair trial and no miscarriage of justice and under no circumstances, prejudice should be caused to the accused but, every procedural lapse or every interdict that has been acceded to and not objected at the appropriate stage would not get the trial dented or make it unfair,” said a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari.

The bench gave the ruling while dismissing an appeal by some murder convicts – Rattiram, Satyanarayan and others, belonging to Madhya Pradesh.

The convicts had come to the apex court challenging the life sentence imposed on them by a Madhya Pradesh sessions Court in August 1996 and upheld by the state high court for murdering a dalit.

“Treating it (conviction) to be unfair would amount to an undesirable state of pink of perfection in procedure. An absolute apple pie order in carrying out the adjective law, would only be sound and fury signifying nothing,” the apex court said, dismissing the appeal in a case under Section 302 of the IPC and various other provisions of SC / ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

After their conviction, the convicts had sought a re-trial on the ground that the case as required under Section 193 CrPC was not initially committed by a magistrate to the sessions court as the latter had directly taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by police.

The apex court bench, which also included justices T S Thakur and Dipak Mishra, said “the seminal issue is whether protection given to the accused under the law has been jeopardised as a consequence of which there has been failure of justice or causation of any prejudice.”

The bench pointed out that “the concept of fair trial and conception of miscarriage of justice are not in the realm of abstraction and not operate in a vacuum.”

“They are to be concretely established on the bedrock of facts and not to be deduced from procedural lapse or an interdict like commitment as enshrined under Section 193 of the Code for taking cognisance under the Act,” it said.

Underlining the risk of ordering retrial on grounds of minor violations of procedures, the bench said, “It would have the effect to potentiality cause a dent in the criminal justice delivery system and justice would eventually become illusory like a mirage.”

The apex court said judged from these angles the trial of the convicts was not vitiated in any manner.

“It does not vitiate the trial and on the said ground alone, the conviction cannot be set aside or there cannot be a direction of retrial,” the bench added.










81-year-old doctor let off after over 28 yrs of trial


PTI | 10:02 AM,Feb 19,2012

New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI) An 81-year-old doctor, caught manufacturing and selling spurious drugs and cosmetics over 28 years ago and sentenced to three years in jail for his crime, has been let off on probation by a Delhi court. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Savita Rao let off Dr H R Kanwal on a year’s probation after modifying the three-year jail-term, imposed by the magisterial court upon him, to a year. The court enlarged the convict on probation saying though the offences committed by him have grave social and economic implications, sending him to jail will not serve any purpose in the given circumstances. The sessions court also took note of the convict’s pleading for leniency on the ground that he faced the trial for 28 years, during which his only son was murdered. “Though the trial court has rightly observed that the offence committed by the appellant have grave social repercussions upon the consumers who were using it believing it to be a genuine product and there is also heavy revenue loss to the company having license to manufacture the same, thereby affecting the economy of the country, but considering the reasons as stated above, no purpose would be served by sending him behind the bars,” the ASJ said. The ASJ ordered Kanwal’s release on one year probation on furnishing a bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of like amount. MORE












Jaya not at fault in wealth case: Sasikala


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Sasikala Natarajan, the estranged aide of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, deposed before a local court here on Saturday and submitted that the AIADMK chief was only a dormant partner in Jaya Publications Ltd and Sasi Enterprises. Sasikala, who appeared before the 36th City Civil and Sessions Court and the Special Court hearing the disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa, replied to 40 questions. She had to depend on an interpreter appointed by the court as she was unable to understand English.

Sasikala has to answer around 1,000 questions and the court will continue recording her statements on February 23.

When Judge B M Mallikarjunaiah asked her about the management of the firms, Sasikala said she looked after the administration of Jaya Publications and Jayalalithaa was not involved in its affairs and informed that she operated bank accounts of the firm alone. “Even in case of Sasi Enterprises, it’s the same,” she said, corroborating Jayalalithaa’s statement in the court last November.

Meanwhile, before the questioning started, Sasikala’s advocate requested the court to defer recording of statements as a special leave petition seeking direction to the Special Court for translating all questions into Tamil was pending before the Supreme Court. But the judge rejected the plea.

Also, Sasikala’s counsel requested the judge to conduct the hearing only three days a week as they had to appear for other cases in Tamil Nadu.

But Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya objected to this and said the questioning has to be done on a day-today basis in keeping with the Supreme Court direction.Later, the judge rejected the plea.









I am not to blame for delay in 2G judgments’


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2012

Former Supreme Court judge justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly — who was part of the bench that delivered the 2G spectrum judgments reserved nearly a year earlier — has made it clear that he was not responsible for the delay. “These two judgments were heard by a bench of justice GS Singhvi and myself, but both the judgments were reserved by my learned senior colleague justice Singhvi,” justice Ganguly told Karan Thapar in the CNN-IBN programme, Devil’s Advocate.

Justice Ganguly said the judgments — on sanction for prosecution of former telecom minister A Raja and cancellation of 122 telecom licences — would have been delivered long ago “if I had reserved the judgments”.

He added the delay must not have been “intentional” but due to the “tremendous pressure” that Supreme Court judges are under, a reference to the SC’s attempt to reduce the list of pending cases.

In course of the interview, the retired judge also made it clear that the court’s recommendation that sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants would be deemed to have been granted if the competent authority does not take a decision within four months was valid for the judiciary as well.

He also made it clear that the court hadn’t made auction the rule for all natural resources, including land, but the statement — that first-come-first-serve principle was flawed — was made “in the context of the facts considered in the judgment.”

The judge, who retired soon after delivering the landmark judgment, also explained why the court kept aside the principle of collective responsibility of the cabinet to only indict former telecom minister A Raja and drew the distinction between the Prime Minister and his office.

If you look at the facts properly, you find that the minister concerned didn’t pay heed to the requests made by other ministers, he said.


Supreme Court urged to revoke suspension of 117 mining leases


Central Empowered Committee has recommended cancellation of 49 leases

The Karnataka Government has requested the Supreme Court to revoke the suspension of 117 mining leases listed under categories A and B by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

The Supreme Court-appointed CEC has recommended cancellation of 49 mining leases listed under Category C, where iron ore was being mined illegally. It has recommended resumption of operations in 45 mining leases listed under Category A, subject to fulfilment of stipulated conditions. It has also recommended that mining be allowed in 72 leases listed under Category B, after asking the concerned leases to comply with prerequisites, including payment of penalty.

Chief Secretary to the State Government S.V. Ranganath in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on February 8 stated that the CEC had cleared a few mines “where no significant illegality or irregularity has been noticed. These mines may kindly be allowed to operate without hindrance”.

The affidavit said that there were some other mines which had been enumerated as Category B “for reasons of some or other kind of illegality or irregularity noticed by the CEC” and these mines too could be allowed to operate. “The State Government would undertake to ensure all material safeguards in place and due diligence is exercised by all agencies as directed by the court,” the affidavit said.

With regard to leases under Category C, where large-scale serious and irreversible illegalities or irregularities have been noticed by the CEC, the Government would take “whatever action as directed by the court”, the affidavit said.

In Western Ghats

In its affidavit, the Government took exception to the recommendation of the Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) to the Supreme Court on permitting mining in the Western Ghats. The Government has expressed its opposition to mining in the Western Ghats.

The ICFRE in its report indirectly suggested that mining of iron ore be permitted in the Western Ghats by using advanced underground mining technology in an “environment friendly” manner. However, the CEC in its report rejected the suggestion by noting that “the ICFRE has gone totally out of context and beyond its terms of reference.”

Noting that the ICFRE recommendation to exploit large-scale deposits of magnetite ore in the Western Ghats through closed underground mining operations adopting latest and advanced technology “may not be a viable proposition”, the affidavit said that the State Government was obliged to conserve the mineral for posterity, keeping in mind the principle of “inter-generational equity” and in the light of likely danger to be caused to ecology. Western Ghats have been now considered as a unique “eco-sensitive biosphere and it is being considered for the World Heritage Site tag”, the affidavit said.

Backed by a court order, India to seek extradition of Headley, Rana


Vishwa Mohan, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 01.45AM IST

NEW DELHI: Armed with a special court order, India will soon write to the US seeking extradition of American citizen David Coleman Headley and his Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana for their trial here for plotting with LeT and HuJI terrorists to attack places of iconic importance in the Capital and other cities including Mumbai.

Though Headley had entered into a plea bargaining with US authorities and got immunity from being extradited to India or any other country, New Delhi has to follow the legal procedure by formally pressing for his extradition backed by the court order.

Taking cognizance of NIA’s chargesheet against Headley, Rana, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed, the outfit’s key commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and five others, a special court here on Saturday sought their presence before it for trial on March 13.

“We will write to the US with reference of the court order. New Delhi will highlight that the chargesheet against Headley and Rana is not restricted to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case alone. It also covers the offences which do not come under the 12 counts on which he had pleaded guilty and entered into the plea bargaining,” a home ministry official said.

Under the plea bargaining, Headley had become prosecution witness in the trial against Rana, who was acquitted by a US court in the 26/11 case but indicted for his role in a terror plot against Denmark. Both are currently in jail in Chicago.

“Rana may be acquitted in the Mumbai attack case, but he is an accused here in the case which pertains to a criminal conspiracy with LeT and HuJI terrorists to carry out attacks in New Delhi and other places in India,” said the official.

He said New Delhi would also write to Washington to take into account the fact that the US authorities had agreed for Headley’s plea bargaining without taking India on board despite a pending case against the accused here.

A section within the home ministry believes that though it is highly unlikely that the US will extradite Headley and Rana, the move may see some legal wrangling between the two countries — especially if someone decides to approach an American court. Even under the existing extradition agreement between India and US, Rana will have to first undergo his sentence in an American jail if convicted for his role in the Denmark plot.

“In any case, the accused’s appearance for trial through video link cannot be ruled out as a compromise in future,” the official said.

The NIA has, meanwhile, begun the process of sending letter rogatory to Morocco for recording the statement of Headley’s estranged Moroccan wife Faiza Outalha for evidence against him. She had visited India with Headley twice during the latter’s reconnaissance mission.

India, which has already asked Pakistan for deportation of Saeed and Lakhvi, will again write to Islamabad with reference of the court order. Lakhvi, who is in jail, is being tried in a Rawalpindi court in the 26/11 case whereas Saeed and others chargesheeted by the NIA remain scot-free.

Dharavi torture: CWC will decide girl’s custody after she recovers


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 20, 2012

Grandparents of Menaka Thakur, the seven-year-old girl who was beaten up and branded by her stepmother in Dharavi, will have to wait till she recuperates completely from her injuries before they find out if they could take her to their native place with them. Saroj Thakur, the victim’s paternal uncle, told HT, “The Children’s Welfare Committee (CWC) told us that a decision would be taken once Menaka recovered.” The child is currently being treated for pain in her knees and a shoulder injury at JJ hospital.

Saroj said they were facing a hard time trying to meet Menaka. “My father Sukhnandan Thakur returned home without meeting her,” he said.

Menaka was discharged from Sion Hospital last week and was taken to the children’s home in Dongri. However, as the child had not recovered from her injuries, she was taken to GT hospital and then finally to JJ hospital.

The CWC will decide if Menaka will be safe with her grandparents in Bihar or if she needs to be looked after by a child care centre in the city. The decision of the CWC will be based on a report filed by a probation officer who will personally visit the victim’s grandparents’ residence.

The victim’s stepmother, Aarti Thakur, is currently behind bars.

JIPMER told to give answer key of entrance test


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


PUDUCHERRY: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) to provide question papers along with answer key of an entrance test conducted by it for admission to various courses, if sought under the Right to Information Act.

This is a landmark order passed on January 13, as it applies to all entrance exams conducted by institutions in India.

This is the response to an RTI application filed by Dr K Sudhakar, general secretary of Puducherry government medical officers’ association, seeking question papers and answer key of entrance test to MCh (Urology) for 2011-2012 .

The public information officer (PIO) and registrar (Academic), James Sekar, refused to give information claiming that it was not the practice of the institution. As per the practice, only model question papers were sold along with prospectus.

Dissatisfied with the reply, Dr Sudhakar made an appeal to the first appellate authority (FFA), but FAA stated that it was satisfied with the reply of PIO.

Following this, Dr Sudhakar moved the CIC. Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, after hearing the case through video conference, ordered the public information officer to furnish a copy of the question paper with answer key by February 10. Gandhi, in his January 23 order, pointed out that the right to information was a fundamental right and denial of information could only be based on the provisions of exemptions under Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. He observed that PIO cannot deny information based on arbitrary whims or policies of various institutions

When the public information officersaid there was a possibility that the information sought may have been destroyed, the commissioner warned that destruction of information sought under the RTI Act would have serious repercussions.

Amending evidence act can improve rate of conviction: Judge


Charul Shah, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 20, 2012

Additional sessions judge Sanjay Deshmukh, while acquitting the four accused of kidnapping and killing 16-year-old Adnan Patrawala in 2007, stressed the need for an amendment to the Indian Evidence Act.

On February 1, justice Deshmukh acquitted Sujit Nair, Rajiv Dhariya, Ayush

Bhat and Amit Kaushal, because the prosecution failed to prove its case “beyond reasonable doubts” against the accused.

Justice Deshmukh, in his judgment, observed, “We have the old Evidence Act of 1872. That was enacted in the regime of the British. There is a lot of change in society. The acquittal rate in criminal matters is high because of the required standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.”

The judgment found several procedural loopholes in the investigation into the Patrawala case. It doubted the credibility of the evidence collected by the police from the accused as well as the spot where the boy’s body was found in Vashi. According to the judgment, the police failed to follow the formal procedure of maintaining records of the evidence to be produced in court.

Further, the judgement said the chemical analysis report of Adnan’s clothes, ignored by the prosecution, could have established the presence of the accused on the spot. “The panch witnesses, who were present when Adnan’s clothes were seized from the spot, were not examined by the prosecution in court. Therefore, it is doubtful evidence,” the court observed.

The court also observed that the prosecution failed to establish the complete chain of circumstances in the case. “Finding blood, earth and pepper powder on Adnan’s clothes and shoes is not sufficient to draw inference against the accused. It does not establish a complete chain. No conviction can be made on such doubtful evidence,” the court observed.

Natarajan sent to Tiruchi prison


M. Natarajan, husband of Sasikala, former aide of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who was arrested in a land grab case on Saturday in Chennai, was produced before a magistrate at her residence here in the early hours of Sunday and remanded in judicial custody till March 2.

He was immediately taken to the Tiruchi Central Prison and lodged there. Mr.Natarajan was brought to the Tamil University police station at around 3.30 a.m. and interrogated by the police officers.

He was taken to the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital where a medical examination was done. Later, he was produced before Malathi, Judicial Magistrate I.

Mr. Natarajan told the Magistrate that he would like to undergo treatment in a private hospital as he was unwell. To this, the Magistrate said that he can take treatment in the medical facility available at Central Prison. When he insisted, the magistrate asked him to file a separate petition on Monday.

Later speaking to reporters, he alleged that the state government was harassing his family. “But we will bear it, as we are followers of Anna. My arrest is a gift for Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on her birthday. I also convey my birthday wishes to her,” he said before being taken to the prison.

Mr. Natarajan was arrested following a complaint lodged by S. Ramalingam of Vilar near Thanjavur with the district crime branch police alleging that Mr.Natarajan and his associates forcibly encroached upon his 15,000 sq.ft property to construct a memorial there. Cases were registered against Mr.Natarajan, his brother M.Swaminathan and four others — Chinnaiyah, Suresh, Ilanchezhiyan and Kubendran — under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Meanwhile, police arrested two more persons, Chinnaiah, a relative of Mr. Natarajan, and Kubendran of Needamangalam, an AIADMK party functionary. They were also produced before the Judicial Magistrate I and remanded to custody till March 2 before being sent to Tiruchi Central Prison.

Bench puts an end to a decade old mystery


The woman died in 2002 and a complaint was lodged in 2008 claiming it to be a murder

The Madras High Court Bench here has put at an end to the mystery over the death of an aged woman J. Mariammal of Tiruchi on December 21, 2002 by rejecting the argument of her nephew that she did not die naturally but was murdered by her relatives who did not want her to change a will executed in favour of them.

Dismissing a criminal revision petition filed by her nephew V. Singaravelan, Justice P. R. Shivakumar held that a Judicial Magistrate in Tiruchi had rightly rejected the petitioner’s theory of his paternal aunt having been murdered for want of sufficient evidence to prove the claim. The Magistrate had passed the order on September 29, 2010.

The petitioner had lodged a private complaint with the Magistrate only on August 11, 2008 after a delay of nearly six years since the death of his aunt. According to him, the aged woman had executed a will in April 2002 bequeathing her properties in favour of him as well as three other relatives.

In December 2002, she met with an accident and was hospitalised. Lying on the death bed, she asked her foster daughter Kanagavalli to call for her advocate in order to change the will. On coming to know of the development, the three accused killed the woman by administering excessive sedative medicines.

Further alleging that the homicidal death was suppressed by cremating the body, the petitioner claimed to have come to know about the incident through people who were privy to the occurrence.

On receipt of the private complaint, the Magistrate referred it to the Kottai police station in Tiruchi for investigation.

A case was registered under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. But after concluding the investigation, the police filed a final report for closing the case after terming it as a ‘mistake of fact.’ Not in agreement with such a conclusion, the petitioner filed a protest petition before the Magistrate.

Thereafter, the Magistrate examined the petitioner as well as other witnesses in favour of him on oath, recorded their evidence, perused the related documents including the investigation reports of the police and refused to commit the case for trial before a Sessions court on coming to the conclusion that the death was natural and not homicidal as claimed.

Holding that the Magistrate had adopted the right procedures while dealing with the case, Mr. Justice Shivakumar said that a Magistrate dealing with a private complaint need not mechanically refer a case to a Sessions court thereby making the individuals concerned to face trial unnecessarily.

The Magistrate could appreciate the evidence available and ascertain whether there were sufficient grounds to prosecute the accused.

Porngate: Commoners prosecuted, MLAs investigated


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 15:52 IST
By M Raghuram | Place: Mangalore | Agency: DNA

Everyone is equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal than others. This is what many people of the state have come to believe, going by how the former ministers involved in the porn scandal are apparently being given an easy way out.

Past Sunday night in Mangalore city, a policeman caught two youth red-handed watching porn on a mobile phone at an empty bus stand. The cop grabbed their collar but one of them managed to escape.

The one holding the mobile phone could not break free and was dragged to the police station. He was booked under section 294 of Indian Penal Code, which says the offence is cognizable, can be tried in court and is punishable with imprisonment for three months and/or fine. Poovaiah, the inspector of Barke police station in Mangalore city, told DNA the youth’s offence was grave.

Similar cases are booked across the state. Many times the offenders face conviction. However, the former ministers who were caught on camera while watching pornographic videos, that too on the floor of the assembly, have not faced police action yet; people have begun to ask if the MLAs are above law.

That the assembly speaker has set up an inquiry committee to look into the incident has not gone down well with people.
Raju Poojary, father of one of the youth who was caught watching porn in Bajpe, asked why his son should be penalised for an offence for which the ex-ministers were facing merely an inquiry committee.

‘Speaker biased’
Chairman of Mangalore Bar Council, SP Chengappa, told DNA that any offence committed inside the Vidhana Soudha could be inquired by Vidhana Soudha police, but only after the assembly speaker’s nod in this case. President of Transparency International, India, Justice (Retd) MF Saldanha said he had little hope that the accused MLAs would get punishment. He said speaker KG Bopaiah was known for being biased and even in this incident, the speaker was likely to let the former ministers go lightly.

Saldanha added that there was no need for inquiry in this incident as there was video evidence to prove the wrongdoing. He said the police were wrong in saying that the crime came under the jurisdiction of the speaker. He said what happened in the assembly that day was like any other criminal act upon which the police can take action.

Congress leader VS Ugrappa shared this view. He said most of the representatives in both the houses—including those of the BJP—were not expecting the committee to indict the accused trio. He said there should be instant justice in the case; the speaker should have asked the Vidhana Soudha police to book a case against the trio instead of intervening.

Court reduces life term of a man who killed wife for not cooking


Press Trust of India, Updated: February 19, 2012 18:59 IST

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court has reduced the life sentence awarded to a man – who killed his wife for not cooking food for him – to ten years in jail, saying the crime was not pre-planned.

The court, in the ruling last week, observed that the murder was over a “petty reason and not pre-planned” and Kamlya Waghmare cannot be held guilty under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder, but only under section 304 for culpable homicide.

Waghmare was sentenced to life imprisonment by the session’s court in September 2007 for murdering his wife Tara on March 14, 2006.

What prompted him to commit the murder was her refusal to cook for him.

The division bench of justices A P Lavande and S P Davare, which heard Waghmare’s appeal, observed, “The accused did not intend to commit murder of his wife but intended to cause injuries to her that was likely to cause her death. The accused assaulted his wife for a petty reason that she did not cook food for him. The assault was not pre-planned.”

The bench sentenced him to ten years in jail for culpable homicide.

The only evidence against him was the confession he had made before four witnesses – his relatives – about the murder when the latter visited Waghmare’s house and found Tara lying dead with him sitting by her side.

The High Court said there was no reason not to believe the witnesses’ account.

Shut resorts in tusker corridor: Experts


Nitin Sethi, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 03.13AM IST

NEW DELHI: The battle over removing hotels and resorts from the only corridor linking elephants in the Eastern and Western Ghats has got shriller. Experts on board the prime minister-led National Board of Wildlife (NBW) have written a joint letter to senior forest officials warning that they could be in contempt of court if they overrode the unanimous expert advice and set up yet another committee to review the Madras High Court decision that demanded removal of the resorts.

The Madras HC had ordered that the land falling in the Sigur corridor be taken over by the forest department and the resorts be demolished. The HC had ordered shutting down all the resorts in the belt and said the guest house owners had indulged in eco-destruction in the name of eco-tourism.

A bulk of resort owners took the case to the Supreme Court which asked the standing committee of the NBW to give its comments on the expert committee’s report on which the Madras HC had based its orders on. It noted, “It is open to the National Board for Wildlife to offer their comments on the report submitted by the committee constituted by the high court.”

The standing committee is chaired by the Union environment and forests minister and is stacked with senior forest officials and non-government wildlife experts. In a meeting, the experts agreed with the report and recommended that the land should be cleared of the resorts. But the forest officials suggested that yet another committee be set up on the issue. The issue was deferred with the minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, asking for more time to study the matter and come back to the group with the issue. It was decided that the ministry would seek some more time from the apex court to come back with its comments.

Now, in a joint letter, the experts have warned that the NBW could fall foul of court orders if it sought to review the results of a court-appointed committee without any mandate.

The experts shot off the letter, sources said, apprehending that the forest officials would use the delay in comments from the standing committee to set up yet another committee or site visit. Their letter reads, “We, therefore, humbly request that in the affidavit to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for seeking more time, the justification should not be the need to constitute another committee or site visit etc. We place on record that the undersigned members did not agree and in fact opposed the idea of forming another committee.”

The experts have also noted that the records of the meeting, when the Sigur corridor was discussed, did not reflect that all the experts were against setting up another committee. They wrote, “We wish to reiterate that all the undersigned members and not only Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda, concur with the findings and recommendations given in the detailed report of the expert committee… including all the areas identified.”

Court questions construction of parking at Gurdwara Rakabganj


The Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Council to explain how the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is building a multi-level underground parking lot at a cost of Rs.400 crore inside Gurdwara Rakabganj in the New Delhi area without mandatory permissions as the shrine is a notified Grade III heritage building.

Justice Vipin Sanghi asked the NDMC to file a status report on the alleged construction of the parking facility without taking mandatory permissions from different government agencies concerned by March 22, the next date of hearing.

The Court asked for the explanation on a petition by the Sikh Forum for Service and Justice challenging construction of the parking facility.

The construction of parking lot is going since the laying of the foundation stone by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit last year.

The petitioner, G.S. Oberoi, president of the Forum, through his counsel Avtar Singh submitted in a fresh application that he had obtained information through RTI route that the DSGMC had sought no permission from the Heritage Conservation Committee to build the parking.

The petitioner further said that in a reply to a RTI application, the local body said that the Gurdwara Management had submitted a proposal to build the parking but it was rejected.

RTI application

Even the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Tughlakabad, had not granted any permission to the Committee to fell any tree inside the shrine’s premises for construction of the parking. The petitioner obtained this information through RTI application, counsel for the petitioner said.

The petitioner submitted that there was no requirement to build such a big parking facility at such a huge cost by the DSGMC as there was not much of utility of it for the devotees visiting the shrine.

The Forum is an association of individuals working for the welfare of the Sikh community.

Mr. Oberoi submitted that there were four important religious festivals in a year when a large number of devotees gathered there. Throughout the year, the attendance of devotees at the shrine was not so huge that it would require such a huge parking space.

He further submitted that the money that the Management Committee wanted to spend on the parking facility could be spent on giving finishing touches to the 400-bed under-construction Guru Harikishan Hospital at the Balasaheb Gurdwara at Ashram in South Delhi which was non-functional due to the neglect on the part of the Management Committee.

The petitioner also expressed his apprehension that the multi-level parking when built might also pose a threat to the nearby Parliament building.

The petitioner urged the Court to restrain the Committee from constructing the parking facility and direct the authorities concerned to take appropriate action against those who had allowed the construction in violation of the rules.

Masterplan delay a jolt for Noida Extn homebuyers


Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times
Noida, February 20, 2012

In a fresh jolt to home-buyers in the stuck Noida Extension projects, the NCR Planning Board has refused to set a deadline for clearing the Greater Noida Masterplan 2021, without which the projects cannot take off.

Four months ago, however, the Allahabad high court gave a compromise formula, saying while the land would remain with the builders, farmers would get increased benefits.

The trouble began in May 2011, when the HC returned the land to farmers in the Shahberi village and the Supreme Court upheld the order. The HC quashed acquisition in the Patwari village too.

Although the Shahberi projects could not be revived because of the SC order, a larger HC bench said in October that realty projects could go on only if the masterplan was approved by the NCR planning board, a central body.

The board has blamed the UP government for delay, as the Greater Noida authority moved court with a review petition, saying the NCR planning board did not have the powers to approve the state’s plans.

Now, the authority wants to resume the projects without the NCR board’s nod. Of the 2.5 lakh housing units planned in Noida Extension, one lakh have already been booked.

The home-buyers quoted the board’s member secretary Naini Jayaseelam as saying: “We received the complete Greater Noida Masterplan 2021 only in January 2012. The UP government itself delayed matters.”

Abhishek Kumar, president of a buyers’ association, said, “Buyers are suffering because of a Centre-state tussle.”

Replying to an RTI plea, the board said the masterplan would be placed before the statutory planning committee and its recommendations would be sent to the NCR board. The process could take two-three months.

Consider aid even if offending drivers’ guilt not proven: HC


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Mon Feb 20 2012, 00:31 hrs

In a significant judgment which will benefit hundreds of litigants and kin of those who lost their lives in motor accidents, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that a lower court cannot dismiss a petition demanding compensation, merely on the ground that the negligence of the offending driver has not been proved on the civil side.

The High Court has ruled that if the offending driver, in an accident, is ultimately held guilty on the criminal side, the lower court has to decide the petition demanding compensation.

The judgment assumes significance since there has been a conflict in the lower courts with regard to award of compensation to litigants if the complainant is unable to prove guilt against the offending driver. Clearing the confusion the High Court has made it clear that if a trial court holds an offending driver guilty of negligence then the Civil Court will have to award compensation to the injured or the kin of the deceased.

Till now, if the guilt against the driver who caused the accident by driving in a rash and negligent manner is not proven the Civil Court normally refused to entertain a compensation claim, which is filed on the civil side. For seeking imprisonment, the trial is proceeded on the criminal side.

The directions have been passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain of the High Court on a petition filed by Chinder Pal Kaur, kin of Gurmail Singh who had died in a motor accident in 1996 due to negligent driving by Shiv Kumar. The issue raised in the petition was “as to whether the Tribunal (civil Court) under the Motor Vehicles Act, can dismiss the claim petition on the ground that the accident is not proved, if the driver of the offending vehicle is ultimately convicted by the Criminal Court for the offences on charges of death caused due to rash and negligence”.

Justice Jain has ruled “The standard of proof in a criminal case is stringent because the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, whereas civil cases are decided on the touchstone of preponderance of probability”.

A lower Court of Bathinda, on February 7, 2000 had dismissed a petition demanding compensation on the ground that the negligence of the offending driver Shiv Kumar was not proved in the civil case. However, a few days earlier in January 2000, a trial Court, on the criminal side, had held Shiv Kumar guilty. Aggrieved, the kin of deceased moved the High Court claiming compensation, which was admitted in 2006.

This petition was finally decided last week by the High Court. Justice Jain has remanded the matter back to the lower Court to decide the claim for compensation.

Need rules on illegal religious structures: HC


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Mon Feb 20 2012, 01:46 hrs

The Delhi government has been told to formulate guidelines to deal with encroachment and illegal construction in the form of religious structures.

The Delhi High Court, while adjudicating one such case, gave the government two months for the process.

The government also has to apprise the court about the ‘thumb rule’ and other relevant pointers it has proposed to the Religious Committee to decide on the representations and applications moved by civic agencies or private parties.

“The government shall file an affidavit placing on record the guidelines formulated by it for guidance to the Religious Committee. In case, the guidelines are not formulated till date, necessary steps shall be taken by the government to formulate the same within a period of two months under intimation to the Religious Committee for perusal,” said Justice Hima Kohli.

Justice Kohli also told the government to file a tabulated statement on the number of applications received by the Religious Committee, both by civic authorities and private parties.

“The statement shall also indicate number of meetings held by the Religious Committee in the last one year and the relevant dates and also the number of decisions taken on the references received by it,” said the court.

During the hearings in similar cases, Justice Kohli had been informed that the Religious Committee decisions have been kept in abeyance by the Delhi Cabinet till appropriate guidelines are finalised by the government after deliberations in the Legislative Assembly.

The Religious Committee was constituted by the Chief Secretary.

Meanwhile, the DDA through an affidavit informed that court that till the final guidelines come, “all land owning agencies have been directed to ensure that there is no expansion in these (illegal) construction/structures, and no new religious structures be allowed to come up (on the land)”.

Graft victim can appeal tainted babu’s acquittal: Bombay HC


Shibu Thomas, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 04.28AM IST

MUMBAI: Those who complain of corruption or bribery in the government are “victims” under the law and can file an appeal challenging the acquittal of an accused bureaucrat, the Bombay high court has ruled.

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M L Tahaliyani recently expanded the legal definition of the word “victim” in the amended Criminal Procedure Code to include complainants in corruption cases.

The judges said, “In a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the inaction or omission on the part of the public servant of not passing any order on an application or passing an adverse order since bribe is not given would constitute the loss or injury and therefore, even such a complainant would fall within the category of a victim.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by 38-year-old B U Batteli, who sought to challenge the acquittal of two government officers in a corruption case that he had lodged against them.

Earlier, under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), only the prosecution agency could give the go-ahead to file an appeal in any criminal case. Amendments introduced by the Union government in 2009 allowed “victims” to file an appeal without the nod of the police.

They could challenge acquittals or judgments which convicted the accused for a lesser offence, or if the compensation ordered by the court was inadequate. The victims, however, could not appeal against the quantum of sentence awarded by a court.

Advocates for the accused government officers in the present case argued that a complainant in a case under the special anti-corruption law could not be considered as a “victim” as he or she did not suffer any loss or injury.

This argument was dismissed by the court, which pointed out that the special law allowed a person to file a complaint against a public servant who demands a bribe. “The loss or injury caused, therefore, in such a case cannot be equated with the loss or injury caused in the case where the person is inflicted a physical injury, or wrongful loss is caused to his property or valuable security, as in the case where a complaint of cheating is filed,” said the court. The judges said that injury in cases filed under the anti-corruption law “is caused by the public servant in not discharging his statutory duty”.

For Batelli, however, there was no reprieve. The trial court had acquitted the accused government officers in May 2009, while the changes to the CrPC came into effect only in December 2009. The high court ruled that the change in law did not have a retrospective effect and therefore could not be applied in Batelli’s case.

Guj HC quashes FMC order against NMCE founder


PTI | 02:02 PM,Feb 19,2012

Ahmedabad, Feb 19 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court has quashed commodity markets regulator FMC’ order issuing showcause notice to National Multi-Commodity Exchange’s (NMCE) founder and vice chairman Kailash Gupta for alleged illegal and fraudulant act causing loss to the exchange. “The impugned order dated July 23, 2011 passed by the Commission is quashed,” the high court order said. The Forward Markets Commission (FMC) regulates functioning of 21 commodity exchanges in the country. The high court rejected the FMC order on the ground that the “principal of natural justice” was not followed by the regulator while conducting the inquiry. The court has directed the FMC to conduct a fresh inquiry and submit the report within four months. The regulator has also been asked to appoint some independent person as Managing Director and CEO of the NMCE in place of Anil Mishra in one week. The FMC had issued showcause notice to NMCE founder Kailash Gupta based on its 96-page order, in which it had alleged that Gupta breached his fiduciary responsibility to the exchange and “systematically defrauded it, misused and misappropriated its property and committed series of crimes under various laws…for benefiting himself, his family and his family-owned/controlled firms”. The FMC had also asked the NMCE to initiate process to recover Rs 36 crore and any other illegal payment from him. Gupta was heading the Ahmedabad-based NMCE as managing director and CEO since its inception in 2003 till May 2010. The NMCE, the country’s third largest commodity bourse, offers an electronic platform for futures trading in plantation, spices, non-ferrous metals and oilseeds. PTI LUX RKS

HC raps govt over extra insurance sum for disabled


Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2012

Complaints of discrimination against the disabled are common in matters of civic amenities, job appointments and admissions to educational institutions. But now one such case has emerged in relation to a life insurance scheme floated by the central government itself.
Slamming the Centre, the Delhi High Court has said it will quash its postal life insurance policy that charges the physically challenged extra premium.

State and central government employees are the beneficiaries of this policy. As per its rules, the assured sum for the disabled is much less while the premium much more than what is applicable to ordinary employees. The discrimination was brought to the notice of the court by a PIL filed by a visually challenged lawyer, Pankaj Sinha.

“Why this discrimination? How can you charge the disabled extra premium? They have the same risk factor as ordinary policyholders. The premium should be linked to various ailments — not disability,” a bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri told the Centre’s counsel.

“Disability is not a disease or a medical problem. We are going to quash the policy,” the court said. Sinha told the bench: “While non-handicapped persons are insured for a maximum of Rs 5 lakh, disabled people are insured for a maximum of only Rs 1 lakh. The premium paid by disabled people is also more than the premium for non-disabled people.”

The court rejected the Centre’s argument that disabled people are more prone to accidental risks as compared to persons without any disability and therefore the premium charged should be marginally different.

HC digs deep into TN land ceiling act


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 12.54AM IST

CHENNAI: Trusts, educational institutions and industrial houses owning thousands of acres of lands, beware. The Madras high court has embarked on a legal voyage to settle one of the most glaring disparities in our midst –the constitutional mandate to evenly distribute land and the concentration of property in the hands of a few trusts due to exemption clauses in the Land Ceiling Act.

A division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N Kirubakaran, determined to address the issue, has directed the court registry to issue notice to the advocate-general in this regard. Article 39 of the Constitution creates an obligation on the state to secure ownership and material resources and distribute them to subserve the common good. It is only with this purpose that the state enacted the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act 1961, which seeks to prevent concentration of land in the hands of a few persons.

However, Section 37-A of the same act empowers the government to issue permission to industrial and commercial undertakings to hold excess land. As per Section 37-B, public trusts can apply to the government for permission to hold or acquire lands for educational or hospital purposes. It is because of these provisions that educational/medical institutions and industries hold thousands of acres of lands. The bench headed by Justice Elipe Dharma Rao has now viewed that the two clauses – Section 37-A and 37-B – are contrary to the Constitution as well as the main object of the act itself.

The bench said the area of agricultural land available for cultivation in the state is limited and that this great disparity in the ownership of agricultural land led to the creation of the land ceiling act. “While the main object of the enactment of the act is to acquire the agricultural land in excess of the ceiling area so as to distribute them to the landless and other persons among the rural population to subserve the common good and increase agricultural production, both these sections inserted by subsequent amendments provide for allotment of such lands to purposes other than for agricultural production.”

The judges decided to go to the root of the issue when a writ appeal filed by M/s NEPC India Limited seeking permission to hold on to nearly 1,400 acres of land acquired for putting up wind electric generators in Tamil Nadu came up for hearing. The company said it planned to establish 100 MW wind farm in windy areas in Coimbatore, Erode, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts. As 25 acres is the minimum requirement for each MW of power to be produced by four wind electric generators, the company required 2,500 acres of land in Tamil Nadu. Accordingly, by 1994, it acquired more than 1,400 acres and kept writing to the Tamil Nadu seeking permission to ‘acquire and possess’ lands in excess of the land ceiling act provisions.

Since there was no reply, the company sold a small piece of land for agricultural purposes, following which the government issued a show-cause notice asking as to why the excess lands cannot be taken over under the act. After their petition was dismissed by a single judge in June last year, they preferred the present appeal.

HC gets notice for not issuing a copy of a court order


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 12.42AM IST

CHENNAI: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) issued a notice to the registrargeneral of the Madras high court for not issuing a copy of a court order to an advocate. The matter relates to a complaint lodged by advocate Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, who moved the Chennai (North) District Consumer Disputes Refressal Forum stating that though he had applied for a copy of a court order on September 20, 2011, the court authorities had not issued him the copy for reasons best known to them. He has sought `1 lakh as compensation from the high court.

In his original complaint, Manikandan submitted that his client-advocate P Sundararajan had filed a writ petition in connection with the alleged telephonic conversation between Kanchi Sankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the prime accused in the sensational Sankararaman murder case, and the trial judge. Noting that he had paid `70 as fee for the copy, he said the officials were indifferent to his reminders too.

A district forum bench comprising its president R Mohandoss and member Y Malliga, however, dismissed the complaint stating that Manikandan had not furnished any evidence to show that he actually paid any fee for availing himself of the services high court registry. “The complainant has not produced even a scrap of paper to show that he had availed himself of the service of the registrar-general by paying any court fee as consideration of service,” it said.

In his present appeal before the commission’s bench headed by Justice (retd) M Thanikachalam, Manikandan submitted that the high court does not issue any receipts for payment of court fee. Noting that the forum had failed to take note of this disclosure in the complaint itself, he said non-issuance of receipt itself would amount to deficiency in service.

The commission then issued notice to the registrar-general returnable in four weeks.

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