LEGAL NEWS 16.02.2012

No ‘serious exercise’ by states to check silicosis: NHRC


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 14,2012

New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) National Human Rights Commission today rued that states have not conducted any “serious exercise” to assess the dimensions of silicosis and measures needed to prevent it. NHRC member P C Sharma alleged there appears to be a nexus between employers and the government machinery who in a denial mode continue to put under the carpet the number of silicosis-affected workers in states. He was addressing the third regional review meeting organised by the NHRC here on the progress made by the states on the action taken by them to address the concerns relating to silicosis, a press release said. Silicosis is a respiratory disease caused by inhaling silica dust. Representatives from Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and West Bengal, Directorate General Factory Advice Services and Labour Institutes and Directorate General of Mines Safety and NGOs participated in the meeting. Sharma appreciated that there is some perceptible change in the approach of the authorities in different states, he however, expressed concern that barring Chhattisgarh no Chief Minister of the other participating states was informed by the departments concerned about the enormity of the problem relating to silicosis, the release said. The NHRC is keen to know the results on the ground and not just the policies which are being framed, he said. Appreciating the role of NGOs and civil society in this regard, Sharma said they should also try to bring these cases to the knowledge of appropriate authorities in the respective states.










Green Tribunal flags red for OPG’s power plant


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Wed Feb 15 2012, 07:48 hrs
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has stayed OPG’s planned 300 MW coal-fired power plant on Kutch’s Mundra coast until the company obtains all necessary clearances, including additional clearances for any technical changes the company may have in mind.

In a judgment delivered on Tuesday, NGT’s acting chairperson Justice A S Naidu and expert member Vijai Sharma laid down four directions to be followed, including one which stipulates that the OPG would not begin constructions without all clearances, a condition that was also laid down by the state government when it granted the company environmental clearance on June 11, 2010.

After the company’s lawyer proposed to the tribunal that the company could possibly deviate from the original plans and build its intake and outfall channels away from forest land, which is required now, the NGT laid down another direction; OPG would have to apply for clearances for the changes so made, and the concerned authority would have to dispose of this within four months.

If, on the other hand, the OPG chooses to stick to its original plan, which requires about three hectares of forest land, then applications would have to be made and the authorities would dispose of this within two months, the tribunal also ruled.









High Court Bench clarifies order on power of police


A direction issued by the court to the police to defer from harassing an individual does not mean that the latter are prevented even from exercising the power of investigation and authority vested on them under Section 160 (power to summon witnesses) of the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr.P.C.), the Madras High Court Bench here has clarified.

Justice K.K. Sasidharan made the clarification while disposing of a petition filed by Tirumangalam Taluk police inspector seeking a direction to a woman to cooperate in locating her house at Chittoor in Andhra Pradesh as her husband was a suspect in a case related to an attempt on the life of former Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani by planting a pipe bomb under a causeway at Alampatti near here on October 28.

The woman had filed a writ petition earlier and obtained certain directions to the police with regard to summoning her for interrogation. However, claiming that she was not divulging the details about her residence, the inspector had filed the present petition seeking a direction to the woman to accompany a Special Investigation Team to Chittoor.

Clarifying his earlier order, the judge said: “It is true that this Court has issued certain directions to safeguard the interest of the respondent. However, that does not mean that the Investigating Officer is deprived of his right to conduct an investigation and for the said purpose, to require the attendance of persons who are acquainted with the facts and circumstances of the case.”

“The directions were issued to protect the life and liberty of the respondent. But at the same time, the power of the Investigating Officer to conduct a fair investigation in the matter was preserved. The police are given a free hand in the matter of investigation. Even the Courts cannot direct the police to conduct investigation in a particular manner. The investigation is a prerogative of police.”

“The Cr.P.C., therefore, deals with the authority of the police to investigate a cognizable offence and at the same time, it protects the right of witnesses and the accused. There is no dispute that the freedom of individuals must give way to larger public interest and the security of our country.”

The judge also recorded the submission of the woman’s counsel that she would cooperate with the investigating officer.








HC dismisses bank appeal


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The High Court on Tuesday dismissed an appeal filed by the South Canara District Central Cooperative Bank Limited (SCDCC) in connection with the establishment of a new District Central Cooperative Bank in Udupi after the bifurcation of undivided Dakshina Kannada district.

Petitioner Vadiraj Shetty, SCDCC and others questioned the single bench order and the government order in connection with the splitting of South Canara District Central Cooperative Bank Limited and formation of a separate District Central Cooperative Bank for Udupi district.

The state government does not have any power to split the SCDCC Bank, they claimed. The government had issued orders to set up a separate Central Cooperative Bank for the district in the past by splitting the SCDCC Bank. The High Court had stayed the operation of the order after the SCDCC Bank filed a writ petition against the move. During the hearing on August 11, 2011, the High Court single bench had dismissed the writ petition and upheld the government order. Questioning the single bench order, they again they filed an appeal before the division bench.









Arguments heard in Google, Facebook case


Showing of objectionable content by social networking sites and websites like Facebook and Google affects religious sentiments of crores of Indians, Delhi Police Tuesday told the Delhi High Court.

Justice Suresh Kait was hearing a plea filed by Facebook and Google challenging a trial court’s order to prosecute them for allegedly hosting objectionable content.

Advocate Naveen Sharma, appearing for police, said that in October last year the government called the representatives of Google, Facebook and other websites and asked them to remove the objectionable content, but the companies did not comply.

Counsel of Facebook and Google asked the government why it was intervening in the case.

A company’s counsel said: “In case of private companies, I have not seen Union of India rush into matters like this.”

“We are curious as to why the government of India has become a party to a case between private parties?”

The court would next hear the case Feb 16.

The government in its reply before the trial court had sanctioned prosecution of social networking sites and websites like Facebook, Google, Microsoft and Yahoo India over objectionable content on their sites.

Petitioner Vinay Rai approached the trial court to remove objectionable content from 21 websites including Facebook, Google, Yahoo and YouTube. Among these, 12 websites are of foreign-based companies.

Metropolitan Magistrate Sudesh Kumar summoned the accused companies to face trial for allegedly committing offences punishable under the Indian Penal Code sections 292 (sale of obscene books and material) and 293 (sale of obscene objects to young person).

The trial court observed that the material submitted by the complainant contained obscene pictures and derogatory articles pertaining to Hindu deities, Prophet Mohammad and Jesus Christ.







Notification on recruitment of judges upheld–of-judges-upheld/230064-60-118.html


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court Registrar-General, in his counter affidavit filed in the High Court in response to a writ petition challenging a notification dated January 21 this year of the State government, inviting applications for recruitment to the 185 posts of civil judges, has justified the notification.
Originally, advocate R Krishnamurthy, in his PIL, sought to quash the entire records relating to the Home Department notification dated January 21 last and for a direction to the government to issue a fresh notification.
Krishnamurthy contended that the notification, granting permission to the High Court to make the recruitment directly, made certain relaxations with regard to educational qualification and to the fresh law graduates.
It stipulated that the practising advocates should have a minimum experience of three years in the Bar.
But, for fresh law graduates, no such experience was prescribed. Hence, the notification was highly illegal, unlawful and could not be sustained in law, he contended.
The counter said that the qualifications for the two categories were fixed by the appointing authority after an extensive consideration of all the relevant factors including the recommendations of the Law Commission and were based on reasonable and sound classification and did not suffer from any infirmity. It was only a one-time measure, adopted to the limited extent of enabling the High Court to substitute the role of the TN Public Service Commission.
The experience clause had been dispensed with only with a view to roping in the best available talent. It was well settled that it was for the rule making or the appointing authorities to prescribe the qualification for recruitment and the same could not be questioned, the counter added.











Flaws in recovery policy of banks’


C Unnikrishnan, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 06.23AM IST


MUMBAI: The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has found shortcomings in the recovery policy of a few banks.

In an affidavit filed in the apex court on February 10, the finance ministry stated “in certain cases the value of security indicated in the settlement proposals is much less than the value arrived at the time of advance, indicating unrealistic valuation of security either at the time of sanction of the credit limit or at the time of compromise settlements.”

The SC was hearing a PIL filed by Richie Shoaib Sequeira stating that there was no strict vigil by the finance ministry and RBI while writing off loans and one-time settlements. According to the plea, the finance ministry has not framed rules while writing off loans, which smack of corruption.

The affidavit mentioned that there were instances where a few banks did not have a separate recovery policy. “Sometimes, the net worth of the borrowers and guarantors had either declined drastically or become nil at the time of compromise indicating inadequate evaluation of the borrowers’ net worth at the time of sanction.” Although the security was available in many cases of compromise settlements, the bank had not made adequate efforts to realize the security and it did not examine the staff accountability in many cases, the affidavit said. The RBI does not have any control over the discretionary powers of the bank, the sworn statement said.







Direction on negative voting now could confuse voters: HC


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 15, 2012

Stating that any direction at this hour will create confusion in the minds of voters, the Bombay high court (HC), on Tuesday, refused to grant interim relief to a petitioner seeking inclusion of negative voting option in the Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). The court was hearing a petition filed by Thane resident Aparna Bedekar, which takes exception to an order regarding the use of EVMs passed by the state election commission (SEC) in January 2005. The procedure would inadvertently breach the secrecy of the voter, it states.

The court said that it would not pass any order at the eleventh hour as it could cause confusion in the minds of voters. “You should have come early. What about the entire election process? Will you take its responsibility?” the court asked the petitioner.

Another division bench had, last week, admitted the PIL seeking inclusion of negative voting option in the EVMs.

The Election Commission had earlier informed the court that it would not be possible to facilitate the inclusion of ‘negative vote’ or ‘none of the above’ option in EVMs during the upcoming civic polls.











PIL filed against Upa Lokayukta appointment


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


BANGALORE: Two public interest litigations (PILs) were filed in the High Court on Monday challenging the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as the Upa Lokayukta.
The petitioners, advocates Ananda Murty R and Janekere C Krishna, have stated in their plea that the appointment of the Upa Lokayukta was illegal according to section 3 sub clause 2 of the Lokayukta Act, 1984.
“The Act says that five persons, including the High Court Chief Justice, leaders of Opposition and chairpersons of both Houses of the Legislature, and the chief minister must be consulted before appointing the Upa Lokayukta.
“However, in this process the most important person, the HC Chief Justice was not consulted,” they contend.
‘Discretion Must in Appointments’Meanwhile, in Hassan, H D Deve Gowda blamed the High Court CJ, state government and Justice Chandrashekaraiah for the controversy over appointment of the Upa Lokayukta.









PIL seeking audit of RIL’s KG basin contract rejected


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 15, 2012

A public interest litigation seeking a comprehensive audit by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) into the contract awarded to Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) for exploring the Krishna-Godavari basin oil fields was rejected on the grounds of being premature by the Bombay high court.

The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi, however, directed the petroleum ministry to speed up proceedings it had initiated following a report prepared by the CAG on the special audit of the Production Sharing Contract with RIL. The court has set December 31, 2012 as a deadline for the Centre to appoint an expert in case any dispute arises between the Centre and RIL over CAG findings.

City resident Shrikant Padhi had filed the PIL contending a complete process of special audit by CAG was scuttled because of non-cooperation on part of RIL, which did not make their records available for the special audit. His counsel, Ashish Mehta, pointed out that the CAG has, in its report, castigated the Centre for turning a blind eye to several purported illegalities committed by RIL.

Mehta pointed out from the CAG report that under the Production Sharing Contract, it was mandatory for RIL to relinquish 25% of the area before moving to the next phase. They have moved now to a third phase without relinquishing any area from the earlier phases, the lawyer submitted.

Central government counsel Rui Rodrigues, on the other hand, stated that the CAG report had been tabled in Parliament and is presently under examination of the Parliamentary Accounts Committee.












Punjab prepared Nayagaon master plan under MLAs’ pressure, says UT


: Wed Feb 15 2012, 04:21 hrs


Intensifying its scathing attack against the Punjab government for allowing Tata Camelot to come up in a “controlled area”, the Administration today accused Punjab of preparing the master plan of Nayagaon keeping the Tata Camelot project in mind. Senior standing counsel for UT Administration, Sanjay Kaushal alleged that the Punjab government buckled under the pressure of it’s MLAs to prepare the master plan of Nayagaon to benefit Tata housing corporation. “The master plan for Nayagaon was not made for its residents but was made keeping the project (Camelot) in mind,” Kaushal averred.

The allegation was made during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Advocate Aalok Jagga challenging the housing project to come up in Kansal. On a pointed query put by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover as to whether the Chandigarh Administration was “helpless” when the master plan was made, Kaushal replied in the affirmative.

The “helplessness” of Administration was, however, questioned by the division bench. The Bench questioned Kaushal what the “champions of Edict” of Chandigarh were doing when the land belonging to MLAs was transferred for construction of the project. The Administration counsel added that as per the master plan, no high-rise building is allowed to come up within one km of the Capitol Complex. Kaushal alleged that since Punjab knew that the Tata Camelot project is located within 1.9 km of the Capitol Complex, it kept the embargo on construction of high rise building at 1 km. The master plan for Nayagaon was notified on January 2, 2009.

Speaking for the Bench, Justice Mahesh Grover questioned why the UT Administration never raked the issues of threat to heritage of the city before the Court. Justice Grover remarked that the Court has been given the impression that the authorities have abdicated their responsibilities. The Court also asked whether any construction other than the old building of the High Court is not a “blatant violation”. Referring to the vision of French architect Le Corbusier, heavily relied upon by the Administration, Justice Grover questioned “where was the vision at that time” to construction the new building of High Court.

Sanjay Kaushal submitted that it was highly “unfortunate” that Punjab and Haryana are jointly trying to destroy their “jewel” (Chandigarh). He said that despite the development by Punjab and Haryana had not received a green signal from the co ordination committee (comprising of members of UT, Punjab and Haryana).

He added, “Heritage knows no boundaries. Punjab and Haryana should protect Chandigarh for the next generation.” Responding to this, the Bench orally remarked that “heritage cannot be made the foundation of a judicial order”.

Using his wit, Congress spokesperson and senior lawyer, Abhishek Manu Singhvi, appearing on behalf of Tata Housing development company launched a counter attack on the petitioner for filing a “premature” petition. Taking a dig at the “bleeding hearts” of those who have challenged Camelot, Singhvi said that without preparing the master plan for the city, the UT Administration cannot collaterally challenge the master plan of Nayagaon. He questioned why the Chandigarh Administration did not challenge the master plan of Nayagaon and that malafide cannot be alleged against a statute. Singhvi said that the master plan is a statute and that the co ordination committee has no legal sanctity. He contended that the present petition is an attempt to get some observations from the Court on the project. He added that the petition is a “deliberate attempt to make the Court a licence issuing authority”. The PIL will come up for resumed hearing on Wednesday.











Ugrappa hits out at BJP


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 04.14AM IST

MANGALORE: Former leader of the opposition in the state legislative council V S Ugrappa has sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into reasons attributed by senior counsel B V Acharya for stepping down as Karnataka’s advocate-general (AG). Acharya was the special public prosecutor in the disproportionate assets case involving Tamil Nadu chief minister Jayalalithaa. He chose to step down from the AG post citing pressure mounted on him by BJP leaders to quit as special prosecutor. “The BJP, which is striving to take moral high ground by attacking the Congress-led UPA government on the 2G spectrum, should reveal who brought pressure on B V Acharya to step down as special PP,” Ugrappa told reporters on Tuesday.

Terming this “interference in the process of delivering justice in a corruption case”, he urged chief minister D V Sadananda Gowda to come clean on it.

The chief minister on Sunday had told the reporters here that the state government had requested B V Acharya to step down from one of the two posts that he was holding in view of a PIL filed in the high court. Acharya had refused to quit as special PP as the chief justice of Karnataka High Court pursuant to directions from the Supreme Court had entrusted him the role.

Referring to the report submitted by then Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde on illegal mining in the state, Ugrappa said as per Section 12 of the Lokayukta Act, the government should have submitted the action taken report to the office of Lokayukta in three months.

He dubbed the move to set up a house committee to investigate the porn gate scandal eyewash and said Speaker K G Bopaiah rather should have utilised inherent powers vested with him to disqualify the errant ministers.

“There are several precedence of this sort where presiding officers of legislatures and Parliament have acted against the errant law makers,” he said, adding the whole process smacks of a cover-up intended to save the leaders involved.











Mullaperiyar: Kerala seeks time to submit report


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 15, 2012, 13:43

Chennai: The Supreme Court-appointed empowered committee on Mullaperiyar dam met on Wednesday to examine various technical reports on the safety of the 116-year-old structure.
According to reports, the Kerala government submitted a plea to the empowered committee seeking more time to submit its report.
The Oommen Chandy government of Kerala has asked for more time to conduct tests on the current status of the dam, saying that tests were still continuing on the Mullaperiyar Dam.
The empowered committee report will be finalised once tests on the Mullaperiyar Dam are over.
Kerala insists that until the tests were completed, it will be difficult to finalise a report.

The committee, headed by former Chief Justice of India AS Anand, and comprising five members, including representatives from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, is expected to recommend measures aimed at ending the decades-old dispute between the two states in its report to the Supreme Court.
The panel’s report will decide the fate of the 116-year-old dam, which has flared up tension again in recent days threatening to strain relations between Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The panel could not complete its report during its two-day session last month and terefore, decided to meet again on February 15.

Kerala representative in the panel, K T Thomas, told reporters, “As the committee’s term ends on February 29, we want to complete the final report and submit to the Supreme Court before that.”
The committee has assigned each member “a certain task” for the final preparation of the report. “The final report will be unanimous,” Thomas assured.
During its previous meetings, the committee considered the reports of the studies and investigations conducted by various agencies it had constituted to go into the dam’s safety. It also discussed the report of the two technical members who inspected the dam after Kerala raised apprehensions about its safety following mild tremors in the area. The committee discussed the applications filed by Kerala and Tamil Nadu and took their submissions on record.
With Agency Inputs










SC to hear Loop-Essar plea to delink case from 2G trial


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 02.38AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday will hear a petition by Loop-Essar seeking delinking of the alleged cheating case against them and their promoters from the 2G spectrum scam trial on the ground that the CBI had said none of the accused conspired with former telecom minister A Raja nor paid bribe to public servants to secure mobile service licences.

The petition listed for mentioning before a bench headed by Justice G S Singhvi said at worst, the case slapped against Loop-Essar pertained to cheating and hence, it should be moved out of the docket of special CBI judge O P Saini, who is hearing the multi-crore spectrum scam case.

The essential ingredient for bunching of cases for trial before the special judge was the commonality of charges under Prevention of Corruption Act, petitioners Essar Teleholding Ltd and Loop Telecom Ltd said, and pointed out that the chargesheet against them did not mention any of these charges.

The CBI had accused the two companies and their promoters of cheating the Department of Telecom to secure 2G licences in 2008. The chargesheet said the accused concealed the link between Essar and Loop to get around the guidelines which forbid sister concerns of companies, which already had presence in telecom sector, from bidding for licences if the stakes of the parent company exceeded 10%.

The CBI had decided not to press charges under Prevention of Corruption Act, arguing that public servants in DoT were not aware of cheating and misrepresentation on behalf of Loop at the time of distribution of letters of intent. It also argued that there was no money trail either. According to the agency, the telecom firm eventually bagged licences for 21 circles for nearly Rs 1,450 crore but didn’t bribe any public servant for the purpose.

The petitioners said, “Despite the government of India (the ministry of corporate affairs and ministry of law and justice) having confirmed that there is no Clause 8 violation by the Essar Group, the CBI has proceeded with the chargesheet.”

It added, “Essar has always maintained that it held only 2.15% in Loop during the time of the application and, therefore, there is no violation of Clause 8. Essar has complied with all conditions of Clause 8 under UASL guidelines (dealing with cross-holding) in totality and all the facts which have been given at the time of submitting the application for telecom licence i.e. shareholding/ownership have been independently verified by the government agencies.”










SC seeks ATS response on blast suspect’s plea


Agencies | Feb 15, 2012, 06.20AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought response from the Union home ministry, Delhi Police and Maharashtra’s ATS on the petition of Taqi Ahmad, brother of arrested accused Naquee, seeking a CBI probe into the 13/7 Mumbai serial blasts case.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and J Chelameshwar also stayed Taqi’s arrest but asked him to report to the Jamianagar police every alternate day and posted the matter for hearing to February 22. The petitioner had sought a CBI probe complaining that the ATS and Delhi Police had been subjecting him and his family members to harassment by charging them with false cases. Taqi, who has also been summoned for questioning by the ATS, has pleaded that SC transfer the blasts probe to CBI.

The petitioner has sought probe against officials of ATS and Delhi Police’s Special Cell who “implicated” him. According to the petition, “The Special Cell persuaded Naqi to act as its informer to which he agreed. He was taken to Mumbai to identify the 13/7 suspects. On Jan 9, Naqi aid his work was done and he would return to Delhi. Then we wereinformed that the ATS had arrested Naqi in a forgery case and was later shown as the key accused in the 13/7 blasts,” it said.

On counting day, ensure we get access to court, judge tells top cop–ensure-we-get-access-to-court–judge-tells-top-cop/912238/

AADITI JATHAR LAKADE : Pune, Wed Feb 15 2012, 02:15 hrs

Principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar on Tuesday wrote to Pune Police Commissioner Meeran Borwankar and Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) (Traffic) Vishwas Pandhare to ensure that entrances to Pune district and sessions court in Shivajinagar are not blocked on the day of counting of votes on February 17. The counting will be done at a government godown behind Shivajinagar court.

The letter states that there were complaints from judges and court staff last year that they had to face problems in reaching the court as the road was blocked with barricades. The court is closed only on February 16. “Access to the court should not be blocked for judges, lawyers, court staff and litigants for law and order. If done so, it would amount to interference in course of justice,” the letter says.

It also added that all the three gates — two and three located near Sancheti Hospital chowk and gate four near the godown — are open on any given day and should be open on the day of counting as well.

Borwankar said although she had not received the letter, the police shall definitely try to keep the gates clear for court staff, judges, litigants and lawyers. According to Amol Kajale-Patil, secretary, Pune Bar Association (PBA), the litigants avoid coming to the court on this day. “Even police avoid getting witnesses to the court citing election duty as it is difficult to control the mob. The situation is the same every year,” he said.










Gen VK Singh denies victimizing junior


Ajay Sura, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 03.18AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Army chief General V K Singh has told the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) in Chandigarh that he did not meet Major General T S Handa in connection with any issue related to change in his DoB.

Major General Handa had earlier alleged that Gen Singh had “spoilt” his annual confidential report (ACR) because he did not change the Army chief’s date of birth. Major Gen Handa was then posted in the military secretary branch.

General Singh’s reply was submitted to the AFT recently in response to a petition filed by Major General Handa.

In his reply, General Singh said he had assessed Major General Handa during that period entirely on the basis of his performance. There were no extraneous considerations or mala fide intention on his part while assessing his performance during their tenures in the Eastern Command. General Singh also said he did not pressurize or speak to Major General Handa’s senior about his assessment.

The AFT was slated to hear the case on Tuesday, but it has now been adjourned till March 1.

While in Ambala as general officer commanding (GOC) of 2 Corps, Gen Singh had submitted an application to the MS branch seeking change in his date of birth from May 10, 1950 to May 10, 1951, Major General Handa said in his petition filed in April 2011.

Handa was then a Brigadier posted as deputy military secretary in Ambala. He claimed the MS branch did not consider General Singh’s request. But General Singh held him responsible for not amending his date of birth. Major General Handa claimed his ACR was spoilt in 2007 when General Singh was GOC-in-C of Eastern Command and Handa was general officer commanding, 57 Mountain Division, in the northeast sector.

Major-General Handa said General V K Singh wrote remarks like ‘displeasure’ and ‘lukewarm’ in his ACR without giving him an opportunity to be heard. Later, when he sent a non-statutory complaint against the ACR to the Army Headquarters, it was rejected by General Singh, who was then the Army chief.







Hyderabad: Senior UIDAI officer accused of sexual harassment


PTI | 11:02 PM,Feb 14,2012

Hyderabad, Feb 14 (PTI) The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has ordered transfer of a senior IAS officer, heading the regional office of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) here, following allegations of sexual harassment by a woman Indian Revenue Service officer. The CAT Hyderabad Bench last week directed the Centre that UIDAI’s Deputy Director General V S Bhaskar be transferred after the complainant, who is working as Assistant Director General at the UIDAI’s regional office, sought action against him, her counsel Jonnalagadda Sudheer said today. Bhaskar has now approached the Andhra Pradesh High Court against the CAT directive. The High Court today posted the matter for further hearing for tomorrow. The complainant had earlier approached higher authorities accusing Bhaskar of sexual harassment and passing sexual comments and sought his transfer from the regional office of UIDAI to enable her to continue her work, Sudheer said. “As no action was taken against Bhaskar despite the matter being brought to the notice of authorities concerned, she was compelled to go on leave for six months,” Sudheer said and claimed even the Enquiry Committee for Sexual Harassment held prima facie that Bhaskar was guilty of misconduct of sexual harassment.” “Despite this finding, Bhaskar was not transferred after which she approached the CAT,” Sudheer said. Bhaskar could not be reached for comments. PTI VVK VKV











AP: IAS officer moves HC against CAT order


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: A case pertaining to transfer of an IAS officer for subjecting a woman IRS officer, who is his colleague, to sexual harassment came before the division bench of the High Court comprising chief justice Madan B. Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar on Tuesday. The bench posted the case to Wednesday for hearing. Petitioner VS Bhaskar, IAS officer and deputy directorgeneral of UIDAI, approached the High Court seeking a direction to quash the interim orders of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) as illegal and to suspend operation of the CAT’s order given on February 3. The tribunal, in its order, directed the central government and UIDAI authorities concerned to transfer Bhaskar from the present posting within 15 days from February 3.Bhaskar said in his petition that the tribunal had apparently decided in favour of S Padmaja, IRS officer and UIDAI assistant directorgeneral basing on the nature of allegations levelled against him and on the observations of improperlyconstituted Complaints Committee of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and its report which was prepared without following the prescribed procedures. Bhaskar said the tribunal erred in exercising its jurisdiction in ordering his transfer out of the present posting. The committee had heard him for only five minutes and never afforded him a chance to crossexamine the witnesses and to clarify his position in full, and acted in complete disregard to the principles of natural justice. The committee report was liable to be rejected on the ground of improper constitution of the committee. “She approached the tribunal only to harass me for no fault of mine only because she appears to have developed a grudge against me presumably on account of work distribution”, he said.Dealing with an application filed by the senior IRS officer, the tribunal had earlier said that the victim who was subjected to sexual harassment was compelled to go on earned leave since it was not possible to work under the very same person who was the perpetrator of sexual harassment. The committee, in its findings, noted that most of the inappropriate behaviour of the IAS officer concerned had happened under the influence of alcohol and he resorted to making phone calls using abusive language, threats, endearments etc. when he was in an inebriated condition.”There may be some technical errors in the constitution of the committee which had no NGO on it but we are of the considered view that action on the basis of the report shall be taken immediately i.e. transfer of respondent from the present posting,” the tribunal had said in its order, and posted the case for filing reply after three weeks.










Rosy Blue payment to ex-CJI kin under I-T lens


C Unnikrishnan, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 03.46AM IST

KOCHI: The income tax department has found that reputed diamond merchant and IPL Kochi franchisee Rosy Blue has been regularly paying money as ‘retainership’ to former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan’s advocate son-in-law P V Sreenijan.

I-T officials from Mumbai had raided Rosy Blue, promoted by B Arun Kumar and Company, in August last year following a tip-off about its undisclosed accounts in Leichenstein’s LGT Bank and recovered details of the payments. Mumbai director general of income tax (investigation) B P Gaur, who headed the probe, confirmed about payments made to Sreenijan. “They failed to give an explanation about the payments. The payments were made regularly. I do not remember the exact amounts. The investigations are continuing,” he said.

These findings are part of a report prepared by the Kerala I-T investigation wing and submitted to the Central Board of Direct Taxes, which is probing Balakrishnan’s assets. Sources said that in 2006-2007, the company made a one-time payment of Rs 60 lakh to Sreenijan.

Rosy Blue did not comment but Sreenijan confirmed to TOI about receiving the money. But he refused to provide details of the cases he had handled for Rosy Blue saying it was a client-lawyer relation. Sreenijan said he was no more associated with Rosy Blue and said Rs 60 lakh was a one-time payment. He refused to disclose information about other payments. I-T sources said the money was paid by cheque but both the parties have never met. “This we find strange,” an official said. In its report I-T has suggested another agency to investigate this nexus among other allegations considering its job was only to find tax violations.

The I-T department had also reopened the last four years’ assessments of Balakrishnan, his daughters K B Sony and K B Rani and their husbands Sreenijan and advocate M J Benny for undervaluing the property transactions. While the declared value of the properties was around Rs 3 crore, the amount paid was around Rs 9 crore. Sources said the four family members had purchased over 60 acres of land in Dindigul in Tamil Nadu and in Idukki district during 2005-2010. Sources said Balakrishnan did not declare the interest earned from his bank deposits, which prompted the I-T department to reopen his assessments.

The I-T department had investigated allegations that Balakrishnan’s relatives amassed property worth crores during his tenure as a judge and CJI.

Sreenijan said the allegations were not true and the I-T department was harassing them. He told TOI over phone that he did not own any property except one at Edappilly. “On this transaction, I paid the registration charges. The state government has issued a notice asking me to pay Rs 2.6 lakh because they feel that the property has been undervalued. I have agreed to pay this








2002 riots: Court’s verdict on access to SIT report today
February 15, 2012

The court of Metropolitan Magistrate MS Bhatt in Ahmedabad on Wednesday will decide if the SIT’s final report on the probe into allegations of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi’s involvement in 2002 riots should be made public.

The court will also hear the petitions filed by social activists Teesta Setalvad and Mukul Sinha seeking copies of the report filed in a sealed cover before it on Wednesday.

The SIT on Monday opposed sharing with activists its final report on the probe into allegations of CM Narendra Modi’s involvement in 2002 riots, as a court had reserved till Feb 15 its order on their plea seeking access to the crucial document.

During the hearing in the court, the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) opposed the applications by Teesta Setalvad and other activists, saying some of them had no locus standi to be given a copy of the report.

SIT had submitted the report to the court in a sealed cover last week amid speculation that Modi may have got relief in the probe on Zakia Jafri’s complaint against the chief minister and others on the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Zakia’s husband Ehsan Jafri, a former Congress MP, was among the 69 people killed in post-Godhra Gulberg Housing society riots.

SIT lawyer RS Jambuar said only after the court decides to close the complaint holding that there is no evidence, the copies could be given to the “original complainant” (Zakia), as per the Supreme Court’s order.

The SIT team also submitted an application seeking one month’s time to submit the statements, evidence and documents related to the probe. The application said since this material was voluminous and compiled in a haphazard way it needed time to serialise the papers before submitting to the court.

Jambuar said the documents were crucial and must be kept under tight security.

He admitted that SIT had obtained the report of the amicus curie Raju Ramchandran (appointed by the Supreme Court), and had considered it before submitting its own final report.

The amicus curie’s report had been dealt with in the SIT’s final report, Jambuar added.

On behalf of the applicants, Zakia’s lawyer SM Vora said her client, being the original complainant, should get a copy, as per the apex court’s order.

After hearing both the sides, the judge had reserved the order till February 15.

“We appreciate the court’s decision to give its order in only two days time,” Setalvad said.










HC Judgment on Odia Novel Today


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Monday concluded hearing on the PIL challenging selection of Odia novel ‘Achinha Basabhumi’ by Kalpana Kumari Devi for the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award. The division bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra would deliver the judgment on Tuesday.

The Bench had earlier issued notice to the Centre and the Akademi authorities while issuing an interim stay on the presentation of the award. The award was to be presented on February 14.

The selection of the novel has stirred a huge controversy leading to a PIL by novelist Sricharan Pratap alias Kaniska alleging that it was chosen in gross violation of established rules and norms. The award rule stipulates nomination of a work in any of the recognised languages, which is first published during the three years prior to the year immediately preceding the year of the award. Thus, the novel in contention should have been written between 2007 and 2009 to qualify for the 2011 award.

Citing an interview of the author published in a monthly magazine ‘Jugashree Juganari’ in 2010, the petitioner stated that she stated that she had given up writing for the last 20 years. This implied that she had not written a book between 2007 and 2009 and it was written in 2010 going by her words. Thus, the book did not qualify for selection, the petitioner submitted. The petitioner also alleged that ‘Achinha Basabhumi’ did not feature in the ground list and was suddenly inserted in the shortlist.









No verdict should be reserved for over 3 months: Justice Ganguly


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 02.56AM IST


NEW DELHI: Justice A K Ganguly, who was part of the bench that monitored the CBI probe into the 2G spectrum scam and retired soon after pronouncement of the explosive judgment ordering cancellation of telecom licences, wants the Supreme Court to follow what it has prescribed for the high courts – no judgment should remain reserved for more than three months.

Justice Ganguly said litigants develop a grudge against the justice delivery system because of the delay in pronouncement of verdicts. Their plight worsens when the judge, who heard the plea and reserved judgment, retires without giving the decision, entailing fresh hearing and resultant hardship, he told TOI.

The remark, although in response to a question on delay in delivery of judgments, takes significance because the bench of Justices G S Singhvi and Ganguly had kept their verdict “reserved” on the petition against PMO’s inaction in granting sanction for prosecution of sacked telecom minister A Raja for more than a year. The keenly-awaited verdict was reserved on November 24, 2010 and delivered on January 31, 2012, three days before Justice Ganguly retired, with the long delay leading to agonizing suspense about the fate of the politically crucial petition.

Early on, Justice Ganguly’s scathing comments on government’s failure to take action against Raja led to the former telecom minister’s resignation from the Union Cabinet on November 14, 2010.

The period for which the verdict on the petition against PMO was kept reserved by Justices Singhvi and Ganguly pales before the time taken by a different SC bench in another politically fraught case. A bench led by Justice Altamas Kabir reserved its verdict in February 2009 on a CBI application for withdrawal of its plea wanting prosecution of Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav and his relatives in a disproportionate assets case. After three years, no verdict has been given. Meanwhile, Justice Cyriac Joseph, who was part of the bench, has retired, meaning the case will have to be heard afresh.

Justice Ganguly said the apex court in 2001 in Anil Rai vs State of Bihar had laid down clear guidelines relating to pronouncement of judgment. The SC had said, “Where a judgment is not pronounced within three months from the date of reserving the judgment, any of the parties in the case is permitted to file an application in the high court with a prayer for early judgment.” The court had said such an application would be listed for hearing before the concerned judges within two days.

The SC had also said, “If the judgment, for any reason, is not pronounced within six months, any of the parties to the said list (case) shall be entitled to move an application before the chief justice of the high court with a prayer to withdraw the said case and to make it over to any other bench for fresh arguments. It is open for the chief justice to grant the said prayer or to pass any order as he deems fit in the circumstances.”

Justice Ganguly, who rarely missed the three-month deadline for pronouncement of judgment in cases heard by him, felt that the directions to HCs for expeditious decision in cases must apply to the Supreme Court judges.










MLA robbed of Rs 1.35 lakh


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 06.28AM IST

HYDERABAD: Anaparti MLA N Shesha Reddy was robbed of Rs 1.35 lakh on Monday from his flat at Ameerpet.

Punjagutta police said that MLA Shesha Reddy came to the city on Monday morning to attend assembly Budget session. He arrived at flat number 210 in Rama Krishna Towers at Ameerpet which he uses as a guest house.

Shesha Reddy left for the Assembly along with his PA and gun man after locking the house.

“He returned home in the night and found that Rs 1.35 lakh cash, which he left at the flat, had been stolen from his briefcase,” Punjagutta inspector K Ashok Chakravarthy said.

Police found out that other than Shesha Reddy, his gunman and PA also have the duplicate keys for the flat.

Based on the complaint lodged by the MLA, police booked a theft case under section 379 of the Indian Penal Code ( IPC).











Pune cops misuse the law to abuse sex workers


Published: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012, 14:08 IST
By Kiran Dahitule & Chaitraly Deshmukh | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

A study carried out by a group of students from Indian Law Society’s (ILS) Law College reveals that the police were misusing Section 8 of the Prevention of Immoral Traffic Act (PITA), 1956 and recommended that the section should be quashed.

Ketaki Latkar, Jasmin Latkar and Erika Noronha carried out a sample study of 100 commercial sex workers (CSWs) in the red light area of Budhwar Peth. Rubbishing the claims, the statistics available with the Pune police show that only 22 arrests were made under Section 8 in 2011, and 4 in this year so far.

The trio, who will present the paper for a competition on international women’s issues said, “Our survey took one and a half month as we had to make friends with them and conduct extensive interviews as issuing direct questionnaire was impossible.”

According to their study, 46% subjects alleged that the police arrested them under the Section even if they went out for personal work like shopping, 38% alleged that they had been either arrested or beaten up even when they just stood outside the brothel and 16% denied facing any such problems.

The students said that Section 8 of PITA should be repealed and CSWs should be rather charged under the Section 268 of Indian Penal Code, 1860, if they are found causing public nuisance.
Social security cell incharge and senior inspector Banupratap Barge said, “PITA section is meant for curbing public nuisance caused due to seduction or solicitation for prostitution effectively. We invoke it only if the case merits it.”





Lokayukta court adjourns complaint against former AG to Feb 25


PTI | 06:02 PM,Feb 14,2012

Bangalore,Feb 14 (PTI)The Lokayukta Court today adjourned to February 25 hearing of a private complaint against former state Advocate General B V Acharya and four others for their alleged involvement in misappropriation of funds of a well known education trust, of which they are trustees. Lokayukta court judge N K Sudhindra Rao adjourned it when counsel for complainant, Lakshmikant Rao sought a week’s time to submit certain documents in connection with the complaint. Earlier, he also filed an application seeking exemption from personal appearance of his client, nonegenarian N Venkateshaiah, as he was hospitalised. The judge observed “I had seen the some young persons briefing the complainant during the last hearing. When he had the support of youth, why did he choose to file the complaint himself at the age of 94?”. The judge also asked “Is he a freedom fighter? Has he taken up cudgels against corruption earlier?. Was he a trustee of the BMS Education Trust?”. Counsel replied he was a former trustee, a social worker and past President of Federatrion of Karnataka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FKCCI). The court also sought to know if Venkateshaiah was “politically motivated or did he have a hidden agenda.If there is a hidden agenda, it will be dealt with very seriously.Which is the office that Acharya misused, was it of Advocate General or that of the trustee? Was the trust aided by government?” To this counsel submitted the trust was given Rs 88 crore as grant by government.To other queries, he said he was yet to ascertain facts and sought time to submit certain documents. Venkateshaiah in his Jan 24 complaint charged Acharya and the trustees of “misappropriating funds” of B M Sreenivasaiah Memorial Educational Trust. He sought investigation into the transactions and action under various sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code. He also questioned Acharya holding two profitable posts, one as Advocate General and second as the trustee. It may be recalled that Acharya resigned from the post of Advocate General on February 8.







Bus driver, accused of injuring cow, let off


PTI | 06:02 PM,Feb 14,2012

New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) A driver, accused of hitting and injuring a cow allegedly with his rashly-driven bus, has been discharged by a Delhi court on the ground that the bovine itself came on the road and no mischief could be be attributed to him. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Ramesh Kumar discharged bus driver Rajesh Kumar, dismissing an appeal by the state against a magisterial court’s order which absolved him of the charges of rash and negligent driving. The sessions court upheld the magisterial court’s order which had pointed out that for invoking section 279 of the Indian Penal Code for causing hurt by rash and negligent driving, the victim must be a human being. The court had said as per the provisions of rash and negligent driving in the IPC, “human being (as victim) must be present at the spot while (invoking the offence of) driving rashly and negligently.” The case related to injury caused to the bovine belonging to one Santosh of Jahangirpuri in north west Delhi in 2010. “The cow of the complainant had come on the main road. Hence, mischief cannot be attributed to the accused (driver). No intention or knowledge can be attributed to the bus driver in the facts and circumstances of the present case, as enumerated in order of the trial court,” said ASJ Kumar. The ASJ rejected the state’s appeal, challenging the trial court’s ruling. The state had contended that the cow was injured in the October 2010 mishap due to rash driving by Rajesh who hit animal with his bus. (More)









Google, Yahoo Indian units probed for possible forex violations: Reports


Agencies Feb 14, 2012, 11.46AM IST

The government is investigating whether the Indian units of US Internet giants Google Inc and Yahoo Inc may have violated the country’s foreign exchange laws, the Wall Street Journal said in report.

Notices have been sent to the Indian units that they are being investigated for potential violations, the paper said. It cited a senior official at a division of finance ministry, which monitors foreign exchange transactions and money-laundering activities.

A spokesman for Google in India said the company has not yet received the notice and therefore could not comment on specific details, the Journal said in its report.

Neither Google nor Yahoo in India were available for comment when contacted.

On Friday, The Enforcement Directorate issued a foreign exchange violation notice to internet giant Google for alleged irregularities in transfer of funds to its foreign entities.

The Directorate has asked the Indian arm of the company to explain to it all the permissions the company has obtained from RBI in this regard and its source of income in the country along with I-T returns filed earlier.

“We have an obligation to our shareholders to set up a tax efficient structure and our present structure is compliant with the tax rules in all the countries where we operate. We make a very substantial contribution to local and national taxation and provide employment for close to 2,000 people in India,” a Google spokesperson said when contaced for comments over the latest ED action.

The ED, according to sources, is investigating if the internet search giant violated the norms laid down by the RBI with regard to transfer of funds abroad, including in Ireland and also receiving similar investments from foreign shores.

The agency has obtained relevant data in this regard from the RBI and would take up any possible penal action under the Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA) after going through the documents.

Google India, along with other social networking websites, is embroiled in a raging controversy over monitoring the content on Internet and of those websites depending on user generated contents, which arose after Union Telecommunications Minister Kapil Sibal had asked the social networking websites to “screen” the contents.

The company also filed a compliance report in this regard in a Delhi court recently.










High court relief for LPG consumers


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 07.30AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Tuesday directed major domestic LPG providers, including the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited ( HPCL), to seek instructions from their respective companies with regard to booking LPG cylinders via manual procedure. This would be in addition to the present Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) and SMS facility earlier launched in the state in 2011.

A division bench of the high court, comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Gopal Prasad, passed the order while hearing a writ petition filed in this regard by one Vikas Mohan. The petitioner had stated in his PIL that the consumers were facing immense difficulties in booking gas cylinders through IVRS and SMS.

The HC had earlier in 2011 issued notices to different LPG companies and the Union government for the inconvenience faced by the consumers in booking gas cylinders through IVRS and SMSes.Petitioner’s counsel Mukeshwar Dayal told the court that the illiterate and poor were facing lots of hardship due to the IVRS system, wherein bookings are done through dialing number or sending SMSes. The court was also informed that this system was not sound as one faced difficulty in booking cylinders through SMS. Earlier, on August 8, 2011, a division bench of the HC, comprising Justice S K Katriar and Justice A Amanullah, while issuing notices to the two gas companies and the Union government, had said the poor people would not be allowed to suffer.

The court on Tuesday took strong exception to the stoppage of manual bookings and gave three weeks’ time to the oil majors to seek necessary instructions from their respective companies in this regard.Incidentally, in a bid to provide relief to the LPG consumers who first have to struggle to book a cylinder and then wait endlessly to get it, the IOC on Tuesday introduced round-the-clock IVRS and SMS facility for LPG booking and other related services. The service was launched amidst much fanfare last year. Patna was the 11th city in the country to have this facility which would be later extended to the entire state.











High Court notices to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh over wetland conservation–Haryana-and-Chandigarh-over-wetland-conservation/912134/


Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Feb 15 2012, 00:19 hrs


The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued notices to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh on a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions to the three states for the immediate conservation of their wetlands.

The notices were issued by a division bench of the High Court on a PIL filed by Pooja Dhull, a resident of Sector 20, Panchkula. The petitioner has sought better protection and conservation of the wetlands in the states, particularly those of international importance in accordance with the Ramsar Convention (an intergovernmental treaty, signed at Ramsar in Iran, that urges member countries to maintain the ecological character of their wetlands).

Dhull had also sought directions for the implementation of the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010 and directions to remove any encroachments on the wetlands of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. The petitioner also urged the court to pass directions to ensure the state’s clean hazardous waste from their wetlands.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover has also issued notices to the Department of Environment and Forests, Delhi.

Dhull submitted in court that to protect the wetlands, the Centre had formulated a National Wetlands Conservation Programme and identified such ecological areas in the country. “Nothing substantial, however, has been done by the respondents to implement the same in accordance with international acceptable standards.The program was started in 1985-86 with the coordination of the states but still after passage of time, the wetlands are under threat due to industrial activities and other activities,” reads the PIL. Dhull had contended that the “wetlands not only recharge ground water but are also home to migratory birds; many of which are already threatened with extinction”.









High court hearing on PIL against VC’s appointment process put off


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 05.52AM IST

PUNE: The ongoing legal tussle in the Bombay high court over the appointment of a new vice-chancellor at the University of Pune (UoP) has been extended by one more week.

On Tuesday, the high court division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice R V More gave a week’s time to the University Grants Commission (UGC) to make its written submission on the issue of the commission’s representation on the state government-appointed search panel for the vice chancellors of state universities.

This follows a public interest litigation filed by one Suresh Patilkhede of Thane challenging the absence of a UGC representative on the VC’s search panel.

On January 6, when the matter first came up for a motion hearing before the high court bench, the court had directed notices to the respondents although it did not grant any stay on the process for interviews of the candidates, who had applied for the key post.

The search panel conducted the interviews at the Yashwantrao Chavan Academy of Development Administration in Pune on January 9. The names of the final five candidates shortlisted for the post have also been conveyed to the office of the state governor and chancellor.

However, the state government has given an undertaking to the high court that it won’t make the final appointment public till the matter is settled by the court. The matter was scheduled for January 23 and thereafter posted for February 14. The state government had revised the norms for appointment of VCs, in 2009-10, reducing the number of members on the search panel from five to three, among other things.

According to the new process, the search panel is headed by an eminent jurist or retired high court judge besides a well-known person jointly nominated by the academic and the management councils of the concerned university and the principal secretary to the H&TE department.

The state government has given an undertaking to the high court that it won’t make the final appointment public till the matter is settled.








Gujarat riots: Verdict today on whether Zakia Jafri should get SIT report’s copy


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 15, 2012 07:16 IST

Ahmedabad:  A trial court in Ahmedabad will deliver its verdict today on the petition filed by Gujarat riot victim Zakia Jafri seeking a copy of the final report submitted by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) on the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre. The court will also deliver its order on whether the SIT had filed its latest report in compliance with a Supreme Court order which states that the investigating panel will have to submit in court not just the report, but all relevant documents, including investigation case papers.

On Monday during the hearing of the case, the SIT had resisted sharing the report with co-petitioner and social activist Teesta Setalvad but left it to the court to decide on whether it can be given to the main complainant Zakia Jafri. The petitioners argue that after submission in court, the report is now a public document. Teesta Seetalvad’s lawyer said by not submitting the additional documents, the SIT has committed contempt of court.

The SIT that submitted its final report on the 2002 Gulbarg Society massacre last week, on Monday, sought a month to place before the Gujarat trial court documents that it had based its report on. Ms Jafri, has sought that all documents be made available, not just the final report. The SIT has been appointed by the Supreme Court to investigate post-Godhra riot cases in Gujarat in 2002.

In court, the SIT had said the documents were bulky and ran into thousands of pages and that it needed time to collate and submit these.

The SIT had submitted its report on Ms Jafri’s allegation against Mr Modi and 62 others of complicity in the 2002 riots, to the trial court in sealed cover last week; on Monday it said reports that it had given a clean chit in it to Mr Modi were just that – “media reports”. The investigating panel said only the court would decide “whether the report gave a clean chit or not.”

Zakia Jafri is the wife of former Congress MP Ehsaan Jafri, who was among 69 people allegedly burnt alive by a rioting mob on February 28, 2002 at the Gulbarg Housing Society in Ahmedabad where the Jafris lived. Ms Jafri alleges that when the mob attacked, her husband made frantic calls to the police and even to the Chief Minister’s office for help but to no avail. For many years now Ms Jafri has taken her legal battle against Mr Modi and 62 other senior government functionaries from court to court.

She had moved the Supreme Court in 2008 after the Gujarat High Court dismissed her petition. The court asked the SIT to investigate her charges; the SIT submitted a report in the court, after questioning many people including Mr Modi, in which it reportedly said that there was no prosecutable evidence against the chief minister.

The Supreme Court had then asked amicus curiae Raju Ramchandran to independently assess the SIT report. Mr Ramcharndran visited Gujarat, interacted with several persons as well as witnesses, and then submitted his report to the Supreme Court in which he reportedly differed on some points with the SIT. Mr Ramachandran reportedly suggested that Mr Modi could be prosecuted.

Both the SIT and Mr Ramchandran also met suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who in his affidavit filed before the Supreme Court, has said that Mr Modi, in a meeting held at his residence on February 27, 2002, asked the police to “allow Hindus to vent their anger” after 59 people, most of them Kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya, were killed in the Godhra train burning incident a few hours earlier.

The SIT in its report submitted to the Supreme Court had reportedly said that Mr Bhatt was not a reliable witness as his claim of being present in that meeting was allegedly refuted by nine other senior police and home department officials who attended the meeting. The court had refused to take Mr Bhatt’s affidavit on record. In its latest report filed last week in the Ahmedabad trial court, the SIT, sources say, has again said that senior officers present at that meeting called by Mr Modi say Mr Bhatt was not present.

On September 12 last year, after going through the amicus curiae’s report, the Supreme Court had refrained from passing any order in the case and asked the SIT to submit its final report in the Gujarat magisterial court. Mr Modi and his party the BJP had interpreted the court’s order as a vindication of their stand that Zakia Jafri’s allegations have no merit. Mr Modi had tweeted, “God is great.” Yesterday, as he ended his sadhbhavna yatra or goodwill journey across his state, Mr Modi said he expected “There will be a storm in the form of criticism in the next 24 hours, but the anti-Gujarat forces will not be successful in doing any harm.”

The SIT took almost five months after the Supreme Court order to file its report on Wednesday last week. As word spread that the SIT had reportedly given Mr Modi a clean chit, the BJP said it was time to close the case; Mr Modi quoted Swami Vivekanand to tweet “What work you do expect from the men of little hearts? Nothing in the world…!”

Zakia Jafri said she would fight on and filed her petition seeking to know the contents of the SIT report and to know whether the SIT has filed its latest report in compliance with a Supreme Court order.

The Supreme Court had asked the magisterial court to hear the petitioners before a closure summary in the case, even if the report was in favour of Mr Modi and the others. The petitioners will have the right to challenge the decision of the local court on the report in the High Court and then Supreme Court.

Address paucity of handwriting experts: HC


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 06.17AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to take concrete steps to address the shortage of official handwriting experts, saying it is affecting thousands of cases.

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode was hearing a petition filed by Nirmala Gogad (55), a widow from Nashik, stating that the Manmad police had filed an application before the JMFC to temporarily close her case against 10 persons of the Nashik Merchant Cooperative Bank Limited, including her brother-in-law, as the handwriting expert’s report is awaited.

Additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari told the court that there is a shortage of handwriting experts. Gogad’s advocate Aniket Nikam argued that the complaint was filed in May 2007 and added that it is “an attempt to put the matter in cold storage”.








Bombay HC slams CBI over Adarsh probe pace


Published: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012, 22:23 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012, 23:42 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The CBI, which is probing the alleged scam in the allotment of flats in the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society in South Mumbai for the past 15 months, wants three more months to complete the probe. A division bench of Justices SA Bobade and R Dhanuka of the Bombay high court, however, refused to grant any more time without the agency making a formal application within two weeks.

“We are not giving three months’ time. How long have you been probing the matter? Have you looked into the income-tax report?” justice Bobade asked K Sudhakar, the CBI counsel who termed the case a “complicated one” as “there are alleged several benami transactions needing to be probed”.

When the petitioner’s advocate Ashish Mehta, alleged the probe had been going at snail’s pace since 15 months, with the investigative agency repeatedly seeking more time at every hearing, Justice Bobade ruled that the CBI make a formal plea “stating all that you have done so far” and “what else is left to be done”.

The CBI recently questioned former CM Ashok Chavan, one of the 14 persons against whom an FIR was lodged last year. As per the FIR, which was lodged after the Bombay high court handed over the probe to CBI in February 2011, Chavan during his tenure as revenue minister (2001-03) entered into a criminal conspiracy along with the society’s chief promoter RS Thakur, retired Army official MM Wanchoo, senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak and former MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani. The CBI found that Chavan had allegedly bypassed several rules to pass a letter urging the inclusion of civilians in the Adarsh society, initially meant for Kargil war widows and victims.

The HC is hearing many PILs seeking action against government officers and ministers allegedly involved in the scam.












HC dismisses government plea for further probe


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Monday set aside an order issued by the Chief Judicial Magistrate(CJM) court, Ernakulam, dismissing a petition filed by the state government seeking permission for further investigation in the LIS Deepasthambham scam.

The court has also directed to remove the CJM’s remarks on former investigation officer and present ADGP (intelligence) T P Senkumar. Coming down heavily on the CJM, the court observed that the CJM’s order was “illegal, irrelevant and did not form the subject matter of the case.” The court further directed the Kochi city police commissioner to take over the investigation. Justice N K Balakrishnan passed the order on an appeal filed by the state government and Senkumar challenging the CJM’s order. “Negative remarks by the CJM will have an adverse effect on the official career of the petitioner,” the court said.

The Ernakulam CJM, while dismissing a petition filed by the Kochi City Police Commissioner seeking permission for further investigation in the case, had termed Senkumar’s intervention as dubious. The CJM had observed that Senkumar and his aides were exploring the possibilities to frighten the court and that Senkumar, who was serving as the transport commissioner, was unnecessarily intervening in the investigation.










HC issues notices to government, medicos


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: Dealing with a public interest litigation filed by an advocate seeking its direction to put an end to the junior doctors’ strike, a division bench of the High Court on Monday issued notices to the state’s medical and health department asking it to file a counter affidavit, and posted the case for hearing to Tuesday (Feb 14).

The bench, comprising chief justice Madan B. Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar, directed the registry to serve notices in person to the striking junior doctors also to make them file a counter by Tuesday.

Advocate-general A Sudershan Reddy told the court that the government had taken necessary measures to avert people’s problems arising out of the strike and the boycott of emergency services by junior doctors. As per the agreement reached in 2009, the government had been enhancing the stipend at 15 per cent a year and also reviewing the agreement every six months, he said. “The present demands put forth by the junior doctors are not only unreasonable but also violation of the agreement. Besides, the junior doctors have been raising objections to the condition of working in rural areas for a specific period as part of the MBBS course,” he said.

Petitioner’s counsel PV Krishnaiah said poor patients were suffering because of the strike, particularly due to the boycott of emergency services, by junior doctors of government hospitals. He wanted the court to declare the strike as illegal and to direct the government to consider the ‘reasonable’ grievances and demands of the striking junior doctors. The issue will come up for hearing on Tuesday.



AMRI fire: HC asks why were slum dwellers rewarded


: Wed Feb 15 2012, 06:40 hrs
During the hearing on the bail petitions of the five directors of the AMRI Hospital, the Calcutta High Court asked as to why the state government offered rewards to slum dwellers near the hospital.

In reply, a counsel of the state government said they were rewarded for their attempts to save the lives of the patients when the fire broke out at the hospital.

Opposing the bail plea of R S Agarwal, one of the directors of AMRI who is lodged in the SSKM hospital from December 19, advocate Kalyan Banerjee, counsel of the state, said he had attended the board meeting from 2006 to 2010, when the basement of the building was illegally converted from car parking space to stores. He, however, did not attend the board meeting in 2011 due to ill health.

Hearing will be continued on Wednesday.









HC quashes rape case after alleged rapist marries victim


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 14,2012

New Delhi, Feb 14 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today quashed a case of rape registered against a man after he married the victim as per the court’s order. Justice Suresh Kait quashed the FIR against Sanjay accepting the joint pleas for the relief made by him and his victim, who said they were married now and also furnished the proof of their marriage. While granting interim bail to Sanjay earlier, Justice Kait had directed him to marry the victim and produce the marriage proof for getting the FIR, lodged by the woman against him, quashed. According to the FIR, both Sanjay and the victim were employed as domestic help in a businessman’s house in Anand Niketan of South West Delhi. As per the FIR, Sanjay had raped the victim in February last year, taking advantage of the fact that his employer and his family had gone out of the city. Following registration of the case by the woman with Dhaula Kuan police station, the accused had been arrested on February 18, 2011. After a year in custody, they settled the issue as the victim agreed to his proposal to marry her and then both of them approached the court for quashing of the FIR. PTI PNM RAX










HC orders reinstatement of retd BHS-cadre doctors


Nishant Sinha, TNN Feb 14, 2012, 09.53PM IST

PATNA: Good news for the PG doctors of Bihar Health Services (BHS) cadre! All such PG degree holder doctors who had retired between January 2011 and November 2011 will be reinstated to their post.

An order to this effect was passed by a single bench of the Patna high court presided by Justice A K Tripathi on Tuesday on a bunch of PILs challenging the state government’s decision to increase the retirement age of doctors of Indira Gandhi Institute of Cardiology (IGIC).

The state government had on January 28, 2011 raised the retirement age of those doctors of IGIC having post-graduation degrees to 65 from 62. The decision was taken at a cabinet meeting presided over by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar.

A number of PILs were filed against the decision, stating that the retirement age of 18-20 doctors of IGIC was extended even though they were not in teaching cadre. They were all general-cadre doctors and did not hold the qualification of teaching cadre. The court was also informed that most of the doctors working at IGIC, touted as a super-speciality hospital for heart ailments, did not hold any cardiology super-speciality degree or any teaching experience. The institute fell under non-teaching category, they contended.

The court had in February 2011 ordered the health department to give in writing the reasons for the decision. The department, though, failed to reply to the court’s order on which a contempt case was filed in the high court by the then Patna civil surgeon Dr R K Chaudhary.

Justice Tripathi on Tuesday ruled that IGIC did not rank as a medical teaching institution and was not different from other institutes under Bihar Health Services. He directed the government to reinstate all the PG doctors in the state who have retired between January 2011-November 2011 with all the benefits they are entitled to with effect from their superannuation date.








HC dismisses writ on new tehsil building


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 02.08AM IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad high court on Tuesday dismissed a writ petition filed by Mau Vyapar Mandal on restraining the state government from constructing a new tehsil building in place of the old building at Mohammadabad Gohana in Mau.

The order was passed by a division bench of Justice Amitava Lala and Justice PKS Baghel on a writ filed by UP Udyog Vyapar Pratinidhi Mandal, Mohammadabad Gohna, Mau through its general secretary Prem Chandra Churasia. The petition was opposed by the standing counsel Ramanand Pandey saying that construction of the new tehsil building is a policy decision of the state and would be located too only 800 metres away from the old tehsil building. Pandey said interference on the instance of a petition was uncalled for. The bench dismissed the writ after hearing the parties.










Delhi HC blast: court extends custody of Wasim Akram


A Delhi Court today extended by two weeks the judicial custody of Wasim Akram Malik, who was arrested for his alleged role in the blast outside the Delhi High Court premises in September last year.

District Judge H.S. Sharma extended Malik’s judicial custody till February 28 during an in-camera proceeding after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) said the probe in the case was going on, court sources said.

A Handwriting specimen of Malik was taken by a magistrate on January 31 after the court had allowed the NIA’s plea to secure it.

Malik, a student of Unani medicine in Bangladesh, has been dubbed by the NIA as a ‘key link’ in the conspiracy behind the September 7 blast outside gate number 5 of the Delhi High Court which killed 17 persons and injured over 90.

The court had yesterday extended the judicial custody of co-accused Amir Abbas Dev till February 27.

Dev, a Jammu and Kashmir native, was arrested by the NIA for allegedly sending terror e-mails to media groups after the September 7 blast last year.

A magistrate had earlier recorded Dev’s statement under Section 164 of the CrPC in an in-camera proceeding.

A statement recorded by a magistrate under section 164 of the CrPC bars the accused from resiling from it on his depositions during trial and makes him liable for prosecution for perjury if he does so.









HC reserves verdict on Kushwaha name row


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 02.35AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on a PIL filed against former BSP minister Babu Singh Kushwaha into his name controversy. A bench of Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice DK Upadhyay heard the matter and reserved the judgement.

A PIL had said that Kushwaha’s real name was Ramcharan Kushwaha. But, he changed his name with an intention to misuse it. HC to hear UP-Centre spat over MNREGS on March 14: The Lucknow bench on Tuesday asked the Centre as to why the rural development minister wrote to UP CM for her concurrence in initiating CBI probe into the financial anomalies, as the Centre itself is much competent to order a probe into any kind of bungling with regard to the MNREGS .

A division bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi said that the court failed to understand as to why a letter was written for concurrence of the state, though it is evident from an apex court order that the Centre itself could direct for any probe, if it finds anomalies in utilisation of MNREGS funds. The court directed the secretary of union rural development ministry to furnish an affidavit with his reply. It posted the matter for next hearing on March 14.











HC asks govt to pay pension of retd transport officials in two weeks


Express news service : Kolkata, Wed Feb 15 2012, 06:41 hrs
The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday ordered that the pension of the retired employees of state-owned transport companies cannot be stopped and directed the state government to pay the pension within 14 days. The Bench also directed the state government to pay 50 per cent arrears of the retirement benefits within five weeks.

The Trinamool Congress-led government had stopped the pension and retirement benefits of former employees of Calcutta State Transport Corporation, Calcutta Tramways Company, North Bengal State Transport Corporation and some other companies from mid-2011 citing shortage of funds. Following the decision, a few retired employees of those companies challenged the government’s order in the High Court.

In November 2011, a single bench of the Calcutta High Court directed the transport companies to stop paying salaries to their higher officials until they paid the pension to their retired employees. The companies then challenged this order to the Division Bench of the Calcutta High Court headed by Chief Justice Jaynarayan Patel.









Bombay HC slams CBI over Adarsh probe pace


Published: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012, 22:23 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Feb 14, 2012, 23:42 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The CBI, which is probing the alleged scam in the allotment of flats in the Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society in South Mumbai for the past 15 months, wants three more months to complete the probe. A division bench of Justices SA Bobade and R Dhanuka of the Bombay high court, however, refused to grant any more time without the agency making a formal application within two weeks.

“We are not giving three months’ time. How long have you been probing the matter? Have you looked into the income-tax report?” justice Bobade asked K Sudhakar, the CBI counsel who termed the case a “complicated one” as “there are alleged several benami transactions needing to be probed”.

When the petitioner’s advocate Ashish Mehta, alleged the probe had been going at snail’s pace since 15 months, with the investigative agency repeatedly seeking more time at every hearing, Justice Bobade ruled that the CBI make a formal plea “stating all that you have done so far” and “what else is left to be done”.

The CBI recently questioned former CM Ashok Chavan, one of the 14 persons against whom an FIR was lodged last year. As per the FIR, which was lodged after the Bombay high court handed over the probe to CBI in February 2011, Chavan during his tenure as revenue minister (2001-03) entered into a criminal conspiracy along with the society’s chief promoter RS Thakur, retired Army official MM Wanchoo, senior IAS officer Jairaj Phatak and former MLC Kanhaiyalal Gidwani. The CBI found that Chavan had allegedly bypassed several rules to pass a letter urging the inclusion of civilians in the Adarsh society, initially meant for Kargil war widows and victims.

The HC is hearing many PILs seeking action against government officers and ministers allegedly involved in the scam.








HC to treat orphanage case as pil; hearing today


Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 14, 2012

The shocking details of sexual assault and harassment of children at an orphanage in Daryaganj has caught the attention of the Delhi High Court in the form of an email.

Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri, who received the email, promptly decided to convert it into a public interest litigation (PIL) and fixed it for hearing on Wednesday.

One Bharti Ali had sent the email to justice Sikri with attachments of various newspaper reports on the incidents in the orphanage. Requesting a probe and asking for “urgent intervention” by the court and the government, the email said that “the children in the orphanage are being subjected to various kinds of suffering”.

The incidents were brought to light by a voluntary organisation named Haq Foundation. Their findings were based on personal interviews and interaction with the children who live in the orphanage.

The report alleged that older residents and staff members of the orphanage subjected a number of children to physical abuse and sexual assault.

Police had asked Haq Foundation for assistance in investigating the death of an 11-year-old girl who lived in the orphanage.











HC rejects plea, paves way for Akademi award


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Tuesday dismissed the writ petition challenging the selection of Odia novel ‘Achinha Basabhumi’ by Kalpana Kumari Devi for the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award, deeming it ‘devoid of merit’. The award was to be conferred on Tuesday evening.

A division bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra directed the Assistant Solicitor General to immediately inform the Akademi of the vacation of the interim stay on the presentation.

The Bench, which had concluded its hearing on Monday, held that there was no public interest involved in the case. The selection of the book had been made in accordance with the rules, the court ruled. Rejecting the submission of the petitioner, a novelist Sricharan Pratap alias Kaniska, that the book did not feature in the ground list and was inserted in the shortlist subsequently, the Bench ruled that the jury members were empowered to do so as per the laid rules for selection process.

The petitioner had also contended that the book was not written between 2007 and 2009 to be eligible for the 2011 award. The award rules stipulate nomination of a work in any of the recognised languages, which is first published during the three years prior to the year immediately preceding the year of the award.

The author in an interview to a monthly magazine “Jugashri Juganari” in 2010 has stated that she had not written a book for the last 20 years. By her interview, the book could not have been written during the eligible period, Kaniska stated.Dev’s counsel produced copies of the book and evidence that it was published in 2009.










HC pulls up govt over conversion row


TNN | Feb 15, 2012, 04.13AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court has pulled up the authorities for cancelling licence of a government marriage registrar for solemnizing marriage of a Christian boy with a Hindu Brahmin girl in Kheda.

Subhashchandra Ishudas Parmar is authorized registrar to solemnize and register marriages as per the Indian Christian Marriage Act. The state government cancelled his licence for solemnizing the marriage of people belonging to different religions – Pinakin Macwan and Vishruti Shukla, on the ground that he violated anti-conversion law by converting the Hindu girl to Christianity.

As per the provisions of section 5 of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, a person cannot be converted to other religion without obtaining prior permission from the district collector. Parmar solemnized the marriage of Pinakin and Vishruti on February 10, 2009, and issued them a certificate of registration of marriage. Vishruti’s mother was present during the marriage and even signed the certificate of marriage as a witness.

A year later, Vishruti’s father complained before the district collector that her daughter was converted to Christianity illegally. The collector issued a show-cause notice to Parmar to cancel his licence as registrar for illegally converting Vishruti to Christianity. He replied, but nobody paid any heed to his contention that the girl never converted to Christianity. His licence was cancelled in October last year.

Parmar moved Gujarat high court through advocate Saurabh Patel, who told the court that as per section 4 of Christian marriage law, conversion is not compulsory for registration and solemnization of marriage in case a Christian marries a non-Christian. Under such provision of law, marriage can take place as per religious rituals without effecting conversion.

Advocate Patel also argued that for conversion to Christianity, the sacrament is required to be performed by an authorized bishop, and Parmar is not a bishop and therefore there is no question of converting Vishruti at all. When HC questioned the government about proof of Vishruti’s conversion, it could not provide any proof. This led justice S R Brahmbhatt to observe that in absence of any proof that Vishruti was converted against her will, the show-cause notice was without jurisdiction and unjustified.

HC revived Parmar’s license to register marriages and pulled up the government for compelling him to come to court.

Meanwhile, the couple is also facing a criminal complaint and a chargesheet has been filed against them for violating the anti-conversion laws. However, HC has stayed all action against them.



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