LEGAL NEWS 19.02.2012

J&K accountability commission issues notice to Omar govt


Indo-Asian News Service
Jammu, February 18, 2012

The Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission has asked the state government to explain how it had granted minister of state status to politicians heading various corporations.
The state Accountability Commission is equivalent to the Lokayukta in other states. The

Commission sought an inquiry into the appointment of the heads of the corporations and issued notice to chief minister Omar Abdullah and 11 others, including the chairpersons of the Jammu and Kashmir State Commission, Pahari speaking board, Gujjar and Bakerwal board and two advisors to the chief minister to appear before the commission in person or through their authorised agents on March 5.

This is the first major action taken by the SAC after it was revived last year.

While making this historic order the commission ordered that a copy of the order should be sent to the state governor. The State Accountability Commission comprises Justice YP Nargotra (rtd), the Chairperson, and Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain (rtd), Member.

The SAC, after perusal of the records raised a legal question, “that post of Advisor and Political Advisor to the chief minister have not been shown to be the creation of any statute or the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. It is being claimed by the government that the posts were created and filled up by the government in exercise of its administrative/ executive discretion.”

SAC referred to the constitutional mandate and observed that under the “Scheme of the Constitution, however, the executive power of the state is vested in the governor to be exercised by him directly or through a person or authority as he may direct. No order issued by the governor delegating any such power in favour of the Government or any authority has been brought to our notice as yet.”

It further observed, “No person unless appointed in accordance with law under the State can legally be entitled to deal with the affairs of the State and the payment of any remuneration therefore. Any appointment made and any remuneration paid without authority of law by the Government would be nothing but a political favour at the cost of public exchequer.”

These significant directions have been issued in a complaint filed by Wali Mohd Rather initially against Khem Lata Wakhloo, chairperson J&K Social Welfare Board in which the principal allegation made is that she is enjoying the salary, perks and other amenities admissible to a minister of state without being legally entitled thereto.


Election Commission issues notice to Beni Prasad for quota remarks

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 18, 2012 14:47 IST


Lucknow:  The Election Commission (EC) has sent a notice to union minister of steel and Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma for violating the moral code of conduct with his alleged remarks on the minority quota in an election rally in Uttar Pradesh. The notice to Mr Verma comes days after a similar row between the poll panel and law minister Salman Khurshid took place. That issue was closed after Mr Khurshid apologised for his remarks.

After his controversial remarks and then daring the EC, Mr Verma took an U-turn, saying his comments could have been a ‘slip of the tongue’ and he respects the poll panel.

The congress leader had earlier said that he wouldn’t budge from his position, even if the EC took action against him. However, speaking to NDTV, Mr Verma now says that he respects the EC and with hectic campaigning during the election season, it’s hard to recollect what he said, but defends himself, saying one can raise poll issues during campaigns.

“See we respect the Election Commission and every individual should respect these institutions. We have four to five meetings while we are campaigning; we don’t remember all of it, but I don’t speak wrong; I always speak the right thing,” he told NDTV.

The union leader is the second Congress minister to have allegedly violated the EC’s model code of conduct during the poll campaigning for Uttar Pradesh. After being served a notice by the EC, Mr Verma said that he respects the constitutional body, but when does one raise poll issues; if poll promises are not raised during campaigns when else can they be raised?

“I had gone to Kayamganj day in Kaswa which has a huge Muslim population and I could see some of them. I don’t remember all of it but I did say ‘condition of the Muslims is very bad. 70 per cent of the Muslims are daily wage workers, who have to work through the day to make ends meet. This section should get special reservation in the fields of education, science and in jobs as well’. I said this; now if we are campaigning, if we don’t say this, then what else should we say. Someone should give me the Hanuman Chalisa and I will henceforth recite from there,” he said.

After Mr Verma’s controversial remarks during a rally in Farrukhabad, where Congress is fielding law minister Salman Khurshid’s wife, Louise Khurshid, both Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had landed up on EC’s doorsteps to complain against Mr Verma. It was here in Farrukhabad, where Mr Khurshid too had made a speech on the same issue that plunged him into a row with the poll panel.

Mr Verma is the Union Steel Minister and a prominent UP leader who was imported by the Congress from the Samajwadi Party.








Pandya spoke of Modi complicity in Guj riots’

 Ahmedabad: In fresh problems for Narendra Modi, a member of people’s tribunal that visited Gujarat after 2002 riots said former Home Minister Haren Pandya had told them that the Chief Minister allegedly directed the police to give Hindus a free hand to vent their anger during the riots.

Justice H Suresh, a retired Bombay High Court judge, also alleged today that the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) appears to have ignored the statements recorded by it of him and another Tribunal member Justice PB Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge.

Both the judges were members of the fact-finding team headed by veteran jurist and former Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer, which had gone to Gujarat in March-April 2002 after the post-Godhra riots.

Suresh said the evidence of the tribunal given to SIT on alleged instructions given to police by Modi to teach Muslims a lesson hours after the Godhra train attack was based on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was murdered on March 26, 2003.

Suresh said the Tribunal had an audio recording of Pandya’s statement to it in which he said Modi had called a meeting on the night of February 27 hours after the Godhra train attack where he allegedly told the police to look the other way during the riots.

“In that (the recording) he (Pandya) has stated that there was a meeting at chief Minister’s place, where he directed the police what to do and what not to do. He told the police actually that they should give free hand to the Hindus, who would act in their own way,” Justice Suresh told NDTV.

He said Pandya’s statement was relevant and “cannot be ignored” in a court of law.

“I was there, Justice Sawant was there and he (Pandya) said this in our presence,” the former judge said, adding “the SIT recorded out statements”.

He also said that the tribunal had given the SIT the audio recording of Pandya.

The SIT last week submitted its final report to a local court on its probe into allegations of Modi’s involvement in the riots here and it is believed to have given a clean chit to the Chief Minister.










Pune circuit bench of National Green Tribunal launched


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 05.13AM IST

PUNE: The National Green Tribunal started its Pune Circuit Bench, a dedicated environmental court, at the Council Hall on Friday. The Pune Bench will have its jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Daman & Diu. The tribunal was set up by the Parliament in 2010 and it became operational on July 4, 2011.

Ritwick Dutta, a Delhi-based lawyer, said so far Bhopal and Kolkata benches have become operational, apart from the Delhi bench. “Pune is the latest addition. The tribunal is an effective tool for communities and the civil society to address issues related to environmental governance.”

Devendra Kumar Agrawal, a member of the national green tribunal, said at the lunch of the bench that the tribunal was formed not to shut down industries but to ensure that they follow the norms. and do not spoil the environment to the extent that it does not support people’s existence.

Agrawal said Pune is the right place to have such a bench as NGOs working for environmental protection are active here.

Divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said, “People will not have to travel all the way to Mumbai to file a case or for hearings. The hearings will be held at Council Hall till the new administrative building, located opposite Council Hall, is ready for use,” Deshmukh said.

The tribunal is a multi-member judicial body that comprises judicial and technical members. It has jurisdiction over Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Air Act and Water Act, besides the Biological Diversity Act. It has the power to award compensation and damages to victims of environmental disasters and cost for restoration of the ecology. The tribunal is presently hearing appeals against projects like the Posco’s Steel plant in Orissa, the Lavasa project in Maharashtra, the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra and the Lower Demwe project in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Pune Circuit Bench had its first hearing on Friday. Challenging the pre-conditions attached to environmental clearance, Lavasa Corporation’s counsel Ravi S argued that the ecological restoration fund was unreasonable and the recommendation made by the Ravindran committee should be reviewed or removed.

Ravi S pointed out the discrepancies in the directive of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) that issued the environmental clearance. He also said that the MoEF has failed to follow principles of natural justice. He reminded that at present the case of Lavasa project was being heard before the Bombay High Court and the final verdict is awaited.

The Union Environment ministry had in November 2011 given environment clearance for the first phase of the project, covering 2,000 hectares, which was in discussion since the ministry first raised concerns about violation of Environment Protection Act by the promoters. The ministry had put five pre-conditions before the promoters and the state government before the post-facto clearance was accorded.

The clearance then included a condition that the company would keep aside 5% of the total cost of the project for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and deposit 5% of the expenditure made on the project before the clearance with the Maharashtra government, which would used it for ecological restoration in case the company failed to do the same.

The Tribunal told the state government to reply to the appeal regarding the conditions attached to the environment clearance like filing prosecution, restoration fund, among others.

National Green Tribunal bench Justice CV Ramulu and Devendra Kumar Agrawal member conducted the hearing. The next hearing is on April 16.











Women’s panel slams cops, hospitals for callous treatment of Pipili victim


Rajaram Satapathy, TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 11.06PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has expressed concern over the manner in which police and government hospitals allegedly ill-treated the helpless 19-year old Dalit girl from Pipili, whom miscreants had tried to murder after raping her.

The girl in coma since the incident in November is at present undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, while investigation by the crime branch police is being monitored by the high court.

“The most important factor is the failure of local police station to register the case on the date of incident and even on November 30 when the family lodged a written complaint. If the FIR was in place, then all the medical institutions involved could have been alerted and the girl would have a continuity of medical attention,” the commission said in a press release issued in New Delhi on Friday. The commission had taken suo moto cognizance of the crime against the girl and sent its member-secretary Anita Agnihotri to Odisha in the first week of February to assess the situation and report back.

The commission observed: “There was complete lack of coordination among different medical institutions beginning from Pipili primary health centre, Capital Hospital to SCB Medical College, and the victim of a serious alleged crime had to move several times back and forth for her treatment. There was no system of monitoring of data relating to transfer of a critical patient from one hospital to another leading to complete disconnect where family had to make several journeys for same reason.” It further added: “It is not clear when the girl will be able to resume a normal life.”

The commission referred to the dismissal of the then Pipili police station inspector and said “this should serve as a deterrent action”. It asked the state government to advise “senior most police officers to ensure that all cases of violence against women, if reported, are registered immediately and taken as FIR and medical evidence collected without any delay so that the case leads to conviction”. “Any delay or inaction should be followed with immediate disciplinary action,” the commission remarked. The commission said there had been an ‘increasing tendency to refer cases relating to violence against women to Mahila police stations. “This is against the spirit of law and should be stopped forthwith. The directive may specifically mention that women have their inherent right to get a case regtistered in the jurisdictional police station and they cannot be sent anywhere else,” it said, adding the mahila-sishu (woman-child) desk, initiated about a decade back, should be strengthened.









Violence against women: NCW asks police to ensure timely FIRs


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Blaming police for “failing” to lodge a timely FIR in the alleged Dalit girl rape case in Odisha, the National Commission for Women has asked the state government to sensitise police so that cases of violence against women are registered “immediately”. The NCW made these recommendations after an inquiry by its member secretary Anita Agnihotri into Pipili incident in Puri district. The Commission had taken note of media reports regarding the alleged rape on November 28, 2011, an incident into which a police case was registered after several days of delay. “The most important factor which determined the course of legal action in the case and the nature of medical treatment received by the girl is the failure of local police station to register the case on the date of incident and even on November 30, 2011,” a NCW statement said. Noting that the police had already taken action against the police inspector responsible for the lapse, the Commission felt that Home Department of the state government should issue an advisory to all police personnel. “A directive may be issued by the Department of Home, government of Odisha, to the seniormost police officers advising them to ensure that all cases of violence against women if reported are registered immediately and taken as FIR,” the NCW said. The Commission also stressed that medical evidence should be collected without any delay and inaction should be followed with immediate disciplinary action. The NCW also stressed that witnesses in such cases should also be given protection. In its statement the NCW felt that the victim’s family should not be blamed for inadequate drafting of written complaints. (More)













PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

“Putting the onus on the family when they are already “Putting the onus on the family when they are already distressed, for a delay in lodging an FIR or inadequate drafting of written complaint should be replaced by sympathetic handholding and counselling,” the NCW said. The commission also criticised the tendency to refer cases relating to violence against women to women police stations. Interaction by member secretary (NCW) with senior police officials suggested that there is a need to sensitise senior most police officials to the dimension and complexity of violence against women, the NCW said. Referring the rape case in which it had conducted the enquiry, the NCW said it had observed that there was complete lack of coordination among different medical institutions beginning from Pipili Primary Health Centre, Capital Hospital to SCB Medical College, Cuttack. “The victim of a serious alleged crime had to move several times back and forth for her treatment. There was no system of monitoring of data relating to transfer of a critical patient from one hospital,” the NCW said. “A system should be developed for sharing of data among different medical institutions in referral cases so that whether medico legal cases have been appropriately registered by the police can be checked by treating doctors at all stages,” the Commission recommended. The commission also suggested that it is more useful to have ‘Mahila’ and ‘Sishu’ desks in as many police stations as possible rather than having mahila thanas, which do not provide wide access to women.


Centre moves apex court to review Vodafone verdict


The Centre on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking review of the January 20 judgment, holding that the Income-tax Department did not have the jurisdiction to levy Rs.11,000 crore as tax on the overseas deal between Vodafone International Holdings (VIH) and Hutchison Group.

In its 101-page review petition, the Ministry of Finance through its Secretary and the Assistant Director of Income-tax assailed the judgment saying that it suffered from error apparent on the face of the record and failed to consider the case submitted by them at least on 15 aspects.

The petition pointed out 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 (foreign direct investment)” into India.

The instant case did not involve any inflow of funds into India as would be clear from the characterisation of the transaction as an offshore transaction and the incontrovertible fact that no investment or inflow of funds into India took place.

A three-Judge Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, S. H. Kapdia, had, on January 20, commended both Vodafone and Hutch saying they 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. Vodafone was asked by the IT Department in October 2010 to pay Rs.11,217 crore plus by way of capital gains tax and this was upheld by the Bombay High Court. The Bench allowed Vodafone’s appeal and quashed the Bombay High Court verdict.

Assailing both the judgments written by the CJI and Justice K. S. Radhakrishnan, the review petition said the sale consideration was admittedly paid outside India by VIH, a British Virgin Island company, to Hutchison Telecommunications International (Cayman) Holdings Limited, a Cayman Island company, and was, therefore, not a case of FDI into India at all.

It said the FDI policy was in no way under challenge or scrutiny in the instant case and could not have been so as the FDI and interpretation of taxing statutes operate in two different realms. Justifying the imposition of capital gains tax, it said it was imposed on account of relinquishment of an asset and this was done by way of a specific amendment in the law which could be traced to the decision of the Bombay High Court.

Pointing out that the court had relied on the Direct Taxes Code Bills of 2009 and 2010, while allowing the appeals in favour of Vodafone, the Centre said there was no judicial precedent to rely on pending legislation to interpret existing legislation. Further, these codes were not even presented as Bills in Parliament but were only in 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. Further, the court failed to appreciate that the sale consideration included amounts by which HTIL would also extinguish its rights and obligations to its Indian partners.

The judgment would undermine the existing legislative and regulatory framework that required approvals from competent authorities in India even for transactions routed outside India through tax havens. Such monies held in tax havens had the effect of compromising the ability of the State to manage its affairs in consonance with what was required from a constitutional perspective.

It said the January 20 judgment had the effect of legitimising the routing of transactions through tax havens and preventing the income-tax department from looking at the substance of the transaction. By creating an interposed holding or operating company, foreign investors would be able to avoid lengthy approval or registration process which would have far reaching consequences, it said and sought a review of the judgment.






My life is an open book: Naidu



Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: A blissful smile appeared on Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu’s face after a long time on Thursday immediately after he heard the news that the High Court squashed the writ petition filed by YSR Congress honorary president YS Vijayamma seeking a CBI probe into his “illegal assets”.

TDP MLAs, who were present in the Assembly, rushed to Naidu’s chamber to greet him. Enthusiastic party MLAs brought Dhood Peda, sweets and cakes to the Assembly for distribution.

Naidu looked confident and relieved after the court’s order. When a journalist remarked that he was looking very happy, Naidu retorted: “I was never unhappy in the past. My life is an open book and I did no mistake. So, I am never fear-struck,” he said, adding: “I never violated laid-down procedures as chief minister.”

Naidu recalled that YS Rajasekhara Reddy had filed 35 cases in various courts, besides ordering House Committee probes in 11 cases, four judicial probes, three cabinet sub-committee enquiries, four official enquiries and CID probes. But he could not prove any allegation. “YS Vijayamma made the same allegations,” Naidu said and wondered whether she had no confidence in the probes ordered by her husband.

Naidu’s immediate reaction was that the court’s judgment was a slap in the face of YSRC. “It is a victory of justice. It is proved that there will be no trouble to those who do not commit any mistake.”

The TDP president claimed that he had maintained character and conduct in his 32-year-long political career, he had no vices and remained as a role model in politics.

Asked if YSRC would approach the Supreme Court, he said they may use the legal options available to them. “I will prove my innocence in the apex court too. I have no fear,” he said and wanted to know why YSRC president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had failed to disclose his assets in 2004 and now. “I have declared my assets. Jagan too do the same and disclose the source of income,” Naidu said.

On Botcha’s comments on liquor scam, Naidu said Botcha had no right to comment on the TDP as the PCC chief himself was an accused in the case. However, Naidu said the government should take stern action against all 20 ministers and 140 politicians involved in the liquor scam irrespective of their political affiliations.

On the appointment of RTI commissioners, the leader of the opposition refuted the allegations of PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana. ” I differed with the government on the list. While writing the note of dissent I wanted the government to convene another meeting to finalise the appointments,” Naidu said and wondered how the mother of an accused in the murder of student Ayesha Meera was included in the list of probable candidates.







Court backs restrictions imposed by poll panel


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.56AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has endorsed Election Commission’s restriction as incorporated in the model code of conducted that ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof and that they shall not make promise for construction of road or providing drinking water facility etc.

A division bench of Justice DP Singh and Justice Satish Chandra dismissed a writ petition filed by Dr Nutan Thakur challenging the aforesaid restrictions of the commission.

She had argued that the restrictions violated the principles of equity provided in Article 14 of the Constitution and also amounted to restraining the government authorities and ministers from discharging their obligations. The bench reasoned that the authorities and ministers could perform this obligation during their five-year tenure before announcement of election.

And, if they announce such promises, it is merely “allurement” and example of “unfair practice”. The court also asked the EC that if anyone is found violating the model code of conduct, the violator must be punished severely to maintain the fairness in the country’s electoral process. The bench however, clarified that if something is there in the election manifesto, it can be propagated, but promise made or declaration done after notification of election to appease people shall not be a healthy practice on the part of people’s representatives.








Hearing in land cases deferred


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 05.17AM IST

ALLAHABAD: A three-judge full bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday deferred the hearing of the writ petitions filed by the farmers challenging the notifications issued for acquisition of their agricultural lands by the Noida and Greater Noida authorities in Noida, Greater Noida and Noida Extension areas.

This order was passed by the full bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice SU Khan and Justice V K Shukla, after hearing the counsels for the farmers, Noida and Greater Noida authorities, and chief standing counsel, who represented the state government.

Passing the order, the bench said that those writ petitions of the farmers, which are not covered by the earlier judgment of the full bench given in respect of land acquisition of farmers in Noida, Greater Noida and Noida Extension areas, shall be heard separately by the appropriate bench on March 27.

The court deferred the hearing of these writ petitions till March 27, as the chief standing counsel of the state, M C Chaturvedi, requested the court to adjourn the hearing “as the officers are busy in state assembly elections.”










Jal Mahal land case: SC stays trial court proceedings


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.17AM IST

JAIPUR: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Jaipur trial court’s criminal proceedings in the Jal Mahal Lake land allotment case. The interim order came on a special criminal leave petition (SLP) filed by Jaipur-based businessman Navratan Kothari, whose firm was allotted the prime land for developing tourism facilities around the historical lake.

The 100-acre disputed land worth around Rs 3000 crore initially belonged to the Jaipur Development Authority(JDA), Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) and the Public Works Department (PWD), but was transferred to the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), which then handed it over to Kothari’s M/s Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd.The deal got mired in controversy when objections were raised on how instead of 30 years the government land was leased out for 99 years, which was akin to selling the property.

Last week, the high court dismissed the criminal miscellaneous petition filed by Kothari. A review petition by the businessman was also rejected, which forced him to approach the Supreme Court where a division bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J Chelameswar stayed the trial court’s proceedings as well as the arrest orders against the accused till March 19, when the matter will be again taken up for hearing.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the division bench that the land’s lease allotment was done under a transparent process by inviting international tenders. The advocates reasoned that no illegalities or favouritism was practiced during the allotment since the state government did so after the approval of an empowered committee formed for the matter and the then chief minister Vasundhara Raje.











Karna cabinet rescinds decision on Beggars Relief Centre land


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Bangalore, Feb 17 (PTI) Karnataka Government today decided to rescind its earlier decision of transferring a prime land belonging to the Beggers Relief Centre to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for constructing a hospital and a convention centre. The cabinet at its meeting held here decided to cancel its June 10, 2010 decision to transfer 123.30 acres to BDA for developing a hospital, park and convention centre, Law Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters. The decision was taken as questions had been raised over promoting a commercial project on land alloted for beggars rehabilitation. A PIL has also been filed before the state high court challenging the government’s earlier decision. Kumar said the Cabinet approved withdrawal of 29 cases filed against about 200 farmers for participating in various pro-farmer stirs between 2004-2012 in seven districts of Hubli-Dharwad, Davanagere, Mandya, Bangalore, Raichur, Bagalkot and Shimoga. It approved the proposal by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to borrow Rs 75 crore from banks and financial institutions to fund purchase of 1,000 buses. The cabinet also gave its nod for allotment of 71.16 acres of land to Buildtech company near Bidadi in compliance with a Supreme Court directive. It was also decided to provide 56 acres to Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at Lakkur vilalge in Nelamangala taluk to raise its reserve force batallion, Kumar said.









High court rejects plea for quashing of MB Shah panel


Published: Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 15:35 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A division bench of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice JB Pardiwala has dismissed a petition seeking quashing of notification for the appointment of MB Shah inquiry commission.

The court dismissed the petition after it failed to find any substance in the petition and also noted that the inquiry commission had been appointed by following the due process of law as required under the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

The petition was filed as a PIL by one Gunwantrai Ravishankar Joshi, through his advocates VS Kanara and Vivek Mapara. Arguing their point, Mapara said the commission was formed as part of a political game and that it was not in the public interest. So they
demanded quashing of the notification.

Mapara cited a Rajasthan high court judgment in the case of one Kashi Purohit vs State of Rajasthan in 2008. In the judgment, Rajasthan high court had quashed the appointment of such an inquiry commission by an administrative order to look into some alleged corrupt acts carried out by the earlier government.

Arguing for Gujarat government, advocate-general Kamal Trivedi said that the MB Shah Inquiry Commission was appointed by a notification dated August 16, 2011 under Section 1 (3) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

Trivedi argued that unlike in the Rajasthan case, this was not done through an administrative order but through notification after following the due process of law.








HC adjourns PILs challenging Upa Lokayukta appointment


PTI | 03:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Bangalore, Feb 17 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today adjourned hearing on two PIL petitions challenging the appointment of Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta to February 27. A division bench headed by Justice N Kumar adjourned the hearing after Advocate General S Vijay Shankar sought time to file objections to the petitions. Earlier, when the court sought to know the government’s stand, the AG submitted Chandrashekaraiah had already taken charge and the matter required hearing. Petitioners M Anand and Janagere Krishna, both advocates, have contended that the appointment of Upalokayukta was “illegal and ultra vires” as the Chief Justice of the high court had not been consulted (before the appointment) as required under section 3 sub clause 2 of the Lokayukta Act.










Andhra Pradesh Government tenders apology to Karnataka High Court


The State had not responded to court notices in connection with a PIL

The Andhra Pradesh Government on Thursday tendered an apology to the Karnataka High Court for not responding to the notices issued by the court earlier in connection with public interest litigation (PIL).

Senior counsel, representing the Chief Secretary to Andhra Pradesh Government, orally tendered an apology before the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna. Counsel also requested the Bench not to stop supply of drinking water to Andhra Pradesh through pipelines, a portion of which passes through Pavagada in Karnataka. When the counsel requested the Bench to recall its February 14 order “to stop water supply,” the Bench made it clear that it had not passed any such order directing Karnataka to “stop supply of water.”

“We have passed no such order (of stopping water supply). We had only said, “We may have no alternative but to direct State of Karnataka to stop supply of water.” See the grammar in our order. It is clearly futuristic,” the Chief Justice said orally while making it clear to the Andhra Pradesh Government counsel that “you (government) cannot disdain a court order (notices issued by court).”

When the Bench asked counsel for Karnataka Government on the status of water supply, he replied that water supply to Andhra Pradesh has not been stopped.

Earlier, counsel for Andhra Pradesh Government submitted that 500 villages in Andhra Pradesh would be affected if water supply is stopped. Though the next date of hearing on the PIL is fixed for March 6, the counsel for the Andhra Pradesh Government had rushed to Bangalore as the High Court, in its February 14 order, had expressed its displeasure over non-representation of Andhra Pradesh despite issuance of notices.

Sangha’s PIL

In their PIL, the Karnataka Rashtriya Kissan Sangha and other organisations from Pavagada taluk had sought a direction to Karnataka for supply of drinking water to Pavagada taluk through this pipeline, which supplies water to Neelakantapuram Srirami Reddy water project in Andhra Pradesh from Tungabhadra reservoir.











PIL against sub-lease of reserve forest area


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has issued a notice to the Chairman of VOC Port Trust on a Public Interest Litigation filed alleging that they had sub-leased a few parts of Mullakadu Reserve Forest area.
The petitioner, K Mohan Raj, coordinator of Tamil Nadu Green Movement, alleged in his petition that the port trust sub-leased the reserve forest area for private and public establishments where petrol pumps, container yards, thermal power station, TNEB inspection bungalow, regional laboratory, warehouse and several others have been set up.
The Mullakadu Reserve Forest, which houses the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, was originally entrusted with the VOC Port Trust for management through a government order dated January 16, 1918, the petitioner stated.
According to him, the act of the port trust was a threat to the mangroves in the forest and also directly affected the biodiversity of the Gulf of Mannar. The port trust had leased out at least 570 acres of forest land to TNEB alone. Citing the effluents released from the thermal power station and TNEB plant, the petitioner claimed that the biological life close to the discharge point had already been destroyed by effluents.
Therefore, in-order to prevent further damage, the Mullakadu Reserve Forest area should be taken back from the port trust by the State government and Department of Environment and Forests, the petitioner contended.
He also prayed that the forest area be declared as as eco-sensitive zone.
When the matter was posted before a bench, comprising of Justices Chitra Venkatraman and R Karuppiah, it ordered a notice to the chairman and posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.










Govt favouring Rahejas: PIL


Published: Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 15:26 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed alleging Rs1100 crore corruption perpetrated by the state government by allocating large amounts of land to a private company, K Raheja Pvt Ltd, at a prime location in Gandhinagar.

A bench of the Gujarat high court consisting of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and JB Pardivala posted the matter for next week after the state government sought time to file its reply. The PIL was filed by one Bhanu Odedara through his lawyer Vivek Mapara.

When the petition comes up for hearing, the government counsel informed the court, they want to file an affidavit regarding the issue. Therefore, the court should not issue notice and admit the case before hearing the government. The bench accepted the demand and adjourned the matter till next Thursday.

According to the case details, the state government had allocated land admeasuring 3.78 lakh sqm to the Rahejas, a construction and developers co., at the rate of Rs340 per sqm in 2006-07. The PIL alleged that the actual cost of land is Rs30,000 per sqm and its cost is around Rs1,200 crore.

The government has allocated land to the private company at a throwaway price of Rs79 lakh. Hence they were involved in corruption of more then Rs1,100 crore. The government had allocated the land without inviting any tender or following due process of law.

Therefore, the high court should pass an order to cancel the allocation and direct that action be taken against those who are involved in the land allotment.








PIL against windmill work in Jaisalmer dismissed


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.14AM IST

JODHPUR/JAISALMER: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking prohibition on setting up of windmills on pasture land in Jaisalmer. Terming the petition as frivolous, the court refused to consider the land referred to as pasture area.

Earlier on 24 December last year, the court while admitting the petition filed by an NGO, Libra India, had issued notices to revenue department, district collector, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation (RREC) and windmill companies with regard to the allotment of the common land, more specifically known as “Charagah” land for establishing windmills in the district and had stayed the setting up of the windmills on this land.

The NGO had objected to allotment of land for the purpose. “We had produced documents in which this land was referred as ‘Hill/Rock (pasture). But the court refused to accept it,” Libra India’s counsel Sanjeet Purohit said.

The revenue department and the district collector apprised the court that the land was being referred to as pasture land by mistake and produced before the court the correspondence with the state government with a view to rectify the mistake and to prove before the court that the referred land was not a pasture land.

After hearing both the sides, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailash Chandra Joshi dismissed the petition citing it frivolous and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the NGO.









SC stays Salem’s 1993 blasts trial


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 04.43AM IST

NEW DELHI: Concurrent decisions of Portuguese courts disapproving framing of charges that entail possible death penalty by Indian courts against extradited gangster Abu Salem persuaded the Supreme Court to stay trials against him in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and a 1995 murder case.

Salem’s lawyers approached the SC and sought a stay of trial in seven cases pending against him in courts across the country. Of these, the two major ones related to his alleged role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts and the murder of builder Pradeep Jain in March 1995 alleged at the instance of the Dawood Ibrahim gang.

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar issued notices to the CBI and the ministry of external affairs on the petition but agreed to stay the ongoing trials only in two cases pending before the Tada court in Mumbai.

The bench said, “This matter requires consideration of this court. But we need the response of the Centre, particularly after the judgment of the Portugal Supreme Court, as very rarely we come across such a case.”

The bench also voiced the CBI’s stand before the Portuguese court, where the agency had argued that the Rule of Specialty must be interpreted by the highest court of India.

At the same time, the bench said, “We have to respect the mandate of the Court of Appeal in Lisbon and Supreme Court of Justice in Portugal.”

Seeing the clash of jurisdictions, the court requested the attorney general to assist in the case.


AP judges appointments challenged in SC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: The AP High Court registry and the state government were asked by the Supreme Court Friday to reply to a plea for quashing a notification for appointment of 18 district and sessions judges. A bench of justices D K Jain and A R Dave also issued notice to the APPSC, seeking its reply within four weeks, to the plea for quashing the Dec. 22, 2011 notification on grounds of irregularities in the appointments. The order came on a petition by an advocate Bavi Papi Reddy Barrenka, a candidate for a judge post in the physically-challenged category.

Barrenka in his petition accused the HC of amending the appointment rules through the selection process and making the appointments.

The petitioner claimed that the HC amended the rules by dispensing with the need for a viva voce, though it had no power to do so. He said in the results of the written test, announced by the HC on Aug. 8, 2011, he had been declared to have qualified along with 52 others.

The state government, however, suddenly at the behest of the HC, issued an order (GO Ms. No.132) on Nov. 16, amending the original rules by deleting the requirement of minimum qualifying marks for a viva voce, said Barrenka. In his petition, he claimed though he got the highest marks in the viva voce he was not selected and instead another candidate who got less marks than him was selected.

“Viva voice is the only tool to know their verbal acumen and to say that a candidate would be selected even if he gets zero in the viva voice, is nothing but contrary to public policy and is unconstitutional and hence the selections deserves to be quashed as such,” he said.









Chief investigating official deposes in CBI court


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 01:17 hrs


In a significant development, the Chief Investigating Officer of the infamous J & K sex scandal case deposed before the special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday.

S L Gupta was the CBI’s Investigating Officer in the case at the time the scandal hit headlines.

According to sources, the investigating officer has told the Court that he had recorded the statements of the victims and Sabina, co-accused in the case, in the presence of District and Sessions Judge of Anantnaag, who had also signed the statements.

He further told the Court that the victims had identified the place where they were allegedly exploited at the behest of the key accused Sabina.

The victims had also identified a cloth shop and its owner and a manager of a hotel who had allegedly exploited them.

CBI special prosecutor R K Handa told Newsline that Gupta told the Court that the statements of the victims were correctly and truthfully recorded without any addition or deletion.

The recorded statements were read out to the victims and were explained in Kashmiri. The victims further admitted that the statements were true.

Gupta’s evidence will continue in the next date of hearing on March 6.

The sex scandal surfaced in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006, in which nine cases for various offences, including Section 376 (rape) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), Immoral Trafficking(Prevention) Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act were registered.

Sabina, who had allegedly introduced the ‘victims’ to the other accused, had been named in all the cases.

The case had been shifted to the Chandigarh Sessions Court from Jammu and Kashmir High Court on September 4, 2006.








Post office fraud: Key accused arrested


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: Giving a new turn to the fund misappropriation case at Kaloor post office, the Ernakulam North police arrested the accused M T Sreemathi, 60, from her residence at Eroor here on Thursday. She was produced before the Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court (Economic offenses) and remanded in judicial custody.

Sreemathi, who was a sorting assistant at Kaloor post office, was arrested after her anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Ernakulam Judicial First Class Magistrate Court. Two weeks ago, the Postal Department had filed a criminal case against her in connection with a fund embezzlement to the tune of about Rs 40 lakh. Sections 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), were charged against her, the police said.

‘Express’ had earlier reported about the fund misappropriation at Kaloor post office. Sreemathi was in charge of handling the savings bank and the recurring deposit accounts and allegedly misappropriated funds from about 500 postal agents between 2006 and 2010.

“We are inquiring about the fraud. We still have to get the details of the amounts paid by one or two postal agents. She had siphoned off about `40 lakh,” said senior postal superintendent P Jayadevan.

He also assured that the Postal Department would take all possible measures to return the money invested by the depositors. “We will approach the District Collector and sub registrar of Tripunithura to attach her properties,” said Jayadevan.








For lower court judges, cellphones on the house–cellphones-on-the-house/913465/


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 03:20 hrs
In a welcome move for judiciary, the judges of lower courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh can now buy cellphones worth Rs 10,000 and get the money reimbursed by submitting the bill.

A decision to this effect was taken by the administrative wing of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a circular issued to the lower courts last week.

As per the circular, the subordinate court judges buying the cellphones will have to submit a copy of the receipt of purchase with the concerned District and Sessions Judge to get it reimbursed.

Allowing to purchase a mobile phone upto Rs 10,000, the High Court has decided that the subordinate Court Judges can get the reimbursement after producing a copy of the invoice to their concerned District and Sessions Judge.

The reimbursement would be made from the contingency fund. Also, it has been approved that a monthly bill of Rs 1,000 for Session Judges and Rs 750 for subordinate judges would be reimbursed.

The circular has also fixed the life of a cellphone at three years. The circular states that at the end of three years of purchasing the cellphone, the judge can retain it by paying Rs 2,000. In case a judge retires and wants to retain the handset, he can do so by paying Rs 5,000.









Senior advocate HS Phoolka questions security threat to Sajjan Kumar’s trial venue


Yudhvir Rana, TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 08.21PM IST

AMRITSAR: Is there a genuine security threat in conducting Sajjan Kumar’s trial at the Karkardooma court, or is it Kumar’s ploy to draw public attention? Senior advocate HS Phoolka raised the question, even as he wrote to Delhi police commissioner BK Gupta requesting the latter to verify reports of such security threats to the Karkardooma court complex .

In a letter to Gupta on Friday, a copy of which is available with TOI, Phoolka said: “I have learnt that the Delhi police has written to district-cum-sessions judge for shifting of the trial of Sajjan Kumar from Karkardooma court to Tihar Jail premises on the ground of security threat. I have also learnt from reliable sources that your letter written in this regard is under consideration of the high court.”

Phoolka, who appears in court as lawyer for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, said that he had also conveyed to the Delhi police Commissioner that he doesn’t object to shifting the case to the Tihar Jail premises if it really involves the security of the Karkardooma court complex.

“But I have asked the police to verify the reports of such security threats, because the threat reports may be self-generated by Sajjan Kumar to attract public attention and gain sympathy,” said he. He said many officers of the Delhi police had been accused of favouring and shielding Sajjan Kumar.

“In this case also, there are serious allegations against the Delhi Police and its officers for attempting to shield Sajjan Kumar,” he said. He added that he had also drawn the attention of the commissioner, Delhi police, to the judgment of Justice Vipin Sanghi dated 19.7.2010 wherein Justice Vipin Sanghi had severely criticized the conduct of officers of the Delhi police for filing a closure report and giving a clean chit to Sajjan Kumar in December 2005 when the investigation of the case was already transferred to the CBI in October 2005 and all the necessary papers of the case were also handed over to the latter.

Justice Sanghi had held that the Delhi Police had no jurisdiction to file a closure report and had also directed commissioner to enquire into this matter and take action against the guilty officers.











CPI-ML to protest verdict in Amausi carnage case


Navendu Sharma, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.34AM IST

PATNA: The CPI-ML will organize a march to the state assembly on the inaugural day of budget session on February 21, demanding “justice” for the 14 convicts in the Khagaria district’s Amausi massacre case. The party will observe the day as “protest day” throughout the state in protest against the death sentence to ten and life term to four persons in the case recently.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, party general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and central committee member Dhirendra Jha said the court judgment was an example of “skewed justice”. Claiming that those convicted were “innocent”, they said the police probe could not reach the “real mastermind” behind the massacre. Terming the ongoing three-day global summit as “sheer wastage of public money”, Bhattacharya said the government did not have “tangible achievements” to show to the world. “Government money is being misused for publicity.”

He said the Nitish Kumar government had held a global summit during its first tenure, ostensibly to attract investments that never came. “This time, by the government’s own admission, the summit isn’t aimed to woo investors but to showcase the changes in Bihar,” he said.

During the NDA-1 regime in Bihar, the condition of roads and the law and order situation somewhat improved. But now the roads have become dilapidated and the law and order situation is deteriorating, the ML chief said. “The government has failed on the issues of poverty alleviation and employment generation. It has also failed to check police atrocities,” he said. Bhattacharya extended his party’s support to the central trade unions’ call for nationwide strike on February 28.













CCI scrutinising cases against property developers


PTI | 10:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is scrutinising several cases against developers for allegedly abusing their dominant position based on the information received by customers, investors and NGOs, a senior official said today. “We are receiving information from various stakeholders. We are scrutinising all the cases and we will submit a report to the commission in a month’s time,” CCI Director General A K Chauhan told reporters on the sidelines of RICS Real Estate Conference 2012 here today. “We have pooled in all the information and are working on it,” he said. Chauhan said most of the cases they are investigating were similar to the complaints received against real estate developer DLF. Flat buyers had filed a complaint against construction major DLF in May 2010, challenging the delay in possession and alleged arbitrary changes to the building plan and structure. DLF’s project Belaire was to originally consist of five towers with 19 floors each, but DLF later increased it to 29 floors. “We have received information about developers both small and big across the country. It is not restricted to any urban or metro but also in Tier I and II cities,” he said, adding, “once the report is submitted, the Commission will pass necessary remedial orders.” On the DLF case, Chauhan said, “currently, the case is with the Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) and we believe that the authority will uphold our order.” When asked what they would do if the CCI petition against DLF is dismissed, he said, “we don’t think this will happen as our case is very strong. But if need be, we may approach the Apex Court.” The Commission had earlier asked DLF to change the contentious buyers agreement within three months. Compat said that while CCI had given three months time to modify the terms, it had not specified what changes needed to be made. Later, DLF challenged the CCI order in the Compat which has stayed the Rs 630-crore penalty imposed on it by anti- competition watchdog in August following complaints regarding abuse of market position by the country’s largest real estate player. The tribunal also directed DLF to give an undertaking that it would deposit the entire penalty amount with 9 per cent interest if it finally loses the case.










CIC: Give answer keys under RTI


Bosco Dominique, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.58AM IST

PUDUCHERRY: The Central Information Commission has directed the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry to provide the question paper along with the answer key of an entrance exam conducted by it for admission. The landmark order that came on an RTI petition could bring greater transparency to the high-stress entrance test system.

Access to papers and answer keys would help aspirants, both current and future, understand what and why they were getting wrong and help them prepare for such tests better. The order will apply to all entrance exams in India.

The RTI application was filed by Puducherry Government Medical Officers’ Association general secretary Dr K Sudhakar with the Jipmer public information officer (PIO), seeking a copy of the question paper and answer key of the entrance examination held in July 2011 for admission to MCh in urology. PIO James Sekar denied the information on the ground that it was not the practice of the institute to share question papers of entrance tests. Sudhakar then approached the first appellate authority, which declared that it was “satisfied with the PIO’s reply.”

Undeterred, Sudhakar moved the CIC. Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, after hearing the case through videoconference, ordered the PIO to furnish a copy of the question paper with answer key by February 10.

Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, after hearing the case through videoconference, ordered the PIO 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 toinformation is a fundamental right and the denial can only be based on the provisions of exemptions under Section 8 (1) of the RT Act. “ThePIO cannot deny information based on arbitrary whims or policies of various institutions,” Gandhi said.

When thePIOsaidtherewas a possibility that the information may have been destroyed, the commissioner warned that destruction of information sought under the RTI Act will have “serious repercussions”.

“JIPMER does not provide question papers with answer keys of its entrance exams. The instituteonly announcesthelist of selected students with their marks.The students are notin a position to verify their performance as they do not have access to the question paper and answer key,” Sudhakar told TOI.

Times View

Entrance exams in India make or break the future of lakhs of young people. This may be unfortunate, but it is a fact that we cannot ignore. Given this reality, it makes sense for the entire system of entrance exams to reach for the highest possible levels of transparency. It is in this context that the ruling of the Central Information Commission ought to be seen. Rather than be dragged kicking and screaming to enhance transparency, bodies that conduct these exams should willingly embrace it.










Decision on branded girl’s custody on Friday


V Narayan, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.05AM IST

MUMBAI: The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) will take a call on February 24 on whom to award the custody of the seven-year-old girl who was tortured and branded allegedly by her stepmother.

Assistant inspector (Dharavi) Vishwanath Shelar said, “The CWC will decide whether the victim should be sent to live with her grandparents, who are based in Bihar, or be admitted to a childcare centre in the city.”

The girl , who has a fracture in the middle finger of her left hand and injuries on her face, is undergoing treatment at JJ Hospital.

Meanwhile, the stepmother, Aarti Thakur (24), is in jail as no one has come forward to bail her out. “Initially, the accused was released on bail on February 2. A week later, a fresh application was filed before the Bandra court to revoke her bail, following which Aarti was arrested. She has confessed to assaulting and branding her stepdaughter,” the crime,” said DCP (Zone V) Dhananjay Kulkarni. On February 15, the court, while hearing Aarti’s bail plea, had asked for two persons to stand surety. “No one has come forward as yet to stand surety for her bail,” added Kulkarni.The abuse came to light on February 1 when the victim ran out of her Dharavi home after being assaulted and branded with hot spoons by Aarti.

A police officer said Menaka’s stepmother was arrested by the Dharavi police for allegedly beating and branding her for more than two months after her father Sujit brought her in Mumbai from Muzzafarpur to get her enrolled in a school in the current academic year. “The accused, in her statement, said she was annoyed with her husband’s decision to bring the girl from Bihar. The girl was tortured so that she would complaint with her father to leave her back to her grandparents at Bihar,” said the officer.










FIR says no eyewitness to attack, Innova door landed 50 feet away


Prawesh Lama , VijaitaSingh : New Delhi, Sat Feb 18 2012, 00:34 hrs


The First Information Report (FIR) on the targeted attack on an Israel Embassy vehicle that wounded a diplomat and three others last Monday states there was no eyewitness to the incident. The FIR was lodged by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, which is probing the attack.

In the hours after the explosion in the embassy Toyota Innova, police had said an eyewitness claimed to have seen a man on a red motorcycle attaching an object to the rear end of the vehicle before speeding away.

According to the FIR, such was the impact of the explosion that a rear door of the Innova landed some 50 feet away.

“Even windowpanes of bungalow number 36 and 37, Aurangzeb Road (near the explosion site) were shattered due to the blast. It was not a blast in the CNG kit as per the police control room (PCR) call received at Tughlaq Road police station at 3.15 pm. The car did not have a CNG kit,” the FIR stated.

A police officer said Friday that intelligence agencies are looking at the records of not just Iranian and Lebanese nationals, but also Israelis who visited Delhi in the last one month.

Police said they were yet to receive the forensic report on the explosion.

Cases have been registered under Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50), Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act.

Police recovered magnetic pieces from the scene of explosion.

“It was a powerful explosion as the rear door of the Innova was thrown 50 feet away. The local police did not understand that it was a terror attack and made a call that there was a fire in a CNG kit. A good one hour was wasted. Had barricades been put up in time, the attacker could possibly have been apprehended ,” an officer said.











Lucknow West has cleanest candidates


Swati Mathur, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.21AM IST

LUCKNOW: The poll arena in the state maybe full of candidates with criminal antecedents but Lucknow seems to be a welcome exception. Out of 30 candidates from the main parties on the five urban seats, only two of them face serious criminal charges. Both are former student union leaders – SP’s Ravidas Mehrotra and Congress’s Ramesh Srivastava.

Lucknow West is the cleanest of all the five constituencies as none of the main contestant face any criminal charges. From this seat, Sayed Hussain will represent Bahujan Samaj party, Mohammed Rehan, Samajwadi Party; sitting MLA Shyam Kishore Shukla represents Congress while Suresh Srivastava will contest on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. Peace Party’s Aziz Khan, the other candidate testing poll waters in this constituency also has no criminal track record.

Eleven out of 30 candidates have declared criminal records. Lucknow Central’s Ravidas Mehrotra, contesting on SP ticket faces 17 criminal cases, including charges of murder and attempt to murder, to his name. Congress candidate from Lucknow East, Ramesh Srivastava, with 7 criminal cases, has also been charged in a case of attempt to murder, along with rioting and being armed with a deadly weapon.

Though other candidates in the political fray in Lucknow have also been charged under other sections of the Indian Penal Code, BSP’s Naveen Chandra Dwivedi has been indicted for serious offences in each of the three cases he has been booked under.

Juhie Singh, Samajwadi Party candidate who is making her poll debut in Lucknow East, is facing one one criminal case, of forgery. The other woman candidates, UPCC chief Rita Joshi has a criminal record too, charged under the SC/ST Act for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language.












Paedophiles should be castrated: Court


Posted: Feb 18, 2012 at 0055 hrs IST


New Delhi A Delhi court on Friday said castration would be the most befitting punishment for paedophiles and repeat offenders of child sexual abuse. The court’s observation came while sentencing a 30-year-old man to imprisonment for “actual life” for raping his six-year-old niece.

“In my considered opinion, castration is the most befitting sentence, which can be given to any paedophile or serial offender. But the hands of this court are tied, the statute not providing for the same since the legislators are yet to explore this as an alternative to conventional sentencing. Society cannot afford to have live sex bombs, who, if let loose, are potential threat to the society, particularly to women and children,” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

The incident occured in 2011 at Northwest Delhi’s Mukundpur. As per the prosecution, the convict Nandan, a driver by profession, had lured his niece while she was playing with her cousins. When her family realised she was missing, they went looking for the girl and found her in a traumatised state in Nandan’s house. He was lying next to her in an intoxicated condition.

The court said prosecution was able to prove that Nandan had abducted and raped the girl, and had also threatened to kill her if she informed anyone. According to the prosecution, Nandan had also attempted the same offence with another girl, aged 13, who had come to the house of a relative. Though family members knew what had happened, they kept quiet, an act which the judge condemned in her order.

“It is the primary duty of each adult member of the family to identify, expose and act against such persons exhibiting these kind of sexual tendencies and aberrations… It is deplorable that for Nandan’s family, his liberty was more crucial to them than the life of the girl which he destroyed,” the judge said.

The court said a message had to be sent out that anyone who sexually abuses a child will not be spared.

Nandan was sentenced to a prison term for actual life, meaning that there would be no remission after 14 years of jail term.

The Indian Penal Code provides only a jail term for sexual offenders. Countries like the US, UK and Germany have started awarding ‘chemical castration’ as


The court also ordered the Delhi government to pay the victim a compensation of Rs 2 lakh towards her education and welfare.









1996 housing scam: Shiela Kaul to appear in court


Last Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 00:45

New Delhi: Ninety seven-year-old former Union Minister Shiela Kaul was on Friday ordered to be produced before a special CBI court on February 28 for framing of charges against her in a 1996 housing scam case.

Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah was to pronounce today itself his order on charge against the former Cabinet minister in the PV Narsimha Rao government for her alleged role in the housing scam but deferred it due to her absence.

The court ordered her presence on the next date of hearing even as a defence counsel filed an application seeking her exemption from personal appearance and for appointment of a local commissioner to visit her to find out her health conditions and if she could be brought to the court.

The court also asked the counsel to “come with the case laws on this point (appointment of a local commissioner), failing which, let the accused Sheila Kaul be produced as the case already has been considerably delayed.”

Earlier this month, the court had decided to frame charges against Kaul and her erstwhile Additional Private Secretary Rajan Lala and Private Assistant RK Sharma, accused of allegedly allotting government accommodation here for a consideration, holding that a prima facie case is made out against them.

The CBI had chargesheeted Kaul and her aides in April 2003 under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code and for various other offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI had indicted her for conspiring with her two personal staff for making out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation to officials after securing pecuniary benefits from alottees between 1992 and 1995.

The trio allegedly used to accept applications directly from government officials seeking allotment of accommodation and the minister would pass the orders without considering the objections raised by the Estate Directorate. A CBI probe was launched into the case on the Supreme Court direction on a PIL by apex court lawyer Shiv Sagar Tewari.











Improve Nari Niketan condition: HC


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.48AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Hearing the infamous Nari Niketan case, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday maintained that there was a need to improve the condition of Nari Niketan and Ashreya and this issue should be looked into very seriously.

Court also observed that the appointment of nodal officer and composition of visitors’ board was not very fruitful and was a mere formality.

The special division bench of the high court also orally called upon the Chandigarh administration and other respondents to have on board more dedicated members. The court had observed that the visitors’ board comprised only VIPs and their spouses.

The bench said on the basis of doubts raised by the amicus curiae Tanu Bedi, it was clear that the conditions at the Nari Niketan and Ashreya need to be viewed seriously by those at the helm of affairs. The bench has also asked amicus curiae to come up with suggestions, to improve conditions, on the next date of hearing.



HC quashes Vijayammas petition against Naidu


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: A division bench of the AP High Court on Thursday quashed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by YSR Congress party’s Y S Vijayalakshmi seeking a CBI probe into TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s assets.
In a move that brought a rare smile on Naidu’s face, the division bench comprising Justice G. Rohini and Justice Ashutosh Mohunta declared the PIL as unmaintainable noting that there was political rivalry between YSR Congress and TDP and the present writ petition was filed as a counter-attack to the investigation ordered against the petitioner’s son (Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy).
“The admitted facts borne out of the record make it clear that the writ petition is not bonafide and that the approach of the petitioner is motivated to settle the political scores. Therefore, in our considered opinion, the writ petition cannot be maintained as a public interest litigation. It is not a case of failure of public duty. The petitioner has not exhausted statutory remedy. It is not similar to that of Shankar Rao’s case. The respondents were heard before passing the order,” the bench said.
As soon as the court’s decision was out, the YSR Congress party announced that it would continue the legal battle against Naidu and move Supreme Court.
On the other side, an elated Naidu said at the Assembly that the High Court direction had vindicated his stand and proved that he did nothing wrong while he was chief minister. He asserted that his battle against corruption would continue.
Vijayamma had filed a PIL in the AP High Court on October 17 last year seeking a probe into the TDP president’s alleged misdeeds, including amassing disproportionate wealth and assets, granting of licences and allotment of lands during his nine-year rule.
A division bench comprising Justice Ghulam Mohammed and Justice Nooty Ramamohana Rao, in its interim order on November 14, 2011, had ordered probe into Naidu’s alleged misdeeds and those of his alleged conduits including media baron Ramoji Rao, TDP MP Nama Nageswara Rao and others. Chandrababu Naidu had then filed a vacate petition in the court and another bench comprising Justices Rohini and Ashutosh Mohunta had stayed the interim order.
The bench in its 55-page Thursday’s order said, “It is our conclusion that the petitioner’s prayer cannot be granted. This court cannot sit in judgement over whether investigations should be launched against politicians for alleged acts of corruption. If the Supreme Court gives direction for prosecution, it would cause serious prejudice to the accused, as the direction of this court may have far reaching persuasive effect on the Court which may ultimately try the accused. It is always open to the petitioners to approach the investigative agencies directly with the incriminating materials and it is for the agencies to decide on the further course of action.”
The bench added, “In this particular case, the petitioners would be well advised to rely on the statutory remedies. It is only on the exhaustion of ordinary remedies that perhaps a proceeding can be brought before a writ court.”
The division also said that the previous judicial order was in favour of respondent-8 (Chandrababu Naidu) and does not entitle the petitioner to attribute bias to the judges.











Govt OK challenged, HC issues notice


Express news service : New Delhi, Sat Feb 18 2012, 00:36 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought responses from the Central and Delhi governments on a petition that challenged their powers to regularise unauthorised colonies in the Capital.

Asking the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to take a stand as well on the petition by May 2, a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to all parties and gave them four weeks to reply.

The court issued notice on a petition by one H R Suri, filed through advocate Anil K Aggarwal, challenging the DDA’s powers to frame rules for Regularisation of Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi, 2008.

The petition contended that the DDA does not allow regularisation of unplanned colonies.

It said even the Delhi government was barred under a Constitutional provision relating to land development to frame rules in the matter.

The petitioner claimed that only the elected civic body, the MCD, was entitled to take over and bring out schemes for improvement of unauthorised and unplanned colonies.

The petitioner also alleged that the DDA failed in curbing unauthorised construction and to cover up its laxity, it illegally regularised as many as 567 unauthorised colonies in 1990.

On Wednesday, when Delhi held a mock drill for disaster management, the bench described unauthorised construction in the city as a serious man-made disaster. The court also said it would have a “devastating” impact if not checked immediately.

The bench took a swipe at the government for organising a drill on the one hand and on the other, proceeding to regularise unauthorised colonies in Delhi.









HC posts PIL seeking arrest of


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Madurai, Feb 17 (PTI) Madras High Court bench here today posted to Feb 20 a PIL seeking the arrest of anti-nulear activist S P Udhayakumar, spearheading the protest against Koodankulam nuclear power project, under the National Security Act (NSA). When the petition came up for hearing, a division Bench Justice V.Dhanabalan and Justice R.Karuppiah observed that “If a Person is to be detained under NSA then the Central and State governments should be made parties (in the case).” Petitioner R.Sivakumar, a hotel owner, sought a direction to the Tirunelveli Collector and Superintendent of Police to arrest Udhayakumar for ‘inciting’ violence among the fishermen community in the region and creating unnecessary fears about the project built at a cost of Rs.14,000 crore. Udhayakumar is the convenor of the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the protest against the KNPP demanding its scrapping. However, the petitioner and his counsel did not appear today as the lawyers abstained from court work in view of the anniversary of the advocates-police clash in the principal bench of the court on February 19, 2009. Additional Advocate general Chellapandian took notice for the Collector and SP.










HC to hear next week plea on DSGMC polls


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today decided to hear next week the city government’s plea against the single judge’s order virtually staying the elections of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee due in March. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahi Endlaw fixed Tuesday to hear the appeal of Directorate of Gurudwara Elections (DGE) against the single judge’s order asking it to complete the exercise of delimitation of area of 46 wards in a month and restraining it from issuing notification for the elections. Filing the petition through counsel Rajiv Nanda, the government said the single judge has no right to pass such order once the Directorate has declared the schedule for the polls. The lawyer also argued that the exercise for delimitation would take long time and that it could be done after the elections. Giving the order to the DGE on February 8, the court had also directed it to complete the exercise with regard to the electoral rolls within a month before issuing the notification for the Sikh body’s polls. The court had passed the order on a petition filed by Harmohan Singh, who wanted to contest the elections, alleging that the Directorate has announced the schedule for the elections and the notification was yet to be issued. “The elections of DSGMC on the basis of incomplete list of voters and without delimitation of wards will cause unfair representation of the members from each ward,” the petitioner said. He contended that number of duplicate voters have been mentioned and said non-Sikh persons also figured in the voters’ list.










HC seeks compliance report on encroachments


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.54AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the chief secretary and director general of police to ensure that the encroachments from the city capital are removed and not re-occupied. The court has summoned the compliance report on February 29.

A bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi took into note that the police personnel responsible for ensuring that the encroachment does not reoccur, have failed to do so. The bench was annoyed that the officials did not comply with its previous directives to remove and check re-encroachment.










HC orders issue of notice to ISKCON Mumbai


Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 22:19

Bangalore: Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issue of notice to ISKCON Mumbai on an interim petition filed by President of ISKCON Bangalore Madhu Pandit Dasa seeking expunction of his name and others from the high court verdict on ISKCON title row last year.

A division bench headed by Justice Nagamohan Das ordered issue of notice when the petition came up for hearing.

In the petition, Dasa prayed that his name and those of three others from ISKCON Bangalore be expunged from the High Court verdict given on title row between ISKCON Bangalore and ISKCON Mumbai on May 23 last year as they were not parties in the proceedings on which the verdict was pronounced.

On May 23, 2011, the court ruled that Sri Radha Krishan Chandra Mandir in Bangalore, which had originally been an ISKCON temple but had been run by a breakaway group since soon after its construction in 1997, is officially the property of ISKCON, registered in Mumbai.

The history of the Bangalore community goes back to 1978, when ISKCON first began spreading Krishna consciousness there.

From this beginning until now, ISKCON Bangalore has legally been a part of ISKCON registered at Mumbai, which is within the international framework of ISKCON under the ultimate managing authority of the GBC Body.

A permanent presence was established in Bangalore in 1981. In 1984, Madhu-Pandit Das, now head of the breakaway group, became temple President.







HC seeks explanation on illegal colonies


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.44AM IST

JAIPUR: A single-judge bench of high court has asked for an explanation from commissioner of Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) for his inaction in checking illegal multi-storey construction of flats and drilling of borewell in non-regularized colonies in the state capital.

The matter came on a writ petition filed by Arpit Nagar Aavaas Vikaas Samiti where it was stated that Arpit Nagar Colony was carved out by one Bhairav Nirman Grah Sahkari Samiti in 1981.

Initially there was provision for only 90 plots with a huge chunk of reserved land for utility, park and facilities in the locality. But later the society increased the number of plots. Even land for road, park and facility area were sold to private builders who started erecting multi-level residential units without the authorities’ approval.

Abhinav Sharma, counsel for the petitioner told high court that private builders started erecting multi-level residential buildings and also drilled a large number of borewells in each building despite the fact that the area is a dark zone one and there is a blanket ban on the borewell in the locality.

It was also brought to the court’s notice that the petitioner Samiti had approached JDC, registrar of cooperative society, officials of PHED but there was no response. The court, taking cognizance of the illegal construction and boring of tubewells in the dark zone, issued a showcause notice to commissioner JDA asking him to file reply by February 28.









HC to UT: Identify and treat drug addicts in Burail Jail


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 01:22 hrs


The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Chandigarh Administration to furnish details of drug addicts in Burail Jail and the steps taken to cure them.

During the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation seeking directions to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for rehabilitation of drug addicts, the High Court has asked Punjab and Haryana to furnish details of inmates in their Jails who are drug addicts and require medical treatment.

The HC has also asked the Chandigarh Administration to identify drug addicts in the city who need to be rehabilitated and require medical treatment. Counsel for Chandigarh Administration submitted that the city has been divided into four zones and awareness camps will be held in the city in each zone.

The Administration has been given four weeks time to identify the drug addicts and submit the details.








HC: Colleges to pay for illegal admissions


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.50AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to inform educational institutes that if they wrongly admit students who are not eligible, they shall be derecognized.

Justices P B Majmudar and P B Varale of the Nagpur bench heard a petition filed by a student of Sandipani junior college, challenging the decision of the board that she is not entitled to appear for Std XII board exams.

The court was informed that while the science stream’s eligibility criteria was 40%, the student had secured 38.5% in Std X and yet she had falsely mentioned her score as 42% in her admission form. The college’s advocate said it was “misguided” at the time of admission.

The student’s advocate argued that that the college should have verified her marks later and should not have enrolled her in Std XI. “It’s true that the institution was also required to make appropriate scrutiny later by asking the student to submit her original marksheet, the institution also remained careless for the reasons best known to it,” the judges stated in the February 10 order.

“Educational institutions, at the time of admitting the student to a particular course, must find out the eligibility at the threshold or at least within a few months after enrolling the student provisionally,” the judges added.

They judges directed the board to inform the institutions in advance by placing advertisements in widely circulated newspapers that if an educational institution wrongly admits such a student, even if he/she is not eligible to obtain admission in a particular stream, such institution shall be liable to be derecognized. “The board is instructed to comply with this direction by informing educational institutions in the entire state forthwith so that a bona fide student may not be deprived of getting admission ,” the judges stated.









HC asks Raj Chief Sec to submit report on illegal mining


PTI | 01:02 AM,Feb 18,2012

Jodhpur, Feb 17 (PTI) Taking serious notice of mining near the IAF station in Jaisalmer, the Rajasthan High Court has sought a report from the state chief secretary about the steps taken against illegal mining in the prohibited area. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailsah Chandra Joshi, while hearing a PIL filed by one Sabal Singh, has continued the stay on mining. It has sought an Action Taken Report from the chief secretary and has directed the collector to freshly measure the area supported by a report thereof in the court. Observing that the matter is concerned with national security, the court has warned the chief secretary and the collector that if their report/affidavit is found to be incorrect or false, harsh action would be taken. Sukesh Bhati, counsel of the petitioner, said that the state government had banned the mining activities within the periphery of 900 m of the Air Force station of Jaisalmer in addition to the existing notified area in 2000 following the directions of the Defence Ministry. The state government, in a 2001 gazette notification, extended the ban to any sort of construction in the same area, which was, however, withdrawn after it issued yet another notification in 2007. “But taking shield of this relaxation to construction activities, the miners resumed mining in this prohibited periphery in connivance of the mining department,” Bhati said. The Air-force took up the issue with the district administration repeatedly citing imperilment of the high value assets installed at the station and threat to low altitude flights, but in vain. Bhati said that in its last letter to the district administration, the Air-force had mentioned that it has lost a few aero-engines due to mining/blasting in the close proximity of an airfield. The matter gained greater seriousness in the light that some labourers working in these mines have been framed under RASUKA in the past.










HC seeks govt reply on plea challenging regularization of illegal colonies


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre and the state governments were directed by the Delhi high court on Friday to respond to a plea challenging their powers to regularize unauthorized colonies.

Seeking a reply from the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by May 2, a division bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notices to all the parties.

The court had issued notices on a petition by one H R Suri, filed through advocate Anil K Aggarwal, challenging the powers of DDA to frame rules for policy of ‘Regularization of Unauthorized Colonies in Delhi, 2008.’ The Delhi Development Act does not allow regularization of unplanned colonies, the petition contended. The petition also argued that even the Delhi government was barred, under a Constitutional provision relating to land development, to frame any rules in the matter.

Suri had claimed that only the elected civic body – the MCD – was the exclusive agency, entitled to take over and bring out schemes for improvement of unauthorized and unplanned colonies. During a hearing earlier this week, DDA had said it went ahead with regularizing colonies only on the orders of HC – which had asked it to frame guidelines. After receiving instructions from the urban development ministry, DDA told HC, it had come out with the guidelines.










HC notice to govt and CM on appointment


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 04.17AM IST

BANGALORE: The appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah, retired judge of the Karnataka High Court as the Upa Lokayukta is all set to undergo judicial scrutiny. The court on Friday ordered notices to the state government, the chief minister (not by name) and Justice Chandrashekaraiah upon two public interest litigation petitions challenging his appointment.

The division bench headed by Justice N Kumar posted the matter for February 27 while asking the parties to file their replies by then. The bench took objection to making principal secretary to governor as a party in one petition and asked the advocate to delete it.

Advocate general S Vijay Shankar, while accepting notice on behalf of the state government and the chief minister pleaded with the court not to pass an interim order, saying the issue falls in a narrow compass and Justice Chandrashekaraiah has already taken charge.

“The appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah is in utter violation of the mandatory procedure stipulated under Section 3 (2) (b) of the Karnataka Lok Ayukta Act, 1984 which is sacrosanct. The appointment was done without consulting the Chief Justice of Karnataka which is a mandatory procedure under the Act. Bypassing of such an important procedure is not correct. Because of this, the decision-making process is vitiated,” Navkesh Batra, counsel for one petitioner, told the court.

Petitioner Janakere C Krishna has alleged that like Justice Shivaraj Patil and Justice Gururajan, Justice Chandrashekaraiah is also an allottee of a site in the Judicial Employees Cooperative Housing Society. It was purchased on January 18, 1997, for Rs 1,02,666, while he was a sitting judge of the Karnataka High Court.

Another petition filed by advocate Anand Murthy sought the quashing of the January 21 order of appointment of Chandrashekaraiah. He placed the February 4 letter by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda.

“I was not consulted. before the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah. So it’s a violation of law as his appointment does not conform to constitutional standards and the Karnataka Lokayukta Act. Recent events and reports appearing in the media against him are not in good taste. So he should be recalled at the earliest,” Justice Sen had said in his letter.









AP apologises for ignoring Karnataka HCs notices


Published: Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 17:47 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The Andhra Pradesh government, on Thursday, apologised to the Karnataka high court for not responding to its notices over a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by some organisations.

The petitioners, including Karnataka Rashtriya Kisan Sangha and Indian Medical Association’s Pavagada branch in Tumkur district, had sought a direction from the high court to the Karnataka government over the supply of drinking water to Pavagada taluk through a pipeline that supplies water to villages in Andhra Pradesh under the Neelakantapuram Srirami Reddy water project.

The high court, on February 14, warned Andhra Pradesh that it may have no alternative but to direct the Karnataka government to stop supply of water from the Tungabhadra reservoir.

During the last hearing of the case, Andhra Pradesh did not have any representative.

“We cannot appreciate why there is no representation on behalf of the state of Andhra Pradesh,” the bench had said.

The senior counsel representing chief secretary to Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday orally apologised before the division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice BV Nagarathna for not responding to the notices issued by the court.

The counsel said if water supply was stopped to Andhra Pradesh, nearly 500 villages would be affected. He appealed to the bench not to stop supply of drinking water to the state.

When the counsel requested the bench to recall its February 14 order ‘to stop water supply,’ the bench made it clear that it had not passed an order directing Karnataka to stop supply of water.

“We had passed no such order. We only said, ‘we may have no alternative but to direct the State of Karnataka to stop supply of water.’ See the grammar in our order. It is clearly futuristic,” the chief justice said.

“But you [AP government] cannot disdain a court order (notices issued by court),” he added.










Stop treating human beings as office files: HC to UT


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 01:11 hrs


Pulls up Administration and babus for failing to take care of girl raped in Nari Niketan despite making ‘loud promises’

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Friday, chided the Chandigarh Administration and its “babus” for treating “human beings” as “office files”. Taking serious view of an allegation made by the amicus curiae, Advocate Tanu Bedi, that the girl child of a rape victim is not being taken proper care of, the High Court came down heavily on the UT.

A division bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih warned the Administration “not to run away” from its “loud promises” which it had made in the Supreme Court to take care of the child of a mentally retarded girl who was raped at Nari Niketan, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

“We do not need babus to look after the child. We are extremely unhappy,” remarked Justice Surya Kant, speaking for the Bench. Advocate Tanu Bedi, pointed out that the Administration did not supply woolen clothes to the girl child and that she and her mother were made to brave the chill in January without a geyser.

Tanu Bedi submitted that the child and other inmates of Ashreya, Sector 47, are being kept as if they have “committed a crime and have been confined to a jail”. Bedi also highlighted the unhygienic conditions prevailing in Nari Niketan and Ashreya.

Bedi suggested that the residents should be taken outside frequently. Giving Administration a reprimand for the humane manner in which they treat the residents, the division bench remarked, “conditions prevailing in Nari Niketan and Ashreya need to be reviewed seriously by those at the helm of affairs”.

The High Court also expressed displeasure with the functioning of the nodal officer. The Court remarked that the appointment of nodal officer and the Board constituted “appears to be an empty formality”. The Court has also asked the amicus curiae to inform in advance what is required for the welfare of the girl child.

The High Court has given a week’s time to Chandigarh Administration. The Court has asked senior standing counsel for Administration, Sanjay Kaushal to assist the Court.










HC serves notice on Chief Secretary


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KASARGOD: The High Court on Thursday served a notice on the Chief Secretary representing the government and the Managing Director of the Plantation Corporation on the petition filed by the Plantation Corporation Samrakshana Samithi requesting to stay the government order to pay Rs 54 crore to endosulfan victims in Kasargod before March 31.

The petition was filed by M Gangadharan Nair, general secretary of the Plantation Corporation Samrakshana Samithi.

The PCK was directed to pay Rs 1.50 lakh to 2,453 victims before March 31. They are to pay Rs36.79 crore in the current financial year and the same amount after five years.

The order of the government also stated that `3 lakh each is to be paid to other disabled persons.

The PCK Samrakshana Samithi stated in the petition that the decision of the government would destabilise the company.










HC reserves order on plea to stay ordinance


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday reserved its order on a batch of petitions seeking to stay the Co-operative Societies Ordinance-2012.
The petitioners had alleged that the ordinance was aimed at dissolving the board of directors of district co-operative banks and appointing administrators to manage the affairs of the banks.
Appearing for the state, Advocate General K P Dandapani submitted that the state government has the right to pass the ordinance and no mala fide intentions are there. The apex court had upheld the state government’s right to pass such an order. The order is constitutionally valid, he said.
The petitions were filed by State Co-operative Bank president M Mehaboob and presidents of Alappuzha, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta and Kozhikode district co-operative banks.
The petitioners submitted that the ordinance was illegal and arbitrary. It was brought with a mala fide intention to bring the banks under the control of the UDF government, they said.



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