LEGAL NEWS 20.02.2012

UN Human Rights Council recommends AFSPA repeal


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 11.02PM IST

GUWAHATI: United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has recommended repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and suggested that security forces should be “clearly” instructed to respect the works, rights and fundamental freedom of human rights defenders.

AFSPA, enacted in 1958, was first enforced in Assam and Manipur, but later extended to other states of the northeast following an amendment in 1972. The Act, which confers special powers to security forces in disturbed areas, has also been enforced in Jammu and Kashmir.

UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya’s latest report on India said Manipur, where AFSPA is still in force along with Jammu and Kashmir, is the worst-hit by “militarization” with more than “half a dozen” human rights groups having been branded as “terrorists” due to their “self-determination” advocacy work.

Along with AFSPA, HRC’s report has also recommended repeal of National Security Act, the Unlawful Activities Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and the Chhattisgargh Public Safety Act. “Other security legislations should be reviewed in the light of international human rights standards,” the report said.

The report will be placed before the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on March 5 this year. HRC is an inter-governmental body of UN comprising 47 states responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights across the world.

A copy of the report, which is available with TOI, made an observation that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 10 years did not visit Irom Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike for repeal of AFSPA since 2000, despite repeated requests by human rights defenders.

The special rapporteur’s report, compiled following her visit to India from January 10 to 21 this year, observed that in August 5, 2010 several human rights defenders were arrested as part of a crackdown to end protest against an extrajudicial killings in Imphal by police.

“They were remanded in judicial custody for 13 days and detained under the National Security Act in addition to the judicial remand according to an order of the Imphal West district magistrate,” the report said. Further, the report stated, “On August 25 the same year, the president of Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Manipur was arrested by Imphal West Police along with two activists.”

On the other hand, an international symposium will discuss the 11-year hunger strike by Sharmila, various aspects of AFSPA in northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, the Act’s impact on India’s democratic, constitutional and judicial practices in USA on February 21.









NHRC directs MCI to look into plaint of drug trial death in Indore


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 12.48AM IST

BHOPAL: In a significant development in the controversial drug trial cases of Madhya Pradesh, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) to probe the complaint of a woman, who lost her 73-year-old husband after he was subjected to drug trials at Indore two years ago.

In a letter to MCI Chairman, NHRC assistant registrar (law) stated that upon perusing the complaint, it is being transferred. “The complaint is transmitted to the authority concerned for such action as deemed. Accordingly, I am forwarding a copy of the complaint to you for its disposal at your end,” the letter said.

In her complaint, Hajani Anwar Bi alleged her husband Haji Abdul Rashid suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) died due to ill effects of the drug trial on April 21, 2010.

Anwar Bi stated her hubby, suffering from COPD, went to the government-run Manorama Raje TB Hospital where some doctors referred him to Chest and TB expert Dr Salil Bhargava, who took him to his private clinic, Gyanpushp Research Centre. She charged Dr Bhargava neither took consent her husband nor from her consent for conducting drug trials on him. She claimed that her husband was given “Salbutamol + Ipratropium Inhaler”.

Drug trials allegedly conducted by some government doctors without patients ‘consent between 2005 and 2010 in Indore, has triggered a controversy in the state. The state government has let off the government doctors in questions with a nominal fine.










Now, EC show-cause on Beni Prasad

It says the Union Steel Minister’s ‘quota promise’ violated the model code of conduct

The Election Commission (EC) has served notice on Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma to explain why action should not be taken against him for his statement on the intent of the Congress to provide job reservations to minorities and daring the Commission to act against him.

The Commission deemed it necessary to slap the show-cause on Mr. Verma even before the ink has dried on the apology letter of Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid to the EC earlier in the week for his statements twice on the same subject.

‘Reply by Monday’

In its notice to Mr. Verma based on a copy of video recordings of an election rally in Uttar Pradesh addressed by the Minister, the Commission on Saturday said he had violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. The Minister has been given time till Monday 5 p.m. to explain his position.

Hours before the EC notice, at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Verna termed his statement “a slip of tongue.”

“I have been addressing four to five rallies everyday and sometimes I fail to pay attention that in which reference I am saying something,” he was quoted by the PTI as saying.

Mr. Verma had made the statement on reservations three days ago and challenged the Commission to take him on in the presence of Mr. Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

The Commission noted that the Minister made the statement deliberately as he was “well aware that by making such utterances, he was violating the model code of Conduct.”

The notice has said if the Minister chooses to ignore it, the Commission will decide the matter without any further reference to him.

Unprecedented action

In an unprecedented action, the EC on February 11 petitioned President Pratibha Patil seeking her “immediate and decisive intervention” against the Law Minister for daring the Commission to ‘hang him’ on the quota issue. The EC approached the President after Mr. Khurshid ignored its first warning.

The President had forwarded the EC complaint to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Curtains came down on the controversy after the Law Minister wrote to the Commission apologising for his statements.

‘EC being denigrated’

In a memorandum on Friday seeking action against the Steel Minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the Union Ministers were carefully chosen to denigrate the Commission.

The party urged the Commission to consider measures more stringent than a mere censure such as prosecution and debarring from electioneering.









SEBI disposes of adjudication proceedings against Dalmias


Last Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 17:52

“The matter is, accordingly, disposed of,” SEBI said in an order issued on Friday.

Dalmias had 62.56 percent share in OCL. After the buy- back of 11,83,708 shares in 2003, the shareholding went up to 75 percent.

The issue came up three years after the closure of the buy-back offer. A company called Jindal Securities had filed a petition before the Delhi High Court alleging the promoters had triggered the Takeover Code through such passive acquisition.

SEBI regulations mandated for a public announcement for acquisition of more than 15 percent shares as per the then existing rules.

The high court directed SEBI to look into the issue, following which the market regulator had issued notice to the Dalmias in July 2007.

SEBI had also started adjudication process against Dalmias.

The promoters had submitted before SEBI that they had not acquired any additional share or voting right in OCL and, therefore, Takeover Code cannot be initiated.

SEBI was not convinced with it and in a 2010 order held that Takeover Code was violated.

Dalmia’s had later filed a petition before SAT against the SEBI order.

In November last year, SAT set aside the order passed by SEBI. The tribunal observed that as the Dalmias already had a majority holding in OCL, such acquisition of share did not attract the provisions of the Takeover Code.











Green tribunal asks OPG to adhere to terms of Env clearance


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 18,2012

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has asked the OPG Power Gujarat Pvt Ltd to adhere to the terms laid down in the environmental clearance granted by Gujarat for its 300 MW Bhadreshwar thermal power plant at Mundra. The tribunal, which was of opinion that in absence of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance and Forest clearance from the Centre, the Environmental clearance would stand redundant, was told by the company that alternative steps were being taken by them to avoid using reserve forest land or the sea water. Considering the company’s plea, the tribunal, while deciding a plea challenging the environmental clearance, said that if OPG proposes deviation from their original plan by technical change, “they shall apply to the concerned authorities who shall consider the same strictly in consonance with law and dispose of the same as expeditiously as possible by not later than four months”. A bench headed by Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu said in the event OPG planned to follow the original project plan, then it can apply under the Forest (Conservation) Act, “which shall be dealt in its own merits and disposed of in accordance with law also within a span of two months”. It said OPG has the liberty to respond to the show cause notice issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest on February, 6, 2012 under the provision of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011. The order passed on petitions by fishermen, salt pan worker and local residents assailing the environmental clearance (EC) to the OPG by the Gujarat State Level Impact Assessment Authority (GSLIAA) on June 11, 2010. The company later told the tribunal that alternative steps are being taken by them and they are not keen to either use the reserve forest land or the sea water.









Orissa rape: NCW report points at police inaction


Debabrata Mohanty : Bhubaneswar, Sun Feb 19 2012, 02:21 hrs
Probing into the alleged gangrape of a Dalit girl in Pipili block of Orissa’s Puri district, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has hauled up the local police station over its failure to register the FIR.

The 18-year-old girl of Arjunagoda village was allegedly gangraped by some local youths on November 28 last year. The assailants had then tried to strangulate her which left the girl’s cerebral cortex damaged leaving her in a state of coma. The political storm that followed led to the dismissal of Pipili police station inspector Amulya Champatiray. Pipili MLA and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy had to resign over allegations that he sheltered some of the accused.

The NCW, which sent its member secretary Anita Agnihotri to inquire into the case, in its report said that had the FIR been filed, then all the medical institutions involved could have been alerted and the girl would have a continuity of medical attention.

Justifying the dismissal of the inspector as “deterrent action”, the NCW recommended that a directive may be issued by the home department 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.




Victims of human rights violations to get speedy justice


Published: Saturday, Feb 18, 2012, 11:27 IST
By Y Maheswara Reddy | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Victims of human rights violations in the state will get speedy justice soon. The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) will have six zonal offices across the state by the end of May.

Victims need not then come to Bangalore from far-flung Gulbarga, Bidar, Hubli or other districts to register complaints.

Justice SR Nayak, chairman of the commission, has been advising the state government to provide infrastructure to establish zonal offices for them in Bangalore Central, Mysore South, Mangalore West, Davangere East, Hubli-Dharward and Gulbarga. The government’s reluctance to follow his advice had forced the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) to file a writ petition seeking a directive to provide the required infrastructure to establish the six zonal wings. The then acting chief justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice AS Bopanna had directed the state government to implement the proposals in six months.“We expect the government to provide the infrastructure by the end of May,’’ said Javid Pasha, secretary of the commission. Sources said the distance between Bangalore and other district headquarters such as Bijapur, Bidar and Gulbarga has become a stumbling block for justice Nayak and inspector general of police to reach those places after they receive complaints on rights violations.

“A person has to travel for more than 24 hours to reach Bidar or Bijapur. The police will have plenty of time to shift the people in their custody to other places by the time we reach the respective police stations,’’ said Justice Nayak. If the government implements the proposals, each unit of KSHRC will have one superintendent of police and three or four policemen to investigate the cases on human rights violations.

As of now, the commission has only one inspector general of police, two superintendents of police, two sub-inspectors and seven policemen (including two women police constables).

“The IGP post was vacant for the last four months. Today, Suneel Agarwal has assumed the office of inspector general of police,’’ said Pasha.

The commission has also sent a proposal to the state government to increase its staff from 106 to 196 to avoid any delay in clearing the pending cases.

“The KSHRC has received 31,139 complaints from July 2007 to December 2011. It has successfully disposed of 20,153 complaints. There are 10,986 complaints pending,’’ he said.









Man gets 1 year jail for not filing I-T return


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 05.11AM IST

JAIPUR: A trial court in Jaipur has sentenced a businessman to one year’s rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh for failing to file his income tax returns on time despite repeated notices.

As per court documents, the office of joint commissioner (special range-4), income tax, here had conducted searches on the properties and office of Anil Kuchhal, a resident of Ajmer Road area, and discovered an undisclosed income of nearly Rs 10 lakh in November 1999. During the search, the income tax officers reportedly seized Rs 1.90 lakh in cash and investment documents like bonds and FDRs.

When the businessman failed to file the returns despite several notices, in February 2001 the matter was taken to court. Since the accused finally filed the returns in November 2001, but after the stipulated time, the court started trial that ran for more than a decade.











Khushi’s family refuse money, demand justice


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.26AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Family members of five-year-old Khushpreet Singh expressed unhappiness over National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) direction to UT administration to release Rs 3 lakh compensation for Khushpreet’s family. They demanded action against three cops found guilty in this case, on Saturday.

The NHRC, Delhi, directed the UT administration to release the compensation on February 17. Victim’s father Lakhbir Singh said, “We have nothing to do with the compensation money. We would feel justified only if NHRC recommends dismissal and stern action against three police personnel found guilty.” The administration should be ordered to register a case of death due to negligence under section 304A of the IPC against the three negligent police personnel, he added.

The family of the deceased have decided to move a fresh writ application against Chandigarh police in Punjab and Haryana high court. Khushpreet’s uncle Sukhwinder Singh said, “We have discussed it with our advocate and would soon file a writ in the high court.”

A pending public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court in this case is scheduled for hearing on February 23.
The five-year-old was abducted near his residence in Burail, Sector 45, in December, 2010, and his body was recovered from Mohali on January 5, 2011. Two kidnappers had managed to take ransom money and kill the child while Chandigarh police dealt with the case with negligence.

Three policemen, including former SHO of police station-34 Udaypal Singh, in-charge of PP-Burail Narinder Patial and sub-inspector Balraj Singh were held guilty for negligence. Their services have been forfeited for four years.











New law proposes early seizure of corrupt babus’ ill-gotten wealth


Saurabh Sharma, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 01.02AM IST

JAIPUR: In an effort to thwart the attempts of corrupt officials who often use lengthy court cases to their advantage, the state government has come up with a draft bill that empowers the officials of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to confiscate their assets without permission from the government and courts. Besides, such officials will lose their ill-gotten property right on the day the corruption case is made out against them by the police.

The proposed law has been named ‘Rajasthan Anti-Corruption (Seizure and Confiscation of Disproportionate Assets) Bill, 2012’. It has been prepared by the office of advocate general and forwarded to the home department and ACB for suggestions.

As per the provisions in the draft, the state government will not have to wait for the disposal of case in the court in order to seize the disproportionate assets. The Act empowers the investigation officer to confiscate the property, movable or immoveable, alleged or suspected to have been involved in the offence and to impound any document connected with or relating to the offence.

As per current practice, confiscation of disproportionate assets of public servants is a tedious task for the anti-corruption officials. As per the criminal law (amendment) 1944, a written permission from the state government is required which is then placed before the trial court. The accused public servant, however, will continue to enjoy the ill-gotten assets till the disposal of the case.

Legal experts believe that the trial against the public servants in graft cases take longer duration, sometimes over 10 years, due to many formalities. By the time the case gets disposed, they manage to conceal the property.

“Our law reform committee has drafted a legislation which we have send it to the ACB on Friday. The provision in the draft will prevent the corrupt public servants form enjoying the fruits of their properties amassed through ill means,” said GS Bapna, advocate general.

The property seized will be placed in the custody of an officer appointed as custodian by the state government. The Act authorizes the government to appoint the district magistrate or any other officer not below the rank of a sub divisional magistrate for the management of the immoveable properties seized, till the final disposal of the case. The seized property will have to be used in public interest or in the manner as may be prescribed.

Sources said chief minister Ashok Gehlot has a keen interest in it. However, the draft has to go through ACB, home and law department before it is presented to cabinet.











Fine-tune laws, process to push mediation, says expert


Joseph John, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 01.25AM IST

BHOPAL: Amid rising numbers of litigations, India has a potential to use mediation as an effective tool to settle disputes, if the country develops a mechanism to ensure that conciliation and mediation begin at a point when a complaint is filed, renowned International Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) expert Rahim Shamji said.

“In India, the government wants to promote mediation. It had already incorporated a provision in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) 1908, providing that where it appears to the court, it may refer the same for arbitration, conciliation and mediation. But, then it’s too late to begin efforts for conciliation at the trial stage,” he told TOI on the sidelines of mediation competition underway at the National Law Institute University (NLIU).

Pointing out that a mechanism where mediation starts at the time when a complaint is filed, Shamji said he felt mediation has a great potential for solving problem in a pluralistic and diverse country like India where judicial process is slow and people want speedy settlement.

The mediation expert said professionals like doctors, architects and others could set up a mediation cell in their respective associations to resolve any disputes among their members so that a definitely cost saving process for settlement is geared. “Thus, they can also help keep their dirty linen inside,” he quipped.

“While the centre is keen to promote mediation, mindset of judges, lawyers and other authorities is a main hurdle. Other countries faced the same problem. Later, but the situation quickly changed in favour of mediation,” he pointed out.

“In a litigation, even a winner at times goes back home feeling mentally, physically and financially exhausted,” he pointed out. In contrast, in mediation parties concerned adopt a problem-solving approach to find out a “win-win” outcome and there is no winner or loser.

Describing mediation culturally flexible, Shamji said since it is not bound by rigid procedures, it can be adopted in a country on similar lines as being practised in other nations.

“A method of online registration of mediators will also be helpful. This is a method used in the UK and the USA where mediators register themselves with the courts and a list is generated online. If a client is seeking a mediator in a particular area, field or with any other specification, he can search for him online. This enables transparency and lends credibility ” he pointed out.



Law & order top priority for slain dacoit’s son


Pankaj Shah, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.38AM IST

CHITRAKOOT: Veer Singh was only four-year-old when a police team came cracking in search of his dacoit father Shiv Kumar Patel alias Dadua for the first time in his village Deokali in early 1980s. While his mother and two older sisters fled the village fearing police atrocious interrogation, villagers shoved the boy from one hut to another to hide him from the cops. For days, villagers served the child with food and water until one day when he was taken away by his uncle and Dadua’s brother Bal Kumar.

Now 32-year-old Veer Singh is back in his village nursing high political ambitions. He is Samajwadi Party’s candidate from Chitrakoot assembly constituency. “All that is past…I am a forward looking person,” he says. “Law and order will be the top priority if I win,” he says. “I will ensure punishment even if a guilty person would be from my family,” says the son of slain dacoit. Dadua was wanted in over 100 cases and known as Veerappan of North India’.

Interestingly, according to the ADR report, Veer Singh has nine criminal cases – maximum amongst all other candidates – pending against his name. The cases include murder, rioting and extortion. Canvassing in Karwi (now Chitrakoot constituency), Veer Singh drives an SUV with at least half a dozen supporters in tow. “I was asked by Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) some nine months ago to nurse the constituency. Since then I was sure of getting a ticket,” says Singh, who was president of Deokali gram panchayat between 2001 and 2005. It was during that period that he got a road constructed in his village which made him popular.

“It is for the benefit of farmers and youth that figure prominently on the agenda … water for irrigation or availability of power for instance,” he says.

Veer’s political ambitions gained ground in Mirzapur where he was brought up by his MP uncle Bal Kumar. Singh claims of having pursued a BA from a degree college in Rae Bareli, but the ADR report shows he is only a class 12 passout. He did his intermediate from Haldhar Inter College Ajhuwa in Koshambi.

In December last year Veer Singh’s political aspirations received a jolt after Mulayam Singh Yadav cancelled his candidature and gave the ticket to Sunil Singh Patel, who is son of SP MP from Chitrakoot RK Singh Patel. The development sparked off speculation of Veer Singh contesting as an Independent. But within a month SP state president Akhilesh Yadav backed Veer Singh and gave him the ticket.

Samajwadi Party sources claim that Veer Singh’s candidature could have a bearing not only in Chitrakoot but also in other districts of Bundelkhand. “Dadua was a dacoit in police records but he garnered the image of a Robin Hood as well,” said a senior SP leader.










SC clears decks for SGPC office-bearers


Hindustan Times
Chandigarh/New Delhi, February 18, 2012

Acting on a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Supreme Court on Friday ordered upholding of the order issued by the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) ‑ through a notification dated December 17, 2011 ‑ to constitute a board of SGPC


The court gave six weeks to all respondents to file a reply. The respondents in the case include the MHA, the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation.

The apex court’s bench comprising justice RM Lodha and justice HN Gokhle is hearing the case pleaded by senior advocate Harish Salve and advocate Gurminder Singh on behalf of the SGPC.
In the SLP filed on February 6, the SGPC challenged the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court, pronounced on December 20, quashing the MHA notification of 2003, through which the ministry took away voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs.

According to Gurminder Singh, the SGPC demanded in the SLP that the House be allowed to function as the final decision on the petition was awaited.
The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, which is contesting the case against the SGPC and demanding voting rights for Sehajdhari Sikhs, has also filed a caveat in the apex court, pleading that they be heard if the SGPC came up with the SLP.

“There are a number of issues which need to be settled. The budget proposal is to be finalised by March 31. The supreme body of the Sikhs can’t remain non-functional for a long time. As the cases pertaining to voting rights are pending, we demanded that the House be allowed to function,” said SGPC secretary Dilmegh Singh.
The SLP also pleaded that the ‘legislative intent’ of the Gurdwara Act, 1925, was that only pure Sikhs be allowed to vote for the management of the SGPC ‑ the body managing affairs of gurdwaras.

“Justifying the MHA role, we quoted Section 72 of the Punjab State Reorganisation Act, 1966, which says that the central government can issue orders pertaining to the functioning of SGPC,” said Gurminder Singh.

The SGPC elections of 2004 and 2011 were held without voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs. The federation challenged the MHA’s notification of 2003 the same year in the Punjab and Haryana high court, which quashed the notification on December 20, 2011.

But the SC order is silent on the fate of the SGPC elections, which took place on September 18, 2011, wherein 170 members were elected.

The MHA, on December 17, 2011, had issued a notification for allowing the induction of 170 elected members into the gurdwara committee, cooption of 15 members and also five head priests and head granthi of Darbar Sahib.

Now, after the SC interim order, another notification is expected from the MHA for electing office-bearers of the SGPC, including the president and 11 members of the executive committee.

Avtar Singh Makkar, SGPC president
In view of the SC interim order, the Centre should allow the election of office-bearers, including the SGPC president. People who are trying to undermine the authority of the supreme body of the Sikhs would not be successful in their ulterior motives.

PS Ranu, president, Sehajdhari Sikh Federation
Fresh SGPC elections should be ordered, restoring voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs. The House elected after the September 18 polls has no popular mandate as about 70 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs were denied voting rights.











Former SC judge says can’t probe Gujarat encounters


Press Trust of India : Ahmedabad, Sun Feb 19 2012, 03:50 hrs
Former Supreme Court judge M B Shah, who had been entrusted with the task to look into the alleged fake encounters between 2002 and 2006 in Gujarat, has written to the apex court informing it that he cannot head the inquiry as he is already in two commissions and cannot give time for the third inquiry.

“Yes, I have written a letter to the Supreme Court, informing it about my inability to take up the job,” Justice Shah said.

“I have said I am already in two Commissions, one of which is inquiring in the mining scam in Karnataka, which is very big one, while another has been appointed by the Gujarat government to inquire into allegations of corruption,” Justice Shah said.

“I have told the court to consider (the name of) some other judge for the inquiry,” he said. In April last year, the state government had appointed Shah to monitor the investigation into the killings following allegations that encounters showed a pattern that people from the minority community were targeted.

“Having regard to the fact that a monitoring authority has been put in place and a former judge of this court is its chairman, we desire the chairman (Shah) to look into all instances of the alleged fake encounters mentioned in the two writ petitions,” Supreme Court had said last month.

The order was passed by the SC in response to PILs filed by veteran journalist B G Verghese and poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar seeking a direction for a probe by an independent agency or CBI so that the “truth may come out”.











Register case against hospital, docs: Court to police


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.40AM IST

KANPUR: The additional chief metropolitan magistrate (II) of Kanpur Nagar, Harendra Bahadur Singh, on Saturday directed the Kalyanpur police station officer to register a case against director and two doctors of Rama Hospital and Research Centre, Lakhanpur, under appropriate sections of IPC on a complaint of one Shobharam Pal and investigate the matter.

Shobharam pal, in his complaint under section 156 (3) CrPC, had alleged that his son Ravi Pal was an employee at Rama Hospital. Ravi was hospitalised for treatment on May 29, 2011, and was being treated allegedly by Dr R K Singh and Dr Pankaj Omar. The complaint further said that Ravi was shifted to the operation theatre next day and he died allegedly due to medical staff’s carelessness. Doctors allegedly injected a wrong medicine as a result of which Ravi died, said the complaint.

The judge in his order also observed to seek opinion from Medical board and report of Viscera and other body parts preserved in post mortem. The complainant alleged that both doctors left the hospital after his son’s death. He lodged a complaint at Kalyanpur police station but the police did not register any case against the culprits. A registered letter was also sent to DIG, yet the police did not register any case against the hospital and its doctors.

Shobharam further claimed that when he asked for service benefits of Ravi, the hospital management did not reply. A legal notice was also served but that too was ignored by the management. The presiding judge, in his order, observed that the post mortem report revealed that there were some injuries on the body and the patient died due to haemorrhage, shock and an ante mortem blood vessel injury. It indicated that there was some foul play, so a case should be registered in this regard.

Bail adjourned: The district and sessions judge of Ramabai Nagar, Ali Zamin, on Saturday adjourned the hearing on the bail application of Sanjay Mohan, director, Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad, Uttar Pradesh, and fixed February 25 as the next date for hearing. At present, Sanjay Mohan is in police custody. According to sources, police had taken him to Lucknow for further investigation. The director was arrested by Akbarpur police on February 7 from his residence situated on the GIC campus, Nishatganj, Lucknow. The police had made him co-accused in TET exam scam and charged him with cheating and criminal conspiracy.





Petrol pump robbery: Accused gets 7 yrs RI


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.39AM IST

PANAJI: In a robbery case at petrol pump in Malpem-Pernem in 2008, the assistant sessions court, North Goa, sentenced Domnic D’Sa from Chimbel to seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

The police had charged D’Sa and Mancio Dias, who has since expired, for looting cash of over 90,000 belonging to M A Swar & Sons, by brandishing sharp edged weapons during the night on August 25, 2008.

The prosecution examined 14 witnesses and alleged that the accused armed with deadly weapons came to the petrol pump in a Maruti car, bearing a false number plate, and asked a sales boy to fill fuel in the car tank. Subsequently, they alighted from the car and took cash from the counter and fled towards Mapusa. The three sales boys working at the petrol station had identified the accused. Public prosecutor B Gaonkar argued that a maximum sentence be imposed on the accused, taking into consideration the gravity of the offence.

While sentencing the accused, judge Vincent D’Silva observed “In the instant case, the evidence on record clearly show that the accused, Domnic alongwith others, have committed a heinous crime on the unsuspecting sales boys who were doing their duties in a secluded place. The accused was mature enough to understand the implication of the crime committed by him.”

The court also noted that the object of awarding an appropriate sentence is to protect the society and to deter the criminal from achieving the avowed object to break the law’. The accused and others have committed the robbery with deadly weapons and the statute provides for a minimum punishment of seven years under Section 397 of theIndian Penal Code, the judge said.

The court also sentenced D’Sa to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and pay a fine of 10,000 under Section 392 (robbery) of IPC. The sentences imposed on both counts will run concurrently.






Mahanand guilty in 3rd murder case


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.53AM IST

PONDA: The district and sessions court, Panaji, on Saturday held alleged serial killer Mahanand Naik guilty of killing Yogita alias Balika Khushali Naik, 30, a resident of Nagzar Curti, Ponda, in January 2009.

This is Mahanand’s third conviction for murder. Accused of killing 16 women, the Shiroda resident has been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment in two separate murder cases, while being acquitted in eight cases. He has also been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for rape.

Principal district and sessions judge Nutan Sardesai held Mahanand guilty for Yogita’s murder under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping for killing), 392 (robbery), and 201 (disappearance of evidence).

The court has adjourned the case to March 1 for hearing both parties before deciding on imposition of sentence.

Ponda police had filed a chargesheet against Mahanand after he made a statement on April 25, 2009, that he killed Yogita at Morlem, Sattari, in Janaury 2009. Mahanand is believed to have revealed this during his custodial interrogation in connection with a rape case.

The Valpoi police had recovered a decomposed body that was hanging from a cashew tree on January 20, 2009. During the autopsy, police had preserved some vital organs which were sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, for DNA profiling in May 2009. The CFSL concluded that the body recovered was that of Yogita.

A senior scientific officer’s statement to the court in June 2011 stated that the tissue sent by the police for conducting the DNA test belonged to the ‘biological female offspring of Yogita’s parents’.

Police said Mahanand, as he was wont to do with his other victims, had befriended Yogita under the pretext of marrying her. On January 10, 2009, he took her to a cashew plantation in Morlem and strangulated her with her dupatta. After killing her, he stole her gold ornaments valued at Rs 80,000.






Income tax department asks for review of Vodafone tax ruling


The income tax department (IT) on Friday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking review of its January 20 judgment which held that Vodafone was not liable to pay a capital gains tax amounting to about Rs.11,217.95 crore to Indian revenue authorities for acquisition of 67 per cent stake in Hutchinson Essar Ltd’s telecom business in India.

Sources said the review petition by the government could be considered by the court on February 27.

Setting aside a September 8, 2010, Bombay High Court order, a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia in two separate but concurring judgments had directed the government to return Rs.2,500 crore taken as an interim amount during the pendency of the appeal with an interest of four per cent within two months.

The company had questioned the demand on the ground that the two firms involved in the estimated Rs.55,000 crore deal were not incorporated in India and had also not taken place in India but in Cayman Islands.

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

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said, “The demand of nearly Rs.12,000 crore by way of capital gains tax, in my view, would amount to imposing capital punishment for capital investment since it lacks authority of law and, therefore, stands quashed.”

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






Mr. Sibal, please slow down to hurry up

The Telecom Minister’s policy announcements increase uncertainty; raise more questions than they answer

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s policy announcements this week in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment cancelling 122 licences raise more questions than they answer, further deepening uncertainties about the future of the telecom sector.

Rather than addressing industry concerns arising out of the Supreme Court verdict, Mr. Sibal continued his build-up to the new National Telecom Policy (NTP), a project that was announced on January 1, 2011, with a 100-day deadline for closure. What was intended to be NTP 2011 is now expected to be unveiled in April as NTP 2012.

Yet, after 14 months, Mr. Sibal is still falling short on detail. For example, he has delinked licences from spectrum. Hardly breathtaking stuff, considering that after the Supreme Court directed the government to auction spectrum, no licence can ever be given with linked spectrum again.

Mr. Sibal has also raised the revenue share from a slab-wise rate for different services to a uniform 8% of adjusted gross revenue, or AGR. This decision is based on an internal committee report of the DoT, prepared without any public consultation, dating back to 2009. Telecom regulator TRAI has recommended twice over that the levy should remain at 6%, based on public consultation, in the interest of revenue neutrality, but the government has chosen to reject this rationale without offering any explanation.

Ironically, the same government, which insisted that charging a revenue share made up for the revenue shortfall from not holding auctions, is now insisting on auctions as well as a hike in the revenue share. Are its earlier arguments pleading affordability and public interest now in the bin? Unlike auction fees, which are amortised across the life of the licences, insulating tariffs, revenue share hikes hit customers on a monthly basis. Worse, consumers in ‘C’ category circles — the ones with the least purchasing power and lowest teledensities — are impacted the most. So, in essence, Mr. Sibal’s move specifically injures these, and the 400 million rural consumers who are yet to join the mobile revolution.

Mr. Sibal says, “All future licences will be unified,” but cannot answer when they will get spectrum. He announces, “Companies can be issued Unified Access Licences now without spectrum. They can then move into Unified Licences,” but cannot specify the terms for migration.

When will the levy of licence fee at 8% of AGR kick in? Is it April 1, 2012? If yes, can it be done before the Unified Licence regime is in place? Why open this to speculation?

Mr. Sibal has decided to extend Unified Access Licences for 10 years but doesn’t specify the terms and conditions for this extension. How will the spectrum be allocated when such extension takes place — through auction or a fixed price mechanism? Not known. What quantum of spectrum will be allowed to continue with the renewal? Find out later.

Re-farming of spectrum is acceptable to the government in principle, but no future steps can be described till the TRAI’s recommendations are received. So why announce it now?

And this is the showstopper: The prescribed limit on “spectrum assigned to a service provider” will be 8 MHz for GSM. But “the licensee can acquire additional spectrum beyond prescribed limit in an open market should there be an auction of spectrum subject to the limits prescribed for merger of licences.” This limit has been set at 25% of the spectrum assigned. This means that the actual limit — depending on the spectrum available — is between 20-25 MHz (spectrum bands have approximately 100 MHz). So what is the sanctity of the 8 MHz spectrum cap? Besides, how was the cap raised from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz to now 8 MHz? Has Mr. Sibal sought the TRAI’s recommendations on this?

Spectrum trading will not be allowed at this stage. This will be reexamined at a later date — again opening the door for negotiations and subjective decision making. What is the “later date” — next year or the next 5 years?

Mr. Sibal’s ill-timed and open-ended announcements make DoT and TRAI officials vulnerable to corporate lobbying. These announcements could have waited till most, if not all, answers were in place, especially in an environment which desperately needs to curtail uncertainty. Sometimes, it’s best to slow down in order to hurry up.








Glaring loopholes in Adnan murder probe’


Rebecca Samervel, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.53AM IST

MUMBAI: Additional sessions court judge Sanjay A Deshmukh pointed out several glaring loopholes left by both the prosecution as well as the police in the kidnap and murder case of Adnan Patrawala who was killed in 2007 but the accused could not be convicted. Referring to the manner in which the police handled the kidnapping bid, the 125-page judgment said, “It is surprising that there is no evidence to show that the police arranged a trap to catch the accused ransom caller while handing over at least some ransom amount.”

On January 30, a sessions court acquitted Sujit Nair, Ayush Bhat, Rajiv Dhariya and Amit Kaushal of the charges of kidnap and murder of the 16-year-old Patrawala. The prosecution claimed that on August 19, 2007, the four and a minor boy strangled Patrawala in Navi Mumbai after their plan to extort Rs 2 crore as ransom from his father went awry with the police getting wind of the kidnapping. His body was found dumped inside his car on Palm Beach Road in Vashi.

Pointing at a glaring error, the court said the prosecution did not examined Patrawala’s mother Lubna as a witness though she was the one who received a call made from Adnan’s mobile to their home’s landline at 1.30pm on August 19, 2007. The investigating officer had not confronted her or Adnan’s father Aslam with the accused to identify their voice, the court said. The judge further pointed out that the prosecution should have adduced voice analysis evidence in support of the ransom calls. The court claimed that the seizure procedure of several articles to be produced as evidence was not done according to the procedure. “Tampering of articles is possible,” the judgment copy stated.

The prosecution also withheld the pictures of Patrawala’s body and the car. “Further, the prosecution did not mention the details of the area where those were recovered. Evidence regarding seizure of the articles is not acceptable,” the judge added.

Another blatant mistake on the part of the prosecution, the court said, was that it did not examine the fingerprint expert who could have thrown light on the involvement of the accused. The expert was called to the spot to examine the car to show that the accused had handled the vehicle after killing Adnan.

The judge also rejected the testimony given by the prosecution’s star witness, Abdul Wahid, who was examined to prove the theory that Patrawala was last seen in the company of the five accused. Judge Deshmukh said the identification parade involving Wahid was not carried out in accordance with the rules under the Criminal Manual.

Aslam Patrawala told TOI that he was yet to receive the judgment copy. “I will get it either by Sunday or Monday. Once we go through it we will file our appeal in the Bombay High Court and even approach the Mantralaya,” he said.





A Raja solely responsible for 2G spectrum mess: Justice AK Ganguly


New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Ashok Kumar Ganguly says that former Telecom Minsiter A Raja acted unilaterally in the 2G spectrum mess and that his Cabinet colleagues are not to be blamed.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate, Justice Ganguly said, “It is not correct to apply the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility in the case relating to the distribution of 2G licences on a first-come-first-serve basis.”

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Karan Thapar: It appears that you have pinned the blame entirely on Mr Raja but you haven’t paid sufficient heed to the principle of the collective Cabinet responsibility. Surely such a momentous decision requires that the Cabinet also accept the responsibility?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: I think from the judgment, if you look at the judgment facts properly, you find that the minister concerns didn’t pay heed to the request made by the another minister, including the request made by the law minister to put the matter before the empowered committee.

Karan Thapar: As a result of which collective Cabinet responsibility, you are saying, doesn’t apply?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: In a way yes. Because that is the why we find that there is no proper policy.

Karan Thapar: What about the fact that in the three areas that Mr Raja has found to acted have wrongly, pricing, advancing the cut off date, determining the first-come-first-served in terms of letter of intent rather than in terms of date of application. He either informed the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister overlooked it or ignored it or the Prime Minister gave him advice which Mr Raja overlooked and Prime Minister didn’t look. Doesn’t that point the figure all the way to the PM?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: You are again asking me on the nitty gritties of the judgment. I don’t want to go again through that in the interview.

Karan Thapar: But you are absolutely convinced that the this instance the principle collective Cabinet responsibility does not apply?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: Possibly that is not follwed.

Karan Thapar: It doesn’t apply?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: It was not applied to this particular case.

Karan Thapar: It wasn’t followed? Raja acted unilaterally which is why his colleagues in Cabinet possibly don’t share any blame?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: Possibly yes.









United Sikkim threaten legal action against Ar Hima


PTI | Feb 18, 2012, 08.21PM IST

NEW DELHI: United Sikkim Football Club lodged a complaint to the All India Football Federation over the reported statement of the coach of Ar Hima FC that the Baichung Bhutia-owned side had influenced the rival club during an I-League second division match at Silchar.

In a letter to the AIFF, United Sikkim FC said that Ar Hima coach Subrata Bhattacharya was quoted as saying by a Bengali newspaper that some of his players were influenced by the Gangtok-based side.

“We think these types of baseless allegations are hampering the reputation of our club. This is our earnest request to you to kindly look into the matter and requests Ar Hima FC to produce necessary proof in this matter,” said the letter addressed to the AIFF general secretary.

“United Sikkim management is looking for necessary legal action against Ar Hima and its coach. We request you to look into the matter and take necessary action,” said the letter written by United Sikkim FC manager Anurava Bhattacharya.




Appointment of advisors, vice-chairpersons legal’


Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 09:26


Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has said the appointments of politicians as advisors and vice-chairpersons to various boards were legal and within the constitutional limit.

“The advisors and Vice-Chairmen of various boards were appointed by the state government within the parameters of constitution and law of the State and are as such absolutely legal being in accordance with the constitution of the state,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said in a statement issued by the government.

Sagar said the J&K government was examining the notice issued by the State Accountability Commission (SAC) on these appointments.

“We are examining the SAC notice and will reply to it in accordance with the rules. The appointments are legal and in accordance with the constitution of the state,” Sagar said. The SAC had on Friday asked the government to explain as to how it had accorded ministerial status to political advisors of the chief minister and vice-chairpersons of various boards.

The minister said there were no corruption charges against any of the advisors or vice-chairpersons for them to resign.

“The appointments are constitutional and legal, so there arises no question of their stepping down,” he added.

The minister said that it was not for the first time that the advisors and Vice Chairmen of various boards have been appointed as this practice has been in vogue during various regimes and administrative setups in the State in the past.

“We respect the State Accountability Commission and the State Government shall definitely clarify the state’s stand as per the law,” Sagar said. The minister said Jammu and Kashmir is not the only state to have appointed advisors with ministerial status as similar appointments have been made in other states and at the Centre as well.

“All these are legal and constitutional niceties shall be pleaded accordingly and law shall take its own course,” he said.

Criticising the political statement issued by PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, Sagar said, “Her statement is loaded with negative political overtures. She should in fact on the contrary appreciate the transparency of the system and independence of the constitutional institutions.”

The minister said Mehbooba has forgotten that various such appointments were made during the regime headed by PDP between 2002 to 2005.








Lawyers should strengthen society: Ex-CJI


Published: Saturday, Feb 18, 2012, 15:19 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

AM Ahmadi, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of India, had words of advice forstudents pursuing studies in law. As he delivered the keynote address at the inaugural ceremony of the 27th All-India Inter-University Moot Court Competition, held at Nirma University on Friday, he opined that law students should not run after lucrative jobs in multinational companies (MNCs), but instead practice law and thereby strengthen society.

“I do not like this idea of campus recruitment. Role of legal professionals is not in MNCs, but in the strengthening of the legal system and society. Don’t go after the system, be a part of it. Remain within the system to make it stronger,” said Ahmadi as hundreds of law students listened to his speech in the auditorium.

Among other dignitaries present at the function were Hemant Kumar Patel, trustee of the Bar Council, and Ashok Kumar Deb, managing trustee, Bar Council of India Trust. Around 38 participant groups will take part in the moot court competition.

Ahmadi also said that the profession of law has as a lot of thrill, as there is scope for dealing with a variety of subjects. He also said that a law professional is the only one who does not get any reward from the government. “Law is a vast canvas on which so much can be painted, and still never get exhausted,” he said.

The two-day competition will culminate on Sunday and the winners will be announced on the same day.









Court rejects DRI plea on Paras Ram


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 05.44AM IST

JODHPUR: After deferring hearing for four times earlier, the CBI court finally refused to give custody of Paras Ram Bishnoi, a suspect in the Bhanwari Devi case, to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on production warrant but permitted the DRI officers to interrogate him in jail on February 22. Bishnoi is currently under judicial custody in connection with the case. He was arrested by the CBI on December 2 last year.

Bishnoi’s counsel Sunil Joshi objected to the demand of the DRI to take him on production warrant for interrogation and termed it as the infringement of Section 267 of the CrPC.

He argued in court that Bishnoi is neither an accused in the DRI case nor does he have any pending case. “When the court asked the DRI officials on their efforts to summon him, the agency claimed to have sent about 40 summons to him but failed to substantiate the claim,” Joshi said adding that Bishnoi was very much available at his residence in Bilara.

Joshi said after 9 years, the DRI has woken up and that too due to Bishnoi being named in the Bhanwari Devi case.

Hearing the arguments from both the sides, magistrate Jagdish Jyani refused to give Bishnoi’s custody on production warrant to the DRI but allowed it to interrogate him in the jail on February 22.

Since the ongoing investigation of Bhanwari Devi case had brought up Bishnoi’s name, it alerted the DRI and its officers landed in Jodhpur to seek his custody on production warrant close on the heels of the CBI court sending him to judicial custody.

Bishnoi is accused of manufacturing and supplying of Mandrax tablets (a highly addictive synthetic drug) in a closed factory near Bilara. The DRI had searched this factory in 2002 after its sleuths intercepted a consignment of this drug in Mumbai and had booked him under NDPS Act along with four other persons for their involvement in production and selling of the contraband.

Of the accused, two have been acquitted, one is convicted and two including Bishnoi are absconding. The DRI had issued a red alert notice against Bishnoi on May 9, 2002 after he did not allegedly respond to any of the DRI’s summons.










Court takes cognizance of NIA chargesheet against David Headley


PTI Feb 18, 2012, 04.27PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Saturday took cognizance of the NIA chargesheet against Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley and eight others for allegedly carrying out several terror attacks in India.

The court has issued process to procure the presence of four accused, including Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana for March 13.

Besides the four, the court has issued non bailable warrants returnable for March 13, against the other five accused named in the charge sheet.

The special NIA Judge H S Sharma had reserved its order on February 4 after hearing arguments of NIA on the charge sheet.

The NIA had accused 51-year-old Headley, Rana, Lashker-e- Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and six others for planning and executing terror strikes in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Earlier, the NIA had told the court that Headley’s wife had congratulated him for the success of the November 26 terror attack in Mumbai.

The agency said his wife had e-mailed Headley saying “he has graduated and she was proud of him” and that she had watched the show (attack) for the whole day.

The NIA prosecutor had said Headley did dry runs of several places in India before the 26/11 Mumbai attack and he had also gone to Pakistan several times where he also met Pakistan Army official Major Iqbal, co-accused in the case.

The NIA had on December 24 last year filed the voluminous chargesheet against Headley, Rana, Saeed and others.

Headley and Rana are at present in the custody of the US authorities and the NIA has only got a limited access to Headley who had entered into plea bargain with US authorities to escape harsh sentence.

Besides Major Iqbal, the NIA has also named another serving Pakistani Army officer, Major Sameer Ali, believed to be working for ISI along with Iqbal, in the chargesheet.

Al-Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Headley’s handler Sajid Malik and former Pakistani Army officer Abdul Rehman Hashmi were also named in the chargesheet for waging war against India and under other relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The NIA had initially registered a case against Headley and Rana but after a thorough probe, seven other names were included in the case.

The agency said Headley’s role in several terror strikes in the country was detailed in the chargesheet.

The chargesheet, which was filed after two years of probe by the central agencies, contained statements of 134 witnesses along with 210 documents and 106 e-mails.

The court also heard NIA’s arguments on an application under section 166A of the CrPC, seeking permission for a letter of request to the competent authority for investigation in Morocco.

The chargesheet mentions the fake plea made by Rana to Indian authorities about Headley being a representative of his Immigration Law Centre








Furnish details of medical faculty, CIC tells MCI


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 06.24AM IST

PUDUCHERRY: In a significant order that will help eradicate fake faculty members in private medical colleges, the Central Information Commission has directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) to furnish details of faculty members, their designations and their joining dates on its website and update the information every quarter.

Puducherry Government Medical Officers’ Association general secretary Dr K Sudhakar had filed an application under the RTI Act with the MCI public information officer (PIO) seeking details about faculty members in nine private medical colleges in Puducherry.

Unsatisfied with the reply given by the PIO, Sudhakar filed an appeal with the first appellate authority , which failed to pass an order within the stipulated time. Sudhakar then approached the CIC. Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi ordered the MCI to furnish names of faculty members, their designations and joining dates on its website and update the information every quarter.











RTI reply hints at unauthorised use of confidential documents


Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 18, 2012

The Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMO) has replied under the Right To Information (RTI) Act that there is no record of additional copies being made of the confidential documents submitted by Gen VP Malik (retd) in the Delhi high court in 2003 in the Brig Surinder Singh dismissal case.

The RTI reply also reveals that these documents had been destroyed by the DGMO on September 30, 2002, by a board of officers, while former Chief of Army Staff Gen Malik had used them to support his argument on February 11, 2003.

“It shows that Gen Malik had been in unauthorised possession of these confidential documents,” said Brig Surinder Singh (retd). One of the documents is Gen Malik’s tour programme to the Northern Command from August 27-29, 1998, when he had met Brig Singh. The second pertains to tour notes and directions.

This RTI information has been submitted in the case being heard by the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). “It clearly shows that even the government is not supporting the legal possession of these documents with Gen Malik,” said MP Goswami, counsel for Brig Singh. The latter had applied for this information on March 18, 2011. It was provided on January 2 this year.

Earlier, Brig Singh had submitted RTI information supplied by the army headquarters, dated February 14, 2011, stating that Gen Malik had not taken permission before publishing details about troop strength, movement and deployment and weapons held by them during the 1999 Kargil war in his book ‘Kargil From Surprise to Victory’.

The ministry of defence had stated in an RTI reply dated January 31, 2011, that neither had Gen Malik taken permission before publishing his book nor had the MOD taken cognisance of the matter afterwards.

The Kargil Review Committee had deleted the name of Tashi Namgyal, an informer who reported about Pakistani intrusions, but Gen Malik’s book mentioned his name on page 105 of his book.
Brig Singh was the brigade commander for Kargil during the war. He was dismissed from the army on May 29, 2001, on the charges of leak of documents to unauthorised persons and vacating of the Bajrang post by 4 Jat in early 1999.

In 2002, he moved the Delhi high court, seeking quashing the dismissal order and his reinstatement with all consequential benefits. He also prayed for an independent inquiry to fix responsibility and the role of the Army Commander and the Core Commander.

Besides Gen Malik, Lt Gen Kishan Pal, then Corps Commander of 15 Corps, Maj Gen VS Budhwar, then GOC 3 Infantry Division, and Lt Gen HM Khanna, then Army Commander of Northern Command, were also respondents in the case.

The case was transferred to the principal bench of the AFT in early 2010, and came to the Chandigarh bench in September 2010.
What General said in HC in 2003 that during his tenure as army chief, he toured Jammu, Naushera, Surankot, Srinagar, Kargil, Drass, Wujur, Khanabal, Kupwara, Pherkian Gali and Balbir posts from August 27 to 29, 1998. He visited Kargil and Drass on August 29.
During his visit, Brig Surinder Singh gave him a briefing in the Ops Room of the brigade. Gen Malik claimed that Brig Singh “never brought out that there was a possible or imminent threat of large-scale infiltration by the enemy from any particular area/route”.
He also submitted that Brig Singh failed in his duties and responsibilities “to protect the territory along the LoC, which was his primary responsibility”. He added that as an afterthought, Brig Singh “wanted to cover up his lapses by shifting the blame on him and the government” by claiming that he had informed about the possible intrusion by the enemy in the Kargil sector.

Gen Malik added that he had received “no written communication whatsoever” wherein Brig Singh had shown his apprehension of a possible infiltration by the enemy in his brigade sector.










Centre-states’ face-off in offing over amendment to RPF Act


Mahendra Kumar Singh, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.17AM IST

NEW DELHI: Another stand-off between the Centre and states is building up, and this time around the bone of contention is amendment to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act that will empower central force under railways with policing power to effectively deal with crimes in trains and railway stations.

As railways is gearing up to introduce the Railway Protection Force (Amendment) Bill, 2011, in the budget session of Parliament, the move is set to face stiff political resistance from non-UPA ruled states.

Many states, including Mayawati-ruled Uttar Pradesh, are opposing the proposal, terming it unconstitutional and against the federal structure, arguing that policing and law and order falls in their domain.

However, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is spearheading the campaign against National Counter Terror Centre (NCTC) on an anti-federal plank, will be in the line of fire as the legislation is piloted by the rail ministry that is controlled by her party.

The legislation seeks withdrawal of the Government Railway Police (GRP) – controlled by state government and railways bears 50% of the cost – from railway premises and empowering the RPF with policing power to deal with crime cases, including drugging and robberies in trains and stations.

Now, GRP is responsible for dealing with crime at railway stations and trains, while the RPF’s role is restricted to protecting railway properties.

As per the proposed amendments, a RPF sub-inspector will enjoy an equal power to that of station house officer (SHO) and will be empowered to file First Information Report (FIR) against the accused of crimes committed on running trains and railway stations. The GRP’s power to file cases against the accused has placed the Centre and states at loggerheads over the investigation of offences.

Once this law is passed, it will be the first time that a paramilitary force will be given policing powers in the country. Railway’s plan aimed at eliminating multiplicity of authorities as the RPF will be solely responsible for tackling crime in railway premises. But, states are complaining of encroachment in their territory arguing that policing and law and order is a core state subject. “RPF manning police stations will create jurisdictional islands that will help criminals in escaping the law,” said DGP of a state, pointing out practical difficulties in implementing the proposal.

It was argued that since the GRP is controlled by the state government, there are boundary issues in dealing with crimes which creates inconvenience to passengers but also affects the investigation process.

The amendments will give RPF the responsibility of registering FIRs and there will be no boundary issue involved, he argued.

The issue of community policing is also raised against the move, claiming that state police is better equipped as far as local intelligence is concerned. The crimes committed in trains and stations cannot be dealt in isolation, they claimedarguing that a GRP constable is an officer with a civilian facade, who has to deal with different pressure groups – local politicians, shopkeepers, unions and criminals. “He is basically a community police officer. He is better equipped for law and order handling and crime detection,” said a SP from Odisha.

A senior rail officer argued that the crimes committed on trains and railway station campuses come under the jurisdiction of the GRP for FIR and investigations, but the blame for their failure goes to railways.

Also, the jurisdiction of the GRP is till border of a state, and the criminals take advantage of the situation and manage to cross over to a neighbouring state within hours of committing the crime.

After the RPF gets the authority to control crime, it would be able to check the crimes and nab criminals from any part of the country, the SP claimed.

Railways wants the RPF equipped on the lines of CBI to effectively deal with crimes on moving trains and so the disputes regarding border did not crop up at all, saying that officers of a singular force will be able to investigate the crimes with better coordination.










Goondas Act: Govt record poor, liberal use to blame


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.44AM IST

CHENNAI: Once the most feared provision, detention under the Goondas Act has now been reduced to a mockery, with just about seven per cent of the detainees serving out the full detention period of one year.

During the past 13 months, beginning January 2011, Tamil Nadu witnessed a total of 1,926 detentions under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Forest-offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-grabbers and Video Pirates Act (popularly called ‘Goondas Act’). Of them, just 146 people actually completed the whole one year in detention.

“While 1,291 people were released as per the orders of the high court or the Supreme Court, 489 walked out due to the intervention of the statutory advisory board headed by a retired judge of the high court,” a source in the high court told The Times of India. “Not all detention orders of the 146 persons, who completed their one-year term in prison, were upheld by court/board. Many of them simply spent the whole term in jails, without questioning the detentions,” he said.

Interestingly, 76 women too had been detained under the act during the period, and the detentions of all but one woman were quashed by the court/board. “The only woman, housed at the special prison for women at Vellore, spent the full period because she could not afford to hire the services of a lawyer,” the source said.

Commenting on the abysmally low confirmation rate of preventive detentions, a former prosecutor said that indiscriminate and ill-prepared detentions will dilute the deterrence value of the provision.

“Preventive detentions too should not become just another routine penal provision, which could be easily challenged and quashed. Though personal liberty is one of the most precious of all fundamental rights in the Constitution, authorities have been empowered to invoke a preventive detention provision only because the framers of the Constitution expected the detaining as well as the sponsoring authorities to use the provision sparingly and judiciously,” said a jurist.

The fact that 146 persons languished in jail because many of them could not engage a lawyer to represent them in court is sad, because it reflects the failure of our free legal aid scheme, said a lawyer-activist. “Usually, requests of indigent detainees are forwarded to the High Court Legal Services Committee, which shall nominate a lawyer. In most cases, even after nomination letters are issued, these lawyers never visit jails and meet the detainees concerned,” he said.

For instance, the committee nominated a lawyer to represent Vinayagam of Puzhal prison in August 2011. Till date, the detainee has not seen his lawyer. As he was detained in July 2011, in a couple of months his detention period itself will end, said the lawyer.

“Already our conviction rate in criminal cases is very low. The preventive detention orders cannot be allowed to get quashed at this speed,” said a former judge, adding: “While the detentions are publicised by the authorities, not even a whisper is made whenever they are quashed. Police flaunt detentions only for statistical purposes.”








Make picking red sandalwood a penal offence: SC


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.20AM IST

NEW DELHI: Large scale smuggling of endangered red sandalwood, which grows only in Indian forests and commands a princely price in markets of China, Japan and Western countries, has forced the Supreme Court to try and save it from extinction by making its picking or uprooting from wild a penal offence under the Wildlife Protection Act.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad directed the Centre to take steps to include Red Sanders in Schedule VI of the Act, as requested by Andhra Pradesh, within six months.

Till date there are only six other plant species in Schedule VI such as Beddomes’ Cycad, Blue Vanda, Kuth, Ladies Slipper Orchids, Pitcher Plant and Red Vanda. Now, Red Sanders would become the seventh species to be included in the Schedule.

Accepting the arguments of amicus curiae and senior advocate P S Narasimha, the court said it was giving the direction for inclusion of red sandalwood in the prohibited list since “it is reported that nowhere in the world this species is seen, except in India and we owe an obligation to world, to safeguard this endangered species for posterity”.

Red sandalwood is found only in south India, especially in Andhra Pradesh’s Cuddapah and Chitoor districts that share border with Tamil Nadu. It is also known as lal chandan or rakta chandan in Hindi. The court noted that it possessed medicinal properties.

On normal sandalwood, the bench said though the species was not mentioned in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Specials (CITES) of wild flora and fauna; it was included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

However, it asked the Central government to consider including normal sandalwood in Schedule VI of endangered species “considering the fact that all sandalwood growing states have stated that it faces extinction”.

“In such circumstances, rather than giving a positive direction to the Central government to include sandalwood in Schedule VI, we are inclined to give a direction to the Central government to examine the issue at length in consultation with National Board for Wildlife and take a decision within six months as to whether it is to be notified as a specific plant and be included in Schedule VI of the Act,” the bench said.



Indians killed: Ship to hand over 2 guards?


Kochi: Time is running out for Italian ship Enrica Lexie to hand over two marines for questioning in connection with the killing of two Indian fisherman. The deadline expires at 8 am on Sunday.

Kochi’s Police Commissioner Ajith Kumar had earlier visited the vessel on Saturday evening – the second visit by a police team for the day and met the captain and crew. The crew was told to surrender or face police action.

“Italian authorities have agreed to hand over two guards of Enrica Lexie to Kerala Police for questioning after Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna on Saturday talked to his Italian counterpart Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata regarding the Indian fishermen killing incident.”

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has told Italy that they will have to face a probe under Indian laws. But Italians have reportedly refused to cooperate.

Reports suggest the Italian crew is awaiting for officials from Rome to arrive before deciding the next course of action.

Kochi police commissioner MR Ajith Kumar said the two guards will be handed over at 8 am on Sunday.

During his talks, Krishna has told his Italian counterpart that Indian law will have to be followed in the fishermen killing incident and the crew of Enrica Lexie will have to face probe. Krishna told the Italian minister that the crew of the ship should have exercised restraint as fishermen carried no arms, but only fishing nets.

The Italian foreign minister has expressed regret and sought mutually acceptable procedure to establish facts.

The Italian ship’s crew has till now refused to be questioned and said they will cooperate only after discussing the matter with their diplomats. The crew is awaiting the arrival of a high-level team of diplomats from Italy to meet officials in Delhi and then advise them on the next step.

Kollam Police Commissioner Gopesh Agrawal is already on the ship waiting for further orders.

The ship owners and crew are reportedly ready to cooperate, but waiting for final word from the Italian authorities.

Taking a strong stand on the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy said, “The killing of fishermen is a cruel incident. We will not let it pass till justice is done. We will not allow the culprits to escape from legal proceedings.”

The IG of internal security in Kerala S Anand Krishnan told CNN-IBN that exact location of where the firing took place is still unclear despite the MHA maintaining that the incident did take place in Indian waters.

“There is a problem about the jurisdiction. But we have registered a case under Indian penal code. Their authorities are claiming that the case should be pursued under international law. The exact spot is yet to be established through technical corroboration. Will wait for diplomatic correspondence,” said Krishnan.

However, Home Secretary RK Singh said, “The law is very clear. The vessel, in which the fishermen were travelling, was an Indian vessel; therefore action will be taken as per Indian law.”

On Friday, the Home Ministry had given orders to the Kerala Police to arrest the armed guards on the ship.

Sources say that the Italian crew insists that India cannot take any action against them as they were in international waters, when the incident took place.

Commenting on the incident, Minister for Shipping GK Vasan said, “It is internationally well known fact that whenever pirates attack there is a proper protocol to tackle it. The protocol was not followed by the Italian ship. There was a delay made by the crew in contacting the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).”

The Indian authorities say there is nothing to suggest that the fishermen were in the wrong. In fact it appears the ship was reckless in opening fire. It used excessive force and violated standard anti-piracy protocols; a case of murder has now been filed against the six armed guards.

Regional Commander of Coast Guard Region said, “If it (pirate attack) happens or likely to happen they are supposed to report to the concerned agency. No report has been received by the HQ. They should have reported about the pirate attack.”










CP workers resort to violence at Dhankawdi


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.35AM IST

PUNE: Tension gripped Katraj after irate NCP activists closed down a school, shops, staged a ‘rasta roko’ agitation and ransacked the Dhankawdi ward office on Saturday, irked by the defeat of NCP candidate Ajit Babar in the civic polls. Babar was defeated by MNS candidate Vasant More in panel number 76 on Friday. Senior police inspector Nagnath Wakude of the Bhartiya Vidhyapeeth police station told TOI that the part workers started protesting by saying that the elections had not been free and fair, and demanded that the assistant returning officer conduct the elections again.

According to Wakude, the activists terrorised students of More Vidyalaya in Katraj village and forced officials to close down the school. “They also forced 15 to 20 shops to close down and staged a ‘rasta roko’ agitation at Katraj chowk,” he said. The activists allegedly ransacked the Dhankawdi ward office and damaged cabins, computers and notice boards. They also damaged the windscreens of two private vehicles parked outside the ward office and fled, police said.

Acomplaint has been registered against Ajit Babar, Ramesh Babar, Lokesh Tondare, Amar Renuse, Chaya Khandare, Balasaheb Khandare, Shivaji Biramane and around 250 others under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Law Amendment, Damage to Public Property Act and Bombay Police Act. Tondare was later arrested.











High Court notice to State, Upalokayukta


Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment challenged

Not just the State Government and the Chief Minister, even Upalokayukta Chandrashekaraiah will have to defend his appointment as the High Court of Karnataka on Friday ordered issue of notice to them while hearing two public interest litigation (PIL) petitions challenging his appointment.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice Ravi Malimath ordered issuance of notice on the petitions filed by Janekere C. Krishna, an advocate, and Ananda Murthy R.

The court, however, directed deletion of the Governor’s name from the list of respondents. The Bench will hear the arguments of the petitioners as well as the respondents on February 27.

It has been contended in the petitions that Mr. Chandrashekaraiah’s selection was made without following the procedure stipulated in Section 3 (2) (b) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, and thus the appointment was illegal.

The petitioners pointed out that, according to the law, the Chief Minister has to recommend to the Governor the name of a retired judge of a High Court for the post of Upalokayukta. And such an advice should be tendered by the Chief Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Chairman of the Legislative Council, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the leaders of the Opposition in the Council and the Assembly.

However, the petitioners said that any appointment without following the procedure was illegal, and pointed out that the opinion of the Chief Justice of the High Court was crucial and should have primacy during the selection process.


Referring to the recent letter from the High Court Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen to Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on the appointment of the Upalokayukta, the petitioners pointed out that the Chief Justice had said that the Chief Minister had not followed the procedure in the appointment of Mr. Chandrashekaraiah.

It was pointed out in the petitions that the Chief Justice, in his letter, had asked the Chief Minister to recall the appointment (of Mr. Chandrashekaraiah) as it was done without mandatory consultation with the Chief Justice.

It was argued on behalf of the petitioners that the PIL petitions had been filed to protect the integrity of the institution [Lokayukta] as persons occupying the posts of Lokayukta and Upalokyukta should be of high integrity, while pointing out that there were certain allegations against Mr. Chandrashekaraiah.

Advocate-General S. Vijay Shankar, who took notice on behalf of the State, submitted that only the nature of consultation with the Chief Justice by the Chief Minister would have to be looked into by the court in these pleas, and contended that there was no need to stay Mr. Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment.



Telecom Watchdog moves court for CBI probe into excess spectrum allocation


‘No transparency, exchequer suffered huge loss’

Telecom Watchdog, an NGO, on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the allocation of excess spectrum to the existing operators in violation of norms and thereby causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

It filed a petition through advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking transfer of the writ petition, pending in the Delhi High Court, in which Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Telecom, Idea Cellular, Loop Mobile, Spice Communications and Aircel Cellular were cited as respondents who received spectrum allocation in excess of their contractual entitlement but without paying any entry fee, etc. The petitioner alleged that the Centre did not follow even its own February 1, 2002 order, which said that “additional allocation could be considered only after a suitable subscriber base, as may be prescribed, is reached.”

The petition said: “Many operators had obtained 2×10 MHz spectrum [from July 2003 onwards] years before the announcement of allocation criteria [March 2006]. This way the Centre has caused a substantial loss to the exchequer to provide benefit to the private operators. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, in its August 28, 2007 recommendations to the government while tightening the spectrum allocation, also recommended levying of a licence fee for any spectrum allocated beyond 10 MHz [since by then many operators had already acquired Spectrum up to 10 MHz].”

The Telecom Commission agreed with TRAI and it recommended levying of a usage charge for allocation of additional spectrum from 2×8 MHz to 2×10 MHz to all the existing operators beyond 4.4 MHz/ 2.5 MHz in the GSM/CDMA band prospectively from the date of allocation, after a decision by the government in this regard, at the price to be discovered through auction. However, now the Telecom Ministry sent the recommendations to the Law Ministry for its opinion and the matter was pending. The petition alleged that the Centre’s action in allocating spectrum over and above the contracted amount non-transparently led to a huge loss to the exchequer.











Delhi High Court upholds ‘Advocate on Record’ rule


By which only lawyers who clear AoR exams can move Supreme Court

The Delhi High Court has upheld the ‘Advocate on Record’ (AoR) system prevailing in the Supreme Court by which only those advocates who are qualified in the AoR examination are eligible to file petitions in the Supreme Court.

Dismissing a petition filed by an advocate Balraj Singh Malik, who is not an AoR, a Bench of acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said: “The [AoR] rule is based on intelligible differentia with objective sought to be achieved, as highlighted by the Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, namely it is in the interest of litigating public that the practice before the apex court is regulated by way of prescribing such qualification/eligibility conditions for advocates to become ‘Advocate on Record‘ and to be entitled to act or plead.”

Pyramidal structure

The Bench said: “The court system, being pyramidal in structure, makes the Supreme Court the Court of last resort, so it is helpful to have someone who is equipped to deal with all kinds of matters where the litigant is not able to afford the senior counsel or some other counsel.”

The Bench said: “No doubt, AoR can engage a counsel other than a Senior Counsel and in that sense, every advocate has a right to argue before the Supreme Court. However, with this system, the other advocates, who may be authorised by AoR, would be an advocate who has experience and confidence of the litigant. Furthermore, there are various responsibilities cast upon the AoR, who files the case on behalf of his client and such an AoR has to have necessary qualification to act in that capacity. Prescription of these qualifications which include passing of examination therefore is not a mere formality but has laudable objective behind it.”

The petitioner contended that after the amendment to Section 30 of the Advocates Act, every advocate, as of right, could practise in all courts, including the Supreme Court, and no restriction could be imposed. The AoR rule imposed unreasonable restriction on the advocate’s right to practise, he argued.

Regulate system

The Bench said: “No doubt, right to practice in the Supreme Court is conferred under Section 30 of the Advocates Act. Section 52 of the Advocates Act, however, categorically states that nothing in this Act shall be deemed to affect the power of the Supreme Court to make rules under Article 145 of the Constitution. This means that notwithstanding what is contained in the Advocates Act, Section 52 of the Act keeps the powers of the Supreme Court under Article 145 of the Constitution intact. Reading these two provisions in a harmonious way, an inescapable conclusion would be that the Apex court has the power to lay down the rules about the entitlement of persons not only to act but also to plead before it. It, thus, clearly follows that amendment of Section 30 has not altered the position, which was prevailing earlier. We are not oblivious of the situation, as highlighted by the petitioner, that there are some noises that AoR system is not working satisfactorily. There may be some truth in the same. However, if some anomalies and unhealthy practices have crept into the AoR system, the proper remedy is to find solution to rectify the same. That may not be a cause for dispensing with the system of AoR altogether. It would be more appropriate that the present practice of the AoR is regulated to ensure that they play a constructive role in justice delivery system.”










Supreme Court cautions High Courts against curbs on trial


NEW DELHI: The high courts are taking unduly long time in deciding cases in which trial court proceedings are stayed at the stage of registration of first information report ( FIR), investigation or framing of charges, the Supreme Court has said.

Describing it as a serious matter, the apex court bench of Justice (since retired) A.K. Ganguly and Justice T.S. Thakur, in a recent order, said: “Undue long delay has the effect of bringing about blatant violation of the rule of law and adverse impact on the common man’s access to justice.”

Justice Ganguly said: “A person’s access to justice is a guaranteed fundamental right under the constitution and particularly article 21. Denial of this right undermines public confidence in the justice delivery system and incentivises people to look for short-cuts and other fora where they feel that justice will be done quicker.”

The court also asked the high courts to exercise their extraordinary powers for staying the trial court proceedings with “due caution and circumspection”.

Once a high court stayed the trial court proceedings, it should not lose sight of the case and decide it as early as possible preferably within six months from the date the stay order was issued, the judges said.

In Allahabad High Court, 32 cases have been pending for 30 years or more.

“A perusal of … information reveals that shockingly 32 cases have been pending for 30 years or more,” the order read.

The apex court noted that in most of the cases in different high courts, the duration for which a case remained pending varied from 1-4 years.

The delay weakened the justice delivery system and posed a threat to rule of law, the court said.

The court said that “the stay of investigation or trial for significant periods of time runs counter to the principle of rule of law, wherein the rights and aspirations of citizens are intertwined with expeditious conclusion of matters”.

The “delay in conclusion of criminal matters signifies a restriction on the right of access to justice itself, thus, amounting to a violation of the citizens’ rights under the constitution, in particular under Article 21”, the order said.

“A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain a fabric of order and liberty for a free people”, the order said.

A delay in disposal of cases would make “people who had long been exploited in the small transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights against fraud and overreaching”, the judges said.

Holding that the case pendency was a “localised problem” as it affected a few high courts far more than others, the court noted that 76.9 percent of such pending cases were in four high courts – Calcutta (31.1 percent), Allahabad (28.6 percent), Patna (8.8 percent) and Orissa (8.2 percent).

The apex court asked the law commission to undertake measures to help in elimination of delays, speedy clearance of arrears and reduction in costs.

The court asked the commission to address the question as to what was the rational and scientific definition of “arrears” and delay, of which continued notice needed to be taken.

The court was hearing a petition by Imtiyaz Ahmad challenging the April 9, 2003 order of a high court staying trial court proceedings and subsequent nine orders till Dec 18, 2008.


Deploy sufficient police for Sivaratri: HC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the Ernakulam district police chief to enforce the arrangements being planned by the police at Aluva Shiva temple premises in connection with the Sivaratri festivities.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice C T Ravikumar issued the directive after going through the report filed by the police regarding the arrangements.

The court observed that there was a deficit of four DySPs, 19 circle inspectors, 75 sub-inspectors, 653 head constables and 52 woman constables on the temple premises. The court directed the ADGP, south zone, to ensure the deployment of sufficient police personnel.

The court cautioned the police stating that there will be a large convergence of devotees at Aluva in connection with the Sivaratri festival.

Prime importance should be given for crowd management and even for the precautionary disaster management.








Company cntitled to collect toll, HC told


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The government on Friday informed the High Court that the company which undertook the construction of the Mannuthy-Angamaly stretch of NH 47 was entitled to collect toll.

The state also said that the Guruvayur Infrastructure Private Ltd, which undertook the construction of the four-lane stretch, has completed the construction of footpaths along the seven bridges on the highway.

In an affidavit, P R Sreekumar, Joint Secretary, PWD, said that, in the wake of protests over the toll collection, the govt convened a meeting of the people’s representatives, government officials and representatives of the company.

The affidavit was filed in response to a writ petition filed by the company seeking police protection. The company had agreed to construct the newly proposed service road of 27.6 km in six months and the works would be executed immediately.

If the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) does not provide funds for the construction of the service roads, the state government will bear the cost. The project director of the NHAI will take urgent steps to prepare the estimate and plans for flyovers/underpasses. One-metre wide footpaths on the seven bridges on the Thrissur-Angamaly stretch were completed.

The company sought permission of the state government to resume toll collection at Paliyakkara toll plaza.

The government submitted that the police had already provided protection and toll was being collected since February 9, 2012.








Plea in HC seeking proper testing of Pentavalen


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: A woman who lost her infant on account of pentavalent vaccine being administered, approached the Kerala High Court on Friday against the use of the five-in-one vaccine.
The petitioner, A N Shajila of Thiruvananthapuram, sought a directive to ban the vaccine in Kerala. She said that she had given birth to a girl child on October 18 last year. As per the compulsory vaccination policy, she gave her child the mandatory pentavalent vaccine within 57 days of birth.
However, the child caught fever soon after and died the following day. The petitioner submitted that the post-mortem examination on the child’s body had revealed hypersensitivity reaction as the cause of the death.
“I realised with shock that my child had been a victim of a clinical trial of the newly introduced vaccine,” the petitioner submitted.
She also sought a directive to the authorities to constitute an expert committee to study the side effects of the vaccine.








HC issues notice to centre, state government


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday issued notices to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and state government in connection with a PIL petition, which had sought more security for city civil and other courts on the lines of that in the High Court.

The petitioner, Five-Year Law Course Advocates’ Association president S Umesh, stated that 12,000 advocates and 10,000 clients visit the city civil court every day, which calls for high security. Also, there are many government buildings in the surrounding areas. The petitioner further said besides the HC, there are the Cauvery Bhavan and K R Circle — some of the prime landmarks in the city. The vehicle density in the vicinity of the High Court is 1,000 vehicles per minute, but security measures are inadequate.

Also, there should be a dress code to all advocates and daily passes should be issued to the clients, the petition mentions.

The petitioner said there are no CCTV cameras installed on court’s premises.






SC notice to AP on judges appointments


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, February 18, 2012

The Andhra Pradesh high court registry and the state government were asked on Saturday by the Supreme Court 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 state

public service commission, seeking their replies within four weeks to the plea for quashing the December 22, 2011 notification on grounds of alleged irregularities in appointment of judges in the state.

The order came on a petition by an advocate Bavi Papi Reddy Barrenka, also a candidate to the judges’ post under the physically-challenged category.

Barrenka in his petition had accused the high court of amending the appointment rules midway the selection process of judges and appointing them in violation of various rules.

The petitioner claimed that the high court amended the rules by dispensing with the need for viva voce, though it had no power to do so.

He said in the results for the written examination, announced by the high court on August 8, 2011, he had been declared to have been qualified along with 52 others.

The state government, however, suddenly at the behest of the high court, issued an order (Government Order Ms. No.132) on November 16, amending the original rules by deleting the requirement of minimum qualifying marks for viva voce, said Barrenka.

In his petition, filed through Lawyers Knit, he claimed though he got the highest marks in the viva voce he was not selected and instead another candidate Ramulu who got much less marks than him was selected.

“The posts of District and Sessions Judges are very important, flowing from the Constitutional mandate and these persons are bound to be fluent in their verbal expressions.

“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 marks in the viva voice, is nothing but contrary to public policy and is illegal and unconstitutional and hence the selections deserves to be quashed as such,” he said.


Mandakini pollution: HC notice to Centre, state


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 01.31AM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh high court (MPHC) on Friday served notices on the Centre, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and others on a petition seeking a check on pollution in Satna district’s holy Mandakini River.

A division bench, comprising Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Sanjay Yadav also served notices on Madhya Pradesh government, MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), Satna district collector and Chitrakoot Nagar Panchayat chief executive officer returnable within four weeks.

Legend has it that Lord Ram had performed puja on the Mandakini River in exile (vanvas).

In his public interest litigation (PIL), petitioner Nityanand Mishra has alleged that the water of the Mandakini River has turned turbid owing to the release of affluent into it. As a result, scores of devotees taking dip and consuming river water during rituals face health problems.

He pleaded that the untreated water should first pass through sewage treatment plants before its release into the river.

Besides, garbage also is being dumped into it, further affecting the water quality.









HC to NDMC: File status report on gurdwara multi-level parking


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2012

The Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to file a status report on the construction of a multi-level underground parking at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib, which is a listed heritage structure.
The court’s directive came after a petition was filed by Sikh Forum for Service and Justice (SFSJ), which pointed out that the work was going on without permission. The NDMC had rejected the plan in 2011 and in January had asked the gurdwara management not to start work without permission.

Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, on Pandit Pant Marg, is just metres away from the Parliament and the President’s Estate. The gurdwara, an architectural value grade III building, figures in the notified list of heritage structures.

It is the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which has proposed the three-level underground parking at the gurdwara. But the NDMC letter, of which HT has a copy, to Paramjit Sarna, DSGMC president, had mentioned as many as 23 reasons for rejecting the plan for the underground parking. One of the reasons was no security clearance from the Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Apart from this, the letter pointed out how the proposed basement area is five times the permissible area as per the Master Plan 2021, that the proposed parking area is way too extra than what is required as per FAR and there is no NOC, either from the Heritage Conservation Committee or the Delhi Urban Arts Committee (DUAC), among others reasons.

“There is no need at all for such a huge parking,” said SFSJ’s Gurbaksh Singh, on whose petition Justice Vipin Sanghi asked for a status report.

Charanjeet Singh from the Sikh Forum and Group of Concerned Sikhs, who helped Gurbaksh Singh for the petition, said, “They have also not taken permission for cutting trees at the site.” Sarna claimed, “We had submitted the plans after a settlement with the government. Several months ago, Delhi’s chief secretary and then NDMC chairperson had promised to clear our project in two weeks.”

“We will listen only to our Prime Minister or the Chief Minister. We are not going to abide by NDMC restriction,” Sarna added.









HC bars farmer from claiming right over Sirumalai land


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.52AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has barred a farmer from Vellodu village near Dindigul from claiming ownership over 29,000 hectares of land in Sirumalai.

A Stephen (72) had claimed that the land was granted to his father 1937 by Rani Muthu Rangammal, a zamindar of Ammainaikanur. He had filed a civil suit in the Dindigul court and got an ex parte order in his favour, restraining other villagers to buy or register the land with the registration department.

Sirumalai is a small hill station 20 km away from Dindigul on the Natham Road, with forests and coffee, pepper and banana plantations. About 1,300 of the population have patta land measuring 8,100 acres.

One M Vellimalai had approached the joint registrar, Dindigul to find the value of stamp papers for executing a sale deed in respect of a land in the village. It was then that he was informed of a communication issued by the inspector general of registration stating that there were two suits filed by Stephen in the principal district munsif court, Dindigul and he had already obtained a decree in his favour. The court had also granted an order of status quo on the registration of any document relating to the land in Sirumalai village. Hence Vellimalai filed a petition in the Madurai high court bench seeking to quash the order and direct the sub-registrar to receive any document presented for registration pertaining to the land.

Stating that public interest could not be allowed to suffer by such a wholly unsustainable decree, Justice V Ramasubramanian said the decrees of the trial court be suspended. Aggrieved by the same, Stephen had filed the present writ appeal. Upholding the single judge’s order and dismissing the appeal, the bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah said they did not find any ground to interfere with the order of the single judge which had suspended the decrees.









HC directive on handwriting experts on Nashik woman’s complaint


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 06.18AM IST

The Bombay High Court has directed the state government to take concrete steps to address the paucity of official handwriting experts saying it is affecting thousands of cases. A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode gave the directions while hearing a petition filed by 55-year-old Nirmala Gogad from Manmad in Nashik stating that the Manmad police have filed application before the junior magistrate first class to temporarily close the case as the handwriting expert’s report is awaited.

Additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari told the court that there is a shortage of handwriting experts. “We need help of handwriting experts,” said Gadkari.

Gogad’s advocate Aniket Nikam argued that the complaint was filed in 2007 and added that it is “an attempt to put the matter in cold storage”. But Justice Kode riposted, “Without the report, we cannot concretely say there was an offence committed.”

The judges observed that paucity of handwriting experts is a perennial problem. “There is a paucity of experts. It is a serious problem. The problem is not restricted to your case. There are barely three-four experts in Mumbai only and one can imagine the situation all over Maharashtra,” said Justice Kanade.

Justice Kanade told Gadkari, Find out from the expert what is the delay. He has to only give opinion about one signature of the complainant and the accused.” Gadkari also said he will speak to the principal secretary, home department, to communicate the need to take a decision for appointment of handwriting experts.

Gogad had filed complaint against 10 persons of the Nashik Merchant Cooperative Bank Limited, including her brother-in-law Chandrakant Gogad, on May 25, 2007 in the junior magistrate first class court. The police was directed to carry out investigation within six weeks and submit a report. Thereafter the court even issued showcause notices to the investigation officer to complete the probe and submit a report.

Gogad’s petition said after her husband’s death in April 1998, Chandrakant, who is the director of the Nashik District Central Cooperative Bank, used to handle her bank transactions and fraudulently obtained her signature with regard to revenue documents in respect of various immovable properties. The bank avoided answering her queries.









HC bans discharge of industrial effluent into Luni river


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 12.57AM IST

JODHPUR: The Rajasthan High Court, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, has banned discharge of treated industrial effluent in to Luni river in Balotra, till next order. This order of the high court has reaffirmed the order of the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board (RPCB), which, while passing an order in 2004, had banned discharge of even the treated effluent in the Luni river citing it to be detrimental to the groundwater and the ecology of the Luni river, which has badly contaminated due to discharge of thousands of gallons of industrial effluent containing heavy acidic toxins.

Petitioner Digvijay Singh Jasol had filed a PIL in the high court drawing attention of the court to the flagrant violation of the order of the RPCB, thereby leading to massive pollution to the Luni river region, both internally and externally. He produced reports of National Productivity Council and Central Pollution Control Board in the court pointing to irreparable and permanent damage to the environment, ecology, groundwater and the health of the local residents. Jasol also expressed concern in his petition over the future of the age-old religious festival of the region known as Rawal Mallinathji Animal Fair, observed in the river bed, which is an ancient river flowing through the western desert emanating from Pushkar of Ajmer and ends up into the Rann of Kutch covering a distance of 530 kms.

While hearing this petition, the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice K C Joshi ordered a stay on the discharge of the effluent in the river Luni till next order.

There are close to 800 small and medium textile units in Jasol, Bithuja and Balotra areas of Barmer district and they produce an effluent much beyond the capacity of the 4 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP), which ultimately finds its way into the Luni river, which contain dangerous toxins. Jasol said the capacity of all these 4 CETPs put together is 50.5 MLD, whereas the total effluent discharge from the textile units is about 86 MLD. “All of this, both treated and untreated, finds their way in to the Luni river,” he said.









HC to traffic cops: Clear roads of illegally-parked vehicles


PTI | Feb 19, 2012, 06.19AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has directed the traffic police to ensure that roads in Jangpura, Bhogal, Pant Nagar and parts of Defence Colony are not encroached upon by illegally-parked vehicles after the residents filed a contempt plea for alleged non-compliance of its earlier order.

Directing the police to challan and remove such vehicles and file a fresh status report by April 26, Justice Vipin Sanghi said the DCP traffic of the area concerned should be held responsible for non-compliance of its order to decongest the roads.

“The traffic police is directed to take action against illegally-parked vehicles/taxis on the link road between Hakkikat Rai Marg and Silver Oak Park as well as on Hospital Road and Silver Oak Park,” the court said.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the Jangpura Residents’ Welfare Association and Flyover Complex Welfare Association against the Delhi Police, the traffic police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for allegedly not complying with the repeated directions of the court since 2002.

Lawyer RK Saini, arguing for Jangpura RWA , furnished recent photographs to the court and contended that the loading and unloading of vehicles is taking place at a tent house on Hospital Road and some cars were parked illegally throughout the day, causing congestion.

According to the residents, encroachments by the tehbazari rights holders were making it difficult for pedestrians to walk on the pavements. The residents urged the court to direct traffic police for the time being to deploy motor cycle-borne police personnel to ensure continuous and smooth running of traffic and removal of vehicles which have been parked on the road.

The traffic police should, in consultation with residents and the shop owners on Hospital Road, work out a schedule for the period when commercial vehicles may enter the road for the purpose of loading and unloading of goods, they said.



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