LEGAL NEWS 27.02.2012

Produce certified copy of phone bills: Panel to Ijaz


Press Trust Of India
February 25, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

US envoy’s secret cable on pak havens

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

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

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

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

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

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












Commission of errors


Karan Thapar, Hindustan Times
February 25, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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






Child rights commission to be set up in state


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

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

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

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

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

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










HC directs compensation to deceased CBI officer’s family


PTI | 10:02 AM,Feb 26,2012

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










Road accident victim’s parents awarded Rs 21 lakh compensation


PTI | 11:02 AM,Feb 26,2012

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











Indian Railways fall under CCI’s ambit: HC


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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









In preventive detention, subjective satisfaction of authority key: Bench


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

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

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

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

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

“Habitual offender”

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

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








Process to merge BHMRC, central body begins


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 06.08AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










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


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 25,2012

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








PIL against NCTC order dismissed


Express News Service

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

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








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


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 06.58AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







Goa: Baba Ramdev to hold day-long fast today


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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













Outside SC lens, a massacre trial wrecked by hostile witnesses


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Sindhis now earn around Rs 1 lakh per year renting

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







Our laws, their laws


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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











Natarajans bail plea rejected


Express News Service

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

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

Natarajan’s Brother Seeks Anticipatory Bail

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

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

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



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


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 07.08AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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








Woman released by welfare home to estranged father, goes missing


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


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

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

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

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

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

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











Five minors booked for sodomy bid in Jalandhar


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Alawalpur, February 25, 2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










Yeddyurappa, daughter booked in land allotment scam


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 04.28AM IST

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

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

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

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

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










Ground report: fishermen community waiting for justice


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Impose fines for adjournments: Ex-CJ of England


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

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

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

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

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

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









Sensitivity must to defend human rights’


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 07.06AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







No more leniency to govts in delayed appeals: SC


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.58AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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











Judiciary unable to control pendency of cases: UP Governor


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 25,2012

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











Govt shortlists 3 names for CIC top post


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 04.37AM IST

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

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

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

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

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












PhD must to become Principal: High Court


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

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

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

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

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

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











Where courts function for only two weeks a month


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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











Vilappilsala: High Court suggests CRPF role


P Ramdas

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










Supreme Court upholds death for killer of five


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 01.30AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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













Controversy over SRK’s bungalow: Plea filed in SC


Press Trust Of India

Sunday, February 26, 2012 (New Delhi)


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

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

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

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

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

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





High Court seeks report on privatisation of lake

Express News Service

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










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


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

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

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

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

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

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









HC detains ship till Monday


Express News Service

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

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

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

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

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

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

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







HC blasts police inaction at Vilappilsala plant


Express News Service

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






Drug abuse in Punjab jails: HC notice to state


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.03AM IST

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

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

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

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












Madras HC quashes tender notification


Express News Service

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

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

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

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

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

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













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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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










HC dismisses plea on national anti-terror agency


TNN | Feb 26, 2012, 05.33AM IST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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