LEGAL NEWS 29.03.2012

CAT to pass order on Rahul Sharma’s petition on April 19

Press Trust of India : Ahmedabad, Thu Mar 29 2012, 05:51 hrs

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) is likely to pass final order on the petition of IPS officer Rahul Sharma, who has challenged the chargesheet served to him with regard to phone-call records CD of the 2002 riot period, on April 19.

Bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar fixed the date for order after both the petitioner and the state government submitted final written arguments.

At the last hearing on March 15, the tribunal also ordered extension of the deadline set by government for Sharma to file reply to the chargesheet, till the order in this matter is passed.

Sharma’s petition contends that he is being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission which is probing the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The bench heard the petition on a limited issue: whether he enjoys immunity, under section 6 of Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, from civil and criminal proceedings.

Section 6 grants immunity to witnesses for the statements made before a commission. But state had opposed this, and termed the petition as premature.

According to Gujarat government, chargesheet against Sharma had nothing to do with deposition before riots panel.

Sharma is charged with misconduct under Sec 3(1) of All India Service Rules 1969. Chargesheet says he did not submit the original CD containing mobile call records related to 2002 riots period to the investigating officers or supervisory officers when he was transferred from erstwhile posting.

Sharma’s petition says he did send the CD in question through a police messenger to the then Joint Police Commissioner P P Pande, after which the CD became untraceable.

Central Information Commissioner writes to PM, says don’t dilute RTI act

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: March 29, 2012 16:15 IST

New Delhi:  An Information Commission with the Central Information Commission, Sailesh Gandhi, has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against diluting the Right to Information (RTI) Act to shield nuclear safety regulators from coming under its purview.

In his letter, the Information Commissioner has said that the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill, that was introduced in Parliament by the government in September last year, aims at amending the RTI Act in order to exempt safety regulators from accountability. Expressing serious apprehensions about transparency, Mr Gandhi said that nuclear energy is as much about the safety and well-being of the citizens as it is about development.

Towards that ends, Mr Gandhi has urged the Prime Minister to prevent amendments to the RTI act which would weaken the fundamental rights of citizens.

The letter comes in the wake of protests over the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Locals as well as activists have expressed fears and concerns over the safety of the plant, drawing a parallel to the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan that was triggered by a tsunami last year. The state government, after an initial objection to the project, gave its go-ahead this month – something that has upset villagers and activists alike. The Centre, as also experts, though have assured that the plant meets international safety standards.

Mr Gandhi, citing the effectiveness of the revolutionary RTI act that had “stood the test of time”, has said that a high degree of transparency would go a long way to check any mistakes which may be made.

Govt okays CBI probe of I-T tribunal members

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 29, 2012In a major anti-graft move, the government has allowed the CBI to probe allegations against at least 20 members of the country’s top income tax tribunal, who allegedly outsourced writing of judgments to private parties.
Nearly two years after the CBI had first asked the government seeking sanction to begin a preliminary inquiry against these serving and retired members of the Income Tax Appellate tribunal (ITAT), law minister Salman Khurshid on Monday gave the green signal.

Khurshid’s nod came after the Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia had expressed displeasure over the lack of action against some tribunal members who allegedly allowed private parties to write judgments on their behalf and sought financial favours in return.

The minister’s decision to let CBI probe the affairs of the tribunal, which deals with appeals worth hundreds of crores of rupees, comes against the decisions of income tax commissioners across the country, following Attorney General GE Vahanvati’s opinion recommending a “thorough probe” into the allegations.

The law minister had informed the Rajya Sabha on March 19 that Justice Kapadia had written to the government in February last year and sent a reminder in January this year to take “appropriate action against some members of the tribunal according to rules.”

Following Justice Kapadia’s letters and his meeting with the minister, Khushid had directed the legal affairs department “to expedite the matter”.

The CBI had been seeking the ministry’s nod to probe these tribunal members posted in different parts of the country.

The ministry had in January allowed the CBI to file a chargesheet in a Kolkata court against a suspended tribunal member, Jugal Kishore.

Following a tip-off, the CBI in May 2008 recovered R28 lakh from Kishore’s Kolkata residence. This amount was allegedly paid by a chartered accountancy firm.

Later, the CBI seized computers from the firm and scrutiny of discs led to retrieval of 75 documents that showed similarities with 69 orders passed by the tribunal’s benches in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.

Income Tax Tribunal asks Kingfisher to make Rs 9-crore weekly payment

PTI, 28 Mar 2012 | 11:42 PM

The Bangalore Bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has directed Kingfisher Airlines to pay the remaining amount of the outstanding demand of Rs 349.09 crore to the IT Department in weekly installments of Rs nine crore starting from April 7.

Kingfisher was also directed in the interim order to furnish bank guarantee against the weekly installment of Rs nine crore only.

The bench had ordered Kingfisher to make a payment of Rs 44 crore out of the outstanding demand on or before yesterday which the Airlines complied with.

It directed the Department to lift the attachment of the bank accounts immediately so that Kingfisher may start smooth functioning and would be in a position to make the payments by earning from business activities.

“The business activities of the assessee (Kingfisher) are disturbed due to the attachment of the bank accounts, the demand of the department may be met out by the assessee when it is allowed to run the business smoothly and earn something from that business, by putting the business of the assessee at halt through attachment is not a solution”, the bench observed.

The bench’s order last week allowed the stay petitions of Kingfisher and fixed April 12 as the date to hear the appeals.

“In our opinion, the assessee has prima facie an arguable case and the balance of convenience also lies in favour of the assessee, so it is a good case where stay can be granted with certain conditions”, it said.

Surgeon accused of employing minor

Prerna Sodhi, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: A senior west Delhi based cardiologist has been accused of employing a minor at home, and the city’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has directed the police to register a criminal complaint against him. Police said a group of volunteers and a team from the Kirti Nagar police station rescued the teenage girl from the surgeon’s Kirti Nagar residence on Wednesday noon.

“Preliminary investigations were done today. We will talk to the girl again. However, we have asked for an FIR against the employer under Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act, relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and the Child Labour Act,” CWC chairperson Neera Malik told TOI at the committee’s Nirmal Chhaya campus.

Guddi (name changed), a native of West Bengal, was reported missing in January this year. It was later learnt that she had been abducted and sold off to a placement agency in Delhi. Acting on a tip-off from volunteers of an NGO in West Bengal, police and members of the volunteer group Shakti Vahini raided the surgeon’s home on Wednesday.

“We had received a tip-off from our partners in West Bengal. They provided us with a number and we asked the police to trace it,” said Subir Roy, director programmes and projects at Shakti Vahini. “After the number was traced to an address in Kirti Nagar, we decided to rescue the child.”

Roy said the minor was made to do household chores apart from taking care of the surgeon’s two children. “The girl says her work hours were from 6am to midnight, and she was not paid,” said Roy. “She was given to the family by a placement agency, which bought her from the abductors in January.”

When TOI called up the surgeon, he admitted to employing the girl but claimed he was not aware of her age. “The placement agency which gave us the girl said she was 17 years old. Thus we never really thought of complaining,” said the surgeon. All attempts to contact the agency failed.

Law Min go-ahead for CBI preliminary probe against 20 ITAT

Published: Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012, 22:07 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Law Minister Salman Khurshid is learnt to have given a go-ahead to CBI to hold a preliminary inquiry against 20 members of Income Tax tribunal for their alleged role in outsourcing writing of judgements to private individuals in return for favour.

Law Ministry sources said Khurshid signed the file granting CBI sanction to undertake the preliminary inquiry after Attorney General GE Vahanvati opined that the Ministry can go ahead as there were no legal hurdles.

The sanction came almost two years after CBI had sought permission to hold the inquiry.

The Law Ministry has administrative control over the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The vigilance department of the ministry will coordinate with CBI on the issue.

The move comes close on the heels of a meeting between Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and Khurshid in which the former is learnt to have asked the government to ensure that the controversy does not linger on for long.

A Supreme Court Judge heads the appointment panel of ITAT.

The CJI had written to the Law Ministry in this regard in February, 2011.

CBI has been seeking sanction from the ministry since 2008 to register a preliminary inquiry against 20 members of ITAT posted in various benches across India.

The agency alleged these members had outsourced writing of judgements to private parties in return for favour.

The ministry had recently granted sanction to CBI to file a chargesheet in a Kolkata court against suspended tribunal member Jugal Kishore and five others.

After the CJI’s meeting with Khurshid, the Law Ministry had sought more details from CBI and other agencies to process the request to grant sanction for a preliminary probe.

Government had recently informed the Rajya Sabha that the Chief Justice of India had asked it to take an appropriate decision in respect of certain members of the Tribunal who are alleged to have an unholy nexus with private persons on account of issuance of orders favouring the clients, resulting in possible losses to the government.

Khurshid had said the matter is under consideration.

Court frames charges against Naxal leader Kobad Gandhy

PTI | Mar 28, 2012, 08.04PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today put on trial top Naxal leader Kobad Gandhy for alleged cheating, forgery and impersonation while discharging him on charges under stringent anti-terror law.

Paving the way for the trial, Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain framed charges against 65-year-old Gandhy under various provisions of the IPC relating to cheating, forgery and impersonation in the case in which he is accused of trying to set up a base for banned outfit CPI (Maoist).

The court, however, discharged Gandhy of the charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act due to improper sanction from the authorities.

“In my opinion, case is made out against Gandhy under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act but I am discharging (of the charges under UAP Act) him for want of proper sanction,” the judge said.

The Maoist leader earlier had opposed filing of a supplementary charge sheet against him saying the police has filed the charge sheet despite there being no fresh material against him.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police, in its main charge sheet, had slapped charges under the UAP Act, besides booking him for various offences under the IPC relating to cheating, forgery and impersonation.

An alumni of the prestigious Doon School, Ghandy was said to be part of the top leadership of erstwhile CPI-ML (People’s War Group) from 1981 and continued as a Central Committee member in CPI (Maoist). He was elected to its Politburo in 2007.

Court grants bail to 2 doctors in AIIMS admission racket

PTI | 08:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) Two doctors, arrested by the CBI for allegedly manipulating admission process for post-graduate courses at All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), were today granted bail by a Delhi court. Additional Sessions Judge R Kiran Nath granted bail to doctors Noopur Bajpai and Sonal on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each with one surety of the same amount. “Both the accused are granted bail,” the judge said. The two doctors have been accused of colluding with the purported mastermind, Dr Mahipal Singh, in manipulating the admission process. The court passed the order after hearing arguments by advocate Promod Dubey, who, appearing for the two accused, contended there was no evidence against them and there was no apprehension that they would tamper with the evidence or hamper the probe. Dubey sought bail saying the investigations in the case is complete and also referred to the CBI’s statement that no further custodial interrogation was required in the case. The bail pleas, however, were opposed by the CBI, which said the nature of the offence was serious. Apart from Bajpai, Sonal and Singh, the CBI had also arrayed two other doctors, Amit Aggarwal and Jyotsana as accused in the case along with Rajiv Ghatak, a data entry operator. The CBI had booked the accused for allegedly committing forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy. The agency had also slapped Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Mahipal Singh, a 2010 Radiology graduate from AIIMS, who was arrested in June last year and is still under judicial custody. Rajiv Ghatak, who allegedly smuggled out answer sheets while working as a data entry operator in a company hired by AIIMS to process the answer sheets, has also not yet secured the bail. The bail plea of Mahipal Singh is likely to be heard tomorrow by the Delhi High Court.

Encounter death probe transferred to CBI

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Further investigation into the alleged encounter death of K Ravinder, said to be an extremist, in 2000, was transferred to the CBI on Tuesday. ‘’Prima facie materials are available on record to doubt the version of the authorities concerned and to suspect foul play by some police personnel in the death of Ravinder,’’ a divison bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal observed while allowing a writ appeal from Nirmala, wife of Ravinder, who made various allegations against the police team which killed her husband and the police personnel probing the case. “If this type of serious allegations of human rights violations, particularly by the law protectors themselves, were left without

proper investigation, it would shake the confidence of the people in the entire justice delivery system in particular and the democracy as a whole,” the bench said and transferred the case to the CBI.

The CBI should probe the matter in accordance with law and file its final report before the court concerned within six months, the bench added. Originally, alleging that her husband was killed in a fake encounter on January 10, 2000, Nirmala filed writ petitions demanding a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, to register a case against the police personnel involved in the death for an offence under Section 302 of the IPC and to transfer the case to the CBI.

According to the petitioner, her husband was working as a junior engineer in the Telecommunications Department from 1982. He resigned from the post in April 1997 and worked for the poor.

The single judge dismissed the petitions on June 9, 2000. Hence, the present appeal.

Bar making all attempts to prevent prosecution of wayward members: court

Special Correspondent

“Of late, whenever any member of the Bar is involved in a criminal case, there is an attempt to send petitions to all kinds of authorities including the Chief Justice of this court. On that basis, petitions are filed either to quash the proceedings pending before the trial court or to derail the investigation by asking for different investigation,” the Madras High Court has observed.

The court was allowing a writ petition by K.Senguttuvan seeking to quash an order of the Tamil Nadu Home Secretary of March 12, 2008 ordering reinvestigation of a murder case by the CB CID and the order of the Director-General of Police of March 26 the same year directing the withdrawal of the charge sheet already filed in the case and to hand over the case diary file and relevant records to the CB CID, Thanjavur.

“This case is yet another instance where the organised Bar attempts to derail the criminal investigation in their anxiety to make one of their wayward members from facing prosecution, being an accused for an offence involving murder. This case also shows the ever-willing government, instead of upholding the rule of law, succumbing to the dictates of a pressure group, thanks to a green signal given by the court,” Justice K.Chandru said.

At the instance of the petitioner, a resident of Keelathiruppalakudi, the Paravakottai police station, Mannargudi Taluk, Tiruvarur district, had registered an FIR. The petitioner’s case was that his brother, Tamilselvan, was done to death by four persons at Sundarakottai on December 25, 2005. He alleged that they included Elangovan, the then president of Ullikkottaipanchayat, who was also an advocate. The charge sheet was filed before the Judicial Magistrate-II, Mannargudi, in August 2006. The advocate got a letter sent by one A.Selvaraju, claiming to be the president of the Mannargudi Bar Association on April 5, 2006 addressed to the Chief Justice, requesting him to conduct a discreet enquiry and take appropriate action to safeguard the advocate. The letter also stated that Mr.Elangovan was not at all present during the occurrence and had been falsely implicated.

A petition was filed before the High Court seeking a direction to change the investigation from the Paravakottai police station. The Judge disposed of the petition with a direction.

Mr.Justice Chandru said the direction clearly showed that a copy of the memorandum given to the Chief Justice was produced and was strongly relied on by the Judge for directing the State Government to consider the Bar association president’s representation. Following the direction, the Home Secretary and the DGP passed the orders.

He said there was no scope for the State to interfere with the course of trial and that the Home Secretary’s direction was clearly uncalled for and without jurisdiction. From the beginning, an attempt was made by the advocate, who had been arraigned as second accused in the murder case, to derail the investigation even though he faced a serious criminal charge.

It was unfortunate that a High Court Judge must refer to the letter as a substantive document to order the Home Secretary to conduct an enquiry. The credentials of the person who sent the letter to the Chief Justice claiming to be an office bearer of the Bar association itself was doubtful. Setting aside the impugned orders, the Judge ordered the Judicial Magistrate-II, Mannargudi, to proceed with the case.

Maharashtra govt reinstates former Shirdi Saibaba Trust chairman

PTI Mar 28, 2012, 02.26PM IST

SHIRDI, MAHARASHTRA: Maharashtra government has reappointed former Congress MLA Jayant Sasane as the chairman of Shirdi Saibaba Trust which was recently disbanded by the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan last night released a list of fifteen members in the wake of the HC’s directives to appoint a new board in 15 days, sources said.

The high court in its March 13 verdict dissolved the seven year old trust comprising 15 trustees for not complying with the constitution of the trust which entails that the term of the body can not be more than three years.

The trust was granted extension for the second term in 2007, but failed to appoint a new body as mandated by the norms.

Ahmad Nagar district NCP president Ghanshyam Shelar has been appointed as the vice-president of the trust which manages the affairs of one of the richest shrines in the country.

In the 15-member trust, Congress has six members and NCP nine.

Other members of the new trust comprise Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Vilas Kote, Shailesh Kute, Surendra Kharde, Mininanath Pandey, Ajit Kadam, Patangrao Shelke, Snehalata Kolhe, Rajendra Pipada, Suresh Wadhava, Namdev Gunjal, Prakash Nandurkar and Sumitra Kote-a nominated member.

Names of two Congress members are yet to be announced, they said.

A PIL in this regard was filed by Sandeep Kulkarni and Rajendra Gondkar from Shirdi.

The bench had stated that the present board be dissolved and new trustees be appointed within 15 days. The court had asked Ahmednagar district collector to oversee the matters till the new body is put in place.

Meanwhile, a writ petition requesting the high court to not allow members affiliated to political parties on the new board will come up for hearing before the Aurangabad bench on April 4.

Slum-dwellers move HC against eviction

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 01.15AM IST

NAGPUR: Eight slum-dwellers move high court alleging that they were forcefully evicted from there homes by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to favour a builder. They wrote a letter to the court highlighting their plight and injustice meted out to them by the NMC and builder Nitin Hande.

Taking serious cognisance of the letter, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court treated the issue as public interest litigation while appointing Anand Parchure as amicus curiae. A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Arun Chaudhari on Tuesday severely criticised the NMC officials after Parchure pointed out to the court that the civic officials acted in most insensitive manner by forcefully evicting the poor slum dwellers without providing them alternate accommodation. The respondents were told to reply by Thursday when the PIL would be reheard.

Parchure contended that the petitioners are residents of Ward No 96 in Lakadganj and the area was occupied by their forefathers since pre-independent era. It was also notified as slum by the Maharashtra government’s Urban Development Department ( UDD) on September 15, 1994.

He claimed that the corporation officials in collusion with the builder allegedly sanctioned the map of the land by showing the area as vacant. On November 7, 2008, the NMC demolished their houses and shanties without giving any prior notice and flouting all norms. After their protests, the builder agreed to provide them 350 sq ft accommodation at his own cost on a lease of 30 years on the condition that they will vacate the land. Both parties then inked a compromise deal with the condition that both of them will withdraw all rival claims and cases from all courts. However, the builder allegedly started threatening them instead of fulfilling the conditions. After this they dispatched a letter to the court.

The amicus curiae argued that the builder failed to honour the conditions of deed and resulted in serious miscarriage of justice and also violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The petitioners prayed for directions to the builder to provide them alternate accommodation as per deed. During last hearing, the respondents, including NMC commissioner, builder, state government and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) were issued notices.

Maharashtra writes to Centre over silence zone issue

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

Mumbai, Mar 28 (PTI) Maharashtra Government has written to the Centre seeking change in relevant laws to allow holding of rallies at the famous Shivaji Park Ground, which has been declared a silence zone by the Bombay High Court, the Legislative Council was informed today. “We have written to the Central Government requesting it to amend laws related to silence zones to allow public rallies in Shivaji Park here,” Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav said. Acting on a PIL, the HC in May 2010 had directed the civic body to notify Shivaji Park, which has in its vicinity schools and hospitals, as a silence zone. The court had said programmes can be held at the park only on December 6 (death anniversary of B R Ambedkar), May 1 (Maharashtra Day) and January 26. Political parties had criticised the court order. Permission for rallies can be granted after schools hours and on holidays, Jadhav said. Leader of Opposition Vinod Tawade said the political parties recognised by the Election Commission should be allowed to hold public meetings in the sprawling park located in Dadar area of central Mumbai.

Notice to Centre on power crisis in Tamil Nadu

Express News Service

MADURAI: The Madurai High Court Bench has ordered notice to the Centre on a PIL praying for directions to end the ‘unprecedented’ power crisis in the State.The petitioner, B Stalin, had held the Centre responsible for the power shortage, claiming that Tamil Nadu was being haunted bypower crises for more than five years due to the neglect the Union government shows towards the State. Blaming the Centre for acting in a ‘step motherly’ way towards the State, Stalin said that power generated at Neyveli should not be supplied to other states until the power crisis eased in Tamil Nadu.

File case on burning garbage: MC to cops

Express news service : Panchkula, Thu Mar 29 2012, 01:12 hrs

The Panchkula Municipal Corporation on Wednesday requested the local police to register a case against unknown persons for burning garbage at the dumping site, Sector 23.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned the burning of the garbage at the dumping site while hearing a PIL, which sought directions to the authorities to shift the dumping site.

“We suspect that there are some miscreants who are trying to defame us by burning the garbage. We have written to the Station House Officer, Chandimandir, to register a case against unknown persons involved in setting the garbage on fire at the temporary dumping site in Sector 23,” said executive officer of Panchkula MC O P Sihag. “Someone put the garbage on fire on Monday night, but it was brought under control. Next morning, it was again put on fire.

In fact, residents of Sector 23 had to call a fire tender to douse the flames. The residents have been demanding shifting of the dumping site.

PIL against hotels-in-CRZ policy disposed

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.24AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Goa Foundation challenging the government’s hotels and beach resorts policy in CRZ III areas.

A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice U V Bakre observed that “the challenge to the policy is premature and at this stage when all requisite measures and steps have yet to be undertaken, leave alone completed, we will not be in a position to hold that the petitioner’s apprehension is well founded”.

The court further observed that although the policy, which includes detailed guidelines for considering project proposals of hotels/beach resorts in CRZ III areas, has been notified, the exercise that the high court had directed in an earlier judgment and the steps required to be taken under CRZ Notification 2011 have not yet been completed.

Goa Foundation had sought a stay and the quashing of the policy which envisages the utilization of available open plots in CRZ III areas for establishing hotels and beach resorts. The NGO had pointed out that the policy is contrary to the findings and directions of the high court in its October 13, 2006 judgment.

The court had at that time directed the state government to identify open plots in CRZ III which are available for construction of hotels and to frame an appropriate policy for the plots’ utilization before allowing construction.

The petitioner alleged that no such identification had been carried out before the framing of the policy.

The petitioner further stated that CRZ Notification 2011 had also been violated and even turtle-nesting sites are included in the 4,000 sq m demarcated under the policy as permissible for development of beach resorts.

The state government’s policy was framed in June 2011 pursuant to directions issued by the high court in 2006 following a PIL filed by the Goa Foundation then.

The latter PIL had alleged large-scale violations of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991. In the new PIL, the petitioner’s lawyer, Norma Alvares, argued that the maps from the policy document would indicate resorts being permitted within the dwelling locality areas/gaothan of CRZ III.

In addition, the policy also shows plots in CRZ I as permissible for resorts, she pointed out.

She expressed apprehension that if this policy came into force it would have an adverse effect on the environment and ecology and would lead to the degradation of Goa’s coastal areas in totality.

The then advocate general Subodh Kantak had submitted that as per the provisions of CRZ Notification 2011 the state government has to identify and map sand dunes, mangroves, khazan lands and prepare management plans for turtle-nesting sites at Mandrem, Morjim, Galgibaga and Agonda.

He had informed the court that the government was awaiting a detailed project proposal from RSI, Hyderabad, for identification and mapping of areas of sand dunes, khazan lands and mangroves along the Goa coast, including mapping of estuaries and riverine areas to determine the suitability of use of land for the purpose of hotel/beach resorts. “At every level there is check and balance provided in the process of approving any proposal. This is the first stage in the assessment. There is a detailed process of analysis, assessment and appraisal and any hotel project that is detrimental to the sustainable growth, protection and development cannot be considered,” Kantak had stated.

PIL on effluents entering water bodies: Centre to reply by May 10

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 05.43AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre was asked by the Delhi high court on Wednesday to respond to a PIL seeking a ban on treated effluents entering water bodies.

The PIL urges HC to issue directions to environment ministry to take steps to stop flow of treated effluent from sewerage treatment plants (STPs) into the water bodies. Issuing notices to environment ministry, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and also to Delhi Jal Board, a bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought their replies by May 10.

The PIL, filed by environmentalist Vinod Jain, alleges that the treated effluent from the STPs is channelled into the water bodies which contaminates the ground water. “The treated sewage water is not only polluting the water bodies, but also contaminating the ground water,” the petitioner said.

Kins of MCD worker awarded Rs 26 L compensation

Agencies : New Delhi, Thu Mar 29 2012, 14:23 hrs

The family members of a MCD worker, who died in a road mishap involving a motorcycle two years ago, have been awarded a compensation of nearly Rs 26 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here.

The tribunal directed the New India Assurance Company Ltd, with which the offending motorcycle was insured, to pay Rs 25,92,184 to the wife, three minor children and parents of Anil Kumar, who was working as a sweeper with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and died in the accident.

“I grant a compensation to the tune of Rs 25,92,184 to all the petitioners (family members of Anil) with interest….,” MACT Presiding Officer B S Chumbak said.

The tribunal held the victim died due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending motorcycle by Deepak Kumar at the time of the accident.

“I am of considered view that petitioner successfully proved that deceased received fatal injuries on March 27, 2010 involving the motorcycle which was being driven in a rash and negligent manner by driver (Deepak) and owned by (Raj Pal),” the presiding officer said.

The accident took place on March 27, 2010 when Anil, 35, was returning to his residence in North-East Delhi on his motorcycle and when he reached near Surajmal Vihar here, Deepak came at a high speed on his motorcycle and hit the victim from behind.

Due to this, he fell down and received fatal injuries and was taken to a hospital where he died on April 2, 2010 during the treatment.

Anil’s family told the tribunal that he was earning over Rs 12,000 per month.

CBI gives clean chit to Rane Junior in shooting case

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.08AM IST

MUMBAI: The CBI has given a clean chit to Nitesh Rane, son of state industries minister Narayan Rane, in an attempt to murder case registered against him in 2010. Chintu Shaikh, a former member of Nitesh’s Swabhimaan Sanghatana, had accused Rane Jr of opening fire at him inside the organization’s office in Khar. Shaikh had alleged that Nitesh fired at him twice and one of the bullets grazed his cheek.

On Monday, the CBI filed a closure report in the magistrate court in case. In the report, the CBI said there were no eyewitnesses to the alleged shooting incident.

A senior CBI officer said, “The court is still to take cognizance of the report.”

“The court can either accept the CBI’s findings or frame charges on its own. It can also order further investigation,” said the officer. “Medical reports have concluded that Shaikh’s injuries were not caused due to the alleged shooting. The ballistic investigation, too, does not support his claims.”

Speaking to TOI, Nitesh said, “Until and unless the court finalizes the report and gives me a clean chit, I would not like to make a statement.”

The matter will be heard by the court on April 21.

It was Shaikh’s allegation that on September 23, 2010, he went to the Sanghatana’s office with a box of sweets to celebrate the birth of a child. He went into Nitesh’s cabin where the latter was sitting with his personal assistant and a businessman friend. Shaikh alleged that he offered them sweets and bent down to touch Nitesh’s feet when the Rane scion alleged hit him. According to Shaikh, Nitesh was annoyed because he had suffered losses in business and Shaikh’ s celebrations made him livid. He alleged that while others started assaulting him, Nitesh fired two rounds at him. One of the bullets allegedly grazed his cheek following which he fled and admitted himself to a hospital in Powai.

The Khar police had booked Nitesh and his two aides for under sections 307 attempt to murder and under various sections of the Indian Penal Code , 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and various sections of as well as the Arms Act. He was however not arrested in the case.

In March 2011, following Shaikh’s petition claiming that the police were trying to shield Nitesh, the Bombay high court transferred the case to the CBI.

Spl Cell files fresh charge sheet against jailed PLA cadres

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) The Special Cell of Delhi Police today filed a fresh charge sheet against two jailed cadres of the banned People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The charge sheet was filed against N Dilip Singh and Arun Kumar Singh Salam, who were arrested in October last year from a Central Delhi hotel and are presently in judicial custody. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav took cognisance of the charge sheet against them and listed it for further consideration on April 11. The agency, in the fresh charge sheet, said the probe has revealed that Dilip had in 2010 met top Maoist leader Kisanji, who was killed in an encounter last year, and handed him over a letter of consent for training of CPI (Maoist) men by PLA cadres. The agency also told the court that it has initiated the proceedings for issuing Letter Rogatory to the US authorities to obtain the details of emails exchanged between the accused persons and their associates there. The police is looking into the IP addresses and other details of the various email IDs of Dilip and Salam as after their arrest the police had found many “incriminating emails sent to high-ranking cadres of the outfit”. It also said the forensic report of the laptop, phones and CDs recovered from the possession of the accused persons is, awaited. Dilip and Salam are slapped with the charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for being a member of a banned outfit and furthering its activities, besides charges of cheating, forgery and impersonation under the Indian Penal Code. According to police, Dilip had come to the Capital from Manipur, whereas Arun came from Pune on the direction of his superiors to chalk out the modalities for providing arms, ammunition and communication training to the CPI (Maoist) cadre, and for setting up joint training camps in Myanmar. PTI AKI

Govt assures HC to raze Porvorim illegal structure

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.25AM IST

PANAJI: The state government recently assured the high court of Bombay at Goa that an illegal construction at PDA colony in Porvrorim will be demolished within four weeks.

Flora Heredia and three others-residents of the colony-had approached the high court seeking the demolition of an illegal construction of a religious structure on a public place designated for a market in the colony.

In May 2011, the petitioners noticed construction activity at the site and they filed complaints before the authorities. In the complaint, it was pointed out that an illegal construction was under way on a public place reserved for a market. The structure was constructed without permission from any authority considering the fact that the same is in a space reserved for a market, and besides, is in violation of the existing building laws, the petitioners pointed out.

The petitioners stated that they had filed their complaints with the authorities against the structure . However, no action was taken, the petitioners alleged. The petitioner also pointed out that the state government had issued a circular dated February 15, 2010, to all authorities with regard to the survey/identification and action to be taken in regard to any illegal/unauthorized religious structures in public spaces .

During the hearing of the case, the government advocate informed the court that the construction would be demolished within a period of four weeks. The village panchayat also assured the court that they will not interfere with the demolition work.

The high court observed that the petitioner sought the performance of statutory duty by the authorities and the petition is disposed of in view of the statement made by the government advocate on instructions from the Bardez mamlatdar.

HC says its verdicts not applicable retrospectively

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 01.21AM IST

NAGPUR: Can the high court judgments be applied retrospectively? The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court said ‘no’, in a case of Akola resident while ruling that “there is no question of its applicability retrospectively or prospectively as it only declared the law as it is”.

“The principle of law pronounced by the court in the judgment is to be considered as law which is prevailing from inception and beginning,” a division bench comprising justices PB Majumdar and Prasanna Varale ruled while providing relief to Rambhau Bhusari, an employee of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krushi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), who had challenged his retirement.

“So far as enactment of law by the legislature is concerned, it may have retrospective effect if the enactment so provides,” the judges further observed.

Bhusari (58), working as laboratory attendant, had challenged his retirement, as the PDKV had not allowed him to continue till his 60 years of age. He was appointed to the post in 1980 and was asked to retire on June 30 last year after attaining age of 58.

The petitioner contended that two verdicts of high court last year (WP nos. 2954 and 2505) had clearly ruled that lab attendants coming under group “D” category working in the agricultural university are entitled to serve up 60 years.

HC to take a call on PCO for disabled kin

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.25AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court will decide whether an able-bodied legal heir of a handicapped person can get a telephone booth transferred in his name.

Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More were hearing a petition filed by Jayaben Gala, widow of a physically challenged man. Jayaben’s late husband, Mulchand Gala, was given a HPCO (handicapped public call office) at Lokhandwala Complex, in Andheri, by the BMC through an NGO.

According to her plea, after his death in 2006, Jayaben Gala continued to operate the booth. However, in 2011, its possession was handed over to another handicapped person by the NGO. Her advocate Dipesh Siroya argued that Gala was forcibly dispossessed. He said being unaware of the formalities, she did not apply for transfer of the booth in her name.

Tax dispute: HC restrains I-T dept from taking steps against school–HC-restrains-I-T-dept-from-taking-steps-against-school/929770/

Express news service : Thu Mar 29 2012, 02:15 hrs

Granting relief to the Sarvodaya Balika Vidyalaya in Malad, the Bombay High Court earlier this week directed the income tax (I-T) department not to take any coercive steps against the school pending the hearing of a tax dispute.

The trust, which runs the school — Rajasthani Sammelan — moved the court after receiving a notice from the department directing it to pay an amount of Rs 30 lakh by March 31.

The amount was a part of a total sum of Rs 1.56 crore held as due by the department. This was after the IT department withdrew the status of a charitable institute from the trust.

About 12,600 students are enrolled in various institutes run by the trust.

In its petition, the Rajasthani Sammelan challenged both the decision to withdraw the status of charitable institute, and the notice asking them to pay the interim due amount.

Hearing the case, a division Bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice M S Sanklecha refrained from making any comment on the main dispute involved. However, the judges opined, “In our view, this is clearly a case where the assessing officer ought to have granted a stay on demand.”

The court proceeded to restrain the department from taking any coercive steps against the institute till the issue was decided.

Govt liable to pay up for loss caused by wild animals: HC

Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 29, 2012The Bombay HC has held that the state government is liable to pay compensation to citizens who suffer loss or damage because of the presence of wild animals, even if the official rulebook does not cover some of them.
“If a wild animal causes loss to an agriculturist or a citizen, it would be the responsibility of the appropriate government to make good the loss,” a division bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice PB Varale observed in a ruling last week.

“Certainly, it would be open to a citizen to claim compensation for the loss caused by any wild animal, whether (the animal) is specifically referred to in any provision, government resolution or not,” the bench added while deciding a petition filed by Nagpur-based farmer Baburao Aglawe.

After retiring from a government job, Aglawe, 65, had started a banana farm at Tah in Wardha district. In March 2010, some tigers made his plantation their home after finding water in the area and stayed on till July before heading for the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary nearby.

After the tigers left and Aglawe found his crop damaged. On his plea, the forest department recommended a compensation of Rs 48 per plant. But the finance department rejected this in February last year, after which Aglawe approached the HC.

The finance department had apparently declined to grant compensation after finding that tigers were not covered under Maharashtra’s July 2010 resolution, which entitles farmers suffering loss due to wild animals such as wild boar, bison and elephants to compensation.


Pick up part of security tab for Vikas, Vishal’s trips to hospitals: HC to Tihar

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu Mar 29 2012, 04:02 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that Tihar Jail will have to foot part of the bill spent on security for Vikas and Vishal Yadav, convicts in the Nitish Katara murder case, during their many trips to AIIMS and Batra Hospital in the last four years.

Told that state authorities have spent more than Rs 20 lakh on security for the cousins during their “treatments”, a bench of Justices Geeta Mittal and V K Shali said: “After it is ascertained how much tax payers’ money has been unreasonably spent, we will examine how much of it will have to be shared between the two inmates. And we will also certainly apportionate it between them and Tihar because they cannot be said to be a non-party to the whole thing.”

The court is hearing a plea by Nitish Katara’s mother Neelam who has alleged that Vishal visited Batra Hospital more than 60 times and Vikas visited AIIMS more than 80 times since their conviction in 2008 by misusing their financial and political influence.

The court asked the counsel for Vikas and Vishal to inform whether they would on their own pay part of the money spent on their security.

“You were allowed to go to Batra Hospital for tuberculosis treatment. Now that there are allegations that there were several visits that were not all required, do you want to pay a part of the money or do you refuse to pay anything?” the bench asked Vishal’s counsel.

Expressing reluctance to pay, his counsel said that all visits were connected to tuberculosis and were completely in sync with the 2004 High Court order that allowed Vishal to go to Batra Hospital for treatment of this ailment.

Warning him, the bench said: “You must take clear-cut instructions from your client on this. It is not certain now but we will finally decide if you misused the court order after a final report from the medical board is ready for our perusal.”

The court also pulled up AIIMS for shifting Vikas to A class luxury ward during his treatment and asked them to file an affidavit. “As per the reports, Vikas was kept in A class ward for 10 days more only on account of non-payment of bills. How many other persons are kept like this? You give us the numbers and tell us where do you keep the prisoners otherwise,” the court asked the AIIMS counsel.

The court was informed by the counsel for the Delhi Police that two constables, who had allegedly allowed Vikas to leave AIIMS on the night of Diwali, have been suspended and an inquiry initiated.

In 2008, a Delhi court convicted Vikas and his cousin Vishal for killing Nitish Katara, an MBA student, in February 2002 for having an affair with their sister Bharati.

Arya Orphanage case: HC censures govt-appointed administrator

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu Mar 29 2012, 04:22 hrs

The administrator, appointed by the Delhi government, to look into the affairs at Arya Orphanage, earned the censure of the Delhi High Court on Wednesday for not assisting the court in drawing up the immediate steps required for the welfare of the children due to him being tied up with MCD election duties.

“When all the stakeholders are trying to find a solution as to how a societal institution should function, your administrator is busy with election duties. Nobody wanted an ‘election administrator.’ He should have been here to assist the court and answer our queries so that we could deliver some meaningful directives,” a bench of Justices Pradeep Nandarajog and Pratibha Rani said.

The court censure came after being informed by the government counsel that Bans Raj, the new administrator appointed to oversee the functioning of the orphanage, was not present in the court as he was busy with poll duties.

The counsel had to inform the bench about the administrator’s current job after Justice Nandarajog fumed during the hearing that the administrator was not only supposed to sit in his office but come to the court.

“We wanted him to come before us to help us but he is not there. We have been told that he is visiting the orphanage regularly but what can we expect from him knowing really well that his mind would have been preoccupied with poll-related work. The problem is that the government’s functioning is not up to the mark,” said the bench.

During the hearing, the court took on record 13 suggestions handed out by the Haq Centre for Child Rights, which by posting a letter to the court, had prompted the court to take the matter up as a PIL. The letter by the NGO had sought court’s intervention in ensuring safety and well-being of the children still housed in Arya Orphanage complex, which is mired in a controversy in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse of children there.

These suggestions included preparing a list of children under different categories admitted there, segregation of boys and girls, help-desk for parents and increase in frequency of meetings with parents for certain children, periodical counselling and review, mandatory reporting of all untoward incidents to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and allowing children to go back home during long vacations.

Senior advocate V P Chaudhary, who appeared for Arya Orphanage, however, objected to allowing children — especially girls — to go back home and contended that there was an apprehension that they might develop “vices” and “bad habits” because of their background and might influence other girls after coming back to the Orphanage.

He further raised objections to the jurisdiction of the CWC into the affairs of the orphanage and claimed that the CWC had no powers to do this.

The bench said it will finalise a draft interim verdict of necessary orders to be passed in the matter by the end of the week.

City briefs : HC blast: Custody of 2 extended

Express news service : Thu Mar 29 2012, 04:19 hrs

HC blast: Custody of 2 extended

New Delhi:A Delhi court on Thursday extended till April 18, the judicial custody of two suspected terrorists, Wasim Akram Malik and Amir Abbas Dev, arrested by the NIA for their alleged role in the attack at the Delhi High Court in September last year. District Judge H S Sharma extended their custody in an in-chamber hearing, and listed the matter for April 18 for scrutiny of documents, filed by the National Investigation Agency.

Design workshop begins at Apeejay

New Delhi:Design Innovation India Workshop 2012, jointly organised by Apeejay Stya University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT Media Lab), was inaugurated on Monday at the Apeejay campus in Sheikh Sarai. The five-day workshop has brain-storming sessions, talks, tutorials and will end with an exhibition on March 30.

Open gate near Karbala for a day: HC

New Delhi:The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi Police to open a gate, barricading of which had led to a clash in Jor Bagh in January, for a day. Rejecting the argument of police that its opening could lead to a law and order problem, the court directed them to open the western gate near Karbala Mosque on Thursday, on the occasion of ‘Nauchandi Jumerat.’

Jail suptd to move HC in Rajoana case

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh/Patiala , March 28, 2012A defiant Patiala Central Jail superintendent LS Jakhar said on Tuesday that he was “unable and disabled in law” to accept the warrants and carry out the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana – as ordered by the Chandigarh sessions court – and would approach the Punjab and Haryana high Court.

Additional district and sessions judge Shalini Singh Nagpal on Tuesday directed that her earlier orders on carrying out Rajoana’s execution on March 31 at Patiala Central Jail be complied with.

Jakhar claimed there were “legal infirmities” in procedure in the sessions court orders, and requested the court to defer the sentence order till the Supreme Court announced its ruling in the appeals concerning Lakhwinder Singh Lakha and Jagtar Singh Hawara, both convicts in the Beant Singh assassination case.

He said it was his duty to ensure that the procedure established by law is “meticulously followed” before carrying out a death sentence. He said according to Supreme Court guidelines, before carrying out any death sentence, the jail superintendent should ascertain personally whether the death sentence imposed upon any co-accused, of the prisoner due to be hanged, has been commuted.

If commuted, the superintendent should apprise senior authorities of the matter, who in turn must take prompt steps for bringing the matter to the notice of the courts concerned, Jakhar said.

He told the court that both Balwant and Hawara were sentenced to death, but while the death sentence of Hawara was commuted to life by the Punjab and Haryana high court, Lakha’s appeal was pending before the Supreme Court.

Subsequently, the CBI filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the commuting of Hawara’s sentence.

“Since two different appeals linked to two other convicts in the same case are pending in the Supreme Court, there is no question of hanging the third accused before the Supreme Court decides on the two appeals,” Jakhar told HT.

He claimed that after reading the sessions court judgment, it was clear that it has observed that no appeal has been filed by Lakha in the Supreme Court though “we had attached certified copies” of the plea filed by Lakha in the Supreme Court. “So in such a scenario, we would be moving the high court seeking legal remedies in the case,” he said.


HC seeks details of Ganga project

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 03.57AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Taking up a PIL relating to removal of pollution in the Ganga, the Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to file an affidavit detailing the project report on construction of Pakka Ghat in connection with Kumbh-2013 and also the details of grant of project or commissioning of the project.

The PIL was heard by a bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Arun Tandon.

Advocate General S P Gupta submitted in the court that the decision of the state government in this regard shall be brought before the court by means of an affidavit with regard to the restoration of roads, where the sewage line is being drawn in the city of Allahabad, immediate action shall be taken.

The Advocate General said that with regard to the restoration of roads, at least the main roads, be restored and details with regard to the restoration shall be brought on record by means of affidavit by the next date.

Regarding the share of state government in the Kumbh Mela-2013, the AG submitted that this issue would again be looked into by the state government and appropriate measures be taken and appropriate funds be provided by the government itself.

The court also directed the UP Pollution Control Board to continue inspecting all the sewage treatment plants and pumping stations and submit periodical reports.

Also, the court directed the counsel of the Central government to file an affidavit by the next date regarding study of environmental flow, which was entrusted to a study group.

The court directed to list this PIL on April 16 for next hearing.

HC for quota in local body posts

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 04.51AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has suggested that the Tamil Nadu government bring a legislation reserving posts/offices of vice-chairmen or vice-presidents in local bodies to dalits and women.

A division bench comprising Justice D Murugesan and Justice P P S Janarthana Raja came out with the suggestion, while passing orders on a writ petition filed by advocate M Palanimuthu. The advocate had sought a direction to the state government to reserve 33% of all vice-chairmen and vice-president posts in local bodies and municipalities, besides 22.5% reservation for dalits.

In this regard, he pointed out that already such reservation had been provided for dalits and women as heads of various local bodies. He wanted the similar benefits to be extended to deputy chiefs of such civic bodies.

The judges, conceding that reservation was an affirmative action designed to improve well being of under-represented communities, pointed out that the state had restricted such reservation to persons directly elected to posts in civic bodies, such as chairmen, presidents, members and councillors. The law has not extended the quota to vice-chairmen and vice-presidents.

Noting that such direction cannot be issued by the court to the government in the absence of statutory provisions, the judges said: “It is for the state to consider for inclusion of a provision extending the same reservation to the posts/offices of vice-chairmen and vice-presidents, identifying constitutes for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women candidates.”

HC comes down heavily on lawyer trying to wriggle out of case

PTI | 10:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

Chennai, Mar 28 (PTI): Coming down heavily on a lawyer, accused in a murder case, for trying to wriggle out of it by seeking a fresh investigation, the Madras High Court said the investigation conducted in accordance with law cannot be forestalled by these acts. Allowing a petition by one K Senguttuvan seeking to quash orders of government and DGP to transfer investigation from the police station to state crime branch-CID,Justice K Chandru said the Criminal Original Petition filed by the lawyer was nothing but an abuse of the process of law. Stating that he had made use of a letter sent by Selvaraju, claiming to be Mannargudi Bar Association President, addressed to the High Court Chief Justice, ‘as material to torpedo the investigation,’ the Judge said it was unfortunate that a High Court judge should refer to the same petition as a document to order the home secretary to conduct another inquiry. The petitioner said his brother was done to death on Dec 25 2005 by four identified persons, including the lawyer a Bar member,arraigned as second accused.An FIR was registered the next day for murder and the final report filed on Nov 8, 2006. Meanwhile, the lawyer secured a letter from Selvaraju addressed to the CJ, requesting a discreet inquiry and to take appropriate action to safeguard him.It also claimed the lawyer was not present at the spot when the murder took place. After being told a representation had been sent to the Chief Justice and Home Secretary, the Judge on Apr 25, 2007 directed the latter to consider it and take suitable action. On Mar 12, 2008 the Home Secretary transferred investigation to CB-CID and on June 23 that year, the DGP ordered withdrawal of the chargesheet and handing over investigation to CB-CID. The judge said the case was yet another instance where an organised Bar tried to derail investigation into murder in its anxiety to protect a ‘wayward’ member from facing prosecution. He cited the Supreme Court,which had forewarned High Courts from issuing directions which would cause miscarriage of justice and thwart the criminal process and held no such directions can be issued either at the instance of individual member of the Bar or at the instance of the association. Setting aside the orders, he directed the Mannargudi Judicial Magistrate II to proceed with the case and pass appropriate orders. PTI GR APR APR

HC seeks action plan on Slum Rehabilitation Authority flats

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.37AM IST

MUMBAI: The HC on Wednesday sought an “action plan” from the state to deal with the issue of re-sale of flats under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) before the expiry of the 10-year deadline.

“Come out with an action plan,” suggested a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More, while hearing a petition about a SRA project in Chandivali. There are thousands of flats in the SRA scheme. We cannot pass orders in every matter,” the court added in its oral remarks.

Assistant government pleader Milind More informed the court that four flats in Chandivali were sealed as per orders. In one case the seal was broken and in another the flat was resold for over Rs 8 lakhs,” said More.

The court ordered cops to initiate action against persons who trespass or encroach upon flats that have been sealed.

Last week, the HC ordered the Saki Naka police to seize and seal four flats in the Chandivali slum rehabilitation project. The HC had said no allottee of a rehabilitation flat under the SRA scheme can transfer the flat for a period of 10 years as per rules. The court ruled that gift deeds” and power of attorney” used to transfer the flats were of no consequence”.

Some builders are constructing a slum rehabilitation project in Chandivali.

The SRA scheme had come under the scanner when a PIL revealed that of the 3,198 flats, 329 had been given out on rent, 48 were being used for commercial purposes and 34 had been sold. A second survey showed that of the 121 flats inspected, only 31 were occupied by the original allottees.

In 2010 the HC had suggested that considering the enormity of cases of violation of the SRA scheme, the state should set up a authority to monitor such projects.

“As a large number of SRA projects have been built in Mumbai, it would be advisable for (the state and BMC) take some measures which may include perhaps amendment of the relevant act to provide for the authority which can oversee cases of possession and or subject letting in such projects,” the court had then observed.

HC tells Travancore Devaswom Board to decide on fate of Mohanaru

KOCHI: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) should decide whether permission should be given to Kantararu Mohanaru to assist the chief priest in rituals at Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, the high court ruled on Wednesday.

The directive by division bench of Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice C T Ravikumar was on a petition by chief priest Kantararu Maheswararu stating that his son, Mohanaru, should be allowed to help him in rituals in view of his ill health.

The court is not interfering in the matter and the Devaswom Board should take a decision in this regard and inform the court by April 3, the division bench held.

Mohanaru was prevented by the board from performing rituals in August 2009.

The guards had stopped him at the northern gate of the temple based on a directive from Sabarimala executive officer V S Jayakumar following a decision by the Devaswom Board.

The board’s decision not to allow Mohanaru into the temple followed his alleged involvement in a blackmailing case and the Jayamala case of 2006.

Mohanaru’s name had figured in the tantri controversy, which the media had claimed involved politics, sex, and conspiracy.

Allegedly, the tantri was photographed in a compromising position with a woman previously booked for immoral traffic at a flat owned by Sobha John, the main accused in several sex racket cases, in 2006.

In the Jayamala case, the tantri was alleged to have conspired with others for facilitating the entry of the actress into the hilltop shrine, where, according to tradition, no fertile woman should visit.

In the petition, the chief priest had stated that Mohanaru had held responsibilities related to rituals before and he should be allowed to take on the responsibilities in his absence.

Calcutta HC grants bail to 2 AMRI directors

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 12.52AM IST

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Wednesday granted bail to AMRI directors RS Goenka and Prashant Goenka, saying documents placed before it showed the board of directors wasn’t responsible for the hospital’s day-to-day affairs. The duo was in custody for 111 days since a fire at AMRI-Dhakuria claimed 91 lives on December 9.

Significantly, the court also said it was a committee of management -which included only two of the nine directors arrested in the case, nonagenarian cardiologist Moni Chhetri and gynaecologist Pronab Dasgupta, and was headed by Chhetri himself – that was more responsible for running the hospital’s daily administration. The committee, the court added, met once a week (every Saturday) while the board of directors met once every quarter.

A division bench of justices Ashim Roy and Ashim Ray also noted that Chhetri, Dasgupta and senior vice-president Satyabrata Upadhyay, who was also part of this committee, had already been given bail and the state hadn’t appealed against it. The judges said the trial will take some time as the chargesheet cites 455 witnesses and a large number of documents, and were reluctant to keep the directors confined till that time.

The ruling is expected to have wide ramifications as hearings on the bail pleas of two other directors – Manish Goenka and Ravi Todi – resumed on Wednesday and will continue on Thursday. In all, 16 people – 12 directors and four employees – have been charged in the case of whom 13 were arrested and three, all of them directors, declared absconders.

Apart from Chhetri and Dasgupta, the other AMRI director to have got bail before Wednesday is R S Agarwal. He was granted bail on February 17 by the high court. The Alipore court had granted bail to Chhetri, Dasgupta and Upadhyay. The state will move the Supreme Court against Agarwal’s bail.

Goenka and Agarwal are co-chairmen and co-founders of the Rs 3,000-crore Emami group. Along with the Shrachi group, they have a controlling stake in the AMRI Hospitals. The board of directors also has two government nominees – director of medical education and special secretary (health). The government nominees, though, didn’t come in the ambit of the police probe and weren’t charged. The hospital’s licence, critical to investigations, was issued in Chhetri’s name. Police have said all fire safety norms were flouted by the hospital, leading to the deaths.

The police’s January 30 chargesheet lists several key lapses by the hospital. The central airconditioners were not switched off even after the fire, allowing dense fumes to spread rapidly. Neither the fire alarm nor sprinklers worked.

The basement, meant for a car park, had been illegally converted into an office-cum-storehouse. The fire started in a portion of the basement where the hospital stored cotton and bandages.

HC orders state to hold elections for Pune APMC

Atikh Rashid : Thu Mar 29 2012, 03:23 hrs

The Bombay High Court has directed the state government to hold elections to appoint a democratically elected body in the Pune District’s Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) with immediate effect. For the past four years, the body is being governed by an official appointed by the state government. The court decision came in response to a writ petition by one Shekhar Badade, a trader at Pune APMC.

The APMC was established in 1957 and was converted into a Regional Marketing Committee on January 10, 2008. Though, as per the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 1963, the committee should be operated by elected representatives, no election was conducted since 2008. In 2008 the elected Board of Directors of the committee was dissolved by the state following allegations of corruption.

Justifying the delay in holding elections, the joint director of marketing had reasoned in an affidavit submitted in the court, that a proposal for bifurcation of territorial limits of the APMC to segregate some of the talukas from its purview and establish Taluka Market Committees was under consideration. He added that an election at this stage would be impractical as upon division, fresh elections will have to be held for the newly-established Taluka Market Committees resulting in unnecessary expenditure.

The bench comprising justice N M Jamadar and justice A M Khanwilkar observed that as no elected committee was put in place, the members of APMC have been denied the opportunity to express their grievances on the issue of bifurcating or on continuation of the administrator to manage the affairs of the body. “We cannot do better than issuing direction to the respondents to forthwith hold elections to install the democratically elected committee in the APMC. The argument of impracticability or avoidable expenditure, in our opinion, cannot legitimise the continuation of the administrator to govern the body, that too, unabated,” observed the court.

The court observed that it was aware of the fact that the government authorities (State Government and the Director of Marketing) have gone on record in an affidavit to state that the division of APMC shall be completed within a period of six months.

“There is no guarantee that the said process will not be objected to at a later stage after a formal decision in that behalf is taken (thus causing further delay),” observed the court. J Deshmukh, administrator of APMC, said he is yet to receive the authentic copy of the verdict.


LEGAL NEWS 28.03.2012

2G scam: HC notice to CBI on Kanimozhi’s plea

Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, March 27, 2012

The Delhi high court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea by DMK MP Kanimozhi to quash charges against her in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Justice ML Mehta asked the CBI to file its response by May 10. DMK MP Kanimozhi March

23 had moved the high court seeking quashing of charges. Her petition said: “Set aside/quash the charges and also quash the chargesheet filed by the CBI and all the proceedings emanating thereunder.”

Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, was along with former telecom minister A Raja, charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery, accepting a bribe and abetting bribery.

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani appearing for Kanimozhi said she had been falsely implicated in the matter and there was no evidence of record that could justify the charges against her.

“The impugned order framing charges against the petitioner is based on a completely wrong and misplaced understanding of the law of conspiracy,” the petition filed by the accused said.

“There is not even an allegation that a single penny of the alleged bribe money has gone towards the personal account of the petitioner or has in any manner benefited her on a personal level,” her petition said.

On Kanimozhi, the court had found evidence that the Rs200 crore received by DMK mouthpiece Kalaignar TV was a bribe from the Shahid Balwa-owned DB Realty in return for a 2G licence.

She claimed: “As per the CBI the alleged bribe money has been paid to Kalaignar TV between December 2008 and August 2009. During this phase, the status of the petitioner was only that of a shareholder of 20 percent equity of the company and nothing more.”

The petition further submitted that Kanimozhi has not taken part in any of the board meetings wherein decisions with respect to the alleged transaction were taken. Neither has she signed any of the agreements or documents pertaining to the same.

“The special judge has committed a grave error in law in framing a charge of 120B/420 IPC against the petitioner, as firstly, the decision not to auction 2G spectrum is based upon the TRAI recommendations dated Aug 28, 2007. And secondly, there is no evidence on record that the petitioner had anything to do with the same,” the petition stated.

Kanimozhi is accused of being the “active brain” behind Kalaignar TV and having been in “regular touch” with Raja.

The high court had Nov 28 last year granted bail to Kanimozhi who was named in the supplementary charge sheet filed April 25 as co-accused along with others.

HC to view video footage of Maval police firing incident

Published: Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012, 19:09 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

Bombay High Court will soon be viewing the video footage of the August 2011 Maval firing incident to ascertain if police were left with no other option but to open fire at the protesting farmers.

The agriculturists were protesting against the government’s decision to lay a closed pipeline to supply water from Pavna dam to the limits of Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporation in Pune district. The demonstrators had claimed that due to the closed pipeline they would be deprived of water for their crops.

A division bench of Justice PB Majmudar and Justice RD Dhanuka was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations seeking probe into the firing incident to be handed over to an independent agency.

The court had on the last hearing come down heavily on the Maval police for opening fire at the protestors resulting in the death of one farmer. “You (police) should have used tear gas shells and fired in the air instead of shooting at people directly,” the court had said.

However, the government on Tuesday informed the court that the police was left with no other option but to open fire.

Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, special counsel for the government, urged the court to see the half-hour video of the incident stating that the police had given sufficient warning to the agitators before firing.

“Instructions of the manual were followed (before firing)… The court must see the video footage. Sitting in air-conditioned court room, one ca

LEGAL NEWS 27.03.2012

SC directs Army to grant permanent commission to lady officer
PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) The Supreme Court today asked the Indian Army to grant permanent commission to a woman officer, embroiled in legal battle for six years, in the rank of lieutenant colonel, saying that “artificial hurdles” were created to deny her rightful due. “When it comes to absorbing lady officers you pose hurdles for them,” a bench comprising justices R M Lodha and Gyan Sudha Mishra said, dismissing the Army’s petition against a Delhi High Court order for granting permanent commission to Major Leena Gaurav. The Army had first gone to the high court against the order of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Lucknow which had passed the order in favour of the officer that she was not required to clear the departmental examination as asked by the Army for getting a permanent commission. The apex court observed that Maj Gaurav was discriminated by the Army, which asked her to the clear the departmental examination which she had successfully cleared in April 2010. “What is so sacrosanct about the departmental examination? This is just an artificial hurdle put by you,” the bench said. The officer’s counsel Rekha Palli had argued that having cleared the promotional test, considered higher in level than the departmental test, there was no ground to deny promotion to her. While dismissing Army’s appeal, the bench said, “Legally your case is weak. You seem to be playing the game of pick and choose. If an officer has put five to seven years of service and has attributes to get the permanent commission, you want that he or she must clear the departmental examination. This is something very strange.”

RTI applicants paying through nose literally!
Ramendra Singh, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 05.31AM IST
BHOPAL: RTI applicants end up paying Rs 27 to get a photocopy of information sought through RTI from Barkatullah University. Reason: the university doesn’t accept cash. Left with no option, RTI applicant has to cough up bank commission of Rs 25 for Rs-2 challan.

Barkatullah University deputy registrar B Bharti said: “We do not accept cash. We ask applicants to come with a bank challan if they want photo-copies.”

When pointed out, former chief information commissioner (CIC) PP Tiwari said the applicants could not be forced to deposit money through challan or postal order. “It is the applicant’s choice to deposit money as per his convenience. It is wrong, if the university is forcing applicants and taking more money than the prescribed amount,” Tiwari said.

Bharti went on saying the RTI applicants have become a big headache for the university. “I have to engage half of the staff in answering queries asked in the RTI. Most of them are fraud.” As it is, the university is facing manpower problem.

“The university daily receives almost 25 applications under the RTI. One can imagine the time spent on answering queries. People even asked for time-table of ten exams held 10 years ago,” Bharti said. A complaint in this regard has already been filed with the CIC office, an RTI applicant said, adding, the BU is violating the RTI Act.

Parties eye key civic panel posts
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 05.07AM IST
PUNE: Political parties are gearing up for elections for the posts of chairmen and vice-chairmen of important civic committees in the Pune Municipal Corporation. A total 18 corporators filed nominations for eight posts in four committees on Monday.

Elections for the law, city improvement, sports, and women and child welfare committeeshave been scheduled on March 30.

The city improvement committee (CIC) has gained importance due to the proposed development plan for the old city. The CIC discusses and suggests changes in the development plan submitted by the civic administration. The plan, with the changes suggested by the committee, will be presented to the general body and will then be sent to the state government for final approval.

The Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party have fielded candidates for the four committees. The MNS and RPI have not fielded candidates. The Congress and NCP have fielded separate candidates in the CIC and law committees, even though the parties have struck a post-poll alliance. The parties have maintained their alliance for the sports committee, where the Congress has fielded a candidate for the chairman’s post, while the NCP has fielded one for the vice-chairman’s post.

The NCP has nominated Chetan Tupe for the CIC chairman’s post, while Congress has fielded Sudhir Janjot. Shiv Sena has nominated Sachin Bhagat. Medha Kulkarni of BJP, Usha Kalamkar of NCP and Sunny Nimhan of Congress will fight for the vice-chairperson’s post .

The women and child welfare pane was elected unopposed. NCP’s Minal Sarvade was elected chairperson, while Sunanda Gadale of Congress became the vice-chairperson.

PTI | 05:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
On the issue of complaint handling system in the CVC, On the issue of complaint handling system in the CVC, Mishra said lack of time-limit in processing of complaints generates lot of cynicism in the minds of complainants who are bringing out corruption issues through them. “After carefully considering the facts of the case, one thing emerges that the lack of any time limit for disposal of complaints, whether endorsed with the direction to investigate or to take further necessary action, results in the complaints taken very lightly by the CVO concerned without often reaching any decisive action,” he said. Mishra said since the number of complaints received in the CVC is quite high, it is always possible that even some serious complaints may be forwarded to the CVO concerned not for investigation but for further necessary action, in which case such complaints would remain pending indefinitely. “We would expect the CPIO to bring this to the notice of the CVC for taking a fresh look at the complaint handling policy and to evolve clear time-lines, wherever possible, for disposing of complaints at all levels,” Mishra said in his order.

HC: Give pension for training period also
Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 12.43AM IST
NAGPUR: In what could be termed as a significant verdict, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that an employee’s training period should be added to his pensionary benefits. “In our view, non-addition of training period to the petitioner’s regular service has resulted into great injustice to him,” a division bench comprising justices PB Majmudar and Prasanna Varale observed, while providing a relief after almost 14 years to Abdul Mannan, who retired as chief telecom inspector (Microwave) from Central Railways.

The court ruled that petitioner is entitled to get the benefit of his two-year training period from January 5, 1965 to April 10, 1967, till the date on which he was given regular appointment, for the purpose of pension. The judges however clarified that the training period is counted only for the purpose of pensionary benefits.

The Amravati-based petitioner had knocked the higher judiciary’s doors challenging the June 29, 2001 order of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Mumbai Bench at Nagpur, which rejected his original application (OA) of demanding inclusion of his training period in pensionary benefits.

Mannan was appointed as an apprentice on December 23, 1964, but he actually joined on January 5, 1965. After completing apprenticeship period of two years on February 23, 1967, he was to be absorbed on regular basis. But due to unavailability of any vacancy, the petitioner was actually absorbed after a gap of 45 days on April 10, 1967. On retirement, he made a representation to the employer on October 15, 1993, requesting him to update his service register by taking into account apprenticeship period.

The high court judges considered Mannan’s plea over administrative delay of 45 days on the part of employers in giving the regular appointment to him. “It is clear from the record that regular posting order was awaited and his apprenticeship was not terminated. His case was kept on waiting list. Therefore, it was only an administrative delay,” the judges said.

Army puts obstacles when it comes to women officers: SC
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 01.55AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday accused the Army of creating “artificial hurdles” for women officers while clearing decks for grant of permanent commission to Major Leena Gaurav, who was made to wait for six years despite passing a promotion test for the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch.

Dismissing the Union government’s appeal against an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal favouring Major Gaurav, a bench of Justices R M Lodha and Gyan Sudha Mishra said, “When it comes to absorbing lady officers you pose hurdles for them.”

In Major Gaurav’s case, the court noted the discrimination meted out to her as the Army insisted on her clearing the departmental examination though she had passed the promotion test in April, 2010. She was part of a group of short service commission women officers who had sought grant of permanent commission to them in the Army in majority of the branches.

The bench asked: “What is so sacrosanct about the departmental examination? This is just an artificial hurdle put by you.” Major Gaurav was denied promotion on the ground that she had failed to take the departmental examination. But, her counsel Rekha Palli argued that the departmental test had become inconsequential since she had cleared the higher promotion test.

The AFT had agreed with this reasoning, but the Army chose to challenge its order in SC. Overuling the Army’s stand, the court said, “Legally your case is weak. You seem to be playing the game of pick and choose…if an officer has put five to seven years of service and has attributes to get permanent commission, you want that he or she must clear the departmental exam. This is something very strange.”

Contrary to Army’s contentions, the Court found that a standing order of October 28, 2005, promised to grant promotion from Major to Lt Col, to all officers who completed 13 years of service.

The bench said: “Without compromising on the quality of job, why should you not give incentive for women officers to achieve promotion.” Chastened by the SC, the Army agreed to consider Major Gurav’s case on priority.

SC to end monitoring of Bhopal gas victim health care
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 02.37AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said it could not go on monitoring the healthcare of Bhopal gas victims sitting at the national Capital and expressed its intention to hand it over to a Bhopal-based authority.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar asked additional solicitor general Indira Jaising to give details of the transfer of corpus of over Rs 400 crore, which was lying with the hospital trust headed by former CJI A M Ahmedi prior to its dissolution.

Jaising said the hospital was functioning under the supervision of Indian Council of Medical Research, but the court asked her to give details of the government’s plan for future. “Once the government takes over the hospital, we will stop monitoring it,” the bench said.

The bench asked the counsel for various parties to submit within a week a short synopsis of what was needed to be done in future and posted the matter for final hearing.

Nanavati commission to finally wind up riots inquiry
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 01.59AM IST
AHMEDABAD: A decade on and 18 extensions later, the Nanavati Commission, which was formed to probe the Godhra train carnage and consequent riots, will wind up its inquiry this month-end. The commission, which was constituted in May 2002, is in the process of finalizing its report on the violence that rocked Gujarat between February 27, 2002 and May 31, 2002.

Three judges, who were part of the judicial body at different times, have sifted through thousands of pages of testimonies while handling 4,145 cases. The state government has already spent nearly Rs 7 crore in the process. The Narendra Modi government had appointed Justice (retired) KG Shah to head the commission in May 2002 as a “fact-finding” body with no power to enforce or implement its recommendations. Later, retired Supreme Court Justice GT Nanavati was also appointed to the commission.

Justice AH Mehta became a part of the body following the death of Justice Shah. Earlier, the government had submitted a letter written by the judicial body, saying it was likely to submit the report by end of its extended term, that is March 31, 2012.

Until the end of February, the commission had recorded statements of top bureaucrats, senior police officers, NGO representatives and politicians. Last month, statements of former ministers IK Jadeja and Gordhan Zadaphia, who was minister of state for home during the riots, were recorded.

Though the terms and reference of the commission include examining the role of the chief minister, the judicial body has so far not summoned Modi. As a result, Jan Sangharsh Manch, an NGO fighting for the victims, moved the Supreme Court demanding that Modi’s statement too be recorded and its lawyers be allowed to cross-examine the chief minister.

The commission has dealt with allegations levelled by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who accused Modi of calling a meeting of top cops on the night of February 27, 2002 where he allegedly told the police officers to allow Hindus to vent their anger.

High Court ruling on grant of family pension to widow
PTI | 10:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Madurai,Mar26(PTI) Madras High Court Bench here has ruled that the widow of a government pensioner could be granted family pension by relaxing the relevant rules even if her husband had not declared her as his nominee before his death. Justice K. Chandru gave the ruling while ordering family pension to a widow who managed to get a divorce decree, originally obtained by her husband in 2003, reversed by the Court in August last though her husband died in January 2010. The widow, Malarvizhi, had filed the present petition in 2010 seeking a direction to the Accountant General’s office to grant family pension to her towards services rendered by her husband as a secondary grade teacher in an elementary school in Sivaganga district until his retirement in February 2002. In his counter, Tiruppattur Treasury Officer stated that a nominee entered in the government employee’s service register was the only person eligible to receive family pension.But the petitioner’s husband Poovalingam did not nominate anyone till his retirement. The officer said Poovalingam had filed a divorce case against the petitioner before the Sivaganga Sub-Court and obtained a favourable decree in March 2003. The divorce decree was also confirmed by Sivaganga District Court in Dec2003. However,the judge said pursuant to the filing of the counter in the present writ plea, the High Court allowed a second appeal filed by the petitioner and reversed the divorce decrees passed and confirmed by the lower courts. Therefore, in the light of the subsequent development there was no legal impediment in holding that the petitioner was the wife of Poovalingam.In so far as the absence of her name in the nominee’s column was concerned, the judge said that he had decided a similar issue in another case in 2007 itself. The judge held that family pension could not be denied on technicalities such as the pensioner’s failure to nominate especially when the object of the family pension scheme was to enable the family of the deceased Government servant to survive even after his death. The judge ordered authorities to grant family pension to Malarvizhi within twelve weeks.

Kejriwal’s allegation charges against me are ‘baseless’: Vasan
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 26, 2012Shipping minister GK Vasan on Monday termed Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations against him on the Kandla Port land scam as “baseless” and pointed out that he was not in charge of the ministry when the alleged irregularities surfaced in 2008.

Vasan also clarified that a CBI
inquiry into 17 allegations, which were made in a PIL before the Delhi high court, have found no substantial evidence to investigate with regard to 14 of them.

Regular departmental action was recommended with regard to the remaining three charges, the minister said.
“Allegation regarding irregularities in Kandla Port Trust Lease of Land case are totally baseless and there is no truth in it. When the report by CVO of the Port Trust was originally given in 2008, I was not the Minister of Shipping,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
Quoting media reports, Kejriwal had on Sunday alleged that Vasan was involved in irregularities in the issue.
Vasan said the Kandla Port is in possession of more than 2,20,000 acres of land and out of these, 16,112 acres of land was leased out to salt manufacturing industries in 1960 to 30 years by the Port authorities.
“The CVO in his report in 2008 alleged that few parties were in possession of large chunk of land and that the leases have been given on nomination basis at very low rates,” the minister said.
Noting that the entire issue of lease is sub-judice since September, 2009, he said the CBI has investigated into the case and has not found any criminality in these allegations.
Vasan also noted that after he became minister, he fixed the auction rate as Rs 13,570 per acre per annum as against the existing Rs 144 per acre per annum.

State has only 36 inspectors for 86,000 elevators
Sukhada Tatke, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.08AM IST
MUMBAI: The lift mishap that occurred in Goregaon (West) on Sunday , injuring 10 people , has once again brought the spotlight on safety concerns over elevators in the city and the state . Given that the public works department (PWD) has only 36 inspectors for over 86 ,000 lifts in Maharashtra , experts cite the lack of regular inspection as the main reason for frequent elevator accidents .

Activists feel the Bombay Lift Act, 1939 and the Bombay Lift Rules, 1958 governing elevators are obsolete. Activist Mohammed Afzal , along with others , filed a PIL in 2010 on the inadequate number of PWD inspectors and on the need to prevent accidents . The PIL said there were 86 ,154 lifts in the state as of 2010 and about 5,000 were added every year .

Last year , the Bombay high court asked the PWD to display the number of lifts inspected every six months on its website from April 1, 2012 and quarterly inspection figures from 2013. An affidavit filed by S T Valekar , chief engineer (electrical ), PWD, stated that in 2010 there were 16 inspectors in the department , who were required to carry out 157,100 inspections a year . Each inspector was , therefore , expected to carry out 9,818 inspections . The affidavit stated that the strength of the department had been increased to 36 as against a sanctioned strength of 62.

“Therefore , lifts remain uninspected and accidents happen at regular intervals , resulting in physical injuries , sometimes grievous and sometimes fatal ,” said Afzal .

The problem , according to activists , lies in the fact that it is not possible to fix responsibility in the case of a mishap . According to them , the state must update the law regulating the construction , installation , maintenance and safe operation of lifts.

“The managing committee of the housing society /office complex concerned and the lift maintenance contractor get away by blaming each other . The terribly short-staffed and poorly trained lifts department of the PWD is unable to cope with the situation ,” Afzal said . “Most lift inspections are only on paper .”

After the PIL was filed, the state set up a committee of experts on lift safety . The committee’s main recommendation was to outsource inspection , which faced stiff opposition from the lifts department .

Tinted glass order reserved
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 03.39AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its verdict on a PIL seeking complete ban on use of dark films on car windows, including the vehicles used by VIPs. The PIL has alleged that many crimes in cities were committed by people using such cars with tinted car windows.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar asked petitioner Avishek Goenka whether he had any statistics relating to the percentage of crimes committed by using cars with tinted windows.

Goenka said he had 25 RTI query responses from various police stations to back his claim that many crimes, including sexual assault on women, were committed by offenders who used cars with tinted glasses to evade public gaze and conceal their identity.

The Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, says glasses of windscreen and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70% and, for side windows, it should be 50%. Goenka said police did not have enough lux meters to check visibility quotient of a windscreen and mostly depend on naked eye estimates.

PIL on malnutrition adjourned
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 05.51AM IST
BANGALORE: A high court division bench headed by the chief justice has adjourned to Thursday hearing on a PIL related to children dying of malnutrition across the state. The bench was not happy that there has been no perceptible change at the ground level though the situation remained serious. “Everything is on paper. There’s no change at all.

This is because you are not showing any personal interest. All typically bureaucratic.Why you are not involving social workers and those interested?” the bench asked the government.

Dubbing UT’s attitude towards kids’ disappearance from Snehalay ‘insensitive’
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.38AM IST
CHANDIGARH: Dubbing the attitude of Chandigarh administration towards the disappearance of kids from Snehalaya, a home for destitute people, insensitive, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday directed UT to produce the report of an inquiry it conducted into the missing of children from the shelter home. The probe was conducted by IAS officer Vinod P Kavle and a member of Juvenile Justice Board, Manju Bhalla, last year. The HC also told the administration that the report should be filed along with an affidavit.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday before a division bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, a detailed reply was submitted on behalf of the UT social welfare department director, Rajesh Jogpal. In its reply, UT submitted that children who could not be traced were of other states and their complete addresses and contact details were not available. It added, As all the children are school-going and in the age group of five to 18 years, it is difficult to restrict their movement. In case a child of Snehalaya goes missing, appropriate and prompt action is taken by the staff, in association with police.

The administration also submitted that it was taking remedial steps to minimize the possibilities of running away of children in the wake of the recommendations of the inquiry conducted by Kavle and Bhalla.Not satisfied with UT’s ‘routine’ reply, Justice Grover observed, Administration seems very insensitive in filing reply on such issues and trying to convey as nothing has happened.

Now, case will come up for hearing on May 15.

The issue had reached before the high court through a PIL after TOI highlighted the disappearance of children from Snehalaya and UTs apathy in tracing them.

Alleging irregularities and mismanagement in the affairs of UT-run shelter home, the PIL had also submitted that no responsibility had been fixed more than a year after the shocking exposures, giving rise to the apprehension of human trafficking.

‘Law inadequate to deal with such cases’
Puja Changoiwala, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 27, 2012Prominent lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani feels that the law in its present form is not adequate to deal with cases of drink driving. He told HT on Monday: “There is a lacuna in the law. It is not adequate to deal with cases of drink-driving. When the Indian Penal Code was drafted in
the ’60s, people never imagined the monster cars we have today and the fatalities that could be resultant due to their misuse. There is a genuine need for amendments.”
Besides, Jethmalani said, in cases like that of Charu Khandal, where a person has been reduced to a vegetable due to sheer irresponsibility on the part of the offender, punishment for the accused should be increased.
“Because of rampant cases of drink-driving, there is a need to treat the cases categorically. If the offender, under the influence of alcohol, causes extremely grievous injuries like that to Charu, the offence should be made non-bailable. If not, then the sections pressed on the offender in this case are appropriately applicable,” said Jethmalani. The police said the medical reports of the accused, Manoj Netrapal Gautam, confirmed he was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Senior inspector Dilip Rupawate said: “We have booked Gautam under Indian Penal Code Sections 279 for rash and negligent driving, 337 for causing hurt, 338 for causing grievous hurt by act endangering life and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act for driving under the influence of alcohol. Gautam was released on a surety of Rs 10,000 because these offences are bailable.”

HC grants bail to Sasikala’s relative Divakaran in abduction case
Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 21:07 IST
Place: Chennai | Agency: PTI
Madras High court on Monday granted bail to V Divakaran, a relative of Sasikala Natarajan, estranged aide of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in an abduction and criminal intimidation case.
Granting the conditional bail, Justice MM Sundresh said custodial interrogation of Divakaran, who had already been in jail for 48 days, had been completed. Besides, co-accused in the case had been released either on bail or anticipatory bail.
The Judge directed Divakaran to record his presence daily before the investigating officer for four weeks.
According to Thiruthuraipoondi police, Divakaran and his men abducted one Saravanan and obtained Rs one lakh from him under coercion on September 9, 2011.Saravanan, however, lodged the ocmplaint only on February 8, 2012.
Divakaran denied the allegations and said the case had been foisted on him with ulterior motives.

Sacked teacher says harassed, NID gets HC notice
Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Mar 27 2012, 04:08 hrs
The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued a notice to the director of Ahmedabad-based National Institute for Design (NID) on a petition moved by a former female associate professor who was recently sacked by the institute.
The petitioner, Deepa Chalke, has demanded that she be reinstated while alleging she was sacked due to a complaint of sexual harassment she had lodged against some employees of NID’s Gandhinagar campus.
According to advocate Rajesh Mankad, who represents Chalke, she was appointed as associate professor in the Apparel Design section of NID at its Gandhinagar campus in August last year for two years. She was also allotted an official quarter. Chalke is a divorcee and has a son.
“However, the campus warden first gave her some additional facilities without being asked. When she objected to such favours, he misbehaved with her. Later, the watchman of the quarters also started working against her and made an allegation of theft against her son,” says Mankad.
According to Mankad, when Chalke complained about this to the NID authorities, they did not take any action. She later lodged a complaint with the police following which the watchman was arrested.
Chalke was sacked from NID in February this year for alleged insubordination.
Mankad said NID authorities had conducted an inquiry on her complaint. “However, the report of the inquiry was not given to her. It was provided to her only after filing of an RTI application. The report concluded that the warden had apologised after her complaint and so no action was required to be taken against him,” he added.
Mankad said they have challenged Chalke’s termination from the NID and demanded action against the authorities concerned for not taking action against the warden.
“The court has issued notice to the NID director and other respondents and kept the next hearing on April 12. The court has also ordered not to force Chalke out of her official quarter till then,” Mankad said.

HC refers “Dhangars” plea to National Commission for Scheduled
PTI | 11:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Castes Allahabad, March 26 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has asked the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to look into the grievances of members of “Dhangar” caste who have moved the court with the complaint that Uttar Pradesh government has been refusing to issue caste certificates to them. The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhusan and Justice Sunita Agrawal on March 14, 2012, while disposing of a petition filed by “All India Dhangar Samaj Mahasangh”, an organization of people belonging to the caste. In the petition it had been alleged the state government had in its records misspelt “Dhangar” (in Hindi), which was included in the Constitutional list of Scheduled Castes in 1950 through a Presidential Order and it has thereafter been refusing to grant caste certificates to members of the community insisting that they did not belong to the caste. Referring the matter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the court said “the above issue is a serious issue affecting the rights of the members the Scheduled Caste and there is no sufficient material on record to give any authoritative pronouncement by this court”. “Ends of justice be served in referring the matter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to consider the issues……and determine the controversy looking into the relevant material including the material which were available at the time of the issuance of the 1950 order”, the court said, adding “the National Commission may also send a copy of its report to the state government as well as the Union of India for taking consequential actions”. Disposing of the petition, the court directed the Commission “to look into the matter and submit a report before this court after hearing all affected parties within a period of six months”.

HC asks govt to ensure presence of specialist doctors in
PTI | 08:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Melghat Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Saying that medical treatment is a fundamental right, Bombay High Court today came down heavily on Maharashtra government for failing to provide specialists such as pediatricians and gynaecologists in the tribal areas of Melghat where malnutrition is a major problem. “It is evident that there is denial of medical treatment in those areas. It is a matter of fundamental rights of citizen. The situation must receive attention from the state government and action must be taken on a war-footing,” the division bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said. The court was hearing a petition filed by Purnima Upadhyay, seeking proper implementation of central as well as state government’s schemes to reduce malnutrition. The petitioner today said there were no gynaecologists or pediatricians in Melghat, and pregnant women or malnourished children have to travel over 150 kilometres to get treatment. The bench directed the state government to ensure that specialised doctors required to treat pregnant women and children are present in every hospital in the area. “The government shall also make all necessary arrangements for disbursement of treatment charges under available schemes. The government shall also inform the plan of action to address the issue,” the court said, directing the government to file an affidavit by April 26. As per the government figures in August 2010, there were 14,500 malnourished children in the tribal areas of Melghat. The number came down to 11,196 in four months. Between April to December 2011, there have been 215 malnutrition deaths, compared to the previous year’s 410. PTI SP KRK

HC asks Vodafone to deposit additional Rs 5 cr in tax case
PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed telecom major Vodafone India to deposit with it an additional amount of Rs five crore before March 31, in connection with an over Rs 77-crore tax demand, while the Income Tax department decides on the company’s rectification application. The division bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing the petition filed by Vodafone, challenging the March 21 notice by the Income Tax, demanding over Rs 77 crore in unpaid taxes. Vodafone, which on Saturday deposited Rs 10 crore, will have to deposit another Rs five crore. If the additional amount is deposited, then no coercive steps will be taken by the income tax department. The court also directed the assessing officer of IT to hear and decide within 12 weeks the application filed by Vodafone, seeking rectification of the tax amount demanded. The IT department alleges that Vodafone defaulted on a tax payment of Rs 60 crore and interest of Rs 17 crore. The authorities held discounts offered by the company to distributors and roaming charges levied on customers as taxable. The company, however, is disputing the levy, claiming that it amounts to “double taxation”. The IT had also asked for immediate payment of Rs 77 crore within 15 days, so Vodafone moved the High Court. The company recently won a landmark legal battle in the Supreme Court on its challenge to IT’s demand of capital gains tax following its purchase of Hutchison Essar’s stake in India.

HC rejects application of IFFCO CMD, asks him to surrender
PTI | 11:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Allahabad, Mar 26 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has dismissed an application filed by Chairman and Managing Director of fertiliser major IFFCO who has challenged the criminal proceedings initiated against him by a lower court. The order was passed on March 13 by Justice Naheed Ara Moonis on the application of Uday Shankar Awasthi, CMD of IFFCO. Awasthi had sought quashing of criminal proceedings initiated against him by an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Allahabad upon the complaint of one Sudha Kant Pandey. Pandey, owner of a construction firm, had alleged that a work order awarded to him by IFFCO was terminated “fraudulently” without him being given any prior notice. Payment for the work, which was completed by then was withheld and goods and equipment worth Rs 35 lakh which belonged to him, and were kept inside the premises of the fertiliser major’s unit at Phulpur on the outskirts of the city, were “grabbed”, Pandey alleged in his complaint. Holding that the ACJM had “committed no error” in taking cognisance of the complaint and issuing a summoning order, the court directed the IFFCO CMD to “surrender and apply for bail within a period of thirty days”. “The magistrate concerned shall fix a date about two weeks thereafter for their appearance and in the meantime release the applicant on bail on such terms and conditions as the court concerned considers fit and proper till the date fixed for the disposal of the regular bail,” the court said.

HC slashes ban on Malad pharmacy
Published: Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The Bombay high court on Monday cut short to four months a ban slapped on a pharmacy at Malad by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for selling medicines without a prescription.
The medical store was the first to receive a harsh punishment of a life ban for the offence of selling over-the-counter drugs.
While reducing the penalty, the division bench of justices PB Majmudar RD Dhanuka issued a “last warning” and directed Mahadev Gavale, the owner of Shree Samarth Medical and General Stores, to keep his shop shut for four months. It, however, granted him two weeks to dispose of stocked goods.
According to Gavale’s plea on September 28, 2011, a drug inspector visited the pharmacy and found several discrepancies in the dealings there. A show-cause notice was then slapped on him on October 21. In his reply to the notice, Gavale argued that he had not committed any fault and that he was not liable to face any action under law.
The assistant commissioner of zone VII, though, issued an order imposing a life ban on the store. Gavale challenged it before the appellate authority, which turned down his plea. He then moved the HC.

Transit camp in TB hospital irks HC
Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.17AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation how it allowed a transit camp under the slum rehabilitation scheme to be built on the campus of the TB Hospital at Sewri.

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by Kshay Va HIV Rugna Punarvasan Santha opposing the BMC’s renewal of leave and licence agreement with the developer for six years. According to the sanstha’s petition, the hospital land-popularly called Bahadurjee Blocks-was donated by Parsi donors exclusively for use of tuberculosis patients. On April 29, 1988, the HC had restrained the BMC from giving B Block for any purpose other than TB patients and taken an undertaking from the BMC that no part of it would be used for any commercial purpose.

However, in 2007, the BMC allowed the place to be used as temporary transit camp by developers. Permission was granted by then municipal commissioner on May 5, 2008, for construction on 2,530 square metres on certain terms and conditions . In July 2008, a twoyear agreement of leave and licence was executed between the BMC and the developers . In May 2010, the agreement expired. On March 15, 2010, the BMC renewed it for another six years. The sanstha opposed the renewal and in December 2011 applied for grant of the open plot for 10 years for treatment and welfare of TB and HIV patients.

Advocate Sangaraj Rupwate said patients from all over the country come to the hospital. “Because of the camp, there is difficulty in smooth running of the hospital and the health of patients is also likely to be affected . Even when Tata Memorial Hospital wanted to extend its services, it was refused,” said Rupwate. The petition states that the TMC was refused on the basis of the donors’ will and the high court’s orders.

Advocate Chirag Balsara, appearing for the developer, denied that the hospital was affected, saying the plot is a vacant area. But the judges were clearly perturbed. “How can you allow a transit camp within the hospital premises? Tomorrow will you allow it in the high court also?” asked Justice Majmudar. The matter was adjourned after the BMC advocate sought time to file a reply.

Bangalore clashes: HC raps police, media–HC-raps-police–media/928723/
Johnson T A : Bangalore, Tue Mar 27 2012, 03:47 hrs
The media and the police in the state came under severe criticism from Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Monday during the hearing of a series of PILs filed by advocates in connection with the clashes in Bangalore on March 2 between the media, police and lawyers.
He indicated that the police was showing reluctance in identifying its officials responsible for the violence.
Justice Sen said a CBI inquiry would have to be ordered if the police cannot set its house in order.
“There is a reluctance on the part of the police in identifying the guilty offenders. This is an interference in the functioning of the judicial system. I don’t want the functioning of my courts affected again,’’ Justice Sen said with reference to an 18-day strike by lawyers demanding action against the police and the media.
“We don’t want to step into the anarchy that took place that day. We want the truth to emerge as to who was responsible and action must be taken,’’ he said.
On the role of the media, he said there are theories that the police and media were hand-in-glove. “What right does the media have to contrived reporting. Prima facie it seems they wanted things to happen in a certain way and reported it that way,’’ Justice Sen said.

Reply to SevenHills proposal: HC to BMC
Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.28AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the BMC why it was delaying its decision on whether to accept SevenHills Healthcare Private Limited’s (SHHPL) proposal to construct a separate 300-bed hospital for poor patients.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and Ramesh Dhanuka were hearing a petition by SHHPL challenging notices by BMC to vacate nearly seven acres of land allotted by it to run the superspecialty hospital in a public-private partnership. BMC wants 20% of the hospitalto run like a municipal hospital.

SHHPL’s counsel Venkatesh Dhond said even after the HC’s earlier admonishment, BMC has issued a fresh “150-page ” NOC. “It is for transfer of mortgage but no one will give funds on this basis,” said Dhond. He also informed the high court that despite offering to construct a separate hospital, free of charge, BMC has not responded. “If they do not accept the proposal, let them say so” . BMC advocate Komal Punjabi said what Seven Hills is offering is “very less” .

Dhond said, “Don’t ask me to pay for expensive consumables. They have an officer on special duty who instigates patients.” He also alleged that the BMC is “selecting patients” with health complications to send them to the hospital. The judges questioned why the BMC was not responding to the proposal. “You may or may not agree with their proposal. Why don’t you say it?” asked Justice Majmudar. The judges have directed the BMC to reply by April 2.

HC seeks action plan to clear Musi encroachments
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: The High Court on Monday directed the principal secretary, municipal administration and urban development, to submit an action plan for protecting Musi river from land-grabbers and dismantling the illegal structures from the river bed within four weeks.
A division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar gave this direction on a petition filed by Hameed Pasha, a resident of the city, against the authorities’ failure to protect the river.
The revenue divisional officer, in an affidavit, admitted that about 57,000 square yards of the government land was encroached by several individuals across the river bed and encroachments in over 28,000 square yards were cleared.
Besides, about 68,000 square yards of patta land was also encroached across the river bed.
There were several encroachments with long-standing permanent structures and those will be evicted after a due process.
Amberpet, Asif Nagar, Bahadurpura, Charminar, Golkonda, Himayatnagar, Nampally and Saidabad are among the areas under encroachment, he said.
Government’s special counsel N Sridhar Reddy said some encroachers and obtained stay orders and steps were being taken to file vacation petitions.
After perusing the affidavit, the chief justice pointed out that it was not an action report but a status report, and directed the principal secretary concerned to file an action plan.
He cautioned that the authorities had already paid Rs 10,000 costs for delay in filing the action plan and, if they failed this time, the costs would go into lakhs of rupees.
The case was posted to June 4.

HC seeks additional information from Shankar Rao
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Taking up P Shankar Rao’s public interest litigation alleging a red sanders scam involving chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, among others, a High Court bench asked the former minister how he had stumbled upon the ‘scam’.
Shankar Rao’s counsel replied that the ‘facts’ of the scam were supplied to his client orally by people during the then minister’s tours in Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool and Nellore districts.
The bench, comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice P V Sanjay Kumar, then asked to see these oral representations submitted to court in the form of an additional affidavit.
The next hearing was then posted to April 16.
Shankar Rao’s case is that precious red sanders was sold away by the government at throwaway prices.
He said he had received representations from people in Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool and Nellore about a “red sanders scam” involving the loot of hundreds of crores of public money after Kiran Kumar Reddy became chief minister in Nov.
He alleged that the chief minister and forest minister S Vijayarama Raju disposed of about 2022 metric tonnes of the contrband wood worth about `500 crore without calling for global tenders.
He wants the High Court to order a CBI probe into the ‘scam’ and registration of a criminal case against the culprits.
Shankar Rao’s targets in the petition are the chief minister, the forest minister, special chief secretary (environment and forests) Janaki R Kondepi, the principal chief conservator of forests, Hyderabad -based company Zitan Trading Corporation, Andhra Fogaku Pvt Ltd and the Power Grip Resources Pvt Ltd of Singapore and others.

Cops on toes after HC warns of action against DGP
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.44AM IST
VARANASI: A contempt notice by the Allahabad High Court and order to the director general of police to personally appear before the court has brought the police officials on their toes as apart from range police, the special task force (STF) has also been engaged to arrest the absconding accused police personnel in the killing of two innocent persons in a fake encounter in 1996.
According to reports, two persons were killed in a police encounter in Alinagar police station area in Chandauli district in September 1996. But during the CB-CID investigation, the encounter was found to be fake and a chargesheet was submitted before the chief judicial magistrate court of Chandauli district in December 2007 against eight accused police personnel.
After this development, two accused constables – Sati Ram Chaurasia and Ram Sakal Yadav surrendered before the court while two others – Swami Nath and Shiv Mohan died in the course of time. Other accused cops – Ram Sakal Yadav, Harinath Pandey, Ram Pratap Singh, Virendra Nath Tiwari and Ravindra Nath Tiwari – neither surrendered nor were they arrested. Chandauli CJM not only issued warrants (bailable and non-bailable) for enforcing their appearance before him but also issued proceedings under sections 82 and 83 of CrPC.
However, those orders of the magistrate directing arrest or attachment of the properties of the accused police personnel fell on deaf ears. For the release of his father Sati Ram Chaurasia on bail, his son Pradeep Chaurasia took the shelter of Allahabad High Court. His petitioner counsel Farida Jamal informed TOI over phone, “After the initial bail plea was rejected and other applications for the bail of two constables, who are in jail since 2007, remained pending, I decided to file a writ petition to take advantage of the provisions prescribed in the constitution.”
The last hearing on this petition took place on March 14 this year in which the secretary (home) of state government, Leena Jauhari, appeared before the court while director general of police did not appear. Taking serious note of the non-compliance of orders of Chandauli CJM as well as high court, the HC served a notice to the DGP asking why a contempt action be not initiated against him and also against other police officials.
The court also asked why the DGP, who was posted in May 2011, be not prosecuted by Chandauli CJM for disobeying the court orders which were conveyed to him and other police officials in the form of warrant of arrest and property attachments. The HC ordered the DGP to personally appear before the court and file all information and show reasons through an appropriate affidavit on April 12. Following this order, the cops swung into action and apart from range police, the STF has also been engaged to arrest all the accused police personnel in this case before the next date of hearing. IG (range) R P Singh held a meeting with a deputy SP STF in this connection at his office on Monday. He said that efforts have been intensified to ensure early arrest of all the accused persons.

HC gives Tata project conditional go ahead
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.47AM IST
CHANDIGARH: Giving the Tata Group a conditional go ahead, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday asked it to get necessary clearances under relevant statute for the construction of its much-touted Tata Camelot Housing Project.

Under the project, Tata has planned to construct lavish multi-strorey housing apartments adjoining the Capitol Complex.

The directions were passed by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover while disposing off a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

The PIL had prayed for quashing of the project sanction, given allegedly in violation of the Punjab New Capital (periphery) Control Act, 1952, edict of the city of Chandigarh as conceptualized by Le Corbusier, and Sukhna choe of which the concerned area is a reservoir/catchments area.

In its 55-page judgment, the bench held that provisions of the Periphery Control Act and the 1995 Act are complementary to each other and provisions of the two statutes would apply to the housing project in question.

The company, therefore, will have to comply with all the requirements spelt out by both the statutes.

Born in US, grew up here: HC to decide on Pune girl taking CET
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.35AM IST
MUMBAI: “What is so special about America?”asked the Bombay high court on Monday while observing that now Americans are coming to India for various reasons.

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by Pune residents Milind and Sujata Tendulkar after their daughter Pooja was disqualified to appear for MHT-CET exams because she is a US citizen by birth. The Tendulkars were for a brief period in the US when Pooja born in 1994. Thereafter they returned to India. Pooja is currently in Mumbai preparing for the exams which will be held in May. The

Tendulkars’ petition states that from age of six , Pooja has been in India and studied under the Maharashtra State Board.

The Tendulkars’ advocate Asim Sarode argued that “it is not Pooja’s fault that she was born in the US.”

To this Justice Majmudar asked what is special about the US. “They are coming here for various reasons,” he said.

To the judges’ query as to why Pooja is not adopting Indian citizenship. Sarode replied as she is a minor a decision cannot be taken by her. “When she attains the age of majority she can decide. The issue is not about citizenship but permitting a PIO to appear for the CET exams,” said Sarode. The Tendulkars’ petition also said they have been trying in vain to communicate with the Directorate of Medical Education and Research which is overseeing the MHT-CET in Maharashtra. Their petition said the Medical Council of India has amended rules of the All-India pre-medical test to enable OCIs to appear. The judges have directed them to also add Pooja as a petitioner and posted the hearing after two weeks.

No dropping case against ‘godman’: HC–godman—HC/928838/
Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Mar 27 2012, 02:09 hrs
The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to drop charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) invoked against self-styled godman Shiv Murat Dwivedi, who is in custody for allegedly running a multi-crore prostitution racket in the Capital.
Maintaining the trial court’s decision to make Dwivedi stand trial under the stringent provisions of the MCOCA, Justice Suresh Kait said there was prima facie evidence against the accused on record.
The court observed that there were five criminal cases registered against 41-year-old Dwivedi in various police stations of Delhi and further that there appeared to be no clear source of income for the huge wealth he had accumulated.
Dwivedi alias Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale, who had set up a temple in South Delhi’s Khanpur, was arrested along with another man and six women, including two air hostesses, on charges of running a prostitution racket.

Ostracised by their village, eight families move HC
Express news service : Tue Mar 27 2012, 05:12 hrs
Eight families claiming to be ostracised by their village have moved the Bombay High Court seeking action against Sarpanch of the village who allegedly ordered a boycott of two families after their members decided to contest a Panchayat Samiti election.
The cause for concern, however, is the contention made in the petition that the practice of ostracising villagers — Walit, as they call it — is common in the villages of Murud-Janjira in Raigad. The Murud village is a popular tourist destination mainly because of the massive Janjira Fort, situated in the Arabian Sea.
Jagannath Waghmare and seven others from Ekdhara village, that has 4,000 residents, have contended that they have been socially and economically disconnected by the villagers at the instance of the village Sarpanch Motiram Patil.
In 2007, Rashmikant Patil, a resident of Ekdhara decided to contest the Panchayat Samiti election and Waghmare, in his support, filed the nomination. Their lawyer Gayatri Singh told the court that the petitioners belonged to the Koli community and both their families were boycotted by the villagers after the Sarpanch along with villagers Ramdas Nishandar, Maya Waghre and Ramkrishna Agarkar, held a meeting on March 2, 2007 at the village temple and declared the families ostracised.
This meant that everyone else in the village was forbidden from speaking, interacting or making business transactions with the families. Six other families who continued to maintain relations with the ‘ostracised’ families, were also declared Walit subsequently.
Helpers in the fishing village were asked not to work on the boats of the ostracised families, and they were also denied subsidised diesel to run their boats, they claimed. The court was also told that they were barred from attending marriages, funerals or festivals celebrated in the village.
Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R D Dhanuka inquired if there was a case of a marriage outside the community in the village. Singh, however, told the court that the families were bearing the brunt of filing a nomination for Panchayat Samiti elections.
The petitioners stated that the government authorities have shown “apathy and callousness” in dealing with their case and urged the court to order action against the Sarpanch and villagers in his support.
The lawyer for the Sarpanch and villagers in his support, however, said there was no such social ostracisation of the families.
“Are they invited to marriages?” Justice Majmudar asked. The court asked the Sarpanch and the other villagers to state on affidavit whether or not the aggrieved families were treated at par with other villagers, and issued notice to government officers, including the Collector of Raigad and made them respondents in the case.

Koodankulam: HC not to lift prohibitory orders
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court dismissed a petition against the prohibitory orders under Section 144, in place in the Radhapuram Taluk of Koodankulam. The prohibitory orders had been put in place in the wake of protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).
The High Court bench ruled that the court cannot interfere in a cabinet approved government decision aimed at sustaining law and order in the state. Following this, the government has given the green light for further security measures in the Koodankulam area.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a woman, who is one among 15 who have been on an indefinite fast against the KKNPP, has taken a turn for the worse. She has been moved to a nearby hospital.

Dead man’s kin get Rs 25L
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 04.34AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has awarded a compensation of over Rs 25 lakh to the family of a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) employee, who died after being hit by a car in 2010.

Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) directed National Insurance Company Ltd, with which the Maruti car was insured, to pay Rs 25,20,914 to the wife and five children of Ram Kishan Sharma, who was working as an assistant pump driver with Delhi Jal Board. “I, accordingly, grant a compensation to the tune of Rs 25,20,914 to all the petitioners (family members of Sharma) with interest,” MACT presiding officer B S Chumbak said. tnn

LEGAL NEWS 26.03.2012

Planning Commission to set up expert group on poverty in April

PTI Mar 25, 2012, 02.43PM IST

NEW DELHI: Under pressure to review its controversial poverty line of Rs 28.65 daily consumption, the Planning Commission is likely to complete by next month the formation of a technical group to revisit the methodology used to arrive at the figure.

“We have initiated the process of constituting a technical group to revisit the poverty estimates based on Tendulkar formula, which would be completed in a month, ” Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar told reporters.

Last week, Kumar had said that the government has taken the decision to form an expert group to revisit the methodology for estimating poverty in a manner that is consistent with current reality.

He had added that the government had taken this decision in December last year.

According to the methodology recommended by the Tendulkar Committee for estimation of poverty, besides calorie intake, the spend on health and education is also factored in.

As per the Commission’s estimates, the poverty ratio has been pegged at 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05. These are based on the daily per-capita consumption of Rs 28.65 in cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.

According to the Commission’s latest finding, the total number of poor in the country has been estimated at 34.47 crore in 2009-10, as against 40.72 crore in 2004-05.

Last week, the Commission’s Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the target of attack, inside and outside Parliament, after the panel put out the poverty numbers. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav even asked for his removal.






Lawyers can now appear before varsity and college tribunals


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 26, 2012Lawyers can now appear before university and college tribunals, which decide service matters of college teachers. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court last week struck down a proviso in the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994 that prohibited legal practitioners from appearing before college and university tribunals.

Acting on two petitions, the division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice PB Varale held the right of an advocate to appear before any court, other than high courts and the Supreme Court flows from section 30 of the Advocates Act The bench held section 64 of the [Maharashtra Universities] Act, which prohibited legal practitioners from appearing before the tribunals, was repugnant to section 30 of the Advocates Act and consequently declared it void.

The petitions were filed by practicing advocate Mohan Sudame and Sanjivan Shikshan Sanstha from Bhandara district. They had approached the high court after the University and College Tribunal of Nagpur University refused permission to an advocate, representing the educational institute, to appear before it in view of section 64 of the Universities Act.

Sudame contended the provision in the Maharashtra Universities Act was contrary to section 30 of the Advocates Act, since the latter, enacted by Parliament, empowered and conferred the right on advocates to practice before any tribunal or person legally authorised to record evidence.

The court accepted his contentions and declared the proviso in Maharashtra Universities Act as invalid. The court also struck down the order refusing permission to the Nagpur University’s lawyer to appear before it.







Nod must to challenge Armed forces tribunal: SC

Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Affecting a large number of armed forces personnel who are left with the only option to seek resolution of their grievance concerning service matters and other contentious issues from the armed forces tribunal, the Supreme Court has ruled that the decision of the newly created forum cannot be challenged before the top court without prior sanction by the tribunal.

Explaining the purport of Section 31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act that allows appeal against the tribunal’s order, the top court has said an appeal to this court (apex) can be filed either with the leave of the tribunal or with the leave of this court.

“No absolute right of appeal against even a final order or decision is available to the aggrieved party, except in cases where the order passed by the tribunal is in exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for contempt, the court held on Friday.

The judgment was a response to an appeal filed by the Union of India which had filed a lawsuit challenging the tribunal’s order that had gone in favour of one Brig PPS Gill. The government neither sought the tribunal’s sanction to appeal, nor did it seek the top court’s nod for moving it.

Dismissing the Union government’s appeal as not maintainable, the court said to take recourse to Section 31 of the Act, it had to seek prior permission of the tribunal or the SC.

To effectuate the remedy, the court directed, the period of limitation for making an application for leave to appeal to this court by certificate shall start from the date of this order.

This judgment assumes significance in view of the common perception among the litigants that they enjoy the natural right to file an appeal before the SC and they don’t have to seek the prior permission of the Tribunal or the apex court.








Maha Govt officers’ body has ex-employee as top functionary

PTI | 12:03 PM,Mar 25,2012

Mumbai, Mar 25 (PTI) Election of a retired Government employee as General Secretary of Maharashtra State Gazetted Officers’ Federation (MSGOF), which has 1.30 lakh members, is being opposed by an association. Mahesh Chandurkar, President of Sales Tax Officers Association, has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, objecting to election of G D Kulthe as General Secretary of the Federation. Chandurkar has said Kulthe’s appointment was in violation of provisions of the Maharashtra Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1979 which state that only a serving employee can be a member of such an association. Kulthe retired in 1997 as Sales Tax Officer. In 2010, he was elected General Secretary of the Federation, defeating Chandurkar. In his letter to Chavan, Chandurkar, citing service rules, has said Kulthe cannot be associated with the Federation. The rules say a person, who is not a Government employee, cannot be member of any Government staff body. Of the 73 associations of officers from various departments which are affiliated to the Federation, only 49 are recognised by the Government, Chandurkar said. The Subordinate Engineers Association and Gazetted Engineers Association had also opposed Kulthe’s election, he said. Following complaint against him, Kulthe was served show-cause notice in 2011 by then Principal Secretary (General Administration Department) P S Meena. Chandurkar said he plans to file a writ petition if his plea goes unheard. PTI VT






A farce plays out at AMU: Third vice-chancellor in a week

Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Within a span of less than 10 days, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has third vice-chancellor, after a retired 1977 batch IAS officer Noor Mohammad was shown door by the Allahabad High Court. Earlier Sibgatullah Farooqui was removed to pave way for the retired bureaucrat.

The court has now ordered appointment of senior most dean, Qazi Afzaal Hussain as the new acting vice-chancellor.

The farce of having a string of V-Cs started after PK Abdul Aziz abdicated his office following completion of his six- year-term on January 17, 2012. Since appointment of V-C at this world famous institution is an elaborate affair, senior most dean Farooqui was handed over the charge.

During Uttar Pradesh polls, he, however, rubbed the Congress wrong way, which was all out to entice Muslims to vote for the party. He accused the Human Resources Development minister Kapil Sibal of choking funds. “I cannot put blame on other parties.

But Congress has definitely given a deep shock to Muslim community. It has thrown university in financial crises,” he had said. Soon after the completion of poll process, Farooqui was removed from the post and the charge was handed over to a retired IAS officer instead the next senior most dean.

Allahabad High Court, however, stayed his appointment on a writ petition by Husain. The court on last Thursday ordered interim arrangement of Husain, being the senior most dean among members of the executive council, to discharge the V0C duties. Noor Mohammad, a former deputy election commissioner, was thrust on the university reportedly by HRD minister Kapil Sibal for setting the administration in order.

Immediately after taking over on Friday, Husain announced that the process for selection of a permanent Vice-Chancellor will start soon. He is dean of the Art Faculty. He said his top priority is to meet the deadline of April 10 to submit the AMU’s XII Plan proposals to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and give special attention to the annual examinations as also various admission tests for the next session.

Outgoing V-C Farooqui says the UGC under the ministry of the HRD has stagnated the non-salary funds for the university to the extent that since last May faculty members have been barred to attend national seminars due to financial crunch. “We had recommended an estimated budget of Rs52.18 crore but the UGC has sanction us only Rs21.63 crore. Similarly, in 2010-2011 budget we had asked for Rs44.80 crore, but were given the same amount of Rs 21.63 crore,” he says.

Total budget of the university stands at Rs535 crore. Out of which a major chunk 95 % goes to salaries and non-plan activities. University officials complain that that government was forcing them to reduce expenditures and raise own resources.







High Court orders notice to former SEC, two officials

The Madras High Court has ordered notice to the then State Election Commissioner and two other officials on a contempt petition against them for violating a court order of October last year relating to the local body elections of 2011.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices D. Murugesan and P.P.S. Janarthana Raja, said the notices to the then State Election Commissioner and Secretary of the Commission and Commissioner, Chennai Corporation, would be returnable by April 4.

In the petition, G. Poonkundran of Tiruvanmiyur said that by an order of October 14 while disposing of a batch of nearly 170 writ petitions, the court passed various directions.

In gross violation of the directions, the authorities had “deliberately and wantonly” failed to draw up any plan of action. They neglected to implement the court order in letter and spirit in the local body elections on October 17 last year for both the mayoral and councillor posts in Chennai. The authorities purposely avoided installing video cameras and did not explore the possibility of having web camera in all the polling booths in the city. On October 17, out of 4,876 booths for elections to 200 wards, cameras were not installed in 90 per cent of the booths. In none of the booths, police from other States were posted as per the court directions. Even the CRPF was not requisitioned.




Registering FIRs still a tough task

S Ahmed Ali, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 06.34AM IST

Online registration of a First Information Report (FIR) may be a distant dream in an age when citizens still have to turn to the courts to get their cognizable complaints registered by the police.

Despite repeated reminders by the Director General of Police and censure from the courts, several police stations still refuse to entertain cognizable complaints. The victims are forced to file private complaints in court under section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, to get police to register an FIR. “It is unfortunate that in this country a common man has to pay a bribe to get a theft complaint registered,” said activist Anand Yogacharya.

Yogacharya, who tried to file an FIR for a house-breaking case for five years, has now filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court against Mumbai police. Often, people who attempt to register cognizable offences are end up registering a non-cognizable offence instead. “Despite the session court’s directives to register a prosecution case against police officers and private persons who framed me in a drug case, I had to file a private complaint to get police to register an FIR,” said Rajesh Solanki, who was framed by Dongri police.

However, a senior police official said, “Every complaint received at a police station is not necessarily a cognizable one. The officer often refuses to register it as it may be a civil dispute or could be an attempt to settle scores due to a previous enmity.”

The Bombay High Court, hearing a writ petition filed by one Iqbal Ram Khan, had observed : “It has come to our notice that in several cases though a cognizable offence is disclosed, such complaints are not registered, resulting in grave injustice being caused to the complainants. The DGP is therefore directed to inform all concerned police stations to strictly adhere to provisions of sections 154 Cr PC and ensure that complaints are registered promptly as soon as commission of a cognizable offence is disclosed. Strict action will be taken if directions are not followed.”

Moreover, the DGP in a recent circular said though the officer in-charge should make preliminary enquiries into a complaint, he should make an entry of the complaint and the enquiry must be completed in not more than two days.

A Long Haul

Dec 2009 |

An employee was arrested by police for cheating his former company of Rs 20 crore, after it filed a private complaint in court. Police initially refused to register an FIR

Dec 2011 |

Senior officials were arrested for stealing data from their previous employer after a magistrate directed police to register an FIR and probe the case







Every evening, Ponda cops defy Bombay High Court orders

Suraj P Kaisuvkar, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.39AM IST

PONDA: Despite a clear-cut verdict of the Bombay High Court regarding implementing restrictions on mining traffic in busy areas, the court order was found being violated along the Usgao-Dharbandora stretch.

In a writ petition, the court had directed the authorities that no mining traffic would be allowed on the road from 6pm to 8am the next morning and from 1pm to 2pm. However, mining trucks were still found recklessly plying on Usgao’s roads. Observers found many trucks overtaking, and their drivers cocked a snook at keeping a safe distance between two vehicles, as directed by the Court.

The authorities apparently have yet to learn from the March 5 tragedy which accounted for three lives including that of a 15-year old girl at Usgao, as blatant violations of the high court order continue unabated. When the media camped at Usgao (where the fateful accident took place on a road highly prone to accidents) to get first-hand information on the happenings in the mining corridor, the findings were shocking and perhaps it would take another major mishap for the authorities to wake up from their slumber and act against erring truckers.

Interestingly, the single police personnel deputed to keep a watch on possible movement of trucks, stops working after 6pm. However, the trucks were seen plying at breakneck speeds as there were no sufficient cops deployed to regulate the traffic.

About 2,000 trucks ply from various mines through the Usgao-Palwada road stretch every day. Following the March 5 accident, the authorities had assured the villagers that they’d erect speed breakers and permanent road dividers to streamline the traffic. However, nearly a month after the accident, authorities are yet to begin with the work. Instead, a few plastic cones had been put up at the site.

Ponda deputy collector Johnson Fernandes said the works of erecting the road dividers and other corrective measures will commence from April 2.







Can’t hang Rajoana, says Patiala jail supdt


Manpreet Randhawa Chandigarh, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, March 25, 2012The fact that he was arrested by the Chandigarh UT police looks set to delay the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death for his involvement in the August 31, 1995 assassination of then CM Beant Singh in the state capital. Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar, superintendent of the


Patiala Central Jail where Rajoana is lodged, has written to additional sessions judge, Chandigarh, that it would not be possible for him to execute the death warrant of Rajoana as “the state of Punjab has no territorial jurisdiction in the matter”.

On March 19, Jakhar had received a communiqué from the judge, Shalini Nagpal, that Rajoana be executed at 9am on March 31. In his 11-page communiqué back to the judge, Jakhar said, “There are legal infirmities in the procedure… the state of Punjab has no territorial jurisdiction in the matter. These aspects necessitate an in-depth examination by the court of ASJ.”

He said Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara were sentenced to death in the case. The death sentence of Hawara was commuted to life imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court; but Rajoana had refused to appeal against the death sentence. The appeal of another co-accused Lakjwinder Singh alias Lakha is still pending before the Supreme Court

It would be in accordance with law that execution of the sentence of death of Rajoana is deferred till the decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal filed by Lakha and Hawara, the letter said.

Jakhar also argued that warrants for execution of sentence of death were “erroneously issued” at the first instance to superintendent, Central Jail Patiala, “whereas in accordance with the rules and orders, the warrants should have been addressed to superintendent, Burail Jail [in Chandigarh UT], as the prisoner was originally committed to its custody on July 31, 2007”.

He mentioned that the custody of the prisoner was handed over to superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala, purely on an administrative arrangement.

Citing rules and orders of the high court, Jakhar said when a sentence of death was confirmed by HC, the session judge issued warrants for execution of death sentence to the superintendent of jail to which the prisoner was originally committed.

“If the prisoner had been transferred to another jail, the superintendent to whom the warrants were issued earlier would return the same… and revised warrants had to be issued to the superintendent of jail in which the prisoner is confined,” he said.

He went on to mention a Punjab government letter written on August 16, 1982, Jakhar said that as per administrative arrangements, condemned prisoners of the UT of Chandigarh could be sent to Central Jail, Patiala, and the expenditure for the maintenance and transportation was to be borne by the Chandigarh administration.

The letter referred only to the safe custody of the prisoners, and there was no mention whatsoever that the execution of the death sentence has to be carried out in Patiala, Jakhar wrote.

Besides, Punjab has no jurisdiction in law to execute the death sentence since the offence had taken place with in the jurisdiction of the UT. The trial was also conducted at Chandigarh and the conviction and sentence was also passed by ASJ at Chandigarh, said Jakhar in the communiqué.

He added that Rajoana’s decision to not file any appeal or mercy petition so far was of no consequence. Jakhar said the application by Rajoana seeking his execution could not be considered till the matter was finally decided by the Supreme Court, adding, “It will not be possible to bring him (Rajoana) back to life in case the apex court decides that the matter does not warrant death sentence and may commute to life imprisonment or it may even acquit the co-accused on the ground that the prosecution case […] was not established beyond reasonable doubt. It is also possible that Rajoana changes his mind and files appeal or mercy petition. It is, therefore, necessary that let the law complete its final course before executing the death sentence.”






Pending cases down to 31L in state, says high court chief justice

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 07.20AM IST

PUNE: As many as 23 lakh cases in 2010 and 26 lakh cases in 2011 have been disposed of by courts in the state, chief justice of the Bombay high court Mohit Shah said here on Sunday.
Addressing the annual general body meeting of the Maharashtra State Judges Association (MSJA), Shah another 5 lakh cases were disposed since the year began. The pendency of cases in the state has come down to around 31 lakh cases now, he said.

Shah said the disposal of cases pending for more than 5 to 10 years has been “encouraging” . He also lauded the Maha Lok Adalats for their help in reducing the pendency, saying they had disposed of as many as 7 lakh cases. Shah appealed to judges to strive to end pendency of cases that are 5 to 10 years old, saying cases involving undertrials should be taken up on priority. “The judiciary should continue with its impressive work. At the same time, it should be keep in mind that the quality of its functioning is not negotiable,” he said.

Shah said various proposals are in the pipeline for upgradation of judiciary quarters and for providing better infrastructure. He said the administration would look into the various issues and problems of the MSJA. One such requirement is an administrative office for the association.

Justice P B Majmudar, Justice R C Chavan, principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar and president of MSJA Surendra Tavade were present.





Briefly Nation: Shehla case: CBI recovers weapon used in murder

Press Trust of India : Mon Mar 26 2012, 00:15 hrs

Shehla case: CBI recovers weapon used in murder

NEW DELHI/BHOPAL: The CBI on Sunday said that the weapon used in the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood has been recovered at the instance of Saqib Ali, who is accused of hiring contract killers to murder her. A CBI spokesperson said the weapon, a country-made bullet, was recovered at the instance of Ali alias ‘danger’ and has been since sent for forensic examination.

4 held for alleged rape in Manipur

IMPHAL: Four persons, including two personnel of India Reserve Battalion (IRB), have been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Manipur, the police said on Sunday. Bishenpur SP Radheshyam Singh said that the four persons had abducted the woman, who was coming to Imphal from Tamenglong district on March 21, took her to an isolated place and allegedly raped her. The two IRB personnel were identified as Havildar Chungkham Ibomcha and rifleman Khetrimayum Kenedy and their friends — Salam Bijen and Laikhuram Rojit — the police official said.

Kandhamal: 156 persons acquitted

PHULBANI (ORISSA): A total of 156 persons were acquitted by two fast track courts here in three separate verdicts in connection with the Kandhamal riots of 2007 and 2008 in Orissa. Additonal Sessions Judge S K Das of Fast Track Court-I acquitted 14 accused persons in a house burning incident at village Dakedi in September 2008 due to lack of proper evidence. B N Mishra Additonal Sessions Judge of Fast Court-II acquitted all the 142 persons arrested in two cases of torching houses in 2007.






Man jailed for slapping false case

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 05.12AM IST

NEW DELHI: A man has been sentenced to one month jail term by a trail court for falsely implicating his daughter’s lover in an abduction case as he did not approve of their inter-caste union and forcibly got his daughter married for a second time.

The case pertains to a recent incident of a runaway girl who went missing from a remand home and it was later discovered that she was remarried at the behest of her father, Kaushal. Kaushal had deposed before the court that his daughter was a minor and had been kidnapped by her lover, Prem Raj. However, the girl surfaced along with her lover and told the court that she was 20-years-old.

Holding Kaushal guilty of filing a false case, additional sessions judge Kamini Lau said, “This is a classic case exhibiting the manner in which the existing law and rules of procedure have been abused, misused and twisted by Kaushal (complainant/ father of the girl) only to frustrate her marriage with Prem Raj for the sole reason that he belonged to a low caste while she belonged to a high caste.”

“…The entire system was used and abused by Kaushal to achieve his object of frustrating the marriage of his daughter with the accused… where on the one hand she continues to be the legally wedded wife of Prem Raj and on the other hand now resides with Son Pal Singh (the person with whom Kaushal had married her) as his wife,” the court stated.







Should stop media photos of evidence, says court–says-court/928356/

Express news service : New Delhi, Mon Mar 26 2012, 01:44 hrs


Photographs of material evidence published in the media can lead to benefit of the doubt in favour of an accused as questions can be raised regarding tampering of evidence. Such photography by the media, therefore, should not be allowed, a city Sessions court has said.

The court observation came as it sentenced Surender Gaja to 10 years in prison, along with levying a fine of Rs 1 lakh, for selling heroine in Delhi.

As per the prosecution, Gaja and his family members used to sell heroin in city, after procuring it from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Gaja was arrested in 2005 and four parcels of heroin were recovered from him. These were then sent to the police maalkhana as case evidence.

During the arguments in the case, the defense counsel said police had later taken the parcels out of the maalkhana and shown them to the media without making a corresponding entry in the records. The defense argued that tampering with the case property could not be ruled out.

Police, on its part, said the case property was shown to the media within the maalkhana, and was never taken out.

Though the court upheld police version of events, Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar said police should avoid photography or videography of the case property by the media, even within the police station or maalkhana, to avoid the element of doubt that might favour the accused.

“Publication of such news may be in the interest of public, but publication of photographs of the case property is not required to give strength to the news items. A news item in the media, even without photograph, would suffice to bring the matter to the notice of general public,” the judge said.






SC to frame guidelines for reporting sub-judice matters; we need many more guidelines

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.56AM IST

In a constitutional democracy based on rule of law, citizens operate under a golden rule: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins”. This articulation by American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes has conveyed to every one, including newspaper reporters, that their right to freedom of expression is not higher than the fundamental rights of others.

If a baseless swing of a reporter’s pen scratches another’s nose, then he faces law like ordinary citizens. But, some grave and incessant misreporting in media in the last few months has forced the Supreme Court to constitute a five-Judge constitution bench to deliberate on framing reporting guidelines on sub-judice matters.

The exercise is welcome. The guidelines will, probably, contain the golden principles telling reporters what to report and what not to, and importantly, how to write a news report. In the Indian Express judgement [1985 (1) SCC 641], the apex court had said the right to freedom of expression enjoyed by reporters could not be subjected to additional restriction other than those provided under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

The SC had also said: “Freedom of press is the heart of social and political intercourse…. Newspapers being purveyors of news and views having a bearing on public administration very often carry material which could not be palatable to the government and other authorities. With a view to checking malpractices which interfere with free flow of information, democratic constitutions all over the world have made provisions guaranteeing the freedom of speech and expression laying down limits of interference with it.”

“It is the primary duty of all national courts to uphold the said freedom and invalidate all laws or administrative actions which interfere with it, contrary to the constitutional mandate,” it had said.

Even if one takes that framing of guidelines for media on reporting sub-judice matters is a pressing issue, would it be more important than about 30% of the country’s population going hungry every day even after 62 years of India becoming a republic? When a vast humanity is living below poverty line and yet the government jokes that those who spend Rs 29 a day are not poor, doesn’t it ring an alarm bell about something being seriously wrong with governance? How about a guideline to make the right to life of one-third of Indians a little more meaningful? Would the SC attempt it?

The poor have been waiting for justice for years with no signs of better times in the immediate future. Another six crores (it would be much more but we take a very conservative estimate by assuming that only two persons are involved in each of the nearly 3 crore cases pending) are waiting for years in a labyrinthine queue for justice. Should the excruciating delays result in denial of justice? Would a guideline to limit case life to 2-3 years not pressing enough?

Talking about maladies faced by the country, the Vohra committee report in the 1990s pinned the blame on the unholy nexus among police-criminal-bureaucrat-mafia-politician. The SC in the Vineet Narain judgement dealt with this issue but did not issue a guideline to break the nexus.

It had also dealt with hawala scam in the 1990s and black money only two years ago. According to a conservative estimate by the National Institute of Public Policy, black money in our economy is around Rs 37,000 crore, which is a little more than one-fifth of the gross domestic product (GDP). It is an admitted position that on a conservative estimate the black money in circulation in India would match the quantum of white money. Should the SC not put forth guidelines to unearth the black money? A two-judge bench of the SC did make an attempt. But, the order is in limbo as a fresh bench hearing the Centre’s review petition gave a split verdict.

To give a specific example, the Rs 14,000-crore Satyam scam happened because of alleged deliberate auditing manipulations by chartered accountants of a reputed firm. With the plummeting share prices, dreams of millions crashed. Should the Supreme Court not frame guidelines for chartered accountants on how to audit, at least when it involves big listed companies?

For framing of guidelines, we must not forget the riots and its virulent kind, the communal riots. The apex court has dealt with the two most notorious ones in the history of modern India – the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 post-Godhra riots. It did a great job in the 2002 case. It brought the perpetrators to book by breaking the shield provided to them by those in power. Should the SC have not framed guidelines for both police and governments on how to deal with communal riots? A guideline for rehabilitation of victims and prosecution of culprits would also not be out of place.




PIL filed against civic body

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 07.27AM IST

INDORE: The Lok Adalat has asked the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) to explain why it failed to set up free water kiosks along road sides in the city as the summer has onset. As per the law, it is mandatory for the civic body to make arrangements for drinking water on roadside in summers.

Advocate Piyush Verma had filed a PIL with Lok Adalat on Saturday. Following which, the court issued a notice to the civic body, asking for its reply.

“Summer has already arrived but the IMC has not yet made any arrangements for drinking water for people,” said Verma adding that everyone cannot afford to buy bottled water from the market.

He further said that everyday around two lakh people come to city from nearby areas. Driving home his point, the petitioner said as per the Food Security Act, it is the right of every citizen to have access to food and water. Apart from this, under the Municipal Corporation Act 1954, it is duty of the civic body to provide drinking water to its citizens.





Ex-officer questions Intelligence Bureau’s legal status

A Subramani, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.24AM IST

CHENNAI: Responding to a PIL filed by a retired Intelligence Bureau officer pointing at the complete absence of constitutional or statutory sanction for the agency, the Karnataka high court last week sought an explanation from the Central government, giving it time until March 30 to issue an executive order justifying IB’s existence.

The IB was formed by then British secretary of state as a sub-sect of the Central Special Branch on December 23, 1887. “It has remained like a ghost, without a statute, all these 125 years,” said the PIL by Mysore-based R N Kulkarni, who joined the IB in 1963 and retired in 1998 as its joint assistant director.

Kulkarni further told the court that despite being a vital arm of national intelligence and security, all that the IB has to explain for its evolution over the past 125 years is the British order issued in 1887. Neither the Indian Independence nor the adoption of a Constitution nor even regulatory statutes for Central police organisations like the CRPF and CISF ever accorded any legal status to IB, which exists in a constitutional vacuum.

In its response, the Centre said the IB is a civilian organization which does not enjoy police powers. It also admitted that on May 21, 2001, the Group of Ministers had acknowledged that IB did not have a formal charter, although an attempt was made to define its functioning.

Taking note of the absence of a legislation to regulate the IB, the court asked the Centre to issue an executive order defining the powers, functions and duties of IB officers immediately. Otherwise, the bench headed by the chief justice cautioned, the court would be constrained to constitute a committee to go into the issue and submit a report.

How can the IB, established under an administrative order without any constitutional or statutory identity even after the commencement of the Constitution in 1950, be permitted to function as an apex national security apparatus, questioned Kulkarni’s PIL.

This extra-constitutional status of the IB infringes upon the rights of citizens as well as the rights of the personnel serving in the IB, the PIL said.

The closest that the IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act 1985. Ironically, the Act was brought to restrict the fundamental rights of members of intelligence organizations such as IB in matters of freedom of expression and their right to form associations.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has existed since December 23, 1887, as a ghost organization without any constitutional or statutory sanction, according to a PIL filed by a retired IB official. This has taken place despite the organization being a vital arm of national intelligence and security. The closest IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act 1985. But Parliament failed to legislate for IB’s establishment, regulation, discipline, control and operations, the PIL said.

Kulkarni’s counsel produced newspaper reports and articles by former IB officers stating that they had interrogated people. “Without police powers, how could the IB detain or interrogate anyone?” the counsel asked.

The directive comes at a time when the Union home ministry is trying to sell NCTC to the nation with the proposal to bring NCTC under IB.







Need for info commissioners in state’


Prajakta Chavan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 26, 2012

The increasing number of pending appeals (22,000) at the state information commission offices and four vacant state information commissioner posts has become a major concern for RTI activists as the commission’s work is getting affected. Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi,


in his letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, pointed out the weakening transparency law in the state because of the absence of a concerned authority.

“Presently, there are no Information Commissioners for Mumbai headquarters, Greater Mumbai, Konkan and Pune. The pending appeals are mounting and if urgent steps are not taken, RTI will suffer a grievous blow.  Most of the cases take around a year to be decided. By inaction and allowing pendencies to mount, RTI could become dysfunctional and ineffective,” said Gandhi in his letter.

Hindustan Times (HT) has earlier reported about the need to appoint state information commissioners because of an increasing number of pending appeals.

Presently, four state commissioner posts are vacant. There has been no replacement for Dr. Suresh Joshi (six months), Ramanand Tiwari (over nine months), Naveen Kumar (six months) and Vijay Kuvalekar (over one month).

“Currently, among four information commissioners are sharing charge of eight information commissions. I have additional charge of both Mumbai headquarters and Greater Mumbai. Like me, even other commissioners have additional charges and burdened with more work. We hope soon the information commissioners are appointed so that we can concentrate only on our respective districts,” said Bhaskarao T Patil, Amravati information commissioner and in charge Mumbai Chief Information Commission (CIC).










Disclose TA, DA claims of MLAs, CIC to Speaker

Deshdeep Saxena, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 06.40AM IST

BHOPAL: An order issued by the chief information commissioner of Madhya Pradesh, barely an hour before his retirement, has put the Vidhan Sabha in a fix. The CIC “requested” the speaker to issue orders to make public the travelling expenses of MLAs, uploading it on the Assembly website.

The CIC was to retire on March 25, and had signed the order barely an hour before the last working day before he would step down- on March 22 . The three subsequent days were government holidays.

This issue had been hanging fire for about 2 years now. In March 2010, the Vidhan Sabha secretariat had refused to provide information to an RTI applicant who sought details of the TA and DA claimed by legislators. The applicant, Ravindra Jain, had subsequently appealed to the CIC.

The speaker had denied the information saying it would be a breach of privilege of the MLAs, while the CIC disagreed.

Jain claimed to TOI that he sought the information to pin down alleged irregularities.

Asked why he had made this recommendation to the speaker on the verge of retirement, the CIC, PP Tewari claimed it took tyime to study the issue. ” I wanted to study the issue of privilege. However, this is not codified anywhere and I could not perform my job”, said Tewari, who was earlier at loggerheads with the Lokayukta, since he wanted the Ombudsman’s office to come under RTI.

The CIC’s order said : “The commitment and conduct of all the public servants should be beyond any doubt. And, this becomes even more important as the issue is related to the people’s representatives.”

The speaker however said he had no idea about the CIC’s recommendation. “I am now in Jabalpur. I did hear about it (the recommendation), but let me first return to Bhopal on Monday”, he told TOI.

The CIC’s order said : “The commitment and conduct of all the public servants should be beyond any doubt. And, this becomes even more important as the issue is related to the people’s representatives.”







CCI clears merger of SNIPL with UBL

Last Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2012, 13:31

New Delhi: Competition watchdog CCI has cleared the proposed merger of Scottish & Newcastle India (SNIPL) with Vijay Mallya-led United Breweries (UBL).

After the merger, SNIPL, which holds 3.22 percent shares in UBL, would cease to exist.

According to the scheme of amalgamation, over 84.89 lakh fully paid equity shares of UBL of Re 1 would be issued for over 3.22 crore fully-paid equity shares of SNIPL of Rs 10 each.

While UBL’s primary business is to produce, package, distribute, market and sell beer in India and abroad, SNIPL at present has no operations.

“Considering the facts on record and the details provided in the notice…and the assessment of the proposed combinations is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India and therefore, the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Act,” the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said in its order.

In its notice, UBL said that the objective of the proposed combination was to consolidate Heineken Group’s shareholding in UBL, which would lead to consolidation of Heineken Groups’s presence in India.

At present, the Heineken Group and the UB Group separately hold 37.38 per cent each in UBL, and the remaining 25.24 percent is held by others.

CCI noted that “the aggregate of shares held by UB Group, Heineken and its shareholders in UBL, directly and or indirectly, before and after the proposed combination is not likely to give rise to any adverse competitive concern in India”.

In January 2008, Heineken had indirectly acquired a 37.5 percent stake in UBL following its worldwide takeover of Scottish & Newcastle (S&N).











Police book Cong MLA for beating up constable

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, March 25, 2012

The police in Amravati booked Congress MLA Yashomati Thakur (38) after she, along with her party colleagues, assaulted a constable on Saturday when her vehicle was stopped for allegedly violating traffic rules.
Thakur, however, lodged a counter-complaint with the


Police sources said the MLA, who was also national general secretary of the youth wing of the party, was agitated when traffic constable Ulhas Raurale stopped her vehicle from entering a one-way in Amravati, 150 km west of Nagpur.

Raurale tried to impress upon the MLA and her driver that they could not be permitted to take the one-way. However, the legislator pulled up the constable by reminding him she was an MLA and that he should know his limits and the consequences of his action.

When the driver attempted to speed away, Raurale tried to stop the vehicle. It was then that Thakur slapped him. Following this, party members who were accompanying her also beat up the constable. A gathering in the area came to the policeman’s rescue.

The constable and the locals asked the police control room for assistance. As soon as the police arrived, the MLA’s car left the scene.

Later, Raurale lodged a complaint with the police against Thakur and her supporters for allegedly violating traffic rules and assaulting a public functionary. Thakur dismissed the allegations and said the constable had asked for a bribe of Rs 5,000 for allowing the vehicle on the one-way. “When I introduced myself as a Congress legislator, he abused me and my driver for allegedly violating traffic rules,” she said.

Thakur also lodged a counter-complaint with the police. “There is no board that shows the area is one-way,” she said.

The MLA alleged that the Amravati police was not taking any cognizance of the complaint. “I have also made a complaint with the local anti-corruption bureau (ACB) against the police constable,” she further said.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Amitesh Kumar, the commissioner of police (CP) said that the complaint of Thakur seems to be afterthought. “However, we are investigating the matter,” he said.

Kumar said that the MLA and her supporters slapped the constable in front of several people and they have made the statements with the police accordingly.








Directorate of Revenue Intelligence wants human rights panel order set aside

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.57AM IST

MUMBAI: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has approached the Bombay high court to set aside Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission’s former chairperson Kshitij Vyas’s order against two of its senior officers.

The commission had said DRI officers, assistant director C Jagiasi and senior intelligence officer D S Mehta, “clearly exceeded lawful powers of investigation by resorting to torture and also hurt religious feelings” of a suspect in a high-end SUV import scam and recommended strict departmental action against the two.

The DRI said the commission “violated legal procedures”. It said that though the order has been signed by two members, only Vyas had heard a complaint of alleged torture and religious bias, filed by Mohinderpal Singh Gujral. He was arrested by the DRI last June.

The DRI said that both the officers are conducting a painstaking probe into the all-India scam whose progress will be adversely impacted by the SHRC order.

Gujral, the DRI added, is an associate and nephew of one of the operators of the racket, Jang Bahadur Singh Gujral alias Jangi. Jangi had allegedly helped import 12 high-end SUVs through benami transactions and violated customs duties worth crores. He operated from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Tughlakabad airports and his alleged role was to finance import of these vehicles, some of which were stolen abroad, in the names of third parties.

The modus operandi included identification of vulnerable NRIs, arranging their passports for clearing cars under transfer of residence facility-where used cars are allowed to be imported at concessional duty rates for those returning to the country for good. The DRI found that cash was being deposited in fictitious bank accounts and in one case found 89 such accounts at the Union Bank of India, at Null Bazaar in Mumbai.

Gujral alleged that the officers cut his beard. As “proof” he showed a photo of his cut beard. The commission agreed with him that a single bruise on his arm was due to illegal torture and said that cutting a beard “violated human dignity of a Sikh”. The DRI said that the bruise was present before they arrested him. He did not complain of this abuse before the magistrate, said the DRI and also questioned the authenticity of the photo.

The DRI said that another person related to Jangi had filed a writ petition in 2009 before the Delhi high court to claim one of the vehicles it had seized. The Bombay HC is likely to hear the petition soon.






Christians get a fillip in state minority budget

Syed Amin Jafri, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.52AM IST

HYDERABAD: Six religious communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians (Parsis) — have been notified as minorities in Andhra Pradesh. As per 2011 census, religious minorities account for 10.80 per cent of Andhra Pradesh’s population of 8.46 crore. Muslims constitute 9.17 per cent of the state’s total population, followed by other minorities such as Christians (1.55 per cent) Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains (0.04 per cent each of the total population). There are about 5,000 Parsis in the state. In absolute numbers, Muslims account for 84.88 per cent of the total minority population of 93 lakhs. Christians come second with 14.36 per cent.

Substantial numbers of Christians live in Krishna district (4.36 per cent of the district population), West Godavari (3.64 per cent), Guntur (2.95 per cent), Rangareddy (2.51 per cent), Hyderabad (2.13 per cent) and Visakhapatnam (1.62 per cent). The other 17 districts have smaller communities of Christians.

From 1985 till 2008, the AP State Minorities Finance Corporation was implementing various schemes for the benefit of minorities, including Christians, including scholarships and subsidy for bankable schemes. Responding to the longstanding demand of the AP Federation of Churches, an umbrella organization of the churches of various Christian denominations and a state-level body of the bishops and heads of churches in AP, the then chief minister agreed to set up a separate finance corporation for the Christian community in the state.

AP State Christian (Minorities) Finance Corporation was established on November 13, 2008 and it started functioning in March 2009 with the mandate to assist in the welfare and development of the weaker sections among Christian community. In July 2009, the AP Federation of Churches demanded the government to allocate 15 per cent of the welfare budget of minorities for the Christian community.

Consequently, 15 per cent of the budget of AP State Minorities Finance Corporation for welfare schemes, which were common to Muslims, Christians and other minorities, was earmarked for the Christian Finance Corporation with a proportionate reduction in the allocations for APSMFC. Schemes meant exclusively for Christians being implemented by APSMFC were transferred to the Christian Finance Corporation.

In the ensuing budget for 2012-13, the minorities welfare department has allocated Rs 28.65 crore for the Christian Finance Corporation. The allocations include Rs 4 crore for pre- and post-matric scholarships, Rs 15 crore for fee reimbursement, Rs 3.75 crore towards subsidy for bank-linked income generation schemes, Rs 5 crore for other welfare schemes, Rs 25 lakh for mass marriages of poor Christian girls and Rs 50 lakh for managerial subsidy.

The Christian Finance Corporation has launched new schemes for providing financial assistance to Christian hospitals, school buildings, orphanages, old-age homes, community halls-cum-youth resource centres and promotion of Christian culture. The idea behind the new initiatives is to enable the church-run welfare institutions to provide services in a sustainable manner.

To enable the Christian youth get jobs in the private sector, the Christian Finance Corporation sponsors them for training, employment and placement programmes. They are also assisted to set up small and tiny business units. Moreover, the Christian applicants are provided coaching in reputed private institutions for competitive examinations for civil services, AP state services and other government recruitment and for common entrance tests for admission into professional courses.

In July 2009, the high court had stayed a government order providing financial assistance to Christians for pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and other places connected with the life of Jesus Christ. While staying the order, a division bench had ruled that the government should not spend public money for any pilgrimage.

Again, in September 2009, the HC had ordered status quo with regard to allotment and disbursement of funds by the state government for construction of churches in the state. The order was passed by a division bench on a PIL. Though the stay has been vacated, the government has not made any allocations to Christian Finance Corporation for Christian pilgrimage and for repairs and construction of churches.











Encounters investigator seeks larger team

Prashant Dayal, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.03AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Task Force (STF), retired Supreme Court justice H S Bedi, has sought an increase in manpower allocated to the team probing 15 police encounters of Gujarat.

Bedi held a meeting on Saturday with the DGP and other senior police officials of Gujarat. At present, five IPS officers are part of the STF. But citing the large number of cases being probed, Bedi asked for four deputy superintendents of police and eight police inspectors. The fresh appointments are likely to be made under the supervision of a senior member of the team, inspector general of police A K Sharma. Sharma is in charge of the state intelligent bureau and also of the Gandhinagar range.

This was Bedi’s first visit to Gandhinagar after being appointed as the chairman of the STF. He left the city on Sunday.

Sources said that the retired justice will pay his second visit to the state on April 18. “Then he will interact with all the STF members individually,” said a member of the STF. Saturday’s meeting was attended by in-charge DGP Chittranjan Singh, Sharma, and home department officials.

During the meeting, Bedi issued a directive that all case papers concerning the encounters be translated into English. A source familiar with the development said: “This exercise will take at least four months because of the huge number of documents concerning the 15 encounters.” According to the SC order, Bedi has to submit the first progress report within the next three months.

The STF was formed after two PILs were filed by journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar. The petitions were filed in 2007 after three IPS officers were arrested in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Samirkhan case uncertainty

It remains uncertain if the Samirkhan Pathan encounter of 2002 will be probed by the STF. The reason behind this apparent ambiguity is that Pathan’s case is already facing a court inquiry, though no fresh offence has been registered. Pathan’s family members are, however, readying to approach the chairman with a request to include the encounter in the purview of the probe.

Victims’ profile: Religion no bar

Some senior members of the STF were taken aback to note that the list of encounters under the scanner has 13 Hindus and 3 Muslim victims – Rajkot’s Salim Miyana and Rafiq Bapudi, apart from Haji Haji Ismail from Valsad. Haji’s family had filed a petition before the HC alleging that this was a contract killing carried out by Gujarat police officials. The petitioners had alleged that Haji was picked up from Lonavala in Mahrashtra and killed in a fake encounter. Salim’s wife too had made a similar allegation in a letter to the Gujarat police authorities.

Amit Shah connection

Some controversial fake encounters are missing from the list of incidents under the scanner. Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in 2005, Tulsiram Prajapati in 2006, and four alleged Kashmiri terrorists were killed in Vatva in 2006. According to the SC order, the STF shall look into cases other than those already being probed by the order of SC. The status of the Vatva encounter though remains unclear. “Another reason for this omission is that the 18 encounters considered by the petitioners are those tabled in the Gujarat assembly in 2007 by the then minister of state for home Amit Shah,” said an STF member. The petitioners have also mentioned before the SC that these encounters were mentioned in the Gujarat assembly. Shah was later arrested by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh probe.











Civil courts cannot refuse to record compromise: HC

Ruling passed while allowing a civil revision petition

A civil court cannot refuse to record a compromise reached between the litigants even if such settlement had been reached after the passing of a decree in favour of one of the parties, the Madras High Court Bench here has held.

Justice C.T. Selvam passed the ruling while allowing a civil revision petition filed by Royal Sundaram Allianz Insurance Company challenging the refusal of a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Sivaganga district to record a compromise reached in a road accident case.

The petitioner’s counsel, S. Srinivasa Raghavan, pointed out that a family of five had raised a claim for compensation before the tribunal pursuant to the death of their relative in an accident.

The tribunal ordered the insurance company to pay Rs. 7.57 lakh with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent.

However, the company negotiated the matter with the claimants and said that it would not go on appeal against the decree if the family accepted to receive Rs. 5 lakh with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent. The family agreed and a total amount of Rs. 5.63 lakh was deposited with the tribunal.

Thereafter, a joint memo was filed informing the tribunal of the compromise and urging it to record the settlement and permit the claimants to withdraw the amount. But the tribunal refused to do so by stating that an attempt was being made to pressurise it to accept a lesser award.

The tribunal also held that such a compromise could be recorded and the matter could be settled finally only if the claimants had filed a petition to execute the decree or if the insurance company had gone on appeal challenging the decree by depositing 50 per cent of the award.

Not in agreement with such a stand taken by the tribunal, Mr. Justice Selvam said: “The order of the tribunal reflects a most hyper-technical approach. It is always open to the parties to a dispute to arrive at a compromise and this is more so and all the more common in money decrees.

“The requirement of Order 21 Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure that a decree holder has to certify the payment or adjustment made to the court stands satisfied in the present case. While so, it becomes the duty of the court which has the power to execute the decree to record the same.”







Employment Guarantee Scheme work is not permanent employment, rules HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 04.57AM IST

NAGPUR: In a significant verdict, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that employment under employment guarantee scheme (EGS) cannot be defined as employment in an industry. Justice Ravi Deshpande set aside a judgment passed by Bhandara Industrial Court on July 13, 2005, directing the state forest department to regularize 13 workers earlier working under EGS as van majoors in Group D category.

The industrial court had declared that the forest department had engaged in unfair labour practice as per the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act (MRTU&PULP) Act by issuing an order on September 14, 2001, directing these 13 workers to work under EGS. However, justice Deshpande rejected the industrial court’s finding that by transferring the services of workers to EGS, the department has committed an unfair labour practice under the act.

“To transfer employees to work under EGS is not an unfair labour practice under MRTU&PULP Act. There is neither any award, settlement, agreement or statutory provision that confers any right upon the respondent workers to get the job other than one under EGS. There is no prohibition on the department to provide the work to them under EGS,” the court observed.

“The industrial court has therefore committed an error in holding that the work performed by respondents under EGS has to be treated as a normal one performed in the industry,” the judge added.

The 13 respondents who were working with the forest department had filed a complaint in the industrial court under MRTU&PULP Act, alleging that they had been continuously working on daily basis as majoors since 1987-88 and were being paid a salary on nominal muster roll (NMR).

Citing various Supreme Court and high court judgments, Justice Deshpande quashed the industrial court orders, observing that the appointment of a daily wager is not an appointment to any post.










Frivolous plea earns man a Rs50k slap by Bombay HC

Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 8:15 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Sending a strong message to those who waste court’s time by filing frivolous petitions, the Bombay High Court has imposed a cost of Rs50,000 on a petitioner for trying to mislead the court.

“An attempt has been made to mislead this court in order to obtain relief … In our view this is a frivolous petition filed by the petitioner and incorrect statements have been made by the petitioner,” observed a division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice PD Kode.

Directing the petitioner to deposit the amount by the first week of April with the Legal Aid Committee, the court said, “Taking into consideration the aforesaid facts, in our view, it would be appropriate if heavy costs are imposed on the petitioner. The petitioner is, therefore, directed to pay Rs50,000…”

The HC said if the petitioner fails to pay the amount then it should be recovered from him as per the procedures of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The order was passed while dismissing a petition filed by businessman Suresh Jain, who claimed to have entered into an “oral agreement” with a developer, after which he took possession of a commercial premise in Worli and set up a shop selling household items and consumer appliances. However, Jain had claimed that the developer refused to execute the agreement, following which he filed a civil suit in 2009.

In his petition, Jain had claimed that on October 9, 2011, he left his shop and went home. He later learnt that his goods were scattered outside his shop. He alleged that the police refused to lodge an FIR and instead took the keys of his shop, purportedly for investigation purposes. Further, the police were seen partying with the developer at Dadar police station, Jain had alleged in his petition. Additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia argued that he had not backed his claim of police allegedly partying with the developer. Also, in his written complaint, he stated that he handed over the keys of the shop to the police for investigation purpose. The police did not forcibly take the same.

Kantharia argued that he seems to have filed a criminal case as the civil proceedings did not seem to have yield results. Agreeing with the prosecution, the HC imposed cost of Rs 50,000 on Jain.







No plans of separate pay commission for Himachal: Govt to HC

Express news service : Shimla, Mon Mar 26 2012, 03:27 hrs



The Himachal Pradesh government has no plans to set-up its own pay commission to fix pay scales for its government employees and proposes to keep following Punjab while implementing the pay panel’s recommendations.

As part of the government’s response on the issue of having a separate pay commission to de-link pay scales of government servants from that of Punjab, state chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu has filed an affidavit in the high court. “The state has no intention to set up a pay commission for its employees and will continue to follow the Punjab pattern,” reads the affidavit.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D D Sud had, in December last year, expressed surprise that the state has no pay commission of its own and sent a notice to the government seeking its stand on the issue. The court had even directed the government to appraise it, on the issue, within three months.

“It’s true that Punjab pattern cannot be implemented as it is but at the same time separate pay commission at this stage is not necessary when the previous pay panel recommendations have been applied,” Sandhu said before adding that “ the court orders would be taken into consideration for future revisions”.

The chief secretary in her affidavit, has also stated that it was not necessary that every state should have its own Pay Commission and pointed out that 20 states were following the Central Pay Commission, whereas Himachal was following the Punjab one.

According to state budget estimates for 2012-13, of the total expenditure of Rs 20,243.92 crore, the amount spent on salaries and pensions will be Rs 9,069.81 crore. This means about 45 per cent of the total budget is meant for just 260,000 employees and 117,000 pensioners.







MCOCA can’t be applied in Chand murder case, says HC

NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Mumbai, Mon Mar 26 2012, 00:28 hrs



In a partial reprieve for alleged oil-mafia kingpin Mohammed Ali Abu Bakar Shaikh, a key accused in the Sayyad Chand murder case, the Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed and set aside a trial court order rejecting his application for discharge from the stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).

Shaikh’s application has now been sent back to the special MCOCA court for fresh consideration.

The division bench of Justice A P Lavande and Justice S P Davare passed the order after noting that most of the arguments put forward by Shaikh’s counsel Taraq Sayed were not taken into account by the MCOCA court. The position was accepted by additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari. However, even as the judges quashed the order passed on April 5, 2011, they refrained from making any opinion about the merits of the case.

“The majority of the contentions advanced by the counsel for the appellant (Shaikh) have not been dealt with while dismissing the application. There is no doubt that this court, being an appellate court, can also consider the submissions… However, considering that in the present case, the majority of the submissions have not been considered, we deem it approppriate not to deal with them,” the court said.

Sayyad Chand was shot dead on September 15, 2010 near the General Post Office building in south Mumbai. Shaikh was said to be a rival of Chand in the illegal scrap and diesel pilferage business. The police claim that Shaikh had paid Rs 6 lakh to underworld gangster Chhota Shakeel for carrying out the murder.

Arguing for Shaikh, his lawyer had contended that most of the evidence as well as witness statements to book him under the Act were based on hearsay and could not be relied upon. He claimed that the prosecution had failed to prove any nexus between the organized crime syndicate and the accused. The lawyer pointed out that the two chargesheets against Shakeel put forth by the police to justify invoking MCOCA in the case do not mention Shaikh as an accused.

Gadkari, however, contended that the very allegation of Shaikh seeking the assistance of the gangster to carry out the murder was enough to invoke MCOCA.



HC quashes petition challenging award of school shoe contract

PTI | 06:03 PM,Mar 25,2012

Gangtok, Mar 25 (PTI) The Sikkim High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the award of contract for supply of school footwear to a show major by the state government through the HRD Department. Quashing the petition, Chief Justice Permod Kohli said the high court would not sit as a court of appeal over the administrative decision of the public authorities. “Power of judicial review in commercial field is to be exercised to examine the validity of decision making process of public authorities and not the decision itself,” the court said. The petition was filed by Sital Enterprises of Jorethang, South Sikkim, one of the bidders for the supply order in response to a notice inviting tenders issued by the HRD Department for supply of readymade school uniforms, shoes and socks for the academic session 2011 but the petition was limited to the award of the contract for supply of school footwear only. The court, in its March 15 order, observed the award of contract to the shoe major did not suffer from any arbitrary, malafide or unfair action on the part of the department and being the shoe manufacturer, the company was rightly preferred by the government over its local dealer, Basun Bisnu Enterprises, the firm which had been recommended by the selection committee. The chief justice further averred that while exercising the power of judicial review, the court has to examine whether the decision making process has been fair, transparent, non-arbitrary and not influenced by extraneous or irrelevant considerations.






Explain Intelligence Bureau’s legality, HC tells Centre

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.15AM IST

CHENNAI: Responding to a PIL filed by a retired Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer pointing at the complete absence of constitutional or statutory sanction for the agency, the Karnataka high court last week sought an explanation from the Centre, giving it time until March 30 to issue an executive order justifying IB’s existence.

The IB was formed on December 23, 1887, by the then British secretary of state as a sub-sect of the Central Special Branch. “It has remained like a ghost, without a statute, all these 125 years,” said the PIL filed by Mysore-based R N Kulkarni, who joined the IB in 1963 and retired in 1998 as its joint assistant director.

Kulkarni further told the court that despite being a vital arm of national intelligence and security, all that the IB has to explain for its evolution over the past 125 years is the British order issued in 1887. Neither the Indian Independence nor the adoption of a Constitution nor even regulatory statutes for Central police organizations like the CRPF and CISF ever accorded any legal status to the IB, which exists in a constitutional vacuum.

In its response, the Centre said the IB is a civilian organization which does not enjoy police powers. It also admitted that on May 21, 2001, a group of ministers had acknowledged that IB did not have a formal charter, although an attempt was made to define its functioning.

Taking note of the absence of a legislation to regulate the IB, the court asked the Centre to issue an executive order defining the powers, functions and duties of IB officers immediately. Otherwise, the bench headed by the chief justice cautioned, that the court would be constrained to constitute a committee to go into the issue and submit a report.

“How can the IB, established under an administrative order without any constitutional or statutory identity even after the commencement of the Constitution in 1950, be permitted to function as an apex national security apparatus,” questioned Kulkarni’s PIL. This extra-constitutional status infringes upon the rights of citizens as well as those serving in the IB, the PIL added.

The closest that the IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organizations (Restriction of Rights) But Parliament failed to legislate for IB’s establishment, regulation, discipline, control or operations, the PIL said.






HC allows petitioner to tap sweet palm

R Sivaraman, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.02AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has said that as long as a palm climber holds a licence, the police should not restrain him from taking sweet palm sap. The bench made this observation saying that licence conditions should not be violated by the palm tapper.

“In case, he, by misusing the licence engages for the sale of toddy, necessary action could be taken against him by the police,” the judge added while disposing a petition filed by one R Marimuthu seeking to permit him to continue his profession.

Marimuthu of Thotiyam said that he is a member of a Palm Jaggery Cooperative Society situated at Unniyur Village, Thottiyam Taluk wherein the persons engaged in climbing of palm tree for the collection of palm product are all the members to it.

“Every year, we used to obtain licence from the Tamil Nadu Palm Products Development Corporation for the purpose of climbing the palm tree. On the basis of the said licence we take on rent, palm and coconut tress and by taking the sweet palm sap, we prepare jaggery and market the same. It was a routine process and we used to do it regularly,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner said he was granted such licence in 2003 and periodically renewed. In respect of collection of the sweet palm sap, one of the licence conditions was that no one should collect toddy. For that, the pot used for collecting the sweet palm sap should not be coated with lime water.

Marimuthu said, “After obtaining the licence for this year, the police refused to allow him to climb the tree for the purpose of collecting sweet palm sap to prepare palm jaggery. They allegedly threatened him that if he climbed the palm tree, he would be charged with severe offence.”

Disposing the petition, Justice K K Sasidharan said, “The misuse of a licence by others cannot be a reason to the preventive action against the petitioner. Even according to the police, the petitioner was not involved in any offense relating to palm products. So long as the petitioner is issued with a license by the authority and he is abiding by the terms and conditions of the licence, he should be permitted to do his avocation.

The judge further said, “The petitioner has got every right to climb the palm tree for collecting palm products and to prepare jaggery for selling it. So long as the petitioner confines in activities within the four corners of the licence issued to him, there is no question of taking action against him by the police.”





Challenge HC’s MCX-SX order, AG advises Sebi

Dhananjay Mahapatra & Siddharth, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 05.49AM IST

NEW DELHI: The attorney general has advised the Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to appeal against the Bombay High Court order that had asked the market regulator to review its decision to deny a licence to MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX ).

Sources said the opinion of attorney general Ghulam Vahnavati, the government’s chief legal advisor, will be a critical input for Sebi as it decides whether to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court or not. The regulator, however, is yet to decide its future course of action in the case although Sebi as well as government officials refused comment.

On March 15, the high court had ruled in favour of MCX-SX , which has been awaiting Sebi approval to get into the equity trading segment and provide competition to BSE and NSE. While MCX-SX is permitted in the currency derivatives segment , the regulator had turned down its plea for other businesses, citing a buyback arrangement among shareholders.

The order was challenged in the Bombay HC last year and the court ruled that the MCX-SX promoters “did not act in concert in violation” of rules that cap promoters’ shares at 5% and that their buyback arrangement with some of the shareholders of MCX-SX was not illegal.

The regulator decided to play it safe in the high-profile case, which has implications for other sectors too and sought AG’s view. The possibility of another legal opinion is also not ruled out. The rules prescribe that a bank or a financial institution can hold up to 15% in a stock exchange, while all other shareholders can hold a maximum 5% stake.

The order is seen to have an impact on several other businesses too as promoters could resort to similar arrangements in finalizing a corporate structure that is compliant with regulatory norms for banks. Where a stake dilution is required on commencement of operations , as well as in sectors that have a FDI cap. In case of commodity exchanges too, the regulator has mandated that the promoters dilute their shareholding to 26%.






HC: Church of South India is a company

A Subramani, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.09AM IST

CHENNAI: The Church of South India (CSI) is a company registered under the Companies Act and hence it has to submit its account books to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) for inspection, the Madras high court has ruled. The CSI had been registered as a company in 1947-48.

Justice S Rajeswaran, passing an order to this effect recently, said it was not fair on the CSI’s part to have gone before RoC seeking an extension and then question the registrar’s powers to inspect CSI affairs in the high court.

The case started with a complaint lodged with the RoC by a CSI member, John S Durai of Mylapore. He had claimed that the CSI was misusing the foreign exchange account, which witnessed a huge inflow of money. Durai also filed a writ petition for a direction to the registrar to inspect the CSI accounts. On February 2, 2011, the HC had directed the registrar to look into the complaints. Based on the court directive, the registrar conducted a preliminary inquiry. On realising that there was substance in the allegations, he wrote to the Centre and obtained permission to hold a detailed probe into the CSI affairs as per Section 209A of the Companies Act.

Accordingly, the registrar issued a showcause notice to the CSI Trust Association on August 30, 2011, stating that the inspection would begin on September 12, 2011, and that the authorities should keep the accounts books ready for the exercise. In response, the CSI authorities appeared before the registrar with a request that the audit start a week later on September 19, 2011.

Simultaneously, the CSI moved the HC against the showcause notice and it was stayed on September 16, 2011. While the RoC was arrayed as a respondent, Durai himself got himself impleaded as part of the proceedings.

In his counter-affidavit, Durai informed the court that CSI was a “habitual defaulter in filing the statutory returns in time, and also not in the habit of replying to the genuine queries raised by the registrar regarding complaints received against the CSI”. He also said the court order was the basis for the present inspection.

Concurring with his submissions, Justice Rajeswaran vacated the stay on inspection and said the CSI was indeed a company registered under the Companies Act. Pointing out that besides the court direction, the registrar had conducted a preliminary inquiry and obtained a nod from the Centre before issuing the showcause notice, the judge said: “Only after getting clearance from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs the impugned action has been taken under the provision of law…The contention of the CSI counsel is of no merits and the proceedings cannot be questioned at all by the CSI Trust Association.”




Kin of DJB worker awarded Rs 25 lakh compensation

Last Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012, 17:42

New Delhi: The kin of a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) employee, who died after being hit by a car in 2010, have been awarded a compensation of over Rs 25 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).

The court directed National Insurance Company Ltd, with which the offending Maruti car was insured, to pay Rs 25,20,914 to the wife and five children of Ram Kishan Sharma, who was working as an assistant pump driver with Delhi Jal Board.

“I, accordingly, grant a compensation to the tune of Rs 25,20,914 to all the petitioners (family members of Sharma) with interest…,” MACT Presiding Officer BS Chumbak said.

East Delhi resident Sharma died in October 2010 when he was going on a motorcycle to attend a complaint related to water problem and on reaching Geeta Colony, the Maruti car being driven by Kishan Kumar at a high speed, hit him.

Sharma, 42, who was earning over Rs 18,000 per month received grievous injuries in the accident and was taken to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.

The court, which had awarded a compensation of over Rs 28 lakh, however, deducted Rs 2.8 lakh from the amount saying the victim was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and he too was responsible for the accident.

“In such circumstances, from the medical record of the doctor it can be safely held that at the time of accident the deceased was under the influence of alcohol and therefore, the he also contributed to the accident and accordingly, I held that the deceased should have been made liable to be compensated at 10 per cent of whole compensation which is to be granted in this case,” the presiding officer said.

It was the contention of the insurance company that the victim was in an inebriated condition at the time of accident and his family was not liable for any compensation.

Sharma’s family, however, denied it saying merely because the doctor got a smell of alcohol from the victim, does not proved that he was drunk.


LEGAL NEWS 25.03.2012

Govt prepares for trade war with European Commission


Nitin Sethi, TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 05.23AM IST

NEW DELHI: After a carbon tax levied on aviation by the European Union, the government is now preparing for a possible trade war with the European Commission imposing a similar levy on shipping business as well – a move that can increase freight rates by 3-15%.

With EU mulling a tax on the shipping industry that will impose a levy based on carbon emissions on ships entering European waters., the Indian government has prepared a policy document to examine impacts of such a move and list measures to retaliate what it sees as a unilateral move.

The government has also asked aviation sector players in India not to communicate with EU on the carbon tax it has imposed. The decision was taken after official meetings with the aviation ministry now empowered to take progressively stronger steps to block the EU move.

EU had demanded that airlines flying into European airspace start providing data that would allow regulators to measure the carbon imprint of the flights and levying taxes at the end of the year. Sources in the government said Indian airlines were being asked to ensure that regulations against the government policy are not accepted.

India along with other key countries, such as China, Brazil, US and Russia had agreed to a basket of actions against EU if the latter does not back off. The committee of secretaries agreed to take those measures in sequential manner upgrading the offensive against EU.

India has argued that imposition of carbon tax on aviation or maritime activity must adhere to the principles agreed to under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. That would ensure that it is the manufacturers of inefficient craft that are taxed for emissions and not consumers.

China has also asked its airline services to not adhere to the European regulations on carbon tax leaving the ball in the EU’s court. There has also been speculation of a Chinese airline cancelling orders from the European manufacturer leading to heightened tension in the markets about an all out trade-war breaking out. India’s move to also restrict its airlines from participating in the European carbon tax scheme is expected to add fuel to the fire.











Court stays toll collection


The Dharwad-based Circuit Bench of the Karnataka High Court has passed an interim order granting stay against the decision of the Belgaum Cantonment Board (BCB) to levy licence fee on ‘commercial vehicles’ passing through the cantonment area in the city.

The order has brought temporary relief from the alleged harassment and exploitation of the public, who were paying licence fee ranging from Rs. 10 to Rs. 20 for a private commercial vehicle passing through the cantonment area.

The BCB started levying the fee on February 15, against public opposition, even as many argued that the decision of the BCB was illegal. Subsequently, four writ petitions were filed before the Circuit Bench by Max Cab Owners, the Belgaum Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and bus operators and tour operators from other States.

The court, after hearing the arguments, passed the interim order on March 21 and gave the BCB two weeks to file a statement of objections.









Home Secretary directed to appoint Special Public Prosecutor

The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the Home Secretary to appoint a Special Public Prosecutor (SPP) to conduct a criminal case registered against two officers in the rank of Deputy Superintendent of Police, two Inspectors, a Sub-Inspector and eight constables on charges of murdering a chit fund operator in Tirunelveli district in 2006.

Allowing a writ petition filed by Hasan Ammal, wife of the victim Mohamed Masood, Justice K. Chandru also directed the Home Secretary to take note of the suggestion made by the petitioner that C.M. Arumugam, a Madurai lawyer, could be appointed as the SPP. The petitioner had claimed that the incumbent law officers were incapable of functioning independently as the accused themselves were police personnel.

The judge also recorded submissions made by P. Rathinam, counsel for the petitioner, that in similar circumstances, the Supreme Court in Sunil Kumar Pal Vs. Phota Sheikh (1984) had directed the West Bengal government to appoint a senior advocate practising on the criminal side as a SPP, in consultation with the complainant in that case.

“It is imperative that in order that people may not lose faith in the administration of criminal justice, no one should be allowed to subvert the legal process. No citizen should go away with the feeling that he could not get justice from the court because the other side was socially, economically or politically powerful and could manipulate the legal process. That would be subversive of the rule of law,” the apex court had said.

In her affidavit, the present petitioner said that her husband incurred huge loss in the chit fund business thereby inviting a number of civil and criminal cases against him. Suddenly he went missing since December 2005. She was made to run from pillar to post by the police in search of her husband. Finally, the Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department found that he was murdered by the police personnel.

Even an enquiry conducted by a Revenue Divisional Officer found the police guilty. Alleging that the CB-CID too acted hastily and filed a final report before a lower court in 2009 with a number of loopholes to aid the accused escape from stringent punishment, the petitioner sought for a direction to appoint an independent SPP to conduct the case in a dispassionate manner.













Acts of marines tantamount to terrorism: High Court


Advocate General says it could not be treated as an ordinary criminal case

The Kerala High Court on Friday orally observed that the alleged acts of the two Italian marines amounted to terrorism as they had allegedly shot dead two fishermen without any provocation.

Justice P.S. Gopinathan made the oral observation when a writ petition filed by the agent of the ship, Enrica Lexie, seeking permission of the court to sail out of the Indian territorial waters came up for hearing.

The court orally observed that from the perspective of the family members of the victims, the acts of the marines were tantamount to terrorism as they had fired upon the boat without firing warning shots or giving any kind of warning signals. The court said the fishermen were fast sleep when the marines fired upon the boat. As per the first information report (FIR), the unarmed fishermen were shot dead in the broad daylight.

The court made the observations when counsel for the ship agent submitted that the acts of the marines could not be termed terrorism as defined under the Suppression of Unlawful Act of Violence against Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continued Shelf Act 2001.

Testing firearms

Advocate General K.P. Dandapani said a decision could be taken on the further investigation into the case relating to the killing of the fishermen only if the police received a report from the Forensic Science Laboratory on the firearms used for the commission of the offence. The report was expected soon. If the report pointed out that there was tampering with the firearms seized from the ship, the police would have to conduct further search on the ship.

He submitted that it could not be treated just as an ordinary criminal case. Therefore, if the ship was allowed to sail out of the Indian waters, it would affect the investigation. He said that the government would take steps to expedite the testing of the firearms.

No objection

However, Assistant Solicitor General of India Vanchiyoor Parameswaran Nair appearing for the Union government submitted that the Director General of Shipping did not have any objection to the ship being released on condition that its owner would present the master and the crew before any competent authority or courts in Indian to pursue any further investigation, if required, at the owner’s cost. The Centre was of view that the ship could be allowed to leave the Indian territorial waters as all evidence had been taken from the ship during an inquiry ordered by the Director General of Shipping.

Ship agent’ stance

Counsel for the ship agent contended that the police, Coast Guard and the Mercantile Marine Department had inspected the vessel and checked all the equipment and records on it. He said that as all the investigations were complete, the ship could be allowed to sail out. He alleged that the government was under pressure to detain the vessel for settling the compensation claims. He said that the ship agent was ready to give an undertaking that the master and other crew would be produced before courts if their presence was required in connection with any cases in future.











Parsi woman marrying non-Parsi ceases to be Parsi: Gujarat HC


Published: Saturday, Mar 24, 2012, 16:53 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Gujarat high court on Friday ruled that a Parsi woman married to a non-Parsi man ceases to be a Parsi. A bench of high court adopted a majority view that “a born Parsi woman by contracting civil marriage with a non-Parsi under the Special Marriage Act would cease to be a Parsi.”

Justice Jayant Patel and Justice RM Chhaya of the three-judge bench said: “She would be deemed and presumed to have acquired the religious status of her husband unless declaration is made by the competent court for continuation of her status of Parsi Zoroastrian after her marriage.”

On the other hand, the third judge, justice Akil Kureshi, gave a distinct opinion:”A woman who is born Parsi Zoroastrian does not cease to be so merely by virtue of solemnising the marriage under the Act of 1954 with a man belonging to another religion. Professing one’s religion is a matter of faith.”

The larger bench gave the common view that there is not clear customs in the Parsi community to establish that a Parsi woman married to a non-Parsi cannot perform Parsi rites. The two judges said, “We find that it is not possible for us to decide on the evidence available on record as to whether such religious practices prohibiting non-Parsi is an integral part of Parsi Zoroastrian or not. A detailed fact-finding inquiry may be required for such purpose.”

However, justice Kureshi observed that, “I would like to briefly touch on the question of validity of so-called custom or usage denying a Parsi Zoroastrian woman certain rights upon her marriage to a non-Parsi. Proof of any such custom is hazy and at best inconsistent. Whether such a custom or usage exists is yet to be established.”

The court was hearing the petition filed by Goolrukh Gupta, a resident of Valsad and married to one Mahipal Gupta, a Hindu, in Mumbai. She raised the issue that she should not barred from performing any Parsi customs and rituals as she married to a man of other religion.

She contended that even after the marriage, she has continued to follow Zoroastrian religion and therefore, she has the right to enjoy all privileges under the Parsi religion, including the right to offer prayers at Agiyari and tower of silence.

The issue was first heard by a two-judge bench but it referred the matter to a larger bench. The issues were: Whether the petitioner, a born Parsi woman by virtue of contracting a civil marriage with a non-parsi man under the Special Marriage Act, ceases to be a Parsi? If the first issue is answered in negative, then the question will be as to whether the respondents are justified in refusing the petitioner her rights of being a natural Parsi? And whether the High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution can issue a writ ofmandamus to the respondents to grant relief as sought in the present case.












PC’s spl exam for IPS entrance heads for trouble


Aloke Tikku, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 25, 2012Weeks after he had to freeze plans to set up the National Counter Terrorism Centre (NCTC), another initiative of home minister P Chidambaram is heading into big trouble.

The home ministry initiative proposed to open a third channel of appointment of IPS officers, to bridge shortage apart


from direct recruitment through the civil services examination and induction of state police officers on promotion.

According to this plan, the Union Public Service Commission will hold a special examination on May 20 for deputy superintendent of police-rank officers in state and central police forces as well as defence officers of the rank of captain and majors. Officers who have served for 5 years and are below 35 years can apply for the test.

But serving and retired IPS and state police officers say the proposal is “severely flawed” and “unnecessary” and have decided to move mountains, and courts, to block the recruitment.

Two cases have already been filed in the central administrative tribunals in Kerala and Madhya Pradesh. Thiruvananthapuram police commissioner Manoj Abraham is among those who moved the Ernakulam bench of the tribunal. A third plea was filed in the Delhi HC by an NGO saying it will reduce the percentage of officers from minority communities.

Several police officers who spoke to HT said at least half-a-dozen more pleas were expected to be filed in high courts over the next fortnight.

“It seems police officers in many states are planning to mount a legal challenge,” Abhinav Kumar, deputy inspector general (CID) in Uttarakhand said.

Koshy Koshy, former chief of the Bureau of Police Research and Development, explained why.

At a time when every force is facing a severe shortage of officers, he said the plan to induct serving officers sought to rob Peter to pay Paul. Besides, he worried about brutalisation of the police forces by inducting officers who are trained to kill and win, and not police by consent.










CIC feels RTI dying in Maharashtra


Anahita Mukherji, TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 03.13AM IST

NEW DELHI: Shailesh Gandhi, India’s feisty Central Information Commissioner and an early crusader for the Right To Information Act (RTI), believes that RTI in Maharashtra is being pushed into a coma from where it may not be able to recover.

The post of chief information commissioner lies vacant , as do several other posts in the state information commission. Mumbai, Konkan and Pune do not have information commissioners. As of November, the pendency of cases in the state was 22,000.

“There has been no replacement for Suresh Joshi (6 months), Ramanand Tiwari (over 9 months), Naveen Kumar (6 months) and Vijay Kuvalekar (over 1 month),” said Gandhi.

He believes that citizens across the country need to fight to ensure that this fundamental right is not put to sleep in Maharashtra.

“We were able to block the central government’s attempts to weaken the Act. If we do not act now, Maharashtra will have shown the way to all governments to make the RTI Act history,” Gandhi said. He believes that the appeals and communication from RTI applicants is probably not even looked at by the headless Commission. Gandhi wrote to Maharashtra CM Prithviraj Chavan asking him to look into it, to which Chavan replied that he would keep the matter in mind.

“The pendency is mounting and if urgent steps are not taken, RTI will suffer a grievous blow,” Gandhi wrote. In addition to vacancies in the state information commission, Gandhi feels that the high pendency of cases has also to do with the fact that information commissioners are not delivering at an adequate pace to meet requirements.

Times View
The RTI Act is among the most empowering legislations of recent times. It is, therefore, extremely worrying that the RTI system has got logjammed in a major state like Maharashtra within a few years of the law coming into effect. Clearly, unfilled posts of information commissioners would have had a role to play in this situation being created. Filling up those vacancies would help to that extent. However, there is also a need to review whether information officers who have stonewalled RTI queries have been dealt with too leniently. Stricter action including stiffer fines in such cases might reduce the burden on the appeals process. Perhaps reducing the dominance of ex-bureaucrats among the information commissioners would help in this aspect.












Ponda murder: High court rejects appeal against acquittal


TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 04.45AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently dismissed an appeal filed by the state government challenging the acquittal of three accused by a trial court on charges of causing the death of Ajit Dangui in 2006 at Ponda.

The prosecution had charged the wife of the deceased, Archana Dangui, Vinayak Prabhu and Laxman Naik for assaulting the deceased after confining him to a room and committing his murder on October 7, 2006.

The trial court held that the prosecution had failed to prove the guilt of any of the three accused persons. Subsequently, the state government had filed an appeal against the order of acquittal.

During the hearing of the case in the high court, the public prosecutor argued that the evidence on record was sufficient to prove the guilt of the accused for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. However, the high court upheld the order of the trial court and rejected the appeal.






PIL filed to end power crisis in state


TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 06.06AM IST

MADURAI: A public interest litigation was filed in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court on Thursday seeking a direction to the Union and state governments to end the power crisis in the state.

The petitioner B Stalin, a practising advocate of the Madurai Bench said while there is no power shortage in other southern states, Tamil Nadu alone is suffering from acute power shortage due to the step-motherly treatment meted out by the Centre for political reasons. He added that major power projects to be executed by the Central public sector undertakings were inordinately delayed. In order to offset the deficit partially, the state government was trying to procure power from others and it has been fairly successful in finalising contracts for a sizable quantum of power. However, the non-availability of a transmission corridor had deprived the state of receiving the contracted power from other states.

He also prayed an order of injunction restraining supply of power from Neyveli to other states till the crisis in the Tamil Nadu comes to an end.











Illegal mining case: Janardhan Reddy’s judicial custody extended


Agencies : Bangalore, Sat Mar 24 2012, 16:20 hrs

A CBI court today extended till April 3 judicial custody of former Karnataka Minister and mining baron G Janardhana Reddy and his personal assistant Mehfooz Ali Khan, arrested in connection with an illegal mining case.

Additional Civil and Sessions Court Judge and CBI special court judge B M Angadi ordered extension of judicial custody after CBI moved an application in this regard.

Associated Mining Corporation (AMC) and Deccan Mining Syndicate (DMC) owned by Reddy and his wife Aruna Lakshmi have been facing probe over charges of illegal mining.

Former minister and Congress leader V Muniyappa and few other officials are the other accused in the case.







Semen presence not necessary for proving rape: High court


Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 01.22AM IST

NAGPUR: Rejecting an appeal filed by a rape and murder accused, the Aurangabad bench of Bombay High Court has ruled that presence of semen is not necessary for proving offence of rape. “It is not necessary that in every sexual intercourse, there would be oozing of semen,” a division bench comprising justices Naresh Patil and TV Nalwade ruled.

In the process, the court upheld the Osmanabad sessions court verdict which sentenced Prashant Kate (25) to death and lifer for raping and killing a six-year-old girl. He was also slapped with a fine of Rs 25,000.

Citing Section 375 of IPC, the court ruled that even slight penetration is sufficient to constitute the offence of rape. “In the present case, reason is given that there was no semen detected in vaginal swab. It is not acceptable in view of position of law and also for common sense,” the court observed.

“There is sufficient evidence to prove that it is a case of homicide and rape. It needs to be observed that no injury was found on the private part of the accused, but we cannot infer from it that he had not committed rape,” the court added.

Citing criminal analysis report, the accused contended that his blood group was ‘O’ while that found on the clothes of deceased was ‘A’. However, the court held that injuries found on the person of accused as per medical evidence can be used against him as an incriminating circumstance.

Kate, a resident of Solapur, had gone for a marriage of his friend in Kaudgaon village of Osmanabad district on May 4, 2009. The deceased’s family was also from Solapur and had come for the same event. The accused was known for his bad habits and also for drinking. After the dinner, when everybody was busy in marriage preparations, Kate, who was under influence of liquor, took away the girl under pretext of handing her over to her father. After performing the heinous act, he smashed her head by stone.

When the girl could not be traced, her parents lodged a complaint at the nearest police station. The accused was arrested two days later and the session court later awarded him capital punishment after examining witnesses.

Reacting to the judgement, Tejaswini Khade, the president of the Vidarbha Lady Lawyers’ Association, said, “Such judgments would act as a deterrent to criminals like Kate. I think law should be stricter to prevent such incidents. In today’s scenario, every parent remains concerned about their girls when they are not with them.”

Social activist Seema Sakhare felt Kate depicted depravity among humans and “such criminals should be dealt with iron hand”. “The court was right in holding that even slight penetration should be accounted as rape. The convict fittingly deserves death for his brutal act,” she said.










189 cases settled on spot in Lok Adalat


TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 02.52AM IST

GURGAON: In the Lok Adalat organized on Saturday in the district courts of Gurgaon, 189 cases were settled on the spot.

Stating this here on Saturday, the District & Sessions Judge, Dr Bharat Bhusan Parsoon said that a Lok Adalat was organized in the Court Complex of Gurgaon, in which cases pertaining to the Motor Vehicles Act, cheque bouncing and petty crimes were taken up. He said that a compensation of Rs 12.75 lakh was awarded in four claim cases under the Motor Vehicles Act. Besides, 29 petty crime cases and 160 cases of cheque bouncing were decided on the spot.

Parsoon said that the cases which could be settled through mutual consent between the parties to a dispute or cases at the pre-litigative stage were taken up in the Lok Adalats and such courts pronounce judgments which are final. He said that the judgments of Lok Adalats carried the same weight as that of a regular court and no appeal could be filed against the decision of the Lok Adalat. He said that the regular courts were burdened with a large number of cases and parties in dispute at a later stage feel to settle their cases, so in order to provide an opportunity to such parties the Lok Adalats were organized. The parties can request to take up their case in the Lok Adalat.

He said that in the cases which could be settled by reaching a mutual agreement, the Lok Adalats were proving very successful. Lok Adalat is a medium to get justice quickly without spending a lot. The parties to a dispute are spared frequent visits to courts and also the lengthy procedures of courts, Parsoon said.













Supreme Court stands up for rights of consumers


Mar 25, 2012, 03.26AM IST

A judgement of the Supreme Court on 29 August, 2011, once for all settled the issue whether a consumer or an authorised Consumer Organisation Representative (ACOR) could represent consumers in the district consumer forum, state commission and national commission by clearly stating that an authorized representative has every right to represent, argue, appeal and perform all acts that is necessary.

The Supreme Court hit the nail on the coffin of the efforts by traders and service providers, some district forum presidents, state commission presidents and most importantly the Bar Council of India to keep consumer representatives out and make this quasi-judicial tribunal a lawyers’ forte.

An earlier attempt by the state commission, Chennai (Justice M S Janarthanan) to bar ACOR was thwarted by the national commission when amicus curiae (advocate appointed by court to assist the court) Gopal Subramaniam, some consumer organizations and this writer argued against the commission’s order and got it reversed.

The problem cropped up again when a consumer dispute redressal forum of south Mumbai in a case filed against two tour operators in 2004 held that the authorized agent should not be allowed to appear as he was not an advocate although the Act clearly provides for that.

The matter went to the state commission which stayed the proceedings and two writ petitions were filed against the state commission order in the Bombay high court which clearly said that authorised representatives can appear and consumers cannot be compelled to engage advocates. The tour operators, joined by the Bar Council of India appealed to the Supreme Court. The two-member bench of the Supreme Court referred the matter to a larger bench considering the importance of the case.

The Supreme Court in a historic, well-researched judgement tracing the origin of the consumer movement said that in 1856, a select committee in U K had recommended that a cheap and easy remedy by a summary charge before a magistrate should be afforded to consumers who received adulterated or falsely described food. This suggestion was incorporated in the Merchandise Marks Act 1887.

The Supreme Court pointed out that various statutes like the Income-tax Act, Sales Tax Act and Monopolies and Restrict Trade Practices Act permit non-advocates to appear before those forums. The SC added that the intention of legislators to protect the interests of consumers by giving them a speedy inexpensive remedy must be considered while construing a statute.

If the representative is an incompetent person he can pose no competition to any professional and would not be engaged again. If he performs well, it would promote the cause of the Consumer Protection Act. Quoting provisions from statues and judgements of several developed countries, the court elaborated on how non-attorneys have been permitted to appear in these countries. It is indeed great news for all of us that the rights of the consumers and ACORs have been firmly reiterated.












Supreme Court has not held police’s chargesheet as invalid, says high court


TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 02.39AM IST

AHMEDABAD: In connection with the Tulsiram Prajapati fake encounter case, Gujarat high court has observed that though the Supreme Court has not accepted the investigation carried out by Gujarat police, it has not held the chargesheet filed by CID (crime) to be invalid at the same time.

Like it did in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case, the apex court also transferred the Tulsiram encounter case to CBI after CID (crime) filed a couple of chargesheets against cops from Gujarat and Rajasthan. SC transferred the probe with observation that the investigation carried out by Gujarat police could not be accepted as satisfactory.

In seeking default bail, suspended IPS and then SP of Banaskantha Vipul Agrawal contended that CBI has not filed any chargesheet within stipulated time of six months as granted by the SC. Moreover, SC has refused to accept the investigation and that it means the chargesheets filed by CID (crime) were also not accepted by the SC, he submitted.

In refusing bail to Agrawal, Justice M D Shah observed that the SC has not expressed any opinion on the merits of the matter and that the SC has not quashed the chargesheet filed by the Gujarat state and the cognizance taken by the magistrate. “It is clear that though the SC has not accepted the investigation carried out by the Gujarat Police, it has not held the chargesheet filed in the Court to be invalid,” HC order reads.

CBI has been granted extension to probe this case by the SC till March 28.

Meanwhile, another accused in this case, suspended SP Rajkumar Pandian, has dubbed CBI probe as a poor copy of CID (crime). Pandian has been shown as an absconder by CID (crime) in this case despite the fact that he has been lodged in jail for the last five years in connection with the Sohrabuddin encounter case.











VACB may probe pledging of forest land


A Satish

PALAKKAD: The cases related to the promoters of six estates in Nelliampathy who had pledged forest land in lieu of huge loans availed of from commercial banks are likely to be entrusted with a special investigative agency like the CBCID or the VACB.

Replying to a letter written by Sasidharan, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF), Eastern Circle, to register cases and file FIRs against the six estate owners who had pledged false documents with financial institutions, Palakkad SP M P Dinesh said he had referred the matter to the Special Government Pleader (forests) M P Madhavan Kutty and obtained his legal opinion. The legal opinion was sought on whether the report by the CCF is sufficient to register a crime against the estate owners.

Madhavan Kutty has said that, instead of bunching all the six estates together, individual FIRs have to be registered.

There is the need for separate reports, along with supporting documents, which have to be obtained from the Chief Conservator of Forests, the pleader said.

Madhavan Kutty has also suggested that a special investigation agency like the CBCID be entrusted with the task of the investigation.

“The Forest Department has got the legal opinion forwarded by the police department. We will furnish details of each estate within two days,” Sasidharan told Express.

The report of the CCF submitted to the SP states that six estate owners had pledged disputed land and availed of loans. The estates are Shernelly, Mira Flores, Smitha Mount, Alexandria, Karappara A&B, and Lakshmy Estate.

According to the report, areas coming under the Nelliampathy reserve forests were leased out to the present owners by the erstwhile Cochin government to raise cash crops. The report states that Shernelly estate owner has availed of loans from SBI, Palakkad, stating that he has free marketable right on the land. The bank has filed a petition before the sub-court, Palakkad, seeking a decree to sell the property to realise the loan amount.

Mira Flores Estate has availed of a loan from the KSIDC. The promoters had registered two companies: M/S New World Investments (P) Ltd and M/S Malabar Dairy Ffarms (P) Ltd in 1994 and purchased 486.63 acres of Mira Flores estate. The report says

that, in the first place, the registration of the land by the sub-registrar is illegal as it is a forest land. The act of the Chittur Tahsildar in attaching 486.63 acres of reserved forest on the request of the KSIDC was also unlawful. Similarly , the report points out that 62.78 acres of forest land was put up for auction by the Debt Recovery Tribunal, Ernakulam (DRT), to recover the loan defaulted by M/s Jackson Traders to South Indian Bank. The land is part of the estate known as Smitha Mount estate which is forest land. The auction was done without the knowledge of the Forest Department. Neither M/s Jackson Traders nor South Indian Bank has any authority to do any transaction related to the land.

Babu Abraham had availed of a loan from Catholic Syrian Bank, Thrissur, for an amount of `47.66 lakh by pledging 149.08

acres of forest land. Now the bank has approached the DRT to sell the property.

In the case of the Karappara A and B estate, Mrs Shamla Majeed, wife of P V Majeed, had availed of loans worth `334 lakh from SBI (ADB) branch, Palakkad, by pledging the forest land. The Lakshmy Estate was pledged by Malayail Narayanan, V Radhakrishnan and Malayail Haridas. On default, the bank obtained decrees in its favour.

SP Dinesh said that, apart from the fraud, there were irregularities which could be booked under the Prevention of Corruption

Act also. He said the police are not empowered to investigate such cases as it could only charge cases under the Indian Penal code. Therefore, a Vigilance inquiry would be the best option against the estate owners.












Fora support Koodankulam protest

BANGALORE: City-based activists from various people’s fora have expressed their concerns about the deteriorating situation of peaceful protesters at Kudankulam Nuclear Plant.

The activists from the Bangalore Wing of People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), People’s Democratic Forum (PDF), People’s Solidarity Group and South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) got together and highlighted their concerns at a press conference on Saturday.

“Around 20,000 peaceful protesters from Idindhakari village protesting against the Kudankulam Nuclear plant have been camping there for eight months. On March 19, the Tamil Nadu government ordered the deployment of 32 battalions of Tamil Nadu Special Police Force and four companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) belonging to the Central Industrial Security Force (CISF), creating a sense of anxiety among the protesters and with the clear intention of breaking the struggle through any means,” said Jagadish G Chandra, Convenor, People’s Solidarity Concerns.

Further, the activists of the fora who have been hearing from protesters about their troubles said that peaceful demonstrators have been under a sort of medieval siege since March 19 with total denial of access to the outside world.

“Food supply, including water and milk, have been cut off by road blockage. On the brink of a humanitarian crisis after four days of blockade, the villagers who incidentally are fishermen managed to supply the protesters with minimal basic needs. People’s voices should be heard and only those who want to provide a boost to big businesses will support such a project,” said Ramesh, member of the People’s Democratic Forum.

Meanwhile, the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring expressed grave concern regarding the large deployment of the police and has written to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), International Foundation for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and the High Commissioner of Human Rights at the United Nations Office o f Geneva regarding the issue.

“Internationally acclaimed independent journalists have urged the Tamil Nadu government to modify orders and allow journalists full access. The government is going all out to promote the interest of multinational nuclear commerce powers,” commented Ramdas of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Bangalore.










NHRC slaps Rs.25,000 fine on Delhi Police


Ends up with egg on its face as the NHRC pulls it up for its inhuman act once again

In yet another slap on the face of Delhi Police, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up its personnel for their inhuman and merciless act of dragging a road accident victim, whose leg was in a cast, in a court complex instead of taking her on a stretcher or wheelchair.

The Commission reminded the Delhi Chief Secretary to pay Rs.25,000 to the victim, Shabnam, the order for which was passed by it in February. The Commission pointed out that it had ordered the compliance report to be sent to it by the Chief Secretary within six weeks, the deadline for which is already over. The incident occurred on March 12 last year at the Karkardooma court complex.

According to reports, Shabnam was injured in the accident in the Khajoori Khas police station limits on March 11, 2011. She was taken to GTB Hospital by the Police Control Room van and discharged the same day.

Since there was no one to look after her at Delhi, she was brought to the police station and kept under the supervision of lady constable Manju because the local police decided to send her to a nari niketan.

The next day, Assistant Sub-Inspector Baldev Raj, along with constables Nisha, Sudha and Pradeep Kumar, went to the GTB Hospital for the victim’s medical examination. At around 2.30 p.m., they took her to the Karkardooma Courts.

The Investigating Officer tried to arrange for a wheelchair or a stretcher from the court dispensary, but the same was not available. However, the vigilance report of Delhi Police sent to the NHRC found the claim was incorrect.

The report said a show cause notice for “censure” was issued by Delhi Police to Mr. Raj for his misconduct and poor handling of the victim.

The NHRC later observed: “…By doing so, the police personnel have betrayed their insensitivity and scant respect towards the victim and by their inhuman act they have violated her human right to dignity. Consequently, the State is liable to compensate the victim”

Later the Commission ordered payment of compensation — Rs.25,000 — to the victim. The NHRC felt: “…Upholding the dignity and rights of women in today’s society is of prime importance and the State functionaries have to lead by example in this endeavour. Such acts, if any, should be condemned. Women rights and their dignity should not be compromised under any circumstances…”












Rajoana’s case: Govt to take all possible legal steps, says CM


PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 24,2012

Chandigarh, Mar 24 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal today said his government would take all possible legal steps pertaining to death row convict Balwant Singh Rajoana even as SAD’s core committee would meet here tomorrow to discuss the issue threadbare. “My government has been taking advice from legal experts. All possible legal steps will be initiated pertaining to Rajoana’s case,” he told reporters here and in Patiala. Yesterday, the Sikh clergy directed him and SGPC head Avtar Singh Makkar to make efforts to save Rajoana, a convict in the assassination of former Chief Minister Beant Singh, from the gallows. The highest Sikh temporal body, the Akal Takht, had also directed the SGPC chief to meet the President and the Prime Minister to save Rajoana who is scheduled to be hanged in Patiala Central jail on March 31. On seeking clemency for Rajoana, the Chief Minister said he had great faith and respect for the Akal Takht and his government would initiate all possible legal steps regarding Rajoana’s case. “I appeal to the people of Punjab to maintain hard earned peace and communal harmony in the state,” he said. SAD chief Sukhbir Singh Badal had summoned an emergency meeting of the party’s core committee here tomorrow to discuss the issue. The Chief Minister and Makkar would attend the meeting, Shiromani Akali Dal secretary Daljit Singh Cheema said. Additional District and Sessions Judge, Chandigarh, Shalini Nagpal had earlier this month issued a warrant of death sentence against the Babbar Khalsa terrorist. A special CBI court had awarded death sentence to Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara in the Beant Singh case on August 1, 2007.











Chief Justice for legal advice clinics in jails


TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 02.34AM IST

HYDERABAD: Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh high court Madan B Lokur visited the Central Prison, Chanchalguda, on Saturday. During his visit, he suggested a provision for better access to legal aid to the prisoners.

According to prisons department officials, the chief justice suggested that ‘Legal Advice Clinics’ should be opened in the jail so that inmates can get legal aid whenever required.

As of now, officers of the Andhra Pradesh Legal Services Authority visit jails regularly and talk to prisoners to find out if anyone needs legal aid. What the chief justice has now suggested is something which reportedly exists in Tihar jail where officers are available at a particular room and accessible to the prisoners anytime. Legal aid is given to such prisoners who cannot afford to hire their own advocates.

Additional inspector general (IG) of the prisons department B Sunil Kumar said that steps would be taken to set up ‘Legal Advice Clinics’ at Chanchalguda prison, to begin with. The chief justice also examined the video conferencing facility at the jail. He spoke to a magistrate at Nampally jail through video conferencing. He also discussed with prison authorities the possibility of extending the facility to other prisons and courts.

Chief Justice Lokur also went around the prison barracks and interacted with some of the prisoners. He visited the Special Prison for Women, too.












Govt to try every legal solution: CM on Rajoana issue


Ravinder Vasudeva
Patiala, March 24, 2012

Punjab chief minister and Shiromani Akali Dal leader Parkash Singh Badal greets supporters after his party’s win in Punjab assembly polls, in Bathinda. AP Photo/Prabhjot Gill

Emphasising that the state government would not allow disturbance of communal harmony in Punjab at any cost, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Saturday said his administration would make every legal effort possible to resolve the issue born out of death sentence to Balwant Singh Rajoana in the

Beant Singh assassination case.

The chief minister was here on Saturday to inaugurate a cancer treatment centre at Government Rajindra Medical College and Hospital. “The state government is consulting legal experts,” he said, “and it will do everything possible within the legal compulsions.”

From Day One of the issue, the government had been observing the case from every angle, Badal claimed. “Now even the family of former chief minister Beant Singh has stated that it will not object Rajoana getting mercy in the assassination case,” said the CM. “Maintaining peace in the state is of utmost importance.”

The government will take a decision on Sunday, when it has all the legal opinion and views of the other departments concerned, Badal has said. Asked if following the “hukamnama (religious edict)” of the Akal Takht, the government would approach the President to seek unconditional mercy for Rajoana, he replied “if need be, the government will do that”.

“Unha da hukamnama sir matthe… (We respect their edict) but as the government, we have our duties,” said Badal. Known for cool head in every situation, the CM lost his temper a bit during the press conference when a journalist asked him how soon his government would react, since Rajoana was to be hanged in only six days. “Kaka, tere naalon jyada mainu pata hai… (Son, I know better than you),” said a Badal, irritated visibly.

The chief minister also ducked queries about the Akal Takht declaring Dilabar Singh, human bomber in the Beant Singh assassination case, “quami shaheed (martyr of the faith)”. “I will reply what the government will have to do.” he said, “This query you can take to Sri Akal Takht.”

Since Punjab’s peace was hard won, said Badal, the state government had the duty to maintain it at any cost. The chief minister, sitting with Chunni Lal Bhagat, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state legislative party leader and cabinet minister for local bodies and medical education, said the Shiromani Akali Dal and BJP were together on the issue, and there was no harm, if by averting the hanging of any person, they could assure peace in the state.












Ex-mayor’s sons get bail in forgery case


TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 06.27AM IST

VARANASI: After rejection of the bail plea by the additional chief judicial magistrate (II) court, two sons of former mayor late Swaleh Ansari and one other accused in a case of forgery were granted interim bail by the district judge court on Saturday.

According to district government counsel A K Singh, one Chhakaudi of Bajardiha locality under Bhelupur police station limits had moved ACJM-II court with a complaint that Javed Ansari and Naved Ansari, the two sons of former mayor, and Haji Ali Mohammed had committed fraud in purchase and sale of his land and when he raised objection, they threatened him with dire consequences.

He told the court that Ansaris had made an agreement for the purchase of his land in Bajardiha locality against the payment of Rs 1 crore.

Chhakaudi said that he was given Rs 10 lakh as advance but instead of going for the registry of land in their name and paying the remaining amount as per the agreement, Ansari did another agreement of some plots including his land with Mohammed against the payment of Rs 20 crore.

He alleged that when he raised objection over it and said that until the cost of his land is paid and the formality of registry is completed, they can’t sold his land. But instead of paying the money, they threatened him, alleged Chhakaudi.

Taking note of his complaint, the ACJM-II court ordered Bhelupur police to lodge an FIR against the accused persons. As per the court’s order, the police registered a case against Ansari and Mohammed under sections 419, 420, 467, 468, 471, 120B, 504 and 506 of IPC.

Against this development, the accused persons took shelter of high court.

As per the HC order, the hearing on their bail plea took place at ACJM-II court where the accused persons surrendered themselves on Saturday.

After this, the court rejected their plea of interim bail, the plea was moved to district judge court, said Singh adding that the DJ court granted interim bail to all the accused persons and fixed March 28 as the next date for hearing in this case.









Divorce epidemic due to sex-starved marriages’


Abhinav Garg, TNN | Mar 25, 2012, 02.29AM IST

NEW DELHI: Sex-starved marriages leading to divorce are becoming an “epidemic”, the Delhi high court has observed, while granting divorce to a husband, maintaining that denial of sex by his wife amounted to mental cruelty.

The man argued that in the five months he and his wife stayed as a couple after marriage, they had sex only 10-15 times. Dismissing the wife’s plea against divorce, Justice Kailash Gambhir noted in his order earlier this week: “Although it is difficult to exactly lay down as to how many times any healthy couple should have sexual intercourse in a particular period of time as it is not a mechanical but a mutual act, there cannot be any two ways about the fact that marriage without sex will be an insipid relation.”

According to case records, the couple married in February 1991 but the wife left five months later.

The Delhi high court has granted divorce to a husband, maintaining that denial of sex by his wife amounted to mental cruelty.

The court was hearing her appeal against the decision of a lower court to grant divorce to the husband. Denying her husband’s charges, she sought the marriage to be restituted.

The man, however, claimed that she had refused to have sex with him on the wedding night and was thereafter unresponsive; she “was like deadwood when he had sexual intercourse with her”. Dismissing the wife’s plea, Justice Gambhir stressed the importance of a healthy sexual relationship between a normal couple, though there may be exceptions.

“The sanctity of sexual relationship and its role in re-invigorating the bond of marriage is getting diluted and as a consequence more and more couples are seeking divorce due to sexual incompatibility and absence of sexual satisfaction,” Gambhir said. “That ‘the twain shall become one flesh, so that they are no more twain but one’…(is the) real purpose of marriage .”

The court also took into account the wife’s refusal to participate in traditional ceremonies and quarrels with her in-laws. The husband had also accused her of trying to steal jewellery from her mother-in-law. The fact that she slapped a dowry harassment in the Crime Against Women Cell only case to later unconditionally withdraw it, also raised HC’s suspicions that her denials were baseless.

While acknowledging that “what happens in the four walls of the matrimonial home and what goes inside the bed room of a couple is either known to them or at the most members of the family”, Justice Gambhir found the testimony of the husband more creditworthy because his father seconded it while the wife failed to provide any evidence in her favour.












Pay pension in two months: HC to government


Express News Service

UDHAGAMANDALAM: Recalling his struggle to get freedom fighter’s pension, 88-year-old L Ari Gowder said, “I made my second application in December 2, 1995 to get my pension. Since I kept fighting, my matter was placed before the District Screening Committee led by the collector on July 22, 2005.

The screening committee recommended pension for me on July 27, the same year. No response came from the state government for five years. Hence, legal notice was sent on Dec 10, 2009. The government passed the rejection order on Jan 29, 2010 on the ground of absence of documents in support of my claims.”

Hence, A Bobblie, counsel for Ari Gowder filed writ petition in the High Court on March 17, 2011 and the petition was allowed on December 22, 2011.

High Court Justice S Rajeswaran issued direction to the state government on March 12, 2012, to grant pension to Ari Gowder. The Judge observed: ”Considering the age of the petitioner and the claim sought for is freedom fighter pension, the ends of justice would be met with by directing the respondents to pay the pension from the day of filing the writ petition before this court, i.e. 17th September 2010.

The amount of pension entitled to be given to the petitioner may be calculated from that date and arrears should be paid within a period of two months from the date of receipt of a copy of this order.

Subsequent pension may also be paid periodically to him as being done in the case of others, without fail.”










Kani moves Delhi HC in 2G case


Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Rajya Sabha MP Kanimozhi on Friday moved the Delhi High Court, averring that the charges against her in the 2G spectrum scam were false and sought that they be quashed.

Her counsel Balaji Subramaniam pleaded that his client had no role in granting 2G licences and there was no evidence to charge her in the scam. Another contention of Kanimozhi was that she was only a shareholder of Kalaignar TV, and as a shareholder she could not be made liable under criminal law.

She was arrested because Kalaignar TV, partly owned by her, allegedly served as the landing place for a Rs 214-crore bribe for the then telecom minister A Raja.

The money was sent, according to the CBI, by Swan Telecom which had won an out-of-turn telecom licence from Raja in 2008.








Bribery: HC dismisses Customs officials plea


Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday dismissed the petitions filed by Customs officials seeking to discharge them from the charges framed against them in connection with the CBI’s surprise inspection at the Karipur International Airport in Kozhikode in November 2005.In all, 36 Customs officials have been charged with conspiracy and abuse of official position for monetary gain and a chargesheet filed against them in 2007.

Justice P Bhavadasan dismissed the pleas of B Unnikrishnan of the Customs Department and seven others challenging the CBI Special Court order.

The court observed that the prosecution was able to establish the offences against the accused.

The prosecution has produced documents to show that large amounts of unaccounted money were recovered from the bags and tables of some of the officers at the airport.

The CBI had conducted raids following a specific complaint that Customs officials were demanding bribe from low-paid employees who were returning from the Gulf.










Fake passports case: HC allows 3 arrested NRIs to leave India


United News Of India
Moga , March 24, 2012Three NRIs arrested by Special Investigation Team (SIT) in the infamous 2008 Moga passport scandal have been allowed to leave the country as all three furnished surety bonds of Rs 25 lakh each three days ago. The Punjab and Haryana High Court had ordered they will have to return within four

months, and also furnish bail bonds before Faridkot district and sessions court.

The NRIs identified as Shamsher Singh of Jalandhar, Amandeep Singh of Gurdaspur and Manjinder Singh of Kapurthala districts were granted permission by the high court to visit and stay with their families for a maximum period of four months.

The high court had also directed them to furnish surety bonds of Rs 25 lakh each in the court of additional district and sessions judge and that they must return to India within four months.

The SIT arrested all the three accused from Indira Gandhi International Airport in January on the alleged charges of producing fake passports with fake documents and fake addresses in connivance the kingpins of the passport scandal — policemen then posted in SSP office.

The accused, who were in judicial custody, moved the high court for the release of their passports so that they could go back to their families in Germany and United Kingdom.

They pleaded that pending the trial in the passport scam, their families need their support.

In this infamous fake passport scam, police had so far arrested 84 people, including policemen, postmen, regional passport office employees and travel agents.













Demarcate red zone around Dehu depot: HC


Published: Saturday, Mar 24, 2012, 15:26 IST
By Partha Sarathi Biswas | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

In an interim order, the Bombay High Court (HC), has ordered the Pune district collector to initiate the process of demarcating the boundaries of ‘red zone’ (no-development area) around Dehu Road Ammunition Depot.

The order was passed by a bench of two judges on Monday, while hearing a writ petition filed by Shiv Sena corporator Seema Savale.

The petition accused the Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) of violating red zone code around the Depot.

Savale, in February last year, had obtained documents and copies of letters by the army’s Southern Command to the civic body urging it not to allow constructions in the prohibited ‘red zone’ around the Depot.

Savale, in her petition, accused the PCMC of proceeding with construction of 11,760 tenements in Sector 22 of Nigdi under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) scheme.

She also alleged that the civic body had carried out the project under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), in the ‘red zone’ around the ammunition depot.

As per the Works of Defence Act, 1903, land within 2,000 yards of a defence establishment should be kept free of any constructions.

The HC ordered the district collector to complete the survey of the land around the Depot and map the ‘red zones’ around the area and submit the report before the HC by September 18, 2012.

The court also asked the civic body to file a reply to Savale’s allegations that the SRA project was being undertaken without obtaining environmental clearance, before next Wednesday.

Directing the civic body not to issue occupation certificates or allotment letters to the buildings in the area without prior permission of the court, it also stated that development on the disputed plot will be “at their own risk as to the costs and consequences thereof, and they are required to remove the construction at their own costs, if the court so directs at the final disposal of the petition and no equity can be claimed at a later stage.”

The Centre allocated Rs225 crore for the project, which started in 2007. Savale alleged that the PCMC had violated the Works of Defence Act, 1903, and the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986.

She also alleged that the PCMC had kept the central government in the dark about the ‘red zone’ when it sent the proposal of the SRA project for approval.














Builder moves HC to quash complaint of caste discrimination


Express news service : Mumbai, Sun Mar 25 2012, 02:10 hrs



A city developer has moved the HC to quash a 2010 complaint by a woman alleging he, in connivance with government officers, had ousted her from her land in Khar and discriminated against her on account of her caste.

In her complaint in 2010, Mahendra Shirke, the power of attorney holder for Gaurabai Kamble, who is his aunt, had said the 35.65 sq m plot near Khar Danda was allotted to her husband Laxman, who died in 1991. Kamble had constructed five rooms on the land, she said, of which her family lived in one while others were given to her relatives. According to her, Zodiac Developers, Bhojwani Builders and government officers including former collector, (Mumbai Suburban) SS Zende and Ramdas Zhalke, the then tehsildar of Andheri, had connived against her.

Ramesh Shah, MD, Zodiac Builders, has contended before the HC that Kamble had “without reason, with a view to extort a money from the petitioner (Shah) started this witch hunt.” Shah’s lawyer Raja Thakare told the court that Kamble was not in possession of the said land. Thakare said the complaint was pending since 2010 and deserved to be quashed.

Shirke’s complaint before the special SC/ST court of the additional chief metropolitan magistrate at Bandra, however, said Zende passed an order on October 9, 2003, stating Kamble breached a lease condition stated in an agreement of March 15, 1995 and ordered her eviction.

“The order was passed only to give effect to common intention between the accused in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy between them to dispossess the complainant’s (Shirke) aunt (Kamble), a member of SC, from her land and for this false and malicious legal proceedings were instituted,” the woman’s complaint stated.

Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode asked additional public prosecutor Madhavi Mhatre to inform the court about the progress of investigations into the complaint.

While other occupants of the land were rehabilitated in redevelopment scheme undertaken by builders and developers, Kamble said she was discriminated against. She had pressed charges under the SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989 and IPC against the builders and government officials concerned.


LEGAL NEWS 23.03.2012

CAG’s letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh


The following is the full text of the letter sent by Comptroller and Auditor General Vinod Rai to PM Manmohan Singh on March 22

Respected Pradhan Mantriji,

The Times of India today carries a lead story titled “Government lost Rs 10.7 lakh cr by not auctioning coal blocks: CAG”. The news item goes on to give details of an earlier draft report prepared by the office of the Pr. Director of Commercial Audit – II relating to coal mining. The news item states “The 110 page draft report, a copy of which available with Times of India”. This evidently implies that a copy of the draft report or some of its extracts are either in the possession of the reporter or have been seen by him. Naturally leakage of this draft report may attract an allegation that the “CAG leaks”. It would console me immensely if the source of the leak is investigated.

As I had stressed earlier in my letter to you on July 5, 2011, I am not in a position to repudiate such an allegation as the leak could have been from my office or from the department to which this draft report was made available on 28.2.2012. I had emphasized that since I have no assurance in this regard, I cannot make any assertion to you. Nevertheless, such leaks of reports which are under preparation to be tabled in the Legislature, or providing replies on such audit queries under RTI which can often be misleading, are issued with which we have been struggling to find a solution.

Since all reports of the CAG, which are prepared under Article 151 of the Constitution, are to be laid in the Parliament/Legislative Assembly, we feel that leaking these reports at the preparation stage itself before they are tabled in the House, may attract breach of privilege of the House. We have been repeatedly orchestrating this view and last took it up with the hon’ble Speaker, Lok Sabha on 24.8.2011 and with Secretary General, Lok Sabha on 1.9.2011 (copies enclosed). However, based on an input provided by the then Secretary General, Lok Sabha to the Central Information Commission, the commission has ruled that RTI queries seeking information on audit memos have to be satisfied. Not being content with this decision of the Central Information Commission, I had personally taken up the issue with the hon’ble Speaker of Lok Sabha. The hon’ble finance minister and the hon’ble minister for parliamentary affairs were also present in a discussion which was held in the chamber of the hon’ble Speaker on August 18, 2011. In the discussion, a view emerged that this could lead to breach of privilege, and hence we decided to contest the decision of the Central Information Commission and filed a writ in the High Court on December 8, 2011. The hon’ble High Court, while disposing the writ has taken cognizance of the legal issues raised in our petition. These are to be determined in an appropriate case, as the impugned order of the Central Information Commission had already been implemented. In the light of the decision of the hon’ble court we are subsequently not making available information pertaining to audit memos under the RTI.






Bad deal: High court bans rummy for stakes


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 01.33AM IST

CHENNAI: Have cardsharps in the city been dealt their last hand? The Madras high court on Thursday held that playing rummy for stakes amounts to gambling and is illegal. The court said the police could take action against people playing the 13-card game for money.

Several clubs in the city and several parts of Tamil Nadu host rummy tournaments on daily basis, and several crores of rupees change hands daily in these games.

A division bench, comprising Justice D Murugesan and Justice P P S Janarthana Raja, passed the order on a writ appeal by the director-general of police, the city commissioner of police, the deputy commissioner of police, T Nagar police range, and the inspector of Pondy Bazaar police station. The officials had challenged a single judge order delivered on November 4, 2011 holding that rummy was a game of skill and police could not treat it as an illegal activity.

The case started with a raid on Mahalakshmi Cultural Association in T Nagar on August 10, 2011. Police officers said they found 56 people playing rummy for stakes and seized 178 chips and Rs 6.95 lakh from them. The police charged 57 people with various gambling-related offences after the raid.

The club moved the court to seek that the police be restrained from interfering with activities of the association including the hosting of rummy games with or without stakes. The bench was also called to adjudicate whether rummy was a game of skill or of chance.

Citing a Supreme Court order governing the game, the judges said, “From the judgment of the apex court, it appears to us that if rummy is played with stakes, the police have authority to take action as per the provisions of the Chennai City Police Act, even though the game involves skill.” If rummy is played without stakes, the penal provisions are not applicable, they said.

“Playing cards for stakes has two evils,” the judges said. “It corrupts the mind of the players, making them addicts, and it makes most of the players bankrupt,”

If an establishment is used for this activity, it will be termed a gambling house, the judges said. “It is illegal if members or guests or the club makes a profit out of gambling.”











HC summons home secretary, additional DGP


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 01.39AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has summoned home secretary and additional director general of police (Law & Order) on March 26 in connection with inadequate security provided to the judges and lawyers concerned with the Ayodhya title suits.

A division bench of Justice DP Singh and Justice DK Upadhyay on Thursday passed the above order on writ petition filed by a concerned lawyer Ranjana Agnihotri. The petitioner had said that banned SIMI and Indian Mujahideen terrorists had done a recce of the court premises and the judges who delivered verdict in the suits and Hindu side lawyers have been their target.












Prohibitory orders challenged


CHENNAI: A public interest writ petition challenging clamping of Section 144 of the CrPC in Radhapuram taluk of Tirunelveli district was filed in the Madras High Court on Wednesdy.

The prohibitory order, valid till April 2, was issued by the Tirunelveli District Collector in view of the ongoing agitations by the members of anti-Koodankulam movement and the re-opening of the plant on March 19.

In his petition, advocate P Pugalenthi submitted that the prohibitory order had been issued with a view to prevent the villagers of the entire taluk from moving one place to another.

Its residents had been virtually under house arrest since March 20. Under the guise of exercising his powers, the Collector, for maintaining public peace had issued the orderdepriving people of basic rights. No material was disclosed for the issuance of the order.

“The agitators were carrying on protests for months, peacefully. Till the conclusion of Sankarankoil by-poll on March 18, the State remained satisfied that the taluk was a peaceful place. The moment the election was over, it came to a conclusion that there was no peace and hence, the people were to be imprisoned. All of a sudden, the taluk had become a place of riots and chaos in the opinion of the law enforcing authorities,” the petitioner contended.









Activate DND on lawyers phone


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed Bharti Cellular Limited (Airtel) to activate forthwith the ‘Do Not Disturb’ (DND) facility to two mobile phones owned by noted lawyer K Ramakrishna Reddy of Anna Nagar. Justice S Rajeswaran gave the direction on March 22, while admitting a writ petition from Reddy, praying for a direction to the service provider to pay a sum of Rs. 5.20 lakh for not activating the DND facility for about a year despite repeated representations and reminders since March last year. Petitioner contended that he had been receiving scores of commercial SMSes on his two cell-phones daily. He, being a busy advocate, was disturbed and annoyed by the messages. On March 4 last year, he sent a letter to the company to activate the DND facility forthwith.










Woman seeks police protection for husband


PTI | 11:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Madurai, Mar 22 (PTI): A woman, whose husband has been arrested and charged with being involved in the kidnap of a DMK functionary last month, today filed a writ petition in the Madurai bench of Madras High Court, seeking protection for him as she feared police would kill him in a fake encounter. In her petition, she said her husband Selvam and his two friends were arrested from Dindigul on March 12 and another one of his friends ‘killed’ in an encounter that day.The three were remanded to judicial custody the following day. She said she feared police would kill her husband in a similar manner as he was witness to their crime. The woman said during her visit to the prison on Mar 19 to see him,Selvam had told her police had physically assaulted him and kept a gun to his head, threatening to kill him. She alleged an Inspector had even told Selvam he would be killed while being taken in a van and they would state later he had been killed while trying to escape from police. The woman said her representations to all officials concerned, including the Home Secretary, had not borne fruit. She alleged police were foisting cases against him and that he continued to face threats to his life and prayed for a direction that he be given protection. Police had on Mar 12 said DMK’s Kovalur secretary in Ramanathapuram district, Kathiravan,had given a complaint that he was kidnapped by the gang. Police had surrounded a lodge where the gang,led by Selvam, were holed up and asked them to surrender, but were threatened by them.Fearing they would be attacked an Inspector opened fire killing one of them police said. Selvam and the others were later arrested.







RWITC, Army to meet on Saturday


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 01.48AM IST

MUMBAI: The representatives of the Army and the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) will meet for the first time on Saturday after the Bombay High Court directed them to find an amicable solution on the stand off over racecourse land dispute.

According to sources, it is going to be a crucial meeting as the hearing of the RWITC’s writ against Army is scheduled for Monday. Sources also claim that it is highly unlikely that in the meeting the Army will agree to any of the demands of the RWITC unless the latter withdraws writ.

The failure of the RWITC to get any interim relief from court is a clear set back in its effort to get army to soften its stand on various issues that were petitioned by it.

In fact RWITC chairman Vivek Jain has been advocating to sit across the table with the Army and also had few meetings with Army officials in the past till the majority of the managing committee members decided otherwise and decided to battle it out in court.

It is expected that the club officials will meet on Sunday to take a call on withdrawing the writ after its first meeting with the Army officials.

Sources claim that the club’s legal advisors are of the opinion that writ be withdrawn.

Even if the club withdraws its current writ petition, whose admission is still pending before the HC, it will have the liberty to file a fresh writ petition in the scenario where they are unable to reach an agreement with the army over the usage of the racecourse land.













Do not play rummy for gain: High Court tells cultural association in T. Nagar


The Madras High Court on Thursday directed a cultural association of T. Nagar to not allow its members or guests to play rummy with stakes and make a profit or gain. The police can take action if any illegal activity is carried on in the association premises, it said.

A Division Bench comprising Justices D. Murugesan and P.P.S. Janarthana Raja passed the judgment on an appeal by police against a single Judge’s order on November 4 last year.

Originally, the Mahalakshmi Cultural Association filed a writ petition seeking an order to forbear the police from interfering in any manner in the association’s activities, including that of playing rummy with or without stakes and also from harassing its members and guests. As rummy was a game of skill and not gambling, the association sought directions in the writ petition.

A single Judge having found that rummy was a game of skill and that the police could not treat it as an illegal activity, disposed of the petition with directions which included that the association should not indulge in any illegal activity other than playing rummy (13 cards) with stakes by its members and guests.

Challenging this, the Director-General of Police and other police authorities filed the present appeal.

Modifying the single Judge’s order, the Bench said rummy was only a game of skill even though an element of chance was also involved. If the game was played by the members or guests without stakes, the Chennai City Police Act would not be attracted.

The Bench said a finding of the Supreme Court that rummy was a game of skill should be understood in the context it was rendered in, on the basis of evidence adduced by prosecution in that case. A reading of the judgment appeared that in the event rummy was played with stakes the police had the authority to take action under the Chennai City Police Act even though the game involved a skill and in that event, Section 49 (Saving of games of skill) could not be pressed into service.

Though the provision excluded the provisions of Sections 42 to 48 in the event rummy which was a game of mere skill was played, nevertheless, the said provision should be understood to mean that so long as the game was played without stakes, the penal provisions were not applicable.

On the other hand, in the wake of the definition of “gaming” in the law, in the event rummy was played with stakes, it would amount to gambling. In that event Section 49 could not be pressed into service.

The Bench said in respect of the FIR registered against 56 persons and others who were said to have indulged in illegal gambling as per a raid in August 2011, the police could proceed further and it was for the association, its members and their guests to defend the same as the criminal action was initiated after a valid raid by the police. The police should not disturb the association frequently under the guise of inspection without there being any reliable information regarding illegal activities of the association or its members or guests, the court said.








Over 16K cases in five family courts


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 01.11AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Family courts in six districts of the state have 16,781 pending cases. And of these around 13% have been pending for five years or more.

In reply to Jodia MLA Raghavji Patel’s question, the government told the House that Vadodara has the maximum pendency in the state. The family courts exist only in Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat, Junagadh, Vadodara and Godhra in Panchmahals.

The state government said that as on September 30, 2011, 220 cases were pending for over 10 years, while another 117 cases were pending for nine years.

Vadodara district has highest number of cases that have been dragging for over five years. Their number stood at 1,412. Of the 220 cases that have been going on for over five years, Vadodara accounts of for 169.

The law department said that the apex court keeps a close watch on the pendency of the cases. However, the government from time to time also issues directives for disposal of cases which were pending for long time.





High Court slams state government for failing to act against private bus operators


TNN Mar 22, 2012, 12.29PM IST

NAGPUR: The Bombay high court blasted Maharashtra government for its failure to act against private bus operators who ‘exorbitantly’ hike fares during the peak season. It observed that the operations, sans government monitoring, must be termed ‘illegal’.

A division bench comprising – justices Dilip Sinha and Vijaya Tahilramani – was hearing a PIL filed by a Nagpur and Pune-based NGO, Sahyog Trust, which contended that bus operators with interstate licenses prefer to operate only within Maharashtra, charge exorbitant fares during festivals and vacations.

The judges directed the state to file a reply as to how it monitors private bus operators and directed the government to come up with details of any policy or guidelines in regard to their operations. They also expanded the scope of PIL by allowing the NGO to include private bus operators as respondents. “The trend to charge exorbitant fares is prevalent now in the aviation sector and there is no control over it too,” the judges said.

Earlier, Maharashtra State Road Transport Corporation (MSRTC)’s counsel GS Hegde said private operators obtain permits for plying buses from one state to another, but run them on lucrative routes within the state, thus eating into MSRTC’s profit. This is illegal but the state has not taken any action. We have written to the government in this regard many a times, Hegde added.

The petitioners claimed that there is no government regulation to check bus fares. Citing an example, the NGO stated that the routine ticket rates from Nagpur to Pune range between Rs 400 and Rs 600, which jumps to Rs 1,500 during the peak season. “In the festive season and weekends when people prefer to go home, the private operators take undue advantage of the situation and exploit hapless travellers,” the petitioners argued.

Sahyog Trust members in Nagpur, lawyer Smita Sarode-Singalkar and Ravindra Bhusari, had launched a signature campaign to gain support from the citizens who frequently travel to Pune. Their counsels, Asim Sarode and Kiran Kulkarni, pointed out that passengers are not informed about fare hikes in advance and there is no redressal forum to listen to their grievances.






Lawyer fined Rs 1 lakh for frivolous plea


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 03.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a rare instance, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered an advocate to be physically removed from the court room after imposing a cost of Rs 1 lakh for arguing endlessly with a “frivolous” plea for recall of Gujarat governor Kamla Beniwal.

Advocate Asok Pande failed to comprehend repeated warnings from a bench of Justices H L Dattu and A K Dave that exemplary cost would be imposed if he continued with his arguments even after it was made amply clear that it was a frivolous plea and that the court would not entertain it.

If Pande had not argued for more than an hour and stretched the Bench’s patience limit, probably he would have escaped with a simple dismissal of his appeal. This would have entailed him to pay Rs 25,000 cost, which was imposed on him by the Gujarat High Court while dismissing his PIL on the same issue.

But, good sense appeared to have deserted the unusually spirited lawyer, who realized the gravity at the fag end. When it did dawn on him, he kept on apologizing but failed to move the bench, which asked the security men to remove him from the court room.











Petition against Beniwal rejected


Rs. 1 lakh costs imposed on petitioner for wasting Supreme Court’s time

The Supreme Court on Thursday rejected a Public Interest Litigation petition seeking the recall of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal and imposed exemplary costs of Rs. 1 lakh on the petitioner for wasting the court’s time. The petition was rejected at the admission stage.

A Bench of Justices H.L. Dattu and Anil R. Dave initially warned the petitioner Ashok Pande, an advocate, that it would dismiss the petition — which it said was misconceived and misleading. However, Mr. Pande continued with these arguments even as Justice Dattu made it clear that the PIL was a frivolous petition and insisted that the matter should be referred to a Constitution Bench in view of its importance. The Bench then dismissed the petition and imposed Rs. 1 lakh costs and directed him to deposit the amount with the Gujarat Legal Services Authority within a week, failing which a recovery process would be initiated.

Mr. Pande continued with these submissions and tendered an apology. The Bench refused to accept the apology, pointing out that it had warned at the outset about the imposition of costs if he continued with the submissions. Mr. Pande was whisked away from the court when he persisted with the arguments even after the order was passed.

The petitioner had sought removal of the Governor after Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to recall her for having appointed Justice R.A. Mehta as Lokayukta without his consent. He contended that the Governor’s appointment was illegal because Mr. Modi’s consent was not taken prior to her decision.










Congress rift in Andhra Pradesh after election results


Reported by Uma Sudhir with PTI inputs, Updated: March 23, 2012 12:54 IST

Hyderabad:  The Congress in Andhra Pradesh has been battling on many fronts, especially the Telangana issue, which has given Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy a hard time. And adding to his woes are the Congress’ dismal performance in the recently-held by-elections.

Health Minister D L Ravindra Reddy, who sent in his resignation to Congress president Sonia Gandhi yesterday, is coming to Delhi today to meet her. Mr Reddy had resigned yesterday citing the ruling Congress’ poor performance in the by-elections. Mr Reddy reportedly took the blame for the party’s defeat.

The Congress lost all the six seats it contested in Telangana while the Telangana Rashtriya Samiti (TRS) won four, the BJP and an Independent won one each.

The party is also battling criticism from its leaders who belong to the Telangana region. Like K Keshav Rao who has been critical of Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy after his lobbying for Rajya Sabha seat failed.

These ministers and legislators from Telangana are planning a trip to Delhi after the Budget session of state Legislature ends on March 29 to impress upon the party high command the “pressing need” for a clear decision on the contentious statehood demand.

They are expected to tell the high command that “any more indecisiveness will only ruin the party further”, sources said.

But that’s not all. Shankar Rao, who was dropped as the Textiles Minister by the Chief Minister Kiran Kumar Reddy in January this year, has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against Mr Reddy, the Forest Minister, and Principal Secretary Environment and Forests alleging that the disposal of red sandalwood had caused huge loss to exchequer. Mr Rao is the same man who went to court against Jagan Mohan Reddy and was rewarded by being made Textiles Minister. Damodar Rajanarasimha, Deputy Chief Minister and a Dalit leader from Telangana, is also adding to the Chief Minister’s woes by criticising his decisions.

Though Congress is on the backfoot in the state, the Chief Minister’s camp is not ready to take the detractors’ attack kindly and wants to hit back “with facts”.

In an apparent effort to deflect the blame from him, Mr Reddy has asked his so-called ‘loyalists’ to push a report to the Congress high command listing how some senior leaders from Telangana worked against the party to help the TRS.

“There was clear hedging between some senior Telangana Congress leaders and TRS.  Barring Warangal MP S Rajaiah, no other Congress MP from Telangana campaigned for the party candidates and most of the ministers from the region too kept themselves away, taking cover in the ongoing Budget session of Legislature.

“Kiran Kumar took the onus on him and campaigned in all the six constituencies,” his loyalists point out.

They were also compiling the statements made by the Telangana Congress leaders that the party stood no chance of winning even a single seat in the by-elections despite the fact that there was a “positive trend” in a couple of constituencies.

“We came second in four constituencies and also succeeded in curtailing the victory margins considerably as compared to the previous by-elections.

“It only proved that there is no anti-incumbency against the government or antipathy towards the Congress,” the Chief Minister’s loyalists aver.

“The report is almost finalised and we will forward it to Sonia Gandhi immediately,” an MLC in Kiran’s camp said.

The rift is bound to land the Congress in a serious trouble with by-polls to 18 assembly and one Lok Sabha seat coming up in September this year. By-elections to 17 assembly seats are all necessitated by MLAs switching loyalty; one of these by-election will be held in the Telangana region. The 18th by-poll will be held on the Tirupati seat which actor-turned-politician Chiranjeevi quit to to take up Rajya Sabha seat. Election will also be held on the Nellore Lok Sabha seat as one of the loyalists of Jagan Mohan Reddy, Mekapati Ram Mohan, resigned from there.






HC seeks report on March 2 Court clash


Express News Service

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday directed the state government to submit R K Datta’s report on March 2 violence on the City Civil Court premises and directed all the news channels to give unedited clippings that were recorded during the violence.

The HC passed this order while hearing a PIL petition filed by one Ramya. The petitioner had stated that on March 2 there was violation of Article 19 1 (a) (freedom of expression) and sought a CBI inquiry into the incident.

The government counsel said the police collected all the evidence regarding the violence. However, the closed-circuit television (CCTV) camera at KR Circle was not in working condition due to server problem from March 2 to 7, and complaints from advocates, media and public on the incident were registered.

The counsel for petitioner said, CID DGP R K Datta, in his report, stated that he could not identify anybody in the video and photographs that were collected, and requested for a further investigation. However, the state did not order further inquiry and transferred two police officers in connection with the incident.

According to the petitioner, more police officers were involved in the violence. A Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna, which is also hearing a bunch of PILs on the same issue, said March 2 incident was a complete failure in law and order situation. Commenting on the photographs produced by the government, the Bench observed, “Here two advocates are surrounded by policemen holding huge stones in their hands. These are advocates not terrorists.” The Bench further directed all the petitioners to club the PILs and make it one main petition for easy hearings.







State govt to set up own child rights commission


Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:58 hrs



The state government has taken a decision to constitute a separate commission for protection of child rights under the provisions of the Commission for Protection of Child Rights Act and Chief Minister Narendra Modi has given concurrence for the same along with the Finance and Home departments.

This has been informed by the Social Justice and Empowerment Department to the Gujarat High Court in reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) moved by a voluntary organisation demanding direction to the state government to appoint the commission.

The PIL was moved by Ahmedabad-based Dalit Hak Rakshak Manch while contending that under statutory provisions it is mandatory for the state government to appoint the state commission for protection of child rights. But, there is no such commission appointed in Gujarat and the government has entrusted the tasks of the same to the Commission for Protection of Women’s rights.

The petitioner has averred that due to lack of infrastructure the Women’s Commission cannot be given the dual task especially keeping in mind the magnitude of issues and problems concerning women in Gujarat.

It highlighted a range of issues related to child rights in the state like the child labour, immunisation, economic and sexual exploitation of juveniles and other such issues which require to be looked into by the state commission. It added that under the provisions of the Right to Education Act, the Child Rights Commission has been entrusted with the task of overseeing and reviewing the implementation of the Act.

The HC had issued notice to the state government replying to which Deputy Secretary of Social Justice and Empowerment Department, Devendra Bhatt, has submitted an affidavit stating the government has decided to constitute the Child Rights Commission and to create infrastructure within “short time”.

Bhatt has added that the office of the chief minister along with concerned other offices have give necessary endorsement to the same on March 7 and 9.











PIL seeks direction to Centre,TN govt to end power crisis


PTI | 01:03 AM,Mar 23,2012

Madurai,Mar 22 (PTI) A Public Interest litigation,seeking a direction to the centre and state governments to end the power crisis in Tamil Nadu for the past five years was filed today by an advocate at Madurai Bench of Madras High Court. The petitioner, B Stalin, said Tamil Nadu is facing an acute power crisis and the ‘stepmotherly’ treatment meted out by the Centre to the state had resulted in the state being neglected for this period. Major power projects to be executed by central Public Sector Undertakings have been inordinately delayed, he contended. He said government has been fairly successful in partially offseting the deficit by trying to procure power from others by finalising contracts for sizeable quantum of power.But non availability of a transmission corridor had deprived the state of receiving this power, he said. He also prayed for an injunction, restraining government from supplying power from Neyveli Lignite Corporation to other states till the power crisis in Tamil Nadu comes to an end. The petitioner also sought a direction to the union government to cater to the power needs of Tamil Nadu by easing out the electrical transmission corridor, which, he said, is resulting non supply from Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and other northern states.











PIL asks why son cant represent father in case


Published: Thursday, Mar 22, 2012, 17:12 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

An interesting question of law has been raised before the Gujarat High Court by a Rajpipla resident on Wednesday. Divyesh Doshi has filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) demanding that he should be allowed to appear and argue a case instead of his father. The PIL is likely to come up for hearing soon. Divyesh has also requested the court to allow all citizens to appear in criminal case on behalf of their relatives so as to avoid paying fees to lawyers.

Divyesh filed the PIL as he was not allowed to argue on behalf of his father in capacity of party-in-person in a case filed before the high court. While delivering the order recently, justice BN Mehta said that the rules don’t permit a layman to represent a case of other litigant, who appeared as party-in-person.

According to case details, Divyesh was implicated in 2006 under various charges including Atrocities as he allegedly entered into a scuffle and made a casteist remarks against an officer of the office of the Sub-divisional Magistrate. When he was sent to jail, his father Harihar Joshi bailed him out the next day by depositing Rs5,000 as bail amount. It was seized by the court officials when Divyesh did not remain present before the court.

His father, Harihar Joshi, therefore, filed a case in high court last year seeking back the deposited amount. Joshi did not hire a lawyer and did not appear for the argument. Instead, his son Divyesh appeared before the court but ultimately even he was not allowed to argue.






SC junks PIL against Beniwal, slaps fine–slaps-fine/927385/


Express news service : New Delhi, Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:18 hrs

The Supreme Court on Thursday threw out a PIL questioning the appointment of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal and seeking her removal for appointing state Lokayukta disregarding the Chief Minister’s objections, calling the petition frivolous.

The court imposed exemplary costs of Rs 1 lakh on Ashok Pande, the lawyer who filed the petition, for “wasting the precious time of the court”.

Efforts by Pande to convince the court with folded hands to recall its decision to impose the fine ended up with him being forcibly led out of the courtroom.

A Bench of Justices H L Dattu and A K Dave had warned Pande at the outset of the hearing that the court would be compelled to slap costs on him if he persisted to go ahead and argue his petition. The Supreme Court asked him to withdraw the petition. But the lawyer went on to argue his matter for over an hour, raising all sorts of issues.

Pande will have to deposit the costs to the Gujarat Legal Services Authority within a week failing which recovery process would be initiated.











SC bins PIL seeking Guv’s ouster, fines petitioner and orders him


Express news service : New Delhi, Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:51 hrs



The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a PIL seeking removal of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on an advocate for filing the “misconceived” and “misleading” petition.

A bench of justices H L Dattu and A K Dave took strong exception that advocate Ashok Pande, a native of UP, “misused” the public interest litigation.

At the very beginning of the hearing, the bench made it clear that the petition was “frivolous” and it would impose heavy cost if the petitioner went ahead with the arguments.

Pande, however, went ahead with his arguments for an hour during which he raised all sorts of issues, including appointing a Constitution bench for his matter.

The matter, which was listed for mentioning, was heard for more than an hour by the bench, which is normally not allowed.

In the end, the bench dismissed his petition seeking direction to the President to recall the Gujarat Governor and imposed a cost of Rs 1 lakh on him. The bench said Pande would have to deposit the cost to the Gujarat Legal Services Authority within a week failing which recovery process would be initiated.

The petitioner, however, made submissions even after the order was dictated and then sought apology with folded hands.

Not sympathising with his gesture, the bench told him it had warned him at the beginning of the hearing and called the security to take him away as he continued with his arguments.

The lawyer was taken out of court room forcibly by a security guard.

He had approached the apex court after the Gujarat High Court order dismissed his PIL for recall of the Governor and slapped him with a penalty of Rs 25,000 for frivolous litigation.

He had sought removal of the Governor after Chief Minister Narendra Modi wrote a letter to the Prime Minister seeking to recall her for appointing Justice (retired) R A Mehta as Lokayukta without his consent.

Pande had sought recall of the Governor on the ground that her appointment itself was void because the Centre had not taken Modi’s consent before making her the Governor.

The bench even told him it was difficult to make it out whether he was seeking recall of the Governor or questioning the way she was appointed.






NHRC orders Rs 25,000 relief to woman dragged by cop

Express news service : New Delhi, Fri Mar 23 2012, 02:33 hrs


The National Human Rights Commission has asked the Delhi government to pay Rs 25,000 as compensation to a woman with a fractured leg, who was dragged by a police officer at the Karkardooma Court Complex in March last year.

An NHRC spokesperson said the Delhi government informed them that an administrative approval has been given for paying the compensation amount.

“However, the Commission is yet to receive a compliance report along with the proof of payment from the Chief Secretary of Delhi, who had been given six weeks’ time on February 8 to respond,” the spokesperson said.

The incident dates back to March 11, 2011, when the victim, identified as Shabnam, was injured in a road accident in the Khajoori Khas area. The police, in its report to the Commission on April 7, said the injured was taken to the GTB Hospital in the PCR van. She was discharged from the hospital on the same day.

“Since there was no one to look after her in Delhi, she was brought to the police station and kept under the supervision of a lady constable because the local police decided to send her to Nari Niketan,” the report from the Additional Commissioner of Police (Vigilance) said.

The report also states that on March 21, “ASI Baldev Raj, along with lady constables Nisha and Sudha and constable Pradeep Kumar, went to the GTB Hospital for the medical examination of the injured, and after the medical examination, she was taken to Karkardooma Courts at about 2.30 pm.”

“The investigating officer tried to arrange for a wheelchair or stretcher from the Court dispensary, but the same was not available, a claim which was not found to be correct. The injured was restored to her mother Sanno Begam,” the police report stated.

The report also said a showcause notice for “censure” was issued to ASI Baldev Raj for his misconduct and poor handling.

“The Commission observed that by doing so, the police personnel have shown their insensitivity and scant respect towards the victim, and by their inhuman act they have violated her human right to dignity. Consequently, the State is liable to compensate the victim,” the spokesperson said.

Thereafter, a showcause notice was issued to the Delhi government on June 22, but no response was received, despite a reminder on August 25.

“On February 8 this year, the Commission concluded that it is assumed that the government of Delhi has nothing to say against its showcause notice, and recommended Rs 25,000 as monetary relief to the victim, directing the Chief Secretary to submit compliance report along with proof of payment within six weeks, deadline for which is already over,” the spokesperson said.











Chance accident in Delhi reunites a Bihar family — after seven


Jayant Sriram : New Delhi, Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:08 hrs

For seven years, a family in Bihar had no clue about their younger son’s whereabouts. Unable to find a job, he had left home all of a sudden. But a chance accident in Delhi last month has reunited the family.

Knocked down by a Delhi Transport Corporation bus, the man was found injured and unconscious on the road. After he was treated, police produced him before a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal to determine the quantum of compensation he should receive from DTC.

Strangely though, the investigating officer, Head Constable Balraj, said that the man should be declared an “unknown person” since he had refused to reveal his name or anything about himself. He was also not carrying any identification.

MACT judge Nirja Bhatia, however, decided that no living person could be declared “unknown” — and decided to question him.

For the first time in days, the man finally spoke. He told the judge that his name was Shivam Giri. “They call me Shivam,” he said. He could not remember why he had come to Delhi or what had he been doing here. After much coaxing, he could recall only two other details — that his father was called Ram Narain, and that his home was in Surbaliya in Bihar.

Noting that the man seemed to be showing signs of emotional trauma, the judge directed the investigating officer to locate Surbaliya and try and establish the man’s identity. The court told the policeman that he should file a report after checking with the local police and revenue authorities.

When Balraj finally reached Surbaliya in Siwan district of Bihar, he sought the help of local authorities to locate a Ram Narain Giri. He met Ram Narain and his wife who told him that they did not know anyone called Shivam but their son Om Prakash had been missing for seven years.

They showed Balraj pictures of Om Prakash from his youth, copies of his voter identity card and school certificates. The policeman was convinced that this was the same person whose case he had been entrusted.

“They said he was mentally unstable a little since he was young and wasn’t able to find a job. He left home suddenly about seven years ago and they didn’t know where he had gone or what he was doing,” Balraj said.

Balraj returned to Delhi with Ram Narain and Om Prakash’s elder brother Umesh. The family was re-united. All three appeared together before the tribunal for a hearing. Ram Narain told the court that the injured had been correctly identified as Om Prakash and that he was now mentally unstable. Rather than stay in Delhi to settle the compensation matter, he has taken his son home to Surbaliya.










Tamil book to get Saraswati Samman


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 23, 2012

Irama Kathaiyum Iramayakalum (Ramkatha and Ramayanas), a Tamil work by eminent writer Dr AA Manavalan, has been chosen for the KK Birla Foundation’s prestigious Saraswati Samman-2011.

The award, instituted in 1991, is recognised as the highest literary honour in the country, and

is given to a work published not more than 10 years before the year of the award in any Indian language mentioned in Schedule VIII of the Constitution.

The book was published in 2005. A selection committee, headed by former CJI RC Lahoti, chose it. The prize money for Saraswati Samman is Rs 7.5 lakh.

Born in 1937, Dr Manavalan is a retired professor and head of department of Tamil at the University of Madras. Previous winners of the award included Harivansh Rai Bachchan and Vijay Tendulkar.










Minors rescued from Thakurpukur house


TNN Mar 22, 2012, 11.35AM IST

KOLKATA: Twenty-eight minors, including 14 girls, were rescued from a home in Thakurpukur on Tuesday night. Representatives from the state Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and two NGOs raided the home with the help of the cops after an inmate complained of sexual abuse by the director of the home. The complaint by the teenage girl has brought to light how safe children are in various shelter homes across the state.

Rita (name changed), an inmate of a home run by the NGO Hope Home escaped from the shelter house few days back. The police found her roaming aimlessly in the Haridevpur area. Police then got in touch with Childline. During the counselling by the Childline volunteers the girl alleged that the inmates were victims of sexual exploitation.

State CWC chairperson Minati Adhikari said the allegations of sexual exploitation were brought in against the director of the organization. The team was also shocked to find that the director could not produce any document licensing the organization to keep the children.

“Though we are yet to delve deeper into the allegations, prima facie it seems that some of them faced molestation from the director,” said Adhikari.

The CWC team, accompanied by representatives from Hive India and Childline, raided Srijani on Tuesday night and took away 14 girls from the home. The boys, though, are still there with police protection.

“It seems that the home was being run by the director only. The fact that the boys and girls were kept in the same premises is creating suspense over how he managed to get the kids there. The home was being run in a very mysterious way,” added Adhikari.

Many of the victims are from places as far as Assam and Nagaland and some of them were only three years old. Efforts are on to contact their parents. Adhikari said the home was neither an orphanage nor a rescue home. It was being run with foreign fund. CWC will file a complaint against the director soon.

It may be noted that the allegation of sexual abuse comes close on the heels of a similar incident reported from a Delhi orphanage. The warden of Araya orphanage allegedly abused the inmates. The matter came to light after the death of an 11-year-old girl in a Delhi hospital.












Take a pragmatic approach in realty cases, Supreme Court tells Judiciary


NEW DELHI: Expressing serious concerns over escalating real estate litigations in the country, the Supreme Court has directed the judiciary to take a pragmatic approach and scrutinise carefully pleadings and documentary evidences in such cases to dissuade frivolous litigations.

“Litigation pertaining to valuable real estate properties is dragged on by unscrupulous litigants in the hope that the other party will tire out and ultimately would settle with them by paying a huge amount.

This happens because of the enormous delay in adjudication of cases in our courts. If pragmatic approach is adopted, then this problem can be minimised, to a large extent,” said a bench comprising Justice Dalveer Bhandari, Justice HL Dattu and Justice Deepak Verma in its judgement on Wednesday.

It said, “False claims and defences are really serious problems with real estate litigation, predominantly because of everescalating prices of the real estate.” The court said, “It must be the endeavour of judicial officers and judges to ascertain the truth in every matter and no stone should be left unturned in achieving this object. Courts must give greater emphasis on the veracity of pleadings and documents.

“In case, while granting or refusing injunction, the court properly considers pleadings and documents and takes the pragmatic view and grants appropriate profit, then the inherent interest to continue frivolous litigation by unscrupulous litigants would be reduced to a large extent,” it said.

The SC said that the experience has shown that all kinds of pleadings are introduced and even false and fabricated documents are filed in civil cases because there is an inherent profit in continuation of possession.

In a large number of cases, honest litigants suffer and dishonest litigants get undue benefit by grant or refusal of an injunction because the courts don’t critically examine pleadings and documents on record, the bench said.










Sessions court upholds oncologist’s conviction


Published: Friday, Mar 23, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The sessions court on Thursday confirmed the one-day sentence and Rs50,000 fine imposed by a magistrate court on Padma Vibhushan awardee and senior oncologist Dr Prafulla Desai (80), who was found guilty of medical negligence on July 6 last year.

Sessions Judge N Nhavkar dismissed the appeal filed by Dr Desai. Additional public prosecutor Hargun Raisinghania, who argued for the state, confirmed the development.

Desai had appealed in the sessions court after he was found guilty of the charges levelled against him 24 years ago by Dr PC Singhi, a former IAS officer. In his 1989 complaint, Singhi accused the oncologist of not treating his wife Leela, a cancer patient.

Leela died on February 26, 1989, after a 14-month suffering.

As per Singhi’s plaint, on December 22, 1987, Leela was admitted to Bombay Hospital with stomach pain. Singhi accused Desai of trying to operate on Leela, despite knowing that Dr Earnest Greenberg, the New York-based cancer specialist who was seeing her, had advised against it. Dr Desai will now appeal against the sessions court order in the HC.













Cancer surgeon’s conviction upheld by sessions court


Rebecca Samervel, TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 02.29AM IST

MUMBAI: Eight months after a magistrate’s court convicted renowned cancer surgeon Dr Praful B Desai in a medical negligence case, a sessions court on Thursday upheld it.

Judge N V Nhavkar dismissed the revision application filed by the surgeon.

On July 5, 2011, the Esplanade court held Desai guilty in a case filed over two decades ago by P C Singhi, a retired IAS officer. On December 22, 1987, Desai had attempted to operate on cancer patient and Singhi’s wife Leela, even though doctors in the US had said she was ‘inoperable’. He was attached to Bombay Hospital at that time. Leela died at home in 1989. The court found him guilty under Section 338 of the IPC.

Desai had argued that it was not his case. He said Leela was his assistant’s patient and as junior doctors were not allowed to admit patients under their own names, the name of a senior surgeon would appear in the case papers.











No court relief for Bhandarkar in ‘rape’ case


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 02.29AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday came to the rescue of Jet Airways and its chairperson Naresh Goyal but refused to offer any relief to film-maker Madhur Bhandarkar.

The HC has rejected Bhandarkar’s plea to quash an alleged rape case lodged against him by actress Pretti Jain but accepted a plea from Goyal to quash a case of criminal breach of trust arising out of an old leave and licence dispute in Mumbai. Even as it passed the orders, the court laid down a set of guidelines-meant for magistrates and police-which said applications seeking to quash criminal complaints must by and large be first lodged in sessions court and not directly in the high court.

An accused, who wanted to have a case or summons against him or her thrown out, had an alternative remedy of filing a revision application before a sessions judge instead of burdening the HC, said Justice R C Chavan. While quashing the criminal case against Jet and Goyal, the HC imposed Rs 10,000 on each for “encroaching upon scarce judicial time which those languishing in jail for years or those who have a death sentence hanging over them were entitled to”.

The HC said the magistrate must “set up a time table for case disposal after consulting all parties and impose costs for any deviation”. It adds “an arrest must be justified by good reason and it can’t be a matter of course”.

The court was collectively hearing a bunch of 10 mostly high-profile cases, which sought to invoke the power under section 482 of CrPC to have criminal cases against them quashed directly by the high court when proceedings had begun only at the magistrate level. The law does allow an accused to approach the HC to exercise its inherent powers to close a case at such an initial pre-trial stage said counsels including Amit Desai, Shirish Gupte, Mahesh Jethmalani and Ashok Mundergi. Each represented various accused including Pricewaterhouse Coopers Pvt Ltd, Jet Airways, Standard Chartered Bank, Rohit Dhavan, Nana Patekar, Bhandarkar and Krishika Lulla. But Justice Chavan said the law had another remedy, which ought to be exhausted first in most cases, unlike many petitioners who sought to right away “knock on the worn out doors of the HC”. It dismissed most cases including that of Pricewaterhouse Coopers against which a cases was initiated by one Anthony Louis. In the 10-year-old Standard Chartered Bank case, the judge said “delay is deplorable but on that ground alone, the complaint need not be quashed”; he directed the magistrate to hear it in a month. But the HC quashed a case involving the makers and actors-including Nana Patekar-of a film, Marathi Deool, for defiling a place of worship to hurt religious sentiments; it held the magistrate had disregarded mandatory legal provisions.

In Bhandarkar’s case, the court said “proceedings do not prima face show vindictive abuse of process of court by a frustrated actor or model”. According to it, the victim said she had not consented to have sex and such evidence can be shown by Bhandarkar only during his defence and can’t be pre-judged now. The court did not accept the film-maker’s objections to the magistrate’s treatment of Jain’s complaint and how it ignored the cop report. The judge said Jain had made out in her statements, “ingredients of rape and criminal intimidation”. But the HC stayed the proceedings.












Rajoana execution warrant back in Patiala


Ravinder Vasudeva, Hindustan Times
Patiala, March 22, 2012The death warrant of former CM Beant Singh’s convict Balwant Singh Rajoana has come back to Patiala jail authorities. Additional session court Chandigarh sent the warrant and has put a remark asking the jail to execute the order on March 31. The packet of the letter reached the jail in


the afternoon through registered post. Additional session judge Chandigarh Shalini Nagpal had cited a high court ruling on it.

In the remarks, the judge has cited rules and order of the Punjab and Haryana High Court: “If the condemned prisoner has been or should be transferred to another jail, and the superintendent to whom the original warrant of commitment was addressed returns the warrant for execution of the death sentence to the sessions judge with an intimation that the prisoner has been transferred to another jail, the sessions judge shall issue a revised warrant to the superintendent of the jail in which the prisoner is confined”.

With this, the onus of hanging Rajoana has again come on jails department of Punjab, which on Monday had send back the death warrants of Rajoana to the Chandigarh court. It had cited inability to hang him at the Patiala Central Jail, since the case in which he has been pronounced death sentence belong to Chandigarh.

The jail administration of the state is now on tenterhooks, keeping in mind the sensitivity of hanging of Rajoana in Punjab. On Thursday, DGP jails Shashi Kant summoned all his subordinates to his office to find a way out of the situation.

Government sources said a group of legal experts of the state government and the advocate general of the state were also being consulted by the DGP jails. In Patiala, there are indications that if the death sentence is executed in Patiala, a few officials could contemplate retirement.

DGP Jails Shashi Kant, when contacted said the letter has been received by Patiala jail superintendent. “Nothing can be said about the execution of orders, since the case has some legal caveats. Officials are holding meetings and trying to resolve the situartion. Let us hope for the best.”

The jail administration hopes that the execution might be delayed if the Akal Takht, which will meet on Friday, issues  a ‘hukamnama’ (dictate) to Rajoana asking him to appeal against the hanging orders.













Why the Supreme Court is right about Vodafone


Shanti Bhushan : Fri Mar 23 2012, 01:43 hrs



Dissenters like Prashant Bhushan have misunderstood the facts. Also, the suggestion that Chief Justice Kapadia should have recused himself is absurd

I have carefully read the judgment of the bench of Chief Justice Kapadia in the Vodafone tax case. I have also carefully read the article of Prashant Bhushan, published in the Economic and Political Weekly, criticising that judgment. I have also read the judgment of the Bombay high court that has been reversed by the Supreme Court.

The tax dispute in the Vodafone case was described by Chief Justice Kapadia in Para 2 of his judgment, in the following words:

‘‘2. This matter concerns a tax dispute involving the Vodafone Group with the Indian Tax Authorities [hereinafter referred to for short as “the Revenue”], in relation to the acquisition by Vodafone International Holdings BV [for short “VIH”], a company resident for tax purposes in the Netherlands, of the entire share capital of CGP Investments (Holdings) Ltd. [for short “CGP”], a company resident for tax purposes in the Cayman Islands [“CI” for short] vide transaction dated 11.02.2007, whose stated aim, according to the Revenue, was “acquisition of 67% controlling interest in HEL”, being a company resident for tax purposes in India.”

Under the Income Tax Act, only the income which accrues or arises in India alone can be taxed. In the Vodafone case, the question related to tax on capital gains and the two sections of the Income Tax Act which were relevant are Section 45 and Section 9.

Section 45 of the Income Tax Act provides for Income Tax on capital gains and describes the tax in the following terms:

“45 (1) Any profits or gains arising from the transfer of a capital asset effected in the previous year shall, save as otherwise provided in sections… be chargeable to income-tax under the head “capital gains” and shall be deemed to be the income of the previous year in which the transfer took place.”

When such profits and gains arising from the transfer of a capital asset would be deemed to accrue or arise in India, so as to become liable to tax by the tax authorities in India, has been dealt with in Section 9 (1) (i) in the following words.

“9(1) The following incomes shall be deemed to accrue or arise in India :

(i) All income accruing or arising, whether directly or indirectly, through or from any business connection in India, or through or from any property in India, or any asset or source of income in India or through the transfer of a capital asset situate in India.”

As seen above, the capital assets transferred were the entire shareholding of CGP Investments (Holding) Ltd., a foreign company resident in Cayman Island, incorporated on January 12, 1998. The capital assets were purchased by another foreign company resident in Netherlands, namely Vodafone International Holdings BV.

Even the tax authorities accepted that this shareholding could not be regarded as a capital asset in India under Section 9. In fact, the Supreme Court bench rightly dealt with Section 9 in Para 257 (judgment) in the following words:

“257. Section 9 on a plain reading would show it refers to a property that yields an income and that property should have the situs in India and it is the income that arises through or from that property which is taxable. Section 9, therefore, covers only income arising from a transfer of a capital asset situated in India and it does not purport to cover income arising from the indirect transfer of capital asset in India.”

The high court in its judgment and Prashant Bhushan in his article have however, argued that as the object of the transaction was to get indirect control on the Indian company, the Courts should regard the transaction as a device to avoid paying capital gains tax amounting to Rs 12,000 crore and it should have been regarded as the transfer of the shares of the Indian subsidiary company namely HEL. This reasoning is totally fallacious and has no support in law.

The corporate structure of the Hutchison Group and the incorporation of the holding company C.G.P. in 1998 was clearly not for the purpose of this transaction of 2007, and could not possibly be regarded as a device for avoiding capital gains tax on their transaction of 2007. In this connection it is also useful to note that both the transferor, the Hutchison Group and the transferee, the Vodafone group have been paying full taxes on the operation of their venture in India and, as stated by Chief Justice Kapadia in Para 91 of his judgment, have paid an amount of Rs 20242 crore by way of direct and indirect taxes during the eight years from 2002-03 to 2010-11.

It is clear from the Supreme Court judgment that they correctly understood the judgment of the Constitution Bench in the McDowell case as the relevant passages from their judgment extracted below would show:

“64. The majority judgment in McDowell held that “tax planning may be legitimate provided it is within the framework of law” (Para 45). In the latter part of Para 45, it held that “colourable device cannot be a part of tax planning and it is wrong to encourage the belief that it is honourable to avoid payment of tax by resorting to dubious methods”. It is the obligation of every citizen to pay the taxes without resorting to subterfuges. The above observations should be read with Para 46 where the majority holds “on this aspect one of us, Chinnappa Reddy, J. has proposed a separate opinion with which we agree”. The words “this aspect” express the majority’s agreement with the judgment of Reddy, J. only in relation to tax evasion through the use of colourable devices and by resorting to dubious methods and subterfuges. Thus, it cannot be said that all tax planning is illegal/illegitimate/impermissible. Moreover, Reddy, J. himself says that he agrees with the majority. In the judgment of Reddy, J. there are repeated references to schemes and devices in contradistinction to “legitimate avoidance of tax liability” (Paras 7-10, 17 & 18). In our view, although Chinnappa Reddy, J. makes a number of observations regarding the need to depart from the “Westminster” and tax avoidance — these are clearly only in the context of artificial and colourable devices. Reading McDowell, in the manner indicated hereinabove, in cases of treaty shopping and/or tax avoidance, there is no conflict between McDowell and Azadi Bachao or between McDowell and Mathuram Agrawal.

214. One of the tests to examine the genuineness of the structure is the “timing test”, that is, timing of the incorporation of the entities or transfer of shares etc. Structures created for genuine business reasons are those which are generally created or investment is made, at the time where further investments are being made at the time of consolidation etc.”

On the facts of the Vodafone case, however, the Supreme Court reached the only possible conclusion as contained in pr. 163 and 268 of the judgment which are extracted below:

“163. Voting arrangements in SHAs or pooling agreements are not “property”. Contracts that provide for voting in favour of or against a resolution or acting in support of another shareholder create only “contractual obligations”. A contract that creates contractual rights thereby, the owner of the share (and the owner of the right to vote) agrees to vote in a particular manner does not decouple the right to vote from the share and assign it to another. A contract that is entered into to provide voting in favour of or against the resolution or acting in support of another shareholder, as we have already noted, creates contractual obligation. Entering into any such contract constitutes an assertion (and not an assignment) of the right to vote for the reason that by entering into the contract: (a) the owner of the share asserts that he has a right to vote; (b) he agrees that he is free to vote as per his will; and (c) he contractually agrees that he will vote in a particular manner. Once the owner of a share agrees to vote in a particular manner, that itself would not determine as a property.

268. Section 9(1)(i), therefore, in our considered opinion, will not apply to the transaction in question or on the rights and entitlements, stated to have transferred, as a fall out of the sale of CGP share, since the Revenue has failed to establish both the tests, Resident Test as well the Source Test.”

Before concluding, I would also like to make a brief mention to a writ petition which was filed in the Supreme Court asserting that Chief Justice Kapadia should have recused himself from hearing the Vodafone case. In my opinion there could not be a more atrocious suggestion. The law of recusal is well settled. If there are facts, on which a reasonable person could conclude that a judge may not be able to dispense dispassionate justice in a particular case, the judge should recuse himself. The relevant facts are now in the public domain. It is crystal clear that on these facts, no reasonable person could have concluded that Chief Justice Kapadia would not dispassionately hear and decide the Vodafone tax case. The writ petition, in my view, was totally unjustified and has been rightly dismissed by a bench of Justice Aftab Alam.

The writer is a senior advocate in the Supreme Court and a former Union law minister











Accept mistake and return flats: Bombay High Court tells Adarsh society accused

In its scheduled hearing to look into the progress made by investigating agencies into the scam, the court advised the members to surrender their property to the ministry of defence after “realising their mistake”.

The court, which has been extremely critical of the way the sleuths have handled the case, expressed its satisfaction over the CBI’s progress on Thursday. The agency has arrested five persons, including a retired army general and a serving IAS officer, over the last two days.

In a related development, the Maharashtra government informed the high court that it has put under suspension two of its IAS officers allegedly involved in the scam. Citing the country’s security’s “utmost importance”, the division bench of Justices P.B. Majmudar and R.D.

Dhanuka said Adarsh members must be given a chance to accept their mistake and hand over their property to the ministry of defence.

The justices said: “There is nothing wrong in accepting one’s mistake and surrendering before the law. You are not murderers or terrorists or hardened criminals. Give the building back to the defence ministry.”

The judges invoked the values of Mahatma Gandhi and reminded the members of the society that he never pursued physical possessions or wealth and thus he must be emulated by the people in power today. The hint – that he was referring to the politicians and the bureaucrats, who have already come under the scanner for receiving gratifications for illegally sanctioning Adarsh – was not lost on anyone.

The court went to the extent of saying that if the politicians involved in the scam show the courage to accept their mistakes, they would also be remembered like Gandhi. While expressing its fears for the security of the defence establishments close to the building, the court asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) and the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) as to how the clearance was granted to the building without any noobjection certificate (NOC) from the defence ministry. “We have seen terrorists strike vital buildings. This land is close to defence installations. How were the security positions not considered while granting clearance to the building?”

A reply from the BMC and the MMRDA is expected at the next hearing on April 30. The court’s rather appreciative stand for the CBI brought the much-sought relief for the agency, which has constantly been on the receiving end of the court’s wrath for its listless probe in the case.












Anti-gay law a Raj imposition on liberal India: Govt


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 02.54AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday completed its embrace of Delhi High Court’s verdict which de-criminalized consensual sex in private among gay adults, blaming the prevalent hostility to homosexuality to Victorian prudeness.

Prior to 1860, a liberal Indian society was not inimical to homosexuals but the British imposed repressive Victorian moral values by incorporating section 377 in Indian Penal Code to make gay sex an offence, Attorney General G E Vahanvati told the Supreme Court.

“Indian society prevalent before the enactment of the Indian Penal Code had a much greater tolerance for homosexuality than its British counterpart, which at this time was under the influence of Victorian morality and values in regard to family and the procreative nature of sex,” he argued before a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya.

Vahanvati’s pithy articulation showed that government, after early wariness of the agenda-setting verdict of Delhi High Court, has warmed up to the liberalism underpinning the judgment on Section 377. Having shed its neutrality towards the verdict which raised many conservative hackles, government has , if in a creeping sort, has finally moved to the “aye” column on whether consensual sex among gay adults should be de-criminalized.

For the second straight day, AG stressed: “The government of India does not find any error in the judgment of the High Court and accepts the correctness of the same.”

Vahanvati said introduction of Section 377 in 1860 in India to punish gay sex was not a proper reflection of existing Indian values and traditions. “Rather it was imposed upon Indian society due to moral views of the colonizers,” he said.

The AG said temple sculptures depicting group sex, oral sex and sex in every conceivable position was an indication of permissiveness in the society and quoted paragraphs from a book ‘Raj: The making and unmaking of British India’, which read: “homosexuals were also free to satisfy their fancies in India whereas in Britain they were widely despised and buggery was a capital crime until 1961..”.

Vahanvati said introduction of Section 377 in 1860 in India to punish gay sex was not a proper reflection of existing Indian values and traditions. “Rather it was imposed upon Indian society due to moral views of the colonizers,” he said.

He did not change his enthusiastic pitch even when the Bench asked him “Were the scenes depicted in temples the practice in the society, or were they aberrations? What do our scriptures say?” The AG said he will submit fresh material to show how liberal the Indian society was prior to 1860.

Terming Section 377 a graft on a milieu which was more relaxed towards sexual activities, Vahanvati focused on the role of missionaries. He said that they were appalled by the British who would indulge in sexual acitivites in India that were forbidden back home, and prevailed upon the authorities to change the law here.

The Bench put a couple of searching questions to the top law officer regarding his reasoning that the opposition to homosexuality was a foreign import.

“Why for 62 years we have not come out of the shadow of British way of law making,” the bench asked. When the AG said that was a larger issue, the bench said: “If our laws had been simplified with our own way of understanding, of course with a blend of modernity, things would have been different. So why for last 62 years we have not been able to reflect the practice and ethos of the Indian society,” it asked.

“We would like to understand what is ‘against the order of nature’. The High Court appears to have not considered Section 377 in a broader perspective, which happens at times in adjudication of cases of this nature. We will examine the entire cultural and social background,” it said.

While hearing arguments for and against the Delhi High Court’s 2009 verdict decriminalizing consensual gay sex in private between adults, the bench had sought assistance from the Centre’s top law officer on many aspects, including the social background in which section 377 came to be enacted.

The fresh light on little known pre-1860 social conditions in India made the bench of Justices Singhvi and Mukhopadhay wonder why India still retained in its statute books something which was not true of Indian ethos and practice.

Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights through senior advocate Amarendra Saran said prevalence of certain practice in a society might not be a criterion to decriminalize it as both corruption and dowry were still prevalent in the society. Misuse of a provision by police to cause possible harassment to people could not be a ground for its deletion, he said citing earlier apex court judgments.










IPC 377 was imposed by British rulers: AG

‘Indian society before IPC enactment had greater tolerance of homosexuality’

Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code “insofar as it criminalises consensual sexual acts of adults in private” (since struck down by the Delhi High Court) was imposed on the Indian society by the British rulers, Attorney-General G.E. Vahanvati maintained in the Supreme Court on Thursday.

Continuing his submissions before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadhya, he said: “The introduction of Section 377 was not a reflection of the existing Indian values and traditions, rather it was imposed upon the Indian society by the colonisers due to their moral values.” The Bench is hearing appeals against the High Court order.

When Justice Singhvi asked “Why are we not able to come out of the shadows of the British even after 62 years?,” the AG said: “The Indian society prevalent before the enactment of the IPC had a much greater tolerance of homosexuality than its British counterpart, which at this time was under the influence of Victorian morality and values in regard to family and the procreative nature of sex.”

Mr. Vahanvati argued that while reading down the Section, the High Court had not discussed “what constitutes [an act] against the order of nature.” He said “it needs to be considered how Section 377 would read, in case the declaration of the High Court is upheld [by the Supreme Court] and applied. It would appear that Section 377 as such would remain, but a proviso would have to be added viz. provided that nothing contained hereinabove shall apply to any sexual activity between consenting adults in private.”

Referring to the incorporation of the words “against the order of nature” in Section 377, Mr. Vahanvati said: “What was perceived to be ‘against the order of nature’ in 1860 may not subsequently be perceived to be ‘against the order of nature’ particularly in view of a change in society’s understanding/tolerance of that thing.”

Pointing out that there was a larger question which might have to be addressed by the court, the AG said: “There are so many aspects of modern day life which by reason of technological, scientific and medical advances have already drastically altered the view of what constitutes the order of nature. For instance surrogacy, IVF [in vitro fertilisation], cloning, genetic modification of seeds, stem cell research, different methods of contraception, etc.”

In his reply, senior counsel Amarendra Saran, appearing for the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said: “Courts have limited power in deciding the vires of a criminal law as far as criminalising a particular conduct is concerned.” When he argued that it was primarily for Parliament to declare an act a crime or decriminalise the same, Justice Singhvi observed, “This is a case in which the Executive has come forward asking the court to do the duty of Parliament.”

Mr. Saran said, “The court can refuse it. This kind of delegation of power is not permitted under the Constitution. The division of power among the three wings of the state has been clearly defined in the Constitution.”

Pointing out that the issue needed to be debated in Parliament, counsel said, “The government can’t thrust it on the court.” Maybe, the government was afraid of public opinion or not able to muster enough majorities on an issue like this.

Mr. Saran said: “If the arguments of the respondents [supporters of gay sex] are taken to the logical conclusion then sati, dowry, acceptance of gift by the sovereign, smoking marijuana, polygamy/polyandry among Hindus will have to be decriminalised. The arguments based on archaeological findings and history are totally alien for purposes of deciding the issues at hand.”

On the contention that Section 377 was prone to misuse by the police, Mr. Saran said: “Mere possibility of misuse of a statutory provision will not make the provision itself bad. There are adequate administrative and judicial safeguards available to a citizen against misuse of a provision.”










Pak spy submits documents to prove his case


Last Updated: Thursday, March 22, 2012, 22:03

New Delhi: A man charged with cheating and illegally entering India from Pakistan Thursday placed documentary evidence in a Delhi court seeking to support his claim that he was a native of Gujarat who had visited India in 2009-10 and had come back to settle down here.

Though the investigators had accused Imran to be a Pakistani spy, the chargesheet filed by the Delhi Police spoke of only the offence of cheating against him under the Indian Penal Code and Foreigners Act for illegally entering India.

The police had claimed Imran and Soofia were pushed into India from ISI’s launch pads in Nepal to attack Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and other terror targets in the state.

Imran, arrested along with his wife Soofia, by the Special Cell for allegedly being a Pakistani Spy, submitted in the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate copies of his Pakistani passport, Indian visa and Regular Residential Permit issued to him by the Home Ministry of through Gujarat government.

The documents showed he was issued an Indian visa on July 2, 2009, and the same was to expire on October 1, 2009.

The Regular Residential Permit (for Pakisatani nationals) was issued to Imran by FRO, Ahmedabad city, in August, 2009, shows Imran was authorised to remain in Ahmedabad in India till September 1, 2009.

The document shows he was granted visa extension till November 1, 2009, on medical grounds by FRO, Ahmedabad city. It was further extended by a month on similar grounds.










Adarsh case: four accused granted police custody


Maj. Gen. (retired) T.K. Kaul (yellow shirt, centre) and Maj. Gen. (retired) A.R. Kumar (striped T-shirt, left), coming out of the court in Mumbi on Thursday. Photo: Vivek Bendre

A CBI court on Thursday granted police custody to all the four accused arrested by the agency in the Adarsh case on Wednesday. Of the four, three have been granted police custody till March 31. Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, the fourth accused who was earlier in CBI custody for nearly 10 days in another Adarsh-related bribe case, was granted police custody till March 26.

Major General (retired) A.R. Kumar (69), Major General (retired) T.K. Kaul (65), the then Collector of Mumbai Pradeep Vyas (47) and the former Member of Legislative Council, Mr. Gidwani (62), have been charged under Sections 120B, 420, 467, 471 of the Indian Penal Code, Sections 13(2) read with 13(1)(d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, and Section 3 of the Benami Transaction (Prohibition) Act, 1988.

The CBI told the court that the accused “abused their official position, manipulated and fabricated the records to achieve their objective of getting the land allotted in favour of the Adarsh Cooperative Group Housing Society in an illegal manner and also illegally managed various clearances from the Municipal and State government authorities. In lieu of this abuse of their official position, they obtained for themselves and for their close relatives property rights over flats at a very low cost compared to the market value, as pecuniary advantage.”

Mr. Gidwani is accused of playing a key role in getting allotment of flats in favour of the public servants that dealt with the file. He and his family members own at least three flats in the society and he is being interrogated on the suspicion of having at least four more benami flats there.

“Investigation prima facie revealed that there was a deep-rooted conspiracy among the accused persons, resulting in the construction of the 31-storeyed building by flouting various rules and regulations. The Adarsh society was basically meant for serving/retired defence personnel but at a later stage civilians were also included in the society at the behest of the public servants who dealt with the file and got allotted a flat in their name as pecuniary advantage,” the CBI said in its remand application.

The accused opposed the agency’s remand plea and said it was only the frail and the weak who were being arrested and custodial interrogation was not required. They said the CBI already had all the documents related to the society and had extensively questioned every one of them over a period of a few months last year.

Mr. Gidwani said his re-arrest was illegal. He cited a medical problem — he had a detached retina, for which he was to undergo an operation. The court granted him police custody for three days.










HC allows BJP leader to proceed against Delhi Assembly Speaker


PTI | 07:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

New Delhi, Mar 22 (PTI) A BJP leader has been allowed by the Delhi High Court to pursue his plea challenging the state assembly Speaker Yoganand Shastri’s election in the 2008 polls after depositing Rs 50,000 with the court as cost. Justice V K Jain asked BJP leader Sher Singh Dagar to first deposit the cost to furnish additional evidence to the court to pursue his plea for unseating Shastri on the alleged grounds of indulgence in corrupt practices by him. “The application is allowed, subject to the payment of Rs 50,000 as costs and the additional affidavit is taken on record,” Justice Jain said. The court asked Dagar to deposit the cost as he had failed to place additional documents to prove his allegations at the outset. Dagar, who had lost to Shastri in the 2008 assembly polls from Mehrauli constituency, had sought to give more details on the allegations made by him against the Congress leader. In his petition, Dagar had alleged Shastri along with his agents and workers had appealed to the Muslim and Jat voters to vote for him, on grounds of race, community and religion and had distributed liquor and sarees among them. Apart from these, Dagar had also alleged that some voters had cast their votes more than once in the same constituency (Mehrauli) and some had voted in other constituencies as well. In his affidavit, Dagar has given specific details on each of the allegations against Shastri, like the exact date and time when the alleged corrupt practices were resorted to and the names of the eye witnesses to those instances. To substantiate his allegation of multiple votes cast by voters, Dagar had sought to place on record the lists of voters whose names appeared at two different booths in the same constituency and voters whose names appeared in more than one constituency. (More)











HC drops Pragya aide plea on NIA


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Fri Mar 23 2012, 01:22 hrs

The NIA has received a shot in the arm in its Malegaon blast probe with the Delhi High Court dismissing a petition by a close associate of Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur. The petition had sought action against NIA officials for alleged illegal detention and custodial torture.

While dismissing the petition by Ananth Brahmchari, the court said, “An officer of the NIA has jurisdiction to investigate and arrest any person relating to scheduled offences anywhere in India coupled with all the powers, duties, privileges and liabilities of a police officer. He would be deemed to be an officer in-charge of the police station discharging the functions of such an officer within the limits of the station.”

Brahmchari had argued that he was in Mumbai when the NIA summoned him to Panchkula in Haryana and later to Delhi in violation of the laws. This torturous treatment by NIA, he alleged, had prompted him to attempt suicide at a guesthouse in Delhi on January 5 last year.











HC dismisses Reddy’s plea challenging extension of CBI custody


PTI | 07:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Bangalore,Mar22 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today dismissed a petition filed by former Tourism Minister G Janaradhan Reddy challenging his extension of CBI custody in connection with illegal mining activity of the Associated Mining Company, owned by him and his wife. Justice N Ananda upheld the designated CBI court extending CBI custody of Reddy, who had been arrested in connection with illegal mining. “There is nothing wrong with the CBI court extending Reddy’s custody till March 16 in connection with probe into illegal mining,” the judge observed. Reddy appeared before the CBI court here on March 2 in connection with the case and was remanded to CBI custody till March 12.The Special CBI court on March 12 extended Reddy’s custody by four days and the former minister had moved the High court challenging extension of his custody. The former minister was brought here from Chanchalaguda prison where he has been lodged along with his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy since September 5 after his arrest by CBI in “illegal” mining case in Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC). Reddy and 20 others face charges of alleged involvement in illegal mining, over which CBI filed an FIR in October 2011. Associated Mining Corporation and Deccan Mining Syndicate owned by Reddy and his wife are facing a probe over alleged illegal mining under a Supreme Court directive. Former minister and Congress leader V Muniyappa and a few other officials are the other accused in the case. The special court on March 16 remanded Reddy to judicial custody till March 24 on expiry of CBI custody. PTI BDN MSR BN











Give the building to Defence Ministry: HC to Adarsh Society


PTI | 06:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Mumbai, Mar 22 (PTI) Asking scam-tainted Adarsh Housing Society to surrender the 31-storey building to the Defence Ministry, the Bombay High Court today said the structure posed a threat to sensitive defence installations nearby and lessons had to learnt from Mumbai terror attacks. Invoking Mahatama Gandhi, a bench comprising justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka, said, “There is nothing wrong in accepting your (society’s) mistake and surrendering before the law. You may have committed the mistake then but there can be a change of heart. You are not murderers or terrorists or hardened criminals. Give the building back to Defence Ministry.” Observing that the security of the nation comes first, Justice Majmudar said, “We have to learn from terrorist attacks. Terrorists have already come till Taj Hotel. Tomorrow they may attack sensitive defence establishments. It is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly.” Hearing a batch of PILs seeking monitoring of the probe by the High Court, the bench, which had pulled up the CBI over its tardy investigations, expressed satisfaction at the progress in the case, saying it was on the “right track” following the arrest of seven accused since Tuesday. Maharashtra government counsel Ravi Kadam also informed the court that IAS officers Pradeep Vyas and Jairaj Phatakhave been placed under suspension for their alleged involvemnet in the case. While Vyas was the Collector of Mumbai, Phatak, who has not yet been arrested, was City Municipal Commissioner when the scam occurred. Expressing satisfaction at the progess in the probe, the court said, “Now things are proceeding on the right track. We are satisfied with the investigations done so far and have full faith that the probe would be completed as expeditiously as possible.” MORE










HC seeks information on threats to counsels in Ayodhya case


PTI | 03:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Lucknow, Mar 22 (PTI) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today summoned Secretary Home and ADG (law and order) for providing complete information regarding action taken by the state government in view of the serious threat perception to judges and counsels connected with the Ayodhya case. The division bench comprising Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice D K Upadhaya issued this order on a writ petition filed by a local lawyer Ranjana Agnihotri connected with the Ram Janmbhoomi-Babri Masjid case. The petitioner while inviting the attention of the court towards the report of ATS Gwalior (MP) had sought direction for her security and the court on March 20 had directed the state government to produce a complete action taken report in view of the ATS, Gwalior report. Though the state counsel today produced some information but the court was not satisfied with it and directed the state government’s counsel to produce complete information in this matter on March 26 in a sealed cover, if necessary. The court also directed that secretary home and ADG law and order shall appear in person on the same day to apprise the court regarding security of judges and lawyers of the case. The petitioner had sought directions from the court for her security in view of a letter by the deputy SP (ATS), Gwalior, sent to the President of Oudh Bar Association of the Lucknow bench on January 3, 2012 stating that there was a serious threat perception to the judges and lawyers related to the case.







HC notice to centre, state over soyabean in kids’ meals


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 12.28AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Thursday issued notices to the centre and state governments over a PIL by social activist Shantilal Kothari alleging that soyabean offered to kids under central government’s nutritional meal programme is not fit for consumption.

A division bench comprising justices Sharad Bobde and Prasanna Varale asked the respondents to reply within two weeks.

NIT to construct park at Nara: The Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) will be constructing a park in 56.63 hectare land at Mouza Nara with the participation of land owners. This was informed to Nagpur bench of Bombay high court in reply to a PIL filed by Sai Chinnaswamy Mudliar, who had prayed for a park in the area with dense population.

In its affidavit, NIT informed that a proposal in this regard has been forwarded to land owners.

At earlier hearing, the court had issued notices and directed the NIT to consider the demand raised by the petitioner.

As per the affidavit, the state government has sent a proposal regarding mode of development of land situated at Mouza Nara to NIT. The NIT had in its board of trustees meeting considered the proposal and taken the decision.












HC direction to implead FM, IOB CMD as respondents


PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Madurai,Mar22(PTI) The Madras High Court bench today directed that the Chairman and Managing Director of Indian Overseas Bank and Union Finance Minister be impleaded as respondents on a petition by a student seeking a direction to disburse educational loan from the Bank. Justice V.Dhanabalan gave the direction not satisfied with the reasons given by the bank for denying the loan while admitting the plea by C Boomiraja, a law student, The Bank’s Chief Manager submitted that for BL course the job opportunities on completion of the course were very much limited in the present scenario,except working as a junior with senior advocates for five to seven years. The income earned during such period would not be enough to meet the family commitments and loan instalments. The Manager also submitted that the petitioner had failed in one subject,and did not attend two papers, and no valid reason had been given for failure or absence,which showed the student was not interested in BL subject. No documentary support was submitted to show that he got the BL seat on merit.Hence the admission was treated under management quota and a studen admitted under such quota was not eligible for study loan as per the guidelines of the Indian Bankers’ association, the manager submitted. The petitioner submitted that he was the son of a casual labourer.He joined the course on merit as there was no management quota in Government college. The order of the chief manager had been passed mechanically without following guidelines.The college principal had issued a certificate that he was a bonafide law student. Referring to absence at the examination,the petitioner said he did not attend the exam due to illness but the chief manager had arbitrarily concluded that he was not interested in studies. The manager had described the loan proposal as not viable, and this showed his malafide intentions, the petitioner alleged, adding, his order should be quashed and direction issued to give him loan.












HC declares as unconstitutional holding demos on roadsides


PTI | 06:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Kochi,Mar22 (PTI) Kerala High court today struck down the provision of a government Act permitting holding of demonstrations and processions on roadsides and declared it as “unconstitutional, inoperative and void”, but allowed conduct of religious and national festivals on road margins. A Division bench, comprising justice C N Ramachandran Nair and Justice P S Gopinathan, declared as unconstitutional sect 5 (1)c of The Publicways (Restriction of Assemblies and Processions) Act 2011, which came into effect on February 18 last year. The order was issued on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the Act. The act, brought in by the previous CPI(M)-led LDF in the wake of prohibition imposed by the High Court in conducting processions and assemblies on road margins, had been passed unanimously in the assembly. According to 5(1) c, processions can be conducted with reasonable restrictions with prior permission of district police chief.The bench declared this provision unconstitutional, inoperative and void. However, the court did not interfere into 5(1) a, and 5(1) b permitting religious and national festivals on roads. The bench held that the festivals should be conducted on one side of the road. The judges opined that “so far as as Attukal Pongala (festival) is concerned it cannot be contained in the temple compound or places around it.There is nothing wrong in the pongala lines stretching to Kanyakumari in south or go straight in the opposite direction to the National highway to Attingal or beyond”. But full road blockades should not be permitted, the court held.











Dispose Bhatt’s revision plea in 6 weeks: HC to Jamnagar court


: Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:59 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Thursday allowed a petition moved by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt in connection with a case of custodial torture and murder registered against him in Jamnagar district and condoned the delay in challenging concerned magisterial court’s order to initiate criminal proceedings against him along with six other policemen.

The single-judge bench of the HC consisting of Justice Anant Dave has also directed the Jamnagar sessions court to dispose of Bhatt’s revision application within six weeks.

Bhatt had approached the HC after the concerned sessions court of Jamnagar district had rejected his revision application on the ground of maintainability among others. Bhatt’s lawyer I H Syed said HC has allowed the petition directing the sessions court to condone the delay and dispose of the revision application within six weeks.

The case relates to 1990 when Bhatt was posted as an assistant superintendent of police. One Prabhudas Vaishnani had died after being released from police custody. He was arrested in a riot case along with many others. Following his death, his brother had lodged a complaint against Bhatt and six other police officials holding them responsible for the custodial torture and murder of his brother.

A concerned magisterial court had ordered to initiate criminal proceedings against him on the basis of the complaint.

The state government had challenged the order of the magisterial court by filing a revision application before the sessions court. However, the state government had withdrawn the revision application last year. Following that, Bhatt and other policemen moved a revision petition against the magisterial court’s order.

Though, the concerned sessions court had refused to condone the delay in preferring the petition. Following which, Bhatt had approached the HC challenging the sessions court order.











HC takes exception to UP official’s conduct


PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 22,2012

Lucknow, Mar 22 (PTI) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High court today took strong exception to the conduct of Uttar Pradesh Principal Secretary (Home) for authorising Deputy Secretary to file an affidavit in a matter related to security of controversial cabinet minister Raghuraj Pratap Singh alias Raja Bhaiya. As the Principal Secretary R M Srivastava was not present in the court, it said that prima facie his conduct amounted to contempt of the court but granted him an opportunity to submit his personal affidavit as to under what circumstances, he has failed to obey its order. A divison bench comprising Justice Umanath Singh and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi passed the order on a review petition filed by Raja Bhaiya in which he sought to get the security on 10 percent payment basis (of government expenses) though the provision was of payment of 50 per cent. The court had on March 20 directed Principal Secretary (Home) to file his affidavit in the matter as it was related to the security of a cabinet minister. But instead of filing his affidavit, the Principal Secretary authorised a Deputy Secretary to do so. “Prime facie, it amounts to committing contempt of this court and thus, we take strong exception to his conduct but before proceeding further, we again grant him an opportunity to sumit his personal affidavit explaining as to under what circumstances, he has failed to obey the order of this court”, the court said. The court also declined to take the affidavit sworn by the Deputy Secretary on record. The court has fixed March 26 as the next date of hearing in the matter. Raja Bhaiya is holding charge of Prisons and Food and Civil Supplies department in Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav’s cabinet.









HC asks Jet to pay Rs 30,000 as penalty


NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Mumbai, Fri Mar 23 2012, 00:38 hrs

Criticizing Jet Airways for prematurely approaching the Bombay High Court in the presence of an alternative remedy, the High Court directed the airline’s office-bearers to pay Rs 30,000 as penalty.

The High Court was hearing a set of petitions filed by Jet Airways challenging an order of a magistrate court in Vikhroli who directed that investigations pertaining to allegations of breach of trust be continued.

The court ruled in favour of the company, noting the dispute involved was a civil one and said the “basic ingredients of entrustment and breach of trust are missing.” However, even as the court granted the applicants the reprieve, it came down heavily on them for not approaching the Sessions Court and not resolving the case at that level.

“Just as the rich eat up and encroach upon all natural and other resources at the cost of the poor and the needy, the applicants have encroached upon the scarce judicial time to which those languishing in jails for years were entitled,” Justice R C Chavan said.

The order was passed in response to a set of applications, which raised the dispute about the general efficacy of Section 482 of the CrPC, under which the HC can pass orders to prevent the abuse of the process of any other court. Noting that the present judicial system is “virtually choked” with applications under this provision, he said the answer often is “a clear no.”

In his 187-page order, he also suggested a number of measures to the High Court administration to implement video conferencing facilities at courts and police stations to reduce the need for police and medical officers to attend court proceedings in person.











MCX Exchange: HC ruling to impact companies while enforcing rights under forward contracts


Sandeep Parekh, Founder, Finsec Law Advisors
The Bombay High Court recently came out with a decisive ruling in favour of stock exchange MCX-SX and Sebi’s denial of a full licence to operate as an exchange.

The ruling needs to be seen not just in the context of the competitive landscape of exchanges that has been improved in a single stroke, but should be welcomed by all investors and companies in India as it brings positive certainty for investment contracts. It puts to virtual rest a quixotic 40-year-old circular that has rarely been analysed in detail by a court of law.

Sebi had relied on four main grounds: (a) the regulations permitted a person (alone or acting in concert) to own only 5% voting rights in an exchange and the promoters held more than that, (b) the manner of reducing the voting rights to below 5% was not approved by regulations, (c) issue of warrants without voting rights to promoters would breach economic concentration of interest, and (d) there were buyback arrangements with companies (many public sector) of the exchange’s shares that were illegal forward contracts and were not disclosed to the regulator.

The first two issues were decided in favour of the exchange , on an undertaking by the shareholders to be in compliance with the 5% cap at all times going forward, and Sebi acceded to the legal position that there was no relevant method prescribed for reducing the shareholding for new exchanges under the relevant regulations .

The third issue of economic concentration of power by issue of voteless warrants was not based on any legal provision and the Sebi counsel , the additional solicitor general , rightly didn’t urge it because it was so specious. The law was to prevent concentration of voting power and control , not economic power as would result if and when warrants were to be converted into shares in the future.

The provision is borrowed from Sebi’s takeover law that looks at control of votes and under which warrants do not trigger an open offer till converted into voting shares. The question of persons acting in concert was tested on the principle laid down by the Supreme Court in the case of Daiichi Sankyo.











HC turns down Janardhana Reddys plea


Express News Service

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday upheld a CBI court order by dismissing the petition filed by mining baron and former tourism minister G Janardhana Reddy challenging his CBI remand in connection with illegal mining activity by the Associated Mining Company, owned by him.

Hearing the petition, Justice N Anand before dismissing the petition termed it as liable for dismissal.

Reddy was produced before the CBI Court on March 2 and remanded in CBI custody till March 12; later his custody was extend till March 16 and he continues to be under judicial custody. Reddy’s other plea – seeking interim stay on the CBI probe till the plea filed by former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa against Lokayukta report on illegal mining was disposed of – was also dismissed.

The former minister was brought to the city from Chanchalguda Prison, Hyderabad, where he was lodged along with his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy since September 5, after his arrest by CBI in “illegal” mining case involving Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC).








Andhra Pradesh liquor scam: HC notice to Chief Minister, others


Hyderabad: Trouble seems to be brewing for the Kiran Reddy government in Andhra Pradesh over the liquor scam which CNN-IBN had reported first. The Andhra Pradesh High Court has sent notices to the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Kiran Reddy, state Congress chief B Satyanarayana, Excise Minister M Venkatramana and leader of Opposition Chandrababu Naidu.

The notice comes after a PIL was filed seeking a court-monitored probe into the scam.

The case will come up for hearing on April 16.

CNN-IBN had accessed documents that exposed the full extent of the AP liquor scam and revealed the complicity of the political class.

Reportedly, not only have excise and police officials taken bribes to allow the illegal liquor business to flourish, they also loaned money to the tune of Rs 2 crore to the mafia to carry on the trade.

The documents reveal that in Srikakulam district, between September 2010-December 2011, excise officials received bribes worth more than Rs 3.58 crore. The officials, then, re-invested Rs 2.44 crore back in the illegal liquor trade, as “loan” to wine shop owners.









HC seeks fresh status report on liquor probe


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 06.22AM IST

HYDERABAD: Congratulating the director general of the ACB and his team for doing a good job in their fight against the liquor mafia in the state, the high court on Thursday sought another status report in a sealed cover by April 16 on the subsequent developments.

The ACB submitted its first status report to the court a few days ago. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar went through this report and expressed its satisfaction over the progress made in the case and observed that a lot needed to be done. The bench was hearing a petition filed by OM Debora of Forum for Better Hyderabad who wanted the court to monitor the ongoing ACB probe into the liquor scam in the state. By seeking a second status report, the bench too gave an indication that it actually started monitoring the probe.

Shankar Rao’s plea against CM: Cantonement MLA and former minister P Shankar Rao on Thursday filed another petition in the HC this time seeking a CBI probe against chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy, forest minister Satrucharla Vijayarama Raju and others. He charged them with selling away 2,022 metric tonnes of red sanders worth crores of rupees at throw away prices. He also charged them with conniving with smuggling gangs in this regard.

Srilakshmi’s bail plea dismissed: Special judge B Nagamaruthi Sarma of the CBI court on Thursday dismissed the bail plea of senior IAS officer Y Srilakshmi, an accused in the illegal mining case. Her bail plea currently pending with the Supreme Court is slated to come up for hearing on April 2.










Briefly Region: HC dismisses petition seeking stay on Balwant Singh’s hanging


Express news service : Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:59 hrs



The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday dismissed the petition filed by a local NGO seeking stay on the hanging of Balwant Singh on the ground of locus standi. A division bench headed by Justice Hemant Gupta today turned down the petition filed by a local NGO. Also, the bench observed that any direction passed on the petition will amount to tampering with the judgement passed by the Chandigarh court which recently executed Balwant Singh’s death warrant, for assassinating Beant Singh, former Punjab Chief Minister.

‘Unhygienic’ kitchens in Sangrur schools

Sangrur: Additional Deputy Commissioner (Development) Baljeet Singh Sandhu held a surprise inspection at government schools here on Thursday. Sandhu expressed his dissatisfaction over hygiene levels where mid-day meals were cooked. Sandhu warned schools that this could create health problems for the students. Schools authorities cited lack of staff, which Sandhu said that authorities had ‘taken note’ of.

Nathpa Jhakri awarded for performance

SHIMLA: India’s largest hydro-power station, the 1,500 MW Nathpa Jhakri Hydro Power project, has been awarded “gold shield” by the union ministry of power for its ‘meritorious performance’ during the year 2010-11. The 6×66 MW Pong power house of Bhakra Beas Management Board was conferred with bronze shield for the same year.

Hussainiwala Setu open in Ferozepur district

LUDHIANA: The General Officer Commanding Golden Arrow Division inaugurated the Hussainiwala Setu at Bareke in Ferozepur District on Thursday morning. The existing bridges on twin canals were removed in August 2011 and were planned to be replaced by concrete bridges. The Army constructed a diversion in April 2011, prior to the de-launching of bridges, to facilitate smooth traffic across the twin canals. This diversion resulted in long traffic jams.

Lathicharge by police during demolition drive

JALANDHAR: Police resorted to lathicharge after a huge protest by the slumdwellers during the demolition drive by the Muncipal Corporation (MC) officials on Thursday morning. Slumdwellers alleged that MC did not issue any notices to vacate the place. The encroachments had almost blocked old GT Road towards Gujral Nagar in Vijay Nagar area. MC officials said that they had been asked to shift earlier too, but to no avail. Today when the MC officials reached the spot, slumdwellers started pelting stones and bricks on the MC team and its vehicles. One person even tried to immolate himself but was controlled by police.

Gikki murder: 3 accused withdraw bail pleas

CHANDIGARH: Three co-accused involved in the murder of Gurkirat Sekhon alias Gikki today withdrew their bail applications. These accused are Jasdeep Singh, Amarpreet Singh and Amardeep Singh. Their bail pleas were dismissed as withdrawn in the Punjab and Haryana High Court today. A hotelier’s young son, Gikki was allegedly murdered by SAD councillor Ram Simran Singh Makkar.

Gurlal Saila is new BSP state president

JALANDHAR: Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) has appointed Gurlal Saila as its new Punjab state President after the resignation of its former president Avtar Singh Karimpuri. Karimpuri had resigned from his post on moral grounds following the abysmal performance of the BSP in the recently concluded Vidhan Sabha elections. The new president has been appointed on the directions of BSP Supremo Mayawati, who also announced a 21-member team.











HC pulls up CBI for letting off Gupta


TNN | Mar 23, 2012, 06.20AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice K C Bhanu of the A P High Court on Thursday sought to know why the CBI failed to issue a Red Corner notice against Shravan Gupta, the managing director of Emaar-MGF Land Ltd even though he was eluding the law. Gupta is one of the 14 accused in the Emaar scam case and is charged with misappropriation of public money and assets.

When the bail petition of Koneru Rajendra Prasad, another accused in the case, came up for hearing, his counsel C Padmanabha Reddy raised the issue of CBI’s ‘differential’ treatment. The judge then asked the CBI why it chose to arrest only some of the accused while letting off others in the case. When the issue of Shravan Gupta came up, CBI counsel P Kesava Rao told the court that he was absconding. “Then why did you request the trial court to issue summons to him instead of getting a Red Corner notice issued against him?” the judge asked.

During the hearing, the judge also sought to know under what authority was the state or its agencies like APIIC handing over prime land to private players. When the CBI counsel referred to a GO that authorized the deal, the judge shot back asking him as to wherefrom these authorities had derived power to issue such GOs and enter into such agreements with private players. The judge sought details of public and private land acquired for the Emaar project.

When the counsel spoke of a suit filed by the APIIC in the civil court seeking recovery of lost money, the judge expressed his anguish saying, “What is the purpose of filing a civil suit after everything is lost? What is the use of conducting a postmortem now?” The CBI counsel, however, explained to the court that the agency denied any discrimination against any of the accused. The CBI counsel also brought to the notice of the court the problems the agency was facing on account of delay in getting the sanction from the Centre to prosecute IAS officials.

During the course of the hearing, the counsel for Koneru told the court that all the land was transferred to Emaar at Rs 29 lakh per acre and maintained that it was an absolute sale. The judge also wondered as to why even the proceeds of an outright sale of land did not reach the state coffers. The CBI counsel explained that Emaar allotted shares to the state instead of paying cash. “If it is an absolute sale, how can shares be allotted?” the judge asked.

After hearing the versions of both the parties, the judge reserved his orders on Koneru bail plea to Tuesday. The judge will also hear the CBI petition challenging the cancellation of bail given by the trial court to IAS officer BP Acharya, accused number one in the scam on Tuesday.













HC orders notice to TRAI, Bharti Cellular Limited


Agencies : Chennai, Thu Mar 22 2012, 21:25 hrs



An advocate has slammed a cellular service provider for allowing commercial short message service and promotional telephone calls to cellphones of lakhs of its subscribers and sought an interim direction to Airtel to immediately activate ‘Do Not Disturb’ facility to his mobile.

When the writ petition filed by advocate K Ramakrishna Reddy came up in the Madras High Court,Justice S Rajeswaran directed Airtel to immediately give effect to its DND facility by blocking unwanted messages and promotional telphone calls to the petitioner’s cellphone and his add-on connection.

The Judge also admitted the petition and ordered issue of notice to the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India and Bharti Cellular Limited (Airtel).

Stating that after over a score of SMS to Airtel failed to evoke any response from the company, the advocate said he had sent two registered letters on March four and May six last year to the company. In reply to his second letter, he was told to note down SMS details such as phone numbers,contact numbers,gist of the message and the time the SMS was received.

Alleging that the firm was allowing the SMS and promotional phone calls to enrich itself,he said between June 8, 2011 and June 30, 2011 he had received about 55 SMS/calls.

The petitioner said he had sent a tabular form containing the details asked for by the company.

He said he had demanded a total sum of Rs 5,20,000 as consequential damages together with an interest of 24 per cent per annum and Rs 45,000 per month from March this year till the date the DND facility was put in place.

The petitioner sought a direction to TRAI to take appropriate action against Bharti Cellular for “violating” the regulations governing the DND facility.







2 IAS officers suspended; HC says probe now on track;-hc-says-probe-now-on-track/927186/0


Express news service : Mumbai, Fri Mar 23 2012, 03:51 hrs

Two always after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) made its first arrests in the Adarsh Housing Society scam, the state government informed the Bombay High Court on Thursday that it had placed two senior IAS officers — then municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak and Collector, Mumbai City Pradeep Vyas — under suspension.

Advocate-General Ravindra Kadam said the government had suspended the two officers using its discretion. Justices P B Majmudar and R D Dhanuka said they appreciated the government move.

Later on Thursday, Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan informed the legislature that the decision to suspend the two officers was taken after a brief correspondence between the CBI and the government. In two letters between March 15 and 20, the government sought additional information from the CBI. The CBI ultimately replied on March 21 with clarifications, after which it was decided to suspend Phatak and Vyas with effect from March 22, said Chavan.

“If somebody commits a mistake in a moment of weakness, there is nothing wrong in accepting it,” Justice Majmudar said. Stating that those involved in the scam should surrender the 31-storey building to the defence ministry, the court said, “There is nothing wrong in change of heart, nothing wrong in surrendering.”

The court said although the charges against those allegedly involved in the scam are not compoundable, some leniency may be shown towards them if they express remorse. “It’s time to reform the character of people. They have not committed murder, they are not hardened criminals… reform is the best thing,” Justice Majmudar said.

“Everyone (involved in the scam) wants money and cars but not at the cost of people,” Justice Majmudar said. “Select some other area. Go beyond Borivali, Dahisar and do what you want.”

Additional Solicitor-General D J Khambata told the court that seven arrests had been made in the case and further investigations are underway. The Income Tax department’s lawyer Suresh Kumar said nine cases are being re-assessed by the department. “Things are now moving in the right direction. It has taken time but it’s all right… one may not say this is the tip of the iceberg,” the court said.

The court asked why the planning authority (MMRDA) did not ensure that Adarsh Society had a clearance from the defence ministry. “It is a sensitive area…matter of defence of the country. We cannot take it lightly… terrorists have come till the Taj,” the court said.

Khambata said the society had sought the permission from the Defence Estates Officer, who deals on with defence land, and not the defence ministry. The judges asked the MMRDA to inform the court about the permission from the ministry and the CBI to apprise the court of progress in investigations by April 30.

“Why did you form such a society that got everyone into trouble?” Justice Majmudar asked Adarsh Society’s lawyer Saket Mone. “We will be happy if realisation comes and it is returned to defence ministry,” he added.


LEGAL NEWS 17.03.2012

DGP Shankar Bidari to go, Infant is in


TNN | Mar 17, 2012, 03.40AM IST

BANGALORE: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Bangalore bench, on Friday quashed the appointment of Shankar M Bidari as Director General of Police (head of police force) of Karnataka. It has directed for appointing AR Infant to the post on ad hoc basis immediately till UPSC considers a list for regular appointment as his name is the only one that remains in the empanelled list.

The CAT bench comprising judicial member B Suresh and administrative member Leena Mehandale has held that the actual scenario about Bidari was not placed before UPSC in the backdrop of NHRC findings and the same is void.

“Notwithstanding the allegations of political consideration and extraneous reasons as made by the applicant, we find the appointment is a result of non-application of mind due to deliberate suppression of material facts. Even though a full picture was available with regard to Bidari in relation to excesses as STF chief, the chief secretary, the home secretary and DPAR secretary failed to present them.The empanelment was without UPSC having the benefit of full information regarding Bidari and it is void,” the bench said in its 74- page verdict.

It said that any selection to posts like chief secretary and DG & IG be commenced after examining all available inputs and material facts regarding candidates and also placing the same for empanelment. The bench discounted Bidari’s assertion that no police officer was indicted in relation to STF excesses while undertaking anti-Veerappan operations and observed that granting of compensation and testimonies of victims were enough.

Infant, who also holds DGP rank and is presently DGP for Fire and Emergency Services and director of civil defence and commandant general of Home Guards, had challenged the November 30, 2011 appointment of Shankar Bidari to succeed Neelam Achuta Rao overlooking his seniority, merit, range of experience and excellent record. In his petition, Infant had also alleged that the state government had ignored the National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) findings of serious human rights violations of villagers by STF, commanded by Bidari, during the anti-Veerappan operations.






Death in jail; Puducherry pays Rs 3 lakh to widow of victim


PTI | 10:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

New Delhi, Mar 16 (PTI) Puducherry government has paid Rs three lakh compensation to the widow of an undertrial who died in a jail there in 2009, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) said today. In compliance with the NHRC recommendation, the state government paid the money to the wife of Silvaraj alias Siva who succumbed to injuries on August 15, 09, a day after he was sent to jail, the apex human rights body said in a release. The magisterial inquiry, conducted in the case, said that there were grounds to suspect “foul play”, it said, adding that medical reports suggested that the victim had serious injuries. A charge sheet has also been filed against five inmates of the Central Prison at Kalapet for allegedly assaulting the victim, it added.










Indian Association of lawyers plea to government


Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: State committee of Indian Association of lawyers (IAL) has demanded the government to empower the Kerala Administrative Tribunal (KAT) to deal with all the cases related to all the government departments and staff.

IAL state vice-president Vazhuthacaud Narendran appealed in a memorandum submitted to the Chief minister, Chief secretary, Law Secretary and Principal Secretary(general administration) to issue a notification in this regard.

He pointed out that the KAT had no jurisdiction to handle cases belonging to the Corporation, Municipality, panchayat, other boards and Corporations as the notification as per section 15(2) in the administrative tribunal law is missing.

Further, the High Court had stated that it still had the power to deal with these cases as per an order issued on January 1,2012.

Bench rejects PRP Exports plea


Express News Service

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition filed by PRP Exports, a leading granite company here, which challenged the notice issued by Madurai Electricity Distribution Circle directing them to pay penalty for excess energy consumed by his industrial unit.
The court also observed that the TNEB officials in the lower level had attempted to favour the petitioner’s unit by manipulating the quota.
P Suresh Kumar, partner of PRP Exports, contended that the unit never violated the quota fixed by the electricity board and that they consumed the energy that was only allowed under the demand quota. Hence the order seeking penalty should be set aside, he argued.
Justice K K Sasidharan, before whom the matter came up, observed that the officials in the lower level had attempted to favour the petitioner’s industry by manipulating the quota.
Stating that the electricity board was justified in directing the petitioner to pay the penalty for excess energy use, the Judge directed the petitioner to pay the entire arrears before approaching the electricity board for additional demand.










Court declines plea against Skycity


A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Thursday declined to issue an order clarifying that the pendency of a writ petition challenging the Skycity project would not be a bar on the authorities concerned in considering the applications by Yashoram Infra Developers Private Limited for taking further steps for implementing the project.

The Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V. Chitambaresh declined a forceful plea made by the counsel for the company for a clarification order when a writ petition filed by the Indian Institute of Architects, Kochi chapter, was taken up for hearing.

The petition challenged the government order granting approval to the proposed Skycity project.

The counsel for the petitioner vehemently opposed the plea of the company. He contended that the proposed project came within the Coastal Regulation Zone – I, where construction activities had been prohibited.

However, in an affidavit, the company said that no reclamation of backwaters or wet land was needed for the project.












PTI | 05:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

There has been an increase by Rs 7.98 crore to Rs 23.18 There has been an increase by Rs 7.98 crore to Rs 23.18 crore for 2012-13 towards the provision for establishment- related expenditure of Public Enterprises Selection Board and Central Information Commission. “This also includes provision for construction of office building of the Central Information Commission, dak digitization, setting up of video conferencing facilities, preparation of publicity material on RTI, setting up of call centre and establishment of wing for transparency and accountability studies for CIC,” according to the notes on Demand of Grants by the government. The Centre has given Rs 15.20 crore during 2011-12 to the Ministry to meet establishment-related expenditures for PESB and CIC. The government allocated Rs five crore for the next fiscal under the provision meant for reimbursement to state governments towards House Building Advances paid to All India Service Officers. During 2011-12, Rs 10 lakh were allocated as “Loans to States for House Building Advances to All India Service Officers”.








Two awarded life imprisonment in rape and murder case


PTI | 12:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

Srinagar, Mar 16 (PTI) Two persons have been sentenced to life by a sessions court here in connection with the rape and murder of a girl in 2005. Principal Sessions and District Judge, Srinagar, Kaneez Fatima yesterday awarded life sentence to Bashir Ahmad and Sameena. The main accused in the case, Zahoor Ahmad Wani, had committed suicide inside the jail during the trial. According to the prosecution, the girl, a resident of Khanyar locality in the city, was lured out of her house by her neighbour Sameena on the pretext of taking her to the market. As the victim — an orphan — did not return home and efforts of her relatives to trace her proved futile, a missing report was lodged in the local police station. Three days later, the body of the girl was fished out from Jhelum River in Sumbal area of Bandipora district. The post mortem report had concluded that the victim was raped before being murdered and later the body thrown in to the river.












Serial blast accused allowed to contest MCD polls


A Sessions Court hearing the 2008 Delhi serial blasts case has allowed an application moved by one of the accused in the case seeking permission to contest the upcoming MCD polls to forward his nomination papers through the superintendent of Ahmedabad’s Sabarmati Jail where he is presently lodged.

Accused Zia-ur-Rehman, alleged to be a member of the Indian Mujahideen, is seeking to file his nomination for Ward Number 205 (Zakir Nagar) in the MCD polls.

“Applicant is permitted to file his nomination for elections of the MCD to the concerned returning officer through superintendent of jail, Sabarmati Jail, Ahmedabad,” Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar said.

Advocate M. S. Khan representing Zia-ur-Rehman had submitted that his candidature was not disqualified under Section 9 of the Delhi Municipal Corporation Act. Mr. Khan also gave an undertaking that his client would not seek release from prison to visit the office of the returning officer for filing nomination papers.

Public Prosecutor Rajiv Mohan did not oppose Rehman’s prayer. Mr. Mohan submitted that the Election Commission permitted candidates confined in prison to make and subscribe their oath or affirmation in the prescribed form to the returning officer through the prison superintendent.











Four Adarsh accused given judicial custody by local court


A local sessions court on Friday granted judicial custody to the former Congress MLC, Kanhaiyalal Gidwani, his son Vishal Gidwani, CBI counsel Mandar Goswami and a tax consultant J.K. Jagiasi in connection with the Adarsh Society land scam.

The anti-corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had arrested the four persons in connection with the payment of an alleged bribe to dilute the Adarsh case.

The court observed that there was no reason to extend the police custody of the accused and granted them judicial custody till March 30. The accused have filed a joint bail application that will be heard on Saturday.

In its remand application, the CBI alleged that Mr. Jagiasi and K.L. Gidwani entered into a criminal conspiracy.

According to it, Mr. Gidwani paid a sum of Rs.1.25 crore to Mr. Jagiasi to influence CBI officials to show favours to them in the Adarsh case. CBI counsel sought extension of police custody stating that the accused were influential people and the agency needed more time to investigate the telephonic conversations and account diaries.




Court orders issuance of notices to ‘Lajja’ cast


TNN | Mar 17, 2012, 04.32AM IST

KANPUR: Additional District Judge-First (ADJ-First), Ramabai Nagar, on Friday ordered to issue notices to all actors and actresses of ‘Lajja’, a film based on Bhawanipur incident of Kanpur Dehat.

Rejecting the submission of complainant Ram Swarup’s counsel, presiding judge Rakesh Kumar observed that it would be judicious and justified to send notices to eight actors and director of the film, instead of issuing non-bailable warrant against them. Since the matter is almost a decade-old and counsel for defense had already pleaded that he had no contact with them since the last 10 or more years, the court would sent a notice intimating them about the next date of hearing as April 20. Moreover, the high court had also not directed to issue NBW against the accused.

The district court of Ramabai Nagar (then Kanpur Dehat), had issued notices to the complainant and defence counsels to appear before the court on March 15, and in compliance of that order, counsel for both parties had appeared in the court on Friday.

According to case file, Ram Swarup had filed a complaint on September 19, 2001, that the police had registered a false case under Sections 147/302/342/323 IPC against him and his family members in the gang rape and murder of Siya Dulari. The case is pending in the court.

Siya Dulari was gang-raped and burnt to death by enraged villagers in Bhawanipur in Kanpur Dehat as her son Surendra, belonging to Siya caste, had married a Yadav girl, Usha Yadav. The incident, according to Raj Kumar Santoshi, had inspired him to make a film, ‘Lajja’, which had been screened all over the country.

The complainant had filed case against Santoshi, actors Anil Kapoor, Jackey Shroff, Ajay Devgan, Rekha, Manisha Koirala, Madhuri Dixit and Mahima Chaudhary and claimed that all the seven had played role in that film.

Then Additional District and Sessions Judge (First) of Kanpur Dehat J P Agarwal had issued non-bailable warrants against Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Ajay Devgan, Rekha, Manisha Koirala, Madhuri Dikshit, Mahima Chaudhary and Santoshi in a criminal contempt case.

The judge had also directed the police commissioner, Mumbai, to serve warrants on the accused and return them by November 11, 2001, to the court. He had also directed the police commissioner to appoint a reliable officer to serve the warrants.

Ajay Devgan filed a petition before the high court under Section 482 CrPC and submitted that case against him and entire cast be dropped. The high court had restrained the lower court to try the suit till further order and since then hearing of the case was suspended. The case was listed at High court on October 25, 2010, under the heading of likely to be in fructuous. The court rejected the petition of Ajay Devgan and ordered to return the file to the trial court to restart the proceedings.

A Z Kaleem Jaycee earlier in the morning moved an application before the court that the matter was 11-year-old and in that period clients were not in contact with him. Moreover, they had not paid his counsel fee during the previous proceedings. Therefore, order of the high court be sent directly to the defending parties.

Complainant’s counsel had objected and urged that the case was stayed when the court had issued NBW against the accused. Since case was now once again started, the court should start its proceedings from previous one.











HC moved for making helmet rule optional


Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012, 16:56

Madurai: Claiming that wearing helmet caused various health problems, a PIL petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here seeking a direction to police to make the helmet rule optional for two-wheeler riders.

The petition, filed by BSP state Executive Committee member Guruvijayan, alleged police were arbitrary in taking action against violators of the rule and sought a direction to the Madurai City and District police to make helmet wearing optional and not compulsory.

He said wearing helmet caused many health problems including headache, sinus and cough cold.

“Everyone is of the opinion that wearing helment should not be made mandatory and could be optional. In this context I made representation to the Home secretary and top police officers. But not concrete action has come forth.”

Justice A selvam and Justice K.Ravichandrababu ordered issue of notice and posted the petition for further hearing on April 24.

Government advocate Mohammed Mohaideen submitted that a Division Bench had already passed an order and the government had implemented the helme rule based on that order.










HC issues notices to Punjab on over-staffed corporations


Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat Mar 17 2012, 03:50 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Friday, issued notices to Punjab and Punjab State Electricity Regulatory Commission on a PIL filed by Baljit Singh, a resident of Patiala.

The petitioner challenged the action of Punjab in approving the filling up of 2,251 posts (293 newly created posts and 1,958 revived posts) to be filled up by Punjab State Power Corporation Limited (PSPCL) and Punjab State Transmission Corporation Limited.

The petitioner also challenged the recruitment drive by PSPCL for filling up its share of 1,448 posts. The petition stated that the study conducted by Price Water House Coopers private limited reveals that both the companies were over-staffed.












Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen seeks info on banning ritual


TNN | Mar 17, 2012, 04.19AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Friday adjourned the hearing on a PIL seeking a ban on the Made Made Snana ritual near the Subramanya shrine in Dakshina Kannada district. The division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen wanted to know whether there are any instances where the courts banned a religious practice. The next hearing is on Tuesday.

“Banning children from the ritual can be considered. But how can we ban others if they undertake it voluntarily? Is there any decision where the courts banned such practices?” the bench wanted to know from the counsel representing the petitioners.

The counsel described the practice as pernicious and against the spirit enunciated in the Constitution which speaks about imbibing the scientific spirit. They also said the practice is against human dignity. The counsel also said the saliva in the leftover food can cause various communicable diseases like tuberculosis and cholera to persons who roll on them. ‘Made Snana’ is a ritual in which people roll on plantain leaves off which Brahmins have had a meal.









SC to examine legality of n-liability Act


Express news service : Sat Mar 17 2012, 04:08 hrs


Even as the SC agreed to examine if the UPA government’s Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 is unconstitutional, it called fears about “possible” accidents at nuclear power plants alarmist.

While the court issued notice to the government on the question of constitutionality of the 2010 Act, the three-judge Bench led by Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia refused to go into safety aspects of nuclear plants, saying it does not have the expertise to adjudicate on a “highly scientific” issue. Advocate Prashant Bhushan represents two NGOs and several prominent citizens in a PIL to declare the Nuclear Liability Act unconstitutional and have the court direct the government to set up an expert, independent nuclear regulator to check the safety measures for nuclear plants.

Kulaste, Jaitley in BJP RS list

The BJP on Friday announced the names of 12 candidates for elections to the Rajya Sabha, including Leader of Opposition in the upper house Arun Jaitley from Gujarat, chief spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad from Bihar, Vinay Katiyar from Uttar Pradesh, Najma Heptullah from Madhya Pradesh and Jagat Prakash Nadda from Himachal Pradesh.

The list also had former MP Faggan Singh Kulaste, who was sent to jail earlier in the cash-for-votes scandal.

The other names announced include party general secretary Thawarchand Gehlot and Kaptan Singh Solanki from MP, Bhupinder Yadav from Rajashtan, Ajay Sancheti from Maharashtra and Dr Bhushan Lal Jhangde from Chhattisgarh.














PTI | 07:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

Bhushan said there has not been nuclear safety audit by Bhushan said there has not been nuclear safety audit by the independent authority and even the assurance given by the Prime Minister has not been complied with in the Act. Besides seeking to declare the Act as “unconstitutional and void ab initio,” the PIL has sought direction to declare that in case of a nuclear accident, all nuclear operators and nuclear suppliers, would be jointly and severally, and absolutely liable for civil damages, and their financial liability would be unlimited. The petition said the Act was not passed because of any pressure from citizens, any mass demonstration for the need of a liability law nor did anybody feel the need to strengthen the nuclear safety regime. “Countries with whom India has signed nuclear deals like US, France and Russia have pressurized our government to purchase expensive nuclear reactors from suppliers based in their countries,” the PIL said adding that the process of drafting of the Bill was initiated by Indian corporate lobbyist organization FICCI. Further, the Act channels all the liability to the nuclear operator (which presently is the Government itself) and the victims are not allowed any recourse to sue the companies that supply nuclear reactors and other material. The Act under Section 6 also limits the liability of the operator to Rs 1,500 crore, which is quite low, and states that the remaining damage may be made good by the Government at the exchquer’s cost. The Act also excludes the liability of the operators in certain circumstances, the petition said. “Thus clearly the Act, by excluding the liability of the nuclear supplier, violates the principle of ‘polluter pays’, it said.











SC seeks Centre, States’ response on 1.7 lakh ‘missing’ kids


PTI | 07:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

New Delhi, Mar 16(PTI) Taking note of a PIL that over 1.7 lakh children have gone missing in the country between January 2008-2010, many apparently kidnapped for trafficking in flesh trade and child labour,the Supreme Court today sought response of the Centre, States, UTs and Attorney General on the issue. A bench of justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar while issuing notices on the PIL filed by an NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan sought replies within four weeks from the respective Governments. Senior counsel H S Phoolka, appearing for the NGO, urged the apex court to direct the Centre and States to formulate a national plan to tackle the menace and also to define the term ‘missing children’, which he said has so far not been defined in any statute. Quoting statistics including the NCRB (National Crime Research Bureau), he said, between January 2008 to January 2010, 1,17,480 children have gone missing in 392 districts in the country and out of these, 41,546 are still untraced. The NGO claimed that the number of missing children in India is almost 90,000 every year with more than 30,000 remaining untraced with West Bengal accounting for the largest number of cases, followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh. “One of the major issues with respect to tackling the issue of missing children in India is the fact that the term ‘Missing Children’ has not been defined in any statute in India. “Therefore the cases of missing children are not properly handled by the authorities and the fate of such children are completely dependent on the whims and fancies of the authorities,” the petition, filed through counsel Jagjit Singh Chhabra, stated.(MORE)










SC to examine legality of law on nuclear safety


Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012, 19:19

New Delhi: The controversial Civil Liability on Nuclear Damage Act on Friday came under judicial scrutiny with the Supreme Court giving its nod to examine the legality of the various provisions of the law on a PIL alleging infringement of fundamental right to life of citizens.

“Issue notice only to the vires of the Act,” a bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar said while asking the Government to respond to the PIL challenging various provisions of the legislation contending that it did not cover the nuclear safety regime.

“We will examine the validity of the Act, vis-a-vis Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution,” the bench said while making it clear that it will not venture into any other aspect as the issues raised in the petition about the nuclear plants are “very scientific” in nature and it “does not have the expertise to go into them”.

“The issue is highly scientific. We are not competent. This court doesn’t have the expertise to declare whether the nuclear reactor is harmful or not,” the bench said.

The PIL filed by the NGO, Common Cause and other public spirited persons, also questioned the provision in the Civil Liability on Nuclear Damage Act, 2010, which limits the liability of the supplier for the nuclear reactor to Rs 1,500 crore for any disaster.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for the NGO, also raised the issue on the appointment of an independent regulatory body to oversee nuclear plants.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati defended the law saying it is for Parliament to look into the issue of safety aspect and appointment of regulator.

Bhushan said there has been largescale agitation against the setting up of new nuclear plants as there has been a feeling that Government was giving false assurance on the nuclear safety.

Bhushan said there has not been nuclear safety audit by the independent authority and even the assurance given by the Prime Minister has not been complied with in the Act.

Besides seeking to declare the Act as “unconstitutional and void ab initio,” the PIL has sought direction to declare that in case of a nuclear accident, all nuclear operators and nuclear suppliers, would be jointly and severally, and absolutely liable for civil damages, and their financial liability would be unlimited.

The petition said the Act was not passed because of any pressure from citizens, any mass demonstration for the need of a liability law nor did anybody feel the need to strengthen the nuclear safety regime.

“Countries with whom India has signed nuclear deals like US, France and Russia have pressurized our government to purchase expensive nuclear reactors from suppliers based in their countries,” the PIL said adding that the process of drafting of the Bill was initiated by Indian corporate lobbyist organization FICCI.

Further, the Act channels all the liability to the nuclear operator (which presently is the Government itself) and the victims are not allowed any recourse to sue the companies that supply nuclear reactors and other material.

The Act under Section 6 also limits the liability of the operator to Rs 1,500 crore, which is quite low, and states that the remaining damage may be made good by the Government at the exchquer’s cost. The Act also excludes the liability of the operators in certain circumstances, the petition said.

“Thus clearly the Act, by excluding the liability of the nuclear supplier, violates the principle of ‘polluter pays’, it said.









SC declines to stay CBI probe against VS


Express News Service

NEWDELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday disposed of a special leave petition, seeking a stay on the probe against V S Achuthanandan in a case related to the handing over of the State Data Centre to Reliance Communications in 2009.
A Bench, comprising Justice H L Dattu and Justice Anil R Dave, dismissed the petition filed by T Gopinathan Nandakumar as Senior Counsel P S Narasimha argued that the court is being used as a platform to settle political scores.
However, Advocate-on-record in the case B K Devesh said that they would file a review petition in the High Court. The UDF Chief Whip P C George had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the Kerala High Court alleging that rules were openly flouted in the award of the contract. He had also come up with certain documents against the petitioner Nandakumar, who was also alleged to be involved in the handover. The High Court had disposed of the matter after the Advocate General (AG), on the second day of the hearing, said that the government had decided to refer the matter to the CBI.
Narasimha submitted that the high court had passed an ex parte order and had merely recorded the statement of the State Advocate General that a decision had been taken to entrust the matter to the CBI.
He said the high court had recorded the AG’s statement and disposed of the writ petition filed by P C George, stating that nothing remained for consideration.
Citing a Constitution Bench decision, he added that there must be prima facie materials for the court to come to the conclusion to order a CBI probe, but here there were no materials before the court.












Hold UT civic polls in 6 months


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has directed the Election Commissioner to hold elections to the local bodies in Puducherry within six months.

The entire process should be completed within a period of six months from March 14, the first bench comprising Chief Justice MY Eqbal and Justice TS Sivagnanam said on Thursday.

The direction followed a submission from the Puducherry Government Pleader T Murugesan that by a notification dated March 14 this year, the Election Commissioner had been appointed.

The polls would be conducted and the results declared within six months from the date of the notification, he added.

In view of the undertaking given by the GP, the bench gave the direction and disposed of a PIL from V Perumal, secretary of the Puducherry unit of the Communist Party of India (Marxist).

Petitioner contended that the election to the local body was overdue from 1968. He filed a writ petition and the first bench on August 22 last year disposed of the same with a direction to the Puduchery and other authorities to immediately initiate the process of conducting the election and declare the result as quickly as possible, latest by six months.









Speed governors in school buses by May


NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Mumbai, Sat Mar 17 2012, 02:04 hrs


In what could be an important step towards increasing safety of school buses across the state, the Maharashtra government has made it mandatory for school buses to instal speed governors by May this year.

The regulations have been put into place through an official notification, which was passed on March 13. The notification was placed before a division Bench of Justice D D Sinha and Justice V K Tahilramani of the Bombay High Court on Friday.

According to the notification, school buses, which are registered after May 1 will have to mandatorily instal the devices. In case of buses, which are registered on or before April 30, the instalation will have to be done at the time of the renewal of its fitness certificate, and in any case before September 1 this year.

Assistant government pleader Nitin Deshpande said, “Considering the urgency of the situation, and the safety of young children, it was decided to give priority to putting into place the stipulation for at least school buses.”

The notification has also made it compulsory for heavy vehicles and tankers and dumpers to instal speed governors. New registrations of tankers and dumpers will have to comply with the regulations starting from July 1 this year.

However, at present the rule has not been extended to private vehicles, auto-rickshaws.

A PIL filed by an NGO named Suraksha foundation, had demanded prompt action on the issue.

In the previous hearing on January 11, lawyer for the petitioners Anil Sakhare pointed out that numerous other states including Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Punjab and Haryana have issued notifications to this effect and have begun implementing the rules.

The matter has now been adjourned till March 19.











APIIC-Emaar township case: Bail for IAS officer


Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012, 15:01

Hyderabad: The special CBI court on Friday granted bail to suspended IAS officer B P Acharya in the APIIC-Emaar township case, as the Centre has not yet sanctioned his prosecution.

Acharya, a former home secretary of Andhra Pradesh, and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Executive Officer LV Subramanyam, are chargesheeted alongwith 10 others in the Emaar case. But prosecution of both these IAS officers has not been sanctioned yet, so court today granted Acharya bail on a personal bond of Rs 25,000 and two sureties of same amount.

Barring these two, court today took cognisance of the CBI’s chargesheet against the ten accused (which includes private companies) under Indian Penal Code sections relating to criminal conspiracy, cheating, etc; and also under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Judge B Nagamaruti Sarma had earlier asked CBI to point out how the court can keep a public servant in judicial custody without a sanction for prosecution from the Centre.

The court had also declined to pass any order on a CBI application, seeking a court direction to the Centre to expedite the decision on sanction.

Acharya, arrested on January 31, was vice-chairman and managing director of AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC) in 2005-10. Subramanyam (not yet arrested) was vice-chairman and Managing Director of APIIC when the township project was conceived during the Telugu Desam rule.

The main allegation against the project developers Emaar is that it sold villas at high prices, after undervaluing the land rates for the government record, causing a loss to exchequer.











Shehla case: Polygraph test to be done on Irfan


Last Updated: Friday, March 16, 2012, 22:16

Indore: A special court hearing the RTI activist Shehla Masood murder case on Friday extended the police custody of alleged contract killer Irfan till March 22 and also granted CBI the permission to conduct a lie detection test on him.

Irfan was produced in the special CBI court of judicial magistrate Dr Subhra Singh which extended his police custody till March 22, senior public prosecutor Hemant Shukla told reporters.

“It is up to the investigators (CBI) to decide when will he be subjected to polygraph test,” he said. Uttar Pradesh police had handed over Irfan’s custody to CBI on March 9 which then formally arrested him under section 302 (murder) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code.

Irfan, who is the fourth accused in the murder case of the 32-year-old activist, was arrested by Uttar Pradesh police from Talaq Mahal locality in Kanpur on February 27.

Besides him, Bhopal-based architect Zahida Pervez, her assistant Saba Farooqui and alleged contract killer Shakib ‘Danger’ are the three other accused in the case.

The court also allowed CBI to bring and seize Irfan’s cloths from Kanpur jail, Shukla said.

On March 14, main accused Zahida Pervez had recorded her statement in the closed-door hearing before the special CBI court under section 164 of CrPC, while the co-accused Saba Farooqui refused undergoing it. The duo had also refused taking the polygraph test even though they had agreed for it earlier.

Another accused Shaikb ‘Danger’ who is currently in judicial custody at Indore Central Jail, had agreed to make his statement after ten days in the CBI special court.

Saba and Shaikb were remanded in judicial custody till March 13.

Shehla was shot dead outside her residence at posh Koh-e-Fiza locality in Bhopal on August 16, 2011.




SC sets up special bench to deal with 2G cases


A special two-judge bench was on Friday constituted by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia for hearing all cases arising out of 2G spectrum allocation scam.

In view of a large number of petitions and applications being filed in the apex court by the Centre, telecom companies and others after it passed the order cancelling 122 telecom licences, Justice Kapadia constituted the bench comprising justices G.S. Singhvi and A.K. Patnaik.

“There is a direction that all 2G matters be taken up by a special bench comprising me and Justice A K Patnaik,” Justice Singhvi said while hearing an appeal filed by Janata Party president Subramanium Swamy challenging the trial court’s order giving clean chit to Home Minister P. Chidambaram in the scam.

He directed the Supreme Court registry to take instruction from the CJI so that Mr. Swamy’s case could be heard by the special bench.

The bench was constituted as Justice A.K. Ganguly, who had passed the orders in the scam along with Justice Singhvi, has retired.

The bench had passed a slew of judgements in the scam including the order cancelling the 122 2G spectrum licences granted by former Telecom Minister A Raja and held that first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy could not be used for allocation of natural resources.

It had also pulled up the PMO for sitting on the complaint filed against Mr. Raja








Supreme Court to examine validity of nuclear liability law


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Mar 17, 2012, 06.04AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday agreed to examine the constitutional validity of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act, 2010 and admitted a PIL, which accused the UPA government of succumbing to foreign pressure to limit compensation obligation of nuclear reactor operators to a meagre Rs 1,500 crore when leakage or accident could prove catastrophic for a huge population.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, however, refused to go into the other part of the PIL demanding a transparent safety audit of existing nuclear reactors and setting up of an independent regulator to recommend safety measures.

“We are not experts and have scientific limitations to adjudicate highly technical issue like reactor safety. But since the Civil Liability of Nuclear Damage Act has a link to right to life, we will examine the validity of the law,” the bench said.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, appearing for NGO ‘Common Cause’, strived to convince the bench about the importance of independent safety audit of nuclear reactors. “Only three safety audits have been carried out so far and no one knows what happened to the 95 safety recommendations,” he said.

“Fukushima disaster forced Japan to close down all its nuclear reactors despite these contributing 30% of power. That is because the Japanese government respected the citizens’ serious concern about safety of nuclear power plants. This again is the reason behind the ongoing agitation against a nuclear power plant in India,” he added.

The bench said, “For the government to listen, there has to be agitation. There is no doubt about it. But we have our Constitution which provides for separation of power. We understand your concern. But this is something the government is required to do. The courts cannot intervene in everything. Moreover, there is a bill for setting up of nuclear regulator pending in Parliament. Who can say at the end of the debate, the mechanism adopted by legislature would not make it a very independent body.”

Bhushan said for last 17 years, there had not been any independent safety audit of nuclear reactors and now the Centre has proposed a regulating body which on paper appeared to be “completely subservient to the government”.

Attorney general G E Vahanvati opposed Bhushan’s remarks on the independence of the proposed regulator. He said, “The proposed body is most independent. In the US, the president can remove members of the regulator at his whims and fancy. In India, we have put a clause that they can be removed only on misconduct count.”

The petition, filed through advocate Pranav Sachdeva, said the Act by limiting liability on nuclear reactor operators to Rs 1,500 crore had breached the “polluter pays” principle laid down by the apex court and did not protect the right of the citizen to a clean, healthy and safe environment.

 Supreme Court notice to Centre and states on missing children


TNN | Mar 17, 2012, 06.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Friday issued notices to the Centre and state governments on a PIL for setting up of an advanced scientific mechanism to investigate and recover missing children, with over 1.17 lakh reported missing in the last two years.

“In India, in the period of January 2008 to January 2010, over 1.17 lakh children have gone missing in 392 districts in India. Out of them, 41,546 are still untraced,” said senior advocate H S Phoolka appearing for NGO petitioner ‘Bachpan Bachao Andolan’.
the governments asking for their response within four weeks but appreciated the
A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir and S S Nijjar issued notices to efforts of police in recovering a majority of the missing children.

The petitioner said, “The instances of missing children are highest in Maharashtra followed by West Bengal, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh. The number of untraced missing children is highest in West Bengal followed by Maharashtra, Karnataka and Madhya Pradesh.”

The petitioner sought a direction to the Union government to formulate a National Action Plan on the issue of missing children which should include investigation, recovery, counseling and a standard operating procedures (SOP) for law enforcing agencies on coordinating their efforts. It said on the efforts of Delhi High Court, the police had made operational some SOPs.









US court to hear 1984 anti-Sikh riots case on March 29 as Congress hires US law firm to defend itself


I P Singh, TNN Mar 16, 2012, 10.49AM IST

JALANDHAR: A US federal court has granted Congress an extension of 2 weeks to respond to the motion for “Default Judgment” filed by Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) for its (Congress’) failure to defend the charges of conspiring, aiding, abetting, organizing and carrying out attacks on Sikh population of India in November 1984.

Judge Robert W Sweet of the US federal court was scheduled to hear the plaintiff’s motion for entry of “Default Judgment” on March 15 but on March 13 attorney Thomas E Lynch, on behalf of the Congress, wrote a letter to Judge Sweet requesting an adjournment of the hearing on plaintiff’s motion for a judgment by default so as to allow him time to review the relevant facts and to prepare a response to the plaintiff’s motion.

“Jones Day”, a law firm with expertise in defending organizations accused of human rights violations has been retained by Congress to defend it against the pending charges of genocidal attacks on the Sikhs in November 1984.

SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun told that on March 2011, when US federal court issued summons against Congress, it retained “Wiggin and Dana LLP” a New York based law firm, which also asked for an extension to respond to Summons but later the law firm withdrew its representation of Congress (I) stating that they were not hired by authorized officials of Congress.

The US federal court will now hear plaintiff’s motion for a judgment by default against Congress on March 29, Pannun told TOI. The plaintiff’s are demanding that a judgment by default be entered against the defendant Congress and that an evidentiary hearing be scheduled in order to determine the amount of compensatory and punitive damages to be awarded to the plaintiffs.

A class action suit was filed against Congress and union minister Kamal Nath by “Sikhs For Justice” (SFJ) a US based human rights group along with several Sikh individuals who survived attacks on November 1984 under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA). The complaint, which was amended on March 2011, sought damages over the genocidal attacks against Sikhs that were carried out throughout India in November 1984 after the assassination of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

However, on March 7 Judge Sweet ruled that plaintiffs must refile claims against Nath. According to the decision of the Judge SFJ failed to properly serve the politician, Kamal Nath, when it filed suit on April 2010. While SFJ had claimed that summons were served on Nath when he was outside the Indian Consulate in US on April 6, 2010 but Nath had countered that he was not served and that no one witnessed him being approached or handed over anything.




CAT reserves order on Rahul Sharmas petition


Published: Friday, Mar 16, 2012, 14:25 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) comprising Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majmudar on Thursday reserved order on a petition filed by IPS officer Rahul Sharma challenging the charge sheet issued against him by the state government in connection with the CDs containing phone call records of the 2002 communal riots period.

With this, the bench extended Sharma’s deadline to file a reply to the government’s charge sheet till the outcome of his petition. The bench reserved the order following completion of verbal arguments from Sharma and the state government. However, it also asked both the sides to submit their final written arguments by March 20.

Sharma, who had filed the plea last year, had submitted that he was victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission, probing the 2002 riot cases, and submittingCDs which became instrumental in nailing some accused in the riot cases. He submitted that the state government could not act against him as he enjoyed immunity under the Commission of Inquiries Act.
The state government had denied Sharma’s contention and described his petition aspremature. It further claimed that there was no connection between the charge sheet against Sharma and his deposition before the riots panel.

On Thursday, Bhaskar Tanna and Mahrooq Kerravala, counsels for the state government,argued that there were contradictions in Sharma’s statements before the commission with regards to CDs, which they wanted to inquire.

Tanna pointed out from the two statements of Sharma before the Nanavati Commission that, at one point the IPS officer had said that the CDs submitted by him were not original one but a copy; while to another question, he had said that the master copy of the CD was still with him.

Sharma has appeared before the commission twice, first in 2002 in the capacity of police chief of Bhavnagar district, and then in 2004 when he submitted the CDs containing telephone call records.

The counsels further submitted that, at that point of time, the Nanavati Commission hadalso conceived a view that that there needs to be an independent inquiry with regards to the CDs, which is what the state government had initiated by issuing notice to Sharma.

The IPS officer was charged for not submitting the original CDs to the respective investigating officers of riot cases or his supervisory officers or not depositing it as case property when he was transferred from the post.

In his petition challenging the charge sheet, Sharma has said that he had sent the CDs in question through a police messenger of the then Joint Police Commissioner (crime) PP Pande, after which the CDs became untraceable. The original CDs are now not traceable and only copies of it are available.







HC posts marines plea to March 19


Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday adjourned the hearing on the petition filed by two Italian marines seeking to quash the FIR registered against them to March 19.
Appearing for the state, Advocate-General K P Dandapani submitted that the government had absolute jurisdiction to register the case under various laws, including the Suppression of Unlawful Act of Violence against the Safety of Maritime Navigation and Fixed Platforms on Continued Shelf Act 2001.
However, counsel for Italy pointed out that the action under the SUA could be taken only against terrorists or pirates.
Italy’s counsel also argued that even under the Act, the state government had no jurisdiction to lodge an FIR. In fact, the Central Government had been empowered to register any case and to investigate under the Act.
The AG submitted that during the course of investigation, the offence under the SUA would be incorporated in the FIR. In fact, the investigation is still on, the AG said.









HC reserves orders on Reddy plea


Express News Service

BANGALORE: The High Court on Thursday reserved its orders on the criminal petition filed by former minister G Janardhana Reddy, challenging the CBI court remanding him in police custody. CBI had filed an objection following the petition. Hearing the case, Justice N Anand reserved for orders.
Reddy appeared before the CBI court here on March 2 in connection with the case and was remanded in CBI custody till March 12. His personal assistant Ali Khan, who is also one of the accused in the case, was also remanded in CBI custody till March 12. Their custody was extend till March 16 by the CBI court.
Reddy was brought here from Chanchalguda Prison where he has been lodged along with his brother-in-law B V Srinivas Reddy since September 5 after his arrest by CBI in illegal mining case by Obulapuram Mining Company (OMC). The CBI had chargesheeted the Reddys in the OMC case accusing them of hatching a conspiracy.











PTI | 07:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Rules, 2011 had come into effect on November 14 last year. The petitioner also said the object of the Act is to prohibit the advertisement of cigarette and other tobacco products and “the said Act and Rules making power conferred thereunder have no application in the field of production and distribution of cinema and television programme which is covered and governed by the Cinematography Act and rules framed thereunder.” Bhatt sought quashing of the notification saying any display of cigarette in movies and television programmes was not an advertisement. “It is not a provision of the Act that there should not be any display or depiction of tobacco products or their use in any cinema or television programme,” the petition said. PTI AHA PNM SJK HMP









HC orders part demolition of Mutt to save temple


Express News Service

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday ordered demolition of Chhauni Mutt to the extent required for easing pressure on ‘Meghnad Pacheri’ and ‘Singhadwar’ of Jagannath Temple at Puri to facilitate repair of both. A division bench of Justices PK Mohanty and I Mohanty directed the ASI to carry out the eviction within three months.
The portion of the Mutt that is exerting pressure on the boundary wall and the stretch that is impeding repair works on the Lions Gate will have to be removed. The mutt building should be separated from the boundary wall and the entrance gate structure, the court ruled.
The judges on Tuesday had carried out an on-the-spot inspection of the wall and the Singhadwar along with the positioning of the structure to determine if the Mutt was threatening the structures.
They had earlier directed the Endowments Commissioner to study the impact of two Mutts — Chhauni and Badachhata — along the boundary wall and the main entrance gate of the temple with assistance of Chief Architect, Odisha, and Superintending Archaeologist of ASI, Bhubaneswar Circle.
The team had visited the site on March 10 and submitted their report in a sealed cover on March 13.
The court’s direction for inspection came in response to petitions challenging the order of ASI for demolition of the two mutts located along the northern and southern side of the boundary wall.
The mutt buildings, according to ASI, which is carrying out preservation, repair and maintenance works on the temple, were threatening the wall and the Lions Gate.
Repair works on the Lions Gate, which has developed cracks, could not be undertaken due to the encroachment by the mutts, the ASI had stated. The statutory expert committee monitoring the ongoing repair and conservation work by ASI, in its report in 2010, had also recommended demolition of both the buildings.
The district magistrate had also issued notices to the mutts to dismantle the building structures.








HC moved for making helmet rule optional


PTI | 04:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

Madurai, Mar 16 (PTI) Claiming that wearing helmet caused various health problems, a PIL petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here seeking a direction to police to make the helmet rule optional for two-wheeler riders. The petition, filed by BSP state Executive Committee member Guruvijayan, alleged police were arbitrary in taking action against violators of the rule and sought a direction to the Madurai City and District police to make helmet wearing optional and not compulsory. He said wearing helmet caused many health problems including headache, sinus and cough cold. “Everyone is of the opinion that wearing helment should not be made mandatory and could be optional. In this context I made representation to the Home secretary and top police officers. But not concrete action has come forth.” Justice A selvam and Justice K.Ravichandrababu ordered issue of notice and posted the petition for further hearing on April 24. Government advocate Mohammed Mohaideen submitted that a Division Bench had already passed an order and the government had implemented the helme rule based on that order.













PTI | 07:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

Coming down heavily on jail authorities for allowing Coming down heavily on jail authorities for allowing Vishal to visit Batra Hospital under the garb of a previous order of the high court, the court earlier had said the convict’s numerous visits to hospital was unwarranted. According to Tihar jail, Vishal had remained hospitalised at Batra hospital for nearly three-and-half months for his TB treatment. The court passed the order on victim Nitish Katara’s mother Neelam Katara’s petition, allegeing on the basis of information received from Tihar Jail under the RTI Act that Vishal had visited hospitals 87 times, misusing his financial and political clout. In 2008, a trial court has awarded life imprisonment to Vikas and Vishal and also similar punishment to third accused Sukhdev Pehalwan who was tried separately as he had absconded during the trial of Yadavs in the case. While the convicts had moved the high court seeking reversal of the trial court’s findings, police and Neelam Katara have filed appeals for award of death penalty, saying that the offence was of the “rarest of rare” category. Nitish Katara, a business executive, was abducted from a marriage party at Ghaziabad on the intervening night of February 16-17, 2002 and was later killed for his alleged intimacy with Vikas’ sister Bharti.









HC asks jail authorities to arrange for med exam of Nigerians


PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 16,2012

Chennai, Mar 16 (PTI) The Madras High Court today directed the Puzhal Central Prison authorities here to arrange for medical examination of three under-trial Nigerians, who were allegedly assaulted by warders on March 14, by a team of government doctors tomorrow. A Division Bench comprising Justices K Mohn Ram and G M Akbar Ali directed the Resident Medical Officer of a city government hospital to provide treatment to them and submit a report to the court. The Bench, in an order on a Habeas Corpus Petition filed by an advocate and Director of Prisoners Rights Forum P Pugalenthi, also directed the prison authorities to file a report on March 20. The HCP sought a direction to the jail officials to produce the under-trials Cyril (41), Dickson (29) and Michael (36) before the court and to provide them proper medical treatment. The petitioner also sought a direction to the jail officials to initiate appropriate disciplinary and criminal action against the warders, who had allegedly assaulted them. The advocate said that he had visited the prison on March 14 after knowing about the assault on the Nigerians. Pugalenthi said that he had met the three under-trials and was told about 20 warders had assaulted them. They showed him the injuries allegedly inflicted on them by the warders and said they had been placed in solitary confinement. He said he had sent a representation the same day to the Jail Superintendent and the Tamil nadu Additional Director General of Prisons.








HC refuses to stay Centre’s ban on smoking scenes in movies


Published: Friday, Mar 16, 2012, 19:30 IST | Updated: Friday, Mar 16, 2012, 19:32 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Bollywood director and producer Mahesh Bhatt on Friday failed to get any interim relief from the Delhi High Court on his plea seeking to revoke the Centre’s notification prohibiting smoking scenes in movies on the ground they are akin to advertisement of the social evil.

The court, which did not stay the notification, however, issued a notice to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare and sought its response on Bhatt’s petition.

A bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher has now listed the matter for further hearing on July 11.

Bhatt has challenged the ministry’s notification, dated September 27, 2011, saying such prohibition was “illegal and arbitrary”.

Bhatt has sought quashing of the notification on the ground that it was violative of the fundamental rights of the citizen.

“Petitioner is deeply aggrieved by the 2011 amendment as they are not only violation of the freedom of speech and expression but also against the right to carry out profession, trade and business,” Bhatt said in his plea.

The noted filmmaker added the notification is liable to be declared “null and void” on the sole ground of being “arbitrary and unreasonable”.

The petitioner said the rule-making power should be exercised within the jurisdiction of the statute and rules cannot be made beyond the mandate.

“Rules made in exercise of the rule-making power conferred by a particular statute have necessarily to be within the four corner of that statute. The rules cannot make provisions beyond the circumference of the Act,” the petition said.

Bhatt said Rules were null and void as they are without any jurisdiction and beyond the rule-making power of the Central government.

The Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products (Prohibition of Advertisement and Regulation of Trade and Commerce, Production, Supply and Distribution) Amendment Rules, 2011 had come into effect on November 14 last year.

The petitioner also said the object of the Act is to prohibit the advertisement of cigarette and other tobacco products and “the said Act and Rules making power conferred thereunder have no application in the field of production and distribution of cinema and television programme which is covered and governed by the Cinematography Act and rules framed thereunder.”

Bhatt sought quashing of the notification saying any display of cigarette in movies and television programmes was not an advertisement.

“It is not a provision of the Act that there should not be any display or depiction of tobacco products or their use in any cinema or television programme,” the petition said.









HC asks SEBI to reconsider MCX-SX application in a month



Last Updated: Wednesday, March 14, 2012, 18:26

The regulator had also cited violation of the Mimps rules (Manner of increasing and maintaining public shareholding in recognised stock exchanges), which mandates promoters to hold only 5 percent stake.

“During the proceedings before SEBI and the High Court, undertakings have been filed by MCX promoters to the effect that the provisions of Mimps regulations, including the ceiling on the holding of the shares would be complied with,” said the court, while setting aside its previous order that had asked the warring parties to amicably sort out the issues.

Observing that stock exchanges are integral part of the statutory framework which SEBI regulates in relation to the securities markets, the court said, “the relationship between a stock exchange and SEBI is one based on trust and utmost faith. The company is duty bound to make full and honest disclosure of all material facts.

“The effect of the non-disclosure of the buyback agreements to the SEBI should be considered having regard to the fact that a genuine attempt has been made by the promoters by tendering an undertaking that their shareholding together will not exceed 5 percent of the equity capital,” the bench, consisting of justices DY Chandrachud and Anoop V Mohta, said.

The court said, “the findings arrived at in the September 23, 2010 order of SEBI are contrary to law since they ignored the relevant legal tests which have been laid down by the Supreme Court.”

While rejecting the MCX-SX application on September 23, 2010, the SEBI had observed: “Concentration of economic interest in a recognised stock exchange in the hands of two promoters is not in the interest of a well-regulated securities market”.

“The applicant is not fully compliant with the Mimps regulations as substitution of shares by warrants is an attempt to work around the requirements of the rules.”

The regulator SEBI could not be reached immediately for its comments.

“The SEBI was, is and will always remain a respected regulator. The MCX-SX stance was not against regulatory institution, but was for principles. We stand vindicated and always have full faith in the judiciary system. We remain committed to growth and development of the country’s financial markets,” MCX-SX spokesperson said after the order.

The Sebi-MCX-SX tussle dates back to July 16, 2010, when MCX-SX filed a writ petition in the Bombay HC seeking its direction to Sebi to respond to its application.

In August 2008, MCX got an in-principal SEBI approval for setting up MCX Stock Exchange, under section 4 of SCRA 1956, for one-year, provided it complied with the provisions of SCRA Mimps norms within a year. Following this, MCX-SX in October 2008 began operations in currency derivatives (CD).







HC allows Pak scholar to deliver second speech–second-speech/924787/


Express news service : Mumbai, Sat Mar 17 2012, 02:09 hrs
The High Court on Friday permitted Pakistani scholar Tahirul Qadri to deliver his second speech in the city on Saturday.

The order came after public prosecutor Pandurang Pol told the court that the first speech, on Thursday, had been organised peacefully and no untoward incident had taken place. The court also asked city organisation, Raza Academy — which opposed his visit — to ensure protests against his arrival are peaceful. The academy had moved HC with concerns that Qadri may deliver anti- India speeches, and make provocative statements on sensitive issues such as Kashmir. The organisers also gave a copy of his speech on Thursday to the court, along with recordings of the event.








HC: Jail staff ‘connived’ with inmates–Jail-staff—connived–with-inmates/924699/


Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat Mar 17 2012, 03:52 hrs


Slamming the staff of Sonepat jail for “conniving” with the inmates who recently escaped from the jail by scaling the wall with a rope and cutting iron rods, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday called for the action taken report against the entire staff in the Sonepat jailbreak case.

Justice Ranjit Singh passed the directions during the resumed hearing of a bail petition filed by jail warders Amir Chand and Suresh Kumar. A case was registered against them on January 18.

Singh observed: “This is a serious case, where some convicts and under trails were able to escape by scaling the wall with the help of a rope and by cutting iron rods. This could not have happened but for the connivance on the part of some jail staff. Even the superintendent may have to explain these serious happenings in the jail. The weapons for cutting the iron rods could not have reached the jail premises without being detected if the proper checks had been carried out.” The court also asked the state government to “ascertain what action has been taken against the jail staff”. In their petitions, jail warders had submitted that it was difficult to regularly keep track of 60 acres in the absence of adequate staff.










HC directs ASI to clear Hampi encroachments


Express News Service

BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday directed the Archaeological Survey of India to take action under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act 1958, for removal of encroachments on 236 mantapas on Ratha Beedhi in Hampi. Hearing a batch of PILs, a Division Bench of Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna directed the ASI to remove Hampi encroachments.

HC Notices to RBI, State Govt: The HC on Friday issued notices to the RBI Governor and the state government on a petition, filed by one D M Suresh Babu, alleging that Manappuram Finance Ltd and Muthoot Finance were committing offences with regard to ‘lending rates’ and gold loans.He also stated that he had informed the authorities about these activities, but no action was taken.

Objections Sought in Made Snana Case: The HC on Friday directed the state government to file its objections in connection with a PIL petition seeking direction to stop Made Snana ritual at Kukke Subramanya Temple. Petitioners, Veerabhadra Channamalla Swamiji of Nidumamidi Mutt and four other swamijis, stated that the ‘inhuman’ ritual should be banned. A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen directed the state and the district administration to file objections, and adjourned the matter for two weeks.

Order Reserved : The High Court on Friday reserved order on the petition seeking action against the BU for cancelling affiliation to 35 study centres and granting permission to ten new study centres run by the Syndicate members. Oceanic Education Society and 90 others have filed a case.









Return money spent on hospital visits, HC tells Vishal Yadav


Express news service : New Delhi, Sat Mar 17 2012, 01:39 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Friday asked Vishal Yadav, who is serving a life sentence along with cousin Vikas for the murder of Nitish Katara in 2002, to return the money spent by the Delhi government on his security and other miscellaneous expenditure during his many visits to hospitals from Tihar Jail.

A bench of Justices Gita Mittal and V K Shali asked Vishal’s counsel to seek instruction from his client on the issue and inform it by March 23, the next date of hearing.

“It was all tax payers’ money the government has spent for your security during your visits to hospitals including Batra Hospital. Let us see some bonafide,” said the bench, adding it would evaluate the total amount spent on him after perusing documents submitted by jail authorities.

The bench observed that it looked evident that more than Rs 16 lakh was spent on the number of security personnel who had accompanied the convict.

The bench asked the jail authorities to place before it the guidelines framed for prisoners who were sent to various hospitals other than Deen Dayal Upadhyay and LNJP hospitals for treatment.

The DDU and LNJP hospitals were also directed by the bench to file an affidavit making it clear whether they review the health condition of the Tihar patients before referring them to other hospitals.

On similar visits to hospitals by Vikas, the court sought an explanation from AIIMS as to why the convict had been shifted from ‘B’ class facility to ‘A’ class during his treatment in October 2011. The bench also asked AIIMS to mention if such facility was given earlier to any other prisoner.

The court passed the order on victim Nitish’s mother Neelam Katara’s petition. The petition, relying on a RTI reply disclosing that Vishal had visited hospitals 87 times, had claimed that these unreasonable visits were made possible as the convicts used their financial and political clout.

In 2008, a trial court has awarded life imprisonment to Vikas and Vishal for abducting Nitish from a marriage party at Ghaziabad on the night of February 16-17, 2002 and killing him over his alleged intimacy with their sister Bharti.









Punishment for rash driving essential as deterrent: HC


Agencies : Madurai, Fri Mar 16 2012, 15:46 hrs

Observing that punishment for rash and negligent driving was essential as a deterrent, Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has confirmed the conviction on the driver of a tractor which ran over a four-year old girl near here some four years ago.

Justice P.R.Sivakumar, however, took into consideration the family of the driver, comprising wife and two children aged seven and four, and commuted the sentence from six months to three months of simple imprisonment.

The judge imposed a fine of Rs 5000 on P. Muniaswamy or in default undergo three more months of imprisonment.

The judge said in cases like these the punishment should also not be negligible or nominal.”The court deems it appropriate to reduce the sentence of imprisonment to three months from six months”.

Police had registered a case under IPC 304(a) (causing death by negligence) after the girl was run over while walking along the road at R.S.Mangalam on April 29,2008.

The Chief Judicial Magistrate found him guilty and sentenced him to six months of imprisonment without mentioning whether it was simple or rigorous imprisonment.

On appeal, the Principal District Sessions judge inadvertently mentioned that the convict had been ordered to undergo rigorous imprisonment.

Hence the appellant had to undergo such sentence.

Normally if no mention was made about the mode of punishment,it should be taken as simple imprisonment only,the judge said.

Filing the present revision plea, Muniaswamy had initially challenged his conviction as well as sentence.

But when the judge refused to interfere with the lower court judgment, he prayed to show some mercy and reduce the sentence.








HC issues notices on pleas for relief


Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday issued notices to the Centre, state and owners of mv Prabhu Daya on petitions seeking `2 crore compensation in connection with the hit-and-run case in which five fishermen were killed. Relatives of fisherman Xavier Antony had moved the court on Tuesday seeking compensation.
Xavier’s wife Sony, children Alvin and Antony, and mother Cicily argued that the entire family was being maintained by Xavier over the years and his loss was unbearable.
Another petition was also filed by Anna, wife of Santhosh alias Jose, seeking `2 crore compensation.


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