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.



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