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.



3 Responses

  1. i feel that the judge is highly qualified

  2. I feel that the judge is highly qualified for his/her decision in every case and that justice is served.

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