LEGAL NEWS 27.03.2012

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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