LEGAL NEWS 30.04.2012

Aarushi murder case: Nupur Talwar surrenders before Ghaziabad court

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 08.48AM IST

NEW DELHI: Nupur Talwar on Monday surrendered in the Ghaziabad court as Supreme Court had refused to stay the non-bailable warrant against her. She has been taken into judicial custody.

Nupur Talwar also filed her bail plea in the trial court. However, the CBI has asked the court that they will file a counter application to oppose her bail. The CBI will be filing their reply in two hours.

On April 27, Nupur Talwar was directed by the Supreme Court to surrender on Monday before the trial court in Ghaziabad in the twin murder case of her 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj in Noida four years ago.

Refusing to stay the non-bailable warrant issued against her by the special CBI court, a bench of justices A K Patnaik and J S Khehar asked her to approach the trial judge for bail after surrendering which shall expeditiously consider her plea.

The court also turned down her plea for granting protection against any arrest on her surrender.

“We should not anticipate about what the trial court is going to do. You appear before it and the court shall consider your bail. If you do not get bail then there are higher courts,” the bench said.

The bench pointed out that her husband also got bail in the twin murder case.

“We are not inclined to stay the operation of the order of NBW issued by the Special Judge, Ghaziabad. But we direct that petitioner (Nupur Talwar) will appear on Monday and move her bail. In case application for bail is moved, the same shall be considered expeditiously,” the bench said.

School-going Aarushi was murdered on the intervening night of May 16-17, 2008 at her Noida residence and the body of domestic help, Hemraj, was found on their terrace the next day.

Nupur faced arrest after Ghaziabad special court issued non-bailable warrant against her on April 11 following which the CBI had carried out searches at her Delhi home.

The investigating agency, however, later on assured the bench that it would not arrest her till the hearing of her plea in the apex court.







BSNL directed to provide call details to lawyer

Nothing wrong in providing details about his own number: HC The Madras High Court Bench here has directed the General Manager of Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) here to provide details of incoming and outgoing phone calls made by a lawyer through his mobile phone on a particular date along with details of locations from where the calls were made and received in order to prove his innocence in a criminal case registered against him.

Allowing a writ petition filed by the lawyer, B. Stalin, through his counsel P. Rathinam, Justice D. Hariparanthaman said that there was nothing wrong in providing the details sought for by the petitioner as he was seeking information about his own mobile phone number. “It is a different matter, if the petitioner had sought for certain details relating to a mobile phone belonging to someone else,” he added.

The judge also pointed out that the Madurai Collector U. Sagayam too had written a letter to the General Manager of BSNL on April 7 asking him to provide the details sought for by the petitioner by stating that “we are living in the era of Right to Information Act and hence every citizen of the country had the right to obtain the information sought for by him.”

The Madurai district police had registered a criminal case against the lawyer on March 10.

However, he was granted interim bail by a Division Bench of the High Court on March 13 following a habeas corpus petition filed by his father K. Bhaskaran.

Subsequently, he made an application to BSNL seeking the details about the calls made and received on March 10.

The information was not provided and hence the present petition.








Kerala seeks SIMI ban extension

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Kerala Government in its affidavit filed before the Special Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act Tribunal, headed by Justice V K Shali, has requested the Centre to continue its ban on the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI).
In February, the Cabinet Committee on Security headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had extended the ban for two years under Section 3 of the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1963.
The Central Government in March 2012 constituted a committee headed by Justice Shali to examine if sufficient evidence exists against SIMI to extend the ban. As per Unlawful Activities Act 1963, the ban has to be approved by the tribunal.
Kerala Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan confirmed the state government move. “The Central Government had already extended the ban in February. We are just endorsing it. SIMI is still spreading propaganda in the state through various front organisations.The state government wants the ban to continue. We are facing a lot of problems because of SIMI activities.
I will try and meet Justice Shali when he is in Kerala next week and convey our stand,” Radhakrishnan said.
Radhakrishnan also hinted at various front organisations floated by SIMI in Kasargod district that have been active in organising seminars and symposium.
“The state government will soon convene an all-party meeting to discuss the problems in Kasargod and parts of Kozhikode. It is important to put a curb on propaganda circulated through various NGOs by organising symposium,” he said.
Home Ministry sources said there are at least 15 front organisations of SIMI in Kerala and intelligence input received by the Centre over the years clearly indicate SIMI links with Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Toiba. “Some non-governmental organisations are acting as messenger. There are reports indicating that these NGOs are receiving funds from abroad,” sources said.








Endosulfan: NHRC presses State to pay compensation

Special Correspondent

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the Chief Secretary to personally appear before it on June 11, if the State government failed to take action on the compensation recommended by it to endosulfan victims in Kasaragod district.

The Chief Secretary is to file an action taken report on the NHRC’s recommendations before June 4, failing which he would have to appear before the Commission. The NHRC has warned that it would approach the Supreme Court for enforcement of its recommendations if the government failed to pay the compensation.

The NHRC had said that the State should pay at least Rs. 5 lakh to the next of kin of those who had died and to those who were fully bedridden or unable to move without help or mentally retarded and Rs. 3 lakh to those who have got other disabilities.

Though the NHRC had said that the Union government should give adequate financial help to the State government, the Centre is yet to approve a proposal submitted by it.

Recently, the State government issued an order taking over liabilities of the Plantations Corporation of Kerala in this regard. It was the Corporation which undertook aerial spraying of endosulfan in its estates spreading across or adjoining a dozen villages in Kasaragod district, disregarding rules. The spraying of endosulfan, which started in the late 1970s continued till 2001.

The NHRC, which considered the issue suo moto in 2010, had given its recommendations in December 2010. Last year, the State government said in an action taken report that the payments could not be made since the assistance from the Centre was not forthcoming. More than 4,000 people have already been identified as victims eligible for relief and four-stage verification is on in the case of about 1,400 more applicants. The process includes medical examination by experts and confirmation of place of residence by Revenue Department.

The NHRC had recommended that a panel of doctors might assess the extent of physical disability to classify the categories of victims. It had also called for a survey of other populations that might also have been affected by the use of endosulfan including in Palakkad district where there were reports of similar problems faced by villagers.

Besides, the NHRC had recommended increase in the quantum of relief, rehabilitation for victims and their families, improvement in facilities for diagnosis, treatment and therapy available at hospitals and health centres. It also suggested that at least one of the hospitals attending to the victims should be equipped and staffed to offer advanced care and all Primary Health Centres in the eleven villages, which are seriously affected, may be upgraded to Community Health Centres.









NHRC issues notice to UP police over death of woman

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) The NHRC today issued notice to Uttar Pradesh Police in connection with death of a road accident victim after it was alleged that cops of two police stations were busy arguing over jurisdiction instead of taking to hospital the injured woman who was mauled by stray dogs. If true, this indifference by the police who are supposed to take action is quite reprehensible and also violative of human rights of a citizen, the National Human Rights Commission observed in its notice. The Director General of UP Police has been asked to submit a detailed report in the matter within four weeks after taking suo motu cognisance of the incident, an NHRC spokesperson said. A woman senior citizen was knocked down by a vehicle in Hapur on April 21 and the police allegedly argued over jurisdiction and did not take the injured lady to a hospital for treatment. Quoting media reports, the NHRC said, even as she was crying for help, the stray dogs mauled her to death.







Conditional acquittal for all accused in Umta rioting case

Manas Dasgupta

All the surviving 109 accused in the Umta rioting case, in which two persons were killed during the post-Godhra communal riots, have been granted conditional acquittals by the Visnagar court.

Mohammad Abdul Sheikh, a retired teacher, and Abdul Mansuri, were killed and later their bodies thrown into a fire during communal violence in Umta village in Visnagar taluka of Mehsana district in north Gujarat on February 28, 2002. More than 100 houses of the minorities were also looted and set afire by a mob of over 2,000.

The police arrested a total of 120 persons in connection with rioting, arson and murder. Of them, 11 died during the trial.

Visnagar court judge K.V. Magnani on Friday acquitted all the accused giving them the benefit of doubt because no “concrete evidence” was available against any of them. The court, however, stipulated conditions asking them to furnish a personal bond of Rs. 10,000 each, deposit their passports if they held one, and submit their address proofs before the court. The acquitted have also been told not to leave Gujarat without the permission of the court.

Special Public Prosecutor Navin Barot regretted the court order but said the court had to give them the benefit of doubt as prime witnesses, who hailed from the village, had all turned hostile and refused to recognise any of them as attackers. He said he would give his opinion about challenging the judgment after studying the order.

Babubhai Patel, one of those acquitted, claimed that the local Muslims supported their cause because the two communities always lived together in the village and would continue to do so. He claimed that the attackers were mostly people from outside but the police had wrongly arrested the locals. Some minority leaders, who were helping the victims in the court case, however, claimed that the local Muslims had “bought peace” with the majority community members by not identifying the accused in court.

Meanwhile, the Gujarat High Court on Friday admitted the petitions filed by various parties concerned in the Sardarpura massacre in which 33 members of the minority community were killed in the village, also in Mehsana district, on March 1, 2002.

The special fast track court judge S.C. Srivastava last month sentenced 31 convicted to life imprisonment while exonerating 42 others, including 31 of them on benefit of doubt. While the State government and the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team have applied for enhancing the punishment for the convicts and also challenged the acquittals of the 31 persons, the victims and witnesses have filed a petition demanding application of “pre-planned conspiracy” theory against those convicted.

A Division Bench of the High Court, comprising Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyaya, has admitted the petitions and fixed May 2 for the hearing. It will hear on June 18 the petition filed by the State government.









Court dismisses South African woman’s plea for custody of child

Staff Reporter

This court has no territorial jurisdiction, says Judge K. S. MohiA family court in Saket here has dismissed a petition by a South African divorced woman for full custody of her minor child with whom she had fled that country ostensibly to escape harassment from her husband, a local politician there.

“This court has no territorial jurisdiction to entertain the present petition under Section 9 of the Guardians and Wards Act 1980,” said Judge K.S. Mohi, while quashing the petition.

The couple married in 2004 in South Africa and again in 2005 in Goa and divorced by mutual consent in 2010, obtaining the decree from a South African court. They had agreed to share custodial rights over the child.

The woman alleged that her former husband regularly used abusive language and she feared for her five-year-old daughter. The man also allegedly abandoned her before her divorce, leaving her to fend for their daughter as well as two of his other children from previous marriages.

The woman had obtained permission to travel on holiday to the U.K and, on applying for her visa, was told that her South African visa was a spouse visa and no longer valid after her divorce. The woman, after several consultations with the Embassy, made her way back to India.

She had filed a petition for perpetual and mandatory injunction restraining her former husband or his relatives or anyone else acting on his behalf from approaching her or her child, restraining him from coming within 100 metres of her, her present place of residence in Delhi and the school in which she intended to put her child, and restraining her former husband from sending any correspondence, email, SMS either directly or indirectly.

The defence, however, stated that the court had no territorial jurisdiction to deal with the matter because the minor child was not residing within its territory at the time of filing the petition and was therefore not maintainable in the eyes of the law. They further contended that the woman had, after obtaining a consent divorce allowing joint custody and rights to the child, moved an application in Cape Town for a holiday in the U.S. The court had granted its consent with certain conditions, which were never fulfilled by the woman.

The court contended that the matter was sub-judice as the matter was pending in the South African court and questioned the intentions of the woman who defied the South African court’s orders by coming to India and that her child could not be considered a citizen of India as she was born and brought up in South Africa.

* This report has been edited for a technical error.









Senior lawyers must guide juniors: Justice Deshpande

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 01.21AM IST

AMRAVATI: “Judges and lawyers should work jointly to ensure speedy justice to clients,” said chief justice of Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court RK Deshpande.

He was speaking at the inaugural function of the new building of Nandgaon Khandeshwar Court on Sunday.

“Senior lawyers should guide juniors regarding behaviour in court. They must also provide them with opportunities to ensure justice is delivered,” said Deshpande.

The Nandgaon Khadeshwar court started functioning in 1997. It will be shifted to the new building soon. The new structure was constructed at a cost of Rs 3.31 crore. It has provision for all basic amenities.

Chief district and sessions court judge of Amravati, MK Walchale too addressed the gathering while civil judge and magistrate of Nandgaon Khandeshwar court, AP Karad made the introductory remarks.

The guests at the function included MLA Virendra Jagtap, former judges, lawyers and citizens.










Mining scam: SC to decide on independent probe against BSY

New Delhi: It is a crucial day for former Karnataka Chief Minister BS Yeddyurappa as the Supreme Court on Monday will decide whether to order an independent probe into allegations that the Lingayat leader’s family received kickbacks from mining baron Praveen Chaddha.

Yeddyurappa will also be appearing before a Lokayukta court in connection with the alleged illegal denotificiation of land in South Bangalore.

The high-level panel headed by PV Jayakrishanan, which has gone through voluminous documents submitted by Dharwad-based NGO Samaja Parivartana Samudaya (SPS), submitted its report to the apex court bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia.

In what could be a serious indictment for the BJP’s star campaigner in the southern state, the recommendation for the CBI probe will put Yeddyurappa’s demand of reinstating him as the chief minister of Karnataka into a jeopardy.

The SPS which demanded a CBI probe into the alleged nexus between corporate houses and people in power, alleged that some of the land denotification done by Yeddyurappa when he was in power and subsequent sale of the properties to mining companies was nothing but quid pro quo.

Petitioners SR Hiremath and P Vishnu Kamath from SPS have alleged that over 12 firms and trusts run by family members of Yeddyurappa, including Prerana Trust, Bhagat Homes Private Limited, Davalagiri Property Developers Private Limited and Sahyadri Health Care Limited, received huge donations from mining companies in return for mining leases.

The SPS alleged that the said documents showed that companies belonging to family members of Yeddyurappa received Rs 6 crore from R Praveen Chandra, who got the mining lease in Chitradurga district. The NGO also submitted documents pertaining to Rachenahalli land denotification case to the CEC.

Earlier, Karnataka Lokayukta Justice Santosh Hegde had accused the former chief minister of not taking steps to stop illegal mining.

The Lokayukta report had indicted Yeddyurappa and his family in the illegal mining case. “We have pointed out illegal mining can be controlled but unfortunately no action has been taken. We had to examine over 4 lakh records and 50 lakh entries to produce this report which comes to 25,288 pages. The illegalities done have been described in 31 chapters. We have come to the conclusion that the loss caused is Rs 16,085 crore from 2006 to 2010,” he had said.

After the Lokayukta report, the BJP strongman had to quit from his post.









Orissa high court orders Central Electricity Supply Utility of Orissa to appoint new CEO

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 06.27AM IST

CUTTACK: The Orissa high court recently directed Odisha Electricity Regulatory Commission (OERC) to remove Bijoy Chandra Jena from the post of chief executive officer (CEO) of CESU and to appoint a new CEO within two months. Division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra gave the direction in response to a petition challenging the appointment of Jena.

Seventy-year-old Jena was handling two crucial posts of chairman and CEO in the government owned power distribution company. Challenging his appointment, secretary of Odisha Electricity Employees’ Federation, Dhobei Sahoo, had filed a PIL seeking judicial intervention in the matter. He had alleged that one person holding both the posts of chairman and chief executive officer of CESU since August 2010 was illegal. The petitioner had alleged that post of CEO is the key post of CESU and the CEO is supposed to report to the chairman if any misappropriation of funds or irregularity is detected in the company, but if CEO and chairman is the same person then who will check the corruption. tnn










Rethink age of consent for sex, Court tells lawmakers

Express news service : New Delhi, Mon Apr 30 2012, 02:34 hrs

A Delhi sessions court has called on the legislature to “rethink” the existing laws regarding the age of consent for sex keeping in mind the changing social sensibilities in the country. The court made the observation while acquitting a youth who was facing charges of abducting a young girl with an intention to compel her to marry him.

“It is time for legislators to have a re-think regarding the existing law by creating certain exceptions and making allowances regarding the age of the consent/protection keeping in view the changing social attitudes and social sensibilities,” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

“Many jurisdictions world over have made allowances regarding age of consent in cases where there is not much difference between the age of older partner and that of the minor engaged in a sexual act. The enforcement of the age of consent law varies in different places depending upon culture, social sensibilities and changing societal attitudes,” Lau said.

In the present case, the court noted that the girl and the accused were in love and had planned to elope since their parents had not consented to their marriage. At the time of the incident, in October 2008, the girl’s father had filed an FIR saying his daughter was a minor and had been kidnapped by the accused. On the same day, she was ‘rescued’ from the Wazirpur area here.

During trial, the father and mother of the girl said after seven months of the alleged incident, she was married to a Bihar-based man and they were now living happily. The parents told the court that they have not informed the husband of their daughter about the incident and requested the court not to summon her as her marital life would be ruined.

The court noted that the accused youth was also happily married to another person and ruled that the future of the two youngsters should not be destroyed by an incident that occurred in their past. Further, it noted that during trial, an ossification test of the girl was conducted and, as per the medical record, she was of 18-19 years at the time of the alleged incident and the accused was only a few years older.

“The legal system cannot be used to punish youngsters in love who are at the verge of attaining majority and this court cannot ruin their lives by taking a hyper- technical view, especially so when the age gap between these youngsters is within acceptable limits and does not reflect an exploitative coercive situation,” the court said.









Misuse of Army dress code: three held

The police here have arrested three persons in connection with staging a procession wearing dress similar to that of the Army uniform as part of Milad-un-Nabi earlier this year.

The arrests of Arshad (27), Arif (27), and Junaid (28) were made during a police raid led by Kanhangad Circle Inspector K.V. Venugopal on Saturday, a senior police officer told The Hindu. The arrests were made under provisions of the Indian Penal Code including Section 124-A (sedition). A case was registered under Section 79 of the Kerala Police Act for taking out a procession without taking prior permission from the police.

The police had registered cases against 90 persons in three similar incidents in the Kanhangad police station limits, Mr. Venugopal said.

A similar procession was taken out at Parappa near here a week later despite a firm assurance from the community’s leaders that no such unhealthy practices would be repeated.









Manipur student’s death: Youngsters rally for justice

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 05.44AM IST

BANGALORE: Hundreds of stu dents turned up at a rally at Town Hall on Sunday, dema nding justice and transparent investigation into the alleged murder of 19-year-old Loitam Richard, a student of Acharya NRV College of Architecture near Hessaraghatta.

A first-year B Arch student Loitam was a native of Im phal, Manipur. He was found dead in his hostel room at Madanayakanahalli on Tum kur Road on April 17.

A Facebook page hosted by activist Monika Khangembam for the cause of students’ se curity had mobilized opinion among youth in the city against the tardy probe into Loitam’s killing.

The ‘Justice-For-Richard Group’ has already submitted a memorandum to PM Man mohan Singh, pointing to mis leading reports about Loitam being a suicide or drug abuse victim. ” Loitam was not real ly taken to the hospital and how could the hostel doctor declare him dead? Preliminary reports did not suggest any drugs or toxins in the blood; the man agement is trying to hush up the case despite there being three witnesses giving their statements to police,” said Monika . Two seniors allegedly punched Loitam on his head after he changed the TV channel which other students were watching. Police interrogated Sayeed Afzal Ali and Vivek Banerjee, two inmates of the hostel, but released them.

A family friend of Loitam who did not want to be named said he was too shocked that the teenager had died such a pathetic death.

Rahul Prasad from Juvenile Care, an NGO, said: ” I have come here to study; no one has the right to beat me up if I switch off TV,” he said.

The postmortem report was inconclusive and his viscera samples and body parts have been sent for chemical analysis and histopathological examination, respectively.











Shortage of bureaucrats plagues Maharashtra

Madhavi Rajadhyaksha, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 02.43AM IST

MUMBAI: A delegation of citizens who met chief minister Prithviraj Chavan recently over the vacant posts of information commissioners under the RTI Act in Maharashtra was told that there weren’t adequate bureaucrats to spare to fill these posts. The excuse cited by the CM points to a deeper problem stalking the power corridors of Mantralaya in recent months – the shortage of bureaucrats to run the affairs of the state.

A tally of the IAS officers making their way to Maharashtra puts the situation in perspective. The state currently has a sanctioned strength of 350 IAS officers but officials from the general administration department say 52 posts are vacant, mainly owing to retirement or officials leaving government service.

The problem is compounded since the intake of bureaucrats doesn’t match the state’s requirement. “We are facing a shortage of IAS officers ever since the intake for the state was cut down. We get seven new IAS officers every year which is too little,” said Chavan on a recent visit to the TOI office. Officials say they need at least 15 IAS officials annually.

The strains on effective decision-making and administration are evident, with senior officials juggling dual portfolios or key posts lying vacant.

The implementation of the RTI Act in the state has been hampered, believe citizens. Bhaskar Patil, who held the Amravati divisional post of the information commissioner, now juggles the charge of chief information commissioner (CIC) as well, even as three divisional information chief posts in Mumbai, Konkan and Pune lie headless. “The post of CIC is demanding and such dual charges leads to inefficient clearing of RTI appeals,” said RTI activist Krishnaraj Rao who, along with eminent citizens like former police commissioner Julio Ribeiro, met the CM recently to point to the mounting pendencies under the act. There were roughly 1.07 lakh RTI appeals pending across the state at the end of 2011, even as citizens point out that the posts needn’t be filled only by bureaucrats.

The fallout is evident across sectors. Take, for instance, the industries department, a major portfolio for a state aspiring to boost its industrial quotient. MIDC chief K Shivaji took on additional charge as principal secretary (industries) after bureaucrat A M Khan, who was holding the portfolio, took voluntary retirement. Urban development secretary Manu Kumar Srivastava holds additional charge of special projects after his predecessor took voluntary retirement. Chief posts at City and Development Corporation (Cidco) too are waiting to be filled.

“The shortage of IAS officers will affect the efficacy of administration, service delivery and the development of the state in the long run,” said former chief secretary Johny Joseph. The lack of able hands doesn’t augur well particularly for a bureaucracy plagued by low morale following the arrest of senior IAS officials in the Adarsh scam. While the posts, particularly at the lower-levels such as CEOs, can be filled from non-IAS cadres, officials admit that the IAS comes with its specialized skill-sets and training for multi-tasking, which is crucial to effective administration.








RTI applications now expensive and difficult; will the move kill the act?

Reported by Sidharth Pandey | Updated: April 29, 2012 16:00 IST

New Delhi:  It was hailed as the UPA’s big achievement when the Right to Information Act was passed in 2005. Now it seems like state governments and public authorities across the country are making it increasingly expensive and at times a virtually impossible task for people to seek information.

In states like Chhattisgarh, the Vidhan Sabha or state assembly has recently hiked the fees for information to Rs500 for each query. This means, that anyone asking questions like details of how many days their elected representatives have attended the assembly, or the expenditure on their foreign trips, will have to shell out 500 rupees each time. That’s 50 times the price as envisaged under the original 2005 RTI Act. The Uttar Pradesh assembly has been asking 500 rupees for years now.

It doesn’t stop there; in fact citizens should avoid asking for any photocopied documents from the Chattisgarh assembly unless they are ready to pay 15 rupees per page as charges to the assembly. That’s 15 times the market rate for photocopying.

So while in some states the cost of applying for information has become expensive, other states like Maharashtra, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh have set a word limit to just 150 words.

It now seems that Madhya Pradesh too is about to set a word limit and also double the fees for seeking information from Rs. 10 to Rs. 20.

The justification to hiking fees and limiting queries given by various authorities is that the move is aimed at curbing frivolous applications that end up over burdening government officers with answering frivolous applications. But these changes in the rules have not gone too well with activists who have been fighting to strengthen it.

Shekhar Singh, the coordinator for the non profit organisation, National Campaign for People’s Right to Information (NCPRI), says the present and proposed changes may be ok in the letter but not in the spirit of the law.

Singh, who was a key player in drafting the 2005 landmark information act, says that citizens should challenge the change in rules.

“Even if we agree to the Rs. 28 income a day, as the line that divides the poor according to the planning commission that means a person will have to save his entire months income just to file one RTI. It in effect takes away a person’s fundamental right indirectly” explained Singh.

But changing rules is one thing, changing the act is another.

“More and more exemption provisions are being made than what are there are in the original law and this is not acceptable,” said Satyanand Mishra, India’s Central Information Commissioner (CIC).

As the CIC, it’s Mishra’s job to ensure that the RTI is implemented across the country. He also plays the role of chief referee between information seekers and public authorities, often ruling on appeals filed by citizens who have been denied information by officers.

But increasingly he’s had to pass orders asking public authorities to not only give information to citizens but also re-look at the changes made by them which have altered the nature of the law.

The RTI is heralded as one of the most important laws since independence, by civil rights campaigners. It’s allowed ordinary citizens get a host of basic services from water connections to passports. But now with many states and authorities making this process difficult and expensive, the RTI could soon be a mere act in government books.











Disclose plaint letters against judges: CIC

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a move which may make public the names of judges against whom complaints have been received by the law ministry, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed the ministry to disclose the forwarding letters attached with such complaints referred to the Supreme Court and the high courts by it.

The ministry had earlier claimed that it cannot provide copy of complaints because these complaints are forwarded to Chief Justice of India and Chief Justices of High Courts in respective cases. It had also said that the ministry officials do not keep a record of these complaints.

While hearing the plea of RTI activist Subhash Agrawal, the CIC found his demand of the letters “reasonable” and ordered the disclosure of such letters dating back to last one year immediately and asked the officials to trace records for three years and provide it to the applicant. Information Commissioner Sushma Singh also directed the ministry to maintain the records in such a manner that they can be retrieved easily whenever requested for by the applicants.












Burglary at Bombay high court judge’s flat

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 06.27AM IST

PUNE: Unidentified persons broke into a flat of Bombay high court judge, Mrudula Bhatkar, located in Erandwane. Kothrud police said that the flat was unoccupied and nothing except bank locker keys had been stolen from the flat. The driver of the family, Sanjay Sohani, has lodged a complaint with the Kothrud police station.

Senior police inspector Chandrakant Ghodke of the Kothrud police station said that the incident came into light on Saturday evening, when the residents of the Anushri society in Erandwane noticed that the locks of the door of Bhatkar’s flat were broken. “When they found that Bhatkar’s car was not in the parking area, they realised that the family was not in the city. They then suspected something amiss and informed the police,” Ghodke said.

Ghodke said the suspects may have broken into the house two-three days back. “When the police reached the flat, they found that all the clothes were scattered in the room. The suspects had checked the cupboards and made away with the bank locker keys,”he said. tnn

Assistant police inspector A D Walambe, who is investigating the case, said that Bhatkar on Sunday visited her flat and checked whether anything was stolen. “She and her family are living in Mumbai and had not come to the flat since the last three-four months,” Walambe said.

Bhatkar’s husband Ramesh Bhatkar, a veteran actor, used to visit the flat whenever he came to Pune for shoots. “We are investigating further,” Walambe said.










Bombay High Court to hear plea of student who wants sex-change operation

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: April 30, 2012 09:52 IST

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court will today hear the plea by a 21-year-old college student from Guwahati who has alleged that his family stalled his sex-change operation scheduled for this month. Bidhan Barua says that his parents had threatened the doctors at the Saifee Hospital, who have now refused to operate upon him until they get a go-ahead from the court. He wants the court to restrain his parents so that he can undergo the operation and become a woman.

His father says the surgery cannot be treated as “a personal decision” and that the 21-year-old must get the consent of his entire family, including his grand-parents and his uncles. “I gave birth to a son, not a eunuch,” said his father to NDTV.

Bidhan has acknowledged that at a very young age, he realised that he enjoyed dressing up as a girl and that embarrassed his family members who abused him and often beat him up. After he finished high school, he began working odd jobs to save up money for the operation that he believed would free him from a life and identity that he didn’t feel comfortable with. He then ran away from home to Mumbai to undergo his operation.

In Guwahati, Bidhan’s father, who works as a cook, said he is concerned about his son and wants him to be happy but cannot understand or accept his insistence on becoming a woman. “I feel ashamed that he wants to change his sex,” said Supti Ranjan Barua to NDTV. “If he changes his gender, I will not be able to bear the humiliation,” he pleaded.

But the matter for Bidhan is not just about his sex change surgery. It is about being with his beloved. “I want to be with my fiance and he has accepted me as I am. That’s what finally pushed me into taking this decision.”

Psychiatrist Dr Yusuf Matcheswala has examined Bidhan and says he is ready to undergo the surgery. “It’s a complex issue. The parents must be counseled as it is always not easy to accept such decisions. There could be serious dangers if the decision of the child is not accepted. Ultimately he only wants to be happy,” explained Dr Matcheswala.









Abandoned by mother, child forced to stay in psychiatry institute

Preetu Venugopalan Nair, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 01.39AM IST

PANAJI: Abandoned by his mother, a 15-year-old boy has nowhere to go and is forced to stay at the institute of psychiatry and human behavior (IPHB), as authorities at the state run home for children, Apna Ghar, are refusing to accept him.

The doctor treating the boy at IPHB certified him fit to be discharged almost a fortnight ago. The boy had been detected with conduct disorder and treated for this at IPHB.

Sources said Apna Ghar authorities are refusing to accept the child stating that conduct disorder is a “mental illness” and the boy should be kept at IPHB and not Apna Ghar. The doctor treating the boy has now written to CWC (South) stating that most Apna Ghar inmates show signs of conduct disorder and the child needs to be kept at Apna Ghar, not IPHB.

Confirming receiving the letter, CWC (South) chairperson Martha Mascarenhas said, “We are concerned about the boy’s safety and welfare and are worried that if brought to Apna Ghar his situation may worsen. Also we have to look into the other children’s safety. We are in talks with two homes in which to lodge the boy. In case he is not taken in by either of these homes, he will be brought back to Apna Ghar. We don’t want the child to be troubled anymore.”

She added, “I had met him in IPHB and the tears in his eyes shattered me. I don’t want the child to continue staying with adults in IPHB. The child is special and he needs care and love.” CWC looks into issues of children in need of care and shelter lodged in the state run home.

The minor was referred to IPHB after he, along with two other children, went on a rampage and vandalized the child welfare committee’s (CWC) offices and the dormitory in February this year. The child was allegedly upset as he was kept in a separate room and not allowed to interact with other children in the home.

Psychiatrists said conduct disorder is a psychological problem diagnosed in childhood and juvenile delinquents. “Most of the children in Apna Ghar come to IPHB with such a problem,” a psychiatrist at IPHB said.

CWC claims that on the psychiatrist’s advice, they are trying to arrange some employment for the minor boy. “The doctors have said he needs to be occupied with some job so that it can bring in a change in his life and attitude. I have spoken to NGOs ARZ and SCAN to help the boy get a job,” added Mascarenhas.

When contacted, ARZ representative Arun Pandey said, “This amounts to child labour. What the child requires is care and protection and not employment. He seems to be in a no man’s land in the most child friendly state in India, with Apna Ghar and even NGOs neglecting him.”








Ball in govt court in chopper issue: Army chief

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 06.55AM IST

LUDHIANA: Chief of Army Staff General V K Singh has said that the “ball is in the government’s court” in the issue of allegations of corruption in the purchase of 12 VVIP helicopters by India.

“It is up to the government now to take a stand on the issue,” Gen Singh said here on Sunday. The issue had even come up in Parliament after reports of Italy investigating allegations of payouts of Rs 350 crore made to a Swiss consultant in the deal.

Gen Singh was here as a part of his tour across the country to address problems faced by ex-servicemen. He met ex-servicemen from all over Punjab.

“We decided that this year would be dedicated to Army veterans. We are trying to meet as many veterans as possible, trying to know their problems and solving them,” Gen Singh said at a gathering organized by the Indian Ex-servicemen League, adding that all efforts were being made for the implementation of ‘one-rank-one-pension’ scheme.

“As many as 46 anomalies related to pension and benefits of ex-servicemen have surfaced and this would require Rs 3,000 crore to correct. The implementation of one-rank-one-pension scheme will require Rs 1,300 crore,” he added.

He also raised issue of mismanagement in the Canteen Stores Department or CSD. “It (CSD) is run by the government and linked to Consolidated Fund of India. A budget is made by the government every year and items are purchased but there have been problems with the management and we don’t mind stepping in and taking over the functioning of the CSD,” the COAS said.










Congress government ‘killed’ the Bofors case: Arun Jaitley

New Delhi: BJP leader Arun Jaitley said that the NDA government made all efforts to bring the guilty to book in the Bofors scam and alleged that successive Congress-led governments or those supported by that party tried to “kill” the case.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil’s advocate, he said that during the NDA regime from 1998 to 2004, the Bofors case was taken to its “logical conclusion” and the CBI, which was probing it, acted independently of the government.

Here is the full transcript of the interview:

Karan Thapar:Hello and welcome to Devil’s Advocate. With the Bofors controversy back in the news, how does the BJP face up to the questions it must answer. That’s the key issue I should explore today with the Leader of the Opposition in Rajya Sabha, Arun Jaitley.

Mr Jaitley, your colleague in the Lok Sabha, Jaswant Singh has demanded a judicial commission into the Bofors affair. Is this the official position of the BJP?

Arun Jaitley:Well, Mr Jaswant Singh is a very senior man and when he says something he says it on authority and party fully agrees with him. The real intention being whether you have a full debate or have committee or commission, should not after 25 years of the disclosure. The Indian society knows, that not withstanding the fact that the entire truth came out, in terms of law we are unable to prosecute the concerned people. Therefore I think since, this was the terrible chapter in history where you had corruption at a very high level and yet you are a failure of the system, at least we need to know what went wrong.

Karan Thapar:But let me put to you, as a former Law Minister, do you believe a judicial commission is a fitting and the appropriate way of enquiring into a matter, that the High Court has closed?

Arun Jaitley: Well there are possible argument that there will be difficulty in that, I quite concede to you on that. But at the same time you call it a committee, you call it a Parliamentary committee, you call it an administrative committee of the government. But then must be a fair assessment of what went wrong, and I think this was the intention behind what Jaswant Singh suggested.

Karan Thapar:In other words what we need, is an enquiry that shows where lapse are made. And if possible also point up the responsibility for those lapse on individuals or on goofs?.

Arun Jaitley:And I think it is more important that this sad chapter of history, at least the truth must be distort some where.

Karan Thapar:The important thing is to get to the truth?

Arun Jaitley:I think that’s the pursuit of truth is most important aspect.

Karan Thapar:Alright in getting at the truth. Let’s begun with Sonia Gandhi, Sten Lindstrom, the whistleblower has said “Sonia Gandhi must be questioned, I know what I am saying.” Do you agree with him?

Arun Jaitley:Well, he must be having some material on basis, he said so, but as far as the Indian system is concerned, the Indian system proceeds on the basis that when investigations are in progress, investigator reach a particular conclusion, facts come before them. If any person is in position of information which can help in investigation to find out the truth, they are entitled to question that person.

Karan Thapar:In your eyes, is Sonia Gandhi in that position? Are we entitled to question her?

Arun Jaitley:I would say, it would entirely depend on the kind of information that the CBI had, which the CBI case diaries and record would disclose. It would really depend on that and the crucial question would be, in swinging the contract where did Mr Quattrocchi draw his influence from?

Karan Thapar:Did that influence come from Sonia Gandhi? That’s a critical question.

Arun Jaitley:I think, it is the record of the CBI and the nature of the investigation that would answer that question.

Karan Thapar:Your colleague is General Secretary of the party, he is the Chief Spokesperson of the BJP, Ravi Shankar Prasad has gone on record to say Sonia Gandhi has a lot of explaining to do. If she has explaining to do…

Arun Jaitley:Why Ravi Shankar, even I have also said this in the past.

Karan Thapar:If you said it and standby, then does she need to be questioned?

Arun Jaitley:I have said it in the past also. There is one aspect making to the state to the media and the reason for that is, where did Mr Quattrocchi draw his influence. If you go though the fact which have come out, is now almost established on record, available with the CBI, obviously he was successful in swinging the contract, he was not an official middleman, he got paid. Why did he get paid and where did he draw his influence from? Somebody has to answer that question.

Karan Thapar:Absolutely and that somebody as you are suggesting is Sonia Gandhi. But the point is this, from 1998 to 2004 the 6 years of the BJP was in power, the CBI didn’t make any afford whatsoever to question?

Arun Jaitley:Your question is based on complete ignorance. If CBI made substantial progress, it was made during two periods.

Karan Thapar:But they didn’t question her, that’s the point?

Arun Jaitley:Questioning her is one aspect, but the CBI in establishing the truth made huge progress and I owe to you since you asked this question, to tell you what progress the CBI made.

Karan Thapar:But the question I asked you is that in the 6 years when you were in power, the CBI, didn’t question her once, they made no effort to do so.

Arun Jaitley:That the discretion CBI has to exercise, if they have the material to question they would question, they don’t have material, they don’t.

Karan Thapar:Can I quote Sten Lindstrom? He said “it can’t be the coincidence that Quattrocchi gets the money in this way, there must be some connection. She can explain it somewhere and in someway it will be very helpful.”

Arun Jaitley:There is a common sense presumption that Quattrocchi drove strength from some place, that he got the money in the contract where he was not the middleman. But the record and diaries of the CBI will show, if CBI reached a particular conclusion on basis of which they need to cross examine somebody or not, that is the question CBI better suited to to answer.

Karan Thapar:Just a moment, you either saying CBI is failed to do what they should have done? Or they didn’t reach the position where they need it to do it.

Arun Jaitley:Well I am not aware of the records so I am not going to speculate that.

Karan Thapar:Expect for the fact, that you began by saying, you agree with the Ravi Shankar Prasad that she has explaining to do. If she has explaining to do, she should have been questioned, if she wasn’t questioned…

Arun Jaitley:Well, it’s an explaining where the entire leadership of the Congress has to do, as to where and why did Quattrocchi draw this influence from in order to swing the contract. We are talking in terms of legally admissible evidence, you can’t ask me a question which really CBI should be answering.

Karan Thapar:No, I am asking a different issue. I am saying if there is a reason to question her and she wasn’t questioned, that’s their addiction. And she wasn’t questioned because there is no case against her, the you can’t say she has explaining to do.

Arun Jaitley:It’s a very good question you are asking to me, which is the question you should ask to CBI not me.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why I asked it because many people say that there was a secret understating between the BJP and Congress, not to question Sonia Gandhi.

Arun Jaitley:I think it is complete rubbish, there is no question to that effect. The CBI had full freedom during NDA period, to proceed with the case in the manner they considered the best and they did their job.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why I raised this question because George Fernandes told this channel on the March 11, 2007, that he wanted to probe Bofors and he was told by Mr Vajpayee not to do so. His exact words were “Vajpayee told me not to touch this.”

Arun Jaitley:Well according to me the investigation was not with the Defence Ministry, the investigation was with the CBI. The CBI not only and now I use this opportunity to answer the question, you told me you asked me. When in 1998 Mr Vajpayee became the Prime Minister, you had an FIR, you had Letter Rogatory, you had details of accounts coming in, you had documents. The CBI concluded the entire investigation. In 1999 the CBI files the chargesheet, the accused were prosecuted, charges were farmed in court. Therefore the entire due process of the law was being carried out and therefore it is not for a minister, its for the CBI to investigate the case and CBI was doing it.

Karan Thapar:Except for the fact that you were Law Minister for much of this time. And except for the fact that one critical person who should not be questioned, was never questioned. Let me again quote Sten Lindstrom, he says “it has always amazed and it continues to…”

Arun Jaitley:I don’t think we in India makes statement to that effect where politicians decide who CBI should question.

Karan Thapar:Just a moment, let me finish quote of Sten Lindstrom, he says “it is always amazed and it continues to amaze me as to why Indian investigators didn’t take obvious step of questioning her.”

Arun Jaitley:Obviously I think Mr Lindstrom has lot of information on the basis of he says so. If that information is available with the CBI, he is probably right. But that is the question which has to be addressed to them.

Karan Thapar:A second aberration, in the way which BJP handles Bofors, arise is directly you said It something in the Parliament this Thursday. You said and I quite “in 2004 one judgment said no case is made out, it wasn’t even appealed against and we gave the whole burial to the case”. But infact the government that should have appealed and refused to do so, was your and you were Law Minister.

Arun Jaitley:Well I think lets be correct the dates.

Karan Thapar:The date is February 4, 2004

Arun Jaitley:Yes, I know. The CBI got the copy of the judgment, the CBI processed the copy, the CBI recommended the filing of the appeal, and the government law officers advised them to file the appeal. The CBI because of the court vacations and the pending elections, was to file an appeal, the government changed and the new government overrule the opinion and said appeal should not be not be made.

Karan Thapar:Just a moment, The Delhi High Court judgment of February 4, 2004, it had to be appeal begun within 90 days or it could be technically time bar. Those 90 days lapsed on May 4 and you were in power till after the May 28, it was your responsibility to do so.

Arun Jaitley:You are absolutely mistaken, it’s 90 days when you obtained the copy of the judgment and therefore the limitation was expired sometime in the month of June. The CBI prepared it’s case for an appeal, the CBI got all the opinions when the government changed and it was the Congress government which took a decision, not to file the appeal.

Karan Thapar:Are you saying to me that infact the blame for not filing the appeal rest on the Congress not the BJP?

Arun Jaitley:Entirely because the record would show, during the NDA government the record was entirely prepared, advices and opinion given, why that incorrect judgment must appealed again.

Karan Thapar:I tell you two reason, why the blame lies with an not the Congress. First of all, even if you are correct and saying the 90 days period ended in June and not on the fourth of the May 4 as I pointed out. You confined an appeal within 70 days or 60 days, you don’t really need to that

Arun Jaitley:You can file in two days.

Karan Thapar:In which case why u didn’t you.

Arun Jaitley:Well it is the question that CBI processes have to go through, their entire processes have to move the file upward, take a law officers opinion, their own legal department opinion. Everything they did, they had till June to file an appeal which would strictly be filed on the reopening of the court because June was vacations. The government changed and the first act of the UPA government was, to advice the CBI not file it.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why infact there is a second reason for blaming the BJP because you should have known, there was no way the Congress is going to appeal against a judgment that exonerated its leader.

Arun Jaitley:We don’t know we were losing the elections.

Karan Thapar:Secondly, judgment that they had used in the campaign, they tom-tom and drum beaten the judgment. They are not going to appeal against the judgment.

Arun Jaitley:I think you question is based on very weak footings, for the simple reason you are blaming a government which advised the filing of an appeal, as against a government which advised not to filing the appeal. I think your anger in your questions should be directed against those who advised against not filing the appeal.

Karan Thapar:I tell you why my anger, if you want to call it anger, actually it’s not anger , its skepticism and cynicism, is directed to you. Because Vijay Shankar speaking to on the August 15 ,2007 when he was CBI director said “my predecessor in the CBI and Arun Jaitley created a weak case, that’s why he says we were not able to proceed when it came to Argentina and we lost it in the first court.’

Arun Jaitley:Well I wrote to him when he write the statement, he called me up and said he has been misquoted and regretted this particular statement, but that apart, it’s a incorrect statement which he regretted to me personally. As far as Argentina is concerned, let’s get the facts through, so that this smoke screen doesn’t remain for you. Mr Quattrocchi escaped to Malaysia in 1994, when information came that the beneficiary account was his, no efforts were made to extradite him. We made an effort after 1998 to extradite.

Karan Thapar:And failed.

Arun Jaitley:We failed. So we appeal to the highest court in Malaysia.

Karan Thapar:And failed.

Arun Jaitley:We didn’t fail there, you are incorrect. We appeal to the highest court and he escaped from Malaysia over the weekend, when the CBI appeal was coming on Monday for hearing. In the weekends between Friday and Monday he escaped from Malaysia. He was next found in 2007 in Argentina, our ambassador Mr Rath asked the Government of India whether he should take steps to get him and send him to India. The Government of India advised him that this process is to costly and no effort in this regard should be taken.

Karan Thapar:Expect the facts the CBI director who have quoted just now said, the reason they failed in Argentina because you and the CBI predecessor prepared a weak case.

Arun Jaitley:Well that’s factually incorrect, that CBI during Congress government which tried to put a burial to this case. They obviously cannot blame the predecessor. You first take a decision not to file an appeal thereafter you start telling the crown prosecutor in the England to defreeze the account and then you say my predecessor went wrong.

Karan Thapar:Let me raise a third so called aberration in the manner in which, this time not BJP but you personally have handled this issue. Mani Shankar Aiyar in Parliament, Chitra Subramanian writing in Outlook magazine this week, both have said that the Letter Rogatory prepared when you were Additional Solicitor General was shoddy. It had handwriting all over it, it had pieces of paper stuck all over it, it has staple and Chitra Subramanian adds that it was thrown out.

Arun Jaitley:Well the Letter Rogatory was issued by an Indian court, it is not issued my Additional Solicitor General, these are all propaganda. After the Letter Rogatory was issued by an Indian court, some misleading arguments were made. And you know what was the kind of arguments was raised, why do you have a special judge in India trying this case, why not an ordinary judge? These were the kind of objections, not realising that the CBI cases prosecuted by the special judge. The Letter Rogatory questions were raised the CBI answered the questions and what Mani Shankar Aiyar doesn’t say, it is on basis of that Letter Rogatory that the actually the Swiss authorities conveyed the beneficiaries of the accounts. The five names came pursuant to that Letter Rogatory, the documents came back pursuant to the process after the Lettr Rogatory and not withstanding the fact that the Congress government took various steps including Mr Madhav Singh Solanki asking the Swiss not to cooperate with India. But all the documents and the evidence came because of that Letter Rogatory.

Karan Thapar:Alright I will grant that to you. Let’s take a break and come back and pick up on a key point that you made in your Parliamentary speech on Thursday. You said that the time had come to introspect and secondly to try and understand how it is, that we ended up killing the truth. Back in the moment’s time, see you after break.

Karan Thapar:Welcome back to Devil’s Advocate, in an interview with leader of the opposition in Rajya Sabha on how BJP has handled the Bofors controversy.

Arun Jaitley in Thursday on Parliament you said and I quote ‘this is the text book illustration of a fraud as to how to kill the pursuit to get to the truth.’ The central point I have been making in part one is that, some of the fraud has happened when the BJP in power and some time, it happened when you were Law Minister. So, do you accept that your failure to ensure that Sonia was questioned is part of that.

Arun Jaitley:I completely reject that suggestion. You had two faces of completely non-Congress government or government not supported by the Congress. In 1990, for three years no FIR was registered from 87 to 90, you registered an FIR, you got the accounts frozen in 1990, and you sent a Letter Rogatory. Thereafter in 1998 when the next government came you filed a complete chargesheet and I can tell you, I personally seen the charges, the documents substantially established the charges.

Karan Thapar:Can I then interrupt and put this to you, if you filed the chargesheet when you were there in power. How come no one took the critical, essential and obviously step of questioning Sonia Gandhi. Once again I am going to quote Sten Lindstrom, he says ‘if you examine the logic in the document in one hand and the direction of the cover up on the other that is the obvious step to take.’

Arun Jaitley:Well I am afraid he may well have basis to say that but the decision whom to question is not taken by the Prime Minister or the Law Ministry. It is taken by the CBI and therefore the CBI will do it on the basis of the evidence with the CBI has available.

Karan Thapar:The whole point I am making and I have quoted George Fernandes in support of quoted public opinion. There was collusion between the BJP and Congress not to question her.

Arun Jaitley:Well if you just see the kind of evidence you will realise by yourself. Evidence number one you had a contract with AE services of Mr Quattrocchi entered in to, which helped the contract to be swung in favour of Bofors. AE services gets the commission, the person behind AE services is Mr Quattrocchi.

Karan Thapar:He is a Italian and he is a friend of Sonia Gandhi.

Arun Jaitley:He is Italian and he allowed to escape from India when Narasimha Rao was in power.

Karan Thapar:You are making my case for me. Why then did you not have her questioned?

Arun Jaitley:Will this is the decision on the basis of the evidence which CBI has to take.

Karan Thapar: Arun Jaitley ,no one in India believe that the CBI operate autonomously to the extend of you blaming.

Arun Jaitley:I can tell you the CBI under NDA operated on professional line, even in Mr Advani’s cases they went without the advise of the government. They had prosecutors who were completely independent in those cases.

Karan Thapar:Why did Atal Bihari Vajpayee tell George Fernandes, don’t touch Bofors.’?

Arun Jaitley:Well I doubt very much because in the NDA regime Bofors was actually taken to its logical conclusion.

Karan Thapar:This is the convener of the NDA who told to the Prime Minister.

Arun Jaitley:I don’t know whether he correctly quoted or not. The facts indicate….

Karan Thapar:Not correctly quoted he said it on the camera.

Arun Jaitley:But the facts indicate to the contrary , the chargesheet is filed, people are prosecuted, Mr Rajiv Gandhi shown in column two in the chargesheet. You are asking me the question which is to the contrary.

Karan Thapar: The reason I am asking because the one critical lady who could have shed light on the whole thing, who was a Italian, who was a friend of Quattrocchi, was never questioned.

Arun Jaitley:Perhaps there were may have a need and may have not been need, it is for a CBI to decide.

Karan Thapar:Hang on a moment, if you believe she has explaining to do which you agreed to do in part one, the there was a need to question?

Arun Jaitley:There is a explaining which she and every Congressman has to do, Why Quattrocchi got paid.

Karan Thapar:But she can’t explain, if you not question her.

Arun Jaitley:So therefore whether CBI considered it as a legally admissible evidence or not, is the question you must address to the CBI.

Karan Thapar:I am suggesting and I will say upfront that actually the CBI was told by the Government, the BJP government, hands off Sonia Gandhi. That’s why you people have the case to answer her as well.

Arun Jaitley:It’s a figment of your imagination, it has not truth and no connection with any form of reality.

Karan Thapar:In you speech in Parliament on Thursday, you also said ‘we need to introspect, how easy it has become for people who indulge in these kind of activities.’ I put it you, one reason why some of got a way and I deliberately won’t take name.

Arun Jaitley:Why?

Karan Thapar:It’s because you didn’t question people who should have been questioned.

Arun Jaitley:Absolutely rubbish, the reason for that is, you had large tenures of Congress government or Congress supported government which tried to kill the case.

Karan Thapar:Except for the fact from 98 to 2004, it was BJP unbroken for six years and questioning didn’t happen?

Arun Jaitley:Except for the fact that during that period, the chargesheets was filed, Quattrocchi was named an accused and charges were framed.

Karan Thapar:So, you honestly telling me that you don’t have any sense of regret, leave aside guilt about the way BJP handled Bofors.

Arun Jaitley:I have no sense of guilt but I have one regret. The NDA did what NDA could, it was the Congress which tried to kill the case.

Karan Thapar:Did the NDA really do what it could when it stopped short to question Sonia?

Arun Jaitley:Well the NDA doesn’t have to cross examine Mrs Gandhi or any other person, it is the CBI. And CBI will do it on the basis of the material CBI has.

Karan Thapar:Alright, Arun Jaitley, a pleasure talking to you.










Supreme Court land ruling may hit Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation hard

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.57AM IST

HYDERABAD: At a time when Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) is struggling to acquire land from property owners for the metro rail project, road expansion works and other projects, the Supreme Court judgment on payment of compensation as per market value to property losers came as a big blow to the civic body.

The Supreme Court on Friday said property owners should be paid highest market value for land acquisition and not the registration value of the same area as land value is deliberately kept low to pay less registration fee for the sale deed. The court gave this direction in a case pertaining to the erstwhile ruler of Faridkot state. The court asked the Punjab government to consider the bona fide sale deeds in the area proximate to the date of notification of land acquisition.

GHMC has been acquiring properties for various purposes like widening of roads for metro rail project, general road widening on congested routes, remodeling of storm water drains, junction improvements and other projects like construction of bridges and flyovers in the city. The corporation has been incurring an expenditure of nearly Rs 200 crore towards payment of compensation to property owners. GHMC officials are worried over the Supreme Court verdict on compensation as it will have to cough up more money if the market value is to be paid to property losers. Currently, acquisition of 250 properties is underway and the GHMC land acquisition wing has already started procedures on stretches like Madhapur road, Banjara Hills Road No. 13, Raidurgam Road, Rahamathnagar, Uppal and Lakdikapul (parallel bridge). In the next one year, the corporation has proposed to takeover nearly 1,000 properties, including some on the three metro corridors.

For acquiring properties, the GHMC has been adopting two methods. They follow procedures under the Land Acquisition Act like giving draft notification, draft declaration and so on in the first method and in the second, they negotiate and get the consent of the property owners. In most cases, the corporation has been adopting consent method as it saves time compared to land acquisition procedures. If the owners do not want cash compensation, the GHMC offers transferrable development rights (TDR), where owners get additional built up area normally allowed on plot size in the area. This TDR can be utilised anywhere in the GHMC limits.

While taking over properties, the owners were being paid basic registration value of the same area for the past three years. However, the registration values have been low compared to the prevailing market rates. For instances, for widening the road on the Khairatabad-Nirankari Bhavan stretch, property owners were paid Rs 25,000 per square (sq) yard compensation, while the market value is over Rs 50,000 per sq yard.

In cases where there is urgency for road widening and a particular property has become a major bottleneck, the corporation was paying compensation more than the government value, close to prevailing market rate. The highest compensation is being offered to owners who give consent to acquire their property.

Recently, owners of 37 properties were offered Rs 45,000 per sq yard compensation on the Ameerpet- Erragadda stretch where properties become a major bottleneck for road widening and metro rail project. Recently it completed acquisition of properties on stretches like Seven Tombs (Gandipet road), Musheerabad-Chikkadpally road and expansion of Muriki nala by paying normal registration values to the owners. When contacted, GHMC land acquisition officer M Suryakala said they have been following Board Standing Orders of the revenue department while fixing land value for acquisition, which says basic registration value has to be paid to land owners. “We will study the Supreme Court judgment on compensation and decide what to do,” she added.

The Supreme Court on Friday said property owners should be paid highest market value for land acquisition and not the registration value of the same area as land value is deliberately kept low to pay less registration fee for the sale deed.









Boy with epilepsy shuttled between two welfare homes in four months

Pritha Chatterjee : New Delhi, Mon Apr 30 2012, 02:16 hrs

All of 12 years, and found abandoned at New Delhi railway station, his medical report shows he was diagnosed with epilepsy. In four months, he has been made to scuttle between two childrens’ homes, spanning the jurisdiction areas of three Child Welfare Committees (CWC), only to be returned to the first — as authorities at the two other institutions called him a “disturbance” to other inmates.

The CWC (Mayur Vihar), on December 29, 2012, had sent him to Don Bosco home in Okhla as authorities found the children’s home in their area “not equipped to handle his medical needs”.

In March, authorities at Don Bosco home, under CWC (Lajpat Nagar), said that “being a short-stay institution housing 20 children, we are not able to adequately manage the child and it becomes a disturbance for the other children.”

The boy also sustained a head injury after he accidentally fell down during an episode of fits while he was there. The authorities of the home suggested that the child be sent to another one — Antodaya Niketan in Kashmere Gate, “for its proximity to St Stephen’s Hospital and their better resources, which will help them manage the child properly.”

So, on March 25, CWC (Lajpat Nagar), ordered he be moved to Antodaya Niketan.

But within three days of being transferred here, in an official letter dated March 28, Antodaya Niketan authorities said, “The child is continuously afflicted with epilepsy and needs special attention. Moreover, it is a disturbance to other children at our home.”

They requested CWC to “transfer the child to other homes specialised in handling such cases.”

CWC (Kingsway Camp) directed the child be transferred back to Don Bosco last week.

According to Father George Nadackal, director of the Don Bosco Home, “This child needs a lot of special attention. We have to devote an attendant permanently for him. Also, his medical expenses amount to a lot — MRIs, CT scans, etc. We do not have the resources to take care of his needs. Now that he is back with us, we will try to find a solution.”

Tej Wilson, social worker at Antodaya Niketan, said, “We could only keep this child for a few days, because he had a lot of special needs and other children were getting disturbed. Since he was being well taken care of in Don Bosco, we requested our CWC to transfer him.”

With no designated home for long-term care of children diagnosed with neurological disorders, CWCs say they are in a constant dilemma over finding a place of care for such children. “Authorities at most homes say they do not have the facilities to take care of these children,” Raaj Mangal Prasad, chairperson, CWC (Lajpat Nagar) told Newsline.

However, department of Women and Child Development (WCD) officials dismissed these arguments as “excuses to turn away children”. “All normal homes are supposed to take care of the special needs of children. Isolating those with neurological disorders is not correct,” WCD Director, Rajiv Kale said.

The unwritten rule in Delhi institutions, is to direct children to Nirmal Chhaya home where an NGO, Manas Foundation, provides mental health counselling service. “We have over 120 psychiatry patients — 10 of them diagnosed with epilepsy. Since we provide a facility, all CWCs have started referring such children to us,” said Monika Kumar, Managing Trustee of Manas Foundation.

Nirmal Chaya chairperson Neera Mullick said, “We take care of all children diagnosed with epilepsy. It may be traumatic for other children to see them in a state of fits, but isolation is not the solution.”

The boy will be produced before the CWC ( Lajpat Nagar) on Monday where a final decision on his stay will be taken.






CCI approves HSBC proposal to acquire RBS assets in India

Last Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 14:06

New Delhi: Competition watchdog CCI has approved the proposal of HSBC to acquire retail and commercial assets of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS NV) and wealth management business of RBS Financial Services (RBS FSPL) in India.

In an order, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) noted that HSBC and RBS FSPL have relatively very few branches in India and there was presence of a large number of banks that provide services similar to the services provided by HSBC, RBS NV and RBS FSPL.

“Considering the facts on record and the details provided in the notice given under sub-section (2) of Section 6 of the Act and the assessment of the proposed combination is not likely to have any appreciable adverse effect on competition in India…”

“…Therefore, the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination under sub-section (1) of Section 31 od the Act,” the CCI while approving the proposed merger.

In July 2010, UK-based RBS had announced it would sell off its retail and commercial banking business in India, worth USD 1.8 billion (about Rs 8,500 crore then), to British banking major HSBC.

RBS, which received a 45.5 billion pound bailout from the UK government post the 2008 financial crisis, would sell its retail and SME business in India for a premium of USD 95 million, which would be over the adjusted net asset value of the bank’s businesses in the country.

As on March 31, 2011, HSBC and RBS together have 81 branches in India.

HSBC in its submission to the CCI had said except for some of the branch licences to required to continue its business, RBS NV would surrender its branch licenses.

“HSBC would apply to the RBI for obtaining the licences for its new branches to continue the business being acquired under the proposed combination,” CCI said quoting HSBC’s submission.

Even after the sale, RBS has said it would continue to retain its wholesale and investment banking businesses in India.








Dismissed college faculty reinstated by HC

TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.04AM IST

TRICHY: Two associate professors of Thamizhavel Umamakeswaranar Karanthai (TUK) College at Thanjavur, who were first suspended and then dismissed by the management on October 1, 2011, have been ordered to be reinstated by the Madurai bench of the Madras high court.

The court, however, said the order was not on the merit of the charges and defence put forth by the two respondents (S Senthil Kumar, and Durai Panneerselvam, both associate professors in the Tamil department). The court also held that the college management failed to seek approval for dismissal under Section 19(1) of the Tamil Nadu Private Colleges (Regulation) Act 1976. “It is poetic justice,” Kumar told TOI. “After seven months of being in the wilderness, I am delighted. Justice has once again triumphed,” Panneerselvam said.

The two associate professors were suspended on August 17, 2011 for entering into a dispute with some non-teaching staff in the college. On October 1, 2011, both of them were terminated from service. The two professors appealed to the regional joint director of collegiate education (RJDCE), Trichy against the termination. On October 4, the RJDCE termed the termination illegal and asked the secretary of the college to reinstate the duo. Meanwhile, the director of collegiate education too, upheld the RJDCE’s order to reinstate the professors. However, the management moved the court.

The court ruled that it was clear that the management had not obtained any prior approval, which is mandatory under the act for dispensing with the services of the faculty members, and so such orders of termination cannot stand in the eye of the law. If such an approval is not obtained before termination, the order of the termination has to be construed as illegal and void, the court said.








HC notices on DTU registrar

New Delhi, April 30, 2012

The city government and the Delhi Technological University have been directed by the Delhi High Court to respond to a plea questioning the appointment of the University’s registrar even after he had reached retirement age in 2010.
The plea also questioned the subsequent extension of his tenure this April by another two years, while he was 61 and had ceased to be eligible for appointment as registrar when he was first appointed at the post.

A court issued notice to the Delhi LG, DTU besides Registrar UK Worah and sought their replies by May 16.











HC acquits man held guilty of killing sis-in-law

PTI | 02:04 PM,Apr 29,2012

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) Citing the questionable credibility of evidence in a murder case, the Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction of a man who was given life term for killing his sister-in-law by pouring acid on the victim. The high court set aside the conviction and entailing sentence of the man, questioning the reliability and credibility of the victim’s dying declaration. “Reliability and credibility of the witness who deposes about the dying declaration are the twin requirements which the trial court is obliged to satisfy itself about, while basing its findings on such evidence,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg said. According to prosecution, Kishore was unhappy with Meena for her working as a domestic help to sustain herself. Despite his objections, she continued with her work and on April 22, 2008, when Meena was at a park, Kishore poured acid on her and fled. The prosecution said a home guard constable reached the spot on being told by a boy about the incident. On the way to the hospital, Meena narrated the event to him. The court, however, questioned the conduct of the home guard constable, saying, despite “being a responsible officer trained in the drill of what ought to be done when dealing with a medico-legal case”, the home guard constable had left the hospital without waiting for the police to arrive. “His conduct is not that of a responsible individual, he does not even mention having seen any police man, and satisfying himself that the incident was suitably reported to the nearest police station. He certainly was not present when the alleged dying declaration was recorded by PW-20 (police officer),” the bench said. (More) PTI AKI PNM RKS RAX










HC strikes down ‘onerous bail conditions’

PTI | 04:04 PM,Apr 29,2012

Madurai, Apr 29 (PTI): Madras High Court has come down on a Judicial Magistrate for imposing “onerous conditions totally unknown to law” while granting bail to a suspected Al Umma activist, an accused in the case involving planting of a pipe bomb on BJP leader L K Advani’s yatra route in October 2011. The magistrate at Tirumangalam had said that the man, Karuvai Hakeem, should execute a bond with two sureties by his blood relations. Justice A Selvam of the High Court bench here in his recent order allowing Hakeeem’s petition, deleted the portion relating to sureties and said it was sufficient if he executed a Rs 10,000 bond along with two sureties each for a like sum to the satisfaction of the Magistrate concerned. Petitioner’s counsel said his client was in prison for more than 140 days though he was entitled to statutory bail within 90 days of his arrest as police had failed to file a chargesheet. The delay in obtaining bail was due to several impediments like inability of blood relatives to give sureties as they were bereft of property. He referred to the 1978 judgement of Supreme Court in the Moti Ram vs State of Madhya Pradesh case, where it disapproved the practice of imposing onerous conditions while granting bail. Hakeem, arrested here on Nov 27 2011 by the Special Investigation Team, is a close associate of Fakruddin and Bilal Mallick, suspected to be the main accused and absconding since the incident was reported. The pipe bomb that was unearthed from under a bridge and defused on October 27 at Alampatti village, about 30 km from here on the route of Advani’s Jan Chetna yatra. Subsequently, the BJP leader’s route was diverted.











DNA test on May 2, SCB may move HC on baby care

Express News Service

CUTTACK: The SCB Medical College and Hospital (SCBMCH) is in a fix over keeping custody of the baby girl at the centre of child-swap controversy even as the samples for the DNA test are scheduled to be collected on May 2.

The Orissa High Court, while directing conduct of DNA tests to establish the parentage of the almost 30-day-old baby, had ordered the SCBMCH to take care of her until the reports came in. However, the authorities of the Sick Newborn Care Unit (SNCU), where the baby has been kept since her birth, along with the Obstetrics and Gynaecology (O&G) Department are not in a position to keep her for much longer.

The baby has begun to grow and begun to move her limbs. She has gained weight and begun to kick the walls of the warmer bed of the SNCU. Thus, she is in great risk of falling down and sustaining injuries. Besides, she is also making loud noises.

According to sources, a newborn can be kept in an SNCU for a maximum of 42 days if the child is in a proper health condition. Under the present circumstances, in the absence of the mother or parents the child can’t be shifted to the general ward in O&G Department or Paediatrics Department due to various considerations like hygiene, care and security. “The DNA test is a time-consuming affair and it will take more than a month to obtain the reports. It would be very difficult on the part of the hospital to keep the baby under its care till then,” said a senior doctor.

Faced with such a dilemma, the hospital authorities are planning to move the High Court to shift the child to a proper childcare facility after the procedures for the DNA test are completed. Meanwhile, the Registrar (Vigilance), Orissa High Court, has issued notices to the SCBMCH authorities and the complainant __ Sushanta Mallick and wife Rashmita Mallick __ and the other couple Nirpuama Mallick and husband Sukanta Mallick fixing the date for sample collections to May 2 at 11.30 am. The samples would be drawn in the presence of the Registrar under supervision of Head of Forensic Medicine and Toxicology (FMT) department Prof. A Behera. The samples would be sent to the Institute of Molecular Biology, Hyderabad.

Meanwhile, the High Court-appointed Advocates’ Committee, comprising PR Das, Tarananda Patnaik and Dr PK Pradhan, on Saturday visited the SCBMCH to enquire about the well-being of the baby.






Thapar varsity student’s death: HC asks cops to probe murder

RAGHAV OHRI : Mon Apr 30 2012, 02:34 hrs

Supports DIG’s report, says no chargesheet on basis of SIT report.

Refusing to show conviction in the report of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the “mysterious” death of a student of Thapar University, Patiala, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab Police to probe murder charges as recommended by its Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police.

The development assumes significance since the Director General of Police (DGP) had refused to place reliance in a report prepared by its DIG, and had constituted the SIT.

DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” was required, and recommended registration of murder charges. Refusing to accept his recommendation report, the DGP had constituted a SIT.

Taking note of this, O P Bhatia, Deputy Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, had said the constitution of SIT would “lead to tampering with evidence”. Therefore, he ordered that the SIT be disbanded immediately, upholding the DIG’s “recommendation” for registration of a murder case. Even though it was disbanded, the Punjab Police produced the copy of the SIT report which negated the findings of the DIG and said the student had died in an accident. In its report, the SIT had submitted that the allegations of murder were “absolutely baseless”.

Much to the relief of Gurbax Singh Bains, the father of the deceased, and embarrassment for the Punjab DGP, the High Court has refused to take stock of the report tabled by the SIT. Instead, the High Court has held that the investigating agency will probe the case on the basis of the report of the DIG who had recommended registration of a murder case. The court has given three months’ time to the Punjab Police to probe the murder charges.

In another embarrassment for the police, the High Court has made it clear that no chargesheet will be produced in the trial court on the basis of the SIT report.

Advocate Gurbax Singh Bains had argued that since the SIT had been disbanded vide order dated January 24 this year, it had no jurisdiction to proceed further to prepare the conclusion report.

The FIR was registered at Police Station, Rajpura, Patiala, in 2010. Gurbax Singh had moved the High Court alleging that his 21-year-old son Gagandeep was “murdered” in 2010. The Punjab Police had registered a case of “rash and negligent driving” in the death of Gagandeep claiming it to be a case of accident. The “accident”, which claimed the lives of Gagandeep and his friend, occurred on September 28, 2010, near Rajpura, Patiala. The case will now come up for hearing in July.











HC: No hard and fast rule for non-custodian parents access to child

Published: Monday, Apr 30, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai

“There can be no hard and fast rule when it comes to granting children’s access to a non-custodian parent, the courts have to be flexible.”

The Bombay high court made this observation when hearing an appeal filed by a father whose access to his two daughters, aged 16 years and 15 years, was cancelled by the family court on March 31, 2011.

The family court had continued his access to his minor son.
Justice Roshan Dalvi observed that the couple has had a “very acrimonious dispute” which can be seen by the number of applications made by both of them before the courts.

The father argued that under the law, the parent must be granted access till the child is 18 years of age.

Disagreeing with the argument, justice Dalvi observed: “No hard and fast rule can be laid down, except the prime rule that all children need love and affection, care and upbringing of both their parents and the parental responsibility extends to each of the parents granting the other opportunity to do so.”

Also, it is not the right of the parents that are to be determined in an application for custody or access but the right of the child to have such access, observed the judge.

Justice Dalvi had interviewed the daughters and the father independently and jointly in her chamber before passing the order.

“The daughters demonstrated an extremely venomous disposition towards their father. The father was amiable and understanding.

The daughters narrated to the court parrot-like what was mentioned in the petition containing expressions like harassment, cruelty without any illustrations, except one showing certain beatings on her hands on a given date,” observed the high court.

Justice Dalvi further noted: “Having been in the custody of one parent and having had absolutely no contact with the other, the source of such venom is easy to see.”

“However, in view of such vehemence, coupled with their age, counselling would not be worth embarking upon,” observed justice Dalvi, while upholding the cancellation of access rights to the father.










HC acquits man held guilty of murder, says evidence unreliable

New Delhi, April 30, 2012

Delhi High Court has set aside the conviction of a man who had been given a life sentence for killing his sister-in-law by pouring acid on her, questioning the reliability evidence.
“Reliability and credibility of the witness who deposes about the dying declaration are the twin equirements which the trial court is obliged to satisfy itself about, while basing its findings on such evidence,” a bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg said.

According to the prosecution, Kishore was unhappy with Meena for working as a domestic help. Despite his objections, she continued with her work and on April 22, 2008, when Meena was at a park, Kishore poured acid on her and fled.

The prosecution said a home guard constable reached the spot on being informed about the incident. On the way to the hospital, Meena narrated the event to him. The court, however, questioned the conduct of the constable, saying, despite “being a responsible officer trained in the drill of what ought to be done when dealing with a medico-legal case”, the constable had left the hospital without waiting for the police to arrive.

“He certainly was not present when the alleged dying declaration was recorded by PW-20 (police officer),” the bench said.

The victim’s neighbour had testified that he heard Meena shouting loudly and running in the street in front of her house saying Jugal Kishore had poured acid on her. The bench, citing the testimony, said the versions of the constable and the neighbour regarding the place of incident are “inconsistent and irreconcilable”.

“This aspect assumes importance because no public witness was associated while the police seized earth control, a jug (which contained acid) and the lid of the jug, from the park,” it said.

 It added that “the doctor who recorded the MLC, and also made an endorsement that the injured (Meena) was in a fit state of mind to record the dying declaration, was not joined in the investigation, much less produced in court”.

“The other important aspect is that the injured lived on for two more days, the prosecution did not indicate any attempt on its part to have a declaration or statement recorded,” the bench said.









Flat owners on forest land to form co-operative society to appeal in Supreme Court

Clara Lewis, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 03.13AM IST

MUMBAI: Citizens fed up of waiting for a SC verdict on their flats on private forest land have decided to form a co-operative society and intervene in the matter. Nearly 1,500 flat owners of three buildings in Mulund on Sunday resolved to together appeal to the SC to set up a three-judge bench to hear the matter.

Advocate Vinod Sampat said the co-operative housing society guidelines require that 60% of the flat purchasers should have registered their documents to form a co-operative society. “There are instances where the HC has allowed flat buyers to form a co-operative society in case of disputes,” he said.

“We were to get possession of our flats in 2006-07 but its been nearly five years and there is no end to the matter. Our only hope was the SC but the matter is delayed there as well,” said Laxmi Ramchandran, a flat owner. Ramachandran said owing to a stay order, the buildings were not constructed completely. Many of the investors are retired senior citizens who are living on rent. “The situation is so bad that they threaten to commit suicide,” said Prakash Paddikal, president, Hillside Residents’ Welfare Association.

Residents have already paid a regularization fee as directed by the SC. In early 2012, residents were informed that they would have to pay more as earlier they had been charged on the basis of barren land. When the Union ministry of environment and forests questioned the state on why the land abutting a dense forest such as the Sanjay Gandhi National Park was classified as barren, the state issued fresh notices about the increased charges. Residents have decided against paying the increased rates.










HC rejects passport agents’ plea for log-in facility over security

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Mon Apr 30 2012, 05:48 hrs

Observing that national security is paramount, a division bench of Gujarat High Court (HC) recently dismissed a petition by an association of passport agents who had demanded a direction to the authorities to allow them to have a log-in facility in their names to submit passport applications on behalf of their clients even in the recently introduced Passport Seva Kendra Scheme which has completely changed the process of issuance of passports while curtailing the role of passport agents.

The petitioner organisation has been identified as Association of Recognised Passport Agents of Gujarat. The association had challenged a single-judge bench order of the HC that had dismissed its petition challenging the provisions of the scheme that are curtailing their roles in the passport issuance process.

Following that the organisation had preferred an appeal before a division bench. And a division bench of the HC comprising of Justices V M Sahai and A J Desai passed an order recently on their appeal while dismissing the same.

According to the details, the central government has completely changed the passport issuance process while introducing Passport Seva Project. Under the new scheme, the person who wants to have a passport has to personally appear before a Passport Seva Kendra.

Earlier, the passport agents were recognised by the Ministry of External Affairs and they also used to submit the forms on behalf of their clients to get the passport. In the new scheme, the passport agents have not been included.

With their roles curtailed, the petitioner organisation approached the HC with a prayer that they be given a separate login facility to submit forms on behalf of their clients. However, this prayer was dismissed by the division bench also while observing that the national security is of paramount importance.

The petitioner organisation had pressed for their demand while arguing that they have been carrying business as agents for last 50 years and therefore their livelihood was going to be affected.

The central government had opposed the petition on a number of grounds. One of them being the issue of national security. The central government counsel contended that there are many instances when fraudulent persons have managed to obtain passports.

Dismissing the petition the bench observed, “The passport is a very important instrument which permits an Indian Citizen to travel beyond the country and, therefore, before issuing such important instrument, the authority has to scrutinise the application for passport in detail since it is a matter of national security. It is a fact of common knowledge that large number of persons travel beyond the country on fake passports which are prepared in the name of bogus/dummy persons.”

“In view of this aspect, if the Government decides that the person, who is interested in getting passport, shall file the application in his own name having sufficient details about himself/herself, the same is not prejudicial to anybody,” it added.









Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike overlooks DC’s diktat on drains

M K Madhusoodan, TNN | Apr 30, 2012, 05.36AM IST

BANGALORE : Are possession of khatas and licence to build on encroached land cast-iron reasons to continue with illegal occupation ? Revenue authorities don’t believe so but BBMP is citing them as reasons for not clearing encroachments on a storm water drain through Chinnappanahalli village in KR Puram .

Bangalore Urban district’s deputy commissioner M K Aiyappa had shot off a letter to BBMP joint director (Mahadevapura division ) KN Devaraj , stating that a detailed inspection by the East tahsildar revealed encroachments dotting the drain passing from Survey Nos 3 to 14 in Chinappanahalli .

The DC said there were several petitions from locals aboutencroachments andhowseveralbuildings had been built with BBMP permission . Encroachers should be served notices and all illegal constructions should be demolished forthwith , he said .

“The BBMP should take immediate steps to cancel khatas and licences given to construct buildings on the encroached land ,” the letter said , offering all cooperation of revenue authorities for removal of encroachments .

“Wecannotdo anything now as revenue authorities hadn’t taken any action till now . They have now asked us to do the job but it’s difficult as all buildings have been granted khatas and licence to construct on the land under question . We’ll do a joint inspection with the tahsildar , get details of encroachments and try to demolish the buildings as soon as possible ,” BBMP chief engineer (storm water drain ) HC Ananthaswamy told TOI. He added that revenue authorities should have taken action before the encroachments happened .

The DC’s letter clearly mentioned there were large tracts of encroachments in 33 blocks of the survey numbers in the village . “Criminal cases under Section 192 (a) of the Karnataka Land Revenue Act have also been ordered against those found guilty of encroaching the SWD ,” the letter stated .

Khata alone doesn’t confer land ownership

Revenue authorities say khata in itself is not an ownership document as it is basically a receipt of record of tax collected by urban local bodies. To streamline urban property records, the revenue department has now started a drive to issue unique property identification number. Khatas will become redundant once the property identification numbers will be allotted to properties.



LEGAL NEWS 29.04.2012

Apex court quashes quota benefits for SCs, STs, OBCs in promotions

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

Terming the move unconstitutional, the Supreme Court has quashed Uttar Pradesh government’s decision to provide reservation benefits for SCs, STs & OBCs in promotions to higher posts saying the same was done without any sufficient data.

Upholding a bunch of petitions filed by aggrieved general category employees challenging the reservation in promotions, the apex court said the state failed to furnish sufficient valid data to justify the move to promote employees on caste basis.

“The conditions precedent have not been satisfied. No exercise has been undertaken. What has been argued with vehemence is that it is not necessary as the concept of reservation in promotion was already in vogue.

“We are unable to accept the said submission, for when the provisions of the Constitution are treated valid with certain conditions or riders, it becomes incumbent on the part of the state to appreciate and apply the test so that its amendments can be tested and withstand the scrutiny on parameters laid down therein,” a bench of justice Dalveer Bhandari and justice Dipak Mishra said.

In this case, the employees had challenged the validity of the provisions contained in Rule 8-A of the UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991, which provided for promotions to SC, ST, OBC employees for higher posts.

While a two-judge bench of the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had quashed the rule as unconstitutional, another two-judge bench of the high court upheld the reservation, after which the employees and the UP government filed appeals in the apex court.

The apex court said the rule was contary to the various judgements by the Constitution benches in the M Nagara, Indra Sawhney and various other cases wherein it was provided that reservation in promotions can be provided only if there is sufficient data and evidence to justify the need.

NHRC mulling ‘code of ethics’ for corporate

Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 12:35 IST
Shemin Joy | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Controversies over land acquisition and labour unrest involving big businesses have prompted the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to come up with a “code of ethics” for corporates.

A draft report in this respect has been submitted to the NHRC by New Delhi-based Institute of Corporate Sustainability Management (ICSM) Trust and has been perused by the Commission.

NHRC had commissioned a study — ‘Developing Code of Ethics for Indian Industries’ — with the objective of bringing into effect a similar a code of ethics for corporates by drawing from international norms.

For the study, data was collected from ten sectors –steel, power, mines, cement, paper, FMCG, sugar, banking and MFI, textile and pharma.

“We had a sitting on the draft report. It talks about what corporate bodies have to do in ensuring human rights, their obligations of corporates to maintain human rights and their attitude towards employees besides other issues,” NHRC Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan told PTI.

He said NHRC was looking at a scenario where the state will watch the performance of the corporate bodies and ensure that human rights values are observed by these bodies.

“There should be accessibility for common man to redress their grievances. So the state should provide this accessibility. So if there is a human rights violation, a single citizen may not be in a position to fight against the corporates. So should give the facility and accessibility by court or other fora,” he said.

Balakrishnan noted that the issues with corporates was not an India-specific problem.

“This was discussed during the Geneva Convention also. A member from Germany alleged that the land acquisition is creating problems there also. Huge land acquired and not enough compensation is paid. So then NHRC suggested that Haryana model could be adopted,” Balakrishnan said.

In the annuity-cum-compensation model followed in Haryana, the farmer gets not only the market price for his land, but also a fixed amount at pre-determined intervals for a specific number of years.

He also said NHRC has requested major universities to design their own courses on human rights.

“We have requested some of the universities to do research projects on important themes. We will enter into an MoU with them. Earlier, we thought of having Chairs in Universities. But we decided against it later.

“We think that it is more effective to have university do research on various themes. It will act as a foundation for some of our work, improve on some aspects of our work,” he said.

On environmental issues, he said NHRC has suggested to the International Coordination Committee (of national human rights bodies) to study the international protocols on environment and codify it for the national bodies.

“There are human rights issues involved with environment. There are a number of protocols. So a codified document will help us,” Balakrishnan said.









2002 riots: Bhatt writes to Prez for new probe panel

Ahmedabad, April 28, 2012

Suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt has petitioned President Pratibha Patil to appoint a new Commission of Inquiry to probe the role of Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi and others in 2002 riots. “The Government of India should expeditiously appoint a two-member commission, under Section 3 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act 1952, headed by a retired Judge of the Supreme Court of India, to inquire into role of chief minister,” Bhatt said in his petition to the president.

Bhatt further said that the role of chief minister and any other ministers in his council of ministers, police officers, other individuals and organisations with respect to the adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances (communal riots) in the state should be examined by the new panel.

“The new commission should also inquire the adequacy of the steps and measures taken by the administration, from lst June 2002 till date; to facilitate relief, rehabilitation and the delivery of justice to the victims of the Godhra incident of 27th February 2002 and the subsequent communal riots of 2002 in the State of Gujarat,” Bhatt has said.

It may be noted here that a panel headed by Supreme Court justice (retd) GT Nanavati and high court justice (retd) Akshay Mehta is already inquiring 2002 riots.

Bhatt also contended in his letter that there was a lacuna in terms of reference of Nanavati Commission.

The point of adequacy of administrative measures taken to prevent and deal with disturbances in Godhra and subsequent disturbances in the state–which was mentioned in the original terms of reference of Nanavati Commission–was deleted when the terms of reference were revised in 2004, he said.

Bhatt has also cast doubts on the overall role and conduct of the state government towards Nanavati Commission.

“It is indeed ironic that the Government of Gujarat instead of conducting itself as a neutral and dispassionate entity has chosen to act in a partisan manner by identifying with and espousing the cause of the functionaries of the state administration, including the chief minister, whose very role and conduct is squarely covered by the terms of reference of the inquiry,” Bhatt said in the letter.

He further said that the state government has been severely criticised by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) and several judgements of Gujarat high court and supreme court regarding the 2002 riots.

Meanwhile, Bhatt, who was summoned by the National Commission for Minorities (NCM), in response to a complaint lodged by one Niyazbibi Malek from Ognaj village in Ahmedabad district, has filed an affidavit, claiming that the gruesome incident at Godhra railway station was an orchestrated attempt to commit violence on the person and property of Muslims with “total support” and “complicity” from the state government.

The complainant had alleged that certain records that “indicated” of the state government’s involvement in the riots have gone missing.

All these facts have been brought to the notice of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) as well as the Nanavati Commission but despite this they are bent upon giving a “clean chit” to these tragic events by branding them as “spontaneous” outrage against the Godhra riots, Bhatt said in the affidavit.

“It should be noted that there is enough documentary as well as oral evidence available to establish the complicity of the state and its high functionaries in these riots but the Commission and SIT are deliberately turning a blind eye to the overwhelming evidence and any persons who try to bring out the truth are victimised,” he has alleged.

Commission nod for KSEB estimates

Power tariff hike soon to bridge revenue gap of Rs.1,889.16 crorePower tariff for all sections of consumers in the State is set to go up steeply soon. The estimates of annual accounts of Kerala State Electricity Board (KSEB) for 2012-13, approved on Saturday with modifications by the Kerala State Electricity Regulatory Commission, show a huge revenue gap of Rs.1,889.15 crore.

The approved estimates put the expected revenue at Rs.6,097.24 crore and expense at Rs.7,986.39 crore. The single largest component of expense is ‘purchase of power,’ which, according to the KSEB, will come to Rs.5,659 crore. A stiff dose of tariff hike is indicated to save the power utility from a liquidity crisis.

The average revenue realisation from one unit of electricity now is Rs.3.49. This will have to be increased to Rs.4.64 to bridge the revenue gap. It means the tariffs will have to be increased across the board by nearly 33 per cent to help the KSEB break even.

Subsidy likely

The government might step in with a subsidy to protect low-end domestic consumers, agricultural consumers, and institutions for the poor, from the tariff shock. The KSEB told the commission that it would submit a tariff hike proposal in consultation with the government.

The tariff hike would have been still more severe had the commission accepted the KSEB’s accounts without some severe pruning and strict directives to ensure efficiency in demand-side management and bring down transmission and distribution loss.

The KSEB’s estimates had pegged its total expenses during the year at Rs.9,638.12 crore and income at Rs.6,397.87 crore, leaving a revenue gap of Rs.3,240.25 crore. Even these estimates were based on the assumption that the commission would permit it to impose 15 per cent restriction in power supply to all categories of consumers. This would have necessitated 51 per cent tariff hike.

Without such a restriction, the KSEB had estimated its expense during the year to reach the Rs.10,540.93 crore and income Rs.6,203.85 crore, leaving a revenue gap of Rs.4,337.08 crore. And that would have necessitated 70 per cent tariff hike.

KSEB’s calculation was that if the commission were to allow the power supply restriction proposed, 50 per cent of the consumers would purchase energy beyond the restricted level at a suggested high rate of Rs.11 a unit, thereby bringing it additional revenue of Rs.775.94 crore. But the commission said such a restriction throughout the year was not the correct way to approach the problem.

Public hearing

So the directive is to submit before the commission a proper tariff hike proposal immediately. The commission has fixed public hearing on June 4, 6, and 8 on the tariff petition the KSEB would submit.

Probe fake damages claims’

Smriti Singh

NEW DELHI: A railway claims tribunal in the capital has asked Delhi Police to conduct an inquiry to find out whether kin of the victims of the Samjhauta Express blast, who have already been given compensation by another state tribunal, are fraudulently filing similar claim petitions in Delhi.

Justice U K Dhaon, chairman of the tribunal’s principal bench, through the tribunal’s registrar A K Arya, has directed the Delhi Commissioner of Police (DCP), north, to take necessary action in the matter and submit a report by May 20, 2012. “To elucidate the facts, it is expedient that an inquiry be conducted by some independent agency of the government so that necessary steps may be taken in such cases,” the judge said.

The tribunal’s order came in wake of several petitions being filed before it by relatives of some Pakistani nationals, who died in February 2007, when a bomb exploded in the Samjhauta Express, a train that linked India and Pakistan, killing over 60 people.

The petitions sought compensation even as the counsel for the Indian railways claimed that they had already been awarded compensation by a Ghaziabad railway court.

In one such petition, a man claimed Rs 8 lakh as compensation on behalf of his relative Kumari Mehreen, a Pakistani national, who died in the blast. His plea, however, was opposed by the counsel for the railways on the grounds that a similar claim was filed before the railway claims tribunal at Ghaziabad and the compensation had already been awarded. The railways counsel also sought prosecution of the petitioner for submitting false evidence and making false claim. The petitioner claimed that he had filed the case “by mistake” on the advice of his counsel and sought court’s permission to withdraw it. The court, however, noted that “prima facie” the petitioner misrepresented the facts and “played fraud upon the court” and it needed to be investigated.

Plea to quash charges of threatening woman cop dismissed

PTI | 09:04 AM,Apr 29,2012

New Delhi, Apr 29 (PTI) A plea by three men to quash a magisterial court charges against them for threatening a woman police personnel and hindering her in performing her duties 11 years ago, has been dismissed by a Delhi sessions court. Northwest Delhi residents Sandeep, Nitin and Rahul had been put on trial by the magisterial court for threatening Assistant Sub-Inspector Rajwanti Deshwal on October 24, 2001 and obstructing her from performing her duty. The trio had allegedly threatened Deshwal and used physical force in a bid to to stop her from issuing them a traffic challan to pay Rs 100 as fine for parking their motorcycle in a no-parking zone. The trio had reached the police station after coming to know that their motorcycle had been towed away and had entered into an altercation with her as she proceeded to prepare the challan. Additional Sessions Judge Ramesh Kumar rejected their plea to quash charges against them saying “there was grave suspicion that the trio had committed the offence.” “I am of the view that, prima facie, it is apparent that the complainant was discharging her public duties of issuance of the challan, at the time of alleged incident. “Further, they after sharing the said common intention, used criminal force to deter the complainant, woman ASI, Rajwanti Deshwal, from discharging her public duties,” the court said.

CM nod to special courts for corruption cases

Sanjay Ojha

RANCHI: If Bihar can, so can Jharkhand. The government has finally taken a strong step to curb corruption cases in the state by deciding to set up special courts for speedy disposal of such cases.

The four-page draft proposal of the ordinance – Jharkhand Special Courts Ordinance 2012 – was approved by chief minister Arjun Munda on Saturday and sent to governor Syed Ahmed for his assent. All government officials in the state will be in the ambit of cases to be heard by special courts. In Bihar, the state government has already established special courts and attached property of an IAS. The order for attachment of property of an IPS officer was stayed by the high court.

Sources in the chief minister’s secretariat said the decision to set up special courts to deal with corruption cases was taken in wake of a growing number of corruption cases pending before the cabinet (vigilance) department. The courts will be headed by district and sessions judge or additional district and judge-ank officers.

“On getting a complaint of corruption, the court will issue notice to the official and his associates asking them to explain why the property moveable, immovable or both should not be attached by the government. The accused official will have to file a reply within 30 days,” said a source.

The ordinance will also empower the state government to attach property earned by a corrupt official. “The government will have power to attach both moveable and immovable property. The person will have to surrender once the court passes order against the accused. In case, the order is opposed then the officer authorized to take over the property can even use force,” said a source.

“There have been instances in the past when a corrupt person creates wealth in name of some other person. Once the ordinance is in place, the court can even serve notice to those people who are in possession of the property – both moveable and immovable – and even attach it,” said the draft.

Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance awaiting Guv’s nod

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 28,2012

Ranchi, Apr 28 (PTI) Jharkhand will soon have special anti-corruption courts to seize, attach or take back “ill-gotten” property by public servants. The Arjun Munda-led government has sent Jharkhand Special Court Ordinance, 2012, to Raj Bhavan for Governor Syed Ahmed’s consent, according to an official release here. The special courts will be headed by sessions or additional sessions-ranked judges to deal with corruption cases against public servants, the release said. The move to set up special courts was taken after many corruption cases came before the vigilance department, it said. The main aim of this ordinance is to speed up cases relating to corruption and take back any ill-gotten property by any official found guilty by the special courts, the release said.

Bail plea rejected a month ago, but corporator still free

AKOLA: In what raises serious questions over the effectiveness of the police department, corporator Nakir Khan of Samajwadi Party (SP), a co-accused in the gang war in Akot file area of the city, continues to enjoy freedom despite the fact that his anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the sessions court here on March 27.

The gang war, which claimed a person’s life and injured two others, took place occurred in 2010. Khan was a disqualified corporator of the last AMC due to his continued absence in the general body meeting of AMC. He was again elected to the AMC for which election was held on February 16.

He was absconding since the gang war and filed the anticipatory bail petition in December last year. But even after his anticipatory bail plea was rejected, he has enjoyed freedom. Since March 27, he has been again reported absconding by the police and they have not dared to arrest him. If sources are to be believed, Khan has been moving freely in the city and staying at his residence.

In another related development, the police have challenged the bail granted to another co-accused Abbas Khan in the Supreme Court and the police team is reported staying at Delhi for the outcome of their plea for cancellation of bail.

Abbas Khan is a co-accused in the gang war case and has been recently released on bail by the local magistrate on the direction of High Court Bench at Nagpur.

Surprisingly, an assistant to prosecutor on behalf of the complainant also stated in court that Nakir can be released on bail. However, assistant public prosecutor Mangla Pande flatly told the court that she does not require the assistance during the hearing on bail and the defence lawyer’s attempt to get the anticipatory bail for the accused was foiled.

Bangaru Laxman sent to 4 years in jail

Published: Sunday, Apr 29, 2012, 8:00 IST
DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

A sessions court in Delhi handed out a tough sentence to former BJP president Bangaru Laxman, who had been caught on tape accepting bribe in a sting operation done almost a decade ago. The sentence immediately triggered off a war of words between the Congress and the BJP, with both parties accusing each other of corruption.

The judge came down severely on the septuagenarian tainted leader saying that this “sab chalta hai” attitude would have to be dispensed with. There was a strong plea from Laxman’s lawyers that the aging leader who is also suffering from various ailments be treated leniently. They pleaded for a maximum of six month sentence.

But the judge had decided to set an example. Not only did he hand down a sentence of four years’ imprisonment to the veteran leader but he also asked him to cough up a fine of Rs1 lakh. Laxman was sent off to Tihar Jail where he will have to cool his heels till his lawyers plead for his bail in the High Court. It is learnt from the disappointed lawyers of the former party boss that they would move a higher court of appeal next week itself.

From Friday, when the leader was convicted, the BJP had been gradually distancing itself from Laxman, arguing that he had been fighting his own case and that the party had not been in touch with him for a long time. On Saturday, the BJP said that the amount for which Laxman had been punished — the sum of Rs 1 lakh — was a pittance compared to the major scams like the 2G and the CWG in which UPA leaders were involved.

BJP’s Shahnawaz Hussain said the BJP was committed to fighting corruption. He recalled that the decision to remove Laxman as party president was taken immediately after the bribery allegations. Hussain’s colleague, Ravi Shankar Prasad accused the government of preventing a fair investigation into several cases corruptions, including alleged kickbacks to Italian businessman Ottavio Quattrochhi in the Bofors gun deal.

Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi said this was the first time that the national president of a national party had been found guilty and punished by a court. Alvi added: “It is proper time for the BJP to do self-analysis, to rethink about its organisation.”

Interestingly, Laxman’s conviction and subsequent sentencing closely followed the debate over the Bofors controversy and to some extent took the sting away from the BJP onslaught.










Two bosses for STF to probe fake encounters in Gujarat

Prashant Dayal

AHMEDABAD: Who should the special task force (STF), formed to probe allegations of fake police encounters in Gujarat, take orders from? Should they report to Justice H S Bedi, appointed by the Supreme Court, or Justice K R Vyas who was appointed by the state government?

Unhappy with the Narendra Modi government’s decision to appoint Justice Vyas as the chief, the SC had asked Justice Bedi to replace him.

Strangely, however, the Gujarat government has not yet cancelled the notification that appointed Justice Vyas, creating a situation where there are two chiefs for one STF. Home department sources said Justice Bedi has been given a specific job of investigating 17 encounters that took place between 2003 and 2006. Justice Vyas would probe all other encounters, including those that may happen in future.

For instance, four Kashmiri youths who were killed in an encounter in Ganga Row House in the Vatva area of Ahmedabad in 2006 has not been included in Justice Bedi’s list.

Legal experts feel the state government is playing with fire despite SC’s clear directive. “The appointment of Justice Vyas was held annulled by the Supreme Court when it asked Justice Bedi to probe the encounters,” says advocate Anand Yagnik, who represents the father of Sameer Khan Pathan who was killed in an suspect encounter in October 2002.

“Any effort by the state government to continue with Justice Vyas amounts to defiance of the SC order, if the order is taken in its true letter and spirit.”

The state government invited SC’s ire after it appointed Justice Vyas in February in place of retired SC judge M B Shah, who was reluctant to head the STF. While appointing Justice Bedi, SC had said it wanted the supervision to be done by “someone whose integrity is completely beyond any question”.

“We deem it fit to request Justice Bedi to head and monitor the investigation of the cases of alleged fake encounter enumerated in the writ petitions,” a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai had said.

The Gujarat government was asked to extend all facilities to Justice Bedi “to enable him to make meaningful, effective investigation into the cases”. The STF was formed on basis of two PILs filed in 2007 by journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar after senior cops including D G Vanzara were arrested for the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter. The petitions listed 17 police encounters and sought an independent probe.

AP Government justifies ACB transfer

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The state government on Friday defended its decision in transferring IPS officer Kothakota Srinivasa Reddy from the post of additional director of ACB to IG coastal security on April 3. The government submitted before the AP High Court stating that re-transfer of Srinivasa Reddy to the ACB at this juncture would set a ‘dangerous precedent’ and impede the effective functioning and administration.

Advocate general A Sudarshan Reddy on Friday filed a counter affidavit before the division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice P V Sanjay Kumar which was dealing with various writ petitions on the liquor scam and seeking a stay on the orders of transfer of Srinivasa Reddy from the ACB.

The advocate general asserted that even after transfer of Srinivasa Reddy the ACB has registered many fresh cases and arrested several officers and that the probe is going on unhindered.

The advocate general said that the promotion and transfer of Srinivasa Reddy was done as per the guidelines prescribed by the Centre. As there was no vacant post in the rank of IGP in the ACB, he was transferred and posted as IGP, coastal security. The bench directed the petitioner’s counsel to file a counter reply to the government’s affidavit and posted the matter for hearing to June 11.

GO stopping increment to DSP quashed

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The order dated December 3, 2008 of the State Home Secretary imposing a punishment of stoppage of increment for one year without cumulative effect on C Kanagaraj, DSP, attached to the Economic Offence Wing-II in Nagercoil, has been set aside by the Madras High Court.

Justice KN Basha, who quashed the order, also directed the authorities concerned to give notional promotion to Kanagaraj, if he was otherwise eligible and qualified, to the post of Additional Superintendent of Police with all attendant and monetary benefits. The exercise should be executed within 12 weeks, the jduge added.

The judge was allowing two writ petitions from Kanagaraj, who was recruited as SI in 1976, promoted as inspector in 1989. He was again promoted to the position of DSP, in 2003.

He was served with a charge-memo dated May 10, 1993, while working as inspector attached to the CB CID in The Nilgiris. The charge against him was that he had kept a person in illegal custody at a police station in Cumbum for two days in February, 1991. The second charge was that he tortured the detenue. Kanagaraj offered his explanation.

However, the disciplinary authority imposed the punishment in February, 2002. He took up the matter with the Appellate Authority, the IG of Police (Crime Branch), Chennai, who by an order dated June 12, 2002 set aside the order of punishment.

However, by the order dated December 3, 2008, the Home Secretary imposed the punishment again. Petitioner’s consel Abudu Kumar contended that there was an inordinate and unexplained delay of more than six years in passing the order from the date of setting aside the order of the disciplinary authority. Hence, the entire proceedings were vitiated. The Home Secretary could not inflict the punishment by suo-motu proceedings without assigning any reason, Kumar added.

Accepting the submissions of Kumar, the judge set aside the punishment order and gave the direction to promote the petitioner.

Chandigarh education department told to clear teachers’ salary arrears

CHANDIGARH: The UT bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) directed the Chandigarh education department to release the arrears of enhanced consolidated salary of contractual teachers of various government schools of city.

These arrears have been pending since 2007 and the tribunal has now set a deadline of two months for the funds to be released to the beneficiary teachers, working under various capacities in UT government schools. The directions were passed by a division bench of CAT headed by Shayama Dogra.

CAT directed the U T Administration to release the enhanced consolidated salary with effect from 2007 in pursuance to UT administrations policy decision, within a period of two months. The issue was argued before the bench on behalf of the petitioners that the U T Administration has taken a policy decision through a circular dated March 13, 2007 to revise the consolidated monthly salary of contractual masters/mistresses from Rs 8,000 to Rs 9,900 with effect from January 1, 2007.

Similarly, vide subsequent policy circular dated January 10, 2008 and March 5, 2009 the said salary was further enhanced to Rs 10,500 and Rs 11,200 respectively. Similar pay enhancements were made with regard to contractual JBT teachers and lecturers.

74-yr-old former judge gets 3 yrs in jail for graft

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

A special Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) court on Saturday awarded a 3-year jail term to a former judge in a 26-year-old graft case.

Special CBI judge VK Maheshwari sentenced former judge Gulab Tulsiyani to undergo three years’ rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on him.

Tulsiyani, while holding the post of metropolitan magistrate at a Delhi court, was caught accepting a bribe of Rs. 2,000 at his residence June 6, 1986 from complainant Ajesh Mittal. Tulsiyani had asked a bribe from Mittal for settling his judicial matter pending in the court. He retired from judicial service in 1998.

The court, while awarding the sentence to the former judge, said the public’s confidence in the judiciary was getting shattered day by day. Special judge Maheshwari expressed his dissatisfaction saying that at present, the judiciary was suffering from self-inflicted wounds.

The court said: “The judiciary must take utmost care to see that the temple of justice does not crack from inside, which will lead to a catastrophe in the justice delivery system resulting in the failure of public confidence in the system.”

The court also added that judicial office is an office of public trust, therefore high integrity, honesty, ethical firmness is the requirement of society from the judge.

“A judge’s conduct is expected to be judged by standards higher than that expected from any other public servant,” said the court.

The special judge remarked that to keep the “stream of justice clean and pure”, a judge must be endowed with “sterling character, unimpeachable integrity and upright behaviour”.

However, the court suspended Tulsiyani’s sentence till May 28 and allowed the former judge’s interim bail after the convict informed the court that he would like to appeal against his conviction.

Excessive quotas violate equality mandate: SC

Express news service : New Delhi, Sun Apr 29 2012, 00:51 hrs

Noting that “excessive reservation” violates the constitutional mandate of equality, the Supreme Court has said that interests of certain sections of the society cannot be favoured over “the interests of every citizen of the entire society”.

In a judgment delivered on Friday, the Supreme Court said: “Article 16(4) which protects the interests of certain sections of the society has to be balanced against Article 16(1) which protects the interests of every citizen of the entire society. They should be harmonised because they are restatements of the principle of equality under Article 14.”

A Bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Deepak Misra said state governments can carve out quotas for SC/STs and OBCs in their region only if they can back their “exercise of power” with precise data on the backwardness of the communities. “Be it reservation or evaluation, excessiveness in either would result in violation of the constitutional mandate,” the judgment authored by Justice Misra observed.

The judgment dealt with two amendments brought by the Uttar Pradesh government to enable reservation and accelerated promotion for SC/STs and OBCs in the UP public services.

Both Rule 8A, which dealt with accelerated promotion in the UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991, and Section 3(7), which prescribed quota during promotion in the UP Public Servants (Reservation for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and other Backward Classes) Act, 1994, were quashed as ultra vires the Constitution.

The UP government had moved the SC after the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court quashed the two provisions in 2011.

The Supreme Court Bench said the state government’s amendments were not backed by any quantifiable data.

26 years on, HC sets free 12 convicted for killing villagers

Kanchan Chaudharii, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 29, 2012

Nearly 26 years after being convicted for a gruesome attack on a rival political group from Pirkon village in Uran tehsil, the Bombay high court has set free 12 persons convicted by a trial court for killing five and injuring 58 others in the mass attack after finding that the witnesses’ testimonies were unreliable.

The incident took place in December 1986 when a mob of about 250 persons attacked a group of a rival political party from the same village. The mob had killed five persons and injured 44 others, 14 of whom were grievously hurt, and also destroyed houses of many of the victims.

The Uran police had booked in all 95 persons for the attack, and relying on evidence of seven prime witnesses, the Raigad sessions court had held 12 from the mob responsible for the killings and sentenced them to life imprisonment. The trial court had acquitted all others for want of cogent evidence.

The convicts had carried the matter to the high court, where a division bench of justices Bhushan Gavai and Shrihari Davare found several loopholes in the prosecution’s case. The judges found all the seven witnesses were related to the victims. “No doubt that merely because the witnesses are interested or related to the deceased is not the ground for discarding their evidence,” the judges said, adding, “But the evidence of such witnesses is required to be scrutinised with greater caution.”

The judges found the evidence of the witnesses was full of contradictions, omissions and improvements. “The ocular testimony of these witnesses is not corroborated by any other evidence,” they noted. “On the contrary, ocular testimony is in contradiction with the spot panchanama,” the judges said while reversing the trial court verdict.

The high court also noted that the trial court had disbelieved evidence of these witnesses while acquitting the accused of the charge of rioting and house breaking, but relied on the same evidence for convicting the 12 for the charge of murders.

The high court also found that these witnesses had improved their versions and their testimonies were contradictory to the medical evidence.

HC orders State Bank of India to reinstate employee, pay all salary dues

HYDERABAD: Stating that being a sympathizer of Maoist philosophy or being a relative of a Maoist is no ground to terminate the services of an employee, Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP high court has directed the State Bank of India (SBI) to reinstate an employee and pay him all the salary benefits accrued to him from the date of his termination.

The judge made this order after hearing a petition filed by B Mallikarjuna Reddy of Guntur who was working with the bank branch in the district as an assistant in the cash wing. The employee was sacked in 2009 when he was on extended probation. The reason the bank had shown for his termination was that his father was a Maoist and was working as a president of district kerosene hawkers association. Mallikarjun’s name also figured in a ‘bind over’ case booked against several people. Showing this as a reason and also his antecedents as a relative or sympathizer of a Maoist, the bank sacked him.

Justice Chandra Kumar, in his order, found fault with the authorities of the bank for not seeing the ground realities in this case. The police and revenue officials who booked Mallikarjun in the case gave him a clean chit later. The bank should have taken this into consideration.

“The experience of the society shows us that if you repeatedly harass a person branding him as an extremist, he might be forced to become one finally. If a person commits crime or abets it then he may be prosecuted but not because he is a sympathizer or a relative of an extremist. You cannot punish a person for expressing certain views. If you punish people like that then there is no meaning to the model of democracy and the words of Rabindranath Tagore that… Our minds to be fearless and heads held high…”, the judge said and ordered reinstatement of the employee.

HC seeks CBI explanation on charges against ADGP Pulikesi

KOCHI: The high court has ordered the Central Bureau of Investigation’s Kochi unit to provide an explanation on the charges it had framed against ADGP S Pulikesi in connection with the procurement of medicines while Pulikesi was in charge of Supplyco. The order followed a petition by the ADGP challenging the charges.

The CBI has accused Pulikesi, who was the managing director of Supplyco, and 11 others of having hatched a criminal conspiracy to dupe the corporation while buying medicines for Maveli stores at exorbitant rates. According to the investigating agency, this brought about a loss of Rs 134 crore during 1998-2006 period.

In his petition, Pulikesi has challenged the charges, pointing out that CBI’s accusation that he had caused Supplyco losses was based on speculation. He has also said CBI hadn’t got state government clearance to prosecute him.

The Central agency had obtained clearance from the Central government to prosecute him thinking he belonged to the Central cadre. Permission should have been sought from the state government, instead, Pulikesi’s petition says.

After Pulikesi’s counsel C P Udayabhanu concluded his arguments, Justice P S Gopinathan ordered the CBI to file an explanation regarding the points raised by the ADGP in his petition. Though the petition had come up before Justice A M Shaffique earlier, the judge had declined to hear the case.

In December 2007, the high court had dismissed a petition by Pulikesi seeking quashing of the recommendations of the commission that inquired into the irregularities in the purchase of spices for Supplyco.

Pulikesi’s had pleaded that CBI should not be allowed to proceed with the investigation as the commission had not heard him before making the recommendations. It was a committee headed by former district judge E K Muraleedharan that had recommended that CBI probe the dealings of Supplyco.

HC asks WFI to allow dropped female wrestler to go to Finland

Last Updated: Sunday, April 29, 2012, 09:23

New Delhi: Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) has been asked by the Delhi High Court to allow wrestler Geetika Jakhar, dropped from a touring athletes` contingent, to take part in an Olympic qualifier tournament in Finland.

Justice Vipin Sanghi also came down heavily on WFI for omitting Jakhar`s name from the list of touring athletes despite the fact that she had defeated rival Alka Tomar in a bout held on April 19 to select a wrestler in 63 kg weight category to represent India at Helsinki.

“I direct that the petitioner (Jakhar) shall be permitted to participate in the tournament in 63 kg weight category at Helsinki. The petitioner`s passport is already available with the WFI. They should proceed forthwith to obtain her visa, and it is hoped that the visa shall be endorsed by concerned authorities on April 30,” the court said.

The court was critical of WFI`s selection policy and subsequent change made in it to include a wrestler, who did not take part in qualifying bout as she was in China, in the touring contingent.

“There is no apparent reason for this sudden change of mind that WFI seems to have experienced. Having chalked out a course of action, they should stick to it, as the last minute changes, when Indian contingent has to leave for Helsinki on May 1, not only shakes confidence of athletes but also raises doubt about bonafides of the action of WFI,” the court said.

The court`s order came on Jakhar`s plea, filed by lawyer N K Chahar, against her omission from touring athletes` list.

Jakhar had taken part and won the bout against Tomar on April 19, organised by WFI for selecting wrestler for the Olympic qualifier. However, the sports body had ordered a re-trial as Tomar had challenged the result.
Tomar, who had lost the bout, raised protest, contending that she, in fact, had “floored” Jakhar whose shoulder had touched the ground and hence, re-trial should be held.

The WFI allowed Tomar`s objection and fixed the re-trial bout on April 23. However, Jakhar did not participate in it.

The sports body then changed its policy and inserted wrestler Anita`s name in the list. She did not participate in the WFI`s bout here on April 19, as she was in China.

Aggrieved by the decision of WFI, Jakhar moved the court which quashed the sports body decision and also asked the Union Sports Ministry to take all necessary steps for granting approval to her.

The court, in its order, rapped WFI`s decision to hold re-trial bout saying “even in a real competition, a bout`s decision is taken by the referee, match chairman and judge and their decision is final. The WFI action in calling for re-trial between petitioner and Alka Tomar defeats whole purpose of holding the bout in the first place, as it can lead to a never-ending process.”




SC slams Allahabad HC for indiscipline

New Delhi, April 28, 2012

The Supreme Court has chided the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench for conducting parallel proceedings in a single case and hoped “judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Judges.”

A bench of justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Mishra also faulted the two-judge Lucknow bench for passing a judgement overruling another two-bench judgement which it said was contrary to established judicial norms as ideally such a conflicting view should have been referred to a larger bench.

According to the apex court, judicial discipline commands in such a situation when there is disagreement to refer the matter to a larger bench.

“Instead of doing that, the Division Bench at Lucknow took the burden on themselves to decide the case. There are two decisions by two Division Benches from the same high court.

“We express our concern about the deviation from the judicial decorum and discipline by both the Benches and expect that in future, they shall be appositely guided by the conceptual eventuality of such discipline as laid down by this Court from time to time.

“We have said so with the fond hope that judicial enthusiasm should not obliterate the profound responsibility that is expected from the Judges,” the bench said.

The apex court made the remarks while dealing with a bunch of appeals filed by employees and the Uttar Pradesh government challenging conflicting judgements of the Allahabad high court and its Lucknow bench relating to validity of Section 3(7) of the 1994 Act and Rule 8A of the 1991 Rules of UP Government Servants Seniority Rules, 1991.



Flexibility needed in parental access cases, says HC

NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Sun Apr 29 2012, 01:44 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Friday observed that there is a need to have a certain degree of flexibility while dealing with cases of allowing a parent access to his or her child.

The court was hearing a petition filed by a man seeking permission to meet his two daughters aged 16 and 15. In an order passed in March last year, the family court allowed him access to his nine-year old son, but disallowed him from meeting his daughters.

The family court had held that the daughters have reached an age when they are capable of taking decisions on their own. However, the father contended that as per law, access must be granted until the child is 18 years old.

In the order, Justice Roshan Dalvi noted that the husband and wife had had a very ‘acrimonious’ dispute with both filing several applications against each other.

The judge, who heard the father and daughters in her chamber, also recorded that the daughters displayed a very ‘venomous’ attitude towards their father.

“The daughters narrated to the court parrot-like what was mentioned in the petition containing expressions like harassment, cruelty, etc without any particulars or illustrations… Having been in the custody of one parent and having had absolutely no contact with the other, the source of such venom is easy to see,” Justice Dalvi observed.

The judge also observed that the father ‘patiently heard all the accusations’ and did not argue to assert his right.

However, ruling against the father, Justice Dalvi said, “In view of such vehemence, coupled with their (daughters’) age, the entire effort as counselling would be whittled down and would not be worth embarking upon.”

The order noted that no ‘hard and fast rule can be laid down’ in such cases. Significantly, the judge also observed, “It may also be mentioned that it is not the right of the parent that is to be determined in such applications, but the right of the child to have such access.”

Boat owner-Italy pact gets HC nod

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday approved the settlement made between the Republic of Italy and J Freddy, owner of the fishing boat involved in the Enrica Lexie episode, regarding compensation.

The out-of-court-settlement made with the Lok Adalat was recorded by Justice A M Shaffique of the High Court. Freddy’s counsel Raja Vijayaraghavan told the court that a demand draft for Rs 17 lakh has been handed over to him.

He also added that as per the terms of settlement, Freddy would withdraw all complaints and other legal proceedings initiated by him against the Republic of Italy.

Passing the award, the Lok Adalat headed by former High Court judge K John Mathew and former District Judge Sreelatha Devi held that the adalat is satisfied that the settlement was beneficial to the petitioner. Italian Consul-General Giampaolo Cuttillo handed over a DD of `17 lakh. Counsel for both the parties were also present.

In an undertaking produced along with the settlement agreement, Freddy agreed to unconditionally abandon all his claims in this regard and withdraw all allegations made by him in the suit.

Freddy stated that he is even willing to file an affidavit or statement to enable the Italian marines being exonerated or discharged from all accusations and charges with respect to the allegations against them.

Land acquisition for CMRL upheld

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The proceedings of the State government to acquire lands on Anna Salai, Saligramam, Anna Nagar and other places for the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail project(CMRL) were upheld by Madras HC on Friday.

“On consideration, I find no force in these writ petitions,” Justice VK Sharma observed while dismissing a batch of writ petitions from Emcete & Sons P Ltd, Anna Salai, and six others.

He noted that the objections of the petitioners were considered and they were informed that the same could not be accepted. The bonafide of the government in acquiring the lands could not be doubted. It was also proved that the urgency clause was not mechanically invoked.

“It had been invoked keeping in view the real urgency and to see that the project did not come to a standstill. The petitions were not maintainable in view of the settled law that it was not open to the land owners to challenge the acquisition after passing of the award. Since they had participated in the award proceedings, they could not now challenge the acquisition,” the judge said and dismissed the petitions.

Reliance Power gets govt reprieve on Sasan coal use

NEW DELHI: Anil Ambani’s Reliance Power got a reprieve on Saturday as a ministerial panel under finance minister Pranab Mukherjee upheld a decision that allowed the company to use excess coal from Sasan power project’s mines to fuel its Chitrangi generation plant.

Both projects are being built in Madhya Pradesh, and the decision to allow Reliance in-house use of surplus coal from Sasan’s captive mines was taken in August, 2008, during the UPA-I rule.

The panel under Mukherjee, set up to smoothen the way for Centre’s showcase generation plants – or ultra-mega power projects – decided not to tinker with that decision after taking legal opinion from Attorney General G E Vahanvati.

“We were not reviewing that (in-house use of surplus coal) decision, we were trying to understand that decision based on Attorney General’s opinion… Given the conditions that applied at that time, the decision that was taken at that time, we have to interpret what surplus coal means and how that surplus coal can be utilized. We can’t review the decisions of the past. We can certainly look at the implications of these decisions in changing circumstances and what we need to do in the future,” law minister Salman Khurshi told reporters.

“What to do with the surplus coal is the question and is to be seen in the context that you don’t have to discourage the developer. If there is good technology and that good technology is bringing out more coal that it was there … How to utilize that coal is the issue. And that, Attorney General has taken decision in 2008, in subsequent developments that take place you cannot change decisions of the past.”

Tata Power, which has legally challenged the award of Sasan project to Reliance and the decision on use of surplus coal, said in a statement the “(Sasan) matter is sub judice”. Tata Power moved the SC after it had lost the legal challenge in the Delhi HC.

Power minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, coal minister Sriprakash Jaiswal and Plan panel deputy chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia are also members of the ministerial panel that took the decision on Saturday.

Court orders issuing of notices to major Aviation bodies

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 28, 2012 15:14 IST

Bangalore:  Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issuing of notices to Secretary, Civil Aviation, Directorate General of Civil Aviations (DGCA) and others on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the construction of a star hotel by the Bengaluru International Airport Limited (BIAL) near the main terminal.

The petitioner who had given a representation to the concerned authorities filed the PIL when no action was taken on his representation.

The petitioner said that the star hotel was being constructed by BIAL, not even half a kilometre from the main terminal which would cause a major concern for safety of VIPs. He also claimed that the masterplan of BIA does not provide for construction of a hotel.

A Division bench, comprising Justice Hulwadi G Ramesh and Justice L Narayanaswamy, ordered issuing of notices to Secretary Civil Aviation, DGCA, Airports Authority of India (AAI) and BIAL on the petition filed by an advocate GR Mohan.

Indore police lacks equipment to measure tinted glass

Kundan Pandey

INDORE: In the backdrop of Supreme Court order to ban tinted glasses in cars that blocks light by 50 per cent to 70 per cent, the Indore police do not posses equipment required to measure the visibility of the glass.

Talking to TOI, senior superintendent of police (SSP) A Sai Manohar confirmed that police lack the instruments used for measuring the percentage of visibility. “We will start taking action against the vehicles having tinted glasses, after receiving the court order,” he added.

Traffic DSP Pradeep Singh Chauhan said, “Though there are 50-75 per cent of tinted-screened vehicles in the city, the police plan to purchase the ‘transparency measures instrument’ only in the next fiscal year.”

Another senior police official on the condition of anonymity said this new rule had been in existence since long, but it lacked proper mechanism to measure the visibility of the glass. Police have sent its proposal to higher authority but in vain, despite the fact that the instrument costs to Rs 30-40 thousand only, he said.

Hearing a PIL that complained cars with black film on window panes were being increasingly used for crimes, including sexual assault of women, the Supreme Court on Friday went by the limits prescribed in the Motor Vehicles Act and said anything beyond the visual light transmission (VLT) limit of 70% for the front and rear windshields and 50% for the side windows would be punishable. The decision would come into force from, May 4.

Bench refuses to extend stay on enquiry

Law officers spend anxious moments as case was posted wrongly before single judgeThe Madras High Court Bench here on Friday refused to extend the stay granted by it on the enquiry initiated by Madurai Collector U. Sagayam against M.K. Alagiri Educational Trust, of which Union Minister M.K. Alagiri was one of the trustees, on charges of having destroyed irrigation channels for constructing Dhaya Engineering College at Sivarakottai near here.

Justice K. Venkataraman refused to extend the stay on the ground that on Thursday itself he had referred the writ petition filed by the trust to be posted along with a Public Interest Litigation petition pending before a Division Bench and hence it would be practically impossible for him to pass further orders. “I have washed my hands of. You have to mention it before a Division Bench,” he told the petitioner’s counsel.

When the writ petition challenging a show cause notice issued by the Collector came up before the judge on Thursday, he extended the stay, originally granted by him on April 20, until Friday when the PIL petition, filed by the leader of a farmers’ association against the trust, was expected to be listed for hearing before a Division Bench of Justice R. Banumathi and Justice B. Rajendran.

However, the Division Bench was not constituted on Friday as Ms. Justice Banumathi had flown to the Principal Seat in Chennai on official work. The case was not listed even before another Division Bench comprising Justices S. Rajeswaran and M. Vijayaraghavan as it took up only fresh PIL petitions that came up for admission for the first time and not those that were pending already.

Curiously, the case was listed before Mr. Justice Venkataraman on Friday too giving some anxious moments to the law officers who were perplexed as to how could a case that was ordered to be posted before a Division Bench was listed before the same judge on the next day too. But relieving them of the anxiety, the judge himself clarified that he would not take up the case.

In the meantime, the counsel for the trust Veera Kathiravan and R. Janakiramulu requested the Division Bench presided over by Mr. Justice Rajeswaran to take up the PIL as well as the writ petition on Friday. When the judges expressed their inability to hear the case on the same day, the counsel obtained an order to post both the cases on the first summer vacation court on May 3.

Seven Afghan nationals get life term for trespassing into India

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 28, 2012 22:23 IST

Jodhpur:  A court today sentenced 7 Afghan nationals to life imprisonment for trespassing into India allegedly with arms and ammunition in 1997.

All of them were arrested in October, 1997, by the Indian Army in Kupwara sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

The hearing in the matter, which was taking place in J&K, was transferred to Jodhpur sessions court following the shifting of the accused to Jodhpur central jail in 2008.

The sessions court later transferred the case to the court of ACJM (SC/ST cases) in July 2010, where the hearing of the case had been going on since then.

The court had completed the hearing in the case last year and listed the matter for pronouncement of the order on 11 July, 2011. But the court amended the charges on the day instead of pronouncing the order and the hearing resumed again.

Magistrate Anoop Kumar Saxena sentenced all the seven to life imprisonment convicting them under sections 121, 121 A, 122 and 123 of Ranveer Penal Code (J&K), section 14 of Foreigners Act and section 25 read with section 7 of Arms Act.

Amicus curie Manish Vyas, appointed by the court for these nationals, said the order can be challenged as neither any evidence was produced before the court in support of the charges under Ranveer Penal Code nor any arms were ever produced before the court to prove that they are militants.

Newborn found abandoned in duct at hospital, critically ill

PUNE: A newborn baby was found abandoned in a duct between two buildings on the premises of Bharati Hospital early on Saturday morning.

The hospital authorities say the baby boy was in shock and is currently being given intravenous fluids, oxygen and inotropic drugs to increase its blood pressure. He is under observation at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) of the hospital. The infant is a full-term baby, weighing 2.1 kg, less than the normal weight of 2.5 kg.

“A nurse in the casualty ward noticed the baby first, when she heard him wailing around 6 am. She brought him to the casualty ward and later took him to the NICU,” said N G Kamat, deputy medical director of the hospital. “When found, the baby was in shock (a condition in which the blood pressure falls and heart starts failing), and needed oxygen and inotropic drugs to enhance his heart functions.” He added that the placenta was still attached to the baby and it appeared to have been just born.

Hospital authorities have registered a medico-legal case at the Bharati Vidyapeeth police station.

“The infant is in a critical condition and will therefore have to be observed minute-by-minute for the next 24 to 48 hours,” said senior paediatrician Sanjay Lalwani, medical director of Bharati hospital.

“We do not know the medical history of the mother, whether the infant cried immediately after the delivery or not and the sequence of events at the time of delivery, among other things,” he added.

Lalwani said the baby had bilateral pneumothorax (collection of air in the pleural cavity of the chest) when found. “We put him on a chest drain to remove the air. We will contact an NGO once the infant’s condition is stable,” he said.

The police have registered a complaint against an unidentified person for abandoning a newborn baby under section 317 of the Indian Penal Code.

“We conducted an inquiry with the hospital authorities in this regard, but they said that all the newborns at the hospital were accounted for,” said sub-inspector G M Landge. “A wireless message has been sent to all police stations in the city and we have appealed to the public to contact us if they have information about the baby, his parents or relatives,” he added.

Victims of money-doubling racket move High Court

Investors from across Maharashtra who fell prey to a ponzi money-doubling scheme, find themselves still without redress due to the alleged apathy of the police and the State administration.

The court recently came down heavily on the administration for tardy implementation of the Maharashtra Protection of Interest of Depositors (MPID) Act. Sessions court judge Laxmi R. Rao recently observed that the State government had not appointed a competent authority under the Act for years together.

“The Home Department of the State government is directed to take immediate steps in appointment of competent authority in this case and several other cases under the MPID Act in which no action seems to be taken for years together,” she said in an order passed on April 24, adding that it defeated the purpose of the legislation by allowing the accused to tamper with property.

Meanwhile, the 681 investors have now approached the Bombay High Court seeking a direction to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation in view of ‘shoddy investigation’ by the Mumbai Police’s Economic Offences Wing (EOW), advocate Filgi Fredrix, lawyer for the investors, told The Hindu.

The petition will be heard next week. “The police have seized only those bank accounts which the victims have themselves provided. They seized the accounts very late, rendering the process futile as only Rs. 5 lakh was found in the accounts. The list of property too has been provided by the accused themselves. There is no independent investigation whatsoever in the case. We have thus said in our petition that the case should either be transferred to the CBI or that guidelines should be issued to the EOW for proper investigation,” he said.

Middle class families from Pune, Ratnagiri, Sindhudurg, Kolhapur, Nashik, Thane and Mumbai invested money in Raj Investment Services based in Mumbai, after the company promised that the money would be doubled in a few years, police said. It kept on introducing several schemes over a period of time.

More than a decade later, many investors have lost hope, while some have been running from pillar to post in the hope of recovery of at least the original amount.

The Sessions Court rapped the police for their inaction and gave an ultimatum for the attachment of the property of the accused. The judge observed that the police were yet to recover Rs. 32 crore from the accused.

A senior EOW officer told The Hindu that the EOW sealed 42 bank accounts, and initiated the procedure to seize three vehicles and 11 pieces of property in Nashik, Kolhapur, Pune, Lonavala, and Ratnagiri. The approximate worth of the seizures is slated to be barely Rs. 50 lakh.

Kalpana Anant Pakhurde, a clerk with a bank, started investing money with Raj Investment Services since 1998 after Amoolya Waskar and Vaishali Waskar, the couple owning the firm, assured her guaranteed returns.

“They showed us documents regarding registration with the SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India). They told us that they invest in shares,” her husband Anant Pakhurde told The Hindu.

Whenever her investment matured, she would be lured into a new scheme to reinvest the money. Finally, in 2011, when the company failed to return the money despite repeated requests, she suspected foul play.

“But even the police did not register our case in the beginning in 2011. The police approach was apathetic, to say the least. We had to meet senior police officials even to get an FIR [First Information Report] registered,” Mr. Pakhurde said.

The police finally registered an FIR in January this year after instructions from Deputy Commissioner of Police Mahesh Patil. Amoolya Waskar, his wife Vaishali Waskar and Dattatray Palkar were arrested and charged under sections 409, 420 and 34 of the Indian Penal Code.

But when the police started investigating the case, where the investors had been cheated of Rs. 75 lakh, they realised it was just the tip of the iceberg. Hordes of investors started approaching the police after they learnt of the FIR.

Two more accused namely Riya alias Jyoti Rajesh Bandre and Vilas Raikar were arrested and more charges under various sections of the MPID Act, the Prize Chits and Money Circulation Schemes (banning) Act, 1978, were slapped on all the five.

Soon, the EOW started investigating the case. Exactly 681 had been cheated of more than Rs. 32 crore.

Of the five arrested, four have secured bail. The police filed a charge sheet against one accused a few days ago.

LEGAL NEWS 28.04.2012

HC seeks MHA reply on selection of logos


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu Apr 26 2012, 00:21 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a response from the Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) on a petition which said there are no uniform guidelines for public competitions to select symbols and logos of entities of national importance.

Petitioner Rakesh Kumar Singh, who had earlier challenged the selection of the Rupee symbol, approached the Bench again in the wake of the court’s suggestion that he should file a PIL instead to raise general concern over lack of guidelines.

On Wednesday, a Bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri admitted his petition and asked the central government’s counsel, Jatan Singh, to file a counter affidavit in four weeks.

The MHA must inform the court if there are guidelines in place for convening public competitions for selection of such symbols and how the government ensures equal opportunities for all citizens to participate, if there are no such guidelines.

Singh highlighted selection of five symbols — Indian Rupee, UID, ‘I’ Mark, Railways and RTI. He said selection of all these symbols lacked democratic process and deprived several people of the right to participate and be counted for their ideas. “There was lack of wider national participation and (such competitions) are conducted in a manner to benefit selected groups,” the petition said, adding that the process was repugnant to the concept of participative society.

Singh added that the advertisements for public competitions were usually issued only in English, in complete violation of the Official Language Act. Also, in the case of selection of the UID symbol, entries were sought only by e-mails, thereby depriving many people not conversant with computers from participating, he said.


NHRC not in favour of curbs on media reporting’

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 20:01

New Delhi: NHRC Chairperson KG Balakrishnan Friday said the Commission would not like to have any curbs on media reporting which has an important role in promotion and protection of human rights.

He was asked about NHRC’s stand on the Supreme Court appointing a committee to make guidelines for media reporting during a media workshop organised by the Commission.

“The Commission is a formal party in the matter. However, it has decided not to intervene in it as the issue is only about reporting on court proceedings and not for general issues.

“The NHRC would not like to have any curbs on media reporting and it would rather want to have as much increased interface with media as possible for building awareness on human rights issues,” he said.

He said media has an important role in the promotion and protection of human rights.

The decision not to intervene in the Supreme Court matter, which is being heard at present by a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia, was taken at a recent sitting of the Commission presided by Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan.

The Supreme Court constituted a bench to frame media guidelines following “misreporting” of certain proceedings in the court as well as reporting matters which were yet to come to the court.

The case has been vigorously argued in the court with some senior lawyers opposing any attempt to frame guidelines saying it would amount to curbing free speech while one senior lawyer has welcomed it.

Earlier in an interview to PTI, Balakrishnan had flagged concerns about the press breaching privacy laws and rights of accused though he said that NHRC was not intervening in the matter.







HC directive to reinstate ousted lecturer

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday directed the St.Albert’s College management to soon reinstate Sebastian K. Antony, the ousted senior lecturer in Malayalam. A Division Bench, comprising Justice V Ramkumar and Justice K Harilal, passed the order while considering an appeal filed by Sebastian challenging an order of the M G University Appellate Tribunal.

The tribunal had confirmed the management’s order dated January 1, 2009 dismissing the lecturer from service. The petitioner has been working at St.Albert’s College with 24 years of continuous service.

Counsel for the petitioner, Advocate N Nandakumara Menon, submitted that Antony was suspended from service on February,2008 on certain cooked up allegations framed against him by the management. The petitioner was charged by the management for tampering with the attendance register of the Malayalam Department, erasing the leave column and signing across seven different dates in June, July, November and December, 2007.

The petitioner contended that the dismissal order passed by the management was totally vindictive. The court pointed out that the counter-affidavit filed by the MG University stated that Antony was a genius. The management had failed to prove the petitioner’s absence.

So the petitioner should be re-instated to service with the complete back wages and attendance benefits, the court said.








Amity suicide: Sangma says niece phone taken away

TUHIN DUTTA : Gurgaon, Sat Apr 28 2012, 01:07 hrs

Meghalaya chief minister Mukul Sangma on Friday told The Indian Express that his niece Dana M Sangma’s mobile phone was taken away by Amity authorities after she was stopped from taking an examination.

Dana, who the college claims was caught cheating, allegedly committed suicide later.

“If a person is distressed, he/she will try to talk to someone. But when her mobile phone was taken away, she couldn’t. This is what my investigation has revealed. She could have been counselled,” Sangma said.

Meanwhile, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has taken suo-motu cognisance of Dana’s suicide. The NCW said she committed suicide after she was reportedly humiliated by an exam invigilator.

An NCW statement said a four-member team has also been constituted with Wansuk Syem as its chairperson. The panel will meet police officials and others to ascertain facts.










Court appreciates SP for ending caste animosity

Mohamed Imranullah S.

To say human being is untouchable is to deny God: Asra GargThe Madras High Court Bench here on Thursday appreciated Madurai Superintendent of Police Asra Garg (31) for efforts taken by him in putting an end to long pending hostility between Caste Hindus and Dalits of Villoor near here through talks.

Justice D. Hariparanthaman recorded his appreciation for the SP and his team of policemen while closing a writ petition filed last year by Villoor Panchayat President S. Subbulakshmi seeking a judicial enquiry into the incidents that led to a police firing in the village on May 1.

The case was closed with the concurrence of the petitioner as well as the respondents after recording the contents of a status report filed by the SP, according to whom some forms of untouchability was in existence in the village, inhabited by Agamudairs and Dalits, from time immemorial.

Mr. Garg said that Dalits were not allowed to ride their vehicles through streets occupied predominantly by Caste Hindus in the village. Double tumbler system was also practised in tea shops and Dalits could not dare to sit on the benches in the local eateries.

Abhorring such practices, he said: “I feel that we should realise that God never made man that he may consider another man as an untouchable. And to say that a single human being, because of his birth, becomes an untouchable, unapproachable or invisible is to deny God.”

On April 30 last year, the local police received a complaint that a 22-year-old Dalit G. Thangapandi was assaulted by Caste Hindus when he attempted to ride a two-wheeler through their street. A case was registered on the basis of the complaint and five of them were arrested on May 1.

“Since the matter seemed to be a serious one involving untouchability, I visited the village in the afternoon on May 1 in order to assess the actual situation. After I left, a few Dalit houses were damaged by a big mob of Agamudiar community people.

“On hearing about this, again I returned to the village. While I was approaching the area with a few policemen, suddenly another crowd armed with weapons such as swords and stones started attacking us. Because of being outnumbered, we retreated back to the Villoor police station.

“Finally, they surrounded the police station and attacked it. As all other legal steps taken by us did not yield any result, in order to protect our lives and the police station, myself and my PSO (personal security officer) fired a few ammunition rounds (in the air) under which the miscreants ran away,” the SP said.

Stating that as many as seven criminal cases had been registered in connection with the firing incident, he said that a team of policemen headed by him recently took efforts to bring about peace between the two warring groups by holding a series of peace committee meetings.

The efforts bore fruit as leaders from both the communities signed an agreement on April 24 agreeing to iron out their differences and live peacefully. It was also resolved that all out efforts would be taken to ensure that no form of untouchability should be practised in the village.

The other terms of the agreement stated that Dalits should not be forced to perform menial jobs. At the same time, they must not prevent any individual who willingly assists Caste Hindus and exaggerate small personal and trivial issues as a communal problem.

“They (Dalits) shall also ensure that if any such anti-social element indulges in magnifying trivial issues and disturbs communal harmony, they shall themselves hand him over to the police… It is therefore humbly submitted that this status report may kindly be accepted and this court may pass any order as it may deem fit,” the SP concluded.










HC issues notices to Bihar Governor and Patna University VC

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

Patna, Apr 27 (PTI) The Patna High Court today issued notices to Governor Devanand Konwar and the Vice-Chancellor of Patna University on a writ petition challenging the latter’s appointment without consultation with the state government. Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi passed the order on the writ petition filed by a student leader, Mukesh Kumar Singh, and others. The judge issued the notices to Konwar, who is also the Chancellor of universities in Bihar, and Patna University’s Vice-Chancellor Shambhu Nath Singh, asking them to explain their position in the matter. In the petition, the petitioners alleged that Konwar, vide an order dated August 8, 2011, had appointed Singh as the Vice-Chancellor of Patna University without holding consultations with the state government as was required under the provisions of Patna University Act.







Vacate official residence by May 31: HC to former UP cab secy

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 21:19

Lucknow: Allahabad High Court on Friday asked former Uttar Pradesh cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh to vacate government residence given to him before May 31.
The order was passed by Lucknow bench on a writ petition filed by Singh challenging April 24 order of the state government cancelling allotment of his house in Raj Bhawan colony.

The state government had on April 25 also issued a notice to vacate the house. The former cabinet secretary had yesterday moved a petition challenging the government order.
Senior counsel JN Mathur, appearing for Singh argued that the order was “arbitrary and illegal”.
The single bench of Justice SN Shukla observed that on the event of retirement, ordinarily, the retired employee is entitled to retain the accommodation for one month and further for one additional month by special permission of the state government.

“The petitioner retired on March 9, thus, ordinarily he was entitled to retain the house till April 9 but under the strength of office memorandum dated March 6 he continued his occupation which entitled him to retain the accommodation till March 9, 2013 which now has been cancelled by the government,” it said.
“But keeping in view the submissions of senior counsel Mathur that petitioner’s house is under repairing and that may take about further one month to be completed, I accept his undertaking as recorded and allow him to retain the house till the mid night of May 31,” it added.
The court directed that as per his undertaking Singh was bound to vacate the house by the mid night of May 31.
“In default, the government shall be at liberty to get the house in question vacated with the aid of the police force,” it said.
“On the request of the counsel for the petitioner, I hereby observe that petitioner’s living in the house in dispute shall not be disturbed till the mid night of May 31,” the bench added while disposing off the writ petition.
Singh showed his willingness to vacate the house by recording undertaking through an affidavit filed before the court.
“Through his statement as recorded in the affidavit in the form of undertaking, it is stated by him that he gives an unequivocal undertaking on oath that he shall vacate the official residence on or before May 31,” the bench said.










HC upholds acquisition proceedings for Chennai Metro Rail

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

Chennai, Apr 27 (PTI): The Madras High Court today upheld acquisition proceedings of land in Anna Salai, Anna Nagar and some other places for the ongoing Chennai Metro Rail Project (CMRP). Dismissing a batch of writ petitions from EMCETE and Sons Private Ltd and six others, Justice V K Sharma observed ‘On consideration, I find no force in these writ petitions.’ Noting that the objections of the petitioners had been considered and that they were informed that their objections could not be accepted, the Judge said the bonafide of the government in acquiring the lands could not be doubted. Rejecting the contention that the urgency clause had been mechanically invoked, the Judge said it had been invoked keeping in view the real urgency and to see that the project did not come to a standstill at any stage. The Judge said the writ petitions were not maintainable in view of the settled law that it was not open to land owners to challenge the acquisition proceedings after the award was passed. Since the petitioners had participated in the award proceedings, they could not now challenge the acquisition, the judge said and dismissed the petitions. PTI GR APR APR







Sardarpura case: HC admits plea against acquittal of 31

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 23:48

Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Friday admitted a petition of the state government challenging acquittal of 31 accused by a trial court in the 2002 Sardarpura riot case.

The division bench of Justices Jayant Patel and Paresh Upadhyay admitted the appeal and scheduled further hearing of the case on May 3.

The court has also issued bailable warrant against the 31 accused and told them to avail bail on personal bond of Rs 5,000 each.

In November last year, a special court in Mehsana had awarded life imprisonment to the 31 people in the Sardarpuara riot case and acquitted 42 others.

The incident had taken place on March 1, 2002 after the Godhra train burning incident, where 33 people of a minority community were burnt to death.

“The state government’s appeal challenging acquittal of 31 people in this case was admitted today in the high court,” special prosecutor for SIT JM Panchal said.

“The trial court had acquitted 11 saying that they were not involved in the case, while 31 others were acquitted on the grounds of benefit of doubt. The state government has challenged the acquittal of these 31 people,” Panchal said.

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team, which had probed the case, has also filed an application seeking leave to prepare appeal against the trial court’s order of acquittal of 31 people on benefit of doubt.

Meanwhile, victims of the case have also filed appeal against acquittal in the case. The 31 people convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in the case have also approached the court against the verdict of the trial court.








Aarushi murder case: Supreme Court tells Nupur Talwar to surrender before Ghaziabad court on Monday

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN Apr 27, 2012, 03.26PM IST

NEW DELHI: In a setback to the Talwars in the Aarushi murder case, the Supreme Court has asked Nupur Talwar to surrender before the Ghaziabad sesions court on Monday.

The apex court refused to stay the non-bailable arrest warrant against her.

The court allowed her to move bail plea before trial court on Monday and asked the magistrate to decide it on the same day.

SC says it will hear in detail on next Friday Nupur Talwar’s plea for review of the apex court’s January 6 order by which it had dismissed her petition challenging the trial court summoning her as an accused in the case despite the CBI filing a closure report.

The trial court had summoned both Dr Rajesh Talwar and Nupur as accused by an order of February 9 last year.

Nupur had pleaded in her petition that besides being an aggrieved mother and law abiding citizen, she also enjoys the reputation as one of the best dental surgeons of this country and if she would be arrested, then people would not make any distinction between arrest at a pre-conviction stage or post-conviction stage of this present case.

Nupur and her husband Rajesh Talwar are facing trial in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

Aarushi was found dead with her throat slit at their Noida residence on the night intervening May 15 and 16, 2008, while the body of Hemraj was recovered from the terrace of the house the next day.








High court slaps Rs 50cr fine on Makrana marble mining body

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.50AM IST

JODHPUR: Cracking the whip on miners disobeying its orders, the Rajasthan High Court on Friday slapped a fine of Rs 50 crore on the Sangemarmar Khan Vikas Samiti, the association of marble mines of Makrana in Nagaur district.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailash Chandra Joshi found the association’s mines guilty of damaging the Jaipur-Jodhpur railway tracks passing through Makrana town and imposed an additional penalty on 61 such mines for not complying with a restraint order passed by the high court in 1996.

As additional penalty, the 61 mines would have to pay as much as 10 times the cost of the total marble extracted by these mines from the restraint order to till date.

Further, the court has directed the state government to register police complaints against three mines, which have caused the maximum damage to the railway tracks. Owner of one of these three mines-Khalil Ahmed-has been directed to pay an additional fine of Rs 1 crore.

The mining association and the individual mines have been directed to deposit the penalty money with the state government within three months. The Indian Railways, which has been directed to repair the damaged tracks within this year, would be able to use this money.

The high court has ordered the government to stop all mining activities within 45 meters of any road and railway track across the state with immediate effect.

The division bench has suggested to the state government to identify all its mining officials who were posted in Makrana during the period when the court’s restraint orders were violated.

The high court passed the order as it disposed of the separate petitions filed by the Union of India and the mining association of Makrana in 1996. The Union of India had identified before the high court the 61 mines that continued their operations despite a stay order passed in 1996. The next year the mining association filed a petition requesting that the ban be lifted, but the high court turned it down.

While hearing the petitions on 16 February the high court had asked the state chief secretary to tell the government’s stand on the mines operating close to the railway tracks. The chief secretary assured the court that all mining leases close to the tracks would be cancelled and that the government would ensure there is no further violation of the court order.

The bench on Friday also ordered contempt of court proceedings against a local photographer who accompanied a court commissioner appointed to review the damage done by the illegal mining but later failed to hand over the pictures clicked by him to the high court.










High court rejects suspended Inspector General’s bail plea in Dara case

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 07.29AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday rejected the bail application of suspended Inspector General A Ponnuchami, who is currently in judicial custody at the Jaipur Central Jail for his alleged involvement in the Dara Singh encounter case.

The court, however, pulled up the CBI for not informing the state government about making notorious criminals Veer Singh and Tilia prosecution witnesses in the case and recording their statements before a magistrate under Section 164 of CrPC.

Justice Mahesh Sharma rejected the bail plea and directed CBI officer Subhash Kundu and attorney general GS Bapna to inform the state government about these two prosecution witnesses.

“The court said after the material witnesses are done with testifying in the case, the accused can move bail applications in the district session court,” Ponnuchami’s advocate AK Jain told TOI.

In the Dara Singh case trial, statement of 19 witnesses – Om Prakash, Kusum Lata Meena, Kaluram Meena, Vijay Singh, Soran Singh, Kailash Narain, Krishna Kumar, Ram Kishore, Mukut Bihari Chouhan, Rohit Kumar Singh, Bhanwar Lal, Hari Ram Meena, Vishnu Kumar Gour, Milan Kumar Johia, Sushil Sharma, Virendra Pal, Vishal Singh, Yogendra, Ajit Singh have been recorded. The CBI has named 254 witnesses.

“The court asked the CBI to record the statement of remaining material witnesses. The court said after material witnesses’ statements are recorded, the accused men would be able to move bail applications in the court of district and session judge, Jaipur district,” said Jain.










Supreme Court upholds High court’s decision to quash quota in promotion

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.33AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Supreme Court, on Friday upheld the Allahabad high court’s decision to scrap the policy of reservations in promotions introduced by the Mayawati government.

The Allahabad high court on January 4, 2011 had dubbed it “unconstitutional” and struck it down following at least 50 petitions by employees associations from across the state. Following this, a special leave petition was filed in the Supreme Court against the order by the Bahujan Samaj Party government and some organisations.

Terming the SC decision to quash reservation in promotion as a milestone, the state government employees of general category burst into celebrations on Friday. The decision will benefit nearly 18 lakh UP government employees — mainly of the general and OBC category — who have been waiting for their promotions for the past five years.

The issue dates back to 2007, when Mayawati came to power and introduced reservation in promotions. The BSP government introduced the policy that stipulated reservation for SC employees in the first stage of their promotion and that of the benefit of consequential seniority in successive promotions under Rule 8-A of the UP Government Servants Seniority (Third amendment) Rules, 2007.

However, on January 4, 2011, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi ruled that there is no provision of reservation in promotion with respect to government services in Uttar Pradesh. It also struck down rule 8A of the consequential seniority rules as amended in 2007, holding that they are not in conformity with the Supreme Court directives. Also, the court quashed a number of seniority lists of various government departments, which had been prepared on the basis of the said rules.

The Mayawati government had then moved a special leave petition in the Supreme Court following which the high court order was stayed.

Things started changing with the change of guard in Uttar Pradesh in March when SP rode to power. In fact, the high-level committee, headed by UP chief secretary Jawed Usmani on March 28 issued a circular stating that the state government will abide by the high court’s order of January 4, 2011.

Employees under the aegis of Sarvajan Hitay Sanrakshan Samiti distributed sweets and hugged each other as soon as the news of the Supreme Court decision trickled in. “It is not the question of one’s victory or other’s defeat. It is a question of welfare of the state,” said president of the Samiti, Shailendra Dubey. He said that there have been grave resentment and apprehensions among the employees vis-a-vis their future for the past five years. Dubey claimed that it will also benefit over two lakh SC/ST employees, who could not be promoted (as per their seniority) since the matter was sub judice.

The Samiti has asked the state government to promote officers and get the vacant positions filled as per the seniority. The Samiti also demanded notional promotion to those who retired from the service without taking their due promotions.

Executive member of Abhiyanta Sangh, Sandeep Pandey said, “It was because of the vacant positions that many development activities have been stalled in the state. That may resume now,” he said.

However, government employees belonging to the reserved category under the aegis of Arakshan Bachao Sangharsh Samiti termed the decision as “unfortunate”. Samiti president, KB Ram said that the officials of the reserved category will be filing a review petition in the Supreme Court. “We have asked the members to maintain restrain and continue to fight. It is unfortunate that the employees of the reserved category have been deprived of the benefits prescribed in the Constitution,” Ram said.







Retd army officer moves court against conviction

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

Chennai, Apr 27 (PTI) Retired Army officer K Ramaraj, sentenced to life imprisonment for killing a 13-year-old boy who had entered the army officers quarters complex, a restricted area, in July last year, today moved the Madras High Court against his conviction. In his appeal, Ramaraj, a retired Lt. Colonel, sought setting aside of the April 20 order of a Fast Track Court which had convicted him for murder and slapped on him a fine of Rs 60,000. Additional Sessions Judge (FTC-V) R Radha directed that Rs 50,000 of the amount be paid as compensation to the mother of Dilshan who was shot in the head on July 3 last allegedly by Ramaraj after he and two friends had scaled the boundary wall of Old Fort Glacis Army Officers’ Enclave to pluck almonds. When the appeal came up for hearing before the court, a division bench comprising Justices C Nagappan and P Devadas ordered issue of notice to the crime branch-CID of the Tamil Nadu police.










2 get life term for murder of LMC chief

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 12.42AM IST

PUNE: Three years after the murder of Lonavla municipal council (LMC) president Raju Hiralal Chaudhari alias Bhupendra, the court of additional sessions judge V V Joshi on Friday sentenced the two accused to life imprisonment with a fine of Rs 13,000 each.

The accused – Sumit Gawli (27) and Jaffar Shaikh (27) – were also sentenced to five years of rigorous imprisonment (RI) on charges of attempting to murder Umesh Mudaliyar, member of LMC school board, also an eye witness in the case.

The accused were further sentenced to three years RI for destroying evidence. The sentences will run concurrently.

The four other suspects – Prakash Gawli (27), Amit Gawli (27), Shashikant Jadhav (63) and Girish Kamble (32) – were acquitted due to lack of evidence.

On May 26, 2009, around 2.15 pm, Chaudhari (53) was chatting with Mudaliyar in his office, when Gawli and Shaikh barged into the chamber and started to abuse him, the prosecution had said. Gawli dragged Chaudhari from his chair and attacked him with a sharp weapon on various parts of his body, killing him on the spot. When Mudaliyar tried to intervene, Gawli and his accomplice hit him on the head with the same weapon and made a daring escape. Chaudhari had received 42 wounds.

According to the prosecution, Chaudhari was president of the LMC for two years prior to his death and was about to complete his tenure. However, even after the completion of his tenure, he was expected to continue in the post since it was reserved for other backward class candidates. This had reduced the chances of Gawli’s brother, Amit, from getting elected as president. Amit was an elected representative in the LMC.

Meanwhile, the incident had created a law-and-order problem in Lonavla. The Pune rural police had filed chargesheets against six people in the murder case.

Out of the 26 witnesses, six had turned hostile, but special public prosecutor Sadanand Deshmukh and the victim’s lawyer, Suresh Gawli, had relied on the evidence of Mudaliyar and others for proving the guilt of the accused.

The 49 page judgment reads that the prosecution had proved that the accused had murdered Chaudhari even as eye witnesses and injured persons had tried to save him. The accused had also assaulted them with sharp weapons and had disappeared with the evidence.

Judge Joshi held that the motive of committing the murder was clear since the LMC, in a demolition drive, had demolished the hotels run by Gawli and his family. Even though Chaudhari had nothing to do with the drive, Gawli had held him responsible. The LMC had launched the drive as per the directions of the Bombay high court.

Judge Joshi observed that the prosecution had proved that Gawli had committed the murder in connivance with Shaikh. In the cross examination of witnesses, it was brought on record that there was political rivalry between the family members of the deceased and the accused.

The prosecution had also proved that blood stains of the victim found on the clothes of the accused and the weapons seized from them had tallied with the victim’s blood group, the judge added.

On the acquittal of four suspects, Deshmukh told TOI that he will file an appeal in the Bombay high court after receiving a certified copy of the judgment. The accused were represented by lawyers Dhairyasheel Patil and Sushilkumar Pise.










Court jails Bangaru, says corruption worse than prostitution

Last Updated: Saturday, April 28, 2012, 19:23
New Delhi, April 28: A court here on Saturday sentenced former BJP president Bangaru Laxman to four years in jail and also imposed a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him for taking a bribe of Rs 1 lakh in a fictitious arms deal case 11 years ago.

72-year-old Laxman, also a former Union minister, was yesterday convicted by the court of Additional Sessions Judge Kanwal Jeet Arora at Dwarka.

The court held Laxman guilty of taking the bribe from fake arms dealers to recommend to the Defence Ministry to award them a contract to supply thermal binoculars to the Army.

The court awarded him the prison term, rejecting his plea for leniency and ordered that he be taken in custody to serve the sentence.

“Balancing the twin interest of society and that of the convict, I am of the opinion that interest of justice would be met, if the convict is sentenced to undergo rigorous imprisonment for a term of four years and to pay a fine of Rs 1 lakh for the offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the judge said.

“It is often said that the accomplice of the crime of corruption is generally our own indifference. ‘Sab chalta hai’ syndrome has led us to the present situation, where we are, where nothing moves without an illegal consideration. People are forced to pay for getting even the right things done at right time,” he added.

Laxman’s counsel said they will appeal against the sentence in the High Court.

The Congress, meanwhile, reacted by saying it is the first time a national chief of a political party has been sentenced. Rashid Alvi said it was time for the BJP to sit back and introspect.

During arguments on quantum of punishment earlier in the day, the CBI had sought the maximum five years’ punishment for Laxman.

Citing various Supreme Court judgements on corruption, the prosecutor had said corruption is rampant and it has to be dealt severely.

“CBI has been able to prove the case against Bangaru so we want maximum punishment for him under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act,” the prosecutor said.

On being asked by the judge as to why he should be given a minimum punishment of six months, the politician had said he was not keeping well and has undergone bypass surgery twice.

“I have health problems as I have undergone bypass surgery twice and suffering from diabetes. I have never been involved in any such case before. So, I should be given the minimum sentence,” Bangaru had pleaded.

The court had found Laxman guilty under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

“I am of the considered opinion that CBI (Central Bureau of Investigation) had been able to establish the necessary ingredients of offence under Section 9 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 against accused Bangaru Laxman beyond reasonable doubt,” the judge had said yesterday.

“The accused Bangaru Laxman on January 5, 2001 had accepted illegal gratification of Rs 1 lakh from M/S Westend International and has further agreed to accept the balance amount of illegal gratification in dollars, as a motive or reward for exercise of personal influence on the public servants working with ministry of defence, to show favour for award of a supply order in favour of the above mentioned company of HHTIs (hand-held thermal imagers) to Indian Army,” the court added.

The case dates to 2001, when newsportal carried out a sting operation that caught Laxman on camera receiving money from a journalist posing as an arms dealer. He later resigned as the BJP chief.

Tehelka had released CDs showing Laxman accepting money for awarding a contract to a fictitious Britain-based company M/s West End International, for the supply of the imagers to the Indian Army.

A Delhi court had in May 2011 framed corruption charges against Laxman. The CBI, in its chargesheet, said that Laxman accepted Rs 1 lakh from the representatives of the purported firm in 2001 at his office for pursuing their proposal to supply certain products to the Army.











Crime victims don’t need court’s nod to appeal: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.04AM IST

MUMBAI: Striking a blow for the rights of victims of crime, the Bombay high court has ruled that such victims or their legal heirs do not require permission from court to file an appeal in order to challenge a trial court verdict. “The victim is not required to apply for or obtain leave of the court to file any of the appeals under the proviso to section 372 (of the Criminal Procedure Code),” ruled Justice Roshan Dalvi on Friday.

Under the changes introduced in the law in 2009, a victim can file an appeal against a trial court verdict in three eventualities-to challenge acquittal of the accused or conviction for a lesser offence or inadequate compensation.

The matter was referred to Justice Dalvi following a split verdict by a division bench of the high court earlier this year. While Justice V M Kanade had held that no permission from the court to file an appeal was necessary, Justice A M Thispay said that leave was required. With Justice Dalvi agreeing with Justice Kanade, it now becomes the majority view.

“To grant the court the right to give leave would be to denude the only right of the victim granted to him or her in Indian criminal jurisprudence,” said Justice Dalvi. The judge said that it was for the victim that the justice system was created in the first place. “Yet it is common knowledge requiring judicial notice, that the victims are a neglected lot. They are, at best, wholly ignored,” said the judge. “Law, as an instrument of social welfare, came to the rescue of the victims who were then not only the victim of the particular crime but victims in the criminal justice system itself, then neglected and even violated and ‘revictimised’.”

One of the first beneficiaries of the high court judgment would be in the Adnan Patrawala murder case. Adnan’s father Aslam Patrawala, had filed an appeal before the high court on Thursday to challenge a sessions court order acquitting four accused in the case. The state is yet to file an appeal in the case.

Another beneficiary is Dindoshi resident Nilesh Harkulkar, whose brother Dattaram was allegedly bludgeoned to death by eight accused in 2001. “The judgment allows victims or their families an opportunity to place their say before a higher court and bring to light facets of the case which may have been ignored by the prosecution,” said advocate Swapana Kode, counsel for Harkulkar who had challenged the trial court order to acquit his brother’s alleged killers. According to Swapana Kode, with the HC order, a victim will have the same rights as an accused to challenge a trial court verdict without seeking permission from the court.

The special law to empower victims was enacted after a series of criminal cases like the Best Bakery case and Jessica Lal case, where witnesses turned hostile due to the influence of rich and powerful accused. The law also considered an eventuality where the state may not file an appeal.

The court said that the appeal by a victim was on a different footing. “It is of a person who knows the nuances of the case and who seeks to bring the hitherto unappreciated facts to light. In short it is he/she who would exhibit the truth of the case which another impersonal authority has been shown not to have known or cared for,” said Justice Dalvi.








Court acquits 109 persons in Umta village 2002 riots case

Published: Friday, Apr 27, 2012, 20:26 IST
Place: Gujarat | Agency: PTI

A local court on Friday acquitted 109 persons who were accused of killing two people in Umta village of this taluka in Mahasana district during the post Godhra riots of 2002.

Additional Sessions Judge KB Meghanani released all the accused giving them benefit of doubt in the case.

The court said that the prosecution was not able to clearly establish the role of the accused.

On February 28, 2002, a violent mob of over 1,500 people had burnt down many homes and business establishment of minority community members at Umta.

During the rioting, one retired teacher Mohammad Sheikh and Abdul Mansuri were taken away by the crowd, beaten up and killed. However, their mortal remains were not recovered by the investigating agencies.

Chargesheet in the case was filed against 120 persons, however, 11 people died during the course of trial.

74 witnesses were examined, and except for the relatives of those killed and the police, most of the other witnesses turned hostile, public prosecutor in the case N J Barot said.

The case was investigated by local police and relatives of the victims were not satisfied with the investigations.








Post-Godhra riots: Court acquits 109 people in lynching case

Visnagar(Guj) New Delhi, April 27, 2012A local court today acquitted 109 persons, accused of killing two people in Gujarat’s Mahasana district, during the 2002 post-Godhra riots. Additional Sessions Judge K B Meghanani acquitted all the accused on benefit of doubt. The court said the prosecution was not able to clearly establish the role of the accused.

On February 28, 2002, a violent mob of over 1,500 people had burnt down many homes and business establishment of minority community members at Umta village.

During the rioting, a retired teacher Mohammad Sheikh and another person Abdul Mansuri were lynched by the crowd. However, their mortal remains were not recovered by the investigating agencies.

Charge sheet in the case was filed against 120 people, of which 11 died during the course of trial.

74 witnesses were examined, and except for the relatives of those killed and the police, most of the other witnesses turned hostile.

The case was investigated by local police and relatives of the victims were not satisfied with the investigations.










Man awarded 5 year jail term for ‘killing’ heart patient

Soumittra S Bose, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.09AM IST

NAGPUR: Think twice before picking up a fight with a heart patient, especially if the person has gone under the scalpel. The sessions court recently awarded a prison term of five years and fine of Rs 5,000 to a man held guilty of punching a heart patient in his fifties in the chest leading to his death. The deceased, Bhawrauji Thote, had undergone angioplasty some time before the incident.

District and additional sessions judge GT Kadri held 50-year-old Maroti Sakharwade guilty while acquitting his wife Meerabai, elder brother Sevdas, nephew Tejram and another Suresh Kale. They had been accused of culpable homicide not amounting to murder in a case at Aaroli police station last year.

Thote’s son Rameshwar and Sakharwade’s daughter were married around three years ago. There had been regular domestic feuds between the couple, but the situation worsened after she was not allowed to go to a friend’s marriage. The Sakharwades had come to the Thote residence at Ijani in Mouda tehsil to sort out the issue, but it snowballed into a quarrel.

Thote collapsed after being hit on the chest by Maroti and others from Sakharwade family. Thote’s wife Rukmabai was also present during the quarrel. Police had initially charged Maroti and others with murder and rioting. The court framed charges under culpable homicide.

Additional public prosecutor Vijay Kolhe said the court observed that the Sakharwades knew of Thote’s ailment but did not have any intention of killing him. “The medical practitioners played a crucial role in the case. The cardiac specialist who had conducted the angioplasty on the deceased deposed about the risk such patients always face. The forensic expert also said that the victim had suffered a vasovagal attack during the fight, which caused his death,” said Kolhe.

He added that the court’s verdict revolved around the fact that the death was more due to negligent behaviour out of a provocation, and not a planned one. The court examined 11 witnesses, said Kolhe.










Sixteen years on Moga finally gets a session court

Amrita Chaudhry : Ludhiana, Sat Apr 28 2012, 03:57 hrs

Some sixteen years after it officially became a district, Moga is set to finally get a sessions court after the Punjab and Haryana High cleared a proposal to set-up a sessions division here on Friday. Karamjit Singh Kang, Additional Session’’ Judge, will assume charge as the first Moga district and sessions judge at a function, which will be held here on Saturday.

According to the president of the Moga District Bar Association, Sunil Garg, Justice Ranjit Singh Randhawa, chairman of the HC building committee, will preside over the formal function that will be attended by Justice K C Puri, Administrative Judge of the Faridkot and Moga districts and Justice AN Jindal of the Punjab and Haryana High Court. “”A district is only complete after its gets a session court. A district can be created and it may be politically or administratively announced but the setting up of sessions division completes the process. This success is the result of the struggle and perseverance of the Moga advocates that began the same year the district was made and finally it has borne fruit,” Garg said.

Moga is the 17th district of the state and was created on November 24, 1995. It along with Muktsar were carved out of Faridkot, which in turn had been carved out of Ferozepur. “Creation of a sessions court is a huge relief for the general public who now had to travel all the way to Faridkot for matters that can be addressed only in the principal court like transfer of cases or some administrative tasks. This is a huge moment for the district,” added Garg.










TDSAT reserves order in Rs 1,200-crore RInfra-Etisalat DB case

NEW DELHI: Telecom tribunal TDSAT today reserved its order over the plea of Anil Ambani group company RInfra that is claiming Rs 1,200 crore dues from Etisalat DB for using its telecom towers and other infrastructure.

A TDSAT bench headed by Justice S B Sinha reserved its order after hearing the arguments of RInfra and Etisalat DB, a JV between UAE-based telecom major Etisalat and DB group.

During the proceedings, Standard Chartered Bank which is a secured creditor of Etisalat DB also put its arguments and opposed the claims of RInfra.

The counsel appearing for Standard Chartered Bank contended that Etisalat’s matter is already taken before the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT). He contended that RInfra can not ask the secured creditors of Etisalat DB to sit out.

Meanwhile, TDSAT passed orders in S-Tel matter, where RInfra has approached tribunal for the similar prayer.

“We are restraining (S-Tel) from transferring its property to a third party,” the tribunal had said while passing interim order.

The TDSAT has made its ‘interim’ order restraining the Chennai-based operator ‘absolute’, till the Delhi High court passes an order. The matter is also pending before the Delhi High Court.

However, the tribunal said RInfra would not deny access to S-Tel to its tower, where its equipments are lying.

Etislat DB’s counsel also supported Standard Chartered and said that a receiver has been appointed by the DRT and soon a liquidator may be appointed.

He further informed that there was a deadlock in the company. Its Indian directors have resigned, salaries are not being paid, statutory compliances are not done.

According to him, claims against Etisalat DB have been filed before Delhi and Bombay High Courts and DRT and it was not in a possession to create a third party interest by selling the assets.

Both Etisalat DB and S-Tel had entered into an agreement with the RInfra for sharing telecom infrastructure on a 10-year lease in 2009.

However, following the recent Supreme Court decision canceling the licences of S Tel and Etisalat along with other new entrants, RInfra moved the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) for recovery of its alleged dues.

TDSAT’s directions came over a batch of petitions filed by RInfra, against Etisalat DB and S Tel, claiming Rs 1,500 crore due over use of its telecom infrastructure.









Dalveer Bhandari elected as World Court judge

New York, April 27, 2012India’s nominee, Justice Dalveer Bhandari, a sitting judge of the Supreme Court, has been elected to the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the first time an Indian has managed to get this key international post in over two decades.  Bhandari secured 122 votes in the United Nations General Assembly against 58 for his Filipino rival, Syed Akbaruddin, the spokesperson of the external affairs, said.  

In simultaneous elections Friday at the UN headquarters in New York, Bhandari also secured an absolute majority in the Security Council.

In the election to the ICJ, a primary judicial organ of the United Nations, commonly referred to as the World Court, Bhandari was locked in a fierce contest with Justice Florentino P Feliciano of the Philippines.  

Bhadari takes the place of Awn Shawkat Al-Khasawneh of Jordan who resigned from the Asia-Pacific region seat at the end of 2011.

An eminent legal luminary, Bhandari will serve the remainder of the term 2012-18. India was last represented at the ICJ more than two decades ago.

The 64-year-old Justice Bhandari has variegated experience in international law and is well-versed with the working of the UN. Bhandari has been on India’s apex court since 2005 and has served in the higher Indian judiciary for over two decades. He will retire in September this year. He served as the chairperson of the Delhi Centre of the International Law Association for several years.

Bhandari is also a member of leading international academic and legal bodies and is closely associated with a large number of committees dealing with various aspects of international law such as: human rights, biotechnology, sustainable development, securities regulation, trade, nuclear weapons, non-proliferation and contemporary international law and space.

Acknowledging his outstanding contribution, the Northwestern University School of Law, Chicago, US while celebrating its 150 Years (1859-2009) selected Bhandari as one of its 16 most illustrious and distinguished alumni.

In New Delhi, the Supreme Court on Thursday had refused to quash Bhandari’s nomination as a judge for the ICJ.

A bench of justices Altamas Kabir, J Chelameswar and Ranjan Gogoi initially wanted to outrightly dismiss the plea for quashing Justice Bhandari’s nomination for the ICJ, but later allowed counsel Prashant Bhushan to withdraw it, treating it as “dismissed as withdrawn.”

Established in June 1945 by the charter of the United Nations, in The Hague,  Netherlands, ICJ’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorised United Nations organs and specialised agencies.










CIC takes the lead on transparency

Anahita Mukherji, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: Commissioners with the Central Information Commission (CIC), which presides over the country’s Right To Information Act, have been voluntarily declaring their assets on the CIC website over the last one year to promote transparency.

“The general public is curious to know of the financial assets and liabilities of those in public positions. We see no reason not to fulfill this curiosity. I feel that, sooner or later, all public servants must declare their assets,” Chief Information Commissioner Satyananad Mishra said. Mishra made it compulsory for all information commissioners to disclose their assets a year ago.

Earlier, Shailesh Gandhi disclosed his assets on the CIC website when he was made a central information commissioner in 2008.

“While citizens want public servants to disclose their assets, little is done to check whether the assets are commensurate with the person’s income. While it’s important for public servants to declare their assets, it’s equally important for enlightened citizens to go a step further and investigate the link between income and assets,” said Mishra.

In addition to declaring their assets, three central information commissioners, including Mishra, have put out details on the list of cases pending before them on the CIC website. Mishra said the remaining commissioners would follow suit.

“With the list of pending cases displayed on the CIC website, people will know if the commission is taking up their case in a fair manner. If someone’s case has not been registered, the person will immediately come to know of it. This practice should be followed by all quasi-judicial bodies and the judiciary itself. If this happens, people will know where their cases stand and whether cases are taken up in a fair manner,” said Gandhi.

RTI activists believe that the move to disclose assets and the list of pending cases will set a great precedence. “I feel that this will inspire all public servants to disclose their assets and will increase transparency. The public will greatly appreciate the move and will begin to trust the authorities. For if someone freely declares his assets, it means he has nothing to hide,” said Mumbai-based RTI activist Milind Mulay.










Pump out sewage, drain water fromvillage, says HC

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.11AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Wednesday took a serious view of different state government departments’ failure to address the issue of sewage and drain water spilling from Biharsharif town to the adjacent Basawatbigha village in Nalanda district. The court directed the government to take measures to pump out the sewage water from the village by May 9.

The matter related to siltation of a canal carrying sewage and drain water from Biharsharif town to a rivulet which caused spillover of sewage and drain water to Basawatbigha village causing waterlogging and sanitation problem.

The PIL filed by an NGO alleged that the work to remove silt from the canal was not done due to shifting of responsibility among Nalanda DM and departments of water resources and minor irrigation. A division bench of Justice P C Verma and Justice A K Trivedi said if drain water was not pumped out from the village by May 9, the chief secretary must appear before the court and explain.












No illegal tinted glass in cars from May 4: Supreme Court

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 05.05AM IST

NEW DELHI: From May 4, if your car has black film on the front and rear windscreens that blocks light by more than 30% and the tint on the side window panes is more than 50%, then you could be in contempt of court in addition to being prosecuted as per the rules provided under the Motor Vehicles Act.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar went by the limits prescribed in the MV Act and said anything beyond the visual light transmission (VLT) limit of 70% for the front and rear windshields and 50% for the side windows would be punishable.

The decision came on a PIL filed by Avishek Goenka, who had complained that cars with black film on window panes were being increasingly used for crimes, including sexual assault of women. He said though there was no express restraint on use of black film under the MV Act, it prescribed VLT limits.

Writing the judgment for the bench, Justice Kumar said, “On the plain reading of the rule, it is clear that cars must have safety glass having VLT at the time of manufacturing… In other words, the rule not impliedly but specifically prohibits alteration of such VLT by any means.”

It’s illegal, but tinted glass windows in cars in the city are a common sight. However, after the Supreme Court banned use of tinted glass beyond the permissible limit, such defaulters are going to have a tough time. Traffic police now intends to intensify the drive against use of tinted glass in vehicles.

There has been a traffic police drive against tinted car windows since last year. However, there has been a lull in the prosecutions this year, with only 9,279 such prosecutions till April 15 this year. Last year, for the same period, there had been as many as 30,582 prosecutions. Cops claim that better compliance has resulted in lower prosecutions.At present, car owners who are found not following the permitted percentage set for tinted glass have to either hand in their registration certificate or their driving licence along with the usual Rs 100 challan slapped on defaulters. “A notice is also issued to them by traffic police and the defaulter has to report to the area traffic inspector where the violation was recorded within 72 hours for inspection of the vehicle.

If the directions are not followed, the matter will be forwarded to the court,” said joint commissioner of police (traffic) Satyendra Garg. As per the permissible limit there should be at least 70% transparency in the film on the front and rear windows while 50% transparency is required on the side windows.”Usually, since the fine is just a meagre Rs 100, which is nothing compared to the money spent on films (ranging from Rs 700 to Rs 14,000 for the more fancy ones that protect from UV rays), it is not much of a deterrent to defaulters who continue to travel in the tinted vehicles. We hope that the stricter action will make the defaulters mindful of the rules,” said a senior traffic police officer.Last year, as many as 45,649 vehicles with tinted glass were booked. “Significantly, a majority of these were repeat offenders, showing that despite being caught, Delhiites are mostly unmindful of the rules,” said a senior traffic officer. This year, in a drive started on March 27, about 2,064 offenders have been booked till April 26.

Of them, 999 vehicle owners were made to remove the tinted film on the spot.The “Rules of Road Regulations, 1989” framed by the central government under Section 118 of the Motor Vehicles Act state that, “A driver of a motor vehicle and every other person using the road shall obey every direction given, whether by signal or otherwise, by a police officer or any authorized person for the time being in charge of the regulation of traffic.” Under the rule, even a traffic constable has the power to issue notice to the defaulter, said traffic police. Tinted glass in vehicles has been a major source of concern for women’s security as well as criminal activities. Delhi Police had earlier sent a proposal to the Union home ministry to amend the Motor Vehicles Act to enhance fines on use of tinted glass. The amendment is expected to increase the fine to a minimum of Rs 500. Tinted car windows have helped criminals especially in cases of rape and murder.








High court ultimatum to Haldiram’s in illegal use of amusement park case

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 01.18AM IST

NAGPUR: The Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Friday gave a last chance to Haldiram’s International to file a reply in a PIL alleging illegal use of its amusement park Krazy Castle near Ambazari lake for marriages and private functions. The case was listed before a division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Ashok Bhangale.

According to petitioner Sandip Agrawal, NIT had given its 6.4 acres land to Haldiram’s on Built Operate and Transfer (BoT) basis for running an amusement and water park at rate of 12 lakh per year. He contends the purpose seems to have been defeated since the company is misusing this prime area by providing the park for private functions/weddings.

The petitioner, citing a circular released NIT under Right to Information (RTI) Act, contended that this is resulting in loss of revenue to the trust. The NIT clarified in the RTI query that Haldiram’s wasn’t granted permission to provide the area for private parties/weddings.

Agrawal added that neither the tender nor the agreement contains any clause mentioning use of this land for private functions/marriages. In fact, the use should be strictly confined to an amusement or water park, he argued.






Supreme Court grants 3-month relief to scrap dealers

Sumita Sarkar, TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 12.43AM IST

NASHIK: The Supreme Court has given three months time to scrap market dealers at Satpur-Ambad Link Road to clear the location off their encroachments.

The controversial scrap market at Satpur-Ambad Link Road had to be cleared by March 31 as per the order of the Bombay High Court, but the government had sent a letter to the civic administration during the last week of March extending the deadline for the dealers to clear out their shops by two months.

Meanwhile, the dealers had appealed in the Supreme Court through a writ petition. Last week, the Supreme Court ordered that the scrap dealers remove their shops within three months.

Local citizens have been demanding for a long time that the scrap market at the Satpur-Ambad Link Road be removed but the Nashik municipal corporation had been unsuccessful in doing so. An official said that political pressure and minority issues had prevented them from taking any concrete action over the issue.

It took a public interest litigation by Shiv Sena’s former leader of the house, Dilip Datir, five years back, to initiate action against the encroachers. In July 2011 the Bombay high court pased an order demanding to move the scrap traders within a span of three months, in response to Datir’s PIL in light of rising law and order problem in the Chunchale Shivar of the Ambad-Satpur link road.

The deadline for doing away with the encroachments was March 31, 2012. Despite this the encroachments were not removed. An official on condition of anonymity said that the government had sent them a letter in the last week of March asking the NMC to extend the period of removing encroachments by two months.

Now, after the scrap dealers approached the Supreme Court with their grievance, they have been granted another three months to remove their encroachments.







PIL against land allotment to Deshmukh transferred

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 20:39

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court Friday transferred a PIL seeking a CBI probe into the allotment of land to the Latur-based trust run by Union minister Vilasrao Deshmukh to the Aurangabad bench.
“Since the land is based in Latur, and since all the transfer deeds were executed by the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) to the Vilasrao Deshmukh Foundation (VDF) in Latur, this bench of the high court does not have the jurisdiction,” said the bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice N M Jamdar.
The Latur land allotment issue has been raised by the same five agriculturists, who had challenged the allotment of land in suburban Mumbai to filmmaker Subhash Ghai’s Whistling Woods film institute. The court recently struck down that allotment.
In the present PIL (which was separated by the court from Whistling Woods issue), Rajendra Sontakke and four others have taken exception to the allotment of 2 lakh sq m of land by MIDC to the VDF for setting up educational institution.

The land was allotted when Deshmukh was the chief minister of Maharashtra. The PIL alleges that land was allotted at Deshmukh’s behest, for “illegal, mala fide and corrupt considerations”.
At the last hearing, senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, representing the petitioners, had said that Bombay bench of the high court should hear the case, because both MIDC and CBI have offices in Mumbai.

But the court rejected this argument, saying that by this logic, every PIL against government decision would have to be heard in Mumbai, because it was where the the secretariat is.
However, the high court has stayed its order of transfer for 12 weeks, to enable the petitioners to challenge it before the Supreme Court.






HC denies man custody of minor kids due to past misbehavior

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) An NRI man living in New Zealand was today refused the custody of his two minor daughters by the Delhi High Court which held that considering his past misbehaviour, it would not be safe for the children to live with him in a foreign land. A bench of Justices V K Jain and B D Ahmed refused the man the custody of his minor daughters living in India with their mother who alleged having been harassed by him on various ocassions. The bench also noted that during its interaction with the children, they expressed their wish to live with their mother “even if it is at the cost of being deprived of the company of their father.” The court also considered an order passed by the New Zealand court directing the mother of the kids to place them in its custody and said “the welfare of the minor is the paramount consideration, even in a case involving principle of comity of courts.” It also held if the woman is directed to go back to New Zealand with the children to live with her husband, she is likely to be harassed. The bench also noted if the woman is subjected to cruelty in front of the kids, they would be traumatised and stressed, which would amount to “psychologically abusing the children under the laws of New Zealand.” While making the observation, the court considered some tape-recorded conversations and SMSes between the man and his estranged wife and found him have used filthy language. PTI AKI










Forcing Tiwari to face blood test no rights violation: HC

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.28AM IST

NEW DELHI: While making it mandatory for N D Tiwari to undergo DNA test in a paternity suit, the Delhi high court said, “The perception that the law, as Mr Bumble (in Oliver Twist) said, is ‘an ass, an idiot’ will be cemented, if the courts themselves hold their own orders to be unimplementable and unenforceable.” The single judge, whose order was set aside by the HC, had said the order asking Tiwari to undergo the DNA test for ascertaining the paternity of Rohit Shekhar, who had filed a suit against the Congress leader, was “unimplementable and unenforceable”.

“Upon Tiwari continuing to defy the order, the single judge shall be entitled to take police assistance and use of reasonable force for compliance thereof,” the bench said. The court rejected Tiwari’s argument that forcing him to give blood sample is in violation of his rights under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution. “It is the duty of every court to prevent its machinery from being made a sham, thereby running down the rule of law and rendering itself an object of public ridicule…,” the judges said.










HC denies NRI kids’ custody, ignores New Zeland court’s order

Last Updated: Friday, April 27, 2012, 21:30

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Friday refused to grant a non-resident Indian the custody of his two minor children, ignoring a New Zealand’s court’s order to their mother living here to hand them over to the man.

A bench of Justices VK Jain and BD Ahmed denied the New Zealand-based man the custody of his children, holding their welfare “paramount” and more important than the “principle of comity of courts”, requiring courts of one country to show respect and courtesy to courts of another country.

“The welfare of the minor is the paramount consideration, even in a case involving principle of comity of courts,” said the bench.

“Having given due regard to the order passed by the New Zealand Court asking the children’s mothers to place both children in its custody, we are of the view that the relief sought in this petition should not be granted since it will not be in the interest of the children to send them back to New Zealand,” it added.

It also a cited an apex court ruling which said “comity of courts simply demands consideration of any such order issued by the foreign courts and not necessarily their enforcement.”

The court’s order came on a New Zealand-based man, seeking custody of his two minor children living here with his estranged wife, ion the basis of the foreign court’s order.

The high court denied him the children’s custody, also taking into the account the past records of his misbehaviour with them and their mother and said it would not be safe for the children to live with him in a foreign land.









Bombay HC upholds edu criteria for seeking auto permits

Published: Saturday, Apr 28, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Autorickshaw drivers seeking new permits will need to have a minimum educational qualification of Class 10 if they wish to be given the first preference in allotment of permits.

The Bombay high court, while dismissing a plea filed by a 60-year-old, uneducated rickshaw driver, upheld the state government’s decision.

A division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice SS Shinde said, “The instructions issued favour an elimination process apart from giving preference to better educated persons in allotting permits. How can such process be termed unreasonable?”
The bench made this observation while hearing the plea of Kolhapur resident Chandrakant Otari, who challenged the decisions taken in the joint meeting between the chief minister and the office-bearers of rickshaw unions from Thane and Mumbai.

At the meeting held on October 9, 2011, it was decided that the new permits will be allocated in three stages, in the first of which priority will be given to licence-holders who have passed Class 10. In the second stage, preference will be given to licence holders who have cleared Class 8, while the remaining permits will be allocated to other eligible candidates.

While asserting that the resolution of the joint meeting could apply only to members of rickshaw unions from Thane and Mumbai, and not to Kolhapur, the petitioner said the decision is an unreasonable restriction. Moreover, the restriction itself is not backed by any provisions of the Act or rule.

But the bench noted, “Even if we accede to the argument that the resolution is not binding on the rickshaw operators in Kolhapur, we fail to understand as to how the criteria evolved in the said meeting can be said to be unreasonable.”










’84 riots: HC expands probe ambit–HC-expands-probe-ambit/942493/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Sat Apr 28 2012, 03:38 hrs

To ensure that members of the Sikh community who were brutally killed in communal violence in Haryana are adequately compensated, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday expanded the ambit of Justice T P Garg Commission. The commission was probing incidents of killings in Hond Chillar and Rewari which took place in the 1984 riots.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh ruled that the commission will also probe similar incidents of communal violence which took place in Gurgaon and Pataudi.

The Bench held that the ends of justice will meet if the area of reference is expanded and considered by the commission. The court had dismissed petitions seeking probe by a retired high court judge with the assistance of the CBI. The dismissal order was passed after Haryana told the court that a one-man commission would submit a report within six months.

The petitions had been filed by New York registered ‘Sikhs for Justice’ and ‘All India Sikh Students Federation’. Advocate Navkiran Singh, counsel for the petitioners, said the victims’ belongings were burnt and even a Gurudwara was reduced to ashes. On January 16, 2006, Haryana announced compensation for the deceased, but no compensation was provided for other losses. Navkiran also had added that the FIR dated November 3, 1984 registered at Jatusana police station, was not investigated properly. “None of the eyewitnesses were contacted and the crime has gone undetected”, reads the petition.









6 months after HC order, still waiting for plots–still-waiting-for-plots/942601/

Dipankar Ghose : Noida, Sat Apr 28 2012, 01:35 hrs

Six months after the Allahabad High Court directed the Noida and Greater Noida Authorities to give villagers developed plots on 10 per cent of their land that was acquired, no developed plots have been received by farmers so far. Villagers in the area said that while they have received the added compensation that the Allahabad High Court also ordered on October 21, the Authority’s failure to make good on the courts’ direction so far has resulted in them having no means of a stable income.

Manoj Yadav of Itehda village said, “First, our land was taken away because of the urgency clause, and we were told that roads and industrial projects would come up and give us employment and enable development in the area. Then we learned that the land had been given to builders. The lump sum that we got as added compensation will not last forever.”

The Noida Authority and the Greater Noida Authority both have different versions of why the process hasn’t gone forward. Officials at the Noida Authority said, “After the judgment, work was stalled as the model code of conduct came into force. After governments changed, a CEO has yet to be appointed, which is why big decisions like these are being delayed.”

While the Greater Noida Authority CEO has remained unchanged, officials of that authority point to a more generic problem. “The court allowed construction in all but three of the villages. Villagers want their developed plots right next to their residential land. If the land has already been notified for other projects, how can we give it to them? The builders will then take us to court.”










HC allows Shashank to stay in govt bungalow till May 31

Express news service : Lucknow, Sun Apr 29 2012, 03:39 hrs

The Allahabad High Court on Friday allowed former cabinet secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh to stay in the government bungalow allotted to him by the previous Mayawati government after he gave an undertaking that he would vacate it by May 31.

Singh, who is no longer in government service, was allotted the bungalow in Raj Bhavan colony until May 2013. However, the Samajwadi Party government cancelled the previous government’s order on April 22 and served Singh a notice to vacate the house on April 25. Singh challenged the government order.

During the hearing, Justice S N Shukla observed that Singh, who had retired on March 9, could retain the house until April 9 under the rules.

Singh’s advocate J N Mathur submitted that Singh’s private house was under repair and may take another month for completion.

Singh then submitted an affidavit stating that he would vacate the house by May 31, 2012.

Accepting his undertaking, Justice Shukla said that after this date, the state government could get the house vacated with the aid of police. The judge observed that till midnight of May 31, Singh’s possession should not be disturbed.









HC quashes petition, Gaur set to return as FSL head–Gaur-set-to-return-as-FSL-head/942495/

Express news service : Shimla, Sat Apr 28 2012, 03:40 hrs

The Himachal Pradesh High Court on Friday set aside the order of a single bench quashing the appointment of Director State Forensic Sciences Laboratory J R Gaur, paving way for his reappointment to the post. The court also dismissed the original petition, challenging his appointment.

The division bench of the High Court comprising Justice Deepak Gupta and Justice V K Ahuja in its order said that, “We are not at all in agreement with the judgement delivered by the learned single judge and accordingly set aside the judgement of December 23, 2012 and dismiss the writ petition with costs assessed at Rs 30,000 to be paid in equal shares by the three private respondents.

As a result, the appellant shall continue to serve as Director, state FSL, till his attaining the age of superannuation.”

Observing that there was no merit in the petition, the bench observed that Gaur had rendered more than two decades of service in Himachal Pradesh and had places on record material to show that persons who were junior to him had been promoted to the posts of Director in FSL Haryana long time back.










HC criticises single judge order in paternity row case

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 27,2012

New Delhi, Apr 27 (PTI) The Delhi High Court, which asked veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari today to undergo DNA test to help it decide a paternity suit, also criticised the ruling of its single-judge bench that he cannot be physically forced to give blood sample for the test. “The court cannot take a role of a silent spectator and see its order being frustrated by a party. The power of enforcement of orders cannot be reduced into an empty one,” a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said. The court, in its 31-page order, allowed the appeal of 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar, who claims to be the biological son of Tiwari, against the single-judge bench’s order which had said that the leader cannot be forced to give evidence in the civil suit. The single judge had said “mandatory testing upon an unwilling person would entail an element of violence and intrusion of a person’s physical person and may leave irreparable scars and is unwarranted and impermissible under Article 21 (right to life) of the Constitution.” “In our view, to say, that the exercise earlier undertaken by the court, was an empty one and in futility – that though the court could issue a direction for DNA testing but not implement or enforce the same, has the tendency of making the law and the court, a laughing stock,” the court said while setting aside the September 23, 2011 order of the single judge in the case. “The perception that the law ‘is an ass – an idiot’ (as said by Mr Bumble in Oliver Twist) will be cemented, if courts themselves hold their orders to be un-implementable and un-enforceable, it said. (More)








HC raps families of Enrica victims

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 04.00AM IST

KOCHI: Dependents of the victims of Enrica Lexie shooting incident were criticized by the Kerala HC on Friday when they tried to withdraw their petitions against the Italian marines following settlement of compensation claims with the Italian government.

Fishermen Valentine Jelestine and Ajeesh Pink had died when the fishing boat they were in was allegedly shot at by Italian marines onboard Enrica Lexie on February 15. Earlier this week, Italy had come forward to settle the compensation claims by the dependents of the fishermen and had paid Rs 1 crore to the families of each victim.

One of the conditions of the agreements signed by the victims with Italy for settling the suits was that all cases and allegations raised by the dependents against Italy and its marines be withdrawn.







Delhi HC orders ND Tiwari to provide blood sample

NEW DELHI: In a setback for veteran Congress leader ND Tiwari’s efforts to quash a paternity suit, the Delhi High Court on Friday ordered him to provide a DNA sample, which could be procured if necessary with police intervention. Tiwari has decided to move the Supreme Court against the order.

With “the respondent one (Tiwari) continuing to defy the order, the single judge shall be entitled to take police assistance and use of reasonable force for compliance thereof,” the court order said. The order comes in response to 32-year-old Rohit Shekhar, who had filed a paternity suit claiming to be his biological son. Tiwari had refused to give a DNA sample. The high court had on February 28 reserved its order on Shekhar’s plea that Tiwari’s had shown “dismissive conduct” against its previous order to give his blood sample to decide his paternity suit.

“Tiwari has decided to appeal against the high court order in the apex court… This is a judicial process and we respect the court’s order… after reading the copy of the order and a through discussion with lawyers, we will fix a date for appeal,” Tiwari’s officer on special duty, Sanjay Joshi, said. “We have not got the copy of today’s order. What we know is only media’s version. However, the leader has left for Delhi to take further action,” he said.

Friday’s order by a bench of acting chief justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw overturned last September’s order by a single bench which said that Tiwari could not be compelled to provide a DNA sample. The court turned down Tiwari’s plea that he couldn’t be forced to undergo a DNA test, saying it is the right of a child to know his or her biological father.

Allowing the plea by Rohit Shekhar, the bench disagreed with the single judge that the court can draw adverse inference if Tiwari refused to give his blood sample, saying, “adverse inference cannot be a substitute to the enforceability of a court direction for DNA test. The valuable right of the appellant (Shekhar) under the said direction to prove his paternity through DNA testing cannot be taken away by asking the appellant to be satisfied with the comparatively weak adverse inference,” the bench said.

The Delhi high court had also dismissed Tiwari’s plea challenging imposition of Rs 75,000 as cost on him for seeking deletion of certain paragraphs in the paternity suit.








HC pats Asra Garg for uniting dalits and caste Hindus

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 03.12AM IST

MADURAI: Madurai rural SP, Asra Garg came in for praise from the Madurai bench of the Madras high court for creating unity among caste Hindus and dalits of nearby Villoor village, who were at loggerheads for a long time, through negotiations.

Justice D Hariparanthaman recorded his appreciation for the police team led by the SP, closing a petition filed by Villoor panchayat president S Subbulakshmi, who sought a judicial inquiry into the incidents that led to police firing in the village on May 1, 2011.

The case was closed after Garg filed a status report, stating agamudaiyars and dalits had agreed to live in peace. The SP said some forms of untouchability did exist in the village from time immemorial. Dalits were not allowed to ride vehicles through streets occupied by caste Hindus and ‘double tumbler’ system was in vogue in tea shops.

On April 30, 2011, a 22-year-old dalit youth was assaulted by caste Hindus when he tried to ride a two-wheeler through their street, in connection with which five persons were arrested on May 1. Garg said he had visited the village that day to assess the actual situation and that after he left, some dalit houses were torched by a crowd. He again returned to the village and as he was approaching the area, another armed crowd attacked them, forcing them to retreat as they were outnumbered.

The crowd surrounded the police station and attacked it. As all lawful steps did not yield any result, Garg said he and his personal security officer fired a few rounds in the air to protect themselves and the police station, after which the crowd dispersed.

Seven criminal cases were later registered in connection with the incident. Meanwhile, a police team tried to bring about peace by holding a series of peace committee meetings.

The efforts bore fruit as leaders of both communities signed an agreement on April 24 to iron out differences and live peacefully and to ensure untouchability is not practiced. agencies








HC expands Garg commission scope

TNN | Apr 28, 2012, 06.37AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Extending the scope of Justice (retd) T P Garg Commission, which is probing communal violence in Hondh Chillar village in Rewari district of Haryana, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday asked the panel to probe similar incidents that had taken place in Gurgaon district.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh issued these directions while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking extension of the scope of Garg Commission.

While pronouncing the orders, the bench held, “The ends of justice would meet if the area of reference made to Justice T P Garg is expanded from the area of Hondh Chillar, to the claim in respect of Gurgaon district, including Pataudi, is also considered by the commission”.

However, the bench made it clear that all those cases of Gurgaon, which had already been heard by the GT Nanavati Commission, would not be heard by the Garg panel.

The petitioner had submitted that 47 people were killed in Gurgaon and two teenaged girls along with 17 others were killed in Pataudi on November 2, 1984. The state government had constituted the commission headed by Justice TP Garg, a retired judge of the Allahabad high court, on March 5, 2011, to inquire into the killing of 32 Sikhs in Hondh Chillar village of Rewari district. The directions were sought to probe the communal violence of Gurgaon and Pataudi.

The petitioner also sought directions to set up a special investigation team (SIT) in the same manner as was done into Gujarat riots case.


LEGAL NEWS 25.04.2012

Kerala recorded 132 incest rape cases in last decade

The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: Is Kerala the most incestuous society in the whole of South India? Yes, it seems if one were to go by the statistics which the Home Ministry has in its hands. Kerala in the last 10 years (2001-11) has registered 132 incest rape cases, highest in South India and fifth in the country.

Worse, Kerala has the dubious record of being the only state where the incest rape cases have steadily increased over the years in comparison to other states. The number of cases was highest in 2006, when 28 women were molested by family members in Kerala. The age of the victims, as per the data available with the National Human Rights Commission, varies from 11 years to 60.

Next to Kerala among the southern states is Tamil Nadu. The state has 118 cases of incest rape registered in the last 10 years. But in the case of TN, the number has been steadily decreasing with no cases being reported in the last two years.

Andhra Pradesh is third with 82 cases. Here also the numbers have been coming down drastically over the years, with only two cases being registered in the last three years.

Karnataka, with the least number of cases recorded in South India, has only 49 cases registered in the last 10 years.

“That Kerala has the highest number of incest rape cases even more than states like UP and Bihar, which normally have high rape cases was something unexpected,” said an official with the NHRC.

“There is no palpable reason from the criminal case point of view to point out why one state has more incest rape cases than others. It could be due to the fact that the state has a better system of recording the crime due to highest standards of social indicators,” said the official.









DG&IGP one-upmanship: Bidari scores in SC

Published: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012, 12:42 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Three weeks after Karnataka High Court quashed the appointment of Shankar M Bidari as the state DG&IGP, the Supreme Court stayed the order and asked the high court to examine afresh the appointment of the incumbent, AR Infant.

But here is the catch: the Supreme Court has asked the HC to dispose of the case before May 31. After this date, the outcome of the decision will cease to matter as both Infant and Bidari will retire from service on that day.

Bidari was asked to step down from the post of DG&IGP on March 30, when the high court upheld the verdict of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) that his appointment was done in a hurried manner and without considering the charges of human rights violation against him. Infant, who had challenged Bidari’s appointment, took over the post of the state’s top cop.

Bidari had appealed against the decision in the apex court, which ruled in his favour on Tuesday. A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and CK Prasad asked Karnataka high court to examine the matter afresh.

The SC on Tuesday observed that Karnataka high court had not gone into the findings of Justice Sadashiva Commission and National Human Rights Commission and passed its order based on assumptions. The high court had, on March 30, set aside Bidari’s appointment, observing that only one-sided version of his service was sent to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

While giving its orders, the apex court observed that it was of the view that the findings of the Sadashiva Commission and NHRC—which were the main reasons behind Bidari’s ouster—were not relevant considerations for empanelled officers. However, the SC said it would not go into the merits of the issue at this stage and left it to the high court. The apex court has directed the HC to go through the report of Sadashiva Commission in detail and then arrive at a decision.

Responding to the development, home minister R Ashoka said the government would take a decision regarding the post of top cop after it got a detailed copy of the Supreme Court’s order.
Bidari expressed happiness over the decision of the Supreme Court, stating that justice was done. Infant, on the other hand, said he would wait for the high court’s decision, refusing to comment on the Supreme Court’s order.








NHRC not to intervene in media guidelines issue

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012, 15:56

New Delhi: National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has decided not to intervene in the Supreme Court proceedings on framing media guidelines for court reporting but flagged concerns about the press breaching privacy laws and rights of accused.

The decision not to intervene in the matter, which is being heard at present by a Bench headed by Chief Justice SH Kapadia, was taken at a recent sitting of the Commission presided by Chairperson Justice K G Balakrishnan.

“NHRC is a formal party in that litigation. But we decided it is a matter between media and the court. We have no role to play. Ultimately, the court has to decide what should be done. So, we decided not to reply or counter it. We are not intervening,” Balakrishnan, a former Chief Justice of India, told a news agency in an interview.

The Supreme Court constituted a bench to frame media guidelines following “misreporting” of certain proceedings in the court as well as reporting matters which were yet to come to the court.

The case has been vigorously argued in the court with some senior lawyers opposing any attempt to frame guidelines saying it would amount to curbing free speech while one senior lawyer has welcomed it.

Balakrishnan said the problem is that of competition in media and “inexperienced” journalists.

“The problem of electronic media is somebody is saying something from a distant place and it is directly transmitted. There is no editing or intervention of seniors. They are all young journalists,” he said.

“It is very difficult to edit and control such things in electronic media…I don’t say it is done intentionally. It is inadvertent or inexperience without knowing the consequences of the statements,” he said.

Balakrishnan said NHRC was not going to frame any guidelines for reporting of human rights issues but advocated the need for self restraint by media itself.

“No, we do not want to issue any guidelines…It is not like the court reporting. Court reporting sometimes affects the privacy rights, rights of children, rights of the accused,” he said.

When pointed out that he himself was Chief Justice of India and whether he thought that media had gone overboard, he said, sometimes it appeared so though not all reports could be painted with the same brush.

“Every accused is entitled to fair trial. We have seen sometimes some investigation materials are published. I have seen some of the materials, even some private letters, have appeared in media even before it reaches court.

“People have an obsessed mind that they pronounce the accused guilty even before court takes a final view of it. Ultimately, it may come out to be nothing but irrelevant publication. Such publication should be avoided. Media should itself take care of it,” he said.

He said in countries like England media will never publish a naked photo of a body and that they are very careful even without court directions.










Self employed entitled to higher compensation: SC

Published: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012, 19:26 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Self-employed and those engaged in unorganised sector are also entitled to higher compensation for injuries and deaths in road accidents, the Supreme Court has ruled.

A bench of justices GS Singhvi and Sudhansu Jyoti Mukhopadhayay said judgements relating to accidents and land acquisitions should be revisited by courts in tune with the changing socio-economic conditions of the people.

“In our view, it will be naive to say that the wages or total emoluments/income of a person who is self-employed or who is employed on a fixed salary without provision for annual increment etc. would remain the same throughout his life.

The rise in the cost of living affects everyone across the board. It does not make any distinction between rich and poor, Justice Singhvi, writing the judgement, said.

The apex court passed the ruling while enhancing the compensation amount by Rs1.40 lakh to a woman Santosh Devi whose husband was killed in a road accident in Punjab in 1995.

The Motor Accident Claims Tribunal, Gurdaspur(MACT) had pegged the compensation at Rs1,32,000 with interest at the rate of 12% per annum from the date of application, which was upheld by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, following which Devi had appealed in the apex court.

Both the lower courts had relied upon an earlier judgement of the apex court in the Sarla Verma case (2009) to state that the family was not entitled to a higher compensation as the deceased was self-employed. The two courts had also held that the two sons of the deceased cannot be treated as dependent as they were majors.









Traders threaten stir over Central Warehousing Corporation levy at Attari ICP

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 03.58AM IST

AMRITSAR: Unhappy over the service charges levied by Central Warehousing Corporation (CWC) at the newly commissioned integrated check post at Attari, traders have convened a meeting to discuss the hiked service charges before announcing their next course of action.

President of Indo Foreign Chamber of Commerce, B K Bajaj, said, “With imposition of new charges on import and export, ICP, Attari has become the costliest port in India.”

He said they would hold a meeting with CWC officials and other agencies involved in the process to find an amicable solution, else they would be forced to go on strike and suspend trading at ICP.

Mukesh Sindhwani, an exporter, said that CWC had not made a conducive business environment. “If the charges are not withdrawn we will be forced to go on strike,” said Sindhwani.

However, CWC manager Rameshwar said that trade was going on smoothly. Rameshwar said he didn’t receive any representation from traders for lowering the handling charges at the ICP.









13-yr-old Dwarka domestic help returns to home in Jharkhand

Shalini Narayan : New Delhi, Wed Apr 25 2012, 01:02 hrs

Nearly a month after she was rescued from a locked Dwarka apartment of a doctor couple who were holidaying in Bangkok, the 13-year-old domestic help was handed over to her mother on Monday and sent to her hometown in Jharkhand.

After reaching Ranchi, the girl will be produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC). There, a decision will be taken to either keep her at a residential school, or hand her over to her mother.

Chairperson of CWC, West and South Delhi, Neera Mullick told Newsline, “The child has been handed over to her mother. She will, however, have to be produced as and when required during trial of the case.”

The CWC had on April 19 recorded that apart from the minimum wage of Rs 42,240 that the girl was to receive, the couple had promised a compensation amount of Rs 30,000, which was to be paid by them on April 20.

Mullick said, “While the minimum wages have been received, the compensation amount is yet to be recovered. Once the amount is received, we will send a cheque to the CWC in Gumla.”

She said the Jharkhand Police has been asked to keep a watch on the girl and foil any bid by alleged traffickers to get to her.

The girl was rescued on March 29 from a Dwarka flat belonging to Dr Sanjay and Sumita Verma. The couple were arrested on April 4, five days after they returned to Delhi. They were later released on bail.










Orissa High Court orders for DNA test in baby swap case

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Cuttack, Apr 24 (PTI) The Orissa High Court today ordered for DNA test to ascertain the parents of the baby girl, who is still lying unclaimed in the SCB medical college and hospital here ever since she was born on March 30. The Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra adjudicating in a writ petition ordered that blood samples of two newborn babies born on the same day and the two mothers would be collected at SCB Hospital on Wednesday in presence of a court officer. The state government informed the Court that it would bear the cost of the DNA test which would be held in a laboratory outside the state. The outcome of the test findings is likely to be available in two months, sources said. The Hospital authorities are insisting that the baby girl belongs to one Rashmita Mallick of Cuttack district but the Rashmita is claiming that she had given birth to a baby boy. On the other hand, one Nirupama Mallick of Jajpur district gave birth to a baby boy almost at the same time and both the babies were put on a same bed after their birth. High Court, before ordering for the DNA test wanted to take the views of Nirupama and her husband who were summoned to the Court on the day. Nirupama, told the Court that she was willing to offer herself and her son for the DNA test only after if some discrepancies appear after the DNA test of the baby girl and the mother who is refusing to accept the girl. The, HC however, wanted that the tests should be done at one time to clear all doubts and accordingly ordered that the blood samples of both the babies and both the mothers shall be collected on Wednesday in presence of a registrar of the High Court.









High court orders probe into appointment of Urdu translators

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 04.50AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has directed the UP chief secretary to look into the matter pertaining to some of Urdu translators-cum-junior clerks of 5,061 appointees as to how they have been posted in corporations and autonomous bodies instead of taking them in government departments. Justice Shabihul Hasnain directed the chief secretary to examine the matter at his level or through a committee. The matter will come for next hearing after four months.

The order came on a writ petition filed by Syed Hadi Asgar and others. The petitioners’ lawyer Mohd Ali contended that the state government had issued an advertisement in September 1994 for appointment of 5,061 Urdu translators-cum-junior clerks in government departments including the office of divisional commissioners, DMs, tehsils, blocks and police stations. The select list was prepared through direct recruitment and selectees were given appointment letters. The grievance of the petitioners was that they were posted in other than government departments, where they would have to miss pension benefits, age relaxations and other benefits. They also said that they could be only appointed in government departments and therefore their period of service in non-government departments should be considered on deputation and finally they should be posted in government departments.

The court found that apart from petitioners, several other appointees may have same grievance and therefore directed the chief secretary to look into the matter, so that litigations do not flood the court.











Apex court reserves order on plea to shift trio in Rajiv case

Bench expresses concern over some political parties taking up cause of the convicts

The Supreme Court on Tuesday reserved its verdict on the plea to transfer the petitions filed by three convicts facing death sentence in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan — from the Madras High Court to the Supreme Court.

A Bench of justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya while reserving verdict expressed concern at the action of some political parties taking up the cause of convicts and said the convicts had now become pawn of political parties.

The Bench had reserved verdict on the petitions filed by Devendar Pal Singh Bhullar, facing death sentence, questioning the delay in disposal of his mercy petition by the President.

The Bench was hearing a petition filed by L.K. Venkat, President of G.K. Moopanar Peravai, affiliated to the Congress party seeking transfer of the petitions to the Supreme Court on the ground that the atmosphere in the High Court was not conducive for a fair hearing.

The three convicts had filed the writ petitions in the High Court challenging the rejection of their clemency plea by President Pratibha Patil after 11 years. The High Court on August 30, 2011 stayed their execution.

Mr. Venkat said the High Court, acting on the writ petitions of the three convicts, had stayed their execution scheduled for September 9, 2011. He said on August 30, 2011 when the matter was heard in the High Court, over 5,000 supporters had gathered inside and outside the court campus. They were interfering with the judicial function and also disturbing the proceedings.

‘Unethical behaviour’

He said admittedly the mob that gathered inside the Court hall shouted slogans and resorted to whistling to support the three convicts. This was totally unethical and improper.

Judges who heard the matter were helpless. He said that to ensure fair and free justice, the said writ petitions should be transferred to the Supreme Court

On behalf of the three convicts Mr. Jethmalani argued that the petition was not maintainable as no questions of law had been raised and the petitioner had no locus standi. He said the law was already settled that delay in disposal of the mercy petition had not been explained and the Centre had to file its response.

Additional Advocate General Guru Krishna Kumar, appearing for Tamil Nadu, also opposed the petition stating that the atmosphere in the Madras High Court did not warrant any transfer.










High court stays registration of Emaar villa plots

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 05.34AM IST

HYDERABAD: The high court on Tuesday stayed the recent order of a single judge that allowed registration of Emaar plots. The single judge, after hearing the Emaar villa plot owners association and others, allowed registrations subject to an extra payment to the APIIC.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar stayed this order while hearing an appeal by the state and the APIIC that wanted the suspension of the single judge order because it’s fraught with danger of property being transferred to third parties.

“Moreover, when the whole issue is being probed by CBI, allowing registrations may accord legitimacy to the fraudulent acts of the perpetrators of the scam,” the appellants contended. The bench observed that the matter needed deeper probe and sought to know the details of the original promoter of the Dubai company. “What permissions did they possess at the beginning to enter into such deals with an Indian state?” the bench said and posted the matter to be listed after vacation for further hearing.

A division bench of the high court comprising Justice G Rohini and Justice Ashutosh Mohunta on Tuesday stayed the appointment of 13 district judges. However, the bench permitted the authorities to go ahead with appointment of four candidates.

The bench reserved its judgment on writ petitions filed challenging the selection process on various grounds. The HC wanted to fill 17 vacancies of district judges. After the written test results were declared, the minimum marks rule for selection of candidates was done away with. Writ petitions were filed contending that the authorities altered midway the criteria regarding the minimum marks required for interview. It was contended that the rule was not published in a gazette. The petitioners contended that persons who were employees like assistant public prosecutor could not have been considered for the appointment.










Maoist ‘peoples court’ likely to try abducted MLA Jhina Hikaka

Bhubaneswar, April 25, 2012

With a Maoist ‘peoples court’ likely to try Odisha BJD MLA Jhina Hikaka on Wednesday at Narayanpatna in Koraput district, the ultras have taken advantage of the halt in security force operations by digging up roads in the area since Friday to make it inacessible. “As anti-Maoist operations have been stopped as per their demands following the hostage crisis, the present situation will certainly give the Maoists opportunity to re-group and prepare for major attacks”, said a senior official.

It was also not known whether the Maoists would extend their deadline as earlier, but they were lingering with the situation as operations by security forces were halted, he said.

Though the Maoist Andhra Odisha Border Special Zonal Committee holding 37-year-old Laxmipur MLA hostage has said his fate would be decided by a ‘praja court’ on Wednesday, there was no definite information about its exact time and venue.

There was, however, some indication with the state government that the people’s court would be held in Narayanpatna area, the official said.

Narayanpatna area remained cut off from the rest of the state since Friday because of road blockades put up by the Maoists and a ‘Maoist week’ called from Wednesday.

“We don’t think road communication can be restored in the next couple of days as civilians are not cooperating with the administration in removing the road blockades”, a senior district official said.

The police were considering all security measures before taking steps to remove the blockades, he said.








CAT to UT: Pay enhanced salary to contractual teachers

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 25 2012, 04:20 hrs

Allowing the petition preferred by Chandigarh’s contractual mistress Rupinderjit Kaur and lecturer Aneet Inder Kaur, a division bench of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) headed by Justice Shyama Dogra on Tuesday directed the UT Administration to release the enhanced consolidated salary with effect from 2007 in pursuance to the UT Administration’s policy decision.

It was argued before the bench on behalf of the petitioners that the UT administration had taken a policy decision vide circular dated March 13, 2007 to revise the consolidated monthly salary of contractual masters/mistresses from Rs 8000 to Rs 9900 w.e.f. January 1, 2007. Similarly, vide subsequent policy circular dated January 10, 2008 and March 5, 2009, the said salary was further enhanced to Rs 10500 and Rs 11200 w.e.f. January 1, 2008 and January 1, 2009 respectively.

Similar pay enhancements were made with regard to contractual JBT teachers and lecturers. However, since the arrears of the same were not released to the contractual teachers, the petitioners approached the CAT which has directed the UT Administration to release the enhanced salary within a period of two months.









Pension: Rathore moves CAT against Union home secretary

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 25 2012, 04:18 hrs

Former Haryana director general of police (DGP) S P S Rathore on Tuesday filed a petition seeking proceedings for contempt of court against Union Home Secretary B P Singh.

In his petition filed before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Chandigarh, Rathore has said despite orders by the CAT passed in December last, his pension had not been restored.

In his application before CAT, Rathore, who was convicted of molesting Ruchika Girhotra, had stated “pension of a person was not bounty. It is legal entitlement, which can only be curtailed by an express provision of law and not otherwise”. He also stated that the orders directing withholding of pension on permanent basis could not be passed as the appeal was pending in the apex court.

The CAT bench had then observed “no competent authority can withhold pension on permanent basis” and had allowed the application filed by Rathore.

However, the pension has allegedly not been restored to date. Aggrieved, Rathore filed a petition demanding contempt proceedings against the Union Home Secretary.

After hearing the arguments, the tribunal posted the petition for resumed hearing on July 10. No notices were issued.










Molester cop’s wife buys VIP number plate for over Rs. 9 lakhs

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: April 25, 2012 10:40 IST

Chandigarh:  Former Deputy General of Police (DGP) of Haryana, SPS Rathore, who was found guilty of molesting teenager Ruchika Girhotra in 1990, is back in the limelight; this time for his lavish lifestyle. Mr Rathore now owns new Mercedes with number plate 0001.

His wife Abha Rathore had won an auction for the fancy number CH 01 AM 0001 and paid over Rs. 9 lakh, the highest bid for any number.

“So far we have auctioned 80 numbers and another 80 remain to be auctioned. So far the highest bid for any number was Rs. 9.05 lakh. That was for the CH 01 AM 0001 number. Mrs Rathore has bought this number for a Mercedes car,” said Kavle Parashuram, SDM Registering and Licensing Authority of Chandigarh.

Last year, there was shock and anger after the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) restored the pension of Mr Rathore.

The Centre had stopped Mr Rathore’s pension in June 2010 after a CBI court in Chandigarh had, in December 2009, found him guilty and sentenced him to six years of rigorous imprisonment for molesting the 14-year-old tennis player on August 12, 1990. The girl had committed suicide three years later.










Fishermen killing: Victims’ families get Rs1 crore; case to continue

Published: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012, 14:57 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Apr 24, 2012, 18:22 IST
Place: Kochi | Agency: DNA

In a sudden turn of events, families of two fishermen allegedly shot dead by marines on board ‘Enrica Lexie’ ship have reached a compromise with Italian authorities and accepted Rs one crore compensation but the criminal proceedings against the naval guards marines will continue.

Setting the stage for the settlement, the Kerala High court had earlier in the day permitted the family members of Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki to withdraw their contentions made against Italy’s plea for quashing the FIR against the marines.

Justice PS Gopinathan allowed the petition filed by Jalastine’s wife Doramma and sisters of Binki, the latter hailing from Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu.

However, Advocate General KP Dandapani said the legal heirs were not party to the criminal cases pending against the accused marines. The compensation agreement would not affect the case registered by the state, he said.

The marines have been charged with murder under the Indian laws for shooting dead the fishermen in February last when they were fishing in a boat off Kollam coast of Kerala.

The plea for compensation was filed by wife Jalastine’s wife and two children and two sisters of Binki, who will get Rs1 crore each as legal heirs of the victims.

The Italian authorities handed over the Demand Draft for the amount in the High Court’s Lok Adalat.

Shortly after police lodged the FIR in the case, Italian Consual General Giampaolo Cutillio and the two marines –Latore Massimilliano and Salvatore Girone — had approached the High Court seeking to quash the FIR.

The legal heirs of the fishermen impleaded themselves in the case opposing the Italian’s plea. Later, however, they agreed to settle for the amount offered by the Italian government.

In view of this development, counsel for the victims’ families informed the court today they were withdrawing their defence and not pressing for the charges against the marines.

The two marines have been lodged in Central prison at Thiruvananthapuram and the ship is anchored off the coast of Kochi for the past two months.

With both parties agreeing for a solution, the High court under the Alternate Dispute Resolution System referred the issue to the Lok Adalat, which recorded the compensation agreement.

On request from Italian authorities, the family members of the deceased fishermen also gave a letter to the Italian authorities stating that they had pardoned the marines.

“We have decided to withdraw the claim compensation suit after accepting Rs one crore,” Unnikrishnan, counsel for Doramma, wife of Jalastine.

“Here after, we will not file any case against them,” he said, adding,the legal heirs received the compensation amount on Tuesday.







Armed men help 4 prisoners escape from court

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 24, 2012 18:27 IST

Alwar:  Four under-trial men escaped police custody with the help of a group of 12 armed men from outside a court in Alwar, police said.

A police team had brought the prisoners in a vehicle to to the sessions court at Tijara in connection with a loot case.

As soon as the under-trials got down from the police vehicle, the armed men, who were waiting outside the court, surrounded them and took them away in a jeep, a senior police officer said.

The men also fired in the air to create panic, he said.










Court issues non-bailable warrant against sub-inspectors

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 03.44AM IST

KANPUR: Additional district and sessions judge MA Abbasi issued non-bailable warrant against two sub-inspectors for non-compliance of the court order and asked the police authorities seniors to ensure their presence on next date of hearing.

The ADJ issued NBW against sub-inspector Mahipal Singh for not appearing in the court to give evidence in a dowry death case. He is at present posted at Etawah. The court had asked the SP to ensure Mahipal’s presence in the court on May 4.

The ADJ issued NBW against S-I Anand Masih for not appearing in the court to give evidence in a NDPS Act case. The case is passing through prosecution evidence stage.

The S-I, presently posted at Allahabad. was not appearing in the court since last couple of dates. The court had fixed next date for the hearing as May 14.









Court sentences Jharkhand man to life term for murdering wife

PTI | 05:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) A 30-year-old man from Jharkhand who strangled to death his wife last year has been sentenced to life term by a Delhi court which said the circumstantial evidence “pinpoint” towards him. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Atul Kumar Garg awarded life imprisonment to Jharkhand native Subhash Kumar, who had throttled his wife in a rented accommodation at Malviya Nagar in South Delhi and fled away from his house. “If the wife is found murdered at the home and husband was not present and he has no explanation about his absence, then the circumstantial evidence regarding the conduct pinpoint only upon the accused (Kumar),” ASJ said. The murder of a 20-year-old woman came to light on April 24, 2011, when the landlord opened the door after foul smell started emanating from Kumar’s flat and saw that his wife was lying dead in the flat while there was no information on Kumar’s whereabouts. The landlord had informed the police about the death of the woman. Thereafter, the police called deceased’s parents, who lodged a case alleging that their daughter was harassed and beaten by her husband. The father said that on earlier occasions also his daughter had told her mother over phone that Kumar used to beat her and asked her to bring money. Kumar, who was working with a contractor in Gurgaon, was arrested from Jharkhand on May 9, 2011. The prosecution said that coupele, who were married in 2008, were living in a rented room for the last two months in which the body of the woman was found in highly decomposed condition. (MORE)








City briefs : Park Street rape accused refused bail

Express news service : Wed Apr 25 2012, 07:20 hrs

Park Street rape accused refused bail

Kolkata:The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday rejected the bail plea of Sumit Bajaj — one of the accused in the Park Street rape case of February 5. The victim was allegedly raped in the car owned by Bajaj who was arrested on February 18. Opposing the bail plea, public prosecutor Debasis Roy said Bajaj might not have committed the offence but he was present during the incident, he said, adding that he was driving the car and did not stop the car when the woman requested him. An ornament of the woman was also recovered from his car and she identified the vehicle, said Roy. Three persons have been arrested in connection with the case while three accused are absconding.

Outfit protests labours’ arrest

Kolkata:A labour outfit has condemned the arrest of 8 people working for MGNREGS project under Lakhanpur gram panchayat in Purulia district. Paschim Banga Khet Majoor Samity (PBKMS) said the arrests highlighted the administration’s alleged bid to suppress protests against corruption and drawbacks in the implementation of MGNREGS. Trinamool Congress has been at the helm of affairs at Lakhanpur gram panchayat since 2009, the outfit claimed.

Netai killings: Fresh framing of charges

Kolkata:The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday turned down the Midnapore Additional Sessions Court’s order for framing of charges against the accused in the Netai killing case taking into account the typographical error in the order. Justice Kamaljit Singh Ahluwallia directed the additional sessions court to issue a fresh order for framing of the charges within 15 days after which the trial will begin. The framing of charges was challenged by CPM worker Abani Singh Sardar, who is one of the accused and currently lodged in jail. During the hearing it came to light that the CBI chargesheet mentioned prosecuting the accused under 27(ii) of Arms Act along with other criminal charges. But the order for the framing of charges mentioned 27(c) of the Arms Act instead of the 27(ii).








Court issues summons to Ansal brothers

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 22:03

New Delhi: A Delhi court here has issued summons to realtors Sushil and Gopal Ansal in a cheating case filed by a US-based woman.

Metropolitan Magistrate (MM) Ashok Kumar issued summons to Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) Sushil Ansal and Ansal Buildwell Ltd’s Managing Director Gopal Ansal on a complaint by Sunila Wadhawan.

“I have perused the complaint and pre-summoning evidence led by the complainant. I hereby take cognisance against the accused persons… Accused persons be summoned for May 15,” said magistrate Kumar in its order made available Tuesday.

Wadhawan has alleged that the two brothers had “misappropriated” the commission amount of Rs 11.80 lakh to be paid to her husband.

The complaint was filed through advocate Tarun Rana. Rana in the application has stated that complainant Sunila Wadhawan’s husband Ashok Wadhawan was appointed as authorised agent on commission basis for marketing and selling properties of Ansal Properties and Industries Ltd, which was later divided into Ansal Properties and Infrastructure Ltd and Ansal Buildwell Ltd.

Complainant said the Ansal brothers had assured her husband that commission would be paid to him. Ansal brother later offered a plot in Gurgaon telling her husband that commission would be adjusted against it.

The complainant told court that later they shifted to USA and when they came to India they come to know that the plot was not executed in their name.

The complainant has told court that accused has committed offence of cheating, criminal breach of trust and other various section of Indian Penal code.









High Court directs regulation of sand quarrying in Cauvery

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 25, 2012 08:48 IST

Madurai:  The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the collectors of five districts in the Cauvery delta to regulate sand quarrying in the Cauvery and Kollidam rivers.

The directive to the District Collectors of Karur, Tiruchirappalli, Thanjavur, Nagapattinam and Thiruvarur was issued by Justice R Banumathi and Justice B Rajendran, in their interim order, while admitting a PIL petition.

Petitioner TN Mahendra Kumar, Secretary of “Cauvery Neervala Aathara Pathukappu Sangam”, asked the collectors to follow the guidelines issued by the court earlier for quarrying sand.

He alleged that quarrying operations were being carried across the two rivers in violation of the Rules and Regulation of Minor Mineral Concession Rules, 1959.

Also alleging that the above mentioned district collectors granted license to a large number of sand quarries ‘without any application of mind’, Mahendra Kumar prayed for a ban on sand quarrying in the two rivers.

The judges directed the district collectors to ensure that not more than two poclain machines were used in the quarrying operations.

They further asked the collectors to stop the sand quarrying activities from 7 pm to 6 am. Apart from this, the judges also instructed the collectors and quarry operators to be in strict compliance of certain guidelines, which included collection of payment only through demand drafts and loading the sand to the vehicles directly from the quarries.

The petition was posted for further hearing on June 18.










SC dismisses PIL against Lokpal drafting committee

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 22:06

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL challenging constitution of Lokpal Bill drafting committee saying that task is over and the matter has become infructuous.

“Since the joint drafting committee has already completed the work and has submitted the report, the petition has become infructuous,” a bench headed by Justice A K Patnaik said.

The bench was hearing a PIL challenging the Constitutional validity of inclusion of five civil society members in a committee to draft a Lokpal Bill.

The petitioner had submitted that the notification constituting the 10-member Joint Drafting Committee, was contrary to the Constitutional provision of Article 53 as the power to issue such notification belonged only to the President of India.

It said the notification was also violative of Article 118 of the Constitution under which only Parliament has the privilege of setting up a committee comprising MPs.

According to the petition, no politician, committee or social worker have a right to take part in the drafting of the bill though every citizen’s view ought to be ascertained by way of notification at the time of drafting a Bill.









Petitioner files PIL in Hindi, seeks English medium education in government schools

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 11.20PM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday sought stand of the Central government on the demand to provide English medium education in the government primary schools in the states, particularly Hindi speaking ones like Uttar Pradesh.

A division bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit issued notice on a public interest litigation ( PIL) filed by a social worker Anand Prakash Shahi. The petitioner said that there should be compulsory English medium education in the government primary schools as well. He said that students of UP are bright but suffer when it comes to search for jobs or higher education in other states. The Hindi medium students are treated as inferior or become victim of inferiority complex only because they lack in English, he said.

Shahi also argued “”Every child has a right to live with his head held high and it can happen in the present scenario, when he is imparted education in English medium, since his childhood.” He said that government primary schools should teach nursery rhymes, strengthen vocabulary and spoken English to the students on the lines of convent schools.

The petitioner has also attached recommendation of the committee headed by Sam Pitroda constituted by the Central government in 2006. The committee submitted its report in 2008 which recommended inclusion of english in the curriculum of government schools so that their students can compete with their convent educated counterparts

Interestingly, Shahi filed the petition drafted in Hindi. He reasoned the court that if he had been imparted English medium education in his childhood, he would have filed the same in English, which is the popular language of the court.

The court after hearing the arguments of the petitioner observed that every child, including poor who go to government school, have the right to opt for English medium education. The court heard the matter at length and asked the additional solicitor general Ashok Nigam to obtain instructions from the central government in this connection. The court has also asked state government and State Council of Education, Research and Training to make its stand clear on the issue. The case has been listed on May 7 for next hearing.










PIL seeking BCCI follow government regulations

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 24, 2012A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in Allahabad High Court seeking direction to the sports ministry to get Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) registered or else set up a separate body for development of cricket in India. The PIL has been filed by a UP cadre Indian Police Service official Amitabh Thakur and his wife Nutan Thakur and slated for hearing on Wednesday.

The litigation says that the Sports Ministry has given recognition to various National Sports Federations but BCCI was not part of it.

Despite that, the BCCI was getting all privileges and benefits of being a de-facto National Sports Federation of cricket from the government. And, the government has not been able to do anything about it. 

The petition also claimed that BCCI was also violating government rules as only a recognised sports federation can send nominations for awards such as Arjun Award or Dronacharya Award. The use of India by BCCI was violation of Emblems and Names (Prevention of Improper Use) Act, 1950, the petition claimed.

The BCCI, which claims itself to be a private body, had refused to come under the ambit of Right To Information law like other sports federations.

BCCI itself strongly insists that it is a private autonomous body having no control and affiliation with the Government. It also insists that it has never applied for being recognized as a NSF. “BCCI is enjoying privileges and breaking laws while strongly resisting any accountability and responsibility towards the Government or the People. This makes it look like being above law of the land,” the petition said.

The petition has asked the High Court to direct that the government to ask BCCI to become a recognized NSF and if BCCI does not agree, then the government should appoint some other Cricket Association as national sports federation as per the prevailing rules to end any anomaly.









HC may hear plea of Padma Tuesday

Express News Sevice

PUDUCHERRY: Puducherry Principal District and Sessions Judge C S Murugan adjourned the further hearing of defence arguments in the Sankararaman murder case to April 25.

Justice Murgan did not proceed with the hearing on a petition by Padma as she had filed a petition with Madras High Court pleading that further proceedings should not continue till her petition seeking a re-examination of her and her children was disposed of in Puducherry court.

The Madras High Court may take up the petition on Tuesday as the petition number could not be reached at the end of day’s proceedingsof the court on Monday.

SPP N Devadoss had already informed the court that he had to be present in the Madras HC on Monday. Padma’s son Ananda Sharma had reached the Puducherry court late. Only eight of the 24 accused were present on Monday.

The Kanchi Acharyas Jayendra and Vijayendra were exempted by the court from personal appearance. It may be recalled that Justice Murugan had asked Padma’s lawyer Manikandan, who argued on Padma’s petition on Wednesday last, that there was ambiguity about the prayer in the petition and there was no mention of re-examination in it.

The judge had asked the High Court lawyer to consult Padma whether she wanted a re-examination, as told to the media, and report back to the court on April 23.

Padma had told reporters on April 11 that she felt re-examination in the case was necessary as she and her family members had been “threatened” on the court premises here on August 6, 2009 by some persons while she was being taken to depose as a witness.

Sankarararman, manager at the Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kancheepuram, was allegedly murdered on the premises of the temple on September 3, 2004. Kanchi Acharyas Jayendra and Vijayendra were prime accused in the case.

The trial was shifted to Puducherry court from Chengalpattu in Tamil Nadu by an October 2005 Supreme Court order.








UPSC exam papers can’t be re-evalued: Delhi HC

New Delhi: The UPSC cannot re-evaluate the civil service examination answer sheets due to absence of any rule for it, the Delhi High Court has held, while dismissing a plea to re-assess a candidate’s answer scripts of the 2006 main examination. The ruling comes as a big blow to candidates who had the hopes of getting their scripts re-examined and as a major reprieve for UPSC officials as it saves them the extra trouble and embarrassment.

Dismissing the civil service aspirant Syed Shabbir Ali’s plea, a bench of justices B D Ahmed and V K said, “As regards re-evaluation of the answer sheet of petitioner Ali, admittedly, there is no rule of UPSC entitling a candidate to seek re-evaluation of his answer sheets. We, therefore, find no merit in the contention that the petitioner is entitled to re-evaluation of his answer sheets,” the bench said.

The bench was hearing Ali’s plea challenging the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) order which had dismissed his plea for re-evaluation of his answer scripts in the Civil Services (Main) Examination, 2006.

In his petition, Ali had sought the bench’s direction to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) to declare him successful candidate in the first rank in the Civil Service (Main) Examination 2006.

According to the petition, Ali had cleared the 2006 preliminary examination but had not been able to clear the main examination as he had not done well in English, a compulsory paper.

The English paper was a qualifying paper, for candidates of all categories, for the Civil Services Examinations 2006, as per the petition.

During the course of hearing, the bench had directed UPSC to re-total his marks in English paper and inform the court about the cut-off marks for qualifying it.

“On perusal of the record, we found that the raw marks obtained by the petitioner in English paper have been moderated and resultantly, he has been awarded higher marks, but despite that he was well below the qualifying cut-off which UPSC had prescribed in respect of the English paper. We also found that all the answers had been evaluated by the examiner and there was no totaling mistake,” the bench said.

“We are, therefore, satisfied that no mistake has been committed by the respondent in evaluating the answer sheet of the petitioner in respect of English paper and the petitioner has failed to obtain qualifying marks in the said paper,” the bench said and dismissed Ali’s petition.







HC backs eviction drive at Prez estate

Harish V. Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 24, 2012

The Delhi High Court has cleared the decks for the sealing of shops running from the premises of President’s Estate on Talkatora Road. Some of the shops have been conducting business there since 1946. The court upheld the Centre’s move to seal shops on the ground that commercial activity in the sensitive area was a security risk and would also affect the area’s tranquillity.

Apart from the six shopkeepers in the market in the estate, those facing eviction also include residents of six quarters. Justice Sunil Gaur also ruled that mere acceptance of licence fee during the period after termination of licence agreement does not affect licensor’s right to evict the licensee.

Petitions filed by a dozen other shopkeepers in the premises are pending before the court. The shopkeepers and residents had challenged the eviction process, initiated in 2003 under Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act. The eviction order was issued in 2006.

The Centre said they (shopkeepers) had no right to occupy the premises, as they did not pay licence fee after 1993 and “commercial use of the premises was a high security risk and was affecting the tranquillity in the area”. “Eviction of the petitioners from the subject premises does not suffer from any arbitrariness or material procedural lapse, warranting any interference in these writ proceedings”, Justice Gaur said.

The court rejected the argument of the petitioners that they could not be evicted in this manner, as they had been continuously paying the licence fee. The security angle was something the Centre suddenly raised ; the security issue had no mention in the eviction notice.

Rejecting the argument, the court said: “It is true that issue of security concerns was not there in  the eviction notice but the plea  was certainly there in the eviction petition…. besides, mere acceptance of payment from the petitioners during the period post-termination of the Licence Agreements would not justify raising the plea of acquiescence.”








HC orders Punjab Police to free 70-yr-old Bangladeshi

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 25 2012, 03:59 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Punjab Police to release within three days a 70-year-old Bangladeshi who is in a jail in Amritsar for the past seven years even after serving his three-month jail term.

Mohammad Bilal, who was sentenced for not possessing a valid passport, is lodged in Central Jail, Amritsar since 2005. All these years, he has been claiming that he is a Bangladeshi national, but the Punjab Police has maintained that he is from Pakistan. This, despite repeated communications by the Bangladesh Embassy to the Indian government demanding his release and an inquiry report by an Amritsar Sessions Judge confirming that he is a Bangladesh national.

The Indian Express was the first to highlight Bilal’s case.

The High Court’s direction came after a communication of the Ministry of External Affairs to the Bangladesh Embassy on April 11, requesting the latter to issue travel documents and air ticket for deportation of Bilal, was produced before it last week. This came during the resumed hearing of a petition filed by NGO World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal.









NIA to appeal in HC for Pragya questioning

Suchandana Gupta | Apr 25, 2012, 02.33AM IST

BHOPAL: The National Investigative Agency (NIA) will argue before the Madhya Pradesh High Court on May 2 as to why it was necessary for the agency sleuths to interrogate Malegaon bomb blast accused Pragya Singh Thakur in connection with the murder of RSS worker Sunil Joshi. The state High Court had stayed the questioning of Pragya Singh Thakur by the NIA last week.

NIA sources told TOI that after interrogation of other accused persons in the case, the NIA had reasons why they wanted to confront Pragya Singh Thakur and question her. She has not been interrogated by the agency sleuths in this case so far and the first time questioning was initially scheduled for April 20.

But as the NIA reached Bhopal on that day, a single bench of Justice G S Solanki granted stay on her interrogation after Pragya’s lawyer filed a petition before the High Court in Jabalpur. In the petition, it was argued that in March 2011 the state police had already filed a charge-sheet against her in the same murder case in a Dewas court and hence, it was not necessary for her to be questioned again.

RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi was shot dead under mysterious circumstances outside his residence in Dewas on December 29, 2007. NIA suspected his role in the Samjhauta Express, Malegaon, Ajmer Dargah and the Hyderabad Mecca Masjid bomb blasts. Based on Pragya Thakur’s confessional statements before the Madhya Pradesh police in Mumbai, a 432 page chargesheet in the Sunil Joshi murder case was filed against her in a Dewas court on March 1, last year.

The NIA had filed an application in the court of VK Pandey, Special Judge for NIA cases, on April 14 seeking permission for interrogation of all those accused in the Sunil Joshi case. The court granted the appeal and investigators reached Jaipur Jail on April 18 to question some of the accused persons. After their questioning, it was Pragya Singh Thakur’s turn to face quizzing by the agency detectives.

NIA legal team claimed that the stay order came before the agency could present its arguments before High Court. On May 2, we will go to the High Court and argue our case and reasons for the interrogation. It will be maintained that section 21 of the NIA Act which does not permit such a petition to be heard by a single judge bench.

The accused Pragya Thakur’s lawyer does not have the power to challenge the order of the Special judge for NIA. Only an appeal before the High Court is applicable. And the Act says two judges are to hear the appeal,” an NIA legal officer said.







HC orders inquiry against cop, doctor

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Allahabad, Apr 24 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today directed the Uttar Pradesh government to conduct an inquiry against a doctor and a policeman for fabricating a false dying declaration of a woman in a dowry death case and, if found guilty, take “stringent disciplinary and penal” action against the officials “so that an exemplary message goes out”. A division bench of justices Amar Saran and Anurag Kumar passed the order while rejecting the bail application of Upendra Singh from Kanpur Dehat, whose wife Kalpana had died in a hospital on April 22, 2006 and the post-mortem report had stated that the cause of the death was “burns and asphyxia due to throttling”. The petitioner had contended that his wife had given a dying declaration stating that her clothes had caught fire while she was working in the kitchen and that neither her husband, who had sustained minor burn injuries himself, nor her in-laws were in any way responsible for her death. However, the court was of the view that “the version contained in the dying declaration appears to be irreconcilable with the condition found in the autopsy” and that “prima facie the dying declaration recorded by the SI Radhey Shyam Yadav and certified to be recorded by him by Dr Surendra Singh appears to be fabricated”. Directing the principal secretary and the DGP to complete the inquiry within three months, the court observed “this is not the first case when suspicion has arisen in the minds of the courts that doctors and police officials at local levels may have colluded with the accused, and engaged in such a grave fraud by fabricating a false dying declaration to save the accused in a case of bride burning for dowry. “It is important that steps are taken to go down to the bottom of such matters and to punish the parties which are found engaged in fabricating such false documents or giving a dishonest opinion for showing a fabricated document to be genuine.”









HC notice to Pallonji in illegal gratification case

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Mumbai, Apr 24 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today issued a notice to Pallonji Shapoorji Mistry, father of Tata Group chairman designate Cyrus Mistry, on a public interest litigation filed alleging that his real estate company had given an illegal gratification of Rs 250 crore to a company owned by Nitesh Thakur, former deputy collector of Mhada. Nitesh has been arrested by the state Anti-Corruption Bureau on charges of corruption and for amassing assets disproportionate to his known source of income. According to the PIL filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar, Nitesh, along with his brother Nilesh, had formed a company- PRS Enterprises. “Pallonji Shapoorji’s real estate company had paid a sum of Rs 258.88 crore to PRS Enterprises. The Income Tax Department had initiated inquiry into the transaction in December 2010 and had concluded that both the parties have failed to substantiate reasons behind payment of such huge sum of money,” the petition alleges. It further claims that the Thakur brothers were engaged in disbursing bribe to government officials on behalf of Pallonji for facilitating permission for real estate projects. Tirodkar, in his petition, has sought court to direct IT, Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI to conduct a joint probe into the transactions between the two companies. A division bench of Justices S A Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar had on the last hearing directed the petitioner to add Pallonji as a respondent to the PIL. Tirodkar today filed an application seeking to include Pallonji’s name, following which, the court issued notice to Pallonji seeking his reply to the application. The reply will have to be filed on May 4. Tirodkar today also submitted an additional affidavit along with a remand note of ACB which states that it was investigating into the financial transaction between Thakur’s company and Pallonji’s company. “The Enforcement Directorate is also looking into commission of money laundering. There is no legal documentation of the transaction and it seems to be illegal gratification,” the remand note states. PTI SP NP









HC directs removal of encroachments in Tiruvannamalai hill

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

Chennai, Apr 24 (PTI) Wondering how encroachments were allowed in Thiruvannamalai Hill, home to a famous Lord Shiva temple, Madras High Court today directed the government to remove all such unauthorised constructions. Passing orders on a petition by C M Sivababu, District President of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, a bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam said it was high time that government officers took immediate steps for the removal of encroachments, including a lodging house ‘Bala Dhandayudhabani Thirukoyil,’set up by Vedha Viththu alias Krishnan alias Kanagaraj. ‘We fail to understand as to why the officers of the respondents (government) posted at different places allowed the encroachers to grab land in the name of construction of temple, when there was a clear direction by the Supreme Court not to allow such constructions and to demolish all religious structures standing on government lands or public roads,’ the Judges said. The Bench directed the government to take appropriate action against the officials concerned if they failed to discharge their duty. The petitioner claimed that the Tiruvannamalai hill was no exception to illegal encroachments and land grabbings. Admitting that Viththu had encroached on a portion of the hill, Tiruvannamalai District Collector, in a counter affidavit, said he had been advised not to carry on any further construction. The man had constructed a small temple and was residing in a portion of it. Disposing of the petition, the Bench said it was evidently clear that the officials had allowed the construction. Though they were duty bound to stop the work and remove it, till date nothing had been done, the Judges said.










Shapoorji gets HC notice on Rs250cr kickback petition

Published: Wednesday, Apr 25, 2012, 8:01 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The Bombay high court on Tuesday issued notice to real estate baron Shapoorji Pallonji (father of Tata Group chairman designate Cyrus Mistry) on a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging illegal transaction of money.

The petition alleged that Pallonji’s real estate company had given an illegal gratification of Rs250 crore to a company owned by Nitesh Thakur, former deputy collector of Mhada who has been arrested on corruption charges.

A division bench comprising justice SA Bobade and justice Mridula Bhatkar issued the notice while hearing a PIL filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar.

Thakur, along with his brother Nilesh, had formed a company PRS Enterprises.

“Shapoorji Pallonji’s real estate company had paid Rs258.88 crore to PRS Enterprises,” says the petition.

The income tax department that had initiated an inquiry into the transaction in December 2010 concluded that both parties had failed to substantiate reasons behind payment of such huge sum of money, added the PIL.

Tirodkar has alleged that the Thakur brothers were engaged in disbursing bribe to government officials on behalf of Pallonji for facilitating permission for real estate projects.

The PIL has sought a joint inquiry by the I-T department, the enforcement directorate and the CBI into transactions between the two companies.

Tirodkar, in pursuant to an earlier HC order, filed an affidavit adding Pallonji as a respondent in his PIL. He also submitted an additional affidavit along with a remand note of the state anti-corruption bureau (ACB), which states that the ACB was investigating into the financial transaction between Thakur and Pallonji’s companies.

The Shapoorji Pallonji company also allegedly paid Rs141.50 crore to PRS Enterprises to buy a 900-acre land for them. Instead, PRS Enterprises bought land for itself at Alibaug, Murud and Shrivardhan for a hotel and a farm house.

The HC kept the PIL for hearing on May 4.










HC gives Dikshit and BJP chief Gupta another chance to resolve dispute

Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Apr 25 2012, 01:46 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday gave Sheila Dikshit and Vijender Gupta another opportunity to settle the defamation suit filed by the Chief Minister amicably. Dikshit had filed the suit against the BJP leader for allegedly making “unsavoury” remarks against her.

“There have been other more serious issues that this court has witnessed getting resolved… This is not an issue which should be stretched further,” said Justice Kailash Gambhir after being informed by the two leaders’ lawyers that they could not settle the case amicably. The court gave them two weeks’ time to make another attempt to find a solution and fix the matter for further hearing on May 2.

Delhi BJP chief Vijender Gupta, meanwhile, filed an application seeking dismissal of the case saying that fair criticism of the government was part of a democracy. “The statement was made against the government and nothing personal was said against the chief minister,” said senior advocate Aman Lekhi, appearing for Gupta. He also opposed the contention of Dikshit’s lawyer that she was willing to withdraw the petition if Gupta gave an undertaking that he will desist from making uncivilised remarks against the CM in future.

“The mere giving of such an undertaking would amount to admitting that in the past I had made uncivilised remarks,” argued Lekhi while turning down the demand. The court, after a brief hearing, asked the counsel of both parties to sit across the table and resolve the case within two weeks.

Dikshit had demanded a token Re 1 as damages and alleged that the BJP, under Gupta’s leadership in June 2010, had erected hoardings accusing Delhi Congress government of misrepresenting facts on power tariffs.










HC seeks report from Patna Municipal Corporation

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 01.49AM IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court (HC) on Tuesday directed the Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) to submit its report with regard to the action taken to clean the state capital and also installing streetlights under different wards of the city. The order was passed by a division bench, comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh, on a PIL filed by one Varun Kumar Sharma.

The petitioner has stated that the state capital was littered with filth and garbage with no light on the streets causing great hardship to the people.

Petitioner’s lawyer Sunil Kumar said that the PMC, earlier on court’s direction, submitted a report to the HC, in which it stated that in 19 wards work is underway for installation of street lights, tender for which has already been issued. The PMC assured the court that work would be completed within six months. It also informed the court that cleanliness

drive would soon be launched in the city to get rid of the filth and garbage. The court directed the PMC to file progress report on the work to be

undertaken by it and said the case would be heard again after summer vacation.










Punjab and Haryana HC asks govt to form compensation commission

TNN | Apr 25, 2012, 03.51AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday asked Punjab government to set up a compensation commission within one month for the victims of large-scale violence witnessed in some parts of the state in 2009, in the wake of the death of a particular community leader, Sant Ramanandm in Vienna of Austria.

The directions were passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed on the issue. In its orders, the bench also specified that such a commission should be headed by a retired judge of the high court and the state government provide appropriate staff to the commission.

This commission would invite applications from the victims of violence and after assessment take decision on the mode of recovery of the loss. The HC also directed the state government to widely publicize in print media, asking people to come forward and deport against the culprits.

The death of Sant Ramanand in Austria on May 24, 2009, following an attack in a gurdwara in Vienna, had triggered large-scale violence in Jalandhar, Phagwara, Hoshiarpur and some other towns of Punjab. Importantly, it was only after the high court took cognizance of the matter that the police had swung into action and started registering cases.

The matter had reached before the HC in December last year through a PIL filed by Phagwara branch of General Samaj Manch (Regd), seeking directions for fixing responsibility of each and every official concerned in the administration for failure to anticipate such violence and punish the culprits.

Following HC intervention, 75 cases were registered, around 445 witnesses were identified and statements of around 258 persons recorded so far.









HC for dissolving Co-operative Tribunal

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Wed Apr 25 2012, 01:34 hrs

In what would lead to a first of its kind decision, the Delhi High Court has said that it is inclined to dissolve the incumbent Delhi Co-operative Tribunal. This comes following a reprimand by the court over the Tribunal’s “cut-copy-paste” approach in passing judgments.

The Tribunal, headed by a retired district judge, decides appeals against the orders of Registrar of Co-operative Societies or arbitrators in matters relating to group housing societies in Delhi. Such matters involve registration of a society, election, audit, inspection, dispute resolution, investment of funds, etc.

Opining that having the present Tribunal was as good as having none, a bench of Justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher has sought a response from the Delhi government over the procedure to recall its present members.

“It is as good as not having a tribunal when all its orders are either set aside or are remanded back. It is clearly unable to discharge its functions. Tell us the procedure to recall its members, for we may have to pass orders for reconstituting the Tribunal,” the bench told Najmi Waziri, government’s standing counsel.

The court had earlier underlined the “unacceptable” modus operandi of the Tribunal, while hearing an appeal against the Tribunal’s order. The parties are asked to submit soft copies of their arguments, which are then entered into the computer. Subsequently, a final order is passed by the Tribunal wherein the pleadings by the parties are simply reproduced by copying and pasting them and a conclusion of merely a few lines are typed out with minimal modification.

The court was further informed about the lack of stenographers in the Tribunal. It, however, said: “Despite the inadequacies, the tribunal, in our view, cannot conduct judicial proceedings in such a cavalier manner.” The bench said the tribunal, instead of reducing such proceedings into a “mere ritual,” should have highlighted its difficulties to the authorities concerned or the Chief Justice of this court.

Waziri was then called upon to look into the matter. The standing counsel was also asked to obtain from the Tribunal copies of all the orders passed by it in the last six months for vetting them.

On Monday, Waziri submitted the government’s report, stating that while vacancy of stenographers was being filled up and three persons have been already selected, issues relating to the 87 judgments passed in the last six months involved serious considerations since these orders were bereft of judicial reasoning. “The opinion is that they must have elaborated reasons to decide cases. Absence of reasons or discussions with respect to contentions of parties could leave a sense of disquiet or injustice and they will tend to move higher forum,” the report read.

Concurring, the bench held that while the Tribunal was created to sort some issues at its level, it in fact was enhancing the workload of the courts too by passing such orders.

“It is headed by a retired judicial officer but judicious mind is reflected nowhere in the judgments,” noted the bench, while asking Waziri to come back on the next date to apprise them about the procedure stipulated to disband the Tribunal by recalling its members and then reconstitute it properly.


LEGAL NEWS 24.04.2012

Karnataka DGP row: Supreme Court stays HC order on Bidari

The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Karnataka High Court order which had quashed the appointment of Shankar Bidari as Director General of State Police.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C. K. Prasad asked the State High Court to examine afresh the matter and dispose it of before May 31.

The apex court while staying the High Court’s March 30 order, said the latter had passed the impugned order on assumptions without going into the findings of the Justice Sadashiva Commission and National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), which, according to Mr. Bidari, had given him a clean chit in the case of alleged excesses and sexual abuse perpetrated by the Joint STF on tribal women.

The High Court had earlier quashed Mr. Bidari’s appointment saying that he was indicted by the commission as he was the deputy commandant at the time of the alleged excesses committed by the Joint STF of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, set up to track down forest brigand and notorious sandalwood smuggler Veerappan.

The apex court said it was of a prima facie view that the findings of the Sadashiva Commission and NHRC were not relevant considerations for the empanelled officers, yet, it said, it was not going into the merits of the issue at this stage and left it to the High Court to decide the same.

While former Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam appeared for Mr. Bidari, senior counsel U.U. Lalit appeared for the Karnataka government.

Another senior counsel Altaf Ahmed appeared for senior IPS officer A R Infant on whose petition the High Court had passed the impugned order.

The apex court was hearing a petition filed by IPS officer Shankar Mahadev Bidari challenging the Karnataka High Court’s order which had quashed his appointment as DGP while dubbing him as “worse than Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.”

The High Court had made the stinging remark against Mr. Bidari for the alleged atrocities on women committed by the Special Task Force led by him during the hunt to nab Veerappan.

The High Court had made those remarks in response to his contention that he cannot be held responsible for atrocities as he was only a deputy commander of the Joint Task Force of two states, set up to nab Veerappan and was not “omnipresent and omnipotent like Saddam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.”

Mr. Bidari’s appointment had been challenged by another DGP A R Infant who was a year senior to Mr. Bidari but had allegedly been bypassed.

Mr. Infant had alleged Mr. Bidari was appointed as state police chief despite the “black marks” on his service record due to atrocities on tribals committed during his stint as the head of the task force set up to nab Veerappan more than 20 years ago.

The NHRC had also filed complaints regarding the sexual and physical assault on tribal women in the area. The Central Administrative Tribunal had upheld Mr. Infant’s plea. Mr. Bidari and the state government had challenged this in the High Court.

The High Court had asked the government to relieve Mr. Bidari forthwith and appoint Mr. Infant in his place.








426 cases of ‘fake encounters’ registered in last 3 years

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 24,2012

New Delhi, Apr 24 (PTI) A total of 426 cases of alleged fake encounters by police, defence and central armed police forces were registered by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) during 2009-12. Minister of State for Home Jitendra Singh said till April 17, 2012, no such case has been registered and during the last two years, in none of the cases, any recommendation for disciplinary action or prosecution of the public servants has been made by NHRC. “Against 426 cases of alleged fake encounters, 84 cases have been solved and the remaining 342 are unsolved,” he said in the Lok Sabha. Singh said for expediting the unsolved cases, concerted efforts are made by NHRC for obtaining the inquest reports, post-mortem report, magisterial inquiry report etc from the state governments concerned. “It is for the state governments to take action in every crime. The Central government issues advisories, while the NHRC issues guidelines and recommendations to be followed by the States/UTs in all cases of deaths in the course of police action,” he said.






Babus ‘forced’ tribal girls to dance, indecent behaviour alleged—forced—tribal-girls-to-dance–indecent-behaviour-alleged/940470/

Agencies : Bhopal, Mon Apr 23 2012, 20:29 hrs

Taking cognisance of ‘Raai’ dance performed by minor Bedhni tribe girls at a fair at Ashok Nagar town and reports of indecent behaviour of some people, the Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission(MPHRC) has issued notices to Principal Secretary of Social Justice Department and Superintendent of Police to seek their explanation on it.

The Commission took cognisance of the incident following a report in a magazine published by Global Earth Society for Environmental Energy and Development.

The MPHRC issued notices to Madhya Pradesh Social Justice Department’s Principal Secretary, Collector of Ashok Nagar and Superintendent of Police to seek their explanation.

The magazine’s editor Dr Subhash Pandey told reporters here today that MPHRC took a serious note of the minor Bedhni girls performing ‘Raai’ dance and reports of indecent behaviour with them and served notices on the concerned authorities recently.

Pandey also submitted a copy of the magazine, CD and photographs to the Commission in this regard.

He also filed a similar complaint with the National Commission for Women (NCW) Chairperson Mamta Sharma yesterday during her visit to the city. The NCW also assured to recommend strong action in this regard, Pandey said.

MPHRC’s Joint Director (Public Relations) Rohit Mehta confirmed that the Commission has issued notice to the concerned officials in this regard and sought their explanation on the issue.







National Commission for Women to hold parallel probe into Shehla case

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 02.27AM IST

INDORE: National Commission for Women (NCW) has decided to carry out a parallel investigation into the murder case of RTI activist Shehla Masood and submit its report to the Centre.

Talking to reporters in the city, NWC chairperson Mamta Sharma said that she condemned BJP MLA Dhruv Narayan Singh, who is under the CBI investigation in the murder case for his alleged proximity with the prime accused, for claiming to be into relationship with eight women at a time.

She said that the commission would constitute a committee in first week of May and handover the report to the Union government. With regard to the significance of commission’s report, when the country’s premiere investigating agency was already doing the job, the NWC chairperson said the committee would collect the fact at its level to bring it to the notice of the Centre.

About the mounting cases of women harassment in Madhya Pradesh, Sharma said there was no let up in atrocities against women and children in Madhya Pradesh.

“There should be much more effective policing in the state to prevent crime against women,” she said. About the recent spate in rapes in the state, she demanded that such cases be tried in fast-track courts and disposed at the earliest.









Masood case: NCW to set up committee to probe

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 24, 2012, 00:01

Indore: National Commission for Women (NCW) would form a committee to probe the RTI activist Shehla Masood murder case, its chairperson said on Monday.

“We have decided to form a panel in the case following the alleged statement of BJP MLA, Dhruv Narayan Singh, that he has such relations with 20 women, and his name coming up in the case a number of times,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said.

“We have decided to take a cognisance of the case and form a panel to minutely probe the matter to get to its bottom,” she said.

The panel will probe, specially, how much role this angle (of illicit relations) played in the murder, she said, adding that the report would be forwarded to the government.

The main accused, interior designer Zahida Pervez, and co-accused Saba Farooqui, had alleged on number of occasions that the BJP MLA was the “mastermind” of the murder.

If necessary, NCW panel may also question Zahida and Saba, Sharma said. Both Zahida and Saba are currently lodged in the Indore’s district jail under a judicial remand.

CBI claims that Zahida planned the murder because she had become jealous of Shehla’s growing proximity with the BJP MLA.

The CBI has questioned Dhruv Narayan in the case, but he was not arrested.










SC notice to Centre, Kerala govt on Italy petition–Kerala-govt-on-Italy-petition/940556/

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 00:13 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to the Centre and the Kerala government on a petition filed by the Republic of Italy to quash criminal charges against two marines accused of killing two Indian fishermen while on board Italian vessel Enrica Lexie.

A Bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and Ranjan Gogoi asked whether a foreign state could invoke Article 32 of Indian Constitution — a relief used to enforce fundamental rights of an Indian citizen against the Indian government. The Indian government also questioned the very “maintainability” of such a petition.

Senior advocate Harish Salve, appearing for the Italian government, said his client was also deemed a “person” within the meaning of Article 32 for invoking the jurisdiction of the SC. The Bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

In its plea, Italy asserted that the Kerala government had no locus standi to register any criminal case as the alleged offence ought to be treated under international law and covenants — India being a signatory to the UN charter. Salve told the Bench that the matter needed to be dealt with between the two countries and the Kerala government had no jurisdiction in interfering with the matter as the incident had occurred in “contigual waters” 12 nautical miles beyond the Indian jurisdiction.

He said the action of the Italian personnel was part of their official duty.









Italy moves SC for release of 2 marines

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 03.24AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Italian government on Monday moved the Supreme Court of India seeking release of two marines, arrested by Kerala Police for allegedly killing two fishermen while guarding merchant vessel Enrica Lexie, on the ground that their detention breached sovereign immunity.

The petition filed by Italian government through its ambassador and the arrested marines – Massimilano Latorre and Salvatore Girone – said the detention by Kerala Police was illegal and their trial under Indian law was in breach of sovereign immunity principle as well as right to life and equality provisions of the Indian Constitution.

This is probably for the first time a foreign government moved a municipal court as Republic of Italy requested the Supreme Court of India to direct the Union government to secure release of the two marines from Kerala and hand them over to the Italian government.

A bench of Justices Altamas Kabir, S S Nijjar and Ranjan Gogoi issued notices to the Centre and Kerala government, both of which had opposed the petition. Noting the seriousness of the issue presented before it, the bench posted the matter for further hearing on May 8.

Counsel for the Italian government, senior advocate Harish Salve said the domestic laws would have no play in the incident as the field was occupied by international conventions. He said, “The Italian government’s case is that no Indian law will apply. These are country to country actions governed by international conventions. We deal with Indian Republic and not with an Indian state.”

Salve the marines aboard Entric Lexie took action in the vessel’s security interest after a pirate alert was sounded. “If the incident happened because of the action of someone on official duty, Republic of Italy takes full responsibility.” He said Italian law grants immunity to such action taken for the security of a ship.

The bench asked how the Italian government could seek relief from under Indian Constitution, while challenging applicability of Indian law to the incident. “On one hand you say Indian law will not apply. If they don’t apply, how are you claiming their arrest to be violative of Articles 14 and 21 of the Indian Constitution?”

Salve was quick with a reply: “Their arrest violates the rule of law principle and the Italian government’s petition is a tribute to the human rights jurisprudence incorporating international covenants developed by the Supreme Court of India.”

For the Union government, additional solicitor general Indira Jaising questioned the basis of the petition, where a foreign government sought enforcement of fundamental rights when this right was available only to individuals, irrespective of nationality.

The petitioner said the marines Latorre and Girone, who were arrested on February 19, were military naval officials in active service of the Italian government and the action taken by them was under the bona-fide belief that they were protecting the vessel from a pirate attack.

After the incident on February 15, the ship had sailed 38 nautical miles in the high seas when it received information by phone and e-mail from the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre, Mumbai, requesting it to turn back to Cochin Port to assist and identify suspected pirates who had been arrested.

“In good faith the vessel turned its course and came to Cochin port on February 16. The Master of the Vessel was under no obligation under law to change course but only agreed to do so as part of good faith effort to promote international cooperation in combating piracy,” Italy said.

It said, “The continued acquiescence of the Union of India to the unlawful arrest and detention of the two marines by the State of Kerala is in violation of the long standing customary international law principles of international comity and sovereign equality among states.”











Norway court gives custody of two Indian kids to their uncle

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 01.15AM IST

NEW DELHI: Abhigyan (3) and Aishwarya (1) Bhattacharya will finally be able to return to their family in India after a Norwegian court ruled that their custody should be handed over to their uncle. This brings to a close to a family tragedy that grabbed headlines in India, disrupted ties between New Delhi and Oslo, and even took an intervention by the PM with his Norwegian counterpart.

As soon as the court ruled for removing the children to India, the MEA swung into action. Led by Balachandran from the Indian Embassy in Norway and other senior officials, the children, their Norwegian foster parents and their uncle were whisked out of Oslo on a commercial flight to India. This was also done because the Norway court ruling has prompted a number of other families to file similar cases, which might be disruptive for their system. Sources said the Indian action was intended to prevent a stay order by the court. The parents of the children, though, continue to remain in Norway.

In Madrid, where he is attending a meeting of Indian heads of missions, foreign minister S M Krishna congratulated the MEA officials for their “fantastic work”. Krishna has personally taken up this issue after CPM MP Brinda Karat drew his attention to it. All travel arrangements for the children and their attendants are being made by the Indian government.

In a press statement, the Norwegian authorities said, “The children’s parents and the Child Welfare Services (CWS) at the hearing on April 17. The court issued a ruling granting the application made jointly by the parties. This stated that the grounds for removing the children from the care of their parents were and continue to be present, but that it is no longer necessary for them to stay with a family in Norway as agreement has now been reached that the children are to grow up in the care of their uncle and will not be living with their parents.”

Gunnar Toresen, head of CWS, said, “On behalf of Stavanger municipality, I would like to thank the Indian authorities and the Norwegian ministry of foreign affairs for their help in finding a satisfactory solution to this case. Growing up in the care of their uncle in India is a good, long-term alternative for the children,” he said.

It was almost a year ago that the children were taken away from their parents, Anurup and Sagarika Bhattacharya, because the Norwegian authorities believed them to be unfit parents and the Bhattacharyas lost custody of their children after they said the kids suffered from an emotional disconnect with the mother, that the children witnessed violence at home, along with having a father who was reportedly under-invested in the children and family.

After the Indian government intervened in December, 2011, and a series of meetings later, CWS agreed to hand over the children to their uncle in January. However, an agreement to give the children to their uncle on March 23 collapsed after Anurup burst out saying he was being beaten up by Sagarika, and he was going for a divorce. The revelations led the Norwegian authorities to keep the children until there was greater clarity.

It took another month of negotiations between all parties for the Bhattacharyas to get relief from the court, and the children to return to India.






Court stays TRB order

Express News Service

MADURAI: A single judge at the Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has stayed an impugned order of the Teachers Recruitment Board (TRB) pertaining to a BA, B Ed graduate, after she filed a writ petition alleging that her name was unlawfully dropped from the seniority list of the government employment registry.
According to the petition filed by G Dhanalakshmi, she was given a priority certificate by the special tahsildar (adi-dravidar welfare) in 2004, after 4.5 hectares of her land at Usilampatti was acquired by the government to establish a burial ground for the adi-dravidars.
Subsequently, on April 30, 2010 she was called for a certificate verification process for the post for graduate assistant in Government Higher Secondary Schools, based on her seniority in the employment exchange. She was listed as the 32nd candidate for appointment of graduate assistants for the year 2010 and 2011 and her provisional selection was published in the TRB website, she told the court through her counsel, Arul Vadivel Sekar.
In October 2011, the chairman of TRB is said to have provisionally selected her for the post of graduate assistant and he reportedly received a copy of her appointment order in the last week of October 2011. On January 6, 2012 she also participated in a counselling session to select the district for her posting.
However, her name was not found in the seniority list in an order of the TRB issued on February 23, 2012, Dhanalakshmi alleged. In place of her name, the name of one Jeyamalar was included, she said, adding that this name was not listed in the seniority list for 2010-2011.
“I am already above forty years, and my chance of getting employment in the future is very remote. Deleting my name from the employment registration took away my legitimate right of getting employed in government service,” she said.
Justice K Venkataraman, on hearing the case ordered a notice to the TRB, apart from issuing an interim stay.








SC dismisses plea against Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh

IANS Apr 23, 2012, 08.12PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court Monday dismissed a petition challenging the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next Indian Army chief.

Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh will succeed General V.K. Singh as the army chief when the latter demits office May 31.

An apex court bench of Justice R.M. Lodha and Justice H.L. Gokhale, while dismissing the petition by Admiral (retd) Laxminarayan Ramdas and six others, said: “We don’t find any justifiable cause to invoke Article 32 of the constitution. The writ petition is accordingly dismissed.”

Justice Lodha asked: “Can a career of a person be put on stake merely on allegations?”

Before rejecting the petition, the court had perused the original files relating to the appointment of Lt. General Bikram Singh as the next army chief.

The judges said Attorney General G.E. Vahanvati placed before them the original files of the cabinet committee on appointments concerning the selection of General V.K. Singh’s successor.

“We have carefully gone through the averments and we do not find anything to warrant invoking Article 32 of the constitution,” said the court.

The court summoned the file related to the appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief as it wanted to know the procedure involved in selection of army chief.

After perusing the file, the court told Kamini Jaiswal, who appeared for petitioners, that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh had been cleared on all counts related to allegations made by her clients and others.

One of the allegations was that his daughter-in-law was a Pakistani national before her marriage.

At this Jaiswal told the court that “this means that the report that has been placed before the appointing authority was misleading”.

Jaiswal described Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh’s appointment as “malafide”. It was manipulated from 2005 when General J.J. Singh was the army chief.

She said that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh’s appointment should be scrutinised in the light of what the court said in a case related to the appointment of former Central Vigilance Commissioner P.J. Thomas.

As Jaiswal was told that the CVC was a statutory appointment which was not the case with the chief of army staff, she said that “even if statutory provisions are not there, can such a person facing allegations be made chief of army staff”.

She told the court that in order to promote Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, when he was a brigadier, Brigadier Ravi Arora, who was a gold medalist, was denied promotion.

When Brigadier Arora moved a statutory complaint to challenge denial of promotion it was delayed for a long time and eventually dismissed.

The court was told that normally the statutory complaint was decided within three months. At this, the court said that Brigadier Arora and others did not pursue their grievance thereafter.

The petition filed by Jaiswal’s clients sought the reconsideration of the decision to appoint Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next army chief as a case was pending in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on his alleged involvement in a staged shootout death of a 70-year-old man in 2001. The victim was described as terrorist.

Jaiswal told the court that Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh had a low command level over his troops. She said that the court of inquiry was going on in Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut city into the conduct of troops under his command in Congo under the UN peacekeeping mission.

She alleged his indecisiveness as general officer commanding-in-chief (GOC-in-C) 15 Corps resulted in a “stone throwing agitation” in Srinagar. During his current posting as GOC-in-C Eastern Command, almost all the funds at the command’s disposal were returned as unspent.

As Jaiswal made allegations against Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh, Justice Gokhale observed that this “amounted to maligning our armed forces”.

Justice Gokhale said that the shootout that had been referred to, witnessed a colonel and a jawan falling to the bullets of terrorists.

Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman told the court that even Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh was hit in the back and he had to be hospitalised for nearly two months.

“He was seriously injured in the ambush,” Vahanvati told the court.

As court described the incident as “unfortunate”, Jaiswal said that “unfortunate does not absolve him”.







Cost of destroying endosulfan puts govt in a quandary

Viju B, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 03.40AM IST

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Supreme Court’s notice to the central government asking to come out with measures to dispose the banned pesticide endosulfan by June 23 has put state government in a quandary.

Kerala has been struggling to destroy around 1,500 litres endosulfan that is being currently stored in different godowns owned by Kasaragod Plantation Corporation following an order by the Supreme Court to ban the toxic pesticide.

Last year, the court, acting on a writ petition filed by the Democratic Youth Federation of India, had banned the production and sale of endosulfan in the country. It had directed the state and central government to freeze the production licences granted to manufacturers of endosulfan till further orders.

The court, but allowed the export of endosulfan to enable the manufacturers to meet their contractual obligations, even as it made it clear that the ban on production of the pesticide would continue.

The manufacturers of endosulfan claimed around 8,000 tonnes endosulfan stock is yet to be commercially used and is being stored in different godowns across the country. They said while the cost of manufacturing one kilo of endosulfan is Rs 300, but to destroy the same quantity it would cost around Rs 4,000.

Endosulfan was banned in Kerala seven years ago, after the central government issued a gazette notification withholding the use of endosulfan in the state, on the basis of reports of the National Institute of Occupational Health. It is estimated endosulfan was sprayed in 10,000 hectares of cashew crop in Kerala prior to the ban.

The Stockholm Convention, a global treaty to protect health and environment has also declared endosulfan as a persistent pollutant .

Last year, India joined the list of 73 countries that have banned the use of this pesticide.

Environmentalists point out that further studies need to be done to confirm whether large scale congenital deformities in Kasaragod district was due to excessive and unscientific use of endosulfan.

“We need to destroy the available stock of endosulfan using non-combustible technology that will not pollute the environment. The higher cost for using such technology should not be seen as a hindrance as there is a larger social and environmental cost involved here,” said C Jayakumar, trustee of Thanal, an environmental NGO which studied the endosulfan issue.









High Court Bench restrains police from arresting lawyer

He was accused of abusing Dalits by their caste nameThe Madras High Court Bench here on Monday restrained the police from arresting or harassing P. Rathinam, a 66-year-old lawyer, in connection with a criminal case registered against him by the Othakadai police near here on charges of abusing some Dalits by their caste name.

Justice D. Hariparanthaman passed the interim order pursuant to a writ petition filed and argued by the lawyer on the ground that a false complaint had been lodged against him though in reality he had been working to uplift the Dalits by fighting for their cause legally in courts.

According to the petitioner, he was whitewashing a wall outside the High Court premises on September 1, 2010 along with a Dalit lawyer named V. Murugan.

A few people belonging to the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK) objected to it. It led to a clash between them.

Mr. Murugan lodged a police complaint with regard to the incident.

Later, a case was filed in the High Court Bench seeking a direction to register a case on the basis of the complaint. Disposing it of last month, Justice K.K. Sasidharan directed the police to register the case.

Subsequently, the police registered a case on the basis of Murugan’s complaint as well as counter case against him and Mr. Rathinam on the basis of a complaint lodged by the VCK cadres who alleged that the latter had abused them by their caste name.

Alleging that the complaint lodged against him was nothing but a bundle of lies, the petitioner sought for a direction to quash the FIR registered against him and Murugan besides an order to the State Government to pay adequate compensation to the Dalit lawyer.









Court imposes Rs. 1 lakh costs on petitioner for wasting its time

The Madras High Court on Monday imposed costs of Rs. 1 lakh on a person for wasting the court’s time by filing a petition that sought the removal of General V.K. Singh from the post of Chief of the Army Staff.

A Division Bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M. Venugopal dismissed as withdrawn a petition by S. Vishwa Murti, founder-chairman of an organisation called ‘Awareness on Anti-Corruption and Crime’. The petitioner had made various allegations against the Army Chief and said he had brought disrepute to the country.

The Bench said that when a question was put to the petitioner’s counsel regarding the principles enunciated by the Supreme Court in issuing a writ of quo warranto, he was unable to answer. [A writ of quo warranto is filed to remove someone from office by raising the question under what authority they continued to hold the post concerned].

Already a CBI probe is on into the charges made by the Army Chief that he was offered bribe.

quo warranto The Bench said the petitioner had not approached the court with clean hands and with bona fide intention. This was clear from his attitude of requesting the court to permit him to withdraw the writ petition after the court had heard both parties for two days. Further more, the petitioner’s counsel was unable to answer the court as to what made him seek such a writ without even understanding its nature and concept.

For wasting the court’s valuable time, the Bench said it was imposing costs of Rs. 1 lakh on the petitioner. The sum should be paid to the Madras Society for Protection of Children, Old Washermenpet in Chennai, within two weeks, failing which the District Collector should initiate revenue recovery proceedings against the petitioner.










J&K Bank issue: CIC to take final call tomorrow

Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, April 23, 2012

Is J&K Bank a holy cow or a public authority? Finally, the full bench — the chief information commissioner and two commissioners — will decide on the contentious issue on Tuesday in Jammu.  The bank argues it does not come under the purview of the J-K Right to Information Act 2009 despite having the state government as 51% share holder.

The bank returned an RTI application last year of Sayeed Naseer-ullah Shah, a member of the Pensioners Welfare Association, seeking break up of vacancies generated in the bank for Class IV employees’ and clerk-cum-cashiers since 2002 to 2010.

The RTI application also sought the list of those selected against these posts. The application, however, touched a raw nerve by asking about “the manner in which recruitment was made” and “copies of advertisements”.

“We also sought information about the selection committee members,” said Shah.

The J&K Bank is the state’s leading bank and surpassed the business target of Rs. 85,000 crore in the FY 2011-12. With more than 548 branches, the bank is spread across 20 states and one union territory. The bank has become a major job provider in the state.

“During a workshop in Kashmir, former central chief information commissioner Wajahat Habibullah said the bank comes under the purview of the Act,” said Shah.

The bank, however, argues that “J&K Bank Ltd is a company incorporated under the J-K Companies Act 1977 does not come under the purview of RTI Act 2009 in as much as it’s not public authority as defined by Section 2(f) of the Act”.

Shah, along with three petitioners, pleaded before the information commission’s office that the state government has 51% share in the bank and should be brought under the purview of the Act.

“All money in the bank is public money and as per the Act such companies have to abide by the Act,” said Shah.

The bank’s functioning, the petitioners allege, is monarchic. “It has becoming a holy cow and untouchable with no accountability or a sense of democratic structure,” they said.

The state’s oldest bank was founded on October 1, 1938 under letters patent issued by the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, Hari Singh, and commenced business in 1939.

It was established as a semi-state bank with participation in capital by the state government and the public under the control of the government. But under the extension of Central laws to the state, the bank was defined as a government company as per the provisions of Indian companies act 1956.

Ever since the J-K RTI Act was enacted in the state, the successive chairmen of the bank opposed the idea of opening up to queries about its functioning.

The case is listed before the full bench for Tuesday in Jammu.










Disclose psychiatric info under RTI? Yes, says CIC; No, says HC;-no-says-hc/940662/0

Pritha Chatterjee : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 02:53 hrs

Do psychiatry patients have the right to access records of their treatment? While the Central Information Commission (CIC) directed a mental health hospital to provide this information to a patient, the hospital has moved court citing confidentiality.

The Delhi High Court has given the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) a stay order against disclosing the information till the next hearing in September.

The case pertains to a 32-year-old married woman. She was admitted to IHABS in April 2011 by the hospital’s mobile health unit from her Gurgaon home, after her husband approached hospital with her “symptoms”.

According to Dr Nimesh Desai, director of IHBAS, “Confidentiality of psychiatric information — which includes all information disclosed by different parties related to the patient for treatment purposes — is a very fundamental concept. It is something every psychiatrist promises his interviewees verbally. Unfortunately, till date, India does not have a legal provision regarding this. The unique nature of this information — which includes historical information of the patient, his or her recollections, fantasies, feelings, fears and preoccupations from the past as well as in the present — distinguishes it from other medical records.”

The patient was discharged after four days and has since been staying with her mother in Bhopal. After her discharge, she filed an RTI seeking “the basis for my admission, doctor’s observation, and clinical examination reports, and doctor’s observation…”

Meanwhile, the patient’s husband, too, filed an RTI application, seeking the reasons of his wife’s discharge, “without my information.”

In both cases, IHBAS authorities stated that “the information sought was provided by the patient and her husband, which is sensitive/confidential in nature.”

“The need for discretion in disclosing psychiatric information is compounded in cases like this, where there is a possible marital discord and each seeks such history to use against the other,” Dr Desai said.

The December 2011 CIC order by Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi stated that while the hospital was exempted from disclosing treatment records to anyone other than the patient, “these precedents are not relevant when the information is being sought by the patient herself”.

Arguing against this, in their writ before the High Court, IHBAS said, “that every party disclosed information in confidentiality to the psychiatrist and the hospital should not give it away to anyone, including the patient.”

The disclosure of information contained in psychiatry case records would discourage the patients and their relatives to furnish personal and sensitive information and they would prefer to withhold such information, which would largely affect the treatment,” the writ stated.

Meanwhile, the patient’s family said they were “exploring legal options, on this violation of the CIC order.”









Legal glitch gives B S Yeddyurappa breathing time

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 05.03AM IST

NEW DELHI/BANGALORE: The Supreme Court on Monday provided minor relief to former chief minister B S Yeddyurappa , after it refused to entertain a plea to withdraw the special leave petition (SLP ) pending before a bench against the beleaguered leader.

The Supreme Court bench found no merit in the plea of a senior counsel to withdraw the SLP against the Karnataka High Court judgment of March 7, quashing bribery charges against Yeddyurappa . JD(S) leader Vishwanath , a resident of Ramanagaram , had filed the SLP recently in this connection.

“What prompted you to withdraw the SLP ? Why was the precious time of the court wasted ?” the Bench asked , directing the petitioner to file an affidavit justifying reasons for withdrawal , and posted the case for Monday .Thiswill providethe much-needed relief to Yeddyurappa , as the green bench of the apex court may not immediately consider the recommendation of the Central Empowered Committee (CEC) for a CBI probe into graft charges against the former CM, in the multi-crore-rupee mining scam in the state , till the SLP filed by Vishwanath is settled.

On April 20, the special bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia had withheld its order for the same reason . As the SLP was before another bench , it felt it might not be proper to consider the CEC report at this stage . To avoid a delay in the disposition of the case pending before the green bench , Vishwanath reportedly decidedtowithdrawthe case and make way for an early decision by the Supreme Court on the CEC’s recommendations , when the case comes up for hearing on Friday.

Yeddyurappa’s counsel Prabhulinga saiditisdifficultfor the green benchtodraw any conclusion till the other bench decides the case , as both are similar in nature . “The recommendations made by the CEC on bribery charges against Yeddyurappa are out of its jurisdiction , as the matter had already been settled by the Karnataka high court . We will explain all these factors when we make a detailed submission on behalf of BS Yeddyurappa in a day or two, to convince the court why his case does not merit a CBI probe ,” he added.


JSW Steel Limited has decided to contest the CEC report, which recommended a probe into donations allegedly paid by the firm to a trust owned by Yeddyurappa’s kin. “The reports are not based on any order of the Supreme Court. The company will file its objections on the CEC report before the Supreme Court and contest its recommendations at an appropriate time,” JSW officials said. TNN









Court acquits man accused of offering tea mixed with sedative

PTI | 02:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) A man accused of offering doped tea to a boy to rob him of his belongings has been let off by a Delhi court due to the prosecution failure to prove his guilt. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Pawan Kumar Jain acquitted Sultanpuri resident Zaffar Alam, arrested in February 2011 for offering a cup of tea, allegedly mixed with a stupefying drug in it, to the boy to steal his belongings. While acquitting Alam, the court said there is no evidence on record to establish that the accused had made any attempt to administer stupefying substance to the boy in the tea. The prosecution had alleged the victim had lodged a case with the police that on February 27, 2011 in Paharganj area of Central Delhi, where he had gone for a work, accused Alam developed intimacy with him and offered a cup of tea to him. “After taking a sip of the tea, he found it tasteless, consequently he spit the same and after seeing the police official, he informed them that accused had made an attempt to administer some stupefying substance to him in order to steal his belongings,” the prosecution said. On search, a strip of seven tablets of Ativin, an anti-depressant sedative, was recovered from Alam’s possession and he was arrested, the prosecution said. “From the complainant’s testimony, it is also clear that no article was stolen by the accused. Though from the testimony of witnesses examined by the prosecution, it is clear that the tablets of Ativin were recovered from the possession of accused but mere fact that same were recovered from his possession is not sufficient to prove Alam’s guilt,” the court said. The court added that “the prosecution has miserably failed to prove the guilt of accused Alam.”









Anticipatory bail for ACP after court doubts rape angle

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, April 24, 2012

The Bombay high court on Monday granted anticipatory bail to assistant commissioner of police Anil Mahabole who was suspended by home minister RR Patil last week after a middle-aged married woman filed a complaint of sexual misconduct against him.  The court observed that prima facie it did not feel this was a case of rape.

Mahabole had secured interim protection last week from the high court after failing to get any relief from the sessions court.

After going through the reports and the letter of the complainant to the police commissioner which was treated as a FIR, justice Abhay Thipsay observed that nowhere a case has been made out for rape. “I don’t find any allegation of rape other than a case of sexual exploitation,” the judge said.

Following the court’s query on whether Mahabole has been interrogated so far, his lawyer Rohini Wagh stated that he had visited the crime branch on Saturday.

Additional public prosecutor Rajshree Gadhvi submitted that the investigation is going on and added that Mahabole is yet to surrender some of his mobile phones and SIM cards.

Wagh, however, countered that Mahabole’s three mobile phones and SIM cards have been deposited with the investigating agency.

She also pointed out that the complainant was in the habit of lodging such complaints and gave instances where the complainant had filed such cases against a policeman and a jeweller.

The court also wanted to know whether Mahabole has been suspended from his post of assistant commissioner of police. Wagh said that they have come to know about it from media reports, but he is yet to receive an official communication in this regard.

The court finally held that this is a fit case for granting interim protection while the investigation is going on and directed Mahabole to visit the crime branch on a daily basis till the next hearing on April 30.

The judge also said that in the event Mahabole is arrested, he should be released on a cash bail of Rs30,000.

Mahabole has been in the dock after the Azad Maidan police registered a case of rape against him. The complainant had alleged that Mahabole raped and blackmailed her after allegedly drugging her. The complainant claims that Mahabole allegedly shot a video of her in a compromising position to blackmail her.









Woman teacher denied bail in boy abduction case

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

Chennai, Apr 23 (PTI): A sessions court here today denied bail to a woman teacher, charged with kidnapping a minor boy studying in the school here in which she was employed. Dismissing a bail application filed by the teacher, Principal Sessions Judge P Kalaiarasan said ‘it appears that the petitioner, who is a teacher aged 35 years exploited a 17-year-old adolescent boy, studying under her taking advantage of proximity to him’. Her actions, the Judge said, prima facie fell within the ambit of IPC section 365 (kidnapping or abducting with the intent to secretely and wrongfully confine a person) ‘as she by deceitful means induced the adolescent boy and took him from Chennai to Gurgaon and kept him secretely. The petitioner forgetting her noble profession exploited her own student for her ‘lust’. The Judge said the investigation was still going on and hence the court was not inclined to enlarge the woman on bail. According to the boy’s father, his son had gone to the school on March 4 to attend practical class and since then dissapeared. Opposing the bail plea, city public prosecutor M L Jagan charged the teacher with abducting the plus one student and taking him to Delhi. Pleading for bail on the ground that she had been in custody for the past 36 days and that she was innocent of the charge against her, the teacher’s counsel claimed that the boy had gone with his client voluntarily. He also claimed that the boy was not a minor. After the boy was brought back to the city, he was handed over to his father by the Madras High Court in the first week of April following a Habeas Corpus Petition.









High court dismisses PIL against Representation of People’s Act

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 06.52AM IST

PATNA: The Patna high court on Monday dismissed a PIL filed seeking court’s intervention for stay on election to any parliamentary constituency of a person if he or she does not belong to that particular constituency.

The order was passed by a division bench of the court, comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh, on a PIL filed by Dilip Kumar Mishra.

The court while dismissing the petition said that the provisions of Representation of People’s Act makes it clear that a person who is a voter can stand for election to any parliamentary constituency.

The court said that the person should be an elector and it does not indicate in any way that he or she should be the elector of that particular constituency.

The court cited the Section 4 (d) of this Act which clearly states that the person who is an elector for any parliamentary constituency is qualified to become Member of Parliament.

Directive to Saran DM: The same bench on Monday, while hearing a PIL filed by one Lalan Prasad Yadav, directed the Saran DM to take action against illegal brick-kilns running in the district. The court had earlier directed the DM to submit a report in this regard which was complied with. The DM, in his report, stated that action was taken against some brick-kilns which were demolished on the court’s order and that more action would be taken against the violators.










Supreme sense

The Indian Express : Tue Apr 24 2012, 03:06 hrs

PIL against Lt Gen Bikram Singh alleged a Sikh plot. SC was right to throw it out

The Supreme Court’s dismissal of the public interest litigation that sought to quash the elevation of Lieutenant-General Bikram Singh as the next army chief must bring some sober reflection in a runaway public debate. The traditional calm in what’s been termed civil-military relations has been rudely disturbed. First, a chasm opened up between the government and outgoing army chief V.K. Singh over his date of birth. This was followed by the army chief’s unprecedented act of taking the government to court, his public claim that he was offered a bribe, and the clanging of alarmist bells over the army’s obsolescence. The PIL against the elevation of Lt Gen Singh by several eminent persons, including retired naval chief Admiral L. Ramdas and former CEC N. Gopalaswami, was part of this unfortunate series — it alleged that Lt Gen Singh’s appointment was manipulated on personal and political considerations and, effectively, sought to reopen the date of birth row. Most disquietingly, it suggested that Lt Gen Bikram Singh’s elevation was part of a communally engineered line of succession. The court’s refusal to dignify these charges is a message: the poise and dignity of the relationship between the government and the army needs to be restored as does the army’s ease with itself.

The succession of an army chief is a non-controversial, apolitical event. It has happened by rote ceremony and ritual. India takes the army’s secular, non-sectarian ethos for granted. Even as the polity has been churned by political movements based on caste and religious identity, the army is perceived to be, and has been a parallel universe where narrow loyalties are subsumed, without friction, in an overarching allegiance to the nation. The petition against Lt Gen Singh’s elevation did not just do great disservice to this principle but also sought to prop up an artificial spectre of Sikh officers versus the rest.

By insinuating a Sikh conspiracy to wrest the chief’s post — the PIL alleged “langar talk” and claimed the SGPC played a role in the appointment of former army general (retd) J.J. Singh — the petition trod on sensitive ground. It has taken time but India has tried hard to lay the ghosts of 1984 to rest. The misdirected enthusiasms — or outright mischief — of some highly placed and out-of-work petitioners threatened to test this. The Supreme Court has done the right thing by treating the petition with the contempt it deserved.









Govt aiding illegal encroachments in water bodies: HC

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 01.16AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday came down heavily on the state government over illegal allotments and encroachments in the catchment area of water bodies in the state, saying the government was encouraging such illegality with active aide of its officials. The harsh criticism came soon after the government moved an application demanding that the PIL related to encroachments of water bodies shall be heard by a division bench when the court was about to pronouncement its judgment after several months of hearing.

“There seems to be no intention on the part of the government to deal with the problem of water crisis and officials including the chief secretary are totally irresponsible and have failed to take any action in the past eight months. This shows how the state’s claim on seriously handling the ever-persistent problem of potable water in Rajasthan is nothing more than a mirage,” said Justice M N Bhandari. The single judge bench, which has been hearing a PIL demanding restoration of water bodies for the past several months, was expected to pronounce its judgment on Monday.

However, soon after the court took up the hearing in the morning, the state government moved an application requesting that the matter shall be heard by a division bench as the issue is of larger public interest. This was strongly opposed by the members of court-appointed monitoring committee.

“The state government had time and again assured this court that they would take appropriate steps against encroachments. Even the chief secretary who appeared before the court in March along with other principal secretaries had given an undertaking that the government would itself take a conscious decision to see that the water bodies in the state are restored to their original shapes and dimensions as per law. Now, the government’s application that the matter be heard by a division bench when the judgment was to be pronounced is contemptuous,” contended senior advocate Virendra Dangi, a member of the monitoring committee.

Justice M N Bhandari then directed chief secretary C K Mathew to appear in person, who soon arrived in the court. The bench asked Mathew to explain as to why contempt proceedings shall not be taken against him and other principal secretaries who had earlier appeared along with him and wasted court’s time.

“We know the design behind such applications. It is clear that the government machinery is being misused by a few. There seems to be no seriousness towards the issue of consistent droughts and scarcity of potable water and encroachment in water bodies. Not only illegal allotments have been made, but those were regularized by the government itself in river beds, ponds, dams and catchment areas of such bodies,” observed Justice Bhandari.

Earlier, the state government in an affidavit filed in the court had confessed that the catchment areas of rivers, dams and other water bodies have not only been illegally allotted but also regularised against the law. However, the officials had taken a view that in case the original status of all the water bodies — as it existed in 1947– is restored, it will create law and order problem. As such, the court’s order would be complied effective from 2004 when a judgment to that effect was delivered.

Dangi brought to the notice of the court that Section 16 of Rajasthan Tenancy Act, 1955, bars allotment of any land of water bodies to any private persons.

The bench asked Mathew, “What action did you take pursuant to the undertaking given on March 23. What action has been taken against the erring officials and where is the list of their names?”

“We held one meeting thereafter. We came to know that as per the rules, the matter is required to be heard by a division bench. As such, we moved the application and held no meeting. We haven’t prepared any list of officers as required and undertaken by me,” told Mathew.

Reprimanding Mathew, the bench then sought a direction on the issue from the Chief Justice with a clear note on the conduct of the state government.








Writ petition in SC against HC order on Kalighat temple

Express news service : Kolkata, Tue Apr 24 2012, 07:09 hrs

The All India Legal Aid Forum on Monday filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court challenging the order of the Calcutta High Court banning the entry of the visitors inside the sanctum sanctorum of the Kali Temple at Kalighat. On Friday, a Division Bench of the High Court headed by Chief Justice Jaynarayan Patel gave the order citing security reason. Only the two priest of the temple have been allowed to enter the sanctum sanctorum for performing pujas. Joydeep Mukherjee, general secretary of the forum said that the High Court cannot issue such ruling on religious places. Kalighat Kali Temple is one of the 51 Kali temples in India, which are considered as “Shakti Peeth”.







Resolve water crisis by June: HC to govt

TNN Apr 23, 2012, 10.46PM IST

RANCHI: Hearing two public interest litigations filed for non-completion of water supply projects in Pakur and Sahibganj districts, the Jharkhand high court on Monday directed the chief secretary to hold talks with his West Bengal counterpart, Eastern Railway authorities and the Union surface transport department to resolve the crisis by June 12.

The division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Prakash Tantia and Justice Aparesh Kumar directed officials of the state government to file a reply about the progress in the project by June 25.

Petitioner Neeta Pandey for Pakur and Sidheshwar Mandal for Sahebgunj sought intervention of the court in the matter of water supply system pending in the districts for long despite the fact that government had spent a huge sum in preparing the DPR, plan and other additional work.

Appearing on behalf of the state government, drinking water and sanitation department secretary Sudhir Prasad said the responsibility for completion of the water supply projects in both these districts had been given to one Doshin Valley Water Solutions.

“The company is likely to complete its work by 2014 in Pakur and by March 2013 in Sahebganj,” he informed the court.

Counsel of the petitioner Rajiv Sharma said in operationalizing pump house, availability of power supply was a major concern.

“While water is to be obtained from the Farakka reservoir according to the project plan, the West Bengal government has to supply power for the purpose. Understanding involvement of the two states and other departments, the court has directed the state government to hold talks and resolve the issues at earliest possibility,” he said.








SC refuses to stay HC order to release Cyprus ship

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 00:05 hrs

The government’s plan to eventually auction a Cyprus ship to recover the over Rs 1,000-crore loss it caused by a collision with an Indian war vessel ship did not pass muster with the Supreme Court on Monday.

The government had on Saturday urgently moved the Supreme Court after a Bombay High Court order to release it.

A Bench of Justices H L Dattu and C K Prasad had, however, criticised the government for waking up at the last minute, and posted the case for hearing on Monday.

Refusing to buy the government’s plan to recover the loss, the court said “we wonder how vigilant you are that your naval ship has been hit by a merchant ship”.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jaising argued that the loss to the Indian government was phenomenal and the lost naval ship was “one of its kind” in the Navy.

“And so we have lost even that one ship,” the Bench replied, declining to intervene in the HC order.








HC direction to TN govt on belated terminal benefits

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

Madurai,Apr23(PTI) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay 10 per cent interest on retirement benefits settled belatedly for an official even after dropping disciplinary action against him in 2009 and allowing him to retire from service. Justice D.Hariparanthaman said “since the disciplinary action against the petitioner has been dropped on October 13, 2009,he is entitled to interest for belated terminal benefits.” The Judge said the interest on terminal benefits should be paid within four weeks. The Petitioner S.Kumarasamy submitted that he was working as Assistant Commissioner of the Tirunelveli Corporation.He was issued a charge memo for indiscipline on May 15,2007.But he was allowed to retire. Then the charges were dropped by a government order on October 13,2009.His terminal benefits were settled,without any interest from May 2007, on April 1,2010, it was contended. Hence,he should be paid interest on the belated settlement on all the terminal benefits.









Prima facie no case of rape: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 02.24AM IST

MUMBAI: Dealing a big blow to the Mumbai police, which had booked one of its own, assistant commissioners of police Anil Mahabole, in a rape case, the Bombay high court on Monday observed that “prima facie” no case of rape had been made out.

“Prima facie, it does not look like a case of rape,” said Justice A M Thipsay. “It seems to be a case of an illicit relationship. It may be wrong on moral grounds but we are not here to punish someone for that.”

The court took on record a report of an inquiry conducted by the police. “It seems like they had some kind of relationship. This court does not believe the allegation of rape,” said the judge.

Justice Thispay granted Mahabole an interim anticipatory bail of Rs 30,000 and a surety of the same amount. “A case for interim protection is made out,” said the judge. The court told Mahabole to appear before the investigation officer for questioning every day. Observing that it was not desirable to finally decide on the anticipatory bail application, the court has scheduled the matter for further hearing on April 30.

Additional public prosecutor Rajshree Gadhvi told the court that investigations in the case were on.

The police had registered an FIR against Mahabole last week and booked him for raping a middle-aged woman. The victim had alleged that the ACP had visited her residence a few months ago and offered her sweets. She lost consciousness after consuming the sweets, she claimed. When she regained consciousness, Mahabole allegedly showed her an MMS clip in which she was seen in a compromising position with her. In her complaint she said that Mahabole had repeatedly raped her by threatening to make the video clip public.

Mahabole refuted the allegations and claimed that the woman had been blackmailing him and had sent him threatening messages

. The police had conducted an inquiry in the matter after which they registered an FIR.












HC sets aside appointments of more than 100 principals in UP

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 23,2012

Allahabad, Apr 23 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court today struck down over 100 appointments to posts of principals in PG and degree colleges across Uttar Pradesh which had been challenged as being “improper and arbitrary”, and directed the state to “frame appropriate guidelines” for filling up the posts which fall vacant. A Division Bench comprising justices Ashok Bhushan and Sunita Agrawal passed the order on a bunch of writ petitions filed by Karuna Nidhan Upadhyay and others who had challenged a total of 156 appointments vide selection lists dated May 15, 2007, June 30, 2008 and July 02, 2008. The petitioners had claimed that the members of Higher Education Services Commission “at the relevant time were not qualified to be appointed as members or to hold selection of principals”. Besides, the petitioners had alleged, that the selection was based on “an interview having 300 marks without giving any credit to academic qualifications and experience” and that no criteria was fixed for conducting the interview either. “Conduct of selection only on the basis of viva-voce test without any criteria for conduct of viva-voce test leads to an improper and arbitrary selection. The viva-voce test does not afford the proper criteria for assessment of suitability of the candidates and it is highly subjective, which is capable of abuse because it leaves scope for favouritism and nepotism”, the petitioners had alleged. Moreover, the petitioners alleged, “the entire selection process by the Commission was tainted with nepotism and favouritism which is fortified from the fact that several candidates who did not fulfil the minimum eligibility had been called to appear in the interview for the posts of principals of post graduate colleges and degree colleges and were actually selected… they were not having the qualifications and the experience but still were called to appear, which clearly proves that the Commission proceeded to select the candidates due to extraneous considerations”. The court, while allowing the petitions, directed the Commission to “frame appropriate guidelines for conduct of interview” and take “early steps for filling the vacant posts of principals of post-graduate/degree colleges in accordance with law”.











HC directs IOB to give educational loan to farmer’s daughter

PTI | 12:04 AM,Apr 24,2012

Madurai, Apr 23 (PTI) The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today directed a nationalised bank to provide educational loan to a farmer’s daughter studying engineering in a private college. Justice D Hariparanthaman, passing orders on a petition by the farmer, flayed Indian Overseas Bank for making the petitioner run from pillar to post. He directed the bank to provide loan for the student in three weeks time. G S Jeya Ganesan of Ramanathapuram in his petition submitted IOB’s Thenmalai branch Manager refused to give the loan application despite him making three visits and instead asked him in January last to avail the loan from second year. Ganesan said his daugther was doing first year BE in Coimbatore-based United Institute of Technology. He was the sole bread winner of the family. Being a farmer did not help him meet both the ends and therefore spending Rs 4,44,000 for his daughter’s education was a huge expenditure, he added. A representation he sent to the Regional Manager of IOB, Tirunelveli District, was not considered he said. PTI SSN VS









HC directs SP to file status report in boy missing case

PTI | 12:04 AM,Apr 24,2012

Chennai, Apr 23 (PTI): Expressing dissatisfaction over the steps taken by police to trace a minor boy of Hosur missing since October 15 last, Madras High Court today directed the Kishnagiri District Superintendent of Police to monitor the investigation and file a status report on June 7. ‘We are dissatisfied with the steps taken by the first respondent (SIPCOT police station, Hosur) to trace the minor boy’, a Division Bench comprising Justices C Nagappan and P Devadass said while hearing a Habeas Corpus Petition, filed by Sushil Mandal, the father of the boy. According to Mandal,hailing from West Bengal and working for a private granite company at Hosur, though he reported to the police about the disappearance of his son on October 16, an FIR was registered only two days later. He submitted that while going through the mobile phone and school bag of his son, he realised the boy had developed a close friendship with the daughter of a woman, who was tutoring him for the last two years. Hence he suspected that the girl’s family could be behind his son’s disappearance. He claimed that when he insisted police enquire with the girl’s father, he was told it was better not to act against him as he was in a powerful post. He said he had approached the district collector and even the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell to no avail.










HC absolves Dawood’s aide of MCOCA charges

Last Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012, 22:23

New Delhi: Underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s alleged aide Khalil Ahmed, accused of attempting to extort money from a trader here, was on Monday acquitted by the Delhi High Court of the charges under stringent anti-organized crime law MCOCA.

Upholding the trial court’s order absolving Khalil of the charges for allegedly running an organised crime syndicate under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crimes Act (MCOCA), Justice Suresh Kait dismissed an appeal filed by the state against the judgement of the Special Judge.

The court rejected the prosecution’s argument that Khalil, who was arrested by Delhi police in 2009 at South Delhi here on the complaint of a city-based businessman, was wanted in 34 other criminal cases for offences of extortion, murder, dacoity, kidnapping, assault, intimidation and attempt to murder and hence MCOCA should be invoked against him.

Police also said the accused kept changing his associates in each case.

“The offence under the MCOCA must comprise continuing unlawful activity relating to organized crime undertaken by an individual singly or jointly, either as a member of the organized crime syndicate or on behalf of such syndicate by use of coercive or other unlawful means with the objective of gaining pecuniary benefits or gaining undue economic or other advantage for himself or for any other person or for promoting insurgency,” Justice Kait said.

“In the case in hand, to satisfy the condition of Section 2(d) of the Act, the prosecution has relied upon a list of 34 criminal cases which are filed against the respondent during the period 1985 to 2009. These 34 cases include present one.

The prosecution failed to ascertain whether the offences committed therein was related to organized crime or not,” the court said.









HC is last hope for patient awaiting kidney transplant

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Apr 24 2012, 02:57 hrs

On a ventilator for more than a week now, judiciary remains the last hope for Praveen Begum, awaiting a kidney transplant. Her niece had come forward to donate her kidney to Begum. All formalities were completed and the transplant was found to be medically compatible. This prospect received a jolt when the authorisation committee for human organ transplant at Sir Ganga Ram Hospital rejected her plea.

The committee questioned her husband’s reluctance to be a donor. While declining her request on April 5, it underlined the difference between the financial status of Begum and her niece, suggesting the donation could involve monetary favours.

With no alternative left, Begum and her niece moved Delhi High Court on Monday and seeking to quash the committee’s order.

“When all authorities in Uttar Pradesh, where her niece stayed, gave the NOCs , why should the committee question irrelevant facts? Her niece is a ‘near relative’ under the law,” said Begum’s counsel Vikas Pahwa and advocate B Badrinath.

Appreciating the urgency of the matter, Justice Sanghi called upon Najmi Waziri, standing counsel for Delhi government, to assist the court.

Waziri apprised him that since Delhi was a Union Territory, the appropriate authority to take a final call was the Director General of Health Services (DGHS).

The court issued a notice to the counsel for the Central government and asked the hospital to put all the relevant records concerning Begum before the DGHS by 11 am on Tuesday morning.

“This matter brooks no delay. It is a matter of petitioner’s life and death. If she is entitled to a transplant, she should get it in time,” said Justice Sanghi, while directing the DGHS to decide Begum’s plea within two days.










HC orders interest on retirement benefits

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 07.37AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay an official 10 per cent interest on retirement benefits which were settled belatedly. The court also ordered dropping of charges against him and allowed him to retire from service.

The petitioner, S Kumarasamy, said he had been working as an assistant commissioner of Tirunelveli corporation when he was issued a memo under Section 17 (b) on May 15, 2007. But, he was allowed to retire. Then the charges against him were dropped by a government order on October 13, 2009. His terminal benefits were settled without any interest from May 2007 on April 1, 2010. He prayed that he be paid interest for the belated settlement of his benefits. Justice D Hariparanthaman before whom the petition came up for hearing said that since the disciplinary proceedings were dropped on October 2009, he was entitled to interest on his terminal benefits and that the same should be paid within four weeks.










HC sends custodial torture victim to hospital

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has come to the rescue of a custodial torture victim by ordering treatment for his injuries in a private super-specialty hospital.

Justice K Chandru, who gave the direction, made it clear that it was only an interim arrangement and the question as to who should pay for the medical treatment would be decided later.

C Dhanasekaran was arrested by the New Washermenpet police and admitted in the Government Royapettah Hospital on March 16. The police claimed that he had suffered fractures in a fall from a 40 feet high building. The victim’s teeth were broken, lips torn and legs found fractured.

When his sister Chitra approached the High Court seeking better treatment for her brother, Justice Chandru put a specific question to the government advocate asking how exactly Dhanasekaran sustained the injuries.

In this regard, he pointed out that Chitra had made a detailed description of the circumstances and the manner in which her brother had suffered the injuries.

Giving an insight into the torture techniques of the city police, Chitra said her brother’s legs were wrapped with wet gunny bags and tied with ropes before being beaten with casuarina logs. Two police personnel stretched his legs and stood on his knee and ankle joints. He was hit with the butt of rifles, leaving him with broken teeth and torn lips.

While all this was being done, Dhanasekaran was kept gagged with cotton. “He was denied even the privilege of crying out in pain,” Chitra alleged.

To verify her claims, the judge had directed advocate V Lakshmi Narayanan to meet Dhanasekaran in the hospital, where he was given treatment initially, and recorded his first-hand narration.

The advocate inspected the victim and filed a report, which more or less tallied with the averments of Chitra’s allegations. Convinced that Dhanasekaran had been subjected to custodial torture, the judge referred him to the private hospital and posted the matter to April 25 for further orders.









Haryana govt, police receive HC notice over toll tax collection

TNN | Apr 24, 2012, 07.39AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Acting on an application filed by the Delhi Gurgaon Super Connectivity Ltd (DGSCL), concessionaire of Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway, alleging Haryana cops of allowing vehicles to pass without payment of the toll, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put the Haryana police and the state government on notice, seeking their response on the contentions raised by the concessionaire.

In its application, the DGSCL has sought directions to the Haryana government and police authorities “restraining the police officers from opening the boom barrier illegally and forcibly, and allowing vehicles to pass without paying any toll”.

The concessionaire has also sought directions to facilitate it “in the implementation of the Delhi-Gurgaon Expressway project by providing dedicated police teams to assist in the collection of lawfully authorized toll, to ensure safety and security of life and property, and to regulate the traffic at the toll plazas.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the Gurgaon traffic police were forcibly closing the toll operations and facilitating toll leakage by allowing vehicles to flout the statutory rules and pass without payment of the toll fee at the booths, causing a cumulative loss in excess of Rs 4,00,000 till date.

While submitting that the high court, in its February 8, 2012 order, had observed that the traffic police were not allowed to open the boom barriers, allowing the commuters to pass the through toll plaza without paying the toll fee, the DGSL alleged that every day traffic cops have been brazenly showing its contempt to the court’s order by continuing to open the boom barriers and allowing vehicles to pass the KM-24 toll plaza at Gurgaon without payment of the toll fee. The high court has now fixed May 2 as the next date of hearing for the case.











CPI-ML(Liberation) sit-in to protest HC order

Last Updated: Monday, April 23, 2012, 17:14

Patna: CPI-ML (Liberation) Monday held a sit-in demonstration at Kargil Chowk here to protest the recent Patna High Court order acquitting all 23 persons convicted in the Bathani Tola carnage in Bihar’s Bhojpur district.

Party activists led by its central committee member K D Yadav and state secretary Kunal staged the sit-in demonstration at the Kargil chowk here during the day.

State CPI-M Secretary Vijay Kant Thakur and Forward Bloc leaders were also present.

Talking to reporters, Yadav and Kunal described as “an eyewash” the Nitish Kumar government’s announcement to move Supreme Court against the High Court order.

Lambasting the Nitish Kumar government for ‘patronising feudal and criminal elements,’ CPI-ML(Liberation) leaders said Supreme Court should take cognisance of 1996 Bathani Tola carnage case in which Patna High Court had set aside death sentence to three persons.

The HC had lst week set aside death sentence to three and life imprisonment to 20 others after a division bench of Justices Navniti Prasad Singh and Ashwini Kumar Singh allowed appeals against the conviction order of Bhojpur court on the ground that the prosecution failed to prove the involvement of the appellants in the crime beyond reasonable doubt.

The Bhojpur court had on May 3 convicted and sentenced three persons to death and 20 others to life imprisonment for the carnage in which 21 dalits were killed allegedly by the Ranvir Sena on July 11, 1996 at Bathani Tola in Bhojpur district.


LEGAL NEWS 07.04.2012

NCW to take action in railway employee molestation case

PTI | 02:04 PM,Apr 05,2012

Bundi (Raj), Apr 5 (PTI) The National Commission for Women (NCW) has said it would initiate a probe into the alleged sexual harassment of a railway employee of Ajmer who tried to self-immolate herself. “The commission is going to take cognisance in the matter of sexually harassed railway employee of Ajmer. The commission would first collect the facts and then investigate the matter,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma told reporters here last evening. Terming the sexual harassment of an employee by her two colleagues as a “a heinous crime”, she said, “I would examine the matter personally and necessary action would be taken against the guilty”. Santosh Sharma, a senior booking clerk at Beawar junction under North-Western Railway (NWR) in Ajmer, self-immolated herself on Monday in front of the Divisional Railway Manager’s office, after she was allegedly sexually harassed by her two colleagues Sabarjeet Singh and Bhanwar Choudhary. The victim is reported to have lodged a complaint to DRM and concerned police station but no action was taken, leading her to take the extreme step. Meanwhile, Sharma said that the National Commission has already implemented policies to prevent harassment at offices in private sector, and the same would be enforced in government offices.








Government order cant prevail over Varsity Act

Express News Service

CHENNAI: An executive order of the government will not prevail over the provisions of the Universities Act, the Madras High Court has observed.

It can prevail over only when the said statutes or enactments had ‘gaps’ and did not cover the area by the existing rules whereof, but not otherwise, Justice V Dhanapalan said and declared ultra vires the State government order relating to service conditions of university employees, to the Universities Act.

The judge was allowing a writ petition from Madras University Staff Association and six others, who challenged the order of the Higher Education department dated December 13, 2006. Referring to the argument of Advocate-General A Navaneethakrishnan that the impugned order has been passed invoking the executive power of the State under Article 162 of the Constitution, the judge said any executive order must be in conformity with university rules. Power of the state government to issue executive instructions was confined to filling ‘gaps’ or ‘covering area’ which otherwise had not been covered by existing rules and such instructions/orders must be subservient to statutory rules.

The impugned order defining the service conditions, appointment and pay scales of non-teaching staff of the universities, were covered by the existing rules of the universities. “Therefore, the rules are not silent but are very sound on the particular point and as such, the question of filling up of ‘gaps’ or covering the area which otherwise had not been covered by the existing rules by means of the impugned order, did not arise at all for the State government. If the administration of universities was allowed to be interfered with by the executive according to its whims and fancies, then it would be tantamount to usurping the powers of authorities which are vested with such powers,” the judge added.

As the law had been made by the State Legislature, conferring the power of regulation of service condition of non-teaching staff of the Universities on the Syndicate of the respective University, the executive was not empowered to pass the impugned order. Mere funding to the Universities did not confer any privilege on the State to issue executive orders, so as to interfere with the administration of the Universities, the judge added.









DB Realty approaches HC for vacation of attachment

Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 18:54  

New Delhi: Real estate firm DB Realty, embroiled in the 2G spectrum allocation case, has moved the Delhi High Court for vacation of a Rs 223 crore attachment order of the Enforcement Directorate against it under money laundering laws.

The Delhi HC has now issued a notice to the ED on the Writ petition filed by the firm and their associates.

The agency had attached immovable properties and bank accounts of the firm in January this year under the stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with its probe into the alleged bribe of Rs 200
crores paid to Kalaignar TV.

The ED, according to sources, is now considering legal opinion on the issue.

A Writ Petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court by Dynamix Realty and others praying that orders be issued directing the Enforcement Directorate to accept and issue acknowledgement for FDRs issued in favour of Reserve Bank of India by them for Rs 223 crores against their properties in the 2G case, a spokesperson for DB Realty said.

It also pleaded that the properties which are subject to the attachment order dated January 10, 2012 be released, the spokesperson added.

“The firms have asked for this relief on their accounts and properties so that they can operate these assets and carry on their businesses,” a source privy to the development said.

The value of properties attached of these companies are Dynamix Realty (Rs 134 crore), Conwood Construction and Developers (Rs 22 crore), Nihar Constructions (Rs 1.10 crore), DB Realty (Rs 52 crore) and Eversmile Construction Company (Rs 13 crore).

Sources said there has been one precedent in the recent past where the ED has taken off its attachment orders allowing a similar plea in a case related to Kidney scam kingpin Amit Kumar.

The agency had made the CBI charge sheets in this regard as the basis for their order.

“As per the charge sheets of CBI, a bribe of Rs 200 crore was given by Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd. (now M/s Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt. Ltd.) to Kalaignar TV through a number of intermediary companies in the garb of loan or share application money.

“However, the same was returned to Dynamix Realty (a company of Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka),” the ED had earlier said in its order.

“The details of the charge sheets show disclosures made by the intermediary companies in the movement of the bribe money under the garb of loan or share application money do not substantiate genuine and bonafide financial transactions,” the order had said.









J’khand high court dismisses Rajya Sabha poll plea

Ranchi, April 05, 2012

Dismissing a petition challenging the Election Commission’s order countermanding voting for two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, the Jharkhand high court on Thursday asked the state government to get the horse-trading charges probed by a special central agency.

A division bench of Jharkhand high court comprising Chief Justice PC Tatia and justice A Kumar dismissed the petition of Congress nominee for the Rajya Sabha Pradeep Balmuchu.

The court also dismissed a PIL of Jayshankar Pathak, a Congress worker, challenging the poll panel order and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him.

The court further observed that the state government should get the horse-trading charges probed by a specialized central agency.

Balmuchu on Tuesday challenged in Jharkhand high court the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) move to cancel polling for two seats from the state to the upper house following charges of horse-trading.

The ECI had recommended to President Pratibha Patil to cancel the notification for the two Rajya Sabha seats after Rs 2.15 crore in cash was seized on the outskirts of Ranchi on polling day March 30.

The money was seized from an Innova car coming to Ranchi from Jamshedpur. It was suspected to be payoffs for getting a favourable vote from some legislators.

Five candidates, including two independents, were in the fray. The five candidates are Sanjiv Kumar of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Pradeep Balmuchu of the Congress, Praveen Kumar Singh of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P), and two independents – RK Agarwal and Pawan Kumar Dhut.









EC for CBI inquiry, court verdict a success: Quraishi

Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 20:38

New Delhi: Chief Election Commission SY Quraishi on Thursday hailed Jharkhand High Court decision to dismiss a plea challenging countermanding of Rajya Sabha polls there, saying it was yet another success against corruption and the poll panel will now seek a CBI inquiry into it.

With the rejection of the petition paving the way for announcement of fresh schedule for elections, Quraishi said a decision to this effect would be taken soon.


“It is a success against corruption. We feel stronger now with the high court decision. We will now seek a CBI probe into the matter,” Quraishi told a news agency.

He said, “We are happy that the high court has supported our stand and this is a step which is a great deterrent to the malpractices we were noticing…. Now that we have clearance from the high court, we will request the Home Ministry to ask CBI to conduct an inquiry.”

“Jharkhand HC dismissed a PIL too against countermand with 1 lakh cost! Yet another success against corruption! Time to feel good,” Quraishi also tweeted on the HC decision.

The Jharkhand High Court while rejecting the petition of Congress RS candidate Pradeep Kumar Balmachu praying for quashing the EC’s decision to countermand Jharkhand RS poll, today directed the Commission to order an inquiry by a specialised agency like the CBI into circumstances leading to the countermanding of the RS poll.

The CEC said that the poll panel had already decided on a CBI inquiry but were waiting for the high court’s verdict.

When asked about the fresh schedule for Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand, Quraishi said “the way is now cleared for fresh elections. We will do that soon.”

The CEC also reiterated that the Commission will ensure strict vigilance during the poll to see that honest election is conducted.

The EC had countermanded the RS elections following seizure of Rs 2.15 crore from a car on the outskirts of Ranchi by Income Tax sleuths and Ranchi police hours before the start of polling in Jharkhand. The car in which the money was seized allegedly belonged to the brother of industrialist RK Agarwal, an independent candidate for the Jharkhand RS poll.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has, meanwhile, welcomed the court order in this regard and termed it a “good step”.

“This is a good step and we welcome it,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said today.






SC ruling to end mining around tiger reserves, parks

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 05, 2012

What the Central government failed to achieve in years, the Supreme Court did with a single stroke. On Tuesday, the apex court asked all state governments to notify core and buffer zones in 41 tiger reserves, over 600 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the next three months.

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, mandated every state to notify core and buffer zone in each wildlife area. Despite the specific clause in the law, the state governments had refused to implement it for political and socio-economic reasons.

India’s tiger state Madhya Pradesh had refused to notify the buffer or peripheral zone in Panna tiger reserve citing political constraint. State chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had gone on record against notification of buffer zones and local BJP leaders have threatened agitation if the buffer — home for diamond mining — is demarcated.

In Rajasthan, the buffer in both Sariska and Ramthambore has not been notified as number of resorts and state highways fall in the buffer zone. Similar is the case with Dudhwa tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh and Sahyadari in Maharashtra.

Of the 41 tiger reserves in India, 15 have not notified the buffer area. Except, Valmiki tiger reserve in Bihar, all others tiger reserves have notified a core-critical or inviolate (safe tiger areas) tiger areas. An area of 800-1,000 sq km should be core area and remaining forest land should be notified as buffer. 

According to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), mining or industrial activity is debarred in buffer zones. Only restricted tourism is allowed, an official said. The court’s order could have huge implications as there could be new restrictions on commercial activity in the buffer.

Once all tiger reserves notify core and buffer zones, the government plans to ban tourism in the core areas on the ground that human disturbance leads to inbreeding. “Entire tourism would be restricted to the buffer,” an official said. The NTCA has already issued guidelines on allowing tiger safari in buffer zones.

The NTCA has constituted a committee of experts on tourism in tiger reserve which is expected to submit its report by March 17. The committee is examining environment ministry’s draft guideline which proposes to impose 30 % tax on tiger tourism and provide for sustainable tourism.

The Supreme Court had sought tiger tourism guidelines once the committee submits its report and is expected to issues directions on tourism in and around tiger reserves.

The court’s order came on an innocuous petition, where Right To Information activist Ajay Dubey, had challenged the decision of the Madhya Pradesh high court not to ban tourism activity inside core areas of tiger reserves in the state. The NTCA had supported Dubey’s petition.










Karnataka: Judgment copy delay its appellants

Umesh R Yadav

BANGALORE: Appellants have been unable to approach higher courts due to delay by the Karnataka High Court in issuing judgment copies. Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia had recently directed all High Courts and lower courts to issue judgment copies to petitioners and respondents quickly.
Advocates at the Karnataka High Court complain that judgment copies are delayed by three to six months.
They say that during the tenure of Chief Justice J S Khehar, orders were being updated daily on his orders.
But now, with the exception of the order copy in B S Yeddyurappa’s case, which was uploaded on the court’s website within an hour, most orders are being delayed.
When Express contacted High Court Registrar General P Krishna Bhat, he directed us to the systems administrator, who said that depending on the public interest and direction of the Chief Justice, order copies are uploaded promptly.
“Since Yeddyurappa’s case generated a lot of public interest, we uploaded it within an hour,” he said.
Advocate G R Mohan said that if pronouncement of the judgment is oral, then the copy is uploaded quickly but if it is a dictation in the open court hall, it can take up to six months to sign the judgment copy though it shouldn’t take more than a week.






Justify the rationale behind rise in service tax: Delhi high court

NEW DELHI: Wondering why customers going to city hotels and restaurants should pay such a high service tax on their bills, the Delhi high court has asked the government to respond.

During a recent hearing of a PIL filed by an association of hotels, a bench comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked standing counsel for Centre, Neeraj Chaudhari, to justify the rationale for increase in service tax.

“There has to be some rationale. We have observed that service tax component is quite large in hotel bills. service tax plus VAT becomes a very big amount,” the bench remarked, giving last opportunity to the central government to file a response, failing which, the bench warned that it will proceed with the PIL without the government’s reply. HC was hearing a PIL filed by federation of hotels and restaurants challenging the amendments made by the government to the Finance Act last year.

According to the amendments, the service tax net was widened to make hotels liable to pay enhanced tax. The PIL informs HC this has resulted in double liability for the hotels, restaurants, inns and guest house owners, because the Finance Act now includes “AC restaurants having license to sell liquor and food” under the VAT liability.

The petitioners argued that it is only the state government and its legislature that can decide on taxing sale of food and beverages and the Centre has no role to play. “Parliament has no role because as per the Constitution, this issue falls in the state list” the PIL claims, faulting the centre for broadening the service tax net that has resulted in customers paying much more than before.

Despite the PIL having been filed in November last year, the government has failed to come up with a response, the hotel federation pointed out. They have urged the court to stay the enhanced service tax or go ahead and decide the case without waiting for a reply as delay meant hotels were being burdened with liability of service tax.

HC has given a last opportunity to the centre to file a reply by April 17.





Murky forces that are targeting Gen VK Singh

Seema Mustafa | Friday, April 6, 2012

Chief of army staff General VK Singh blocked the appointment of then director general, defence intelligence agency, Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh, as chairman, National Technical Research Organisation, shortly after being offered the alleged bribe in the Tatra truck deal. He also red-flagged the Tatra contract, ensuring that the remaining order for 600-odd trucks was stopped. This has not been cleared till date.

General Singh had rushed to defence minister AK Antony to report the alleged offer of a bribe by Lt General Tejinder Singh to clear the Tatra file. Antony did not take cognisance of the serious charge by the chief, merely asking the general to take action as he thought best.

Sections of the media have reported that home minister P Chidambaram was pushing Lt General Tejinder Singh’s case for the NTRO top post. Significantly, the reports have not been denied, giving credence to speculation within the army that the retired DIA chief has high levels of political patronage.

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Lt General Tejinder Singh, who dropped out of public view after the action taken by the army chief, has been very active recently against the army chief. Informed sources spoke of a taped conversation between Lt General Tejinder Singh and a senior army official where the former, referring to General VK Singh, said using an abusive word that there was enough to keep the latter active defending himself for two years. This information could not be independently verified, with the sources maintaining that the army did not want to release a tape as it did not want to compromise the other officer.

Senior defence officers, including former chief of naval staff, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, claimed that the army chief was the target of a politicians-arms dealers nexus. Significantly the public interest litigation filed in the Supreme Court by a retired naval chief, a senior journalist, a retired chief election commissioner, a former bureaucrat and three officers goes into details of the larger politics surrounding General VK Singh’s so-called age controversy.

Seeking to restore the army’s ‘institutional integrity’, the PIL step by step unravels some of the murky goings on behind the scenes. It points to the far-from-exemplary role of former army chiefs JJ Singh and, to a lesser extent, Deepak Kapoor, in determining the line of succession in the army with sections of the political leadership. It speaks of how the chiefs used the boards of at least four or five senior officers to move them from the line of succession, focusing on Major General Ravi Arora in detail. The major general was in the same batch as Lt General Bikram Singh, a gold medalist, senior and yet a year younger. He did not get through the major general to lieutenant general board.

The Supreme Court is yet to examine the document and take a decision about whether it should be admitted or not. The petitioners believe that vested interests are calling the shots in determining the line of succession, and in the process bringing the office of the chief of army staff into disrepute. This, the sources said, creates the space for political control with Lt General Bikram Singh and his declared successor, Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag, commander of the Dimapur-based 3 Corps. In the process a general widely respected in the army and described by retired and serving generals as a ‘thinking commander’ Lt General KT Parnaik, currently GOC, Northern Command, will retire without making it as the army chief. However, if the government had accepted General Singh’s date of birth as May 31, 1951, Lt General Parnaik would have taken command. He is seen as an outstanding officer who would not countenance activities of shady arms dealers who still continue to influence the business and politics of defence.









Publication of draft CAG reports no breach of privilege: AG

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 05,2012

New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) The Attorney General is understood to have opined that publication of draft CAG reports in the media does not amount to breach of Parliamentary privilege. In his recent opinion to the government, the AG is learnt to have said that no case of breach of privilege is made out if a draft report is published in the media. The opinion of the government’s top law officer comes against the backdrop of controversy generated over the publication of a CAG draft report on coal blocks last month. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai had expressed deep anguish over leakage of an audit report on coal block allocation and sought from Prime Minister a probe into the source of the leak. Clarifying that details in the media report quoting an audit report were “exceedingly misleading”, he said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the leaked details “are under discussion at a very preliminary stage and do not even constitute our pre-final report”. He also sought Prime Minister’s assistance in finding a “responsible solution to this predicament”. In a June 2010 ruling, the Central Information Commission had told the CAG that audit notes used for preparing a report can be disclosed under RTI and this does not amount to breach of parliamentary privilege. The CIC ruling had come in the wake of opinion given by then Secretary General P D T Achary that disclosing the notes does not amount to breach of privilege of Parliament. His stand was later endorsed by present Secretary General T K Viswanathan.






Gujarat: Ghandy wanted in case of sedition

Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 17:15

New Delhi: The Gujarat Police have approached a Delhi court seeking custody of Naxal leader Kobad Ghandy to interrogate him for his alleged role in guiding Maoist activities in the state before he was caught by city police.

The Gujarat police have moved the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav seeking Ghandy’s custody alleging that he was involved in naxal movement in urban areas and a case was registered against him and twenty other co-accused in February 2010.

The Gujarat Police have registered a case against 64-year-old Ghandy and others under Indian Penal Code for waging war against the country, sedition, promoting enmity, criminal conspiracy and various provisions of the UnlawfulActivities Prevention (UAP) Act.

He is lodged in Tihar Jail since his arrest by Delhi Police in September 2009 for trying to set up base of banned CPI (Maoist) in the national capital.


An earlier plea by Gujarat police for Ghandy’s custody in June 2010 was dismissed by the court as the Delhi government had put a ban on his movement till the case against him is finished.

The Surat police have now sought his custody in the light of March 28 order of a Delhi court absolving Ghandy of the stringent terror charges for want of proper sanction.

Ghandy now stands charged for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and impersonation under IPC, triable by a court of Magistrate.

The Gujarat Police have in its application said that on February 25, 2010, a complaint was registered at Kamrej Police station against unnamed CPI(Maoist) organisers and members for preparing an armed force and guerrilla zone in Surat, north Maharashtra and South Gujarat and other areas.

It said the accused were also creating “internal war between religious minorities in these areas in order to obtain militant cadres for guerrilla zone”.

Police have already arrested twenty persons from various regions in Surat, Maharashtra and Gujarat. In its application, the Gujarat Police said, “Duringthe course of investigation of this crime, it is revealed that accused Kobad Ghandy alias Salim started CPI (M-L) PWG (People’s War Group) in Maharasthra State.”

“He was also in charge of south-west regional bureau and has been providing his guidance and help and co-ordinating the activities of Maharasthra State Committee and Surat area committee, a body of CPI (Maoist).”

It also said Ghandy “sent his wife Late Anuradha Dhandy for spreading CPI (M-L) PWG work in Surat city and knows about the activities undertaken by her.”

It also accused Ghandy of authoring “The Urban Plan” of CPI (Maoist) which emphasised “initiating a strong Maoist movement in urban areas for supplementing ongong Maoist fight in rural areas”.

The agency said Ghandy studied problems, controversial issues of major cities and collected vital data regarding their demography, geography, economy and social structure besides being responsible for monitoring the progress of urban plan in Pune-Ahmedabad “Golden Corridor”, of which Surat city is a part.

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







Dara Singh encounter: CBI arersts MLA, files charge sheet

Published: Thursday, Apr 5, 2012, 14:24 IST | Updated: Thursday, Apr 5, 2012, 22:27 IST
Place: Jaipur | Agency: PTI

Former Rajasthan Minister and BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore was on Thursday arrested by the CBI which also promptly filed a charge sheet against him for his alleged involvement in the fake encounter case of local liquor smuggler Dara Singh in 2006.

56-year-old Rathore, a five time MLA, was arrested by the CBI amid slogan-shouting by his supporters who had assembled at the agency’s local office.

A charge sheet was filed soon thereafter by the agency under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder). The court send him to judicial custody till April 9.

The arrest of Rathore comes nearly six weeks after the CBI arrested absconding Additional Director General of Rajasthan Police A K Jain, who had been named in the charge sheet by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the fake encounter case.

In its charge sheet filed last year in June, CBI alleged that Dara Singh was taken into illegal custody by the SOG officials from Jaipur Airport and driven to a deserted place near Amber where he was kept till October 23, 2006, when he was killed.

“The circumstantial evidence shows clearly that Dara was murdered in cold blood by SOG personnel and the same was duly monitored by ADG Police A K Jain, SP SOG A Ponnuchammi and Additional SP Arshad Ali along with other officials and during this entire period Rajendra Rathore (a sitting BJP MLA) was on telephonic touch with Jain, ADGP,” the charge-sheet had said.

Rathore claimed that he was being implicated falsely at the behest of the Congress government. “I did not know the person who was killed in the encounter before the incident was reported in newspapers next day in October 2006,” the former Public Works Minister said.

“It is very unfortunate that I am being implicated falsely but it is fortunate that you all are gathered here to give me moral support. I will return and resume my work to strengthen the party,” he said before his arrest at a public meeting which was attended by BJP leaders including Vasundhara Raje.

In a statement, the CBI said the MLA had been arrested for an on-going investigation relating to the fake encounter case.

Dara Singh, a resident of village Mundital of Churu district was allegedly killed by Special Operation Group, Rajasthan on the outskirts of Jaipur on October 23, 2006. On a petition filed by wife of deceased Dara Singh, the Supreme Court directed the CBI to take up the investigation.

“The investigation revealed that Dara Singh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy. During the course of investigation, accused persons were examined and given sufficient opportunity to present their plausible explanation or defence,” the CBI spokesperson said in a statement.

A charge sheet was filed against 16 persons including Jain and 15 others under various sections of Indian Penal Code. Out of this 12 accused are at present in jail while three policemen and another person are absconding.

Those charge sheeted in the case were the then Additional DG (Crime), the then SP(SOG), the then Additional SP(SOG), seven sub-inspectors, three head constables, two Constables ??” all of Rajasthan Police and one private person.

While filing the charge sheet last year, the CBI had sought permission of the court to keep the probe open as some other persons could be arrested for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the court accepted Rathore’s prayer of regular medical check-ups, food from home and adequate security in Jaipur central jail where he has been lodged.









Block IIT seat, forget JEE next year: HC

New Delhi, April 06, 2012

A student’s failure to join IIT after clearing its entrance test and blocking a seat after paying the admission fee renders him ineligible to take another entrance test next year as such an act leads to a colossal wastage of the institutes’s financial and other resources, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Justice Hima Kohli gave the ruling, dismissing the plea of Prateek Rohilla, who had blocked a five-year, M Tech course seat in Engineering Design (Automotive Engineering) at IIT Madras by paying the admission fees of Rs. 20,000 after clearing the IIT JEE in 2011.

After blocking the seat, Rohilla didn’t join the institute and wanted, instead, to take another IIT JEE in 2012 to better his result for a course of his choice.

He had come to the high court challenging the IIT-Delhi decision to debar him from taking that 2012 IIT JEE.

“Any course at Indian Institute of Technology is extremely prestigious and every seat is precious and cannot be permitted to be wasted in such a manner,” said Justice Kohli.






Open Pinjore bypass on April 6: HC

HT Live Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh/Panchkula, April 05, 2012

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday dismissed the contention of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to further prolong the opening of the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass by 10 days, which is a part of the four-laning project of the Panchkula-Shimla highway. During a resumed

hearing, the concessionaire company, Himalayan Expressway Limited, submitted that the public had been notified that the highway would be operational on April 6. However, it received a letter from NHAI that the highway could be made operational only after 10 days from the date of publication of user fee (toll) in the official gazette, which is April 2.

NHAI submitted that this 10-day period had been mentioned in the agreement with the company. However, the court observed that on March 22, it had ordered that the highway would be opened after three days of notification of user fee (toll) and NHAI did not make any mention of such a clause in the agreement despite the fact that its officials were present in the court.

It said the stipulation of 10 days was there in the agreement to make public aware of the operation of the highway, but this had been already been done in advance by the concessionaire.
The court ordered that the bypass would be made operational on April 6.

The whole project of the four-laning of Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch, which is a part of the National Highway Development Project, Phase-III, was awarded to Jaiprakash Associates (Himalyan Expressways Pvt Ltd) in 2007 under build operate transfer (BOT) basis. It further gave the construction work to C and C Constructions company.

It is a 28.69-km project, awarded at Rs 295 crore, with 20 km in Haryana, 2 km in Punjab and 6.69 km in Himachal Pradesh. The road up to 17.25 km is till Mallah in Pinjore and then there is a bypass (of about 11 km) till Parwanoo, which joins the main road near the Timber Trail resort. The toll plaza will be operated by Jaiprakash Associates for 17 years.

No reply by NHAI
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) did not file any reply till date to the two notices (February 23 and March 18) issued to them by the Haryana forest department regarding violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 for construction of toll plaza and its offices.

On Wednesday, Ajay Kadian, conservator of forests (north circle), Haryana, told HT that, “We have already issued two notices to them. We will take action against them as per rules. No one can go scot-free.”

On March 26, SK Sehrawat, additional principal chief conservator of forests, ministry of environment and forests, had sought a detailed violation report, including action taken report from principal chief conservator of forests, Haryana, in this regard.

The toll plaza also violates the Periphery Act for which district town planner (DTP) Hitesh Sharma had issued notice to NHAI and Himalayan Expressway Limited. The objective of the Act is to prevent growth of slums and ramshackle constructions, within 10 miles on all sides from the outer boundary of the land acquired for Chandigarh. The penal action on this violation is pending for legal opinion sought by the DTP.









Minors testimony nails mother’s rapists as HC upholds conviction

Published: Friday, Apr 6, 2012, 8:30 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Agency: DNA

Based on the testimony of two minors, the Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of two men who had raped their mother in 1998.

Upholding the 10 years of jail awarded to Dinesh Telang, 42, and Rajkumar Meshram, 44, Justice AP Bhangale observed: “The two children (then aged 11 years and seven years) may not have intellectual capacity to know that their mother was raped, but their evidence do broadly disclose what had happened.”

As the duo is out on bail, the high court told them to surrender within six weeks.

Telang and Meshram had challenged the April 4, 1998, order of the sessions court at Nagpur convicting them on charges of gang rape, house trespassing and criminal intimidation. They were sentenced to 10 years’ jail and directed to pay fine of Rs4,000 each.

The victim lived in a hut at Savitribai Fule Nagar in Nagpur with her mother-in-law and three children. Her husband had deserted her. On August 27, 1991, Telang and Meshram entered the hut at night, threatened her with a knife and raped her. The next morning, the victim and her mother-in-law lodged a complaint. She also identified the accused as they lived in the same locality.

AS Mardikar, advocate for the convicts, argued that the police did not record statements of the neighbours. Also, the hut was latched from inside. Though the trial court examined the victim’s son and a daughter, they did not support the prosecution’s story, claimed Mardikar.

Additional public prosecutor AM Joshi argued that victim was the best witness to depose and there was sufficient corroborative evidence to support her version. The court did not agree with the defence argument that the victim could have raised an alarm. “The victim’s testimonycan be relied upon even without corroboration provided that it inspires confidence in the judicial mind,” the court said.

The son, who was 11 years at the time of the incident, testified that “the two accused were sleeping on his mother”. He said his mother wanted to commit suicide, but he and his grandmother talked her out of it.

“No woman living with her children and aged mother-in-law would implicate herself in the unpleasant incident of rape to take revenge on the accused,” said justice Bhangale.









Clause of transparency in appointing commissioners holds good for Haryana too: HC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, April 05, 2012

On an application alleging that Haryana is still making appointments of state information commissioners without setting up any search committee and without presenting a panel of names before the statutory selection committee, the Punjab and Haryana high court has made it clear that the clause of transparency also holds good for Haryana as ordered by the high court earlier in its January 9 orders for Punjab.

The application filed by advocate HC Arora sought the clarification from the high court about its earlier orders of January 9.

The division bench comprising chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Mahesh Grover said that ‘omission’ to refer to Haryana in the said order was ‘inadvertent’.

The earlier orders were issued on the public interest litigation filed by Arora seeking directions to Punjab and Haryana to follow a transparent procedure for selection and appointment of state information commissioners. He had alleged that both states were making appointments on a pick and choose basis.

Disposing off the PIL, the high court had ordered, “It would be the bounden duty of the state to examine whether the norms that are being followed today in the matter of appointment of state information commissioners as well as certain additional norms that the state government may consider appropriate, should find place in the form of a set of rules or not. Such an exercise should be performed by the state so as to ensure fairness in procedure and certainty in public life.”









HC orders marriage assistance to orphan

Bench directs Thanjavur Collector to handover the money within four weeks

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday came to the rescue of an orphan (a woman) who was made to run from pillar to post seeking monetary aid through the State Government’s marriage assistance scheme.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by A. Nirmala alias Nirmala Mary, Justice D. Hariparanthaman directed the Thanjavur Collector to grant marriage assistance to the petitioner within four weeks under the Annai Theresa Memorial Orphan Girls Marriage Assistance Scheme.

The judge pointed out that the petitioner had lost her father during her childhood days. Her mother as well as brother died when she was in college. Hence, she had to discontinue her studies and eke out a living by taking tuition to school students. Her paternal uncle living in Thiruvaiyaru was her only moral support.

In the meantime, an advocate named Dossprakash came forward to marry her without demanding any dowry. The marriage was fixed on February 12 and the petitioner made an application to the Thanjavur Panchayat Union Commissioner seeking assistance under the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Memorial Marriage Assistance Scheme.

The Commissioner forwarded the application to the Tiruvaiyaru Panchayat on the ground that the petitioner’s uncle was living there. However, the latter Panchayat returned the application to Thanjavur Commissioner stating that the applicant was living in Thanjavur and only her guardian was in Tiruvaiyaru.

Even as the application was being shuttled between the two Panchayats, the petitioner’s marriage took place with funds arranged by the bridegroom. Thereafter, she made an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act wanting to know the status of her application.

Replying to the RTI application, the Thanjavur Commissioner said that her plea was rejected for want of residential proof. However, when the matter was taken on appeal to the State Information Commission, it was found that no such written rejection order had been passed.

After all this, the petitioner had filed the present writ petition. Filing a counter affidavit in the present case, the Thanjavur Commissioner conceded that the petitioner was an orphan and eligible for grant under the Annai Theresa memorial scheme.

Recording the submission, the judge said: “The very purpose of the scheme is to help the destitute at the time of marriage. It is a social welfare measure of the government. The action of the Commissioner was against the spirit of the scheme.”







HC seeks explanation from AUT

PTI | 07:04 PM,Apr 05,2012

Madurai, Apr 5 (PTI) Madras High Court Bench here has sought an explanation, before April 11, from Anna University of Technology-Madurai, as to how affiliation was granted to a private engineering college at a “lightning speed” after though the cut off dated fixed by the state government. Justice D.Hariparanthaman sought the explanation admitting a writ petition filed by the secretary of Nadar Saraswathi College of Engineering and Technology at Vadupudupatti in Theni district, seeking a direction to the Commissioner of Technical Education to approve the admission of 46 students in 2010-11. The judge,who went through the records,found that the All India Council for Technical Education had granted approval for the petitioner institution on Oct 5,2010. After two days, it was granted affiliation for 2010-11. Such affiliation had been granted despite an order passed by the Principal Secretary to Government-cum-Commissioner of Technical Education that the students should not be admitted after September 17, 2010. But, the college admitted the students and filed the present writ petition. College secretary M. Amarnath submitted the college was established in 2009 and it started functioning from 2010-11. The present strength of the college was 46 students as against the sanctioned annual intake of 240 students. The Commissioner of Technical Education recently refused to approve the list of students on the ground that they were admitted beyond the cut-off date,hence this petition.








Can’t quit IIT midway, reappear in entrance test: Delhi HC

IANS Apr 5, 2012, 04.58PM IST

NEW DELHI: Leaving an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) course midway or after confirming the admission will now cost students dear as the Delhi high court has held that this would bar them from reappearing in the entrance test in the following year.

Justice Hima Kohli has upheld the decision of IIT authorities that students who leave a course after confirming their admission would not be allowed to appear in the next joint entrance examination (JEE).

The court’s order came while dismissing a plea filed by Prateek Rohilla who withdrew his admission to IIT-Madras after paying the registration fee last year. Rohilla wanted to appear in the IIT-JEE-2012 scheduled for April 8.

The court said that such attempts by candidates, who once qualified in IIT-JEE and later sought to withdraw from the seat allocated to them, resulted in immense financial strain on the institute.

“In this attempt, the institute would have to keep a seat vacant not just in the first year but right through the course that may extend up to five years as in the present case,” Justice Kohli said in an order passed last week.

“Apart from this, the course is extremely prestigious and every seat is precious and cannot be permitted to be wasted in such a manner,” the court said refusing to accept Rohilla’s petition.

Rohilla moved the court against the IIT decision after it informed him that he cannot reappear for IIT-JEE 2012 exam as last year he withdrew his admission after paying the registration fee.

In 2011, Rohilla after qualifying in the IIT-JEE under the Scheduled Castes category got admission in engineering design (automotive engineering), a five-year M-Tech dual degree course at IIT-Madras.

By making an online payment, Rohilla deposited Rs.20,000 towards non-refundable registration fees and confirmed the admission but did not turn up at IIT-Madras to attend classes.

Later, Rohilla applied again for the 2012 IIT entrance test under the general category. On this, IIT-Delhi, organising the test, informed him March 17 that his application for IIT-JEE-2012 stood cancelled as he was ineligible.

The letter written by IIT-Delhi to Rohilla said: “You have attempted JEE-2011 successfully and had got an admission offer, which was accepted by you by depositing the admission fee and, therefore, you are ineligible to write IIT-JEE-2012.”

As per clause 3.5 of the information brochure of IIT-JEE-2012, which lays down the eligibility criterion for appearing in IIT-JEE-2012: “Candidates who have taken admission (irrespective of whether or not they continued in any of the programmes) or accepted the admission by paying the registration fee at any of the IITs, IT-BHU (Institute of Technology-Banaras Hindu University) Varanasi or ISM ( Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad are not eligible to appear in IIT-JEE-2012.”







Don’t interfere with universities, HC tells government

If the administration of universities is allowed to be interfered with by the executive according to its whims and fancies, it will be tantamount to usurping the powers of authorities vested with such powers and will defeat the very object of statutes, the Madras High Court has said.

If at all, such power can be exercised only after making suitable amendments to the statutes by the legislature, observed Justice V. Dhanapalan while allowing a batch of writ petitions seeking to declare a G.O. of the Higher Education Department of December 13, 2006, which sought to amend the service conditions of the University of Madras employees, ultra vires the provisions of the University Act, particularly the provisions relating to regulation of service conditions.

The grievance of the petitioners, the Madras University Staff Association and others, was that their entire service conditions, including remuneration and classification of various services, were governed by ordinances and statutes made by the Syndicate under particular Acts.

The impugned G.O., which sought to bring uniformity in service conditions of the university employees with that of State government services, overlooking the existing statutes of the university, was uncalled for.

In its counter, the government submitted that it issued the order based on the Dr. S. Muthukrishnan Committee report and subsequent decisions, which could not be faulted with.

Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said there was no doubt that the legislature had enacted the statutes, namely the Acts of universities.

Universities, being body corporates having perpetual succession, had got a separate legal entity and, as such, the rules framed by the government would not be applicable, unless specifically adopted by the universities as per the provisions of the Acts by which they were constituted.

The present executive order, which took away the rights of the Syndicate of university where the Governor himself was the head, was totally unwarranted.

Under Art.162, the executive’s power would extend to matters with respect to which the legislature of the State had power to make laws, but it should not be repugnant to the laws which already occupied the field.





HC questions centre on huge service tax in hotel bills

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 06, 2012Shocked by the amount you are asked to pay as various taxes in Delhi hotels apart from the food bills? Relax. There could be some relief in store as they are under the the Delhi High Court’s scanner.
The court has sought a response from the Centre on a PIL questioning the rationale behind the enormous service tax forced on hotel-goers apart from VAT.

“Even we have observed that the service tax component is quite large in hotel bills… We see that the service tax, plus the VAT itself comes to a big amount. There has to be a rationale. File a reply,” Bench of acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice RS Endlaw told the lawyer appearing for the Centre. The Centre has been asked to file a reply by April 17.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Federation of Hotels and restaurants. Other petitioners include Leela Palace Hotel and CP’s pub Rodeo. The PIL was filed in November but till now, the Centre has not filed a response despite many notices.

Taking a serious note of it, the hotel federation has urged HC to either stay the tax for the time being or hear the case without any counter from Centre.

The PIL challenges broadening of the service tax net by a amendment made last year in the Finance Act of 1994. Two clauses were inserted that made hotels liable to pay increased service tax. According to the petitioners, the effect of the amendment has been two-fold.

Two transactions have been included in the service tax net. AC restaurants with licence to sell liquor and food are required to pay service tax on sales of food or beverages. This is in addition to VAT liability. Hotels, inns, guesthouses, clubs etc are also liable to pay this tax.

“It is for the state government and its legislature to decide taxes on sale of food and beverages. Parliament has no role in this regard as it falls in the state list as per the Constitution.









HC limits powers of state to run varsities

TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 03.38AM IST

CHENNAI: A Tamil Nadu government order aiming to wield the power to make appointments, set pay scales and lay down service conditions for non-teaching staff in state-run universities, has been struck down by the Madras high court. The December 13, 2006 order would enable the government to take over the university’s powers, set uniform pay scales and limit the categories of universities’ non-teaching staff from about 50 to just 6.

Justice V Dhanapalan, declaring the order as inoperative, said: “If the administration of universities is allowed to be interfered with by the executive according to his whims and fancies, it would tantamount to usurping the powers of the authorities, which are vested with such powers.”

The matter relates to an order issued by the higher education department, apparently to bring uniformity in service conditions of non-teaching staff and change the salary and other benefits of the university employees in tune with government employees. It is the government’s stand that different universities adopted different scales of pay to their non-teaching staff. Universities not sound in financial position found it difficult to accede to demands from non-teaching staff to match their salaries with that of affluent universities.

Based on an expert committee’s recommendations, it sought to have only six category of non-teaching staff – junior assistants, assistants, superintendents, assistant registrar/controller, deputy registrar/controller. At present there are nearly 50 categories of non-teaching staff in universities.

The Madras University Staff Association, however, challenged the validity of the executive order, stating that the order had been passed without executive competence. On its part, the university too submitted that the syndicate alone was empowered to appoint faculties and staff, fix salaries and define duties and service conditions.

Justice Dhanapalan rejected the advocate-general A Navaneethakrishnan’s claim that no prejudice or legal injury had been caused to the university employees. He said: “Universities, being body corporates having perpetual succession, have got a separate legal entity, and, as such, the rules framed by the government shall not be applicable, unless specifically adopted by the universities are constituted.”

Noting that the executive power of state available under Article 162 of the Constitution shall be confined only to filling gaps not covered by existing rules, Justice Dhanapalan said that once law occupies the field, it will not be open to the state government to exercise its executive power. “The impugned order defines service conditions, appointment and pay scales of non-teaching staff of universities, which are conspicuously covered by the existing rules of the statutes of universities. Therefore, the rules are not silent but are very sound on the particular point”, he said.

Noting that the order would defeat the very objects of the statutes, the judge said such power could be exercised after making suitable amendments to the statutes by the legislature.






HC to rescue of jailed man who could not pay fine

A Subramani, TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 03.14AM IST

CHENNAI: Can an indigent person be condemned to spend a lifetime in prison merely because he is not able to pay the fine imposed on him? Should he remain in jail even after serving out his actual sentence period as he is too poor to pay the fine?

M Balasubramanian, who was convicted in 41 petty cases and sentenced to two years in jail, is a case in point. Though he had completed the actual jail term in 2004, he is still in prison because he is unable to pay the fine amount of 2.1 lakh. But for the timely intervention of the Madras high court, he would have been made to languish in jail for 252 months till 2025.

Balasubramanian was an office assistant in a bank and indulged in petty offences of small bribes and falsification of records. The CBI registered 41 cases against him.

He was convicted in all the cases and has been since December 16, 2002. The special court for CBI cases here sentenced him to two years of rigorous imprisonment in each case. However, since the sentence was to run concurrently, in effect it meant a total jail term for two years.

The trouble was with the fine amount imposed by the court. The total fine amount ran up to 2.1 lakh.

The usual condition in case of fine is that, in default of payment of the fine amount, an additional jail term must be served by the convict. For Balasubramanian, the total jail term in default of payment of 2.1 lakh was 252 months, besides his earlier sentence. If he were to serve out the default sentence, he should remain in prison till December 2025.

Under these circumstances, he filed a habeas corpus petition stating that on the ground of non-payment of fine amount he should not be jailed beyond the sentence period.

His counsel M Radhakrishnan, invoking the fundamental right to liberty, said the default period should be construed to run concurrently and hence at the end of two years he ought to have been released. Terming it illegal detention, Radhakrishnan said that under Section 30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the default sentence cannot exceed one-fourth of the maximum sentence imposed by the court.

The government, however, cited Rule 242 of the Tamil Nadu Prison Manual and said that while calculating the sentence of imprisonment, sentence imposed in default of payment of fine cannot run concurrently.

Rejecting the government’s stance, a division bench of Justice K Mohan Ram and Justice G M Akbar Ali said the prison rule could not prevail over the CrPC, and added: “When a person is very poor and because of his poverty he could not pay the fine amount and is ordered to remain in jail even after the period of substantive sentence of imprisonment is over, a serious prejudice would be caused to the person.”

Jailing a person even after the period of substantive sentence is an affront to the fundamental right to life and liberty, the judges said, adding: “It is nothing but a mockery of the life and liberty of an individual, a fundamental right as enshrined in Part III of the Constitution.” They ordered the immediate release of Balasubramanian from jail, if he is not needed in any other case.








HC declines to pass order against corporation’s show-cause notice

TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 04.33AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has declined to grant any order against the show cause notice issued by the Madurai municipal corporation to an owner of a building near the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple.

Recently, the city municipal corporation had issued show cause notices to 790 buildings that were constructed in violation of norms on the height of the buildings around the temple. The notice sought explanation from the owners of the buildings for the violation and why action should not be taken against them.

Aggrieved over the show cause notice, Thangamayil Jewellery Ltd filed the present petition seeking to quash the same and further restrain the commissioner of Madurai Corporation and its officials, from, in any way attempting to interfere with the peaceful possession of the company in respect of structure situated at Nethaji Road. According to the petitioner, the company purchased the property in 1996 and on such purchase had raised construction after securing necessary permission and licence from the corporation. The plan approval was granted by the corporation in 1997. Thereafter for the expansion, required further plinth area and put up construction of three more floors and above the existent ground floor construction. In 2002, the company filed an appeal before the corporation. The corporation on consideration of the application had directed the petitioner company to pay additional charges for regularising the plan with the modified structure and payment was also made.

The petitioner said, “While the company continues to pay the property tax, sewage charges and other dues to the local body, the corporation issued a show cause notice to it without authority of law.”

The petitioner also said the authority cannot take action and demolish the building in question, after having collected the fee for regularizing the plan. The company contended that it is running a jewellery shop and materials worth several crores of rupees are in the building. If the impugned order is implemented, it will result in irreparable prejudice to it. The construction raised by it does not in any manner hinder the view.

The structure raised by the petitioner is in existence for over a decade.

None had complained that the building is causing nuisance. The bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice B Rajendran disposed the petition stating that notice issued by the corporation is only a show cause notice.

Therefore, they said the petitioner can submit his explanation to the notice. As the counsel for the petitioner stated that the seven days time for submitting the explanation has expired already, the judges granted 10 days time for the petitioner to submit the explanation.


LEGAL NEWS 04.04.2012

SC refrains from passing any order on top cop Bidari’s plea

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

New Delhi, Apr 3(PTI) The Supreme Court today refrained from passing any order on IPS officer Shankar Mahadev Bidari’s plea challenging a Karantaka High Court’s order, which had quashed his appointment as the state’s police chief, dubbing him to be “worse than Sadam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.” A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad refused to pass any order on the officer’s plea in absence of the high court’s March 30 judgement, which had been challenged, on its record. It asked Bidari’s counsel Gopal Subramaniam to ensure that the copy of the judgement was annexed with the other documents and also requested the high court’s registry to furnish its certified copy to the petitioner. The counsel had mentioned the matter for early hearing. In a scathing verdict, the high court had described Bidari as “worse than Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi” for alleged atrocities on women committed by the Special Task Force, led by him, during the hunt to nab smuggler Veerappan. Dismissing as “without merit and substance”, the petitions by the government and Bidari against the CAT order, the high court’s division bench, headed by Justice N Kumar, had held earlier as “void and illegal” his empanelment by the UPSC and consequent appointment as the state’s police chief. Upholding the Central Administrative Tribunal’s verdict, the high court had said “in the facts of the case, we cannot find any infirmity in the said decision. It is just”. It had struck down Bidari’s contentions “absolving himself of the responsibility” of atrocities by stating he was only deputy commander of the Joint Task Force of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to nab Veerappan and not “omnipresent and omnipotent like Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi.” (more) PTI RB








CAT stays proceedings against charge-sheeted Guj IPS officer

Published: Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012, 21:08 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today admitted Gujarat IPS officer Rahul Sharma’s petition challenging the charge sheet against him regarding submission of CDs containing phone call records related to 2002 riots, and stayed all proceedings against him.

A Tribunal Bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar, hearing the case, also observed that the prima facie charge sheet should not have been issued to Sharma.

It issued a notice to the state government and asked it to file a reply to the police officer’s petition within two weeks. The bench asked Sharma to file, within one week, his rejoinder after government’s reply and posted the matter to April 27 for further hearing.

The bench directed the government to stay all proceedings regarding the charge sheet, filed in August 2011, till the CAT decides on the IPS officer’s petition.

The petition was filed by Sharma last year contending that he was being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission, probing the post-Godhra riot cases.

Sharma’s petition, before being admitted today, was heard at length by CAT on the issue whether he enjoys immunity under Section 6 of Commission of Inquiry Act (CIA), 1952 from all civil and criminal proceedings.

The Section provides protection to a witness, against civil and criminal actions, for statements made by him before a judicial commission.

The government had rejected Sharma’s contention and described his petition as “premature”. It had further claimed there was no connection between the charge sheet against Sharma, whom it accused of misconduct, and his deposition before the riot panel.








CAT stays action against Rahul Sharma

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.03AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Tuesday stayed departmental action against senior IPS officer Rahul Sharma in connection with the chargesheet served on him, accusing him of professional misconduct for not submitting the vital evidence of 2002 riots cases in form of mobile phone records.

A division bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar admitted Sharma’s petition challenging the charges and the show-cause notice served on him, and observed that prima facie the chargesheet should not have been issued by the government. The CAT also issued notice to the state government seeking explanation on the contentions raised by Sharma, who will be filing his rejoinder after the government’s reply. Further hearing is kept on April 27, said Sharma’s lawyer K G Pillai. Sharma moved the CAT last year claiming that he was victimized for deposing before the amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court to probe Zakia Jafri’s allegations against chief minister Narendra Modi and others with regard to the 2002 riots. Last year, the government issued a show-cause notice and then a chargesheet to Sharma.

Before admitting the petition, the bench heard it at length on Sharma’s contention that he should be given protection against any legal action by the state government on the basis of information revealed before the Nanavati commission under section 6 of the Commission of Inquiry Act. The government, however, maintained that Sharma’s petition was premature, as he had not even answered the show-cause notice and there was no connection between the chargesheet and his deposition before probe panel.

Sharma was charged for not submitting the original CDs containing mobile phone records related to the riots period to the investigating agency. Sharma took initiative to gather the data, but after he sent the CDs to then joint CP P P Pande though a messenger, the evidence became untraceable. He had copied the data in his personal computer, and later provided its copy to inquiry commissions and the SIT also.








High court dashes Lanco’s SEZ hopes

Published: Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012, 10:30 IST
By KV Ramana | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: DNA

Infrastructure major Lanco has suffered a setback of sorts, with the Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling that the land being used by the company to build a mega residential-cum-commercial project belongs to the Wakf Board.

Lanco, through its arm Lanco Hills Technology Park Pvt, has been working on developing a residential and IT SEZ in about 108 acres at Manikonda on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The project is touted to be its flagship real estate project. However, the project, which started in 2003-04, has got embroiled in a series of controversies, with the Wakf Board claiming the ownership of the land. In fact, the board claimed ownership of about 1,600 acres that were taken away by the then government and allotted to various companies, including Microsoft, the Indian School of Business, Polaris, Emaar and Infosys.

Following a prolonged legal battle and an injunction from the Wakf Tribunal, Lanco had decided to petition the high court seeking its direction. On Tuesday, justices VVS Rao and R Kanta Rao of the AP High Court ruled that the land – of about 1,600 acres – including the stretch allotted to Lanco Hills belongs to the Wakf Board. The HC has also asked the petitioners, including Lanco and the state government, to file a remedial petition in the Wakf Tribunal. Lanco’s petition was dismissed by the court with costs.

Reacting to the outcome, a Lanco spokesman said, “We are shocked with the order and we will plan out next course of action after going through the order copy. If required, we will approach the Supreme Court and seek relief.”

On the other hand, the Wakf Board is confident of getting the rights over the alienated land back. “Under Section 51 of the Wakf Act, no one has the power to alienate the land except the Wakf Board. Even the Wakf Tribunal has to look at the board for alienation. We will react appropriately to any moves by Lanco or other parties in the case,” Md Masood Khan, the board’s counsel, told DNA.

All along, Lanco has been claiming that the land was bought in an auction conducted by the then government and it had paid the highest amount in the bid to acquire the same. Lanco had paid about Rs4 crore an acre to get the ownership.

The transaction came in for criticism for being the sole reason for artificially jacking up land prices in the area.

Despite the criticism on the pricing and the mode of land allotment, Lanco went ahead with the project with an outlay of over Rs7,000 crore. The company had also started selling the residential units in the project. However, the Wakf Board controversy has cast a shadow on the completion of the project.








NHRC reminder to Tripura on State Human Rights Commissions formation

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.13AM IST

AGARTALA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued remainder to Tripura government to constitute the State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) as per the Human Rights Commission Act 2005.

NHRC chairman justice K G Balakrishnan in a letter earlier this month asked chief minister Manik Sarkar to set up SHRC at the earliest to deal with complaints related to human rights violations in the state.

Earlier, in September last year, the ministry of law and the NHRC had asked nine states, including Tripura, to constitute SHRCs. Even six months later, most states haven’t complied with the directive, prompting the authority to issue a reminder.

Jharkhand is the only state to have constituted the SHRC in the past six months as per the NHRC directive. The eight remaining states – Haryana, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – still do not have SHRCs.

Altogether, 20 states in the country, including Assam, Manipur and Sikkim in the northeast, have SHRCs at present.

Opposition political parties, several civil society organizations and human rights bodies in Tripura have been demanding an SHRC since 2006, but the state government has not responded positively so far. As many as 24 cases related to human rights violation have been registered with the NHRC from Tripura.








Form police panel for case transfers: Bombay high court

S Ahmed Ali, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.19AM IST

MUMBAI: To reduce the burden of several writ petitions regarding transfer of cases from one agency to another, the Bombay high court has now directed the state police to form a grievance committee within four weeks.

The court stated that the director general of police has the authority to transfer investigations from one police station to another station or agency if he has doubts over the probe. The court also stated that the committee may be empowered with the provision of transferring investigations in view of Section 4 of the Bombay Police Act and Section 36 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

State director general of police K Subramanian said he is yet to go through the order. However public prosecutor PA Pol said, “Even if any person is aggrieved by such a decision, he will be able to approach the court. This will not only save time and money of complainant but it will also curtail petitions which are filed in the court without the representations of the petitioner being considered by the competent authority.”

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode passed the order while hearing a petition filed by Ghatkopar-based builder Lalit Vakharia who was seeking quashing of an “false complaint” lodged against him by the Karjat police. In his petition, Vakharia alleged that the Karjat police in connivance with two men had cheated him and instead filed a false case.

Vakharia’s advocate Amin Solkar claimed that despite the civil court’s restraining against the police and the two men, the accused had forcibly taken possession of the property.

Vakharia entered into a transaction to purchase a 27-acre plot in Karjat, belonging to Praveen Thakkar, for Rs 21 crore. He later found that a large part of the plot had been sold to another person.








Manikonda majors to face Wakf Court

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Some of Hyderabad’s juiciest realty projects and IT majors located in Manikonda will now have to trudge to the Wakf Tribunal to defend their claim to the prime land they were presented by the state government. The projects and firms in question include Lanco Hills, Emaar Hills township, Wipro, VJI Consulting, Infosys, Microsoft, and Polaris.

The High Court on Tuesday dismissed writ petitions filed by the state government, the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC), Lanco Hills and others and asked them to approach the Wakf Tribunal where the land allotment to these firms is being challenged by parties and individuals who say the lands are wakf holdings and not the government’s property to gift away.

While throwing the ball in the tribunal’s court, judges V V S Rao and R Kantha Rao also dismissed writ petitions filed by MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi and others challenging the land allotments.“We are of the considered opinion that when suits filed by interested parties are pending before the Wakf Tribunal, it would not be proper for us to dwell on the merits of the case, which might have the effect of rendering the remedy before the statutory tribunal ineffective,” said the judgesAt the centre of the dispute are about 1,654 acres of land in survey numbers 260/1, 261 and 262 at Manikonda village. The government claims the land was jagir land, and accrued to it after jagirs were cancelled. It says it did pay the commutation amount to the successors or legal heirs of the mutawalli.

The government’s infrastructure arm, APIIC allotted about 830 acres of the land to Lanco Hills, but several claimants challenged it in the Wakf Tribunal. The judges said, “this court cannot entertain writ petitions filed by the state and others to whom either the government or APIIC allotted portions of the Manikonda lands. ’’








PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

On the issue of government not bringing a constitutional On the issue of government not bringing a constitutional amendment bill to increase the retirement age of High Court judges for passage in Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was also present along with Khurshid and Home Minister P Chidambaram, said the 114th Constitutional Amendment Bill was taken up for discussion in the winter session of Parliament along with the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill. “We have repeatedly said that Constitutional amendment bills can only be passed if the Opposition extends support. Government has expressed its desire that it wants to bring the bill. If the Opposition does not pass it, we don’t have the numbers to get it through,” Bansal said. The 114th Constitution Amendment Bill seeks to raise the retirement age of high court judges from 62 years to 65 years, bringing it on a par with the retirement age of the Supreme Court judges. Responding to questions on government’s ‘failure’ to get the Whistleblowers’ Bill and the BSF (Amendment) Bill passed in Rajya Sabha during first part of the budget session, Bansal said the Opposition raised objections despite the minister explaining the importance of the two bills. “They had their own reasons that they thought the bills should not be passed then…bills are pending in the live register of the Rajya Sabha,” he said. In response to a question on electoral reforms, Khurshid said the plans of holding an all-party meet on the issue last year had to be postponed with parties busy with the Lokpal Bill. He said once the Lokpal issue was resolved, government will concentrate on electoral reforms by holding an all-party meet. On the passage of Financial Bill, Bansal said discussions on Demands for Grants will be guillotined on May 3 and the Financial Bill could be passed either on May 6 or 7. PTI NAB SKU ACB








Judiciary will take cognisance of Jagir case: Cong

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 22:05

New Delhi: Amid reports that VIP facilities including an LCD TV were being provided to Bibi Jagir Kaur, lodged in Kanjla Jail in Kapurthala in connection with the abduction case of her daughter, Congress today said the judiciary will take cognisance of the matter.

“We do hope that judiciary will take cognisance and ask for appropriate action as per law”, party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters when asked about the facilities being provided to the former Punajb minister.

A report from Chandigarh said a top state prisons official has ordered an inquiry into the matter.





Ex-CJI expresses reservations on Judicial Accountability Bill

Agencies : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 11:38 hrs

A former Chief Justice of India expressed reservations about two key provisions of a bill which deals with complaints against judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, saying it made him feel “a little uncomfortable”.

Referring to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill passed in the Lok Sabha last week, Justice J S Verma said going by news reports, he felt “a little uncomfortable” about certain provisions mentioned in the legislation.

“…if there is a provision in the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill to treat it as judicial misconduct certain observations made by a judge, who is going to decide that…it is very difficult,” Justice Verma said.

According to the revised bill, no judge should make oral comments (not part of the written judgement) against other Constitutional authorities and individuals.

The bill, introduced in December, 2010, was brought to the Lower House with fresh amendments in December last year after it was scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee.

“…that the judges should not comment on that is perfectly alright. But then who is going to decide which observation amounts to judicial conduct. I think that is a matter which requires more reflection,” the former CJI said.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Home Minister P Chidambaram were present when Justice Verma made these remarks at the launch of selected speeches and writings of former CJI Justice P N Bhagwati by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

He said another provision of the bill which “disturbs” him is the one on ‘minor punishment’.

“Now how can anyone who has a case before a judge who has been censured and it has been made public, has confidence in the judgement he is going to get?” said Justice Verma.

He said when he was part of the Bench, senior judges used to call the “brother judge” to tell that something was wrong.

“Can’t we do something which can remain in house,” he said.







2G case: SC likely to hear case against Chidambaram

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 09.49AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is expected to hear on Wednesday a plea seeking investigation against Union home minister P Chidambaram for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation have moved the apex court against the trial court order giving clean chit to Chidambaram in the scam.

Swamy had accused Chidambaram of acting in collusion with jailed former telecom minister A Raja on spectrum pricing.







SC orders states to notify tiger reserve buffer zone in 3 months

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.15AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the state governments to demarcate and notify buffer zone around each tiger reserves within three months, an order that would regulate commercialization of revenue land around these tiger habitats to help preserve the endangered species.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra passed this order after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) informed that about 15 tiger reserves were yet to have the benefit of buffer zone to be notified by the state governments under the Wild Life (Protection) Act.

The Act defines buffer zone as the area peripheral to the critical tiger habitat or core area providing supplementary habitat for dispersing tigers, besides offering scope for co-existence of human activity. The limits of the buffer/ peripheral areas are to be determined on the basis of scientific and objective criteria in consultation with the Gram Sabha and an Expert Committee constituted for the purpose.

A petition by conservationist Ajay Dubey had demanded removal commercial tourism activities out of core or critical tiger habitat in the tiger reserves. The bench felt the purpose would be served by asking the states to compulsorily declare the “core” and “buffer” areas.

Though many states had complied with the core area notification, the buffer zone notification was missing in key tiger reserves of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar.

Issuing notice to the defaulting states, the bench said, “We direct all concerned states to notify the buffer/peripheral area as required under the Act as expeditiously as possible and in all event within a period of three months.”

The erring tiger reserves included Ranthambore (Rajasthan), Panna (Madhya Pradesh), Sariska (Rajasthan), Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh), Palamau (Jharkhand), Anamalai, Mudumalai and Kalakad-Mudanthurai (Tamil Nadu), Nagarhole (Karnataka), Sahyadri (Maharashtra), Valmiki (Bihar), and Pakke (Arunachal Pradesh).

The Court noted that an expert committee of NTCA under the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is expected to submit a report on framing of guidelines relating to eco-tourism in and around tiger reserves. The committee is expected to cover issues related to restrictions on tourism-related activities to be carried out in the buffer areas while keeping core tiger habitat “inviolate”.

NTCA’s advocate Wasim A Quadri said the committee would submit a report by May 16. The matter was posted for hearing next on July 10. Welcoming the SC order, senior advocate Raj Panjwani, who was assisting as amicus curiae, said it would go a long way in protection and preservation of tiger reserves.

By this order, the states were required to delineate the fringe/buffer area around the core zones of tiger reserves, and submit a tiger conservation plan as required under Section 38V of the Wild Life Protection Amendment Act, 2006, to ensure wildlife conservation while addressing the livelihood issues of local people.

The buffer zone constituted of fringe areas of tiger reserve up to a radial distance of 10 km, which had in the past witnessed large scale construction of hotels, mass tourism, and night safaris – all disturbing the roaming of wild animals at night in search of corridors.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority had said that the fringe areas had corridor value and their ecological sustainability was important to prevent the area from becoming ecological sinks on account of overuse of resources and unwise land use.








SC to examine delay in decision on mercy pleas

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 01.59AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would examine all pending mercy pleas on a uniform delay yardstick irrespective of whether it was the case of media-highlighted Parliament attack convict Mohd Afzal or a poor prisoner suffering in an obscure jail waiting for a decision on his clemency plea.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya asked additional solicitor general Harin Raval to submit files relating to every mercy plea pending with the authorities for more than two months and said: “In 18 cases we find the delay in deciding on mercy petitions is between one to seven years. One of them of course is a relevant figure for the media and political parties.”

Hearing a PIL by an NGO ‘Justice on Trial Trust’ and petitions by death row convicts Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and M N Das, the bench was concerned by the inordinate delay in deciding mercy pleas that was not only contrary to the objective of clemency under Article 372 of the Constitution granting the President with the pardon power but also a cause for mental agony and trauma to an individual uncertain of his fate.

Bhullar’s counsel K T S Tulsi presented a chart to the court showing that on an average there was a delay of 293 days on each mercy petition filed with the President. The bench said, “They have committed a crime and the verdict is there. But should they now be discriminated. We find that except in two cases, all mercy petitions are pending for over two years.”

Calling for the files, the bench said, “We would like to have a look at those files. If we are not satisfied that there is no tangible reason for delay, we will issue suo motu notice to Centre seeking reasons.”

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, assisting the court as amicus curiae, argued that the court could be well within its power to commute the punishment to life imprisonment in cases where there was unexplained delay on the part of the executive in deciding mercy pleas.

But, the bench asked whether the logic was true in cases where the convict made a mercy plea long after the judicial pronouncements confirmed the death penalty.

Jethmalani said, “I will not say the accused is entitled to the benefit of delay for which he is responsible. Where the accused has adopted frivolous, illegitimate means that portion of delay may be excluded.”

The bench presented the flip side and said there were many poor death row convicts who would fail to move the court. “Why should the benefit of delay in deciding mercy pleas be restricted only to those who have approached the court?” it asked.

Referring to discrimination in media, which highlighted mostly the cases of rich and famous, the bench said, “Our entire system is discriminatory. Some people get publicity for they are rich. Others do not get publicity for they are poor. The question then is should be keep quite there.”

The hearing on the matter will continue on April 10.








Short-staffed family courts to get qualified counselors

Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.29AM IST

CHENNAI: Couples approaching the family courts can now look forward to professional help with their marital disputes as a panel of 22 qualified counsellors will be appointed, once the members are selected and approved by the Madras high court.

At present, four family courts refer about 40 cases a day to the eight counsellors. None of the counsellors have a background in psychology, an advocate said.

“My client had filed a petition under the Domestic Violence Act recently. She was referred for counselling but inside the room, the counsellor said, ‘How dare you file a case of domestic violence against your husband?’ The counsellors don’t even have the basic knowledge of counselling. It is essential that they have some training in psychology and know about social factors,” advocate V Kannadasan said.

Authorities have also taken note of the issue as a letter from the family court to the Madras high court said, “A lot of complaints have been received regarding counselling at the family court, since most of the counsellors lack requisite qualification and experience in handling matrimonial disputes. Most family disputes occur because of psychological phenomena.”

T C S Raja Chockalingam, judge, principal family court, convened a meeting with psychologists where it was suggested that 10 rooms be allotted for counselling and that a counsellor be assigned just five cases a day.

“The judge made it clear that we should do this as more of a service as counsellors are paid Rs 200 a day. A few psychologists were apprehensive about advocates’ intervention during the course of the evaluation. Litigants need to be comfortable when they come for counseling, so facilities should be put in place for this,” a psychologist said.

Another suggestion was that students pursuing postgraduate degrees in psychology be given training at the family court under the guidance of a senior.






Kerala court grants bail to captain of Prabhu Daya vessel

Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: April 03, 2012 15:50 IST

Alappuzha:  A court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to Gordon Charles Pereira, captain of Singapore-registered Prabhu Daya vessel that was seized after it hit a fishing boat off the Kerala coast on March 1, killing five fishermen.

The Alappuzha principal sessions court asked for a bond of Rs. 5 lakh, two sureties and also asked Pereira not to leave Alappuzha district and report once a week to the investigating officer.

The vessel after hitting the fishing boat did not report the incident but continued its onward journey.

This episode occurred two weeks after two marines aboard the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie shot dead two Indian fishermen, and led to a huge public outcry that forced the authorities to act tough.

The vessel Prabhu Daya was identified by authorities and asked to report at the Chennai port. On March 14, the captain was taken into custody, brought before the court and remanded to judicial custody.

The other two accused include Virendra Kumar Chauhan and Prasobh Sugathan who was sent to judicial custody.

On March 14, Pereira was brought from Chennai by a team of Kerala police officials and was produced before the Ambalapuzha first class judicial magistrate, who sent him to judicial custody to the Alappuzha jail near here.







Court gets chemical analysis reports in Kush Katariya case

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 12.52AM IST

NAGPUR: The prosecution on Tuesday submitted the chemical analysis (CA) report and seized properties before the court of additional district and sessions judge GJ Akarte in the Kush Katariya kidnapping and murder case.

The court has also received the official notification from the government regarding appointment of Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor. The next hearing of the case in now slated for May 4.

Ayush Pugliya, along with his elder brothers Nitin and Navin, were present in the court. They have sought time to organize their defence pleas. Advocate Rajendra Daga assisted the prosecution, represented by additional public prosecutor Jyoti Vajani.

Sources in court said the hearing on charges to be framed against the Pugliya brothers is likely to be held on May 4. The Pugliya brothers were furnished copies of the additional charge sheet.








Allahabad HC orders on removal of dairies from residential areas

2.4.2012 (UNI) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today directed the Municipal Corporation and the police officials to ensure removal of dairies from residential areas of the cities till April 19.

A division bench comprising Justice Umanath Singh and Justice V K Dixit passed this order, while hearing a PIL.

The court has summoned the vice-chairman of the Lucknow Development, Deputy Inspector General of Police of Lucknow and Municipal Corporation officials on April 19 and asked them to apprise the court about their action.

In the petition it, was said there were several dairies in areas in busy residential areas like Aliganj, Purana Hanuman Mandir, Dandaiya, Aminambad and Chowk, which leads to the problems of encroachment and traffic jams.

Besides, they pose a threat on the spread of diseases. UNI









Do not test our patience, High Court warns UT

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 04 2012, 01:09 hrs

Raps UT for dragging feet on making Sector 17 vehicle-free zone; shop owners’ lawyer suggests sharp hike in parking rates

Warning the Chandigarh Administration not to “test it’s patience”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today came down heavily on the UT for dragging its feet on the issue of making Sector 17 a vehicle-free zone. As the counsel for the UT Administration sought time to submit its stand, a division bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari today granted the Administration the last opportunity to place on record its stand by April 20. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Surya Kant told the counsel for the Administration that there should be no doubt that the Court is reluctant in passing an order in this regard.

“Do not test our patience. Do not compel us to pass an order which will have far-reaching consequences,” warned Justice Surya Kant. Asked whether anything in black and white has been filed by the UT Administration to apprise about the steps taken by the officials, the response came in the negative. Peeved, the division bench remarked that the officials of the Chandigarh Administration do not have this much of respect for the Court that at least an affidavit is filed to apprise the Court of its efforts taken so far.

“Nothing is happening except consultations,” the Bench observed. The developments took place during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) arising of a suo motu notice taken by the High Court on a news item published by The Indian Express , which had highlighted the significance of eco-cabs and environment-friendly cabs, innovated by Fazilka resident Navdeep Asija.

Appearing on behalf of the Sector 17 shop owners, noted lawyer Anupam Gupta suggested that the there should be a sharp increase in the parking fees in Sector 17. Gupta also said that during office hours, essentially from 11 am to 12 noon, Sector 17 can be made a vehicle-free zone.

Submitting that the Chandigarh Traffic Police is “withdrawn”, Gupta further suggested that deployment of UT Traffic Police officials can serve an “efficacious purpose”. Assisting the Court, amicus curiae Reeta Kohli added that effective use of underground parking can be made to decongest traffic in Sector 17. A suggestion to make use of a shuttle service for dropping of visitors was also made during the resumed hearing.

Assisting the Court, Advocate APS Shergill alleged that the Chandigarh Administration is not serious about the issue. He further alleged that money has been charged for converting green areas into parking areas.

He said that city beautiful is losing its character. The Bench emphasised that parking space should be made available by the Administration for parking of vehicles.

On the last date of hearing, the High Court had asked the counsel for the Administration to reply on why Sector 17 should not be made a vehicle-free zone after 4 pm. The Bench had suggested that no vehicle should be allowed to enter the Sector 17 market after 4 pm from Lyon’s restaurant (from Sector 15 side) to Sahab Singh (from Sector 18 side).

Senior Standing Counsel for the Administration Sanjay Kaushal had submitted that the UT has taken a decision to make Sector 17 vehicle-free but in phases.







RS polls: Cong leader challenges EC move

Express news service : Ranchi, Wed Apr 04 2012, 03:17 hrs

Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee president and one of the five candidates for the March 30 Rajya Sabha polls that were countermanded by the Election Commission, filed a petition on Tuesday seeking to declare the EC’s decision unconstitutional. A Bench comprising Justices Prakash Tatia and A P Singh reserved its decision, according to the state’s senior standing counsel S K Verma. Apart from Balmuchu, Jharkhand resident Jai Shankar Pathak has also filed a PIL challenging the EC decision.








Delhi HC to CVC: Monitor CBI probe in Kandla Land Allotment scam

2.4.2012 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to examine the status of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in Kandla port land scam in which 16,000 acres of land was alleged to be wrongfully allotted.

A bench comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the CVC and sought a reply within two weeks. The matter is listed to May 8.

The court was hearing a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by an NGO alleging that 16,000 acres of government land was being occupied by people for the last 40 years who are paying a nominal lease to the government.

This land would attract huge revenue if it was allotted by calling fresh tenders to new entrants, the NGO claimed.

As per the petition, the land near Kandla Port was leased out in 1960s to 1970s on nomination basis.

Later to allow new entrants, it was decided that the allotment would be carried out on the basis of competitive bidding but nothing has happened so far, the petitioner alleged.

The petitioner alleged that most of the leases around the port have also expired, and the land is not allotted till now which is in violation of provision of Major Port Trust Act, 1963 and the guidelines of the government.

The NGO alleged that a huge land scam is going on at the port in connivance with shipping ministry officials but CBI is not investigating their role in the allotment of land.

Demanding that the CVC should monitor CBI investigation, the NGO said that CVC must be directed to over-see the CBI investigations into the case.

‘Through this application, the petitioner would like to bring to light the serious shortcomings in the CBI investigation and call for certain urgent orders from this court,’ the petitioner said.

Earlier, the HC on the petitioner’s demand allowed CBI inquiry into the scam.

The people to whom the land has been allotted said they are in possession of the port for the last 40 years, from the time when no one was interested to visit the lonely port.

The ports were being used mainly as a source to make salt by the occupants.

Due to land prices shooting up drastically, private parties are eyeing it to establish fresh ports and the process of bidding was set up to get more money, the respondents said. UNI









HC takes cognizance of tree felling at Anand Agricultural University land

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.05AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court has issued suo motu notice to the Anand Agricultural University (AAU) and the Kheda collector for allotment of gauchar land and decision taken to permit green felling on that land.

Justice A S Dave sought explanation with regards to the decision of land allotment and removal of green cover, when the court came to know about the development while hearing a quashing petition filed by a talati of Manwada village in Kheda district. While dealing with talati Diptiben Gandhi’s petition to quash a complaint registered regarding alleged irregularities in making payment, the court found that in March 2010, Kheda collector granted permission to cut 2,295 green trees situated on the gauchar land allotted to the AAU. This alarmed the court, which ordered impleadment of AAU registrar and Kheda collector in the petition. tnn

After joining the authorities as parties in the case, justice Dave observed that the court needs explanation about allotment of gauchar land to the university as well as permission to cut green trees situated on the plot.

The high court has asked the authorities to file their reply by April 9, when further hearing on the issue is scheduled.

After the state government sold a plot of 400 acre land near Sanad to Tata motors for its Nano plant, the AAU was granted land at seven different places in 2009.








HC directs govt to discuss question of introducing moral edn

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Chennai,Apr 3(PTI): The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to discuss the question of introducing ‘moral’ education as a subject in schools in the state as suggested by an advocate, who attributed increasing aggression by youth due to lack of it. Disposing of a PIL petition filed by advocate V Kashinatha Bharathi, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam directed the petitioner to produce a copy of their order along with a representation,given by him to the government, to the Director of School Education, who should discuss the issue and take a decision as per law. The petitioner, also an office bearer of a unit of Nagapattinam district MDMK, cited various violent instances, including the fatal stabbing of a teacher of a North Chennai school by a student of her class recently. Stating that moral education is not being imparted to students in schools, he claimed that moral studies, physical education training and yoga classes alone would create better citizens of tomorrow. He said he had sent a detailed representation to the authorities concerned on March 1, but that there was no reply till date. Hence, the present petition.










PTI | 07:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

The court held the appointment of Upalokayukta “as void ab The court held the appointment of Upalokayukta “as void ab initio and non-est. Therefore, there is no question of stay”. Dismissing the application seeking leave to appeal before the Supreme Court, the court observed “though we have laid down the law and set guidelines for appointment of Lokayukta and Upalokayukta, it is on the lines of the Supreme Court judgment, copies of which were furnished to the state government by the former Chief Justice. Yet the appointment was made in this manner”. In order to see that there is no “confusion” on implementing this order, the state government should frame appropriate rules and procedures to be followed for the appointment of Lokayukta and Upalokayukta, the court held. “If there is a vacancy in the office of the Lokayukta or the Upalokayukta and the Chief Minister decides to fill it up, he shall communicate to the Chief Justice and request him to suggest a suitable name. There is no scope for panel of names. The name should be specific to the post”, it said. “The Chief Justice must collect information from the records of the High Court, the Supreme Court or any other court, acquaint himself with the requisite data, deliberate over it and proceed with the process of suggesting a suitable name for the post. The Chief Minister in turn should inform other constitutional functionaries in writing”. The other constitutional functionaries on knowing the mind of the Chief Justice have four options– If they agree, inform the Chief Minister; They have the liberty to disagree; Justify the reasons for their disagreement and inform the Chief Minister and thereafter the Chief Minister has to take the advice of all constitutional authorities. If there is a consensus, the Chief Minister may proceed and advise the Governor on the name arrived at for the appointment of Lokayukta or Upalokayukta. If there is no unanimity, he shall consider the reasons given by the constitutional functionaries, the court said.








HC stays criminal action against IPS officer in 28-yr-old case

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Ahmedabad, Apr 3 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court today stayed criminal proceeding against IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma and his subordinate G H Vasavada in a 28-year-old alleged police atrocity case. Justice J B Pardiwala, hearing the petition filed by Vasavada, also observed that prima facie it appeared to be a fit case for granting stay on criminal proceedings sought by the petitioner. Court has issued notice to the state government and asked it to file reply by next hearing on April 27. In his petition filed through his lawyer I H Syed, Vasavada has challenged the state government’s order of February 29 granting sanction under Section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to prosecute Vasavada and co-accused Sharma in connection with a criminal complaint of 1984, registered in Bhuj, Kutch. In the 28-year-old complaint Vasavada and Sharma have been accused of beating up and wrongfully confining an alleged smuggler Ibhla Sheth in the office of Kutch police superintendent. Sharma was the SP of Kutch district then and Vasavada his subordinate. The petitioner’s lawyer Syed alleged that sanction to prosecute the two policemen was granted after 28 years “to settle scores” with Sharma, as there are several litigations filed by Sharma against the State Government. MORE PTI PB PD ABC






Buyers move HC to fast track Noida Extn projects

Ayaskant Das, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.20AM IST

NOIDA: Homebuyers of Noida Extension have filed a writ petition in the Allahabad high court pleading that a writ, order or direction be issued to the NCR Planning Board to take a decision within a fixed time frame so that construction of housing projects can resume. Members of Noida Extension Flat Owners and Members Association, the petitioners, personally served a copy of the petition to NCRPB in New Delhi on Tuesday. Counsel for the buyers’ group, VK Singh, said the case will be heard on April 10.

The respondents in the case, apart from the planning board, are the state government and Greater Noida Authority. “As per the notice served on NCRPB, an appearance has to be made before the high court on or before April 10 to explain why the application made by my client should not be granted,” added Singh.

Petitioner Abhishek Kumar of the buyers’ body said, “We petitioned in the high court that the respondents be directed to take a decision regarding the Master Plan 2021 to give justice to those middle-income families who have invested their life’s savings in housing units.”









HC quashes appointment of Upalokayukta

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Bangalore, Apr 3 (PTI) In yet another setback to BJP government, Karnataka High Court today quashed the apppointment of former judge K Chandrashekaraiah as the Upalokayukta holding that the selection procedure was “not in conformity with law”. A Division Bench headed by Justice N Kumar set aside the January 21, 2012 notification issued by the government appointing Chandrashekariah as the Upalokayukta. The bench, comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice H S Kempanna, found that the selection procedure adopted by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda “is not in conformity with law and hence the appointment is illegal, unconstitutional and void”. It urged the state government and Chief Minister to expeditiously start a fresh selection process as mandated by the Lokayukta Act to find a new Upalokayukta as the post cannot be held vacant for long. The court also suggested guidelines for the selection in which Chief Justice’s opinion will have the primacy. In its order, the court observed that the procedure followed by the Chief Minister in recommending the name of Chandrashekaraiah to the Governor to be appointed as the Upalokayukta was not in accordance with law. The procedure “violates the statutory mandate as consultation with the Chief Justice is a sine qua non before he advises Governor and recommends the name……” Therefore the order of appointment made by the Chief Minister was “void and liable to be dismissed”. The petitions challenging the appointment of Chandrashekaraiah as Upalokayukta and seeking quashing of the appointment are allowed, the bench said. The court further dismissed oral plea by counsel for Chandrashekaraiah seeking eight weeks stay of the order and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. The court recently quashed appointment of Shankar Bidari as DGP and IGP. (MORE)










West Delhi MP in trouble: HC asks trial court to consider summons

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:04 hrs

While he campaigns for his brother’s wife who is contesting a Delhi municipal seat, legal trouble seems to be brewing for Mahabal Mishra, Congress MP from West Delhi.

Noting that there were specific allegations against Mishra, his wife Urmila Mishra, daughter Kiran and brother Hira Mishra, the Delhi High Court has asked a trial court to “consider provisions” under which they “can be summoned” in connection with a 2006 case involving charges of kidnapping, rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

Justice M L Mehta allowed a petition by the victim and her father who had sought a directive to the trial court to initiate prosecution of Mishra, a former MLA, and his family members, and also one Kanshi Ram, for their alleged involvement in the case.

The father-daughter duo alleged that she was confined at Mishra’s office in Mahavir Enclave and his brother’s house for some days after being kidnapped and that his family members told her to marry the prime accused who faces the rape charge.

Setting aside the trial court order which, citing lack of evidence and legal provisions, declined to summon Mishra and others, Justice Mehta relied on the girl’s statements before the police and a magistrate while noting that her version was “prima facie enough to show their involvement” in the case.

“At this stage, prima facie view was to be made on the face of material available on record, without doing much and deeper analysis thereof. It was not the stage to see as to whether the girl’s statement wherein she has named aforesaid accused persons and attributed specific role to them, would ultimately result in conviction or not of these persons… I am of the view that miscarriage of justice has resulted and that calls for invoking jurisdiction of this court,” Justice Mehta said.

He sent the matter back to the trial court where the case is at the stage of consideration of charges: “The matter is remitted back to the court of Sessions to examine as to the provisions under which the aforesaid accused persons kept in Column No. 2 in the supplementary chargesheet can be summoned and then proceed further as per law.”

Speaking to Newsline, Mishra refuted the allegations and said the case was “politically motivated”.

“I have no knowledge if I have been asked by the High Court to be summoned. The entire case is a smear campaign against me and my family. I have never known any of the accused persons or the girl’s family. Moreover, the trial court is yet to issue any process against me,” Mishra said.

The case relates to an incident in November 2006 when one Pradeep Sehrawat allegedly kidnapped the 16-year-old when she was on her way to tuition in a West Delhi locality.

It is alleged that Sehrawat kept her confined for eight days at different places, including those under the control of Mishra and his brother, with the help of his father and two uncles. Her father approached the police and a kidnapping case was registered.

She showed up before a local court a few days later and was sent to an observation home. In her statement before a magistrate in January 2007, she specifically accused Mishra and his family members of involvement. Pradeep was arrested in February 2007 while three others were held subsequently.






Kerala HC extends stay on Italian ship’s release by a day

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday extended by a day, the stay imposed on the release of the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie, which was involved in the killing of two Indian fishermen.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V Chitambaresh passed the order while considering a petition filed by the family members of the two deceased fishermen, against the single bench order directing the state to release the vessel. The Division Bench raised suspicion over the maintainability of the plea filed by the owner of the ship, seeking release of the vessel.

The court observed that the petition seeking release of the vessel should be filed before the magistrate court, and stated that it could only direct the magistrate court to pass appropriate orders if a petition is filed.

When the case came up for hearing, counsel for Enrica Lexie VJ Mathews submitted that the bond amount for releasing the ship can be enhanced and that the ship should be permitted to leave the Kochi port The Bench however orally observed that the petitioner cannot file a petition for the consideration of the Kerala High Court, before filing a petition under section 457 of the CrPC.

The court asked the petitioner to submit before it the apex court order which underlines that the High Court can consider such applications.

The court asked the petitioner as to whether the master of the ship had any responsibility in the incident. Counsel however argued that the marines were directly under the control of the ship’s commandant, who is the first accused in the case.

In reply to the court’s query if the master was present at the time of the incident, the petitioner submitted that the master of the ship was not responsible for the act committed by the marines. The court also asked the Advocate General if an application had been filed for arraigning the master of the vessel in the case. Advocate General KP Dandapani said that the investigation in the case was going on. The court adjourned the hearing of the case to Tuesday.





HC slams govt on handling child malnutrition problem

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Bangalore, Apr 3 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today came down heavily on the government for not taking steps to arrest child malnutrition, saying “when there are deaths, you are pushing papers”. When a letter by B L Patil, who works for an NGO, to the Registrar General of the High Court came up for hearing as a PIL before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen, Additional Advocate General K M Nataraj submitted that the government had constituted a monitoring committee for the purpose. At this the court said “you (government) are not doing anything. Children are dying. What made you constitute a committee without our advice. You can take action you want, it will be of no use. When monitored by us, it will be even worse. If you are so efficient, there should be no malnutrition deaths”. Terming the schemes of the government to tackle the problem as “inefficient”, the court observed “you still want to monitor when you do not know anything about it. We don’t have the knowledge about it but we are open to suggestions”. When Nataraj submitted that Rs 785 crore had been allocated by the government to tackle the problem, the court observed that it is a worthless affidavit. “You say funds, where is the fund allocation.You say you will do it, you do nothing”. Describing the affidavit as a political speech, the court observed “when there are deaths, you are pushing papers. There is nothing new in this. How much are you spending on the committee?” When Nataraj submitted a sample food packet supplied across the state by the government, the court questioned “what will you do if this is poison tomorrow. Whom will you make accountable”. The court then adjourned the hearing to April 11. PTI BH MSR APR








Malnutrition problem: HC pulls up govt

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.07AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Tuesday pulled up the government for its inaction and lethargic attitude towards the malnutrition problem prevailing in the state.

“This affidavit is worthless. It reads like a political speech. When children are dying you are doing nothing. All that is done is cover up exercises. All your schemes are proving ineffective one by one. What is your principal secretary doing?” the division bench headed by the Chief Justice asked the government.

‘When the matter is sub judice, how can you appoint a committee? You did not inform the court about this. You are trying to subvert the hearing. You are not involving people who are really concerned about the issue. Instead, people who are amassing wealth and facing corruption charges, are put in charge,” the bench observed. It adjourned the hearing to April 11 after the government promised to take action.

The court is hearing a PIL that was registered based on media reports highlighting severe malnutrition in Deodurga taluk of Raichur district.








HC refuses to entertain Lanco’s petition over land ownership

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Hyderabad, Apr 3(PTI) In a setback to Lanco group which was developing Rs 7,200 crore real estate project here, the Andhra Pradesh High Court today refused to entertain a petition over the ownership of land on which the project was coming up saying the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Wakf tribunal. A division bench of the High Court comprising justice VVS Rao and Justice R Kanta Rao dismissed the petition filed by Lanco Hills Technology Park, a Lanco group company on the ground that the issue whether a particular piece of land is Wakf land or not, cannot be decided by the High Court as it squarely falls within the jurisdiction of Wakf Tribunal. Earlier, the Wakf Tribunal had refrained Lanco from selling the apartments being built on the said land following objection raised by Wakf Board which made Lanco move the high court. The State Government had sold 1,654.32 acres of land belonging to Dargah Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali in Manikonda village to many corporates including Microsoft, Emaar Infosys, Wipro and Lanco. But it was not clear whether the court’s observation would impact all the corporates as they did not want to comment saying they were yet to see the court’s order. Lanco had proposed to build about 30 million sq ft of built up space including residential area, IT towers, malls and hotels. When contacted, a spokesperson of Lanco said they were surprised by the court decision and may approach the Supreme Court. “We are surprised. We will explore all legal options including knocking the doors of Supreme Court,” the Lanco official said.








HC refuses to issue notices on Punjab DGP appointment

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 04 2012, 00:22 hrs

Refusing to issue notices on its petition challenging the appointment of Sumedh Singh Saini as the Punjab DGP, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the petitioner, an NGO, to satisfy the court regarding the “bonafides” of the public interest litigation (PIL).

On Tuesday, NGO Voices for Freedom filed a PIL through its director, Advocate Simranjit Singh, where it sought quashing of Saini’s appointment to the post of the Director General of Police.

Asking the lawyer about the “previous ventures” that the petitioner has been a part of, a division bench of the high court gave the petitioner one week to submit its reply to the court.

“Before we enter into the merits of the case, the petitioner has to satisfy regarding the bonafides of the PIL. The petitioner claimed itself to be an NGO and undertakes similar exercises in public interest.

Therefore, the petitioner is directed to place on record details of the PILs and other activities in which the petitioner is engaged,” read the order.

In its PIL, the NGO has alleged that Saini’s appointment is in direct contravention to law laid down by the Supreme Court.

Referring to a trial pending against Saini on charges of abduction with the intention to murder, the petitioner has demanded action against those officials who allegedly withheld information regarding the trial from the central government. The PIL has been adjourned till April 17.







HC refuses to order second probe into 26/11

Published: Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012, 7:55 IST
By DNA Correspondent

The Bombay High Court has refused to order a re-investigation into the terror attack of November 26, 2008, saying the special court has already convicted Ajmal Kasab in the case.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Jyoti Badekar, who sought restoration of her PIL demanding a re-investigation into the 26/11 attacks at CST, Cama Hosptital and Rang Bhavan Lane.

Badekar had also sought a probe into the death of the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, stating there was a “conspiracy angle” as pointed out in a book by ex-IPS officer SM Mushrif. The PIL was earlier dismissed in default as neither Badekar nor her advocate appeared.

On Tuesday, public prosecutor Pandurang Pol and Union government’s advocate Rebecca Gonsalves informed the court that the petition does not survive in face of Kasab’s conviction. When the division bench of justices SA Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar categorically turned down a re-investigation, petitioner’s advocate Pratap Patil said Karkare is only one part of the issue whereas the PIL seeks re-investigaton of three incidents.

The court allowed restoration of the PIL and kept it for hearing next week.







Enrica Lexie: HC sets aside single judge’s order

The Kerala High court on Tuesday set aside a single judge’s direction to release on furnishing a bond the Italian ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ detained off Kochi port since February 15 in connection with gunning down of two Indian fishermen allegedly by marines aboard the vessel.

Observing that the single judge’s orders ‘deserves’ to be set aside, the court directed the ship’s owners Dolphin Tankers, the petitioner, to approach the Chief Judicial Magistrate court at Kollam with an application to release the vessel within a week from the date of the receipt of the copy of this judgment.

Thereafter the magistrate can dispose of the application within one week, a division bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V. Chidambaresh, said.

The bench directed the CJM court to give an opportunity to the state and others concerned to be heard. The magistrate can apply his mind to the facts of the case regarding retention of the vessel, the judges held.

“It is a matter to be considered by the court which has jurisdiction to consider whether the vessel is required throughout the investigation and subsequently for the purpose of trial or inquiry,” the judges said.

The court which has jurisdiction to consider the case is the magistrate before whom investigation officer has to report the status of investigation. The question of deviation from proceeding would not arise when seizure proceedings are initiated, the bench held.

On March 26, investigating officials had filed a seizure report before the court. Justice P.S. Gopinathan had ordered the release of the vessel on the owners furnishing a Rs. 3 crore bond and an undertaking that they would appear before investigating authorities as and when required.

However, the division bench had stayed the release of the vessel till April 2 and then extended it by a day to Tuesday on a petition filed by the relatives of the two fishermen.

The two fishermen were killed when the marines, Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Gironi, allegedly fired at their boat off Kollam coast. They have been arrested and charged with murder and is in prison under judicial remand.







HC confirms life term for 80-year-old man

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 03.41AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently upheld the life imprisonment sentence imposed by the trial court on 80-year-old Raghunath Sitaram Naik for killing his 65-year-old wife Satyawati at Mencurem in 2007 after she allegedly refused to have sex with him.

The prosecution alleged that on August 11, 2007, the accused assaulted Satyawati in their bedroom and she subsequently died due to the injuries.

The investigating officer had deposed before the trial court that the motive behind the offence was the deceased’s refusal to entertain her husband’s sexual advances. The additional sessions court had convicted Naik of murder. The accused had challenged the punishment given to him before the high court.

During the hearing in the HC, Ryan Menezes appearing for Naik argued that the accused had not intended to kill his wife. He pointed out that no weapon was used to assault Satyawati. Public prosecutor CA Ferreira argued that the accused had pleaded guilty to the charge and this was an additional factor that strengthened the prosecution’s case. Ferreira said Raghunath and Satyawati were the only persons in the house at the time of the incident, which proved that the accused had caused the injuries.

Confirming the sentence imposed under Section 302 of IPC, a division bench comprising Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice UV Bakre said, “Looking at the nature of the injuries caused to the deceased, it can be easily understood that the accused had brutally assaulted the deceased by inflicting on her injuries which he knew to be so imminently dangerous that they would in all probability cause death.”







Muslims hail HC ruling

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 03.30AM IST

HYDERABAD: Muslims across the city welcomed the high court judgment in favour of the state Wakf Board in the Manikonda land case on Tuesday. Jubilation was not limited to the Haj House which houses the Wakf Board. Activists involved in the protection of wakf land described the judgment as a ‘landmark decision’, one which proved that the judiciary is ‘secular, powerful and independent’. The Wakf Board is anticipating moves of the opposition and will take a decision based on reactions to the judgment.

One of the petitioners of the case, Mahboob Alam Khan said that the HC judgment could well mark the end of the politicians’ influence on the Wakf Board. “The decision is historic and has set a precedent. The bench reinforced the decision that a wakf property will always remain a wakf property and that its nature cannot be altered. We have taken steps to file a caveat in case the opposition decides to approach the Supreme Court,” he said. Khan traces the mismanagement of wakf lands to the tenure of Chandrababu Naidu and says that irregularities gained momentum during Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s reign as chief minister. Many honest officers were frequently transferred according to the whims and fancies of the politicians. The Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali wakf land was deemed a gazetted property by the government itself, he added.

Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, managing editor, The Siasat daily observed, “This is just the beginning of the recovery of wakf properties. The judgment has given us the drive to fight more legal battles to win back our land. The judiciary has discharged its duty well and has given Muslims the hope that the law is with them.” Khan added that he is prepared to fight the case if it is taken to the Supreme Court. A watchdog committee comprising lawyers, bureaucrats and activists has been formed to monitor and fight legal battles against landsharks, he said. “The brokering of lands by means of dubious deals will soon come to an end,” he hoped.

Rajya Sabha MP Aziz Pasha noted that Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali Dargah property had become a symbol of mishandling of wakf land across the country. “Indeed, the judgment has made us happy but there are many more battles to win. The select committee of Parliament has made recommendations for managing wakf land better. Most importantly, it has suggested that if any board member is found to have grabbed wakf land, he should be promptly dismissed from the board. Also a deterrent punishment of two years should be awarded to such member,” he said. Further, Indira Gandhi in 1975 had ordered the government to return wakf land but this has been put in cold storage. He noted that instead of having a board, a commissionerate having judicial powers should be set up. “This way, wakf land like endowments land can be taken back from encroachers,” he added.








HC stays criminal proceedings against Kuldip Sharma, 2 others

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:50 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday stayed the criminal proceedings initiated against three policemen — including senior Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, Kuldip Sharma — with reference to an alleged offence of 1984. A single judge bench of the HC comprising of Justice J B Pardiwala passed an order in this regard while acting on a petition moved by one of the three accused police officers in the case, G H Vasavada.

The incident involved dates back to May 6, 1984 when Sharma was a Superintendent of Police, Kutch district. According to the details, Sharma had beaten an alleged smuggler, Ibla Sheth, along with other accused police officers when the latter had, along with others, gone to make a representation before him as a district police head.

One of the persons in the group that had gone to make the representation along with Ibla Sheth had lodged a court complaint in this regard. And the concerned magisterial court had ordered criminal process in the incident.

Vasavada, a deputy superintendent of police, has challenged

the government action of

granting sanction under section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code to initiate criminal proceedings against the three accused police officers.

Vasavada’s lawyer, I H Syed said, “The incident is of 1984 whereby a smuggler had made allegations of beating against police officers. And the state government gave mandatory sanction to prosecute them only on February 29 this year, after a delay of around 28 years.”

“And this too, after the state government had once taken a stand not to grant permission under section 197 of the CrPC in the same case,” he added.

Syed said that HC has stayed the criminal proceedings at the Bhuj court against all the accused and kept further hearing on April 27.








HC notice to Arushi’s father on CBI plea

Express news service : Allahabad, Wed Apr 04 2012, 03:57 hrs

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Rajesh Talwar, father of slain teenager Arushi Talwar, on a petition filed by the CBI challenging bail granted to him by a Ghaziabad court in the Arushi-Hemraj double murder case.

Rajesh and wife Nupur had to surrender before the CBI court in Ghaziabad by March 14 and face trial in the double murder case. However, the two have not yet surrendered. The court will hear the matter next on May 7.

A single judge bench of Justice Balakrishna Narayana issued the notice on the CBI plea that challenged the March 14 order of the lower court. “Our contention was that the Supreme Court had granted Rajesh Talwar an interim bail till February 4. Rajesh, through his counsel, had approached the lower court seeking extension of his bail on the plea that the Supreme Court had already given him regular bail,” said CBI counsel Anurag Khanna.

Earlier, the CBI had opposed the plea for regular bail, filed by Rajesh Talwar and disposed of on March 14. “We had told the court that Rajesh has still not been granted regular bail by the Supreme Court. Therefore, he should first appeal for regular bail before it is extended. However, the court granted regular bail to Rajesh,” Khanna said.

Arushi, daughter of the dentist couple, was found murdered in her house in Noida on May 16, 2008. A day later, the body of the household’s domestic help, Hemraj, was found on the terrace of the house. The CBI, initially, named three domestic helps as accused. However, it could not find any evidence against them. The agency then filed a closure report in December 2010, which was not accepted and the court asked the couple to stand trial.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected the plea of Rajesh and Nupur to shift the proceedings against them from a Ghaziabad court to Delhi. A bench of justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar said there was “adequate” security in the Ghaziabad court and inconvenience to the Talwar couple could not be a ground to transfer the trial to Delhi.






HC slams woman’s bid to encroach road

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.39AM IST

CHENNAI: Lambasting a litigant’s ownership claim over a prime public road in Adyar, the Madras high court has imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on her, besides directing the civic authorities to maintain the road and clear all encroachments within four weeks.

A division bench of Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice M Venugopal, flaying CT Saraswathi Achi, said Parameswari Nagar 2nd Street in Adyar was a public road.

“She is playing her cunning tactics to delay the proceedings, presumably to grab the land situated in a prime locality in the city, which should not at all be encouraged,” the judges said, directing her to pay Rs 25,000 to the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority within two weeks. M Durairaj, who impleaded in the case and played fraud, too was asked to pay up Rs 25,000 as cost.

The litigation is over the road, which Saraswathi Achi tried to take over by putting up permanent structures. A resident, R Ganesan, initiated a case stating that though the Chennai Corporation had declared it as a public road, the civic agency had failed to maintain it as a public road and install street lights. The matter relates to Achi’s review application and a contempt petition by G Narguna Velan who purchased a property in the vicinity from Ganesan.

Pointing out that the Supreme Court had in 2001 asked Achi to establish her title with proof, Justice Rao said: “Inspite of lapse of 12 long years, she has not filed any such suit till now. Instead, she is clinging on the suit filed by Durairaj to say that the issue with regard to the nature of the road is pending before the civil court…She is a defaulter on many fronts.”

The bench asked the city civil court, which is seized of a connected matter, to dispose it of in three months. Referring to an ambiguous letter issued by the Mylapore-Triplicane tahsildar, the judges also directed the collector to initiate necessary legal and disciplinary action against him.








HC strikes down Maya number plate contract

Ravi Singh Sisodiya, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 07.00AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court turned the spotlight on another scam in the Mayawati regime when it struck down the previous government’s decision to allow a favoured company to supply high security registration plates at an absurdly high rate in the state. The Lucknow bench of the high court also ordered a CBI probe to find out under what circumstances the contract was awarded to Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based company of dubious reputation.

In its last days in power, the Mayawati government invited tenders for high security registration plates in the state and on February 14 this year awarded the contract to the Mumbai firm. But Shimnit Utsch India had been denied contracts in Karnataka and Goa. In Rajasthan, it did bag the order, but it was subsequently cancelled. Nitin Shah, who had floated this company, had been jailed under COFEPOSA. After his two earlier companies had been disqualified, he floated the present one which bagged the UP contract.

In fact, principal secretary, law, KK Sharma – who is called legal remembrancer in legal circles — had at first objected to the allotment of the contract to Shimnit Utsch India, saying the company had concealed criminal antecedents and other material information. But strangely, he later changed his stand and said that non-disclosure of information was trivial in nature and the contract was awarded to the firm which was charging 320% more than what a high security number plate normally costs in other states.

As a result, a division bench of Justice D P Singh and Justice S C Chaurasia took the office of the legal remembrancer to task and requested the chief justice to take appropriate action. The court fined Shimnit Utsch India and the state government Rs 25 lakh each. Significantly , the court directed the state government to hold an enquiry, fixing responsibility of the officials who actively participated in finalizing the contract in favour of the company and recover the amount from them.

Dubious Firm

Maya govt had invited tenders for high security registration plates and awarded the contract to a dubious Mumbai firm The firm , Shimnit Utsch India, had been denied contracts in Karnataka & Goa. In Rajasthan, it did bag the order, but it was subsequently cancelled Nitin Shah, who had floated this company, had been jailed under COFEPOSA Principal secretary, law, had initially objected to the allotment of the contract to Shimnit Utsch India The court fined Shimnit Utsch India and the state government Rs 25 lakh each.

The money has to be deposited with the court within two months.

The order came on a writ petition filed by Celex Technologies Pvt Ltd and others through lawyer Gaurav Bhatia, challenging the contract awarded to Shimnit Utsch India.

Delivering the judgment , Justice Singh said, “The state government may forfeit the security deposit of M/s Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd in terms of tender documents.” The court also directed the state government to readvertise the bid and complete the entire process of fresh allotment by April 30.

“The CBI shall complete the investigation within six months and will apprise the court of the progress of its investigation after every two months,” the court said. The petitioner claimed that the rate quoted by Shimnit Utsch India was excessive and the entire process adopted by the state government was tailormade to suit this company.

“The rate of high security registration plates in the state as quoted by M/s Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd and accepted by the state government is exorbitantly higher than that of Bihar and Tamil Nadu, in spite of the fact (that) the number of vehicles in UP is not less than those state,” the bench observed.







HC: CJ will recommend Lokayukta and deputies

P Vasanth Kumar, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.43AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday set aside the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as a Upa Lokayukta and declared that the names of those helming the state’s anti-corruption watchdog – the Lokayukta and his two deputies – should emanate from the chief justice.

A division bench comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna refused to stay its order nullifying the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah, the second Upa Lokayukta, and directed the CM to expedite the appointment, saying the post cannot be kept vacant.

“It is patently clear that the process adopted by the chief minister before advising the governor for appointing Justice Chandrashekaraiah as a Upa Lokayukta was totally illegal and contrary to the law and constitutional provisions,” the bench said.

The court laid out a procedure for appointing the Lokayukta and his deputies. It said this has to be followed till the legislature amends the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, to formalize the same.

“If there is a vacancy for a Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta post and the chief minister decides to fill it, he shall communicate the same to the chief justice by requesting him to suggest (or) recommend a suitable judge. There is no scope for a panel of names,” the court said while allowing two petitions challenging the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah.

“The chief justice, in turn, will collect necessary information by referring to the records available at the Supreme Court and various high courts… and acquaint himself by holding deliberations with regard to the judge he proposes to recommend, and intimate the same to chief minister,” it said.

“On receipt of the same, the chief minister shall share the name with other constitutional functionaries who form part of the consultation process and hold the same in writing,” the court added.

“The other constitutional functionaries… have two options: they can either agree and give consent, or disagree. Their dissent has to be respected. They have to inform the chief minister in writing, citing the reasons for their disagreement/dissent, if any. If there is no unanimity, the CM has to consider the reasons given by the consultees.

“If he finds that there is no substance in the objections of any of the other constitutional functionaries, he can overrule the same and proceed to advise the governor for appointing the judge chosen by the chief justice. In case the reasons for disagreement are justified, the chief minister has to bring the same to the notice of the chief justice and request him to suggest the name of another judge,” the bench said.







HC objects to manner in which Yeddyurappa appointed State Lokayukta

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday said that the act of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa — who hurriedly appointed a new Lokayukta after the information that he [Yeddyurappa] had been indicted in the illegal mining report was leaked a few days before the submission of the report by the incumbent Lokayukta — would certainly bring a bad name to the Lokayukta institution.

The manner in which he [Yeddyurappa] appointed a new Lokayukta would also send a wrong signal to society and affect the confidence of the people in the institution of Lokayukta, the court said.

“The Chief Minister of the day was indicted in the illegal mining report of the then Lokayukta. He was going out of the office following demand for this resignation. Mr. Yeddyurappa hurriedly issued a notification on July 26, 2011 appointing the new Lokayukta [Shivaraj V. Patil], whose name was not recommended by the then Chief Justice,” observed a Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice H.S. Kempanna in its verdict on the procedure to be followed while appointing the Lokayukta and the Upalokayukta.

As the Lokayukta was retiring on August 2, 2011 in the normal course the successor should have taken action on the report on illegal mining, the Bench said while pointing out that this hurried action of the then Chief Minister raises the question whether the proposal of the name of the Lokayukta should emerge from the Chief Minister or any other constitutional functionaries who belong to the same political parties, or from the Chief Justice.

Why Chief Justice?

In this background and keeping in mind the recent controversy over the selection of persons to these posts, the Bench held that the Chief Justice should get the primacy as other constitutional functionaries involved in the process are politicians and the Chief Justice alone is not connected with any political parties and he is from outside the State. Also, the Chief Justice, the Bench said, will have access to all the records of judges — before they were appointed as judges, their performance, conduct and ability during their tenure as judges, and to some extent to their activities after their retirement, — and hence he should have primacy in recommending the name for the Lokayukta’s post.

No stay

When Mr. Chandrashekaraiah’s counsel made a plea for staying the operation of the judgement, the Bench said it is improper for the court to stay the order after holding that as if the respondent three [Chandrashekaraiah] is not in office and ceased to be in office as it has already declared the appointment order issued by the government as ab initio void and non-est in law.



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