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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