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.



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