LEGAL NEWS 01.05.2012

Telecom Commission to seek clarity from Trai on key recommendations

Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau | May 1, 2012, 09.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: Offering a glimmer of hope to telecom operators, the sector’s highest decision-making body has refused to endorse regulator Trai’s controversial proposals that included a 13-fold increase in the base price for spectrum auctions.

The Telecom Commission on Monday said it will soon seek clarity from Trai on four of its key recommendations. “We will write to Trai no later than May 2 on four issues,” Telecom Secretary R Chandrashekhar said.

“The first relates to its recommendations to auction only 5 MHz of airwaves that restricts the sale process to just one slot. We also want the regulator to clarify how it arrived at the base price for the spectrum auctions and its impact on tariffs,” he said.

The commission will also ask Trai to explain its proposals of mandating rollout obligations (setting up towers in certain number of locations) and refarming (distribution of airwaves in the 900 MHz band that is largely held by incumbents). Under the Trai Act, the regulator is required to revisit its recommendations and come back to the government within two weeks, Chandrasekhar said.

He said the commission decided to go back to Trai after considering the views of its members as well as representations from the industry, which unanimously criticised the proposals. Last week Trai had proposed a 13-fold increase in spectrum prices compared to 2008 and limiting the airwaves sale to a mere 5 MHz in the 1800 MHz band this year, a move that allows only one company to win back its permit.

Most operators have termed the proposals as “flawed, retrograde, regressive” and warned that their implementation would harm consumer interests and lead to prolonged disputes and litigation. The telecom department cannot reject or alter Trai’s suggestions without asking the regulator to revisit its recommendations. Another member of the commission said they will also ask Trai to explain why it has sought delay of 4G auctions.

“Trai has said that 4G auctions must happen in 2014-15 when the ecosystem matures. If that is the case, why did it recommend the base price for frequencies now?” this member asked. Norway’s Telenor, meanwhile, said it was taking a writedown on its remaining Indian assets valued at 3.9 billion Norwegian crowns (approx Rs 3,577 crore) and added that Trai’s recommendations had increased the uncertainty in the sector significantly.

Following the Supreme Court’s February 2 orders, which quashed all licences awarded in the controversial 2008 sale by former telecom minister A Raja, Telenor had already written down 4.2 billion crowns (Rs 3,852 crore) related to its Indian assets.

“As a precautionary measure, Telenor ASA has decided to write down the remaining fixed and intangible assets in India amounting to NOK 3.9 billion (NOK 2.6 billion after non-controlling interests). The writedown will be included in Telenor’s results for the first quarter 2012, to be presented on May 8,” said a Telenor Group spokesman.

After the write down, the firm had no further accounting exposure related to India, as of March 31. ET on Monday reported that Telenor had warned that it would exit India if the government accepts Trai’s proposals, especially on the quantum of airwaves to be sold and the rollout obligations.

Telecom Commission’s Chandrashekhar said it wanted clarity on the number of slots to be auctioned. While nine companies have lost licences after the court decision, 5 MHz of airwaves is sufficient only for one operator.

“Trai said that auctioning more than 5 MHz in the 1800 MHz band would impact refarming (redistribution of 900 MHz band and substituting this with frequencies in the 1800 MHz band). We want Trai to clarify if the quantum of spectrum reserved for refarming can be reduced. We also want clarity on modalities of refarming. But this does not imply that we are against refarming,” Chandrashekhar said.

He said the Telecom Commission will meet again after mid-May to consider Trai’s response.

The Empowered Group of Ministers headed by finance minister Pranab Mukherjee will take a final call on all issues related to the spectrum auctions. This EGoM was scheduled to meet on May 2, but this may be deferred. “The EGoM can take a decision only after the telecom ministry sends its views to it,” a telecom ministry official said.

Last week, the chief executives of Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea, Uninor and Videocon, in a joint communication to telecom minister Kapil Sibal, alleged that the regulator had not carried out any study to examine the socio-techno-economic aspects and ignored contractual and other rights of the affected operators in its recommendations on refarming

In a related development, international news wires reported that foreign companies plan to not participate in India’s upcoming spectrum auctions. These reports said Australia’s Telstra and Sweden’s TeliaSonera will not bid in the auctions.The SC last week ordered the government to conduct 2G spectrum auctions by August 31, rejecting the Centre’s plea that it required 400 days to complete the process. It allowed the nine mobile companies whose licences were cancelled to continue operations till September 7.

Activist flays Haryana govt for delay in action against two officers

Vishal Joshi , Hindustan Times
Panipat , May 01, 2012

Demanding a compensation of Rs. 50 lakh for mental harassment he had undergone, an activist fighting for the rights of factory workers has flayed the Haryana government for delay in initiating action against the two senior state bureaucrats following their indictment for furnishing “false” information before National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).

Former state convener of Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), PP Kapoor, has shot off a letter to chief secretary PK Chaudhary (HT has a copy) to demand the compensation money and threatened to move a court of law if the Haryana government failed to initiate time-bound action, including registration of a criminal complaint, against both the officials.

He said that he not only suffered mental harassment but his social image was also dented due to the wrong information furnished by the two officials.

He lamented that even after 90 days of submission of the report by Rohtak divisional commissioner, no action had been initiated in the case.

On April 2, Hindustan Times had reported the contents of a high-level probe conducted by Rohtak commissioner Suprabha Dahiya in which she had categorically stated that Panipat deputy commissioner Rajive Ranjan and sub-divisional magistrate Capt Shatki Singh had submitted wrong information to the apex rights body.

The inquiry report was submitted to the CS on February 1.

The report also stated that in their early official communications to the NHRC, the Panipat district administration had confirmed registration of a criminal case against Kapoor (which was factually correct) but later the administration retracted on the issue.

Presently, the matter is under investigation by Lokayukta and the officials have been given last chance to submit their clarifications by May 16.

Kapoor was booked on the charges for attempt to murder, extortion and several other charges at Panipat police station on November 12, 2005, and was sentenced to five-year imprisonment in the case.

On December 31, 2005, Kapoor lodged a complaint with the NHRC that he was falsely booked for waging a war against the menace of bonded labour in Panipat.

In 2006, the NHRC asked the Panipat district administration to submit a status report on Kapoor’s complaint.

The then Panipat SDM Capt Shakti Singh submitted a report that no case was registered against Kapoor on November 12, 2005.

Later, Kapoor secured police records through the Right to Information Act and exposed on January 7, 2011 that the then district officials had furnished incorrect information to the NHRC.

He contended that had the NHRC been apprised of the real situation, he could have been saved from a jail term in the same case.

NHRC concerned over incentive-based population policy

PTI | 01:05 PM,May 01,2012

New Delhi, May 1 (PTI) Deeply concerned over incentive- based population policies framed by some state governments, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) is mulling to frame guidelines and has sought details from states. The NHRC has written letters to all states earlier this month seeking details of their population policies by May 31. “The Commission has been deeply concerned about population policies framed by the state governments. It has been observed that some of the state governments have adopted the method of incentives/disincentives for adopting small family norms…,” the letter said. The letter written by J S Kochher, Joint Secretary (Training) in NHRC, noted that small family norms were a “gross violation of human rights, particularly women’s reproductive rights. It is mandatory for India to abandon targets and come up with programme that moved away from incentives and disincentives as New Delhi is a signatory to International Conference on Population and Development in 1994. “We want to collect some details from the states. We will study it. Then we will make some policy,” NHRC Chairperson K G Balakrishnan told PTI. The Supreme Court had earlier this month sought the stands of the Centre and various state governments on a plea alleging sterilisation surgeries on women under torchlight, in various places, specially in Bihar, in gross violation of the medical and ethical norms. A controversy had also broken out in Madhya Pradesh last month when an unmarried youth was subjected to vasectomy during a public camp held in Rewa district. Balakrishnan also said the 2011 Census has thrown out alarming information about declining sex ratio. “There are widespread allegations of female foeticide.This is a very unfortunate situation. These things are done in a clandestine manner. “It is very startling that the economically weaker sections are into such things. The most affluent sections of society are also into such things. It is not that the child could not be reared. So very sad situation. We should change the mindset,” he said. To examine the population policy and chalk out a better strategy keeping in human rights, the NHRC had in 2007 constituted a Working Group which devised a reporting format to collect information from all states. “In the meantime, the new Census has been carried out, which reveals that the child sex ratio has decreased from 927/1000 in 2001 to 914/2011 in 2011 which is a matter of great concern. “Besides, during a span of more than four years, a number of developments might have taken place related to population issues in the states,” the letter said pointing out the need for the exercise to find out the existing policies adopted by various states.

Neo Sports entitled to 7% hike in subscription fee: TDSAT to ADAG’s Big TV

Telecom tribunal TDSAT has held that sports broadcaster Neo Sports is entitled to 7 per cent increase in subscription fee for its channels from ADAG group firm Reliance Big TV, which provides Direct-to-Home service.

“Petitioner (Neo Sports) is entitled to 7 per cent increase on the subscription fee on and from January 1, 2009,” said a TDSAT bench headed by its Chairman Justice S B Sinha.

The Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT) further said that BiG TV “must allow the Petitioner to audit its system within two weeks from date” for calculation of the average number of subscribers.

Big TV had subscribed to the sports broadcaster’s two channels – Neo Cricket and Neo Sports – for its DTH platform.

The TDSAT’s direction came over the plea of Neo Sports, which had entered into an agreement with the ADAG group firm in June 2008.

As per the terms and conditions, Reliance Big TV had to pay the bouquet rates (at 50 per cent of the one fixed by sectoral regulator Trai) for Non-CAS areas, which came to about Rs 19.37.

However, in December, 2008, Trai brought out new regulations and allowed broadcasters a hike of seven 7 per cent from January 2009.

Following that, the Neo Sports bouquet rate came to Rs 20.73. Later, based on the SMS records submitted by Big TV, Neo Sports raised invoices.

However, dispute arose over the payability of subscription fees as per the terms of their agreement. Neo also questioned the subscriber number given by Big TV.

Neo Sports had approached TDSAT on March 31, 2011 seeking directions to Big TV for paying Rs 6.2 crore along with 18 per cent interest.

CAT orders Status quo

Express News Service

KOCHI: Ernakulam Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) has asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to maintain status quo till May 18 on the transfer of two of its inspectors to Guwahati and Kolkota.

The CAT passed the order while considering a petition filed by the two officials, whose names were mentioned in ASP Haridath’s suicide note, seeking to quash the transfer order. The CAT also directed the CBI that petitioners- S Unnikrishnan Nair and K K Rajan, who were inspectors in the Thiruvananthapuram branch, may not be forced to join at new locations.

They moved CAT alleging that the transfer order was issued as part of the superior officers’ plan to exonerate two top IPS officers- Vijay Sakhare and Muhammed Yasin from the Sampath custodial murder case. Under the cover of Haridath’s suicide note, the CBI top cops have transferred the duo, they said. “Haridath had been forced to undo whatever he had done earlier. It was because of the pressure exerted on him to save the two IPS officers that Haridath was forced to seek psychiatric treatment,” the petitioners said.They also submitted that the Kerala High Court had ordered that neither ASP Nandakumar Nair nor Chennai Joint Director Ashok Kumar should interfere with the probe.

However, the officials were permitted to continue in the same position, they said. The petitioners said that the higher officials in the CBI were responsible for Haridath’s death. The case diary, after both OP Gathotra and Peshin assumed charge of supervision, speaks volumes in this regard. “The suicide note was concocted to completely liquidate the investigation in Sampath custodial death case so that all the top ranking officers involved in the murder could go scot-free,” counsel for petitioners Pirappancode V S Sudheer said.

Family court at Patiala House to be inaugurated tomorrow

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

New Delhi, Apr 30 (PTI) The Delhi High Court’s Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri would inaugurate a family court at the Patiala House court complex here tomorrow. The family court, set up with an objective to tackle a heavy backlog of cases pertaining to family matters and hear them in an atmosphere different from the intimidating one of regular courts, would deal with cases of New Delhi district area. According to Additional Principal Judge Kamlesh Kumar, the family court would ensure a congenial environment to deal with matters such as marriage, divorce, alimony, child custody and others. Besides Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri, Justice Hima Kohli and other judges of the high court and the district courts would also attend the inauguration ceremony. “The establishment of the family courts aims at reducing the burden on other trial courts in the city by speedily delivering justice to families. “The purpose behind exclusive family courts is to clear the backlog of cases at civil and criminal courts involving family matters,” said Additional Principal Judge Kamlesh Kumar, in a statement. The family court at Patiala House courts complex would add to the existing family courts in the city at Dwarka, Rohini, Saket and Karkardooma courts complex. The court would also have full-time counsellors to guide the families.

Citizens’ group moves SC challenging fresh Jharkhand RS polls

TNN | May 1, 2012, 01.22AM IST

NEW DELHI: Expressing concern over the likelihood of a vitiated poll, a group of citizens have challenged the fresh Rajya Sabha elections in Jharkhand to be held on May 3 in the Supreme Court.

“Any election, with same tainted candidates and electors cannot be called fair by any stretch of imagination till CBI clears them of alleged criminality,” the petitioners, who include ex-MP Salkhan Murmu and B K Mishra from Jamshepur, have said.

A writ has been filed under Article 32 of the Constitution and the petitioners have that at the instance of the Jharkhand high court CBI is currently investigating alleged horse-trading that took place during the Rajya Sabha polls held on March 30.

“This was highlighted and brought before the nation by print and electronic media and strongly criticized by leaders of various political parties in Parliament,” they said, praying for postponement of the Rajya Sabha elections in the interest of fair play and justice.

Make merit a must for Masters in Dental Science courses: High court

TNN | May 1, 2012, 05.47AM IST

CHENNAI: Fourteen dental colleges offering MDS courses have been restrained by the Madras high court from admitting students except based on merit-based rank list published by the state medical university.

A division bench of Justice D Murugesan and Justice K K Sasidharan granted the interim injunction on a public interest writ petition filed by Indian Dental Association’s honorary state secretary Dr C Shivakumar. The bench has posted the matter to June 7 for further hearing.

Noting that admission to PG dental courses shall be based only on a common entrance or merit list, Dr Shivakumar said that though the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University had already conducted a common entrance test and published a rank list too, several colleges were not following due and transparent admission system. Several members of the petitioner-Association will be adversely affected and denied of their chances to pursue higher education despite the eligibility/rank on merits, the petition said.

He said that be it a self-financing, aided or unaided, minority or non-minority, or deemed university, institutions offering PG dental courses are governed by various Acts, Rules and Regulations including the UGC Act, the notifications of the HRD Ministry and the notifications/circulars of the Dental Council of India (DCI).

Dr Shivakumar said the only credible way to determine merit was a competitive test or a common admission test. The admission in respect of MDS courses in government quota was common entrance test, which was widely publicised and was transparently conducted by the state medical university, in consonance with the notification of the DCI, the petitioner added.

Expressing the association’s apprehension of irregularities in admissions to PG courses during the coming academic year, the petitioner said colleges and institutions had been attempting to evade the due process of law and conduct the admissions in an unfair manner for ulterior reasons. Citing complaints received during the previous academic years, he further said the institutions had flouted laws, rules and regulations by conducting an admission process in a hurried, non-transparent and ulterior manner.

Disproportionate assets case: Hearing on Naseemuddin’s plea today

May 1, 2012, 04.43AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Hearing on a writ petition filed by former PWD minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui and his wife Husna Siddiqui in a disproportionate assets case will continue on Tuesday.

The former cabinet minister had challenged the order passed by the UP Lokayukta, whereby the matter relating to his disproportionate asset case had been sent before the chief minister for reconsideration.A bench comprising Justice Amitava Lala and Justice PKS Baghel is hearing the case.Siddiqui and his wife had sought quashing of the order dated March 15, 2012, whereby the Lokayukta had referred the disproportionate asset case for reconsideration to the chief minister.The former cabinet minister had demanded not to disclose the material collected by the Lokayukta or opinion formed by him in respect of disproportionate asset case either in the print or electronic media.tnn

The state government, the chief minister (competent authority under the Lokayukta Act), Lokayukta of UP and NK Mehrotra in personal capacity had been made party in the writ petition.

Petitioners’ counsel Shashi Nandan argued that Lokayuta had no power to re-send the matter of disproportionate assets case to the present UP chief minister for reconsideration/review under the Lokayukta Act.

He argued that once former chief minister (competent authority) Mayawati had finally considered the issue after the recommendation made by the Lokayukta and dropped the aforesaid proceedings, then the same disproportionate asset case against Siddiqui could not be reopened by the Lokayukta and also it could not be considered by the present chief minister.

Nupur Talwar meets Rajesh at jail, verdict on bail after lunch

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: May 01, 2012 13:28 IST

New Delhi/Ghaziabad:  A judge in Ghaziabad is expected to give his verdict on Nupur Talwar’s request for bail after lunch today. Mrs Talwar, who is accused along with husband Rajesh of the double murder of their only child Aarushi and their domestic help, is not present in court.

She is lodged at Barrack No 13 of the nearby Dasna Jail, where Rajesh, Nupur’s mother and two other members of her family met her for 27 minutes a short while ago. After they left, she was seen reading the Gita, which she had borrowed from the jail library.  (Who is Nupur Talwar?)

Yesterday, Nupur’s application for bail was moved to the CBI court headed by Judge S Lal after another court rejected her lawyers’ arguments. The court that turned her down – a CBI court- is headed by Judge Preeti Singh, who ordered in February last year that the Talwars must stand trial for the murders of 13-year-old Aarushi and Hemraj, who worked for the Talwars. The dentist couple has appealed against this decision in the Supreme Court, which has refused to suspend the trial while it deliberates the appeal.

In the jail today, Mrs Talwar rose early at 5.30 am and then bathed and spent some time in prayer, reciting lines from the Hanuman Chalisa. She then lined up with prisoners to be counted. Breakfast was tea, jaggery and roasted gram. The jail authorities said she also read the newspapers and asked for some books, including the Gita, which was issued to her when the prison library opened.

Aarushi was found dead in the Talwars’ home in Noida, a Delhi suburb, in May 2008. Hemraj was missing and became the main suspect.  But hours later, his body was discovered on the Talwars’ roof.  Rajesh Talwar was then arrested.  The case was transferred to the CBI after gross negligence by the Noida police.  The CBI decided that there was not enough evidence against Mr Talwar, who spent nearly two months at the same Dasna jail where his wife was kept last night.

Mr Talwar was released from prison and four men who worked for the Talwars and their neighbours were then arrested. But the CBI could not find conclusive evidence against them either and they were also released from prison.

Mrs Talwar was seen with her head bowed when she arrived at jail at around 6 pm yesterday, jail superintendent Veeresh Raj Sharma said. A few hours of watching TV with other women inmates and a discussion with them about the Aarushi case saw her relax a little, he said. Mrs Talwar reportedly told the other prisoners that she was innocent and would prove that in court.

The prison authorities made it clear yesterday that Mrs Talwar’s stay at Dasna Jail will not afford her any special concessions. She will have access to a television set, newspapers and books.

NCW launches helpline for women in Gujarat

Press Trust of India : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 06:02 hrs

The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Monday launched on a pilot basis a 24-hour helpline for women in distress in Gujarat.

The round-the-clock toll-free helpline, 1800 233 22222, shall be run by the city-based Women Action Group (AWAG), an NGO working for women welfare and empowerment.

The helpline was launched by state Governor Dr Kamla in presence of NCW chairperson Mamta Sharma.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Kamla said that during hours of distress, this helpline would play a vital role in guiding women on how to reach the right place for a solution to their grievances.

“The women helpline is being launched first in Gujarat and thereafter in Haryana on a pilot basis. If successful, this model can be replicated across India,” Sharma said.

Govt sent 75 complaints against judges in past yr

Nagendar Sharma , Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 01, 2012

At least 75 complaints of corruption and misconduct against serving judges of the Supreme Court and high courts were forwarded in the last one year for “appropriate action” by the government to the Chief Justice of India (CJI) and chief justices of concerned high courts.

The justice department of the law ministry, which forwards these complaints, has told HT that it “is unaware of any action taken on these complaints” by the chief justice of India or of the respective high courts.

The department sent 15 complaints against SC judges and nine against chief justices of high courts to the CJI and 51 to chief justices of high courts against judges working in their courts.

The complaints have been sent by the public, lawyers and activists.

This has information been revealed — after first being declined — by the justice department through a Right to Information (RTI) query by Delhi-based activist Subhash Agrawal.

HT has the complete list of the judges but is withholding the names, since allegations against them cannot be independently verified.

As of now the government has no powers to initiate investigations into allegations against the higher judiciary. Any probe has to be sanctioned by the CJI.
The government’s view is that the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill, already passed by the Lok Sabha, will also get the Rajya Sabha nod during the current session and will help in curbing corruption in judiciary.

The bill for the first time will allow the citizens to file complaints against corrupt judges, which will then be probed, if the investigating panel finds merit in them.

In addition to these complaints, 12 against former CJI and National Human Rights Commission chairman K G Balakrishnan have also been forwarded. The former CJI has been accused of involvement in several cases of corruption.


Will RTE Act fall flat for half of Andhra Pradesh children?

Roli Srivastava, TNN | May 1, 2012, 12.54AM IST

HYDERABAD: The implementation of Right to Education Act may have got a shot in the arm with the recent Supreme Court ruling upholding the 25% reservation in unaided private schools for children from lower income group families but in Andhra Pradesh (and possibly other states in the country), the Act might soon figure among the many well-intentioned government schemes that do not impact, leave alone benefit, its target group. At best, the Act might give a humble building watchman’s child admission in a private school, but its impact could just be limited to that — the urban poor — that too with a modest success rate.

And here’s why. As per government records, there are 1.07 crore children in the 6-14 age category in Andhra Pradesh. As per the government’s own estimate, over 67% of the state’s 8.7 crore population lives in rural areas and the remaining 33% in urban. So, of the 1.07 crore children, at least over 60 lakh live in rural parts, where government schools are famously poorly equipped and there are no private schools. Despite the introduction of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, it has been indicated in many studies and surveys conducted by non-government bodies that precious little has changed in the condition of schools.

While a freshly published, voluminous tome on the implementation of RTE sits on the desk of the school education department and focuses largely on schools in rural areas, including steps to beef up infrastructure, adding transportation facilities etc, the worrisome part is that the entire planning is based on what activists point out are questionable figures. As per government statistics, just about 3 lakh children in AP are out of school. The NGO statistics are at the other end of the spectrum pegging this figure at a disturbing 18 lakh. The truth possibly lies somewhere in between. As per the state’s Human Development Report 2007, about 12 lakh children in the 6-14 age group in AP were out of school, which shows the government estimate of 3 lakh out of school children rather too miraculous.

And over-reporting of enrolled schoolchildren is the first roadblock that RTE’s implementation will face. “All the implementation exercises are for the 3 lakh children,” says M Venkat Reddy, national convener, MV Foundation.

Clearly, children numbering between 9 and 15 lakh are not on the government radar, leave alone that of RTE. Funds from the Centre for initiatives to enrol out of school children are calculated based on the 3 lakh figure. Add to that the number of children in government schools in rural areas, where it’s not only the infrastructure but also the quality of education that is poor. If RTE makes them legally entitled to better quality education not only in government but in the best quality private schools, they have no access to either. Take for instance the schools in Kowdipally mandal in Hyderabad’s neighbouring Medak district. The mandal has about 100 schools but caste-wise enrolment figures here indicate poor OC (other castes) numbers and high SC/ST numbers. “There are private schools about 20 kms from here and those who can afford it, send their children there,” says M Subhash Chandra, Centre for Action Research and People’s Development.

But P M Bhargawa, former vice-chairman of the Knowledge Commission and staunch critic of RTE says one needn’t go even that far. “In the heart of Hyderabad are government schools where students from Class I to X have just two teachers,” he says. “All government schools should be high quality but that will never be done. Where is the impetus to do that,” Bhargawa says, adding that what the Act envisages works for cities.

The Act’s limited scope is a big dampener particularly for the state’s SC/ST population. B Dhenuka Naik, who has been working on tribal rights issues, wonders how the act would help the state’s 13 lakh ST population in the 6-14 age group and believes not even 1% would benefit. Officials overseeing education in the state’s tribal parts note that there are many habitations that are 4-5 km away from schools. “Transportation is not possible in all the cases because the regions are hilly and there are no roads,” says Ashish Chandra, state coordinator for tribal education and Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya.

Officials, however, maintain that all efforts are being made to implement RTE effectively. “We want to implement the Act in right earnest. Basic amenities remain a source of concern and we are trying to address it. We will require involvement of all stakeholders,” says V Madhusudan, state coordinator for RTE implementation. The funds too, he says, are in place as the Rs 4,800 crore allocated for SSA will be used for RTE implementation.

Formulate clear policy on street food vans: HC

Harish V. Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 01, 2012

The Delhi High Court on Monday took a serious view of the crackdown against catering vans and chef carts in the capital and sought a clear policy by May 21 on issuance of no objection certificates (NOC) to them.

Seeking streamlining of the policy, Justice Hima Kohli questioned why multiple agencies were involved in issuance of NOC and why a catering van which obtained clearance from traffic police required further approval from civic agencies such as MCD and DDA.”Multiple agencies need to work in tandem and we need a clear policy,” said the judge.

The matter reached the court through a batch of petitions filed by owners of such vans that were once stationed in markets in Dwarka sectors 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 and 12, but were ordered by the MCD, DDA to shift citing traffic congestion. This was surprisingly after the Delhi traffic police had given them clearance. The court order came after Manjit Ahluwalia, lawyer for the van owners, accused the civic bodies of not drafting a uniform policy despite repeated directions.

The court had earlier emphasised on the need for chef carts and mobile catering vans to provide ready-to-eat food to a large chunk of the floating population in the city .”Not everyone is rich enough to go to upmarket restaurants. One must consider the moving population of Delhi. Where do they go when they want to eat hygienic food at an economical rate? Delhi is also known for its street food. Chef carts or catering vans are not an extraordinary sight,” Justice Kohli said.

DDA, MCD, NDMC and traffic police have been asked to consult each other and come up with an unambiguous policy by May 21.

High court directs CBI to file charges in case by June 15

Swati Deshpande, TNN | May 1, 2012, 05.43AM IST

MUMBAI: The HC on Monday asked the CBI to file a chargesheet by June 15 against those Adarsh society members who do not hold public office. The HC directed the CBI to do so after it informed the court that it would complete its probe in the case filed against the 14 named accused memberswho held or had held public office-by mid-June.

CBI counsel Ejaz Khan informed the bench of Justices Sharad Bobde and Mridula Bhatkar that once the probe is completed the agency would forward its report for grant of sanction from the government to prosecute the 14 public servants under the Prevention of Corruption Act as is legally required and only then file its chargesheet. It was then that the HC asked the agency to file the charge sheet by June 15 against those private persons for whose prosecution requires no sanction.

The HC was hearing two PILs against Adarsh. Petitioner Pravin Wategaonkar pointed out that neither the CBI nor the ED had bothered to file an affidavit in response to his two affidavits in which he had named 15 Adarsh members and sought a probe against them for disproportionate assets and abuse of power. The court asked the agencies to file a reply in four weeks. They will now see whether there is any truth behind Wategoankar’s allegations that former state CMs Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde and Shivajirao Patil Nilangaekar had misused their position for personal benefit.

Wategaonkar also named former speaker of the legislative assembly Babasaheskb Kupekar, NCP leader Jitendra Ahwad, former collector Srinivas Patil, former top IAS officers D K Sankaran, Joyce Sankaran and their son Sanjoy Sankaran, Chintamani Sangitrao and his son I A Kundan (former collector), Deviyani Khobragade, Shivaji Kale (associate of Ajit Pawar), Shivajirao Deshmukh (former Pune collector ), N G Bhosale (former PWD executive engineer and father of Pune developer Avinash Bhosale).

Spell out stand on 3 former CMs in Adarsh case, HC tells CBI, ED

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Mumbai, May 01, 2012

The Bombay high court on Monday directed the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) to make their stand clear on investigating 15 more persons, including former Maharashtra chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Shivajirao Patil-Nilangekar and Sushilkumar Shinde, in connection with Adarsh Co-operative Housing Society scam.

A division bench of the Bombay high court has given  four weeks’ time to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) and the ED to file a reply on an affidavit filed by Thane resident Pravin Wategaonkar seeking direction to investigate the alleged roles played by at least 15 more persons including the three former chief ministers, other than those already booked by the CBI in the scamThe other names include the then speaker of Maharashtra Legislative Assembly Babasaheb Kupekar, General (retired) Deepak Kapoor, former Maharashtra Chief Secretary DK Shankaran, CS Sangitrao, former secretary in the chief minister’s Office, IA Kundan, the then city collector and Devyani Khobragade daughter of ex-GM of BEST Uttam Khobragade.

Relying on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India and the I-T department’s investigations, Wategaonkar, in his affidavit filed on April 27, has alleged that these 15 persons, including the three former chief ministers, have misused their official positions for personal benefit.

He has alleged that certain persons were holding benami flats in the housing society on behalf of the three former Maharashtra chief ministers. One of them, Deshmukh, was at the helm of affairs in the state and the Urban Development Department when the proposed widening of Captain Prakash Pethe marg was dropped and permission was given to the housing society to utilise FSI of 2,669 square metres (in addition to FSI of 3,824 square metres of the original plot) of the adjoining plot reserved for a BEST depot.

Shinde, as the then chief minister, had cleared the list of 51 civilians for membership of the scam-hit society, on August 24 — when code of conduct in view of 2004 assembly elections came into force in the state. During his tenure, a Letter of Intent regarding allotment of the land was issued to the society.

The HC was hearing a bunch of PILs filed by social activists Simpreet Singh, Mahendra Singh and Wategaonkar.

While they have approached the HC before the CBI registered FIR against 14 persons, Wategaokar has followed suit, seeking directions to the ED to initiate investigations into money laundering aspect of the case.

The CBI had filed FIR against 14 persons in the case in January 2011.

First woman judge of Orissa HC passes away

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

Cuttack, Apr 30 (PTI) The first woman judge of Orissa High Court Justice (retd) Amiya Kumari Padhi passed away at her residence in Bhasakosh Lane here today, family said. She was 79. Wife of former director general of police S S Padhi, Kumari was ill for past several months. She is survived by two daughters and son Souryakanta Padhi, a senior advocate of the High Court. The Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and several judges of the High Court visited her residence to pay their last respects. Many lawyers, including state advocate general Ashok Kumar Mohanty also paid their respects to the former judge of the HC who presided over the benches between April 1988 and September 1995. Her mortal remains were consigned to flames at Satichoura crematorium here in the evening.

Tender row: HC tells Aiims to pay Rs. 10,000

New Delhi, May 01, 2012

Aiims has been directed to pay Rs. 10,000 by the high court for its failure to reply to a private security firm’s plea, challenging the terms of its tender.

“It is unfortunate that the respondent (Aiims) has failed to file the counter-affidavit despite grant of sufficient time,” said a bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher. Aiims had been asked to file its reply within three weeks.

The order came on a petition by Prehari Protection System, seeking withdrawal of the tender notice issued by Aiims on March 1 inviting bids from firms for deployment of security guards at hospital premises.

Treat fixed-wage teachers as permanent employees: HC to govt

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 05:01 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Monday ordered the state government to consider 46 teachers who are teaching mentally challenged children in schools on fix wages as permanent employees. The court also ordered to award them benefits of a regular employee from the date of their appointment with retrospective effect.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala passed the order.

Advocate Shalin Mehta, who appeared on behalf of six of the 46 petitioners, said, “Earlier, the six teachers were getting fix pay of Rs 4,500 per month. However, 40 other teachers who were getting fix pay of Rs 2,500 had approached the HC with a prayer that they should be getting the salary on par with the teachers getting Rs 4,500 per month.”

“A single judge bench had also ordered the government to pay the teachers on par with each other. And following the order, the government had lowered the fix wage of the six teachers from Rs 4,500 to Rs 2,500 per month,” said Mehta.

Subsequently, the issue reached the division bench, which has already struck down the policy of the government to hire people on fix wages for a fix period while calling it unconstitutional.

“On the lines of that judgment, our petitions were decided today. The court has ordered the government to consider the teachers as regular employee from the date of their appointment in 2006,” he said.

He added that it is to be seen if the government applies the order to only the 46 petitioners or to all the teachers who are teaching mentally challenged students in the state.

Remove obstructions from lane for non-motorised vehicles on SP Mukherjee Marg, HC tells MCD–vehicles-on-SP-Mukherjee-Marg–HC-tells-MCD/943821/

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue May 01 2012, 03:32 hrs

Pulling up the MCD for non-compliance of its orders, the Delhi High Court on Monday directed the civic agency to immediately remove obstructions from the lane marked for non-motorised vehicles (NMV) on S P Mukherjee Marg, where a pilot project to ensure smooth traffic is being implemented.

A bench of Justices S Ravindra Bhat and S Muralidhar, constituted to deal with traffic-related issues in the city, directed the agency to remove the obstructions, including a toilet and two trees, from the lane within five days.

Coming down heavily for non-compliance of its January 20, 2012 order to clear the obstructions, the court noted that there was no progress on previous court orders.

“Either we have been challenged by your officers consciously or you care the least about court orders. We will have to issue a contempt notice to the MCD Commissioner if this persists,” said the bench.

The court order came after the petitioner organisation ‘Manushi Sangthan’ alleged that the MCD has failed to clear the obstructions despite an order from this bench four months ago and is shifting its responsibility stating that the Traffic police were not co-operating. The court granted two weeks’ time to remove the toilet from the lane and also directed the Traffic police to render all assistance for removal of obstructions.

Directing the civic agency to take the necessary steps for repair of the potholes, the bench sought to know from the agency about the measures taken for parking of cycle rickshaws on the lane by May 25, the next date of hearing of the matter.

Harpreet case: HC admits Nishan’s plea for suspension of sentence

HT Correspondent
Chandigarh , April 30, 2012

Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday admitted a petition of Nishan Singh, a personal security officer of former SGPC president and Bholath MLA Bibi Jagir Kaur and who was sentenced to five-year jail term by a special CBI court in Patiala on March 30 in Harpreet case, for suspension of his sentence. A notice was however issued to Punjab government and CBI on his bail plea.

A bench headed by justice Rakesh Kumar Garg admitted his petition seeking suspension of sentence, which would now come up for hearing with regular cases. The court however issued notice of motion to Punjab government and the CBI on his bail petition for May 29.

Nishan Singh was convicted along with Bibi Jagir Kaur and three others for illegal abduction, confinement and forcibly causing abortion of Bibi’s daughter Harpreet Kaur around 12 years ago.

Seeking bail, Nishan Singh contended that he was bed-ridden, unable to move and was also suffering from spinal tuberculosis. He also attached a medical certificate issued by Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences, Jalandhar. He further added that till date he had spent around three years and three months in jail.

The CBI special judge had convicted and handed separate sentences to Bibi Jagir Kaur, Nishan Singh, Dalwinder Kaur Dhesi and Paramjit Singh Raipur. However, the CBI judge had acquitted the four of charge of murder. A total of seven persons were tried, out of which two were acquitted and one died during trial.

On April 20, 2000, Harpreet was cremated without conducting post mortem under mysterious circumstances. Bibi Jagir Kaur had claimed that Harpreet died due to food poisoning.

Later, a case was registered on the statement of Kamaljit Singh of Begowal village that he had married Harpreet secretly and she was pregnant with their child, which was not acceptable to Bibi Jagir Kaur and that ultimately led to her abduction and death.


Bombay HC grants advance bail to ACP in rape case

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

Mumbai, Apr 30 (PTI) Observing that prima facie no case was made out for even registration of an FIR against assistant commissioner of police Anil Mahabole, the Bombay High Court today granted him an anticipatory bail. Mahabole, accused of raping a middle-aged housewife, had moved the High Court after the sessions court rejected his anticipatory bail application. “The victim has to come forward and say that she was raped. She has not said so in her statement to the investigating officer. There is no forcible sexual intercourse disclosed. Hence there is no case even for registration of FIR,” Justice A M Thipsay said. The court pointed out that the victim, in her statement, had said she could not say anything about the alleged rape. “This is ridiculous. If the victim herself is not disclosing the offense, how can the police say rape has been committed,” the judge asked. “He (Mahabole) might have had illicit relations with her. But that is immoral behavior, at the most. The court cannot look at the case morally. We have to see the law point.” The court granted Mahabole bail on a surety of Rs 30,000. Earlier, Advocate Rohini Wagh, appearing for Mahabole, contended that her client was being made a scapegoat by the Police Commissioner. “Mahabole, while investigating the Telgi scam, had indicted several police officers who were later arrested. Since then he is being targeted. First his name was dragged into the murder of journalist J Dey, and now this rape case,” she alleged. The woman had allegedly told police that Mahabole was blackmailing her for the past eight months and had repeatedly raped her.

Sohrabuddin: CBI gets HC notice on bail pleas by cops with ‘clean chit’–CBI-gets-HC-notice-on-bail-pleas-by-cops-with–clean-chit-/943892/

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 05:13 hrs

The High Court on Monday issued notice to the CBI while hearing pleas for regular bail filed by two suspended policemen, Ajay Parmar and Santram Sharma, who were given a clean chit by the central agency in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh encounter case but are still behind bars.

Another policeman V A Rathod, also an accused in the case who was later given a clean chit by the CBI, was released on bail by the Supreme Court in March this year.

Advocate Punit Juneja, who is representing Parmar and Sharma, said they had demanded bails on the ground that the CBI, the prosecuting agency, had given them a clean chit to them and that Rathod, who was also cleared by the CBI, has been released on bail by the Supreme Court.

“The court has issued notice to the CBI and kept the petitions for further hearing on June 15,” Juneja said.

HC refuses to stay suspension of Worli sports club members

Swati Deshpande, TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.24AM IST

MUMBAI: Justice S C Dharmadhikari on Monday refused to stay the suspension of two members of National Sports Club of India (NSCI), Dr Shyam Nichani and Shilpa Ahuja, who are caught in dispute with other members.

The club’s Mumbai regional committee suspended Nichani for six months for lodging an allegedly false complaint against the secretary, Jaisingh Choraria, in March. Other members, who had also lodged the complaint, withdrew it a day later and apologized to Choraria, following which the secretary was exonerated.

Nichani moved high court where his counsel Prasad Dhakephalkar argued that the club did not follow principles of natural justice. But the judge said staying the suspension would be akin to giving final relief. When Dhakephalkar said not staying it would render his petition redundant as it might come up for hearing after six months, the judge said he could claim compensation. Much to the surprise of all and though not part of his order, the judge said, “In all these clubs these things keep happening. I don’t go to clubs. I tell my colleagues also not to be members of these so-called civilized clubs.”

Thapar varsity student’s death: HC asks cops to probe murder–HC-asks-cops-to-probe-murder/943687/

Express news service : Chandigarh, Tue May 01 2012, 00:37 hrs

CHANDIGARH: Refusing to show conviction in the report of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) which probed the “mysterious” death of a student of Thapar University, Patiala, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the Punjab Police to probe murder charges as recommended by its Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police. The development assumes significance since the Director General of Police (DGP) had refused to place reliance in a report prepared by its DIG, and had constituted the SIT.

DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” was required, and recommended registration of murder charges. Refusing to accept his recommendation report, the DGP had constituted a SIT. Taking note of this, O P Bhatia, Deputy Secretary, Home Affairs and Justice, Punjab, had said the constitution of SIT would “lead to tampering with evidence”. Therefore, he ordered that the SIT be disbanded immediately, upholding the DIG’s “recommendation” for registration of a murder case. Even though it was disbanded, the Punjab Police produced the copy of the SIT report which negated the findings of the DIG and said the student had died in an accident. In its report, the SIT had submitted that the allegations of murder were “absolutely baseless”.

Much to the relief of Gurbax Singh Bains, the father of the deceased, and embarrassment for the Punjab DGP, the HC has refused to take stock of the report tabled by the SIT. It has held that the investigating agency will probe the case on the basis of the report of the DIG who had recommended registration of a murder case. The court has given three months’ time to the Punjab Police to probe the murder charges. In another embarrassment for the police, the High Court has made it clear that no chargesheet will be produced in the trial court on the basis of the SIT report.

HC moved against Sachin’s RS nomination

Agencies : Madurai, Mon Apr 30 2012, 19:17 hrs

A petition seeking to stay cricketer Tendulkar from taking oath as Rajya Sabha member was filed in the Madras High Court Bench here today citing pendency of a case against him in a court near here.

Petitioner A. Benitto, an advocate here, also sought a court direction to the Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman, its Secretariat,and Secretary General to refrain, entertain and solicit Tendulkar, who was nominated to the Upper House by the government, as a Member of Parliament.

The court should seek explanation from the Secretary General and Deputy Chairman as to how Tendulkar’s nomination as a Rajya Sabha member had been accepted by the Upper house Secretariat without proper investigation.

The petitioner submitted that a complaint had been filed before Judicial Magistrate of Melur near here against Tendulkar for allegedly insulting the national flag during a party in Jamaica in March 2010 and the same was pending adjudication.

“While so, the cricketer does not have the locus standi to become a member of the Parliament under sports category,” he said.

The petition is likely to come up for hearing on May 3.

Tendulkar, along with actress of yesteryear Rekha and industrialist Anu Aga were nominated by the government to the Rajya Sabha last week.

HC notice to Bhujbal, educational trust for ‘fee fraud’

Swati Deshpande, TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.55AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday issued a notice to state public works department minister Chhagan Bhujbal and his Mumbai Educational Trust (MET) to seek their reply on a PIL which alleged that the trust defrauded students into paying excess fees to the tune of Rs 8 crore in Nashik colleges.

The PIL, filed by a former freedom fighter Balasaheb Jhambulkar, alleged that amounts meant for technology funds were misused by the minister’s trust and students were charged excessive fees for two years. A bench headed by Justice Sharad Bobde briefly issued a notice and posted the matter for further hearing after two weeks or beyond the vacation.

The PIL alleged that Bhujbal and his trust also defrauded the Shikshan Shulk Samiti, the government committee that sets fees for private professional institutes. The PIL demanded appointment of an administrator and suspension of trustees, including founders Bhujbal, wife Meena, son Pankaj, nephew Sameer and Sunil Karve.

Jhambukar’s counsel Anil Anturkar said luxurious facilities are meant to be provided by institutes and the cost cannot be recovered through fees but the PIL, which has enclosed the income expense account statement for 2010-11 for the institutes, says “garden expenditure” is taken into account and an amount of Rs 25 lakh shown as expenses for “provision of technology development” was not used but kept by the trust in a section called ‘technology development fund’.

The committee fixes fees based on valid and permitted expenses incurred by privately run institutes in the previous year. The PIL alleges that the trust showed inflated amounts as expenses when there were none. The trust thus misled the committee.

Failed Engineering students to pass after Bombay HC directive

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 7:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

After approaching Bombay High Court, over two dozen students of Mechanical Engineering and other branches (Semester 4, old syllabus students) who had failed in one paper conducted on July 19, 2011 due to allegedly out of syllabus questions, have got justice in their favour. High Court accepted the plea and later observed that indeed the questions in applied Mathematics paper were out of syllabus.

After High Court’s directive in this regard, Board of examination of University has directed all the colleges on Monday to rectify the mistake and pass all the students by awarding them minimum passing marks. According to Dean, Faculty of Technology, Dr SK Ukrande, “All 24 students, who have landed in soup, will be passed by the colleges.” Colleges have also been directed to forward forms of those students to University for final exams, if they are eligible.

Mumbai’s top cop accused of rape gets anticipatory bail

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.40AM IST

MUMBAI: The victim has not said she was raped, observed Bombay HC on Monday while granting anticipatory bail to assistant commissioner of police Anil Mahabole, accused of raping a middle-aged homemaker.

Mahabole had moved the HC for anticipatory bail after the sessions court rejected it. An FIR was registered against Mahabole after the victim alleged that he had raped and blackmailed her over eight months.

Granting him bail on a surety of Rs 30,000, Justice A M Thipsay said that nowhere in her complaint has the victim stated that she was raped. Also, the victim said Mahabole had exploited her and that she consented as she needed his help. “The victim has to come forward and say she was raped. There is no forcible sexual intercourse. Hence, there is no case for registration of even an FIR,” said Justice Thipsay.

The judge also found it “ridiculous” that the victim-in her statement-says she is unable to speak about the rape. “If the victim herself is not disclosing the offence, then how can the police say rape has been committed?” said Justice Thipsay. He said Mahabole may have had illicit relations with the victim but that at the most would constitute “immoral behaviour”. “The court cannot look at the case morally. The law point has to be seen,” added Justice Thipsay.

Mahabole’s advocate Rohini Wagh said he was being made a scapegoat by the police commissioner. She said Mahabole had named several police officers in the Telgi scam, who were later arrested. “Since then, he is being targeted,” she said. She said Mahabole’s name was first dragged in the murder of journalist J Dey and “now this rape case”.

HC wanted cops to show restraint

P Ramdas

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Kerala High Court, in the late 199os, had held that unless proper rules are framed or orders or directions issued by competent authorities, the use of the tinted safety glasses should not be restrained by the city police.

A Division Bench had passed the order on an appeal filed by two car owners in the city. The petitioners challenged the validity of Rule 100 and sought a directive to quash the decision regarding the enforcement of the ban of using tinted glasses on motor vehicles.

They also prayed for an order to the state to permit the use of tinted windows on motor vehicles and also prayed for a directive restraining the respondents from insisting on the removal of colour glasses and sun control films on wind screens and windows on vehicles.

The Single Judge had earlier ordered- “The Slate Government is directed to issue necessary instructions to the authorities under the Motor Vehicles Act and to the Police Department to see that motor vehicles registered and plying have wind screens and windows maintained in such a condition as to be clearly transparent and allow the clear vision outside from inside and inside from outside. They must take effective and urgent steps, at the earliest.”

The petition was moved challenging this appeal. The petitioners argued that the single judge did not direct implementation from any particular date, or in any particular manner. But, the authorities decided to enforce prohibition from September 1991.

However, the Division Bench restrained the move of the police and observed that the steps taken by the police were not on the basis of any written or executive order and held that the City Police Commissioner, who had issued certain prohibitions on the use of the tinted glasses, has no direct authority.

C refuses to cancel bail of BJP MLA, others

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue May 01 2012, 05:30 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Monday dismissed a petition that sought to cancel the regular bail granted to some accused, including BJP MLA Shankar Chaudhary, in a 2002 riot case wherein two Muslims were killed in Radhanpur town.

Recently, the HC had dismissed a petition that was seeking transfer of investigation in the case to the CBI.

Special Public Prosecutor J M Panchal said that one Nanabhai Sheth had moved the bail cancellation petition on various grounds, the cardinal being the seriousness of the case.

“The petitioner had demanded the regular bail granted to around 16 accused, including Shankar Chaudhary, be cancelled as the case is very serious. However, the court rejected the petition on the ground that till date, none of the witnesses has complained against any of the accused,” said Panchal.

He added the court has directed the state government to provide adequate security to any of the witnesses who demands the same.

According to the details, two youths were killed by rioters on March 1, 2002 during the post-Godhra statewide riots.

Following the incident, police had registered a case of rioting and stated the two were killed in police firing.

Pending investigation of that case, one private complaint was made before a concerned magisterial court in Radhanpur by Sheth alleging the youths were killed in firings done by Chaudhary.

Subsequently, the court had ordered an inquiry into the incident under the provisions of Section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code.

During this time, police added murder charge to the original complaint of rioting registered by it against a number of people, including Chaudhary, and submitted a summary report before the magisterial court recommending closure of the private complaint. But the court rejected the summary report and ordered further investigation.

The trial proceedings on the police complaint has been stayed by the HC following a petition by an eyewitness, Yakub Chauhan.

In his petition, Chauhan has raised suspicion that the matter might get hushed up. He has claimed that if the trial in that case got over, it would render the further inquiry order of the magisterial court on Sheth’s complaint infructuous as the accused would then claim benefit of double jeopardy.

SC slams settlement between Italian ship, fishermens kin

Published: Tuesday, May 1, 2012, 9:15 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Anguished at the ‘out-of-court settlement’ between the complainants and the detained Italian ship whose two marines had shot dead two native fishermen in February this year, the Supreme Court termed this so-called pact as an attempt to defeat the “Indian legal process”.

The SC also questioned the Kerala government as to why had it not challenged the settlement before a larger bench of the high court. A bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale on Monday expressed their displeasure during the resumed hearing in the lawsuits concerning release of the detained1,00,000 tonne Enrica Lexie cargo ship and speedy dispensation of the trial by an international forum for the alleged offence had taken place off Indian ocean maritime zone.

The judges asked the Kerala government to challenge the settlement approval order passed by a single judge bench of the HC, as under the Indian penal law, the state is the prosecutor on behalf of the complainant in a classified serious crime.

Meanwhile, a Kerala court has extended the judicial custody of two accused marines Latorre Massimillano and Salvatore Girone, who are facing the charge of murdering fishermen Ajesh Binki, 25, and Gelastine, 45.

Last week, the shipping company had signed the out-of-court settlement after paying Rs1 crore to the families of each of the killed fishermen and another Rs17 lakh to J Freddy, owner of the fishing boat in which the victims were travelling, as compensation for damage to the boat. In return, the complaints alleging the offence wouldn’t be pursued by the dependents of the murder fishermen.

The Italian ship owners have been insisting on the release of the ship saying the marines could have been involved n the crime but not the ship, thus she can’t be detained as the ‘case property’.
“It pains us the manner in which the Indian legal process is sought to be defeated,” judges told the lawyers Gopal Subramanium (Kerala), KK Venugopal (ship) and Viplav Sharma (Italian government).

Referring to the so-called compromise, judges told the senior counsel that “this is a challenge to the Indian judicial system, this is impermissible. It is most unfortunate.”

The top court also indicated that it isn’t in favour of detaining the cargo ship and her two marines unless their presence is required by the investigating authorities.

“Not only the citizens of this country but even foreign nationals, present in the country are entitled to the protection as per Article 21 which grants right to life and liberty to everyone in India,” the court added.

Govt committed to strong Lokpal: Khurshid

Last Updated: Monday, April 30, 2012, 14:22

Farrukhabad: Flaying the opposition for not cooperating on the Lokpal Bill, Law Minister Salman Khurshid has said the government was committed to bring a strong anti-corruption legislation.

“The Union government is ready to accept every good proposal and is committed to bring a strong Lokpal Bill for which the opposition parties need also to cooperate,” the minister who was here on a day’s visit to his Parliamentary constituency yesterday said in reply to a question on Swami Ramdev’s statement on black money.

He said that besides the Lokpal Bill, the government is also committed to bring eight bills for further strengthening the Indian Penal code, checking corruption in judiciary, curbing atrocities on women and bringing transparency in government purchases during the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

For providing better health facilities in the state, the Union government is vigilant towards providing a multi-speciality facility like the AIIMS, the minister said in reply to a question.

While refusing to give a direct reply to questions on reports of his move to resign from the ministry and instead working for the party organisation, he said that all depends on the wishes of party president Sonia Gandhi.

To a question on checking paid news being published in newspapers during elections, he said that Centre was working towards finding a way besides the Election Commission is also trying to work it out.

The minister said that he has discussed ways and means like having a self-imposed code of conduct by the media managers on coverage of defence related matters with the chairman of the Press Council Justice Markandey Katju recently to guard national interests.

Kobad Ghandy to be tried under UAPA: Court

Jayant Sriram : New Delhi, Tue May 01 2012, 03:54 hrs

A Delhi court on Monday accepted a fresh set of charges filed by the Delhi Police against suspected Maoist sympathiser Kobad Ghandy under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA). The court said the 65-year-old would face trial for being a member of a banned terrorist outfit, CPI(Maoist), and promoting its activities here.

“I hereby take cognisance for the offences punishable under Section 20 and 38 of the UAPA (for being member of a banned outfit and promoting its activity) against accused Kobad Ghandy,” Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav said.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police had filed fresh charges against Ghandy after a sessions court had dropped all charges against him under the anti-terror law for want of proper sanction. However, while it held that defect in obtaining sanction was incurable, it said that there was enough material to make out a case against him under certain actions of the Act.

“There is sufficient material on record to make out a prima facie case for offences punishable under Section 20 and 38 of the UAPA against accused Kobad Ghandy,” the court had observed.

Ghandy and his co-accused Rajender alias Arvind Joshi also stand charged for impersonation, cheating, forgery and criminal conspiracy under the Indian Penal Code.

The court held that evidence collected against Joshi indicated that he had helped Ghandy in obtaining a fake voter ID and PAN cards so that he could live in Delhi and carry out his activities under the assumed name.

Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Yadav said the proceedings for all offences would take place before the sessions court as they were closely connected. The CMM directed that Ghandy would be tried jointly with Joshi, rejecting the latter’s argument that he cannot be tried with Ghandy as the sessions court has stated that no case under the UAPA was made out against him.

Action against Mayawati if found guilty: Akhilesh Yadav

Ashish Tripathi, TNN Apr 30, 2012, 10.48PM IST

LUCKNOW: Even as yet another scam related to free distribution of seeds to farmers has been unearthed in Uttar Pradesh, chief minister Akhilesh Yadav said that all scams reported during previous Bahujan Samaj Party government are being probed and legal action will be taken if former chief minister Mayawati is found to be involved in any one of them. While talking to reporters at Mainpuri, Yadav also assured that guilty in seed scam will not be spared.

The National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) and toilet scams during Mayawati’s regime are already under the scanner. The Samajwadi Party government which came to power in March after winning assembly polls has decided to form a commission to probe all the scams alleged to have taken place during the Mayawati rule. The NRHM scam worth over Rs 5000 crore and is being probed by the CBI as well. The toilet scam is of over Rs 2900 crore.

The ‘seed scam’, estimated to be of over Rs 60 crore, has been unearthed by a farmer Anand Kumar Singh through an RTI query. The money for free distribution of seeds to farmers was provided by the central and state governments. However, the distribution was shown only on papers. Nothing was done at the ground level. Brokers and officers were pocketing money for free seeds since through forged documents having names of fake names of farmers

Also, Singh claimed, out of 10 lakh quintal unregularised wheat seed in the state, 2.5 lakh quintal was sold in open market. Singh has filed an FIR with the police against the project officer of Seed Corporation, Lucknow, Surendra Pratap Singh, Bareilly project officer Ram Kumar Verma, marketing department chairman Hari Kishore Prasad and deputy chief financial officer Prithviraj Manchanda. Singh has also filed a PIL in the high court on the issue.

As per Ashutosh Pandey, deputy inspector general, Lucknow range, the complaint related to the ‘seed scam’ is being investigated by the police and if needed, it will be transferred to the economic offences wing of the state police. The police suspect that amount of money involved in the seed scam can be more. The seed distribution and production programmes were being run by the UP Seed Development Corporation, Lucknow, in different parts of the state.

Punjab and Haryana high court issues notice to administration, police, education department

TNN | May 1, 2012, 06.03AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Acting on a petition filed by an NGO accusing IAS officer Prerna Puri of misusing her official position by allegedly ill-treating a domestic help hired by her mother, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday put UT administration, police and education department on notice. The authorities have been asked to respond on May 4.

NGO Vatsal Chaya filed a PIL through its chairperson Sangeeta Vardhan stating that in 2009, it came across two children aged about 11 years, working as domestic help in Sector 8-C, Chandigarh. One of them named Shambu, hailed from Jagatpur village in Bihar, and was employed with mother of Prerna Puri, who has been serving in UT.

The petitioner submitted that they requested Shambu’s employer to send him to their evening school for four hours and he was enrolled in 2009. The petitioner alleged that for the past few days it was observed that Sambhu was scared of coming to school and when they probed him, he said a “didi,” who used to come to their house with policemen, would “threaten and harass” him.

“Upon detailed inquiries, it was found that didi happened to be none other than Prerna Puri, thus she misused her official position and denied educational facilties to Shambu,” the petitioner submitted.

The petitioner sought directions for an in-depth inquiry while praying to record statements of all concerned to probe their role. It sought strict action against those found guilty. After hearing the petition and considering the sensitivity of the matter, a division bench headed by acting chief justice of the HC M M Kumar asked the UT administration, police and the education department to file their replies in the matter before the court. The bench, however, refused to issue notice to IAS officer at this stage.

High court disposes petition on medium of instruction

TNN | May 1, 2012, 02.21AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Ruhi Dicholkar and three others challenging the circular issued by the directorate of Education (DoE) as regards release of grants to primary schools with English as their medium of instruction (MoI).

A division bench comprising Justice A P Lavande and Justice U V Bakre passed the order following a statement made by the DoE that the government had now decided to withdraw the circular issued on June 10, 2011, by substituting it with a fresh circular.

On April 24, the director of education, Anil Powar, had filed an affidavit before the high court stating that it would issue a fresh circular in that regard after taking into consideration suggestions from all sections of society and the provisions of the Right to Education Act, 2005.

During the hearing on Monday, the petitioners’ advocate, Mahesh Sonak, suggested that the petition can be disposed of in view of the DoE’s statement that it would not implement the MoI circular.

The petitioners had also complained that several primary schools had switched over to English as their MoI, despite a stay order passed by the high court.

On July 18, 2011, the high court had passed an interim order that the cabinet decision and the subsequent DoE circular on MoI shall not be implemented.

PIL seeks AIIMS-like institute in Allahabad

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 30,2012

Allahabad, Apr 30 (PTI) A Public Interest Litigation was filed today in the Allahabad High Court seeking setting up of an AIIMS-like institute in the city. The PIL, filed by advocate B P Singh, sought a direction to the Uttar Pradesh government and the Centre for setting up the proposed institute here. The PIL said the city was best-suited for such a project and this would help in reducing the rush of patients from the impoverished regions of Uttar Pradesh to the AIIMS in Delhi. The petition alleged though the Centre had sanctioned more than Rs 800 crore for the proposed project, there had been no headway due to lack of coordination between the Centre the state government. The PIL is likely to come up for hearing on Wednesday.

PIL on CBI going soft on National Rural Health Mission scam big shots

TNN | May 1, 2012, 04.41AM IST

LUCKNOW: A public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday against the alleged double standards adopted by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in arresting those accused in the multi-crore National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) scam.

Filed by Lucknow-based social activist, Nutan Thakur, the PIL came up for hearing before a division bench of Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice V C Gupta. The bench has posted the hearing for Tuesday. The PIL has cited TOI reports published on April 21 and April 7 which highlighted how the CBI had arrested some bit players while some influential people like the former mission director of NRHM, Pradeep Shukla, had only been questioned. The PIL has requested the court to direct the CBI to clarify its position and furnish the status report of the NRHM probe before the bench.

Significantly, it was the high court which had asked CBI to probe the alleged scam said to be to the tune of Rs 5,700 crore. The scam has also claimed as many as six lives so far which include the murder of three medical officers and three suicides. On January 31 this year, a division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi, which was supervising the probe, had pulled up the CBI for its slow progress. The bench had also expressed concern that ‘big players’ are interrogated and let off. So far, 14 persons have been arrested. But barring Kushwaha, none of the high-profile accused, out of a total of 41, has been arrested.


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