LEGAL NEWS 11.05.2012

HC stays collection of enhanced toll–of-enhanced-toll/256530-60-117.html

Express News Service

CUTTACK: In a significant order, the Orissa High Court on Wednesday stayed the collection of toll at the enhanced rate at the Toll Plaza near Manguli in Cuttack district.

The division bench of the HC comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra further directed since that the toll had already been collected at the enhanced rate from December 14, 2011, the differential amount be deposited with the Registrar (Judicial) of the High Court and the same shall be kept in a separate account till disposal of the writ petition.

Earlier, acting on a PIL filed by Kendujhar Naba Nirman Parishad, the HC had issued notice to NHAI.

The petition challenged the notification of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways and decision of NHAI to charge toll at the enhanced rate from the commuters at Manguli Toll Plaza in lieu of use of six-lane road.

During the hearing, the petitioner’s advocate Kedar Jena submitted before the court that the decision to collect the toll by a private company namely Shree Jagannath Expressways Private Ltd of Kolkata, at the enhanced rate for use of the six-lane road was illegal, arbitrary and in violation of law. It was further submitted by the petitioner that before construction of the six lanes, the NHAI should not of have issued such a notification.

On the other hand, counsel for the company stated before the court that the company and NHAI had entered into an agreement for the development, operation and maintenance of the existing four lanes from Bhubaneswar-Jagatpur-Chandikhol section to six-lane divided carriageway on design, build, finance, operate and transfer basis. The Kolkata-based firm has been given 910 days for completing the construction of six lanes and to collect toll for 26 years with effect from December 14, 2011. The division bench will take up further hearing in the case after vacation.








Government must decide on charges against ex- Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan: Supreme Court

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has asked the Centre to decide on allegations made against former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan.

The court said if there was evidence on the charges of corruption and misuse of office against him, the President may make a reference to the court for ordering an inquiry into the allegations.

“We are satisfied, that the instant writ petition deserves to be disposed, by requesting the competent authority to take a decision on the communication dated April 4, 2011, (addressed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, to the President of India),” said a Supreme Court bench comprising Justice BS Chauhan and Justice JS Khehar in its judgement on Thursday.

The Supreme Court said, if the allegations were found worthy, the President, based on the advice of the Union Council of Ministers, may proceed with the matter in accordance with the mandate of Section 5(2) of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993.

The bench refused to order for a presidential reference against Balakrishnan on the ground that the first step contemplated under Section 5(2) of the 1993 act was the satisfaction of the President of India. It is only upon the satisfaction of the President, that a reference can be made to the Supreme Court for holding an inquiry, said justice Khehar writing the order for the bench.

The allegations against former CJI KG Balakrishnan are:

Balakrishnan owned benami properties in the names of his daughters, sons-in-law and brother.

He was the beneficiary of allotted benami properties from the chief minister of Tamil Nadu in the name of his former-aide M Kannabiran.

He approved evasive and false replies to an application under the Right to Information Act relating to declaration of assets by Judges of the Supreme Court.

Balakrishnan resisted attempts to stop the elevation of justice PD Dinakaran to the Supreme Court, despite allegations of land-grab, encroachment and possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.







Vodafone beefs up defence in tax tussle

In a move that signals a two-pronged defence against the government’s penalty proceedings, Vodafone has served notice to the income tax department on a writ petition filed at the Bombay High against the Rs 9000 crore penalty order passed by the government, three individuals familiar with the development told ET NOW.

” Notice has been served recently on the petition filed by Vodafone. It seeks to quash the penalty order passed by the income tax department in April 2011″, said one of the individuals cited above.

Vodafone has earlier challenged the same penalty order at the CIT or Commissioner of Income Tax (Appeals), the first appellate authority for taxpayers.

According to sources,the Vodafone writ petition relies upon the Supreme Court order of January, 2012 which had ruled that the Hutch-Vodafone deal was not taxable in India.

The plea alleges that proper opportunity was not given to Vodafone to defend itself in the penalty proceedings, sources added. The case is likely to come up for hearing post the Bombay High Court vacation, The Bombay High Court reopens on June 11th, 2012.

Finance Secretary RS Gujral had clarified earlier that there was no question of the government negotiating with any company on the tax amendments proposed in the Finance Bill for 2012-13.

Vodafone remained unavailable for comment, while LN Pant, DIT ( International Taxation), Mumbai and Mahesh Shah, Additional DIT ( International Taxation), Mumbai were also unavailable for comment.







Quashing of FIRs against lawyer sought

TNN | May 11, 2012, 04.42AM IST

PATNA: A writ petition was filed in the Patna High Court (HC) on Thursday seeking quashing of the three FIRs lodged against Samastipur advocate Anil Kumar Singh and 12 other lawyers by the district police charging Singh with taking money from his client for writing a petition for her. Singh was illegally detained for 28 hours allegedly on the orders of the Samastipur DM on April 19.

Lawyer Umesh Kumar Singh, who filed the petition, said a compensation of Rs 50 lakh has also been demanded for illegal detention of Singh, besides transfer of the DM and the Samastipur DDC who were responsible for the incident.

Meanwhile, members of the Bihar State Bar Council will stage a day-long dharna near Ambedkar statue outside the HC on Friday demanding transfer of the DDC for arrest of Anil.










Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh withdraws plea against Army chief Gen VK Singh

TNN | May 11, 2012, 06.15AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed as withdrawn a writ petition by Lt Gen (Retd) Tejinder Singh seeking a CBI inquiry into Army chief Gen VK Singh’s alleged role in the reported bugging of the defence minister’s office despite the government denying any such incident.

The reluctance of a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar forced the retired Army officer to withdraw his plea.

The petition was filed days after the Army chief accused Tejinder Singh of offering him a bribe of Rs 14 crore for purchase of Tatra trucks. Following the complaint by the Army chief, the CBI initiated a probe into the matter.

Tejinder Singh had also accused the Army chief of professional misconduct by making “political statements” while holding the key post. He said the Army chief had stated that the Maoist problem in the country was the creation of the government when the Centre had sought the Army’s help in Naxal affected areas.

He has also filed a criminal defamation case against Gen VK Singh and four other senior Army officers in a trial court.









Post-protests, S.K. Mathur removed as Saharanpur DIG

His comment on honour killings comes under flak. Following an uproar by women’s organisations and political parties over an objectionable comment made by Saharanpur Deputy Inspector-General S.K. Mathur, the Akhilesh Yadav government removed the senior IPS officer from his post on Thursday. But the action came 48 hours after the officer he made a remark reportedly justifying honour killings.

The DIG has been attached to the DG Police office and Bhola Nath Singh has been sent in his place to Saharanpur. Also transferred was Sant Kabir Nagar Superintendent of Police Dharmendra Kumar, who had also passed some uncharitable comments which lowered the dignity of women. Mr. Kumar has been sent to the Provincial Arm Constabulary, Gonda.

In all, 21 IPS officers, including Mr. Mathur and Mr. Kumar, were moved in a police reshuffle by the State government on Thursday.

Action was taken against Mr. Mathur for telling a complainant during a routine inspection in Saharanpur on Tuesday that had he (the DIG) been in his place he would have shot his own sister for eloping, or would have shot himself. The comment was made when a person had come to file a complaint about the elopement of his sister with a youth. Mr. Mathur’s comment was flayed for its anti-women slant and one which supported the inhuman practice of honour killings. In fact, Western Uttar Pradesh and the area adjoining Haryana are notorious for this practice.

Sant Kabir Nagar district police chief Dharmendra Kumar was caught on camera while stating: “Apradhiyon ke peechhe hum bhagenge ya ki ladkiyon ke peechhe [Should the police catch criminals, or recover girls who had eloped.]” His remarks made during a routine meeting with local persons were made in respect to the cases of kidnapping of girls in the district and were seen as an attempt to lower the dignity of women, especially young girls.

Serious issue: Akhilesh

An indication that action would be taken soon was given by the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Akhilesh Yadav at the City Montessori School, where he had gone to address a Teachers’ Thanksgiving function earlier in the day. Referring to the comment made by Mr. Mathur, Mr. Yadav said action would be taken against the officer if he was found guilty. He said it was a “serious issue” and an inquiry was being conducted.

Aware of the deteriorating law and order and crime situation in the State since he took over as the Chief Minister and the damage caused to his government by his own party men, Mr. Yadav said strict action would be taken against those who indulged in lawlessness and crime, even if they belonged to the Samajwadi Party.

Home Secretary Deepak Kumar said at the routine briefing of his department that the government had taken a serious view of the comment made by the police officer. Mr. Kumar said the government was committed to upholding the dignity and honour of women.

The National Commission for Women (NCW) and the Opposition parties demanded that the police officer be suspended as his remark amounted to supporting the cause of honour killing.

Mr. Yadav warned police officers that they would be taken to task if they failed to redress people’s grievances. “Capable police officers will be given full opportunity to perform, but irresponsible officers will not remain in their posts,” he said.







Green Tribunal directs proceedings against OPG for violations

PTI | 06:05 PM,May 10,2012

New Delhi, May 10 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has directed Gujarat government to take action against OPG Power Gujarat Pvt Ltd for violating the conditions on which the environmental clearance was granted to it for its 300 MW Bhadreshwar thermal power plant at Mundra. The Tribunal held that OPG had started construction work at the project site before Forest Clearance was accorded to it on April 26 which was in violation of the conditions laid down in the environment clearance granted to it on June 11, 2010. The June 11, 2010 clearance for the 2×150 MW thermal power plant at village Bhadreshwar, Mundra, District Kutch, Gujarat had stipulated that OPG shall not start work without “all requisite prior permissions”. “The forest clearance was admittedly granted to the OPG only on April 26, 2012. Thus, any construction made before the said date would be hit by the terms of environment clearance,” a bench headed by Tribunal’s Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu said. OPG counsel Kamal Budhiraja, however, said “the order has not held the company to be in violation of environment clearance.” He said the Tribunal has merely directed the Gujarat state authorities to ascertain whether allegations made against the company are factually correct. In the order, the Tribunal directed the state government and the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) to initiate proceedings against OPG for the violation within a period of four months. “In view of the discussions made above, we direct State Government/ SEIAA, Gujarat to initiate necessary proceedings against the Project Proponent (OPG), issue show cause to them and on perusal of the cause shown,” the bench said. (More) PTI UPT RKS









State commission for women chief moots meet to end lawyers’ agitation

May 11, 2012, 09.40AM IST

BHUBANESWAR/SAMBALPUR: The State Commission for Women chairperson, Jyoti Panigrahi, on Thursday recommended the state government to convene a meeting to resolve the deadlock in wake of the lawyers’ dispute with Sambalpur district collector Mrinalini Darswal.

In her five-page report to chief minister Naveen Patnaik on the collector-lawyers standoff, Panigrahi asked the government to convene a meeting of state Bar Council chairperson, IAS Officers’ Association president, Sambalpur Bar president and Sambalpur collector with director general of police for early solution to the impasse. “The issue needs to be resolved early because due to the stalemate, litigants including women were suffering and the state was facing huge revenue loss,” Panigrahi told TOI.

Panigrahi said she had made three principal recommendations in her report. Besides the suggestion for a high-level meeting, she also suggested to the district administrations to take sufficient precautionary measures to avoid such incidents while highlighting that the Sambalpur collector was not well prepared while going to the agitating lawyers. Thirdly, the SCW chief advised the district administrations to make sufficient police deployment when they apprehend law and order problem.

“I have not made any comment on who was at fault as the crime branch is probing into that matter,” she said.

Meanwhile, functioning of courts and judicial offices has been severely affected in Sambalpur for the last 15 days. No legal work can be done in the town at present, and common people are suffering immensely.

Even the signing of an affidavit for students opting for higher education is almost impossible as notary public and stamp venders are not available in the court area. “I need a residential certificate to apply for my higher studies, but as the lawyers have continued their cease-work, I am not able to get the certificate,” a student of Sambalpur said.

Lawyers, on the other hand, said they knew about people’s plight, but were helpless. They accused the government of giving rise to such a stalemate. “We understand the plight of the people, but we are undone. The government should take appropriate steps to solve the problem immediately. We have decided to continue our agitation till May 19,” general secretary of Sambalpur district bar association Bijitendriya Pradhan said on Thursday.







Mining scam: SC orders CBI probe against BSY

Last Updated: Friday, May 11, 2012, 12:10

New Delhi: In a major setback to BJP strongman BS Yeddyurappa, the Supreme Court on Friday ordered a CBI probe into the alleged irregularities committed by him during his tenure as the chief minister of Karnataka.

The order in this regard was passed by the Supreme Court bench headed by Justice SH Kapadia, who asked the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to submit its report before it by August three.

The central probe agency has been asked to probe into Yeddyurappa’s alleged role in the state’s mining scam.

The apex court, while accepting the recommendations made by its Central Empowered Committee, directed the CBI to investigate allegations that the Prerna Trust managed by members of Yeddyurappa’s immediate family received a huge donation from the mining company favoured by him.

The apex court, however, said that all other proceedings against the BJP leader in any other court will remain stayed.

The Lingayat community leader has been under scanner over alleged irregularities committed by his office in a case relating to denotification of land and kickbacks received by his family members from the mining corporates.

The apex court order comes days after the SC-appointed panel had recommended for a CBI probe against Yeddyurappa.

The CEC, in its report, had pointed to Yeddy’s alleged role in illegal export of iron ore, transfer of some police officers and certain land deals for the benefit of his family.

The panel had suggested that the CBI should investigate in detail, alleged misuse of office by Yeddyurappa as Chief Minister, noting that prima facie massive illegalities seemed to have taken place, including serious violation of rules to de-notify agricultural land, allowing the BJP leader’s relatives to make a huge windfall when they resold de-notified land at an enormous profit.

The court panel has recommended that the CBI investigate cases of de-notification of Bangalore Development Authority land.

It has also suggested that the CBI investigate the link between Yeddyurappa allegedly favouring some companies in mining deals – South West Mining, a subsidiary of Jindal Steel, which allegedly made donations worth crores to the Prerna Educational Society Trust run by Yeddyurappa’s family members.

In view of the controversy, Yeddyurappa was asked by his party leadership to step down as Chief Minister last year after he was strongly indicted for corruption by the Karnataka Lokayukta in a report on illegal mining.







HC asks govt to stop mining in Bharatpur

TNN | May 11, 2012, 02.20AM IST

JAIPUR: A division bench of the Rajasthan High Court, headed by Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra on Thursday asked the state government to stop all illegal minings in the 21-km stretch of Kala Pahar region in Bharatpur district. The court also issued show cause notice to the state authorities on the issue.

The interim order was passed on a PIL filed by one Laxman Singh, who complained that largescale illegal mining was taking placing at Kala Pahar in Alipur village. The petitioner said there were a large number of residential houses of farmers and the poor at the foothills where the illegal mining is going on.

“It was brought to the notice of the court that stone blasting results in noise pollution. As fallout of the stone blasting, 13 people have died so far,” said Karan Pal Singh, advocate for the petitioner.







SC seeks report on GM crops’ field trials issue in 3 months

New Delhi, May 10, 2012

The Supreme Court on Thursday sought form an expert committee a report on desirability of the field trials for genetically modified crops within three months.

A bench headed by chief justice SH Kapadia asked the committee to submit the report on whether field trials for GMO (genetically modified organisms) can be completely banned and if they are to be allowed what should be the protocol.

The bench directed the committee to submit an interim report on the issue within three months if the final one is not possible.

The court passed the orders on a PIL filed in 2004 by NGO, Gene Campaign and anti-GMO activist Aruna Rodrigues, who had sought a complete moratorium on field trial for GMO.

The bench said the expert committee would be appointed in terms of the reference accepted earlier by the parties.

The apex court is hearing the plea on which it had on September 22, 2006 restrained the Genetic Engineering Advisory Committee (GEAC) from granting approval for the GM crops. However, it had modified its order on May 8, 2007 allowing it to look into 24 varieties of the transgenic food.

The petitioner had alleged that GEAC was not properly constituted and allowing the open field trials for transgenic seeds will lead to contamination of related species and environment as proper safety guidelines were not in place.

The issue of GM crops have been in the apex court since 2004 and it has passed several orders.

While allowing the field trials, the court had imposed certain restriction including that the government should increase the isolation distance up to 200 metres between the GM planted fields and the other fields and a protocol for testing contamination up to 0.01 percent of neighbouring fields was established.

It had also said a designated scientist should be made responsible for ensuring that all the conditions were complied with during the field trials of GM seeds.







Nurses’ degrees: SC informed about Govt action

PTI | 07:05 PM,May 10,2012

New Delhi, May 10 (PTI) The Centre today told the Supreme Court that steps have already been taken to stop private hospitals from retaining original certificates of nurses while employing them and states have been asked to “initiate penal action” against violators. “The government has taken a very serious view of such unethical practices on the part of the certain private hospitals / clinical establishments in the states and Union territories,” the apex court was told during hearing of a PIL filed last year by NGO Pravasi Legal Cell after the matter was raised at various fora including Parliament. A bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia posted the matter for further hearing in July after it was informed that the Centre has swung into action and a circular has been sent in February to the state governments stressing upon the need to protect and safeguard the interests of nurses /para-medical staff working in private hospitals and clinics. Additional Solicitor General Gaurab Banerji submitted to the bench, which also included justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, a February 24 letter of the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, which asked the state governments to issue instruction to private hospitals to “refrain” from retaining original certificates of nurses and para-medical staffers. “All the state governments are hereby directed to issue instructions to the effect that all the hospitals / clinical establishments registered with the state / within their jurisdiction, may strictly refrain from the practice of retaining any of the original certificates or the documents of the nurses / para-medical staff employed by them. “They may return forthwith the original certificates / documents to the concerned personnel within a fortnight at the latest and in case of any doubt, the original documents could be sought, however, only their attested photocopies may be retained by the authorities,” said the ministry’s letter to the state governments. (MORE)






Supreme Court refers PIL on Tashiding HEP to High Court

Thu 10 May 2012   Law et al. News Network   Gangtok

The Supreme Court has referred two public interest litigations (PILs) seeking stay on the ongoing 97 MW Tashiding hydro power project on Rathongchu River in West Sikkim to the Sikkim High Court saying that the issues involved in the petition was of local nature.

A bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice SS Nijjar ordered “The question raised in these writ petitions under Article 32 of the Constitution should, in our view, be first considered by the Sikkim High Court under Article 226 of the Constitution. There are various issues involved which are local in nature and should be considered at that level.”

Sikkim Bhutia Lepcha Apex Committee (SIBLAC) and National Sikkimese Bhutia Organisation (NASBO), have been demanding scrapping of the said project, mainly citing religious sentiments and the violation of the Places of Worship (Special Provisions) Act of 1991, extended to Sikkim in 1998.

Two of the three hydroelectric projects on the Rathong Chu that were opposed by many organisations on religious and environment grounds, have been scrapped by the Sikkim government.

On January 25, the cabinet decided to scrap the Ting Ting (99MW) and the Lethang (96MW) projects proposed over the Rathong Chu, a river considered sacred by the Buddhists in Sikkim.

The decision to scrap the projects came a month after a high-powered committee constituted by the state government submitted its report. The panel was asked to examine if the Rathong Chu projects could be implemented. The decision on “further examination” of the Tashiding project was taken as more than Rs 100 crore had already been invested and tunnelling work had started.

Tseten Tashi Bhutia Convener of SIBLAC said, “Any project on the Rathong Chu is not acceptable to us since it is on the waters of the most sacred river according to Neysol Buddhist texts.”








PIL seeking prosecution of IAS, KAS officers filed in JK HC

PTI | 11:05 PM,May 10,2012

Jammu, May 10 (PTI) A PIL has been filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking directions to the Commissioner of Vigilance to file charge sheets against some administrative officers in the state in various cases of corruption. The PIL has been filed by social activists S K Bhalla and Sheikh Shafi through advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed. It sought prosecution of some IAS and KAS officers in various cases of corruption pending in State Vigilance Organisation and passing directions to the Commissioner of Vigilance to file charge sheets against them. The petitioners listed over a dozen pending cases against the officers for their alleged involvement in the Gulmarg land scam, rural electrification scam, illegal appointments in local bodies and illegal and backdoor appointments in Jammu and Kashmir Legal Service Authority.









UP sugar mill scam: PIL filed in HC

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | May 10, 2012, 08.14PM IST

LUCKNOW: A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court on Thursday by by RTI activist Nutan Thakur seeking actions against the officials responsible for selling 21 government sugar mills at throwaway prices during Mayawati regime. The PIL shall come for hearing on Friday before Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice V K Dixit.

In her PIL, Nutam has stated that irregularities took place in the sale of 10 sugar mills belonging to the Uttar Pradesh State Sugar Corporation Limited and 11 sugar mills of Uttar Pradesh Rajya Chini evam Ganna Vikas Nigam. The mills were sold by previous Mayawati government. She has cited the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report on the sale of these sugar mills, which has exposed large scale irregularities resulted in huge loss to the public exchequer.

The CAG report titled “Performance review on sale of sugar Mills of Uttar Pradesh State Sugar Corporation Limited” was sent by Pawan Kumar Mittal, Deputy Accountant General, Lucknow, to Brinda Swarup, then principal secretary, finance, UP government, on November 17, 2011. The report has brought to the fore how the `core group of secretaries for disinvestment’ formed by the state government for sale of mills favoured buyers at every step.

Nutan has prayed in the PIL that the UP government should be directed to take suitable legal and administrative actions in accordance with this CAG report within 3 months. The CAG report states that not only mills were under-valued before sale but the bidding was also rigged and expected prices were disclosed to the bidders. Further, large scale stamp duty evasion also took place. The anomalies led to loss of around RS 1200 crore to the public exchequer.

Nutan’s PIL is the second against sale of sugar mills to have been filed in last one year. the CAG found that under-valuation of the sugar mills upto 30% was done by the authorities. Thereafter, expected prices reduced further by 50%. Though on papers there were several bidders were shown but in reality there were three players — one group having links with liquor baron Ponty Chadha and second led by a Muslim BSP leader and third the Indian Potash Limited.










PIL seeks quashing of Andhra Pradesh high court judge’s appointment

TNN | May 11, 2012, 05.19AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a PIL seeking to quash the appointment of a sitting Andhra Pradesh high court Judge for allegedly suppressing information about pendency of a criminal case against him at the time of his elevation to the constitutional post.

A bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana P Desai posted the PIL by one Manohar Reddy for further hearing on July 9 but said the relief sought by the petitioner was unprecedented.

Senior advocates Shanti Bhushan and Ram Jethmalani said the facts of the case were also unprecedented and requested the court to initiate steps on the administrative side against Justice NV Ramana and convince him to quit the post.

Reddy alleged that when Justice Ramana was a student of Nagarjuna University in Guntur in 1981, he was named as an accused in a case relating to rioting and disruption of public property in 1981. Two years later, when he enrolled as an advocate, he did not mention the pending criminal case against him despite a mandatory requirement.

Police filed chargesheet against him in October 1983. During the meandering trial before a Guntur court, he was allegedly declared a proclaimed offender on May 8, 2000. A month later, he was appointed as a judge of Andhra Pradesh HC. On December 2, 2000, the trial court issued warrants against the HC judge, the petitioner said.

The petitioner alleged that while on one hand the warrants went unanswered, on the other hand, the then TDP government sought to withdraw prosecution in the rioting case. On January 31, 2002, the case against the judge was closed.

Bhushan said, “If the case is withdrawn against a judge, what will the country feel. The courts have declared him an absconder and he is dispensing justice. It vitiates the entire consultation process for appointment of judges to the high court.”










Supreme Court allows Chishty to visit Pak till Nov 1 on surety of 5 lakh

TNN | May 11, 2012, 04.31AM IST

NEW DELHI: Twenty years after he got involved in a brawl resulting in a person’s death while on a visit to India, octogenarian Pakistani virologist Mohammed Khalil Chishty may get to see his home and family in Karachi again.

The Supreme Court on Thursday allowed Chishty to visit his Karachi home till November 1 on a security deposit of Rs 5 lakh. The virologist has been convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment. He is out on bail pending an appeal against the verdict in the apex court.

The go-ahead by a bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar came despite additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran’s apprehension that absence of an extradition treaty with Pakistan would make it difficult for India to bring Chishty back if he decided not to return.

Bench takes view of old age

Parasaran argued that the Indian government was ready to facilitate visits by Chishty’s relatives from Pakistan if he was yearning to see his family members.

But the bench said in view of his old age and scholarly achievements, it was inclined to allow Chishty’s plea to visit Karachi. However, it asked him make the security in the apex court registry within two weeks as a guarantee for his return to India on November 1.

The court also asked Chishty to surrender his passport to the Indian high commission office at Karachi immediately after he reaches his hometown.

A trial court on January 31, 2011, convicted him for murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment. The Rajasthan HC upheld the verdict. During pendency of Chishty’s appeal against the HC decision, the SC had granted him bail. Now, the court has fixed November 20 for hearing on his appeal against his conviction and sentence in the murder case.

Chishty was born into the family of caretakers of Khwaja Moinuddin Chishti’s shrine. During the partition, he was studying in what became Pakistan and decided to stay on in that country. In 1992, he came to see his ailing mother but got involved in a brawl in which a neighbour was shot dead and his nephew was injured.

Chishty, who suffers from heart, hearing and other ailments, lived in his brother’s poultry farm till his conviction. A former SC judge, Justice Markandey Katju, had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh advocating grant of pardon to Chishty, who was a renowned professor of virology in Karachi Medical College and also holds a PhD from Edinburgh University.








Aarushi murder: Supreme Court should not interfere in summoning Talwars, CBI says

TNN | May 11, 2012, 04.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: The apex court on Thursday sought to know from the CBI what evidence made the trial court come to the conclusion that Aarushi’s private parts were cleaned after the murder.

During the arguments on Nupur Talwar’s petition seeking review of the apex court’s January 6 judgment asking her to face trial for her daughter’s murder along with Rajesh Talwar, a bench of Justices AK Patnaik and JS Khehar asked senior advocate Siddharth Luthra to show on Friday the evidence that could have led to such an inference from the magistrate.

Before facing this question from the bench at the conclusion of Thursday’s arguments, Luthra argued for the CBI and pleaded with the SC not to interfere at the preliminary stage of trial in the double murder case just because the magistrate had summoned Aarushi’s parents as accused.

“Let us not proceed on a premise that the magistrate did not have the benefit of perusing the entire documents submitted by the CBI along with the closure report. This is not the stage which warrants interference by the apex court. The questions asked by the petitioner could be addressed at the stage of framing of charges where the trial court weighs the evidence,” Luthra said.

The court wanted to know from CBI whether there were prior instances where a trial court had rejected a closure report and issued summons to persons to face trial.











Dara Singh encounter case: Court to decide Rathore’s fate on May 16

TNN | May 11, 2012, 02.37AM IST

JAIPUR: A local court completed hearing arguments in connection to the application of jailed BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore who had challenged his arrest in connection with the Dara Singh encounter case of 2006. The court has reserved the judgment and will pronounce it on May 16.

Rathore on May 6 had moved an application at the district court terming his judicial custody after his arrest by the CBI last month as illegal. In his application, the MLA said there were no grounds for his detention and that he should be released.

The court while extending the judicial custody of the former minister on Thursday, has given May 16 as the next date of hearing in the case. The court will decide if his arrest by the CBI is legal or not and on if he could be released.

“We challenged the arrest of Rathore since neither in the first chargesheet filed nor in the second, CBI has managed to give enough evidences to prove Rathore’s role in the case. Thus, we requested the court to release Rathore,” Rathores’ counsel Ajay Kumar Jain.

However, the court has already taken cognizance against Rathore on April 24 and trial in this case has already begun.

Heavy rush of BJP leaders and supporters of Rathore were seen at the court on Thursday morning for the hearing. Rathore while talking to newsman claimed that he was innocent and has full confidence in the legal system.










High Court orders shareholders’ meeting on MSat-Tech Mahindra merger

Press Trust of India, 11 May 2012 | 09:11 AM

Mahindra Satyam (formerly Satyam Computer Services) said the Andhra Pradesh High Court has directed it to convene a shareholders’ meeting on June 8 to consider merger with Tech Mahindra.

“By an order made on April 18, 2012… the High Court has directed that a meeting of the Equity Shareholders of the Company be convened and held on June 08, 2012, for the purpose of considering…proposed Scheme of Amalgamation,” MSat said.

Last week, competition watchdog CCI approved the proposed merger of Mahindra Satyam and other companies with Tech Mahindra, creating a $2.4 billion entity.

Tech Mahindra took over the scam-hit Satyam in April, 2009, and rebranded it as Mahindra Satyam. Founder-Chairman of Satyam, B Ramlinga Raju, had admitted to multi-crore accounting fraud at the firm in January 2009.

Boards of both the IT firms have approved the merger with swap ratio of 2:17, giving shareholders two Tech Mahindra shares for every 17 owned in Mahindra Satyam.










Supreme Court permits Centre to withdraw 2G review plea

TNN | May 11, 2012, 06.11AM IST

NEW DELHI: A five-judge constitution bench of the Supreme Court on Friday will hear the presidential reference seeking the apex court’s opinion on a host of queries arising from the 2G judgment, including whether judiciary had encroached into the executive’s policy domain by mandating auction for allocation of natural resources including spectrum.

The Presidential Reference No. 1 of 2012 is listed for hearing before a bench comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices D K Jain, J S Khehar, Dipak Misra and Ranjan Gogoi. In a 12-page reference under Article 143(1) of the Constitution, the President on April 12 had sought the court’s opinion on eight questions, including the effect of the judgment — which ordered auction of the 122 cancelled 2G licences — on spectrum allotted since 1994 on a first-come first-served basis (FCFS).

The main focus of the reference was “whether the only permissible method for disposal of all natural resources across all sectors and in all circumstances is by the conduct of auctions”. The SC had held the FCFS method to be inherently flawed.

The President had also reminded the court that the “auction only” route for allocation of natural resources seemed to run contrary to earlier judgments by larger benches of the apex court. The government argued that the FCFS policy formulated and followed by successive regimes was a viable route for allocation of spectrum as the purpose was to increase rural tele-density.

The reference sought the court’s view whether enunciation of a broad principle by the apex court in the 2G judgment did “not really amount to formulation of a policy and has the effect of unsettling policy decisions formulated and approaches taken by various successive governments over the years for valid considerations, including lack of public resources and the need to resort to innovative and different approaches for the development of various sectors of the economy”.

But on Thursday, the Supreme Court’s February 2 judgment cancelling irregular allotment of 2G spectrum to 122 telecom licensees attained finality as the Centre was permitted to withdraw its petition seeking review of the auction alone route mandated by the court.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and K S Radhakrishnan nonetheless took affront to the Centre’s May 8 letter requesting the CJI to “constitute the bench at an appropriate date and time to avoid disruption of benches and any inconvenience to the learned judges”.

It rejected the letter saying when the bench was already scheduled to sit on Thursday, there was no need for such a request. Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising made an oral request for withdrawal of the review petition while requesting the court to ignore the letter. The court accepted Jaising’s request.

Appearing for NGO ‘Centre for Public Interest Litigation’ (CPIL), advocate Prashant Bhushan said it was unfortunate that the Union government was indulging in forum shopping.

“They are withdrawing the appeal as the court was not inclined to grant any substantial relief in the operative portion of the February 2 judgment. They now want to proceed with the Presidential Reference which raised identical issues mentioned in the review petition. This amounts to forum shopping and the court should not permit it,” Bhushan argued.

But the bench said if the Union government wanted to withdraw its review petition, it meant that the entire judgment was acceptable to it. “The court has already dealt with the issues relating to ‘first-come first-served policy’ and ‘auction of natural resources’. The petitioner has a right to withdraw the review petition. And we will not comment on the Presidential Reference. You (Bhushan) can raise the objections before an appropriate forum,” the bench said.

Jaising objected to the “forum shopping” accusation leveled by Bhushan against the Union government and said the court should not take on record the written submission given by the NGO’s counsel.

The bench said it had not taken on record the submission. “We cannot say when the presidential reference will be heard and what arguments would be made during its hearing. But it seems the judgment is now clear in all aspects to the Union government which is seeking withdrawal of its review petition,” Justices Singhvi and Radhakrishnan said.

Through the Presidential Reference, the Centre wants to know “what is the permissible scope for interference by courts with policy making by the government including methods for disposal of natural resources”.

If a court cancels a policy decision terming it flawed, then what would happen to investments, including foreign direct investment under multilateral or bilateral agreements, made in the projects pursuant to implementation of the said policy decision, the President had asked.








President to look into complaint against KGB: SC

PTI | 07:05 PM,May 10,2012

New Delhi, May 10 (PTI) The Supreme Court today asked the President to take a decision on a complaint filed before her against the NHRC Chairman and former CJI K G Balakrishnan regarding his alleged misconduct during his tenure as a judge in the apex court. The apex court, however, refused to direct the Centre to recommend a Presidential reference for removal of Balakrishnan as the chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). A bench of justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar said if there is any truth in the allegations, then it is for the President to make a reference to the Supreme Court, on the advice of Council of Ministers, for inquiry against the former Chief Justice of India. “In the peculiar facts noticed hereinabove, we are satisfied, that the instant petition deserves to be disposed of by requesting the competent authority to take a decision on the communication dated April 4 2011 (addressed by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms, to the President of India). “If the allegations, in the aforesaid determination, are found to be unworthy of any further action, the petitioner shall be informed accordingly. Alternatively, the President of India, based on the advice of the Council of Ministers, may proceed with the matter in accordance with the mandate of Section 5(2) of the 1993 Act,” the bench said. The court passed the order on a PIL by civil society Common Cause, which had sought directions from the court to the government to make a Presidential reference to the apex court for removal of Balakrishnan as the chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The NGO had alleged that the ex-CJI and his relatives amassed wealth far exceeding their legal income during Balakrishnan’s tenure as an apex court judge. Interpreting the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, the bench said that it is for the President to take a decision on the reference for the removal of the Chairman. MORE PTI AAC RKS GSN








SC refuses to entertain plea against ex-CJI

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 10, 2012

The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to direct the Centre to initiate proceedings for removing former Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan from the post of NHRC chairman for alleged misconduct during his tenure in the top court.
“It is not possible for us to accept the prayer made at the hands of the petitioner, for the simple reason that the first step contemplated under Section 5(2) of the 1993 Act is the satisfaction of the President of India. It is only upon the satisfaction of the President that a reference can be made to the Supreme Court for holding an inquiry,” a bench of Justice BS Chauhan and Justice JS Khehar said.

The bench left it to the competent authority in the government to look into allegations levelled against the former CJI by the Campaign for Judicial Accountability and Reforms in its April 4, 2011, letter to the President. If there was any truth in the allegations, it was for the President to make a reference to the SC, it said. For this, the President would act on the advice of the council of ministers.

The court’s order came on a PIL by Common Cause, an NGO, seeking a directive to the government, asking it to make a presidential reference in this regard. According to the NGO, the ex-CJI and his relatives had amassed wealth exceeding the NHRC chairman’s legal income during his tenure as SC judge. It had sought a direction to the Ministry of Home Affairs for making a reference to the SC for a probe under the Human Rights Act.

Justice Balakrishnan was appointed as the CJI on January 14, 2007. He was appointed as NHRC chairman on May 12, 2010, subsequent to his retirement.








Supreme Court should halt undermining of the purpose of setting up an SIT

The Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) has concluded in its final report that it would not amount to an offence even if Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi hypothetically did say something about ‘allowing Hindus to vent their anger’ in a meeting with top police officers after the Godhra carnage in 2002. That is an appalling conclusion. If Modi did actually make that statement, it patently cannot be called a case of an individual expressing his private biases ‘within the four walls of a room’.

Rather, it would be a case of a chief minister effectively telling officers of the law how to behave in a situation of organised killing. Even at face value, this sort of a conclusion by the SIT – even as it has closed investigation into the Gulberg Society massacre after finding no evidence to prosecute Modi, top political leaders, bureaucrats and police officers – raises doubts about whether it is fully and impartially doing the job entrusted to it by the Supreme Court. The whole point of setting up the SIT was a lack of faith in the ability of the state investigative agencies to impartially investigate the communal riot cases given that apprehensions about complicity in the carnage at virtually all levels of the state machinery were rife. If the SIT itself, in turn, is giving cause for worry that it too may be inclined to shield (or be partial towards) guilt at the top levels of government, then it would be time for the Supreme Court to intervene again in a manner it sees fit.

Given the twists and turns the investigations have taken, the crucial differences between the SIT’s preliminary report and its final one included, apprehensions of bad faith cannot be dismissed. The issue is not just justice for the victims of the organised violence against Muslims in Gujarat in 2002. At stake is the institutional integrity of the constitutional process of Indian democracy . If the best intentions of the Supreme Court cannot counter the penchant of the local state machinery, excluding no part of it, to be complicit in violence against a section of Gujarati society, that would mean an open, gaping wound for Indian democracy.









HC asks govt to submit details of assets of IAS, IPS and IFS

Ashish Tripathi, TNN | May 10, 2012, 09.42PM IST

LUCKNOW: In a significant development, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court on Thursday directed the central and the state governments to file affidavits showing the cadre strength of officers of all India services working in UP, maximum period of their stay at places of postings in the last three years, the details of properties possessed by them and their family members before entering into service and thereafter, and the number of criminal cases and civil cases including those filed under Prevention of Corruption Act and departmental proceedings pending against them on the next date of hearing.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Virendra Kumar Dixit on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Lok Prahari, an association of retired civil servants through its general secretary SN Shukla. The PIL was filed in March last year seeking direction from the court for central and state governments to implement the Indian Administrative Services (Cadre Amendment) Rules, 2006, in UP, which provides for a fixed term to all India officers on a particular post. The petitioner had argued that arbitrary transfers of the India Administrative services, India Police Services and Indian Forest Services is a major obstacle in honest, free and fair functioning. The government of India has already issued notification of fixed tenure for some states. However, for UP, the order was approved by the then union government but the notification was not issued.

Further, the petitioner had stated, the UP government has not formed the Civil Services Board as prescribed in the amendment rules of 2006. Also, the state government has not executed the fix term rule which it can enforce on its own. Later, in subsequent hearings, the petitioner also stated that transfers are being frequently made at the whims of the government. He drew the attention of the court towards the letter dated September 1, 2009, written by the home secretary, government of India to the chief secretary, government of UP. The letter had figures of the officers of the all India services posted in UP transferred between June, 2007 to June, 2009. According to the letter, which the petitioner used to support his argument, four officers were transferred within a day, 25 within three days, 49 within a week, 144 within a month and 609 within a year. These officers included administrative, police and forest services.

According to figures available with the TOI, there are around 1300 officers of the all India services — administrative, police and forest — in UP. As per the All India Services (Conduct) Amendment Rules, 2011, every officer has to declare his/her assets annually by January 31. However, many officers including 53 IAS have not filed required information for the year 2011 till date. Also, figures show that Mayawati, in her first term as chief minister which lasted four months and 14 days in 1995, around 578 bureaucrats were transferred. The second one which lasted for six-months in 1997 saw 777 heads rolling. The third one year three months 26 days stint in 2002 claimed 970 scalps. In her fourth from May 2007 to December 2009, Maya re-shuffled officers over 1000 times. The Samajwadi Party government, which took charge on March 15, 2012, in 55 days so far has reshuffled around 220 IAS and 241 IPS officers.

While politicians say that re-shuffling of officers is done for effective governance, many officers in private confided that transfers and postings are major source of corruption and has assumed proportion of an `industry’. “While politicians want those officers who serve them and not the public, officers seek `lucrative’ postings. Officers close to power centre get good postings and long tenures but those who do not succumb to whims and fancies are harassed,” claimed an officer. Another claimed that on an average an officer is transferred 2-3 times in a year. “If you are in field posting, marching orders every 3-6 months not only disturbs your family but also takes toll on their health,” he said. Another officer said that besides money, caste also plays a role in transfers and postings. “Politicisation of services, dividing officers on caste lines and corruption is mainly responsible for the backwardness of UP,” he added.








HC stops government from moving agriculture officers

TNN | May 11, 2012, 03.47AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has restrained the Tamil Nadu government from transferring officers from the agriculture department to fill up vacancies in horticulture department.

Justice K Ravichandra Babu passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by the Tamil Nadu Horticulture Officers Welfare Association. The restraint order will be in force for a period of four weeks.

In its writ petition, the association contended that though the horticulture department was created in 1979, it was yet to have its own separate service rules to regulate the service conditions of the technical staff working there. In 2007, after ascertaining that horticulture department is overstaffed, the government decided not to fill up vacancies arising in the department and resolved to fill up such vacancies with officers from agriculture department.

Since then, for instance, a joint director of agriculture on promotion as additional director was transferred as additional director of horticulture. Similar promotions and transfers happened at all level, the writ petition said, adding that the technical staff of the horticulture department found that their promotional avenues had been blocked and that they were all taken over by transferees from agriculture department.

Noting that horticulture was a technical job requiring expertise, the petition said inducting any more agriculture department personnel would be illegal and against the service law jurisprudence.

Assailing the provisions of the December 24, 2007, which was issued after the staff surplus in horticulture department was notice, the petition wanted it to be quashed. As an interim measure, it wanted the court to forbear the government from inducting agriculture officers in horticultural posts.








HC asks website to remove ‘defamatory’ blog against Sri Sri Ravi Shankar

Published: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 19:51 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

The Delhi High Court has ordered removal of objectionable blogs and remarks posted by a man against Art of Living (AoL) founder and spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on Google’s website

While ordering removal of his “defamatory” blogs, Justice Manmohan Singh also restrained blogger Jitender Bagga from sending objectionable emails and publishing blogs on the website against the AoL founder.

The court order came on an NGO’s civil suit, seeking damages of over Rs5 crore from the blogger and the website.

“It appears that the plaintiffs (NGO and its volunteers) have been able to make out a strong prima facie case for passing an ex-parte interim order. The balance of convenience also lies in favour the plaintiff and against the defendants (Bagga and the website).

In case, interim order is not passed, the plaintiffs will suffer irreparable loss and injury. Thus, till the next date, the defendant 2 (website) is directed to remove all defamatory contents about the plaintiffs posted by defendant 1 (Bagga) on website,” the court said.

“Bagga is restrained from sending any email or posting any material over the website which has a direct or indirect reference to the plaintiffs or the Art of Living Foundation or any member of AoL or His Holiness Sri Sri Ravi Shankar,” the court said.

Filing a civil suit through its trustee Mahesh Gupta, the NGO Vyakti Vikas Kendra, India Public Charitable Trust has sought a damage of Rs5.9 crore from Bagga and the website.

It alleged Bagga has created and published various materials against the volunteers of this NGO, which promotes spiritual, educational, cultural and social developmental activities and also runs the programme called AoL. It added Bagga has published materials against its founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and his family members.








HC seeks routine report from Jaipur Municipal Corporation on removal of commercial units

TNN | May 11, 2012, 02.39AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court has directed JMC commissioner Lok Nath Soni to file fortnightly compliance report on the removal of commercial activities from residential units of Mansarovar locality of the state capital. The court also said it will not tolerate the defiance of order of the division bench on removal of such establishments.

In 2004, a division bench of the high court had directed the civic authorities to check commercial activities from residential areas and stop the same but no action was taken. It came to light while hearing a petition filed by a local resident of Mansarovar whose commercial establishment running from his home was stopped.

The single judge bench of Justice Alok Sharma took note of the fact that there are a large number of such commercial activities still going on and called the JMC Commissioner in person on Thursday.

Soni told the bench though there is shortage of staff at the JMC, action has been initiated. It was ensured that 10 houses will be identified each week form where commercial activities will be stopped and the report will be submitted fortnightly to the court.

“Continuous action by the municipal corporation is essential for a sense of justice in those whose commercial activities from residential premises has been stopped. Defiance in respect of directions issued by the court will not be tolerated,” the bench observed in its order.










HC directs Anjali Behera to reply in murder case

TNN | May 11, 2012, 09.29AM IST

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Thursday issued a notice to women and child development minister Anjali Behera over her alleged involvement in the murder of Hindol block chairman Nabaghana Sahoo. The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice B N Mohapatra directed the minister to file a reply to the allegations of the petitioner within two weeks.

The direction came in response to a PIL filed by a citizens’ forum, Dhenkanal Nagarika Manch, and a petition filed by the deceased’s mother, Durmilla Sahoo, seeking a CBI probe into Sahoo’s death. The petitioners had alleged that Nabaghana’s murder was pre-planned at the behest of local MLA Anjali Behera.

“The court has issued notice to women and child development minister, Anjali Behera to reply to the allegations of the petitioners,” said Himansu Mishra, petitioner’s counsel. BJD leader Nabaghan died on May 14, 2011, after being hit by a SUV near his cashew field, one-and-a-half km away from his village Ganjara.

The petitioners had alleged Anjali used to perceive Sahoo as a threat to her political career and there had been political rivalry between them. The petitioners had cited that since Anjali is a state minister, the crime branch probe will not be fair and the court hand over the case to CBI.









Air India moves Supreme Court, 9 more pilots sacked

Last Updated: Thursday, May 10, 2012, 23:37

New Delhi/Mumbai: Crisis-hit Air India Thursday moved the Supreme Court against striking pilots as it stopped flight bookings for the US, Canada and Europe till May 15 and sacked nine more pilots on day three of their agitation.

Over 20 international and domestic flights were cancelled and several delayed, leaving hundreds of passengers fuming.

Air India moved a petition in the apex seeking initiation of criminal contempt proceedings against the office bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG) for allegedly obstructing implementation of its order on training of pilots for the Dreamliner aircraft.

An application in this regard alleged that the ongoing protest action by IPG, which has disrupted international flight operations of airline, amounts to contempt of the apex court orders.

With over 200 pilots owing allegiance to the IPG refusing to join duty, AI said it was suspending its international bookings to New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Toronto, London, Paris and Frankfurt till May 15.

The airline sacked nine more pilots taking the number of pilots whose services have been terminated to 45. While 10 pilots, mostly office bearers of the IPG were dismissed on Tuesday, another 26 were shown the door yesterday. AI management has also derecognised IPG.

A defiant IPG demanded that the AI management must withdraw the sack orders and till then there was no question of pilots resuming work.

The agitating pilots sought the intervention of Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to resolve the impasse.

“It is a matter of life and death and career for the pilots. Talks were held by IPG with AI management which did not honour its commitments. The management is having a non-serious attitude towards our grievances,'” Jitendra Awhad, IPG president, told reporters.

From Delhi flights to Frankfurt, Shanghai, Toronto, New Jersey, Chicago and Seoul were cancelled while AI flights to New York, Riyadh and Shanghai were not operating from Mumbai.

Air India daily operates about 50 international flights and 400 domestic flights.

As the agitation entered the third day, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said, “if they (pilots) are not willing to follow the court order, why would they listen to me. They have to decide to follow the High Court order. That’s the law but they are not willing to do so. What can we do.”

Singh, however, reaffirmed government’s readiness to hold talks with the pilots and hoped that they would abide by the High Court order which held their stir as illegal.

The Delhi High Court had yesterday held the strike as illegal and barred the pilots from resorting to sick leave and staging demonstrations.

The pilots protesting against rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression have showed no signs of relenting..

“Three international departures from Mumbai and 8 from Delhi have been cancelled due to non-availability of pilots”, an Air India official said.

Around 12 international arrivals at Delhi airport were also cancelled, according to the website of Delhi airport.

Passengers were inconvenienced as airline officials were unable to accommodate them in others flights or give any concrete information on when their flights will take off.

Around 200 pilots owing allegiance to IPG had reported sick on Tuesday resulting in cancellation of several flights.

The IPG has a strength of about 250 pilots while the Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) has over 1,200 membership out of a total of 1,600 pilots. The remaining are mostly executive pilots.

Asked whether the government planned to close down Air India, the minister said, “Closing down is not a solution. Air India has a large base in international travel.”

“Now that the (Delhi High) court has also asked them to join, they should do so,” he said, adding passengers must not be inconvenienced.

The IPG, whose members have been reporting sick, are protesting the national carrier’s move to send pilots from both Air India and erstwhile Indian Airlines in equal numbers to get trained for flying the Boeing 787 Dreamliners, the first of which is likely to be inducted later this month.








HC restrains Mhada from selling 1% flats through lottery

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | May 11, 2012, 03.37AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday asked the Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (Mhada) not to put up all its flats for sale through lottery to be held on May 31, but to set aside 1% for the disabled. This is the second year that the HC has sent the order to the government agency. Currently, 2,593 flats are up for allotment.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar was hearing a petition filed by an NGO, India Centre for Human Rights and Law, stating that Mhada reserved only 2% against the required 3% of its flats for the disabled. The NGO’s advocate, Kranti L C, argued that in 2010, the State Coordination Committee on Disability had directed Mhada to increase the quota from 2% to 3% but the agency was yet to comply. “As they had not done it last year, the court had restrained the sale of 1% of its total flats. Similar direction should be passed this year,” he said.

Kranti also submitted that though the court had directed Mhada to rework its definition of disability to be inclusive of seven categories provided in the Persons with Disabilities Act, the agency have out flats to just two categories, blind and low vision.

Deferring the hearing beyond vacation, the judges directed Mhada to amend its definition of disability as well not to draw lots for 1% of its total flats.










HC vacates stay on recruitment of NU teachers

TNN | May 11, 2012, 05.37AM IST

NAGPUR: In a respite to Nagpur University, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Thursday vacated the stay on recruitment advertisements for lecturers. A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Ashok Bhangale vacated the ad-interim stay after NU counsel Bhanudas Kulkarni informed them that they will be deleting the specific clause in the advertisement related to appointment of persons with disability and will soon publish a corrigendum in this regard in the media.

The bench then admitted the plea by blind lecturer Rajesh Asudani (35), who claimed that NU has violated Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, protection of rights and full participation) act, 1995, in its advertisements for recruitment of professors, associate and assistant professors.

The petitioner contended that these advertisements for filing posts in teaching departments and conducted colleges provided reservation for disabled but “subject to availability”, and preference will be given to physically handicapped. He added that the advertisements failed to specify exact nature of disability and are against various circulars issued by UGC, Government of Maharashtra, Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, and are also against the settled laws established by judgments of Supreme Court and various high courts.

Asudani, working with RBI as class-I officer, pointed out that NU had issued advertisements for recruitment of lecturers three times in five years but failed to move beyond that till date.










HC orders status quo on razing home near stupa

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | May 11, 2012, 04.39AM IST

MUMBAI: The high court on Thursday directed status quo in a case pertaining to the demolition of a house in the vicinity of a protected Buddhist stupa, a dome structure, in Nalasopara.

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Anoop Mohta was hearing a petition filed by Sunanda Sitad, an adivasi widow, challenging the February 8, 2010, show-cause notice by the department of archaeology asking her to demolish the 5,000 sq ft house, saying it is an encroachment built upon a mound. The stupa was declared a historical monument, the petition said.

Her advocate argued that the house is over 100 years old and she has been paying taxes to the Vasai Virar Municipal Corporation. “Her husband looked after the stupa’s maintainance. Her son works with the ASI,” he added. He said Sitad is willing to shift outside the prohibited area, provided the corporation rehabilitates her. In the meantime, he urged the court to prevent the demolition of her home. “She is poor,” he said.

Advocate Aniket Nikam, appearing for the central government and Archealogical Survey of India, submitted that under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological and Remains Act 1958 , the stupa is a protected structure and no unauthorized construction can remain within its periphery. “The structure has to go,” said Nikam . “She may not have legal rights, but on human rights, let her stay in the meantime,” said Justice Majmudar.

The judges issued notices to the Thane collector and Vasai-Virar Municipal Corporation, who were unrepresented. They directed that a status quo be maintained and that Sitad not be evicted until the next date of hearing after vacation.










HC summons DGP over missing persons’ case

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | May 11, 2012, 02.57AM IST

JAIPUR: A division bench of Rajasthan High Court on Thursday summoned the DGP and additional DGP (crime) to appear in person and explain the lacunae in the investigation in the cases of missing persons. The court was peeved at the fact that the investigating officers were not provided with any assistance by their seniors and by the time a missing person is traced, they are either dead or have undergone irreparable suffering. As per official records, there are 6,000 persons missing for the past eight years in the state.

The order came on a habeas corpus petition filed by one Teeja Devi. As per the facts of the case, a girl was missing for the past six months from Sikar district and the person with whom she is said to have fled away was a school teacher.

It was brought to the notice of the court by the investigating officer of the case that the accused is a ‘clever’ person who manages to get jobs in private schools and when the school management insists for his academic and other records he leaves the job. His cellphone number is also not traceable as the same has not been in operation after the incident.

The bench comprising Justice Dalip Singh and Justice Meena V Gomber took a serious note of the fact that there is no special investigation unit or team to look into such matters.

“We are surprised that we have time and again cautioned the public prosecutors to ask the police authorities to see that if a special cell can be created to promptly and efficiently investigate cases of missing persons, and there are uncountable number of habeas corpus petitions coming day in and day out seeking search and production of such missing persons,” observed Justice Singh.

“It pains us to know that in the present case a girl is missing for last six months and her sufferings and pains cannot be measured. We feel either she has been killed or put to sexual abuse or human trafficking, but the police shows no extra efforts to unearth the realities. The SP concerned seeks only progress report and feels no professional bondage to guide his subordinates over such sensitive matters. The procedure needs revamping,” observed the bench.

It also came up in the investigation that the missing girl had a few days of acquaintance with the accused.

“It is clear that there cannot be any intention of marriage. Probably the girl has been disposed off after sexual assault. It is required that there should be a hierarchy of investigation and response team in case of missing person investigation at district, range and state levels as also such a case should be immediately addressed so that the detainees can be freed immediately and without loss of time,” said Justice Singh.

The bench, while summoning DGP, additional DG (crime), IG of various ranges and SP Sikar Saurabh Shrivastav to appear in person on May 19, directed in its order regarding missing persons that, “In most of these cases there is hardly any supervision by the senior officials and in most of the pending case detenue remains untraced for years. The copy of order be sent to DGP with immediate effect.”






HC issues notice to teachers, but stir to continue

Shibu Thomas & Yogita Rao, TNN | May 11, 2012, 03.32AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Thursday issued a notice to the Maharashtra Federation of University and College Teachers’ Organization (MFUCTO) for its response to a petition challenging its strike call and the decision to boycott the assessment of answerscripts.

However, despite the government claiming to have accepted their demands, teachers affiliated to MFUCTO said they were not in favour of calling off the strike.

A petition filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) had sought action against teachers and associations that had given the strike and boycott call.

The boycott call had led to the state attempting to get the answersheets checked by contractual and non-permanent teachers. The petition claimed that this was contrary to the interest of students. Contending that the process of admissions would be delayed, it urged the court to direct the teachers to return to work and correct the answerscripts.

Meanwhile, at a meeting in Jalgaon on Thursday, college teachers from across the state decided not to report for assessment duty as they were not satisfied with the assurances given by the state. The teachers even claimed that the education minister had failed to keep his promise.

The state’s higher and technical education minister, Rajesh Tope, on Wednesday announced that the state had agreed to the striking teachers’ demands and expected them to resume work within two days. “Strict action will be taken against teachers who do not report to work tomorrow. Even the colleges will be asked to initiate action against them,” he said on Thursday.

However, the teachers claimed that the minister had gone back on several of their demands in the signed minutes given to them. The promises made were not even time-bound, they contended. “Even for the NET/SET issue, they (authorities) had promised that they would regularize the appointment of teachers affected. The minutes say the state will go back to the UGC to seek clarification. The process will be time-consuming. So, we have decided to continue with the strike,” said C R Sadasivan, MFUCTO member and president of the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU).

“We are prepared for any kind of action that the government initiates against us, but the strike will continue across the state. The government will have to accept our demands. There are several universities in the state where not a single paper has been assessed yet,” Sadasivan said. However, Tope had on Wednesday said the vice-chancellors of all state universities told him that the results would not be affected as most of them had completed 50% of their assessment work.






HC admits Tota’s appeal against conviction

TNN | May 11, 2012, 07.31AM IST

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday admitted an appeal filed by former Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh against his conviction in a corruption case. The court also issued notice to Punjab vigilance on Tota’s plea for bail in this case.

The former agriculture minister is on interim bail from trial court Mohali till June 5. Now the case has been fixed for further hearing for May 17.

A special court of Mohali had sentenced one-year rigorous imprisonment to Tota Singh on May 5 for misusing official car during his previous tenure as state education minister from 1997 to 2002.

In his appeal, Tota Singh has pleaded that he was given a private vehicle with unlimited fuel and there was no need for him to misuse the official car. The minister also submitted that the lower Court, in its judgment, had cast serious aspersions on the investigating agency. He submitted the investigating agency was biased against him and he was implicated in the case.

Tota Singh was sentenced after convicting under section 13 (2) of Prevention of Corruption (PVC) Act. The court had also slapped a fine of Rs 30,000 on him.

However, he was released on bail on production of a surety bond of Rs 25,000 and was given time till June 5 for filling an appeal against these orders. If he fails to get any relief from the HC till June 5, he will have to surrender before the Mohali court.

Case against Tota Singh relates to a car number PB65-A-270, which was issued to one Veena Dada OSD to the then chairman of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB) for her official purpose but the said car was actually used by Tota Singh and his family members in their constituency. The case was registered by the state vigilance Bureau Punjab in 2002. During the trial Veena Dada tried to save Tota Singh by claiming that she had actually used the car while visiting with education minister for the official purpose. However, court found that Veena Dada had actually countersigned the entries in the logbook of that car but it was not being used by her, thus misused by Tota Singh and his family for personnel purpose. Court, however, acquitted Tota Singh from two other charges of disproportionate asset (DA) and misusing of telephone.



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