LEGAL NEWS 17.05.2012

Rights case: Haryana officials admit wrongdoing before Lokayukta

Anita Singh, TNN | May 17, 2012, 02.33AM IST

PANIPAT: IAS officer Rajiv Ranjan and HCS officer Shakti Singh on Wednesday admitted before the Lokayukta at Chandigarh that they had furnished wrong information related to a case that was registered against trade unionist P P Kapoor in connection with a protest organised by his trade union in Panipat in 2005.

Two inquiries — first by ADC Panipat and then by Rohtak divisional commissioner — had confirmed that Rajiv Ranjan, who was posted as deputy commissioner Panipat at that time and Capt Shakti Singh, who held the charge of SDM Panipat, had submitted false reports to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that no case was pending against P P Kapoor pertaining to vandalising of a local factory during a protest organised by his trade union in 2005.

Kapoor, who had to undergo imprisonment after his trade union held a protest outside a local factory, had approached the NHRC pleading that he was being victimised for raising the voice in favour of the labourers.

However, when the NHRC sought details about the case registered against Kapoor, the district administration stated that no case was ever registered against Kapoor, thus making the commission close Kapoor’s case.

Kapoor exposed the district officials’ wrongdoing through Right to Information Act on January 7, 2011 and lodged a complaint with Lokayukta that the two top district officials had furnished wrong information to the apex rights body.

On Wednesday, appearing before the Lokayukta, Capt Shakti Singh filed a written reply stating that he was under tremendous work pressure and had verbally asked from the concerned SHO and Panipat labour officer if any case was registered against Kapoor.

Rajiv Ranjan, who also filed his reply before the Lokayukta, said he had believed the report submitted by Shakti Singh to be true and forwarded the same to NHRC.

Meanwhile, following the replies filed by the two officials, the state Lokayukta adjourned the hearings in the case till July 9, when the case would be again taken up by the Lokayukta.

Speaking to TOI, Kapoor demanded strict action against the two officials for furnishing wrong information to the NHRC due to which he had to undergo imprisonment.







Kin of road mishap victim awarded Rs 13 lakh compensation

Agencies : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 16:58 hrs

Family members of a businessman, mowed down by a rashly-driven truck early this year, have been awarded a compensation of around Rs 14 lakh by a road mishap tribunal.

Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) President Dinesh Bhatt directed Oriental Insurance Company Ltd, with which the offending truck was insured, to pay Rs 13,78,745 to the wife, five children and the mother of deceased Saleem.

“In view of the unrebutted version of Saleem’s wife and documents available on record, it is prima facie proved that deceased died due to rash and negligent driving of the truck driver,” the tribunal said.

Vishwas Nagar resident Saleem, 39, had died in a road accident involving the truck, being driven by one Rahish Pal in Tahirpur area on January 31 this year.

The incident took place when Saleem, an automobile shop owner, was on his way back home from Model Town on his motorcycle.

He was hit by the truck near Wazirabad Road from behind and came under its wheels. He was rushed to a nearby hospital, where he was declared “brought dead.”

The driver and the owner of the truck denied negligence on their part and said they were falsely implicated in the case.

The tribunal, however, ordered payment of compensation to victim’s family on the basis testimonies of eye witnesses who said the offending truck was being driven rashly.







Tejinder files fresh plea

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 00:55 hrs

Lt Gen (retd) Tejinder Singh sought to convince the Delhi High Court on Wednesday that the reputation of a person is a facet of his right to life under Article 21 of the Constitution.

Seeking action against Army Chief V K Singh and four other officers for allegedly issuing a defamatory press release accusing him of bribery, Singh sought to persuade the court that his writ petition was maintainable in law since it involved injuring his right to reputation and hence breaching his fundamental right.

His counsel Anil K Aggarwal also filed a fresh application and argued that under the Army Rules, no communication could emanate from the Army without sanction of the government. “In the present case, there is admittedly no sanction from the government while the damning press release was issued,” he said.









Aarushi murder: SC reserves order on Nupur’s plea

New Delhi, May 16, 2012

The Supreme Court on Wednesday reserved its order on dentist Nupur Talwar’s plea seeking a review of its order of allowing her criminal prosecution in the twin murder case of her daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.
A bench of Justice AK Patnaik and Justice JS Khehar reserved the order after hearing extensively the contentions of Nupur and CBI.

In a last-ditch effort to convince the apex court to review its order, the dentist pleaded she was not asking for a clean chit in the murder case but wanted a direction to CBI to reinvestigate the case.

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

Aarushi’s mother is now in in judicial custody while her father Rajesh Talwar is out on bail. The case for their trial in the twin murder case is pending at a Ghaziabad sessions court.

The apex court bench had earlier termed as “premature” the arguments of Nupur Talwar for quashing of proceedings against her on the basis of alleged lacunae in evidence in the twin murder case.

It had also said the magistrate, who ordered Nupur’s prosecution, should have exercised restraint while passing the order.

It questioned as to why the magistrate passed such an extensive order which on some issues was not in conformity with the evidence in the case.

CBI, however, had justified the order saying there is nothing wrong in giving the reasoning for dismissing the closure report in the case and to prosecute Talwars.










HC directs Mohali DC to check illegal construction

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu May 17 2012, 02:55 hrs

Taking serious note of alleged unauthorised constructions in Derabassi, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday directed the Mohali deputy commissioner to take immediate action and ensure that building norms are not flouted.

The directions were passed by a division bench on a public interest litigation seeking directions to stop unauthorised and illegal construction in khasra number 215 situated within the revenue estate of Madhopur village in the Derabassi tehsil as the entire area of these khasras, the PIL adds, would obstruct the free flow of water from the Shivalik Hills during rainy season which could cause floods in the area.

Taking stock, the High Court directed DC, Mohali to take immediate action and if need be, initiate criminal action against the miscreants.











Genuineness of encounter not in doubt, J&K HC told

Srinagar , May 16, 2012

The alleged fake encounter case involving Army chief-designate General Bikram Singh on Wednesday took a new turn as the petitioner told the Jammu and Kashmir high court that the genuineness of the incident was not in doubt but questions on identity of the assailant remained.
“We are not saying that the militant attack (on the motorcade of the then Brigadier Singh) did not take place. We are seeking reinvestigation of the incident to establish the identity of the person dubbed as a foreign militant and the assailant,” counsel for the petitioner advocate Zaffar Qureshi told the high court.

Gen Singh is due to take over from Gen VK Singh on May 31.

Zaituna, a woman from Kalaroos in Kupwara district of north Kashmir, has filed a petition before the High Court claiming that the slain man dubbed as Hizbul Mujahideen militant Mateen Chacha was her son Abdullah Bhat.

As per the Army stand, a militant disguised as beggar fired indisciminately on Singh and his entourage at Janglat Mandi in Anantnag district town of south Kashmir on March 1, 2001. The troops fired back in self-defence resulting in the death of the assailant who was identified by police as Mateen Chacha, a resident of Pakistan.

One Army officer, an army jawan and two civilians were also killed in the incident, in which General Singh who was then commanding 1 sector Rashtriya Rifles in south Kashmir, was injured and flown to Delhi.

A PIL was also filed in the Supreme Court last month challenging the appointment of Gen Singh as the next Army chief, citing the 2001 fake encounter case among other issues. It was however dismissed by the apex court.











GPS in autos: High court reserves order

TNN | May 17, 2012, 01.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: Defending its decision to ask autorickshaw drivers to collect 50paise/km from passengers to fund installation of GPS/GIPS devices, the state government on Wednesday argued that it had powers under the Motor Vehicles Act to levy a surcharge on passenger fares.

After hearing the arguments, a division bench comprising acting chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw reserved orders on a PIL challenging the government’s decision to implement these devices on autorickshaws.

Earlier HC had asked the government to explain the rationale behind permitting autorickshaw owners/drivers to charge this amount from passengers. “How can you ask commuters to pay this amount? Why make them your collection agent without their consent,” the bench had asked.

HC was hearing a bunch of petitions challenging the government’s notification demanding Rs 15,000 from auto drivers for installing GPS systems. The petitioners argued they can’t be forced to pay the amount for GPS installation as they are daily wage earners and it would harm their livelihood. The petitioners, including auto drivers, contend the government’s decision is a violation of their fundamental right of livelihood.

Last year the government has issued a notification which authorized the government to collect extra money for setting up a Control Centre Room for installing GPS/GPRS on the vehicle for better service, security and customer convenience.

Arguing before HC on Wednesday, the petitioners pointed out that as per the original plan GPS systems were to be fitted by April 2011 and the government had agreed to bear half the cost of installation. However, not a single pilot project has been completed and the authorities are still in the process of ensuring implementation.










Take action against ‘quacks’, HC reiterates

Express news service : Allahabad, Thu May 17 2012, 04:51 hrs

The Allahabad High Court today directed the chief secretary and principal secretary (Medical Health) of the state government to comply with its earlier orders in which it had prohibited unauthorised, unregistered and unqualified persons from practising modern medicine.

A Division Bench, led by Justice Sunil Ambwani, also directed the chief medical officers and the district magistrates across the state to carry out raids against those claiming to have degrees in homeopathy, unani, ayurveda, siddha and tibbi medicines, but practicing modern medicines.

“Where it is found that the persons having (such) qualifications. were practicing modern medicines and operating patients and conducting surgeries, the concerned CMOs and DMs will immediately initiate prosecution against the offenders by lodging FIRs against them,” said the court.

It also told the authorities concerned to take action against clinics indulging in illegal sex determination tests.

The court passed the order while hearing a contempt petition filed by one Rajesh Srivastava, in which it was alleged that the authorities concerned were not doing enough to weed out quacks. The court directed the principal secretary (medical health) to file a compliance report on July 13, the next date of hearing.









Uranium in water: Punjab and Haryana high court seeks details on RO systems

TNN | May 17, 2012, 02.32AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday asked Punjab government to furnish details before the court about the total number of reverse osmosis (RO) systems installed in some parts of the state to reduce uranium contamination in drinking water, and how many of them are in working condition.

The HC has also asked the Punjab government to inform about steps taken for maintenance of these ROs and to what percentage they are helpful in cleaning water. The directions were given by a division bench headed by acting Chief Justice M M Kumar during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking directions for adequate relief to affected people and kids due to discharge of uranium in water and soil of some parts of Punjab.

When the matter came up for hearing on Wednesday before the bench, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) informed that difference in uranium level in various countries depends upon climatic conditions and every country has different standards to measure it. HC had asked BARC to inform why World Health Organization (WHO) has fixed the level of uranium in drinking water for 15 parts per billon but India has fixed it as 60 parts/billion.

BARC counsel Onkar Singh Batalvi also submitted an affidavit stating that concentration of uranium in the water of Malwa region in Punjab could not be the reason for prevalence of cancer disease in the area. BARC also submitted that reverse osmosis (RO) system is helpful in reducing 99% uranium content from drinking water in various parts of Punjab.

The matter had reached before the HC through a PIL filed by Mohali resident Brijender Singh Loomba who had sought directions for adequate relief to affected people and kids due to discharge of uranium in water and soil of Bathinda, Faridkot and Ludhiana districts of Punjab. Now the case would come up for further hearing on May 24.









Top Haryana Staff Selection Commission appointments under HC scanner

TNN | May 17, 2012, 02.34AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Appointment of chairman and members of Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) allegedly in non-transparent manner and without following procedure has now come under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana high court, which on Monday issued notices to all the appointees and the state government.

The matter reached through a public interest litigation (PIL) that also alleged how the only woman member facing criminal charges was also appointed.

The division bench headed by acting Chief Justice M M Kumar took the cognizance and issued notice after hearing the PIL filed by one RTI activist, Victor Robinson from Hisar.

Petitioner submitted that the Haryana government had appointed Vijay Kumar as chairman, HSSC and Viney Sharma (woman member), Ashok Kumar Jain and Ram Saran Bhola in October 2011 as members of the commission while adopting pick and choose policy.

Petitioner submitted that these appointments have been made by the state without following any transparent and just procedure.

The no search committee has ever been formed to invite applications or to consider the names of eminent persons in different streams of life for appointment to the post of chairman and member to the Haryana Staff Selection Commission.

The state failed to take any penal action of suitable candidates equal to the three times the number of vacancies. It was also submitted that one of the appointed woman member namely Viney Sharma is facing trial under various Sections of the IPC for cheating and others at a local court in Yamunanagar.

The petitioner has sought notifications issued by the general administration department, notifying the appointment of the chairman and members of HSSC for being illegal and arbitrary in view of the judgment of the full bench of this Punjab and Haryana high court in Salil Sabhlok versus Union of India and others wherein certain guidelines have been issued to the state of Punjab and Haryana for the purpose of ensuring transparency in making appointments to such posts.

Directions has also been sought to frame appropriate rules, for the purpose of making appointment on the post of charirman and members of the HSSC,as at present there is criteria to make such appointments. The case would come up for further hearing on May 31







PIL filed against ‘uneven’ property tax system in HC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times

The much-debated new property tax regime recently passed by the civic body has now come under the scanner of the Bombay high court.

Political activist Rajendra Phanse has moved court, challenging the capital value-based regime and contending that it is uneven. He has also sought implementation of property tax reforms mandated by the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

“The present property tax hike is unequal and is meting out injustice to certain property-owners in the city,” states the petition, filed by the 54-year-old Phanse, general secretary of Thane-based political party Darmarajya Paksha, through advocate VP Patil.

Under the new tax regime, owners of properties in old buildings and in prime areas will end up paying a significantly higher tax. Taxes on commercial properties will also be up to three times higher.

According to Phanse’s PIL, owners of commercial properties in uptown areas such as Cuffe Parade, Nariman Point and Napean Sea Road, as well as new business centres such as Worli, Lower Parel, Bandra and Andheri, will end up paying property tax that is 25% higher than prevailing rates in cities such as neighbouring Navi Mumbai.

According to the new regime, residential properties with carpet area of 500 sq ft or less would be exempted from tariff rise. However, properties in old residential buildings with carpet area of 500 sq feet or more would be charged up to two times their current tax rates.

The PIL contends that this hike is uneven, as around 7.4 lakh properties with areas admeasuring 500 square feet or less would be completely exempt from the hike and 2.75 lakh owners of properties with area admeasuring more than 500 square feet will have to pay more.

The petitioner has also sought directions to the civic body to implement tax reforms mandated by JNNURM, saying that though the civic body has been receiving financial aid from the state as well as the central government under the scheme, it has neglected implementation of tax reforms stipulated under it.

The scheme, aimed at encouraging reforms in civic administration and fast tracking planned development of identified cities has been introduced by the central government in 2005 and though it has reached the fag end – it will complete its seven-year mission period in December 2012 — the civic body has not bothered to adopt property tax reforms, the PIL argues.

The PIL has been posted for hearing on June 16.












HC asks Punjab to report on effectiveness of ROs

Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh , May 16, 2012

Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to submit a detailed report within a week about the effectiveness of Reverse Osmosis (RO) system plants to filter out uranium content from the groundwater in Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot and Ferozepur districts.
A division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh issued the directions during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by advocate BS Loomba to seek effective steps to check uranium content in Punjab groundwater.

The presence of uranium in groundwater is said to be one of the main causes of cancer among residents in Malwa belt of Punjab.

The state was directed that the report should be submitted by an officer not below the rank of secretary water supply and sewerage board. In case the state failed to submit the report, the high court said, it would ask lawyers from Mansa, Bathinda, Faridkot and Ferozepur for their reports.

The bench also directed the state to inform whether the RO plants installed in various parts of the state were filtering water as per the permissible limits and whether they were catering to the entire area or only select areas.

Loomba informed the bench that since 1977 there was no mechanism to check the flow of uranium in the form of ash from Bathinda thermal power plant and that probably uranium was getting back into the groundwater. On this, the bench also issued direction to the state to inform what steps had been taken to check the same and also measures adopted for disposal of uranium.

The case would now come up for hearing on May 24.











HC: Use police to get Tiwari blood sample

Express news service : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 00:31 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday issued an order allowing use of police force to bring defiant veteran Congress leader N D Tiwari to the court for taking his blood sample for the DNA test to decide the paternity suit of a man claiming to be his son.

“Joint Registrar (JR) shall be entitled to avail police assistance in case the defendant number one (Tiwari) is not available within the jurisdiction of this court. The JR shall seek the police assistance for bringing him in this court for the purpose of taking the blood sample for the DNA test,” said Justice Reva Khetrapal.

The court fixed the matter for further hearing on May 21 before the Joint Registrar, who will fix the date for collection of the blood sample from Tiwari.

The court said considering Tiwari’s age, the order of taking the blood sample is required to be implemented as expeditiously as possible otherwise an “irreparable loss is bound to visit the plaintiff”. The directions came on the plea of Rohit Shekhar, 33, who has sought a judicial declaration that Tiwari is his biological father.










No urgency in taking up case against Eenadu: HC

TNN | May 17, 2012, 07.59AM IST

HYDERABAD: The vacation bench of the high court on Wednesday adjourned to June a public interest writ petition seeking a direction to the government not to release any advertisements to Ushodaya Enterprises, publishers of Eenadu newspaper. The petition filed by Boorla Ramaswamy , a retired professor, and another person contends that that the release of advertisements to the media house was contrary to a government order which had placed a ban on funds to media that are ‘anti-national , communal abusive and with admitted stances.’

The Eenadu group has a declared policy of being against a political party (the Congress) and therefore in view of the admitted stance, it stood disqualified from receiving advertisements from the government, the petitioners charged. The bench observed that there was no urgency to take up a case of this kind in the vacation court. Sunil Reddy’s plea adjourned: A division bench of the high court adjourned to next week the writ appeal filed by former SEZ consultant Sunil Reddy against the order of a single judge quashing the order of pardon granted in his favour by the criminal court. The sessions court had granted pardon to the consultant who is said to be caught in the crossfire between two warring senior IPS officers, Umesh Kumar and DGP Dinesh Reddy.

The order was challenged successfully by senior IPS Officer Umesh Kumar before a single judge. The matter is now likely to be listed on May 23 before a bench of Justice B Seshasayana Reddy and Justice B Chandra Kumar. Relief for real estate company: Justice B Chandra Kumar of the high court on Wednesday permitted a real estate company Akshaya Gold to operate its accounts but made clear that all cheques issued by it would go through the supervision of the SP of Praksam district. Vijay Sai counsel seeks time: The petition filed by CBI seeking cancellation of bail granted by the special court in favour of Vijay Sai Reddy will now be taken up next Wednesday. Justice B Chandra Kumar of the high court adjourned to next week the CBI petition seeking cancellation of bail granted to the accused in the Jagan assets case. The adjournment was after counsel for Vijay Sai Reddy sought time till the next week for his response to the application.

In a separate development , the judge adjourned to Thursday the three petitions filed challenging the order of the special court which had refused to re-activate the bank accounts of the three companies of YS Jaganmohan Reddy that were frozen by the CBI. The companies – Jagati, Janani and Indira moved the HC challenging the order as illegal and contrary to the provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code.











Kerala HC gets special bench for self-finance college cases

Mahir Haneef, TNN | May 17, 2012, 05.12AM IST

KOCHI: When the Kerala high court reopens after summer vacation on Monday, it will have a special bench to hear cases related to self-financing colleges.

The new bench comprising justice K M Joseph and justice K Harilal will hear cases related to self-financing professional colleges, which include matters like admission, seat-sharing, fixation of fees, affiliation and other similar cases.

The self-financing bench will hear writ petitions and original petitions related to self-financing colleges, which are normally moved by dissatisfied students, parents or colleges when the academic year begins.

At present, the time taken by HC to dispose such cases extends to many months, with litigants having to wait for four months to settle disputes. Each year, hundreds of petitions are filed challenging conduct of examinations, interference by government, affiliation issues, defects in examination and evaluation, fixation of fees and admission. Despite the high number of cases related to self-financing colleges, HC didn’t have a special bench to hear such cases. This had often led to dismissal of petitions as infructuous as the situation would have changed in such a way that the intervention sought by petitioners wouldn’t benefit in the changed scenario.

“But, a division bench hearing self-financing cases directly violates a basic principles in the judiciary,” said George Poonthottam, a prominent lawyer dealing with education cases. “If the single judge goes wrong, there must be a mechanism by which it’s corrected by the division bench. Instead, as a corrective step, a division bench exercising original jurisdiction is not a healthy trend.”










HC asks CBI to produce case diary of Gopalgarh violence

TNN | May 17, 2012, 05.44AM IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Wednesday asked the investigating officer of CBI to appear before the court with the case diary of Gopalgarh violence on May 19. The directive came on a petition filed by one Shafi Mohammad, who demanded that the probe of Gopalgarh incident should be handed over to the National Investigative Agency (NIA). The order was issued by Justice Mahesh Chand Sharma.

Earlier, the CBI, in its chargesheet did not name former collector Krishna Kunal and former SP Hinglaj Dan as accused which was opposed by the Meo Muslim community, especially those who lost their kin in the case. Ten persons had lost their lives in the clash which took place in Gopalgarh town on September 14, 2011.

“The dead people belong to our community and their bodies were thrown into the well after being burnt. Likewise, the then collector Krishna Kunal had given his statement to CBI that several leaders like Kirori Lal Meena, Naseer Ali Naquvi had misled the people of Meo community and they filed FIRs against the officials after 11 days of the incident. No policeman, however, sustained bullet injuries. And the CBI conducted a one-sided probe,” the petitioner alleged.











HC refuses to restrain Sachin from taking oath as RS member

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to restrain cricketer Sachin Tendulkar from taking oath as a Rajya Sabha member on a PIL seeking quashing of his nomination to the Upper House.

The court, however, asked the Centre to respond to the PIL by July 4, the next date of hearing.

A bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw dismissed the application for stay of Sachin’s oath ceremony, but asked Additional Solicitor General (ASG) A S Chandhiok to seek instructions from the government and inform the court by the next date of hearing on the PIL.

“How is this sports category covered while nominating a sportsperson to the Rajya Sabha?” the bench queried and asked the ASG to reply on this issue.

Mr. Chandhiok argued that the power has been exercised by the President of India and the court cannot interfere in the matter.

The petitioner Ram Gopal Singh Sisodia, a former Delhi MLA, had challenged the nomination on the ground that Sachin does not possess any of the qualifications prescribed under Article 80 of the Constitution for being nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

Appearing for the petitioner, advocate R K Kapoor submitted that the Constitution allowed the government to select from only four categories — arts, science, literature and social science. The selection of a sportsperson was unconstitutional, he said.

On May 14, the Supreme Court had refused to quash 39-year-old batting maestro’s nomination to the Upper House and had asked Mr. Sisodia to rather approach the high court with his plea.

In his petition, the former Delhi MLA had raised several questions, including whether a person can be nominated as a Rajya Sabha member under clause 1(a) read with clause (3) of Article 80 of the Constitution even if he does not have special knowledge or practical experience as enumerated.

The petition has asked if a nomination made beyond the categories as specified under Article 80 (3) is not liable to be declared as an invalid and illegal nomination?

“That in view of these facts and circumstances, the petitioner has filed the Civil Writ Petition before this Hon’ble Court since there is a clear violation of the provisions of Article 14 (equality of law), 16(1) (equality in public employment), 51A (fundamental duties), read with Article 300 A (persons not to be deprived of property except by law) and Article 80 of the Constitution,” the petition has said.

Making a reference to certain financial rights and other privileges of members, it has said, “Tax-payers money cannot go into the pockets of those who are not eligible to be nominated as members of the Rajya Sabha. The petitioner is an income-tax payee and the money contributed by citizens must be spent for constitutional purposes only.”











HC upholds right to pension for VRS beneficiaries

: Thu May 17 2012, 03:43 hrs

In a significant decision, the Himachal Pradesh High Court has upheld the right of the employees opting for the Voluntary Retirement Scheme (VRS) to get pension and dismissed an appeal filed by Himachal Pradesh Agro-Industries Corporation challenging an order of the single bench, passed earlier in favour of the corporation’s ex-employee RK Sharma.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhary said the petitioner, who had opted for the VRS, was within his right to claim benefits of the pension scheme and there was no question of denying him the same by the PSU, where he had worked for several years.

The court rejected the PSU’s plea that after having received ex-gratia in terms of the VRS, an employee can’t claim pension as well. It said at the time of retirement, the petitioner (Sharma) had completed 29 years of service and he had only two years left to retire. As per the VRS, he was entitled to have an ex-gratia payment of future salary, but also had a rightful claim over the pension too.

“Ex-gratia payment under the VRS offered is a payment for forfeiture of the future service of the employee. It is not in lieu or in substitution of any other benefits by way of pension otherwise available under the scheme. The corporate sector pension in the state of Himachal Pradesh is contributory in nature – both employee and employer have to contribute towards it. It is from this fund that the pension is paid. It is difficult to digest that an employee having only around two years service left to retire would forfeit a life time’s pension,” the order said.

Meanwhile, in another order on a PIL, the court directed putting up a 15-feet fencing at Boileu Ganj Ground being used by the school children for playing in order to avoid any tragedy as existing fencing of four feet is insufficient. The bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice Dharam Chand Chaudhry also allowed the school principal to put a gate at the ground under his lock and key.









Irresponsible, not common workmen: HC to pilots

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu May 17 2012, 00:27 hrs

If you don’t like the heat in the kitchen, get out of it but don’t spoil the broth.” This was the Delhi High Court’s message to Air India pilots, who have challenged an order restraining them from continuing their “illegal” strike by reporting sick.

Incensed over the “irresponsible” action of the pilots, who appeared before the court under the umbrella of Indian Pilots Guild, a Division Bench of Justices S K Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher said the pilots could have genuine grievances but bringing an already dilapidated public utility institution to its knees in this manner was “completely unacceptable”. Fixing Thursday for pronouncing its verdict on the IPG’s appeal against the injunction order, the Bench said: “You (pilots) are not common workmen, who are in penury and starving.”

The IPG had come to the Division Bench after a single-judge Bench had on May 9 restrained the pilots from continuing their strike over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 ‘Dreamliner’ training.

Appearing for the IPG, advocate Dushyant Dave said the order was passed ex parte even though the civil court lacked jurisdiction since the matter pertained to an industrial dispute. “We are willing to come back to work if the court directs and the management assures it will not send the second batch of erstwhile Indian Airlines on the Dreamliner training,” he said.

This was opposed by Lalit Bhasin, who appeared for the Air India. “The ratio of 1:1 for sending both sections of pilots for the training has been upheld by the Supreme Court and we cannot act against this undertaking,” he said. The court found substance in Bhasin’s reply.

The Bench sought to know from the IPG counsel if they admitted they were on a strike. Dave said they were not on strike but “protesting in their own manner” by reporting sick. This did not go down well with the Bench. “On one hand, you want the court to decide the entire matter within 30 days since this is the mandate of the law but on the other, 400 of your pilots don’t go to work by reporting sick and claim you are not on strike,” it said.






HC quashes Ministry’s order refusing parole to life convict

Press Trust of India / Mumbai May 16, 2012, 14:55


The Bombay High Court has quashed an order of Home Department of Maharashtra refusing to grant a 30-day parole leave on humanitarian ground to a life convict serving sentence in Nashik jail, and ordered his immediate release to enable him to attend to his ailing mother.

“We find that there was no application of mind on part of the authorities to the relevant aspects connected with the reasons given by them for rejection of parole. The order of rejection of parole made by them cannot be sustained and would be required to be quashed and set aside”, observed Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode recently.

Accordingly, the bench set aside the impugned order of February 3, 2012, passed by the Home Ministry refusing to grant parole to the petitioner and ordered his release forthwith, although temporarily, for the period prescribed under the rules.

The convict, Faturmal Borana, prayed for setting aside the order of the appellate authority (home ministry) rejecting his prayer for granting parole for 30 days on the ground of his mother’s illness.

He also preferred an appeal against the order passed by Nasik Divisional Commissioner on September 17 last year rejecting his application for grant of parole leave.

The petitioner, who hails from Pali in Rajasthan, is undergoing life imprisonment awarded to him by a Sessions Court in Mumbai for committing dacoity with murder and other offences under IPC. An Appeal filed by him against his conviction and sentence is pending for final disposal.

The petitioner argued that his prayer for parole was rejected by the authorities mechanically without applying mind to the material placed by him and accepting at face value matters stated in the adverse report submitted by police from Pali. (More)







Rajasthan HC acquits US teenager of killing mom

A US teenager who was sentenced for murdering her mother in Jodhpur during their stay in August 2010 headed back home after the Rajasthan High Court acquitted him.

He was sentenced to three year’s retention in a Jodhpur’s special home for juvenile criminals since May 2011.

Justice Sandeep Mehta of the Jodhpur bench of the Rajasthan High Court in his judgment on the revision petition filed by the teenager’s father Dr George Richard Patton on his son’s behalf found several loopholes and contradictions in the prosecution’s case.

Referring to a Supreme Court judgment he said that the prosecution had “miserably failed to travel the distance between may be true and must be true.”

The teenager was accused of killing his 53-year-old mother Cynthia Iannarelli, a business consultant, when they were vacationing together at Reggie’s Camel Camp, a desert resort at Osian, 65 km from Jodhpur, on the intervening night of August 12 and 13 in 2010.

The Juvenile Justice Board convicted him on May 2, 2011. On October 15, 2011 the Sessions court upheld the conviction.

According to prosecution, the accused, who was 15, slit Cynthia’s throat, wrapped her body in a sheet and left it on a sand dune. His parents were separated and he had heated exchanges with his mother over the issue on the fateful night that culminated into the crime, it was alleged.

The Juvenile Justice Board had also held him guilty of destroying evidence. The teenager allegedly fled from the scene after the murder but was arrested by the Jodhpur police while trying to board a flight back to America on the afternoon of August 13.

Pleading innocence, the teenager in a letter to the Board had alleged that the police had falsely implicated him for the murder and obtained confessional statement through coercion.

Defence counsels Umesh Shrimali and Rahul Mehra filed a revision petition before the high court. The judge noted that the police had failed to recover the weapon of offence during the investigation nor was the crime’s motive established.

“It appears that the investigating officer has deliberately chosen to keep the investigation deficient on a number of important aspects,” the judgement observed. In the lower court the accused had said that he had informed the police of the murder, a fact that was corroborated by the statements of the resort manager Terrance Aarbulnot, who had lodged the FIR, as also constable Chatur Singh of Osian.

The teenager had told the court that although the police arrested him from Osian but claimed that he was arrested from the Jodhpur airport while attempting to flee. Justice Mehta didn’t agree with the police’s claim on the teenager’s attempt to flee from the scene of occurrence and his concealing his mother’s articles at the airport which were later recovered.

The prosecution failed to prove it by any reliable evidence, the judge said. The most material witness in this regard could have been the witness ASI Pooran Mal who is said to have taken the petitioner in custody from the airport.

Neither any document was prepared for showing the arrest at the airport, nor did the prosecution produce the most material witness, Pooran Mal, to testify.

Justice Mehta also noted that the foot-moulds prepared by the police at the crime scene didn’t match the teenager’s shoes. He also gave much credence to the defence argument that it was not possible for the 15-year-old to carry the body up to the 200-foot high sand dune as claimed by the police. Considering the witnesses and evidences, the high court maintained that “the circumstantial evidence available on the record is not clinching” and acquitted the teenager.






SIPCOT failed to comply with HC decree

Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Comptroller and Auditor General report said that SIPCOT failed to comply with High Court order on making provision for alternate land after the company acquired 1,127 acres of government’s Meikkal promboke land in Thervoy Kandigai. The report said the company obtained alienation orders for taking over the land with a condition to identify alternative land of equivalent extent and value (Rs 6.48 lakh per acre) in the nearby area within three years or else pay 12 per cent interest per annum for three years along with land cost.

Interestingly, Madras High Court, based on a petition, ordered the company to compulsorily ensure provision of alternate land and ruled out the monetary compensation originally ordered by the state government.

Despite of this prerequisite, the company went ahead with the allotment of 543.06 acres of land between July and November 2010 without making arrangements for alternate land as per the HC directives of Madras High Court.

“SIPCOT was facing the risk of purchasing patta land at higher cost (Rs 10 lakh per acre) to comply with high court orders. However, the additional cost was not factored into the fixation of the plot cost for the scheme even though all the above allotments were made after the pronouncement of the judgement,” the report said.

It said the company is exposed to Rs 39.67 crore in the scheme.

Interestingly, till date the identification of land by Land Acquisition Officer (LAO) was still at a preliminary stage without any concrete proposal to the government for getting its administrative sanction for alienation of land.









IGP case: HC directs CBI to file counter affidavit by May 30

PTI | 02:05 AM,May 17,2012

Chennai, May 16 (PTI): The Madras High Court today directed CBI to file by May 30 its counter affidavit to a bail petition by Tamil Nadu Inspector General of Police (Armed Police) Pramod Kumar, arrested for allegedly receiving money from an investment firm. Vacation Judge Justice T Mathivanan adjourned the petition to May 30. Kumar has been charged, along with others,with making some subordinates receive about Rs 2.85 crore on his behalf from Paazee Forex Pvt. Ltd., which had defaulted in repayments to depositors, to allegedly protect three directors of the firm. A woman had also alleged that she was kidnapped and sexually abused by some policemen involved in the case. CBI registered a case against Kumar and charged him and other policemen with extortion and criminal intimidation and under Sections 4 of the Tamil Nadu Prohibition of Harassment of Women (Amendment) Act. Kumar has also been booked under sections 7 and 13 (2) read with 13 (1) (d) of the Prevention of Corruption Act. In his bail application, Pramod Kumar submitted that he has been in jail for about a fortnight. CBI had questioned him for five days and police custody was over. He said he would abide by any condition that the Court may impose on him if released on bail. Kumar, then IGP (West Zone) Coimbatore when the case was registered, was arrested in New Delhi on May 2 on the charge of entering into a conspiracy to get a bribe of Rs 10 crore from Paazee Forex Trading company to protect its directors facing charges of duping depositors of Rs 826 crore in 2009. CBI has charged Kumar with abusing his official position and making his subordinates and accomplices extort money from Paazee Group of companies to safeguard its directors. He was on the run for a long time and the Madras High Court had turned down his anticipatory bail plea last month. The case was first cracked by Crime Branch of Tamil Nadu Police when they arrested an inspector who had allegedly carried the bribe money for Kumar.







HC orders formation of SIT to probe into March 2 clash

PTI | 04:05 PM,May 16,2012

Bangalore, May 16 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today ordered formation of a Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by former CBI Director R K Raghavan to probe the March 2 violence at the City Civil Court Complex. The division bench of the court comprising justices Ajit Gunjal and B V Nagarathna issued the orders on a writ petition filed by the Advocates Association of Bangalore, seeking a CBI enquiry into the violence. Raghavan had also headed the Supreme Court appointed SIT to probe the post-Godhra Gulberg massacre case. The court also ordered the SIT to investigate the alleged ‘false’ reporting by the electronic media and ordered issue of notice to the Centre to frame regulations for electronic channels to report such incidents. The court has directed the SIT to complete the exercise in three months. The Judicial Commission of Enquiry constituted by the Karnataka Government to probe the March 2 violence at civil court complex has been asked to submit its report in three months. The Commission, headed by Justice R G Vaidyanathan, has been asked to enquire into sequence of events and circumstances as well as reasons leading to the extensive violence, burning of private and public vehicles, physical violence between mediapersons, advocates and police in the premises of City Civil Court complex here on March 2. Sixty-five persons, including 52 police personnel, were injured when lawyers went on a rampage protesting presence of mediapersons to cover the appearance of former Minister and mining baron Janardhan Reddy in a mining case in the city civil court complex on March 2.



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