LEGAL NEWS 18.05.2012

50 per cent prosecutors in special courts should be SC/STs: Balakrishnan Ankit Jain : New Delhi, Fri May 18 2012, 00:23 hrs K G Balakrishnan, former Chief Justice of India and the chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), on Thursday called for appointment of at least 50 per cent of public prosecutors from the SC/ST category in the special courts adjudicating cases under the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. According to him, such appointments were necessary since only people from the SC/ST class could relate to victims of atrocities and handle such cases with sensitivity and responsibility. Speaking at the National Seminar on the status of implementation of the SC/ST Act, Justice Balakrishnan recommended that exclusive special courts in all states should be set up to handle such cases. “There must be proper investigation in all atrocity cases. Moreover, the social mindset of people needs to be changed and people of SC/ST communities should be provided equal opportunities,” he said, adding that lawmakers should also raise their voice in Parliament on the issue. Private burial ground encroaches upon civic amenity site, leaves residents fuming TNN | May 18, 2012, 03.45AM IST BANGALORE: The domain of the dead encroaches upon that of the living here. Ironically, it’s a private graveyard but the space allegedly encroached upon is public — a civic amenity site at Raghuvanahalli off Kanakapura Main Road. The graveyard on a CA site has been giving sleepless nights to residents of the layout carved out by the Bangalore City Municipal Corporation (BCMC) Employees House Building Cooperative Society. The residents have moved the BBMP, Talghattapura police, the State Human Rights Commission, the National Human Rights Commission, the jurisdictional corporator and the chief minister on the issue. But their repeated appeals are yet to yield fruit. The latest burial conducted in the site was in 2009, going by the epitaphs. “Chikkaveerappa, a landlord who sold 44 acres of his land to the layout, has encroached upon the civic amenity site and is using it as his family graveyard. The law prohibits burial in residential areas or on public land without permission from the corporation. Despite repeated complaints from residents, the BBMP hasn’t taken any action against Chikkaveerappa. In fact, senior BBMP officials have ridiculed me for ‘making a mountain out of a molehill’,” alleged Suresh B (name changed), a techie who stays in Raghuvanahalli and spearheading the anti-encroachment protest. BBMP’s quick remedy After the issue reached the NHRC, BBMP issued a notice to Chikkaveerappa but said he needn’t remove existing graves but build high walls around them and plant trees to keep them away from the view of others! The Palike then began building a compound wall around the CA site, leaving out the burial area. “BBMP engineers weren’t bothered about clearing the encroachment. Work on the compound wall, too, has come to a halt after men from the landlord’s side allegedly threatened the labourers,” said BS Pradeep, who is constructing a house in front of the CA site. “I constructed a house here in 2005; the CA site was barren then. On the day of my housewarming, a body was buried. I took it up with the residents’ welfare association. Later I moved into another house in the locality,” said a BBMP official and layout resident. Suresh said he received threatening calls after he raised the graveyard issue. “I lodged a police complaint after which Talaghattapura police warned the landlord’s son against troubling us. I have also lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta against the then joint commissioner of the BBMP, RR Nagar zone,” he said. What BBMP says Joint commissioner of RR Nagar K Chandrashekar said he had taken charge only recently and wasn’t aware of the issue. He promised to take action after examining the matter. But he ruled out a re-survey if there is BDA-approved layout plan, he added. His predecessor, H Ramachandran, said the graveyard is Chikkaveerappa’s property and refused to elaborate further, saying he is no longer in charge. Hubby corporator When TOI called jurisdictional Hemmigepura corporator Veena Nagaraj, a man claiming to be her husband picked up the phone. “I am her husband. There is no difference between you talking to her or me. I don’t know if Chikkaveerappa has encroached upon the land. Only survey reports can confirm it. May be the survey has been delayed because the joint commissioner will have to order it,” he said. High Court notice to act against fraudster–act-against-fraudster/258629-60-117.html Express News Service CUTTACK: A division bench of the Orissa High Court has asked the State Government and DCP, Bhubaneswar, to inform it about the steps taken against Tribeni Kumar Mohanty for committing fraud and cheating public to the tune of Rs 300 crore. The court has sought response within two weeks. The bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice S K Mishra issued notices acting on a writ petition filed by Priyabrata Mohapatra and 428 others, who are victims of cheating and fraud by companies namely M/s Star Consultancy Services Pvt Ltd, M/s Star Yogic Resorts & Leisures Ltd, M/s Star Concrete Pvt Ltd and New Era Resources Pvt Ltd, all established by Mohanty. These firms allegedly collected crores of rupees from the petitioners/depositors under various schemes. The petitioners alleged that Mohanty, who is the Managing Director of Star Consultancy Services Ltd, had promised the depositors that upon investment in these companies, the return would double. To create confidence in the minds of the depositors, he also paid doubled returns to a few depositors, they said. However, the petitioners became victims of fraud committed by these companies, they said, and prayed before the court for a direction to the opposition parties to refund the amount collected from them and take appropriate legal and criminal action against Mohanty. Significantly, considering the case of the petitioners, the High Court has directed that the assets of all these companies shall not be transferred in any manner till disposal of the writ petition. Shankar Bidari’s case goes to HC Chief Justice Last Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 15:35 Bangalore: The Karnataka High Court today referred to the Chief Justice, the writ petition filed by former DGP Shankar Mahadev Bidari, seeking reinstatement as Director General of Police. The division bench, comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna referred the matter to the Chief Justice, considering Bidari’s application, asking the bench not to hear the matter and place it before the Chief Justice. Earlier, the bench observed it was ready to hear the matter and had been constituted for the very purpose but was referring it to the CJ in view of the application filed. Bidari had filed the petition in the wake of the recent Supreme Court verdict directing the Karnataka High Court to review the case. On April 24 the Apex Court had stayed the High Court order quashing Bidari’s appointment as Director General of Police. Bidari is due to retire from service on May 31. HC notice on nuisance in Badambadi Express News Service CUTTACK: Acting on a writ petition filed by a group of private bus owners of Cuttack, a division bench of the Orissa High Court comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice S K Mishra has issued notices to the State Government, Commissioner of Police as well as DCP, Cuttack over increasing anti-social activities in Badambadi bus stand premises. Rabinarayan Behera and 32 other bus operators filed the petition. The High Court has asked the Government and the police to file their response within two weeks. The petitioners alleged that the police have failed in their duty to prevent anti-social activities at Badambadi bus stand which, they said, create difficulty in plying the buses. It was also alleged that hooligans are even forcibly controlling the timing of the buses apart from regular extortion from the operators. Citing incidents as reported in the newspapers, the petitioners alleged that even the bus owners, sometimes, have suffered humiliation and assault by the anti-social elements and the police have not taken any action against them. The petitioners appealed to the High Court to direct the police to take effective steps in the area and ensure safety of the passengers and bus operators. Jagan media houses plea in HC on Thursday Express News Service HYDERABAD: Justice B Seshasayana Reddy of the AP High Court will hear the four writ petitions filed by Jagan Mohan Reddy’s media companies and journalists working in them on Thursday. They sought suspension of operation of the impugned government order stopping ads to Jagati Publications, publisher of Sakshi newspaper, and Indira Television that operates Sakshi channel. The Jagan companies, in their petition, said the government order violates Article 14 of the Constitution and wanted restoration of the ads. About 15 employees who included journalists of Jagati Publications joined the managements in challenging the government directive. The employees said their managements had never interfered in the news content disseminated by the newspaper or channel. Sakshi newspaper editor V Murali contended that the government’s action was clearly an attempt to muzzle freedom of the press. He pointed out that the FIR and chargesheet filed by the CBI would indicate that some of the allegations relate to the acts of the government, which would therefore be a co-accused. The petitions pointed out that rival media houses have been setting agenda for CBI’s investigation of the case against Jagan’s companies. The agency has not taken similar action on allegations faced by Ushodaya Publications, publisher of Eenadu newspaper, they pointed out. Jagan’s companies on Wednesday also challenged the special CBI court’s order dismissing petitions filed by them seeking de-freezing of company bank accounts. Last week, the CBI had frozen bank accounts of three Jagan firms – Jagati Publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure – on the ground that the firms received amounts as quidpro- quo for favours doled out during YSR’s tenure. Scribe attack case: DIG, SP offered to settle Unnithan case, accused cop says KOCHI: DySP M Santhosh Nair, who is accused of having hired a quotation gang to attack Mathrubhumi reporter V B Unnithan, has filed a petition in a magistrate court here alleging that he was forced by DIG S Sreejith and SP Sam Christy Daniel to take full responsibility for the attack on the scribe. Santhosh Nair alleged in a petition filed before the Judicial First Class Magistrate Court of Ernakulam on Thursday that the DIG and SP illegally detained him at the crime branch’s office at Kaloor here and offered to facilitate filing of a chargesheet laid with lighter accusations to facilitate his escape if he was willing to take responsibility for the attack on the scribe, The DIG and SP made the offer accompanied by Muhammed Faisal, SP of crime branch, at the crime branch office at Kaloor, the petition filed through advocate Srinivasan Venugopal alleged. He also alleged that his phone was illegally taken into possession by the crime branch, without recording it in the register as mandated by law. On May 11, the chief judicial magistrate of Ernakulam had recorded the statements of alleged gang leader ‘Container’ Santhosh as an in-camera proceeding. The CBI team that is probing the attack on the scribe had earlier arrested another DySP, Abdul Rasheed, based on Santhosh’s statement. Santhosh had earlier revealed that the two DySPs, Rasheed and Santhosh Nair, had asked him to engage the gang that attacked Unnithan in 2010. An investigation conducted by the crime branch earlier had failed to detect the involvement of senior officials of Kerala police. The ongoing probe had revealed that the attack was part of a conspiracy hatched by some senior cops who employed local goons for the job. Meanwhile, the additional sessions court observed on Thursday that increase in cases involving senior cops was a dangerous trend. The court’s observation was while considering the bail application of DySP Rasheed. The court also observed that the crime branch and the CBI engaging in arguments and counter arguments was not a good practice. Amarjeet Shahi appears in court in another case TNN | May 18, 2012, 06.49AM IST KANPUR: DSP Amarjeet Shahi, an accused in a sexual exploitation case, was brought before a court of Ramabai Nagar on Thursday from Kanpur jail to give evidence in a dowry death case. Shahi was brought in the court under heavy police security and as soon as his evidence was concluded the suspended DSP was sent back to the jail. In the meantime, a large number of lawyers also reached the court to teach ‘a lesson on morality’ to Shahi but they were not able to go near him. Shahi was summoned by additional district and sessions judge AK Singh in a dowry death case styled as state v/s Dharmraj of Ghatampur. Shahi was not appearing in the court for evidence since the last many dates. The ADJ had written a letter to the jail superintendent and directed him to sent Shahi for evidence. The jail authorities sent Shahi in the post-lunch session under heavy police escort. The lawyers raised anti-Shahi slogans to express anger over the ‘shameful conduct’ of this man. Meanwhile, Shahi’s judicial custody remand was extended by the court through video conferencing. Man given 10 yrs jail term in dowry death: Additional district and sessions judge Alakh Narayan Tiwari, on Thursday, convicted a man named as Sanjay for dowry death and sentenced him for ten years of rigorous imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5,000. Sanjay married Neelu on February 22, 2002. He was not happy with the gifts given at the time of marriage and demanding a motorcycle and Rs 50,000 in cash from his in-laws. He used to torture his wife for that. He killed Neelu on April 30, 2007 when she refused to bring motorcycle and cash rom her in-laws. Neelu’s sister Madhuri Devi lodged the FIR. Court to hear bail plea of marines on May 19 Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, 1:11 IST Place: Kollam | Agency: PTI A local court today posted to May 19 the bail application of the two marines of Italian ship Enrica Lexie, charged with shooting dead two Indian fishermen off Kerala coast on February 15. District and Sessions Court Judge KD Rajan posted the matter for hearing the bail of Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone, who have been charged under IPC section 302 (murder), to that date. The naval guards were arrested on February 19 and charged with murder of Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki, who took to sea from Neendakara in Kollam. The accused were in police custody for the first 14 days and had been lodged in a special cell in the central prison since March 5 after the court remanded them to judicial custody. State govt challenges order allowing Nooriya Haveliwala to travel abroad HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 18, 2012 The state government has moved an application challenging a sessions court order which permitted Nooriya Haveliwala to travel abroad. On January 30, 2010, Haveliwala, a beautician, allegedly drove her SUV into a police check-post in Marine Lines, killing a policeman and a motorcyclist. She had tested positive for alcohol and drugs and was charged for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and under sections of the Motor Vehicles Act and NDPS Act. The special NDPS court had permitted Haveliwala to travel to the US and Dubai from May 16 to June 10. The government has sought the quashing of the order on grounds that the US national might abscond or flee. “There is a likelihood of Nooriya absconding and fleeing away from the clutches of law and not returning to face trial. There is no extradition treaty between the US and India,” the petition stated. Haveliwala’s lawyer told the vacation bench of justice AM Thipsay that she will be leaving on Wednesday. The government’s petition points out that the sessions court order was given without hearing the state, the Foreigners Regional Registration Office (FRRO) and the deputy commissioner of police, special branch. The FRRO had, in October last year, issued a six-point restriction prohibiting Haveliwala from leaving the city after she got bail. Haveliwala had challenged the FRRO’s restriction in the high court which is still pending. The state says that the trial against Haveliwala has begun and nine out of 35 witnesses have been examined so far. The petition will be heard on Friday. Court to pass order on summoning Army chief in defamation case New Delhi, May 18, 2012 A Delhi court is likely to pronounce on Friday its order on summoning Army chief General VK Singh and four others on a criminal defamation complaint filed by former Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh. Metropolitan Magistrate Jay Thareja had on May 14 reserved the order after hearing the arguments on behalf of Tejinder Singh who has sought summoning of the Army chief and four other top officials to respond to the allegations against them. Besides the Army chief, Tejinder Singh has named Vice chief of Army Staff SK Singh, Lt Gen BS Thakur (DG MI), Major General SL Narshiman (Additional Director General of Public Information) and Lt Col Hitten Sawhney, accusing them of misusing their official positions, power and authority to level false charges against him. Tejinder Singh, a former Director General of Defence Intelligence Agency, had filed the defamation complaint against the Army chief and four other army officials rejecting the allegations that he had offered the bribe for clearing a deal for 600 “sub-standard” vehicles. On the last date of hearing, counsel for Tejinder Singh had told the court that the persons named in the complaint should be summoned to appear before it to explain their part. Advocate Anil Aggarwal, who appeared for Tejinder Singh, had told the court that the Army chief had made a complaint to the CBI on April 10 that he was offered a bribe of Rs. 14 crore to strike a defence deal while the press release on the issue of ‘off-the-air-monitoring’ was made by the Army on March 5. He had also referred to the provisions of the Army Act saying a serving person cannot communicate with the media directly and if he has to pass on something, he has to do it through the ministry of defence. CCI penalised NSE for abusing dominant mkt position: Minister PTI May 17, 2012, 04.26PM IST NEW DELHI: The government today said the Competition Commission had imposed penalty on the National Stock Exchange (NSE) for abusing its dominant market position. “MCX Stock Exchange filed a case against National Stock Exchange and others alleging violation of provisions (abuse of dominance) of the Competition Act, 2002,” Minister of State for Corporate Affairs R P N Singh said in a written reply to the Lok Sabha. He said the Commission imposed a penalty of Rs 55.50 crore on NSE for contravention of the provisions of the Competition Act in its order dated June 23, 2011. “On the appeal filed by NSE against this order of CCI, the Competition Appellate Tribunal (COMPAT) has stayed the recovery proceedings,” Singh said. Competition Commission of India (CCI) is the regulator for fair market practices and ensuring level-playing field. Since CCI and COMPAT are quasi-judicial bodies, no action is required to be taken by the government, he replied when asked if any action was taken by it in this regard. The NSE and MCX-Stock Exchange (MCX-SX) had entered into currency derivatives trading in August 2008 and October 2008 respectively, followed by United Stock Exchange (USE) in 2010. However, in November 2009, MCX-SX filed a complaint against NSE for abusing its dominant position and thus violating the Competition Act. After a year-long probe, CCI found NSE guilty of anti-competition practices and penalised it for abusing its dominant market position. Rajasthan government lied to Supreme Court on illegal mining: Kishangarhbas MLA Rajendra Sharma, TNN | May 18, 2012, 03.06AM IST ALWAR: The death of labourers in the illegal mines of Alwar’s Arawali range and Rajsamand district on Thursday brought to the fore lies put up by the state government even before the Supreme Court. In some affidavits submitted to courts over the past two years, the state government claimed to have adopted harsh measures on illegal mining, making it impossible for the mafias to operate with impunity. “The state government is not hesitating to misguide even the Supreme Court over illegal mining. It has submitted misleading affidavits,” Ramhet Yadav, the MLA from Kishangarhbas in Alwar, told TOI. He added that as per an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court by the Alwar district administration, the state government has put a complete check on the illegal mining in the area. “The affidavit says that the state government has adopted such harsh measures that illegal mining is impossible,” Yadav said. However, the deaths of labourers in the region are a testimony to the fact that illegal mining is flourishing due to the nexus of the politicians and the mining mafias, he added. “It is a contempt of the Supreme Court. We demand that action be initiated against those officials who deliberately lied to the court,” Yadav said. In the recent past, several accidents resulting in the death of mine workers have been reported in Rajsamand, Bhilwara, Bharatpur, Nagaur and Ajmer districts. In Alwar district alone, reports suggest that over a hundred illegal mines are still functioning under the direct patronage of a ruling party leader. Of these, a maximum number of illegal mines are present in the Tijara region of Alwar district. Locals said over 1,000 tractors laden with stones from illegal mines are entering Haryana everyday. Yadav said that the administration and other authorities concerned are a party to this criminal practice that has disturbed the ecological balance of the area, and incurred huge losses to the state exchequer. “As a result, the legal miners are suffering maximum losses as the material from illegal mines are sold at much cheaper rates,” he added. The mining mafia wields enough influence in the political circles that none of the parties, which had been in power, had ever enforced strict measures to put a stop to the practice. A report prepared by Rajasthan police’s intelligence branch in October 2010 had claimed that the illegal mining was being allowed following nexus between the officers and the mafias. The report has suggested that the officials take monthly “protection fee” from the mafias. As per the report, over 1,000 trackers are sent to Haryana and Delhi for illegal supply. In Alwar district, areas like Tijara, Bhiwadi, Udhanwas, Choupanki, Hassanpura, Mohanpura and Chuharour are most affected by illegal mining. Apart from that, In Bhilwara, illegal mining is carried out in places like Mandal, Keringa, Bemali and Luhariya. Places like Kushalgarh, Khawasa, Bayal, Talwara, Kalakhut and Pipalkhut in Banswara are known for illegal manganese mining. Anonymous Central takes down Supreme Court, Congress websites A day after the Indian government proposed a hyper watchdog to police the internet, the websites of the Supreme Court of India and the Congress mysteriously went offline on Thursday. This sparked off rumours that the hacker group Anonymous Central had taken down the two sites to protest the government’s censorship plan. The hacking was reportedly in response to the blocking of torrent site and While the Supreme Court of India website came back online after a little while, the Congress website was still offline at the time of filing of this report. The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) website had also reportedly come under attack. Earlier, tweeting about the government’s plan, Anonymous Central had tweeted, “Namaste #India, your time has come to trash the current government and install a new one. Good luck.” The proposed plan for censorship pushes for a government-run 50-member body to control the web. The government’s web takeover plan has already been placed before the United Nations (UN). The UN is expected to discuss the proposal in the next 72 hours. The proposal would end “equal say” process for internet governance and push the civil society to the fringes. The proposed Committee for Internet Related Polices (CIRP) would be 50-member body funded by the UN. It would meet once a year and would have the power to oversee all internet standards bodies. If put into force, the move carries a huge potential of hurting India’s image. The move has already been raising the hackles of some MPs. Headlines Today accessed letter of Rajya Sabha member Rajeev Chandrasekhar to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh objecting to the proposed watchdog. “India’s proposal, though cleverly worded, hurts its reputation. It hurts advancement of internet as a vehicle for openness, democracy. If accepted, it will be harmful to the interests of Indian citizens. India’s position is closely associated with countries none of which is a sparkling example of democracy. Any attempt to expand government’s power over internet should be turned back,” Chandrasekhar wrote in his letter. Meanwhile, reacting to the proposal for an internet watchdog, Gagandeep S Sapra, had tweeted, “Block The Internet, Ban the Cartoons, Change Text in Textbooks, Delay Justice, Forget the Citizen, Oh What a Beautiful Country #India” Ashwin Siddaramaiah tweeted, “Not just TPB, but also vimeo, dailymotion, pastebin and many more sites are blocked. This Govt. Has been the worst I’ve seen.” Rajya Sabha horse trading allegations: CBI raids premises of 15 MLAs PTI | May 18, 2012, 10.05AM IST RANCHI: The CBI on Friday conducted raids at the premises of 15 Jharkhand MLAs as part of its investigation into the allegations of horse trading that led to countermanding of the March 30 Rajya Sabha polls. In the early morning raids, 36 teams swooped down upon the residences of MLAs of Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Hazaribagh, Godda, Bihar’s Banka district and Giridih, a CBI official told PTI. The MLAs belong to ruling JMM, Ajsu party and opposition RJD and Congress, he said. The sleuths are also raiding at a place in Kolkata, he said, adding a CBI team is also raiding the premises of one of the independent candidates who was in the fray in elections to the Upper House. On April 21, the CBI had raided the premises of three MLAs, Vishnu Bhaiyya (JMM), K N Tripathy (Congress) and Suresh Paswan (RJD) and independent candidate and industrialist R K Agarwal and his kin. The sleuths of the investigating agency had also seized the ballot box, which was used in the March 30 countermanded elections to Rajya Sabha as part of their probe, on April 21. The agency has registered a case under section 171F (undue influence) and 188 of the Indian Penal Code (disobedience to an order lawfully promulgated by a public servant), days after the police and the Income Tax department seized Rs 2.15 crore from a vehicle allegedly belonging to a relative of an independent candidate on the outskirts of Ranchi on poll day. The EC had conducted the fresh biennial elections on May 3 for the two RS seats. Post-FIR, CBI searches Yeddyurappa’s houses A day after filing an FIR against B.S. Yeddyurappa for his alleged role in illegalities in mining, the CBI on Wednesday searched the houses of the former Chief Minister, his immediate kin and close associates in Bangalore and his home district, Shimoga. The CBI also searched the offices of some business firms and trusts run by Mr. Yeddyurappa’s family members in Bangalore and houses/offices of top executives of JSW Steel Ltd; and South West Mining Ltd. (SWML) in Bellary district, official sources told The Hindu. The CBI, in a press release, said it had seized “incriminating” documents during the searches conducted in the three cities as part of the investigation in connection with the case registered against Mr. Yeddyurappa and others under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act, the Karnataka Land (Restriction on Transfer) Act, and Sections 120-B, 420 and 409 of the Indian Penal Code. Around 5.45 a.m. a CBI team went to Mr. Yeddyurappa’s house in the upmarket Dollar Colony in Bangalore and conducted a search, while another team went to his official residence on Race Course Road at 6 a.m. Subsequently, CBI teams searched the offices of Bhagat Homes and Dhavalagiri Properties. Certain documents were seized from the office of Prerana Trust in Seshadripuram. The CBI teams also searched the houses of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s close associates: the former minister S.N. Krishnaiah Setty, the BJP MLA S.R. Vishwanath and Lehar Singh Siroya, MLC. Searches were also conducted at the house/office of mining leaseholder R. Praveen Chandra at Srinagar in Bangalore, the sources said. In Shimoga, a CBI team searched the house of Mr. Yeddyurappa’s daughter B.Y. Arunadevi, a co-director of Prerana Trust, and verified documents for more than five hours. The officials questioned her husband, Uday Kumar, and took him to branches of State Bank of Mysore and SyndicateBank, where Prerana Trust has accounts and lockers. The lockers were opened in the presence of Mr. Uday Kumar, and the CBI officials collected information about the documents and cash deposited there. During the searches in Bellary district, a CBI team visited the SWML office at Torangal and checked documents for over six hours. The team also searched the houses of Vinod Nowal, CEO of JSW Steels Ltd., and Uday Kumar Pandey, CEO of SWML, who were, incidentally, away from Torangal. High court for law to check witch-hunting cases Binita Jaiswal, TNN | May 18, 2012, 07.11AM IST CUTTACK: The Orissa high court asked the state government on Thursday to formulate a special law to check witch-hunting in the state. Division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra said the government should introduce a bill in the legislature to enact a law to tackle the menace of witch-hunting effectively. The bench gave the suggestion while adjudicating on a PIL filed by social activist, Sashiprava Bindhani, seeking introduction of an Act to stop the heinous crime in the state. The bench observed the state should formulate a preventive strategy to eliminate such practices. The petitioner had pointed out many women in the state are being branded witches and tortured brutally. Some are even gangraped and at times smeared with urine and human excreta. The petitioner had cited there is an urgent need to formulate a stringent law that could act as a deterrent to witch-hunting. Due to the absence of any specific law in the state regarding the crime, the accused get away easily, the petitioner added. She pointed out Jharkhand and Bihar have formulated a special law to check witch-hunting, but Odisha is yet to take any concrete step to deal with it. Taking note of the allegations, the high court directed the state government to create public awareness at the gram panchayat level to eradicate the superstitions of witchcraft. The court also suggested health camps should be organized in villages to detect cases of psychologically disordered persons, who claim to be witches. In order to avoid the witnesses turning hostile in such cases, the investigating agency probing into the cases should take steps to record their statement under section 164 of code of criminal procedure, 1973, the court ordered. “The court has observed that along with the main accused, the tantric and the persons, who provoke others to commit such inhuman acts against woman should also be booked and prosecuted under the sections of Indian Penal Code,” said the petitioner’s counsel Sujata Jena. “The court has directed that all the guidelines should be strictly observed by the authorities till a suitable legislation is passed by the state legislature,” Jena added. Punjab and Haryana high court restraint on discretionary quota of ministers TNN | May 18, 2012, 02.35AM IST CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Thursday restrained the Punjab government from releasing discretionary grants on pick-and-choose basis. With this, the state chief minister, deputy chief minister, ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries would not be able to release any grant from their discretionary quota. The stay would continue till July 10. However, the HC clarified that they can release grants by following a transparent procedure, consistent with Article 14 of the Constitution of India, by inviting applications from all concerned persons, and deciding their competitive claims. The orders were passed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh while hearing a PIL by advocate H C Arora. “Sanction/release of grants by ministers under discretionary quota on pick-and-choose basis cannot be acceptable to any society governed by rule of law,” the bench observed while issuing the stay orders. The HC asked the state to explain as to whether antecedents of beneficiaries of grants were checked or not. The bench also directed the Punjab government to explain its stand about the procedure, if any, being adopted by the government for verifying the accounts of the beneficiaries as to whether the grants have actually been used for the purpose for which these have been released, as mere submission of utilization certificates is not sufficient to know about the end use of discretionary grants. The petitioner had sought directions for effective safeguards against misuse of discretionary grants being released by CM/deputy CM/ministers and parliamentary secretaries of Punjab. He alleged that grants were being sanctioned/released on pick-and-choose basis, without evaluating the competing claims of various applicants. The case would now come up for hearing on July 10. Crime against women has shot up in WB: NCW chief New Delhi, May 17, 2012 The National Commission for Women (NCW) feels that crime against women has “increased” in West Bengal under the Mamata Banerjee-led government and criticised it for transferring officers who have cracked rape cases even before investigations were completed. NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said the state government has promised “neutral” investigations in all cases related to crime against women but they are still waiting to see if the promises are kept. “Incidents of crime against women in West Bengal had been increasing gradually before, but the state has witnessed a sudden huge spurt in offences against women under the present government, especially in the last couple of months,” Sharma told PTI in an interview. She said a recent NCW report had showed that increase in reported rape cases in the state was twice the national average. However, she hastened to add that she was “not saying that the state is unsafe for women under Mamata Banerjee”. A three-member NCW team led by member Wansuk Syeim had visited the state last month and in their report took exception to transfers of officers investigating rape cases besides demanding a “neutral” investigation and financial and other assistance to rape victims. The Commission noted with “dismay” the transfer of two key officers involved in investigations of Park Street gang rape case and Bankura case “for reasons best known to the state government”. Banerjee had raked up a controversy after she said a rape case was “cooked up to malign” her government. Drawing government’s attention to the issue, the report quoted an NGO ‘Maitree’ to point out the state recorded the “second highest number of rape cases in the country and it had the lowest conviction rate”. “The findings are shocking. But the alarming statistics are not exclusive to West Bengal alone. Our fact-finding teams have come across a large number of cases in Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh as well,” Sharma claimed. The NCW was closely monitoring the way states handle cases of violence against women, she said, adding the Commission would pull up any state found “callous and insensitive” in its treatment of women. Quoting the NGO, the NCW report pointed out that little girls from the age of seven to women of 72 were subjected to rape, which includes housewives, working women, mentally and physically disabled women, tribal women. “In 44% of cases of gangrape, 39% victims were minor girls, 17% of victims were mentally/physically disabled and 8% rapes happened in hospitals or trains. The accused are still absconding in 44% of cases,” it said. “In 17% of cases, women’s characters, or the veracity of cases were publicly questioned,” the report said. In its observations, the NCW team that went to Bengal said the high incidences of such crimes coupled with a set of unpreparedness among the officers at the level of public contact will actually make the crime nearly risk free business for criminals. “NCW would like to request that investigation into the cases under reference should be conducted neutrally so as to ensure conviction and maximum punishment to the accused in each case,” it said. It also noted that investigators should take ample care to complete the entire investigation in time bound manner. “The routine procedural delays should be avoided. Before the transfer of Investigating Officer to another posting, it is necessary that same officer should help the judicial proceedings in presenting the case on behalf of prosecution,” the report said. NHRC seeks ATR from AP on tribal eviction http://IBNLIVE.IN.COM/NEWS/NHRC-SEEKS-ATR-FROM-AP-ON-TRIBAL-EVICTION/259000-60-114.HTML Express News Service uman Rights Commission has directed the chief secretary of Andhra Pradesh government to submit an action taken report to it over forest officials forcing migrant Adivasis homeless. The commission was moved by Supreme Court advocate and rights activist Radhakanta Tripathy who alleged that forest officials had set afire five huts and destroyed other huts of Adivasis (Scheduled tribes) in Burgumpahad mandal in Khammam district and the displaced Adivasis had been running from pillar to post in search of shelter. About 40 tribal families faced demolition by forest officials on March 27 this year at Mothey village near a reserve forest. Leaving their women and children under the open sky, the family heads had been searching for help with little success, Tripathy alleged and requested the NHRC to direct the state government to rehabilitate the families. J&K HC adjourns hearing in encounter case for 2 weeks Srinagar , May 17, 2012 Jammu and Kashmir high court on Thursday adjourned for two weeks the hearing of the alleged fake encounter case involving Army chief-designate General Bikram Singh. Justice Hasnain Masoodi adjourned the hearing of the case as advocate general Mohammad Ishaq Qadri was not available to argue the case. The judge directed that the case be listed after two weeks for hearing, subject to availability of the bench, when the state government and the Union of India will put forth their arguments. The case took a new turn on Wednesday as the petitioner told the high court that the genuineness of the incident was not in doubt but questions on the identity of the assailant remained. Zaffar Qureshi, the counsel for the petitioner, today reiterated his plea for carrying out a DNA test on the body of the man claimed to be Pakistani militant Mateen Chacha. “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,” Qureshi said. Gen Singh is due to take over from Gen V K Singh on May 31. HC issues guidelines to curb witchcraft practice PTI | 10:05 PM,May 17,2012 Cuttack, May 17 (PTI) Orissa High Court today directed the state government to spread awareness involving all gram panchayats in order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice and black magic. Disposing off a PIL filed by Odisha Rationalist Society, a Division Bench of the High court comprising Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice S K Mishra formulated a guideline to check nuisances created by witchcraft as no such law is prevalent in the state to curb this practice. Asking the state police to register cases under Indian Penal Code (IPC) and prosecute the perpetrators of such practices, the High Court said police should record statements of the accused and witnesses under Section 164 of CrPC. Further the High Court pointed out that all the guidelines set up by it shall be in force until a law to check the menace is enacted. While 38 people are said to have died in Naxal attacks in 2011, the state recorded 58 deaths due to witchcraft linked violence and nearly 300 people have died of it in last five years. In order to curb violence arising out of witchcraft practice, Odisha Rationalist Society had approached the High Court seeking to issue guidelines to eradicate crime in the name of superstitions, blind belief and black magic. PTI COR SKN RG AP HC stays advertisement embargo on Sakshi Group PTI | 09:05 PM,May 17,2012 Hyderabad, May 17 (PTI) In a relief to Kadapa MP YS Jaganmohan Reddy–owned Sakshi newspaper and television channel, the Andhra Pradesh High Court today granted an interim stay on implementation of the state orders banning government advertisements to the media group. The state government had on May 10 ordered a freeze on releasing advertisements to Sakshi newspaper and Sakshi channel. Based on a petition filed by Jagati Publication, which brings out the vernacular daily and Indira Television, the broadcaster of the Telugu channel, Justice Seshasayana Reddy issued interim stay orders and directed the stat government to file its reply before June 16. According to a Sakshi counsel, the high court observed that the state government order (GO) has not followed the guidelines set for the release of government advertisement to newspapers and channels. Citing the chargesheet filed by CBI against Jagati Publications, the Andhra Pradesh Information and Public Relations Commissioner R V Chandravadan issued an order last week asking the government departments, agencies, public sector undertakings, corporations and organisations to “withhold releasing of advertisements and notifications (to Sakshi group) with immediate effect in public interest”. The government order came in the wake of the CBI, which is probing the disproportionate assets (DA) cases against Jagan, had last week froze the bank accounts of Jagati Publications, Indira Television and Janani Infrastructure–the firms owned by Jagan. PTI GDK NSK HC stays disbursement of discretionary grants till July 10 HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Chandigarh, May 17, 2012 Hearing a public interest litigation alleging misuse of discretionary grants by Punjab chief minister, ministers and chief parliamentary secretaries to various organisations on pick and choose basis, the Punjab and Haryana high court has put stay on their disbursement till July 10. The directions came from the division bench comprising acting chief justice MM Kumar and justice Alok Singh on a public interest litigation filed by advocate HC Arora. The bench stated, “Sanction of grants by ministers under discretionary quota on the basis of pick and choose cannot be acceptable to any society governed by rule of law.” The court said that the Punjab government should explain the procedure, if any, being adopted by it for verifying from the accounts of beneficiaries whether grants had actually been used for the purpose for which these were released. The bench observed that mere submissions of utilisation certificates was not sufficient to know about the end use of the discretionary grants. Going through an affidavit filed by Avtar Singh Mavi, under secretary in department of rural development and panchayats, the bench stated that an under secretary level officer was not expected to give his opinion about the irregularities in release of discretionary grants by higher officials. The court ordered secretary, department of rural development and panchayats, to file a detailed affidavit on the next date of hearing. HC confirms Tota Singh’s bail in official vehicle misuse case Sanjeev Verma , Hindustan Times Chandigarh , May 17, 2012Former Punjab agriculture minister Tota Singh’s bail has been confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana high court in the official vehicle misuse case. He had moved the high court against his conviction and one-year imprisonment awarded by an additional district and sessions court in Mohali for misusing an official vehicle during his stint as the state education minister from 1997-2002. The former minister’s petition challenging the conviction, which was earlier admitted by the high court, will come up for hearing with regular cases as per its turn. Tota Singh’s petition came up for hearing in the court of justice Ritu Bahri. The former minister was granted bail till June 5 by the Mohali trial court on May 5, the day his sentence was pronounced. The Mohali court had found Tota Singh guilty of misusing an official vehicle of Punjab School Education Board, causing a huge loss to the board. However, the court acquitted him of more serious charges of possessing assets disproportionate to his known sources of income. In his bail application, filed in the high court, Tota Singh had mentioned that his appeal petition was likely to take a long time to be heard and he was facing prosecution since 2002. He further added that he had been in custody for two months during the trial followed by bail later and there was no allegation of misuse of bail concession by him. However, in his petition challenging the conviction and sentence awarded to him on the charge that official car number PB27-5105, which was subsequently replaced by car number PB-65-2710 was misused by either by the education minister or his family members, Tota Singh that the trial court had erred in passing the judgment. Tota Singh mentioned that the trial court had given the judgment based on “unfair and tainted investigation”. HC asks insurance firm to pay `1.16 crore to bizman’s widow HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 18, 2012 Dismissing the appeal filed by the insurance company, the Bombay high court (HC) upheld the order awarding a compensation of over Rs1.16 crore to the widow of a city businessman who died in an accident nine years ago. The income of the legal heir and the money received from other sources cannot be taken into consideration while computing the loss of future income due to the accidental death of an earning family member, the division bench of justice AM Khanwilkar and justice SS Shinde ruled. The court was hearing an appeal by the United India Insurance Company Ltd challenging the order passed by the Mumbai Motor Accident Claims Tribunal on September 30, 2011. In its order, the tribunal had directed the insurance company to pay the wife of deceased businessman Riyaz Varawalla, Sugra, an aggregate sum of Rs69.18 lakh along with an interest at the rate of 8.5% per annum — bringing the total to Rs1.16 crore. The insurance company had contended that the widow had received an insurance amount from the Life Insurance Corporation of India and other credit card companies. The tribunal should have deducted these amounts while calculating her future loss because of her husband’s untimely accidental death, they argued. The high court, however, rejected the contention holding that if the received amount is an outcome of separate contracts and had no direct nexus with the accidental death, it cannot be deducted while computing the future loss of income. The court maintained that the amounts received from credit card companies were a result of other contracts entered into by Varawalla and had no co-relation with the third party insurance in case of an accident. The court also rejected the company’s claim that the tribunal should have taken the woman’s income – as she was a partner in some of the businesses of her husband – into account. The court held that the woman’s earnings could not be taken into consideration to reduce the quantum of loss of annual dependency income on account of the accidental death. HC relief from power bills for Poultry firm HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Mumbai, May 18, 2012In a temporary reprieve for Venkateshwara Hatcheries Pvt Ltd and eight other group companies, the Bombay high court, last week, restrained the Maharashtra Electricity Distribution Company Ltd. (MSEDCL) from recovering electricity charges at commercial rates from the group companies. The division bench of chief justices Mohit Shah and NM Jamdar has asked MSEDCL to bill the group companies as per the industrial tariff plan, while the petition awaits a final hearing. The companies had approached the high court after MSEDCL re-classified the hatcheries group in June 2011, and transferred them from the industrial category to commercial category. The reclassification sent the power bill of the group’s research unit at Kalbhor, Pune up by Rs.15.5 lakh. The group that conducts poultry breeding, hatching and poultry farming in the state moved the high court last month after MSEDCL issued notices seeking payment of arrears purportedly accumulated after applying commercial tariff. The Kalbhor unit, where research and disease diagnosis for breeders and poultry farmers across India is carried out, had contended that the MSEDCL’s act of classifying the research facility as HT-II Commercial category was based on misinterpretation of tariff orders issued by Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC). The company has sought to classify the group units under the farming category, contending that hatcheries and research laboratories form an integral part of poultry farming. HC refuses to allow 12-yr delay in appeal against conviction Express news service : Ahmedabad, Fri May 18 2012, 02:37 hrs The Gujarat High Court has refused to allow delay of more than 12 years in preferring an appeal against conviction for murder by a convict of Bharuch district. Rejecting the appeal, the court — among other things — considered the fact that the convict was absconding for eight years after being released on furlough. A Sessions Court had awarded life sentence to the petitioner, Ramesh Vasva, in July 1999 for the murder of a girl in January 1996 after she refused to marry him. Vasva was granted furlough in August 2001 after which he absconded. He was caught and brought back to jail in October 2009. In March this year, he moved an appeal against his conviction before the High Court. And to make the appeal maintainable, Vasva moved a petition for condonation of delay of 4,569 days, which the court rejected. To make sure that the refusal to allow the delay does not result in miscarriage of justice, the court heard the convict’s lawyer on the merits of the appeal. “Considering the totality of the facts, we are of the view that there is no merit in the appeal. Under these circumstances, if the delay of 4,569 days in preferring the appeal, for which not only sufficient cause is not shown by the applicant but undue advantage is also taken by him, is not condoned, it would not result into miscarriage of justice and no useful purpose would be served in taking too lenient view for delay and then to consider the merits of the appeal,” the court observed recently. The court also observed that the “question of condonation of delay in statuary appeals in conviction, more particularly the conviction under Section 302 of IPC, is viewed very liberally, and normally courts do not refuse to exercise the discretion to condone the delay”. Delhi HC rejects Air India pilots’ plea, strike continues New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday dismissed an appeal by the Indian pilots guild challenging the single-judge order that had restrained the pilots of Air India from going on strike, terming it as illegal. The High Court said that the plea of the striking pilots “cannot be entertained as they are guilty of contempt”. The decision by the single-judge bench was upheld by a division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kail and Justice Rajiv Shakdher. Hearing a plea by Air India, Justice Reva Khetrapal had on May 9 restrained over 100 pilots, owing allegiance to the IPG, from continuing the strike over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression. The IPG had on Wednesday told the court that the single-judge had passed the ex-parte injunction order without authority. However, speaking about the development, IPG president Jitendra Awhad clarified that they had not appealed to the High Court against declaring their strike illegal. He further said, “We did not go on record to say anything on strike. We have all our doors open.” The IPG president also attacked the Air India management, pointing that the Supreme Court had told the management to sit and sort out the issue, but not a single person from AI management represented it in the media. Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Ministry has accused the pilots of causing massive financial losses. Union Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh has told Parliament that the Vigilance Department is investigating 161 cases of irregularities. The Ministry has accepted that there has been an increase in the number of pilots and cabin crew reporting to work with alcohol levels more than the permissible limit. It also says pilots allegedly pocketed over Rs 2 crore in inflated flying allowance and productivity-linked incentives. Ajit Singh has also said that he will call a meeting of all the recognised unions of Air India next week to discuss the issues of promotions and career progression. HC transparency rider on release of discretionary fund Express news service : Chandigarh, Fri May 18 2012, 03:53 hrs The Punjab government has been restrained from releasing the discretionary grants of the chief minister, ministers and parliamentary secretaries. It can sanction discretionary grants now only through a transparent procedure – by inviting applications from all concerned persons and deciding their competitive claims. Directions to this effect were passed on Thursday by a Punjab and Haryana High Court division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by a lawyer, H C Arora. Alleging that grants were being sanctioned on `pick-and-choose’ basis, without evaluating the competing claims of various applicants, Arora had sought the introduction of effective safeguards against misuse of the funds being released by the CM, other ministers and the parliamentary secretaries. “Sanction or release of grants by ministers under discretionary quota on the basis of pick and choose cannot be acceptable to any society governed by rule of law,” the Bench ruled while passing the directions. Earlier, Avtar Singh Mavi, Under Secretary to government of Punjab, Department of Rural Development and Panchyats, filed an affidavit in the court. After reading the affidavit, the Bench observed that an officer of Under Secretary level cannot be expected to give his opinion about the irregularities in sanction of discretionary grants by the higher officials. Referring to the contents of the affidavit, the Bench observed that detailed report should be filed by Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayats, giving the details about the persons who sanctioned such grants. “He should also explain as to whether antecedents of beneficiaries of the grants were checked or not” the court ordered, while directed Punjab to explain its stand about the procedure, if any, being adopted to verify whether the grants have actually been used for the purpose for which they were released. The directions have come as an embarrassment for the Parkash Singh Badal-led dispensation, which earlier faced flak after the Accountant General (audit) had found irregularities in the way discretionary grants were being sanctioned in Punjab. Kerala HC awaits govt move on mediation case fee waiver Mahir Haneef, TNN | May 18, 2012, 07.00AM IST KOCHI: Kerala high court is awaiting action from the state government to waive court fee for cases being settled through mediation, Justice S Siri Jagan said on Thursday. Talking at a seminar on ‘Role of Mediation in Settling Disputes’ at Ayyampilly, Justice Siri Jagan, who is the governing body member of high court’s mediation arm Kerala State Mediation and Conciliation Centre (KSMCC), said the proposal to amend the law regarding court fee waiver has been submitted to the government and action is awaited. Court fee ranges from Rs 150 per person for a writ petition to lakhs of rupees on disputes related to contracts, real estate, and movies. Though the central government has already effected a 100% waiver of court fee for parties settling disputes through mediation, the concerned law hasn’t been amended by the state government yet for the process of mediation to go into full swing. Justice Siri Jagan said, “KSMCC has written to the government that court fee for cases settled through mediation should be completely refunded and amendment in legislation should be done for that. We firmly believe that such a law should be brought in without much delay.” The high court recommended for giving a 100% waiver for court fee around three months ago, with a view to bring down the number of cases pending at courts. Role of mediation in settling disputes came to the forefront in Kerala recently, after the dispute between two church factions at Kolenchery was defused through mediation. According to the present rules, court has the power to refund 50% of court fee if parties settle their dispute through mediation. Unlike normal instruments of law available to petitioners such as writ or original petition, court fee in disputes related to contracts are fixed by a percentage of the total contract value. Court fee for contract disputes are fixed on a slab basis, with fee from each slab adding on to the base rate of court fee as contract value goes up. Court fee for a contract worth Rs 15,000 is charged at 4% while the rate goes up to 8% when the value becomes Rs 50,000. For contracts ranging from Rs 50,000 to Rs 10 lakh, court fee at present is 10% whereas contracts from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 10 million are charged at 8%. Contracts above Rs 10 million and above are charged at 1%. Permanent judge of HC Express News Service CUTTACK: Additional Judge of the Orissa High Court Justice Bira Kishore Mishra was sworn in as the permanent judge here on Thursday. Chief Justice V Gopalagowda administered the oath of office to him in the presence of judges and members of the Bar. HC dismisses medicos’ petition against NBE Last Updated: Thursday, May 17, 2012, 15:18 Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has dismissed a city-based medical student’s petition against the National Board of Examinations’ (NBE) decision denying him admission to Diploma National Course in Radiology. The first advertisement for the course which was to commence from August 2009 was given on June 14, 2009. There was no response to the said advertisement due to spread of swine flu in Pune. For the NBE, the last date to enrol for the seat was August 14, 2009. The second advertisement for the said vacant post was given on August 22, 2009, by Pune-based Lokmanya Medical Foundation which conducts the course. Thus, the advertisement was given after the due date of enrollment. Pursuant to the advertisement, the petitioner filled up the form. Though cut-off date was August 17, 2009, he joined the course on September 10, 2009. Thus, there was a delay of 23 days. The NBE objected to it and refused the registration of the petitioner for the DNB (Diploma in National Board) course through its letters of February 5, 2010 and February 22, 2010. The petitioner had challenged the communication in the petition and the Court had ordered status-quo as of that date (March 22, 2010), to be maintained. It continued till date. Hemant Surve along with A J Kandharkar, who appeared for the petitioner, argued that it was not the fault of the student for which he has to suffer in his career. After the advertisement, the petitioner had responded promptly and was admitted for the course. He was not informed that the admission was provisional and hence the decision to refuse registration was unjust, they submitted. Girish Kulkarni along with Sandeep Waghmare on behalf of the institute admitted that the advertisement was issued after the due date of the enrolment mentioned by National Board of Examinations. They submitted that all admissions for the DNB course are provisional till these are approved and registered by National Board of Examinations. They further said that after the first advertisement there was no response from the candidates due to swine flu and therefore after the first advertisement the institute had to issue second advertisement to fill up the vacant post. The counsel said that the application of the petitioner was forwarded by the institute with a request for registration which could have been considered by the Board. Counsel for the National Board of Examinations categorically stated that there was a public notice issued by the Board on April 2, 2009, wherein the last date of the enrolment for DNB seat was mentioned as August 14, 2009. He drew the attention of the Court to the guidelines laid down by the National Board of Examinations in respect of the admissions and the enrolment. The Counsel said that public notice of April 2, 2009 gives a time-bound programme framed by National Board of Examinations. There is a reference of prescribed guidelines. Clause 6 states that August 14, 2009 was the last date of enrolment. Clauses 14 and 17 state that mere joining a college is not sufficient, but grant of registration number by National Board of Examinations is a condition precedent for valid registration to DNB programme. “Thus the decision to refuse registration cannot be said beyond the direction or guidelines set by the Board especially in the light of specific declaration of the last date of enrolment,” observed Justice Mridula Bhatkar and Justice S A Bobade recently while dismissing the petition. HC warning for Air India pilots Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times New Delhi, May 17, 2012AI standoff: Govt softens stand, calls meeting next weekThe Delhi high court on Thursday threatened agitating Air India pilots with contempt of court for “flagrant” defiance of its order to end the strike. The pilots had moved court against the HC’s May 9 declaration that the strike was illegal. “No litigant can avail of any discretionary remedy from the court by willfully and flagrantly disobeying the orders of the court,” the bench said, adding that it was open to initiating contempt proceedings. HC guidelines to deal with witchcraft Express News Service CUTTACK: Expressing concern over the rise in atrocities and killings on the superstition of witchcraft, the Orissa High Court has issued a set of guidelines to deal with the menace. A Division Bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has directed that the guidelines be strictly followed by the authorities till a suitable legislation is passed by the State Government. The State Government shall introduce an appropriate Bill in the Legislature within one year, the Bench ordered. The guidelines stipulate that whosoever forces a woman to drink or eat inedible or obnoxious substances on the allegation that she is a witch shall be punished under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). No one can call anyone a witch or being possessed. If atrocities are committed on such basis and any person uses force to evict the victim from her house, the perpetrators will be dealt with harshly under IPC. The authorities shall initiate appropriate action in accordance with the law by lodging complaint in the police station. The authorities shall also prevent any person from acting as ‘tantric’ or a witch doctor in the area and performing ritual to exorcise anyone from the evil spirit or conducting any other ritual on behalf of any person with the intention to harm. The person shall be prosecuted under the IPC. The investigating agency in cases, involving allegations of witchcraft in order to avoid witnesses turning hostile, shall get their statements recorded under Section 164 of Code of Criminal Procedure, 1973, the court ruled. It stated that the directions were not exhaustive and should be followed by a comprehensive legislation. Public awareness programmes should be launched in the villages to eradicate the superstition of witchcraft. Health camps should also be organised to detect the psychologically-fragile which often leads to false accusations of one being witch or possessed. The directions came in response to two PILs seeking enactment of a law and issuing of guidelines by the Government to tackle witchcraft. The court had earlier completed hearing and reserved its order. One of the petitioners Sashiprava Bindhani had submitted that women were not only victimised and ostracised on accusations of being witches, they were also subjected to gruesome torture and humiliation. Between 2007 and 2011, more than 20 killings had taken place in the State. While neighbouring states like Jharkhand and Chhattisgarh have enacted strong laws, the Odisha Government is yet to take the social evil seriously, she alleged. Bombay High Court says chastity is not held property Published: Friday, May 18, 2012, 9:00 IST By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday observed that “chastity cannot be treated as property” while granting anticipatory bail to a man accused of cheating and raping a woman after promising to marry her. Vacation judge AM Thipsay was hearing an application filed by Girish Mhatre, 27, who works with Central Railways. “The applicant and the complainant were in a relationship since 2007. The FIR, dated April 4, was filed because the applicant (Mhatre) married some other girl. The complainant was a consensual party to the relationship. Hence, bail cannot be refused,” Thipsay said. Mhatre had to pay a surety of Rs25,000. Mhatre approached the high court after the woman lodged a complaint with the police under sections 376 (rape) and 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code. The court questioned booking Mhatre under section 420, which pertains to dishonestly inducing a person into giving away his/her property to another. “A judgment of another high court says chastity is property. I don’t agree with it. The lady could have refused to do those acts before marriage,” said Thipsay. The judge’s observation is prima facie and only to decide if the man’s custodial interrogation is required. However, this can be used as a precedent at the stage of anticipatory bail in such cases. Senior advocate Ashok Mundargi said that prima facie there cannot be cheating in a case when both involved are adults. “There is a subtle difference between cheating and breach of promise. When a couple is no longer compatible in a relationship and one of them breaks it, it cannot be termed as cheating,” he said. “Whether there is cheating involved or not will depend on the trial’s outcome,” said advocate Sayaji Nangre. “Investigation will be carried out and then, a charge sheet will be filed. The trial court will decide whether there was cheating and rape.” Mhatre’s application states that he and the woman were in a “platonic and friendly” relationship since 2007. However, the woman and her friend from a local mahila mandal had been forcing him to marry her. His application read: “When the applicant (Mhatre) refused, the complainant threatened to commit suicide. Her friend also threatened to break up Mhatre’s sister’s marriage. The duo forced Mhatre to sign a stamp paper dated February 11, 2011, saying he would marry the complainant within a year.” It further stated that when Mhatre married a girl chosen by his family in November 2011, the complainant got angry and approached the police. High court respite for Sakshi Telugu daily and Sakshi TV TNN | May 18, 2012, 02.25AM IST HYDERABAD: Justice B Seshasayana Reddy of the AP high court on Thursday suspended the recent GO issued by the state government stopping advertisements to Sakshi Telugu daily and Sakshi TV. The judge made this interim order after hearing two petitions filed by Jagati Publications which prints Sakshi and Indira Television, the operator of Sakshi TV. The government cited the guidelines as envisaged by the GO MS No 403, issued in 1992, in support of its decision to withhold advertisements to Sakshi. However, the decision of the state in this regard was contrary to the very guidelines, the judge said. The GO cited the ongoing CBI probe against Jagati as another reason for its decision. The judge observed that the state failed to prove that Sakshi violated any of the guidelines. It simply referred to the guidelines without elaborating how they were violated, D V Sitarama Murthy, the counsel for Sakshi said. The judge, too, found it objectionable and said that stopping ads at this stage would put the paper to an irreparable loss. Directing the state to file its counter, the judge posted the case to June 16 for further hearing. In a separate development, Justice B Chandra Kumar posted to May 22, the petition filed by Jagati and others, challenging the freezing of their accounts by CBI. While Sakshi counsel said that as many 20,000 employees were dependent on the paper, CBI counsel informed the court that there were only 4457 employees working with the paper. The CBI counsel cited labour department figures as proof of his contention. The judge directed the petitioners to furnish the details of employees and the income and expenditure and posted the case to May 22. Meanwhile, the CBI special court took cognizance of the second chargesheet in the Jagan assets case. It will be treated as a supplementary chargesheet. Its copies would be supplied to all the accused, including Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, on May 28 along with the first chargesheet. The court also directed its staff to furnish a copy of the chargesheet to the Enforcement Directorate (ED).


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