LEGAL NEWS 24.05.2012

Environment nod to NCC Sompeta nixed

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 8:00 IST
By KV Ramana | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: DNA

In a major jolt to the infrastructure major NCC Ltd, the National Green Tribunal has cancelled the environmental clearances granted to the company’s 2,640-mw thermal power project at Sompeta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh.

The company was planning to set up a coal-fired power project with an outlay of about Rs14,000 crore in two phases with each phase having a capacity to generate 1,320 mw.

However, the plans had hit a deadend with the villagers in Sompeta agitating against the unit and the state government attempting to handle the situation with iron fist.

The police action including several rounds of firing in July 2010 at Sompeta during the protests had resulted in the death of two villagers forcing the company to put the project on hold.

Though the clearances given to the project were put on hold immediately after the violence at Sompeta, the tribunal has now cancelled the clearances asking the company to go through a fresh round of public hearing for setting up of the project.
However, the company sources unperturbed with the development and claim that the project was already on hold and the plans to set up thermal unit have now been shifted to a different location at Krishnapatnam near Nellore.

Though saying that the project at Sompeta was on hold, the company sources said that they would attempt to comply with the regulations yet again and try to seek the clearances afresh.
As an alternate to the Sompeta project, NCC has been working on the power project at Krishnapatnam after taking over a 1,320 mw project from the Chennai-based Nelcast.

Another Hyderabad-based infrastructure firm, Gayatri, too, is participating in the project with about 45% stake. The project is yet to achieve financial closure.

Meanwhile, the environment groups vowing to ensure that the project never comes up at the agriculture lands in the area, which has a potential to affect another 25 neighbouring villages.

“There is a struggle committee formed in Sompeta against any thermal project proposed in the region. This committee will continue to oppose the project and if the government and the company force their way, we will think of a mechanism to counter it,” a source associated with an environment group said.










National Freen Tribunal cancels nod to Nagarjuna Construction Company’s Sompeta power project

HYDERABAD: The National Green Tribunal, under the aegis of ministry of environment and forests, on Wednesday cancelled the environmental clearances granted to the 2,640MW coal-fired power project of Nagarjuna Construction Company coming up at Sompeta in Srikakulam district of Andhra Pradesh. The Rs 14,000-crore thermal power project, to come up in two phases of 1,320MW each, has been hanging in fire for nearly two years following violent protests by locals against the project that led to three people getting killed in police firings in July 2010.

The Tribunal has now asked NCC, which is backed by the global private equity firm Blackstone Group LP and ace stock broker Rakesh Jhunjhunwala, to go in for fresh public hearings on the project for environmental clearances. The locals and environmentalists have been claiming that the project would harm the ecology and the livelihoods of people in some 30 villages nearby the project.

When contacted, the NCC senior VP (finance) YD Murthy said the latest development will not have any adverse impact on the company since the project works at Sompeta were suspended nearly two years ago.

“We have relocated the project to Krishnapatnam port near Nellore, and the project has already achieved financial closure. We plan to consider taking up the power project at Sompeta once we complete Krishnapatnam project,” he told ET.

Early last year, NCC bought 55% stake in a thermal power firm of the Chennai-based Nelcast, which was building a 1,320MW coal-fired project near Krishnapatnam. Gayatri Projects, another Hyderabad-based infrastructure firm, bought the remaining 45% in this project. NCC expects the project to take off by February 2015.







HC adjourns Marines bail plea to Monday

Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Tuesday adjourned the bail application of two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen in the Enrica Lexie case to Monday.

The court also asked the petitioners to implead the Central Government as party in the bail plea. Justice N K Balakrishnan passed the order while considering the bail plea of Chief Master Sergeant Massimilano Latorre and Sergeant Salvatore Girone.

The petitioners submitted that they were arrested on February 19 and have been under judicial custody for more than 90 days. The investigation was already completed and the chargesheet filed. So further detention of the accused is unjust, the petition pointed out. Kollam Sessions Court had denied bail and observed that if the marines, were released on bail and if they leave India, it would be hard to try them.

“The Republic of Italy is prepared to undertake before the HC to stand surety for the marines and to produce them as and when required by the court. There was no scope for disquiet that the marines will flee from justice or tamper with evidence, since an independent sovereign country is taking responsibility for implementation of any terms and conditions,” the petition said.











Hemraj misbehaved with Arushi, killed her when she resisted, Talwars tell court

Dipankar Ghose : Ghaziabad, Thu May 24 2012, 02:19 hrs

On the last day of framing of charges against them, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar told the Sessions court in Ghaziabad that their domestic help Hemraj and his friends had tried “misbehaving” with their daughter Arushi on the night of May 15, 2008.

“When she (Arushi) resisted, they killed her. Hemraj was then killed on the roof by someone else, possibly by one of his friends,” the counsel for Talwars told the court on Wednesday.

With the framing of charges in the case coming to an end, Special Judge Shyam Lal will now rule on the charges that the Talwars will face. They are accused of killing Arushi and Hemraj in May 2008. The CBI has demanded that the Talwars face trial under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 201(destruction of evidence) and 203 (giving false information).

Continuing their arguments from Tuesday, the counsel for Talwars produced in court a golf club, similar to what the CBI has claimed was the weapon used to strike Arushi and Hemraj. The counsel said the 8-cm wound on Arushi’s head could not possibly be caused by a golf club.

Against the CBI claim that there was no one else in the house, the counsel said: “The CBI has said neither Rajesh nor Nupur Talwar left the house after the murder. But the mobile phones of both Arushi and Hemraj were not found at home, but at far away locations. If the mobile phones could leave the house, then how is it beyond doubt that other individuals did not take them away?” the counsel asked.

The Talwars’ counsel also raised doubts over CBI allegation of destruction of evidence. “If, as the CBI claimed, they were able to dispose of the mobile phones, they could have also disposed of the body of Hemraj.”

In a 15-minute rebuttal, the counsel for the CBI said the golf club was “an exact match”. R K Saini, senior prosecutor for the CBI, told the court, “They could not dispose of the body that night as they did not have access to a car. ”









HC dismisses PIL against bypass at Padubidri

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday dismissed a public interest litigation petition challenging construction of a by-pass road at Padubidri town on National Highway (NH) 66 instead of widening the existing highway passing through the town.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna passed the order on the petition filed by Shekar Hejamadi, who had challenged the government’s decision asking the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) to build a by-pass for NH-66 instead of widening the existing road as part of widening of the NH between Kundapur-Surathkal stretch.

Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda had passed an order on January 25, 2012 asking the NHAI to a build a by-pass near Padubidri town as against the advice of the Udupi District Deputy Commissioner for widening the existing highway passing through the town for the reason that the cost of building a bypass would be costlier than process of widening. Both the suggestion of the deputy commissioner and the decision of the Chief Minister were one among the three suggestions made by the NHAI.

“There is no perversity in the said order as the Government had considered all the three suggestions,” the bench observed.

Government Counsel Ravindra G Kolle submitted that the cost of the construction would not be an issue as the project is undertaken by the NHAI through public-private-partnership mode.

The petitioners had claimed that construction of by-pass would increase the length of the road by three kms, require acquisition of 45 houses besides increasing the cost of construction. It was also pointed out by the petitioners that it was only at Padubidri a by-pass has been proposed but in all other towns on the NH the government allowed widening of the existing road.









High court tells government to announce support price for mangoes

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.46AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Wednesday asked the government to evolve a minimum support price (MSP ) mechanism for mangoon the lines of tomato to eliminate middlemen from enriching themselves at farmers’ cost. The division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen asked principal secretary, agriculture to be present in court on May 28.

“Why is the state not doing anything ? Why can’t you declare a base price for mangoes ? You’ve been giving support price for wheat and paddy. If you can do it for tomatoes, why not for mangoes?” the bench observed while adjourning the hearing .

The bench wondered why Hopcoms couldn’t procure it.

“It seems you (Hopcoms )have become a profit-making retailer. Sitting in A/C rooms in Bangalore, you (officials ) are doing nothing. You are not fulfilling your obligation,” the bench remarked as counsel for Hopcoms informed the court that it has a presence in only four districts surrounding Bangalore and can purchase only 6-8 tonnes of mango every day. In a PIL, the Kolar District Mango Growers and Farmers Association sought regulation of APMC markets in Srinivasapura , Chikkaballapur , Bangalore and Ramanagaram .










High court pulls up woman councillor for role in land deal

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.07AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has asked a woman councillor representing ward no. 41 in Chennai Corporation, not to interfere with the possession of a land at Tiruvalluvar Nagar in Korukkupet here.

A vacation bench comprising Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran gave the interim direction, on a public interest writ petition filed by the Tiruvalluvar Nagar Veettu Urimaiyalar Sangam (residents welfare association), on Wednesday.

In his petition, the sangam president P Chockalingam contended that the residents’ association was in possession of the land since 1998 to construct a community hall. In June last, the councillor removed the board by force in order to grab the land, the petition said. It further said that a complaint was lodged with the RK Nagar police, who had advised both parties to keep off the land. Nothing that the land was needed for a public purpose, the PIL wanted the court to restrain the councillor and others from interfering its possession by the residents’ association.









Caution public against no-parking zones: High court directs DGP

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.16AM IST

LUCKNOW: The high court on Wednesday directed UP DGP to ensure regular and continuous announcements to caution people against parking in no-parking zones like Hazratganj. The court also directed the police to act in accordance with law against those who park their vehicles in no-parking zones.

The court also sought state government’s reply on implementation of Chaubey Committee report. The matter will come up for next hearing in July first week. The order was passed by a bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice VK Dixit on a PIL filed by a former corporator Arun Kumar Tiwari.

The petitioner’s counsel BK Singh sought court’s interference in solving traffic problems in the city. He said Chaubey Committee has suggested ways to deal with the problem but the report is not being implemented.










SC directs AP govt to restore security to advocate

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 17:06

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday ulled up the Andhra Pradesh government for withdrawing security to an advocate that was provided on it’s direction and asked it to restore the cover to him.
A bench of justices Deepak Verma and S J Mukhopadhyay said that the state’s Director General of Police would have to face contempt of court if he does not provide police protection to R Chandra Sekhar Reddy.
The police protection was provided by the apex court after Reddy had alleged that he was facing threat for filing a PIL in the Supreme Court challenging the state government decision to release 1500 prisoners in 2007.
“How can you withdraw the police protection when it was done on the court’s order. The order passed in 2007 has not been modified by the court. You might have to face contempt,” the bench told the state government.

The court was hearing an interim application filed by Reddy in which he submitted that he continues to face threat to his life and that the security cover should be restored.
The petitioner said that he was forced to stay back at his house fearing danger to his family members. The withdrawl of the security has seriously affected his movement and his livelihood and was causing serious mental agony, he said.
The apex court had in August 2007 stayed the Andhra Pradesh government’s plans of releasing 1,500 prisoners, including life convicts, on the occasion of 150 years of the First War of Independence.
The court had passed the order on a PIL filed by Reddy questioning the large-scale release of prisoners, alleging that the government wanted to benefit a Congress worker Gowru Venkata Reddy, who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment after being convicted in a murder case.









Install silent tracker in sonography machines: High court

TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.02AM IST

JAIPUR: In a significant step towards checking female feticide, the Rajasthan high court on Wednesday directed the state government to install the ‘silent tracker’ system in all sonography machines.

The system enables online monitoring of the sonography machines and, thus, helps the government authorities to detect cases of female feticide.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice NK Jain-I passed the interim order while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by an advocate SK Gupta. The government argued that it would require at least six months to install the system in all sonography machines across the state, but the bench allowed only four months to put the system in place.







No government effort to check mining mafia in Rajasthan, says high court

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.08AM IST

JAIPUR: A division bench of Rajasthan high court has observed that the mining mafia is at its peak in the state and there is no effort to check them. The court made this remark while hearing a PIL filed by a Bharatpur-based advocate.

The petitioner, Battu Singh, has moved the court alleging that four politically powerful persons have been doing illegal mining in forest area in Bayan tehsil of Bharatpur. The case is being heard by Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice N K Jain (senior).

“The leases were actually allotted for four mining and stone crushing units 15 km away from the place where the crushers have been installed. The place where the mining is being done is a small hilly region falling in forests. We have produced before the court photographs showing that the crushers have been allotted 15 km away from the original sites and that too at the border of forest and the illegal mining is affecting the environment,” said Anil Mehta, counsel for petitioner.

“We have given out in our PIL that the illegal mining is being done at the behest of sarpanch of the local village where these crushers are situated as most of the persons operating these four illegal stone crushers are his relatives,” said Mehta.

The petitioner also told the court that as a counter measure to the PIL filed by him, an FIR was registered by the mining mafia alleging that the petitioner is involved in cultivating ‘drug plants’ used for producing contraband under NDPS Act. The arrest of the petitioner was stayed by a single judge recently.









Dont disturb land allotted for loo: HC

Express News Service

CHENNAI: A city councillor was directed by the Madras High Court not to interfere with the possession of a piece of land in Korukkupet, on which an abandoned public toilet stands, in any manner for two weeks.

Justices V Dhanapalan and B Rajendran granted the interim injunction on Wednesday on a public interest writ petition from Tiruvalluvar Nagar Veetu Urimaiyalar Sangam (house owners association), Korukkupet.

According to the association, represented by its president P Chockalingam, the public convenience was constructed by the Chennai Corporation. Five years later, integrated drainage system was introduced in the area and the PC was abandoned. The association applied to authorities to construct a community hall there.

Ward 41 councillor Sasirekha attempted to occupy the premises. The association wrote to the slum clearance board to allot the plot for public purposes, on May 9. Petitioner prayed the court to forbear the councillor from occupying the land.










Relief for Shiela Kaul in scam trial

TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.11AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court on Wednesday exempted 98-year-old former Union minister Shiela Kaul from appearing personally before it for framing of charges for her trial in a 1996 government accommodation allotment scam.

Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah exempted Kaul from personal appearance for the day after her counsel submitted that she has moved the Delhi high court against the court’s order for her personal appearance for framing of charges.

An accused has to be personally present in the trial court during the proceedings in his or her case, specially on occasions like framing of charges.

Referring to the court’s earlier order that Kaul will have to come to the court as there is no immunity for aged people under law, Kaul’s counsel said the high court “might just make some law.”

The court then adjourned the matter till disposal of the petition before the high court. “I allow the application moved and exempt the presence of Sheila Kaul for Wednesday. Let the file come up for framing of charges on July 16. Depending upon the order of the high court, accused Sheila Kaul shall be appearing in person,” the court said.

The court had on May 9 asked Kaul to appear before it to answer the charges framed against her while denying her further relief from personal appearance on ground of old age. Kaul, the former Union urban development minister in P V Narasimha Rao’s cabinet, is accused of making out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation for making pecuniary gains.











High court defreezes Sakshi media group’s accounts

TNN | May 24, 2012, 03.08AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice B Chandra Kumar of the AP high court on Wednesday directed the CBI to defreeze the Sakshi media group’s current accounts with SBI, IOB and OBC branches in the city. The CBI, as part of its investigation into the assets case pertaining to Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy, froze the current accounts as well as Rs 102 crore in fixed deposits of the media group. However, in his order, the judge refused to allow defreezing of the fixed deposit account.

The judge made this order after hearing elaborate arguments against the freezing of the accounts by Sakshi counsels C Padmanabha Reddy and S Niranjan Reddy as well as those of the CBI opposing any such relief to the media group.

Justice Chandra Kumar said that he was ordering re-activation of the accounts to ensure that the normal operations of the media group were not affected on account of the freeze order. “This is because we cannot repair the damage later if it is unilaterally brought to a stand still now,” he observed. “Keeping in view the welfare of a large number of employees of the media group, according relief, at least, to the extent of the current accounts is essential,” he said.

The judge, however, imposed certain conditions on the Sakshi media group while defreezing the accounts. As per the conditions, the media group should provide a bank guarantee equivalent to the money that is lying in the current accounts and that all payments should be made through cheques. The judge also directed the management of the media group to furnish the details of the transactions made through these accounts to court once every month. He also passed an injunction against the management against alienating the property of the company.









Government to scrap Special Economic Zone Act

TNN | May 24, 2012, 04.54AM IST

KOLKATA: The Mamata Banerjee government on Wednesday announced that it is scrapping the West Bengal SEZ Act 2003. The chief minister had already made it clear that she was against allowing SEZ (special economic zone) status to Infosys, this move has made her stand official.

State commerce and industries minister Partha Chatterjee on Wednesday said that the state government was keen to see Infosys setting up its campus in the state. However, reiterating Trinamool’s stand against SEZs, Chatterjee said: “I want Infosys to invest in Bengal. But our government has a stand on the basis of principles that we are against SEZ and the decision to scrap the SEZ Act was taken by the cabinet sub-committee on industries and infrastructure.” The state cabinet will take the final call.

Mamata had earlier stated that no exception will be made for Infosys by granting it an SEZ status. Chatterjee said that the industries sub-committee was going to give an alternative proposal to Infosys and hoped that there will be investment in the IT sector despite the official policy. Chatterjee is, in fact, holding talks with Infosys on their proposal.

Infosys has, however, made it clear that “in principle” it would be difficult for the company to set up a campus in Bengal without SEZ status. The Left Front government had allotted 50 acres of land to Infosys at the satellite township of Rajarhat for which IT major had reportedly paid Rs 75 crore.

The decision to scrap the SEZ Act was taken because neither does the state government have an SEZ policy and nor is the government in favour of abolishing provisions of the Urban Land Ceiling Act. Moreover, many companies enjoying tax holidays in the SEZ have wound up after the expiry of the tax holiday period. Chatterjee, who is also the IT minister, said that the state government is going to formulate its new IT policy within a fortnight. The state last had an IT policy in 2003.

The state’s draft IT policy, which is going to be tabled in the cabinet, will lay emphasis on the hardware sector. A team of experts will therefore be visiting Taiwan soon to get a first-hand idea of hardware institutes. The draft IT policy has suggested setting up of IT industries in Kolkata, Asansol, Kalyani and Siliguri.

The policy focuses more on tier-II and tier-III cities of the state in order to bring in desired growth in IT.

The draft policy, chalked out in consultation with NR Narayana Murthy and technocrat Sam Pitroda, has set a target to raise the state’s share (by value) in production of electronic goods in India from 3% at present to 15% by 2020. It also aims at making Bengal among the top three IT states by 2017. The draft was recast after it went to the IT committee members.

The policy will give more clear guidelines for the growth of IT software and hardware industries in the state. It will also emphasize on Electronics System Design and Manufacturing (ESDM). So far, the state has been lagging behind in this sector.

Asked about the state’s progress in the sector IT compared to bigger states in the country like Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh, Nasscom regional manager (east) Suparno Moitra said: “IT growth has always been a city-based growth and not a state-based growth. Tier-II and tier-III cities are definitely cost competitive, but it is important that the infrastructure is in place.”

The focus areas would be high revenue generating sectors like financial services and banking, insurance, retail & distribution, engineering design and life sciences. A lot of employable human resource will be required.

Chatterjee also said that Indian Institute of Information Technology is coming up at Kalyani which will be jointly run by Coal India, Roalta, and JSW.








Tribunal stays suspension of former Bharatpur collector

TNN | May 24, 2012, 02.14AM IST

JAIPUR: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Wednesday stayed the government order to suspend the then Bharatpur collector Krishna Kunal for his alleged failure in preventing the communal violence at Gopalgarh on September 14, 2011.

Two days after the incident in which 10 people from the minority community were killed, Kunal was removed as Bharatpur collector and was stationed in Jaipur without any posting.

He was later suspended from the services on September 28, 2011. As the officer refuted the charges against him and challenged his suspension, the CAT has sought the government reply in the matter by issuing notices to the Union secretary of department of personnel, principal secretary of the state department of personnel and the state chief secretary. The matter would be heard again on June 13.

An old dispute over ownership of a public land near a mosque at Gopalgarh village near Bharatpur had escalated into a communal violence between the local Mev and the Gujjar communities on September 14, 2011.

To control the armed mob, the police had to then resort to firing. The violence resulted in the death of 10 people, all members of the minority Mev community, the state’s Ashok Gehlot government had come under criticism from the Muslim community in the bordering districts of Rajasthan, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh.

The Gehlot government, however, blamed the incident on administrative lapses on the part of the Bharatpur collector Kunal and Superintendent of Police Hinglaj Dan, who, too, was shunted out and later suspended.






Gopalgarh violence: CAT stays suspension of babu

Last Updated: Wednesday, May 23, 2012, 19:52

Jaipur: The Central Administrative Tribunal on Wednesday stayed the Rajasthan government’s order suspending IAS officer Krishna Kunal for allegedly failing to control last year’s clash between Gujjars and Meos in Gopalgarh town of Bharatpur district, which claimed 10 lives.

Kunal was Bharatpur district collector when he was suspended in the wake of the Gopalgarh violence, amid allegations that the administration had sided with the Gujjars.

The CAT’s order came on a plea by Kunal, a 2003-batch officer, challenging his suspension.

It was observed by the division bench of the tribunal that no inquiry was contemplated against Kunal, hence the suspension was inappropriate.

Ten people of the Meo community were killed in the September 14 clash in Gopalgarh town over a public land-related dispute.

The Meos had alleged that the police and district administration took the Gujjars’ side and ordered firing at them.

Kunal, along with the then SP, Hinglaj Dan, was suspended on September 28, 2011, for failing to control the situation in time.









Gen V K Singh sends notice to Lt Gen in line to be Army Chief

Express news service : New Delhi, Wed May 23 2012, 01:03 hrs

With barely a few days to go for his retirement, Army Chief General V K Singh has issued a show cause notice to Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, who is in line to head the Army in a few years.

In a departure from norms, the Army Chief has personally signed the notice to the Lt Gen for “unprofessional and lackadaisical manner” in handling an intelligence unit under his command, that allegedly carried out a botched-up operation.

This notice, which has also been sent to a Brigadier in the same Corps, can put Dalbir Singh’s appointment as Eastern Army Commander into question. While the officer, who is slated to take over as Chief after Gen Bikram Singh, had been cleared for appointment as Commander, the posting orders have not yet been issued.

The Army HQ can technically withhold his appointment as the show cause notice can be used to impose a discipline and vigilance ban on the officer. However, sources said that the officer has proceeded on leave and is yet to accept the notice, which demands a reply within 13 days.

A Brigadier who works under Lt Gen Dalbir Singh, who was also issued the notice, has taken a stay on the matter from the Armed Forces Tribunal. The same option is also open to Dalbir Singh.

The matter concerns a Court of Inquiry by the Eastern Command into an operation carried out by the 3 Corps Intelligence and Surveillance Unit in Jorhat in December during which alleged irregularities took place. The Army Chief’s notice said he had observed that the actions taken by Lt Gen Dalbir Singh as GOC were not adequate to deal with the situation.

This is the second time that Gen Singh has taken action against Dalbir Singh. Earlier he had recommended a CBI probe against him for alleged involvement in a procurement scam in the Cabinet Secretariat. However, this was turned down by the government after a clean chit by the Cabinet Secretariat.








HC notice to TN Govt on PIL agiainst Nityananda

PTI | 10:05 PM,May 23,2012

Chennai, May 23 (PTI) Madras High Court today ordered notice on a petition seeking a direction to Tamil Nadu Government to take action on a representation for removal of controversial godman Nityananda as head of an ancient Saivaite mutt in Madurai and urging its take over by the state. Issuing notice on the PIL petition by advocate R Krishnamurthy, a bench comprising Justices V Dhanapalan and B Rajendran posted it for further hearing on June 6 with a direction that it be tagged along with connected matters. Alleging that Nityananda was ‘unfit and incompetent’ to be the pontiff of the 1500-year old Madurai adheenam, the petitioner claimed the godman was controversial person with several allegations against him pertaining to sexual offences and cases were pending in courts. Krishnamurthy said on May 17, he had met the Joint Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment, and presented a memorandum to her seeking removal of Nithyananda, recently appointed successor of the present head of the mutt, and take over of the mutt by the government. There was a delay on the part of the official to take action and hence the present petition for a direction to the HR & CE Commissioner to consider and dispose of the representation, within a time frame, after giving him an opportunity of personal hearing, the petitioner said. The appointment of Nityananda as his junior by Arunagirinatha Gnanasambanda Desika Paramacharya has triggered protests from several quarters, including heads of different mutts in the state, in view of pending criminal charges, including rape, against him.










Attendance: HC relief for Pune engg student

Published: Thursday, May 24, 2012, 10:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In what came as a relief to an engineering student who was barred from appearing for his exams by the college because he did not meet the 75 percent attendance criteria during the semester, the Bombay High Court has directed the college to allow the student to answer the examination.

Ankush Pardeshi, who is pursuing a Bachelor of Engineering (IT) degree from Vishwakarma Institute of Engineering, Pune, approached the court after the college and University barred him from appearing for the exams scheduled to be held in the end of this month. He claimed that an illness had prevented him from attending lectures.

The vacation bench, comprising of Justice S J Kathawalla and Justice PD Kode, while allowing him partial relief, said that the college can hold back his results until the final hearing of plea before a regular bench.

Pardeshi’s attendance of 53 percent in the term did not meet the University norms of 75 percent. Appearing on behalf of the college, Advocate Ajey Gadkari argued that along with Pardeshi, 22 other students have been barred from appearing for the exams on the same grounds, and allowing Pardeshi would set a wrong precedent for the others who would also try and seek the same benefit.

However, the court clarified that the relief was only for the present case, and others, if they approached the court would be considered based on their merits. The court has now adjourned the hearing on the plea till June 18.










John seeks HC nod to renew passport

: Thu May 24 2012, 03:03 hrs

Actor John Abraham’s conviction in the 2006 rash driving case has now become a stumbling block for him to go abroad to shoot his upcoming film Race 2.

Abraham has moved the Bombay High Court seeking permission to renew his passport for a period of one year. According to him, the Regional Passport Office in Mumbai has refused to renew his passport, stating that he is on probation in the rash driving case.

The actor’s lawyer claims that the producers of the film will lose up to Rs 50 lakh per day if he cannot make it for the shooting in time in Turkey.

According to his petition, Abraham holds a passport which is valid till November. However, he will not be able to obtain a work visa according to Turkish regulations unless he renews his passport for a period of one year.

The actor contends that the HC, while granting him probation, did not place any restrictions on his travel abroad.

The court, in an order on May 6, had released him on probation on a bond of Rs 10,000. He, however, was held guilty of rash driving. The decision came after a sessions court held him guilty and sentenced him to imprisonment for 15 days.

The incident took place in October 2006 in Khar, when Abraham’s bike skidded and hit two persons, Shyam Kasbe and Tanmay Majhi. The actor took them to a nearby hospital, where they received treatment and were later discharged.

The case has now been kept for hearing on Thursday after the court asked him to give a notice to the Regional Passport Office.











Around Town: HC seeks govt reply on medical facilities in Tihar Jail

Express news service : Thu May 24 2012, 01:58 hrs

HC seeks govt reply on medical facilities in Tihar Jail

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the reply of the Delhi government and Tihar jail authorities on a petition asking for better medical facilities for inmates. The plea sought better medical facilities for the prisoners, alleging that several custodial deaths have occurred due to gross medical negligence in the jail. The petition was filed by advocate Jose Abraham, seeking direction to the government to provide adequate medical facilities to ailing inmates. The plea illustrated the death of a disabled undertrial Santosh Kumar in February and claimed he died due to lack of medical facilities.

South Mayor inspects parking lots

NEW DELHI: South corporation Mayor Savita Gupta and Municipal Commissioner Manish Gupta inspected parking sites at Defence Colony and Lajpat Nagar. During the inspection, the absence of fixed parameters for collecting parking fees was observed. “There was no board or banner informing people about presence of a parking lot. The number of cars in parking lots exceeded their capacity,” said the mayor. She asked the municipal commissioner to look into the matter and resolve parking woes in the area. Engineer-in-Chief Ravi Das was also present during the inspection.

Have right to confront witness: Sajjan to court

NEW DELHI: Senior Congress leader Sajjan Kumar, who is facing trial in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case, on Wednesday told a Delhi court that he has the right to confront a key witness with evidence on record after the CBI took the stand that it was “not relying on contradicting statements” of the witness. The argument was over an affidavit and statement of a key witness and complainant Jagdish Kaur, recorded by various commissions set up to inquire into the riots. District Judge J R Aryan was told by the Congress leader’s counsel I U Khan that the accused has a right to cross-examine the witnesses with regard to evidence available on record.










HC to UT: Submit action taken report against Sacred Heart School

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu May 24 2012, 02:15 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday asked the Chandigarh Administration to submit as to what action it has taken on the inquiry conducted against Sacred Heart School in the infamous Ruchika Girhotra molestation case. The report had indicted Sacred Heart School for expelling Ruchika at the behest of former Haryana Director General of Police (DGP) S P S Rathore.

A Bench headed by Justice S S Saron passed the directions. Counsel for UT Administration on Wednesday sought time to file the status report. The case will now come up for resumed hearing on July 18.

The Chandigarh Administration, on the previous hearing, had produced a photocopy of the report prepared some two years ago on Ruchika’s expulsion from Sacred Heart Covent School. The report, however, was returned and UT was given time to file a status report.

Meanwhile, addressing the court on the issue of Ratho’e’s promotions despite the allegations, CBI counsel Ajay Kaushik told the Bench that Rathore was exonerated by the Haryana government and for three years the Centre was not even informed about the developments. Kaushik also placed on record the investigation report prepared by former DGP Haryana R R Singh against Rathore.

The Bench also took exception to an affidavit filed by Ratho’e’s counsel and wife Abha Rathore. Petitioner Ranjan Lakhanpal too objected to the affidavit by saying that the issue of maintainability raised in the court on a previous date of hearing had not been addressed

The development took place during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation filed by World Human Rights Protection Council through its chairman, advocate Ranjan Lakhanpal. Rathore had questioned the locus standi of the petitioner.

Lakhanpal had earlier sought directions for independent probe in the Ruchika case, right from the day she was allegedly molested till the final decision of the case.










Plea in HC urging govt to take over Madurai Adheenam

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.45AM IST

CHENNAI: A new public interest writ petition for the takeover of the Madurai Adheenam by the government ‘in the interest of Hindu religion, culture and discipline’ has been filed in the Madras high court.

A vacation bench of Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran, issued notice to the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department and adjourned the PIL, filed by advocate R Krishnamurthy, to next month to be heard along with similar petitions pending before the court.

In his PIL, Krishnamurthy questioned the anointment of Nithyananda as the next head of the adheenam and said his character and conduct, mode of sermon, worship and blessings were all totally against the tenets of Hindu religion and Tamil culture. He said that Nithyananda’s anointment by the current head of the adheenam had hurt the religious sentiments of lakhs of devotees.

Krishnamurthy said the anointment and the subsequent events unfolding at the adheenam had created resentment and unrest among residents in Madurai and other places, and stated that he had submitted a representation to the HR&CE department seeking take over of the adheenam by the government, on May 17. He wanted the court to direct the government to consider his representatione and take over the control and administration of Madurai adheenam.











PTI | 04:05 PM,May 23,2012

In its petition, the Air India management said despite In its petition, the Air India management said despite the court’s restraint order, several opportunities were given to the striking pilots to resolve their issues but they failed to settle the matter. On May 9, the high court had restrained over 200 agitating pilots from continuing their “illegal strike”, reporting sick and staging demonstrations, a day after the airline management sacked 10 pilots and derecognised their union. The court had also said allowing such a strike to continue would cause irreparable loss to the company as well as huge inconvenience to the passengers travelling by the national carrier. The IPG had challenged the May 9 ex-parte order of the single judge holding the strike as illegal, saying it was done without any authority. A division bench of the court had, subsequently, dismissed their plea, saying the pilots could not “wilfully and flagrantly” disobey court orders to end their “illegal” strike and could face contempt action. The bench had, however, granted liberty to IPG to move before the single judge for modification of its previous order while turning down its plea that the high court had no jurisdiction to pass an ex-parte order as the union’s office as well as Air India’s headquarters were in Mumbai. The pilots, under the IPG banner, are agitating over the rescheduling of Boeing 787 Dreamliner training and matters relating to their career progression. The IPG is protesting AI’s decision to train pilots of Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA), a union of pilots of erstwhile domestic carrier Indian Airlines, for Dreamliner Boeing aircraft. Earlier, the AI management had filed an injunction suit terming the strike as illegal and had said due to the pilots’ stir, the company was compelled to cancel some of its international flights which had resulted in extreme hardship and also inconvenience to the passengers. Moreover, as a result of the cancellation of flights, Air India is facing financial loss of over Rs 10 crore per day, it had said.










Residents claim new HC building falls in Sukhna catchment

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu May 24 2012, 01:39 hrs

If so, let it also be demolished, says HC

Having obtained a stay from the Supreme Court on the demolition of their buildings and constructions in the Sukhna catchment area, ordered by the Punjab and Haryana High Court, a group of aggrieved residents on Wednesday ‘requested’ the HC to demolish part of the HC building which they say falls in the catchment area.

Senior lawyer of the residents raised the issue and requested the division bench to take up the matter on ‘its administrative side’.

Reacting to this, the Bench responded “let it also be demolished”. The issue was raised during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) demanding protection of Sukhna lake from deterioration.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Alok Singh made it clear that any effort made by the Punjab government to not allow water in the Sukhna lake will be ‘repelled strongly’.

Challenging the catchment defined in a map by the Archaeological Survey of India, Punjab Advocate General Ashok Aggarwal said that Punjab had sought redefining of the catchment area. Aggarwal added that Sukhna is a man-made lake and that question of a catchment area does not arise.

Sanjay Kaushal, senior standing counsel for UT Administration, said that the objections raised by Punjab government stand rejected by the committee constituted to protect Sukhna lake.

Adjourning the case till July, the HC has sought a report on authorised and unauthorised construction till March 14, 2011, when building activity in the catchment area was prohibited.

Kansal village was never intended to serve as Sukhna’s catchment: Punjab

In an affidavit, filed by special secretary in the department of local government, Vinod Kumar Bhalla, has said: “The area of Kansal and Kaimbwala villages were never intended to serve as catchment area. Even if Kansal area is part of the natural catchment, it was never intended to be reserved as such at the time of formation of the lake”.

The affidavit reads: “The course of Kansal river was diverted. Had the plain area of Kansal and Kaimbwala village been intended to serve as catchment, there would have been no need to divert the river, which was flowing into and converging with Sukhna choe”.

Bhalla also questioned UT’s concerns. “The plain area of Kansal will only form a total of four per cent of the catchment area, out of which about 232 acres is in the form of vacant pockets at various locations.”

Bhalla added: “It is not understood as to why the entire focus of the UT is concentrated on less than two per cent area”.







HC relief for Nirmal Baba

TNN | May 24, 2012, 04.12AM IST

PATNA: A vacation bench of the Patna high court, presided by Justice Samarendra Pratap Singh, on Wednesday issued directive to the Araria police not to take any coercive step against spiritual guru Nirmal Baba till June 22 in a case of alleged cheating and forgery lodged by a person with Araria police.

The order was passed during hearing of a petition of Nirmal Baba seeking quashing of the order of chief judicial magistrate (CJM), Araria, issuing warrant of arrest against him. The Araria police had registered an FIR on the basis of the complaint of one Rakesh Kumar Singh, who had alleged that he was goaded by Nirmal Baba to pay Rs 1,000 in three instalments to improve his (complainant’s) financial status, but to no avail.

Nirmal Baba’s counsel V K Gulati and Prashant Sinha submitted that his anticipatory bail petition is slated for hearing before the court of district and sessions judge, Araria, on June 22. The vacation bench fixed the hearing of the case of Nirmal Baba on June 18 when the high court reopens after summer vacation.









HC allows 3 colleges to admit students to dental courses under management quota

TNN | May 24, 2012, 05.43AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court, which had on April 27 restrained unaided institutions from admitting students for post-graduate dental courses without an entrance test, has modified its order and permitted three colleges to admit students under management quota.

A vacation bench comprising Justice V Dhanapalan and Justice B Rajendran, passing interim orders on the vacate stay petitions filed by three institutions, said on Wednesday that they could admit students for their share of seats this academic year. Making it clear that the admissions would be subject to the outcome of the main petitions, the bench also requested the final hearing of the matter in the last week of June 2012 itself.

On April 24, passing interim orders on a public interest writ petition filed by the Indian Dental Association, the high court had restrained all colleges from admitting students without following the merit list published by the Tamil Nadu Dr MGR Medical University which conducts entrance examination. The PIL, alleging largescale irregularities in admissions, wanted the university to be directed to monitor and supervise the admission process in these institutions.

Aggrieved, three institutions – KSR Institute of Dental Science and Research, Tiruchengode; Sri Mookambika Institute of Dental Sciences, Kanyakumari; and JKK Natarajah Dental College and Hospital, Komarapalayam – had sought to vacate the stay. Noting that they followed the Dental Council of India-stipulated regulations in admission process, they said the admissions were on the basis of an entrance examination conducted by the Tamil Nadu Private Dental Colleges Association. It is not proper to restrain these colleges from proceeding with the admission process, they said, adding that the interim order had virtually prevented them from proceeding further in the matter.

Acceding to their submissions, the judges modified the April 27 order, saying it had been causing hindrance to these institutions from proceeding further with their regular admission works.










HC issues contempt notices to pilots, IPG

Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 23, 2012

The Delhi high court on Wednesday issued contempt notices against 67 Air India pilots on strike, including top office-bearers of the Indian Pilots Guild (IPG), for continued defiance of its repeated directions to end their agitation.

The Air India management had moved court seeking contempt proceedings after all efforts to persuade the pilots failed. Pilots and the IPG have to reply to the notices by July 13. If found guilty of contempt, the pilots face a jail term of maximum three months.

On May 9, the court first declared the strike illegal and asked pilots to resume work.

“I still feel better sense will prevail on pilots. Nobody seems to be concerned with the plight of the passengers. A public utility service cannot be held to ransom in this fashion,” justice Reva Khetrapal said.











Appear before CBI tomorrow, HC tells Jaganmohan Reddy

TNN | May 24, 2012, 12.17AM IST

HYDERABAD: A 24-hour suspense has set in over the possible arrest of YSR Congress president Jaganmohan Reddy with the Andhra Pradesh high court making it clear on Wednesday that he should comply with the CBI directive and appear before the investigating agency on May 25 in the assets case. Further, justice B Chandra Kumar directed the CBI to ensure that apart from being fair in its approach, it should comply with Section 41 of the CrPC, which states that a police officer can arrest a person without an order from a magistrate and without a warrant.

In a day of swift developments, the CBI served notice on Jagan, who was campaigning for the bypolls in Guntur district, asking him to appear before the agency in the assets case on May 25. Sources said a CBI inspector went to the residence of a YSR Congress activist in Rentachintala in Guntur where Jagan stayed overnight, and served the notice around 6am on Wednesday. Jagan did not meet the inspector but accepted the notice and returned the acknowledgment through an aide.

A few hours later, Jagan’s counsel met the CBI authorities in Hyderabad and sought time till June 15 to respond to the CBI notice on the plea that the YSR Congress chief was pre-occupied with the bypolls. However, the CBI officials refused to entertain Jagan’s request following which he moved a motion in the high court seeking the same relief.

When the matter came up for hearing, Jagan’s counsel Susheel Kumar told justice Chandra Kumar that the timing of the CBI’s notice was irrational. “The CBI has been probing the matter for the last eight and half months and filed three chargesheets but not called my client even once. At this juncture, bypolls are being held for 18 assembly segments on June 12 and as party chief, it is his responsibility to campaign for his candidates,” Jagan’s counsel said, seeking exemption for Jagan from appearing before the CBI till June 15.

Opposing this, the CBI counsel told the court that the probe agency wants to confront Jagan on the Vanpic deal in the presence of industrialist Nimmagadda Prasad and bureaucrat KV Brahmananda Reddy, both of whom are accused in the Jagan assets case and are in CBI custody right now. “Their custody will end on May 27 and, hence, we have summoned Jagan on May 25,” the CBI counsel said.

The judge upheld the CBI contention and refused to interfere in the ongoing investigation process. The CBI should comply with Section 41 of the CrPC, justice Chandra Kumar said. In response, S Sriram, another counsel for Jagan, expressed an apprehension before the court that the CBI may either retain his client or may resummon him, both of which will deprive him of his right to campaign in the bypolls. At this, the judge observed: “The CBI is bound to be fair in its approach. You may come back to us and move a house motion if you are aggrieved.”








HC: Bail for rape-accused sends a wrong message

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: The High Court has refused to grant bail to an accused who had allegedly sexually abused a girl in Visakhapatnam district recently and has directed the lower court at Narsipatnam to conduct trial on day-to-day basis and to dispose of the case within three months.

It has, however, facilitated the petitioner (accused) to approach the High Court again for bail if the trial, for any reason, is not completed within the said period.

Justice B Chandra Kumar, while dismissing the criminal petition seeking bail for Kunche Thrimurthulu alias Abbu against whom offences punishable under sections of IPC were registered, has directed the police and the petitioner’s counsel to cooperate with the lower court in disposing of the case within three months.

“As seen from the allegations, it appears that the petitioner has spoiled the entire life of the victim and such kind of persons do not deserve any sympathy from the court. It is clear that if such persons are enlarged on bail, it will give a wrong signal to the society and there is every possibility of the petitioner threatening the victim or other persons acquainted with facts of the case and tampering with the evidence”, the judge said. As for the case details, the accused had made the girl to consume a cold drink laced with sedatives to make her unconscious.

Then he had sexually abused her, filmed it on video and started blackmailing her. When she was married off to another man, he told the groom about the past incident and sent him photos and CDs. Consequently, the victim’s husband deserted her. His counsel, while seeking bail for the accused, contended that his client had been in judicial custody since February 16 and that the local police had completed investigation and filed the charge sheet.

The judge said justice was to be dispensed not only to the accused but also to the victim. The victim must feel safe and secure when she appears before the court for giving evidence, he said.



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