LEGAL NEWS 28.05.2012

Save-Ganga panel on lines of NHRC soon

Nitin Sethi, TNN | May 28, 2012, 04.09AM IST

NEW DELHI: Concerned about the inability of the National Ganga River Basin Authority’s limited control over how states manage the river stretches in their domain, the Centre is preparing a law that will set up a National Ganga Basin Authority along the lines of the National Commission for Women and the National Human Rights Commission.

The move by the central government comes with concerns within the UPA that the agitation by Hindu seers for an ‘aviral’ Ganga could hit a higher pitch ahead of the Mahakumbh in Allahabad in January. Consequently, environment and forests minister Jayanthi Natarajan has asked her officials to draft a bill that would enable setting up a commission. The government intends to table the bill in the monsoon session of Parliament. The commission, the government proposes, will have powers to help override the difficulties the existing authority has been facing in implementing actions across the eight states that the river passes through.

Early discussions about the commission, source said, led to a proposed structure with non-official experts as well as state representatives on board besides central government actors.










Third time on, commission asks TRAI to assess pricing impact

Manoj Gairola, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 28, 2012

In order to build a case for lowering the proposed reserve price for spectrum auction, the Telecom Commission has asked the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) to analyse the impact of pricing on subscribers, operators and government revenues.
This will be third such calculation by the regulator in a month-and-a-half. The TRAI, under the chairmanship of JS Sarma, had twice submitted this calculation to the Department of Telecommunications (DoT). TRAI calculations show that the impact of the proposed reserve price on tariff would be only four paise per minute in the first year and reduce in subsequent years. The government would earn a minimum of Rs. 700,000 crore in about 10 years.

“From the analysis, it is apparent that the recent recommendations do not adversely impact the profitability of the wireless consumers or the entry of new operators. At the same time they provide for the discovery of true value of spectrum, realisation of revenue to the exchequer and ensure efficient utilisation of spectrum, a scarce natural resource,” the TRAI said in a 34 page document titled Impact analysis of recommendations on auction of spectrum,  submitted to the DoT earlier this month.

However, the Telecom Commission believes that the TRAI, under new chairman Rahul Khullar, would lower the price, said a source familiar with the development. In its recommendations on spectrum auction dated April 23, the TRAI had proposed a reserve price of Rs. 3,600 crore per MHz in the 1,800 MHz band.

On Saturday, the Telecom Commission left the decision on reserve price to the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) headed by the finance minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The commission would present an analysis of the impact of various reserve prices on consumers, operators and government revenue. It has asked the TRAI to do a similar analysis. Both reports would be presented to the EGoM.










Jagan Mohan Reddy to be produced in court today; alert in Andhra Pradesh

Reported by Uma Sudhir | Updated: May 28, 2012 10:55 IST

Hyderabad: Jagan Mohan Reddy’s party, the YSR Congress, has called for a three-day bandh in Andhra Pradesh in protest against his arrest last evening by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). The arrest came after three days of interrogation at Hyderabad’s Dilkusha Guest House, where Mr Reddy was held overnight. (Read: Who is Jagan Mohan Reddy?)

Mr Reddy is now at the CBI court at Nampally. He was driven there along with his wife Bharati amid tight security. The court had rejected his anticipatory bail plea on May 25; today he is expected to seek bail, while the CBI will seek his custody.

His mother, Vijayamma, an MLA, has launched an indefinite fast outside her home in Hyderabad’s Lotus Pond. Much family drama last evening saw Mr Reddy’s mother, wife and sister picket the guest house where he was held. They had to be taken away. The arrest comes close to the June 12 by-elections to 17 Assembly and one Lok Sabha seat. The YSR Congress is contesting all the seats and Vijayamma has said she will take Jagan Reddy’s campaign forward.

“YS Rajasekhara Reddy (Jagan’s father) won 33 Lok Sabha seats for Congress in 2009. Publicly YSR declared he would work to make Rahul Gandhi Prime Minister in 2014. So her (Sonia Gandhi) son should become PM and my son should suffer in jail,” she said last night. Political commentators say Mr Reddy’s arrest and an emotive appeal from his mother might just turn into an electoral advantage for him in the by-elections. (Read: YSR Congress’ statement on Jagan Mohan Reddy’s arrest)

Mr Reddy has appealed to his supporters to be calm, but the government fears violence and Andhra Pradesh is on high alert. YSR Congress leaders are being rounded up to prevent them from mobilising crowds. Ambati Rambabu has been taken into custody. Konda Surekha and Murali are under house arrest in Warangal and they have said they will complain to the Election Commission that they are being stopped from campaigning for the by-polls; other YSR Congress leaders too are under virtual house arrest in different parts of the state.

Traffic is normal in Hyderabad. From other parts of the state there have been reports of some violence – three buses were attacked in Rangareddy district’s Ibrahimpatnam and state-run buses have been alerted. YSR Congress cadres have blocked the road by cutting down trees in Nellore district’s Tada which has resulted in huge traffic jam. A cellphone tower was burnt in Aithepally.

The police is well-prepared – it got the three days that Mr Reddy was questioned over to prep. Additional forces have been deployed in sensitive places and prohibitory orders limiting the assembly of people under Section 144 of the CrPC have been imposed in Hyderabad, Cyberabad, Kadapa, which is Jagan Reddy’s Lok Sabha constituency and in the sensitive coastal town of Vijaywada which saw YSR Congress workers stage dharnas and and threatened to call for bandh after Mr Reddy’s arrest. In Hyderabad, the area from the Dilkhush Guest House to the Lotus Pond and Nampally areas have heavy security.

Before the arrest, Jagan Reddy said it was a conspiracy by the ruling Congress and the main Opposition Telugu Desam Party (TDP) to create a law and order situation to postpone the June by-elections. Mr Reddy has been campaigning hard and fancies his party’s chances. While he was being interrogated over the last three days, hectic political activity was taking place behind-the-scenes. The YSR Congress party claims that several Congress and TDP MLAs have got in touch with it and are ready to jump ship. On the three days that he was questioned before his arrest, Mr Reddy made it a point to arrive at the CBI camp with rebel Congressmen. (Timeline: Jagan Mohan Reddy’s battle for survival)

The Congress has reacted with caution to the arrest. I don’t want to comment on it. The CBI is an independent body, the law always takes it own course,” said Congress spokesperson Rashid Alvi. The BJP, however, slammed the Congress. “The CBI is being used by the Congress to attack those people who are against them. There were charges against many leaders… even Savita Reddy, the Home Minister, has been questioned by CBI. Even the Supreme Court has issued a notice to all the eight Cabinet ministers on the charges of corruption. Why no action is being taken against them and why Jagan is being selectively targeted?” said BJP leader Rajiv Pratap Rudy. (Read: Congress reacts with caution to Jagan’s arrest)

The CBI has been questioning Jagan on how their family’s wealth increased dramatically after his father YS Rajashekhar Reddy became chief minister in 2004. The CBI has alleged that Jagan and his father doled out favours to some companies and in return the companies invested in Jagan’s businesses. The CBI inquiry into Mr Reddy’s business empire and the source of its funds was ordered by the Andhra Pradesh High Court in August 2011.

PTI has quoted CBI officials as saying that Mr Reddy was questioned for three consecutive days and that his answers to certain investments made by a few companies to Sakshi Television and Jagriti publications, owned by him, were not convincing. “Some routing of funds have been detected from tax havens like Mauritius and Isle of Mann, indicating that there were quid pro quo investments in his TV channel and publication by some companies which were given land in the much sought after Andhra Pradesh Industrial Development Park,” the CBI officials were quoted as saying.

Mr Reddy is the son of former Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy, who died in a helicopter crash in 2009. After his father’s death he split with the Congress and formed his own party, the YSR Congress.

The corruption case against Mr Reddy could affect not just his political fortunes, but that of several other leaders from the party who quit the Congress in a huff. One of those leaders, a minister named M Venkatramana, was arrested after seven hours of interrogation on Wednesday. Mr Venkatramana has been remanded to judicial custody till June 7. Five other Congress ministers are also being studied for possible collusion.










Forest dwellers denied rights as law bristles with lacunae: Deo

Minister asks Chief Ministers to address problems Not too happy with the implementation of the Scheduled Tribes and Other Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006, Union Tribal Affairs Minister V. Kishore Chandra Deo has asked the State governments to address several lacunae in the law while implementing it at the ground level.

“If a clear signal is given to implementing authorities that all rights of forest dwellers must be adhered to and that the democratic process under the law must be respected, the forest dwellers of the country may finally find succour and could actually lay claim to their rights,” Mr. Deo has said in a letter to the Chief Ministers of States with a substantial Scheduled Tribes and forest dwelling population.

Pointing out that despite five enactments, the law continues to suffer from many problems, as a result of which a majority of the forest dwellers are not receiving their rights, Mr. Deo said this is against the country’s professed rule of law.

In particular, the rates of rejection of claims are still very high, and the claimants have not been given the reason or even an opportunity to appeal against the rejection.

Where land rights are recognised, title is issued only for a fraction of the area to which the people are actually entitled. Recognition of rights to minor forest produce, grazing areas, waterbodies, and habitats of primitive tribal groups, pre-agricultural communities and pastoralists is very low, Mr. Deo has said.

There have been very few cases where the crucial rights of forest dwelling communities to protect and manage their forests are recognised or respected (and in some cases illegal conditions have been imposed on this right).

As a result, a large number of forest dwellers are facing eviction or harassment at the hands of forest authorities. A large number of them have also been illegally displaced from forest land, the Minister has said.

The major issues flagged by the Ministry, which is the nodal agency for implementing the Act, are lack of awareness that the law applies also to non-ST forest dwellers, who are right now being prevented from filing claims, and a tendency to call larger levels of panchayats to identify the genuine forest dwellers — instead of the gram sabha or the hamlet permitted under the Act — thus hampering the democratic process as the larger bodies cannot hold meetings due to a lack of quorum.

Rejection of claims based on official records, despite gram sabha approval, and non-conversion of forest land into revenue land are some other issues raised by the Minister.








Padma Shri awardee coach Arif conducts badminton camp in Delhi

PTI | May 27, 2012, 05.13PM IST

NEW DELHI: Noted coach SM Arif, who trained the likes of Pullela Gopichand, Jwala Gutta and Chetan Anand, recently conducted a badminton camp for a group of students of Air Force Golden Jubilee Institute (AFGJI).

Organised by the AFGJI Alumni Association, the week-long camp was aimed at enhancing the performance of the current players of the school and was attended by 24 students, including nine girls.

The camp included early morning exercise sessions, video screenings of top players, court drills and practices. The camp also emphasized on correct grips and the importance of warm up and cool down exercises.

Arif, who was conferred the Padma Shri award early this year, worked on speed, agility, strength and endurance of the students.

The Dronacharya awardee coach also had special session for parents of the students emphasizing on ‘Importance of Sports’.

“I had come for one week camp and enjoyed every moment. Fantastic premises, disciplined children and dedicated staff made the whole environment every enthusiastic,” Arif said.

“I wish the facilities available would prove to be the factory of champions for the school, state and ultimately for the country,” he added.

Talking about the camp, AFGJI Alumni President, Parijat Punj said, “We thought of an out-of-the-box idea of helping the school and its students and we were overwhelmed by the response from the school.

“By having a coach of the stature of Arif Sir in itself became a motivating factor for the students.”

Kulwant Assija, HOD, Physical Education, AFGJI said, “The camp was a big hit, had we allowed program for beginners, we would have got 200+ entries.”







Noida techie ‘tortures’ maid, Child Welfare Commission steps in

Aniruddha Ghosal, TNN | May 28, 2012, 01.33AM IST

NOIDA: A day after police arrested a software engineer for allegedly torturing and forcibly keeping a 14-year-old girl captive in her Sector 62 flat, the minor underwent a medical examination to ascertain her age. Even though the prime accused in the case, Meenakshi Bhardwaj, a software engineer who works for a technology firm in Gurgaon, claimed the charges levied against her are baseless, the police said the girl had a number of extremely serious injuries and burn marks across her body.

The girl alleged that she had been undergoing the horrendous torture for over a year and had only managed to escape on Saturday when the couple had forgotten to lock the door of their apartment. “The accused, Susheel and Meenakshi Bhardwaj, who had employed the girl in their Sector 62 apartment, are natives of Jharkhand. They claim to have employed the girl from a placement agency in Delhi. We are investigating the placement agency as well. The girl alleged that she was kept locked inside the apartment when the couple went to work and, at times, for even days when they went on holidays,” said Arun Kumar, SHO, Sector 58. The girl found the door had been left open around 5pm on Saturday and ran away. She was found in an injured state by security guards in the apartment complex who took her to the police.

The girl had been hired in August and throughout the period of her employment she was beaten up with a belt and hot utensils, said the police. The girl’s medical examination was videographed by the police, the child labour department and the CWC. “The girl also went through a bone verification test to accurately ascertain her age. In such cases, it becomes important to see what the girl’s age exactly is before charges can be drawn against the accused. If she’s older than 14, then charges of bonded labour can’t be drawn,” explained a senior CWC official.

The entire process was videographed for legal purposes. “The videographic evidence will make it difficult for the accused to later pressure the child and her family in any way during the investigation,” said an official.

“The case in currently under investigation and all the relevant IPC Sections, including those pertaining to child labour, bonded labour and Sections 23-26 of the Juvenile Justice Act have been imposed,” added Kumar.










CBSE Class X marks can’t be revealed under RTI: HC

TNN | May 28, 2012, 05.46AM IST

NEW DELHI: Marks obtained by a student in the Class X CBSE exams cannot be revealed under the Right to Information (RTI) Act as it would defeat the very purpose of the new grading system, the Delhi high court has ruled.

Setting aside a ruling by the Central information Commission asking the Central Board of Secondary Education to reveal marks obtained by a girl in her Class X board examination in 2010, a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice R S Endlaw held that marks could not be treated as “information” under the RTI Act as CBSE awarded only grades now.

The verdict came on the plea of Anil Kumar Kathpal, who wanted the board to disclose the marks secured by his daughter in her Class X exam in 2010. He said the information, specifically subject-wise marks, would help him identify the weak areas in her studies.

Grades enough: HC

The high court has set aside a CIC ruling that asked CBSE to reveal under the RTI Act marks obtained by a girl in her Class X board examination in 2010.

The court also set aside the verdict of a single-judge bench which had asked CBSE to reveal the marks. “We are unable to agree; we feel the CIC as well as the learned single judge, by directing disclosure of ‘marks’, in the regime of ‘grades’ have indeed undone what was sought to be done by replacing marks with grades and defeated the very objective thereof,” the high court said, allowing CBSE’s appeal.

“In our opinion, even though there is no express order of any court of law forbidding publication of marks… the effect of bringing the regime of grades in place of marks and of dismissal of challenge thereto, is to forbid publication/disclosure of marks… The objective…was to grade students in a bandwidth rather than numerically, it was felt that (the) difference between a student having 81% and a student having 89% could be owing to subjectivity in marking,” the bench said.








Marks obtained in CBSE exams cannot be given under RTI: Delhi high court

PTI | May 27, 2012, 11.59AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a significant ruling, the Delhi high court has held that marks obtained by a student in CBSE board exam cannot be revealed under the transparency law as it would “defeat” the purpose of the new grading system.

The court set aside the verdict of a single judge bench and the Central Information Commission (CIC), which had asked the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to reveal marks obtained by a girl in her class X board examination in 2010.

“We are unable to agree; we feel that the CIC as well as the learned single judge, by directing disclosure of ‘marks’, in the regime of ‘grades’ have indeed undone what was sought to be done by replacing marks with grades and defeated the very objective thereof.

“The objective, in replacing the marks with grades, as can be gathered from the documents on record, was to grade students in a bandwidth rather than numerically … ,” a bench of acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.

Writing the judgment, Endlaw said the details of marks, obtained by the student in 10th board, cannot be termed as an “information” under the Right to Information Act (RTI) as its disclosure would defeat the policy of awarding grades instead of marks.

Allowing the plea of CBSE, it said “no weightage can also be given to the plea of respondent (girl’s father) that the marks even if disclosed would not be used for any other purpose.

“The possibility of respondent and his ward, in securing admission and for other purposes, using the said information to secure an advantage over others cannot be ruled out.”

The apex transparency panel had allowed the plea of the student saying “since, the marks were available with the appellant (CBSE) and since none of the exemptions under the RTI Act were attracted to support the non disclosure thereof, the appellant was bound to and directed to provide the information sought.”

Aggrieved by the order, CBSE appealed to the single judge bench of the high court which upheld the order of the CIC.

The CBSE then filed an appeal against the order before a division bench which allowed its plea that disclosure of the marks would dilute and defeat the grading system.

“We have already held above that disclosure of marks, which though exists with the appellant would amount to allowing play to the policy earlier prevalent of marking the examinees. Merely because the appellant/its examiners for the purpose of grading, first mark the students would not compel this court to put at naught or to allow full play to the new policy of grades,” it said.

Anil Kumar Kathpal, the father of the girl, had sought the details of the marks saying “this information will help me to identify her weak areas in studies and take timely action, so that she can pursue her career after class XII.”









RTE Act income limit works against poor’

TNN | May 28, 2012, 02.25AM IST

MYSORE: Speakers at a seminar organized by Kannada activists at the Centenary Hall of Maharaja College here on Sunday expressed their concern over the regulations and guidelines formulated by the state government under the Right To Education(RTE) Act.

They opined that there is a possibility of distortion of the provisions of the Act itself to use it for the benefit of the upper middle and the middle class, denying access to education to the poor and the BPL families.

Addressing the gathering, education experts said there is every chance of miscarriage of the Act.

“Income limit of Rs 3.5 lakh on the children’s parents getting admitted under the RTE Act as per the reservation quota itself smacked of ulterior motto of the bureaucracy to dilute the purpose” they said.

Even the upper middle class and the middle class children of OBC , SC and ST and who hold jobs in organized sectors can get into schools using the provisions of this Act, depriving the facility to the poor children. One of the speakers said the high income limit has been fixed with an intention to help the private schools.

Speakers at the function included head of the women studies department R Indira , Kannada litterateur Panditaradhya, activist P Mallesh, retired Hindi professor P V Nanjaraje Urs and education expert N S Raghunath.







Govt to amend forest Act for tribal rights

Nitin Sethi, TNN | May 28, 2012, 04.41AM IST

NEW DELHI: The tribal affairs ministry is moving fast to amend the Forest Rights Act and bring about changes in rules that would make it easier for traditional forest dwellers to get their rightful claim over forest lands and more difficult for the industry to use the green patches without the former’s nod.

The move comes with the central government recording serious flaws in the implementation of the Act across the country. As a precursor to the expected changes, tribal affairs minister Kishore Chandra Deo has written to CMs pointing out how the implementation of what was UPA-1’s flagship scheme had failed, asking them to remove the shortcomings.

The step had been pending for long, with the NAC too recommending altering the rules and regulations to overcome state prejudices against handing back lands to tribals and other traditional forest dwellers.

After Deo took over the tribal affairs ministry, it was expected that the changes would come through quickly but the minister, who had earlier been the key Congress general secretary advocating the passage of the Act, faced an uphill battle against his bureaucracy, which had also opposed the NAC recommendations. A shuffle of the top bureaucracy within the ministry saw the opposition against changes in the FRA dwindle and Deo has now agreed to work the NAC recommendations into the law. The changes in implementation are expected to come at three levels. The ministry is expected to use its powers under the Act to pass mandatory advisories, amend existing rules as well as go to Parliament for amendments where required.

Deo’s letter to CMs is the first indication of what is in the works. He has said that states have not adhered to rules and tribals still face harassment, threats of eviction and forced relocation in violation of the Act. He has asked for strict adherence to the rule that denies industry the right to forest patches unless affected village councils accept it through a resolution.

“Gram sabha meetings… for critical decisions such as diversion of forest land, should be video taped and videos made publicly available. This will ensure transparency and reduce manipulation and dispute,” Deo wrote.








Govt to challenge CIC order on PJ Thomas’ empanelment

New Delhi, May 27, 2012

The government has decided to approach the Delhi High Court seeking relief from the Central Information Commission’s directives for disclosing records related to empanelment of former Central Vigilance Commissioner PJ Thomas for appointment at the Centre. In February, Chief Information Commissioner Satyananda Mishra, who was former secretary in the Department of Personnel, had directed the Cabinet Secretariat to disclose documents related to empanelment of Thomas at Centre.

The Cabinet Secretariat had claimed that the information was exempted under the RTI because of being cabinet document.

Rejecting the contentions, the CIC found it fit case for making public.

Three months after the order, the Cabinet Secretariat has refused to disclose the documents and told RTI applicant Subhash Agrawal that it has decided to challenge the order of the Chief Information Commissioner in the Delhi high court.

The Cabinet Secretariat in its latest communication said it had sought permission of the competent authority for providing the required documents in compliance with the order of the CIC.

“The undersigned has been conveyed that competent authority has decided to go into an appeal in the Delhi High Court against the directions of CIC for providing copies of the file noting and other records relating to both the framing of rule made by the Central government for empanelment of officers for posting, at the level of Additional Secretary and Secretary to the Government of India as well as its subsequent amendments/relaxations,” said S P Roy, Under Secretary at Cabinet Secretariat.

Thomas had joined Centre as Parliament Affairs Secretary in 2009 before his appointment as Telecom Secretary and subsequently as Central Vigilance Commissioner which was quashed by the Supreme Court on March 3, 2011.

He was selected as CVC in September 2010 by the three-member HPC which had Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Home Minister P Chidambaram and Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj as its members.

Swaraj had put a dissenting note opposing the selection of Thomas.

The Supreme Court quashed the appointment of Thomas as CVC, saying the recommendation made by the HPC did not consider charge sheet relating to a corruption case pending against him during his tenure in Kerala government.

The CIC had ordered disclosure of rules for appointment of joint secretary level officers and their seniors at the Centre, saying statutes which reportedly resulted in appointment of Thomas as Union Secretary cannot be termed as Cabinet documents.

The Centre had set a rule that only those IAS officers who had served at least three years at the Centre would be considered for appointment to the post of Joint Secretary and and ranks.

As a result officials, who were facing vigilance cases in their states, could not come to the Centre for these positions. The rule was reportedly changed allowing the officials who had been cleared of vigilance inquiry to come and serve at the Centre.

Agrawal had sought to know details of the older rule for such appointments and subsequent changes in it along with the file notings.











CIC may summon officials over plea by whistleblower’s family

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 27, 2012

After slain RTI activist Ravinder Balwani’s daughter wrote to the Central Information Commission (CIC), the transparency regulator’s chief said, if needed, officials from the respondent public authority/authorities would be summoned for a hearing.
Balwani’s daughter Sonia had written to the commission in wake of the Commission’s resolution passed last year that it would direct the public authority/authorities concerned to declare suo motu the information if a complaint in this regard was received from family members of such activist.

A resident of Vasant Kunj, Balwani extensively used RTI route to dig out information from various Delhi government departments and then lodged complaints at the Delhi Lokayukta office. He died on April 25 after meeting with an accident two days earlier. However, his family suspects foul play and has alleged it to be murder, as he was receiving threats.

Two weeks ago, his family members had approached information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi through a letter/complaint written by Balwani’s daughter Sonia. Gandhi, in turn forwarded it to the CIC chief Satyendra Mishra.

“We received a copy of the letter that Gandhi wrote to Mishra three days ago,” Balwani’s son Varun said.

Mishra told HT, after going through the due process, officials from the respondent public authority/authorities from whom Balwani had sought information would be called. “It can be a regular hearing even in absence of the applicant, who has died/was killed.”

“(However), CIC can direct disclosure of information only if the information is disclosable,” Mishra added.










Freehold property: Three lawyers move High Court on NOC norm

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Mon May 28 2012, 02:59 hrs

Terming the demand for no objection certificate (NOC) for sale/registration and transfer of freehold property “illegal” and “unconstitutional”, three lawyers of the Chandigarh District Courts moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court last week.

The trio sought initiation of contempt proceedings against Adviser to the UT Administrator; the UT Estate officer; Assistant Estate Officer and Joint Registrar for not complying with court directions issued in 2000. Taking stock, the High Court has converted the contempt petition into a PIL. Keeping in view larger public interest, Justice Surya Kant has held that the petition be heard and adjudicated upon by a division bench of the High Court.

The petitioners contended that in 2000, the High Court had made it clear in a judgment entitled Surinder Kaur versus Chandigarh that “no objection certificate is required in relation to freehold properties”. Despite this judgment, the petitioners said, the Chandigarh Administration was demanding NOC from the city residents.

“When there is no condition in the allotment letters or other related documents that a person owning a freehold property in Chandigarh is to sell the same after getting NOC from the Chandigarh Administration or the UT Estate officer, no officer of the Chandigarh Administration is having business to put such limitation on the property of persons owning the same on freehold basis,” read the petition filed by Advocate A S Chahal and two other lawyers.

The petitioners contended that despite having brought this (judgment) to the notice of the UT officials, no action had been taken.

As per a recent change made by the administration, for sale/registration or transfer of any property, the present owner has to obtain an NOC from the original owner. This is in addition to power of attorney. The demand for NOC, as per the UT officials, was introduced to put an end to increase in instances of fraud in sale/transfer of property.








Government to look into legal possibilities

Express News Service

KOTTAYAM: The government will look into the legal possibilities, including registering a case against CPM Idukki district secretary M M Mani for his controversial speech, said Home Minister Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan.

“The statement made by Mani that CPM would kill its political opponents, should be taken as a serious one. Also an investigation will be carried out into all the murders mentioned by him. We will examine whether there was any political conspiracy behind it. The police are now examining the video tape of the speech. We won’t initiate any action that will be against the law,” Thiruvanchoor said here on Sunday.

Earlier, Mani had openly proclaimed in a meeting that the CPM had killed three political opponents in Idukki district who stood against the party.When asked whether the bigwigs will be caught in the T P Chandrasekharan murder case, he said that the police investigation does not revolve around any specific motive.

“It’s the investigating team that should inform the progress of the case. The CPM is trying to obstruct the investigation and give the culprits political protection,” Thiruvanchoor said.

He added that the government will also examine the conspiracy behind the political murders in the state.








CBI searches in connection with teacher recruitment

New Delhi, May 27, 2012

The CBI on Sunday carried out searches in connection with the alleged bungling in recruitment of teachers in Chandigarh against three persons, including a Haryana civil services officer.
The case was registered by the CBI after directions from the Punjab and Haryana high court under

various sections of the Indian Penal Code and Prevention of Corruption Act against two persons — Hardev Singh and Jolly, CBI said.

The case was earlier registered by Chandigarh Police in September 2009 but was subsequently re-registered by the CBI on the directions of the high court after the police failed to make any headway in the case.

It was alleged that during the period from 2007-09, Singh and Jolly allegedly in collusion with the unknown public servants of the department of education, Chandigarh, were demanding bribe for appointment of teachers, the official spokesperson said in a release.

Searches were conducted today at four places, including that of the residence-cum-office of the then director physical instructor (Schools) Samvrat Singh, a civil service officer of Haryana and premises of Singh and Jolly.

Singh is at present secretary in the Haryana Urban Development Authority.










GHPS is minority institution: Sikh body

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, May 27, 2012

The Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) has claimed that the six pay commission’s recommendations did not apply to educational institutions being run by it, as they are minority establishments.
The declaration by the Sikh body came in response to a plea before the Delhi High Court by a group of teaching and non-teaching staff of the Vasant Vihar and India Gate branches of the Guru Harkrishan Public School. The staff are seeking pay scale as per the recommendations of the sixth pay panel.

In response to the plea, the DSGMC said that institutions under its control were declared minority education institutions pursuant to July 2011 order passed by the National Commission for Minority Educational Institution.

However, DSGMC’s stand before the high court is contrary to its assurance given to Directorate of Education (DoE) to pay the teachers as per the sixth pay commission’s recommendations in a year’s time. DSGMC president Paramjit Singh Sarna had given this assurance in a letter written to the DoE on January 4, 2012.

In its response to the petition by GHPS staff, the directorate has placed a copy of Sarna’s letter before the HC. The management has, however, drawn support from the Lieutenant Governor’s (LG) February 4, 2012 order that set aside DoE’s January 25, 2012 order, withdrawing recognition of GHPS’s Hari Nagar branch. The LG had accepted DSGMC’s contention that the school was an unaided minority institution and financial conditionality could not be imposed on it.

The petitioners have urged the court to direct the DSGMC management to implement the sixth pay commission’s report, arguing that Section 10 of the Delhi State Education Act, 1973, made it mandatory for all aided and unaided schools, irrespective of the category, to implement the pay panel’s report. According to the petitioners, the scheme of management of the schools managed by DSGMC does not mention categorically that the institutions would cater to students beloging to the Sikh community only.

Intriguingly, the GHPS management had implemented the fifth pay commission’s report but this time it had refused to pay the new pay scales, the petitioners had submitted.

The matter is scheduled to come up for further hearing on August 17.







Acid attacks: Haryana women face new form of assault

Deepender Deswal, TNN | May 28, 2012, 07.27AM IST

ROHTAK: Acid seems to have become the new weapon in the hands of criminals in Haryana. Already infamous for its skewed sex ratio and high female foeticide rate, the state has seen a wave of acid attacks against women, even prompting the Punjab and Haryana high court to order a CBI inquiry into one of such case involving three schoolgirls.

Unidentified accused had thrown acid on three schoolgirls — two of them class 10 students and third in class 12 — when they were returning home from tuition classes in Sector 1 in Rohtak last year. While the accused are still to be identified, the HC has handed over the investigations to CBI.

Saturday’s daylight attack on a budding volleyball player in a bustling Rohtak street is 5th such incident in Haryana in a one year span. The motive in all the five incidents — in Rohtak, Sonipat, Kelram village of Kaithal district and Ambala — seems to be similar as the accused resorted to this brutal form of assault to take revenge on girl who had “dared” to snub him. According to police officers, in most cases, acid attacks have been used as revenge on girls who spurned advances of friendship or marriage by the accused.

Two victims had succumbed to acid burns. Paramjit Kaur, 30, was attacked when she was asleep, in Kelram village on May 23 and had succumbed to burns in a Karnal hospital on Friday. Another 17-year-old girl, Kiran, of Sonipat town, died of acid burns inflicted on her by two youths, including one who had been stalking her and pressurizing her to marry him, on July 13, 2011.

“It’s a reflection of the brutal male mentality where the accused took rejection as an insult. They found a soft target in the girl and attacked her with acid to deface her,” said Sandeep Kumar, a psychologist at Guru Jambheshwar University in Hisar. A mixture of psycho-social and sexual factors, like negative feelings, bias towards females, mental sickness and peer pressure could be the driving force behind the accused taking such extreme steps, he said.

Prof Promila Batra, head of psychology department at Maharishi Dayanand University, Rohtak, said the accused are impulsive and aggressive and unable to think about the consequences of their act.

Police failure to effectively tackle such incidents is also responsible for the repeat of such attacks. “The accused in such cases should be tried under stricter law and punishment, too, must be exemplary,” said a police official. “Easy availability of acid and even easier use (throwing it while driving) is alluring for such accused, who take a sadistic pleasure by leaving a permanent scar on their victims while taking the revenge,” he added.


May 27, 2012: Two biker youths throw acid on volleyball player Ritu Saini, 18, in busy Prem Nagar Chowk area of Rohtak and speed away

May 23, 2012: Paramjit Kaur, 30, attacked by a man, stated to be her relative, while she was asleep in her house in Kelram village of Kaithal, along with her two children. While she succumbed to her injuries, her 10-year-old son is struggling for life with 35% burns

July 13, 2011: Kiran, 17, dies in Sonipat after two youths on motorcycle throw acid on her. She had rejected the marriage proposal of main accused, Sanjay

June 18, 2011: Unknown assailants throw acid on three schoolgirls when they were returning home from tuition classes in Rohtak

February 15, 2011: Jyoti Anand, 21, attacked in Ambala by a youth who had been harassing her. The victim was returning home from office, when the accused and his accomplice threw acid on her and fled on motorcycle









Mani Talks: Kin of slain Congressman to move HC
 Express News Service

THODUPUZHA: The kin of Anjery Baby, a Congressman who was killed in 1982 allegedly for political reasons, is planning to move the High Court in the wake of remarks made by CPM’s Idukki secretary M M Mani.
Baby’s brother Anjery Benny said a Cong mandalam president at Senapathy in Idukki, a case was registered against a few persons, including the then CPM local sec P N Mohandas. However, Mohandas was absolved of charges for lack of evidence and owing to political pressure, he said. Baby, was killed allegedly by his political foes on Nov 13, 1982, following the Assembly election.







HC tells J&K daily not to publish defamatory news

New Delhi, May 27, 2012

The Delhi High Court has asked a J&K-based news daily not to publish “derogatory” news against a joint director of public broadcaster Doordarshan, posted in Srinagar.
“I am of the view that the plaintiff (Bashir Malik) has been able to make out a strong prima-facie case for the grant of an ex-parte ad-interim injunction in his favour. Hence, it is directed that till the next date of hearing the defendants (newspaper Daily Kashmir Images and editors) shall not make any derogatory and defamatory news about Malik  without facts, cogent and clear documentary evidence,” Justice Manmohan Singh said.

Malik, serving as joint director at Doordarshan, had moved the court seeking permanent and interim injunction against the paper from publishing “false, vexatious and malicious” articles aimed to harm his reputation.  










HC clears pension of retd Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation staff

Debabrata Mohapatra, TNN | May 28, 2012, 04.04AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa high court has asked the state government to immediately pay pension dues to around 1,000 retired employees of Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) and Cuttack Municipal Corporation (CMC) under the fifth pay commission.

The court’s May 4 judgment asked the state government to pay the arrears to the retired employees, who were deprived of the pension benefits between January 1, 1996 and January 1, 2006. Some employees of BMC and CMC had moved the HC against apathetic attitude of the government in 2009.

Quashing a 2006 resolution of state housing and urban development (HUD) department that had debarred employees from availing the pension benefits, the court directed the government to “compute the financial benefit and pay the same within three months from the date of delivery of the judgment.”

The HUD resolution passed on October 13, 2006, said: “The pay fixation as adopted for the state government employees under Odisha Revised Scales of Pay Rules, 1998, will be extended to the employees of BMC and CMC with effect from January 1, 1996, notionally and the actual financial benefit will be given from January 1, 2006.”

“That was sheer disparity. We never got the yearly cash benefits from January 1996 till January 2006 while other government employees enjoyed the benefit without hassle,” said Binayak Rath, member of BMC Retired Employees’ Association. “We are relieved a lot after the HC judgment came in our favour. There is now a hope of getting back the arrears,” Rath said. “The high court has also directed the government to pay us pension benefits under sixth pay commission as we are now getting pension under fifth pay commission,” Rath said.

BMC mayor A N Jena said, “We received the order a few days ago and are examining it.” Jena added that the execution of the HC order would cost the BMC coffer around Rs 15 annually.







Ignoring HC, BDA fells trees, residents protest

Express News Service

BANGALORE: Flouting the authority of a committee set up by the Chief Minister as well as a hearing on the case that was scheduled in the High Court for Monday, the Bangalore Development Authority on Friday and Saturday went ahead and chopped down over 30 trees near the Water Tank junction in Kormangala.

Residents of Koramangala on Sunday staged a protest against the action taken by the BDA and questioned the late night operation which was carried out till 4 am on Sunday morning according to them.

“Don’t they have any respect for authority? We spoke to the Chief Minister two times about this.They still went ahead and chopped the trees,” said a senior resident.

According to the BDA, the tree felling was necessary for various assorted projects related to the Sirsi Agara signal free corridor which will be built at a cost of Rs 119 crore.

However the issue of tree felling was a long standing one between the residents and the BDA since the residents allege that they were not consulted about the project.

Chief Minister D V Sadanda Gowda had constituted a committee to look into the issue which was supposed to be headed by Additional Chief Secretary K Jairaj.

However Jairaj is due to retire on May 30 and the committee has reportedly not started work yet.

However the residents had also filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the High Court, which was due for hearing on Monday.

Residents on Sunday alleged that the BDA authorities had brought police protection with them in order to ensure that their work would not be disturbed.

“It is too late to fight now, what is the use of a committee report or a High Court order now that the trees have been chopped,” rued Rishi, a resident. He added that there were reports of further tree felling which has been planned by the BDA on the stretch and that the residents were contemplating on filing a criminal contempt case against the BDA.






HC to resume hearing on Nupur’s bail plea

Last Updated: Monday, May 28, 2012, 08:48

New Delhi: The Allahabad High Court will on Monday resume hearing on the bail application of dentist Nupur Talwar, accused in Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case of 2008 along with her husband Rajesh.

A Ghaziabad trial court on Thursday charged dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar with the murder of their daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

The court framed the charges in presence of Talwars in an in-camera session.

Rajesh Talwar has also been charged with misleading the investigation in the double murder case.

Special CBI Judge S Lal ordered that Nupur and Rajesh be charged with the crime under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 302/34 (murder with common intention) and 201/34 (destruction of evidence with common intention).

Rajesh Talwar was also charged under IPC sections 203/34 (misleading police about the crime with common intention).

The CBI had claimed the Talwars’ maid, the guard and driver corroborate their ‘last scene theory’ according to which there were four people living in the house and there was no sign of a fifth person’s entry at the time of the murders.

The CBI counsel had said, “Four people were there, two died and two were left. When a murder takes place in a closed house and two are dead, the onus then shifts on those who are alive.”

The CBI had also claimed that Aarushi and Hemraj’s injuries were identical. “The golf stick recovered from the house matches the injury. The Talwars refused to identify Hemraj’s body and gave false information regarding the crime scene,” the CBI counsel said.

The Talwars’ counsel had, however, claimed there was no direct evidence to prove the charges that the CBI claimed against the Talwars.

The CBI had also told the court in Ghaziabad that Rajesh and Nupur killed Aarushi and Hemraj in a fit of rage after finding them in a compromising position, a claim strongly refuted by the dentist couple.

Talwars had contested CBI’s claim, saying sex is no big deal in elite society and does not entail murders.

Aarushi was found dead with her throat slit at her Noida residence in Jalvayu Vihar on May 16, 2008 and the body of Hemraj was recovered from the terrace a day later.










Another recruitment of teachers under HC lens

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Mon May 28 2012, 02:56 hrs

Yet another recruitment of teachers by the UT Administration has come under the scanner of the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

For allegedly allowing “less qualified” teachers from Punjab and Haryana to compete for the posts of JBT teachers in Chandigarh, the High Court has asked the UT Administration to explain.

Also, notices have been issued to Punjab, Haryana, National Council for Teachers Education (NCTE); Director, State Institute of Education; and Secretary, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan Society. The notices were issued on a joint petition filed by as many as 53 candidates contesting for the JBT posts.

Issuing notices, the High Court has made it clear that the final claim of the petitioners will be subject to the outcome of the petition filed by them.

The petitioners have demanded setting aside of the decision of Chandigarh Administration for opening and allowing the candidates from Haryana and Punjab who have cleared Teacher Eligibility Test (TET) of their respective states to compete for the posts of JBT teachers on contract basis. An advertisement to this effect was issued by the administration on March 13.

Advocate A P S Shergill, counsel for the petitioners, has submitted that the decision to allow teachers from Punjab and Haryana for the JBT posts is totally contrary to the principles of law and against the basic criteria of appointment that is required to be followed.

Shergill contended that as per rules, the candidates who had cleared the Central Teachers Eligibility Test (CTET) were eligible to compete for the posts of JBT teachers in any Union Territory. The petitioners submitted that teachers from Punjab and Haryana who had cleared TET were “less qualified” than those who had cleared CTET.

Levelling serious allegations, Shergill said the babus of Chandigarh Administration were trying to accommodate their favourites from Punjab and Haryana in the administration by “illegally” allowing them to compete for the posts of JBT teachers.

The petitioners have also submitted that the UT Administration has allowed teachers from Punjab and Haryana contrary to the NCTE norms.

Raising an alternative demand, the petitioners have sought directions from the High Court to “Haryana and Punjab to allow the CTET candidates to participate in the selection process in their respective states at par with their own state-level TET selection process if their candidates are allowed to compete in the present selection process”.

The petitioners have submitted that candidates from Chandigarh are not allowed to compete for JBT posts in Punjab and Haryana since the states emphasise domicile.

“Punjab and Haryana governments are not allowing CTET cleared candidates from Chandigarh or other parts of India, because they are following the NCTE rules which UT is not following,” read the petition.

The respondents have been given time till the first week of July to respond to the allegations levelled by the petitioners.



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