LEGAL NEWS 06.06.2012

List of 20 victims handed over to Home Minister

Chairman of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Dr Mizanur Rahman on Tuesday handed over to the Home Minister Sahara Khatun a list of 20 people who had fallen victims to either ‘enforced disappearances or secret killings,’ reports UNB.

During a brief meeting with Home Minister at her ministry, the NHRC chief also wanted to know whether there is any step to trace those who have gone missing.

Talking to journalists after the meeting, Mizan voiced his grave concern over some recent incidents, including the disappearance of BNP leader Ilias Ali, journalists Sagar, Runi murder, worker Aminul Islam killing and torture on journalists by the police.

Dr Mizan requested the Home Minister to inform the NHRC of the steps taken by the government about those incidents. “The minister informed me about the progress in the investigation into those incidents and said there will be positive results.”

Replying to a question, the NHRC chairman said a section of overenthusiastic police officers violate human rights while performing their duties.

Dr Mizan urged the Home Minister to promote police officers on the basis of recommendations from the NHRC to be sure whether the police officials were involved in any act of human rights violation.

The minister agreed in principle with the NHRC chairman on the proposal.

All the NHRC members were present during the meeting with the Home Minister.






Family refuses to encash cheque even after 2 months

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 05.19AM IST

CHANDIGARH: In the kidnapping and murder case of Khushpreet Singh, 5, Chandigarh administration had handed over a cheque of Rs 3 lakh as compensation money to the kin of the deceased in April 2012, but they still have not got the cheque encashed in protest.

The father of deceased child, Lakhwinder Singh, said, “We refuse to encash the compensation cheque as seeking money was never our motive. We want strict punishment for the cops responsible for the death of my child.”

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Delhi, issued detailed orders in this regard on Tuesday. Counsel for the victim family, Arvind Thakur, said the NHRC has also instructed the Chandigarh administration to take strict action against the guilty cops and issued orders in this regard on Tuesday.






35-lakhs for a block of toilets, not two, says Planning Commission

NDTV Correspondent | Updated: June 06, 2012 18:16 IST

New Delhi: The morning began with two toilets occupying national mindspace. A Right to Information application revealed that the Planning Commission has spent 35 lakhs on renovating two toilets at its offices in Delhi. Five lakhs had been invested on installing a system that would limit entry to the toilets to electronic card holders.

Online and elsewhere, there was fierce criticism of what was seen as lavish expenditure by a body that designs India’s economic blueprint – its five year plans – and which had controversially said that Indians who spend more than Rs. 32 a day in cities are above the poverty line. “The Planning Commission’s toilets should be protected as the eighth wonder of the world,” said the BJP’s Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi.

The Planning Commission used a detailed statement to clear the air. A press release said  that the money had been spent on two toilet blocks that could accommodate 20 users at a time, and that they include facilities for differently-abled users, which can be expensive.

The Commission also said that the smart card system had been introduced to avoid “pilferage” of sanitation equipment and that it had been discontinued because it was not practical. The toilets were for public use, it emphasized, while pointing out that the upgrade followed many complaints made by ministers and foreign dignitaries who had visited the building.

“The plan to renovate the toilets was in the budget and we thought the public toilets is used by everyone and it’s not one or two it’s an entire block which is being renovated. these toilets were 50 years old and the pipelines was very old and it was leaking which could cause health issues as well. That’s why the entire toilet block is being renovated here,” said Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission.

Though the explanation presented the rationale for the expenditure, stressing that it had been accounted for in the Commission’s annual budget, critics remained unconvinced.

“There is almost everything that is wrong with what was done and with the justification for it. The Planning Commission represents planning for whom, the poor of the country. And there has been a dispute with their figures because there has been a perception with everyone that within the planning commission they have one standard for the poor and another for the rich,” said Nikhil Dey, an activist.






Khushpreet case: UT files compliance report to NHRC

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Jun 06 2012, 02:36 hrs

The UT Administration has submitted a compliance report to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) along with the proof of payment of Rs 3 lakh compensation which was paid to the family of Khushpreet. The administration made the payment to Lakhbir Singh, the father of Khushpreet, on April 4.

Five-year-old Khushpreet Singh, son of a dairy owner, was kidnapped and subsequently murdered by his neighbour on December 21, 2010 near his house in Burail. His body was recovered from Mohali. Khushpreet was not released despite his family paying Rs 4 lakh in ransom. The police had arrested Sukhdev Singh, Gurvinder Singh and Nand Kishore in connection with the case.





Tribunal rejects IL&FS’ plea to allow work on Cuddalore plant

PTI | 04:06 PM,Jun 05,2012

New Delhi, Jun 5 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has refused to stay its order suspending the environment clearance granted to IL&FS Tamil Nadu Power Company Ltd for its 3,600 MW thermal power plant in the state’s Cuddalore district. The Tribunal rejected IL&FS’ fresh plea for keeping its May 23 order for suspension of the environment clearance (EC) in abeyance and to allow it to carry out construction works for the project. The tribunal had suspended the May 31, 2010 EC on May 23, this year and had directed the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to review its decision based on a cumulative impact assessment study and stipulate additional environmental conditions, if required. Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Ltd (IL&FS) had sought a stay on the Tribunal’s May 23 order contending that preparatory civil works like construction of storm water drainage and levelling of the site must be completed before the onset of monsoon in mid September 2012. The tribunal rejected its plea saying a rapid cumulative impact assessment study can be completed before the onset of monsoon and “civil works referred to by IL&FS may not take very long to complete if planned and executed properly”. “In view of the importance of cumulative impact study in decision making, in the case on hand and the logistic reasons with regard to completing the civil works, we see no reason to provide relief as sought in the application,” a bench headed by Tribunal Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu said.






Allahabad ‘kripa’ on Nirmal Baba: HC stays arrest

Source:   |   Last Updated 11:52(05/06/12)

New Delhi: In a much-needed relief for the self-proclaimed godman, the Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court stayed Nirmal Baba’s arrest.

According to reports, Nirmaljeet Singh Narula aka Nirmal Baba got relief after the court put a stay on his arrest until chargesheet is filed.

Nirmal Baba had filed a writ petition seeking quashing of FIR against him and staying his arrest. The Chief Judicial Magistrate (CJM’s) had ordered filing of an FIR against Nirmal Baba on charges of fraud.

The CJM order came on a petition filed by two students Tanya Thakur (16) and her brother Aditya (13) in Lucknow. In his petition, Baba has said that he is among renowned religious persons and denied all allegations against him. He has described CJM’s order as ‘legally incorrect’.






MBA student’s encounter case: 11 cops surrender

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 01.40AM IST

NEW DELHI: Three years after the alleged fake encounter case of MBA student Ranbir Singh in Dehradun, 11 of the 18 Uttarakhand police personnel accused in the case surrendered before a trial court on Tuesday.

The policemen, who surrendered before Special CBI judge V K Maheshwari after non-bailable warrants were issued against them this May, have been sent to judicial custody.

The cops who surrendered include Satbir Singh, Sunil Saini, Chander Pal, Saurabh Nautiyal, Nagendra Nath, Vikas Chandra Baluni, Sanjay Rawat, Mohan Singh Rana, Inder Bhan Singh and Manoj Kumar – all constables during the incident – and head operator at the city control room Jaspal Singh Gosain.

The constables were chargesheeted by CBI in connection with the encounter case that rocked the hill state in July 2009. The other accused are lodged in Tihar Jail. They include then inspector Santosh Jaiswal, sub-inspectors Gopal Dutt Bhatt, Rajesh Bisht, Neeraj Kumar, Nitin Chauhan and Chandra Mohan and constable Ajeet Singh.

While fixing July 4 as the next date of hearing, the court allowed the plea of these 11 accused that they be kept together in jail as they are police personnel and apprehend fear from other inmates.

The court asked CBI to file its reply on the regular bail pleas of the 11 accused by July 14, the next date of hearing. The court will hear the arguments on bail on July 4, the next date of hearing.

The accused policemen had earlier moved the Delhi high court for bail but their plea was dismissed. The Supreme Court also upheld the high court’s decision on May 29. The CBI judge noted that the Supreme Court had observed that the trial court should conclude the trial expeditiously, preferably within six months.

The court said CBI must examine Ram Kumar, one of the two persons who were seen with the victim on the day he was killed. Kumar has been partly examined by CBI.

Singh, an 22-year-old MBA student from Ghaziabad, was allegedly gunned down by Uttarakhand police after being caught on Mohini Road where he and his companions were allegedly trying to commit some crime on July 3, 2009. The case was transferred to Delhi by the Supreme Court on the plea of Ranbir’s father Ravindra Singh.

Ranbir’s father had alleged that his son had gone to Dehradun in search of a job where he was arrested by the police on July 3, 2009 on pretext of being involved in some robbery.

He had alleged that on the same day, 29 bullets were pumped into his body and the incident was passed off as an encounter.

All the 18 policemen have been charged for various offences such as murder, kidnapping, criminal conspiracy, destruction of evidence and public servant framing incorrect record.






Government seeks Special Task Force to reclaim forest

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 02.33AM IST

BANGALORE: The state government which was once described as the No.1 enemy of forests by the high court during a hearing, on Tuesday put up a “green plea” before a division bench headed by the Chief Justice.

It has sought for setting up of a special task force for reclaiming the 68,000 hectares of reserved forest which is still under occupation/encroachment.

“Today is World Environment Day. We had 1.1 lakh hectares of forest land under encroachment.

“Of this, 42,000 hectares have been reclaimed by evicting 40,000-od families. But to reclaim the remaining 68,000 hectares is a mammoth task. Many of these lands fall under the Western Ghats area in five districts -Shimoga, Chikmagalur, Uttara Kannada, Dakshina Kannada and Kodagu. The occupants also need to be heard before being evicted. We need a special force-type mechanism for this task,” Ravindra G Kolle, government advocate, requested the high court bench.

The court, which was hearing a PIL related to encroachment of forest land in Shimoga district, observed that forming a committee may sometimes delay the process itself.






Censor says yes to Shanghai song, no to abuses

Subhash K Jha, Mumbai Mirror | Jun 6, 2012, 09.46AM IST

The decks have been cleared for Dibakar Banerjee’s eagerly awaited political thriller Shanghai which hits theatres this Friday. The Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has accorded the film a UA certification, which means it is suitable for under-age viewing under parental guidance, albeit with one major cut.

CBFC CEO Pankaja Thakur refused to dwell on the cut, adding, “Beyond that one scene, we saw nothing objectionable in the content.” And while no one is willing to divulge any details, we hear the censored scene originally had an abusive term addressed to a politician.

Explaining the censor board’s stand on the controversial song Bharat mata ki jai against which a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Delhi High Court by the Bhagat Singh Kranti Sena, Thakur said, “The matter is subjudice, so I can’t comment on whether the song stays or goes from the film. It was cleared by our Revising Committee when submitted to the board members earlier. As far as the censor board is concerned, the song has been cleared.”





TN to continue 3 per cent reservation for differently abled

PTI | 01:06 AM,Jun 06,2012

Chennai, Jun 5 (PTI) The Tamil Nadu government today informed the Madras High Court that it would continue to provide three per cent reservation for the differently abled in the posts of nutritious noon meal organisers. While appointing the organisers, three per cent reservation would be provided for partially deaf persons and those with lesser degree of locomotor disability, Advocate General A Navaneethakrishnan said. The Advocate General informed this to a bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam when a PIL seeking three per cent reservation as per the Persons with Disabilities (Equal opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act came up for hearing. However, the posts of cook and assistants had been exempted from the specified reservation as the differently abled would have to handle large cooking vessels and also be entrusted with the task of feeding children, the Advocate General said. copy of the May 25 government order issued by state Principal Secretary for Social Welfare and Nutritious Meal Programme was produced before the bench. The PIL sought quashing of the August 18, 2010 government order and issuance of a fresh order by incorporating the statutory three per cent reservation for the differently abled while filling up 28,500 posts under the Noon Meal Programme and in the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme. Disposing of the petition, the bench observed that it was fully satisfied with the reservation provided for the persons concerned.





Made Snana ritual case hearing adjourned

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 02.35AM IST

BANGALORE: A high court division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Tuesday adjourned by a month hearing on a PIL seeking ban on the Made Snana ritual at the Subramanya shrine in Dakshina Kannada district. The court will await the state government’s decision as the chief minister had promised to discontinue the practice. The government advocate informed the court that though the CM had made the statement, no formal order has been passed yet.

The petitioners have described the practice as pernicious and against the spirit enunciated in the Constitution which speaks about imbibing the scientific spirit. Made Snana is a ritual in which people roll on plantain leaves off which Brahmins have had a meal.






Five officers get bail in firemen death case

PTI | 08:06 PM,Jun 05,2012

Thane, Jun 5 (PTI) Five officials of Thane Municipal Fire Services including the chief fire officer who were booked following the death of six firemen in the infamous ‘Punarvasu’ building fire have been granted bail by a court here. All the five, who were given anticipatory bail were booked for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. Thane Assistant Sessions Judge, N B Dhaitadak, ordered that in event of their arrest by Vartak Nagar police with whom the offence under Section 304 RW 34 of the IPC is registered, they be released on each one of them executing a bond for Rs 15,000 and furnishing surety in like amount. The applicants were: Munir Shaikh Usman Mulla, station in-charge of Mumbra Fire station, Pundalik Ladku Patil, sub-Fire Officer, Samadhan Vitthal Devre, sub station officer, Arvind Prabhakar Mandke, Chief Fire Officer and Girish Murlidhar Zhalke, sub-station Officer. On the ill-fated day October 18, 2009 and when they received a call following a fire in Punarvasu Building, they went to the site at about 4.30 am, the court was told. They further said in their application that firemen G C Singh, A S Thanekar, K G Patil, S R Jamadar, T G Kale and S K Shinde rushed into the lift in presence of the officers of Vartak Nagar police station to douse the fire on 14th floor of the Society. But the lift stopped and the firemen died due to suffocation. Kavita R Sangrulkar, a social worker and trustee of Abhay Abhiyan Trust made an application in the court in 2010 in which they stated that the firemen died due to carelessness and negligence of the applicant. Based on the directions of the court, police carried out investigations and filed offences under sections 304 rw 34 of the IPC against the applicants following which they approached the court for anticipatory bail. In their application, the officers said they were innocent and have been falsely implicated in the case. On perusing the FIR as it the ingredients offence u/sec 304 rw 34 of IPC are not attracted, at the most the provisions of section 304 (a) will be applicable. Therefore, there is no hindrance in releasing the applicants/accused on anticipatory bail. The documents on record shows that the heirs of the victims are already compensated by the various institutions including the government, the court said. The judge further noted the investigation is practically completed and nothing incriminating is to be recovered or discovered at the instance of the present applicants/accused. Therefore the physical custody of the present applicants is not required for the interrogation.





Online counselling for MBBS: SC seeks MCI take

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 04.16AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought Medical Council of India’s response within two days to a proposal from Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) for maiden online counseling for allotment of over 2,000 MBBS and BDS seats in medical colleges from this academic session.

A bench of Justices KS Radhakrishnan and JS Khehar sought medical education regulator MCI’s response by Thursday, when it would examine the DGHS proposal for doing away with existing mode of counseling that require candidates to appear in person.

Delhi used to be the main centre from where allotment of 15% all-India quota of MBBS and BDS seats in various medical colleges used to take place, with candidates participating in counseling through video conferencing from other centres like Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai. In 2011, DGHS conducted counseling for 4,150 candidates for 2,194 seats in MBBS and BDS courses.

Till now, the candidates used to take long journeys up to six times from their home towns to the metros within a short period of time to attend counseling sessions. “The expenditure for candidates during online counseling will be almost nil and much less for the government. The online counseling process will be faceless yet fully transparent and fair,” the DGHS promised.

The proposal for online counseling was recommended by an expert committee headed by Director General of Health Services, which was tasked by ministry of health and family welfare to find out ways and means to address the problem of seats remaining vacant even after two rounds of counseling every year.

In its application before the apex court, the DGHS said: “The committee has recommended that by changing the method of allotment from existing counseling by personal appearance to online counseling and by increasing the number of candidates eligible to take part in counseling both in undergraduate and post-graduate courses may significantly reduce the number of seats that remain unfilled at the end of All India quota counseling.”

The salient features of the proposal for online counseling are:

* All candidates who qualify All India Undergraduate Entrance Examination or five times number of seats available under the all-India quota, whichever is less, will be allowed to take part in online counseling.

* Qualified candidates will give option of course and college online. There will be a total of three rounds of online allotment instead of existing two.

* After the first round, candidates will be given provisional allotment letter online and will be required to report to the allotted medical/dental college within 10 days. The respective colleges would check the documents of eligibility of candidates.

* Candidates, who fail to take admission in 10 days, would forfeit their claim for admission and would not be considered for allotment of seats during subsequent rounds of counseling.

* Candidates who join the course after the first round may give their option for upgrade of h/his choice of course or college to be considered during subsequent rounds of counseling subject to availability of seats.

* Arrangement for online counseling process will be made by the National Informatics Centre, which conducts the online counseling for allotment of seats under All India Engineering Entrance Examination.





Fresh case registered against M.M. Mani

Anand Haridas

The police registered a fresh case against M.M. Mani, Idukki district secretary of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI-M], for conspiring to commit a murder.

The police had initiated an inquiry into the statements by the accused that the party had prepared a hit list. The new case pertained to the murder of Ancheri Baby, who was shot dead on November 13, 1982. Though the case was tried then, all suspects were acquitted. During the new inquiry, the second accused in the original case, Mohandas, gave a statement about the role played by Mr. Mani in conspiring to execute the murder, it is learnt.

Following this, the Rajakkad police registered a case under Section 120(b) (murder conspiracy) and section 118 (concealing the design to commit the crime) of the Indian Penal Code against M.M. Mani and K.K. Jayachandran, the then area committee secretary of the party; Lambodaran, M.M. Mani’s brother; and two others.






Bengal lists ‘corrupt’ cops in gazette

RAJIB CHATTERJEE : Kolkata, Wed Jun 06 2012, 00:40 hrs

In an unusual move, the police have published a gazette containing tale of two “corrupt officers” and the action taken against them. It also ordered wide publicity of the “nefarious act” of the officers among their colleagues in order to send a clear message that any violation of the government’s policy of “zero tolerance against corruption” would be firmly dealt with.

The order to put the misconduct of the two officers in the police gazette, published in mid-May, had come from DGP Naparajit Mukherjee.

The two “corrupt” officers — Inspector Kishore Ghosh and Assistant Sub-Inspector Prabir Bal — along with two civilians, allegedly tried to “extort money” from one Madan Ghatak of Berhampore, Murshidabad on May 1.

They were arrested and charged under Prevention of Corruption Act and the Indian Penal Code.





Man kills wife for dowry, gets life term

Upasana Mukherjee , Hindustan Times

Calling dowry a “customary extortion”, a Delhi court has sentenced a man to life imprisonment for setting his wife on fire in 2006, three years into their marriage.

Taking a strict view of the crime, additional sessions judge Anju Bajaj Chandna said, “Taking one’s life for dowry

is so heinous and grave that leniency has no place to stand with it.”  The court also imposed a fine of Rs. 20,000 on Anand Sharma, the victim’s husband.

The incident occurred on August 3, 2006, when the victim sustained burns all over her body after being doused with kerosene oil while she was asleep and set on fire. The victim in her dying declaration to the police named her husband and in-laws for setting her on fire. She categorically mentions being harassed and beaten up by her in-laws for not bringing enough cash and gifts from her maternal home as dowry.

Advocate Kush Sharma, appearing on behalf of the victim’s parents, said the dying declaration of the victim is categorical about the incident and it can be the sole basis of the conviction of the accused persons.

The court also pronounced the mother-in-law of the victim guilty of the offence of dowry death and sentenced her to 10 years in prison, together with a fine of R15,000, adding that dowry disgraces the sacred institution of marriage.

The prosecution also alleged that the victim was ill treated after she gave birth to a daughter in 2004. “In the present case, a young woman has lost her life and her little daughter is left to live without motherly care,” the Judge said, adding that Anand was responsible for the victim’s safety and security at her matrimonial home.

The duo has been charged with offence of dowry death (Section 304-B) and cruelty by husband and relative of husband (Section 498-A) of the Indian Penal Code.





Court refuses to summon John Abraham, says picture not obscene

Published: Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012, 17:19 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Refusing to hold a nude picture of Bollywood actor John Abraham, published in a news daily as “obscene,” a Delhi court has dismissed a plea to summon him and the newspaper’s editor to answer charges of spreading vulgarity in society.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajneesh Kumar Gupta dismissed the plea saying that the actor’s alleged photographs were not likely to “corrupt the mind” of the readers and its purpose was merely to give the latest news about Bollywood.

“After going through the photograph of John Abraham and contents of the news item, I am of the opinion that the alleged picture of John Abraham is not obscene which is likely to deprave and corrupt the mind of its readers and its purpose is only to give information to the news readers as to what is the latest happenings in the Bollywood,” Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Rajneesh Kumar Gupta said.

The court dismissed the revision petition of Kirti Nagar resident Chander Mohan Dua, who had sought summoning of John Abraham and the editor and publisher of the daily which had published the picture in June 2009.

“I do not find sufficient material on record to summon the accused persons. Accordingly, there is no infirmity or illegality in the order passed by the trial court and it is upheld. The revision petition is dismissed,” ASJ Gupta said.

Dua had sought prosecution of John Abraham and the daily’s editor and publisher for allegedly violating sections 292 and 294 of the Indian Penal Code (relating to sale, circulation or publication of obscene pictures and indulging in obscene acts), besides various other statutory provisions.

Dua had filed the complaint saying that on June 11, 2009, a “vulgar photograph” of Abraham was published in the daily which was viewed by his children and lakhs of people including the young and adolescent ones who may easily be depraved and corrupted by such acts of obscenity and vulgarity.

He said he had filed a complaint in this regard in the Moti Nagar police station here but no action was taken on his complaint.

Dua had then approached the court but the magistrate had refused to summon Abraham as an accused and had dismissed his plea.






‘We are sick of illegal parties’

Published: Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012, 10:27 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The high court has issued notices to the BBMP regarding a public interest litigation, which alleges that loud parties are being held in a community hall in the city without licence, creating a lot of nuisance for people living around it.

Two people have filed the PIL, alleging that the community hall in Central Public Works Department (CPWD) quarters premises in Vijayanagar is hosting parties almost every day without permission.

The petitioners contend that non-veg food is served in these parties. Animals are butchered in the wee hours of the day, which creates an unpleasant scene, what with the cries of the animals.

Stray dogs keep roaming around the hall for raw meat and the surplus food that is thrown after the parties are over.

The PIL says that the area around community hall has become a mess. Residents have to put up with foul smell all the time. The place has become home to rodents and flies.

Further, many people who come to the community hall for the parties urinate on the boundary walls, which just adds to the trouble. The situation is so bad that reaching health clinic on the first floor of the community hall has become an arduous task.

Further, the petitioners have contended that utensils for the parties are loaded and unloaded early in the morning, which creates a lot of noise and disturbs sleep of the people living near the community hall. The visitors park their vehicles in a haphazard manner, which aggravates the traffic problem posed by the construction work for Namma Metro.

The petitioners contended that these parties are not cultural or social functions, but private parties, that too held without permission. They alleged that the BBMP and the deputy health officer are aware of this problem but have not taken any action.

The case came up for hearing before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen. Taking note of the matter, the high court issued notices to the BBMP, deputy health officer of Govindarajanagar range, and the organisers of the community hall—Griha Kalyana Kendra Samaja Sadana.






Do new Irda rules on health cover benefit policy holders?

Following the Bombay High Court order in December last year, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda) had promised to release draft guidelines to protect health insurance policy holders’ interest and bring more transparency into the system.

Last week, the insurance regulator proposed certain norms, which could bring about the much-needed standardisation in the health insurance space. While some of the norms are already in place, there are also several fresh proposals. Here’s a look at the newer ones:

Measure: 30-day deadline for claim settlement

Impact: You can take insurers to task if the claim is not processed within 30 days of submitting the required documents. “While it was part of Irda (Protection of Policyholders’ Interest) Regulations, 2002, it never found a mention in insurance policy documents.

Henceforth, it will have to be included in the policy documents,” explains civic activist Gaurang Damani, who had filed the public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court demanding that regulations be framed for the health insurance sector. Irda’s undertaking to devise draft guidelines was a fallout from this case.

Measure: Specific reason required for claim denial

Impact: Since the insurance company has to give the reason for rejecting a claim in writing, it could bring down the instances of claim repudiation on flimsy grounds.

Measure: Insurers to pay hospitals directly

Impact: Payments will become smooth. “In cases where the cheques for claim settlement were issued by the third-party administrators (TPA), payments used to be often delayed. Besides, it was difficult to ascertain whether the TPA had passed on the entire claim amount approved by the insurer to the claimant,” says Damani.

Measure: Contribution clause will not come into play in the case of multiple policies

Impact: Policyholders with two or more indemnity-based policies can make optimum use of their total coverage. Until now, claim made on two policies was split between the two insurers in the ratio of the sum insured. “The policyholder will have the option of choosing the insurer with whom the claim is to be settled,” says Amarnath Ananthanarayanan, CEO, Bharti-AXA General Insurance.





Allegations against Deshmukh, Shinde being probed:CBI tells HC

Mumbai, June 05, 2012The CBI probing the Adarsh housing society scam has informed the Bombay High Court that it is thoroughly investigating the allegations made against Union Ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh and Sushil Kumar Shinde by a social activist based on the report of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG).

This was stated by the CBI in an affidavit filed by it in the High Court on June 1.

Social activist Pravin Wategaonkar had in April this year filed an affidavit before the High Court based on the CAG report alleging that Deshmukh, former Maharashtra Chief minister, own two proxy flats in the scam tainted Adarsh society in south Mumbai.

Wategaonkar, in his affidavit, had sought that the CBI and Enforcement Directorate (ED) to investigate the role of Deshmukh, Shinde and other politicians and bureaucrats for alleged irregularities committed by them while showing favour to Adarsh Society.

The High Court on April 30 directed the CBI and ED to file their reply affidavits to Wategaonkar’s allegations. The CBI in its affidavit filed on June 1 has said it was investigating the allegations made by Wategaonkar based on the CAG report.

“I say that the reference made by the petitioner (Wategaonkar) about the report of CAG on Adarsh society, which has brought out certain acts of commission and omission on the part of public servants are being thoroughly investigated by CBI”, states the affidavit filed by Ravindra Singh, CBI Superintendent of Police (SP).

“I say that the allegations made by the petitioner against Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushil Kumar Shinde, Sunil Tatkare (cabinet minister) and others are being thoroughly investigated by CBI”, the affidavit stated.

It further said that the agency has examined all relevant witnesses, including two former chief ministers as part of the probe.

“Whatever evidence has come on record are being ascertained. Investigations are at a crucial stage and efforts are being made to finalise the same at the earliest after which CBI shall file its final report”, the affidavit states.

The High Court had on the last hearing posted the matter on June 18 after CBI informed the Court that it would file its chargesheet in the case by June 15.

“It was noticed in the audit that in most cases decisions that were taken resulted in undue favour to the Society. Many of the officials who were involved in such decisions were direct beneficiaries. Either they or their relatives already were or later became members of the Society”, Wategaonkar said in his affidavit quoting the CAG report.

According to Wategaonkar, Vilasrao has procured two proxy flats in the 31-storeyed plush society as quid pro quo for the clearances given to the Society in his official capacity as Chief Minister and minister-in-charge of the Urban Development department.

The activist had sought the CBI and ED probe these irregularities.






Emaar: HC okays plot registration

June 6, 2012

A High Court Division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice V. Eswaraiah and Justice Vilas V. Afzulpurkar on Tuesday granted stay on an order issued by a single judge, who had stayed a government order restraining the authorities from registering the plots in Emaar project.

The single judge had directed owners of plots and villas in Emaar project to deposit Rs 15,000 per sq. yd. to the APIIC before their documents are presented for registration. The interim direction was granted on a petition by the plot owners. The state government subsequently filed an appeal.

BIE: No scope for inter re-exam
The BIE on Tuesday told the High Court that there was no provision under to hold re-examination for second-year students who failed to appear on May 16 due to a delay in receiving their hall tickets. A Division Bench was dealing with the appeal, challenging a single-judge Bench’s order to conduct a re-examination. Additional A-G K.G. Krishna Murthy contended that details of the students were uploaded after the due date, and 777 students failed to take the exam. The Board, he argued, did not delay in issuing of hall tickets. Students’ counsels said they paid the fee on time and their colleges remitted it before the due date, but there was a 24-hour delay in uploading their details.





HC rejects ex-CLB member’s plea for joint trial in graft cases

Press Trust of India / New Delhi June 05, 2012, 17:45


The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea of R Vasudevan, former member of Company Law Board (CLB), seeking to club two graft cases lodged separately against him for allegedly taking bribe of Rs seven lakh and amassing assets more than his known sources of income.

“I find no infirmity with the order of the learned Special Judge. Hence, (the petition is) dismissed,” Justice M L Mehta said, adding that “both the offences for which the petitioner has been charged are distinct offences and not parts of same transaction…”.

Vasudevan, then acting chairperson of CLB, is accused of taking Rs seven lakh bribe from co-accused Manoj Banthia, company secretary of a vernacular news daily, for assuring him a favourable order in 2009 in a case being decided by him.

Except Vasudevan and Banthia, four others were also named as accused in the graft case lodged by the CBI which filed the charge sheet in 2010 in the case.

However, CBI, which also conducted raids at Vasudevan’s premises in Delhi and Chennai during probe, later lodged another FIR against him for amassing disproportionate assets.

The former CLB member, whose plea seeking to club the cases was rejected by the lower court, moved the High Court which upheld the decision saying the offences were “distinct and separate” and their trial cannot be clubbed.

Citing a Supreme Court judgement, Justice Mehta said in a disproportionate assets case, the onus to prove the genuineness of income lies with the accused.

However, in a bribery case, the duty to prove allegations shifts to the prosecuting agency (CBI) and hence, both FIRs are separate and the trials cannot be clubbed, the court said. (More)






Delhi HC rules, Muslim girl can marry at 15 if she attains puberty

Published: Tuesday, Jun 5, 2012, 17:39 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Ruling that a Muslim girl can marry as per her choice at the age of 15 years if she has attained puberty, the Delhi High Court has held the marriage of a minor girl valid and allowed her to stay in her matrimonial house.

“This Court notes that according to Mohammedan Law a girl can marry without the consent of her parents once she attains the age of puberty and she has the right to reside with her husband even if she is below the age of 18….,” a bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and S P Garg said.

Citing various Supreme Court judgements on the issue of minor Muslim girls’ marriage, the bench said “In view of the above judgments, it is clear that a Muslim girl who has attained puberty i.e. 15 years can marry and such a marriage would not be a void marriage. However, she has the option of treating the marriage as voidable, at the time of her attaining the age of majority, i.e 18 years.”

Accepting the 16-year-old girl’s plea to allow her to stay in her matrimonial home, the bench has disposed of a habeas corpus petition filed by the girl’s mother alleging that her daughter was kidnapped by a youth and forced into marriage in April last year.

The bench accepted the girl’s statement she had left her parental home of her own will to marry the man of her choice and her husband should not be booked on the charge of kidnapping.

Meanwhile, to ascertain the girl’s well being, the court has directed the couple and in-laws to appear before the Child Welfare Committee once in every six months till the girl attains majority.

“The Committee shall take necessary steps, including obtaining the necessary undertaking from the man(husband) in this regard. Subject to completion of these steps, the girl be allowed to live in her matrimonial home,” the bench said.

The girl has been currently residing in Nirmal Chhaya, a government sponsored home for rehabilitation of poor and elderly women.






city anchor: HC sets aside 38-yr-old UT resumption order on ‘oversized window’

RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Wed Jun 06 2012, 02:58 hrs

Unhappy over a “major” violation, the Chandigarh Administration ordered resumption of a house located in Sector 10 in 1974. The violation was of an “oversized window” on the ground floor of the house. Refusing to relent from its stand, the Administration declined to withdraw the resumption proceedings against the owner, Harkishan Singh, for nearly four decades. Finally, the Punjab and Haryana High Court put an end to the dispute last week.

Terming the resumption orders issued and the consequent dismissal of appeals of the owner by the UT Administration “not justified”, the High Court has expressed shock that the dispute was allowed to linger on for nearly four decades. “We are unable to hold that the building continues to be resumed after the year 1974,” a division bench comprising Justice Hemant Gupta and Justice A N Jindal has ruled.

Consider this: Battling with the Administration to withdraw the resumption proceedings, the allottee Harkishan Singh died on March 9, 2007. When his son applied for transfer of the property on the basis of a will dated March 27, 2001, he (son) was informed that the property “stands resumed”. To his dismay, he was told that the property can be got resumed only from the higher authority in the UT Administration.

Another bout of litigation, this time to get ownership transferred, began in 2007. The son’s demand for transfer of ownership was declined by the UT Administrator’s Advisor on the ground that the petitioner “had slept over the matter for more than 36 years and as such they (petitioner & family) are not entitled to any relief”.

Senior lawyer Puneet Bali, counsel for the petitioner, vehemently contended that the only violation noticed by the building branch and communicated to the Architect of the Administration is about the size of a window on the ground floor.

Bali argued that the allottee had communicated in 1974 that minor changes be ignored or compounded. Aggrieved with the attitude of the Administration, the petitioner moved the High Court seeking quashing of the resumption orders and the order dismissing demand for transfer of ownership passed by the Advisor to the Administrator on December 2, 2010.

Setting aside the orders passed by UT, the High Court ruled “the fact remains that after communication dated March 30, 1974, the allottee has not been informed by the Administration of any continuing violations or that the request for compounding the violations has been rejected. Once the allottee has informed the Administration within the time granted that he has completed the construction as per the revised plan and that the minor changes be either ignored or compounded, the inference that the building stands resumed is not justified. Still further, the only objection was regarding oversized window. It was admitted by the UT Administration that the same is compoundable as per regulations”.

The Administration has been directed to decide the claim of the petitioner for transfer of ownership in accordance with law expeditiously.





HC orders probe into ‘honour killing’

Bangalore, June 5, 2012, DHNS:

The Karnataka High Court has ordered an inquiry into the death of Bhramarambika, a fourth semester LLB student of Seshadripuram Law College here, after some students of the college wrote to the court seeking a probe into what they see as a case of ‘honour killing’.

In a letter to Justice D V Shylendra Kumar, Bhramarambika’s classmates said the girl student’s death in her home village of Badi Maralur in Gowribidanur taluk in Chickaballapur district was shrouded in mystery.

According to the students, Bhrarambika went to her home town to prepare for her fourth semester examinations. She had appeared for the viva voce on May 10, 2012. The semester examinations were scheduled in June. On the morning of May 20, her classmates received a message stating that she was dead. Shocked, they rushed to her village. But by the time they reached, her body had already been cremated.

Conflicting versions

When the students inquired about the cause of death, the family members reportedly came up with conflicting versions. While some family members claimed she had committed suicide by slitting her throat, another said she had consumed poison. Yet another version was that she suffered a heart attack while seated on chair and had fallen down and died.

The classmates were perplexed when some family members blurted out that severe vomiting and food poisoning led to her death. Deepening the mystery, residents of the village too were in the dark about the cause of the death.

It was then the students decided to write a letter to the High Court. In their letter dated May 28, 2012, the students wrote to Justice Shylendra Kumar, narrating the entire episode, and expressing their suspicion that it was a case of honour killing. The judge forwarded the letter to the Chief Justice.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna has now directed the State government to look into the matter and report in three weeks.
The court has also appointed an amicus curiae to assist the court and issued notices to State government, the Director General and Inspector General of Police and Superintendent of Police, Chikkaballapur.





HC directs probe in allegations against Indian Institute of Management Indore director

Ashish Gaur, TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 03.29AM IST

INDORE: The Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has directed the ministry of human resources development (HRD) and the Chairman and board of governors of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Indore to inquire into allegations of financial irregularities leveled against the director of IIM-I, N Ravichandran.

The court issued the directives after hearing a writ petition that was filed by Dr P.K Singh and six others on May 28, 2012. Justice U.C Maheshwari disposed of the matter saying that the complaints maybe inquired in to and a report be submitted within six months. Advocate Vivek Dalal is representing Singh in the court.

Nearly six months back, eight professors of IIM-I had registered their complaints with the former chairman of IIM-I L N Jhunjhunwala alleging financial irregularities and corruption by the director of the institute.

According to sources, Jhunjhunwala had asked the professors to report to him personally on April 9 but director did not allow them following which former chairman resigned from the post. The complaints were also sent to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) but no action was taken.

After receiving cold shoulder response from various quarters on their complaints the faculty members moved court. The faculty members have submitted a 20-page complaint against the director of the institute alleging financial irregularities. A separate petition was filed in the Indore bench of MP High Court against Ravichandran alleging plagiarism in research papers.





Madras HC judges set example, remove sun films from their cars

A Subramani, TNN | Jun 5, 2012, 05.34PM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has become the first high court in the country to follow the recent Supreme Court order banning the use of black sun control films in cars. A decision to remove the film from the cars of 53 judges of the chartered high court was taken by the court’s vehicle committee headed by Justice D Murugesan, and it has since been approved by the high court.

“We have asked the local Toyota car dealers to send their men to remove the films our Toyota Altis cars on Wednesday,” said an official.

Explaining the rationale behind the move, a senior judicial officer told The Times of India that the judicial officers hearing the cases related to the implementation of the ban did not want to be accused of adopting double standards.

“We do not need any special treatment in the matter. Though it will cause some minor inconvenience to us, we wanted to set an example for other citizens to follow. The apex court’s ban on the sun control films has strong security and safety reasons. We believe our decision will bring moral pressure on others to follow suit and voluntarily remove the dark films,” he said.

Another judicial officer said: “We are already living in a glass house, as we are under constant public attention. Now we will travel in glass cars. At times when you happen to pass through known areas and people, we may feel vulnerable. We may have to be careful about what we read on the move too.”

In its recent judgment, the Supreme Court banned the use of sun control films of all shades and colours in cars. People can now use only tinted glasses that come along with the vehicle. While the visibility cannot be less than 30% on side glasses, it can be up to 50% in front and rear glasses. Though the apex court has said VIPs in specific cases could be exempted from the requirement, it has not defined the term VIP.

Several states, including Delhi and Tamil Nadu, have already started implementing the Supreme Court ruling, which came into effect from May 1.






HC rejects bail plea of developer who duped investors

Press Trust of India / New Delhi June 05, 2012, 21:05


The bail plea of a city based developer, arrested for allegedly duping thousands of investors worth crores of rupees in a township project, has been rejected by the Delhi High Court.

Dismissing the plea of Sanjay Gambhir, the Director of M/s D D Infrastructure, for regular bail, Justice M L Mehta noted that the offences he had been accused of were of “high magnitude of mass public fraud and cheating” and such offences were on a rise in the city.

It also observed that his bona fides were “extremely dishonest and deceitful”.

“…The number of complainants/investors rising on every following day and the amount of their investments considerably rising and the fact that all the complainants/investors have been raising hue and cry for having been duped of their hard earned money.

“And the prosecutor as also the investigating agency pressing for custodial interrogation for the investigation of the FDI amount of about 230 crores, which had been received by the petitioner and his co-accused persons as valuable consideration towards the transfer of their rights in the projects, and the bona fides of the petitioner not being honest, but extremely dishonest and deceitful, the petitioner is not entitled to be enlarged on bail,” the court said.

Taking serious note of Gambhir’s conduct, it said the accused was granted interim bail by this court with certain conditions including refunding of money to some complainants but he had failed to comply with the conditions.

“The offences which have been committed by the petitioner (Gambhir) with other co-accused (wife and son) are of high magnitude of mass public fraud and cheating and such offences being on high rise in the city, the petitioner does not deserve any indulgence of this court. In view of all this, the petition has no merit and is hereby dismissed,” the court said.

Gambhir was on interim bail till December 22 last year but after he failed to comply with the conditions including refund of money with interest to the investors, the court cancelled the interim protection given to him in December last year and since then he has been in custody. MORE





HC guidelines for police probe in girls’ cases

Source: The Sangai Express / Press Trust of India

Guwahati, June 05 2012: The Gauhati High Court has issued a set of guidelines for investigation of all cases in which minor or adolescent girls are involved and directed the Assam Director General of Police to ensure scientific investigation of all such cases.

Justice B D Agarwal issued the guidelines while delivering judgement in the case of a 13-year old girl, who was allegedly kidnapped under the garb of elopement.

The judge, who delivered the verdict yesterday, came down heavily on investigating agencies for conducting probe in a casual manner.

The court held that while recording statements of minor girls, judicial magistrates should cause a preliminary enquiry to ascertain the correct age of the victims.

Due to their immaturity, minor and adolescent girls are easy prey and are brain-washed to such an extent that they speak in favour of the accused and suppress their actual age.

He also directed the magistrates to record their statements after giving them sufficient time for reflection to neutralise the emotional bonding with the accused.

Justice Agarwal observed that kidnapping or procuring adolescent girls for marriage or sexual acts not only affects the girls’ health but also shatters their dreams in life.

On the particular case, the judge rejected the bail plea of the accused and directed that the statement of the victim be recorded afresh after keeping her in an Observation Home for at least five days.

The court ordered that as the accused had claimed that they had married before a qazi, administrative action should be taken against the doctors and the qazi for issuing incorrect age certificate and registering the marriage, without proper proof of age.






HC seeks action plan to promote mango sale

Bangalore, June 5, 2012, DHNS:

The High Court on Tuesday, directed the State government to submit an action plan to promote the sale and procurement of mangoes across State and warned that it would have to summon the chief secretary if the government failed to act.

Hearing a petition filed by the Kolar District Mango Growers and Sellers Association, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna asked the government to submit a detailed report on the implementation of the programmes vis-a-vis mango sale and procurement.

During the hearing, the State government submitted that following the High Court directions, it had set up two HOPCOMS stalls, while the Karnataka Agriculture Marketing Board had released Rs 10 lakh to HOPCOMS to procure mangoes.

They also submitted that two persons of the cadre equal to the Additional Director, Agriculture Marketing Board, and Joint Director, the Department of Horticulture, have been appointed personally to oversee the procurement of mangoes.

However, when the petitioner pointed out that there was no action taken by the State government, other than the submissions before the court, the Chief Justice lashed out at the government saying, “We do not want your submissions just on papers. We want what has been submitted (before the court) to be implemented. If there is no action taken, we will be forced to summon the chief secretary.”

S S Naganand, senior counsel and amicus curiae, said many improvements introduced in the recent past in HOPCOMS had been undone because of political interference, and its turnover had reduced drastically in the last two years.

He pointed out that facilities at mango melas were not sufficient as no assistance was given to the growers, which includes space for marketing produce and amenities.

Though the horticulture department states that it has provided cultivators subsidy for cold storage facilities and packing, more needs to be done, he said. No effort is made to produce value-added products like pulp, concentrate, juice, essence flavours and packaging of ripe fruits.

The amicus curiae suggested that the court consider and appoint a monitoring committee chaired by the chief secretary and a representative from the Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, the Department of Horticulture, the Department of Agriculture Marketing and a representative of the growers. He also sought a time-bound plan of action for short-term and long-term measures to improve the plight of mango growers.





Defamation case: Delhi HC to summon VK Singh


New Delhi: The Delhi Court on Wednesday will decide whether or not to summon former Army Chief VK Singh in Lt General Tejinder Singh’s defamation case. The court had earlier noted that it cannot draw any conclusions based on Tejinder’s witnesses.

The Delhi High Court earlier refused to direct the Centre to take back a press release of the Army alleging that Tejinder Singh offered a bribe to the Army chief in connection with a defence deal.

“The Union of India cannot be directed to disown or retract the aforesaid press release,” Justice Mukta Gupta said while disposing off a petition by Tejinder Singh seeking withdrawal of the alleged defamatory press release.

The court also considered the reply of the Ministry of Defence that it had no role in the issuance of March 5 press release as it was given out by the Army Headquarters.

The court, however, said that Tejinder Singh could make a representation before the authorities concerned seeking initiation of disciplinary proceedings against five Army officials including Chief of Army Staff Gen VK Singh.

In the criminal writ petition filed through his counsel Anil K Aggarwal, Tejinder Singh had contended that the press release issued by senior Army officials, including the Army chief, was “defamatory” and had sought its withdrawal.

The Army chief had earlier claimed that a lobbyist, who had “just” retired, offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore for clearing a file relating to purchase of a tranche of 600 “sub-standard” TATRA trucks and that he had immediately informed Defence Minister AK Antony about it.

With additional information from PTI





HC slams red-tape over death records

TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 04.11AM IST

CHENNAI: Once a death is brought to the notice of authorities by a competent person, then it must be registered and certificate given without going into questions such as cause of death and place of occurrence, the Madras high court said recently.

A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice M Venugopal, passing orders on an appeal filed by the Perungalathur town panchayat, said: “When an information is furnished by the head of the family or the nearest relative or the oldest adult male person in the house within the jurisdiction of the registering authority, the registrar is duty-bound to register it.”

The matter relates to a petition filed by N Vedantam, who said his wife died on May 3, 2010 while travelling from New Delhi to Patna by train. The couple hailed from Perungalathur, a Chennai suburb, and the woman’s body was brought here and cremated.

Later, when Vedantam applied for registration of the death and sought death certificate, the Perungalathur town panchayat officials said they could not issue the certificate as she died beyond their jurisdiction. They asked Vedantam to approach officials in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. Vedantam approached the high court and a single judge directed the authorities to issue the certificate. Challenging it, the town panchayat filed an appeal.

Justice Elipe Dharma Rao, writing the judgment for the bench, flayed the panchayat authorities for driving Vedantam from pillar to post, and said there was no justification in the denial of death certificate.

As per the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969, the foremost duty of the registering officer was to register the information, as the rules do not provide for refusal to register the information, said Justice Elipe Dharma Rao.

“When the government is propagating and trying to educate the citizens to register marriages, births and deaths on the one hand, it is not proper on their part to take a contra stand and drive persons from pillar to post for registration of the same,” the order read.

The town panchayat was then directed to register the details without probing into the nature or circumstances of the death.

When the government is propagating and trying to educate the citizens to register marriages, births and deaths on the one hand, it is not proper on their part to take a contra stand and drive persons from pillar to post for registration of the same.





UP lawyer who ducked HC fine ‘pays’ at last for PIL against Guv

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Wed Jun 06 2012, 03:40 hrs

Lucknow-based lawyer Ashok Pande, who was recently arrested by UP Police on the basis of a non-bailable warrant (NBW) issued by the Gujarat High Court (HC), has deposited Rs 25,000 with the HC registry as fine for moving a frivolous public interest litigation (PIL) seeking removal of Gujarat Governor Kamla Beniwal.

A division bench of HC had issued the NBW against Pande after he did not pay the fine and repeatedly ignored court notices in that regard.

A team of UP Police arrested Pande on June 3 and produced him before Justice Akil Kureshi of the Gujarat HC at the latter’s residence in Ahmedabad on Tuesday.

Additional Public Prosecutor J K Shah said Pande deposited Rs 25,000 with HC registry and gave an undertaking that he would remain present before the Chief Court of HC on June 11. “Following this, the court suspended the NBW and released Pande,” Shah said.

According to Shah, Pande complained that he was arrested on June 3 and was kept in custody by police till his production before the court without obtaining even a transit warrant. “Justice Kureshi has ordered that he may raise his grievances at appropriate time before appropriate forum,” Shah said.

Last year, Pande had moved a PIL stating that the appointment of Kamla Beniwal as Governor of Gujarat was unconstitutional because the President had not obtained consent of Chief Minister Narendra Modi for the same.

Pande, introducing himself as a president of Hindu Personal Law Board, a non-government organisation, had moved the PIL arguing that under the constitutional provisions if a person is not acceptable as Governor to the elected government of a province, he/she should not be posted in that state.

Pande also argued that before appointing a person as Governor in a state, the state government’s acceptance must be obtained.

A division bench of HC comprising the then acting Chief Justice A L Dave and Justice J B Pardiwala had, in October last year, dismissed the PIL while asking if it was a publicity interest litigation or personal interest litigation.

Pande had earlier hit headlines in 2006 when he had announced a Rs 51-crore “reward” to kill late M F Hussain for allegedly making “obscene” paintings of Hindu goddesses.





Kerala governor clears state information commission appointments

T Ramavarman, TNN | Jun 6, 2012, 05.25AM IST

KOCHI: Acting governor H R Bharadwaj has cleared the appointment of two new members to the State Information Commission, despite criticisms that they are political nominees. The new members – Vithura Sasi and Kuriyas Kumbalakuzhi – are likely to be sworn in on June 13, according to commission sources.

Sources told TOI here that Bharadwaj, who is also the governor of Karnataka, had informed the commission of his inability to attend the swearing-in ceremony of the new members.

He has asked Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) Siby Mathews to go ahead with the swearing-in in consultation with the new member-designates.

With this the number of members in the State Information Commission (SIC) will go up to six, including the CIC.

Civil society groups in the state had earlier objected to the appointment of new members alleging that the government had not followed any selection process in appointing them and that both of them had political links.

General secretary of Human Rights Defence Forum D B Binu had urged the governor to return the recommendation for appointment of the two politicians as State Information Commissioners.

The selection committee which made the recommendation is headed by chief minister Oommen Chandy while leader of the opposition V S Achuthanandan is a member.

The forum had filed a writ petition before the high court, seeking a fair and reasonable procedure affording opportunity to all qualified and interested persons in the state to apply for the posts of information commissioners.

The case is still pending before the high court.

Interestingly, the previous LDF government had also faced criticisms when it appointed Soni B Thengamom, to the commission – though he had resigned all his Communist Party of India party positions just before the nomination.






Parties can seek info under RTI: CIC

Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, June 06, 2012

Supreme Court (SC) registry can no longer avoid parting with information about petitions filed, saying it does not come under the purview of RTI Act. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has ruled that the parties involved in the case/s can seek information related to their case/s under RTI Act.

When T Jhansi Lakshmi’s special leave petition was not listed for hearing even after more than 75 days, she filed an RTI query with the SC registry.

She sought to know from the Public Information Officer (PIO) the genuine reason as to why her SLP was not listed. However, both the PIO and the Appellate Authority (AA) denied it, stating that the inspection or search of judicial records can be undertaken only by following prescribed rules and orders of the apex court and not under RTI.

When chief information commissioner Satyananda Mishra upheld the right to demand information about a petition under Act, the registry’s PIO and the AA pointed out that she was not a party to the litigation, instead her husband was.

The decision has come as a ray of hope for several RTI applicants filing queries with the SC registry as most of them have faced similar situation.






New bench may fast-track hearing on DLF row over CCI fine

Published on Tue, Jun 05, 2012 at 17:00 |  Source : CNBC-TV18

The Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) is considering fast-tracking the hearing into DLF ‘s appeal against the CCI order. The Compat has decided to bring forward the dates of the case to June 27 from July 18.

As one would recall following the retirement of former Compat chairman Justice Arijit Pasayat last month, it was decided that a new bench would re-hear the case led by the newly appointed chairman Justice VS Sirpurkar. This meant that the final Compat order on the much-awaited case would be delayed.

Sources say that the DLF case would now be among the first to be heard when Compat reopens on June 25 after the short summer break.

On 12 August last year, the Competition Commission of India slapped DLF with a penalty of Rs 630 crore for alleged abuse of its dominant position and passed a ‘cease and desist’ order over unfair conditions imposed by DLF on buyers of its flats. Then late August,CCI passed another separate order in which it again cautioned DLF not to misuse its dominant position but did not impose any penalty.

DLF, in turn, challenged the CCI directive on various grounds to Compat, including the jurisdiction of the case, the basis for determining relevant market and dominant position, as well as not being served with show-cause notices before the CCI penalty was announced.

The penalty was imposed following an inquiry based on complaints filed by the flat buyer associations’ of two separate DLF projects in Gurgaon, DLF Park Palace and The Belaire. The associations complained that there were delays in the projects and that DLF had increased the number of floors from what was initially planned, among other things.





Rajasthan Government reinstates suspended Bharatpur Collector

Special Correspondent

Following a stay granted by Central Administrative Tribunal

In a quiet move following a stay granted by the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), the Congress-led Government in Rajasthan has reinstated former Bharatpur Collector Krishna Kunal who was suspended for his failure to control communal violence at Gopalgarh on September 14 last year. Mr. Kunal had ordered police firing on a mosque in the town in which 10 people were killed.

A Division Bench of the CAT here earlier this week granted an interim stay on Mr. Kunal’s suspension on the technical ground of the suspension orders not being accompanied by the departmental or disciplinary inquiry. The suspended Collector had contended that no probe was contemplated or pending against him.

The State Government issued orders for Mr. Kunal’s reinstatement over the week-end reportedly after Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot reviewed the matter and gave a green signal for withdrawal of suspension. Mr. Kunal has been asked to wait for his new posting orders and register his presence in the Personnel Department as of now.

Ten people praying inside the Jama Masjid at Gopalgarh were killed and 38 injured on September 14, 2011, when the police resorted to indiscriminate firing on the mosque amid tension between Gujjars and Meo Muslims. Some of the policemen allegedly joined the armed Gujjar mob which stormed into the mosque and lynched the worshippers.

The CAT’s directive staying the operation of the September 28, 2011 suspension order and the December 22, 2011 order by which the suspension was extended for 180 days was an interim in nature. The CAT issued notices in the case and posted it for hearing on June 13.

The State Government’s decision to revoke Mr. Kunal’s suspension on the basis of the CAT’s interim stay has led to shock and outrage among the social activists and Muslim groups here. The “hushed manner” in which a legal loophole was left for the benefit of the suspended Collector has especially caused indignation among the informed circles.


The Rajasthan Muslim Forum and Rajasthan unit of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind have accused Mr. Gehlot of denying justice to the victims of police firing. They said the ruling Congress’ decisions after the firing to hand over investigation to the CBI and suspend the Collector and Superintendent of Police were meant to “deceive the people”.

JUH State general secretary Abdul Wahid Khatri pointed out that the next of kin of those killed in the firing had lodged as many as 12 FIRs against Mr. Kunal and the then SP, Hinglaj Dan, with the charges of murder. Strangely, the CBI has neither taken up any of these FIRs for probe nor arrested any of the policemen who sprayed bullets on the mosque.

Mr. Khatri said the Collector’s reinstatement went against the principle of rule of law.

“The State Government should have sought a legal opinion for an appeal against the CAT’s interim stay or corrected the lapse on [the basis of] which the order was passed. On the contrary, it has used the stay as a ploy to revoke the guilty officer’s suspension.”

Rajasthan Muslim Forum convenor Qari Moinuddin wondered as to what prevented Mr. Gehlot from ordering a departmental inquiry against the accused Collector when he believed that he had ineptly handled the Gopalgarh incident: “From Mr. Gehlot’s conduct, it is clear that he does not want to punish those guilty of carrying out one of the most horrific massacres in Rajasthan.”

The Muslim groups alleged that Mr. Kunal had been reinstated to defeat the spirit of this past week’s order of the Rajasthan High Court instructing the CBI Director to monitor the probe into the Gopalgarh violence and submit the progress report in the court. “The way the ruling Congress is resorting to various tactics to obstruct justice is outrageous. The [State] Government is acting against the constitutional mandate to uphold the rule of law,” said Mr. Moinuddin.

Muslim groups, which have been demanding Mr. Gehlot’s removal ever since the Gopalgarh violence, have sought an appointment with Governor Margaret Alva to draw her attention to the State Government’s conduct and seek action in accordance with the constitutional provisions.

Independent investigations carried out by civil rights groups, including the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, had pointed to “collusion” between the local police, an aggressive section of the Gujjar community and some local RSS, Bajrang Dal and VHP leaders during the violence. The PUCL report stated that some self-styled Hindu leaders had “pressured Mr. Kunal into ordering the firing.”





HC To Rule On SAC’s Suo Moto Powers Today

Srinagar, June 05: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court is to outline the jurisdiction of the State Accountability Commission (SAC) on Wednesday in a simultaneous hearing of around 35 high-profile cases involving former ministers, bureaucrats and businessmen.

The cases challenging the authority of the SAC to take suo moto action have been pending in the High Court for over five years, with a large number of lawyers defending petitioners targeted by the Commission.

In one of the petitions – pertaining to minister for co-operatives Manohar Lal Sharma – Justice JP Singh had directed that all cases involving the SAC would be heard by Justice Hasnain Masoodi.

According to sources, with the assistance lawyers, Justice Masoodi has sorted and classified the cases according to their nature, noting that most involved the authority of the SAC to take suo moto action.

Justice Masoodi has decided to take this category of cases up first in an en masse hearing tomorrow.

Observers feel that the High Court ruling would delineate the jurisdiction of the State Accountability Commission to initiate action on its own.

The high-profile names figuring in the cases include former deputy chief minister Mangat Ram Sharma, former health minister Suman Lata Bhagat, her PRO Vikas Bahl, former education minister Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed, cooperatives minister Manohar Lal Sharma, former DIG Satvir Gupta, commissioner secretary Atul Duloo, former minister and MLA Doda Abdul Majeed Wani, former district development commissioner for Rajouri Sheikh Rafiq Ahmad, former commissioner secretary for the animal husbandry department Dr. Deen Muhammad, former vice chairman of the Jammu Development Authority Ashok Parmar, PWD executive engineer Dharamveer Koul, police inspector Jhumroo Singh, and the former secretary of the J and K housing board Farhat Qureshi. Observer News Service



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