Legal News 04.10.2012

M’rashtra gets notice on farmers’ suicides

Mumbai, Oct 3, 2012, DHNS:

565 cultivators took their lives since January 2012

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has slapped a notice on the Maharashtra government seeking explanation on farmers committing suicide in Vidarbha region “as it is tantamount to the violation of human rights”.

Last month, there were reports that seven farmers took their lives in a span of three days due to the worsening agrarian crisis in the region.

Speaking to Deccan Herald from Nagpur on phone, Vidarbha Jan Andolan Samiti (VJAS) leader Kishore Tiwari said: “The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the state chief secretary to file a report within six weeks not just on the death of seven farmers but has also asked for a detailed analysis of the agrarian and socio-economic problems that are forcing farmers in the region to take their own lives.”

Tiwari said the human rights commission has also taken cognisance of the petition moved by the VJAS.

The petition states that the entire cotton belt of Vidarbha has become a ribbon of death for farmers due to the state government’s lop-sided policies. The data compiled by VJAS indicates that from January, around 565 farmers have committed suicide to escape the dire economic straits arising out of agrarian policies.

According to Tiwari, one of the key issues haunting the farmers in the region is the use of genetically modified (BT) cotton seeds.

“While they (seed manufacturers) may be painting a rosy picture of Vidarbha cotton cultivation, the seven farmers who killed themselves last week in a span of 72 hours did so because BT cotton is vulnerable to a particular pest attack and despite heavy pesticide spraying, damage to the crop could not be stopped.

“And this is not all…the pesticide spraying has resulted in rampant poisoning. Reports from Yavatmal hint that the administration in Yavatmal admitted that at least 28 farm labourers involved in pesticide spraying succumbed to ‘food poisoning’ and 150 others were admitted in various government hospitals in the last 30 days,” Tiwari said.






Kerala to pay Rs. 10 lakh to former ISRO scientist as compensation

Roy Mathew

Kerala Cabinet on Wednesday directed payment of Rs. 10 lakh to ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan as damages for being falsely implicated in the ISRO espionage case in 1994.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the Cabinet meeting that the government was ordering immediate release of the interim compensation awarded by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) against background of criticism that the government was delaying the payment.

Replying to a question, the Chief Minister said that the government would examine the circumstances under which the government had withdrawn action, recommended by the CBI, against police officers who had implicated Mr. Narayanan.

It may be recalled that the State government had challenged the award of compensation ordered by the NHRC in 2001 before the High Court; but the Court upheld the award in an order last month. The espionage case was first investigated by the Kerala police and then handed over to the CBI. The CBI found that no espionage had taken place as alleged. Following his acquittal in the case, Mr. Narayanan moved the NHRC for compensation.





Qasab deserves legal aid to draft mercy plea

Advocate Yug Chaudhry on why due process must be followed even in this rarest of rare cases

Posted On Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 02:04:36 AM

A week after Ajmal Qasab was sentenced to death, advocate Yug Chaudhry wrote to the Home Minister and the NHRC, pointing out that Qasab was entitled to legal aid in drafting his mercy petition.

Dismayed at the news that the mercy petition, drafted without legal help, has been rejected, Chaudhry tells Jyoti Punwani why it is necessary to follow the spirit and letter of the law – even in Qasab’s case.

Why are you so concerned with Qasab getting legal aid at this stage? Haven’t we given him a fair trial, despite his obvious guilt?

Yes we have given him due process thus far, and that is why we must continue to do so. Qasab has a right to file mercy petitions before the governor and the President, but he lacks the wherewithal to so. He is illiterate, a stranger to our laws, and a foreigner abandoned by his countrymen.

Since he is clearly ill-equipped to make a mercy petition which it is his right to make, he must be given the necessary assistance. He also has a right under our constitution to legal aid at every stage of the judicial and post-judicial proceedings. For rights to be meaningful, they must be accompanied by facilities that render those rights accessible. If we believe in our Constitution and the rule of law, we cannot make an exception in his case.

Can a legally drafted mercy petition make any difference to Qasab’s fate? He cannot plead innocence or lack of a fair trial.

Neither would a fair trial have made any difference to his fate, but would that have been a reason to deny him one? The question is not whether a mercy petition would make a difference, but whether he is entitled to make one and to receive the necessary assistance.

The moment we allow ourselves, through sheer majoritarian sentiment, to decide outcomes without due process, we put all our liberties in jeopardy and negate the very essence of rights, which is to protect each of us from ad-hoc, majoritarian caprice. The scope of a mercy petition encompasses more than innocence and a fair trial, and few lay persons, let alone an illiterate person, would be competent to draft one unaided.

Given that the death penalty exists in India, doesn’t Qasab deserve it?

An illiterate boy of 13 sold by his family to the LeT, brainwashed into jihad, transformed into a killing machine and sent as a footsoldier to India are mitigating factors that entitle him to the lesser penalty. Qasab’s crime should be contexualised without minimising it, and then we should ask ourselves why are we clamouring for Qasab’s execution while content with life sentences for Babu Bajrangi and Maya Kodnani who perpetrated the Narodya Patya massacres. They killed more or less the same number of people in an equally gruesome manner. Maya Kodnani held public office, and turned on those she was charged to look after and protect. If she doesn’t deserve the death sentence, why does he?

How else can Qasab be punished, given the enormity of his crime?

Keep him in prison for the rest of his life. Treat him like a human being so that he becomes human again and realises the enormity of his crime. Allow for the possibility of repentance and reformation.

Do you feel Qasab deserves mercy?

I think all of us – the best and the worst – are in need of mercy, and it is only by showing mercy that, morally, we ourselves become entitled to receiving it. Bereft of mercy, our  society would be impoverished and inhuman, for mercy is quintessentially a human quality, not found elsewhere in the natural world. In classical thought and in many faiths, mercy is the manifestation of divinity within us, of a god who is the ultimate bestower of mercy.

As for “deserving”, give each man his deserts and who shall escape a whipping? Justice and mercy operate in mutually exclusive realms. It is only when justice demands that punishment be inflicted that mercy comes into play. Mercy tempers justice, makes it less exacting, more humane. Excluding a fellow human being from entitlement to mercy has nothing to recommend it except a very base blood lust that we encourage at our peril. If we have to become a more humane and compassionate society, and leave a better, less blood-thirsty world behind for our children, we have to curb our instinct for bloody retribution.





Asergis moves Tribunal against Airtel

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Oct. 3: 

Asergis Telecom Services Pvt Ltd., a fully-owned subsidiary of UK-based Asergis Global Services Ltd, has filed a petition in Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal for restraining Bharti Airtel, from allegedly blocking its subscribers to access Asergis’ toll-free numbers.

Asergis has taken toll-free numbers on lease from Tata Teleservices to avail itself of the facility of audio conferencing. Bharti Airtel and Tata Teleservices have an interconnection agreement between themselves.

One of Asergis’ European customers wanted to use its conferencing services in India through toll-free numbers. Asergis ordered 71 toll-free numbers to Tata Teleservices. Asergis’ European customer has put up one number on a trial basis as a pilot project to check the quality and other technical parameters.

Within a week of operations, the revenue on this toll-free number shot up to Rs 6 lakh. However, before the actual project could take off Bharti Airtel allegedly blocked the traffic originating from its network to Asergis’ toll-free numbers.

The company claimed that Bharti Airtel has blocked access of its subscribers to Asergis’ toll-free numbers purportedly on the ground that Asergis is offering the facility of ‘international’ toll free service in guise of ‘domestic’ toll free service. Asergis in its petition to the Tribunal has mentioned that all calls are inbound and hit Tata Teleservices platform, i.e. conferencing bridge, at Delhi only.



Centre plans one tribunal for all inter-state water disputes

Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 03, 2012, 20:05

Unhappy with the slow progress made by various tribunals dealing with sensitive inter-state water disputes, government is contemplating having a single permanent body to tackle such cases.

The Centre today informed the states that it is in the process of intra-ministry consultations on the issue.

“We could have a ‘standing tribunal’ for the purpose. All the members could be there under one tribunal and there could be benches…One bench of three members could deal with more than one dispute,” Union Water Resources Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal said.

He was talking to reporters here after the 14th National Conference of State Water Resources and Irrigation ministers.

Bansal said the Ministry proposes to amend the Inter-state River Water Disputes Act, 1956, for the purpose.

He said the Centre’s experience has been that the tribunals continue for an “inordinately long time and for one reason or the other, decisions are not taken.”

Bansal pointed out that in most of the cases even after the tribunal gives its award, one of the affected states moves the Supreme Court through a Special Leave Petition.

The Water Resources Ministry had approached the Law Ministry in 2010 on the issue and one of the ideas which came out was to abolish the inter-state Water Disputes Act and ask states to directly approach the Supreme Court — and not the High Courts — with their cases.




SAT sets aside Sebi order against JP Associates’ Chairman

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today set aside the penalties imposed by market regulator Sebi on infrastructure major Jaiprakash Associates’ Chairman Manoj Gaur and his two family members in a case of alleged insider trading in the company’s shares.

Source: PTI

The Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today set aside the penalties imposed by market regulator Sebi on infrastructure major Jaiprakash Associates  ‘ chairman Manoj Gaur and his two family members in a case of alleged insider trading in the company’s shares.


After hearing the appeals by Jaiprakash Associates executive chairman Manoj Gaur, his wife Urvashi Gaur and brother Sameer Gaur against a Sebi order imposing penalties of Rs 10 lakh each, SAT today said that there were not enough evidences to prove the charges.


After a probe into the dealings of shares during the period September 29, 2008 to October 27, 2008, Sebi had found them guilty of norms related to insider trading, as it charged Urvashi and Sameer Gaur of trading in the stock on the basis of ‘unpublished price sensitive information’ relating to financial results of the company shared by Manoj Gaur. 


However, SAT upheld the penalties of Rs 10 lakh each against three other entities — the company’s whole time director S D Nailwal, company secretary and compliance officer Harish K Vaid, and Vaid-headed HUF (Hindu Undivided Family).
Sebi had alleged that these entities had also traded in the company’s shares on the basis of Unpublished Price Sensitive Information (UPSI) relating to financial results for the quarter ending September 30, 2008.
All the entities, on whom Sebi had imposed penalties, had approached the tribunal to appeal against the order.
“The Board (Sebi) has not brought any evidence on record, direct or circumstantial, to show  that he (Manoj Gaur) had passed on this information to either Urvashi Gaur or Sameer Gaur or that the trading done by Urvashi Gaur on October 13, 2008 or Sameer Gaur on October 13, 14 and 16, 2008 was based on UPSI,” SAT said in its order.
The SAT further observed that the quantity of shares traded by Sameer Gaur and Urvashi Gaur was too small and they were regularly trading in the shares of Jaiprakash Associates as well as some other companies.
“Looking at the trading pattern, the number of shares purchased and going by their status, it seems highly improbable that trading was done by them on the basis of UPSI.
“On the other hand, it is more probable that they traded in the normal course of business. If the intention of Urvashi Gaur and Sameer Gaur had been to capitalise on the UPSI allegedly communicated by Manoj Gaur, the quantum of purchase would not have been so small,” SAT said.
“We, therefore, set aside the impugned  order and allow in its order on appeals by Vaid, his HUF and Nailwal, the tribunal observed that the entities have not been able to prove that the trading was not done on the basis of USPI.
“We, therefore, cannot find any fault with the findings arrived at by the adjudicating officer,” SAT noted.





Rs 30.58 Lakh for accident victims’ family

New Delhi, October 03, 2012

The wife and children of an NDMC employee who lost his life in a road mishap involving a speeding car, have been awarded Rs. 30.58 lakh as compensation by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here. MACT presiding officer Arun Bhardwaj directed Oriental Insurance Co Ltd with which the

vehicle was insured to pay the compensation to the widow and children of 51-year-old Gaj Ram, a resident of West Delhi.

“Total compensation payable to the petitioners (family of deceased) would be R 30,58,884… Insurance company has not put up any defence. Therefore, compensation is to be paid by insurance company,” the tribunal said.

According to eyewitnesses’ testimonies, victim Gaj Ram was riding his motorcycle near sector one red light at Dwarka here at 6.15 am on July 10, 2011, when a speeding WagonR hit his two-wheeler from behind due to which he fell down and came under the car’s wheels.

He was taken to Deen Dayal Upadhyay Hospital in the offending vehicle itself, but after getting to the hospital the driver had fled away, the prosecution had said. Gaj Ram succumbed to his injuries suffered in the accident, it had added.




Compensation for girl after 12 years

Oct 04, 2012 |

The Thane Motor Accident Claims Tribunal awarded compensation worth `12 lakh to a girl, 12 years after she lost her father in a road accident. The girl was nine years old at the time.
Dakshati Jain’s father, Rajkumar Jain, who ran a private business, was killed when a truck hit his car on the Mhape-Turbhe road in April 2000.
Citing that Rajkumar was the sole bread earner of the family, the girl filed a compensation claim of `15 lakh. Dakshati had lost her mother only a year prior to her father’s death. After hearing the petition, the court stated that the owner of the truck and the insurance company, National Insurance, were jointly liable to pay the compensation. The court held that the truck driver was culpable for rash and negligent driving.
The court relied on the submissions made by the tax consultant of the deceased and assessed his income to be `56,000 per annum. On the basis of this figure, it arrived at a compensation of `8.40 lakh with a multiplier of 15, after considering the age of the deceased and the claimant. The court also allowed `2,000 towards funeral expenses and an additional `5,000 for loss of life. On the total compensation, the court ordered payment of interest at the rate of seven per cent per annum till the date of realisation.





Tea factories in need of natural gas supply

 GUWAHATI, Oct 3 – Tea industry is in an urgent need to connect the tea factories located inside the non-development zone (NDZ) around the Numaligarh Refinery Ltd (NRL) with a natural gas supply network.

The September 7, 2012 order of the National Green Tribunal to close the tea factories that run on fossil fuel on the ground of pollution, has made the tea industry wary as to the fate of such factories. There are 25 tea factories in the NDZ and within its 500 metres’ distance. The NDZ was created to save the Kaziranga National Park (KNP) from further pollution after the establishment of the Numaligarh Refinery in its vicinity.

North Eastern Tea Association (NETA) and Assam Tea Planters’ Association (ATPA) have already made an appeal to State’s Industry Minister Pradyut Bordoloi to direct the Assam Gas Company Limited (AGCL) to supply natural gas to these factories.

“Natural Gas is considered as an eco-friendly fuel. AGCL is already supplying natural gas to some tea factories of Golaghat district in addition to the tea factories of Upper Assam. Therefore, if AGCL expands its network and supplies natural gas to the factories under NDZ, then the tea industry will be able to fulfill all the requirements of the National Green Tribunal Judgement”, says Bidyananda Barkakoty, Chairman NETA.

On July 5, 1996, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests declared an area of 15km radius around NRL as an NDZ. The notification had specifically directed that on and from the date of its publication, the extension of the industrial area, township, infrastructural facilities and such other activities which could lead to pollution and congestion, shall not be allowed within the prohibited zone, except with the prior approval of the Central Government.

On September 27 last, the Assam State Pollution Control Board (SPCB) also issued a notification. It said: “The factories located within and up to a distance of 500 metre beyond the limit of the Co-ordinates of “No Development Zone” around the Numaligarh Refinery and having boiler run on fossil fuel are directed to switchover to alternative source of energy like LPG, electricity, solar heating etc, within 06/12/2012 else stop their operation.”

The Green Tribunal had directed the SPCB and other authorities to ensure that no tea processing units having boiler using fossil fuel operates within the NDZ and take immediate steps to stop their operation.





Two women working for Rs. 15 a month for 42 years

Special Correspondent

Here is a classic case that will reveal how the “high-handedness” of a few officials has affected the lives of two Dalit women in Udupi.

The two women, Akku and Leela, have put in about four decades of service at the Government Women Teachers’ Training Institute on a monthly salary of Rs. 15. Although they were promised that their services would be regularised, they did not get any benefits even after 42 years of service.

After the women approached the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal (KAT) seeking relief in 2001, the Education Department stopped paying them even that meagre salary of Rs. 15.

Their plight came to light after Ravindranath Shanbhag, president of Udupi-based Human Rights Protection Foundation, took up the matter and followed up the case right up to the Supreme Court.

Addressing presspersons here on Tuesday, Mr. Shanbhag said that although the Supreme Court, the High Court of Karnataka and the Karnataka Administrative Tribunal ruled in favour of the women and directed the government to regularise their services, the order is yet to be implemented by the government.

Meanwhile, the women continue to clean the 21 toilets in the institute all through the year without any payment, he said.

“The Karnataka Administrative Tribunal asked the government in 2003 to regularise them in 90 days and the Karnataka High Court ordered the government to pay their salaries in 2004. Notices were also issued for contempt of court when the directions were not implemented. Instead of paying them salaries, the government filed a special leave petition before the Supreme Court in 2005.

“The Supreme Court ruled in the women’s favour in 2010. Despite all this, the women are still waiting to get their benefits,” Mr. Shanbhag said. “Now, the authorities say that the women were not employable because they had reached the retirement age. I am surprised that the government spent lakhs of rupees on fighting the cases against the hapless women rather than pay what is due to them.

Is there any other court above the Supreme Court that can give justice to these women?” Mr. Shanbhag asked and urged the government to pay what is due to the women.







Sharan appointed NCW Member Secretary

Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 03, 2012, 15:05

Senior IAS officer Ajit M Sharan has been appointed as Member Secretary in National Commission for Women (NCW).

Sharan, a 1979 batch officer of Haryana cadre, will be in the rank and pay of Additional Secretary.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has also appointed Rajiv Mehrishi, an IAS officer of 1978 batch of the Rajasthan cadre, as Secretary, Ministry of Overseas Indian Affairs in the vacancy of Parvez Dewan, a 1977 batch IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre

Mehrishi is presently Special Secretary, Department of Agricultural Research and Education, Ministry of Agriculture.

He will also hold additional charge of the post of Secretary, Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises for a period of three months with immediate effect or until further orders whichever is earlier.

The ACC has also approved the repatriation of T S Randhawa, 1979 batch IAS officer, to his Gujarat cadre with effect from September 28, 2012 along with the option to allow the officer to stay on and retire from the Government of India should he so wish, a release from the Department of Personnel and Training said today.

Pankaj Jain, 1978 batch IAS officer of Jammu and Kashmir cadre, as Secretary, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation will hold additional charge of the post of Secretary, Department of Land Resources, Ministry of Rural Development with effect from October 1, 2012 for a period of three months or until further orders..



Judge blasts government for harming education

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.10AM IST

HYDERABAD: Justice L Narasimha Reddy of high court has criticised the attitude of the state government and the board of intermediate education for virtually functioning like front offices of some powerful corporate houses at a time when government and aided junior colleges were being closed down. The judge asked the director and commissioner of intermediate education to ensure that no private junior college runs in accommodation other than the one approved by the competent authority.

The judge was dealing with a writ petition filed by Vidyaranya Junior College, Warangal. The petitioner contended that the regional inspection officer had submitted a report against it to the secretary of the board of intermediate education following which the college had now been directed to close its gates without being given an opportunity of defending itself. The judge heard the matter and, by way of interim orders, wondered how the 10+2 education had been commercialised.

The judge said that private educational societies had stepped in which have “virtually reduced the activity of education to that of commerce of the worst order”. He referred to reports alleged how bright students studying in aided and government junior colleges were being ‘purchased’ by private coporate colleges who then presented them as examples of merit to attract more students.

He said that some corporate groups had become so strong that even examination centres were selected in keeping with their whims and fancies. The judge wondered how many government-aided junior colleges have been closed down on the grounds that there is no playground even as officials ignore flagrant violations by private junior colleges.

Referring to the present case, the judge commended the official who inspected the petitioner college and documented the sad state of affairs. Right in the middle of a residential area in a multi-storied complex, the Warangal college was being run sans authorization with open air toilets on the top floor having been constructed for students.

The judge said that, at the present stage, no interim orders may be passed. The secretary to the board of intermediate education, the director and commissioner of intermediate education have been asked to provide the list of institutions found to have resorted to unauthorized use of buildings, indicating the nature of violations, by October 15.





Amicus Raju declines fee in Kasab case

Legal Correspondent

Honororium for him and Gaurav Agrawal will go to kin of slain policemen

The Supreme Court has appreciated the gesture of amicus curiae Raju Ramachandran and his junior Gaurav Agrawal in not accepting their legal fee in the Kasab case — Rs. 14. 5 lakh — and directed the Maharashtra government to distribute this amount equally in six weeks to the kin of 18 policemen and other security personnel killed in the 26/11 Mumbai carnage.

A Bench of Justices Aftab Alam and C.K. Prasad, while upholding the death sentence awarded to Pakistani gunman Ajmal Kasab, had asked the Maharashtra government to pay Mr. Ramachandran and Mr. Agrawal Rs. 11 lakh and 3.50 lakh respectively as token remuneration for their valuable assistance to the court.

(Senior counsel Gopal Subramanium, who appeared for Maharashtra, accepted Re. 1 as token remuneration.)

After the judgment, Mr. Ramachandran and Mr. Agrawal filed a joint application requesting the court that their remuneration be given to the Supreme Court or Maharashtra legal services authority or any other body which could help poor and needy litigants. Accordingly, the Bench on Wednesday modified the earlier direction. It said, “We appreciate the high standards of professional ethics set by Mr. Raju Ramachandran and Mr. Agrawal.”

It’s Judicial Academy

The Bench also pointed out that what was referred to as ‘National Judicial Authority’ in its earlier judgment should read as the National Judicial Academy.

The relevant paragraph should read: “From the records of the case, he [trial judge M.L. Tahiliani] appears to be a stern, no-nonsense person. But he is a true flag-bearer of the rule of law in this country. The manner in which he conducted the trial proceedings and maintained the record is exemplary. We seriously recommend that the trial court records of this case be included in the curriculum of the National Judicial Academy and the judicial academies of the different States as a model for criminal trial proceedings.”





PIL to remove anti-Islam clips from YouTube filed in HC

PTI Oct 3, 2012, 07.20PM IST

NEW DELHI: A group of lawyers today moved the Delhi High Court seeking a direction to Centre to ensure that Google India removes from YouTube trailers of a controversial film deemed offensive to Islam that has sparked protests in several parts of the world.

Responding to the plea, government’s counsel Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajeev Mehra submitted that various courts in India have also passed orders on the same issue and the government has taken action against the websites.

“The government has already blocked 157 URLs and let the petitioner give the link, we would take action,” the senior law officer said.

A division bench of chief justice D Murugesan and justice Rajiv Shakdher reserved the order after hearing the parties.

Alleging that the film was “anti-Islam”, the PIL said “direction against the respondents (Centre, Google India and You Tube) to completely remove and blocks the links of the entire movie/trailers…. and all the clips emanating from the movie up-loaded on You Tube owned by Google and shown in India.”

The petitioners sought removal of 13 minutes video clip/trailer from You Tube.

Appearing for the petitioners, senior advocate Kirti Uppal assisted by Sarfraz Khan argued that countries like Brazil, Argentina and Russia have banned the film and removed the video clips from the site.

According to petitioners, the internet companies should have taken a proactive approach in disbanding such content and alleged that such sites “have no code of conduct and behave irresponsibly.




Spy funds used in PIL against army chief?

Harinder Baweja, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, October 04, 2012

New army chief General Bikram Singh (R) inspects a guard of honour at the defence ministry in New Delhi. AFP/Prakash Singh

A probe is on to find if the army’s secret funds were used to ‘sponsor’ the October 2011 Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against army chief General Bikram Singh over an alleged fake encounter in the Kashmir valley. The board of officers set up to probe the funding of the Technical

Services Division (TSD) — a controversial military intelligence unit formed during former chief Gen VK Singh’s tenure — is investigating if there’s a link between the TSD and the PIL.

The PIL was filed by YES Kashmir, a lesser known NGO, in the Jammu and Kashmir high court and alleges that Abdullah Bhat, a civilian, was killed in a fake encounter in 2001 in Anantnag.

Gen Bikram Singh – then a brigadier in the Kashmir valley – was injured in the encounter. The PIL claims Bhat was branded a militant by the police.

Sources said the board, headed by DG Infantry Lt Gen Vinod Bhatia, is focusing on the PIL, which if admitted by the high court could embarrass Gen Singh and the government.

Asked for a response, an army spokesperson said: “The board of officers is on, we aren’t in a position to comment.”

During a recent visit to the Kashmir valley, the board of officers met sources of the TSD and asked them pointed questions about the origin of the PIL.

The board is probing if YES Kashmir, which filed the PIL, was in any way linked to J and K Humanitarian Services, an NGO learnt to have been funded by TSD for ‘psychological operations’.

The operations include cricket matches and social work like blood donation camps, particularly during the 2010 stone-pelting protests in the valley.

Sources said the operations were known only to then chief VK Singh and the director general of military intelligence, and J and K Humanitarian Services was paid Rs. 2.40 crore for the purpose.

Documents show the TSD to be behind anti-Hurriyat protests in several Kashmir towns.

The inquiry into the TDS’s functioning is likely to have a bearing on such intelligence operations aimed at countering militant groups.






Mayor inspects roadside shops in Civil Lines area

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 07.46AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Mayor Abhilasha Gupta on Wednesday inspected the roadside shops in Civil Lines which the Allahabad Municipal Corporation wants vacated. The AMC had rented out these shops in 1970.

President, Azaad Hawker and Street Vendors Union, Ravi Shankar Dwivedi said these shopkeepers have been running restaurants and grocery outlets since 1970.

On September 26 last, the AMC asked them to vacate the citing a court order on a PIL seeking shifting of illegal vegetable market at Ram Narain Lal road. However the court order nowhere mentions pucca shops on Civil Lines pavements.

He said the above decision has been taken without taking the Nagar Nigam into confidence. In this connection, the shopkeepers sought the intervention of mayor Abhilasha Gupta who visited the area and listened to their grievances. The mayor assured to look into the matter, said Dwivedi.





Tiger numbers have risen, insists Centre

New Delhi, Oct 3, 2012, DHNS:

 The Centre on Wednesday reiterated before the Supreme Court that the number of tigers has risen in the country, a claim disputed by conservationists.

Additional Solicitor General Indira Jai Singh told a bench of Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar that the population of tigers was 1,411 according to the 2006 survey, and their number had gone up to 1,706 in the 2010 survey.

Senior advocate Chander Uday Singh, appearing for Tehelka, a PIL petitioner, claimed that the government position was wrong.

He said the rise in the number of the big cats between the two census was only because the tigers of Sundarbans were not counted during the 2006 census. Singh submitted that she had reliable statistics on the subject and would present relevant records before the court.

Other advocates also said that the variation in number of tigers was due to different methods of counting the big cats.

During the hearing, the bench extended the ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves. The court said that it would first hear all the parties in the case and then pass its order on the Centre’s September 26 submission of fresh guidelines seeking the court’s permission to allow tourism up to 20 per cent of the core tiger reserve areas across the country.

This was opposed to its previous stand seeking a total ban on tourism in the core areas of tiger reserves. The apex court, as an interim measure on July 24, said that till further orders, no tourists should venture into core zones of 41 tigers reserves.

“Current tourism zones where only tourist visits are permitted and there are no consumptive uses, tiger density and recruitment does not seem to be impacted. For this reason, permitting up to 20 per cent of the core/critical tiger habitat as a tourism zone should not have an adverse effect on the tiger biology needs,” the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) said, showing a change of heart.

“It is recommended that a maximum 20 per cent of the core/critical tiger habitat usage (not exceeding the present usage) for regulated, low-impact tourist visitation may be permitted,” it said.

However, the new guidelines said that no new tourism infrastructure should be created in the core areas while existing residential infrastructure should be strictly regulated to ensure low ecological impacts.





KNPP Stir: TN Govt Rejects Charges of Police Excesses

 Madurai | Oct 03, 2012


Tamil Nadu government today rejected in Madras High Court Bench here charges of police excesses against anti-nuclear protestors and said they had exercised ‘maximum restraint’ while dealing with them during their bid to lay a siege to Kudankulam Nuclear Power plant.

It also denied having blocked essential commodities reaching the anti-nuclear protestors.

Responding to a PIL, seeking a judicial probe into the Sep 10 police action, Additional Advocate General Chellapandian told Justices Sukuna and Mala that the activists had tried to reach KNPP through the rear by the sea, but were stopped 500 metres away.

They then resorted to violence and attacked policemen, injuring some of them. Police had to resort to “mild action” to disperse them, he said.

He said police had exercised extreme restraint and had not arrested anyone, though it was an unlawful assembly of people, as prohibitory orders were in force.

The petitioner Vanchanathan also sought action against a Coast Guard pilot for allegedly causing the death of an anti-nuclear protestor by flying an aircraft very low while keeping vigil during the subsequent Jal Satyagraha in the sea.

Pressing for a judicial probe, he alleged police had trespassed into houses and a church.

The petitioner claimed that the man had fallen down in shock after the CG pilot flew a sortie below 1,000 feet, got injured and later died and that many others had fainted after the aircraft went very low.

He said a fact-finding committee which toured the areas had also reported of ‘excesses’ by police. People had been protesting for long and had never indulged in violence.

Another counsel for the petitioner cited various Supreme Court rulings and said a judicial probe should be ordered if police had acted in excess to what the situation warranted.

The judges after hearing counsels, posted the case for hearing tomorrow.





Finally, UP to ban gutkha from April next year

Express news service : Lucknow, Thu Oct 04 2012, 06:08 hrs


A day after the expiry of the 14-day deadline set by the Allahabad High Court, the UP government on Wednesday decided to ban the manufacture, sale and consumption of gutkha with effect from April 1, 2013.

Justifying its decision to give six months’ time to gutkha manufacturers, the government said this was necessary to help those engaged in the industry to find alternative occupation and employment. A division bench of Allahabad High Court, comprising Justices Amar Saran and Anurag Kumar, had given 14 days time to the state government to ban gutkha on September 18. The deadline ended on October 2, which was a holiday. On Wednesday, the state government issued the necessary order. The ban has been imposed keeping in view the Food Safety and Standards Act, passed by Parliament, an official statement said. Like other states which have followed the Act, UP is also imposing a ban on gutkha industry which had been operating for a long time in the state, it added. Among the states which have already banned gutkha are Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana. The next hearing of the PIL, which was filed by Indian Dental Association and Dr A K Mehrotra, an activist working for the prevention of cancer, is scheduled for October 10.





Kerala high court frowns at serial public interest litigations

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.24AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Wednesday slapped a fine of Rs 50,000 on a litigant who persisted with public interest litigation (PIL) despite the court’s earlier ruling that there was no public interest involved. A division bench of Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice A M Shaffique pointed out that the PIL filed by A Subair against building a flyover in Thiruvananthapuram was itself against public interest.

The court imposed a fine on Subair after noticing that he had filed a total of five PILs. Subair had alleged in his PIL that unscientific construction carried out for the flyover at Thakaraparambu would cause damage to Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple. This was disproved by the archaeological department.

In State of Uttaranchal vs Balwant Singh Chaufal, the Supreme Court had clarified that PIL is aimed at redressing serious public harm or grievance. The SC also asked courts to ensure that there was no personal gain or private motive behind filing of PILs.






Oshiwara residents move court to save open space

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 04, 2012

An organisation of Oshiwara residents has approached the Bombay high court challenging allotment of two plots – one of which is the only open space in the area – to an educational institute for setting up an international school.
One of the plots has been reserved for a playground, and the other for a municipal school.

The division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Niteen Jamdar has directed the state government to file affidavits in response to the PIL filed by the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Citizens Association.

The association has contended that the 3,850 sq m plot reserved for the playground was the only open space for thousands of citizens in the area. The other plot, admeasuring 2,160 sq m, is shown in the Development Plan of the city as sanctioned for a municipal school.

They have also challenged the allotment stating it is contrary to the provisions of the Maharashtra Regional Town Planning Act. The allotment is also contrary to the law laid down by the Supreme Court in various rulings – that public land cannot be given away through any methods except public tenders and for the best  price.

In January 2002, Maharashtra Government had ordered Maharashtra Housing and Development Authority (Mhada) to allot both plots to the Janata Education Society.

In August 2008, a Lease Deed was executed by Mhada, leasing both the plots for 30 years, after the educational institution paid premium of Rs. 6.11 crore and nominal lease rent of Rs. 31 per annum for the plots.

The PIL states in February and March 2012, residents were told that a playground and garden would be developed on the larger plot and the amenities would be available for residents once the construction of an international school on the adjoining plot is complete.

However, the association alleged that the ground is open to residents only for an hour in the morning and two hours in the evening.

Apprehending that the only open space available may be lost, the association has sought cancellation of the allotment and direction to the authorities to take back possession of both the plots and hand over the plot meant for the playground to the residents.





Government cannot touch pricing mechanism of essential drugs: Supreme Court

NDTV | Reported By: A Vaidyanathan | Updated On: October 04, 2012 08:15 (IST)

The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to inform the court within a week when it would notify the new list of essential medicines under the drug control mechanism.

The court said the Centre can’t touch the pricing mechanism for these essential drugs on the list.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by the All India Drug Action Network, which wanted the price of essential drugs lowered.

Under the 1999 mechanism, the prices of essential drugs were based on the prices set by the market leader.

Under the new drug policy, this is sought to be changed to the average price of drugs sold in the market, which activists say will push up the prices.

The Centre informed the court that the empowered group of ministers has submitted its recommendations, and the Cabinet will now have to take a decision.

“Inform us within a week otherwise we will pass interim orders,” the Supreme Court said.

The court observed: “We are gravely concerned. It has been going on for nine years. It is engaging the attention only when court puts a ceiling. The court will step in only when there is a failure. Court doesn’t run the government.”

The court also said: “One of us face the brunt of this (high medicine prices). The cost of medicine came to Rs 50,000 in two months.”

The case will now be taken up on 9 October.





Remove squatters in 30 days, HC tells goverment

DNA | Oct 04, 2012, 04:09AM IST

Jaipur: The Rajasthan high court on Wednesday expressed its dissatisfaction over the demolition drive at Amanishah Nullah. The court has given one-month time to demolish the existing squatters and bring the nullah in its original form. Meanwhile, the court sought a list of the officers responsible for the squatters in a period of a fortnight. 


Chief justice Arun Mishra and justice Meena V Gomber made these strict directions while hearing the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by PN Mandola. 


During the hearing, the JDA produced its compliance report over the court order and informed that 170 encroachments have been razed and 54 sued with notices. The report also said that FIRs have been lodged against the five encroachments and an allotment of 23,176 sq yard cancelled permitted in the flowing area of the nullah. Meantime, the JDA reasoned the law and order situation since the drive was not satisfactory. The authority informed the court that squatters were not receiving the notices which led a confrontation between JDA officials and the encroachers. 


However, the bench rejected the arguments and stated that JDA should give public notice by flashing in the newspapers. It contended that failing to remove encroachment is a contempt of the court. Also, the list of the officers, who permitted construction and allottment of land in the nullah area, had been sought with a deadline of 15 days. 


Notably, the court has directed the JDA to demolish the encroachments in the flowing area of nullah from 150 ft to 210 ft. The court had given a 20-day time that ended on Wednesday. 





SC gives six months to government for toilets, water in schools

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 05.06AM IST

NEW DELHI: Six months after upholding the constitutional validity of Right to Education Act, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the Centre and the state governments to ensure drinking water, separate toilets for boys and girls and teachers in every school.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra directed the governments to provide within six months “toilet facilities for boys and girls, drinking water facilities, sufficient classrooms, appointment of teaching and non-teaching staff” in all schools.

“We make it clear that these directions are applicable to all the schools, whether state opened or privately owned, aided or unaided, minority or non-minority,” said Justice Radhakrishnan, who authored the judgment for the bench.

The order came on a petition filed by NGO ‘Environment and0 Consumer Protection Foundation’ which through advocate Ravindra Bana has been litigating for the last eight years for a direction to the governments to provide basic infrastructure in government-run schools.

The court had been issuing interim orders over the years and a bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari, now a judge of the International Court of Justice, had been monitoring the performance of states in providing drinking water and toilets in state-run schools.

Though the bench of Justices Radhakrishnan and Misra disposed of the PIL giving a six-month deadline to the government to comply with the direction, it gave permission to the petitioner to move court for initiation of appropriate proceedings after six months against defaulting states.

The bench recalled that in its April 12 judgment, the apex court had upheld the RTE Act and ordered full implementation of the provisions enacted by Parliament to make Right to Education meaningful for children in the age group of 6-14 years.

In its April judgment, the apex court had quoted 2007-08 statistics to note that of the 12,50,755 schools imparting elementary education in India, 80.2% were government run, 5.8% private aided and 13.1% were private unaided. Of these, 87.2% of schools were located in rural areas.

In its interim order of October 18, 2011 in the NGO’s PIL, the SC had said, “It is imperative that all schools must provide toilet facilities. Empirical researches have indicated that wherever toilet facilities are not provided in schools, parents do not send their children (particularly girls) to schools. It clearly violates the right to free and compulsory education of children guaranteed under Article 21A of the Constitution.”

The bench said since the apex court had in April this year ordered full implementation of RTE Act, provisions of which mandated governments to ensure that schools took all necessary steps to uphold children’s right to education, there was no need for keeping the PIL pending.

The court noticed that statutory authorities under RTE Act as well as the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights had been empowered to examine implementation of the law relating to right to education by schools.

It said, “We are confident that the statutory authorities will examine and review the safeguards for the child’s rights and recommend measures for their effective implementation.”





SC seeks govt reply on new drug pricing policy

Failure to comply would lead to an interim ruling placing all the 348 drugs within current price-cap regime

Vidya Krishnan

First Published: Wed, Oct 03 2012. 11 16 PM IST

Ministerial nod to market-based pricing may increase prices of life-saving drugs, says apex court. Photo: Mint


New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Wednesday gave the government a week to come up with a timeline for implementing its new drug-pricing policy, which proposes a national list of 348 essential medicines, the prices of which will be regulated.

Failure to comply with the order would lead to an interim ruling placing all the 348 medicines within the ambit of a current price-cap regime based on a product’s manufacturing cost, according to a bench headed by judge G.S. Singhvi. According to the Drug Price Control Order (DPCO) of 1995, retail prices of so-called National List of Essential Medicines (NLEM) are based on the cost of manufacturing the product. Currently, only 74 molecules come under price regulation.

The apex court’s observation comes a week after a ministerial panel had, on 27 September, approved market-based pricing of 348 NLEM drugs. This involved deciding the price of drugs on the basis of the weighted average price (WAP) of brands with more than 1% market share in each segment. The panel’s recommendations are yet to be approved by the cabinet.

The court has expressed concern that the formula suggested by the GoM could lead to increase in prices of life-saving drugs. “We are directly concerned about it. The court does not run the government, but it steps in only when required,” the bench observed.

Claiming that the court’s concerns were well-founded, Colin Gonsalvez, lawyer for the petitioner, activist group All India Drugs Action Network (AIDAN), said market-based pricing of drugs would dilute the pricing policy in the industry’s favour.

“In the guise of imposing price control, what the government is actually doing is lifting price control completely and institutionalizing profit maximization. This whole exercise is designed to mislead the nation. The government must go by the 1995 order, expand the list of NLEM drugs without change the pricing policy,” he said. In addition to challenging the ministerial panel’s formula on pricing, the petitioners will be drugs, which according arguing for further expansion of the list of NLEM to the panel’s recommendation, includes drugs made of a single chemical compound while the majority of drugs are combinations of multiple ingredients. The next hearing is scheduled for 9 October.

According to Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA), market-based pricing will lead to a revenue loss of nearly 17% annually. “Getting NLEM drugs under pricing will hurt the industry but it is better than the cost-based approach suggested by civil society organization. The formula sets us back by at least one year in terms of earning, so the question of profit maximization does not arise,” said D.G. Shah, IPA secretary general.

“We have been asked to come with a detailed timetable for the next hearing. The timeline must state clearly by when the pricing policy will be implemented after factoring in the time taken by cabinet and law department to vet the policy,” said a senior official in the department of pharmaceuticals (DoP).

Last month, the court had reprimanded the government for sitting on the pricing policy for nearly 10 years, setting 27 September as the final date for the ministerial group to come to a decision on the pricing formula.

“Two things have to be considered while deciding what can be excluded from NLEM,” said Sakthivel Selvaraj, health activist with AIDAN. “In the current form, the policy does not address combination drugs. This just leaves room for companies to wriggle out of price control by simply switching to manufacturing combination of NLEM and non-NLEM drugs. Further, within each essential medicines, there are therapeutically equivalent drugs available. There is no way to regulate companies if they decide to manufacture variants of NLEM drugs,” he added.

“As it exists, without price regulation, the industry is charging reasonable costs on NLEM and non-NLEM drugs. These are conjectures of worst case scenarios. The DoP and DPCO will regulate the prices as well as sales and distribution patterns of companies currently producing NLEM drugs will be monitored. This policy will be modified every 2-3 years to ensure newer, more efficacious drugs are included in NLEM,” said a senior official in the DoP.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation plea filed in 2003 by and others which had complained that currently only around 74 AIDAN drugs are placed under the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 1995 putting most medicines beyond the reach of the common man.





Bapunagar stadium to be converted into a lake

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.05AM IST

AHMEDABAD: After watching the dilapidated stadium for years fill up with rain and gutter waters during every monsoon, it has finally dawned upon Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to turn the Lal Bahadur Shastri (LBS) Stadium in Bapunagar into a lake front.

Thanks to Gujarat high court (HC)’s intervention on August 13 this year, AMC was forced to take immediate step as water logging and drainage in the vicinity had caused a public outcry among thousands of local residents.

The stagnant rainwater in the stadium was becoming a breeding ground for mosquitoes which was a concern for public health. Though the lake front plans for LBS stadium are not as grand as Kankaria, the AMC plans to spend Rs 12.5 crore on the refurbishment of the area around the lake.

It was a PIL filed by Consumer Protection Analytic Committee that had led HC to take a suo motu action. The PIL claimed that there was heavy rain on August 13 which left the area of LBS Stadium and the surrounding Maleksaban Stadium water logged. Later, a contractor negligently released rain water into the stadium, filling it with a mixture of rain and drainage water.

The LBS stadium lake front project will be completed in two phases. The first phase will involve leveling of the earth around the stadium for a walkway. A retaining wall will be built to strengthen the lake. Also, a boundary wall with grill and open space for the public for exercise and a jogging track will come up around the lake.

“We are a planning to install a musical fountain at the lake so that people enjoy the open environ. The second major challenge is the encroachment around the lake which needs to be removed. There are slums and we’ve to take a call whether slum dwellers should be rehabilitated,” said a senior AMC official.








Supreme Court verdict on CAG mandate: A step in the right direction

MG Warrier | 03/10/2012 12:15 PM | 

The Supreme Court has minced no words in clarifying that the CAG is not a mere account-keeper. Now Central and state governments should join hands with the CAG to ensure that the country’s assets, irrespective of the nature of ownership, are not plundered by unscrupulous elements

The observations of the Supreme Court while dismissing the PIL (public interest litigation) which argued that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India’s (CAG) reports on Coalgate, airport privatisation and power sector went beyond the Auditor’s constitutional mandate would not have attracted the attention the ruling did, but for the celebration of the apex court ruling on the Presidential reference on allocation of natural resources.


On the Presidential reference as it was duty-bound, given the Court’s view upholding the supremacy of Parliament on policy issues and in fact, it did not give any adverse view against any statutory body including the CAG. While dismissing the PIL, the apex court only reemphasized the statutory mandate of the CAG and explaining the processes which the CAG reports go through, clarified that if the CAG exceeded his brief, Parliament will surely correct him and tell him that the methodology adopted by him for the preparation of the report was not correct.


For quite sometime now, the CAG is being harassed and criticized for performing normal duties expected of him, by a government caged by the rich and the powerful. Performance audit has been a tool used by the CAG since the 1960s. What Vinod Rai and his predecessor have done is just to sharpen the tool by infusing expertise into the audit team.  By training and educating cadres down below and bringing professionalism in the performance of audit function, they improved the functional efficiency of the office. If similar initiatives had come from his counterparts heading several government departments and public sector or statutory organizations, the agony the present United Progressive Alliance – II (UPA II) government is now suffering would have been much less.


The apex court has now minced no words in clarifying that the CAG is not a mere account-keeper. The critiques who are saying that accountant and auditor should bother only about the accuracy of figures are, for reasons best known to them, pleading ignorance of the changes that have happened in the law and practice of accounting and audit and the reforms in the CAG’s office brought about by Vinod Rai and his predecessor, who understood the post-LPG (Liberalisation-Privatisation- Globalisation) scenario better.


The present political leadership is the “who’s who” of the rich and influential class which has its own constituency interests to protect. We are heavily dependent on the government’s other arms like the CAG and judiciary to come to rescue when extraneous compulsions force government departments and public sector organizations to misappropriate or divert public funds to the advantage of their masters or greedy corporates and individuals. The differentiation between public funds and private resources is getting diluted, as either public resources are freely flowing to private sector or the exchequer is becoming responsible to make good the losses incurred by greedy individuals by mismanagement of businesses they own and operate.


The initial response from government spokespersons to any revelations in reports of the CAG is on dotted lines these days. First, the CAG has exceeded his brief. Then, all his presumptions are not right. Third, even if some findings have some basis, losses are not as huge as are made out. Fourth and that is the icing (as in Coalgate), in the given circumstances, there were not many options as several departments/ministries were slow in decision-taking. To the total discomfort of the government, this time around, even the mainstream media which usually shows some eagerness to protect governments from disgrace refused to buy the government story without riders (remember the zero-loss 2G spectrum story of Kapil Sibal which was initially swallowed by a section of the media!).

The shock to some in the context of the report after a report from the CAG with more and more revelations about corrupt practices can be traced to the refusal of the government and media in publicizing the evolution of the institution of the CAG which has been silently moulding itself in recent times to meet the challenges of changing times. Destiny has put Vinod Rai as CAG at a time when the country needed a person of his stature in that position. His having gone through the thick and thin of finance ministry and certain other tough assignments gave him the analytical mind and investigative skill needed to expose mega scams.


The remarkable achievements of the CAG during the tenure of the present incumbent are more attributable to the interest shown by an individual in protecting public funds. To ensure that the same thrust on “conscience keeping” continues, the present approach of the CAG will have to be institutionalized by providing necessary legislative and administrative support. The CAG’s role in protecting the interest of the country in regard to public funds is similar to the role of the judiciary in protecting life and property. This emphasises the need to empower the CAG to cause audit of any transaction involving national resources and more importantly, to equip CAG’s office for the purpose.


A large number of the people’s representatives in legislatures continuing to be those who are rich and powerful in their own way and capable of managing politics and vote banks and not necessarily interested in the sound management of nation’s resources, we are dependent on the government’s other arms like the CAG and judiciary to come to rescue when extraneous compulsions force public sector organizations to misappropriate or divert public funds.


As the CAG’s audit is mostly a post-event affair and the judiciary will take a view only when issues reach them after due process, the media has a major role to play. With the exception of some financial newspapers and a few national dailies, the media generally show interest in the sensation value of issues and refuse to take on itself the burden of working like a watchdog and educating their readers/viewers about how the drain on country’s resources affect their pockets and living conditions.


The changes brought about in the vision and mission of the office of the Comptroller and Auditor General in recent years are worth accepting as a model for adapting with appropriate modifications by other arms of governance at the Centre and states. These changes in the approach of the CAG’s audit are consistent with the vanishing line between public and private funds as both originate from the nation’s ‘sovereign’ resources and the hard work of its people. We should sooner than later come out of the legacy of British rule inherited by us, which has drawn a clear distinction between the assets owned by the rulers (read public funds in the present context) and wealth with the private sector or individuals, individual families or trusts/companies formed outside government ownership. This distinction is causing several unethical practices in our country. Sometime back while talking to media, Vinod Rai has gone on record saying that he was open to guidance and expert advice from eminent statesmen.


Central and state governments should join hands with the CAG’s efforts to ensure that the country’s assets, irrespective of the nature of ownership, are not plundered by unscrupulous elements. When the CAG’s reports bring out glaringly corrupt practices or make suggestions for incorporating better practices to avoid earlier mistakes, looking at them from mere legal or accounting angle or defending individuals and organizations instead of learning from past mistakes, correcting them before further proceeding are not in the best interests of the country.





Court relief to Saudi navy captain

Mumbai Mirror Bureau

Posted On Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 02:04:36 AM

 In a minor relief to a Saudi Arabian navy captain booked for carrying fake Indian currency, the Bombay High Court on Wednesday asked Additional Commissioner of Customs to complete probe against the officer and pass an appropriate order within two weeks.

A division bench of Justices A S Oka and S S Jadhav was hearing a petition filed by Bandar Hurayb, who said he has been wrongly prosecuted as he was unaware that the currency which he procured from an authorised forex agency outside the Jeddah Airport was fakes.

Hurayb landed in Mumbai on April 25, and has been stranded here ever since, when he was caught with fake Indian currency worth Rs 45,500 (91 notes of Rs 500 denomination) at the airport.

Advocate Rizwan Merchant, appearing for Hurayb, told the court that his application waiver of show cause notice before the Additional Commissioner of Customs is pending since June.

To prove his claim, Hurayb submitted the receipt handed over to him by the exchange at Jeddah. The petition further said that Hurayb’s father had initiated prosecution against the forex agency. Hurayb’s petition claims he voluntarily disclosed he was carrying Rs 45,500 in Rs 500 notes. All the notes found in his possession were found to be fake.

He was granted bail on May 14 by the sessions court, where the judge observed that “prima facie any knowledge or reasonable belief cannot be attributed to Hurayb”.





Let operative Abu Jundal handed over to ATS in Mumbai

Santosh Sonawane, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.04AM IST

NASHIK: Chief judicial magistrate A D Sawant of Nashik had remanded alleged LeT operative Abu Jundal to 14 days magisterial custody, even as the anti terrorism squad (ATS) took him to Mumbai on Wednesday afternoon to present him at the second session of a Mumbai court for further orders.

Jundal who has been in ATS custody since September 11, to probe his connection with Sheikh Lalbaba Farid, alias Bilal, who carried out a recce of the Nashik police commissionerate, Maharashtra Police Academy (MPA) and Deolali army area in 2010, was produced in the court of AD Sawant, Nashik, after his extended seven-day custody period ended on Wednesday.

Special public prosecutor Ajay Misar said that as per the Unlawful Activities Prevention (UAP) Act, the investigation agency has the right of custodial interrogation of an accused for 30 days. However, in Jundal’s case they have completed the interrogation in 24 days and kept the remaining seven days reserved.

He further said that on the request of the ATS, Jundal was remanded in magisterial custody until October 17. However, according to orders of the Delhi and Mumbai courts, he was handed over to ACP Suresh Desphande of the ATS to be produced in a Mumbai court during its second session on Wednesday.

Misar added that during the interrogation of Jundal, the ATS had unearthed several pieces of evidence against the LeT member. and the picture would become more clear after forensic reports arrived, following which the reserved seven days could be sought as and when required.

Meanwhile, the trial of Bilal and Himayat Baig got underway at the session’s court in the city. On September 11, the two accused had given an application to the court to stay the proceedings saying that they had filed a writ petition in the Bombay high court, challenging the jurisdiction of the hearing in Nashik.

While there were still no orders from the Bombay HC on their writ petition, the trial began at the sessions court in Nashik on Wednesday.

During the recording of evidence on the first day of the trial, MG Joshi advocate for the defence, said ATS police inspector Varpe informed the court of how his team kept an eye on Bilal after being informed of possible terror activity in Nashik. , said M G Joshi, advocate for the defence.






Students get life term for murder

October 4, 2012


A local court sentenced two college students to life imprisonment for murdering a youth over eve-teasing on Wednesday.

According to the prosecution, Muthumani, 22, and Ramasamy, 20, eve-teased women at the sub-urban Ariyamangalam bus stand on January 14, 2012.

The victim, T. Venkatesan, 27, who was also standing at the bus stand noticed the misbehavior of the students, reprimanded them for their immoral act in a public place.

In the ensuing wordy quarrel, the students indiscriminately stabbed Venkatesan with a knife. Venkatesan sustained multiple stab injuries and died on the spot.

Ariyamangalam police registered a murder case and arrested the culprits. The trial of the case was held at the principal district and sessions court at Tiruchy.

When the case came up for final hearing, the trial court found them guilty of committing the murder of Venkatesan.

Principal district and sessions judge P. Velmurugan observed that the crime against the two accused was proved beyond any doubt and sentenced them to undergo life imprisonment.

The judge also imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 each, failing which they should undergo six months further imprisonment.





With no confidence on management, most Delhi staff shun meeting with CEO

NDTV | Updated On: October 04, 2012 10:53 (IST)

The Kingfisher Airlines management’s meeting with its Delhi staff was a low point after only eight to 10 employees turned up to meet CEO Sanjay Aggarwal with most engineers boycotting the meeting.

Although an email intimation was sent out to all staff, employees said they had lost confidence in the management.

Mr Aggarwal is dashing across the country today and tomorrow to meet employees in an attempt to defuse the crisis at the beleaguered airline. The partial lockout at the airline was scheduled to end today, but talks between the management and striking employees in Mumbai yesterday failed.

The government needs concrete plans from Kingfisher Airlines on how it will operate, maintain schedule and if its aircraft are safe to fly, Civil Aviation Minister Ajit Singh said. The ball is in Kingfisher’s court, he added.

Mr Singh said he has yet to see the interim report of aviation regulator, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, on the airline submitted yesterday.

In its interim report to the Civil Aviation Ministry on the crisis facing Kingfisher Airlines, the DGCA is understood to have referred to the six-day strike by engineers and pilots over non-payment of salaries, followed by the partial lockout, and said that safety of operations has been seriously jeopardised.

The regulator is also believed to have said that non-payment of salaries was a matter of serious concern, not only for the employees but also affected safety as those seriously affected were manning flight operations.

“DGCA’s job is to ensure that Kingfisher has followed all safety parameters before it flies… it should satisfy DGCA that it will maintain its schedule,” Mr Singh added.

The whole winter schedule, including routes and landing spots, need to be looked at by the end of October and landing spots have to be considered afresh, he added.

Kingfisher’s lenders expressed hope that the management will not let the airline go belly up, and said banks would be a bigger casualty if it were to go bust, according to an agency report.

When asked about whether banks are looking at recovery measures by monetising the collaterals, an official at a public sector bank said by doing that lenders will not be able to recover even 10 per cent of their outstanding loans to the airline.

The Vijay Mallya-owned airline and its promoters have most of their shares and assets pledged with banks, including the brand Kingfisher (pledged for a value of Rs. 4,100 crore) and two of its properties — the Kingfisher Villa in Goa and the Kingfisher House in Mumbai, together valued at around Rs. 200 crore.

When asked about the amount that banks are looking at as fresh capital infusion by the airline for a fresh lifeline, he said normally a corporate debt restructuring (CDR) involves the promoters bringing in at least 25-30 per cent of the overall CDR package in fresh equity. At 25 per cent, this works out to be around Rs. 1,750 crore as the airline’s outstanding principal alone is over Rs. 7,000 crore.

In Mumbai yesterday, talks between the airline’s management and striking employees hit a cul de sac after Mr Aggarwal told the staff that the airline could pay only a month’s salaries in the next 10 days, but that the payment of future salaries was uncertain as the airline did not have money. In an email sent out later in the night, he said he would meet employees in Delhi at 9 a.m. and the Bangalore staff at 4 p.m. today. He is scheduled to meet Chennai employees tomorrow morning.

Kingfisher’s 270 engineers went on strike on Sunday and were joined by the airline’s pilots on Monday. The pilots and engineers have formed two separate associations to protest against non-payment of salary since April this year. The company has had to ground its 10 operational planes and no Kingfisher flight has taken off since Monday. The debt-laden airline declared a partial lockout late that day.  

Mr Aggarwal, along with executive vice-president Hitesh Patel, met Arun Mishra, the chief of aviation regulator Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) on Tuesday and was told that the airline could fly only after it had paid its employees and got clearance from the DGCA.  The regulator said the company would have to show it a viable recovery and operations plan before it could be given a green signal to fly.

Security has been cited as the main concern both by the DGCA and Civil Aviation Minster Ajit Singh, who said yesterday: “Passenger safety cannot be compromised,” adding, “If engineers don’t give approval before takeoff, the aircraft cannot fly. So, we cannot allow Kingfisher to fly while engineers are on strike.”

The CEO has blamed a small section of employees for the stand-off, saying they were preventing others from coming to work. “We are hopeful that we will resolve the situation in the next few days. We will take a call on October 4 on resumption of our operations,” Mr Aggarwal had said after his meeting with the DGCA.

In a letter announcing flight cancellations on Monday, the CEO said: “A series of protracted and unabated incidents of violence, criminal intimidation, assault, wrongful restraint and other illegal acts by a section of non-management engineering staff and illegally refraining from attending work by a section of non-management engineering staff and pilots which were all unnecessary and unprovoked commenced yesterday morning and continued today.”

If salaries are not paid in the next few days, the airline faces a potentially prolonged shutdown. Its salary backlog goes back to April. The government is taking a tougher stance now after allowing the airline to operate for months without paying salaries, although it has stopped short of forcing a closure of the heavily indebted carrier. The airline has debt of about Rs. 7,000 crore, owed mostly to government-controlled banks, including State Bank of India, the country’s largest lender.

Shares in Kingfisher Airlines dropped sharply on Wednesday, after slumping nearly 5 per cent in each of the previous two sessions. The shares traded 4.9 per cent lower at Rs. 14.60, down almost by its daily limit move of 5 per cent. Last week, the Bombay Stock Exchange had halved its circuit limits on the stock, capping the maximum movement in a day at 5 per cent following a sharp rally in the share prices in the past few days.

With inputs from agencies





3 witnesses depose in Kush murder case

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.01AM IST

NAGPUR: Three witnesses have identified the main accused in the Kush Katariya murder trials which began its daily hearings from Wednesday at the court of district and additional sessions judge GJ Akarte. Special public prosecutor Ujwal Nikam was present during the hearing.

The three witnesses who deposed before the judge included Kush’s parents – Chaya and Prashant, and PCO operator Sheikh Shahid Sheikh Ahmed. All of them charged the accused Ayush Pugaliya for mercilessly killing the eight-year-old.

The PCO operator informed the court that Ayush had called on Kush’s parents from his PCO for demanding ransom in exchange of their kidnapped son and he had overheard the conversation. Additional public prosecutor Jyoti Vajani represented the prosecution, while Rajendra Daga held brief for the Katariya family.

Kush was kidnapped on October 11 last year for a ransom of Rs2 crore. Ayush then took the child to an under-construction building at Surya Nagar and intentionally committed the gruesome act. A case was registered at Nandanvan police station after which Ayush was arrested within a couple of days.





Cash for bail: Former CIA inspector shifted out of Panchkula

HT Live Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Panchkula, October 03, 2012

Former Crime Investigation Agency (CIA) inspector Karamveer Singh, who was sent to police lines after allegations of Rs. 37 lakh for bail of a drug peddler Parveen Kumar surfaced, has now been shifted to a police training centre at Sunaria in Rohtak.
In its order on September 18, the Punjab and Haryana high court had handed over the investigations into cash for bail allegations to CBI and cancelled the bail of Parveen Kumar. Singh was the investigating officer in the drug peddling case against Parveen.

Hakam Rai, resident of Sector 26 here, complained to DCP on September 11 that Parveen, who was arrested on January 26 with 4kg opium along with his accomplices Harvinder Singh and Jora Singh, got bail from the high court on July 27 after police misrepresented facts in the court.

As per the FIR, on the day of arrest, 9kg opium milk (which can be converted into 36kg opium) was also recovered from the rented accommodation of accused in Sector 15 on the disclosure of the accused.

Rai submitted that Parveen claimed having procured the bail order by spending Rs. 37 lakh and was now alluring other persons to pay money to get relief from various courts with the help of police officials, who would give false information to the court.

On May 23, the court of additional district and sessions judge Sanjay Sandhir had dismissed the bail application of Praveen on the ground that huge quantity of opium was recovered; he was stated to procure opium milk from Madhya Pradesh to churn it into opium and another case for drug peddling was also registered against him in Panchkula.

But in the high court on July 27, the court was informed that the challan was not filed even though it was filed in the lower court. It was not contested that the quantity of opium was commercial and there was no other conviction of the accused. ASI Surjeet Singh, then posted with CIA, and head constable Yog Bhyan were present in the court. They have also been shifted out of Panchkula to Sunaria.

“The DGP has ordered the transfers,” said DCP Parul Jain. On the pending arrest of drug peddler Parveen, she said the police were making every effort to nab him. 

Meanwhile, the CBI is yet to start investigations in the case.

Case history
January 26: Parveen Kumar and accomplices Harvinder Singh and Jora Singh arrested with 4kg opium

January 26: Nine-kg opium milk recovered from the Sector-15 rented accommodation of accused

May 23: Additional district and sessions judge Sanjay Sandhir rejects Praveen Kumar’s bail application

July 27: High court informed challan not filed, paving way for bail for Parveen Kumar

September 18: High Court cancels Parveen Kumar’s bail, accused missing




Pervez Tak planned to kill Laila, kin 3 months before murders: Cops

S Ahmed Ali, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 06.29AM IST

MUMBAI: The murders of starlet Laila Khan and five of her family members were planned at least three months in advance, says the chargesheet.

The crime branch on Wednesday filed the 984-page chargesheet in the sessions court, stating that prime accused Parvez Tak killed the six family members with the help of his wanted aide, Shakir Hussain. Tak is the third husband of the starlet’s mother, Saleena.

A junior engineer, a surveyor of the Igatpuri Nagarpalika, a JCB owner, a butcher and two car drivers are among the nine witnesses who have testified against Tak.

In his statement, Tak said he got a pit dug up at Laila’s Igatpuri farmhouse in December 2010 and waited for a few months for her family members to gather there. The six victims were eventually killed in February 2011, days after they went missing from Mumbai. The police have added the statement of Gufran Choudhary, the JCB owner, to the chargesheet to support the theory that the murders were planned and not committed in a fit of rage. Choudhary said Tak hired his JCB in December 2010 and paid him Rs 2,800 to dig the pit. Incidentally, three days after the crime branch recovered the six skeletons from the farmhouse on July 10 this year, TOI had reported how police officials suspected that it was a well-planned murder.

The police are awaiting the DNA reports of the six bodies recovered from the pit. Two knives, an iron rod, two spades, the torn clothes of the deceased, the post-mortem reports and some gold ornaments—including four rings—have been annexed to the chargesheet.

Laila’s body was identified with the help of a diamond ring gifted by her boyfriend, who could recognize the jewellery during his testimony, said investigating officer Deepak Patangre. He added that they will add the DNA reports once they get them from the FSL.

Junior engineer Yashwant Tathe, water surveyor Mohan Shirshat and butcher Shamsher Khan told the police that they hadseen Tak and Saleena hours before the murders on February 8. Tak had taken Saleena to the nagarpalika office to file an application for a water connection. On the same day, the duo went to the butcher to buy 3kg of mutton.

“Tak felt that Saleena lived an ‘un-Islamic’ life and also suspected her to be indulging in adultery. When Tak learned about Laila and her family’s plans to migrate to Dubai and give the powerof-attorney of her properties to Saleena’s second husband, Asif Shaikh, he felt frustrated and humiliated. He then decided to put an end to the chapter,” said Himanshu Roy, JCP (crime ).

The police suspect that Hussain is in Doda.

Starlet case chargesheet

Who is Laila Khan?

Laila, whose original name was Reshma Patel, was born to Saleena and Nadir Patel in Malad. She is best known for her role opposite Rajesh Khanna in Wafa: A Deadly Love Story

The disappearance

Laila, her mother Saleena, siblings Azmina, Imran & Zara, and another relative, Reshma Khan, went missing from Mumbai in February 2011, after which her father filed a missing complaint with the Oshiwara police

The recovery of two MUVs belonging to the starlet—a Mahindra Scorpio and a Mitsubishi Outlander—from Jammu & Kashmir this year triggered speculation that she could be in that state

Another theory that did the rounds said she was in Dubai with her ‘husband’, Sonu

Tak and the revelations

Parvez Iqbal Tak (inset), a road contractor from Kishtwar in J&K and the third husband of Laila’s mother, emerged as the prime suspect in the case after the seizure of the two MUVs

Tak told interrogators that he killed Laila and her five family members at her farmhouse (pic above) in Igatpuri on February 8

Shakir Hussain, an accompliceof Tak’s, was also involved in the murders. He was made caretaker of the farmhouse in December 2010

Tak and Hussain go to the family’s Oshiwara flat to fetch Laila’s six pet cats. They also remove photographs from an album before returning to Igatpuri. They then hire two drivers, Mahboob Shaikh and Johny Girdar, and leave for Kishtwar in Laila’s Scorpio and Outlander

What led to the killings?

The police said Tak felt Saleena lived an “un-Islamlic” life and suspected her to be indulging in adultery When he learned about the family’s plans to migrate to Dubai and give the power-of-attorney of her properties to Saleena’s second husband, Asif Shaikh, Tak plotted the murders

The evidence and witnesses

The Scorpio and the Outlander, which have been brought back to Mumbai Two knives, an iron rod, two spades, the torn clothes of the deceased, mobile records, post-mortem reports and some gold ornaments Laila’s body was identified with the help of a diamond ring gifted by her boyfriend, who could recognize the jewellery during his testimony





IAS officer granted bail in molestation case

Agencies : Lucknow, Wed Oct 03 2012, 21:08 hrs

A senior IAS officer in the Uttar Pradesh government, who was arrested on charges of attempt to rape and molesting a Delhi-based woman in a train, was today granted interim bail by a local court here.

Sessions judge K K Sharma granted interim bail to IAS officer Shashi Bhushan Sushil up to October 6 on an application moved on his behalf, court sources said here.

Sushil, Special Secretary in the Technical Education Department, was arrested on Monday and a case under IPC section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty) was lodged against him following a complaint by the woman, a senior IT executive, Government Railway Police (GRP) officials said.

The 2001-batch officer was also booked under IPC sections 376 (rape), 511 (attempt to commit offence) and 506 (criminal intimidation) under which he can be imprisoned for life.

According to the FIR lodged by the mother of the woman travelling with her, the officer, who boarded the second AC coach from Ghaziabad, indulged in obscene acts and the conductor and train escorts were duly informed.

The FIR was lodged with the GRP by the woman.

Bhushan was detained after the train reached Charbhagh railway station and police interrogated him for four hours before arresting him.

Refuting the molestation charge, the officer claimed that he had got into a verbal duel with the woman after she made a casteist remark against him.

The officer was later suspended by the Uttar Pradesh government.

The government has also removed inspector GRP Anil Rai who allegedly tried to delay the matter and impose less stringent sections in the FIR though the home department refuted the charges.

Sushil was later produced before a local Railway court which remanded him in judicial custody for 14 days.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav had said no one would be spared and strict action would be taken against those showing disrespect to women.





Delhi Police officer ‘forges’ court record, let off

New Delhi:Oct 4, 2012 PTI

 A sessions court has discharged a Delhi Police inspector in a complaint initiated by a magisterial court for allegedly forging the court record of a case.

Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar discharged H S Chauhan, an inspector in Delhi Police, who was summoned as accused along with ASI Puran Chand by court of additional chief metropolitan magistrate on a complaint made by the chief metropolitan magistrate for allegedly forging court record in a 2006 case under the Prize Chit Money Circulation (Banning) Act.

“The impugned order dated May 19 vide which the accused – petitioner (Chauhan) has been summoned as an accused is without basis and suffers from illegality and the same deserves to be set aside qua the petitioner. The petitioner is discharged,” the ASJ said.

The ASJ added that the CMM did not conduct any inquiry before filing the complaint against Chauhan.

The complaint accused Chauhan and Chand of fraudulently entering forensic (FSL) report in the court record of a case after a delay of three years only when the issue came before the CMM.

Chauhan had moved the court of ASJ against the ACMM’s order. On January 1, 2006, an FIR was registered with Prasad Nagar police station under the Prize Chits Act on the complaint of a widow named Durga Devi, who had invested in a committee.

The accused Luid Fernandez and Josphin Fernandez run the committee which did not pay any returns to the woman on maturity of the investment. A chargesheet in the matter was filed on April 13, 2006 before the then concerned area magistrate.

A supplementary charge-sheet was filed on July 11, 2006 mentioning that the FSL report on specimen handwriting of the accused will be filed as and when received.

Official let off in graft case

DRI officer, facing trial for allegedly taking bribe from a businessman for bailing him out of an excise evasion case, has been discharged by a Delhi court for want of proper sanction for his prosecution, reported PTI from Delhi.

Special Central Bureau of Investigation Judge Kanwaljeet Arora discharged Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) Y S Verma saying the sanction to prosecute him was bad in the eyes of law as it was given by an officer, junior to the one competent to grant it.

It is admitted position that accused at the relevant point of time was working as senior intelligence officer with DRI, which is a Group ‘B’ post.

Having been appointed to the post of Group ‘B’ cadre, by orders of DRI director general, a right has accrued in favour of the accused by virtue of Article 311(1) of the Constitution that he cannot be removed from his office by an officer subordinate to the rank of director general,” the court said.

Additional director general who had passed the sanction order on December 29, 2006 was subordinate to director general, therefore, she could not have passed the sanction order. The said sanction therefore is bad in the eyes of law,” the court said, discharging Verma.

The corruption case against Verma was lodged by the CBI on complaint of Delhi-based exporter A K Aggarwal, who had alleged that Verma had lodged a false excise duty evasion case against him and had raided his house in September 2005.
He said Verma subsequently had demanded a bribe of Rs 50 lakh from him to bail him out of the case.

On Aggarwal’s complaint, the CBI laid a trap and allegedly caught Verma red-handed while accepting Rs 5 lakh as the first instalment of the bribe from Aggarwal at the South Delhi house of another co-accused Mahender Kumar.

In his complaint to the CBI, Aggarwal had also said Verma and his senior had asked him for Rs 50 lakh bribe and had threatened that if failed to pay the sum, his son would face untoward consequences.

The judge, however, granted liberty to the agency to file fresh charge sheet against Verma with proper sanction to prosecute him.





Court sends youth to 10 yrs in jail, pulls up police

Agencies : New Delhi, Wed Oct 03 2012, 20:55 hrs

A youth who raped a minor girl last year in a factory here has been sentenced to 10 years in jail by a Delhi court which also directed the city government to pay a compensation of Rs one lakh to the victim.

The court expressed anguish and displeasure that the two factory workers who saw the accused, instead of “objecting to the conduct”, ran away from the premises leaving the 14-year-old victim at his mercy and the Delhi police also did not prefer to inquire about their “indifferent approach”.

“Of late crime against women generally and rape in particular is on the increase and ironically society appears to be unconcerned, showing little or no concern for honour of women. It is this kind of a public apathy and indifference which is grossly criminal,” Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Kamini Lau said.

The court said it was “shocking” that the two factory workers ran away from the spot and informed their owner about the incident much later to evade their culpability.

“Public alertness with a suitable timely response can go a long way to save the life and honour of young girls which unfortunately did not happen in the present case,” the judge said.

The court also imposed a fine of Rs 52,000 on convict Aditya, 20, a resident of Pitampura Village in North-West Delhi, saying that on recovery of the amount, it shall be given to the victim.

The judge said the amount of compensation will be used for rehabilitation of the victim and directed the Delhi government to take steps to ensure that she is admitted in some school to continue her studies.

According to the police, Aditya caught hold of the girl when she was returning from her school and forcibly took her inside an adjoining plastic factory.

The accused threatened the two workers, who were present in the factory, and asked them to leave. He took the girl to a room in the factory and when she tried to raise an alarm, he threatened to electrocute her after which he raped her and ran away, police said.

The two workers, later on, called their employer and informed him about the incident.After reaching home, the girl informed her family about the incident and a case was lodged against the accused.

The court also pulled up the police for not inquiring the reason from the two workers as to why they did not raise an alarm when they saw the accused bringing the girl in school uniform into the factory.

It rejected Aditya’s plea for leniency saying that he had committed the offence without any fear of law in the factory after threatening the two workers working there and compelling them to leave.





Justice delayed is justice denied…–/articleshow/16663248.cms

Oct 4, 2012, 05.51AM IST

If ever there was a case of justice delayed being justice denied, this is it. The fact that the court had ordered the actor to pay compensation even before framing of charges and he had done so immediately, makes it clear how urgent the need for compensation was judged to be.

Yet, the victims have not received the compensation even a decade later. Exactly who is to blame for this situation appears to be unclear as of now, but responsibility must be fixed and action taken. Also, the victims must now be paid—even if it rather late—not just the amount originally ordered, but interest for 10 years on it.





Law Commission of India proposes toning down anti-dowry legislation

Oct 4, 2012, 12.00AM IST


Will safeguard against misuse

The Law Commission of India’s recommendation that the anti-dowry law be suitably amended to dilute the provision of immediate arrest of the accused is sensible. The suggestion comes in light of the fact that an increasing number of dowry complaints have been found to be false. That Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code — dealing with physical and mental cruelty by husbands and their relatives over dowry — empowers the complainant to have the accused arrested even before a proper investigation into the case only incentivises misuse of the law. Not only does this amount to gross injustice but also significantly damages to the anti-dowry movement.

It`s arguable that tough anti-dowry legislations are a product of the 1980s, where they arose out of a specific context: a seemingly uncontrollable spate of dowry deaths in the country. However, the socio-economic conditions of women today have significantly changed. This empowerment is precisely why the anti-dowry law needs to be suitably updated. Besides, the provision of immediate arrest flies in the face of Indian jurisprudence that treats every accused as innocent until proven guilty. Subverting this principle has done more harm than good.

In this respect, the law panel`s proposal to introduce a 30-day reconciliation period before the police arrest an accused under the anti-dowry law makes eminent sense. To prevent misuse, the law should also be amended to allow for arrests only after a proper investigation, not before. The Supreme Court has already des-cribed false dowry cases as legal terrorism. Using the anti-dowry law as a tool for extortion is tantamount to human rights violation. Hence, in the interest of justice, diluting draconian provisions of the anti-dowry law without taking away the essence of the legislation is a step in the right direction.


A change for the worse

Anil Thakkar

The expert panel’s recommendation on amending and toning down the anti-dowry law is a classic example of missing the wood for the trees. As matters stand, is the anti-dowry law misused on occasion? Yes, it is — just like every other law. That is the nature of the beast; there will always be people who find and exploit loopholes in any system of rules. This is particularly true in India where the judicial system is hopelessly clogged and the police prone to corruption. These things will not change if the law is watered down. All that will happen is that the fight against dowry — a far more insidious and widespread evil than misuse of the anti-dowry law — will be compromised.

A simple look at the statistics will show how far we still have to go in stamping out the system of dowry and the subjugation of — and violence against — women it engenders. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, 6,995 dowry deaths were reported in 2000 — which climbed to 8,093 in 2007 and 8,391 in 2010. And that is just the reported cases; it is a safe assumption that the actual number of dowry deaths is significantly higher. This more than half-a-century after dowry was made illegal. What possible sense does it make to defang the anti-dowry law at a time when dowry deaths are actually on the rise?

On the face of it, certainly, the amended changes seem sensible. But given how rigidly patriarchal much of Indian society is — particularly in rural areas where the dowry system is even harder to uproot — all they will do is leave the perpetrators at large and give them enough time to pressure or coerce the woman and her family into withdrawing their complaint. And that would be a far greater injustice than anything that is currently done under the aegis of the anti-dowry law.





Victims of accident by Salman Khan’s vehicle not compensated

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 04, 2012

A decade after actor Salman Khan killed a pavement dweller and injured four others in a highly-publicised car accident in Bandra, the victims are yet to receive the compensation amount due to them from him, according to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a senior journalist before the Bombay high court.

A division bench headed by justice AM Khanwilkar was hearing the PIL filed Nikhil Wagle, seeking enhancement of the punishment that was awarded under section 304 A of the Indian Penal Code for causing death by rash and negligent driving, and an increase in compensation awarded under the provisions of the Motor Vehicle Act.

Wagle had filed the PIL soon after the accident.

While hearing the PIL, the high court had on October 7, 2002 directed Salman to deposit Rs17 lakh as interim compensation for the four injured victims and the family of the deceased victim. The court had then also directed the Union and state government to file affidavits.

Wagle’s lawyer Subhada Khot informed the court on Wednesday that the compensation amount has not been disbursed to the victims and the government has not filed affidavits either.

The court has now issued a notice to the additional solicitor general to appear before the court and directed the Union and state governments to file their affidavits by October 8.

On September 29, 2002, an inebriated Khan had run over five persons sleeping on a Bandra pavement with his Toyota Land Cruiser.

He was arrested the next day and booked under sections 304 A, 337 and 338 of the IPC. He was released on bail of Rs.950 immediately at the Bandra police station. The trial against him is pending before a magistrate’s court.





Kidnapping for ransom: Death punishment valid

Express news service : Chandigarh, Thu Oct 04 2012, 02:01 hrs

HC says killers of Abhi Verma to hang, puts execution on hold till October 12

There is nothing legally invalid in awarding death sentence to those held guilty of kidnapping for ransom. Statin this, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday upheld the hanging of two youths who had abducted and later killed Abhi Verma, a 16-year-old boy from Hoshiarpur for ransom.

However, giving them time to challenge the order in the Supreme Court, the court directed Patiala Jail Superintendent not to execute the “death warrants in abeyance” till October 12. The accused, Vikram Singh Walia and Jasvir Singh, were to be hanged at 9 am on October 5 in Central Jail, Patiala.

The judgment assumes significance as the duo had challenged the legal validity of the capital punishment awarded under Section 364-A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) saying that under the said law death can be awarded only to those who are involved in international terrorism and not to “private individuals”.

Holding their challenge as “ill founded, deceptive and misleading”, a division bench headed by Justice Surya Kant in a 26-page judgment dismissed the petition for “beating around the bush”.

“No meaningful argument was advanced except reminding us the pious object behind Article 21 of the Constitution. The decision to hang the petitioners to death has been taken following the procedure established by law,” the judgment reads

Making it clear that death sentence cannot be abolished from Section 364-A of IPC, the court ruled ruled that “death was one of the sentences prescribed for the offence of a private individual’s kidnapping for ransom from the very inception of Section 364-A IPC in the year 1993.” “It has neither been omitted nor diluted by the subsequent amendment. The challenge to the `retrospectivity’ of the provision is totally deceptive and misleading”.

The petitioners had taken the ground that death sentence cannot be awarded in “a simpliciter case of kidnapping for ransom of a private individual”.

They had averred that the phrase “person” occurring in Section 364-A IPC “excludes an individual and is meant for a juristic person, company or association, or body of persons only.” The very object of amending Section 364-A IPC was to tackle international terrorism,” they had said.

They had argued that the death sentence awarded to them was “in utter disregard to the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, 1979 (`Hostages Convention’), adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on June 3, 1983 “. The said contention found no favour with the court.

Earlier, Assistant Solicitor General of India and counsels for Punjab and Haryana too had countered the submissions. The counsels had averred that the petition was “merely a cloak to delay the execution of death warrants, for even if the challenge to death sentence under Section 364-A succeeds, the same awarded for the offence under Section 302 IPC (murder) still sustains and is final”.

The argument found favour with the court as Justice Surya Kant held that the two have been guilty of murder and even if their petition succeeds, the same will “not change their fate”.




Former SIMI Functionary Booked Under MCOCA

Thane | Oct 03, 2012


The Thane police on Wednesday booked former Students’ Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) functionary Saquib Nachan and four others under the Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA).

The Bhiwandi crime branch produced Nachan and four others in the MCOCA court on Wednesday.

Saquib Nachan and his son Ismail and nephew Aquib are facing charges for the murderous assault on Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader from Bhiwandi, Manoj Raicha. Two others Guddu Khan and Tanvir Abdul Zabdir were also arrested in this case.

SIMI activist Saqib Nachan, an accused in Mulund bomb blast of 2003, was arrested by police for allegedly firing at an advocate in Bhiwandi on August 3, this year.

It was around 11.45pm, advocate Manoj Ratilal Raicha (48) was on his way home in his car along with bodyguards, when he was shot at and injured.

In his complaint, the lawyer, who is a Bajrang Dal office bearer, named Saqib Nachan as the suspect or his associate as the person who fired at him with an intention to kill him.

The Nizampura police later registered a case under Sections 307, 120(b) of the Indian Penal Code and also under Sections 3, 25 and 27 of the Arms Act against the accused.

FILED ON: Oct 03, 2012 23:40 IST




Muslim rage is not about Islam

The outrage and the violent protests organised by Islamists across the world have nothing to do with the supposed desecration of religion. Instead, these incidents are calibrated attempts by so-called religious leaders to firm up their politics, even at the cost of people’s lives

Even before the crowd from the previous protest had returned home, a new mob had gathered on the streets. It had been gaining strength throughout the day as hundreds arrived loaded in trucks and buses, and more people from the outside kept pouring in. Over the next couple of hours, the crowd swelled in numbers and a few local leaders gradually took their position at the helm — soon, they were whipping up outrage against some vaguely defined but provocatively conveyed threat to their religion, their Prophet or their holy book. Timing was the key, so one waited cautiously for the crowd to be sufficiently riled and then, just when the passions peaked, it was let loose like a pack of blood thirsty wolves. What followed was hours, even days, of looting, raiding, pillaging, plundering and killing. Until finally, the security forces showed up and brought the situation somewhat under control.

This is a fairly accurate description of the events as they unfolded in the little Upazila of Ramu, located in the coastal Cox’s Bazar district in Bangladesh’s southern division of Chittagong on September 29 and 30, when Islamists went on the rampage in the area and attacked Buddhist temples and homes, after they discovered a picture of a burnt Quran on Facebook that was alleged ‘tagged’ to a local Buddhist boy.

According to the latest reports available, at least 12 temples were desecrated and nearly 50 Buddhist homes systematically destroyed. But the moot point here lies not in the details of this heinous incident that has deeply scarred Bangladesh’s socio-religious fabric but in the fact that the description applies to almost any ‘Muslim protest’ that has erupted in recent times in response to a supposed act of religious outrage.

Indeed, instead of Ramu Upazila, the narrative can just as easily be placed in Masuri village in Uttar Pradesh here in India, where a similar crowd went berserk and brutally attacked the local police station after someone found pages torn out of the Quran by the railway tracks last month. The narrative also fits well in many other places — from Mumbai’s Azad Maidan where a crowd protesting atrocities against Muslims in Burma and elsewhere went on a rampage to the US Embassy compound in Benghazi where an armed mob protesting a shoddily-made, obscure anti-Islamic film killed the American Ambassador to Libya.

Look closely and a clear pattern of pre-meditated violence that emerges through each of these cases is unmistakable. The cause of the violence and the outrage here is inconsequential. It can be anything — a book that nobody has heard of, a movie that nobody has seen because it was never publicly released, a photograph that is quite possibly doctored, a quote that remains unattributed, a conspiracy theory or even a cartoon. It doesn’t matter.  What matters is how, and of course with what result, that singular instance of outrage (real or imagined) is perverted so as to make it look like it is a universal insult to Islam and its 1.7 billion followers around the world.

First, the Islamists go all out to introduce that supposed object of religious insult — almost always an obscure one — to their local audience. Then, they systemically manufacture outrage against that same object. The campaign is almost always framed within the narrative of a victim-community; a community that has been and continues to be wronged by the world. Ridiculous as it may sound, the idea of being at the receiving end of a global conspiracy is particularly tempting and as we know from past experience, hugely effective. Finally, what serves as an icing on the cake is the fact that Islamists, almost everywhere in the world, are an especially well-organised group. This automatically allows them mobilise large sections of the population and mount an effective campaign.

In other words, the bottomline here is that the protests may be hinged around an Islamic (or more specifically, anti-Islamic) subject, but in reality they have little to do with religion. Instead, the issue is of politics and power-play. Religion is merely an excuse used by the Islamists to whip up passion and mobilise social groups so that they can ultimately implement the latter’s agenda. Indeed, this is an argument that even Muslims political observers themselves have made. For instance, Mr Husain Haqqani, Pakistan’s former Ambassador to the US, in his recently published article on ‘Muslim rage’ minces no words when he says, “The phenomenon of outrage over insults to Islam and its final Prophet is a function of modern-era politics. It started during Western colonial rule, with Muslim politicians seeking issues to mobilize their constituents… and Islamists emerged to claim that Islam is not merely a religion but also a political ideology.”

Indeed, Mr Haqqani traces back an early prototype of this kind of mass mobilisation within the Muslim world to a book published in British India back in 1927. Titled Rangeela Rasool (Playboy Prophet), it was a “salacious version of Muhammad’s life”, says Mr Haqqani, but “hardly a bestseller”. In fact, much the like anti-Islamic film that today is all the rage, so to say, this book too went largely unnoticed until two years after its publication when some Muslim politicians raised a hue and cry over it. The British Government of the day even arrested and tried the publisher but he was acquitted — only to be later stabbed to death by one Ilmuddin, an illiterate carpenter known only by his first name, in Lahore. Ilmuddin soon became a local hero of sorts. Islamist groups nicknamed him Ghazi (warrior) and he was defended in court by a man no less than Mohamed Ali Jinnnah (although on purely technical grounds, as Mr Haqqani points out in his essay). The book continued to be a polarising point between the Hindus and Muslims of undivided India and exacted its price in blood during Partition as well.

It is interesting to note that it was after this case of Ilmuddin that the British amended the Indian Penal Code to include punishment for blasphemy and incitement of religious hatred. It is equally ironical that a little less than a century later, another young man would once again share Ilmuddin’s fate and how! In January 2011, Mumtaz Qadri would also be celebrated as a national hero for killing Salman Taseer, the powerful Pakistani Governor of Punjab would had dared to opposed his country’s draconian blasphemy laws.

The lessons to be learnt from the past and the present are clear. These protests, wherever they may erupt, are not just a product of politics disguised as religion, but that they must be exposed as such. 

The moment the state begins to legitimise such violence as being a genuine case of religious grievance; it loses the plot and half the battle. The Bangladeshi Government realises this, which is why the whole deal about the Facebook picture was underplayed. The Pakistani Government on the other hand doesn’t get it at all and so, it had the Ishq-e-Rasool day, during which several persons where killed. India must learn its lessons from all this and stop pampering hardliners.



Civil society urges govt to remove accused under the PNDT Act from committee

Dr Harsh Mahajan is an accused in a case filed by Mitu Khurana who was forced to undergo sex determination test

Shonali Ghosal
New Delhi

Eighteen years after the Pre-conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Act (PC & PNDT Act) was passed for the “regulation and prevention of misuse of diagnostic techniques,” the government’s intention on curbing sex determination remains unclear.

Dr Harsh Mahajan, an accused under the PC & PNDT Act and president of the Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA), had been appointed as a member of a committee, which is set to examine and possibly amend the format of Form F (the mandatory form to be filled and recorded by all sonography centres when conducting an ultrasound sonography).

“They might have gone by his post as president of the IRIA. But the government should’ve checked his track record,” says Rizwan Parwez, a member of the National Inspection and Monitoring Committee (NIMC) and the Centre for Advocacy and Research. The court has taken cognizance of Mahajan as an accused (among others) after Mitu Khurana filed a case against her husband and in-laws for allegedly forcing her to undergo a sex determination test in 2005. She further states that they put pressure on her to undergo an abortion on learning that she was carrying twin girls. “This is a violation of the Act. The government never supported me in my case and now there’s this to add insult to injury,” says Mitu, who was told by a PC & PNDT official to stop wasting her life and give her husband a son if he wanted one.

“Even though Mahajan is not the doctor who performed the sex determination test, he is an accused because he holds approximately 80 per cent of the shares in Mahajan Imaging Centre where the test was conducted and is also a board member of the centre,” Mitu clarifies. The PC & PNDT law clearly states: “No person who, in the opinion of the Central Government or the State Government, as the case may be, has been associated with the use or promotion of pre-natal diagnostic technique for determination of sex shall be appointed as a member of the Advisory Committee.” “It’s like inviting a murderer undergoing trial to amend a law on Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code,” adds Parwez.

But all is not lost. In a meeting of the committee held last week (28 September), activists protested Mahajan’s presence and asked him to leave. Donna Fernandes, the head of Vimochana (an NGO on women’s rights) and a member of the same committee was present at the meeting. She recounts that it was Kiran Moghe, the Maharashtra president of the All India Democratic Women’s Organisation who raised the issue. “He (Mahajan) made some weak noise about being innocent and that he had a lot of suggestions, but other members said that he may be innocent, but, if he has a case in court, it isn’t right that he should be attending this meeting,” she says. Finally, Sandeep Kumar Nayak, Joint Secretary, Women & Child Development (who was also chairing the meeting) told him that he had said something else at registration and asked Mahajan to leave. “The government should’ve sent a strong message that you can’t be part of such an important committee before the civil society brought it up,” says Parwez.

Mahajan had to leave that meeting but whether any action has been taken to permanently remove him from the committee is not known. Incidentally, he is also a member of another similar committee, which has to examine, and perhaps, amend the provisions of the Act itself. “People like him aren’t worried about implementation, they’re just concerned with making money,” says health activist Dr Sabu Geore, who is a member of the other committee. Both Anuradha Vemuri, director of the PNDT Division, and Dr Harsh Mahajan remained unavailable for comment.

Shonali Ghosal is a Correspondent with Tehelka.





Another plaint against Bangalore Urban DC

Bangalore:Oct 4, 2012 DH News Service

 A new private complaint was filed in the Special Lokayukta Court on Wednesday against Bangalore Urban Deputy Commissioner M K Aiyappa and others. Judge N K Sudhindra Rao has posted the case to October 17 for orders.

The case filed by Markandeya, a software engineer, pertains to land acquired in Nagarbhavi village in Vijayanagar for the development of the Vinayaka Housing Board Co-operative Society in 1985.

The complainant stated that the land had been handed over to the Society and all formalities including obtaining work order and khatas from the Bangalore Development Authority were completed.

From 1986, sites were registered in favour of the members. In 1996, the BDA also issued khatas and started collecting property tax.

Later, the land came under Pattanagere City Municipal Council and was transferred to BBMP, who issued khatas.

The complaint alleges that one Gali Hanumamma filed a case against Malliappa, the original landowner under the  Karnataka Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prohibition of Transfer of Certain Lands) (PTCL) Act with the Assistant Commissioner (AC) who ordered the restoration of the property.

Order challenged

The Society members challenged the order before the then Deputy Commissioner Ramegowda who allowed the appeal, after seeking a spot inspection from the Assistant Commissioner.

Permission from DC

Gali Hanumamma then sold one acre of land to one Mirle Varadaraj for Rs three crore, after obtaining permission from the DC. She later filed an application seeking conversion of two acres of land for residential purpose, including the one acre she had sold.

The complainant who had purchased the land from the Society filed objections before the Deputy Commissioner.

The complainant stated that the DC told him that the land would be taken over and handed back. The complaint has been lodged for commission of offences under Prevention of Corruption Act and Indian Penal Code.

The complaint also names Assistant Commissioner Kantharaju, Tahsildar Suma, Village Accountant Manjunath, Gali Hanumma, her daughter Huchamma, Mirle Varadaraju and others.





K’taka HC stays probe against former disciple of Nithyananda

Last Updated: Wednesday, October 03, 2012, 22:07

Bangalore: Karnataka High Court Wednesday stayed further proceedings before a local court against a former disciple of self-proclaimed controversial godman Nityananda and two others in a criminal case filed against them by an actress

Justice H N Nagamohan Das stayed further proceedings in the case before the court at Ramanagara on a criminal petition filed by Ranjitha, seeking quashing of the case.

In June, the court had issued a non-bailable warrant to Lenin Karuppan and third summons to co-accused Aarti Rao and advocate Sridhar in the case filed by the actress.


Ranjitha had filed a private complaint on Dec 30 2010 at Ramnagara Magistrate Court in Bangalore against the three, charging them with criminal intimidation, criminal conspiracy and outraging her modesty in connection with attempting to link her through a morphed video with Nithyananda.

The Magistrate took cognizance and issued summons to all three on June 4 2011.

Lenin failed to appear before the court, following which a NBW was issued against him, while the other two were issued a second summons on August 2 2011.

Arathi Rao is a resident of Detroit, USA.






Will appoint commissioners within 3 weeks: Govt assures HC

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.20AM IST

JAIPUR: The state government assured the Rajasthan high court on Wednesday that it would comply with the recent Supreme Court judgment on appointing at least minimum number of information commissioners (ICs) required under the right to information (RTI) Act within the next three weeks.

At present, the Rajasthan Information Commission (RIC) has just a chief information commissioner but not a single IC. The Act underlines a minimum two and maximum 10 ICs in a state.

In its September 13 ruling, the apex court made it mandatory that appeals under the RTI Act can be heard at the state information commissions only by benches comprising at least two ICs.

The judgment has resulted in the work at information commissions coming to a standstill in several states, including Rajasthan where around 8000 appeals under the RTI are already pending.

The government assurance came on a reply to high court’s query on a public interest litigation (PIL) on the subject pending since last year.

A division bench headed by chief justice Arun Kumar Mishra had directed the state government on Monday to apprise the court of the steps it had taken to comply with the SC verdict.

Additional advocate general Sushil Kumar Sharma told the division bench that the government was all set to appoint the ICs and the process would be completed within the next three weeks.

Under the RTI Act, the chief information commissioner and the ICs are appointed by a committee comprising the chief minister, the leader of opposition and a cabinet minister.

While the PIL filed by advocate Prakash Shukla has been pending in court since September 2011, Aruna Roy, of the leading forces behind the RTI movement in the country, recently moved an application before the state administrative reforms department to know what steps had so far been initiated to appoint the ICs. The government department, however, failed to answer Roy’s query.





Conman lures 5 with HC jobs

  • October 4, 2012
  • By Praveen Kumar
  • DC
  • Bengaluru

A data entry operator managed to take the police, social welfare and other departments concerned for a ride in his effort to get jobs in the Karnataka High Court for five aspirants from Bijapur and other northern districts of the state. He had allegedly taken money from each candidate.

The accused, along with his associates, had created a fake letterhead of the Karnataka High Court and allegedly forged the signature and seal of the High Court Registrar (Administration) directing the officials to submit character/antecedents certificate, caste and income certificates and medical fitness certificate which are mandatory for applicants to government job.

Police have identified the suspect as B.G. Gopal, who was working as a data entry operator at a business solutions firm on Old Airport Road in Kodihalli. He had promised government jobs to family members of his colleagues and others, mainly from Bijapur. All the aspirants, who he had lured, had applied for the 2008 Karnataka Public Service Commission (KPSC) exams for various posts. The aspirants were assured that they would be given jobs as typist and first and second division assistants in the Karnataka High Court.

With the help of the fake letterheads, signature and seal, Gopal had asked the respective departments to issue the necessary certificates. The character, antecedents, caste, income and medical certificates of the five candidates were sent directly to the High Court by the respective departments. Strangely, the High Court had not sought any documents from any of the departments pertaining to the five candidates and the officials were surprised when they got them. Following this, Karnataka High Court Registrar (Vigilance) on June 26, instructed the city police to conduct an inquiry.

The High Court Vigilance Cell officials, who conducted an inquiry, found out that Nagappa, a resident of Bijapur, had applied for the post of second division assistant, Aravind Gangaram Rathod, Basavaraj Mullur and Banadevi Shanmukhappa of Bijapur district for the post of first division assistant and Anasuya of Yadgir district for the post of typist, and were promised jobs by Gopal. Of the five candidates, Anusuya’s husband Mr Srinivas V. Joshi, was also working as a data entry operator at a business solutions firm on Old Airport Road since 2006. Three years ago, Joshi’s colleague Gopal is alleged to have promised a typist’s post in the Karnataka High Court for Anusuya and had taken money.

Later, Mr Joshi along with his associates Shekarappa Sangappa Hosahalli and Prakash Patil Rudre Gowda, met the four other job aspirants with the promise of jobs. The report has been submitted to the High Court Vigilance Registrar. Cases against B.G. Gopal, Srinivas V. Joshi, Shekarappa Sangappa Hosahalli, Prakash Patil Rudre Gowda and the five job aspirants have been registered. “We are in the process of arresting them”, an officer of the High Court Vigilance Cell added.





PIL against Bharti Walmart for FDI violation withdrawn in HC

Press Trust of India / New Delhi October 03, 2012, 20:55

Environmental activist Vandana Shiva today withdrew her PIL from the Delhi High Court filed against Bharti Walmart Private Limited and Bharti Retail Limited for alleged violation of FDI policy in retail sector.

“I am withdrawing the petition,” the counsel for Shiva told a bench headed by Chief Justice D Murugesan. The court allowed the plea.

Earlier, the counsel for Shiva and Additional Solicitor General (ASG) Rajeeve Mehra had said the PIL against the private joint venture firms have been rendered infructious in the wake of new central policy on FDI in retail sector.

The ASG had told the bench, also comprising Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, that in the changed scenario, when the FDI in retail has been allowed, the petition loses its relevance.

Earlier, the court had issued notices to the Centre, Bharti Walmart Private Limited and Bharti Retail Limited on the plea seeking a probe against the firms for allegedly carrying out retail trading in multi-brand sector in violation of India’s existing FDI policy.

The PIL had alleged Bharti Walmart was illegally carrying out multi-brand retail trade despite being permitted only to carry out wholesale cash-and-carry trade here.

Cash and carry is a form of trade in which goods are sold from a wholesale warehouse and customers settle the invoice on the spot.

The PIL also alleged that many established Indian firms are acting as “front” for foreign firms to give their offshore partners a “majority control and economic interest” in retail sector here.

Walmart entered in a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises in 2007 for carrying out cash and carry wholesale trade in India.




Club’s resolution amounts to character assassination: HC

Court suggests that Bangalore Club withdraw the resolution passed to oust former president

S Shyam Prasad

Posted On Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 06:21:27 AM

A former president of Bangalore Club, arguably the city’s most prestigious club, has approached the high court against a resolution passed by an extraordinary general body meeting of the club which terminated his presidency. 


MK Marattukalam petitioned the High Court that he was not an invitee to the general body meeting at which he was ousted from the post of president and even the car parking slot reserved for him was denied. It is a tradition at the club to invite the president to general body meetings.


In the previous hearing of the case by Justice N Ananda on September 10, the respondents, including the current president Feroze Sattar Sait, had filed their objections. 


During hearing of the case on Wednesday, the judge said, “You should not have attacked him personally in the resolution. These resolutions are public records. It is defamatory in nature and you are castigating a person before you hear him. How can a resolution be character assassination?”


Marattukalam’s advocate also told the court that on an earlier occasion, another member, Gagan Chandy, had his membership suspended for a period of two years for speaking up at a general body meeting. Chandy too had approached court and the club had sought leave to withdraw the resolution. 


When the judge perused the submission, he found that in Chandy’s case, Marattukalam was the president when the resolution suspending his membership was passed. 


The judge then commented, “So it has boomeranged on him (Marattukalam).”


Senior advocate Ashok Haranahalli, who was representing the respondents, revealed that Marattukalam had not answered the notices issued to him. But the judge replied, “A person’s character cannot be assassinated without him being heard. If you reverse the process it can put an end to all the problems. Call a general body meeting.”

 The case was posted for October 10.





Donor kin veto alone can’t stop organ gift to unrelated patient: Bombay high court

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 05.07AM IST

MUMBAI: In a landmark judgment, the Bombay HC has set aside a government panel’s decision to prevent a Madhya Pradesh flour mill owner from donating a kidney to his cousin, a goods loader, who is undergoing treatment at Jaslok Hospital. The government panel—the state authorization committee had rejected the cousin’s plea to donate because his own brother and minor daughters were opposed to his decision. The court has asked it to consider the man’s request again.

India’s transplantation law allows only close family comprising spouse, parents and children to donate organs. Unrelated donors require permission to give.

Bombay HC has clarified that the law on transplantation of human organs “does not confer an overriding veto on the next of kin of the donor” when the donor and donee are not close relatives.

The bond of love and affection even when not ‘near’ relatives is key to becoming a donor, it said. The court set aside the orders passed by the authorization committee.

A fact that was highlighted was that both men hail from a humble background—one is a flour mill operator earning Rs 150 a day and another a goods loader making Rs 6,000.

A bench of Justices D Y Chandrachud and Amjad Sayed held that the authorisation committee wrongly concluded that there was no bond of love and affection between the donor and donee after the brother and children of the donor, a single parent of two minor daughters, did not consent to the donation and the near relatives of the patient did not offer to donate. The Jaslok Hospital committee had approved the donation. The HC ruled that “views of the next of kin are entitled to deference but this is not to suggest that the committee, once a disagreement is expressed would have no power to take an independent decision based on the best interest of donor and recipient.” The judges said, “Ultimately, the committee has to take a judicious decision after considering all facts and aspects of law.” The court directed the committee to consider the case “afresh, expeditiously and to hold a fair inquiry into all facets of the law and facts.”

“There is always a risk involved in a transplantation procedure,” the HC said, adding, “But the degree of risk may vary from case to case based on medical condition of donor. The impact of a donation on the donor’s quality of life must be assessed and must be balanced with his desire to save a life.” It added that need to save a life is also significant from a public health perspective and directed that the “committee must realistically look at at our societal milieu to understand why a married daughter of a recipient may not be in a position to donate a her kidney to her father. These are indeed difficult question” The judges said, “The judge canot perform the role of God or an expert” and left the decision-making to the committee.

The HC pronounced the order on September 27, but the text of the judgment was made available only on Wednesday. It declared that the Transplantation of the Human Organs Act of 1994 which governs organ donation in India “balances the autonomy of an individual as decision maker with the societal interest in protecting family concerns. The Act seeks to bring a health balance between need for organ transplantations to save lives on one hand and public interest in ensuring that it does not become a facade for exploitation or organ trafficking.”

The case before the court, the judges said, “traverses medicine, social ethics and law and has profound human implications.” It gave rise to a delicate and sensitive issue of whether a single parent of two minor daughters Vijaykumar Sahu could be permitted to donate one kidney to Balmukund Sahu, his cousin—their fathers were brothers—on the grounds that they were bound by affection arising from their family dwellings in MP. Both lead modest lives. The patient is a goods-loader onto vehicles and earns less than Rs 6,000 per month.

The law in India, the court said, is aimed at saving lives and at preventing exploitation of people’s poverty, illiteracy and ignorance. The law thus allows “near relatives” defined as parents, husband or wife, children and grandparents to donate organs while alive. But it also allows a person who is “not a near relative” to donate organs out of affection or attachment or any special reason” but only after prior nod from a state-level committee. The committee is governed by certain rules and must make an inquiry to rule out commercial transactions between donor and donee and seek reasons why the donor wishes to donate.

The law requires the committee to apply its mind, said the judges, that affection is motivating factor. The HC said that the committee thus had to consider the explanation for the link between the donor and donee and can even rely on old photographs to prove the link. It has to ascertain that no tout is involved. The views of the donor’s kin is to ascertain that they are aware of the donor’s intentions.

The court held that in the present case the fact that the donee’s own relatives did not come forward to donate would not displace the affection between the donor and donee.





Rape victim critical after suicide bid at HC premises

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 08.32AM IST

New Delhi: A 35-year-old rape victim who allegedly tried to commit suicide inside Delhi high court premises on October 1 is battling for life at a private hospital in the Rohini area of northwest Delhi.

Police said the woman had collapsed after consuming an insecticide and was rushed to Ram Manohar Lohia hospital. Later, she was shifted to the ICU unit of another hospital.

Family members of the accused had allegedly threatened to kill the woman and her family if she didn’t withdraw the case.

One of her relatives said, “She had gone into depression after the incident. When she came to the high court for the hearing, she was threatened to take the case back. She went back to Sonepat but her husband disowned her. When she appeared for hearing on October 1, the brother of the accused asked her to turn hostile before the court. Unable to think of a way out, she thought of ending her life.”

A police source said that the victim, who belongs to Haryana, had received an interview call in 2011. The victim alleged that she was offered a cold drink laced with sedatives after consuming which she collpsed on the floor. The accused then raped herand threatened her with dire consequences if she disclosed the incident to anyone.

The man was arrested the same year after a case was lodged at Vijay Vihar police station.





Sportsperson too can be nominated to Rajya Sabha: Centre to HC

New Delhi, October 03, 2012

Sachin Tendulkar was nominated to the Rajya Sabha as per the constitutional provision which also allows induction of experts from the field of sports, government told the Delhi high court on Wednesday.

Additional Solicitor General Rajeev Mehra said the provision under Article 80 of the Constitution does not confine to inducting experts only from the fields of science, arts, literature and social services but also those from sports, education and other areas.

Mehra placed a copy of the affidavit, which was earlier filed in the Allahabad High Court on a similar plea against Tendulkar’s nomination to the Upper House, before the bench of Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

The senior counsel had told the bench earlier that the government has already taken a stand before the Allahabad High Court on the same issue and the copy of the affidavit would be produced for the court’s perusal.

The centre was responding to a PIL filed by Ram Gopal Singh Sisodia, a former Delhi MLA, challenging Sachin’s nomination alleging that he does not possess any of the qualifications prescribed under Article 80 of the Constitution for being nominated to the Rajya Sabha.

“A bare reading of the Article makes it clear that the person to be nominated should have special knowledge or practical experience in matters like literature, science, arts and social service, but the expertise so required for nomination is not confined to the specific illustrations given in the Article,” he said.

“The special knowledge and practical experience required for the purpose is not confined to the said four categories only but would also include categories like sports, education, law, history, academics attainments, Indology, economics, journalism, parliamentary practice and procedure, public administration, agriculture, sports (wrestling) or other similar fields of human endeavour,” the affidavit said.





Setback for ATS as Bombay HC grants bail to alleged Maoists

Posted On Thursday, October 04, 2012 at 08:58:24 AM

The two, among seven members who were arrested in Pune last year for spreading the ideology of the banned organisation, have to report to the police every Sunday

Sunil Baghel In a setback to the Anti Terrorism Squad, the Bombay High Court (HC) on Wednesday granted bail to two alleged Maoists, who were among seven arrested from various parts of the State in April last year.

Justice Abhay Thipsay granted bail to Jyoti Chorge and Sushma Ramtekke for Rs 30,000 each and one or two sureties of the like amount. To ensure that they do not abscond, the court also directed them to attend their local police station every Sunday.

The ATS had accused Chorge and Ramtekke of being members of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and of spreading its ideology as part of the Golden Corridor Committee, a panel formed to propagate its doctrine in urban centres. Both of them were held in Pune, after the arrest of Anjali Sontakke, alias Angela Teltumbde, who is alleged to be the secretary of the Golden Corridor Committee.

Apart from Chorge and Ramtekke taking a common defence stand that their names never reflected in the original FIR, Ramtekke’s main defence was that she was arrested simply because she was the roommate of Anjali Sontakke, and that she was found to be using aliases.

According to ATS, however, Ramtekke was a ‘dedicated member’ of the outfit and had used at least two false names — Shraddha Gurav and Madhavi More — while spreading the activities of the banned group. She has also been accused of providing logistical support to Anjali and attending group meetings.

Chorge’s bail application contended that the pro-Maoist material she was allegedly caught with did not belong to her, and that she had been and the friend are also accused in the case.

Chorge further said that she was arrested when she was about to hand over the bags to the other accused whom she was meeting for the first time. She was less than 19 years of age at the time of her arrest.

The ATS defended their case by citing statements from the chargesheet filed in May last year, and emphasising that the material recovered from both of them showed that they were active members of the banned organisation. However, the HC declined to accept their submissions.



School inferno: HC orders plastic surgeries for two children

Press Trust of India / Chennai October 03, 2012, 22:25

Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu Government to bear the expenses of proposed plastic surgeries on two children, who received serious burns in the 2004 Kumbakonam school inferno.

Passing interim orders on a miscellaneous petition, the court directed private Apollo Hospitals to perform plastic surgeries on Kausalya and Vijay “as soon as possible” and ordered Tamil Nadu Government to bear the treatment expenses.

Petitioner K Inbaraj, Secretary, Kumbakonam Fire Tragedy Victims Association, submitted that the consultant plastic surgeon of the hospital had said that the two children required plastic surgery and the entire cost of the procedures would be around 1.25 lakh each.

In its counter, the government said it had already paid an ex-gratia amount and also issued home pattas to families of victims.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, in his order said, “The payment of ex-gratia and issue of home pattas to families of the victims cannot absolve the government from granting medical aid to children, who received burn injuries.”

Pointing out that the counter has not stated anything on the treatment given to the children, the Judge said, “The 18 children received severe burn injuries at eight years of age. Denying medical treatment to children by the state is violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution.”

“In these circumstances, Apollo Hospital is directed to admit these two children for surgery as opined by its consultant plastic surgeon and perform the surgery as suggested by doctor,” he said and posted the matter for October 8.

94 children were killed when a major fire swept through a private school in Kumbakonam on July 16, 2004.





HC stays LU students’ union polls

Express news service

Posted: Oct 04, 2012 at 0452 hrs IST

Lucknow A student challenged the rule which says that the permissible age limit to contest elections shall be calculated as on the date of nomination. Otherwise, the age as on the date of commencement of academic session is taken into consideration for all purposes, he said

The Lucknow bench of Allahabad High Court today stayed the elections of Lucknow University Students Union (LUSU), which were scheduled for October 15.

A bench comprising Justices Uma Nath Singh and Virendra Kumar Dixit passed the order on a petition of Hemant Singh, a student, who challenged the rule which says that the permissible age limit to contest elections shall be calculated as on the date of nomination.

His counsel Prashant Singh Atal said ordinarily, the age as on the date of commencement of academic session is taken into consideration for all purposes. But, as a result of this rule, the petitioner had become overage to contest the election.

The petitioner sought a direction to Lucknow University to consider his candidature for contesting the students union election by calculating his age as on the date of commencement of academic session.

“Other universities, including Delhi University and Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna University, Dehradun, have considered the age of the candidate as on the beginning of the academic session,” Hemant said.

The Lyngodh committee had recommended that elections should be held within 6 to 8 weeks from the date of beginning of the academic session. LU’s academic session started on July 16 but the election notification was issued on September 25, nine days after the recommended eight weeks’ time. “On September 27, I gave a memorandum to returning officer N K Pandey and others, but no action was taken,” said Hemant.

“The notification for election has been issued after eight weeks, and thus, the petitioner has stood disqualified to contest the election only on the ground of being overaged which should ordinarily be calculated as on the date of commencement of academic session,” said the bench.

“In the interest of justice the LUSU polls scheduled for October 15 as notified on September 25 needs to be stayed till the next date of hearing,” the court stated.





Abhi Verma murder case: HC okays hanging, but defers execution to give time for appeal

Sanjeev Verma, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, October 03, 2012

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday cleared the way for hanging two convicts, Vikram Singh and Jasbir Singh, for kidnapping for ransom and later committing a “cold-blooded murder” of a 16-year-old Hoshiarpur (Punjab) boy Abhi Verma “in inhuman, diabolic and dastard manner” in 2005.

However, the division bench comprising justice Surya Kant and justice RP Nagrath directed the Patiala central jail superintendent to keep the death warrants, issued for October 5 by the Hoshiarpur district and sessions judge, in abeyance till October 12, so as to enable the convicts to avail their remedy of filing appeal in the Supreme Court.

Finding no merit in the petition filed by Vikram Singh and Jasbir Singh, the bench said petitioners’ submission has “no legs to stand and must fall flat” adding that the decision “to hang the petitioners to death has been unarguably taken following the procedure established by law.”

Court had found Vikram, Jasbir and Jasbir’s wife Sonia of kidnapping and later committing murder of a Hoshiarpur goldsmith Ravi Verma’s son Abhi for a ransom of Rs. 50 lakhs in February 2005 in a preplanned manner by injecting Chloroform and Fortwin in heavy doses to the victim after tying both his hands and legs and sealing his mouth with a tape to prevent the detection of offence.

The trial court had on September 3, 2005 convicted the trio under sections 302 (murder), 364-A (kidnapping for ransom), 201 (causing disappearance of evidence of offence) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy) Indian Penal Code and sentenced all of them to death.

Later the high court had on May 30, 2008 confirmed the death sentence awarded to the three accused. The convicts filed an appeal in the Supreme Court, which on January 25, 2010 upheld death sentence in case of Vikram and Jasbir. However, Sonia’s death sentence was commuted to life sentence.

With an intention to linger on the death sentence awarded to them, Vikram and Jasbir had approached the high court challenging the legality of convicting them under section 364-A of IPC and had sought directions to strike down the section from IPC stating it against articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India.

The petitioners had informed that the legislative object of ‘death’ as one of the sentences for the offence under section 364-A was to curb the menace of cross-border terrorism in kidnapping cases against ‘the government or any foreign state or international intergovernmental organization’ and not to punish any individual.

However, the bench said that the petitioners’ counsel’s “contention completely overlooks the fact that the phrase “any other person” was inserted in section 364-A at the onset only to punish a private individual’s kidnapping for ransom.”





HIV tests: HC seeks opinion of national body

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 01.50AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Wednesday asked the National Institute of Biologicals to give its opinion on whether Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test should be adopted instead of ELISA for reduction of window period in HIV check up during blood transfusion.

The division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala has roped in the national institute after it obtained response from the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) and the controller of drugs.

The court has been making inquiry in this issue on the basis of a PIL filed by one Babulal Thakkar, who sought HC directions to authorities with claims that with adoption of PCR test instead of ELISA, the window period for check up could be reduced drastically.

The national institute has been asked to throw light on this aspect by October 19. Meanwhile, the high court has deleted Thakkar’s name from the PILs he filed in this regard after it was brought to court’s notice that he had sought registration of FIR against prime minister Manmohan Singh, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and NACO director Satyen Chatterji for alleged corrupt practices.

The court has decided to continue with the PILs sans Thakker, who used to appear as party-in-person. The court has held that the issue raised by the petitioner was of very serious nature and concerns public interest.



HC seeks AG views on contempt proceedings against officials

Press Trust of India / Jaipur October 03, 2012, 22:45

Rajasthan High Court today sought the Advocate General’s opinion on possible action it can take after finding state officials guilty of committing contempt of court during 2008 gurjar agitation for quota.

The Court was hearing the contempt petition filed by the government against Gurjar leader K S Bainsla who had led the stir.

The single bench of Justice M C Sharma had earlier issued contempt notice to former Chief Secretary D C Samant for his failure to comply with the court’s 2008 order asking the gurjar leaders not to disrupt law and order and the government to ensure its strict compliance.

Following this, government had filed the contempt petition against Bainsla and other Gurjar leaders.

The bench was of the view that while the gujjar leaders are guilty of flouting court’s order, at the same time the state government had also miserably failed to see compliance of court’s order and the entire chaos was outcome of failure of state machinery.

The bench had also asked the state government to withdraw the proceedings but the state government refused to do so.

The court today asked Advocate General G S Bapnah to frame opinion and inform it on November 5 as to what should be done by the court as it finds the officials guilty of contempt and also what were the reasons for the chaos that took place during gurjar agitation despite court’s order of peaceful demonstrations.





Residents move HC against school construction

Express news service : Thu Oct 04 2012, 02:00 hrs

A group of residents of Oshiwara and Lokhandwala have approached the Bombay High Court against the setting up of an international school in the area.

The petitioners, the Oshiwara Lokhandwala Residents’ Association (OLCA), have a filed a petition which was heard before a Division Bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Nitin Jamdar.

According to them, the construction of the school premises is being carried out on two adjoining Maharashtra Housing and Area Development Authority (MHADA) plots measuring 2,160 sq m and 3,850 sq m. They claim that these two plots were reserved for a municipal school, a common playground respectively and were open spaces.

Their petition further states that in response to their query, they received a MHADA response stating that both plots, though reserved, were leased to one Janata Education Society for 30 years in August 2008.

In July this year, the residents had taken out a protest march to voice their concerns on the issue. They claim that they have written several letters to authorities on the issue, but did not get any response.

The petitioners demand that the trust should be restrained from carrying out any further construction on the plot and restore the area to its original condition.

The court has now asked the state government and the trust to file their affidavits in response to the petition within three weeks.




HC grants pre-arrest bail to Karunanidhi’s relative

Press Trust of India / Chennai October 03, 2012, 23:25

Madras High Court today granted anticipatory bail to V M Jyothimani, son-in-law of former Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi’s daughter Selvi, in a land fraud case with stringent conditions including Rs 50 lakh deposit in the lower court.

Passing orders on Jyothimani’s plea, Justice G M Akbar Ali ordered that he be released on bail in the event of arrest or on his appearance before the XI Metropolitan Magistrate, Saidapet, within 15 days from the date of receipt of the copy of the order.

He should also execute a bond for Rs one lakh with two sureties each for the like sum, the court said, Jyothimani shall deposit a sum of Rs 50,00,000 before XI Metropolitan Magistrate within a period of two weeks from the date of receipt of the order, it said.

He shall produce property security to the value of Rs 1.25 crore standing either in the name of the petitioner or his close relatives and also execute security bond to that effect, it said.

The petitioner shall appear before the police daily at 10 AM for a period of two weeks, the Judge said, adding he should produce all necessary documents, including bank statements, and cooperate with the investigation.

In his complainant to police, V Nedumaran of Valasarawakkam alleged that Jyothimani had promised to sell him 2.94 acre of land in Thalambur village for Rs 5.14 crore, after claiming to be the property’s power agent in 2007 but did not execute the sale.

Though Jyothimani received a cheque for Rs 3.5 crore as advance, he “did not come forward to execute the sale nor did he return the money,” the petitioner alleged, adding that instead the said property was sold to another person.

He further alleged that Jyothimani did not entertain phone calls made by him.





HC extends stay on felling of trees

Bangalore, Oct 3, 2012, DHNS:

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday extended the stay on felling of trees for road widening within BBMP area and questioned the significance of the Tree Authority and the Karnataka Preservation of Trees Act.

The court was hearing a petition filed by the Environment Support Group (ESG) and a suo motu PIL initiated by the High Court, following a letter by Justice D V Shylendrakumar to the erstwhile chief justice in 2011. The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B V Nagarathna extended the stay and clubbed the petition with another suo motu petition, where the High Court, on September 4, 2012, had told the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) that no trees shall be felled for road construction or widening on NH-218 passing through Bijapur, Humnabad and Gulbarga.

The petitioners cited BBMP’s claim that it had planted over eight lakh trees and contended that the Palike did not state where it planted the trees. They submitted that status of the planted trees was not known and the Tree Authority “was indiscriminately permitting the felling.” The Bench also questioned the Tree Authority’s significance. “Prima facie, we feel that the public must be made aware of a proposal for removal of trees by issuing a public notice so that objections can be invited. The Act does not provide any machinery in this regard,” the Bench noted.

“So far as the availability of an appeal is concerned, it seems to us that it may be futile in those instances where the tree officer grants permission to fell a tree. The public perception is that such orders are executed instantly and at night.”

Upholding the submission of the petitioners that members of the Tree Authority were “not satisfactory,” the Bench observed: “The Act does not seem to cater for such an eventuality. Further more, so far as the constitution of the feller body is concerned, it comprises three members such as mayor or president of the Municipal Corporation, the municipal commissioner or the chief executive etc, who are in effect the persons proposing the felling or keeping of a particular tree. This may amount to a person being a judge in his own cause and is an anathema in law.”
The matter has been adjourned.





No U-turn near mall on e-way: HC

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 05.45AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Taking up the issue of vehicular congestion on the Delhi-Gurgaon expressway, Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday issued orders prohibiting U-turn near Ambience mall in Gurgaon during rush hours.

As per the HC directions, no U-turn will be allowed near Ambience mall between 8 am and 11 am in the morning hours and from 5 pm to 8 pm during evening hours. The HC has asked Haryana Police to block the U-turn.

When the matter came up for hearing before the high court, Gurgaon police informed the court that the situation has not improved at the toll plaza and traffic jams and chaos are back. Gurgaon police has also reiterated it earlier stand that the location of the toll plaza is not appropriate and its design is also faulty. Police also alleged that underpasses/bridge at the expressway are not maintained and due to faults around 200 persons have lost their lives while around 306 has been injured in the past two years.

The issue of payment to the police was also raised, following which the concessionaires submitted that they would agree on the amount settled by the court. Assistant commissioner of police Ravinder Kumar, who was also present in the court, pleaded the court for implementation of the rule that if waiting time of vehicles in queue in any lane exceeds 10 minutes the barrier of that lane should be lifted to reduce the waiting time.

During the hearing of the case, one Attar Singh, claiming to be representative of Toll Hatao Samiti, tried to intervene in the matter but the court refused to entertain his pleas and adjourned the matter for October 8.

During the last hearing on September 28, the Punjab and Haryana high court had ordered that no toll should be collected from private vehicles during peak office hours in the morning and evening. As per the orders, there will be no collection of toll from 8.30am to 10am and again from 5.30pm to 7pm. Now the same orders would continue till October 8.

Earlier on September 4, after pulling up the expressway operator for failing to put an end to chaos at the toll plaza, the HC had barred toll collection from all private as well as commercial vehicles on the stretch. The direction to stop toll fee collection came after the Gurgaon traffic police informed the court that the concessionaire was responsible for the chaos at the expressway because it had not hired enough staff to deal with traffic.





Raze 3,000 houses in a month: HC

Abhinav Sharma, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 07.59AM IST

JAIPUR: An HC division bench of Chief Justice Arun Mishra and Justice Meena V Gomber came down heavily on the JDA, JMC and RHB for their failure in complying the order of the bench to remove encroachments falling in the Amanishah Nullah. The court ordered demolition of more than 3,000 dwelling units said to be encroaching on the 13km stretch of the nullaha falling in JDA and JMC region with some segregated constuctions in Mansarovar Housing Board area.

The bench also initiated contempt proceedings against former CEO of JMC, Loknath Soni for not taking any action in the last one month despite court’s order to remove encroachments. The bench has also directed the state government to taken action within 10 days against guilty officials who allowed illegal constructions or granted permission for construction and the land conversions in the catchment area and inform the court during next hearing after 15 days.

The court however, refused to extend time limit for compliance to 6 months as sought by JDA and asked that all the 3,000 or more houses that have been built in the water flow area of the original nullaha should be razed in one month.

The court also asked JDA, JMC and RHB to issue notices to the encroachers to remove their dwelling units and make paper publication of the proposed action of demolition of their houses in newspapers.

The bench recorded statements of Arvind Arya, superintending engineer of JDA, J S Yadav, CEO of JMC and A A Khan, deputy housing commissioner and expressed displeasure over the slow pace of removal of encroachments. It was submitted by JDA officials and senior advocate R N Mathur appearing for JDA that due to public resentment officials were stopped from taking any steps.

The court was told that out of a total 48km stretch of the nullah only 39km falls in JDA region and out of this 170 encroachments have been removed and only a 6km thickly populated stretch remains. On a query raised by court it admitted that around 800-1,000 houses are there in this region.

Similary, JMC said that only 7km area of the nullah is in its purview where more than 2,000 houses are within or near the catchment area of the nullah but no single house was served with the notice in the last one month owing to JDA not demarcating the central line. The housing board said there is no encroachment in the 6.5km stretch of nullah passing from Pratap Nagar and Mansarovar except that of Neerja Modi School which has already been demolished by JDAJDA. There is hardly any requirement of a central line except in a small stretch. The body language of officials speaks volume in itself showing they are under tremendous pressure and they do not seems willing to follow our orders. We know how to get the orders complied with,”observed Justice Mishra.JDA, Justice Mishra observed, “You are yourself responsible for this situation. You have allowed them to erect illegal constructions. You are trustee of this public land and now you say we cannot remove encroachments. Can this be a sensible statement? We record our strong displeasure over the fact that a large number of encroachments are still holding ground.”





HC orders status quo on memorial of spiritual leader

Press Trust of India : Mumbai, Thu Oct 04 2012, 04:26 hrs

The Bombay High Court has granted a status quo on the memorial of Maharashtra’s spiritual leader Dr Nanasaheb alias Narayan Vishnu Dharmadhikari, proposed to come up in Alibag taluka of Raigad district at a cost of Rs 20 crore.

The status quo was granted last week by a Bench headed by Justice A M Khanvilkar who heard a petition filed by some villagers of Bamangaon group gram panchayat in Alibag taluka alleging unlawful acquisition of a 12-acre land by the state government without following procedures.

Dharmadhikari, who died in Pune in 2008, has a huge following in the state. He had devoted 60 years of his life in public service in Raigad district on the Konkan coast of Maharashtra.

On March 28, 2011, the urban development department had directed the Raigad collector to take possession of the land. On the same day, the collector took possession of the land and made entries in the land record, the petition filed by Ashok Raut and Prabhakar Raut alleged.

The petition has taken objection to the acquisition of land for erecting memorial for the spiritual leader, saying the land is currently used for grazing cattle and this practice has been going on for ages.

Also, proper procedures were not followed in land acquisition, it alleged.

The petition argued that the collector had not given a hearing to the villagers on the acquisition of land, against the principle of natural justice, adding that the decision violated their fundamental rights.

They cited a rule that if the possession of land is with gram panchayat, the government can acquire it only if the land is needed for a national or state development project, provided the gram panchayat does not require the land.

The petitioners had urged the court to quash the urban development department’s order and grant a status quo on the project.





HC stays construction of residential projects in Noida

Express news service : Allahabad, Thu Oct 04 2012, 04:57 hrs

The Allahabad High Court today stayed the construction of multi-storey residential projects of nearly half-a-dozen private developers in sectors 75 and 120 of Noida, while hearing a petition alleging that the Noida Authority allotted land to private builders without formally acquiring it from the farmers.

The court has given two weeks time to the respondents to file their replies. The matter will come up for further hearing after three weeks. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice PKS Baghel said that the allegations made in the petition raised a question of law as to whether any public authority had the power to allot land to a third party without first acquiring it from the land owner.

The petition filed by Kalu, a farmer of Sarsabad village, through counsels Shiv Kant Tripathi and Amrita Rai, said that on April 7, 2011, a notification under Section 4 (indicating the intention of the Authority concerned to acquire land) of the Land Acquisition Act for 120 hectares in Sectors 75 and 120, falling in Sarsabad village, was issued.

Nearly six lakh square metres of land, which is roughly half of the total area for which the notification was issued, was allotted to different builders between 2010 and 2012 without the acquisition process being complete, said the petition.

“Our contention is that 17 months after the notice under Section 4 was issued, the acquisition process has not moved forward. Under the norms, the notice under Section 6 (pertaining to finalising the plots to be acquired) of the Act should have been issued within a year. Also, our main objection is land could not be allotted to private builders before it was acquired from farmers,” said Mishra. He added that all the private developers involved have begun construction on the allotted land.





HC to hear plea against land acquisition on Oct 15

Vishwas Kothari, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 06.00AM IST

PUNE: The Bombay high court is likely to hear on October 15 a couple of writ petitions challenging the acquisition of the 20-acre private land at survey no 245 in Lohegaon by the Pune district administration to facilitate the extension of runway at the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Lohegaon airfield.

The acquisition process was completed on March 5, 2011 by way of invoking the urgency clause under section 17 of the Land Acquisition Act, 1894 and the land has since been handed over to the Defence Estate Officer (DEO), Pune.

However, the runway project, which was sanctioned by the Union government almost a decade ago, has since been bogged down by a spate of litigations in the high court as well as in the civil court in the city.

K M Talera, owner of a private resort that owns the acquired land, has filed the writ petition challenging the legal validity of the acquisition process. The petitioner has sought the high court directives to quash and set aside the acquisition and hand the land back to him. Another writ petition, filed by the Ex-servicemen Association of Lohegaon has been clubbed with this matter.

At the last hearing on July 31, the high court division bench of justices S A Bobde and Mrudula Bhatkar had granted time to either parties for conveying their willingness for mediation to resolve the issue.

Speaking to TOI, Talera said, “We have challenged the land acquisition on the grounds that the process was not effected by a competent authority, as laid down under the Land Acquisition (LA) Act, 1894 that is applicable to the central government. The acquisition has been done under the LA Act, 1894 that is applicable to the state government. This should not have been the case as the acquisition purpose is for a central government establishment. It is also our case that the purpose of acquisition of our land is malafide and the land comes nowhere near the runway.”

T S Arockianathan, the then DEO, Pune, has filed an affidavit in reply maintaining that the acquisition of land was completed under the LA Act, 1894 as applicable to Union of India, in due compliance with all the legal procedures and following due process of law. “It is a normal practice that when the land, which is subject matter of a particular state, is to be acquired by the central government for a public purpose, a requisition / demand is raised to the concerned state government machineries. Accordingly, Pune Divisional Commissioner and the special land acquisition officer has the authority and jurisdiction for the acquisition of the land,” the affidavit states.

On December 3, 2003, the Union government had sanctioned acquisition of the 20 acre private land at survey no 245 in village Lohegaon for extension of runway and construction of a soft ground arrester at a cost of Rs 7.54 crore. A demand for land acquisition was placed before the Pune district’s land acquisition officer by the DEO, Pune on March 10, 2004. However, the acquisition proceedings could not go further till early 2007, prompting the Ministry of Defence to write to the then state chief secretary, B K Sankaran, to speed up the acquisition process. Subsequently, the Pune divisional commissioner had issued a couple of notifications on February 13, 2007 and on September 28, 2007, the latter invoking the urgency clause, to facilitate the acquisition.



Delhi HC relief to Bharti Airtel: Ban on 3G roaming pacts stayed

However, the court has asked Bharti Airtel to respond to the show cause notice issued to them by DoT within 60 days

BS Reporter / Oct 04, 2012, 01:00 IST


In a major relief to 3G subscribers of Bharti Airtel, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday granted a stay on a government order asking the telecom major to stop offering 3G mobile services outside their licensed areas through roaming pacts.

The Delhi HC has asked the department of telecommunications (DoT) to not take any coercive action until the next hearing of the case. This effectively means that Bharti Airtel can continue to offer 3G services in the seven circles-Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kolkata, Uttar Pradesh East, Gujarat, Kerala and Haryana- where it does not have 3G spectrum, but offers 3G services through roaming pacts. The date for next hearing has not been decided.

However, the court has asked Bharti Airtel to respond to the show cause notice issued to them by DoT within 60 days.

Country’s largest telecom operator Bharti Airtel on Monday had filed a petition in the Delhi High Court challenging an advisory by DoT which asked the operator to stop intra-circle 3G roaming services within three days.

In its plea, Bharti Airtel had sought quashing of the government’s September 28, 2012 decision directing the service provider to stop providing intra-circle roaming (ICR) services and alleged that the decision is contrary to the interim orders passed by the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT).

When contacted Bharti Airtel spokesperson declined to comment as the matter is sub judice.

However, industry association representing GSM players, COAI welcomed the High Court’s decision. According to COAI (Cellular operators Association of India) Director-General Rajan Mathews “This (stay on DoT notice) is a good move. Intra circle roaming is for consumers as it increases competition and reduces tariff, it is good for the government as well as through intra circle roaming as it leads to maximum utilization of spectrum.” On September 28, DoT had issued a notice to Bharti Airtel, asking the telecom operators to stop providing third-generation (3G) mobile services through roaming pacts outside its licensed circles.

DoT had also indicated that similar notices would be sent to Vodafone and Idea Cellular.

Though, both Vodafone and Idea are yet to receive notices from the DoT, the Delhi HC stay order augurs well for them.

In the auction of 3G airwaves in a 2010, no single company managed to get spectrum in all of the country’s 22 zones. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and Idea had entered into mutual agreements to offer 3G services in circles where they could not bag 3G spectrum. Bharti Airtel, Vodafone, Idea Cellular, are currently, offering 3G roaming services through such intracircle roaming pacts.

Airtel has 3G spectrum in 13 circles but offers 3G services in 20 circles. Idea Cellular has 3G spectrum in 11 circles but offers 3G services in 19 circles. While Vodafone has spectrum in only nine circles, it offers 3G services to its customers in 20 circles. The number of circles where 3G spectrum was auctioned is 22.

Over one fifth of the 30 million 3G customers across the country would be affected if the three operators suspend the intra circle roaming pact.

DoT had ruled such pacts illegal in December 2011 and asked the operators to stop offering 3G services beyond their licensed circles through roaming agreements. The operators had filed a petition challenging DoT’s verdict in the Telecom Disputes Settlement & Appellate Tribunal (TDSAT). Tata Teleservices and Aircel was also party in the petition filed by the telcos.

A two-member bench of TDSAT in July gave a spilt verdict on the matter. While member P K Rastogi said the operators could not provide roaming services, as they were not allowed to provide 3G services with 2G licences, Chairman Justice S B Sinha ordered DoT to start the procedure afresh, as the department had not followed proper procedure and the operators were not given enough time to present their views.

Following the spilt verdict, the operators were maintaining “status-quo” and continuing with their 3G roaming pacts.

Though the operators paid higher prices for bagging 3G airwaves, but the uptake of the service remained, slow among the subscribers partly due to the high cost of such services.

Shares of Bharti Airtel closed at Rs 265.65, up by 0.15 per cent at the Bombay Stock Exchange.





High Court seeks details ofposts for JPNAIIMS

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 02.35AM IST

PATNA: Patna high court on Wednesday directed the central government to submit details of the posts of doctors, teachers and paramedical staff for the Jaya Prakash Narain All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS). The Centre also has to give the particulars of the doctors already appointed for the JPNAIIMS.

A division bench comprising Justice P C Verma and Justice A K Trivedi also directed the Centre to give particulars of the outpatient departments (OPDs) to be opened at the JPNAIIMS. The order was passed on a PIL of Council for Protection of Public Rights and Welfare.

Unhappy with the submission made by the counsel of the contractor firm, M/s B L Kashyap and Company that the construction of the JPNAIIMS hospital would be completed by May next year, the division bench directed the contractor to give undertaking that it would complete the hospital building by December 31, 2012, and hand over the building to JPNAIIMS functionaries to make the hospital functional from that day.

The contractor claimed that 90% of the hospital building had been constructed. The court, however, directed the advocates’ committee comprising the standing counsel Shashi Bhusan Kumar, petitioner’s counsel Brajesh Kumar and central government counsel Vinay Kumar Pandey, to inspect the site and submit the progress report.

The court directed the principal secretary, state building construction department, Bihar to start construction of the boundary wall of Guru Gobind Singh Hospital, Patna City. Standing counsel Shashi Bhushan Kumar submitted that the government had released Rs 1.87 crore for construction of its boundary wall.

The court directed the Bihar State Electricity Board (BSEB) to ensure uninterrupted power supply to Guru Gobind Singh Hospital. The court also directed the principal secretary, road construction department, and SSP, Patna, to take appropriate action for smooth flow of traffic on the road leading to the hospital.

PIL for doctors’ appointment: A division bench comprising Justice T Meena Kumari and Justice Chakradhari Sharan Singh recently directed the state government to file counter affidavit to a PIL giving details of the number of vacant posts of doctors in government hospitals right from the medical colleges and hospitals down to the additional primary health centres (APHCs). The court also directed the government to give details of availability of medicines in the government hospitals down to APHCs.

The court gave eight weeks time to the government to give details of the vacant posts of doctors in government hospitals. Petitioner Dhirendra Kumar has made the health department officials and all the district magistrates and civil surgeons of the state respondents seeking from them the details of the number of vacant posts in the medical colleges and hospitals, sadar and subdivisional hospitals, primary health centres (PHCs) and APHCs.

Petitioner’s counsel Sunil Kumar submitted that 60% posts of doctors in the government hospitals, PHCs and APHCs were lying vacant and due to this the existing doctors and paramedical staff were unable to cope with the workload.





11 child labourers rescued in Gumla

TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 07.01AM IST

GUMLA: A team of government officials here rescued as many as 11 child labourers from different places here on Wednesday.

Seven people, who had employed the children in their trade will be prosecuted and a fine of Rs 20,000 will also be slapped on them, said labour superintendent Ramesh Prasad Singh.

All these children hailing from different localities of the township were handed over to the Child Welfsare Committee (CWC), Gumla.

Some of these children showed their willingness to go back to school before district social welfare officer (DSO) Gumla- Girija Shankar Prasad who led the raid team soon after they were recovered.

Prasad took these children to his office where the children asked him, “Sir, will you teach us?”.

“We raided seven places from where 11 children engaged in different menial jobs were recovered. They were working in a hotel, two hand carts and four garages. Now we will hand them over to Child Welfare Committee (CWC).” Prasad said.

These children will be under protection of the CWC Gumla and those who are willing to study will be enrolled under formal schooling, said its chairman Shambhu Singh.

Presently these children will be lodged in a school for hearing and speech impaired here.

After verification from their parents, further action for their rehabilitation will be taken, he added.




Govt proposes national centre to regulate chemical industry

Anindita Dey / Mumbai Oct 04, 2012, 00:36 IST


The ministry of chemicals and fertilisers had proposed to set up a national chemical centre to formulate environment and human-friendly policies and contain risks posed by chemicals.

This is aimed at streamlining legislation governing the industry and making entities concerned responsible for their acts. The industry, at present, is governed by multiple legislations under several ministries — the Environment Protection Act, 1986; Factories Act, 1948; Motor Vehicles Act, 1988; Explosives Act, 1884; Disaster Management Act, 2005; CWC Act, 2000 and Land Acquisition Act, 1894.

“What we need is a REACH (registration, evaluation, authorisation and restriction of chemicals) legislation enacted in the European Union for protecting human health and environment. The Sustainable Policy and Chemical Act could replace 40 different environment-related legislations. Besides, there are no specific legislations for registration, ban and classification of substances,” said an official source.

For this, the proposed centre would provide necessary regulatory framework, trade practices, duty structure and maintain an inventory of the chemical sector containing data on production, consumption, imports, exports and toxicological properties.

It also envisages setting up of the Chemical Standard Development Organisation under its jurisdiction to facilitate the industry to comply with international standards. The objective of these changes are primarily to increase exports and position India as the research and development hub for the sub-continent.

Exports have been affected by different guidelines across countries, specifically in Europe. Though chemical exports (drug and pharma, dye/intermediates/inorganic/organic and cosmetic/toiletries) grew by 34 per cent year over the year, much of the increase in CY12 has been due to rupee depreciation rather than actual volume because quantity-wise there has been only marginal increase in exports across categories. Also, there is need to diversify into speciality chemicals rather than focus on organic chemicals to exploit export opportunities.

For this, consolidation is necessary.

The government proposes to provide financial assistance for chemical companies for consolidation of smaller capacities and establish clusters by shifting downstream capacities closer to mother plants .





CCI set to get search and seizure powers

Surojit Gupta, TNN | Oct 4, 2012, 07.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: The government is set to give search and seizure powers to the Competition Commission of India (CCI) to help it investigate companies indulging in unfair trade practices.

Sources said it is one of the most significant elements in the amendments being proposed to the Competition Act, 2007 that would be discussed by the Union Cabinet on Thursday. The move will help the director general (investigation), who is attached to the CCI, to get information from companies that are not cooperating.

A probe by the DG is at the heart of most orders passed by CCI as it helps establish if a firm or an industry is indulging in unfair practices. Often, in the absence of data from companies investigation is hampered, officials said. As a result, the DG is now being given powers under the Code of Criminal Procedure with the safeguard that search and seizure can be done after getting a nod from the CCI chairman.

If the move on search and seizure is aimed at improving the quality of investigation by the fairplay watchdog, the government is also looking to provide protection to intellectual property systems of companies and other entities that deal with CCI.

In addition, in a move to help hasten mergers and acquisitions, the government is proposing in that a proposal would be deemed to be approved within 180 days, instead of 210 days prescribed at present. Currently, all M&As over a specified value have to be approved by CCI to check against creation of mega enterprises that dictate market terms. In fact, the law empowers CCI to seek an investigation to find out if a proposed combination is against the interests of consumers or not.

Similarly, companies can now hope to get an extension of 180 days, instead of 90 days, provided in the law at present as there is a proposal to amend the law to give more time if an extension is sought. Although the Competition Act has been in place since 2007, CCI decided to use the powers to clear M&As only last year. The law also empowers the regulator to ask companies to divide their business into multiple units in case it is felt that the entity has assumed a dominant position in the market.





Rent act a damp squib, doesn’t cover existing tenancies

Chitleen K Sethi : Chandigarh, Thu Oct 04 2012, 01:58 hrs


Seventeen years after it was passed by the Assembly, the Punjab Rent Control Act-1995, which is now going to be finally implemented, brings no cheer to those looking forward to it the most. The Act is going to be implemented prospectively — from the date of notification — and will protect the interests of only those landlords and tenants who sign rent agreements and deeds after the date of notification.

Thousands of landlords and tenants who are embroiled in protracted litigation for decades over the payment of ludicrously low rents in old city markets will not get any relief under this Act. Sources said the move comes in wake of immense pressure on the SAD leadership by the BJP, which has a major vote bank among shopkeepers in towns.

Though the cabinet on Tuesday had adopted the 1995 Act per se, which extends to existing tenancies, it has been decided that the Act be amended the day it is notified to state that it will not be applicable to existing tenancies. The amendment will then be passed as an ordinance and only then will the Act be implemented.

Parts of Section 3, 6, 7 and 9, which allowed existing landlords to demand a certain minimum revised rent from the tenant will removed from the 1995 Act. Existing landlords cannot move the rent authority, which will be constituted under the Act for relief in older cases. They would continue to be governed by the Eastern Punjab Rent Restriction Act-1949.

While this renders the Act useless for those landlords who are already stuck with low rents, it is expected to make the tenancy laws stricter for the future. The new Act provides for a compulsory registration of the tenancy agreement between the landlord and the tenant.

Also, the implementation of the Act will help the state get its share of JNNURM funds. Existence of rent control laws is one of the several reforms to be carried out by the states to be eligible for JNNURM funds.

Since the Act is going to be implemented from the day it is notified, the cabinet has also done away with the limit of Rs 2,000, which had earlier been set as the cut-off rent amount for the implementation of the Act. The 1995 Act had laid down this limit as Rs 1,500 to Rs 3,000 depending on the area where the property is located. However, the Act will be amended to exclude any such limit.

The Punjab Rent Control Bill was passed by the Assembly in April 1995 and got the President’s assent in 1998. However, the Act was never notified.

The Act arms the landlord with legal teeth to evict tenants. The strong tenant lobby, however, has been opposing Act for years on the grounds that it will lead to an increase in rents. The BJP has been airing the cause of the tenants and objecting to the notification of the Act.




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