LEGAL NEWS 23.03.2013

SC stays proceedings against Arun Nehru in pistol deal case

Last Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013, 21:

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed till further order the proceedings pending in a trial court in a corruption case relating to purchase of pistols for the Army in 1998 in which former Union minister Arun Nehru and others are accused. 

A bench headed by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir stayed the proceedings before the trial court which had fixed March 30 for commencement of arguments on charges in the case. 

Nehru had moved the apex court against the order passed by the Delhi High Court which had refused to stay the proceedings. 


Senior counsel Vikas Singh and advocate Sandeep Kapur, appearing for Nehru, told the apex court that the order on cognisance by the special CBI court was passed “in a casual and perfunctory manner” as the sanction to prosecute Nehru, a public servant, was not taken before proceeding against him. 

“It is pertinent to mention that the bar to taking cognisance under section 197 CrPC is operative even after a person ceases to be a public servant by retirement or otherwise and as long as the act complained of is related to his duties while he was a public servant sanction ought to be sought against the said person,” Nehru, in his petition, said. 

According to the FIR registered by CBI against Nehru, who was then a Minister of State in the Home Ministry, he along with two other senior officials had allegedly caused a loss of Rs 25 lakh to exchequer in a pistol deal with Czechoslovakia in 1988. 

The case dates back to 1985-86 when BP Singhal, the then additional secretary in the Home Ministry, and AK Verma, then director in the Home Ministry, allegedly conspired with Nehru, the then Minister of State (Internal Security) for Home Affairs, to execute the deal. 

However, proceedings against Singhal and Verma have abated as they have died. CBI had alleged that Nehru had ignored the guidelines for conducting the evaluation of 9 mm pistols. 

The trial court had taken cognisance of the 24-year-old case against the accused after rejecting CBI’s closure report which had contended that nothing incriminating could be found against Nehru during the protracted probe. 

Nehru, in his petition filed before the apex court, had contended that the high court had failed to appreciate that in “the instant matter cognisance has not been taken under the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988 but under Prevention of Corruption Act, (Act II), 1947, under which, there is no such bar on stay of proceedings.” 

CBI, in its probe in the case, had found that a policy decision to replace .38 mm revolvers with 9 mm pistols was taken on February 21, 1986, following which global tenders were invited and the deal was finally clinched with Czech firm Merkuria Foreign Trade Corp for purchase of the pistols. 

CBI had told the trial court that the investigations did not reveal any written instruction by Nehru. “No prima facie evidence has come (up) that the accused had committed any misconduct or had misused his office with regard to the deal,” CBI had said. 

It had also submitted that Nehru gave approval for the purchase on the recommendation of the then Home Secretary. 

CBI had filed the closure report on June 13, 2007 but the trial court had rejected it observing that a few documents reflected involvement of the accused in the case. 

The court had taken cognisance of the offences punishable under various sections of IPC including sections 420 (cheating), 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and also under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act. 






Geetika Sharma suicide: Supreme Court declines to entertain Gopal Kanda’s bail plea

Published: Friday, Mar 22, 2013, 21:44 IST 
Place: New Delhi | Agency: IANS


The Supreme Court on Friday declined to entertain the bail plea of Haryana lawmaker Gopal Goyal Kanda currently in judicial custody for allegedly abetting the suicide by air hostess Geetika Sharma and subsequently by her mother Anuradha Sharma.

The apex court bench of Justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and Justice V Gopala Gowda while declining to entertain the bail plea by Kanda asked senior counsel Mukul Rohtagi to approach the sessions court for the relief.

“You can go to the trial court. You have to follow the procedure as followed by others,” Justice Prasad told Rohtagi.

Unmoved by the persistent plea by Rohtagi to hear the plea, the court said let him (Kanda) to go the court seized of the trial and it would decide the bail plea on its merits.

Rohtagi told the court that the Delhi High Court had already rejected his plea for bail by going in the merits of the case and this would influence the trial court.

At this, the apex court pointed to the high court order which said Kanda was “reluctant” to go to trial court for bail.

The high court denied Kanda bail on November 19, 2012, holding that he might influence the witnesses and tamper with the evidence.

The high court was told by the prosecution that before surrendering, Kanda had destroyed the material evidence in the case.

Prior to surrendering before police August 8, 2012, Kanda was denied anticipatory bail both by the trial court and the high court.

Kanda, an independent legislator from Sirsa assembly constituency, was arrested on charges of abetting the suicide by Geetika Sharma August 5, 2012.

Geetika, in her suicide note, had accused Kanda and his employee Aruna Chadha of allegedly harassing her.

Six months after Geetika’s suicide, her mother Anuradha Sharma too committed suicide in February, for which she too blamed Kanda and his employee Aruna Chadha.

Both Kanda and Chadha have been charged under section 306 (abetment of suicide), 120 B (criminal conspiracy), 506 (criminal intimidation), 201 (destruction of evidence), 467 (forgery of valuable security), 468 (forgery with intention to cheat), 469 (forgery with intention to harm reputation) and 471 (using forged documents as genuine) of the Indian Penal Code and section 66A (hacking of computers) of the Information Technology Act.






SC to examine another PIL on age of offenders

New Delhi, March 22, 2013, DHNS:

The Supreme Court on Friday decided to examine yet another PIL relating to the determination of a juvenile delinquent’s age, contending that the rules framed under the Juvenile Justice Act took away discretion granted to a trial judge for the purpose.

A bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and Dipak Misra issued notice to the Union government on the petition filed by Nisha Bagchi.

Senior advocate Mukul Rohtagi appearing for the petitioner submitted that the rules framed under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, providing the determining factors for a juvenile, go beyond the provision, which has to be quashed. “The provision of the law provided discretion to the judge which has been taken by the rules,” he said.

The petition also challenged the methodology adopted by trail court under which the matriculation certificate is to be given first preference and second the birth certificate and at last ossification test for ascertaining the age of a juvenile. “Suppose a person is hefty and well-built, capable of committing rape and murder and does not seemingly appear to be a juvenile, but produces a matriculation certificate declaring him to be below 18, the judge is helpless,” counsel said. In that circumstances, the accused has to be given the benefit of the special law.

The bench said it would examine the issue and sought response from the government.
A number of PILs, including one by Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy, has been filed in the apex court.

Court stays interview of victim’s friend

The Supreme Court on Friday allowed a plea made by Delhi police seeking a stay on a High Court order granting permission to December 16 Delhi gang-rape accused to use TV interviews given by a friend of the victim in their defence. A three-judge bench presided by Chief Justice Altamas Kabir issued notice to the accused on a petition challenging the March 7 order. Solicitor General Mohan Parasaran submitted that the interviews were not admissible and the use of a CD permitted by the HC in defence of the accused should be stayed.  The court decided to seek response from the accused on the petition. It said that the use of CD under the Evidence Act is stayed. The HC had allowed a plea made by accused Ram Singh (since expired) and his brother Mukesh against the trial court’s order declining them permission to use the interview during the recording of evidence.





Designate Kollam court as special court: Asaf Ali


Director General of Prosecution says this will help speedy trial

Now that the two Italians are back in India at the end of an unprecedented stand-off between the two countries, the marines will have to stand trial before a special court to be set up by the Union government in accordance with the Supreme Court’s directive.

The apex court had on January 18 directed that a special court be set up to try the marines accused of shooting to death two fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15 last year. One of the main arguments of the Italian government for not returning the marines to India after their four-week stay in Italy had been that the Government of India had taken no step to set up the special court. The Italian media had criticised the extreme delay in the Indian judicial process.

When a special court is set up, now that the issue has grabbed international attention, the biggest challenge before it would be to complete the trial in a short period.


According to T. Asaf Ali, Kerala’s Director General of Prosecution (DGP), who had represented the State government in the Kerala High Court in the marines’ case, the best option before the Union government will be to designate the sessions court in Kollam as special court to try the sailors. “The best way for a speedy trial is to let the Kollam court try the case,” Mr. Ali told The Hindu on Friday. “For this, the Government of India has to designate it as special court on the basis of the Supreme Court directive.”

Mr. Ali pointed out that the police had filed their charge sheet against the marines before the Kollam court. All the records and evidences were now before this court. The police had already completed their investigation and the ship, Enrica Lexie, which was the key evidence, had long left the Indian waters. Moreover, if a special court were to be set up in New Delhi or elsewhere, the witnesses who were in Kerala would all have to travel to Delhi frequently to testify.


“Since the biggest challenge before a special court would be to complete the trial in a short time, designating the Kollam court as special court will be the best bet,” Mr. Ali said. In his view, the Kollam court could complete the trial in three months as all the records and evidences were already before it.

In its January 18 order, the Supreme Court had said that Kerala had no jurisdiction to try the two foreigners and asked the Union government to set up a special court, in consultation with the Chief Justice of India, to try them. The proceedings pending before the Kollam sessions court should be transferred to the special court, the court said. The January 18 order also allowed the marines to be moved from Kochi to New Delhi and let them stay at the Italian embassy.




Can we have an affluent promoter and a sick company? – NO


The other day, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram made no secret of his displeasure at the indulgence shown to wilful defaulters. These are people who have the capacity to repay, or are guilty of diverting loans for personal gain, or for purposes other than the ones stated in the loan applications.

The financial system indulges them through endless corporate debt restructuring. Canara Bank is wringing its hands helplessly after Deloitte reportedly admitted its inability to trace the loan of Rs 400 crore it extended to a Hyderabad-based media group. It is now knocking at the doors of the Debt Recovery Tribunal.

The media group’s dues to the Indian banking system are in the region of Rs 5,000 crore. Its promoter’s dalliance with cricket by sponsoring an IPL team is well known.

The rumour mill has it that the bulk of the money owed by the group has found its way into cricket investments, apart from investments in fancy cars. Another cricket aficionado and liquor baron, too, owes our banking system a whopping Rs 7,000 crore. For too long has the system winked at the shenanigans of wilful defaulters, sometimes going to the extent of converting the outstandings into equity at exaggerated valuations.

The Sick Industrial Companies (Special Provisions) Act, 1985, made industrial sickness fashionable by extending several concessions to sick companies, including stay of coercive legal proceedings against their assets. There were many instances of contrived or feigned sickness, with the BIFR unable to tell between what was genuine and what wasn’t.

The indulgence to wilful defaulters has, predictably, spawned a slew of jokes. Such aphorisms as “you borrow in lakhs, you are in trouble with the bank; borrow in crores, the bank is in trouble with you” have become the stuff of folklore. Levity aside, the truth is the lot of the financial system is not hopeless; but only if it bestirs itself and goes for the jugular of the defaulters.


There is a view that promoters can take shelter behind limited liability. This is not entirely true because the financiers invariably take a personal guarantee from the promoters, be they individuals or corporates. Such personal guarantees should be invoked without the slightest hesitation. The institution of benami, of course, makes things difficult for financiers in India. The money trail is also often lost in the dizzying maze of shell companies acting as a buffer. Add the hawala route and the repertoire of tricks at the disposal of the wily defaulters is complete.

A frontal attack on benami brooks no delay. Vested interests have been scuttling it since 1988, when Rajiv Gandhi made bold to fashion a law that sent fear down their spines with confiscation staring them in the face. Inter-corporate loans need to be regulated more strictly.

(The author is a Delhi-based chartered accountant.)




Durai Dayanidhi moves HC


DMK leader M.K. Alagiri’s son Durai Dayanidhi has moved the Madras High Court bench here to modify the conditions of his anticipatory bail. Mr Durai was granted anticipatory bail on December 10, 2012 in the cases registered against him by the Keelavalavu police for alleged offences under Mines and Minerals Act and Explosive Substances Act in the multi-crore illegal granite quarrying scam. The High Court had asked Mr Durai to surrender his passport at the Judicial Magistrate Court, Melur and appear before the police whenever he was required for interrogation.

In his petition Mr Durai has sought the return of his passport considering the nature of his business. He owns a movie production house and has business interests abroad, making it necessary for him to make foreign trips frequently, he contended. “The petitioner has strong roots in the State and will not leave the country. He will cooperate with the legal process”, Mr Durai’s counsel John Satyan has stated in the petition. The case is expected to be heard on Monday.




HC allows 13 with criminal cases to turn policemen

A Subramani, TNN | Mar 23, 2013, 02.43 AM IST

CHENNAI: They faced rioting, causing hurt and criminal intimidation charges not long ago. But now, at least 13 police constable aspirants, who were denied the job because they were accused in criminal cases, are set to don uniforms, thanks to a Madras high court order asking the authorities to ignore the cases because they had ended in acquittals even before the selection process began. 

A total of 15 people had approached the high court saying they had been unfairly denied employment as police constables, because police verification before the appointment revealed they faced either criminal cases or had bad antecedents. Most of them faced charges like wielding dangerous weapons, causing hurt, rioting, criminal intimidation and destruction of public property. One person was charged with attempt to murder. 

The government issued a notification on March 22, 2012 for selection of candidates for 13,320 posts — 12,152 police constables, 377 jail wardens and 791 firemen. The written test was held in June 2012. These candidates had cleared the written test and undergone medical examination, too. The fact that they once faced criminal cases came to light during character verification by local police. 

Noting that 13 of them had been acquitted from the cases either on the ground of benefit of doubt or due to dropping of charges, they said their acquittals happened much before the selection process began. On the date of announcement of selection process, they had no cases pending against them and hence they should not have been denied jobs. Two of them, however, said they faced a minor punishment of imposition of fine and that they should not be deprived of the job merely because of a minor punishment. 

Justice Vinod K Sharma, allowing the pleas of the 13 aspirants on Friday, said: “In all these cases, the petitioners were acquitted much before the commencement of selection process. Acquittal in criminal cases means that the charges framed against the accused itself were bad, therefore it cannot be said that persons were involved in any criminal case.” 

As for Rule 14(b) of the Special Rules for Tamil Nadu Police Subordinate Services Rules, which says even acquittal due to ‘benefit of doubt’ would not absolve a person completely, Justice Sharma said: “Rule 14(b) can only be interpreted to mean that if cases, pending at the time of selection, end in acquittal on the ground of benefit of doubt, then a person can be denied the right of appointment. But not in a case where much before the start of selection process, the person is acquitted even by giving benefit of doubt.” 

The government submitted that the Rule 14(b), the validity of which was upheld by the apex court, held that a person acquitted or discharged by giving benefit of doubt or due to the fact that the complainant had turned hostile, has to be treated as a person involved in a criminal case. Hence, he can still be disqualified for selection to police service, it said.




HC rap gets woman victim of police brutality CRPF cover

TNN | Mar 23, 2013, 05.43 AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Within hours of Punjab and Haryana high court issuing contempt notice to it,Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) on Friday provided security to Harbinder Kaur, who was assaulted by Punjab policemen in Tarn Taran town of Punjab earlier this month.

The CRPF had failed to provide cover to the woman despite HC orders issued on Tuesday.

Harbinder has been provided the security by one ‘section’ of the CRPF troops, comprising eight cops.

Earlier, on Friday morning, Justice Ranjit Singh of the HC had issued show cause notice to IGP (Chandigarh zone) of CRPF for not complying with the directions of the court issued on March 19.

The directions came about after the victim had moved the HC informing it that she was not being provided security by the CRPF despite court directions, which amounted to showing disregard to the judiciary.

Within hours after the HC issued the contempt notice, senior standing counsel of the Union government, Onkar Singh Batalvi, summoned one ASI and seven constables of CRPF and asked them to provide security to the victim and her family members.

After this, the CRPF troops left for Tarn Taran in their official vehicle along with the woman and her kin.

On Monday, Harbrinder had moved a petition seeking protection to life and liberty of her and her family members. She had also alleged that Tarn Taran police was exerting pressure on her to strike a compromise in the case.

Hearing her plea, the HC had ordered the transfer of seven cops, who had beaten her up, out of Tarn Taran district and ordered security for the victim and her family.

On March 3, the woman was thrashed in full public view by Punjab cops in Tarn Taran town after she had approached them with a complaint of sexual harassment.





HC order allowing TV interview as evidence in gang rape case stayed


Supreme Court order comes on plea of Delhi Police

The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Delhi High Court order allowing the plea of one of the accused in the December 16, 2012 gang rape case to use as evidence a CD containing the interview of the victim’s male friend.

A Bench of Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Justices Anil R Dave and Ms. Ranjana Desai stayed the March 7 order after the Delhi Police submitted that the TV interview was inadmissible as evidence and issued notice to the accused.

Solicitor-General Mohan Parasaran appeared for the Delhi government.

The High Court had allowed the contention of accused Ram Singh, who allegedly committed suicide in the Tihar jail, and his brother Mukesh and set aside the trial court order by which they were not allowed to exhibit as evidence the CD of the interview telecast on January 4.

Mukesh, Pawan Gupta, Vinay Sharma and Akshay Singh are facing trial. The sixth accused, declared as a juvenile, is facing trial before the Juvenile Justice Board.

In its appeal, the Delhi government said that by the impugned order the High Court had allowed the interview to be used as a previous statement though the said interview was recorded after the statement of the complainant (an eyewitness to the crime) was recorded under Section 164 Cr.PC., investigation concluded and a charge sheet was filed.

It said the High Court had erred in not noticing the dangers of allowing media interviews as evidence in a criminal trial, especially when such interviews were taken after the filing of the charge sheet. Such a practice would have a direct effect on the administration of the criminal justice system as it would lead to an erosion of the sanctity of the judicial trial and would result in causing undue interference in criminal justice process.




Devise action plan to prevent custodial deaths: HC

Hindustan Times  Mumbai, March 23, 2013

Taking serious note of custodial deaths in Maharashtra, the Bombay high court on Friday directed the state to devise a plan to prevent the menace.

“The incidences of custodial deaths are continuing unabated in Maharashtra; what preventive steps have you taken?” the division bench of judges Ajay Khanwilkar and Ashok Bhangale sought to know while hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city NGO Indian Center for Human Rights and Law.

The bench directed the secretary (special), home department, to file his personal affidavit by April 1 disclosing what preventive measures were being taken to prevent custodial deaths.

The counsel for the petitioner, Rebecca Gonsalves, pointed out that during the last 10 years, more than 220 persons had died in police custody in Maharashtra. The PIL cites a report prepared by Asian Commission for Human Rights revealing that during between 2001 and 2009, 192 persons had died in police custody in the state.

According to an affidavit filed by the state government earlier, 24 persons died in police custody between January 2008 and March 2009, of which at least 15 deaths were attributable to atrocities committed by police personnel concerned or negligence on their part.





Delhi HC slams Censor Board over vulgar content

PTI  New Delhi, March 22, 2013

First Published: 20:04 IST(22/3/2013) | Last Updated: 20:20 IST(22/3/2013)

The Delhi High Court on Friday slammed the Censor Board for not doing its job “properly” and asked it and the Centre to respond to two separate PILs alleging vulgar content in Salman Khan-starrer ‘Dabangg 2’ and Saif Ali Khan’s ‘Race 2’.

“Nowadays, the Censor Board is not doing its duty properly,” a bench comprising Chief Justice D Murugesan and Justice V K Jain said while asking the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, CBFC and producers of ‘Dabangg 2’ and ‘Race 2’ to file their responses by May 14.

While hearing the PIL of lawyer Sanjay Kumar seeking a ban of alleged provactive item number of ‘Dabangg 2,’ the bench ordered deletion of names from an array of parties of Kareena Kapoor Khan, on whom the song was filmed, director Arbaaz Khan and musicians duo Sajid and Wajid.

“Why you have made the actress a party? This is not a criminal complaint. File a fresh memo of parties. Delete the name of the actress, director and musicians…,” Justice Jain said during the hearing.

The bench, however, refused to stay the release of DVDs of ‘Dabangg 2’ and ‘Race 2’ and their further screening on TV channels. It, meanwhile, gave the petitioners liberty to approach it again if they receive information that the films are going to be shown on channels.

“We are not experts and have not seen the movies. How can we stay the films on the basis of photographs we saw here?” the bench said.

The other PIL, filed by social worker Teena Sharma, has sought an immediate ban on further screening of ‘Race 2’ in cinema halls and its telecast. It also sought deletion of explicit scenes and “vulgar” dialogues in the film.





HC notice to UT DC, MC for not reviving rickshaw stands

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, March 22, 2013

The Punjab and Haryana high court has issued show-cause notice to the Chandigarh deputy commissioner (DC) and municipal commissioner as to why contempt of court proceedings should not be initiated against them for not demarcating and reviving rickshaw stands in the city despite repeated court directions.

A special division bench comprising justice Surya Kant and justice Ajay Tewari on Friday issued the notices when it came to know that the Chandigarh authorities had failed to comply with the court orders and were passing the buck on each other.

The court was hearing a case pertaining to the introduction of eco-friendly cycle rickshaws and designating vehicle-free zones in Punjab, Haryana and UT.

Earlier on November 2, 2012, the court had directed the chief architect of Chandigarh to designate proper parking space for rickshaws in every sector.

The court had said it was interested in how to popularise non-polluting vehicles and also proper parking for them which would reduce traffic chaos and accidents on roads.

Whereas during the hearing of the case, the court was informed that chief architect Sumit Kaur had written a letter to the DC seeking details of demarcated rickshaw stands in the city but her letter had not received any reply till date and thus rickshaw parking places all over the city had not been specified.

Appearing for the Chandigarh administration, senior standing counsel Sanjay Kaushal informed the court that the administration was mulling levying congestion charges on vehicles in various parkings in the city.

Kaushal further reiterated that parking problem cannot be solved in the city and the ultimate option was to use the public transport system. He also informed the court that very soon the administration would also put its master plan on the website to invite objections from the city residents.

However, amicus curiae (friend of court) advocate Rita Kohli submitted that the administration had failed to properly utilise its existing resources to ensure proper parking space for vehicles, where thousands of vehicles could be parked.

The case would now come up for hearing on May 3.




Gujarat HC gives a go ahead for railway line in Kutch by APSEZ

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court on Friday gave a go ahead for the construction or railway line betweenMundra and Adipur in Kutchdistrict by Adani Port Special Economic Zone. The Court rejected a petition by a local resident objecting the company’s move claiming that it did not take the permission of local gram panchayat prior to constructing the railway line. 

On Ullasba Barach of Luni village in Kutch district had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the high courtclaiming that APSEZ cannot construct a railway track parallel to the existing railway line. She also objected the construction of a compound wall along the tracks without the permission of local gram panchayat. She further demanded that an under-bridge be constructed at Luni. 

The court said that under The SEZ Act, the company is free to construct a compound wall along the railway line which is part of SEZ. The court ruled that once an area is notified as a SEZ, local village panchayat does not have any authority over it. It said that once the plan is approved by the railway authorities, the court cannot interfere with the decision, whether or not to construct an overbridge.




Withdrawal of drug smuggling case against singer KS Makhan under HC scanner

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, March 22, 2013

The Punjab government’s withdrawal of a drug smuggling case against singer KS Makhan is under the scanner of the high court now. Taking up a public interest litigation (PIL) on Friday, the Punjab and Haryana HC directed the state government to produce details of the decision taken by the home affairs department.

The directions came from a division bench headed by chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri on a petition filed by advocate HC Arora, who has challenged the withdrawal of the case that had been registered against Makhan, his relative Hardeep Singh and six other persons on August 1, 2006, under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. The chargehseet was presented in April last year, and additional sessions judge, Jalandhar, framed the charges on February 22 this year.

But when the case was to come up for prosecution evidence, the home department directed the deputy commissioner of Jalandhar to withdraw the case.

Arora informed the high court that under the directions of the Punjab State Human Rights Commission, the state police’s crime branch had even conducted an inquiry and concluded that the FIR had been registered rightly. Further, Arora said, in such cases where there is no specific complainant or victim, and the crime is against society at large, a public notice must be issued to invite objections against the proposed withdrawal. The case would now come up for hearing on March 26.

Know the case
KS Makhan and two other Canadian citizens, Lakhwinder Singh Lakha and Raja Boparai, allegedly used to receive heroin from Makhan’s brother Hardeep Singh, a resident of Shankar village in Jalandhar. It was alleged that Makhan, Boparai and Lakha used to send money through the hawala route to Hardeep to purchase drugs from smugglers in Jalandhar, Nakodar and Ludhiana.





Delhi HC issues order for setting up special court to try Italian marines: Sources

IBN KERALA, Updated Mar 23, 2013 at 12:02am IST


New Delhi: The Delhi High Court has issued order for setting up of special court to try Italian marines, said sources on Friday night. The two Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen off the Kerala coast reached Delhi on Friday after India gave an assurance that they will not face death penalty nor will they be arrested, bringing to an end a raging 11-day diplomatic row between the two countries.

The marines, Massimiliano Latore and Salvatore Girone, arrested in connection with the killing of the fishermen in February, 2012 returned late Friday evening in the company of Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Steffan de Mistura in a military plane.

The dramatic u-turn by the Italian government, which had earlier last week said the two marines would not be sent back, enabled the marines to meet the deadline set by the Supreme Court when it gave them permission to go for a month to vote in the elections there. With the Supreme Court acting tough and restraining the Italian Ambassador Daniele Mancini from leaving the country, Italy sought and got assurances to enable the marines’ return.


External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who denied any deal was reached on the issue, told Parliament that Italy had sought “clarifications” on death penalty and other issues which were a matter of “concern” to that country. “It (Italy) sought from India clarifications regarding the conditions applicable to the marines on their return and the provisions regarding the death penalty that could be applicable in this case which was an Italian concern,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the pending proceedings, the government has informed the Italian government that the two marines will not be liable for arrest if they return within the time frame laid down by the Supreme Court of India,” the minister added.

India also allayed Italy’s fears by saying that “according to well-settled Indian jurisprudence, this case would not fall in the category of matters which attract the death penalty, that is to say the rarest of rare cases. Therefore, there need not be any apprehension in this regard,” Khurshid said.

(With additional information from PTI)




HC orders govt staff benefits for teachers teaching disabled kids

In a significant judgment, the Gujarat High Court on Friday ordered the state government to regularise around 1,248 teachers who are teaching disabled children and grant them all the benefits and allowances given to government employees.

A division bench of HC passed the order while acting on a series of petitions that included a suo motu action taken by the court.

According to one of the lawyers who appeared for the petitioners, a sizable number of teachers are teaching disabled children in Gujarat and they are deprived of regular benefits by the state government. The HC had taken suo motu cognisance of the matter, said the lawyer who did not want to be named.

Subsequently, a number of such teachers had joined the litigation after they faced problems in getting salaries from the NGOs acting as a nodal agency for the scheme under which they were teaching the disabled students.

The lawyer stated that the teachers were appointed through NGOs under the Integrated Education for Disabled Children scheme of the Central government. The object aims at allowing the disabled children to intermingle with normal students. The scheme was being implemented by the state government.

However, due to this arrangement, there was no job security for the teachers, who also faced problems with payments of their salaries.

“The court held that under the provisions of the Right to Education Act and Disabled Children Special Act, the implementation of Acts is a responsibility of the state government. The court ordered that the teachers be absorbed as the regular teachers by the state government and entitled to all the benefits of a regular teacher,” the lawyer said.

Two killed in building collapse

Two persons were killed Friday when an old two-storey building collapsed in the city. The deceased were identified as Mahesh Kishor Ojha (43) and Natubhai Mochi (40). The incident occurred at Devsa na Pado, on Relief Road in walled city area of Ahmedabad. The police said the building was empty for last few months and it was under renovation.

‘Suspicious’ boat spotted off Porbandar coast

A “suspicious” boat moving towards Porbandar was spotted by a Coast Guard patrol in the Arabian Sea early Friday, sources said, adding that it changed course and headed towards Jamnagar when challenged. The Coast Guard and Marine Police have sounded an alert from Okha to Jhakau coast. “When the Coast Guard ship moved towards the boat, it escaped,” Coast Guard officials said.




HC puts stay on arrest of suspended DIG Alok Kumar

Last Updated: Friday, March 22, 2013, 17:

Patna: DIG Alok Kumar, suspended on charge of seeking Rs 10 crore extortion money from a liquor trader, Friday got a relief from the Patna High Court which put a stay on his arrest. 

Hearing an anticipatory bail petition of the DIG, Justice D K Singh put a stay on his arrest by the police. 

The court ordered police administration to submit case diary.


DIG’s advocate Soni Shrivastava who had filed an anticipatory petition on his behalf argued that the officer has been implicated in a case of extortion and pleaded the court to grant him anticipatory bail. 

The officer, who was put under suspension by the state government on February 5 last, was facing the possibility of arrest in the case. 

Kumar has been charged by a liquor trader Tunnaji Pandey of demanding an extortion money of Rs 10 crore as Deputy Inspector General of Police, Saran.

CID had recently raided his houses and found some papers related to purchase of land. Two of his associates have already been arrested. 

Kumar, who hails from Jammu and Kashmir cadre of IPS officer, had earlier served as Senior Superintendent of Police of Patna. 






Haryana recruitment exam under HC lens

TNN | Mar 23, 2013, 06.08 AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high courton Friday ordered Haryana Staff Selection Commission (HSSC) to provide details of written test and final selection of mandi supervisors and assistant secretaries in view of certain “surprising features” in the selection process.

A single bench headed by Justice Rajesh Bindal also ordered to implead as parties in the case all the 21 candidates selected for the post of mandi supervisions and 15 candidates as assistant secretaries in Haryana State Agriculture Marketing Board (HSAMB) and issued them notice through HSAMB.

Justice Bindal expressed surprise over certain distinctive features of the result of written test, and noted down the argument of the petitioners’ counsel that out of 27 candidates shortlisted for interviews on the basis of written test, as many as 19 were from one particular examination centre, namely BN Senior Secondary School, Panchkula, and again out of 32 candidates shortlisted for interviews for the post of assistant secretaries, as many as 23 were from the aforesaid examination centre.

Thus, for the said post of mandi supervisors, only 8 candidates, and for post of assistant secretaries, only 9 candidates were successful from remaining 11 centres of examination in Panchkula. The HC expressed surprise that this was such a case where the number of candidates passing the written test was less than the number of posts, and even the aforesaid number of candidates were shortlisted for interview by giving grace marks.

The HC further directed HSSC to give information regarding candidates who were shortlisted for interviews from each of the 12 centres of examination and those who were finally selected and appointed.

The directions from the HC came in the wake of petitions filed by candidates Dinesh Beniwal, Mamta Rani and Bhupinder Kumar challenging the selection and appointment of persons to these posts. Now the case has been fixed for further hearing on July 10.




Gujarat HC wants action against cops who beat up dalits last year

The Gujarat High Court Friday came down heavily on police for its “high-handed, arbitrary and barbaric” assault on dalits in Rajkot last year and ordered a compensation of Rs 25,000 each to six of the victims.

The court also ordered principal secretary (home) to constitute a high-level inquiry into the entire episode and take necessary action, including criminal prosecution, against the erring officers.

The HC also said that the amount of compensation be recovered from the salaries of the erring officers.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala, apparently moved by the police atrocities, pronounced the judgment Friday.

The court had taken suo motu cognisance of a letter by a human rights activist addressed to the Chief Justice about the police atrocities on dalits in Rajkot last year.

It all started on June 24 last year when a dalit leader from Rajkot, Gunvant Rathod, was killed by some non-dalits. The next day, a funeral procession was taken out by dalits.

After the cremation, some in the procession staged protests, demanding arrests of the culprits, when police lathicharged them.

The letter sent to the Chief Justice also stated that policemen entered the houses of dalits at Ambedkarnagar and mercilessly beat them up. Those beaten up included children and women.

One of the injured, Rupa Sondarava (16), was allegedly kicked by police following which she sustained serious spinal injury that threatened to cause permanent disability.

The dalits lodged complaints against policemen but no action was taken.

Following this, one Dr Jayanti Mankadiya wrote to the Chief Justice about the police atrocities on dalits and sought his intervention. Photographs and a video CD as evidence of police atrocities accompanied the letter.Subsequently, the court appointed senior advocate Shalin Mehta as the amicus curiae in the matter.

The state government had defended the police action saying they were discharging their duty to maintain law and order. However, the court observed it was quite clear from the video clip that the policemen acted without any provocation and mercilessly beat up even those who were not part of the mob.

The court observed that in the video that “struck us with horror”, policemen were seen pelting stones back at the mob, which was not expected of them. “This was unheard of and unexpected of them (police),” it said.

The court also observed that policemen kept beating a man even after he was lying on the ground, as if he was “a bait before a hungry lion”.

Advocate Hemang Shah, who assisted Mehta in the case, said the court had ordered that the inquiry committee to be constituted by the principal secretary (home) fix responsibilities of the erring officers and take appropriate action against them, which included criminal prosecution.




Mani’s bail term: HC seeks government view

22nd March 2013 12:00 PM

The Kerala High Court on Thursday sought the view of the state government on a petition filed by M M Mani, the former CPM Idukki district secretary and the accused in the Anchery Baby murder case, for relaxing his bail conditions.

Granting the bail to Mani, the High Court had ordered him against entering the limits of Idukki district, except for reporting before the Investigating Officer in the case, between 9 am and 10 pm every Friday.

Justice S S Satheesachandran issued the order seeking to delete the condition of restriction on entry into the district and adjourned the case to Monday.

Mani was arrested in connection with the murder of Anchery Baby, a Youth Congress leader who was shot dead on November 13, 1982. He was arraigned as the second accused in the case registered at the Santhanpara police station. Mani submitted that for almost two month now, he had been forced to live outside his hometown. He submitted that as a known politician and social worker of Idukki, his presence was required in the district for carrying out his political and social obligations.

He added that his wife has been staying alone at the couple’s house in Idukki for long, and that he had to be in the district to take care of her.




peed up installation of CCTVs on e-way: HC

Bombay High Court (HC) directed the state government Friday to expedite installation of CCTV cameras on Mumbai-Pune Expressway and ensure heavy vehicles without indicators do not ply on the road.

Hearing a PIL seeking ambulances and quick medical aid, a division bench of justices A M Khanwilkar and A P Bhangale asked the government and Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) to improve surveillance on the expressway that has witnessed several accidents.

“Expedite the proposal and get it (CCTV) installed. This will reduce workload on police,” justice Khanwilkar said.

Advocate general Darius Khambata told High Court an MSRDC proposal seeking Rs 37 crore to install CCTVs would be submitted to the government soon.

“The plan is to install fewer cameras with high range to cover the entire expressway.

“The main control room in Lonavla will do the monitoring,” he said.

After it was brought to its notice that a majority of accidents on the expressway involved heavy vehicles plying without proper indicators, High Court asked the government to appoint dedicated officers at toll booths to check indicators of vehicles.

“In case a vehicle does not have proper indicators, do not let it ply on the expressway,” the court said.




Chief Justice of new Manipur HC to be sworn in tomorrow

Justice Ahay Manohar Sapre will be sworn in as the Chief Justice of the new Manipur High Court tomorrow by Governor Gurbachan Jagat. 

Justice Sapre, a former judge of Chhattisgarh High Court, was appointed on March 19 by President Pranab Mukherjee, official sources said today. 

Manipur High Court will have three judges including Chief Justice Sapre, the sources said. 

Judge of the Guwahati High Court N Koteswar Singh has been appointed as one of the judges of the high court. 

The third judge will be appointed soon, the sources said. 

The new Manipur High Court will be inaugurated by Union Law and Justice Minister Ashwani Kumar on March 25. 

Supreme Court Chief Justice Altamas Kabir and Manipur Chief Minister O Ibobi Singh will be present at the inauguration ceremony, the sources added.




High court orders TMC to complete road projects

Nitin Yeshwantrao, TNN | Mar 22, 2013, 09.19 PM IST

THANE: The Thane municipal corporation invited the ire of the Bombay high court recently for its failure to undertake road projects approved in the city development plan but are at a cross purpose with rules of coastal regulation zone and forest.

Citizen activists Pradeep Indulkar had filed a PIL in the HC pointing out that the TMC had suspended the construction work on as many as 19 internal roads and three roads connecting Mumbai to Thane. This has greatly inconvenienced the citizens and put a strain on the vehicular traffic as the TMC was hesitant to proceed with the road project for fear of inviting action from environment and forest department.

The PIL came up for hearing before a division bench of Justices Ajay Khanvikar and AP Bhangle who then directed the TMC to take up the issue with the concerned departments and resolve it within two weeks.

The court is said to have expressed optimism that the civic administration would be able to convince the state departments about the need to improve connectivity and remove traffic bottleneck in the city.

The court said the Thane municipal commissioner will be personally responsible to ensure compliance of their directions to the administration to apply for permissions from state departments in two weeks time.

Indulkar pointed out that after laws pertaining to CRZ , forest and environment were strengthened after the development plan of the city was approved. Most of the roads displayed in the DP could not be taken up due to the stringent CRZ and forest laws, he said.

In quite a few cases, the TMC had taken up road widening work but had to abandon it in some patches as any conduction activity was prohibited due to CRZ or forest rules. Such obstacles have resulted in traffic congestions on the streets, he argued.

The court directed the state urban development department to look into the issue where three road projects connecting Mumbai and Thane were incomplete and also directed the BMC andTMC administration to ensure that work is undertaken and completed in specified time.





High Court knocks outs Sanjay Dutt starrer ‘Knock Out’

Subhash K Jha | Mar 22, 2013, 13:11PM IST

The Sanjay Dutt starrer ‘Knock Out’ which was locked in a copyright battle with 20th Century Fox  has suffered a  serious blow with the High Court ruling in favour of 20th Century Fox, thereby putting Mani Shankar into a position of deep embarrassment at a time when  he has just completed a very successful stint  with Gujarat’s chief minister Narendra Modi in using the holograph 3D technique to project Modi’s life-like image on stage in several cities of Gujarat simultaneously during the recent election campaigning.


So impressed is Narendra Modi by Mani Shankar’s technological panache that the Gujarat CM tweeted, “Gujarat Election Campaign 2012 becomes even more memorable with the 3D interaction  creating a Guinness World Record.”


Says Mani Shankar, “In truth it was the most challenging 14 days of my life with a 1200-men team spread over 53 locations. Over 100 checklists had to be got right in each location, a fresh crisis every hour, unbelievable team-work. It was exhilarating. I’d rather focus on the good work with Modiji than concern myself with a lawsuit that I had no hand in bringing about.”


Reluctant to talk about the copyright issue involving his film ‘Knock Out’ Mani protests. “None of my films so far, whether it was December 16, ‘Rudraksha’ or ‘Mukhbir’ has been remotely unoriginal. As far as I  am concerned ‘Knock Out’ was an original story with original characters. One could argue that it bears a rough similarity, and that too only in certain parts of the plot structure, to the Colin Farrell starrer Phone Booth. But I could also argue that another Hollywood film ‘Liberty Stands Still’ starring Weslet Snipes is uncannily similar to ‘Phone Booth’. Certain similarities with existent works are inevitable in the creative process. It doesn’t mean I copied any other film in ‘Phone Booth’. Anyone who has seen my other films would vouch for my penchant for originality. We are all inspired by what we see hear and read. But after all the reading and thinking is done, if what we create comes from within our hearts then it should be deemed original.”


Incidentally when the resemblance between ‘Knock Out’ and ‘Phone Booth’ became evident, Mani Shankar repeatedly told the producers of ‘Knock Out’ to talk to 20th Century Fox and settle the matter before it went to court.


One of the producers of ‘Phone Booth’ Amitabh Parekh passed away a month ago. And the other producer Sohail Makhlai refuses to comment. That leaves poor Mani Shankar to defend the film against charges of plagiarism.


We hear Mani Shankar now intends to seek Narendra Modi’s help in the matter.





CIC asks CM office to explain ‘Shrimant’ tag on Scindia road

NEW DELHI, Sandeep Yadav, March 23, 2013, DHNS:

Surprised to note that a monarchy title ‘Shrimant’ was prefixed to the road named after Congress leader Madhavrao Scindia in Lutyens Delhi, Central Information Commission has asked the chief minister’s office to provide complete information on the decision taken.

No other roads named after former rulers like Akbar Road, Aurangzeb Road, and Ashoka Road has a monarchy title attached to it.

Not satisfied with New Delhi Municipal Council’s reply that ‘Shrimant’ was added to the name of the road after a mere letter by chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s then parliamentary secretary Ramakant Goswami, RTI activist Subhash Chand Aggarwal had approached the CIC three days ago.

When CIC sought to know the reason behind adding the title of former rulers of Gwalior, NDMC produced a couple of letters written by Goswami to its then chairman Subhash Sharma. Goswami had initially requested to name a road after Madhavrao Scindia and NDMC informed him of renaming Canning Road as Madhavrao Scindia Marg. 

On February 26, 2002 he again requested Sharma to add ‘Shrimant’ before the name.
The CIC has directed NDMC to provide Aggarwal all papers in relation to the decision — whether it was Goswami’s decision or the CM’s order.

According to Article 18 of Constitution, no title, not being a military or academic distinction, shall be conferred by the state.

Aggarwal told Deccan Herald that the CM should undo the wrong done by writing to the New Delhi Municipal Council to remove the word ‘Shrimant’.





Blackbuck case: Court frames fresh charges against Salman, Saif, others

PTI | Mar 23, 2013, 11.15 AM IST

JODHPUR: Fresh charges were on Saturday read out against actors Saif Ali Khan, Sonali Bendre,Tabu and Neelam by a court here in the 14-year-old blackbuck poaching case.

Chief Judicial Magistrate Chandrakala Jain read out the charges under sections 9/51 and 9/52 of Wildlife protection Act and 149 of IPC and posted the case for next hearing on April 27.

The actors denied the charges read out to them by the judge.

Salman Khan was also supposed to appear in the court but failed to do so.

The high court had revised the charges against the actors in December 2012, charging Salman Khan with section 51 of Wildlife Protection Act and others including a local accused Dushyant Singh with section 51/52 of Wildlife Protection Act and section 149 of IPC.

They are accused of poaching two Blackbucks in the intervening night of October 1 and 2, 1998 in Kankani village near Jodhpur during the shooting of the film ‘Hum Saath Saath Hain’.

Blackbuck is a protected animal and hunting or poaching of the same is a punishable offence under law.







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