LEGAL NEWS 02.04.2013

National Green Tribunal notice to MoEF, UP over Yamuna Hindon encroachments

Ayaskant Das, TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 01.46 AM IST

NOIDA: The National Green Tribunal on Monday issued notices to UP government and the Union ministry of environment and forests, among others, over allegations that there has been massive encroachment of the floodplains of Yamuna and Hindon by the land mafia. The notices were issued by the principal bench of the tribunal over an application filed by environmental activists of Ghaziabad.

The applicants have alleged that that the floodplains have been encroached with concrete and permanent structures that are bound to cause ecological havoc in the form of floods besides upsetting the natural hydrological cycle of the areas situated close to the two rivers.

“The river beds, considered highly eco-fragile, have been usurped by land mafia in connivance with administration officials. Colonies have come up on the river beds,” states the petition. Apart from the environment ministry and the UP government, activists have also held the union ministry of water resources and the governments of Delhi and Haryana for lapses that have led to the construction of concrete structures on the floodplains, thereby polluting the rivers.

Apart from floodplains along Delhi, it has been alleged that similar encroachments have been made by colonizers in Faridabad, Agra and Mathura, thereby leading to discharge of large amounts of solid toxic waste into the already highly polluted rivers.

“Yamuna and Hindon rivers, once found to be extremely rich in terrestrial and aquatic bio-diversity, had now lost much of it due to ever-increasing human influence on them in the form of encroachments by concretized farmhouses, plots and colonies,” states the petition.

Activists have further argued that with reduced dissolved oxygen, and high biological and chemical oxygen demands inside the Yamuna and Hindon, aquatic life, comprising diverse life forms of amphibians and vertebrates has almost ceased to exist.

Activists have demanded for directions to be passed to all agencies to prevent civic agencies from setting up any new concrete structures and registration of FIRs against violators who have trespassed the floodplain areas. Besides, the activists have also demanded for the constitution of a monitoring commission to ensure time-bound and transparent implementation of enactments specified in the National Green Tribunal Act 2010 to protect the rivers.





Cavrem locals want charges against them dropped

TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 06.33 AM IST

MARGAO: Cavrem locals demanded action against those who committed atrocities to them. They also demanded that the offenses the police filed against the locals be dropped. They also streesed that action be taken against those who attacked their local leader Nilesh Goaonkar.

Locals pointed out that the fact that atrocities had been committed has been recognized as theNational Human Rights Commission (NHRC) had issued directions to the state government to pay 5,000 to each of the 737 victims.

On April 23, 2011, a large number of Cavrem residents took to the streets protesting illegal mining and unregulated mining transportation, blocking all roads and disrupting mining transportation. Close to 100 villagers, including elderly people, were arrested and taken to the police station. The villagers had alleged that many of them were manhandled by the police to the extent that one of the women’s sari was torn and her mangalsutra lost.

“Why do the locals still have to face charges by the police during that incident. Not only should they get speedy justice but all the charges against them should be dropped,” said activist Judith Almeida.

The locals further raised the issue of Nilesh Gaonkar and are irate that no action has been taken. Gaonkar, an engineer by profession, was beaten up near the Verna industrial estate by unidentified people armed with an iron rod on his way to work on May 12, 2011.

He survived the assault and the grievous injuries on the head and two surgeries on a broken hand. He even lost his job at the company he worked 12 months at. The police case of attempt to murder has not seen much progress since.





Sterlite moves Green Tribunal against closure of TN plant

CHENNAI: Vedanta group firm Sterlite Industries today moved the National Green Tribunalchallenging an order of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board directing closure of its copper smelter plant in Tuticorin in the wake of alleged noxious gas leak recently. 

In its applications before the Southern bench of the Tribunal, the company also challenged another order of the TNPCB disconnecting the power supply to the unit located in Tuticorin, which was shut down on March 30.

“The impugned orders have been issued in gross violation of natural justice and in unseemly haste…,” it contended. 

Making his submissions before the Bench comprising its judicial member Justice M. Chockalingam and expert member Prof.Nagendran, senior counsel for the company T R Rajagopalan submitted the orders have been passed without giving an opportunity to the Sterlite Industries. 

The matter was posted to April 9 for further hearing. The TNPCB, under instructions from District CollectorAshish Kumar had on March 30 issued a notice directing Sterlite to close the plant in the wake of alleged leak of sulphur dioxide in the area on March 23, affecting local people. 

Sterlite submitted before the green Tribunal that the company was meeting more than 55 per cent of copper requirement of the country and employed 1,000 permanent workers and about 3,500 contract labourers, besides providing 15,000 indirect jobs. 

All of them would be left in the lurch and without remuneration if the unit remains closed, it argued. 

Raising preliminary objection, Advocate General A L Somaiji said the unit had been functioning after getting directions from courts. In a case related to it, the Supreme Court is to pronounce orders. 

Even on Monday, the matter was mentioned before the Supreme Court and it said the TNPCB is well within the rights, he said. 

Somaiji said the District Collector had received several complaints from people of the locality that they experienced eye irritation, continuous cough and throat suffocation. 

Since it was a serious matter involving public health, the TNPCB ordered the closure of the unit, he submitted. 

After the submissions of counsels, the Bench directed the the District Collector and the TNPCB to file their counters to decide whether an interim order can be given or not.





House can invoke privilege to deny information: CIC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, April 01, 2013

First Published: 22:48 IST(1/4/2013) | Last Updated: 23:37 IST(1/4/2013)

The decisions taken by the chairpersons of the two houses of Parliament were protected under Parliamentary privileges and therefore, are not covered under the transparency law the Right To Information (RTI) Act, the Central Information Commission has observed.

Country’s information watchdog, however, allowed the respective chairpersons to decide whether the information can be disclosed to RTI applicants or not.

The CIC delivered its views while deciding an appeal filed by RTI application Subhash Aggarwal seeking communication between Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar and Leader of Opposition in Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on appointment of Lok Sabha secretary general TK Vishwanathan.

The Lok Sabha secretariat had given the letter written by Swaraj to Lok Sabha speaker protesting against his appointment but what the speaker told the leader of opposition was not provided.

The commission said that the Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar should take a call whether the information should be provided or not. The privilege under which the information is denied should enlisted in the communication to the applicant, the CIC order said.

Aggarwal’s request for all communication between the Speaker and Prime Minister in the last three years was also denied on the ground of being privilege information.

The commission, in its order said that it agreed with the contention of Lok Sabha that drawing a parallel between the correspondence made available by the ‘Election Commission of India’ or the ‘National Advisory Council’ and the correspondence between the Prime Minister and the Speaker was not appropriate. Reason being a specific provision under section 8 of the RTI Act regarding breach of privilege of the Parliament or State Legislature, the commission said.

Therefore, the commission said only that information not attracting section 8 of the RTI Act should be provided.





Norms set for insurance JV by CICs


The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), on Monday, said that any core investment company (CIC) registered with it needs minimum Rs.500 crore owned funds to set up a joint venture company for undertaking insurance business.

Non-performing assets

Among other norms, the RBI said that the level of net non-performing assets shall be not more than 1 per cent of total advances.

Further, it should have registered net profit continuously for three consecutive years, and “the track record of the performance of the subsidiaries, if any, of the CIC concerned should be satisfactory,” RBI said in a notification.

Adjusted net worth

These companies are required to maintain adjusted net worth which would be not less than 30 per cent of aggregate risk-weighted assets on balance sheet and risk adjusted value of off-balance sheet items.

The RBI said that no CIC would be allowed to conduct such business departmentally.

“Further, an NBFC (in its group / outside the group) would normally not be allowed to join an insurance company on risk participation basis, and, hence, should not provide direct or indirect financial support to the insurance venture.”

Within the group, the apex bank said, CICs may be permitted to invest up to 100 per cent of the equity of the insurance company either on a solo basis or in joint venture with other non-financial entities in the group. In case where a foreign partner contributes 26 per cent of the equity, more than one CIC may be allowed to participate in the equity of the insurance joint venture.

CICs cannot enter insurance business as agents and companies that wish to participate in insurance business as investors or on risk participation basis will be required to obtain prior approval of the central bank.





RTI Judgement Series: PIO at magistrate’s office asked to providecomplete information

MONEYLIFE DIGITAL TEAM | 01/04/2013 02:20 PM |   

The CIC issued a show cause notice to the PIO for not providing complete information within 30 days. This is the 67th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application

The Central Information Commission (CIC), while asking the Public Information Officers (PIOs) of the sub-divisional magistrate (Model Town) at Delhi to provide information, also issued a show-cause notice for not providing complete information within stipulated time limit of 30 days as per the Right to Information (RTI) Act.


While giving this important judgement on 5 April 2010, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “…the complete information was not provided (by the PIO) to the appellant. The PIO is now directed to provide specific information like presentstatus of application along with file notings and correspondence available on the records and names and definitions of officer who have dealt with the file.”


New Delhi resident Neera Nashier, on 9 September 2009, sought information about a complaint filed with ACB on embezzlement of funds in 1996 from the sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Ram Pura, Delhi. Here is the information she sought and the reply provided by the PIO…


1. Whether the Jat caste belonging to UP are covered in the OBC list for obtaining certificates from Delhi.         

PIO’s Reply: The information sought is attached with the sheet.


2. What relevant documents/proof is required to be submitted for getting OBC certificates?

PIO’s Reply: As above.


3. After applying for OBC in your office, what is the time frame to issue the certificate/reject the application?

PIO’s Reply: Normally 21 days.


4. If no rejection is issued after conducting all enquiries within the fixed time frame, then why not “deemed to be accepted” system can be considered? 

PIO’s Reply: The official is allowed for the seeking information under RTI Act, 2005, and there is no provision to make queries as to why, where, etc.


5. Let me know the status of my application which was received videacknowledgement No.82745. 

PIO’s Reply: Enquiry pending from parental address.


6. Also let me know the reason of delay in the issuing the OBC certificate.

PIO’s Reply: Do. (As above)


7. Provide appellant the name of the official responsible for this delay.     

PIO’s Reply: Do. (As above.)


8. Let the appellant know the provisions/penalties of action against the official(s) for causing wilful delay in not giving the certificate in time.

PIO’s Reply: Do. (As above.)


Nashier then filed her first appeal claiming that the PIO did not supply the desired information. In his order, the First Appellate Authority (FAA) dismissed the appeal stating that the information was supplied by the PIO.


Nashier then approached the CIC with a second appeal claiming that the FAA dismissed her first appeal without hearing her side.


During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, noted that both the parties were not present. From a perusal of the papers, it appeared that the complete information was not provided to the appellant.


He then directed the PIO to provide specific information about the present status of application along with file notings and correspondence available on records and name and designations of officers who have dealt with the file. The CIC also directed the PIO to supply photocopies of file notings and communications.


Mr Gandhi said, “from the facts before the Commission, the PIO is guilty of not furnishing information within the time specified under sub-section (1) of Section7 by not replying in 30 days”. The Commission then issued a show-cause notice to the PIO and asked him to give his written submissions as to why penalty should not be imposed on him as per Section 20(1) of the RTI Act.




Decision No. CIC/SG/A/2010/900396/7357

Appeal No. CIC/SG/A/2010/900396


Appellant                                                     : Neera Nashier

                                                                     New Delhi-110034


Respondent                                                : PIO

                                                                     Sub-Divisional Magistrate (Model Town),

                                                                     Old Middle school Building,

                                                                     Ram Pura, Delhi –






CBI opposes Ashok Chavan’s petition in Adarsh case

PTI Apr 1, 2013, 04.49PM IST

MUMBAI: CBI today opposed the petition filed by former chief minister of Maharashtra,Ashok Chavan seeking to quash the case registered against him in the Adarsh Society scam. Chavan has sought the quashing of the FIR lodged against him by CBI; arguing that he was falsely implicated by political rivals.

The petition also claims that CBI has no jurisdiction to probe the case, as neither the high court nor the Maharashtra government had asked it to take over the probe. At the last hearing, HC had sought replies from both the state and the CBI.


CBI said in its reply-affidavit today that Chavan, as the chief minister, granted ‘undue favours’ to the ‘Society’, in return for which his relatives were allotted three flats. Chavan also asked the ‘Society’ to take 40 per cent members from civilian category, when it was originally meant only for war veterans, CBI alleged, adding that Chavan played a key role in the scam. As for the jurisdiction, it said that the defence Ministry had forwarded a complaint to it, which led to the probe. However, the Maharashtra government, in its affidavit, reiterated its stand that CBI had no jurisdiction to probe the scam.

The division bench of Justices P V Hardas and A R Joshi today sought copies of all the orders passed by other benches in the case, and affidavits filed by parties. The next hearing will be on April 12. Chavan’s mother-in-law Bhagvati Sharma, sister-in-law Seema Sharma and father-in-law’s brother Madanlal Sharma have flats in the ‘Society’.

CBI has filed chargesheets against the former chief Minister and 12 others for criminal conspiracy, cheating and criminal misconduct under Indian Penal Code and also under Prevention of Corruption Act.





In Punjab court, six-year-old describes torture by father

Press Trust of India | Updated: April 01, 2013 17:15 IST

Patiala: A six-year-old boy was allegedly singed with cigarette butts and slashed with a shaving blade by his father who inflicted injuries all over his body.

The harrowing tale of torture was narrated by the child himself in a local court, hearing a divorce case of his parents.

The court was shocked and dismayed to see injury marks on the body of the child and ordered the police to get the child medically examined in the local Government Rajindra Hospital.

The child told the doctors yesterday that his father Baljit Singh inflicted injuries all over his body.

There were about 16 blade cut marks on different parts of his body, doctors said, adding his back had burn marks caused by cigarette butts.

The parents of the child had filed a divorce case and the court had earlier given custody of the child to the father.

It also directed the accused that the child would be allowed to meet his mother once every month.

When the boy insisted on meeting his mother, the father was so annoyed that he started torturing the child.

A case has been registered against the accused Baljit Singh at the Patiala Sadar Police Station under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, police said, adding, efforts are on to arrest him.





Mittal moves SC against CBI court order

The special court had named Mittal, Hutchison Essar’s former MD Asim Ghosh and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia as accused in 2G scam

Bharti Airtel Chairman Sunil Mittal has moved the Supreme Court, seeking the summons issued against him by a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court be quashed.

On March 19, the special court had named Mittal, former managing director of Hutchison Essar Asim Ghosh and Essar Group promoter Ravi Ruia as accused in the 2G telecom spectrum allocation scam. The court had asked Mittal to appear before it on April 11.

Bharti Airtel declined to comment on the development.

On March 19, the CBI court took cognisance of a charge sheet. In his order, judge O P Saini said Mittal, Ruia and Ghosh were the “alter egos” of their respective companies. “The acts of the companies are to be attributed and imputed to them. I find enough material on record to proceed against them.” Saini also said they represented “the directing mind and will of each company”.

On the same day, an Essar spokesperson had said the company was consulting experts and exploring all legal options and “will in due course take up appropriate legal proceedings to challenge the order.”

Citing its failure to find any private individual in the criminal conspiracy, the CBI had, in its charge sheet dated December 21, 2012, only named Shyamal Ghosh, then telecom secretary, and three private companies—Bharti Cellular (now Bharti Airtel), Hutchison Max (now Vodafone) and Sterling Cellular (now Vodafone)—as accused.

The CBI special court has summoned all the three corporate bigwigs to the court on April 11, with Shyamal Ghosh and the representatives of the accused companies. Consequently, the charges of criminal conspiracy and cheating under the Indian Penal Code will be applicable on the accused executives. Besides, Ghosh has been charged under the Prevention of Corruption Act, applicable only on government officials.

The 2G case involves former telecom minister A Raja and fifteen others. In this, CBI had alleged Ghosh was in conspiracy with the former telecom minister, Pramod Mahajan, who abused his position as a public person and showed undue favour to beneficiary companies, causing a loss of Rs 846.44 crore to the exchequer.

In his last hearing before the order, Saini had asked CBI to name the private individuals involved in the case, as “it takes two people to do a conspiracy and it cannot name only a government person”.





SC ruling on Novartis victory of humanity over commercial consideration: Bhaskar Narayana, Natco Pharma

ET Now Apr 1, 2013, 12.39PM IST

In an interview with ET Now, Bhaskar Narayana, Finance Director, Natco Pharma, shares his views on the SC judgement on Novartis’ cancer drug patent issue. Excerpts:

Your reaction to this announcement and what this means for generic makers in India?

Basically this stands out as a unique victory of humanity over commercial consideration, to put it very plainly. I think the element of innovation which deserves protection has been plainly lacking in the case of Novartis, which has been upheld by the Supreme Court. We are yet to see the full judgement, but nevertheless this is our immediate reaction.


In a nutshell how would this if at all impact Natco Pharma on the financials in the immediate front because I am guessing you get some forwards into drugs that you would seek to sell if not selling already?

No, no, we are already selling it. We are selling it from a long time, if I am not mistaken from 2003 onwards. So t has no effect on the company as such.

What is the market for this drug and how much does this benefit on an annual basis?

We garner about 20-23 crore of sales annually from this one drug.

Could you just highlight once again for the benefit for our viewers the price differential for this drug in the market?

The price differential is almost 10 times. The Novartis drug is ten times costlier than our own drug. So it simply puts that parity because Novartis has been selling it at international prices all over the world and whatever price it sells in the US, it sells at the same price in India, but our drug has been almost 90% cheaper than the Novartis drug.

Will you go ahead with the Glevi9c generic version at this point?

There is no question of it because we are already in the market where we have been selling this drug from a long time and we continue to manufacture and sell it. We have no legal restriction at all. The only thing is that our stand has been vindicated by the Supreme Court judgement.





Life sentence of two murder accused set aside

02nd April 2013 10:15 AM

The orders of the Additional Sessions Judge (Fast Track Court-I) in Erode, awarding life sentence to two persons for allegedly  murdering a watchman for gain in a temple in Uthukuli, were set aside by the Madras High Court on Monday.

“There is no evidence to link the appellants either with the death of the deceased or dacoity,” a division bench comprising Justices K N Basha and P Devadass observed and quashed the lower court conviction order.

Murugasamy was found murdered inside the Vetrivelayuthasamy temple situated at a lonely place in the hillock on January 27, 2004. Table-drawers and hundial were found broken. The deity’s coronet, chest-armour, feet-armour and hand-armour and a two-wheeler of Murugasamy were found missing.

Following a complaint from the temple priest, the local police registered a case and arrested Shankar and Ramesh. As some other accused were absconding, the cast was split into two and the case against Shankar and Ramesh was taken to the Sessions Court, which awarded, among other things, life term to the duo. Hence, the present appeals.

Appellants contended that there was no evidence to link them to the death of Murugasamy. The recovery of temple properties from their possession had also not been established, they added.

After perusing the records, the bench observed that the recoveries projected in this case were tainted, open to doubt, lacked credibility and it was a stage-managed show. When the very recovery evidence pressed into service had not been established, the question of raising presumption vide Sec 114 of the Evidence Act and no -offering of explanation by the accused as to the recovery during their examination under Sec 313 CrPC did not arise. The prosecution had not established the charges framed against the appellants, the judges added, and set aside the lower court order.





Youth and friend acquitted of charge of gangraping cousin

A youth and his friend have been acquitted of charges of abducting and gangraping his cousin last year by special fast track court here after the girl did not support the prosecution’s case. 

Additional Sessions Judge T R Naval acquitted Delhi residents Shoaib and his friend Rashid of the charges of abducting, gangraping and hurting the girl by giving her poison. 

“It is held that prosecution could not prove its case against both or either of the accused beyond any reasonable suspicion and shadow of doubt that they both or either of them committed offence of kidnapping, abducting or inducing women to compel marriage, offence of causing hurt by means of poison and offence of gang rape under the IPC. 

“Consequently, by giving them benefit of doubt, both the accused are acquitted for the said offences,” the judge said. 

According to police, the accused had abducted the 18-year-old girl in March last year and after confining her at several places, they had gangraped her by mixing stupefying substance in her tea. 

When the girl returned to her house after two months, she told the police that she had gone with accused Shoaib, son of her mother’s sister, and he had taken her to the houses of other relatives and friends. 

She had said that she accompanied her cousin Shoaib on her own will and she was having an affair with him for past few months. She had said that he made physical relations with her on the pretext of marrying her and had later dropped her to her house. 

The court, however, acquitted both the youths saying, “I come to the conclusion that prosecution has failed to prove its case against both the accused.” 

It also noted that the girl had said that none of the two accused had raped her. It said even the girl’s parents and brother, who were also witness, had failed to support the prosecution’s case. 

The court closed the prosecution evidence and did not record the statements of the accused saying there was no incriminating evidence against them.





Vijay Mallya moves court against lenders

Move aimed to prevent Kingfisher airlines creditors from selling shares in United Spirits, Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers

P.R. Sanjai 

First Published: Tue, Apr 02 2013. 12 40 AM IST

Updated: Tue, Apr 02 2013. 12 43 AM IST

Mumbai: Vijay Mallya’s UB Group, promoter of Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, petitioned the Bombay high court last week to prevent creditors of the grounded airline from selling shares in group companies United Spirits Ltd (USL) and Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilizers Ltd (MCF) that it has pledged as loan collateral.

The petition signals that the process of loan recovery could well be fraught with prolonged legal battles for the lenders to the airline. The petition will come up for hearing on Tuesday.

A consortium of 14 banks with combined exposure of Rs.7,000 crore to Kingfisher Airlines has started selling shares in USL and MCF that Mallya offered as collateral when the airline’s debt was restructured in 2011, according to two bankers who declined to be identified.

“We have started selling the shares. The group has moved court, but we are confident that we will be able to recover part of our money through the sale,” one of the bankers said.

Kingfisher Airlines has been grounded since 1 October, first because of staff protests over unpaid salaries and thereafter because of regulatory issues. Its flying licence expired on 31 December and a revival plan prepared by the airline to start limited operations this summer failed to convince the aviation regulator.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) would like to see no-objection certificates from airport operators, aircraft leasing companies, certificates of support from maintenance firms and spare parts vendors of Airbus aircraft and salaries paid before the airline can fly again, Mint reported on 16 January, citing a DGCA official who didn’t want to be named.

The move by UB Group to petition the high court indicates the legal uncertainties that creditors of the airline are likely to encounter in the process of recovering the money they are owed.

Mallya did not reply to a query seeking a clarification on the development, but a senior UB Group executive confirmed that a petition has been filed.

For their part, the lenders are preparing to file a petition in a debt recovery tribunal (DRT) against the airline under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act after recalling their loans.

This could happen before the end of this week. The Act allows secured creditors to move a DRT to recover their money.

Recovery cases at a DRT are cleared relatively faster than conventional legal means, but a borrower can move a higher court against decisions by a tribunal.

State Bank of India (SBI), the leader of the creditors’ consortium, has the maximum exposure at Rs.1,600 crore to Kingfisher, followed by Punjab National Bank, or PNB (Rs.800 crore); IDBI Bank Ltd (Rs.800 crore); Bank of India, or BoI (Rs.650 crore); Bank of Baroda, or BoB (Rs.550 crore); United Bank of India, or UBI (Rs.430 crore); Central Bank of India (Rs.410 crore); UCO Bank Ltd(Rs.320 crore); Corporation Bank (Rs.310 crore); State Bank of Mysore, an SBI associate bank, (Rs.150 crore); Indian Overseas Bank (Rs.140 crore); Federal Bank Ltd (Rs.90 crore); Punjab and Sind Bank (Rs.60 crore) and Axis Bank Ltd (Rs.50 crore).

Overall, their exposure is Rs.6,360 crore, with unpaid interest taking it up to Rs.7,000 crore .

Apart from shares in USL and MCF, the lenders hold two UB Group properties in Mumbai and Goa and two helicopters, besides the Kingfisher Airline brand as collateral in addition to a personal guarantee from Mallya.

“We are confident of recovering about one-fourth of our exposure through share sale and sale of properties and helicopters,” said the first banker cited above.

On Monday, USL shares lost 0.45% to close at Rs.1,889.45 each while MCF’s shares rose 13.52% to end at Rs.32.75 on BSE.

Lenders have turned up the heat on Mallya after Diageo Plc of the UK in November agreed to buy a 53.4% stake in USL forRs.11,170 crore, including an open offer to buy 26% from public shareholders.

Finance minister P. Chidambaram recently called upon banks to aggressively push for the recovery of bad assets and chase the “affluent promoters” of “sick companies”.

There are other lenders to Kingfisher outside the consortium. They are Srei Infrastructure Finance Ltd (Rs.430 crore), Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd (Rs.80 crore) and Oriental Bank of Commerce (Rs.50 crore). A debt fund operated by Kolkata-based Srei Infrastructure bought ICICI Bank Ltd’s exposure to the airline in July 2012.

The non-banking financial company and Jammu and Kashmir Bank have shares of USL and McDowell Holdings Ltd as collateral.

Another senior banker, requesting anonymity, said the consortium had empowered a core group formed to recover debt to take legal actions against the UB Group. The members of the core group are SBI, PNB, BoB, BoI, IDBI Bank and UBI.

According to consulting firm Capa, Kingfisher Airlines’ suspension of operations has had a knock-on impact on the global leasing and financing sector, highlighting some of the challenges facing aircraft financiers and lessors in the Indian market, besides raising concerns about regulatory safeguards with regard to international investment in the country.

“The continued delays by the Indian government to de-register Kingfisher-operated aircraft since it suspended operations in October 2012 is also expected to hurt other, still-operational, Indian carriers while also creating the impression that India is not adhering to the Cape Town Convention, of which it is a signatory,” Capa said in a report.

The Cape Town Convention is an international treaty aimed at standardizing transactions involving movable property. In this case, India will have to facilitate smooth transfer of aircraft to owners if an airline defaults in lease rentals.




Govt calls meeting of CMs, chief justices to bring down pendency

TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 02.46 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The government has called a meeting of all chief ministers and chief justices of high courts on April 7 to discuss strategy to bring down pendency of cases in different courts and initiate the process of largescale recruitment of judges. 

After the law ministry initiated the move last month, Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir had written to all chief justices of high courts asking them to strongly take up the matter of doubling the strength of judiciary with the state governments. He had sought an increase of the annual outlay by the state governments. 

The CJI had emphasized that state governments must be persuaded to double the number of courts in subordinate judiciary, along with the necessary infrastructure and staff at the earliest. 

The central government has set aside Rs 2,800 crore to set up fast track courts and for recruitment of judges. Sources in the law ministry said the CJI has set a target of taking the strength of the judiciary from the current 18,871 to more than 30,000 in the next five years. 

The National Court Management System (NCMS), chaired by the CJI, had last year decided to make the judicial system ‘five-plus free’, ie, free of cases more than five years old. An SC projection says the number of cases will expand to 15 crore in the next three decades requiring at least 75,000 judges. 




CBI seeks to dilute Salem case

Agencies | Apr 2, 2013, 12.25 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The CBI on Monday moved the Supreme Court seeking its permission to drop certain charges against gangster Abu Salem under TADA and Explosive Substances Act in view of its commitment to Portuguese government at the time of his extradition that he shall not be awarded death penalty or detained in custody for more than 25 years if found guilty. 

Appearing before a bench headed by Justice Aftab Alam, attorney general G E Vahanwati said the government was committed to its assurance given to the Portuguese court and government and sought the apex court’s permission to drop the additional charges framed against Salem by the trial court. 

“As a matter of fact, charges framed by trial court have been termed as additional charges by the Portuguese courts because of which the Portuguese courts have come to the conclusion that there has been a violation of rule of speciality. More so, the technicality on which the appellant has raised various objections/litigations/representations in India as well as in Portugal…” the agency said. 

The agency, however, clarified that withdrawing certain charges against Salem would not harm the CBI case. “It would also be pertinent to point out that offences for which Salem was extradited to India, are grave enough to award him the maximum punishment and therefore no prejudice would be caused to the CBI if the present application is allowed,” the application said. 

The agency sought withdrawal of charges under section 5 and 6 of TADA and sections 4(b) and 5 of the Explosive Substances Act. 





CBI faults CM for shielding Dharmana

TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 02.40 AM IST

HYDERABAD: Hinting at more important inclusions in the ‘soon-to-come’ final chargesheet in the Jagan disproportionate assets case, the CBI on Monday attacked R&B minister Dharmana Prasada Rao and chief minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and charged them with “behaving in a manner that is grossly unconstitutional in utter disregard of the rule of law.”

The CBI made these observations while opposing a petition filed by Dharmana in the high court seeking a stay on the proceedings in the Vanpic aspect of the Jagan assets case in the trial court. Dharmana’s contention was that since the state had not given a sanction to prosecute him, the court’s action in this regard was unlawful. After being named as accused No. 5 in the Vanpic case, Dharmana had put in his papers but continues to be minister as the chief minister is yet to accept the resignation letter.

However, after taking cognizance of the Vanpic case, the CBI court has been summoning the minister for all the court hearings along with other accused in the case. Now, the minister wants the high court to declare it as illegal and stay the proceedings of the trial court.

Appearing on behalf of CBI, senior counsel Ashok Bhan told Justice B Seshasayana Reddy of the high court that Dharmana should have quit his cabinet post owning the responsibility for doling out 18,000 acres to unscrupulous private enterprise in an illegal manner in the Vanpic case as revenue minister in the YSR regime. “He had even bypassed the empowered committee to do this and if any semblance of morality is left, he should quit because he violated the very oath he took as minister and as legislator. The chief minister too should have risen above cheap politics, accepted Dharmana’s resignation and allowed the prosecution to commence without any fetters. If the CM has got any respect for probity in public life, he should forthwith accept the resignation of Dharmana,” the counsel said.

According to Ashok Bhan, the protection available to a public servant under section 19 of the Prevention of Corruption Act is not available to Dharmana in this case because he is no more a public servant. of the Assembly 2004 to 2009

He perpetrated the Vanpic fraud as revenue minister of the previous government and should account for his past conduct. “He may be a public servant in his position as legislator but this can’t be his shield,” the CBI counsel said citing the judgment of the Supreme Court in Haryana’s Ajay Singh Chautala case who was prosecuted without any sanction from the state. Moreover, the counsel said, the CBI court has only taken cognizance of the offences committed under IPC provisions and we are urging the court to take cognizance of the case under prevention of corruption Act also because no such sanction is needed now.

Senior counsel B Kumar, appearing for Dharmana, said that the CBI court committed an error in overlooking the import of Section 362 CrPC which bars any criminal court from reviewing or modifying an order passed earlier. On September 13 last year, the lower court concluded that sanction under Section 19 of the PC Act was a necessary precursor to taking of cognizance of offences under the Act, he said.

The subsequent modified order affected the rights of the petitioner as it was passed without allowing the latter to be heard on the substantive question of law involved in the modification sought by the CBI. Such an order of review or alteration was in violation of Section 362 CrPC which states that the criminal courts do not have the power of review, he argued.

The judge adjourned the case to April 25 for further hearing.





DA case: Chautala skips court hearing, goes to hospital instead

PTI | Apr 01, 2013, 17:51PM IST

New Delhi: Jailed former Haryana chief minister OP Chautala was admitted to RML hospital here Monday morning and failed to appear for trial in a disproportionate assets case before a Delhi court which pulled up Tihar Prisons Authority for not intimating it about the development. 


The court also issued a notice to the jail superintendent seeking a report on the health status of 78-year-old Chautala. 


Chautala has been lodged in Tihar Jail after being sentenced to ten year imprisonment in the 2000 JBT scam and was to be produced before Special CBI Judge Manu Rai Sethi, who is conducting trial in a disproportionate case against the INLD chief and his sons Ajay and Abhay Chautala. 


Even as the case came up for hearing in the afternoon, the jail authorities had not informed the court about his hospitalisation for a “digestive disorder” and consequent inability to appear before it. 


“As per his counsel, accused (Chautala) was admitted in hospital in morning itself. Superintendent of Tihar Jail no. 2 (where Chautala is lodged) ought to have sent a written communication in this regard to the court in time. 


“He already knew that matter was to be taken up after lunch. This lax attitude of the superintendent is viewed with concern by this court. Let notice be issued to him with direction to inform the court of latest health status of the accused,” the court said. 


It was Chautala’s counsel who informed the court about his hospitalisation and later a police personnel from the lock-up told the court that a wireless message was received in this regard. 


A fresh production warrant has been issued for Chautala for April 12. 


On March 25, the court had rejected Chautala’s plea to get a pacemaker implanted at a private hospital at his own expense and instead referred him to RML Hospital here saying it has all the infrastructure and facilities required for his treatment. 


The court is hearing a disproportionate assets case registered by CBI against Chautala in 2010 on a complaint by Haryana Congress leader Shamsher Singh Surjewala who accused him of amassing assets worth Rs 6.09 crore, far exceeding his legal income between 1993 and 2006. 


Two such separate cases are also on against his sons Ajay and Abhay Chautala. 


Chautala and Ajay Chautala were sentenced to a 10-year imprisonment by a Delhi court on January 22 for illegally recruiting 3,206 junior basic trained (JBT) teachers in the state in 2000. 




Armed forces tribunal remains ‘toothless’ as serving officers stay outside its jurisdiction


PUBLISHED: 23:16 GMT, 24 March 2013 | UPDATED: 23:16 GMT, 24 March 2013


Facing stiff opposition from the three services, a parliamentary panel has stopped short of giving full powers of civil contempt to the armed forces tribunal, leaving serving officers outside its jurisdiction. 

The vice-chiefs of army, air force and navy had expressed reservations about the amendment in the Armed Forces Tribunal Act (AFT) seeking civil contempt powers. 

Currently, the tribunal only has criminal contempt powers, because of which it has been considered toothless. 

A parliamentary standing committee, which had considered the proposed amendments, has recommended that the civil contempt powers be applicable only to the officers of the defence ministry, other civilian organisations and retired defence personnel. 

The army told the panel that giving civil contempt power to the tribunal will have implementational problems as many of its officers are posted in inaccessible areas of Jammu and Kashmir and the North-East. 

“Most of these, so to say, civil contempt cases are cases by name against the senior commanders and commanding officers, who are responsible for all the administration and discipline in units and formations,” an army source said.

“Can you imagine a unit carrying out counter-terrorist operations without the commander who is missing because of summons from the court?” 


The air force and navy also felt the time was not ripe to grant civil contempt powers at this stage. 

But the defence ministry did not agree with the three services. It cited a 2006 case pertaining to Fayaz Khan, who was dismissed from the army. 

The tribunal had ruled in his favour but the order was not implemented by the army forcing the AFT bench to observe that it was handicapped in the absence of civil contempt powers.

The ministry said the Solicitor General of India, who appeared in the case in the Supreme Court, had also advised the ministry to amend the AFT Act to include the power of civil contempt expeditiously. 

The ministry claimed that the law ministry and the Attorney General were also in favour of this by amending section 19 of the AFT Act, 2007. 

Currently, the Act has only criminal contempt powers. It was meant to address grievances of the armed forces personnel but in the absence of full powers, it is facing problems in addressing the issue. 

The amendment will now be placed before the government for approval.





Police excesses: Supreme Court raps Punjab, Bihar for no replies

PTI | Apr 2, 2013, 02.00 AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday came down heavily on states which have not filed their responses to separate petitions seeking implementation of police reforms and recent police excesses in Bihar and Punjab.

“We normally do not summon officers. The governments think that they can play with the court’s orders. They must respond to what courts have asked them to respond,” a bench of justices G S Singvi and Kurian Joseph said.

“Sorry for the inconvenience. We will take up the matter for hearing on day-after-tomorrow,” Justice Singhvi said and asked the states, which have so far not responded, to file their affidavits by Tuesday evening after supplying advance copies to Attorney General (AG) G E Vahanvati, senior advocate Harish Salve and others.

“Those states/officers, who have not filed the affidavits, should understand that they have to file them by tomorrow evening or the court may have to summon senior officers to assist the court,” the bench said after the AG said only eight states have so far filed their replies.

The court had earlier taken suo motu cognisance of news reports on separate incidents in which a woman was beaten up in Punjab and some ladies teachers were assaulted in Patna during an agitation.

It had issued notices to the Centre and states saying the beating up of innocent and unarmed people was “animal behaviour”.

During the hearing, the Attorney General, who along with Salve and others, is assisting the court, said the affidavit filed by the Bihar DGP is “conspicuously” silent over the assault on womenteachers who were sitting inside a tent.

“It is just merciless. One can understand the use of force if there is unlawful assembly. But here teachers have been beaten up mercilessly when they were sitting in a tent,” the court said.

There is no explanation why women were beaten up, the court said and criticized the practice of justifying such incidents to the media by the officers concerned.

“The moment such wrong is committed, some police officers go on TV and try to justify the police action,” it said adding that even after 66 years of independence, “the helpless and ladies” are being beaten up.

“The ailment starts at the grassroot level. At the recruitment level, there is extraneous considerations,” the court said.

The court fixed the matter for hearing on April 3. Earlier, the court had slammed Bihar and Punjab governments for recent incidents of police excesses and issued notices to the chief secretaries, the home secretaries and the DGPs of all states and police commissioners of UTs on implementation of its earlier directions in the Prakash Singh case on police reforms. 





Environment Ministry amends rules regarding mining project expansion

PTI Apr 1, 2013, 08.50PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Environment Ministry has amended rules exempting expansion of mining projects from public hearing, sources said.

The rules have been amended in line with the decision taken by the Cabinet Committee on Investment (CCI) to end the prolonged delays in various projects including mining.

For one-time capacity expansion of 25 per cent or less, coal mining projects have now been exempted from public hearing provided it had taken place at the time of obtaining the existing Environment Clearance and the mining is confined to the existing lease area, official sources said.


It has been decided that “no fresh Environment Clearance (EC) shall be required for a mining project at the time of renewal of mining lease if EC was obtained under the EIA Notification of 2006,” says a fresh Ministry notification.





High Court orders supply of subsidised diesel to Kerala Water Transport Dept



The Kerala High Court on Monday directed the two public sector oil companies to sell high speed diesel to the State Water Transport Department at subsidised rates.

The interim directive comes close on the heels of a similar directive for supplying subsidised diesel to KSRTC.

Justice V.Chitambaresh issued the directive on a petition moved by the government department.

The State government gave an undertaking that it would pay up the differences in the prices of diesel to the oil companies if the writ petition was ultimately dismissed.

In its petition, the Transport Department said that it was not operating its boat service with the sole motive of making profit. It aimed to provide maximum service to the general public.

The oil companies were supplying diesel at non-subsidised rate, as the department had been categorised as a bulk consumer. The average consumption of diesel a month was 1.80 lakes litres. This entailed an additional expense of more than Rs 20 lakh a month.

The department was operating 733 numbers of services a day using 58 boats. A total of 60,000 commuters were dependent on its service. The department was forced to bear an additional burden on account of buying diesel at enhanced price, even as it was incurring a loss of Rs 26 crore a year. Therefore, the department was entitled to diesel at the subsidised price.

The petitioner sought to quash the Centre’s order directing the oil companies to sell diesel to bulk consumers at non-subsidized price.

Indian Oil Corporation and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation contended that while the Centre and the public sector oil companies were providing a subsidy of Rs 11.20 per litre of diesel, the State Government was levying tax to the tune of almost the same amount on every litre of diesel being sold to bulk consumers.

In fact, the levy of ad-valorem VAT rate of 20 per cent on diesel by the State Government had enabled it to generate incremental revenue in the wake of the hike in the basic selling price of diesel meant for bulk consumer.




High court upholds maintenance for kid born out of wedlock

Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times  Mumbai, April 02, 2013

First Published: 01:44 IST(2/4/2013) | Last Updated: 01:45 IST(2/4/2013)

The Bombay high court recently upheld the order of a Pune family court directing a 29-year-old man to pay Rs1,000 toward monthly maintenance to an eight-year-old boy born out of his illegitimate relationship with a woman, who had accused him of rape.

Justice Roshan Dalvi rejected the plea filed by Indrajeet Surve, a driver, challenging the family court order of July 12, 2011, contending that the child was illegitimate and sought to dispute his paternity.

Surve argued that the mother had filed a false case of rape against him with an intention to extort money and the trial court had acquitted him of the charge in November 2006.

The high court, however, rejected the challenge after finding that the child’s paternity had not been justifiably denied by him.

Surve had also challenged the quantum of the maintenance amount on grounds that it was exorbitant in view of his monthly income of Rs5,000 earned as a driver of a private vehicle.

On the other hand, the woman’s counsel, Pramod Pawar, pointed out that the 28-year-old unwed mother worked as a housemaid and the family court fixed the amount at Rs1,000 in view of statements made by Surve himself. Justice Dalvi refused to interfere with the family court order considering the amount was rather paltry and there was nothing erroneous about it.

Surve and the woman were reportedly in a relationship when she was residing at a village in Ratnagiri. The woman alleged that Surve made false promises of marriage and convinced her to maintain a physical relationship, and the child was born in February 2005. However, Surve later refused to marry the woman compelling her to lodge a complaint of rape.





High Court initiates PIL on out-of-school children



The Karnataka High Court on Monday ordered issue of notice to the State government while suo motu treating as a public interest litigation petition a report, “The glitches that dog RTE implementation”, in The Hindu on March 31 based on a State-level meet on the RTE Act held in the city recently.

The report said that during the meet, organised by the People’s Alliance for Right to Education (PAFRE), a facilitator of the organisation, quoting government’s figures, had stated that “54,000 children are still out of school…” “If the news item is correct, then it is a serious violation on a massive scale. About 54,000 children are not going to schools means that they may be engaged as child labourers and in other activities… their future is dark,” a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice D.H. Waghela and Justice B.V. Nagarathna orally observed during the hearing.

It has been pointed out in the petition that a large number of students being out of school would mean that provisions of the RTE Act are not being properly implemented.

The Bench directed the government to file its affidavit and also to ascertain details about the PAFRE so that it could be treated as intervener in the present proceedings to assist the court.

The court has appointed advocate Aditya Sondhi as amicus curiae in the matter.




Fungicide purchase: Punjab and Haryana high court issues notices to Centre, Haryana

TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 02.00 AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Punjab and Haryana high court issued notices to the Centre and Haryanagovernment on Monday on a PIL requesting a CBI probe into an alleged scam in purchase of fungicide from a German company. HaryanaIASofficer AshokKhemka, who is currently the managing director of the Haryana Seeds Development Corporation, had recently alleged that the fungicide, manufactured by a German company, was not the cure for treating a wheat seed disease for which it was bought for Rs 60crore and then further given to the farmers on 100% subsidy. A division bench comprising Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice R K Jain issued the notices while hearing a plea filed by BhiwaniSudhar and VikasSamiti, an NGO, through its president Pawan Kumar Anchal.

The petitioner had sought directions for a probe by an independent agency in the “arbitrary purchase of ‘RAXIL 2DS’ fungicide worth several crores by Haryana government for treatment of wheat seed including ‘Karnal Bunt’ disease in violation of the Insecticides Act, 1968.” The PIL stated that this particular fungicide was also purchased at higher than the market rates by officers of the Haryana government. According to the petitioner, on October 6, 2010, in a meeting under the chairmanship of Haryana chief minister, the decision to use RAXIL 2DS was taken without checking any scientific data.

The use of RAXIL 2DS was made compulsory for control of Loose Smut, Flag Smut and Karnal Bunt diseases in wheat seeds, before the seeds could be certified by the state seed certification agency, stated the petition. According to the petition, no scientific data or research supports the claim that this fungicide controlled or cured one of the three diseases – the Karnal Bunt disease.

“Even if it is presumed that the concerned research department of university had conducted credible scientific research establishing that said fungicide controlled Karnal Bunt disease in wheat crop, it was incumbent upon the manufacturing company to approach Central Insecticide Board for approval and registration under the relevant statute,” stated the petitioner. The case will come up for further hearing on April 12. Meanwhile, IAS officer Khemka, who had cancelled the mutation of Robert Vadra DLF deal had also recommended a criminal case against the German company for making “false claims to sell fungicide in Haryana”.





HC raps state for not resolving dump crisis

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 03.28 AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday lashed out at the government for indulging in “lip service” and not doing anything concrete about solving the garbage dumping problem.

A division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A P Bhangale was hearing a clutch of petitions regarding garbage dumping issues in various civic corporations and councils. The judges had clubbed all matters together saying they would pass individual orders. 

Government pleader S S Shinde said the state sought time for monitoring and ensuring compliance of rules and regulations under theEnvironment Protection Act, specifically the Municipal Solid Waste Management and Handling Rules. 

The judges said rather than assurance on paper and “lip service”, the court wants action. The HC said the state must show seriousness by identifying land available for dumping. “You don’t have to develop the land. You just have to acquire it and begin dumping immediately,” said Justice Khanwilkar. 

When a few advocates pointed out individual problems, the judges said they would concentrate on the general issue of making land first available and then go into specific violations. “Think of the common good, not an individual case. If tomorrow residential garbage is not picked by the corporation because there is no space, then how do you solve the problem,” asked Justice Khanwilkar. 

The judges said in the next hearing they would ask the state to identify land under the Town Planning Scheme within a fortnight and the pollution control board to grant clearance within 48 hours. They also warned of action against officials concerned for contempt of court. 






Don’t sell for profit, HC tells private blood banks

TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 03.44 AM IST

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat high court (HC) on Monday said that private blood bank cannot sell blood that is collected through donation for the purpose of profiteering.

The HC opined that since people donate blood with good intention to help the needy, their objective should be borne in mind by the blood banks and they should not make it a business of profit.

With this oral observation, the court directed the largest private blood bank – Prathama Blood Centre to deposit 10% of collected blood with the government hospital free and give 30% blood to the hospitals run by the civic bodies at a concessional rate. The court ordered so after petitioner Ashok Naik alleged that the blood banks do not supply blood to public hospitals and sell it off for profiteering resulting into blood crisis for patients in general hospitals. He also claimed that this arrangement has been made in the license terms, said petitioner Ashok Naik’s lawyer, Parth Contractor.

Meanwhile, Naik submitted an affidavit before the court stating that private blood banks have sold blood to the tune of Rs 11.35 crore in the last three years. Of this, eight blood banks have made 60% of total business and Prathama’s sell is nearly 25% of total blood sale to patients as well as drug manufacturing companies. Advocate Contractor made this submission after analysing affidavits filed by 142 blood banks revealing their sale of blood. The court later sought details from 52 blood banks that sell blood plasma to patients and drug manufacturers.

Naik also claimed in his affidavit that as per the guidelines, all blood banks are required to provide blood and its components free of cost to patients suffering from haemophilia and thalasemia and alleged that many blood banks do not follow this and recover charges from such patients.

The state government has also furnished a list of blood banks and laboratories that are qualified to sell plasma and provided details about the sale of plasma to private drug manufacturers.

Naik filed a PIL in 2011 questioning the profiteering by private blood bank through the sale of blood and blood components. He demands regulatory measures for collection and supply chain of blood and its components so that needy gets help in time in hospitals.

The bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala has sought all concerned parties’ opinion on the issue and kept further hearing after two weeks.





As lawyers fight in Gujarat HC, CJ offers his good offices for peace

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Apr 02 2013, 02:59 hrs

The Gujarat High Court’s Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya on Monday offered to hear in his chamber a plea filed in connection with a lawyer being beaten up by his colleagues for disregarding a strike call on March 11.

The court observed that hearing the matter in open court would not be “conducive”.

It court was hearing a public interest litigation filed by Amit Panchal, an HC lawyer, after one of his colleagues, Jal Unwala, was allegedly abused and beaten up in his chamber by some senior lawyers and office-bearers of Gujarat High Court Advocates’ Association (GHAA) for working on March 11 despite a strike call given by the association. Unwala had written a letter to the Chief Justice the same day seeking his intervention.

Unwala and senior counsel Saurabh Soparkar were also suspended from GHAA for conducting business on a day when there was a strike.

During the last hearing on the PIL, the division bench led by Chief Justice Bhattacharya had asked the parties concerned to resolve the issue amicably while referring the HC as a “family”. It had even asked advocate general Kamal Trivedi to intervene.

On Monday, senior counsel Mihir Thakore, appearing for Unwala and Soparkar, pressed for an apology from the GHAA members before an open court for the March 11 incident.

Subsequently, the Chief Justice asked the lawyers to resolve the issue outside the court. He, in fact, offered to conduct the hearing of the matter inside his chamber to resolve the issue before adjourning the matter.

He did not give any dates for the next hearing and asked the lawyers concerned to inform the court after arriving at some amicable solution.





HC notice to Punjab on overcrowding in Phagwara jail

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, April 01, 2013
The Punjab and Haryana high court has taken suo motu notice of the plight of 31 undertrials kept in the Phagwara sub-jail in a congested room of 12 foot X 21 foot dimensions and has issued notice of motion to the Punjab government. 
It was during an inspection visit by justice K Kannan to the Phagwara sub-jail on March 22 that he came face to face with the situation. In a communication to chief justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, justice Kannan said, “It (room) is too small to allow for the barest comfort of a civilised living. It is grossly inhuman to dump so many people in such a small room.”

Justice Kannan recommended that there is an immediate need for expansion of the jail premises and as an interim measure at least 25 inmates shall be transferred to Kapurthala model jail. Justice Kannan also suggested that issues of extension of remand for the transferred prisoners could be considered through video-conferencing.

The case would now come up for hearing on April 10.




Maharashtra CID to give HC custodial deaths probe update

Rosy Sequeira, TNN Apr 1, 2013, 10.55AM IST

MUMBAI: State Crime Investigation Department will give the Bombay High Court an update on its probe pertaining to two custodial deaths in the Central Police Station at Ulhasnagar in Thane district in 2011.

A bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A P Bhangale will hear a public interest litigation by social activist Hardas Tharwani regarding the death of 34 year old Sunil Shelke. During the hearing the court was informed that in same police station another man died in custody a month earlier.


According to Tharwani’s petition, Shelke was a tailor. On his wife’s complaint, he and his brother Yogesh were summoned to the police station on April 11, 2011. Shelke was asked to give a written undertaking that he will not trouble his wife. When he refused, the brothers were arrested and mercilessly beaten. Around 10.45 pm, Shelke began vomiting blood. He was taken to a hospital and brought back within an hour. Around 2 am on April 12, 2011 he complained of uneasiness and died.

On March 2, 2011 Narayan Rathod (38), an alleged murder suspect , was illegallydetained without any competent court’sorder. There were 25 injuries on his body. Following the PIL, six policemen were book for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing grievous hurt to extort confession. Additional public prosecutor Aruna Pai had told the court that out of six officers, three are suspended and departmental inquiry is on against the other three. The State CID, which took over the case in April 2012, is expected to give the court a status update on its investigations.





HC asks state to reply to new PIL on parking policy

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Apr 2, 2013, 03.46 AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay HC on Monday asked the state’s lawyer to take instructions from the Urban Development Department (UDD) headed by CMPrithviraj Chavan and reply to a new PIL that raised issues about “lack of transparency” in the state’s public parking policy on May 2. 

The PIL moved on Monday by Thane-based activist Pravin Wategaonkar, who had earlier filed a PIL on the Adarsh housing irregularities, said that an RTI query he made last month showed that no new approvals were given to public parking lots after June 2012. The files before June 2012 were burnt in the Mantralaya fire, the department had said. The query was to find out how many public parking lots were allowed since November 2010. 

A bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Anoop Mohta asked why he had sought details specifically from November 2010 to which Wategaonkar replied that the new minister took over the department at that time. The government pleader said that the state collected Rs 100 crore premium, with the BMC collecting an equivalent amount. Wategaonkar said the state ought to disclose whether it was collected before or after the fire. 

The PIL said developers benefitted from the policy which sought a ‘meagre premium’ from them compared to the eventual market price of additional buildable space. 

The PIL said: “In wider public interest, there should be a thorough investigation of proposals already cleared, and until the probe is complete, the state be restrained from sanctioning any new proposal. The GoM be directed to file under affidavit, list of public parking proposals cleared by the committee formed under DC Rules of BMC, as amended and yet to be sanctioned by the UD minister and CM so that they remain in public domain.” 

“Based on the outcome of these probes, the GoM be directed to propose a transparent and time-bound mechanism based on which future public parking proposals need to be cleared,” the PIL stated.





HC to hear PIL against toll on incomplete roads

Rosy Sequeira, TNN Apr 1, 2013, 10.54AM IST

MUMBAI: Bombay high court is slated hear on Monday a public interest litigation challenging the imposition of toll charges on roads which are incomplete.

A division bench of Justice A M Khanwilkar and Justice A P Bhangale will hear public interest litigation filed by social activist Shashikant Changede against the toll charges on roads which are incomplete in Pune and Ahmednagar. His petition said the government must not allow the contractor to charge toll on such roads. At a previous hearing the judges have chided the State government asking why citizens should pay for deficient service.

The government’s advocate then had submitted that toll amount cannot be reduced but the time frame of toll collection can be reduced. The judges pointed out that a similar problem is faced by citizens all over Maharashtra and questioned how a citizen could be compensated by reducing the time frame of toll collection when he pays the full toll amount. They said the government must take a policy decision in this regard and warned that if it fails to do so, they shall stay collection of toll.

The hearing was adjourned after the government advocate sought time to take instructions on how the toll amount could be reduced.





%d bloggers like this: