Legal News India 30.08.2013

Murder case: NHRC raps BSF for shielding staff

Rakhi Chakrabarty, TNN Aug 26, 2013, 02.01AM IST

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission rapped the BSF in a case of attempted rape of a woman and murder of her father saying the prime concern of the court of inquiry of the border guarding force was to protect colleagues rather than upholding the law. Following NHRC’s recommendation, the home ministry paid Rs eight lakh monetary relief to four members of the victims’ family.

The NHRC’s observation was in the context of a November 2010 case where three BSF constables attempted to rape a girl near Amjadnagar border outpost in south Tripura, killed her father and wounded her brothers when they tried to save her. The victim and her family live in Tripura.

The NHRC found that the BSF’s staff court of inquiry (CoI) absolved the three constables accused in the case. On a stern note, the NHRC said, “This was almost invariably the case with the BSF’s court of inquiry, staffed by junior officers, whose primary concern seemed to be to protect their colleagues rather than to uphold the law.

When contacted, senior home ministry and BSF officers said they could not recall the case.

In December 2010, the Asian Centre for Human Rights (ACHR) filed a complaint with the NHRC against the BSF’s atrocities and human rights violations.

The NHRC had sent showcause notice to the Centre. However, the government of India did not respond to the NHRC’s showcause notice nor forwarded the report of the BSF’s CoI. “Therefore, the Commission presumed the Government of India had nothing to say in the matter and recommended payment of monetary relief to the victims,” said the NHRC spokesperson.

ACHR director Suhas Chakma said, “This is a classic case of how Indian security forces treat cases of violence against women, where all attempts are made to protect the culprits.”

He urged the NHRC to not close the case till the MHA informed about steps taken to ensure that the three BSF personnel are tried for the crimes they are accused of.

Earlier, the MHA paid Rs five lakh each to the kin of two men killed by the BSF in 2010 on the India-Bangladesh border in West Bengal’s Murshidabad following an NHRC recommendation.





NCW member wants age of juveniles lowered to 16

Himanshi Dhawan, TNN Aug 26, 2013, 12.40AM IST

NEW DELHI: The alleged involvement of a 16-year-old in the brutal Mumbai gang-rape has restarted the debate on the severity of punishment for juveniles who commit heinous crimes. A National Commission for Women (NCW) member told TOI on Sunday that she was in favour of reducing the age of juveniles from 18 years to 16 years.

NCW member Nirmala Sawant Prabhawalkar, who met the Mumbai rape victim and has been tasked to prepare a report on the incident, said, “The age of a juvenile should be brought down from 18 years to 16 years so if a person between 16-18 years is involved in a heinous crime like rape or murder, he or she should be treated as an adult.” Prabhawalkar said her views were personal.


The issue was part of a raging debate after it was found that one of the accused in the December 16 gang-rape in Delhi was a 17-year-old, just a few months shy of maturity. According to the Juvenile Justice Act, a person below 18 years can only be given a maximum of three years of punishment.

“With changing times, even a 14-year-old has a high level of awareness. It has now become a trend to use juveniles for crimes as they get away with lighter punishment,” Prabhawalkar said.

The NCW member said if juveniles were involved in petty crimes, they should be dealt with leniently as the crime was done because of poor socio-economic conditions. She said the same could not apply to involvement in serious crimes like rape and murder.

The JJ Act treats people below the age of 18 as children and provides for a chance at reformation.

Prabhawalkar will submit her report to the commission on Tuesday in which she is likely to recommend fast-track courts and quick investigation for the five accused. “We hope that the accused will be given life imprisonment,” she added.






HC denies Maudany bail for the third time

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday denied bail for the third time to Abdul Nasir Maudany, leader of the People’s Democratic Party and an accused in the 2008 Bangalore serial blasts case.

Justice N. Ananda refused to accept the medical reasons put forward by Mr. Maudany seeking enlargement on bail for the purpose of securing better treatment for his ailments.

Mr. Maudany had claimed that his ailments had worsened as the prison authorities were not providing him proper treatment despite the directions of the High Court and the Supreme Court.

However, the prosecution alleged that Mr. Maudany was “deliberately magnifying and exaggerating” all his ailments to gain the sympathy of the court to get bail. Pointing out Mr. Maudany was refusing to take treatment, the prosecution presented a list before the court indicating that on 11 occasions between May and August 2013, Mr. Maudany had refused to get treatment at private hospitals.

After going through the medical records, the High Court refused to accept Mr. Maudany’s contentions.









HC rejects Abu Jundal’s plea against solitary confinement

Jundal petitioned the HC seeking to be transferred out of the cell and not be kept in solitary confinement

Observing that prison management and security as well as safety of inmates is a policy matter,the Bombay High Court today dismissed a petition filed by alleged LeT operative Abu Jundal, seeking a direction to jail authorities to not keep him in solitary confinement.

Jundal, who was arrested in June last year for his alleged involvement in the 26/11 terror attack and the 2006 Aurangabad arms haul case, is presently lodged in the same cell where Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab was lodged in the Arthur Road prison in central Mumbai.

Jundal petitioned the HC seeking to be transferred out of the cell and not be kept in solitary confinement.

“The applicant (Jundal) has been kept in solitary confinement since six months. Due to this, he is depressed and thus not able to think clearly. Like all undertrials, Jundal should also be kept in common barracks and allowed certain privileges,” the petition states.

The Maharashtra government opposed the petition saying he was kept in solitary confinement due to security reasons.

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and G S Patel accepted the government’s contention and dismissed the petition.

“Is it the right of the accused to say where he should be lodged ? These are all policy matters. Some anxiety has been expressed and hence this decision has been taken to keep him in solitary confinement,” the bench said.

It added that the security of prison and its inmates and its management are all policy matters and the jail authority is solely responsible for it. “Any measure taken by them (authorities) cannot be interfered with by this court,” the court added.

Before the lower court, Jundal in his application had claimed that he was hallucinating about Kasab who was hanged to death.

The lower court had directed for a psychiatrist to check up Jundal. The jail authorities, however, said that Jundal was mentally sound following which the court rejected his application.Jundal then moved the High Court.




HC questions Chandigarh, Haryana over appointments to VAT tribunal

: Wed Aug 28 2013, 02:12 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday questioned Chandigarh and Haryana as to how they can make appointments to the VAT Tribunal without consulting the high court.

The query was raised during the resumed hearing of two public interest litigations, challenging appointments of chairman and members of the tribunal, filed by Advocate H C Arora. The petitioner sought directions to Chandigarh Administration to appoint the chairman and members of UT Chandigarh Vat Tribunal only after consultation with the high court.

The Additional Advocate General, Haryana and senior standing counsel for Chandigarh Administration were questioned as to how the chairman and members to the said tribunal can be appointed without consulting the high court.

Law officers of Haryana and Chandigarh Administration sought a short adjournment to explain their stand. The PIL will now come up for hearing on September 20. It is pertinent to note that the Chief Minister of Haryana had made the aforesaid three appointments to Haryana Vat Tribunal without consulting the High Court.

Likewise, the Chandigarh Administration had appointed its Advisor to Administrator as chairman of the UT Chandigarh Vats Tribunal, while the three posts of members are lying vacant.





HC questions Maha govt on safeguards against data theft

Emphasising the importance of issues covered under the Information Technology (IT) Act, the Bombay High Court today said the Maharashtra government should come up with a system to protect and detect data theft. 

A division bench of Justices S C Dharmadhikari and G S Patel was hearing a petition filed by a private software company seeking direction to the cyber crime cell of the city police to investigate into its complaint against an employee for alleged data theft. 

“Is there a single system in Maharashtra designated as a protective system? Mumbai is supposed to be the financial capital with two stock exchanges. You (government) are sitting on a time bomb which may explode anytime,” the bench said. 

“What do you do when a bank or some other financial institution loses its data? These days almost everyone uses online banking where several personal details have to be provided. What steps has the government taken regarding protection and detection of data theft,” Justice Patel questioned. 

Justice Dharmadhikari suggested the police not to brush aside such complaints all the time. “Whenever a complaint is filed police looks at it with a narrow perspective. Instead the police should look at the whole Act,” the court said. 

“The IT Act is not about just Facebook and Twitter and other social networking accounts but also about misuse of financial information,” the bench said. 

The court has directed senior officials of the cyber crime cell to look into the issue and apprise the court on the next date of hearing on September 19. 

According to the petition filed by H R Mantra company, which provides software solutions to other companies, one of their employee Sneha Sahu had allegedly misused data regarding quotations and clients list and provided it to a rival company Synergy Software. 

“A complaint was lodged with the Charkop police on September 17 last year. A month later they asked us to approach the cyber crime cell in Bandra. In November, we forwarded the complaint to Bandra but after three months the matter was reverted to Charkop police. Following this we filed this petition,” advocate Ramprakash Pandey said.





HC dismisses appeal of retd forest ranger

: Madras High Court today dismissed an appeal filed by a retired forest ranger, challenging a single judge’s order, dismissing his plea for reinstatement on the ground that his date of birth had been wrongly entered. 

While upholding the single judge’s order, the First Bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Rajesh Kumar Agrawal and Justice T Raja, observed that the documents and register were tampered with and the petitioner’s claim for correction in date of birth was rejected. 

R Mohanasundaram, who joined service in August 1981, submitted an application to authorities in April 1993, claiming his date of birth was wrongly entered as May 1952 instead of May 1956. 

Mohanasundaram, who retired from service in May 2010, contended that if the year of birth had been taken as 1952, he would have served four more years and retired before 2014. 

Prior to his retirement in January 2010, the Forest Department Secretary took up this case with Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, who ordered it to be investigated by an officer not below the rank of Deputy Collector. 

Meanwhile, Mohanasundaram was fighting for his promotion in court, which recommended an investigation into the matter. 

When the authorities perused relevant documents, it came to light that the documents pertaining to Mohanasundaram’s date of birth were tampered and his name conspicuously inserted in the register. 

A single judge before whom the matter was heard had concluded that the records were tampered and dismissed the petition against which Mohanasundram preferred an appeal.





Radia tapes: SC conducts two-hour-long in-camera proceedings

By PTI | 29 Aug, 2013, 12.14PM IST

NEW DELHI: In a rare case, the Supreme Court today conducted two-hour-long in-camera proceedings in the former corporate lobbyist Niira Radia phone tapping case for knowing the Centre’s stand and perusing “top secret” documents which formed the basis for interception of her calls. 

The proceedings before a bench of justices G S Singhvi and V Gopala Gowda, began from 10.30 AM and went on till 12.30 PM during which two additional solicitor generals, CBI, Income Tax Department and Home Ministry officers were allowed into the court room but all advocates appearing for different parties, journalists and others were barred. 

The bench concluded the in-camera proceedings and posted the matter for an open court hearing on October 1. 

The bench had on August 27 decided to hold in-camera proceedings in the case. 

Although in-camera proceedings are normal in trial courts in sensitive cases, in the Supreme Court this is the second time that such hearing is being conducted in recent years. The last time such a proceeding took place in the apex court was in the hawala case in 1996. 

The apex court had decided on in-camera hearing after it found that many controversial and sensitive information and names of people figure in the various reports disclosure of which in public domain could harm national interest and could tarnish the image of people till they were established. 

Today’s in-camera proceedings were confined to the bench perusing the government’s confidential report and the Centre’s submission on the issue. 

The conversations were recorded as part of surveillance of Radia’s phone on a complaint to the Finance Minister on November 16, 2007 alleging that within a span of nine years she had built up a business empire worth Rs 300 crore. 

The government had recorded 180 days of Radia’s conversations–first from August 20, 2008 onwards for 60 days and then from October 19 for another 60 days. Later, on May 11, 2009, her phone was again put on surveillance for another 60 days following a fresh order given on May 8. 

The apex court had ordered setting up of a team of investigators to examine the contents of the conversations. 

The court had perused the report and transcripts prepared by the special team of investigators and said that “some of the items highlighted will become the subject matter of investigation”.





HC stay result of NRHM exam for post of district programme manager

Bagish K Jha, TNN | Aug 29, 2013, 02.11 PM IST

INDORE: The result of exam for the post of district programme manager by National Rural Health Mission (NRHM), which was expected to be declared on Friday, will not be declared now. Indore bench of Madhya Pradesh High Court has stays publication of result.

Around 10 students has field a writ petition in the court of Justice N K Modi on the ground that they were not allowed to sit in the examination held on August 25 for the above mention post. On this HC granted stay on the result which was supposed to be declared on August 29 and instructed state government to file their reply within seven days. Over 600 students from across the state has appeared for 29 posts.

Adv Upendra Singh, counsel of petitioner told TOI when some of the students reached at Medicab Institute of Technology and Management, one of the centre for examination, they were not allowed to enter inside.

He added that examination timing were from 10am to 11.30 am, petitioners were in queue at entrance gate along with their admit cards and I.D proof suddenly the gate of entrance were closed at 9.30am by security guard and due to lots of crowd there are few candidates (more then 60 out of which few of them are Petitioners) were not allowed to seat in examination. All those candidates try their best for entering in examination but nothing happen even the examination in-charge didn’t supported the students.

After this some of the candidates give a call at Bhopal NRHM head office and they assured them that a re-examination will be conduct for all of them at 12.30 pm. But no re-examinations were taken by NRHM at the said time. Later candidates went to Kishan Ganj Police station, Indore and an application were given by them regarding all this incidence but no action were initiated by the concerned police station.

Singh on this ground writ petition were filed and HC heard it on priority basis and stay were granted on result publication.





HC upholds infrastructure levy on builders

TNN | Aug 30, 2013, 12.55 AM IST

CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government’s user-pay policy of imposing infrastructure and amenities (I&A) charges on builders and developers who construct residential and commercial structures received Madras high court’s nod on Thursday. 

The levy, which initially amounted to about 100 per sqft of built up area for new multi-storeyed buildings in the city, came into force in 2008 as the government thought private developers derived “appreciable gains” in development and hence they should share the cost involved in creating infrastructure of international standards in the state. The government reduced the rates a year later. However, some builders had challenged it in the court. 

Additional advocate-general P H Arvindh Pandian argued that massive developments were taking place all around the state and developers were not providing necessary infrastructure to residents of townships being developed by them. The government, instead, is forced to provide all necessary infrastructure for ensuring sustainable development and the financial commitment in this regard is substantial, he said. 

Agreeing with him and upholding the legality of the newly inserted provisions in Section 63 of the Tamil Nadu Town and Country Planning (Levy of Infrastructure and Amenity Charges) Rules 2008, a division bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice T S Sivagnanam said: “Promoters develop properties without providing basic infrastructure. Under such circumstances, the user-pay concept is a solution for sustainable development. 

“Advantages enjoyed by builders are a special advantage and simultaneously there is additional burden on the municipal services. The state would be justified in levying infrastructure and amenities charges.” 

Noting that the right to develop a property is not unfettered but subject to restrictions, the judges said: “Merely because builders have acquired interest in vast extent of land, as a matter of right they cannot claim that they would be entitled to construct buildings consisting of any number of floors and compel the authorities to grant permission for such development. When such large-scale development of properties is done with several floors, the government thought it fit to consider those as special cases, and by taking note of the impact that would be caused to other parameters, decided to levy and collect I&A charges.” 

The levy was to meet the impact of development and for ensuring sustainable development, they added. 

The judges rejected developers’ submission that providing water and sewerage facilities to land owners and developers was a public duty, statutorily imposed on state agencies and hence no additional charges should be levied. They also rejected the argument that I&A charges would amount to multiple levy, as promoters already were paying water and sewerage charges under Section 59 of the Rules. “I&A is a levy with a distinct purpose, object and intent,” the bench held.





HC wants panel to ensure repayment to duped investors

TNN | Aug 30, 2013, 12.42 AM IST

GUWAHATI: The Gauhati high court on Thursday asked the state government to form a committee within a month to take necessary steps to ensure that investors who have been duped by 23 non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) get their money back.

The court’s directive has come at a time when the hearings of five PILs and two writ petitions filed by investors are going on in the HC. The government earlier stopped the operations of these NBFCs and seized their assets. In the previous hearing, the state government had informed the HC that a proposal is being prepared for facilitating return of the amount seized from the NBFCs to the rightful claimant.

Sources said that the state government will auction the seized assets of these companies and their officials to mop up the money to repay the rightful claimants.

“The state government has agreed to form the committee. This committee will monitor the various ways to return the money to the rightful claimants,” said M K Sarma, counsel of Uttam Chetia, one of the petitioners. The committee is likely to have retired judges in its panel. The panel members will verify the claims of the duped investors before they are returned their money.

Assam Police in an affidavit filed to the HC stated that 192 cases have been registered against 117 such illegal companies. The present set of petitions is against 23 of these companies.

The special investigative team (SIT) of police, which is monitoring and supervising investigation of the 192 cases, has arrested 273 persons and filed chargesheets in 12 cases. It has also submitted final reports in three other cases.

“A sum of approximately Rs 93 lakhs has been seized and bank accounts containing about Rs 24 crores has been frozen. Some immovable properly has also been seized and the court has been moved for attachment of some other property,” said the affidavit of Assam Police.





HC seeks Centre’s detailed report on rural health care course

The Centre was today directed by the Delhi High Court to file a detailed affidavit on the contempt plea filed against it to start a three-year “Bachelor of Rural Health Care (BRHC)” course for those practicing medicine in primary health centres in rural areas. 

Justice S K Mishra granted eight weeks to the Health Ministry to reply and sought a detailed affidavit indicating if steps have been taken in this regard. 

“Let a detailed affidavit be filed by the Centre. Further, steps, if any, have been taken by the government so far,” the court said and fixed December 5 for further hearing of the case. 

The bench was hearing a contempt plea, filed through advocate Prashant Bhushan, by petitioner Meenakshi Gautam who said rural people have no worthwhile access to medical help and face great risk to their lives due to lack of qualified medical practitioners in rural areas. 

Seeking an order to initiate contempt proceedings, she said a division bench of this high court had on November 10, 2010 ordered Medical Council of India to begin BRHC course, approved by the Health Ministry, by March 2011 but nothing has been done so far. 

The court had given MCI two months time to finalise the curriculum and syllabus of the three-and-half-year Primary Healthcare Practitioner Course, approved by the Union government, she added. 

The course was named BRHC, she said adding the court had given another two months to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare for the endorsement of the course syllabus. 

“The course should have been introduced by March 2011 as per the time-line stipulated by the court in its order. No such course has been introduced by the Ministry as of February 2012. MCI had apparently opposed the course in 2011 and is not willing to notify, the petitioner said, seeking the court’s direction to begin the course.





HC upholds creation of new transport corporations in Karnataka


The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday upheld the State government’s 1997 decision dividing the Karnataka Road Transport Corporation and establishing transport corporations for Bangalore city, the North East, the North West and for other regions.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice V. Suri Appa Rao passed the order while setting aside the July 2, 2007 order of a single judge, who had declared that setting up of new corporations for different parts of the State was not permissible in law while permitting the government to establish subsidiaries of the KSRTC as per Section 17A of the Road Transport Act.

The single judge set aside the government notification creating North West Road Transport Corporation to cover Dharwad, Uttara Kannada, and Bijapur districts; North East Karnataka Road Transport Corporation to cover Bidar, Gulbarga, Raichur and Belllary districts; Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation for Bangalore city; and KSRTC for old Mysore and other nationalised areas.


However, the Division Bench ruled that the government had the power under Section 3 of the RTC Act to set up transport corporations either for the whole of the State or for any part of the State and creation of these new corporations come under Section 3.




HC summons corporation chief in missing emerald lingam case

TNN | Aug 30, 2013, 01.48 AM IST

MADURAI: The commissioner of Madurai corporation has been summoned by the Madras high court bench here in connection with the case related to the emerald (maragatha) lingam that went missing from the Kunnathur Chatram, a century-old guest house for devotees of Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple. It was also alleged that the lingam worth several crores of rupees has been looted and smuggled to Singapore by the government officials and politicians through hawala agents.

On Thursday, justice N Kirubakaran passed an interim direction regarding the appearance of commissioner after hearing a writ petition filed by a Madurai-based advocate, who is also the president of inter-religious advocates association. The petitioner had said that the lingam kept under the custody of the corporation had gone missing.

He further said that no FIR was registered on his complaint filed at the Thallkulam police on August 27 in that regard.

Seeking various directions, including locating and recovering of the lingam that was donated by the Kunnathur zamin, a petition has been filed dragging the chief secretary and home secretary of state, Madurai’s collector and corporation commissioner, Indian ambassador to Singapore, as parties to the case.

Seeking direction to directorate of revenue intelligence, intelligence bureau and CBI to conduct investigation, the petitioner’s advocate told the court that the corporation removed the lingam from the Kunnathur Chatram during the demolition and reconstruction of the building in 2009.

When there was public outcry in 2010 that due to the politicians’ pressure the government officials had duplicated the lingam, the corporation confirmed that the lingam is very safe and it is in the corporation treasury, which also stated that the same is original and can be tested and proved at any point of time, the court was told.

The court was also pointed out that the priest who performed poojas to the lingam at that time had applied to the corporation under the Right to Information Act in 2010 about its whereabouts, but he went missing since the date of his petition.

Following it, justice Kirubakaran questioned the government about the whereabouts of the lingam. Is it (lingam) available?, asked the judge. To it, he was told that instruction has to be get from the corporation. Following it, the court gave interim direction seeking appearance of the commissioner on Friday and posted the matter.





Competition Commission okays Mahindra-CIE deal

Last Updated: Thursday, August 29, 2013, 21:54  

New Delhi: Competition watchdog CCI has given its approval to conglomerate Mahindra & Mahindra Group’s (M&M) proposed multi-structured deal with Spain’s auto-component maker CIE Group, saying the deal will not have adverse effect on competition.

As per the deal, CIE would consolidate its European forgings businesses with Mahindra Systech firms that comprises of Mahindra Forgings, Mahindra Composites, Mahindra Castings, Mahindra Investments (India), Mahindra Gears International and MUSCO, into one entity — Mahindra CIE Automotive.

In its order dated August 21, but made public Thursday, the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said that “the proposed combination is not likely to have appreciable adverse effect on competition in India and therefore, the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination under…(Competition) Act”.

The Competition watchdog observed that the deal did not “contemplate combination of two existing players in the Indian auto-component manufacturing business”.

Further, after the implementation of the deal, M&M would continue to be present as a shareholder of Mahindra CIE with a holding of 20.04 percent, it said.

CCI also noted that CIE Group had no presence in the auto-component business in India as well as no investments in Indian firms invlved in auto-component businesses.

The regulator also noted that the technologies currently being used by the Mahindra Systech firms would continue to be utilised after deal comes into effect.

M&M and CIE Group had entered into various agreements on June 15, 2013 following which they had approached CCI for its approval.

The deal comprises a series of steps such as acquisition of stake in Mahindra Forgings, Mahindra Composites and Mahindra Castings by a CIE group company, Participaciones Internacionales Autometal.

Besides, Mahindra Overseas Investment Company would acquire 13.5 percent stake in CIE Group.

Following these acquisitions, Mahindra Composites, Mahindra Castings, MUSCO, Mahindra Gears International and Mahindra Investments (India) and CIE’s Participaciones Internacionales Autometal Tres would be merged with Mahindra Forgings, which would be then renamed as Mahindra CIE Automotive. 






Cairn India moves PM-led cabinet committee on investment to expedite investment

Rajeev Jayaswal, ET Bureau Aug 27, 2013, 06.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: Cairn India, the operator of the country’s biggest onland oilfield, has approached the prime minister-led cabinet committee on investment (CCI) to resolve regulatory hurdles that have blocked investments of $2.4 billion and sought its help in reimbursing about $1 billion it spent to develop the block.

The government has recently set up a special cell in the cabinet secretariat to assist investors facing regulatory delays. The CCI is directly monitoring progress of more than two dozens oil and gas projects worth over Rs 103,700 crore. Most of these projects are implemented by state-run companies, government officials said.





Supreme Court can award fixed jail term while commuting death sentence


Plea against 30-year sentence without remission misconceived, says Bench

The Supreme Court is competent and has the jurisdiction to fix a particular number of years with or without remission when it commutes the death sentence to life term while upholding the conviction of the accused under Section 302 of the Indian Penal Code, a Bench has ruled.

It rejected a writ petition filed by Gurvail Singh alias Gala for converting his sentence from 30 years in jail without remission to life imprisonment. He also sought a declaration that this court was not competent to fix a particular number of years (with or without remission) when it commuted the death sentence. The petitioner, along with the co-accused, was charged with killing four persons on the intervening night of August 20-21, 2000 and the trial court in Punjab awarded the death penalty and this was confirmed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court.

However, the Supreme Court commuted it to life imprisonment with a direction that the petitioner serve 30 years in jail without remission.

Rejecting Gala’s argument, the Bench of Justices B.S. Chauhan and S.A. Bodbea said the issue raised in this petition was elaborately dealt with by a three-judge Bench in Swamy Shraddananda case, in which it was held that life imprisonment could not be equivalent to imprisonment for 14 or 20 years, rather it always meant the whole natural life.

“This court has always clarified that the punishment so awarded would be subject to any order passed in exercise of the clemency powers of the President or the Governor, as the case may be. Pardon, reprieve and remissions are granted in exercise of prerogative power. The power to grant pardons and to commute sentences is coupled with a duty to exercise the same fairly and reasonably. Thus, such orders do not interfere with the sovereign power of the state.”

The Bench said: “This court issued orders to deprive a convict of the benefit of remissions only in cases where the death sentence has been commuted to life imprisonment and it does not apply in all cases wherein the person has been sentenced to life imprisonment.”





Court orders probe in cheating case involving Lokayukta’s son

A local court has directed the police to register a case on the basis of a complaint of cheating against employees and representatives of a real estate firm, which include the son of Madhya PradeshLokayukta. 

Complainant Abhijeet Tripathi told reporters that Judicial Magistrate R K Rawatkar directed the Aerodrome Police Station to register a case against the firm Emmar MGF Land Ltd and its employees under sections 420 (cheating) and 406 (criminal breach of trust) of the Indian Penal Code. 

The magistrate directed the police to finish the probe and file the final report by October 28. 

Tripathi said he had filed the complaint against the company and its representatives including Shrawan Gupta, Mehar Singh, Abhay Mishra, Ajay Nambiar and Siddharth Naolekar. Siddharth is the son of Madhya Pradesh state Lokayukta P P Naolekar. 

According to Tripathi, he purchased a plot at Indore Greens township and paid Rs 38,84,691 to the company. But, later he learnt through RTI that the firm had kept the plot as a collateral with the government, and could not have sold it off. 

Tripathi then sought his money back, but in vain. After the Aerodrome Police did not conduct any probe on his complaint, he approached the court. 

Meanwhile, when asked for a comment, the company spokesperson said “We have not received any such court order so far and we shall only be able to comment on the same once we get the order, if any”.





Malbari sent to five years in jail

Mangalore, August 29, 2013, DHNS:


The Fourth Additional District and Sessions Court on Thursday sentenced underworld don Dawood Ibrahim’s hitman Rasheed Malbari and his aide Mohammad Hasim to five years’ rigorous imprisonment. It also imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 on the two terrorists.

In case they fail to pay the fine, they will serve an extra year in jail, the court ruled.

Judge B K Naik pronounced the judgement in the jam-packed court hall here. The court on Monday had convicted the two men for possessing illegal weapons, under Section 25 (1) (a) of the Arms Act. After hearing the final arguments and counter-arguments on Wednesday, the court reserved the pronouncement of the quantum of punishment for Thursday.

While prosecutor Manjunath Bhat Panne sought a maximum punishment of 10 years under the Arms Act, defence lawyer Purushotham Poojary prayed for lenience as possession of firearms had not been prohibited under the law.


Malbari, who has already spent 53 months in jail, will serve the remaining seven-month term in a central prison in Karnataka.

Malbari was arrested by the District Crime Branch Bureau and police officers of the Intelligence wing at a house in Chattanchal near Kasargod on March 30, 2009. His associate Hasim was apprehended in Talapady. The police had then seized a 9mm US-made pistol and five bullets from Malbari, and a 9mm pistol and five bullets from Hasim.

In the charge sheet, the police had accused the duo of conspiring to kill BJP leader Varun Gandhi and Pramod Muthalik of Sri Rama Sene. Though the accusations were not proved in the court, the accused were sent to jail for possessing illegal arms.

Speaking to reporters, Panne said he would decide his next move of filing a revision petition seeking further punishment after receiving the certified copy of the judgement. “There was provision for sentencing the accused to 10 years in prison,” he said.

Malbari told reporters that the court had convicted him without proper evidence. “I have been falsely victimised and they have punished me because I am a Muslim. I will appeal to the High Court against the sessions court judgement,” he said.He also alleged police conspiracy and the role of Hindu organisations such as the Bajrang Dal and the RSS behind his conviction.

‘I am not Malbari’
Abdul Rasheed Malbari on Thursday told Deccan Herald that his name was not ‘Malbari’ and that he neither hailed from Malabar in Kerala.
“My name is Abdul Rasheed Sheikh Hussein and I am from Hejamadi in Udupi district,” he said. He claimed that the Mumbai police who arrested him had named him Malbari because he spoke the Beary language the police might have mistaken for Malayalam.
It is very common in Mumbai as well as in West Asia to call people from South India ‘Malabaris’. Incidentally, many people who work in West Asia either belong to the coastal region of Karnataka or Kerala.





PIL filed in SC for court-monitored CBI probe in Asaram’s case

Aug 29, 2013

New Delhi: A PIL was today filed in the Supreme Court seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into an alleged sexual assault case involving self-styled godman Asaram Bapu.

The petition referred to the recent statement by Asaram’s son Narayan Sai that the minor girl was “mentally unstable” and said there was “low implementation” of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000.

 “Direct a Supreme Court-monitored CBI probe into the incident involving the rape of minor by Asaram Bapu in the Jodhpur Ashram premises …,” Chennai-based D I Nathan said in his PIL filed through advocate N Rajaraman.

It also said the Home Ministry should be directed for immediate scientific test for ascertaining the biological age of victims, who are children, and fast tracking of the probe so that evidence was not obliterated.

It also sought a direction to the Home Ministry to ask ”all district SP level officers across the country for objective investigation by a police team of female investigators sensitized to deal with the offences involving sexual assault of child or juvenile.”

The petitioner said the object of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000 was “repeatedly violated and disregarded by the police, state authorities and the accused who are violating the privacy and the right to life of minor victims.”

It said sensitivity of the police investigating crimes against the juvenile victims and the media, which is reporting such crimes against the victims, were violating the purpose of the Act.

72-year-old Asaram, who is accused of sexually assaulting a minor, will face arrest if he fails to appear before the Jodhpur Police tomorrow. Asaram had sought extension in the date of appearance before the investigation officer of the case at Jodhpur citing he had various pre-decided religious fixtures lined up till September 19.






PIL seeks joint probe by CBI, IT, ED into IPL match-fixing

PTI | Aug 29, 2013, 07.18 PM IST

MUMBAI: Hearing a PIL seeking a joint probe by the Income Tax (IT), Enforcement Directorate (ED) and CBI into alleged match fixing and betting in Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches, the Bombay High Court ordered on Thursday that a copy of the petition be served to these agencies within three weeks. 

The order was given by a bench headed by Justice PV Hardas which heared a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by former journalist Ketan Tirodkar asking for probe by central agencies into alleged nexus of cricket players with bookies. 

The petitioner prayed that the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) be directed to register a case of cheating against players and bookies who had allegedly developed nexus with vested interests for “fixing matches or promoting betting in IPL matches”. 

The PIL alleged that offences had been committed in the context of match fixing during IPL 2013 and also urged a direction to ED, IT as well as Mumbai police and Delhi police to co-operate with the CBI which should take up the role of co-ordinating these investigations. 

The petitioner said that on a request by the central government, the CBI had earlier conducted a preliminary inquiry into the alleged nexus of players with bookies. This report should culminate in the filing of an FIR if offences had been committed. However, this had not been done, the PIL said. 

When the IPL scam broke this year, some bookies’ names had cropped up during investigations conducted separately by Delhi police and Mumbai police, the PIL said, adding that a central and independent agency like the CBI must be directed to probe the alleged cricket match fixing and betting.





PIL on Justice K G Balakrishnan: Supreme Court seeks government reply

PTI Aug 26, 2013, 12.52PM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court today asked the Centre to file its response on a PIL seeking initiation of removal process of former Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnanfrom the post of NHRC Chairman for his alleged “misbehaviour” and purchase of benami properties.

“At this stage, we are asking the Centre to file its response within three weeks,” a bench headed by Justice B S Chauhan said.


During the brief hearing, the bench said let the Ministry of Law and Justice apprise the court about the status of the earlier complaint filed on this issue.

“More than two-and-a-half years have elapsed since we made the complaint with them. The complaint was supported by documents also. This issue cannot be allowed to go on and on,” lawyer Prashant Bhushan, who has filed the PIL on behalf of NGO Common Cause, said.

“We want to know as to whether they (Centre) have disposed of the complaint or it is still pending with them,” the bench said.

The PIL sought the competent authority to make a reference to the apex court to hold inquiry against Balakrishnan.





PMO reveals graft complaints against CJI, AG

Manoj Mitta, TNN | Aug 30, 2013, 05.38 AM IST

NEW DELHI: In a remarkable instance of transparency, the Prime Minister’s Office made public under RTI a complaint which had been given to it leveling allegations of corruption against, among others, chief justice of India P Sathasivam, his predecessor Altamas Kabir and attorney general G E Vahanvati.

The PMO’s disclosure on August 23 of these as-yet unverified allegations complied with a statutory safeguard. The RTI reply specifically said that “the concerned third parties were given opportunity to make representations regarding disclosure of the documents” in accordance with section 11 of RTI.

Responding to a plea from RTI activist Subhash Chandra Agrawal, the PMO added for good measure that it was enclosing a copy of the complaint, which had been sent by journalist M Furquan on May 5, “after completing the third party procedures”.

All this implies that the PMO decided to disclose Furquan’s complaint after notifying not only him but also the other “concerned third parties” – namely, the judges and law officer – who had been attacked by him. For, section 11 stipulates that no confidential information “which relates to or has been supplied by a third party” can be disclosed without observing the principles of natural justice.

Interesting, in the same RTI reply, the PMO declined to disclose another complaint, which was only against Kabir and had been filed on March 19 by chief justice of the Gujarat high court Bhaskar Bhattacharya.

The explanation given by the PMO for withholding it is telling: Justice Bhattacharya stated that “his communication was confidential in nature and is meant for constitutional functionaries concerning a particular subject matter. He has therefore requested that the contents of the letter should not be disclosed to any person/authority, who is not a participant in the process. In view of the submission made by the third party, the information cannot be provided.”

The grounds for withholding Bhattacharya’s letter, which had been written towards the end of Kabir’s tenure as CJI, make the disclosure of Furqan’s letter under the same provision all the more significant. In any event, it is contrary to the trend of being cagey about disclosing information relating to judicial accountability.

As for the action taken on Furquan’s complaint, the PMO said generally that it had been filed “as per guidelines for processing of public petitions in the office”. The six-page complaint attributed ulterior motives to several judicial decisions taken by Kabir and other Supreme Court judges. It also all alleged that there was an “unholy nexus” between Kabir and Vahanvati.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: