LEGAL NEWS 03.07.2014

SC says no to automatic arrests under ‘dubious’ dowry law
Satya Prakash, Hindustan Times New Delhi, July 02, 2014
First Published: 23:39 IST(2/7/2014) | Last Updated: 09:03 IST(3/7/2014)

The police can no longer “automatically” arrest the accused under the “dubious” anti-dowry law, the Supreme Court ruled Wednesday, expressing concern over the misuse of Section 498A of IPC by disgruntled wives against in-laws and husbands.
The court asked state governments to ensure that the police didn’t go on an arresting spree — as was the practice — in dowry harassment cases.
The attitude to arrest first and then proceed with the rest was “despicable” and must be curbed, it said. The police would have to give reasons and proof to magistrate before making an arrest, the court said.
A bench of justice Chandramauli Kumar Prasad and justice Pinaki Chadra Ghose said Sec 498-A was introduced to combat harassment of women at the hands of husbands and his family. “The fact it is a cognisable and non-bailable offence has lent it a dubious place of pride amongst the provisions that are used as weapons rather than shield by disgruntled wives,” the bench said.
Driving home the point, the court, quoting crime statistics, said nearly a quarter of those arrested under Sec 498A in 2012 were women, most of them mothers and sisters of the husbands.
Added to the Indian Penal Code in 1983, 498-A provides for maximum imprisonment of three years and fine while the maximum sentence under the Dowry Prohibition Act, 1961 is two years with a fine.
“As the arrest curtails freedom, brings humiliation and casts scars forever, …we believe that no arrest should be made only because the offence is non-bailable and cognisable,” the court said, asking the police to shun their colonial mindset.
Magistrates, too, would have to put on record that the reasons given by the police justified detention, the court said said. The failure to do so would invite departmental action and amount to contempt of court.
The order came on a petition filed by a man from Bihar seeking anticipatory bail in a dowry harassment case filed by his wife.
Concerned over its abuse, the Law Commission and Parliament’s standing committee on home affairs had recommended that offences under Section 498A IPC be made compoundable i.e. husband and wife should be allowed to settle the dispute between themselves.

PIL filed in Calcutta HC for Paul’s arrest
Submitted by IANS on 2 July 2014 – 8:32pm
Kolkata : With the Mamata Banerjee government yet to initiate action against Trinamool Congress MP Tapas Paul for his rape remarks, a PIL was filed Wednesday seeking penal action.
The public interest litigation (PIL) was filed before the court of Justice Dipankar Dutta of the Calcutta High Court seeking a direction to the police for initiating criminal proceedings and arrest of Krishnanagar MP Paul.
“He has publicly exhorted his partymen to kill CPI-M activists and rape women. But, still this government has not initiated any action. So, we have pleaded before the court to take cognisance and direct the police to initiate criminal proceedings and arrest Paul,” counsel for petitioner Subrata Mukherjee said.
Addressing his party workers in his constituency, Paul was caught on subsequent tapes threatening to gun down CPI-M men and let loose his boys to rape their women. He also asked people to slit the rivals’ throats to prove themselves.
“If a CPI-M man dares to touch anybody, I will take out my gun and shoot him…I will destroy his entire clan… I will ask my boys to go there. They will rape them and leave,” Paul is seen saying in the first video while addressing partymen in Choumaha village.
Proceeding to Gopinathpur, 10 km from Choumaha, Paul is seen in the second video asking women to slit CPI-M throats and exhorts people to kill their rivals and show him.
“Till I am here, don’t spare any CPI-M worker. Our men will kill them. I am also asking the women to slit open CPI-M workers’ throats. Use your bontis (sharp vegetable-cutting instrument) to slash their throats. Why haven’t you done it till now? Don’t you know how to use a knife?
“I will shoot them in front of everyone…. Kill two to four people and show me…. Kill them with an axe and prove yourself. Then I will see….” says Paul in the second video which became public Tuesday when he had tendered an apology for his earlier comments.
There has been countrywide outrage over Paul’s remarks with all and sundry seeking his arrest and expulsion from parliament.

RTI activist flees Maharashtra upon threat to life
An RTI activist who has filed a PIL against granting 16 per cent reservation to Marathas, has fled Maharashtra fearing threat to his life. “I apprehend that I will meet the same fate as late Shri Dr. Narendra Dhabolkar, in whose case also the State was an active participant,” Ketan Tirodkar has said in a letter submitted to the Registrar of the Bombay High Court.
He has claimed that the activists of Sambhaji Brigade and other affiliated Maratha organisations have threatened to kill him. “I informed the court that I will not be able to appear for my matters for a few days now, as I fear I will be killed. I have left the State,” Mr Tirodkar told The Hindu from an undisclosed location.
A poster posted on the Facebook account of Sambhaji Brigademumbai said, “It seems you don’t love your life anymore, Ketan Tirodkar. Tell us what your last wish is.”
Another one said throwing ink was only the beginning. A few activists of Maratha Sangharsha Samiti had thrown black ink on Mr Tirodkar on June 30 in the perimeter of the Bombay High Court, protesting against the petition he had filed.
A day after the incident, Mr Tirodkar submitted a letter to the Registrar of the court, “Various organisations boasted about the said incident on Facebook and other social networking sites, and furthermore, appealed to their supporters to kill me. I have also seen ‘whatsapp’ messages been circulated since the last few days, which are viciously against me. I have been warned personally by well-wishers and well-meaning lay citizens, about possible and serious threats to my life.”
But the chairperson of Maratha Sangharsha Samiti refuted Mr Tirodkar’s claim. “We threw ink on him to protest against his act of opposing reservation for our community. We have not issued any death threat to him. This is a matter of principles. Why would we want to kill Ketan Tirodkar?” Manish Wadje asked.
Mr Tirodkar said he did not wish to approach the police about his grievance as he believed that they had been ordered by the ruling politicians to not offer protection to him. “In any case, the police cansuo motto decide to provide protection to social activists and RTI activists who face such threats. They don’t have to wait for the activist to approach them,” Mr Tirodkar claimed.
Former IPS officer Y P Singh said the police have to assess the risk to an activist. “Yes, they can suo motto provide protection to social activists and RTI activists if their assessment finds that the person requires protection,” he told The Hindu. He said that under the Code of Criminal Procedure and the Bombay Police Act, the police are responsible for maintaining law and order, and this formed a part of it.

HC moved to protect Kumbakonam Mahamaham Tank
Press Trust of India
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 21:55 IST
The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court today ordered issuance of a notice to the Thanjavur District Collector among others on a PIL by a resident of Kumbakonam seeking to ban public meetings around the famous Mahamaham Tank in the temple town to protect it.

A bench, comprising Justice V.Ramasubramanian and Justice V.M.Velumani, admitting the petition, ordered the notice to the state government officials.

The petitioner submitted that the tank, constructed by Govinda Dikshadhar during the Nayak period, is considered very holy.

However, during public meetings held near the temple tank the attendees ate non-vegetarian food and drank liquor and used the tank as toilet for urinating and defecating.

Millions visit the tank for taking holy bath during Mahamaham, held once in 12 years, besides on Masi Maham day every year.

The tank should be protected at all cost and meetings around the temple should be banned, the petitioner said.

The temple and district and municipal officials failed to maintain the tank, despite repeated plea through representation, it said.

Kerala: CBI prepared to probe child trafficking case
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 02, 2014, 19:23

Kochi: The CBI on Wednesday informed the Kerala High court that it was prepared to takeover investigation of the case relating to bringing of 580 odd children from Jharkhand, Bihar and West Bengal to the state orphanages.

The stand of CBI was informed while considering a PIL by an All Kerala Anti Corruption and Human Rights Protection Council, an NGO in Palakkad district seeking to handover the investigation to CBI.

Meanwhile, on the court’s directions, Advocate General K P Dandapani handed over details of the investigation conducted so far by the Crime Branch police to the court in a sealed cover.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice K Vinod Chandran opined that since other states were also involved, proper investigation had to be conducted by an outside agency.

According to the petitioner, the present investigation carried out was ‘ineffective’ and only if an independent outside agency conducted investigation, truth could be brought out.

The case has been posted to Monday.

The children, who had been brought to be sent to two orphanages in the state, had been detained by police last month at Palakkad railway station after finding that many of them did not have any proper documents. The issue had snowballed into a major row in the state with IUML, the key partner in UDF, objected treating the incident as a case of child trafficking.


Uttarakhand HC notice to Govt., Sidcul on land deals
1.7.2014 (UNI) A division bench of the High Court, hearing a PIL on alleged irregularities in land allotment in Haridwar and Pantnagar, asked the Uttarakhand government, Sidcul and two private companies to respond within three weeks in the case.
The division bench of Acting Chief Justice V K Bisht and Justice U S Dhyani, heard the PIL filed by Dehradun based journalist Deepak Azad alleging distribution of prime industrial land in Haridwar and Pantnagar to private builders in low rates.

The petitioner has submitted that the Sidcul land had been given to Antriksh Construction Engineer at the rate of Rs 6500 sq metre while in Pantnagar it was allotted at the rate of Rs 5800 sq metre by adopting faulty tender process to benefit the builders. The petitioner claimed that in 2007, the land rate was 20502 per sqm. UNI

Madras High Court moved for MBBS seat to Sri Lankan refugee girl
PTI [ Updated 01 Jul 2014, 23:18:38 ]
Chennai: The Madras High Court has ordered notices to Tamil Nadu and central governments on a PIL seeking a direction to authorities to consider an application by a Sri Lankan refugee girl for admission to MBBS course in the state.

The PIL, filed by woman advocate Sri Priya on the basis of media reports, said the application of T Nandhini, staying with her parents at the Arachalur refugee camp in Erode district, for MBBS course was not considered soley on the ground that she was a Sri Lankan refugee despite scoring 1,170 marks out of 1200 marks in Plus Two.

That she was born in India and that her parents had taken refuge in the country way back in 1990 too did not help her, the petitioner submitted and said the application had been “unfairly and arbitrarily” rejected.

The First bench, comprising acting Chief Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh, issued notices to the health department, Directorate of Medical Education and the Union Home Ministry among others.

She wanted the court to direct the authorities to accept Nandhini’s application for MBBS counselling, and to evaluate her candidature in accordance with law.

PIL on Delhi statehood: HC seeks copy of plea filed in SC
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 20:30 IST
The Delhi High Court today asked its Registrar to procure and file the copy of a petition seeking complete statehood for Delhi and Puducherry, which was disposed of by the apex court.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw sought the copy of the plea filed in the Supreme Court and fixed the matter for further hearing on July 23.

The court was hearing a petition filed by lawyer Gaurav Kumar Bansal seeking quashing of Article 239 AA and 239 AB of the Constitution and complete statehood for the National Capital Territory of Delhi.

Earlier, the court had asked the Centre to apprise it whether the 1991 Constitutional amendments, that made Delhi a partial state and empowered the President to appoint its Chief Minister, has been challenged in any court of law.

The Articles 239AA and 239AB were inserted in the Constitution in 1991 and one of the provisions says the Chief Minister will be appointed by the President, the plea had said.

“The Articles 239AA and 239AB are being ultra vires to the basic structure of Indian constitution because they create structures which is neither a state nor a UT (Union Territory) and go against the basic concept of federalism,” the PIL had said.

The petition had also said “while the Constitution talks only of states as the primary unit of the Union, with a small area being placed among the UTs which possibly were found not fit to be governed through separate states and/or needed to be governed directly by the Union, these Articles 239AA and 239AB create such constitutional entities which are neither states nor UTs and are hence a structure completely unknown in the Indian constitution”.

It had said the features of Articles 239AA and 239AB are creating a large number of complexities and inherent contradictions which go against the basic structure of federalism.

Article 239AB and Article 239AA are special provisions with respect to Delhi and deal with powers of legislatures, council of Ministers etc.

HC rejects PIL against exclusion of Arabic, Persian as papers
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 18:04 IST
The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a PIL seeking quashing of a UPSC notification by which Arabic and Persian languages were excluded from the list of optional subjects for the main Civil Services Examinations.

“How this issue falls under the public interest? They all are IAS aspirants and they can come forward to file a case,” a bench, comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw, said.

“Do you (petitioner) want us to stall the entire selection process? We are satisfied with UPSC’s response,” the court said while dismissing the PIL filed by Delhi-based lawyer Shahid Ali on the issue.

The PIL had sought quashing of “March 5, 13 notification, published by UPSC in the gazette on March 6, whereby UPSC excluded Arabic and Persian from the list of optional subjects mentioned in group 2 ‘literature of languages’ from the main examination of civil services conducted by UPSC.”

It had also sought a direction to UPSC that Arabic and Persian be included “again in the list of subjects mentioned in group 2 ‘literature of languages’ of the main examination of civil services conducted by UPSC.”

The plea referred to the response of UPSC given to Ali’s earlier representation and said it was the Congress-led UPA-II which had decided to exclude the languages, opted by the religious minority in Civil Services exams, from the list of optional subjects on the ground that they did not fall under the Eighth Schedule of the Constitution.

“On the one hand, the government claims, propagates and even recommends to include students of Madarsas and of minorities in the mainstream, but on the other hand have excluded these two languages, which shall result in creating complete deprivation of students having Arabic and Persian background from being included in mainstream,” the plea said.

PIL in SC seeks stringent action against builders for violating rules
New Delhi: A public interest writ petition has been filed for a direction to the Centre and Tamil nadu government to take stringent action against the builders who violated the laws and rules in constructing multi-storeyed buildings.
In their petition advocates N. Rajaraman and R. Krishnamurthy said in the recent 11-storeyed building collapse at Moulivakkam near Chennai on June 28, several people had died and several others had been trapped and even as rescue operations were on, more deaths were feared as people were caught under the debris.
They said “State Government Officials like revenue, C.M.D.A (Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority), DTP (District Town Planning Authority), fire and rescue services, Hydrologist Constituted under the Central Wetlands Regulatory Authority have measurably failed to uphold the fundamental right guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution. There are so many buildings under construction on wetland like water bodies especially near in Chennai in Tamil Nadu.”
They said under the Wetlands (Conservation and Management) Rules, 2010, the State Government should identify and classify the wetlands within their respective territories in accordance with the criteria specified under Rule 3 (Protected Wetlands) and submit the same to the authority. Though four years had passed, no State had submitted the report under the said Rule to the Central Wetland Regulatory Authority.
They contended that most of the buildings in the country particularly in the Chennai had been constructed by the builders by throwing to winds all the norms and regulations of the CMDA & DTP Rules and other regulations endangering the safety of the people in connivance with State government officials. They said “the Chennai building collapse incident is the saddest example of the illegal constructions and constructions on water bodies (Wet Lands) or near catchment area of the wetlands. The State Government as well as Union of India must ensure the safety and security of the citizens of the multi-storeyed buildings. If the multi-storeyed buildings were found to be unstable by the authority they ought to be demolished in accordance with law.
They prayed for a direction to the Centre and the State to take stringent action against the violators and a direction to pay Rs. 25 lakhs as compensation to the victims in the tragedy.

HC disposes of PIL on 3-yr course
Express News Service | New Delhi | July 2, 2014 1:40 am
The UGC had last month directed the university to scrap FYUP, which had been introduced last year, and bring back the three-year undergraduate programme.

The Delhi High Court on Tuesday disposed of a PIL seeking “expeditious” implementation of the three-year programme in Delhi University after noting that DU had already complied with the UGC directive.
The PIL had been filed by advocate R K Kapoor, seeking court orders to the university to implement UGC’s orders as, according to it, the tussle between DU and UGC would “gravely prejudice the interests of the students”.
On Tuesday, the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw held that the matter had become infructuous and nothing had remained to decide in the case.
Meanwhile, a separate plea, filed by eight students of Maharaja Agrasen College, who had been admitted under the FYUP programme, was withdrawn by the students. In their plea, the students had opposed the rollback of the FYUP, as it would “ruin the careers” of the students who had already been admitted.
The two pleas had been filed before the High Court during court vacations. The vacation bench had declined to hear the cases and had adjourned them to July 1.
The UGC had last month directed the university to scrap FYUP, which had been introduced last year, and bring back the three-year undergraduate programme.

PIL demands CBI probe into Odisha govt’s nod to industrial units to mortgage land
Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Cuttack, July 2:
A public interest litigation (PIL ) seeking a CBI probe into the ‘objectionable’ manner in which the IDCO has been giving no objection certificate ( NOC) to various industrial units in Odisha to mortgage the land provided by it to help them secure loans, has been filed in the Odisha High Court.
The petitioner Rohan Mohanty, president of Odisha Yuva Manch, who filed the PIL on Tuesday, has prayed for a CBI probe in the matter and sought directives from the court for action against the ‘guilty’ officials.
The state chief secretary, additional chief secretary Revenue and Disaster Management department, principal secretary Home department and chairman cum managing director IDCO have been named as opposite parties in the PIL.
The petitioner has stated in his petition that the state government after land acquisition had provided the land on lease basis to IDCO, which in turn had provided it to different industrial units on sub-lease although it was not legally authorised to do so.
A number of industrial units have ‘illegally’ availed loans to the tune of Rs 52,423. 50 crore from banks and financial institutions by pledging the land they got from IDCO by way of sub-lease , the petitioner stated in his petition.
Alleging large-scale irregularities, the petitioner Mohanty said IDCO has provided a total of 46,732.894 acres of land to various industrial units, out which it has issued NOCs for 13,846. 238 acres to some industrial units for mortgaging.
The petitioner drew the attention of the court to the CAG report which has pointed out to the irregularities committed by IDCO.
While contending that the state government had provided land to IDCO on lease for industrialization of the state, the petitioner has asked how IDCO, which is a lease holder, was allowed to issue NOCs to sub lease holders to mortgage the land allotted to them.

SC quashes PIL to scrap Voda arbitration
— By FPJ Bureau, July 02, 2014 12:02 am
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court dismissed a public interest litigation, seeking directions for recovery of around 200 bln rupees of tax dues from Vodafone International Holding BV for the Vodafone-Hutchinson deal of 2007, and scrapping arbitration in the case. The apex court bench headed by Justice H.L. Dattu rejected the plea saying the petitioner had not furnished all the documents to prove that the tax department did not take any step for recovery of more than 210 bln rupees of tax following amendment to the income tax Act, making the Vodafone-Hutchinson deal retrospectively taxable.

‘Take steps to recover cane dues from mills’

TNN | Jul 2, 2014, 08.09AM IST
ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad high court on Tuesday again directed the state government to take steps to recover sugarcane dues from mill owners in the state so that the growers could be paid their dues.

Passing the above directive, the court also asked the Central government, which is a party in this case, to file its reply in response to this PIL.

While fixing July 24 for the next hearing, the court directed that in the meantime the state government should adopt all necessary process for recovery of dues under relevant laws.
Issuing this direction, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Dr Dhananjaya Yeshwant Chandrachud and Justice Dilip Gupta remarked that it is the responsibility of the state government to realize sugarcane price from sugar mill owners under relevant laws.

The court passed the above order on a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rastriya Kisan Mazdoor Sangthan.

It has been alleged in this PIL that farmers are compelled to commit suicide as their dues have not been paid.

HC gives 2 months to Govt to collect data from Ashram schools
Press Trust of India | Mumbai
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 19:04 IST
The Bombay High Court today granted eight weeks time toMaharashtra Government to collect data about facilities required at Ashram (residential) schools in tribal areas in the absence of which students die due to snake bites, scorpion bites, fever and minor illness.

Government Pleader Aruna Kamat-Pai sought two months time to collect the data, saying they had begun the process of collecting data about facilities needed in the Ashram schools.

Facilities would include providing toilets and vehicles in Asram schools. In the absence of toilets, students go to forests to answer the call of nature and get bitten by snakes and scorpions. Also, there are no vehicles to transport the students to hospitals in case they fall sick, said a PIL.

A total of 793 children in the last decade had died due to snake bites, scorpion bites, fever and minor illness, said Ravindra Talpe, a resident of Nasik, who filed the PIL.

The PIL alleged that the children had died due to negligence of staff who failed to ensure that proper treatment was being given to the children in time.

According to the PIL, there are 1100 residential schools imparting education to 4,50,000 students in the state.

The petitioner had earlier said that the government had admitted before the court that it had to pay ex-gratia amount to 340 parents. However, no statement had been made by the state as to why the amount was not paid to them so far and also why there was a delay in making the payment.

The ex-gratia amount of Rs 15,000 in each case had been increased up to Rs 75,000. But even Rs 75,000 was not enough to compensate the life of a tribal, the PIL further stated.

The government informed the court that 453 parents got the ex-gratia and the rest would receive the compensation as and when funds are available.

The government also informed that in keeping with a government resolution (GR) of March 25, 1998, 372 teams of the medical personnel had been formed and 185 posts created.

However, the petitioner alleged that despite creation of such posts, many inmates of the ashram schools are still not getting medical facilities.

The persons appointed on these posts have either not reported for work or have not performed any work after their appointment, the petition said.

SC Dismisses PIL Seeking Electoral Reforms
Posted on July 3, 2014 in Nation
Express News Service
A Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said, “Why you compare elections in the country with that of other countries? You can’t imagine the scale at which elections are conducted through EVMs across the country.
NEW DELIH: Praising the Election Commission for conducting successful elections in the country, the Supreme Court on Wednesday said people across the world envy the way elections are conducted here and dismissed a PIL that sought electoral reforms.
A Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha said, “Why you compare elections in the country with that of other countries? You can’t imagine the scale at which elections are conducted through EVMs across the country.
People, the world over, are envious of the way elections are conducted in the country, it is faster than other countries. Even in the US they are not using EVM machines and in our country it is used across the nation and results are declared within hours.”
The court was hearing a PIL that sought direction to the EC to put in place a mechanism so that voters know antecedents of the candidates before they go to exercise their votes at polling booth as being provided in the UK.
“Values and laws of our country are different from other countries and it cannot be compared. You can’t imagine the scale at which elections are conducted through EVMs across the country. People, the world over, are envious of the way elections are conducted in the country,” the Bench said.

Reconcile, advises HC to woman in a 54-yr-old marriage
By Hetal Vyas, Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Jul 3, 2014, 02.00 AM IST
High court rules that it is not contrary to law if family court had directed the couple to reunite to save their marriage

At a time when courts are being flooded with divorce petitions, the High Court of Karnataka has upheld the stand taken by family courts asking couples to reconcile, thereby ‘protecting the spirit of legislation to save marriages and not break them’.

Hearing an appeal filed by a 68-year-old woman from Hassan challenging a family court’s order directing her to reconcile with her husband (75), a division bench of the HC ruled, “If a direction has been issued to both the parties to live together happily, the direction cannot be treated as contrary to law. It is with the good intention to save the marriage. No court can find fault with the direction issued by the family court in directing the parties to live together.”

The family court’s order was passed on a petition filed by the husband in 2008 seeking divorce from his wife of 54 years. In his petition, the husband alleged cruelty and desertion. He said she was not willing to look after him in his old age and had left his house to stay with their younger son.

The wife alleged mental cruelty by husband, but told the court that she was willing to return to her husband, provided he allowed their younger son and his wife to stay in his house. The husband rejected this condition. When the case came up for hearing, the family court asked the couple to reconcile keeping in mind their family background as well as their age.

The wife appealed the decision in the HC. Her advocate told the court that she was not willing to join her husband without her son and she cannot be compelled to do so. A division bench of justice K L Manjunath and justice Ravi Malimath dismissed the wife’s appeal and noted: “The very intention of the family court is to save the marriage and not to break it. Even if a petition is filed for divorce, an attempt shall be made by the court to settle the dispute amicably.” But the judges also noted that if the wife was not willing to follow the court’s directive, it was open for her to decide her path.

Centre acts to curb price rise, brings onions and potatoes under Essential Commodities Act
Jul 02, 2014 at 08:24pm IST
New Delhi: With onion prices soaring all over in the country, the government on Wednesday brought onions and potatoes under the Essential Commodities Act. In order to put curb stockpiling and hoarding, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has decided to enforce a stock limit on potatoes and onions for one year.
Blaming the previous UPA government for its ten years of misrule and the resultant high inflation, Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said, “The government will keep a close watch on stocks of onions, and other essentials foodgrains.”
The Cabinet minister said that since there were a lot of complaints regarding hoarding of these two vegetables, with six states having confirmed the same, the government decided to include these two under the Essential Commodities Act.
“We hope that state governments will be able to deal effectively with the problem of hoarding. They have been directed to crack down on hoarders and we hope that this move will empower states over the hoarding issue,” he said.
Taking into account the weak monsoon, 5 million tonnes of rice will also be released for BPL and APL families.

Goondas Act slapped against Pollachi home rape accused
TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 05.49 AM IST
COIMBATORE: V Veerasamy (23), who was arrested for raping two minor girls of a home inPollachi on June 12 and presently lodged at theCoimbatore central prison, has been detained under the Goondas Act. Veerasamy was arrested after the girls identified him from his photographs while undergoing treatment at Pollachigovernment hospital.

District collector Archana Patnaik ordered his detention under the Goondas Act based on recommendation from the district police.

The order was served to Veerasamy at the prison on Wednesday and the maximum period of detention under the Act is 12 months.

“There are also two house break-in cases against him in Valparai, where he used to stay earlier before he broke ties with his family and moved to Pollachi,” said a police official.

According to police, Veersamy has been accused in seven other cases including robbery, snatching, house break-in and had been convicted in four of these cases in the past. He has been charge-sheeted in two other cases while another two including the Pollachi rape case levelled against him are in advance stages of investigation. Veersamy was reportedly working at a local eatery in Pollachi and used to frequent the children’s home through an opening in the compound wall.

Now, Rajasthan set to amend Apprentices Act
Expected to help industry get skilled workers and generate more opportunities for the state’s youth
Sahil Makkar | New Delhi
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 00:47 IST
After announcing a series of labour reforms to attract investment in Rajasthan, the state government has now decided to amend another central law, the Apprentices Act, 1961. It is expected the move will help industry get skilled workers and generate more opportunities for the state’s youth.

The Act was last amended in 1973, when the training of graduates and diploma holders in engineering and technology was brought under its purview.

Since the Vasundhara Raje-led government came to power in Rajasthan in December 2013, 18 companies have either invested or are in the process of investing Rs 34,380 crore in the state. Raje’s government has already announced it will amend the Industrial Disputes Act, 1947, the Factories Act, 1948, and the Contract Labour Act, 1970. These Acts, along with the Apprentices Act, fall under the Concurrent List; amendments to these require the state Assembly’s and, subsequently, the President’s assent. These amendments will be taken up by the Rajasthan Assembly in two weeks.

“Amendments will be made in the Apprentices Act, 1961, to create larger opportunities of employment for the youth,” Raje announced on micro-blogging site Twitter late on Monday.

State parliamentary affairs minister Rajendra Rathore said, “The state will be able to fix the number of apprentice-training related seats in industry and establishments. And, the stipend for apprentices will be no less than the minimum wage. The state government will bear half the cost to train apprentices, if their number exceeds 250,” he said.

The Apprentices Act controls and regulates training of apprentices. Currently, the Act covers 254 categories of industries. According to the Act, it is obligatory for these establishments to appoint apprentices and impart theoretical and practical training to them.

Sources in the state government say after the amendments, the appointment of apprentices will be voluntary and industry will be allowed to design courses according to their needs. “We are not changing the provisions of the Act regarding the punishment. What we are doing is making it more flexible. There will be less prosecution in such cases. The intention is to generate more employment the way we are doing through amendments to other three Acts,” Rajiv Mehrishi, chief secretary of Rajasthan, told Business Standard.

“The Apprentices Act, 1961, was written for a very different India. It has scared away employers because it requires an employer to seek a licence for every apprentice. It has imprisonment provisions for not engaging with the Act. Also, it micro-specifies location, duration and trades,” said Manish Sabharwal, who headed the Planning Commission’s sub-committee on remodelling India’s apprenticeship regime. “Apprentices are vital to building skills,” he adds.

India has only 300,000 apprentices, compared with three million in Germany, 10 million in Japan and 10 million in China. The Act was last amended in 1973 to bring the training of graduate and diploma holders in engineering and technology under its purview.

Cos Act require solution to two-three problem areas: FICCI
In an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18’s Malvika Jain, Siddharth Birla, president, FICCI, who was present at the meeting, highlighted the problem areas. 1 1 0Google +0 0 India Business Hour 09:00 pm The ministry of corporate affairs is in the process of reviewing the Companies Act of 2013. The officials of the ministry Wednesday met industry representatives to identify the sections of the act which need to be tweaked. In an exclusive conversation with CNBC-TV18’s Malvika Jain, Siddharth Birla, president, FICCI, who was present at the meeting, highlighted the problem areas. Below are excerpts from the interview: Q: What are the issues in the Companies Act? A: Essentially, there are two-three problem areas. One is the balance that has changed towards how does the majority versus minority work and particularly with the introduction of related party norms and the removal of the earlier 370 and 372 which control capital flows and loans and other things. That has made life difficult as well as a little uncertain. The words require more clarity in terms operation because the intent is understood but whether the intention is that majority does not own the company or the majority has less rights over the company than the minority, I am sure that the majority can be held accountable but whether the minority is the one which rules. There are certain clarity which requires the role of directors; how directors are to perform their duties, particularly independent directors. For example what does the management do? One area of concern is the performance of directors and one area of concern is the majority minority principle, there are certain other issues related to how the board operates, what is the reporting of the board and how to bring about better alignment between what Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) says and what companies bill say. So in a short summary these encompass most of the issues. Q: There are also sources within the ministry who have indicated that changes to the act will be made in three phases; first will be that they would be issuing clarifications, secondly, they might see how they can remove difficulties using certain provisions of the act and then in the third phase if some amendments are to be made would be looked at, did you hear anything on that? A: I am not privy to anything like that but what you are saying is entirely logical. If I had to say how will I address all these issues these are the three options that are open to the ministry but I am not privy to any such information and many of the clarifications which you mentioned, for example the CSR clarification, I believe or I can see that they were clearly in the works.

Chief Justice attacks govt on SC judge appointment row
Says Subramanium’s name was unilaterally segregated
Kavita Chowdhury | New Delhi
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 00:57 IST
Breaking his silence on the controversy around former solicitor general Gopal Subramanium’s candidature for appointment as a Supreme Court judge, Chief Justice of India(CJI) R M Lodha on Tuesday criticised the Narendra Modigovernment for segregating Subramanium “unilaterally” without his “knowledge and consent”.

“The first thing I had taken objection to was the segregation of Gopal Subramanium’s file unilaterally by the executive. It is not proper,” Lodha said at a function to bid farewell to JusticeB S Chauhan, a Supreme Court judge who retired on Tuesday.

Lodha’s remarks came days after Subramanium went public with his attack of the government and the reasons for the objection to his name being proposed as a Supreme Court judge. The statement of the CJI, who also said “I will be the first person to leave this chair if the judiciary’s independence is compromised”, caused quite a stir on Tuesday.

The government’s critique for dropping Subramanium’s name from a list of four recommended for appointment as Supreme Court judges by a collegium seems to have added credence to the case of the senior lawyer, who had subsequently withdrawn his consent to be a Supreme Court judge.

Subramanium had also said he felt “let down by the judiciary” because it failed to back him and assert itself, even as the government overruled the collegium’s recommendation.

The CJI on Tuesday also tried to put to rest the speculation that the new government, as evident from this incident, was likely to interfere with the functioning of the judiciary. “I promise 1.2 billion people of India that the independence of the judiciary will never be compromised,” he said.

Lodha also expressed disappointment over Subramanium going public with his grievances at a time when he was abroad.

Subramaniam had met the CJI on Saturday to explain why he had withdrawn his consent to be appointed as a judge. The CJI also revealed that he had attempted to dissuade Subramanium but the former solicitor general refused to reconsider his decision. “On June 29, when he wrote a letter reiterating his position, I was left with no choice but to recall the proposal (recommending Subramanium’s name for appointment as a Supreme Court judge),” Lodha said.

The Modi government had drawn attack from all quarters for attempting to tarnish the reputation of a senior lawyer and block his appointment on specious grounds.

Subramanium had also expressed anguish over “planted leaks in the media” of reports that the Intelligence Bureau and the Central Bureau of Investigation had deemed him unsuitable. In fact, in a no-holds-barred letter to the CJI, he had alleged he was being targeted for his upright and honest handling of the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case, in which Modi’s close aide Amit Shah was booked.

While Subramanium’s file was returned to the collegium, asking it to reconsider its decision, the names of the other three judges – chief justices of the Calcutta and Odisha high courts Arun Mishra and Adarsh Kumar Goyal, respectively, and senior advocate Rohinton Nariman – were forwarded to the President for his approval.

Credai may move CCI against cement price hike
The Chairman of the real estate developer’s apex body Credai, Lalit Kumar Jain, has expressed concern over the significant hike in cement prices as it would have an adverse effect on the real estate and infrastructure sectors, already reeling under a crisis due to high input costs.
Jain said Credai plans to file a complaint with CCI against the “illogical” price hike as this creates pressure on developers to increase the sale price of homes.
“Cement prices have increased from Rs 120 to Rs 320 over the past few years,” he said.
“Usually, the monsoon brings down the number of constructions, so prices slip. This helps to average out the yearly pricing parameter, which has been the norm. Therefore, the cement price hike is unjustified,” he said.
“The cost of inputs such as steel, labour and funding have been on the rise, contributing to the increased cost of homes and we are fighting against this trend,” Jain said.
(This article was published on July 2, 2014)

Free Pricing Of FDI: What It Means
The true ramifications of RBI announcement and its impact on deal activity in India
The RBI in its monetary policy dated 1 April 2014, announced that as regards foreign direct investment (FDI), it has been decided to withdraw all the existing guidelines relating to valuation in case of any acquisition/sale of shares and accordingly, such transactions will henceforth be based on acceptable market practices.

While the operating guidelines in respect of the above have not been notified as yet, the immediate reaction of the foreign investing community to this announcement has been very positive and they have been jubilant at the prospect of free pricing.

In this backdrop, it is important to understand the true ramifications of the announcement and what impact it would have on deal activity in India, going forward.

FDI in India has been regulated and has been subject to pricing norms. The thumb rule on pricing for foreign investors has been to invest at not less that the prescribed valuation price and to exit at not more than the prescribed valuation price. The principle being to conserve foreign exchange and to protect the Indian promoters from getting a raw deal.

Earlier, the valuation methodology prescribed was as per the Controller of Capital Issues (‘CCI’) method. The CCI method provided for an average of net asset value and profit earning capacity value. This method was essentially backward looking and was based on past performance of the company. In 2010, this was changed to valuation as per discounted cash flow (‘DCF’) method.

In the above context, what does the RBI announcement mean? Is there going to be absolute free pricing going forward? Ie will foreign investors be permitted to invest at below fair price and exit at a premium to fair price? Or does this just mean that while entry and exit need to be in accordance with the fair price, the valuation methodology will no longer be prescribed by the regulator and will have to be based on accepted market practice?

I would concur with the latter interpretation. In my view, the RBI is inclined to give a free hand to the market players to determine the valuation methodology; while having to meet the pricing guidelines. Given that we are still some way from full capital account convertibility, the overall pricing restrictions, to my mind, will continue.

Nonetheless, this is a welcome move to give a free hand to investors as regards choice of valuation methodology.

While transitioning from the archaic CCI method to DCF was a progressive move, one has to appreciate that DCF may not be the appropriate valuation method in all situations. Choice of an appropriate valuation method depends on the industry and the sector that the company belongs to and the stage at which the company is in its life cycle.

No valuation is “right” in any absolute sense. It is appropriate to use several scenarios about the future and even several valuation methods to arrive at the target’s value. Also, it may be more accurate to value the divisions or product lines of a target, than to value the whole company. Also, different valuation methods may be appropriate for different components of a company. It is not prudent to have a “one size fits all” approach as regards valuation. And it is best to leave the choice of valuation methodology to the professional valuers.

Clearly, this is a step in the right direction and will boost deal activity in India. It signals less regulatory interference and higher trust and faith in the investors and professional valuers, which is welcome. The investing community is eagerly waiting for the operating guidelines to be released and one hopes that the guidelines have a positive bent. It would be a further boost if RBI can apply the same logic of flexibility in valuation methodology in the case of put and call option as well, instead of tying it down to a regressive ROE based method.

Lastly, foreign investors are faced with the pricing issue on multiple fronts – Section 56 tax, transfer pricing, Companies Act, SEBI, exchange control and so on; and there is no consistency qua these myriad set of regulations as regards the valuation methodology. While RBI’s announcement is clearly a welcome move and does address one of the various moving parts of a deal; at some stage, all the regulators need to speak the same language and arrive at a common ground on valuation methodology.

To conclude, with this positive announcement, expectation is rife that the trend of liberalization will continue. Further policy reforms are expected as regards dispensing with the lock in and minimum capitalization requirement in real estate as also relaxing some of the sectoral caps that still prevail. Investors are looking for more…..

The article is authored by Punit Shah, Co Head of Tax, KPMG in India with inputs from Sheetal Nagle, Director- Tax, KPMG in India

Improper lower court order no ground for transfer of trial: SC
Submitted by IANS on 2 July 2014 – 10:04pm
New Delhi : The Supreme Court Wednesday said Syed Mohammad Ahmed Kazmi, accused in the Feb 13, 2012, blast in an Israeli embassy vehicle, could seek a video recording of the trial court proceedings if there was another instance of an alleged improper order being passed in the course of proceedings.
The apex court bench of Justice J. Chelameswar and Justice Shiva Kirti Singh said this while maintaining that an improper or wrong order by a subordinate court can always be rectified but it cannot be a ground for seeking transfer of trial to another court.
The apex court bench said this as petitioner Kazmi sought the transfer of his trial to another special court as he alleged bias by the existing court.
“Sometimes the subordinate court may pass an improper or wrong order. It can be corrected but it cannot be a basis for seeking transfer of trial,” observed Justice Shiva Kirti Singh as Kazmi’s counsel Mahmood Pracha urged the court to shift the trial to another special court.
Counsel Pracha wondered where would he go if the judge of the special court was recording orders that were contrary to what had transpired in the court.
“Where is your right of transfer?” the apex court asked Pracha, and when he referred to the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court said: “They don’t confer any right to you.”
Pressing his plea for transfer of trial, Pracha said he was told by the trial court that his arguments spread over 10 minutes on an application seeking discharge in the case covered his submission on the point of charges also.
He wondered how could a 10-minute argument be sufficient to cover the point of charge in a 2,000-page chargesheet.
The court said if the petitioner Kazmi was faced with another instance of an alleged improper order by the trial court, he can then move the high court and even seek a video recording of the proceedings.
“Next time, go to the high court and seek video recording of the proceedings,” the apex court told Pracha.
Taking it as an impromptu opportunity, Pracha urged the court to pass an order to that effect, and said he would withdraw his petition.
As Pracha repeated his readiness to the court’s suggestion, the court adjourned the hearing till Thursday, seeking the Delhi government’s response to Kazmi’s plea for the transfer of trial.
Kazmi moved the apex court challenging the Delhi High Court order that the designated special court will hear Kazmi on the point of charge.
Kazmi was detained under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act in connection with the February 2012 blast in an Israeli embassy vehicle on the Aurangzeb Road-Race Course Road crossing.
The Israeli defence attache’s wife Tel Yehoshua Koren, who was in the car, was injured in the blast.
Kazmi was granted bail by the apex court Oct 19, 2012.

HC Quashes Circular Permitting English in Lower Court Orders
MADURAI | JUL 01, 2014
The Madras High Court bench here today set aside a 1994 high court circular which permitted lower courts to write judgements in either English or Tamil.

A division bench, comprising Justice V.Ramasubramanian and Justice V.M.Velumani, held the circular gave the impression that presiding officers of lower courts could permanently write their judgements in English, which was illegal.

The subordinate court judges and staff should learn Tamil if they did not know. The objective of the circular was to give time to Judges to learn the language. But they could not permanently write their orders in English, the bench said.

They said the Tamil Nadu Official Languages Act, 1956, was amended on November 12, 1976, and Sections 4-A and 4-B were introduced in it, thus declaring Tamil the language of all subordinate courts in the state for recording evidence as well as writing judgments, decrees and orders.

It was also against the Constitution as it had permitted the state government to have their official language. Tamil had been declared the official language of Tamil Nadu.

The Judges were allowing a petition filed by a third party to review a judgment passed by it on February 22, 2013, upholding the validity of the circular.

HC to hear plea to regulate alcohol de-addiction centres
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 20:29 IST
The Delhi High Court today agreed to hear a plea seeking montoring and regulation of drug and alcoholic de-addiction and rehabilitation centres.

A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw while agreeing to hear the PIL also said it would appoint an amicus curie to asisst it.

“The issues raised in the petition require judicial examination,” it said.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Rajiv Boolchand Jain, who himself claims to be an ex-alcoholic, seeking directions to lay down a “coherent policy and procedures” for the drug and alcoholic de-addiction and rehabilitation centres so that they are easily accessible to patients suffering from chronic addictions to narcotic substances and alcohol.

In his petition, he prayed that central government should immediately stop all grants under “Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse” as the NGOs are “misusing” these grants for personal gains.

“Many of them (NGOs) are controlled by friends and relatives of political stalwarts and bureaucrats in senior positions in the executive hierarchy,” he alleged in his petition.

He also sought directions to the Centre to establish a monitoring and regulatory agency for controlling privately-run alcohol and drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres and act as a supervisory, policy-making and facilitatory body with regard to treatment of alcohol and drug addicts and their rehabilitation.

He said “the Manual of Minimum Standards of Services” should be enforced strictly in a given time-frame to ensure effective implementation of minimum standards of care in alcohol and drug de-addiction centres by states and union territories.

“State governments, despite having monitoring powers as per “Central Sector Scheme of Assistance for Prevention of Alcoholism and Substance (Drug) Abuse”, do not undertake any physical inspections of alcohol and drug de-addiction centres and only recommend cases for grants-in-aid sitting on their desks,” the petitioner said.

HC stays BIS Act clause on impure gold sale
Press Trust of India | Chennai
Madras High Court today stayed the operation of a new clause in the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, according to which jewellers are responsible for purity of hallmarked gold jewellery and that they are liable to pay compensation for impure gold.

Justice B Rajendran granted the stay on a writ petition filed by the Coimbatore Jewellery Manufacturers Association, which challenged the new policy of the BIS, holding jewellery traders and outlets responsible for the purity of hallmarked gold ornaments.

A L Somayaji, senior counsel appearing for the association, said traders could not be held accountable for the purity and quality of the jewellery they sell and the responsibility vested with manufacturers and hallmarking centres to ensure the purity.

On May 1, 2014, BIS came out with the Policy of Licensing of Jewellers and said jewelers were “fully responsible” for the declared fineness of hallmarked jewellery/artefacts sold by them.

Besides asking them to redress complaints of substandard quality of gold, BIS said guilty jewelers must pay compensation to the buyer.

Assailing this clause and blaming manufacturers and hallmarking centres for impure gold jewellery masquerading as pure 916-grade gold, Association’s President B Muthuvenkatram said, “Even jewellery having purity content of 78 per cent or 85 per cent are simply hallmarked as 916 in the jewellery and sometimes even 1 gm gold jewellery is also hallmarked as 916. There is no guarantee that all the jewellery which is sent for hallmarking contains same purity.”

Instead of reining in the manufacturers who violate BIS rules, the central agency issues warning notice of cancelling the BIS licence given to jewelers in case an impure gold jewellery is found at the trading outlets, the petition said.

“Hallmarking centres are doing unhealthy practice by not adhering to the BIS rules and regulations, and are hallmarking the jewellery for Rs 8 to Rs 10 per piece,” it said.

Calling for fool-proof hallmarking procedures to save innocent jewelers and consumers, petitioner said, “Nowadays, a lot of iridium and osmium metals are mixed in jewellery manufacturing. Most of the jewellers are not aware of this, and they are dependent upon only hallmarking centres to help them out. When hallmarking centres do not conduct proper test, there is no safety for the jewelers.”

The XRF machines test only one place in the jewellery, and hence iridium and osmium adulteration would go undetected if the metals were not mixed at the particular point in the jewellery which is scanned by the machine, the petition said.

“Jewellers, who are merely traders, cannot be held responsible for any defect or adulteration, especially when jewelleries were given hallmark by BIS-licensed hallmark agents after verifying the quality and weight of the gold,” the petition said.

HC quashes two criminal cases against head of Jacobite church
TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 01.36 AM IST
KOCHI: The Kerala high court has quashed two criminal cases registered against Catholicos Baselios Thomas I, the regional head of Jacobite Syrian Church, alleging misappropriation of the church’s assets and funds.

Cases were registered against the head of the church on the basis of private complaints filed by Paul Varghese and Manoj Kokkott before Kolenchery judicial first class magistrate court.

Considering a petition filed by the church’s head, Justice P D Rajan held that the two cases are not legally sustainable and continuation of proceedings would amount to abuse of process of the court. It was alleged in the private complaints that the Catholicos had misappropriated the church’s funds and bought a Mercedes Benz worth Rs 80 lakh. Assets of the church were misappropriated by the Catholicos to buy three cars and for other personal purposes, the petitioners had alleged before the magistrate court.

In the petition filed to the high court, the Catholicos contended that he didn’t misappropriate the church’s assets or funds. He informed the court that the Benz was bought after taking a loan of Rs 50 lakh from Federal Bank’s Puthencruz branch and using Rs 35 lakh received from selling the earlier car. The complainants were banned from the church and the cases were filed with the intent to defame him owing to enmity from their ousting, the Catholicos told the court.

Quashing the cases against the Catholicos, the court held that the complainants are only raising allegations of misuse and misappropriation of funds, but they have not been able to provide any clear evidence to substantiate the allegations. They haven’t been able to prove that the Catholicos used the church’s assets, which are officially in his name, for personal purposes. In such circumstances, the criminal cases registered against the Catholicos are not sustainable, the court ruled.

Cases were registered against the head of the church on the basis of private complaints filed by Paul Varghese and Manoj Kokkott before Kolenchery judicial first class magistrate court.

Considering a petition filed by the church’s head, justice PD Rajan held that the two cases are not legally sustainable and continuation of proceedings would amount to abuse of process of the court.

It was alleged in the private complaints that the church head misappropriated church’s funds and bought a Mercedes Benz car worth Rs 80 lakh. Assets of the church were misappropriated by the Catholicos to buy three cars and for other personal purposes, the petitioners had alleged before the magistrate court.

In the petition filed to the high court, the Catholicos contended that he didn’t misappropriate the church’s assets or funds. He informed the court that the Benz car was bought using a loan obtained for Rs50 lakh from Federal Bank’s Puthencruz branch and from the Rs 35 lakh received from selling the earlier car.

The petitioners before the lower court were banned from the church and the complaints were filed with the aim of defaming him owing to enmity from their ousting, the Catholicos told the court.

Quashing the cases against the Catholicos, the court held that the complainants have not been able to provide any clear evidence and they are only raising allegations of misuse of funds and misappropriation. They haven’t been able to prove that the church’s head used the church’s assets, which are officially in his name, for personal purposes, the court held. In such circumstances, the criminal cases registered against the Catholicos are not sustainable, the court ruled.

HC allows govt doc to retire, as gen med not rare specialty
TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 03.43 AM IST
CHENNAI: Holding that general medicine is neither a scarce category nor a rare specialty, the Madras high court has ordered the health department to grant voluntary retirement to a senior assistant surgeon in general medicine.

Justice D Hariparanthaman, allowing the plea of Dr Muthusamy recently, said: “No prudent person can say that general medicine is a scarce category. I am doubtful whether it is a rare specialty as well.” The doctor’s VRS request was turned down by the government on the ground that general medicine was a scarce category.

Dr Muthusamy joined the public health services in 1991 as assistant surgeon. After completing 20 years in service which is the minimum required period for seeking voluntary retirement, he applied for VRS in April 2012. Before the end of the three-month notice period, his request was rejected on the ground that general medicine was one of rare specialties, as per a government order issued in December 2009.

Justice Hariparanthaman pointed out that the fundamental rule dealing with voluntary retirement had only one condition: The government servant seeking VRS must have attained 50 years of age or he must have completed 20 years of qualifying service. Noting that an eligible government servant has a right to seek voluntary retirement, the judge quashed the rejection order dated and directed the authorities to pass appropriate orders within two weeks.

HC quashes plaint against taxidermist’s ‘adopted son’
The High Court of Karnataka on Thursday ordered a probe by the CID against a former DCP and a police inspector to inquire whether they falsely implicated Michael Floyd Eshwar, ‘adopted son’ of noted taxidermist the late Edward Joubert Van Ingen. Justice S.N. Satyanarayana passed the order, while allowing a petition filed by Mr. Eshwar, questioning the criminal case booked against him by the Nazarbad police in Mysore based on a complaint that he grabbed assets worth several hundred crores belonging to Ingen. The CID probe will be carried out against the former DCP Basavraj S. Malagathi and the then police inspector of Nazarbad police station G.N. Mohan. The court quashed the FIR though State Public Prosecutor M. Narayana Reddy said the criminal case could be transferred to the CID even though the police officers were no longer handling the probe, which was stayed by the court last year. However, the court held that the complaint, said to be given by Ingen, appeared to be a “concocted one” as it was registered as a FIR on March 11, 2013 though it was received on March 2. Ingen died on March 12, the day the police transferred the FIR to the magistrate’s court in Mysore.
Meanwhile, the court directed the police and the 3rd JMFC court in Mysore to release before noon on June 21, the movable assets seized from Mr. Eshwar.

HC directs AGI to depute officer for assistance
Wular conservation
Srinagar, July 2: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court Wednesday directed the Attorney General of India to depute an officer to assist it in proper utilization of funds for conservation of Wular—one of the largest freshwater lakes in north Kashmir’s Bandipora, over 60 kms from here.
“We request the Attorney General of India to depute an officer not below the status of Additional Solicitor General (ASG) to assist this court so that concrete results vis-à-vis spending amounts released by the central and state agencies for Wullar conservation be utilized in proper directions,” a division bench of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice HasnainMassodi said in its order on a Public Interest Litigation on preservation of Wular lake.
The bench said the paper book along with all orders of this case may be sent to the AG so that the court is assisted on the next date of hearing.
Meanwhile, the Court had asked the department of Environment at the central government through the National River Conservation and Management Authority that in keeping with the directions on August 26 and September 11, 2013, depute an expert to oversee the implementation process after examining the action plan with regard to the conservation and preservation of Wular Lake.
Observing that Wular lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes of Asia and pristine beauty of Dal lake in Srinagar has also been highlighted the world over, the division bench said huge funds being earmarked for saving these lakes could be utilized properly only if some experts are provided to the local scientists.
“The last order is a tell tale story of adhoc expenditure which would not lead to any enduring results,” the court observed. “We sadly feel for the last many years the funds have been spent on various water bodies but the magnitude of results is not matching the funds spent and much more could be easily achieved by close monitoring by the experts,” the court said.
Meanwhile the division bench directed the Chief Executive Director, Wular Lake Conservation and Management Authority to file a fresh compliance report after the Amicus Curie Z A Shah pleaded that the report was not explicitly clear over certain figures.
“There are no details forthcoming on how the surveyor demarcation has been implemented on ground. Z A Shah who is present in the court has tried to explain the implementation process orally. However it would be appropriate to direct that the details of implementation of various projects under the four heads be explained by filing a detailed affidavit,” the court said

HC annuls court martial 20 years after conviction
Bhartesh Singh Thakur , Hindustan Times Chandigarh, July 02, 2014
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Tuesday set aside a court martial of an Army Captain after a gap of over 20 years in a case of murder.
A General Court Martial(GCM) trial was conducted which had dismissed Captain Parbinder Singh Gill from the service and sentenced him to life imprisonmenton November 3, 1993,for murder of a Yamunanagar resident, Varjinder Kumar. Captain Gill was commissioned in 1982 in 63 Cavalry of the Indian Army. While being posted at Ambala, he was detailed for certain internal duties in OperationR akshak- II in Punjab.
The allegations were that while on mobile military check post, Captain Gill abducted Varjinder and voluntarily committed theft of Rs. 32,200. It was further alleged that Gill, along with his accomplice, extorted money from Varjinder and caused death on March 3, 1993. However, the ‘body’ of Varjinder could not be recovered.
The high court, however, found several irregularities in the conduct of the trial by the GCM. It questioned the authenticity of the confessions allegedly made by Gill before his commanding officer. The original confession statement was neither ever placed on record no rany evidence wasled to establish that such a confession was actually made.
The court said that the GCM convening order on the face of it nowhere reflects under what warrants or authorisation Brig AS Bal, commanding officer, is signing as a convening authority — a serious illegality which nips the proceedings in its bud. Gill’s counsel Arun Singla had pointed out an element of bias where he produced a copy of an English magazine wherein the then general officer commanading, Lt Gen BC Joshi, issued a statement that Gill shall be exemplarily punished.
On this, the court said that it suggested inherent official bias of the authorities. The court further observed that the GCM trial proceedings were a case of denial of fair and reasonable opportunity to the defence to cross examine the witnesses of the prosecution in respect of their previous stand during the investigation by way of court of inquiry and which has seriously prejudiced the case of the Captain as well

Bombay high court tells railways: Raise height of platforms by March 31, 2015
Rosy Sequeira,TNN | Jul 2, 2014, 11.58 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday took the railways to task for giving the excuse of lack of funds for the delay in raising the height of platforms in Mumbai, saying the safety of 70 lakh commuters was involved. It set a March 31, 2015 deadline for raising the height to 920mm.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak heard a suo motu PIL, converted in January out of TOI’s reports of commuters Monica More and Tanvir Sheikh losing limbs after falling into the gap between trains and platforms.

The railways’ advocate, Suresh Kumar, said work on increasing the height of 134 platforms on Western Railway, at an estimated cost of Rs 46.9 crore, and Central Railway’s 24 platforms at Rs 16 crore, will be completed three years after the sanction of funds. CR and WR, in their affidavits, cited acute fund constraints and urged that the state government be advised to bear part of the expenses.

Observing that the work has to be carried out with priority, the judges, in their order, said it was “shocking” that the railways should take three years to complete the work due to lack of funds. “Looking to the fact that suburban trains are being used by 70 lakh people in Mumbai daily, and that it is the lifeline of such a large population in the commercial capital of India, the railways cannot be allowed to give the excuse of lack of funds when the safety of lakhs of people is involved,” they said.

The judges said the question was of fundamental rights of such a large number of commuters who use trains for daily commute to work. “Ignoring their safety is nothing but gross violation of fundamental rights under Article 21 (Right to life) of the Constitution,” they said, and directed the platforms to be raised by March 31, 2015. The judges also wanted to know by when old rakes would be phased out.

They issued a notice to the state government on CR’s request to declare 14 open spaces near railways stations as helipads and to use air force helicopters to lift the injured to hospital. They directed WR and CR to reply what they had done with Rs 1,253 crore collected between 2001-12 as safety surcharge. “You are answerable to passengers,” said Justice Shah.

The judges posted the next hearing on August 7.

HC rejects plea for permanent job of Railway warehouse workers
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 2, 2014 Last Updated at 21:28 IST
The Delhi High Court today rejected a PIL seeking absorption of contractual Railway warehouse workers as permanent employees of Railways or FCI, saying the loading of freight is the responsibility of the consignor and the consignee.

“It is not the case of the petitioner (Akhil Bhartiya Railway Mal Godam Mazdoor Kalyan Sanstha) here that the contractors/sub-contractors who hired the services of the members of the petitioner are so contracted by the respondent Railways,” a bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw said.

“On the contrary, from the documents filed by the respondent Railways before this court, it is clear that as far as loading of freight is concerned, the same is not the responsibility of the Railways but of the consignor/consignee. No such relief of absorption in the respondent Railways is made out,” the bench said.

It said that the workers have failed to make out any case for their absorption with the Railways or the FCI.

Justice Endlaw, writing the judgement for the bench, also dealt with other plea of the workers seeking a direction to Railways to provide basic amenities to them at work place.

“From the counter affidavits filed and the material placed on record, we are satisfied that the basic amenities for the Railway Mal Godam/Warehouse workers exist and directions in that regard have already been issued,” the bench said.

“We, however, still direct that if the amenities which the respondent Railways has already directed to be provided for railway Mal Godam/Warehouse workers are not being provided at any place, the concerned officer of the Railways shall, immediately upon the deficiency if any being brought to his/ her notice, remedy the same,” it said.

Securities Appellate Tribunal asks Sebi to pass fresh order on Splash Media & Infra
By PTI | 2 Jul, 2014, 05.28PM IST
MUMBAI: Securities Appellate Tribunal (SAT) today set aside Sebi order against Splash MediaBSE 1.38 % & Infra and has asked the market regulator to pass a fresh ruling in the case related to violation of disclosure norms.

In March, Splash Media & Infra was imposed with a penalty of Rs 15 lakh by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) for violating various provisions of the disclosure norms. According to Sebi, the firm had failed to make disclosures within a stipulatd time given under the norms.

The company had filed an appeal with SAT against the order by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi).

In its order today, SAT said “we set aside the adjudication order dated March 25, 2014 and restore the matter for fresh decision on merits and in accordance with law after considering the submissions made by appellant”.

SAT observed that each regulation with respect to failure to make disclosure attracts an independent penalty.


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