LEGAL NEWS 04.07.2014

PIL seeks facilities for labourers at Gujarat shipbreaking yard
by Jul 4, 2014 07:41 IST
Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Thursday sought replies from the Centre and the state government in response to a Public Interest Litigation seeking measures for ensuring labourers’ safety and coastal security at Alang shipbreaking yard in Bhavnagar district.
A division bench of Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala gave respondents two weeks’ time.
Earlier, the court had issued notices to Ship Recycling Industries Association of Alang, Gujarat Maritime Board, Union Ministries of Labour, Steel, Environment and Forests and Home Affairs, Gujarat Home Ministry and state Labour and Employment Department.
The PIL, filed by Bhavnagar resident Pradeepsinh Gohil, claims that workers of the famous ship-breaking industry at Alang lack housing, health and sanitation facilities that are guaranteed under the labour laws.
“Thousands of labourers are living in slums close to the shipbreaking yard with little or no sanitary facility. Workers die or sustain severe injuries owing to explosions, fire, falling steel plates, gas leakage, inadequate safely measures during cutting or by suffocation,” the petition says.
“However, there is a lack of full-fledged hospital to deal with emergency and life-threatening situations,” it says.
This apart, the area is vulnerable to terrorist attack, it says. “The police personnel at Marine police station near Alang shipbreaking yard do not have patrolling boats. There is no specialised commando unit or anti-terrorist squad,” it says.
The PIL has also demanded curbing of polluting practices at the yard. The next hearing is on 17 July.

SC pulls up Bihar for delaying employment dues

Submitted by IANS on 3 July 2014 – 8:57pm
New Delhi : The Supreme Court Thursday frowned at Bihar government for not paying the retirement and other dues of the employees who had worked with Bihar State Road Transport Corporation but were now caught up in competing claims between it and Jharkhand after the state’s bifurcation in 2000.
“You are a welfare state. You have to work for the welfare of the people. You (BSRTC) are an instrumentality of the State. This is not the way you function. They are dying of hunger. They are starving. You are not ready to pay,” said a bench of Chief Justice R.M. Lodha, Justice Madan B. Lokur and Justice Kurian Joseph frowning at the position taken by the state government.
Directing the BSRTC to deposit Rs.4.9 crore with the apex court registry, Chief Justice Lodha said that “people can’t die when there is a fight between two states. This is what happens when states are divided”.
“They are dying of hunger and starvation. You must have a human consideration,” the court said pulling up the BSRTC n as counsel for the employees said that it was nearly 14 years and a number of employees who had retired have not been paid their retirement dues and other benefits, while some of them have also died.
As the court said that if the claims were genuine, then they could not be held back on mere technicalities, the counsel said that there was no dispute over the claims but a dispute on who will pay.
The court then asked Bihar to pay.
“You make the payment, if later it is found that it was Jharkhand which had to pay then we will make it reimburse the amount with interest. We can’t close our eyes,” the court said adding that the erstwhile employees are dying because they were not being paid while there is litigation between Bihar and Jharkhand on the issue.
Chief Justice Lodha said: “You can’t deal with such matters where the consequence is life and death.”
As counsel for BSRTC sought one month’s time instead of two weeks given by the court to deposit the amount of Rs.4.9 crore, the court said that they should not get even one day, and ruled out any extension.
The case relates to 80 employees of BSRTC who have retired but have not received their retirement dues and other benefits on account of dispute between Bihar and Jharkhand on their status.

SC orders BSES Yamuna to pay power dues before July 15
fe Bureau | New Delhi | Published: Jul 04 2014, 02:12 IST
SUMMARYThe Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Anil Ambani-led discom BSES Yamuna to pay current outstanding dues of R161 crore, against the alleged arrears of R410 crore, for the period January to June this year to generating and transmission (G&T) companies before July 15.
The Supreme Court on Thursday directed the Anil Ambani-led discom BSES Yamuna to pay current outstanding dues of R161 crore, against the alleged arrears of R410 crore, for the period January to June this year to generating and transmission (G&T) companies before July 15.
It also directed the company to continue paying the recurring monthly demands raised by the G&T companies on the basis of its earlier order of May 6, 2014.
A bench headed by Chief Justice RM Lodha, while refusing to grant extension of time to BSES to pay the dues, took on record the statements of accounts submitted earlier by it showing liability of R161 crore. “We are directing you only to pay current dues. Power generation and transmission companies are no baniya shops. You must clear all dues since January 2014 if you want electricity. You can’t continue like this. You are in arrears, arrears, arrears… This isn’t our headache,” observed the court, adding issues relating to the recovery of past dues would be dealt with separately.
While the central G&T companies include NHPC, PowerGrid, Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, THDC, Aravali Power, Tala Power and Sasan, the state G&T companies are Indraprastha Power, Delhi Transco, Pragati Power, Bawan and others. BYPL owes Aravali dues of more than R16 crore, NHPC R12 crore, Damodar Valley Corporation R23.59 crore and Delhi Transco R370 crore. The two Reliance discoms have paid R1,596 crore to 10 companies as of now.
The Supreme Court on May 6 had ordered two Delhi discoms (BRPL and BYPL) to clear outstanding dues of NTPC, amounting to over R788 crore, and other G&T companies for the period January- March 2014 by May 31 or face disconnection of power supply.
The court had then asked the two BSES firms to pay as per the figures, duly signed by both NTPC and the firms, submitted to the court. While both firms have cleared NTPC’s dues, they have not paid other generating and transmission companies. Even BRPL has cleared 94% dues.
BSES’ senior counsel KV Vishwanathan insisted the firms are not able to pay the dues until the issue of arrears (regulatory assets) amounting to about R21,000 crore was sorted out. “It has to be liquidated someday. It can’t be always notional,” he said, adding discoms cannot pay dues because power tariffs have been kept low and they suffer revenue shortfalls.
BSES said in a press release that current tariffs in Delhi do not cover current costs. The Ambani firms further said they had borrowed R1,000 core to clear current shortfall as directed by the apex court. Seeking modification in the roadmap given by DERC on recovery of dues, BSES said the roadmap for liquidation of regulatory assets should be for three years than six.

PIL filed against Shankaracharya by Sai Baba devotees
Lucknow: Infuriated with Dwarkapeeth Shankaracharya Swami Swaroopanand’s remarks over Sai Baba, the Sai Temple authority in Lucknow has filed a petition in the Allahabad High Court demanding an FIR against the proclaimed saint, for hurting religious sentiments.

As per reports, the petition alleges that the controversial remarks made by Swaroopanada Saraswati have hurt the religious sentiments of thousands of followers of Sai Baba and hence legal action should be taken against him.

It is expected that the court might take up the case on July 04.

The brawl between the Sai devotees and Swaroopanada Saraswati started after Shankaracharya said that worshiping Sai was a conspiracy to divide Hindus.

He said, “In Sanatan Dharma, there are said to be 24 avatars (incarnation) of Lord Vishnu, In Kalyug, there is no mention of other avatars than Kalki and Buddha. Hence, Sai Baba can certainly be not an avatar.”

Also, Shankarachraya has claimed that the motive behind building Sai Temples is to distract people’s attention from Ram temple movement in Ayodhya. He even claimed that Sai Baba used to call himself a Muslim and so he avoided to take a dip in Ganga river.

200 buildings near Juhu airport: PIL questions AAI’s nod for building heights
Swati Deshpande, TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 07.27AM IST
MUMBAI: A public interest litigation in the Bombay high court has questioned the clearance allegedly granted by the Airports Authority of India to the height of about 200 buildings around the Juhu aerodrome and demanded that those exceeding the permissible heights under the Air Safety Regulations be demolished.

“The AAI has given illegal height clearance for about 200 buildings in violation of their own Air Safety Regulations and the rules of the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA),” said the PIL, which seeks judicial enforcement of right to life of residents and passengers as it says pilots are flying blind relying on an outdated Obstacle Mapping of 2000. “If any aircraft crashes into one of these buildings, the result will be catastrophe,” said petitioner Yeshwanth Shenoy , an advocate.

Based on International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) standards, the DGCA regulations say a residential building within a radius of 4km of an international airport should be 56.27 m high and that within 2.5 km of the Juhu Airport should be 49.87 m or 15-floor high. For commercial buildings, the height should be even less. The DGCA specifies that in overlapping areas, the lower height shall prevail.
Highlighting air safety concerns, the PIL has demanded that AAI be directed not to grant any more clearances for excess heights. Expected to come up in the HC on Thursday , the PIL also wants the HC to direct the AAI to furnish safety audits of Juhu and the international airport from 2005 and order criminal action against AAI officers and others who allegedly colluded to contravene air safety regulations to allow illegal heights for buildings that directly put people’s lives in danger.

“Because of high demand for real estate around the 10km radius of these airports, a lobby of developers have been trying to get more than the permitted heights,” said the PIL. Their efforts, it alleged, in “collusion with some top AAI officials” resulted in the 2011 Negi report. The report declared a Juhu runway non-operational and also allowed for the higher of the overlapping Inner Horizontal Surface heights to prevail, negating the existing air safety regulations. “The Negi Report by former AAI executive director JMS Negi is now a part of investigation by both the CBI and the CAG for criminality and corruption,” the PIL said questioning if an aeronautical study can “override air safety regulations”.

HC notice to CEPT on PIL against its decision to end course
Press Trust of India | Ahmedabad
July 3, 2014 Last Updated at 23:29 IST
The Gujarat High Court today issued a notice today to the Centre for Environment Planning and Technology (CEPT) University on a PIL challenging the city- based institute’s decision to discontinue a course on climate change.

The two-judge bench comprising Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala sought CEPT’s response about discontinuing the course on ‘Climate Change and Environment Sustainability’.

The PIL, filed by a CEPT alumnus Chirag Shastri, submitted that the “vital course” was discontinued without any prior information.

Advocate Daxesh Raval for the petitioner contended before the high court that CPET’s executive council discontinued the course overruling Dean Shravan Kumar’s recommendation to continue with it.

The petition said that students pursuing the ‘Climate Change and Environment Sustainability’ course were transferred to another course.

The petitioner submitted that there are no specific courses on climate change and therefore CEPT’s decision is improper.

The petition demanded setting aside of an order passed by the CEPT executive committee to discontinue the course on May 10 and sought the high court’s direction to the university to continue with the course.

The high court is set to hear this plea on July 17.

Starvation deaths in closed tea gardens in north Bengal: PIL
Press Trust of India | Kolkata
July 3, 2014 Last Updated at 18:38 IST
A PIL claiming starvation deaths of workers and their families of closed tea gardens in Jalpaiguri district and seeking free food and medical aid for them was moved before the Calcutta High Court today.

Claiming that 29 tea garden workers or their family members died due to starvation and malnutrition in the past one year, petitioner Bishu Das stated that six persons, including two infants, died recently at Raipur Tea Garden in the district in the Dooars area of North Bengal.

The matter was mentioned before a division bench comprising Justice Asim Kumar Banerjee and Justice Tapash Mookherjee, which asked the petitioner to wait till Monday for fixing a date for hearing of the petition.

The petitioner’s lawyers Rabishankar Chatterjee and Udayshankar Chatterjee claimed that 50 per cent workers of the 25 closed tea gardens were suffering from malnutrition.

They stated that India was a welfare state and there were several schemes like Antyodaya Anna Yojana, BPL and that the Food Security Bill was also passed in the Parliament for the benefit of poor people.

There was also the ICDS scheme for child welfare, they said.

The counsels claimed that despite all these welfare schemes for the poor people of the country, they were dying of starvation and malnutrition.

They prayed for a direction to the West Bengal government that free food and medicine be provided to the suffering people.

It was also prayed in the petition for an interim order that the government provide 7 kg rice, 3 kg potatoes every week and free medical aid to each family in the closed tea gardens.

SC dismisses PIL for recovery of Rs 21,00 crore from Vodafone
1.7.2014 (UNI) The Supreme Court refused to entertain the PIL seeking directions to the Centre to recover Rs 2,100 crore from Vodafone.
The Income-Tax department had demanded Rs 2,200 crore from Vodafone as Income-Tax on Vodafone-Essar deal.

Vodafone has challenged Bombay High Court order in the Supreme Court and the court had quashed the Income-Tax demand’s notice.

The apex court dismissed the PIL saying the issue has already been decided by three Judge bench of this court and cannot be re-opened by way of PIL. UNI

Schemes in place, but homeless not using them: Delhi Govt
Aneesha Mathur | New Delhi | Updated: Jul 03 2014, 10:40 IST
SUMMARYA PIL cited examples of problems suffered by women…
Even as several hundred homeless families in Old Delhi live without access to any maternal and child health schemes, the Department of Women and Child development (WCD) of the Delhi government in an affidavit before the High Court has said it had created adequate anganwadis and health centres under the Integrated Child development Scheme (ICDS) and it was the responsibility of the people to get themselves registered at the nearest centre.
In May, a PIL was filed by social worker Shakeel Ahmad seeking directions to the government provide basic healthcare and ante-natal care to women living in the Pul Mithai area near the Old Delhi railway station.
Ahmad, through advocates Reshma Jaffrey and Amiy Shukla, alleged that over 300 homeless families in the area were being denied access to healthcare and welfare schemes as they did not have necessary documents to prove that they were residing in the area for over five years.
The PIL also cited examples of problems suffered by women in the area as they did not have access to healthcare and nutrition schemes introduced by the government for the welfare of pregnant and lactating mothers and children. The plea also claimed that a representation had been sent to the government asking for an anganwadi to be set up in the area, but no action was taken.
In its affidavit filed before the court of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice RS Endlaw, the WCD said it has received no such request. It also said the issues raised in the PIL were under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
“The pregnant and lactating women could have approached the nearby anganwadi centre for benefits,” it further stated.
The affidavit also states that directions had been issued to all officials concerned that “none of the beneficiaries under the ICDS project should be denied any of the services on account of not having a permanent place of residence”.
According to the affidavit, two shelter homes — specifically for pregnant and destitute women — had been set up at Sarai Rohilla and Jahangirpuri, and nutrition supplements were being distributed through anganwadis to all pregnant and lactating mothers in the capital.
The court on Wednesday granted further time to the Centre and the Department of Health to file their responses.

PIL on migrants return from Iraq: HC to hear views today
DC CORRESPONDENT | July 04, 2014, 02.07 am IST
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court will hear a petition on Friday seeking to declare the action of the Centre in not taking steps to bringing back the poor Indian migrant workers stranded in Baghdad and Mosul in Iraq in view of the dangerous political situation prevailing in country, as illegal and unconstitutional.
Migrants Rights Council, member of Migrant Forum in Asia, represented by its president P. Narayana Swami, moved the petition, stating that nearly 16,000 Indian workers were stranded in Iraq in conditions resembling war due to the internal strife in the nation. He said that the workers were willing to return home to India but neither the Indian Embassy in Baghdad, nor the Union government has come forward to look into the issue.
The petitioner urged the court to direct the Centre that National Human Rights Commission to visit Iraq along with the petitioners’ union members to ensure the safe passage of the migrant workers.

HC directs civic body to stop work on Nerul reserved forest plot
TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 12.02AM IST
NAVI MUMBAI: Responding to a PIL filed on January 17, Bombay high court directed the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) on Tuesday to immediately stop construction of a new civic school on reserved forest land.The school was being built at a cost of Rs 10 crore, on plot no 54B, in sector 50, Nerul.

The court has asked NMMC to file a reply within three weeks effective from June 24. NMMC failed to respond to the PIL, which prompted the two bench judges A S Chandurkar and A S Oka to pass a stay order on the construction. Appearing for NMMC, the counsel had sought time to file the reply.

The forest department, another respondent of the PIL, has been directed to notify that the plot is part of reserved forest land, said the judges.
City-based NGO Save Mangroves and Navi Mumbai Existence (Samne) had filed a PIL in Bombay high court to highlight blatant destruction of mangroves and reserved forest land by dumping debris and ‘illegal’ construction.

“We have produced the notification copy of the government confirming the land as reserved forests,” said Sukumar Kiledar, the petitioner.

HC seeks state reply on steps to end scavenging
Swati Deshpande,TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 11.52 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Wednesday expressed concern at the plight of manual scavengers in Pandharpur and directed the state government to set rules for effective implementation of the year-old Prohibition of Manual Scavenging law. It also directed that adequate number of toilets be built ahead of the July 9 annual pilgrimage at the holy town in Solapur district.

The HC bench, headed by Justice Abhay Oka, said, “It is a fundamental right of people to follow their own religious beliefs but it’s equally a fundamental duty of the state to maintain environmental cleanliness.”

The court was hearing a PIL filed by a group under the banner of ‘Campaign against Manual Scavenging in Maharashtra’. Advocate Asim Sarode, who appeared for the petitioners, said, “The fact that manual scavenging exists even 66 years after Independence is a shame and the grave violation of their human rights must be immediately corrected.”

Advocate Mihir Desai, appointed as an amicus curiae (friend of court), said the new law as well as an earlier 1993 law were never implemented. Advocate for the SC/ST commission, Rutuja Ambekar, also pointed out that letters sent by the commission to the state to implement the law received no response. The state has to reply on the steps taken by September 15.

The law to ban manual scavenging has failed to stop the authorities from continuing with hazardous manual cleaning of septic tanks, the PIL said. Manual scavengers are still employed in Pandharpur where every year over 1 crore pilgrims assemble, it added.

The PIL raises important issues, including cleanliness in Pandharpur city, implementation of the law throughout the state and pollution of river Chandrabagha in Pandharpur, the HC said. The HC has appointed a committee headed by the collector to ensure cleanliness. The Solapur SP has to set up a panel to monitor proper implementation during festivals and the Neeri has to give a report on the river pollution soon.

HC directs Govt to constitute special task force
Sheikh Saleem
Srinagar, July 03: High Court has directed the state government to constitute a Special Task Force to check freebies being offered by pharmaceutical companies.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), a division bench of Chief Justice, M M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi directed the government to constitute the task force which will make surprise checks to find out if any doctor has indulged in accepting freebies in return of prescribing their medicines along with the pharmaceutical companies who offer such kick backs.
Court also directed the government to black list the companies for public dealing which are identified of offering freebies to the doctors and appropriate case shall be registered against the company.
The division bench also asked for details of movable and immovable properties of five doctors including Medical Officer, Yaripora, Incharge CMO, Budgam, Consultant Medicine, Baramulla and Medical Officer, Chadoora who have been found taking gifts in cash and kind from various companies.
The court said it will be helpful at appropriate time in ascertaining if their assets exceed the known source of income.
Earlier Health and Medical Education Department (H&ME) informed the court that charge sheet has been filed against five doctors.
The court said the charge sheet filed against the identified doctors should be taken to its logical end and be concluded expeditiously within a maximum period of six months.
Court asked the state to submit a status report of compliance to the directions before Registrar Judicial within a period of two months.
In earlier directions, the court had directed H&ME to amend its earlier circular to make it stricter wherein doctors have been prohibited from taking gifts. Secretary H&ME has issued a circular No–14-HME of 2014 dated 23-01-2014 whereby doctors practising in the field of medicine, have been prohibited from receiving freebies from the companies.
The bench had directed Secretary Health and Medical Education to locate statuary provisions under which a circular has been issued, so that the circular has a binding effect and any violation constitutes misconduct and disciplinary proceedings are initiated against the erring doctors.
Likewise pharmaceutical companies were asked not to make any arrangements for tours of doctors within or outside the country.
On December 23, last year, Court had directed all Pharmaceutical Companies to restrain from giving gifts to doctors. Companies were also directed to restrain from making arrangements of tours for the doctors within and outside the country.
Court passed directions while hearing a PIL filed by Naseer Ahmad Shah, Lateef Punjabi and Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah- residents of Srinagar following reports of nexus between doctors and companies offering gifts to doctors for prescribing medicines of the Macri Lab Ltd.
The PIL which was disposed off today demanded that the licence of the erring doctors should be cancelled. “Poor patients are being compelled to purchase unnecessary medicines and that too having no efficiency,” the petitioners said, adding, “The transactions are simply, at the cost of patient care, and resultant in surfacing of the spurious drugs or substandard drugs in the market.”
The petitioner through advocate Qazi Ayaz had demanded initiation of action against doctors who are involved in the commission and omission of offences.

Notice to government on fire alarm absence in hospitals
TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 10.02AM IST
BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh high court (MPHC) on Wednesday issued notice to principal secretary health and director health while hearing public interest litigation challenging non-availability of fire alarm in government hospitals of the state. PIL was filed in light of recent incident of fire in sick newborn care unit (SNCU) at Satna while 37 newborn children were getting treatment. A day later, one new-born died during treatment in Rewa.

Double bench comprising Chief Justice AM Khanwilkar and Justice Alok Aradhe sought replies from principal secretary health and director health in four weeks and scheduled the next date of hearing on July 30.

In its petition, Nagrik Upbhokta Manch said, “Had there been smoke and fire alarm at the hospital at the time of incident the casualty could have been avoided.”
The petitioners demanded it should be probed whether fire and smoke alarm has been installed in hospitals or not.

‘Dollar’ Seshadri Gets Another Term as Tirumala Temple OSD
By Express News Service
Published: 04th July 2014 08:00 AM
Last Updated: 04th July 2014 08:00 AM
TIRUMALA: The term of Tirumala temple Officer on Special Duty (OSD) Seshadri — popularly known as ‘Dollar Seshadri’ – has been extended by another more two years. He has been working as the OSD since July 5, 2006 after his retirement from service in the TTD. His present term is set to expire on July 5.
TTD Executive Officer MG Gopal announcing the decision to newsmen during a brief interaction with them outside the temple on Thursday.
Seshadri had joined as a clerk at the TBC enquiry office and was shifted to the temple, because of his earlier service as ‘Ekanki’, the helper to the temple pontiff Chinna Jeeyar Swami. He had worked as an Upper Division Clerk till 2003 was later promoted as a Superintendent. In 2006, ahead of his retirement he was promoted as AEO. But on the day of his retirement, he was appointed as OSD for a period of two years.
On the expiry of his term, the TTD Board, which was then chaired by Chairman Bhumana Karunakar Reddy, had granted him a two-year extension. Subsequently, his term was extended by another three years as a contract employee till 2011.
But he was removed from service on April 28, 2010 at the behest of the AP High Court on the basis of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a person named Mangati Gopal Reddy in 2009, saying that the extension granted to Seshadri was against the TTD Rules. However, on an appeal by Seshadri the Supreme Court had overruled the AP HC order and Seshadri was back in his saddle in 2011. Since then he has been continuing as OSD.
Gopal explained that as there was no TTD Trust Board now in the wake of the formation of the Residaury AP state, he had given the orders extending the term of Seshadri. Later, the decision would be put before the board – whenever it was resconstitued — for ratification, he said and added: “We will use Seshadri’s services in the Tirumala temple or even in other temples, if needed.’’

PIL seeking an end to freebie culture: |Blacklist pharma companies offering gifts to medicos: HC
July 3, 2014 21 Views
SRINAGAR, July 3: Directing the state government to constitute a Task Force to ascertain and check the pharmaceutical companies indulging in offering freebies to doctors, the High Court has asked the government to blacklist the pharma companies who are found doing malpractices to increase their profits in the state.
A division bench of the High Court comprising of Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi also asked the state government to conclude the enquiry within six months against five doctors who have been served charge sheets for taking freebies form pharma companies.
The court has also asked the five and other accused doctors to furnish details of their assets within two months and the government has been asked to file a status report within two months before the registrar judicial.
The orders came in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking an end to gift taking menace by doctors. On April 9, the High Court had directed its Secretary to ‘trace’ statutory provisions under which it has passed the circular, so that disciplinary proceedings are initiated against the erring medicos.
In this regard, additional advocate general Javid Kawoosa had said the Secretary H&ME Department had issued circular (no.14-HME of 2014) on January 23 last, prohibiting doctors practicing in the field of medicine from receiving freebies or gifts from the companies.
While the Court observed that the circular does not indicate any statutory provision under which it has been issued, Kawoosa had insisted that it has been done in compliance of order by the court on December 23 last year.
“A closer look on the (December 23) order would reveal that no direction has been issued to the respondents, requiring them to issue a circular,” the bench said.
“In the said background, it would be appropriate to direct the Secretary (H&ME) to locate statutory provisions under which circular has been issued, so that the circular has a binding effect and any violation constitutes misconduct and disciplinary proceedings are initiated against the erring doctors.”
As per the circular, the Secretary has directed all the Heads of the Departments working under its administrative control to comply with the December 23 directions from the High Court.
“It has come to the notice of the (H&ME) Department that some doctors are receiving cash and gifts/freebies for prescribing medicine of particular companies including unrecognized companies. The matter has been viewed seriously by the High Court,” the Secretary has emphasized while issuing the circular.
On December 23 last year, the division bench besides restraining doctors had also asked all the pharmaceutical companies to restrain themselves from giving gifts of any kind to doctors. The bench had also directed the pharmaceutical companies not to arrange tours for doctors within India or abroad.
“The doctors shall attend research conferences only after it is certified by the Head of the Department that it is in the interest of patient care and the HODs concerned will be at liberty to authorise the doctors to attend the literary seminars after it is certified that the same is in the interests of public,” the court had said.
Meanwhile, the bench also directed respondents including Chief Secretary, Commissioner Health and Medical Education, Director Health, and Principals of Government Medical College Srinagar/Jammu to file statement, indicating participation of the doctors from the state in conferences workshops and seminars within or outside India after the December 23 direction.
The statement, court said, shall give details where formal permission was granted by the government.
“This will enable the bench to pass further directions in the matter,” the court added, observing that a blanket ban on doctors to participate in conferences, workshops, seminars would be counterproductive, adversely affecting the doctors who are keen to participate in such conferences and workshops to enhance their knowledge and profession skills.
Meanwhile, as per the ‘statement of facts’, government has already instituted an enquiry against the doctors alleged in the PIL to have received cash and gifts from pharmaceutical companies in lieu of prescribing their medicine, some “unnecessarily”.
The petitioners, Naseer Ahmad Shah, Lateef Panjabi and Imtiyaz Ahmad Shah—all residents of Srinagar, have named a few doctors in their petition, claiming that they have proof against them for taking gifts and cash for prescribing medicine of a particular company.
In the statement of facts, the government has said that it was inquiring into the allegations against doctors including Firdous Ahmad Vaid (Medical Officer Yaripora), Fayaz Ahmad Peerzada (incharge CMO Budgam), Abdul Ahad Wani (Consultant medicine, Baramulla) and Javaid Ahmad Zargar (Medical Officer Chadoora). The PIL has been posted by the bench for further consideration in May.

Court asks man to pay Rs 1 lakh interim maintenance to wife
Press Trust of India | Thane
July 3, 2014 Last Updated at 12:55 IST
A local court has ordered a Raipur-based businessman to pay a monthly interim maintenance of Rs 1 lakh to his estranged wife and two daughters who are staying in Mumbai.

The case relates to a marital dispute between one Deepak Mahaveerprasad Gupta and his wife Sonu. They married in February 1997 and have two daughters. The couple have been living separately since 2002.

In her recent order, the Thane additional sessions judge UM Nandeshwar also asked Gupta to pay Rs 30,000 per month towards house rent of his wife and daughters.

Gupta had filed a petition for divorce in 2006 before the district and sessions judge, Delhi, which directed him to pay the sum of Rs 20,000 per month to his wife.

The petition was then transferred to a family court in Mumbai on the transfer application filed by the wife, which is at present pending before the family court at Bandra and is at the stage of evidence.

She had filed a complaint before a Navi Mumbai court in 2010 against Gupta under section 12 of the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 alleging physical and mental harassment and sought interim relief.

After hearing both the counsels, the sessions judge said: “However, in the facts of the case as from record, it appears that the financial condition of the husband is prima facie very sound and considering the status of parties, the wife and daughters are required the interim maintenance equal to the status of husband and father.”

The woman had contended that her husband was well-off and the Hindu Undivided family of the respondent owns business in various sectors like steel, power, transportation and finance, while she is unemployed.

She had stated in her complaint that Gupta was irregular in paying the amount directed by the Delhi court and the amount is very meagre considering the high living cost in Mumbai with education expenses of her daughters.

After Gopal tiff, two key judicial bills put on hold
Pradeep Thakur, TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 02.20AM IST
NEW DELHI: The NDA government has put in abeyance the Judicial Appointments Commission bill that proposes to replace the collegium system of appointing judges to the Supreme Court and high courts. Even judicial accountability bill, that is intended to lay code of conduct for the judiciary, has been junked for now.

The move comes on the back of government’s rejection of Gopal Subramanium’s candidature from the list referred by the collegium for appointment as Supreme Court judges – something that ruffled feathers in the higher judiciary.

The government has decided to restart the consultation process with jurists, retired apex court judges and the SC bar after the Budget session, sources said, which is likely to take at least a few months after it begins.
Though the previous UPA government had completed a wide-ranging consultation on the judicial appointments bill and had even received recommendations on it from the parliamentary standing committee on law but the present regime believes the time is not right for taking up the bill. The rethink is believed to be result of recent controversy over rejection by the government the name of one of the senior advocates recommended by the SC collegium for judgeship of the apex court.

On Tuesday, chief justice of India R M Lodha had publically expressed his displeasure in the manner in which the government had rejected the recommendations of the collegium. The CJI said the collegium which includes four of his senior colleagues had spotted the best talent and “segregation of Gopal Subramanium file” was not justified.

The government also fears that in view of the recent controversy the higher judiciary may overturn any new law by constituting a bigger bench of 10 judges to review the law passed by Parliament replacing the collegium, and that will be a bigger disappointment.

On Wednesday, Law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad in a reconciliatory tone said, “The Narendra Modi government has the highest respect for the judiciary.” He said that the independence of the judiciary “is an article of faith for the government”.

Earlier, the government was prepared to take up the two bills on urgency so that large-scale vacancies were filled up in several high courts. The purpose of initiating the bills was also to give the executive a say in appointment of judges in SC and HCs. As of now, the apex court’s collegium has the final say in selection of names for judges of SC and HCs. The government can return some recommendations made by the collegium, but if they are reiterated it becomes binding on the government.

Though it is intended to buy time, the consultation process on the two bills is set to begin once again after the Budget session, say sources.

In the Judicial Accountability Bill proposes giving statutory recognition to the code of conduct evolved by the judiciary to escape any future confrontation with them and also make some provision restraining the judiciary from making remarks on constitutional bodies and authorities in open court.

Delhi court acquits father of charge of murdering daughter
Last Updated: Thursday, July 03, 2014, 14:33

New Delhi: A man facing trial for allegedly killing his daughter has been set free by a Delhi court after his wife and son turned hostile.

Additional Sessions Judge Rajesh Kumar Goel acquitted Bihar native Fudur Bhagat of the charge of murdering his daughter whose body was found last year in the fields near Narela here.

“I find that the prosecution has failed to prove the offence against the accused beyond shadow of doubt. Thus, I am left with no option but to acquit him,” the judge said, while noting that the wife and son of Bhagat had turned “hostile” and resiled from their statements that he had killed the girl.

According to the prosecution, Bhagat’s wife had lodged a complaint against him after their daughter’s body was found in the fields near their residence in north-west Delhi on the morning of June 24, 2013.

She had told the police that her daughter was not mentally fit and used to go out of the house often without informing anyone due to which Bhagat used to remain angry with her and beat her regularly, it said.

It added that on the intervening night of June 23-24 last year, when everyone was asleep, Bhagat strangulated the girl and dumped her body in the fields nearby where he used to work. He was arrested the same day.

However, in their cross examination in the court, the woman and her son did not support the prosecution case and said the girl was mentally fit and was killed by some unidentified men and not by Bhagat.


Human trafficking rising due to female foeticide: Court

Submitted by IANS on 3 July 2014 – 9:04pm
New Delhi : A court here has urged exercising of zero tolerance in female foeticide cases, observing that the illegal sex determination tests are giving rise to human trafficking.
Citing the figures of sex ratio in India and statistics that said that nearly 10 million female foetuses have been aborted in the country over the past two decades, Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said that “courts have to exercise a zero tolerance for those prima facie involved in the crime of female foeticide”.
“Of the 12 million girls born in India, one million do not see their first birthdays. As a result of this human trafficking has become common in various states of India where teenage girls are being sold for cheap money by poor families, being treated as sex objects with more than half of such cases going unreported,” she said in an order Wednesday but only made available Thursday.
The court order came on a revision plea filed by two doctors, Sunil Fakey and Urvashi Fakey seeking discharge in a case filed against them for carrying out illegal sex determination test.
Police has lodged an FIR against them under the provisions of Prenatal Diagnostic Techniques (Regulations and Prevention of Misuse) Act, commonly known as PNDT Act, and Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act in Ashok Vihar in west Delhi October 2010.
While dismissing the plea of doctors, the court said: “This is a harsh social and national reality and a court of law cannot shut its eyes to the same.”
The judge cited the United Nations’ World Population Fund reports which indicate that India has one of the highest sex imbalances in the world and the demographers warn that there will be a shortage of brides in the next 20 years because of the adverse juvenile sex ratio.
The court observed that advent of technology like ultrasound techniques resulted in the foetal sex determination and sex selective abortion by medical professionals.
“Is it not that when a female child is aborted after sex determination, it is the doctor whose aim is to save the lives of people, who connives in this illegal act only for earning a few extra bucks?” it asked.
It noted that there are thousands of such clinics where such illegal activities of sex determination and abortions are carried out on a daily basis and in some cases, in connivance with politicians, police and other local authorities.
The judge urged that as a part of a national policy, this court is required to come down heavily on those involved into illegal acts relating to female foeticide.

High Court imposes Rs. 4 lakh fine on four convicts in attempt-to-murder case
Four convicts in an attempt-to-murder case will have to pay Rs. 1 lakh each as fine besides serving rigorous imprisonment for seven years. The total fine amount of Rs. 4 lakh will have to be paid to the victim as compensation.
The Karnataka High Court on Thursday imposed the penalty on them while confirming their conviction and modifying the life imprisonment imposed on them by a sessions court in Mysore.
A Division Bench, comprising Justice Mohan M. Shantanagoudar and Justice C.R. Kumaraswamy, in its order also said the convicts — Devappa, Siddappa, Fayaz, and Kumar — would have to undergo three more years of imprisonment if they fail to pay Rs. 1 lakh each. The Bench ordered for setting off the period that they had already spent in the prison from the period of imprisonment.
Devappa of Anche village in Mysore attempted to kill his younger brother, Puttaswamy, in July 2007 along with the other accused persons, some of whom are his relatives. The prosecution had said that the crime was a result of denial of a share in the property to Devappa by his father.
The Mysore sessions court convicted them in 2010 for unlawful assembly with lethal weapons and attempt to murder, and sentenced them to six months’ simple imprisonment for other offences and to life for attempt to murder.

Odisha Uliburu mining scam accused sent to seven day judicial custody
Reported by Santosh Jagdev
Bhubaneswar, July 3:
The District Sessions and Judge Court, Khordha today sent the prime accued Deepak Gupta and his associate Satyabrat Rout to a seven-day judicial custody in connection with Odisha’s multi-crore Uliburu mining scam.
Both have been sent to Jharpada jail after they were produced before the court today.
The court has posted the hearing of the bail petition filed by the accused as well as the petition by the Enforcement Drectorate (ED) seeking a 15-day remand of the accused to July 10.
ED’s special public prosecutor advocate S Mohanty said they had prayed before the court to take Gupta and Rout on remand for interrogation in connection with offences committed by them in the mining scam.
The sessions court Judge Dr Durga Prasanna Choudhary, after hearing both public prosecutors of plaintiff and ED, ordered that both the accused be sent to judicial custody for seven says.
Deepak Gupta, who was operating the Uliburu iron ore mine leased out to B K Mohanty by virtue of a power of attorney, has been accused of violating forest and mining laws. The mine is closed since 2009 after the government cracked down on illegal mining operation in the area. The reports of the mines department suggest that the miner excavated huge amount of iron ore from forest area by shifting the boundary pillars into adjacent reserve forest even after the lease validity expired in 2003.
Earlier, the State Government had suspended 16 officials including two officers of the Indian Forest Service in connection with Uliburu scam.

High Court to decide on letting Nusli Wadia testify
Mumbai Mirror | Jul 4, 2014, 06.57 AM IST
The Bombay High Court is likely to decide on Friday whether NRI industrialist Nusli Wadia should be allowed to depose before the trial court in a case in which an employee of Reliance Industries has been accused of conspiring to kill Wadia 25 years ago.

Justice Revati Mohite-Dere, who heard the matter on Thursday, criticised the premier investigating agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), for its attitude in the case.

The court posted the matter for Friday and asked the CBI to clarify its stand.

The court was hearing a petition filed by Kirti Ambani, a senior executive of Reliance Industries. The petition seeks to restrain Wadia from deposing before the trial court. Wadia was supposed to depose before the court on June 30, but the deposition has now been adjourned to July 15.

The petition filed by Ambani challenges the Sessions Court’s order allowing Wadia to depose in the case. It calls Wadia’s application seeking to depose before the trial court as a “motivated application with ulterior motive”.

Senior advocate Mahesh Jethmalani, appearing for Wadia, raised questions over the CBI’s intentions in the case. He submitted that while the CBI had made efforts to find “an inconsequential witness”, it failed to summon Wadia despite requests from him.

Jethmalani submitted that one Kupuswamy, who was a factory manager at that time and had deposed in the case from the United States through Skype, had no knowledge of the corporate conspiracy against Wadia.

Criticising the CBI, Justice Dere observed, “When he (Wadia) was ready to depose, what was the impediment for you to call him? This is very serious if you haven’t made efforts to summon him when he has been saying he is willing.”

Jethmalani claimed that Wadia had made written applications to the CBI on March 6, 2012 and to the trial court on April 2 last year seeking a date for recording of his statement. “I am an NRI. Previously, when I was not here and they (CBI) sent me a summons, they had threatened to issue a non-bailable warrant against me.
When I came down and wrote to them to record my statement, they never contacted me again,” Jethmalani submitted on Wadia’s behalf.

The CBI’s advocate put the onus on the prosecutor appearing before the trial court. The advocate submitted before the HC that the prosecutor claimed before the trial court that it was her responsibility to bring Wadia for a deposition, after which the agency did not take any steps in the matter.

Finding this strange, Justice Dere asked the CBI to file an affidavit to this effect. “If you are saying the prosecutor was responsible, then put it on paper. File an affidavit, because this is strange,” observed the court.

Seven years for bid to sodomise granddaughter

by Natasha Sim. Posted on July 4, 2014, Friday
KOTA KINABALU: The Sessions Court here yesterday sentenced a 58-year-old man to seven years’ jail after finding him guilty on two counts for molesting his 11-year-old granddaughter and for an attempt to sodomize her.
Judge Azreena Aziz imposed seven years’ jail sentence on the first count, and another seven years for the second count, and ordered for the jail sentences to be served concurrently.
He molested his granddaughter at a hut in a forest in a village in Beaufort during midnight around May, 2013.
The first charge under Section 354 of the Penal Code carries a maximum jail of 10 years and whipping, upon conviction.
On the second count, he was accused of trying to insert his penis into the victim’s anus at the same time and place.
The indictment under Section 377C of the Penal Code carries a jail term of up to 10 years and also liable to whipping, upon conviction.
In mitigating for leniency, the accused through counsel Loretto Padua Jr, said that the accused was a first-time offender and had six children, all of whom are away, leaving a wife that currently stays alone.
In reply, deputy public prosecutor Effizah Ernie Idris remarked that the accused does not deserve a lenient sentence, especially considering the victim’s emotional trauma after the incidences.
She said the victim is now embarrassed and ashamed to face her friends in school, and her own grandfather, and urged the court to take notice of the victim’s single mother as well.
Effizah said that the accused as a grandfather had taken advantage of his position by way of committing the offences.
She also said that the accused, as a 58-year-old, should be mature enough to consider the nature of his act, which has also affected the rest of the family.
The prosecution had called 12 witnesses to testify against the accused since the trial commenced last year, while the defence had called three witnesses.

Supreme Court refuses bail plea of Asaram in Gujarat rape case
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to entertain self-styled godman Asaram Bapu’s bail plea in a rape case lodged against him in Surat, Gujarat but agreed to hear his petition for bail in another rape case filed in Jodhpur in Rajasthan.
A bench headed by Justice T. S. Thakur asked the 76-year old controversial godman, who has been in jail since September last year, to approach the Gujarat High Court for getting bail.
Asaram is facing trial along with his wife Lakshmi, daughter Bharti and his four women followers —Dhruvben, Nirmala, Jassi and Meera in a rape case filed by a Surat-based woman.
The complainant had accused him of sexual assaults between 1997 and 2006, when she was living in his ashram on the outskirts of Ahmedabad.
The bench, however, issued notice to Rajasthan government on his bail plea in Jodhpur case asking it to file its response and posted the case for hearing in August.
It also agreed to hear Asaram’s plea seeking its direction to trial court to allow him to place evidence to prove that the alleged victim was not a minor on the date of the incident.
A complaint was registered by father of a girl alleging that Asaram had raped her when she was studying in a school in his Ashram.
He was then booked under sections 376, 342, 506 and 509 of the IPC (dealing with rape and sexual harassment), section 8 of the Prevention of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) and sections 23 and 26 of the Juvenile Justice Act.

Mohindra’s excel sheet may fall in court: like Jain diaries: Lawyers
P Naveen, TNN | Jul 3, 2014, 09.56AM IST
BHOPAL: Special Task Force (STF) probing Madhya Pradesh Professional Examination Board (PEB) aka ‘Vyapam scam’ will have to dig more to unearth credible evidences that can stand in a trial court. Else, state’s largest ever education and recruitment scam, legal expert’s claim, will meet the fate of Jain Hawala case of 1990s, which collapsed in court without convictions.

Legal experts said that current evidences based on excel sheet recovered from computer system of Nitin Mohindra, chief system analyst of MPPEB, is weak to take the case to a logical conclusion. They also draw a parallel between MPPEB scam and Jain Hawala case.

In Hawala case (which broke out in 1991), entries found in the diaries of Hawala broker S K Jain, were presented as crucial evidences against top politicians including senior BJP leader L K Advani in the court by CBI. While in PEB scan STF has attached Mohindra’s excel sheet data with the charge-sheets.
Diaries recovered from Jain (now infamous as ‘Jain dairies’) revealed that the accused had carried out transactions with at least 115 people, working as a middleman on deals for multinational power companies.

Similarly, Mohindra’s excel sheet reveals name of several businessman, doctors and politicians, who worked as middleman on deals.

“What, for instance, are the STF’s own independent investigations other than Mohindra’s excel sheet?” asks Deepesh Joshi, a senior lawyer, claiming probe agency will have to work harder.

Other legal experts claimed STF will have to bring on record material which could be converted into legally admissible evidence else case against prominent personalities will fall. “Investigating agency has not come across even a single witness in the case who will prove monitory transactions. I don’t think person who took the money or the one who gave will maintain their stand in the court. Making some of the accused a witness in the case will help the agency,” claimed Raghvendra Kumar, a senior high court practitioner and expert on criminal cases.

Similarly, advocate Virag Tiwari said “STF should at least collect transcript of calls between the middlemen and beneficiaries to corroborate the charges. Producing only calls records between two people will not solve the purpose. After all entries in the excel sheet are no proof of payment.”

While quashing charges against L K Advani and others in Hawala case Delhi high court Justice Mohammad Shamim, had ruled that ‘Jain diaries’ are not legally admissible evidence under Section 10 of Indian Evidence Act. “…a bundle of sheets, detachable and replaceable at a moment’s notice, can hardly be characterized as a book of account” Justice Shamim had ruled.

STF officials could not be contacted for their version.

A person, not a relative of the husband, may not be prosecuted under Section 304B IPC: Supreme Court

On July 3, 2014 by Apoorva Mandhani
Observing that a person, not a relative of the husband, may not be prosecuted for offence under Section 304B IPC, a Supreme Court bench comprising of Justice Chandramauli Kr. Prasad and Justice P.C. Ghose upheld the quashing of a trial court order summoning the respondent under section 304B. The bench added that this does not mean that such a person cannot be prosecuted for any other offence viz. Section 306 IPC, in case the allegations constitute offence other than Section 304B IPC.
The appeal was filed by the State of Punjab against an order passed by Punjab and Haryana High Court, setting aside a trial court order summoning the respondent to face trial.
The respondent was charged under Section 304B of the Indian Penal Code. The respondent was then summoned to face trial, even though his name didn’t appear in the charge sheet. The High Court set aside this order, while giving liberty to take recourse to the provisions of Section 319 of the CrPC.
The respondent’s name then came up again during the trial, through the testimony of a witness. The respondent was summoned once again for commission of offence under Section 304B IPC.
This order was challenged by way of a revision petition, contending that since the respondent is not a ‘relative’ of the husband of the deceased, he cannot be tried for an offence under Section 304B. The respondent was the brother of the husband’s aunt (chachi). The High Court accepted this contention and quashed the order of the trial court.
According to the State, the High Court erred in holding that the respondent is not a relative of the husband of the deceased.
While considering the question, the court closely looked into the definition of a “relative”.
Section 304B exposes the husband of the woman or any relative of her husband for the commission of offence of the dowry death. The expression “relative” has not been defined in the IPC. The Court hence referred to Ramanatha Aiyar’s, Advance Law Lexicon which defines the word relative as any person related by blood, marriage or adoption. It referred to the cases of U. Suvetha vs. State by Inspector of Police and Anr. and Vijeta Gajra vs. State of NCT of Delhi which uphold the same meaning.

Law for accountability needed in building collapse cases: Naidu
Jul 3, 2014 14:47 IST
Need law to fix accountability in building collapse: Naidu
New Delhi: Against the backdrop of building collapse incidents, Urban Development minister M Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday favoured incorporating in law provisions which hold the concerned officials responsible when such mishaps happen due to their negligence.

The minister termed as “a sad commentary on our urban planning” the incidents of building collapse in Delhi and Chennai.
“I strongly feel that we can incorporate in law that people like the building inspector, the local town planner, the area incharge, should be made responsible and accountable if something happens in their tenure,” Naidu said at a conclave here where ministers from various states were present.
He also emphasised that no official should be held responsible if any such incident happens after his tenure ends, but stressed that accountability should be fixed.
“You can’t hold the official responsible for something which has happened earlier. Let us make a beginning. Let us incorporate in our municipal laws that there will be an accountability factor, this is very much required,” he said.
Talking about the media role in such incidents, the Union minister said “whenever there is a building collapse incident, media highlights it, then there is concern and some good, well meaning, dynamic officer comes in and orders demolitions. After this there is hue and cry, again the focus of media, then the exercise is stopped.”
Naidu’s comments come in the backdrop of recent incidents of building collapse in Chennai, where 53 people have died and in Delhi, in which ten people lost their lives.
Naidu said transparency should be encouraged and suggested that detailed signboards should be put up at project sites to inform the people.
“We must provide on-line opportunity to the people to make complaints. And well meaning people should be rewarded, it may not be in the form of cash but as appreciation will also go a long way,” the Urban Development Minister said.
He also stressed that illegal construction should be checked right in the beginning.
Naidu said that Urban governance and Housing for all were the two challenges before the country which can be converted into opportunities and stressed that lives of people needs to be made better in urban areas.
He said Mahatama Gandhi had given the ‘back to villages’ call but “unfortunately the country’s planners had shown their back to villages and moved towards urban areas.”
Naidu, who is also Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation minister, said 33 per cent of the country’s citizens were already residing in urban areas and “18 percent of urban population lives in slums, in some major cities it is close to 31 percent.”
Almost 30 percent of urban households do not have tapped water and dependence on tube or borewell has increased, which is not desirable, he added.
The minister said 22.5 percent urban households do not have bathroom and only 44.5 percent urban households have closed drainage. 18.6 per cent of the urban households do not have toilet facility within premises.
“These are challenges before us,” he said.

‘Collegium system: solution worse than the disease’
Justice Shah questions “unusual system” of judges appointing judges
Law Commission of India chairman Justice A.P. Shah lauded Chief Justice of India R.M. Lodha’s move to invite distinguished members of the Bar as judges of the highest court.
Referring to the recent controversy over the recommendation of Gopal Subramaiam, Justice Shah said “I personally feel this was a significant step by the CJI. In the past, we had only a few occasions like this. It should not happen that this episode [the recent controversy over the recommendation of Mr. Subramaniam] will become a setback … lawyers may not consent [to join the Bench] because of this controversy.”
In an exclusive interview to The Hindu, he said the Judicial Appointments Commission was a step in the right direction to free judicial appointments from “inappropriate politicisation.” “Ultimately, the rationale of having the Commission instead of the collegium system is to strengthen the quality of appointments made, promote diversity and sustain public confidence in judicial system,” Justice Shah said.
But the Bill in its current form remained silent on transparency and offered no role to the civil society in judicial appointments. “The mere setting up of a Judicial Appointments Commission cannot solve the problem of the present system of appointment of judges,” he stressed.
“The inception of the collegium system was well-intentioned. In all fairness, it did solve the problem of excessive executive interference. But on the whole, the collegium system is a solution which has proved much worse than the disease,” Justice Shah said.
“Judges are today chosen on undisclosed criteria in largely unknown circumstances. Justice Ruma Pal [a former woman Supreme Court judge] remarked that it is one of the best-kept secrets in the country. The system is completely opaque,” Justice Shah said.

Bombay High Court Asks CBI to Probe Jiah Khan Suicide Case

All India | Written by Saurabh Gupta | Updated: July 03, 2014 21:40 IST

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has handed over the probe in actor Jiah Khan’s suicide case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

The court’s order comes after Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan filed a plea last year seeking a probe by the CBI into her daughter’s death alleging foul play. She had raised strong suspicions about her daughter’s death being a case of murder and not suicide, as claimed by police in its charge sheet filed in January this year.

The court also came down heavily on the investigative agency as it informed the court that it was not inclined to take up the case due to lack of man power and technical expertise. The court said that it is unfortunate that agencies from the USA come and attend every hearing for their citizen’s death but our own agency is not interested in investigating. Before transferring the case, the court asked whom should we send citizens to when they come to us in cases of injustice?

Jiah, a 25-year-old US citizen, was found hanging from a ceiling fan at her home in Juhu on June 3 last year. The police arrested actor Suraj Pancholi on June 10, last year on the basis of a six-page letter which was found in the house, purportedly written by Jiah. Suraj was granted bail by the Bombay High Court on July 1, 2013.

The Mumbai police had in January filed a charge sheet in the case, accusing Suraj, son of actors couple Aditya Pancholi and Zarina Wahab, of abetting Jiah’s suicide. Suraj who was in a relationship with Jiah and had allegedly pushed Jiah to suicide, the police had claimed in the charge sheet.

The court has asked the police and the state to extend logistical support and other help required by CBI to carry out further probe. This after it had earlier asked the state and police to form a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe whether it was a case of murder as Rabia Khan had challenged the police investigation by producing forensic evidence that she sourced on her own which suggested that her daughter could have been killed. The US had offered to involve the FBI and provide forensic and technical assistance to the Mumbai police in the case.

Jiah Khan, born in New York before moving to London and then Mumbai, made her Bollywood debut in 2007 with Nishabd. She went on to star alongside actor Aamir Khan in Ghajini. Her last film was Sajid Khan’s multi-starrer Housefull.

Gujarat High Court orders state to stop illegal use of beacons
Press Trust of India | Ahmedabad
July 3, 2014 Last Updated at 20:24 IST
The Gujarat High Court ordered the the state government today, to stop usage of illegal beacons atop vehicles of various functionaries within two weeks in connection with a contempt of court petition.

A division bench of Justice Jayant Patel and Justice Z K Syed today ordered removal of all such illegal beacons and directed the state to file an ‘action taken report’ within two weeks.

The division bench acted upon a contempt petition filed by Junagadh-based K B Sanghvi who sought the Gujarat High Court’s direction to remove all illegal beacons from vehicles of Gujarat government functionaries.

Earlier in August last year, the Gujarat High Court had directed the state government to remove all illegal beacons from vehicles of office bearers who are not entitled to either red or yellow light.

However, the Gujarat state authorities did not take steps to follow the high court’s order, the petitioner alleged in his contempt plea.

“Chief Minister of Gujarat state, the Governor, judges of the high courts and the Supreme Court, Lokayukta (ombudsman) and disaster management officials are entitled to use the beacon, but office bearers of municipal corporations also use beacons, which is illegal,” Sanghvi’s petition said.

The petition said that the mayor, chairmen of standing committees of civic bodies sport beacons atop their vehicles, though they are not entitled to this facility.

Last year, the Gujarat High Court had asked authorities to remove illegal beacons from all vehicles which are not found legitimate as per the two notifications issued by the Gujarat state government in 2004 and 2012.

The government notifications mention the category of office bearers who are entitled to use beacons on their vehicles.

CAT Highlights Misuse of Sexual Harassment Law
By Umesh R Yadav
Published: 03rd July 2014 08:42 AM
Last Updated: 03rd July 2014 08:42 AM
BANGALORE: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), hearing four cases, has cautioned that the law against sexual harassment is “double-edged”.
The Tribunal has sought a review of two sections of the law, describing them as ‘unconstitutional’.
Section 4 and 7 of the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, are slanted and “destroy the fairness concept embedded in adjudication”, a CAT verdict states.
A bench comprising judges K B Suresh and P K Pradhan has ruled in favour of employees petitioning against internal inquiry committees, also called Vishakha committees.
Whistleblower Case
Three women employees allegedly used the sexual harassment law against upright store officer T Ramesh to silence him. Newly transferred to the Kudremukh Iron Ore Company in Mangalore, he had restricted the movement of contractors and ensured better inventory control. Thanks to his efforts, the Central Industrial Security Force had intercepted five truckloads of coal being stolen from the company, and brought it back to the company.
Later, three women employees filed written complaints against him. One said when she told Ramesh she had lost her mangalasutra, he remarked she ought to have worn it inside. The remark, by her reckoning, was sexually coloured.
The second woman said Ramesh would sit close to her and keep his hand on her chair when he dictated letters. The third woman employee made a complaint about Ramesh’s remark about her riding pillion with a male colleague.
Ramesh had approached the CAT. The bench observed that a conspiracy involving his colleagues and contractors had led to the “silly complaints” whose intention was to silence a whistle blower.
The proceedings of the Vishakha committee, which had inquired into the allegations, were flawed and manipulated, the bench said.
ESI Officer’s Case
P Jagannath, a senor officer of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC), had an unblemished record and was due to retire soon.
He had challenged his repeated transfers at the behest a trade union, which used as its weapon a complaint made by a woman employee.
Her complaint was that Jagannath had shouted at her following a problem in the office. She had not reported to work for eight days and when she came back, she found that he had marked her absence in red ink.
She had then signed the register, describing him as ridiculously strict.
She had no intention of making any sexual harassment complaint. Yet, the authorities had formed a Vishaka committee, examined two witnesses, and transferred Jagannath as a punishment.
When the trade union said the punishment was not enough, senior officers transferred him to Chennai. The bench wondered what relevance the Vishakha committee had in such a case, especially when the complainant’s behaviour was unbecoming of a government servant, and could amount to forgery, which is a criminal offence.
The entire hierarchy was terrorised and Jagannath was penalised, the bench said, cancelling his transfers and posting him to the original place.
The law is a double-edged sword, the bench warned, and granted him permission to file for damages, if any.
Nimhans Case
John Johnson, a psychiatrist at Nimhans, Bangalore, had been accused of sexual harassment by an MPhil student after he told her to wear her dupatta properly.
Johnson explained he had said so in the context of a discussion on methodology before students were allowed to interview psychiatric patients. She was about to interview a person with sexual problems, and Johnson said he had offered her advice only by way of caution.
But she had complained that he had said the size and shape of her breast were annoying him.
She completed the interview and later that day, filed a complaint, which was supplanted by another.
Two units of psychiatry have a record of long-standing rivalry. The complaint against him was signed by five women students, and received by Dr Reddemma, Head of the Department, and member of a rival psychiatry unit.
A Vishaka committee was formed and an inquiry commenced. The MPhil student did not take part in the inquiry. Two other male colleagues testified in favour of Johnson. During the inquiry, two of the five girls said they had been away at Kerala some days prior to and after the incident.
The bench had requested the institute to secure the complainant’s presence, but she had refused to testify, stating in an e-mail, sent to the Registrar, that she had no wish to assist the tribunal but stood by her original complaint.
“There is no way of establishing the provenance of this e-mail,” the bench observed, quashing all proceedings against Johnson and directing him to be reinstated with all attendant benefits.
None of the witnesses presented themselves for corroboration of the complaint.
Live-in or Rape?
An employee in the postal department, filed a complaint against Palaniswami, which led to his imprisonment for six months.
She had complained that he had forced her to stay with him in his government quarters for two years and “raped” her regularly. When she brought the matter to the notice of Superintendent of Posts Koragappa, even he allegedly started molesting her. She then filed a police complaint.
The Vishakha committee in this case recommended that Palaniswamy be awarded punishment.
It also recommended “appropriate action” against Koragappa and transfer of the complainant out of Chikamagalur. Palaniswamy was sent to judicial custody for more than six months.
She had lived in with Palaniswamy, and he got her a job after a year of their starting the relationship.
But after two years, she found that he was thinking of marrying another woman and lodged a complaint, as somewhere along the line, the bench observed, she had hoped he might marry her.
She had alleged that their acts of intimacy constitute rape. Palaniswamy had allegedly taken Rs 1.5 lakh from her and not returned it. After he was released on bail, the committee had suggested her transfer to some place far away.
Challenging this, the she had approached the Central Administrative Tribunal.The bench observed that her transfer was reasonable. “We think that this is one committee which has done its job fairly,” it observed.
The bench said it trusted the committee to resolve the case.
“We direct the committee to recognise the human elements involved in it,” it stated, emphasising that justice must be delivered to the poor applicant with regard to the transfer as well as the matter concerning ` 1.5 lakh.

Centre asked to explain on IPS officers allotment
DC CORRESPONDENT | July 04, 2014, 01.07 am IST
Hyderabad: Expressing displeasure at the attitude of the Union government in responding to a petition regarding the appointment of in-charge DGPs to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the Hyderabad Bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal directed the Centre to explain within 10 days from date the basis and the rationale behind the process of allotment of IPS officers to Telangana state.
The Bench comprising members B.V. Rao (judicial) and Ms Minnie Math-ews (administration) was dealing with the plea by senior IPS officers S.A. Huda and T.P. Das challenging the appointments of J.V. Ramudu and Anurag Sharma as in-charge DGPs to AP and Telangana.
The petitioners challenged the notification of allo-tment of IPS cadre to Telangana and AP contending that taking 1982 as the base year for the allotment was discriminatory and reeked of ulterior motives.
Mohammad Shafiquzzaman, counsel for the petitioners argued that his clients should have been made the DGPs for respective states as they were the mo-st senior among the existing IPS officers in the respective states.
He said that the Telangana state filled its DGP post without the Centre creating a separate DGP post for Telangana state after bifurcation of Andhra Pradesh. He urged the Tribunal to direct both the states not to accord DGP status and the connected apex pay scale to the two temporary DGPs until the process of appointing regular DGPs to both the states duly involving UPSC in accordance with the existing rules is completed.
At the previous hearing, advocate general of Telangana K. Ramakrishna Reddy asked the petitioners why they had not made Anurag Sharma, the current DGP of Telangana state a party to the case as there were contentions raised against his elevation in the petition and the petitioners had failed to challenge the original notification of the Centre.
The petitioners submitted a memo on Thursday to amend their petitions as pointed out by the advocate-general and the Bench accorded permission.
When the Bench sought response from the counsel of the Centre, he cited technical lapses in the plea and sought more time to file the reply of the Centre.
The Bench took a serious view of it as he had been directed to state the Centre’s stand in this regard. The Bench will start final hearing in the matter within 10 days.

Remove adverse remarks against cop, govt told
TNN | Jul 4, 2014, 03.44 AM IST
CHENNAI: The Chennai bench of the Central Administrative Tribunal has directed the state government to remove adverse remarks made in a police officer’s annual confidential report (ACR) as it was communicated to him after a delay of five years. It also dismissed the officer’s petition to reconsider his seniority.

R Tamil Chandran, now Vellore DIG, said he was recruited as deputy superintendent of police in 1989. In 2000, the DGP served him a memo which said adverse entries had been made in his ACR for the period from May 1995 and March 1996 when he was DSP in Rasipuram.

Because of the remarks, his name was not included in the list of officers being conferred the IPS rank in 2001 and 2002.

He was given the IPS status in 2003 and because of the delay lost his seniority, he said.The bench

of judicial member K Elango and administrative member P Prabhakaran

said the adverse entries had been communicated to Chandran after five years. It said according to rules, adverse remark more than three years old could not be communicated to an official if his subsequent performance was good.


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