LEGAL NEWS 06.07.014

Justice Bahauddin Farooqi passes away
Date: 5 Jul 2014
Justice Bahauddin Farooqi passes away

Srinagar: Eminent Kashmiri Jurist, Legal Authority and Ex-Chief Justice of J&K, Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi passed away in the early hours of morning on Saturday at his residence at Jawahar Nagar in Srinagar. Justice Farooqi served as the 12th Chief Justice of Jammu and Kashmir from March 7, 1983 to August 23, 1983. He was 87.

Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi is survived by his daughter, three sons Advocate Mufti Showkat, Dr. Mufti Mahmood, Dr. Saadat Mufti and son-in-law Syed Tariq Ahmed Naqshbandi. Hundreds of people including prominent social and religious personalities participated in Justice Farooqi’s Nimaz-e-Jinaza which was held at Khanqah-e-Moula Shrine. Justice Farooqi has to his credit extensive work in documenting and reporting Human Rights violations in J&K and demanding legal prosecution against the culprits.

Various social, religious and political organizations have condoled Justice Farooqi’s demise and paid tributes to the Late Jurist for exemplary services rendered to the State’s Judicial Services. (CNS)

HC to hear MMRDA’s appeal on Metro rail fares on July 7
Saturday, 5 July 2014 – 4:56pm IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI
Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA) has challenged in the Bombay High Court an order of its single-judge bench holding that the state government agency had no right to decide the fare of the Mumbai Metro rail which connects Versova in the west to Ghatkopar in the east.
The appeal filed by MMRDA, a state agency, is likely to come up for hearing on July 7 before a bench headed by Chief Justice Mohit Shah.
On June 24, Justice R D Dhanuka had rejected MMRDA’s petition challenging the Metro fares. MMRDA had pleaded that a minimum fare of Rs 9 and maximum fare of Rs 13 should be charged for the rail corridor as per the agreement between the parties, while the operator– Mumbai Metro One Private Ltd (MMOPL)–announced higher fares ranging between Rs 10 to Rs 40.
Justice Dhanuka, in his order, had also asked the Central government to direct the fare fixation committee (FFC) to expeditiously fix the tariff of the 11.4-km rail corridor.
According to MMRDA, the fares had been decided collectively by all the stake-holders earlier and RInfra cannot change them unilaterally without following a due procedure.

HC orders release of 221 inmates of Akshaya Trust
Registrar, doctors and Advocate Commissioner unanimously state that they were detained against their wish
The Madras High Court Bench here on Friday ordered the release of 222 of the 531 inmates of a destitute home run by Akshaya Trust at Nagamalai Pulluthu near here after its Registrar (Administration), doctors from Government Rajaji Hospital and an Advocate Commissioner were of unanimous opinion that the inmates were detained against their wishes.
Passing interim orders on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition filed by C. Muthurani of All India Democratic Women’s Association (AIDWA) through her counsel U. Nirmala Rani, a Division Bench of Justices V. Ramasubramanian and V.M. Velumani held that the trust could not be allowed to detain any individual without his/her express consent.
In his inspection report, the High Court Registrar said the Home had 64 mentally challenged male inmates and 27 mentally challenged female inmates. Apart from them, there were 297 normal male inmates and 143 female inmates. “In most of the cases, the inmates had been brought to the home forcibly and their relatives are not aware of their presence in the home,” he added.
Psychiatrist T. Kumanan, who accompanied the Registrar to the Home, said more than one-third of the inmates could not understand Tamil or English since they hailed from places such as Odisha, Andhra Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala, West Bengal, Maharashtra, Bihar, Assam, Nagaland, Uttar Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Jharkhand. One of them claimed to be hailing from Nepal.
Advocate Commissioner D. Geetha said the inmates had been brought from public places such as railway stations, bus stands, Goripalayam dargah, tea shops and pavements. Dr. Kumanan added that “despite requests from the inmates (to integrate them with their family members)… no effort has been made to heed their requests. It was also allegedly refused, rejected or denied.”
Though the Registrar as well as the GRH doctors identified a total of 247 inmates who were willing to leave the Home and could be allowed to leave, the judges ordered the release of 222 alone since the doctors had opined that the rest of 25 inmates could not be allowed to go out alone and that they would require the assistance of their family members.
The court directed C. Ramasubramanian, State Nodal Officer, District Mental Health Programme, to visit the Home to ascertain the condition of the remaining inmates and submit his report to the court by Tuesday.

HC directs appointment of woman misbranded as transgender
Press Trust of India
Jul 06, 2014 at 08:30am IST
Chennai: Coming to aid of a 24-year-old woman who was misbranded as a transgender, the Madras High Court has asked the Tamil Nadu government to appoint her as a police constable.
The woman’s application for the post of a constable was rejected by the authorities after being provisionally selected in 2012 as they branded her as transgender on the ground of absence of uterus and ovaries.
Allowing the petition of Nangai (name changed) of Ariyalur, Justice S Nagamuthu said that “if absence of uterus and ovaries is to be taken as a decisive factor for sexual identity as a transgender, it would be disastrous because it is only a congenital defect such as visual impairment or hearing impairment”.
The denial of employment by “misbranding” her as a transgender was not sustainable in law, he held. All government records including her school certificate too mentioned her as a female.
The judge directed the authorities to issue appointment order to her as Grade II women police constable and depute her for training within a period of two months from the date of receipt of the order.

HC directs Maharashtra to declare its river policy
The policy includes allowing constructions along the banks of rivers, lakes, creeks and tributaries
Press Trust of India | Mumbai
July 5, 2014 Last Updated at 13:47 IST
The Bombay High Court has asked Maharashtra Government to file an affidavit within three weeks declaring its policy on allowing constructions along the banks of rivers, lakes, creeks and tributaries.

The order was given by a bench headed by justices V M Kanade and P D Kode yesterday while admitting a PIL filed by Vanashakti, an NGO, asking for a direction to the state to prohibit construction within 100 metres of flood level of all rivers, lakes, creeks and 50 metres of tributaries.

Irreparable damage is caused to the environment by creating hindrances on the banks of natural resources such as rivers, lakes, creeks and tributaries by constructing walls or barriers by housing projects, the PIL alleged.

Referring to a Government notification, the PIL said that as of now there is a ban only on industries from 500 metres to eight kms on either side of rivers. The PIL urged that policy should be changed and this ban should also extend to residential and commercial projects.

The PIL further alleged that a wall running up to two kms had been constructed by a housing project along the banks of river Ulhas, near Dombivali, resulting in changing the course of flood waters of the river. In doing so, many areas have become flood-prone, it said.

The petition said that if such constructions are allowed to continue along the river banks, the lives and properties of the local people would be endangered. Also, there would no check on sewage going from these projects into the river, the PIL alleged.

HC grants bail to two accused of child trafficking
TNN | Jul 5, 2014, 09.39AM IST

KOCHI: The Kerala high court on Friday granted bails to two persons accused of trafficking children to orphanages in the state. While allowing the bail pleas, the court orally observed that the charge of trafficking is not prima facie sustainable.

Justice K Abraham Mathew granted bail to the two accused, Ghosh Muhammed and Jahir of West Bengal. They are the third and fourth accused in the case respectively.

They were taken into custody by police when they allegedly arrived at Palakkad railway station along with over 120 children by train. Palakkad railway police had booked them for child trafficking (Section 370(5) of Indian Penal Code) along with two others. They were accused of bringing children from other states without proper documents and by making false promises as well as not ensuring the safety of the children.

HC dismisses PIL filed against Tamil Nadu minister Ramana
PTI | Jul 5, 2014, 04.13 PM IST
CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Saturday dismissed a PIL filed against former Tamil Nadu revenue minister BV Ramana seeking a direction to the chief electoral officer to take action against him for allegedly filing a “false” affidavit along with his nomination papers in the 2011 assembly polls.

The first bench comprising acting Chief Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh dismissed the PIL after recording the endorsement made by the counsel for the petitioner K M Balaji that the petition may be dismissed as withdrawn.

In the PIL, Balaji contended that Ramana had suppressed facts about his first marriage in the affidavit.

Ramana was married to one B Lalitha and had two children. However, in the affidavit, he mentioned R Latha as his wife and a girl as his dependent child.

He did not mention the name of the children from his first marriage as dependants, Balaji contended.

According to the petitioner, filing a false affidavit was an offence as per the provisions of the Representation of the People Act, 1951.

HC rejects MLAs anticipatory bail
TNN | Jul 5, 2014, 08.47AM IST
JAIPUR: Rajasthan high court on Friday dismissed the anticipatory bail application of Dholpur MLA B L Kushwaha, an accused in a murder case. Kushwaha who is also accused in an alleged chit fund fraud in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh belongs to the BSP.

The single bench of Justice KS Aluwalia rejected his bail plea on the ground that he is charged with a heinous crime following which he could not be granted anticipatory bail. Kushwaha is one of the accused in the murder of Naresh Kushwaha in December 27, 2012.

According to the prosecution, it was a case of honour killing as the accused MLA’s sister had an affair with the victim which led to his murder.
Government counsel Bhrammanad Sandu argued that with the arrest of Satyender, one of the contract killers, it has been established that the MLA had hired the contract killers to eliminate the victim. Another accused Robin Singh is still absconding. One of the revolvers used by them was found to be that of the MLA.

The prosecution argued that with the arrest of Satyender, the police were able to collect enough evidence against the accused MLA and the motive behind the murder. It was a clear case of ‘honour killing’ while Abdul Hamid Khan representing the MLA argued it as a case of political conspiracy.

HC lens on blocked road
– Goverment ordered to file response by August 8

Cuttack, July 5: Orissa High Court has taken cognisance of a report in The Telegraph and suo motu registered a public interest litigation (PIL) on squatters blocking an approach road to Bhubaneswar railway station causing inconvenience to commuters.
The court treated the contents of the report, “Raze Drive: Hit some, miss some”, published on June 9, as a PIL saying the matter was of public importance.
The report was on the drive to remove the encroachment near the railway station around Master Canteen Square and the absence of similar action on the other side of the station next to the Cuttack-Puri national highway (Buddha Nagar). It also focussed on indiscriminate dumping of garbage causing problems to both commuters and local residents.
Acting on the report, the division bench of Chief Justice A.K. Goel and Justice A.K. Rath had last month fixed August 8 for listing of the PIL for hearing. The state government has been directed to file its response by then.
The departments and organisations named as parties in the case include the general administration department, revenue and disaster management department, housing and urban development department, Bubaneswar Development Authority and the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation.
The public interest litigation concerns the important thoroughfare at Buddha Nagar, a prime residential area of Bhubaneswar, which connects the city’s railway station with the Cuttack-Puri national highway.
Commuters are facing difficulty in reaching the railway station as the approach road has remained blocked for years due to illegal occupation by slum-dwellers.
Encroachment by the slum-dwellers is not only causing problems for residents of the engineers’ colony, but also creating an unhealthy atmosphere in the area because of the dumping of garbage on the road.
The report said the problem of dumping solid waste on the road had aggravated after 2010 as the East Coast Railway constructed a boundary wall to keep their land free from encroachment. The slum-dwellers have since been dumping their daily waste on the road.
Civic authorities had allegedly made provision for water by digging a bore-well, but as pipe-water connections were made available on the road, the slum-dwellers are practically living on the road leading to the railway station. At night, the road remains fully blocked with the squatters parking their vans and rickshaws there.

HC asks Vigilance, H&ME deptt to submit report of action taken
Sheikh Saleem
Srinagar, July 05: High Court has asked Director Vigilance Organization and Commissioner Secretary Health and Medical Education (H&ME) department to inform the court about the action taken over illegal selection of Pharmacists (Dawasaaz) on fake certificates.
A division bench comprising Chief Justice M M Kumar and Justice Hasnain Masoodi asked the officials to produce the record as what action has been taken on the cases of inquiry conducted over the appointments on fake certificates.
Court also asked the Director Vigilance and Commissioner Secretary, Health and Medical Education department to file objections within three weeks to the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed over the fraudulent selection of pharmacists in Indian System of Medicine (ISM).
Earlier High Court issued notices to the government over selection of pharmacists (Dawasazs) on fake certificates allegedly issued by Director Indian System of Medicines (ISM), Dr Abdul Kabir.
According to the petition filed by drop out pharmacists, Kabir in connivance with the top officials of Directorate of ISM in 2008 had allegedly issued fake pharmacists diploma certificates to around 400 persons, who later got jobs under NHRM scheme.
Petitioners through their counsel advocate Bashir Ahmad Bashir seek registration of corruption case against the Director ISM besides his transfer to prevent forging of the records until investigation is completed.
Counsel pleaded that the certificates have been issued without making proper selection for training course of pharmacists and sought directions to state government to make legitimate selection of candidates for imparting Dawasaz training to them through bonafide selection process.
In 2008 a list of 994 ‘blue eyed’ candidates was illegally nominated through backdoor means by the ISM Directorate for undergoing “Dawasaz” training. After a complaint was filed by some aggrieved candidates the government cancelled the list vide Government order No: 121 HME (GR 0f 2008) dated October 17, 2008.
The backdoor selected candidates filed a writ petition in High Court which was dismissed subsequently.
However, the High Court directed government to expeditiously frame and formulate the norms and procedure for making nominations for undergoing Dawasaz training course.
Director ISM again ‘violated’ the court orders and issued diploma certificates to people without any training institute established in J&K.

PIL Filed for Shifting of GAIL Gas Station from Habitation
By Express News Service
Published: 06th July 2014 07:40 AM
Last Updated: 06th July 2014 09:23 AM
HYDERABAD: A public interest litigation has been filed in the High Court seeking directions to the Gas Authority of India Limited (GAIL) to shift the gas control station (GCS) located in the midst of a habitation to an isolated place with immediate effect.
Petitioner Dr RS Ratnakar, a resident of Nagaram village of East Godavari district, submitted that GAIL has established a GCS in Tatipaka village of the district and and the Oil and Natural Gas Commission (ONGC)has set up a low capacity refinery at the village. GAIL has laid a pipeline from Tatipaka to Kondapalli at Vijayawada to supply gas.
He submitted that the pipeline was laid through several villages and habitations and leakage of gas from pipelines is a common phenomenon in those villages due to poor maintenance of pipelines by the authorities.
Ratnakar alleged that despite several complaints of gas leakages from the villagers, the authorities had never bothered to address their grievances. As many as 19 people lost their lives and several others sustained injuries in the fire at Nagaram due to gas leakage on June 27.
The petitioner said there is a school adjacent to the GCS in which about 3,000 pupils study. He alleged that GAIL has failed in installing the censors to identify the gas leakages and also setting up the sirens to alert the villagers in case of leakage of gas.
The petitioner urged the court to intervene in the matter to protect lives of the villagers of Nagaram, Tatipaka and other effected villages in Mamidikuduru mandal of the district and direct the authorities to shift the GCS from Tatipaka.

PIL in Bom HC seeks 5 per cent reservation for Christians too
July 5, 2014 6:28 pm
Beed (Maha), Jul 5 (PTI) Close on the heels of Maharashtra government providing 16 per cent reservation for Marathas and 5 per cent for Muslims in jobs and educational institutions, a PIL in the Bombay High Court has sought similar facility for the Christian community.

The PIL, filed by city-based Alpha Omega Christian Community in the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court, said it was demanding five per cent reservation for Christians on the basis of recommendations made by the Justice Ranganath Mishra Commission constituted by National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities.

According to the PIL, Maharashtra government had, on the basis of the Ranganath Commission report, appointed a seven-member committee headed by Dr Mehmoodur Rehman to study the socio-economic and educational status of the Muslim community in the state.

Thereafter, on the basis of the Mehmoodur Rehman Committee report, the Maharashtra cabinet approved 5 per cent reservation to Muslims on June 25.

On the same lines, 5 per cent reservation should also be provided to the Christian community which the PIL said had not been considered on the basis of recommendation of Ranganath Commission report.

The President of Alpha Omega, Ashish Shinde said “we have been demanding 5 per cent reservation to the Christian community. The government has only given verbal assurance in the past. Now that reservation has been approved for Muslim community, we strongly demand for Christians.” PTI COR ARS

HC pulls up officials after PIL alleges corruption in setting up of lake
News18 | Siddharth Shankar Pandey | Sat Jul 05, 2014 | 16:59 IST
#Dindori #Madhya Pradesh For the purpose of preservation of the black buck deer which have been included in the list of endangered species list in India, the government allotted Rs 80 lakh to make a lake in their habitat.
However, only Rs 5 lakh have been used for the purpose, the rest of the funds have been unaccounted for.
Due to this the lake which should have been taken care of has dried out which in turn has had an adverse effect on the well being of the deer.
Mandla resident, Kishor Dua has filed a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. In the petition Kishor Dua claims that he has contacted Dindori Collector and Divisional Commissioner with the matter, but no action has been taken.

Following the petition, Chief Justice Ajay Manikrao Khanvilkar and Justice Alok Aradhey have sent a notice to the concerned authorities, asking them to give accountability of the funds.

Legal experts say convicts can be tried for murder
Ajay Sura,TNN | Jul 6, 2014, 02.34 AM IST
CHANDIGARH: While the Jalandhar police are exploring possibilities of slapping murder charges on the accused convicted for the murderous attack on Yannick Nihangaza, a student from Burundi who died on July 1 in his home country, legal experts are of the opinion that the accused can now be tried for murder.

Seven persons were convicted for attempting to murder Yannick in October 2013 and sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment. They are in jail.

Chandigarh-based eminent criminal lawyer A S Sukhija said all those involved and convicted for attempt to murder could be booked and tried for murder since victim has died due to that assault. Sukhija further added that a fresh trial for murder would begin, but time could be saved as the prosecution had already proved its case and simply had to prove that the victim died to the earlier injuries.

Senior advocate of the Punjab and Haryana high court Vinod Ghai said, “Though charges can be amended till the pronouncement of the judgment, if the victim has died on account of same transaction or injuries, the prosecution or complainant can approach the court for fresh charges of culpable homicide against accused.”

Former Haryana additional director of prosecution department N S Bhinder said the police on receiving the information about the death of the victim could book the accused for murder charges if they were sure that the victim had died due to the injuries suffered from the same incident. He also added that the period of imprisonment completed by the accused for attempt to murder would be considered undergone by the trial court if they were convicted for murder.

Congress approaching court over demand for LoP post will embarrass it: Subramanian Swamy
Saturday, 5 July 2014 – 11:50am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: ANI
Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Subramanian Swamy on Saturday said that the Congress will only be embarrassed if they go to court to have their demand to be assigned the post of the Leader of Opposition (LoP), as they don’t have the required number of seats.
“The requisite for post of Leader of Opposition is clear, and the Congress needs 55 seats for that, which they do not have. They can go to court if they want to, but they will only be embarrassed. It will be a slap on their face,” said Swamy.
Congress has decided to raise the pitch in its demand for being accorded the status of the Leader of the Opposition for its nominee in the Lok Sabha.
It has been contended that Congress does not have the required number of 55 MPs or 10 percent of the total strength of the 543 member of the Lok Sabha to claim the LoP post for itself.
However party leader Shakeel Ahmed has said that there is no such rule and added that the leader of the party in Opposition which has the greatest numerical strength gets the post of LoP.

SC Stays HC Order on MKU V-C’s Removal
By Express News Service
Published: 05th July 2014 07:18 AM
Last Updated: 05th July 2014 07:18 AM
MADURAI: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed the Madras High Court order quashing the appointment of Kalyani Mathivanan as Vice Chancellor of Madurai Kamaraj University (MKU), according to press release from the university here.
The Supreme Court has issued a stay on the judgment delivered by the Madras High Court of Madurai Bench. The High Court Bench had earlier delivered a judgment setting aside the appointment order of Kalayani Mathivanan as a Vice-Chancellor of MKU, the release said.
Kalyani Mathivanan and the Government of Tamil Nadu filed an appeal in the Supreme Court against the judgment of the Madurai High Court Bench. The SC also ordered notices to the parties concerned, the release added.

SC rejects petition challenging allotment of 140 mines in 3 days
— By OUR STAFF REPORTER, July 05, 2014 01:10 am
BHOPAL : The Supreme Court has rejected the writ petition against allotment of 140 mines made before last Vidhan Sabha elections in Madhya Pradesh.
The court has found as baseless all the charges levelled against Mineral Resources Minister Rajendra Shukla pertaining to allotment of these mines.
Parishram Samaj Evam Samaj Kalyan Samiti had filed a writ petition in October 2013 alleging that the Mineral Resources Minister Rajendra Shukla had allocated 140 mines from among 1200 applications within 3 days before enforcement of model code of conduct for Vidhan Sabha elections committing irregularities.
Hearing the petition on October 8, 2013, the Supreme Court ordered status quo in the case of mines’ allotment in Madhya Pradesh.
The petitioner had alleged in his appeal that hearing process on August 20, 27 and September 3, 2013 was illegal. Therefore, hearing done on these dates should be investigated through CBI. The petitioner had also made CBI a party in the case.
The Supreme Court had fixed July 1, 2014 as the last date for hearing and directed all litigants to produce their versions.
Madhya Pradesh Mineral Resources Department produced its reply before the Supreme Court saying that all processes were adopted as per rules in allotment of mines.
In its reply, the CBI informed the court that allegations leveled in the petition are baseless and no illegality was committed in mines allotment. Therefore, the petition is worthy of being rejected.
After hearing all the parties, the Supreme Court, in its final order dated July 1, 2014, rejected the petition, finding all allegations pertaining to allotment of mines against Mineral Resources Minister Rajendra Shukla as baseless.

Suspended DU prof’s family not to be evicted: Univ to court
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 5, 2014 Last Updated at 18:25 IST
Delhi University (DU) today assured a court here that family members of its suspended professor G N Saibaba, arrested for his alleged Maoist links, will not be evicted from their residence provided by DU as the matter is sub-judice.

“He (DU’s counsel) is assuring orally that he will inform the authorities about the court order (passed by a vacation judge on June 9 and thereby staying proceedings of eviction by the university)…,” District Judge A K Chawla said.

The assurance by DU came while the court was hearing a petition filed by Saibaba’s wife Vasantha, challenging the June 2 order of estate officer in which the professor was asked to vacate the Gwyer Hall premises provided to him by DU.

Saibaba, who was an English professor at Ram Lal Anand College, was arrested on May 9 byMaharashtra Police on the charges of being a member of a banned terrorist organisation (CPI-Maoist), providing logistics and helping in recruitment for the group.

Vasantha’s counsel C S Parasher informed the court that a vacation judge has stayed the eviction order of the estate officer on June 9 but even after that the university recently sent a notice that the professor’s residence will be vacated with the help of security agencies.

“Its the contempt of court,” Parasher said.

Initially, the university’s counsel told the court that he has not received the stay order passed by the vacation judge, to which the district judge asked Parasher to provide him a copy of that order.

After getting the copy of the stay order, the DU’s counsel assured the court that it will be forwarded to the university authorities and duly be complied with.

Vasantha, in her petition, has said the estate officer’s order was “illegal, arbitrary, malafide and in violation of the provisions of the Public Premises (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act”.

Divorce detoxed: How to kiss and break up
Joeanna Rebello Fernandes,TNN | Jul 6, 2014, 07.59 AM IST
From 300 in 1989 to 15,000 today — the family court in Mumbai has seen a phenomenal rise in the number of divorce cases it handles every year.

Extrapolate that figure to courts in other metros and you have a grid of conflict zones where combative couples battle for years over kids, property, alimony and so on.

Turns out not everyone is hitting the trenches these days.

Snap deal

Some folk are now seeing wisdom in the peaceful parting of ways. Mumbai-based divorce lawyer Mrunalini Deshmukh says mutual consent divorce is on the rise.

“About 40% of my caseload comprises such cases. It’s what I first recommend to clients because it’s in their own interest. A contested divorce is a no-win and can take minimum three four years to resolve in court. An appeal may then take it to higher courts and a longer wait,” she says.

Geeta Luthra, who has handled the divorces of several of Delhi’s industrialists, builders and hoteliers, recognizes a change in the way people perceive the Great Divide. “Girls have started thinking about remarriage; they’re keen to start a new life and want to quickly break away from the old one,” she says. Almost 90% of the contested cases, she argues, end up in mutual consent anyway because couples run out of steam and eventually settle.

Rules of the writ

Deshmukh, the facilitator of several high-profile splits (Hrithik Roshan-Sussanne Khan, Mahesh Bhupathi-Shvetha Jaishankar), says there was no concept of mutual consent divorce in India till a 1976 amendment in marriage laws.

Now, two people could file for a ‘no fault’ divorce which, as the term suggests, places no blame or fault for the break-up on any one party .

Couples can file for mutual consent divorce one year from the date of separation. After a divorce petition is filed in the district court citing irreconcilable differences and is supported by affidavits from both partners, the court mandates a six-month ‘cooling-off period’ for the petitioners to reconsider their decision. Should they be unreconciled, a second petition is filed at the end of this term and the couple have to present their case before a judge, who invariably grants them a divorce forth with. Should the couple dither for whatever reason, and the 18-month cutoff passes, the petition gets abated and they have to file a fresh petition.

No dirty linen, please

Deshmukh notes that couples today want to end their marriages discreetly and honorably, without hauling each other over the coals. “They may even choose not to disclose the true reasons for their decision, not wanting to wash their dirty linen in public. As lawyers we respect their privacy and won’t probe for de tails,” she says. Unless the judge is unconvinced about the couple’s claim of `irreconcilable differences’, he/she too won’t probe further.

Also, couples may not seek out a lawyer together. “When a client approaches me, I send the spouse a softly worded legal notice declaring the intention of my client, saying he/she seeks a divorce and would like an amicable way out. If the other party agrees, we could have a meeting to discuss the way forward.”

Give & take

This includes deciding how to split the spoils for which the lawyer’s counsel is often sought. “They’ll want to know about the parameters applicable in case of child custody, wife’s rights, division of property and so on,” says Deshmukh. “We tell them about existing laws on such matters, and then leave it to them to decide. In a particular case a wife may decline alimony, in another, the husband will let her have the house; each decision is individual and the court respects it.”

When both parties are on the same page, grudgingly or ungrudgingly, they come to a mutually agreeable settlement. There’s no sure-shot formula and it could vary from one couple to the next.

But Luthra points out that the settlement could be far better than what one might hope to get after a lengthy legal battle.

“In a contested case, when fighting for maintenance you stand to get one-third of your spouse’s declared income. In a mutual consent case you could insist, say, on an alternative house, and it could be worth far more than the declared income,” she says.

The division of spoils is seldom governed by largesse.

But Luthra advises her clients to give a little more than they’d bargained in exchange for a quick exit. One shouldn’t be churlish about visitation rights, alimony and so on, she recommends.

Jiah Khan Case: Pancholi Family Files Rs 100 Cr Defamation Suit
Posted by: Suparno Published: Saturday, July 5, 2014, 12:51 [IST] Ads by Google Spacious 2&3BHK Jalahalli No Common Walls. Great Amenities. Block B booking ending soon. Hurry. While, the High Court has handed over the Jiah Khan death case to CBI, Aditya Pancholi and his family has filed a Rs 100 crore defamation suit against Jiah Khan’s mother Rabia Khan. Aditya Pancholi’s family has now alleged that Rabia Khan has been posting defamatory comments about the former’s family which has hampered their reputation. After the death of Jiah Khan, although police termed it to be a suicide case, Jiah’s mother claimed that her daughter was murdered and accused Jiah’s boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi who happens to be Aditya Pancholi’s son. Now Aditya Pancholi and his family filed a defamatory suit against the victim’s mother in which it is mentioned that Rabia Khan has been posting defamatory comments on her Twitter page against the Pancholi family members. The suit further stated that as many as 18 tweets, posted between March 4th and May 1st are defamatory in nature. The Rs 100 crore defamation suit includes loss of reputation at Rs 50 crore, loss of business at Rs 25 crore and for mental harassment at Rs 25 crore. It is to be recalled, Jiah Khan was found dead in her flat on June 3, 2013 and a suicide note was also found. However, police arrested boyfriend Sooraj Pancholi on charges of abetting her suicide, while Jiah’s mother Rabia Khan moved the HC.

West Bengal tops in cruelty to women by spouse
At a time when a debate rages on the misuse of Section 498-A of the Indian Penal Code ( IPC), which deals with cruelty to woman by husband and in-laws, an analysis of the data from National Crime Records Bureau, 2013 shows that West Bengal accounts for the highest number of cases under the particular section.
The NCRB data, which was, published earlier this week, points out that 18,116 cases under Section 498 –A were registered in 2013, which is highest in the country and amounts to 15.24 per cent of cases recorded in the country. The cases registered under Section 498-A in West Bengal also are over 60 per cent of overall crime against women recorded in State, which is 29,836 ( third highest in the country).
The Supreme Court on Thursday had directed the State governments to instruct to its police officers not to automatically arrest when a case under Section 498-A of the IPC is lodged. While the number of cases recorded under this section in West Bengal has dropped from 19,881 in 2012 to 18,116 in 2013 , over the past five years the State recorded the highest number of cases under Section 498-A when compared to other States in the country.
Referring to the apex court’s order, National Coalition of Men, a forum of several NGOs fighting for men’s rights, told The Hindu on Friday that the West Bengal Government should take note of the judgment and ensure that harassment under Section 498-A is stopped. “It is incumbent upon the police of West Bengal to ensure that the people in the State are not harassed under the provisions of 498 –A. Moreover if we look at the conviction rate of those charged with this Section of the IPC we find that it is reducing by two percent every year over the past three years,” Amit Gupta president of NCM said. The conviction rate of those charged with Section 498- A has come down from 6.3 per cent in 2011 to 4.4 per cent in 2012 and 2.3 percent in 2013, Mr. Gupta added. “However, the conviction rate at the national level under Section 498-A shows an increase by 1 per cent – from 15 in 2012 to 16 in year 2013,” the representatives of NCM pointed out.

MPCB official appears as witness in criminal case over Godavari pollution
Sumita Sarkar,TNN | Jul 6, 2014, 04.29 AM IST
NASHIK: The district court on Saturday interrogated Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) regional officer S Fule, while hearing a criminal case related to the pollution of Godavari filed by activist Rajesh Pandit.

The case has been filed under section 431 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against former municipal commissioner Sanjay Khandare.

During the last hearing on June 24, non-technical witness Nitin Ruikar was summoned and interrogated. The district court had then summoned Fulse as the technical witness for the hearing scheduled on July 5. On Saturday, the court asked Fulse about the civic body’s bank guarantee that the MPCB had forfeited.

“Fulse was asked twice about forfeiting of the bank guarantee. The MPCB has forfeited Rs 1.25 lakh bank guarantee of the NMC for river pollution. Based on the two witnesses’ statements, the court will on July 20 decide if an FIR has to be filed or the case should be dismissed,” said Dhirendra Ponkshe, the lawyer of the appellant.

Pandit has been protesting against river pollution since May 2012 and had submitted memorandums to the civic administration. He, along with his aides, had registered an offence at Sarkarwada police station on July 21, 2012 against the civic officials, when the latter failed to meet their demands.

Court seeks ATR on alleged poll code breach by Narendra Modi
Modi, who was then BJP prime ministerial, had addressed a press conference when voting was underway in all 26 seats in Gujarat
Press Trust of India | Ahmedabad
July 5, 2014 Last Updated at 18:10 IST
A local court today asked the crime branch to submit an Action Taken Report (ATR) by August 5 in connection with an FIR filed against then Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modifor allegedly violating the Representation of People Act on Lok Sabha polling day on April 30.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate M M Sheikh directed the Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) of Gujarat Police to submit the ATR on or before August 5.

Modi, who was then the prime ministerial candidate of BJP, had addressed a press conference when the voting was underway in all 26 seats in Gujarat on April 30, immediately after casting his vote in a school at Ranip area of the city and displayed his party’s electoral symbol, the lotus.

The FIR against Modi was registered by the Crime Branch on the directives of the Election Commission on the same day under section 126 (1)(a) of RP Act (prohibition of public meetings during period of forty-eight hours ending with hour fixed for conclusion of poll) and under section 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, an Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) member, Nishant Verma filed a petition before the court saying the FIR was “incomplete” and requested it to direct police to add section 130 (prohibition of canvassing in or near polling station) of RPA and sections 114 (abettor present when offence is committed) and 171 (c) (undue influence at elections) and 171 (f) (wearing garb or carrying token used by public servant with fraudulent intent) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) to the FIR.

As per section 171 (f) an offender shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to one year or with fine, or with both.

During a previous hearing, the court had asked the DCB to submit the ATR on or before July 5 but extended the time limit by a month today on the submission of the agency that investigation into the case is not yet completed.

Verma’s lawyer K R Koshti opposed DCB’s representation and submitted that the probe agency has not filed chargesheet in the case within the stipulated time period.

After hearing both the sides, the court posted the matter to August 5.

What powers the “Section 498A misuse” bandwagon?
Saturday, 5 July 2014 – 1:07pm IST | Agency: DNA
In 2003, JD Kapur, Delhi High Court judge and author of Laws and Flaws in Marriage: How to Remain Happily Married, stirred a controversy with his judgement in the Savitri Devi case. Playing judge and marriage counsellor both rolled into one and blaming Section 498A of the Indian Penal Code for bringing about a social catastrophe and wrecking havoc on the family, Justice Kapur singled out women who apparently have no compunctions in putting their husbands and in-laws through the torture of the criminal legal process. The police, the stickler for arbitrariness and high-handedness that it is, also came in for strong censure, especially in its ineptitude in handling cases of domestic disputes or marital violence and abuse. Besides the palpable misogyny and a justified outburst against the police, there was no data to substantiate the claim of the calamitous misuse of the provision.
Justice CK Prasad’s judgement in the Arnesh Kumar case delivered earlier this week (2 July 2014), takes off from where Justice Kapur stopped. “The fact that Section 498A 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 a shield by disgruntled wives,” Justice Prasad says. He also goes on to formulate mandatory guidelines which in effect, strike at the heart of the provision brought about to protect women from marital violence. But these guidelines would infact ensure that the police will err on the side of caution rather than make timely, pre-emptive or even deterrent arrests.
The court relies upon mere statistics, saying that from 2011 to 2012, there was a 9.4% increase in the number of cases registered under Section 498A, 6% of those arrested being women (in the words of the court- “mothers and sisters of the husbands were liberally included in their arrest net”) and that Section 498A accounted for 4.5% of total crimes under the penal code – surpassing all offences other than theft and hurt. The court also adds that while the rate of chargesheeting in cases under this section was 93%, the conviction rate was an abysmal 15% and that out of approximately 3,72,706 cases pending trial, nearly 3,17,000 are likely to result in acquittal.
It is evident that the court was tilting at windmills because the statistics and the correlations drawn on their basis remain poles apart. For instance, an increase in the number of offences registered or complaints filed could very well be attributed to more empowered women and a sensitive constabulary. A dismal conviction rate doesn’t allow us to presume that cases were false or frivolous. As a study by Vimochana in Bangalore demonstrated, patently illegal “compromises” – in which victims and their families are induced or threatened into letting the police drop proceedings against the accused, accounted for many cases being passed off as acquittals. Moreover, the National Crime Research Bureau data shows that out of 1,06, 527 cases registered in 2012, 10,235 – around 10% – were “Cases declared false on account of mistake of fact or of law”. In so far as acquittals go, first, it remains unclear how the court arrived at the conclusion of “distinct possibility”. Second, and more fundamentally, in criminal law, where proof beyond reasonable doubt remains the standard, it is trite that marital cruelty would be difficult to prove, for reasons which do not need any restatement here. How could a court stand on such thin ground to allege falsehood?
The malevolent trope of hordes of mendacious women running amok and the ‘498A epidemic’ isn’t a recent one. Nor is the proclivity to make sweeping generalisations in the absence of any data or credible empirical evidence. What’s worse, almost all the sagacious recommendations at reforming the provision, place ‘family values’ and the sanctity of ‘family life’ on a higher pedestal than the safety of a woman’s life and limb.
Justice Kapur’s judgement was preceded by the findings and recommendations of the Malimath Committee on Criminal Justice Reforms (2003) which suggests that Section 498A should be made bailable and compoundable (the case can be withdrawn and settled by mutual agreement between the parties). In para 16.4.4 Justice Malimath states:
“a less tolerant and impulsive woman may lodge an FIR even on a trivial act. The result is that the husband and his family may be immediately arrested and there may be a suspension or loss of job. The offence alleged being non-bailable, innocent persons languish in custody. There may be a claim for maintenance adding fuel to fire, especially if the husband cannot pay.”
Then, in para 14.10.06, he says that the provision being non-bailable and non-compoundable makes it difficult for the couple to resume their marital ties and family lives once the storm has blown over (if only marital violence, cruelty, harassment and deaths for dowry were so trivial!). Also, since matrimonial violence affects only the victims and not societal values, after the wife has gotten a divorce, criminal proceedings against the husband and in-laws must be discontinued.
The 243rd Law Commission report on Section 498A stated:
“the point to be noted is that the value to be attached to the rights of women are no less than the value to be attached to the family as a unit and vice-versa. The challenge before the community is to ensure the promotion of both values.”
Has the absence of data prevented either the government or the courts from surging ahead? The answer is in the negative.
On 22 August 2003 the Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2003 which included a provision to make Section 498A IPC compoundable with permission of the Court, was introduced in the Rajya Sabha. In the meanwhile, Andhra Pradesh had already amended the law in this manner via the Code of Criminal Procedure (Andhra Pradesh Amendment) Act, 2003, which came into force on 1 August 2003. And on 17 December, I.D Swami the Minister of State for Home Affairs, stated:
“There is no information available with the Government to come to the conclusion that many families in India are suffering due to exaggerated allegations of harassment and dowry cases made by women against their husbands and other family members involving them in criminal misappropriation and cruelty.”
Thankfully the proposed amendments couldn’t be passed. But what the legislature failed at, a court driven by inherent patriarchy achieved by cherry-picking. Section 41 of the Code of Criminal Procedure which vests the police with powers to arrest without a warrant, forms the plinth of Justice Prasad’s guidelines. This was enacted on the basis of the 177th Law Commission Report which examined how the police’s carte blanche powers of arrest and their consequent misuse could be prevented. It focused mainly on ‘public’ offences, and made no mention of Section 498A. One cannot help wonder, what could have weighed on the judge’s mind to apply such a ‘reasoning’?

SC narrows list of suspects in dowry deaths
The Supreme Court has held that only persons related to a husband by blood, marriage or adoption can be prosecuted for dowry death offences.
In a ruling, a Bench of Justices C.K. Prasad and Pinaki Chandra Ghose said under Section 304-B of the Indian Penal Code when a woman dies in circumstances other than normal within seven years of marriage, her husband or any relative of his should be deemed to have committed the offence of dowry death if it was shown that the woman was subjected to cruelty or harassment by her husband, or by any relative of her husband before her death.
“This section therefore, exposes the husband of the woman or any relative of her husband for the commission of offence of the dowry death,” the Bench said.
Justice Prasad said, “It is well settled that when the words of a statute are not defined, it has to be understood in their natural, ordinary or popular sense. The term “relative” must be assigned a meaning as is commonly understood. Ordinarily it would include father, mother, husband or wife, son, daughter, brother, sister, nephew or niece, grandson or granddaughter of an individual or the spouse of any person.”
In the present case Gurjit Kaur, wife of Paramjit Singh, died of burns within seven years of marriage. The respondent Gurmit Singh, brother of Paramjit Singh’s aunt, was also cited as an accused. Gurmit Singh argued that he was not related to the husband of the deceased in any manner and, therefore, could not be prosecuted.
While the trial court refused to discharge him, on appeal, the Punjab and Haryana High Court set aside the order summoning him as an accused. The present appeal by the Punjab government is directed against this appeal.
Dismissing the appeal, the Bench said “admittedly, the respondent is not the husband of the woman who died. He is not related to the husband of the deceased either by blood or marriage or adoption. Hence, in our opinion, the High Court did not err in passing the impugned order. We hasten to add that a person, not a relative of the husband, may not be prosecuted for offence under Section 304B but this does not mean that such a person cannot be prosecuted for any other offence viz. Section 306 IPC (abetment to suicide).”

Madras High Court comes to the rescue of Southern Railways
Tamil Nadu
Quashes criminal complaints filed by Inspector of Factories
The Madras High Court has quashed the complaints filed by the Inspector of Factories against certain railway establishments for alleged violation of the Factories Act and the Tamil Nadu Factory Rules.
The prosecution case was that the Deputy Chief Inspector of Factories conducted an inspection at the Engineering Workshop, Southern Railways, Arakkonam, and noticed certain contraventions of the Act and rules.
A certificate for the stability of the building had not been obtained, convex mirror had not been fixed in blind corners, safety committee had not been constituted and there was no crèche.
A show cause notice was issued. Later, a complaint was filed by the Inspector of Factories, First Circle, Vellore.
The Deputy Chief Engineer/Occupier of the Engineering Workshop filed a petition before the High Court stating that all the requirements had been satisfied. The counsel submitted the complaint was totally vexatious without application of mind to the explanation given by the petitioner along with relevant records.
The Additional Public Prosecutor said an explanation had been submitted after filing of the criminal complaint and that could not be considered to exonerate the petitioners. Another explanation was not proper.
Justice T.S. Sivagnanam said the petitioner had submitted his explanations showing cause in respect of the allegations in the notice. In such circumstances, the complainant could not ignore the reply to the notice and proceed to lodge the complaint, as if he had not received any response.
He held that the complaint was vitiated on account of total non-application of mind.
He also dismissed the criminal complaints filed against the Locomotive Workshop, Perambur, for alleged violation of the Act and the rules.

High Court issues show cause notice to Maharashtra govt for non distribution of books to Urdu medium students
Submitted by on 5 July 2014 – 9:18am
By A. Mirsab,,
Mumbai: Aurangabad branch of Bombay High court has issued a show cause notice to Maharashtra state government for non-distribution of syllabi books to XI and XII students of Urdu medium. The notice was issued when the court was hearing a writ petition filed by Student Islamic Organization of India (SIO). The court has asked state to submit in writing reply to the petition within 3 weeks’ time.
The education department of the state has provided syllabus books to English and Marathi medium students of Junior colleges but has withhold books to Urdu medium students of Junior colleges. The students of Urdu medium junior colleges are worried as they are compelled to buy books on their own from private sources.
Considering the problems faced by Urdu medium students South Maharashtra unit of SIO approached Aurangabad bench of Bombay High court and has asked for the intervention of court for providing relief to the worried minority students.
The central issue of the petition is that while the state education department MSBSHSE is providing books to Marathi and English medium students of Junior colleges, the students of Urdu Medium are being neglected – which is arbitrary and irregular in practice.
Due to absence of books from the government thousands of Urdu medium students learning in 562 junior Urdu Medium colleges in the state are forced to buy books from private publications.

High Court orders exhumation of two bodies
They were buried by the side of a cart-track at Navakurichi in Salem
The Madras High Court on Friday directed the authorities in Salem district to exhume two bodies buried by the side of a cart-track at Navakurichi and re-bury them in the burial ground of the community concerned.
“It is deplorable that the parties involved in this writ petition have not allowed the dead to lie in rest,” Justice S. Vaidhyanathan said in his order. He also made it clear that the cost should be recovered from two persons who had buried the bodies in a place not meant for burial. Since the two took government officials for a ride, they should pay Rs.10,000 to the community burial ground.
“Unless the citizens of this country, particularly the villagers, realise that they have to abide by laws and norms prescribed by the government, society will not be in peace but in peril,” he observed in his order on a petition by B.B. Venila, whose husband was panchayat president.
In her petiti n, she said K. Anbalagan, with the help of K. Durai, buried his mother in the land adjacent to that of hers in July last. The land had been mentioned as Vandi pathai (cart-track). The 16th-day ceremony was also held there. A complaint was filed. Even as the petition was pending, the body of Mr. Anbalagan’s father was also buried in the same place. She prayed that the court direct the authorities to remove the bodies.
In use for 200 years
Mr. Anbalagan and Mr. Durai argued that the place where the bodies were buried was being used for burial for more than 200 years. The court-appointed Advocate-Commissioner reported that the place where the bodies were buried was not a burial ground, but a cart-track.
The Tahsildar submitted that there was enmity between the families of the petitioner and those of Mr. Anbalagan and Mr. Durai over the local bodies elections. Two cases were registered for the burial of the bodies in violation of rules.
Mr. Justice Vaidyanathan said that the Advocate-Commissioner reported that the bodies were buried in the cart-track, the burial was made adjacent to the track, by the side of the petitioner’s plot. When there were hospitals, temples, bank and other public places in and around the area, using a poromboke land without permission as a burial ground was not appropriate.

Bombay High Court upholds 10-year term for gang rapists based on victim’s testimony
Sunday, 6 July 2014 – 7:00am IST | Agency: DNA
• DNA Correspondent

The Bombay High Court recently upheld a 10-year jail term handed to two youths for gang raping a minor girl in 2011 on the basis of the victim’s testimony.
Justice V M Deshpande upheld the conviction of Narayan Ashok Ragade, 23, and Rahim Bashir Shah, 28, both residents of Shah Nagar in Aurangabad. “The evidence of the prosecutrix shows she has given a detail account of the acts committed by the appellants. There is nothing in the evidence to suggest that she was not subjected to sexual intercourse against her will,” observed the court.
As per the prosecution’s case, the 14-year-old victim was staying with her mother at the time of the incident. On November 2, 2011, she had gone to another house which belonged to them, but was partially constructed. Narayan knocked on the door, but she did not open it. A few hours later, the girl stepped out to buy groceries, when the accused took her to a brick kiln nearby and allegedly raped her.
The girl somehow managed to escape and told her mother, who took her to the police station and lodged a complaint. Acting on the First Information Report (FIR), the accused were arrested. During the trial, the prosecution examined 11 witnesses in the sessions court. While the accused claimed they were falsely implicated, the court convicted them on on October 21, 2013, based on the testimonies of the victim and other witnesses and medical evidence on record. This order was challenged in high court.
The high court rejected the arguments made by the accused and upheld the sentence.

Odisha High Court asks investigating officer to file detailed affidavit on 2nd kidney sale case
Saturday, July 05, 2014
Cuttack: Not satisfied with the affidavit filed by the investigating Police Officer in the alleged kidney sale case, the Odisha High Court on Friday asked the IO to file a fresh affidavit in the court by Monday, detailing the investigations made so far in the case.
The Cuttack city police have arrested at least seven persons, including Director of a Vishakhapatnam-based private hospital Dr N Prabhakar Babu, in an alleged kidney sale case involving a city woman. Babu has already been remanded in judicial custody for 14 days after he was produced before a lower court here on Thursday.

Adjourning the hearing on the habeas corpus writ filed by the arrested Vizag doctor’s wife, a Division Bench of Justices Indrajit Mohanti and Sangam Kumar Sahoo fixed the matter to be heard again on Tuesday after the copy of IO’s affidavit is served on the petitioner counsel.
As directed by the court, the local Mangalabag police station inspector SK Sinha appearing personally in the court failed to answer satisfactorily to the queries of the court. Sinha, who had led a team of three policemen to the neighbouring State a fortnight ago to arrest Babu, returned here only on Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, Babu’s wife N Rathnakumari had approached the HC for its intervention to release her ailing husband from police detention. Babu was taken into police custody on June 17 from his Seven Hills Hospital complex. Soon later, he was taken ill. Only after the Andhra Pradesh High Court’s intervention, the Cuttack police managed to bring him here on transit remand.

Mumbai auto union moves high court for auto, taxi fare hike
Shibu Thomas, TNN | Jul 4, 2014, 08.31PM IST
MUMBAI:A fortnight after the MMRTA proposed to increase the auto and taxi fares in Mumbai by Rs 2, the Mumbai Rickshawmen’s Union approached the Bombay high court seeking orders to implement the hike. Claiming hardships and the rise of prices the union’s application also seeks to intervene in the PIL filed by the Mumbai Grahak Panchayat against the last fare hike. Since the PIL is pending in the high court, the state is yet to pass a formal order to hike fares.

As per the MMRTA’s proposal the minimum fares for autis in Mumbai and its suburbs would go up to Rs 17 from the existing Rs 15, while the taxis fares would rise from Rs 19 to Rs 21. The last round of fare hike took place in October 2012 based on the one man Hakim committee’s report. The MGP — a consumer rights body — had then challenged the fare hike as well as the report of the Hakim committee. The PIL is pending before the high court.

The MRU claimed that the Hakim committee had prescribed annual revision of fare hikes in May on the basis of cost of living and other factors. They have pointed to the rise in CNG rates and other commodities to support the fare hike proposal.
Consumer activists however have sought better facilities and action on complaints of refusal and overcharging before any fare hike is again implemented. The MRU’s application is likely to come up for hearing before the high court next week.

Fill all posts of information commissioners by August 14: HC
Ajay Parmar, TNN | Jul 5, 2014, 08.58AM IST
JODHPUR: The Rajasthan high court on Friday ordered the state government to fill up all the vacant positions of the information commissioners by August 14 in order to ensure speed up disposal of the pending appeals in the state information commission. The court has also asked the government to make functioning of the commission effective in tune with the fundamental principles of the RTI Act so that the common man need not face any hurdle in obtaining information.

A division bench of the court comprising Justice Dinesh Maheshwari and Justice Banwari Lal Sharma gave passed the order while disposing of the petition filed by Dinesh Bothra. The petitioner said the state government has appointed only one Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) in state, whereas the Act demanded appointment a minimum of one and a maximum 10 information commissioner with the CIC.

Bothra’s counsel B S Sandhu argued in the court that in absence of information commissioners, the commission was not authorized for second appeals and hearing the petitions as per the provisions of the Act. “But the despite need of the commission as a multi-personnel structure, the state government has not appointed the information commissioners as provided by the Act,” Sandhu argued.
In reply to Sandhu’s arguments, the Additional Advocate General informed the court that the process for appointment of information commissioners has already been initiated. “The government has received 119 applications, which are being screened by a committee comprising the chief minister, the leader of opposition and a cabinet minister. This committee would submit the list of short-listed candidates to the governor after completing the screening by July 24, after the approval of which, the appointments would be made,” the AAG informed.

Hearing both the sides, the court ordered that the government must complete the process and ensure appointment of information commissioners by August 14. Besides, the court also direct the government to make the functioning of the commission effective for the common man.

Huda, Das move Central Administrative Tribunal against DGPs
TNN | Jul 6, 2014, 01.35 AM IST
HYDERABAD: Senior IPS officers SA Huda and Tarini Prasad Das on Saturday filed a petition in the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) challenging the appointment of their junior colleagues JV Ramudu and Anurag Sharma as DGPs of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana respectively. Besides making the chief secretaries of both the states and the Union home secretary as respondents, they made the DGPs as parties to the case.

The petitioners also expressed an apprehension that the AP government may extend the tenure of Ramudu, who is set to retire at the end of July, and urged the tribunal not to allow it, saying it was unlawful to promote Ramudu and Anurag as DG when there were no vacancies in that rank. The whole process of IPS cadre division between the two states and the consequent provisional allotment process was done only to make Ramudu and Anurag as DGPs, the petitioners contended.

They described the whole process as illegal and urged the tribunal to set aside the promotions given to Ramudu and Anurag while appointing themselves as DGPs as they happen to be the senior-most officers.

MAIL TODAY COMMENT: Judiciary stands up to executive
PUBLISHED: 00:22 GMT, 6 July 2014 | UPDATED: 00:22 GMT, 6 July 2014
The judiciary has made it clear that it will not be a pushover for the new NDA government
The judiciary, which relentlessly pursued and acted against the previous UPA government in a series of scams, has made it clear that it will not be a pushover for the new NDA government.
This is evident from Chief Justice R. M. Lodha’s remarks that the government’s decision to scuttle the appointment of former Solicitor General Gopal Subramanium’s appointment as a Supreme Court judge was “not proper.”
There is no ambiguity about what the Chief Justice intends to do if he feels the executive is interfering in the affairs of the judiciary.
“I promise the 1.2 billion people of India that the independence of judiciary will not be compromised…I will be the first person to leave this chair if the judiciary’s independence is compromised,” Lodha has said.
Lodha described the NDA decision to “unilaterally” segregate Subramanium from the panel of four names recommended by the collegium for appointment as Supreme Court judges as “not proper”.
He said what “really shocked” him were questions about the judiciary’s independence.
Matters could have reached a flashpoint if Subramanium had not withdrawn his candidature as the collegium could have re-submitted his name.
All of this brings into focus the current system of appointing judges through the collegium system.
With several more vacancies likely to come up in the Supreme Court in the near future, any more differences could adversely impact the relationship between the judiciary and the executive.
The executive is effectively kept out of the collegium’s system of appointing judges and the NDA is widely expected to follow the UPA’s move to amend the law governing the process.
Reports have suggested the NDA will hold consultations on setting up a National Judicial Commission to replace the collegium system so that the executive can have a say in the matter.
The government’s desire to act now on the issue of the National Judicial Commission is apparently linked to the fact that several recommendations by the collegium were returned in the past five years because of allegations against the candidates.
Given the Chief Justice’s assertion about upholding the independence of the judiciary, the government will have to ensure that any future system of appointing judges is to the satisfaction of both the judiciary and the executive.
Any stand-off between these two key pillars of democracy will benefit no one.

Judge, Jury And Executioner
How the government turned the cogs to stall Subramanium’s appointment
Intelligence Bureau
• Cleared Subramanium in one report, cast aspersions on him in the next, to the law ministry
• Wrote to the CBI with newspaper clippings demanding confirmation of a dispute
• Advised the President to sign warrants without knowledge and concurrence of the CJI President
• Agreed to segregation of names, signed warrants without confirming if the CJI was consulted
• Cast unsubstantiated aspersions on Subramanium, quoting anonymous sources in the government
• His emotional outburst painted him in a bit of poor light too
In the 64 years since 1950, only six lawyers have been invited to be Supreme Court judges, four have taken the bench so far. To see those figures in perspective, consider that, during the same period (till June 2014), the SC has had 210 judges. The last a lawyer was made an SC judge—it was N. Santosh Hegde—was in 1999. Of the lawyers raised to the SC bench, one—Justice S.M. Sikri—retired as the chief justice of India (CJI). Senior advocate and former solicitor-general Gopal Subra¬man¬ium, 56, invited to the bench this year, could have risen to become CJI—if the sly media campaign against him, launched with the obvious blessings of the government, had not led to him withdrawing consent.
The damning dribbles were all attributed to anonymous sources and the government did not utter a word of denial. First, it was said the government did not favour Subramanium; then, the disfavour was justified with contents from allegedly adverse reports on Sub¬ra-manium from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) and the Central Bureau of Invest¬igation (CBI); finally, the government confirmed that it had segregated Subra¬manium’s name and cleared the rest of the names recommended by the collegium that selects judges.
The reaction of CJI R.M. Lodha to these developments, which took place when he was abroad, could not have been sharper. “I’ve taken objection to the segregation unilaterally done by the executive without my knowledge and concurrence. It was not proper,” he declared. He said he’d consistently fought for the “non-negotiable” independence of the judiciary, and if it was threatened, he’d be the first to quit. This was a public rap on the knuckles of Union law minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, but the usually garrulous minister responded with stoic silence. Anonymous sources again piped up with calibrated innuendo, hinting they could do even more damage to Subramanium’s reputation. Subraman¬ium continues to be blamed for releasing his letter of withdrawal to the CJI.
Some jurists underplay the controversy: they call it a procedural impropriety; the government can only be blamed for not having the courtesy to inform the CJI. But the larger legal fraternity sees in the events the government’s willingness to interfere in judicial appointments. Justice Lodha retires in September after one of the shortest tenures as CJI—barely five months—and this may have emboldened the government to do what it did. The President has already signed the appointment of three of the four names recommended to the bench, so the CJI is left with little option but to administer the oath of office to them.
The government certainly departed from procedure. The practice, if it has reservations on even one name, is to return the entire list. By segregating one name without the CJI’s knowledge, it essentially interfered with the collegium’s prerogative to examine the objections and change its mind. It also deprived Subramanium of any opportunity for rebuttal or redress. Worse, it ensured that if he is at all nominated again, he’d lose his seniority. It is not clear, too, if the President was aware of the segregation. If he was, jurists say, he might well have advised the government to wait till the CJI returned. The appointments were hardly an urgent matter, for the SC was on vacation.
There are more hints of machinations at work. The IB’s informal report to the CJI cleared Subramanium’s name. But a later report to the PMO—according to leaks to the media or anonymous sour¬ces—pointed out “oddities”, including his spiritual inclinations. This would have been seen as farcical, but media rep¬orts have the government citing this in annulling the wisdom of the five seniormost SC judges on the collegium. Anonymous sources were also quoted saying Subra¬manium’s interest in the occ¬ult and his turning up at Parliament in a veshti (south Indian dhoti) after the 2001 terror strike also went against him. The leaked report also cited a snippet from the infamous Radia tapes, in which lobbyist Niira Radia discusses with ind¬ustrialist Ratan Tata the possibility of giv¬ing Subramanium a complimentary membership for use of a swimming pool at the Taj hotel in Delhi. It leaves out that Radia also said in the conversation that Subramanium was far too upright to be influenced—even if he accepted the offer.
The CBI plays no role in the appointment of judges, but the law ministry, citing news reports, had sought official word on a dispute between Subrama¬nium and the agency. A CBI insider said, “It was just a matter of record, and since there was official correspondence bet¬ween Subramanium and CBI on the issue, the agency confirmed it.” But the fact that Subramanium represented the agency before and after this dispute was glossed over. Clearly, the government has been proactive in building a case—however flimsy—against Subramanium.
The widespread belief is that Amit Shah, the PM’s confidant who’s tipped to be the next BJP president, does not want Subramanium as an SC judge. The lawyer was amicus curiae in the fake encounter killing of Sohrabuddin Shaikh, in which Shah was chargesheeted. He opposed unconditional bail and tightened the net around Shah.
The charge that a vindictive governm¬ent tripped up Subramanium because of his past association with the UPA and cases related to Gujarat is, however, com¬pli¬cated by the fact that Rohinton Nari¬man, the other lawyer invited this year to the bench and cleared by the colleg¬ium, was cleared though he’d ser¬ved the UPA as law officer and argued cases agai¬nst the Gujarat government. But then, Nariman hadn’t crossed Shah’s path.
A lawyer with a reputation for legal acumen and probity, Subramanium was first considered for elevation when he was barely 39, say people who know him. He was dropped because then he would have remained a judge of the apex court for 26 years. He was again sounded in 2011, but turned it down as a relative was an SC judge at the time. On the third sounding, this year, he had consented.
With as many as eight SC judges retiring this year and with six current vacancies, the appointment of judges is going to be an exercise that will be watched closely and contested bitterly during the next several months.

Facing Manifold Mounting Problems
So the Narendra Modi-led BJP Government at the Centre has at last been forced to act against hoarding of onions and potatoes. Yesterday it brought these two vegeables under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955. This move, whose purpose is to empower State governments to undertake dehoarding operations and control the prices of these commodities which are definitely shooting up, was taken by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Now the States will be free to impose their own stock holding limits; this is primarily for retailers in respect of the storage of these two products.
The BJP is essentially a traders’ oarty, no matter howsoever much it claims that in the 2014 elections it got electoral endorsement from all sections of the polity. Traders constitute the core of the party’s support-base. It is thus interesting to find the BJP taking measures that would act against the traders’ hoarding operations. This only goes to show how the party is facing the music while in power. After all, governance is not a child’s play. Of course this step is a knee-jerk reaction as the party has run out of options. Already those at the lower rungs of the socio-economic ladder are groaning under the incessant rise in prices of essential foodstuffs in particular.
Meanwhile, the Chief Justice of India has spoken out on the Gopal Subramanium issue. In a public speech on July 1 Chief Justice R.M. Lodha said:
The first thing I had taken objection to was the segregation of Gopal Subramanium’s file unilaterally by the executive. It is not proper… It was done unilaterally… without my knowledge and consent.
By this statement the CJI made it abundantly clear that he strongly disapproved of such a move by the executive. But what he said thereafter was even more noteworthy.
What really shocked me were questions regarding the independence of the judiciary. I have always fought for it and I will be the first person to leave this chair if it is compromised. I promise 1.2 billion people of India that independence of the judiciary will not be compromised.
Analysing the CJI’s open disapproval of the government’s act, The Indian Express has aptly observed:
Those are strong words and they go a long way in reassuring those who have watched the building confrontation in recent days between an executive emboldened by a decisive mandate and the judiciary with growing apprehension. Justice R.M. Lodha’s intervention holds out the assurance that a hard-won and delicate institutional balance will be safeguarded. It also demands an answer from the government.
Without a cogent explanation as to why it chose to do what it did in the Gopal Subramanium case, the Modi Government will not be able to remove the shadow of doubt regarding its adherence to the concept of an independent judiciary notwithstanding all the assertions of the Union Law Minister to the effect that it holds the judiciary in the ‘highest esteem’.
Since it assumed power, there have been direct and surreptitious attempts to muzzle freedom of expression generating loud protests from secular democrats of all hues. The Narendra Modi dispensation cannot get sanction from the public at large by diversionary steps including wild attacks on its political adversaries by employing such terms as “pseudo-secular”. In all such matters it needs to mend its ways and not adopt confrontationist postures.
In the wider world the situation in Iraq has turned grave with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) declaring the establishment of a caliphate in the territory under its control in Syria and Iraq, and the self-proclaimed ‘caliph’ Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, head of the group which now describes itself as the Islamic State (IS), issuing the call for a global Jihad to avenge the violations committed against Muslims (read Sunnis) worldwide. In this scenario India finds itself one of the prime targets of attack. Is the Modi Government prepared to meet the challenge by ways and means suited to the Indian genius and steering clear of any communal approach? The question cannot be evaded for long.


One Response

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google+ photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: