LEGAL NEWS 10.07.2014

Get Zee editors’ voice samples, cops told
TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 02.54 AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has directed Delhi police to collect the voice samples of the Zee editors in the presence of the experts in an extortion case. The court was hearing a revision plea filed by Zee editors Samir Ahluwalia and Sudhir Chaudhary against a magisterial court order. The editors had sought the session court’s direction for collection of voice sample in the presence of a judicial magistrate.

Additional Sessions judge Bharat Parashar ordered police to collect the voice sample of the Zee editors Samir in the CFSL (Central Forensic Science Laboratory) laboratory in the presence of the experts. “It will be appropriate if the CFSL experts at CBI laboratory are directed to prepare a text inter-mixed with sufficient sentences from the questioned text which may facilitate the examination of voice sample identification by them (Zee editors),” the court said observing that it will strike a fine balance between the right of the accused persons and the state in carrying out a proper and fair investigation.

Ahluwalia and Chaudhary along with Zee group chairman Subhash Chandra are facing trial in a forgery case for attempting to extort money from Congress leader Jindal’s company— Jindal Steel and Power Limited allegedly in exchange for not filing news reports linking his firm to the coal blocks allocation in 2012.

SC notice to Salman after Rajasthan govt opposes HC reprieve
TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 12.17 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked Bollywood star Salman Khan to respond to a petition by Rajasthan government which said it was wrong on the high court’s part to suspend his conviction and sentence under Wildlife Protection Act merely to facilitate his travel abroad.

Khan was convicted in the black buck killing case by a Jodhpur magisterial court under Section 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act on April 10, 2006. On appeal, the sessions court on August 24, 2007 upheld the magistrate’s decision to convict him and sentence him to five years simple imprisonment and a fine of Rs 25,000. The HC on November 12 last year stayed the conviction and sentence on Khan’s appeal.

Appearing for the state, senior advocate V Prakash said courts were traditionally reluctant to stay conviction in criminal cases. He said the HC erred by staying Khan’s conviction only on the ground that it was coming in the way of the actor travelling to certain countries like the UK, which do not allow entry to convicts.

“The reason for suspension of conviction has been only for the purpose that the respondent/accused may travel abroad. Such logic is legally unsustainable and may set a bad precedent,” the state said.

A bench of Justices S J Mukhopadhaya and S A Bobde, after a brief hearing on Rajasthan’s appeal, issued notice to Khan and asked him to file reply within four weeks.

Row over Sanskrit language: High Court asks Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan to respond to PIL
By PTI | 9 Jul, 2014, 07.31PM IST
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court today asked Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS) to file its response to a PIL seeking quashing of its notifications to introduce foreign languages in place of Sanskrit as third language in classes VI to VIII from academic session 2011-12.

“File your (KVS) counter (affidavit) or ask your Commissioner to appear in person before the court if the reply is not filed,” a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said.

The bench, which listed the matter for August 6, was hearing the plea filed by Sanskrit Shikshak Sangh through its president Dheerendra Kumar Jha.

The PIL challenges the decision of KVS to introduce foreign languages like German, French, Chinese and Spanish in place of Sanskrit as third language from the academic session 2011-12 in classes VI to VIII.

The petition, filed through lawyer Monika Arora, said that the notifications are against the fundamental rights of the citizens and Sanskrit teachers have been asked by KVS to take training in these foreign languages, so that they may teach these languages in due course in place of Sanskrit.

“Issue a writ in the nature of mandamus directing the respondents to take effective measures for promotion and education of Sanskrit as provided in National Curriculum Framework for School Education,” it said.

“The action of the respondents (KVS and CBSE) would cause irreparable damage to Sanskrit language and Indian culture and as a result, the next generation would not learn Sanskrit and hardly have any knowledge of Sanskrit and the rich ancient Indian culture.

This is also in violation of the various provisions of the Constitution of India as also violation of the various Supreme Court judgments,” the plea said.

The training of KVS teachers to make them “proficient in teaching German” would be restricted to Sanskrit teachers only, it said.

“Foreign languages viz. German, French, Spanish, Russian and Chinese language are being promoted at the cost of Sanskrit,” it said.

Tamil Nadu government to decide if schools can still be called matriculation
TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 05.52 AM IST
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government, which ushered in the uniform system of school education (Samacheer Kalvi) three academic years ago, will decide on the fate of schools still calling themselves matriculation and Anglo-Indian institutions soon, the Madras high court was informed on Wednesday.

A submission to this effect was made by additional government pleader (education) P Sanjay Gandhi, when a PIL seeking abolition of these boards came up for hearing before the first bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice M M Sundresh. “The government will take appropriate and necessary

steps in the matter soon,” Gandhi said. The bench then adjourned the matter by a week for further proceedings.

The matter relates to a PIL filed by the Cuddalore-based Parents Union for Students Educational Rights (PUSER), seeking abolition of nomenclatures still being used by schools even after the state switched to the Samacheer Kalvi system after discontinuing matriculation, oriental and Anglo-Indian streams.

The association said private schools were clinging on to now-irrelevant nomenclature, mainly to divert attention of people and charge hefty school fees by claiming they ensure standards higher than government schools or other schools offering Samacheer Kalvi education.

Mumbai High Court to hear PIL against Maratha reservation
Jul 09, 2014 at 12:28pm IST
Mumbai: A Public Interest Litigation against Maharashtra government providing 16 per cent reservation for Marathas, is scheduled to come up in Mumbai High Court on Wednesday.
The PIL filed by activist Ketan Tirodkar, said that Marathas are not a caste and they are a linguistic group. It said that they are a dominant community and not backward.
The PIL stated that the 16 per cent reservation is against the Supreme Court order which set a 50 per cent limit on quota.
The Maharashtra Cabinet had cleared a 16 per cent quota for the native Marathas in the state last month. It also approved 5 per cent reservation for the Muslim population.
The Chavan government had actually sought a 20 per cent quota.
Reservations already exist among OBCs for a section of Marathas, known as Kunbis. Maratha Kunbis, who are largely agriculturists, constituted 31.5 per cent of the population. They have a large presence in Vidarbha and Konkan.
At present, a total 356 backward castes get 19 per cent reservations, 51 scheduled castes and tribes get 11 per cent and 11 other castes in the special backward category get 2 per cent.

HC passes strictures against govt for shielding corrupted officers
Thursday, 10 July 2014 0:04
• Written by: admin
• Editor KR
Jammu: A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice MM Kumar and Justice Tashi Rabstan Wednesday issued various directions of wide public importance in a much publicized PIL filed by two social activists.
The bench after hearing advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed with advocate Suraj Singh appearing for the PIL whereas senior additional advocate general Gagan Basotra for the state and senior advocate Sunil Sethi with advocate Ankesh Chandel expressed its dissatisfaction over the pace of 147 departmental inquiries pending against various gazetted/non-gazetted officers of the state against whom there are serious allegations of corruption, misappropriation and fraudulent transactions causing heavy loss to the public exchequer.
The court after going through the compliance reports dated May 29, June 6, July 4 and July 7, 2014, observed that it has been submitted that 12 departmental inquiries have been disposed of by different departments including School Education, Cooperative Department, Health and Medical Education Department, Rural Development Department, Public Works Department and J&K Special Tribunal.
The court further observed that it has not been disclosed in these 12 inquiries as to what were the nature of allegations and the status of the delinquent employees.
“The court is constraint to observe that the GAD is slack in securing information from the concerned departments for obvious reasons and the concerned departments are shying away in disclosing complete information. Our attention has been drawn to annexure R-4 which gives the list of cases pending against officers/officials. The name of the officer is concealed nor the present place of posting has been revealed. Is it with the apprehension that there nexus with might would be exposed or with some other motives? The perusal of the list would show that the officers suffer from serious allegations,” the court said.
“At item number 5, for example, the name of the officer has been withheld, who belongs to Revenue Department, nor his place of posting has been revealed. Officers suffer from the allegation of transfer of 1200 kanals of government land to land grabbers in Kot Balwal area of Jammu.”
The court further said that if a person who faces serious allegations of corruptions he would not deserve a public-dealing posting. The DB also issued directions for immediate filling up of the post of CPOs in order to make seven courts of additional district and session judges who have been empowered to deal with cases under prevention of corruption. The court also took serious note of inaction on the part of the Higher Education Department for not taking action against two Principals namely Prof Nutan Kumar Resudra and Prof Hemla Aggrawal. The then Principal Government Degree College Rajouri, presently, Nodal Principal GGM Science College Jammu and then Principal SPMR College of Commerce Jammu and presently Principal government degree college for women Parade Jammu.— CNS

Water woes at Dwarka: HC seeks response from govt, DJB
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 9, 2014 Last Updated at 20:32 IST
The Delhi High Court today sought responses from the city government and Delhi Jal Board on a PIL seeking a direction to hand over possession of land to DDA for laying pipelines to Dwarka water treatment plant.

A bench comprising Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice R S Endlaw also asked the DJB to file a status report detailing the steps taken in this regard.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Dwarka resident advocate S B Tripathi alleging that adequate water supply to his area has not been ensured due to non-laying of pipes water treatment plant in the area.

The plea had sought a direction to Delhi government to hand over possession of land to DDA near villages Dichaun Kalan, Sakarwati, Masoodabad, Mubarakpur Dabass, Rani Khera and Nagli for ensuring laying of water pipelines to ensure adequate water supply to Dwarka area.

“At time of granting sanction to DDA for establishment of Dwarka sub-city, DJB had made clear way back in 1993 that DJB had no water to spare for Dwarka and DDA would have to make its own arrangement till DJB was able to do the same.

“Unfortunately DDA developed Dwarka without making any arrangement for Dwarka and is relying, even today, on water supplied by DJB from its Nangloi Water Treatment Plant,” the petition claimed.

It has also sought a direction to DJB and Haryana to complete the 103 km-long Carrier Lined Channel from Munak to Haiderpur, also known as “Munak Canal”, through which water is to be supplied by Haryana to Delhi.

“Direct the DJB to supply an additional 2.20 MGD of water from Nagloi water treatment plant to DDA in Command Tank-2 at Madhu Vihar for Dwarka,” the plea said.

Calcutta High Court seeks Bengal government’s views on Tapas Pal remarks
Wednesday, 9 July 2014 – 7:46pm IST | Place: Kolkata | Agency: PTI
The Calcutta High Court on Wednesday sought West Bengal government’s views on Trinamool Congress (TMC) MP Tapas Pal’s derogatory comments against women and opposition party supporters in connection with a petition seeking action against him.
Justice Dipankar Dutta directed government pleader Ashok Banerjee to clarify the West Bengal government’s stand and take its instructions on it while adjourning the matter till July 17. Banerjee submitted that the petition was a PIL and as such should be heard by a division bench.
The court said that the question of admissibility and whether the petition was only a writ petition or a PIL would be decided after the state came up with its position.
A PIL was filed before the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday seeking suo moturegistration of FIR by the West Bengal Police and penal action against TMC MP Tapas Pal who is in the eye of a storm over his derogatory comments against women.
Samit Sanyal, a lawyer, filed the petition before the high court last week, praying that the state police take suo motu action and register an FIR against Pal, who has tendered a written apology to his party and the media for his remarks.
He prayed that the court take cognizance of the MP’s comments and direct the West Bengal government to take action against Pal, senior counsel Subrata Mukhopadhyay, who represented Sanyal in court, said.
It was also prayed before the court that as Pal has said in his letter of apology that the incident occurred during the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha election, the Election Commission be asked to take action against him, who was re-elected from Krishnagarseat.
“Some remarks made by me in the heat and dust of the election campaign have caused dismay and consternation. I apologise unreservedly for them,” Pal said in the letter.
Pal tendered the unconditional apology for his threat to kill Communist Party of India (Marxist) CPI-M workers and unleash “his boys” to rape their women after he was asked by an embarrassed party leadership to do so following widespread outrage.

SC restrains states on giving remission to life convicts
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 09, 2014, 18:49

New Delhi: The Supreme Court today restrained all states from exercising power of remission for releasing convicts from jail who are serving life sentence and sought their response whether the Centre’s nod was needed for the purpose in cases prosecuted by central agencies like CBI.

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice R M Lodha issued notices to all state government asking them to file their response by July 18 so that the matter can be taken up for hearing on July 22.

“Meanwhile, state governments are restrained from exercising power of remission for releasing life convicts till the next date of hearing,” the bench, also comprising justices J S Khehar, J Chelameswar, A K Sikri and Rohinton Nariman said in an interim order.

The bench made it clear that there was need for a categorical response “whether in CBI cases, states have any role on the question of remission to life convicts”.

The issue of remission was referred to the Constitution Bench after the Centre had challenged the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to remit the sentences of all seven convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case.

The court had on February 20 stayed the state government’s decision to release three convicts–Murugan, Santhan and Arivu– whose death sentence was commuted to life term by it on February 18 in the case.

It had later on also stayed release of four other convicts Nalini, Robert Pious, Jayakumar and Ravichandran in the case, saying there were procedural lapses on the part of the state government.

When the matter came for hearing along with other similarly situated convicts including the Red Fort attack case, Solicitor General Ranjit Kumar submitted that Tamil Nadu Government has no power to exercise jurisdiction in the cases investigated and prosecuted by the central probe agencies like CBI.

“Today Tamil Nadu has exercised power (of remission). Tomorrow other states would also,” he submitted while reading out the April 25 order of the apex court when the matter was referred to the Constitution Bench by framing the issues that need to be deliberated.

The Solicitor General said in the cases filed by the CBI or other central agencies, the Central Government is the appropriate authority to take such calls.

He said while considering the issue of remission, there was also a need to look into the rights of the victims. The bench also made it clear that it would not go beyond the questions which were framed in the Reference.

However, during the brief hearing, the bench also posed a question to the Centre that in the case in hand how the writ petition was maintainable.

“How is the writ petition maintainable. You have to file a written submission on the question of maintainability the bench said.

The Jayalalithaa government had on February 19 decided to set free all the seven convicts who have been in jail for 23 years for their role in Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination on May 21, 1991 in Sriperumbudur.

The apex court had referred the case to the Constitution Bench saying this issue has been raised for the first time before the court and an authoritative pronouncement is required on the matter which could have wide ramifications.

“Accordingly, we refer this matter to the Constitution Bench to decide the issue pertaining to whether once power of remission under Article 72(by the President) or 161 (by Governor)or by this Court exercising Constitutional power under Article 32 is exercised, is there any scope for further consideration for remission by the executive,” it said.

It had said that the Constitution bench will also decide whether the sentence of a prisoner, whose death penalty has been commuted to life, can be remitted by government.

The Constitution bench will also decide whether life imprisonment meant jail term for rest of the life or a convict has a right to claim remission.

It will also decide whether a special category of sentence may be made for cases where death penalty might be substituted by the punishment of imprisonment for life or imprisonment for a term in excess of fourteen years and to put that category beyond application of remission.

It will also decide whether the Union or the State has primacy over the subject matter enlisted in concurrent list of Seventh Schedule of the Constitution for exercise of power of remission.

First Published: Wednesday, July 09, 2014, 18:49

HC reserves order on PIL maintainability against Vadra firms
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The Delhi High Court on Wednesday reserved its order on maintainability of a PIL seeking a court-monitored CBI probe into various land deals allegedly entered into by Robert Vadra firms.
A bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw, which had so far not issued a notice on the PIL, reserved its order after hearing brief arguments of advocate M.L. Sharma, who had filed the plea in his personal capacity.
“First satisfy us on the the issue of jurisdiction of this court,” the bench said.
The cause of action partially had arisen in Delhi as various offices and constitutional bodies such as Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) and Ministry of Urban development are located here, the lawyer said.
“I have already given a representation to the CBI. But it neither registered an FIR nor lodged even a preliminary enquiry in the case which relates to huge loss caused to the exchequer during 2005 to 2012,” he said.
He also submitted a copy of a recent Supreme Court judgement which directs police authorities to register an FIR “mandatorily” if the allegations disclose the commission of cognizable offences/offences.
The plea had also sought a probe into grant of licenses to change land use of agricultural plots purchased by Vadra companies in Gurgaon.

Court summons Swaroopanand Saraswati on complaint of Sai Baba devotee
Last Updated: Wednesday, July 09, 2014, 22:05
Indore: A local court on Wednesday issued summons to Shankaracharya of Dwarka Peeth, Swaroopanand Saraswati asking him to appear before it on August 8 after it took cognisance of a complaint filed against the seer for allegedly making controversial statements against Sai Baba of Shirdi.

“The court of Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM), Deepak Pande issued summons to the Shankaracharya on a complaint filed by a devotee of Sai Baba, Rajesh Shivsangia (50),” his lawyer Ashwin Kumar Adhyaru told reporters.

The court took cognisance of the complaint under section 298 (giving statement with an intention to hurt religious feelings) of the Indian Penal Code and directed the 90-year-old seer to appear before it on the next hearing (August 8).

Shivsangia, who runs a gents beauty parlour in Rajwada area, had filed a complaint on June 25 alleging that the religious feelings of himself and lakhs of devotees of Sai Baba were hurt due to the statements made by Shankaracharya.

The complainant had also submitted a CD of the statements purportedly made by the seer, Adhyaru said.

Three witnesses have so far recorded their statements before the court against Shankaracharya whose comments have caused a lot of furore. Devotees of Sai Baba had filed a string of cases against him for hurting their sentiments, at various places in the country.

The devotees had also taken out rallies at various places against the seer for asking them to desist from worshipping Sai Baba.


First Published: Wednesday, July 09, 2014, 22:05

‘No case against Justice Ganguly’
Ajanta Chakraborty,TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 01.48 AM IST
KOLKATA: The ministry of home affairs (MHA) has cleared the air about Justice (retd) Asok Kumar Ganguly, saying there is no case against him. It has referred to the Delhi Police’s feedback that there isn’t adequate evidence to lodge an FIR against Justice Ganguly and no probe is on against him.

The former Supreme Court judge was indicted by a three-member apex court committee for “unwelcome conduct of sexual nature” towards a woman who was interning with him in December, 2012, though the allegations came a year later in a blog entry on a legal portal. The judge eventually resigned as chairperson of West Bengal Human Rights Commission.

The MHA’s declaration comes in response to a letter from BJP leader Subramanian Swamy. Soon after the apex court panel held Ganguly “prime facie guilty”, the BJP leader shot a letter to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to take steps to end the “witch-hunt against Justice Ganguly”.

Swami told TOI on Wednesday: “I wrote to the PM that it was extremely important at that juncture to get an investigation completed before any precipitate action was taken merely to make out Justice Ganguly guilty without an opportunity of being heard.” He added, “What will the media say now? Everyone at that time was out to malign the judge and had him removed from the rights panel.”

Ganguly had resigned from WBHRC in January, just before the Union Cabinet passed a proposal for sending a presidential reference to the SC to remove him. The MHA has written to Swamy that the Delhi Police has said the probe into the sexual harassment complaint has been suspended since the complainant has not been cooperating with the police despite repeated appeals.

“The Delhi Police have further informed that despite repeated requests, the woman complainant has not joined the inquiry and hence no further inquiry into the incident of alleged unwelcome behaviour of the former SC judge was possible,” the MHA wrote, adding, “Delhi Police added that the available material in the public domain on the issue did not disclose sufficient ground to proceed with the filing of the FIR under Section 154 of the Code of Criminal Procedure.”

On December 7, after TOI reported the matter, the intern was asked to record her statement before the police so that a criminal case could be initiated against Ganguly. At that time, the intern wrote to the police that she was out of the country and needed time to appear before the cops.

The judge had the rights body take suo motu cognizance of maximum violation cases in Bengal, thus inviting the ruling party’s wrath. After his resignation, the commission has become almost non-functional with no permanent chairperson.

“I’m a victim of circumstances,” Ganguly had told the three-judge fact-finding committee by then chief justice P S Sathasivam. The complainant, on the other hand, said the judge, who was “old enough to be her grandfather”, harassed (“not physically injurious, but nevertheless violating”) her in a hotel room in Delhi.

Following his resignation, several senior counsels and former Speaker Somnath Chatterjee publicly stated that the allegations were part of a “malicious campaign” against the judge.

Soon after, there was another complaint of sexual harassment against an SC judge, Swatanter Kumar. Justice Kumar subsequently moved Delhi high court in a defamation suit against the intern. Asked if he, too, would now file a defamation case, Justice Ganguly told TOI: “I shall think about that later. I have no comment on the matter now.”

High court quashes NTSE stage-I exam result
TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 02.47 AM IST
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday quashed the result of National Talent Search Examination (stage-I) for Haryana, which was conducted by the state council of educational research and training (SCERT). The HC has also directed the state authorities to re-conduct the examination on August 24 and declare the result within two weeks.

Justice G S Sandhawalia of the HC passed these orders while hearing a petition filed by Arundhati Dixit and others challenging the examination on the grounds of widespread manipulations. The petitioners had sought quashing of the stage-I conducted in Haryana on February 20 and requested “re-conducting the same in a fair and transparent manner.”

Earlier on May 9, the high court had stayed on the conduct of NTSE stage-II exam after Haryana’s school education department confirmed the use of unfair means during the stage-1. The court was informed that 46 of the 99 students, who had qualified the stage I exam from the state, were from the same school. The high court then put a stay on the result as those qualifying the state-level test are eligible to write the national exam.

CCI fines Amarchand client Adani Gas $4m for unfair gas supply conditions
Amarchand Mangaldas lost steady client Adani Gas’ case in the Competition Commission of India which fined the company Rs 25.67 crore ($4.3m) on the complaint of the Faridabad Industries Association (FIA). FIA was advised by advocate Sharad Gupta.
Amarchand Mumbai competition partner Nisha Kaur Uberoi and senior associate Gauri Chhabra acted for Adani which was penalised with 4 per cent of its average turnover of the last three years, for abusing its dominant position in the market to impose unfair conditions on buyers signing its Gas Supply Agreement (GSA).
Update: Advocate Aditya Sondhi was also listed as appearing for Adani in the order.
The FIA had alleged that Adani had:
“not only reserved to itself the unrestricted right to change/modify/revise the Contract Price and Excess Gas Price in an opaque and non-transparent manner, but was also revising gas prices arbitrarily and irrationally from time to time.”
The CCI observed that while the peculiarities of the gas industry made it impossible to have a fixed formula based pricing mechanism and gas prices were reasonably prone to fluctuations, certain clauses in Adani’s GSA were definitely unfair.

HC grants state 6 weeks to formulate policy on bar hotels
Press Trust Of India | Kochi
July 8, 2014 Last Updated at 20:24 IST
The Kerala High Court today granted six weeks further time to the government formulate its policy regarding renewal of licences of 418 bar hotels serving liquor.

Justice PN Ravindran while granting more time observed liquor was not an essential commodity and time was required by the government for formulating its policy.

The direction was issued on an application seeking extension of time by the government to formulate a policy in this regard. The court had in the previous hearing asked the government to formulate the policy in 30 days.

The state has put on hold renewal of the licences of 418 bars as they were found to be substandard and yet to upgrade their facilities.

Aggrieved, a batch of over 50 petitions had been filed by the bar owners challenging the government decision.

When problems requiring urgent attention of government like spreading of epidemics and price hike comes up, this issue is not of much concern, the court held.

The government has to take a decision on the complaint given by the Indian Medical Association (IMA) requesting to stop functioning of bar hotels within 200 meters of hospitals. This also required time, the court said.

In another case, the court today granted three more months to the government to take a decision on the recommendations of the Justice M Ramachandran Commission on limiting the working hours of bar hotels.

It was granted by Justice Alexander Thomas on a petition filed by one Basil of Kochi complaining non-implementation of the recommendations of the commission.

HC rejects plea of carmakers against CCI order for probe into trade practices
Sajan C Kumar | Chennai | Published: Jul 09 2014, 02:18 IST

SUMMARYThe Madras High Court has dismissed writ petitions filed by Hyundai Motor India and Nissan Motor India against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) directive for probing the alleged unfair trade practices of carmakers in the country
The Madras High Court has dismissed writ petitions filed by Hyundai Motor India and Nissan Motor India against the Competition Commission of India’s (CCI) directive for probing the alleged unfair trade practices of carmakers in the country.
However, the court has asked the carmakers to move the Competition Appellate Tribunal against the CCI diktat as it sees no violation of fundamental rights and denial of natural justice, which could be otherwise addressed by the court.
Observing that the CCI was well within its powers to order such a probe, Justice V Dhanapalan said: “In the instant case, in the absence of any infringement of the fundamental rights or the principles of natural justice or the rule of law, the questions raised by the petitioners on merits, as to locus standi of the CCI in passing the April 26, 2011, impugned order, unexplained delay by director general (DG) in conducting the investigation and competency of the quorum of the CCI,
are all matters to be looked into by the Competition Appellate Tribunal.”
The court has directed the car companies to approach the tribunal within six weeks and and said that till such time, the parties to these proceedings shall maintain status quo.
Both Hyundai and Nissan in separate writ petitions had prayed for the quashing of the CCI order for probe, citing that the same was without jurisdiction, unconstitutional, without authority and against the principles of natural justice.
However, the high court observed that the impugned proceeding was only an inter-communication between the CCI and DG, and it does not specify any particular entity for the action to be taken. Therefore, it has to be concluded that the impugned proceedings are absolutely intra vires, but not ultra vires the provisions of the Act or the statute, as contended by the writ petitioners.
A person named Shamsher Kataria had filed an information with CCI, against three companies, Honda Siel Cars India, Volkswagen India and Fiat India Automobiles, alleging anti-competitive methods/agreements and abuse of dominant position.
Following this, the fair-trade watchdog in its meeting held on February 24, 2011, formed an opinion on the existence of a prima facie case as against the said three car manufacturers and asked the director general to probe it and submit his investigation report within 60 days.
As the said practices were not confined to the said three entities, the case involved a larger issue related to the prevalent conduct of players in the automobile sector and its implication on the consumers at large, it was proposed that the scope of the probe be expanded to examine the practices in the areas under consideration of all car manufacturers in India.

HC declares TMC’s tree authority illegal
Rajshri Mehta,TNN | Jul 9, 2014, 10.28 PM IST
THANE: The Bombay high court on Tuesday declared that the 14-member tree authority that was constituted by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) on May 20 was illegal. It has now directed the TMC to reconstitute a new tree authority.

Judges A S Oka and A S Chandurkar said that the TMC had violated Secion 3 (3) of the Tree Act by appointing only corporators and no member from any social group or from the environment field. The HC has also stayed the permissions granted by the authority to cut trees. The TMC has been asked to file an affidavit before the next hearing, which has been scheduled for August 1.

The court passed this order after a Thane-based social activist Vikrant Tawde filed an affidavit stating that the current tree authority was formed in violation of the rules. As per the Tree Act, the authority must have a minimum of five and maximum of 15 members. Out of these, one is the TMC commissioner, who heads the team, seven must be corporators and seven NGOs or environmentalists. But this wasn’t the case in the current tree authority.

The affidavit also said that the authorities did not maintain the trees that were cut during development projects. Out of 933 tree, only 17% were planted and the others were neglected. The report said that the deposit of Rs 1.33 crore that was taken from developers and societies was not utilized properly.

Madras HC Bench disposes of 6.24 lakh cases in 10 years
Annual disposal rate had also almost doubled from 42,144 cases in 2005 to 80, 364 cases in 2013.
The Madras High Court Bench here, all set to celebrate its 10 anniversary on July 24 this year, has proven itself to be a hub of justice for the litigants in southern districts by disposing of a whopping number of 6.24 lakh cases ever since its inauguration in 2004.
The annual disposal rate of the Bench had also almost doubled from 42,144 cases disposed of in 2005 to 80, 364 cases in 2013.
The increase in the strength of judges in the Bench from just five in 2005 to 12 in 2013 was one of the reasons for the spurt in rate of disposal.
The Bench began its journey on July 24, 2004 with the transfer of 19,324 cases pertaining to the southern districts from the Principal Seat of the High Court in Chennai. Of the cases transferred here, a majority of 6,723 were Second Appeals followed by 3,359 civil miscellaneous appeals.
They also included 2,995 appeal suits; 2,362 criminal appeals; 1,519 civil revision petitions; 313 criminal revision cases, 312 criminal original petitions and 1,691 civil miscellaneous petitions. Not a single writ petition, writ appeal or contempt application was transferred.
Nevertheless, 4,902 writ petitions; 6,183 criminal original petitions (seeking bail, anticipatory bail and so on); 975 civil revision petitions; 502 second appeals were filed directly in the Bench before the end of 2004 itself thereby proving the value accorded to it by the litigant public.
There had been no turning back since then as the rate of institution of cases as well as that of disposal has been on a steady rise with the filing and disposal of writ petitions having reached 20,970 and 15,336 respectively in 2013 as against 11,776 and 6,692 in 2005.
Disposal rate of criminal appeals was very less in the initial years since the court had only one Division Bench for hearing both writ and criminal appeals.
But the rate improved after the creation of a separate Division Bench to hear criminal matters and habeas corpus petitions.
The result was that the disposal of criminal appeals had been much higher than the institution of new cases ever since 2006.
Though only 674 criminal appeals were filed in 2007 and 571 were instituted in 2008, the number of cases disposed of in the two years were 1,223 and 1,026 respectively.
Ultimately, a huge number of 7,64,885 cases were filed in the Bench directly (apart from 19,324 cases transferred from Chennai before its inauguration) between July 24, 2004 and July 2, 2014 and of the total, it disposed of 6,24,842 cases through judicial orders.
A total of 2,270 cases were either referred to the Legal Services Authority for mediation or conciliation or transferred to the Principal Seat in Chennai thereby leaving a backlog of 1,57,097 cases as on July 2

HC stays ban on service fee for online movie tickets
Rosy Sequeira | Jul 10, 2014, 12.00 AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Tuesday stayed a ban on the charging of service fee for cinema tickets booked online.

A division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice M S Sonak stayed a clause in an April 2013 government resolution that prohibits cinema halls and online agencies from collecting a convenience or service charge for online booking.

Advocate general Darius Khambata said the government was framing legislation. “A proposal will be placed before the Cabinet in a week. Once approved, an ordinance will be promulgated in a month or so,” he said. Khambata said there will be no prohibition but a fixed percentage of the amount char-ged as service fee will be exempted from entertainment duty.’s senior advocate Aspi Chinoy argued that pending legislation, the court must pass a restraining order as it has been 12 months since they stopped charging for online bookings. He cited a 2006 Supreme Court ruling and said, “GRs can’t be used to stop a business.” Chinoy said that in 2000 the government had issued a GR allowing charging of up to 10%. “Now they say you cannot charge,” he said.

Senior advocate Janak Dwarkadas, appearing for PVR Cinema, said the convenience fee was to favour customers who had to travel to buy a ticket and was no precondition for entry into cinema halls.

HC dismisses RCGC petition
TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 01.51 AM IST
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Wednesday dismissed the writ petition filed by Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) challenging a Kolkata Municipal Corporation notice demanding Rs 7.71 crore in property tax.

The court has asked RCGC to move the appellate authority at KMC instead and ordered the club to pay KMC Rs 5,001 as litigation cost.

Dismissing the petition, Justice Soumitra Pal observed that the assessment order had been passed several years ago ? in 2005 ? and RCGC had received the order the same year but made no effort to challenge it at the KMC tribunal. Instead, it chose to move the court after nine years.

Anindya Mitra, Pratap Chatterjee and Soumitra Dutta, who appeared for RCGC, argued that the KMC’s valuation was without jurisdiction as the club enjoyed tax exemption for six years, from 2000 to 2006, but in 2005, KMC had increased the annual valuation from Rs 2 lakh to 64 lakh. According to the counsel, the civic authority had violated the provisions of the KMC Act.

Ashok Banerjee, appearing for the KMC, opposed the petition and argued that the tax revision order had been passed in September 23, 2005 and the club had received the order on December 10, 2005, but refrained from making the payment and finally moved the petition after nine years.

Banerjee further argued that the club had admitted to having made additional construction on the premises. So, it was natural for KMC to enhance the annual valuation. Banerjee pleaded that the court should not entertain the petition as there was a separate forum to adjudicate the issue.

Considering the arguments, Justice Pal dismissed RCGC’s petition.

Reacting to the verdict, mayor Sovan Chatterjee said the civic body would act “tough”.

“We may need to take a tough stance. It may so happen that we will ask the civic officials to go and attach RCGC’s property as an ultimate step in case the club fails to clear the dues,” Chatterjee said.

Madras HC says no role for police in landlord-tenant dispute
TNN | Jul 10, 2014, 05.40 AM IST
CHENNAI: Police should stay off landlord-tenant disputes, as the parties involved can seek remedy only from the competent civil court, the Madras high court has said.

“If there is a landlord-tenant relationship, police are not entitled to inquire the matter. It should advise both the parties to approach the competent civil court or rent control authority,” Justice T S Sivagnanam said recently, passing orders on a petition.

The matter relates to a criminal complaint lodged against R Suresh by his landlord P Syed Omar Sajeeth before the Teynampet police on June 7, seeking recovery of rent arrears. In his petition, Suresh said after being summoned to the police station, he and his counsel met the officers handling the matter. Even after his counsel explained that there was absolutely no criminal offence necessitating the summoning of Suresh, police held inquiries. He then moved the high court.

His counsel S Namo Narayanan said police ought not to have entertained the complaint at all, as there was no criminal element in the allegations. The dispute is civil in nature, he said. He sought a direction to the police not to harass Suresh in the name of inquiry.

When the matter was taken up for hearing, additional public prosecutor admitted that an inquiry had indeed been conducted by the Teynampet police. It was, however, closed, he said.

Recording the statement, Justice Sivagnanam pointed out that a police notice served under Section 161 of the Code of Criminal Procedure was furnished in the court to prove that Suresh had been summoned to the station. Since it is stated that the inquiry is already over, Suresh should not be harassed by police any further, the judge said, disposing of the petition.

HC strikes down rule prohibiting dance in liquor joints
The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday struck down Rule 11 (1) of the Karnataka Excise Licences (General Conditions) Rules, 1967, which prohibits dance on the premises where liquor is served in view of the Supreme Court’s judgment allowing dance by women in bars.
Justice Ashok B. Hinchigeri passed the order while disposing of a petition filed by Chef Inn Regency, Bar & Restaurant in Domlur, and two women dancers. The petitioners had sought a direction to the Police Department to consider their application to run a dance bar.
The Supreme Court in its July 16, 2013 verdict in the case of State of Maharashtra and Indian Hotel & Restaurants’ Association had upheld the Bombay High Court order of declaring that “ban on bar dancers violates the constitutional rights.”
Justice Hinchigeri, however, said that the State can initiate action against the liquor-serving joints where dance is allowed in case of any violations.

HC seeks Guj’s reply on scrapping of online draw of houses
Press Trust of India | Ahmedabad
July 9, 2014 Last Updated at 22:14 IST
The Gujarat High Court today issued notices to the state government over its recent decision to cancel allotment of affordable houses made through an online draw by the state Housing Board (GHB).

A total of 73 allottees, who had won houses through the online lottery, have filed petitions over two days, including today, challenging the decision of the state government to scrap the draw on June 19.

While 34 allottees moved the high court yesterday, 39 others filed their pleas today.

Justice K M Thaker issued notices to the Urban Development and Urban Housing Department and GHB seeking their replies by July 11.

“The respondent, Gujarat Housing Board shall positively and without any default file affidavit on or before July 11,” the judge said.

“It is clarified that the petition (of the applicants) shall be heard peremptorily on July 11 and hearing will not be adjourned on any ground including leave-note or sick-note,” the order said.

The petitioners sought setting aside of the state’s decision to cancel the online draw which was conducted by GHB under its affordable houses scheme.

“The state government has the power to cancel the entire affordable housing scheme if any fault has been found but it cannot cancel the draw,” the petitioners said.

They contended the state government has taken the decision citing technical errors but this cannot be done when the specific allotment of houses was made to the applicants.

The chief minister had scrapped the online draw of 8,000 affordable homes built by GHB in Surat, Rajkot, Vadodara and Ahmedabad, after those who were left out held protests alleging anomalies in the allotment.

Many of the applicants had complained earlier that the computerised draw selected only those who filed online applications and not those who submitted their applications in a physical form to GHB office.

Sheila Dikshit to HC: Governor can’t be tried in criminal case
Wednesday, 9 July 2014 – 4:17pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
Former Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Wednesday sought quashing of the trial court order to lodge FIR against her in a graft case, contending in the Delhi High Court that such proceedings cannot be continued against a Governor.
Advocate M Pracha, appearing for Dikshit, said as per Article 361(2) of the Constitution there is a bar on criminal proceedings against a Governor. Dikshit is currently the Governor of Kerala, and as per Article 361(2) of the Constitution “no criminal proceedings whatsoever shall be instituted or continued against the President, or the Governor of a State, in any court during his term of office”.
A bench of Justice Sunil Gaur, however, adjourned the matter to July 23 as the advocate for the complainant, BJP leader Vijender Gupta, was not present owing to some illness. Gupta had filed a complaint alleging that Dikshit´s administration misused public funds of Rs 22.56 crore in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 assembly polls and the trial court had ordered lodging of an FIR against her.
Thereafter, the then Delhi government had moved the High Court against the trial court order which was stayed. AAP government had said that Dikshit will have to defend herself as she is no more the CM and the government lacked the “locus standi” to fight for her.
Then in February 2014, the Arvind Kejriwal-led government had moved the High Court seeking to take back the appeal filed by then Congress government headed by Dikshit. Dikshit had then moved the High Court opposing the plea of the Kejriwal government and had also sought her impleadment in the matter.
Thereafter, on February 26, the high court had said that Dikshit will have to defend herself in the graft case.
A special judge had on August 31, last year, ordered registration of FIR against Dikshit and others for offences including criminal breach of trust (section 409 IPC), criminal misappropriation of public funds and criminal misconduct under provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The order had come on separate complaints filed by Gupta and RTI activist Vivek Garg against her.
Both of them had in their complaints alleged that Dikshit misused government funds in an advertisement campaign ahead of the 2008 assembly polls.

HC orders grant of loan to management quota student
Press Trust of India | Chennai
July 9, 2014 Last Updated at 18:10 IST
Madras High Court today upheld order of a single judge directing Indian Overseas Bank to grant educational loan to an engineering student, whose plea for the assistance was rejected on the ground he secured a seat under management quota with less than 60 per cent marks.

Dismissing an appeal by IOB’s Tiruppur Branch challenging the single judge’s June 20, 2013 order, a division bench comprising Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar and Justice M Sathyanarayanan directed the bank to grant the loan to the son of one A Ravi within two weeks from the receipt of the order.

The bench said the issue of eligibility has already been settled by the announcement of the Union Finance Minister that students admitted in the management quota were also entitled to get the education loan and all the banks were directed to adopt the said Policy.

On the basis of the announcement, a review meeting of all the Chief Executives of the PSU banks was held on September 27, 2012 which resolved that the Managing Committee considered the recommendations made by the Indian Banks Association Committee on Educational Loan Scheme and after detailed discussions decided to finance the meritorious students, who pursue courses under Management quota, the court said.

“In the guidelines framed in the Review Meeting, nowhere it is stated that educational loan can be sanctioned only for those who have secured 60 per cent and more marks,” it said.

Asha Bhosle’s son to pay maintenance of Rs 40k to ex-wife
TNN | Jul 9, 2014, 05.53AM IST

A family court has ordered singer Asha Bhosle’s son, Hemant Bhosle, to pay a monthly interim maintenance of Rs 40,000 to his estranged wife.
MUMBAI: A family court has ordered singer Asha Bhosle’s son, Hemant Bhosle, to pay a monthly interim maintenance of Rs 40,000 to his estranged wife. “The respondent (husband) is staying in Scotland. Considering the lifestyle of an NRI, the circumstances in which he is born and brought up, status of both parties, in my view, the maintenance of Rs 40,000 per month will do justice,” the court said last week.

The 62-year-old woman, a retired air hostess, had filed the petition through her advocate Neelofar Akhtar in 2012. The couple, who separated in 2002-03, have a 26-year-old daughter who lives in London. The woman claimed that the husband had thrown her out of the house and had been living with another woman for the last six years. She alleged that while she had worked day and night and fulfilled the man’s demands, she was now getting a monthly pension of Rs 800 and was helpless. The woman also claimed that Hemant had several properties worth crores in the UK and in India.

Hemant, however, denied the allegations. “She is spending a huge amount. She has attached huge bills showing her purchase. If she is receiving Rs 800, how is she purchasing such huge articles from various shops? The said facts clearly show that she is having more income than her pension, from her savings and investments,” the husband said in his reply.

The court, while pointing out that both parties had hidden their income, said it was difficult to consider their finances. “There might be some income to her from her investments, but in comparison to the respondent’s status, she is receiving a meagre amount, therefore, she is entitled to interim maintenance,” the court said.

Sandmining: National Green Tribunal issues notice to 24 people in Uttarakhand
Wednesday, 9 July 2014 – 8:01pm IST | Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI
The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notice to 24 people for carrying out illegal sand mining activities in Uttarakhand’s Haridwar district.
A bench headed by Justice Swatanter Kumar sought response from all of them after the counsel for Uttarakhand government told the tribunal that certain people were carrying on illegal sand mining. “We issue show cause notice to all the 24 persons who have been found by the state government to be carrying on illegal mining activity in district Haridwar,” the bench said.
It also held that in terms of the provision of the Section 15 of the NGT Act, they are to be held responsible for causing damage to environment and ecology.
The state’s counsel told the bench that it has suspended the licences of all the 24 people who were found to be carrying on illegal mining activity in the district.
The bench also issued notices to the chief secretaries of Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Jammu Kashmir, Nagaland, Maharashtra, Telagana and Arunachal Pradesh to ensure that they are present on the next date of hearing.
“In the event of default, we will be compelled to issue bailable warrants against the chief secretaries of all these states,” the bench said.
The tribunal had last year restrained sand mining without any licence or environmental clearance from river beds across the country on a plea filed by the National Green Tribunal Bar Association.
Widening the ambit of the plea, the bench had said its order would be applicable across the nation as the petition raises substantial environmental issues. Initially, the bench had restrained illegal sand mining on the beds and banks of rivers Yamuna, Ganga, Hindon,Chambal, Gomti, among others, but later modified its order saying the issue of illegally removing sand has nationwide implications.
The petition alleged that those who have opposed such sand mining, including field level officers, like suspended SDM Durga Sakhti Nagpal, have been victimised which is also apparent from various news reports. It also alleged that recently a man who raised his voice against the “powerful sand mafia” was killed in his home by few goons in broad daylight.
In its petition, the association had contended that “rampant illegal sand mining in the river beds of Yamuna, Ganga, Hindon, among others, without prior environmental clearance or in violation of the EC is being carried out and the same is affecting the integrity of the concerned river systems and flood plains”. “The activity of sand mining is adversely affecting the ecosystem and the overall ecology of the area,” the plea had said, adding the Supreme Court in a February 2012 order had taken note of adverse effects of sand mining.
The apex court had also held that any person carrying on sand mining on land which is less than five hectares, requires clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests or the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).

Rash and Negligent Driving; Delhi Transport Corporation to Pay Over Rs. 59.23 Lakh
Cities | Press Trust of India | Updated: July 09, 2014 17:02 IST

New Delhi: A Motor Accident Claims Tribunal here has asked Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC), its driver and an insurance company, to pay over Rs. 59.23 lakh as compensation to the kin of a man, who died after being hit by a corporation’s bus.

MACT presiding officer S C Malik found DTC, its driver Virender Singh and United India Insurance Company Ltd, jointly and severally liable to make the payment of compensation of Rs. 59,23,326 to the legal heirs of Harjinder Singh.

“As such in view of testimonies of the deceased’s wife, Amarjeet Singh (an eyewitness to the case), copies of criminal record produced, no doubt is left in respect of the deceased having suffered fatal injuries in road accident on September 26, 2012 due to rash and negligent driving,” the tribunal said.

“Respondent No 1 being driver, Respondent No 2 being owner and Respondent No 3 being Insurer of the offending vehicle are jointly and severally liable to make payment of compensation to the petitioners/claimants,” it said. The family members of 50-year-old Harjinder Singh had approached the tribunal seeking a compensation of Rs. 1.25 crore.

According to the complaint, Harjinder, who was riding his motorcycle, was hit from the behind by a speeding DTC bus in Patel Nagar.

Harjinder, who was working as a senior electronic assistant with Delhi Transco Limited, sustained fatal injuries and died on the spot.

The driver and the DTC, however, had claimed that the accident was not caused due to rash driving of the driver but was rather due to negligence of the deceased.


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