LEGAL NEWS 14.07.2014

A case of tight-fisted executive and over-worked judiciary
Business Standard experts take a look at the challenges thrown by the Budget in growing financial stress in the judiciary, matters relating to tax administration, harnessing foreign investors’ sentime
M J Antony
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 22:35 IST
Even as Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was presenting a grudging budget for law & justice and the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice was saying the judiciary’s workload was “excessive and uncontrolled”.

Though successive finance ministers who have been senior lawyers are aware of this, they have ignored the judiciary’s long-standing gripe that it has been consistently ignored, securing only 0.2 of the Budget pie.

For 2014-15, the expenditure of the law & justice ministry is pegged at Rs 1,205 crore (Plan Rs 261 crore; non-Plan Rs 944 crore). This is less than last year’s provision of Rs 1,973 crore and marginally higher than in 2012-13 (Rs 1,183 crore). Allocation to the Supreme Court was also poor – a provision of Rs 134 crore, about the same as last year.

The law ministry and the Supreme Court aren’t the only ones facing a paucity of funds. There are about 40 central tribunals that deal with various taxes, company affairs, consumer rights and other vital segments. However, there were only nominal increments for these entities. For instance, theIncome Tax Appellate Tribunal (which once operated from an Ambassador car, till a picture in this regard went viral) got Rs 56 crore, Rs 4 crore more than last year. The National Tax Tribunalreceived Rs 4 lakh, against Rs 5 lakh last year. The Appellate Tribunal for Foreign Exchange received Rs 8.25 crore, Rs 25 lakh more than last year, while the International Centre for Alternative Disputes Resolution was granted Rs 5.5 crore, the same as last year.

These days, at public functions, ministers and judges cite the mantra of computerisation of district and subordinate courts. However, in the Budget, the allocation towards this fell to Rs 58 crore from Rs 78 crore last year. Fast-track courts were granted a mere Rs 5 crore. For some reason, the column for ‘infrastructure facilities for judiciary’ was left blank; last year’s Budget provided Rs 800 crore towards this.

The ministry’s overall budget includes expenses on conducting elections, which has spiralled phenomenally these days, with more state elections due soon. Also, the ministry has a number of institutions to look after, such as the National Mission for Justice Delivery and Legal Reforms, the Study of Judicial Reforms and Assessment Status and SAJI (Strengthening Access to Justice-India).

The Union Budget has set a bad example. The Centre and states have always been haggling over sharing the expenses in running the legal system. Now, states have a model (rather an excuse) to be equally tight-fisted. The litigant’s journey, right from subordinate courts, will be even more agonising.

In the legal segment, about 330 million litigants and those languishing in jail, as well as their families, have reason to be jealous about the Budget’s munificence towards other ministries. Considering the high defence budget for a country that hasn’t fought a war in a long time, it is the battle for justice that we seem to be losing.

MCA must be wary of pitfalls: Sai Venkateshwaran
The government’s announcement to adopt new Indian Accounting Standards (Ind-AS) converged with International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) is very welcome. With voluntary adoption slated for 2015-16, and mandatory adoption the year after, there isn’t much time before these standards become applicable and there is a lot of ground to be covered to get there. The timelines for the financial services sector, including banks and insurance companies, will be finalised later.

As the ministry of corporate affairs (MCA) and India Inc prepare for this, they should learn from pitfalls encountered in the implementation effort in 2011 – lack of transition time, lack of clarity on tax, too many carve-outs, etc. There are three aspects that need to be addressed urgently.

Implementation road map
The MCA should announce the road map immediately, and should implement these standards in a phased manner for listed and other public interest entities, giving companies adequate time for a smooth transition.

The time and effort that companies require for transition will vary, depending on the complexity of their business model, group structure, inorganic growth history, financing arrangements. Further, changes may be required in the reporting systems and process, management information system, business and financing arrangements, etc.

Update standards and minimise carve-outs
MCA should also issue the updated Ind-AS standards at the earliest, as the drafts published in 2011 are outdated as the corresponding IFRSs, including on key areas such as revenue recognition, consolidation, financial instruments, etc, have undergone a significant change. The MCA should also minimise the carve-outs from IFRS to ensure global acceptability of Ind-AS; else the very purpose for this convergence with IFRS would be defeated.

Another challenge that the MCA should evaluate closely is the timing of introduction of Ind-AS; while India looks at 2015-16 for transition, several new IFRS standards are becoming applicable only in 2017 – eg, revenue recognition, financial instruments, etc. So the MCA should consider an early adoption of these IFRS standards rather than having a major revision in a couple of years.

Notify tax accounting standards
The Central Board of Direct Taxes should notify tax accounting standards at the earliest, as that would delink the calculation of taxable income from accounting income, as both are prepared using different frameworks. Taxation was the most significant concern leading to the pushback to adoption in 2011, as Ind-AS brought in use of fair values without clarity on how it impacts taxable income.

In all of the above, time is of essence, and the MCA should act fast.
Sai Venkateshwaran
Partner and Head – Accounting Advisory Services, KPMG in India
Focus on speedy dispute resolution: Sarosh Zaiwalla

The finance minister has produced a balanced Budget to accelerate the country’s economic recovery and bring it back on track. But he could have done more.

India needed a Budget that would capture the imagination of foreign investors, following the buzz generated in the international investment market by the arrival of the National Democratic Alliance government, headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. For this, the Budget ought to have indicated the government’s preparedness for a new visionary approach to convert India into one of the world’s leading, stable economic markets through the next few years.

What foreign investors are most concerned about is the long-term security of their investment. For this, it is necessary to have a content population in the long run to avoid turmoil such as those related to Naxal insurgencies. This can only be achieved by the government’s emphasis on creating new jobs to address the large unemployment in India. For this, priority ought to be given to foreign investment, which will increase the job market in India.

The Budget’s focus on infrastructure development is a positive step in that direction, as is the commitment to desist from retrospective taxation. The rise of foreign investment in the defence and insurance sectors – from 26 per cent to 49 per cent – is a welcome sign. Now, the government should make it clear it will take various steps to remove the regulatory hurdles inherited from the old colonial regime and make it easier for foreign investors to invest in the country.

Foreign investors always want to be assured of the existence of an independent and speedy mechanism to resolve disputes, just in case things go wrong with their investment in India. In the near future, the government will also need to focus on this.
Sarosh Zaiwalla
Senior Partner, Zaiwalla & Co
Investors in wait-and-watch mode: S M Sundaram
I was in meetings with a series of investors before the presentation of the Budget, and soon after. Frankly, there was not anything in the Budget to make these investors sit up, and take notice of India. For foreign investors, the risk premium for India has shot up substantially over the last three-four years. This arose largely out of investor perception emanating from issues like retrospective taxation, the government’s indecisiveness on many policy-related issues, tax administration, among others. This Budget has not done enough to mitigate India’s risk profile among the investor community. Investors are still in the wait-and-watch mode. The Budget missed out on an opportunity to communicate better with foreign investors on what the policy road map would be over the next few years, along with assurances of its stability.

The government has been vague about pending tax litigation related issues. Though the finance minister did make references to the issues of retrospective taxes, and on the need for an effective transfer-pricing regime, along with provisions of advance ruling, he did not give a clear signal to foreign investors on how he plans to deal with over $70billion stuck in tax-related litigation.

Uncertainty around tax administration continues to exist. The resources – currently locked-up in litigation – would be better utilised in various government developmental projects. Importantly, any policy initiative to unlock this resource would have given a clear message to foreign investors that the government means business, and does not believe in sitting over investor’s funds.

Though the Budget has tried to unleash a spirit of entrepreneurship by facilitating growth of start-ups through a Rs 10,000 crore fund, it perhaps misses out on a big-bang booster shot that would make investors sit up, and take note.
S M Sundaram
Partner & CFO, Baring Private Equity Partners India
Don’t use it to meet fiscal deficit targets: Koushik Chatterjee
Amid high expectations from the Union Budget and the very difficult and challenging economic conditions, the new government has defined a road map premised on economic expansion and restarting the capital formation cycle through public investment in infrastructure, including roads, ports and urban housing.

It is also based on the premise of increased spending by public sector undertakings, enabling the banking system to fund infrastructure more effectively, as well as development of industrial corridors and reviving special economic zones.

The finance minister has also focused on making Indian manufacturing globally competitive through a policy framework that facilitates the creation of competitive capacity in the manufacturing sector and enables inclusive growth, with sustainable and employment-oriented growth. The manufacturing sector will keenly track the government’s policy moves in this direction.

While tax collections for this year will be crucial to meeting fiscal deficit targets, I hope the approach to tax administration will change towards a more stable, non-litigious and transparent regime. A robust tax policy that is forward-looking and in tune with best-practices, along with an efficient and objective tax administration framework, can be a great catalyst for new investment in the country, for both domestic and international investors. Most investors see taxation as a fair and equitable cost of investment. However, it is equally important for the government and the tax authorities to focus on efficient and fair tax administration, and not use it as a lever to meet the targets of fiscal deficit.

Creating an environment of speedy disposal of litigation and avoiding needless disputes, through clear and unambiguous legislative provisions, will make the entire system of tax governance more robust. The finance minister’s focus on a flexible and effective transfer-pricing regime, along with provisions of advance ruling, will go a long way in developing a transparent and friendly tax regime for companies. Equally important is the proposal to implement the new Indian Accounting Standards, which will facilitate the convergence of the financial reporting standards to the global level.

To summarise, the government has been prudent and practical in its Budget announcements and has demonstrated a sense of purpose to ensure India’s economic priorities are appropriately aligned to the aspirations of the people. I will certainly give credit to the prime minister and the finance minister for sending the right message to stakeholders, though the Budget may be short on specifics.
Koushik Chatterjee
Group ED (Fin & Corp), Tata Steel
Can government mandate a business to carry out a non-business activity?: Shardul Shroff
The finance minister whilst introducing the Finance Bill (No. 2) of 2014 in Parliament has clarified longstanding doubts on the tax treatment of corporate social responsibility (CSR) expenditure under Section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013.

Chambers of industry and commerce had contested the introduction of CSR through the Companies Act as a mandatory expenditure, contending that it would be akin to a money Bill and an exaction in the nature of tax and would be ultra vires the Constitution of India or the pith and substance of company law. The company law could not propose a two per cent Corporate Expenditure Tax, on basis of a turnover or net worth or net profit basis as that is arbitrary and ultra vires whilst re-enacting company law.

The government in the Finance Bill has proposed an amendment to Section 37 of the Income Tax Act. Any expenditure (not being an expenditure of the nature described in Sections 30 to 36 of the Income Tax Act) and not being in the nature of capital expenditure or personal expenses of the assessee, laid out or expended wholly or exclusively for the purposes of the business or profession, shall be allowed in computing the income chargeable under the head “Profits and Gains of the Business or Profession”.

In the matter of CSR, the government has made it clear and beyond doubt that it considers CSR expenditure, (being an application of income) as an expense not incurred wholly and exclusively for the purposes of carrying on business and hence a disallowable deduction in computing taxable income.

The government’s memorandum for the Finance Bill makes it abundantly clear that the object of CSR under the Companies Act is to share the burden of the government in providing social services by companies eligible and required to participate in CSR. It reasons that if expenses are allowed as a tax deduction, this would result in subsidising of around 1/3rd of such expenses by the government by way of tax expenditure.

The memorandum provides the reason for disallowance by stating the CSR expenditure (being an application of income) is not incurred for the purposes of carrying on business. The amendment, therefore, to Section 37 of the Income Tax Act is based on the general principles of expenditure allowable for deduction for business or professional activities and clarifies and provides certainty on the issue of non-deductibility of CSR expenditure as expenditure not deemed to have been incurred for the purposes of business. This amendment to the Income Tax Act is to be effective from April 1, 2015, and applicable in relation to assessment year 2015-16 onwards.

Now, therefore, the basic question of whether the government by law can mandate a business or professional company to carry out a non-business or non-professional activity such as CSR through the Companies Act remains a question at large.

If a board of directors or a committee of CSR declares a policy to be adopted for CSR activities, can an ordinary shareholder challenge the provisions of Section 135 as an ultra vires intrusion on companies and consequently violating his fundamental right to carry on business by mandating CSR expenses for a non-business purpose.

The present provisions of Section 135 contemplates that if the company does not expense the two per cent of average net profit of the company, the company has to merely specify the reasons for not spending the amount.

Can the shareholder or the board of a company otherwise within the eligibility net object that since the CSR is not a business object, CSR as an activity cannot be a corporate business object mandatorily required to be performed by a business company? If CSR is a mandatory requirement for a company to carry on business in India, then it is an integral part of the right to do business and a condition required to be fulfilled to enable a company to carry on business after attaining certain thresholds of turnover, net worth or profit prescribed. If such a condition is mandatory for carrying on business in India, it has to be considered as business expenditure for tax law and to contend otherwise is contrary to common sense.

NGOs and industrial groups through the chambers of commerce require to focus on the impact of the amendment to Section 37 of the Income Tax Act. They must highlight the anomaly, which necessitates that all CSR expenditure which is directed to be carried out by a company, as a condition of carrying on business, must be in the nature of a business expenditure, and not a disallowable expenditure. A company cannot be mandated either to perform a charitable expenditure or a disallowable CSR expenditure without business purpose, as such disallowance of expenditure would be an exacted tax in the nature of a corporate expenditure tax, which expropriates two-thirds of two per cent of a company’s net profit, contrary to our Constitutional Law.
Shardul Shroff
Managing Partner, Amarchand & Mangaldas & Suresh A Shroff & Co

Let law graduates preside over traffic courts: Law panel
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 09:05 ISTWith traffic challan cases constituting 37.4 per cent of the 2.68 crore cases clogging the lower courts, the LawCommission has come out with a novel way to deal with the situation by recommending appointment of law graduates to preside over special traffic courts.

In its latest report submitted to the Law Ministry, the panel has said if law graduates preside over special traffic courts, judges in the lower judiciary can take care of other pressing cases.

“Recent law graduates may be appointed for short duration (three years) to preside over these special traffic courts. These special courts should only deal with cases involving fines. Cases which may involve imprisonment should be tried before regular courts in order to ensure fair process,” it said.

The report ‘Manpower Planning in Judiciary: A Blue Print’ said facilities should be made available for online payment of fines as well as the payment of fines at designated counters in thecourt complex to reduce pendency of cases.

The panel, which advices government on complex legal issues, has also recommended that special morning and evening courts be set up for dealing with traffic and police challan cases which constitute 37.4 per cent of all pending cases in the last three years before the subordinate judiciary.

Referring to 270 vacancies in the 24 high courts, the Law Commission said there was an urgent need to increase the strength of judges in the high courts to ensure that appeals and revisions from additional cases disposed of by subordinate courts is dealt with timely.

It said the high courts are already burdened with backlogs and increase in the strength will help them overcome the problem.

The report said the recruitment of new judges should focus, as a matter of priority, on the number of judges required to break even and to dispose of the backlogs in a three-year timeframe.

Human Trafficking Should be Dealt with Harshly, Says Ex-CJI
By Express News Service
Published: 14th July 2014 08:51 AM
KOCHI: Justice K G Balakrishnan, chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission and former Chief Justice of India, on Sunday said that human trafficking was a severe offence that should be dealt with harshly.
He was speaking at a two-day workshop here on ‘Human Trafficking – a Myth or Reality’, which was jointly organised by the Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association and the National Human Rights Commission.
Balakrishnan said that compared to the nature of human trafficking incidents in the other states, the situation in Kerala was better.
The workshop was attended by students of four law colleges in the city. At the workshop, the students took a decision to set up anti-human trafficking clubs on the campus to fight the menace.
The clubs will be set up at the Government Law College, Ernakulam, the SN Law College, Poothotta, the National University of Advanced Legal Studies, and the School of Legal Studies at Cusat. The Kerala High Court Advocates’ Association offered to extend all the possible cooperation, and monitor the activities of the club. The students also pledged to seek timely rehabilitation of the trafficking victims.
The club members will have quick and direct access to police officials in-charge of monitoring the trafficking cases.
The workshop was attended by human rights activists, lawyers, law students and teachers.

Make serving on bench mandatory for senior counsel
Submitted by IANS on 13 July 2014 – 12:49pm
By Parmod Kumar,
Judicial vacancies will always be a headache in this country as long as senior lawyers are queasy about crossing over from the bar to the bench.
Being a practicing advocate has its advantages: One is free to take up cases one likes, there’s more money to be made, not to speak of the freedom from reading monotonous briefs and leading a secluded private life.
Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad is perhaps one of those acutely conscious of the need to fill up judicial vacancies to clear pendencies and arrears that have of late eroded public confidence in the institution.
On July 11, he told the Rajya Sabha that he had written five letters to Chief Justice of India Justice R.M. Lodha to fill vacancies in the high courts.
His push coincides with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s focus on “minimum government maximum governance”, which goes without saying, needs a robust justice delivery system.
However, such epistolary flourishes may not help if lawyers are loathe to cross over.
As of today, the sanctioned strength of the high courts is 906 judges – against a strength of just 640 judges and a staggering 266 vacancies. That means the high courts are functioning at 64 percent of their sanctioned strength. Pendency as on September 30, 2013, stood at 45,89,920 cases (Supreme Court – Court News, October-December 2013).
These are existing vacancies and not Prasad’s proposed 20 percent hike in the existing strength of high courts that will add another 181 judges, taking the strength to 1,086.
If Justice Lodha has to get rid of the 266 vacancies, he must get that many competent legal minds of impeccable integrity who are willing to make the logical transition from the bar to the bench.
Besides being lawyers of capability and redoubtable integrity, they must have served as judicial officers for ten years or practised as a lawyer in a high court for ten years – a constitutional requirement.
Besides these, the qualifications outlined by the current Finance Minister Arun Jaitley – himself an eminent lawyer – as Leader of Opposition in Rajya Sabha on August 18, 2011, in a debate on a motion to impeach Justice Soumitra Sen of the Kolkata High Court (who has since resigned) too have to be factored in.
Slamming the existing collegium system of judges of appointing judges as short on criteria and akin to the “sharing of spoils” system in a -residential system of government wherein the best were unwilling to become judges, Jaitley outlined the threshold “objective” criteria for appointment of judges.
“What is your academic qualification? How bright were you during your academic days? What is your experience as a lawyer? If you are a judge, how many judgments have you written? How many have been set aside? How many have been upheld? How many juniors have you trained? How many cases have you argued? How many cases have been reported which you have argued? Have you got laws laid down? Have you written papers on legal subjects?”
One thing that was left unsaid and should perhaps be said after the Gopal Subramanium controversy: Recommended persons shouldn’t be inconvenient to the government, otherwise their names are likely to be returned.
Another problem that both the CJI and the law minister are aware of is the dearth of talented people willing to shift base – possibly because it is far too lucrative to be a part of the lawyer community.
Justice Markandey Katju, a retired Supreme Court judge who now heads the Press Council of India, once said in court that there are three stages in an individual’s legal career.
In the first stage “it is all work no money, second stage some work some money and in the third stage no work and all money.” It is at the last stage that the senior lawyers have to be picked for judgeship and the hesitation is obvious.
In other counties, like in Britain, the Queen’s Counsel (equivalent to senior advocate here) is mandated to serve on the bench for a fixed period and just can’t refuse. This practice is laudable and must be replicated in India and every lawyer upon being designated as a senior must at some stage devote a few years of his legal career to the bench.
This practice would not only address the question of the judiciary finding competent people to dispense justice – like Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman – but will develop appreciation of many a problems that judges face.
CJI Lodha said on July 10 that if senior lawyers, even for a short time, take the onerous responsibility of sitting on the bench, they will understand the burden that judges shoulder.
If vacancies have to be filled up and the justice delivery mechanism galvanized, then writing letters to the chief justices of the high courts will not suffice.
It will require a gargantuan effort on part of the law minister and the CJI to get senior counsels to sit on the bench, rather than argue at the bar.
(Parmod Kumar is a legal affairs writer. The views expressed are personal. He can be contacted at

Modi govt to give legal backing to Aadhaar
Mahendra K Singh,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 12.49 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Ending speculation over the fate of Aadhaar numbers, the BJP government is set to push legislation to ensure legal sanctity to Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), which was set up to generate unique identification numbers for 1.2 billion residents of the country.

The government is expected to soon approach the Supreme Court and seek vacation of the stay on government’s move to make Aadhaar mandatory for availing benefits of welfare schemes.

After getting a thumbs up from PM Narendra Modi, UIDAI is set to accelerate the project to ensure Aadhaar enrollment for around 930 million people by the end of next year.
READ ALSO: NDA’s national ID cards may kill UPA’s Aadhaar

So far, UIDAI has given Aadhaar numbers to 640 million residents, with 177 million coming from the National Population Register (NPR).

“We are getting cooperation from state governments. UIDAI has already opened 3,000 stations in UP and 1,000 in Bihar. Soon, more stations will be opened to speed up enrollment process in these states,” said Rajesh Bansal, assistant director general of UIDAI. These two populous states are crucial for complete rollout of Aadhaar-linked direct benefits transfer (DBT) schemes, he added.

The agency also completed authentication, or de-duplication, for 10 crore people last week.

An official present in a meeting held recently said Modi has asked finance minister Arun Jaitley to try and resolve all legal issues surrounding Aadhaar.

The PM had conveyed his government’s intention to continue with UIDAI and sought speedy rollout of DBT scheme, aiming to check duplication and leakages in welfare schemes.

The strong message from Modi is expected to end the turf war, which had raised questions about the survival of the UIDAI project.

Under the UPA regime, both NPR and UIDAI had been given the mandate to collect biometric details of Indian residents. As per the formula worked out to end the turf war between the home ministry and UIDAI, NPR was mandated to enroll 60 million people while UIDAI was to enroll the rest of the population.

The fast-tracking of Aadhaar schemes by the Modi government came after the realization that subsidy burden could be reduced only by checking duplication and leaks in welfare schemes.

UIDAI officials emphasized that the authority was a “bona fide legal entity” administrated “like any office” of the government and was “fully accountable” to Parliament and the Comptroller and Auditor General of India.

“As far as biometric safety is concerned, we are governed by Information Technology Act,” Bansal said.

There was speculation about the fate of UIDAI under the Modi regime since it was conceived by the Congress and BJP’s manifesto seemed in favour of the National Population Register (NPR) project.

To accelerate the scheme, the Modi government’s first budget allocated around Rs 2,039 crore for the unique identification project in the current fiscal.

HC sets aside selection of 9 asst profs in DU’s Buddhist dept
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 09:55 IST
The Delhi High Court has set aside the selection of nine assistant professors in the Department of Buddhist Studies of Delhi University and asked the varsity to conduct the employment process afresh.

“The writ petition is allowed. The selections made pursuant to advertisement dated January 11, 2012 are set aside. The University of Delhi would be at liberty to recommence the procedure for filling up the posts of Assistant Professors in the Department of Buddhist Studies from the stage of receipt of applications. The entire process will be completed expeditiously though not later than eight weeks from today,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher said.

The court allowed the plea of four persons, who had earlier worked as Assistant Professors in the Department of Buddhists Studies for several years on ad-hoc basis, that they were not considered for regular employment on the sole ground that they did not secure 50 per cent marks in their graduation level examinations.

It found fault with the change in criteria of selection process by the Screening Committee.

The court said once the Executive Council of the DU has framed the selection criteria, the Screening Committing has no right to change it.

“The question… Is: Could the Screening Committee stipulate a criteria contrary to the one, which had already been put in place by the EC of the University of Delhi. In my view, the answer has to be in the negative…,” the judge said.

“The Screening Committee cannot put in an eligibility criteria for shortlisting if, the criteria is already stipulated in the advertisement or in attendant document by one of its premier bodies, i.E., the EC.

“As facts have emerged in the present case, the EC had in fact put in place a screening criteria as per which even a candidate who had secured a third division at the graduation level was required to be called for an interview if, he fulfilled other eligibility conditions required for the post,” it said.

The university, in 2012, gave an advertisement for filing up 50 posts of assistant professors in its departments and nine posts were to be filled up in the Department of Buddhist Studies.

HC acquits mother-son duo in honour killing case
The prosecution alleged that the accused killed Farzana when she refused to shift to her matrimonial home to stay with her husband
The Delhi High Court has acquitted a mother-son duo in an honour killing case in which the prosecution had charged them with killing the wife of her other son at Shahdara in 1995. The prosecution alleged that the accused killed her when she refused to shift to her matrimonial home to stay with her husband.
The trial court had held them guilty and sentenced each to life imprisonment.
The victim worked in a school run by the accused. During her employment, she fell in love with Deepak, one of the two sons of the woman. They got married and the victim left the job and joined a college for further studies.
The trial court had acquitted Deepak of the charge of murdering his wife.
According to the prosecution, the motive for the murder of Farzana was her refusal to stay with her husband at the matrimonial home till her elder sister got married.
Her family feared that by marrying into a Hindu family, Farzana might come in the way of the marriage her elder sister. The prosecution further alleged that Deepak, his brother Anil Kumar and their mother Bimla Devi were enraged over Farzana’s refusal to stay with her husband.
The prosecution alleged that Deepak had called Farzana at his residence and he along with another accused, who was also acquitted by the trial court, assaulted her with a metal pestle on her head causing her death on the spot.
The mother-son accused, Bimla Devi and Anil Kumar, were charged with dragging the body out of the house to dispose it. However, they were caught with it at the entrance of their house with blood stains on their clothes, the prosecution alleged on the basis of statements by the parents and brother of the victim.
However, according to a Division Bench of Justice P.K. Bhasin and Justice V.P. Vaish, the prosecution failed to prove any of the circumstances on which it sought conviction of Bimla Devi and Anil Kumar.
Acquitting the two on an appeal against their conviction by the trial court, the Bench said: “We are of the view that the prosecution cannot be said tohave been successful in establishing a chain of circumstances leading to the only conclusion that the present two accused-appellants were the killers of the deceased Farzana. So, this appeal filed by them deserves to be allowed.’’

Delhi HC upholds conviction and sentence of five rapists
Sunday, 13 July 2014 – 10:12am IST | Agency: PTI
The Delhi High Court has upheld the conviction and sentence of five men for gangrape of a woman after luring her to an isolated building here on the pretext of a job interview.
Justice Mukta Gupta said it was apparent that the woman had been “rendered helpless” and raped by the five persons – Surinder Singh, Dharambir, Manoj Kumar, Kapil Kumar and Prem – “one after the other”.
The high court also said merely because she did not use any force against any of the accused to repel them at the time of the incident does not mean she was a consenting party when she had protested in other ways.
Justice Gupta observed “no woman would consent to having sexual intercourse with a number of people at such a secluded place”, while rejecting the appellants’ challenge to the trial court’s assumption that a lady cannot consent to having sexual intercourse with so many men at one point of time.
The court also refused to reduce the eight-year jail term awarded to the convicts, saying the trial court had taken a lenient view by not awarding them 10-year imprisonment, the minimum sentence prescribed for such offence.
The appellants, apart from challenging their conviction and sentence, had also sought reduction of their jail term to seven years.
The high court also rejected their contention that no test identification parade (TIP) to identify the woman’s assailants was conducted, saying since the appellants had been named in the FIR there was no requirement for TIP.

HC orders state to probe sexual harassment charge against Sheopur collector
TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 10.52 AM IST
BHOPAL: Gwalior bench of Madhya Pradesh high court has ordered the state government to conduct a probe into allegations of sexual harassment levelled against district collector, Sheopur, by a woman data entry operator in the district. The woman had filed a petition on April 29, last year.

On February 2013, she lodged a complaint with chief secretary, Madhya Pradesh Human Rights Commission and state women’s commission, alleging the collector, Gayneshwar Patil, was harassing her. She alleged he would make obscene gestures, call her at odd hours and used his influence to withhold her salary.

Counsel for the petitioner, V D Sharma, told the court “the petitioner is being harassed by her senior. She made several complaints to police, but in vain. Due to police inaction, we are seeking direction for investigation and registration of case.”

On Thursday, the court of Justice B D Rathi stated – State government is directed to go through the complaint and lodge an FIR if there’s a cognizable offence. Sheopur collector Gyaneshwar Patil could not be contacted for comment.

HC orders Police chief to investigate Rs 200-crore theft
Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | July 14, 2014 2:27 am
Setting an example for other courts to nip plastic-money crime in the bud, the Delhi High Court directed the Delhi Police Commissioner to investigate an “ATM card cloning” matter in which the complainant lost more than $ 39 million (over Rs 200 crore). The complainant in the case — a software developer — had approached the Economic Offences Wing of the Delhi Police in June 2013, alleging that his computers had been hacked and ATM cards had been cloned to withdraw more than $ 39 million.
Noting the “magnitude and complexity” of the alleged crime, the High Court said “no visible progress had been made” in the case in the last one year. “This court is of the opinion that since India is one of the leaders in the Information Technology industry, it is imperative that the alleged crime should be investigated by police with ‘alacrity’. Consequently, the Commissioner of Delhi Police is directed to personally examine the matter and ensure that the complaint is investigated expeditiously and properly,” Justice Manmohan said in an order earlier this week.
The High Court order comes at a time when cyber crimes and online fraud has become a major issue in the country. According to data provided by the Reserve Bank of India, nearly one-fourth of the complaints received by banking ombudsman in 2012-13 pertained to net-banking, ATM, debit and credit card frauds.
According to the data, banking ombudsman received 70,541 complaints in 2012-13, of which 25 per cent — 17,867 — pertained to netbanking and ATM, debit and credit card frauds. Over 21 per cent (14,492 cases) of the total complaints in 2011-12 and 24 per cent (17,116 cases) in 2010-11 pertained to plastic money fraud.
In a paper authored by RBI Deputy Governor K C Chakrabarty in July 2013, the total loss from technology-related fraud in the last four years, till March 2013, was put at over Rs 357 crore. Of this, over Rs 183 crore was reported from new private sector banks. Foreign banks reported a loss of over Rs 145 crore in the same period.
Chakraborty had said the predominance of the new private sector banks and the foreign banks in the number of such frauds was “intuitive” as they lead the technology enabled service delivery in the Indian banking sector. “There have been several instances wherein fraudsters have employed hostile software programmes or malware attacks, phishing, vishing (voicemail), SMSishing (text messages), whaling (targeted phishing on high networth individuals) apart from stealing confidential data..,” Chakraborty wrote in the paper.
Speaking to Newsline, an official in Delhi Police’s Cyber cell said instances of card cloning had increased as most fraudsters bought credit card information from online hackers. “Hackers often use information from bank accounts or email IDs of customers. Unfortunately, people do not even realise that their ATM or debit or credit cards have been cloned till they are notified of the theft. There are no detection mechanisms to tell if a card has been cloned,” the official said.

Activist challenges HC order on contempt against Salman Khan
Monday, 14 July 2014 – 5:30am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
A social activist has in a petition before the Supreme Court, challenged a Bombay High Court order quashing his contempt complaint against actor Salman Khan, for posting updates on cases he is involved in on his website.
The activist, Hemant Patil, has stated in a special leave petition that the HC was incorrect in dismissing his complaint and must be set aside.
Patil had in his complaint before the Bandra metropolitan magistrate alleged that by putting the court proceedings, including the 2002 hit-and-run case, on his website ( the actor was committing contempt as the matters were sub judice.
However, in his appeal against the contempt complaint, the actor had argued that his intention was accurate reporting of the cases that pertained to him.
Salman also pleaded that the hit-and-run case was with the session’s court and that the magistrate had no jurisdiction to issue notice to him on the contempt complaint.
The HC while quashing the contempt complaint also imposed a cost of Rs2,000 on the complainant, observing that it was necessary to deter people from wasting the time of the court with such frivolous complaints.

Don’t commit mistakes, HC tells TNPSC
After the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission (TNPSC) admitted to committing a mistake in the selection of assistants in various departments, the Madras High Court sternly told the recruiting agency that it was not a mere procedural irregularity but an illegality depriving the meritorious candidates of their rights.
Justice S. Nagamuthu made the observation while allowing petitions by three candidates who said their non-selection for posts included in the Combined Subordinate Services Examination-I was illegal.
“It is certain that many candidates like the petitioners who ought to have been selected have not been selected, whereas many candidates who ought not to have been selected have been unduly selected,” he said.
“If the TNPSC commits a single mistake, it may result in a huge loss and mental agony to many deserving candidates,” he said.
The judge, however, said it was not possible to repair the loss or make amends for an error committed by the TNPSC fully or cancel the entire selection (as nearly four years had passed since the exam).
A. Mathiarasi and two others, all graduates, filed writ petitions, saying they appeared for the Combined Subordinate Services Examination-I for the post of assistants in various departments such as Registration, Highways, Prison, Police, Transport and Commercial Taxes.
The advertisement was issued in December 2010. They cleared the written examination. Four others who secured fewer marks were called for certificate verification for non-interview posts and selected. The petitioners said they were not called for certificate verification and not selected.
The TNPSC submitted that the non-selection of the petitioners was a “genuine mistake.” They would be accommodated in the next phase of counselling.
After the TNPSC admitted that the petitioners had been illegally rejected and they would be selected in the next phase of counselling, the judge said he did not want to probe further and hoped that the commission would not commit such mistakes in future.

Refusal of entry to dhoti-clad HC judge triggers controversy
PTI | Chennai | Published: Jul 13 2014, 18:37 IST
SUMMARYRefusal of entry to a dhoti-clad Judge of the Madras High Court at a club here has stoked a controversy, with political parties including DMK condemning the incident
Refusal of entry to a dhoti-clad Judge of the Madras High Court at a club here has stoked a controversy, with political parties including DMK condemning the incident, as CPI(M) vowed to take up the issue in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, which is in session, tomorrow.
DMK chief M Karunanidhi and TNCC president BS Gnanadesikan said the government should step in to remove any kind of dress code in public functions.
Karunanidhi said ‘vaetti’ (dhoti) was a symbol of Tamil culture and it was ‘condemnable’ that one was barred entry at a public function for wearing the traditional attire.
“To prevent recurrence of such incidents the government should suo motu advise (the concerned) on removing provisions on dress code for persons attending functions in public,” Karunanidhi said in a statement today.
Madras High Court Judge, Justice D Hariparanthaman was denied entry into the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association Club recently for wearing dhoti.
When he alighted from his official car at the club premises to participate in a book release function organised by T S Arunachalam, a former Chief Justice of the High Court, some staff of the club told him that he could not enter the premises wearing dhoti as they had instructions from the office-bearers not to allow anyone in the premises who violated the club’s dress code.
The judge has termed the incident as “unfortunate”.
Gnanadesikan said it was “regrettable” that a High Court Judge was denied entry for wearing dhoti.
“It is not important who went there wearing dhoti, but a rule barring the entry into a club (for a dhoti-clad person) in Tamil Nadu is unacceptable,” he said.
He said if at all there was a dress code for a club, it would not be binding on persons who were not its members and sought removal of any such existing rules in clubs.
CPI (M) Floor Leader in the state Assembly, A Sounderrajan, told PTI that the party will take up the matter in the House tomorrow by calling for a motion.
PMK founder S Ramadoss wanted an end to such British-era practices and expressed regret that even former Supreme Court Judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer was denied entry in 1980s in the Gymkhana Club here leading him to write a protest note in the guest book.
He demanded that the state government move necessary amendments to ban clubs that do not honour Tamil culture.

Swindling complaint against bank manager: HC orders probe
Press Trust of India | Madurai
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 15:20 IST
The Madras High Court has directed Crime Branch of police to investigate a complaint that a bank manager swindled Rs four lakh by forging signature and encashing a cheque.

Admitting a petition by Chinnadurai of Aruppukottai in Virudhunagar district, Justice G M Akbarali of Madurai bench ordered the Ramanathapuram District Crime Branch to investigate his complaint.

“If there is prima facie matter in the complaint given by the petitioner, after investigation, FIR should be registered and action taken against the bank manager and cashier,” he said.

The petitioner, working as a software engineer in Kerala, submitted that his mother died in an accident on May 21, 2013 and had insured herself for Rs four lakh with SBI LifeInsurance.

He duly claimed the insurance money.

As the amount was not settled, he had sent a reminder and later contacted officials, who informed him that a cheque for the amount had already been sent by post to his residential address and the same had been encashed in neighbouring Mutukulathur Branch of State Bank of India.

He alleged that the cheque had been encashed using forged signature by the manager and the cashier. Though he lodged a complaint with police, they did not take any action. Hence he moved the court.

Wild allegations against hubby’s dad is cruelty, ground for divorce: HC
Shibu Thomas,TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 11.44 PM IST
MUMBAI: Making wild, unsubstantiated allegations against father in-law’s character is mental cruelty against husband, the Bombay high court told a Pune resident. Dismissing a petition filed by Geeta Karnik, a division bench of justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandurkar upheld the divorce granted by a family court in 2006 to her spouse Manish Karnik on grounds of cruelty.

“If one party makes wild and reckless allegations as regards the character of the other party or of any near relative of the other party and such allegations remain unsubstantiated then the same amounts to causing cruelty,” said the judges. “From the material on record, it is clearly proved that Geeta made wild and reckless allegations as regards the Manish’s father but failed to prove the same …and having failed to substantiate the same, such conduct resulted in causing cruelty,” added the judges.

Manish had moved the family court in 2004 for divorce from Geeta, claiming she would not help his mother in household work, she would taunt him about his financial status and threatening to commit suicide or have an abortion and also making allegations against his father. While the other grounds were dismissed by the family court, it ruled against Geeta on the point of subjecting Manish to cruelty by making allegations against his father.

Geeta had alleged that Manish’s father used to dress in short pants and vest at home, and whenever she was sleeping would enter the room on one pretext or the other. She claimed that her father had touched her inappropriately during an argument and would stare at her with “ill feelings”. The trial court held that her allegations had resulted in mental cruelty—one of the grounds on which divorce can be granted—to Manish and granted him divorce in 2006. Geeta challenged the order.

The HC said that Geeta had not furnished any evidence to back her allegations and had not even cross-examined her father-in-law during the trial when he denied it. “The finding recorded by the trial court cannot be faulted and the decree of divorce cannot be set aside,” said the HC.

(Names of the couple changed to protect their identities)

To have passport, travel abroad is fundamental right: HC
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 09:40 IST
Every citizen has a fundamental right to go abroad and have a passport issued in his name, the Delhi High Court has observed while directing the Centre to re-issue passport to a man, who had lost it thrice.

A bench of Justice Manmohan directed the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the regional office concerned to re-issue passport in favour of petitioner A Vikash.

The bench, however, asked Vikash to pay Rs 50,000 to the Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital here, apparently as charity, observing that he has been negligent in taking care of his passport.

“Having heard counsel for petitioner and having perused the paper book, this court is of the view that every citizen has a fundamental right to travel abroad and to have a passport issued in his name,” it said.

“Consequently, present writ petition and application are allowed and respondents are directed to re-issue passport in favour of the petitioner or in alternative issue fresh passport in favour of the petitioner,” the court said.

“Since the petitioner’s brother is also stated to be settled in Australia, this court is of the view that not issuing a passport to the petitioner would amount to violation of his fundamental right,” the bench said.

The court also noted that no material has been placed on record to show that there was any mala fide intent on the part of the petitioner.

According to the petitioner, he lost his passport thrice and was issued a fourth one by the regional office. He, however, returned it to the office in a damaged condition.

He told the court that he had not intentionally misplaced or damaged his passport and had peacefully visited various foreign countries for short terms for recreational purposes on visitor visas.

The MEA, however, opposed the petition contending that the petitioner has failed to keep a valuable government document safely.

The bench did not accept the contentions of the MEA saying, “In the present case, no material has been placed on record to show that there was any mala fide intent on the part of the petitioner. No incident or event showing misuse of any of the lost/damaged passport has been placed on record.

Centre stops Justice Manjunath’s appointment as CJ of Punjab and Haryana high court
Ajay Sura,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 06.41 AM IST
CHANDIGARH: The appointment of Justice KL Manjunath of Karnataka high court as new chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court has been stalled.

Sources confirmed to TOI that the Central government has called back the file pertaining to elevation of Justice Manjunath as chief justice of the HC.

However, present incumbent chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul of the Punjab and Haryana high court is all set to join as new chief justice of Madras high court. The transfer order of Justice Kaul could arrive anytime.

With the withdrawal of Justice Manjunath’s name, justice Ashutosh Mohunta, who has been recently transferred from Andhra Pradesh high court to Chandigarh, is expected to take over as acting chief justice.

Justice Mohunta was transferred to Andhra Pradesh high court on October 28, 2010 but he has returned on June 26 and joined the high court at Chandigarh. He is at present the first puisne judge (senior-most after the CJ) of the Punjab and Haryana high court.

• Gangrape of woman: HC upholds 8-year sentence of five–HC-upholds-8-year-sentence-of-five.html
9:49 HRS IST
New Delhi, Jul 13 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has upheld the conviction and sentence of five men for gangrape of a woman after luring her to an isolated building here on the pretext of a job interview.

Justice Mukta Gupta said it was apparent that the woman had been “rendered helpless” and raped by the five persons — Surinder Singh, Dharambir, Manoj Kumar, Kapil Kumar and Prem — “one after the other”.

Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi
Posted on: Monday, July 14th, 2014
The justice-turned-activist who shone in the murky nineties of Kashmir breathed his last recently. Known for his remarkable work in Kunan Poshpora mass-rape case, Justice Mufti Bahauddin Farooqi was a noted legal luminary and the erstwhile Chief Justice of J&K.
The deceased was the architect of Hurriyat constitution and was known for his contribution in the dispensation of justice in J&K. His demise was widely condoled. He was 87 and is survived by a daughter and three sons.
A law alumnus of Aligarh Muslim University, the deceased started practice at district court Islamabad along with his friend and former chief minister of state, Mir Qasim. He later served as law secretary in the GM Sadiq’s government.
In 1971, he was elevated as high court judge. During his tenure, he passed a number of landmark judgments. His judgment regarding anti-defection was the first to be passed by any high court in India. The law became the basis for anti-defection law ratified by the Parliament of India. But the same law put him under tremendous pressure from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi who wanted him to rule the judgement in their favour, but he refused the same.
Justice Farooqi was appointed as the 12th Chief Justice (CJ) of Jammu and Kashmir on March 7, 1983. But five months after in August 23, 1983, he resigned as CJ of J&K high court in protest to his transfer to Sikkim high court. He believed that New Delhi had no jurisdiction to transfer a J&K high court judge to any part of India as the state had a special status under Article 370.
He constituted first ever civil society after his resignation. Justice Farooqi served as chairman of the ‘Peoples Basic Rights Commission’, an independent body investigating human rights violations committed by Indian forces in Kashmir, and seeking their prosecution.
He led a fact-finding mission to Kunan Poshpora. Over the course of his investigation, he interviewed 53 women who claimed to have been raped by army men. And he tried to determine why a police investigation into the incident had never taken place.
On June 15, 1990, Barbara Crossette, a former New York Times correspondent, reported that Justice Farooqi and his son have begun documenting allegations of human and civil rights violations against Kashmiris.
Known for his integrity, Justice Farooqi went to court as a litigant to challenge the controversial laws like TADA and PSA in Kashmir soon after his retirement. He kept advocating right to self-determination till his breath.
– Bilal Handoo

Sikhs For Justice appeals US court’s dismissal of lawsuit against Sonia Gandhi
New York, USA (July 13, 2014)— After dismissal of its rights violation suit against Congress president Sonia Gandhi last month by a US Federal Court, rights group Sikhs For Justice (SFJ) and two survivors of November 1984 Sikh massacre have filed an appeal with the United States Circuit Court challenging the dismissal of the suit.
SFJ challenged Judge Brian M Cogan’s ruling before United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Court that Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) did not create any liability of Sonia Gandhi for “shielding and protecting” those Congress party members who perpetrated genocidal violence against Sikhs.
“Sikh group’s appeal is based on established principles of international law that those who cover up a crime are just as guilty as the ones who commit it. The allegations against Sonia Gandhi include shielding and protecting Kamal Nath, Jagdish Tytler and Sajjan Kumar who lead death squads during November 1984,” said SFJ legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun.
Brooklyn Federal Judge Brian M Cogan on June 9 had granted Sonia Gandhi’s motion to dismiss the case for lack of subject matter jurisdiction and failure to state a claim. However the judge denied Congress president’s motion for “anti suit injunction” seeking to prevent human rights group from filing any further law suits.
However Gandhi’s counsel Ravi Batra said “genuine victims deserve a lawsuit they can win, not one that only generates false hope and meaningless publicity, as publicity isn’t justice”.
Sikh group legal advisor Gurpatwant Singh Pannun said “since the dismissal of the law suit against Sonia Gandhi, scores of 1984 victims have approached the rights group urging to appeal the dismissal of rights violations charges against Congress president as international courts are the only hope for them.”
A class action suit was filed against Sonia Gandhi in September 2013 by Sikhs For Justice and victims of 1984 under Alien Tort Claims Act (ATCA) and Torture Victim Protection Act (TVPA) for shielding and protecting Congress party leaders who organized genocidal violence against Sikhs.

Court acquits man of charges of raping,forcibly marrying woman
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 10:30 IST
A man, accused of raping a woman and forcibly marrying her by threatening to post her obscene pictures on social networking sites, has been freed by a Delhi court.

The court acquitted the Delhi resident as the woman retracted from her earlier statement and was declared hostile.

“Since the prosecutrix has not supported the case of the prosecution and there being no other eyewitness to the incident, it was found futile to carry on trial of the case any further,” Additional Sessions Judge Virender Bhatt said.

The court also acquitted the man of various charges including kidnapping and extortion.

An FIR was registered on July 11 last year, at Dabri Police Station on a complaint of the woman against the man alleging that he had raped her. The man’s friends were also named in the FIR.

In her complaint, the woman alleged that the man was her engineering college friend and on May 26, 2012, he offered her a sedative laced soft drink and raped her at a hotel in Vaishali in Ghaziabad in the presence of his friends who had videographed the act.

She had alleged that she was threatened by the man that he would post her obscene video clips on social networking sites, if she did not agree to marry him and was forced to tie the knot with him at an Arya Samaj temple near Kashmere Gate here.

She also alleged that her family and she were blackmailed and extortion was done from time to time to pay him various amounts.

The man was arrested and a charge sheet was filed. The accused had pleaded not guilty.

During the trial, the woman resiled from her earlier statements and said that the man had neither raped her nor threatened her.

She also deposed that they had fallen in love and had solemnised their marriage at an Arya Samaj temple in Delhi with her consent and without any pressure or coercion.

Supreme Court’s ruling on fatwas is faulty
PUBLISHED: 22:31 GMT, 13 July 2014 | UPDATED: 22:31 GMT, 13 July 2014

My reverend guru, the legendary Duncan Derrett, reacted to pretentious judgments from the Supreme Court personally, by skipping breakfast or lunch – or both – in remonstrance.
That no one heard of this gesture thousands of miles away was irrelevant.
After reading Justice C.K. Prasad’s judgment in the ‘Muslim Fatwa’ matter, I adopted a Derrettian protest.
Our present legal system is Anglo-Indian in nature, based on English law and enclosed by a Constitution. Much as the British wanted the Anglo Indian codes to be all pervasive, it was a foolish wish
True, the learned judge’s knowledge about these and other matters is pedestrian.
But to deliver a judgment on such an important matter with such faulty ease does not reflect well on a judge of the Supreme Court.
The petition arose from a broad spectrum public interest law petition against Muslim fatwas and institutions of Islamic learning by advocate Vishwa Lochan Madan, whose locus standi to file the petition was never examined – as it should have been.
The Writ Petitioner seems to have stressed two points: (i) Muslims run a parallel legal system of which the fatwa is a part; and, that (ii) some fatwas are obnoxious – such as that of Darul Uloom Deoband, which dissolved Imrana’s marital status because she was allegedly raped by her father-in-law; and in respect of Asoobi who was also allegedly raped by her father-in-law.
The Imrana and Asoobi fatwas were decried by many Muslims and recognised as contrary to Muslim law. You cannot judge a religion or its custodians by picking out mistakes.
But the main contention of petitioner Lochan was that a parallel Muslim legal system could not be allowed to exist.
Our present legal system is Anglo-Indian in nature, based on English law and enclosed by a Constitution.

Much as the British wanted the Anglo Indian codes to be all pervasive, it was a foolish wish.
In the 1870s, J.H. Nelson warned Chief Justice Innes of Madras of this folly and paid the price by remaining a District Judge, albeit more distinguished than his Chief.
We follow the British juristic policy of requiring personal laws to be eventually interpreted by the courts, but recognising their autonomous existence.
There is no legal system in the world that can silence alternative dispute settlements.
Religious systems are protected by Article 25 of the Constitution to a reasonable extent.
To say that they don’t exist, or should not exist, is a fool’s dream.
Even after the advent of the Constitution, India’s courts went one step further in protecting religious autonomy.
Justice Gajendragadkar led the field in a Bombay judgment (1952) that personal laws could not be tested against Fundamental Rights, and operated in their own sphere.
This was reiterated by the Madras (1952) and Allahabad (1957) High Courts.
In the Ahmedabad Women’s Group case (1992) a challenge to Muslim polygamy in the Supreme Court was not permitted.
With this authority, Justice Prasad’s judgment seemed like a catapult that was taking pot shots at the institution of the fatwa and indeed, against Islam.
This was contrary to authoritative law.
The fatwa have their own place in Islam, much like the Pope’s missives to his Catholic adherents.
Many may disagree with both fatwas and institutional declarations – as, indeed, they might with the pronouncements of Hindu shankracharyas.
Our legal system stays clear of challenging religious authority, leaving it to civil society to critique the declarations of religious authorities.
The petitioner wanted all declarations by various Muslim bodies to be declared illegal, illegitimate and unconstitutional; and to take steps to disband all Muslim adjudicatory decision makers.
The writ was so absurd that it should have been dismissed immediately.
But Justice Prasad’s judgment. said the power to adjudicate was only for those who were authorised by statute and the fatwa “has no place in … India’s … constitutional scheme”.
He used Imrana’s case as an “eye opener” and concluded that a fatwa “has the potential of causing immense devastation”.
In his view, a fatwa was not authoritative and such pronouncements can only be given to individuals who ask for it.
Such a gratuitous and dismissive abolishment of religious practices and processes was wholly uncalled for by a nondescript judgment.
Not only was the judgment populist, it was deficient in its understanding of the constitutional dispensation.
It put Islam as a faith on the defensive and its institutions on trial. In 1962, in the Dawoodi Bohras case, the Supreme Court upheld the power of the Dai-al-Mutlaq of the Dawoodi Bohras community to ex-communicate a follower for violations of religious wrongs.
Surely Justice Prasad should have examined this Constitution Bench decision and many others before delivering his verdict.
What needs to be emphasised is that religious legal systems exist and they do so lawfully with constitutional protection.
They are both part of the faith and respected as such. No judicial verdict can wish them away. S
ome need reform which India’s constitutional system leaves to the faith.
Religious fatwas and schools of thought like Darul Uloom of Deoband are part of the faith.
They are not to be demonised as has been the case with khap panchayats and other goonda forms of justice
This of course does not mean that fatwas cannot be criticised. But to throw these legal systems into non-existence is myopic and absurd.
In my opinion, Justice Prasad’s judgment plays to the Hindutva gallery with its agenda on Article 370, and the Uniform Civil Code.
If judges like him cannot be wise, it is up to the rest of us to be instead.
The writer is a Supreme Court lawyer

‘Court can add as accused even those whose names police have dropped’
Swati Deshpande,TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 11.53 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Jalgaon sessions court summoned Congress leaders Dr G N Patil and Ulhas Patil to face trial in a nine-year-old murder case of another Congress leader, holding that the law allows the trial court to add as accused even those whose names the investigating agency may have dropped during its probe.

“There is strong prima facie evidence on record to indicate their involvement,” said Jalgaon sessions judge D J Shegoka while adding as fresh accused G N Patil, brother of former Indian President Pratibha Patil, and his alleged co-conspirator, Ulhas Patil, for the murder of former Congress district president Vishram Patil in Jalgaon.

The Jalgaon court overturned findings of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which had given a clean chit to G N Patil, who was Jalgaon district Congress president (2004-05) before the victim. The CBI had also exonerated Dr Ulhas Patil, who was also with the Congress then.

The sessions judge had relied on Section 319 of Criminal Procedure Code, under which a court can try a person unnamed in an FIR or chargesheet if evidence emerges against him during trial. The court noted that, as observed by the Supreme Court, the section covers “even persons dropped by police during investigations, but against whom evidence showing their involvement comes up before the criminal trial court”.

The CBI’s findings were upheld by the Bombay high court in July 2009. But the victim’s wife, Rajani, persisted in the lower court, with her application in 2006 to make the two Patils accused.

Eight years later, the sessions court held that Vishram death on September 21, 2005 was a case of homicide, but the testimony of four witnesses was compelling to summon G N Patil to face a murder trial.

Vishram had sustained seven knife injuries in his abdomen and neck.

Rajani had stressed that G N Patil, Ulhas and the four accused, including two shooters (one of them, Raju Mali, died in custody), had hatched a plan to murder her husband due to intra-party rivalry.

She said G N Patil was upset that her husband was elected in 2005 and had passed a resolution to sack him. In 2005, G N Patil had collected Rs 2 lakh from the public on behalf of the Congress (I) for tsunami relief. But they got “annoyed’ when G N Patil “misappropriated funds” and her husband complained about it to the party bosses.

Rambhau Pawar’s evidence helped the court decide that G N Patil must be tried. He was on his way to Jalgaon from a village early morning that day, when he saw two persons assaulting Vishram. “When I tried to intervene, the short person threatened me and the tall one told me to leave, stating that big lenders like Dr Ulhas Patil and Dr GN Patil stood by them,” he said. He identified the assailants, Mali and Raju Sonawane.

Shantaram Gaikwad, deputy superintendent of police, who had taken over investigations, said interrogation of the two Rajus “revealed that the main accused, Mali, took Sonawane to the house and hospital of Dr Ulhas Patil prior to the crime, where they had a discussion before heading to G N Patil’s house in Jalgaon”.

The conduct of an accused before and after a crime is pertinent, said the judge, rejecting the CBI’s objections. A fresh trial will now be conducted against the two.

SC ruling must lead to a Muslim personal law code’
Bader Sayeed,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 07.28 AM IST
The Supreme Court has once again come as a saviour to give a voice to the Muslim woman of our country. Though it has no objection to the continuance of shariat courts, the Supreme Court has ruled that their decisions will have no legal force. The Supreme Court has not touched upon Muslim personal law. But the court has ruled that fatwas that are often issued by shariat courts are not decrees and cannot be enforced. The court has also said that the fatwas are not sanctioned in our constitutional scheme.
Muslim women including in Tamil Nadu have been hit hard by the conservative, inhuman, cruel fatwas that are given on every aspect of their lives and that restrict their freedom and liberties. The Supreme Court has held that a fatwa has no legal validity.

However the jamaaths and the khazis who derive their power from ill-defined sources continue to precipitate a situation where economically marginalised Muslim women are pressured into following their diktats. The women don’t realize that the jamaaths and khazis are not the final court of appeal. Instead these fatwas are used by the khazis and the jamaaths to increment their hold on Muslim civil society without legal sanction.

I must state here that the jamaaths are elected bodies under the supervision of the state Wakf boards and exert a significant influence on Muslim civil society. This is a situation which needs correction.

The jamaaths take their toll on the individual insisting that their decision be obeyed and if this does not happen they hold the threat of excommunication and social boycott which is patently inhuman.

Excommunication and social boycott has the effect of denying freedom of speech and movements, access to livelihood, freedom to bury their dead in the local graveyards and preventing those that have been excommunicated

from participating in matrimonial functions of the family. Yet, despite court judgments that such social estrangement is not valid and against constitutional rights they continue to be practised. In Islam the “khazi” is considered as the keeper of the faith and the law since most khazis are highly educated and are scholars of Muslim law. This can hardly be held true in our country though there are exceptions.

The khazis can conduct and register a marriage. But they are not legally authorised to finalise a divorce or perform judicial functions. Yet the reality is that the khazis validate and issue fatwas regarding divorces with total impunity towards the rights of Muslim women. But the final decree of divorce should carry the judicial stamp which will decide over all other allied issues that ariseout of a divorce.
The function of arbitration carried out by the sharia courts has not been inhibited by the Supreme Court. But the court makes it very clear that what emanates from the shariat courts has no legal binding. Yet due to patriarchal attitudes, societal pressures and lack of access to civil courts Muslim women are caught in the web of the khazis, jamaaths and the shariat courts to seek redress which they never achieve.

This judgement should precipitate rapid codification of Muslim personal law, which is the need of the hour.

We owe it to our Muslim sisters that this happens. Silence on this subject will be catastrophic for Muslim society.

Orissa High Court gets panel report on safety of devotees
The Odisha Government on Thursday submitted in the High Court the entire report of Justice P K Mohanty Commission that had made several recommendations to ensure safety and security of lakhs of devotees visiting the Sri Jagannath Temple in Puri throughout the year.
While the report was submitted in a sealed cover, the State government failed to submit the action-taken report (ATR) on it, which the High Court had sought last month while adjudicating on a PIL concerning the issue. Asking the government to positively submit the ATR within a week, the Division Bench of Justices A K Rath and B R Sarangi posted the matter to be taken up again on July 18.
Retired judge of Orissa High Court Justice P K Mohanty was appointed by the State government to head the one-man Judicial Commission to probe the November 2006 stampede in the Puri temple, in which at least six devotees died. Justice Mohanty was also asked to make recommendations to ensure the safety and security of devotees.
While the report along with the recommendations was submitted in 2009, it was tabled in the Assembly and later accepted by the State government. However, alleging that the government has completely ignored the recommendations of the Judicial Commission, social and political activist Chitta Ranjan Mohanty filed a PIL questioning the government’s motive.
Mohanty in his petition had alleged that due to improper security management by the State government, the historical marvel of the country is now under the scanner of terrorists. Annexing a newspaper report, the petitioner referred to recent video clips in the social media showing aerial views of the temple and the temple town.
The petition also questioned the “mismanagement” and “maladministration” of temple in disciplining the priests and servitors of the temple for which there have been lots of criticisms both inside the State and outside.

High Court Bench orders auctioning of PDS rice as cattle feed
72 tonnes unfit for human consumption due to prolonged legal battle
The Madras High Court Bench here has ordered for the auction of 72.65 tonnes of Public Distribution System (PDS) rice as cattle feed since it had become unfit for human consumption due to a prolonged legal battle between Tamil Nadu Civil Supplies Corporation (TNCSC) and five of its hulling agents in Thanjavur since last year.
A Division Bench of Justices V. Ramasubramanian and V.M. Velumani also ordered that the rest of 166.30 tonnes of rice out of the total consignment of 239 tonnes, which had been a subject of dispute between TNCSC and the hulling agents, could be distributed through ration shops after re-polishing so that it also does not end up getting spoiled.
The orders were passed while allowing five writ appeals preferred by TNCSC against a single judge’s decision to quash show cause notices issued by it to the five rice mills appointed as its hulling agents in Thanjavur district.
The notices had accused the agents of having supplied rice other than the one obtained through hulling paddy handed over to them.
According to the appellants, the job of the agents was to hull the paddy procured by the Food Corporation of India and hand over the rice to TNCSC for distribution through ration shops.
But when they supplied unconnected rice in June 2013, the corporation chose to initiate action.
Immediately, the rice mill owners filed individual writ petitions and got the show cause notices quashed in July 2013.
Holding that the single judge had quashed the show cause notices on an erroneous ground that the analysis of the rice samples was not done within a day, the Division Bench said that TNCSC’s Quality Control Manual mandated only drawing of samples within a day though the analysis thereafter could take time since it involved a scientific process.
“From the calendar, the appellants have been able to demonstrate that there was no delay in drawing the samples and sending them to regional laboratories. Therefore, the delay in analysing the samples cannot be put against the appellants,” the Bench said and set aside the single judge’s order.
It also directed the mill owners to submit their replies to the show cause notices within two weeks.
In the meantime, since the Thanjavur Collector had reported that huge quantity of the rice, stored in various warehouses, had already become unfit for human consumption, the judges ordered for the disposal of the entire consignment without prejudice to the rights of the appellants as well as the mill owners.

Despite high court order, Prabhadevi building still not redeveloped
Nauzer Bharucha,TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 11.42 PM IST
MUMBAI: Fourteen years ago, more than four dozen families were evicted by the Maharashtra housing area development authority (Mhada) after their building, Bhagirthi Bhuvan at Prabhadevi, was declared dilapidated and dangerous. Dumped in transit camps in Sion and Mahim, over 200 people continue to languish there as the Mhada-appointed builder has failed to reconstruct the building and rehabilitate them.

Despite four court orders over the past decade, the tenants say they have been left high and dry by the builder and Mhada. Even the transit camps they live in are in poor condition.

Last July, a division bench of the Bombay high court ordered the builder, Sanjay Jain of Ackruti Developers, to complete the building within 12 months. Possession was to be given by July 4, 2014. But a year later, just the skeleton of 10 of the 19 floors is finished. The work was abandoned over a year ago.

Jain told TOI that he faced a financial crunch, but work would start within the next fortnight and the tenants rehabilitated soon after. “I have already given an undertaking to Mhada,” he said.

Mhada vice president Satish Gavai said the housing board issued a notice to the “NOC holder” (builder) early this month. “He has been given a week’s time to respond, failing which we will take necessary action,” he said. But tenants said Mhada has issued four such notices in the past year. “All of them were ignored by the builder and Mhada officials kept silent,” one tenant said.

The plight of the tenants of Bhagirthi Bhuvan is a case study of why people living in crumbling buildings stubbornly refuse to vacate despite the authority’s warnings. They fear that once they move out it will be difficult to get their homes back because of Mhada’s past reputation, experts said.

Tenants of Bhagirthi Bhuvan are at their wits’ end despite using their meagre resources to file court cases and running around to file RTI applications to procure information about their building.

“In 2004, Mhada acquired our property so that it could rebuild itself. But on the same day that year, it gave a no-objection certificate (NOC) to the developer to redevelop the property. A property once acquired by Mhada cannot be given away to a builder. It was illegal,” said Gopal Naikar, a tenant. “In fact, we had made representations to Mhada not to allow any builder to redevelop our property.”

The then housing secretary stayed Mhada’s NOC to the builder as there is no provision in law to issue such a certificate for an acquired property, a source said. Later, a Mhada official lifted the stay, the source added, allegedly at the behest of a politician.

Last April, the builder wrote to tenants that it had sold the saleable component of the project to a purchaser, who “committed serious defaults in making payments and breached agreements with us”. “We suffered immense losses due to non-payment. However, we assure that we will complete the rehabilitation building as soon as possible and accommodate all tenants,” said the builder.

No further probe needed if witnesses back out: Kerala high court
Mahir Haneef,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 03.39 AM IST
KOCHI: The Kerala high court has held that if majority of witnesses in a criminal case backs out from statements given to police, a further investigation cannot be ordered by the court directly to bring out the truth. The court also held that such hostile witnesses have to be dealt with by trial courts during their examination and if a false case is foisted by the de facto complainant, the trial court can take appropriate action against him.

The ruling was given by justice K Ramakrishnan after considering a petition filed by Thajumuddeen M of Vallakadavu in Thiruvananthapuram seeking further investigation in a case in which he is the first accused.

On the basis of a statement given by Valiyathura sub inspector, police had registered a case against the petitioner and two others in 2012 accusing them of uttering obscenity in a public place, wrongful restraint, and causing hurt. After police filed final report last year, the case is pending before Thiruvananthapuram judicial first class magistrate – II.

Along with the petition filed to the high court by Thajumuddeen, affidavits filed by two of the three eyewitnesses mentioned in the final report were produced. As per the affidavits, the witnesses claimed that they haven’t given any statement before any police officer and they have not seen the alleged incident.

The petitioner’s counsel Vishnu Babu argued that a further investigation is required to bring out the real nature of the alleged incident. Opposing the petition, public prosecutor P Maya submitted that the affidavits cannot be considered by the high court at this stage as it is a matter to be considered at the time of trial by the magistrate by evaluating the evidence given by those witnesses.

Such hostile witnesses have to be dealt with by trial courts during their examination. If a false case is foisted by the de facto complainant, the trial court can take appropriate action against him, the court held.

The ruling was given by justice K Ramakrishnan after considering a petition filed by Thajumuddeen M of Vallakadavu in Thiruvananthapuram seeking further investigation in a case in which he is the first accused.

On the basis of a statement given by Valiyathura sub inspector, police had registered a case against the petitioner and two others in 2012 accusing them of uttering obscenity in a public place, wrongful restraint, and causing hurt. After police filed final report last year, the case is pending before Thiruvananthapuram judicial first class magistrate – II.

Along with the petition filed to the high court by Thajumuddeen, affidavits filed by two of the three eyewitnesses mentioned in the final report were produced. As per the affidavits, the witnesses claimed that they haven’t given any statement before any police officer and they have not seen the alleged incident.

The petitioner’s counsel Vishnu Babu argued that a further investigation is required to bring out the real nature of the alleged incident.

Opposing the petition, public prosecutor P Maya submitted that the affidavits cannot be considered by the high court at this stage as it is a matter to be considered at the time of trial by the magistrate by evaluating the evidence given by those witnesses.

Declining to order a further investigation, justice Ramakrishnan held, “As rightly pointed out by the learned public prosecutor, this court cannot now consider the versions mentioned by the witnesses by a way of affidavit before this court as that is a matter to be considered by the trial court when they were examined before that court. Further, ultimately if the trial court found that it is a false case, the accused can insist for taking action against the de facto complainant and the magistrate can take appropriate action against the de facto complainant if it is found that it is a false case foisted by the de facto complainant against the petitioner and others. So, under the circumstances, I don’t think that there is any necessity for a further investigation to be conducted in this matter as the court itself can consider those matter at the time of trial and pass appropriate orders.”

High court grants bail to two police sub-inspectors
Jul 14, 2014 |
The Bombay high court has granted bail to two police sub-inspectors from the Rajasthan police in the Sohrabuddin fake encounter case.
Justice Abhay M. Thipsay granted bail to Himanshu Singh Rajawat and Shyam Singh Charan, who were posted as sub-inspectors in the Udaipur district at the time of the incident.
The judge granted them bail on ground of parity as their superior officer who is facing more grievous charges in the same case was granted bail by the apex court.
According to CBI the role of both the applicants was that they were part of the four-member special team headed by M.N. Dinesh, superintendent of police. The team came from Rajasthan to Gujarat, purportedly, for apprehending Sohrabuddin.
The investigating agency said the applicants did not come to apprehend Sohrabuddin, but to kill him and they were present on the spot at the time of his death. The court had earlier rejected bail applications of both the applicants, but this time they said there was change in circumstance and the three accused, including Dinesh, have been granted bail.
The court, while rejecting their bail plea, had granted them liberty to file a fresh bail plea in the event of the trial not being concluded within a specified time, that is by February 2014.
The court noted that one year has since passed, but the trial had not progressed at all.
Though the judge was of the opinion that there was prima facie case against them, both of them were working under the control of Dinesh and this team was working at the instance of several superior police officers, who allegedly were acting at the instance of politicians.
However, since Dinesh had been granted bail the high court accepted the plea of Rajawat and Charan.

Stop abuse of women safety laws: Court
TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 11.59 PM IST
NEW DELHI: Observing that the abuse of laws related to crimes against women needs to be checked, a trial court has granted bail to a man in a rape case filed by a woman who has registered similar cases against 10 other people.

Additional sessions judge Kamini Lau granted bail to Narender Pal Kashyap on a personal bond of Rs 50,000 after noting that the DNA exhibits of Kashyap did not match with those from the woman. The court was also hearing a complaint filed by Kashyap’s father who claimed that the complainant in the case is a key member of an extortion gang and has filed more than 10 false cases in order to “extort money from innocent men.”

“There has to be some checklist and safeguards to prevent such abuse of special legislation in favour of women,” the court said. The DCP (outer district) who appeared in court suggested that in such cases, officers must “exercise abundant caution before making an arrest”.

During the last hearing, the court had directed Delhi Police to file a detailed status report in the matter. The court welcomed the DCP’s suggestion and said, “This court is highly appreciate of the suggestion given by the DCP and it would be desirable that in cases involving property, civil or other disputes between various parties there should be due application of mind at a senior level before the arrest is affected.”

It, however, clarified that this does not mean that undue leverage be given to the offender. “This is only a rule of caution…the senior officer of the district applies his mind to the necessity and desirability of such an arrest which ought to be made only after grant of a specific permission in this regard, which should be done to avoid allegations of connivance or bias at the local level and of illegal detention on the basis of false accusations,” the court said.

CIC lets off MHA official who didn’t furnish info in 10 months
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 13, 2014 Last Updated at 11:00 IST
In a strange step, the Central Information Commission has dropped penalty proceedings against a Home ministry official who did not furnish any information to an applicant even after 10 months of filing of RTI.

According to the RTI Act, if the information is not furnished within a month of filing the application, without giving any reasonable cause, CIC is bound to impose a penalty of Rs 250 per day on the officer concerned from the date information became due till the date when it was furnished to the applicant.

Various high courts have said in their orders that it is mandatory for CIC to impose penalty on the CPIO when information is not provided without giving any reason.

The case pertains to an information sought from Home Ministry on the Bhandara rape and murdercase. No reply was furnished to the applicant even after 10 months without giving any reasons.

During the hearing arising out of complaint filed by the applicant, Information Commissioner Vijai Sharma issued a show cause notice to the Central Public Information Officer after concluding that Ministry officials did not respond to the RTI application and they had “contravened” the legal provisions.

But six-months after the hearing, Deputy Registrar V K Sharma in the office of the Information Commissioner sent a communique saying response of the CPIO has been accepted and show cause notice has been dropped.

An E-mail seeking his reaction and reasons for dropping the proceeding from the Deputy Registrar remained unanswered.

When contacted former Chief Information Commissioner A N Tiwari told PTI over phone: “Cases where CPIO does not provide any information, CIC has no option but to impose penalty. The CPIO cannot remain quiet over an application. If there is no information available, applicant must be informed else penalty becomes inevitable.

Law grads snub court practice for corporate jobs
TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 06.30 AM IST
BANGALORE: One of the biggest criticisms that the 25-year-old National Law School of India University (NLSIU) faces after every placement is that its graduates give the heave-ho to court practice and opt for corporate jobs. It’s true of most other law campuses too.

The 2014 batch of NLSIU saw just four of its 75 graduates opt for litigation. Of these, three are in the courts and the fourth is in the litigation department of a law firm. The 2015 batch, whose placements are nearly complete, has less than 10 students heading for litigation. Around 50 are getting into corporates, a few are targeting civil services and a couple of them are looking at entrepreneurship.

It’s a similar trend in Christ University’s School of Law too, where 70% of the students are giving the nod to corporates. “Only students whose immediate family members are practising lawyers take up litigation. The trend has been the same for the past five years. What matters is settling down fast,” says Somu C S, HoD, School of Law. In the last batch, 70 students opted for placements. Of these, around 40 were in corporates and many others with NGOs.

Money is the driving factor, says Vidyasree K S, placement coordinator, MS Ramaiah College of Law. “A student placed with a corporate gets a starting salary of Rs 20,000 per month. In litigation, they’d initially earn only some Rs 8,000. Last year, five students got into litigation but they quickly switched over as they did not find it lucrative,” she says.

However, the University Law College, Bangalore University, continues to have most of its students heading to courts. “We have the tradition of producing some of the best lawyers in town. About 70% of our students still get into litigation. The students are from a mixed background and do not mind the rigorous and non-remunerative side of court practice. Many of them want to do social service,” says Suresh V, faculty. The institute is getting a placement cell where students can register for placements next year.

Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights deplores rape of 13-year-old girl in Bokaro
Sunday, 13 July 2014 – 4:40pm IST | Place: Jamshedpur | Agency: PTI
• Commission for Protection of Child Rights deplores rape of 13-year-old girl in Bokaro
The Jharkhand State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (JSCPCR) on Sunday strongly deplored the Swang Gulgulia Dhoura village incident in Bokaro district, where a 13-year-old girl was raped on the diktat of the panchayat head on Tuesday, and demanded stringent punishment against the culprits.
Reacting to the nature of the incident,Shamina Shafiq, a member of National Commission for Women had said, “Action should be taken in matters where these regional panchayats do injustice to women. Inhuman things are happening this way. Why doesn’t the district administration make people aware of things? NCPCR (National Commission for Protection of Child Rights) should come first in it as it’s the matter of a girl child. If they will not take any action, then NCW will get involved in this.”
Chairman of the JSCPCR, Roop Laxmi Munda said a two-member JSCPCR team comprising members Ranjana Kumari and Sunita Katyayan had visited the village on Saturday to probe the incident. A detailed report of the findings by the members would be submitted to the commission within the next few days and the commission would recommend the Jharkhand government to take action accordingly in this regard.
Describing the incident as “inhumane and barbaric”, Munda told PTI that JSCPCR would demand that action be initiated against the culprits under Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. She advocated concrete steps to check recurrence of such incidents and assured that JSCPCR would ensure that the victim gets adequate compensation as the commission did for the four gang-rape victims in Pakur district about a year ago.
Describing the incident as “heinous”, Ranjana Kumari said lack of awareness, literacy and basic amenities in the village forced around 250 Pasi community members to lead a miserable life. Kumari said the accused village head, Ghosal Pasi was not an elected panchayat chief but a self-styled Mukhia (village head), who is a powerful man among the community.
Asked when the report would be submitted to the commission, Ranjana Kumari said it would take about three to four days as the team was preparing a detailed report as well as the recommendations to be made.

UN Tribunal Resolves 40-Year-Old Maritime Dispute Between India and Bangladesh
All India | Reported by Anchal Vohra (With inputs from agencies), Edited by Amit Chaturvedi | Updated: July 13, 2014 00:13 IST
New Delhi: Ending a 40-year-old dispute, a United Nations tribunal delivered its verdict on Tuesday on India and Bangladesh’s maritime boundaries in the Bay of Bengal, awarding nearly four-fifth of the 25,000 sq km of the exclusive economic zone to Bangladesh.

The verdict, binding on both countries, opens the way for Bangladesh to explore for oil and gas in the Bay of Bengal, and ends a dispute over a sea border with India that has ruffled ties between the neighbours.

So has India lost out? NDTV has accessed an internal government of India note that suggests otherwise.

Even though India believes the delimitation has been done in an arbitrary fashion, it is not the loser. Control of the disputed New Moore Island and concomitant access to Hariabhanga river is a significant gain. The island, supposedly rich in oil and natural gas, has been a traditional sore point between the two neighbouring countries.

The Hariabhanga river, which flows around the Sundarbans in West Bengal and borders Satkhira district of Bangladesh, and the region holds twice the amount of hydrocarbons as compared to the Krishna-Godavari basin in Andhra Pradesh.

The verdict is also a good news for the fishermen of both countries who now have access to a larger area for fishing.

Both the governments have called it a win-win situation. “It is the victory of friendship and a win-win situation for the people of Bangladesh and India,” Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said on Tuesday after the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA).

“The settlement of the maritime boundary will further enhance mutual understanding and goodwill between India and Bangladesh by bringing to closure a long-pending issue,” India’s Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

Incidentally, Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj chose Bangladesh as the destination of her first standalone visit, which perhaps goes on to show the importance India attaches to its relationship with Bangladesh.

Teacher moves HC against vacant posts at university and college tribunals
TNN | Jul 13, 2014, 01.25AM IST
NAGPUR: A Yavatmal teacher moved the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court contending that posts of presiding officers were lying vacant at all five university and college tribunals in Maharashtra. A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Gavai and Sunil Shukre, on Wednesday, issued notice to secretary of higher and technical education department.

Taking serious cognisance, the judges directed the government to make a statement as to when at least one tribunal could become functional. They asked on whether constitution of single tribunal, headquarters in Mumbai, and circuit benches at other places, would be a feasible option to reduce the cost.

According to petitioner’s counsels – Mohan Sudame and Sunil Pande – presiding officers’ posts at Aurangabad, Mumbai, Nashik, Nagpur and Pune are not being filled up for long, thus leading to pendency of cases. They pointed out that the litigants and public, especially teaching and non-teaching staff of university and affiliated colleges, were put to inconvenience as their appeals were not heard and decided.
Petitioner Manisha Mulkalwar’s services were terminated by her college and when she approached the HC, she was directed to resort to alternate remedy of approaching University and College Tribunal. However, since all posts of presiding officers were vacant, she knocked the judiciary’s doors. The presiding officers are usually retired HC judges appointed by the state government in consultation with the Bombay High Court.
(With inputs from Yash Ahuja)

CAT finds illegality in law against sexual harassment at workplace
Recommends that the Union government take corrective measures
The manner of appointing members to the internal committees to probe complaints under the Sexual Harassment of Women at Workplace (Prevention, Prohibition and Redressal) Act, 2013, has been termed “unconstitutional” by the Central Administrative Tribunal’s (CAT) Bangalore Bench.
The tribunal said the appointment process was “biased” as two members of such committees should be “committed to the cause of women,” and hence “destroys the concept of fairness” embedded in the process of adjudication.
However, as tribunals have no power to strike down the law, it has recommended to the Union government to look into Sections 4 and 7 of the Act, under which committees are constituted to hear complaints of sexual harassments, and take corrective steps in compliance with the Constitution of India.
“If members of the adjudicatory committee are to be committed to an ideology [cause of women], their mental frame will be such that it would give an opportunity for unwelcome bias and their finding also will be in resonance of their personal commitment,” said a Bench comprising judicial member K.B. Suresh (as he then was) and administrative member P.K. Pradhan last week.
“Sections 4 and 7 of the Act can be termed unconstitutional because once an adjudicatory body is to be determined as slanted in its sway, it destroys the fairness concept embedded in adjudication,” said the Bench while dealing with four cases of dismissal of employees from service by different government agencies based on the findings of committees on sexual harassment.
The tribunal said that in all the four cases — related to KIOCL Ltd., National Institute of Mental Health and Neuro Sciences, Employees State Insurance Corporation, and the Department of Posts — the employees were erroneously found “guilty.”
In one of the cases, the complainant had not even alleged sexual harassment, and in another, a whistleblower was “targeted” through a few women employees to eliminate him from service, the tribunal said while pointing at a series of flaws in the conduct of inquiry proceedings and failure to give chance of cross examination to the accused employees.
Apparently, the climate of fear, caused due to public outcry on several incidents of assault on women, had created a “terror situation’ among senior echelons of administrative authorities of these agencies, leading to the dismissal of employees, the tribunal said.

‘Govt. has alternative plans for fishing harbour expansion’
The State government has alternative plans for the expansion of the Old Fisheries Harbour at Bunder, J.R. Lobo, Mangalore South MLA, has said.
He told presspersons here on Saturday that a meeting was held recently in Bangalore where alternative plans were worked out in view of the petition pending at the Principal Bench of the National Green Tribunal. The Bench ordered a status quo on the construction work, which was estimated to cost Rs. 57.6 crore, following a petition filed by city-based activist Octavia Albuquerque and others. The tribunal had found, prima facie, that the project was filling up a creek in violation of Coastal Regulation Zone rules.
Mr. Lobo said the government granted approval for works estimated at Rs. 60 crores as part of the third phase of the expansion work. A sum of Rs. 5 crore had been granted for a new jetty at Sultan Battery.
Approval had been granted for a jetty at the northern part of the Old Fishing Harbour at a cost of Rs. 48 crore for boats transporting goods and construction material to Lakshadweep.
Mr. Lobo said steps were being taken to push forward the ambitious Corniche (road along the beach) project on Jeppinamogaru – Kulur – Gurupura Bridge stretch.
Mr. Lobo said the long-pending work on a suspension pedestrian bridge across the Gurupura estuary near Sultan Battery connecting it with Bengre would be executed by the Public Works Department. As a part of works related to development of Costal Circuit for boasting tourism, the State government would improve facilities at beaches in Mangalore. A Rs. 150-crore action plan had been planned for improving roads and pavements in Mangalore, he added.

Guj HC holds Appellate Tribunal has power to extend stay beyond 365 days
The Hon’ble Gujarat High Court in a case decided on 09.07.2014 has held that the Appellate Tribunal has power to extend the stay beyond 365 days, if the delay is not at all attributable to the assessee. The Hon’ble Court agreed with the view of Hon’ble Bombay HC in the case of Navrang Overseas Pvt. Ltd. but dissented with the view taken by Hon’ble Karnataka HC in Ecom Grill Coffee Trading Pvt. Ltd.

The Hon’ble Gujarat Court held :

” it is held that in case and having satisfied that delay in not disposing of the appeal within 365 days (total) from the date of grant of initial stay is not attributable to the appellant / assessee in whose favour stay
has been granted and that the Appellate Tribunal is satisfied that such appellant / assessee has fully cooperated in early disposal of the appeal and/or has not indulged into any delay tactics and/or has not taken any undue advantage, the learned Appellate Tribunal may, by passing a speaking order as observed hereinabove, extend stay even beyond the total period of 365 days from the date of grant of initial stay. However, as observed by the Hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Kumar Cotton Mills Pvt. Ltd (supra), it should not be construed that any latitude is given to the Appellate Tribunal to extend the period of stay except on good cause and if the Appellate Tribunal is satisfied that the matter could not be heard and disposed of by reason of the fault of the Appellate Tribunal for the reasons not attributable to the assessee. It also may not be construed that the Appellate Tribunal can extend stay indefinitely. On expiry of every 180 days the concerned assessee / appellant is required to submit an
appropriate application before the learned Appellate Tribunal to extend the stay granted earlier and the Appellate Tribunal may extend the stay for a further period but not beyond 180 days at a stretch and on arriving at the subjective satisfaction, as stated hereinabove, the Appellate Tribunal may extend the stay even beyond 365 days from the date of grant of initial stay and even thereafter. Meaning thereby after 180 days, the
Appellate Tribunal is required to review the situation and consider the application for extension of stay appropriately. Thus, on expiry of maximum period of 180 days the assessee / appellant is required to submit application for extension of stay each time and the Appellate Tribunal is required to consider the individual case and pass a speaking order, as stated hereinabove. By the aforesaid it may also not be understood that the Appellate Tribunal may go on extending the stay indefinitely and may not dispose of the appeals within stipulated time i.e. within 365 days from the date of grant of initial stay and/or at the earliest. All efforts shall be made by the learned Appellate Tribunal to dispose of the appeals at the earliest more particularly in a case where stay is operative against the revenue. The learned Appellate Tribunal and/or registrar of the Appellate Tribunal is required to maintain separate register with respect to the appeals in which stay has been granted fully and/or partially and appeals in which no stay has been granted and the Appellate Tribunal must and shall give priority to the appeals in which stay has been granted, continued and/or extended.”
To read complete text of judgement, click here Guja HC holds

Most Information commissions fail transparency test
Himanshi Dhawan,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 05.41 AM IST
NEW DELHI: Information commissions — watchdogs for the transparency regime under theRTI Act — are some of the most opaque organizations according to an independent report.

Of the 29 commissions in the country, only 17% have the facility of online filing of appeals and complaints, 42% do not display information on the cases that will be heard that day or that week, 58% do not display the updated status of pending appeals and complaints while 35% do not have a system of making their orders public within a reasonable timeframe.

The report prepared by Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative (CHRI) also revealed that there was a steady increase in the number of RTI queries in 2012 as compared to the previous year. While Gujarat and Odisha saw a 46% increase in applications, Karnataka witnessed 29% increase. There was a 19% increase in RTI appeals with the Central Information Commission (CIC).

More than three-fourths of the commissions do not have a website in the local language. The CIC and state information commissions of Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have local language websites.

Only 17% of information commissions provide online facilities for submitting appeals or complaints or both. While the CIC, Gujarat and Tripura commissions accept online filing of both appeals and complaints, their counterpart in Bihar provides this facility for filing second appeals only.

About 42% of information commissions do not display cause lists on their websites that will help the public know what cases are likely to be heard by the commission. These include commissions in Assam, Bihar, Goa, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Sikkim that continue to resist the idea of displaying cause lists on their websites, the report said.

About 58% of commissions including Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal do not provide data on disposal of cases and pendency of appeals and complaints.

Nineteen of the 29 commissions have made their orders public but the commissions of Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Manipur and Uttar Pradesh do not have updated information for the last 2-4 years. Incidentally, this comes at a time when there has been a sharp increase in RTI applications. Gujarat and Odisha have seen a 46% increase in applications while Karnataka has recorded 29% increase. At 26%, Chhattisgarh witnessed the third highest increase in the number of RTI applications received in 2012 followed by Mizoram at 20%.

Claim to be juvenile to escape law: Lashkar tells its cadres
By PTI | 13 Jul, 2014, 03.47PM IST
SRINAGAR/NEW DELHI: Declare your age below 18 years if you are caught by security personnel–this is a new diktat from Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba terror outfit sent to its cadre in Jammu and Kashmir.

Details of this LeT tactic was given by arrested Mohd Naveed Jutt alias Abu Hanzala, who was subjected to age determination test as he had claimed to the interrogators that he was 17 years old, official sources said.

After sustained questioning, Jutt, whose age turned out to be 22 years, said his ‘masters’ across the border had instructed him to give his age as 17 years.

Jutt said the LeT top brass has been telling the new recruits, who are mainly school dropouts or having criminal background, that they should behave as someone who is below 18 years so that they are tried under the Juvenile Justice Act and not normal Indian Penal Code.

The maximum punishment under Juvenile Act is three years.

Jutt, a resident of Multan in Pakistan arrested by police in the third week of last month in South Kashmir, said that he had come along with six boys in October, 2012 through North Kashmir’s Keran sector, the sources said.

Son of a retired Army driver, Jutt was trained in various madrassas owned by Jamaat-ul-Dawa (JuD), a front organization for LeT.

He said that during the training, Lashkar top brass used to look for talent and then classify them into areas where they would be operating, the sources said, adding linguistic courses were held for the Lashkar trainees who were taught Chechen, Syrian and Iraqi language.

Jutt is accused of killing many policemen in South Kashmir and carrying out sensational attack on army and polling parties and making an assassination bid on a ruling National Conference (NC) MLC from Wachi, Showkat Ganaie.

After initial training, Jutt underwent “Daura-e-Sufa” (training cadre for religious indoctrination) at Maksar Aksar Camp in 2009, the sources said.

Treat juveniles accused of rape on par with adults: Maneka Gandhi
Bringing juvenile into the purview of the adult world will scare them, says women and child development minister PTI Tweet 0 inShare 0 Comments Subscribe to: Daily Newsletter Breaking News World Cup News World Cup final: Germany beats Argentina 1-0 to become champions World Cup: Luiz Felipe Scolari leaves decision on future to Brazil’s federation World Cup 2014: Talismanic Louis van Gaal takes Holland beyond expectations World Cup: Brazil lays on best World Cup soap opera Putin inherits World Cup baton, promises ‘unforgettable’ 2018 Latest News 10:47 AM IST World Cup 2014: Five of the best goals 10:26 AM IST Asian shares edge higher, oil nurses losses 10:24 AM IST Narendra Modi seen driving 40% jump in overseas borrowing 09:55 AM IST Sensex falls around 100 points ahead of WPI, CPI inflation data 09:25 AM IST Rupee trades higher at 59.92 per dollar ahead of inflation data Editor’s picks Domestic investment banks gain on ‘bulge bracket’ foreign rivals New rules of engagement Venture capitalists, PE investors to attract more tax on unlisted capital assets How the current budget priorities differ from the UPA’s Maneka Gandhi (centre) said according to the police, 50% of all sexual crimes are committed by ‘16-year-olds who know the Juvenile Justice Act so they can do it.’ Chennai: Minister for women and child development (WCD) Maneka Gandhi on Sunday favoured treating juveniles accused of heinous crimes like rape on par with adult offenders. Speaking to reporters, she said according to the police, 50% of all sexual crimes are committed by “16-year-olds who know the Juvenile Justice Act so they can do it.” “But now for premeditated murder, rape, if we bring them into the purview of the adult world, then it will scare them,” she said. Former WCD minister Krishna Tirath during the previous United Progressive Alliance regime had proposed that juveniles above 16 years guilty of heinous crimes be treated on par with adult offenders. The move was however opposed by various NGOs and National Commission of Protection of Child Rights which stated that such a proposal was against child rights.

Congress should not politicise Leader of Opposition status: Venkaiah Naidu
Sunday, 13 July 2014 – 4:51pm IST | Place: Bangalore | Agency: PTI
Hitting out at the Congress, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu today said it should not politicise the issue of Leader of Opposition status in Lok Sabha.
“Till day before yesterday, they had not asked for the recognition from the Speaker and have been going around criticising the government. They seem to have given a letter only day before yesterday,” he said.
“This blame game is not going to help. They should understand. They have so much to answer. There was no Leader of Opposition during Jawaharlal Nehru’s period,” he said, adding, there was none during Indira Gandhi’s or Rajiv Gandhi’s tenures too.
A decision on the Leader of Opposition will be taken by the Speaker soon, he said. “There are precedents, conventions and rules and regulations through which Speaker decides such things.”
Asked whether the government will offer Deputy Speaker’s post to AIADMK, Naidu said, “We have not offered (to AIADMK). We are discussing it. We are thinking of giving Deputy Speaker’s position to the Opposition – which party… because there are number of parties in the opposition also.”
On Hizbul Mujahideen’s reported threat against five individuals in Jammu and Kashmir, Naidu said terrorists and their masters will not be allowed to do what they want to.
“They want to create some panic, and at the same time Government of India is alive to the situation. They are taking all steps that are required to maintain peace and security in the country,” he said.
On Congress’ remarks that the budget is a continuity of the previous regime, Naidu said continuity is required for growth as coming to power does not mean the new government should cancel everything what the Congress did or UPA did.
“Whatever they could not do we are trying to improve upon that, and we have come out with our vision,” he said.
He accused Congress leaders of indulging in double speak over the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
“On one hand, Congress President (Sonia Gandhi) says that it is a copy of UPA policies and on the other hand, Congressmen are condemning the budget. How can these two things go together? This is nothing but double-speak as usual,” he said.
On the opposition taking jibe at “Acche Din” slogan, the Minister said good days do not come in one night, but the beginning has been made in this direction by drafting a roadmap to bring the economy back on track.


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