LEGAL NEWS 15.07.2014

HC stays POTA case proceedings against Vaiko
Press Trust of India | Chennai
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 21:08 IST
Madras High Court today stayed all further proceedings in a special court related to a Prevention of Terrorism Act (POTA) case filed against MDMK leader Vaiko and six others until further orders.

A division bench comprising Justice S Rajeswaran and Justice P N Prakash gave the interim order on a batch of appeals by Vaiko and others challenging a September 2004 order of the special court at suburban Poonamalee dismissing the Public Prosecutor’s application seeking withdrawal of the case.

The Q Branch CID police, Madurai, had registered the POTA case in 2002 against Vaiko and others on the basis of a speech he made at a public meeting in favour of banned LTTE.

The Special Court in 2003 took cognisance of the offence under POTA Act and framed charges and proceeded with trial.

In the meantime, allowing an application by Vaiko and others, a Review Committee, set up by the Central Government, held prosecution under POTA was not necessary and issued a direction to theTamil Nadu Government to withdraw the case.

Accordingly, the Public Prosecutor on August 8, 2004, filed an application under Section 321 of CrPC to consider withdrawal of the prosecution, but this was rejected by the special court.

Aggrieved, Vaiko and others moved the Supreme Court which on October 8, 2004, stayed the trial court proceedings.

When their appeal came up for hearing before apex court after nine years on March 5 this year, the court observed that there was an appeal provision before High Court under Sec 34 of POTA and permitted them to withdraw their plea before the apex court.

Hence, they filed the present appeal before the High Court contending that the impugned order of the Special Court in rejecting the withdrawal application made by the Public Prosecutor was erroneous and therefore liable to be set aside.

When the matter came up for hearing today, Additional Public Prosecutor Maharajan sought time to file counter, which was objected to by the counsel for Vaiko.

The counsel further added that already Vaiko and other appellants enjoyed the benefit of stay on the proceedings granted by the Supreme Court for more than nine years, and since the apex court has given a direction to approach the High Court they have filed the present appeal. Hence, he pressed for a stay on the proceedings.

Concurring with the submissions, the bench stayed the proceedings before the special court until further orders.

HC seeks government reply on PIL alleging siphoning of funds
Press Trust of India | Mumbai
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 19:36 IST
The Bombay High Court warned the Maharashtragovernment of contempt action today, if it did not file its reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) which has alleged siphoning of funds and non-implementation of schemes meant to financially help scheduled castes to conduct business or trade.

Hearing the PIL, a bench headed by Justice Abhay noted that the Maharashtra government had earlier sought time to file an affidavit, but has not yet filed its reply.

Despite a last chance given to the Maharashtra government, it has once again failed to file any affidavit. If no affidavit is filed on August 1, then the Bombay High Court would be compelled to take action against the Secretary of the Social Justice Department of Maharashtra, for contempt of court, the judges said.

The PIL filed by Chetan Kamble, who heads Bhimshakti Vichar Manch, alleged that the Maharashtra government had announced a scheme to provide financial help to members of the scheduled caste (SC) community to do business or trade.

Under the scheme, a society of such SC members is supposed to contribute five per cent, the Maharashtra Government contributes 35 per cent, another 35 per cent would be sanctioned as long term loans and the balance 25 per cent would come from financial institutions as a long term loan.

Though the scheme benefited members of societies of scheduled caste communities during the period 2004-05 to 2010-11, it was noticed that monies were siphoned off and funds disbursement was stopped by the authorities under one pretext or the other, the PIL alleged.

The petitioner prayed for a directive to the Maharashtra state government to implement the scheme for the benefit of scheduled caste members.

HC: Notaries can’t give marriage certificates

TNN | Jul 15, 2014, 02.58 AM IST
BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court on Monday directed the law secretary to issue a circular restraining notaries from issuing certificates solemnizing marriages.

A division bench headed by justice KL Manjunath also asked the registrar, City Civil Court, Bangalore, to issue a similar order. The bench gave the directions while hearing a petition wherein a person had produced a certificate issued by a notary in Bangalore (May 2012) and sought production of “his wife” before the court.

The court summoned the registrar and the notary who had issued the ‘marriage certificate’. “We are noticing notaries issuing such certificates in respect of declaration of marriage. In fact, they are playing with the lives of people. People should not misunderstand this. It is not a valid document,” the bench observed. The judge asked the government advocate to inform the law secretary to issue a circular to notaries across the state.
Only a sub-registrar has the power to register a marriage.

The notary apologized to the court. Interestingly, the petitioner’s counsel was absent during the hearing. The police on investigation found the woman in question, a divorcee, had not married the petitioner. She had in fact decided not to marry the petitioner after she felt that she would not be comfortable with him. She had also left her job in Bangalore and shifted to Chennai.

Manoj, the petitioner, had urged the court to issue a direction to the police to produce his ‘wife’ before the court. He had claimed that she had been missing for two months and he felt her mother and brother-in-law were keeping her in illegal custody. In support of his marriage claim, he had produced the certificate issued by the notary.

HC raps state for delay in framing steps against drunk driving
Rosy Sequeira,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 11.57 PM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday slammed the government for a delay of nearly 11 years to inform about the measures it will take to prevent drunk driving.

A division bench of Justice Abhay Oka and Justice A S Chandurkar was hearing a public interest litigation filed by journalist Nikhil Wagle and two others after the Salman Khan hit-and-run case in which one person was killed and four people were injured when the actor allegedly rammed his Land Cruiser into the American Express Laundry on Hill Road in Bandra (W) around 2.45am on September 28, 2002. The PIL sought compensation for the victims and enhancement of Salman’s sentence under Section 304 A (death by negligence) of the IPC from the current two years.

Petitioner’s advocate Ameeta Kuttikrishnan submitted that subsequently, section 304 II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) was applied against Salman. She said the government had not complied with the October 7, 2002, order when the then advocate-general had stated that the government would adopt stern measures to tackle drunk driving. “As of today, we find there is no reply filed by the government, setting out compliance of the assurance made by the advocate-general in a statement recorded nearly 11 years ago,” the bench said.

The judges said the issue, which is about steps for tackling drunk driving cases as well as preventive measures, is considered important. They noted that the Centre has also not filed its reply. “Both the governments ought to have responded,” the bench added. The judges also questioned if the victims had received compensation. “Most have not taken at all. The very purpose is frustrated,” said Justice Oka. On October 7, 2002, the HC had directed Salman to pay Rs 19 lakh as compensation, which he deposited. The judges directed the HC registrar to submit a report saying if the money has been withdrawn.

HC stays appointment of temporary teachers by MKU
Press Trust of India | Madurai
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 22:31 IST
The Madras High Court today stayed the appointment of temporary teachers for various departments in colleges run by Madurai Kamaraj University.

Justice K K Sasidharan of the bench here stayed the appointment of the temporary teachers for whom walk-in interviews were held yesterday.

He was admitting a petition by M Rajarajan, a syndicate member, and Nagarajan, a part-time teacher of physics working for the past nine years on consolidated pay.

Rajarajan submitted the approval of the syndicate had not been sought by Vice-Chancellor of the University Kalyani Mathivanan and she was trying to usurp the powers of the syndicate and appoint temporary teaching staff for extraneous considerations as quickly as possible.

The syndicate members had protested the action of the VC, whose appointment was quashed by the high court recently but stayed by the Supreme Court.

He said notification had called for candidates who could come for a walk-in interview. There was no mention about basic qualification, age limit, communal roster.

Nagarajan said he was working for nine years and he feared he would be sent out if new persons were appointed.

He also sought to quash the notification for appointments when already many were working as part time lecturers, he said.

HC orders NHRC to explain inaction
Staff Correspondent
The High Court yesterday asked for an explanation from the National Human Rights Commission about its alleged inaction in taking steps regarding the rape of a girl in Comilla last year even after receiving prayers for doing so.
In response to a writ petition, the court ordered the NHRC chairman and its secretary to submit a report containing their explanations before it by September 10.
Petitioner’s lawyer Barrister Abdul Halim told The Daily Star that the girl at Basantapur village in Chouddogram upazila was raped on August 29 last year.
The following day, a case was filed with the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal in Comilla in this connection.
During the trial, the tribunal on February 24 this year granted bail to the accused on the condition that he would marry the rape victim within two weeks.
Hearing that the rapist got released from jail on bail, the victim escaped to Dhaka and approached rights organisation Children’s Charity Bangladesh Foundation and applied to the NHRC for getting a certified copy of the court order that asked the rapist to marry the victim.
However, the NHRC did not respond to the request even after the victim applied twice on April 3 and May 18 this year, the lawyer said.
Interestingly, the NHRC chairman in his introduction to its annual report of 2011 mentioned that rape, murder and acid violence would not be considered as human rights violation unless they are committed by any state agencies or their employees, Halim said.
The victim’s mother in June this year filed a writ petition with the HC seeking necessary orders against NHRC.
The HC also asked the government and commission to show cause as to why the NHRC chairman’s statement in its 2011 annual report about the killing, rape and acid throwing should not be declared illegal.
Published: 12:00 am Tuesday, July 15, 2014

HC seeks assistance from lawyers to handle fake order case
Jayanta Gupta,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 09.16 PM IST
KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Monday asked two lawyers to assist it in dealing with complaints against a man accused of faking its orders. Bikash Singh, the accused, who claims to be a lawyer, was arrested a few days ago on directions of the high court. It has now come to light that Singh not only faked two orders of the high court, he also faked one of the Supreme Court.

“This is a matter against this court so government pleader Samrat Sen and counsel for the petitioner Phiroze Edulji should sit together at 4.30pm and decide on what needs to be done to assist the court. The matter will appear again on Tuesday at 2pm,” Justice Dipankar Datta directed.

The matter first came to be known, when one Santana Roy, a resident of Lake Town, moved the high court claiming that the police haven’t taken any action against Singh though he supplied her with a fake order of a division bench of the court to get her brother released on bail from the Presidency Correctional Home. Though Roy had lodged a complaint at the Girish Park police station on May 21, the authorities dragged their feet on the matter.

Justice Datta expressed his displeasure at this and directed the police to file a report within 10 days. Singh was arrested within that time. After his arrest, it came to be known that Singh had been accused of a similar fraud earlier. A complaint had then been lodged at the Hare Street police station. In that incident, he had produced a fake order of a single bench of the high court, granting bail to an undertrial.

On Monday, Edulji informed the court that another complaint had been lodged against Singh in the Girish Park police station on March 5 for faking an order of a Supreme Court division bench. The police had refused to take cognizance. “First, it was a single bench of the high court. Then, it was a division bench of the high court. Now, it is a division bench of the Supreme Court. The judges he has named are not even in the Supreme Court,” the counsel for the petitioner said. The government pleader also said that this is a very serious matter after which Justice Datta passed his direction.

HC notice to Centre, MCI on plea against nomination of members
Press Trust of India | Madurai
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 23:14 IST
The Madurai Bench of Madras High Court today ordered a notice to the central government, the Central Council of Indian Medicine (CCIM) and others on a plea seeking to reconsider the nomination of 42 persons as members of the CCIM, the Medical Council of India and the Central Council of Homeopathy.

When the PIL came up before them for hearing, Justices M Jaichandran and Justice R Mahadevan ordered notice returnable within two weeks to the Union Health Secretary, the Secretary to the Department of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) and the MCI among others.

The 42 members were nominated by the government through notifications on February 28,2014, on March 3, 2014 and November 11,2013.

Contending that there was corruption and irregularity and extraneous considerations in matter of nomination of members of the CCIM, the CCH and the MCI, the petitioner Muralidharan of Thanjavur also sought to restrain the 42 members from discharging their functions till the disposal of the petition.

The petitioner submitted that the high court had already questioned the mode of appointing members to the CCIM and asked the government to review the appointment of one Dr.Vanitha Muralikumar for the CCIM.

The central government appointed 30 per cent of members. There was no guideline to assess the special knowledge or practical experience of a person. It could consider any person as one with special knowledge and practical experience and nominate him or her in the council. This was nothing but an arbitrary power left to the whims and fancies of the individuals, the pettitioner charged.

HC asks ex-MCD councillor to give fresh affidavit for bail
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 19:39 IST
Delhi High Court today asked ex-MCD councillor Hiren Tokas, who is serving a five-year jail term in a bribery case, to file an affidavit stating that his younger brother is not staying with their parents after he sought bail to take care of them.

A bench of Justice S Muralidhar gave the direction while hearing Tokas’ bail plea in which he has submitted that there is no one in his family to look after his elderly parents.

CBI, however, opposed Tokas contention and said that his younger brother Nalin resides in the same house in which their parents currently live.

His younger brother resides with their parents and can take care of them, the agency said.

Thereafter the court asked Tokas to file an affidavit stating that his brother does not live in the same house with their parents.

The court has now fixed July 18 for further hearing in the matter.

Tokas had moved the court seeking bail on the ground that he is still in pain as a result of fracture he suffered in February this year and needs follow up medical treatment at a hospital of his choice.

He had also cited the poor health of his parents as a ground for availing the relief, saying his father is suffering from cancer and undergoing chemotherapy, while his mother is visually impaired.

Tihar jail authorities, on the other hand, have said in their report that Tokas is now in a stable medical condition.

A CBI court had on May 29 awarded five years jail term to Tokas, the then MCD councillor of ward number 15 in R K Puram here, for taking a bribe of Rs 20,000 from a shopkeeper in 2003.

HC directs Punjab to decide parole of Kandahar plane hijack convict
HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times Chandigarh, July 14, 2014
First Published: 23:55 IST(14/7/2014) | Last Updated: 23:57 IST(14/7/2014)
The Punjab and Haryana high court has directed the Punjab government to take a decision within three weeks on the parole application moved by Abdul Latif Adam Momin, one of the convicts in the 1999 Kandahar plane hijack case.

Momin, a life convict, had approached the high court seeking parole on the ground that he had been behind bars for the last over 15 years and wanted to meet his mother aged 74 who is suffering from old-age ailments. The court was informed that the petitioner had already submitted his parole application to the state government long back but there had been no response.
In Patiala jail since December 30, 1999, Indian national Momin is linked with Pakistan-based militant outfit Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HuM). On February 25 this year, the high court had upheld the life sentence awarded to Momin by the special anti-hijacking court in Patiala on February 5, 2008.
After taking off from Kathmandu en route Delhi on December 24, 1999, the IC-814 Indian Airlines flight with 179 passengers, including 24 foreign nationals, and a crew of 11 on board was hijacked and made to touch down in Amritsar first before being flown to Lahore for refuelling and then landed in Dubai and, later, Kandahar in Afghanistan.
At Dubai, the hijackers released 26 wounded passengers along with the body of murdered Rupin Katyal. The remaining hostages, including 20 foreign nationals, were released after eight-day ordeal on December 31, 1999, at Kandahar, and flown back to India in a special aircraft.

HC denies bail to folk dancer-turned sandalwood smugglers
Press Trust of India | Chennai
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 22:57 IST
Madras High Court today dismissed bail petitions of two former folk dancers, arrested on charges of sandalwood and red sanders smuggling.

Rejecting the petitions by Mohana, from whose house police seized Rs four crore cash last month, and her sister Nirmala, Justice P.Devadass said, they “are involved in many criminal activities and there is strong prima facie case against them. They have association with other criminals.”

He also said they have the tendency to abscond and if let out on bail, there was every possibility of them interfering with the investigation and fleeing away from justice.

The prosecution case is that when a raid was conducted in the rented premises of Mohana in Vellore, more than Rs.Four crore of currency and various items of jewels and fixed deposit receipts were seized by police.

The two sisters who were absconding subsequently surrendered before a court. From their confessional statements, it came out that Mohana, Nirmala and her son Saravanan in association with one Babu and other accused were involved in smuggling of sandalwood, red sanders, extortion of money and lending money at exorbitant rate of interest and harassing debtors and money laundering, prosecution said.

Now the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence was also conducting Investigation as to violation of Income Tax Act and Money Laundering Act against the accused.

HC bench recuses from plea on Belekeri eco damage
Bangalore, Jul 14, 2014, DHNS :
 A division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice H G Ramesh on Monday recused from hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to check environmental damage at Belekeri port in Uttara Kannada district.

One of the petitioners in the PIL had written to the Chief Justice of India seeking to transfer the matter to the Supreme Court.

Dr Sayyed Murtaza Muazzamsha, a native of Belekeri and a co-petitioner in the PIL filed by Uttara Kannada Consumers’ and Citizen Welfare Association, had sought transfer of the case to the apex court. The HC bench had mentioned about it during the previous hearing and directed Dr Muazzamsha to appear in person. However, he filed an affidavit on July 7 stating that he was unable to appear before the court due to his old age, poor health and Ramzan fasting. During the hearing on Monday, the division bench set-aside its earlier orders in the matter and recused from hearing the petition saying that it should be heard by some other bench.

Previously, the bench had directed amicus curiae Hareesh Bhandary to submit a list of experts to form a committee for assessing the environmental damage caused at the port due to illegal dumping of iron ore. Bhandary had suggested the job could be entrusted to National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

Bangalore, Jul 14, 2014, DHNS :
 A division bench comprising Chief Justice D H Waghela and Justice H G Ramesh on Monday recused from hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking to check environmental damage at Belekeri port in Uttara Kannada district.

One of the petitioners in the PIL had written to the Chief Justice of India seeking to transfer the matter to the Supreme Court.

Dr Sayyed Murtaza Muazzamsha, a native of Belekeri and a co-petitioner in the PIL filed by Uttara Kannada Consumers’ and Citizen Welfare Association, had sought transfer of the case to the apex court. The HC bench had mentioned about it during the previous hearing and directed Dr Muazzamsha to appear in person. However, he filed an affidavit on July 7 stating that he was unable to appear before the court due to his old age, poor health and Ramzan fasting. During the hearing on Monday, the division bench set-aside its earlier orders in the matter and recused from hearing the petition saying that it should be heard by some other bench.

Previously, the bench had directed amicus curiae Hareesh Bhandary to submit a list of experts to form a committee for assessing the environmental damage caused at the port due to illegal dumping of iron ore. Bhandary had suggested the job could be entrusted to National Environment Engineering Research Institute (NEERI).

Raj HC issues contempt notice to lawyers for boycott call
Press Trust of India | Jaipur
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 21:37 IST
The Rajasthan High Court has issued contempt notice to some lawyers, including the president of Bar Association, in connection with the boycott call given by advocates of lower judiciary.

Justice Bela M Trivedi took suo motu notice of the boycott call and issued notices.

The lawyers had given the boycott call demanding that Additional District and Sessions judge Mahnendra Choudhary, who had allegedly refused to favour lawyer Bharat Bhushan in his personal case, be transferred.

Issuing criminal contempt notices to Bar Association president Gopeah Kumbhaj, former general secretary Rajesh Choudhary, lawyer Bharat Bhushan and others, the court ordered judicial inquiry into the matter by Registrar Administration of the high court. The response has to be filed by July 23.

Justice Trivedi also sent a copy to the Bar Council of Rajasthan and Bar Council of India for necessary action against the lawyers.

The bench also sent a copy of the order to the president of High Court Bar Association with a direction to resume work immediately.

Spl educators: HC asks govt to consider age-relaxation plea of
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 20:00 IST
The Delhi High Court has directed the city government to consider the plea of a man seeking age relaxation in recruitment to the post of Special Educators for differently-abled students in government schools here.

Currently, the government provides age relaxation of 10 years to female applicants while recruiting special educators.

A bench of justices S Ravindra Bhat and Vipin Sanghi said that though the court has not been called upon to decide the legality of age relaxation which is exclusively based on gender it is apparent that there is a crying need to fill such posts.

The bench said it implies that all candidates who are otherwise eligible but not women should not be discriminated against, at least with their request for age relaxation.

“Concededly, this court is not called upon to decide the legality of such a blanket age relaxation, exclusively based on gender. What is apparent, however, from such general order is that the respondents themselves are alive to the fact that there is a crying need to fill the posts and need to take one general measure, identifying all female candidates being eligible for age relaxation for 10 years.

“This implies that all candidates who are otherwise eligible but are not women should not be discriminated against at least with respect to consideration of their request for age relaxation,” the court said in a five-page judgement.

The verdict was delivered on the plea of Syed Mehedi, a qualified Special Educator holding BEd qualification which he acquired in 2009, who had challenged the Central Administrative Tribunal’s order rejecting his plea for age relaxation in recruitment of special educators to government schools.

The court noted that the age relaxation criteria was factored into the rules as the advertisement for recruiting special educators to all government schools was taken in 2013 pursuant to the 2009 High Court order directing the same.

Worship, but protect cobras: HC to State
By Vijay Chavan, Pune Mirror | Jul 15, 2014, 02.30 AM IST

Weeks before Nag Panchami is celebrated on August 1, the Bombay High Court (HC) has directed the State government to draw up a comprehensive plan and establish machinery to take constructive steps for educating the public and implementing the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, to ensure that the festival is celebrated as per tradition but without causing harm to snakes.

King Cobras captured for worship are often ill-treated, defanged and force-fed milk, have their venom glands removed and mouths stitched — activities exacerbated by their worship during Nag Panchami.

Thursday’s HC order came after a request from a wildlife lover to ban the practice of capturing Indian cobras for worship, as this violates the Act, which dictates that trapping snakes or even attempting to do so is punishable with imprisonment extending to three years, or a fine extending to Rs 25,000, or both.

During last week’s hearing, a division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and A S Chandorkar said that while there is no restriction on the worship of cobras, the problem lies in their capture. They also directed the State government to take the help of NGOs working for wildlife welfare to raise awareness across the state.

The bench was hearing a writ petition in reply to a PIL filed last year by Sangli-based wildlife lover Ajit Patil, seeking the implementation of the Act’s provisions, and requesting the HC to direct the State to take steps to end the capture of cobras.

Thereafter, villagers of Battis Shirala in Sangli district, known for worshipping live King Cobras after capturing them from surrounding forests, last month filed a writ petition against the PIL.

They prayed that the word ‘hunting’ be defined in Section 2 (16) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, in accordance with articles 25 (freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion) and 26 (freedom to manage religious affairs) of the Constitution, and that permission be granted to worship live cobras before and after Nag Panchami.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the HC directed the State to come up with a comprehensive plan to implement the Act, taking care that religious sentiments are not hurt, giving rise to a law and order situation. The judges also told the government pleader to inform the court what steps are being taken to educate the public, so that live Indian cobras are not captured.

Additionally, they asked the State to inform the court how many more forest officers would be required to be deployed across the state during Nag Panchami to protect snakes. The court has posted the matter for its final hearing on July 15.

Naturalist, wildlife researcher and curator of the Pune Snake Park and Animal Rescue Centre, Deepak Sawant, explained to Mirror, “As a Nag Panchami ritual, we technically worship snake caves (varul) and not live cobras.

While the worship of live cobras has never really been a tradition in the state, after the 1972 Bangladesh war, several Bangladeshi immigrants who came here adopted this profession as their livelihood, prompting the worship of live cobras on Nag Panchami day. If the Forest department takes action and NGOs launch awareness drives, such activities will definitely be curbed.”

27 years later, HC holds captain not guilty of smuggling, dumping gold bars into sea
Shibu Thomas,TNN | Jul 14, 2014, 11.58 PM IST
Mumbai: It was the heydays of the gold smuggling business in pre-liberalization India in 1987, when the customs, in a sensational operation, recovered 53 gold bars worth over Rs 1.68 crore from the bottom of the sea off Hay Bunder. Twenty-seven years later, the Bombay high court on Monday upheld the acquittal of the captain of the cargo vessel Rajendra Jyoti, who was arrested for smuggling the gold and throwing the bars before it docked.

“The recovery of gold is in a very peculiar manner as it is found in the ocean. It is necessary for the prosecution to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the recovery was made at the instance of the accused,” said Justice Mridula Bhatkar, adding, “The defence was successful in creating doubt in the mind that the vessel was not the only one berthed at Hay Bunder that time. Nearly 25 vessels had arrived and the possibility that any other person may have thrown the tin filled with gold bars in the sea could not have been overruled.”

The court ruled that the Esplanade magistrate’s court was right in acquitting the accused, Ebrahim Sodha, for lack of evidence.

The court noted that the panch witness, who was the only independent one (the others were customs officers) did not corroborate that Sodha had confessed to throwing the gold. The court said the customs could not prove that the crew had implicated the captain as they had not been examined and neither the scribe who took down their statements was called in as a witness.

The customs officers had claimed that in May 1987 they received information that the vessel was carrying contraband gold either sealed in the vessel or in the luggage of sailors. The vessel was intercepted off Mumbai’s coast but a search yielded nothing. The officers claimed that after Sodha was interrogated he confessed that he had thrown the bars in a tin into the sea before the vessel entered Hay Bunder. Divers recovered the gold from the bottom of the sea and charged Sodha under customs laws for smuggling gold. The trial court acquitted Sodha in 1994 and the customs filed an appeal, which came up for hearing recently before the high court.

Three medical colleges move HC for reinspection
Press Trust of India | New Delhi
July 14, 2014 Last Updated at 19:13 IST
The Delhi High Court today agreed to hear pleas of three medical colleges seeking implementation of the Centre’s direction to MCI to inspect such institutes and see if they are complying with all norms prior to granting them permission to admit students.

Shree Chhatrapati Shivaji Education Society, Gold Field Shiksha Sanstha and another college have also sought quashing of MCI’s order rejecting their applications for renewal of permission to induct students to MBBS course for academic year 2014-15.

The petitions also contain a letter purportedly written by Secretary, Union Health Ministry on July 8, asking MCI to carry out the requisite inspection so that the number of seats in MBBS courses in the country does not come down on mere ground of technicalities.

“I am also informed that approximately 150 cases have been referred to MCI for review and a majority of these colleges are government colleges. The government cannot afford to accept the possibility of losing such large number of MBBS seats on the basis of mere technicalities.

“In view of this, to provide opportunity to more students to get MBBS seats in all medical colleges in the country it is suggested that MCI may file an IA in Priya Gupta case before the Supreme Court to get order dated June 6, 2014 modified to the following extent to ensure that MCI has adequate time to carry out compliance verification assessment wherever necessary,” a letter written by Lov Verma, Health Secretary, said.

The health secretary has requested MCI to take immediate steps in “larger public interest” to ensure that the authority “is not seen working against the public interest”.

Justice Manmohan, before whom the matters were listed today, said he needs to go through the voluminous petitions and thus, will hear them tomorrow.

Senior advocate Nidesh Gupta, appearing for Gold Field Shiksha Sanstha, cited the letter when he mentioned the matter in the morning seeking an urgent hearing.

Shifting of GAIL pipelines: HC asks Centre to file reply
TNN | Jul 15, 2014, 02.08 AM IST
HYDERABAD: The Hyderabad high court on Monday directed the Central government to file its reply within three weeks to a petition that sought the shifting of gas collecting station (GCS) and pipelines of Gas Authority of India ltd (GAIL) from Nagaram area of East Godavari district.

The division bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar also issued notices to ONGC and GAIL to explain their stand on the scathing attack made by the petitioner on the official apathy being displayed by them vis-a-vis proper maintenance of pipelines and preventing fatal mishaps etc.

The bench was dealing with a plea by Dr. R S Ratnakar, a resident of Nagaram village of East Godavari district, who wanted the pipeline and the gas station to be immediately shifted in view of the negligent conduct of both ONGC and GAIL authorities. According to the petitioner, GAIL had established a GCS in Tatipaka village of the district and that ONGC had also set up a low capacity refinery at the village. GAIL has laid a pipeline from Tatipaka to Kondapalli at Vijayawada that passes through several villages and thickly populated habitations.

Charging the official machinery with apathy towards the lives of people, he said it has become a common phenomenon for villagers to live with regular gas leaks from pipelines which are poorly maintened. Owing to negligence by the authorities, 19 persons lost their lives while several others sustained injuries in the fire accident in Nagaram village on June 27, he said. Noting that the damage caused was indeed huge, the bench said it is high time authorities are made answerable and therefore issued notices to the Centre, AP government, GAIL, ONGC, and directed them to file their versions on the plea.

Kaul to take oath as Madras HC CJ on July 26
HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times Chandigarh, July 15, 2014
First Published: 08:10 IST(15/7/2014) | Last Updated: 08:11 IST(15/7/2014)
The Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday received the transfer orders of chief justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul to the Madras high court as its chief justice.
Justice Kaul would take oath of Madras high court chief justice on July 26 and till the new chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana high court is appointed, justice Ashutosh Mohunta (seniormost judge) would work as acting chief justice.
As per information, July 22 would be the last working day of chief justice Kaul in the Punjab and Haryana high court.
Justice Kaul, 55, who had taken oath as the 32nd chief justice of Punjab and Haryana high court on June 1 last year, has spent over 14 months in Chandigarh.
Born on December 26, 1958, justice Kaul obtained an LLB degree from Delhi University in 1982. He practised in the Delhi high court mainly in commercial, civil, writ and company matters. He was designated as senior advocate in December 1999 after which he was elevated as additional judge of the Delhi high court on May 3, 2001. He became the permanent judge on May 2, 2003.
During his tenure as chief justice, among various initiatives, justice Kaul had been successful on bringing down pendency of cases in all the courts across Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh.
He is also known for discouraging filing of frivolous public interest litigations and effectively implementing the system of holding of courts by high court judges as per their respective rosters as well as seniority on the same floor of the building.
The step had also come as a big relief to the advocates since they had earlier been shuttling between one building of the high court and another. In an initiative to clear long-pending cases in the high court, chief justice Kaul had also dedicated Wednesdays and Thursdays for hearing such cases.

MCA challenges nod to Sesa Sterlite by Goa Bench of Bom HC
The tax department is concerned over Rs 1500 crore repayable to Sesa Sterlite on the date of approval, which is the point of contention. There is confusion whether the date of approval is the date at which the agreement was formalized or the date at which it was approved by Bombay HC ASHMIT KUMAR Reporter, CNBC-TV18 More about the Expert… 1 1 0Google +0 0Comments (1) Halftime Report The MCA has challenged the approval granted to Sesa Sterlite by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court. Sesa Goa – Sterlite deal has been in a battle between the tax department, shareholders and MCA. Also Read: How current gold tax regime is costing government billions Ever since the approval has been granted by the Goa bench of the Bombay High Court (HC), there have been concerns by the tax department over a sum of Rs 1500 crore which becomes repayable to Sesa Sterlite depending on the date of approval, which is a point of contention. There is confusion whether the date of approval is the date at which the agreement was formalized or the date at which it was approved by Bombay HC. That has been a cause of concern over which the tax department had expressed concerns to the MCA and what we understand is that the MCA moving at the behest of the tax department has infact filed an SLP, has moved the Supreme Court where they have expressed concerns, where they have alleged at least on paper the intent behind structuring of this deal, structuring of this device in order to enable tax evasion. So that is one concern that we understand has been expressed by the MCA before the SC. More clarity is awaited on the matter, which comes up for further hearing as MCA makes its further arguments and that is expected on July 17. That is when we can expect to hear more from both the parties.

Submit seats’ info by July 15: HC
Vishwas Kothari,TNN | Jul 15, 2014, 01.39 AM IST
PUNE: Minority educational institutions offering professional and technical degree and diploma courses have to submit the details of the seats remaining vacant from their 51% quota, to the state government by 4 pm on July 15.

The Bombay high court on Monday passed an order to this effect after Pune-based G H Raisoni Educational and Medical Foundation and five other institutions challenged the minorities’ development department’s (MDD) July 6 circular asking them to complete their quota admissions and surrender vacant seats to the government by July 15.

The court order mandates the director of technical education (DTE) to include, by 7.30 pm on July 15, the vacant seats conveyed by these institutions in the CAP Round-I allotments for the given courses. The high court has laid the time-bound schedule in the wake of the Supreme Court’s directions on June 26 that the CAP Round-I must be completed by July 15 and the ensuing CAP Rounds II and III have to be completed by July 22 and 29, respectively.

For academic year 2014-15, the MDD’s circular has listed 118 religious and linguistic minorities institutions which offer courses ranging from health sciences to undergraduate as well as postgraduate engineering, management and pharmacy, agricultural science, education degree and diploma studies.

The list carries details such as overall sanctioned student intake, number of seats to be filled through the 51% quota, number of admissions effected and number of vacant seats from the quota which have to be filled by July 15.

As many as six writ petitions were filed in the high court on July 10 against the MDD circular and the same was listed for hearing towards the fag-end of the court proceedings on July 11 before the division bench of Justices Anoop Mohta and A A Sayed. The court was then informed about the apex court’s June 26 directions in the Jayamatha college of engineering vs Union of India case. Assistant government pleader A I Patel also submitted that he needed to take instructions from senior MDD officials in relation to the matter. The court then directed the respondent state government and the DTE to follow the Supreme Court order and also directed priority hearing of the petitions on Monday.

During the proceedings on Monday, the lawyers representing the petitioner institutions and the government arrived at a consensus over a draft order suggested by the court. Based on such consensus, the court passed the order laying the time-bound schedule for the institutions to convey the details of their vacant seats and for the DTE to include the same in the CAP Round-I allotments.

Accusing wife of ‘special relations’ with another man cruelty, says HC
Shibu Thomas,TNN | Jul 15, 2014, 12.58 AM IST
MUMBAI: Twenty-two years after a Bandra resident sought to separate from her husband over his allegations that she was “carefree” and had a “special relationship” with another man, she was given divorce on grounds of cruelty.

Geeta Singh, 50, was granted divorce from husband Prakash Singh, now in his 60s, when the Bombay high court upheld a 2006 family court order. A division bench of Justices Abhay Oka and Amjad Sayed said making unsubstantiated allegations against the wife doubting her fidelity and besmirching her character was cruel and a ground for divorce.

“He made indecent and defamatory allegations against the wife. The allegation is of maintaining extra-marital relationship (and it) is a grave assault on the character, honour and reputation of the wife,” said the judges. “He failed to substantiate (the allegations). The family court has rightly passed a decree of divorce on the grounds of cruelty on the basis of the said unsubstantiated allegations regarding character of the wife.”

The high court had asked the couple, who have two grown-up children, to explore the possibility of settling the matter, but the efforts came a cropper. The court confirmed the trial court’s order allowing Geeta and her two children to occupy the Pali Hill apartment and asked Prakash to return the ornaments that she had brought from her parental home at the time of their marriage.

Geeta had moved the family court in 1992 seeking divorce on the grounds of cruelty and that Prakash was of unsound mind as he had been treated for schizophrenia. She had cited Prakash’s statements in his affidavit alleging that she was carefree and used to have a “special relationship” with one Vikas Singh, who used to visit the house in his absence and spend the night. Prakash claimed he had been told of this by a neighbour, but no witness was produced.

In the HC, Prakash said he had never made allegations against Geeta’s fidelity and had only said his wife spent time with relatives. Pointing to Prakash’s earlier statements, the HC ruled the family court was right in granting divorce. But it did not agree that Prakash was of unsound mind.

Prakash told the court the ornaments Geeta claimed were of his sister. The court noted Prakash had not called his sister as a witness to prove this and asked him to return the jewellery.

(Names changed to protect identity)

Changes to Motor Vehicle Act delayed; Nitin Gadkari seeks more time
Jul 14, 2014 at 02:01pm IST
New Delhi: The amendment to the Motor Vehicle Act is likely to be delayed by a couple of months as the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has said it needs three months to review the current Act and thereafter will introduce it afresh in Parliament.
The Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill, which could be passed only in the Rajya Sabha in May 2012, proposes hefty penalties for traffic rule violations and drunken driving.
Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said, “We need three months to study the (Motor Vehicle) Act in its totality and then we will try and bring it in Parliament in its next session.”

He added that the Act should be as per international standards. Gadkari, on June 5, had said that the government in a month’s time will re-draft the Motor Vehicle amendment bill, which will be in sync with six advanced nations – US, Canada, Singapore, Japan, Germany and the UK, and thereafter will introduce it in Parliament.
Repeated violations of traffic rules resulting in cancellation of driving license is likely to be one of the major amendments to the Bill. “If anyone violates the road rules more than three times, his driving licence will be suspended for six months and if he continues to violate after that, then the driving licence will be cancelled. These are some of the considerations as part of redrafting the Motor Vehicles bill,” the Minister had said.
Several provisions of the Motor Vehicles Act of 1988, especially those related to penalties for violations, have not been found to be effective in checking road accidents. The last time the Act was amended was in 2001.

Court convicts 12 for duping customs department, main accused get 5 years in jail
Express News Service | Mumbai | July 15, 2014 2:29 am
CBI had identified properties in Mumbai and Karnataka which were allegedly bought out of fraud money in the year 1998.
A sessions court on Monday convicted a tax assistant from the refunds section of the Mumbai customs and 12 others for cheating the customs by preparing as many as 87 refund order cheques to the tune of Rs 1.74 crore.
The court sentenced the main accused Iona Furtado(53) and Suresh Pinto(48) to five years and the rest to three years imprisonment.
The 12 were found guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), including cheating, dishonestly inducing delivery of property, causing disappearance of evidence of offence, forgery for purpose of cheating and criminal breach of trust by public servant.
According to the prosecution, Furtado, in her own handwriting prepared, issued and got the cheques signed by one assistant chief accounts officer, S N Havnur. The cheques were issued in the name of 21 private persons including her husband, parents and relatives on the basis of fake documents to support the refund claims. Among the accused, initially 21, three names were fake names that Furtado had allegedly used to create fictitious bank accounts.
Havnur was later discharged in the case. The case against four accused was abated, one was acquitted, one was discharged and the trial of an absconding accused was separated. Furtado, along with her now deceased husband, Walter Furtado was arrested on December 30, 1998 after the fraud was detected by the CBI’s anti-corruption branch. The CBI had filed a case against Furtado, for possessing assets disproportionate to her known sources of income. The CBI had found Rs 1.08 crore in three bank accounts held by Walter.
The CBI had, in 1998, identified properties in Mumbai and Karnataka which were allegedly bought out of fraud money. These included four flats in the western suburbs, then valued at around Rs 60 lakh. Two shops were also allegedly purchased, albeit in benami names.
A priest, Anthony P Furtado, related to Walter Furtado, was also accused in the case. According to the CBI’s chargesheet, Anthony had three bank accounts containing Rs 5.11 lakh, that was allegedly illegally amassed wealth.

Increased workig hours can work successfully: CJI
Press Trust of India
Jul 14, 2014 at 08:50pm IST
New Delhi: Dispelling doubts of lawyers’ bodies on his proposal to increase court’s working hours to reduce pendency of cases, Chief Justice of India RM Lodha on Monday said that the proposal was successfully first tried in Patna High Court when he was heading it.
Justice Lodha said that after getting Bar Associations of Patna High Court into confidence, he had increased working hours of the HC by half an hour and for subordinate courts by 45 minutes to one hour which led to large number of disposal of cases.
The CJI, who had served High Court from May 13 to December 17, 2008, expressed “dismay” on that practice being scrapped after he left the High court on being elevated to the apex court.

“The 365-days working proposal, which the Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) had rejected was first conceptulized at Patna High Court, during my stint as chief justice,” Justice Lodha said.
Speaking at a function to bid farewell of Justice Chandermouli Prasad, who retired on Monday, he praised Prasad’s contribution in making that proposal of increased working hours successful.
“During my stint as chief justice of Patna High Court, I had found that there were more than 30,000 bail applications pending before the court. I had then asked my fellow judge Justice Chandermouli Prasad to talk to the Bar Associations for increasing the working hours of court.”
“I was surprised, when the very next day Justice Prasad came up to me with three letters saying that Bar Associations have agreed to increasing the working hours of court,” said Justice Lodha.
Justice Lodha said the practice of increased working hours of courts abruptly ended once he moved out of the Patna High Court.
“In India everyone knows, institutions are individual based and once I left the Patna High Court, the increased working hours to my dismay were done away with and they all reverted back to the old time schedule,” added Justice Lodha.
Justice Prasad shared his experience and said that it is never easy to become a ‘great’ judge.
He advised the Bar to take up the cases of death convicts. “During my stint as Supreme Court judge, I have found that many lawyers does not wish to take up the cases of death convicts. I urge the members of Bar that this practice should be done away with and cases of death convicts should be take up so that no innocent goes to the gallows,” said Justice Prasad.
Attorney general Mukul Rohatagi lauded Justice Chandermouli Prasad saying that his two recent judgements one on stopping immediate automatic arrest of husbands under anti- dowry act and other on holding that Fatwa has no legal sanctity will go a long way.

SC stays death of two convicts in Delhi gangrape case
Supreme Court stayed the death sentence of Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur, the two remaining convicts in the December 16, 2012 gangrape case.
Almost five months after it stayed the execution of two of the four convicts in the Delhi gang rape case, the Supreme Court gave identical relief to the two remaining condemned persons on Monday.
A Bench of Justices Ranjana P. Desai and N.V. Ramana stayed the execution of Vinay Sharma and Akshay Thakur. On March 15, the court stayed the execution of Mukesh and Pawan Gupta. “The execution of Akshay Thakur and Vinay Sharma is stayed until further notice,” Justice Desai observed in the order.
“Extremely fiendish”
All four convicts had approached the Supreme Court after the Delhi High Court upheld the death penalty awarded to them.
The High Court had termed the offence “extremely fiendish” and “unparalleled in the history of criminal jurisprudence.”
The 23-year-old paramedic, on the fateful night of December 16, 2012, was brutally assaulted and gang-raped by six persons on a moving bus in South Delhi and thrown out of the vehicle with her male friend. She died in a Singapore hospital on December 29.
Prime accused dead
Prime accused in the case Ram Singh was found dead in Tihar Jail in March last year and the trial against him was abated.
The sixth accused, the juvenile was on August 31, 2013, convicted and sentenced to a maximum of three years in a reformation home by the Juvenile Justice Board.
In their petitions before the Supreme Court, Mukesh and Pawan pleaded that they could not be denied a fair trial “to satisfy the political scenario and personal sympathy.”

SC asks MoEF to decide grant of clearance to Adani SEZ within 8 weeks
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today asked the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) to take a decision on grant or denial of clearances to Adani Port Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) within eight weeks.
A forest bench headed by Justice J S Khehar, expressing unhappiness over delay, said this will be the last chance to the ministry and if the task is not completed the Secretary, MoEF will be personally held responsible.
The apex court while allowing operations at the functional units in the SEZ had in January asked the environment ministry to take decisions in three months. The time was extended by 8 weeks but today the court was informed that decisions are yet not taken.
tam Adani. Reuters
Meanwhile, the court said that its earlier order allowing work at operational units will continue.
Earlier, on January 27, the apex court had granted conditional permission to industrial units within the Adani Port Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) in Gujarat to resume operations asking them to desist from carrying out any further construction until environmental clearance from the Centre.
The apex court had retained the high court order which had said that the Centre has to decide within 30 days whether the environmental clearance should be granted.
The high court had said, “There shall not be any further activity in the form of construction, etc, including the functioning of the units in the area in question.”
The PIL filed in the high court by villagers of Navinal in Mundra tehsil of Kutch district, where the SEZ is located, alleged that companies located within the zone were operating and even importing and exporting goods though they do not have environmental clearance from the MoEF.
In February 2013, the court asked Ahlstom Fiber Composites, Adi Oil, Empezar, Avesta Eng, Ashapura Garment, Terram Geosynthetic, Theramax, SKAPS Industries, Oilfield Warehouse and Services, Dorf Ketal Specialty Catalyst, Anjani Udyog and Oriental Carbon Chem to stop operations at the Mundra Port in Kutch district, pending clearance from MOEF.
The high court in its order had said, “According to the Environment Impact Assessment notification, 2006, in order to have right of creation of infrastructural facilities over the land allotted, prior approval of the central government is necessary before making any construction, and without having acquired such right, the APSEZ, the allottee from the government, could not have conveyed such rights to its lessee.”
Further, the court had said, “While taking into consideration the issue of grant of environmental clearance, it would be open for the central government to even take into consideration the Sunita Narain Committee report as discussed in our judgment.”
The committee had been appointed by the MOEF earlier to inspect the project.

SC wants roadmap for DNA profiling of all unclaimed bodies
Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN | Jul 15, 2014, 06.02 AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday pressed the Centre for a roadmap on mandatory DNA profiling of all unclaimed bodies to ascertain if they were of missing persons.

A bench of Justices Dipak Misra and V Gopala Gowda said it would like the Centre to “think it over seriously so that an appropriate roadmap is brought into existence on making it (DNA profiling) functional that would echo the voice and cry of the feelings (of relatives of missing persons).”

About 40,000 unidentified bodies are disposed of every year by authorities in India. And every year, thousands go missing. A PIL by Lokniti Foundation had requested the court to direct the Centre for DNA profiling of unclaimed bodies to explore their possible link to missing persons.

Petitioner’s counsel Ashok Dhamija said unidentified bodies could be due to serious crime and “since the bodies cannot be identified using traditional methods, perpetrators of possible crime remain untraced and the families, to which the victims belong, never come to know about the fate of their near and dear ones”.

Appearing for the government, additional solicitor general N K Kaul said the “Centre was seized of the matter and looking into possibilities as it would involve huge infrastructure, large expenditure and manpower”. Kaul said it also involved issues relating to privacy.

The bench said, “Without expressing any opinion, we require the additional solicitor general to obtain specific instructions as to what steps actually have been taken in this regard, within eight weeks.” The court posted the matter for further hearing on September 22.

The petitioner had claimed that though the Centre had been considering a proposal for DNA profiling of unidentified bodies since 2007, no decision was taken yet. As per data compiled by the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of unidentified bodies recovered and inquest conducted was 37,282 in 2007, 37,668 (2008), 34,902 (2009), 33,857 (2010) and 37,193 (2011).

In 2011, the highest number of unidentified bodies was recovered in Maharashtra (6,313), followed by Tamil Nadu (4,479), Uttar Pradesh (4,084), West Bengal (3,704), Delhi (2,748), Andhra Pradesh (2,639), Karnataka (2,440), Gujarat (2,099), Madhya Pradesh (1,191), Rajasthan (1,170), Haryana (1,159) and Punjab (1,004).

It said a total of 11,846, 13,586 and 13,268 people went missing in Delhi alone in 2006, 2007 and 2008 respectively. From Andhra Pradesh, a total of 47,936 went missing during 2009-12 and in Gujarat another 37,395 were reported missing during 2007-11.

High Court to frame issues in Syedna succession row
Tuesday, 15 July 2014 – 7:35am IST | Agency: DNA
• DNA Correspondent
• The high court will frame issues in the petition challenging the appointment of the Syedna next month.
On Monday, the court said it will frame the issues to be decided while hearing the suit filed by Khuzaima Qutbuddin challenging the succession of the 53rd Dai Ul Mutlaq, Mufaddal Saifuddin.
During the hearing in June, Justice Gautam Patel had said that he would decide on the main suit instead of deciding on interim relief.
“My suggestion is that there is very little point in keeping the motion pending. You will be allowed to function subject to the outcome of the suit,” said Justice Patel.
The court made these observations while hearing the plaint filed by Qutbuddin challenging the succession of his nephew, who is now the incumbent 53rd Dai Ul Mutlaq. Qutbuddin has filed a declaratory suit seeking that he be declared as the 53rd Dai and the opponent be restricted from having any authority over the properties.
Saifuddin, through his elder brother Dr Qaidjoher Ezzuddin, who is appointed as the Constituted Attorney, opposed reliefs sought in the declaratory suit filed by Qutbuddin, stepbrother of the late 52nd Dai, Mohammed Burhanuddin.
In an affidavit of 400 pgs filed in response to Qutbuddin’s petition in HC, Qaidjoher contented, “The suit is based on false and untenable cases. Bohras across the world have given misaq (oath of allegiance) to Mufaddal…only a handful from the community have not accepted him.”
As proof, the affidavit annexes several photographs depicting the late Syedna falling back on Mufaddal and leading him in prayer meets held during Muharram. Further, the affidavit denies all levelled charges of falsehood committed by Mufaddal and others in making him the Syedna.
Among other rebuttals are those on claims of threats made to Qutbuddin and his family. “Defendant has not threatened the plaintiff or his family. They are not deprived of entry in Saifee Mahal in his capacity as a member of the community, but is opposed to him seeking entry into the Mahal as the 53rd Dai and seeking injunction against Mufaddal’s entry,” stated the affidavit.
In June 2011, Mufaddal Saifuddin was nominated successor, according to the press statement from the community. Qutbuddin publicly challenged the succession first time after the death of Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin on January 17.
Qutbuddin claimed that he did not challenge the false claims made by Syedna Mufaddal until now because he (Qutbuddin) had been asked to maintain his appointment in confidence by Syedna Burhanuddin and was waiting for the late leader to get well to take up the issue with him.

High Court Raps Bengal Govt for Inaction in Murder Case
By Express News Service
Published: 15th July 2014 06:00 AM
KOLKATA: The Calcutta High Court on Monday pulled up the West Bengal Government for inaction against a ruling Trinamool Congress legislator who is an accused in a murder case. by Zarina Bibi and her son Sanwar Sheikh demanding a CBI inquiry into the murder, Justice Dipankar Datta asked government lawyer Samrat Sen why the state police had not apprehended the main culprit when it was their responsibility to do so.
TMC MLA Monirul Sheikh was arrested in 2010 as he was the main accused in the murder of Zarina’s three sons who were CPM members at Labhpur in Birbhum district.
Monirul was then in Forward Bloc, which was a constituent of the CPM-led Left Front government. Monirul, however, got bail as the state police failed to file the chargesheet within the mandatory period of 90 days. Monirul joined the TMC and successfully contested the 2011 state Assembly polls. On July 23 last year, he delivered a speech at Saithia during a TMC public meeting where he proudly claimed to have ‘smashed the three men’ and even said he needed the head of a local Congress leader Bapi Datta.
The Judge wanted to know whether the police had watched the video footage of Monirul’s speech and asked the government lawyer to arrange for its screening at his chamber. Since the police did not include Monirul’s name in the chargesheet filed last week though he was the prime accused in the FIR, the judge observed that there were many precedents in rulings of the Supreme Court that if not satisfied by the police investigation, the high court could order an additional chargesheet.
The lawyer for the petitioners Subrata Mukherjee said,
“Since a noted politician of the ruling TMC is involved, we want a free and fair trial and a re-investigation. The state machinery is not acting independently and as such my clients want a CBI inquiry.”
Reacting to the case, former BJP state president Tathagata Roy said, “There is an original flaw in the police system in this state. The police has become slaves of the ruling TMC and is serving its interests.”
Judge Sen and lawyer for the petitioner Subrata Mukherjee watched the video footage of Monirul’s speech and Justice Datta is expected to give his ruling in the case on Tuesday.

No security cover for lower court judges in Punjab
By Raghav Ohri, ET Bureau | 15 Jul, 2014, 04.47AM IST
CHANDIGARH: The Punjab government has withdrawn the security cover provided to judges in the lower judiciary, a decision that comes after taking sessions judges into confidence and follows the Supreme Court’s directive to all state governments last year to review their security policy.

Of the 575 police personnel deputed to provide security to judges in various districts, the state government has for the first time withdrawn nearly 250, officials familiar with the matter told ET.

The government wrote letters in this regard to all district and sessions judges, the officials said on condition of anonymity, adding that in certain cases senior superintendents of police of the districts concerned met the sessions judges to explain the revised policy to avoid a stand-off between the judiciary and the State.

The move to do away with provision of security cover on the grounds of the position held by the individual impacts sub judges, senior sub judges, chief judicial magistrates and additional district and sessions judges. Punjab is the only state apart from Haryana that had been providing security to the lower judiciary.

“The endeavour is to bring the security policy of Punjab in line with policies of other states in the country,” Dinkar Gupta, additional director general of police (security) told ET. “Moreover, the decision has been taken in pursuance to apex court’s directions.

The security guards withdrawn will be put to use for effective policing and curbing crime in the state.”

In its revised security cover policy notified on September 2 last year, the state government had decided to prune the security provided to lower court judges, among others. Prodded by deputy chief minister Sukhbir Singh Badal, who held a review meeting about a fortnight ago, the state police department has also withdrawn more than 650 personal security officers or PSOs deputed to guard politicians, bureaucrats, senior police officers and others.

Court expresses concern over Paoni tree felling
Vijay Pinjarkar,TNN | Jul 15, 2014, 01.53 AM IST
NAGPUR: The court of district & assistant sessions judge VB Kulkarni on Monday witnessed strong arguments over rejection of forest custody remand (FCR) by a Ramtek court to the accused in large-scale teak tree felling in Paoni range under Nagpur forest division. Though the arguments between special counsel for forest department Kartik Shukul and defence Kailash Dodani remained inconclusive at the end of the day, the court expressed serious concern over wanton tree felling.

The judge seemed to be well aware of the dense forest area in Paoni. Incidentally, this is perhaps one of the biggest cases of felling of trees in which 177 trees were illegally cut.

The forest department has challenged rejection of FCR of the accused Prem Dashmer, who was involved in felling these 100-year-old trees. Forest officials had filed preliminary offence report (POR) and thereafter arrested Dashmer after his role was ascertained.

Under the Indian Forest Act (IFA) 1927, the offence is non-bailable, yet the Ramtek judicial magistrate first class (JMFC) granted bail to the accused without giving an opportunity of hearing to the prosecution.

Shukul told the court that custody of accused is wanted as several others are involved in the crime. Looking at the gravity of the offence, it doesn’t look to be the handiwork of an individual. The forest department also needs to seize vehicles and equipment used in the crime.

The accused felled trees in protected forest assuming that he would get permission to fell them. Dashmer had forwarded the application to fell trees knowing well that it cannot be entertained.

Paoni RFO MD Jaiswal, forester SR Lanjewar and forest guard TS Mohammed have already been suspended for negligence of duty. A FIR has also been registered against them. Moreover, then deputy conservator of forests (DyCF) PK Mahajan has also been issued a memo. “An explanation has been sought from him,” said senior officials.

Defence counsel Dodani, however, flatly denied role of Dashmer in tree felling. He also argued that the forest department application was not maintainable. However, the court has adjourned the matter for further arguments and order on Tuesday.

Delhi court questions the meaning of ‘victim of crime’
‘Should include persons who are victims of false accusations’
Who all can be considered victims of crime, are victims only those who have suffered some physical injury at the hands of the offender as a direct result of crime? Or does it also include those falsely accused of rape or those who were wrongly arrested?
The question was raised by a Delhi court presided by Additional Sessions Judge Dr. Kamini Lau, who was hearing a rape case where the man accused of the crime had told the court that the victim had implicated many others in similar cases. The man was granted bail by the court.
“I may observe that, in so far the meaning of the term ‘victim of crime is concerned, the Indian Legislature does not define the term under any law…” the court said.
United Nations’ declarations
Placing reliance on the United Nations General Assembly Declaration of Basic Principles of Justice for Victim and Abuse of Power adopted in November 1985, Dr. Lau said it would include persons who are victims of false accusations and those who have suffered incarceration on account of the same, since wrongly being arrested on false accusation is an offence under the Indian Penal Code.
Question of compensation
The court also dealt with grant of compensation to the victims who have suffered incarceration due to false accusations.
It also emphasised that it becomes an obligation for the Court to ensure that there is no abuse and misuse of the Special Laws relating to women and to deal with such cases in a realistic manner and with the sensitivity which they deserve otherwise the common man may lose faith in the judiciary itself, which will be a sad day.
Checklist and safeguards
Dr. Lau also said, “There has to be some checklist and safeguards devised to prevent such an abuse of Special Legislation in favour of women.”
The ASJ welcomed the suggestion of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (Outer) that one of the safeguards in such cases where there exists a history of civil and other disputes and repeated complaints where allegations involve offence against women, then as a matter of abundant caution, the arrest of the accused should be after application of mind by the senior officers.
The court, here, added that this did not mean offenders would be given undue advantage, and that it should only be a rule of caution.

Missing Kids: Supreme Court Directs States to File Compliance Reports
All India | Press Trust of India | Updated: July 14, 2014 22:27 IST
New Delhi: The Supreme Court today directed all states and Union Territories to file their compliance reports — of its verdict for registration of FIR and conduct of probe — in every case of missing child.

A bench headed by Justice H L Dattu asked the states to file the report and supply a copy of them to NGO Bachpan Bachao Andolan on whose petition it had passed a slew of directions on January 17 last year.

The apex court had directed that a special officer be appointed in every police station across the country to deal with juveniles in view of growing number of minors getting involved in various offences.

The court had passed the order on a PIL filed by the NGO alleging that for over 1.7 lakh children have gone missing in the country between January 2008-2010, many of whom were kidnapped for trafficking in flesh trade and child labour.

Plea against farm loan waiver dismissed
DC CORRESPONDENT | July 15, 2014, 03.07 am IST
Hyderabad: The Hyderabad High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL seeking direction to the Telangana and Andhra Pradesh governments not to proceed with the waiver agricultural loans availed from banks.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Justice P.V. Sanjay Kumar was hearing the plea by Adusumilli Jayaprakash, a former Telugu Desam MLA of Vijayawada.
The petitioner submitted that the TD, which came to power in the residuary state of AP, has promised a total waiver of loans not only to farmers, but also loans to self-help women groups called DWAKRA, and Telangana Rashtra Samiti, which came to power in Telangana state, has promised waiver of farmer loans up to Rs 1 lakh.
The Chief Justice asked whether the petitioner had the recommendations of the committee constituted by the AP for loan waiver. When the petitioner replied in the negative, the CJ said that no order can be passed with regard to the loan waiver either in AP or in Telangana and it is premature for the courts to intervene in the matter

Drowning of J’khand girl: PIL seeks Rs 20-L compensation
Press Trust of India | Chennai
July 15, 2014 Last Updated at 00:28 IST
A PIL has been filed in Madras High Court seeking Rs 20 lakh compensation for the family of a 12-year-old girl fromJharkhand who drowned after falling into a drainage-cum-rainwater canal last month in Vellore.

The first bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Satish K Agnihotri and Justice MM Sundresh issued a notice in this regard to the state municipal administration secretary, water supply department, the district collector and the commissioner of Vellore Municipal Corporation returnable by three weeks.

The petitioner, a lawyer from Vellore, submitted that Priyanka, who had come with her parents for treatment of her younger sister, fell into the canal near Christian Medical College Hospital (CMC) on June 2.

The girl, daughter of one Indrajeet Mukherjee of Makatpur in Jharkhand, was washed away and her body was recovered only after a 60-hour search by local civic workers aided by the National Disaster Response Force.

Her father, who is a school teacher, had submitted a representation on June 16 to the District Collector seeking financial help.

Godhra train burning case: Salim Yusuf Zarda opposes hearing of appeal by High Court judge
By PTI | 14 Jul, 2014, 10.58PM IST
AHMEDABAD: One of the 31 convicts in the 2002 Godhra train burning case in which 59 people lost their lives today wrote a letter to the Gujarat High Court Chief Justice opposing the hearing of his appeal by Justice Sonia Gokani.

Salim Yusuf Zarda, given death penalty by the special trial court in March 2011, submitted his letter in form of an application through his counsel before a Division Bench of justices A S Dave and Gokani.

In his plea to Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya, he said hearing of appeal filed by him should not be conducted before Justice Gokani as she had also presided over trial in the case under POTA (Prevention of Terrorism Act).

Gokani presided over a special POTA court, which handled the train burning case, between 2003 and 2008 after which she was elevated to the Gujarat High Court. After 2008, another judge heard the case and gave the verdict in 2011.

She had sent him to police custody and rejected his bail application on different occasions, the convict said.

As trial court judge, Gokani went through the opinion of POTA Review Committee in 2006 and later rejected a police report seeking discharge of a few accused in the case under CrPC Section 169 (release of accused when evidence deficient), the letter said.

Defence counsel S M Vatsa moved the application before the bench, which fixed September 2 for next hearing since the letter is pending for consideration of the Chief Justice.

The high court has started final hearing on appeals of the convicts against the verdict and also the State’s plea seeking enhancement of punishment of some of those found guilty.

The court will also hear an application filed by the convicts who sought to place video footage of a sting operation by ‘Tehelka’ as additional evidence in the case.

The footage, aired in 2007, purportedly showed how witnesses in the case allegedly gave false statements on instructions of prosecution to establish the conspiracy angle.

Accepting the theory of criminal conspiracy behind the burning of S6 coach of Sabarmati Express near Godhra on February 27, 2002, the trial court gave death penalty to 11 accused and life term to 20 others.

Special judge P R Patel had acquitted 63 accused for want of evidence against them in the carnage, which had triggered widespread communal riots in Gujarat.


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