LEGAL NEWS 07.04.2012

NCW to take action in railway employee molestation case

PTI | 02:04 PM,Apr 05,2012

Bundi (Raj), Apr 5 (PTI) The National Commission for Women (NCW) has said it would initiate a probe into the alleged sexual harassment of a railway employee of Ajmer who tried to self-immolate herself. “The commission is going to take cognisance in the matter of sexually harassed railway employee of Ajmer. The commission would first collect the facts and then investigate the matter,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma told reporters here last evening. Terming the sexual harassment of an employee by her two colleagues as a “a heinous crime”, she said, “I would examine the matter personally and necessary action would be taken against the guilty”. Santosh Sharma, a senior booking clerk at Beawar junction under North-Western Railway (NWR) in Ajmer, self-immolated herself on Monday in front of the Divisional Railway Manager’s office, after she was allegedly sexually harassed by her two colleagues Sabarjeet Singh and Bhanwar Choudhary. The victim is reported to have lodged a complaint to DRM and concerned police station but no action was taken, leading her to take the extreme step. Meanwhile, Sharma said that the National Commission has already implemented policies to prevent harassment at offices in private sector, and the same would be enforced in government offices.








Government order cant prevail over Varsity Act

Express News Service

CHENNAI: An executive order of the government will not prevail over the provisions of the Universities Act, the Madras High Court has observed.

It can prevail over only when the said statutes or enactments had ‘gaps’ and did not cover the area by the existing rules whereof, but not otherwise, Justice V Dhanapalan said and declared ultra vires the State government order relating to service conditions of university employees, to the Universities Act.

The judge was allowing a writ petition from Madras University Staff Association and six others, who challenged the order of the Higher Education department dated December 13, 2006. Referring to the argument of Advocate-General A Navaneethakrishnan that the impugned order has been passed invoking the executive power of the State under Article 162 of the Constitution, the judge said any executive order must be in conformity with university rules. Power of the state government to issue executive instructions was confined to filling ‘gaps’ or ‘covering area’ which otherwise had not been covered by existing rules and such instructions/orders must be subservient to statutory rules.

The impugned order defining the service conditions, appointment and pay scales of non-teaching staff of the universities, were covered by the existing rules of the universities. “Therefore, the rules are not silent but are very sound on the particular point and as such, the question of filling up of ‘gaps’ or covering the area which otherwise had not been covered by the existing rules by means of the impugned order, did not arise at all for the State government. If the administration of universities was allowed to be interfered with by the executive according to its whims and fancies, then it would be tantamount to usurping the powers of authorities which are vested with such powers,” the judge added.

As the law had been made by the State Legislature, conferring the power of regulation of service condition of non-teaching staff of the Universities on the Syndicate of the respective University, the executive was not empowered to pass the impugned order. Mere funding to the Universities did not confer any privilege on the State to issue executive orders, so as to interfere with the administration of the Universities, the judge added.









DB Realty approaches HC for vacation of attachment

Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 18:54  

New Delhi: Real estate firm DB Realty, embroiled in the 2G spectrum allocation case, has moved the Delhi High Court for vacation of a Rs 223 crore attachment order of the Enforcement Directorate against it under money laundering laws.

The Delhi HC has now issued a notice to the ED on the Writ petition filed by the firm and their associates.

The agency had attached immovable properties and bank accounts of the firm in January this year under the stringent provisions of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) in connection with its probe into the alleged bribe of Rs 200
crores paid to Kalaignar TV.

The ED, according to sources, is now considering legal opinion on the issue.

A Writ Petition has been filed in the Delhi High Court by Dynamix Realty and others praying that orders be issued directing the Enforcement Directorate to accept and issue acknowledgement for FDRs issued in favour of Reserve Bank of India by them for Rs 223 crores against their properties in the 2G case, a spokesperson for DB Realty said.

It also pleaded that the properties which are subject to the attachment order dated January 10, 2012 be released, the spokesperson added.

“The firms have asked for this relief on their accounts and properties so that they can operate these assets and carry on their businesses,” a source privy to the development said.

The value of properties attached of these companies are Dynamix Realty (Rs 134 crore), Conwood Construction and Developers (Rs 22 crore), Nihar Constructions (Rs 1.10 crore), DB Realty (Rs 52 crore) and Eversmile Construction Company (Rs 13 crore).

Sources said there has been one precedent in the recent past where the ED has taken off its attachment orders allowing a similar plea in a case related to Kidney scam kingpin Amit Kumar.

The agency had made the CBI charge sheets in this regard as the basis for their order.

“As per the charge sheets of CBI, a bribe of Rs 200 crore was given by Swan Telecom Pvt. Ltd. (now M/s Etisalat DB Telecom Pvt. Ltd.) to Kalaignar TV through a number of intermediary companies in the garb of loan or share application money.

“However, the same was returned to Dynamix Realty (a company of Shahid Usman Balwa and Vinod Goenka),” the ED had earlier said in its order.

“The details of the charge sheets show disclosures made by the intermediary companies in the movement of the bribe money under the garb of loan or share application money do not substantiate genuine and bonafide financial transactions,” the order had said.









J’khand high court dismisses Rajya Sabha poll plea

Ranchi, April 05, 2012

Dismissing a petition challenging the Election Commission’s order countermanding voting for two Rajya Sabha seats from Jharkhand, the Jharkhand high court on Thursday asked the state government to get the horse-trading charges probed by a special central agency.

A division bench of Jharkhand high court comprising Chief Justice PC Tatia and justice A Kumar dismissed the petition of Congress nominee for the Rajya Sabha Pradeep Balmuchu.

The court also dismissed a PIL of Jayshankar Pathak, a Congress worker, challenging the poll panel order and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh on him.

The court further observed that the state government should get the horse-trading charges probed by a specialized central agency.

Balmuchu on Tuesday challenged in Jharkhand high court the Election Commission of India’s (ECI) move to cancel polling for two seats from the state to the upper house following charges of horse-trading.

The ECI had recommended to President Pratibha Patil to cancel the notification for the two Rajya Sabha seats after Rs 2.15 crore in cash was seized on the outskirts of Ranchi on polling day March 30.

The money was seized from an Innova car coming to Ranchi from Jamshedpur. It was suspected to be payoffs for getting a favourable vote from some legislators.

Five candidates, including two independents, were in the fray. The five candidates are Sanjiv Kumar of the Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Pradeep Balmuchu of the Congress, Praveen Kumar Singh of the Jharkhand Vikas Morcha-Prajatantrik (JVM-P), and two independents – RK Agarwal and Pawan Kumar Dhut.









EC for CBI inquiry, court verdict a success: Quraishi

Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 20:38

New Delhi: Chief Election Commission SY Quraishi on Thursday hailed Jharkhand High Court decision to dismiss a plea challenging countermanding of Rajya Sabha polls there, saying it was yet another success against corruption and the poll panel will now seek a CBI inquiry into it.

With the rejection of the petition paving the way for announcement of fresh schedule for elections, Quraishi said a decision to this effect would be taken soon.


“It is a success against corruption. We feel stronger now with the high court decision. We will now seek a CBI probe into the matter,” Quraishi told a news agency.

He said, “We are happy that the high court has supported our stand and this is a step which is a great deterrent to the malpractices we were noticing…. Now that we have clearance from the high court, we will request the Home Ministry to ask CBI to conduct an inquiry.”

“Jharkhand HC dismissed a PIL too against countermand with 1 lakh cost! Yet another success against corruption! Time to feel good,” Quraishi also tweeted on the HC decision.

The Jharkhand High Court while rejecting the petition of Congress RS candidate Pradeep Kumar Balmachu praying for quashing the EC’s decision to countermand Jharkhand RS poll, today directed the Commission to order an inquiry by a specialised agency like the CBI into circumstances leading to the countermanding of the RS poll.

The CEC said that the poll panel had already decided on a CBI inquiry but were waiting for the high court’s verdict.

When asked about the fresh schedule for Rajya Sabha polls in Jharkhand, Quraishi said “the way is now cleared for fresh elections. We will do that soon.”

The CEC also reiterated that the Commission will ensure strict vigilance during the poll to see that honest election is conducted.

The EC had countermanded the RS elections following seizure of Rs 2.15 crore from a car on the outskirts of Ranchi by Income Tax sleuths and Ranchi police hours before the start of polling in Jharkhand. The car in which the money was seized allegedly belonged to the brother of industrialist RK Agarwal, an independent candidate for the Jharkhand RS poll.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has, meanwhile, welcomed the court order in this regard and termed it a “good step”.

“This is a good step and we welcome it,” BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman said today.






SC ruling to end mining around tiger reserves, parks

Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 05, 2012

What the Central government failed to achieve in years, the Supreme Court did with a single stroke. On Tuesday, the apex court asked all state governments to notify core and buffer zones in 41 tiger reserves, over 600 wildlife sanctuaries and national parks in the next three months.

The Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, mandated every state to notify core and buffer zone in each wildlife area. Despite the specific clause in the law, the state governments had refused to implement it for political and socio-economic reasons.

India’s tiger state Madhya Pradesh had refused to notify the buffer or peripheral zone in Panna tiger reserve citing political constraint. State chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had gone on record against notification of buffer zones and local BJP leaders have threatened agitation if the buffer — home for diamond mining — is demarcated.

In Rajasthan, the buffer in both Sariska and Ramthambore has not been notified as number of resorts and state highways fall in the buffer zone. Similar is the case with Dudhwa tiger reserve in Uttar Pradesh and Sahyadari in Maharashtra.

Of the 41 tiger reserves in India, 15 have not notified the buffer area. Except, Valmiki tiger reserve in Bihar, all others tiger reserves have notified a core-critical or inviolate (safe tiger areas) tiger areas. An area of 800-1,000 sq km should be core area and remaining forest land should be notified as buffer. 

According to National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), mining or industrial activity is debarred in buffer zones. Only restricted tourism is allowed, an official said. The court’s order could have huge implications as there could be new restrictions on commercial activity in the buffer.

Once all tiger reserves notify core and buffer zones, the government plans to ban tourism in the core areas on the ground that human disturbance leads to inbreeding. “Entire tourism would be restricted to the buffer,” an official said. The NTCA has already issued guidelines on allowing tiger safari in buffer zones.

The NTCA has constituted a committee of experts on tourism in tiger reserve which is expected to submit its report by March 17. The committee is examining environment ministry’s draft guideline which proposes to impose 30 % tax on tiger tourism and provide for sustainable tourism.

The Supreme Court had sought tiger tourism guidelines once the committee submits its report and is expected to issues directions on tourism in and around tiger reserves.

The court’s order came on an innocuous petition, where Right To Information activist Ajay Dubey, had challenged the decision of the Madhya Pradesh high court not to ban tourism activity inside core areas of tiger reserves in the state. The NTCA had supported Dubey’s petition.










Karnataka: Judgment copy delay its appellants

Umesh R Yadav

BANGALORE: Appellants have been unable to approach higher courts due to delay by the Karnataka High Court in issuing judgment copies. Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia had recently directed all High Courts and lower courts to issue judgment copies to petitioners and respondents quickly.
Advocates at the Karnataka High Court complain that judgment copies are delayed by three to six months.
They say that during the tenure of Chief Justice J S Khehar, orders were being updated daily on his orders.
But now, with the exception of the order copy in B S Yeddyurappa’s case, which was uploaded on the court’s website within an hour, most orders are being delayed.
When Express contacted High Court Registrar General P Krishna Bhat, he directed us to the systems administrator, who said that depending on the public interest and direction of the Chief Justice, order copies are uploaded promptly.
“Since Yeddyurappa’s case generated a lot of public interest, we uploaded it within an hour,” he said.
Advocate G R Mohan said that if pronouncement of the judgment is oral, then the copy is uploaded quickly but if it is a dictation in the open court hall, it can take up to six months to sign the judgment copy though it shouldn’t take more than a week.






Justify the rationale behind rise in service tax: Delhi high court

NEW DELHI: Wondering why customers going to city hotels and restaurants should pay such a high service tax on their bills, the Delhi high court has asked the government to respond.

During a recent hearing of a PIL filed by an association of hotels, a bench comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw asked standing counsel for Centre, Neeraj Chaudhari, to justify the rationale for increase in service tax.

“There has to be some rationale. We have observed that service tax component is quite large in hotel bills. service tax plus VAT becomes a very big amount,” the bench remarked, giving last opportunity to the central government to file a response, failing which, the bench warned that it will proceed with the PIL without the government’s reply. HC was hearing a PIL filed by federation of hotels and restaurants challenging the amendments made by the government to the Finance Act last year.

According to the amendments, the service tax net was widened to make hotels liable to pay enhanced tax. The PIL informs HC this has resulted in double liability for the hotels, restaurants, inns and guest house owners, because the Finance Act now includes “AC restaurants having license to sell liquor and food” under the VAT liability.

The petitioners argued that it is only the state government and its legislature that can decide on taxing sale of food and beverages and the Centre has no role to play. “Parliament has no role because as per the Constitution, this issue falls in the state list” the PIL claims, faulting the centre for broadening the service tax net that has resulted in customers paying much more than before.

Despite the PIL having been filed in November last year, the government has failed to come up with a response, the hotel federation pointed out. They have urged the court to stay the enhanced service tax or go ahead and decide the case without waiting for a reply as delay meant hotels were being burdened with liability of service tax.

HC has given a last opportunity to the centre to file a reply by April 17.





Murky forces that are targeting Gen VK Singh

Seema Mustafa | Friday, April 6, 2012

Chief of army staff General VK Singh blocked the appointment of then director general, defence intelligence agency, Lieutenant General Tejinder Singh, as chairman, National Technical Research Organisation, shortly after being offered the alleged bribe in the Tatra truck deal. He also red-flagged the Tatra contract, ensuring that the remaining order for 600-odd trucks was stopped. This has not been cleared till date.

General Singh had rushed to defence minister AK Antony to report the alleged offer of a bribe by Lt General Tejinder Singh to clear the Tatra file. Antony did not take cognisance of the serious charge by the chief, merely asking the general to take action as he thought best.

Sections of the media have reported that home minister P Chidambaram was pushing Lt General Tejinder Singh’s case for the NTRO top post. Significantly, the reports have not been denied, giving credence to speculation within the army that the retired DIA chief has high levels of political patronage.

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Lt General Tejinder Singh, who dropped out of public view after the action taken by the army chief, has been very active recently against the army chief. Informed sources spoke of a taped conversation between Lt General Tejinder Singh and a senior army official where the former, referring to General VK Singh, said using an abusive word that there was enough to keep the latter active defending himself for two years. This information could not be independently verified, with the sources maintaining that the army did not want to release a tape as it did not want to compromise the other officer.

Senior defence officers, including former chief of naval staff, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, claimed that the army chief was the target of a politicians-arms dealers nexus. Significantly the public interest litigation filed in the Supreme Court by a retired naval chief, a senior journalist, a retired chief election commissioner, a former bureaucrat and three officers goes into details of the larger politics surrounding General VK Singh’s so-called age controversy.

Seeking to restore the army’s ‘institutional integrity’, the PIL step by step unravels some of the murky goings on behind the scenes. It points to the far-from-exemplary role of former army chiefs JJ Singh and, to a lesser extent, Deepak Kapoor, in determining the line of succession in the army with sections of the political leadership. It speaks of how the chiefs used the boards of at least four or five senior officers to move them from the line of succession, focusing on Major General Ravi Arora in detail. The major general was in the same batch as Lt General Bikram Singh, a gold medalist, senior and yet a year younger. He did not get through the major general to lieutenant general board.

The Supreme Court is yet to examine the document and take a decision about whether it should be admitted or not. The petitioners believe that vested interests are calling the shots in determining the line of succession, and in the process bringing the office of the chief of army staff into disrepute. This, the sources said, creates the space for political control with Lt General Bikram Singh and his declared successor, Lt General Dalbir Singh Suhag, commander of the Dimapur-based 3 Corps. In the process a general widely respected in the army and described by retired and serving generals as a ‘thinking commander’ Lt General KT Parnaik, currently GOC, Northern Command, will retire without making it as the army chief. However, if the government had accepted General Singh’s date of birth as May 31, 1951, Lt General Parnaik would have taken command. He is seen as an outstanding officer who would not countenance activities of shady arms dealers who still continue to influence the business and politics of defence.









Publication of draft CAG reports no breach of privilege: AG

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 05,2012

New Delhi, Apr 5 (PTI) The Attorney General is understood to have opined that publication of draft CAG reports in the media does not amount to breach of Parliamentary privilege. In his recent opinion to the government, the AG is learnt to have said that no case of breach of privilege is made out if a draft report is published in the media. The opinion of the government’s top law officer comes against the backdrop of controversy generated over the publication of a CAG draft report on coal blocks last month. Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India Vinod Rai had expressed deep anguish over leakage of an audit report on coal block allocation and sought from Prime Minister a probe into the source of the leak. Clarifying that details in the media report quoting an audit report were “exceedingly misleading”, he said in a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the leaked details “are under discussion at a very preliminary stage and do not even constitute our pre-final report”. He also sought Prime Minister’s assistance in finding a “responsible solution to this predicament”. In a June 2010 ruling, the Central Information Commission had told the CAG that audit notes used for preparing a report can be disclosed under RTI and this does not amount to breach of parliamentary privilege. The CIC ruling had come in the wake of opinion given by then Secretary General P D T Achary that disclosing the notes does not amount to breach of privilege of Parliament. His stand was later endorsed by present Secretary General T K Viswanathan.






Gujarat: Ghandy wanted in case of sedition

Last Updated: Thursday, April 05, 2012, 17:15

New Delhi: The Gujarat Police have approached a Delhi court seeking custody of Naxal leader Kobad Ghandy to interrogate him for his alleged role in guiding Maoist activities in the state before he was caught by city police.

The Gujarat police have moved the court of Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav seeking Ghandy’s custody alleging that he was involved in naxal movement in urban areas and a case was registered against him and twenty other co-accused in February 2010.

The Gujarat Police have registered a case against 64-year-old Ghandy and others under Indian Penal Code for waging war against the country, sedition, promoting enmity, criminal conspiracy and various provisions of the UnlawfulActivities Prevention (UAP) Act.

He is lodged in Tihar Jail since his arrest by Delhi Police in September 2009 for trying to set up base of banned CPI (Maoist) in the national capital.


An earlier plea by Gujarat police for Ghandy’s custody in June 2010 was dismissed by the court as the Delhi government had put a ban on his movement till the case against him is finished.

The Surat police have now sought his custody in the light of March 28 order of a Delhi court absolving Ghandy of the stringent terror charges for want of proper sanction.

Ghandy now stands charged for criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery and impersonation under IPC, triable by a court of Magistrate.

The Gujarat Police have in its application said that on February 25, 2010, a complaint was registered at Kamrej Police station against unnamed CPI(Maoist) organisers and members for preparing an armed force and guerrilla zone in Surat, north Maharashtra and South Gujarat and other areas.

It said the accused were also creating “internal war between religious minorities in these areas in order to obtain militant cadres for guerrilla zone”.

Police have already arrested twenty persons from various regions in Surat, Maharashtra and Gujarat. In its application, the Gujarat Police said, “Duringthe course of investigation of this crime, it is revealed that accused Kobad Ghandy alias Salim started CPI (M-L) PWG (People’s War Group) in Maharasthra State.”

“He was also in charge of south-west regional bureau and has been providing his guidance and help and co-ordinating the activities of Maharasthra State Committee and Surat area committee, a body of CPI (Maoist).”

It also said Ghandy “sent his wife Late Anuradha Dhandy for spreading CPI (M-L) PWG work in Surat city and knows about the activities undertaken by her.”

It also accused Ghandy of authoring “The Urban Plan” of CPI (Maoist) which emphasised “initiating a strong Maoist movement in urban areas for supplementing ongong Maoist fight in rural areas”.

The agency said Ghandy studied problems, controversial issues of major cities and collected vital data regarding their demography, geography, economy and social structure besides being responsible for monitoring the progress of urban plan in Pune-Ahmedabad “Golden Corridor”, of which Surat city is a part.

An alumni of the prestigious Doon School, Ghandy was said to be part of the top leadership of erstwhile CPI-ML (PWG) from 1981 and continued as a Central Committee member in CPI (Maoist). He was elected to its Politburo in 2007.







Dara Singh encounter: CBI arersts MLA, files charge sheet

Published: Thursday, Apr 5, 2012, 14:24 IST | Updated: Thursday, Apr 5, 2012, 22:27 IST
Place: Jaipur | Agency: PTI

Former Rajasthan Minister and BJP MLA Rajendra Rathore was on Thursday arrested by the CBI which also promptly filed a charge sheet against him for his alleged involvement in the fake encounter case of local liquor smuggler Dara Singh in 2006.

56-year-old Rathore, a five time MLA, was arrested by the CBI amid slogan-shouting by his supporters who had assembled at the agency’s local office.

A charge sheet was filed soon thereafter by the agency under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy) and 302 (murder). The court send him to judicial custody till April 9.

The arrest of Rathore comes nearly six weeks after the CBI arrested absconding Additional Director General of Rajasthan Police A K Jain, who had been named in the charge sheet by the CBI for his alleged involvement in the fake encounter case.

In its charge sheet filed last year in June, CBI alleged that Dara Singh was taken into illegal custody by the SOG officials from Jaipur Airport and driven to a deserted place near Amber where he was kept till October 23, 2006, when he was killed.

“The circumstantial evidence shows clearly that Dara was murdered in cold blood by SOG personnel and the same was duly monitored by ADG Police A K Jain, SP SOG A Ponnuchammi and Additional SP Arshad Ali along with other officials and during this entire period Rajendra Rathore (a sitting BJP MLA) was on telephonic touch with Jain, ADGP,” the charge-sheet had said.

Rathore claimed that he was being implicated falsely at the behest of the Congress government. “I did not know the person who was killed in the encounter before the incident was reported in newspapers next day in October 2006,” the former Public Works Minister said.

“It is very unfortunate that I am being implicated falsely but it is fortunate that you all are gathered here to give me moral support. I will return and resume my work to strengthen the party,” he said before his arrest at a public meeting which was attended by BJP leaders including Vasundhara Raje.

In a statement, the CBI said the MLA had been arrested for an on-going investigation relating to the fake encounter case.

Dara Singh, a resident of village Mundital of Churu district was allegedly killed by Special Operation Group, Rajasthan on the outskirts of Jaipur on October 23, 2006. On a petition filed by wife of deceased Dara Singh, the Supreme Court directed the CBI to take up the investigation.

“The investigation revealed that Dara Singh was allegedly killed in a fake encounter in pursuance of a criminal conspiracy. During the course of investigation, accused persons were examined and given sufficient opportunity to present their plausible explanation or defence,” the CBI spokesperson said in a statement.

A charge sheet was filed against 16 persons including Jain and 15 others under various sections of Indian Penal Code. Out of this 12 accused are at present in jail while three policemen and another person are absconding.

Those charge sheeted in the case were the then Additional DG (Crime), the then SP(SOG), the then Additional SP(SOG), seven sub-inspectors, three head constables, two Constables ??” all of Rajasthan Police and one private person.

While filing the charge sheet last year, the CBI had sought permission of the court to keep the probe open as some other persons could be arrested for their alleged involvement in the conspiracy.

Meanwhile, the court accepted Rathore’s prayer of regular medical check-ups, food from home and adequate security in Jaipur central jail where he has been lodged.









Block IIT seat, forget JEE next year: HC

New Delhi, April 06, 2012

A student’s failure to join IIT after clearing its entrance test and blocking a seat after paying the admission fee renders him ineligible to take another entrance test next year as such an act leads to a colossal wastage of the institutes’s financial and other resources, the Delhi High Court has ruled.

Justice Hima Kohli gave the ruling, dismissing the plea of Prateek Rohilla, who had blocked a five-year, M Tech course seat in Engineering Design (Automotive Engineering) at IIT Madras by paying the admission fees of Rs. 20,000 after clearing the IIT JEE in 2011.

After blocking the seat, Rohilla didn’t join the institute and wanted, instead, to take another IIT JEE in 2012 to better his result for a course of his choice.

He had come to the high court challenging the IIT-Delhi decision to debar him from taking that 2012 IIT JEE.

“Any course at Indian Institute of Technology is extremely prestigious and every seat is precious and cannot be permitted to be wasted in such a manner,” said Justice Kohli.






Open Pinjore bypass on April 6: HC

HT Live Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh/Panchkula, April 05, 2012

The Punjab and Haryana high court on Wednesday dismissed the contention of the National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to further prolong the opening of the Pinjore-Parwanoo bypass by 10 days, which is a part of the four-laning project of the Panchkula-Shimla highway. During a resumed

hearing, the concessionaire company, Himalayan Expressway Limited, submitted that the public had been notified that the highway would be operational on April 6. However, it received a letter from NHAI that the highway could be made operational only after 10 days from the date of publication of user fee (toll) in the official gazette, which is April 2.

NHAI submitted that this 10-day period had been mentioned in the agreement with the company. However, the court observed that on March 22, it had ordered that the highway would be opened after three days of notification of user fee (toll) and NHAI did not make any mention of such a clause in the agreement despite the fact that its officials were present in the court.

It said the stipulation of 10 days was there in the agreement to make public aware of the operation of the highway, but this had been already been done in advance by the concessionaire.
The court ordered that the bypass would be made operational on April 6.

The whole project of the four-laning of Zirakpur-Parwanoo stretch, which is a part of the National Highway Development Project, Phase-III, was awarded to Jaiprakash Associates (Himalyan Expressways Pvt Ltd) in 2007 under build operate transfer (BOT) basis. It further gave the construction work to C and C Constructions company.

It is a 28.69-km project, awarded at Rs 295 crore, with 20 km in Haryana, 2 km in Punjab and 6.69 km in Himachal Pradesh. The road up to 17.25 km is till Mallah in Pinjore and then there is a bypass (of about 11 km) till Parwanoo, which joins the main road near the Timber Trail resort. The toll plaza will be operated by Jaiprakash Associates for 17 years.

No reply by NHAI
The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) did not file any reply till date to the two notices (February 23 and March 18) issued to them by the Haryana forest department regarding violation of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980 for construction of toll plaza and its offices.

On Wednesday, Ajay Kadian, conservator of forests (north circle), Haryana, told HT that, “We have already issued two notices to them. We will take action against them as per rules. No one can go scot-free.”

On March 26, SK Sehrawat, additional principal chief conservator of forests, ministry of environment and forests, had sought a detailed violation report, including action taken report from principal chief conservator of forests, Haryana, in this regard.

The toll plaza also violates the Periphery Act for which district town planner (DTP) Hitesh Sharma had issued notice to NHAI and Himalayan Expressway Limited. The objective of the Act is to prevent growth of slums and ramshackle constructions, within 10 miles on all sides from the outer boundary of the land acquired for Chandigarh. The penal action on this violation is pending for legal opinion sought by the DTP.









Minors testimony nails mother’s rapists as HC upholds conviction

Published: Friday, Apr 6, 2012, 8:30 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Agency: DNA

Based on the testimony of two minors, the Bombay high court has upheld the conviction of two men who had raped their mother in 1998.

Upholding the 10 years of jail awarded to Dinesh Telang, 42, and Rajkumar Meshram, 44, Justice AP Bhangale observed: “The two children (then aged 11 years and seven years) may not have intellectual capacity to know that their mother was raped, but their evidence do broadly disclose what had happened.”

As the duo is out on bail, the high court told them to surrender within six weeks.

Telang and Meshram had challenged the April 4, 1998, order of the sessions court at Nagpur convicting them on charges of gang rape, house trespassing and criminal intimidation. They were sentenced to 10 years’ jail and directed to pay fine of Rs4,000 each.

The victim lived in a hut at Savitribai Fule Nagar in Nagpur with her mother-in-law and three children. Her husband had deserted her. On August 27, 1991, Telang and Meshram entered the hut at night, threatened her with a knife and raped her. The next morning, the victim and her mother-in-law lodged a complaint. She also identified the accused as they lived in the same locality.

AS Mardikar, advocate for the convicts, argued that the police did not record statements of the neighbours. Also, the hut was latched from inside. Though the trial court examined the victim’s son and a daughter, they did not support the prosecution’s story, claimed Mardikar.

Additional public prosecutor AM Joshi argued that victim was the best witness to depose and there was sufficient corroborative evidence to support her version. The court did not agree with the defence argument that the victim could have raised an alarm. “The victim’s testimonycan be relied upon even without corroboration provided that it inspires confidence in the judicial mind,” the court said.

The son, who was 11 years at the time of the incident, testified that “the two accused were sleeping on his mother”. He said his mother wanted to commit suicide, but he and his grandmother talked her out of it.

“No woman living with her children and aged mother-in-law would implicate herself in the unpleasant incident of rape to take revenge on the accused,” said justice Bhangale.









Clause of transparency in appointing commissioners holds good for Haryana too: HC

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, April 05, 2012

On an application alleging that Haryana is still making appointments of state information commissioners without setting up any search committee and without presenting a panel of names before the statutory selection committee, the Punjab and Haryana high court has made it clear that the clause of transparency also holds good for Haryana as ordered by the high court earlier in its January 9 orders for Punjab.

The application filed by advocate HC Arora sought the clarification from the high court about its earlier orders of January 9.

The division bench comprising chief justice Ranjan Gogoi and justice Mahesh Grover said that ‘omission’ to refer to Haryana in the said order was ‘inadvertent’.

The earlier orders were issued on the public interest litigation filed by Arora seeking directions to Punjab and Haryana to follow a transparent procedure for selection and appointment of state information commissioners. He had alleged that both states were making appointments on a pick and choose basis.

Disposing off the PIL, the high court had ordered, “It would be the bounden duty of the state to examine whether the norms that are being followed today in the matter of appointment of state information commissioners as well as certain additional norms that the state government may consider appropriate, should find place in the form of a set of rules or not. Such an exercise should be performed by the state so as to ensure fairness in procedure and certainty in public life.”









HC orders marriage assistance to orphan

Bench directs Thanjavur Collector to handover the money within four weeks

The Madras High Court Bench here on Wednesday came to the rescue of an orphan (a woman) who was made to run from pillar to post seeking monetary aid through the State Government’s marriage assistance scheme.

Disposing of a writ petition filed by A. Nirmala alias Nirmala Mary, Justice D. Hariparanthaman directed the Thanjavur Collector to grant marriage assistance to the petitioner within four weeks under the Annai Theresa Memorial Orphan Girls Marriage Assistance Scheme.

The judge pointed out that the petitioner had lost her father during her childhood days. Her mother as well as brother died when she was in college. Hence, she had to discontinue her studies and eke out a living by taking tuition to school students. Her paternal uncle living in Thiruvaiyaru was her only moral support.

In the meantime, an advocate named Dossprakash came forward to marry her without demanding any dowry. The marriage was fixed on February 12 and the petitioner made an application to the Thanjavur Panchayat Union Commissioner seeking assistance under the Moovalur Ramamirtham Ammaiyar Memorial Marriage Assistance Scheme.

The Commissioner forwarded the application to the Tiruvaiyaru Panchayat on the ground that the petitioner’s uncle was living there. However, the latter Panchayat returned the application to Thanjavur Commissioner stating that the applicant was living in Thanjavur and only her guardian was in Tiruvaiyaru.

Even as the application was being shuttled between the two Panchayats, the petitioner’s marriage took place with funds arranged by the bridegroom. Thereafter, she made an application under the Right to Information (RTI) Act wanting to know the status of her application.

Replying to the RTI application, the Thanjavur Commissioner said that her plea was rejected for want of residential proof. However, when the matter was taken on appeal to the State Information Commission, it was found that no such written rejection order had been passed.

After all this, the petitioner had filed the present writ petition. Filing a counter affidavit in the present case, the Thanjavur Commissioner conceded that the petitioner was an orphan and eligible for grant under the Annai Theresa memorial scheme.

Recording the submission, the judge said: “The very purpose of the scheme is to help the destitute at the time of marriage. It is a social welfare measure of the government. The action of the Commissioner was against the spirit of the scheme.”







HC seeks explanation from AUT

PTI | 07:04 PM,Apr 05,2012

Madurai, Apr 5 (PTI) Madras High Court Bench here has sought an explanation, before April 11, from Anna University of Technology-Madurai, as to how affiliation was granted to a private engineering college at a “lightning speed” after though the cut off dated fixed by the state government. Justice D.Hariparanthaman sought the explanation admitting a writ petition filed by the secretary of Nadar Saraswathi College of Engineering and Technology at Vadupudupatti in Theni district, seeking a direction to the Commissioner of Technical Education to approve the admission of 46 students in 2010-11. The judge,who went through the records,found that the All India Council for Technical Education had granted approval for the petitioner institution on Oct 5,2010. After two days, it was granted affiliation for 2010-11. Such affiliation had been granted despite an order passed by the Principal Secretary to Government-cum-Commissioner of Technical Education that the students should not be admitted after September 17, 2010. But, the college admitted the students and filed the present writ petition. College secretary M. Amarnath submitted the college was established in 2009 and it started functioning from 2010-11. The present strength of the college was 46 students as against the sanctioned annual intake of 240 students. The Commissioner of Technical Education recently refused to approve the list of students on the ground that they were admitted beyond the cut-off date,hence this petition.








Can’t quit IIT midway, reappear in entrance test: Delhi HC

IANS Apr 5, 2012, 04.58PM IST

NEW DELHI: Leaving an Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) course midway or after confirming the admission will now cost students dear as the Delhi high court has held that this would bar them from reappearing in the entrance test in the following year.

Justice Hima Kohli has upheld the decision of IIT authorities that students who leave a course after confirming their admission would not be allowed to appear in the next joint entrance examination (JEE).

The court’s order came while dismissing a plea filed by Prateek Rohilla who withdrew his admission to IIT-Madras after paying the registration fee last year. Rohilla wanted to appear in the IIT-JEE-2012 scheduled for April 8.

The court said that such attempts by candidates, who once qualified in IIT-JEE and later sought to withdraw from the seat allocated to them, resulted in immense financial strain on the institute.

“In this attempt, the institute would have to keep a seat vacant not just in the first year but right through the course that may extend up to five years as in the present case,” Justice Kohli said in an order passed last week.

“Apart from this, the course is extremely prestigious and every seat is precious and cannot be permitted to be wasted in such a manner,” the court said refusing to accept Rohilla’s petition.

Rohilla moved the court against the IIT decision after it informed him that he cannot reappear for IIT-JEE 2012 exam as last year he withdrew his admission after paying the registration fee.

In 2011, Rohilla after qualifying in the IIT-JEE under the Scheduled Castes category got admission in engineering design (automotive engineering), a five-year M-Tech dual degree course at IIT-Madras.

By making an online payment, Rohilla deposited Rs.20,000 towards non-refundable registration fees and confirmed the admission but did not turn up at IIT-Madras to attend classes.

Later, Rohilla applied again for the 2012 IIT entrance test under the general category. On this, IIT-Delhi, organising the test, informed him March 17 that his application for IIT-JEE-2012 stood cancelled as he was ineligible.

The letter written by IIT-Delhi to Rohilla said: “You have attempted JEE-2011 successfully and had got an admission offer, which was accepted by you by depositing the admission fee and, therefore, you are ineligible to write IIT-JEE-2012.”

As per clause 3.5 of the information brochure of IIT-JEE-2012, which lays down the eligibility criterion for appearing in IIT-JEE-2012: “Candidates who have taken admission (irrespective of whether or not they continued in any of the programmes) or accepted the admission by paying the registration fee at any of the IITs, IT-BHU (Institute of Technology-Banaras Hindu University) Varanasi or ISM ( Indian School of Mines) Dhanbad are not eligible to appear in IIT-JEE-2012.”







Don’t interfere with universities, HC tells government

If the administration of universities is allowed to be interfered with by the executive according to its whims and fancies, it will be tantamount to usurping the powers of authorities vested with such powers and will defeat the very object of statutes, the Madras High Court has said.

If at all, such power can be exercised only after making suitable amendments to the statutes by the legislature, observed Justice V. Dhanapalan while allowing a batch of writ petitions seeking to declare a G.O. of the Higher Education Department of December 13, 2006, which sought to amend the service conditions of the University of Madras employees, ultra vires the provisions of the University Act, particularly the provisions relating to regulation of service conditions.

The grievance of the petitioners, the Madras University Staff Association and others, was that their entire service conditions, including remuneration and classification of various services, were governed by ordinances and statutes made by the Syndicate under particular Acts.

The impugned G.O., which sought to bring uniformity in service conditions of the university employees with that of State government services, overlooking the existing statutes of the university, was uncalled for.

In its counter, the government submitted that it issued the order based on the Dr. S. Muthukrishnan Committee report and subsequent decisions, which could not be faulted with.

Mr. Justice Dhanapalan said there was no doubt that the legislature had enacted the statutes, namely the Acts of universities.

Universities, being body corporates having perpetual succession, had got a separate legal entity and, as such, the rules framed by the government would not be applicable, unless specifically adopted by the universities as per the provisions of the Acts by which they were constituted.

The present executive order, which took away the rights of the Syndicate of university where the Governor himself was the head, was totally unwarranted.

Under Art.162, the executive’s power would extend to matters with respect to which the legislature of the State had power to make laws, but it should not be repugnant to the laws which already occupied the field.





HC questions centre on huge service tax in hotel bills

Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, April 06, 2012Shocked by the amount you are asked to pay as various taxes in Delhi hotels apart from the food bills? Relax. There could be some relief in store as they are under the the Delhi High Court’s scanner.
The court has sought a response from the Centre on a PIL questioning the rationale behind the enormous service tax forced on hotel-goers apart from VAT.

“Even we have observed that the service tax component is quite large in hotel bills… We see that the service tax, plus the VAT itself comes to a big amount. There has to be a rationale. File a reply,” Bench of acting Chief Justice AK Sikri and Justice RS Endlaw told the lawyer appearing for the Centre. The Centre has been asked to file a reply by April 17.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Federation of Hotels and restaurants. Other petitioners include Leela Palace Hotel and CP’s pub Rodeo. The PIL was filed in November but till now, the Centre has not filed a response despite many notices.

Taking a serious note of it, the hotel federation has urged HC to either stay the tax for the time being or hear the case without any counter from Centre.

The PIL challenges broadening of the service tax net by a amendment made last year in the Finance Act of 1994. Two clauses were inserted that made hotels liable to pay increased service tax. According to the petitioners, the effect of the amendment has been two-fold.

Two transactions have been included in the service tax net. AC restaurants with licence to sell liquor and food are required to pay service tax on sales of food or beverages. This is in addition to VAT liability. Hotels, inns, guesthouses, clubs etc are also liable to pay this tax.

“It is for the state government and its legislature to decide taxes on sale of food and beverages. Parliament has no role in this regard as it falls in the state list as per the Constitution.









HC limits powers of state to run varsities

TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 03.38AM IST

CHENNAI: A Tamil Nadu government order aiming to wield the power to make appointments, set pay scales and lay down service conditions for non-teaching staff in state-run universities, has been struck down by the Madras high court. The December 13, 2006 order would enable the government to take over the university’s powers, set uniform pay scales and limit the categories of universities’ non-teaching staff from about 50 to just 6.

Justice V Dhanapalan, declaring the order as inoperative, said: “If the administration of universities is allowed to be interfered with by the executive according to his whims and fancies, it would tantamount to usurping the powers of the authorities, which are vested with such powers.”

The matter relates to an order issued by the higher education department, apparently to bring uniformity in service conditions of non-teaching staff and change the salary and other benefits of the university employees in tune with government employees. It is the government’s stand that different universities adopted different scales of pay to their non-teaching staff. Universities not sound in financial position found it difficult to accede to demands from non-teaching staff to match their salaries with that of affluent universities.

Based on an expert committee’s recommendations, it sought to have only six category of non-teaching staff – junior assistants, assistants, superintendents, assistant registrar/controller, deputy registrar/controller. At present there are nearly 50 categories of non-teaching staff in universities.

The Madras University Staff Association, however, challenged the validity of the executive order, stating that the order had been passed without executive competence. On its part, the university too submitted that the syndicate alone was empowered to appoint faculties and staff, fix salaries and define duties and service conditions.

Justice Dhanapalan rejected the advocate-general A Navaneethakrishnan’s claim that no prejudice or legal injury had been caused to the university employees. He said: “Universities, being body corporates having perpetual succession, have got a separate legal entity, and, as such, the rules framed by the government shall not be applicable, unless specifically adopted by the universities are constituted.”

Noting that the executive power of state available under Article 162 of the Constitution shall be confined only to filling gaps not covered by existing rules, Justice Dhanapalan said that once law occupies the field, it will not be open to the state government to exercise its executive power. “The impugned order defines service conditions, appointment and pay scales of non-teaching staff of universities, which are conspicuously covered by the existing rules of the statutes of universities. Therefore, the rules are not silent but are very sound on the particular point”, he said.

Noting that the order would defeat the very objects of the statutes, the judge said such power could be exercised after making suitable amendments to the statutes by the legislature.






HC to rescue of jailed man who could not pay fine

A Subramani, TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 03.14AM IST

CHENNAI: Can an indigent person be condemned to spend a lifetime in prison merely because he is not able to pay the fine imposed on him? Should he remain in jail even after serving out his actual sentence period as he is too poor to pay the fine?

M Balasubramanian, who was convicted in 41 petty cases and sentenced to two years in jail, is a case in point. Though he had completed the actual jail term in 2004, he is still in prison because he is unable to pay the fine amount of 2.1 lakh. But for the timely intervention of the Madras high court, he would have been made to languish in jail for 252 months till 2025.

Balasubramanian was an office assistant in a bank and indulged in petty offences of small bribes and falsification of records. The CBI registered 41 cases against him.

He was convicted in all the cases and has been since December 16, 2002. The special court for CBI cases here sentenced him to two years of rigorous imprisonment in each case. However, since the sentence was to run concurrently, in effect it meant a total jail term for two years.

The trouble was with the fine amount imposed by the court. The total fine amount ran up to 2.1 lakh.

The usual condition in case of fine is that, in default of payment of the fine amount, an additional jail term must be served by the convict. For Balasubramanian, the total jail term in default of payment of 2.1 lakh was 252 months, besides his earlier sentence. If he were to serve out the default sentence, he should remain in prison till December 2025.

Under these circumstances, he filed a habeas corpus petition stating that on the ground of non-payment of fine amount he should not be jailed beyond the sentence period.

His counsel M Radhakrishnan, invoking the fundamental right to liberty, said the default period should be construed to run concurrently and hence at the end of two years he ought to have been released. Terming it illegal detention, Radhakrishnan said that under Section 30 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the default sentence cannot exceed one-fourth of the maximum sentence imposed by the court.

The government, however, cited Rule 242 of the Tamil Nadu Prison Manual and said that while calculating the sentence of imprisonment, sentence imposed in default of payment of fine cannot run concurrently.

Rejecting the government’s stance, a division bench of Justice K Mohan Ram and Justice G M Akbar Ali said the prison rule could not prevail over the CrPC, and added: “When a person is very poor and because of his poverty he could not pay the fine amount and is ordered to remain in jail even after the period of substantive sentence of imprisonment is over, a serious prejudice would be caused to the person.”

Jailing a person even after the period of substantive sentence is an affront to the fundamental right to life and liberty, the judges said, adding: “It is nothing but a mockery of the life and liberty of an individual, a fundamental right as enshrined in Part III of the Constitution.” They ordered the immediate release of Balasubramanian from jail, if he is not needed in any other case.








HC declines to pass order against corporation’s show-cause notice

TNN | Apr 6, 2012, 04.33AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has declined to grant any order against the show cause notice issued by the Madurai municipal corporation to an owner of a building near the Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple.

Recently, the city municipal corporation had issued show cause notices to 790 buildings that were constructed in violation of norms on the height of the buildings around the temple. The notice sought explanation from the owners of the buildings for the violation and why action should not be taken against them.

Aggrieved over the show cause notice, Thangamayil Jewellery Ltd filed the present petition seeking to quash the same and further restrain the commissioner of Madurai Corporation and its officials, from, in any way attempting to interfere with the peaceful possession of the company in respect of structure situated at Nethaji Road. According to the petitioner, the company purchased the property in 1996 and on such purchase had raised construction after securing necessary permission and licence from the corporation. The plan approval was granted by the corporation in 1997. Thereafter for the expansion, required further plinth area and put up construction of three more floors and above the existent ground floor construction. In 2002, the company filed an appeal before the corporation. The corporation on consideration of the application had directed the petitioner company to pay additional charges for regularising the plan with the modified structure and payment was also made.

The petitioner said, “While the company continues to pay the property tax, sewage charges and other dues to the local body, the corporation issued a show cause notice to it without authority of law.”

The petitioner also said the authority cannot take action and demolish the building in question, after having collected the fee for regularizing the plan. The company contended that it is running a jewellery shop and materials worth several crores of rupees are in the building. If the impugned order is implemented, it will result in irreparable prejudice to it. The construction raised by it does not in any manner hinder the view.

The structure raised by the petitioner is in existence for over a decade.

None had complained that the building is causing nuisance. The bench comprising Justice R Banumathi and Justice B Rajendran disposed the petition stating that notice issued by the corporation is only a show cause notice.

Therefore, they said the petitioner can submit his explanation to the notice. As the counsel for the petitioner stated that the seven days time for submitting the explanation has expired already, the judges granted 10 days time for the petitioner to submit the explanation.



LEGAL NEWS 04.04.2012

SC refrains from passing any order on top cop Bidari’s plea

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

New Delhi, Apr 3(PTI) The Supreme Court today refrained from passing any order on IPS officer Shankar Mahadev Bidari’s plea challenging a Karantaka High Court’s order, which had quashed his appointment as the state’s police chief, dubbing him to be “worse than Sadam Hussein or Muammar Gaddafi.” A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad refused to pass any order on the officer’s plea in absence of the high court’s March 30 judgement, which had been challenged, on its record. It asked Bidari’s counsel Gopal Subramaniam to ensure that the copy of the judgement was annexed with the other documents and also requested the high court’s registry to furnish its certified copy to the petitioner. The counsel had mentioned the matter for early hearing. In a scathing verdict, the high court had described Bidari as “worse than Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi” for alleged atrocities on women committed by the Special Task Force, led by him, during the hunt to nab smuggler Veerappan. Dismissing as “without merit and substance”, the petitions by the government and Bidari against the CAT order, the high court’s division bench, headed by Justice N Kumar, had held earlier as “void and illegal” his empanelment by the UPSC and consequent appointment as the state’s police chief. Upholding the Central Administrative Tribunal’s verdict, the high court had said “in the facts of the case, we cannot find any infirmity in the said decision. It is just”. It had struck down Bidari’s contentions “absolving himself of the responsibility” of atrocities by stating he was only deputy commander of the Joint Task Force of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu to nab Veerappan and not “omnipresent and omnipotent like Saddam Hussain or Muammar Gaddafi.” (more) PTI RB








CAT stays proceedings against charge-sheeted Guj IPS officer

Published: Tuesday, Apr 3, 2012, 21:08 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) today admitted Gujarat IPS officer Rahul Sharma’s petition challenging the charge sheet against him regarding submission of CDs containing phone call records related to 2002 riots, and stayed all proceedings against him.

A Tribunal Bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar, hearing the case, also observed that the prima facie charge sheet should not have been issued to Sharma.

It issued a notice to the state government and asked it to file a reply to the police officer’s petition within two weeks. The bench asked Sharma to file, within one week, his rejoinder after government’s reply and posted the matter to April 27 for further hearing.

The bench directed the government to stay all proceedings regarding the charge sheet, filed in August 2011, till the CAT decides on the IPS officer’s petition.

The petition was filed by Sharma last year contending that he was being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission, probing the post-Godhra riot cases.

Sharma’s petition, before being admitted today, was heard at length by CAT on the issue whether he enjoys immunity under Section 6 of Commission of Inquiry Act (CIA), 1952 from all civil and criminal proceedings.

The Section provides protection to a witness, against civil and criminal actions, for statements made by him before a judicial commission.

The government had rejected Sharma’s contention and described his petition as “premature”. It had further claimed there was no connection between the charge sheet against Sharma, whom it accused of misconduct, and his deposition before the riot panel.








CAT stays action against Rahul Sharma

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.03AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) on Tuesday stayed departmental action against senior IPS officer Rahul Sharma in connection with the chargesheet served on him, accusing him of professional misconduct for not submitting the vital evidence of 2002 riots cases in form of mobile phone records.

A division bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar admitted Sharma’s petition challenging the charges and the show-cause notice served on him, and observed that prima facie the chargesheet should not have been issued by the government. The CAT also issued notice to the state government seeking explanation on the contentions raised by Sharma, who will be filing his rejoinder after the government’s reply. Further hearing is kept on April 27, said Sharma’s lawyer K G Pillai. Sharma moved the CAT last year claiming that he was victimized for deposing before the amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court to probe Zakia Jafri’s allegations against chief minister Narendra Modi and others with regard to the 2002 riots. Last year, the government issued a show-cause notice and then a chargesheet to Sharma.

Before admitting the petition, the bench heard it at length on Sharma’s contention that he should be given protection against any legal action by the state government on the basis of information revealed before the Nanavati commission under section 6 of the Commission of Inquiry Act. The government, however, maintained that Sharma’s petition was premature, as he had not even answered the show-cause notice and there was no connection between the chargesheet and his deposition before probe panel.

Sharma was charged for not submitting the original CDs containing mobile phone records related to the riots period to the investigating agency. Sharma took initiative to gather the data, but after he sent the CDs to then joint CP P P Pande though a messenger, the evidence became untraceable. He had copied the data in his personal computer, and later provided its copy to inquiry commissions and the SIT also.








High court dashes Lanco’s SEZ hopes

Published: Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012, 10:30 IST
By KV Ramana | Place: Hyderabad | Agency: DNA

Infrastructure major Lanco has suffered a setback of sorts, with the Andhra Pradesh High Court ruling that the land being used by the company to build a mega residential-cum-commercial project belongs to the Wakf Board.

Lanco, through its arm Lanco Hills Technology Park Pvt, has been working on developing a residential and IT SEZ in about 108 acres at Manikonda on the outskirts of Hyderabad.

The project is touted to be its flagship real estate project. However, the project, which started in 2003-04, has got embroiled in a series of controversies, with the Wakf Board claiming the ownership of the land. In fact, the board claimed ownership of about 1,600 acres that were taken away by the then government and allotted to various companies, including Microsoft, the Indian School of Business, Polaris, Emaar and Infosys.

Following a prolonged legal battle and an injunction from the Wakf Tribunal, Lanco had decided to petition the high court seeking its direction. On Tuesday, justices VVS Rao and R Kanta Rao of the AP High Court ruled that the land – of about 1,600 acres – including the stretch allotted to Lanco Hills belongs to the Wakf Board. The HC has also asked the petitioners, including Lanco and the state government, to file a remedial petition in the Wakf Tribunal. Lanco’s petition was dismissed by the court with costs.

Reacting to the outcome, a Lanco spokesman said, “We are shocked with the order and we will plan out next course of action after going through the order copy. If required, we will approach the Supreme Court and seek relief.”

On the other hand, the Wakf Board is confident of getting the rights over the alienated land back. “Under Section 51 of the Wakf Act, no one has the power to alienate the land except the Wakf Board. Even the Wakf Tribunal has to look at the board for alienation. We will react appropriately to any moves by Lanco or other parties in the case,” Md Masood Khan, the board’s counsel, told DNA.

All along, Lanco has been claiming that the land was bought in an auction conducted by the then government and it had paid the highest amount in the bid to acquire the same. Lanco had paid about Rs4 crore an acre to get the ownership.

The transaction came in for criticism for being the sole reason for artificially jacking up land prices in the area.

Despite the criticism on the pricing and the mode of land allotment, Lanco went ahead with the project with an outlay of over Rs7,000 crore. The company had also started selling the residential units in the project. However, the Wakf Board controversy has cast a shadow on the completion of the project.








NHRC reminder to Tripura on State Human Rights Commissions formation

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.13AM IST

AGARTALA: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) issued remainder to Tripura government to constitute the State Human Rights Commissions (SHRC) as per the Human Rights Commission Act 2005.

NHRC chairman justice K G Balakrishnan in a letter earlier this month asked chief minister Manik Sarkar to set up SHRC at the earliest to deal with complaints related to human rights violations in the state.

Earlier, in September last year, the ministry of law and the NHRC had asked nine states, including Tripura, to constitute SHRCs. Even six months later, most states haven’t complied with the directive, prompting the authority to issue a reminder.

Jharkhand is the only state to have constituted the SHRC in the past six months as per the NHRC directive. The eight remaining states – Haryana, Uttarakhand, Arunachal Pradesh, Goa, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura – still do not have SHRCs.

Altogether, 20 states in the country, including Assam, Manipur and Sikkim in the northeast, have SHRCs at present.

Opposition political parties, several civil society organizations and human rights bodies in Tripura have been demanding an SHRC since 2006, but the state government has not responded positively so far. As many as 24 cases related to human rights violation have been registered with the NHRC from Tripura.








Form police panel for case transfers: Bombay high court

S Ahmed Ali, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.19AM IST

MUMBAI: To reduce the burden of several writ petitions regarding transfer of cases from one agency to another, the Bombay high court has now directed the state police to form a grievance committee within four weeks.

The court stated that the director general of police has the authority to transfer investigations from one police station to another station or agency if he has doubts over the probe. The court also stated that the committee may be empowered with the provision of transferring investigations in view of Section 4 of the Bombay Police Act and Section 36 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

State director general of police K Subramanian said he is yet to go through the order. However public prosecutor PA Pol said, “Even if any person is aggrieved by such a decision, he will be able to approach the court. This will not only save time and money of complainant but it will also curtail petitions which are filed in the court without the representations of the petitioner being considered by the competent authority.”

A division bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice P D Kode passed the order while hearing a petition filed by Ghatkopar-based builder Lalit Vakharia who was seeking quashing of an “false complaint” lodged against him by the Karjat police. In his petition, Vakharia alleged that the Karjat police in connivance with two men had cheated him and instead filed a false case.

Vakharia’s advocate Amin Solkar claimed that despite the civil court’s restraining against the police and the two men, the accused had forcibly taken possession of the property.

Vakharia entered into a transaction to purchase a 27-acre plot in Karjat, belonging to Praveen Thakkar, for Rs 21 crore. He later found that a large part of the plot had been sold to another person.








Manikonda majors to face Wakf Court

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Some of Hyderabad’s juiciest realty projects and IT majors located in Manikonda will now have to trudge to the Wakf Tribunal to defend their claim to the prime land they were presented by the state government. The projects and firms in question include Lanco Hills, Emaar Hills township, Wipro, VJI Consulting, Infosys, Microsoft, and Polaris.

The High Court on Tuesday dismissed writ petitions filed by the state government, the AP Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (APIIC), Lanco Hills and others and asked them to approach the Wakf Tribunal where the land allotment to these firms is being challenged by parties and individuals who say the lands are wakf holdings and not the government’s property to gift away.

While throwing the ball in the tribunal’s court, judges V V S Rao and R Kantha Rao also dismissed writ petitions filed by MIM leader Akbaruddin Owaisi and others challenging the land allotments.“We are of the considered opinion that when suits filed by interested parties are pending before the Wakf Tribunal, it would not be proper for us to dwell on the merits of the case, which might have the effect of rendering the remedy before the statutory tribunal ineffective,” said the judgesAt the centre of the dispute are about 1,654 acres of land in survey numbers 260/1, 261 and 262 at Manikonda village. The government claims the land was jagir land, and accrued to it after jagirs were cancelled. It says it did pay the commutation amount to the successors or legal heirs of the mutawalli.

The government’s infrastructure arm, APIIC allotted about 830 acres of the land to Lanco Hills, but several claimants challenged it in the Wakf Tribunal. The judges said, “this court cannot entertain writ petitions filed by the state and others to whom either the government or APIIC allotted portions of the Manikonda lands. ’’








PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

On the issue of government not bringing a constitutional On the issue of government not bringing a constitutional amendment bill to increase the retirement age of High Court judges for passage in Lok Sabha, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pawan Kumar Bansal, who was also present along with Khurshid and Home Minister P Chidambaram, said the 114th Constitutional Amendment Bill was taken up for discussion in the winter session of Parliament along with the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill. “We have repeatedly said that Constitutional amendment bills can only be passed if the Opposition extends support. Government has expressed its desire that it wants to bring the bill. If the Opposition does not pass it, we don’t have the numbers to get it through,” Bansal said. The 114th Constitution Amendment Bill seeks to raise the retirement age of high court judges from 62 years to 65 years, bringing it on a par with the retirement age of the Supreme Court judges. Responding to questions on government’s ‘failure’ to get the Whistleblowers’ Bill and the BSF (Amendment) Bill passed in Rajya Sabha during first part of the budget session, Bansal said the Opposition raised objections despite the minister explaining the importance of the two bills. “They had their own reasons that they thought the bills should not be passed then…bills are pending in the live register of the Rajya Sabha,” he said. In response to a question on electoral reforms, Khurshid said the plans of holding an all-party meet on the issue last year had to be postponed with parties busy with the Lokpal Bill. He said once the Lokpal issue was resolved, government will concentrate on electoral reforms by holding an all-party meet. On the passage of Financial Bill, Bansal said discussions on Demands for Grants will be guillotined on May 3 and the Financial Bill could be passed either on May 6 or 7. PTI NAB SKU ACB








Judiciary will take cognisance of Jagir case: Cong

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 22:05

New Delhi: Amid reports that VIP facilities including an LCD TV were being provided to Bibi Jagir Kaur, lodged in Kanjla Jail in Kapurthala in connection with the abduction case of her daughter, Congress today said the judiciary will take cognisance of the matter.

“We do hope that judiciary will take cognisance and ask for appropriate action as per law”, party spokesman Manish Tewari told reporters when asked about the facilities being provided to the former Punajb minister.

A report from Chandigarh said a top state prisons official has ordered an inquiry into the matter.





Ex-CJI expresses reservations on Judicial Accountability Bill

Agencies : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 11:38 hrs

A former Chief Justice of India expressed reservations about two key provisions of a bill which deals with complaints against judges of the Supreme Court and high courts, saying it made him feel “a little uncomfortable”.

Referring to the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill passed in the Lok Sabha last week, Justice J S Verma said going by news reports, he felt “a little uncomfortable” about certain provisions mentioned in the legislation.

“…if there is a provision in the Judicial Standards and Accountability Bill to treat it as judicial misconduct certain observations made by a judge, who is going to decide that…it is very difficult,” Justice Verma said.

According to the revised bill, no judge should make oral comments (not part of the written judgement) against other Constitutional authorities and individuals.

The bill, introduced in December, 2010, was brought to the Lower House with fresh amendments in December last year after it was scrutinised by a Parliamentary Committee.

“…that the judges should not comment on that is perfectly alright. But then who is going to decide which observation amounts to judicial conduct. I think that is a matter which requires more reflection,” the former CJI said.

Law Minister Salman Khurshid and Home Minister P Chidambaram were present when Justice Verma made these remarks at the launch of selected speeches and writings of former CJI Justice P N Bhagwati by Vice-President Hamid Ansari.

He said another provision of the bill which “disturbs” him is the one on ‘minor punishment’.

“Now how can anyone who has a case before a judge who has been censured and it has been made public, has confidence in the judgement he is going to get?” said Justice Verma.

He said when he was part of the Bench, senior judges used to call the “brother judge” to tell that something was wrong.

“Can’t we do something which can remain in house,” he said.







2G case: SC likely to hear case against Chidambaram

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 09.49AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court is expected to hear on Wednesday a plea seeking investigation against Union home minister P Chidambaram for his alleged role in the 2G spectrum scam.

Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy and the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation have moved the apex court against the trial court order giving clean chit to Chidambaram in the scam.

Swamy had accused Chidambaram of acting in collusion with jailed former telecom minister A Raja on spectrum pricing.







SC orders states to notify tiger reserve buffer zone in 3 months

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.15AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the state governments to demarcate and notify buffer zone around each tiger reserves within three months, an order that would regulate commercialization of revenue land around these tiger habitats to help preserve the endangered species.

A bench of Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Dipak Misra passed this order after the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) informed that about 15 tiger reserves were yet to have the benefit of buffer zone to be notified by the state governments under the Wild Life (Protection) Act.

The Act defines buffer zone as the area peripheral to the critical tiger habitat or core area providing supplementary habitat for dispersing tigers, besides offering scope for co-existence of human activity. The limits of the buffer/ peripheral areas are to be determined on the basis of scientific and objective criteria in consultation with the Gram Sabha and an Expert Committee constituted for the purpose.

A petition by conservationist Ajay Dubey had demanded removal commercial tourism activities out of core or critical tiger habitat in the tiger reserves. The bench felt the purpose would be served by asking the states to compulsorily declare the “core” and “buffer” areas.

Though many states had complied with the core area notification, the buffer zone notification was missing in key tiger reserves of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Bihar.

Issuing notice to the defaulting states, the bench said, “We direct all concerned states to notify the buffer/peripheral area as required under the Act as expeditiously as possible and in all event within a period of three months.”

The erring tiger reserves included Ranthambore (Rajasthan), Panna (Madhya Pradesh), Sariska (Rajasthan), Dudhwa (Uttar Pradesh), Palamau (Jharkhand), Anamalai, Mudumalai and Kalakad-Mudanthurai (Tamil Nadu), Nagarhole (Karnataka), Sahyadri (Maharashtra), Valmiki (Bihar), and Pakke (Arunachal Pradesh).

The Court noted that an expert committee of NTCA under the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) is expected to submit a report on framing of guidelines relating to eco-tourism in and around tiger reserves. The committee is expected to cover issues related to restrictions on tourism-related activities to be carried out in the buffer areas while keeping core tiger habitat “inviolate”.

NTCA’s advocate Wasim A Quadri said the committee would submit a report by May 16. The matter was posted for hearing next on July 10. Welcoming the SC order, senior advocate Raj Panjwani, who was assisting as amicus curiae, said it would go a long way in protection and preservation of tiger reserves.

By this order, the states were required to delineate the fringe/buffer area around the core zones of tiger reserves, and submit a tiger conservation plan as required under Section 38V of the Wild Life Protection Amendment Act, 2006, to ensure wildlife conservation while addressing the livelihood issues of local people.

The buffer zone constituted of fringe areas of tiger reserve up to a radial distance of 10 km, which had in the past witnessed large scale construction of hotels, mass tourism, and night safaris – all disturbing the roaming of wild animals at night in search of corridors.

The National Tiger Conservation Authority had said that the fringe areas had corridor value and their ecological sustainability was important to prevent the area from becoming ecological sinks on account of overuse of resources and unwise land use.








SC to examine delay in decision on mercy pleas

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 01.59AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday said it would examine all pending mercy pleas on a uniform delay yardstick irrespective of whether it was the case of media-highlighted Parliament attack convict Mohd Afzal or a poor prisoner suffering in an obscure jail waiting for a decision on his clemency plea.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya asked additional solicitor general Harin Raval to submit files relating to every mercy plea pending with the authorities for more than two months and said: “In 18 cases we find the delay in deciding on mercy petitions is between one to seven years. One of them of course is a relevant figure for the media and political parties.”

Hearing a PIL by an NGO ‘Justice on Trial Trust’ and petitions by death row convicts Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and M N Das, the bench was concerned by the inordinate delay in deciding mercy pleas that was not only contrary to the objective of clemency under Article 372 of the Constitution granting the President with the pardon power but also a cause for mental agony and trauma to an individual uncertain of his fate.

Bhullar’s counsel K T S Tulsi presented a chart to the court showing that on an average there was a delay of 293 days on each mercy petition filed with the President. The bench said, “They have committed a crime and the verdict is there. But should they now be discriminated. We find that except in two cases, all mercy petitions are pending for over two years.”

Calling for the files, the bench said, “We would like to have a look at those files. If we are not satisfied that there is no tangible reason for delay, we will issue suo motu notice to Centre seeking reasons.”

Senior advocate Ram Jethmalani, assisting the court as amicus curiae, argued that the court could be well within its power to commute the punishment to life imprisonment in cases where there was unexplained delay on the part of the executive in deciding mercy pleas.

But, the bench asked whether the logic was true in cases where the convict made a mercy plea long after the judicial pronouncements confirmed the death penalty.

Jethmalani said, “I will not say the accused is entitled to the benefit of delay for which he is responsible. Where the accused has adopted frivolous, illegitimate means that portion of delay may be excluded.”

The bench presented the flip side and said there were many poor death row convicts who would fail to move the court. “Why should the benefit of delay in deciding mercy pleas be restricted only to those who have approached the court?” it asked.

Referring to discrimination in media, which highlighted mostly the cases of rich and famous, the bench said, “Our entire system is discriminatory. Some people get publicity for they are rich. Others do not get publicity for they are poor. The question then is should be keep quite there.”

The hearing on the matter will continue on April 10.








Short-staffed family courts to get qualified counselors

Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.29AM IST

CHENNAI: Couples approaching the family courts can now look forward to professional help with their marital disputes as a panel of 22 qualified counsellors will be appointed, once the members are selected and approved by the Madras high court.

At present, four family courts refer about 40 cases a day to the eight counsellors. None of the counsellors have a background in psychology, an advocate said.

“My client had filed a petition under the Domestic Violence Act recently. She was referred for counselling but inside the room, the counsellor said, ‘How dare you file a case of domestic violence against your husband?’ The counsellors don’t even have the basic knowledge of counselling. It is essential that they have some training in psychology and know about social factors,” advocate V Kannadasan said.

Authorities have also taken note of the issue as a letter from the family court to the Madras high court said, “A lot of complaints have been received regarding counselling at the family court, since most of the counsellors lack requisite qualification and experience in handling matrimonial disputes. Most family disputes occur because of psychological phenomena.”

T C S Raja Chockalingam, judge, principal family court, convened a meeting with psychologists where it was suggested that 10 rooms be allotted for counselling and that a counsellor be assigned just five cases a day.

“The judge made it clear that we should do this as more of a service as counsellors are paid Rs 200 a day. A few psychologists were apprehensive about advocates’ intervention during the course of the evaluation. Litigants need to be comfortable when they come for counseling, so facilities should be put in place for this,” a psychologist said.

Another suggestion was that students pursuing postgraduate degrees in psychology be given training at the family court under the guidance of a senior.






Kerala court grants bail to captain of Prabhu Daya vessel

Indo-Asian News Service, Updated: April 03, 2012 15:50 IST

Alappuzha:  A court on Tuesday granted conditional bail to Gordon Charles Pereira, captain of Singapore-registered Prabhu Daya vessel that was seized after it hit a fishing boat off the Kerala coast on March 1, killing five fishermen.

The Alappuzha principal sessions court asked for a bond of Rs. 5 lakh, two sureties and also asked Pereira not to leave Alappuzha district and report once a week to the investigating officer.

The vessel after hitting the fishing boat did not report the incident but continued its onward journey.

This episode occurred two weeks after two marines aboard the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie shot dead two Indian fishermen, and led to a huge public outcry that forced the authorities to act tough.

The vessel Prabhu Daya was identified by authorities and asked to report at the Chennai port. On March 14, the captain was taken into custody, brought before the court and remanded to judicial custody.

The other two accused include Virendra Kumar Chauhan and Prasobh Sugathan who was sent to judicial custody.

On March 14, Pereira was brought from Chennai by a team of Kerala police officials and was produced before the Ambalapuzha first class judicial magistrate, who sent him to judicial custody to the Alappuzha jail near here.







Court gets chemical analysis reports in Kush Katariya case

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 12.52AM IST

NAGPUR: The prosecution on Tuesday submitted the chemical analysis (CA) report and seized properties before the court of additional district and sessions judge GJ Akarte in the Kush Katariya kidnapping and murder case.

The court has also received the official notification from the government regarding appointment of Ujjwal Nikam as special public prosecutor. The next hearing of the case in now slated for May 4.

Ayush Pugliya, along with his elder brothers Nitin and Navin, were present in the court. They have sought time to organize their defence pleas. Advocate Rajendra Daga assisted the prosecution, represented by additional public prosecutor Jyoti Vajani.

Sources in court said the hearing on charges to be framed against the Pugliya brothers is likely to be held on May 4. The Pugliya brothers were furnished copies of the additional charge sheet.








Allahabad HC orders on removal of dairies from residential areas

2.4.2012 (UNI) The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today directed the Municipal Corporation and the police officials to ensure removal of dairies from residential areas of the cities till April 19.

A division bench comprising Justice Umanath Singh and Justice V K Dixit passed this order, while hearing a PIL.

The court has summoned the vice-chairman of the Lucknow Development, Deputy Inspector General of Police of Lucknow and Municipal Corporation officials on April 19 and asked them to apprise the court about their action.

In the petition it, was said there were several dairies in areas in busy residential areas like Aliganj, Purana Hanuman Mandir, Dandaiya, Aminambad and Chowk, which leads to the problems of encroachment and traffic jams.

Besides, they pose a threat on the spread of diseases. UNI









Do not test our patience, High Court warns UT

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 04 2012, 01:09 hrs

Raps UT for dragging feet on making Sector 17 vehicle-free zone; shop owners’ lawyer suggests sharp hike in parking rates

Warning the Chandigarh Administration not to “test it’s patience”, the Punjab and Haryana High Court today came down heavily on the UT for dragging its feet on the issue of making Sector 17 a vehicle-free zone. As the counsel for the UT Administration sought time to submit its stand, a division bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Ajay Tewari today granted the Administration the last opportunity to place on record its stand by April 20. Speaking for the Bench, Justice Surya Kant told the counsel for the Administration that there should be no doubt that the Court is reluctant in passing an order in this regard.

“Do not test our patience. Do not compel us to pass an order which will have far-reaching consequences,” warned Justice Surya Kant. Asked whether anything in black and white has been filed by the UT Administration to apprise about the steps taken by the officials, the response came in the negative. Peeved, the division bench remarked that the officials of the Chandigarh Administration do not have this much of respect for the Court that at least an affidavit is filed to apprise the Court of its efforts taken so far.

“Nothing is happening except consultations,” the Bench observed. The developments took place during the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL) arising of a suo motu notice taken by the High Court on a news item published by The Indian Express , which had highlighted the significance of eco-cabs and environment-friendly cabs, innovated by Fazilka resident Navdeep Asija.

Appearing on behalf of the Sector 17 shop owners, noted lawyer Anupam Gupta suggested that the there should be a sharp increase in the parking fees in Sector 17. Gupta also said that during office hours, essentially from 11 am to 12 noon, Sector 17 can be made a vehicle-free zone.

Submitting that the Chandigarh Traffic Police is “withdrawn”, Gupta further suggested that deployment of UT Traffic Police officials can serve an “efficacious purpose”. Assisting the Court, amicus curiae Reeta Kohli added that effective use of underground parking can be made to decongest traffic in Sector 17. A suggestion to make use of a shuttle service for dropping of visitors was also made during the resumed hearing.

Assisting the Court, Advocate APS Shergill alleged that the Chandigarh Administration is not serious about the issue. He further alleged that money has been charged for converting green areas into parking areas.

He said that city beautiful is losing its character. The Bench emphasised that parking space should be made available by the Administration for parking of vehicles.

On the last date of hearing, the High Court had asked the counsel for the Administration to reply on why Sector 17 should not be made a vehicle-free zone after 4 pm. The Bench had suggested that no vehicle should be allowed to enter the Sector 17 market after 4 pm from Lyon’s restaurant (from Sector 15 side) to Sahab Singh (from Sector 18 side).

Senior Standing Counsel for the Administration Sanjay Kaushal had submitted that the UT has taken a decision to make Sector 17 vehicle-free but in phases.







RS polls: Cong leader challenges EC move

Express news service : Ranchi, Wed Apr 04 2012, 03:17 hrs

Pradeep Kumar Balmuchu, Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee president and one of the five candidates for the March 30 Rajya Sabha polls that were countermanded by the Election Commission, filed a petition on Tuesday seeking to declare the EC’s decision unconstitutional. A Bench comprising Justices Prakash Tatia and A P Singh reserved its decision, according to the state’s senior standing counsel S K Verma. Apart from Balmuchu, Jharkhand resident Jai Shankar Pathak has also filed a PIL challenging the EC decision.








Delhi HC to CVC: Monitor CBI probe in Kandla Land Allotment scam

2.4.2012 (UNI) The Delhi High Court today directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to examine the status of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe in Kandla port land scam in which 16,000 acres of land was alleged to be wrongfully allotted.

A bench comprising acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the CVC and sought a reply within two weeks. The matter is listed to May 8.

The court was hearing a PIL (Public Interest Litigation) filed by an NGO alleging that 16,000 acres of government land was being occupied by people for the last 40 years who are paying a nominal lease to the government.

This land would attract huge revenue if it was allotted by calling fresh tenders to new entrants, the NGO claimed.

As per the petition, the land near Kandla Port was leased out in 1960s to 1970s on nomination basis.

Later to allow new entrants, it was decided that the allotment would be carried out on the basis of competitive bidding but nothing has happened so far, the petitioner alleged.

The petitioner alleged that most of the leases around the port have also expired, and the land is not allotted till now which is in violation of provision of Major Port Trust Act, 1963 and the guidelines of the government.

The NGO alleged that a huge land scam is going on at the port in connivance with shipping ministry officials but CBI is not investigating their role in the allotment of land.

Demanding that the CVC should monitor CBI investigation, the NGO said that CVC must be directed to over-see the CBI investigations into the case.

‘Through this application, the petitioner would like to bring to light the serious shortcomings in the CBI investigation and call for certain urgent orders from this court,’ the petitioner said.

Earlier, the HC on the petitioner’s demand allowed CBI inquiry into the scam.

The people to whom the land has been allotted said they are in possession of the port for the last 40 years, from the time when no one was interested to visit the lonely port.

The ports were being used mainly as a source to make salt by the occupants.

Due to land prices shooting up drastically, private parties are eyeing it to establish fresh ports and the process of bidding was set up to get more money, the respondents said. UNI









HC takes cognizance of tree felling at Anand Agricultural University land

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.05AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court has issued suo motu notice to the Anand Agricultural University (AAU) and the Kheda collector for allotment of gauchar land and decision taken to permit green felling on that land.

Justice A S Dave sought explanation with regards to the decision of land allotment and removal of green cover, when the court came to know about the development while hearing a quashing petition filed by a talati of Manwada village in Kheda district. While dealing with talati Diptiben Gandhi’s petition to quash a complaint registered regarding alleged irregularities in making payment, the court found that in March 2010, Kheda collector granted permission to cut 2,295 green trees situated on the gauchar land allotted to the AAU. This alarmed the court, which ordered impleadment of AAU registrar and Kheda collector in the petition. tnn

After joining the authorities as parties in the case, justice Dave observed that the court needs explanation about allotment of gauchar land to the university as well as permission to cut green trees situated on the plot.

The high court has asked the authorities to file their reply by April 9, when further hearing on the issue is scheduled.

After the state government sold a plot of 400 acre land near Sanad to Tata motors for its Nano plant, the AAU was granted land at seven different places in 2009.








HC directs govt to discuss question of introducing moral edn

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Chennai,Apr 3(PTI): The Madras High Court has directed the Tamil Nadu government to discuss the question of introducing ‘moral’ education as a subject in schools in the state as suggested by an advocate, who attributed increasing aggression by youth due to lack of it. Disposing of a PIL petition filed by advocate V Kashinatha Bharathi, the First Bench, comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam directed the petitioner to produce a copy of their order along with a representation,given by him to the government, to the Director of School Education, who should discuss the issue and take a decision as per law. The petitioner, also an office bearer of a unit of Nagapattinam district MDMK, cited various violent instances, including the fatal stabbing of a teacher of a North Chennai school by a student of her class recently. Stating that moral education is not being imparted to students in schools, he claimed that moral studies, physical education training and yoga classes alone would create better citizens of tomorrow. He said he had sent a detailed representation to the authorities concerned on March 1, but that there was no reply till date. Hence, the present petition.










PTI | 07:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

The court held the appointment of Upalokayukta “as void ab The court held the appointment of Upalokayukta “as void ab initio and non-est. Therefore, there is no question of stay”. Dismissing the application seeking leave to appeal before the Supreme Court, the court observed “though we have laid down the law and set guidelines for appointment of Lokayukta and Upalokayukta, it is on the lines of the Supreme Court judgment, copies of which were furnished to the state government by the former Chief Justice. Yet the appointment was made in this manner”. In order to see that there is no “confusion” on implementing this order, the state government should frame appropriate rules and procedures to be followed for the appointment of Lokayukta and Upalokayukta, the court held. “If there is a vacancy in the office of the Lokayukta or the Upalokayukta and the Chief Minister decides to fill it up, he shall communicate to the Chief Justice and request him to suggest a suitable name. There is no scope for panel of names. The name should be specific to the post”, it said. “The Chief Justice must collect information from the records of the High Court, the Supreme Court or any other court, acquaint himself with the requisite data, deliberate over it and proceed with the process of suggesting a suitable name for the post. The Chief Minister in turn should inform other constitutional functionaries in writing”. The other constitutional functionaries on knowing the mind of the Chief Justice have four options– If they agree, inform the Chief Minister; They have the liberty to disagree; Justify the reasons for their disagreement and inform the Chief Minister and thereafter the Chief Minister has to take the advice of all constitutional authorities. If there is a consensus, the Chief Minister may proceed and advise the Governor on the name arrived at for the appointment of Lokayukta or Upalokayukta. If there is no unanimity, he shall consider the reasons given by the constitutional functionaries, the court said.








HC stays criminal action against IPS officer in 28-yr-old case

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Ahmedabad, Apr 3 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court today stayed criminal proceeding against IPS officer Kuldeep Sharma and his subordinate G H Vasavada in a 28-year-old alleged police atrocity case. Justice J B Pardiwala, hearing the petition filed by Vasavada, also observed that prima facie it appeared to be a fit case for granting stay on criminal proceedings sought by the petitioner. Court has issued notice to the state government and asked it to file reply by next hearing on April 27. In his petition filed through his lawyer I H Syed, Vasavada has challenged the state government’s order of February 29 granting sanction under Section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) to prosecute Vasavada and co-accused Sharma in connection with a criminal complaint of 1984, registered in Bhuj, Kutch. In the 28-year-old complaint Vasavada and Sharma have been accused of beating up and wrongfully confining an alleged smuggler Ibhla Sheth in the office of Kutch police superintendent. Sharma was the SP of Kutch district then and Vasavada his subordinate. The petitioner’s lawyer Syed alleged that sanction to prosecute the two policemen was granted after 28 years “to settle scores” with Sharma, as there are several litigations filed by Sharma against the State Government. MORE PTI PB PD ABC






Buyers move HC to fast track Noida Extn projects

Ayaskant Das, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 02.20AM IST

NOIDA: Homebuyers of Noida Extension have filed a writ petition in the Allahabad high court pleading that a writ, order or direction be issued to the NCR Planning Board to take a decision within a fixed time frame so that construction of housing projects can resume. Members of Noida Extension Flat Owners and Members Association, the petitioners, personally served a copy of the petition to NCRPB in New Delhi on Tuesday. Counsel for the buyers’ group, VK Singh, said the case will be heard on April 10.

The respondents in the case, apart from the planning board, are the state government and Greater Noida Authority. “As per the notice served on NCRPB, an appearance has to be made before the high court on or before April 10 to explain why the application made by my client should not be granted,” added Singh.

Petitioner Abhishek Kumar of the buyers’ body said, “We petitioned in the high court that the respondents be directed to take a decision regarding the Master Plan 2021 to give justice to those middle-income families who have invested their life’s savings in housing units.”









HC quashes appointment of Upalokayukta

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Bangalore, Apr 3 (PTI) In yet another setback to BJP government, Karnataka High Court today quashed the apppointment of former judge K Chandrashekaraiah as the Upalokayukta holding that the selection procedure was “not in conformity with law”. A Division Bench headed by Justice N Kumar set aside the January 21, 2012 notification issued by the government appointing Chandrashekariah as the Upalokayukta. The bench, comprising Justice N Kumar and Justice H S Kempanna, found that the selection procedure adopted by Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda “is not in conformity with law and hence the appointment is illegal, unconstitutional and void”. It urged the state government and Chief Minister to expeditiously start a fresh selection process as mandated by the Lokayukta Act to find a new Upalokayukta as the post cannot be held vacant for long. The court also suggested guidelines for the selection in which Chief Justice’s opinion will have the primacy. In its order, the court observed that the procedure followed by the Chief Minister in recommending the name of Chandrashekaraiah to the Governor to be appointed as the Upalokayukta was not in accordance with law. The procedure “violates the statutory mandate as consultation with the Chief Justice is a sine qua non before he advises Governor and recommends the name……” Therefore the order of appointment made by the Chief Minister was “void and liable to be dismissed”. The petitions challenging the appointment of Chandrashekaraiah as Upalokayukta and seeking quashing of the appointment are allowed, the bench said. The court further dismissed oral plea by counsel for Chandrashekaraiah seeking eight weeks stay of the order and leave to appeal to the Supreme Court. The court recently quashed appointment of Shankar Bidari as DGP and IGP. (MORE)










West Delhi MP in trouble: HC asks trial court to consider summons

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:04 hrs

While he campaigns for his brother’s wife who is contesting a Delhi municipal seat, legal trouble seems to be brewing for Mahabal Mishra, Congress MP from West Delhi.

Noting that there were specific allegations against Mishra, his wife Urmila Mishra, daughter Kiran and brother Hira Mishra, the Delhi High Court has asked a trial court to “consider provisions” under which they “can be summoned” in connection with a 2006 case involving charges of kidnapping, rape, wrongful confinement and criminal intimidation.

Justice M L Mehta allowed a petition by the victim and her father who had sought a directive to the trial court to initiate prosecution of Mishra, a former MLA, and his family members, and also one Kanshi Ram, for their alleged involvement in the case.

The father-daughter duo alleged that she was confined at Mishra’s office in Mahavir Enclave and his brother’s house for some days after being kidnapped and that his family members told her to marry the prime accused who faces the rape charge.

Setting aside the trial court order which, citing lack of evidence and legal provisions, declined to summon Mishra and others, Justice Mehta relied on the girl’s statements before the police and a magistrate while noting that her version was “prima facie enough to show their involvement” in the case.

“At this stage, prima facie view was to be made on the face of material available on record, without doing much and deeper analysis thereof. It was not the stage to see as to whether the girl’s statement wherein she has named aforesaid accused persons and attributed specific role to them, would ultimately result in conviction or not of these persons… I am of the view that miscarriage of justice has resulted and that calls for invoking jurisdiction of this court,” Justice Mehta said.

He sent the matter back to the trial court where the case is at the stage of consideration of charges: “The matter is remitted back to the court of Sessions to examine as to the provisions under which the aforesaid accused persons kept in Column No. 2 in the supplementary chargesheet can be summoned and then proceed further as per law.”

Speaking to Newsline, Mishra refuted the allegations and said the case was “politically motivated”.

“I have no knowledge if I have been asked by the High Court to be summoned. The entire case is a smear campaign against me and my family. I have never known any of the accused persons or the girl’s family. Moreover, the trial court is yet to issue any process against me,” Mishra said.

The case relates to an incident in November 2006 when one Pradeep Sehrawat allegedly kidnapped the 16-year-old when she was on her way to tuition in a West Delhi locality.

It is alleged that Sehrawat kept her confined for eight days at different places, including those under the control of Mishra and his brother, with the help of his father and two uncles. Her father approached the police and a kidnapping case was registered.

She showed up before a local court a few days later and was sent to an observation home. In her statement before a magistrate in January 2007, she specifically accused Mishra and his family members of involvement. Pradeep was arrested in February 2007 while three others were held subsequently.






Kerala HC extends stay on Italian ship’s release by a day

Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday extended by a day, the stay imposed on the release of the Italian vessel Enrica Lexie, which was involved in the killing of two Indian fishermen.

A Division Bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V Chitambaresh passed the order while considering a petition filed by the family members of the two deceased fishermen, against the single bench order directing the state to release the vessel. The Division Bench raised suspicion over the maintainability of the plea filed by the owner of the ship, seeking release of the vessel.

The court observed that the petition seeking release of the vessel should be filed before the magistrate court, and stated that it could only direct the magistrate court to pass appropriate orders if a petition is filed.

When the case came up for hearing, counsel for Enrica Lexie VJ Mathews submitted that the bond amount for releasing the ship can be enhanced and that the ship should be permitted to leave the Kochi port The Bench however orally observed that the petitioner cannot file a petition for the consideration of the Kerala High Court, before filing a petition under section 457 of the CrPC.

The court asked the petitioner to submit before it the apex court order which underlines that the High Court can consider such applications.

The court asked the petitioner as to whether the master of the ship had any responsibility in the incident. Counsel however argued that the marines were directly under the control of the ship’s commandant, who is the first accused in the case.

In reply to the court’s query if the master was present at the time of the incident, the petitioner submitted that the master of the ship was not responsible for the act committed by the marines. The court also asked the Advocate General if an application had been filed for arraigning the master of the vessel in the case. Advocate General KP Dandapani said that the investigation in the case was going on. The court adjourned the hearing of the case to Tuesday.





HC slams govt on handling child malnutrition problem

PTI | 10:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Bangalore, Apr 3 (PTI) The Karnataka High Court today came down heavily on the government for not taking steps to arrest child malnutrition, saying “when there are deaths, you are pushing papers”. When a letter by B L Patil, who works for an NGO, to the Registrar General of the High Court came up for hearing as a PIL before the division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen, Additional Advocate General K M Nataraj submitted that the government had constituted a monitoring committee for the purpose. At this the court said “you (government) are not doing anything. Children are dying. What made you constitute a committee without our advice. You can take action you want, it will be of no use. When monitored by us, it will be even worse. If you are so efficient, there should be no malnutrition deaths”. Terming the schemes of the government to tackle the problem as “inefficient”, the court observed “you still want to monitor when you do not know anything about it. We don’t have the knowledge about it but we are open to suggestions”. When Nataraj submitted that Rs 785 crore had been allocated by the government to tackle the problem, the court observed that it is a worthless affidavit. “You say funds, where is the fund allocation.You say you will do it, you do nothing”. Describing the affidavit as a political speech, the court observed “when there are deaths, you are pushing papers. There is nothing new in this. How much are you spending on the committee?” When Nataraj submitted a sample food packet supplied across the state by the government, the court questioned “what will you do if this is poison tomorrow. Whom will you make accountable”. The court then adjourned the hearing to April 11. PTI BH MSR APR








Malnutrition problem: HC pulls up govt

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.07AM IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Tuesday pulled up the government for its inaction and lethargic attitude towards the malnutrition problem prevailing in the state.

“This affidavit is worthless. It reads like a political speech. When children are dying you are doing nothing. All that is done is cover up exercises. All your schemes are proving ineffective one by one. What is your principal secretary doing?” the division bench headed by the Chief Justice asked the government.

‘When the matter is sub judice, how can you appoint a committee? You did not inform the court about this. You are trying to subvert the hearing. You are not involving people who are really concerned about the issue. Instead, people who are amassing wealth and facing corruption charges, are put in charge,” the bench observed. It adjourned the hearing to April 11 after the government promised to take action.

The court is hearing a PIL that was registered based on media reports highlighting severe malnutrition in Deodurga taluk of Raichur district.








HC refuses to entertain Lanco’s petition over land ownership

PTI | 11:04 PM,Apr 03,2012

Hyderabad, Apr 3(PTI) In a setback to Lanco group which was developing Rs 7,200 crore real estate project here, the Andhra Pradesh High Court today refused to entertain a petition over the ownership of land on which the project was coming up saying the matter falls within the jurisdiction of the Wakf tribunal. A division bench of the High Court comprising justice VVS Rao and Justice R Kanta Rao dismissed the petition filed by Lanco Hills Technology Park, a Lanco group company on the ground that the issue whether a particular piece of land is Wakf land or not, cannot be decided by the High Court as it squarely falls within the jurisdiction of Wakf Tribunal. Earlier, the Wakf Tribunal had refrained Lanco from selling the apartments being built on the said land following objection raised by Wakf Board which made Lanco move the high court. The State Government had sold 1,654.32 acres of land belonging to Dargah Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali in Manikonda village to many corporates including Microsoft, Emaar Infosys, Wipro and Lanco. But it was not clear whether the court’s observation would impact all the corporates as they did not want to comment saying they were yet to see the court’s order. Lanco had proposed to build about 30 million sq ft of built up space including residential area, IT towers, malls and hotels. When contacted, a spokesperson of Lanco said they were surprised by the court decision and may approach the Supreme Court. “We are surprised. We will explore all legal options including knocking the doors of Supreme Court,” the Lanco official said.








HC refuses to issue notices on Punjab DGP appointment

Express news service : Chandigarh, Wed Apr 04 2012, 00:22 hrs

Refusing to issue notices on its petition challenging the appointment of Sumedh Singh Saini as the Punjab DGP, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday asked the petitioner, an NGO, to satisfy the court regarding the “bonafides” of the public interest litigation (PIL).

On Tuesday, NGO Voices for Freedom filed a PIL through its director, Advocate Simranjit Singh, where it sought quashing of Saini’s appointment to the post of the Director General of Police.

Asking the lawyer about the “previous ventures” that the petitioner has been a part of, a division bench of the high court gave the petitioner one week to submit its reply to the court.

“Before we enter into the merits of the case, the petitioner has to satisfy regarding the bonafides of the PIL. The petitioner claimed itself to be an NGO and undertakes similar exercises in public interest.

Therefore, the petitioner is directed to place on record details of the PILs and other activities in which the petitioner is engaged,” read the order.

In its PIL, the NGO has alleged that Saini’s appointment is in direct contravention to law laid down by the Supreme Court.

Referring to a trial pending against Saini on charges of abduction with the intention to murder, the petitioner has demanded action against those officials who allegedly withheld information regarding the trial from the central government. The PIL has been adjourned till April 17.







HC refuses to order second probe into 26/11

Published: Wednesday, Apr 4, 2012, 7:55 IST
By DNA Correspondent

The Bombay High Court has refused to order a re-investigation into the terror attack of November 26, 2008, saying the special court has already convicted Ajmal Kasab in the case.

The court was hearing a plea filed by Jyoti Badekar, who sought restoration of her PIL demanding a re-investigation into the 26/11 attacks at CST, Cama Hosptital and Rang Bhavan Lane.

Badekar had also sought a probe into the death of the then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, stating there was a “conspiracy angle” as pointed out in a book by ex-IPS officer SM Mushrif. The PIL was earlier dismissed in default as neither Badekar nor her advocate appeared.

On Tuesday, public prosecutor Pandurang Pol and Union government’s advocate Rebecca Gonsalves informed the court that the petition does not survive in face of Kasab’s conviction. When the division bench of justices SA Bobade and Mridula Bhatkar categorically turned down a re-investigation, petitioner’s advocate Pratap Patil said Karkare is only one part of the issue whereas the PIL seeks re-investigaton of three incidents.

The court allowed restoration of the PIL and kept it for hearing next week.







Enrica Lexie: HC sets aside single judge’s order

The Kerala High court on Tuesday set aside a single judge’s direction to release on furnishing a bond the Italian ship ‘Enrica Lexie’ detained off Kochi port since February 15 in connection with gunning down of two Indian fishermen allegedly by marines aboard the vessel.

Observing that the single judge’s orders ‘deserves’ to be set aside, the court directed the ship’s owners Dolphin Tankers, the petitioner, to approach the Chief Judicial Magistrate court at Kollam with an application to release the vessel within a week from the date of the receipt of the copy of this judgment.

Thereafter the magistrate can dispose of the application within one week, a division bench, comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V. Chidambaresh, said.

The bench directed the CJM court to give an opportunity to the state and others concerned to be heard. The magistrate can apply his mind to the facts of the case regarding retention of the vessel, the judges held.

“It is a matter to be considered by the court which has jurisdiction to consider whether the vessel is required throughout the investigation and subsequently for the purpose of trial or inquiry,” the judges said.

The court which has jurisdiction to consider the case is the magistrate before whom investigation officer has to report the status of investigation. The question of deviation from proceeding would not arise when seizure proceedings are initiated, the bench held.

On March 26, investigating officials had filed a seizure report before the court. Justice P.S. Gopinathan had ordered the release of the vessel on the owners furnishing a Rs. 3 crore bond and an undertaking that they would appear before investigating authorities as and when required.

However, the division bench had stayed the release of the vessel till April 2 and then extended it by a day to Tuesday on a petition filed by the relatives of the two fishermen.

The two fishermen were killed when the marines, Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Gironi, allegedly fired at their boat off Kollam coast. They have been arrested and charged with murder and is in prison under judicial remand.







HC confirms life term for 80-year-old man

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 03.41AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently upheld the life imprisonment sentence imposed by the trial court on 80-year-old Raghunath Sitaram Naik for killing his 65-year-old wife Satyawati at Mencurem in 2007 after she allegedly refused to have sex with him.

The prosecution alleged that on August 11, 2007, the accused assaulted Satyawati in their bedroom and she subsequently died due to the injuries.

The investigating officer had deposed before the trial court that the motive behind the offence was the deceased’s refusal to entertain her husband’s sexual advances. The additional sessions court had convicted Naik of murder. The accused had challenged the punishment given to him before the high court.

During the hearing in the HC, Ryan Menezes appearing for Naik argued that the accused had not intended to kill his wife. He pointed out that no weapon was used to assault Satyawati. Public prosecutor CA Ferreira argued that the accused had pleaded guilty to the charge and this was an additional factor that strengthened the prosecution’s case. Ferreira said Raghunath and Satyawati were the only persons in the house at the time of the incident, which proved that the accused had caused the injuries.

Confirming the sentence imposed under Section 302 of IPC, a division bench comprising Justice SC Dharmadhikari and Justice UV Bakre said, “Looking at the nature of the injuries caused to the deceased, it can be easily understood that the accused had brutally assaulted the deceased by inflicting on her injuries which he knew to be so imminently dangerous that they would in all probability cause death.”







Muslims hail HC ruling

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 03.30AM IST

HYDERABAD: Muslims across the city welcomed the high court judgment in favour of the state Wakf Board in the Manikonda land case on Tuesday. Jubilation was not limited to the Haj House which houses the Wakf Board. Activists involved in the protection of wakf land described the judgment as a ‘landmark decision’, one which proved that the judiciary is ‘secular, powerful and independent’. The Wakf Board is anticipating moves of the opposition and will take a decision based on reactions to the judgment.

One of the petitioners of the case, Mahboob Alam Khan said that the HC judgment could well mark the end of the politicians’ influence on the Wakf Board. “The decision is historic and has set a precedent. The bench reinforced the decision that a wakf property will always remain a wakf property and that its nature cannot be altered. We have taken steps to file a caveat in case the opposition decides to approach the Supreme Court,” he said. Khan traces the mismanagement of wakf lands to the tenure of Chandrababu Naidu and says that irregularities gained momentum during Y S Rajasekhara Reddy’s reign as chief minister. Many honest officers were frequently transferred according to the whims and fancies of the politicians. The Hazrath Hussain Shah Wali wakf land was deemed a gazetted property by the government itself, he added.

Zaheeruddin Ali Khan, managing editor, The Siasat daily observed, “This is just the beginning of the recovery of wakf properties. The judgment has given us the drive to fight more legal battles to win back our land. The judiciary has discharged its duty well and has given Muslims the hope that the law is with them.” Khan added that he is prepared to fight the case if it is taken to the Supreme Court. A watchdog committee comprising lawyers, bureaucrats and activists has been formed to monitor and fight legal battles against landsharks, he said. “The brokering of lands by means of dubious deals will soon come to an end,” he hoped.

Rajya Sabha MP Aziz Pasha noted that Hazrat Hussain Shah Wali Dargah property had become a symbol of mishandling of wakf land across the country. “Indeed, the judgment has made us happy but there are many more battles to win. The select committee of Parliament has made recommendations for managing wakf land better. Most importantly, it has suggested that if any board member is found to have grabbed wakf land, he should be promptly dismissed from the board. Also a deterrent punishment of two years should be awarded to such member,” he said. Further, Indira Gandhi in 1975 had ordered the government to return wakf land but this has been put in cold storage. He noted that instead of having a board, a commissionerate having judicial powers should be set up. “This way, wakf land like endowments land can be taken back from encroachers,” he added.








HC stays criminal proceedings against Kuldip Sharma, 2 others

Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:50 hrs

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday stayed the criminal proceedings initiated against three policemen — including senior Gujarat-cadre IPS officer, Kuldip Sharma — with reference to an alleged offence of 1984. A single judge bench of the HC comprising of Justice J B Pardiwala passed an order in this regard while acting on a petition moved by one of the three accused police officers in the case, G H Vasavada.

The incident involved dates back to May 6, 1984 when Sharma was a Superintendent of Police, Kutch district. According to the details, Sharma had beaten an alleged smuggler, Ibla Sheth, along with other accused police officers when the latter had, along with others, gone to make a representation before him as a district police head.

One of the persons in the group that had gone to make the representation along with Ibla Sheth had lodged a court complaint in this regard. And the concerned magisterial court had ordered criminal process in the incident.

Vasavada, a deputy superintendent of police, has challenged

the government action of

granting sanction under section 197 of Criminal Procedure Code to initiate criminal proceedings against the three accused police officers.

Vasavada’s lawyer, I H Syed said, “The incident is of 1984 whereby a smuggler had made allegations of beating against police officers. And the state government gave mandatory sanction to prosecute them only on February 29 this year, after a delay of around 28 years.”

“And this too, after the state government had once taken a stand not to grant permission under section 197 of the CrPC in the same case,” he added.

Syed said that HC has stayed the criminal proceedings at the Bhuj court against all the accused and kept further hearing on April 27.








HC notice to Arushi’s father on CBI plea

Express news service : Allahabad, Wed Apr 04 2012, 03:57 hrs

The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday issued notice to Rajesh Talwar, father of slain teenager Arushi Talwar, on a petition filed by the CBI challenging bail granted to him by a Ghaziabad court in the Arushi-Hemraj double murder case.

Rajesh and wife Nupur had to surrender before the CBI court in Ghaziabad by March 14 and face trial in the double murder case. However, the two have not yet surrendered. The court will hear the matter next on May 7.

A single judge bench of Justice Balakrishna Narayana issued the notice on the CBI plea that challenged the March 14 order of the lower court. “Our contention was that the Supreme Court had granted Rajesh Talwar an interim bail till February 4. Rajesh, through his counsel, had approached the lower court seeking extension of his bail on the plea that the Supreme Court had already given him regular bail,” said CBI counsel Anurag Khanna.

Earlier, the CBI had opposed the plea for regular bail, filed by Rajesh Talwar and disposed of on March 14. “We had told the court that Rajesh has still not been granted regular bail by the Supreme Court. Therefore, he should first appeal for regular bail before it is extended. However, the court granted regular bail to Rajesh,” Khanna said.

Arushi, daughter of the dentist couple, was found murdered in her house in Noida on May 16, 2008. A day later, the body of the household’s domestic help, Hemraj, was found on the terrace of the house. The CBI, initially, named three domestic helps as accused. However, it could not find any evidence against them. The agency then filed a closure report in December 2010, which was not accepted and the court asked the couple to stand trial.

Last month, the Supreme Court rejected the plea of Rajesh and Nupur to shift the proceedings against them from a Ghaziabad court to Delhi. A bench of justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar said there was “adequate” security in the Ghaziabad court and inconvenience to the Talwar couple could not be a ground to transfer the trial to Delhi.






HC slams woman’s bid to encroach road

TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.39AM IST

CHENNAI: Lambasting a litigant’s ownership claim over a prime public road in Adyar, the Madras high court has imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on her, besides directing the civic authorities to maintain the road and clear all encroachments within four weeks.

A division bench of Justice Elipe Dharma Rao and Justice M Venugopal, flaying CT Saraswathi Achi, said Parameswari Nagar 2nd Street in Adyar was a public road.

“She is playing her cunning tactics to delay the proceedings, presumably to grab the land situated in a prime locality in the city, which should not at all be encouraged,” the judges said, directing her to pay Rs 25,000 to the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority within two weeks. M Durairaj, who impleaded in the case and played fraud, too was asked to pay up Rs 25,000 as cost.

The litigation is over the road, which Saraswathi Achi tried to take over by putting up permanent structures. A resident, R Ganesan, initiated a case stating that though the Chennai Corporation had declared it as a public road, the civic agency had failed to maintain it as a public road and install street lights. The matter relates to Achi’s review application and a contempt petition by G Narguna Velan who purchased a property in the vicinity from Ganesan.

Pointing out that the Supreme Court had in 2001 asked Achi to establish her title with proof, Justice Rao said: “Inspite of lapse of 12 long years, she has not filed any such suit till now. Instead, she is clinging on the suit filed by Durairaj to say that the issue with regard to the nature of the road is pending before the civil court…She is a defaulter on many fronts.”

The bench asked the city civil court, which is seized of a connected matter, to dispose it of in three months. Referring to an ambiguous letter issued by the Mylapore-Triplicane tahsildar, the judges also directed the collector to initiate necessary legal and disciplinary action against him.








HC strikes down Maya number plate contract

Ravi Singh Sisodiya, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 07.00AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court turned the spotlight on another scam in the Mayawati regime when it struck down the previous government’s decision to allow a favoured company to supply high security registration plates at an absurdly high rate in the state. The Lucknow bench of the high court also ordered a CBI probe to find out under what circumstances the contract was awarded to Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd, a Mumbai-based company of dubious reputation.

In its last days in power, the Mayawati government invited tenders for high security registration plates in the state and on February 14 this year awarded the contract to the Mumbai firm. But Shimnit Utsch India had been denied contracts in Karnataka and Goa. In Rajasthan, it did bag the order, but it was subsequently cancelled. Nitin Shah, who had floated this company, had been jailed under COFEPOSA. After his two earlier companies had been disqualified, he floated the present one which bagged the UP contract.

In fact, principal secretary, law, KK Sharma – who is called legal remembrancer in legal circles — had at first objected to the allotment of the contract to Shimnit Utsch India, saying the company had concealed criminal antecedents and other material information. But strangely, he later changed his stand and said that non-disclosure of information was trivial in nature and the contract was awarded to the firm which was charging 320% more than what a high security number plate normally costs in other states.

As a result, a division bench of Justice D P Singh and Justice S C Chaurasia took the office of the legal remembrancer to task and requested the chief justice to take appropriate action. The court fined Shimnit Utsch India and the state government Rs 25 lakh each. Significantly , the court directed the state government to hold an enquiry, fixing responsibility of the officials who actively participated in finalizing the contract in favour of the company and recover the amount from them.

Dubious Firm

Maya govt had invited tenders for high security registration plates and awarded the contract to a dubious Mumbai firm The firm , Shimnit Utsch India, had been denied contracts in Karnataka & Goa. In Rajasthan, it did bag the order, but it was subsequently cancelled Nitin Shah, who had floated this company, had been jailed under COFEPOSA Principal secretary, law, had initially objected to the allotment of the contract to Shimnit Utsch India The court fined Shimnit Utsch India and the state government Rs 25 lakh each.

The money has to be deposited with the court within two months.

The order came on a writ petition filed by Celex Technologies Pvt Ltd and others through lawyer Gaurav Bhatia, challenging the contract awarded to Shimnit Utsch India.

Delivering the judgment , Justice Singh said, “The state government may forfeit the security deposit of M/s Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd in terms of tender documents.” The court also directed the state government to readvertise the bid and complete the entire process of fresh allotment by April 30.

“The CBI shall complete the investigation within six months and will apprise the court of the progress of its investigation after every two months,” the court said. The petitioner claimed that the rate quoted by Shimnit Utsch India was excessive and the entire process adopted by the state government was tailormade to suit this company.

“The rate of high security registration plates in the state as quoted by M/s Shimnit Utsch India Pvt Ltd and accepted by the state government is exorbitantly higher than that of Bihar and Tamil Nadu, in spite of the fact (that) the number of vehicles in UP is not less than those state,” the bench observed.







HC: CJ will recommend Lokayukta and deputies

P Vasanth Kumar, TNN | Apr 4, 2012, 05.43AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday set aside the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah as a Upa Lokayukta and declared that the names of those helming the state’s anti-corruption watchdog – the Lokayukta and his two deputies – should emanate from the chief justice.

A division bench comprising Justices N Kumar and H S Kempanna refused to stay its order nullifying the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah, the second Upa Lokayukta, and directed the CM to expedite the appointment, saying the post cannot be kept vacant.

“It is patently clear that the process adopted by the chief minister before advising the governor for appointing Justice Chandrashekaraiah as a Upa Lokayukta was totally illegal and contrary to the law and constitutional provisions,” the bench said.

The court laid out a procedure for appointing the Lokayukta and his deputies. It said this has to be followed till the legislature amends the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, to formalize the same.

“If there is a vacancy for a Lokayukta or Upa Lokayukta post and the chief minister decides to fill it, he shall communicate the same to the chief justice by requesting him to suggest (or) recommend a suitable judge. There is no scope for a panel of names,” the court said while allowing two petitions challenging the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah.

“The chief justice, in turn, will collect necessary information by referring to the records available at the Supreme Court and various high courts… and acquaint himself by holding deliberations with regard to the judge he proposes to recommend, and intimate the same to chief minister,” it said.

“On receipt of the same, the chief minister shall share the name with other constitutional functionaries who form part of the consultation process and hold the same in writing,” the court added.

“The other constitutional functionaries… have two options: they can either agree and give consent, or disagree. Their dissent has to be respected. They have to inform the chief minister in writing, citing the reasons for their disagreement/dissent, if any. If there is no unanimity, the CM has to consider the reasons given by the consultees.

“If he finds that there is no substance in the objections of any of the other constitutional functionaries, he can overrule the same and proceed to advise the governor for appointing the judge chosen by the chief justice. In case the reasons for disagreement are justified, the chief minister has to bring the same to the notice of the chief justice and request him to suggest the name of another judge,” the bench said.







HC objects to manner in which Yeddyurappa appointed State Lokayukta

The Karnataka High Court on Tuesday said that the act of the former Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa — who hurriedly appointed a new Lokayukta after the information that he [Yeddyurappa] had been indicted in the illegal mining report was leaked a few days before the submission of the report by the incumbent Lokayukta — would certainly bring a bad name to the Lokayukta institution.

The manner in which he [Yeddyurappa] appointed a new Lokayukta would also send a wrong signal to society and affect the confidence of the people in the institution of Lokayukta, the court said.

“The Chief Minister of the day was indicted in the illegal mining report of the then Lokayukta. He was going out of the office following demand for this resignation. Mr. Yeddyurappa hurriedly issued a notification on July 26, 2011 appointing the new Lokayukta [Shivaraj V. Patil], whose name was not recommended by the then Chief Justice,” observed a Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice H.S. Kempanna in its verdict on the procedure to be followed while appointing the Lokayukta and the Upalokayukta.

As the Lokayukta was retiring on August 2, 2011 in the normal course the successor should have taken action on the report on illegal mining, the Bench said while pointing out that this hurried action of the then Chief Minister raises the question whether the proposal of the name of the Lokayukta should emerge from the Chief Minister or any other constitutional functionaries who belong to the same political parties, or from the Chief Justice.

Why Chief Justice?

In this background and keeping in mind the recent controversy over the selection of persons to these posts, the Bench held that the Chief Justice should get the primacy as other constitutional functionaries involved in the process are politicians and the Chief Justice alone is not connected with any political parties and he is from outside the State. Also, the Chief Justice, the Bench said, will have access to all the records of judges — before they were appointed as judges, their performance, conduct and ability during their tenure as judges, and to some extent to their activities after their retirement, — and hence he should have primacy in recommending the name for the Lokayukta’s post.

No stay

When Mr. Chandrashekaraiah’s counsel made a plea for staying the operation of the judgement, the Bench said it is improper for the court to stay the order after holding that as if the respondent three [Chandrashekaraiah] is not in office and ceased to be in office as it has already declared the appointment order issued by the government as ab initio void and non-est in law.



LEGAL NEWS 03.04.2012APoptional)

AP High Court: No proof of existence of graves at Qila

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 03.28AM IST

HYDERABAD: Citing lack of evidence to prove the existence of graves on survey no. 40 in Naya Qila, the AP High Court declared that it found no merit in allegations made by heritage activists that the Hyderabad Golf Association (HGA) had encroached on the Mustafa Khan Mosque or desecrated graves around it.

The writ petition was filed by heritage activists on November 1 last year stating that HGA was developing the golf course in the area by destroying graves.

In the order passed on March 27, the bench comprising Chief Justice Madan B Lokur and Justice Sanjay Kumar accepted the report submitted by D V Sitaram Murthy, senior advocate, who had conducted an inspection of the site, and said that the five stones claimed as gravesites by the petitioners could not be identified as same.

According to the order, in the report Murthy notes that as per traditional practice, graves of Muslims should be aligned perpendicular to the Qibla ( Mecca). The body is placed in the grave without a casket, lying on its right side and facing the Qibla. Grave markers are simple as outward lavish displays are discouraged in Islam.

While the bench said it found no merit in the petition, it directed the State Wakf Board and ASI to demarcate the mosque area and the 4589 square yards around it to ensure that no controversy crops up in the future.








SC to hear case of teacher who was offloaded from plane

Pratibha Masand, TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 03.39AM IST

MUMBAI: Jeeja Ghosh is awaiting the Supreme Court’s judgment on the writ petition that she has filed against SpiceJet. The airline had allegedly insulted her by not letting her travel because she suffers from cerebral palsy.

The 42-year-old teacher from the Indian Institute of Cerebral Palsy in Kolkata was all set to travel from Kolkata to Goa on February 19 for a conference in Goa. A spokesperson from SpiceJet had said Jeeja was not carrying her medical documents.Jeeja’s petition will come up for hearing on Wednesday. “It is not just about me. This kind of discrimination has been going on for a while. I want the system to change. I want people to know that there are rules which say that an airline cannot forbid a disabled person to travel unless there is a medical condition,” said Jeeja, who is in Mumbai to attend a conference.

“We have filed for compensation against the insult inflicted on Jeeja,”said Mithu Alur, founder chairperson of Able Disable All People Together (ADAPT).









Army allows Royal Western India Turf Club to use bund school

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.45AM IST

PUNE: The Local Military Authority (LMA) has allowed the Royal Western India Turf Club (RWITC) to use the bund school located on the general parade ground to train young colts, as a ‘goodwill gesture’.

The move comes after the RWITC withdrew the writ petition it had filed against the LMA in the Bombay high court, regarding a dispute over the use of land that was extended on lease to the RWITC.

The Army Southern Command issued a release stating that a meeting was held between the committee members of the RWITC and the LMA, Pune, on March 31. “A large number of issues were raised by the committee members during their discussion. The LMA, Pune, stressed upon the need of re-establishing harmonious relationship and has assured RWITC representatives of their concerns being addressed without compromising organisational interest, security and integrity of the Pune Cantonment,” the release stated.

“As a goodwill gesture the LMA, Pune, has allowed the usage of the bund school located on the general parade ground for training of young colts on a formal written request from the RWITC,” the release added.

Meanwhile, the RWITC, too, confirmed the development in a separate release issued here on Monday. “The General Officer Commanding in Chief of Southern Command Lt Gen A K Singh had an informal meeting with the RWITC chairman Vivek Jain at an equestrian event in Mumbai – the first time since the club withdrew its writ petition from the high court,” the release stated.

Jain said, “It was very cordial, as have been all his meetings with Lt Gen A K Singh. The desire to work in harmony and not to create any hindrances in the working of the horses or in the conduct of racing was expressed at this meeting.”

As a first step, the LMA has given approval for the horses to work in the “bund school” and for cars to be parked on the left side of Burnett Road near the Turf Club House, the RWITC release said.

It added that the two organisations would meet at frequent intervals to address the recent differences, which would gradually be ironed out. “The LMA has also written to the RWITC that it would respect both the lease deed and the MOUs signed by the club,” the release said.

Jain said, “We are happy that the legal conflict with the Army has been withdrawn. It is the desire of both sides to ensure racing does not suffer. The LMA desires to make a polo/equestrian field in the general parade ground, which can be used in the off season, and that is certainly desirable. The RWITC committee is unanimous in its views on the relationship with the LMA and we are confident things will progress for the good of the sport and the club.”








HC stays admissions to Medical PG course

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 02,2012

Kochi, Apr 2 (PTI) Kerala High Court today stayed admissions to this year’s Medical PG courses. However, a division bench comprising Acting Chief Justice Manjula Chelur and Justice V Chidambaresh said counselling can be continued. The stay order was issued on a batch of writ appeals relating to the awarding of negative marks for admssion to service quota. In another proceedings, Justice S Sirijagan, directed issue of question booklets, answer keys and answer sheets of state Post Graduate medical entrance examination for students within 7 days. The order was issued on a writ petition filed by 115 students alleging irreregularities in valuation. According to them, a large number of incorrect questions were included in the question paper.









WB assures NCW of investigating all rape cases

Last Updated: Monday, April 02, 2012, 18:28

Kolkata: Amid reports of growing number of rape cases in West Bengal, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Monday assured a delegation of the National Commission for Women that all cases referred by it would be investigated.

“The chief minister has assured that neutral investigation will be made by her government in all the cases referred by the NCW,” said Anita Agnihotri, NCW member-secretary.

Asked to comment on Banerjee’s remark on the recent Park Street rape case which she had said was fabricated, Agnihotri, who led the delegation, said, “NCW is concerned about the general situation in the country. This could be particularly difficult if these comments are there.


“They said there could be comments here and there. But this is not going to affect the course of invsetigation in any manner which I think is very reassuring,” she said after the meeting which was also attended by chief secretary Samar Ghosh and other government officials.

Asked whether the NCW visit was intended to create pressure on the state government to act in the face of rising incidents of crime against women in the state, she said, “Creating pressure on the government is not the mandate. Of course we are concerned and that is why we have come all the way, otherwise we would not be here.”








Report indicts two Haryana babus for ‘false info’ to NHRC

Vishal Joshi , Hindustan Times
Panipat , April 02, 2012A probe by Rohtak division commissioner has indicted two Haryana bureaucrats for submitting false information to National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) about a criminal case registered against a rights’ activist in 2005.
In her report submitted to the chief secretary on February 1

(HT has a copy), Suprabha Dahyia has stated that then Panipat deputy commissioner Rajive Ranjan (now posted as joint secretary in Haryana finance department) and then sub-divisional magistrate (SDM) Capt Shatki Singh (now the managing director of a cooperative sugar mill in Shahbad, Kurukshetra) furnished wrong information to NHRC.

They had informed the commission that the police had never registered a case against one PP Kapoor, the Haryana convener of Indian Federation of Trade Unions (IFTU), in 2005.

The report said that in earlier communications, the Panipat district administration had confirmed the registration of a criminal case against Kapoor but later the administration retracted.
Presently, the matter is being investigated by the state lokayukta and the officials have been served a May 16 ultimatum on submitting their clarification and “if (a) reply is not filed then it shall be presumed that no reply is to be filed by the respondents to defend the complaint”.

In January last year, Hindustan Times had first reported the matter regarding wrong information forwarded to the NHRC by then Panipat district administration.

PP Kapoor was booked for attempt to murder, extortion and several other charges on November 12, 2005. Kapoor was sentenced to five years imprisonment. On December 31, 2005, Kapoor lodged a complaint with NHRC that he was falsely booked under a case of waging war against bonded labourers in Panipat.

In 2006, NHRC had asked the Panipat district administration to submit a status report on Kapoor’s complaint. Then Panipat SDM Capt Shakti Singh submitted a report that no case was registered against Kapoor on November 12, 2005. He submitted his reply to DC Rajive Ranjan on April 2, 2006, and the same was forwarded to the NHRC.

He had submitted that rather an FIR was registered against several persons on Kapoor’s complaint. Kapoor, however, exposed the district officials’ wrongdoing through a Right to Information Act application on January 7, 2011, and lodged a complaint with the Lokayukta that the two top district officials furnished wrong information to the rights body.









Punjab mass cremations: NHRC orders Rs 27.94-cr relief

New Delhi , April 03, 2012

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered Rs 27.94 crore as monetary relief to families of 1,513 people killed and cremated during militancy period in Punjab.
The order comes as NHRC investigated the “illegal killings and disappearances” which culminated in the cremation of 2,097 bodies in Amritsar, Majitha and Tarn Taran districts between 1984-1994. The case is known as Punjab mass cremations case.

Of the 2,097 cases, only 1,513 could be identified.

“The NHRC has recommended a total of Rs 27.94 crore as monetary relief to the next of kin of 1,513 deceased whose bodies could be identified out of cases of unidentified 2,097 bodies which were remitted to the Commission by the Supreme Court popularly known as the Punjab mass cremations case,” an NHRC spokesperson said.

These include 195 cases where the deceased were in deemed police custody and 1,318 others whose bodies were cremated by the police. A total of 532 bodies remained unidentified despite efforts by the Commission from the date of remittance in December 1996.

The Supreme Court had referred the matter to NHRC on December 12, 1996 saying any compensation awarded by the Commission shall be binding and payable.
Since then, the spokesperson said, the Commission heard the matter from time to time and through its proceedings on October 10, 2006, it found that out of the total 2,097 bodies cremated in the three districts of Amritsar, Majitha and Tarn Taran, 1,245 bodies had been identified.

The Commission held that for the violation of human rights of a total of 194 deceased admittedly in police custody immediately prior to their death and their cremation, their kin were entitled to monetary compensation of Rs 2.50 lakh each.

Regarding 1,051 other identified deceased persons whose bodies were not in police custody but cremated by the state without following Punjab Police Rules, the Commission awarded monetary relief of Rs 1.75 lakh to each of the affected families.

For the identification of the remaining 814 bodies, excluding some duplicate names, the Commission appointed Justice KS Bhalla, a retired judge of Punjab and Haryana high court for receiving evidence and conducting an inquiry to fix the identity of as many dead bodies as possible out of the 814 unidentified deceased persons.

Justice Bhalla  submitted a report in June 2007 mentioning that the committee had been able to identify 143 deceased persons.

For facilitating identification of the remaining dead bodies, the Commission constituted another committee comprising DS Bains, IAS, Virender Singh, district and sessions judge (retired) and DIG Border Range Amritsar as members.

The Bains committee on March 22 submitted its final report which mentions that the panel had been able to identify 125 bodies during the sittings.

The spokesperson said the Commission on March 27 considered the report and recommended monetary relief of Rs 1.75 lakh each to the next of kin of the deceased identified by the committee.










BJP corporators attend MCC meeting convened by mayor

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.27AM IST

MANGALORE: BJP corporators, after playing hardball over the election of chairpersons of four standing committees of Mangalore City Corporation, attended the meeting convened by mayor Gulzaar Banu here on Monday. They had abstained from meetings convened by the mayor, who is from the Congress, on March 16 and 24 on grounds the BJP had challenged her election before the district and sessions court as well as before the Karnataka high court.

Their action, BJP corporators told The Times of India, was guided by the fact that the party would have lost further ground had they abstained from the meeting. Harish Kumar, commissioner at the general meeting on Saturday had clarified that it is the discretionary power of the mayor to condone absence of members from meetings of the standing committees or the council irrespective of the fact that they had moved an application seeking permission to do so.

In this scenario, nominations of BJP corporators to standing committees would have been annulled on grounds that they were absent for three consecutive meetings of the standing committees and the regional commissioner, Mysore would have had to conduct elections afresh to reconstitute the committees. Unlike, election to the post of mayor and deputy mayor, elections to standing committees is by preferential system of voting.

Congress in this scenario would have gained two seats taking their strength to four in the seven-member committees, reducing the strength of the BJP to three and giving the grand old party the control over the committees. While BJP corporators acknowledged this in private, officially their stand was they were bound by the directive of the party to be present for the elections to the post of chairpersons, which the mayor conducted and BJP nominees won.

Accordingly, Shantha R will now head the taxation, finance and appeals standing committee, Bhaskar Chandra Shetty, the public health, education and social justice standing committee, Yashwanth Meenakaliya, town planning and development standing committee, and Harish, the accounts standing committee. BJP is pinning its hopes on high court, which has reserved its orders on their writ petition challenging Gulzaar’s election, to Tuesday.








Trial court nod to prosecute RIL, 3 officials

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 03.50AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has allowed criminal prosecution of the then Reliance Industries Ltd and its three senior officials – out of which one is also a prosecution witness in the ongoing 2G spectrum case – for illegally possessing secret documents pertaining to cabinet meetings on economic matters.

The order on framing of charges was passed fourteen years after the FIR was lodged in 1998, when the RIL Group was not divided between brothers Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani.

Additional sessions judge Narinder Kumar said a prima facie case under the Official Secrets Act was made out against RIL, its then group president V Balasubramanian, general manager (corporate affairs) Shankar Adawal and vice president A N Sethuraman, who had deposed as a prosecution witness in the 2G spectrum case in which Reliance telecom is an accused.

“Prima facie case for an offence under Section 5(2) punishable under Section 5(4) (wrongful communication) read with Section 15 of Official Secrets Act is made out against Company accused No.4 (Reliance Industries Limited),” the judge said.

“Prima facie there is material on record to infer agreement and criminal conspiracy between Balasubramanian, Sethuraman and Adawal from the manner in which the information has been received and communicated.”

“Since prima facie case is made out against them, they have to face trial for an offence punishable under Section 120 B IPC (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 5(2) punishable under Section 5(4) of Official Secrets Act,” he ordered. The case relates to recovery of four secret documents allegedly pertaining to government policies on subjects of interest to Reliance Industries Ltd from the company’s office.

However, the court did not find evidence against Ambani brothers, who were also not named as accused in the case. The judge said there was no material to suggest that the documents received by the accused officials reached them.










Court to frame charges in Amboli case on April 27

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 03.19AM IST

MUMBAI: Nearly six months after two youths were knifed to death in Andheri while protesting against the harassment of their female friends, a Sewree sessions court has scheduled the case for framing of charges against four persons.

“The court has scheduled the case for framing of charges on April 27,” said advocate Ujjwal Nikam, who has been appointed as special public prosecutor in the case.

The four accused, Jitendra Rana, Sunil Bodh, Satish Dulhaj and Dipak Tival, informed the court that they had engaged lawyers to defend them.

On October 20, 2011, Keenan Santos (24) and Reuben Fernandez (29) were knifed outside a restaurant following a scuffle in Amboli. The duo was standing near a paan stall near the restaurant when a group of men started harassing their female friends. When the duo protested, they were attacked. Keenan died soon after the incident, while Reuben succumbed to his injuries on October 31.

The incident led to a public outcry. The police arrested the four accused and booked them for murder and eve-teasing.

In January, the police filed a 416-page charge sheet before the Andheri metropolitan magistrate. The police have recorded the statements of 21 witnesses, including some pedestrians and passersby. The police also conducted an identification parade in which some of the eyewitnesses recognized the four accused. The metropolitan magistrate subsequently committed the case to the sessions court.

The framing of charges will pave the way for a trial to commence in the case. The police have said they have strong evidence against the accused.










SC flays MCD’s rickshaw policy

Bhadra Sinha, Hindustan Times
Bhadra Sinha, April 03, 2012The Supreme Court on Monday questioned the Municipal Corporation of Delhi’s policy of confiscating and scrapping unlicensed rickshaws, asking, “Why aren’t you prepared to scrap the cars by which drunk drivers commit accident?” The tongue-lashing came as a bench of Justices GS Singhvi and SJ Mukopadhyaya dismissed the corporation’s appeal against a Delhi High Court order that disallowed confiscation and  scrapping of unlicensed rickshaws.

The bench said: “You have not even prepared a law to put them (drunk drivers) behind bars.”

The court found no infirmity with the high court judgment that held rickshaws can ply on Delhi roads without any curb on their numbers. It observed orally: “They (the corporation) thought if they stop plying rickshaws, there would be more space for cars. We appreciate the mindset of the officers for framing such rules.”

The bench did not appreciate the fact that the Delhi government had allowed the corporation to frame such a policy. “Don’t you exercise supervisory control? How can you allow them to take such decision that is not palatable?” it asked the state government counsel.

When the advocate admitted the “weak” section of the society was being targeted and the high court verdict had set things in order, the bench told him: “Why do you leave it to the judiciary and burden us on such issues.”

The court added there was nothing wrong in the high court disbanding the R5 per day fine which the corporation was levying on rickshaw pullers for repeated violations.









SC to hear review petition on 2G licence cancellation

Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, April 03, 2012Justice KS Radhakrishnan has been put on the Supreme Court bench to hear a bunch of pleas by the Centre and various telecom firms, seeking reviews of various aspects of the verdict cancelling 122 2G spectrum licences.

He replaces AK Patnaik, who came in the place of justice Asok

Ganguly, who has retired.

Justice GS Singhvi, who is heading the bench in the 2G matters, earlier on March 16 had said chief justice SH Kapadia has set up a new bench comprising him and justice Patnaik for hearing all cases on the 2G spectrum scam.

The cause list for Tuesday, however, shows that justice Singhvi and justice Radhakrishnan will take up the petitions for in-chamber hearing, which is normally done in case of the review and curative pleas.

A bench of justice GS Singhvi and justice AK Ganguly (now retired) had passed a slew of rulings in the scam including the order cancelling the 122 2G spectrum licences granted by former telecom minister A Raja and had held that the first-come-first-served (FCFS) policy could not be used for the allocation of natural resources.

It had also pulled up the PMO for sitting on the complaint filed against Raja and set a time limit of four months for the government to take a decision on granting sanction to prosecute a corrupt public servant.

In the aftermath of the apex court verdicts, several petitions have been filed by various bodies, including the Centre, the telecom firms, the NGOs and former minister Raja, seeking various reliefs, including review, clarification and recall of the apex court’s order.

Swamy and the NGO, Centre for Public Interest Litigation have moved the apex court against the trial court order giving clean chit to Chidambaram in the scam.

Telecom companies – Tata Teleservices, Sistema Shyam TeleServices Limited (SSTL) and Uninor— have sought review of the verdict cancelling their licences.

The Centre has also sought review and clarification in the 2G verdict which held that sanction for the prosecution of public servants could be sought even prior to the filing of complaint.

It has sought review of the apex court’s January 31 verdict which blamed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for sitting on the plea to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for granting sanction to prosecute Raja.

Faced with the June 2 deadline, when 122 licenses for 2G spectrum will stand quashed, the government has virtually sought extension of time for cancellation of licences .

The main accused in the scam, Raja has also pleaded for a review of the verdict on cancellation of licences, saying it violates the “principles of natural justice” and “judicial norms” and that he was indicted without being heard.

Raja, who has been in jail for more than a year, has contended the findings in the verdict against him are “bound to prejudice” his defence in the trial.

In a separate application, the Centre has questioned the apex court verdict, which has held as unconstitutional the policy of first-come-first-served, saying it has entered into the exclusive domain of the executive and beyond the limits of judicial review.

The review petition has contended the apex court’s prescription of a single method for distribution of all natural resources, including spectrum, through “auction” route is contrary to the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Constitution.

The Centre has also sought review and clarification in the 2G verdict which held that sanction for the prosecution of public servants could be sought even prior to the filing of complaint.

It has sought review of the apex court’s January 31 verdict which blamed the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) for sitting on the plea to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for granting sanction to prosecute Raja.

Faced with the June 2 deadline, when 122 licenses for 2G spectrum will stand quashed, the government has virtually sought extension of time for cancellation of licences .

The main accused in the scam, Raja has also pleaded for a review of the verdict on cancellation of licences, saying it violates the “principles of natural justice” and “judicial norms” and that he was indicted without being heard.

Raja, who has been in jail for more than a year, has contended the findings in the verdict against him are “bound to prejudice” his defence in the trial.

In a separate application, the Centre has questioned the apex court verdict, which has held as unconstitutional the policy of first-come-first-served, saying it has entered into the exclusive domain of the executive and beyond the limits of judicial review.

The review petition has contended the apex court’s prescription of a single method for distribution of all natural resources, including spectrum, through “auction” route is contrary to the principle of separation of powers embodied in the Constitution.







Despite red flag, BMC sticks to civil works contract system

Stuti Shukla : Tue Apr 03 2012, 02:06 hrs

Despite controversy over an internal note by the chief accountant of the BMC, which points out flaws in the allegedly corrupt civil works contracts (CWC) system, the civic body has floated tenders for the same.

The two-yearly ward level contracts for 2010-12 expired on March 31 and tenders for 2012-14 have now been floated. The BMC said a new system of thorough checks and balances will be introduced so that no unnecessary work is undertaken and quality is maintained.

Corporators in last week’s standing committee meeting had raised objections to the note circulated by chief accountant (finance) Ram Dhas, which stated how contractors were in a nexus with ward-level officials and corporators and got orders for minor works. Dhas, through his note, sought introduction of a better system in place of CWC for two years on an experimental basis. A similar note suggesting ways to end malpractice at ward-level works was circulated by Dhas last year too.\

However, the civic body has planned to go ahead with the CWC. Additional municipal commissioner (city engineer’s department) Manisha Mhaiskar said the changes proposed in the note are “slightly impractical” and the BMC would ensure that there is no malpractice.

“It is not practical to invite tenders for every small ward-level work costing no more than Rs 2-3 lakh. We have gone ahead with CWC this time too but we have introduced two measures to curb malpractice. Only the ward officer will have the power to sanction works that he thinks need to be undertaken. This way, unnecessary works will not be undertaken. Moreover, sufficient quality audits for the works will be in place,” she said.

To avoid inspection by the vigilance department, the civic officials submit the bills towards the end of the financial year, hence there’s no time for a quality check. “This time we will make it mandatory for bills to be submitted within 15 days of completion of the work,” Mhaiskar added.







Baby girl lies unwanted as two families battle over a new-born boy; court steps in

Reported by Rajan Mahan, Updated: April 03, 2012 09:39 IST

Jodhpur:  The Rajasthan High Court has taken suo moto cognizance of the shocking case of a baby girl who has been abandoned in Jodhpur’s Umaid Hospital. The court has termed this a ”serious incident” and a terrible example of gender bias. It has also has ordered the Chief Judicial Magistrate of Jodhpur to ensure adequate protection for the girl child.

The eight-day-old baby lies in the nursery for new-borns. Her biological mother, who is in the women’s general ward does not see her, or feed her. She remains un-named. She was born a healthy baby. Her shortcoming is that she is not a boy.

When Poonam Kanwar delivered her child at Jodhpur’s Umaid Hospital, mid-wives reportedly eager for a tip said, she had given birth to a son. They brought her a baby boy to hold in her arms, and collected their reward. Then the news was broken two hours later to Poonam and her family that the boy they had embraced was actually born to another woman in the same hospital. Now, Poonam says she wants a DNA test to confirm who the baby boy belongs to. That could take four weeks, say authorities. On the basis of a blood test, hospital authorities claim Poonam is the baby girl’s mother.

Poonam already has a son. Like Reshma Devi, the boy’s biological mother, she comes from a rather modest family of farmers in Barmer district. Reshma Devi has already left the hospital with her son and is taking full care of him.

“It’s the fault of the hospital staff which has caused all this confusion,” says Poonam Devi’s husband, Chain Singh.

Doctors say that they cannot allow the abandoned girl to be fed by Poonam Devi till she accepts this is her child – the family says they will not allow this till they get the results of the DNA test.

The court has sought a progress report from the CJM on April 20 and has appointed advocate Raj Lakshmi Choudhary as the girl’s amicus curie.
Given the insensitivity and negligence of hospital staff, the Rajasthan Women’s Commission has intervened.  “This case smacks of a feudal mindset that discriminates against the girl child. Also it’s the negligence of the hospital staff that has created this confusion and caused so much suffering to this little girl. Our Commission is entitled to issue notices in such cases to seek action against the guilty and we shall definitely do the same”,” said Dr Lad Kumari Jain, Chairperson, Rajasthan Women’s Commission.






OSA case: Court for prosecution of Reliance and three officials

Published: Monday, Apr 2, 2012, 18:52 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

A Delhi court has allowed criminal prosecution of the Reliance Industries Ltd and its three senior officials for illegally possessing secret documents pertaining to cabinet meetings on economic matters.

The order was passed, 14 years after the FIR was lodged in 1998 when the RIL Group was not split between between Mukesh Ambani and Anil Ambani.

Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar said a prima facie case was made out against RIL, its then group president V Balasubramanian, vice-president AN Sethuraman, and general manager (corporate affairs) Shankar Adawal under the Official Secrets Act.

“Prima facie case for an offence under Section 5(2) punishable under Section 5(4) (wrongful communication) read with Section 15 of Official Secrets Act is made out against Company accused No.4 (Reliance Industries Limited),” the judge said.

“Prima facie there is material on record to infer agreement and criminal conspiracy between Balasubramanian, Sethuraman and Adawal from the manner in which the information has been received and communicated.

“Since prima facie case is made out against them, they have to face trial for an offence punishable under Section 120 B IPC (criminal conspiracy) read with Section 5(2) punishable under Section 5(4) of Official Secrets Act,” he ordered.

However, the court did not find evidence against Ambani brothers, who were also not named as accused in the case.

The case relates to recovery of four secret documents pertaining to government policies on subjects of interest to Reliance Industries Ltd from the company’s office here.







Coal India and The Children’s Investment Fund shadow box over legal eagles

Sanjay Dutta, TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 04.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: A formal legal battle between London-based hedge fund TCI (The Children’s Investment Fund) and Coal India (CIL) may not have begun yet. But the world’s biggest coal miner and its single-largest minority shareholder appear to be engaged in a bout of shadow boxing over their legal eagles.

A day after TCI said it has deployed well-known Indian law firm Luthra & Luthra to go into a legal battle against Coal India and its management, world’s biggest corporate legal eagle – DLA Piper of the UK – has offered to defend the state-run monopoly.

On Saturday, TCI said it had instructed its “Indian lawyers to begin the process of taking legal action” against state-run CIL and its directors for breach of key provisions of Indian corporate laws and acting against the interest of minority shareholders. On Monday, government sources said, CIL received a letter from DLA Piper saying it was “aware of the current situation” facing the company and offering to jointhe front against TCI. It also sought an “opportunity” to make a presentation to the company management or discuss the situation in detail.

DLA Piper and Luthra & Luthra together had served as international counsel to Disinvestment Department and CIL for the company’s Rs 15,000-crore initial public offering in October, 2010. The government offloaded 10% holding in the company through the offer that remains the biggest in India, and was oversubscribed 15 times to value the company at $35 billion.

TCI is the single-largest CIL shareholder after the government and has a 1% stake. It has been at loggerheads with the company management over government’s control on coal pricing. CIL has a dual pricing system – one slab for the power sector and another for industries such as steel and cement. Both are indirectly controlled by the government, and cost nearly 50 cheaper than imports. But the coal ministry had recently written to TCI pointing out that the pricing structure and government’s control over it was clearly mentioned as “risk factors” in the company’s prospectus for the IPO. The ministry argued that coal prices have been kept low to ensure cheaper power to people. It has also said CIL is making profits even after selling at government-controlled prices.






SC notice to govt on sterilisation camps

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:49 hrs

The Supreme Court on Monday issued notice to the Central and state governments on a petition alleging that sterilisation surgeries have been performed on women with the aid of torchlights in various places, especially in rural Bihar, in gross violation of the medical and ethical norms.

A Bench of Justices R M Lodha and H L Gokhale sought replies within eight weeks on a PIL by NGO Human Rights Law Network (HRLN).

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves told the Bench that operations “were performed by doctors under torchlight and activists of an NGO were administering anaesthesia to the patients.”

According to HRLN, a sterilisation camp was held at the Kaparfora Government Middle School at Araria in Bihar in January by an NGO in coordination with the State Health Society, where a private doctor used the school classroom as an operating theatre for sterilisation surgeries on 53 Dalit women.

Devika Biswas, the activist in whose name the petition is filed, said the operation left three women bleeding severely and they required treatment at a private medical hospital.

“In clear violation of the government guidelines and the basic human rights, the doctor performed surgeries at night, under torchlight. During the two hours he was operating, the doctor did not wash his hands, change gloves, or wear a surgical gown and cap,” the petition alleged.









High court, GDD, GTC asked to file Judges’ Field affidavits

TNN | Apr 2, 2012, 09.57PM IST

GUWAHATI: The Gauhati high court on Monday asked the Gauhati Town Club (GTC) and Guwahati Development Department (GDD) to furnish affidavits on clearing their stands on public usage of Judges’ Field within two weeks. While the GTC has sought time to prepare the affidavits, GDD said it had already prepared the same and is now waiting for the clearance from the chief minister’s office. The Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA), a respondent in the case, said it has no interest in the case and doesn’t want to file any affidavit in it.

The high court instruction came in response to a PIL filed by Pranjal Bordoloi challenging the district administration’s decision of not allotting the judges’ field for public use. Bordoloi filed the PIL in May last year after the district administration denied them the permission to host a rally against corruption scheduled to be attended by Anna Hazare.

“GMDA expressed that it has no say in the case and doesn’t want to file an affidavit in the matter. GTC sought two weeks time to act on it which the court granted,” said Gautam Singh, Bordoloi’s counsel. Singh added: “GDD said it has prepared the affidavit and sent it to the chief minister’s office for clearance. But the delay was caused due to the state’s budget session. The representative from GDD said it can furnish the affidavit as soon as the budget session is over.”

According to the petitioner, Judges’ Field is public property and should be open for all. “It looks like the GTC is using it as private property. Earlier, the high court, responding to a PIL of 2008, ordered that the field must be opened for public use and important public rallies. How can the district administration deny us the permission?” said Bordoloi.

The high court has fixed May 14 as the next date for the hearing in the case. During May 2011, huge controversy erupted after the Anna Hazare’s rally against corruption had to shift from Judges’ Field after the GTC staged a strike opposing it. Later the district administration also denied permission for the rally.







Bill to eliminate manual scavenging in monsoon session, Centre tells SC

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 02.54AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday informed the Supreme Court that it would introduce a Bill in Monsoon session of Parliament to amend the 19-year-old Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act to ensure rehabilitation of those engaged in such dehumanizing labour.

A bench, comprising Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, wanted additional solicitor general Harin Raval to tell the apex court the salient features of the Bill and whether it would render the pending PIL by NGO Safai Karmachari Andolan infructuous.

The NGO’s nine-year-old petition had detailed instances about the continuance of the abominable practice in many states, including Delhi, and alleged that the 1993 law against manual scavenging had not been able to eradicate the practice that found over five lakh people engaged in collecting and disposing night soil from homes in various states.

The NGO through advocate Shomona Khanna had filed a contempt petition against Uttarakhand government alleging continuance of manual scavenging in some places of the hill state. The bench asked the government to respond to the charges, while seeking answer from Bihar, UP, Madhya Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir to similar charges.









Bill to ban manual scavenging to be introduced in Parl: SC told

Agencies : New Delhi, Mon Apr 02 2012, 18:53 hrs

Nine years after a PIL said over five lakh people were engaged in manual scavenging across the country, the government on Monday told the Supreme Court that a bill aimed at banning such practice will be introduced in Parliament soon. “I have received written instructions that a bill is being introduced in Parliament in Monsoon session which will take care of the entire matter,” Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval told a Bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia.

“We are committed to it (eliminating manual scavenging). Wait till Monsoon session,” he further said before the Bench, also comprising Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar.

However, when Raval replied in affirmative that the petition would become infructuous upon the passage of such bill, advocates K Parameshwar and Shomona Khanna, appearing for NGO Safai Karamchari Andolan, submitted that pendency of a bill in Parliament is not relevant to the present proceedings.

They said the 2003 petition identifying the existence of around 5,77,228 manual scavengers across the country was for the implementation of the Employment of Manual Scavengers and Construction of Dry Latrines (Prohibition) Act, 1993 to eliminate manual scavenging.

The NGO said over the last nine years several orders have been passed by the court but the implementation has not been proper and the Uttarakhand government has failed to respond to the contempt notice issued in 2009.

The counsel appearing for Uttarakhand government said directions issued by the apex court has been complied with.

However, the Bench said the state government will have to file a response to the contempt notice for alleged violation of the existing law of 1993.










SC declines PIL on ATM, credit cards–credit-cards/931609/

Agencies : New Delhi, Mon Apr 02 2012, 16:33 hrs

The Supreme Court today declined to entertain a PIL seeking a direction to the government to make mandatory imprinting of photograph and signature of holders on their credit, debit and ATM cards issued by banks to prevent their misuse.

“There are already some guidelines,” a bench headed by Chief Justice S H Kapadia said while referring to the instructions by RBI.

“Banks can take care of all these. You have written a letter to RBI in this regard,” the bench, also comprising justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar, said while dismissing the PIL filed by a Kolkata resident Avishek Goenka.

The PIL had submitted that holders of these cards are prone to be targeted by criminals resulting in direct crimes ranging from snatching, pick pocketing to fraud.

“Hence, it is the need to incorporate deterrents in form of mandatory imprinting of photograph and signature of the holder on the face of the card,” the PIL said.










Lookout notice for doctor-couple soon: Delhi Police

Press Trust of India, Updated: April 02, 2012 13:17 IST

New Delhi:  Delhi Police on Sunday initiated the process of issuing a lookout notice against a doctor couple, who allegedly left their minor maid locked up and starving in the house while they vacationed in Thailand, officials said.
“We have written to the authorities. We expect to get the lookout notice issued by tomorrow,” the official said.
Sanjay Verma and his wife Sumita were to return to India on Saturday but they have not landed in Delhi yet, police said. The couple had left for Thailand on a vacation leaving their 13-year-old maid allegedly locked up and with very little food in their Dwarka flat.
She was rescued three days ago after neighbours heard her screaming from the balcony.
Anticipating their arrival on Saturday, a police team was stationed at Indira Gandhi International Airport here only to see the couple not arrive.
Police have lodged an FIR against the couple under the Juvenile Justice Act, Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, Child Labour Prohibition and Regulation Act and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).
The victim had also complained to Child Welfare Committee that she was beaten up by the couple even for small mistakes.
The couple had also allegedly installed CCTVs inside the house to keep a watch on her.
If they found her committing even small mistakes, they used to beat her up, the girl alleged while giving her statement to the Committee.










Don’t shift Gir lions to MP: Gujarat to SC–Gujarat-to-SC/931718/

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:50 hrs

The Gujarat government on Monday opposed in the Supreme Court any effort by the Centre to translocate Asiatic lions from its Gir sanctuary to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh.

Appearing before a Forest Bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and C K Prasad, senior advocate Shyam Divan said the state had sufficient wherewithal and will to conserve the lions’ population and it was not advisable to trans-locate them.

The state said that efforts should be made for translocation of the cheetah from South Africa to Kuno Palpur instead, and lions should be added gradually after sufficient time.

The Gujarat government is fighting a battle in the Supreme Court against the translocation of lions in the wake of a PIL filed by an environment group seeking their translocation to Madhya Pradesh.

At an earlier hearing, the Gujarat government had argued against the need to move the Asiatic lions from Gir. This had prompted the Supreme Court to observe that the big cats were not the “property” of the state, but belong to the country.

The opposition from the state comes despite the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) also voting against the Gujarat government’s reluctance to shift the lions.









Rickshaw pullers find a friend in SC

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 02.50AM IST

NEW DELHI: Delhi’s rickshaw pullers found an ally in the Supreme Court on Monday with the court slamming the Municipal Corporation of Delhi and Delhi government for seeking to undo a Delhi high court order removing a cap on number of rickshaws.

Batting for rickshaw pullers it described as “weak and meek”, the court also quashed the civic body’s bid to restore its power to scrap rickshaws plying without licences, asking MCD to take on someone its own size. “Are you prepared to scrap cars; Impound those involved in drunken driving or even remove them from roads, say for a period of 10 years?” the SC asked MCD.

The apex court has set the stage for movement of pedal-powered tri-cycle rickshaws in most parts of the city as the civic body is now armed only with powers to impose a fine of Rs 5 in areas outside permitted zones, while it will not be able to use more harsh measures.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya felt MCD officials have a mindset problem in wanting to target poor rickshaw pullers as they upheld the decision to do away with the provision of the Delhi Municipal Corporation (Cycle-Rickshaw) By-laws, 1960, that restricted the number of tri-cycles to 99,000 in ear-marked zones. The Act also empowered authorities to confiscate, crush and sell as scrap rickshaws found plying without a licence.

With the Supreme Court upholding the February 10, 2010 HC order, the civic body is now left only with the option of imposing a fine of Rs 5 per day and authorities may now find it difficult to deter rickshaws from plying in areas that have been “no-go” zone for them.

The HC passed the order on a PIL filed by NGO Manushi Sangathan and MCD through counsel Sanjiv Sen challenged the ruling. The NGO’s counsel Prashant Bhushan pointed to the ineffectiveness of the 1960 era cap, saying over 6 lakh rickshaws are plying in the city though only 89,000 had licneces. He said no licence had been issued after 2007.

Justices Singhvi and Mukhopadhaya came down hard on the targeting of rickshaw-pullers and caustically asked that “It seems in their (civic agency) wisdom they thought if they can remove rickshaws from the road there will be enough space for cars…what type of laws you make for rickshaw pullers?”

Delhi government’s counsel D N Goburdhan was not ready to share the blame and looked to wriggle out of the tricky issue, pleading that its was MCD’s job to supervise rickshaws. But, the bench didn’t let go, asking “Do you not frame the Rules and supervise the functioning of the corporation?”

With the escape hatch closed, Goburdhan said: “We understand what the court is saying. Just because he (rickshaw puller) is weak and meek, it does not mean he has no rights.” Having drive home the message, the bench asked, “So why don’t you decide it on your own without leaving it to judiciary?”

Telling the civic body to be considerate towards rickshaw-pullers, the bench said, “They make a living in the Walled Street by pulling rickshaws. Just because he is a rickshaw-puller you allow them (officials) to take such decisions.”







Guj opposes in SC move to translocate Asiatic lions to MP

PTI | 08:04 PM,Apr 02,2012

New Delhi, Apr 2 (PTI) Gujarat today opposed in the Supreme Court any effort by the Centre to translocate Asiatic lions from its Gir sanctuary to Kuno Palpur wildlife sanctuary of Madhya Pradesh. Appearing before a special forest bench of justices K S Radhakrishnan and C K Prasad, senior counsel Shyam Divan said the state had sufficient wherewithal and will to conserve the lions’ population and it was not advisable to translocate them. The state said that instead efforts should be made for translocation of the extinct cheetah from South Africa to Kuno Palpur and only after sufficient time efforts if any should be made to add lions gradually to that sanctuary. Otherwise “lions will not allow the cheetahs to survive in the sanctuary”. Further, he said that both the animals being predators it would be difficult for them to find sufficient preys in the sanctuary immediately. The state government is fighting a legal battle in the Supreme Court against translocation of lions in the wake of a PIL filed by an environment group seeking their translocation to Madhya Pradesh. Assailing the assumption that lions were becoming extinct in Gujarat, the counsel quoting statistics from the Wildlife Institute of India claimed that population of tigers in Panna forest reserve of Madhya Pradesh had shown a steady decline as there is no single tiger there by 2009 as against 25 in 2002. It is on account of “systemic failure” involving the forest and bureaucratic officials that the tiger population had come down in Madhya Pradesh, the counsel said. Quoting a number of earlier apex court rulings, the state argued that issues relating to wildlife and translocations should be left to the discretion of the experts and courts should not interfere in such matters.








HC strikes down UP govt order for filling up of Class IV posts

PTI | 09:04 PM,Apr 02,2012

through outsourcing Allahabad, April 2 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has struck down an order passed by Uttar Pradesh government last year whereby it was laid down that no appointments shall be made for Class IV posts in secondary educational institutions and all such vacancies shall be filled through outsourcing. In a judgement delivered on March 21, 2012, Justice Sudhir Agrawal held government Order dated 6.01.2011 was “illegal, arbitrary and ultra vires” of the Constitution and directed the authorities in the secondary education department not to “obstruct the process of selection and appointment for Class IV posts only on the basis of the aforesaid GO”. The order was passed on writ petitions filed by Managing Committees of a number of Inter Colleges across the state. The petitioners had contended that while appointments against vacant posts of Class IV employees were so far made by the Managing Committees through the respective Principals, the GO intended to outsource the entire process to contractors.










Give natural parents’ name in passport: HC

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 03.55AM IST

NEW DELHI: A person who has adopted parents should disclose names of the biological parents for seeking passport, the Delhi high court has said. Only if the adoption has been legally recognized can the names of adopted parents be used for a passport, the court added.

Justice Vipin Sanghi order came on a plea by a 16-year-old girl challenging the Regional Passport Office’s decision to reject her passport application.

“A passport is not only a travel document, but is also an identity document. The identity of a person is determined, inter alia, by his parentage. Therefore, unless there is a legal adoption of the applicant, he/she is bound to give the name of his/her natural parents and cannot choose to provide the name of the adopted parent’s in his/her application form,” the court ruled on her plea.

The passport for the girl had been sought by her mother, who had divorced the girl’s father soon after her birth. Later she re-married and executed an adoption deed in favour of her second husband, whose name she furnished in the passport application as the girl’s father. After rejection of the passport application, she had moved court on behalf of her daughter.

HC upheld the decision of the RPO and pointed out that both parents of a child, if alive, have equal right to give the child in adoption but one cannot exercise this right unilaterally without the other’s consent.








HC sends notice to JKCA

Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:04 hrs

The J&K High Court Monday asked the J&K Cricket Association (JKCA) to respond to a plea seeking a CBI probe into allegations that some of its officials ran a Rs 50 crore money laundering scam.

Justice H Masoodi also issued notices to the state government and the J&K Bank, the JKCA’s banker, to respond to the petition filed by a group of former cricketers.

JKCA general secretary Ahsan Mirza had resigned and CEO Saleem Khan was sacked last month for “siphoning off crores of rupees” from the association.





HC begins dictation of orders on PILs on Upalokayukta

PTI | 07:04 PM,Apr 02,2012

Bangalore, Apr 2 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today began dictation of orders on two PILs challenging the appointment of former judge Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta on the ground that due consultation procedures were not followed by the state government. The division bench headed by Justice N Kumar will continue the dictation of the verdict tomorrow on the PILs filed by advocates M Anand and Janagere Krishna praying for quashing of the appointment. In the PILs filed separately the petitioners contended that the appointment of Upalokayukta was “illegal and ultra virus as per section 3 sub clause 2 of the Lokayukta Act which states that five persons including the Chief Justice of the High Court, leaders of the Opposition and Assembly Speaker must be consulted before appointing the Upalokayukta”. “In this case, the most important person, the Chief Justice has not been consulted”, they submitted. Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen, in a letter written to Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda early last month, had objected to Chandrashekariah’s appointment as Upa Lokayukta in violation of the Lokayukta Act.








Baby girl lies abandoned; HC takes cognizance

Press Trust Of India
Jodhpur/Jaipur, April 02, 2012An eight-day-old baby girl lies abandoned in a hospital as two couples stake their claim over a boy born on the same night, prompting the Rajasthan high court and the State Commission for Women to take suo moto cognisance of the issue. The girl, who was mistakenly exchanged with the boy by the hospital staff on March 25, has not been accepted by the couples and is currently under the supervision of the nursery unit of Ummed hospital in Jodhpur.

Taking suo moto cognisance, the Jodhpur Bench of the Rajasthan high court on Monday termed the matter as serious observing the country is already facing a skewed sex ratio.

The court ordered action to be initiated by the Chief Judicial Magistrate for providing protection to the girl child, including her right to be maintained by her parents.

It has sought a progress report from the CJM on April 20 and has appointed advocate Raj Lakshmi Choudhary as the girl’s amicus curie.

The hospital has not allowed one of the mothers to breastfeed the infant in the absence of an undertaking that the infant belongs to them.

In Jaipur, Rajasthan Commission for Women chairperson Lad Kumari Jain expressed shock at “negligence” of the hospital administration.

“It is a very serious issue that a new-born girl has been left abandoned for the last eight days,” Jain told PTI.

She has issued a notice to the Hospital Superintendent seeking his response in a week.

“We will also probe whether the exchange of the new-born babies was pre-planned or it was only negligence,” Jain said.








HC says it may increase fine imposed on John in mishap case

PTI | 07:04 PM,Apr 02,2012

Mumbai, Apr 2 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today said it may increase the fine imposed on actor John Abraham who was recently convicted by a lower court in a 2006 rash driving case. Justice R C Chavan today heard the appeal filed by the actor, challenging the 15-day imprisonment awarded to him by sessions court. Two men had been injured in the accident. John had first appealed in sessions court against the order passed by the metropolitan magistrate in October 2006, convicting him for “rash and negligent driving”. While the magistrate’s court had released him on bail upon conviction, the sessions court, on March 9 this year, dismissed his appeal and rejected his subsequent bail plea. The 39-year-old actor approached the High Court on the same day, which granted him fresh bail. “I may increase the fine amount imposed on the applicant (John) or the compensation awarded to the victims,” Justice Chavan said today. At the last hearing, the judge had directed that the two injured victims — Shyam Kasbe and Tanmay Majhi — should be added as respondents to the appeal petition. John’s lawyer, Ashok Mundargi, said today that while Tanmay’s name had been added, Kasbe had died of illness during the trial. Asking the police to find out Kasbe’s legal heirs, Justice Chavan said: “He (Kasbe) suffered injuries. So what if he is dead, his family can receive the compensation.” The next hearing is on April 9. The lower court had imposed a fine of Rs 1,000 for rash driving, and Rs 500 for causing hurt. The mishap had occurred on April 8, 2006, when the Yamaha Hayabusa motorcycle ridden by the actor hit a bicycle on the Carter Road in suburban Bandra.









Freedom fighters’ property: HC appoints authority for scrutiny of names

I P Singh, TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.12AM IST

JALANDHAR: After the half-hearted approach of the official machinery to identify cases in which properties of freedom fighters were confiscated by the British regime but were not restored by the government after independence, Punjab and Haryana high court has now asked noted freedom movement historian M J S Waraich, who has filed two petitions in the HC seeing restoration of such lands, to act as the authority for the purpose of scrutiny of names of such freedom fighters and their legal heirs.

The HC has asked Waraich to place such names before the court, after scrutiny and satisfaction, through Amicus Curiae Advocate J S Mendiratta for further orders. It has also asked the state government to handover applications which might have been received by the government authorities after HC order dated December 15 last year, which asked the state to identify such cases of freedom fighters, to Waraich for necessary verification.

The HC has asked the state government that any applications received by government in future would also be handed over to Waraich for the purpose. The half hearted approach of official machinery was evident from the fact that while most of the SDMs took seven weeks in issuing notices even as the order was issued by HC on December 15 last but they gave just one week to such heirs to submit their claims along with documents.

“It appeared that the bureaucracy failed legally but they wanted to scuttle the implementation of high court orders with such tricks as only somebody extremely influential could perhaps arrange such old documents in such a short time,” Waraich had earlier told TOI.








HC extends release of ship by another day

PTI | 06:04 PM,Apr 02,2012

Kochi/Kollam, Apr 2 (PTI) The Kerala High Court today further stayed the release of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie till tomorrow even as a court in Kollam extended for 14 days the judicial remand of the ship’s two marines, charged with gunning down two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast on February 15. In the high Court, acting Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice V Chidambaresh observed that petitioner Dolphin Tankers, owner of the vessel, ought to have approached the magistrate court for the ship’s release. The bench orally observed, “We cannot block the jurisdiction of magistrate court and deviate from procedure. Criminal Procedure Code is applicable in this case also. Procedure cannot be changed in the reason that there is involvement of huge money. We cannot unsettle a settled procedure.” The court adjourned the case to tomorrow for further hearing on the request of petitioners. Meanwhile, the remand of marines Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone has been extended by another 14 days. They were produced before Chief Judicial Magistrate A K Gopakumar after being brought from the central prison in the state capital where they are lodged. The naval guards were arrested on February 19 and charged with murder of fishermen Valentine Jalastine and Ajesh Binki, who had put out to sea from Neendakara in Kollam. PTI COR JRK NM UD APR









Rash driving: HC raises fine on John Abraham

Express news service : Tue Apr 03 2012, 02:01 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Monday said it will increase the fine imposed on actor John Abraham (37), and compensation for the victims in a case of rash and negligent driving involving the actor.

The case dates back to April 8, 2006 and Abraham is also facing charges of causing hurt by endangering personal safety. The High Court had, in the last hearing, directed Shyam Kasbe and Tanmay Majhi, who were injured in the incident, to be added as respondents in the case. The duo was injured after Abraham’s Hayabusa allegedly hit them.

Abraham’s counsel Ashok Mundargi told the court that Kasbe had died a natural death unrelated to the accident. While Majhi had been joined as a party to the petition, Mundargi said he was in Kolkata at present and would remain present on April 9. Justice R C Chavan asked additional public prosecutor Rajeshree Newton to find out if any legal representatives of Kasbe could also be joined in the case.

The lower court had imposed a fine of Rs1,000 for rash and negligent driving and Rs 500 for causing hurt. A Metropolitan Magistrate had, on October 14, 2010, held Abraham guilty and asked him to serve a fortnight in prison. In the sessions court, Abraham had sought the suspension of this order until his appeal against it was decided by it. The sessions court, however, said it had no jurisdiction to hear his application against the magistrate court’s order or his application for bail. The HC granted the actor bail and his review application is pending before it.







Identify abandoned girl’s parents, HC directs Jodhpur hospital

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 06.26AM IST


JAIPUR/JODHPUR: The Rajasthan High Court on Monday took suo-motu cognizance of an eight-day-old abandoned girl’s plight at a Jodhpur hospital and directed authorities to identify her parents. The court warned of action if they avoided her custody and proper care a day after TOI reported the story.

The newborn was abandoned immediately after her birth last week as her mother insisted that she had given birth to a baby boy and that he had got exchanged with the girl, who was born on the same day. Two couples are claiming the boy while the girl remains abandoned. The hospital authorities are waiting for a DNA test from a Hyderabad laboratory to confirm the girl’s parentage.

The court appointed an amicus curiae and asked Jodhpur’s chief judicial magistrate (CJM) to file a report on the matter on April 20.

Justice Sandeep Mehta directed the CJM to provide protection to the girl including her right to be cared by her parents while invoking Protection of Women (Domestic Violence) Act’s section 12. “If any person is found avoiding custody and the duty of proper upkeep of the child, the court shall have to invoke Section 31 of the act,” the court said.







HC stays probe ordered by human rights body into harassment case

HT Correspondent,
Mumbai, April 03, 2012The Bombay high court stayed an order passed by the Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC) ordering an inquiry against two Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officers for the alleged custodial harassment of a Sikh businessman.

Acting on a petition filed by the

DRI’s Mumbai zonal unit, a division bench of justice VM Kanade and justice PD Kode also issued a notice to the registrar, MSHRC, and the Sikh businessman, Mohinderpal Gujral, who had been arrested by DRI for his alleged complicity in the fraudulent import of high-end cars. The matter is now posted for further hearing after four weeks. The incident allegedly took place on June 1, 2008, when a DRI team headed by senior intelligence officer DS Mehta, arrested Gujral after conducting raids at the businessman’s Juhu residence. Mehta was acting on the orders of his senior C Jagiasi, an assistant director in the DRI, Gujral claims.

Gujral then approached MSHRC on June 23, alleging the senior DRI officers assaulted and tortured him in custody and also cut off his beard, hurting his religious sentiments. He alleged it was because he had refused to pay bribe amount of Rs25 lakh the DRI officials demanded.

On December 30, 2011, a bench comprising MSHRC chairman, justice Kshitij Vyas and justice VG Munshi directed the director general (DG), DRI, to initiate disciplinary proceedings against Jagiasi and Mehta.

The commission also directed the DG to take action against the two officers.









HC seeks details of land allotment

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 06.06AM IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad high court has directed district administration of Allahabad to apprise the court about the scheme/ guidelines, if any, in respect of the allotment of land in Magh/Kumbh Mela areas in Sangam.

The bench of Justice Amitava Lala and Justice PKS Baghel told the standing counsel of the state, Ramanand Pandey to produce the scheme, if any, in respect of allotment of land in Magh/Kumbh Mela areas . The court will hear the case on April 14.

A writ petition had stated that there should be fair a process in allotting the land in Magh Mela areas. The bench, therefore, has sought details about the scheme for allotment of land.

The court said it wants to see the criteria /scheme for allotment of land and also to resolve the future disputes in this regard.

HC strikes down GO: The Allahabad high court has struck down para -2 of a government order, dated January 6, 2011, whereby the state government had said that in future no appointment on grade IV posts (except the junior cadre of technical posts) shall be made and such vacancies shall be managed by outsourcing.

Passing the order, Justice Sudhir Agrawal stated that the said portion of the impugned government order was illegal, arbitrary, unconstitutional and ultra vires.

Several writ petitions were filed in the high court by the committee of management of various colleges, challenging the said government order.

Setting aside the government order, the court has directed the education authorities not to obstruct the process of selection and appointment on grade IV posts in secondary educational institutions only on the basis of the government order dated January 6, 2011.







HC appoints committee to oversee Arya Orphanage

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Tue Apr 03 2012, 06:10 hrs

In further embarrassment for the Delhi government that had appointed an administrator to look into the affairs at Arya Orphanage, the Delhi High Court has now set up a committee “to administer” the institution.

The court also asked the government if it could substitute its current administrator with someone who was not “disinterested” or pre-occupied so that children’s welfare could be ensured.

“The Delhi government would inform the court whether it can nominate an administrator who works full-time at the Arya Anathalaya and not a disinterested person who visits the Anathalaya on part-time basis and that too with a lackadaisical approach,” said the bench headed by Justice Pradeep Nandarajog, noting that the present administrator was tied up with MCD election duties.

Bans Raj, the current administrator, was to inquire into the functioning of Arya Orphanage, from where alleged cases of sexual abuse of children have been reported.

The bench had taken the matter up as a PIL after Haq Centre for Child Rights had sought the court’s intervention in ensuring safety and well being of the children.

The bench appointed a three-member committee, headed by Judicial Officer Santosh Snehi Mann, to visit the complex and report if the court should pass any urgent directives.

“The impasse created by an administrator, who is overloaded with work and has not much time to administer the functioning of the Anathalaya, requires this court to constitute a committee to administer the Anathalaya for a limited duration, with further course of action to be chartered depending upon the report submitted by the committee,” said the bench.

Adding that the court was not removing the administrator, the court asked him to “act in conjunction” with the committee, which will visit Arya Orphanage every day and spend at least three hours interacting with children.

The bench further asked the committee, also comprising Kiran Jyoti and Afsar Ahmad Khan, to consider the 13 suggestions given on the last date of hearing by Anant K Asthana, Haq’s counsel.

It also and directed the Orphanage officials to assist the committee members in implementing the measures.

“Should the committee decide that any staff member at Arya Anathalaya, be it in the Arya Bal Griha or Arya Kanya Sadan, requires to be shifted from the Anathalaya, the office-bearers of the three societies concerned would ensure that the said persons are transferred to Chhatravas Chandra Arya Vidya Mandir or any other institute established by a society with which or with whom there is interaction by Arya Anathalaya,” said the court.

It has now fixed the matter for April 20 for taking on record the committee’s report.

The court had earlier found severe flaws with the government’s Commission of Inquiry, compelling it to issue another notification in this regard. The court had then pulled up the Chief Minister and the Lieutenant-Governor for not following procedure and hurriedly issuing the notification.








Man moves HC seeking aid for medical negligence

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 05.09AM IST

MADURAI: A coolie based at Srivilliputhur has moved the Madurai bench of the Madras high court seeking a direction to the state government to pay compensation for the death of his wife and child in womb and consequently direct it to initiate action against the medical officer and staff responsible for the death.

Filing the petition in the Madurai bench, M Raja of Srivilliputhur said his wife Maria Lilly Pauline became pregnant and was undergoing regular medical check up at the Srivilliputhur Government Hospital from March 8, 2011 onwards.

He said on September 23, 2011, he took his wife to the government hospital and admitted her. As his wife did not develop labour pain even after two days, he requested Meera, a gynaecologist to go for surgery. But she did not heed to his request and failed to provide attention to his wife, he contended.

Raja said that on September 26, 2011 his wife developed labour pain. But no gynaecologist was available in the hospital at that time. The staff nurse told him to go to Meera’s place in an auto rickshaw and bring her to the hospital. When he went there, Raja found Meera attending to patients at her private clinic. After making desperate pleas with her to save his wife’s life, the doctor agreed to come to the hospital. However, by the time they arrived in the hospital, his wife had already passed away.

The petitioner added, “If any gynaecologist was available on duty at the relevant point of time in the hospital, his wife and his child could have been saved by the doctors. Therefore, the state is vicariously liable for the act of erring doctor.”

When the matter came up for hearing, Justice K K Sasidharan directed the petitioner’s counsel R Alagumani to implead as the party respondent.









Bombay HC upholds bar’s shutdown, says society must not suffer

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 02.48AM IST

MUMBAI: Society must not suffer, the Bombay high court said on Monday, while lauding the police commissioner for rightly closing down a restaurant-cum-bar at Goregaon (W) where waitresses allegedly indulged in vulgarity.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and Anoop Mohta was hearing an appeal filed by Appu Shetty (70), proprietor of Hotel Sona on S V Road, against a judge’s order. The judge had dismissed his petition challenging the closure of his hotel on the commissioner’s order.

Shetty’s petition said a showcause notice was issued by the deputy commissioner of police (headquarters) in February 2010 on various grounds, including that a surprise visit showed that five waitresses were “acting in a vulgar manner on orchestra music and showing undue intimacy with customers after midnight” and that the “customers were throwing Indian currency notes on them”.

Shetty’s licence was cancelled on March 4, 2011; it was confirmed by the home minister on September 6, 2011. Shetty closed his hotel on November 16, 2011. He moved the HC and the judge upheld the commissioner’s power to cancel the licence if a irregularity is found.

Bobby Malhotra, Shetty’s advocate, said the punishment was harsh. Malhotra said the livelihood of other staffers was also affected. The judges said they had come across petitions regarding problems of women working as bar girls/waitresses but the court would not encourage misbehaviour. “For the larger interest of society and people, mainly young people, stop these activities. Society must survive. See to it that waitresses don’t indulge in illegal exhibition of their bodies,” said Justice Majmudar. He also had a piece of advice for Shetty: “Find some other business, you are 70. There are temples. You can go there,” said Justice Majmudar.

The judges said Shetty’s licence was suspended earlier too for violating licence conditions. “The commissioner was absolutely justified… If a hotelier is permitted to indulge in such activities, society is bound to suffer as those visiting hotels are tempted to indulge in illegal activities,” they said. They hoped the commissioner would direct his staff to be “vigilant, carry surprise checks” and take strict action against violators.









HC grants bail to 2 more AMRI directors

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 04.05AM IST

KOLKATA: Manish Goenka and Ravi Todi, directors of the AMRI Hospitals, were granted bail by the Calcutta high court on Monday. They were in custody for 116 days since their arrest after the December 9 fire at AMRI-Dhakuria that claimed 91 lives.

The order was passed by a division bench of justices Ashim Roy and Ashim Ray. The defence lawyers argued that the two directors should be granted bail pending trial since the investigation in the case had been completed and a chargsheet filed. Of the 16 accused in the case, 12 are directors and the rest senior executives of the hospital. All of them have been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Last Wednesday, the high court granted bail to AMRI directors RS Goenka and Prashant Goenka, saying documents placed before it showed the board of directors wasn’t responsible for the hospital’s day-to-day affairs.

So far, six of the accused, including five directors, have already been granted bail. Dr Moni Chhetri, the managing director of the hospital who holds its license, was granted bail by a trial court. Dr Pranab Dasgupta and senior vice president Satyabrata Upadhyay were also granted bail.

Director R S Agarwal was granted bail by the high court along with R S Goenka and Prashant Goenka on March 28. Three board members – Aditya Agarwal, Preeti Surekha and Rahul Todi – are absconding.

More than 90 persons, most of them patients, died after inhaling smoke on the night of the fire that allegedly started from cotton and other materials stored illegally in the basement of the centrally air-conditioned multi-specialty hospital.








Delhi HC asks CVC to check status of CBI probe into Kandla land ‘scam’

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 02.43AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Tuesday directed the Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) to examine the status of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the alleged land scam at Kandla Port.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to the CVC, and sought a reply within two weeks. Now, the matter is listed for May 8.

An NGO, the Centre for Public Interest Litigation (CPIL), has alleged that a huge land scam has been going on for past few decades in the allotment of 16,000 acres of government land near Kandla port in Gujarat, causing a huge loss to the national exchequer.

Advocate Prashant Bhushan, filing a fresh application in the case on behalf of CPIL, demanded the CVC to intervene to monitor the CBI probe.

“Through this application, the petitioner would like to bring to light the serious shortcomings in the CBI investigation and call for certain urgent orders from this court,” the application submitted. It alleged that several cases relating to land allotment in the Kandla port were forwarded to the CBI for investigation by the chief vigilance officer of the Kandla Port Trust in his report, but no action was taken. The report deals with 16,000 acres of land and encapsulated the role of the shipping ministry, government of India in the scam’s cover-up.

The HC had earlier allowed the CBI inquiry into the scam and asked it to file a detailed status report on all the cases, but Bhushan alleged that the CBI has given a report that is short of details.

The CBI report dated January 18, 2012, gives the current status of only four cases, he argued, adding that in two of the four cases, a chargesheet has been filed against senior officials of the Kandla port including its former chairpersons.

“This is an extremely serious case of cheating and corruption, where clear-cut evidence is present for chargesheeting the accused. The delay in finalization of investigation raises serious suspicions on the conduct of the investigation,” the lawyer alleged.

As per the petition, between 1960s and 1970s, the land near Kandla port was leased out on nomination basis and not through competitive bidding. It is alleged that most of the leases around the port have also expired, and the conduct of the shipping ministry is in violation of provision of Major Port Trust Act, 1963, and the government’s norms.

The petition has prayed before the HC to direct taking back the possession of the 16,000 acres of government land and evict trespassers, who are in illegal occupation of the plot.









HC to clear ambiguity in the Lokayukta Act

TNN | Apr 3, 2012, 04.58AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court has observed that there is ambiguity in the Lokayukta act regarding the consultation process and it needs to be set right.

A division bench headed by Justice N Kumar on Monday enlarged the scope of the two PILs challenging Justice Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment as Upa Lokayukta, and said the procedure needs to be set right leaving no scope for ambiguity.

”We want to lay down the law,” the bench observed while framing several questions such as the consultation process and how it has to be undertaken, what inputs each constitutional authority has to give and what should be done if there is no unanimity among consultees.

The bench has started the dictation process on the two PILs challenging the Upa Lokayukta’s appointment and is likely to complete it on Tuesday.

BSY’s letter in court

In another development, a letter written by former chief minister BS Yeddyurappa to the then Chief Justice JS Khehar was placed in the court on Monday.

In the August 2, 2011 letter, the former CM apologized to Justice Khehar for not consulting him in the Lokayukta’s appointment (Justice V Shivaraj Patil). He had also assured that the chief secretary would put in place a ‘revised system’ in place on the lines suggested by the Chief Justice, and that would be acted upon.

What’s the case?

Two advocates filed the PILs challenging Justice Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment on January 21, citing that Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen wasn’t consulted in the process.

The chief justice, in fact, wrote a letter on February 4, saying that he wasn’t consulted while appointing Justice Chandrashekaraiah. However, the government contended that the chief minister is not bound by the advice of any of the consultees, including the chief justice, on the Upa Lokayukta’s appointment.

The government further claimed that consultation is only a ‘procedural requirement’ and none among the consultees has any primacy in the matter.






Aarushi case: HC notice to Rajesh Talwar on CBI plea

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 03, 2012, 13:50

Ghaziabad: The Allahabad High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to Rajesh Talwar seeking reply on a plea by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging the Ghaziabad CBI court’s order extending his bail. Talwar is a co-accused in the double murder of his 13-year-old daughter Aarushi and domestic help Hemraj.

Issuing notice to Talwar, the court fixed May 7 as the next date of hearing in the matter.

The CBI court in Ghaziabad had last month allowed Talwar to remain on bail till April 11, referring to the Supreme Court’s observation that the accused father was virtually on bail.


Moving the application before the Allahabad HC yesterday, the Central agency had contested CBI Special Judge Preeti Singh’s decision stating that Talwar has to apply for regular bail and that the Ghaziabad court had misinterpreted the apex court’s order.

Dentist couple Rajesh and Nupur Talwar had moved the SC seeking the transfer of trial on the grounds of their personal security, and that a large number of witnesses in the case resided in Delhi. But their request was turned down.

Aarushi, 14, was found brutally murdered in their Noida residence on May 16, 2008. The body of Hemraj was found the next day from the terrace of the house.







‘Indecent activities’: HC lauds police for action against hotel

Express news service : Tue Apr 03 2012, 03:09 hrs

The Bombay High Court on Monday appreciated the Mumbai Police’s decision to cancel the licence of a suburban hotel after women employees of the hotel were allegedly found to be involved in ‘indecent exposure.’

“It is good that one such hotel is closed. We have to see to it that the society is purified,” Justice P B Majmudar said.

Appu Shetty, the owner of Sona Hotel in Goregaon (West) had moved the High Court challenging the order of the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) HQ, passed on November 16, 2011, permanently cancelling the license issued to the hotel.

The police had first issued a showcause notice to Shetty on February 2, 2010 alleging that the waitresses employed in the hotel were indulging in “vulgar” and “indecent” behaviour towards their customers. The DCP’s order was confirmed by the state government.

Earlier, not interfering with the police’s decision, a single judge of the High Court had found no fault in it. It was then that Shetty appealed before a division Bench of the court.

Justice Majmudar and Justice Anoop Mohta also observed that in other cases, the court had permitted waitresses to work late in such hotels, but if any conditions of employment were violated, the court would encourage the police to take strict action against such hotels.

“If waitresses are exploited by the employer; if it is found that they are forced to exhibit indecently or vulgarly, then the DCP is justified in passing such an order,” the court said.

Shetty’s lawyer Bobby Malhotra argued that the police could have permanently cancelled the licence if he was convicted for such an offence.

“That is the unfortunate part of our system. There is no conviction,” Justice Majmudar said. He, however, added that in the absence of a conviction, the police’s power to take action against errant hotel-owners would not be restrained.

“There is vulgar exhibition of body….where are we going? The society will suffer. People, especially young people, will be tempted to go to such places,” Justice Majmudar said. He added that this was “a matter of great danger” and it would be in the larger interest of the society that such places are closed down by the police.

Dismissing Shetty’s petition, the court said the police must conduct surprise checks. “Let us start gradually,” Justice Majmudar said.

Malhotra said her client is 70-years old and that he and his 50 employees would be deprived of their livelihood if the license was permanently cancelled. “You can do some other business….there are so many temples in Mumbai, you can work there,” the court said.

LEGAL NEWS 29.03.2012

CAT to pass order on Rahul Sharma’s petition on April 19

Press Trust of India : Ahmedabad, Thu Mar 29 2012, 05:51 hrs

Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) is likely to pass final order on the petition of IPS officer Rahul Sharma, who has challenged the chargesheet served to him with regard to phone-call records CD of the 2002 riot period, on April 19.

Bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar fixed the date for order after both the petitioner and the state government submitted final written arguments.

At the last hearing on March 15, the tribunal also ordered extension of the deadline set by government for Sharma to file reply to the chargesheet, till the order in this matter is passed.

Sharma’s petition contends that he is being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission which is probing the 2002 Gujarat riots.

The bench heard the petition on a limited issue: whether he enjoys immunity, under section 6 of Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952, from civil and criminal proceedings.

Section 6 grants immunity to witnesses for the statements made before a commission. But state had opposed this, and termed the petition as premature.

According to Gujarat government, chargesheet against Sharma had nothing to do with deposition before riots panel.

Sharma is charged with misconduct under Sec 3(1) of All India Service Rules 1969. Chargesheet says he did not submit the original CD containing mobile call records related to 2002 riots period to the investigating officers or supervisory officers when he was transferred from erstwhile posting.

Sharma’s petition says he did send the CD in question through a police messenger to the then Joint Police Commissioner P P Pande, after which the CD became untraceable.

Central Information Commissioner writes to PM, says don’t dilute RTI act

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: March 29, 2012 16:15 IST

New Delhi:  An Information Commission with the Central Information Commission, Sailesh Gandhi, has written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh against diluting the Right to Information (RTI) Act to shield nuclear safety regulators from coming under its purview.

In his letter, the Information Commissioner has said that the Nuclear Safety Regulatory Authority (NSRA) Bill, that was introduced in Parliament by the government in September last year, aims at amending the RTI Act in order to exempt safety regulators from accountability. Expressing serious apprehensions about transparency, Mr Gandhi said that nuclear energy is as much about the safety and well-being of the citizens as it is about development.

Towards that ends, Mr Gandhi has urged the Prime Minister to prevent amendments to the RTI act which would weaken the fundamental rights of citizens.

The letter comes in the wake of protests over the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu. Locals as well as activists have expressed fears and concerns over the safety of the plant, drawing a parallel to the disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan that was triggered by a tsunami last year. The state government, after an initial objection to the project, gave its go-ahead this month – something that has upset villagers and activists alike. The Centre, as also experts, though have assured that the plant meets international safety standards.

Mr Gandhi, citing the effectiveness of the revolutionary RTI act that had “stood the test of time”, has said that a high degree of transparency would go a long way to check any mistakes which may be made.

Govt okays CBI probe of I-T tribunal members

Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, March 29, 2012In a major anti-graft move, the government has allowed the CBI to probe allegations against at least 20 members of the country’s top income tax tribunal, who allegedly outsourced writing of judgments to private parties.
Nearly two years after the CBI had first asked the government seeking sanction to begin a preliminary inquiry against these serving and retired members of the Income Tax Appellate tribunal (ITAT), law minister Salman Khurshid on Monday gave the green signal.

Khurshid’s nod came after the Chief Justice of India SH Kapadia had expressed displeasure over the lack of action against some tribunal members who allegedly allowed private parties to write judgments on their behalf and sought financial favours in return.

The minister’s decision to let CBI probe the affairs of the tribunal, which deals with appeals worth hundreds of crores of rupees, comes against the decisions of income tax commissioners across the country, following Attorney General GE Vahanvati’s opinion recommending a “thorough probe” into the allegations.

The law minister had informed the Rajya Sabha on March 19 that Justice Kapadia had written to the government in February last year and sent a reminder in January this year to take “appropriate action against some members of the tribunal according to rules.”

Following Justice Kapadia’s letters and his meeting with the minister, Khushid had directed the legal affairs department “to expedite the matter”.

The CBI had been seeking the ministry’s nod to probe these tribunal members posted in different parts of the country.

The ministry had in January allowed the CBI to file a chargesheet in a Kolkata court against a suspended tribunal member, Jugal Kishore.

Following a tip-off, the CBI in May 2008 recovered R28 lakh from Kishore’s Kolkata residence. This amount was allegedly paid by a chartered accountancy firm.

Later, the CBI seized computers from the firm and scrutiny of discs led to retrieval of 75 documents that showed similarities with 69 orders passed by the tribunal’s benches in Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad, Bhubaneswar and Guwahati.

Income Tax Tribunal asks Kingfisher to make Rs 9-crore weekly payment

PTI, 28 Mar 2012 | 11:42 PM

The Bangalore Bench of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) has directed Kingfisher Airlines to pay the remaining amount of the outstanding demand of Rs 349.09 crore to the IT Department in weekly installments of Rs nine crore starting from April 7.

Kingfisher was also directed in the interim order to furnish bank guarantee against the weekly installment of Rs nine crore only.

The bench had ordered Kingfisher to make a payment of Rs 44 crore out of the outstanding demand on or before yesterday which the Airlines complied with.

It directed the Department to lift the attachment of the bank accounts immediately so that Kingfisher may start smooth functioning and would be in a position to make the payments by earning from business activities.

“The business activities of the assessee (Kingfisher) are disturbed due to the attachment of the bank accounts, the demand of the department may be met out by the assessee when it is allowed to run the business smoothly and earn something from that business, by putting the business of the assessee at halt through attachment is not a solution”, the bench observed.

The bench’s order last week allowed the stay petitions of Kingfisher and fixed April 12 as the date to hear the appeals.

“In our opinion, the assessee has prima facie an arguable case and the balance of convenience also lies in favour of the assessee, so it is a good case where stay can be granted with certain conditions”, it said.

Surgeon accused of employing minor

Prerna Sodhi, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: A senior west Delhi based cardiologist has been accused of employing a minor at home, and the city’s Child Welfare Committee (CWC) has directed the police to register a criminal complaint against him. Police said a group of volunteers and a team from the Kirti Nagar police station rescued the teenage girl from the surgeon’s Kirti Nagar residence on Wednesday noon.

“Preliminary investigations were done today. We will talk to the girl again. However, we have asked for an FIR against the employer under Section 23 of the Juvenile Justice Act, relevant sections of Indian Penal Code and the Child Labour Act,” CWC chairperson Neera Malik told TOI at the committee’s Nirmal Chhaya campus.

Guddi (name changed), a native of West Bengal, was reported missing in January this year. It was later learnt that she had been abducted and sold off to a placement agency in Delhi. Acting on a tip-off from volunteers of an NGO in West Bengal, police and members of the volunteer group Shakti Vahini raided the surgeon’s home on Wednesday.

“We had received a tip-off from our partners in West Bengal. They provided us with a number and we asked the police to trace it,” said Subir Roy, director programmes and projects at Shakti Vahini. “After the number was traced to an address in Kirti Nagar, we decided to rescue the child.”

Roy said the minor was made to do household chores apart from taking care of the surgeon’s two children. “The girl says her work hours were from 6am to midnight, and she was not paid,” said Roy. “She was given to the family by a placement agency, which bought her from the abductors in January.”

When TOI called up the surgeon, he admitted to employing the girl but claimed he was not aware of her age. “The placement agency which gave us the girl said she was 17 years old. Thus we never really thought of complaining,” said the surgeon. All attempts to contact the agency failed.

Law Min go-ahead for CBI preliminary probe against 20 ITAT

Published: Wednesday, Mar 28, 2012, 22:07 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Law Minister Salman Khurshid is learnt to have given a go-ahead to CBI to hold a preliminary inquiry against 20 members of Income Tax tribunal for their alleged role in outsourcing writing of judgements to private individuals in return for favour.

Law Ministry sources said Khurshid signed the file granting CBI sanction to undertake the preliminary inquiry after Attorney General GE Vahanvati opined that the Ministry can go ahead as there were no legal hurdles.

The sanction came almost two years after CBI had sought permission to hold the inquiry.

The Law Ministry has administrative control over the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).

The vigilance department of the ministry will coordinate with CBI on the issue.

The move comes close on the heels of a meeting between Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia and Khurshid in which the former is learnt to have asked the government to ensure that the controversy does not linger on for long.

A Supreme Court Judge heads the appointment panel of ITAT.

The CJI had written to the Law Ministry in this regard in February, 2011.

CBI has been seeking sanction from the ministry since 2008 to register a preliminary inquiry against 20 members of ITAT posted in various benches across India.

The agency alleged these members had outsourced writing of judgements to private parties in return for favour.

The ministry had recently granted sanction to CBI to file a chargesheet in a Kolkata court against suspended tribunal member Jugal Kishore and five others.

After the CJI’s meeting with Khurshid, the Law Ministry had sought more details from CBI and other agencies to process the request to grant sanction for a preliminary probe.

Government had recently informed the Rajya Sabha that the Chief Justice of India had asked it to take an appropriate decision in respect of certain members of the Tribunal who are alleged to have an unholy nexus with private persons on account of issuance of orders favouring the clients, resulting in possible losses to the government.

Khurshid had said the matter is under consideration.

Court frames charges against Naxal leader Kobad Gandhy

PTI | Mar 28, 2012, 08.04PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court today put on trial top Naxal leader Kobad Gandhy for alleged cheating, forgery and impersonation while discharging him on charges under stringent anti-terror law.

Paving the way for the trial, Additional Sessions Judge Pawan Kumar Jain framed charges against 65-year-old Gandhy under various provisions of the IPC relating to cheating, forgery and impersonation in the case in which he is accused of trying to set up a base for banned outfit CPI (Maoist).

The court, however, discharged Gandhy of the charges under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act due to improper sanction from the authorities.

“In my opinion, case is made out against Gandhy under the provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act but I am discharging (of the charges under UAP Act) him for want of proper sanction,” the judge said.

The Maoist leader earlier had opposed filing of a supplementary charge sheet against him saying the police has filed the charge sheet despite there being no fresh material against him.

The Special Cell of Delhi Police, in its main charge sheet, had slapped charges under the UAP Act, besides booking him for various offences under the IPC relating to cheating, forgery and impersonation.

An alumni of the prestigious Doon School, Ghandy was said to be part of the top leadership of erstwhile CPI-ML (People’s War Group) from 1981 and continued as a Central Committee member in CPI (Maoist). He was elected to its Politburo in 2007.

Court grants bail to 2 doctors in AIIMS admission racket

PTI | 08:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) Two doctors, arrested by the CBI for allegedly manipulating admission process for post-graduate courses at All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), were today granted bail by a Delhi court. Additional Sessions Judge R Kiran Nath granted bail to doctors Noopur Bajpai and Sonal on a personal bond of Rs 20,000 each with one surety of the same amount. “Both the accused are granted bail,” the judge said. The two doctors have been accused of colluding with the purported mastermind, Dr Mahipal Singh, in manipulating the admission process. The court passed the order after hearing arguments by advocate Promod Dubey, who, appearing for the two accused, contended there was no evidence against them and there was no apprehension that they would tamper with the evidence or hamper the probe. Dubey sought bail saying the investigations in the case is complete and also referred to the CBI’s statement that no further custodial interrogation was required in the case. The bail pleas, however, were opposed by the CBI, which said the nature of the offence was serious. Apart from Bajpai, Sonal and Singh, the CBI had also arrayed two other doctors, Amit Aggarwal and Jyotsana as accused in the case along with Rajiv Ghatak, a data entry operator. The CBI had booked the accused for allegedly committing forgery, cheating and criminal conspiracy. The agency had also slapped Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) against Mahipal Singh, a 2010 Radiology graduate from AIIMS, who was arrested in June last year and is still under judicial custody. Rajiv Ghatak, who allegedly smuggled out answer sheets while working as a data entry operator in a company hired by AIIMS to process the answer sheets, has also not yet secured the bail. The bail plea of Mahipal Singh is likely to be heard tomorrow by the Delhi High Court.

Encounter death probe transferred to CBI

Express News Service

CHENNAI: Further investigation into the alleged encounter death of K Ravinder, said to be an extremist, in 2000, was transferred to the CBI on Tuesday. ‘’Prima facie materials are available on record to doubt the version of the authorities concerned and to suspect foul play by some police personnel in the death of Ravinder,’’ a divison bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and M Venugopal observed while allowing a writ appeal from Nirmala, wife of Ravinder, who made various allegations against the police team which killed her husband and the police personnel probing the case. “If this type of serious allegations of human rights violations, particularly by the law protectors themselves, were left without

proper investigation, it would shake the confidence of the people in the entire justice delivery system in particular and the democracy as a whole,” the bench said and transferred the case to the CBI.

The CBI should probe the matter in accordance with law and file its final report before the court concerned within six months, the bench added. Originally, alleging that her husband was killed in a fake encounter on January 10, 2000, Nirmala filed writ petitions demanding a compensation of Rs 10 lakh, to register a case against the police personnel involved in the death for an offence under Section 302 of the IPC and to transfer the case to the CBI.

According to the petitioner, her husband was working as a junior engineer in the Telecommunications Department from 1982. He resigned from the post in April 1997 and worked for the poor.

The single judge dismissed the petitions on June 9, 2000. Hence, the present appeal.

Bar making all attempts to prevent prosecution of wayward members: court

Special Correspondent

“Of late, whenever any member of the Bar is involved in a criminal case, there is an attempt to send petitions to all kinds of authorities including the Chief Justice of this court. On that basis, petitions are filed either to quash the proceedings pending before the trial court or to derail the investigation by asking for different investigation,” the Madras High Court has observed.

The court was allowing a writ petition by K.Senguttuvan seeking to quash an order of the Tamil Nadu Home Secretary of March 12, 2008 ordering reinvestigation of a murder case by the CB CID and the order of the Director-General of Police of March 26 the same year directing the withdrawal of the charge sheet already filed in the case and to hand over the case diary file and relevant records to the CB CID, Thanjavur.

“This case is yet another instance where the organised Bar attempts to derail the criminal investigation in their anxiety to make one of their wayward members from facing prosecution, being an accused for an offence involving murder. This case also shows the ever-willing government, instead of upholding the rule of law, succumbing to the dictates of a pressure group, thanks to a green signal given by the court,” Justice K.Chandru said.

At the instance of the petitioner, a resident of Keelathiruppalakudi, the Paravakottai police station, Mannargudi Taluk, Tiruvarur district, had registered an FIR. The petitioner’s case was that his brother, Tamilselvan, was done to death by four persons at Sundarakottai on December 25, 2005. He alleged that they included Elangovan, the then president of Ullikkottaipanchayat, who was also an advocate. The charge sheet was filed before the Judicial Magistrate-II, Mannargudi, in August 2006. The advocate got a letter sent by one A.Selvaraju, claiming to be the president of the Mannargudi Bar Association on April 5, 2006 addressed to the Chief Justice, requesting him to conduct a discreet enquiry and take appropriate action to safeguard the advocate. The letter also stated that Mr.Elangovan was not at all present during the occurrence and had been falsely implicated.

A petition was filed before the High Court seeking a direction to change the investigation from the Paravakottai police station. The Judge disposed of the petition with a direction.

Mr.Justice Chandru said the direction clearly showed that a copy of the memorandum given to the Chief Justice was produced and was strongly relied on by the Judge for directing the State Government to consider the Bar association president’s representation. Following the direction, the Home Secretary and the DGP passed the orders.

He said there was no scope for the State to interfere with the course of trial and that the Home Secretary’s direction was clearly uncalled for and without jurisdiction. From the beginning, an attempt was made by the advocate, who had been arraigned as second accused in the murder case, to derail the investigation even though he faced a serious criminal charge.

It was unfortunate that a High Court Judge must refer to the letter as a substantive document to order the Home Secretary to conduct an enquiry. The credentials of the person who sent the letter to the Chief Justice claiming to be an office bearer of the Bar association itself was doubtful. Setting aside the impugned orders, the Judge ordered the Judicial Magistrate-II, Mannargudi, to proceed with the case.

Maharashtra govt reinstates former Shirdi Saibaba Trust chairman

PTI Mar 28, 2012, 02.26PM IST

SHIRDI, MAHARASHTRA: Maharashtra government has reappointed former Congress MLA Jayant Sasane as the chairman of Shirdi Saibaba Trust which was recently disbanded by the Aurangabad bench of the Bombay High Court.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan last night released a list of fifteen members in the wake of the HC’s directives to appoint a new board in 15 days, sources said.

The high court in its March 13 verdict dissolved the seven year old trust comprising 15 trustees for not complying with the constitution of the trust which entails that the term of the body can not be more than three years.

The trust was granted extension for the second term in 2007, but failed to appoint a new body as mandated by the norms.

Ahmad Nagar district NCP president Ghanshyam Shelar has been appointed as the vice-president of the trust which manages the affairs of one of the richest shrines in the country.

In the 15-member trust, Congress has six members and NCP nine.

Other members of the new trust comprise Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil, Vilas Kote, Shailesh Kute, Surendra Kharde, Mininanath Pandey, Ajit Kadam, Patangrao Shelke, Snehalata Kolhe, Rajendra Pipada, Suresh Wadhava, Namdev Gunjal, Prakash Nandurkar and Sumitra Kote-a nominated member.

Names of two Congress members are yet to be announced, they said.

A PIL in this regard was filed by Sandeep Kulkarni and Rajendra Gondkar from Shirdi.

The bench had stated that the present board be dissolved and new trustees be appointed within 15 days. The court had asked Ahmednagar district collector to oversee the matters till the new body is put in place.

Meanwhile, a writ petition requesting the high court to not allow members affiliated to political parties on the new board will come up for hearing before the Aurangabad bench on April 4.

Slum-dwellers move HC against eviction

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 01.15AM IST

NAGPUR: Eight slum-dwellers move high court alleging that they were forcefully evicted from there homes by the Nagpur Municipal Corporation (NMC) to favour a builder. They wrote a letter to the court highlighting their plight and injustice meted out to them by the NMC and builder Nitin Hande.

Taking serious cognisance of the letter, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court treated the issue as public interest litigation while appointing Anand Parchure as amicus curiae. A division bench comprising justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and Arun Chaudhari on Tuesday severely criticised the NMC officials after Parchure pointed out to the court that the civic officials acted in most insensitive manner by forcefully evicting the poor slum dwellers without providing them alternate accommodation. The respondents were told to reply by Thursday when the PIL would be reheard.

Parchure contended that the petitioners are residents of Ward No 96 in Lakadganj and the area was occupied by their forefathers since pre-independent era. It was also notified as slum by the Maharashtra government’s Urban Development Department ( UDD) on September 15, 1994.

He claimed that the corporation officials in collusion with the builder allegedly sanctioned the map of the land by showing the area as vacant. On November 7, 2008, the NMC demolished their houses and shanties without giving any prior notice and flouting all norms. After their protests, the builder agreed to provide them 350 sq ft accommodation at his own cost on a lease of 30 years on the condition that they will vacate the land. Both parties then inked a compromise deal with the condition that both of them will withdraw all rival claims and cases from all courts. However, the builder allegedly started threatening them instead of fulfilling the conditions. After this they dispatched a letter to the court.

The amicus curiae argued that the builder failed to honour the conditions of deed and resulted in serious miscarriage of justice and also violation of Article 14 and 21 of the Constitution of India. The petitioners prayed for directions to the builder to provide them alternate accommodation as per deed. During last hearing, the respondents, including NMC commissioner, builder, state government and Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) were issued notices.

Maharashtra writes to Centre over silence zone issue

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

Mumbai, Mar 28 (PTI) Maharashtra Government has written to the Centre seeking change in relevant laws to allow holding of rallies at the famous Shivaji Park Ground, which has been declared a silence zone by the Bombay High Court, the Legislative Council was informed today. “We have written to the Central Government requesting it to amend laws related to silence zones to allow public rallies in Shivaji Park here,” Minister of State for Urban Development Bhaskar Jadhav said. Acting on a PIL, the HC in May 2010 had directed the civic body to notify Shivaji Park, which has in its vicinity schools and hospitals, as a silence zone. The court had said programmes can be held at the park only on December 6 (death anniversary of B R Ambedkar), May 1 (Maharashtra Day) and January 26. Political parties had criticised the court order. Permission for rallies can be granted after schools hours and on holidays, Jadhav said. Leader of Opposition Vinod Tawade said the political parties recognised by the Election Commission should be allowed to hold public meetings in the sprawling park located in Dadar area of central Mumbai.

Notice to Centre on power crisis in Tamil Nadu

Express News Service

MADURAI: The Madurai High Court Bench has ordered notice to the Centre on a PIL praying for directions to end the ‘unprecedented’ power crisis in the State.The petitioner, B Stalin, had held the Centre responsible for the power shortage, claiming that Tamil Nadu was being haunted bypower crises for more than five years due to the neglect the Union government shows towards the State. Blaming the Centre for acting in a ‘step motherly’ way towards the State, Stalin said that power generated at Neyveli should not be supplied to other states until the power crisis eased in Tamil Nadu.

File case on burning garbage: MC to cops

Express news service : Panchkula, Thu Mar 29 2012, 01:12 hrs

The Panchkula Municipal Corporation on Wednesday requested the local police to register a case against unknown persons for burning garbage at the dumping site, Sector 23.

The Punjab and Haryana High Court had banned the burning of the garbage at the dumping site while hearing a PIL, which sought directions to the authorities to shift the dumping site.

“We suspect that there are some miscreants who are trying to defame us by burning the garbage. We have written to the Station House Officer, Chandimandir, to register a case against unknown persons involved in setting the garbage on fire at the temporary dumping site in Sector 23,” said executive officer of Panchkula MC O P Sihag. “Someone put the garbage on fire on Monday night, but it was brought under control. Next morning, it was again put on fire.

In fact, residents of Sector 23 had to call a fire tender to douse the flames. The residents have been demanding shifting of the dumping site.

PIL against hotels-in-CRZ policy disposed

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.24AM IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by NGO Goa Foundation challenging the government’s hotels and beach resorts policy in CRZ III areas.

A division bench of Justice S C Dharmadhikari and Justice U V Bakre observed that “the challenge to the policy is premature and at this stage when all requisite measures and steps have yet to be undertaken, leave alone completed, we will not be in a position to hold that the petitioner’s apprehension is well founded”.

The court further observed that although the policy, which includes detailed guidelines for considering project proposals of hotels/beach resorts in CRZ III areas, has been notified, the exercise that the high court had directed in an earlier judgment and the steps required to be taken under CRZ Notification 2011 have not yet been completed.

Goa Foundation had sought a stay and the quashing of the policy which envisages the utilization of available open plots in CRZ III areas for establishing hotels and beach resorts. The NGO had pointed out that the policy is contrary to the findings and directions of the high court in its October 13, 2006 judgment.

The court had at that time directed the state government to identify open plots in CRZ III which are available for construction of hotels and to frame an appropriate policy for the plots’ utilization before allowing construction.

The petitioner alleged that no such identification had been carried out before the framing of the policy.

The petitioner further stated that CRZ Notification 2011 had also been violated and even turtle-nesting sites are included in the 4,000 sq m demarcated under the policy as permissible for development of beach resorts.

The state government’s policy was framed in June 2011 pursuant to directions issued by the high court in 2006 following a PIL filed by the Goa Foundation then.

The latter PIL had alleged large-scale violations of the Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) Notification, 1991. In the new PIL, the petitioner’s lawyer, Norma Alvares, argued that the maps from the policy document would indicate resorts being permitted within the dwelling locality areas/gaothan of CRZ III.

In addition, the policy also shows plots in CRZ I as permissible for resorts, she pointed out.

She expressed apprehension that if this policy came into force it would have an adverse effect on the environment and ecology and would lead to the degradation of Goa’s coastal areas in totality.

The then advocate general Subodh Kantak had submitted that as per the provisions of CRZ Notification 2011 the state government has to identify and map sand dunes, mangroves, khazan lands and prepare management plans for turtle-nesting sites at Mandrem, Morjim, Galgibaga and Agonda.

He had informed the court that the government was awaiting a detailed project proposal from RSI, Hyderabad, for identification and mapping of areas of sand dunes, khazan lands and mangroves along the Goa coast, including mapping of estuaries and riverine areas to determine the suitability of use of land for the purpose of hotel/beach resorts. “At every level there is check and balance provided in the process of approving any proposal. This is the first stage in the assessment. There is a detailed process of analysis, assessment and appraisal and any hotel project that is detrimental to the sustainable growth, protection and development cannot be considered,” Kantak had stated.

PIL on effluents entering water bodies: Centre to reply by May 10

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 05.43AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre was asked by the Delhi high court on Wednesday to respond to a PIL seeking a ban on treated effluents entering water bodies.

The PIL urges HC to issue directions to environment ministry to take steps to stop flow of treated effluent from sewerage treatment plants (STPs) into the water bodies. Issuing notices to environment ministry, Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and also to Delhi Jal Board, a bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw sought their replies by May 10.

The PIL, filed by environmentalist Vinod Jain, alleges that the treated effluent from the STPs is channelled into the water bodies which contaminates the ground water. “The treated sewage water is not only polluting the water bodies, but also contaminating the ground water,” the petitioner said.

Kins of MCD worker awarded Rs 26 L compensation

Agencies : New Delhi, Thu Mar 29 2012, 14:23 hrs

The family members of a MCD worker, who died in a road mishap involving a motorcycle two years ago, have been awarded a compensation of nearly Rs 26 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here.

The tribunal directed the New India Assurance Company Ltd, with which the offending motorcycle was insured, to pay Rs 25,92,184 to the wife, three minor children and parents of Anil Kumar, who was working as a sweeper with the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) and died in the accident.

“I grant a compensation to the tune of Rs 25,92,184 to all the petitioners (family members of Anil) with interest….,” MACT Presiding Officer B S Chumbak said.

The tribunal held the victim died due to the rash and negligent driving of the offending motorcycle by Deepak Kumar at the time of the accident.

“I am of considered view that petitioner successfully proved that deceased received fatal injuries on March 27, 2010 involving the motorcycle which was being driven in a rash and negligent manner by driver (Deepak) and owned by (Raj Pal),” the presiding officer said.

The accident took place on March 27, 2010 when Anil, 35, was returning to his residence in North-East Delhi on his motorcycle and when he reached near Surajmal Vihar here, Deepak came at a high speed on his motorcycle and hit the victim from behind.

Due to this, he fell down and received fatal injuries and was taken to a hospital where he died on April 2, 2010 during the treatment.

Anil’s family told the tribunal that he was earning over Rs 12,000 per month.

CBI gives clean chit to Rane Junior in shooting case

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.08AM IST

MUMBAI: The CBI has given a clean chit to Nitesh Rane, son of state industries minister Narayan Rane, in an attempt to murder case registered against him in 2010. Chintu Shaikh, a former member of Nitesh’s Swabhimaan Sanghatana, had accused Rane Jr of opening fire at him inside the organization’s office in Khar. Shaikh had alleged that Nitesh fired at him twice and one of the bullets grazed his cheek.

On Monday, the CBI filed a closure report in the magistrate court in case. In the report, the CBI said there were no eyewitnesses to the alleged shooting incident.

A senior CBI officer said, “The court is still to take cognizance of the report.”

“The court can either accept the CBI’s findings or frame charges on its own. It can also order further investigation,” said the officer. “Medical reports have concluded that Shaikh’s injuries were not caused due to the alleged shooting. The ballistic investigation, too, does not support his claims.”

Speaking to TOI, Nitesh said, “Until and unless the court finalizes the report and gives me a clean chit, I would not like to make a statement.”

The matter will be heard by the court on April 21.

It was Shaikh’s allegation that on September 23, 2010, he went to the Sanghatana’s office with a box of sweets to celebrate the birth of a child. He went into Nitesh’s cabin where the latter was sitting with his personal assistant and a businessman friend. Shaikh alleged that he offered them sweets and bent down to touch Nitesh’s feet when the Rane scion alleged hit him. According to Shaikh, Nitesh was annoyed because he had suffered losses in business and Shaikh’ s celebrations made him livid. He alleged that while others started assaulting him, Nitesh fired two rounds at him. One of the bullets allegedly grazed his cheek following which he fled and admitted himself to a hospital in Powai.

The Khar police had booked Nitesh and his two aides for under sections 307 attempt to murder and under various sections of the Indian Penal Code , 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace) and 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of common intention) of the IPC and various sections of as well as the Arms Act. He was however not arrested in the case.

In March 2011, following Shaikh’s petition claiming that the police were trying to shield Nitesh, the Bombay high court transferred the case to the CBI.

Spl Cell files fresh charge sheet against jailed PLA cadres

PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

New Delhi, Mar 28 (PTI) The Special Cell of Delhi Police today filed a fresh charge sheet against two jailed cadres of the banned People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The charge sheet was filed against N Dilip Singh and Arun Kumar Singh Salam, who were arrested in October last year from a Central Delhi hotel and are presently in judicial custody. Chief Metropolitan Magistrate Vinod Yadav took cognisance of the charge sheet against them and listed it for further consideration on April 11. The agency, in the fresh charge sheet, said the probe has revealed that Dilip had in 2010 met top Maoist leader Kisanji, who was killed in an encounter last year, and handed him over a letter of consent for training of CPI (Maoist) men by PLA cadres. The agency also told the court that it has initiated the proceedings for issuing Letter Rogatory to the US authorities to obtain the details of emails exchanged between the accused persons and their associates there. The police is looking into the IP addresses and other details of the various email IDs of Dilip and Salam as after their arrest the police had found many “incriminating emails sent to high-ranking cadres of the outfit”. It also said the forensic report of the laptop, phones and CDs recovered from the possession of the accused persons is, awaited. Dilip and Salam are slapped with the charges under the Unlawful Activities Prevention Act for being a member of a banned outfit and furthering its activities, besides charges of cheating, forgery and impersonation under the Indian Penal Code. According to police, Dilip had come to the Capital from Manipur, whereas Arun came from Pune on the direction of his superiors to chalk out the modalities for providing arms, ammunition and communication training to the CPI (Maoist) cadre, and for setting up joint training camps in Myanmar. PTI AKI

Govt assures HC to raze Porvorim illegal structure

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.25AM IST

PANAJI: The state government recently assured the high court of Bombay at Goa that an illegal construction at PDA colony in Porvrorim will be demolished within four weeks.

Flora Heredia and three others-residents of the colony-had approached the high court seeking the demolition of an illegal construction of a religious structure on a public place designated for a market in the colony.

In May 2011, the petitioners noticed construction activity at the site and they filed complaints before the authorities. In the complaint, it was pointed out that an illegal construction was under way on a public place reserved for a market. The structure was constructed without permission from any authority considering the fact that the same is in a space reserved for a market, and besides, is in violation of the existing building laws, the petitioners pointed out.

The petitioners stated that they had filed their complaints with the authorities against the structure . However, no action was taken, the petitioners alleged. The petitioner also pointed out that the state government had issued a circular dated February 15, 2010, to all authorities with regard to the survey/identification and action to be taken in regard to any illegal/unauthorized religious structures in public spaces .

During the hearing of the case, the government advocate informed the court that the construction would be demolished within a period of four weeks. The village panchayat also assured the court that they will not interfere with the demolition work.

The high court observed that the petitioner sought the performance of statutory duty by the authorities and the petition is disposed of in view of the statement made by the government advocate on instructions from the Bardez mamlatdar.

HC says its verdicts not applicable retrospectively

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 01.21AM IST

NAGPUR: Can the high court judgments be applied retrospectively? The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court said ‘no’, in a case of Akola resident while ruling that “there is no question of its applicability retrospectively or prospectively as it only declared the law as it is”.

“The principle of law pronounced by the court in the judgment is to be considered as law which is prevailing from inception and beginning,” a division bench comprising justices PB Majumdar and Prasanna Varale ruled while providing relief to Rambhau Bhusari, an employee of Panjabrao Deshmukh Krushi Vidyapeeth (PDKV), who had challenged his retirement.

“So far as enactment of law by the legislature is concerned, it may have retrospective effect if the enactment so provides,” the judges further observed.

Bhusari (58), working as laboratory attendant, had challenged his retirement, as the PDKV had not allowed him to continue till his 60 years of age. He was appointed to the post in 1980 and was asked to retire on June 30 last year after attaining age of 58.

The petitioner contended that two verdicts of high court last year (WP nos. 2954 and 2505) had clearly ruled that lab attendants coming under group “D” category working in the agricultural university are entitled to serve up 60 years.

HC to take a call on PCO for disabled kin

Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.25AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court will decide whether an able-bodied legal heir of a handicapped person can get a telephone booth transferred in his name.

Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More were hearing a petition filed by Jayaben Gala, widow of a physically challenged man. Jayaben’s late husband, Mulchand Gala, was given a HPCO (handicapped public call office) at Lokhandwala Complex, in Andheri, by the BMC through an NGO.

According to her plea, after his death in 2006, Jayaben Gala continued to operate the booth. However, in 2011, its possession was handed over to another handicapped person by the NGO. Her advocate Dipesh Siroya argued that Gala was forcibly dispossessed. He said being unaware of the formalities, she did not apply for transfer of the booth in her name.

Tax dispute: HC restrains I-T dept from taking steps against school–HC-restrains-I-T-dept-from-taking-steps-against-school/929770/

Express news service : Thu Mar 29 2012, 02:15 hrs

Granting relief to the Sarvodaya Balika Vidyalaya in Malad, the Bombay High Court earlier this week directed the income tax (I-T) department not to take any coercive steps against the school pending the hearing of a tax dispute.

The trust, which runs the school — Rajasthani Sammelan — moved the court after receiving a notice from the department directing it to pay an amount of Rs 30 lakh by March 31.

The amount was a part of a total sum of Rs 1.56 crore held as due by the department. This was after the IT department withdrew the status of a charitable institute from the trust.

About 12,600 students are enrolled in various institutes run by the trust.

In its petition, the Rajasthani Sammelan challenged both the decision to withdraw the status of charitable institute, and the notice asking them to pay the interim due amount.

Hearing the case, a division Bench of Justice D Y Chandrachud and Justice M S Sanklecha refrained from making any comment on the main dispute involved. However, the judges opined, “In our view, this is clearly a case where the assessing officer ought to have granted a stay on demand.”

The court proceeded to restrain the department from taking any coercive steps against the institute till the issue was decided.

Govt liable to pay up for loss caused by wild animals: HC

Kanchan Chaudhari, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 29, 2012The Bombay HC has held that the state government is liable to pay compensation to citizens who suffer loss or damage because of the presence of wild animals, even if the official rulebook does not cover some of them.
“If a wild animal causes loss to an agriculturist or a citizen, it would be the responsibility of the appropriate government to make good the loss,” a division bench of Justice SA Bobde and Justice PB Varale observed in a ruling last week.

“Certainly, it would be open to a citizen to claim compensation for the loss caused by any wild animal, whether (the animal) is specifically referred to in any provision, government resolution or not,” the bench added while deciding a petition filed by Nagpur-based farmer Baburao Aglawe.

After retiring from a government job, Aglawe, 65, had started a banana farm at Tah in Wardha district. In March 2010, some tigers made his plantation their home after finding water in the area and stayed on till July before heading for the Bor Wildlife Sanctuary nearby.

After the tigers left and Aglawe found his crop damaged. On his plea, the forest department recommended a compensation of Rs 48 per plant. But the finance department rejected this in February last year, after which Aglawe approached the HC.

The finance department had apparently declined to grant compensation after finding that tigers were not covered under Maharashtra’s July 2010 resolution, which entitles farmers suffering loss due to wild animals such as wild boar, bison and elephants to compensation.


Pick up part of security tab for Vikas, Vishal’s trips to hospitals: HC to Tihar

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu Mar 29 2012, 04:02 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said that Tihar Jail will have to foot part of the bill spent on security for Vikas and Vishal Yadav, convicts in the Nitish Katara murder case, during their many trips to AIIMS and Batra Hospital in the last four years.

Told that state authorities have spent more than Rs 20 lakh on security for the cousins during their “treatments”, a bench of Justices Geeta Mittal and V K Shali said: “After it is ascertained how much tax payers’ money has been unreasonably spent, we will examine how much of it will have to be shared between the two inmates. And we will also certainly apportionate it between them and Tihar because they cannot be said to be a non-party to the whole thing.”

The court is hearing a plea by Nitish Katara’s mother Neelam who has alleged that Vishal visited Batra Hospital more than 60 times and Vikas visited AIIMS more than 80 times since their conviction in 2008 by misusing their financial and political influence.

The court asked the counsel for Vikas and Vishal to inform whether they would on their own pay part of the money spent on their security.

“You were allowed to go to Batra Hospital for tuberculosis treatment. Now that there are allegations that there were several visits that were not all required, do you want to pay a part of the money or do you refuse to pay anything?” the bench asked Vishal’s counsel.

Expressing reluctance to pay, his counsel said that all visits were connected to tuberculosis and were completely in sync with the 2004 High Court order that allowed Vishal to go to Batra Hospital for treatment of this ailment.

Warning him, the bench said: “You must take clear-cut instructions from your client on this. It is not certain now but we will finally decide if you misused the court order after a final report from the medical board is ready for our perusal.”

The court also pulled up AIIMS for shifting Vikas to A class luxury ward during his treatment and asked them to file an affidavit. “As per the reports, Vikas was kept in A class ward for 10 days more only on account of non-payment of bills. How many other persons are kept like this? You give us the numbers and tell us where do you keep the prisoners otherwise,” the court asked the AIIMS counsel.

The court was informed by the counsel for the Delhi Police that two constables, who had allegedly allowed Vikas to leave AIIMS on the night of Diwali, have been suspended and an inquiry initiated.

In 2008, a Delhi court convicted Vikas and his cousin Vishal for killing Nitish Katara, an MBA student, in February 2002 for having an affair with their sister Bharati.

Arya Orphanage case: HC censures govt-appointed administrator

Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Thu Mar 29 2012, 04:22 hrs

The administrator, appointed by the Delhi government, to look into the affairs at Arya Orphanage, earned the censure of the Delhi High Court on Wednesday for not assisting the court in drawing up the immediate steps required for the welfare of the children due to him being tied up with MCD election duties.

“When all the stakeholders are trying to find a solution as to how a societal institution should function, your administrator is busy with election duties. Nobody wanted an ‘election administrator.’ He should have been here to assist the court and answer our queries so that we could deliver some meaningful directives,” a bench of Justices Pradeep Nandarajog and Pratibha Rani said.

The court censure came after being informed by the government counsel that Bans Raj, the new administrator appointed to oversee the functioning of the orphanage, was not present in the court as he was busy with poll duties.

The counsel had to inform the bench about the administrator’s current job after Justice Nandarajog fumed during the hearing that the administrator was not only supposed to sit in his office but come to the court.

“We wanted him to come before us to help us but he is not there. We have been told that he is visiting the orphanage regularly but what can we expect from him knowing really well that his mind would have been preoccupied with poll-related work. The problem is that the government’s functioning is not up to the mark,” said the bench.

During the hearing, the court took on record 13 suggestions handed out by the Haq Centre for Child Rights, which by posting a letter to the court, had prompted the court to take the matter up as a PIL. The letter by the NGO had sought court’s intervention in ensuring safety and well-being of the children still housed in Arya Orphanage complex, which is mired in a controversy in the wake of allegations of sexual abuse of children there.

These suggestions included preparing a list of children under different categories admitted there, segregation of boys and girls, help-desk for parents and increase in frequency of meetings with parents for certain children, periodical counselling and review, mandatory reporting of all untoward incidents to Child Welfare Committee (CWC) and allowing children to go back home during long vacations.

Senior advocate V P Chaudhary, who appeared for Arya Orphanage, however, objected to allowing children — especially girls — to go back home and contended that there was an apprehension that they might develop “vices” and “bad habits” because of their background and might influence other girls after coming back to the Orphanage.

He further raised objections to the jurisdiction of the CWC into the affairs of the orphanage and claimed that the CWC had no powers to do this.

The bench said it will finalise a draft interim verdict of necessary orders to be passed in the matter by the end of the week.

City briefs : HC blast: Custody of 2 extended

Express news service : Thu Mar 29 2012, 04:19 hrs

HC blast: Custody of 2 extended

New Delhi:A Delhi court on Thursday extended till April 18, the judicial custody of two suspected terrorists, Wasim Akram Malik and Amir Abbas Dev, arrested by the NIA for their alleged role in the attack at the Delhi High Court in September last year. District Judge H S Sharma extended their custody in an in-chamber hearing, and listed the matter for April 18 for scrutiny of documents, filed by the National Investigation Agency.

Design workshop begins at Apeejay

New Delhi:Design Innovation India Workshop 2012, jointly organised by Apeejay Stya University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Media Lab (MIT Media Lab), was inaugurated on Monday at the Apeejay campus in Sheikh Sarai. The five-day workshop has brain-storming sessions, talks, tutorials and will end with an exhibition on March 30.

Open gate near Karbala for a day: HC

New Delhi:The Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi Police to open a gate, barricading of which had led to a clash in Jor Bagh in January, for a day. Rejecting the argument of police that its opening could lead to a law and order problem, the court directed them to open the western gate near Karbala Mosque on Thursday, on the occasion of ‘Nauchandi Jumerat.’

Jail suptd to move HC in Rajoana case

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times
Chandigarh/Patiala , March 28, 2012A defiant Patiala Central Jail superintendent LS Jakhar said on Tuesday that he was “unable and disabled in law” to accept the warrants and carry out the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana – as ordered by the Chandigarh sessions court – and would approach the Punjab and Haryana high Court.

Additional district and sessions judge Shalini Singh Nagpal on Tuesday directed that her earlier orders on carrying out Rajoana’s execution on March 31 at Patiala Central Jail be complied with.

Jakhar claimed there were “legal infirmities” in procedure in the sessions court orders, and requested the court to defer the sentence order till the Supreme Court announced its ruling in the appeals concerning Lakhwinder Singh Lakha and Jagtar Singh Hawara, both convicts in the Beant Singh assassination case.

He said it was his duty to ensure that the procedure established by law is “meticulously followed” before carrying out a death sentence. He said according to Supreme Court guidelines, before carrying out any death sentence, the jail superintendent should ascertain personally whether the death sentence imposed upon any co-accused, of the prisoner due to be hanged, has been commuted.

If commuted, the superintendent should apprise senior authorities of the matter, who in turn must take prompt steps for bringing the matter to the notice of the courts concerned, Jakhar said.

He told the court that both Balwant and Hawara were sentenced to death, but while the death sentence of Hawara was commuted to life by the Punjab and Haryana high court, Lakha’s appeal was pending before the Supreme Court.

Subsequently, the CBI filed an appeal in the Supreme Court challenging the commuting of Hawara’s sentence.

“Since two different appeals linked to two other convicts in the same case are pending in the Supreme Court, there is no question of hanging the third accused before the Supreme Court decides on the two appeals,” Jakhar told HT.

He claimed that after reading the sessions court judgment, it was clear that it has observed that no appeal has been filed by Lakha in the Supreme Court though “we had attached certified copies” of the plea filed by Lakha in the Supreme Court. “So in such a scenario, we would be moving the high court seeking legal remedies in the case,” he said.


HC seeks details of Ganga project

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 03.57AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Taking up a PIL relating to removal of pollution in the Ganga, the Allahabad High Court has directed the state government to file an affidavit detailing the project report on construction of Pakka Ghat in connection with Kumbh-2013 and also the details of grant of project or commissioning of the project.

The PIL was heard by a bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan and Justice Arun Tandon.

Advocate General S P Gupta submitted in the court that the decision of the state government in this regard shall be brought before the court by means of an affidavit with regard to the restoration of roads, where the sewage line is being drawn in the city of Allahabad, immediate action shall be taken.

The Advocate General said that with regard to the restoration of roads, at least the main roads, be restored and details with regard to the restoration shall be brought on record by means of affidavit by the next date.

Regarding the share of state government in the Kumbh Mela-2013, the AG submitted that this issue would again be looked into by the state government and appropriate measures be taken and appropriate funds be provided by the government itself.

The court also directed the UP Pollution Control Board to continue inspecting all the sewage treatment plants and pumping stations and submit periodical reports.

Also, the court directed the counsel of the Central government to file an affidavit by the next date regarding study of environmental flow, which was entrusted to a study group.

The court directed to list this PIL on April 16 for next hearing.

HC for quota in local body posts

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 04.51AM IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has suggested that the Tamil Nadu government bring a legislation reserving posts/offices of vice-chairmen or vice-presidents in local bodies to dalits and women.

A division bench comprising Justice D Murugesan and Justice P P S Janarthana Raja came out with the suggestion, while passing orders on a writ petition filed by advocate M Palanimuthu. The advocate had sought a direction to the state government to reserve 33% of all vice-chairmen and vice-president posts in local bodies and municipalities, besides 22.5% reservation for dalits.

In this regard, he pointed out that already such reservation had been provided for dalits and women as heads of various local bodies. He wanted the similar benefits to be extended to deputy chiefs of such civic bodies.

The judges, conceding that reservation was an affirmative action designed to improve well being of under-represented communities, pointed out that the state had restricted such reservation to persons directly elected to posts in civic bodies, such as chairmen, presidents, members and councillors. The law has not extended the quota to vice-chairmen and vice-presidents.

Noting that such direction cannot be issued by the court to the government in the absence of statutory provisions, the judges said: “It is for the state to consider for inclusion of a provision extending the same reservation to the posts/offices of vice-chairmen and vice-presidents, identifying constitutes for Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and women candidates.”

HC comes down heavily on lawyer trying to wriggle out of case

PTI | 10:03 PM,Mar 28,2012

Chennai, Mar 28 (PTI): Coming down heavily on a lawyer, accused in a murder case, for trying to wriggle out of it by seeking a fresh investigation, the Madras High Court said the investigation conducted in accordance with law cannot be forestalled by these acts. Allowing a petition by one K Senguttuvan seeking to quash orders of government and DGP to transfer investigation from the police station to state crime branch-CID,Justice K Chandru said the Criminal Original Petition filed by the lawyer was nothing but an abuse of the process of law. Stating that he had made use of a letter sent by Selvaraju, claiming to be Mannargudi Bar Association President, addressed to the High Court Chief Justice, ‘as material to torpedo the investigation,’ the Judge said it was unfortunate that a High Court judge should refer to the same petition as a document to order the home secretary to conduct another inquiry. The petitioner said his brother was done to death on Dec 25 2005 by four identified persons, including the lawyer a Bar member,arraigned as second accused.An FIR was registered the next day for murder and the final report filed on Nov 8, 2006. Meanwhile, the lawyer secured a letter from Selvaraju addressed to the CJ, requesting a discreet inquiry and to take appropriate action to safeguard him.It also claimed the lawyer was not present at the spot when the murder took place. After being told a representation had been sent to the Chief Justice and Home Secretary, the Judge on Apr 25, 2007 directed the latter to consider it and take suitable action. On Mar 12, 2008 the Home Secretary transferred investigation to CB-CID and on June 23 that year, the DGP ordered withdrawal of the chargesheet and handing over investigation to CB-CID. The judge said the case was yet another instance where an organised Bar tried to derail investigation into murder in its anxiety to protect a ‘wayward’ member from facing prosecution. He cited the Supreme Court,which had forewarned High Courts from issuing directions which would cause miscarriage of justice and thwart the criminal process and held no such directions can be issued either at the instance of individual member of the Bar or at the instance of the association. Setting aside the orders, he directed the Mannargudi Judicial Magistrate II to proceed with the case and pass appropriate orders. PTI GR APR APR

HC seeks action plan on Slum Rehabilitation Authority flats

Shibu Thomas, TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 02.37AM IST

MUMBAI: The HC on Wednesday sought an “action plan” from the state to deal with the issue of re-sale of flats under the Slum Rehabilitation Authority (SRA) before the expiry of the 10-year deadline.

“Come out with an action plan,” suggested a division bench of Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More, while hearing a petition about a SRA project in Chandivali. There are thousands of flats in the SRA scheme. We cannot pass orders in every matter,” the court added in its oral remarks.

Assistant government pleader Milind More informed the court that four flats in Chandivali were sealed as per orders. In one case the seal was broken and in another the flat was resold for over Rs 8 lakhs,” said More.

The court ordered cops to initiate action against persons who trespass or encroach upon flats that have been sealed.

Last week, the HC ordered the Saki Naka police to seize and seal four flats in the Chandivali slum rehabilitation project. The HC had said no allottee of a rehabilitation flat under the SRA scheme can transfer the flat for a period of 10 years as per rules. The court ruled that gift deeds” and power of attorney” used to transfer the flats were of no consequence”.

Some builders are constructing a slum rehabilitation project in Chandivali.

The SRA scheme had come under the scanner when a PIL revealed that of the 3,198 flats, 329 had been given out on rent, 48 were being used for commercial purposes and 34 had been sold. A second survey showed that of the 121 flats inspected, only 31 were occupied by the original allottees.

In 2010 the HC had suggested that considering the enormity of cases of violation of the SRA scheme, the state should set up a authority to monitor such projects.

“As a large number of SRA projects have been built in Mumbai, it would be advisable for (the state and BMC) take some measures which may include perhaps amendment of the relevant act to provide for the authority which can oversee cases of possession and or subject letting in such projects,” the court had then observed.

HC tells Travancore Devaswom Board to decide on fate of Mohanaru

KOCHI: The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) should decide whether permission should be given to Kantararu Mohanaru to assist the chief priest in rituals at Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, the high court ruled on Wednesday.

The directive by division bench of Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice C T Ravikumar was on a petition by chief priest Kantararu Maheswararu stating that his son, Mohanaru, should be allowed to help him in rituals in view of his ill health.

The court is not interfering in the matter and the Devaswom Board should take a decision in this regard and inform the court by April 3, the division bench held.

Mohanaru was prevented by the board from performing rituals in August 2009.

The guards had stopped him at the northern gate of the temple based on a directive from Sabarimala executive officer V S Jayakumar following a decision by the Devaswom Board.

The board’s decision not to allow Mohanaru into the temple followed his alleged involvement in a blackmailing case and the Jayamala case of 2006.

Mohanaru’s name had figured in the tantri controversy, which the media had claimed involved politics, sex, and conspiracy.

Allegedly, the tantri was photographed in a compromising position with a woman previously booked for immoral traffic at a flat owned by Sobha John, the main accused in several sex racket cases, in 2006.

In the Jayamala case, the tantri was alleged to have conspired with others for facilitating the entry of the actress into the hilltop shrine, where, according to tradition, no fertile woman should visit.

In the petition, the chief priest had stated that Mohanaru had held responsibilities related to rituals before and he should be allowed to take on the responsibilities in his absence.

Calcutta HC grants bail to 2 AMRI directors

TNN | Mar 29, 2012, 12.52AM IST

KOLKATA: The Calcutta high court on Wednesday granted bail to AMRI directors RS Goenka and Prashant Goenka, saying documents placed before it showed the board of directors wasn’t responsible for the hospital’s day-to-day affairs. The duo was in custody for 111 days since a fire at AMRI-Dhakuria claimed 91 lives on December 9.

Significantly, the court also said it was a committee of management -which included only two of the nine directors arrested in the case, nonagenarian cardiologist Moni Chhetri and gynaecologist Pronab Dasgupta, and was headed by Chhetri himself – that was more responsible for running the hospital’s daily administration. The committee, the court added, met once a week (every Saturday) while the board of directors met once every quarter.

A division bench of justices Ashim Roy and Ashim Ray also noted that Chhetri, Dasgupta and senior vice-president Satyabrata Upadhyay, who was also part of this committee, had already been given bail and the state hadn’t appealed against it. The judges said the trial will take some time as the chargesheet cites 455 witnesses and a large number of documents, and were reluctant to keep the directors confined till that time.

The ruling is expected to have wide ramifications as hearings on the bail pleas of two other directors – Manish Goenka and Ravi Todi – resumed on Wednesday and will continue on Thursday. In all, 16 people – 12 directors and four employees – have been charged in the case of whom 13 were arrested and three, all of them directors, declared absconders.

Apart from Chhetri and Dasgupta, the other AMRI director to have got bail before Wednesday is R S Agarwal. He was granted bail on February 17 by the high court. The Alipore court had granted bail to Chhetri, Dasgupta and Upadhyay. The state will move the Supreme Court against Agarwal’s bail.

Goenka and Agarwal are co-chairmen and co-founders of the Rs 3,000-crore Emami group. Along with the Shrachi group, they have a controlling stake in the AMRI Hospitals. The board of directors also has two government nominees – director of medical education and special secretary (health). The government nominees, though, didn’t come in the ambit of the police probe and weren’t charged. The hospital’s licence, critical to investigations, was issued in Chhetri’s name. Police have said all fire safety norms were flouted by the hospital, leading to the deaths.

The police’s January 30 chargesheet lists several key lapses by the hospital. The central airconditioners were not switched off even after the fire, allowing dense fumes to spread rapidly. Neither the fire alarm nor sprinklers worked.

The basement, meant for a car park, had been illegally converted into an office-cum-storehouse. The fire started in a portion of the basement where the hospital stored cotton and bandages.

HC orders state to hold elections for Pune APMC

Atikh Rashid : Thu Mar 29 2012, 03:23 hrs

The Bombay High Court has directed the state government to hold elections to appoint a democratically elected body in the Pune District’s Agricultural Produce Marketing Committee (APMC) with immediate effect. For the past four years, the body is being governed by an official appointed by the state government. The court decision came in response to a writ petition by one Shekhar Badade, a trader at Pune APMC.

The APMC was established in 1957 and was converted into a Regional Marketing Committee on January 10, 2008. Though, as per the Maharashtra Agricultural Produce marketing (Development and Regulation) Act, 1963, the committee should be operated by elected representatives, no election was conducted since 2008. In 2008 the elected Board of Directors of the committee was dissolved by the state following allegations of corruption.

Justifying the delay in holding elections, the joint director of marketing had reasoned in an affidavit submitted in the court, that a proposal for bifurcation of territorial limits of the APMC to segregate some of the talukas from its purview and establish Taluka Market Committees was under consideration. He added that an election at this stage would be impractical as upon division, fresh elections will have to be held for the newly-established Taluka Market Committees resulting in unnecessary expenditure.

The bench comprising justice N M Jamadar and justice A M Khanwilkar observed that as no elected committee was put in place, the members of APMC have been denied the opportunity to express their grievances on the issue of bifurcating or on continuation of the administrator to manage the affairs of the body. “We cannot do better than issuing direction to the respondents to forthwith hold elections to install the democratically elected committee in the APMC. The argument of impracticability or avoidable expenditure, in our opinion, cannot legitimise the continuation of the administrator to govern the body, that too, unabated,” observed the court.

The court observed that it was aware of the fact that the government authorities (State Government and the Director of Marketing) have gone on record in an affidavit to state that the division of APMC shall be completed within a period of six months.

“There is no guarantee that the said process will not be objected to at a later stage after a formal decision in that behalf is taken (thus causing further delay),” observed the court. J Deshmukh, administrator of APMC, said he is yet to receive the authentic copy of the verdict.

LEGAL NEWS 28.03.2012

2G scam: HC notice to CBI on Kanimozhi’s plea

Indo-Asian News Service
New Delhi, March 27, 2012

The Delhi high court on Tuesday issued notice to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on a plea by DMK MP Kanimozhi to quash charges against her in the 2G spectrum allocation case.

Justice ML Mehta asked the CBI to file its response by May 10. DMK MP Kanimozhi March

23 had moved the high court seeking quashing of charges. Her petition said: “Set aside/quash the charges and also quash the chargesheet filed by the CBI and all the proceedings emanating thereunder.”

Kanimozhi, the daughter of DMK chief and former Tamil Nadu chief minister M Karunanidhi, was along with former telecom minister A Raja, charged with criminal conspiracy, criminal breach of trust, forgery, accepting a bribe and abetting bribery.

Senior lawyer Ram Jethmalani appearing for Kanimozhi said she had been falsely implicated in the matter and there was no evidence of record that could justify the charges against her.

“The impugned order framing charges against the petitioner is based on a completely wrong and misplaced understanding of the law of conspiracy,” the petition filed by the accused said.

“There is not even an allegation that a single penny of the alleged bribe money has gone towards the personal account of the petitioner or has in any manner benefited her on a personal level,” her petition said.

On Kanimozhi, the court had found evidence that the Rs200 crore received by DMK mouthpiece Kalaignar TV was a bribe from the Shahid Balwa-owned DB Realty in return for a 2G licence.

She claimed: “As per the CBI the alleged bribe money has been paid to Kalaignar TV between December 2008 and August 2009. During this phase, the status of the petitioner was only that of a shareholder of 20 percent equity of the company and nothing more.”

The petition further submitted that Kanimozhi has not taken part in any of the board meetings wherein decisions with respect to the alleged transaction were taken. Neither has she signed any of the agreements or documents pertaining to the same.

“The special judge has committed a grave error in law in framing a charge of 120B/420 IPC against the petitioner, as firstly, the decision not to auction 2G spectrum is based upon the TRAI recommendations dated Aug 28, 2007. And secondly, there is no evidence on record that the petitioner had anything to do with the same,” the petition stated.

Kanimozhi is accused of being the “active brain” behind Kalaignar TV and having been in “regular touch” with Raja.

The high court had Nov 28 last year granted bail to Kanimozhi who was named in the supplementary charge sheet filed April 25 as co-accused along with others.

HC to view video footage of Maval police firing incident

Published: Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012, 19:09 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

Bombay High Court will soon be viewing the video footage of the August 2011 Maval firing incident to ascertain if police were left with no other option but to open fire at the protesting farmers.

The agriculturists were protesting against the government’s decision to lay a closed pipeline to supply water from Pavna dam to the limits of Pimpri-Chinchwad municipal corporation in Pune district. The demonstrators had claimed that due to the closed pipeline they would be deprived of water for their crops.

A division bench of Justice PB Majmudar and Justice RD Dhanuka was hearing a bunch of public interest litigations seeking probe into the firing incident to be handed over to an independent agency.

The court had on the last hearing come down heavily on the Maval police for opening fire at the protestors resulting in the death of one farmer. “You (police) should have used tear gas shells and fired in the air instead of shooting at people directly,” the court had said.

However, the government on Tuesday informed the court that the police was left with no other option but to open fire.

Ashutosh Kumbhkoni, special counsel for the government, urged the court to see the half-hour video of the incident stating that the police had given sufficient warning to the agitators before firing.

“Instructions of the manual were followed (before firing)… The court must see the video footage. Sitting in air-conditioned court room, one ca

LEGAL NEWS 27.03.2012

SC directs Army to grant permanent commission to lady officer
PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
New Delhi, Mar 26 (PTI) The Supreme Court today asked the Indian Army to grant permanent commission to a woman officer, embroiled in legal battle for six years, in the rank of lieutenant colonel, saying that “artificial hurdles” were created to deny her rightful due. “When it comes to absorbing lady officers you pose hurdles for them,” a bench comprising justices R M Lodha and Gyan Sudha Mishra said, dismissing the Army’s petition against a Delhi High Court order for granting permanent commission to Major Leena Gaurav. The Army had first gone to the high court against the order of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT), Lucknow which had passed the order in favour of the officer that she was not required to clear the departmental examination as asked by the Army for getting a permanent commission. The apex court observed that Maj Gaurav was discriminated by the Army, which asked her to the clear the departmental examination which she had successfully cleared in April 2010. “What is so sacrosanct about the departmental examination? This is just an artificial hurdle put by you,” the bench said. The officer’s counsel Rekha Palli had argued that having cleared the promotional test, considered higher in level than the departmental test, there was no ground to deny promotion to her. While dismissing Army’s appeal, the bench said, “Legally your case is weak. You seem to be playing the game of pick and choose. If an officer has put five to seven years of service and has attributes to get the permanent commission, you want that he or she must clear the departmental examination. This is something very strange.”

RTI applicants paying through nose literally!
Ramendra Singh, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 05.31AM IST
BHOPAL: RTI applicants end up paying Rs 27 to get a photocopy of information sought through RTI from Barkatullah University. Reason: the university doesn’t accept cash. Left with no option, RTI applicant has to cough up bank commission of Rs 25 for Rs-2 challan.

Barkatullah University deputy registrar B Bharti said: “We do not accept cash. We ask applicants to come with a bank challan if they want photo-copies.”

When pointed out, former chief information commissioner (CIC) PP Tiwari said the applicants could not be forced to deposit money through challan or postal order. “It is the applicant’s choice to deposit money as per his convenience. It is wrong, if the university is forcing applicants and taking more money than the prescribed amount,” Tiwari said.

Bharti went on saying the RTI applicants have become a big headache for the university. “I have to engage half of the staff in answering queries asked in the RTI. Most of them are fraud.” As it is, the university is facing manpower problem.

“The university daily receives almost 25 applications under the RTI. One can imagine the time spent on answering queries. People even asked for time-table of ten exams held 10 years ago,” Bharti said. A complaint in this regard has already been filed with the CIC office, an RTI applicant said, adding, the BU is violating the RTI Act.

Parties eye key civic panel posts
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 05.07AM IST
PUNE: Political parties are gearing up for elections for the posts of chairmen and vice-chairmen of important civic committees in the Pune Municipal Corporation. A total 18 corporators filed nominations for eight posts in four committees on Monday.

Elections for the law, city improvement, sports, and women and child welfare committeeshave been scheduled on March 30.

The city improvement committee (CIC) has gained importance due to the proposed development plan for the old city. The CIC discusses and suggests changes in the development plan submitted by the civic administration. The plan, with the changes suggested by the committee, will be presented to the general body and will then be sent to the state government for final approval.

The Congress, NCP, Shiv Sena and Bharatiya Janata Party have fielded candidates for the four committees. The MNS and RPI have not fielded candidates. The Congress and NCP have fielded separate candidates in the CIC and law committees, even though the parties have struck a post-poll alliance. The parties have maintained their alliance for the sports committee, where the Congress has fielded a candidate for the chairman’s post, while the NCP has fielded one for the vice-chairman’s post.

The NCP has nominated Chetan Tupe for the CIC chairman’s post, while Congress has fielded Sudhir Janjot. Shiv Sena has nominated Sachin Bhagat. Medha Kulkarni of BJP, Usha Kalamkar of NCP and Sunny Nimhan of Congress will fight for the vice-chairperson’s post .

The women and child welfare pane was elected unopposed. NCP’s Minal Sarvade was elected chairperson, while Sunanda Gadale of Congress became the vice-chairperson.

PTI | 05:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
On the issue of complaint handling system in the CVC, On the issue of complaint handling system in the CVC, Mishra said lack of time-limit in processing of complaints generates lot of cynicism in the minds of complainants who are bringing out corruption issues through them. “After carefully considering the facts of the case, one thing emerges that the lack of any time limit for disposal of complaints, whether endorsed with the direction to investigate or to take further necessary action, results in the complaints taken very lightly by the CVO concerned without often reaching any decisive action,” he said. Mishra said since the number of complaints received in the CVC is quite high, it is always possible that even some serious complaints may be forwarded to the CVO concerned not for investigation but for further necessary action, in which case such complaints would remain pending indefinitely. “We would expect the CPIO to bring this to the notice of the CVC for taking a fresh look at the complaint handling policy and to evolve clear time-lines, wherever possible, for disposing of complaints at all levels,” Mishra said in his order.

HC: Give pension for training period also
Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 12.43AM IST
NAGPUR: In what could be termed as a significant verdict, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that an employee’s training period should be added to his pensionary benefits. “In our view, non-addition of training period to the petitioner’s regular service has resulted into great injustice to him,” a division bench comprising justices PB Majmudar and Prasanna Varale observed, while providing a relief after almost 14 years to Abdul Mannan, who retired as chief telecom inspector (Microwave) from Central Railways.

The court ruled that petitioner is entitled to get the benefit of his two-year training period from January 5, 1965 to April 10, 1967, till the date on which he was given regular appointment, for the purpose of pension. The judges however clarified that the training period is counted only for the purpose of pensionary benefits.

The Amravati-based petitioner had knocked the higher judiciary’s doors challenging the June 29, 2001 order of Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), Mumbai Bench at Nagpur, which rejected his original application (OA) of demanding inclusion of his training period in pensionary benefits.

Mannan was appointed as an apprentice on December 23, 1964, but he actually joined on January 5, 1965. After completing apprenticeship period of two years on February 23, 1967, he was to be absorbed on regular basis. But due to unavailability of any vacancy, the petitioner was actually absorbed after a gap of 45 days on April 10, 1967. On retirement, he made a representation to the employer on October 15, 1993, requesting him to update his service register by taking into account apprenticeship period.

The high court judges considered Mannan’s plea over administrative delay of 45 days on the part of employers in giving the regular appointment to him. “It is clear from the record that regular posting order was awaited and his apprenticeship was not terminated. His case was kept on waiting list. Therefore, it was only an administrative delay,” the judges said.

Army puts obstacles when it comes to women officers: SC
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 01.55AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday accused the Army of creating “artificial hurdles” for women officers while clearing decks for grant of permanent commission to Major Leena Gaurav, who was made to wait for six years despite passing a promotion test for the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in Judge Advocate General (JAG) branch.

Dismissing the Union government’s appeal against an order of the Armed Forces Tribunal favouring Major Gaurav, a bench of Justices R M Lodha and Gyan Sudha Mishra said, “When it comes to absorbing lady officers you pose hurdles for them.”

In Major Gaurav’s case, the court noted the discrimination meted out to her as the Army insisted on her clearing the departmental examination though she had passed the promotion test in April, 2010. She was part of a group of short service commission women officers who had sought grant of permanent commission to them in the Army in majority of the branches.

The bench asked: “What is so sacrosanct about the departmental examination? This is just an artificial hurdle put by you.” Major Gaurav was denied promotion on the ground that she had failed to take the departmental examination. But, her counsel Rekha Palli argued that the departmental test had become inconsequential since she had cleared the higher promotion test.

The AFT had agreed with this reasoning, but the Army chose to challenge its order in SC. Overuling the Army’s stand, the court said, “Legally your case is weak. You seem to be playing the game of pick and choose…if an officer has put five to seven years of service and has attributes to get permanent commission, you want that he or she must clear the departmental exam. This is something very strange.”

Contrary to Army’s contentions, the Court found that a standing order of October 28, 2005, promised to grant promotion from Major to Lt Col, to all officers who completed 13 years of service.

The bench said: “Without compromising on the quality of job, why should you not give incentive for women officers to achieve promotion.” Chastened by the SC, the Army agreed to consider Major Gurav’s case on priority.

SC to end monitoring of Bhopal gas victim health care
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 02.37AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday said it could not go on monitoring the healthcare of Bhopal gas victims sitting at the national Capital and expressed its intention to hand it over to a Bhopal-based authority.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar asked additional solicitor general Indira Jaising to give details of the transfer of corpus of over Rs 400 crore, which was lying with the hospital trust headed by former CJI A M Ahmedi prior to its dissolution.

Jaising said the hospital was functioning under the supervision of Indian Council of Medical Research, but the court asked her to give details of the government’s plan for future. “Once the government takes over the hospital, we will stop monitoring it,” the bench said.

The bench asked the counsel for various parties to submit within a week a short synopsis of what was needed to be done in future and posted the matter for final hearing.

Nanavati commission to finally wind up riots inquiry
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 01.59AM IST
AHMEDABAD: A decade on and 18 extensions later, the Nanavati Commission, which was formed to probe the Godhra train carnage and consequent riots, will wind up its inquiry this month-end. The commission, which was constituted in May 2002, is in the process of finalizing its report on the violence that rocked Gujarat between February 27, 2002 and May 31, 2002.

Three judges, who were part of the judicial body at different times, have sifted through thousands of pages of testimonies while handling 4,145 cases. The state government has already spent nearly Rs 7 crore in the process. The Narendra Modi government had appointed Justice (retired) KG Shah to head the commission in May 2002 as a “fact-finding” body with no power to enforce or implement its recommendations. Later, retired Supreme Court Justice GT Nanavati was also appointed to the commission.

Justice AH Mehta became a part of the body following the death of Justice Shah. Earlier, the government had submitted a letter written by the judicial body, saying it was likely to submit the report by end of its extended term, that is March 31, 2012.

Until the end of February, the commission had recorded statements of top bureaucrats, senior police officers, NGO representatives and politicians. Last month, statements of former ministers IK Jadeja and Gordhan Zadaphia, who was minister of state for home during the riots, were recorded.

Though the terms and reference of the commission include examining the role of the chief minister, the judicial body has so far not summoned Modi. As a result, Jan Sangharsh Manch, an NGO fighting for the victims, moved the Supreme Court demanding that Modi’s statement too be recorded and its lawyers be allowed to cross-examine the chief minister.

The commission has dealt with allegations levelled by suspended IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt, who accused Modi of calling a meeting of top cops on the night of February 27, 2002 where he allegedly told the police officers to allow Hindus to vent their anger.

High Court ruling on grant of family pension to widow
PTI | 10:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Madurai,Mar26(PTI) Madras High Court Bench here has ruled that the widow of a government pensioner could be granted family pension by relaxing the relevant rules even if her husband had not declared her as his nominee before his death. Justice K. Chandru gave the ruling while ordering family pension to a widow who managed to get a divorce decree, originally obtained by her husband in 2003, reversed by the Court in August last though her husband died in January 2010. The widow, Malarvizhi, had filed the present petition in 2010 seeking a direction to the Accountant General’s office to grant family pension to her towards services rendered by her husband as a secondary grade teacher in an elementary school in Sivaganga district until his retirement in February 2002. In his counter, Tiruppattur Treasury Officer stated that a nominee entered in the government employee’s service register was the only person eligible to receive family pension.But the petitioner’s husband Poovalingam did not nominate anyone till his retirement. The officer said Poovalingam had filed a divorce case against the petitioner before the Sivaganga Sub-Court and obtained a favourable decree in March 2003. The divorce decree was also confirmed by Sivaganga District Court in Dec2003. However,the judge said pursuant to the filing of the counter in the present writ plea, the High Court allowed a second appeal filed by the petitioner and reversed the divorce decrees passed and confirmed by the lower courts. Therefore, in the light of the subsequent development there was no legal impediment in holding that the petitioner was the wife of Poovalingam.In so far as the absence of her name in the nominee’s column was concerned, the judge said that he had decided a similar issue in another case in 2007 itself. The judge held that family pension could not be denied on technicalities such as the pensioner’s failure to nominate especially when the object of the family pension scheme was to enable the family of the deceased Government servant to survive even after his death. The judge ordered authorities to grant family pension to Malarvizhi within twelve weeks.

Kejriwal’s allegation charges against me are ‘baseless’: Vasan
Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, March 26, 2012Shipping minister GK Vasan on Monday termed Team Anna member Arvind Kejriwal’s allegations against him on the Kandla Port land scam as “baseless” and pointed out that he was not in charge of the ministry when the alleged irregularities surfaced in 2008.

Vasan also clarified that a CBI
inquiry into 17 allegations, which were made in a PIL before the Delhi high court, have found no substantial evidence to investigate with regard to 14 of them.

Regular departmental action was recommended with regard to the remaining three charges, the minister said.
“Allegation regarding irregularities in Kandla Port Trust Lease of Land case are totally baseless and there is no truth in it. When the report by CVO of the Port Trust was originally given in 2008, I was not the Minister of Shipping,” he told reporters in New Delhi.
Quoting media reports, Kejriwal had on Sunday alleged that Vasan was involved in irregularities in the issue.
Vasan said the Kandla Port is in possession of more than 2,20,000 acres of land and out of these, 16,112 acres of land was leased out to salt manufacturing industries in 1960 to 30 years by the Port authorities.
“The CVO in his report in 2008 alleged that few parties were in possession of large chunk of land and that the leases have been given on nomination basis at very low rates,” the minister said.
Noting that the entire issue of lease is sub-judice since September, 2009, he said the CBI has investigated into the case and has not found any criminality in these allegations.
Vasan also noted that after he became minister, he fixed the auction rate as Rs 13,570 per acre per annum as against the existing Rs 144 per acre per annum.

State has only 36 inspectors for 86,000 elevators
Sukhada Tatke, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.08AM IST
MUMBAI: The lift mishap that occurred in Goregaon (West) on Sunday , injuring 10 people , has once again brought the spotlight on safety concerns over elevators in the city and the state . Given that the public works department (PWD) has only 36 inspectors for over 86 ,000 lifts in Maharashtra , experts cite the lack of regular inspection as the main reason for frequent elevator accidents .

Activists feel the Bombay Lift Act, 1939 and the Bombay Lift Rules, 1958 governing elevators are obsolete. Activist Mohammed Afzal , along with others , filed a PIL in 2010 on the inadequate number of PWD inspectors and on the need to prevent accidents . The PIL said there were 86 ,154 lifts in the state as of 2010 and about 5,000 were added every year .

Last year , the Bombay high court asked the PWD to display the number of lifts inspected every six months on its website from April 1, 2012 and quarterly inspection figures from 2013. An affidavit filed by S T Valekar , chief engineer (electrical ), PWD, stated that in 2010 there were 16 inspectors in the department , who were required to carry out 157,100 inspections a year . Each inspector was , therefore , expected to carry out 9,818 inspections . The affidavit stated that the strength of the department had been increased to 36 as against a sanctioned strength of 62.

“Therefore , lifts remain uninspected and accidents happen at regular intervals , resulting in physical injuries , sometimes grievous and sometimes fatal ,” said Afzal .

The problem , according to activists , lies in the fact that it is not possible to fix responsibility in the case of a mishap . According to them , the state must update the law regulating the construction , installation , maintenance and safe operation of lifts.

“The managing committee of the housing society /office complex concerned and the lift maintenance contractor get away by blaming each other . The terribly short-staffed and poorly trained lifts department of the PWD is unable to cope with the situation ,” Afzal said . “Most lift inspections are only on paper .”

After the PIL was filed, the state set up a committee of experts on lift safety . The committee’s main recommendation was to outsource inspection , which faced stiff opposition from the lifts department .

Tinted glass order reserved
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 03.39AM IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday reserved its verdict on a PIL seeking complete ban on use of dark films on car windows, including the vehicles used by VIPs. The PIL has alleged that many crimes in cities were committed by people using such cars with tinted car windows.

A bench of Chief Justice S H Kapadia and Justices A K Patnaik and Swatanter Kumar asked petitioner Avishek Goenka whether he had any statistics relating to the percentage of crimes committed by using cars with tinted windows.

Goenka said he had 25 RTI query responses from various police stations to back his claim that many crimes, including sexual assault on women, were committed by offenders who used cars with tinted glasses to evade public gaze and conceal their identity.

The Central Motor Vehicle Rules, 1989, says glasses of windscreen and rear windows of vehicles should have a visual light transmission of 70% and, for side windows, it should be 50%. Goenka said police did not have enough lux meters to check visibility quotient of a windscreen and mostly depend on naked eye estimates.

PIL on malnutrition adjourned
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 05.51AM IST
BANGALORE: A high court division bench headed by the chief justice has adjourned to Thursday hearing on a PIL related to children dying of malnutrition across the state. The bench was not happy that there has been no perceptible change at the ground level though the situation remained serious. “Everything is on paper. There’s no change at all.

This is because you are not showing any personal interest. All typically bureaucratic.Why you are not involving social workers and those interested?” the bench asked the government.

Dubbing UT’s attitude towards kids’ disappearance from Snehalay ‘insensitive’
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.38AM IST
CHANDIGARH: Dubbing the attitude of Chandigarh administration towards the disappearance of kids from Snehalaya, a home for destitute people, insensitive, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday directed UT to produce the report of an inquiry it conducted into the missing of children from the shelter home. The probe was conducted by IAS officer Vinod P Kavle and a member of Juvenile Justice Board, Manju Bhalla, last year. The HC also told the administration that the report should be filed along with an affidavit.

When the matter came up for hearing on Monday before a division bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover, a detailed reply was submitted on behalf of the UT social welfare department director, Rajesh Jogpal. In its reply, UT submitted that children who could not be traced were of other states and their complete addresses and contact details were not available. It added, As all the children are school-going and in the age group of five to 18 years, it is difficult to restrict their movement. In case a child of Snehalaya goes missing, appropriate and prompt action is taken by the staff, in association with police.

The administration also submitted that it was taking remedial steps to minimize the possibilities of running away of children in the wake of the recommendations of the inquiry conducted by Kavle and Bhalla.Not satisfied with UT’s ‘routine’ reply, Justice Grover observed, Administration seems very insensitive in filing reply on such issues and trying to convey as nothing has happened.

Now, case will come up for hearing on May 15.

The issue had reached before the high court through a PIL after TOI highlighted the disappearance of children from Snehalaya and UTs apathy in tracing them.

Alleging irregularities and mismanagement in the affairs of UT-run shelter home, the PIL had also submitted that no responsibility had been fixed more than a year after the shocking exposures, giving rise to the apprehension of human trafficking.

‘Law inadequate to deal with such cases’
Puja Changoiwala, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 27, 2012Prominent lawyer Mahesh Jethmalani feels that the law in its present form is not adequate to deal with cases of drink driving. He told HT on Monday: “There is a lacuna in the law. It is not adequate to deal with cases of drink-driving. When the Indian Penal Code was drafted in
the ’60s, people never imagined the monster cars we have today and the fatalities that could be resultant due to their misuse. There is a genuine need for amendments.”
Besides, Jethmalani said, in cases like that of Charu Khandal, where a person has been reduced to a vegetable due to sheer irresponsibility on the part of the offender, punishment for the accused should be increased.
“Because of rampant cases of drink-driving, there is a need to treat the cases categorically. If the offender, under the influence of alcohol, causes extremely grievous injuries like that to Charu, the offence should be made non-bailable. If not, then the sections pressed on the offender in this case are appropriately applicable,” said Jethmalani. The police said the medical reports of the accused, Manoj Netrapal Gautam, confirmed he was driving under the influence of alcohol.
Senior inspector Dilip Rupawate said: “We have booked Gautam under Indian Penal Code Sections 279 for rash and negligent driving, 337 for causing hurt, 338 for causing grievous hurt by act endangering life and Section 185 of the Motor Vehicle Act for driving under the influence of alcohol. Gautam was released on a surety of Rs 10,000 because these offences are bailable.”

HC grants bail to Sasikala’s relative Divakaran in abduction case
Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 21:07 IST
Place: Chennai | Agency: PTI
Madras High court on Monday granted bail to V Divakaran, a relative of Sasikala Natarajan, estranged aide of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, in an abduction and criminal intimidation case.
Granting the conditional bail, Justice MM Sundresh said custodial interrogation of Divakaran, who had already been in jail for 48 days, had been completed. Besides, co-accused in the case had been released either on bail or anticipatory bail.
The Judge directed Divakaran to record his presence daily before the investigating officer for four weeks.
According to Thiruthuraipoondi police, Divakaran and his men abducted one Saravanan and obtained Rs one lakh from him under coercion on September 9, 2011.Saravanan, however, lodged the ocmplaint only on February 8, 2012.
Divakaran denied the allegations and said the case had been foisted on him with ulterior motives.

Sacked teacher says harassed, NID gets HC notice
Express news service : Ahmedabad, Tue Mar 27 2012, 04:08 hrs
The Gujarat High Court on Monday issued a notice to the director of Ahmedabad-based National Institute for Design (NID) on a petition moved by a former female associate professor who was recently sacked by the institute.
The petitioner, Deepa Chalke, has demanded that she be reinstated while alleging she was sacked due to a complaint of sexual harassment she had lodged against some employees of NID’s Gandhinagar campus.
According to advocate Rajesh Mankad, who represents Chalke, she was appointed as associate professor in the Apparel Design section of NID at its Gandhinagar campus in August last year for two years. She was also allotted an official quarter. Chalke is a divorcee and has a son.
“However, the campus warden first gave her some additional facilities without being asked. When she objected to such favours, he misbehaved with her. Later, the watchman of the quarters also started working against her and made an allegation of theft against her son,” says Mankad.
According to Mankad, when Chalke complained about this to the NID authorities, they did not take any action. She later lodged a complaint with the police following which the watchman was arrested.
Chalke was sacked from NID in February this year for alleged insubordination.
Mankad said NID authorities had conducted an inquiry on her complaint. “However, the report of the inquiry was not given to her. It was provided to her only after filing of an RTI application. The report concluded that the warden had apologised after her complaint and so no action was required to be taken against him,” he added.
Mankad said they have challenged Chalke’s termination from the NID and demanded action against the authorities concerned for not taking action against the warden.
“The court has issued notice to the NID director and other respondents and kept the next hearing on April 12. The court has also ordered not to force Chalke out of her official quarter till then,” Mankad said.

HC refers “Dhangars” plea to National Commission for Scheduled
PTI | 11:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Castes Allahabad, March 26 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has asked the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to look into the grievances of members of “Dhangar” caste who have moved the court with the complaint that Uttar Pradesh government has been refusing to issue caste certificates to them. The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Ashok Bhusan and Justice Sunita Agrawal on March 14, 2012, while disposing of a petition filed by “All India Dhangar Samaj Mahasangh”, an organization of people belonging to the caste. In the petition it had been alleged the state government had in its records misspelt “Dhangar” (in Hindi), which was included in the Constitutional list of Scheduled Castes in 1950 through a Presidential Order and it has thereafter been refusing to grant caste certificates to members of the community insisting that they did not belong to the caste. Referring the matter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes, the court said “the above issue is a serious issue affecting the rights of the members the Scheduled Caste and there is no sufficient material on record to give any authoritative pronouncement by this court”. “Ends of justice be served in referring the matter to the National Commission for Scheduled Castes to consider the issues……and determine the controversy looking into the relevant material including the material which were available at the time of the issuance of the 1950 order”, the court said, adding “the National Commission may also send a copy of its report to the state government as well as the Union of India for taking consequential actions”. Disposing of the petition, the court directed the Commission “to look into the matter and submit a report before this court after hearing all affected parties within a period of six months”.

HC asks govt to ensure presence of specialist doctors in
PTI | 08:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Melghat Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) Saying that medical treatment is a fundamental right, Bombay High Court today came down heavily on Maharashtra government for failing to provide specialists such as pediatricians and gynaecologists in the tribal areas of Melghat where malnutrition is a major problem. “It is evident that there is denial of medical treatment in those areas. It is a matter of fundamental rights of citizen. The situation must receive attention from the state government and action must be taken on a war-footing,” the division bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said. The court was hearing a petition filed by Purnima Upadhyay, seeking proper implementation of central as well as state government’s schemes to reduce malnutrition. The petitioner today said there were no gynaecologists or pediatricians in Melghat, and pregnant women or malnourished children have to travel over 150 kilometres to get treatment. The bench directed the state government to ensure that specialised doctors required to treat pregnant women and children are present in every hospital in the area. “The government shall also make all necessary arrangements for disbursement of treatment charges under available schemes. The government shall also inform the plan of action to address the issue,” the court said, directing the government to file an affidavit by April 26. As per the government figures in August 2010, there were 14,500 malnourished children in the tribal areas of Melghat. The number came down to 11,196 in four months. Between April to December 2011, there have been 215 malnutrition deaths, compared to the previous year’s 410. PTI SP KRK

HC asks Vodafone to deposit additional Rs 5 cr in tax case
PTI | 09:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Mumbai, Mar 26 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today directed telecom major Vodafone India to deposit with it an additional amount of Rs five crore before March 31, in connection with an over Rs 77-crore tax demand, while the Income Tax department decides on the company’s rectification application. The division bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud was hearing the petition filed by Vodafone, challenging the March 21 notice by the Income Tax, demanding over Rs 77 crore in unpaid taxes. Vodafone, which on Saturday deposited Rs 10 crore, will have to deposit another Rs five crore. If the additional amount is deposited, then no coercive steps will be taken by the income tax department. The court also directed the assessing officer of IT to hear and decide within 12 weeks the application filed by Vodafone, seeking rectification of the tax amount demanded. The IT department alleges that Vodafone defaulted on a tax payment of Rs 60 crore and interest of Rs 17 crore. The authorities held discounts offered by the company to distributors and roaming charges levied on customers as taxable. The company, however, is disputing the levy, claiming that it amounts to “double taxation”. The IT had also asked for immediate payment of Rs 77 crore within 15 days, so Vodafone moved the High Court. The company recently won a landmark legal battle in the Supreme Court on its challenge to IT’s demand of capital gains tax following its purchase of Hutchison Essar’s stake in India.

HC rejects application of IFFCO CMD, asks him to surrender
PTI | 11:03 PM,Mar 26,2012
Allahabad, Mar 26 (PTI) The Allahabad High Court has dismissed an application filed by Chairman and Managing Director of fertiliser major IFFCO who has challenged the criminal proceedings initiated against him by a lower court. The order was passed on March 13 by Justice Naheed Ara Moonis on the application of Uday Shankar Awasthi, CMD of IFFCO. Awasthi had sought quashing of criminal proceedings initiated against him by an Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate of Allahabad upon the complaint of one Sudha Kant Pandey. Pandey, owner of a construction firm, had alleged that a work order awarded to him by IFFCO was terminated “fraudulently” without him being given any prior notice. Payment for the work, which was completed by then was withheld and goods and equipment worth Rs 35 lakh which belonged to him, and were kept inside the premises of the fertiliser major’s unit at Phulpur on the outskirts of the city, were “grabbed”, Pandey alleged in his complaint. Holding that the ACJM had “committed no error” in taking cognisance of the complaint and issuing a summoning order, the court directed the IFFCO CMD to “surrender and apply for bail within a period of thirty days”. “The magistrate concerned shall fix a date about two weeks thereafter for their appearance and in the meantime release the applicant on bail on such terms and conditions as the court concerned considers fit and proper till the date fixed for the disposal of the regular bail,” the court said.

HC slashes ban on Malad pharmacy
Published: Tuesday, Mar 27, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Mustafa Plumber | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
The Bombay high court on Monday cut short to four months a ban slapped on a pharmacy at Malad by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for selling medicines without a prescription.
The medical store was the first to receive a harsh punishment of a life ban for the offence of selling over-the-counter drugs.
While reducing the penalty, the division bench of justices PB Majmudar RD Dhanuka issued a “last warning” and directed Mahadev Gavale, the owner of Shree Samarth Medical and General Stores, to keep his shop shut for four months. It, however, granted him two weeks to dispose of stocked goods.
According to Gavale’s plea on September 28, 2011, a drug inspector visited the pharmacy and found several discrepancies in the dealings there. A show-cause notice was then slapped on him on October 21. In his reply to the notice, Gavale argued that he had not committed any fault and that he was not liable to face any action under law.
The assistant commissioner of zone VII, though, issued an order imposing a life ban on the store. Gavale challenged it before the appellate authority, which turned down his plea. He then moved the HC.

Transit camp in TB hospital irks HC
Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.17AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation how it allowed a transit camp under the slum rehabilitation scheme to be built on the campus of the TB Hospital at Sewri.

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by Kshay Va HIV Rugna Punarvasan Santha opposing the BMC’s renewal of leave and licence agreement with the developer for six years. According to the sanstha’s petition, the hospital land-popularly called Bahadurjee Blocks-was donated by Parsi donors exclusively for use of tuberculosis patients. On April 29, 1988, the HC had restrained the BMC from giving B Block for any purpose other than TB patients and taken an undertaking from the BMC that no part of it would be used for any commercial purpose.

However, in 2007, the BMC allowed the place to be used as temporary transit camp by developers. Permission was granted by then municipal commissioner on May 5, 2008, for construction on 2,530 square metres on certain terms and conditions . In July 2008, a twoyear agreement of leave and licence was executed between the BMC and the developers . In May 2010, the agreement expired. On March 15, 2010, the BMC renewed it for another six years. The sanstha opposed the renewal and in December 2011 applied for grant of the open plot for 10 years for treatment and welfare of TB and HIV patients.

Advocate Sangaraj Rupwate said patients from all over the country come to the hospital. “Because of the camp, there is difficulty in smooth running of the hospital and the health of patients is also likely to be affected . Even when Tata Memorial Hospital wanted to extend its services, it was refused,” said Rupwate. The petition states that the TMC was refused on the basis of the donors’ will and the high court’s orders.

Advocate Chirag Balsara, appearing for the developer, denied that the hospital was affected, saying the plot is a vacant area. But the judges were clearly perturbed. “How can you allow a transit camp within the hospital premises? Tomorrow will you allow it in the high court also?” asked Justice Majmudar. The matter was adjourned after the BMC advocate sought time to file a reply.

Bangalore clashes: HC raps police, media–HC-raps-police–media/928723/
Johnson T A : Bangalore, Tue Mar 27 2012, 03:47 hrs
The media and the police in the state came under severe criticism from Karnataka High Court Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen on Monday during the hearing of a series of PILs filed by advocates in connection with the clashes in Bangalore on March 2 between the media, police and lawyers.
He indicated that the police was showing reluctance in identifying its officials responsible for the violence.
Justice Sen said a CBI inquiry would have to be ordered if the police cannot set its house in order.
“There is a reluctance on the part of the police in identifying the guilty offenders. This is an interference in the functioning of the judicial system. I don’t want the functioning of my courts affected again,’’ Justice Sen said with reference to an 18-day strike by lawyers demanding action against the police and the media.
“We don’t want to step into the anarchy that took place that day. We want the truth to emerge as to who was responsible and action must be taken,’’ he said.
On the role of the media, he said there are theories that the police and media were hand-in-glove. “What right does the media have to contrived reporting. Prima facie it seems they wanted things to happen in a certain way and reported it that way,’’ Justice Sen said.

Reply to SevenHills proposal: HC to BMC
Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.28AM IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday asked the BMC why it was delaying its decision on whether to accept SevenHills Healthcare Private Limited’s (SHHPL) proposal to construct a separate 300-bed hospital for poor patients.

A division bench of Justices P B Majmudar and Ramesh Dhanuka were hearing a petition by SHHPL challenging notices by BMC to vacate nearly seven acres of land allotted by it to run the superspecialty hospital in a public-private partnership. BMC wants 20% of the hospitalto run like a municipal hospital.

SHHPL’s counsel Venkatesh Dhond said even after the HC’s earlier admonishment, BMC has issued a fresh “150-page ” NOC. “It is for transfer of mortgage but no one will give funds on this basis,” said Dhond. He also informed the high court that despite offering to construct a separate hospital, free of charge, BMC has not responded. “If they do not accept the proposal, let them say so” . BMC advocate Komal Punjabi said what Seven Hills is offering is “very less” .

Dhond said, “Don’t ask me to pay for expensive consumables. They have an officer on special duty who instigates patients.” He also alleged that the BMC is “selecting patients” with health complications to send them to the hospital. The judges questioned why the BMC was not responding to the proposal. “You may or may not agree with their proposal. Why don’t you say it?” asked Justice Majmudar. The judges have directed the BMC to reply by April 2.

HC seeks action plan to clear Musi encroachments
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: The High Court on Monday directed the principal secretary, municipal administration and urban development, to submit an action plan for protecting Musi river from land-grabbers and dismantling the illegal structures from the river bed within four weeks.
A division bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice PV Sanjay Kumar gave this direction on a petition filed by Hameed Pasha, a resident of the city, against the authorities’ failure to protect the river.
The revenue divisional officer, in an affidavit, admitted that about 57,000 square yards of the government land was encroached by several individuals across the river bed and encroachments in over 28,000 square yards were cleared.
Besides, about 68,000 square yards of patta land was also encroached across the river bed.
There were several encroachments with long-standing permanent structures and those will be evicted after a due process.
Amberpet, Asif Nagar, Bahadurpura, Charminar, Golkonda, Himayatnagar, Nampally and Saidabad are among the areas under encroachment, he said.
Government’s special counsel N Sridhar Reddy said some encroachers and obtained stay orders and steps were being taken to file vacation petitions.
After perusing the affidavit, the chief justice pointed out that it was not an action report but a status report, and directed the principal secretary concerned to file an action plan.
He cautioned that the authorities had already paid Rs 10,000 costs for delay in filing the action plan and, if they failed this time, the costs would go into lakhs of rupees.
The case was posted to June 4.

HC seeks additional information from Shankar Rao
Express News Service
HYDERABAD: Taking up P Shankar Rao’s public interest litigation alleging a red sanders scam involving chief minister Kiran Kumar Reddy, among others, a High Court bench asked the former minister how he had stumbled upon the ‘scam’.
Shankar Rao’s counsel replied that the ‘facts’ of the scam were supplied to his client orally by people during the then minister’s tours in Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool and Nellore districts.
The bench, comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and justice P V Sanjay Kumar, then asked to see these oral representations submitted to court in the form of an additional affidavit.
The next hearing was then posted to April 16.
Shankar Rao’s case is that precious red sanders was sold away by the government at throwaway prices.
He said he had received representations from people in Chittoor, Kadapa, Kurnool and Nellore about a “red sanders scam” involving the loot of hundreds of crores of public money after Kiran Kumar Reddy became chief minister in Nov.
He alleged that the chief minister and forest minister S Vijayarama Raju disposed of about 2022 metric tonnes of the contrband wood worth about `500 crore without calling for global tenders.
He wants the High Court to order a CBI probe into the ‘scam’ and registration of a criminal case against the culprits.
Shankar Rao’s targets in the petition are the chief minister, the forest minister, special chief secretary (environment and forests) Janaki R Kondepi, the principal chief conservator of forests, Hyderabad -based company Zitan Trading Corporation, Andhra Fogaku Pvt Ltd and the Power Grip Resources Pvt Ltd of Singapore and others.

Cops on toes after HC warns of action against DGP
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.44AM IST
VARANASI: A contempt notice by the Allahabad High Court and order to the director general of police to personally appear before the court has brought the police officials on their toes as apart from range police, the special task force (STF) has also been engaged to arrest the absconding accused police personnel in the killing of two innocent persons in a fake encounter in 1996.
According to reports, two persons were killed in a police encounter in Alinagar police station area in Chandauli district in September 1996. But during the CB-CID investigation, the encounter was found to be fake and a chargesheet was submitted before the chief judicial magistrate court of Chandauli district in December 2007 against eight accused police personnel.
After this development, two accused constables – Sati Ram Chaurasia and Ram Sakal Yadav surrendered before the court while two others – Swami Nath and Shiv Mohan died in the course of time. Other accused cops – Ram Sakal Yadav, Harinath Pandey, Ram Pratap Singh, Virendra Nath Tiwari and Ravindra Nath Tiwari – neither surrendered nor were they arrested. Chandauli CJM not only issued warrants (bailable and non-bailable) for enforcing their appearance before him but also issued proceedings under sections 82 and 83 of CrPC.
However, those orders of the magistrate directing arrest or attachment of the properties of the accused police personnel fell on deaf ears. For the release of his father Sati Ram Chaurasia on bail, his son Pradeep Chaurasia took the shelter of Allahabad High Court. His petitioner counsel Farida Jamal informed TOI over phone, “After the initial bail plea was rejected and other applications for the bail of two constables, who are in jail since 2007, remained pending, I decided to file a writ petition to take advantage of the provisions prescribed in the constitution.”
The last hearing on this petition took place on March 14 this year in which the secretary (home) of state government, Leena Jauhari, appeared before the court while director general of police did not appear. Taking serious note of the non-compliance of orders of Chandauli CJM as well as high court, the HC served a notice to the DGP asking why a contempt action be not initiated against him and also against other police officials.
The court also asked why the DGP, who was posted in May 2011, be not prosecuted by Chandauli CJM for disobeying the court orders which were conveyed to him and other police officials in the form of warrant of arrest and property attachments. The HC ordered the DGP to personally appear before the court and file all information and show reasons through an appropriate affidavit on April 12. Following this order, the cops swung into action and apart from range police, the STF has also been engaged to arrest all the accused police personnel in this case before the next date of hearing. IG (range) R P Singh held a meeting with a deputy SP STF in this connection at his office on Monday. He said that efforts have been intensified to ensure early arrest of all the accused persons.

HC gives Tata project conditional go ahead
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.47AM IST
CHANDIGARH: Giving the Tata Group a conditional go ahead, Punjab and Haryana high court on Monday asked it to get necessary clearances under relevant statute for the construction of its much-touted Tata Camelot Housing Project.

Under the project, Tata has planned to construct lavish multi-strorey housing apartments adjoining the Capitol Complex.

The directions were passed by a division bench comprising Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Mahesh Grover while disposing off a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).

The PIL had prayed for quashing of the project sanction, given allegedly in violation of the Punjab New Capital (periphery) Control Act, 1952, edict of the city of Chandigarh as conceptualized by Le Corbusier, and Sukhna choe of which the concerned area is a reservoir/catchments area.

In its 55-page judgment, the bench held that provisions of the Periphery Control Act and the 1995 Act are complementary to each other and provisions of the two statutes would apply to the housing project in question.

The company, therefore, will have to comply with all the requirements spelt out by both the statutes.

Born in US, grew up here: HC to decide on Pune girl taking CET
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 06.35AM IST
MUMBAI: “What is so special about America?”asked the Bombay high court on Monday while observing that now Americans are coming to India for various reasons.

A division bench of Justice P B Majmudar and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by Pune residents Milind and Sujata Tendulkar after their daughter Pooja was disqualified to appear for MHT-CET exams because she is a US citizen by birth. The Tendulkars were for a brief period in the US when Pooja born in 1994. Thereafter they returned to India. Pooja is currently in Mumbai preparing for the exams which will be held in May. The

Tendulkars’ petition states that from age of six , Pooja has been in India and studied under the Maharashtra State Board.

The Tendulkars’ advocate Asim Sarode argued that “it is not Pooja’s fault that she was born in the US.”

To this Justice Majmudar asked what is special about the US. “They are coming here for various reasons,” he said.

To the judges’ query as to why Pooja is not adopting Indian citizenship. Sarode replied as she is a minor a decision cannot be taken by her. “When she attains the age of majority she can decide. The issue is not about citizenship but permitting a PIO to appear for the CET exams,” said Sarode. The Tendulkars’ petition also said they have been trying in vain to communicate with the Directorate of Medical Education and Research which is overseeing the MHT-CET in Maharashtra. Their petition said the Medical Council of India has amended rules of the All-India pre-medical test to enable OCIs to appear. The judges have directed them to also add Pooja as a petitioner and posted the hearing after two weeks.

No dropping case against ‘godman’: HC–godman—HC/928838/
Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Mar 27 2012, 02:09 hrs
The Delhi High Court on Monday refused to drop charges under Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) invoked against self-styled godman Shiv Murat Dwivedi, who is in custody for allegedly running a multi-crore prostitution racket in the Capital.
Maintaining the trial court’s decision to make Dwivedi stand trial under the stringent provisions of the MCOCA, Justice Suresh Kait said there was prima facie evidence against the accused on record.
The court observed that there were five criminal cases registered against 41-year-old Dwivedi in various police stations of Delhi and further that there appeared to be no clear source of income for the huge wealth he had accumulated.
Dwivedi alias Ichchadhari Sant Swami Bhimanand Ji Maharaj Chitrakoot Wale, who had set up a temple in South Delhi’s Khanpur, was arrested along with another man and six women, including two air hostesses, on charges of running a prostitution racket.

Ostracised by their village, eight families move HC
Express news service : Tue Mar 27 2012, 05:12 hrs
Eight families claiming to be ostracised by their village have moved the Bombay High Court seeking action against Sarpanch of the village who allegedly ordered a boycott of two families after their members decided to contest a Panchayat Samiti election.
The cause for concern, however, is the contention made in the petition that the practice of ostracising villagers — Walit, as they call it — is common in the villages of Murud-Janjira in Raigad. The Murud village is a popular tourist destination mainly because of the massive Janjira Fort, situated in the Arabian Sea.
Jagannath Waghmare and seven others from Ekdhara village, that has 4,000 residents, have contended that they have been socially and economically disconnected by the villagers at the instance of the village Sarpanch Motiram Patil.
In 2007, Rashmikant Patil, a resident of Ekdhara decided to contest the Panchayat Samiti election and Waghmare, in his support, filed the nomination. Their lawyer Gayatri Singh told the court that the petitioners belonged to the Koli community and both their families were boycotted by the villagers after the Sarpanch along with villagers Ramdas Nishandar, Maya Waghre and Ramkrishna Agarkar, held a meeting on March 2, 2007 at the village temple and declared the families ostracised.
This meant that everyone else in the village was forbidden from speaking, interacting or making business transactions with the families. Six other families who continued to maintain relations with the ‘ostracised’ families, were also declared Walit subsequently.
Helpers in the fishing village were asked not to work on the boats of the ostracised families, and they were also denied subsidised diesel to run their boats, they claimed. The court was also told that they were barred from attending marriages, funerals or festivals celebrated in the village.
Justice P B Majmudar and Justice R D Dhanuka inquired if there was a case of a marriage outside the community in the village. Singh, however, told the court that the families were bearing the brunt of filing a nomination for Panchayat Samiti elections.
The petitioners stated that the government authorities have shown “apathy and callousness” in dealing with their case and urged the court to order action against the Sarpanch and villagers in his support.
The lawyer for the Sarpanch and villagers in his support, however, said there was no such social ostracisation of the families.
“Are they invited to marriages?” Justice Majmudar asked. The court asked the Sarpanch and the other villagers to state on affidavit whether or not the aggrieved families were treated at par with other villagers, and issued notice to government officers, including the Collector of Raigad and made them respondents in the case.

Koodankulam: HC not to lift prohibitory orders
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court dismissed a petition against the prohibitory orders under Section 144, in place in the Radhapuram Taluk of Koodankulam. The prohibitory orders had been put in place in the wake of protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP).
The High Court bench ruled that the court cannot interfere in a cabinet approved government decision aimed at sustaining law and order in the state. Following this, the government has given the green light for further security measures in the Koodankulam area.
Meanwhile, it has been reported that a woman, who is one among 15 who have been on an indefinite fast against the KKNPP, has taken a turn for the worse. She has been moved to a nearby hospital.

Dead man’s kin get Rs 25L
TNN | Mar 27, 2012, 04.34AM IST
NEW DELHI: A trial court has awarded a compensation of over Rs 25 lakh to the family of a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) employee, who died after being hit by a car in 2010.

Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) directed National Insurance Company Ltd, with which the Maruti car was insured, to pay Rs 25,20,914 to the wife and five children of Ram Kishan Sharma, who was working as an assistant pump driver with Delhi Jal Board. “I, accordingly, grant a compensation to the tune of Rs 25,20,914 to all the petitioners (family members of Sharma) with interest,” MACT presiding officer B S Chumbak said. tnn

LEGAL NEWS 26.03.2012

Planning Commission to set up expert group on poverty in April

PTI Mar 25, 2012, 02.43PM IST

NEW DELHI: Under pressure to review its controversial poverty line of Rs 28.65 daily consumption, the Planning Commission is likely to complete by next month the formation of a technical group to revisit the methodology used to arrive at the figure.

“We have initiated the process of constituting a technical group to revisit the poverty estimates based on Tendulkar formula, which would be completed in a month, ” Minister of State for Planning Ashwani Kumar told reporters.

Last week, Kumar had said that the government has taken the decision to form an expert group to revisit the methodology for estimating poverty in a manner that is consistent with current reality.

He had added that the government had taken this decision in December last year.

According to the methodology recommended by the Tendulkar Committee for estimation of poverty, besides calorie intake, the spend on health and education is also factored in.

As per the Commission’s estimates, the poverty ratio has been pegged at 29.8 per cent in 2009-10, down from 37.2 per cent in 2004-05. These are based on the daily per-capita consumption of Rs 28.65 in cities and Rs 22.42 in rural areas.

According to the Commission’s latest finding, the total number of poor in the country has been estimated at 34.47 crore in 2009-10, as against 40.72 crore in 2004-05.

Last week, the Commission’s Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia was the target of attack, inside and outside Parliament, after the panel put out the poverty numbers. Samajwadi Party chief Mulayam Singh Yadav even asked for his removal.






Lawyers can now appear before varsity and college tribunals


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 26, 2012Lawyers can now appear before university and college tribunals, which decide service matters of college teachers. The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court last week struck down a proviso in the Maharashtra Universities Act, 1994 that prohibited legal practitioners from appearing before college and university tribunals.

Acting on two petitions, the division bench of justice SA Bobde and justice PB Varale held the right of an advocate to appear before any court, other than high courts and the Supreme Court flows from section 30 of the Advocates Act The bench held section 64 of the [Maharashtra Universities] Act, which prohibited legal practitioners from appearing before the tribunals, was repugnant to section 30 of the Advocates Act and consequently declared it void.

The petitions were filed by practicing advocate Mohan Sudame and Sanjivan Shikshan Sanstha from Bhandara district. They had approached the high court after the University and College Tribunal of Nagpur University refused permission to an advocate, representing the educational institute, to appear before it in view of section 64 of the Universities Act.

Sudame contended the provision in the Maharashtra Universities Act was contrary to section 30 of the Advocates Act, since the latter, enacted by Parliament, empowered and conferred the right on advocates to practice before any tribunal or person legally authorised to record evidence.

The court accepted his contentions and declared the proviso in Maharashtra Universities Act as invalid. The court also struck down the order refusing permission to the Nagpur University’s lawyer to appear before it.







Nod must to challenge Armed forces tribunal: SC

Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Rakesh Bhatnagar | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Affecting a large number of armed forces personnel who are left with the only option to seek resolution of their grievance concerning service matters and other contentious issues from the armed forces tribunal, the Supreme Court has ruled that the decision of the newly created forum cannot be challenged before the top court without prior sanction by the tribunal.

Explaining the purport of Section 31 of the Armed Forces Tribunal Act that allows appeal against the tribunal’s order, the top court has said an appeal to this court (apex) can be filed either with the leave of the tribunal or with the leave of this court.

“No absolute right of appeal against even a final order or decision is available to the aggrieved party, except in cases where the order passed by the tribunal is in exercise of its jurisdiction to punish for contempt, the court held on Friday.

The judgment was a response to an appeal filed by the Union of India which had filed a lawsuit challenging the tribunal’s order that had gone in favour of one Brig PPS Gill. The government neither sought the tribunal’s sanction to appeal, nor did it seek the top court’s nod for moving it.

Dismissing the Union government’s appeal as not maintainable, the court said to take recourse to Section 31 of the Act, it had to seek prior permission of the tribunal or the SC.

To effectuate the remedy, the court directed, the period of limitation for making an application for leave to appeal to this court by certificate shall start from the date of this order.

This judgment assumes significance in view of the common perception among the litigants that they enjoy the natural right to file an appeal before the SC and they don’t have to seek the prior permission of the Tribunal or the apex court.








Maha Govt officers’ body has ex-employee as top functionary

PTI | 12:03 PM,Mar 25,2012

Mumbai, Mar 25 (PTI) Election of a retired Government employee as General Secretary of Maharashtra State Gazetted Officers’ Federation (MSGOF), which has 1.30 lakh members, is being opposed by an association. Mahesh Chandurkar, President of Sales Tax Officers Association, has written to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, objecting to election of G D Kulthe as General Secretary of the Federation. Chandurkar has said Kulthe’s appointment was in violation of provisions of the Maharashtra Civil Services (Conduct) Rules, 1979 which state that only a serving employee can be a member of such an association. Kulthe retired in 1997 as Sales Tax Officer. In 2010, he was elected General Secretary of the Federation, defeating Chandurkar. In his letter to Chavan, Chandurkar, citing service rules, has said Kulthe cannot be associated with the Federation. The rules say a person, who is not a Government employee, cannot be member of any Government staff body. Of the 73 associations of officers from various departments which are affiliated to the Federation, only 49 are recognised by the Government, Chandurkar said. The Subordinate Engineers Association and Gazetted Engineers Association had also opposed Kulthe’s election, he said. Following complaint against him, Kulthe was served show-cause notice in 2011 by then Principal Secretary (General Administration Department) P S Meena. Chandurkar said he plans to file a writ petition if his plea goes unheard. PTI VT






A farce plays out at AMU: Third vice-chancellor in a week

Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: New Delhi | Agency: DNA

Within a span of less than 10 days, Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) has third vice-chancellor, after a retired 1977 batch IAS officer Noor Mohammad was shown door by the Allahabad High Court. Earlier Sibgatullah Farooqui was removed to pave way for the retired bureaucrat.

The court has now ordered appointment of senior most dean, Qazi Afzaal Hussain as the new acting vice-chancellor.

The farce of having a string of V-Cs started after PK Abdul Aziz abdicated his office following completion of his six- year-term on January 17, 2012. Since appointment of V-C at this world famous institution is an elaborate affair, senior most dean Farooqui was handed over the charge.

During Uttar Pradesh polls, he, however, rubbed the Congress wrong way, which was all out to entice Muslims to vote for the party. He accused the Human Resources Development minister Kapil Sibal of choking funds. “I cannot put blame on other parties.

But Congress has definitely given a deep shock to Muslim community. It has thrown university in financial crises,” he had said. Soon after the completion of poll process, Farooqui was removed from the post and the charge was handed over to a retired IAS officer instead the next senior most dean.

Allahabad High Court, however, stayed his appointment on a writ petition by Husain. The court on last Thursday ordered interim arrangement of Husain, being the senior most dean among members of the executive council, to discharge the V0C duties. Noor Mohammad, a former deputy election commissioner, was thrust on the university reportedly by HRD minister Kapil Sibal for setting the administration in order.

Immediately after taking over on Friday, Husain announced that the process for selection of a permanent Vice-Chancellor will start soon. He is dean of the Art Faculty. He said his top priority is to meet the deadline of April 10 to submit the AMU’s XII Plan proposals to the University Grants Commission (UGC) and give special attention to the annual examinations as also various admission tests for the next session.

Outgoing V-C Farooqui says the UGC under the ministry of the HRD has stagnated the non-salary funds for the university to the extent that since last May faculty members have been barred to attend national seminars due to financial crunch. “We had recommended an estimated budget of Rs52.18 crore but the UGC has sanction us only Rs21.63 crore. Similarly, in 2010-2011 budget we had asked for Rs44.80 crore, but were given the same amount of Rs 21.63 crore,” he says.

Total budget of the university stands at Rs535 crore. Out of which a major chunk 95 % goes to salaries and non-plan activities. University officials complain that that government was forcing them to reduce expenditures and raise own resources.







High Court orders notice to former SEC, two officials

The Madras High Court has ordered notice to the then State Election Commissioner and two other officials on a contempt petition against them for violating a court order of October last year relating to the local body elections of 2011.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices D. Murugesan and P.P.S. Janarthana Raja, said the notices to the then State Election Commissioner and Secretary of the Commission and Commissioner, Chennai Corporation, would be returnable by April 4.

In the petition, G. Poonkundran of Tiruvanmiyur said that by an order of October 14 while disposing of a batch of nearly 170 writ petitions, the court passed various directions.

In gross violation of the directions, the authorities had “deliberately and wantonly” failed to draw up any plan of action. They neglected to implement the court order in letter and spirit in the local body elections on October 17 last year for both the mayoral and councillor posts in Chennai. The authorities purposely avoided installing video cameras and did not explore the possibility of having web camera in all the polling booths in the city. On October 17, out of 4,876 booths for elections to 200 wards, cameras were not installed in 90 per cent of the booths. In none of the booths, police from other States were posted as per the court directions. Even the CRPF was not requisitioned.




Registering FIRs still a tough task

S Ahmed Ali, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 06.34AM IST

Online registration of a First Information Report (FIR) may be a distant dream in an age when citizens still have to turn to the courts to get their cognizable complaints registered by the police.

Despite repeated reminders by the Director General of Police and censure from the courts, several police stations still refuse to entertain cognizable complaints. The victims are forced to file private complaints in court under section 156 (3) of the Criminal Procedure Code, to get police to register an FIR. “It is unfortunate that in this country a common man has to pay a bribe to get a theft complaint registered,” said activist Anand Yogacharya.

Yogacharya, who tried to file an FIR for a house-breaking case for five years, has now filed a writ petition before the Bombay High Court against Mumbai police. Often, people who attempt to register cognizable offences are end up registering a non-cognizable offence instead. “Despite the session court’s directives to register a prosecution case against police officers and private persons who framed me in a drug case, I had to file a private complaint to get police to register an FIR,” said Rajesh Solanki, who was framed by Dongri police.

However, a senior police official said, “Every complaint received at a police station is not necessarily a cognizable one. The officer often refuses to register it as it may be a civil dispute or could be an attempt to settle scores due to a previous enmity.”

The Bombay High Court, hearing a writ petition filed by one Iqbal Ram Khan, had observed : “It has come to our notice that in several cases though a cognizable offence is disclosed, such complaints are not registered, resulting in grave injustice being caused to the complainants. The DGP is therefore directed to inform all concerned police stations to strictly adhere to provisions of sections 154 Cr PC and ensure that complaints are registered promptly as soon as commission of a cognizable offence is disclosed. Strict action will be taken if directions are not followed.”

Moreover, the DGP in a recent circular said though the officer in-charge should make preliminary enquiries into a complaint, he should make an entry of the complaint and the enquiry must be completed in not more than two days.

A Long Haul

Dec 2009 |

An employee was arrested by police for cheating his former company of Rs 20 crore, after it filed a private complaint in court. Police initially refused to register an FIR

Dec 2011 |

Senior officials were arrested for stealing data from their previous employer after a magistrate directed police to register an FIR and probe the case







Every evening, Ponda cops defy Bombay High Court orders

Suraj P Kaisuvkar, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.39AM IST

PONDA: Despite a clear-cut verdict of the Bombay High Court regarding implementing restrictions on mining traffic in busy areas, the court order was found being violated along the Usgao-Dharbandora stretch.

In a writ petition, the court had directed the authorities that no mining traffic would be allowed on the road from 6pm to 8am the next morning and from 1pm to 2pm. However, mining trucks were still found recklessly plying on Usgao’s roads. Observers found many trucks overtaking, and their drivers cocked a snook at keeping a safe distance between two vehicles, as directed by the Court.

The authorities apparently have yet to learn from the March 5 tragedy which accounted for three lives including that of a 15-year old girl at Usgao, as blatant violations of the high court order continue unabated. When the media camped at Usgao (where the fateful accident took place on a road highly prone to accidents) to get first-hand information on the happenings in the mining corridor, the findings were shocking and perhaps it would take another major mishap for the authorities to wake up from their slumber and act against erring truckers.

Interestingly, the single police personnel deputed to keep a watch on possible movement of trucks, stops working after 6pm. However, the trucks were seen plying at breakneck speeds as there were no sufficient cops deployed to regulate the traffic.

About 2,000 trucks ply from various mines through the Usgao-Palwada road stretch every day. Following the March 5 accident, the authorities had assured the villagers that they’d erect speed breakers and permanent road dividers to streamline the traffic. However, nearly a month after the accident, authorities are yet to begin with the work. Instead, a few plastic cones had been put up at the site.

Ponda deputy collector Johnson Fernandes said the works of erecting the road dividers and other corrective measures will commence from April 2.







Can’t hang Rajoana, says Patiala jail supdt


Manpreet Randhawa Chandigarh, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, March 25, 2012The fact that he was arrested by the Chandigarh UT police looks set to delay the hanging of Balwant Singh Rajoana, sentenced to death for his involvement in the August 31, 1995 assassination of then CM Beant Singh in the state capital. Lakhwinder Singh Jakhar, superintendent of the


Patiala Central Jail where Rajoana is lodged, has written to additional sessions judge, Chandigarh, that it would not be possible for him to execute the death warrant of Rajoana as “the state of Punjab has no territorial jurisdiction in the matter”.

On March 19, Jakhar had received a communiqué from the judge, Shalini Nagpal, that Rajoana be executed at 9am on March 31. In his 11-page communiqué back to the judge, Jakhar said, “There are legal infirmities in the procedure… the state of Punjab has no territorial jurisdiction in the matter. These aspects necessitate an in-depth examination by the court of ASJ.”

He said Rajoana and Jagtar Singh Hawara were sentenced to death in the case. The death sentence of Hawara was commuted to life imprisonment by the Punjab and Haryana High Court; but Rajoana had refused to appeal against the death sentence. The appeal of another co-accused Lakjwinder Singh alias Lakha is still pending before the Supreme Court

It would be in accordance with law that execution of the sentence of death of Rajoana is deferred till the decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal filed by Lakha and Hawara, the letter said.

Jakhar also argued that warrants for execution of sentence of death were “erroneously issued” at the first instance to superintendent, Central Jail Patiala, “whereas in accordance with the rules and orders, the warrants should have been addressed to superintendent, Burail Jail [in Chandigarh UT], as the prisoner was originally committed to its custody on July 31, 2007”.

He mentioned that the custody of the prisoner was handed over to superintendent, Central Jail, Patiala, purely on an administrative arrangement.

Citing rules and orders of the high court, Jakhar said when a sentence of death was confirmed by HC, the session judge issued warrants for execution of death sentence to the superintendent of jail to which the prisoner was originally committed.

“If the prisoner had been transferred to another jail, the superintendent to whom the warrants were issued earlier would return the same… and revised warrants had to be issued to the superintendent of jail in which the prisoner is confined,” he said.

He went on to mention a Punjab government letter written on August 16, 1982, Jakhar said that as per administrative arrangements, condemned prisoners of the UT of Chandigarh could be sent to Central Jail, Patiala, and the expenditure for the maintenance and transportation was to be borne by the Chandigarh administration.

The letter referred only to the safe custody of the prisoners, and there was no mention whatsoever that the execution of the death sentence has to be carried out in Patiala, Jakhar wrote.

Besides, Punjab has no jurisdiction in law to execute the death sentence since the offence had taken place with in the jurisdiction of the UT. The trial was also conducted at Chandigarh and the conviction and sentence was also passed by ASJ at Chandigarh, said Jakhar in the communiqué.

He added that Rajoana’s decision to not file any appeal or mercy petition so far was of no consequence. Jakhar said the application by Rajoana seeking his execution could not be considered till the matter was finally decided by the Supreme Court, adding, “It will not be possible to bring him (Rajoana) back to life in case the apex court decides that the matter does not warrant death sentence and may commute to life imprisonment or it may even acquit the co-accused on the ground that the prosecution case […] was not established beyond reasonable doubt. It is also possible that Rajoana changes his mind and files appeal or mercy petition. It is, therefore, necessary that let the law complete its final course before executing the death sentence.”






Pending cases down to 31L in state, says high court chief justice

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 07.20AM IST

PUNE: As many as 23 lakh cases in 2010 and 26 lakh cases in 2011 have been disposed of by courts in the state, chief justice of the Bombay high court Mohit Shah said here on Sunday.
Addressing the annual general body meeting of the Maharashtra State Judges Association (MSJA), Shah another 5 lakh cases were disposed since the year began. The pendency of cases in the state has come down to around 31 lakh cases now, he said.

Shah said the disposal of cases pending for more than 5 to 10 years has been “encouraging” . He also lauded the Maha Lok Adalats for their help in reducing the pendency, saying they had disposed of as many as 7 lakh cases. Shah appealed to judges to strive to end pendency of cases that are 5 to 10 years old, saying cases involving undertrials should be taken up on priority. “The judiciary should continue with its impressive work. At the same time, it should be keep in mind that the quality of its functioning is not negotiable,” he said.

Shah said various proposals are in the pipeline for upgradation of judiciary quarters and for providing better infrastructure. He said the administration would look into the various issues and problems of the MSJA. One such requirement is an administrative office for the association.

Justice P B Majmudar, Justice R C Chavan, principal district and sessions judge Anant Badar and president of MSJA Surendra Tavade were present.





Briefly Nation: Shehla case: CBI recovers weapon used in murder

Press Trust of India : Mon Mar 26 2012, 00:15 hrs

Shehla case: CBI recovers weapon used in murder

NEW DELHI/BHOPAL: The CBI on Sunday said that the weapon used in the murder of RTI activist Shehla Masood has been recovered at the instance of Saqib Ali, who is accused of hiring contract killers to murder her. A CBI spokesperson said the weapon, a country-made bullet, was recovered at the instance of Ali alias ‘danger’ and has been since sent for forensic examination.

4 held for alleged rape in Manipur

IMPHAL: Four persons, including two personnel of India Reserve Battalion (IRB), have been arrested for allegedly raping a woman in Manipur, the police said on Sunday. Bishenpur SP Radheshyam Singh said that the four persons had abducted the woman, who was coming to Imphal from Tamenglong district on March 21, took her to an isolated place and allegedly raped her. The two IRB personnel were identified as Havildar Chungkham Ibomcha and rifleman Khetrimayum Kenedy and their friends — Salam Bijen and Laikhuram Rojit — the police official said.

Kandhamal: 156 persons acquitted

PHULBANI (ORISSA): A total of 156 persons were acquitted by two fast track courts here in three separate verdicts in connection with the Kandhamal riots of 2007 and 2008 in Orissa. Additonal Sessions Judge S K Das of Fast Track Court-I acquitted 14 accused persons in a house burning incident at village Dakedi in September 2008 due to lack of proper evidence. B N Mishra Additonal Sessions Judge of Fast Court-II acquitted all the 142 persons arrested in two cases of torching houses in 2007.






Man jailed for slapping false case

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 05.12AM IST

NEW DELHI: A man has been sentenced to one month jail term by a trail court for falsely implicating his daughter’s lover in an abduction case as he did not approve of their inter-caste union and forcibly got his daughter married for a second time.

The case pertains to a recent incident of a runaway girl who went missing from a remand home and it was later discovered that she was remarried at the behest of her father, Kaushal. Kaushal had deposed before the court that his daughter was a minor and had been kidnapped by her lover, Prem Raj. However, the girl surfaced along with her lover and told the court that she was 20-years-old.

Holding Kaushal guilty of filing a false case, additional sessions judge Kamini Lau said, “This is a classic case exhibiting the manner in which the existing law and rules of procedure have been abused, misused and twisted by Kaushal (complainant/ father of the girl) only to frustrate her marriage with Prem Raj for the sole reason that he belonged to a low caste while she belonged to a high caste.”

“…The entire system was used and abused by Kaushal to achieve his object of frustrating the marriage of his daughter with the accused… where on the one hand she continues to be the legally wedded wife of Prem Raj and on the other hand now resides with Son Pal Singh (the person with whom Kaushal had married her) as his wife,” the court stated.







Should stop media photos of evidence, says court–says-court/928356/

Express news service : New Delhi, Mon Mar 26 2012, 01:44 hrs


Photographs of material evidence published in the media can lead to benefit of the doubt in favour of an accused as questions can be raised regarding tampering of evidence. Such photography by the media, therefore, should not be allowed, a city Sessions court has said.

The court observation came as it sentenced Surender Gaja to 10 years in prison, along with levying a fine of Rs 1 lakh, for selling heroine in Delhi.

As per the prosecution, Gaja and his family members used to sell heroin in city, after procuring it from Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh. Gaja was arrested in 2005 and four parcels of heroin were recovered from him. These were then sent to the police maalkhana as case evidence.

During the arguments in the case, the defense counsel said police had later taken the parcels out of the maalkhana and shown them to the media without making a corresponding entry in the records. The defense argued that tampering with the case property could not be ruled out.

Police, on its part, said the case property was shown to the media within the maalkhana, and was never taken out.

Though the court upheld police version of events, Additional Sessions Judge Narinder Kumar said police should avoid photography or videography of the case property by the media, even within the police station or maalkhana, to avoid the element of doubt that might favour the accused.

“Publication of such news may be in the interest of public, but publication of photographs of the case property is not required to give strength to the news items. A news item in the media, even without photograph, would suffice to bring the matter to the notice of general public,” the judge said.






SC to frame guidelines for reporting sub-judice matters; we need many more guidelines

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.56AM IST

In a constitutional democracy based on rule of law, citizens operate under a golden rule: “The right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins”. This articulation by American jurist Oliver Wendell Holmes has conveyed to every one, including newspaper reporters, that their right to freedom of expression is not higher than the fundamental rights of others.

If a baseless swing of a reporter’s pen scratches another’s nose, then he faces law like ordinary citizens. But, some grave and incessant misreporting in media in the last few months has forced the Supreme Court to constitute a five-Judge constitution bench to deliberate on framing reporting guidelines on sub-judice matters.

The exercise is welcome. The guidelines will, probably, contain the golden principles telling reporters what to report and what not to, and importantly, how to write a news report. In the Indian Express judgement [1985 (1) SCC 641], the apex court had said the right to freedom of expression enjoyed by reporters could not be subjected to additional restriction other than those provided under Article 19(2) of the Constitution.

The SC had also said: “Freedom of press is the heart of social and political intercourse…. Newspapers being purveyors of news and views having a bearing on public administration very often carry material which could not be palatable to the government and other authorities. With a view to checking malpractices which interfere with free flow of information, democratic constitutions all over the world have made provisions guaranteeing the freedom of speech and expression laying down limits of interference with it.”

“It is the primary duty of all national courts to uphold the said freedom and invalidate all laws or administrative actions which interfere with it, contrary to the constitutional mandate,” it had said.

Even if one takes that framing of guidelines for media on reporting sub-judice matters is a pressing issue, would it be more important than about 30% of the country’s population going hungry every day even after 62 years of India becoming a republic? When a vast humanity is living below poverty line and yet the government jokes that those who spend Rs 29 a day are not poor, doesn’t it ring an alarm bell about something being seriously wrong with governance? How about a guideline to make the right to life of one-third of Indians a little more meaningful? Would the SC attempt it?

The poor have been waiting for justice for years with no signs of better times in the immediate future. Another six crores (it would be much more but we take a very conservative estimate by assuming that only two persons are involved in each of the nearly 3 crore cases pending) are waiting for years in a labyrinthine queue for justice. Should the excruciating delays result in denial of justice? Would a guideline to limit case life to 2-3 years not pressing enough?

Talking about maladies faced by the country, the Vohra committee report in the 1990s pinned the blame on the unholy nexus among police-criminal-bureaucrat-mafia-politician. The SC in the Vineet Narain judgement dealt with this issue but did not issue a guideline to break the nexus.

It had also dealt with hawala scam in the 1990s and black money only two years ago. According to a conservative estimate by the National Institute of Public Policy, black money in our economy is around Rs 37,000 crore, which is a little more than one-fifth of the gross domestic product (GDP). It is an admitted position that on a conservative estimate the black money in circulation in India would match the quantum of white money. Should the SC not put forth guidelines to unearth the black money? A two-judge bench of the SC did make an attempt. But, the order is in limbo as a fresh bench hearing the Centre’s review petition gave a split verdict.

To give a specific example, the Rs 14,000-crore Satyam scam happened because of alleged deliberate auditing manipulations by chartered accountants of a reputed firm. With the plummeting share prices, dreams of millions crashed. Should the Supreme Court not frame guidelines for chartered accountants on how to audit, at least when it involves big listed companies?

For framing of guidelines, we must not forget the riots and its virulent kind, the communal riots. The apex court has dealt with the two most notorious ones in the history of modern India – the 1984 anti-Sikh riots and the 2002 post-Godhra riots. It did a great job in the 2002 case. It brought the perpetrators to book by breaking the shield provided to them by those in power. Should the SC have not framed guidelines for both police and governments on how to deal with communal riots? A guideline for rehabilitation of victims and prosecution of culprits would also not be out of place.




PIL filed against civic body

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 07.27AM IST

INDORE: The Lok Adalat has asked the Indore Municipal Corporation (IMC) to explain why it failed to set up free water kiosks along road sides in the city as the summer has onset. As per the law, it is mandatory for the civic body to make arrangements for drinking water on roadside in summers.

Advocate Piyush Verma had filed a PIL with Lok Adalat on Saturday. Following which, the court issued a notice to the civic body, asking for its reply.

“Summer has already arrived but the IMC has not yet made any arrangements for drinking water for people,” said Verma adding that everyone cannot afford to buy bottled water from the market.

He further said that everyday around two lakh people come to city from nearby areas. Driving home his point, the petitioner said as per the Food Security Act, it is the right of every citizen to have access to food and water. Apart from this, under the Municipal Corporation Act 1954, it is duty of the civic body to provide drinking water to its citizens.





Ex-officer questions Intelligence Bureau’s legal status

A Subramani, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.24AM IST

CHENNAI: Responding to a PIL filed by a retired Intelligence Bureau officer pointing at the complete absence of constitutional or statutory sanction for the agency, the Karnataka high court last week sought an explanation from the Central government, giving it time until March 30 to issue an executive order justifying IB’s existence.

The IB was formed by then British secretary of state as a sub-sect of the Central Special Branch on December 23, 1887. “It has remained like a ghost, without a statute, all these 125 years,” said the PIL by Mysore-based R N Kulkarni, who joined the IB in 1963 and retired in 1998 as its joint assistant director.

Kulkarni further told the court that despite being a vital arm of national intelligence and security, all that the IB has to explain for its evolution over the past 125 years is the British order issued in 1887. Neither the Indian Independence nor the adoption of a Constitution nor even regulatory statutes for Central police organisations like the CRPF and CISF ever accorded any legal status to IB, which exists in a constitutional vacuum.

In its response, the Centre said the IB is a civilian organization which does not enjoy police powers. It also admitted that on May 21, 2001, the Group of Ministers had acknowledged that IB did not have a formal charter, although an attempt was made to define its functioning.

Taking note of the absence of a legislation to regulate the IB, the court asked the Centre to issue an executive order defining the powers, functions and duties of IB officers immediately. Otherwise, the bench headed by the chief justice cautioned, the court would be constrained to constitute a committee to go into the issue and submit a report.

How can the IB, established under an administrative order without any constitutional or statutory identity even after the commencement of the Constitution in 1950, be permitted to function as an apex national security apparatus, questioned Kulkarni’s PIL.

This extra-constitutional status of the IB infringes upon the rights of citizens as well as the rights of the personnel serving in the IB, the PIL said.

The closest that the IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act 1985. Ironically, the Act was brought to restrict the fundamental rights of members of intelligence organizations such as IB in matters of freedom of expression and their right to form associations.

The Intelligence Bureau (IB) has existed since December 23, 1887, as a ghost organization without any constitutional or statutory sanction, according to a PIL filed by a retired IB official. This has taken place despite the organization being a vital arm of national intelligence and security. The closest IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organisations (Restriction of Rights) Act 1985. But Parliament failed to legislate for IB’s establishment, regulation, discipline, control and operations, the PIL said.

Kulkarni’s counsel produced newspaper reports and articles by former IB officers stating that they had interrogated people. “Without police powers, how could the IB detain or interrogate anyone?” the counsel asked.

The directive comes at a time when the Union home ministry is trying to sell NCTC to the nation with the proposal to bring NCTC under IB.







Need for info commissioners in state’


Prajakta Chavan, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, March 26, 2012

The increasing number of pending appeals (22,000) at the state information commission offices and four vacant state information commissioner posts has become a major concern for RTI activists as the commission’s work is getting affected. Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi,


in his letter to chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, pointed out the weakening transparency law in the state because of the absence of a concerned authority.

“Presently, there are no Information Commissioners for Mumbai headquarters, Greater Mumbai, Konkan and Pune. The pending appeals are mounting and if urgent steps are not taken, RTI will suffer a grievous blow.  Most of the cases take around a year to be decided. By inaction and allowing pendencies to mount, RTI could become dysfunctional and ineffective,” said Gandhi in his letter.

Hindustan Times (HT) has earlier reported about the need to appoint state information commissioners because of an increasing number of pending appeals.

Presently, four state commissioner posts are vacant. There has been no replacement for Dr. Suresh Joshi (six months), Ramanand Tiwari (over nine months), Naveen Kumar (six months) and Vijay Kuvalekar (over one month).

“Currently, among four information commissioners are sharing charge of eight information commissions. I have additional charge of both Mumbai headquarters and Greater Mumbai. Like me, even other commissioners have additional charges and burdened with more work. We hope soon the information commissioners are appointed so that we can concentrate only on our respective districts,” said Bhaskarao T Patil, Amravati information commissioner and in charge Mumbai Chief Information Commission (CIC).










Disclose TA, DA claims of MLAs, CIC to Speaker

Deshdeep Saxena, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 06.40AM IST

BHOPAL: An order issued by the chief information commissioner of Madhya Pradesh, barely an hour before his retirement, has put the Vidhan Sabha in a fix. The CIC “requested” the speaker to issue orders to make public the travelling expenses of MLAs, uploading it on the Assembly website.

The CIC was to retire on March 25, and had signed the order barely an hour before the last working day before he would step down- on March 22 . The three subsequent days were government holidays.

This issue had been hanging fire for about 2 years now. In March 2010, the Vidhan Sabha secretariat had refused to provide information to an RTI applicant who sought details of the TA and DA claimed by legislators. The applicant, Ravindra Jain, had subsequently appealed to the CIC.

The speaker had denied the information saying it would be a breach of privilege of the MLAs, while the CIC disagreed.

Jain claimed to TOI that he sought the information to pin down alleged irregularities.

Asked why he had made this recommendation to the speaker on the verge of retirement, the CIC, PP Tewari claimed it took tyime to study the issue. ” I wanted to study the issue of privilege. However, this is not codified anywhere and I could not perform my job”, said Tewari, who was earlier at loggerheads with the Lokayukta, since he wanted the Ombudsman’s office to come under RTI.

The CIC’s order said : “The commitment and conduct of all the public servants should be beyond any doubt. And, this becomes even more important as the issue is related to the people’s representatives.”

The speaker however said he had no idea about the CIC’s recommendation. “I am now in Jabalpur. I did hear about it (the recommendation), but let me first return to Bhopal on Monday”, he told TOI.

The CIC’s order said : “The commitment and conduct of all the public servants should be beyond any doubt. And, this becomes even more important as the issue is related to the people’s representatives.”







CCI clears merger of SNIPL with UBL

Last Updated: Sunday, March 25, 2012, 13:31

New Delhi: Competition watchdog CCI has cleared the proposed merger of Scottish & Newcastle India (SNIPL) with Vijay Mallya-led United Breweries (UBL).

After the merger, SNIPL, which holds 3.22 percent shares in UBL, would cease to exist.

According to the scheme of amalgamation, over 84.89 lakh fully paid equity shares of UBL of Re 1 would be issued for over 3.22 crore fully-paid equity shares of SNIPL of Rs 10 each.

While UBL’s primary business is to produce, package, distribute, market and sell beer in India and abroad, SNIPL at present has no operations.

“Considering the facts on record and the details provided in the notice…and the assessment of the proposed combinations is not likely to have an appreciable adverse effect on competition in India and therefore, the Commission hereby approves the proposed combination under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Act,” the Competition Commission of India (CCI) said in its order.

In its notice, UBL said that the objective of the proposed combination was to consolidate Heineken Group’s shareholding in UBL, which would lead to consolidation of Heineken Groups’s presence in India.

At present, the Heineken Group and the UB Group separately hold 37.38 per cent each in UBL, and the remaining 25.24 percent is held by others.

CCI noted that “the aggregate of shares held by UB Group, Heineken and its shareholders in UBL, directly and or indirectly, before and after the proposed combination is not likely to give rise to any adverse competitive concern in India”.

In January 2008, Heineken had indirectly acquired a 37.5 percent stake in UBL following its worldwide takeover of Scottish & Newcastle (S&N).











Police book Cong MLA for beating up constable

Pradip Kumar Maitra, Hindustan Times
Nagpur, March 25, 2012

The police in Amravati booked Congress MLA Yashomati Thakur (38) after she, along with her party colleagues, assaulted a constable on Saturday when her vehicle was stopped for allegedly violating traffic rules.
Thakur, however, lodged a counter-complaint with the


Police sources said the MLA, who was also national general secretary of the youth wing of the party, was agitated when traffic constable Ulhas Raurale stopped her vehicle from entering a one-way in Amravati, 150 km west of Nagpur.

Raurale tried to impress upon the MLA and her driver that they could not be permitted to take the one-way. However, the legislator pulled up the constable by reminding him she was an MLA and that he should know his limits and the consequences of his action.

When the driver attempted to speed away, Raurale tried to stop the vehicle. It was then that Thakur slapped him. Following this, party members who were accompanying her also beat up the constable. A gathering in the area came to the policeman’s rescue.

The constable and the locals asked the police control room for assistance. As soon as the police arrived, the MLA’s car left the scene.

Later, Raurale lodged a complaint with the police against Thakur and her supporters for allegedly violating traffic rules and assaulting a public functionary. Thakur dismissed the allegations and said the constable had asked for a bribe of Rs 5,000 for allowing the vehicle on the one-way. “When I introduced myself as a Congress legislator, he abused me and my driver for allegedly violating traffic rules,” she said.

Thakur also lodged a counter-complaint with the police. “There is no board that shows the area is one-way,” she said.

The MLA alleged that the Amravati police was not taking any cognizance of the complaint. “I have also made a complaint with the local anti-corruption bureau (ACB) against the police constable,” she further said.

Talking to Hindustan Times, Amitesh Kumar, the commissioner of police (CP) said that the complaint of Thakur seems to be afterthought. “However, we are investigating the matter,” he said.

Kumar said that the MLA and her supporters slapped the constable in front of several people and they have made the statements with the police accordingly.








Directorate of Revenue Intelligence wants human rights panel order set aside

Swati Deshpande, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.57AM IST

MUMBAI: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has approached the Bombay high court to set aside Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission’s former chairperson Kshitij Vyas’s order against two of its senior officers.

The commission had said DRI officers, assistant director C Jagiasi and senior intelligence officer D S Mehta, “clearly exceeded lawful powers of investigation by resorting to torture and also hurt religious feelings” of a suspect in a high-end SUV import scam and recommended strict departmental action against the two.

The DRI said the commission “violated legal procedures”. It said that though the order has been signed by two members, only Vyas had heard a complaint of alleged torture and religious bias, filed by Mohinderpal Singh Gujral. He was arrested by the DRI last June.

The DRI said that both the officers are conducting a painstaking probe into the all-India scam whose progress will be adversely impacted by the SHRC order.

Gujral, the DRI added, is an associate and nephew of one of the operators of the racket, Jang Bahadur Singh Gujral alias Jangi. Jangi had allegedly helped import 12 high-end SUVs through benami transactions and violated customs duties worth crores. He operated from Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Tughlakabad airports and his alleged role was to finance import of these vehicles, some of which were stolen abroad, in the names of third parties.

The modus operandi included identification of vulnerable NRIs, arranging their passports for clearing cars under transfer of residence facility-where used cars are allowed to be imported at concessional duty rates for those returning to the country for good. The DRI found that cash was being deposited in fictitious bank accounts and in one case found 89 such accounts at the Union Bank of India, at Null Bazaar in Mumbai.

Gujral alleged that the officers cut his beard. As “proof” he showed a photo of his cut beard. The commission agreed with him that a single bruise on his arm was due to illegal torture and said that cutting a beard “violated human dignity of a Sikh”. The DRI said that the bruise was present before they arrested him. He did not complain of this abuse before the magistrate, said the DRI and also questioned the authenticity of the photo.

The DRI said that another person related to Jangi had filed a writ petition in 2009 before the Delhi high court to claim one of the vehicles it had seized. The Bombay HC is likely to hear the petition soon.






Christians get a fillip in state minority budget

Syed Amin Jafri, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.52AM IST

HYDERABAD: Six religious communities — Muslims, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains and Zoroastrians (Parsis) — have been notified as minorities in Andhra Pradesh. As per 2011 census, religious minorities account for 10.80 per cent of Andhra Pradesh’s population of 8.46 crore. Muslims constitute 9.17 per cent of the state’s total population, followed by other minorities such as Christians (1.55 per cent) Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains (0.04 per cent each of the total population). There are about 5,000 Parsis in the state. In absolute numbers, Muslims account for 84.88 per cent of the total minority population of 93 lakhs. Christians come second with 14.36 per cent.

Substantial numbers of Christians live in Krishna district (4.36 per cent of the district population), West Godavari (3.64 per cent), Guntur (2.95 per cent), Rangareddy (2.51 per cent), Hyderabad (2.13 per cent) and Visakhapatnam (1.62 per cent). The other 17 districts have smaller communities of Christians.

From 1985 till 2008, the AP State Minorities Finance Corporation was implementing various schemes for the benefit of minorities, including Christians, including scholarships and subsidy for bankable schemes. Responding to the longstanding demand of the AP Federation of Churches, an umbrella organization of the churches of various Christian denominations and a state-level body of the bishops and heads of churches in AP, the then chief minister agreed to set up a separate finance corporation for the Christian community in the state.

AP State Christian (Minorities) Finance Corporation was established on November 13, 2008 and it started functioning in March 2009 with the mandate to assist in the welfare and development of the weaker sections among Christian community. In July 2009, the AP Federation of Churches demanded the government to allocate 15 per cent of the welfare budget of minorities for the Christian community.

Consequently, 15 per cent of the budget of AP State Minorities Finance Corporation for welfare schemes, which were common to Muslims, Christians and other minorities, was earmarked for the Christian Finance Corporation with a proportionate reduction in the allocations for APSMFC. Schemes meant exclusively for Christians being implemented by APSMFC were transferred to the Christian Finance Corporation.

In the ensuing budget for 2012-13, the minorities welfare department has allocated Rs 28.65 crore for the Christian Finance Corporation. The allocations include Rs 4 crore for pre- and post-matric scholarships, Rs 15 crore for fee reimbursement, Rs 3.75 crore towards subsidy for bank-linked income generation schemes, Rs 5 crore for other welfare schemes, Rs 25 lakh for mass marriages of poor Christian girls and Rs 50 lakh for managerial subsidy.

The Christian Finance Corporation has launched new schemes for providing financial assistance to Christian hospitals, school buildings, orphanages, old-age homes, community halls-cum-youth resource centres and promotion of Christian culture. The idea behind the new initiatives is to enable the church-run welfare institutions to provide services in a sustainable manner.

To enable the Christian youth get jobs in the private sector, the Christian Finance Corporation sponsors them for training, employment and placement programmes. They are also assisted to set up small and tiny business units. Moreover, the Christian applicants are provided coaching in reputed private institutions for competitive examinations for civil services, AP state services and other government recruitment and for common entrance tests for admission into professional courses.

In July 2009, the high court had stayed a government order providing financial assistance to Christians for pilgrimage to Bethlehem, Jerusalem and other places connected with the life of Jesus Christ. While staying the order, a division bench had ruled that the government should not spend public money for any pilgrimage.

Again, in September 2009, the HC had ordered status quo with regard to allotment and disbursement of funds by the state government for construction of churches in the state. The order was passed by a division bench on a PIL. Though the stay has been vacated, the government has not made any allocations to Christian Finance Corporation for Christian pilgrimage and for repairs and construction of churches.











Encounters investigator seeks larger team

Prashant Dayal, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.03AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The chairman of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Task Force (STF), retired Supreme Court justice H S Bedi, has sought an increase in manpower allocated to the team probing 15 police encounters of Gujarat.

Bedi held a meeting on Saturday with the DGP and other senior police officials of Gujarat. At present, five IPS officers are part of the STF. But citing the large number of cases being probed, Bedi asked for four deputy superintendents of police and eight police inspectors. The fresh appointments are likely to be made under the supervision of a senior member of the team, inspector general of police A K Sharma. Sharma is in charge of the state intelligent bureau and also of the Gandhinagar range.

This was Bedi’s first visit to Gandhinagar after being appointed as the chairman of the STF. He left the city on Sunday.

Sources said that the retired justice will pay his second visit to the state on April 18. “Then he will interact with all the STF members individually,” said a member of the STF. Saturday’s meeting was attended by in-charge DGP Chittranjan Singh, Sharma, and home department officials.

During the meeting, Bedi issued a directive that all case papers concerning the encounters be translated into English. A source familiar with the development said: “This exercise will take at least four months because of the huge number of documents concerning the 15 encounters.” According to the SC order, Bedi has to submit the first progress report within the next three months.

The STF was formed after two PILs were filed by journalist B G Verghese and lyricist Javed Akhtar. The petitions were filed in 2007 after three IPS officers were arrested in connection with the Sohrabuddin Sheikh fake encounter case.

Samirkhan case uncertainty

It remains uncertain if the Samirkhan Pathan encounter of 2002 will be probed by the STF. The reason behind this apparent ambiguity is that Pathan’s case is already facing a court inquiry, though no fresh offence has been registered. Pathan’s family members are, however, readying to approach the chairman with a request to include the encounter in the purview of the probe.

Victims’ profile: Religion no bar

Some senior members of the STF were taken aback to note that the list of encounters under the scanner has 13 Hindus and 3 Muslim victims – Rajkot’s Salim Miyana and Rafiq Bapudi, apart from Haji Haji Ismail from Valsad. Haji’s family had filed a petition before the HC alleging that this was a contract killing carried out by Gujarat police officials. The petitioners had alleged that Haji was picked up from Lonavala in Mahrashtra and killed in a fake encounter. Salim’s wife too had made a similar allegation in a letter to the Gujarat police authorities.

Amit Shah connection

Some controversial fake encounters are missing from the list of incidents under the scanner. Sohrabuddin Sheikh was killed in 2005, Tulsiram Prajapati in 2006, and four alleged Kashmiri terrorists were killed in Vatva in 2006. According to the SC order, the STF shall look into cases other than those already being probed by the order of SC. The status of the Vatva encounter though remains unclear. “Another reason for this omission is that the 18 encounters considered by the petitioners are those tabled in the Gujarat assembly in 2007 by the then minister of state for home Amit Shah,” said an STF member. The petitioners have also mentioned before the SC that these encounters were mentioned in the Gujarat assembly. Shah was later arrested by the CBI in the Sohrabuddin Sheikh probe.











Civil courts cannot refuse to record compromise: HC

Ruling passed while allowing a civil revision petition

A civil court cannot refuse to record a compromise reached between the litigants even if such settlement had been reached after the passing of a decree in favour of one of the parties, the Madras High Court Bench here has held.

Justice C.T. Selvam passed the ruling while allowing a civil revision petition filed by Royal Sundaram Allianz Insurance Company challenging the refusal of a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal in Sivaganga district to record a compromise reached in a road accident case.

The petitioner’s counsel, S. Srinivasa Raghavan, pointed out that a family of five had raised a claim for compensation before the tribunal pursuant to the death of their relative in an accident.

The tribunal ordered the insurance company to pay Rs. 7.57 lakh with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent.

However, the company negotiated the matter with the claimants and said that it would not go on appeal against the decree if the family accepted to receive Rs. 5 lakh with interest at the rate of 7.5 per cent. The family agreed and a total amount of Rs. 5.63 lakh was deposited with the tribunal.

Thereafter, a joint memo was filed informing the tribunal of the compromise and urging it to record the settlement and permit the claimants to withdraw the amount. But the tribunal refused to do so by stating that an attempt was being made to pressurise it to accept a lesser award.

The tribunal also held that such a compromise could be recorded and the matter could be settled finally only if the claimants had filed a petition to execute the decree or if the insurance company had gone on appeal challenging the decree by depositing 50 per cent of the award.

Not in agreement with such a stand taken by the tribunal, Mr. Justice Selvam said: “The order of the tribunal reflects a most hyper-technical approach. It is always open to the parties to a dispute to arrive at a compromise and this is more so and all the more common in money decrees.

“The requirement of Order 21 Rule 2 of the Code of Civil Procedure that a decree holder has to certify the payment or adjustment made to the court stands satisfied in the present case. While so, it becomes the duty of the court which has the power to execute the decree to record the same.”







Employment Guarantee Scheme work is not permanent employment, rules HC

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 04.57AM IST

NAGPUR: In a significant verdict, the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court has ruled that employment under employment guarantee scheme (EGS) cannot be defined as employment in an industry. Justice Ravi Deshpande set aside a judgment passed by Bhandara Industrial Court on July 13, 2005, directing the state forest department to regularize 13 workers earlier working under EGS as van majoors in Group D category.

The industrial court had declared that the forest department had engaged in unfair labour practice as per the Maharashtra Recognition of Trade Unions and Prevention of Unfair Labour Practices Act (MRTU&PULP) Act by issuing an order on September 14, 2001, directing these 13 workers to work under EGS. However, justice Deshpande rejected the industrial court’s finding that by transferring the services of workers to EGS, the department has committed an unfair labour practice under the act.

“To transfer employees to work under EGS is not an unfair labour practice under MRTU&PULP Act. There is neither any award, settlement, agreement or statutory provision that confers any right upon the respondent workers to get the job other than one under EGS. There is no prohibition on the department to provide the work to them under EGS,” the court observed.

“The industrial court has therefore committed an error in holding that the work performed by respondents under EGS has to be treated as a normal one performed in the industry,” the judge added.

The 13 respondents who were working with the forest department had filed a complaint in the industrial court under MRTU&PULP Act, alleging that they had been continuously working on daily basis as majoors since 1987-88 and were being paid a salary on nominal muster roll (NMR).

Citing various Supreme Court and high court judgments, Justice Deshpande quashed the industrial court orders, observing that the appointment of a daily wager is not an appointment to any post.










Frivolous plea earns man a Rs50k slap by Bombay HC

Published: Monday, Mar 26, 2012, 8:15 IST
By Urvi Mahajani | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Sending a strong message to those who waste court’s time by filing frivolous petitions, the Bombay High Court has imposed a cost of Rs50,000 on a petitioner for trying to mislead the court.

“An attempt has been made to mislead this court in order to obtain relief … In our view this is a frivolous petition filed by the petitioner and incorrect statements have been made by the petitioner,” observed a division bench of Justice VM Kanade and Justice PD Kode.

Directing the petitioner to deposit the amount by the first week of April with the Legal Aid Committee, the court said, “Taking into consideration the aforesaid facts, in our view, it would be appropriate if heavy costs are imposed on the petitioner. The petitioner is, therefore, directed to pay Rs50,000…”

The HC said if the petitioner fails to pay the amount then it should be recovered from him as per the procedures of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The order was passed while dismissing a petition filed by businessman Suresh Jain, who claimed to have entered into an “oral agreement” with a developer, after which he took possession of a commercial premise in Worli and set up a shop selling household items and consumer appliances. However, Jain had claimed that the developer refused to execute the agreement, following which he filed a civil suit in 2009.

In his petition, Jain had claimed that on October 9, 2011, he left his shop and went home. He later learnt that his goods were scattered outside his shop. He alleged that the police refused to lodge an FIR and instead took the keys of his shop, purportedly for investigation purposes. Further, the police were seen partying with the developer at Dadar police station, Jain had alleged in his petition. Additional public prosecutor Poornima Kantharia argued that he had not backed his claim of police allegedly partying with the developer. Also, in his written complaint, he stated that he handed over the keys of the shop to the police for investigation purpose. The police did not forcibly take the same.

Kantharia argued that he seems to have filed a criminal case as the civil proceedings did not seem to have yield results. Agreeing with the prosecution, the HC imposed cost of Rs 50,000 on Jain.







No plans of separate pay commission for Himachal: Govt to HC

Express news service : Shimla, Mon Mar 26 2012, 03:27 hrs



The Himachal Pradesh government has no plans to set-up its own pay commission to fix pay scales for its government employees and proposes to keep following Punjab while implementing the pay panel’s recommendations.

As part of the government’s response on the issue of having a separate pay commission to de-link pay scales of government servants from that of Punjab, state chief secretary Rajwant Sandhu has filed an affidavit in the high court. “The state has no intention to set up a pay commission for its employees and will continue to follow the Punjab pattern,” reads the affidavit.

A division bench comprising Chief Justice Kurian Joseph and Justice D D Sud had, in December last year, expressed surprise that the state has no pay commission of its own and sent a notice to the government seeking its stand on the issue. The court had even directed the government to appraise it, on the issue, within three months.

“It’s true that Punjab pattern cannot be implemented as it is but at the same time separate pay commission at this stage is not necessary when the previous pay panel recommendations have been applied,” Sandhu said before adding that “ the court orders would be taken into consideration for future revisions”.

The chief secretary in her affidavit, has also stated that it was not necessary that every state should have its own Pay Commission and pointed out that 20 states were following the Central Pay Commission, whereas Himachal was following the Punjab one.

According to state budget estimates for 2012-13, of the total expenditure of Rs 20,243.92 crore, the amount spent on salaries and pensions will be Rs 9,069.81 crore. This means about 45 per cent of the total budget is meant for just 260,000 employees and 117,000 pensioners.







MCOCA can’t be applied in Chand murder case, says HC

NEERAD PANDHARIPANDE : Mumbai, Mon Mar 26 2012, 00:28 hrs



In a partial reprieve for alleged oil-mafia kingpin Mohammed Ali Abu Bakar Shaikh, a key accused in the Sayyad Chand murder case, the Bombay High Court on Thursday quashed and set aside a trial court order rejecting his application for discharge from the stringent provisions of the Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act (MCOCA).

Shaikh’s application has now been sent back to the special MCOCA court for fresh consideration.

The division bench of Justice A P Lavande and Justice S P Davare passed the order after noting that most of the arguments put forward by Shaikh’s counsel Taraq Sayed were not taken into account by the MCOCA court. The position was accepted by additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari. However, even as the judges quashed the order passed on April 5, 2011, they refrained from making any opinion about the merits of the case.

“The majority of the contentions advanced by the counsel for the appellant (Shaikh) have not been dealt with while dismissing the application. There is no doubt that this court, being an appellate court, can also consider the submissions… However, considering that in the present case, the majority of the submissions have not been considered, we deem it approppriate not to deal with them,” the court said.

Sayyad Chand was shot dead on September 15, 2010 near the General Post Office building in south Mumbai. Shaikh was said to be a rival of Chand in the illegal scrap and diesel pilferage business. The police claim that Shaikh had paid Rs 6 lakh to underworld gangster Chhota Shakeel for carrying out the murder.

Arguing for Shaikh, his lawyer had contended that most of the evidence as well as witness statements to book him under the Act were based on hearsay and could not be relied upon. He claimed that the prosecution had failed to prove any nexus between the organized crime syndicate and the accused. The lawyer pointed out that the two chargesheets against Shakeel put forth by the police to justify invoking MCOCA in the case do not mention Shaikh as an accused.

Gadkari, however, contended that the very allegation of Shaikh seeking the assistance of the gangster to carry out the murder was enough to invoke MCOCA.



HC quashes petition challenging award of school shoe contract

PTI | 06:03 PM,Mar 25,2012

Gangtok, Mar 25 (PTI) The Sikkim High Court has dismissed a petition challenging the award of contract for supply of school footwear to a show major by the state government through the HRD Department. Quashing the petition, Chief Justice Permod Kohli said the high court would not sit as a court of appeal over the administrative decision of the public authorities. “Power of judicial review in commercial field is to be exercised to examine the validity of decision making process of public authorities and not the decision itself,” the court said. The petition was filed by Sital Enterprises of Jorethang, South Sikkim, one of the bidders for the supply order in response to a notice inviting tenders issued by the HRD Department for supply of readymade school uniforms, shoes and socks for the academic session 2011 but the petition was limited to the award of the contract for supply of school footwear only. The court, in its March 15 order, observed the award of contract to the shoe major did not suffer from any arbitrary, malafide or unfair action on the part of the department and being the shoe manufacturer, the company was rightly preferred by the government over its local dealer, Basun Bisnu Enterprises, the firm which had been recommended by the selection committee. The chief justice further averred that while exercising the power of judicial review, the court has to examine whether the decision making process has been fair, transparent, non-arbitrary and not influenced by extraneous or irrelevant considerations.






Explain Intelligence Bureau’s legality, HC tells Centre

TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 03.15AM IST

CHENNAI: Responding to a PIL filed by a retired Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer pointing at the complete absence of constitutional or statutory sanction for the agency, the Karnataka high court last week sought an explanation from the Centre, giving it time until March 30 to issue an executive order justifying IB’s existence.

The IB was formed on December 23, 1887, by the then British secretary of state as a sub-sect of the Central Special Branch. “It has remained like a ghost, without a statute, all these 125 years,” said the PIL filed by Mysore-based R N Kulkarni, who joined the IB in 1963 and retired in 1998 as its joint assistant director.

Kulkarni further told the court that despite being a vital arm of national intelligence and security, all that the IB has to explain for its evolution over the past 125 years is the British order issued in 1887. Neither the Indian Independence nor the adoption of a Constitution nor even regulatory statutes for Central police organizations like the CRPF and CISF ever accorded any legal status to the IB, which exists in a constitutional vacuum.

In its response, the Centre said the IB is a civilian organization which does not enjoy police powers. It also admitted that on May 21, 2001, a group of ministers had acknowledged that IB did not have a formal charter, although an attempt was made to define its functioning.

Taking note of the absence of a legislation to regulate the IB, the court asked the Centre to issue an executive order defining the powers, functions and duties of IB officers immediately. Otherwise, the bench headed by the chief justice cautioned, that the court would be constrained to constitute a committee to go into the issue and submit a report.

“How can the IB, established under an administrative order without any constitutional or statutory identity even after the commencement of the Constitution in 1950, be permitted to function as an apex national security apparatus,” questioned Kulkarni’s PIL. This extra-constitutional status infringes upon the rights of citizens as well as those serving in the IB, the PIL added.

The closest that the IB ever came to have a rule was in 1985 when Parliament enacted the Intelligence Organizations (Restriction of Rights) But Parliament failed to legislate for IB’s establishment, regulation, discipline, control or operations, the PIL said.






HC allows petitioner to tap sweet palm

R Sivaraman, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.02AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has said that as long as a palm climber holds a licence, the police should not restrain him from taking sweet palm sap. The bench made this observation saying that licence conditions should not be violated by the palm tapper.

“In case, he, by misusing the licence engages for the sale of toddy, necessary action could be taken against him by the police,” the judge added while disposing a petition filed by one R Marimuthu seeking to permit him to continue his profession.

Marimuthu of Thotiyam said that he is a member of a Palm Jaggery Cooperative Society situated at Unniyur Village, Thottiyam Taluk wherein the persons engaged in climbing of palm tree for the collection of palm product are all the members to it.

“Every year, we used to obtain licence from the Tamil Nadu Palm Products Development Corporation for the purpose of climbing the palm tree. On the basis of the said licence we take on rent, palm and coconut tress and by taking the sweet palm sap, we prepare jaggery and market the same. It was a routine process and we used to do it regularly,” the petitioner said.

The petitioner said he was granted such licence in 2003 and periodically renewed. In respect of collection of the sweet palm sap, one of the licence conditions was that no one should collect toddy. For that, the pot used for collecting the sweet palm sap should not be coated with lime water.

Marimuthu said, “After obtaining the licence for this year, the police refused to allow him to climb the tree for the purpose of collecting sweet palm sap to prepare palm jaggery. They allegedly threatened him that if he climbed the palm tree, he would be charged with severe offence.”

Disposing the petition, Justice K K Sasidharan said, “The misuse of a licence by others cannot be a reason to the preventive action against the petitioner. Even according to the police, the petitioner was not involved in any offense relating to palm products. So long as the petitioner is issued with a license by the authority and he is abiding by the terms and conditions of the licence, he should be permitted to do his avocation.

The judge further said, “The petitioner has got every right to climb the palm tree for collecting palm products and to prepare jaggery for selling it. So long as the petitioner confines in activities within the four corners of the licence issued to him, there is no question of taking action against him by the police.”





Challenge HC’s MCX-SX order, AG advises Sebi

Dhananjay Mahapatra & Siddharth, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 05.49AM IST

NEW DELHI: The attorney general has advised the Securities & Exchange Board of India (Sebi) to appeal against the Bombay High Court order that had asked the market regulator to review its decision to deny a licence to MCX Stock Exchange (MCX-SX ).

Sources said the opinion of attorney general Ghulam Vahnavati, the government’s chief legal advisor, will be a critical input for Sebi as it decides whether to file a special leave petition in the Supreme Court or not. The regulator, however, is yet to decide its future course of action in the case although Sebi as well as government officials refused comment.

On March 15, the high court had ruled in favour of MCX-SX , which has been awaiting Sebi approval to get into the equity trading segment and provide competition to BSE and NSE. While MCX-SX is permitted in the currency derivatives segment , the regulator had turned down its plea for other businesses, citing a buyback arrangement among shareholders.

The order was challenged in the Bombay HC last year and the court ruled that the MCX-SX promoters “did not act in concert in violation” of rules that cap promoters’ shares at 5% and that their buyback arrangement with some of the shareholders of MCX-SX was not illegal.

The regulator decided to play it safe in the high-profile case, which has implications for other sectors too and sought AG’s view. The possibility of another legal opinion is also not ruled out. The rules prescribe that a bank or a financial institution can hold up to 15% in a stock exchange, while all other shareholders can hold a maximum 5% stake.

The order is seen to have an impact on several other businesses too as promoters could resort to similar arrangements in finalizing a corporate structure that is compliant with regulatory norms for banks. Where a stake dilution is required on commencement of operations , as well as in sectors that have a FDI cap. In case of commodity exchanges too, the regulator has mandated that the promoters dilute their shareholding to 26%.






HC: Church of South India is a company

A Subramani, TNN | Mar 26, 2012, 01.09AM IST

CHENNAI: The Church of South India (CSI) is a company registered under the Companies Act and hence it has to submit its account books to the Registrar of Companies (RoC) for inspection, the Madras high court has ruled. The CSI had been registered as a company in 1947-48.

Justice S Rajeswaran, passing an order to this effect recently, said it was not fair on the CSI’s part to have gone before RoC seeking an extension and then question the registrar’s powers to inspect CSI affairs in the high court.

The case started with a complaint lodged with the RoC by a CSI member, John S Durai of Mylapore. He had claimed that the CSI was misusing the foreign exchange account, which witnessed a huge inflow of money. Durai also filed a writ petition for a direction to the registrar to inspect the CSI accounts. On February 2, 2011, the HC had directed the registrar to look into the complaints. Based on the court directive, the registrar conducted a preliminary inquiry. On realising that there was substance in the allegations, he wrote to the Centre and obtained permission to hold a detailed probe into the CSI affairs as per Section 209A of the Companies Act.

Accordingly, the registrar issued a showcause notice to the CSI Trust Association on August 30, 2011, stating that the inspection would begin on September 12, 2011, and that the authorities should keep the accounts books ready for the exercise. In response, the CSI authorities appeared before the registrar with a request that the audit start a week later on September 19, 2011.

Simultaneously, the CSI moved the HC against the showcause notice and it was stayed on September 16, 2011. While the RoC was arrayed as a respondent, Durai himself got himself impleaded as part of the proceedings.

In his counter-affidavit, Durai informed the court that CSI was a “habitual defaulter in filing the statutory returns in time, and also not in the habit of replying to the genuine queries raised by the registrar regarding complaints received against the CSI”. He also said the court order was the basis for the present inspection.

Concurring with his submissions, Justice Rajeswaran vacated the stay on inspection and said the CSI was indeed a company registered under the Companies Act. Pointing out that besides the court direction, the registrar had conducted a preliminary inquiry and obtained a nod from the Centre before issuing the showcause notice, the judge said: “Only after getting clearance from the Ministry of Corporate Affairs the impugned action has been taken under the provision of law…The contention of the CSI counsel is of no merits and the proceedings cannot be questioned at all by the CSI Trust Association.”




Kin of DJB worker awarded Rs 25 lakh compensation

Last Updated: Monday, March 26, 2012, 17:42

New Delhi: The kin of a Delhi Jal Board (DJB) employee, who died after being hit by a car in 2010, have been awarded a compensation of over Rs 25 lakh by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT).

The court directed National Insurance Company Ltd, with which the offending Maruti car was insured, to pay Rs 25,20,914 to the wife and five children of Ram Kishan Sharma, who was working as an assistant pump driver with Delhi Jal Board.

“I, accordingly, grant a compensation to the tune of Rs 25,20,914 to all the petitioners (family members of Sharma) with interest…,” MACT Presiding Officer BS Chumbak said.

East Delhi resident Sharma died in October 2010 when he was going on a motorcycle to attend a complaint related to water problem and on reaching Geeta Colony, the Maruti car being driven by Kishan Kumar at a high speed, hit him.

Sharma, 42, who was earning over Rs 18,000 per month received grievous injuries in the accident and was taken to a hospital where he was declared brought dead.

The court, which had awarded a compensation of over Rs 28 lakh, however, deducted Rs 2.8 lakh from the amount saying the victim was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the accident and he too was responsible for the accident.

“In such circumstances, from the medical record of the doctor it can be safely held that at the time of accident the deceased was under the influence of alcohol and therefore, the he also contributed to the accident and accordingly, I held that the deceased should have been made liable to be compensated at 10 per cent of whole compensation which is to be granted in this case,” the presiding officer said.

It was the contention of the insurance company that the victim was in an inebriated condition at the time of accident and his family was not liable for any compensation.

Sharma’s family, however, denied it saying merely because the doctor got a smell of alcohol from the victim, does not proved that he was drunk.


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