LEGAL NEWS 24.02.2012

Vijayakant moves court against suspension


Case posted for March 2

The Madras High Court on Wednesday admitted a writ petition by Desiya Murpokku Dravida Kazhagam (DMDK) president and Leader of the Opposition in the Tamil Nadu Assembly, Vijayakant, challenging his 10-day suspension from the House by a resolution.

When the petition came up before Justice S. Rajeswaran, the Government Pleader took notice for the Assembly Secretary. The Judge ordered that the matter be posted for March 2 to enable the respondent to argue the matter with regard to both maintainability of the writ petition and the application seeking stay of the operation of the impugned resolution.

Mr. Vijayakant sought a declaration that the resolution adopted on February 2 by the Assembly was illegal and null and void.

In the petition, filed through counsel, S.Manimaran, Mr.Vijayakant said the Assembly Secretary by a letter dated February 3 informed him that a resolution had been passed by the House that he should be suspended from participating in the proceedings in the session that was under way and also in the next session continuously for 10 days.

Also, during the suspension period, he would not be entitled to pecuniary benefits, salary, concessions and other privileges in his capacity as the Leader of the Opposition and MLA with effect from February 2.

He was directed to surrender the car allotted to him to the Assembly Secretary’s office.

Mr. Vijayakant said he could not even receive and forward petitions regarding the legitimate grievances of the people of his constituency (Rishivanthiyam) to the government authorities for redressal.

He had been forbidden from attending any government meeting.

He said that by denying him his position as MLA, the people who had elected him as their representative had lost their right and opportunity to redress their grievances through him. This would amount to penalising the electors.

Even the copy of the privileges committee’s report was not furnished to him.

A copy was collected by him from the House Secretariat only after he was suspended.

Thus, all principles of natural justice had been violated.

He submitted that the resolution could not in itself seek to remove or prevent him from exercising his right as an elected representative outside the House.

When a person was elected as the Leader of the Opposition, it was a post which carried with it high responsibilities and indeed the post enjoyed a Cabinet Minister rank.

This privilege could not be interfered with by the ruling party through a voice vote resolution as it would amount to interfering with the working of the opposition party itself.











Nod to fill up Civil Judge vacancies


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has dismissed a batch of writ petitions challenging a GO and a subsequent notification relating to filling up of 185 vacancies to the posts of Civil Judges in the State. “No case is made out to interfere with the GO and the notification,” Justice K Suguna said on Tuesday. While the GO passed in January this year delegated power to the HC to make the recruitment directly, the subsequent notification inviting applications stipulated various conditions and concessions relating to experience, age and qualifications.
The main contention of the petitioners was that the government and the High Court could not usurp the power to make the recruitment, which vested with the TN Public Service Commission (TNPSC) alone, the constitutional body.
The judge, however, admitted a writ petition challenging a sub-clause of a particular rule stipulated in the notification.





Court upholds detention of ex-councillor


The Madras High Court on Wednesday upheld the detention of K. Dhanasekaran, a former Chennai Corporation DMK councillor, under the Goondas Act.

The order was passed by the Chennai Police Commissioner on September 16, 2011. The detenu is in Central Prison, Vellore.

Challenging the order, his wife D. Vijayakumari filed a habeas corpus writ petition.

The petitioner submitted that the grounds for detention did not reveal that the pre-detention representation of September 6 sent by the detenu to the Home Secretary. The police Commissioner was considered the detaining authority. No order rejecting the representation was communicated to the detenu.

Therefore, on this ground alone, the detention order was liable to be set aside.

In its order, a Division Bench, comprising Justices K. Mohan Ram and G.M. Akbar Ali, said admittedly the averments/allegations made in the pre-detention representation were found in the anticipatory bail petitions placed before the detaining authority.

The same had been referred to and considered by the detaining authority in the grounds of detention. Therefore, non-placement of the representation would not amount to non-application of mind by the detaining authority.

Therefore, on this ground, the detention order could not be set aside, the Bench said and dismissed the petition.

The Bench observed that when the personal liberty of the detenu was being curtailed by the detention order, the detaining authority should take proper care as to whether the pre-detention representation had been placed before him.

It was true that in view of the huge volume of correspondence received at the Commissioner’s office, it would be difficult for the detaining authority to remember the pre-detention representation received. But, that could not be an excuse.

The police Commissioner or detaining authorities should set up a separate cell or a section to exclusively deal with the representations received from persons who anticipated their detention or had been detained.

If such a facility was available and it maintained a register, it would be possible for the Commissioner at the time of passing the detention order to call for details from such cell as to whether any pre-detention representation had been received from the detenu.

Ban on banners: Time to file counter granted


Express News Service

CHENNAI: The government was granted time till February 27 to file its counter-affidavit on a writ petition seeking ban on erection of banners and pandals in public places. Passing interim orders on a public interest writ petition from social worker ‘Traffic’ K R Ramaswamy on January 3 last, the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam had granted four weeks time to the government to file the counter giving details regarding the steps taken to regulate erection of banners and pandals in public places.
When the matter was taken up today, no such counter was filed. Following a plea from Advocate-General A Navaneethakrishnan to grant more time, the bench directed him to file the counter by that date stating specifically the steps taken for redress of the grievance of the petitioner.








Silicosis victims from M.P. meet Gujarat governor


Silicosis victims from Madhya Pradesh met Gujarat governor Dr. Kamla Beniwal on Tuesday and submitted a memorandum to her regarding the “insensitive and indifferent attitude” of the Gujarat government to their plight.

Silicosis, the killer scourge, affects a substantial population of migrant labourers from Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua, Alirajpur, Badwani and Dhar districts who cross the border to work in quartz-crushing factories in Godhra and Balasinore in Gujarat.

In 2010, the National Human Rights Commission took cognizance of the death of 238 such labourers and directed the Gujarat government to provide compensation of Rs. 3 lakh to the families of the diseased. The NHRC also directed the Gujarat government to rehabilitate 304 silicosis-affected labourers.

However, the Gujarat government has not abided by the NHRC directives till date and has maintained that the labourers are liable to be compensated either under the Employee State Insurance Scheme under the ESI act or under the Workmen’s Compensation Act.

However, none of the affected has received compensation under either law because of lack of “evidence” (for instance the ESI card or a factory issued identity card) of having worked in a silicosis-causing hazardous industry.

The delegation of victims was led by the Silicosis Peedit Sangh (Silicosis Victims’ Union) and NGO Shilpi Kendra.

“The governor took the matter seriously and assured the victims of quick action on her part,” Amulya Nidhi of Shilpi Kendra , one of the few organizations working with silicosis victims in the region, told The Hindu.

Khumsingh, a victim from Dhyana village of Alirajpur, told the Governor that his three sisters had succumbed to silicosis and he had been forced to sell his cattle and even his farm for treatment.

According to estimates provided by organizations working in the region, over 1,100 labourers from 71 villages of Dhar, Jhabua and Alirajpur are suffering from the disease which has no known cure.









Family of killed fisherman asks for 1 crore in court; India vs Italy row continues


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 22, 2012 15:53 IST

New Delhi:  The Italian ship involved in the shooting of two Indian fishermen cannot leave India till it provides a bank guarantee of 25 lakhs with a Kerala court.

The family of one of the two fishermen shot dead by Italian marines off the coast of Kochi has asked for one crore as compensation in the Kerala High Court. The fisherman, Jelestine, was killed last week along with his friend, Pinku. The Italian navy men reportedly mistook them for Somalian pirates.

In response to the petition filed by Jelestine’s family, the Kerala High Court has said that the Italian ship involved cannot leave India till a bank guarantee of 25 lakhs is provided in court. However, this is an interim order – both parties will now file counter-affidavits.

The Enrica Lexie was sailing Singapore from Egypt when two of the six armed guards on board the merchant vessel shot the fishermen. (India vs Italy over fishermen deaths: 10 developments)

The deaths have led to huge anger in the large fishing community of Kochi. It’s also turned into an international confrontation, with Italy describing India’s decision to arrest the marines as “unilateral” and “coercive.” A talk between senior officials today did not pave the way for a compromise. Preneet Kaur, India’s junior minister for Foreign Affairs met Italian Deputy Foreign Minister Staffan De Mistura this morning. “Two innocent lives have been taken,” she said. “The law will take its own course.”

Mr De Mistura said the incident took place in international waters “and investigation will ascertain the exact position” of the Italian ship.  “We are taking it seriously. We are definitely expressing terrible sadness and regret over the loss of lives,” he said.

Italian officials have stressed that their laws require armed guards to be on board their ships, ; they say  the marines should be tried at home according to international laws.  But India says that the incident took place within its waters, and that the fishermen were shot at without any provocation. A case of murder has been registered against the two Italians.













HC asks ECoR to take a decision

Express News Service

CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court has directed the General Manager of East Coast Railways (ECoR) to take a decision on having a scheduled stoppage of the Rajdhani Express at Jajpur Keonjhar Road railway station in eight weeks.

Acting on a PIL filed by advocate Jeetendra Pratihari, the division bench of Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra has directed the petitioner to submit a representation to the General Manager, ECoR, with all documents to support his claim.

The petitioner had approached the court seeking a direction for having a scheduled stoppage of Rajdhani Express at the Jajpur Road station, which is the only major station for the entire Jajpur and Keonjhar districts and also home to the industrial hub of Kalinga Nagar.

The petitioner submitted that there has been continuous demand for stoppage of the Rajdhani Express there and a representation had been filed before the Member, Railway Board (traffic), in 2006. The petitioner was subsequently informed by the Senior Divisional Commercial Manager of ECoR that the matter was under consideration and the demand would be recommended to the Zonal headquarters within a short period. However, no action had been taken even after a lapse of more than six years.










Panel to re-examine Welukar’s appointment as vice-chancellor


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 23, 2012

A year-and-a-half after his appointment as vice-chancellor of the University of Mumbai, an aspect of Rajan Welukar’s eligibility will be re-examined by the Search Committee, set up for shortlisting candidates for the post. The decision came in response to two public interest litigations challenging Welukar’s appointment as vice chancellor of Mumbai University.

The PIL petitioners, social workers Niteen Deshpande and Vasant Ganu Patil, and AD Sawant, former vice chancellor of Rajasthan University, had questioned the appointment before a division bench last year, contending Welukar did not fulfill requisite eligibility, and therefore could not have been appointed as vice chancellor.

While chief justice Mohit Shah had found no fault with Welukar’s appointment and had rejected all the contentions, justice Girish Godbole had held that at least one of the mandatory qualifications was required reconsideration by the Search Committee — whether Welukar had to his credit minimum five research publications in peer-reviewed or referred international research journal after PhD.

Following the split verdict delivered on June 16 last year, a reference was sent for determination to justice SJ Vajifdar. The third judge, on Wednesday, partly concurred with the view taken by justice Godbole and held that the aspect of five research publications was required to be re-examined by the Search Committee, headed by professor AS Kolaskar, vice chancellor, KIIT University, Bhubaneshwar and comprising of professor P Balaram, director, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore and JS Saharia, principal secretary, relief and rehabilitation.

The Search Committee had first shortlisted 20 candidates from the list of 98 applicants, and ultimately recommended five names, including that of Welukar, to the governor for appointment as vice chancellor. Now, the court is likely to take the final decision about Welukar’s appointment after receiving the committee’s report on the issue.









Hiranandani cant construct on plot before making affordable homes: HC


Published: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 9:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

In a major setback to Hiranandani developers, the Bombay high court (HC) on Wednesday restrained them from carrying out any further development at their Powai township before constructing affordable homes as contemplated under the tripartite agreement between the developer, state government and the MMRDA.

The court observed that they were issuing directives for corrective steps instead of punitive action against the developer and government officials. The HC, however, granted liberty to the petitioners “to take up the issue of corruption in a criminal prosecution against any errant public officers and the developer”.

A division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi directed the petitioners, Hiranandani developers and MMRDA metropolitan commissioner, to prepare a statement of buildings and structures put up by Hiranandani in Powai Area Development Scheme (ADS) along with the names, description and number of area and units/flats therein within four weeks.

While hearing two public interest litigations (PIL) by Rajendra Thacker and Medha Patkar respectively, the also directed them to prepare a plan of vacant areas of plots under the Powai ADS within four weeks.

“The developer shall not put up any further construction whatsoever in the remainder of the plot before specifying vacant land and buildings that can be constructed,” the HC said in its order running into more than 30 pages.

The court said that the developer would be entitled to commence any further construction only after obtaining specific permission from the court. The HC observed that the very purpose of the tripartite agreement was to construct smaller flats for affordable housing.

“The developer as well as the flat purchasers appear to have thrown this essential requirement to the winds,” the court observed. “Consequently, the land which was leased upon a pittance of Rs1 per hectare came to be developed as a goldmine realising from such investment millions of rupees worth of real estate.”

The developer has been directed to construct 1,511 flats of 40 square metres and 1,593 flats of 80 square metres without amalgamating any flats. “No two flats shall be sold to the same person or two members of the same family,” the court ordered.

The direction came in the wake of allegations in the PIL that in order to overcome some development conditions, the developer had constructed amalgamated flats or sold adjoining flats to different members of the same family. The PIL further alleged that the flats were converted for commercial use, thereby breaching the terms of the agreement and conditions imposed under the Urban Land Ceiling Act.

Another condition set by the HC for further construction is that the developer shall sell to the state government 15% of the total FSI consumed in plot in form of constructed tenements at Rs135 per square feet.










Narendra Modis Sadbhavana aimed at goodwill: Gujarat HC


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 17:14 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Gujarat high court on Tuesday rejected a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging chief minister Narendra Modi’s Sadbhavana fasts across the state and the huge expenditure made on them, saying ‘Sadbhavana’ was launched for goodwill and in good faith.

A bench consisting of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice JB Pardiwala said: “If such questions are allowed to be raised before court, every expenditure of the state can be called in question, both as to the nature and extent thereof, in which event the functioning of the government itself will be hampered.”

Regarding court’s jurisdiction, the bench said: “Judicial interference is permissible when the action of the government is unconstitutional and not when such action is not wise or that the extent of expenditure is not for good of the state. All such questions must be thrashed out in the legislature and not in courts.” The court also set aside the contention of the petitioner that the Sadbhavana fasts were politically motivated. The court observed: “Assuming for the moment that a government is indirectly canvassing solely in the interest of the political ideology to which it belongs, even then this court, in exercise of its power under Article 226 of the Constitution, would not undertake judicial review of such aprogramme.”

Defining the word ‘Sadbhavana’ the court said: “Sadbhavana, as the name denotes, is a programme launched by the state government for goodwill or in good faith.”

The court further said, “It appears that under the programme, the chief minister decided to visit different places all over the state and meet people at large.

As a part of the programme, the people of different regions within the state are being apprised of the work undertaken by the government according to their political manifesto and also to apprise the citizens as to what the state government intends to do in future for the welfare of the people.”

One Rajesh Mota had filed the PIL challenging Sadbhavana fasts on the ground that, the government had organised such fasts to get political gain and huge expenditure had been made on the events.The counsel for the petitioner, Ratna Vora, said: “We will challenge the verdict in the Supreme Court.”










Plea challenging NCTC to be posted before First Bench


The Madras High Court on Wednesday directed the Registry to post a public interest litigation petition (PIL) challenging the validity of the National Counter Terrorism Centre (Organisation, Functions, Powers and Duties) Order 2012, before the First Bench.

In the petition, filed through counsel Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, the petitioner Vijayalakshmi Shanmugam stated that the order was issued by the Union Home Secretary.

The petitioner said that no consultations were held with the stakeholders before passing the order.

“Organisation stillborn”

The proposed organisation was stillborn.

It had no cadre of its own and proposed to borrow strength from existing entities.

The haste shown in fixing the date of March 1 and notifying the same, when no cadre had been raised made the decision a highly suspicious one.

Nine Chief Ministers had raised objections to the National Counter Terrorism Centre.

“Quash the order”

The petitioner prayed the court to call for the records and quash the impugned order as ultra vires the Constitution.

A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N. Kirubakaran, directed the Registry to post the matter before the First Bench.











Dont cut or prune trees for parking facility: Bangalore HC


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 11:46 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore

The high court has directed the state government not to cut or prune trees for constructing a multi-level car parking facility in the vacant space of the legislators’ home until the next hearing of a public interest litigation (PIL).

Ramesh Babu, in his PIL, had sought direction from the court to stop the work for the parking facility to save trees in the Cubbon Park from the axe.

Babu said that when he visited the premises of the legislators’ home in the second week of January, he found that several trees had been cut for the project. He said that the government wanted the parking facility to come up.

On August 6, 2010, the state government had filed an application in the high court for the construction of the multi-level parking facility in the vacant land around the legislators’ home. The court had then rejected the application to protect Cubbon Park’s green cover.

Despite this, the government started construction work there by cutting several trees in violation of the constitution, Babu said.
Cubbon Park is the city’s central lung space. The government is not applying its mind for the proper development of the city nor is it giving any importance to the maintenance of the eco system, the petitioner said.

A division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen, on Tuesday, directed the state government not to cut or prune trees in the vicinity of the legislators’ home for the construction of multi-level car parking facility.

The bench issued notices to the state government and directed it to file the counter affidavit within two weeks.










Give report in stray dogs case: HC


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 04.25AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has sought a status report from the authorities on a PIL seeking compensation for seven students bitten by stray dogs, inside a government school campus.

In the PIL, Anandharaj, an activist of Evidence NGO, sought a direction to the district authorities to construct a compound wall in Alanganallur Girls Higher secondary School and consequently to direct them to pay compensation to the girl students, who had taken treatment at the primary health centre for the dog bite.

According to the petitioner, on 23 January, when the school assembly session was on, the stray dogs, which had entered the school and were the fighting with each other. Seeing this, the scared students ran helter-skelter. In the melee, the dogs charged on the girls and bit them. The students sustained injuries and were taken to the primary health centre for treatment.

The petitioner said the government school is situated around five acres of area. As the school is not covered completely by a compound wall, stray dogs roam around in the said school, freely. Plastic wastes and garbage are being dumped near the school and people who are living in the adjacent area use the school as a thoroughfare even during school hours distracting the students.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah, the government advocate, who appeared on behalf of the Madurai district collector was directed to file a status report.










Don’t treat mentally-ill as lesser beings, stop bullying welfare institutions: HC to babus


Express News Service : New Delhi, Thu Feb 23 2012, 04:33 hrs


The Delhi High Court on Wednesday said mentally-challenged persons should not be treated as lesser human beings, and the bureaucracy cannot be allowed to have its way with social welfare projects.

Adjudicating a PIL over construction of half-way homes for mentally-challenged persons in the city, a bench headed by Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri said: “These persons are equal human beings and they must be treated on a par with others. We will do and make the government authorities do whatever is best for their interests. We will not let them be thrown out on the streets, but instead ensure that they get proper care and treatment.”

The court made these observations after Sreerupa Mitra Chaudhury, who runs a shelter for mentally-challenged persons in Kabir Basti, North Delhi, under the banner of ‘Sudinalay’, complained against the non-cooperative attitude of social welfare officials. Chaudhury said she would rather shut down the home and hand over the inmates to the authorities.

In response, the bench said the court would ensure that the inmates are taken care of. “Hold on to your patience. We will ensure that all the inmates are treated like human beings, and the bureaucracy does not have its way with projects of social welfare,” the bench said.

Earlier, an inspection report of the centre was submitted in court by the Social Welfare department. Highly critical of the shelter’s functioning, the report said: “Sudhinalaya is barely managing a shelter place for destitute and mentally-ill men and women. The services given to inmates, and the documentation, are below satisfaction… The inmates are living in a pathetic condition, without any recreational, counselling and rehabilitation facilities.”

The court, however, said that it would go through Chaudhary’s response to make sure that the adverse report was not part of the bureaucracy’s plan to “settle scores” with her.

During the hearing, the court was also informed by the state-run Delhi State Industrial and Infrastructure Development Corporation (DSIIDC) about plans to construct five half-way homes to provide social integration and rehabilitation facilities to mentally-challenged patients.

The court, however, expressed displeasure over the laxity of the DDA in responding to a query over relocating a power sub-station from one of the areas allotted for construction of half-way homes. If no response is received in this regard by the next date of hearing, its vice-chairman shall have to personally present himself in court, it added.

The court will take up the matter on March 14.










City Cong chief quits after court orders corruption probe


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 23, 2012

The Bombay High Court on Wednesday directed the Mumbai police to register a FIR against Mumbai Regional Congress Committee president Kripashankar Singh and his family members for possessing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income. Singh quit his post after the order.


“We can easily prima facie conclude that there is cognizable offence disclosed,” the court observed, while appointing Mumbai’s police commissioner Arup Patnaik as investigation officer of the case, with a direction that all the movable and immovable properties held by the Congress leader and his family members be attached.

The court has also directed the commissioner to treat the memo of the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by city resident Sanjay Dinanath Tiwari in this connection as an FIR, and submit a report of investigation by April 19, 2012.

During the course of hearing on the PIL, the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) had conducted an inquiry and came to the conclusion that 11.59 per cent of the assets held by Kripashankar Singh and his wife Maltidevi were disproportionate to their known sources of income.










Karnataka Lok Ayukta appointment: PIL withdrawn


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 11:48 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

A PIL filed in the high court seeking speedy appointment of the Lok Ayukta was referred to another bench, while another PIL on the same issue was withdrawn, on Tuesday.

The case came up for hearing before a division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen which referred it to another bench.

Siddanagouda C Patil of Belgaum filed the PIL, contending that the post of Lok Ayukta has been vacant for the last six months. Due to this, people are put to hardship. It is important to fill such an important post as soon as possible so that corruption can be looked into.Another PIL, on the same issue, was withdrawn after it came for the hearing. A Bangalore resident, Gajendra, had filed the PIL in January.









Mumbai Congress chief Kripashankar Singh quits as HC orders probe into assets


MUMBAI: Mumbai Congress received a major jolt on Wednesday after the high court ordered the police to carry out an investigation into allegations of criminal misconduct by city president Kripashankar Singh. The court ordered the Mumbai police commissioner to collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties owned by Singh. Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan later said Kripashankar Singh had resigned from his post.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by activist Sanjay Tiwari, who alleged that the Congress MLA had amassed wealth disproportionate to his known sources of income. The court while keeping the PIL pending, has directed the police to file a compliance report on April 19.

“The commissioner of police shall obtain sanction from the government to prosecute Kripashankar Singh for criminal misconduct under the Prevention of Corruption Act,” a division bench of chief justice Mohit Shah and justice Roshan Dalvi said.

The bench said CP Arup Patnaik shall collect documentary evidence regarding all movable and immovable properties of Kripashankar and his family, including his wife, son and daughter-in-law, who will also be prosecuted for aiding the crime.

“…We do not want to pass any directions regarding the bank accounts of the respondents as it is alleged that the money might have been washed out. The PIL shall be treated as an FIR and the report submitted by the state anticorruption bureau in March 2011 showing Kripashankar’s income and expenditure shall be treated as investigation,” the court said.








Taxi, auto drivers being cheated by moneylenders, credit societies: PIL


Mohan K Korappath, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 23, 2012

The Mumbai Taximen Sangathan has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay high court (HC) seeking the implementation of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1972, and a notification to that effect by the central government.

According to the petition filed by the association and two law students, taxi and auto drivers are being cheated by the moneylenders and credit co-operative societies due to the non-implementation of the act.

With the transport commissioner and regional transport authorities failing to check the hire-purchase agreement and money lending licences, the moneylenders and credit co-operative societies are running a taxi and auto permit mafia in the city, states the petition.

Hire purchase is a type of installment credit under which the hire purchaser, called the hirer, agrees to take the goods on hire at a stated rental, which is inclusive of the repayment of principal as well as interest, with an option to purchase. Under this transaction, the hire purchaser acquires the property (goods) immediately on signing the agreement, but the ownership or title of the same is transferred only when the last installment is paid.

The Sangathan points out that the moneylenders always keep the copy of the original registration book of the vehicle with them, along with the duly signed RTO Forms.

The lenders also snatch the vehicle forcibly from the loan borrower and hand it over to other taximen on rent, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, adds the petition.

The petition further claimed that black money amounting to more than Rs2,500 crore is involved in the taxi and auto rickshaw permit system, which is being ignored by the government.

The petitioners stated that it is to regulate these discrepancies that a central government notification to that effect is necessary.

The petitioners have urged the court to direct the union government to issue the notification and to declare all the hire-purchase agreements until now as null and void.



SC asks Centre, states to give details on pending mercy pleas in three days


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 02.05AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday took exception to the delay in getting information relating to pending mercy pleas by condemned prisoners before the President and the governors and asked the Centre and states concerned to provide details about such pendency within three days.

Expressing anguish over the casual approach of the governments, a bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyay said this was the final opportunity to the governments concerned and posted petitions on this issue for final hearing on March 1.

The court asked home secretaries concerned to supply required data to the office of the additional solicitor general in Supreme Court dealing with the case. The court also asked advocate Siddharth Dave, who appeared for the Centre, to bring all details about pending mercy pleas on the next date of hearing.

A petition by condemned prisoner Devender Pal Singh Bhullar about inordinate delay in consideration of his mercy plea by the President had persuaded the apex court to take note of the plight of similarly placed death row convicts who were living in jails with an uncertain future.

Bhullar, who was convicted for masterminding a bomb blast that killed nine people in Delhi, has been on death row since August 25, 2001. His mercy petition was pending with the President for eight years and was finally dismissed late last year.

Since January 2011, he has been undergoing treatment for depression at the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS) for mental trauma and he had moved the apex court for clemency on the ground of delay.

Finding no reason for the Centre and states to inordinately delay decision on mercy petitions, the bench said, “We want to know from the date mercy petitions reach the competent authority, what is being done.”

There is no time limit to consider mercy petitions, but the delay by the government is viewed as a serious violation of right to life and liberty of condemned prisoners.





Ramlila crackdown: SC blames cops, pulls up Ramdev


Last Updated: Thursday, February 23, 2012, 15:38

New Delhi: In a significant development, the Supreme Court on Thursday held Baba Ramdev and Delhi Police guilty of negligence in connection with the midnight crackdown on yoga guru’s followers at the Ramlila Maidan on June 4-5 last year during his anti-corruption agitation.

The apex court, while stressing that the authorities could have avoided the violent incident, said that both Baba Ramdev and the police acted in an irresponsible manner.

“There was abuse of power by the Delhi Police and there was violation of fundamental rights of people,” the apex court bench of Justices BS Chauhan and Swatanter Kumar said.

“The incident shows might of the state which strikes at the foundation of democracy. It is a glaring example of trust deficit between people governing and people being governed,” the bench said.

The Supreme Court also directed the Delhi government and the Delhi Police Commissioner to register a case against officers who caused injury, and those who used lathicharge and tear gas in the crackdown.

The court further asked the authorities to give a compensation of Rs 5 lakh to the family members of Rajbala, the woman who died due to the injury suffered in the police crackdown.

Besides, the court also ordered a compensation of Rs 50,000 for those who sustained serious injuries and Rs 35,000 for those with minor injuries during the incident.

Importantly, the apex court asked the yoga guru to share 25% of the total compensation to be given to the victims.

Meanwhile, the family members of Rajbala have refused to take any compensation from the yoga guru’s trust, saying that he was not responsible for the unfortunate incident.

The apex court had taken suo motu cognisance of media reports purportedly showing brutality of police action against the sleeping followers of Ramdev, including women and children.

Ramdev had alleged the police action was carried out on the instructions of their political masters and demanded action against all people who had directed the mid-night crackdown.

Ramdev was agitating along with his followers against corruption and demanding that the UPA government must make sincere efforts to bring back black money illegally parked in secret foreign bank accounts by tax evaders.

Delhi Police, however, claimed Ramdev had instigated his followers to indulge in violence, forcing the police to act at that time of the night.









Court rejects NIA plea seeking suspect’s custody


Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times
Panchkula, February 22, 2012

In a setback to the National Investigation Agency (NIA), a Panchkula court on Wednesday rejected its application seeking 15-day remand for Samjhauta train bombing suspect Lokesh Sharma.
The February 2007 train blasts close to Diwana railway station near Haryana’s Panipat town killed 68 people, most of them Pakistanis.

The court of additional district and sessions judge Kanchan Mahi was hearing the case on Wednesday as NIA judge Subhas Mehla was on leave.

The NIA submitted in the court, through special public prosecutors RK Handa and Rajan Malhotra, that due to the arrest of RSS member Kamal Chauhan, the case had taken a new turn.

The NIA said Chauhan had named Lokesh Sharma — so the latter’s intensive interrogation was required to know about the preparation and procurement of explosives, their planting and how the people were trained in handling explosives and arms.

Sharma, who has been made an accused in the chargesheet, was also required for identification of various places where meetings of the blasts executers had taken place, the agency said.

According to the chargesheet, he was one of the conspirators as he participated in the main conspiracy meeting at Valsad, Gujarat, in June 2006. But the arrest of Chauhan and revelation that Sharma was allegedly one of the four bomb planters has turned the focus towards identifying the other two planters.

Sharma’s counsel Ajay Kaushik said he was “interrogated briefly outside the court” when he was brought to Panchkula on June 18, 2011. “After that he was sent in judicial custody,” Kaushik said. “There is no association between Sharma and Chauhan as is being alleged by the NIA.”

Statement not recorded
The NIA is yet to record the statement of Kamal Chauhan, whose remand ends on February 24. The investigating agency is likely to seek to interrogate him further. His house had been searched and some material reportedly seized by NIA.

On February 14, while coming out of the court Chauhan told mediapersons that he had carried out the blasts out of his own accord.

The NIA says he underwent extensive training in handling of weapons and explosives. He reportedly took training at Karni Singh shooting range in Faridabad (Haryana) and Bagli in Dewas (Madhya Pradesh). He was arrested as a witness Shivam Dhakkar had named him.

Chauhan’s counsel Shailendar Babbar, however, said they had moved the National Human Rights Commission against his arrest. “He had been interrogated earlier by the CBI too,” Babbar said. “He (Chauhan) was under their watch for about a year.”

The case was listed for framing of charges on Wednesday but the hearing was adjourned.

While coming out of court, Aseemanand, key accused in the case, while replying to a question, said that he did not know Chauhan, and alleged this was a “conspiracy” of the NIA.

Aseemanad had given a confessional statement in the case but later backtracked.

Who is Lokesh Sharma?
Sharma, a close associate of Sunil Joshi (the suspected ‘mastermind’ behind the blasts who was later murdered), allegedly planted a bomb on Samjhauta Express.
The Indore resident’s name has cropped up in the Ajmer blasts and Mecca Masjid blasts of Hyderabad as well Sharma was arrested on June 17, 2010 for the Ajmer blasts and on June 18, 2001 for Samjhauta blasts.














Court orders trial in illegal tele exchange case


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 15:55

New Delhi: A Delhi court has ordered trial of a man for allegedly running an illegal telephone exchange to mask international calls as local ones and causing loss of over Rs two crore to the public exchequer.

Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Narinder Kumar upheld the magisterial court’s order on framing of charges against Naveen Grover for cheating and violating provisions of the Indian Telegraph Act on maintaining and using unauthorized telegraphs.

“From the material available on record, prima facie it appears that by receiving and switching international calls on the lines obtained from the complainant and others (service providers), Grover used to run a telegraph, otherwise, than as permitted by law. Therefore, prima facie he made himself liable for offences punishable under the act,” the ASJ said.

The FIR against Grover was lodged in 2004 on a complaint by Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd (VSNL) vigilance manager to the Special Cell of Delhi Police.

VSNL was renamed as Tata Communications Ltd after Tata Group acquired a controlling stake in it from the government in February 2008.

A separate vigilance report by the Department of Telecommunications (DoT) had stated that Grover had caused a total loss of Rs 2.13 crore to the exchequer.

The magisterail court had framed charges against Grover and put him on trial in October 2009 but the same had been challenged by Grover in the sessions court.

Grover had argued that no charges of cheating or breach of the Indian Telegraph Act was made out against him.

The prosecution, however, defended the charges levelled against him. Moreover, it said, another section of the Act dealing with ‘intentionally damaging or tampering with telegraphs’ is also attracted against Grover.

On prosecutor’s allegation that Grover also damaged and tampered with telegraphs, the sessions court said the additional charge of violating Section 25 of Indian Telegraph Act by tampering with telegraphs, could be added by the trial court on a plea by the police.

“Having regard to provision of Section 216 CrPC (court’s power to alter charges) state shall be at liberty to make application and trial court shall also be at liberty to consider such prayer for alteration of charge so as to add provisions of Section 25 of Indian Telegraph Act,” the ASJ said.

The sessions court, however, held that no case of ‘breach of condition of (telegraph) license’ is made out against Grover as he used to run telegraph without any permission.

The court also directed Grover to appear before the magistrate court to face trial.

The trial court had held that prima facie it appeared that Grover was running an illegal telephone exchange at his premises in Delhi and Gurgaon.

Grover ran his business in the name of ACE Polyvaricon Electronics Pvt Ltd and applied for telephone connections from various service providers including Reliance, Dishnet, DSL, MTNL and BSNL without disclosing that the connections could be used for the purpose of running illegal telephone exchanges, the magistrate had said.

There have been several cases across the country, of ‘masking’ of international calls as local ones to avoid paying revenue to the government.

In few of these cases, top officials of several telecom companies have also been booked.








Lawyer alleges harassment by Traffic Police


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Thu Feb 23 2012, 05:19 hrs


An advocate in the District and Sessions Court has lodged a complaint with the Police and the Administration regarding harassment at the hands of the Traffic Police as they were allegedly sending traffic violation slips in his wife’s name without a reason.

According to complainant Ajay Sood, he had lodged a complaint against three police personnel: constable Kaptan Singh, Sub-Inspector Gurdev Singh and DSP Jagbir Singh in the Police Complaints Authority (PCA).

The PCA had passed an order on December 2, 2011, where it made a recommendation for suspending and departmental action against Kaptan Singh and Gurdev Singh. The Authority had also recommended disciplinary action against DSP Jagbir Singh.

In his complaint, Sood had written that his wife Babita Sood had received a traffic violation slip few days ago in which she was shown to be driving a car without wearing a seatbelt on June 14, 2011. He has further said that he and his wife do not own any car by that number and own an Activa scooter. He further mentioned that even if the the police had erred in writing down the number of his wife’s scooter, the challan had been done for a wrong traffic violation (not wearing a seatbelt).

He further stated that the car was registered in the name of a Sector 41 resident who he or his family members were not associated in any professional or social way, “Even if Babita was driving the car, the challan should have come to the address of the vehicle owner and not to his house.”

He has requested the authorities to investigate the matter and wants appropriate action to be taken against the erring police officials who were trying to harass his family.

DSP (Traffic) Vijay Kumar, who was out of the city, said , “I am not aware of the complaint, but appropriate action will be taken if anyone is found guilty.”








Justice Katju’s latest: He wants Maharashtra govt dismissed…/915590/


Express news service : New Delhi, Thu Feb 23 2012, 03:11 hrs

Press Council of India Chairman Markandey Katju today sent a show cause notice to the Maharashtra government warning it of dismissal for “failing to uphold the Constitution”.

The provocation was attacks on 800 journalists over 10 years in the state, including the “most shocking” murder of J Dey.

In a letter to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, Katju said his two previous letters had gone unanswered. “…Why I should not recommend to the President to dismiss your State Government under Article 356 of the Constitution…,” Katju asked.

The former Supreme Court judge gave the CM three weeks to respond, failing which he “will take such action as is fit”.

“The Maharashtra government has failed in upholding the Constitution as it has failed to uphold the freedom of the press,” Katju said. “…It seems to me that your government is neither able to maintain law and order nor prevent attacks on journalists.”

Katju told The Indian Express he had sent the first letter to Chavan over a month ago. “I sent the third letter today after… eight journalists from Maharashtra made a representation to me.”

A Maharashtra subcommittee is reported to have concluded recently that there is no need for a law to protect journalists. But Chief Minister Chavan is yet to take a final decision.

The CM was in Nashik on Wednesday and could not be reached for his response.









Saif Ali Khan says he was assaulted by nose he broke


Published: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 9:45 IST | Updated: Thursday, Feb 23, 2012, 10:00 IST
By Somendra Sharma | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

Saif Ali Khan was embroiled in a controversy after Iqbal Sharma, an NRI from South Africa, alleged that the actor assaulted him during an altercation at Wasabi, a Japanese restaurant at the Taj Mahal Palace in Colaba, around 12.30am on Wednesday. The police on Wednesday evening arrested Saif and two others — Bilal Amrohi and Shakeel Ladak — in connection with the incident, but immediately granted bail to the trio for Rs15,000 each.

“I am a law-abiding citizen. All allegations against me are false and justice will be done,” Saif told a bevy of onlookers while leaving the Colaba police station. He was accompanied by his lawyer Mohan Jaikar.

The police failed to trace Saif or establish contact with him despite visiting his residence and offices in Bandra, Juhu and Khar on Wednesday afternoon. Saif, who was in an office in Raheja Towers at Nariman Point, reached the police station around 8pm in a black SUV.

Sharma said the incident occurred when Saif accompanied by girlfriend Kareena Kapoor, her sister Karisma Kapoor, Malaika Arora-Khan, Amrita Arora and others, was having dinner at Wasabi.

“Sharma and his family were seated close to the table where Saif and 10 of his friends were having dinner. Saif’s group was making a lot of noise and therefore, Sharma requested them to lower their voice. This led to a heated argument and a scuffle between Saif and Sharma,” said Iqbal Shaikh, assistant police commissioner, Colaba division.

“Saif and two others from his group then bashed up Sharma, resulting in the Johannesburg businessman suffering a nasal bone fracture,” Shaikh said.

The police said Sharma was very upset with the incident. “He consulted his friends and first went to GT hospital. He then came with his medical report and lodged a complaint against Saif and two others,” senior inspector Vinod Sawant said.

“Since Sharma is an NRI, we asked him whether he wanted to pursue the case as he will have to be present for further legal procedures. He said he will fight till the end,” Sawant said. “He told us that he would also come to court for the proceedings. The punishment according to section 325 (Punishment for voluntarily causing grievous hurt) of the Indian Penal Code is maximum seven years imprisonment or fine. The trial can take place in a magistrate court.”

Lawyer Mahesh Vaswani, who represented Amrohi and Ladak, said: “He (Sharma), hurled abuses first and initiated the fight. He also used bad language against the girls in the group. My clients never assaulted him.”

The incident involving an actor came weeks after Shah Rukh Khan slapped director Shirsh Kunder last month.










AFT staff seek pay arrears, work–seek-pay-arrears-work/232602-60-118.html


Express News Service

UDUCHERRY: Workers of the Anglo-French Textile (AFT) mills gathered on the factory premises on Tuesday, seeking salary arrears and reopening of the mill at the earliest. Owing to severe funds crunch, the employees have been on ‘leave with salary’ for the past 51 days. At present, only the tailoring unit and the showroom of the factory are open.
Led by AIADMK MLA A Baskar, the workers met AFT’s joint managing director S D Sundaresan and other top officials to press for their demands.
The AIADMK leader urged the mill officials to take steps to immediately renovate the infrastructure of the mill and resume production in its three units.
The MLA also urged them to disburse the salary arrears.
According to a source in the factory management, the employees would be given the salary arrears for a month, on Wednesday.
The staff were earlier given the salary arrears on December 29, a day before cyclone Thane struck, causing widespread destruction to the factory premises and other infrastructure.
At present, the factory employs 1,962 persons including all the officials, staff and workers in its three units.
A sum of Rs 3.7 crore is needed to meet the salary requirement of a month.









Gujarat riots: Rahul Sharma to file reply to charge sheet till March 1


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 17:19 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

IPS officer Rahul Sharma, on Tuesday, got time till March 1 to file a reply in response to the charge sheet issued to him for not handing over controversial mobile call data CDs that became instrumental to nab many riot accused in the state, including former minister Maya Kodnani and former VHP leader Jaideep Patel.

The government agreed to grant more time to the IPS officer during hearing before the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT), where he challenged the charge sheet issued by the state government last year. The CAT has posted the hearing for March 1.

Sharma’s counsel Mukul Sinha and KG Pillai tendered long arguments on the line that the officer was being victimised for deposing before the Nanavati Commission probing the 2002 communal riot cases. They further said he should have full immunity under section 6 of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, 1952 from all civil and criminal proceedings except for perjury.

Meanwhile, government counsel Bhaskar Tanna sought time from CAT bench of Ashok Kumar and Chameli Majumdar to refer to some more documents before making final submissions on admission of Sharma’s petition.

However, Sinha submitted before the CAT that Sharma’s deadline to file reply is ending today and it should be extended as the state has sought time and it can take any action against the officer. Tanna agreed to this after consulting home department officials present in the court room.

The government has issued charge sheet to the officer for not handing over original CDs to investigating officials who are probing the Naroda Patia, Gulbarg Society and other riot cases. Sharma has though claimed that he had sent the CDs in question through a police messenger to the then JCP PP Pande after which the CDs became untraceable.









HC notice to CBI on Balwa’s plea


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 23:08

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought the CBI’s response to plea by Swan Telecom Promoter Shahid Usman Balwa seeking quashing of charges against him in the 2G A bench of Justice M L Mehta issued notice to the CBI and sought its reply by March 13, the next date of hearing.

Balwa, out on bail now, has moved the high court for quashing of the charges framed against him by Special CBI Judge O P Saini.

“There is no circumstantial evidence of conspiracy, to be proved either directly or indirectly against the petitioner, and thus, the alleged accused could not be held responsible even for the offences of criminal conspiracy punishable under section 120 B of IPC,” Balwa said in its petition.

“There is no evidence on record to prove these facts that the accused had obtained for himself or for any other person any valuable things or pecuniary advantage,” it added.

The trial court had framed charges against Balwa under various provisions of the IPC, including the criminal conspiracy, cheating and forgery, besides various other offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.

Pay Rs 25 lakh to leave port, HC tells Italian crew


New Delhi: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday said that the Italian ship Enrica Lexie, whose crew members had killed two Indian fishermen near Kochi port, could leave Kochi after paying Rs 25 lakh. The court maintained that the ship could not leave the port without paying the guarantee.

The High Court further said that the ship could leave only after getting a clearance from the probing agencies.

Wife of one of the fishermen who were killed by the Italian guards had moved the Kerala High Court demanding that the ship should not be allowed to leave without paying the compensation.

Meanwhile, according to sources, Italy has demanded a joint probe into the killing of the fishermen, reiterating that the incident occurred in international waters.

The demand was made by the Italian Consul General in a meeting with Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Jacob Punnose. The Italian envoy requested Punnose for adequate facilities to be made for the accused in the jail.

Punnose responded by saying that the points could be mentioned in the court, following which the court would take a decision, said sources.

This came even as a five-member Italian delegation, led by deputy foreign minister Staffan De Mistura, met Home Ministry officials in Delhi to secure the release of the two naval officers.

The Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said that his country “wants to isolate the firing incident from wider bilateral relations”.

He is now slated to meet Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy and the families of the victims to personally express his regret over the incident. A high level meeting is also expected between him, Chandy, DGP Punnose and other top officials at Kottayam on Wednesday night at 10.30 pm.

Italian Foreign Minister Giulio Terzi, who himself will visit the country on February 29, has instructed De Mistura to continue, at the political level, the work already carried out by the delegation of Italian experts from the Foreign, Defence and Justice Ministries.

After the meeting, the Italian Deputy Foreign Minister said that the situation needed to be analysed. “This tragic incident needs to be analysed. A proper dialogue was needed to have a proper solution to this,” De Mistura said.

He also said that it was important to find out the exact location of the incident. “We do sadly recognise that two Indian citizens died. The incident happened in international waters, but the exact location needs to be found out. We all want the truth to come out,” De Mistura said.

However, India remained firm and said that law would follow its course. Minister of State, Ministry of External Affairs Preneet Kaur said, “Both sides have a different interpretation of the law, we will go by our law.”

“We assured them that our judiciary is free and it will take a right decision,” she added.

Italy wants the two accused to be investigated by Italian authorities in their country.

India has said that there is no diplomatic immunity for the accused and they must be tried in an Indian court. Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy reiterated that the case came under the state government’s jurisdiction and that the government was very serious about the probe.

Chandy said his government would ensure that the guilty “are brought to book”.

He said, “Police is seriously questioning the culprit. We will continue to take all actions under the IPC.”

“There is a lot of concern about the safety of fishermen… will not let the guilty escape from here,” said Chandy.










MP dumper scam: HC asks for records

Express news service : Bhopal, Thu Feb 23 2012, 04:37 hrs

The alleged dumper scam on Wednesday returned to haunt Shivraj Singh Chouhan when the Madhya Pradesh High Court called for records from a Special Court that had given a clean chit to the Chief Minister in the case of alleged corruption.

The Bhopal-based Special Court had on August 11, 2011 accepted the closure report filed by the Lokayukta Police, which said no case of corruption could be made against Chouhan for misuse of office.

In a criminal revision before the HC’s Jabalpur-based principal bench, petitioner Ramesh Sahu challenged the Special Court’s decision to accept the closure report.

When the 29-page criminal revision came up before a division bench on Wednesday, the petitioner said he had not been provided annexure that were part of the probe report, and requested the court to call for records and the case diary for reference.

Additional Advocate General Naman Nagarath said the court accepted the plea that the records were needed for reference before arguments could commence or notices could be issued.

The bench of justices Rakesh Saxena and M A Siddique said the matter be listed immediately after the documents were received.

Taking cognizance of a private complaint filed by Sahu in 2007, the Special Court had ordered the Lokayukta’s Special Police Establishment to probe the allegation and submit a report to it.

Sahu had alleged that a private industrial group had favoured Chouhan and his wife Sadhna Singh in exchange of a mining lease he allotted to it.










Italian authorities move Kerala HC to quash FIR


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 17:30

Kochi: Questioning the jurisdiction of Indian courts and police, the Italian government and two naval guards of an oil tanker on Wednesday moved the Kerala High Court seeking quashing of the FIR charging the marines with murder of two fishermen while firing from the ship off the state coast.

As the diplomatic row between the countries continued since the February 15 incident, Italian Consul General in Mumbai Gian Paolo Cutillo and the two accused – Latore Massimiliano and Salvatore Girone – filed the petition seeking to quash the FIR registered by Kollam police in Kerala.

The petitioners submitted that Kerala Police have no authority to conduct investigation in the case and courts in India have no jurisdiction as the incident occurred beyond its territorial waters.

The marines, suspected to have shot dead the fishermen, took the legal recourse two days after they were arrested by the state police capping four days of hectic negotiations between Indian and Italian officials on the issue of submitting them to Indian authorities.

Italy has been maintaining that the incident occurred outside Indian territorial waters and the marine’s action was taken assuming the fishing vessel to be carrying pirates.

In a related development, the court admitted a petition by the family of one of the deceased fishermen seeking Rs 1 crore compensation and directed the owners of Italian vessel Enrica Lexie to furnish a bank guarantee of Rs 25 lakh.

Justice Harun-UL-Rasheed admitted the petition by Doramma Valentine, wife of Valentine alias Jelstine (45), and issued notices to the ship owners, accused, and Cochin Port authorities.

The high court directed the port authorities to ensure that the ship is arrested in the port till the bank guarantee was furnished.

Valentine’s counsel insisted on a bank guarantee for Rs 1 crore but the court turned it down and limited it to Rs 25 lakh. He complained that the in the eyes of the ship owners, Indian citizen will not have much value.

The petitioner, who sought the compensation from the ship’s owners, captain and the two marines, had submitted she did not have Rs 8, 18,400 to pay as court fees required under section 22 of the Kerala Court Fee and Suit Valuation Act and should be declared as pauper.

The shipping company objected to the petitioner’s plea to waive the stamp duty after declaring them as pauper. Valentine also filed an application seeking exemption from appearing in the court to present the petition.

The petitioner’s counsel informed the court that the last rites of her husband were underway and the family was in a state of shock and was not in a position to appear today.

The ship owners’ counsel contended that they had to pay Rs 30 lakh per day for three days as demurrage charges to the port. The vessel is berthed in the outer port area with Coastguard and Police keeping a close watch.









HC summons trial court records on Yahoo’s plea


Last Updated: Wednesday, February 22, 2012, 22:36

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court today allowed internet portal Yahoo India’s plea for calling of the records of the trial court which has summoned it for allegedly hosting objectionable content.

A bench of Justice Suresh Kait directed the registry to produce the records of the trial court. The matter is listed for hearing in the high court on March 1.

“Registry of this court is directed to produce the records of the case in sealed cover,” Justice Kait said.

Senior advocate Arvind Nigam, appearing for the website said no prejudice would be caused to any party as the matter is listed before the trial court on March 13.

Yahoo India has moved the high court challenging a lower court order summoning it for allegedly hosting objectionable content on its web pages. The high court, however, has refused to stay the criminal proceedings against Yahoo India.

Yahoo India had said the complaint and the order of the magistrate dealt with alleged objectionable material retrieved from various websites including Zombie, Orkut, Youtube, Facebook, Blogspot and none of them pertained to Yahoo.

The magisterial court had on December 23 issued summons to 21 websites for allegedly committing offences of criminal conspiracy, sale of obscene books and objects to young people.

The Centre had earlier filed a report before the lower court saying, there was sufficient material to proceed against the 21 websites for alleged offences of promoting enmity between classes and causing prejudice to national integrity.

Out of the 21 websites, Google India and Facebook India had also moved the high court against the magistrate’s order, saying the summons be quashed as they did not commit any offence.







Arya orphanage case: HC orders in-camera hearing


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 02.57AM IST

NEW DELHI: Informing the Delhi high court that Arya Anathalaya doesn’t have adequate residential accommodation for children, the administrator of the orphanage recommended that further admissions be put on hold.

Submitting a report outlining the progress of the probe into the alleged sexual assault and harassment of children, the administrator P P Dhal said he has banned the entry of the three accused into the orphanage and ordered installation of CCTV cameras. After going through the report, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw decided to conduct in-camera hearings from Thursday. “Some stray incidents shouldn’t result in other children living under fear. We have to look for a solution. Our order should not have adverse impact on the psychology of the children who will appear for their examinations soon,” the bench observed while refusing to stop the city government from setting up any other committee to inquire into the matter.

In his report, the administrator said, “It has been felt that the orphanage does not have a proficiently qualified officer-in-charge and counsellors. In a plea to HC, the orphanage argued that the government should be restrained from setting up any other panel. Orphanage president V P Chaudhary said more than 1,600 children have been staying at the 95-year-old home and the whole organization cannot be blacklisted on the basis of stray incidents.

The court said that no other committee has been set up so far and asked Chaudhary to approach the court if he has objections to any other panel set up by the government. HC took cognisance of the matter by way of an email received by Justice Sikri. The email alleged that children were subjected to sexual abuse and other sufferings at the orphanage. The court had then sought a report from the administrator. The Delhi government had appointed an administrator on February 13 after several TOI reports alleged sexual exploitation of children.

Chaudhary said that all allegations against the children’s home were baseless and it had no objection even if the court appointed a judicial officer to conduct an inquiry . During the last hearing, HC indicated it will look into the larger prospect of the issue, including of running NGOs without registering under the relevant laws.










Privacy doesn’t confer right on consenting adults to do illegal act’


High Court verdict erroneous, argues Delhi child rights panel

The Delhi High Court judgment, declaring ultra vires Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code relating to unnatural sex between two consenting adults and holding that it is violative of the right to privacy, is clearly erroneous, Amarendra Saran argued in the Supreme Court on Wednesday.

Making his submissions before a Bench of Justices G.S. Singhvi and S.J. Mukhopadaya, the senior counsel appearing for the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights, said the right to privacy did not confer any right on consenting adults to commit an act which was illegal. It “does not confer any immunity to crimes committed by consenting adults in private.”

Counsel noted that the High Court, while reading down Section 377 had held that it was constitutional morality alone that could pass the test of compelling state interest and public morality had no role to play. But “public morality has been a very important consideration in framing a law as is evident from the provisions contained in Articles 19, 25 and 26.”

The Bench intervened and wanted to know from counsel whether there was any data to show that Section 377 of the IPC had actually been used to harass the gay community and whether the risk of HIV/AIDS was higher among those people. Mr. Saran said the community had a higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS and that was all the more reason to ban such behaviour.

The Bench asked counsel: “How many cases have been registered under Section 377 after 1947? Has it been enough to prove harassment?”

The Commission opposed the High Court decision on the ground that this provision, which had stood the test of time for about 150 years, was required to check exploitation of children. Mr. Saran told the court: “Tomorrow dowry-seekers can say that they are being discriminated [against] by non-dowry seekers. Can they be allowed to challenge the validity of Section 304 B IPC (dealing with dowry deaths)?”

Justice Singhvi asked counsel “whether there was data to back its [commission’s] claims. Is there any scientific study to show this? Has the government or the National Aids Control Organisation done anything on this?”

Additional Solicitor-General P.P. Malhotra, appearing for the Centre, said several studies had been conducted and there was enough data.

Justice Mukhopadhyay wondered how the gay community could come under the sweep of the Section when it did not make carnal intercourse per se an offence.

Justice Singhvi said a member of the younger generation might want to run naked on the street. That could be a natural right “but is it a fundamental right? In such cases what happens to the right of dignity of others, or the right of privacy? What about exchange of wives?” the judge asked and said the court must envisage all these scenarios.








Decision on Sec 377 could affect other sexual offences in IPC: SC


TNN | Feb 23, 2012, 02.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Wednesday said its final decision on the correctness of the Delhi High Court judgment — which decriminalized Section 377 of Indian Penal Code covering a sexual act in private between consenting adults — could have far reaching impact on several sexual offences listed in the penal laws.

A bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya requested the counsel for parties to keep in mind the evolving social ethos as the key words in the HC judgment — “consenting adults committing a sexual act in private” – could have a bearing on several other sexual offences enumerated in the IPC.

“Though the focus of our judgment would remain on Section 377, but keep in mind that it could have bearing on provisions relating to other sexual offences. Obscenity could be one such provision,” the bench told senior advocate Amarendra Saran, who was arguing against the HC verdict on behalf of Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights (DCPCR).

The court was possibly hinting at offences like adultery and obscenity in public, mostly misused by police to harass couples in parks.

Section 497 defines adultery. According to it – “Whoever has sexual intercourse with a person who is and whom he knows or has reason to believe to be the wife of another man, without the consent or connivance of that man, such sexual intercourse not amounting to the offence of rape, is guilty of the offence of adultery, and shall be punished with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to five years, or with fine, or with both. In such case the wife shall not be punishable as an abettor.”

In this case, the consent of the woman is immaterial and the consenting sexual act still would constitute an offence if the consent of her husband was not taken.

Saran said NGOs had challenged the legality of Section 377 before the HC on the ground that it targeted homosexuals as a class and hence violated the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) group’s right to equality guaranteed under Article 14, right to privacy under Article 21 and the constitutional guarantee under Article 15 prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation of such persons.

He argued that right to privacy did not confer right on consenting adults to commit an act in private which was illegal. “In other words, right to privacy does not confer immunity to crimes committed by consenting adults in private. Hence, the reasoning of the HC that Section 377 is violative of right to privacy is clearly erroneous,” Saran said.

He said Section 377 did not suffer from class bias. “It applies uniformly to any man or woman if such person indulged in carnal intercourse which is against the order of nature,” he said and cited a 1990 Supreme Court judgment to back his argument that all “non penile-vaginal” intercourse would fall within the meaning of “carnal intercourse against the order of nature”, which has been classified as an offence under Section 377.

The DCPCR counsel said “there was a vast cultural difference in the Indian society and other societies of the world” and faulted the Delhi HC judgment for basing its reasoning on foreign court rulings.



LEGAL NEWS 23.02.2012

Beni to appear before EC on Feb 24


Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma was on Tuesday granted personal hearing by the Election Commission to explain his minorities sub-quota remarks for which the poll body slapped a notice and he is likely to appear on Friday.

The Commission, which met here this evening, decided to grant personal hearing to the minister following his request in this regard.

“The Minister had sought a personal hearing before the Election Commission on the matter and the poll body granted him so. He will explain his position either in person or through his lawyer on February 24 now,” a top EC official told PTI.

During his hearing on Friday, Mr. Verma is expected to explain to the Commission on why action should not be initiated against him for violation of model code of conduct, sources said, adding that he had made a request to the EC in this regard to explain his position with regard to the minority sub-quota remarks.

Mr. Verma, in his reply to the Commission on Monday, expressed regret over his sub-quota remarks but has contended that he did not violate the model code of conduct and that his remarks were made as a Congress leader in line with the party’s manifesto and not as a minister.

The Election Commission had on Saturday issued notice to Mr. Verma over his remarks on sub-quota for minorities, holding that prima facie it was a violation of the Model Code of Conduct and had sought his reply by Monday evening.

While addressing a poll rally on Wednesday night in Farukkhabad in the presence of Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh and Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid, Mr. Verma had said, “Reservation for Muslims will be increased and if the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me.”

Mr. Verma is the second Union minister after Law Minister Salman Khurshid to get an EC notice for poll code violation over the sub-quota remarks.

Sources in the EC said that Mr. Verma is toeing the line taken by Law and Minority Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, who was also issued a notice by the poll body over the minorities sub-quota remarks.

Sources said the Election Commission had taken serious note of his comments, particularly for daring the poll body to take action against him.

Govt says no move to curb powers of Election Commission


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.00AM IST

NEW DELHI: A political storm broke out on Tuesday over reports that the Centre is considering a proposal to give statutory status to the electoral model code of conduct and remove it from the purview of the Election Commission with the opposition accusing the government of trying to undermine the poll panel’s authority.

Faced with the charge that it is keen to reduce EC to a “toothless body” after several Congress leaders were pulled up by the poll watchdog, the government sought to put a lid on the controversy saying it was not considering any such proposal but admitted that “in course of discussions, incidental references were made to the code of conduct”.

However, a note for the meeting of the group of ministers on corruption scheduled for Wednesday says, “It was also suggested that the legislative department may also look into the aspect where executive instructions of the EC will be required to be given statutory shape.” The reference seems fairly direct.

Interestingly, the note indicates that law minister Salman Khurshid – who recently apologized to the EC over his advocacy of minority quotas – sought a review of the code. “The chairman (finance minister Pranab Mukherjee) was also of the view that code of conduct was one of the biggest excuses to stall development projects and thus agreed with the request of the law minister to flag this issue and its inclusion in the agenda paper,” the note says.

Senior ministers denied that the government was mulling changes over who will administer the code of conduct although Khurshid said giving legal status to it could be discussed if political parties wanted a debate. The minister might have been calculating that most political parties have been red flagged by the EC and might want the code’s operation to be reviewed.

It is also intriguing that the proposal on the code of conduct was to be discussed by the GoM on corruption with the note stating that the secretary of the legislative department has been requested to make a presentation on the progress made in the matter regarding giving legislative backing to the code. The department of personnel and training, however, argued that “state funding of elections” was a key mandate given to the GoM and the code was related.

Opposition parties were quick to latch onto the proposal, saying that once a violation of the code became a matter to be settled by the courts, hauling up offenders would take years.

The EC did not officially react to reports, but sources said the code was the main instrument by which the panel enforced free and fair polls. “If the power to implement the code is taken away, then the EC’s hands will be tied,” an official said. It ensures that correctives are applied while an election is still in progress.

The code is a voluntary compact political parties agree to adhere to and has the backing of the Supreme Court. The EC is a quasi-judicial body that issues notices to those who flout the code, hears them, looks at evidence and takes a decision. It can reprimand and censure offenders.

The code prevents governments and ministers from making policy and financial announcements and misuse of official machinery for electioneering. Some in the government feel there is a case for shortening the duration of the policy freeze that comes into effect when elections are announced.

A number of ministers on the GoM on corruption — Pranab Mukherjee, Kapil Sibal, Salman Khurshid and M Veerappa Moily — denied there was any proposal to rein in EC by giving statutory backing to the code.

“The contents of the report are totally misconceived as there is no such move under contemplation of the government or the GoM,” the ministry of personnel and training said in an official statement. “The GoM has not made any recommendation to make the MCC statutory or to take it outside the purview of the commission,” it added.

Mukherjee said, “There is no such thing. I don’t know from where this idea has come. But in the GoM agenda, there is nothing.”

Khurshid said the issue of giving statutory shape to executive instructions issued by the EC was not on the draft agenda. “But if it is raised by any political party during the course of discussion, we will take it as and when it happens,” he said.

The government said, “The GoM, in its last meeting held on September 30, 2011 considered a presentation made by the secretary, legislative department on the viability of various alternatives on the question of state funding of elections. In the course of discussions, incidental references were made to the issue of code of conduct.”

It added, “The subject has, accordingly, been receiving the attention of the GoM at its deliberations from time to time and the legislative department of law ministry has been updating the GoM on the several initiatives taken by that ministry and by the Election Commission on issue of state funding of elections along with other electoral reforms.”





NCW’s intervention sought in Indore gangrape case


PTI | 01:02 AM,Feb 22,2012

Indore, Feb 21 (PTI) Accusing to police of adopting a casual approach in the case related to the gangrape of two women here, the Madhya Pradesh Congress’ women wing today urged the NCW to intervene and ensure justice to the victims. “I have written to the chairperson of National Commission for Women Mamta Sharma to take cognisance of the case and ensure that the victims get justice,” Archana Jaiswal, who heads the women wing, said. She alleged that a video clipping of the crime was made on a mobile phone which was distributed. “But the police took no action and remained a mute spectator till the victims themselves walked to the police station.” According to police, the two women were gangraped by 18 persons in Betma area on February 10 and a case was registered on the women’s complaint on February 18. They said 15 people have been arrested in the case, including Vikas Bharti, the son of a BJP counsellor Rajni Bharti and grandson of a Congress councillor Dilip Kushwah. The BJP has expelled Rajni from the party.









Court: foreign lawyers must fulfil norms of Advocates Act to practise


No bar on their visits on a ‘fly in and fly out basis’ for cases

Foreign law firms or foreign lawyers cannot practise on the litigation and non-litigation side unless they fulfil the requirements of the Advocates Act and the Bar Council of India (BCI) Rules, the Madras High Court said on Tuesday. However, there was no bar either in law or the rules on the firms or lawyers visiting India on a ‘fly in and fly out basis’ for giving legal advice to their clients regarding foreign law or their own system of law and on diverse international legal issues.

The First Bench of Chief Justice M.Y. Eqbal and Justice T.S. Sivagnanam was disposing of a writ petition by A.K. Balaji, who sought a direction to State and Central authorities for taking action against foreign law firms or foreign lawyers who practised illegally in India.

The petitioner also sought a further direction to them to forbear from having any legal practice either on the litigation or in the field of non-litigation and commercial transactions in any manner in India. The court also said that having regard to the aim and object of the International Commercial Arbitration introduced in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, foreign lawyers could not be debarred from coming to the country and conducting arbitration proceedings in respect of disputes arising out of a contract relating to international commercial arbitration. Business process outsourcing companies providing a wide range of customised and integrated services and functions to their customers did not come within the purview of the Advocates Act or the BCI Rules. However, in the event of any complaint against these companies violating the Act, the BCI may take appropriate action against such erring companies. The petitioner contended that law practice by foreign law firms or any foreign lawyer was illegal and impermissible. The Bench observed that it had been categorically stated that foreign lawyers visited India for giving advice on their own system of law or on English law. It found force in the submission by counsel for foreign law firms that if the firms were not allowed to take part in negotiations for settling documents and conduct arbitrations in India, it would have a counter-productive effect on the government’s aim to make India a hub of international arbitration.

International arbitration was growing big-time in India and in almost all countries. India was a signatory to World Trade Agreement.










Monitor liquor probe, HC urged


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.24AM IST

HYDERABAD: Expressing apprehensions that the ongoing ACB probe into the liquor syndicate-politician nexus may not reach its logical end, a citizen’s activist filed a petition in the A P high court on Tuesday urging it to monitor the probe on a regular basis and also provide functional independence to ACB.

O M Debara, member of Forum for Better Hyderabad, filed the writ plea contending that the court should supervise the probe. He said the court should facilitate unearthing of the full magnitude of the liquor scam. He said excise, police and other departments, besides politicians, had a big role in the racket.

He said the liquor syndicate was destroying scores of poor families in the state and time had come to put an end to this menace. He said ministers in the state cabinet were trying to settle scores and save their men involved in the scam.

The petitioner also mentioned in his plea that as many 450 requests of ACB to prosecute corrupt public servants were turned down by the state since 2003. He also sought the quashing of a government memo issued in 1999 restraining ACB from booking cases against the errant members of legislature in this regard.

The matter was posted to Friday for further hearing.










Official charged in teachers’ test scam moves HC


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.42AM IST

ALLAHABAD: Secretary, Board of Secondary Education, Prabha Tripathi, has approached the Allahabad High Court seeking stay of her arrest in connection with the Teachers Eligibility Test (TET) scam.

Tripathi, through a writ petition, has raised apprehension of her arrest in connection with the TET scam and submitted that she had nothing to do with it.

A division bench of the Allahabad High Court, though has not granted her interim relief, but asked the state government counsel to seek instructions in this case. The bench of Justice D P Singh and Justice V P Pathak has directed to hear the case on February 24. It is believed that soon after the arrest of Board director, Sanjay Mohan, in connection with the TET scam, the petitioner was also apprehending her arrest and therefore she approached the High Court seeking stay of her arrest.

Pointedly, the secretary has not been attending her office and her whereabouts were not known since last Sunday. The Board officials were also ignorant about her current whereabouts and were not in a position to tell if she was on leave.

Appointments quashed: The Allahabad High Court has quashed the appointment of three persons as stenographer in judgeship Moradabad, holding that their appointments were against the statutory rules. The order was passed by Justice Sudhir Agarwal, allowing the writ petition filed by Kumari Minakshi and others, challenging their appointment.

The writ petition was filed on the allegation that all the three persons were found extremely inefficient in typing test and had performed below the prescribed minimum limit but they were given appointment as stenographer by means of order dated June 5, 1990 on their assurance that they will improve their typing.

The high court after hearing the counsels quashed the order of appointment and allowed the writ petition with a cost of Rs 25,000 against
the then district judge of Moradabad.










Plea on recruitment of judges dismissed


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.38AM IST

CHENNAI: Clearing the decks for the recruitment of 185 civil judges for the subordinate judiciary, the Madras high court on Tuesday dismissed a batch of public interest writ petitions against the exercise.

A specially constituted division bench of Justice K Suguna and Justice M M Sundresh dismissed the PILs saying there were not enough reasons to interfere with the January 21 notification calling for applications.

The matter pertains to writ petitions filed by various bar associations and individual advocates on the grounds that the Tamil Nadu Public Service Commission and the state government ought not to have ceded their recruitment powers in favour of the high court even as a one-time measure.

The January 21 notification sought to recruit 185 civil judges for the state judiciary. At least eight writ petitions were filed raising several issues concerning the advertisement. While some petitions say the TNPSC could not be undermined in the selection process, others demanded filling up backlog vacancies meant for SC/ST first, besides relaxation of upper age limit for SC/ST candidates.

A clause that law graduates in Madras high court service and employees of the high court are ineligible to participate in the selection drive too had been questioned.










Notice to Centre, Bihar on MPLAD scheme guidelines


The Supreme Court on Tuesday issued notice to the Centre and the State of Bihar on a public interest writ petition questioning the guidelines framed by the Bihar government for implementation of the MPLAD scheme, contrary to the guidelines formulated by the Centre.

A Bench of Justices D.K. Jain and Anil R. Dave issued notice returnable in four weeks on the writ petition filed by Capt. Jai Narayan Prasad Nishad, Member of Parliament, after hearing senior counsel Jayant Bhushan and counsel Ravi Shankar Kumar challenging the guidelines of the State government dated November 10, 2011.

The petitioner said “the question that arises in the present writ petition is as to “whether the State Government is justified in framing independent guidelines contrary to those of the Central Government framed for implementation of its fully funded Government of India’s Schemes under “Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme.”

He said the Principal Secretary of the Department of Planning and Development, Bihar, by an order dated November 10, 2011, had framed a new guideline for implementation of the “MPLADS” within the State of Bihar and made a separate procedure for Selection of Plan, Allocation of fund, Selection of Agency, Procedure and method for implementation, approval of Schemes etc.

He said that due to the framing of new Guidelines, the progress of implementation of the “MPLADS” for the year 2011-12 “is very poor in the State of Bihar, and till December 2012, a very minimal amount had been spent and the development works under “MPLADS” are badly affected. The public at large are on the verge of deprivation of basic amenities under the Central Government Development Schemes.”

He said “the public of the State have equal rights and opportunities for development under the Central Government’s fully funded Schemes to be implemented under the “MPLADS”. For the schemes covered under the Central List, the Central Government is only empowered to frame rules for its implementation while the State Executive has no power under Rule of Executive Business to frame Guidelines.” Hence, he sought quashing of the guidelines dated November 10, 2011 by holding them as ultra vires the Constitution.










Declare Adarsh a security threat: Army


Rajshri Mehta, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.22AM IST

MUMBAI: With the Maharashtra government shying away from implementing the 2011 ministry of environment & forests order to demolish Adarsh, the defence ministry has opened another front to reclaim land on which the controversial 31-storey building stands in Colaba.

The local army unit has filed a writ demanding that Adarsh be declared a security threat to the Colaba military station. Calling it a ‘private’ society, the petition said Adarsh being the tallest building overlooks military establishments like the Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (EME) workshop, a storage and disbursal depot for petrol, oil and lubricants, within 27 metres to a maximum 400 metres.

“The entire top decision-making echelons-the General Officer Commanding (GOC) window being clearly visible-at the headquarters of the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Goa (MG&G) area can be eliminated with sniper rifles and other hand-held weapons with the building barely 200 metres away,” the petition filed through Deepak Saxena, major general (chief of staff) of MG&G area, said.

Citing the case of US president Barack Obama watching live in Washington the operation to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in Pakistan, the petition pointed out that it may be possible for residents of the building to observe numbers and types and movement of personnel, specialist and general purpose vehicles that may be parked in the workshop, from which their availability/serviceability can be analyzed.

“…potential residents of Adarsh and their guests, who could be foreign nationals, will not be under the jurisdiction of the Indian Navy or Indian Army authorities and hence not amenable to security checks,” army officials added, detailing a range of hand-held weapons available with terrorists that can be smuggled into Adarsh.

The army pointed to violations in provisions of development control regulation 16, which states the municipal commissioner can reject a building proposal if he considers it to be source of danger to the health and safety of inhabitants of the neighbourhood.

The role of five GOCs from 1999 to 2010 as being responsible for the security risk arising from the building was also pointed out. “Each successive GOC, be it A R Kumar, V S Yadav, T K Kaul, Tejinder Singh and R K Hooda, or their family members, were given a flat and thus, none objected to the land under occupation and owned by the army to Adarsh,” officials said.

To buttress security concerns, the army cited the example of Pakistani American national David Coleman Headley, currently in US custody, who surveyed sites across the city before the 2008 terror attacks in Mumbai.

The army said that to ensure a Adarsh-like situation is not repeated, they (in addition to the Western Naval Command) have sent a proposal to the defence ministry to restrict the construction and height of private buildings around 500 metres of the military station.

It added that as early as June 2003, the then defence estate officer has raised the issue of a security threat with the collector of Mumbai. In fact, it mentioned that the occupation certificate (OC) was issued to Adarsh despite a written request to the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority ( MMRDA) to withhold its issuance, citing security concerns in 2010.








Aarushi murder case: CBI opposes Talwars’ plea for trial in Delhi


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 03.02AM IST

SC wants to know what is the harm in transfer

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday wondered why the CBI was objecting to Rajesh and Nupur Talwars’ plea for transfer of the Aarushi-Hemraj double murder case trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi and asked what the agency’s objection could be when most of the witnesses were in Delhi.

The Talwars, who had unsuccessfully moved the apex court against the trial court’s decision to summon them as accused despite the CBI filing a closure report in the case, had sought transfer of the trial from Ghaziabad to Delhi on the ground that they feared for their safety. In January last year, a person had attacked Rajesh Talwar with a cleaver, inflicting serious cuts on his face and neck.

When additional solicitor general Harin Raval sought time for the CBI to file reply to the transfer petition filed by the Talwars, a bench of Justices B S Chauhan and J S Khehar wanted to know what possible objections the agency could have to such a plea. Raval said the CBI was prepared to provide security to the accused couple in the Ghaziabad court and sought time to file a comprehensive reply. The bench posted hearing on Monday and asked the agency to file its reply by then.

What was virtually given up as a perplexing blind murder case was revived on January 6, when the SC cleared the decks for the dentist couple’s trial for the murder of their 14-year-old daughter Aarushi and their servant Hemraj.

The SC upheld the trial court’s decision to summon the Talwars as accused in the case. The SC was apparently convinced by the evidence and arguments presented by the CBI that there was indeed a prima facie case against the couple. The two-judge bench of Justices A K Ganguly (since retired) and J S Khehar, however, had allowed the couple to remain on bail till their appearance before the trial court and refused to comment on the merits of the case.

The murder of Aarushi, a Class IX student of Delhi Public School, Noida, on May 16, 2008, and the subsequent discovery of Hemraj’s body the next day on the terrace of the Talwars’ flat not only developed into a bizarre whodunnit but also led to heated debate on the ethics of media reporting about the UP police’s allegations against the couple and the alleged motive behind the killing.






CWG: District judge sends file back to trial court


New Delhi: The Delhi district judge on Tuesday sent the file of a corruption case releated to the 2010 Commonwealth Games (CWG) to the trial court for hearing on February 23 and deferred the proceedings on a defence counsel’s allegation doubting a fair trial.

District Judge Sunita Gupta listed the matter for March 5 for hearing the submission of prosecution over allegations of defence counsel.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh on February 16 adjourned the hearing of the CWG case and sought directions from the district judge after defence counsel Ramesh Gupta, appearing for former Commonwealth Games Organising Committee secretary general Lalit Bhanot raised doubts over getting a fair trial.

Counsel Gupta along with former CWG Organising Committee’s chief Suresh Kalmadi’s counsel Siddharth Luthra told the district judge that the submission was made to point out the daily proceedings of the case affecting the life of the accused and others.

“Since date of scrutiny is fixed on February 23, so there is no need for the accused to be present in court on every day in between as the scrutiny is to be done in the chambers of the advocates and not in court,” Gupta had said before Judge Singh.

Judge Gupta sent the file to the trial court to take up the matter on February 23.

Judge Singh also denied Gupta’s allegation and termed it false. He refused to hold any proceedings till a direction was given by the district judge to whom he sent the case file.

The special court was hearing a case against Kalmadi, Bhanot and nine others in a corruption case related to alleged financial irregularities in awarding a Rs 141 crore contract for the time scoring and records system for the 2010 mega sporting event held in New Delhi.









Divorce cases dip in Chennai


Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.30AM IST

CHENNAI: Married couples in the city appear to be getting more tolerant of each other’s differences with statistics showing a decrease in the number of divorce cases filed at the family court last year.

The four family courts in the city recorded 3,742 cases of divorce and divorce by mutual consent in 2011. In 2010, as many as 3,803 cases had been filed in these courts.

Statistics available with TOI for the period from 2000 to 2011 indicate a slowdown in the rate of growth of divorce cases that are being filed as well. While the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) stood at 12.4% from 2001 to 2006, it tumbled to 4.9% from 2006 to 2011.

Lawyers say this could be due to the efforts made by the court in getting couples to settle their differences; even reunite, by sending them for mediation and counselling.

“Once a petition for divorce is filed, the couple are immediately referred to counselling. In the mofussil areas, they are sent to the Lok Adalat if there are no family courts there. If the couple do reunite, the case is dismissed as withdrawn. Perhaps these cases were not taken into account when the statistics were compiled. This could explain the fall in the growth rate,” an advocate said.

Lawyers add the slow down in the city should be matched by other areas of the state as well. “There is an increase in matrimonial cases from suburban areas. Thursday has been reserved for matrimonial matters at the Tambaram sub-court. We can get an idea of whether there divorce cases are reducing if we can get statistics from family courts in Coimbatore and Madurai along with data from the mofussil courts,” said advocate Adhilakshmi Logamurthy.

Pointing out cases continued to stagnate for years on end, lawyers said that concerted efforts had to be taken for speedy disposal of cases.

“Why does a person have to wait for eight years and why should his/her life hinge on the orders on a divorce petition? Close to 200 petitions relating to various issues are filed at these family courts every day. During the session between 10.30am and 1pm, the judges just call the cases and adjourn them. Matters are taken up for final hearing only during the later half of the day. A better system needs to be worked out so that cases are taken up for disposal in the morning itself. The process has to be simplified,” advocate Sheila Jayaprakash said.



Jamia students’ union polls; HC seeks varsity’s response


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today sought response from Jamia Milia Islamia (JMI) on a plea seeking a direction to the university administration to conduct polls to the students’ union which remains dissolved since 2006. A division bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Rajiv Shakdher directed the university to file a detailed affidavit within four weeks to the plea of Hamidur Rehman, a final year BA student, for a direction to hold the elections. Directing Atyab Siddiqui, the counsel for Jamia, to file the response, the bench fixed March 18 for further hearing of the petition. The petition alleged JMI was not conducting the students’ union election since 2006 on the ground that the atmosphere is not conducive despite several representations made in this regard before the administration. Alleging that Jamia administration had dissolved the elected body in March 2006 without giving any reason, the petitioner said, “Jamia was not conducting and allowing the students’ union election since 2006 onwards till date despite several representations and request made by students to various authorities including the vice chancellor.” The request for conducting the election was made time and again but no action has been taken, said the PIL, filed through lawyer Sitab Ali Chaudhary. “There is nobody in the campus to address the students’ grievances and problems and that is why they are being harassed frequently,” the lawyer submitted. It also claimed the HRD Ministry and the UGC have also asked the university to hold polls. Jamia has been charging Rs 50 annually from each student as union fee since 2006 but the authorities have “no intention to hold the election,” the petition said. (More)










Lawsuit on offensive content motivated, says Yahoo India


NEW DELHI: Yahoo India on Tuesday said in a reply to a Delhi Court that the lawsuit against it on ‘objectionable’ content was motivated and reflects an “abuse of the power of law”.

“The suit is a complete abuse of the process of law,” Yahoo India said in a reply to the lower court’s direction to file a compliance report to 21 websites to remove objectionable content from their web pages. Yahoo had asked for the removal of its name as a party in the case.

“The present proceedings are somewhat akin to a public interest litigation (PIL), wherein the plaintiff has sought certain reliefs, which do not directly concern the plaintiff and without there being any actual existing interest in the subject matter,” the website said in its written submissions to the court of Additional Civil Judge (ACJ) Praveen Singh. The Delhi High Court has refused to quash summons against Yahoo India, despite its plea that it is not an online social network.

Yahoo is asking for the removal of its name as a party in the lawsuit. The website pleaded that it should not be clubbed with Google and Facebook.

The website said in its written submissions that “it has been made a party in the case on the patently mistaken assumption that it is a social networking website and thus there is no cause of action against it”. Yahoo India’s lawyer Arvind Nigam further argued that since it is not a necessary party in the case, striking out its name would not affect the proceedings (against Google and Facebook).

The case in the lower court was filed last year by Mufti Aijaz Arshad Qasmi, founder of, against 21 websites for carrying ‘objectionable’ content. The government has sanctioned prosecution of the websites, on grounds, that they declined to come out with a mechanism to remove content. Government’s meetings with Yahoo, Microsoft, Google and Facebook, last year on the issue, failed to draw a conclusion.









Don’t cut trees for legislators’ parking lot: HC


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.48AM IST

BANGALORE: Construction of a multi-level car parking facility near the Legislators’ Home (LH) is in limbo now. The high court on Tuesday issued an interim direction to the authorities not to prune or fell trees without the court’s permission.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered notice to the government and the BBMP, asking them to file replies within two weeks on a PIL filed by advocate Ramesh Babu.

“You (government) have to show how it doesn’t form part of Cubbon Park,” the division bench observed when the government advocate said the earlier application seeking permission was withdrawn as it was found that the area in question isn’t part of Cubbon Park. The government advocate said the project has been taken up to set up parking facilities for visitors to Vidhana Soudha and the LH. The petitioner complained that though the government had withdrawn its application in October last year seeking the court’s permission for construction of the facility, work was going on and eight trees had been cut.









CID arrests 4 constables for custodial death


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The state Crime Investigation Department (CID) has arrested four constables attached with the Ulhasnagar police for their alleged role in the custodial death of Narayan Rathod in March 2011, the state government told Bombay high court.

Public prosecutor Pandurang Pol told the division bench of Justice SA Bobade and Justice R Dhanuka that the CID has lodged an offence against seven and is investigating the case.

The court was hearing a PIL filed by Hardas Tharwani, a social activist from Ulhasnagar, seeking an independent probe against the alleged killing of Rathod in custody.

As per the PIL, Ulhasnagar residents Govardhandas, 70, and Kavita Dalwani, 65, were killed on February 25, 2011. Govardhandas was a retired CRPF official. After two days, the police called in their son-in-law, Rathod, for questioning. He was called on three other occasions.

On March 1, 2011, however, the constables beat him during questioning, which caused his death, the PIL claimed.


HC declines to hear PIL


PTI | 08:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

Patna, Feb 21 (PTI) Patna High Court today declined to hear a public interest litigation seeking quashing of land allotment by the Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority to the relatives of politicians and bureaucrats allegedly in irregular manner. A division bench comprising Justices T Meena Kumari and Gopal Prasad disposed of the PIL filed by a Samata Party leader P K Sinha and asked him to submit a representation to the chief secretary raising all his grievances about the alleged irregularities in the land allotment.










Court quashes PIL seeking recovery of expenditure on Modi fast

The Gujarat High Court on Tuesday dismissed a PIL seeking recovery of the expenditure incurred on the three-day fast observed by Chief Minister Narendra Modi under ‘Sadbhavna Mission’ here last year.

A division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala rejected the PIL filed by one Rajesh Mota on the grounds that the expenditure on functions was decision of the executive government and there was no need for the judiciary to interfere into the matter.

The petitioner’s counsel Ratna Vora, who is also state president of the Women’s Cell of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), said they would challenge the high court’s decision in the Supreme Court.

In the PIL, the petitioner had alleged that Modi’s three-day Sadbhavana fast, held between September 17 and September 19, 2011, was neither part of any government programme nor it served any public cause.

Dubbing the Sadbhavna mission as a ‘drama’, Ms. Mota further contended that the fast was aimed at deriving a political mileage, and hence, the expenses incurred on the event should be footed by the ruling BJP or the chief minister himself.

The petitioner had also sought directions from the high court for recovery of over Rs 100 crore, which was reportedly spent on the event, either from BJP or Mr. Modi’s personal account.

This petition was the third such PIL filed with regard to the Sadbhavana fast and the expenditure incurred on it.

Last year also Mr. Mota had moved the court questioning the huge expenditure incurred on the much—publicised programme but later withdrew it when the judges pointed out certain technical flaws in the petition.

Another litigation on the same issue was filed by advocate K.G. Pandit who had cited newspaper reports in his prayer seeking recovery of the expenditure.

However, the high court rejected his petition for lack of any evidence.

Mr. Modi had undertaken the three-day fast in September last year for promoting peace, unity and harmony in the state.

He recently concluded a series of one-day fasts in all districts of Gujarat. In all, he held 33 one-day fasts in various districts and cities of the state, during which he also announced huge financial packages for development.

The opposition Congress had dismissed the fasts as a political drama and a drain on public exchequer.










PIL on land distribution: Last call for counters


BANGALORE: The High Court on Tuesday gave the final adjournment to file objections to the state government, the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA), the Department of Urban Development (UDD) and other beneficiaries of ‘G’ category sites in connection with a public interest litigation petition (PIL) alleging irregularities in the distribution of sites.

The petitioner and a city-based advocate S Vasudeva, submitted to the court, that since 2003, the state government acted arbitrarily while allotting G category sites by violating the provisions of the BDA Act. He stated that G category sites were allotted to 316 persons including seven ministers, five MPs, 143 MLAs and MLCs from February 2, 2006 to October 8, 2007 in violation of the Bangalore Development Authority Site Allotment Rules, 1984.

Earlier, the High Court had issued notices to all these 316 respondents.

However, only six have filed objections so far. Looking into the matter, the division bench comprising Justices K L Manjunath and Govindarajulu directed all the respondents who have not yet filed their objections to file the objections within a week’s time.

The bench further stated that if respondents fail to file objections, the Court will start hearing the case and adjourned the case for further hearing .












SC slams Guj over ‘spurious case’ against Teesta


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

The Supreme Court on Tuesday slammed the Gujarat government for “victimising” social activist Teesta Setalvad and initiating a “spurious case” against her over her alleged role in illegally exhuming the bodies of the 2002 riot victims.
“This is a spurious case to victimise the petitioner. This type of a case does no credit to the state of Gujarat in any way,” said a bench of justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Prakash Desai while hearing Setalvad’s appeal challenging the Gujarat High Court order which declined to quash the FIR against her.

A case was lodged against Setalvad at the Panchmahal district police station after she got bodies of post-Godhra riots victims exhumed from a graveyard near Panam river. The Gujarat HC had on May 27 last year declined to give the activist relief from facing prosecution.

The SC, on the other hand, said it wasn’t correct on the Gujarat government’s part to go ahead with the case. “You may be right in other cases. But not in this one,” the bench said.

It asked senior advocate and state counsel Pradeep Ghosh to go through the FIR and advise the government not to proceed with it. The bench said: “You advise your client not to proceed with this type of a case. You should show some responsibility and tell the government not to proceed with the case.”

The bench added that its interim stay — imposed on July 29, 2011 — on criminal proceedings against Setalvad in the case would continue till the next date of hearing.

The Gujarat government justified the registration of the case against her. The state said the activist had planned and executed the digging of graves without any permission in 2006. The government had said the other accused have claimed innocence and had blamed Setalvad for instigating them to carry out the exhumation, which is a penal offence.











Lawyer’s plea to renounce faith quashed


Nitin Yeshwantrao, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.16AM IST

THANE: Karl Marx’s famous line about religion being the opium of the people appears to have been taken too literally by a local lawyer, whose unusual petition in the Thane sessions court to declare him as ‘non-religious’ was struck down by the Justice SS Todkar here recently.

Shrirang Balwant Khambete, a practicing advocate here pleaded that he was no longer eager to be identified with any particular traditions or faith and wished to abandon his religion.

The 50-year-old advocate said in his petition that the present day strife and struggle was a result of traditions rooted in religious faith. He said a value system based on principles of secularism or non-religious traditions is the key to spread peace in the region and therefore sought the court’s orders to be henceforth referred to as ‘non’ religious’ just like the constitution of India.

Religion and caste are purely man- manufactured. People will be happy and content only when they break-free of all man-made traditions of faith. Animals are not governed by any religious practices and so they lead a peaceful life. If man sheds his self-made beliefs of religion and instead accepts the larger humanity as his religion, it will put an end to disputes,” Khambete said.

The one-of-its kind petition, filed way back in 2009, invited attention among the legal fraternity as also the citizens here who were anxious about the fate of this plea given the fact that religion, caste and creed are considered as integral part of the Indian society

Khambete, who was born in a Marathi-speaking Brahmin family here, argued further that, religion cannot be imposed on a person merely due to the fact that he was born into a family where the parents preached a particular faith. If politicians can be referred to as Independens and the Constitution be called secular then by the same logic I wish to be non-religious,” he said.

Arguing his case in the court debate, advocate VP Patil told the court that the petitioner intends to abandon his caste and religion as per rule 13 (1) (ii) of the Hindu Marriages Act and that he does not want to take up any other religion after that. If the court can sanction change of religion then the person should legally be allowed to give up religion entirely,” Patil said in his petition.

Justice Todkar in his order stated that the view about religion and faith are purely the personal opinions of the petitioner and cannot be imposed on others. Quoting Article 25 of the Right to Freedom of Religion, the court observed that any person is free to embrace or give up his religion and if t the petitioner intends to give up his case and religion then he is within his rights to do so.

Justice Todkar said should the court sanction the title of non-religious” it could possibly complicate matters for the family members of such a person as after his death they would be caught in a legal trap on several issues of heir to the property or rituals etc.









Businessman faces trial for forging US mission letters


Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Feb 22 2012, 05:32 hrs


Upholding a magisterial court order, Additional Sessions Judge Rajeev Bansal has directed a businessman to stand trial on charges of cheating and forgery.

Ranjan Sukhani has been accused of forging letters of the United States Embassy and of officials of the United Nations to avail a substantial bank loan.

Sukhani had appealed against the magistrate’s 2004 order, and the sessions court has now asked him to appear before the former.

“I do not find any infirmity in the order assailed by the petitioner in these proceedings. The present petition is thus devoid of merits and is hereby dismissed,” said ASJ Bansal.

The case was registered against Sukhani the Vijaya Bank wrote to the Economic offences Wing (EOW) of the Delhi Police, claiming that he had approached them for a loan of Rs 45 lakh.

Along with other loan documents, Sukhrani had submitted three letters purportedly written by the chief travel coordinator of the Embassy of USA, travel coordinator of an organisation of the UN and Videocon International Ltd. The bank had approached the police after it grew suspicious of their authenticity.




Adarsh probe: Maharashtra govt seeks interim report


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.28AM IST

MUMBAI: The Maharashtra government has filed an application before the Adarsh commission seeking an interim report on the scam inquiry. The commission of Justice (retired) J A Patil and member P Subrahmanyam will hear the application on February 24.

The state, represented by senior advocate A Y Sakhare along with advocates R Vasudev and Uday Nighot, sought the report on two of the 13 issues before the commission–who owned the land that was allotted to Adarsh and whether the plot was reserved for housing Kargil war widows.

The application says that it may take time for a final report on the 13 issues the commission is probing. The state has pointed out that the notification appointing the commission has a provision for an interim report.

The commission will decide on February 24 when to call former chief ministers Vilasrao Deshmukh, Sushilkumar Shinde, Ashok Chavan and other high-profile politicians named in the scam.

The commission’s other terms of reference include, whether reduction of width of the Capt Prakash Pethe road and change of reservation to residential was in accordance with law, was the deletion of reservation of plot reserved for BEST and conversion to residential in accordance with law, did the state violate MRTP provisions to allow Adarsh to build a 31-storey tower, who approved non-eligible persons to become society members, did Adarsh obtain CRZ and MoEF clearance and the persons who were involved in the scrutiny of applications. –Shibu Thomas













Lokpal, lokayuktas face challenge from private complainants post SC order


Sanjay Sharma, TNN Feb 21, 2012, 06.16PM IST

CHANDIGARH: The recent Supreme Court judgment on the petition of Subramanian Swamy in the 2G scam has posed a big challenge to lokpal and lokayuktas in states while seeking prosecution of a public servant from the levels of a constable to a chief minister.

Now, a person can seek prosecution of chief minister from the governor of the state on the basis of a complaint supported by credible evidence without the governor being allowed to inquire into the complaint through some other probe agency and the accused being given an opportunity to be heard, experts in probe agencies and legal fraternity told The Times of India seeking anonymityThe only stumbling block in the direct prosecution through this route is that the appointing authority, which also has the power to remove any public servant, can refuse prosecution on the basis of its own assessment and the decision of the prosecuting authority is not open for judicial review, they said.

Now anybody in the government could be directly prosecuted if the petitioner approaches the authority that can appoint and remove a “public servant”.

The judgment allows the prosecution to be sent directly to a trial court that will further work on the trial on the basis of the application of the prosecution.

As soon as the prosecution is sanctioned, it carries the same status as a chargesheet filed by investigating agencies after a tedious process of gathering evidence through arrest and police coercion.

Sources said all prosecuting authorities do not have professional skills and infrastructure of the level of investigating agencies – police and CBI – to gather evidence.

Courts will now have a challenge to proceed on the basis of the quality of evidence collected by a private person who does not have coercive power of an investigating agency. Now, a lot of RTI information may lead to seek prosecution against a suspected public servant.

Conviction in large number of these cases will be difficult as very rarely can a private person’s quality of evidence be matched with that of investigating agencies to prove a corrupt act, sources said.

Another interesting development that may emerge after the judgment is that a large number of people will seek prosecution of chief ministers from the governors, especially in those states in which non-Congress parties are ruling.

Punjab and Himachal Pradesh may be immediately affected by the judgment.

This judgment has made the private complaint even more powerful than the lokpal or lokayukta as it can only recommend prosecution to the governor and the legislature but they might refuse the same to the lokayukta to further proceed.










Let the verdict speak


The Indian Express : Wed Feb 22 2012, 03:13 hrs

2G case is on, Justice Ganguly should avoid commenting on the ‘meaning’ of his judgment

The recently retired Justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly can look back on his innings with satisfaction — in his own words, he always played “with a straight bat”. He has always upheld the highest ideals of the judiciary — in his interview with this paper, he said he didn’t want any holidays when he died, a reference to the many delays and holidays that hold up the system and clog the courts. He capped his career with the 2G case, which he and Justice G.S. Singhvi had presided over from Court 11 since 2010. Right before he retired, he delivered some ringing judgments in the case — first, ordering that sanctions to prosecute public officials must be granted within four months, and second, cancelling the 122 licences awarded by then telecom minister, A Raja, in 2008.

In a recent interview, Ganguly clarified and nuanced certain aspects of the judgment. He explained that the court had not recommended auctions as the only way to allocate all natural resources and that the criticism of the first-come-first-serve method was confined to the context of the 2G case. He also explained why the judgment has drawn a distinction between the prime minister and his office, why the focus was on Raja’s dodgy decision-making, rather than the cabinet’s collective responsibility.

Ganguly was scrupulous about not going into the “nitty-gritties of the judgment”. He repeatedly underlined that his judgment would not have an impact on the ongoing criminal proceedings against Raja in the trial court. But given the saturation coverage of the 2G case, his most recent comments on the verdict have been splashed everywhere. So, with all due respect, even this trickle of commentary is perhaps avoidable, given that the 2G case is still under judicial consideration. There is a trial on in the lower court and some of the parties affected by the cancellation order have said they intend to file a review or seek the court’s clarification. While Justice Ganguly is free to reflect on his own decisions — and such reflection does richly add to public discourse — it would be advisable to refrain from any commentary while the legal process is on. For, the verdict and only the verdict should speak for itself.









I want younger lawyers to join the judiciary: CJI


PTI | Feb 21, 2012, 07.58PM IST

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia today expressed concern over many younger lawyers not preferring to join judiciary and asked them to enter the profession to serve the country.

“Today the problem is that many of the young people would like to go for non-litigation matters. They prefer to sit in cozy air conditioned chambers. I am not blaming them. They prefer to draft documents. Economic circumstances are such so I am not blaming anyone. But I want the younger people to join the profession. I want younger people to join the judiciary so that they can serve the country and the people,” Justice Kapadia said.

The CJI, who was speaking at the convocation function of the Indian Law Institute, also praised the younger generation for their objective view in dealing with their jobs.

“I am putting this in public domain today. Today in most complicated cases, very eminent senior lawyers are appearing in the Supreme Court but at the end of the day we find that it is the material by the young junior lawyers who are working very hard.

“I am proud of the younger generation because they think objectively and I am sure that all of you will take my advise and focus on clarity, confidence and commitment,” he said.





Vodafone case: PIL claims conflict of interest by CJI


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 12.53AM IST

NEW DELHI: A petition filed in the Supreme Court on Tuesday has sought a reconsideration of the apex court’s judgment quashing the Rs 11,000 crore tax demand on Vodafone, saying that Chief Justice of India S H Kapadia who gave the lead verdict should have recused from hearing the case.

The petitioner, advocate M L Sharma, said that while ruling in favour of the telecom major, the Justice Kapadia-led three-judge bench considered a due diligence report filed by Ernst and Young — the global consultancy firm with which the CJI’s son Hoshnar Kapadia has been working as senior manager since 2008.

In a prompt response to the “conflict of interest” charge, Supreme Court’s deputy registrar H K Juneja confirmed that Hoshnar was employed with Ernst and Young (India) but said he was not part of the tax department of the firm which was engaged by Vodafone.

Juneja, also principal private secretary to the CJI, further emphasized that the Vodafone transaction predated Hoshnar joining Ernst and Young, and that he was not working for the UK chapter of the consultancy that provided the advice to Vodafone. “The Vodafone transaction is dated February 11, 2007. At that time, his lordship’s son was not in Ernst and Young (India). Further, the due diligence report dated February 11, 2007 has been given by Ernst & Young (UK) and not by Ernst and Young (India),” Juneja said.

The CJI’s response to Sharma’s charge will be keenly awaited. In an earlier instance, while hearing a case relating to Vedanta, Justice Kapadia had voluntarily disclosed that he had shares in the aluminum major’s sister concern. He continued hearing the case only after no “conflict of interest” objection was raised.

In November 2009, Justice R V Raveendran had withdrawn from hearing a high stakes legal battle in the Supreme Court between the Ambani brothers over KG Basin gas because his daughter worked with a law firm that had advised one of the parties to the dispute.

Sharma said if it was true that the CJI’s son was working in E&Y at the time of hearing of the Vodafone case, then it resulted in “an unexpected scenario” warranting setting aside of the January 20 judgment. He requested the apex court to post the Vodafone case for fresh hearing before a constitution bench.

The Centre has already sought recall of the Vodafone judgment on the ground that it was “erroneous” as well as “contradictory”. If the 266-page concurrent judgments — one by Justices Kapadia and Swatanter Kumar and the other by Justice K S Radhakrishnan — had miffed the government, not only on account of losing out on Rs 11,000 crore in revenue but also on being misunderstood on factual aspect, then it found expression in the hard-hitting 100-page review petition filed jointly by the Centre and the I-T department.

The government listed 121 grounds, each pointing to an error in judgment, to seek review of the January 20 order and said it was surprised by the apex court’s decision to give relief to Vodafone on the ground that its offshore transaction was a structured foreign direct investment into the country when in reality not a single penny came as investment into India.






CIC files charges against Viquar & his associates


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.11AM IST

HYDERABAD: Over two and half years after the arrest of the founder of Tahreek Ghalba-e-Islam (TGI) Viquar Ahmed, the police framed charges against him on Tuesday in cases related to attacks on cops on two different occasions.

Viquar with the help of his associates had formed the militant organization TGI reportedly to avenge the killing of Muslims in police firing following the bomb blast in Mecca Masjid on May 18, 2007. The State Counter Intelligence Cell submitted the charges in the First Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge at Nampally in cases pertaining to the killing and attacking of cops. Viquar was brought to Nampally courts premises amidst tight security on Tuesday.

The CIC also filed charges besides Viquar, against Syed Sulaiman alias Amjad, Dr. Haneef, Zakir, Riyaz Khan, Sayeed, Izhar Khan and Vinod Kumar Sahu.











CAT adjourns hearing on Sharma’s petition against chargesheet till March 1


Express News Service : Ahmedabad, Wed Feb 22 2012, 04:04 hrs
The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) bench in Ahmedabad on Tuesday adjourned the hearing on a petition moved by Gujarat-cadre IPS officer Rahul Sharma against the departmental chargesheet issued against him by the state government till March 1.

The tribunal adjourned the hearing after the state government made a statement that Sharma may file his reply by March 1 to the departmental chargesheet.

The departmental chargesheet has been issued to Sharma by the state Government for not submitting the original CDs containing mobile call data during 2002 riots to the concerned authorities.

Sharma has challenged the proceedings while inter alia claiming immunity under the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

He has stated that since he deposed before the Nanavati Commission related to the CDs, he cannot be made subject to any criminal or civil proceedings in that regard under the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

However, the state government has opposed this saying its action to initiate departmental proceedings against him are independent and have nothing to do with his deposition before the Nanavati Commission.

On Tuesday, Sharma’s lawyer Mukul Sinha completed arguments. The state government sought time to give a reply to Sharma’s rejoinder.

Sinha said that the state government has been granted time by the tribunal while considering the state government’s statement that Sharma would get time till next date of the hearing which is on March 1 to file his reply to the departmental chargesheet.

The tribunal is presently hearing the petition on the limited aspect of whether Sharma has got immunity against any government action in connection with his deposition before the Nanavati Commission.








Hasan Ali’s anticipatory bail rejected


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.36AM IST

HYDERABAD: A local court on Tuesday rejected the anticipatory bail petition moved by Pune stud farm owner Hasan Ali in the Passport Act case booked by the Central Crime Station (CCS) of the Hyderabad police.

On Tuesday, the VIII Additional Metropolitan Sessions Judge of Nampally Criminal Courts Complex rejected the anticipatory bail plea of Hasan Ali in the case.

Based on information provided by the Enforcement Directorate, the CCS police had booked cases against Hasan Ali under sections 177 (Furnishing false information), 420 (Cheating) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and section 12 (1) (B) of the Passport Act.

The allegation against Hasan Ali was that when his passport was impounded, he applied for a new one on September 30, 2000 by giving his Banjara Hills address and naming his divorced wife Mehbubunnisa Begum as his spouse and secured a second passport (No. Z1069986).

Hassan Ali is currently lodged at the Arthur Road jail, Mumbai.










J Dey murder: Journalist Jigna Vora charge-sheeted


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 13:12 IST | Updated: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 13:35 IST
Place: Mumbai | Agency: PTI

The Mumbai Crime Branch on Tuesday charge-sheeted journalist Jigna Vora under stringent provisions of Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and various other penal offences for her alleged role in the sensational murder of senior crime reporter Jyotirmoy Dey.

Vora has been charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code including murder, criminal conspiracy and destruction of evidence, besides stringent provisions of MCOCA and the Arms Act.

The special MCOCA court took cognisance of the charge sheet and extended the custody of all accused till March 12. Jigna has been shown as the 11th accused in the case.

The Crime Branch, which is investigating the murder of MiD-Day journalist J Dey, had on December 3 filed its first charge sheet in the case against against 12 accused including fugitive underworld don Chhota Rajan which did not name Vora, who was arrested on November 25.

Vora, deputy chief of bureau of Asian Age was arrested under the MCOCA on charges of supplying licence plate number of the motorcycle and address of the slain journalist to Rajan.

Dey was claimed to have been shot dead on the orders of Rajan, who allegedly gave Rs5 lakh to the accused for the contract killing that took place in suburban Powai on June 11.

The chargesheet had described the role of each accused but did not mention that of Vora who has now been named in the supplementary charge sheet.

The police had seized her mobile phones and computer records.

According to police sources, Vora’s name had figured in the telephonic conversations between the accused and Rajan.

The accused against whom charge sheet had been filed were Rohee Thangappan Joseph alias Satish Kalya, Abhijeet Shinde, Arun Dake, Sachin Gaikwad, Anil Waghmode, Nilesh Shendge, Mangesh Agawane, Vinod Asrani, Paulson Joseph and Deepak Sisodia. All of them are in custody under MCOCA charges.

Chhota Rajan and his aide Nayan Singh Bisht were shown as absconding.

According to police, two articles written by Dey against Rajan on May 31 and June 2 could have cost the journalist his life.

Though the first charge sheet filed in the case had not named Vora, police suspected that her professional rivalry with Dey could have led her to get involved in the sensational killing. Crime branch sources said Vora had spoken to Rajan over phone quite a few times before the crime.

The charge sheet had named 176 witnesses and had on record the statements made by them.

Three of the arrested accused — Paulson Joseph, Deepak Sisodia and Arun Dake — had also given their confession in keeping with provisions of MCOCA.

The charge sheet said Satish Kalya, Anil Waghmode, Arun Dake, Abijeet Shinde, Nilesh Shendge, Sachin Gaikwad and Mangesh Agawane were at the scene of the crime.

According to the charge sheet, Kalya had fatally shot Dey, while Vinod Asrani had shown the target to Anil and Dake. Absconding accused Nayan Singh and Sisodia had supplied weapons to the accused, while Paulson had given Rs5 lakh contract money to the killers.

The 3055-page charge sheet ran into three volumes.










Anti-north Indian tirade: HC quashes FIR against Raj Thackeray


Agencies : Mumbai, Tue Feb 21 2012, 19:44 hrs

In a major relief for Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray, Bombay High Court today quashed a 2008 case registered against him for delivering a speech against north-Indians which allegedly led to violence in the city.

Raj had been accused of “promoting enmity between two groups”, under sections 117, 151 and 153 (a) of the Indian Penal Code. He had been arrested by suburban Vikhroli police and released on bail the same day.

Raj had approached the High Court, seeking that the case be quashed, as the police had not taken the mandatory sanction from the state government before initiating action.

Accepting the arguments of Thackeray’s lawyers Rajendra Shirodkar and Shayaji Nangare, the division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode today set aside the FIR.








Italy works back channels, sea law to get marines off Indian hook


Sandeep Dikshit

Two sides keen to ensure incident does not affect ties

The New Delhi-Rome standoff over the killing of two Indian fishermen off the Kerala coast is not over yet with the detention of two marksmen, although the two sides are trying to isolate the incident from their “multi-faceted” bilateral ties.

Besides engaging diplomatically, Italy is working the Catholic channels via the Vatican to allow the two marines to leave for Rome after paying some compensation to the families of the killed fishermen. “But India is firm. Their case will be investigated here. And then, unless the courts decide otherwise, they should be tried here,” said highly placed sources, while disputing all the three legal approaches Italy is taking to secure the release of its two citizens.

The Italian Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister will meet his counterpart Perneet Kaur on Wednesday and the Foreign Minister arrives next week on a prescheduled visit to convince New Delhi that any of their nationals involved in criminal activity anywhere are subject to Italian law.

“This is their main approach,” said the sources while pointing out that Section 4 of the Indian Penal Code says that any crime committed against an Indian or on an Indian vessel “wherever it may be” can be tried in India.

“So there is extra-territorial application of both Indian and Italian laws. As representatives of India, we will go by the legal process here. There are differences with Italy on facts, procedure and processes but we are willing to engage with them. If they so desire, we will provide consular access to the two detained by the Kerala Police,” said official sources.

The second approach Italy is taking is to argue that the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) permits prosecution only by the state whose flag the ship is flying or the state of which the citizen is a national (in both cases Italy). The third is that their ships have the right to take on pirates.

“We think Italy is overdoing this. According to us, Article 97 of UNCLOS to which they are referring deals only with collision of vessels and other such incidents. Italy also feels it has the right to take action against pirates. In this too they are in the wrong. This right is given only to naval vessels and not merchant ships,” said highly placed sources, basing their explanation on the advice given by the MEA’s legal cell.

Officials here also confessed that both sides are facing an issue like this for the first time.

Asked if there were precedents of this nature, official sources pointed out that an Indian fishing vessel was attacked by nationals of another country in 2008 and “we know what happened after that in Mumbai.”

They also felt whether the ship was in India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) or not shouldn’t be an issue. “Italy and India have the same clauses pertaining to extra-territorial jurisdiction. The ship was over 5,000 km away from the Italian coast. Don’t make an issue of the EEZ aspect.”

“Our goal is to isolate this incident. That’s why we explained the legal framework on Sunday to the Italian delegation. Besides law and order is a state subject,” added the sources.










NMA clears way for HC complex expansion


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Wed Feb 22 2012, 05:53 hrs


Rapped by the Delhi High Court for “stalling and delaying” the development and expansion of the court complex, the National Monument Authority (NMA) on Tuesday submitted in the court the approval of the heritage bylaws pertaining to Sher Shah Suri Gate and Khair-ul-Manazil. The HC complex falls within the regulated area (101-300 metres from a protected monument) of the heritage structures.

The bylaws will be a first for any monument in India. The bench, headed by Justice Pradeep Nandarajog, had earlier this month ordered all NMA members to be personally present in court with an explanation, if they failed to notify the bylaws by Tuesday.

The bylaws have proposed a maximum height of 21 metres for new constructions so that they do not affect the view of the monuments or the angle of vision.

While the bylaws will not apply to the court’s main building or its two existing blocks — which are more than 30 metres in height, the upcoming Block C would have to abide by the fresh rule and will be restricted to four-stores.

Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok, who appeared for the High Court Bar Association, contended that the court had recorded that the recently acquired 2.74 acre of land abutting the court complex and the area where Block C is being constructed did not fall within the regulated area of the monuments and, hence, did not require any cap on its height. The court had put this on record after the official concerned from the ASI had agreed to the position.

Block C has been planned as a multi-storey building with 44 court rooms, including eight rooms for the joint registrars. The court complex currently has 36 court rooms, out of which two are makeshift rooms.

During the hearing, the ASG told the bench that with the bylaws in place and in the wake of a recent Supreme Court verdict prohibiting construction of multi-storey buildings within 100 metres of protected monuments, they had no objection in going ahead with the construction of the building. He said the Bar would still try to have 44 court rooms in the proposed four-storey structure.

Chandhiok, however, objected to a regulation in the bylaws that stipulated maximum permissible coverage on ground as 25 per cent of the area of the site and maximum permissible Floor Area Ratio (FAR) as 125 per cent of the site area. He referred to the Delhi Master Plan 2021, which allowed 30 per cent of the site area to be earmarked as integrated office complex and FAR as 200 per cent.

Justice Nandarajog then directed the NMA to consider the anomalous position and resolve it.

In November 2011, the bench had directed the Central government to notify the NMA within 30 days under the Ancient Monument and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 2010. The order was passed since only the NMA could sanction plans pertaining to regulated areas. A delay in notification held up the infrastructure and expansion plan of the court.

Subsequently, a competent authority under the Act apprised the bench in January that the draft heritage bylaws pertaining to Sher Shah Suri Gate had been submitted to the NMA and it now required their sanction.

The bench then posted the matter to February first week, asking the NMA to take a decision on the proposla by then. However, the court was informed that bylaws were yet to be finalised, compelling the court to pass the order: “If within two weeks, the heritage bylaws pertaining to Sher Shah Suri Gate are not notified, all members of the NMA shall be personally present in the Court at 10.30 am on February 21.”

Also, it was a nudge by the bench that more than nine Central and state government authorities had “put their heads together” that led to a clearance for the construction of an underground multi-level automated parking lot near the High Court. The fully automated six-level underground parking with a capacity to accommodate 1,500 cars on Sher Shah Suri Marg had been mired in controversy since its began in 2008 with conservationists expressing fears that it threatened a tomb in the vicinity. Thanks to the bench, the parking facility is currently having its trial run and is expected to be operational soon.











Bombay HC: Pvt persons cant impose fine on citizens


Published: Wednesday, Feb 22, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai

The Bombay high court on Tuesday once again questioned the authority of Clean-Up marshals to impose fines on citizens found littering and engaging in non-civic behaviour. “If allowed to punish citizens, then private persons might even be allowed to jail people in future,” a division bench of justices SA Bobade and RD Dhanuka observed.

“Show us the clause that allows you to allow private persons to collect fines,” the bench said, while refusing to lift its earlier oral curb on Clean-Up marshals from collecting fines. The court made the observations during its hearing of a plea by ESS Infra Projects, a body of ready-mix cement truck owners that has challenged the marshals’ right to fine truck owners “for dirtying the roads with mud”.

As per its plea, Clean-Up marshals have been levying a fine of Rs10,000 on the ready-mix cement trucks found to have mud around their wheels. Failure to pay ends up in the vehicles being detained for hours, leading to a loss worth Rs30,000, as once mixed the cement must reach its destination within three hours or else it dries up. The next hearing of the plea will come up after vacation.













HC quashes extension to retired official, fines Punjab govt


Ajay Sura, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 03.24AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Weird grounds preferred by Punjab government in retaining a 78-year-old retired Lt Colonel as district Sainik welfare officer (DSWO), Jalandhar, failed to impress the Punjab and Haryana high court, which on Tuesday not only quashed the appointment, but also imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 50,000 on the state.

Lt Col Manmohan Singh was retained in service by the state in complete contravention of service rules on grounds that he is “drawing a salary of Rs 1 per month only”, his “name was recommended for Padma Bhushan award” and he has done an “excellent job”. This was the plea of the state government as well as Lt Col Singh before the court.

Quashing the appointment, a division bench headed by Justice M M Kumar also directed the chief secretary, Punjab to conduct an inquiry into the circumstances under which the retired army officer was given extensions, flouting all rules and also to fix responsibility for making illegal appointment of Singh. The court has also held that government would be at liberty to recover the cost of Rs 50,000 from the officer found guilty in the inquiry.

The matter was raised through a PIL filed by H S Rathi, who contended that the appointment was violative of Punjab Defence Services Welfare Officers (Group A) Rules, 1986, which provided the upper age limit as 55 years for the said post. The petitioner alleged that the Lt Colonel was given appointment as DSWO for the last 24 years, purely on pick-and-choose basis, without issuing any advertisement or inviting applications from eligible persons, and without making regular appointment to the said post through Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).










Illegal construction: HC rejects plea of 44 traders


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 04.14AM IST

NEW DELHI: Saying the menace of unauthorized construction is “eating into our city”, the Delhi high court on Tuesday said that such constructions shouldn’t be tolerated. A bench comprising Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw made the observation while dismissing a batch of petitions filed by 44 shopownersof Diamond Mall, Karol Bagh.

The owners had approached HC, challenging the decision of the MCD to seal their shops. They had argued that they were subsequent purchasers of their respective shops, not the owners of the plot or developers of the construction on the plot. According to the MPD 2021 and the zonal development plan, the MCD is required to frame redevelopment plans and schemes for these areas, they further argued. The shop owners accused the MCD of adopting double standards.

According to the MCD, the building plans for the construction over three plots was sanctioned in 2004 and the property was permitted for commercial purposes. MCD alleged, unauthorized constructions in the shape of deviations excess coverage of basement and other floors with projections on municipal land led to demolition action by the civic agency. Sealing action was also taken and some of the floors were sealed in the last few years. “The petitioners even as subsequent purchasers owed a duty to satisfy themselves of the illegality of the title which they were seeking to require…the present is a clear case where the entire construction of Diamond Mall by illegally amalgamating three distinct plots is unauthorized,” the bench observed, dismissing the plea.










HC rap for Clean-Up marshals


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 02.49AM IST

MUMBAI: “You’ll put people in jail also,” the Bombay High Court said on Tuesday in response to a complaint by Clean-Up marshals that they were being restrained from collecting fines from offenders.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka was hearing a petition filed by an association of ready-mix concrete truck owners, alleging that Clean-Up marshals appointed by Sulabh Security were detaining its vehicles and releasing them on the payment of a Rs 10,000 fine for littering roads with mud.

On February 7, the judges had questioned under what powers had the BMC allowed a private party to collect fines; it had orally directed that no fines should be collected till the next hearing.

Advocate Sunil Dighe, appearing for two intervener security agencies, said the BMC had directed them to stop collecting fines following the court order. “The burden is on the private agencies. We cannot collect fines from the defaulters,” he added.

BMC’s advocates Ashutosh Kumbhakoni and Jernold Xavier said the agencies might be permitted to collect fines and the amount should be deposited in court. “If fines are not collected, it will lead to littering,” argued Kumbhakoni.

The judges reiterated it was for the BMC to collect fines and not private parties. “We are equally concerned about cleanliness. That does not mean you (BMC) authorize private persons to collect fines,” said Justice Bobde. “You’ll (marshals) put people in jail also. Once you have the power to punish people, there is no end to punishment.” The matter was adjourned by a week.










HC dismisses plea by jewellers seeking relief from sealing


Express news service : New Delhi, Wed Feb 22 2012, 05:55 hrs


Favouring a stern approach against the menace of unauthorised construction in the city, the Delhi High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition by jewellers whose shops in Karol Bagh-based Diamond Mall was sealed for being in breach of municipal bylaws.

Also handing out a word of caution for all those who purchase such properties, the court held that illegality in the form of unauthorised construction could not be condoned and it was the purchasers’ duty to enquire well about a property before buying it.

“The menace of unauthorised construction is eating into our city and cannot be tolerated. Merely because the petitioners claim to be innocent subsequent purchasers cannot be a ground for this court to allow them to retain the illegality,” said a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw.

A petition by owners of 44 jewellery shops in Diamond Mall at Karol Bagh had moved the court against a sealing order passed by the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) in August last year. The jewellers submitted that they were just subsequent purchasers of shops and not the owners of the plot or developers of the construction on the said plot. The petition further disputed the fact that their shops was situated on residential plot and also sought a court directive to the MCD to first framing redevelopment plan for the area and defer action till then.

The MCD’s affidavit in the court, however, disclosed that the mall was built up after merging three different plots, out of which only one was permitted to be used for commercial purposes and the remaining two were for residential purposes. It further said the redevelopment plan for the said area was still under preparation and, hence, commercial activities could be allowed only on the plots designated under the Delhi Master Plan 2021.

The MCD also referred to a Supreme Court’s order holding that no court other than the Supreme Court will have any jurisdiction to order a de-sealing of premises sealed under its orders.

Finding substance in the MCD’s submissions, the court noted that though petitioners claimed to be subsequent purchasers of the shops, the fact remains that their claim was steeped in illegality. It dismissed the petition saying the construction of Diamond Mall was done illegally by amalgamating three distinct plots.










HC asks govt why illegal banners aren’t removed


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 06.31AM IST

CHENNAI: With chief minister J Jayalalithaa’s birthday just two days away and the city witnessing a spurt in digital banners and hoardings on main roads, the Madras high court has asked the authorities to spell out action taken against those who put up unauthorized banners.

The first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam gave the directions on Tuesday, on a public interest writ petition of social activist K R ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy.

Pointing out that the bench had adjourned the matter on January 3 with a direction to the government pleader that a counter-affidavit be filed in four weeks, the judges expressed dissatisfaction when informed on Tuesday that the counter-affidavit was yet to be filed. Describing it as ‘unfortunate’, they said: “The counter-affidavit must be filed stating specifically as to what steps the authorities had taken for redressal of the grievances of the petitioner (Ramaswamy).” They, however, acceded to the request of advocate-general A Navaneethakrishnan who wanted more time to file a counter-affidavit. The matter has now been posted to February 27 for further hearing. In this regard, they pointed out that when the matter came up for hearing on January 3, the bench had given four weeks for the authorities to file an affidavit narrating the action taken to regulate the erection of banners and pandals in public places.

In his PIL, Ramaswamy had stated that authorities were indifferent to largescale violation of court orders and the relevant law by party men who put up huge digital hoardings and also damage roads. He said most of the police stations were not ready even to acknowledge complaints about such violation.











Pay 5L to ragging victim: HC to TTD


TNN | Feb 22, 2012, 01.56AM IST

HYDERABAD: The TTD found itself in an embarrassing situation when the AP high court on Tuesday directed the authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to a student of TTD’s Veda Pathasala at Tirumala in connection with the ragging and physical abuse by senior students.

The victim, a junior student, was sexually assaulted by his seniors in the school. The court ordered the authorities to pay the compensation to the boy’s family for the trauma they had undergone all these months. The court’s order comes close on the heels of its earlier directive in which it had ordered the authorities to pay Rs 5 lakh compensation to another boy who was also abused physically by seniors.

After the issue rocked the state, the court took the matter suo motu and appointed amicus curiae Naveen Rao to probe the activities in the Veda Pathasala. It also directed the authorities to provide medical assistance to another boy of the school, who was allegedly abused by his seniors.

In another case, the High Court imposed Rs 5,000 fine on the state government for not filing its counter to a petition that charged the state with inaction in controlling the mushrooming of statues in public places in an unlawful manner.

A bench comprising chief justice Madan B Lokur and Justice P V Sanjay Kumar while dealing with a petition filed by TDP leader Ch Ayyanna Patrudu ordered the state government to submit a report within two weeks on the erection of statues of late political leaders without permission in busy public places in Visakhapatnam.


LEGAL NEWS 22.02.2012

Finance, law ministries differ on top tax tribunal


Nagendar Sharma, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

In a setback to the government’s efforts to stem the rot in the allegedly scam-tainted country’s top income tax tribunal, the finance and law ministries differ on who should be appointed to head the troubled institution.
The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), which deals with appeals against the orders of income tax commissioners, has been in news for wrong reasons. Faced with complaints of judgments being allegedly outsourced for writing by some ITAT members, the government wants a course correction, but the two key ministries are unable to reach a common ground.

Former law minister M Veerappa Moily, had in last May asked finance minister Pranab Mukherjee to amend the Income Tax Act so that serving or retired high court judges could also be appointed to head the tribunal. In his reply, Mukherjee assured Moily that the issue has been addressed in the Direct Taxes Code Bill, introduced in Parliament in August 2010.

“The Direct Tax Code proposes to replace the Income Tax Act of 1961 and the issue has been adequately addressed,” Mukherjee wrote.

The finance ministry informed the law ministry that the Direct Taxes Code Bill states, “The central government may appoint a person, who is, or has been a chief justice of a high court to be the president of the ITAT.” The law ministry did not agree with the proposal to restrict the eligibility of the post only for judges.

“While making the request to widen the zone of consideration of persons eligible for appointment to the post by including serving or retired judges was not to exclude others,” the legal affairs department informed the appointments committee of the cabinet last month.

Khurshid, in a letter to Mukherjee on January 10, asked for reconsideration of the matter. “The relevant clause of the bill should be substitiuted to state that a person who is or has been a high court judge or a judicial member of the tribunal shall be eligible to head it,” he wrote.

The government is under pressure to improve the tirbunal’s image following a letter  from the chief justice of India.








Did SIT ignore Haren Pandya testimony?


Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 20, 2012

Former Gujarat minister of state for home Haren Pandya was one of the important witnesses who had accused the Modi administration of allowing the 2002 anti-minority riots in which 1,200 people were killed. He had even testified before the Concerned Citizens Tribunal (CCT) on 2002 Gujarat riots.


Pandya, then juniour revenue minister, had told the tribunal that chief minister Narendra Modi had convened a meeting on the evening of February 27, 2002 after the train burning incident at Godhara and reportedly told the police to go slow on Hindus who were angry as 59 kar sevaks had been killed in Godhra.

“The tribunal received direct information through a testimony from a highly placed source of a meeting (on February 27, 2002) where the CM, two or three senior cabinet colleagues, the Ahmedabad police commissioner and an IG police were present. The meeting had a singular purpose: the senior-most police officials were told that they should expect a “Hindu reaction” after Godhra. They were also told they should not do anything to contain this reaction,” the tribunal noted in the report referring to Pandya’s testimony.

Now, former Bombay high court judge Hosbet Suresh, who was a member, along with former Supreme Court judge PB Sawant, of the body headed by justice Krishna Iyer, has revealed that even audio recording of Pandya’s testimony exists. Justice Suresh had told the SIT about Pandya’s testimony, which can be treated as evidence against Modi.

However, SIT officials claim Pandya’s testimony did not qualify as admissible evidence to seek somebody’s prosecution. “One cannot take the testimony on face value because Pandya himself was not present in meeting and secondly, he did not disclose his source who told him what transpired in the meeting,” said a senior SIT official. “What Pandya stated before the tribunal are mere allegations without any corroborative material,” the official added.

Justices Sawant and Suresh had visited Gujarat shortly after the anti-Muslim riots broke out in 2002 and recorded their statements before the SIT in 2009. Their evidence was based on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was later murdered on March 26, 2003.





WB rape: Govt’s response premature, says NCW


Last Updated: Tuesday, February 21, 2012, 00:24

New Delhi: Terming as “premature” the West Bengal government’s response to the Park Street car rape case, the National Commission for Women on Monday said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s statement that the incident was fabricated could influence the investigation process.

“NCW is concerned of the reported statements of the West Bengal government saying the claim of the woman was fabricated. The reaction should have been given after a thorough investigation of the matter and such premature reaction can influence investigation,” NCW Chairperson Mamta Sharma said in a statement here.

Banerjee had said the rape of the Anglo-Indian woman was a “fabricated story” intended to malign her government and blamed some TV channels for projecting it.

The NCW also slammed Kolkata Police for purportedly not cooperating with the victim and pulled them up for the delay caused in her medical examination.

The Commission has also sought response from the state government on the progress made in the investigation and the relief provided to the victim.

On February 5, five man picked up the woman, in her mid-30’s and a mother of two children, in a car from outside a night club on Park Street in central Kolkata and raped her at gunpoint.

She alleged that the police ignored her complaints when she mustered courage to report the incident four days later at Park Street police station.







Supreme Court ruling on 2G will affect other sectors: Kapil Sibal


NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Sibal said.

The apex court, cancelling licences allocated by the then Telecom Minister A Raja, had stated that auction was the best way for allocation of scarce natural resources. The court had also defined natural resources as both renewable and non-renewable.

Sibal added that the government is studying the implications of the judgement and would take a view on the way how it should proceed.

“We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.

Sibal cited example of the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act that governs mineral resources in the country and auction of these resources can pose challenges.

“Suppose we want to mine a particular mineral and we find that for the prospecting of that mineral because you don’t know what are the quantities of that mineral embedded in earth and you don’t know where it is embedded so naturally you will request entrepreneurs to come and prospect,” Sibal said.

After entrepreneurs spend $ 600 million on prospecting, and find the mineral, should it be the policy to auction it. These are the questions which need to be looked into, he said.

Telecom Minister said that the Supreme Court judgement would have impact on the future of investments in the country.

“We have to study all those things and then come to a considered view as to what extent it will impact and how we have to deal with it. So, we have not taken a position on it but these are all issues that need to be addressed,” Sibal said.








SpeakAsia panellists accuse EOW of harassment, move court


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 8:00 IST
By Shahkar Abidi | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

A group of over 15 lakh panellists of Singapore-headquartered SpeakAsia Online company has moved the Bombay High Court, claiming that officials of the Economic Offence Wing (EOW) of the city police are harassing them with repeated attempts to extort money.

The panellists have in their writ filed in court claimed being threatened of being booked in a criminal case if they didn’t cough up the money demanded by the police. While over 150 panellists have so far been called in for questioning by the city police, a senior EOW official denied the charge saying it was aimed at derailing the ongoing probe, sources said.

Represented by Melwyn Crasto and Ashok Bahirwani, president and secretary respectively of the All-India SpeakAsia Panellists Association (AISPA), the association with a 15-lakh members, including over 3.5 lakh in Mumbai alone, has charged the police of using the company’s seized records to target members of the general public, who constitute the panellists.

One of the paragraphs in the criminal writ plea points to the unabashed means of police officers, who openly demand a certain amount from the panellists or ask them to face arrest. “It is public knowledge that Rs5,000 is the going rate for avoiding police harassment. If these corrupt officers are able in collect the sum from every panellist, they would end up with a total of Rs1500 crore,” it adds. Demanding an inquiry by the CBI into the case, the petitioners’ counsel Ahmed Abdi claimed that so far no probe by any investigating agencies in the country has found anything wrong with the company.










Father seeks CBI probe in son’s murder


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.15AM IST

MADURAI: Alleging that his son was brutally murdered by his wife under the pretext of self defence, the father of Veeranan alias Jothibasu has filed a writ petition seeking a CBI probe into the incident. Usharani, the woman, had assaulted her husband with a cricket bat when he allegedly attempted to molest their daughter.

Later, she was let off by the investigation officer citing that she had acted in self defence. In his petition, Veeranan’s father S Samayamuthu said since self defence was the only possible way to escape criminal action, the woman cleverly fabricated a false statement saying the deceased tried to rape his own daughter.

According to the petitioner, on February 9, his son Jothibasu was murdered by his daughter-in-law Usharani, who was assisted by her father, brother, her employer and two others. Even after receiving the complaint from him, the inspector of police, Oomatchikulam, did not conduct a proper enquiry by taking into account the previous animosity between the couple. He said the inspector had only accepted his daughter-in-law’s version. The father alleged that the injuries which were identified on his son’s body, clearly revealed multiple injuries and seemed to be caused by several persons. Samayamuthu also pointed out that his daughter-in-law, on earlier occasions, with the intention to murder his son, had attacked him and later he was admitted in hospital. The matter is likely to come up for hearing on Tuesday.










The Tamil Nadu government had filed a writ appeal in the


PTI | 12:02 AM,Feb 21,2012

Madurai Bench of Madras High Court seeking to stay the order of the single judge. R Anbalagan, Superintendent of Prisons, Madurai, submitted that in the earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on leave for a total of 14 days on three different occasion along with heavy police escort party headed by the Deputy Superintendent of Police, Surveillance. But now, the High Court had directed to grant at least two weeks ordinary leave, which was a “very long duration,” he said. The state government said that the prisoner was involved in the assassination of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi and his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or prejudicial to public peace and tranquility and the security of the prisoner also would not be safe. The government pointed out the prisoner had also not paid escort charges to the tune of about Rs 1.3 lakh that had been spent when he had gone on leave. In the event of his release further, he had to pay a large amount as escort charges, it said. The deployment of a large number of policemen in Virudhunagar district as escort for the prisoner, would also affect the normalcy in the area, it added. PTI SSN ARP

High Court dismisses six writ petitions


The petitions challenged land acquisition for National Highway

The Karnataka High Court has dismissed six more writ petitions challenging the Government for acquiring land for widening the National Highway 66 (former NH 17) to 60 m (right of way) in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts.

Sources in the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) told The Hindu that the petitions were dismissed on January 13, 16, and 23, 2012. Earlier last year, the court had dismissed/ disposed of seven writ petitions which had challenged the Government’s land acquisition for the widening project.

With this, of the 20 writ petitions before the High Court challenging the land acquisition to 60 m (right of way), the court had dismissed/ disposed of 13 petitions till February 16. Many petitioners wanted the highway to be widened to 45 m and acquire land only to that extent, the sources said.

The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) had taken up the widening of the highway stretch between Kundapur and Surathkal, and Nanthoor Junction and Talapady under phase III of the National Highways Development Project (NHDP) under build, operate, and transfer (BOT) basis.

The single judge of the court who dismissed the writ petitions last month observed that he was dismissing them on the same grounds of the court’s judgment of October 17, 2011 while dismissing the writ petition nos. 27610-27627/2010 and 28088-28097/2010 which had challenged the land acquisition for the same project.

In the October 17, 2011 judgment the court observed: “…The NHAI cannot be charged with excessive acquisition with any rate of success. Some chunks of the land figuring in the preliminary notification do not figure in the final notification implying that they are dropped from the acquisition proceedings. It shows that the NHAI has not indulged in reckless, indiscriminate or excessive acquisition…”

The court said the manual prepared by the Indian Road Congress contained only the guidelines or norms. “It can always be modified to suit the requirements of a given situation…”

“…Further the court takes the judicial notice of the rolling out of lakhs of new vehicles on the roads everyday in the country. If the future requirements are anticipated by the decision-maker, he cannot be blamed for the same. Any road widening project has to be in the perspective of the long term requirement…”

In the judgment, a copy of which is with The Hindu, the court took note of the fact that the petitioners’ lands constituted only five per cent of the totally acquired land for the project.

Of the six writ petitions dismissed last month included the one filed by T. Sukumar, former Secretary, State Public Works Department, Ajjarakadu, Udupi; and others (W.P. No. 4988-5070/2011 (LA-RES)). It was dismissed on January 13, 2012. Two writ petitions were dismissed on January 16, 2012. They were W.P. No. 13929-14007/2011 (LA-RES) Ashok Raj and others, and W.P. No. 14888-14956/2011 (LA-RES) Lakshmindra Bhat and others.

The remaining three writ petitions were dismissed on January 23, 2012. They included W.P. No. 25910/2011 by Anasuya, W.P. No. 25911/2011 by N. Jayaram Shetty, and W.P. No. 18198/2011 by Nagaraja Shetty.








Apex court to hear appeal in case against Jayalalithaa


The Supreme Court will hear on Tuesday a special leave petition filed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) challenging a Madras High Court judgment setting aside the ‘three lakh US dollars case’ against Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on the ground of inordinate and unexplained delay in the investigation and trial stage.

A Bench headed by Justice Altamas Kabir will hear the appeal against the impugned judgment dated September 30, 2011 pronounced on the petition filed by Ms. Jayalalithaa praying for quashing the FIR.

The CBI’s allegation against Ms. Jayalalithaa was that while functioning as Chief Minister, she accepted 89 demand drafts worth Rs.2,00,00,012 drawn in her favour from various banks in Tamil Nadu in the names of 57 persons on the occasion of her birthday in 1992 and received Rs.15 lakh in cash, totalling Rs. 2,15,00,012 and disclosed the same in her Income Tax returns as gifts.

She also received remittance of $3 lakh by way of demand draft dated December 23, 1991 issued by Bankers Trust Company, New York, drawn on ANZ Grindlays Bank, St. Halia, Jersey.

Investigation revealed that there was no evidence in respect of the first offence and investigation was continued regarding the receipt of $3 lakh.

Acting on a petition from Ms. Jayalalithaa that there was inordinate delay in the investigation and trial, the High Court quashed the proceedings. The appeal is directed against this judgment.

The CBI in its appeal contended that though the alleged offence took place in 1992, it came to the notice of the Income Tax Department only in 1996 and was communicated to the Tamil Nadu Chief Secretary for taking action. There was no delay.

The High Court ought to have seen that as per the allegation in the FIR, detailed investigation was to be conducted in various countries, which took considerable time. In the light of the material available, without testing them at the trial, proceedings could not be quashed merely on the ground of delay, the CBI said and prayed for quashing the impugned judgment and interim stay of its operation.










85-year-old man let off in secrets case after 30 yrs


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has let off an 85-year-old man, who was chargesheeted by CBI three decades ago under Official Secrets Act for procuring a classified document about a government contract for setting up an ammonia plant, after he pleaded guilty.

Jawand Singh Khurana, who worked as a liaison assistant with a private firm, pleaded guilty years after he was chargesheeted by CBI under the OSA for procuring the document related to the contract.

Four of the seven accused are already dead during the pendency of the trial.

Facing trial since 1983, Khurana, earlier, had settled for plea bargaining with the CBI to win his freedom. “Considering the mutually satisfactory disposition arrived at between the CBI and accused Jawand Singh and in view of the submissions made on the point of sentence, Jawand Singh is hereby fined Rs 5,000 for various offences under Official Secrets Act and IPC,” said additional sessions judge Kaveri Baweja, while letting off Khurana.

While working as a liaison assistant with a private firm in 1979-80, Khurana and six others, including the personal assistant of a director in the department of chemical and fertilizers, then under Union ministry of petroleum, were involved in leakage of a government tender document for setting up of an ammonia plant in India.

The CBI case dates back to 1979 when the Centre had given the contract of setting up of ammonia plants at Thal-Vaishet in Maharashtra and Hazira in Gujarat to US-based M/s C F Braun and Company.

The CBI had registered the case in March 1981 and its probe found K L Arora, the personal assistant of a director in chemicals and fertilizers department, responsible for leaking out secret information for monetary considerations.

Khurana won his freedom after he moved an application for plea bargaining saying he was willing to confess his guilt in exchange for lesser punishment.










Court asks commissioner to explain ‘shoddy theft probe’


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 02.27AM IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court has sought an explanation from the Delhi Police commissioner on why no action was taken against two cops for an alleged shoddy probe in a theft case even as a vigilance enquiry found them to be “unprofessional”.

“Report be called from the commissioner of Police in respect of the fact as to on what ground no action was taken against SI Dharmendra and IO inspector Khanduri though the preliminary vigilance inquiry has found both of them to be unprofessional,” Metropolitan Magistrate Ekta Gauba said.

The report was called for on a plea by RTI activist Vivek Garg complaining police inaction in a case of theft lodged by him in June 2010 with the Daryaganj police station. Garg had reported a case of theft of crucial information, cash and books by three of his employees at his publishing house.










Adnan, Sabah still married’


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.27AM IST

MUMBAI: The Adnan Sami-Sabah Galadari divorce dispute drama is like them playing a game-now we are married, now we are not. A family court judge at Bandra said on Monday that they still are, as it held that a divorce certificate issued by Darul-Qaza, an Islamic body, invalid as it is contrary to the provisions of a codified 1939 law that governs dissolution of Muslim marriages.

With this, the judge dealt Sami a blow and rejected his objections to the maintainability of a divorce petition filed in 2009 by Sabah and pending before the family court. The court’s order is likely to have “widespread ramifications on the resolution of disputes by a Kazi and parallel institutions under provisions of the Muslim law,” said Sami’s lawyer, Vibhav Krishna.

Syed Noorie of Raza Academy questioned the family court order that renders illegal the certificates issued by Darul Qaza and similar institutions.

Sami would have benefitted and the latter would have suffered if the divorce petition in the family court were to be held infructuous as argued by him. That’s because a wife can file a domestic violence (DV) complaint in the family court where a divorce petition is filed. Sabah had filed a DV plea to protect her residence rights in their Andheri flats and got an order in her favour, which is being battled in appeal before the HC, as Sami lives there with his latest wife.

This is the second time that the Pakistani singer’s attempt to question Sabah’s divorce plea has come to a naught. After their divorce in 2004, they remarried in April 2007. When Sabah filed for divorce in 2009 and demanded over Rs 5 crore, Sami sought to slide the second marriage in the “null and void” slot, as he said Sabah did not perform the mandatory ‘halala’ (marry another man, consummate it and divorce him) practice. The Bombay High Court saw no merit in it and upheld the 2007 marriage.

In March 2011, Sabah who also approached Darul-Qaza with identical allegations of cruelty and alcoholism against Sami, as in her divorce plea, was given a faskh-e-nikah or “abrogation of marriage”, said her lawyer Mrinalini Deshmukh. The resolution was published in a prominent Mumbai newspaper. In September 2011, Sami seized its importance and through his lawyer argued that since Sabah had obtained the certificate and he has not challenged it, the divorce is accepted as final under Islamic law and that the case before the family court no longer stands. The divorce she obtained is valid, he said.

But Deshmukh said the certificate was “not relevant” in wake of the Dissolution of Muslim Marriage Act, 1939, that empowers a Muslim woman to seek divorce from a court. She said she had “merely sought to strengthen the hands of the family court by placing additional documents from an independent body that supported her case, to show why a divorce should be granted by the court.”

She said since their 2007 marriage was registered at the sub-registrar’s office, it needs to be dissolved by a civil court under the 1939 law.

Sami applied for a stay of the order to enable him to challenge it. The family court will hear his plea on Friday.










Water Board’s STP project in Lingam Kunta kicks up row


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.45AM IST

HYDERABAD: After Hussainsagar and Taj Banjara Lake, it is now the Lingam Kunta in Chanda Nagar in Ranga Reddy district that has fallen prey to a state government-backed Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) project. And much like in the case of the others, here too the STP is being constructed right in the middle of the lakebed __ on its full tank level (FTL). While the Andhra Pradesh High Court had issued a directive restraining authorities from going ahead with the project in November last year, local activists from the area rue how work at the site is still on. The STP is being built by the Hyderabad Metropolitan Water Supply & Sewerage Board (HMWS&SB).

“Only last week, we had noticed some dumping activity near the water body. The workers admitted they were deployed by the water board,” said Rajkumar Singh who had, in 2010, filed a petition against the government department for tampering with the lake. The court order of 2011 was issued against his PIL. Now, with water board officials refusing to move out of the area and even claiming that the High Court judgment was in fact passed in its (HMWS&SB) favour, Singh has decided to file a contempt of court case against the department on Tuesday.

Originally spread over a massive area of 20 acres, the water body has now been reduced to half over the last few years. Apart from illegal residential complexes, even religious structures have been erected on the lake area, say locals. Predictably, this new project that is part of a Rs 200 crore-worth venture undertaken by the HMWS&SB would further eat into the water spread, they add.

“And this is being constructed when there is no need for a STP here. A lesser expensive sewerage diversion pipe would have been enough to resolve the issue of sewage flowing into the lake,” said Jasveen Jairath, founder convener of Save Our Urban Lakes (SOUL) pointing out how the Taj Banjara Lake too has been `killed’ by the water board the same way. “Here also, the department has unnecessarily undertaken a STP project when there is also a pipeline being laid to drain the sewage out of the area. Just because there is a certain amount earmarked for such projects does not mean you build STPs that too on the FTL of lakes for no reason,” Jairath added. She also stressed on how the `custodians’ of safe drinking water (the water board) were themselves working towards further reducing the water table by encroaching on lakes.

S Jeevanand Reddy, well-known environmentalist from the city is, however, not surprised. Noting how the government has ruined the Hussainsagar by allowing commercial activity not just on the FTL of the lake but also on the 30 metre (from the FTL, which is also supposed to be remain untouched as per a Supreme Court order) buffer zone, he said that the government offices have always been negligent towards Hyderabad’s water bodies.

When contacted HMWS&SB officials, however, claimed that all was well at the Lingam Kunta and they had committed no contempt of court. “The STP is near the lake not on it. Also, the court order was in our favour. It is only being misinterpreted by the petitioner,” said Y Anjani Kumar, general manager, project division (VIII) passing the blame of filling the water body, on the locals of the area. “It is the people of the neighbouring area who want to construct a community hall at the site where the STP is set to come up, trying to rake up a controversy over the issue. By turning this into a court case, these people want to win back this land from the government,” Kumar said.



MP backs tourism in tiger reserves


Milind Ghatwai : Bhopal, Tue Feb 21 2012, 00:25 hrs


Making a pitch for tourism in tiger reserves, Madhya Pradesh has told the Supreme Court that people living in reserves pose more danger to the big cats since both compete for the same resources.

As the hearing on a PIL seeking a ban on tourism in core areas of tiger reserves enters a crucial phase, the state has stuck to its stand that runs contrary to the position of the NTCA and the Centre that says core areas are meant to be kept inviolate. The Wildlife Trust of India has also backed activist Ajay Dubey’s plea, saying there is no control over hotels and resorts around the reserves.

The state told the court that tourism does not exploit resources on which wildlife depends for survival and propagation, and can’t be kept in the same category as other human activities.

The government argued that states have allowed tourism in core areas by developing necessary safeguards to regulate tourism and minimise the adverse impact on the habitat. It claimed that reserves where tourism has been allowed for the past 40 years continue to support highest wildlife densities.

It also argued that buffer areas don’t get the same level of legal protection as core areas and will never be able to satisfy the visitors due to a lack of “high density of wild animals and pristine wilderness’’. Also, local communities are given the nistar rights over forests in buffer areas.

“The court’s decision is likely to have national and international implications on wildlife as well as people and businesses dependent on wildlife tourism,” the state’s affidavit said, requesting the court to hear all states and UTs before passing any order.

Those opposed to tourism told the court that allowing it will further the sense of injustice among local people who will think that while they are being driven out, the rich are being let in.








Plea to detain anti-KNPP activist moved to Chennai


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 23:59

Madurai: The Madras High Court Bench here on Sunday transferred a PIL seeking invoking of National Security Act agsint SP Udayakumar, who is spearheading the protests against the Koodankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP), to Chennai.

R Sivakumar, a Madurai-based hotelier, had filed the PIL seeking to direct the district authorities of Tirunelveli, where the plant is located to take deterrent steps to put down the “violent activities” of Udayakumar, the coordinator of People’s Movement Against Nuclear Energy (PMA), and detain him under NSA.

Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass said there was an administrative order issued by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court to transfer cases relating to KNPP to the principal seat, and transferred the case.

The petitioner’s counsel M Patturajan said unless the High Court intervened in the matter and directed authorities to take deterrent steps to put down the “violent activities” of Udayakumar and apprehend him under NSA, “this agitation will not come to an end in the near future”.

In the PIL, the petitioner said a Peace Committee, made of members of the local population living around the plant, also came to the conclusion that the villagers who are agitating against the KNPP were being “thoroughly misled”.

Udayakumar was instigating the people to siege KNPP and he was “intimidating” the scientists and authorities at the Plant to remove uranium from the site, he alleged.









Taxi union moves court, wants Centre to implement Hire-Purchase Act, 1972


Express news service : Mumbai, Tue Feb 21 2012, 02:38 hrs


Claiming the involvement of black money to the tune of Rs 2,500 crore in the auto and taxi permit system in the city, the Mumbai Taximen Sangathan (MTS) has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court seeking the implementation of the Hire-Purchase Act, 1972, by the Central government.

Money lenders and credit co-operative societies are cheating the taxi and auto drivers in the city due to the non-implementation of the Act, the PIL claimed. It is further alleged that the money lenders and the credit co-operative societies are running a taxi and auto permit mafia in the city.

The MTS said that the transport commissioner and the regional transport authorities do not check the illegalities in the hire-purchase agreement or the validity of the money lending license of those selling the vehicles. The petitioner stated that under hire-purchase installments, the hire- purchaser or the hirer agrees to take the goods on hire at a stipulated rental cost including the repayment of principal as well as interest, with an option to purchase. Under this transaction, the hire-purchaser acquires the property immediately on signing the hire-purchase agreement, but the ownership or title of the vehicle is transferred only when the last installment is paid, the petition said.

The MTS pointed out that the money lenders always retain the copy of the original registration book of the vehicle along with the RTO forms. They also allegedly take away the vehicle from the loan borrower and hand it over to other taximen on rent, without the consent of the owner of the vehicle, the petition says.

In order to regulate the alleged discrepancies, a Central government notification to that effect is necessary, the MTS contended. The petitioner has urged the court to direct the union government to issue the notification and to declare all the hire-purchase agreements till date as null and void. The PIL is likely to be heard on March 1.









SC quashes Colonel’s court martial


PTI | Feb 21, 2012, 03.47AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has quashed a general court martial (GCM) proceeding against an Army Colonel that was initiated for alleged financial irregularities committed by him in making some purchases. The Supreme Court though rued the acquittal of several other officers involved in the scam.

A bench of justices Aftab Alam and C K Prasad set aside the GCM proceedings, ordered against Colonel Rajvir Singh for alleged financial irregularities committed by him during 2005-2007, causing a loss Rs 60.18 lakhs to the exchequer. In 2005-07, as officiating commandant of the Central Ordnance Depot, Chheoki, Singh had procured materials worth Rs 2.2 crore, allegedly violating rules and causing wrongful loss of Rs 60.18 lakhs to the state exchequer.

Singh had moved the SC challenging an August 19, 2011 ruling of the Armed Forces Tribunal, rejecting his plea that direction to court martial him was time-barred as section 22 of the Army Act, 1950 provides that the trial must be concluded within three years from the date of its cognizance.








SC Vodafone verdict may hamper tax transparency, says govt



Express news service : New Delhi, Tue Feb 21 2012, 02:27 hrs


The review petition filed by the Centre against the Supreme Court judgment on the overseas deal between Vodafone International Holdings (VIH) and Hutchison Group says the verdict will have “consequences” on the government’s measures to promote tax transparency.

The petition contends the judgments suffered errors on the face of the record, and refutes the court’s finding that “the question involved in this case is of considerable public importance, especially on Foreign Direct Investment”.

The Government says the case did not involve any inflow of monies into India because the sale consideration was admittedly paid outside India by VIH, a British Virgin Island Company to Hutchison Telecommunications Int (Cayman) Holdings Ltd a Cayman Island company.

The Government says that the FDI policy was in no way under challenge or scrutiny in the instant case. Besides FDI policy of the government and the interpretation of taxing statutes operate in two different realms, it added.

It argues that it was a patent error in the finding that the offshore transaction, which gave the Vodafone holding company a 67 per cent stake in Hutch-Essar, was “bonafide,” “structured FDI” into India.

A three-judge Bench on January 20 declared that both Vodafone and Hutch were not “fly by night” operators or short-term investors and had contributed substantially — Rs 20,242 crore — to the exchequer between 2002-03 and 2010-11, both by way of direct and indirect taxes.

The review finds fault with the court relying on the provisions of the Direct Tax Code Bills of 2009 and 2010 as one of the reasons to base its judgments on. The petition questions why the court relied on Direct Tax Code Bill 2009, when the Bill has not even been presented in Parliament, but was only a draft put up for public discussion.

The Centre said the court had failed to appreciate that Vodafone had a presence in India at the time of the transaction; it was a joint venture with Bharti Airtel.

Court ruling to affect other sectors: Sibal

New Delhi: The Supreme Court judgement cancelling 122 telecom licences allocated on first-come-first serve basis has ramifications for other sectors like mining where the same principle is adopted, Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal has said.

“I have been saying this repeatedly that the impact of the judgement is far-reaching. It has implications not only on the (telecom) sector but on other sectors as well,” Sibal said. “We will do that. As and when we do that, we take that decision, it will be placed in public domain,” he said.









After 13 years, charges to be framed in Chennai jail riot case


Karthika Gopalakrishnan, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 02.44AM IST

CHENNAI: Thirteen years after one of the worst prison riots in Tamil Nadu’s history broke out at the Central prison in Chennai, charges will be framed against 41 accused next week. Twelve prisoners and two jail officials were killed in the incident on November 17, 1999.

The case, which came up for hearing on Monday, has been adjourned to February 28 for further hearing by fourth additional sessions court judge S Rajagopalan. M Prabavathi, additional city public prosecutor, said close to 165 witnesses would be examined in the course of trial.

According to documents furnished by the police department, the unprecedented violence was triggered by the news of the death of ‘Boxer’ Vadivelu, a gang leader from Power Kuppam near Kasimedu. Detained under the Goondas Act, the history-sheeter was suffering from diarrhoea and admitted to the Government General Hospital. However, he died in the early hours of November 17, 1999.

“Around 7am, his associates created a ruckus saying none of the prisoners should eat as they claimed Vadivelu was beaten to death. About half an hour later, a riot broke out in the prison. Rahamatullah, one of the wardens from the Tower Block where the prisoners were housed, ran out and warned deputy jailor Jayakumar about it close to 20 minutes later,” said V Kannadasan, former counsel for prisons department, who was part of the Justice David Christian Commission of Inquiry that probed the incident.

When police lathi-charged the mob, the prisoners dispersed, only to regroup a while later. They climbed the roofs of the jail buildings as well as trees in the compound, throwing stones, pieces of tiles and other objects they could lay their hands on while shouting slogans, a report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) said.

“After the warning, Jayakumar walked towards the remission office where records are stored when he was hit by a stone. By then, some of the prisoners had run to his office near the main gate and taken his pistol from the desk and were searching for him. Another group looped a thick metal hook into warder Natarajan’s thigh and dragged him out. He died on the spot. More than 20 prison officials were attacked. The prisoners proceeded to the record room where they found Jayakumar. They chopped off his fingers, put hooks in his stomach and hit him, before setting the documents in the room on fire,” Kannadasan said.













Now, runaway couple on the run from police for fake wedding


Navjeevan Gopal : Amritsar, Tue Feb 21 2012, 00:49 hrs


Runway couple Sumit Sharma and Shivani Arora, who had approached the court of Amritsar District and Sessions Judge for police protection, are now running for cover — not from their families but from the police after a case of forgery was registered against them for producing fake documents in court to secure police protection.

Besides Sumit — a resident of Sector 11 in Panchkula — and Shivani, a resident of Rudrapur in Uttrakhand, the police have also booked five members of Sumit’s family, including his parents and a maternal brother for connivance in the case.

The case was registered on the directions of Amritsar Session Judge Harminder Singh Madaan. On June 15, 2011, during vacations, in-charge Sessions Judge P P Singh had ordered that police protection be given to the couple in Amritsar and Uttrakhand. The couple had alleged in their petition Shivani’s parents and two other families could harm them.

In July, Shivani’s father, a lawyer by profession, moved an application in the court stating that the couple had submitted fake documents in court and prayed that the June 15 order be set aside. Following a probe into the matter, the marriage certificate and the employment letter provided by the couple turned out to be fake.

The couple had produced a marriage certificate purportedly issued by head priest of Durga Mata Mandir on Majitha Road. The head priest, during investigation, denied having performed their wedding ceremony. A certificate issued by a telecom company also proved to be fictitious.

The court has now ordered to revoke the protection order. “A case has been registered against Sumit and Shivani, besides Sumit’s family,” said Amritsar Commissioner of Police R P Mittal.











Trial in Radhakrishnan assault case commences


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 20,2012

Chennai, Feb 20 (PTI): Trial in an assault case in which Kanchi Mutt Seer Jayendra Saraswati is the prime accused, commenced at a sessions court here today. The case is being heard by the First Additional Sessions Judge S Kalavathi. The complainant Radhakrishan was examined-in-chief. The examination will continue on March 9. According to the prosecution, Radhakrishnan, a mutt employee and his wife and brother were assaulted at their city residence on September 20, 2002 and sustained serious injuries. They had undergone treatment at a private hospital. Acting on a complaint by Radhakrishnan, police registered a case against 12 persons and arrested the Seer in 2005. The chargesheet was filed in 2006. All the accused, including the Sankaracharya have been granted bail in the case. Except for the seer, all other accused were present in court today. Meanwhile, the Judge rejected a bail application by P Ravisubramanian, an accused turned approver in the case and also in the Sankararaman murder case,being tried by Puducherry Principal District and Sessions Judge and the Seer is also an accused. Stating that he has been in jail for over seven years, Ravisubramanian pointed out that all accused were out on bail. He claimed that his aged mother was in ill health and required constant attention. Besides he too was suffering from various ailments, he had submitted. Claiming he was in no way connected with both cases, he charged police with keeping him in illegal custody in the murder case.










Raj Khurana in trouble even before Swamy judgment


Sanjay Sharma, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 03.42PM IST

CHANDIGARH: The former BJP chief parliamentary secretary of Punjab Raj Khurana, who should have been the first to have been affected by the Supreme Court judgment in the 2G scam on the complaint of Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday, has already lost immunity against sanction of prosecution in the bribery case he is facing.

“There is no need of seeking prosecution sanction from the Punjab government against Khurana as per Section 8 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) which says there is no need for the sanction of prosecution if a person is booked for demanding a bribe to get a work done from a government servant,” sources in the CBI told The Times of India.

If Khurana was booked under Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) for demanding a bribe to do some job himself, the prosecution sanction was required, he said.

Khurna loses the immunity even due to another reason of his term in public office during which he was accused of committing a crime has come to an end. Even if he is elected again, Khurana is not protected against prosecution sanction for the term that has ended, the sources said.

Now, his situation is similar to that of Parkash Singh Badal and speaker Nirmal Singh Kahlon, both of whom did not get immunity against prosecution in corruption cases, as the charges they faced related to a previous term.

Sources in the CBI said the clarification on Raj Khurana has recently been made clear.

The recent judgment by the division bench of justice Ak Ganguly and justice GS Singhvi is also fraught with dangers for Khurana as, if the other provisions did not work, then the government would have been forced to decide on granting sanction in a hurry.

Sources said Raj Khurna was one of the rarest minister level functionaries of the government who has attracted section 8 of (PCA as a large number of lawyers who demand money for income tax officials attract the provision.

Legal experts say though the court has fixed the time limit for deciding on prosecution sanction, there is another fight for bringing the denial of prosecution sanction under judicial review and allowing the investigating agency inquiry against an officer of joint secretary and above rank without a prior permission. On the contrary, vigilance bureau of Punjab is free to hold inquiry against officer of any level.

The judgment of justice Ganguly and Singhvi has placed Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a peculiar situation as he may be forced to order an inquiry to find out as to who in PMO lapsed on the issue of 2G scam prosecution sanction.









74 Andhra women rescued from GB Road


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

Seventy-four women from Andhra Pradesh, including 16 minors, were rescued from brothels in central Delhi’s GB Road area on Monday, police said. The operation, one of the biggest in the last six months, was conducted by a joint team of the Delhi Police and CBCID of Andhra Pradesh state police. It was carried out between 11am and 11:30am.

“We conducted the operation after we were intimidated about the presence of a large number of women, who had been forcibly trafficked from their homes in Andhra Pradesh and were being pushed into prostitution, by NGOs,” said a senior police officer.

According to the police, the parents or relatives of many women, who have been rescued, had registered missing complaints back home.

At least a dozen people, who were present at the brothels while the raids were conducted, have been detained.

“As per information, many victims were lured to the Capital by acquaintances, on the pretext of jobs or marriage, and forced into prostitution. Detentions have been made to ascertain the relationship of these people with the victims,” the officer said.

Meanwhile, as those detained were whisked away to the Kamla Market police station for questioning, the rescued minors were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) before being taken to a juvenile home.

“The adult women who were trafficked have been taken to Nari Niketan in west Delhi’s Hari Nagar area. A case has been registered,” the officer said. Monday’s operation is the fourth this year.

On January 18, two girls, including a minor, who were allegedly trafficked from West Bengal, were rescued.

Just a week before that, nine girls, all from west Bengal, had been rescued by a DelhiPolice team. More than 130 such victims from different parts of the country had been rescued last year.








Two accused released on bail in case


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 20, 2012

On Tuesday, the warden, Ramesh Maurya, and chief warden, Surendra Singh Chauhan, of Arya Orphanage were released on bail. The two had been arrested on Saturday for ignoring the complaint of the mother of a 10-year-old sodomy victim of the orphanage. An orphanage spokesperson said the two have already been suspended.

The guard Navrattan, who has been arrested for raping an 11-year-old resident, however, continues to be in jail.

Meanwhile, the Delhi government has decided to conduct a medical examination of those children who had complained about being sexually abused first. This move comes when the government has barely a day left to submit a report to the high court over the alleged sexual abuse in the orphanage, The Child Welfare Committee will be getting in touch with the Delhi Police to get the names of all those children. “Due to holidays in this week, we have not been able to start the medical examination. We will be starting the medical examination from tomorrow,” said Sushma Vij, chairperson of Child Welfare Committee, Mayur Vihar.  

CWC members and the government appointed administrator will discuss the issue in a meeting on Tuesday.

To strengthen their case Delhi Police have also decided to include statements of more children in the chargesheet. “We will go to the orphanage on Tuesday with the counsellors to convince other children to record their statements. A number of them are now very scared and don’t want to say anything” said a senior police official.

One of the girls, who had given her statement to the police, has also been shifted out of the orphanage.

Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit on Monday ordered an inquiry into the case asked officials to go “deep down” to issues being faced by inmates to prevent their recurrence.

An 11-year-old girl, a resident of the Arya orphanage, had died on December 24 after being raped over a period of time.




Court relief for former postal chief


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.14AM IST

MUMBAI: In some relief for former chief postmaster general (Maharashtra & Goa), who was arrested while receiving a bribe in February 2010, the Bombay High Court recently upheld the Central Administrative Tribunal’s order quashing his suspension and directing his reinstatement.

The allegation against Manjit Singh Bali was that he had demanded Rs 1.5 crore for issuing an NOC no-objection certificate in respect of development of a Thane plot reserved for a post office in Thane.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice R Y Ganoo was hearing an appeal filed by the Centre challenging CAT’s October 14, 2011 order. CAT set aside Bali’s suspension on the grounds that it was not reviewed within 90 days from the effective date of suspension. The Central government’s contention was that review within 90 days from the date of Bali’s release from custody was sufficient compliance with the Central Civil Services Rules, 1995.

The Centre’s advocate Heena Shah contended that effective date of suspension was irrelevant but date of release from custody was relevant. Rejecting her contention, the judges observed that Bali was not in custody on the expiry of 90 days and therefore the date of his release is irrelevant.

February 19, 2012

Mumbai: In a relief for former Chief Post Master General (Maharashtra and Goa) , who was arrested while receiving a bribe in February 2010, the Bombay High Court has upheld Central Administrative Tribunal’s order quashing his suspension and directing his reinstatement.

The allegation against Manjit Singh Bali was that he had demanded Rs 1.5 crores for issuing a no objection certificate in respect of development of a plot reserved for a post office in Thane.

A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice R Y Ganoo on February 15, this year heard an appeal filed by the Central government challenging CAT’s October 14, 2011 order. Bali was arrested by CBI on February 25, 2010. He was suspended on March 3, 2010 but effective from February 25, 2010. He was released from custody on March 12, 2010.

CAT set aside Bali’s suspension on the ground that it was not reviewed within 90 days from the effective date of suspension. The Central government’s contention before HC was that review within 90 days from the date of release of Bali from custody was sufficient compliance with the Central Civil Services Rules 1995.

Bali’s advocate Sandeep Marne argued that the effective date of suspension of Bali was from the date of his arrest. According to the Rules, the suspension automatically becomes invalid if it is not reviewed and extended within 90 days from the effective day of suspension,” said Marne.

Central government’s advocate Heena Shah contended that effective date of suspension was irrelevant but date of release from custody was relevant. Rejecting her contention, the judges observed that Bali was not in custody on the expiry of 90 days and therefore the date of his release is irrelevant.

Marne also informed the court that CAT’s order to reinstate him was implemented and Bali was appointed CPMG of West Bengal circle for a day and again suspended. Bali has challenged the second suspension before CAT.







Maj Gen Rathore Army’s new Judge Advocate General


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 19:49

New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has cleared the appointment of Maj Gen Prabhu Singh Rathore, a veteran military law expert, as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) of the Indian Army.

The JAG is the top law officer of the service and the chief legal adviser of the Army chief in matters pertaining to the force’s laws.

The appointment of the JAG was cleared on Friday and the officer will take over in the next few days, Defence Ministry sources told .

The top legal post in the Army has been lying vacant after the retirement of previous incumbent Maj Gen B V Nair, who superannuated on January 31.

The appointment was delayed as a Lieutenant Colonel had approached the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) alleging that Rathore had attempted to adversely impact his career.

After admitting the case, the Kolkata Bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal had stayed Rathore’s promotion but vacated it last month.

The case is still on in Kolkata.

Rathore was earlier serving as the Deputy Judge Advocate General (D-JAG) in the Jaipur-based South Western Army Command before proceeding to Army Headquarters here after promotion recently.

With his appointment as JAG, Rathore will have to look after several important ongoing cases in the Army courts including the final outcome in the Sukna land scam where Lt Gen Avadesh Prakash has been recommended for dismissal.











Insurance Co rebuked by consumer forum for ‘high handedness’


PTI | 04:02 PM,Feb 21,2012

New Delhi, Feb 21 (PTI) The National Insurance Company Ltd has been ticked off by a district consumer forum for its “high handedness” of dismissing an insurance policy holder’s claim for compensation for his car, damaged in a road mishap, on the ground that his documents were not valid. Holding the insurance company to be “highly negligent,” the Delhi District Consumer Disputes Redressal Forum directed it to pay a compensation of Rs 20,000 to complainant Raghunath Prasad Tyagi for harassing him. The bench also directed it to pay him a compensation of Rs 1,70,598 as recommended by the company’s surveyor saying the “insurance company was highly negligent and deficient in service in not considering his claim.” The district consumer forum’s order came on a plea by Tyagi, accusing the state insurance firm denying him the compensation for damages sustained by his car in a mishap, in which its driver and a passenger had lost their lives. Relying upon the validity of the driver’s driving licence, the firm had awarded compensation to kins of both the driver and the passenger, but it has rejected his claim for compensation against damages to the vehicle, saying the driver did not have a valid licence, Tyagi had said in his complaint. The forum also held that documents, which the insurance firm was not considering for the claim, were already validated by a Motor Accident Claims Tribunal (MACT) here as the company itself had agreed before the tribunal that the driving license was valid. “The deficiency in service on the part of the respondent (insurance firm) in this case is writ large. In the MACT case, driving license verification report was filed by the insurance company itself showing that driving license was found valid on the date of accident. (More)









J Dey murder: Crime Branch to file supplementary chargesheet


Mumbai: The Crime Branch is likely to file a supplementary chargesheet detailing the role allegedly played by journalist Jigna Vora in the murder of Mumbai-based journalist J Dey.

“We are likely to file a supplementary chargesheet against Vora tomorrow (Tuesday). We have gathered enough evidence against her to make a case,” Additional Commissioner of Police (Crime Branch) Devendra Bharti said.

Vora has been accused of criminal conspiracy in the case and was arrested on November 25, 2011. The police believe the murder may be related to Dey’s reporting on the oil mafia.

Sources said that she will be charged under the stringent Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

J Dey, a senior crime journalist with MiD Day, was shot dead in Mumbai on June 11, 2011 by four bike-borne assailants.

Mumbai Crime Branch had filed a chargesheet against 10 other accused on December 3, 2011.

The chargesheet filed in the special Maharashtra Control of Organised Crime Act (MCOCA) court runs into 3,055 pages and has described in detail the role of 10 men involved in Dey’s murder.

Fugutive don Chhota Rajan has also been named in the chargesheet. However, police mention that Rajan and another accused, Nayan Singh, are still untraced and ion the run.

Though Bharti did not give further details on the evidence against Vora, sources in the crime branch said that police have enough reasons to support their theory that it was Vora’s professional rivalry with Dey that claimed his life.

According to police, Vora had allegedly provided Dey’s mobile number and his exact location to Rajan.

With Additional Inputs from Agencies









FIR against Rahul Gandhi for violating model code of conduct


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 20, 2012 23:56 IST

Kanpur:  An FIR has been filed against Rahul Gandhi for alleged model code of conduct violation in Kanpur.

Mr Gandhi’s road show allegedly did not take the route for which they had permissions for causing traffic snarls in the city.

“The district administration had allocated time till noon and fixed a 20-km route for Rahul Gandhi’s road show. This was done as today is Shivratri and there could be a traffic problem,” District Magistrate Hari Om said.

“But this road show completely violated the election code of conduct as it started at 10.30 AM continued till 3 PM It did not stick to the prescribed route and instead covered a stretch of 38 kms. Therefore, the organisers of the road show will be booked for violating the election code,” he added.

Mr Gandhi and 39 others have been booked under sections 188 (violation of prohibitory orders under 144), 283 (causing public inconvenience and nuisance) and 290 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

However, state Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi, who was part of the road show, denied there was any violation of the model code of conduct and accused the district administration of trying to stop Rahul’s mass contact programme at the behest of the Mayawati Government.

According to the District Magistrate, the road show organisers had sought permission for a 38-km stretch but they had been informed last night about the conditions. “Still they violated the rules and chose to follow the route for which permission had not been granted,” he said, adding, “There could have been a security breach or there could have been a clash”.

Ms Joshi, however, countered that the detailed programme of the Congress general secretary, including the route, was handed over to the district administration by the district unit well in advance and was also cleared by the SPG.

“The administration, however, revised the programme last night and sent it to the SPG,” she claimed. She said that as the people had already been informed about the entire programme, it was not possible to carry out last minute changes.

“During the entire mass contact programme neither Rahul Gandhi addressed a meeting, nor did he take out any procession. Therefore, he has not violated the model cone of conduct,” the state Congress president claimed.

She alleged that the Mayawati government was “nervous and shaken” after the “success” of Rahul’s roadshow in Lucknow. Jaiswal said, “Rahul Gandhi has not violated any election code. Was there curfew in the town, that he should not have visited those areas?”

Rahul’s road show began at the Circuit House this morning and crossed through all the five assembly segments here with people standing on both sides of the roads to greet the leader.

In Muslim-dominated Chunnigang area, people welcomed him by showering flowers while the Congress leader garlanded an Ambedkar statue in Bajaria area.

Kanpur will go to polls in the fifth phase of February 23.

The state Congress said that Rahul received a tumultuous welcome during his road show, creating “a new atmosphere in favour” of the party.

UP Media Campaign Committee chairman Raj Babbar said the road show witnessed large crowds with the youth, women and children particularly eager to meet the Congress leader.







CVC to review 2G probe with CBI, ED, I-T dept


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.02AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Central Vigilance Commission will hold detailed review of the probe into the 2G scam by various agencies in the wake of the Supreme Court order asking it to regularly monitor investigations into the case.

The Supreme Court had on February 2 asked the CVC to carry out regular review of the probe by agencies like Central Bureau of Investigation, Enforcement Directorate and Income Tax.

“Keeping in view the nature of the case and involvement of a large number of influential persons, we feel that it will be appropriate to require the central vigilance commissioner and the senior vigilance commissioner appointed under Section 3(2) of the 2003 CVC Act to render assistance to the court in effectively monitoring further investigation of the case,” an SC bench of Justices G S Singhvi and A K Ganguly had said in its order.

Sources said the CVC is now drawing up plans for review meetings with the investigation agencies. First off the block will be the ED, which is set to carry out a detailed briefing for the CVC on Wednesday. Two days later, on February 24, the income tax department will hold a detailed briefing.

A meeting of the CBI chief with the CVC was yet to be scheduled, sources said. However, a PTI report said the CBI would make its presentation on the progress in its investigations on Tuesday.

“The officials have been called to discuss the probe in 2G matter. They will be giving a detailed presentation before the commission,” PTI quoted sources as saying.

The SC had tasked the CVC to regularly monitor investigations into the 2G case, after a petition was moved seeking setting up of a Special Investigation Team to oversee the 2G case.

The CVC will be reviewing the progress in investigations into the 2G case on a regular basis, sources said. The trial in the 2G case is already underway, involving 17 accused, including three companies — Reliance Telecom Ltd, Swan Telecom and Unitech Ltd. All the 17 accused are charged under various provisions of Indian Penal Code for criminal breach of trust, conspiracy, cheating, forgery and the Prevention of Corruption Act.

Former telecom minister A Raja, his former private secretary R K Chandolia, former telecom secretary Siddharth Behura, DMK MP Kanimozhi and Kalaignar TV’s MD Sharad Kumar are among those facing trial.

Also facing trial in the 2G case are six corporate executives – Reliance ADAG Group managing director Gautam Doshi, its senior vice-president Hari Nair, group president Surendra Pipara, Shahid Usman Balwa, Vinod Goenka and Sanjay Chandra. Also facing trial are Bollywood producer Karim Morani, Asif Balwa and Rajiv Aggarwal.










No security threat to Taloja jail: Govt to HC


Published: Tuesday, Feb 21, 2012, 8:00 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA

The state government has informed the Bombay high court that there is no security threat to Taloja jail near Alibaug as expressed by an inmate.

Ramesh Upadhyay, an accused in the 2008 Malegaon blast case, had written a letter from the jail stating that there is a security threat to the prison and the inmates from the high rises around the jail.

The HC had taken suo moto cognisance of the letter and converted it into a petition asking the government to file its reply.

Additional government pleader Ajey Gadkari informed the court that the threat claim made by Upadhyay was uncalled for. The prison is built by latest hi-tech material and there is proper security inside and around the jail.

The buildings, including the high rises, have come up as per the sanctioned plans by the concerned authorities, added Gadkari.

An affidavit was filed by the home department stating that “outer walls of the jail are constructed using ultra-modern technique wherein the movements and activities of the prisoners cannot be viewed from outside”.







Bombay HC grants reprieve to bank facing eviction


Swati Deshpande, TNN Feb 20, 2012, 06.29PM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court has granted a reprieve to ING Vysya Bank against being immediately dispossessed of its Opera House rental premises. The bank filed a Suit in the Bombay high court and sought interim reliefs against the Landlord M/s Modern Reality Private Limited and Mr Bhavesh P Seth from dispossession.

Through its lawyers Nishit Dhruva and others it accused the bank of forcibly changing the locks on its branch premises on February 12, 2012 and refusing to hand over the bank’s security deposit.

The Bank contended that under the Leave and License Agreement simultaneously upon handing over possession to the Landlord, the Bank was entitled to receive the security deposit.

The bank said it was “compelled” to file a police case and move the court to restrain the landlord from entering the bank premises. The HC will now hear the matter on February 21.









Eligibility of 1,000 MCA students questioned by HC


Ramendra Singh, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 05.15AM IST

BHOPAL: An order by the Madhya Pradesh high court with regards to eligibility norms for Masters in Computer Application (MCA) has dashed the hopes of almost 1,000 students from different colleges of the state. All the students were admitted after undertaking the entrance exam conducted by the MP Professional Examination Board (MPPEB) and through counseling. The court order has termed their admissions illegal.

The issue started in September 2011 after MCA colleges refused to give admissions to the candidates who were BCA degree holders but did not have mathematics as a subject at the 10+2 level. These students moved court and got an interim relief from the high court in December.

However, last week, the high court termed their admission illegal saying that the court cannot interfere in the rules framed by AICTE.

“Whose mistake is this”, asked a dejected student. “We students or the Board that conducted the exam or the colleges. Who should be blamed”, he said.

Hailing from Jhansi, Nikita said that MPPEB conducted the pre-MCA exam in March 2011. “We appeared and cleared the exam. The board should have, in fact rejected our applications for the entrance test if there was any problem about our eligibility,” she added.

First they admitted us and now they say the admission is illegal. They should have not admitted us,” another MCA student, Vandana Kumari, said. Now, it’s a trauma for me and my family,” a dejected Vandana who hails from Patna said.

When contacted, public relations officer of MPPEB, Sunil Shrivastava, said that the board conducts exam on the basis of rules and regulations framed by the respective department and in this case, it is director of technical education. “Our job is to conduct exam. We put everything on our official website about the eligibility criteria for respective exams,” Shrivastava maintained.

Now, the aggrieved students plan to move the SC.








Heritage byelaws to be presented in HC


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 21, 2012

Approved heritage byelaws for the ‘Sher Shah Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil’ — the first for any monument in Delhi and also in India — would be presented before the Delhi High Court on Tuesday.
The National Monument Authority (NMA) is set to submit it in connection with the court’s expansion case. Following an amendment in the Archaeological Act, the NMA can permit any building/repair/ renovation, etc, only as per the heritage byelaws.

The court intervention expedited the procedure for the byelaws as the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) was going too slow with it since the amendment in March 2010.

“Byelaws would be finalised as per commitment before the high court,” said Pravin Shrivastava, NMA member secretary.

The final byelaws — touted as model byelaws — would set a precedent for allowing or disallowing construction of new buildings up to the height of existing structure in the periphery of 101-300 metre among other issues.

It includes heritage control matters such as elevations, facades, drainage systems, roads and service infrastructure (including electric poles, water and sewer pipelines) for areas around monuments.

The amendment bans new construction within 0-100 metre of an ASI-protected monument and puts restrictions on properties/ new construction within 101-300 metre of the same.

Sources said the first set of byelaws had witnessed a debate of sorts between the byelaw makers and the NMA. While the court’s main building is 15 metre tall, other buildings on the premises vary in height more than it, with one reaching up to 30 metre.

“The byelaws submitted to the NMA proposes maximum height of the new construction at 21 metres based on the fact that it does not affect the view of the monument – Sher Shah Gate and Khair-nul-Manazil – and study of angle of vision,” sources said, adding, “NMA members had sought to know the ‘rational’ for the proposed 21 metres height when the main building was just 15 metres high.”

The high court complex is part of the Central Vista , which includes India Gate and surroundings. The Central Vista Committee has not yet defined any height restriction in tune with the master plan.











Tribal women not raped, TN govt tells HC


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.01AM IST

CHENNAI: More than two months after announcing a compensation of Rs 5 lakh each to four tribal women allegedly raped by policemen in Villupuram district, the government on Monday told Madras high court it was not a case of rape.

The jurisdictional judicial magistrate who had begun an inquiry into the issue on November 26, 2011, is yet to submit her finding. Without her report, the police are unlikely to file the chargesheet.

The women lodged a complaint on November 26, 2011, stating that a group of Tirukovilur police officers took them into custody and raped them on November 22, 2011. When the issue became a controversy, the state government announced Rs 5 lakh relief to each woman on December 2, 2011. The amount was put in fixed deposits in the names of the women on December 4, 2011. But now the government says a case of rape has not been made out.

When a PIL filed by advocate P Pugalenthi seeking transfer of case to CBI, besides criminal proceedings against those concerned, came up for hearing before the first bench comprising Chief Justice M Y Eqbal and Justice T S Sivagnanam on Monday, the state home secretary and the director-general of police filed identical but separate counter-affidavits.

The officer investigating the rape allegation concluded that there were discrepancies in the statements of the women. “Medical evidence did not indicate injury, either in the genital area or in any other part of the body, that could indicate rape or struggle or resistance,” DGP K Ramanujam said, quoting the investigation report.

On the claim that the medical examination was conducted four days after the incident, the DGP said senior doctors were on record stating that it would take eight to 10 days for complete healing of hymenal rupture.

R Rajagopal, principal secretary, home department, in his counter-affidavit said there was “no medico-legal evidence” to suggest a sexual assault. He said the sum of Rs 5 lakh each was given to the women on humanitarian grounds.

Both the officials agreed that the women and children, who were not wanted in any case, should not have been taken into custody. It was an unwarranted act, and the government will not shield the guilty, they said.

M Radhakrishnan, counsel for petitioner, decried the government’s stance as shameful and said Rs 5 lakh was the price fixed for the women’s dignity. The bench asked the petitioner to file a reply in three weeks.










Ex-MP knocks HC doors for pension


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.25AM IST

HYDERABAD: Kanety Mohan Rao, one of the members of the first Lok Sabha during 1952- 1957, is now knocking the doors of the AP High Court for revised pension. Mohan Rao, 87, was elected MP from the Rajahmundry constituency.

Though the pension of former MPs has now gone up to Rs 20,000 per month, only Rs 1,400 is being credited to the Andhra Bank account of the octogenarian. When it was Rs 300, he received the pension through the treasury department. Though it was enhanced to Rs 1,400 in 1982, he continued to get only Rs 300 for a long time. But things got better when the government started paying pension directly into the account of the MP. But he never got his pension regularly, said Mohan Rao in his petition.

In spite of the amendments brought to the Act that governs the pensions of Parliament members and the enhancement of the monthly pension, only Rs 1,400 is being credited to his account at Tallarevu branch in East Godavari, the former MP lamented. His counsel VVLN Sarma told TOI that the former MP was now in a pathetic condition unable to make ends meet. The matter was posted to next week.












Why murder case not filed, HC asks Punjab Police


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Tue Feb 21 2012, 03:32 hrs


Two months after its own senior officer submitted an inquiry report recommending registration of a murder case in the “mysterious” death of Thapar University (Patiala) student Gagandeep, Punjab Police is still awaiting receipt of the inquiry report through “official channels” to register a murder case. Earlier, Punjab Police had registered a case of “rash and negligent driving” in the death of 21-year-old Gagandeep and his friend on September 28, 2010, claiming it to be an accident. However, last December Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had submitted a scathing inquiry report, stating that “custodial interrogation” of those allegedly involved in the “accident” is required and recommended the registration of murder charges.

Till now the case has not been registered. When contacted, Amrik Singh, a sub-inspector with Punjab Police posted at Rajpura, told Newsline, “We are yet to receive the inquiry report through an official channel, only after which we will be able to register a case.” Peeved with this attitude of Punjab Police, Gurbax Singh Bains, father of the deceased, has moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court again seeking directions to the police for registration of a murder case.

Taking note, the High Court has issued notices to Punjab asking why the murder case has not been registered till now. Also, the High Court, as demanded by the father, has asked Punjab Police why the investigation of the case should not be not handed over to an independent agency, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Bains has submitted that he has no faith in Punjab Police and that the case should be handed over to an independent agency like the CBI. Days after DIG Kunwar Vijay Pratap Singh had given his report, the Punjab Director General of Police (DGP) refused to accept the “recommendation” and ordered the constitution of a special investigation team (SIT).

Taking strong note of this, Punjab Deputy Secretary (Home Affairs & Justice) O P Bhatia had ordered the immediate disbanding of the SIT. Opining that the constitution of the SIT would “lead to tampering with the evidence”, the deputy secretary had ordered the upholding of the “recommendation” of registration of a murder case by the DIG.

The developments had taken place as a fallout of a petition filed by Gurbax Singh Bains, a local lawyer who had alleged that his son had been “murdered” in an accident by three youths. One of the “assailants”, the father had alleged before the High Court, is the son of a former Patiala Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM).

The father had alleged that since the then Patiala SDM is an influential person, he managed to save his son and his son’s friends and rather projected that his (SDM’s) son had suffered serious injuries in the accident. It has also been alleged that with the help of the Rajpura police, a case of rash and negligent driving and culpable homicide not amounting to murder was registered against a truck driver who was not at fault.

Personal enmity between his son and the SDM’s son has been alleged to be the motive behind the “murder”. Pursuant to directions from the Punjab Home Secretary last year, the inquiry was got conducted by the DIG.










Writ to be filed in HC against new devices


Somit Sen, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.25AM IST

MUMBAI: The Mumbai Rickshawmen’s Union plans to file a writ petition in the Bombay High Court on Thursday to oppose compulsory installation of e-meters in all autos.

Union leaders said they were not against e-meters if they were foolproof. “The state transport department has not taken auto unions into confidence nor proved to us that the new meters will be tamper-proof. This is in violation of Supreme Court guidelines, which stipulate that any new meter introduced should be foolproof,” said union leader Thampy Kurian, who will be a petitioner.

He stated that the union will not accept responsibility if the e-meters are found to be tampered with after installation. “We are suggesting in our petition that the state take a bank guarantee/deposit from meter manufacturers. If any driver is caught for meter-tampering by the RTO, the fine should be deducted from the deposit,” said Kurian, adding that the guarantee should be of more than Rs 1 crore.

He stated that at a recent meeting organized by the state-appointed committee on e-meters, which auto unions attended, the manufacturers had claimed that all e-meters post-2010 were tamperproof. “We are made to believe that if we try to fiddle with the new meters, they will display an ‘Error’ message and the system will hang. But the transport department has not yet given us a demo or told us to check the new gadgets. I challenge them, I can tamper with the new devices too,” he stated.

The petitioners plan to show the judiciary how the electronic meters can be tampered with. They will also demand that the state upgrade the model of autos in Mumbai and provide comfortable seating for drivers and passengers, and then install e-meters.

“Unlike taxis, our meters are exposed to sunlight, dust and rain. How will we protect the electronic gadgets which are expensive?” said a union activist.

A Mantralaya official said the union will be given a month to put forward queries on the new meters. A transport commissioner’s office official claimed that the new meters were tamper-proof. Transport commissioner V N More was unavailable for comment.




HC refuses to quash case despite settlement with bank


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 20,2012

New Delhi, Feb 20 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has rejected a plea by an industrialist, charged with fraudulently obtaining loan of more than Rs one crore from a bank eight years ago, to quash a criminal case against him on the ground that he had reached a settlement with the bank. Dismissing a petition filed by Faridabad-based Y N Kashyap and his father, Justice Suresh Kait accepted CBI’s argument that the FIR should not be quashed as there was a loss of Rs 20 lakh to UCO bank despite their settlement and ‘No Dues’ certificate issued by the bank to them. “Though the petitioners have paid the agreed amount and settled with the bank. The bank has also issued ‘No Dues Certificate. However, under the ‘One Time Scheme’, they have caused the net loss to the public exchequer. In such situation, I am of the considered view, where the parties have played tricks, documents were forged or adopted by illegal means, due to which the government/public sector undertaking has been duped and suffered loss, the parties are not entitled for any favour or lenient view,” the court said. The court rejected Kashyap’s argument that matter was settled amicably by paying a sum of Rs 68 lakhs on September 30, 2009 to the bank against outstanding dues to the tune of more than Rs 87 lakh. The court, however, relied on CBI’s affidavit, filed through its counsel Narender Maan, that the petitioners were hand in glove with the bank officer and forged the title deed of their property in sector 14 in Faridabad as the same was already mortgaged in a another bank and obtained loan from the UCO bank of Delhi High Court complex under the One Time Scheme (OTS) in January 2005.











HC stays trial proceedings against Khushboo


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.20AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of Madras high court has stayed a proceedings at Nattham court against actor Khushboo in a case registered against her for an alleged poll code violation during the last assembly poll campaign.

Last week, she filed a petition in the Madras high court seeking to quash the case registered against her. Justice T Sudnathiram, before whom the matter came up for hearing, has granted a stay on the proceedings in the Nattham court. During the assembly poll campaign, she lobbied for DMK candidate Vijayan at a public meeting on March 27, 2011 without permission of poll officials and thereby caused disturbance to public by creating a traffic jam.

Following the complaint lodged by the poll officials, the Nattham police registered a case against her and the candidate.

Last month, the star campaigner of the DMK appeared before Nattham Judicial Magistrate Court in the case.












HC to get new building, parking lot


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.08AM IST

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High Court will soon have a building on the premises of the old Nayapul Hospital next door.

The roads and buildings (R&B) department and the Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) have been asked by the high court authorities to work out plans for the proposed new building with multi-level parking facility. Official sources said plans for a seven-storied building have been prepared by the R&B department. However, with some court officials expressing apprehension that the seven-storied building with cellar and sub-cellars might not be safe, the R&B and GHMC have been asked to work out another plan with two blocks, one for the courts and another exclusively for parking. The exclusive multi-level car parking would be designed to accommodate 600 to 800 cars.

The corporation had earlier requested the HC to part with about 4,500 square yards towards Madina on the main road for a vertical parking complex in view of the heavy traffic flow near Charminar. GHMC officials feel that the traffic volume and tourists flow would increase once the Charminar Pedestrianisation Project (CPP) is completed.

The GHMC is working on two plans, one, a parking complex to be taken up on Build Operate and Transfer (BOT) basis by private persons and another to be taken up by the civic body on its own. “In the multi-level parking complex, lawyers and petitioners can utilise the parking space during the day, while tourists and others can use it during night-time,” an official of the GHMC said.

Meanwhile, construction of a multi-level parking complex near Khilwath on 2,150 square metres area would begin in a month’s time with the GHMC and the project developer, a consortium led by Futurage Infrastructure India Pvt Ltd, signing an agreement recently. The parking complex would have five floors and accommodate over 400 four-wheelers and 200 two-wheelers. Conventional ramps would be in place for parking floors below the ground level, while an automated machine would take vehicles to floors above the ground.











Koda probe report in HC next week


Sanjay Ojha, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 06.55AM IST

RANCHI: Three investigating agencies – the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), income tax (I-T) and enforcement directorate (ED) – will submit the progress report in the multi-crore scam related to former chief minister Madhu Koda in the Jharkhand high court on February 29.

Sources in the CBI said they were preparing the report on the status of investigation in the multi-crore scam of Koda and his associates. The former chief minister has been accused of amassing around Rs 3,300 crore by misusing his office between 2006 and 2008.

A senior officer of the CBI said they had made substantial progress in the case and submitted a 200-page report a couple of days back to the UAE government to extradite Sanjay Chaudhary, a close associate of Koda. Chaudhary was arrested by the Interpol last year in Dubai.

“According to extradition agreement with the UAE, the language of extradition is English. A detailed report was submitted in English soon after the arrest of Chaudhary in Dubai. On the request of the UAE government, we submitted the report in Arabic so that the court which is hearing the case of extradition does not find any difficulty in understanding the evidence against Chaudhary,” said the officer.

The extradition of Chaudhary is important not only for the CBI but also for the ED and the I-T departments because he is the person who managed the foreign investments of Koda and his close aides.

An I-T officer said according to the present assessment the total worth of assets of Koda and his aides was around Rs 3,300 crore but it is likely to increase as they still don’t have exact details of Chaudhary’s assets.

“We expect that the local court will soon give permission for extradition as evidences submitted to the UAE government has all details of misappropriation of funds and violation of the Foreign Exchange Management Act,” said the CBI officer.










HC asks East Coast Railway to consider stoppage for Rajdhani


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 04.18AM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa high court recently asked the East Coast Railway (ECoR) to examine if the New Delhi-Bhubaneswar Rajdhani Express can have a stoppage at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station. Acting on a PIL, the court asked the ECoR to take a decision on the matter within eight weeks.

Petitioner J K Pratihari, in his petition, had pleaded that the Rajdhani Express has stoppages at all district headquarters from its originating point besides Tata Nagar, Bokaro Steel City, Gomoh and Koderma, but not at Jajpur-Keonjhar Road station, which caters to two districts, Jajpur and Keonjhar.

The division bench of Chief Justice V Gopala Gowda and Justice Biswanath Mohapatra asked Pratihari to send a representation along with the court order to the chairman of Railway Board and others within two weeks. The court told the Railways to take a decision within eight weeks after submission of the representation, Pratihari said.

In 2006, Pratihari had filed a representation with the Railway Board member (traffic) seeking the stoppage. The railway authorities had conveyed to him that the demand was under consideration but no action was taken for over six years, following which he filed the PIL, Pratihari stated in his petition.










HC: Dying declaration has to be corroborated before conviction


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 21, 2012

Reiterating its earlier stand on the admissibility of uncorroborated dying declarations, the Bombay high court recently set aside a trial court’s conviction of a father-son duo from Ahmednagar based solely on the deceased’s narration to a doctor.

“(A) dying declaration has to be proved beyond any shadow of doubt whatsoever, it being a piece of evidence sought to be trusted without any scrutiny of cross-examination of its maker,” justice AH Joshi observed while acquitting the two on February 8.

The Ahmednagar police had charged Madhav Kharat, 64, and his son Shivaji, 34, for the murder of his brother Deochand on January 17, 1997. They were arrested the day after Deochand succumbed to injuries suffered in an alleged brutal assault.

While undergoing treatment at a Shirdi Hospital, Deochand had narrated the incident to a doctor and alleged that Kharat and Shivaji had assaulted him. The trial court had convicted the duo primarily on the basis of the dying declaration.

Kharat was convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and sentenced to seven years’ rigorous imprisonment, while his son received a six-month jail term for causing grievous hurt to the deceased.

Both moved the Aurangabad bench of the HC in appeal in 1999. Their counsel SP Chapalgaonkar argued that the convictions cannot be maintained since they are based solely on an uncorroborated dying declaration, in absence of any eyewitness or circumstantial evidence. However, assistant public prosecutor DR Kale justified the conviction contending the dying declaration was trustworthy.

The HC found the prosecution had not even bothered to examine the doctor who had recorded Deochand’s dying declaration in order to prove the deceased was in condition to give a statement. Justice Joshi set aside conviction of the duo stating that to maintain the convictions would mean to maintain them on suspicion, which cannot be done.

A division bench of the court had taken a similar view in December last year when it set aside the life sentence awarded to four persons by a Nashik sessions judge for the murder of a woman solely on the basis of her dying declaration.












HC upholds dismissal of ‘fake’ AI trainee pilot


Swati Deshpande, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 01.19AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has upheld the dismissal of a trainee AI pilot who had joined the national carrier by producing fake results of his commercial pilot’s licence (CPL) examinations.

Last June, the airline had nipped the flying career of Saurabh Lokhande, a 29-year-old Mumbai resident, before it could take off. AI dismissed Lokhande a month after the Delhi crime branch arrested him for allegedly using a fake CPL certificate to join the airline as a trainee pilot on a five-year contract in 2010. Lokhande, after three failed attempts to clear the examinations in India, had allegedly paid Rs 3 lakh to a tout in 2008 and secured a fake licence to fly. He was finally arrested last year and though released on bail, faces a cheating and forgery case and his CPL has been suspended.

He flew into the long arms of law finally last year and though released on bail faces a cheating and forgery case and his CPL is suspended.

The worrying rise in the number of fake pilots across airlines last year had led to a crackdown by the top brass as the Directorate general of Civil Aviation. Lokhande was the second AI pilot to be arrested. The airline had earlier dismissed another pilot, J K Verma, for producing a fake CPL certificate. The HC, however, last August directed the airline to hold an inquiry and keep him under suspension. Last November, the Supreme Court stayed the HC order.

Lokhande too moved the HC against AI. His lawyer, Mohan Bir Singh, argued that dismissal cannot stem from mere allegations. “There is no finding by any authority that the CPL documents are fake,” said Singh. But AI, whose aircraft had crashed in Mangalore in 2010 killing all on-board, took a tough stand through its law firm M V Kini & Co. “The safety of passengers is of paramount consideration,” it said.

“The lives of passengers would be in danger if Lokhande, whose qualification as a CPL holder is based on fake documents, is allowed to fly an aircraft,” it said. As a pilot, Lokhande was governed by the terms and conditions of contract which were

signed by him and AI. Clause 31 of the agreement is very clear, said AI, and it empowers termination with immediate effect without assigning any reasons, if it is found at any stage that the pilot relied on false documents.

A bench of Justices D K Deshmukh and R Y Ganoo last week had no sympathy either. In a brief order, the bench brushed off all arguments against AI.

The HC said, “The petitioner was merely a trainee pilot. It appears he was arrested for submitting a fake result card. In this situation, no fault can be found with the order of termination.”,” and disposed of the matter

Lokhande is likely to challenge the HC order, his lawyer said.











HC order for parole to Rajiv case convict challenged


TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 03.10AM IST

MADURAI: The state government on Monday challenged a single judge order directing it to grant ordinary leave to Ravichandran, a convict in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case, for a period of 15 days.

P Ravichandran, who was cited as accused no 16, found guilty of participating in criminal conspiracy to assassinate Rajiv Gandhi, was sentenced to death along with 25 others by a Special Court for TADA cases on January 28, 1998.

Later, the Supreme Court commuted his sentence to life. Ravichandran is presently undergoing life imprisonment in the Madurai Central Prison. He has spent more than 20 years inside jail. His mother Rajeshwari had filed a writ petition in the Madurai bench seeking release of her son on 30 days’ ordinary leave for settling family disputes and also to make arrangements for maintenance of lands and properties.

On December 20, Justice V Ramasubramanian directed the authorities to grant ordinary leave to Ravichandran at least for a period of 15 days and pass appropriate orders within two weeks. prescribing the date, time and modality for the working out of other details.

While passing the order, the judge also pointed out that the prisoner had gone out only on three occasions for short spells. On all those occasions, his conduct and character in society had not come to adverse notice.

Now, the state government has filed a writ appeal in the Madurai bench of the Madras high court seeking to stay the order of the single judge’s order. On behalf of the state government, the writ appeal was filed by R Anbalagan, superintendent of prisons, Madurai.

The state government said that on earlier occasions, Ravichandran was released on leave for 14 days in 3 different times along with strong police escort headed by a deputy superintendent of police (surveillance). But now, the high court in its order had directed to grant 15 days’ ordinary leave to the convict. The government termed the leave very long and added that had the prisoner been released on leave without police escort in earlier instances, the situation would have worsened.

As this prisoner is involved in the assassination of a former prime minister, his presence outside the prison may be dangerous or prejudicial to public peace and tranquility. These points were not factored into account by the high court, added the state government.

Moreover, the state pointed out that the prisoner had not even paid escort charges totalling Rs 1,39,391 for having gone on leave. In the event of release of this prisoner further, he has to pay a large amount as escort charges.

The government added that the deployment of a large number of police personnel in the Virudhunagar district as escort would affect normalcy in the area.

When the matter came up for hearing before Justices N Paul Vasanthakumar and P Devadass, the Additional Advocate General K Chellapandian sought time to put forth the state government’s further contentions in the matter.

The matter now has been adjourned to February 29 for further hearing.











BMC can change transit camp for tenants: HC


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 21, 2012, 12.42AM IST

MUMBAI: There is nothing illegal in the BMC shifting tenants from one transit accommodation to another, said the Bombay High Court recently.

The court was hearing a petition by tenants of a municipal chawl in Parel who are to be shifted to a regular transit accommodation a decade after they were housed in a school.

A division bench of Justice Sharad Bobde and Justice Ramesh Dhanuka heard a petition filed by Harishchandra Sawant and others after the BMC, on June 28, 2011, issued them a notice to shift to the transit accommodation. The petitioners were residents of Bogdha Chawl on Jerbai Wadia Road, Parel. They were among 205 tenants who were shifted to the transit accommodation in 1998 at Baradevi Municipal School on Acharya Donde Marg, Wani Chawl and Pratiksha Nagar. The petitioners occupy the third and fourth floors of the dilapidated school.

An earlier bench had rapped the BMC for the delay. After seeing pictures of the new transit camp, the court had said, “Don’t treat people as animals.” According to the petition, the tenants formed a cooperative housing society. In June 2005 BMC gave permission to Tejaswini Group to redevelop the chawl but in May 2010 issued a show cause notice for termination for not beginning the work. BMC has now told the court that a new developer has been appointed and construction shall commence within 36 months from the date of issue of commencement certificate.

Petitioner’s advocate P G Lad said that reconstruction of permanent accommodation has taken a long time already and the action of BMC in trying to remove them from the presenting temporary alternate accommodation to shift them to another temporary alternate accommodation is neither legal nor proper. The judges at the hearing on February 10, 2012 disagreed. Prima facie we do not see any breach of any particular state or GR (government resolution) in regard to the impugned action,” they said, adding that no interference is called for by the court.

At the request of Lad that the children’s ensuing school exams are to take place in April, the judges in the interest of justice” directed BMC not to effect the shifting till April 31, 2012.










Jelestines wife to move HC against captain


Amritha K R

KOCHI: Dora Jelestine, wife of Valentine Jelestine who was gunned down by Italian marines on board the oil tanker ‘Enrica Lexie,’ will file a case under Admiralty Law against the Italian vessel in the Kerala High Court. The decision came at a meeting of various fishermen organisations, boat owners associations and the Kollam Diocese held in Kollam on Saturday. The procedures for the case will be undertaken under the supervision of the Quilon Social Service Society, an organisation under the Quilon Diocese. This is the first legal action undertaken by the victims’ family after the incident that took place on February 15. Apart from compensation, the petitioner will also demand the arrest of the captain and the ship owner.

“The two Italian Navymen are being made scapegoats and the rest of the crew members will go scot-free. This cannot be allowed,” said the director of the Quilon Social Service Society, Fr Rajesh Martin. To protest against the gruesome incident, a massive rally will be taken out to the Kollam Collectorate with the participation of various fishermen organisations, trade unions and members of the Kollam Diocese.

“We have a charter of demands. All measures must be taken to ensure that such an incident will not be repeated on our waters. Fishermen should be able to carry on with their livelihood without fear and due compensation must be paid to the families of the victims,” said Fr Steven Kayathil of the Quilon Social Service Society.

Speaking to mediapersons on Friday Ernakulam IG K Padmakumar had said: “If the petitioner files a case under the Admiralty Law before the High Court, the ship can be released after the victims’ families are paid compensation. The Advocate-General can appear for the case.”


LEGAL NEWS 21.02.2012

Quota row: Beni Prasad files reply to EC


Last Updated: Monday, February 20, 2012, 15:08

New Delhi: Congress leader and Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma on Monday replied to the Election Commission notice for violating the model code of conduct.

‘I respect the Election Commission and will adhere to its instruction in this case,” Verma said while replying to reporters.

The poll panel had issued a show cause notice to the Steel Minister seeking his explanation on his controversial minority sub-quota remarks latest by the evening today.

The notice was issued after the election watchdog went through the video footage of the election rally where Beni is said to have made the quota remarks.

The Election Commission had taken serious note of his comments, particularly for daring the poll body to take action against him.

Verma landed in a soup for his remarks, “Muslims don’t have their homes; they don’t have jobs and 70 percent of them work as labourers. Non-Congress governments in the state have not done anything for their betterment.”

“We will make sure that quota for them is increased if the Congress comes to power in Uttar Pradesh,” he said while addressing a political rally at Kayamganj Assembly constituency in the Farrukhabad district last wek.

Beni Prasad is the second Congress minister to have faced the EC ire over the quota remarks.

Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid had recently caused a huge furore when he promised a 9% Muslim sub-quota if the Congress won the elections.




Assessing officer can’t be part of tax appellate body deciding the appeal


MUMBAI: An income-tax commissioner, responsible for an assessment order, cannot be a part of the body that decides the appeal against the same order, a tax tribunal has said.

The Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT), the second appellate forum that decides on tax disputes, said that involving a tax official in deciding an appeal against an assessment order would be against the principles of natural justice, especially if the official had been party to the same assessment order.

The ITAT gave this order last month on an appeal filed by Lionbridge Technologies against an order of the Dispute Resolution Panel (DRP), a body set up exclusively under the Income-tax Act for resolving transfer pricing related disputes.

The company claimed that the DRP had disposed off its objections without addressing the issues and moved the second appellate forum, ITAT. Lionbridge said that a member of the DRP was also the jurisdictional commissioner i.e. the commissioner in whose jurisdiction the company was located. This is contrary to the principles of natural justice, the company pointed out.

The company also cited an Uttarakhand High Court order in the case of Hyundai Heavy Industries, in which the high court had underlined the need to appear impartial while giving judicial orders. The ITAT held that if a jurisdictional commissioner is nominated as a member of the DRP, the order passed by the DRP is liable to be set aside.

“The functions of DRP are judicial in nature and therefore it is required to have certain autonomy and impartiality. If the jurisdictional commissioner is part of the DRP there would be a real likelihood of bias,” KPMG in a note on the order said.










More Muslims than Hindus died in firing by policemen


Mahesh Langa, Hindustan Times
Ahmedabad, February 19, 2012

The Narendra Modi-led Gujarat government does not acknowledge the Concerned Citizens Tribunal, but is on the same page with it on one facet of the 2002 riots in the state. More Muslims died in police firing during the riots than Hindus, show the government’s statistics and the report of the tribunal headed by former Supreme Court judge justice VR Krishna Iyer.

According to the tribunal, which conducted its own probe into the massacres, this skewed body count defies logic because the riots were largely led by Hindus.

The casualty figures due to police firing vary too. The tribunal states 104 of the 184 people killed were Muslims. Government puts the death toll at 170 – 93 Muslims and 77 Hindus.

According to state government records, of more than 1,200 people killed in the riots, nearly 950 were Muslims.

The riots had erupted after the torching of the Sabarmati Express near Godhra on February 27, 2002.

Most of the 59 passengers killed in the train carnage were kar sevaks returning from Ayodhya.

The tribunal said in its report of November 2002, “The shocking levels of police complicity in the Gujarat carnage cannot be over-emphasised… not only did the local police not do anything to stop the Hindu mobs; they actually turned their guns on the helpless Muslim victims.”

In 2004, when Indian Police Service officer Rahul Sharma deposed before the Modi government-appointed Nanavati Commission probing the riots, he had said after more Hindus died in police firing than Muslims in Bhavnagar, Gordhan Zadaphia, the state’s the then junior home minister, had asked him to maintain ratio.

Sharma was the superintendent of police of Bhavnagar district during the riots.

According to Sharma, “Zadaphia had called, on March 16, 2002, and said that the toll in police firing in the district was weighted too heavily against the Hindu community as against the Muslims – at 5 to 1.”

“I had explained to the minister that the casualty ratio in police firing depended on the composition of the mob… if 90% of the mob is Hindu, then obviously 90% of the casualty will be Hindus,” he had deposed.








2G auction: Govt may allow foreign cos bid without Indian partner


NEW DELHI: The government plans to allow foreign companies to bid without an Indian partner, or as 100% foreign entities, in the upcoming sale of second generation (2G) airwaves, following the cancellation of 122 mobile phone permits by the Supreme Court. This will allow the likes of Norway’s Telenor to bid for 2G bandwidth and induct a local partner later on if they are successful in the auctions.

But both the telecom department and sector regulator Trai are unlikely to agree to the demands of Telenor, Videocon, S Tel amongst others that the upcoming auctions be restricted to those players whose licences were quashed by the apex court. These telcos have told Trai that incumbents and others who want to participate in the bandwidth sale should only be allowed at a later stage with a higher reserve price.

In a bid to avoid any controversies, or allegations of notional loss, the government plans to allow the more than 30 companies, including DLF and Moser Baer that failed to bag mobile permits in 2008, after former telecom minister A Raja arbitrarily changed the cutoff date, to bid in the upcoming 2G spectrum auctions, said a government official.

Another official said allowing companies to bid as 100% foreign entities would only be an extension of provisions in the third generation and broadband wireless (BWA) spectrum auctions held in 2010. In the broadband auctions of 2010, US-based chipmaker Qualcomm, which won 4G bandwidth in Delhi, Mumbai, Haryana and Kerala for about Rs 5,000 crore, was given a six-month window to reduce their holdings to 74%, the maximum FDI allowed in telecom companies.

Norwegian communications major Telenor which has claimed compensation from its Indian partner Unitech Ltd is learnt to be exploring the option of bidding for airwaves by itself.

Scandinavia’s largest telco may look at inducting a strategic minority partner after the bandwidth sale process as it believes that it may not be possible to resolve its conflict with Unitech and induct a new partner into the JV prior to the auctions, executives tracking the development said. Other foreign players who want to enter India may also look at this model.

The Empowered Group of Ministers, looking into all spectrum-related issues, will take the final call on the eligibility criteria for companies in the upcoming 2G bandwidth sale. But with the telecom department favouring throwing open the auctions to all the 30 companies that had applied for licences in 2008, an official said this would also pave the for companies outside this list as well as incumbents to participate in the sale process.

Communications minister Kapil Sibal last week announced that all future licences would be delinked from spectrum, which would be sold in a market linked process.

Incumbents such as Bharti Airtel, Vodafone and BSNL have asked Trai to ensure that auctions are open to all operators. “This will ensure the most efficient allocation of the spectrum, and is necessary to derive a fair market price,” Vodafone had said in its communication to Trai.

India’s largest telco by revenues and customers Bharti Airtel, has told Trai that restricting the the upcoming bandwidth sale to a specific ‘class of operators’ would be contrary to the judgement of the Supreme Court, may again give rise to litigation, favour only one set of players, and seriously suppress the market value of spectrum due to limited participation.


Gaonkar petitions SC over illegal mining


TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 02.10AM IST

MARGAO: Antonio Gaonkar, leader of the erstwhile Save Goa Front (SGF), has filed a writ petition in the Supreme Court over the issue of illegal mining in the state.

Gaonkar, in the petition, has sought directions from the apex court to the concerned authorities “that the boundaries of all the mining leases be determined/demarcated” by the Survey of India, mines department, forest department and revenue department of the state.

The petition raises pertinent questions like “whether the mining activity in Goa can be legal when not a single mining lease and/or prospecting licence was granted since 2001”, “whether mining activity can be allowed even when there is no forest clearance from the ministry of environment and forests as in the case of 32 mines”, and “no environmental, wildlife, air and water clearance” in the case of three mining companies. The petition has raised questions over the legality of mining through “raising contractors like urban development minister Joaquim Alemao when they operate the mines without being registered with or recognized by the directorate of mines or any other authority under the Mines and Minerals Regulation and Development Act, especially when such mining on private lands goes on unaccounted “.

Gaonkar has pointed out that besides Alemao, Vedanta (Sesa Goa), Minescape (Dinar Tarcar) and Timblo Pvt Ltd are operating several mines as “raising contractors”. Gaonkar, in the petition, has also made a case for handing over mining activity in Goa to public sector undertaking “for compliance of various provisions of Mines and Minerals laws and Forest and Wildlife laws in order to end the menace of illegal mining.”









Try tea tycoons for defence leaks: Court


TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 05.08AM IST

NEW DELHI: A special CBI court has paved the way for commencement of trial against the owners of the world’s first tea plantation company – K K Jajodia and his son Aditya Jajodia -for allegedly dispatching documents pertaining to security of the nation to two European countries.

The Jajodias are founder members of Assam Company Ltd (ACL), the flagship company of Duncan Macneill Group, established in 1839 by a deed of British Parliament. It was the first tea plantation company in the world and was awarded a royal charter by Queen Victoria in 1845.

On February 13, the court of special CBI judge Pradeep Chaddha ordered framing of charges against the duo in a 25-year-old case where they were booked along with senior government officials for allegedly leaking and dispatching a report of the defence ministry. The report reportedly contained details of equipment including radar and ‘flycatchers’ for detection and tracking of low-flying enemy aircraft.

“On face of it, it would indicate that both father and son were engaged in dispatching/selling documents pertaining to security of the nation,” said Judge Chaddha. He said he found sufficient prima facie evidence against the duo to frame charges under criminal conspiracy and a few sections of Official Secrets Act.

The court has also framed charges against N W Nerukar, then advisor in the department of electronics, and against Brigadier R S Deol, who served in the directorate of weapons and equipment, Army Headquarters, between March 1986 and March 1988.

As per the CBI, on April 13, 1987, acting on a tip-off, senior CBI officials picked up two couriers from a courier company at Barakhamba road. The first packet was addressed to one Marc De Saint Dennis of Paris and contained a photocopy of “User Evaluation Trial Report on RATAC-S Battlefield Surveillance Rader (BFSR) phase-I”. The second cover was addressed to Mr J W H Weavers, Netherlands, and contained typed draft in 13 pages containing details of radar, flycatcher and other arms and ammunition. Following this interception, the CBI teams raided Jajodia’s Vasant Vihar residence and allegedly found more documents pertaining to details of utility helicopters required by the army from K K Jajodia’s bedroom.

“Seizure of further documents from the house of Jajodias raises suspicion that they were involved in the peddling of secrets. Had nothing been recovered from their residence probably opinion of the court would have been different but further recovery from the residence clinches the issue for the time being and it seems that they were indeed involved with leakage of defence secrets,” said Judge Chaddha, who has now put the case for February 23.



2002 post-Godhra riots: Ex-UK envoy deposes before Gujarat court


Published: Monday, Feb 20, 2012, 0:18 IST
Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: PTI

A former British envoy has deposed before a special court through video conferencing (VC) in connection with a post-Godhra riot case, where four persons, including three British nationals, were killed in Sabarkantha district.

Former Deputy British High Commissioner to India Ian Reakes during the 2002 riots, deposed yesterday from an office of a human rights organisation in London before designated judge Geeta Gopi.

The court had issued summons to Reakes and his colleague ex-Deputy British High Commissioner to India Howard Parkinson after the British government granted permission to the court to examine the envoys in the case last year.

The examination of the duo was sought by the original complainant and prime witness in the case Imran Dawood, a British national himself who had survived the attack on him and others near Prantij in Sabarkantha.

Reakes was posted as vice counsel with the office of British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai from August 1999 to May 2002, where he was in-charge of protection of British nationals in India.

He is presently an analyst with the Cabinet office of the United Kingdom.

During his deposition, Reakes told the court that he had visited Prantij on March 8-9, 2002 and gone to the scene of offence and other surrounding places with Gujarat police.

Reakes said he had visited Prantij on request of one Bilal Dawood, relative of one of the deceased in the case.

Reakes said he had found human bones at the spot near the scene of offence which were sent to Hyderabad Forensic Science Lab (FSL). Tests proved that the one of the bones was that of one of the deceased in the incident Saeed Dawood.

As per the case details, three British nationals — Saeed Dawood, Mohammed Aswat Nallabhai, Shakil Dawood and their Gujarati driver Yusuf Sulaiman were burnt to death during the post-Godhra violence on National Highway 8 near Prantij in Sabarkantha on February 28, 2002.

Shakil’s body was not found, hence after the passage of seven years, he was declared dead.

Imran was badly injured in the incident, but he was saved by a patrolling police vehicle. He later lodged the FIR.

Deposition of Imran and four other witnesses have already been recorded by the court during the trial.

In his application, Imran had sought examination of Reakes on the ground that he was present with the then investigating officer during collection of ashes and bones of the dead bodies.

He wanted statement of Parkinson to be recorded by the court because the officer had got an anonymous letter informing about the incident along with names of accused persons.

Six people are facing trial in the case.









Court grants plea to amend complaint


Caesar Mandal & Suman Chakraborti, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 01.51AM IST

KOLKATA: The city metropolitan magistrate on Sunday granted the petition to amend the complaint from ‘rape’ to ‘gang rape’. The latter entails rigorous imprisonment for not less than 10 years and may be extended to life term and shall also be liable to fine.

During the court proceedings, none of the accused spoke a single word.

Following the initial probe, police have reasons to believe that Sumit, who hails from an affluent family in Gariahat, was driving his own car and Johny was seated in the front. Naseer and Kader were in the back seat along with Nishad. The CCTV footage shows Nishad and Naseer boarding the car and Kader taking the back seat before them. Sumit is seen standing in front of the car and later, opening the front door, which suggests he was probably at the wheel.

The car that was confiscated is registered in the name of Bajaj Transport Company, which Sumit’s family owns. Police sources said Johny hails from Entally area and has a place to stay in Ekbalpore. But as soon the case was flashed in the media, they fled. The car will be sent for forensic tests, said Joint CP (crime) Damayanti Sen.











Fishermen killing: Law will take its own course, says Krishna


PTI Feb 19, 2012, 02.45PM IST

BANGALORE: External Affairs Minister S M Krishna today said the law of the country would take its own course in fishermen killing case in which the crew of an Italian ship fired at and killed two Indians off Kollam coast in Kerala.

“The law of the land will take its own course in the incident where the crew of an Italian ship Enrica Lexie fired at and killed two Indian fishermen (off Kollam coast in Kerala),” he told reporters on the sidelines of Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee meeting here.

Krishna said the captain and two members of the Italian ship must cooperate with Kerala law agencies to arrive at an amicable solution.

“We have advised the Italians to cooperate with the Kerala law agencies to find an amicable solution,” he said.

Refuting claims of Italian embassy officials in Delhi that the Indian vessel attacked the Italian ship in international waters, Krishna said “the fishing vessel was only carrying fishing nets and fish”.

The fishermen Ajesh Binki (25) and Jalastein (45) were killed on February 15 off Kollam coast near Kerala when armed guards of the ship fired at their boat, suspecting it to be a a vessel belonging to pirates.

Krishna said there were agitations in Kerala over fishermen’s killings.

Krishna said he has been in talks with Italian Foreign Affairs Minister Giulio Maria Terzi and Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on the issue.

The minister said he was looking forward to Terzi’s visit to India on February 28.











German Bakery blast: Doctor deposes before court


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 12:13 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA

Dr Pravin Survase, 27, the surgeon from Sassoon General hospital, who treated German Bakery blast victims deposed before additional sessions Judge NP Dhote saying the victims he had treated were injured in a blast. However, when the special public prosecutor asked him whether he meant a bomb blast, he said it could be any blast.

Survase has been working as a resident doctor with the surgery department of Sassoon hospital since May 2009. He had examined 12 German Bakery blast victims on February 13, 2010.

Survase informed the court that the patients he examined suffered burns, injuries due to splinters, abrasions and others wounds that may take place due to a blast.

During cross-examinatio, Survase said a fall could result in such injuries, but the way they were suffered cumulatively indicated that there was a blast or explosion. When special public prosecutor Raja Thakare asked him whether he meant the German Bakery blast, the doctor replied in affirmative. Himayat Baig, the sole arrested accused in the case, could not be produced before the court due to staff shortage in the police department as most personnel were busy with security arrangements for the civic elections.










Naroda Patiya accused seek stay


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 19:58 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Two accused in the Naroda Patiya massacre case have sought stay on the case’s trial till the decision of a case pending before the Supreme Court. Special judge Jyotsna Yagnik has fixed hearing of the case for February 23.

The two accused, Manoj Kulkarni and Vipin Panchal, have stated in their plea that the trial should be stayed as an important matter related to alleged complicity of social activist, Teesta Setalvad, in the case for filing doctored affidavits is pending before the Supreme Court.

The special court of Naroda Gam had directed registrar of the city civil and sessions court to file case against Raees Khan and others after he alleged that he and Teesta had filed doctored affidavits in various courts during riot cases’ hearing.

ACP to probe charges against GU V-C


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 16:25 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

Corruption charges against Gujarat University’s vice-chancellor Parimal Trivedi and other officials would be conducted by the Assistant Commissioner of Police (ACP) of the B division of the city.

A local court, on Saturday, allowed a plea moved by the Police Inspector (PI) Gujarat University police station who sought a probe by an ACP level officer.

The PI of Gujarat University police station had moved an application in city civil and sessions court that, “Under section 17 of Prevention of Corruption Act, the charges imposed on the vice-chancellor and other accused can be probed only by Assistant Police Commissioner or Deputy Superintendent Police level officials. We do not have powers to investigate this matter.”

On February 8, a local court had ordered inquiry against Trivedi and others accused under section 156(3) in connection with the complaint filed by the suspended professor Pradeep Prajapati.

In his complaint Prajapati alleged, “Parimal Trivedi, in-charge registrar Minesh Shah, an officer Vaishali Padhiyar and one Wilson Printers have committed financial irregularities amounting to Rs1.56 crore.

A contract of printing of examination papers has been illegally given to Wilson Printing Press for the years 2007 to 2011.”He further stated that, “University authorities have withdrawn the fixed deposit of Rs100 crore from State Bank of India. This decision has caused loss of around Rs3 crore to the university as penalty and interest.”









Procedural errors no ground for quashing conviction: SC


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 12:00 IST
Place: New Delhi | Agency: PTI

Procedural errors cannot be the sole ground for quashing conviction or ordering retrial in a criminal case unless there was manifest miscarriage of justice to the accused, the Supreme Court has ruled.

“Decidedly, there has to be a fair trial and no miscarriage of justice and under no circumstances, prejudice should be caused to the accused but, every procedural lapse or every interdict that has been acceded to and not objected at the appropriate stage would not get the trial dented or make it unfair,” said a three-judge bench headed by Justice Dalveer Bhandari.

The bench gave the ruling while dismissing an appeal by some murder convicts – Rattiram, Satyanarayan and others, belonging to Madhya Pradesh.

The convicts had come to the apex court challenging the life sentence imposed on them by a Madhya Pradesh sessions Court in August 1996 and upheld by the state high court for murdering a dalit.

“Treating it (conviction) to be unfair would amount to an undesirable state of pink of perfection in procedure. An absolute apple pie order in carrying out the adjective law, would only be sound and fury signifying nothing,” the apex court said, dismissing the appeal in a case under Section 302 of the IPC and various other provisions of SC / ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989.

After their conviction, the convicts had sought a re-trial on the ground that the case as required under Section 193 CrPC was not initially committed by a magistrate to the sessions court as the latter had directly taken cognisance of the charge sheet filed by police.

The apex court bench, which also included justices T S Thakur and Dipak Mishra, said “the seminal issue is whether protection given to the accused under the law has been jeopardised as a consequence of which there has been failure of justice or causation of any prejudice.”

The bench pointed out that “the concept of fair trial and conception of miscarriage of justice are not in the realm of abstraction and not operate in a vacuum.”

“They are to be concretely established on the bedrock of facts and not to be deduced from procedural lapse or an interdict like commitment as enshrined under Section 193 of the Code for taking cognisance under the Act,” it said.

Underlining the risk of ordering retrial on grounds of minor violations of procedures, the bench said, “It would have the effect to potentiality cause a dent in the criminal justice delivery system and justice would eventually become illusory like a mirage.”

The apex court said judged from these angles the trial of the convicts was not vitiated in any manner.

“It does not vitiate the trial and on the said ground alone, the conviction cannot be set aside or there cannot be a direction of retrial,” the bench added.










81-year-old doctor let off after over 28 yrs of trial


PTI | 10:02 AM,Feb 19,2012

New Delhi, Feb 19 (PTI) An 81-year-old doctor, caught manufacturing and selling spurious drugs and cosmetics over 28 years ago and sentenced to three years in jail for his crime, has been let off on probation by a Delhi court. Additional Sessions Judge (ASJ) Savita Rao let off Dr H R Kanwal on a year’s probation after modifying the three-year jail-term, imposed by the magisterial court upon him, to a year. The court enlarged the convict on probation saying though the offences committed by him have grave social and economic implications, sending him to jail will not serve any purpose in the given circumstances. The sessions court also took note of the convict’s pleading for leniency on the ground that he faced the trial for 28 years, during which his only son was murdered. “Though the trial court has rightly observed that the offence committed by the appellant have grave social repercussions upon the consumers who were using it believing it to be a genuine product and there is also heavy revenue loss to the company having license to manufacture the same, thereby affecting the economy of the country, but considering the reasons as stated above, no purpose would be served by sending him behind the bars,” the ASJ said. The ASJ ordered Kanwal’s release on one year probation on furnishing a bond of Rs 50,000 with one surety of like amount. MORE












Jaya not at fault in wealth case: Sasikala


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: Sasikala Natarajan, the estranged aide of Tamil Nadu Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa, deposed before a local court here on Saturday and submitted that the AIADMK chief was only a dormant partner in Jaya Publications Ltd and Sasi Enterprises. Sasikala, who appeared before the 36th City Civil and Sessions Court and the Special Court hearing the disproportionate assets case against Jayalalithaa, replied to 40 questions. She had to depend on an interpreter appointed by the court as she was unable to understand English.

Sasikala has to answer around 1,000 questions and the court will continue recording her statements on February 23.

When Judge B M Mallikarjunaiah asked her about the management of the firms, Sasikala said she looked after the administration of Jaya Publications and Jayalalithaa was not involved in its affairs and informed that she operated bank accounts of the firm alone. “Even in case of Sasi Enterprises, it’s the same,” she said, corroborating Jayalalithaa’s statement in the court last November.

Meanwhile, before the questioning started, Sasikala’s advocate requested the court to defer recording of statements as a special leave petition seeking direction to the Special Court for translating all questions into Tamil was pending before the Supreme Court. But the judge rejected the plea.

Also, Sasikala’s counsel requested the judge to conduct the hearing only three days a week as they had to appear for other cases in Tamil Nadu.

But Special Public Prosecutor B V Acharya objected to this and said the questioning has to be done on a day-today basis in keeping with the Supreme Court direction.Later, the judge rejected the plea.









I am not to blame for delay in 2G judgments’


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2012

Former Supreme Court judge justice Ashok Kumar Ganguly — who was part of the bench that delivered the 2G spectrum judgments reserved nearly a year earlier — has made it clear that he was not responsible for the delay. “These two judgments were heard by a bench of justice GS Singhvi and myself, but both the judgments were reserved by my learned senior colleague justice Singhvi,” justice Ganguly told Karan Thapar in the CNN-IBN programme, Devil’s Advocate.

Justice Ganguly said the judgments — on sanction for prosecution of former telecom minister A Raja and cancellation of 122 telecom licences — would have been delivered long ago “if I had reserved the judgments”.

He added the delay must not have been “intentional” but due to the “tremendous pressure” that Supreme Court judges are under, a reference to the SC’s attempt to reduce the list of pending cases.

In course of the interview, the retired judge also made it clear that the court’s recommendation that sanction for prosecution of corrupt public servants would be deemed to have been granted if the competent authority does not take a decision within four months was valid for the judiciary as well.

He also made it clear that the court hadn’t made auction the rule for all natural resources, including land, but the statement — that first-come-first-serve principle was flawed — was made “in the context of the facts considered in the judgment.”

The judge, who retired soon after delivering the landmark judgment, also explained why the court kept aside the principle of collective responsibility of the cabinet to only indict former telecom minister A Raja and drew the distinction between the Prime Minister and his office.

If you look at the facts properly, you find that the minister concerned didn’t pay heed to the requests made by other ministers, he said.


Supreme Court urged to revoke suspension of 117 mining leases


Central Empowered Committee has recommended cancellation of 49 leases

The Karnataka Government has requested the Supreme Court to revoke the suspension of 117 mining leases listed under categories A and B by the Central Empowered Committee (CEC).

The Supreme Court-appointed CEC has recommended cancellation of 49 mining leases listed under Category C, where iron ore was being mined illegally. It has recommended resumption of operations in 45 mining leases listed under Category A, subject to fulfilment of stipulated conditions. It has also recommended that mining be allowed in 72 leases listed under Category B, after asking the concerned leases to comply with prerequisites, including payment of penalty.

Chief Secretary to the State Government S.V. Ranganath in an affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on February 8 stated that the CEC had cleared a few mines “where no significant illegality or irregularity has been noticed. These mines may kindly be allowed to operate without hindrance”.

The affidavit said that there were some other mines which had been enumerated as Category B “for reasons of some or other kind of illegality or irregularity noticed by the CEC” and these mines too could be allowed to operate. “The State Government would undertake to ensure all material safeguards in place and due diligence is exercised by all agencies as directed by the court,” the affidavit said.

With regard to leases under Category C, where large-scale serious and irreversible illegalities or irregularities have been noticed by the CEC, the Government would take “whatever action as directed by the court”, the affidavit said.

In Western Ghats

In its affidavit, the Government took exception to the recommendation of the Indian Council for Forestry Research and Education (ICFRE) to the Supreme Court on permitting mining in the Western Ghats. The Government has expressed its opposition to mining in the Western Ghats.

The ICFRE in its report indirectly suggested that mining of iron ore be permitted in the Western Ghats by using advanced underground mining technology in an “environment friendly” manner. However, the CEC in its report rejected the suggestion by noting that “the ICFRE has gone totally out of context and beyond its terms of reference.”

Noting that the ICFRE recommendation to exploit large-scale deposits of magnetite ore in the Western Ghats through closed underground mining operations adopting latest and advanced technology “may not be a viable proposition”, the affidavit said that the State Government was obliged to conserve the mineral for posterity, keeping in mind the principle of “inter-generational equity” and in the light of likely danger to be caused to ecology. Western Ghats have been now considered as a unique “eco-sensitive biosphere and it is being considered for the World Heritage Site tag”, the affidavit said.

Backed by a court order, India to seek extradition of Headley, Rana


Vishwa Mohan, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 01.45AM IST

NEW DELHI: Armed with a special court order, India will soon write to the US seeking extradition of American citizen David Coleman Headley and his Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Hussain Rana for their trial here for plotting with LeT and HuJI terrorists to attack places of iconic importance in the Capital and other cities including Mumbai.

Though Headley had entered into a plea bargaining with US authorities and got immunity from being extradited to India or any other country, New Delhi has to follow the legal procedure by formally pressing for his extradition backed by the court order.

Taking cognizance of NIA’s chargesheet against Headley, Rana, Lashkar founder Hafiz Saeed, the outfit’s key commander Zaki-ur-Rehman Lakhvi and five others, a special court here on Saturday sought their presence before it for trial on March 13.

“We will write to the US with reference of the court order. New Delhi will highlight that the chargesheet against Headley and Rana is not restricted to the 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case alone. It also covers the offences which do not come under the 12 counts on which he had pleaded guilty and entered into the plea bargaining,” a home ministry official said.

Under the plea bargaining, Headley had become prosecution witness in the trial against Rana, who was acquitted by a US court in the 26/11 case but indicted for his role in a terror plot against Denmark. Both are currently in jail in Chicago.

“Rana may be acquitted in the Mumbai attack case, but he is an accused here in the case which pertains to a criminal conspiracy with LeT and HuJI terrorists to carry out attacks in New Delhi and other places in India,” said the official.

He said New Delhi would also write to Washington to take into account the fact that the US authorities had agreed for Headley’s plea bargaining without taking India on board despite a pending case against the accused here.

A section within the home ministry believes that though it is highly unlikely that the US will extradite Headley and Rana, the move may see some legal wrangling between the two countries — especially if someone decides to approach an American court. Even under the existing extradition agreement between India and US, Rana will have to first undergo his sentence in an American jail if convicted for his role in the Denmark plot.

“In any case, the accused’s appearance for trial through video link cannot be ruled out as a compromise in future,” the official said.

The NIA has, meanwhile, begun the process of sending letter rogatory to Morocco for recording the statement of Headley’s estranged Moroccan wife Faiza Outalha for evidence against him. She had visited India with Headley twice during the latter’s reconnaissance mission.

India, which has already asked Pakistan for deportation of Saeed and Lakhvi, will again write to Islamabad with reference of the court order. Lakhvi, who is in jail, is being tried in a Rawalpindi court in the 26/11 case whereas Saeed and others chargesheeted by the NIA remain scot-free.

Dharavi torture: CWC will decide girl’s custody after she recovers


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 20, 2012

Grandparents of Menaka Thakur, the seven-year-old girl who was beaten up and branded by her stepmother in Dharavi, will have to wait till she recuperates completely from her injuries before they find out if they could take her to their native place with them. Saroj Thakur, the victim’s paternal uncle, told HT, “The Children’s Welfare Committee (CWC) told us that a decision would be taken once Menaka recovered.” The child is currently being treated for pain in her knees and a shoulder injury at JJ hospital.

Saroj said they were facing a hard time trying to meet Menaka. “My father Sukhnandan Thakur returned home without meeting her,” he said.

Menaka was discharged from Sion Hospital last week and was taken to the children’s home in Dongri. However, as the child had not recovered from her injuries, she was taken to GT hospital and then finally to JJ hospital.

The CWC will decide if Menaka will be safe with her grandparents in Bihar or if she needs to be looked after by a child care centre in the city. The decision of the CWC will be based on a report filed by a probation officer who will personally visit the victim’s grandparents’ residence.

The victim’s stepmother, Aarti Thakur, is currently behind bars.

JIPMER told to give answer key of entrance test


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


PUDUCHERRY: The Central Information Commission (CIC) has directed Jawaharlal Institute of Post Graduate Medical Education and Research (JIPMER) to provide question papers along with answer key of an entrance test conducted by it for admission to various courses, if sought under the Right to Information Act.

This is a landmark order passed on January 13, as it applies to all entrance exams conducted by institutions in India.

This is the response to an RTI application filed by Dr K Sudhakar, general secretary of Puducherry government medical officers’ association, seeking question papers and answer key of entrance test to MCh (Urology) for 2011-2012 .

The public information officer (PIO) and registrar (Academic), James Sekar, refused to give information claiming that it was not the practice of the institution. As per the practice, only model question papers were sold along with prospectus.

Dissatisfied with the reply, Dr Sudhakar made an appeal to the first appellate authority (FFA), but FAA stated that it was satisfied with the reply of PIO.

Following this, Dr Sudhakar moved the CIC. Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, after hearing the case through video conference, ordered the public information officer to furnish a copy of the question paper with answer key by February 10. Gandhi, in his January 23 order, pointed out that the right to information was a fundamental right and denial of information could only be based on the provisions of exemptions under Section 8(1) of the RTI Act. He observed that PIO cannot deny information based on arbitrary whims or policies of various institutions

When the public information officersaid there was a possibility that the information sought may have been destroyed, the commissioner warned that destruction of information sought under the RTI Act would have serious repercussions.

Amending evidence act can improve rate of conviction: Judge


Charul Shah, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, February 20, 2012

Additional sessions judge Sanjay Deshmukh, while acquitting the four accused of kidnapping and killing 16-year-old Adnan Patrawala in 2007, stressed the need for an amendment to the Indian Evidence Act.

On February 1, justice Deshmukh acquitted Sujit Nair, Rajiv Dhariya, Ayush

Bhat and Amit Kaushal, because the prosecution failed to prove its case “beyond reasonable doubts” against the accused.

Justice Deshmukh, in his judgment, observed, “We have the old Evidence Act of 1872. That was enacted in the regime of the British. There is a lot of change in society. The acquittal rate in criminal matters is high because of the required standard of proof beyond reasonable doubt.”

The judgment found several procedural loopholes in the investigation into the Patrawala case. It doubted the credibility of the evidence collected by the police from the accused as well as the spot where the boy’s body was found in Vashi. According to the judgment, the police failed to follow the formal procedure of maintaining records of the evidence to be produced in court.

Further, the judgement said the chemical analysis report of Adnan’s clothes, ignored by the prosecution, could have established the presence of the accused on the spot. “The panch witnesses, who were present when Adnan’s clothes were seized from the spot, were not examined by the prosecution in court. Therefore, it is doubtful evidence,” the court observed.

The court also observed that the prosecution failed to establish the complete chain of circumstances in the case. “Finding blood, earth and pepper powder on Adnan’s clothes and shoes is not sufficient to draw inference against the accused. It does not establish a complete chain. No conviction can be made on such doubtful evidence,” the court observed.

Natarajan sent to Tiruchi prison


M. Natarajan, husband of Sasikala, former aide of Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, who was arrested in a land grab case on Saturday in Chennai, was produced before a magistrate at her residence here in the early hours of Sunday and remanded in judicial custody till March 2.

He was immediately taken to the Tiruchi Central Prison and lodged there. Mr.Natarajan was brought to the Tamil University police station at around 3.30 a.m. and interrogated by the police officers.

He was taken to the Thanjavur Medical College Hospital where a medical examination was done. Later, he was produced before Malathi, Judicial Magistrate I.

Mr. Natarajan told the Magistrate that he would like to undergo treatment in a private hospital as he was unwell. To this, the Magistrate said that he can take treatment in the medical facility available at Central Prison. When he insisted, the magistrate asked him to file a separate petition on Monday.

Later speaking to reporters, he alleged that the state government was harassing his family. “But we will bear it, as we are followers of Anna. My arrest is a gift for Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on her birthday. I also convey my birthday wishes to her,” he said before being taken to the prison.

Mr. Natarajan was arrested following a complaint lodged by S. Ramalingam of Vilar near Thanjavur with the district crime branch police alleging that Mr.Natarajan and his associates forcibly encroached upon his 15,000 sq.ft property to construct a memorial there. Cases were registered against Mr.Natarajan, his brother M.Swaminathan and four others — Chinnaiyah, Suresh, Ilanchezhiyan and Kubendran — under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Meanwhile, police arrested two more persons, Chinnaiah, a relative of Mr. Natarajan, and Kubendran of Needamangalam, an AIADMK party functionary. They were also produced before the Judicial Magistrate I and remanded to custody till March 2 before being sent to Tiruchi Central Prison.

Bench puts an end to a decade old mystery


The woman died in 2002 and a complaint was lodged in 2008 claiming it to be a murder

The Madras High Court Bench here has put at an end to the mystery over the death of an aged woman J. Mariammal of Tiruchi on December 21, 2002 by rejecting the argument of her nephew that she did not die naturally but was murdered by her relatives who did not want her to change a will executed in favour of them.

Dismissing a criminal revision petition filed by her nephew V. Singaravelan, Justice P. R. Shivakumar held that a Judicial Magistrate in Tiruchi had rightly rejected the petitioner’s theory of his paternal aunt having been murdered for want of sufficient evidence to prove the claim. The Magistrate had passed the order on September 29, 2010.

The petitioner had lodged a private complaint with the Magistrate only on August 11, 2008 after a delay of nearly six years since the death of his aunt. According to him, the aged woman had executed a will in April 2002 bequeathing her properties in favour of him as well as three other relatives.

In December 2002, she met with an accident and was hospitalised. Lying on the death bed, she asked her foster daughter Kanagavalli to call for her advocate in order to change the will. On coming to know of the development, the three accused killed the woman by administering excessive sedative medicines.

Further alleging that the homicidal death was suppressed by cremating the body, the petitioner claimed to have come to know about the incident through people who were privy to the occurrence.

On receipt of the private complaint, the Magistrate referred it to the Kottai police station in Tiruchi for investigation.

A case was registered under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code. But after concluding the investigation, the police filed a final report for closing the case after terming it as a ‘mistake of fact.’ Not in agreement with such a conclusion, the petitioner filed a protest petition before the Magistrate.

Thereafter, the Magistrate examined the petitioner as well as other witnesses in favour of him on oath, recorded their evidence, perused the related documents including the investigation reports of the police and refused to commit the case for trial before a Sessions court on coming to the conclusion that the death was natural and not homicidal as claimed.

Holding that the Magistrate had adopted the right procedures while dealing with the case, Mr. Justice Shivakumar said that a Magistrate dealing with a private complaint need not mechanically refer a case to a Sessions court thereby making the individuals concerned to face trial unnecessarily.

The Magistrate could appreciate the evidence available and ascertain whether there were sufficient grounds to prosecute the accused.

Porngate: Commoners prosecuted, MLAs investigated


Published: Sunday, Feb 19, 2012, 15:52 IST
By M Raghuram | Place: Mangalore | Agency: DNA

Everyone is equal in the eyes of law, but some are more equal than others. This is what many people of the state have come to believe, going by how the former ministers involved in the porn scandal are apparently being given an easy way out.

Past Sunday night in Mangalore city, a policeman caught two youth red-handed watching porn on a mobile phone at an empty bus stand. The cop grabbed their collar but one of them managed to escape.

The one holding the mobile phone could not break free and was dragged to the police station. He was booked under section 294 of Indian Penal Code, which says the offence is cognizable, can be tried in court and is punishable with imprisonment for three months and/or fine. Poovaiah, the inspector of Barke police station in Mangalore city, told DNA the youth’s offence was grave.

Similar cases are booked across the state. Many times the offenders face conviction. However, the former ministers who were caught on camera while watching pornographic videos, that too on the floor of the assembly, have not faced police action yet; people have begun to ask if the MLAs are above law.

That the assembly speaker has set up an inquiry committee to look into the incident has not gone down well with people.
Raju Poojary, father of one of the youth who was caught watching porn in Bajpe, asked why his son should be penalised for an offence for which the ex-ministers were facing merely an inquiry committee.

‘Speaker biased’
Chairman of Mangalore Bar Council, SP Chengappa, told DNA that any offence committed inside the Vidhana Soudha could be inquired by Vidhana Soudha police, but only after the assembly speaker’s nod in this case. President of Transparency International, India, Justice (Retd) MF Saldanha said he had little hope that the accused MLAs would get punishment. He said speaker KG Bopaiah was known for being biased and even in this incident, the speaker was likely to let the former ministers go lightly.

Saldanha added that there was no need for inquiry in this incident as there was video evidence to prove the wrongdoing. He said the police were wrong in saying that the crime came under the jurisdiction of the speaker. He said what happened in the assembly that day was like any other criminal act upon which the police can take action.

Congress leader VS Ugrappa shared this view. He said most of the representatives in both the houses—including those of the BJP—were not expecting the committee to indict the accused trio. He said there should be instant justice in the case; the speaker should have asked the Vidhana Soudha police to book a case against the trio instead of intervening.

Court reduces life term of a man who killed wife for not cooking


Press Trust of India, Updated: February 19, 2012 18:59 IST

Mumbai:  The Bombay High Court has reduced the life sentence awarded to a man – who killed his wife for not cooking food for him – to ten years in jail, saying the crime was not pre-planned.

The court, in the ruling last week, observed that the murder was over a “petty reason and not pre-planned” and Kamlya Waghmare cannot be held guilty under section 302 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for murder, but only under section 304 for culpable homicide.

Waghmare was sentenced to life imprisonment by the session’s court in September 2007 for murdering his wife Tara on March 14, 2006.

What prompted him to commit the murder was her refusal to cook for him.

The division bench of justices A P Lavande and S P Davare, which heard Waghmare’s appeal, observed, “The accused did not intend to commit murder of his wife but intended to cause injuries to her that was likely to cause her death. The accused assaulted his wife for a petty reason that she did not cook food for him. The assault was not pre-planned.”

The bench sentenced him to ten years in jail for culpable homicide.

The only evidence against him was the confession he had made before four witnesses – his relatives – about the murder when the latter visited Waghmare’s house and found Tara lying dead with him sitting by her side.

The High Court said there was no reason not to believe the witnesses’ account.

Shut resorts in tusker corridor: Experts


Nitin Sethi, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 03.13AM IST

NEW DELHI: The battle over removing hotels and resorts from the only corridor linking elephants in the Eastern and Western Ghats has got shriller. Experts on board the prime minister-led National Board of Wildlife (NBW) have written a joint letter to senior forest officials warning that they could be in contempt of court if they overrode the unanimous expert advice and set up yet another committee to review the Madras High Court decision that demanded removal of the resorts.

The Madras HC had ordered that the land falling in the Sigur corridor be taken over by the forest department and the resorts be demolished. The HC had ordered shutting down all the resorts in the belt and said the guest house owners had indulged in eco-destruction in the name of eco-tourism.

A bulk of resort owners took the case to the Supreme Court which asked the standing committee of the NBW to give its comments on the expert committee’s report on which the Madras HC had based its orders on. It noted, “It is open to the National Board for Wildlife to offer their comments on the report submitted by the committee constituted by the high court.”

The standing committee is chaired by the Union environment and forests minister and is stacked with senior forest officials and non-government wildlife experts. In a meeting, the experts agreed with the report and recommended that the land should be cleared of the resorts. But the forest officials suggested that yet another committee be set up on the issue. The issue was deferred with the minister, Jayanthi Natarajan, asking for more time to study the matter and come back to the group with the issue. It was decided that the ministry would seek some more time from the apex court to come back with its comments.

Now, in a joint letter, the experts have warned that the NBW could fall foul of court orders if it sought to review the results of a court-appointed committee without any mandate.

The experts shot off the letter, sources said, apprehending that the forest officials would use the delay in comments from the standing committee to set up yet another committee or site visit. Their letter reads, “We, therefore, humbly request that in the affidavit to the Hon’ble Supreme Court for seeking more time, the justification should not be the need to constitute another committee or site visit etc. We place on record that the undersigned members did not agree and in fact opposed the idea of forming another committee.”

The experts have also noted that the records of the meeting, when the Sigur corridor was discussed, did not reflect that all the experts were against setting up another committee. They wrote, “We wish to reiterate that all the undersigned members and not only Dr Divyabhanusinh Chavda, concur with the findings and recommendations given in the detailed report of the expert committee… including all the areas identified.”

Court questions construction of parking at Gurdwara Rakabganj


The Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Council to explain how the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC) is building a multi-level underground parking lot at a cost of Rs.400 crore inside Gurdwara Rakabganj in the New Delhi area without mandatory permissions as the shrine is a notified Grade III heritage building.

Justice Vipin Sanghi asked the NDMC to file a status report on the alleged construction of the parking facility without taking mandatory permissions from different government agencies concerned by March 22, the next date of hearing.

The Court asked for the explanation on a petition by the Sikh Forum for Service and Justice challenging construction of the parking facility.

The construction of parking lot is going since the laying of the foundation stone by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit last year.

The petitioner, G.S. Oberoi, president of the Forum, through his counsel Avtar Singh submitted in a fresh application that he had obtained information through RTI route that the DSGMC had sought no permission from the Heritage Conservation Committee to build the parking.

The petitioner further said that in a reply to a RTI application, the local body said that the Gurdwara Management had submitted a proposal to build the parking but it was rejected.

RTI application

Even the Department of Forests and Wildlife, Tughlakabad, had not granted any permission to the Committee to fell any tree inside the shrine’s premises for construction of the parking. The petitioner obtained this information through RTI application, counsel for the petitioner said.

The petitioner submitted that there was no requirement to build such a big parking facility at such a huge cost by the DSGMC as there was not much of utility of it for the devotees visiting the shrine.

The Forum is an association of individuals working for the welfare of the Sikh community.

Mr. Oberoi submitted that there were four important religious festivals in a year when a large number of devotees gathered there. Throughout the year, the attendance of devotees at the shrine was not so huge that it would require such a huge parking space.

He further submitted that the money that the Management Committee wanted to spend on the parking facility could be spent on giving finishing touches to the 400-bed under-construction Guru Harikishan Hospital at the Balasaheb Gurdwara at Ashram in South Delhi which was non-functional due to the neglect on the part of the Management Committee.

The petitioner also expressed his apprehension that the multi-level parking when built might also pose a threat to the nearby Parliament building.

The petitioner urged the Court to restrain the Committee from constructing the parking facility and direct the authorities concerned to take appropriate action against those who had allowed the construction in violation of the rules.

Masterplan delay a jolt for Noida Extn homebuyers


Darpan Singh, Hindustan Times
Noida, February 20, 2012

In a fresh jolt to home-buyers in the stuck Noida Extension projects, the NCR Planning Board has refused to set a deadline for clearing the Greater Noida Masterplan 2021, without which the projects cannot take off.

Four months ago, however, the Allahabad high court gave a compromise formula, saying while the land would remain with the builders, farmers would get increased benefits.

The trouble began in May 2011, when the HC returned the land to farmers in the Shahberi village and the Supreme Court upheld the order. The HC quashed acquisition in the Patwari village too.

Although the Shahberi projects could not be revived because of the SC order, a larger HC bench said in October that realty projects could go on only if the masterplan was approved by the NCR planning board, a central body.

The board has blamed the UP government for delay, as the Greater Noida authority moved court with a review petition, saying the NCR planning board did not have the powers to approve the state’s plans.

Now, the authority wants to resume the projects without the NCR board’s nod. Of the 2.5 lakh housing units planned in Noida Extension, one lakh have already been booked.

The home-buyers quoted the board’s member secretary Naini Jayaseelam as saying: “We received the complete Greater Noida Masterplan 2021 only in January 2012. The UP government itself delayed matters.”

Abhishek Kumar, president of a buyers’ association, said, “Buyers are suffering because of a Centre-state tussle.”

Replying to an RTI plea, the board said the masterplan would be placed before the statutory planning committee and its recommendations would be sent to the NCR board. The process could take two-three months.

Consider aid even if offending drivers’ guilt not proven: HC


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Mon Feb 20 2012, 00:31 hrs

In a significant judgment which will benefit hundreds of litigants and kin of those who lost their lives in motor accidents, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ruled that a lower court cannot dismiss a petition demanding compensation, merely on the ground that the negligence of the offending driver has not been proved on the civil side.

The High Court has ruled that if the offending driver, in an accident, is ultimately held guilty on the criminal side, the lower court has to decide the petition demanding compensation.

The judgment assumes significance since there has been a conflict in the lower courts with regard to award of compensation to litigants if the complainant is unable to prove guilt against the offending driver. Clearing the confusion the High Court has made it clear that if a trial court holds an offending driver guilty of negligence then the Civil Court will have to award compensation to the injured or the kin of the deceased.

Till now, if the guilt against the driver who caused the accident by driving in a rash and negligent manner is not proven the Civil Court normally refused to entertain a compensation claim, which is filed on the civil side. For seeking imprisonment, the trial is proceeded on the criminal side.

The directions have been passed by Justice Rakesh Kumar Jain of the High Court on a petition filed by Chinder Pal Kaur, kin of Gurmail Singh who had died in a motor accident in 1996 due to negligent driving by Shiv Kumar. The issue raised in the petition was “as to whether the Tribunal (civil Court) under the Motor Vehicles Act, can dismiss the claim petition on the ground that the accident is not proved, if the driver of the offending vehicle is ultimately convicted by the Criminal Court for the offences on charges of death caused due to rash and negligence”.

Justice Jain has ruled “The standard of proof in a criminal case is stringent because the prosecution has to prove its case beyond reasonable doubt, whereas civil cases are decided on the touchstone of preponderance of probability”.

A lower Court of Bathinda, on February 7, 2000 had dismissed a petition demanding compensation on the ground that the negligence of the offending driver Shiv Kumar was not proved in the civil case. However, a few days earlier in January 2000, a trial Court, on the criminal side, had held Shiv Kumar guilty. Aggrieved, the kin of deceased moved the High Court claiming compensation, which was admitted in 2006.

This petition was finally decided last week by the High Court. Justice Jain has remanded the matter back to the lower Court to decide the claim for compensation.

Need rules on illegal religious structures: HC


Utkarsh Anand : New Delhi, Mon Feb 20 2012, 01:46 hrs

The Delhi government has been told to formulate guidelines to deal with encroachment and illegal construction in the form of religious structures.

The Delhi High Court, while adjudicating one such case, gave the government two months for the process.

The government also has to apprise the court about the ‘thumb rule’ and other relevant pointers it has proposed to the Religious Committee to decide on the representations and applications moved by civic agencies or private parties.

“The government shall file an affidavit placing on record the guidelines formulated by it for guidance to the Religious Committee. In case, the guidelines are not formulated till date, necessary steps shall be taken by the government to formulate the same within a period of two months under intimation to the Religious Committee for perusal,” said Justice Hima Kohli.

Justice Kohli also told the government to file a tabulated statement on the number of applications received by the Religious Committee, both by civic authorities and private parties.

“The statement shall also indicate number of meetings held by the Religious Committee in the last one year and the relevant dates and also the number of decisions taken on the references received by it,” said the court.

During the hearings in similar cases, Justice Kohli had been informed that the Religious Committee decisions have been kept in abeyance by the Delhi Cabinet till appropriate guidelines are finalised by the government after deliberations in the Legislative Assembly.

The Religious Committee was constituted by the Chief Secretary.

Meanwhile, the DDA through an affidavit informed that court that till the final guidelines come, “all land owning agencies have been directed to ensure that there is no expansion in these (illegal) construction/structures, and no new religious structures be allowed to come up (on the land)”.

Graft victim can appeal tainted babu’s acquittal: Bombay HC


Shibu Thomas, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 04.28AM IST

MUMBAI: Those who complain of corruption or bribery in the government are “victims” under the law and can file an appeal challenging the acquittal of an accused bureaucrat, the Bombay high court has ruled.

A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and M L Tahaliyani recently expanded the legal definition of the word “victim” in the amended Criminal Procedure Code to include complainants in corruption cases.

The judges said, “In a case under the Prevention of Corruption Act, the inaction or omission on the part of the public servant of not passing any order on an application or passing an adverse order since bribe is not given would constitute the loss or injury and therefore, even such a complainant would fall within the category of a victim.”

The court was hearing a petition filed by 38-year-old B U Batteli, who sought to challenge the acquittal of two government officers in a corruption case that he had lodged against them.

Earlier, under the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), only the prosecution agency could give the go-ahead to file an appeal in any criminal case. Amendments introduced by the Union government in 2009 allowed “victims” to file an appeal without the nod of the police.

They could challenge acquittals or judgments which convicted the accused for a lesser offence, or if the compensation ordered by the court was inadequate. The victims, however, could not appeal against the quantum of sentence awarded by a court.

Advocates for the accused government officers in the present case argued that a complainant in a case under the special anti-corruption law could not be considered as a “victim” as he or she did not suffer any loss or injury.

This argument was dismissed by the court, which pointed out that the special law allowed a person to file a complaint against a public servant who demands a bribe. “The loss or injury caused, therefore, in such a case cannot be equated with the loss or injury caused in the case where the person is inflicted a physical injury, or wrongful loss is caused to his property or valuable security, as in the case where a complaint of cheating is filed,” said the court. The judges said that injury in cases filed under the anti-corruption law “is caused by the public servant in not discharging his statutory duty”.

For Batelli, however, there was no reprieve. The trial court had acquitted the accused government officers in May 2009, while the changes to the CrPC came into effect only in December 2009. The high court ruled that the change in law did not have a retrospective effect and therefore could not be applied in Batelli’s case.

Guj HC quashes FMC order against NMCE founder


PTI | 02:02 PM,Feb 19,2012

Ahmedabad, Feb 19 (PTI) The Gujarat High Court has quashed commodity markets regulator FMC’ order issuing showcause notice to National Multi-Commodity Exchange’s (NMCE) founder and vice chairman Kailash Gupta for alleged illegal and fraudulant act causing loss to the exchange. “The impugned order dated July 23, 2011 passed by the Commission is quashed,” the high court order said. The Forward Markets Commission (FMC) regulates functioning of 21 commodity exchanges in the country. The high court rejected the FMC order on the ground that the “principal of natural justice” was not followed by the regulator while conducting the inquiry. The court has directed the FMC to conduct a fresh inquiry and submit the report within four months. The regulator has also been asked to appoint some independent person as Managing Director and CEO of the NMCE in place of Anil Mishra in one week. The FMC had issued showcause notice to NMCE founder Kailash Gupta based on its 96-page order, in which it had alleged that Gupta breached his fiduciary responsibility to the exchange and “systematically defrauded it, misused and misappropriated its property and committed series of crimes under various laws…for benefiting himself, his family and his family-owned/controlled firms”. The FMC had also asked the NMCE to initiate process to recover Rs 36 crore and any other illegal payment from him. Gupta was heading the Ahmedabad-based NMCE as managing director and CEO since its inception in 2003 till May 2010. The NMCE, the country’s third largest commodity bourse, offers an electronic platform for futures trading in plantation, spices, non-ferrous metals and oilseeds. PTI LUX RKS

HC raps govt over extra insurance sum for disabled


Harish V Nair, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2012

Complaints of discrimination against the disabled are common in matters of civic amenities, job appointments and admissions to educational institutions. But now one such case has emerged in relation to a life insurance scheme floated by the central government itself.
Slamming the Centre, the Delhi High Court has said it will quash its postal life insurance policy that charges the physically challenged extra premium.

State and central government employees are the beneficiaries of this policy. As per its rules, the assured sum for the disabled is much less while the premium much more than what is applicable to ordinary employees. The discrimination was brought to the notice of the court by a PIL filed by a visually challenged lawyer, Pankaj Sinha.

“Why this discrimination? How can you charge the disabled extra premium? They have the same risk factor as ordinary policyholders. The premium should be linked to various ailments — not disability,” a bench headed by acting chief justice AK Sikri told the Centre’s counsel.

“Disability is not a disease or a medical problem. We are going to quash the policy,” the court said. Sinha told the bench: “While non-handicapped persons are insured for a maximum of Rs 5 lakh, disabled people are insured for a maximum of only Rs 1 lakh. The premium paid by disabled people is also more than the premium for non-disabled people.”

The court rejected the Centre’s argument that disabled people are more prone to accidental risks as compared to persons without any disability and therefore the premium charged should be marginally different.

HC digs deep into TN land ceiling act


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 12.54AM IST

CHENNAI: Trusts, educational institutions and industrial houses owning thousands of acres of lands, beware. The Madras high court has embarked on a legal voyage to settle one of the most glaring disparities in our midst –the constitutional mandate to evenly distribute land and the concentration of property in the hands of a few trusts due to exemption clauses in the Land Ceiling Act.

A division bench comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and N Kirubakaran, determined to address the issue, has directed the court registry to issue notice to the advocate-general in this regard. Article 39 of the Constitution creates an obligation on the state to secure ownership and material resources and distribute them to subserve the common good. It is only with this purpose that the state enacted the Tamil Nadu Land Reforms (Fixation of Ceiling on Land) Act 1961, which seeks to prevent concentration of land in the hands of a few persons.

However, Section 37-A of the same act empowers the government to issue permission to industrial and commercial undertakings to hold excess land. As per Section 37-B, public trusts can apply to the government for permission to hold or acquire lands for educational or hospital purposes. It is because of these provisions that educational/medical institutions and industries hold thousands of acres of lands. The bench headed by Justice Elipe Dharma Rao has now viewed that the two clauses – Section 37-A and 37-B – are contrary to the Constitution as well as the main object of the act itself.

The bench said the area of agricultural land available for cultivation in the state is limited and that this great disparity in the ownership of agricultural land led to the creation of the land ceiling act. “While the main object of the enactment of the act is to acquire the agricultural land in excess of the ceiling area so as to distribute them to the landless and other persons among the rural population to subserve the common good and increase agricultural production, both these sections inserted by subsequent amendments provide for allotment of such lands to purposes other than for agricultural production.”

The judges decided to go to the root of the issue when a writ appeal filed by M/s NEPC India Limited seeking permission to hold on to nearly 1,400 acres of land acquired for putting up wind electric generators in Tamil Nadu came up for hearing. The company said it planned to establish 100 MW wind farm in windy areas in Coimbatore, Erode, Tirunelveli, Tuticorin and Kanyakumari districts. As 25 acres is the minimum requirement for each MW of power to be produced by four wind electric generators, the company required 2,500 acres of land in Tamil Nadu. Accordingly, by 1994, it acquired more than 1,400 acres and kept writing to the Tamil Nadu seeking permission to ‘acquire and possess’ lands in excess of the land ceiling act provisions.

Since there was no reply, the company sold a small piece of land for agricultural purposes, following which the government issued a show-cause notice asking as to why the excess lands cannot be taken over under the act. After their petition was dismissed by a single judge in June last year, they preferred the present appeal.

HC gets notice for not issuing a copy of a court order


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 20, 2012, 12.42AM IST

CHENNAI: The State Consumer Disputes Redressal Commission (SCDRC) issued a notice to the registrargeneral of the Madras high court for not issuing a copy of a court order to an advocate. The matter relates to a complaint lodged by advocate Manikandan Vathan Chettiar, who moved the Chennai (North) District Consumer Disputes Refressal Forum stating that though he had applied for a copy of a court order on September 20, 2011, the court authorities had not issued him the copy for reasons best known to them. He has sought `1 lakh as compensation from the high court.

In his original complaint, Manikandan submitted that his client-advocate P Sundararajan had filed a writ petition in connection with the alleged telephonic conversation between Kanchi Sankaracharya Sri Jayendra Saraswathi, the prime accused in the sensational Sankararaman murder case, and the trial judge. Noting that he had paid `70 as fee for the copy, he said the officials were indifferent to his reminders too.

A district forum bench comprising its president R Mohandoss and member Y Malliga, however, dismissed the complaint stating that Manikandan had not furnished any evidence to show that he actually paid any fee for availing himself of the services high court registry. “The complainant has not produced even a scrap of paper to show that he had availed himself of the service of the registrar-general by paying any court fee as consideration of service,” it said.

In his present appeal before the commission’s bench headed by Justice (retd) M Thanikachalam, Manikandan submitted that the high court does not issue any receipts for payment of court fee. Noting that the forum had failed to take note of this disclosure in the complaint itself, he said non-issuance of receipt itself would amount to deficiency in service.

The commission then issued notice to the registrar-general returnable in four weeks.

LEGAL NEWS 20.02.2012

UN Human Rights Council recommends AFSPA repeal


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 11.02PM IST

GUWAHATI: United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC) has recommended repeal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) and suggested that security forces should be “clearly” instructed to respect the works, rights and fundamental freedom of human rights defenders.

AFSPA, enacted in 1958, was first enforced in Assam and Manipur, but later extended to other states of the northeast following an amendment in 1972. The Act, which confers special powers to security forces in disturbed areas, has also been enforced in Jammu and Kashmir.

UN special rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya’s latest report on India said Manipur, where AFSPA is still in force along with Jammu and Kashmir, is the worst-hit by “militarization” with more than “half a dozen” human rights groups having been branded as “terrorists” due to their “self-determination” advocacy work.

Along with AFSPA, HRC’s report has also recommended repeal of National Security Act, the Unlawful Activities Act, the Jammu and Kashmir Public Safety Act and the Chhattisgargh Public Safety Act. “Other security legislations should be reviewed in the light of international human rights standards,” the report said.

The report will be placed before the Human Rights Council (HRC) in Geneva on March 5 this year. HRC is an inter-governmental body of UN comprising 47 states responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights across the world.

A copy of the report, which is available with TOI, made an observation that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in 10 years did not visit Irom Sharmila, who has been on hunger strike for repeal of AFSPA since 2000, despite repeated requests by human rights defenders.

The special rapporteur’s report, compiled following her visit to India from January 10 to 21 this year, observed that in August 5, 2010 several human rights defenders were arrested as part of a crackdown to end protest against an extrajudicial killings in Imphal by police.

“They were remanded in judicial custody for 13 days and detained under the National Security Act in addition to the judicial remand according to an order of the Imphal West district magistrate,” the report said. Further, the report stated, “On August 25 the same year, the president of Poirei Leimarol Meira Paibi Apunba Manipur was arrested by Imphal West Police along with two activists.”

On the other hand, an international symposium will discuss the 11-year hunger strike by Sharmila, various aspects of AFSPA in northeastern states and Jammu and Kashmir, the Act’s impact on India’s democratic, constitutional and judicial practices in USA on February 21.









NHRC directs MCI to look into plaint of drug trial death in Indore


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 12.48AM IST

BHOPAL: In a significant development in the controversial drug trial cases of Madhya Pradesh, National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) to probe the complaint of a woman, who lost her 73-year-old husband after he was subjected to drug trials at Indore two years ago.

In a letter to MCI Chairman, NHRC assistant registrar (law) stated that upon perusing the complaint, it is being transferred. “The complaint is transmitted to the authority concerned for such action as deemed. Accordingly, I am forwarding a copy of the complaint to you for its disposal at your end,” the letter said.

In her complaint, Hajani Anwar Bi alleged her husband Haji Abdul Rashid suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) died due to ill effects of the drug trial on April 21, 2010.

Anwar Bi stated her hubby, suffering from COPD, went to the government-run Manorama Raje TB Hospital where some doctors referred him to Chest and TB expert Dr Salil Bhargava, who took him to his private clinic, Gyanpushp Research Centre. She charged Dr Bhargava neither took consent her husband nor from her consent for conducting drug trials on him. She claimed that her husband was given “Salbutamol + Ipratropium Inhaler”.

Drug trials allegedly conducted by some government doctors without patients ‘consent between 2005 and 2010 in Indore, has triggered a controversy in the state. The state government has let off the government doctors in questions with a nominal fine.










Now, EC show-cause on Beni Prasad

It says the Union Steel Minister’s ‘quota promise’ violated the model code of conduct

The Election Commission (EC) has served notice on Union Steel Minister Beni Prasad Verma to explain why action should not be taken against him for his statement on the intent of the Congress to provide job reservations to minorities and daring the Commission to act against him.

The Commission deemed it necessary to slap the show-cause on Mr. Verma even before the ink has dried on the apology letter of Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid to the EC earlier in the week for his statements twice on the same subject.

‘Reply by Monday’

In its notice to Mr. Verma based on a copy of video recordings of an election rally in Uttar Pradesh addressed by the Minister, the Commission on Saturday said he had violated the provisions of the Model Code of Conduct. The Minister has been given time till Monday 5 p.m. to explain his position.

Hours before the EC notice, at an election rally in Uttar Pradesh, Mr. Verna termed his statement “a slip of tongue.”

“I have been addressing four to five rallies everyday and sometimes I fail to pay attention that in which reference I am saying something,” he was quoted by the PTI as saying.

Mr. Verma had made the statement on reservations three days ago and challenged the Commission to take him on in the presence of Mr. Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh.

The Commission noted that the Minister made the statement deliberately as he was “well aware that by making such utterances, he was violating the model code of Conduct.”

The notice has said if the Minister chooses to ignore it, the Commission will decide the matter without any further reference to him.

Unprecedented action

In an unprecedented action, the EC on February 11 petitioned President Pratibha Patil seeking her “immediate and decisive intervention” against the Law Minister for daring the Commission to ‘hang him’ on the quota issue. The EC approached the President after Mr. Khurshid ignored its first warning.

The President had forwarded the EC complaint to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Curtains came down on the controversy after the Law Minister wrote to the Commission apologising for his statements.

‘EC being denigrated’

In a memorandum on Friday seeking action against the Steel Minister, the Bharatiya Janata Party alleged that the Union Ministers were carefully chosen to denigrate the Commission.

The party urged the Commission to consider measures more stringent than a mere censure such as prosecution and debarring from electioneering.









SEBI disposes of adjudication proceedings against Dalmias


Last Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 17:52

“The matter is, accordingly, disposed of,” SEBI said in an order issued on Friday.

Dalmias had 62.56 percent share in OCL. After the buy- back of 11,83,708 shares in 2003, the shareholding went up to 75 percent.

The issue came up three years after the closure of the buy-back offer. A company called Jindal Securities had filed a petition before the Delhi High Court alleging the promoters had triggered the Takeover Code through such passive acquisition.

SEBI regulations mandated for a public announcement for acquisition of more than 15 percent shares as per the then existing rules.

The high court directed SEBI to look into the issue, following which the market regulator had issued notice to the Dalmias in July 2007.

SEBI had also started adjudication process against Dalmias.

The promoters had submitted before SEBI that they had not acquired any additional share or voting right in OCL and, therefore, Takeover Code cannot be initiated.

SEBI was not convinced with it and in a 2010 order held that Takeover Code was violated.

Dalmia’s had later filed a petition before SAT against the SEBI order.

In November last year, SAT set aside the order passed by SEBI. The tribunal observed that as the Dalmias already had a majority holding in OCL, such acquisition of share did not attract the provisions of the Takeover Code.











Green tribunal asks OPG to adhere to terms of Env clearance


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 18,2012

New Delhi, Feb 18 (PTI) The National Green Tribunal has asked the OPG Power Gujarat Pvt Ltd to adhere to the terms laid down in the environmental clearance granted by Gujarat for its 300 MW Bhadreshwar thermal power plant at Mundra. The tribunal, which was of opinion that in absence of Coastal Regulation Zone (CRZ) clearance and Forest clearance from the Centre, the Environmental clearance would stand redundant, was told by the company that alternative steps were being taken by them to avoid using reserve forest land or the sea water. Considering the company’s plea, the tribunal, while deciding a plea challenging the environmental clearance, said that if OPG proposes deviation from their original plan by technical change, “they shall apply to the concerned authorities who shall consider the same strictly in consonance with law and dispose of the same as expeditiously as possible by not later than four months”. A bench headed by Acting Chairperson Justice A S Naidu said in the event OPG planned to follow the original project plan, then it can apply under the Forest (Conservation) Act, “which shall be dealt in its own merits and disposed of in accordance with law also within a span of two months”. It said OPG has the liberty to respond to the show cause notice issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forest on February, 6, 2012 under the provision of the Coastal Regulation Zone Notification, 2011. The order passed on petitions by fishermen, salt pan worker and local residents assailing the environmental clearance (EC) to the OPG by the Gujarat State Level Impact Assessment Authority (GSLIAA) on June 11, 2010. The company later told the tribunal that alternative steps are being taken by them and they are not keen to either use the reserve forest land or the sea water.









Orissa rape: NCW report points at police inaction


Debabrata Mohanty : Bhubaneswar, Sun Feb 19 2012, 02:21 hrs
Probing into the alleged gangrape of a Dalit girl in Pipili block of Orissa’s Puri district, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has hauled up the local police station over its failure to register the FIR.

The 18-year-old girl of Arjunagoda village was allegedly gangraped by some local youths on November 28 last year. The assailants had then tried to strangulate her which left the girl’s cerebral cortex damaged leaving her in a state of coma. The political storm that followed led to the dismissal of Pipili police station inspector Amulya Champatiray. Pipili MLA and Agriculture Minister Pradeep Maharathy had to resign over allegations that he sheltered some of the accused.

The NCW, which sent its member secretary Anita Agnihotri to inquire into the case, in its report said that had the FIR been filed, then all the medical institutions involved could have been alerted and the girl would have a continuity of medical attention.

Justifying the dismissal of the inspector as “deterrent action”, the NCW recommended that a directive may be issued by the home department to the seniormost police officers advising them to ensure that all cases of violence against women if reported are registered immediately and taken as FIR.




Victims of human rights violations to get speedy justice


Published: Saturday, Feb 18, 2012, 11:27 IST
By Y Maheswara Reddy | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

Victims of human rights violations in the state will get speedy justice soon. The Karnataka State Human Rights Commission (KSHRC) will have six zonal offices across the state by the end of May.

Victims need not then come to Bangalore from far-flung Gulbarga, Bidar, Hubli or other districts to register complaints.

Justice SR Nayak, chairman of the commission, has been advising the state government to provide infrastructure to establish zonal offices for them in Bangalore Central, Mysore South, Mangalore West, Davangere East, Hubli-Dharward and Gulbarga. The government’s reluctance to follow his advice had forced the South India Cell for Human Rights Education and Monitoring (SICHREM) to file a writ petition seeking a directive to provide the required infrastructure to establish the six zonal wings. The then acting chief justice Vikramjit Sen and Justice AS Bopanna had directed the state government to implement the proposals in six months.“We expect the government to provide the infrastructure by the end of May,’’ said Javid Pasha, secretary of the commission. Sources said the distance between Bangalore and other district headquarters such as Bijapur, Bidar and Gulbarga has become a stumbling block for justice Nayak and inspector general of police to reach those places after they receive complaints on rights violations.

“A person has to travel for more than 24 hours to reach Bidar or Bijapur. The police will have plenty of time to shift the people in their custody to other places by the time we reach the respective police stations,’’ said Justice Nayak. If the government implements the proposals, each unit of KSHRC will have one superintendent of police and three or four policemen to investigate the cases on human rights violations.

As of now, the commission has only one inspector general of police, two superintendents of police, two sub-inspectors and seven policemen (including two women police constables).

“The IGP post was vacant for the last four months. Today, Suneel Agarwal has assumed the office of inspector general of police,’’ said Pasha.

The commission has also sent a proposal to the state government to increase its staff from 106 to 196 to avoid any delay in clearing the pending cases.

“The KSHRC has received 31,139 complaints from July 2007 to December 2011. It has successfully disposed of 20,153 complaints. There are 10,986 complaints pending,’’ he said.









Man gets 1 year jail for not filing I-T return


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 05.11AM IST

JAIPUR: A trial court in Jaipur has sentenced a businessman to one year’s rigorous imprisonment and slapped a fine of Rs 1 lakh for failing to file his income tax returns on time despite repeated notices.

As per court documents, the office of joint commissioner (special range-4), income tax, here had conducted searches on the properties and office of Anil Kuchhal, a resident of Ajmer Road area, and discovered an undisclosed income of nearly Rs 10 lakh in November 1999. During the search, the income tax officers reportedly seized Rs 1.90 lakh in cash and investment documents like bonds and FDRs.

When the businessman failed to file the returns despite several notices, in February 2001 the matter was taken to court. Since the accused finally filed the returns in November 2001, but after the stipulated time, the court started trial that ran for more than a decade.











Khushi’s family refuse money, demand justice


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.26AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Family members of five-year-old Khushpreet Singh expressed unhappiness over National Human Rights Commission’s (NHRC) direction to UT administration to release Rs 3 lakh compensation for Khushpreet’s family. They demanded action against three cops found guilty in this case, on Saturday.

The NHRC, Delhi, directed the UT administration to release the compensation on February 17. Victim’s father Lakhbir Singh said, “We have nothing to do with the compensation money. We would feel justified only if NHRC recommends dismissal and stern action against three police personnel found guilty.” The administration should be ordered to register a case of death due to negligence under section 304A of the IPC against the three negligent police personnel, he added.

The family of the deceased have decided to move a fresh writ application against Chandigarh police in Punjab and Haryana high court. Khushpreet’s uncle Sukhwinder Singh said, “We have discussed it with our advocate and would soon file a writ in the high court.”

A pending public interest litigation (PIL) in the high court in this case is scheduled for hearing on February 23.
The five-year-old was abducted near his residence in Burail, Sector 45, in December, 2010, and his body was recovered from Mohali on January 5, 2011. Two kidnappers had managed to take ransom money and kill the child while Chandigarh police dealt with the case with negligence.

Three policemen, including former SHO of police station-34 Udaypal Singh, in-charge of PP-Burail Narinder Patial and sub-inspector Balraj Singh were held guilty for negligence. Their services have been forfeited for four years.











New law proposes early seizure of corrupt babus’ ill-gotten wealth


Saurabh Sharma, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 01.02AM IST

JAIPUR: In an effort to thwart the attempts of corrupt officials who often use lengthy court cases to their advantage, the state government has come up with a draft bill that empowers the officials of Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) to confiscate their assets without permission from the government and courts. Besides, such officials will lose their ill-gotten property right on the day the corruption case is made out against them by the police.

The proposed law has been named ‘Rajasthan Anti-Corruption (Seizure and Confiscation of Disproportionate Assets) Bill, 2012’. It has been prepared by the office of advocate general and forwarded to the home department and ACB for suggestions.

As per the provisions in the draft, the state government will not have to wait for the disposal of case in the court in order to seize the disproportionate assets. The Act empowers the investigation officer to confiscate the property, movable or immoveable, alleged or suspected to have been involved in the offence and to impound any document connected with or relating to the offence.

As per current practice, confiscation of disproportionate assets of public servants is a tedious task for the anti-corruption officials. As per the criminal law (amendment) 1944, a written permission from the state government is required which is then placed before the trial court. The accused public servant, however, will continue to enjoy the ill-gotten assets till the disposal of the case.

Legal experts believe that the trial against the public servants in graft cases take longer duration, sometimes over 10 years, due to many formalities. By the time the case gets disposed, they manage to conceal the property.

“Our law reform committee has drafted a legislation which we have send it to the ACB on Friday. The provision in the draft will prevent the corrupt public servants form enjoying the fruits of their properties amassed through ill means,” said GS Bapna, advocate general.

The property seized will be placed in the custody of an officer appointed as custodian by the state government. The Act authorizes the government to appoint the district magistrate or any other officer not below the rank of a sub divisional magistrate for the management of the immoveable properties seized, till the final disposal of the case. The seized property will have to be used in public interest or in the manner as may be prescribed.

Sources said chief minister Ashok Gehlot has a keen interest in it. However, the draft has to go through ACB, home and law department before it is presented to cabinet.











Fine-tune laws, process to push mediation, says expert


Joseph John, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 01.25AM IST

BHOPAL: Amid rising numbers of litigations, India has a potential to use mediation as an effective tool to settle disputes, if the country develops a mechanism to ensure that conciliation and mediation begin at a point when a complaint is filed, renowned International Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) expert Rahim Shamji said.

“In India, the government wants to promote mediation. It had already incorporated a provision in the Code of Civil Procedure (CPC) 1908, providing that where it appears to the court, it may refer the same for arbitration, conciliation and mediation. But, then it’s too late to begin efforts for conciliation at the trial stage,” he told TOI on the sidelines of mediation competition underway at the National Law Institute University (NLIU).

Pointing out that a mechanism where mediation starts at the time when a complaint is filed, Shamji said he felt mediation has a great potential for solving problem in a pluralistic and diverse country like India where judicial process is slow and people want speedy settlement.

The mediation expert said professionals like doctors, architects and others could set up a mediation cell in their respective associations to resolve any disputes among their members so that a definitely cost saving process for settlement is geared. “Thus, they can also help keep their dirty linen inside,” he quipped.

“While the centre is keen to promote mediation, mindset of judges, lawyers and other authorities is a main hurdle. Other countries faced the same problem. Later, but the situation quickly changed in favour of mediation,” he pointed out.

“In a litigation, even a winner at times goes back home feeling mentally, physically and financially exhausted,” he pointed out. In contrast, in mediation parties concerned adopt a problem-solving approach to find out a “win-win” outcome and there is no winner or loser.

Describing mediation culturally flexible, Shamji said since it is not bound by rigid procedures, it can be adopted in a country on similar lines as being practised in other nations.

“A method of online registration of mediators will also be helpful. This is a method used in the UK and the USA where mediators register themselves with the courts and a list is generated online. If a client is seeking a mediator in a particular area, field or with any other specification, he can search for him online. This enables transparency and lends credibility ” he pointed out.



Law & order top priority for slain dacoit’s son


Pankaj Shah, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.38AM IST

CHITRAKOOT: Veer Singh was only four-year-old when a police team came cracking in search of his dacoit father Shiv Kumar Patel alias Dadua for the first time in his village Deokali in early 1980s. While his mother and two older sisters fled the village fearing police atrocious interrogation, villagers shoved the boy from one hut to another to hide him from the cops. For days, villagers served the child with food and water until one day when he was taken away by his uncle and Dadua’s brother Bal Kumar.

Now 32-year-old Veer Singh is back in his village nursing high political ambitions. He is Samajwadi Party’s candidate from Chitrakoot assembly constituency. “All that is past…I am a forward looking person,” he says. “Law and order will be the top priority if I win,” he says. “I will ensure punishment even if a guilty person would be from my family,” says the son of slain dacoit. Dadua was wanted in over 100 cases and known as Veerappan of North India’.

Interestingly, according to the ADR report, Veer Singh has nine criminal cases – maximum amongst all other candidates – pending against his name. The cases include murder, rioting and extortion. Canvassing in Karwi (now Chitrakoot constituency), Veer Singh drives an SUV with at least half a dozen supporters in tow. “I was asked by Netaji (Mulayam Singh Yadav) some nine months ago to nurse the constituency. Since then I was sure of getting a ticket,” says Singh, who was president of Deokali gram panchayat between 2001 and 2005. It was during that period that he got a road constructed in his village which made him popular.

“It is for the benefit of farmers and youth that figure prominently on the agenda … water for irrigation or availability of power for instance,” he says.

Veer’s political ambitions gained ground in Mirzapur where he was brought up by his MP uncle Bal Kumar. Singh claims of having pursued a BA from a degree college in Rae Bareli, but the ADR report shows he is only a class 12 passout. He did his intermediate from Haldhar Inter College Ajhuwa in Koshambi.

In December last year Veer Singh’s political aspirations received a jolt after Mulayam Singh Yadav cancelled his candidature and gave the ticket to Sunil Singh Patel, who is son of SP MP from Chitrakoot RK Singh Patel. The development sparked off speculation of Veer Singh contesting as an Independent. But within a month SP state president Akhilesh Yadav backed Veer Singh and gave him the ticket.

Samajwadi Party sources claim that Veer Singh’s candidature could have a bearing not only in Chitrakoot but also in other districts of Bundelkhand. “Dadua was a dacoit in police records but he garnered the image of a Robin Hood as well,” said a senior SP leader.










SC clears decks for SGPC office-bearers


Hindustan Times
Chandigarh/New Delhi, February 18, 2012

Acting on a special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC), the Supreme Court on Friday ordered upholding of the order issued by the union ministry of home affairs (MHA) ‑ through a notification dated December 17, 2011 ‑ to constitute a board of SGPC


The court gave six weeks to all respondents to file a reply. The respondents in the case include the MHA, the governments of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh, and the Sehajdhari Sikh Federation.

The apex court’s bench comprising justice RM Lodha and justice HN Gokhle is hearing the case pleaded by senior advocate Harish Salve and advocate Gurminder Singh on behalf of the SGPC.
In the SLP filed on February 6, the SGPC challenged the orders of the Punjab and Haryana high court, pronounced on December 20, quashing the MHA notification of 2003, through which the ministry took away voting rights of Sehajdhari Sikhs.

According to Gurminder Singh, the SGPC demanded in the SLP that the House be allowed to function as the final decision on the petition was awaited.
The Sehajdhari Sikh Federation, which is contesting the case against the SGPC and demanding voting rights for Sehajdhari Sikhs, has also filed a caveat in the apex court, pleading that they be heard if the SGPC came up with the SLP.

“There are a number of issues which need to be settled. The budget proposal is to be finalised by March 31. The supreme body of the Sikhs can’t remain non-functional for a long time. As the cases pertaining to voting rights are pending, we demanded that the House be allowed to function,” said SGPC secretary Dilmegh Singh.
The SLP also pleaded that the ‘legislative intent’ of the Gurdwara Act, 1925, was that only pure Sikhs be allowed to vote for the management of the SGPC ‑ the body managing affairs of gurdwaras.

“Justifying the MHA role, we quoted Section 72 of the Punjab State Reorganisation Act, 1966, which says that the central government can issue orders pertaining to the functioning of SGPC,” said Gurminder Singh.

The SGPC elections of 2004 and 2011 were held without voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs. The federation challenged the MHA’s notification of 2003 the same year in the Punjab and Haryana high court, which quashed the notification on December 20, 2011.

But the SC order is silent on the fate of the SGPC elections, which took place on September 18, 2011, wherein 170 members were elected.

The MHA, on December 17, 2011, had issued a notification for allowing the induction of 170 elected members into the gurdwara committee, cooption of 15 members and also five head priests and head granthi of Darbar Sahib.

Now, after the SC interim order, another notification is expected from the MHA for electing office-bearers of the SGPC, including the president and 11 members of the executive committee.

Avtar Singh Makkar, SGPC president
In view of the SC interim order, the Centre should allow the election of office-bearers, including the SGPC president. People who are trying to undermine the authority of the supreme body of the Sikhs would not be successful in their ulterior motives.

PS Ranu, president, Sehajdhari Sikh Federation
Fresh SGPC elections should be ordered, restoring voting rights to Sehajdhari Sikhs. The House elected after the September 18 polls has no popular mandate as about 70 lakh Sehajdhari Sikhs were denied voting rights.











Former SC judge says can’t probe Gujarat encounters


Press Trust of India : Ahmedabad, Sun Feb 19 2012, 03:50 hrs
Former Supreme Court judge M B Shah, who had been entrusted with the task to look into the alleged fake encounters between 2002 and 2006 in Gujarat, has written to the apex court informing it that he cannot head the inquiry as he is already in two commissions and cannot give time for the third inquiry.

“Yes, I have written a letter to the Supreme Court, informing it about my inability to take up the job,” Justice Shah said.

“I have said I am already in two Commissions, one of which is inquiring in the mining scam in Karnataka, which is very big one, while another has been appointed by the Gujarat government to inquire into allegations of corruption,” Justice Shah said.

“I have told the court to consider (the name of) some other judge for the inquiry,” he said. In April last year, the state government had appointed Shah to monitor the investigation into the killings following allegations that encounters showed a pattern that people from the minority community were targeted.

“Having regard to the fact that a monitoring authority has been put in place and a former judge of this court is its chairman, we desire the chairman (Shah) to look into all instances of the alleged fake encounters mentioned in the two writ petitions,” Supreme Court had said last month.

The order was passed by the SC in response to PILs filed by veteran journalist B G Verghese and poet-lyricist Javed Akhtar seeking a direction for a probe by an independent agency or CBI so that the “truth may come out”.











Register case against hospital, docs: Court to police


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.40AM IST

KANPUR: The additional chief metropolitan magistrate (II) of Kanpur Nagar, Harendra Bahadur Singh, on Saturday directed the Kalyanpur police station officer to register a case against director and two doctors of Rama Hospital and Research Centre, Lakhanpur, under appropriate sections of IPC on a complaint of one Shobharam Pal and investigate the matter.

Shobharam pal, in his complaint under section 156 (3) CrPC, had alleged that his son Ravi Pal was an employee at Rama Hospital. Ravi was hospitalised for treatment on May 29, 2011, and was being treated allegedly by Dr R K Singh and Dr Pankaj Omar. The complaint further said that Ravi was shifted to the operation theatre next day and he died allegedly due to medical staff’s carelessness. Doctors allegedly injected a wrong medicine as a result of which Ravi died, said the complaint.

The judge in his order also observed to seek opinion from Medical board and report of Viscera and other body parts preserved in post mortem. The complainant alleged that both doctors left the hospital after his son’s death. He lodged a complaint at Kalyanpur police station but the police did not register any case against the culprits. A registered letter was also sent to DIG, yet the police did not register any case against the hospital and its doctors.

Shobharam further claimed that when he asked for service benefits of Ravi, the hospital management did not reply. A legal notice was also served but that too was ignored by the management. The presiding judge, in his order, observed that the post mortem report revealed that there were some injuries on the body and the patient died due to haemorrhage, shock and an ante mortem blood vessel injury. It indicated that there was some foul play, so a case should be registered in this regard.

Bail adjourned: The district and sessions judge of Ramabai Nagar, Ali Zamin, on Saturday adjourned the hearing on the bail application of Sanjay Mohan, director, Madhyamik Shiksha Parishad, Uttar Pradesh, and fixed February 25 as the next date for hearing. At present, Sanjay Mohan is in police custody. According to sources, police had taken him to Lucknow for further investigation. The director was arrested by Akbarpur police on February 7 from his residence situated on the GIC campus, Nishatganj, Lucknow. The police had made him co-accused in TET exam scam and charged him with cheating and criminal conspiracy.





Petrol pump robbery: Accused gets 7 yrs RI


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.39AM IST

PANAJI: In a robbery case at petrol pump in Malpem-Pernem in 2008, the assistant sessions court, North Goa, sentenced Domnic D’Sa from Chimbel to seven years of rigorous imprisonment.

The police had charged D’Sa and Mancio Dias, who has since expired, for looting cash of over 90,000 belonging to M A Swar & Sons, by brandishing sharp edged weapons during the night on August 25, 2008.

The prosecution examined 14 witnesses and alleged that the accused armed with deadly weapons came to the petrol pump in a Maruti car, bearing a false number plate, and asked a sales boy to fill fuel in the car tank. Subsequently, they alighted from the car and took cash from the counter and fled towards Mapusa. The three sales boys working at the petrol station had identified the accused. Public prosecutor B Gaonkar argued that a maximum sentence be imposed on the accused, taking into consideration the gravity of the offence.

While sentencing the accused, judge Vincent D’Silva observed “In the instant case, the evidence on record clearly show that the accused, Domnic alongwith others, have committed a heinous crime on the unsuspecting sales boys who were doing their duties in a secluded place. The accused was mature enough to understand the implication of the crime committed by him.”

The court also noted that the object of awarding an appropriate sentence is to protect the society and to deter the criminal from achieving the avowed object to break the law’. The accused and others have committed the robbery with deadly weapons and the statute provides for a minimum punishment of seven years under Section 397 of theIndian Penal Code, the judge said.

The court also sentenced D’Sa to undergo rigorous imprisonment for three years and pay a fine of 10,000 under Section 392 (robbery) of IPC. The sentences imposed on both counts will run concurrently.






Mahanand guilty in 3rd murder case


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.53AM IST

PONDA: The district and sessions court, Panaji, on Saturday held alleged serial killer Mahanand Naik guilty of killing Yogita alias Balika Khushali Naik, 30, a resident of Nagzar Curti, Ponda, in January 2009.

This is Mahanand’s third conviction for murder. Accused of killing 16 women, the Shiroda resident has been sentenced to undergo life imprisonment in two separate murder cases, while being acquitted in eight cases. He has also been sentenced to seven years imprisonment for rape.

Principal district and sessions judge Nutan Sardesai held Mahanand guilty for Yogita’s murder under IPC Sections 302 (murder), 364 (kidnapping for killing), 392 (robbery), and 201 (disappearance of evidence).

The court has adjourned the case to March 1 for hearing both parties before deciding on imposition of sentence.

Ponda police had filed a chargesheet against Mahanand after he made a statement on April 25, 2009, that he killed Yogita at Morlem, Sattari, in Janaury 2009. Mahanand is believed to have revealed this during his custodial interrogation in connection with a rape case.

The Valpoi police had recovered a decomposed body that was hanging from a cashew tree on January 20, 2009. During the autopsy, police had preserved some vital organs which were sent to the Central Forensic Science Laboratory, Hyderabad, for DNA profiling in May 2009. The CFSL concluded that the body recovered was that of Yogita.

A senior scientific officer’s statement to the court in June 2011 stated that the tissue sent by the police for conducting the DNA test belonged to the ‘biological female offspring of Yogita’s parents’.

Police said Mahanand, as he was wont to do with his other victims, had befriended Yogita under the pretext of marrying her. On January 10, 2009, he took her to a cashew plantation in Morlem and strangulated her with her dupatta. After killing her, he stole her gold ornaments valued at Rs 80,000.






Income tax department asks for review of Vodafone tax ruling


The income tax department (IT) on Friday filed a petition before the Supreme Court (SC) seeking review of its January 20 judgment which held that Vodafone was not liable to pay a capital gains tax amounting to about Rs.11,217.95 crore to Indian revenue authorities for acquisition of 67 per cent stake in Hutchinson Essar Ltd’s telecom business in India.

Sources said the review petition by the government could be considered by the court on February 27.

Setting aside a September 8, 2010, Bombay High Court order, a three-judge bench presided over by Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia in two separate but concurring judgments had directed the government to return Rs.2,500 crore taken as an interim amount during the pendency of the appeal with an interest of four per cent within two months.

The company had questioned the demand on the ground that the two firms involved in the estimated Rs.55,000 crore deal were not incorporated in India and had also not taken place in India but in Cayman Islands.

“Shareholding in companies incorporated outside India is property located outside India. Where such shares become subject matter of offshore transfer between two non-residents, there is no liability for capital gains tax,” Justice Kapadia and Justice Swatanter Kumar had said in their judgment.

Justice K.S. Radhakrishnan said, “The demand of nearly Rs.12,000 crore by way of capital gains tax, in my view, would amount to imposing capital punishment for capital investment since it lacks authority of law and, therefore, stands quashed.”

Justice Kapadia, who wrote the majority judgment, had said that there was no liability to pay tax as the transaction concerned an “outright sale” between two non-residents of a capital asset (share) outside India.






Mr. Sibal, please slow down to hurry up

The Telecom Minister’s policy announcements increase uncertainty; raise more questions than they answer

Telecom Minister Kapil Sibal’s policy announcements this week in the aftermath of the Supreme Court judgment cancelling 122 licences raise more questions than they answer, further deepening uncertainties about the future of the telecom sector.

Rather than addressing industry concerns arising out of the Supreme Court verdict, Mr. Sibal continued his build-up to the new National Telecom Policy (NTP), a project that was announced on January 1, 2011, with a 100-day deadline for closure. What was intended to be NTP 2011 is now expected to be unveiled in April as NTP 2012.

Yet, after 14 months, Mr. Sibal is still falling short on detail. For example, he has delinked licences from spectrum. Hardly breathtaking stuff, considering that after the Supreme Court directed the government to auction spectrum, no licence can ever be given with linked spectrum again.

Mr. Sibal has also raised the revenue share from a slab-wise rate for different services to a uniform 8% of adjusted gross revenue, or AGR. This decision is based on an internal committee report of the DoT, prepared without any public consultation, dating back to 2009. Telecom regulator TRAI has recommended twice over that the levy should remain at 6%, based on public consultation, in the interest of revenue neutrality, but the government has chosen to reject this rationale without offering any explanation.

Ironically, the same government, which insisted that charging a revenue share made up for the revenue shortfall from not holding auctions, is now insisting on auctions as well as a hike in the revenue share. Are its earlier arguments pleading affordability and public interest now in the bin? Unlike auction fees, which are amortised across the life of the licences, insulating tariffs, revenue share hikes hit customers on a monthly basis. Worse, consumers in ‘C’ category circles — the ones with the least purchasing power and lowest teledensities — are impacted the most. So, in essence, Mr. Sibal’s move specifically injures these, and the 400 million rural consumers who are yet to join the mobile revolution.

Mr. Sibal says, “All future licences will be unified,” but cannot answer when they will get spectrum. He announces, “Companies can be issued Unified Access Licences now without spectrum. They can then move into Unified Licences,” but cannot specify the terms for migration.

When will the levy of licence fee at 8% of AGR kick in? Is it April 1, 2012? If yes, can it be done before the Unified Licence regime is in place? Why open this to speculation?

Mr. Sibal has decided to extend Unified Access Licences for 10 years but doesn’t specify the terms and conditions for this extension. How will the spectrum be allocated when such extension takes place — through auction or a fixed price mechanism? Not known. What quantum of spectrum will be allowed to continue with the renewal? Find out later.

Re-farming of spectrum is acceptable to the government in principle, but no future steps can be described till the TRAI’s recommendations are received. So why announce it now?

And this is the showstopper: The prescribed limit on “spectrum assigned to a service provider” will be 8 MHz for GSM. But “the licensee can acquire additional spectrum beyond prescribed limit in an open market should there be an auction of spectrum subject to the limits prescribed for merger of licences.” This limit has been set at 25% of the spectrum assigned. This means that the actual limit — depending on the spectrum available — is between 20-25 MHz (spectrum bands have approximately 100 MHz). So what is the sanctity of the 8 MHz spectrum cap? Besides, how was the cap raised from 4.4 MHz to 6.2 MHz to now 8 MHz? Has Mr. Sibal sought the TRAI’s recommendations on this?

Spectrum trading will not be allowed at this stage. This will be reexamined at a later date — again opening the door for negotiations and subjective decision making. What is the “later date” — next year or the next 5 years?

Mr. Sibal’s ill-timed and open-ended announcements make DoT and TRAI officials vulnerable to corporate lobbying. These announcements could have waited till most, if not all, answers were in place, especially in an environment which desperately needs to curtail uncertainty. Sometimes, it’s best to slow down in order to hurry up.








Glaring loopholes in Adnan murder probe’


Rebecca Samervel, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.53AM IST

MUMBAI: Additional sessions court judge Sanjay A Deshmukh pointed out several glaring loopholes left by both the prosecution as well as the police in the kidnap and murder case of Adnan Patrawala who was killed in 2007 but the accused could not be convicted. Referring to the manner in which the police handled the kidnapping bid, the 125-page judgment said, “It is surprising that there is no evidence to show that the police arranged a trap to catch the accused ransom caller while handing over at least some ransom amount.”

On January 30, a sessions court acquitted Sujit Nair, Ayush Bhat, Rajiv Dhariya and Amit Kaushal of the charges of kidnap and murder of the 16-year-old Patrawala. The prosecution claimed that on August 19, 2007, the four and a minor boy strangled Patrawala in Navi Mumbai after their plan to extort Rs 2 crore as ransom from his father went awry with the police getting wind of the kidnapping. His body was found dumped inside his car on Palm Beach Road in Vashi.

Pointing at a glaring error, the court said the prosecution did not examined Patrawala’s mother Lubna as a witness though she was the one who received a call made from Adnan’s mobile to their home’s landline at 1.30pm on August 19, 2007. The investigating officer had not confronted her or Adnan’s father Aslam with the accused to identify their voice, the court said. The judge further pointed out that the prosecution should have adduced voice analysis evidence in support of the ransom calls. The court claimed that the seizure procedure of several articles to be produced as evidence was not done according to the procedure. “Tampering of articles is possible,” the judgment copy stated.

The prosecution also withheld the pictures of Patrawala’s body and the car. “Further, the prosecution did not mention the details of the area where those were recovered. Evidence regarding seizure of the articles is not acceptable,” the judge added.

Another blatant mistake on the part of the prosecution, the court said, was that it did not examine the fingerprint expert who could have thrown light on the involvement of the accused. The expert was called to the spot to examine the car to show that the accused had handled the vehicle after killing Adnan.

The judge also rejected the testimony given by the prosecution’s star witness, Abdul Wahid, who was examined to prove the theory that Patrawala was last seen in the company of the five accused. Judge Deshmukh said the identification parade involving Wahid was not carried out in accordance with the rules under the Criminal Manual.

Aslam Patrawala told TOI that he was yet to receive the judgment copy. “I will get it either by Sunday or Monday. Once we go through it we will file our appeal in the Bombay High Court and even approach the Mantralaya,” he said.





A Raja solely responsible for 2G spectrum mess: Justice AK Ganguly


New Delhi: Former Supreme Court judge Ashok Kumar Ganguly says that former Telecom Minsiter A Raja acted unilaterally in the 2G spectrum mess and that his Cabinet colleagues are not to be blamed.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on Devil’s Advocate, Justice Ganguly said, “It is not correct to apply the principle of collective Cabinet responsibility in the case relating to the distribution of 2G licences on a first-come-first-serve basis.”

Here is an excerpt of the interview:

Karan Thapar: It appears that you have pinned the blame entirely on Mr Raja but you haven’t paid sufficient heed to the principle of the collective Cabinet responsibility. Surely such a momentous decision requires that the Cabinet also accept the responsibility?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: I think from the judgment, if you look at the judgment facts properly, you find that the minister concerns didn’t pay heed to the request made by the another minister, including the request made by the law minister to put the matter before the empowered committee.

Karan Thapar: As a result of which collective Cabinet responsibility, you are saying, doesn’t apply?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: In a way yes. Because that is the why we find that there is no proper policy.

Karan Thapar: What about the fact that in the three areas that Mr Raja has found to acted have wrongly, pricing, advancing the cut off date, determining the first-come-first-served in terms of letter of intent rather than in terms of date of application. He either informed the Prime Minister or the Prime Minister overlooked it or ignored it or the Prime Minister gave him advice which Mr Raja overlooked and Prime Minister didn’t look. Doesn’t that point the figure all the way to the PM?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: You are again asking me on the nitty gritties of the judgment. I don’t want to go again through that in the interview.

Karan Thapar: But you are absolutely convinced that the this instance the principle collective Cabinet responsibility does not apply?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: Possibly that is not follwed.

Karan Thapar: It doesn’t apply?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: It was not applied to this particular case.

Karan Thapar: It wasn’t followed? Raja acted unilaterally which is why his colleagues in Cabinet possibly don’t share any blame?

Ashok Kumar Ganguly: Possibly yes.









United Sikkim threaten legal action against Ar Hima


PTI | Feb 18, 2012, 08.21PM IST

NEW DELHI: United Sikkim Football Club lodged a complaint to the All India Football Federation over the reported statement of the coach of Ar Hima FC that the Baichung Bhutia-owned side had influenced the rival club during an I-League second division match at Silchar.

In a letter to the AIFF, United Sikkim FC said that Ar Hima coach Subrata Bhattacharya was quoted as saying by a Bengali newspaper that some of his players were influenced by the Gangtok-based side.

“We think these types of baseless allegations are hampering the reputation of our club. This is our earnest request to you to kindly look into the matter and requests Ar Hima FC to produce necessary proof in this matter,” said the letter addressed to the AIFF general secretary.

“United Sikkim management is looking for necessary legal action against Ar Hima and its coach. We request you to look into the matter and take necessary action,” said the letter written by United Sikkim FC manager Anurava Bhattacharya.




Appointment of advisors, vice-chairpersons legal’


Last Updated: Sunday, February 19, 2012, 09:26


Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir government has said the appointments of politicians as advisors and vice-chairpersons to various boards were legal and within the constitutional limit.

“The advisors and Vice-Chairmen of various boards were appointed by the state government within the parameters of constitution and law of the State and are as such absolutely legal being in accordance with the constitution of the state,” Law and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ali Mohammad Sagar said in a statement issued by the government.

Sagar said the J&K government was examining the notice issued by the State Accountability Commission (SAC) on these appointments.

“We are examining the SAC notice and will reply to it in accordance with the rules. The appointments are legal and in accordance with the constitution of the state,” Sagar said. The SAC had on Friday asked the government to explain as to how it had accorded ministerial status to political advisors of the chief minister and vice-chairpersons of various boards.

The minister said there were no corruption charges against any of the advisors or vice-chairpersons for them to resign.

“The appointments are constitutional and legal, so there arises no question of their stepping down,” he added.

The minister said that it was not for the first time that the advisors and Vice Chairmen of various boards have been appointed as this practice has been in vogue during various regimes and administrative setups in the State in the past.

“We respect the State Accountability Commission and the State Government shall definitely clarify the state’s stand as per the law,” Sagar said. The minister said Jammu and Kashmir is not the only state to have appointed advisors with ministerial status as similar appointments have been made in other states and at the Centre as well.

“All these are legal and constitutional niceties shall be pleaded accordingly and law shall take its own course,” he said.

Criticising the political statement issued by PDP President Mehbooba Mufti, Sagar said, “Her statement is loaded with negative political overtures. She should in fact on the contrary appreciate the transparency of the system and independence of the constitutional institutions.”

The minister said Mehbooba has forgotten that various such appointments were made during the regime headed by PDP between 2002 to 2005.








Lawyers should strengthen society: Ex-CJI


Published: Saturday, Feb 18, 2012, 15:19 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

AM Ahmadi, former chief justice of the Supreme Court of India, had words of advice forstudents pursuing studies in law. As he delivered the keynote address at the inaugural ceremony of the 27th All-India Inter-University Moot Court Competition, held at Nirma University on Friday, he opined that law students should not run after lucrative jobs in multinational companies (MNCs), but instead practice law and thereby strengthen society.

“I do not like this idea of campus recruitment. Role of legal professionals is not in MNCs, but in the strengthening of the legal system and society. Don’t go after the system, be a part of it. Remain within the system to make it stronger,” said Ahmadi as hundreds of law students listened to his speech in the auditorium.

Among other dignitaries present at the function were Hemant Kumar Patel, trustee of the Bar Council, and Ashok Kumar Deb, managing trustee, Bar Council of India Trust. Around 38 participant groups will take part in the moot court competition.

Ahmadi also said that the profession of law has as a lot of thrill, as there is scope for dealing with a variety of subjects. He also said that a law professional is the only one who does not get any reward from the government. “Law is a vast canvas on which so much can be painted, and still never get exhausted,” he said.

The two-day competition will culminate on Sunday and the winners will be announced on the same day.









Court rejects DRI plea on Paras Ram


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 05.44AM IST

JODHPUR: After deferring hearing for four times earlier, the CBI court finally refused to give custody of Paras Ram Bishnoi, a suspect in the Bhanwari Devi case, to the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) on production warrant but permitted the DRI officers to interrogate him in jail on February 22. Bishnoi is currently under judicial custody in connection with the case. He was arrested by the CBI on December 2 last year.

Bishnoi’s counsel Sunil Joshi objected to the demand of the DRI to take him on production warrant for interrogation and termed it as the infringement of Section 267 of the CrPC.

He argued in court that Bishnoi is neither an accused in the DRI case nor does he have any pending case. “When the court asked the DRI officials on their efforts to summon him, the agency claimed to have sent about 40 summons to him but failed to substantiate the claim,” Joshi said adding that Bishnoi was very much available at his residence in Bilara.

Joshi said after 9 years, the DRI has woken up and that too due to Bishnoi being named in the Bhanwari Devi case.

Hearing the arguments from both the sides, magistrate Jagdish Jyani refused to give Bishnoi’s custody on production warrant to the DRI but allowed it to interrogate him in the jail on February 22.

Since the ongoing investigation of Bhanwari Devi case had brought up Bishnoi’s name, it alerted the DRI and its officers landed in Jodhpur to seek his custody on production warrant close on the heels of the CBI court sending him to judicial custody.

Bishnoi is accused of manufacturing and supplying of Mandrax tablets (a highly addictive synthetic drug) in a closed factory near Bilara. The DRI had searched this factory in 2002 after its sleuths intercepted a consignment of this drug in Mumbai and had booked him under NDPS Act along with four other persons for their involvement in production and selling of the contraband.

Of the accused, two have been acquitted, one is convicted and two including Bishnoi are absconding. The DRI had issued a red alert notice against Bishnoi on May 9, 2002 after he did not allegedly respond to any of the DRI’s summons.










Court takes cognizance of NIA chargesheet against David Headley


PTI Feb 18, 2012, 04.27PM IST

NEW DELHI: A Delhi court on Saturday took cognizance of the NIA chargesheet against Pakistani-American David Coleman Headley and eight others for allegedly carrying out several terror attacks in India.

The court has issued process to procure the presence of four accused, including Headley and his Pakistani-Canadian accomplice Tahawwur Rana for March 13.

Besides the four, the court has issued non bailable warrants returnable for March 13, against the other five accused named in the charge sheet.

The special NIA Judge H S Sharma had reserved its order on February 4 after hearing arguments of NIA on the charge sheet.

The NIA had accused 51-year-old Headley, Rana, Lashker-e- Taiba founder Hafiz Saeed and six others for planning and executing terror strikes in India, including the 26/11 Mumbai attack.

Earlier, the NIA had told the court that Headley’s wife had congratulated him for the success of the November 26 terror attack in Mumbai.

The agency said his wife had e-mailed Headley saying “he has graduated and she was proud of him” and that she had watched the show (attack) for the whole day.

The NIA prosecutor had said Headley did dry runs of several places in India before the 26/11 Mumbai attack and he had also gone to Pakistan several times where he also met Pakistan Army official Major Iqbal, co-accused in the case.

The NIA had on December 24 last year filed the voluminous chargesheet against Headley, Rana, Saeed and others.

Headley and Rana are at present in the custody of the US authorities and the NIA has only got a limited access to Headley who had entered into plea bargain with US authorities to escape harsh sentence.

Besides Major Iqbal, the NIA has also named another serving Pakistani Army officer, Major Sameer Ali, believed to be working for ISI along with Iqbal, in the chargesheet.

Al-Qaeda operative Illyas Kashmiri, Headley’s handler Sajid Malik and former Pakistani Army officer Abdul Rehman Hashmi were also named in the chargesheet for waging war against India and under other relevant sections of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

The NIA had initially registered a case against Headley and Rana but after a thorough probe, seven other names were included in the case.

The agency said Headley’s role in several terror strikes in the country was detailed in the chargesheet.

The chargesheet, which was filed after two years of probe by the central agencies, contained statements of 134 witnesses along with 210 documents and 106 e-mails.

The court also heard NIA’s arguments on an application under section 166A of the CrPC, seeking permission for a letter of request to the competent authority for investigation in Morocco.

The chargesheet mentions the fake plea made by Rana to Indian authorities about Headley being a representative of his Immigration Law Centre








Furnish details of medical faculty, CIC tells MCI


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 06.24AM IST

PUDUCHERRY: In a significant order that will help eradicate fake faculty members in private medical colleges, the Central Information Commission has directed the Medical Council of India (MCI) to furnish details of faculty members, their designations and their joining dates on its website and update the information every quarter.

Puducherry Government Medical Officers’ Association general secretary Dr K Sudhakar had filed an application under the RTI Act with the MCI public information officer (PIO) seeking details about faculty members in nine private medical colleges in Puducherry.

Unsatisfied with the reply given by the PIO, Sudhakar filed an appeal with the first appellate authority , which failed to pass an order within the stipulated time. Sudhakar then approached the CIC. Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi ordered the MCI to furnish names of faculty members, their designations and joining dates on its website and update the information every quarter.











RTI reply hints at unauthorised use of confidential documents


Bhartesh Singh Thakur, Hindustan Times
Chandigarh, February 18, 2012

The Directorate General of Military Operations (DGMO) has replied under the Right To Information (RTI) Act that there is no record of additional copies being made of the confidential documents submitted by Gen VP Malik (retd) in the Delhi high court in 2003 in the Brig Surinder Singh dismissal case.

The RTI reply also reveals that these documents had been destroyed by the DGMO on September 30, 2002, by a board of officers, while former Chief of Army Staff Gen Malik had used them to support his argument on February 11, 2003.

“It shows that Gen Malik had been in unauthorised possession of these confidential documents,” said Brig Surinder Singh (retd). One of the documents is Gen Malik’s tour programme to the Northern Command from August 27-29, 1998, when he had met Brig Singh. The second pertains to tour notes and directions.

This RTI information has been submitted in the case being heard by the Chandigarh bench of the Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT). “It clearly shows that even the government is not supporting the legal possession of these documents with Gen Malik,” said MP Goswami, counsel for Brig Singh. The latter had applied for this information on March 18, 2011. It was provided on January 2 this year.

Earlier, Brig Singh had submitted RTI information supplied by the army headquarters, dated February 14, 2011, stating that Gen Malik had not taken permission before publishing details about troop strength, movement and deployment and weapons held by them during the 1999 Kargil war in his book ‘Kargil From Surprise to Victory’.

The ministry of defence had stated in an RTI reply dated January 31, 2011, that neither had Gen Malik taken permission before publishing his book nor had the MOD taken cognisance of the matter afterwards.

The Kargil Review Committee had deleted the name of Tashi Namgyal, an informer who reported about Pakistani intrusions, but Gen Malik’s book mentioned his name on page 105 of his book.
Brig Singh was the brigade commander for Kargil during the war. He was dismissed from the army on May 29, 2001, on the charges of leak of documents to unauthorised persons and vacating of the Bajrang post by 4 Jat in early 1999.

In 2002, he moved the Delhi high court, seeking quashing the dismissal order and his reinstatement with all consequential benefits. He also prayed for an independent inquiry to fix responsibility and the role of the Army Commander and the Core Commander.

Besides Gen Malik, Lt Gen Kishan Pal, then Corps Commander of 15 Corps, Maj Gen VS Budhwar, then GOC 3 Infantry Division, and Lt Gen HM Khanna, then Army Commander of Northern Command, were also respondents in the case.

The case was transferred to the principal bench of the AFT in early 2010, and came to the Chandigarh bench in September 2010.
What General said in HC in 2003 that during his tenure as army chief, he toured Jammu, Naushera, Surankot, Srinagar, Kargil, Drass, Wujur, Khanabal, Kupwara, Pherkian Gali and Balbir posts from August 27 to 29, 1998. He visited Kargil and Drass on August 29.
During his visit, Brig Surinder Singh gave him a briefing in the Ops Room of the brigade. Gen Malik claimed that Brig Singh “never brought out that there was a possible or imminent threat of large-scale infiltration by the enemy from any particular area/route”.
He also submitted that Brig Singh failed in his duties and responsibilities “to protect the territory along the LoC, which was his primary responsibility”. He added that as an afterthought, Brig Singh “wanted to cover up his lapses by shifting the blame on him and the government” by claiming that he had informed about the possible intrusion by the enemy in the Kargil sector.

Gen Malik added that he had received “no written communication whatsoever” wherein Brig Singh had shown his apprehension of a possible infiltration by the enemy in his brigade sector.










Centre-states’ face-off in offing over amendment to RPF Act


Mahendra Kumar Singh, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.17AM IST

NEW DELHI: Another stand-off between the Centre and states is building up, and this time around the bone of contention is amendment to the Railway Protection Force (RPF) Act that will empower central force under railways with policing power to effectively deal with crimes in trains and railway stations.

As railways is gearing up to introduce the Railway Protection Force (Amendment) Bill, 2011, in the budget session of Parliament, the move is set to face stiff political resistance from non-UPA ruled states.

Many states, including Mayawati-ruled Uttar Pradesh, are opposing the proposal, terming it unconstitutional and against the federal structure, arguing that policing and law and order falls in their domain.

However, West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, who is spearheading the campaign against National Counter Terror Centre (NCTC) on an anti-federal plank, will be in the line of fire as the legislation is piloted by the rail ministry that is controlled by her party.

The legislation seeks withdrawal of the Government Railway Police (GRP) – controlled by state government and railways bears 50% of the cost – from railway premises and empowering the RPF with policing power to deal with crime cases, including drugging and robberies in trains and stations.

Now, GRP is responsible for dealing with crime at railway stations and trains, while the RPF’s role is restricted to protecting railway properties.

As per the proposed amendments, a RPF sub-inspector will enjoy an equal power to that of station house officer (SHO) and will be empowered to file First Information Report (FIR) against the accused of crimes committed on running trains and railway stations. The GRP’s power to file cases against the accused has placed the Centre and states at loggerheads over the investigation of offences.

Once this law is passed, it will be the first time that a paramilitary force will be given policing powers in the country. Railway’s plan aimed at eliminating multiplicity of authorities as the RPF will be solely responsible for tackling crime in railway premises. But, states are complaining of encroachment in their territory arguing that policing and law and order is a core state subject. “RPF manning police stations will create jurisdictional islands that will help criminals in escaping the law,” said DGP of a state, pointing out practical difficulties in implementing the proposal.

It was argued that since the GRP is controlled by the state government, there are boundary issues in dealing with crimes which creates inconvenience to passengers but also affects the investigation process.

The amendments will give RPF the responsibility of registering FIRs and there will be no boundary issue involved, he argued.

The issue of community policing is also raised against the move, claiming that state police is better equipped as far as local intelligence is concerned. The crimes committed in trains and stations cannot be dealt in isolation, they claimedarguing that a GRP constable is an officer with a civilian facade, who has to deal with different pressure groups – local politicians, shopkeepers, unions and criminals. “He is basically a community police officer. He is better equipped for law and order handling and crime detection,” said a SP from Odisha.

A senior rail officer argued that the crimes committed on trains and railway station campuses come under the jurisdiction of the GRP for FIR and investigations, but the blame for their failure goes to railways.

Also, the jurisdiction of the GRP is till border of a state, and the criminals take advantage of the situation and manage to cross over to a neighbouring state within hours of committing the crime.

After the RPF gets the authority to control crime, it would be able to check the crimes and nab criminals from any part of the country, the SP claimed.

Railways wants the RPF equipped on the lines of CBI to effectively deal with crimes on moving trains and so the disputes regarding border did not crop up at all, saying that officers of a singular force will be able to investigate the crimes with better coordination.










Goondas Act: Govt record poor, liberal use to blame


A Subramani, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 04.44AM IST

CHENNAI: Once the most feared provision, detention under the Goondas Act has now been reduced to a mockery, with just about seven per cent of the detainees serving out the full detention period of one year.

During the past 13 months, beginning January 2011, Tamil Nadu witnessed a total of 1,926 detentions under the Tamil Nadu Prevention of Dangerous Activities of Bootleggers, Drug-offenders, Forest-offenders, Goondas, Immoral Traffic Offenders, Slum-grabbers and Video Pirates Act (popularly called ‘Goondas Act’). Of them, just 146 people actually completed the whole one year in detention.

“While 1,291 people were released as per the orders of the high court or the Supreme Court, 489 walked out due to the intervention of the statutory advisory board headed by a retired judge of the high court,” a source in the high court told The Times of India. “Not all detention orders of the 146 persons, who completed their one-year term in prison, were upheld by court/board. Many of them simply spent the whole term in jails, without questioning the detentions,” he said.

Interestingly, 76 women too had been detained under the act during the period, and the detentions of all but one woman were quashed by the court/board. “The only woman, housed at the special prison for women at Vellore, spent the full period because she could not afford to hire the services of a lawyer,” the source said.

Commenting on the abysmally low confirmation rate of preventive detentions, a former prosecutor said that indiscriminate and ill-prepared detentions will dilute the deterrence value of the provision.

“Preventive detentions too should not become just another routine penal provision, which could be easily challenged and quashed. Though personal liberty is one of the most precious of all fundamental rights in the Constitution, authorities have been empowered to invoke a preventive detention provision only because the framers of the Constitution expected the detaining as well as the sponsoring authorities to use the provision sparingly and judiciously,” said a jurist.

The fact that 146 persons languished in jail because many of them could not engage a lawyer to represent them in court is sad, because it reflects the failure of our free legal aid scheme, said a lawyer-activist. “Usually, requests of indigent detainees are forwarded to the High Court Legal Services Committee, which shall nominate a lawyer. In most cases, even after nomination letters are issued, these lawyers never visit jails and meet the detainees concerned,” he said.

For instance, the committee nominated a lawyer to represent Vinayagam of Puzhal prison in August 2011. Till date, the detainee has not seen his lawyer. As he was detained in July 2011, in a couple of months his detention period itself will end, said the lawyer.

“Already our conviction rate in criminal cases is very low. The preventive detention orders cannot be allowed to get quashed at this speed,” said a former judge, adding: “While the detentions are publicised by the authorities, not even a whisper is made whenever they are quashed. Police flaunt detentions only for statistical purposes.”








Make picking red sandalwood a penal offence: SC


Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.20AM IST

NEW DELHI: Large scale smuggling of endangered red sandalwood, which grows only in Indian forests and commands a princely price in markets of China, Japan and Western countries, has forced the Supreme Court to try and save it from extinction by making its picking or uprooting from wild a penal offence under the Wildlife Protection Act.

A bench of Justices K S Radhakrishnan and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad directed the Centre to take steps to include Red Sanders in Schedule VI of the Act, as requested by Andhra Pradesh, within six months.

Till date there are only six other plant species in Schedule VI such as Beddomes’ Cycad, Blue Vanda, Kuth, Ladies Slipper Orchids, Pitcher Plant and Red Vanda. Now, Red Sanders would become the seventh species to be included in the Schedule.

Accepting the arguments of amicus curiae and senior advocate P S Narasimha, the court said it was giving the direction for inclusion of red sandalwood in the prohibited list since “it is reported that nowhere in the world this species is seen, except in India and we owe an obligation to world, to safeguard this endangered species for posterity”.

Red sandalwood is found only in south India, especially in Andhra Pradesh’s Cuddapah and Chitoor districts that share border with Tamil Nadu. It is also known as lal chandan or rakta chandan in Hindi. The court noted that it possessed medicinal properties.

On normal sandalwood, the bench said though the species was not mentioned in the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Specials (CITES) of wild flora and fauna; it was included in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

However, it asked the Central government to consider including normal sandalwood in Schedule VI of endangered species “considering the fact that all sandalwood growing states have stated that it faces extinction”.

“In such circumstances, rather than giving a positive direction to the Central government to include sandalwood in Schedule VI, we are inclined to give a direction to the Central government to examine the issue at length in consultation with National Board for Wildlife and take a decision within six months as to whether it is to be notified as a specific plant and be included in Schedule VI of the Act,” the bench said.



Indians killed: Ship to hand over 2 guards?


Kochi: Time is running out for Italian ship Enrica Lexie to hand over two marines for questioning in connection with the killing of two Indian fisherman. The deadline expires at 8 am on Sunday.

Kochi’s Police Commissioner Ajith Kumar had earlier visited the vessel on Saturday evening – the second visit by a police team for the day and met the captain and crew. The crew was told to surrender or face police action.

“Italian authorities have agreed to hand over two guards of Enrica Lexie to Kerala Police for questioning after Minister of External Affairs SM Krishna on Saturday talked to his Italian counterpart Giulio Maria Terzi di Sant’Agata regarding the Indian fishermen killing incident.”

External Affairs Minister SM Krishna has told Italy that they will have to face a probe under Indian laws. But Italians have reportedly refused to cooperate.

Reports suggest the Italian crew is awaiting for officials from Rome to arrive before deciding the next course of action.

Kochi police commissioner MR Ajith Kumar said the two guards will be handed over at 8 am on Sunday.

During his talks, Krishna has told his Italian counterpart that Indian law will have to be followed in the fishermen killing incident and the crew of Enrica Lexie will have to face probe. Krishna told the Italian minister that the crew of the ship should have exercised restraint as fishermen carried no arms, but only fishing nets.

The Italian foreign minister has expressed regret and sought mutually acceptable procedure to establish facts.

The Italian ship’s crew has till now refused to be questioned and said they will cooperate only after discussing the matter with their diplomats. The crew is awaiting the arrival of a high-level team of diplomats from Italy to meet officials in Delhi and then advise them on the next step.

Kollam Police Commissioner Gopesh Agrawal is already on the ship waiting for further orders.

The ship owners and crew are reportedly ready to cooperate, but waiting for final word from the Italian authorities.

Taking a strong stand on the incident, Kerala Chief Minister Oomen Chandy said, “The killing of fishermen is a cruel incident. We will not let it pass till justice is done. We will not allow the culprits to escape from legal proceedings.”

The IG of internal security in Kerala S Anand Krishnan told CNN-IBN that exact location of where the firing took place is still unclear despite the MHA maintaining that the incident did take place in Indian waters.

“There is a problem about the jurisdiction. But we have registered a case under Indian penal code. Their authorities are claiming that the case should be pursued under international law. The exact spot is yet to be established through technical corroboration. Will wait for diplomatic correspondence,” said Krishnan.

However, Home Secretary RK Singh said, “The law is very clear. The vessel, in which the fishermen were travelling, was an Indian vessel; therefore action will be taken as per Indian law.”

On Friday, the Home Ministry had given orders to the Kerala Police to arrest the armed guards on the ship.

Sources say that the Italian crew insists that India cannot take any action against them as they were in international waters, when the incident took place.

Commenting on the incident, Minister for Shipping GK Vasan said, “It is internationally well known fact that whenever pirates attack there is a proper protocol to tackle it. The protocol was not followed by the Italian ship. There was a delay made by the crew in contacting the Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC).”

The Indian authorities say there is nothing to suggest that the fishermen were in the wrong. In fact it appears the ship was reckless in opening fire. It used excessive force and violated standard anti-piracy protocols; a case of murder has now been filed against the six armed guards.

Regional Commander of Coast Guard Region said, “If it (pirate attack) happens or likely to happen they are supposed to report to the concerned agency. No report has been received by the HQ. They should have reported about the pirate attack.”










CP workers resort to violence at Dhankawdi


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 03.35AM IST

PUNE: Tension gripped Katraj after irate NCP activists closed down a school, shops, staged a ‘rasta roko’ agitation and ransacked the Dhankawdi ward office on Saturday, irked by the defeat of NCP candidate Ajit Babar in the civic polls. Babar was defeated by MNS candidate Vasant More in panel number 76 on Friday. Senior police inspector Nagnath Wakude of the Bhartiya Vidhyapeeth police station told TOI that the part workers started protesting by saying that the elections had not been free and fair, and demanded that the assistant returning officer conduct the elections again.

According to Wakude, the activists terrorised students of More Vidyalaya in Katraj village and forced officials to close down the school. “They also forced 15 to 20 shops to close down and staged a ‘rasta roko’ agitation at Katraj chowk,” he said. The activists allegedly ransacked the Dhankawdi ward office and damaged cabins, computers and notice boards. They also damaged the windscreens of two private vehicles parked outside the ward office and fled, police said.

Acomplaint has been registered against Ajit Babar, Ramesh Babar, Lokesh Tondare, Amar Renuse, Chaya Khandare, Balasaheb Khandare, Shivaji Biramane and around 250 others under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, Criminal Law Amendment, Damage to Public Property Act and Bombay Police Act. Tondare was later arrested.











High Court notice to State, Upalokayukta


Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment challenged

Not just the State Government and the Chief Minister, even Upalokayukta Chandrashekaraiah will have to defend his appointment as the High Court of Karnataka on Friday ordered issue of notice to them while hearing two public interest litigation (PIL) petitions challenging his appointment.

A Division Bench comprising Justice N. Kumar and Justice Ravi Malimath ordered issuance of notice on the petitions filed by Janekere C. Krishna, an advocate, and Ananda Murthy R.

The court, however, directed deletion of the Governor’s name from the list of respondents. The Bench will hear the arguments of the petitioners as well as the respondents on February 27.

It has been contended in the petitions that Mr. Chandrashekaraiah’s selection was made without following the procedure stipulated in Section 3 (2) (b) of the Karnataka Lokayukta Act, 1984, and thus the appointment was illegal.

The petitioners pointed out that, according to the law, the Chief Minister has to recommend to the Governor the name of a retired judge of a High Court for the post of Upalokayukta. And such an advice should be tendered by the Chief Minister in consultation with the Chief Justice of the High Court, the Chairman of the Legislative Council, the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and the leaders of the Opposition in the Council and the Assembly.

However, the petitioners said that any appointment without following the procedure was illegal, and pointed out that the opinion of the Chief Justice of the High Court was crucial and should have primacy during the selection process.


Referring to the recent letter from the High Court Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen to Chief Minister D.V. Sadananda Gowda on the appointment of the Upalokayukta, the petitioners pointed out that the Chief Justice had said that the Chief Minister had not followed the procedure in the appointment of Mr. Chandrashekaraiah.

It was pointed out in the petitions that the Chief Justice, in his letter, had asked the Chief Minister to recall the appointment (of Mr. Chandrashekaraiah) as it was done without mandatory consultation with the Chief Justice.

It was argued on behalf of the petitioners that the PIL petitions had been filed to protect the integrity of the institution [Lokayukta] as persons occupying the posts of Lokayukta and Upalokyukta should be of high integrity, while pointing out that there were certain allegations against Mr. Chandrashekaraiah.

Advocate-General S. Vijay Shankar, who took notice on behalf of the State, submitted that only the nature of consultation with the Chief Justice by the Chief Minister would have to be looked into by the court in these pleas, and contended that there was no need to stay Mr. Chandrashekaraiah’s appointment.



Telecom Watchdog moves court for CBI probe into excess spectrum allocation


‘No transparency, exchequer suffered huge loss’

Telecom Watchdog, an NGO, on Saturday filed a petition in the Supreme Court seeking a CBI probe into the allocation of excess spectrum to the existing operators in violation of norms and thereby causing a huge loss to the exchequer.

It filed a petition through advocate Prashant Bhushan seeking transfer of the writ petition, pending in the Delhi High Court, in which Bharti Airtel, Vodafone Essar, Reliance Telecom, Idea Cellular, Loop Mobile, Spice Communications and Aircel Cellular were cited as respondents who received spectrum allocation in excess of their contractual entitlement but without paying any entry fee, etc. The petitioner alleged that the Centre did not follow even its own February 1, 2002 order, which said that “additional allocation could be considered only after a suitable subscriber base, as may be prescribed, is reached.”

The petition said: “Many operators had obtained 2×10 MHz spectrum [from July 2003 onwards] years before the announcement of allocation criteria [March 2006]. This way the Centre has caused a substantial loss to the exchequer to provide benefit to the private operators. The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, in its August 28, 2007 recommendations to the government while tightening the spectrum allocation, also recommended levying of a licence fee for any spectrum allocated beyond 10 MHz [since by then many operators had already acquired Spectrum up to 10 MHz].”

The Telecom Commission agreed with TRAI and it recommended levying of a usage charge for allocation of additional spectrum from 2×8 MHz to 2×10 MHz to all the existing operators beyond 4.4 MHz/ 2.5 MHz in the GSM/CDMA band prospectively from the date of allocation, after a decision by the government in this regard, at the price to be discovered through auction. However, now the Telecom Ministry sent the recommendations to the Law Ministry for its opinion and the matter was pending. The petition alleged that the Centre’s action in allocating spectrum over and above the contracted amount non-transparently led to a huge loss to the exchequer.











Delhi High Court upholds ‘Advocate on Record’ rule


By which only lawyers who clear AoR exams can move Supreme Court

The Delhi High Court has upheld the ‘Advocate on Record’ (AoR) system prevailing in the Supreme Court by which only those advocates who are qualified in the AoR examination are eligible to file petitions in the Supreme Court.

Dismissing a petition filed by an advocate Balraj Singh Malik, who is not an AoR, a Bench of acting Chief Justice A.K. Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said: “The [AoR] rule is based on intelligible differentia with objective sought to be achieved, as highlighted by the Solicitor General Rohinton Nariman, namely it is in the interest of litigating public that the practice before the apex court is regulated by way of prescribing such qualification/eligibility conditions for advocates to become ‘Advocate on Record‘ and to be entitled to act or plead.”

Pyramidal structure

The Bench said: “The court system, being pyramidal in structure, makes the Supreme Court the Court of last resort, so it is helpful to have someone who is equipped to deal with all kinds of matters where the litigant is not able to afford the senior counsel or some other counsel.”

The Bench said: “No doubt, AoR can engage a counsel other than a Senior Counsel and in that sense, every advocate has a right to argue before the Supreme Court. However, with this system, the other advocates, who may be authorised by AoR, would be an advocate who has experience and confidence of the litigant. Furthermore, there are various responsibilities cast upon the AoR, who files the case on behalf of his client and such an AoR has to have necessary qualification to act in that capacity. Prescription of these qualifications which include passing of examination therefore is not a mere formality but has laudable objective behind it.”

The petitioner contended that after the amendment to Section 30 of the Advocates Act, every advocate, as of right, could practise in all courts, including the Supreme Court, and no restriction could be imposed. The AoR rule imposed unreasonable restriction on the advocate’s right to practise, he argued.

Regulate system

The Bench said: “No doubt, right to practice in the Supreme Court is conferred under Section 30 of the Advocates Act. Section 52 of the Advocates Act, however, categorically states that nothing in this Act shall be deemed to affect the power of the Supreme Court to make rules under Article 145 of the Constitution. This means that notwithstanding what is contained in the Advocates Act, Section 52 of the Act keeps the powers of the Supreme Court under Article 145 of the Constitution intact. Reading these two provisions in a harmonious way, an inescapable conclusion would be that the Apex court has the power to lay down the rules about the entitlement of persons not only to act but also to plead before it. It, thus, clearly follows that amendment of Section 30 has not altered the position, which was prevailing earlier. We are not oblivious of the situation, as highlighted by the petitioner, that there are some noises that AoR system is not working satisfactorily. There may be some truth in the same. However, if some anomalies and unhealthy practices have crept into the AoR system, the proper remedy is to find solution to rectify the same. That may not be a cause for dispensing with the system of AoR altogether. It would be more appropriate that the present practice of the AoR is regulated to ensure that they play a constructive role in justice delivery system.”










Supreme Court cautions High Courts against curbs on trial


NEW DELHI: The high courts are taking unduly long time in deciding cases in which trial court proceedings are stayed at the stage of registration of first information report ( FIR), investigation or framing of charges, the Supreme Court has said.

Describing it as a serious matter, the apex court bench of Justice (since retired) A.K. Ganguly and Justice T.S. Thakur, in a recent order, said: “Undue long delay has the effect of bringing about blatant violation of the rule of law and adverse impact on the common man’s access to justice.”

Justice Ganguly said: “A person’s access to justice is a guaranteed fundamental right under the constitution and particularly article 21. Denial of this right undermines public confidence in the justice delivery system and incentivises people to look for short-cuts and other fora where they feel that justice will be done quicker.”

The court also asked the high courts to exercise their extraordinary powers for staying the trial court proceedings with “due caution and circumspection”.

Once a high court stayed the trial court proceedings, it should not lose sight of the case and decide it as early as possible preferably within six months from the date the stay order was issued, the judges said.

In Allahabad High Court, 32 cases have been pending for 30 years or more.

“A perusal of … information reveals that shockingly 32 cases have been pending for 30 years or more,” the order read.

The apex court noted that in most of the cases in different high courts, the duration for which a case remained pending varied from 1-4 years.

The delay weakened the justice delivery system and posed a threat to rule of law, the court said.

The court said that “the stay of investigation or trial for significant periods of time runs counter to the principle of rule of law, wherein the rights and aspirations of citizens are intertwined with expeditious conclusion of matters”.

The “delay in conclusion of criminal matters signifies a restriction on the right of access to justice itself, thus, amounting to a violation of the citizens’ rights under the constitution, in particular under Article 21”, the order said.

“A sense of confidence in the courts is essential to maintain a fabric of order and liberty for a free people”, the order said.

A delay in disposal of cases would make “people who had long been exploited in the small transactions of daily life come to believe that courts cannot vindicate their legal rights against fraud and overreaching”, the judges said.

Holding that the case pendency was a “localised problem” as it affected a few high courts far more than others, the court noted that 76.9 percent of such pending cases were in four high courts – Calcutta (31.1 percent), Allahabad (28.6 percent), Patna (8.8 percent) and Orissa (8.2 percent).

The apex court asked the law commission to undertake measures to help in elimination of delays, speedy clearance of arrears and reduction in costs.

The court asked the commission to address the question as to what was the rational and scientific definition of “arrears” and delay, of which continued notice needed to be taken.

The court was hearing a petition by Imtiyaz Ahmad challenging the April 9, 2003 order of a high court staying trial court proceedings and subsequent nine orders till Dec 18, 2008.


Deploy sufficient police for Sivaratri: HC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Friday asked the Ernakulam district police chief to enforce the arrangements being planned by the police at Aluva Shiva temple premises in connection with the Sivaratri festivities.

A Division Bench comprising Justice Thottathil B Radhakrishnan and Justice C T Ravikumar issued the directive after going through the report filed by the police regarding the arrangements.

The court observed that there was a deficit of four DySPs, 19 circle inspectors, 75 sub-inspectors, 653 head constables and 52 woman constables on the temple premises. The court directed the ADGP, south zone, to ensure the deployment of sufficient police personnel.

The court cautioned the police stating that there will be a large convergence of devotees at Aluva in connection with the Sivaratri festival.

Prime importance should be given for crowd management and even for the precautionary disaster management.








Company cntitled to collect toll, HC told


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


KOCHI: The government on Friday informed the High Court that the company which undertook the construction of the Mannuthy-Angamaly stretch of NH 47 was entitled to collect toll.

The state also said that the Guruvayur Infrastructure Private Ltd, which undertook the construction of the four-lane stretch, has completed the construction of footpaths along the seven bridges on the highway.

In an affidavit, P R Sreekumar, Joint Secretary, PWD, said that, in the wake of protests over the toll collection, the govt convened a meeting of the people’s representatives, government officials and representatives of the company.

The affidavit was filed in response to a writ petition filed by the company seeking police protection. The company had agreed to construct the newly proposed service road of 27.6 km in six months and the works would be executed immediately.

If the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) does not provide funds for the construction of the service roads, the state government will bear the cost. The project director of the NHAI will take urgent steps to prepare the estimate and plans for flyovers/underpasses. One-metre wide footpaths on the seven bridges on the Thrissur-Angamaly stretch were completed.

The company sought permission of the state government to resume toll collection at Paliyakkara toll plaza.

The government submitted that the police had already provided protection and toll was being collected since February 9, 2012.








Plea in HC seeking proper testing of Pentavalen


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: A woman who lost her infant on account of pentavalent vaccine being administered, approached the Kerala High Court on Friday against the use of the five-in-one vaccine.
The petitioner, A N Shajila of Thiruvananthapuram, sought a directive to ban the vaccine in Kerala. She said that she had given birth to a girl child on October 18 last year. As per the compulsory vaccination policy, she gave her child the mandatory pentavalent vaccine within 57 days of birth.
However, the child caught fever soon after and died the following day. The petitioner submitted that the post-mortem examination on the child’s body had revealed hypersensitivity reaction as the cause of the death.
“I realised with shock that my child had been a victim of a clinical trial of the newly introduced vaccine,” the petitioner submitted.
She also sought a directive to the authorities to constitute an expert committee to study the side effects of the vaccine.








HC issues notice to centre, state government


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

BANGALORE: The High Court on Friday issued notices to the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and state government in connection with a PIL petition, which had sought more security for city civil and other courts on the lines of that in the High Court.

The petitioner, Five-Year Law Course Advocates’ Association president S Umesh, stated that 12,000 advocates and 10,000 clients visit the city civil court every day, which calls for high security. Also, there are many government buildings in the surrounding areas. The petitioner further said besides the HC, there are the Cauvery Bhavan and K R Circle — some of the prime landmarks in the city. The vehicle density in the vicinity of the High Court is 1,000 vehicles per minute, but security measures are inadequate.

Also, there should be a dress code to all advocates and daily passes should be issued to the clients, the petition mentions.

The petitioner said there are no CCTV cameras installed on court’s premises.






SC notice to AP on judges appointments


Press Trust Of India
New Delhi, February 18, 2012

The Andhra Pradesh high court registry and the state government were asked on Saturday by the Supreme Court to reply to a plea for quashing a notification for appointment of 18 district and sessions judges.

A bench of justices D K Jain and A R Dave also issued notice to the state

public service commission, seeking their replies within four weeks to the plea for quashing the December 22, 2011 notification on grounds of alleged irregularities in appointment of judges in the state.

The order came on a petition by an advocate Bavi Papi Reddy Barrenka, also a candidate to the judges’ post under the physically-challenged category.

Barrenka in his petition had accused the high court of amending the appointment rules midway the selection process of judges and appointing them in violation of various rules.

The petitioner claimed that the high court amended the rules by dispensing with the need for viva voce, though it had no power to do so.

He said in the results for the written examination, announced by the high court on August 8, 2011, he had been declared to have been qualified along with 52 others.

The state government, however, suddenly at the behest of the high court, issued an order (Government Order Ms. No.132) on November 16, amending the original rules by deleting the requirement of minimum qualifying marks for viva voce, said Barrenka.

In his petition, filed through Lawyers Knit, he claimed though he got the highest marks in the viva voce he was not selected and instead another candidate Ramulu who got much less marks than him was selected.

“The posts of District and Sessions Judges are very important, flowing from the Constitutional mandate and these persons are bound to be fluent in their verbal expressions.

“Viva voice is the only tool to know their verbal acumen and to say that a candidate would be selected even if he gets zero marks in the viva voice, is nothing but contrary to public policy and is illegal and unconstitutional and hence the selections deserves to be quashed as such,” he said.


Mandakini pollution: HC notice to Centre, state


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 01.31AM IST

BHOPAL: Madhya Pradesh high court (MPHC) on Friday served notices on the Centre, the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and others on a petition seeking a check on pollution in Satna district’s holy Mandakini River.

A division bench, comprising Justice Ajit Singh and Justice Sanjay Yadav also served notices on Madhya Pradesh government, MP Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), Satna district collector and Chitrakoot Nagar Panchayat chief executive officer returnable within four weeks.

Legend has it that Lord Ram had performed puja on the Mandakini River in exile (vanvas).

In his public interest litigation (PIL), petitioner Nityanand Mishra has alleged that the water of the Mandakini River has turned turbid owing to the release of affluent into it. As a result, scores of devotees taking dip and consuming river water during rituals face health problems.

He pleaded that the untreated water should first pass through sewage treatment plants before its release into the river.

Besides, garbage also is being dumped into it, further affecting the water quality.









HC to NDMC: File status report on gurdwara multi-level parking


Nivedita Khandekar, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 19, 2012

The Delhi High Court has asked the New Delhi Municipal Council (NDMC) to file a status report on the construction of a multi-level underground parking at Gurdwara Rakabganj Sahib, which is a listed heritage structure.
The court’s directive came after a petition was filed by Sikh Forum for Service and Justice (SFSJ), which pointed out that the work was going on without permission. The NDMC had rejected the plan in 2011 and in January had asked the gurdwara management not to start work without permission.

Gurdwara Rakab Ganj, on Pandit Pant Marg, is just metres away from the Parliament and the President’s Estate. The gurdwara, an architectural value grade III building, figures in the notified list of heritage structures.

It is the Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee (DSGMC), which has proposed the three-level underground parking at the gurdwara. But the NDMC letter, of which HT has a copy, to Paramjit Sarna, DSGMC president, had mentioned as many as 23 reasons for rejecting the plan for the underground parking. One of the reasons was no security clearance from the Delhi Police and the Ministry of Home Affairs.

Apart from this, the letter pointed out how the proposed basement area is five times the permissible area as per the Master Plan 2021, that the proposed parking area is way too extra than what is required as per FAR and there is no NOC, either from the Heritage Conservation Committee or the Delhi Urban Arts Committee (DUAC), among others reasons.

“There is no need at all for such a huge parking,” said SFSJ’s Gurbaksh Singh, on whose petition Justice Vipin Sanghi asked for a status report.

Charanjeet Singh from the Sikh Forum and Group of Concerned Sikhs, who helped Gurbaksh Singh for the petition, said, “They have also not taken permission for cutting trees at the site.” Sarna claimed, “We had submitted the plans after a settlement with the government. Several months ago, Delhi’s chief secretary and then NDMC chairperson had promised to clear our project in two weeks.”

“We will listen only to our Prime Minister or the Chief Minister. We are not going to abide by NDMC restriction,” Sarna added.









HC bars farmer from claiming right over Sirumalai land


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 07.52AM IST

MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court has barred a farmer from Vellodu village near Dindigul from claiming ownership over 29,000 hectares of land in Sirumalai.

A Stephen (72) had claimed that the land was granted to his father 1937 by Rani Muthu Rangammal, a zamindar of Ammainaikanur. He had filed a civil suit in the Dindigul court and got an ex parte order in his favour, restraining other villagers to buy or register the land with the registration department.

Sirumalai is a small hill station 20 km away from Dindigul on the Natham Road, with forests and coffee, pepper and banana plantations. About 1,300 of the population have patta land measuring 8,100 acres.

One M Vellimalai had approached the joint registrar, Dindigul to find the value of stamp papers for executing a sale deed in respect of a land in the village. It was then that he was informed of a communication issued by the inspector general of registration stating that there were two suits filed by Stephen in the principal district munsif court, Dindigul and he had already obtained a decree in his favour. The court had also granted an order of status quo on the registration of any document relating to the land in Sirumalai village. Hence Vellimalai filed a petition in the Madurai high court bench seeking to quash the order and direct the sub-registrar to receive any document presented for registration pertaining to the land.

Stating that public interest could not be allowed to suffer by such a wholly unsustainable decree, Justice V Ramasubramanian said the decrees of the trial court be suspended. Aggrieved by the same, Stephen had filed the present writ appeal. Upholding the single judge’s order and dismissing the appeal, the bench comprising Justice Chitra Venkataraman and Justice R Karuppiah said they did not find any ground to interfere with the order of the single judge which had suspended the decrees.









HC directive on handwriting experts on Nashik woman’s complaint


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 06.18AM IST

The Bombay High Court has directed the state government to take concrete steps to address the paucity of official handwriting experts saying it is affecting thousands of cases. A division bench of Justices V M Kanade and P D Kode gave the directions while hearing a petition filed by 55-year-old Nirmala Gogad from Manmad in Nashik stating that the Manmad police have filed application before the junior magistrate first class to temporarily close the case as the handwriting expert’s report is awaited.

Additional public prosecutor Ajay Gadkari told the court that there is a shortage of handwriting experts. “We need help of handwriting experts,” said Gadkari.

Gogad’s advocate Aniket Nikam argued that the complaint was filed in 2007 and added that it is “an attempt to put the matter in cold storage”. But Justice Kode riposted, “Without the report, we cannot concretely say there was an offence committed.”

The judges observed that paucity of handwriting experts is a perennial problem. “There is a paucity of experts. It is a serious problem. The problem is not restricted to your case. There are barely three-four experts in Mumbai only and one can imagine the situation all over Maharashtra,” said Justice Kanade.

Justice Kanade told Gadkari, Find out from the expert what is the delay. He has to only give opinion about one signature of the complainant and the accused.” Gadkari also said he will speak to the principal secretary, home department, to communicate the need to take a decision for appointment of handwriting experts.

Gogad had filed complaint against 10 persons of the Nashik Merchant Cooperative Bank Limited, including her brother-in-law Chandrakant Gogad, on May 25, 2007 in the junior magistrate first class court. The police was directed to carry out investigation within six weeks and submit a report. Thereafter the court even issued showcause notices to the investigation officer to complete the probe and submit a report.

Gogad’s petition said after her husband’s death in April 1998, Chandrakant, who is the director of the Nashik District Central Cooperative Bank, used to handle her bank transactions and fraudulently obtained her signature with regard to revenue documents in respect of various immovable properties. The bank avoided answering her queries.









HC bans discharge of industrial effluent into Luni river


TNN | Feb 19, 2012, 12.57AM IST

JODHPUR: The Rajasthan High Court, while hearing a Public Interest Litigation, has banned discharge of treated industrial effluent in to Luni river in Balotra, till next order. This order of the high court has reaffirmed the order of the Rajasthan Pollution Control Board (RPCB), which, while passing an order in 2004, had banned discharge of even the treated effluent in the Luni river citing it to be detrimental to the groundwater and the ecology of the Luni river, which has badly contaminated due to discharge of thousands of gallons of industrial effluent containing heavy acidic toxins.

Petitioner Digvijay Singh Jasol had filed a PIL in the high court drawing attention of the court to the flagrant violation of the order of the RPCB, thereby leading to massive pollution to the Luni river region, both internally and externally. He produced reports of National Productivity Council and Central Pollution Control Board in the court pointing to irreparable and permanent damage to the environment, ecology, groundwater and the health of the local residents. Jasol also expressed concern in his petition over the future of the age-old religious festival of the region known as Rawal Mallinathji Animal Fair, observed in the river bed, which is an ancient river flowing through the western desert emanating from Pushkar of Ajmer and ends up into the Rann of Kutch covering a distance of 530 kms.

While hearing this petition, the division bench of Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice K C Joshi ordered a stay on the discharge of the effluent in the river Luni till next order.

There are close to 800 small and medium textile units in Jasol, Bithuja and Balotra areas of Barmer district and they produce an effluent much beyond the capacity of the 4 Common Effluent Treatment Plants (CETP), which ultimately finds its way into the Luni river, which contain dangerous toxins. Jasol said the capacity of all these 4 CETPs put together is 50.5 MLD, whereas the total effluent discharge from the textile units is about 86 MLD. “All of this, both treated and untreated, finds their way in to the Luni river,” he said.









HC to traffic cops: Clear roads of illegally-parked vehicles


PTI | Feb 19, 2012, 06.19AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi high court has directed the traffic police to ensure that roads in Jangpura, Bhogal, Pant Nagar and parts of Defence Colony are not encroached upon by illegally-parked vehicles after the residents filed a contempt plea for alleged non-compliance of its earlier order.

Directing the police to challan and remove such vehicles and file a fresh status report by April 26, Justice Vipin Sanghi said the DCP traffic of the area concerned should be held responsible for non-compliance of its order to decongest the roads.

“The traffic police is directed to take action against illegally-parked vehicles/taxis on the link road between Hakkikat Rai Marg and Silver Oak Park as well as on Hospital Road and Silver Oak Park,” the court said.

The bench was hearing a petition filed by the Jangpura Residents’ Welfare Association and Flyover Complex Welfare Association against the Delhi Police, the traffic police and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi for allegedly not complying with the repeated directions of the court since 2002.

Lawyer RK Saini, arguing for Jangpura RWA , furnished recent photographs to the court and contended that the loading and unloading of vehicles is taking place at a tent house on Hospital Road and some cars were parked illegally throughout the day, causing congestion.

According to the residents, encroachments by the tehbazari rights holders were making it difficult for pedestrians to walk on the pavements. The residents urged the court to direct traffic police for the time being to deploy motor cycle-borne police personnel to ensure continuous and smooth running of traffic and removal of vehicles which have been parked on the road.

The traffic police should, in consultation with residents and the shop owners on Hospital Road, work out a schedule for the period when commercial vehicles may enter the road for the purpose of loading and unloading of goods, they said.


LEGAL NEWS 19.02.2012

J&K accountability commission issues notice to Omar govt


Indo-Asian News Service
Jammu, February 18, 2012

The Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission has asked the state government to explain how it had granted minister of state status to politicians heading various corporations.
The state Accountability Commission is equivalent to the Lokayukta in other states. The

Commission sought an inquiry into the appointment of the heads of the corporations and issued notice to chief minister Omar Abdullah and 11 others, including the chairpersons of the Jammu and Kashmir State Commission, Pahari speaking board, Gujjar and Bakerwal board and two advisors to the chief minister to appear before the commission in person or through their authorised agents on March 5.

This is the first major action taken by the SAC after it was revived last year.

While making this historic order the commission ordered that a copy of the order should be sent to the state governor. The State Accountability Commission comprises Justice YP Nargotra (rtd), the Chairperson, and Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain (rtd), Member.

The SAC, after perusal of the records raised a legal question, “that post of Advisor and Political Advisor to the chief minister have not been shown to be the creation of any statute or the constitution of Jammu and Kashmir. It is being claimed by the government that the posts were created and filled up by the government in exercise of its administrative/ executive discretion.”

SAC referred to the constitutional mandate and observed that under the “Scheme of the Constitution, however, the executive power of the state is vested in the governor to be exercised by him directly or through a person or authority as he may direct. No order issued by the governor delegating any such power in favour of the Government or any authority has been brought to our notice as yet.”

It further observed, “No person unless appointed in accordance with law under the State can legally be entitled to deal with the affairs of the State and the payment of any remuneration therefore. Any appointment made and any remuneration paid without authority of law by the Government would be nothing but a political favour at the cost of public exchequer.”

These significant directions have been issued in a complaint filed by Wali Mohd Rather initially against Khem Lata Wakhloo, chairperson J&K Social Welfare Board in which the principal allegation made is that she is enjoying the salary, perks and other amenities admissible to a minister of state without being legally entitled thereto.


Election Commission issues notice to Beni Prasad for quota remarks

NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 18, 2012 14:47 IST


Lucknow:  The Election Commission (EC) has sent a notice to union minister of steel and Congress leader Beni Prasad Verma for violating the moral code of conduct with his alleged remarks on the minority quota in an election rally in Uttar Pradesh. The notice to Mr Verma comes days after a similar row between the poll panel and law minister Salman Khurshid took place. That issue was closed after Mr Khurshid apologised for his remarks.

After his controversial remarks and then daring the EC, Mr Verma took an U-turn, saying his comments could have been a ‘slip of the tongue’ and he respects the poll panel.

The congress leader had earlier said that he wouldn’t budge from his position, even if the EC took action against him. However, speaking to NDTV, Mr Verma now says that he respects the EC and with hectic campaigning during the election season, it’s hard to recollect what he said, but defends himself, saying one can raise poll issues during campaigns.

“See we respect the Election Commission and every individual should respect these institutions. We have four to five meetings while we are campaigning; we don’t remember all of it, but I don’t speak wrong; I always speak the right thing,” he told NDTV.

The union leader is the second Congress minister to have allegedly violated the EC’s model code of conduct during the poll campaigning for Uttar Pradesh. After being served a notice by the EC, Mr Verma said that he respects the constitutional body, but when does one raise poll issues; if poll promises are not raised during campaigns when else can they be raised?

“I had gone to Kayamganj day in Kaswa which has a huge Muslim population and I could see some of them. I don’t remember all of it but I did say ‘condition of the Muslims is very bad. 70 per cent of the Muslims are daily wage workers, who have to work through the day to make ends meet. This section should get special reservation in the fields of education, science and in jobs as well’. I said this; now if we are campaigning, if we don’t say this, then what else should we say. Someone should give me the Hanuman Chalisa and I will henceforth recite from there,” he said.

After Mr Verma’s controversial remarks during a rally in Farrukhabad, where Congress is fielding law minister Salman Khurshid’s wife, Louise Khurshid, both Trinamool Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had landed up on EC’s doorsteps to complain against Mr Verma. It was here in Farrukhabad, where Mr Khurshid too had made a speech on the same issue that plunged him into a row with the poll panel.

Mr Verma is the Union Steel Minister and a prominent UP leader who was imported by the Congress from the Samajwadi Party.








Pandya spoke of Modi complicity in Guj riots’

 Ahmedabad: In fresh problems for Narendra Modi, a member of people’s tribunal that visited Gujarat after 2002 riots said former Home Minister Haren Pandya had told them that the Chief Minister allegedly directed the police to give Hindus a free hand to vent their anger during the riots.

Justice H Suresh, a retired Bombay High Court judge, also alleged today that the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) appears to have ignored the statements recorded by it of him and another Tribunal member Justice PB Sawant, a former Supreme Court judge.

Both the judges were members of the fact-finding team headed by veteran jurist and former Supreme Court judge Justice V R Krishna Iyer, which had gone to Gujarat in March-April 2002 after the post-Godhra riots.

Suresh said the evidence of the tribunal given to SIT on alleged instructions given to police by Modi to teach Muslims a lesson hours after the Godhra train attack was based on what was told to them by Pandya on May 13, 2002. Pandya was murdered on March 26, 2003.

Suresh said the Tribunal had an audio recording of Pandya’s statement to it in which he said Modi had called a meeting on the night of February 27 hours after the Godhra train attack where he allegedly told the police to look the other way during the riots.

“In that (the recording) he (Pandya) has stated that there was a meeting at chief Minister’s place, where he directed the police what to do and what not to do. He told the police actually that they should give free hand to the Hindus, who would act in their own way,” Justice Suresh told NDTV.

He said Pandya’s statement was relevant and “cannot be ignored” in a court of law.

“I was there, Justice Sawant was there and he (Pandya) said this in our presence,” the former judge said, adding “the SIT recorded out statements”.

He also said that the tribunal had given the SIT the audio recording of Pandya.

The SIT last week submitted its final report to a local court on its probe into allegations of Modi’s involvement in the riots here and it is believed to have given a clean chit to the Chief Minister.










Pune circuit bench of National Green Tribunal launched


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 05.13AM IST

PUNE: The National Green Tribunal started its Pune Circuit Bench, a dedicated environmental court, at the Council Hall on Friday. The Pune Bench will have its jurisdiction over Maharashtra, Gujarat, Goa and Daman & Diu. The tribunal was set up by the Parliament in 2010 and it became operational on July 4, 2011.

Ritwick Dutta, a Delhi-based lawyer, said so far Bhopal and Kolkata benches have become operational, apart from the Delhi bench. “Pune is the latest addition. The tribunal is an effective tool for communities and the civil society to address issues related to environmental governance.”

Devendra Kumar Agrawal, a member of the national green tribunal, said at the lunch of the bench that the tribunal was formed not to shut down industries but to ensure that they follow the norms. and do not spoil the environment to the extent that it does not support people’s existence.

Agrawal said Pune is the right place to have such a bench as NGOs working for environmental protection are active here.

Divisional commissioner Prabhakar Deshmukh said, “People will not have to travel all the way to Mumbai to file a case or for hearings. The hearings will be held at Council Hall till the new administrative building, located opposite Council Hall, is ready for use,” Deshmukh said.

The tribunal is a multi-member judicial body that comprises judicial and technical members. It has jurisdiction over Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, the Environment (Protection) Act, 1986, the Air Act and Water Act, besides the Biological Diversity Act. It has the power to award compensation and damages to victims of environmental disasters and cost for restoration of the ecology. The tribunal is presently hearing appeals against projects like the Posco’s Steel plant in Orissa, the Lavasa project in Maharashtra, the Jaitapur nuclear power plant in Maharashtra and the Lower Demwe project in Arunachal Pradesh.

The Pune Circuit Bench had its first hearing on Friday. Challenging the pre-conditions attached to environmental clearance, Lavasa Corporation’s counsel Ravi S argued that the ecological restoration fund was unreasonable and the recommendation made by the Ravindran committee should be reviewed or removed.

Ravi S pointed out the discrepancies in the directive of the ministry of environment and forests (MoEF) that issued the environmental clearance. He also said that the MoEF has failed to follow principles of natural justice. He reminded that at present the case of Lavasa project was being heard before the Bombay High Court and the final verdict is awaited.

The Union Environment ministry had in November 2011 given environment clearance for the first phase of the project, covering 2,000 hectares, which was in discussion since the ministry first raised concerns about violation of Environment Protection Act by the promoters. The ministry had put five pre-conditions before the promoters and the state government before the post-facto clearance was accorded.

The clearance then included a condition that the company would keep aside 5% of the total cost of the project for corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives and deposit 5% of the expenditure made on the project before the clearance with the Maharashtra government, which would used it for ecological restoration in case the company failed to do the same.

The Tribunal told the state government to reply to the appeal regarding the conditions attached to the environment clearance like filing prosecution, restoration fund, among others.

National Green Tribunal bench Justice CV Ramulu and Devendra Kumar Agrawal member conducted the hearing. The next hearing is on April 16.











Women’s panel slams cops, hospitals for callous treatment of Pipili victim


Rajaram Satapathy, TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 11.06PM IST

BHUBANESWAR: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has expressed concern over the manner in which police and government hospitals allegedly ill-treated the helpless 19-year old Dalit girl from Pipili, whom miscreants had tried to murder after raping her.

The girl in coma since the incident in November is at present undergoing treatment at SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack, while investigation by the crime branch police is being monitored by the high court.

“The most important factor is the failure of local police station to register the case on the date of incident and even on November 30 when the family lodged a written complaint. If the FIR was in place, then all the medical institutions involved could have been alerted and the girl would have a continuity of medical attention,” the commission said in a press release issued in New Delhi on Friday. The commission had taken suo moto cognizance of the crime against the girl and sent its member-secretary Anita Agnihotri to Odisha in the first week of February to assess the situation and report back.

The commission observed: “There was complete lack of coordination among different medical institutions beginning from Pipili primary health centre, Capital Hospital to SCB Medical College, and the victim of a serious alleged crime had to move several times back and forth for her treatment. There was no system of monitoring of data relating to transfer of a critical patient from one hospital to another leading to complete disconnect where family had to make several journeys for same reason.” It further added: “It is not clear when the girl will be able to resume a normal life.”

The commission referred to the dismissal of the then Pipili police station inspector and said “this should serve as a deterrent action”. It asked the state government to advise “senior most police officers to ensure that all cases of violence against women, if reported, are registered immediately and taken as FIR and medical evidence collected without any delay so that the case leads to conviction”. “Any delay or inaction should be followed with immediate disciplinary action,” the commission remarked. The commission said there had been an ‘increasing tendency to refer cases relating to violence against women to Mahila police stations. “This is against the spirit of law and should be stopped forthwith. The directive may specifically mention that women have their inherent right to get a case regtistered in the jurisdictional police station and they cannot be sent anywhere else,” it said, adding the mahila-sishu (woman-child) desk, initiated about a decade back, should be strengthened.









Violence against women: NCW asks police to ensure timely FIRs


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) Blaming police for “failing” to lodge a timely FIR in the alleged Dalit girl rape case in Odisha, the National Commission for Women has asked the state government to sensitise police so that cases of violence against women are registered “immediately”. The NCW made these recommendations after an inquiry by its member secretary Anita Agnihotri into Pipili incident in Puri district. The Commission had taken note of media reports regarding the alleged rape on November 28, 2011, an incident into which a police case was registered after several days of delay. “The most important factor which determined the course of legal action in the case and the nature of medical treatment received by the girl is the failure of local police station to register the case on the date of incident and even on November 30, 2011,” a NCW statement said. Noting that the police had already taken action against the police inspector responsible for the lapse, the Commission felt that Home Department of the state government should issue an advisory to all police personnel. “A directive may be issued by the Department of Home, government of Odisha, to the seniormost police officers advising them to ensure that all cases of violence against women if reported are registered immediately and taken as FIR,” the NCW said. The Commission also stressed that medical evidence should be collected without any delay and inaction should be followed with immediate disciplinary action. The NCW also stressed that witnesses in such cases should also be given protection. In its statement the NCW felt that the victim’s family should not be blamed for inadequate drafting of written complaints. (More)













PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

“Putting the onus on the family when they are already “Putting the onus on the family when they are already distressed, for a delay in lodging an FIR or inadequate drafting of written complaint should be replaced by sympathetic handholding and counselling,” the NCW said. The commission also criticised the tendency to refer cases relating to violence against women to women police stations. Interaction by member secretary (NCW) with senior police officials suggested that there is a need to sensitise senior most police officials to the dimension and complexity of violence against women, the NCW said. Referring the rape case in which it had conducted the enquiry, the NCW said it had observed that there was complete lack of coordination among different medical institutions beginning from Pipili Primary Health Centre, Capital Hospital to SCB Medical College, Cuttack. “The victim of a serious alleged crime had to move several times back and forth for her treatment. There was no system of monitoring of data relating to transfer of a critical patient from one hospital,” the NCW said. “A system should be developed for sharing of data among different medical institutions in referral cases so that whether medico legal cases have been appropriately registered by the police can be checked by treating doctors at all stages,” the Commission recommended. The commission also suggested that it is more useful to have ‘Mahila’ and ‘Sishu’ desks in as many police stations as possible rather than having mahila thanas, which do not provide wide access to women.


Centre moves apex court to review Vodafone verdict


The Centre on Friday moved the Supreme Court seeking review of the January 20 judgment, holding that the Income-tax Department did not have the jurisdiction to levy Rs.11,000 crore as tax on the overseas deal between Vodafone International Holdings (VIH) and Hutchison Group.

In its 101-page review petition, the Ministry of Finance through its Secretary and the Assistant Director of Income-tax assailed the judgment saying that it suffered from error apparent on the face of the record and failed to consider the case submitted by them at least on 15 aspects.

The petition pointed out that it was a patent error in the finding that the offshore transaction, which gave the Vodafone holding company a 67 per cent stake in Hutch-Essar, was “bonafide,” “structured FDI (foreign direct investment)” into India.

The instant case did not involve any inflow of funds into India as would be clear from the characterisation of the transaction as an offshore transaction and the incontrovertible fact that no investment or inflow of funds into India took place.

A three-Judge Bench headed by the Chief Justice of India, S. H. Kapdia, had, on January 20, commended both Vodafone and Hutch saying they were not “fly by night” operators or short-term investors and had contributed substantially — Rs.20,242 crore — to the exchequer between 2002-03 and 2010-11, both by way of direct and indirect taxes. Vodafone was asked by the IT Department in October 2010 to pay Rs.11,217 crore plus by way of capital gains tax and this was upheld by the Bombay High Court. The Bench allowed Vodafone’s appeal and quashed the Bombay High Court verdict.

Assailing both the judgments written by the CJI and Justice K. S. Radhakrishnan, the review petition said the sale consideration was admittedly paid outside India by VIH, a British Virgin Island company, to Hutchison Telecommunications International (Cayman) Holdings Limited, a Cayman Island company, and was, therefore, not a case of FDI into India at all.

It said the FDI policy was in no way under challenge or scrutiny in the instant case and could not have been so as the FDI and interpretation of taxing statutes operate in two different realms. Justifying the imposition of capital gains tax, it said it was imposed on account of relinquishment of an asset and this was done by way of a specific amendment in the law which could be traced to the decision of the Bombay High Court.

Pointing out that the court had relied on the Direct Taxes Code Bills of 2009 and 2010, while allowing the appeals in favour of Vodafone, the Centre said there was no judicial precedent to rely on pending legislation to interpret existing legislation. Further, these codes were not even presented as Bills in Parliament but were only in public discussion. The Centre said the court had failed to appreciate that Vodafone had a presence in India at the time of the transaction; it was a joint venture with Bharti Airtel. Further, the court failed to appreciate that the sale consideration included amounts by which HTIL would also extinguish its rights and obligations to its Indian partners.

The judgment would undermine the existing legislative and regulatory framework that required approvals from competent authorities in India even for transactions routed outside India through tax havens. Such monies held in tax havens had the effect of compromising the ability of the State to manage its affairs in consonance with what was required from a constitutional perspective.

It said the January 20 judgment had the effect of legitimising the routing of transactions through tax havens and preventing the income-tax department from looking at the substance of the transaction. By creating an interposed holding or operating company, foreign investors would be able to avoid lengthy approval or registration process which would have far reaching consequences, it said and sought a review of the judgment.






My life is an open book: Naidu



Express News Service , The New Indian Express

HYDERABAD: A blissful smile appeared on Telugu Desam president N Chandrababu Naidu’s face after a long time on Thursday immediately after he heard the news that the High Court squashed the writ petition filed by YSR Congress honorary president YS Vijayamma seeking a CBI probe into his “illegal assets”.

TDP MLAs, who were present in the Assembly, rushed to Naidu’s chamber to greet him. Enthusiastic party MLAs brought Dhood Peda, sweets and cakes to the Assembly for distribution.

Naidu looked confident and relieved after the court’s order. When a journalist remarked that he was looking very happy, Naidu retorted: “I was never unhappy in the past. My life is an open book and I did no mistake. So, I am never fear-struck,” he said, adding: “I never violated laid-down procedures as chief minister.”

Naidu recalled that YS Rajasekhara Reddy had filed 35 cases in various courts, besides ordering House Committee probes in 11 cases, four judicial probes, three cabinet sub-committee enquiries, four official enquiries and CID probes. But he could not prove any allegation. “YS Vijayamma made the same allegations,” Naidu said and wondered whether she had no confidence in the probes ordered by her husband.

Naidu’s immediate reaction was that the court’s judgment was a slap in the face of YSRC. “It is a victory of justice. It is proved that there will be no trouble to those who do not commit any mistake.”

The TDP president claimed that he had maintained character and conduct in his 32-year-long political career, he had no vices and remained as a role model in politics.

Asked if YSRC would approach the Supreme Court, he said they may use the legal options available to them. “I will prove my innocence in the apex court too. I have no fear,” he said and wanted to know why YSRC president YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had failed to disclose his assets in 2004 and now. “I have declared my assets. Jagan too do the same and disclose the source of income,” Naidu said.

On Botcha’s comments on liquor scam, Naidu said Botcha had no right to comment on the TDP as the PCC chief himself was an accused in the case. However, Naidu said the government should take stern action against all 20 ministers and 140 politicians involved in the liquor scam irrespective of their political affiliations.

On the appointment of RTI commissioners, the leader of the opposition refuted the allegations of PCC chief Botcha Satyanarayana. ” I differed with the government on the list. While writing the note of dissent I wanted the government to convene another meeting to finalise the appointments,” Naidu said and wondered how the mother of an accused in the murder of student Ayesha Meera was included in the list of probable candidates.







Court backs restrictions imposed by poll panel


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.56AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court has endorsed Election Commission’s restriction as incorporated in the model code of conducted that ministers and other authorities shall not announce any financial grants in any form or promises thereof and that they shall not make promise for construction of road or providing drinking water facility etc.

A division bench of Justice DP Singh and Justice Satish Chandra dismissed a writ petition filed by Dr Nutan Thakur challenging the aforesaid restrictions of the commission.

She had argued that the restrictions violated the principles of equity provided in Article 14 of the Constitution and also amounted to restraining the government authorities and ministers from discharging their obligations. The bench reasoned that the authorities and ministers could perform this obligation during their five-year tenure before announcement of election.

And, if they announce such promises, it is merely “allurement” and example of “unfair practice”. The court also asked the EC that if anyone is found violating the model code of conduct, the violator must be punished severely to maintain the fairness in the country’s electoral process. The bench however, clarified that if something is there in the election manifesto, it can be propagated, but promise made or declaration done after notification of election to appease people shall not be a healthy practice on the part of people’s representatives.








Hearing in land cases deferred


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 05.17AM IST

ALLAHABAD: A three-judge full bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday deferred the hearing of the writ petitions filed by the farmers challenging the notifications issued for acquisition of their agricultural lands by the Noida and Greater Noida authorities in Noida, Greater Noida and Noida Extension areas.

This order was passed by the full bench of Justice Ashok Bhushan, Justice SU Khan and Justice V K Shukla, after hearing the counsels for the farmers, Noida and Greater Noida authorities, and chief standing counsel, who represented the state government.

Passing the order, the bench said that those writ petitions of the farmers, which are not covered by the earlier judgment of the full bench given in respect of land acquisition of farmers in Noida, Greater Noida and Noida Extension areas, shall be heard separately by the appropriate bench on March 27.

The court deferred the hearing of these writ petitions till March 27, as the chief standing counsel of the state, M C Chaturvedi, requested the court to adjourn the hearing “as the officers are busy in state assembly elections.”










Jal Mahal land case: SC stays trial court proceedings


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.17AM IST

JAIPUR: The Supreme Court on Friday stayed a Jaipur trial court’s criminal proceedings in the Jal Mahal Lake land allotment case. The interim order came on a special criminal leave petition (SLP) filed by Jaipur-based businessman Navratan Kothari, whose firm was allotted the prime land for developing tourism facilities around the historical lake.

The 100-acre disputed land worth around Rs 3000 crore initially belonged to the Jaipur Development Authority(JDA), Jaipur Municipal Corporation (JMC) and the Public Works Department (PWD), but was transferred to the Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation (RTDC), which then handed it over to Kothari’s M/s Jal Mahal Resorts Pvt Ltd.The deal got mired in controversy when objections were raised on how instead of 30 years the government land was leased out for 99 years, which was akin to selling the property.

Last week, the high court dismissed the criminal miscellaneous petition filed by Kothari. A review petition by the businessman was also rejected, which forced him to approach the Supreme Court where a division bench of Justice P Sathasivam and Justice J Chelameswar stayed the trial court’s proceedings as well as the arrest orders against the accused till March 19, when the matter will be again taken up for hearing.

Senior advocates Harish Salve and Abhishek Manu Singhvi told the division bench that the land’s lease allotment was done under a transparent process by inviting international tenders. The advocates reasoned that no illegalities or favouritism was practiced during the allotment since the state government did so after the approval of an empowered committee formed for the matter and the then chief minister Vasundhara Raje.











Karna cabinet rescinds decision on Beggars Relief Centre land


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Bangalore, Feb 17 (PTI) Karnataka Government today decided to rescind its earlier decision of transferring a prime land belonging to the Beggers Relief Centre to Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) for constructing a hospital and a convention centre. The cabinet at its meeting held here decided to cancel its June 10, 2010 decision to transfer 123.30 acres to BDA for developing a hospital, park and convention centre, Law Minister S Suresh Kumar told reporters. The decision was taken as questions had been raised over promoting a commercial project on land alloted for beggars rehabilitation. A PIL has also been filed before the state high court challenging the government’s earlier decision. Kumar said the Cabinet approved withdrawal of 29 cases filed against about 200 farmers for participating in various pro-farmer stirs between 2004-2012 in seven districts of Hubli-Dharwad, Davanagere, Mandya, Bangalore, Raichur, Bagalkot and Shimoga. It approved the proposal by Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to borrow Rs 75 crore from banks and financial institutions to fund purchase of 1,000 buses. The cabinet also gave its nod for allotment of 71.16 acres of land to Buildtech company near Bidadi in compliance with a Supreme Court directive. It was also decided to provide 56 acres to Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at Lakkur vilalge in Nelamangala taluk to raise its reserve force batallion, Kumar said.









High court rejects plea for quashing of MB Shah panel


Published: Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 15:35 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A division bench of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and justice JB Pardiwala has dismissed a petition seeking quashing of notification for the appointment of MB Shah inquiry commission.

The court dismissed the petition after it failed to find any substance in the petition and also noted that the inquiry commission had been appointed by following the due process of law as required under the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

The petition was filed as a PIL by one Gunwantrai Ravishankar Joshi, through his advocates VS Kanara and Vivek Mapara. Arguing their point, Mapara said the commission was formed as part of a political game and that it was not in the public interest. So they
demanded quashing of the notification.

Mapara cited a Rajasthan high court judgment in the case of one Kashi Purohit vs State of Rajasthan in 2008. In the judgment, Rajasthan high court had quashed the appointment of such an inquiry commission by an administrative order to look into some alleged corrupt acts carried out by the earlier government.

Arguing for Gujarat government, advocate-general Kamal Trivedi said that the MB Shah Inquiry Commission was appointed by a notification dated August 16, 2011 under Section 1 (3) of the Commissions of Inquiry Act.

Trivedi argued that unlike in the Rajasthan case, this was not done through an administrative order but through notification after following the due process of law.








HC adjourns PILs challenging Upa Lokayukta appointment


PTI | 03:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Bangalore, Feb 17 (PTI) Karnataka High Court today adjourned hearing on two PIL petitions challenging the appointment of Chandrashekaraiah as Upa Lokayukta to February 27. A division bench headed by Justice N Kumar adjourned the hearing after Advocate General S Vijay Shankar sought time to file objections to the petitions. Earlier, when the court sought to know the government’s stand, the AG submitted Chandrashekaraiah had already taken charge and the matter required hearing. Petitioners M Anand and Janagere Krishna, both advocates, have contended that the appointment of Upalokayukta was “illegal and ultra vires” as the Chief Justice of the high court had not been consulted (before the appointment) as required under section 3 sub clause 2 of the Lokayukta Act.










Andhra Pradesh Government tenders apology to Karnataka High Court


The State had not responded to court notices in connection with a PIL

The Andhra Pradesh Government on Thursday tendered an apology to the Karnataka High Court for not responding to the notices issued by the court earlier in connection with public interest litigation (PIL).

Senior counsel, representing the Chief Secretary to Andhra Pradesh Government, orally tendered an apology before the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice B.V. Nagarathna. Counsel also requested the Bench not to stop supply of drinking water to Andhra Pradesh through pipelines, a portion of which passes through Pavagada in Karnataka. When the counsel requested the Bench to recall its February 14 order “to stop water supply,” the Bench made it clear that it had not passed any such order directing Karnataka to “stop supply of water.”

“We have passed no such order (of stopping water supply). We had only said, “We may have no alternative but to direct State of Karnataka to stop supply of water.” See the grammar in our order. It is clearly futuristic,” the Chief Justice said orally while making it clear to the Andhra Pradesh Government counsel that “you (government) cannot disdain a court order (notices issued by court).”

When the Bench asked counsel for Karnataka Government on the status of water supply, he replied that water supply to Andhra Pradesh has not been stopped.

Earlier, counsel for Andhra Pradesh Government submitted that 500 villages in Andhra Pradesh would be affected if water supply is stopped. Though the next date of hearing on the PIL is fixed for March 6, the counsel for the Andhra Pradesh Government had rushed to Bangalore as the High Court, in its February 14 order, had expressed its displeasure over non-representation of Andhra Pradesh despite issuance of notices.

Sangha’s PIL

In their PIL, the Karnataka Rashtriya Kissan Sangha and other organisations from Pavagada taluk had sought a direction to Karnataka for supply of drinking water to Pavagada taluk through this pipeline, which supplies water to Neelakantapuram Srirami Reddy water project in Andhra Pradesh from Tungabhadra reservoir.











PIL against sub-lease of reserve forest area


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


MADURAI: The Madurai Bench of the Madras High Court has issued a notice to the Chairman of VOC Port Trust on a Public Interest Litigation filed alleging that they had sub-leased a few parts of Mullakadu Reserve Forest area.
The petitioner, K Mohan Raj, coordinator of Tamil Nadu Green Movement, alleged in his petition that the port trust sub-leased the reserve forest area for private and public establishments where petrol pumps, container yards, thermal power station, TNEB inspection bungalow, regional laboratory, warehouse and several others have been set up.
The Mullakadu Reserve Forest, which houses the Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park, was originally entrusted with the VOC Port Trust for management through a government order dated January 16, 1918, the petitioner stated.
According to him, the act of the port trust was a threat to the mangroves in the forest and also directly affected the biodiversity of the Gulf of Mannar. The port trust had leased out at least 570 acres of forest land to TNEB alone. Citing the effluents released from the thermal power station and TNEB plant, the petitioner claimed that the biological life close to the discharge point had already been destroyed by effluents.
Therefore, in-order to prevent further damage, the Mullakadu Reserve Forest area should be taken back from the port trust by the State government and Department of Environment and Forests, the petitioner contended.
He also prayed that the forest area be declared as as eco-sensitive zone.
When the matter was posted before a bench, comprising of Justices Chitra Venkatraman and R Karuppiah, it ordered a notice to the chairman and posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.










Govt favouring Rahejas: PIL


Published: Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 15:26 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Ahmedabad | Agency: DNA

A Public Interest Litigation has been filed alleging Rs1100 crore corruption perpetrated by the state government by allocating large amounts of land to a private company, K Raheja Pvt Ltd, at a prime location in Gandhinagar.

A bench of the Gujarat high court consisting of acting chief justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and JB Pardivala posted the matter for next week after the state government sought time to file its reply. The PIL was filed by one Bhanu Odedara through his lawyer Vivek Mapara.

When the petition comes up for hearing, the government counsel informed the court, they want to file an affidavit regarding the issue. Therefore, the court should not issue notice and admit the case before hearing the government. The bench accepted the demand and adjourned the matter till next Thursday.

According to the case details, the state government had allocated land admeasuring 3.78 lakh sqm to the Rahejas, a construction and developers co., at the rate of Rs340 per sqm in 2006-07. The PIL alleged that the actual cost of land is Rs30,000 per sqm and its cost is around Rs1,200 crore.

The government has allocated land to the private company at a throwaway price of Rs79 lakh. Hence they were involved in corruption of more then Rs1,100 crore. The government had allocated the land without inviting any tender or following due process of law.

Therefore, the high court should pass an order to cancel the allocation and direct that action be taken against those who are involved in the land allotment.








PIL against windmill work in Jaisalmer dismissed


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.14AM IST

JODHPUR/JAISALMER: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking prohibition on setting up of windmills on pasture land in Jaisalmer. Terming the petition as frivolous, the court refused to consider the land referred to as pasture area.

Earlier on 24 December last year, the court while admitting the petition filed by an NGO, Libra India, had issued notices to revenue department, district collector, Rajasthan Renewable Energy Corporation (RREC) and windmill companies with regard to the allotment of the common land, more specifically known as “Charagah” land for establishing windmills in the district and had stayed the setting up of the windmills on this land.

The NGO had objected to allotment of land for the purpose. “We had produced documents in which this land was referred as ‘Hill/Rock (pasture). But the court refused to accept it,” Libra India’s counsel Sanjeet Purohit said.

The revenue department and the district collector apprised the court that the land was being referred to as pasture land by mistake and produced before the court the correspondence with the state government with a view to rectify the mistake and to prove before the court that the referred land was not a pasture land.

After hearing both the sides, a division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailash Chandra Joshi dismissed the petition citing it frivolous and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on the NGO.









SC stays Salem’s 1993 blasts trial


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 04.43AM IST

NEW DELHI: Concurrent decisions of Portuguese courts disapproving framing of charges that entail possible death penalty by Indian courts against extradited gangster Abu Salem persuaded the Supreme Court to stay trials against him in the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts case and a 1995 murder case.

Salem’s lawyers approached the SC and sought a stay of trial in seven cases pending against him in courts across the country. Of these, the two major ones related to his alleged role in the 1993 Mumbai serial bomb blasts and the murder of builder Pradeep Jain in March 1995 alleged at the instance of the Dawood Ibrahim gang.

A bench of Justices P Sathasivam and J Chelameswar issued notices to the CBI and the ministry of external affairs on the petition but agreed to stay the ongoing trials only in two cases pending before the Tada court in Mumbai.

The bench said, “This matter requires consideration of this court. But we need the response of the Centre, particularly after the judgment of the Portugal Supreme Court, as very rarely we come across such a case.”

The bench also voiced the CBI’s stand before the Portuguese court, where the agency had argued that the Rule of Specialty must be interpreted by the highest court of India.

At the same time, the bench said, “We have to respect the mandate of the Court of Appeal in Lisbon and Supreme Court of Justice in Portugal.”

Seeing the clash of jurisdictions, the court requested the attorney general to assist in the case.


AP judges appointments challenged in SC


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

NEW DELHI: The AP High Court registry and the state government were asked by the Supreme Court Friday to reply to a plea for quashing a notification for appointment of 18 district and sessions judges. A bench of justices D K Jain and A R Dave also issued notice to the APPSC, seeking its reply within four weeks, to the plea for quashing the Dec. 22, 2011 notification on grounds of irregularities in the appointments. The order came on a petition by an advocate Bavi Papi Reddy Barrenka, a candidate for a judge post in the physically-challenged category.

Barrenka in his petition accused the HC of amending the appointment rules through the selection process and making the appointments.

The petitioner claimed that the HC amended the rules by dispensing with the need for a viva voce, though it had no power to do so. He said in the results of the written test, announced by the HC on Aug. 8, 2011, he had been declared to have qualified along with 52 others.

The state government, however, suddenly at the behest of the HC, issued an order (GO Ms. No.132) on Nov. 16, amending the original rules by deleting the requirement of minimum qualifying marks for a viva voce, said Barrenka. In his petition, he claimed though he got the highest marks in the viva voce he was not selected and instead another candidate who got less marks than him was selected.

“Viva voice is the only tool to know their verbal acumen and to say that a candidate would be selected even if he gets zero in the viva voice, is nothing but contrary to public policy and is unconstitutional and hence the selections deserves to be quashed as such,” he said.









Chief investigating official deposes in CBI court


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 01:17 hrs


In a significant development, the Chief Investigating Officer of the infamous J & K sex scandal case deposed before the special court of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Friday.

S L Gupta was the CBI’s Investigating Officer in the case at the time the scandal hit headlines.

According to sources, the investigating officer has told the Court that he had recorded the statements of the victims and Sabina, co-accused in the case, in the presence of District and Sessions Judge of Anantnaag, who had also signed the statements.

He further told the Court that the victims had identified the place where they were allegedly exploited at the behest of the key accused Sabina.

The victims had also identified a cloth shop and its owner and a manager of a hotel who had allegedly exploited them.

CBI special prosecutor R K Handa told Newsline that Gupta told the Court that the statements of the victims were correctly and truthfully recorded without any addition or deletion.

The recorded statements were read out to the victims and were explained in Kashmiri. The victims further admitted that the statements were true.

Gupta’s evidence will continue in the next date of hearing on March 6.

The sex scandal surfaced in Jammu and Kashmir in 2006, in which nine cases for various offences, including Section 376 (rape) of Ranbir Penal Code (RPC), Immoral Trafficking(Prevention) Act and the Information Technology (IT) Act were registered.

Sabina, who had allegedly introduced the ‘victims’ to the other accused, had been named in all the cases.

The case had been shifted to the Chandigarh Sessions Court from Jammu and Kashmir High Court on September 4, 2006.








Post office fraud: Key accused arrested


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: Giving a new turn to the fund misappropriation case at Kaloor post office, the Ernakulam North police arrested the accused M T Sreemathi, 60, from her residence at Eroor here on Thursday. She was produced before the Ernakulam Additional Sessions Court (Economic offenses) and remanded in judicial custody.

Sreemathi, who was a sorting assistant at Kaloor post office, was arrested after her anticipatory bail plea was rejected by the Ernakulam Judicial First Class Magistrate Court. Two weeks ago, the Postal Department had filed a criminal case against her in connection with a fund embezzlement to the tune of about Rs 40 lakh. Sections 406 (Punishment for criminal breach of trust), 409 (Criminal breach of trust by public servant) and 420 (Cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), were charged against her, the police said.

‘Express’ had earlier reported about the fund misappropriation at Kaloor post office. Sreemathi was in charge of handling the savings bank and the recurring deposit accounts and allegedly misappropriated funds from about 500 postal agents between 2006 and 2010.

“We are inquiring about the fraud. We still have to get the details of the amounts paid by one or two postal agents. She had siphoned off about `40 lakh,” said senior postal superintendent P Jayadevan.

He also assured that the Postal Department would take all possible measures to return the money invested by the depositors. “We will approach the District Collector and sub registrar of Tripunithura to attach her properties,” said Jayadevan.








For lower court judges, cellphones on the house–cellphones-on-the-house/913465/


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 03:20 hrs
In a welcome move for judiciary, the judges of lower courts in Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh can now buy cellphones worth Rs 10,000 and get the money reimbursed by submitting the bill.

A decision to this effect was taken by the administrative wing of the Punjab and Haryana High Court and a circular issued to the lower courts last week.

As per the circular, the subordinate court judges buying the cellphones will have to submit a copy of the receipt of purchase with the concerned District and Sessions Judge to get it reimbursed.

Allowing to purchase a mobile phone upto Rs 10,000, the High Court has decided that the subordinate Court Judges can get the reimbursement after producing a copy of the invoice to their concerned District and Sessions Judge.

The reimbursement would be made from the contingency fund. Also, it has been approved that a monthly bill of Rs 1,000 for Session Judges and Rs 750 for subordinate judges would be reimbursed.

The circular has also fixed the life of a cellphone at three years. The circular states that at the end of three years of purchasing the cellphone, the judge can retain it by paying Rs 2,000. In case a judge retires and wants to retain the handset, he can do so by paying Rs 5,000.









Senior advocate HS Phoolka questions security threat to Sajjan Kumar’s trial venue


Yudhvir Rana, TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 08.21PM IST

AMRITSAR: Is there a genuine security threat in conducting Sajjan Kumar’s trial at the Karkardooma court, or is it Kumar’s ploy to draw public attention? Senior advocate HS Phoolka raised the question, even as he wrote to Delhi police commissioner BK Gupta requesting the latter to verify reports of such security threats to the Karkardooma court complex .

In a letter to Gupta on Friday, a copy of which is available with TOI, Phoolka said: “I have learnt that the Delhi police has written to district-cum-sessions judge for shifting of the trial of Sajjan Kumar from Karkardooma court to Tihar Jail premises on the ground of security threat. I have also learnt from reliable sources that your letter written in this regard is under consideration of the high court.”

Phoolka, who appears in court as lawyer for the victims of the 1984 anti-Sikh riots, said that he had also conveyed to the Delhi police Commissioner that he doesn’t object to shifting the case to the Tihar Jail premises if it really involves the security of the Karkardooma court complex.

“But I have asked the police to verify the reports of such security threats, because the threat reports may be self-generated by Sajjan Kumar to attract public attention and gain sympathy,” said he. He said many officers of the Delhi police had been accused of favouring and shielding Sajjan Kumar.

“In this case also, there are serious allegations against the Delhi Police and its officers for attempting to shield Sajjan Kumar,” he said. He added that he had also drawn the attention of the commissioner, Delhi police, to the judgment of Justice Vipin Sanghi dated 19.7.2010 wherein Justice Vipin Sanghi had severely criticized the conduct of officers of the Delhi police for filing a closure report and giving a clean chit to Sajjan Kumar in December 2005 when the investigation of the case was already transferred to the CBI in October 2005 and all the necessary papers of the case were also handed over to the latter.

Justice Sanghi had held that the Delhi Police had no jurisdiction to file a closure report and had also directed commissioner to enquire into this matter and take action against the guilty officers.











CPI-ML to protest verdict in Amausi carnage case


Navendu Sharma, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.34AM IST

PATNA: The CPI-ML will organize a march to the state assembly on the inaugural day of budget session on February 21, demanding “justice” for the 14 convicts in the Khagaria district’s Amausi massacre case. The party will observe the day as “protest day” throughout the state in protest against the death sentence to ten and life term to four persons in the case recently.

Addressing a press conference here on Friday, party general secretary Dipankar Bhattacharya and central committee member Dhirendra Jha said the court judgment was an example of “skewed justice”. Claiming that those convicted were “innocent”, they said the police probe could not reach the “real mastermind” behind the massacre. Terming the ongoing three-day global summit as “sheer wastage of public money”, Bhattacharya said the government did not have “tangible achievements” to show to the world. “Government money is being misused for publicity.”

He said the Nitish Kumar government had held a global summit during its first tenure, ostensibly to attract investments that never came. “This time, by the government’s own admission, the summit isn’t aimed to woo investors but to showcase the changes in Bihar,” he said.

During the NDA-1 regime in Bihar, the condition of roads and the law and order situation somewhat improved. But now the roads have become dilapidated and the law and order situation is deteriorating, the ML chief said. “The government has failed on the issues of poverty alleviation and employment generation. It has also failed to check police atrocities,” he said. Bhattacharya extended his party’s support to the central trade unions’ call for nationwide strike on February 28.













CCI scrutinising cases against property developers


PTI | 10:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Mumbai, Feb 17 (PTI) The Competition Commission of India (CCI) is scrutinising several cases against developers for allegedly abusing their dominant position based on the information received by customers, investors and NGOs, a senior official said today. “We are receiving information from various stakeholders. We are scrutinising all the cases and we will submit a report to the commission in a month’s time,” CCI Director General A K Chauhan told reporters on the sidelines of RICS Real Estate Conference 2012 here today. “We have pooled in all the information and are working on it,” he said. Chauhan said most of the cases they are investigating were similar to the complaints received against real estate developer DLF. Flat buyers had filed a complaint against construction major DLF in May 2010, challenging the delay in possession and alleged arbitrary changes to the building plan and structure. DLF’s project Belaire was to originally consist of five towers with 19 floors each, but DLF later increased it to 29 floors. “We have received information about developers both small and big across the country. It is not restricted to any urban or metro but also in Tier I and II cities,” he said, adding, “once the report is submitted, the Commission will pass necessary remedial orders.” On the DLF case, Chauhan said, “currently, the case is with the Competition Appellate Tribunal (Compat) and we believe that the authority will uphold our order.” When asked what they would do if the CCI petition against DLF is dismissed, he said, “we don’t think this will happen as our case is very strong. But if need be, we may approach the Apex Court.” The Commission had earlier asked DLF to change the contentious buyers agreement within three months. Compat said that while CCI had given three months time to modify the terms, it had not specified what changes needed to be made. Later, DLF challenged the CCI order in the Compat which has stayed the Rs 630-crore penalty imposed on it by anti- competition watchdog in August following complaints regarding abuse of market position by the country’s largest real estate player. The tribunal also directed DLF to give an undertaking that it would deposit the entire penalty amount with 9 per cent interest if it finally loses the case.










CIC: Give answer keys under RTI


Bosco Dominique, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.58AM IST

PUDUCHERRY: The Central Information Commission has directed the Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research in Puducherry to provide the question paper along with the answer key of an entrance exam conducted by it for admission. The landmark order that came on an RTI petition could bring greater transparency to the high-stress entrance test system.

Access to papers and answer keys would help aspirants, both current and future, understand what and why they were getting wrong and help them prepare for such tests better. The order will apply to all entrance exams in India.

The RTI application was filed by Puducherry Government Medical Officers’ Association general secretary Dr K Sudhakar with the Jipmer public information officer (PIO), seeking a copy of the question paper and answer key of the entrance examination held in July 2011 for admission to MCh in urology. PIO James Sekar denied the information on the ground that it was not the practice of the institute to share question papers of entrance tests. Sudhakar then approached the first appellate authority, which declared that it was “satisfied with the PIO’s reply.”

Undeterred, Sudhakar moved the CIC. Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, after hearing the case through videoconference, ordered the PIO to furnish a copy of the question paper with answer key by February 10.

Central information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, after hearing the case through videoconference, ordered the PIO to furnish a copy of the question paper with answer key by February 10.

Gandhi, in his January 23 order, pointed out that the right toinformation is a fundamental right and the denial can only be based on the provisions of exemptions under Section 8 (1) of the RT Act. “ThePIO cannot deny information based on arbitrary whims or policies of various institutions,” Gandhi said.

When thePIOsaidtherewas a possibility that the information may have been destroyed, the commissioner warned that destruction of information sought under the RTI Act will have “serious repercussions”.

“JIPMER does not provide question papers with answer keys of its entrance exams. The instituteonly announcesthelist of selected students with their marks.The students are notin a position to verify their performance as they do not have access to the question paper and answer key,” Sudhakar told TOI.

Times View

Entrance exams in India make or break the future of lakhs of young people. This may be unfortunate, but it is a fact that we cannot ignore. Given this reality, it makes sense for the entire system of entrance exams to reach for the highest possible levels of transparency. It is in this context that the ruling of the Central Information Commission ought to be seen. Rather than be dragged kicking and screaming to enhance transparency, bodies that conduct these exams should willingly embrace it.










Decision on branded girl’s custody on Friday


V Narayan, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.05AM IST

MUMBAI: The Child Welfare Committee (CWC) will take a call on February 24 on whom to award the custody of the seven-year-old girl who was tortured and branded allegedly by her stepmother.

Assistant inspector (Dharavi) Vishwanath Shelar said, “The CWC will decide whether the victim should be sent to live with her grandparents, who are based in Bihar, or be admitted to a childcare centre in the city.”

The girl , who has a fracture in the middle finger of her left hand and injuries on her face, is undergoing treatment at JJ Hospital.

Meanwhile, the stepmother, Aarti Thakur (24), is in jail as no one has come forward to bail her out. “Initially, the accused was released on bail on February 2. A week later, a fresh application was filed before the Bandra court to revoke her bail, following which Aarti was arrested. She has confessed to assaulting and branding her stepdaughter,” the crime,” said DCP (Zone V) Dhananjay Kulkarni. On February 15, the court, while hearing Aarti’s bail plea, had asked for two persons to stand surety. “No one has come forward as yet to stand surety for her bail,” added Kulkarni.The abuse came to light on February 1 when the victim ran out of her Dharavi home after being assaulted and branded with hot spoons by Aarti.

A police officer said Menaka’s stepmother was arrested by the Dharavi police for allegedly beating and branding her for more than two months after her father Sujit brought her in Mumbai from Muzzafarpur to get her enrolled in a school in the current academic year. “The accused, in her statement, said she was annoyed with her husband’s decision to bring the girl from Bihar. The girl was tortured so that she would complaint with her father to leave her back to her grandparents at Bihar,” said the officer.










FIR says no eyewitness to attack, Innova door landed 50 feet away


Prawesh Lama , VijaitaSingh : New Delhi, Sat Feb 18 2012, 00:34 hrs


The First Information Report (FIR) on the targeted attack on an Israel Embassy vehicle that wounded a diplomat and three others last Monday states there was no eyewitness to the incident. The FIR was lodged by the Special Cell of Delhi Police, which is probing the attack.

In the hours after the explosion in the embassy Toyota Innova, police had said an eyewitness claimed to have seen a man on a red motorcycle attaching an object to the rear end of the vehicle before speeding away.

According to the FIR, such was the impact of the explosion that a rear door of the Innova landed some 50 feet away.

“Even windowpanes of bungalow number 36 and 37, Aurangzeb Road (near the explosion site) were shattered due to the blast. It was not a blast in the CNG kit as per the police control room (PCR) call received at Tughlaq Road police station at 3.15 pm. The car did not have a CNG kit,” the FIR stated.

A police officer said Friday that intelligence agencies are looking at the records of not just Iranian and Lebanese nationals, but also Israelis who visited Delhi in the last one month.

Police said they were yet to receive the forensic report on the explosion.

Cases have been registered under Section 307 (attempt to murder), Section 427 (mischief causing damage to the amount of Rs 50), Section 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code and Explosives Act.

Police recovered magnetic pieces from the scene of explosion.

“It was a powerful explosion as the rear door of the Innova was thrown 50 feet away. The local police did not understand that it was a terror attack and made a call that there was a fire in a CNG kit. A good one hour was wasted. Had barricades been put up in time, the attacker could possibly have been apprehended ,” an officer said.











Lucknow West has cleanest candidates


Swati Mathur, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.21AM IST

LUCKNOW: The poll arena in the state maybe full of candidates with criminal antecedents but Lucknow seems to be a welcome exception. Out of 30 candidates from the main parties on the five urban seats, only two of them face serious criminal charges. Both are former student union leaders – SP’s Ravidas Mehrotra and Congress’s Ramesh Srivastava.

Lucknow West is the cleanest of all the five constituencies as none of the main contestant face any criminal charges. From this seat, Sayed Hussain will represent Bahujan Samaj party, Mohammed Rehan, Samajwadi Party; sitting MLA Shyam Kishore Shukla represents Congress while Suresh Srivastava will contest on a Bharatiya Janata Party ticket. Peace Party’s Aziz Khan, the other candidate testing poll waters in this constituency also has no criminal track record.

Eleven out of 30 candidates have declared criminal records. Lucknow Central’s Ravidas Mehrotra, contesting on SP ticket faces 17 criminal cases, including charges of murder and attempt to murder, to his name. Congress candidate from Lucknow East, Ramesh Srivastava, with 7 criminal cases, has also been charged in a case of attempt to murder, along with rioting and being armed with a deadly weapon.

Though other candidates in the political fray in Lucknow have also been charged under other sections of the Indian Penal Code, BSP’s Naveen Chandra Dwivedi has been indicted for serious offences in each of the three cases he has been booked under.

Juhie Singh, Samajwadi Party candidate who is making her poll debut in Lucknow East, is facing one one criminal case, of forgery. The other woman candidates, UPCC chief Rita Joshi has a criminal record too, charged under the SC/ST Act for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence or language.












Paedophiles should be castrated: Court


Posted: Feb 18, 2012 at 0055 hrs IST


New Delhi A Delhi court on Friday said castration would be the most befitting punishment for paedophiles and repeat offenders of child sexual abuse. The court’s observation came while sentencing a 30-year-old man to imprisonment for “actual life” for raping his six-year-old niece.

“In my considered opinion, castration is the most befitting sentence, which can be given to any paedophile or serial offender. But the hands of this court are tied, the statute not providing for the same since the legislators are yet to explore this as an alternative to conventional sentencing. Society cannot afford to have live sex bombs, who, if let loose, are potential threat to the society, particularly to women and children,” Additional Sessions Judge Kamini Lau said.

The incident occured in 2011 at Northwest Delhi’s Mukundpur. As per the prosecution, the convict Nandan, a driver by profession, had lured his niece while she was playing with her cousins. When her family realised she was missing, they went looking for the girl and found her in a traumatised state in Nandan’s house. He was lying next to her in an intoxicated condition.

The court said prosecution was able to prove that Nandan had abducted and raped the girl, and had also threatened to kill her if she informed anyone. According to the prosecution, Nandan had also attempted the same offence with another girl, aged 13, who had come to the house of a relative. Though family members knew what had happened, they kept quiet, an act which the judge condemned in her order.

“It is the primary duty of each adult member of the family to identify, expose and act against such persons exhibiting these kind of sexual tendencies and aberrations… It is deplorable that for Nandan’s family, his liberty was more crucial to them than the life of the girl which he destroyed,” the judge said.

The court said a message had to be sent out that anyone who sexually abuses a child will not be spared.

Nandan was sentenced to a prison term for actual life, meaning that there would be no remission after 14 years of jail term.

The Indian Penal Code provides only a jail term for sexual offenders. Countries like the US, UK and Germany have started awarding ‘chemical castration’ as


The court also ordered the Delhi government to pay the victim a compensation of Rs 2 lakh towards her education and welfare.









1996 housing scam: Shiela Kaul to appear in court


Last Updated: Saturday, February 18, 2012, 00:45

New Delhi: Ninety seven-year-old former Union Minister Shiela Kaul was on Friday ordered to be produced before a special CBI court on February 28 for framing of charges against her in a 1996 housing scam case.

Special CBI Judge Pradeep Chaddah was to pronounce today itself his order on charge against the former Cabinet minister in the PV Narsimha Rao government for her alleged role in the housing scam but deferred it due to her absence.

The court ordered her presence on the next date of hearing even as a defence counsel filed an application seeking her exemption from personal appearance and for appointment of a local commissioner to visit her to find out her health conditions and if she could be brought to the court.

The court also asked the counsel to “come with the case laws on this point (appointment of a local commissioner), failing which, let the accused Sheila Kaul be produced as the case already has been considerably delayed.”

Earlier this month, the court had decided to frame charges against Kaul and her erstwhile Additional Private Secretary Rajan Lala and Private Assistant RK Sharma, accused of allegedly allotting government accommodation here for a consideration, holding that a prima facie case is made out against them.

The CBI had chargesheeted Kaul and her aides in April 2003 under section 120-B (criminal conspiracy) of Indian Penal Code and for various other offences under Prevention of Corruption Act.

The CBI had indicted her for conspiring with her two personal staff for making out-of-turn allotment of government accommodation to officials after securing pecuniary benefits from alottees between 1992 and 1995.

The trio allegedly used to accept applications directly from government officials seeking allotment of accommodation and the minister would pass the orders without considering the objections raised by the Estate Directorate. A CBI probe was launched into the case on the Supreme Court direction on a PIL by apex court lawyer Shiv Sagar Tewari.











Improve Nari Niketan condition: HC


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 06.48AM IST

CHANDIGARH: Hearing the infamous Nari Niketan case, the Punjab and Haryana high court on Friday maintained that there was a need to improve the condition of Nari Niketan and Ashreya and this issue should be looked into very seriously.

Court also observed that the appointment of nodal officer and composition of visitors’ board was not very fruitful and was a mere formality.

The special division bench of the high court also orally called upon the Chandigarh administration and other respondents to have on board more dedicated members. The court had observed that the visitors’ board comprised only VIPs and their spouses.

The bench said on the basis of doubts raised by the amicus curiae Tanu Bedi, it was clear that the conditions at the Nari Niketan and Ashreya need to be viewed seriously by those at the helm of affairs. The bench has also asked amicus curiae to come up with suggestions, to improve conditions, on the next date of hearing.



HC quashes Vijayammas petition against Naidu


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


HYDERABAD: A division bench of the AP High Court on Thursday quashed the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by YSR Congress party’s Y S Vijayalakshmi seeking a CBI probe into TDP chief Chandrababu Naidu’s assets.
In a move that brought a rare smile on Naidu’s face, the division bench comprising Justice G. Rohini and Justice Ashutosh Mohunta declared the PIL as unmaintainable noting that there was political rivalry between YSR Congress and TDP and the present writ petition was filed as a counter-attack to the investigation ordered against the petitioner’s son (Kadapa MP Jagan Mohan Reddy).
“The admitted facts borne out of the record make it clear that the writ petition is not bonafide and that the approach of the petitioner is motivated to settle the political scores. Therefore, in our considered opinion, the writ petition cannot be maintained as a public interest litigation. It is not a case of failure of public duty. The petitioner has not exhausted statutory remedy. It is not similar to that of Shankar Rao’s case. The respondents were heard before passing the order,” the bench said.
As soon as the court’s decision was out, the YSR Congress party announced that it would continue the legal battle against Naidu and move Supreme Court.
On the other side, an elated Naidu said at the Assembly that the High Court direction had vindicated his stand and proved that he did nothing wrong while he was chief minister. He asserted that his battle against corruption would continue.
Vijayamma had filed a PIL in the AP High Court on October 17 last year seeking a probe into the TDP president’s alleged misdeeds, including amassing disproportionate wealth and assets, granting of licences and allotment of lands during his nine-year rule.
A division bench comprising Justice Ghulam Mohammed and Justice Nooty Ramamohana Rao, in its interim order on November 14, 2011, had ordered probe into Naidu’s alleged misdeeds and those of his alleged conduits including media baron Ramoji Rao, TDP MP Nama Nageswara Rao and others. Chandrababu Naidu had then filed a vacate petition in the court and another bench comprising Justices Rohini and Ashutosh Mohunta had stayed the interim order.
The bench in its 55-page Thursday’s order said, “It is our conclusion that the petitioner’s prayer cannot be granted. This court cannot sit in judgement over whether investigations should be launched against politicians for alleged acts of corruption. If the Supreme Court gives direction for prosecution, it would cause serious prejudice to the accused, as the direction of this court may have far reaching persuasive effect on the Court which may ultimately try the accused. It is always open to the petitioners to approach the investigative agencies directly with the incriminating materials and it is for the agencies to decide on the further course of action.”
The bench added, “In this particular case, the petitioners would be well advised to rely on the statutory remedies. It is only on the exhaustion of ordinary remedies that perhaps a proceeding can be brought before a writ court.”
The division also said that the previous judicial order was in favour of respondent-8 (Chandrababu Naidu) and does not entitle the petitioner to attribute bias to the judges.











Govt OK challenged, HC issues notice


Express news service : New Delhi, Sat Feb 18 2012, 00:36 hrs

The Delhi High Court on Friday sought responses from the Central and Delhi governments on a petition that challenged their powers to regularise unauthorised colonies in the Capital.

Asking the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) and Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to take a stand as well on the petition by May 2, a bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notice to all parties and gave them four weeks to reply.

The court issued notice on a petition by one H R Suri, filed through advocate Anil K Aggarwal, challenging the DDA’s powers to frame rules for Regularisation of Unauthorised Colonies in Delhi, 2008.

The petition contended that the DDA does not allow regularisation of unplanned colonies.

It said even the Delhi government was barred under a Constitutional provision relating to land development to frame rules in the matter.

The petitioner claimed that only the elected civic body, the MCD, was entitled to take over and bring out schemes for improvement of unauthorised and unplanned colonies.

The petitioner also alleged that the DDA failed in curbing unauthorised construction and to cover up its laxity, it illegally regularised as many as 567 unauthorised colonies in 1990.

On Wednesday, when Delhi held a mock drill for disaster management, the bench described unauthorised construction in the city as a serious man-made disaster. The court also said it would have a “devastating” impact if not checked immediately.

The bench took a swipe at the government for organising a drill on the one hand and on the other, proceeding to regularise unauthorised colonies in Delhi.









HC posts PIL seeking arrest of


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

Madurai, Feb 17 (PTI) Madras High Court bench here today posted to Feb 20 a PIL seeking the arrest of anti-nulear activist S P Udhayakumar, spearheading the protest against Koodankulam nuclear power project, under the National Security Act (NSA). When the petition came up for hearing, a division Bench Justice V.Dhanabalan and Justice R.Karuppiah observed that “If a Person is to be detained under NSA then the Central and State governments should be made parties (in the case).” Petitioner R.Sivakumar, a hotel owner, sought a direction to the Tirunelveli Collector and Superintendent of Police to arrest Udhayakumar for ‘inciting’ violence among the fishermen community in the region and creating unnecessary fears about the project built at a cost of Rs.14,000 crore. Udhayakumar is the convenor of the People’s Movement against Nuclear Energy (PMANE), which is spearheading the protest against the KNPP demanding its scrapping. However, the petitioner and his counsel did not appear today as the lawyers abstained from court work in view of the anniversary of the advocates-police clash in the principal bench of the court on February 19, 2009. Additional Advocate general Chellapandian took notice for the Collector and SP.










HC to hear next week plea on DSGMC polls


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) The Delhi High Court today decided to hear next week the city government’s plea against the single judge’s order virtually staying the elections of Delhi Sikh Gurudwara Management Committee due in March. A division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahi Endlaw fixed Tuesday to hear the appeal of Directorate of Gurudwara Elections (DGE) against the single judge’s order asking it to complete the exercise of delimitation of area of 46 wards in a month and restraining it from issuing notification for the elections. Filing the petition through counsel Rajiv Nanda, the government said the single judge has no right to pass such order once the Directorate has declared the schedule for the polls. The lawyer also argued that the exercise for delimitation would take long time and that it could be done after the elections. Giving the order to the DGE on February 8, the court had also directed it to complete the exercise with regard to the electoral rolls within a month before issuing the notification for the Sikh body’s polls. The court had passed the order on a petition filed by Harmohan Singh, who wanted to contest the elections, alleging that the Directorate has announced the schedule for the elections and the notification was yet to be issued. “The elections of DSGMC on the basis of incomplete list of voters and without delimitation of wards will cause unfair representation of the members from each ward,” the petitioner said. He contended that number of duplicate voters have been mentioned and said non-Sikh persons also figured in the voters’ list.










HC seeks compliance report on encroachments


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.54AM IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Friday directed the chief secretary and director general of police to ensure that the encroachments from the city capital are removed and not re-occupied. The court has summoned the compliance report on February 29.

A bench of Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi took into note that the police personnel responsible for ensuring that the encroachment does not reoccur, have failed to do so. The bench was annoyed that the officials did not comply with its previous directives to remove and check re-encroachment.










HC orders issue of notice to ISKCON Mumbai


Last Updated: Friday, February 17, 2012, 22:19

Bangalore: Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issue of notice to ISKCON Mumbai on an interim petition filed by President of ISKCON Bangalore Madhu Pandit Dasa seeking expunction of his name and others from the high court verdict on ISKCON title row last year.

A division bench headed by Justice Nagamohan Das ordered issue of notice when the petition came up for hearing.

In the petition, Dasa prayed that his name and those of three others from ISKCON Bangalore be expunged from the High Court verdict given on title row between ISKCON Bangalore and ISKCON Mumbai on May 23 last year as they were not parties in the proceedings on which the verdict was pronounced.

On May 23, 2011, the court ruled that Sri Radha Krishan Chandra Mandir in Bangalore, which had originally been an ISKCON temple but had been run by a breakaway group since soon after its construction in 1997, is officially the property of ISKCON, registered in Mumbai.

The history of the Bangalore community goes back to 1978, when ISKCON first began spreading Krishna consciousness there.

From this beginning until now, ISKCON Bangalore has legally been a part of ISKCON registered at Mumbai, which is within the international framework of ISKCON under the ultimate managing authority of the GBC Body.

A permanent presence was established in Bangalore in 1981. In 1984, Madhu-Pandit Das, now head of the breakaway group, became temple President.







HC seeks explanation on illegal colonies


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 03.44AM IST

JAIPUR: A single-judge bench of high court has asked for an explanation from commissioner of Jaipur Development Authority (JDA) for his inaction in checking illegal multi-storey construction of flats and drilling of borewell in non-regularized colonies in the state capital.

The matter came on a writ petition filed by Arpit Nagar Aavaas Vikaas Samiti where it was stated that Arpit Nagar Colony was carved out by one Bhairav Nirman Grah Sahkari Samiti in 1981.

Initially there was provision for only 90 plots with a huge chunk of reserved land for utility, park and facilities in the locality. But later the society increased the number of plots. Even land for road, park and facility area were sold to private builders who started erecting multi-level residential units without the authorities’ approval.

Abhinav Sharma, counsel for the petitioner told high court that private builders started erecting multi-level residential buildings and also drilled a large number of borewells in each building despite the fact that the area is a dark zone one and there is a blanket ban on the borewell in the locality.

It was also brought to the court’s notice that the petitioner Samiti had approached JDC, registrar of cooperative society, officials of PHED but there was no response. The court, taking cognizance of the illegal construction and boring of tubewells in the dark zone, issued a showcause notice to commissioner JDA asking him to file reply by February 28.









HC to UT: Identify and treat drug addicts in Burail Jail


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 01:22 hrs


The Punjab and Haryana High Court has directed the Chandigarh Administration to furnish details of drug addicts in Burail Jail and the steps taken to cure them.

During the resumed hearing of a public interest litigation seeking directions to Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh for rehabilitation of drug addicts, the High Court has asked Punjab and Haryana to furnish details of inmates in their Jails who are drug addicts and require medical treatment.

The HC has also asked the Chandigarh Administration to identify drug addicts in the city who need to be rehabilitated and require medical treatment. Counsel for Chandigarh Administration submitted that the city has been divided into four zones and awareness camps will be held in the city in each zone.

The Administration has been given four weeks time to identify the drug addicts and submit the details.








HC: Colleges to pay for illegal admissions


Rosy Sequeira, TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.50AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has directed the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to inform educational institutes that if they wrongly admit students who are not eligible, they shall be derecognized.

Justices P B Majmudar and P B Varale of the Nagpur bench heard a petition filed by a student of Sandipani junior college, challenging the decision of the board that she is not entitled to appear for Std XII board exams.

The court was informed that while the science stream’s eligibility criteria was 40%, the student had secured 38.5% in Std X and yet she had falsely mentioned her score as 42% in her admission form. The college’s advocate said it was “misguided” at the time of admission.

The student’s advocate argued that that the college should have verified her marks later and should not have enrolled her in Std XI. “It’s true that the institution was also required to make appropriate scrutiny later by asking the student to submit her original marksheet, the institution also remained careless for the reasons best known to it,” the judges stated in the February 10 order.

“Educational institutions, at the time of admitting the student to a particular course, must find out the eligibility at the threshold or at least within a few months after enrolling the student provisionally,” the judges added.

They judges directed the board to inform the institutions in advance by placing advertisements in widely circulated newspapers that if an educational institution wrongly admits such a student, even if he/she is not eligible to obtain admission in a particular stream, such institution shall be liable to be derecognized. “The board is instructed to comply with this direction by informing educational institutions in the entire state forthwith so that a bona fide student may not be deprived of getting admission ,” the judges stated.









HC asks Raj Chief Sec to submit report on illegal mining


PTI | 01:02 AM,Feb 18,2012

Jodhpur, Feb 17 (PTI) Taking serious notice of mining near the IAF station in Jaisalmer, the Rajasthan High Court has sought a report from the state chief secretary about the steps taken against illegal mining in the prohibited area. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailsah Chandra Joshi, while hearing a PIL filed by one Sabal Singh, has continued the stay on mining. It has sought an Action Taken Report from the chief secretary and has directed the collector to freshly measure the area supported by a report thereof in the court. Observing that the matter is concerned with national security, the court has warned the chief secretary and the collector that if their report/affidavit is found to be incorrect or false, harsh action would be taken. Sukesh Bhati, counsel of the petitioner, said that the state government had banned the mining activities within the periphery of 900 m of the Air Force station of Jaisalmer in addition to the existing notified area in 2000 following the directions of the Defence Ministry. The state government, in a 2001 gazette notification, extended the ban to any sort of construction in the same area, which was, however, withdrawn after it issued yet another notification in 2007. “But taking shield of this relaxation to construction activities, the miners resumed mining in this prohibited periphery in connivance of the mining department,” Bhati said. The Air-force took up the issue with the district administration repeatedly citing imperilment of the high value assets installed at the station and threat to low altitude flights, but in vain. Bhati said that in its last letter to the district administration, the Air-force had mentioned that it has lost a few aero-engines due to mining/blasting in the close proximity of an airfield. The matter gained greater seriousness in the light that some labourers working in these mines have been framed under RASUKA in the past.










HC seeks govt reply on plea challenging regularization of illegal colonies


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 02.18AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre and the state governments were directed by the Delhi high court on Friday to respond to a plea challenging their powers to regularize unauthorized colonies.

Seeking a reply from the Delhi Development Authority and the Municipal Corporation of Delhi by May 2, a division bench of acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw issued notices to all the parties.

The court had issued notices on a petition by one H R Suri, filed through advocate Anil K Aggarwal, challenging the powers of DDA to frame rules for policy of ‘Regularization of Unauthorized Colonies in Delhi, 2008.’ The Delhi Development Act does not allow regularization of unplanned colonies, the petition contended. The petition also argued that even the Delhi government was barred, under a Constitutional provision relating to land development, to frame any rules in the matter.

Suri had claimed that only the elected civic body – the MCD – was the exclusive agency, entitled to take over and bring out schemes for improvement of unauthorized and unplanned colonies. During a hearing earlier this week, DDA had said it went ahead with regularizing colonies only on the orders of HC – which had asked it to frame guidelines. After receiving instructions from the urban development ministry, DDA told HC, it had come out with the guidelines.










HC notice to govt and CM on appointment


TNN | Feb 18, 2012, 04.17AM IST

BANGALORE: The appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah, retired judge of the Karnataka High Court as the Upa Lokayukta is all set to undergo judicial scrutiny. The court on Friday ordered notices to the state government, the chief minister (not by name) and Justice Chandrashekaraiah upon two public interest litigation petitions challenging his appointment.

The division bench headed by Justice N Kumar posted the matter for February 27 while asking the parties to file their replies by then. The bench took objection to making principal secretary to governor as a party in one petition and asked the advocate to delete it.

Advocate general S Vijay Shankar, while accepting notice on behalf of the state government and the chief minister pleaded with the court not to pass an interim order, saying the issue falls in a narrow compass and Justice Chandrashekaraiah has already taken charge.

“The appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah is in utter violation of the mandatory procedure stipulated under Section 3 (2) (b) of the Karnataka Lok Ayukta Act, 1984 which is sacrosanct. The appointment was done without consulting the Chief Justice of Karnataka which is a mandatory procedure under the Act. Bypassing of such an important procedure is not correct. Because of this, the decision-making process is vitiated,” Navkesh Batra, counsel for one petitioner, told the court.

Petitioner Janakere C Krishna has alleged that like Justice Shivaraj Patil and Justice Gururajan, Justice Chandrashekaraiah is also an allottee of a site in the Judicial Employees Cooperative Housing Society. It was purchased on January 18, 1997, for Rs 1,02,666, while he was a sitting judge of the Karnataka High Court.

Another petition filed by advocate Anand Murthy sought the quashing of the January 21 order of appointment of Chandrashekaraiah. He placed the February 4 letter by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen to chief minister DV Sadananda Gowda.

“I was not consulted. before the appointment of Justice Chandrashekaraiah. So it’s a violation of law as his appointment does not conform to constitutional standards and the Karnataka Lokayukta Act. Recent events and reports appearing in the media against him are not in good taste. So he should be recalled at the earliest,” Justice Sen had said in his letter.









AP apologises for ignoring Karnataka HCs notices


Published: Friday, Feb 17, 2012, 17:47 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The Andhra Pradesh government, on Thursday, apologised to the Karnataka high court for not responding to its notices over a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by some organisations.

The petitioners, including Karnataka Rashtriya Kisan Sangha and Indian Medical Association’s Pavagada branch in Tumkur district, had sought a direction from the high court to the Karnataka government over the supply of drinking water to Pavagada taluk through a pipeline that supplies water to villages in Andhra Pradesh under the Neelakantapuram Srirami Reddy water project.

The high court, on February 14, warned Andhra Pradesh that it may have no alternative but to direct the Karnataka government to stop supply of water from the Tungabhadra reservoir.

During the last hearing of the case, Andhra Pradesh did not have any representative.

“We cannot appreciate why there is no representation on behalf of the state of Andhra Pradesh,” the bench had said.

The senior counsel representing chief secretary to Andhra Pradesh government on Thursday orally apologised before the division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen and Justice BV Nagarathna for not responding to the notices issued by the court.

The counsel said if water supply was stopped to Andhra Pradesh, nearly 500 villages would be affected. He appealed to the bench not to stop supply of drinking water to the state.

When the counsel requested the bench to recall its February 14 order ‘to stop water supply,’ the bench made it clear that it had not passed an order directing Karnataka to stop supply of water.

“We had passed no such order. We only said, ‘we may have no alternative but to direct the State of Karnataka to stop supply of water.’ See the grammar in our order. It is clearly futuristic,” the chief justice said.

“But you [AP government] cannot disdain a court order (notices issued by court),” he added.










Stop treating human beings as office files: HC to UT


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Sat Feb 18 2012, 01:11 hrs


Pulls up Administration and babus for failing to take care of girl raped in Nari Niketan despite making ‘loud promises’

The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on Friday, chided the Chandigarh Administration and its “babus” for treating “human beings” as “office files”. Taking serious view of an allegation made by the amicus curiae, Advocate Tanu Bedi, that the girl child of a rape victim is not being taken proper care of, the High Court came down heavily on the UT.

A division bench comprising Justice Surya Kant and Justice Augustine George Masih warned the Administration “not to run away” from its “loud promises” which it had made in the Supreme Court to take care of the child of a mentally retarded girl who was raped at Nari Niketan, Sector 26, Chandigarh.

“We do not need babus to look after the child. We are extremely unhappy,” remarked Justice Surya Kant, speaking for the Bench. Advocate Tanu Bedi, pointed out that the Administration did not supply woolen clothes to the girl child and that she and her mother were made to brave the chill in January without a geyser.

Tanu Bedi submitted that the child and other inmates of Ashreya, Sector 47, are being kept as if they have “committed a crime and have been confined to a jail”. Bedi also highlighted the unhygienic conditions prevailing in Nari Niketan and Ashreya.

Bedi suggested that the residents should be taken outside frequently. Giving Administration a reprimand for the humane manner in which they treat the residents, the division bench remarked, “conditions prevailing in Nari Niketan and Ashreya need to be reviewed seriously by those at the helm of affairs”.

The High Court also expressed displeasure with the functioning of the nodal officer. The Court remarked that the appointment of nodal officer and the Board constituted “appears to be an empty formality”. The Court has also asked the amicus curiae to inform in advance what is required for the welfare of the girl child.

The High Court has given a week’s time to Chandigarh Administration. The Court has asked senior standing counsel for Administration, Sanjay Kaushal to assist the Court.










HC serves notice on Chief Secretary


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KASARGOD: The High Court on Thursday served a notice on the Chief Secretary representing the government and the Managing Director of the Plantation Corporation on the petition filed by the Plantation Corporation Samrakshana Samithi requesting to stay the government order to pay Rs 54 crore to endosulfan victims in Kasargod before March 31.

The petition was filed by M Gangadharan Nair, general secretary of the Plantation Corporation Samrakshana Samithi.

The PCK was directed to pay Rs 1.50 lakh to 2,453 victims before March 31. They are to pay Rs36.79 crore in the current financial year and the same amount after five years.

The order of the government also stated that `3 lakh each is to be paid to other disabled persons.

The PCK Samrakshana Samithi stated in the petition that the decision of the government would destabilise the company.










HC reserves order on plea to stay ordinance


Express News Service , The New Indian Express

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Thursday reserved its order on a batch of petitions seeking to stay the Co-operative Societies Ordinance-2012.
The petitioners had alleged that the ordinance was aimed at dissolving the board of directors of district co-operative banks and appointing administrators to manage the affairs of the banks.
Appearing for the state, Advocate General K P Dandapani submitted that the state government has the right to pass the ordinance and no mala fide intentions are there. The apex court had upheld the state government’s right to pass such an order. The order is constitutionally valid, he said.
The petitions were filed by State Co-operative Bank president M Mehaboob and presidents of Alappuzha, Thrissur, Pathanamthitta and Kozhikode district co-operative banks.
The petitioners submitted that the ordinance was illegal and arbitrary. It was brought with a mala fide intention to bring the banks under the control of the UDF government, they said.


LEGAL NEWS 17.02.2012

BJP complains to Election Commission on Beni Prasad’s quota remark


NDTV Correspondent, Updated: February 17, 2012 15:09 IST

New Delhi:  Mamata Banerjee’s Trinamool Congress got there first, but the BJP too has now landed up at the Election Commission’s door to complain against Congress minister Beni Prasad Verma for doing a Salman Khurshid and talking about reservation for Muslims in an election speech in Uttar Pradesh.

The BJP says Congress leaders are repeatedly violating the model code of conduct in UP and has also taken umbrage at Mr Yadav openly challenging the Election Commission. Mr Verma said at an election rally in Farrukhabad, “Reservation for Muslims will be increased and if the EC wants, it can now issue a notice to me.” Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh and Law Minister Salman Khurshid sat and listened. Mr Khurshid’s wife Louise Khurshid is the Congress candidate from Farrukhabad, and it was here that the Law Minister too had made a speech on the same issue that plunged him into a row with the poll panel. Mr Verma, in his speech, supported Mr Khurshid, saying he was “honestly fighting for the Muslims.”

Mr Yadav is the Union Steel Minister and a prominent UP leader who was imported by the Congress from the Samajwadi Party.

The Election Commission too has taken note of Mr Verma’s remarks and is examining his speech. An EC official in Farrukhabad said, “We are in possession of the CD of the minister’s speech. The Election Commission is examining the matter.”

Yesterday, the Congress’ fickle ally the Trinamool Congress complained to the EC formally. Trinamool leader and Mr Verma’s colleague in the UPA ministry Sultan Ahmed said, “Whether it’s Beni or Salman, Congress leaders are breaking model code of conduct, they want to fool the community. Minorities in UP are not voting on this issue.”

“EC should take serious cognizance. They are not paying heed to the Election Commission,” Mr Ahmed added.

Salman Khurshid had first stirred a hornet’s nest in January when he talked about a nine per cent sub quota for minorities in UP if the Congress was voted to power. There were protests and complaints from other parties and the Election Commission held his speech as a violation of the model code of conduct. Mr Khurshid then triggered fresh controversy last week by stating that he would continue to speak on the nine per cent sub-quota for minorities even if the Election Commission “hangs me”. The poll panel yesterday put a lid on the standoff with the minister after he expressed regret over his “defiance” of the poll body.

The BJP’s Balbir Punj said yesterday that Congress ministers were doing this deliberately and with the blessings of the party leadership.







Now, Beni does a Salman Khurshid on Muslim quota


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 16, 2012

BJP attacks Cong over Beni’s remarks

A day after closing the case against union law minister Salman Khurshid for his “sub-quota for minorities” comments, the Election Commission has another challenger on its hands — union minister for steel Beni Prasad Verma.

On Wednesday, campaigning for Khurshid’s wife Louise Khurshid,

Verma said quota for Muslims will indeed be increased and dared the commission to send him a notice.

Louise is contesting from the Muslim-dominated Farrukhabad Sadar seat in UP, and while campaigning for her last week, the law minister, too, had promised to speak for the sub-quota.

“I fully endorse him (Khurshid) and can promise that the quota for Muslims will be increased when the Congress comes to power,” Verma said at a rally in Amritpur, with Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijaya Singh at his side.

“If the Election Commission wishes, it can send me a notice too,” he said.

In Delhi, EC officials said they have the tapes of Verma’s speech. An official indicated they might issue him a notice for violation of the model code of conduct.

On Wednesday, the EC had put a lid on the stand-off with Khurshid after he expressed regret over his “defiance” of the poll body. The Congress, apparently, is not too happy, though information and broadcasting minister Ambika Soni denied an exact knowledge of Verma’s remarks.

She, however said, “Congress general secretary Janardan Dwivedi has said the language of our political discourse should be restrained and we should definitely respect constitutional bodies. This statement is applicable to me, to Beni Prasad Verma, Salman Khurshid and all of us.”










Govt asked not to grant permission to stone crusher units near Kaziranga


Naresh Mitra, TNN | Feb 16, 2012, 11.11PM IST

GUWAHATI: The National Green Tribunal has directed the state government to maintain status quo and not to issue any new permissions or renewals to stone crusher units and other industrial activities around Kaziranga National Park.

The tribunal, in an interim order on Wednesday, categorically asked the state government not to grant permission to any new crusher unit and or any other industrial unit within the ‘no development zone’ of Kaziranga. The park, which is also a World Heritage Site, lies on the southern bank of Brahmaputra about 250 km from here.

The National Green Tribunal was established in 2010 under the National Green Tribunal Act for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection and conservation of forests and other natural resources, including enforcement of any legal rights relating to environment.

A bench of the tribunal, comprising chairperson Justice A S Naidu and expert member G K Pandey, has also directed the park authorities not to renew permissions granted to stone crusher units and other units currently operating in the vicinity of the national park till further orders.

The interim order came following an application filed by local resident and RTI activist, Rohit Choudhury. Ritwick Dutta was the counsel for the appellant. “As an interim measure, we direct the authorities to maintain status quo till the next date and not to grant permission to any new crusher unit or any other new industrial unit in the demarcated zone. The authorities shall also not renew the permission granted to stone crusher units or any other units that are functioning in the vicinity of Kaziranga National Park till the next date,” the interim order stated.

The tribunal said as the reply of the Union ministry of environment and forest (MoEF) is very necessary, the case has been adjourned to February 29.

Choudhury approached the tribunal in view of the “blatant violation” of the “eco-sensitive area” notification issued by the MoEF.

On July 5, 1996, the MoEF had issued a notification declaring an area of 15 km radius around the Numaligarh Refinery as a ‘no development zone’, directing that the expansion of industrial area, townships, infrastructure facilities and other such activities which could lead to pollution and congestion will not be allowed in this zone except with prior approval of the Centre.

Choudhury said in Bokakhat area alone, about 19 stone crusher units are operating while almost the same number is functioning at Dolamara area of Karbi Anglong district. He said that there are also many such units in Nagaon district. All these areas are around Kaziranga National Park.

Besides, Choudhury said, a number of brick kiln units have also sprung up in the areas around the park.

The MoEF, however, in its reply to an RTI application filed by Choudhury, said it has not granted approval for any unit nor has it received any application seeking its approval.









Consumer shouldn’t suffer in power firm switch’


Chittaranjan Tembhekar, TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 02.04AM IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court has directed Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) and Tata Power Company (TPC) to ensure that a consumer faces no hurdles while changing a power supplier.

The court was hearing a writ petition filed by suburban resident Himanshu Kumar Sarkar, who wanted to switch to TPC. However, the process to offer him a new connection was allegedly stalled on grounds of RInfra’s tussle with TPC before the Maharashtra Electricity Regulatory Commission (MERC).

In October 2011, RInfra accused TPC of laying its own lines for some consumers of the former who wanted to switch over to the latter. RInfra described this as “cherry-picking” of consumers in the light of the MERC directive that TPC would use the RInfra network for being a parallel supplier in the same area and not duplicate it.

RInfra allegedly stopped the process from its side and filed a petition before the MERC. This delayed about 140 applications by consumers who wanted to switch to TPC. RInfra, through letters to consumers, said they would not be able to cooperate till MERC had resolved the matter.

Sarkar then filed cases against both RInfra and TPC citing MERC’s changeover protocol of October 15, 2009. It stated that the period for offering a new connection after changeover should not exceed 30 days. RInfra and TPC were to conduct a joint meter reading but the process was delayed due to their tussle.

Hearing the matter, Chief Justice Mohit Shah and Justice Ranjit More said on February 13: “In our view, whatever may be the issues that Reliance Energy may have raised before MERC vis-a-vis the arrangements made between Reliance Energy and TPC, a consumer should not be dragged into such proceedings. Once the protocol by MERC permits migration and the consumer has done everything that is required to be done by him, any difference of opinion between the two licencees should not cause any prejudice to the consumer… the consumer should not be threatened with disconnection of electricity supply on grounds of pendency of differences between the two licencees and any proceedings before MERC in that behalf.”

RInfra had alleged before MERC that the “cherry-picking” of consumers was not only against the commission’s orders but was also causing the company a loss, making it financially unviable to offer its network to TPC consumers. RInfra had contended that TPC should be asked to lay its own network of wires first and then start supply, or be stopped from “cherry-picking” till the time its network came up fully under the open-access rule, which was yet to be enacted.

TPC, on its part, clarified before the MERC that it was always ready to lay its network but was not being allowed to do so by the commission.



Relief for N Chandrababu Naidu as AP High Court dismisses plea of Reddy’s widow


PTI Feb 16, 2012, 04.40PM IST

HYDERABAD: The Andhra Pradesh High Court today dismissed a petition seeking a CBI probe into the assets of former chief minister and TDP president N Chandrababu Naidu.

A division bench of Justices G Rohini and Asutosh Mohanto in their order observed that the writ petition filed by YSR Congress MLA Vijayamma “does not qualify to be a public interest petition”.

Vijayamma is the widow of former chief minister late YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

The order said that the court can not entertain a writ petition filed by a political adversary against another for venting political grievances.

“Many issues raised by the petitioner (Vijayamma) were earlier considered by the courts in separate proceedings,” it said.

The bench also observed that the earlier interim direction issued by previous division bench to conduct a preliminary inquiry into the allegations levelled by Pulivendula MLA Y S Vijayamma against Naidu over alleged disproportionate assets and submission of a report within three month, was passed without observing principles of natural justice.

Vijayamma had moved the high court on October 17 last seeking a probe by CBI and the Enforcement Directorate (ED) against Naidu on various counts. The High Court had on November 14 directed both the agencies to investigate into the assets of the TDP chief.

Besides CBI and ED market regulator SEBI too was then asked to complete the investigation and submit reports independently within three months.

However, in December last the high court kept in abeyance the order earlier passed by the previous division bench and directed the CBI and the ED to put on hold their preliminary investigation.









Court bars withdrawal of any facility at Anna library


The Madras High Court on Thursday made it clear to the authorities that it will view very seriously withdrawal of any activity or facility in the Anna Centenary Library at Kotturpuram here and will pass appropriate orders.

When a batch of writ petitions challenging the government’s move to shift the library to Nungambakkam came up, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice M.Y.Eqbal and Justice T.S.Sivagnanam said no counter had been filed even on Monday for reasons best known to the government. Again, the Advocate-General sought three weeks time for filing counter.

It was allowing the plea. “But it is made clear that if any existing facility or activities in the library are withdrawn, that will be viewed very seriously and appropriate orders shall be passed.”

The Bench posted the matter for further hearing after three weeks.

On November 4 last year, the Madras High Court stayed until further orders the Tamil Nadu government’s decision to shift the ACL from Kotturpuram to the DPI campus at Nungambakkam.










Universities to decide MBBS tenure


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CHENNAI: It is for the TN Dr MGR Medical University to decide the period within which the MBBS course has to be completed. If regulations have been complied with, “this court cannot issue any direction contrary to those regulations,” the Madras HC has observed.
Justice K Chandru made the observation while dismissing a writ petition from P Manikavasagam praying for a direction to the university to permit him to rejoin in the second-year MBBS degree course.
As per the scheme envisaged by the Academic Board in terms of Section 14 of the TN Medical Universities Act, a student can complete the course within the double duration period of 11 years. The normal period is 4-1/2 years plus one year internship.
Since the petitioner discontinued his MBBS studies on five occasions and 20 years had elapsed from the date of his admission in the first-year course, the university denied permission to re-admit him for the sixth time. So, he moved the HC. In such matters, it was for the Academic Board to take the call and the court could not have any say in it, the judge said and dismissed the petition.









Appointment irregularities: HC seeks reply from ARIES


PTI | 06:02 PM,Feb 16,2012

Nainital, Feb 15 (PTI) The Uttarakhand High Court has asked Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES) here to respond to a plea alleging irregularities in selection of the scientists in the institute and in the award of various tenders by it. A single bench of Justice U C Dhyani sought ARIES’ reply to the allegations within three weeks, issuing notices to its governing council’s chairman and former ISRO chief Prof K Kasturirangan and the institute’s director Prof Ramsagar. Admitting a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) yesterday, Justice UC Dhyani fixed March 5 as the next date of hearing in the case. A social worker from Nainital, D N Bhatt, had filed a PIL alleging irregularities in the recent appointments of scientists in the institute and in the award of various tenders by it. Nainital-based ARIES is one of the leading research institutes in the country, which specialises in observational astronomy and astrophysics and atmospheric sciences. PTI CORR DPT






Treat burns patient properly, HC tells Puri CDMO


Express News Service , The New Indian Express


CUTTACK: The Orissa High Court on Wednesday directed the Chief District Medical Officer (CDMO) of Puri to provide proper medical treatment to an unknown patient suffering from burn injury.

Treating a letter petition filed by a lawyer DN Lenka of Cuttack as PIL, a division bench comprising Chief Justice V Gopalagowda and Justice BN Mohapatra issued the order. Having received the letter petition, the Additional Government Advocate obtained instruction from the CDMO and stated before the court that the patient who had maggots was admitted as an indoor patient and proper treatment is provided to him at the district headquarters hospital.

It was further stated that during the first week of February, a woman had brought the patient and left him in the hospital. Thereafter the patient was given treatment. The patient fled from hospital several times without intimating anybody and the matter was reported to police also. Finally, he is being now treated in the hospital.

The patient also needs psychiatric treatment as he is unable to disclose anything about himself. The petitioner has filed the PIL writ petition seeking appropriate direction in the matter.

Basing on the news published in a vernacular daily, the petitioner stated before the court that there has been negligence on the part of the State to protect the right to life of a citizen.










Impact fee law to be enforced by Feb 20


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 01.03AM IST

AHMEDABAD: The state government will implement the impact fee law by February 20, the state government told Gujarat high court on Thursday.

During a proceeding on public interest litigation (PIL) that resulted in sealing drive by the civic body on CG Road and at other places, advocate general made a statement that the government is to come out with a notification for implementation of newly passed Gujarat Regularization of Unauthorized Development ( GRUD) Act, 2011.

With implementation of the new law, the government aims at regularizing 15 lakh illegal structures across the state. The crucial question before the government is about those buildings put up on non agricultural (NA) plots.Amid much din over sealing drive upon HC orders, the state government moves Impact Fee Bill and the assembly passed it.

A similar law was enacted in 2001 when similar issue of regularization had come up and businessmen from CG Road were in the centre of controversy then as well. tnn

With implementation of the impact fee law, the state government is bringing in the law for the second time. This speaks volume about the administrative lapses in implementation of laws, advocate Amit Panchal, who filed the PIL in 2008 for non-compliance of HC orders, said.












State intiates action against 3 for harming hillocks

Express News Service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 17 2012, 03:11 hrs
The Punjab government has initiated action against three persons on account of ecological degradation of hillocks in the city’s northern region, the Punjab and High Court was informed on Thursday.

During the resumed hearing of a PIL arising out of a suo motu notice taken by the court, the Punjab government filed an affidavit stating that action has been initiated against three violators.

The affidavit further reads that the three violators have been directed to restore the original forest land. The government also submitted that notices have been issued to the other violators as well and necessary action was being taken against them in accordance with law.

The PIL is a fallout of a suo motu notice taken by the high court on the basis of a news item published by an English daily. On May 26, 2010, the court had directed the chief conservator of forests and the environment secretary through the forest secretary and the Union Ministry of Environment secretary to file their replies in this regard.










Election Commission of India and others receive court notice


PTI | Feb 16, 2012, 11.30AM IST

BANGALORE: Karnataka High Court on Wednesday ordered issue of notices to the Union of India, Election Commission of India and Chief Electoral Officer of Karnataka on a PIL seeking to bring some improvement in the revision of electoral rolls in Bangalore graduates constituency.

A division bench headed by Chief Justice Vikramajit Sen ordered issue of notices when the PIL filed by Ashwin Mahesh, a visting professor at the IIM and the IISC came up for hearing.

The Election Commission of India had started revising the electoral rolls for Bangalore Graduates Constituency in November 2011.

The PIL further pointed out that while there were about 22 lakh graduate voters in the city of Bangalore, as on today the registered number of voters is only about 70,000.

The PIL therefore prayed the court to direct the Election Commission to take certain measures to improve the voters’ registration.










Electoral rolls: Karnataka HC notice to EC, law ministry


Published: Thursday, Feb 16, 2012, 11:41 IST
By DNA Correspondent | Place: Bangalore | Agency: DNA

The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday issued notices to the Election Commission of India (EC), Union ministry of law and affairs and chief election officer over a PIL.

The PIL contended that the three entities failed to adopt steps to ensure enrollment into the electoral rolls of the south-west graduates’, north-east graduates and Bangalore graduates’ constituencies (‘notified constituencies’) of the Karnataka legislative council and electoral rolls of graduates’ constituencies of the Karnataka kegislative council.

The PIL was filed by Ashwin Mahesh, member of the ABIDe task force. The petitioner said the Election Commission of India (EC), the ministry of law and affairs and the chief election officer failed to adopt measures to encourage and enhance enrollment to electoral rolls. They actively pursued discriminatory and dis-incentivising mechanisms and this resulted in discouraging application for enrollment in the electoral rolls from certain groups while promoting enrolment of certain groups.

The PIL came up before a division bench headed by chief justice Vikramajit Sen.

Mahesh said there is an absolute lack of publicity regarding the enrolment process. Limited number of locations had been identified for filing applications for enrolment in the electoral rolls of the notified constituencies.

Approximately 22 lakh voters are eligible for enrolment in the rolls for notified constituencies for the upcoming elections.
Hence, at least one registration desk per municipal ward should be there to ensure registration.

The respondents should provide an online resource where the electoral rolls are constantly updated and status of applications for inclusion in the electoral rolls for the graduates’ constituency can be tracked. But no steps have been taken in this regard, the petitioner said.

Respondents can ensure registration by permitting registration in any registration office established for the purpose of enrolment.
Now, various offices are assigned with distinct jurisdictions. This means an individual can apply for enrolment only in one particular registration office or kiosk.

Bangalore has over 22.52 lakh graduates. But only 17,406 applications have been received in response to the notice. In the last election for the Bangalore graduates’ constituency, 60,000 people enrolled in the electoral rolls. Coupled with the number of applications so far received, the rolls contain 77,406 voters, against the total enfranchised population of more than 22 lakh voters.

The enrollment in the electoral rolls of the notified constituencies shows there is a disproportionate number of government employees who are graduates and are enrolled whereas there is a negligible number of a non-government employee who are graduates and are enrolled in the said rolls.

The disproportionate enrolment arises from discriminatory mechanisms deployed by the respondents in the enrollment process.









Gujarat: PIL seeks CBI probe in alleged land allocation scam


PTI | 10:02 PM,Feb 16,2012

Ahmedabad, Feb 16 (PTI) A public interest litigation filed in the Gujarat High Court has sought CBI probe into a land allotment to private players, which allegedly caused a loss of at least Rs 1,100 crore to the public exchequer. In response to the PIL filed by social activist from Porbander, Bhanubhai Odedara, the division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala today asked the state government to file a reply in a week. Odedara’s lawyer, Vivek Mapara, said that state sold over 3.76 lakh sq mt of land in Koba village of Gandhinagar to K Raheja Corp Private Ltd, for a technology park, at a throw-away rate of Rs 470 per sq mt, when the Jantri rate (minimum price fixed by government) in the area was Rs 19,000 per sq mt. In the same area, Indian Air Force Wing was given land at the rate of Rs 8,800 per sq mt by the government, he said, adding that the allotment to Raheja Corp resulted in a loss of over Rs 1,100 crore. “If grace was required to be shown, then it had to be shown to the Public Sector….however, the policy is absolutely contrary, which shows a clear malafide intention on the part of government officials,” the PIL says. Some other private bodies too benefited in the same way, it adds.



Notice to Port Trust chairman on PIL


PTI | 12:02 AM,Feb 17,2012

Madurai, Feb 16 (PTI): The Madras High Court bench today ordered notice to V.O.Chidambaranar (Tuticorin) Port Trust Chairman on a PIL, seeking to direct the state forest department to take back unutilised forest from its control. Justices Chitra Venkataraman and R Karuppiah directed the Chairman,District Collector and Principal Chief Conservator of Forests,Chennai to file counters on the PIL, which alleged the Port had sub-leased 1200 acres of Mullakadu Reserve Forest area given to it in 1924 to thermal power units and other polluting industries. Petitioner K Mohan Raj, an environmental activist said silting sea flyash and discharging highly polluted effluents by thermal power units and hotels into the sea affected its biodiversity and livelihood of fishing communities. He also alleged the port trust diverted 570 acres to TNEB and NLC and that no importance has been given to preserving the ecology in the Gulf of Mannar, much of which has been lost due to encroachment by polluting industries. Pointing out that Tuticorin has one of the lowest forest cover districts in India,Raj contended any diversion of forest lands for non-forestry purposes would cause catastrophic damage to the ecological balance of the district and the region. The petitioner also sought a direction to the state authorities to take back all the reserve forest land by cancelling all sub leases by the Port Trust and to declare it as eco sensitive zone.











VMC oppn leader files PIL over projects


TNN | Feb 16, 2012, 10.35PM IST

VADODARA: Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) opposition leader has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in Gujarat high court over alleged poor work on three major development projects in the city. The court has issued notices to VMC, state government and some of those officials connected with these projects. The matter will now come up for hearing after three weeks. Opposition leader Chinnam Gandhi in his petition has raised the issue of three projects – Ajwa-Manjalpur water pipeline along with a filtration plant and balancing reservoir, Atladara sewage treatment plant and Kapurai sewage treatment plant.

Gandhi had earlier issued a legal notice to the civic body over these projects. He had alleged then that because of the poor work, the projects were functioning far below their capacities.

He had also claimed that the staff maintaining and operating these plants was not qualified. Gandhi had claimed that he had raised the issue on several occasions, but the VMC did not take any action. “With the VMC not doing anything, I had no option but to approach the court,” he said. tnn









No law says homosexuality is unnatural… society has changed: SC…-society-has-changed-sc/913180/


Krishnadas Rajagopal : New Delhi, Fri Feb 17 2012, 03:52 hrs

Homosexuality may be “abnormal”, but it is not unnatural, the Supreme Court said today, and challenged anti-gay groups to point out even a single piece of penal law in India under which homosexuality in particular is a punishable offence.

“Homosexuality may be abnormal for some, unnatural for some others. All abnormal sex is not unnatural. There is a difference between unnatural, natural and abnormal… And in each case it has to be proved that an individual act was against the order of nature,” the court said, questioning the very logic behind the government generalising homosexuality as an unnatural offence under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

A Bench of Justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhyay is hearing a bunch of petitions challenging a Delhi High Court judgment of July 2, 2009, decriminalising sexual intercourse among adults of the same sex.

The court questioned whether the framers of the IPC had, in the first place, ever intended the section to include homosexuality in its ambit as an unnatural offence. It pointed out that the act was not classified as an offence up to 1860, the year the IPC was framed.

In this context, the Bench noted that Sec. 377 does not mention homosexuality specifically, it only says “carnal intercourse” against the “order of nature” is punishable.

When advocate Amarendra Saran, representing Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights in court against gay groups, insisted that the section applied to all “carnal intercourse”, the Bench shot back: “Homosexuality may not necessarily be connected with carnal intercourse. Homosexuality is a very wide term. Is there a prohibition of homosexuality under any penal law… No, there is no law saying homosexuality is unnatural.” The court said society had changed, showing an increasing tolerance of live-in relationships, single parenthood and surrogacy.










Union minister Beni Prasad Verma does a Khurshid, dares EC


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 02.24AM IST

NEW DELHI: Just two days after law minister Salman Khurshid regretted his ‘Muslim quota’ remark, another Union minister Beni Prasad Verma belonging to UP dared the Election Commission to act against him for saying that reservation for Muslims would be increased if Congress came to power.

“Reservation for Muslims will be increased and if EC wants, it can now issue notice to me,” steel minister Verma said while addressing a rally in Khurshid’s Lok Sabha constituency of Farrukhabad. Khurshid and Congress general secretary Digvijay Singh, who had criticized EC’s censure of the law minister, were present when Verma chose to defy the poll watchdog. In fact, Khurshid’s wife Louise is among the Congress candidates in the Farrukhabad fray.

The remark immediately attracted the charge of “serial offence” against Congress, with rival BJP and ally Trinamool Congress accusing it of violating the model code of conduct, and drawing EC’s scrutiny into the affair. The poll body had censured Khurshid for a similar comment and even sought presidential intervention against him, forcing him to buy peace by writing a regret letter.

The fresh provocation threatened to revive Congress’s tryst with the poll body, which is bristling at the belligerence of the ruling party over minority reservation in the Uttar Pradesh poll turf. An EC official said Verma’s remarks prima facie appeared the same as those which earned Khurshid the commission’s ire, but said that a determination will have to wait for an examination of audio and video tapes. EC has asked a private channel for a copy of the tapes of the steel minister’s speech.

A wary Congress dissociated itself from Verma’s comment. I&B minister Ambika Soni and AICC spokesperson Renuka Chowdhary said Congress expected its leaders to respect constitutional bodies, repeating the stance the party took during the Khurshid row.

However, Verma persisted with his defiance. “I said in Farrukhabad that Muslims have not got their due and central government has made a reservation of 4.5% for them and that it needs to be increased. If the Election Commission sends me a notice, I will reply to it,” a TV channel quoted him as saying.

Congress is caught in a tough balancing act. While it feels that talking about the party’s manifesto promise was legitimate poll campaign, it does not want to be seen as condoning its leaders’ “contemptuous behaviour” towards the constitutional body. That Congress has repeatedly criticized BJP for attacking EC is also a factor in its reaction.

The possibility of another tiff with the watchdog may not be a comforting thought for the prime minister, who could again face a petition seeking action against his Cabinet colleague.

The saffron camp jumped in to attack Verma, calling it part of Congress’s continued bid to communalise state polls. Putting pressure on the poll body for strong action against the minister, BJP leader Vijay Goel said Verma had dared to challenge the EC because it had disposed of Khurshid’s case “lightly”.

While the opposition’s aggressive line was expected, Congress was taken aback by ally Trinamool Congress’s sharp criticism, dubbing the aggressive quota talk as an attempt to “befool Muslims”. Union minister of state for tourism Sultan Ahmed demanded that Verma be barred from campaigning in UP. He told reporters, “First Khurshid’s 9% quota, now it is Verma. They think Muslims will bite this bait. This is not going to happen.”

EC’s proactive implementation of the campaign code has lent weight to the charge that aggressive mention of Muslim quota constituted seeking votes in the name of religion though it was considered par for the course till now. Congress built its UP campaign around reservation for Muslims, with leaders repeatedly asking SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav why he did not give it during his three stints as chief minister. A defensive SP was forced to promise 18% reservation to outdo the 9% promise of Congress.

BJP has latched on to the quota promise to polarize Hindu OBCs. It has projected the Muslim sub-quota as cutting into the 27% reservation field of backward castes.

Times View It is time the Congress reined in its leaders on this issue. Union law minister Salman Khurshid’s apparent retraction after initially defying the Election Commission becomes meaningless if other leaders of the party take up the baton. The Congress must remember that it remains India’s premier national party and the one with the longest experience of running governments at the Centre and in the states. Given that pedigree, it ought to set higher standards than most in respecting and honouring the institutions that make Indian democracy what it is.






Man wronged by police gets Rs 2 lakh compensation after 10 yrs


PTI | 07:02 PM,Feb 17,2012

New Delhi, Feb 17 (PTI) It took almost 10 years for a man from Jharkhand, wronged by the police, to get justice with the state government awarding him Rs 2 lakh compensation following the intervention of National Human Rights Commission. Fauji Ansari, son of Kallu Panwala from West Singhbhum district, was wrongly arrested after the Jharkhand police mistook him for another accused in a case following a mix-up over their names in 2002 and failed to cross-check his identity despite a court order. Police arrested one Mohammad Firoz, son of Mustafa, who was a habitual offender in Chakradharpur town of West Singhbhum district. Firoz gave his name as Fauji Ansari to the investigation officer at the time of his arrest. Later, the victim Ansari received a notice from the local court to appear in the said case. Ansari moved an application before the court saying that he was never arrested in the case. “The Judicial Magistrate directed the police to enquire the matter and submit a report within three months. Instead, police arrested Ansari and sent him to jail in July 2002,” a statement from NHRC said. Ansari’s wife approached NHRC requesting its intervention and action against the erring officials in August 2002. The Commission, in September 2002, issued a notice to concerned authorities and asked for report. “After six months, the Superintendent of Police, West Singhbhum, Chaibasa confirmed that Firoz was an accused in GR case no. 283/91, but he dishonestly gave his name as Fauji Ansari to the enquiry officer,” the statement said. A case was registered against Firoz for impersonation and necessary steps were taken to correct name in the charge-sheet already submitted in the court. Despite repeated reminders, the state authorities didn’t inform the Commission as how long they had kept Ansari in jail, but agreed that he deserved to be compensated. The Commission based on the facts observed that Ansari suffered incarceration due to dereliction of duty on part of the inquiry officer despite a court order and his human rights were violated by the State. NHRC recommended that the Jharkhand Government should pay Rs two lakh to Ansari. The Commission also directed the state Chief Secretary to initiate disciplinary action against the delinquent officer for the serious lapse. “Jharkhand Government has informed the Commission that it had paid the amount to the victim in November last year,” the statement said.









Kasab’s diary reaches SC


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 02.15AM IST

NEW DELHI: A diary, which sailed with Ajmal Kasab and nine other terrorists from Karachi and provided them with crucial sea coordinates to reach Mumbai on November 26, 2008 along with locations to attack, ended its eventful journey on Thursday when it landed on the table of two Supreme Court judges, who will take the final call on award of death sentence to the lone surviving gunman.

The diary — a flip-up, ruled note book filled up by the gang leader – listed a 24-hour roster for guard duty during the three-day sea journey and stocks of ration and ammunition. It also contained the locations for attack – Colaba, Cuffe Parade, Machimar Nagar, Rajabhai Tower, Regal Chowk, Nathabhai Marg, Nariman Point, WTC (at Cuffe Parade) and Regal Cinema.

When senior advocate Gopal Subramaniam and public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam handed over the original diary, a bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Chandramauli Kumar Prasad went through it keenly. Justice Alam’s knowledge of Urdu, the language used to make entries in the diary, came handy as he could point out minor discrepancies in the Hindi translation of the contents.

A number – 23270972879217 — noted on top of a page in the diary, a copy of which is with TOI, evoked much interest of the bench. It wanted to know its significance from Subramaniam, who said he would consult the investigating officers and let the court know.

Subramaniam said Kasab’s counsel in the trial court had admitted to the translation of the diary’s contents except for the word “mujahid”, which had been encircled in red. He said the entries in the diary established that Kasab was part of the gang that had clear instructions to launch attacks on crowded places in Mumbai and kill as many people as possible to strike terror among Indians.

The diary contains code words to be used by the terrorists while communicating through satellite phones with their masters in Pakistan without arousing suspicion even when the conversation was intercepted by intelligence agencies. If the situation is alright (halat theek hai), it was to be referred to as fishes are plenty (machhli lag rahi hai); for ‘civilian boat’, the code was ‘bhai log’; for ‘naval boat’ it was ‘yar log’; ‘naval ship’ was ‘yar logon ka group’, engine was machine, and journey was ice (burf).

The diary entries showed that the terrorist group had local contact numbers, local satellite phone numbers, photocopy of maps, SIM cards for satellite phones, two pistols, mineral water bottles, 10 kg of good quality khajur (dates), spare phone charger, GPS devices and satellite phones apart from explosives and ration. The satellite phones were seized from merchant vessel Kuber, which was hijacked by the terrorists on the Arabian Sea near Porbandar on November 23, 2008 and used to reach Mumbai.

Kasab was caught by the police on the night of November 26. While the NSG was carrying out an operation to neutralize the terrorists holed up in hotels Taj and Trident, the police was taking Kasab in the dead of the night on November 28 and 29, 2008 to various places to get details of the terror module and its masterminds, the court was told.

The satellite phones and the GPS devices were examined by FBI’s forensic and electronic device expert Daniel Jackson during February 11-18, 2009 and he gave a detailed report mapping the sea route taken by the terrorists from Karachi to reach Mumbai and revealed that they had also mapped their return journey.

The arguments will resume on Wednesday.












Uphaar: SC commences hearing on criminal liability


Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 22:

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday commenced hearing on the CBI’s appeal challenging the Delhi High Court’s decision to reduce the sentence imposed on real estate barons Sushil and Gopal Ansal besides nine others in the 1997 Uphaar cinema tragedy that claimed the lives of 59 cine goers.

A bench of justices TS Thakur and Gyan Sudha Mishra asked senior counsel Ram Jethmalani appearing for the Ansals to lead evidence to prove that the theatre had sufficient exit facilities to facilitate the escape of the cine goers at the time of the fire inferno.

“You have to lead evidence to prove that the theatre had sufficient exit facilities for the victims to escape within two minutes from the carbon monoxide,” the bench told the counsel during the arguments.

Opening the arguments, Jethmalani submitted that the theatre management and the Ansals were not in any way responsible for the tragedy and the entire blame, if any, has to be apportioned to the Delhi Vidyut Board.

“If anybody has to be convicted it has to be PW 40(B C Bharadwaj). He had to be convicted for the murder,” he argued. Bharadwaj was a senior engineer with the now defunct DVB.

The arguments would resume next week.

The Ansals had challenged their conviction and maintained they were in no way responsible for the incident as the fire mishap they claimed was on account of the DVB transformer.

Senior counsel KTS Tulsi is appearing for The Association of Victims of Uphaar Fire Tragedy (AVUT) which has been spearheading the legal battle on behalf of the victims’ families.

The CBI has filed the appeal challenging the alteration in conviction and reduction of sentence by the Delhi High Court on December 19, 2008. The sentence for the Ansals was reduced to one year as against the two-year sentence imposed by the sessions court.

The high court had also acquitted five of the accused held guilty by the sessions court and reduced the sentence on four others.

According to CBI, the high court had “erroneously” altered the conviction and reduced the sentence despite the fact that the sessions court had on November 20, 2007, rightly held some of the them guilty for offences under Sections 304 (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and the Ansal brothers under Section 304A (causing death due to rash and negligent acts) besides other sections.










Tytler deliberately given clean chit: Riot victim


Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 21:56

New Delhi: A victim in a 1984 anti-Sikh riots case Thursday told a Delhi court that there was enough material to proceed against Congress leader Jagdish Tytler but CBI has “deliberately” given him clean chit in the case.

In the written submissions filed before Additional Sessions Judge K S Pal, complainant Lakhwinder Kaur said the court should direct CBI to re-investigate the matter.

“It is, therefore, prayed that this court may be pleased to direct CBI to investigate the matter further to bring on record the available incriminating evidence against the accused (Tytler) in the interest of justice,” it said.

It said CBI has “deliberately not collected available incriminating evidence to strengthen the case against the accused (Tytler).”

The court was hearing a plea by the 1984 anti-Sikh riots victims against a magisterial court decision to accept CBI’s report to close a riot case against Tytler.

Kaur, in her written submissions, said CBI’s closure report was “dishonest” in order to exonerate Tytler.

“It’s unheard off that an investigating agency, instead of finding evidence against the accused to prove their guilt, has gone out of the way to collect evidence in favour of Jagdish Tytler to discredit the reliable witnesses,” it said.

It said CBI had done the probe only to falsify the statements of material witnesses in the case.

“It is pertinent to mention that the line of investigation adopted by CBI from the very inception of the investigation is only to exonerate the accused (Tytler) and to falsify the statements of the material witnesses,” it said.

The court has asked CBI to file its written arguments on March 19, next date of hearing.

Kaur also referred to the affidavit filed by Resham Singh who had migrated to the US a few years after the riots and had told the court that on November 1, 1984, he had seen Tytler leading a mob near Gurudwara Pulbangsh here.

On April 27, 2009, a magistrate had accepted CBI’s closure report in the case against Tytler, saying there was no evidence to put him on trial.

Lakhwinder Kaur, whose husband was killed in the riots, had approached the sessions court challenging the order of the magistrate.

CBI had given a clean chit to Tytler on April 2, 2009, claiming lack of evidence against him in the case pertaining to the murder of three persons on November 1, 1984, in the wake of the assassination of then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi.

Tytler’s alleged role in the case relating to the killing of three persons in the riots, including that of one Badal Singh near Gurudwara Pulbangash in North Delhi, was re-investigated by CBI after a court had in December, 2007, refused to accept its closure report.

The court had allowed CBI’s arguments that Tytler was present at Indira Gandhi’s residence at Teen Murti Bhavan and was not at the scene of crime, saying its contentions were justified by material, including some visual tapes and versions of some independent witnesses.









Remand revision plea filed in document forgery case


TNN | Feb 16, 2012, 10.43PM IST

SURAT: Police filed a remand revision application in a sessions court here on Wednesday after their request for remand of the accused involved in forgery of property document case was rejected by another court.

Police had requested the court to remand journalist Prasann Bhatt and lawyer Shailesh Patel in their custody, but it was turned down on Monday by a judicial magistrate. Police submitted before additional sessions judge M R Megde that they did not get enough opportunity to establish the significance of the role of the two accused in the case and the need for their remand.

Bhatt and Patel were arrested in a property document forgery case related to land survey number 89 in Magdalla village within the city limits. The accused are believed to have arranged for fake owners of the land to help create forged ownership document. Police submitted that the remand of accused was important as the fake land owners needed to be arrested.











Sikhs demand justice from CM


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 01.30AM IST

NEW DELHI: Members of the Sikh community on Thursday held a protest outside chief minister Sheila Dikshit’s residence, demanding that no leniency be shown to 1984 riot convict Kishori Lal. Earlier, Lt Governor Tejendra Khanna had decided to commute the life sentence of Lal, which has now been reversed. Khanna has now asked the State Review Board (SRB) to review Lal’s plea even as senior officers in the L-G’s office denied having given any approval to commuting the sentence.

The protesters, which included relatives of victims of the riots, shouted slogans against Khanna and Delhi Government and demanded that no leniency be showed to Lal, who was sentenced to life imprisonment. Following opposition from a section of Sikh community, Khanna asked Delhi’s ‘Sentence Review Board’ to review Lal’s case on Wednesday.

“We staged the protest outside Dikshit’s residence as she was also a part of the decision making process to commute life sentence of Lal,” said Tawant Singh, general secretary of Delhi unit of Shiromoni Akali Dal (Badal).

Lal, a former butcher, had been sentenced to death in at least five cases by the lower courts for stabbing to death several people during riots. SC, however, commuted them to life terms later.

A former butcher, 48-year-old Lal became infamous as ‘Butcher of Trilokpuri’ and has already spent 16-years in jail. “His case, along with the others, was sent to the L-G because of his good conduct in jail. He has already spent several years in jail and has a chance to lead a reformed life outside jail, which is the aim of the jail,” said a jail source.

Tihar Jail authorities had recommended to SRB to commute the sentence. SRB had then forwarded it to Khanna last year for consideration.

Protests were also witnessed outside Karkardooma Court complexon Thursday, against the attempts for early release of a 1984 anti-sikh riots convict. It is in this Court that all other 84 riots related cases are being tried.

Victims families and other supporters held a peaceful demonstration to express their shock. Police officials, deployed outside the court managed the demonstration, which ended after raising of few slogans. Talking on the issue, H S Phoolka, a senior advocate who also represents the victims of the 1984 anti-sikh riots, condemned the decision of the sentence review board calling it arbitrary. “its an arbitrary decision. Where one one hand, a convict is in jail for the past 21 years on the ground that it was a case of multiple murder and two life sentenced had been given to him, here a 1984 anti-sikh riots convict who killed so many people is getting a relief. It is a sad situation and government needs to take a stand on it,” Phoolka said.

The Tihar jail authorities had recommended to State Review Board to commute life sentence of Lal lodged there since 1996, and release him on the grounds of good conductand certain other criteria. Tihar jail authorities had submitted to the SRB that the sentences of 36 life convicts, including Lal’s, be commuted. After the perusal of the cases by the SRB, which then sent a list of shortlisted cases from the said 36 for L-G’s approval, the life sentence of 15 convicts, including Lal, was commuted by the Lt Governor earlier this month, sources said.











All credit to my parents, says Haryana judiciary exam topper


Express News Service : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 17 2012, 01:06 hrs


For 24-year-old Vikramjit Singh, qualifying for the prestigious Haryana Judiciary exam was his ambition when studying law at Panjab University (PU). In his first try at the exam he did not just pass the test, but topped it. The son of a Asian Games gold medallist and war veteran,Vikramjit, a squash player himself, was given the news on Thursday afternoon by his friend.

The result of the examination was declared on Thursday and the first four rankers have been residing in Chandigarh for the past several years. Still trying hard to control his excitement, Vikramjit credits his parents and teachers with his success.

“My father was ecstatic while my mother broke into tears on hearing my result. I have never seen them getting so emotional and they had all the reason to celebrate given the kind of encouragement and sacrifices they made for me. My mother is suffering from severe arthritis while my father is 75 percent handicapped in his right hand,” said Vikram who is presently studying MA (LLB) from PU.

It was Ayn Rand’s book Fountainhead, which Vikramjit says helped him bring balance to his life when he was not doing well a couple of years ago. Since then he has read the book several times.

Vikramjit, whose father took up a Indian Railway’s job after he suffered a injury on his right hand, had to frequently change schools due to his father job commitments. Chandigarh became his base after his father retired around eight years ago.

After studying non-medical from Government Model School, Sector 16, Vikramjit took admission in the University Institute of Legal Studies (UILS). He topped the university examination in 2010 after which he joined a coaching institute in Sector 24.

Vikram says he will be celebrating but it will be limited as he says he will be putting in effort to prepare for Punjab judiciary interviews and Delhi judiciary (mains) exams.













With Montek and Nair on its board, PHFI declared public authority


Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 16, 2012

Having planning commission deputy chairperson Montek Singh Ahluwalia and former Principal Secretary to Prime Minister TKA Nair on board has resulted in Public Health Foundation of India being declared a public authority under Right To Information Act on Wednesday.
It is first organization set up under Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode to be declared as a public authority. The plan panel had earlier rejected the Central Information Commission’s (CIC) demand to cover PPP projects under the RTI Act saying the commission should take a view on individual case basis.

Now, the commission has said the government should incorporate a specific provision in every PPP agreement to make the project accountable to people through RTI. 

The observation was part of the CIC decision overruling the foundation’s claims that it was not “owned” by an appropriate government and said that the public servants on its board were in their “private capacity” and not because they represented the government.

The foundation was set up under a PPP agreement with the government.

The PHFI board has 30 members of which five — Ahluwalia, PK Pradhan, health secretary, VM Katoch, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research, Nair and R K Srivastava, director general health services — are public servants. 

Information commissioner Shailesh Gandhi described the PHFI’s argument of they being in their private capacity as “untenable” and said it was difficult to assume that senior public servants on the board in their private capacity. “The Commission can assume that such public servants must be acting on behalf of the government…any other conclusion would be an improper slur on their integrity,” the order read.

The commission was hearing an appeal filed by Mumbai based Krishan Lal, who had sought details about constitution of the foundation and its functioning. The foundation rejected his application stating that it was not a public authority under the RTI Act as it was an “autonomous” organisation.

But, the commission found out that the government has given Rs 65 crore, one-third of the initial seed capital, for kick-starting PHFI and rest from Melinda and Bill Gates foundation and other high net worth individuals.

Once set up, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa and Gujarat governments gave it land free of cost to set up institutions. Delhi government spent Rs 13.82 crore to acquire land in Khanjhawla for setting up of Indian Institute of Public Health.

The officials were nominated to ensure that the decisions taken by the foundation are in consonance with the objectives for which the organization was set up. “PHFI refusal to accept its coverage by the RTI Act seems at variance with this,” the order read.  

As the foundation has placed most of the information on its website, the CIC gave 30 days to PHFI to comply with the provisions of the RTI Act. The foundation will have to pay compensation of Rs 3,000 to Lal for loss and detriment suffered by him in pursuing his complaint with the commission.










Do not take in new kids: Govt


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
New Delhi, February 17, 2012

The management of central Delhi’s Arya orphanage has been told not to admit any new child till the inquiry into the alleged serial sexual abuse is over. Government administrator PP Dhal, who has been appointed to look into the functioning of the orphanage, issued these directions to the

management on Thursday.

The administrator, in consultation with the Child Welfare Committee (CWC), will also chalk out an action plan to ensure that all provisions and guidelines of the Juvenile Justice (JJ) Act are being followed.

“Till the inquiry into the alleged sexual and physical assault is on, we have directed the management not to admit new children,” said a senior Delhi government official.

Counsellors and CWC officials will visit the orphanage from Friday to talk to the children.

The administrator’s tenure has not been fixed and he will continue to oversee the functioning of the orphanage till the government requires.

“The children are emotionally very vulnerable and they need support. From Friday, counsellors will interact with them on a regular basis to get more information from them,” said a senior Delhi government official.

In addition to this, the administrator and CWC officials will check the space available inside the orphanage and the number of children living there.

An 11-year-old girl, a resident of Arya orphanage, had died on December 24 after being raped over a period of time. A report had pointed out cases of serial sexual and physical abuse.









Cabinet nod for one-time relief for highways ministry


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 03.50AM IST

NEW DELHI: The Union Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to the highways ministry’s one-time exemption to invite bids for at least 1,300km of national highway (NH) projects sans the mandatory approval from the Public Private Partnership Accounts Committee (PPPAC).

An official note from the finance ministry said that the empowered group of ministers (EGoM) had agreed to recommend the relaxation till March 31 to make the highways ministry achieve the target of awarding 7,300 km. However, the relief is subject to certain conditions.

“Opening of bids and award of projects will be done only after the formal approval of the Cabinet Committee on Infrastructure ( CCI) for each project has been obtained,” the note says.

Sources in the NHAI said tenders would be posted on the website on Friday to expedite the awarding of projects.

The ministry had sought the special relaxation since the guidelines stipulate that a 45-day notice has to be given before any bid can be received, and now only that many days are left during this fiscal when it is mandated to meet the target of awarding 7,300km.

So far, NHAI has awarded 4,691 km of NH, and the bidding process is on for another 1,110 km.










Tirkey demands strict CNT Act


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 02.33AM IST

RANCHI: Tribal MLA from Mandar Assembly constituency Bandhu Tirkey is up in arms against government and political leaders proposing amendment to Chotanagpur Tenancy (CNT) Act. Tirkey has organized a debate over the issue inviting political and non-political leaders along with experts to deliberate on the details of the law on February 25.

Talking to newspersons, he said ministers in the government are trying to mislead people over the issue of CNT Act that primarily aims at protecting the rights of tribals, dalits and backward caste members. Demanding strict implementation of the law in the state, he said the government has been reminded by the judiciary time and again that no minister or the government can tamper with the provisions of the act.

“The government is bound by the law to implement the act,” he said adding that anyone who misuses power to grab tribal land in violation of the law must face legal consequences. When asked if he will support action on tribal leaders in state, who have purchased land outside the police station of their permanent residence, Tirkey said, “The law is equally applicable to all and the process of returning the land to tribals must start from the powerful and mighty.”

Contradicting the argument being given by the Arjun Munda government, the act has become a deterrent in development because of constraints in acquiring land for big projects. Tirkey said the act was implemented in 1903 and yet so many development took place.

“We have railway stations, airport and projects like SAIL and Mython dam despite the act being in place, which indicates that there is always a provision for acquiring land by legal methods for development projects,” he said. Backed by lawyers and public representatives, the front has extended an invitation to leaders across political affiliation and called upon common people to avoid being instigated by some of the leaders, who describe the Act as antinon-tribal.

“People must understand that the law is for protection of tribal rights and it is beyond amendment in wake of the fact that no law could be amended by the state legislature in scheduled areas, which come under the jurisdiction of President of Union of India,” Tirkey added. Insisting on enforcement of the Act, he, however, abstained from commenting if he would support certain changes so that restriction on sale of land belonging to scheduled caste and backward classes be removed.











Helpdesk set up to clear doubts on RTE Act


School Education Department is aware of challenges in implementing the Act, says Secretary

A helpdesk to offer clarifications, when sought, on the Right To Education (RTE) Act has been set up at the Directorate of Teacher Education Research and Training (DTERT) here.

For any query on the implementation of the Act, or clarification on specific clauses one could contact the help desk on 044-28278742, said D. Sabitha, Secretary to the School Education Department.

She was addressing senior officials of the department, school heads and teacher-trainers as part of a training session on the Act organised by the DTERT on Thursday.

The department was aware of the challenges before it in implementing the Act, but was fully geared up to meet them, she said. “We have to ensure that homeless children and students living in hilly areas also receive uninterrupted and quality education. As a team, we acknowledge these challenges and will do our best to meet them.”

School Education Minister N.R. Sivapathy said education was a priority area for the government. “The Chief Minister had indicated that school education would be given a lot of emphasis even before the elections, in her election manifesto,” he said.

Urging teachers, parents and school managements to ensure that every clause of the Act is diligently implemented, he said: “Teachers must ensure that there is no gap between them and the children. They should be role models and treat students like their own children.” As many as 12 Government Orders pertaining to the RTE Act have been issued so far.

Highlighting some key initiatives, Mr. Sivapathy said nearly 65 primary schools had been upgraded to middle schools. As many as 210 middle schools had been upgraded to high schools and 100 high schools to higher secondary schools. Around 53,000 teachers were being recruited this year.

The trimester and Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) to be implemented by the department would go a long way in reducing the burden on students, he said.

The Minister released a manual with guidelines on the Act, applicable to different stakeholders. It also outlined the punishments and disciplinary action that would be initiated in case of violation of the clauses. The training on RTE Act would be extended to as many as 1.25 lakh teachers in the coming weeks, organisers said.

While the 12 GOs in regard to the RTE Act have taken care of several provisions, the government is yet to constitute the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights (SCPCR) mandated by the Act.

The SCPCR, as an independent body, would have the power to investigate into any case that deals with complaints relating to violations of the RTE Act or child rights in general.

On when the SCPCR would be constituted, a senior official of the department said the Social Welfare Department was also involved in the process. The files were in circulation, the official said.

The SCPCR is an important component of the RTE Act. As an appellate authority, it will monitor the implementation of various clauses of the Act and take up issues pertaining to violation of child rights.

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in New Delhi has, for over a year, been urging States to set up the SCPCRs swiftly.

When contacted, chairperson of the NCPCR Shanta Sinha said: “Around 12 States have already set up their SCPCR. One would expect a progressive State like Tamil Nadu to have constituted one by now. The State government should do so at the earliest, for the Commission can monitor various aspects such as recruitment and training of teachers, teacher-pupil ratio. It is an absolute necessity in the context of the RTE Act.”









RTE Act going MGNREGA way in state’


Kangkan Kalita, TNN | Feb 16, 2012, 11.23PM IST

GUWAHATI: Coming down heavily on government inaction with regard to violation of the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, in Assam, well-known intellectual Hiren Gohain slammed the state government for failing “severely” to ensure free and fair education for children up to 14 years in Assam.

Speaking at a seminar organized by city-based NGO Sangrami Krishak Shramik Sangha (SKSS), Gohain said the RTE Act was a historic act passed by the Centre, but in the state, it has met the same fate as the central employment guarantee act, MGNREGA.

“Like the rampant corruption in the implementation of MGNREGA, the lethargy shown by the Centre and the state government in ensuring implementation of the RTE Act is bound to paralyze government-run schools. The act promises free education to all children below the age of 14. Though the SKSS has submitted receipts of fee collected from students below 14 years of age by government-run schools to the chief minister and the education minister, no action has been taken yet against errant schools,” said Gohain.

SKSS conducted a survey in the districts of Kamrup, Kamrup (Metro), Darrang and Udalguri, where it recovered money receipts from nearly 150 schools which collected fees from students below 14 years of age in the years 2010 and 2011, which is a punishable offence.

“The Assam State Commission for Protection of Child Rights is the monitoring authority as far as implementation of the RTE Act is concerned. The commission said it cannot take action unless collection of fees is proven. We have produced all the documents but no action has been taken yet,” said SKSS president Dinesh Das.

Gohain was also critical of private institutions as most of them do not follow the directives of the RTE Act. The act makes it mandatory for private institutions to impart free education to students from economically weak backgrounds, who should comprise at least 25% of the total students.

“Many private schools are hoodwinking the government. On paper, they show that they are imparting free education to 25% poor students, which is far from reality,” Gohain added.

He said it was a national shame that despite all efforts, 12% (rural) and 8% (urban) children in India are not yet enrolled in schools due to poverty and related factors every year.

The SKSS, which gave the Assam government a seven-day ultimatum on February 8 to punish the violators of the act, has now decided to move to the Gauhati high court seeking justice.



Sightless man wins a long battle to get into IAS


Sukhbir Siwach, TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 05.35AM IST

CHANDIGARH: After a long struggle, 32-year-old Ajit Kumar became the second 100% visually impaired man to join the Indian Administrative Service. On Wednesday, he received a letter asking him to join the service.

A resident of Haryana’s Kheri village, Kumar ranked 208 among 791 candidates who qualified in the civil services examination held by the UPSC in 2008. “Despite a good rank, the DoPT offered me the Indian Railway Personnel Service (IPRS),” he said.

Kumar approached the Central Administrative Tribunal. In 2010, the CAT directed the DoPT to appoint him an IAS within eight weeks. But the orders were not implemented. Kumar sought CPM MP Brinda Karat’s help to meet the Prime Minister. After that, the files moved. “I am packing my bags and will be off to Mussoorie this week where I will be trained from February 20,” said Kumar. He is an MA in Political Science.

“Initially, I wanted to be a doctor as we had lost a relative due to prolonged illness,” he told TOI. Kumar lost his vision due to acute diarrhea when he was five years old. “Without sight, it is not possible to work as a surgeon. So, I changed my mind and decided to become an IAS,” he said.

Son of a retired block development and panchayat officer in Haryana, Kumar studied in a Delhi blind school. He had a good academic record and became assistant professor in Sham Lal College of Delhi University in 2007. Earlier, he had worked as a government teacher in Haryana.










Homosexuality is to be seen in context of changing society: Supreme Court


Press Trust of India, Updated: February 17, 2012 00:42 IST

New Delhi:  Homosexuality should be seen in the context of changing society as many things which were earlier unacceptable have become acceptable with passage of time, the Supreme Court observed on Thursday.

A bench of justices G S Singhvi and S J Mukhopadhaya, which is hearing a bunch of appeals filed against decriminalisation of gay sex, said that these things should be seen in the light of changing times where phenomena of live-in relationship, single parents and artificial fertilisation have become normal.

“Recent phenomena of live-in relationship, single parents, surrogacy. There is a case where a man is unmarried but wants to be a father and engage a surrogate mother. Thirty-forty years ago it was against the order of nature but now artificial fertilisation is a thriving business,” the bench said.

It also pointed out that many things, which were considered immoral twenty years back, have become acceptable to society now.

“The society is changing,” the bench said adding that gay sex was not an offence prior to 1860 and referred to paintings and sculptures of Khajuraho.

Senior Advocate Amrendra Sharan, who is opposing the Delhi High Court’s verdict of decriminalising gay sex on behalf of the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Right, submitted that social issues cannot be decided on the basis of sculptures.

The bench, however, observed that it is a reflection of society of that time and homosexuality should not be seen only in terms of sexual intercourse.

Earlier, the bench had asked the anti-gay rights groups, challenging legalisation of gay sex to explain how such acts are against the order of nature as submitted by them.

The top court was hearing petitions filed by anti-gay rights activists and also by political, social and religious organisations which have opposed the Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexual behaviour.

The bench would continue hearing the case on Friday. On February 7 last, the bench had refused to implead the armed forces in the case on the contentious issue.

People and organisations from different fields have come out in support of or against the path-breaking verdict of the High Court which had sparked a controversy.

Several political, social and religious outfits have asked the Supreme Court to give the final verdict on the issue.

Senior BJP leader B P Singhal, who had opposed in the High Court legalisation of gay sex, has challenged the verdict in the Supreme Court saying such acts are illegal, immoral and against ethos of Indian culture.

Religious organisations like All India Muslim Personal Law Board, Utkal Christian Council and Apostolic Churches Alliance have also opposed the High Court’s verdict.

Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Right, Tamil Nadu Muslim Munn Kazhgam, astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal and yoga guru Ramdev have also opposed the verdict in the top court.








High Court dumps PIL for quashing anti-graft panel


: Fri Feb 17 2012, 04:50 hrs
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday dismissed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) that sought to quash the state government-appointed Justice (retired) M B Shah Commission.

The Commission was appointed in August last year to probe into certain land deals in which the government is facing allegations of corruption by favouring certain industrial houses.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J B Pardiwala dismissed the petition on the ground that under the provisions of the Commissions of Inquiry Act, the government has the right to appoint such a commission and so there is no illegality in the same.

The petition was moved by a Jamnagar-based person, Gunwantrai Joshi (65). He had alleged that the government set up the Commission at a time when the appointment of Lokayukta was in its final stage. This, according to Joshi, was done with a malafide intention to hide its corruption, to rescue the culprits, and to keep the matters away from the jurisdiction of the Lokayukta.

Joshi also contended that commissions have proved to be completely ineffective and are wastage of time, public money and human hours.

Stating that Lokayukta is the proper institution which can probe into the issues of corruption in the state, the petitioner had demanded to quash the Commission’s appointment and to hand over the said cases of corruption to the Lokayukta.









YSR Congress to move Supreme Court


Unfazed by the AP High Court striking down the petition it filed against the disproportionate assets of TDP president N. Chandrababu Naidu, the YSR Congress Party has announced its resolve to approach the Supreme Court as “we are convinced with the merits of the case.”

The YSR Congress, in a press release, expressed concern that the court which accepted a two-page letter addressed by former Minister P. Shankar Rao as public interest litigation, had turned down the 2,000-odd page petition accompanied by documentary evidence. “We have full faith in the judicial system and we will take up the issue in the higher court,” party spokesman Jupudi Prabhakar Rao said.

Mr. Prabhakar Rao and other spokespersons of the party said, at separate press conferences, that the party moved the apex court seeking shifting of the case to another High Court raising doubts about the present bench. As the Supreme Court said it could not intervene as the verdict was due, the petition was withdrawn.










High Court denies to stay criminal proceedings against Google, Facebook


NEW DELHI: The Delhi HC on Thursday declined to stay proceedings against Facebook and Google in a case of ‘objectionable’ content being posted online.

The Court also declined plea of the counsel for the State of Delhi and Delhi Police who was insisting that Google India MD Rajan Anandan and Facebook India Director Online operations Kirthiga Reddy appear in person and seek exemption from the lower court.

“What is this insistence that they should appear in person?” Justice Suresh Cait asked the counsel for Delhi Police, Naveen Sharma.

“To force a party to go and attend criminal proceedings will amount to injustice,” Google India’s lawyer NK Kaul said in a heated argument, before the High Court.

The Court directed that lawyers of Facebook and Google can appear on behalf of their authorized representatives in the lower court, against whom summons have been issued. The trial will now take place starting March 13 in the lower court.

The HC also reserved its order citing pending cases which may have bearing on the ‘objectionable’ content case. “A special leave petition related to the Avnish Bajaj case which has a bearing on this case, and another pending court case of Google India versus Visakha Industries are pending in the Supreme Court. Till then, we will reserve our order,” Justice Suresh Cait said. Ironically, the cases were cited by prosecution during its argument on Thursday.

Google and Facebook had last month moved an application in the High Court seeking quashing of summons and proceedings underway in a lower trial court. “Quashing of an FIR has to be done sparingly, where no cognizable offence can be cited,” Delhi Police Counsel Naveen Sharma argued before the High Court, citing various orders of the Supreme Court.

Google and Facebook will have to appear in a lower court on March 13, along with Yahoo and Microsoft, who have been made a party in this case. The High Court has already denied to stay criminal proceedings against Yahoo India in a separate plea filed by them.

The criminal case pending in the lower court, is filed by Vinay Rai, editor of Akbari, who is asking for a mechanism by internet companies to check online content. The internet companies will now have to present their arguments in the lower court starting March 13, 2012.











RWAs may get more teeth to prevent water misuse in colonies


HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Gurgaon, February 17, 2012

To prevent the misuse of potable water in residential colonies, Haryana Urban Development Authority (Huda) is planning to give RWAs and maintenance agencies the power to penalise erring residents. “We can give this authority to some residents’ welfare associations or maintenance agencies,” said Huda administrator Praveen Kumar.

“But that would be the power to issue ‘evidence-based challan’. It means the RWAs or private agencies should have proper evidence before issuing challans against any resident,” Kumar added.

The civic body has launched a drive to curb wastage of drinking water by residents and developers. In the past seven months, nearly 80,000 people have been challaned. The city is running short of 20 million gallons of water per day.

DLF, the developer, will raise the issue at a special meeting with Huda on February 17. Baljit Singh, manager, DLF, said, “We should be given the authority to challan those who waste water. In the meeting we would put forward our request.”

Manpower shortage
Haryana’s first irrigation and power police station – set up to deal with water and electricity theft cases in Gurgaon – is grappling with the problem of staff shortage. The police station was inaugurated on January 1 this year.

“We do not have adequate staff to tackle mounting number of cases. At present, we have one SHO, four ASIs, two head constables and five constables as against the sanctioned manpower of one inspector, two sub-inspectors, six ASIs, 10 head constables and 20 constables for the police station,” said a police official on the condition of anonymity.

“Also three vehicles (one PCR and 2 bikes) were sanctioned, but we don’t have any of them. We have to hire a taxi to do our works such as delivering notices to the defaulters,” said the official. Senior officials said that the vacant posts would be filled within two months.

The dedicated police station, which has recovered Rs 3.35 lakh from the defaulters till date, exclusively deals with offences relating to theft of power and canal water under the provisions of the Indian Electricity Act and various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).











CWG graft case: Two accused granted bail


Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 23:21

New Delhi: A CBI special court here hearing a corruption case related to the 2010 Commonwealth Games Thursday granted bail to two officials of a company and rejected the bail plea of an official of another company.
All the three were arrested for alleged irregularities in awarding a Rs.141 crore contract for timing, scoring and result equipment for the Games held in New Delhi.

Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Special Judge Talwant Singh allowed the bail application of A.K. Madan and P.D. Arya, promoters of Gem International, on separate charges of being proclaimed offenders. They had earlier got bail in the corruption case.

Now the two will be allowed to leave the jail.
The court dismissed the bail plea of A.K. Reddy, of Hyderabad-based A.K.R. Constructions, in the corruption case but allowed his bail application in the separate charge of being a proclaimed offender. He will continue to be in jail.
CWG Organising Committee`s former chief Suresh Kalmadi and eight others accused in the case have already been released on bail.
The individuals and the two companies were charged under various sections of the Indian Penal Code for cheating, criminal conspiracy and forgery and under the Prevention of Corruption Act.








Himachal: Karmapa summoned over currency row


Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 15:00

Shimla: Tibetan religious head and the 17th Karmapa Ogyen Trinley Dorje has been summoned by a Himachal Pradesh court in March over the seizure of foreign currency worth Rs 70 million (over USD 1.4 million) from his monastery in 2011, police said on Thursday.
Officials from the Karmapa’s office based in Dharamsala said the Karmapa is out of station for over a fortnight to preside over the annual activities and therefore has not received the summons.

The chief judicial magistrate of Una has asked the Karmapa and nine others involved in the case to be personally present in the court on March 06, Additional Director General of Police SR Mardi said.
The charge sheet was filed by police on December 07, 2011.

The Karmapa has been charged under penal provisions related to conspiracy. The other nine accused included the Karmapa’s aide Rubgi Chosang, also known as Shakti Lama.
On January 28, 2011, police recovered currencies of 26 countries, including CNY 120,197 and around Rs 5.3 million in Indian currency, from the Gyuto Tantric University and Monastery located on the outskirts of Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan government-in-exile.
It was after the seizure of Rs 1 crore meant for land purchase that police conducted searches at the monastery and recovered the currency.
Director General of Police DS Manhas told reporters in Shimla last month that during the course of investigation, police came to the conclusion that the Karmapa had a role in the currency row.
He said, “Since the Karmapa was heading the (Karmae Garchen) trust, all financial transactions being carried out by the trust relating to land purchase were in his knowledge.”
The Karmapa’s office said in a statement that “from the beginning, His Holiness (the Karmapa) has full trust in the Indian legal system and that he will cooperate and follow due process”.
“One of the three staff members of the Karmapa Office of Administration named in the charge sheet was in Dharamsala and received a summons,” it said.




HC reserves verdict on seat quota in polls


Express news service : New Delhi, Fri Feb 17 2012, 02:06 hrs
The Delhi High Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on a bunch of petitions by councillors and a few others seeking quashing of a notification by the State Election Commission on reserving seats for SC candidates for the upcoming MCD polls. The court reserved its verdict after hearing the arguments by the lawyers for the councillors and the state poll body.

The petitioners questioned the delegation of powers by Delhi government to the State Election Commission to decide on reservation of seats for SC and women candidates for the civic polls. They have also challenged the yardstick for rotation of seats prior to an election. They said that considering the 2001census was not appropriate, and a subsequent survey regarding population should be considered.










TDP hails HC verdict on petition against Naidu


Last Updated: Thursday, February 16, 2012, 20:52

Hyderabad: There was jubilation in the Telugu Desam Thursday after the Andhra Pradesh High Court struck down a ‘public interest litigation’ filed by YSR Congress seeking a multi-agency investigation into the assets of party President N Chandrababu Naidu.

The petition was filed by YSR Congress Honorary President and MLA Y S Vijaya, who is widow of former Chief Minister Y S Rajasekhara Reddy.

TDP MLAs distributed sweets in the Assembly after the HC verdict even as a relieved Naidu maintained that those who did nothing wrong would not face any problem. “I have done no wrong…no one can do anything to me. The High Court verdict re-established this.”

The TDP President pointed out that there was nothing new in the allegations made in the petition. “She (Vijaya) doesn’t seem to have faith in the investigations launched by her (late) husband Y S Rajasekhara Reddy (against Naidu).”

The Leader of Opposition alleged the YSR family had been adopting a vengeful attitude towards him for the past many years.

YSR himself constituted many Cabinet sub-committees and even went to court but could not prove any wrongdoing, the former Chief Minister maintained.

TDP Politburo member Yanamala Ramakrishnudu welcomed the HC verdict and said Vijaya filed the petition at the behest of her son and Kadapa MP Y S Jaganmohan Reddy as part of “political vendetta”.

“The petition against Chandrababu Naidu was filed as part of the agreement Jagan had with the Congress high command. Jagan entered into the agreement after the CBI launched investigations against him,” Yanamala alleged.

Former Union Minister K Yerran Naidu said the ruling was a slap on the face of those who sought to gain political mileage by filing false petitions against opponents.











Guj HC rejects plea challenging formation of Shah commission


Press Trust Of India
Ahmedabad, February 16, 2012

Gujarat high court on Thursday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the constitution of Justice MB Shah Commission.
Petitioner Gunwantrai Joshi, social activist from Jamnagar, had contended that the manner in which the notification for appointing the commission was issued by the state government revealed that the intent was to avert the probe of important matters by state Lokayukta.

But the division bench of acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice JB Pardiwala dismissed the PIL, saying there was no substance in the contentions.

During the hearing, Joshi’s lawyer Vivek Mapara had demanded that notification appointing the commission be quashed, and all the matters before it be transfered to the Lokayukta.

Chief minister Narendra Modi appointed the Shah Commission in August 2011 after the opposition Congress submitted a memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, levelling corruption accusations against Modi in 16 cases.

Advocate Mapara had argued that the state government had reservations about the appointment of Justice RA Mehta as Gujarat Lokayukta, and on the day (August 16, 2011) the Governor invited a formal proposal for appointment of Lokayukta, Modi government issued the notification appointing MB Shah commission.

Language used in the notification suggested that the government, under the garb of Commission of Inquiry, was trying to justify its actions, he said.











HC reserves verdict on councillors’ petition


HTC, Hindustan Times
February 16, 2012

The Delhi high court on Thursday reserved its verdict on petitions of councillors seeking quashing of a notification by the state election commission, reserving seats for SC candidates for the upcoming MCD polls. Bench of justice SK Kaul and justice Rajiv Shakdher fixed the case for pronouncement of judgement after hearing two days of arguments by lawyer for the councillors and the state election commission.

The court had on Wednesday refused to stay the elections scheduled for April. The councillors questioned the delegation of powers by Delhi government to the state election commission to decide on “reservation” of seats for SC and women candidates for the civic polls.

Citing constitutional provisions, they said, “the Election Commission has no role whatsoever in reservation of seats or rotation of seats prior to an election. Its role starts with the preparation of electoral roll and conduct of election.”

The councillors had earlier moved the court seeking quashing of the notification, saying a faulty method was adopted to reserve seats for SC candidates.











Madras HC disposes off PIL against felling of trees


PTI | Feb 16, 2012, 03.48PM IST

MADURAI: The Madras High Court bench has disposed of a PIL against large scale felling of trees at the Saraswathi Narayanan College campus near here after its secretary submitted to compensate the loss by planting more trees and in future no trees would be cut without obtaining permission from the appropriate authorities.

In his affidavit before Justices Chitra Venkataraman and R Karuppiah, the college secretary V Thiyagarajan said the institution had devised a project to grow more trees on its 64 acre campus to compensate the felling of 64 out of 511 trees in the campus in Aug 2010. The trees were cut for providing hygienic and safe environment for hostel students, the secretary said.

The PIL was filed by Tamil Nadu Science Forum (TNSF) president S Krishnasamy. The TNSF charged that the college had arbitrarily cut down age old trees which provided a good environment besides serving as a sanctuary for numerous species of birds and bats against protests by a section of students and staff.

The District Forest Officer in his report said the campus wore a deserted look with the felling of 64 trees aged about 40 years. Most of these trees fell under the 36 species that were exempted from the purview of the Tamil Nadu Timber Transit Rules-1969.

There are 447 trees belonging to 46 different species in the campus. He said that no permission from the forest department was required for felling trees from places such as college complexes.












Gujarat HC rejects PIL challenging appointment of judicial commission


The Gujarat High Court on Thursday rejected a Public Interest Litigation petition challenging the appointment of the M.B. Shah judicial inquiry commission by the Narendra Modi government to probe into graft charges against the State government since 1980.

A Division Bench of the High Court comprising Acting Chief Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice J. B. Pardiwala held the appointment of the commission as valid and constitutional, rejecting the PIL petition filed by Jamnagar-based journalist Gunvant Joshi.

The PIL was filed on the ground that the Narendra Modi government, through a State Cabinet resolution, constituted the judicial inquiry commission under the chairmanship of the retired judge, M. B. Shah, only to forestall the appointment of a Lokayukta to investigate the graft charges against the State government.

The PIL pointed out that the Shah commission was constituted even when the process for the appointment of a Lokayukta was in progress and the then Chief Justice of the High Court S.J. Mukhopadhyaya, now elevated to the Supreme Court, had recommended the name of Justice R.A. Mehta, also a retired judge, for the post and the Governor had sent the recommendation to the State government for necessary action.

The Shah commission was constituted under the Commission of Inquiry Act, 1952, a few days before Governor Kamala Beniwal unilaterally appointed Justice Mehta as the Lokayukta on August 25 last year. It created a furore and the State government approached the High Court challenging the Governor’s action. The commission was constituted after the State Congress submitted a memorandum to the President seeking her intervention for a probe into 17 charges of corruption against the Modi administration involving more than Rs. 1 lakh crore.

The Modi government, however, not only referred the Congress complaints to the Shah commission, but also authorised it to investigate complaints against all the State governments since 1980, including the Congress governments in the State before the BJP’s uninterrupted rule since 1998.

The PIL claimed that the commission was constituted by the State government only to ensure that the Lokayukta, even if appointed at a later stage, would not have the jurisdiction to investigate corruption charges against the Modi government.

The Division Bench, however, ruled that appointment of the judicial commission was within the rights of the State government and the PIL challenging its constitution could not be entertained at this stage when the validity of the appointment of the Lokayukta itself was pending before the Supreme Court.











HC raps govt over mining along railway track


TNN | Feb 17, 2012, 02.03AM IST

JODHPUR: The Rajasthan High Court, while hearing a petition filed by the railway over the mining taking place within 45 meters along the Jaipur-Jodhpur railway track, has severely criticized the state government on Thursday and asked whether an absolute ‘jungle raj’ is prevailing in the state. The mining is taking place in complete violation of the rules and regulations, thereby endangering the life of human beings, the court observed.

The court also sought an instant reply from the chief secretary on the stand of the government on these mining leases along the track. In his reply, the chief secretary told the court that these leases would be cancelled and in future ensure that no such violation takes place.

The court was hearing the petition for the third consecutive day on Thursday regarding mining activities along the Jaipur-Jodhpur track in Makrana. A division bench comprising Chief Justice Arun Kumar Mishra and Justice Kailash Chandra Joshi put a straight question to the mining department and the state government asking them how these leases were allowed despite court’s prohibition and not only that, these leases were renewed invariably.

The court observed that both the government and mining department are putting the national assets and human lives at stake despite it being a welfare state. “First, the mining department is responsible for these violations and the government is party to it,” the bench said.

The court also expressed surprise that despite constant reminders of the railway to the government between 1987 and 1992 regarding the damage to the tracks due to repeated blasting, the then chief minister wrote to shift the railway track instead of putting a check on the mining activity. “Now do they want this track to be removed and wait for 20-30 years more until new track is laid,” the court enquired while observing that government is committing illegality.

Furious at the state of affairs, the court had gone to the extent saying that, “if you are not stopped, you will dig up even the high court.” Superintending engineer, mining, M P Meena and mining engineer (Makrana) Sunil Sharma were present in the court.












Submit details of proclaimed offenders: HC to UT Police


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 17 2012, 02:09 hrs


Anguished over the protracted delay being caused by the police in arresting a proclaimed offender, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has sought details of all proclaimed offenders whom Chandigarh Police have failed to arrest till now. Enlarging the scope of a petition demanding the arrest of one proclaimed offender, the High Court has issued notices to the Chandigarh Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP).

Justice R K Garg has made it clear that if Chandigarh Police fails to furnish the names and details of all the proclaimed offenders in the UT within two weeks, the Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG) will have to remain present in Court on the next date of hearing.

The directions were passed by Justice R K Garg on a petition filed by a company, Kogta Financial Services India Limited. The petitioner approached the High Court, alleging that despite a lower Court of Chandigarh declaring a resident of Ambala a proclaimed offender in 2006, Chandigarh Police have failed to arrest him.

The Ambala resident, one Anil Chaudhary, was declared a proclaimed offender by a Chandigarh Court after the company alleged that he had issued cheques for payment of installments of a vehicle which had got dishonoured. A complaint under Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act was filed by the company in the year 2002.

After over four years, a Chandigarh Court declared Chaudhary a proclaimed offender. The company has moved the High Court, stating that it has been nearly six years but Chandigarh Police have failed to arrest Chaudhary. Expressing shock over the inability of the police to arrest the offender, the High Court has issued notices to the Chandigarh SSP. Responses have been sought from the superintendent of police (SP) and Ambala station house officer (SHO) too.

The petitioner alleged in the High Court that the (lower) Court) order has not been taken seriously by the UT Police as it has failed to trace Chaudhary. He further alleged that the proclaimed offender is roaming free in Ambala but neither Chandigarh Police nor Ambala Police are arresting him.

To ensure that no further delay is caused by the police forces of Punjab and Haryana, Justice Garg has also sought status reports of all proclaimed offenders in the two neighbouring states. If the status reports are not furnished within two weeks, the High Court has ordered, the Punjab and Haryana Director Generals of Police (DGPs) shall remain present in Court.









HC upholds BJP councillor’s election


PTI | 08:02 PM,Feb 16,2012

New Delhi, Feb 16 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has upheld the election of BJP candidate Balbir Tyagi as councillor of Vikaspuri MCD ward in 2007, setting aside the single judge’s order last year to hold fresh elections in his ward. Allowing Tyagi’s plea against the single judge order declaring his election as null and void, a division bench of Acting Chief Justice A K Sikri and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw upheld the trial court’s 2010 order holding his election as valid. In April last year, the single judge had declared Tyagi’s election null and void and had ordered a fresh election for the Vikaspuri MCD ward. Rejecting Jharkhand Mukti Morcha (JMM) candidate Dhanwanti Chandela’s argument, the division bench said “Chandela was not able to prove the charge of corrupt practice (against Tyagi) beyond reasonable doubt.” “Various anomalies and loopholes pointed out in his testimony in support of his allegation are sufficient to raise reasonable doubt,” the bench added. (more)




Gurgaon land acquisition officer gets HC notice for ‘favouring’ pvt developer–favouring–pvt-developer/913135/


RAGHAV OHRI : Chandigarh, Fri Feb 17 2012, 03:07 hrs

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday issued notices to Land Acquisition Collector, Gurgaon and Haryana government after a petitioner alleged that the authorities changed the alignment of a road being constructed in Gurgaon so that land belonging to a private developer is not acquired.

The HC issued the notices while hearing a petition filed by Jeet Singh, resident of Gurgaon, who has alleged that the Haryana government arbitrarily acquired land for construction of road in Sector 66 and 67, Gurgaon.

Arguing the case, his counsel, Sandeep Sharma, submitted that land belonging to poor farmers has been acquired by the state whereas the land belonging to a private developer was not acquired despite it being falling within the alignment of sector road.

Alleging that instead of acquiring the developer’s land, the Haryana government changed the alignment of the road, he urged that the dispossession of the land of the petitioner, a farmer, should be stayed till the pendency of the case.

In his PIL, Jeet Singh, has also demanded quashing of two notifications – dated September 13, 2010 and May 4, 2011 – issued under Section 4 and 6 of the Land Acquisition Act. He has also sought directions to the Haryana government to “produce the entire record of the acquisition including the record of those owners whose land stands released from the acquisition.”











HC reserves order on PIL seeking removal of Khurshid


PTI Feb 16, 2012, 12.32PM IST

LUCKNOW: The Allahabad High Court today reserved its order on a PIL seeking removal of Union Law Minister Salman Khurshid for his remarks on reservation for minorities.

The order was issued by the Lucknow bench comprising senior judge Justice Uma Nath Singh and Justice Rituraj Awasthi after hearing the counsel of both the sides.

In his PIL, local lawyer Ashok Pandey has alleged that such statement made by Khurshid was against the constitutional mandate and the Prime Minister should be directed to remove him immediately.

The petitioner also contended that after Khurshid’s statement, the EC wrote a letter to the President which was referred to the Prime Minister and so necessary action was required in the matter.

Appearing on behalf of the centre, Additional Solicitor General Ashok Nigam strongly opposed the PIL, saying the statement was made in an election rally and not with any extraneous reasons.

He said that the PIL was liable to be dismissed. The EC had on last Saturday taken strong objection to his comments that he would continue to speak on nine per cent sub -quota for minorities even if the poll body “hangs me”.

The poll body had written to the President to seek her “immediate and decisive” intervention to uphold the constitutional body’s authority.










HC takes exception to escalation of construction cost of AIIMS


PTI | 09:02 PM,Feb 16,2012

Patna, Feb 16 (PTI) Taking note of delay in completion of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here which led to more than doubling of costs, the Patna High Court today showcaused the construction companies. A division bench of Justice P C Verma and Justice Aditya Kumar Trivedi showcaused the four construction companies and sought their replies by March 14 as to why hefty penalities would not be imposed on them for the inordinate delay in the completion of the work instead of one per cent of the contruction cost provisioned in the tender documents. AIIMS, Patna, whose foundation was laid in 2004, was scheduled to have started functioning from March 1 this year. The construction had begun in April last year after a protracted delay and costs have escalated to Rs 850 crore from the original Rs 332 crore. The four construction companies are M/S Nagarjuna, M/S D.L. Kashyan & Sons, M/S RDB and M/S XLL and the HC asked them to file their replies by the next date of the hearing fixed for March 14. The court was hearing a petition filed by the Council of Protection of Public Rights on the delay in completion of the AIIMS, Patna.


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