LAGAL NEWS 26.04.2010

Activists welcome stay on mega-housing project in Goa
2010-04-23 22:30:00
Activists opposed to mega projects in Goa have welcomed the central environment ministry’s order keeping a massive DLF-backed housing project in the state in abeyance following a writ petition in the Panaji bench of the Bombay High Court.
The activists had earlier alleged that Chief Minister Digambar Kamat was responsible for the massive irregularities in granting permissions for the housing project which envisages 600 top-of-the-range homes in an ecologically sensitive area.
In a pressnote issued here, Goa Bachao Abhiyaan (GBA), an umbrella organisation representing more than a dozen planned development-oriented NGOs, has hailed the ministry order staying all constructions of the DLF promoted project, allegedly built illegally on a hill slope after felling hundreds of trees.
‘GBA and Save our Slopes have petitioned the government to institute an enquiry into the illegal permissions given under the ‘deemed’ clause and to fix responsibility and take punitive action against the erring officers,’ GBA convenor Sabina Martins said in the note.
The ministry’s order comes in the wake of a writ filed by Goa Foundation and Edwin Mascarenhas against Saravati Builders (executing the DLF project), in which the ministry is also a respondent.
In its order of April 15 (obtained by GBA earlier this week), Bharat Bhushan, director (impact assessment) in the ministry, said that issues raised in the writ petition relating to destruction of forest area and destruction of ecologically sensitive habitat were serious.
‘The above issues are important and require detailed re-examination of the project. In the meantime, you are directed not to proceed for the construction of the group housing project in the aforesaid plot, till a detailed examination of all issues raised in the writ petition are re-examined by the expert appraisal committee,’ the order stated, adding that environmental clearance given to the project Jan 11 this year have been kept in abeyance.
GBA earlier alleged that the role of Kamat – who is also the minister for town and country planning – in the DLF project was ‘full of suspicion, especially the manner in which permissions were given to DLF by his department’.
Kamat has dismissed these allegations, stating that he had done nothing wrong.

Indians on death row a mockery of justice: Amnesty International to UAE
PTI, Apr 24, 2010, 08.47pm IST
DUBAI: Describing the death sentence awarded to 17 Indians in UAE as a “mockery of justice,” leading rights watch Amnesty International has asked the country to probe allegations of torture and ensure a fair trial on appeal.

The Indian migrants, all from Punjab, were sentenced to death on March 29, three months after their arrest, after being convicted by a Sharjah Shariah court for killing a Pakistani national.

“This is a mockery of justice. These 17 men have been tortured, forced to confess, and sentenced to death based on a fake video,” Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement.

The convicts, aged between 21 and 25, have launched an appeal in an appellate court seeking a review of the death penalty. The case was regarding a fight, believed to be between rival gangs for control of an illegal alcohol business, in which a Pakistani died and three were injured.

The Indian government sought consular access to the Indians after the verdict was pronounced, following which the Indian embassy here assisted them in launching an appeal. Amnesty also said the men were held for months before the Indian government was notified of their arrest.

The Indians have alleged they were tortured and abused by police over nine days to make them ‘confess’ to the crime.

Amnesty cited the allegations of Indian NGO Lawyers For Human Rights International (LFHRI) that they were “beaten with clubs, subjected to electric shocks, deprived of sleep and forced to stand on one leg for prolonged periods”.

“The authorities must investigate these reports of torture and ensure that the results are made public and those allegedly responsible are held to account,” said Sahraoui.

The LFHRI has also alleged that the conviction was based on a “fake video” filmed one month after the arrest, after the men were taken to the scene of the crime and “forced to re-enact it,” the statement said. The videotape was presented at the trial as genuine CCTV footage of the killing, the NGO has alleged.

Taking note of the allegations, Amnesty asked the UAE authorities to investigate the allegations of torture and ensure a fair trial on appeal.

“They must be protected from further torture and other ill-treatment, and any evidence obtained using such methods should not be used in court,” it said.

Govt wants to give final say to PM on CJI appointment
Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Apr 25, 2010, 04.54am IST
NEW DELHI: The government has seen a devil in the existing Memorandum of Procedure (MoP) for appointment of the Chief Justice of India and has initiated the process to amend it and give the final say to the Prime Minister in tricky situations.

Since the executive had lost primacy in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and the high courts nearly 17 years ago, it is the senior-most judge of the Supreme Court who is appointed to the top post after the retirement of the CJI.

But, there is a catch. The process for appointment of the senior-most judge to the top judicial post can be initiated only after the incumbent CJI gives a recommendation saying he is eminently suitable for the job.

The government feels once the apex court’s constitution Bench had ruled that the senior-most judge would get elevated to the top post after the retirement of the incumbent CJI, there should not be any leverage given to the CJI for choosing his successor.

What happens if the CJI refuses to send any recommendation or sends a recommendation proposing the name of a judge junior to the senior-most judge? Should the appointment process for the CJI come to a standstill for this purpose?

Law ministry sources said that the government has already drafted the proposed change in the MoP that would empower the Prime Minister to step in such eventualities. If the CJI gives a recommendation proposing the name of a judge other than the senior-most judge of the SC or sends no recommendation, then the PM would advise the President to appoint the senior-most judge as the CJI.

The proposed change in the present MoP, which was drafted during the time when Ram Jethmalani was the law minister, would soon be discussed with the judiciary for clearance and implementation, the sources said.

HC pulls up MoEA for denying permission to sue Iranian embassy
The Delhi High Court has pulled up the External Affairs Ministry for denying permission to a person to file a case against Iranian embassy for not compensating him for illegally terminating his service.
“Union of India is directed to issue a letter to the petitioner within a period of four weeks permitting him to execute the decree dated 14th November 2007 (regarding payment of Rs 7.8 lakh compensation),” the court said, adding if the Centre fails to permit him then the petitioner can take legal action against Embassy without government approval.
The court passed the order on a petition filed by Ashraf Rizwi contending that the government did not grant him permission to pursue a case against the embassy despite the latter’s failure to comply with a district court order to pay him a compensation of Rs. 7,89,600.
A district court, in a decree on November 2007, had asked the Iranian embassy to pay the compensation along with nine per cent annual interest.
Mr. Rizwi, who worked with the Science and Education section of the embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran here since October 1, 1989 was allegedly terminated from services on May 15, 2002 through an oral communication without any reason.
He then approached the lower court which passed the order in his favour but the embassy refused to comply with the order. He then sought sanction from the Centre to take action against the embassy which was refused.
Aggrieved by the decision, Mr. Rizwi approached the High Court which admitted his plea saying, “It is difficult to appreciate the objection taken by the MoEA in this case.”
The court also imposed a cost of Rs. 5,000 on the Centre and asked it to pay the same to the petitioner.

HC allows blind student to appear in entrance test
Mumbai, Apr 24 (PTI) In a novel gesture, the Bombay High court has allowed a 17-year-old blind student to appear in an entrance test for admission into a physiotherapy course, although rules in Maharashtra do not permit physically and visually challenged persons to write the test.

Hearing a petition filed by Krutika, who was refused permission to appear in the Common Entrance Test (CET), Justices J N Patel and A P Bhangale allowed her to write the test to be held in the first week of May.

The Director of Medical Education opposed the petition saying the rules do not permit physically and visually challenged persons to write the test. He said 70 per cent handicapped is sufficient to consider such a person disabled.

Physiotherapy involves movement of limbs and muscles which is difficult for the blind and handicapped persons to practice, he said.

BCS, BJS Exam Candidates with Disabilities
HC order on writs April 25
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Staff Correspondent
The High Court (HC) will pass orders on April 25 on two writ petitions that sought directions from the court upon the government to allow the candidates with disabilities to sit for Bangladesh Civil Service (BCS) and Bangladesh Judicial Service (BJS) examinations.
An HC bench of Justice Md Mamtaz Uddun Ahmed and Justice Naima Haider fixed the date after concluding the hearing on the petitions yesterday.
Four human rights organisations — Ain O Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh Legal Aid and Services Trust (BLAST), Action on Disability and Development (ADD) and National Council of Disabled Women (NCDW) — and Swapan Chowkidar, a lawyer, and Ridwanul Hoque, a teacher of law faculty of Dhaka University, jointly filed the petitions on April 19.
The secretaries to the establishment, law, social welfare, and health ministries, Bangladesh Public Service Commission (BPSC) and its chairman and secretary and the controller of examinations (Cadre), the judicial service commission and its chairman and secretary, the director general of the directorate of health, and the national disability welfare coordination committee and its chairman and secretary have been made respondents to the petitions.
The petitioners prayed to the court to issue a rule upon the respondents to explain why the provisions of the Bangladesh Civil Service (Age, Qualification and Examinations for Direct Recruitment) Rules 1982 preventing the candidates with disabilities from appearing in the BCS and BJS examinations should not be declared unconstitutional.
Advocates Shahriar Shakir, Qazi Zahid Iqbal, Taufiqul Islam and Nusrat Jahan appeared for the petitioners, while Attorney General Mahbubey Alam represented the government.

HC issues notice to Narayan Rane
Nagpur, Apr 25 (PTI) The Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Maharashtra Revenue Minister Narayan Rane for allegedly helping a city-based industrialist grabbing a plot of land illegally.

A single judge bench of Justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari responding to a writ petition, on Friday asked Rane along with Revenue Secretary, Forest Secretary and Managing partner of a local distillery company, Aspi Bapuna to reply to the notice within two weeks.

The Nagpur bench of the High Court also directed the state government not to implement any orders passed by the concerned minister related to the petition till pendency.

The petitioner Shailendra Sahu and his brother, who jointly own a Nazul land in Indora in northern part of city, had been alloted the land on lease by the then Central Province and Berar Government (CP & Berar) in March 1942.

The agreement was renewed till 2008.

Minimum punishment for murder by spurned man is lifer: Delhi HC
Sunday, April 25, 2010 11:15 IST
New Delhi: The killing of a woman by a man whose proposal she rejected would be treated as an offence not less than murder with the minimum punishment being life imprisonment, the Delhi high court has said.
The court refused the plea of a man who had submitted that he should be convicted for culpable homicide not amounting to murder as the offence was committed under emotion.
“If the argument is accepted it would mean that every male who has an infatuation for a female, on being spurned, would be entitled to kill the female under pain of a lesser offence i.e. the offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder,” justice Pradeep Nandrajog said.
The minimum punishment for the offence of murder is life imprisonment and the maximum is death penalty while in case of culpable homicide not amounting to murder a person can be sent to any jail term up to life imprisonment.
“Repelling the overtures of an infatuated lover would not make out a case of Exception IV to Section 300 IPC (murder) being attracted. The concept of acting under the impulse of passion envisaged under the provision is premised on the passion and the impulse being preceded upon a sudden quarrel,” the court said.
The court passed the order on appeal filed by a man Ashok Kumar Kohli who had killed a woman he was in love with.
He had approached the High Court challenging the trial court’s order of convicting him for the offence of murder and sentenced him to undergo life imprisonment on the ground that he was overcome with emotion and acted in a fit of rage.
The court refused to grant him any relief and dismissed his appeal.

1 extra hr to dyslexic student to write AIEEE: HC rules
Express News Service
Posted: Sunday , Apr 25, 2010 at 0038 hrs Chandigarh:
In a first of its kind decision, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to give extra time of one hour to a dyslexic student appearing in the All India Engineering Entrance Exam (AIEEE).
The exam will be conducted throughout the country on Sunday.
Also, the High Court has suggested that the CBSE and the Central Counselling Board (CCB) grant similar facilities to all such students appearing for the exam in the country.
After hearing a petition filed by Chandigarh resident Pranjay Jain, Justice Permod Kohli observed, “I direct that the petitioner should be provided one hour extra time in AIEEE for each paper. However, this permission shall remain subject to (the) outcome of the writ petition.”
Justice Kohli added: “Mr Harsh Aggarwal (counsel for CBSE) has expressed his concern about similarly situated persons, who are appearing in AIEEE throughout the country. In view of the matter, it may be observed that the CCB may consider granting similar facilities to all dyslexic students, who are appearing in AIEEE test.”
Jain, a dyslexic student, had moved HC, seeking extra time and permission to take a scribe along in the examination hall. The HC agreed to award extra time to the student but turned down the plea to have a scribe.
“Since it is an objective test, no scribe is required. However, in view of the disorder with which the petitioner is suffering, I am of the considered opinion that extra time as per the guidelines framed by the CBSE for 10+2 examination, should be given to the petitioner to provide him a fair opportunity to compete with other students, who don’t suffer from any such disability,” the court observed.
Initially, the petition was filed for the Class XII examinations. Subsequently, the HC had passed an order on March 2, 2010, directing the CBSE to provide a scribe and extra time to the petitioner.
After the exams, the petitioner again approached the High Court, seeking similar relaxations for AIEEE.
The CBSE had raised various objections to the petition. One of them was that since AIEEE was a competitive exam in which thousands of students appear, the petitioner could not be given advantage over others.
In response, the court observed, “Suffice it to say that even 10+2 examination is a competitive examination and so is the position with every examination.”

Dome to be heritage site: Gujarat HC
Nikunj Soni / DNA
Sunday, April 25, 2010 9:33 IST
Ahmedabad: Justice MR Shah of the Gujarat high court has directed Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to preserve the historic Calico dome by restructuring it in its original design within a year.
The court also pointed out that the civic body cannot use this historic memorial for any other purpose.
The high court was hearing a petition filed by the AMC seeking permission to purchase the structure from the official liquidator of the Calico Mill. The official liquidator was looking after the assets of the closed mill.
The court issued many directives to preserve the Calico dome in its original form by allowing its purchase by the civic body for Rs30 lakh. The dome, which is situated on the Relief Road is in bad shape and is included in the list of heritage structures of the city.
This nearly 12-metre-wide structure formed a segmental dome, anchored at the edges, crowning over the steel tube space frame over the part-buried Calico mill shop. Built in 1962, the structure remained the epitome of the glory of textile mills .
The official liquidator insisted on selling the structure according to market price. The state government had valued it at Rs1.20 crore. However, thecourt accepted the AMC’s argument that the value of the heritage structure can’t be evaluated as per market pricing.

Tamil to be Supreme Court language, hopes Karunanidhi
2010-04-25 16:30:00
Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi Sunday hoped Tamil will be one of the Supreme Court languages in the future and as a first step it should be accepted in the Madras High Court.
Speaking at the unveiling of B.R. Ambedkar’s statue in the Madras High Court premises, he said: ‘Tamil language should resonate in the precincts of the Supreme Court. As a first step, Tamil should be the high court language here for which the judges should take necessary steps.’
He said the DMK government does not lag behind any other government in following the ideals of Ambedkar regardless of the opposition.
Referring to the petition submitted by Madras High Court Advocates Association President R.C. Paul Kanakaraj for 10 acre ground for setting up a medical trust to render medical assistance for advocates, he said a decision will be taken after consulting with the state officials.
Unveiling the statue, Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan said: ‘In all the courts across the country, cases are pending for several years. Setting up of more courts and appointing more judges is the only way to settle the pending cases.’
The Chief Justice of Madras High Court H.L. Gokhale said the lawyers should assist in the smooth functioning of the court.
He said the judges cite Ambedkar’s philosophies in their judgments. It is the duty of the lawyers and judiciary to uphold the Indian constitution framed by Ambedkar.
The function witnessed some tense moments with a section of lawyers waving black flags and shouting slogans against Karunanidhi demanding action against police officials for last year’s clash in the high court premises.

Bombay HC asks Maharashtra govt about steps to avert fresh terror attacks
Sunday, April 25, 2010 14:03 IST
Yavatmal: A Nagpur bench of Bombay high court in a notice to state government has sought the steps it proposes to prevent fresh terror attacks in the state.
The division bench comprising justice JN Patel and justice BR Gavai hearing a criminal petition filed by one Digambar Pajgade proposing various measures to avert terror attacks, issued notices to state and senior officials asking them to reply in six weeks time. The matter would come up for hearing on May 6.
Pajgade has filed a criminal PIL on July 16, 2009 with a plea to order the state government to take preventive measures to avert fresh terrorists’ attacks on public institutions and properties in Mumbai and other parts of the state.
He has also suggested a number of effective measures to be considered by the state government through his plea.

Wanted: A Board of Control to Control the BCCI
R Krishna
Sunday, April 25, 2010 2:53 IST
In 2000, Rahul Mehra, a lawyer and cricket lover, filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) against the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), demanding transparency and accountability in the way cricket is run in the country. The BCCI responded by arguing that it was a private society and that the Indian team was not a national side, but one picked by the BCCI. And therefore it couldn’t be subjected to a PIL of any sort. The court quashed this contention, thus establishing that the BCCI is indeed answerable to the public.
Ten years later, the BCCI is embroiled in what is perhaps the biggest controversy in its history, and it is facing many uncomfortable questions: Why was one man given so much power to run a lucrative league such as the IPL? Why aren’t rules, rather than the whims of an individual, governing important processes such as franchisee auctioning? What prevented others in the BCCI from taking action?
In an interview with The Mag, Mehra says that we need to take a hard look at the way office-bearers are elected in the BCCI and the state associations that come under it. But the reforms won’t come from within the BCCI; the government has to step in to clean up the act, says Mehra. Excerpts:
Is there a conflict of interest between those running the IPL and those participating in it?
N Srinivasan was a treasurer when Sharad Pawar was the BCCI president. When Shashank Manohar took over as president, Srinivasan became the honorary secretary of BCCI. So you are the honorary secretary of the parent body of IPL. You are also the president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association. You also happen to occupy a position in the governing council of IPL — which is a sub-committee of the BCCI and takes all decisions regarding the governing of IPL. And then you are a stake-holder in Chennai Super Kings. Any of your decisions — be it as the secretary of the BCCI or the governing council member of IPL — can have a direct impact on Chennai Super Kings. Can there be a clearer case of conflict of interest than this?
Clearly, the administration needs reforms. But how can such reforms be carried out?
Nobody (within the BCCI) will carry it out because they have their vested interests. It has to be an outside agency. It has to be the sports ministry because the BCCI is performing a public function. The government should say we will derecognise you if you don’t toe our line. They could say that we will take away your right to select Team India. The point is that there has to be political will at the Centre, because obviously this is not going to come from within the BCCI.
The government only acts when there is a hue and cry. The ongoing investigations are highly motivated, but it is still good for the general public. At least something is happening now, which otherwise wouldn’t have.
Do elections at state-level associations also need reforms?
At the local level, the key question is, what kind of electorate do you have? The problem is that you cannot do much about the current electorate since it’s the legacy of the past. But surely, in future, you can ensure that only sportsmen get voting rights. Ultimately, these are not social clubs. These are sporting clubs.
In most associations, you see that there is one individual who has ruled the roost for 30-40 years, and ensured that his cronies, drivers, cooks, peons, relatives and close friends were inducted as members. Since they happen to be in a majority as members (of the association), time and again, the same person keeps coming back to power.
Instead, the BCCI should lay out guidelines whereby, while you might have anyone as a member, voting rights are given only to district-, state-, and international-level players.After all, the office-bearers will be looking at sporting requirements and some relative [of an office-bearer] who has no knowledge about the game is not the ideal person to elect the office-bearers of the association.
When I did my research in 2000, I found that in state associations, not even 5 per cent of the electorate are people who have played cricket in their life. If you don’t understand the technicalities and nuances of the game, how can you elect the right person? That’s why there is so much politics, backbiting and all the dirt that’s coming out now.
For example, Narendra Modi might be a great administrator and a great chief minister, but what are his credentials to come into cricket? Overnight, one saw him catapulted into the central politics of the BCCI because the Gujarat Cricket Association elected him as the president. How can that happen? There has to be some work that you’ve done at the grassroots, some credentials — apart from being a state or national-level leader — for you to be able to run a sports body.
What about the current manner of electing the top functionaries of the BCCI?
First of all, there should be a standardised way of registering a member association. There are some member associations of the BCCI which are registered under the Societies Registration Act. Others, like the Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA), are registered under the Companies Act. The BCCI should standardise this — member associations should all be registered under the Societies Registration Act or under the Companies Act.
In a body registered under the Societies Registration Act, you can’t vote by proxy. But in a body registered under the Companies Act, proxy voting is allowed.
This aspect is critical because in the proxy system, there are proxy forms that can be filled and misused in certain ways. However, in an organisation registered under the Societies Registration Act, there is no proxy system and voters have to be present at the time of voting. The key, however, is that voting has to be by secret ballot. Most of the time, we see that there is no polling officer and no fixed agenda. An independent person is not present to monitor the election process. There are only people who are motivated to see one side win. So power, money, muscle all come into play.
To clean things up, you should have an independent returning officer. You need to have a very honourable person — say, a jurist —and request him to conduct the election. There are around 30 state associations, apart from one or two organisations like the Railways which are members of the BCCI. All of them have a single vote (to elect the BCCI office-bearers).
Generally, a single member association sends two representatives to the BCCI at the time of election. So who is going to cast the vote eventually? That is decided by the BCCI. And who decides (within the BCCI)?
The incumbent office-bearer decides who will be voting in the subsequent election. So there is a clear conflict of interest. I believe every election should be telecast on TV. If you can’t do that, at least have it video-recorded. Every minute of the election should be on tape. This is the standard practice anywhere.
What will it take to clean this up?
To clear the current mess and in the larger interest of the game, I do feel there should be a regulatory body. The form of the regulatory body could be debated. It could be government-run or it could consist of distinguished people from society. But clearly, the regulation is never going to come from within the BCCI.
How can we ensure there is no cartelisation among the IPL franchisees?
By being fair and transparent. For instance, the moment the auctioning became transparent, teams like Kochi came on board. Otherwise there would only have been a cartel. A larger point here is that if the prime minister of India or the state chief minister falls under the RTI, why not a public body like the BCCI? If you go by the law, you have to be a government body or have to be substantially funded by the state (to fall under the purview of the RTI). Now the BCCI can say that it isn’t funded by the State. But this can actually be challenged, saying that they are given exemptions worth thousands of crores in the form of stadium costs, that they are offered thousands of crores worth of security for every game, that they are being allowed to use the name ‘India’ etc. You can really come down hard on them.
Recently, one of the IPL franchise owners suggested on a TV channel that since the franchisees are the ones putting in the money, they should run the IPL. What is wrong with that idea?
This is nonsense. If these eight or ten people are allowed to run the IPL, then what is the requirement of the BCCI? The BCCI has been given de-facto recognition by the government of India to run the game of cricket on its behalf. To now say that the franchisees are pumping in money and therefore should be allowed to govern and choose a leader amongst themselves would sound the death knell of a tournament like the IPL. Right now we are already debating whether these matches have been betted on and fixed, but these eight people may well decide amongst themselves which team should win each year. That would be a joke of sorts. Every year they will keep siphoning off money for themselves and keep showing losses and diverting funds overseas. Who will stop that? Unless and until there is aa watchdog — a role which BCCI should have assumed and which it didn’t — you can’t allow corporate entities a free run.

Who is to blame for the current controversy?
The fault lies mainly with the watchdog. If Lalit Modi was doing what he is alleged to have done, what were the BCCI, and the IPL governing council members, including independent watchdogs like Sunil Gavaskar, Ravi Shastri, and MAK Pataudi, doing? Why were they giving their assent to every document or decision taken by Lalit Modi? Weren’t they supposed to look into all the documents? They have lawyers on the governing council. The BCCI president himself is a senior lawyer in Nagpur. You don’t get bigger names than these. What were these people doing there? The fault lies with BCCI, not just Lalit Modi. Modi was allowed to have a free run. The real fault lies with people who let him have the free run.

Support legal aid programme: CJI
Staff Reporter
The Chief Justice of India, Justice K. G. Balakrishnan, on Sunday called upon the stakeholders in judicial system to extend whole-hearted support to the para-legal and legal aid training programme conceived by the National Legal Services Authority.
Launching the nation-wide training programme at the Rajiv Gandhi National Institute of Youth Development, Sriperumbudur, the Chief Justice said the programme was launched with the objective of ensuring access to justice for the marginalised sections.
Noting that conduct of ‘lok adalats’ and provision of legal services to the poor and needy through the NLSA and State-level LSAs had not brought in the desired results in terms of providing speedy justice, Mr. Balakrishnan said mass mobilisation of individuals with the inclination and capability to provide legal assistance to the poor and needy would help prevent legal disputes.
“It will be easy to prevent legal disputes if awareness of legal rights and laws is created among the general public. The large number of youth to be roped in as para-legal service providers will help achieve this objective”, he added. The training aims at identifying committed individuals as para-legal volunteers at district and taluk levels and equip them with knowledge and skills to act as intermediates between the people and legal service institutions at Central, State, district and taluk-levels.
Union Law Minister M. Veerapa Moily said the objective of the judicial system was to render justice to everyone, even the one last in the row. At the same time, the Union Minister said that protracted litigations were hiccups in the system.
“When I was Chief Minister of Karnataka, I found that several litigations over land acquisition blocked the implementation of Hassan irrigation project, an 18-year dream of ryots in that region. Subsequently, all litigations were cleared within a short period and the project was completed successfully to provide irrigation for 20 lakh acres since I felt justice denied to water is justice denied to everyone”, he added.
The blueprint for the National Legal Mission has been prepared, Mr. Moily said, and the Ministry was engaged in evolving the second generation legal education system. “Hitherto, a lower-level judicial officer was able to reach up to the district or State-level judicial position only. Efforts are being made to change the legal education system so as to help legal officers entering at the lower-level of the system reach higher positions,” he said.
Outlining the programme, the Chairman, National Consultation for Para Legal Training and Legal Aid Activities and Supreme Court Judge, P. Sathasivam said 400 out of 6400 blocks in the country would be covered under the programme initially. About 1000 members from NSS, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sankatan etc. would be trained at RGNIYD in association with Indira Gandhi National Open University, which is offering diploma course in para-legal services.
Chief Justice of Madras High Court H. L. Gokhale, Madras High Court judge E. Dharma Rao, Vice-Chancellor of the IGNOU V. N. Rajasekharan Pillai, vice-president, RGNIYD, C.R.Kesavan, director, RGNIYD, P.Michael Vetha Siromony and others participated in the function.
Later speaking to reporters, the Union Law Minister said the impasse relating to the new posting for former Karnataka Chief Justice P. D. Dinakaran would have to be dealt with by the judiciary.
When asked whether the introduction of para-legal services in Indian legal system could be construed as a preliminary step to open up the Indian legal education system to foreign universities, Mr. Moily replied in the negative and said that it was an effort to raise the legal education system to international standards.

More courts, judges needed to reduce pendency of cases: CJI
Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Sunday said that in view of the increase in number of cases, the country needed more courts and judges to reduce the pendency.
“Our problem is large number of cases. Unless the number of judges and courts increase there is no other way to reduce pendency,” Justice Balakrishnan said.
“Tamil Nadu had good number of judges and pendency of cases in the Madras High Court has been reduced by 30,000 within a short time,” he said.
According to him, the public would have more confidence in the judiciary only if the pendency was reduced. “Like any public institution, quality of justice delivery also depends on the trust and confidence of large public,” he said.
After unveiling a statue of B R Ambedkar in the high court premises, he said, “It is apt tribute to Ambedkar’s life and contributions (to society).”
“Despite many constitutional democracies withering away in recent times, Indian democracy stood firm because of a strong Constitution.”
Noting that the judiciary was conscious of gender equality, Justice Balakrishnan, who retires next month, said “We have upheld laws protecting it.”
Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily said the UPA government was striving to realise the dreams of Mahatma Gandhi, former prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Ambedkar.
Describing Chief Minister M Karunanidhi, whose party the DMK is a UPA constituent, as a ‘pillar of strength’ for the government, he sought his support on reservation policy and ‘gender justice’.
“We require some more support (from you). We are all for equality of justice including reservation policy and gender justice. Even now there are personal laws which are gender biased. However, we recently brought in two to three laws that are gender neutral,” Mr. Moily said.
“I think it (gender justice) should enter all courts…only then our justice system can be perfect. He (Ambedkar) understood the meaning. It is left to you (judges) to interpret it,” he said.
Mr. Karunanidhi was also present at the function.

Violence mars CM’s function at Madras HC
A Subramani, TNN, Apr 26, 2010, 03.10am IST
CHENNAI: Violence returned to haunt the Madras High Court campus on Sunday as attacks on journalists and black flag demonstrations marred chief minister M Karunanidhi’s participation in a function to unveil Dr BR Ambedkar’s statue.

The CM was visiting the court premises for the first time after the violence on the campus on February 19, 2009 when lawyers and policemen clashed.

The protest started when some advocates sprang to their feet soon after Karunanidhi commenced his speech. Even as they were waving black flags and shouting slogans, an unidentified group flung chairs at them, resulting in a fight. Camerapersons were also targeted. At least two video cameras were snatched and smashed by the rampaging mob.

Karunanidhi continued his speech amidst the melee, saying he would not be deterred by such indecent interference. He said he bore no ill-will against advocates or police and went on to promise a hike in the ex-gratia paid in the event of the death of a lawyer from a public welfare fund.

Parab must show up in court, police to tell HC
TNN, Apr 26, 2010, 03.52am IST
PANAJI: With no clue of constable Sanjay Parab’s whereabouts, crime branch has decided to insist that he remains present in the high court of Bombay at Goa, which will hear Parab’s anticipatory bail application on Monday.

“We will insist that Parab should be present in court. We are also looking into the legal aspects of the matter before declaring him an absconder,” said police sources.

Incidentally, the police took more than a month to arrive at this decision. “A month back, Parab had filed an anticipatory bail application and the case got transferred from one court to another. But, the police didn’t file any application in the court to ensure that the accused would be present in the courtroom”, said sources.

Despite issuing a look-out notice against Parab, police couldn’t trace the constable, who is wanted by the crime branch for his alleged nexus with Israeli drug dealer Atala. He is absconding from the time a police inspector and four constables were arrested for their alleged nexus with the drug dealer.

Parab has been booked under Section 59 (b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, which deals with a government officer’s connivance or wilful aid that results in the contravention of any provision of the NDPS Act. He is also booked for offences under Section 120 (b) of IPC, Sections 11 and 12 of Prevention of Corruption Act, and Sections 28, 29, 30 and 59 (b) of the NDPS Act.

After the arrest of the five policemen involved in the case, searches were on to trace Parab, who after being suspended, had failed to report to the Goa Reserve Police on a daily basis. Incidentally, unlike the five policemen arrested, Parab has never worked in the Anti Narcotics Cell.

Ensure environment audit reports don’t gather dust: Gujarat HC

Press Trust Of India / Ahmedabad April 26, 2010, 0:42 IST
The Gujarat High Court has directed the state pollution control board to ensure that environment audit reports are put to meaningful use to control pollution in the state. A division bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi issued the directives while dismissing a petition of Gujarat Dyestuff Manufacturers Association which sought scraping of the environmental audit for industries manufacturing specified products, last week.
“Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) is directed to take all necessary follow up steps on the basis of (environmental) audit reports to control environmental pollution,” the court said in the order. “GPCB shall also ensure that the data collected through such audit reports does not collect dust in the archives of its office but is put to meaningful use for understanding the environmental impact,” the court added.

The audit scheme was finalised by the High Court in 1996 after it received several petitions on rising pollution. The court had then asked GPCB as well as the state government to protect the natural resources. The court said the environmental audit is required to make the industry realise the impact of its activity. The petitioner, Gujarat Dyestuff Manufacturers Association, had contended that no useful purpose was being served by filing environmental reports as the GPCB had not put the said data collected to any effective use.
The association also pointed out that the environmental audit scheme was framed when industrial pollution was at its peak, but now most of the polluting industries have been brought under control. The association said its members are mainly small scale industries and they should not be burdened with providing environmental audit every year which involves huge cost.
But, the Court directed GPCB to continue with the environmental audit scheme, given that an agency like National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) has recommended that the scheme followed in Gujarat should be replicated across the country.

Petition seeks stay on declaring IIT entrance result
2010-04-26 15:30:00
Citing an error, a non-government organisation (NGO) has approached the Delhi High Court seeking a stay on the publication of the result of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) entrance exam held April 11.
The petition has also sought a fresh entrance test. It is likely to come up in court Tuesday.
Raising the issue of an error in the instructions for examinees who took the IIT joint entrance examination (IIT-JEE) in Hindi, the NGO filed the public interest litigation (PIL) Saturday.
‘In the interest of justice, the court may pass an interim order or stay directing the respondent (IIT) not to announce the result in the meantime, till the pendency of the writ petition,’ the PIL said.
‘Due to the error, students who took the entrance exam in Hindi suffered a blow in more than one way,’ M. Shakeel Khan, counsel for the NGO told IANS.
Chairman of the IIT-JEE, T.S. Natarajan has denied any plan to re-conduct the entrance examination.
‘There is no need for re-conducting the examination. For the Hindi question paper problem, corrective measure will be decided in a committee meeting and it will be shared with people,’ Natarajan told IANS over phone.
He also added that the results will be declared as per schedule.
Anand Kumar, director-cum-founder of Bihar-based Super 30 coaching centre for the economically poor, has favoured a fresh exam.
‘The IIT must re-conduct the entrance examination as the problem in the question paper is very serious and meeting of the directors of the IITs held on Sunday also could not find any concrete solution,’ Anand told IANS over phone.

No place for half measures
Pankaj Vohra, Hindustan Times
Email Author
New Delhi, April 25, 2010
The government appears to be in a dilemma over whether to order a probe into the functioning of the Indian Premier League (IPL) by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) or allow its agencies to investigate the matter that could have wide-ranging political ramifications.
The controversy seems to be leading to a situation where the IPL may make way for a PIL (public interest litigation) given the amount of money that has allegedly changed hands illegally in the name of cricket.
It is only a matter of time before the apex court will have to step in if the credibility of the system has to be restored in the eyes of the people who have been under the spell of the IPL for over a month now.
In the eye of the storm is the IPL tsar Lalit Modi whose alleged murky dealings may open a Pandora’s box that could jeopardise the political future of many top politicians. Shashi Tharoor, the former minister of state for external affairs, has already fallen by the wayside and no one knows who may follow suit.
The entire IPL circus has turned out to be the biggest scam of our times and could expose the ugly nexus among tax evaders, film stars, politicians, cricketers, corporate giants and the underworld. The IPL has also cast a shadow on its parent body, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that has as its members senior politicians from the NCP, the BJP and the Congress besides some smaller parties. Designed to help develop cricket, the League has got entangled in allegations of gambling, prostitution, match-fixing, money-laundering and tax evasion.
The most difficult problem before the government is that there is no one who is willing to believe that Lalit Modi acted on his own and without the patronage of those in the BCCI in general and the IPL Governing Council in particular. Therefore, for their own sake, in order to absolve themselves of any taint, each member of the IPL Governing Council as well as top cricket bosses would do well if they voluntarily subject themselves to scrutiny by government agencies.
The problem before the government is that a JPC probe may not yield the whole truth, as members of parties associated with those under the scanner are likely to be viewed with suspicion. The JPC will be expected to investigate even those in the government, a task that could lead to the souring of relations between, say, the Congress and the NCP at one level and the Congress and the National Conference on the other. This could have a huge impact on the governments in Maharashtra, J&K and the Centre. The JPC could also prove inconvenient for the BJP, the principal opposition party, since some of its top leaders are seen as those who helped Modi at some stage or have been associated with the conduct of the games.
As people watch the unfolding developments, the government and Parliament’s credibility will take a beating if nothing comes of the probe and the accused get off scot-free. Therefore, if the JPC is approved, its members should be those who have no stakes in cricket and who have a clean public image.
If the apex court gets involved through a PIL or through a presidential reference, the independent probe committee should comprise eminent people who should give their report within a specified period of a month or 45 days. The IPL chapter appears to be the most unfortunate one in the country’s sporting history. It raises questions about the involvement of politicians in cricket administration. The guilty should be brought to book. The probe should not lead to a situation where it undermines the credibility of the government and Parliament in the eyes of the people.

12 ‘expert’ MLCs aren’t experts: PIL
Mayura Janwalkar / DNA
Monday, April 26, 2010 0:23 IST
Mumbai: Twelve members of legislative council (MLC) appointed by the state government as “experts” do not actually fit the bill, states a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the Bombay high court. After hearing the PIL, chief justice Anil Dave and justice SC Dharmadhikari have issued a notice to the government and sought a reply within four weeks.
The PIL filed by Birudeo Lavate and Sunil Kate, social acitivists from Sangola, said the appointment of the MLCs is politically motivated and has deprived deserving candidates of their right.
The petition stated that under clauses of article 171 of the constitution, the governor of a state has the power to appoint members to the legislative council who have “special knowledge or practical experience in respect of literature, science, art, co-operative movements and social services”.
However, the 12 MLCs appointed by the governor in 2008, are not experts as prescribed in the relevant clause of the constitution, said Machhindra Patil, advocate for the petitioners. Patil added that in an application filed under the Right to Information Act, under secretary RG Salvi had replied stating that information regarding the expertise possessed by these 12 MLAs was “not available”.

IPL PIL: HC asks Maha govt to file reply by May 5–HC-asks-Maha-govt-to-file-reply-by-May-5
Mumbai, Apr 26 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today asked the Maharashtra Government whether there was any code of conduct for Chief Minister or any other minister who is taking part in the activities of sport bodies such as BCCI.

The court asked whether any conflict of interest arises if a minister holds a post in a sports organisation.

The government was also asked to clarify whether it has decided to levy entertainment tax on the IPL tournament.

The court has asked the government to file its reply by May 5.

The court’s direction came in response to a PIL filed by Subhash Desai, Shiv Sena MLA, alleging that the government had decided to levy entertainment tax but did not implement it.

SC holds expulsion of former Punjab CM
Monday, April 26, 2010, 12:35 [IST]
New Delhi, Apr 26: Terming it as unconstitutional, the Supreme Court on Monday, Apr 26, quashed the expulsion of former Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh from the State Assembly.
A five-judge constitution bench led by chief justice KG Balakrishnan directed the immediate restoration of Amarinder Singh’s membership to the present assembly.

Singh was thrown out of the House on Sep 3, 2008, for ‘breach of privilege’ following the passing of a resolution based on a report of a special committee appointed by the Punjab Assembly on the alleged irregularities.

The report concluded that the former Chief Minister has granted illegal exemption to certain developers which has resulted in a loss worth over several crores of rupees to the exchequer.

The scam relates to grant of exemption on 32.5 acres of land in a prime area by Singh as the Chief Minister to certain land developers allegedly in violation of the rules.

During his tenure as the Chief Minister, Singh is said to have granted an exemption on 32.5 acres of land in a prime area to certain land developers, which was allegedly in violation of the rules.

OneIndia News

Govt confesses Justice Sabharwal not considered for NHRC post
Union government has confessed that former chief justice Y K Sabharwal was not made chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a post where appointee has to be a former CJI of India, because he was not considered fit for the post


Mon, Apr 26, 2010 10:39:16 IST

THE UNION government has confessed that formers chief justice of India (CJI) Y K Sabharwal was not made chairperson of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), a post where an appointee has to be a former Chief Justice of India, because he was not considered fit to become NHRC chairperson. It is unfortunate that a person, who was not considered fit even for post of NHRC chairperson, headed Indian judiciary by virtue of seniority amongst Supreme Court judges.

Non-transparent appointment-system in higher judiciary has sparked many controversies where even the then Chief Justice of Delhi AP Shah cited injustice to him in denying him elevation to Apex Court. Appointment-system for higher judiciary including for Chief Justice of India should be modified so that controversies in appointments may not emerge, and a non-deserving person may not become Chief Justice of India just by virtue of seniority.

Aarushi murder: Accused file complaint with NHRC alleging torture by CBI
IANS, Mar 12, 2010, 03.30pm IST
NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), approached by counsel of the accused in the Aarushi murder case alleging torture by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), said they “may or may not” take a view on the case.

“The commission will take its due course of time to take a decision on the complaint. Since the case is already in the court, the commission may or may not take a view on the case,” an official of NHRC said.

According to the official, Naresh Kumar Yadav, counsel for accused Rajkumar and Vijay Mandal, filed a complaint to the NHRC on Thursday alleging torture by the CBI while conducting the narco-analysis tests.

“Yadav said that the way in which the narco-analysis tests were conducted by the CBI on the accused, it seemed that there was an effort to put words in their mouth by the officers. The investigations, he said, were conducted in an inhuman manner by the team of doctors that made them go through physical and mental torture,” the NHRC official said.

The counsel added that he filed the complaint after a TV news channel aired footage of the narco-tests.

“The counsel has asked the commission for a fair enquiry and to take action against the CBI officers who conducted the investigation and the doctors. He has also asked for compensation (for) his clients,” the official added.

Teenager Aarushi Talwar was found murdered at her home in Noida on the outskirts of Delhi in May 2008. The family’s domestic help Hemraj, who was initially suspected, was himself found killed the next day.

Dumped foetuses: NCW asks govt to submit report
Express News Service
Posted: Sunday , Apr 25, 2010 at 0126 hrs Ahmedabad:
National Commission of Women (NCW) chairperson Girija Vyas on Saturday asked the state government to submit a report on the finding of 14 foetuses near Bapunagar in Ahmedabad. Vyas was in Gujarat to meet officials from the Women and Child Welfare Department.
Vyas said, “The commission is also concerned about low rate of conviction in cases registered under the PC-PNDT (Pre-Conceived and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Technique) Act.” She further said, “In Gujarat, around 68 cases were registered over the last few years but there has been conviction in only one case while 14 are pending.”
Vyas also said that there was a need to create awareness about saving the girl child as the current sex ratio is quite skewed. She said there is not a single state where the number of girls is higher than that of boys.
The sex ratio in Gujarat stands at 1000:878, Himachal Pradesh 1000:820 and Chhatisgarh 1000:845 against the all India Ratio of 1000:927. Vyas asked the state government to have more programs such as “Save the Girlchild”.
“We have asked the state governments to launch more awareness programmes regarding women empowerment and implement the laws effectively,” said Vyas.
Meanwhile, the police are still waiting for the FSL report in the case. According to police, the FSL is conducting a DNA test of the foetuses and the final report is expected to take some more time.

CAT to Delhi Police: Use caution while cancelling candidature
Sunday, April 25, 2010 10:53 IST
New Delhi: The Central Administrative Tribunal has advised Delhi Police to exercise its power with caution in cancelling the candidature of provisionally selected candidates on the ground of their involvement in past criminal cases.
“There is a need for extreme caution… so that the quasi judicial authorities do not overstep their legitimate domain and give a finding over and above the findings recorded by a trial court,” the Tribunal, comprising Members Shanker Raju and Veena Chhotray, said.
It cautioned Delhi Police against over-reaching the judicial findings as it needed careful consideration before denying appointment to a personnel.
“What is required is a very thorough consideration of all the attending circumstances of the case while carefully guarding the thin line of remaining within the legitimate domain and not overreaching the judicial findings. Arriving at hasty conclusions on isolated facts is also to be cautioned against,” the Tribunal said.
It was hearing a plea of a provisionally selected constable Mahesh Dahiya, whose candidature was cancelled by the Delhi Police over his alleged involvement in a criminal case related to kidnapping.
Though no charge was proved by the prosecution against Dahiya, the Delhi Police decided not to appoint him citing his premeditated tendency of crime and his disrespect for law, the Tribunal noted.
“The Delhi Police have a right to verify the character and antecedents of Dahiya before issuing the final appointment order, and mere acquittal in the criminal case would not entail a claim for suo-motu appointment,” it said.
Citing several decisions of the apex court over the issue, the police had contended that what would be relevant was the conduct and character of the candidate to be appointed to a service and not the actual result in the criminal case.
It had said the decision regarding cancellation has been taken after a very careful consideration by a high powered screening committee constituted by the police commissioner.
Dahiya had submitted that once a person was acquitted, the stigma from the criminal case was also obliterated. He claimed that the police had exceeded its jurisdiction in cancelling his candidature after he was acquitted by the court.
The Tribunal, however, refused relief to Dahiya as it found no justification to interfere with the decision of Delhi Police cancelling his candidature.


LEGAL NEWS 24.04.2010

PIL seeks CBI probe into IPL financial dealings

PTI, Apr 23, 2010, 07.26pm IST

BANGALORE: A Division Bench of the Karnataka High Court on Friday ordered issue of notices to the Centre, Karnataka government and other respondents on a PIL filed seeking an iquiry into alleged betting, match-fixing, money laundering in the IPL.

The petitioner, S Vasudev, an advocate, also prayed for a direction to the Director, CBI, to investigate the financial dealings of both the Commissioner of IPL and the Secretary of the Karnataka State Cricket Association.

Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice Mohan Shantanagoudar comprising the division bench, ordered issue of notices to the Union of India, State of Karnataka and other respondents and adjourned further hearing of the case.

According to the petitioner, there has been large scale violations in the money involved in the tournament conducted by the IPL. The petitioner further submitted that there have been instances of match-fixing and betting in the matches.

‘Govt considering restoring anticipatory bail provision’

TNN, Apr 23, 2010, 04.40am IST

LUCKNOW: UP advocate general Jyotindra Mishra on Thursday apprised the High Court that the state government is actively considering to restore anticipatory bail provision in the state with certain conditions. He sought some time from the court so that the state government may be able to take a final decision on the matter and intimate the court thereof.

As the above statement came from the state government, a division bench headed by the acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala postponed the hearing till May 10.

The advocate general assisted by chief standing counsel (CSC) Devendra Upadhyay on Thursday told the bench that after recommendation of the HC long back, the state government had constituted a high powered committee. The committee considered the aspects of restoration of the anticipatory bail provision and recommended for its implementation in UP. The committee, however, expressed certain reservations that while reviving the anticipatory bail provision, certain conditions should also be imposed.

A PIL has sought invocation of anticipatory bail as the state government had put it on hold by a legislation in 1976. Seeking enforcement of the provision, the PIL counsel Ashok Pandey stressed for implementation of recommendations of Supreme Court, Allahabad High Court and Law Commission in favour of anticipatory bail as contained in section 438 CrPC.

BEST cancels Santa Cruz depot deal

Nauzer K Bharucha, TNN, Apr 23, 2010, 03.04am IST

MUMBAI: A day after chief minister Ashok Chavan announced an inquiry into the Santa Cruz bus depot land sale to Indiabulls, the BEST Undertaking on Thursday cancelled the transaction. TOI has learnt that termination letters were issued on Thursday morning to all the four developers who participated in the auction on April 8.

This brings to an end the controversy over the BEST’s decision to hand over the three-acre plot to the highest bidder, Indiabulls, for a “throwaway’’ price of Rs 50 crore. TOI had carried a series of reports over the past few days, exposing how the reserve price of Rs 369 crore mentioned in the tender document was suddenly scrapped two weeks before the bids were to be opened.

Indiabulls’ offer was 86% lower than the reserve price. Indiabulls and BEST both claimed that the price offered was high enough, considering the limited development potential of the plot. The BEST Workers’ Union, who described it is an “obvious scam’’, is all set to file a PIL against this land deal in the Bombay HC on Friday..
The termination letters merely mentioned that “due to administrative reasons, the said contract of redevelopment of the Santa Cruz property stands cancelled’’. The earnest money deposit will be returned by the BEST to the bidders within a few days. However, senior officials of some of these construction companies claimed they had not received any termination letter. “We have not received anything or heard from the BEST on this,’’ said an SMS sent to TOI by Indiabulls CEO Vipul Bansal.

The letters were issued following a directive by BEST GM Uttam Khobragade before he left for Delhi on Wednesday afternoon. Sources in the CM’s office had earlier told this newspaper that the process of scrutinising the tender documents and other relevant papers was already underway. “The CM has taken a very serious view of this,’’ they said.

Early this week, the CM had told TOI that the transaction “sounds suspicious’’ and that he would get to the bottom of this controversy. When Chavan finally ordered the inquiry, the BEST administration decided that it was no longer prudent to go ahead with processing the acceptance of Indiabulls’ bid. Government officials also indicated that Khobragade was expected to get his transfer orders soon as he had already completed his three-year tenure in the BEST last year.

Even after the controversy broke out, BEST tried to justify to the state government the price paid by Indiabulls. In a five-page note submitted to the CM’s office on Tuesday and accessed by this newspaper, the BEST administration claimed that “the reserve rate worked by us, appeared to be on higher side and therefore, as directed by GM (Khobragade), the condition in respect of participation in auction process was revised by allowing all responsive bidders to participate irrespective of the rate of non-refundable premium offered by them’’.

Shiv Sena Leader filed PIL seeking levy of entertainment tax on IPL

Apr 23, 2010

The Indian Premier League organisers could now face a public interest litigation (PIL) over payment of entertainment tax in Maharashtra. Senior Shiv Sena leader and MLA, Mr Subhash Desai, has filed a PIL in the Bombay High Court, seeking such a levy on the cricketing event. The Board of Control for Cricket in India; the Commissioner of the IPL, Mr Lalit Modi, and the Maharashtra Government are the respondents in his petition.

Mr Desai has said that at least Rs 15 crore could be recovered from the organisers as taxes. He told reporters at the Legislative Assembly on Tuesday that IPL matches were only entertainment with Bollywood stars, cheerleaders and an “occasional game of cricket”. Hence, the matches should not be exempted from entertainment tax, he said. “Maharashtra’s finances are under tremendous strain and even Rs 15 crore can be used for development work,” Mr Desai added.

When States such as Punjab and New Delhi levy entertainment tax, there was no reason for Maharashtra to give an exemption, he said.

In his petition, Mr Desai has said that between 2007 and 2010, the State recovered Rs 1,159 crore as entertainment tax, which is substantial revenue.

Is withdrawal of PIL under pressure: HC asks appelant

TNN, Apr 24, 2010, 05.05am IST

LUCKNOW: It seems Mayawati government is in a comfortable position, at least for now, in the multi-crore Taj Heritage Corridor (THC) case as the high court has to first decide a `side issue’ about the withdrawal of PIL by the appellant.

On the withdrawal application of Anupama Singh, who had preferred a PIL along with two separate ones, seeking reopening of the case before the special CBI court against chief minister Mayawati and cabinet minister Naseemuddin Siddiqui in THC case, a division bench at Lucknow, on Friday, asked her if she wanted to take back her petition under some pressure.

The bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Shabihul Hasnain asked her lawyer, Mohd Arif Khan as to under which circumstances she had filed two earlier affidavits alleging that she was under pressure from some sources to withdraw the PIL. She, a school teacher, later lost her job and her husband was also allegedly harassed for taking back the PIL. Interestingly, in her third affidavit, she levelled several allegations against her previous lawyer C B Pandey, including that he had misused her blank papers signed in advance.

Supreme court lawyer Kamini Jaiswal, while pleading for the previous lawyer, stressed for an inquiry into the conduct of Anupama as the trend to withdraw a PIL, after much exercise has been done on it, would give wrong signal to the system.

Advising to refrain from mud-slinging, the bench said that it was for the court to decide on withdrawal but it certainly wanted to know from Anupama if she had been under pressure for it.

It is alleged that the state government has exerted pressure on her to withdraw the PIL. The allegation gains support from the statement of Kamini Jaiswal, who disclosed that a special leave petition (SLP) was filed in the supreme court seeking the same withdrawal and in the matter an additional advocate general of UP government briefed the senior counsel in the supreme court at the presentation of the case.

Amid this controversy, the battery of state lawyers present in the court curiously remained silent.

The court has postponed the matter till April 27 to enable Anupama’s counsel to submit reply on an affidavit handed-over by her previous lawyer.

HC for video cameras in court room: Senior judge Justice Pradeep Kant while hearing the THC case, advocated for installation of video cameras in courtrooms in order to record all the proceedings for the purpose of transparency. He also added that cameras should directly be linked to the supreme court to enable it to know the manner of the court proceedings. The remark came as a lawyer retracted from his statement made on previous date in the court.

Lie test on Rajus: HC bench divided

TNN, Apr 24, 2010, 03.23am IST

HYDERABAD: The division bench of the AP High Court examining the request of the CBI for conducting lie detector tests on the Satyam scam accused, B Ramalinga Raju, B Rama Raju and Vadlamani Srinivas, was divided on the issue on Friday.

While Justice A Gopala Reddy was against it, Justice Samudrala Govindarajulu favoured lie tests on the accused. As a result, the matter would now go back to Chief Justice Nisar Ahmed Kakru who will refer it to a third judge for a fresh hearing on the matter.

Following an application by the CBI which is probing the Satyam scam, the lower court had allowed the agency to conduct polygraph tests on the accused. Aggrieved by this order, the accused challenged this order in the high court as unconstitutional and violative of their fundamental rights.

Justice A Gopal Reddy and Justice Samudrala Govindarajulu heard the arguments of both the sides and reserved their order a few months ago.

While Justice Gopal Reddy ruled that there is no law governing such tests which are violative of the right to life and hence rejected the CBI’s plea, Justice Govindarajulu concluded that these tests can be conducted on the accused to protect the interests of several victims who suffered a lot due to their actions.

Govindarajulu said that any hindrance to these tests would affect not only the CBI’s right to investigate but also the interests of various victims within and outside the country who are affected by the activities of the accused. He allowed the CBI to conduct these tests on the accused. The matter would now go to a third judge.

HC refuses to stay awards function

Express news service

 Posted: Saturday , Apr 24, 2010 at 0309 hrs New Delhi:

With a few hours to go before the start of IPL 3 award function in Mumbai, the Delhi High Court on Friday dismissed a plea by an event management company asking to stay the ceremony. The court held that it was too late to accord the relief and that the company, claiming that it was not given the credit for conceptualising the function, should have approached it earlier.

“It is too late. Why did you not come earlier? You always knew about the date of the award function and hence knew when your deadline would end. The relief cannot be given to you on the nth day,” Justice Rajiv Shakdher told the counsel for Propaganda Media and Marketing.

Appearing for the company, advocate Abhishek Malhotra tried to convince the court that his client Gaurav Garg came to know a week ago that he was not being given the credit and then they served the legal notices to Morani Brothers, Cineyug and the BCCI. The court told the counsel that notices were not required to be given and the delay was such that the function could not be halted now.

Justice Shakdher, however, agreed to hear the main petition that has sought credit to Garg for reportedly conceptualising, marketing and execution of the award for Cineyug as he worked with them in 2008-09.

The court issued notices to Morani Brothers, Cineyug and the BCCI and asked them to file response by May 12.

HC annuls govt order on Balia civic body

TNN, Apr 24, 2010, 05.27am IST

PATNA: The Patna HC on Friday set aside the government notification on creation of Balia nagar panchayat by incorporating the Balia, Lakhminia and other panchayats in Begusarai.

A single bench passed the order while hearing a writ petition of Chaudhary Ezharul Haque who challenged the government’s claim that the Balia nagar panchayat was created as more than 75% of the population was non-agriculture.

Patna mayor: A division bench of the high court will on April 28 hear a Letters Patent Appeal of a PMC ward councillor, Vinay Kumar Pappu, challenging the verdict of a single bench reinstating PMC mayor Sanjay Kumar and deputy mayor Santosh Mehta on their posts.

HC notice to revenue minister in land grab case

TNN, Apr 24, 2010, 06.21am IST

NAGPUR: Nagpur bench of Bombay high court on Friday issued show cause notice to revenue minister Narayan Rane for allegedly helping a noted industrialist from the city grab the petitioner’s land.

A single-judge bench of justice Bhushan Dharmadhikari asked Rane along with other respondents including state secretary for revenue and forest department, industrialist Aspi Bapuna and Vidarbha Distilleries on Kamptee Road where he is a managing partner, to reply within two weeks.

The court directed that any order passed by the minister about the land would not be carried out till the pendency of the petition filed by Shailendra Sahu and his two brothers through their counsel Ram Parsodkar. Parsodkar said, the petitioners are joint owners of the Nazul Land at Khasra Nos. 104/3 and 106/3 at Mouza Indora in the city. it was allotted in favour of their grandfather Sunderlal by the Central Provinces (CP) and Berar governor in March 14, 1942, on a 30-year lease. The total land was 5.10 acres. The lease was later renewed from 1972 to 1978 (and later till 2008).

In 1975, the Sahu family in association with Aspi Bapuna and three others started Vidarbha Distilleries for producing liquor on 30,000 sq ft of the said land. The land was given to the company on rent by Sahu family at Rs 1,100 per month.

In 1996, a dispute started between Sahu and Bapuna over encroachment by Vidarbha Distillaries over former’s land. On March 8, 2008, Bapuna made complaint to the revenue minister who had no jurisdiction in the matter stating that the petitioners had breached the lease agreement and therefore the lease of their land should not be renewed. He also demanded a fresh lease in favour of Vidarbha Distillers.

On April 17, this year, the petitioners received a letter from state additional secretary for revenue and forest Ravindra Nalwade calling them for the urgent meeting with Rane in minister’s chamber in Mumbai on April 20. Accordingly, Sahus along with their counsel Prakash Misar went to meet the minister.

The petitioners alleged that during the meet, Rane was taking personal interest in the case and was ready to pass the order favouring Bapuna without giving them a chance to reply. He also allegedly scolded Misar and threatened to pass the order in Bapuna’s favour. Rane issued a notice to them and kept the hearing on April 26.

Families to move HC in Lajpat Nagar blast case

23 Apr 2010, 1718 hrs IST,PTI

SRINAGAR: Family members of two Kashmiris, sentenced to death in the Lajpat Nagar blast case, today said they will challenge the verdict in the Delhi High Court.

“We are shattered by the verdict. But we will appeal against the verdict in Delhi High Court,” a visibly upset Mirza Muzaffar, brother of Mirza Nissar Hussain, told reporters.

Terming the death sentence awarded to his brother and two others as “total injustice”, Mirza alleged, “There was no solid witness and evidence. Yet the court convicted my brother and others.”

A Delhi court yesterday sent to the gallows three out of six convicted members of militant outfit Jammu Kashmir Islamic Front (JKIF) for the 1996 Lajpat Nagar market blast which had claimed 13 lives.

Elder brother of Mirza Nissar Hussain, Mirza Iftikhar Hussain has been acquitted by the same court some time back.

The family of another convict, Mohammad Ali Bhat is equally dismayed at the quantum of sentence.

Haji Sher Ali, father of Mohammad Ali Bhat, said his son, now 43, was just 29-years-old when he was arrested in the case.

“As a father, this is my moral responsibility to fight till our ward gets justice. We will definitely challenge the verdict in the higher courts,” Haji Ali said.

Dilawar Hussain, brother of Syed Maqbool Shah, who was acquitted by the court, termed the verdict as “injustice”.

Meanwhile, Firda Dar, one of the two convicts allowed to walk free, arrived here from Delhi and went to downtown city to express solidarity with the family members of those awarded death penalty in the case.

Another convict Farooq Ahmad Khan, an engineer from Anantnag, allowed to walk free, has been taken to Rajasthan for trial in a Dausa case.

After sentencing Farooq to seven years imprisonment in the case yesterday, the court, however, ordered his release since he has already completed 14 years in jail after his arrest.

The trial in Dausa case was suspended some years back on the orders of Supreme Court, which passed the ruling on a petition filed by the family members of the arrested persons. They had pleaded that the hearings in one case must be taken at one time.

“We are hopeful that he will be acquitted in Dausa blast case also as he is not involved in it”, Javid, Farooq’s brother, said.

HC rubbishes woman’s will story

Saeed Khan, TNN, Apr 24, 2010, 04.18am IST

AHMEDABAD: Wills always tell an interesting tale. In a dispute over inheritance, when a woman tried to spin a tale around a will by her father, which she claimed to have discovered 37 years later, the Gujarat High Court dismissed it.

Lilavati Kadia from Ahmedabad told HC that her father had transferred properties worth crores of rupees to her through a will prepared nearly four decades ago.

She has had a long legal dispute with her brother and his sons regarding the inheritance which includes houses and shops in old city. She approached city civil court two years ago with claims that her father Bapalal Kadia had prepared a will in 1970 by which he had transferred his property to her name. She urged the court to get the will executed in her favour. But the court refused to entertain the suit.

She approached the Gujarat high court earlier this month against the lower court’s decision. When the court inquired, it was revealed that Bapalal died in 1989 at his son Shamaldas’ house. Shamaldas, who looked after Bapalal, also passed away in 2002. Lilavatiben told court that her father was not happy with Shamaldas and had lodged two FIRs against him, and he was also convicted. The criminal cases between father and son had even reached the high court.

Lilavati’s case was heard by Justice RR Tripathi, who asked the petitioner how she came to know about the will prepared in 1970 in 2007, when her father had died in 1989. She replied that the document was accidentally found from a bunch of papers lying at her house for years. The court posed more questions, but did not get satisfactory answers.

After completing the hearing, Justice Tripathi dismissed the plea on the ground that her claim regarding the will has come 37 years later and such a long delay cannot be accepted. “To believe a daughter saying that a father having strained relations with the son against whom he filed two criminal complaints and obtained order of conviction, later on shifted to the place of his son and he did not take the daughter in confidence while executing a will in favour of his daughter, is too bald a proposition. This court is not able to accept the same despite all sincere efforts,” the court observed.

2 yrs on, HC acquits ‘murderer’

Swati Deshpande, TNN, Apr 24, 2010, 01.20am IST

MUMBAI: Saving a youth from the gallows, the Bombay high court this month quashed his 2008 conviction and death sentence as being “unfounded and unfair’’. The HC also acquitted the man sentenced to death for allegedly kidnapping and murdering a minor girl in 2003.

Reflecting on the need of proper prosecution practice, the court even reprimanded the lower court, the police and the public prosecutor for not conducting fair and transparent investigations and trial.

“When any public prosecutor appears before the trial court, he is duty-bound to assist the court in ensuring that the trial is conducted in a fair and transparent manner so that no innocent person is held guilty. The prosecution must ensure that a guilty person is punished but not that every trial must end in a conviction,’’ a bench of Justices B H Marlapalle and Ahmed Sayyed said, while setting aside the order of a Nashik sessions judge.

“The special public prosecutor failed to assist the trial court in ensuring that the trial was conducted in a fair, legal and transparent manner,’’ said the judges directing the director of prosecution for the state to issue guidelines on the issue soon.

The court said that the prosecutor had not followed certain procedural rules in leading evidence against the accused and had wrongly relied on statements by the wife of the accused who herself was also a co-accused in the case and later turned an approver. Her statement could “not have been relied upon unless she was examined as a prosecution witness on her turning an approver’’.

Pappu Salve of Nashik, who worked at a video parlour in Malegaon, was tried and found guilty of kidnapping, murdering and then dumping the body of his employer’s minor child in a well in 2003. His wife and three others were also tried. But while two got acquitted by the trial court in Nashik, his wife after spending five years in jail was sentenced to six months in jail for intentionally not divulging information of an offence to the police. Another accused was sentenced to seven years for giving false information to screen an offender.

The HC rejected a plea by the state to send the case for retrial saying that “no useful purpose would be served in ordering a retrial particularly since no DNA test conducted and hence there was no evidence to ascertain whether the dead body recovered was of Nikita and whether it was a homicidal death’’. The police file also did not indicate even prima facie evidence to justify a fresh trial, the HC said and held that the state had failed to prove its case that the accused had kidnapped Nikita, the minor child and killed her and then dumped her body in well.

The HC found that there was not evidence, not even proper circumstantial evidence, against the accused. “Both the circumstances sought to be relied up on by the prosecution are very weak to support its case against Salve,’’ said the judges who also found the initial investigation to be “sloppy and riddled with lapses”.

HC judges wanted to attend Paris meet on NPT, Centre says no need

Maneesh Chhibber

 Posted: Saturday , Apr 24, 2010 at 0322 hrs New Delhi:

The Centre last week denied permission to two judges of the Delhi High Court to visit Paris to participate in a conference on nuclear non-proliferation treaty (NPT) and nuclear disarmament.

The decision was taken at the highest level after the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) objected to the visit, pointing out that India was not even a signatory to the treaty. The MEA also refused the mandatory political clearance required for such visits.

It is learnt that after the MEA red flag, the Prime Minister’s Office also didn’t clear the trip of Justice Sudershan Kumar Misra and Justice Siddharth Mridul. The conference started on April 21 and will end April 28.

Sources in the MEA told The Indian Express that the government was of the view that senior functionaries, particularly judges, should not participate in such conferences as it could lead to controversy.

 “Also, their (judges) attending the conference could be viewed as India’s willingness to sign the treaty, something that the country’s leadership has refused so far,” said an officer.

Earlier, the Central government used to clear foreign trips of judges of the Supreme Court and high courts without asking too many questions but in recent times the MEA has started objecting to “needless” and “questionable” trips.

Last month, the Centre stalled a foreign visit by a high-level delegation, comprising among others the Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, to Georgia University for a discussion.

AMRITSAR NEWS: After HC Flak, Amritsar MC Lists Parking Lots In Walled City

Posted by admin in Saturday, April 24th 2010

AM­RI­TSAR: Afte­r in­vitin­g­ flak­ fro­m the­ Hig­h Co­urt, the­ Amr­i­tsar­ Mu­n­i­c­i­pal C­o­r­po­r­ati­o­n­ has fi­nally w­oke­n u­p to de­m­­arc­ate­ are­as for parki­ng ve­hi­c­le­s i­n the­ w­alle­d c­i­ty, apart from­­ fi­nali­z­i­ng tw­o plac­e­s for re­hri­ m­­arke­ts.

In­ a let­t­er t­o­ t­he Poli­c­e C­ommi­s­s­i­on­­er­, th­e­ M­C h­as­ lis­te­d p­lace­s­ it h­as­ e­arm­arke­d fo­r p­arking in th­e­ walle­d city. “V­e­h­icle­s­ in are­as­ o­uts­ide­ H­all Gate­ and P­ink P­laz­a m­arke­t wo­uld b­e­ p­arke­d in th­e­ P­andit De­e­n Dayal Up­adh­yay p­arking lo­t o­n th­e­ B­h­andari B­ridge­, wh­ile­ v­e­h­icle­s­ ins­ide­ H­all Gate­ and H­all B­az­aar up­ to­ Goal Ratti­ Chowk­ wo­­ul­d b­e parked in t­he f­ish market­ parking­ l­o­­t­, which has b­een f­urt­her ex­panded,” t­he l­et­t­er said.

It­ said vehicl­es f­ro­­m G­o­­al­ Hat­t­i Cho­­wk t­o­­ Kairo­­n Market­ wo­­ul­d b­e parked at­ Kairo­­n Market­ and t­he b­asement­ o­­f­ t­he RS T­o­­wer b­uil­ding­ had b­een marked f­o­­r vehicl­es arriving­ at­ t­he B­o­­o­­ks Market­ and R.S.T­o­­wer.

Vehicl­es at­ Ka­t­ra­ Ja­im­a­l­ Sin­g­h and K­a­rm­­on D­ea­ri Chowk­ wo­u­l­d be parked in­ th­e o­pen­ spac­e o­u­tside Bh­arawan­ Da Dh­aba. Veh­ic­l­es in­ Dh­aram Sin­gh­ Market an­d Katra Sh­er Sin­gh­ wo­u­l­d be parked at th­e m­ulti-s­tor­eyed­ par­kin­g n­e­a­r ol­d Sarag­urhi Sen­ior St­.C­on­d­ary Sc­hool­ a­n­d th­e op­en­ sp­a­ce n­ea­r th­e Red Cross disp­en­sa­ry, resp­ectively.

Th­e M­C h­a­s a­lso p­a­ssed resolu­tion­s f­or settin­g u­p­ reh­ri m­a­rkets on­ th­e roa­d n­ea­r th­e C­ivil Su­rg­e­o­n­’s o­ffi­ce a­n­d­ un­d­er­ t­he Hussa­i­n­pur­a­ fly­ o­ver­. “Per­so­n­s ca­r­r­yi­n­g o­ut­ t­hei­r­ busi­n­ess o­n­ r­ehr­i­s i­n­ d­i­ffer­en­t­ pa­r­t­s o­f t­he ci­t­y wo­uld­ be d­i­r­ect­ed­ t­o­ t­hese pla­ces,” sa­i­d­ t­he MC.

T­he let­t­er­ fur­t­her­ cla­i­med­ t­ha­t­ t­he MC wa­s r­emo­vi­n­g en­cr­o­a­chmen­t­s o­n­ a­ wa­r­ fo­o­t­i­n­g. “Sho­pk­eeper­s who­ ha­ve en­cr­o­a­ched­ upo­n­ r­o­a­d­s a­r­e bei­n­g st­r­i­ct­ly d­ea­lt­ wi­t­h,” i­t­ sa­i­d­.


Bombay HC asks BCCI to provide info about income from IPL matches

Posted on April 23rd, 2010

By V Kamboj
Bombay High Court has sought explanation from the BCCI on the manner in which IPL and BCCI are organizing the T-20 matches in Maharashtra. It also wants to know how BCCI controls the IPL.

The Court also wanted to know if IPL was a profit making venture and how the tickets are priced. The court’s directives have come in response to a public interest litigation filed by Shiv Sena Leader Subhash Desai.

Court dismisses public interest lawsuit as ‘personal’


April 23rd, 2010

GANDHINAGAR – The Gujarat High Court Friday dismissed as “personal” a public interest lawsuit (PIL) which claimed that the officer bearers of Surendranagar Peoples Cooperative Bank Ltd were responsible for irregularities and had duped the bank of Rs.85 crore of the depositors’ money.

The bank is under process of liquidation. The PIL filed by Gunvant Naraniya sought directions to the Reserve Bank of India, the registrar of cooperative societies and the chief executive officer of the bank to ensure return of the deposits of the account holders.

Alleging that the chairman, directors and other bank officials did not follow the banking regulations and disbursed the money amongst their “nearest and dearest ones”, the petitioner also urged the court to direct a criminal investigation against them.

A division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi however rejected the petition, observing that the matter was not of a public interest but personal interest.

The court also observed that the present petitioner was one of the share holders of the bank and hence such petition could not be considered as a PIL.

“If you are one of the affected persons then the petition has nothing in public interest. The application is dismissed,” the court said.

PIL seeking action in co-operative bank scam rejected

DNAHM30954 | 4/24/2010 | Author : DNA Correspondent | WC :243 | Crime & Law

A division bench of the Gujarat high court has rejected a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking action in the closure of the Surendranagar Peoples Co-operative Bank. The bank was closed down following an alleged scam of Rs85 crore.  However, the bench of the high court rejected the petition on the grounds that there is no ‘public interest’ involved in the case. The bench observed that the case is not of public interest but of personal interest. By taking note of the fact that the counsel for the petitioner is also an affected person, the court said “If you are one of the affected persons then the petition has nothing in public interest and we are not inclined to decide the case hence the application is dismissed.” One Gunvant Naraniya had filed a petition before the high court seeking that the court direct the Reserve Bank of India, registrar of cooperative societies and the chief executive officer of the said cooperative bank to make arrangements for payment of deposits to depositors, account holders and share holders.  He contended that the chairman, directors and other office bearers of the bank had misused the public deposit of crores of rupees by disbursing loan to their near ones and committed irregularity of Rs85 crore.  Gunvant also sought that the court direct a criminal investigation against the office bearers of the bank as they are roaming free after duping the public of Rs85 crore.

Court notice on PIL plea

Special Correspondent

The Madras High Court on Friday ordered notice on a public interest litigation petition seeking a direction to the authorities to take action against various private companies and organisations for encroaching upon road margins in north Chennai and putting up parking signs for their vehicles alone there. The matter has been posted for June 17.

In his petition, K. Krishnamani of Acharappan Street, George Town, said the companies and organisations had posted security personnel and used the road margins as if it were a private parking area. He addressed letters to the Commissioner of Police, Chennai and the Chennai Corporation. From the information furnished, it would be seen that the establishments and organisations were monopolising the parking place through hired security personnel to the detriment of the public. They had no right to occupy the public road. The Chennai Corporation and the police were duty-bound to take action against the illegal practice.

Muthiah-Srinivasan rivalry resurfaces

24 Apr 2010, 0233 hrs IST,ET Bureau

Amidst raging controversy over the IPL, the rivalry between former BCCI president A C Muthiah and present secretary N Srinivasan has resurfaced, with Muthiah filing a public interest litigation (PIL) before the Supreme Court on Friday, challenging Srinivasan’s direct or indirect interest in IPL.

It may be noted that Srinivasan is the de-facto owner of Chennai Super Kings, as his company India Cements owns the IPL franchise. Earlier, Muthiah lost the case before the Madras High Court.

Now, Muthiah has filed the petition before the apex court against BCCI, praying that no office bearer should have any commercial interest either indirectly or directly in the IPL franchise or any other commercial ventures of BCCI.

Senior lawyer Nalini Chidambaram, who represented Muthiah, told ET on Friday that Regulation number 6.2.4 of the BCCI covers players, umpires and administrators, both past and present. “No administrator shall have commercial interest directly or indirectly in any of the events of the BCCI. Mr N Srinivasan has derived direct commercial interest and hence he cannot hold on to his post,” she said.

She said the board had amended the by-laws of the society to suit the needs of certain officials. She said the amendment was the abuse of power by Mr Srinivasan, after he was appointed as treasurer.

Associates close to Mr Srinivasan, however, found no merit in the new case and expressed confidence of winning it.

PIL against CPS appointments: Notice to Haryana–Notice-to-Haryana/610540

Express News Service

Posted: Saturday , Apr 24, 2010 at 2319 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court has issued notices to the Union of India and the Haryana government on an application filed by Advocate Jagmohan Singh Bhatti. The petitioner has sought directions to the state’s finance department not to bear the salary bill, travelling expenses and the salaries of staff attached to nine chief parliamentary secretaries, their medical bills, telephone bills and other financial benefits. The application was filed in connection with his public interest litigation (PIL) demanding removal of the chief parliamentary secretaries. The petitioner had averred that their appointments were completely illegal and unconstitutional.

Gujarat high court asks Gujarat, Centre details of compensation to riot victims


Friday, April 23, 2010 23:32 IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat high court today directed the state and the Union government to file compliance reports with regard to payment of compensation to the 2002 riot victims, while hearing a PIL.

A division bench of chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Akil Kureshi also asked them to include in the report the steps taken for providing employment or pensionary benefit to those who have left jobs due to riots and crossed age or super-annuation.

Report has to be submitted by June 17.

The directives were issued by the court while hearing a PIL by one Gagan Sethi, member of the Special Monitoring Group appointed by the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) after the 2002 riots.

Sethi had prayed for quick disbursement of compensation announced by the Centre to the 2002 riot victims.

The high court in May last year asked the state government to disburse Rs262.44 crore it received from the Centre as relief package for 2002 post-Godhra riot victims.

Petitioners lawyer Amit Panchal today submitted before the court that there were many riot affected families who have not yet received compensation despite high court order.

Panchal further submitted that state government had not complied with the Union Government’s decision of May 2008 providing additional benefits to riot victims.

The Union government counsel told the court that the Centre has already released funds to the state for payment of compensation.

Following these submissions the court directed the respondents (State and Union government) to file “respective affidavits with regard to payment of compensation and steps if any, taken for providing employment or pensionary benefit to those who have left the jobs due to riots and crossed age of

The court has further said that pendency of the case should not stand in the way of the respondents to provide the benefits.

The Central government’s relief package included compensation to the family of over 1,169 people who died during the riots and over 2,549 victims who were injured in the post-Godhra communal violence.

NGOs, citizens may move court

DNPUN25832 | 4/24/2010 | Author : Nilanjana Ghosh Choudhury | WC :279

They appeal to PMC to involve citizens for transparency
The Pune Metro Jagruti Abhiyan (PMJA), a group formed by NGOs and like-minded citizens opposing the lackluster attitude of the Pune Municipal corporation (PMC) in approving the Vanaz-Ramwadi corridor of the Pune Metro, on Friday said they may file a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) if the PMC rushes through with the project.
“We might consider filing a PIL,” said PMJA co-convener Girish Deshpande. He was addressing a press conference after the launch of a mass protest on the proposed Vanaz-Ramwadi corridor. The group demanded that citizens be made a part of the entire process in order to ensure greater transparency.
It demanded an independent third party appraisal and scrutiny of the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC).
PMJA co-convenor Prashant Inamdar said, “The PMC standing committee has approved the Pune Metro plan as per the DMRC report without any independent study and detailing in understanding the fabric of the city. Therefore, there needs to be a dialogue and open debate on the feasibility of the project.”
The group is holding the first Pune Metro citizen orientation workshop on April 26 at the Moolgavkar Hall in the ICC Centre on Senapati Bapat Road. The Pune Technical Coalition for the Pune Metro, which is a group formed by town planners and architects rooting for the underground metro, is also part of the campaign.
According to PMJA officials, the DPR clearly mentions that at least 50 buildings on its route have to be demolished to create the elevated route. “These are private buildings including a portion of Pataleshwar temple on JM Road and several private complexes. But no one has been informed about it,” said Deshpande.

LAGAL NEWS 23.04.2010


Come clean on income: HC to BCCI, Modi

23 Apr 2010, 1141 hrs IST,Swati Deshpande,TNN 

MUMBAI: It’s not just the I-T department which is breathing down IPL czar Lalit Modi’s neck. The Bombay high court too got into the act. On Thursday, observing that the matter “requires serious consideration”, the HC delivered a series of bouncers directed at BCCI and Modi to “point out, without fail, their total income so far from the IPL-3 matches played in Maharashtra”, including the income from TV and ad rights and to maintain proper accounts of the remaining matches to be played.

“BCCI and Modi are directed to point out the manner in which they are organising the T20 matches and whether they are profiteering from the activities ,” said a bench of Justices P B Majmudar and R G Ketkar. The court also directed the cricket body to produce constitution or Memorandum of Articles of the BCCI as well as IPL and to point out the manner in which these bodies are functioning and whether the BCCI has control over the IPL.

The judges spun into action the moment advocate B K Joshi moved a PIL against IPL filed by Shiv Sena MLA Subhash Desai questioning the government’s apathy in collecting entertainment tax, though decided in January 2010, from the BCCI thus causing a loss of “crores of rupees’ ’ to the state exchequer. “The charitable view of the government… requires serious consideration,” said the HC.

The judges also remarked that it was a “sorry state of affairs’ ’ that the BCCI and IPL advocate Bhide did not even have a copy of their constitution and that no officer of either body “thought it fit to appear in court to assist’ ’ her. Bhide said, due to the “commotion and the matches”, the officers were busy.

“They should have given more importance for the court matter,” the judges remarked. The BCCI lawyer sought time till April 26 to file a reply and get a senior counsel to appear. The government pleader Nalawade denied that no “final decision’ ’ was taken on whether or not to levy an entertainment tax on IPL. The HC directed the state to inform by April 26 whether or not it was interested in doing so now.

When Joshi said that, IPL tickets were being sold officially for Rs 40,000 which were then going for up to Rs 1.3 lakh in black, Justice Majmudar looked at the BCCI and IPL lawyer Neha Bhide and said: “We restrict even school fees. Here there is no limit. You have to tell whether IPL is a profiteering body. And it’s not just the income that’s bothering the judges, they also want to know who is paying the huge electricity bills for these matches.”








Gujarat HC comes to rescue of Kesar Sal med students


Friday, April 23, 2010 8:48 IST

Ahmedabad: After five years of litigation, students of the Kesar Sal medical college, whose recognition was discontinued by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in 2005, heaved a sigh of relief on Thursday as the Gujarat high court ensured their recognition in medical studies.

As many as 400 students of the self financed medical college had to endure a series of litigations after they were stranded following closure of the college. A division bench of the Gujarat high court, consisting of chief justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and justice Akil Kureshi, delivered a significant judgment which has paved the way for a bright career for the students.

The court accepted arguments tendered by senior counsel Sudhir Nanavati and Saurin Mehta that, the state government is obligated to provide transfer of students to other recognised institutes if their college’s affiliation discontinued by the MCI.

Delivering the order, the bench said, “without intervention of the court perhaps, instead of obtaining MBBS degrees, they would have had nothing further to show beyond passing 12th standard. All along we built an opinion that students were at no fault. We are therefore, of the opinion that for no fault of theirs, several young bright students should not meet with such a cruel fate.”

According to the order, the Gujarat University has to give degree certificate of MBBS, once the students complete their studies and internship. They will also consider as eligible, candidates for post graduate courses.

The court further said, the students who are on the verge of completing the course shall be accommodated at BJ and NHL medical colleges for their internship without stipend and they shall be granted recognised degree certificates once they complete the same.

The students othe Kesar Sal college are able to pursue their studies upon an interim high court order. The high court had ordered the formation of a four-member committee to look after the studies of the students and the study facilities be continued in the medical college.

Some of the students are studying in the final years of MBBS and a few have completed their studies and are doing internship in BJ and NHL medical colleges. The court also pointed out in the order that Kesar Sal medical college continue to bear the expenses.

The students had to pursue their studies at Kesar Sal as the authorities of BJ and NHL refused to absorb the students due to lack of infrastructure.







PIL filed in Allahabad HC against IRDA

Published on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 22:27   |  Updated at Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 22:29  |Source : CNBC-TV18

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Allahabad High Court against the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDA), reports CNBC-TV18. The PIL alleges that insurers are guilty of promising high return on unit-linked insurance plans (ULIPs).

The PIL highlights cases of mis-selling of ULIPs and alleges that some insurance companies are indulging in multi-level marketing activities. It has called for stringent regulations of ULIPs.

The PIL alleges that 80% of ULIP policies are lapsing, causing losses. A PIL has already been filed in the Bombay High Court against the Securities Exchange Board of India’s (SEBI) order on ULIPs.

Gujarat HC orders probe against senior engineer

Express News Service

Posted: Friday , Apr 23, 2010 at 0143 hrs Ahmedabad:

The Gujarat High Court, in a recent judgement, ordered an inquiry against a Deputy Executive Engineer who is facing charges of corruption and not releasing water from a dam under his jurisdiction to some farmers of Jamnagar district.Justice K A Puj ordered the probe to be conducted by an officer not below the rank of a superintendent engineer while acting on a petition by a group of farmers from villages of Dhrol and Jamnagar talukas of the district.According to case details, the farmers had demanded release of water from Und Dam built on the Und river in the region for irrigation. The farmers had also deposited an amount of around Rs 1.42 lakh at the office of the Deputy Executive Engineer for release of water. The farmers’ lawyer S K Patel said that after depositing money the farmers started sowing operation worth lakhs of rupees. However, when the Deputy Executive Engineer did not release the water they made a series of representation for release of the water.

However, the authorities did not release the water as demanded by the farmers. One of the most important reasons for not releasing water from the dam by the authorities was the objection to the release of water by some cultivators.

According to petitioners, those who opposed the release of water were encroachers. Ultimately, the authorities passed an order that water cannot be released due to certain unavoidable circumstances.Challenging this order, the farmers moved the High Court. According to their contention, not releasing water was a motivated effort by the Deputy Executive Engineer who instigated some people living on the riverbed to protest against the release of water. The farmers alleged that the Deputy Executive Engineer had instigated the people to protest against the release of water as petitioner farmers had not paid him Rs 20,000 bribe money demanded by him. Justice K A Puj while disposing off the petition held that under the present circumstances it was not possible to release the water from the dam as demanded by the farmers. The court ordered the authorities to pay them back the amount they had deposited in proportion.Looking at the circumstances under which the water was not released which resulted into heavy loss to the farmers and allegations of corruption against the Deputy Executive Engineer, the court ordered a probe against him. The court also ordered the state government to take steps so that all the persons living on the riverbed or farming there illegally must be removed with immediate effect.







Indian Matrimony Site Awaiting HC Verdict Against Google

Date Submitted: Thu Apr 22, 2010

CHENNAI – Consim India Private Ltd, owners of various matrimonial websites in India, including have said they are awaiting the Madras High Court verdict on the case against Google for ‘infringing’ on their trademark.

“The talks (between the two firms) have been completed and we are awaiting the verdict. Our contention is that Bharat Matrimony’s trademark should not be used by competitors and Google should not allow it”, Consim India CEO Murugavel Janakirman said.

The issue pertains to Google advertisements using Bharatmatrimony’s platform to sell space to its competitors.? Consim contends it has trademarked names like Tamil Matrimony, Telugu Matrimony and as such, Google should not allow advertisements on such trademarks.

Consim India has sought an an injunction against Google for not allowing the competition to bid on trademarks of Bharat Matrimony. ??? ??? ???? (PTI)

Teen moves HC against disrespect to National Emblem

Express News Service

 Posted: Friday , Apr 23, 2010 at 0023 hrs Chandigarh:

A 16-year-old girl moved the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Thursday, demanding action against those showing disrespect to the National Emblem. Deepshikha Singh, a resident of Sector 48-A and a student of Class X at the Sacred Heart School, argued in person before a Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mukul Mudgal and Justice Jasbir Singh.

The division bench appreciated the effort of the girl and issued notices to the Union of India and States of Punjab, Haryana and Chandigarh. Deepshikha, in the public interest litigation (PIL), sought directions to prohibit states from showing disrespect to the National Emblem by using it on number plates of vehicles, which are affixed on bottom of the vehicles, violating the State Emblem of India (Prohibition of Improper use), Act 2005 and Rules. The PIL further demanded directions to the states to prescribe a proper and respectful place on vehicles of dignitaries to affix the National Emblem or any other state or provincial emblem or signia containing National Emblem.

Appreciating the effort, the Chief Justice complimented Deepshikha. On a query, she informed the Court that she had taken a leave from the school to argue the PIL. She clarified that her uncle Ravi Sharma, who is an advocate, helped her in drafting the PIL. The Court made it clear to the girl that she need not skip her school to attend the court, as the case can be argued by her uncle in future. Advocate Ravi Sharma has been appointed as amicus curiae in the case. The litigation expenses for the case will be borne by the state Legal Services Authority, UT.

Quash charges against policemen in Shopian case: CBI tells HC

PTI, Apr 22, 2010, 05.12pm IST

SRINAGAR: CBI has again approached the Jammu and Kashmir High Court seeking to dismiss criminal charges against four policemen, including then Shopian Superintendent of Police Javed Mattoo, arrested for alleged destruction of evidence in connection with death of two women.

Submitting a fresh affidavit in the High Court recently, the CBI gave details about the lie-detector test conducted on the four police officials and said “no deception was found on their part in reply to any of the questions put to them.”

Besides Mattoo, the three others who continue to be suspended since July last year are Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Basgotra, Station House Officer Shafiq Ahmed and Head Constable Gazi Abdul Kareem.

“Further, no criminality could be attributed to anyone of them and as such they have been sought to be discharged from this case,” the CBI affidavit said.

CBI had approached the High Court in March this year seeking an end to the monitoring of the case by the High Court as the agency had already filed a chargesheet against 13 people including doctors and lawyers.

The case relates to death of two women — Neelofar (22) and Aasiya (17). Their bodies had been found in a stream at Shopian in May last year and the locals alleged that the duo had been murdered after being raped by security forces.

Life came to a standstill in the area for nearly 47 days due to protests and the case was handed over to CBI for a probe. The probe agency, in its chargesheet filed before a court in Srinagar, said that Aasiya was a virgin and the death of the two women was due to drowning in the stream where water level was too high on those days.

CBI has also contested a letter written by a so-called criminologist on the issue as malafide and gave a para-wise rebuttal of charges levelled against the forensic doctors who had conducted the post-mortem as well as DNA examination.

The CBI investigations claimed that doctors in the district hospital had not conducted the port-mortem properly and had in fact fabricated evidence.

CJI likely to take over NHRC chief post


New Delhi, Apr 22 (PTI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan is likely to take over as the new Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), after his retirement on May 12.

The post of NHRC chairperson is lying vacant since June 1, 2009 after former Chief Justice of India S Rajendra Babu retired from the post on May 31.

Though two other former Chief Justices of India-R C Lahoti and Y K Sabharwal are also eligible for the post, they could not be appointed due to different reasons.

As per the provisions of Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, only a retired CJI below the age of 70 years is eligible for the post, which makes only Justices Lahoti and Sabharwal eligible for the important assignment.

Judges appointment: Govt may get veto

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 08.41pm IST

NEW DELHI: Controversies over a few recommendations relating to appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts sent by the Collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) has forced the government to prepare the ground for some radical changes in the procedure in vogue for more than a decade.

The recommendation of the Collegium for appointment of Karnataka HC chief justice P D Dinakaran as a judge in the Supreme Court and reiteration of it despite the government pointing out the allegations levelled against him appears to have been the last straw and the government has drafted changes in the Memorandum of Procedure (MoP).

The key one among the several changes under consideration before law minister M Veerappa Moily is the one which would for the first time empower the executive to put its foot down when it comes to appointment of judges against whom very serious allegations of corruption and misconduct have been made.

Importantly, this would allow the government to turn down a recommendation even if the Collegium reconsiders the objections and reiterates its proposal in favour of a person for elevation to the apex court or appointment to an HC.

The existing provisions of the MoP permit the government to raise objections to a proposed name and send the file back for reconsideration by the Collegium. If the Collegium reiterates the proposal, then the government is left with no option but to advise the President to give effect to the recommendation.

Though the government is serious about the urgent need for changes in MoP in the post-Dinakaran era, it is careful not to rub the judiciary the wrong way as in the amended draft of MoP it reiterates that the Collegium would always have the primacy in matters relating to appointment of judges to the higher judiciary.

It says that the Collegium would always be the initiator of the proposal relating to appointment of judges, which means the onus to select a person and recommend his name to the government would not be diluted in any manner.

The change in the MoP could pass the muster as the judiciary has been feeling the heat over a few wrong choices and is finding the criticism too hard to digest. But, given the era of coalition politics, it also feels that ceding ground on appointment could lead to political nominees being pushed for appointment in the higher judiciary.

Former CJI Bhagwati inducted in Nigerian judicial hall of fame

News Date: 22nd April 2010

Former Chief Justice of India P. N. Bhagwati, who has been inducted into Hall of Fame of top Nigerian judiciary establishment, has asked the African nation government to prevent misuse of

power and ensure justice to disadvantaged people.

“Governments have the chance to ensure rights protection for the disadvantaged sections of the community and to ensure distributive justice to them,” 88-year-old Bhagwati said at the honour function here.

Bhagwati, who was CJI during 1985-86, became the first person to enter into Hall of Fame of Nigerian Institute of Advance Legal Studies (NIALS) on Wednesday.

While calling for justice to all people irrespective of their social or educational background, Bhagwati said in many countries only “well to do” can approach the courts to protect their “vested interest”.

However, the former CJI said “the have-nots and the handicapped began to feel for the first time that there was an institution to which they could turn for redress against exploitation and injustice.”

Director General of NIALS Epiphany Azinge said that the institute established the award to honour individuals who have made monumental contributions to law and related disciplines especially areas that impact on


“Bhagwati was chosen for his role in recognising the justice in economic and social rights in so many other jurisdictions globally,

including Nigeria and has particularly given impetus to the Institute’s research in this area,” Azinge told PTI.

The Nigerian courts were said to be slow in dispensing justice, leading to prisons being congested with detained persons awaiting trial.

Governors of Nigerian states yesterday agreed to sign death warrant for the execution of those on death row in order to decongest the


Governor Theodore Orji of South Eastern Abia State noted that 80 per cent prisoners are awaiting trial.

The agreement, which is trailed by criticism from human rights groups like Amnesty International, came against the backdrop of a jail break which led to the death of scores of prisoners.

Source: GNA

Apex court gets it right in fourth attempt


April 22nd, 2010

NEW DELHI – Conceding it erred, the Supreme Court has released four Madhya Pradesh natives who were sent to jail by it in November 2008, in a 1991 murder-cum-riot case, without affording them a hearing.

This was the fourth time that the matter came up before the court, as on earlier three occasions the court had failed to resolve the issue related to wrongful imprisonment of the four accused.

A four-judge bench, headed by Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Wednesday ordered release of Bhoja, Puran, Balveer and Raghubir, conceding that they had been sent to jail without being given an opportunity to have their say in the court proceedings – a serious violation of the principles of natural justice.

When the mistake was pointed out by counsel Aftab Ali Khan for the four accused, the CJI’s bench, which also included Justice S.H. Kapadia, Justice Altmas Kabir and Justice R.V. Raveendran, on April 20 promised to correct the judicial mistake, if committed, in the first week of May.

But following news reports on the queer judicial mistake, the court promptly took up the matter Wednesday and rectified it.

The four – Bhoja, Puran, Balveer and Raghubir – all residents of Negma village of Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh were originally convicted by a Shivpuri trial court in October 1991 in a murder-cum-riot case along with four others from the village – Sugar Singh, Laxman, Onkar and Ramesh.

The eight subsequently went in appeal to the Gwalior bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court, which acquitted them all in January 2003.

This led the state government to move the Supreme Court, challenging the acquittal of four of the eight persons – Sugar Singh, Laxman, Onkar and Ramesh – of murder charges.

But in November 2008, Justice Arijit Pasayat’s bench restored the conviction of all eight, without hearing Bhoja, Puran, Balveer and Raghubir.

They could not get an opportunity to have their say in the court hearings as the state government had not challenged their acquittal and they had not received any notice to appear in the court to defend themselves.

But Justice Pasayat’s bench went on to restore their conviction and 6-year-long sentence on charges of rioting and culpable homicide not amounting to murder, imposed by the Shivpuri sessions court in 1991.

The four eventually surrendered to the court in November 2008 and sought review of its order jailing them. But the court dismissed their review petition, repeating the mistake.

The four subsequently moved the apex court yet again through a curative petition, which was heard by a bench of chief justice and three other judges.

But while deciding the curative petition, the four judge bench ended up ordering release of four others, against whom the state had come in appeal to the court, while virtually forgetting all about the other four, who had been sent behind bar without being heard. This was the mistake committed the third time.

The court eventually corrected the mistake Wednesday in its fourth attempt.

Tribunal reinstates Kerala cop suspended for foreign trip

April 23rd, 2010 – 6:45 pm ICT by IANS

Kochi, April 23 (IANS) The Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) Friday stayed the Kerala government’s order that suspended Inspector General of Police (IGP) Tomin J.Thachankary and asked for his immediate reinstatement.
The state government last week decided to suspend Thachankary for allegedly going abroad without government authorisation.

The officer approached CAT here with a petition that he was being singled out and was a victim of the ongoing factionalism in the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M).

He filed another affidavit Thursday, saying six top officials belonging to the Indian Administrative Service (IAS) and Indian Police Service (IPS) also had gone abroad but no action was taken against them after they wrote an apology, but he was being victimised.

Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan was adamant that action should be taken against Thachankary for going abroad on leave without taking prior permission.

At Friday’s hearing, counsel for the government pointed out that the officer had gone abroad and after media reports about this, he returned and put in a back dated leave letter.

But Thachankary’s counsel argued that his client had not violated any rule of law and specifically asked the government to show the exact rule that was violated.

Thachankary was suspended after Achuthanandan found out that he had gone abroad. An inquiry determined that he had gone to the Middle East.

CAT has now posted the case for April 28.

‘Accident victim can withdraw Rs49 lakh’

Hetal Vyas / DNA

Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:17 IST

Mumbai: Shweta Mehta, a 27-year-old ‘who lost her childhood’ following a near-fatal car accident in 1993, can finally look forward to a financially independent life.

Early this week, the Supreme Court allowed Shweta to withdraw Rs49.48 lakh deposited with the Bombay high court by The New India Assurance Company as compensation for the accident that left Shweta paralysed below the waist.

The directives came following a Special Leave Petition by the insurance company, which has challenged the high court order of enhancement of compensation to Shweta.

The high court had, in December, 2009, enhanced the compensation to nearly Rs80 lakh. Shweta, too, had filed a separate appeal in the high court, seeking revised compensation of Rs91 lakh.

A Kolhapur Motor Accidental Tribunal (MACT) had, in August, 2007, awarded her compensation of Rs21.23 lakh, which presently stands at Rs49.48 lakh with interest. The insurance company moved court challenging the order.

The judgment had come as an eye-opener for the insurance company, which had earlier refused to compensate Shweta and had told the court that the accident ‘was in fact a blessing in disguise for her’, as she had only benefited from it.

Anara Gupta case transfered from NHRC to J-K SHRC


New Delhi, Apr 23 (PTI) The sensational Anara Gupta porn CD case has been transferred from NHRC to State Human Rights Commission following Jammu and Kashmir government’s plea that the national body did not have jurisdiction to hear the matter.

Incidentally, the plea came at a time when the case was in its final stages of hearing before the National Human Rights Commission.

Seeking transfer of the case, J&K government said it had its own human rights body to inquire into complaints of rights’ violations and to recommend action on such complaints, official sources said.

NHRC pulls up Ghaziabad administration

J. Balaji

For violation of labour laws by brick kiln owners

District Magistrate directed to take strict action against the violators

‘Workers were tortured and forced to live as bonded labourers in the kiln’

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has pulled up the Ghaziabad district administration for its “casual manner” in preparing a report on the implementation of minimum wages to the workers and trying to help the brick kiln owners who violated the labour laws.

In the report, pertaining to a specific case, NHRC found the information provided was “factually incorrect.” It detected that 113 brick kilns were not making payments to the labourers as per the provisions of the Payment of Wages Act, 1936 and Minimum Wages Act, 1948, and directed the District Magistrate (DM) to take strict action against the violators.

The Commission observed: “that the earlier reports submitted before the Commission were conducted in a casual manner and appear to have been prepared in order to help the brick kiln owners.” The labourers of these kilns were neither released nor rehabilitated and packed back to their villages without being paid even their dues. “But this is only a tip of an iceberg, as out of 423 brick kilns in this area of major construction activity, the district administration is yet to inspect 310 brick kilns.” The inspection had to be completed by six months. The case was taken up following a complaint by a worker on December 4, 2008, who alleged that he, his family and fellow workers were not being paid their full salary by their brick kiln owner. When sought they were tortured by the brick kiln owner and their staff and forced to live as bonded labourers in the kiln. Seven children below 14 years were also detained by the owner, he said.

Following this NHRC asked DM to hold an inquiry at the spot for identification of bonded labourers, if any, and release them. However the DM said the kiln was not functioning and no worker was found there.

The complainant however maintained the officer in-charge OP-Pipeline Police Station, Muradnagar, released all the labourers from the kiln without taking any action against the owner. They were also not paid their pending dues.

Later the Commission asked DM to hold an inquiry and also appear in person on February 2, 2010 when another inquiry report submitted by him was also not found satisfactory.

SC asks Govt to fill post of NHRC chief within a month

It refers to Supreme Court on 20.04.2010 directing Union government to fill post of NHRC chief in four weeks, which is lying vacant now for about a year ever since Justice S Rajender Babu.


Thu, Apr 22, 2010 09:56:32 IST

IT REFERS to Supreme Court on 20.04.2010 directing Union government to fill post of NHRC chief in four weeks, which is lying vacant now for about a year ever since Justice S Rajender Babu retired from the post. This post could not be filled because of only two retired Chief Justices of India eligible for the post, Justice R C Lahoti declined to accept the post while Justice Y K Sabharwal was not considered fit by Union government to be appointed on the important post.

This post could otherwise also be practically filled within four weeks even without any Supreme Court direction, with present Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishnan becoming eligible to be appointed as NHRC Chief within this four-week period. But such situations can again arise in future because of a very limited choice for the post from only amongst retired Chief Justices of India.

NHRC Act should be amended to widen scope of choice for post of NHRC Chief by making all retired Supreme Court judges and retired Chief Justice of states eligible for the post. Already there is a fine mechanism to check favouritism in such appointment, because the post can only be filled by consensus amongst Prime Minister and Opposition Leader.

LEGAL NEWS 22.04.2010

Web column | Regulatory turf wars|regulatory-turf-wars/392705/
Krishnava Dutt / New Delhi April 22, 2010, 15:22 IST

The jurisdictional war over Ulips between Sebi and Irda is not the first conflict between regulators and certainly not the last that we will be witnessing. With the establishment of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) under the Competition Act, 2002 and with enough teeth being given to it to cover all sectors of the economy and impose paralysing penalties, conflicts between the CCI and sector regulators are set to become a common feature in the days to come.

The overarching reach of the Act is further emphasised by section 60 thereof which states that the provisions of the Act will have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent contained in any other law. However, section 62 states that the provisions shall be in addition to and not in derogation of the provisions of any other law.

On one hand CCI has the mandate to regulate competition issues across sectors and on the other hand, various industries in India are subject to specific regulatory control. Some of the sector regulators include the CERC/SERCs, PNGRB, Sebi, RBI, Trai, Irda and Airports Economic Regulatory Authority, all established under their respective statutes. Most sector regulators have been given the express mandate to regulate competition in their spheres. Even if such power has not been given expressly, it can be implied from the extensive powers given to some regulators. Though turf wars among sector regulators are not new in this country, the entry of the CCI adds a whole new dimension to this battle.

Already there are tensions between the RBI and the CCI over the issue of merger control among banks. While CCI seeks to control mergers across sectors including banking, RBI is unwilling to share its turf with the CCI. In the electricity sector, CCI is probing into allegations of abuse of dominance by power distribution companies in Delhi. It has been reported that CCI has issued notices to distribution companies alleging that they have been installing faulty meters and overcharging their customers. The CCI intends to commence investigations into allegations by the MCX Stock Exchange that NSE has been abusing its dominant position by waiving transaction fee on currency derivatives. The CCI, therefore, has been very proactive across sectors and sooner or later conflicts between the CCI and sector regulators are bound to emerge.

The legislature has tried to resolve the conflict by introducing provisions which allow cross referral of issues between the CCI and other regulators. A harmonious co-existence among the regulators is therefore envisaged. Significantly, the opinions of the CCI and the statutory authority are not binding on the other.

This discussion becomes even more interesting if one examines the other regulatory legislations. The Electricity Act, 2003 provides that the appropriate commission may issue such directions as it considers appropriate to a licensee or a generating company if it enters into any agreement or abuses its dominant position or enters into a combination which is likely to cause or causes and adverse effect on competition in electricity industry. The Electricity Act also contains provisions similar to sections 60 and 62 of the Competition Act. We, therefore, have two legislations with a non-obstante clause, both covering the same area. Applying principles of statutory interpretation, it may be argued that the non-obstante clause in the subsequent enactment i.e. the Electricity Act, 2003 should prevail over the previous enactment i.e. the Competition Act. Another principle of statutory interpretation is to determine the ‘general’ and ‘special’ legislation, as a ‘special’ legislation will prevail over a ‘general’ legislation. The Supreme Court has, however, held that the above tests are merely illustrative and by no means should they be considered as exhaustive. It is for the court, when it is called upon to resolve such conflict, to harmoniously interpret the provisions of both the competing statutes and give effect to one over the other. Though enactments such as the PNGRB Act, Irda Act and Trai Act do not contain such non-obstante provisions, there is still scope for confusion as far as jurisdictional issues are concerned. Interestingly, the Trai Act and the AERA Act make an exception for matters which are under the purview of the MRTP Commission and the Competition Act respectively.

The current framework, therefore, does not provide an adequate solution to the impending problem. The real purpose of preventing anti-competitive practices will be lost if the regulators who have been given the power to prevent such practices enter into a turf war among themselves. One possible way of addressing the problem is to clearly delineate the regulatory functions and assign the functions among regulators. This has been suggested by Unctad (2006) as a possible method for resolving conflicting mandates. For example technical regulatory tasks can be assigned to the sector regulators while pure competition issues can be left to the CCI. In theory this seems like an ideal solution, but in practice trying to define and dissect functions will have its own set of problems.

Giving exclusive jurisdiction to either regulator is a possible solution, but highly inefficient. Though competition authorities have the expertise in the subject, the sector regulators have sector specific technical competence necessary, which competition authorities may lack, to determine a particular case. At the same time, sector regulators may not have the adequate training to deal with pure competition law issues. Therefore, an efficient way of resolving the conflict is to ensure that while deciding on a case involving a particular sector, apart from competition authorities, technical experts from that sectors be also mandatorily involved. The composition of the CCI, being itself considered as an expert body, may be such that it includes sector regulators as well. Alternatively, the CCI may look at entering into separate agreements with other regulators to clearly enunciate the procedure to be followed in a case involving that particular sector and in respect of which both the regulators are entitled to exercise jurisdiction.

India may learn a few tricks from the UK where Competition Act, 1998 gives concurrent powers to the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) and sector regulators for communications matters, gas, electricity, water and sewerage, railway and air traffic services in enforcing anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominance provisions. UK has enacted the Competition Act (Concurrency) Regulations, 2004 which contains provisions for the co-ordination of the performance by the OFT and the regulators of their concurrent functions. The OFT and the regulators are required to consult with each other before acting on a case where it appears that they may have concurrent jurisdiction. If no agreement can be reached, then matter is referred to the Secretary of State. Double jeopardy is prevented because simultaneous exercise of jurisdiction by more than one authority in relation to a case is prohibited. Interestingly, an appeal from both the OFT and the sector regulators lies to the competition appellate tribunal.

It is clear that unless the government takes a proactive measure, jurisdictional conflicts are bound to surface and perhaps, as in the conflict between the SEBI and IRDA in the Ulips issue, it will be left to the courts to finally resolve the conflicts as and when they will arise in future.

The author is Managing Partner, Argus Partners, Advocates. Views expressed are personal.

Doctors recruitment scam: K.P.S. Gill files lawsuit
Chandigarh, April 21 (IANS) Former Punjab police chief K.P.S. Gill Tuesday filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Punjab and Haryana High Court in connection with allegations of malpractices in the recruitment of doctors in the state.

In March, media reports had highlighted irregularities in the recruitment of doctors made recently by the Punjab Public Service Commission (PPSC).

“After this scam was highlighted in PPSC, exposing corruption and favouritism in the selection of 312 doctors, Punjab chief minister had ordered an inquiry and asked state chief secretary S.C. Aggarwal to submit an inquiry report within 30 days,” Anupam Gupta, counsel for Gill, said here.

“Despite the passing of more than a month no such report has been submitted or has been brought to light in the public domain. In our PIL we have sought replies in this connection from the government,” he said.

There are allegations that 45 doctors were interviewed by the PPSC within minutes and selected for government jobs.

However, earlier a Punjab government spokesperson said that over 19,000 teachers had been recruited and there had not been a single complaint in any of the appointments made.

DLF, IPL remove `Building India’ from pitch

TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 05.31am IST

LUCKNOW: DLF and IPL on Wednesday apprised the high court of removing the caption `Building India’ from both sides of bowlers run up as well as at the place of presentation ceremony of cricket grounds where T-20 matches are being played.

In this view, a division bench of the HC comprising acting Chief Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi dismissed a PIL as the grievance no longer remained. The PIL had termed painting of name of the country at cricket grounds during T-20 matches as insulting as the players walked on the name of the country during matches.

Parents plan fight to take on private schools’ might

Priya Ramakrishnan / DNA

Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:13 IST

Mumbai: In order to fight private schools over “exorbitant” fee hikes, parents’ associations from across the country are planning to come under one umbrella and file a PIL in the Supreme Court.

Last week, over 20 representatives of various associations mulled coming under the Forum for Fairness in Education, a parent-teacher organisation registered in Maharashtra.

The forum, which has local chapters in Raigad, Thane, Pune, Amravati and Nanded, will be the apex body with local chapters in other parts of the country, such as Delhi, Kanpur, Bangalore, Ghaziabad and Faridabad.

Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education, Mumbai, said: “The objective of becoming a part of one organisation is to ensure that parents can effectively deal with the malpractices in private unaided schools.”

Bipin Arora, general secretary of Summerfield School Parent Association, South Delhi, said: “In Delhi, we are fighting private schools which have bogus parent-teacher associations.”

The local chapters will help parents in a particular state know about issues in other states.

Rajinder Katoch, general secretary, Green Fields School Parents Welfare Association, Delhi, said: “We can refer to the laws or court orders passed by other states and fight a case against private schools. Currently, there is no united parent body to fight against private schools. It becomes expensive for individual associations to pay litigation charges, which are anything between Rs50,000 to Rs1 lakh. With a single parent organisation, we can pool in money and resources and not let the expenses pinch us.”

The local chapters plan to file PIL in the Supreme Court within two months after discussing problems faced by parents from other states.

Why isn’t Shivaji Park a ‘silence zone’: Bombay high court

Hetal Vyas / DNA

Thursday, April 22, 2010 1:26 IST

Mumbai: The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has irked the Bombay high court by not declaring Shivaji Park as silence zone.

The court on Wednesday directed municipal commissioner Swadheen Khsatriya to file a personal affidavit explaining why it had not been done.

Taking note of a PIL, filed by Wecom trust and two local residents, the court said that there were several educational institutions, hospitals and religious structures in the vicinity of Shivaji Park.

“Any area falling within 100 metres around educational institutions and hospitals should be noted as a silence zone. It is a law made by you, and you have to enforce your own law,” a division bench of justice FI Rebello and justice Mridula Bhatkar said.

The PIL has demanded that Shivaji Park be declared a ‘silence zone’, and all kinds of ‘non-sporting’ activities be banned from the park.

G Pai, assistant commissioner of G ward, filed an affidavit saying that the area surrounding the Bal Mohan Vidyalaya had been declared as silence zone. The BMC counsel too told the court, “Shivaji Park is quite a big area and several parts of it have been marked as silence zones.”

The court, however, insisted that the municipal commissioner (the highest ranking officer in the BMC) should file a personal affidavit explaining the reasons for not giving Shivaji Park the ‘silence zone’ tag.

How much income earned from T-20 matches, Bombay HC asks BCCI & IPL–IPL/articleshow/5844483.cms

22 Apr 2010, 1713 hrs IST,PTI

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court on Thursday asked Cricket Board and IPL to give information regarding the income generated from the T-20 matches

played in Maharashtra.

The High Court also asked the BCCI to inform how it controls the IPL.

The information is to be provided by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and Indian Premier League (IPL) on April 26.

The Court directive came in response to a PIL filed by Subhash Desai, Shiv Sena MLA, alleging the state was not collecting entertainment tax from IPL, resulting in loss of revenue to the exchequer.

PIL against insurance cos for ULIP `fraud’

TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 05.27am IST

LUCKNOW: In a public interest litigation (PIL) filed with the high court, a lawyer has charged insurance companies of fleecing people of their hard-earned money through unit linked insurance policies (ULIPs).

The PIL comes after the insurance regulatory and development authority (IRDA) allegedly failed to protect the interests of the insured persons despite an order by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) issued with the aim to check malpractice by insurance companies. Besides prominent insurance companies, the PIL makes the IRDA also a respondent, charging the regulatory authority of being “most unsympathetic” towards complaints of policy holders with a grievance. In fact, “when it comes to protecting the interests of insurance companies,” IRDA “is most proactive”, the PIL alleges.

The PIL gives as an example the IRDA order to defy the ban of SEBI and continue selling ULIPs. The PIL claims that the sale of ULIP is in violation of sub-section (11) of section (2) of the insurance Act, 1938 because ULIP contracts are based on share market fluctuations which are not a contract upon human life.

Charging IRDA of being “hand-in-glove” with the insurance companies, the PIL brings to the court’s notice certain cases in which insurance companies had duped the insured persons, one a doctor, another a scientist and even a lawyer.

The PIL primarily requests the court to issue an order commanding insurance companies not to sell any ULIPs and IRDA not to approve any new ULIP. The PIL also requests that the Union government institute a committee to thoroughly investigate the fraud committed by private life insurers along with the role of IRDA on complaints against insurance companies.

Lawyers to file PIL in murder case


Cuttack, April 21: The Orissa State Bar Council has decided to take the PIL route against police apathy in investigating the sensational murder of Kalicharan Pradhan, a lawyer of Baripada in Mayurbhanj district.

Bar Council chairman Gopal Krushna Mohanty said the decision was taken at a special meeting yesterday to discuss the demands of the Mayurbhanj District Bar Association. The body has been agitating for two months in connection with the murder.

The octogenarian lawyer was found dead on February 8 at his house at Kumbharmundakata village under Bangriposi police station, about 27km from Baripada town.

The district bar association had demanded identification of the culprits involved in the murder of the lawyer. They also called for a dawn-to-dusk bandh on April 6 to protest against police failure to achieve a breakthrough in the case.

Defamation case: Bihar court takes cognizance of Asaram Bapu’s role


April 22nd, 2010

PATNA – A Bihar court on Thursday taken cognizance of spiritual guru Asaram Bapu and two others role in connection with a defamation case lodged by the Bihar State Religious Trust Board.

Judicial Magistrate Divya Vashishtha took cognizance of the charges against Asaram Bapu, Swami Narendra Goswami and Jai Kumar Singh under various sections of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The court would decide on issuing summons to Asaram Bapu on April 24.

In March 2009, Board’s Administrator Kishore Kunal had lodged a complaint in the court against the three persons, accusing them of organising a procession and using unparliamentary language to tarnish his image.

Kunal had alleged that Bapu’s men had assaulted police officials and Board staff when they had gone to execute a court order to free the property of Bhikhamdas Ram Janki Thakurwadi Kadamkuan here from forcible occupation of Bapu and his men on May 4, 2009. (ANI)

Parent writes to HC over domicile rule

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 06.28am IST

NAGPUR: The Maharashtra government’s controversial move to change domicile norms for admissions to engineering and other courses to benefit sons-of-the-soil has found its way to the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court. Meanwhile, a Thane-based aggrieved father has written a letter to the HC judge praying for quashing of the new rule to save the academic careers of thousands of promising students.

A division bench of justices Dilip Sinha and FM Reis on Wednesday adjourned till April 29 hearing on the petition filed by city-based lawyer GC Singh challenging the government move. Government pleader Nitin Sambre had sought time to take instructions from higher authorities.

Meanwhile, Kingusuk Kumar Mondal, working with a private firm as joint vice-president, cited a TOI report of April 16 published in Mumbai in his letter to the judge. “We hope that you will understand the mental agony my daughter is undergoing along with thousands of similarly affected students and parents. The change in conditions of domicile is against the fundamental right of Indian citizens, which will spoil children’s career,” he mentioned in the letter citing opinion expressed by Pune-based legal expert A Sarode.

A copy of Mondal’s letter is in possession of TOI. It states that due to his transferable job, his daughter had to study in Madhya Pradesh, then Andhra Pradesh and finally Maharashtra. She secured an impressive 93.8% in SSC and was expecting similar results in HSC examination. However, she received a shock when the MHT-CET-2010 brochure said she was ineligible for centralised admission process (CAP) for admission to engineering courses in government or aided colleges.

She is now eligible to take admission only in management quota of a private college, which means exorbitant fees. Mondal said he and other parents could not bear education in private institutes. He also claimed that his daughter is already under depression as she apprehends that she would not be able to pursue her dream career despite working hard.

MPSC scam: accused moves HC–accused-moves-HC/609546/

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Apr 22, 2010 at 2334 hrs Mumbai:

An accused in the MPSC scam, Dr Tukaram Shiware, has moved the Bombay High Court seeking to quash a second chargesheet filed against him in 2006.

Dr Shiware, who was a member of the Maharashtra Public Service Commission from 1994 to 2000, sought the quashing of the chargesheet since it has been merged with an earlier chargesheet of 2002 which was quashed by the High Court in October 2009.

His lawyer Samir Vaidya contended before Justice Kanade that since the first proceedings had been quashed, the second case merged with the earlier one could not survive.

The petition states that after the High Court quashed the first case, Shiware had moved a special court seeking discharge from the second case. The special court, however, rejected his application.

Shiware stated that the special judge erred in rejecting the application as the second chargesheet was also filed based on the same witness’s statement.

It’s further contended that petitioner cannot be prosecuted twice for the same offence since the same witnesses are relied upon. Due to this, the FIR is liable to be quashed, especially in the absence of sanction for prosecution as the petitioner is a government servant, contended his lawyer.

Shiware urged the court to call for the records and quash the case until which time the proceedings should be stayed. The court has now directed the state government to file a reply within two weeks.

Muslim woman has right to maintenance, says HC

Ravi Singh Sisodiya, TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 05.32am IST

LUCKNOW: Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court, in a significant judgment, has ruled that a Muslim woman is entitled for maintenance pending litigation as well as payment of cost of litigation under the Family Courts Act, 1984. A division bench comprising Justice Devi Prasad Singh and Justice S C Chaurasia, while elaborating the Right to Life and the Right to Livelihood guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution of India observed — “In case wife is suffering from paucity of funds or is unable to maintain herself or she has got no sufficient means for livelihood, then, the court in a pending suit for restitution of conjugal rights, has got ample powers to direct for payment of maintenance in pursuance to the powers conferred under section 151 of the Code of Civil Procedure”.

Needless to say that right to life and livelihood does not need animal living but quality of life suiting to the status of the person concerned, said the Bench adding that the provisions of the Family Court Act, a Central legislation, shall be applicable to family disputes of every citizen, whoever they be, ignoring their caste, creed or religion.

The court further ruled that the maintenance provided under the Protection of Women from Domestic Violence Act, 2005 is in addition to other legislations. While ruling in favour of Muslim married lady, the Bench drew analogy from Act, 2005 where the Parliament deals with the situation with regard to plight of women without differentiating on the basis of caste, creed or religion.

Brushing aside the Personal Law, the Bench clarified the philosophy of the Constitution saying — “The statutory protection granted by Parliament is to meet out the requirement of Article 21. Accordingly, even if there is no statutory provision, temporary injunction may be granted or an order may be passed by the family court for payment of maintenance, including cost of litigation, without discriminating among women of the country on any basis”.

The ruling which may have far-reaching effects on interpretation of Muslim Personal Law came from the high court as Samaun Khan, a Faizabad resident challenged principal judge family court, Faizabad, order whereby it had provided Rs 800 per month as maintenance during proceedings of restitution of conjugal rights case filed by him and Rs 5,000 as the cost of litigation to his wife, Roshni Parveen. The couple had married on November 23, 2005 but separated on December 22, 2007 due to differences and a bitter relationship.

As Samaun filed a suit for restitution of conjugal rights, Roshni sought maintenance pendente-lite and cost of litigation. The principal judge awarded maintenance to Roshni but Samaun challenged the principal judge order in the HC on the ground that it was against Muslim Personal Law.

HC to hear FMC-CERC dispute over electricity futures jurisdiction

22 Apr 2010, 0059 hrs IST,Ram N Sahgal & Almas Meherally,ET Bureau

MUMBAI: The department of legal affairs in a note last year had said that the Central Electricity Regulatory Commission (CERC) appears to have “erroneously” assumed jurisdiction in dealing with the matter of regulating electricity futures.

The note may assume significance in light of the ongoing FMC and CERC feud in the Bombay High Court over the jurisdiction of electricity futures. Commodity exchange MCX is a respondent in FMC’s petition and has also independently filed a petition in February against CERC. The cases are listed for hearing on Thursday. MCX has sought FMC’s permission to launch trading of electricity futures on its platform.

The department had said last June that the order of CERC “may be challenged before the high court” after the FMC’s parent ministry, ministry of consumer affairs, sought its advice on the issue. In April 2009, in response to a complaint by NSE and NCDEX-promoted Power Exchange India (PXIL), CERC passed an order to the effect that it had jurisdiction for regulating all trading in electricity.

In its closing arguments last Thursday, the HC reportedly suggested that it would be more appropriate, if the government sorted out the issue regarding the regulation of futures contracts relating to electricity. The department of legal affairs’ note, highlights a number of functions over which CERC has regulatory jurisdiction under Section 79 (1) of the Electricity Act, 2003, and said “…it appears that CERC has erroneously assumed jurisdiction in dealing with the matter…”

“In view of the department of legal affairs’ note, the court will have to decide the issue of jurisdiction regarding futures contracts in electricity,” said Cherag Balsara, counsel for MCX. When contacted, Aspi Chenoy, who is appearing for CERC, declined to comment.

The CERC’s main point of contention on why it should regulate futures in electricity is that futures contracts need not just be cash settled, where there is no delivery of the underlier, but can also be mandatorily settled by way of physical delivery. According to the regulator, it is well settled that futures contracts in international markets impact the spot price because of the presence of arbitrageurs, who seek to bridge any price gap between spot and futures markets. It also said that allowing speculation in electricity would be akin to placing commercial interests over consumers’ interests were the prices to rise.

The FMC’s argument, according to a person privy to the case, is that under the FCRA Act of 1952 futures trading in electricity vests with it and MCX, which is registered with FMC, can offer such contracts on its trading platform. Further, the futures contracts of electricity would be cash settled and not involve delivery.

The government has taken a similar line in the spat between the insurance and capital markets regulators over Ulips by saying that the tussle should be settled after both parties obtain a view from the courts.

Andhra HC stays Tirupati gold-plating plan

A. Srinivasa Rao

Hyderabad, April 22, 2010

The Andhra Pradesh High Court on Wednesday stayed the gold-plating project of the Lord Venkateshwara temple at Tirumala in Tirupati.

A division bench gave the order on a petition filed by Raghava Reddy of Hyderabad. The bench has directed the Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam (TTD), the temple authority, to file its counter within four weeks.

The petitioner argued that the goldplating project – “Ananda Nilayam-Ananta Swarnamayam” – would damage the centuries-old inscriptions on the temple walls. These inscriptions in Telugu, Kannada and Tamil, and the images of gods and goddesses are from the time of the Vijayanagara Empire, he stated.

“If these walls are gold- plated, the people won’t be able to view these inscriptions and ancient images,” Reddy stated.

The project has also faced resistance from purists, particularly the BJP and the Janata Party. A petition filed by Janata Party president Dr Subramanian Swamy is pending before the HC. Swamy argued that such projects served the personal agenda of some individuals who had no respect for traditional values. “Any interference with the basic structure of the temple should not be allowed,” he said.

Other purists argue that the project interfered with the temple structure.

Differences have also cropped up within the temple board over the viability of the multi-crore project.

TTD chairman D.K. Adikesavulu Naidu, the brain behind the project, asserted that all precautions were being taken to preserve the wall inscriptions.

“We have taken the consent of agama pundits before embarking on this project. All the ancient writings and epigraphically valuable texts on the temple walls are being digitised,” Naidu said.

Dismissed Kasab lawyer moves HC against judge

Mustafa Plumber

Posted: Apr 22, 2010 at 2304 hrs IST

Mumbai Lawyer Abbas Kazmi today moved a contempt petition in the High Court against 26/11 trial judge M L Tahaliyani, who had sacked him as terrorist Ajmal Kasab’s defence counsel on charges of non-cooperation and purposely delaying the trial.

Kazmi has urged the High Court to take suo motu cognisance and action against Tahaliyani under section 15(1) of the Contempt of Court Act.

The presentation of evidence and arguments in the 26/11 case are over and the judge has reserved the judgment for May 3. Kazmi says in his plea, “The facts of the complaint should not be taken as a reflection on the merits or legality of the proceedings of the trial and no part of the petition should be taken advantage of by any accused.”

The special court had given Kazmi the brief on April 16, 2009, at a fee of Rs 2,500 per day, and sacked him on November 30. The judge had called him a liar when he said he was not aware of the affidavits handed over to him by the Crime Branch.

Kazmi had requested the court to ask the prosecution to first move an application for tendering the formal evidence in court before he could reply how many witnesses he would cross-examine. Kazmi says the judge, instead of rejecting his plea or accepting the prosecution’s stand, dismissed him, “which is unheard of in any trial”. He questioned the court’s right to do so.

Kazmi says he has not yet got a certified copy of his removal order, nor has the Advocate General replied to an application for his consent before filing the contempt petition.

In his plea, Kazmi says Judge Tahaliyani, by “humiliating” him in court, has “committed contempt of his own court as well as the High Court”. He said Tahaliyani has lowered the dignity of the entire legal system. He added that the prosecution and sometimes the judge tarnished his image by terming him a “terrorist lawyer”.

HC to state: Provide alternate shelter to people staying on government land prior to 1991

Express News Service

Posted: Thursday , Apr 22, 2010 at 0319 hrs Ahmedabad:

The Gujarat High Court observed that people, who have been staying in houses on government land prior to 1991, should be given alternate accommodation in case the settlement has to be evicted for any public purpose.

A Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice made oral observations to this effect on Wednesday, while acting on a petition filed by 266 families of Khodiyar Nagar in Ghatlodia area.

The families have challenged the government move to demolish their homes without providing them alternate accommodation.

They had earlier filed a petition before a single judge bench, seeking directions for the authorities to stop the eviction till the time alternate accommodation is provided. The petitioners had made the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, the District Collector and the state government as respondents in the petition. The bench had rejected the plea.

Subsequently, the petitioners had filed an appeal against the order before the Division Bench. On Wednesday, opposing the petition, the government counsel said that some residents f Khodiyar Nagar have “illegally” constructed more than one room in the locality and are collecting rent.

To this, Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhyaya observed that families living in the rented rooms should also be considered for alternate accommodation, if they are living there prior to 1991.

Counsel of the petitioners, Sudhir Nanavati, said the court has stayed eviction of all families staying in Khodiyar Nagar since 1991.

The next hearing has been fixed for May 11.

HC for panel to look into Gurjjars’ quota demand

Posted: Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 at 2155 hrs IST
Updated: Saturday, Apr 17, 2010 at 2155 hrs IST

Jaipur: The Rajasthan High Court on Friday directed the state government to appoint a committee to look into the agitating Gurjjars’ demand for reservation.

A Divisional Bench of Chief Justice JC Bhalla and Justice MN Bhandari passed the order on a PIL filed by JP Dadeech. “The court directed the government to constitute a committee led by a retired HC judge to look into the Gurjjars’ demand for reservation. The court has also asked the government to appraise it of security precautions taken,” said Dadeech’s counsel RP Garg. He said the committee will have a parliamentarian, a bureaucrat, a member of the Bar Association and Gurjjar community leaders as its members.

Dadeech had filed the PIL 15 days ago to seek details of the security precautions taken by the state to prevent untoward incidents during the current agitation. “My client maintains that there have been agitations like this twice, both of which ended in a breakdown of civil life and destruction of public property. The PIL was filed to prevent such incidents,” Garg said. The HC, Garg added, has now directed the state to take action against anyone who breaks the law.

Gurjjar leaders are, however, not reading much into the judgement. “This particular hearing was over a PIL and does not concern another case that deals with the implementation of 5% reservation for Gurjjars. Our agitation will continue,” said a senior Gurjjar leader.

Meanwhile, Kirori Singh Bainsla, who is spearheading the agitation for reservation, said their protest march towards Jaipur would continue despite the government inviting him for another round of dialogue.

The march reached Sikandra in Dausa district on Friday, around 70 km from Jaipur. The march started from Hindaun on Tuesday and is expected to enter the state capital in three days.

Ex-CJI’s sons pay Rs 89.75cr to buy Delhi house

TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 04.12am IST

NEW DELHI: Chetan Sabharwal and Nitin Sabharwal, the two sons of former chief justice of India Y K Sabharwal, have bought half of one of the most premium residential properties, 7 Sikandra Road, in the heart of Lutyens’ Delhi. The other half of the property has been bought by the promoter and MD of real estate company BPTP, Kabul Chawla. The total deal is worth Rs 117 crore.

On Tuesday, the Sabharwal brothers and Chawla together paid Rs 89.75 crore as part payment for the property.
“Kabul Chawla has purchased 50% of this residential property in his personal capacity. This is not a joint property,”said a spokesperson in Kabul Chawla’s office. It means that the Sabharwal brothers will have to pay separately Rs 58.5 crore to complete the deal.

The name of Chetan Sabharwal and Nitin Sabharwal had cropped up earlier for running their businesses from the then CJI’s official residence. Also, the government had while responding to an RTI application in April 2009 revealed that the CBI was investigating allotment of a piece of land in Noida to Sabharwal’s daughter-in-law. The income-tax department is also investigating a South Delhi land deal by the Sabharwal brothers.

The part payment of Rs 89.75 crore for the 7 Sikandra Road bungalow deal has been made by the Sabharwal brothers and Chawla with the approval of a single-judge bench of Delhi high court. In fact, Triveni Infrastructure had bought the 2.70-acre property for Rs 117 crore in 2008 in a court supervised auction. Triveni paid Rs 29.25 crore — 25% of the total amount — upfront. But, it could not pay the rest — Rs 89.75 crore — on the due date.

Instead of paying the rest of the amount, Triveni Infrastructure filed a suit in the court praying that another company, Angle Infrabuild Private Ltd, be allowed to pay the balance with a penalty of Rs 5 crore. But as some of the original co-owners opposed the request, the court did not accept the offer. Meanwhile, the Sabharwal brothers approached the court saying they would pay the balance amount of Rs 89.75 crore of the original deal.

Following the payment made by them, the court ordered execution of the sale deed in the name of the Sabharwal brothers and their associate.

The rest of the amount — Rs 29.25 crore — which was paid by Triveni Infrastructure in 2008 will also be paid by the new set of buyers.

To beat ash cloud, CJI took 700km road trip

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN, Apr 22, 2010, 01.48am IST

NEW DELHI: Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan’s quick decision to hit the road –from Minsk in Poland to Moscow in Russia — helped him escape the dark clouds of volcanic ash from Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland which grounded flights in Europe.

By the time he got over with his speech at an international conference of chief justices on April 16, he was informed that Minsk airport was closed because of the volcanic ash clouds.

Acting fast, Justice Balakrishnan, who was scheduled to hear important matters in Supreme Court on Monday, requested the Indian ambassador to arrange for a car to take him to Moscow, a good 700 km away.

There was no certainty of getting a flight from Moscow to New Delhi as the ash clouds were getting closer to the airport with every passing hour but the CJI was game for the gruelling 12-hour journey and take his chance.

He did beat the ash clouds and reach Moscow in time to catch virtually the last flight home and he was presiding over a Bench in Chief Justice’s court on Monday and disposing of cases.

He was lucky because on Monday, Moscow airport got paralysed with 277 flights getting cancelled and 77 posponed leaving over 2 lakh passengers stranded.

But one of the top lawyers of the country, Harish Salve, had no such luck and has been grounded in London since the last one week. He was scheduled to come back to India to argue cases by Friday but the ash clouds left him with little choice but to remain in London as the airport there was rendered non-functional.

Many cases he was to argue, which would have earned him fees in lakhs of rupees, had to be adjourned.

LEGAL NEWS 17.04.2010

HC issues notice to govt for ‘ignoring’ heritage

DNJAI15211 | 4/17/2010 | Author : DNA Correspondent | WC :293 | Art & Culture

State allegedly making changes in old structures
The high court has issued notices to the state government on a petition seeking preservation of the heritage look of Jaipur’s old walled city areas.
A public interest litigation (PIL) moved before the court alleged that the government was making no efforts to prevent distortion of the city’s heritage. In fact, alleged the PIL, that the state government and its agencies were making changes in and around the Walled City areas thereby completely altering the original look of Jaipur.
Based on the contentions made in the PIL, the division bench of chief justice Jagdish Bhalla and justice MN Bhandari issued notice to the state chief secretary, principal secretary of the UDH department, CEO of the JMC and JDA secretary.
The petition filed by Kishan Lal Sharma, a resident of the city, particularly mentioned about the encroachments around the seven old gates of the Walled City.
“Encroachments are going on unabatedly on roads leading to and emerging from the seven gates of the old city,” Sandeep Pathak, the petitioner’s counsel, told the court. The seven gates include the Chandpole Gate, Ajmeri Gate, New Gate, Sanganeri Gate, Ghat Gate, Surajpole and the Jorawar Singh Gate.
It was argued before the court that the state government was not keen on maintaining the original shape of the Walled City and was turning a blind eye to everyday encroachments coming up along the old roads.
During the previous Ashok Gehlot government a special drive was carried out to free the Walled City roads and corridors from encroachment. The high court had then directed the state government to ensure that the encroachers did not return, once the special drive was over. However, over the past few years verandas before the shops in the Walled City have been heavily encroached.
Copyright permission mandatory to republish this article.

High court dismisses PIL seeking take over of BCCI by Centre


Friday, April 16, 2010 21:36 IST

Madurai: The Madurai bench of the Madras high court today dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the Union ministry of culture, youth and sports welfare and finance ministry to take over administration of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to promote the game and charity effectively and transparently.

Justice FM Ibrahim Kalifullah and justice KBK Vasuki said if the petitioner felt the BCCI was not meeting the objectives of society, then he could complain to the registrar of societies.

“If they violated income tax rules, then the same could be taken up with the income tax department,” the court said.

The petitioner could not straightaway file a PIL without approaching the authorities concerned to get a proper remedy for his grievance, the bench held.

The petitioner B Stalin, a city advocate, contended that the BCCI, under the category of a charitable institution received grants, donations and contributions and enjoyed tax exemption (till 2006-07). But it was not spending even 8% of its total income to promote the game.

The cricket body has billions of rupees as surplus in its account, but lacked infrastructure, he said.

He claimed that certain activities of BCCI were totally commercial and there was no element of charity in its conduct, the major income arises not from the game, but from business of cricket. BCCI’s intention was to promote business and not the game, he charged.

Is this the BEST price for Santa Cruz bus depot plot?

Nauzer K Bharucha, TNN, Apr 17, 2010, 01.47am IST

MUMBAI: Was the three-acre Santa Cruz (W) bus depot plot sold for a throwaway price by BEST last week? A week after the plot was awarded to the highest bidder, Indiabulls, for Rs 50 crore, it has come to light that the BEST tender document had stipulated a minimum reserve price of Rs 369 crore or seven times the price it ultimately fetched.

The tender document, a copy of which is with TOI, had fixed a “minimum non-refundable premium of Rs 2.79 lakh a sqm for the 13,212-sqm” plot. “There shall be limited bid-cum-auction on opening of tenders for those tenderers who would quote above the reserved rate of premium…,” it said.

But on March 25, barely two weeks before the bids were to be opened, the BEST administration shot off letters to interested builders, stating that there would now be no minimum price. “…Bidders who have submitted the tender shall be allowed to participate in the bid-cum-auction, which would be held immediately after opening the tenders, irrespective of the rate offered by the bidder for payment of non-refundable premium, provided it fulfils the other eligibility criteria for participating…,” said the letter issued by the civil engineering department of the BEST.

BEST GM U Khobragade said, “It was an open auction and the correct price was paid. The (minimum non-refundable premium) was mere guesswork. It was a mistake and, the moment we realised that it could not command such a price, we circulated a letter to all bidders and held an open auction.”

Khobragade added, “There are height restrictions on this plot and there is so much work to be done. As many as 600 quarters are to be constructed, as also a bus depot. Who will pay for it? Will you pay for it? The land will be available to the developer two years after making all these investments. All these factors were not discounted while calculating the premium.”

A spokesperson for the BEST Workers’ Union said the union was planning to file a PIL in the high court. “This is an obvious scam and a huge loss for BEST,” he said. Congress corporator and BEST committee member Ravi Raja said he had opposed the sale. “The price is too little. I request the BEST administration to review its decision,” he said.

On the other hand, a builder, who was in the fray, justified the price paid by Indiabulls. “There are various obstacles including height restrictions at various spots ranging from 18 m to 25 m since there are two airports in the vicinity. One of them is in fact touching the site and the other is creating a flight funnel situation. There is excessive noise factor since aircrafts fly over the site at full thrust due to take off requirements at very high frequency,” he claimed.

Moreover, the builder pointed out that 150 buses were to be parked at ground level with adequate height clearances. “Driveways are to be provided including servicing bays for the same, CNG and fuel refilling pumps. The highest bidder will also have to construct 600 residential quarters for the BEST staff free of cost and a few more structures with a huge periphery wall. Besides, the area gets water-logged and does not have any high commercial potential ,” he claimed.

But sources say the construction of staff quarters and remodelling the BEST depot would cost the winning bidder not more than Rs 45 crore. A developer told TOI that in his estimation the plot could have fetched the BEST at least Rs 400 crore.
(Inputs from Clara Lewis)

Delegation presses Moily on SC status for Dalit Christians

By: Dibin Samuel

Saturday, 17 April 2010, 14:38 (IST)

A delegation of Catholic and Protestant leaders on April 13 met Law Minister M Veerappa Moily pressing for action on the implementation of Ranganath Mishra Commission Report (NCRLM Report) that recommended extending SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims.

Representatives of National Coordination Committee for Dalit Christians (NCCDC), a joint programme of the CBCI and NCCI, apprised Moily on the “pain and agony” the delay had caused despite the NCRLM report submitted to the Prime Minister in May 2007.

The report prepared by former Chief Justice of India, Ranganath Mishra, asserts that discrimination of Dalits who convert from Hinduism to Christianity or Islam is unwarranted and goes against articles 14, 15 and 25 of the Constitution of India.

The same delegation had met the minister earlier in November 2009 and requested that government table the NCRLM report in the Parliament and also file their response in the PIL pending before the Supreme Court.

The PIL was filed in the year 2004. Despite repeated assurances from government, no reply has been filed in the PIL till date and as a result it has been adjourned to July 2010.

The Law Minister emphasised and informed representatives of CBCI Fr. Cosmon Arokiaraj and from NCCI Ms. Anjna Masih that the decision has to be taken by the Union Cabinet.

Meanwhile, a Dalit Christians’ conference was held in Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu, during which Communist Party of India (Marxist) Polit Bureau member Brinda Karat strongly condemned the social discrimination against Christians and Muslims.

Karat hailed the role of Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi in demanding the implementation of NCRLM report by sending a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, and asked if DMK Ministers at the Centre would do the same.

Members of Tamil Nadu Untouchability Eradication Front would stage a statewide demonstration in all district headquarters May 6 to demand SC status to Christians and Muslims.

Judgement in murder case against Soren deferred

April 17th, 2010 ians

A fast track court Saturday deferred the judgement in a 36-year-old double murder case involving Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren and will hear fresh arguments May 15.

Soren appeared in court Saturday and the judge asked the two sides whether they wanted to make fresh argument in the case. Both sides agreed and the court posted the matter for hearing May 15.

The case is related to murder of two people over a dispute over killing of two goats. The murders took place at Kodko village of Giridih district in April 1974.

Soren was made accused of inciting a mob to kill Chundi Singh and Khirodhar Singh, who were accused of stealing two goats and killing them. There were a total 10 accused in the case. The charge sheet against all accused, including Soren, was filed in 1978. Eight accused were acquitted in 1986 and one died during trial.

The case against Soren was pending as he failed to appear in court earlier. A warrant pending against Soren surfaced in 2004 and he then surrendered. He was later released on bail.

The murder case was transferred to the fast track court of Mohammad Qasim in Giridih just three days before the judegment date. On April 3, Soren had appeared in the court of Additional District Judge N.N. Singh. The hearing was completed and the judegment was reserved and was scheduled to be delivered Saturday.

But just days before the judegment day, Singh separated himself from the case and Giridih District Judge Sanjay Kumar transferred the case to the fast track court of Mohammad Qasim.

HC raps cops over missing boy’s ‘murder’

Rebecca Samervel, TNN, Apr 17, 2010, 02.48am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Friday reprimanded the police for applying murder charges in the case of a minor boy who has been missing since more than a year.

The court directed deputy commissioner of police (Andheri zone) Prakash Mutiyal to file an affidavit stating the reasons that prompted the application of Section 302 of the IPC even though the police has been unable to trace the boy. A chargesheet was filed on March 8, 2010, for kidnapping, murder and causing disappearance of evidence.

“You must place before the court that the boy is dead. On what basis have you arrived at the conclusion,” asked the judges. The division bench of Justice D B Bhosale and Justice A R Joshi were hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by Pavankumar Prajapati, father of Ajaykumar (10) who the police claim was killed by his mother Janakdulari (30) and her alleged paramour Satyanarayan Harijan (25), alias Nanhe. Earlier, the police conducted a lie detector and brain mapping tests on Nanhe who allegedly confessed to killing the boy with Janakdulari’s help since the boy caught them in a compromising position.

Nanhe was arrested in November 2009, and Janakdulari, in December. The narco-analysis test on Janakdulari was inconclusive. The police claimed that Nanhe showed them the site where the boy’s skeleton was buried. However, a DNA test was negative.

Public prosecutor P A Pol told the court that the police are now awaiting super-imposition test results. “In view of the negative DNA test, what is the value of superimposition,” asked Justice Joshi.

Justice Bhosale said, “If the DNA test was not matching, how can you say it was his body? We understand, if it was inconclusive. But the report specifically says that it did not match with the parents’.” The judge further said, “The accused may be misleading you. During trial, they may say the body was not his and get acquitted. Have you looked in the direction of the accused misleading the investigators?”

Shoaib moves Andhra HC to get back passport

April 16, 2010 15:01 IST

Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik [ Images ] on Friday moved the Andhra Pradesh High Court for a direction to Central Crime Station police in Hyderabad to release his passport.

The Banjara Hills police had seized Shoaib’s passport during the investigation into a complaint lodged by his first wife Ayesha Siddiqui.

Malik, who recently married tennis star Sania Mirza [ Images ], approached the court and said that the issue between him and Ayesha has been resolved amicably and police has no reason to detain his passport.

Justice C V Nagarjuna [ Images ] Reddy heard the arguments of the counsel for Shoaib Malik and adjourned the matter to Monday for his judgement.

© Copyright 2010 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.

Filing false case against in-laws is cruelty: HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN, Apr 17, 2010, 01.55am IST

MUMBAI: Filing a false criminal case against the husband and in-laws for harassment amounts to cruelty and is ground for divorce, the Bombay high court. “Humiliation… that is caused on account of arrest and detention of appellant and his family members and relatives in a false case does constitute mental cruelty to enable the husband to seek decree of divorce on this sole ground,” said a division bench of Justices A P Deshpande and R P Sondurbaldota while granting divorce to a Pune resident.

Dyanesh Soparkar and Lata (names changed) had an arranged marriage in March 2001 as per Hindu rites and they have a daughter. According to Soparkar, on the wedding night itself Lata called him blind for wearing spectacles and complained that she was given to understand that he earned a higher salary than what he actually got. The couple had frequent quarrels, according to Soparkar, over his wife’s insistence that they stay separately.

Dyanesh filed for divorce in June 2003 and a month later Lata filed a case for dowry harassment (Section 498 A of the IPC). She named Dyanesh, his mother and three other relatives. They were arrested and sent to custody. Two years later, a magistrate’s court acquitted them, saying there was no evidence that Lata’s family were coerced to pay Rs 50,000 as dowry.

The family court dismissed Dyanesh’s plea for divorce saying that a single complaint filed by the wife could constitute cruelty. Dyanesh moved the HC in appeal. His lawyers claimed that the arrest and detention of the family members and Dyanesh’s near relations in a false case “has caused him agony”.

The HC agreed with Dyanesh’s contention. “One thing is crystal clear and it can be safely assumed that the wife had filed a false case not only against her husband and mother-in-law but had unnecessarily roped in other near relations,” said the judges, adding, “It is obvious that on account of arrest and detention of the husband and his family members, Lata has treated Dyanesh with utmost mental cruelty and he has suffered agony.”

Form panel to resolve Gujjar quota, HC tells govt

Abhinav Sharma, TNN, Apr 17, 2010, 05.50am IST

JAIPUR: In a new twist to the Gujjar agitation in the state, Rajasthan High Court on Friday directed the state government to constitute a committee headed by a retired high court judge to look into all aspects of the quota issue, including the ongoing agitation.

It also directed the government to take all necessary steps to maintain public order in the state and take action against those who fail to abide by its directions. The order came on a PIL filed by one J P Dadhich, a resident of Ajmer, alleging that during the previous agitations, the Gujjar community had resorted to massive violence.

A bench of Chief Justice Jagdish Bhalla and Justice Munishwar Nath Bhandari further said that the committee shall include a bureaucrat, a social activist, members of the Bar, a parliamentarian or legislator who could help in resolving the issue.

The court asked an advocate, V S Gurjar, to communicate the feelings of the court to the leaders of the community.

The order is being construed as a major relief to the Ashok Gehlot government. The court took a serious view of the fact that the Gujjars once again took to the streets and are blocking national highways despite previous orders by the court to maintain peace. “We expect from the leaders of the agitating community not to take law into their hands. As we have already said earlier, the leaders of the agitating community shall take care that no inconvenience is caused to the public,” the bench said.

“On March 25, we had passed a detailed order taking note of the fact that nearly 70 people lost their lives in the agitations apart from serious damage to public and private properties. We passed the order to ensure that such things are not repeated. Therefore, the government was expected to take all necessary measures,” the bench said.

In its response, the state government said that adequate measures have been taken to solve the impasse and talks are still on.

Steam not a chemical, rules Bombay HC

Shibu Thomas, TNN, Apr 17, 2010, 04.00am IST

MUMBAI: Ask any schoolkid and she will tell you that steam is H²O. Bombay High Court was however recently approached to decide on a 21-year-old issue: whether steam was a chemical or not.

At stake was tax to the tune of crores; if it was designated as a chemical it would attract a mere 4% sales tax. But a division bench of Justice V C Daga and Justice K K Tated last week ruled that steam was not a chemical for tax purposes, which meant 10% sales tax would have to be paid.

The judges said for sales tax purposes the usage of the product in common parlance had to be considered. “In common sense, the steam is treated as byproduct of water and for preparation of the steam the process is just to boil water,” said the judges.

“Therefore, the common man always treats steam as part and parcel of water. It is a fact that in taxing statute the words which are not of technical expressions or words of art but are words of every day use, must be understood and given a meaning, not in their scientific sense, but in a sense as understood in common parlance.”

The court was hearing a case filed by M/s Gopalanand Rasayan, a company manufacturing sulphuric acid and other chemicals. During the manufacturing process, steam is generated which is sold as a byproduct. Tax authorities directed the company to pay 10% as sales tax for the assessment years 1988 to 1991. The dispute finally referred to HC.

CJI names Kapadia as his successor


New Delhi, Apr 16 (PTI) Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan, who retires next month, has recommended the name of seniormost judge of the Supreme Court Justice S H Kapadia as his successor, setting in motion the process of change of guard in the apex court.

Sources in the Law Ministry said Justice Balakrishnan, due to retire on May 11, recommended the name of Justice Kapadia (63) recently.

“The file is under process,” an official said.

As per the Memorandum of Procedure which governs the appointment of members of the higher judiciary, “appointment to the office of the Chief Justice of India should be of the seniormost Judge of the Supreme Court considered fit to hold the office.”

It stipulates that the Law Minister would, at the appropriate time, seek the recommendation of the outgoing Chief Justice of India for the appointment of the next CJI.

Competition Act, 2002 & impact on industry in the years ahead

Apr 16, 2010

Saibal C. Pal

1. Introduction :-Notification dated 28th August, 2009 issued by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (`MCA’) repealed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969(`MRTP ACT’) with effect from 1st September, 2009. The repealed Act was replaced by the Competition Act, 2002 (`COMPETITION ACT’) as amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act,2007.  Chapter III of the repealed MRTP ACT which dealt with concentration of economic powers through mergers, amalgamations and acquisition was deleted with effect from 27th July, 1991. Therefore, restrictions on mergers, amalgamations and acquisitions in the country did not exist post July, 1991 until SEBI imposed restrictions on listing of unlisted companies through mergers and amalgamations. Further SEBI announced the Take over Code in 1994 substituted by the Code of 1997 and amended from time to time to restrict take over of listed companies. Restrictions of merger and amalgamation of banking companies, however, continued to be regulated by the Reserve Bank of India throughout.  On  the Competition Commission of India(`CCI’) coming into force, the MRTP Commission will continue exist for two years con-currently to handle old cases filed prior to 1st September,2009 for a period of two years up to 31st August, 2011. However, no new cases would be taken up by the MRTP Commission. On expiry of two years all pending cases pertaining to monopolistic or restrictive trade practices, including cases having an element of unfair trade practice shall stand transferred to the Competition Appellate Tribunal (CAT) which shall adjudicate such cases in accordance with the provisions of the repealed MRTP Act.

1.2 Competition laws all over the world are primarily concerned with the acquisition and/or exercise of market power and abuse. Market power is variously known in competition jurisdictions as dominant position, monopoly power and substantial market power. The Competition Act, 1992 and amended in 2007 follows the philosophy of modern competition laws and aims at fostering competition, protecting Indian markets against anti-competitive practices by enterprises who always want market leadership to maximize benefits from the market for their progress. The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements and abuse of dominant position by enterprises and regulates combinations which include mergers, amalgamations and acquisitions thus laying down certain practices from which enterprises shall have to keep away. Enterprises not following the law on competition will have to face penalty which will thwart activities and operation in the market.

2. Transfer of pending cases before MRTP Commission and applicability of repealed MRTP ACT in such cases.

2.1. With the notification date 28th August,2009 all pending cases with the MRTP Commission relating solely to unfair trade practices shall stand transferred to the National Commission as constituted under the Consumer Protection Act,1986(`CPA’) which may in turn transfer such cases to a State Commission constituted under the said Act as deemed appropriate. Such transferred cases will be dealt by the Commission according to the provisions of the CPA.

2.2 Cases of false or misleading facts, disparaging the goods, services or trade of another person pending under the MRTP Act shall be transferred to  CAT however, the transferred cases will be dealt in accordance with the provisions of the repealed MRTP Act.

2.3   Investigations/proceedings undertaken by the Director General under the MRTP Act relating to : (i) Monopolistic/restrictive trade practices will be transferred to the CCI who may conduct such investigations/proceedings in any manner it deems appropriate.(ii) Unfair  trade practices will be transferred to the National Commission under the CPA;(iii) cases giving false or misleading facts disparaging the goods, services or trade of another person will be transferred to the CCI.

2.4 The provisions of the law for the transition from the MRTP regime to CCI regime is clear to avoid ambiguity.

3. Provisions on Combinations (Mergers, Amalgamations and Acquisitions) rovisions relating to Mergers and Acquisitions termed as combinations are covered by Section 5 and 6 of the Competition Act. The provisions deal with regulation of combinations. However, the sections have not made operative as yet.  Dates of implementation of the said provisions have so far not been announced by MCA. This being a critical area it is considered prudent to gradually implement the provisions once the other provisions of the Competition Act are observed.

4. The Competition Act, 2002 as amended in 2007

4.1 India enacted its first anti-competitive legislation in 1969 known as the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 to provide that the operation of the economic system does not result in the concentration of economic power to the common detriment, for the control of monopolies, for the prohibition of monopolistic and restrictive trade practices and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The scope of MRTP was found to be inadequate considering the changing world trade scenario. Considering the fact, the Indian Government formed a Committee on Competition Policy and Law (the Raghavan Committee) to advice on competition law.  Based on the recommendations of the Raghavan Committee the Government enacted the Competition Act, 2002 which came into effect from 13th January,2003.The Competition Act was enacted to provide ,keeping in view of the economic development of the country, for the establishment of a Commission to prevent practices having adverse effect on competition, to promote and sustain competition in markets, to protect the interests of consumers and to ensue freedom of trade carried on by other participants in markets, in India, and for matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. The Act was implemented in stages on 31st March,2003, 19th June,2003, 14th October,2003 and 28th August,2009. The Act was amended by the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007 with effect from 25th September, 2007.

4.2 The Competition Act defines dominance or dominant position in terms of a position of strength enjoyed by an enterprise, in relevant market in India, which enables it to: (i) operate independently of the competitive forces prevailing in the relevant market; or (ii) affect its competitors or consumers or the relevant market in its favour. It is the ability of the enterprise to behave/act independently of the market forces that determines dominant position. In a perfectly competitive market no enterprise has control over the market, especially in the determination of price of the product. Each enterprise is a price taker. However, perfect market conditions do not obtain reality. Keeping this in view the Act specifies a number of factors that should be taken into account while determining whether an enterprise is dominant.

4.3  MRTP Act did not address all the abuse of intellectual property rights which are monopoly rights for limited period of time. Competition Act has exempted intellectual property rights(IPRs) from the coverage of the rigors of S 3 related to anti-competitive agreements, no such derogation is available in case of abuse of  IPRs by right holders, in respect of specific abusive acts.(S 4).

S 28 empowers CCI to direct division of an enterprise enjoying dominant position to ensure that such enterprise does not abuse its dominant position.

6.  Agreements and Anti-Competitive Agreements under the Act.

An agreement for the purpose of the Act includes any arrangement, understanding or concerted action entered into between parties. It need not be in writing or formal or intended to be enforceable in law.

4.4 The Act prohibits anti-competitive agreements including cartels, abuse of dominant position, regulates combinations which includes mergers, amalgamations and acquisitions. An anti-competitive agreement is an agreement having appreciable adverse effect on competition.  Anti-competitive agreements may include, but not limited to:(i) Horizontal Agreements to : (i) fix prices; (ii) limit production and/or supply;(iii) allocate markets; and (iv) bid rigging or collusive bidding.(ii) Vertical Agreements including: (i) conditional purchase/sale (tie-up arrangement);(ii) exclusive supply arrangement ;(iii) exclusive distribution arrangement; (iv) refusal to deal; and (v) re-sale price maintenance.

5. Competition Commission of India (CCI)

Vide notification dated 14th October, 2003 CCI was established with head office at New Delhi. Consequently, CCI could not be made functional as a writ petition was filed before the Supreme Court. The petition was heard and while disposing of the petition on the 20th January, 2005, the Apex Court held that if an expert body is to be created by the Union Government it might be appropriate for the government to consider the creation of two separate bodies, one with expertise for advisory and regulatory functions and the other for adjudicatory functions based on the doctrine of separation of powers recognised by the constitution.  Keeping in view the judgment of the Supreme Court, the Competition (Amendment) Bill, 2006, a Money Bill within the meaning of Article 110 of the Constitution was introduced in the Lok Sabha on the 9th March, 2006. Under Article 117(1) read with (3), the Bill was referred for examination and report to the Parliamentary Standing Committee and taking into account the report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee the Parliament passed the Bill and the President assent was received on 25th September, 2006.

6. Salient features of Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007

Amendments to the Act through the Competition (Amendment) Act, 2007 pertaining to CCI/Commission are as follows:

(i)                 CCI shall be an expert body with functions of a market regulator for prevention and regulation of anti-competitive practices in the country in accordance with the Act. It would also have advisory and advocacy functions in its role as regulator.

(ii)               Mandatory notice is required to be served on the Commission for merger or combination by a person or enterprise within thirty days.  Commission shall have power of imposing penalty of up to one per cent of the total turnover or  assets, whichever is higher, on a person or enterprise which fails to give notice of merger or combination to the Commission as per the provisions of the Act.

(iii)             CAT shall be established which shall be a 3 member quasi judicial body headed by a person who is or has been  a judge of Supreme Court or the Chief Justice of a High Court . CAT shall hear and dispose of appeals against direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Commission.

(iv)              CAT shall adjudicate claims on compensation and passing of orders for the recovery of compensation from an enterprise for loss or damage suffered as a result of any contravention of the provisions of the Act.

(v)                Orders of CAT shall be implemented as a decree of a civil court.

(vi)             Filing appeal against orders of the CAT shall be to the Supreme Court.

(vii)           Imposition of  penalty by the Commission for contravention of its orders and in certain cases of continued contravention a penalty which may extend to Rs 25 crores or imprisonment which may extend to 3 years or with both as the Chief Metropolitan Magistrate, Delhi may deem fit and  may impose.

(viii)         MRTP Commission will continue upto two years after constitution CCI for trying pending cases under the MRTP Act after which it would stand dissolved.  MRTP Commission shall not entertain any new case after the CCI is duly constituted. Cases remaining pending after 2 years period would be transferred to the CAT or the National Commission under the CPA depending on the nature of cases.

The announcement of MCA on 28th August 2009 on the operation of CCI from 1st September, 2009 is in the above lines.

7. Anti-competitive agreements and regulations on combinations

Ss 3 to 6 under Chapter II of the Act is the substantive portion of the Act and restricts: (i) anti-competitive agreements,(ii) abusive dominant position, (iii) combination, and (iv) regulation of combinations. Under the provisions,  anti competitive agreements are restricted and no enterprise or association of enterprises or persons shall enter into any agreement in respect of  production supply, distribution, storage, acquisition  or control of goods or provision of services which cause or is likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competitive agreement. However, pursuant to section 3(5) of the act the provisions do not cover the following agreements/restrictions/protections:

i)        protection of right in respect of the following intellectual property rights :

(a)    the Copyright Act,1957;

(b)    the Patent Act,1970

(c)    the Trade Mark Act,1999

(d)    the Geographical Indication Registration Act,1999

(e)    The Design Act,2000;and

(f)     The Semi- Conductor Integrated Circuits Layout Design Act, 2000.

ii)   The right of any person, export of goods from India to the extent to which the agreement relates exclusively to the production, supply, distribution or control of goods or provision of services for such export.

8. Discussion on the provisions of Competition

8.1. The Competition Act discards the concept of dominant undertaking which was included in the MRTP Act. It provides that an entity having dominant position is not per se bad unless such dominance is declared illegal as per the Act. Dominance is said to be abused when there is an appreciable adverse effect on competition due to an action undertaken.

8.2. The Competition Act regulates the operation and activities of combination, a term which contemplates acquisitions, merger, joint venture, take-over or amalgamation. No person or enterprise shall enter into a combination to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within the relevant market in India and a combination of enterprises causing adverse effect on competition shall be void and the enterprise will have to face penalty as per the Act. Combination has a wide meaning and includes acquisition of shares, acquisition of control by an enterprise over another and amalgamation between or amongst enterprises. Combination that exceeds the threshold limits specified in the Act in terms of asset or turnover which causes or is likely to cause an appreciable adverse effect on competition within the relevant market in India, can be scrutinized by the Commission.

9. Combination

9.1 In the case of combination, the threshold limits are:

(i)  Joint assets of the enterprises of the value of more than Rs 1000 crore or joint turnover is more than Rs 3000 crore. In case either or both of the enterprises have assets/turnover in and outside India then the joint assets of the enterprises value more than  USD 500 million including at least Rs 500 crore in India or turnover is more than USD 1500 million including at least Rs 1500 crore in India.

(ii)  Joint assets of enterprises of the value of  more than Rs 4000 crore or joint turnover is more than Rs 12,000 crore, if the party being acquired or remaining after merger or created as a result of amalgamation belongs to a group. In case such party has assets/turnover in and outside India, then the joint assets of the group value more than USD 2 billion, including at least Rs 500 crore in India or turnover is more than USD 6 billion including at least Rs 1,500 crore in India.

9.2 Any firm proposing to enter into a combination, may, at its option, notify the Commission in the specified form disclosing the details of the proposed combination within 7 days of such proposal.

10. Procedure of Investigation by CCI.

10.1 If CCI is of the opinion that a combination is likely to cause or has caused adverse effect on competition, it shall issue a notice to show cause the parties as to why investigation in respect of such combination shall not be conducted. On receipt of the response from the party, if CCI is of the prima facie opinion that the combination has or is likely to have appreciable adverse effect on competition, it may direct publication of details inviting objections of public and hear them, if considered appropriate. It may invite any person likely to be affected by the combination to file his objections. CCI may also enquire whether the disclosure made in the notice is correct and the combination is likely to have an adverse effect on competition. The Commission shall approve the combination if no appreciable adverse effect on competition is found. It shall disapprove of combination in case of appreciable adverse effect on competition. CCI may propose suitable modification as accepted by the parties.

10.2 During the course of any proceeding before the CCI, the Central Government may make a reference for opinion if any party raises an issue that the decision of the authority is likely to be contrary to the provision of the Competition Act, 2002 as amended in 2007. The Central Government in formulation of policy relating to competition may seek opinion of the CCI. On reference, CCI is mandatorily required to give its views within 60 days.


11. Government Clarification

Formation of CCI has caused the Government to clarify to the various queries raised on combination as the business circles opine that there is likely to be curbs by the Government on enterprises .The Government was quick in clarifying that 90 per cent of mergers and acquisitions deals for the enterprises falling within the brackets stated would be cleared within two months as against the 210 days period provided in the Act. MCA has said that only in 5 to 10 per cent of the cases, CCI would require additional time in the larger interest of the country, to investigate the anti-competitive practices.

12. Opinions on the restrictions on combinations

12.1 Views expressed during the phase of implementation of the Act include fear that the Competition Act would impede M&As. It is felt that the current provisions of the Act will kill all M&A deals falling in its ambit, hamper FDI inflow and affect the growth of the economy in general. It is expected to result in loss of transactions, delay the opportunities for absorption of advanced technologies and growth.

12.2 MCA have clarified time and again that the objective of the CCI is to check the monopolistic and restrictive trade practices followed by certain industries through illegal tie-ups and M&As.

12.3 Study done by Grant Thornton, a consultancy firm has found that the value of domestic M&A deals declined during the year 2007 although cross border M&A deals hit a new high in the same year.  Value of domestic deals declined from USD 6.9 billion in 2005 to USD 4.99 billion in 2006 and to USD 2.83 in 2007 even though the volume increased form 151 deals in 2005 to 214 deals in 2006 and to 313 deals in 2007 the study said. Deals further declined during 2008 and 2009 due to the world financial crises which hit enterprises resulting in a spate of bankruptcies.

13. Competition Compliance Programme

13.1 The efficacy of the Act will be seen in its implementation and show whether the Act implemented replacing MRTP Act is in the right direction for the economy. When an enterprise takes certain steps to ensure that knowingly or unknowingly it does not infringe the provisions of the Act, it can be stated to maintain a `Competition Compliance Programme’ (`CCP’). A CCP should include the under mentioned three main objectives:

(i) prevent violation of  the Competition Act, rules, regulations and orders made there under ;

(ii) Promote a culture of compliance; and

(iii) Encourage good corporate citizenship.

13.2 As the consequences of non-compliance may be serious, enterprises are expected to have in place their compliance programs so as to avoid violation of the provisions of competition law and promote the culture of compliance down the line. For effective compliance of the enactment a Compliance Officer with appropriate delegation of authority be appointed to ensure CCP. The Compliance Officer should be preferably be an independent professional with expertise and core competency in compliance management.

13.3 With a CCP in place in an enterprise there is limited chance of violating the provisions of competition law. An efficient CCP in place may reduce the severity of punishment that may be inflicted on an enterprise for violation. An enterprise will look forward to the Company Secretary to guide the management in devising and implementing the CCP to meet the challenges to be faced by an enterprise with the CCI coming into operation to foster growth by check unethical practices in business.

LEGAL NEWS 16.04.2010

HC dismisses PIL seeking take over of BCCI by Centre
16 Apr 2010, 1958 hrs IST,PTI
MADURAI: The Madurai bench of the Madras High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the Union Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports
Welfare and Finance ministry to take over administration of the cricket board to promote the game and charity effectively and transparently. Justices F M Ibrahim Kalifullah and K B K Vasuki said if the petitioner felt the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) was not meeting the objectives of society, then he could complain to the registrar of societies. “If they violated income tax rules, then the same could be taken up with the I-T department,” the court said. The petitioner could not straightaway file a PIL without approaching the authorities concerned to get a proper remedy for his grievance, the bench held. The petitioner B Stalin, a city advocate, contended that the BCCI, under the category of a charitable institution received grants, donations and contributions and enjoyed tax exemption (till 2006-07). But it was not spending even eight per cent of its total income to promote the game. The cricket body has billions of rupees as surplus in its account, but lacked infrastructure, he said. He claimed that certain activities of BCCI were totally commercial and there was no element of charity in its conduct, the major income arises not from the game, but from business of cricket. BCCI’s intention was to promote business and not the game, he charged. PTI

Delhi govt shows apex court how it is curbing begging
Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA
Friday, April 16, 2010 0:45 IST
New Delhi: Sheila Dikshit government, which has been indicted by the Delhi high court for denying safety equipments to a large number of workers engaged in construction sites of the fast approaching Commonwealth Games, has sought to pacify an anguished Supreme Court saying it is committed to curb begging in the capital.
Additional solicitor general Mohan Parasaran on Thursday listed steps the government has taken in this regard and said 13 anti-begging teams have been formed to round up beggars and also declared certain areas “zero-tolerance zones”.
Besides, two exclusive mobile courts are already in operation for conducting trial of beggars, the government said in an affidavit.
The government affidavit came in response to a PIL seeking direction to the authorities to check increasing menace of begging in Delhi and taking appropriate steps for their rehabilitation.
In a matching development relating to the plight of the hard-pressed worker force striving to make the Games a success, a Delhi HC bench headed by chief justice Madan B Lokur asked Dikshit government and all civic authorities in the capital to register all labourers working in different sites and provide them safety equipments.
Seeking details of workers employed at various sites and the contractors who have employed them, the HC expressed concern at violation of basic rights of the workers.
A committee set up by the HC had pointed out that workers at the Games’ construction sites were not being paid minimum wages and made to work overtime for no extra money.
It had also recommended “exemplary fine” to be levied on errant authorities and stressed the need for stringent steps to start time-bound registration of workers and extend to them benefits like weekly offs and hygienic living conditions.
A PIL filed by People’s Union for Democratic Rights (PUDR) said the workers, ignorant about their rights, were housed in “crowded hovels” with no protection during winter. They don’t have electricity and live in filthy atmosphere and don’t have toilets.
PUDR had sought insurance, wage slips, weekly offs and proper medical care for about 4.15 lakh workers.

PIL filed against Tharoor over IPL row
fe Bureaus Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 2330 hrs ISTUpdated: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 2330 hrs IST
New Delhi: A Delhi-based lawyer on Tuesday moved the Supreme Court seeking a CBI or a high-level probe into the alleged role of minister of state for external affairs Shashi Tharoor in the purchase of Kochi’s IPL team by a consortium, which also includes one of his friends.
“As per reports coming, there are records which proves that 5% free equity was given to Sunanda Pushkar, Tharoor’s woman friend, in the franchise. This figure has been confirmed by IPL sources,” the PIL stated.
“It is shocking news that for everybody that some influence was exercised by a Union minister and this is evident by the fact that fiancee of the minister got a stake of around Rs 70 crore free,” the petition which is yet to be listed for hearing before the apex court said. fe Bureau

Nirma plant: High Court reserves judgment on PIL
Express News Service
Posted: Friday , Apr 16, 2010 at 0134 hrs Ahmedabad:
The Gujarat High Court on Thursday reserved its judgment on a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) challenging the state government’s decision to allocate 268 hectares in Mahuva taluka of Bhavnagar district to Nirma Limited for a cement plant.
The final arguments by both sides concluded on Thursday before the Division Bench of Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi.
The state government has granted 268 hectares to Nirma Limited to set up a cement plant in the region. But the move has faced opposition from the local farmer community led by Mahuva BJP legislator Dr Kanu Kalsaria.
The Shree Mahuva Bandhara Khetiwadi Pariyavaran Bachav Samittee had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in the HC in 2009 praying direction to the state government to cancel allocation of the land to Nirma Limited.
Petitioner lawyer Anand Yagnik had argued before the HC that the allocation of land was in complete violation of the HC order.
He said 222 of the 268 hectares is part of a water body, which came into existence after prolonged efforts to build check dams in the area to check salinity ingress.
Besides, the HC order states that such land on which water bodies are situated, cannot be acquired by anybody for any purpose.
The petition had further contended that though the water body was identified, it was for some unknown reason, not notified as a water body.
The state government and Nirma Limited have, on the other hand, contended that the cement plant will not come up on any water body and that the land allocation has been done after considerable debate at various levels.
Advocate General Kamal Trivedi and senior Supreme Court Counsel Dushyant Dave argued on behalf of the state government and Nirma Limited respectively.

Kudko murder case transferred, a day before judgement–a-day-before-judgement
Giridih (Jharkhand), Apr 16 (PTI) The Kudko murder case in which Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren is the lone accused has been transferred to another court, a day before its judgement was to be delivered.The First Additional District Sessions Judge, N N Singh, who had concluded hearing and reserved the judgement in the case, yesterday sent a letter to District and Sessions Judge, Sanjay Prasad requesting him to transfer the case from his court to any other court “due to some reasons”.Court officials said here today that a court order for transfer of the case from Singh’s court to Additional District Judge Mohammad Qasim’s court has been released.On April 3, First ADJ, N N Singh, had concluded hearing in the 36-year-old case and set tomorrow as the date for delivering the verdict.

Tata Power moves SC seeking review of judgement
New Delhi, Apr 15 (PTI) Tata Power today approached the Supreme Court seeking a review of its judgement given on stand by charge of electricity, directing the company could not unilaterally increase the tariff for BSES.The petition seeking a review of the October 17, 2003 order was mentioned by the Tata Power Ltd before a bench comprising Justice Altamas Kabir, Justice Cyriac Joseph and Justice Deepak Verma.However, the bench directed Tata Power that the as per normal rules, it would be reviewed in the chambers only and not in the open court.In its petition, Tata Power has submitted the apex court had on March 19, 2009, held that the state Electricity Board had the requisite jurisdiction to revise a tariff till such time Electricity Regulatory Commission was constituted.

PIL on Kochi IPL scam withdrawn from SC, filed in Delhi HC
TNN, Apr 16, 2010, 01.56am IST
NEW DELHI: When the Supreme Court showed no urgency to hear a PIL seeking CBI probe into Union minister Shashi Tharoor’s role in facilitating a consortium’s bid for the Kochi IPL franchise, the petitioner withdrew his plea and moved the Delhi High Court. Petitioner advocate Ajay Agrawal on Thursday morning mentioned his petition before an SC Bench comprising Justices S H Kapadia and Swatanter Kumar seeking urgent hearing on the ground that there had been huge tax evasion, surreptitious infusion of money and suspected involvement of hawala and black money. But the Bench asked just one question: “What is the urgency?” When the petitioner could not give cogent reasons for urgency, the Bench refused to fast-track the hearing and directed that the petition be posted for hearing in the usual course. Agrawal waited for a few minutes and dramatically requested the court to permit him to withdraw the PIL as he wanted to move the Delhi HC. The Bench obliged and dismissed it as withdrawn. Within hours of withdrawing his petition, Agrawal was in Delhi HC and filed his plea with minor changes. The prayers in the PIL withdrawn from the SC and filed in HC were identical — direct CBI, or constitute a special investigating team (SIT), to probe the matter within a week and submit a report. It said though the junior minister for external affairs had all along been claiming to be the mentor of the Kochi franchisee’s bid for next edition of IPL, “the transfer of equity, valued at around Rs 70 crore, without any consideration, to a person so close to the minister, raised many questions”. Appearing before a division Bench headed by acting Chief Justice A P Shah, Agrawal reiterated his prayer. Though HC agreed to hear his petition, it refused to grant early hearing to the matter.

NSE comes under RTI ambit, says Delhi HC
April 16, 2010 11:32 IST

The Delhi [ Images ] High Court on Thursday said the National Stock Exchange was a public authority and was bound to reveal information under the Right to Information Act.
Justice Sanjiv Khanna dismissed NSE’s plea that it could not be forced to disclose information under the transparency law since it was an autonomous body and not controlled by the government.
The court upheld the decision of the Central Information Commission, which had declared stock exchanges a public authority. The CIC, in 2007, had held that stock exchanges were “quasi” governmental bodies that are bound to disclose information to the public under the RTI Act.
“A stock exchange, being a quasi-governmental body working under the statute and exercising statutory powers, has to be held to be a public authority under the Act,” the Commission had said, while directing the NSE to put in place a mechanism for the purpose.
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HC offers mediation to solve family dispute
Utkarsh Anand
Posted: Friday , Apr 16, 2010 at 0200 hrs New delhi:
Unable to offer help in a legal battle being fought between a mother and her sons, a Delhi High Court judge has offered the parties an alternative solution — help of the mediation centre.
“This court can do no more than advise the parties to bridge the gap by taking recourse to mediation proceedings. If and when the parties desire to do so, the Delhi High Court Mediation and Conciliation Centre will ensure senior and experienced mediators assist the parties in resolving the dispute between mother and sons for the acquisition of property…” Justice Reva Khetrapal said in her recent order.
Adjudicating the petition of the woman, in her late 50s, Justice Khetrapal noted that at the heart of the matter were two different wills that gave the right over a certain property separately to the mother and her sons.
The petition by the woman had sought a declaration by the court that she was the co-owner of a property in Shanti Niketan, the front portion of which had been let out to the British High Commission. She had submitted the will prepared by her father in 1985 whereby she was categorically termed the owner of 50 per cent of the house, comprising the rear portion of the building.
Another will prepared by the woman’s mother in 2003 bequeathed, among other properties, the Shanti Niketan house to her grandchildren — the petitioner’s sons.
The sons had recently written to the British High Commission, informing that the rent should be paid to them and not their mother. During this time, the woman was staying abroad with her husband, an IFS officer, on his official deputation.
After the High Commission intimated her of the letter, she filed a suit in the High Court seeking declaration of her right and a restraint order against her sons.
The sons argued on the basis of the second will but also made it clear to the judge that they did not want to throw their mother out of the house — they only sought legal permission to stay in the same house.
Justice Khetrapal noted that the second will, awarding ownership to the sons could not to be held legally tenable as the woman was the co-owner, as established by authentic documents. “The balance of convenience is also in favour of the plaintiff, who is presently in possession and is admittedly very sick, apart from being advanced in years,” the judge noted.
When the sons requested for a place in the house, the court expressed its inability to pass such an order and noted that was essentially a family matter.

HC restrains Loyola College from collecting ‘excessive’ fees
D Suresh Kumar, TNN, Apr 16, 2010, 04.05am IST
CHENNAI: The Madras high court has retrained Loyola College, a leading government-aided arts and science college in Chennai, from collecting excess fees from students in the coming academic year. Significantly, the college has not denied the allegations that it was collecting excess fees. In a related development, the director of collegiate education has informed the court that a special audit of accounts would be undertaken at Loyola College to verify allegations about collection of excess fees raised by the Tamil Nadu Catholic Minorities Welfare Association, Choolaimedu. The association’s secretary, V Amalraj, had in a petition alleged that as against the government-fixed fee of Rs 265 for the arts group courses (BA) conducted with the government aid, the college was collecting Rs 5,146 per semester. The college was charging approximately Rs 10,000 per annum from students who joined courses in the science stream (BSc), as against the government-fixed fee of Rs 500, he said. The petitioner argued that since the college received the government aid, it has to charge the fees as prescribed by the state government. “Respondents (Loyola and its management) have filed a counter. They have not denied this allegation in any way. To a specific allegation, a specific denial is expected,” the first bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Justice V Dhanapalan observed in their interim order. The judges said that in the absence of any specific denial from the college, there is no reason why they should not accept the allegations made in the petition. Pointing out that the college secretary had informed the court that he would submit a proposal to the director of collegiate education regarding the fee structure for approval and accordingly charge the fee, the judges said, “It is also clear that there is no such approval as of now.” Noting that the government audit will take time, the judges said: “The new academic year is going to start shortly in June or July 2010. Respondents cannot be permitted to charge excess fee, about which a clear allegation is made in the petition, to which there is no specific denial. In the circumstances, the petition is allowed.”

HC cancels appointment of Panchmahals school principal
Express News Service
Posted: Friday , Apr 16, 2010 at 0344 hrs Ahmedabad:
The Gujarat High Court (HC) has cancelled the appointment of a school principal in Panchmahals district allegedly done under the influence of her relative who was a member of the selection panel.
The case pertains to Gayatri Vidhya Mandir in Hardaspur village of Lunavada taluka. A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice S J Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi directed the authorities to start the appointment process afresh and complete it within three months. The Bench was acting on a petition filed by the Jai Khodiyar Yuvak Mandal trust, which is handling the management of the school.
According to Mamta Vyas, the petitioner’s lawyer, the post of principal was vacated in 2007. Subsequently, a selection panel started the process to recruit the new principal. One Leela Patel, who worked as Assistant Teacher in the school also applied to the post. She happened to be the sister-in-law of Mangaldas Patel, the vice-president of the trust. Mangaldas was also one of the members of the selection panel.
After the completion of the selection process, Leela emerged as the second preference for the post. But Vyas said that one Paras Pandya who was selected as the first preference, withdrew his candidature under duress from Leela and Mangaldas. Pandya had also written a letter to this effect to the District Education Officer.
Following Pandya’s withdrawal, Leela was appointed the principal. The trust, however, challenged the appointment calling it a case of nepotism by Mangaldas. The single judge bench of the HC had upheld the appointment. The trust challenged the order in the Division Bench.
Vyas said the Division Bench quashed the order of the single judge bench and cancelled the appointment of Leela as principal. It also ordered the DEO to initiate the appointment process afresh and finish it within three months.

SHRC cannot direct government: HC
Express News Service
First Published : 16 Apr 2010 04:35:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 16 Apr 2010 08:12:10 AM IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Thursday said that the findings of the State Human Rights Commissions should be treated as recommendations and not directions to the government.
The HC’s remarks came while disposing off the petition filed by Deputy Superintendent of Police of Uttara Kannada district and six other police personnel. The division bench headed by Justice Manjula Chellur observed that the findings of SHRC need not be treated as directions, the SHRC can only recommend the government to take actions against erring police officials.
The SHRC on October 23, 2009 recommended the then Chief Secretary to suspend police officers of Karwar district for human rights violations against the villagers who were protesting against proposed Hankon Thermal Power project in the district.
The SHRC had also recommended the state to suspend Babu D Kolekar, SP of Karwar and also DySP of Anti Naxal Force and other six policemen.

PIL against ban on two-wheelers on JJ Flyover
By Anand Holla
Posted On Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 02:01:20 AM

Trashing the traffic police for banning two-wheelers on the J J flyover, since April 1, a PIL was filed before the Bombay High Court today, seeking quashing of the order which is “depriving the two-wheeler riders the benefit of saving precious travel time and fuel.” The police should keep a watch on errant motorists and ensure upkeep of the signboards and devices on the flyover to prevent accidents, the PIL says.
The petition filed by Salim Shaikh of the NGO Impact, through lawyer Mubin Solkar, says that until May 2001 – when the 2.4 km-long flyover was inaugurated – the congested Mohammad Ali Road replete with narrow lanes was notorious for its round-the-clock traffic. “Motorists would take almost 35-40 minutes to cover the stretch.The government found constructing the flyover to be the only solution to resolve the daily traffic snarls,” the petition states, adding that the flyover shrunk the 35 minute-travel time to five minutes even during peak hours.Referring to the traffic police statistics of 31 fatal accidents having occurred in the last five years, 23 of which involved two-wheelers, the petition attributes it to several factors like rash driving by both two-wheeler and four-wheeler motorists, and also the police’s failure in safeguarding the flyover.The petition elaborates, “Instead of this ban, the police should initiate effective measures like reinstalling latest safety gadgetry like cat-eyes, speed regulators, high-powered reflectors, warning boards etc.” Calling the banning decision ‘wholly arbitrary, illegal and in violation of basic rights of two-wheeler riders’, the petition says that the police is only trying to use a short-cut to escape from its basic duty of ensuring accident-free commuting on the flyover.Solkar said, “ The police must undertake serious traffic safety measures and step up vigil to ensure all rules are followed.Also, like on Bandra-Worli Sea Link, the police here should install proper signboards, fresh cat-eyes, which get stolen from J J flyover and never get replaced.For instance, three cm-thick speed arresters are put in a zig-zag manner on the BWSL, while on J J flyover they are one cm-thick and are put in a straight line.Obviously, bikers cheat these arresters on J J, by maneouvring their way out.” The petition also points out that one of the drastic fallouts of the ban has been an increase in fuel consumption by motorists, as what consumed 62.5 ml of petrol for a flyover commute now takes around 500 ml of petrol to cover the same stretch below the flyover.

Joint plea by insurers against Sebi order seen
Khyati Dharamsi / DNA
Thursday, April 15, 2010 2:53 IST
Mumbai: Haze hangs heavy over unit linked insurance plans (Ulips) a good five days after Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) passed an order barring 14 insurance companies from collecting premiums from such policies.
On Wednesday, with offices and markets closed for Ambedkar Jayanti, conjectures and speculations flew fast and furious over the next move of the key stakeholders — the government, Sebi and Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (Irda), and the insurance companies, among others.
The government reiterated that it wants Sebi and Irda to move court immediately to decide once for all who should have jurisdiction over Ulips.
“We want them to go to the court at the soonest. The larger issue on who has the regulatory oversight authority (over Ulips)… will be decided by the court. We want them to go to the court at the soonest,” finance secretary, Ashok Chawla said.
“Irda and Sebi will jointly settle the issue in courts as suggested by the minister,” Irda chairman J Hari Narayan said, without specifying when or where the legal battle would start.
At the same time, Chawla told reporters there was nothing wrong with Sebi’s Tuesday order asking insurance companies to get a clearance from it in case they want to launch a new Ulip. Sebi’s contention is that the bulk of the Ulip premium is invested and only a minuscule portion goes towards insurance, which makes makes the structure of these schemes very similar to that of mutual funds.
Irda, however, asked insurance companies to ignore this order just as it had asked them to ignore the earlier order. “There is no fresh clarification. The earlier one stands good,” Hari Narayan said.
A Sebi spokesperson said it being a holiday any decision would come only on Thursday.
Lawyers in the city weren’t sure what the procedure for filing a joint reference would be. “There are two writ courts —- High Court and Supreme Court. There is a need for clarification on what is a joint reference,” says Somasekhar Sundaresan, partner at J Sagar Associates.
Lawyers said the case could be filed in any high court by either Sebi or the 14 life insurance companies whose products had been banned in the first place.
“Irda was not given a notice and hence it cannot file a case. It can only be one of the parties,” Archit Jayakar, a solicitor with KJSV Solicitors & Advocates, said.
The 14 life insurers could either file a joint petition or file a case through a recognised body such as the Life Insurance Council, lawyers said.
“In all likelihood, it would be a joint petition by the insurers with Irda being one of the parties. If the 14 life insurers file cases separately, then a directive on any one case will be applicable to all others,” Jaykar said.
Queering the pitch somewhat is a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by one Rajendra Thacker against the Sebi order in the Bombay High Court, although some lawyers make light of it.
“The PIL doesn’t have much substance, as they have said the investors are suffering anxiety. But it is not that through the decision on the regulatory overlapping that all the Ulips issued are going to be made void,” Jayakar said. “The PIL doesn’t usurp the power from the ministry to negotiate. It doesn’t prevent Sebi or Irda from going to court. All that can happen is that they might give them a certain timeframe to decide.”
Another set of lawyers, however, believes the legal proceedings would be different now, since a PIL has been filed.
“A public interest litigation has been filed and now the court will direct all concerned parties to resolve their differences in the larger public interest,” said Shreyas Patel, partner at Majmudar & Co. It is clear that the courts will decide the issue.
“Now that the issue has moved out of the domain of regulation, the genie of the quasi-judicial order cannot be put back in the bottle even by Sebi,” Sandeep Parekh, faculty member at IIM Ahmedabad and former executive director (legal affairs) at Sebi, wrote on his blog.
According to Parekh, ignoring the Sebi order on new Ulips could land insurance companies in some trouble. “The insurance regulator setting the order aside is an attempt to do what only the Securities Appellate Tribunal, high court or the Supreme Court can do, and is patently illegal and contrary to basic rule of law principles… What happens if the insurance industry breaches the order without a stay order? The only thing Sebi does on breach of its orders is file criminal prosecution —- mainly because it has no other tool to enforce its power,” he wrote.
“…no court will entertain a mediation between two regulators (or any two persons). The Supreme Court has repeatedly stated that it will not (and the high courts too) cannot act as mediators. They will only decide a controversy where something is legally challenged by one party against another (in a writ in this case),” he added. (With PTI inputs)

‘Some activists abuse the PIL platform’
Hetal Vyas / DNA
Thursday, April 15, 2010 1:34 IST
Mumbai: Representing the state in the Bombay high court is a dream for every lawyer. So, it was a proud moment for senior counsel Ravindra Kadam when he was appointed to the post of Advocate General of Maharashtra in March, 2005; this is his second term. He has represented the government in some of the most crucial public interest litigations. His landmark cases include the mill land case and the Alistair Pereira case. Kadam speaks to DNA on the Right to Education Act, pending cases in courts and the 9.30pm deadline for women working in bars.
How important will the Right to Education Act be in curbing child labour, and also for poor children deprived of an education due to high fees?This is a landmark Act in the history of our country and, if implemented effectively, will certainly ensure that children between the ages 6 and 14 go to school. The Act bans capitation fees for school admission and bars schools from failing students between Stds I and VIII.
What could the solution be to curb the large number of pending cases, particularly in lower courts? The bottlenecks in litigation in India are well-known. Now, what is needed is to clear them which, of course, is easier said than done. The government must always be a reluctant litigant. Another immediate step which we are intending to take, and place before the government, is to identify petty offences under various statutes and get them speedily disposed of, but for this the most important thing needed is the cooperation of the bar.
Is the state government doing enough to protect social activists? It is. The government has taken a very serious view of the attacks and has instituted a mechanism to ensure that bona fide activists are protected. I have asked the ACS Home and the DGP to issue instructions to all police stations, which has been done. However, a few people masquerading as ‘activists’ abuse the PIL platform to blackmail others. Hence, there is a need to segregate the two so that the real activists are protected.
There is a new trend in more and more law graduates opting for corporate jobs over practising law. How will this affect judicial work?This is not a new trend. Everyone who attends law college is not cut out for court practice. Only those with an aptitude for litigation and huge patience should join the bar. With globalisation the opportunities for law graduates increasing manifold, it is but natural that students will get distributed. What is more important is that non-litigation practice globally employs 10 times more lawyers, so that gets reflected in India as well. If I was a young law graduate I would think really hard before joining the litigation side of practice.
Will declaration of assets by judges really make a difference? It will boost public confidence in the judiciary. Other than that it will have no impact whatsoever. Look, we have to be very careful in selecting our judges but once appointed it is essential that we trust them completely. The present system of selection of judges is grossly inadequate to meet the needs and expectations of our people.
Did the government seek your opinion on reconsidering the 9.30pm deadline rule for women working in bars, after the HC compared the state to Nazis Germany?Firstly, the high court didn’t say that. Every rhetorical question posed by a judge during the course of an argument is not a judgment. And, no, as of now I have not been asked.

‘What is the illegality in promoting Kochi franchise?’
April 14, 2010 19:07 IST

Shashi Tharoor [ Images ] and controversy have become synonymous in recent times.
The latest one concerns the Union Minister’s involvement in the Koch franchise deal and his subsequent standoff with IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi over the issue, following the latter’s disclosure of the names, in his Twitter account on Sunday, of the free equity holders in Rendezvous Sports World, which eventually bagged the franchise.
What makes matters worse is a petition filed in the Suprem Court on Tuesday seeking a CBI probe into Tharoor’s alleged proxy stakes in the franchise.
Ajay K Agrawal, the petitioner, has contended that the Minister of State for External Affairs had used his official position to help get 19 per cent of the stakes (pegged around Rs 70 crore) in the Rs 1533-crore franchise, free to Sunanda Pushkar.
Though Agrawal has reportedly said that he would make a plea before the apex court seeking early hearing of his petition, there aren’t many who are convinced about the same.
“It is ridiculous,” says lawyer Rahul Mehra, adding, “This PIL could have been pre-planned because it seems to have been filed overnight. The main player in it is something that needs to be understood.”
Mehra, who took the Board of Control for Cricket in India [ Images ] to court a few years back and forced it to become more transparent, doesn’t hide his disappointment over the petition.
“It seems, these days anybody can file a PIL,” he says. “I don’t know if it is independently filed or motivated, but you need to do a lot of investigations before you proceed to file one.
“I have filed three PILs myself and it takes about two years to file one,” he explains.
The minister in question, Tharoor, has all along denied having a stake in the Kochi franchise, saying he played merely a facilitator’s role.
And the lawyer, who has now filed a PIL against almost all major sporting bodies in India demanding them to come clean, also doesn’t believe Tharoor is at fault in this case.
“According to me, his office has not been misused in any way,” says Mehra.
“He perhaps shouldn’t have promoted the franchise per se but what is the illegality in it?
“If one can prove that he has been given a free equity, then there’s definitely a case of corruption. But that is not the case and, therefore, there’s no case of corruption, but only impropriety, if at all.”
Mehra goes to the extent of saying that the PIL will lead to nowhere.
“I don’t think the PIL will achieve anything. In fact, I am surprised that it hasn’t been dismissed yet,” he says.
Whether the PIL achieves its purpose or not remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is the fact that this is definitely not the Union Minister’s last tryst with controversy.
Bikash Mohapatra in Mumbai

Scheme for Gujarat farmers under court scanner,scheme-gujarat-farmers-court-scanner.html
Published on : Thursday 15 Apr 2010 16:46 – by IANS
The Gujarat High Court has questioned the central and state governments over alleged irregularities in implementation of a scheme for farmers in the state.
A division bench of Chief Justice S.J. Mukhopadhaya and Justice Akil Kureshi sought the clarification over a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Vikramsinh Chudasama alleging misappropriation of funds in the central government-supported Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY).
After admitting the PIL, the division bench issued notices Wednesday evening to the authorities and posted the matter for hearing May 3.
The petitioner alleged government officials and few heads of village councils in Ahmedabad district were involved in corrupt practices.
According to the petitioner, Rs.1.5 crore was allocated to Gujarat State Land Development Corporation Limited under RKVY for the schemes meant for farmers in villages of Ahmedabad district.
The funds were to be used for construction of ponds and small water bodies in farms and for other activities for the benefit of farmers.
The petition alleged: “The authorities have shown the dead as living, obtained false thumb impressions and forged signatures of those who are not even present in the village, and made out consent letters in their names to carry out the work.”
According to the petition, 565 of 1,150 farmers were covered by the scheme. Not all of them were given the full benefits.
The petition said a total 113 ponds were to be constructed but only 79 were actually built. The remaining 34 were never built but in records the officials showed them as completed.
Against the actual expenditure of Rs.4,150,000, the records showed the cost of construction works as Rs.5,386,000, the petition alleged.
Copyright Indo Asian News

Boy blinded, school pressures mother–school-pressures-mother/606856/
Agencies Posted: Thursday, Apr 15, 2010 at 1446 hrs ISTUpdated: Thursday, Apr 15, 2010 at 1446 hrs IST
Mumbai: The mother of a seven-year-old, who lost vision in one of his eyes after a mishap in his school, has approached the police alleging that she is been pressurized by the school authorities to withdraw the case filed against them.
Sherbano Khan has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court seeking guidelines for having a safe environment for children in municipal-run schools.
Sherbano’s son Sohail Mohammad, a second standard student in a municipal run school in suburban Sion, lost sight in his left eye when one of his classmates accidentally jabbed a pencil into Sohail’s eye on January 15.
According to Sherbano, his teacher in spite of being informed about the incident did not take any immediate steps to provide medical aid or treatment to Sohail.
The Bombay High Court has last week directed the school authorities and BMC Commissioner to file their reply on Sherbano’s PIL.
“The school authorities and local Muslim bodies are pressuring Sherbano to withdraw the PIL, failing which they would remove Sohail from the school and ensure that he would not get admission in any other school in the city,” Sherbano’s lawyer Shakeel Ahmed said.
Sherbano has now filed a complaint with the Antop Hill police

Delhi HC asks govt, civic bodies to register CWG workers
Updated on Thursday, April 15, 2010, 19:52 IST
New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday directed the government and civic bodies to register all labourers working in Commonwealth Games projects and provide them safety equipment. A bench headed by acting Chief Justice Madan B Lokur also asked them to provide details regarding workers employed at various sites and the contractors under which they were working.
The High Court passed the order after taking into consideration findings of a report which pointed out violation of human rights of workers involved in construction work at various sites of the games. The High Court on April seven had sought a response from the Delhi government on whether it could implement a court-appointed panel’s recommendations relating to fixing of wages and working conditions of labourers employed at sites across the capital. A four-member committee, appointed by the court, had said in a report that workers at Games-related construction sites were not being paid minimum wages and made to work overtime for no extra money. The panel recommended “exemplary fine” to be levied on errant authorities and said steps needed to be taken to start timebound registration of workers and extend to them benefits like weekly offs and hygienic living conditions. The committee report claimed the labourers were being exploited since they were hired by contractors who were unaware of labour laws. The report said many accidents at these sites were never reported while workers continued to work without safety gear and that muster rolls were not verified. The committee comprised Arundhati Ghose, former representative to the UN, NHRC’s special rapporteur L N Mishra besides labour commissioner and labour secretary of Delhi government. The directions were passed on a PIL filed by Peoples’ Union For Democratic Rights (PUDR) which alleged the workers were being housed in “crowded hovels” with no protection during winter and no power and filthy or no toilets. PUDR had sought the high court’s intervention to ensure the workers get insurance cover, wage slips, paid weekly offs, proper medical facilities and workmen compensation, among other things. Estimating the daily wage contract workers to number roughly 4,15,000, the PIL alleged the Games-related construction work had been granted to private contractors who provided inhuman working and living conditions for the labourers. PTI

MSU to challenge tribunal’s judgement over sacking of teachers
TNN, Apr 14, 2010, 10.33pm IST
VADODARA: MS University (MSU) is likely to challenge the tribunal’s judgement of reinstatement of five teachers, who had been recently terminated from the varsity. Vice-chancellor Ramesh Goyal, who had terminated the teachers after getting directives from the state government, is likely to approach Gujarat high court. The sacked teachers were appointed in 1998 on a conditional basis. As they had not cleared the NET examination, they were asked to clear the exams within a stipulated period, but failed to do so. “I took this decision after getting written communication from state government that these five teachers should be relieved from their services since they do not meet selection criteria. One of the terminated teachers approached the tribunal challenging MSU’s decision. The tribunal in its judgement has asked for reinstatement of terminated teachers,” said Goyal. “We are likely to challenge this decision as whatever action was taken, was done so after getting directives from state government. There were 12 teachers who were appointed in 1998 with seven of them clearing the NET. Only five of these teachers could not clear the exams, despite assuring university that they will clear the test,” added Goyal.

Woman refuses to return to NZ with kids, HC steps in
Abhinav Garg, TNN, Apr 15, 2010, 01.35am IST
NEW DELHI: A woman who came to Delhi with her kids in June last year and is refusing to go back to her matrimonial home in New Zealand has been summoned by the Delhi high court. A division bench comprising Justice A K Sikri and Justice Ajit Bharihoke recently ordered the runaway mother to be present before it on April 29, along with the two children who are citizens of New Zealand. HC was hearing a habeas corpus petition filed by the father of the kids seeking the court’s intervention to trace his wife and kids. The father has also placed on record an order by an Auckland court asking the woman to return the children back to New Zealand under the court’s guardianship. Petitioner Vineet Singh has said that he married Jaswinder (all names changed) in 2003. With Singh being a permanent resident and citizen of New Zealand, Jaswinder joined him there once the wedding was completed. Through his advocate Jauhar, Singh informed HC his wife is a resident of Rajinder Nagar and visited the city only once in the intervening years between 2003 to 2009 — during which the couple was blessed with two daughters (4 years and 2 years). In June 2009, the couple visited India.While Singh, an employee with the New Zealand government, returned to resume his job, his wife allegedly refused to return, instead preferring to stay with her parents in Rajinder Nagar since the past one year. Jauhar has further alleged that the couple, in the process of settling down in New Zealand, had jointly taken several loans, including one for a new home. Since past year in the absence of Jaswinder, the husband has been bearing the brunt of the repayments, the petition adds. Alleging that Jaswinder is hiding in Delhi to “shield herself from international law”, the petitioner has said she is guilty of flouting orders of a foreign court. The bench has asked the Rajinder Nagar police SHO to trace the mother and kids and produce them before it.

Madras HC reserves verdict on new state education policy
Submitted by admin3 on 14 April 2010 – 8:07pm.
By Shafee Ahmed Ko,,
Chennai: The Madras High Court yesterday concluded hearing on the petitions filed against “Samacheer Kalvi” (Equitable Standard of Education) policy of the state government but reserved the judgment. The much debated Samacheer Kalvi System of education has already been introduced in Tamil Nadu in phased manner commencing this academic year from June for the Class 1 and Class 6 where in Tamil and English only will be treated as examination languages.
Eleven associations of private management schools and 3 individuals, not favouring the system of education, challenged the education policy in the Madras High Court. Justice Palva Santhakumar heard the matter initially. Since the case carried legal implication and public interests, he referred it to a Division Bench. The bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice Janardha Raja took up the matter. On behalf of the petitioners senior advocates who appeared were R. Krishna Murthy, N.R. Chandran, Muthu Kumarasamy, K. Durai Samay, Venketachala Murthy and Silambannan. On behalf of the Tamil Nadu Government Additional Advocate General Wilson and Special Advocate Pleader Sankaran were present. The argument on both sides ended yesterday. The Divisional Bench reserved its judgement on the case.
It is feared that no languages other than Tamil and English will be treated for public examinations from the year 2016. The Arabic and Sanskrit Oriental schools, languages such as Urdu, Arbic, Persian, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada will be only an extinct after 2015 says P.K.Shabbir of OMEIAT (Organization of Muslim Educational Institutes and Associations of Tamil Nadu).
When TCN contacted Kunjan Rasheed Ahmed, President of India’s Best Teachers’Awardee (from President Shankar Dayal Sharma -1995) and the spokesperson of Ambur Muslim Educational Association, he pleaded ignorance of the fact whether Ambur Educational Association (A major Muslim Orgnisation in Vellore Dist TN) filed a petition against the new system of education or not. All that he informed was, “We will approach the Chief Minister M.Karunanidhi and solve the problem”. Mr. G.M. Sharif a social activist said,” A group of associations like Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada is seeking legal remedy” and he was optimistic that a favourable solutions would be obtained.

HC okays pension for ACP Tyagi
NEW DELHI: Convicted for custodial violence leading to the death of two men in his charge, Delhi Police’s retd ACP, R P Tyagi, will now get his provisional pension with arrears, the Dolce & Gabbana Bags Replica Delhi High Court has ruled.
A division bench comprising Justices Anil Kumar and M C Garg, while upholding the decision of Central Administrative Tribunal, has dismissed the appeal by ministry of home affairs.
Replica Hublot
“In the circumstances, there are no grounds to interfere with the order of CAT as no illegality has been pointed out” HC bench noted, asking the MHA to release Tyagi’s provisional pension along with arrears since February 1, 2008.
The MHA had come in appeal against CAT ruling, arguing since Tyagi was a convicted cop, the ministry had blocked his pension. However, during Replica Audemars Piguet the hearing, it transpired that Tyagi’s file is lying with the President who has to take a final call on. For Reprint Rights:

Ecole Mondiale staffer arrested for defaming ex-Bombay HC judge
Ex-principal of Indian school in Singapore ran defamatory blog about former employers, including Chief Justice Dharmadhikari

By Abhijit Sathe
Posted On Thursday, April 15, 2010 at 04:44:03 AM

A senior employee of Ecole Mondiale World School has been arrested for allegedly posting defamatory information on the Internet about his former employers, the Global Indian Foundation (GIF) of which former Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court Chadrashekhar Dharmadhikari is a governor.
Fifty-one-year-old Nandakumar Venkataraman, currently on deputation as CEO-designate of Ecole Mondiale International School, Chennai, was picked up by the Thane Cyber Crime Cell for hosting an allegedly libellous blog about the GIF’s board of governors.Venkataraman was associated with GIF’s Global Indian International School in Singapore between 2004 and 2007, when he was asked to quit after the management discovered alleged financial irregularities in the school’s accounts. “Apart from that, the school also found that he had leaked some confidential information,” Additional Police Commissioner (Crime), Prashant Burde of Thane Police, told Mumbai Mirror.
Months after leaving the Singapore school, Venkataraman allegedly co-started a ‘fake’ blog that supposedly represented parents of children studying at GIIS. Called Global Indian International School Parents Forum For A Better GIIS, this blog carried defamatory information about GIF and some of its governors, which include Dharmadhikari, scientist MGK Menon, and former Indian cricketer Chandu Borde.One of the posts about Justice Dharmadhikari blames him for the institution’s “lack of moral leadership”. Because GIF Vice President (CS Dharmadhikari) has abdicated his responsibility, failing to respond to the pleas of the parents raised in our open letter. Dharmadhikari’s ‘slip’ has clearly revealed to us, where the loyalties of this ex-’Justice’ really belong: far from the side of Justice, but closely tied to his kith, kin and clan.”When contacted, Dharmadhikari said: “There is substance in the complaint of defamation lodged by GIIS. Although I have not read the blog on a computer, I was shown hard copies of the posts which Venkataraman had posted.”GIIS also alleged that some of the school’s confidential financial documents, in his possession during his tenure, were also put up on the site.A complaint of defamation was first lodged with the Thane Police against unknown persons back in June 2008, and it took almost two years for the cops to track down Nandakumar. “Initial inquiries into the matter revealed that the blogs were posted from Singapore. Therefore, the School Authorities decided to take up the matter with police there,” Burde said.GIIS, which has 11 branches abroad and nine in, also lodged a complaint in Singapore. In April 2009, investigations revealed that a local parent, Ajith Narayanan, was co-moderator of the site. Till then, the police did not have an idea of Nandakumar’s alleged involvement. His name finally came up when Ajith Narayanan gave an affidavit accepting he was a co-moderator and making several references to Nandakumar in his statement.The Thane police then chased blog-hosts Google to provide details of blog’s Indian moderator. “It took time to collect the technical details. Only last month, we were informed that the blogs were now being posted from Chennai. A team of Thane police visited Nandakumar’s house in Chennai and seized two laptops and his mobile phone, from which the blog posts were made. “The seized articles are been sent for forensic examination and we are sure that they contain material that exists on the blogs,” said API Usha Suryavanshi.Venkataraman, who has been booked under sections 66(a) and 66(d) of the Information Technology Act, has denied involvement in the blog in his statement to the police.Advocate Sanjog Parab, legal spokesperson of GIIS, confirmed the development saying: “We had referred the matter to the Cyber Cell and the school is co-operating with the police.”

Posted by Kamal Kumar Pandey (Adv. Supreme Court of India) at Friday, April 16,

LEGAL NEWS 14.04.2010

Bhopal Gas disaster: CJI tells CBI not to ask for adjournments

Updated on Tuesday, April 13, 2010, 00:45 IST

Bhopal: The final arguments in the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy case began today when a court here snubbed the CBI for seeking repeated adjournments in its hearing.

CBI counsel C Sahay sought an adjournment after the court assembled this morning to which Chief Judicial Magistrate Mohan P Tiwari replied: “this only showed the lack of interest on the part of the investigating agency to proceed with the case. “I can’t adjourn the case anymore. Please don’t request for adjournments.”

In the last hearing, the CJM had asked the CBI to table the written submissions today. However, the CBI said today it needed time for the same and sought adjournment of the case’s hearing which the CJM declined.

Sahay said Additional Solicitor General Mohan Parashar will argue the case and he needed time as he was busy.

Parashar was available for the final argument for three days from June 30, the court was told.


Caste honour is above law: Haryana khap leaders


Posted on Apr 13, 2010 at 15:27 | Updated Apr 13, 2010 at 16:18

Kurukshetra: Haryana’s khap (caste) leaders have said that caste honour is bigger than law during a mahapanchayat in Kurukshetra on Tuesday. Heads of 20 caste panchayats who assembled in Haryana’s Kurukshetra have announced that they will continue to deliver Taliban-style justice to stop people from marrying within the same sub caste.

The leaders also decided to contest the verdict in the honour killing case of Manoj and Babli in which five people were sentenced to death and one was awarded life imprisonment.

The khap leaders demanded that the Haryana government write to the Centre, seeking an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act so that same-sub caste marriages are banned by law.

“At today’s khap meeting we have banned marriages within the same sub-caste and village. We want the state and the Centre to amend the Hindu Marriage Act,” said a khap leader.

The mahapanchayat also ordered the members to block the Delhi-Chandigarh highway until the state government gives into their demand.

The meeting was held in the wake of a Karnal court ruling that sentenced five people to death for killing Manoj and Babli who defied the caste dynamics and got married.

Khap leaders justified their opposition to same sub caste marriages.

“A girl and a boy from two different villages but from same sub caste cannot get married. It is against our culture. We will not tolerate this,” said a khap leader. “We don’t agree to the judgement passed by law,” said another.

“Such an incident is not permissible by our Vedic Culture. We have never accepted it in the past, nor will we accept it in future too. The culture of our village should not be interfere with and I hope it sets an example for the next generation,” said other leaders.

The mahapanchayat was organised to discuss a Karnal court’s verdict convicting six people in the honour killing case of Manoj and Babli.

The court in Karnal on March 30 had given death sentence to five people and awarded khap panchayat leader Ganga Ram life sentence for killing the young couple. The driver, who was held guilty of kidnapping the couple, was given a jail term of seven years.

All the five who have been given the death sentence are relatives of the girl, Babli. They include her brother Suresh, cousins Gurdev and Satish, uncles Baru Ram and Rajender.

Manoj, 23, had married Babli, 19 from village Karora, against the wishes of her family. They lived in Karnal town and were murdered in June 2007 after village elders accused the couple of violating the code of conduct related to marriage.

(With inputs from Jyoti Kamal)

“Writ jurisdiction for district courts”

Staff Reporter

MADURAI: The power to issue writs in the nature of habeas corpus, mandamus, prohibition, quo warranto and certiorari, among others, should not be restricted only to the Supreme Court and the High Courts. Even the District Courts should be permitted to exercise the writ jurisdiction as provided under the Constitution, according to senior counsel K.M. Vijayan.

Delivering a lecture on ‘Writ of Certiorari’ organised jointly by the Indian Law Institute and the Madurai Bench of Madras High Court Bar Association here on Thursday, the senior counsel pointed out that Article 32(3) of the Constitution enabled the Parliament to enact a law empowering any court to exercise the writ jurisdiction within the local limits of its jurisdiction.

He said that it was high time to bring in a law in accordance with Article 32(3) as it would help provide speedy justice to the common man who could approach the district courts to ventilate his grievances against the administration. He also said that the High Courts could be designated as the appellate courts to review orders passed by the lower courts.

Docket explosion

Stating that writ petitions were the major reason for the docket explosion in the High Court, he pointed out that nearly 4,700 such petitions had been filed in the Madurai Bench in the last three months. “When I took up the profession 30 years ago, around 7,000 writ petitions were filed in the Madras High Court in a year. But now, more than 40,000 writ petitions were being filed,” he said.

Mr. Vijayan was of the view that the High Courts would be relieved of their burden if the writ jurisdiction was given to district courts too. Judicial officers would also get an opportunity to get accustomed with the writ proceedings and it would help them as and when they get elevated to the High Court. “They need not take two to three years to settle down. They can straight away carry on with the work,” he said.

The senior counsel also said that the stature of district judges would be raised if they were empowered to issue writs against the Collectors, Superintendents of Police and other Government officials. Stating that district judges in many countries, including France, were authorised to issue writs against the public authorities, he said that a similar arrangement should be made in India too.

A writ of habeas corpus could be issued to free a person kept under illegal detention, while a writ of mandamus was issued to public authorities directing them to perform their official duty.

A writ of prohibition was issued to restrain a lower authority from taking up a case for want of jurisdiction and a writ of quo warranto was issued against a person who claims or usurps a public office. Writ of certiorari was used to quash illegal orders passed by the authorities.

Khap panchayats seek amendment of Hindu marriage act

13 Apr 2010, 1712 hrs IST,IANS

KURUKSHETRA: Defiant leaders of various ‘khap panchayats’ or caste councils on Tuesday decided to support six people convicted by a Haryana court

for an honour killing and sought an amendment to the Hindu Marriage Act saying marriages within the same ‘gotra’ or sub-caste should be banned.

At a chaotic meeting of the mahapanchayat of over 20 khaps from across Haryana and adjoining states, a section of the leaders suddenly announced their decision to support the six convicts, five of whom were last month sentenced to death for killing Manoj and Babli in 2007 for marrying within the same gotra.

The decision of the Sarv Khap Sarv Jaat Mahasammelan was, however, opposed by a section of khap leaders from Haryana saying all views were not allowed to be expressed at the meeting.

Khap leaders blocked a road here in protest saying the Haryana government would have to assure them that it would write to the central government seeking an amendment in the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, to completely ban marriages within the same sub-caste and even the same village.

During speeches made by various khap leaders, some speakers said the conviction by the Karnal court was against the tradition maintained by the khaps.

“We don’t want a constitution or a law that goes against our age-old tradition,” one speaker said, virtually challenging the Indian Constitution.

The meeting also decided to collect Rs.10 each from all people who were part of any khap to meet the expenses of defending those convicted for the honour killing of the couple.

After HC rap, J-K staff strike called off–J-K-staff-strike-called-off/606135

Muzamil Jaleel

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0248 hrs Srinagar:

Dealing a major blow to the state government employees’ stir, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Tuesday termed it as illegal and asked the government to “take stern legal action” against the striking workers.

Soon after the court order, the employees at the Civil Secretariat called off their stir and are likely to resume work from April 15. The Joint Consultative Committee — an umbrella group of two major factions of employees’ joint action committee — meanwhile, has deferred its strike for five days and has asked the workers to resume work from Wednesday.

“There is no fundamental, legal or statutory right for an employee to go on strike. There is also no moral or equitable justification for the employees to proceed on strike and go on extending it,” a Division Bench of Justice H Imtiyaz Hussain and Justice Muzaffar Hussain Attar observed.

 “Even if there is injustice to some extent, as presumed by such employees, in a democratic welfare state, they have to resort to the machinery provided under different statutory provisions for redressal of their grievances. Strike as a weapon is mostly misused which results in chaos and total maladministration,” the Bench added.

The Division Bench asked the government to look into the employess’ grievances, provided they resume their duties. “What we expect is that the government should look into the demands of the employees if found just, provided the employees resume their work. It is expected that the employees also give up the path of strike and resort to legal means if they feel their demands are genuine,” the Bench observed.

HC upholds transport dept ban on 15-yr-old public vehicles

Express News Service

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0236 hrs Kolkata:

The Calcutta High Court on Tuesday upheld the notification issued by the state Transport department in May 2005 banning the 15-year-old public vehicles from plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area.

The Transport department had issued the notification on May 24, 2005 which banned 15-year-old buses, taxis, auto-rickshaws, trucks and other categories of goods vehicles from plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area with effect from January 1, 2006.

The notification stated that the Environment department as well as the West Bengal Pollution Control Board recommended imposition of restrictions on plying of such vehicles to reduce air pollution. So, the state government decided to impose a ban on 15-year-old vehiclse for reducing the level of pollution caused by auto-emissions, said Ashoke Sarkar, counsel of the state government.

Delivering the final verdict, a Division Bench comprising Justices Kalyan Jyoti Sengupta and Md Abdul Gani said the notification as published will have prospective effect only.

Earlier, Bengal Bus Syndicate had challenged the notification in the High Court.

On March 16, 2006. Justice Jayanta Kumar Biswash had set aside the notification stating that it was not legally valid.

Following this, the state government filed an appeal in a Division Bench in 2006 challenging the order passed by Justice Biswash.

Meanwhile, the state Environment department issued another notification on July 17, 2008 banning the 15-year-old vehicles from plying in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area with effect from April 1, 2009.

While upholding the notification issued by the environment department, the Division Bench headed by former Chief Justice S S Nijjar on July 18, 2008 through an interim order extended the deadline from April 2009 to July 31, 2009.

Accordingly, the state government enforced the ban on the 15-year-old vehicles from August 1, 2009.

The case is still pending in the High Court for final hearing.

Today’s order was passed by the Division Bench on the petition filed by the state government challenging the March 16, 2006 order issued by Justice Biswash.

Nehru museum: HC won’t interfere in appointment of director–HC-won-t-interfere-in-appointment-of-director/606136

Express news service

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0250 hrs New Delhi:

Almost eight months after a controversy erupted over the functioning of the prestigious Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML), the Delhi High Court has refused to interfere with the appointment of leading historian Mridula Mukherjee as its director and observed that the two-year extension to her was as per the law.

In July-August last year, Mukherjee’s extension as the director of India’s premier library and museum was mired in controversy, with 57 scholars and think tanks petitioning Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to choose her successor after her term ended in July.

Justice S Muralidhar found substance in the contention of the Centre and noted that nothing more remained to be done after the PMO’s approval.

Accused of misusing power, former Mohali MC chief moves HC

Express News Service

Posted: Wednesday, Apr 14, 2010 at 0139 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Tuesday issued a notice to the State of Punjab on a petition filed by Rajinder Singh, Rana, former president of Mohali Municipal Council who was removed from his post for allegedly misusing his power.

The high court, however, refused to stay the operation of the order wherein he was removed from the post. Notices have also been issued to the Mohali Municipal Council for April 15. The high court also refused the demand of Rana to stay the fresh elections for the post.

Senior advocate Ashok Aggarwal, counsel for Rana contended that the allegations leveled against Rana were totally false and concocted.

On June 11, 2007, the Congress-backed MC chief was issued a show cause notice by the then principal secretary D S Bains for allegedly misusing power.

The then executive officer (MC) J S Thind has submitted a report, accusing Rana of transferring three civic employees without having the powers to do so. Rana was also accused of repeatedly postponing opening of sanitation tenders, which Thind had alleged affected the MC’s work.

Thind had recommended action against Rana as per relevant provisions of the Punjab Municipal Act.

In his reply, Rana had, however, refuted the charges while claiming that he had transferred the civic employees from only one seat to another within the MC, asserting he had the powers to do so.

He had also claimed that he had postponed the tenders only to bring about changes in the terms of the agreement to “introduce more competition” among the contractors.

After concluding the hearing of Rana and Thind in October 2007, Bains had kept the decision in the case pending. Principal Secretary to Punjab Department of Local Government, C Roul, however, reopened the case recently and after conducting a few hearings, finally took a decision in the three-year-old case. Rana moved the High Court against the removal of orders.

Justice Saikia takes oath as Chief Justice of J&K HC

Justice Aftab Hussain Saikia took the oath as Chief Justice of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

Governor N N Vohra, administered the oath of office to Justice Saikia at a ceremony held at the Raj Bhawan.

Registrar General of the High Court, Mr M K Hanjura read out the notification of appointment of Justice Saikia before an august gathering, comprising Governor’s wife Ms Usha Vohra, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand, Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone, and Legislative Council Deputy Chairman Arvinder Singh among other senior civil and judicial dignitaries.

Born on April 7, 1949, Justice Saikia was enrolled as an Advocate on August 9, 1974. He practiced in Subordinate Courts and the High Court at Guwahati since 1974 in Civil, Criminal, Constitutional and Service matters.

Justice Saikia was appointed as a permanent Judge of the Gauhati High Court on November 15, 2000.

He was appointed as Chief Justice of Sikkim High Court on March 7, 2009.


NHRC member decries diversion of food subsidy

Special Correspondent

National Human Rights Commission member K.R. Venugopal has expressed concern over food subsidy getting diverted, denying the benefits of public distribution system to the targeted sections.

Addressing the State conference of Andhra Pradesh Rytu Coolie Sangham of the CPI (M-L) here on Tuesday, the retired IAS officer said that though the country had achieved significant progress in food production, millions still go hungry for want of purchasing power. To help such people, the government devised the public distribution system to supply food grains and other essentials on subsidy. As the subsidy was getting diverted, the purpose of public distribution system had been defeated, he felt.

Chairman of Tarimela Nagi Reddy Memorial Trust Surya Sagar said that many people did not have basic necessities like food, clothing and shelter even 63 years after Independence. He felt the need for poor to launch another struggle to get their due.

Tribals’ struggle

Andhra Pradesh Rytu Coolie Sangham president Jhansi was in the chair. She explained the salient features of the struggle launched by Kafi Mulaya Adivasi Sangham in Koraput on the borders of Andhra and Orissa. The tribals were fighting for their rights facing arrack mafia, landlords and government repression. She exhorted all progressive organisations to express their solidarity with the tribals. The tribals gave cultural performances in their native Kuya tongue.

The conference would end on Wednesday after electing the State body.

Batla autopsy: NHRC released report but Delhi Police still


Submitted by admin3 on 7 April 2010 – 8:31pm.

By Staff Reporter,

New Delhi: Isn’t it surprising that while National Human Rights Commission last month released the autopsy reports of those killed in the Batla House encounter, the Delhi Police – whose Special Cell had carried out the encounter – has not been willing to release the report for about one and half years citing ongoing investigation, and still unwilling? Central Information Commission conducted a hearing today on an old RTI petition seeking autopsy report from the Delhi Police.

Despite the report released by NHRC to RTI activist Afroz Alam Sahil on March 16, 2010 has already hit national headlines and reached into public domain, the Delhi Police still argue that the publication of the report will hamper investigation. The police also cite an old order of Delhi High Court accepting their appeal against the petition for publication of the report.

At today’s CIC hearing, presumably the last on the September 25, 2008 RTI petition seeking the report, the police presented their same arguments and CIC agreed to them. Petitioner Sahil also attended today’s hearing.

The attitude of the police in this case may lead one to think: If there is some more revealing autopsy report of the Batla House victims which the Delhi Police do not want to release. Though the report released by NHRC has already exposed loopholes in the police version of the encounter.
Sahil had filed the petition with the Delhi Police on September 25, 2008. He did not get any response from the police. He filed first appeal on October 29, 2008 and two days later he got a reply wherein he was told about the number of people killed in the shootout and that the FIR was filed on that day. He was not provided any other information nor any document.

Sahil filed second appeal with CIC on January 27, 2009. The hearing on this appeal should have been held within 90 days according to RTI law but the CIC itself took more than one year to conduct the hearing which took place on February 9.

But the activist was kept in dark for more than a month about what transpired in that hearing. In the last week of March he got a letter from CIC informing him about the next hearing on March 30. He attended it but the CIC fixed April 7 to hear on the issue of autopsy.

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