LEGAL NEWS 10-12.08.2009

No information of terror outfits in markets: Govt

Our Bureau

New Delhi, Aug. 11

The Government on Tuesday informed the Supreme Court that it does not have any credible information regarding involvement of any terrorist outfits in the stock market.

In a fresh affidavit filed before the apex court in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) relating to allegations that many Indians have hidden black money in foreign banks, the Revenue Department said that stock exchanges and the Securities and Exchange Board of India have been cautioned to keep a strict vigil on any suspicious entrant into the stock market activity.

“The Government, at present, does not have any reliable, credible information of any surreptitious entry of terrorist outfit into the stock market,” the Revenue Department said in its affidavit.

“However, the Board (SEBI) as well as stock exchanges have been administered sufficient caution to look out for any suspicious and irregular entrant into the stock market activity,” it said.

The PIL, filed by lawyer Mr Ram Jethmalani and others, had alleged that the Government had failed to take any action to bring back black money hidden in foreign banks.

The PIL had cited media reports alleging a link between money belonging to Indian citizens lying deposited in foreign banks and terrorist fundings.

“Upon enquiry, it has been confirmed by the Bombay and Chennai Stock Exchanges that no fictitious or notional companies can be stated to be involved in stock market operations,” the Government’s second affidavit said.

Significantly, the Government ruled out imposing any ban on participatory notes and referred to the checks in this regard by citing the monitoring done by SEBI regarding the flow of funds to the stock market through foreign institutional investors.

“In view of the fact that participatory notes are market instruments and when they are created and traded abroad it is not possible to ban the issue of the said instrument,” the Government said.

It added that it was mandatory for all FIIs to report at the end of every month regarding all the information on participatory notes issued by them including the names of the subscriber to the said participatory notes.

Double taxation

The Centre, however, admitted that there was a possibility of misuse of double taxation treaty between India and Mauritius.

“The Centre is alive and conscious of the potentiality of misuse of double taxation treaty between India and Mauritius. In fact, further amendments to the treaty are being negotiated,” the affidavit said.

The Revenue Department also denied allegations of inaction on stashing of black money in foreign banks by Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan. The Enforcement Directorate has lodged a complaint against Khan for allegedly violating Foreign Exchange Management Act.

The Government also described as “baseless” the allegation that it was sheltering powerful individuals using Khan and his wife as their nominee.




SC refuses to give urgent hearing to PIL on swine flu


New Delhi, Aug 12 (PTI) The Supreme Court today refused to give an urgent hearing to a PIL accusing the government of failing to take effective steps to combat the situation arising out of swine flu in the country and demanding a ban on ‘Ganesh Utsav’ and ‘dahi handi’ in Maharashtra.

The PIL, which also sought a ban on celebrating social festivals across the country like ‘Ganesh Utsav’ and ‘Dahi Handi’ in Maharashtra where majority of the swine flu deaths have taken place, was mentioned before a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan which expressed its reservation in holding an urgent hearing in the matter.

The Bench, also comprising Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan, outrightly rejected the submission for hearing the matter tomorrow.





SC on drought


New Delhi, Aug. 11: Concern over drought and price rise echoed in the Supreme Court today.

“There seems to be a drought-like situation in several parts of the country… people are suffering,” Justice Markandey Katju said while hearing a PIL on water shortage. “The people are facing a terrible situation… prices are rising… dal prices, food prices are rising,” he said.

The judge urged the Centre and state governments to take “immediate” steps to address the problem. “The work must be done in the spirit of patriotic duty,” he added.

Justice Katju, an active proponent of judicial restraint, said: “Some PILs are in national interest. This is one of them.” The PIL was filed by lawyer and wetlands activist M.K. Balakrishnan.

The same court had on June 29 directed the Centre to set up a technical expert committee to undertake research on water shortage in the country. The Centre had accordingly set up a technology mission named Winning, Augmentation and Renovation for Water (WAR for water).

The panel, headed by the secretary to the science and technology department, has an initial term of two years. The court also asked the panel to work on a “war footing” and come up with short-term measures to ease the water shortage.





HC dismisses PIL seeking directions to govt on swine flu


Press Trust of India / New Delhi August 12, 2009, 11:28 IST

The Delhi High Court today refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to the government to provide adequate medical assistance to the general public to deal with swine flu.  

 A bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah pulled up the petitioner for seeking court’s interference in this regard and said, “Government knows how to do its job and is doing its job.”  

“The Central government and the state governments are alert and the court cannot take charge of the problem,” the bench also comprising Justice Manmohan observed while dismissing the PIL saying that it has been filed for publicity.
“The court can interfere only when the state machinery has failed. This is not the only country which is facing the problem and there is no country in which the court has taken charge of solving the problem,” the bench said, while giving a warning to the petitioner not to file such PILs for publicity.  

The petition was filed yesterday by one Anjana Jain, a Delhi resident, through counsel Sugriv Dubey seeking directions to the government to counter the threat of swine flu by providing adequate medical assistance to the people.  

In its petition, Jain had alleged that the hospitals operating under the Centre and NCT government do not have sufficient number of physicians and nurses besides laboratory technicians.  

According to the petitioner, due to inadequate equipment in the testing labs the medical staff were at high risk as they were not fully protected while dealing with the patients.  

The petitioner had also said that the government has failed to take measures at the IG International Airport and as a result, taxi and auto drivers were vulnerable to the disease.





PIL filed in SC for ban on ‘Ganesh Utsav’ due to swine flu

Agencies Posted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 at 1204 hrs New Delhi:

A PIL was filed on Wednesday in the Supreme Court seeking a ban on celebrating ‘Ganesh Utsav’ and ‘Dahi Handi’ festivals in Maharashtra in view of swine flu.

However, the apex court refused to grant early hearing to the petition.

The petition filed by advocate Dilip Anna Saheb Taur accused the government of not taking effective measures for protection against the deadly virus.

The PIL, mentioned before a Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, also sought a direction for the centre to allow private hospitals to admit swine flu cases and allow treating patients as per the guidelines of Health Ministry.

Apart from seeking a ban on public festivals such as ‘Dahi Handi’ to be celebrated on August 14, and ‘Ganesh Utsav’ which is to start on August 23, the PIL sought a direction for setting up thermometer machine, provision of adequate staff and separate clinical rooms at every international and domestic airports for the purpose of establishing necessary infrastructure.

The petition also sought a direction for the centre to prepare a necessary action plan and direct all states to shut down schools, if necessary, for a particular period.

Further, the PIL said, the centre should make N-95 masks available to people free of cost.

HC dismisses PIL seeking directions to govt on swine flu

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday refused to entertain a PIL seeking directions to the government to provide adequate medical assistance to the general public to deal with swine flu.

A bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah pulled up the petitioner for seeking court’s interference in this regard and said, “Government knows how to do its job and is doing its job.”

“The Central government and the state governments are alert and the court cannot take charge of the problem,” the bench also comprising Justice Manmohan observed while dismissing the PIL saying that it has been filed for publicity.

“The court can interfere only when the state machinery has failed. This is not the only country which is facing the problem and there is no country in which the court has taken charge of solving the problem,” the bench said, while giving a warning to the petitioner not to file such PILs for publicity.

The petition was filed yesterday by one Anjana Jain, a Delhi resident, through counsel Sugriv Dubey seeking directions to the government to counter the threat of swine flu by providing adequate medical assistance to the people.

In its petition, Jain had alleged that the hospitals operating under the Centre and NCT government do not have sufficient number of physicians and nurses besides laboratory technicians.

According to the petitioner, due to inadequate equipment in the testing labs the medical staff were at high risk as they were not fully protected while dealing with the patients.

The petitioner had also said that the government has failed to take measures at the IG International Airport and as a result, taxi and auto drivers were vulnerable to the disease.





Spiralling `dal’ price and looming drought evokes SC anxiety

TNN 12 August 2009, 04:08am IST

NEW DELHI: Pained by the common man’s plight in a drought year when prices of food articles have skyrocketed, with `dal’ selling at an unaffordable Rs 100 per kg, the Supreme Court on Tuesday called for all out efforts “in the spirit of patriotic duty” to counter the looming danger.

Though a Bench comprising Justices Markandey Katju and A K Ganguly was hearing a PIL on solving the growing water crisis, the prevailing situation in the country on account of a deficit monsoon did not escape its attention.

It commended the work initiated by a technical expert committee headed by science and technology secretary T Ramaswamy in starting the mission to make saline water drinkable through a cheap process and asked the Centre and the states to fully cooperate with it administratively, financially and technicaly to achieve the objective.

But, having touched upon the “terrible situation” arising out of monsoon failure, the Bench went on to tell the technical expert committee to look for ways and means to alleviate the condition of people staring at an “immediate crisis”.

The Centre had on Monday told the SC about its ambitious technology mission “WAR for water” and said that it had already set up a technical expert committee focusing on converting sea water into fresh water to solve the severe shortage of drinking water in the country.

“The technology mission `WAR for Water’ is developed on the principle that timely, urgent, cost effective, socially viable and sustainable techno-management solutions are required for solving problems of water scarcity,” the Department of Scince and Technology said in an affidavit before the SC in response to the PIL filed by advocate M K Balakrishnan.

The Centre constituted a Technical Expert Committee on `WAR for Water’, which stands for `Winning, Augmentation and Renovation for Water’, on June 29 and its first meeting is scheduled for August 25, the department said.




PIL for fresh probe into Batla House encounter

TNN 12 August 2009, 05:41am IST

NEW DELHI: Another application has been filed before the Delhi High court by an NGO, on whose plea the National Human Right’s Commission (NHRC) conducted an inquiry into Batla House encounter case, raising doubts about its findings.

Seeking a fresh probe by a court appointed special investigative team (SIT), the NGO ‘Act Now For Harmony and Democracy’ said, “The report of the NHRC suffers several serious defects. It almost blindly accepts the police version regarding the encounter without examining any of its own witnesses or evidence.”

The NGO, on whose PIL the HC had asked the NHRC to conduct the probe, has sought a fresh inquiry in the case alleging that the commission did not conduct independent probe and has gone solely by the version supplied to it by the Police.

“…there is now no option but to order an independent judicial inquiry into the matter or an inquiry by a special investigative team appointed by this court,” it said.

“There has neither been a critical examination of the police’s own submissions, nor any attempt to address the questions raised in the PIL. No independent fact finding or examination of witnesses or evidence has been undertaken by the NHRC,” it said.

The NHRC had on July 22 given clean chit to the Delhi Police in the case of encounter in which two suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorists and a police officer were killed on September 19, last year saying there was no human rights violation by the police.




Amendments to Indo-Mauritius double taxation treaty on cards: Centre

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 12 August 2009, 04:10am IST

NEW DELHI: The alleged surreptitious entry of large funds into the Indian markets has made the government begin negotiations for remedial amendments to the controversial Indo-Mauritius double taxation avoidance treaty, the Centre told the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

Between 2006-07 and 2008-09, foreign direct investment from Mauritius in India was estimated at Rs 1,24,141 crore and it was alleged that many companies were routing their investments through this route to avoid paying taxes.

However, the Centre made light of the apprehensions that terrorist organisations could be misusing participatory notes (PNs) to generate funds in the stock markets for their subversive activities.

“Participatory notes are market instruments and when they are created and traded abroad, it is not possible to ban the issue of the said instruments. However, they are subject to regulations and are effectively being regulated by the SEBI,” the Department of Revenue said in an affidavit.

This came as a response to a writ petition of former law minister Ram Jethmalani accusing the government of doing precious little to bring back large amount of illegal money stashed in foreign banks.

The Centre also told the SC that it had no reliable information to infer that terrorist organisations have gained entry into the stock markets. “However, the SEBI as well as stock exchanges have been administered sufficient caution to look out for any suspicious or irregular entrant into the stock market activity,” it said.

On the double taxation avoidance treaty, the department said: “The Central government is alive and conscious of the potentiality of misuse of the double taxation treaty between India and Mauritius. In fact, further amendments to the treaty are being negotiated.”

The department also referred to the case against Hasan Ali Khan, alleged to have transacted $8 billion from his wife’s Swiss bank account, and said: “The Directorate of Enforcement (ED) is pursuing its investigations relentlessly and action is being taken in accordance with law.”

The SC had on July 20 issued notice to the director of the Enforcement Directorate asking him to detail the steps taken against persons suspected of parking black money abroad.

Jethmalani, in his PIL, had alleged that a whopping Rs 70 lakh crore black money had been stashed in foreign banks and that the government was complacent in its action to bring these money back.

PIL petitioner’s counsel senior advocate Anil Divan had asked whether the government had acted as per the apex court’s suggestion to the Centre to examine the suitability of lodging cases under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act (PMLA) against persons suspected of parking black money abroad to force foreign banks to share confidential data with India.





Centre denies terror outfits have sneaked into stock market

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Union government on Tuesday categorically denied in the Supreme Court the allegation that certain terrorist outfits had entered the stock market surreptitiously.

In a fresh affidavit on the PIL petition filed by the former Union Law Minister, Ram Jethmalani, and others alleging inaction in bringing back Rs. 70,000 crore in black money stashed away in foreign banks, the Centre said “The government, at present, does not have any reliable credible information of any surreptitious entry of terrorist outfits into the stock market.”

The affidavit said: “However, the Securities and Exchange Board of India as well as the stock exchanges have been administered sufficient caution to look out for any suspicious or irregular entrant into the stock market activity.”

On the charge that fictitious firms companies had entered the stock market, it said, “Upon enquiry, it has been confirmed by the Bombay and Madras stock exchanges that no fictitious or notional companies can be stated to be involved in stock market operations.”

On banning participatory notes, the government said: “Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) are regulated entities with the SEBI being regulator. By virtue of the 1995 Regulations, an FII may issue participatory notes with Indian instruments as the underlying securities. Downstream issue of participatory notes can also be done to regulated entities. All FIIs are mandated to report at the end of every month, in a prescribed format, all information relating to participatory notes issued by them including the names of subscribers to the said participatory notes. The FIIs are also required to undertake that the investor or its associates have not issued, subscribed to or purchased any participatory notes from Indian residents or non-resident Indians during the reporting period.”

The affidavit said: “In view of the fact that participatory notes are market instruments and when they are created and traded abroad, it is not possible to ban the issue of the said instruments. However, they are subjected to regulation and are effectively being regulated by the SEBI.”

“Unfounded fears”

The Centre said the apprehensions expressed by AIADMK general secretary Jayalalithaa in an article were unfounded. “The issue of entry of funds via Mauritius is a matter which has engaged the attention of the Central government. It is stated that there does exist a Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement between India and Mauritius. The Central government is alive [to] and conscious of the potentiality of misuse of the double-taxation treaty. In fact, further amendments to the treaty are being negotiated.”

Regarding the investigation in Hasan Ali Khan’s case, the government said the accusations against the Union of India of blatant inaction and that it was interested in protecting powerful individuals, who might be using Mr. Khan and his wife as their nominees/benamis were based on conjectures and surmises and devoid of merits.

On the basis of the inputs provided by the Directorate of Enforcement and enquiries conducted thereon, Mr. Khan’s passport was revoked and the Regional Passport Officer lodged a first information report with the Mumbai police, the Centre said, and sought the dismissal of the PIL petition.





Save teachers from becoming litigants: FUTAB

B K Mishra, TNN 12 August 2009, 04:15am IST

PATNA: Strange are the ways of the Nitish government. While, on the one hand, it is striving hard for speedy trial of cases pending in different courts, on the other, it is promoting litigation in universities and colleges by unsettling the old settled cases.

The universities of Bihar have taken the onerous task of shifting the initial date of appointment and demoting more than 2,500 teachers whose services were regularised under different absorption statutes nearly three decades back. Surprisingly, all these teachers were promoted to the ranks of readers and professors under time-bound or merit promotion statutes by statutory and constitutional bodies.

Now, interpreting the court orders wrongly, the government is hell bent on punishing the teachers without any fault.
While some universities have already shifted the date of appointment and demoted the teachers, Patna University (PU) is likely to do it shortly. PU has already received replies to show cause notices served on 134 teachers and the replies are being scrutinised. But according to grapevine, the authorities are adamant to follow the action of other universities in this respect. Ultimately, all these teachers along with their counterparts in other universities would be compelled to move the court for justice.

Most teachers, in their replies, have reportedly drawn the attention of the university authorities towards the judgement of the Supreme Court (SC) delivered on May 2, 1990, which states, “If the initial appointment is not made by following the procedure laid down by the rules, but the appointee continues in the post uninterruptedly till the regularisation of his service in accordance with the rules, the period of officiating service will be counted.” Needless to say, the judgement of the SC is binding on the public authority, including the vice-chancellors, under Article 14 of the Indian Constitution.

The Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Bihar (FUTAB) working president K B Sinha has urged the government to shun its bias against the teaching community and save the teachers from becoming litigants.




To clear backlog, SC calculates: 1,500 judges in HCs, 23,000 in lower courts

Tannu Sharma Posted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 at 0441 hrs New Delhi:

Making the point that courts do not have a “magic wand” to do away with pendency of cases, the Supreme Court , after examining figures for both civil and criminal cases over seven years, has for the first time assessed that the judiciary needs “1,547 High Court judges and 23,207 subordinate court judges, only to clear the backlog in one year.”

This requirement took into account vacancies that existed on January 1 this year, both in the High Courts and subordinate courts. Also factored in was average disposal of cases per judge.

Against a sanctioned strength of 886 High Court judges, the working strength was 606 — 280 vacancies. With the average number of cases disposed by an HC judge working out to 2,504, the Supreme Court calculated that 1,547 HC judges would be needed to clear the backlog in one year.

For a subordinate court judge, the average rate of disposal was 1,138 cases. On the basis of cases disposed last year and the working strength on December 31, 2008, it was calculated that 23,207 judges would be needed to clear the backlog in subordinate courts

With arrears increasing almost every year, this assessment by the Supreme Court will be one of the key issues that will be discussed at a conference of chief justices in New Delhi later this week. To be chaired by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan and other apex court judges, it will discuss ways to streamline and improve the justice delivery system.

Among High Courts, the maximum pendency is at the Allahabad High Court — a total of 9,11,858 cases were pending as on December 12, 2008. In the district and subordinate courts, the maximum pendency is again in Uttar Pradesh — 51,60,174 cases as of December-end.





HC asks govt to pay pension to freedom fighter

TNN 12 August 2009, 05:20am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court on Tuesday asked the government to pay pension to an 86-year-old freedom fighter who was denied the benefit over a dispute over his date of birth.

While HR Balaraman claimed that he was born on October 4, 1922, the Dharmapuri district authorities claimed his date of birth was October 11, 1922. It may be a question of just seven days, but the dispute nearly cost Balaraman his pension plea forever.

Balaraman was put in the Alipuram Camp Jail in Bellary district of Karnataka between October 1, 1942 and March 31, 1943, for having participated in the Quit India movement. He applied for state government pension, but the collector rejected his application on March 21, 2002, on the ground that he had not produced any clear-cut proof of his date of birth.

Justice N Paul Vasanthakumar, pointing out that Balaraman was aged definitely above 18 years at that point of time, said a division bench of the Madras high court as well as the Supreme Court have condemned raising of technical issues to deny pension to a freedom fighter. He directed the authorities to extend the petitioner pension from the date of rejection of his claim within a period of eight weeks.




Taj Corridor case: HC reserves order

Express News Service Posted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 at 0233 hrs Lucknow:

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday reserved its order over the admission of a PIL in the Taj Heritage Corridor case, questioning the CBI’s action in seeking the Governor’s permission to prosecute Chief Minister Mayawati.

The PIL was filed by Mahoba resident Kamlesh Verma and Anupma Singh, a resident of Lucknow.

CB Pandey, the petitioners’ lawyer, pointed out that the CBI informed the Bench that once the Governor had refused sanction to prosecute the Chief Minister, the CBI court had no jurisdiction to review that order.

“But we argued that the Governor’s sanction was not required and, moreover, even if sanction was refused, the agency should have moved an appropriate court,” said Pandey.

He added that the CBI court has jurisdiction to examine whether Governor’s sanction was required in the case.

In September 2003, the Supreme Court had directed the CBI to investigate the Taj Heritage Corridor case, in which Mayawati allegedly faced charges of cheating and forgery.

Later, the CBI filed an FIR against Mayawati under Section 13(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act and sought the permission of the then Governor T V Rajeswar to prosecute her.

But In June 2007, the Governor had rejected the CBI’s request.





Probe functioning of Estate Office: HC

Express News Service Posted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 at 0404 hrs Chandigarh:


The Punjab and Haryana High Court has recommended investigation into the functioning of the Chandigarh Estate Office while hearing a case in which an NRI’s house was sold to two persons by a suspended employee of the Haryana government’s Excise and Taxation department.

The HC marvelled at the “speed” shown by the Estate Office in furnishing the required documents. “The speed at which officials/ officers of the Chandigarh Estate Office work in a case of fraud certainly needs commendation. A common man cannot get a file moved for months together even after visiting the office regularly, whereas in a fraud case, a no-objection certificate and letter of transfer of property is issued in less than a month,” Justice Rajesh Bindal observed.

In the case, the application for issuance of a no-objection certificate (NOC) was filed on May 1; it was issued on May 18. The sale deed was registered on May 20, and the letter of transfer of ownership in the name of the buyer was issued on May 29.

The HC also took a dig at the Estate Officer for not showing any “interest” in the case. “Despite intimation of the fraud being sent to the Estate Officer, no effort was made by the Estate Officer to enquire into the entire episode and the fraud committed under his nose,” Justice Bindal remarked while dismissing the anticipatory bail of Pishora Singh Kapoor, the suspended Haryana government employee. “The reasons, therefore, must be best known by the authorities concerned as to whether it is to put the entire thing under the carpet or the effort is to save the guilty and let the dispute die its own death.”

“A copy of this order be sent to the Advisor to the Administrator, Chandigarh, to get the matter regarding functioning of the Estate Office investigated,” Justice Bindal ruled.

Kapoor is accused of selling the house of Ajay Nehra, an NRI living in the United States for 15 years, without his knowledge. The house, located in Sector 11, was sold to Moga resident Balraj Singh Bhuttar for Rs 1.3 crore.

The sale deed was executed by the Estate Office on May 20.

Interestingly, only nine days later, Kapoor sold the same house to one Darshana Gupta for Rs 3 crore.

Later, Darshana complained to the Inspector General of Police. On July 11, the Chandigarh Police registered a case.

The HC also expressed dissatisfaction over the investigation done by the Chandigarh Police in the case.

“As far as the Investigating Officer of the case is concerned, even his way of conducting the investigation cannot be appreciated. He has not conducted any investigation in the Estate Office as to how this fraud was committed. Only one accused has been arrested till date. The Notary Public, who had attested and identified the vendor at the time of issuance of NOC, and one advocate, who stood as a witness in the sale deed, have not been examined. It would be appropriate if the investigation of the case is entrusted to a senior officer,” Justice Bindal observed.

With regard to the involvement of 75-year-old advocate M L Gupta in the case, the HC ruled: “The matter needs to be considered by the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana regarding the conduct of the advocates, who have played dubious role in the deal.”

A copy of the order has been sent to the Bar Council of Punjab and Haryana for appropriate action.

The HC said a copy of the order should also be sent to the Chief Secretary of Haryana to take appropriate action against Kapoor, who is accused in another case of fraud.




Reopening of HAL airport: HC seeks renegotiation report

TNN 12 August 2009, 03:07am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Tuesday directed the stakeholders in the BIA to place before it the renegotiation report with regards to reopening of HAL airport, which was closed to commercial flights simultaneously with the inauguration of BIA.

The division Bench headed by Justice K L Manjunath, the special Bench constituted to hear the batch of cases challenging the closure HAL airport, posted the matter to August 17 for further hearing.

On May 23, 2008 midnight the BIAL was opened. On that day, while refusing to stay the notification regarding HAL Airport’s closure, the court had recorded the submission of Central government counsel that HAL airport can be reopened if the parties agree for that after the renegotiation process is over. The Centre had sought 12 weeks time for that exercise.

On April 16, 2008 after refusing to pass any interim order as such on the closure of HAL airport, the court had directed the Union and state governments and the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to immediately renegotiate with BIAL regarding two key aspects suggested by the 131st report of Parliamentary standing committee on transport, tourism and culture.

“BIAL had raised funds based on terms and conditions in the concessional agreement. We are not in favour of restraining the respondent governments from honouring and giving effect to concessional agreement. But, keeping in mind the larger public interest and minimizing the hardship, the renegotiation may be held as far as the user development fee and also retaining of the HAL airport, the suggestions put forth by the committee”, the division Bench headed by Chief Justice Cyriac Joseph had observed in its 14-page interim order.

A petition was filed challenging the closure of HAL airport to commercial operations and also the July 5, 2004 concessional agreement agreed upon between the BIAL and state and central governments.





HC stays conviction of former Nalco chief

TNN 11 August 2009, 10:57pm IST

BHUBANESWAR: The Orissa High Court has stayed the conviction of former Nalco CMD S K Tamotia in a case of disproportionate assets filed by CBI. This verdict is considered to be the first-ever stay of conviction under the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The high court described the lower court’s verdict as “erroneous” and said there was no “prima facie justification” in the conviction order. The CBI special judge court had awarded Tamotia three years’ imprisonment and a fine of Rs 50,000 in February when he failed to defend property worth Rs 8,36,674.

While registering cases against Tamotia, the investigating agency had carried out raids at his and his relatives’ places, too. Beginning his career with the Bokaro steel plant, Tamotia, an engineer by profession, retired as Nalco CMD in 1996.

The HC said the trial court did not accept income amounting to Rs 6,56,741, also the enhanced expenditure by Rs 7,02,941, and only thereafter, came to determine the disproportionate assets valued at Rs 8,36,674. The court expressed surprise as to why income, indicated by the prosecution, was not accepted and, in fact, decreased and also, why expenditure was not accepted and increased.

Justice Indrajit Mohanty said the “appellate court is duly empowered under Section 389(1) to grant a stay on conviction in an exceptional case, where the ramifications and the consequences are such that may justify exercising such authority”.




HC seeks details on all City lakes

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Bangalore, DHNS:

The High Court, on Tuesday, directed the government to provide details about all the lakes in Bangalore, steps taken to protect them and also the future measures to preserve them.

The Court’s direction came in lieu of a PIL filed by environmentalists in the city, questioning the State’s move to privatise lakes by selling the Agara lake to Hyderabad-based Biota Natural Systems, Hebbal lake to East India Hotels Limited and Nagawara and Vengaiana lakes to Lumbini Gardens Limited.

The division bench headed by Justice D V Shailendra Kumar and Arvind Kumar has also directed the government to furnish details about the officers of the Lake Development Authority, (LDA) who are responsible for protecting the lakes.

ISKCON: Contempt case
Fight over the ownership of International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) Bangalore, has taken a new twist with the Mumbai ISKCON filing a criminal contempt petition against Bangalore ISKCON, on Tuesday.

Mumbai ISKCON’s advocate Uday Holla claimed that Bangalore ISKCON’s request for shifting the bench lowered the dignity of the court.

He argued that the rule of law would collapse if this step was taken, especially after the letter of blackmail was written to Justice K L Manjunath.

The petition is at the moment awaiting approval from the Advocate General Ashok Harnahalli.

Meanwhile, the proceedings were heard on Tuesday after Chief Justice P D Dinakaran directed that the case will continue to be posted in front of Justice K L Manjunath.

While the Mumbai ISKCON’s counsel presented its ground for a criminal contempt petition, the Court adjourned the matter on Bangalore ISKCON’s request.

Report on HAL airport
The Karnataka High Court, on Tuesday, directed the stakeholders of the Bengaluru International Airport (Union and State government and the Airport Authority of India) to place before it the renegotiation report with regard to reopening of HAL airport.

On March 23, 2008, an application was filed in the High Court regarding the closure of HAL airport.

The Counsel for the Central government at that time, had said that the matter would be resolved through negotiation and had sought 12 weeks’ time.

The division bench headed by Justice K L Manjunath wanted to know the details of the renegotiation report. The matter has been adjourned.

Violation of by-laws
The High Court, on Tuesday, issued summons to a city-based couple for violating building by-laws.

Gautam Kothari and his wife has been asked to appear before the High Court by Justice Rammohan Reddy in relation to the construction of five-storey building in Seshadripuram, after obtaining approval for the construction of three storeys.

The couple had approached the High Court after the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike had issued orders for the demolition of the additional storeys. But the judge issued summons to the couple, when it was pointed out that no permission was obtained for the construction of two additional floors.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 8/12/2009 09:39:00 AM






CJI, please declare my assets

J. S. Verma Posted: Wednesday, Aug 12, 2009 at 0319 hrs

A leader of the Bar, Fali S. Nariman, commenting on the Rajya Sabha’s refusal to grant leave to introduce the Judge’s (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill 2009, recently wrote in these columns: “It was a rebuke also to the judges of the higher judiciary; they were pulled down a peg or two… The prestige of our higher judiciary has been adversely affected.” He has voiced the feelings of many of us — retired and sitting judges of the higher judiciary. My anguish is deeper because my long apprehended fear in this behalf has come true. Our attempt at self-regulation of judicial accountability, a facet of the independence of the judiciary, from within having failed, it is now to be done from outside, and that too at our behest. It has now been said that we judges will declare our assets only if required to do so by a law. I believe most of us prefer voluntary correct behaviour instead of outside imposition. That, in my humble view, is the dignified course for judges of the higher judiciary, which appears to have been the view also of the framers of the Constitution.

It was in this spirit the earlier Chief Justice’s Conferences resolved to evolve a framework for self-regulation of the Supreme Court and high court judges, which culminated in the three resolutions adopted unanimously by the Supreme Court on May 7, 1997 when I was the Chief Justice of India. One of these required compulsory “declaration of assets” by every judge (including the Chief Justice) of the Supreme Court and the high courts. This was the commitment of all 22 judges of the Supreme Court (including me, as the CJI), of whom six later became CJI. The remaining CJIs including the present incumbent were then puisne judges in the high courts bound by those resolutions. Acceptance of these resolutions by every new appointee was ensured during my tenure.

Conscious of the strength only of social sanction instead of legal sanction to make it enforceable in case of need, I wrote to the then prime minister on December 1, 1997 of the need of parliamentary legislation based on the framework provided by the Supreme Court with its unanimous consent. Nothing more was required to be done by the political executive except to endorse the Supreme Court’s suggestion in the form of legislation, which preserved the independence of the judiciary with judicial accountability as a necessary concomitant. I believe the later Chief Justice’s Conference of 1999 endorsed the same, followed by the Bangalore Principles of 2002.

What more consensus or approval of the proposed legislation is needed? If at all, there may be some room for marginal improvement in the content of those resolutions covering the field of judicial accountability in the light of experience gained during the intervening last 12 years. That does not require much imagination, time or effort. I may here mention that even after my retirement I had reminded the prime minister of this urgently felt need in a letter of April 7, 2005, reiterating the material facts.

My dissent with the majority view in the Veeraswami case (1991) was based on the felt need for a legislation to cover the field of judicial accountability at the higher level preserving the independence of the judiciary, because the existing mechanism was found ineffective. The subsequent infructuous removal proceedings in Parliament against V. Ramaswami after the adverse finding of the judge’s committee proved the point. I had concluded my dissent by expressing the apprehension of the danger of erosion in the judiciary’s independence, if the remedy were to be devised from outside. That stage is now reached.

The framers of the Constitution enacted Article 235 to enforce accountability of the subordinate judiciary and vested the “control” over it to the high court to preserve the independence of the judiciary consistent with the directive principle of state policy in Article 51 of separation of the judiciary from the executive. No similar provision was made for the higher judiciary, and the high courts were not made subordinate to the Supreme Court, except in their judicial functions. Obviously, the higher judiciary was expected to self-regulate its behaviour without any outside intervention, except for removal by Parliament for proved misconduct or incapacity after an adverse finding by a committee of judges. I would like to believe that the framers of the Constitution were keen to preserve not only the independence of the judiciary, but also their self-respect by leaving that sphere of discipline to be governed by self-regulation according to the well-established traditions and norms of judicial behaviour.

The enactment of Article 235 is clear evidence of the recognition that judicial accountability is an essential facet of the independence of the judiciary. The only difference can be in the form of the mechanism to enforce accountability at the higher level, ensuring that it is effective and it does not erode the independence or conflict with the directive principle of separation of the judiciary from the executive. Undoubtedly, every holder of a public office in a republican democracy has to be accountable to the political sovereign — the People.

If a landmark judgment of the Supreme Court mandates every candidate at an election to Parliament or legislative assembly to publicly declare his/ her assets and liabilities, there is no reason why the higher judiciary should be exempt from that requirement. This is the demand of transparency for effective accountability of every holder of a public office.

The requirement of transparency automatically invokes the RTI Act. Judicial functions are in the open court and in public view. There is no reason why the administrative acts should not be equally transparent and subject to public scrutiny, as are the similar acts of other organs. In fact, judicial review of the administrative acts of the Chief Justice and of the Court is well established.

Judicial accountability requires transparency. Public knowledge of the antecedents, assets and liabilities of the judge, spouse and dependents is necessary for adjudging the judge’s conduct and suitability for the performance of official duties.

Even though it is more than a decade since I demitted the office of Chief Justice of India, yet I would like to do the next best. I had made a disclosure of my assets soon after I assumed office of CJI in March 1997 and kept it with the Registrar General of the Supreme Court as a part of the official record. Similar declarations were then made by all the Supreme Court judges voluntarily pursuant to the unanimous resolution of May 7, 1997. I invite the Chief Justice of India to make a public disclosure on the Supreme Court’s website of the declaration of my assets which must be with the Registrar General in the official record. I do hope most of the judges in the high courts and the Supreme Court would act likewise and bring quietus to this unsavoury controversy. Judiciary’s real strength lies in

in public acclaim. I am sure this will raise us a “peg or two” in public estimation.

The writer is a former Chief Justice of India






SC agrees to reveal information with CJI under RTI Act


Published by: Noor Khan
Published: Tue, 11 Aug 2009 at 18:40 IST

F Prev Next L

New Delhi: Mellowing down its earlier stand that no information with the Chief Justice of India could be revealed under RTI Act, the Supreme Court today agreed to disclose information on what action the CJI has taken on a complaint filed against a sitting Allahabad High Court Judge.

Attorney General G E Vahanvati, appearing for Supreme Court registry, told the Delhi High court although he does not accept the “correctness” of Central Information Commission’s judgement, the information would be provided under the transparency Act.

The CIC had on July 16 held that the office of CJI came within the purview of the transparency law and the Apex court was under obligation to reveal the information available with CJI’S office including the details of action taken on the complaint.

The CIC, while passing the order, had rejected the plea of Supreme Court registry that the office of CJI is distinct from the Apex Court and cannot be said to be under the purview of the RTI Act.

Appearing before Justice Sanjiv Khanna, the AG informed the court though the Apex Court has agreed to reveal information it was necessary to file the appeal against the CIC order as “non filing of a petition in the present case could not be construed as an acceptance of ratio of the order of CIC.”





SC to hear Hyd Corporation election row on Aug 21


New Delhi, Aug 11 (PTI) The Supreme Court today posted for August 21, hearing of a special leave petition filed by The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation challenging a July 29 interim order of the Andhra Pradesh High Court staying the elections to the civic body.

A bench of Justices Tarun Chatterjee and R M Lodha posted the matter for hearing after Attorney General G E Vahanvati made a mention of the matter and sought early hearing of the issue.

The high court had restrained the state government from issuing the poll notification for elections to the 150 wards and all further proceedings relating to the poll.

It had passed the order on a batch of writ petitions contending the elections are being held without excluding creamy layer for backward classes.





Army to stay in Swat until normalcy returns: Gilani–Gilani/500699

ANI Posted: Tuesday , Aug 11, 2009 at 1223 hrs Malakand, Pakistan:

Pakistan Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has said security forces would remain in war ravaged Swat Valley until displaced people are rehabilitated and normalcy returns to the region completely.

“I am confident your presence in the area will not only discourage anti-state elements from regrouping, but also improve the pace of development in the area,” Gilani told a gathering of soldiers during his visit to Malakand.

Addressing tribal elders separately during his first visit to the valley after the military operation, Gilani said extremists were on the run and would be eliminated soon. Gilani said militants would not be allowed to establish their writ through violence again.

“Nobody will be allowed to stop our children going to school or impose a system through violence in the name of Islam and at gunpoint,” The Daily Times quoted Gilani, as saying.

He asked the people of the region to be wary of ‘black sheep’ trying to mislead them and create problems for the country. Gilani said the government would introduce a special package for the region, incorporating development work, reconstruction and rehabilitation of the internally displaced persons (IDPs).

He said the government has already allocated 50 billion rupees for the rehabilitation of the IDPs and ongoing development projects. Over two million people were forced to move out of the region after the Pakistan Army announced an all-out operation against the Taliban and other extremist groups in mid-April. While the military claims that it has killed over 1800 militants in the operation the numbers could not be verified independently.





HC refuses to stay arrest of SP legislator, corporator

Express News Service

Posted: Aug 11, 2009 at 0228 hrs IST

Allahabad The Allahabad High Court dismissed a writ petition on Monday filed by Samajwadi Party legislator from Varanasi Abdul Samsad Ansari and Manoj Rai, a corporator of Varanasi Nagar Nigam, who were accused in a case of assault.

The petitioners had sought a stay on their arrest from the court.

An FIR was lodged against them with the Cantt police station, Varanasi, for allegedly thrashing the additional district magistrate (Protocol), RK Singh.

The accused had filed the writ petition on July 29 in the Allahabad High court, challenging the validity of the FIR lodged against them at the Cantt police station on July 27.

The writ was dismissed by a Division Bench comprising Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice KN Pandey.

The two had been booked under Sections 323 (causing hurt), 504 (causing intentional insult), 506 (criminal intimidation), 332 (causing hurt to deter a public servant from doing his duty), 353 (causing criminal assault to deter a public servant from his duty) and 7 of the Criminal Law Amendment Act.





Haryana invokes Epidemic Act to meet swine flu challenge


Chandigarh, Aug 11 (PTI) The government of India’s northern state of Haryana has decided to invoke the Epidemic Disease Act of 1897 to tackle swine flu, the third state to make use of the law after Delhi and Maharashtra.

Regulations of the Act would remain in force upto one year, an official spokesman said here Monday night.

These regulations shall be called Haryana Epidemic Disease, A H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) Regulations 2009, he said.





Black money: Govt denies link between terror outfits and stock market

11 Aug 2009, 1754 hrs IST, PTI

NEW DELHI: Government today ruled out any surreptitious entry of terrorist outfits into the stock market and said sufficient caution have been administered to the stock exchanges to look out for any suspicious entry into their activity.

“The Government, at present, does not have any reliable, credible information of any surreptitious entry of terrorist outfit into the stock market,” the Department of Revenue said in a fresh affidavit to the Supreme Court which is hearing the issue relating to stashing away of black money by Indians in foreign banks.

“However, the Board (Security and Exchange Board of India) as well as stock exchanges have been administered sufficient caution to look out for any suspicious and irregular entrant into the stock market activity,” said the affidavit filed in response to the PIL accusing the government of not taking action in bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks.

The PIL filed by eminent lawyer Ram Jethmalani and others had referred to the media reports alleging a link between money belonging to Indian citizens lying deposited in foreign banks and terrorist fundings.

“Upon enquiry, it has been confirmed by the Bombay and Chennai Stock Exchanges that no fictitious or notional companies can be stated to be involved in stock market operations,” the second affidavit filed in response to the PIL said.

The government elaborated on the mechanism for regulating the flow of money coming into the stock market through Foreign Institutional Investors (FIIs) by SEBI and ruled out the possibility of banning participatory notes.

“In view of the fact that participatory notes are market instruments and when they are created and traded abroad it is not possible to ban the issue of the said instrument,” it said adding they are subjected to regulations and effectively being regulated by SEBI.

The Centre said all FIIs are mandated to report at the end of every month all the informations relating to participatory notes issued by them including the names of the subscriber to the said participatory notes.

However, the Centre agreed that there is a possibility of misuse of double taxation treaty between India and Mauritius.

“The Centre is alive and conscious of the potentiality of misuse of double taxation treaty between India and Mauritius. In fact, further amendments to the treaty are being negotiated,” the affidavit said.

The Department of Revenue brushed aside the allegation of inaction relating to stashing of black money in foreign banks by Pune-based businessman Hasan Ali Khan against whom Enforcement Directorate has lodged a complaint for violating Foreign Exchange Management Act (FEMA.)

It termed as baseless the allegation that the Centre was interested in protecting powerful individuals who may have been using Khan and his wife as their nominee/benamidar.






‘Kankaria fortification has affected our rights’

DNA Correspondent

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 9:40 IST

Ahmedabad: A division bench of Gujarat high court consisting chief justice KS Radhakrishnan and justice Akil Kureshi has allowed eight residents to join as respondents inthe hearing of a PIL filed against the fortification of the lake as well as heavy levy of entry fee done by AMC. The citizens had filed a civil application to join as parties in the PIL filed by one Kirti Bhatt last week.

The citizens, through their counsel Anand Yagnik and Shalin Mehta, submitted that charging of entry fee at Kankaria “is violation of the doctrine of public trust”. The fortification of Kankaria lake and charging of entry fee is direct violation of Article 15, 19 and 21 of the Constitution and therefore unconstitutional. It is also in violation of the relevant provisions of Bombay Provincial Municipal Corporation Act and therefore illegal,” stated the application by citizens, who have been residing near Kankaria for years.

The application went on to say: “Fortification and charging of entry fee is violation of doctrine of public trust as Kankaria lake is a community and public resource where the state and the AMC are their trustees and the people of Ahmedabad city and state of Gujarat are beneficiaries. The right of the citizens over Kankaria lake cannot be taken away by the state and the AMC or restricted. People are owner of such resource and use and access to such resource cannot be restricted or conditioned in a manner that deprives people and the community of their own resource.”

The eight citizens, who include three students, submitted in the application: “The development of Kankaria lake front, fortification of the lake and charging of entry fee has affected them the most as the fortification has deprived them of their natural and fundamental right of movement, access to a historical monument, a lake and water body, a place with cultural heritage and, most importantly, the place of amusement and enjoyment.”

During the hearing on Monday, the counsel for AMC submitted that they would furnish details about the whole issue during the next hearing.

On Saturday last, the municipal commissioner and police commissioner had taken a round of Kankaria lakefront project to take stock of the situation in the wake of the PIL filed in the High Court.





Fill vacancies at remand homes soon: High court

Nikunj Soni / DNA

Tuesday, August 11, 2009 9:39 IST

Ahmedabad: Gujarat high court has ordered the social justice and empowerment department of the state government to fill over 500 vacant posts in over 100 destitute home across the state. The bench has also set the deadline of three months to initiate the process of recruitment with an aim to improve the conditions of inmates in juvenile homes, observation homes, nari niketans and special homes.

A division bench of chief justice KS Radhakrishnan and justice Akil Kureshi issued the order on Monday during hearing of two petitions seeking uplift of destitute children, boys and women living in such places. “All the welfare and reformative legislature for children, women and disabled can be implemented only if the state has sufficient number of employees in various homes,” the order said.

The high court was hearing a suo motu petition and a PIL filed in 1995. The high court had then converted a letter written by a woman to the chief justice narrating bad conditions at destitute homes, into a suo moto petition.

After that, Lok Adhikar Sangh, a civil rights organisation, had filed a PIL following a report published in a national magazine exposing the poor condition of children in the remand home inAhmedabad.

During the hearing of the petitions, senior counsel Girish Patel with counsel Anand Yagnik submitted that the inhabitants of the destitute homes were facing problems as many as 524 posts against sanctioned strength of 900 were lying vacant in different destitute homes. “Children, girls, widows, forsaken ladies, disabled are facing problems of education, health and rehabilitation due to lack of staff and proper counselling,” they submitted.

“When the state takes the custody of a child, a woman or a disabled person, they have to be looked after by the staff in the protective custody. In the absence of required number of staff in such homes, the state can’t fulfil the statutory commitment of looking after this inmates,” said Anand Yagnik, court commissioner of a committee earlier appointed by the high court to look into the issue.

“Non-appointment of probation officers or sympathetic staff, who are a bridge between destitute, police and society, is also affecting the rehabilitation of the such persons,” Yagnik said.

The high court had earlier appointed a committee to address the issue. The members of the committee at different points of time had visited various destitute homes and submitted to the high court reports on the prevailing bad situation at such homes.

“Earlier the scope of suo motu action and PIL was limited for the remand home of Ahmedabad only, but after conclusions put by committee, the high court expanded the scope of action for all destitute homes across the state,” said Patel, counsel for Lok Adhikar Sangh.





Police forces ready to counter 26/11 type attacks: Centre–Centre/500526

Express news service Posted: Tuesday , Aug 11, 2009 at 0329 hrs New Delhi:

The government has “set up 20 Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism Schools across the country to train police personnel” and prepared a “multi-pronged strategy” to counter 26/11 type terror attacks, the Supreme Court was informed on Monday.

Responding to a PIL filed by former Attorney General Soli Sorabjee after the Mumbai terror attack, the Union Home Ministry informed a Supreme Court bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, that it has formulated a special policing scheme, the Mega City Policing Scheme, for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahemedabad “to enable the respective state governments to meet the unique policing needs of these cities”.

The SC had in December last year issued a notice to the Centre seeking its response on the pleas for equipping police and security forces with modern weapons and devices to combat and counter 26/11 type terror attacks.

The government refuted Sorbajee’s claim that Maharashtra police was ill-equipped to meet the challenges posed by terrorist outfits and said Maharashtra was allocated Rs 725.62 crore between 2000 to 2009 for upgrading infrastructure, purchase of modern weaponry and intelligence gathering equipment.

The Centre said it is supplementing efforts of state governments to modernise their police forces. “The scheme for modernisation of state police forces is an important initiative of the Home Ministry towards capacity building of the state police forces, especially for meeting emerging challenges to internal security in the form of terrorism, Naxalism etc,” the government informed the Supreme Court.

The MHA also assured the apex court that the country’s coastal areas were safe and secure. “A dedicated scheme for securing the coast line of the country is being implemented by the Home Ministry in which assistance is provided to the coastal states for capacity-building to meet the needs of the policing the coastal areas,” the Government’s affidavit said.





Govt spells out multi-pronged plan to counter terrorism in SC

The govt on Monday told the Supreme Court that it has outlined “multi-pronged strategy” to combat and counter terror attacks like 26/11 in Mumbai and naxalism, which includes setting up of 20 anti-terrorism schools across the country and special policing scheme for sensitive mega cities.

It said a special policing scheme has been formulated for Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahemedabad which bore the brunt of terror attacks in recent times.

The Centre outlined the measures taken by it to deal with terrorism in response to a notice issued to it by the apex court on a PIL filed by former Attorney General Soli J Sorabjee who had alleged 26/11 attacks have exposed the mismatch between the might of terrorist outfits and the state machinery to counter them.

It said that apart from pursuing a “multi-pronged” strategy to deal with terrorism “20 Counter Insurgency and Anti-Terrorism Schools are being established in different parts of the country with the purpose of offering training to police personnel”.

“In addition, the Mega City Policing Scheme, which is dedicated to enable the respective state governments to meet the unique policing needs in the seven mega cities of Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Ahmedabad, will enable the respective state governments to meet their needs,” the affidavit filed by the Home Ministry said.

The Centre said it has been adopting a multipronged strategy to deal with terror, which include deployment of specific forces on different borders and supplementing efforts of state government in modernisation of forces.

Keeping in view the Mumbai terror attack in which the terrorists had used sea route to enter the country, the government said “a dedicated scheme for securing the coast line of the country is being implemented by the Home Ministry in which assistance is provided to the coastal states for capacity-building to meet the needs of the policing of coastal areas”.

“The scheme envisages equipping these coastal police stations with vessels, jeeps and motorscycles and the manpower in respect of the scheme shall have to be provided by the respective states and union territories,” the affidavit said.

Among the several steps taken, the Centre said regional hubs of National Security Guards (NSGs) have been set up and amendment has been made in anti-terror law to reinforce punitive provisions to combat terrorism.

Countering the allegations of Sorabjee that the Maharashtra police was ill-equipped to meet the challenges of terrorist outfits, the Centre said the state has been allocated Rs 725.62 crore between 2000 to 2009 for upgrading its infrastructure which included modern weaponry, intelligence gathering equipment etc.

The affidavit said in order to supplement the efforts of state governments in modernising their police forces, the Centre has been implementing Non-plan Scheme.

“The scheme for modernisation of state police forces is an important initiative of the Home Ministry towards capacity building of the state police forces, especially for meeting the emerging challenges to internal security in the form of terrorism, naxalism etc,” it said.

Further, the Centre has been emphasising the need for setting up anti-terror squads by state governments and a number of them have already put in place such squads, the affidavit said.

Sorabjee had filed the PIL after the Mumbai attack seeking direction for equipping police and security forces with modern weapons and devices to combat and counter terror attacks.

He had alleged terrorist attacks in Mumbai have exposed that weapons used by the police are no match to the arms and ammunition carried by terrorists.

When a notice was issued on the PIL, it was pointed out that the ill-equipped police failed to counter the offensive of the terrorists at Chattrapati Shivaji Terminus.

The killing of police personnel wearing bullet-proof jackets, including Anti-Terrorist Squad Chief Hemant Karkare, at the CST terminus speaks volume on the nature of the equipment supplied to the police force, Sorabjee had said.

While the police at the CST were countering with 303 assault rifles, terrorists were armed with deadly weapons, Sorabjee’s counsel had said adding NSG commandos deployed to flush them out reached Mumbai only nine hours after the attacks and had to be transported by a bus in the absence of special vehicles.

Sorabjee, who was the AG during the previous NDA government, pointed to 18 major terrorist incidents since the 1993 Mumbai serial blasts, to support his contention for training and arming the police force with modern weapons to thwart any further attack while creating an atmosphere where citizens’ right to life is protected.

Sorabjee, who was the Chairman of the Police Reforms Committee, contended that the shortcoming of police and security forces emerging from the Mumbai terror attacks establish the violation of Article 21 of the Constitution which calls for protection of life and liberty of citizens, without which, other fundamental rights are incapable of being exercised.





HC bench declines to hear court clash cases

TNN 11 August 2009, 07:45am IST

CHENNAI: Nearly six months after the Madras High Court campus witnessed violent scenes, the cases relating to the February 19 violence were posted before a division bench for hearing.

The bench, however, expressed its inability to take up the matter, as one of the judges recused himself from the proceedings. When the case came up before the bench comprising justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and justice K Chandru on Monday, the huge gathering of advocates was informed by the judges that they could not hearing the case as justice Chandru had already expressed his unwillingness to be associated with the case.

“One of us (justice Chandru) has already recused from the cases by writing a letter dated March 25 to the chief justice, as also one of use (justice Mukhopadhaya) is not holding the court in the division bench. Let the case may be listed before a bench in which none of us is the member, after necessary orders of the chief justice,” said the brief order of the bench.

The matter came to be posted before this bench, after it was remanded by the Supreme Court back to the Madras High Court for hearing. On March 18, a full bench of the court had recommended suspension of two senior IPS officers — the then additional commissioner of Chennai, AK Viswanathan, and the then joint commissioner (north) Ramasubramani. The officials filed a special leave petition in the Supreme Court, stating that they were not heard before the order was passed. After several adjournments and many rounds of arguments, the apex court decided to remand the matter back fot he High Court for hearing, this time including the officials as well. The officials, however, are yet to file their review applications in the High Court.

A large number of advocates, led by the Madras High Court Advocates Association (MHAA) president RC Paul Kanagaraj and Tamil Nadu Advocates Association (TNAA) president S Prabakaran, were present in the court hall when the matter was taken up for hearing.




Coordinate with other states to curb begging, HC tells govt–HC-tells-govt/500437/

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Aug 11, 2009 at 0202 hrs New Delhi:

A Social Welfare Department report of 781 beggars nabbed in Delhi between June and August prompted the Delhi High Court on Monday to point out that it is time the government sought help from neighbouring states to curb the begging menace in the Capital.

An affidavit submitted by the department said 187 beggars were caught in June, 371 in July and 223 in August. 

This is for the first time, the High Court has asked the government to co-ordinate with other states, a view primarily based on the fact that majority of beggars are migrants from states like Bihar, UP, Rajasthan and Haryana.

Any scheme of rehabilitation requires coordination between social welfare departments of Delhi and neighbouring states. We expect social welfare departments of other states to cooperate with their counterpart in Delhi, a Bench led by Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul said.

The government has been asked to file an affidavit on October 8, the next date of hearing, detailing the steps taken to co-ordinate with neighbouring state apparatuses.





Maya plea against HC order on quota

Express news service Posted: Tuesday , Aug 11, 2009 at 0327 hrs New Delhi:

The Mayawati government on Monday filed an appeal before the Supreme Court challenging an Allahabad High Court’s order which had disallowed the state from providing 50 per cent quota to SCs/STs and OBCs in technical and vocational courses being run by private unaided educational institutions.

The state government through an order dated July 22 had provided 50 per cent reservation for SCs/STs and OBCs in private engineering colleges affiliated to Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU). UPTU has also challenged the HC decision.

The petitioners have prayed before the apex court to stay the HC’s interim order till the final disposal of the petition as the entire academic session will have to be rescheduled since 70 per cent of counselling is already over.

According to the government, 11,383 admissions have already been made in the OBC category. As many as 789 SC candidates and 286 ST candidates have been admitted.

The state government has contended that the quota decision has been taken within the terms of the Supreme Court judgment dated July 17 this year.





HC denies bail to Sardarpura accused

TNN 11 August 2009, 04:52am IST

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected bail plea of the eight accused in Sardarpura massacre after the special investigation team’s (SIT) counsel contended that the trial has already begun in this case.

The accused had sought bail on the ground of parity, citing that 55 people were released on bail by courts in this case. They also claimed that there are major contradictions in the FIR lodged against them and the statements by witnesses.

SIT argued that these eight were among the last ones who were arrested in May 2008 and the 55 people have already been charge-sheeted in this case. After these arguments, Justice R H Shukla refused to grant bail to the accused.

Thirty three people were killed and 20 sustained injuries during the post-Godhra riots in this village on March 1, 2002.




SC refuses to stay HC ban on vehicles

TNN 11 August 2009, 05:49am IST

KOLKATA: The battle to clean the city’s air got a double boost on Monday. While the Supreme Court refused to override Calcutta High Court’s order on phasing out pre-1993 commercial vehicles, the HC dismissed a plea by autorickshaw operators challenging a government order on replacing 2-stroke autos with new single mode 4-stroke LPG autos.

The Supreme Court development has dashed the hopes of bus operators, who’d hoped to save their vehicles from the ban axe. The next date for hearing is August 21.

The high court refused to accept the auto unions’ counsel’s contention and said the government’s action was justifiable taking into account increasing pollution.





HC quashes auto union petition

TNN 11 August 2009, 05:18am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Monday dismissed a plea by autorickshaw operators challenging a government order on replacing two-stroke autos by new single mode four-stroke LPG autos.

The additional chief secretary, transport, had issued an administrative order on January 12, directing owners of all registered two-stroke autos with valid permits to replace them by new single mode four-stroke LPG autos. The order also offered an option for replacement by new battery-run autos.

Kolkata Auto-Rickshaw Operators’ Union moved a writ petition before Justice Tapen Sen contending that the January 12 government order was contradictory to the High Court order passed on July 18, 2008, which had directed phasing out of pre-1993 commercial vehicles.

The auto union’s counsel, Asish Chakraborty, argued that the HC order and the government notification issued on July 17, 2008 had asked the auto operators to convert and never asked them to replace old autos by new single mode LPG autos. But the government order of January 12 asked them to purchase new single mode four-stroke LPG autos. So, the government order was contradictory to the High Court’s order and liable to be struck down, the counsel contended.

However, the court on Monday cleared all doubts regarding the public policy shift to clean fuel. The Court ratified the transport department move. This proved to be a lethal blow to the auto-operators insistence on conversion, not replacement. The High Court also made it clear that they would not tolerate the unbridled plying of old two-stroke auto rickshaws in the name of conversion.

The counsel further submitted that they were very keen on complying with the court’s order and for that they had already applied to the PVD and RTAs. The authorities, and not his clients, were responsible for the delay, he contended. The court refused to accept the contention and dismissed the petition, observing that in view of increasing environmental pollution the government’s action was justifiable.

Pradip Saha of Auto Bachao Committee said, “We are to follow the High Court order. We will now only ply two-stroke autos registered after August-2000. But we will definitely raise the question as to why the government allowed only post-2000 autos and not the pre-2000 ones. If it’s arbitrary, we have to fight it legally.”

But a check on city routes revealed that illegal autos and autos registered long before August 2000 were plying in prominent routes like Garia-Tollygunge and Kasba to EM Bypass.





Film producers appeal against HC stay order

TNN 11 August 2009, 05:13am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Monday stayed the screening of Bengali film Poran Jay Joliya Re for copyright infringement. Sri Venkatesh Films which owns the rights of the Bengali film moved an appeal before a division Bench immediately after this interim order. The division Bench admitted the appeal, which is expected to come up for hearing on Tuesday.

The interim stay didn’t affect screening of the film on Monday, though as counsel for Bollywood producer Vipul Shah who had moved the petition of copyright infringement against Sri Venkatesh Films assured the division Bench that they would not file for contempt till the matter is heard further.

Shah had moved the high court a week ago through counsel S N Mukherjee, Ranjan Bachawat, Rudraman Bhattacharya and others, alleging that the producers of the Bengali film had lifted the storyline of his 2007 blockbuster Namastey London. Justice Nadira Patherya heard both sides and also watched the films before passing her interim order on Monday. While staying screening of the Bengali film, Justice Patherya observed that sequences and costumes of both films are the same. She observed that this was a total infringement of copyright.

Justice Patherya also directed the producers of the Bengali film to submit all paraphernalia related to Poran Jay Joliya Re to the Central Board of Film Certification (the censor board).

Immediately after the interim order was passed, counsel for Sri Venkatesh Films moved an appeal before the division Bench of Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghosh and Justice

I P Mookerji. In their appeal, makers of the Bengali film challenged the single Bench order. They pointed out that the Dev-Subhashree starrer was doing very well at theatres across the state. Seeking a stay on the single Bench order, they pleaded that any interim stay on screening would result in losses.

After admitting the appeal, Justice Ghosh and Justice Mookerji directed both sides to submit all documents on Tuesday when the matter will be heard. When Sri Venkatesh Films pleaded for a stay on the single Bench order, Shah’s counsel assured the court that they would not file a contempt plea if the film continues to be screened till Tuesday’s hearing.

Legal experts, while refusing to comment on the outcome of the case, seemed happy that issues such as copyright infringement were finally being taken seriously. According to them, protection of such rights are extremely important in today’s world.

“It does not matter how this case ends up finally. What is important is that the legal world has started taking notice of such matters. Till some time ago, such allegations were not taken seriously. In some cases, the complainant would incur heavy losses while their efforts were copied and commercially used by others. This in no way means that there has been any infringement of copyright in this particular matter. That is for the court to decide,” said a senior lawyer.





HC seeks Centre reply on beggars

TNN 10 August 2009, 11:48pm IST

NEW DELHI: Following the Delhi government’s plea for court direction to the Centre for coordination to tackle the begging menace in the capital, the Delhi High Court on Monday issued a notice to the Centre asking it to file a reply.

The high court suggested that the city government make all efforts to coordinate with neighbouring states to rehabilitate beggars and eradicate the menace from the national capital.

A division bench of Justice Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Justice Ajit Bharihoke asked the social welfare department of Delhi to discuss the matter with the governments of Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar and find a solution to the problem. To this, the Delhi government counsel submitted that it was not possible on the part of the Delhi government and sought the court’s direction to the Centre for co-ordination.

Earlier, the Bench had pulled up the Ministry of social welfare for its failure to implement the suggestions of V P Chaudhary, amicus curiae, that the city should have at least mobile courts to dispose of begging-related cases on the spot.

The amicus also suggested that the government should make efforts to provide skill training in beggars homes so that they could be rehabilitated. Taking suo motu cognizance of a media report on the menace of beggars in the city, the Bench had appointed Chaudhary as amicus curaie and asked him to file a report after visiting the city’s beggar homes.




Authorities should not evict cobblers: HC

August 11, 2009 By: admin

Madras High Court has held that it was not open to the authorities concerned to evict those cobblers for whom bunks had been constructed and allocated and licences issued by the Chennai Corporation and imposed a cost of Rs 50,000 on the civic body.





Arrears PIL


Cuttack, Aug. 9: The Naveen Patnaik government is in the dock for having failed to collect royalty arrears worth Rs 11 crore outstanding for more than three years now, against Bhusan Steel and Strips which is coming up with a 3MT steel plant at Meramundali near Dhenkanal.

Responding to a petition, Orissa High Court has asked the state to explain the pending revenue arrears.

Dhenkanal (Sadar)’s NCP MLA Nabin Nanda sought judicial intervention into the matter through a PIL. The legislator accused the state of failing to collect royalty due to administrative inertia vis-à-vis non-co-operation by the company. Bhusan Steel had used sand raised from the land leased out by Infrastructure Development Corporation (Idco) for the steel project at Meramundali.

Tehsildars of Dhenkanal and Hindol had sent demand notices to the company on May 19, 2006, under Orissa Minor Minerals Concession (OMMC) Rules-2004 for depositing royalty on the use of earth, morrum and sand. The levy was pegged at Rs 11.01 crores. But the revenue officials had failed to collect the revenue till date, Nanda pointed out.

Acting on the petition, a two-judge bench of acting Chief Justice I.M. Quddusi and Justice Sanju Panda had issued notices to the state and Dhenkanal administration last week. Notices were also issued to Bhusan Steel and Strips. The court gave the respondents four weeks time to file their responses.





EVM expose
Is electronic ‘rigging’ subverting electoral mandate?

By GVL Narasimha Rao

Shockingly, of the 13.78 lakh EVMs deployed in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, only 4.48 Lakh are either new or upgraded machines, while as many as 9.3 Lakh EVMs (or over 2/3rd of all EVMs) deployed are old machines. The Commission has furnished this information in reply to a RTI query dated July 21 to V. Venkateswara Rao, the main petitioner who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on the issue.

Political parties now suspect that something has wrong but appear woefully short in understanding the rigging possibilities of electronic voting machines. Most of them have nagging doubts about the tampering of the EVMs, but have not raised these concerns in an open manner for fear of retribution and ridicule. The Supreme Court in its order in disposing the writ petition on EVMs had stated last month that the issue raised are of vital concern and the political parties may approach the Commission to clarify their doubts about the EVMs.

The debate over the unreliability of the EVM that raged over the last two months is reaching a crescendo as many new facts come to light, even as Election Commission officials continue to carp ad nauseam that the EVMs used by the Election Commission are infallible, without any substantive proof, whatsoever.

On the other hand, there is now enough verifiable and circumstantial evidence to show that there is something amiss about the EVMs. The true story of the EVMs is beginning to unfold and it would be a tragedy if the political parties do not get to the bottom of the truth about these allegations and apprehensions. The poll panel is betraying signs of nervousness as it has no convincing explanations to a number of emerging concerns and the political parties owe it to the millions of the voting public to investigate and arrive at proper conclusions to show that their votes have not been robbed by unscrupulous individuals and to restore the public faith in our voting system.

Shocking verdicts
As someone who has analysed and predicted many parliamentary and assembly elections in the past, let me add a new perspective to the raging EVM debate. The only two parliamentary elections where the pollsters in general have gone horribly wrong in India’s parliamentary history are the Lok Sabha elections of 2009 and 2004. Consider this fact these are the only two national elections that were totally electronic.

In stark contrast, the Lok Sabha election results of 1991, 1996 and 1999 which were manual could be accurately predicted by most pollsters. For instance, my own Lok Sabha predictions for the Times of India and Doordarshan for all these elections were bang on target. (See box for these predictions and actual results).

That brings up the relevant question: Has the voter mood in the Lok Sabha elections that we were able to gauge very accurately until 1999 become so complex after the Election Commission made them totally electronic employing the EVMs?

Poll predictions vs. Actual results

* Polls by G.V.L. Narasimha Rao for Times of India/Doordarshan

Interestingly, we could accurately predict various assembly elections (held using EVMs) held between 2004 and 2009 general elections including the elections of Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Delhi. How is it that the same electronic voting machines turned in voting results that we could capture accurately in assembly polls, but not in national elections?

Is it the case that these voting machines per se are reliable when they are properly handled (which explains why there were no problems in assembly elections), but have been tampered with in the Lok Sabha polls producing startling results both in 2004 and 2009?

Lest the cynics argue that my theory of “electronic rigging” in national elections based on this circumstantial evidence is a figment of my imagination and rubbish it on the promise that the BJP would not have performed creditably well in states like Bihar and Chhattisgarh in 2009 general elections if that were the case, let me substantiate my claims with some pertinent information and questions.

EC owes explanation
The Election Commission is less than truthful in claiming that the EVMs deployed in general elections are tamperproof, when its own technical committee led by Prof. P.V. Indiresan held otherwise. The Expert Committee in its September, 2006 report (points 3.6 and 3.7) recommended that the old EVMs should be upgraded with suggested modifications, testing and operating precautions to make them tamper proof.

Shockingly, of the 13.78 lakh EVMs deployed in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls, only 4.48 Lakh are either new or upgraded machines, while as many as 9.3 Lakh EVMs (or over 2/3rd of all EVMs) deployed are old machines. The Commission has furnished this information in reply to a RTI query dated July 21 to V Venkateswara Rao, the main petitioner who filed a PIL in the Supreme Court on the issue. (Copy of the ECI reply enclosed)

New, improved EVMs were deployed in the states of Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, and some UT’s and all north eastern states except Assam. In all others states, old EVMs, which do not meet the technical specifications, were used.

Why is it that these new, improved machines were not deployed in any of the key Congress-United Progressive Alliance (UPA) ruled states? Who were the persons responsible in making these decisions and what was the rationale in making the choice of states with the new, improved EVMs?

Curiously, while many states seem to have been selected following some alphabetical sequence, the UPA ruled states like Andhra Pradesh, Assam, Haryana, Maharastra and Tamil Nadu (which fall in the same sequence) have been left out systematically.

Naturally, the following questions arise and the EC is duty bound to answer them satisfactorily. What considerations guided the deployment of the old EVMs, more susceptible to tampering in all the states ruled by the ruling combine at the Centre? Why all the EVMs were not upgraded or replaced as recommended by the Expert Committee? Isn’t the Commissions guilty of misleading the political parties and the public opinion that it’s EVMs are tamper proof when it is fully aware of their limitations and shortcomings? All these serious questions warrant convincing answers from the Commission.

Latest statements from Commission officials reveal that they themselves seem to entertain doubts about the functioning of the old EVMs deployed in Lok Sabha elections. The Commission officials now say that only new, improved and ‘certified’ EVMs will be deployed for by-polls due shortly in Tamil Nadu where the opposition parties led by the AIADMK have decided to boycott by-elections. Does it not amount to admission of guilt that the old EVMs used in the Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu were not reliable and prone to tampering?

‘Stand alone’ EVMs
Election Commisison officials have time and again argued that the EVMs cannot be tampered as they are stand alone machines without being part of any network and are not based on operating systems as the EVMs used elsewhere in the world.

That is an erroneous argument. The stand alone EVMs can be hacked on a selective basis; in any state, constituency or polling station of one’s choosing. Granted, this cannot happen without tampering with the individual EVMs deployed for election duty at some stage of their handling in the manufacture or election operations. That brings up the relevant question as to who can actually be involved in tampering.

It may be difficult or even impossible to influence lakhs of government functionaries deployed for election duty to tamper all the EVMs. But, it appears that there are a number of private players involved in gaining access to the EVMs at various stages, starting from their manufacture to their operations and maintenance at various stages of elections. Evidently, they are a huge potential security hazard.

Role of private players
Election Commission officials now claim that the EVMs are tamper proof and this confidence stems merely from the certificates of authenticity given by their manufacturers namely the ECIL and BEL, both in the public sector. Is that a valid ground for unbridled optimism about their tamper proof reliability? Is there any way that the officers on election duty or political party representatives to verify that these EVMs are indeed not tampered with? The answer is a no.

In addition to the manufacturers, there are a number of private players and individuals who are engaged in handling these machines at several crucial stages. There is not much information available on who these people are, who hires them, what duties they perform, what process is adopted to hire them and what are the terms of their engagement?

Preliminary enquiries show that they include chip manufacturers, service maintenance staff, manpower suppliers, outsourcing agencies, transporters of EVMs etc., who have unlimited access to the EVMs. What prevents them from tampering with the EVMs at some stage of election operations? In some states, we found reports suggesting that the maintenance and EVM handling work has been done by people belonging to the ruling parties. Does that not give ample scope to these parties to manipulate these machines?

A few authorised, unscrupulous elements gaining access to the machines can play havoc with them. No one would even get a hint of such manipulation as most officials are completely ignorant of the technology manipulation possibilities. Experts allege that these manipulations are so simple and devious that these could be done even without any knowledge on the part of the operational staff engaged in such manipulations who will mistake these activities to be part of the operational procedures.

EC operations in mystery
The biggest problem is that all the operations of the Election Commission of India are shrouded in mystery and there is a veil of secrecy that surrounds them, while as a public institution; it is expected to function in a transparent manner. India’s democracy cannot be held hostage to the whims and fancies of a few high ranking and well meaning officials of the Election Commission who would like us to simply believe that under their watchful supervision, nothing can go wrong.

Most senior officials of the Election Commission and those engaged in the polling process at various levels seem blissfully unaware of the manipulation possibilities of the EVMs. Worse, ECI officials see any doubts raised against EVMs as attacks on their personal integrity.

But, in a country where the election commissioners are appointed owing to their known political affiliations and former election commissioners are rewarded with positions and ministerial berths for ‘services’ rendered, doubts are bound to be raised about their impartiality. It is the duty of the Commission to reveal all facts to show that it has little to hide.

The Election Commission has the responsibility to initiate a national debate to discuss all issues threadbare. In stead of addressing valid concerns, it has been asking everyone to prove that their EVMs are tamper prone. Granted, no tampering can be done without physically manipulating it. Experts are challenging that the EVMs used in the elections can be tampered if one has physical access to them and the commission is not willing to take the challenge. The Commission perhaps wants the petitioners to perform some magic skills in manipulating their machines without gaining any physical access.

In the wake of serious concerns and the emerging potential possibilities for manipulation at various stages, it is the onerous duty of the poll panel to demonstrate basis for their oft repeated claims that their EVMs cannot be tampered with and not anyone else. The Commission should take voluntary steps in promoting a healthy debate and remove all hurdles to restore public faith in a system that has been junked by most western democracies rather than attempt to muzzle all opposition by making unsustainable claims.

Political parties must demand accountability
Most political parties now suspect that something has wrong but appear woefully short in understanding the rigging possibilities of electronic voting machines. Most of them have nagging doubts about the tampering of the EVMs, but have not raised these concerns in an open manner for fear of retribution and ridicule. The Supreme Court in its order in disposing the writ petition on EVMs had stated last month that the issue raised are of vital concern and the political parties may approach the Commission to clarify their doubts about the EVMs.

At stake is not just the fate of the political parties but the sanctity of our electoral process and the essence of our democracy. Parties must vociferously raise their concerns in public domain and in Parliament and ensure that the poll panel is held accountable to the millions of its electorate and conduct future elections in a manner that enhances the confidence of the electorate and that of the political parties in their outcomes.

(The author is a leading political analyst and a member of the BJP. Views expressed here are his own.)





Around 18,000 students still to get admission to std 11th

Published by: Noor Khan
Published: Mon, 10 Aug 2009 at 19:57 IST

F Prev Next L

Mumbai, Aug 10 Despite the online admission system, some 18,000 students in Mumbai Metropolitan Region are yet to get admission to std 11th, state today told Bombay High Court.

Today is the last day of admissions, and std 11th classes would start from tomorrow.

Online admission system was introduced by the government in Mumbai and surrounding areas only this year.

Pratap Sarnaik, a Thane-based Shiv Sena corporator has filed a PIL, alleging that there is large-scale bungling in the online process.

Many students have not got admissions at all, while in several cases students have got admissions to the stream which they did not opt for, said petitioner’s lawyer advocate Suhas Oak.

Government pleader Jyoti Pawar said that colleges have been instructed to give admissions to the students in their respective locality who have not got admission through the online system.

But Oak said that most seats in most colleges are filled up, and what is left now is management seats.

Division bench headed by Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar adjourned the hearing for one week, asking government lawyer to file affidavit as to how the remaining students would be accomodated.





One-time settlement scheme


BS Reporter / New Delhi August 10, 2009, 0:12 IST

The Supreme Court last week upheld the right of the small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to invoke the One-Time Settlement Scheme of the RBI in repayment of loans. In the case of Sardar Associates Ltd vs Punjab and Sind Bank, the firm defaulted in its installments to the bank. So the bank declared the account as non-performing assets and started recovery proceedings. The firm offered a one-time settlement according to RBI guidelines. The bank did not accept it, leading to litigation in the debt recovery tribunal. The tribunal directed the bank to settle the case in terms of the RBI guidelines. However, the bank appealed to the Punjab and Haryana high court which quashed the tribunal’s order. The firm appealed to the SC. 

ESIC cover for petrol pump staf

Staff at a petrol pump is covered by the Employees State Insurance Act, the SC held last week in the judgement, M/s Qazi Noorul Pump vs ESI Corporation. The pump owner challenged the notice from the corporation for contribution. The high court dismissed his petition. He appealed to the SC, arguing he was not manufacturing goods, but only pumping oil. The SC dismissed the appeal rejecting his argument that according to the excise law, manufacturing means producing a new commodity. The SC asserted that under the Factories Act, pumping oil is a “manufacturing process.” It was the Factories Act definition which was applicable to the ESI law, the judgement said. 

Arbitration for speedy resolution of disputes

Arbitration proceedings are aimed at speedy resolution of disputes untrammelled by the rules of a civil court and therefore, there is no need for framing of issues when a party challenges the award of an arbitrator, the Supreme Court said in its judgement last week in Fiza Developers & Inter-Trade Ltd vs AMCI (I) Ltd. The award was for payment of Rs 58 crore by Fiza to the opposite party. It moved against the award in the civil court and later in the Karnataka high court where it failed. In its appeal before the Supreme Court, it argued that the court must frame issues as in a civil court.

The Supreme Court rejected this contention and ruled that “having regard to the object of the Arbitration and Conciliation Act, that is providing an expeditious alternative binding dispute resolution process with minimal court intervention, it is difficult to envisage proceedings under Section 34 of the Act as full-fledged regular civil suits under Code of Civil Procedure.” 

Dependants of carpenter get their due

The Supreme Court last week dismissed the appeal of National Insurance Company against the Madhya Pradesh high court asking it to pay Rs 4.48 lakh to the dependants of a carpenter who died in a road accident when a truck hit a jeep in which he was riding. The tribunal had awarded Rs 2.32 lakh, which was enhanced by the high court. The insurance company argued in appeal that the amount was exorbitant as a carpenter could not have been earning Rs 100 a day as the high court estimated. The Supreme Court rejected the contention and asserted that even in 1997 when the mishap occurred, “he could have comfortably earned Rs 100 a day.” 

Closed saw mills of UP

The Supreme Court has asked the Uttar Pradesh government to decide within three months whether the saw mills which are lying closed following its orders could be allowed to open and start manufacturing if wood is available. It may be recalled that the court had ordered the closure of saw mills in forest areas a decade ago. In this case, T N Godavarman vs Union of India, several saw mills of the state submitted that they were suffering huge losses as the units were not functioning at present though they were in existence for long. They claimed that wood was available for them. The court therefore asked the government to find out whether they can be “accommodated” in future if wood was available.





Madras HC directs CB CID to complete inquiry in kidnapping case

The Madras High Court has said the CB-CID should complete investigation with in three months and submit the final report in a case relating to alleged kidnapping of three people and damage to their property in Erode district last year.

Justice P R Sivakumar passed the order on a petition filed by B R Rangasamy, V Gobinath and R Mohanraj of Erode district, cited as accused in the case, seeking speedy investigation of the case.

The matter related to a property dispute. P C Palanisamy, his wife Malarvizhi and their son Sivabalan were allegedly kidnapped by former State Minister N K K P Raja and his henchmen and their property was damaged.

The petitioners said because of the long pendency of investigation, they were not in a position to go for their avocation and were finding it difficult to lead a normal life.

They had been denied their right to speedy investigation and trial, they said.






MP HC stays ban on book ‘Five Past Midnight in Bhopal’

Madhya Pradesh High Court stayed the order of a fast track court and additional district court for imposing ban on the publication, printing, distribution and sale of Five Past Midnight in Bhopal, a book based on Bhopal gas tragedy written by French writers Dominic Lapierre and Javier Moro.

The writers challenged the order of the lower court and said that there was nothing derogative and against the then Director General of Police Swaraj.

Justice Rajendra Menon while hearing the petition of Mr Pierre, Mr Javier and Publisher Shikher Malhotra, stayed the order.

It was reported that the book mentioned that on the next day of the world’s disastrous gas leakage tragedy, the state police head was busy in looking after the distribution of lunch packets and other allied works.






MP HC notice to Sushma Swaraj on her election

The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued a notice to BJP leader and Lok Sabha Member Sushma Swaraj on a plea challenging her election from Vidisha on the ground of improper randomisation of electronic voting machines (EVMs) from Budhni, Khategaon and Ichhawar assembly segments.

Justice K K Lahoti, hearing the petition of Ichhawar voter Balbir Tomar who accused Ms Swaraj of employing illegal practices and submitting wrong and incomplete accounts, asked the BJP leader to submit her reply within six weeks.

Petitioner’s Counsel Mahendra Choubey submitted that the randomisation of EVMs was improperly done. ‘BJP candidate Swaraj adopted unethical and corrupt practices in violation of the Representation of the People Act,’ he added.






HC reverses divorce order, makes bigamous man pay wife

Swati Deshpande, TNN 10 August 2009, 02:34am IST

MUMBAI: Hiding an extra-marital relationship, either from the wife or the court, doesn’t pay. In a rare order that would make men think twice before trying to mislead the court to protect his second marriage, the Bombay high court recently reversed a divorce and imposed an exemplary cost of Rs 50,000 on a Pune resident. He has to pay his wife for his “deliberate efforts to keep the wife deprived of her conjugal rights and make it impossible for her to resume cohabitation,” said a bench of Justice B H Marlapalle and Justice S J Vazifdar.

“If the husband, by his own acts, made cohabitation with his wife impossible by living with another woman, his behaviour amounts to being `wrong’ and disentitles him from seeking a divorce on the grounds that he had no physical relationship with the first wife,” the HC stated.

Kavya and Sanjiv Gupta (names changed) got married in 1980 and subsequently had three children. In 1991-92, Sanjiv left Kavya and started staying with another woman. In 1995, Kavya moved a Pune court for restitution of her conjugal rights and a year later, Sanjiv filed for divorce, alleging desertion and cruelty.

The family court allowed Kavya’s plea but dismissed Sanjiv’s. Two years later, he moved court seeking divorce again, this time on technical grounds under the Hindu Marriage Act that a year had passed without them cohabitating. In 2003, he was finally granted a divorce.

Kavya, however, refused to comply. She approached the Bombay high court to challenge the divorce, saying her husband had been staying with another woman-ie, had an adulterous relationship-even after the court had denied him a divorce in 1999. In July 2009, when she finally won, the court was deeply upset with Sanjiv as well as the Pune family court. The HC ticked off the Pune court for its “gross and manifest errors in allowing the husband’s divorce plea instead of dismissing it”.

While Kavya said Sanjiv could not take advantage of “his own wrong”, the latter argued that “there was no obligation placed by law on him for compliance before seeking relief”. “Even the defaulting party can seek divorce…,” Sanjiv said, but never listed out the steps he had taken to resume a physical relationship. He said he remarried in 2004, only after the divorce was granted.

His counsel A Kumbhakoni called for a “pragmatic approach” to “warrant protection of the second marriage after the limitation period under the law”. Besides, to be “wrong” the husband’s “conduct should be more than a mere disinclination to agree to a re-union”. “Quashing the divorce would destroy the second marriage” and would not do “substantial justice”, he said.

However, a 2002 courier receipt, revealing his bigamous relationship, blew the lid off the husband’s true self. The HC was “not impressed” with Kumbhakoni’s submission that the receipt could not be used as evidence. It rapped the family court for its “procedural lapse” in not recording the receipt.




NRI custody row: HC asks woman to take her battle back to UK

Krishnadas Rajagopal Posted: Monday , Aug 10, 2009 at 0437 hrs New Delhi:

Are foreign courts in a better position to decide marital disputes and child custody battles between NRI couples?

In a decision that may act as a judicial precedent, the Delhi High Court said that a court in the couple’s city of residence will be better placed to decide what is best for the couple and their children.

A Division Bench of Justice S K Kaul and Justice Ajit Bharihoke said that for NRIs, “in matters of matrimony and custody”, it is best to follow the law of the place which has the “closest connection” with their own well being and that of their children. The court was deciding on a habeas corpus petition filed by UK resident Aviral Mittal for his three-and-a half-year old daughter.

Mittal’s wife had left their home in UK with her daughter in September 2008 and refused to return.

His request to join him at his New Delhi residence was met with a demand from his wife’s family that he undergo a “psychiatric evaluation”. Two months later, on his return to the UK, Mittal filed a case before the High Court of Justice, Family Division, UK, for a direction to his wife to return their daughter, a British passport holder, to the UK.

Justice Munby, who heard the petition, passed an order that the child be returned to the “jurisdiction of England and Wales within 14 days” and the child should “thereafter be forbidden to be removed from the jurisdiction of England and Wales without the permission of the judge of this (UK) court”. The judge also passed a direction to hand over the passport and travel documents of the child within 72 hours of her return.

When he

found that his wife had not obliged, Mittal filed his petition before the Delhi Bench through his counsel Prabhjit Jauhar. Mittal’s wife argued in court that the custody of a “female child of tender age” ought to remain with the mother. She further refused to recognise the authority of the UK court’s order and accused her husband of cruelty.

Perusing the records, the court noted that Mittal and his wife were involved in a “no-holds barred fight” over their five years together in the UK, and all the “relevant evidence” was available in that country alone.

“The parties (the Mittals) continued to live, cohabit, work for gain and bring up the child together in the UK. The child holds a British passport and both parents have permanent resident status in the UK. It can hardly be said that any court other than the courts in the UK would best serve the ends of justice,” the Bench observed in its judgment on August 7.

Since the child is a British citizen by birth, the Bench held that a UK court would best take care of the her welfare, which is of “paramount” importance.

The Bench ordered the mother to take her child back to the UK and “join the proceedings before the courts of England and Wales”, failing which the child will be handed over to Mittal to be taken there.





HC relief for Tata Teleservices in dispute with MSEDCL

MUMBAI: In a relief for Tata Teleservices, the Bombay High Court has restrained Maharashtra State Electricity Distribution Company Ltd from charging it at the steeper commercial rate for the time being.

Court gave an interim stay, and asked MSEDCL to reply by August 13. In a letter sent to Tata Teleservices on June 20 this year, MSEDCL informed it that it would have to pay for the power consumption at the commercial rate, which is around Rs 7 per unit.

Earlier, Teleservices was billed at the industrial rate, which was around Rs 4 per unit. New rate would translate into increase of around Rs 5 crore in its bill. Further, MSEDCL said, that change of rate would apply retrospectively, so Teleservices woul d have to pay arrears for the last one year. Teleservices has filed a petition against this in the High Court.

At the hearing last week, its lawyer Mr Sudeep Nargolkar argued that as per the 2003 Industrial Policy of the state government, companies engaged in information technology and relates services were to be charged at industrial rate.

MSEDCL’s argument was that Teleservices’ actual user of power did not make it eligible for industrial rate. – PTI





CJI asks trade unions to register construction workers


Bangalore, Aug 9 (PTI) Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan today asked trade unions to register construction workers under the relevant Act so that they could avail benefits provided by it.

In his inaugural address at a seminar organised by the Karnataka Government to create awareness among construction workers of their rights and privileges, he lamented lack of efforts on part of states to implement the Building and Other Construction Workers (Regulation of Employment and Conditions of Service) Act.

Lauding the initiative taken by the state government to organise the seminar, he expressed hope that the state which had constituted a welfare board for construction workers in 2007 would set up such boards at the district level.





With CJI push, bid to make laws simpler

Maneesh Chhibber Posted: Monday , Aug 10, 2009 at 0155 hrs New Delhi:

England has the Laws of Halsbury while the USA has the annual Restatement of Laws. Now, very soon, India will also have something similar.

In what is the biggest-ever and most-ambitious exercise undertaken by any agency, a Supreme Court of India-appointed panel is working on a set of guidelines to remove uncertainties in Indian laws and to remove ambiguities surrounding various legal principles and their applicability. The job of the panel would be to sift through the maze of hundreds of prevailing laws, including those that owe their genesis to court rulings, and come up with simpler to understand but more acceptable laws.

The pilot project of the first-of-its-kind initiative — the brainchild of Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan — will come up with a set of rules and guidelines for Legislative Privileges, contempt of court and PILs. Experts say PIL is one area that could certainly do with some kind of guidelines, with growing instances of big corporations and unscrupulous elements resorting to filing PILs, either on their own or through proxies, to settle scores or get big ticket projects stalled.

Being done under the aegis of the Indian Law Institute (ILI), New Delhi, the project is likely to soon result in a memorandum of understanding between the ILI, a deemed university, and the American Law Institute (ALI), Philadelphia, a non-profit organisation responsible for the Restatement of Law. The CJI is also the patron of the ILI.

“It is a big project. A committee comprising Justice R V Raveendran is supervising it,” CJI Balakrishnan told The Indian Express.

It is learnt that three separate committees headed by Judges of the Supreme Court and comprising law officers of the Government of India, legal luminaries and academics have been constituted to prepare restatements of law on these three subjects, which would be models for the future.

Union Law Secretary T K Vishwanathan, Attorney General Goolam E Vahanvati, jurist Fali Nariman, law expert N R Madhava Menon and ILI Director-cum-Vice-Chancellor D S Sengar are among those involved in the project. Sources said a team headed by the CJI has already visited the ALI.

“The idea is to promote clarification and simplification of the law for its better adoption for changing social needs,” said Sengar.

The three committees have been asked to submit their reports within 4-6 months, after which the same would be discussed with other experts and finally forwarded to the Law Ministry for action.






CJI conferred honorary doctorate by Gulbarga University


Bangalore, Aug 9 (PTI) Chief Justice of India Justice K G Balakrishnan was today conferred an honorary doctorate by the Gulbarga University.

Presenting the doctorate at a brief function in the Raj Bhavan here, Governor of Karnataka and the Chancellor of the University H R Bhardwaj described Balakrishnan as one of the eminent legal luminaries of the country.

“He is recognised as a person with rich talents, powerful intellect, in-depth scholarship, commitment to justice and humanism”, the governor said.

The Chief Justice thanked the university for honouring him with the doctorate





Illegal slaughterhouses polluting drinking water in Meerut: NHRC

IANS 11 August 2009, 08:18pm IST

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has ordered the closure of illegal slaughterhouses and furnaces used in extraction of animal bone fat in Meerut city of Uttar Pradesh because the blood and animal waste flushed into open drains has started polluting drinking water supply system.

An official of the commission said: “The commission has issued a notice to the chief secretary, the municipal commissioner of Meerut and chairman of the State Pollution Control Board to appear in front of the commission on Aug 25 for non-compliance of its recommendations on closure of illegal abattoir and about 200 furnaces used for extraction of animal bone fat in the city.”

During an inquiry last month, the commission found that the local administration’s claim that some of the furnaces have been demolished was not true. The slaughterhouse on municipal corporation land also continued to function illegally, polluting the environment within a radius of 2.5 km.

“Slaughtered animals’ blood and waste are flushed through open drains, resulting in pollution of drinking water. The commission had issued a notice on Aug 10 with regard to removal of these furnaces, stressing that the right to health is not only a vital human right but also a fundamental right,” the official said.

“However, because of non-compliance of the recommendations, officials of the state government have been summoned by the commission,” the official added.




Manipur second highest in fake encounter, NHRC report

Source: Hueiyen News Service

New Delhi, August 11 2009: The killing of two persons, including a pregnant woman, during an alleged fake encounter in Manipur last month was not a one off incident.

The northeastern state has, in fact, witnessed a sudden spurt in such encounters by trigger-happy cops – putting it among the top in the list of states reporting such cases.

The number of “fake” encounter cases, registered by National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in the last over three years, shows that Manipur reported the second highest number of such incidents during 2008-09 and 2009-10 (till July this year).

While a big state like Uttar Pradesh has consistently been reporting the highest number of alleged fake encounter cases, Manipur has witnessed a substantial rise – from only one case during 2007-08 to 16 in 2008-09 and six during the first four months (April-July) during 2009-10 .

A senior home ministry official said: “The rising figures could well explain the current public unrest in Manipur where people have been on the street against trigger-happy cops ever since the state witnessed the killing of two persons in an encounter on July 23” .

Though state chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh ordered a judicial inquiry and suspended six commandos of the Manipur Police involved in the incident last week, people in the state have been asking the government to look into the reason of the ‘rising number’ of alleged fake encounter cases.

Even officials here are quite convinced about ‘high-handedness’ on the part of the state police as they pointed out that while other states like UP have been showing a decrease in the number of “fake” encounter cases, Manipur has been showing an increase which is quite disturbing.

Another small state like Uttarakhand too, of late, joined the club of having a high number of alleged fake encounter cases.

It recently witnessed the killing of a 24-year-old person – a resident of Ghaziabad, UP – who was allegedly shot dead by the Dehradun Police.

Incidentally, violence-hit Jammu and Kashmir has not reported any case to NHRC this year or during 2008-09.While the state reported two alleged fake encounter cases during 2007-08, it reported four such incidents in 2006-07 .





Sold twice by parents, minor girl goes to NCW, NHRC

TNN 12 August 2009, 04:19am IST

CHANDIGARH: She was just 13 when she was sold off to a 30-year-old man for Rs 50,000 after a small bidding. Two years later she escaped her captor, but was sold off again, this time for Rs 100,000.

Now 15-year-old Netra (name changed), who managed to give her second “husband” the slip on Aug 5, Rakhi day, has decided her parents cannot get away with it and that “victimized minors like me” need to send a strong message to society against sexual exploitation of helpless young girls. “The excuse was that my father was poor, so even those who knew about it kept quiet,” said Netra, tears welling up in her swollen eyes. “But I have now decided to take up my case with the NHRC and the National Commission for Women. Maybe there will be some justice for me.”

Narrating her horrifying story on Tuesday, she said, “I was sold by my father for Rs 50,000 to a man in Pinjor first. The other one in Kurukshetra, a mill owner, bought me for Rs one lakh. My family was in dire need of money and my father’s vegetables shop wasn’t doing well. And I ended up getting sold.”

The girl from Rajpura added she was “physically, mentally and sexually” abused by both men for two years. “I still remember the date when I was put up for sale. January 17, 2007. I was just 13. My family had then asked me to accompany them to Pinjore. But when we reached there, I was informed about my marriage. Later, he told me that he had purchased me for Rs 50,000 and that I should do as he wished.’’





26/11 trial: FBI confirms Pakistan link

AGENCIES 12 August 2009, 02:15pm IST

MUMBAI: Agents from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Wednesday gave evidence at the trial of the sole surviving terrorist of the deadly Mumbai attacks, Mohammad Ajmal Kasab.

The first witness, an FBI electronic engineer and forensic expert, told a special prison court that he had examined one satellite phone and three global positioning systems (GPS) recovered after the attacks.

The downloaded data from the devices showed a number of maps and routes, including one from off the coast of Pakistan to Mumbai, the FBI agent told the court, under condition of anonymity.

“This route starts in the ocean near the Gulf of Karachi and it goes to Mumbai. The route was stored by the user,” he added.

Other locations found on the GPS system included areas of the cities of Karachi and Rawalpindi and of Mumbai.

The ten terrorists, who attacked Mumbai last November, killing over 170 people and wounding more than 300 others, are said by the prosecution to have come to the city via the sea.

The surviving gunman, Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, and an accomplice are alleged to have committed the bloodiest episode in the 60-hour reign of terror, opening fire with AK-47 assault rifles and throwing grenades at commuters at the city’s main railway station.

Kasab is being tried on a string of charges, including waging war against India, murder and attempted murder. He faces the death penalty if convicted.

After the 26/11 terror attacks, in which six Americans were also killed, FBI had also conducted a probe and collected clinching evidence which is being placed before the trial court here.

Three US nationals are also expected to give their testimony in the 26/11 terror attack case through videoconferencing.

The identities of the witnesses have been kept secret for security reasons, the prosecutor said.





Govt nod for graft case against Coimbatore V-C

TNN 12 August 2009, 05:08am IST

CHENNAI: The state government on Tuesday informed the Madras high court that it has granted permission to the Directorate of Vigilance and Anti-Corruption (DVAC) to register a corruption case against R Radhakrishnan, vice-chancellor of the Anna University-Coimbatore.

A counter-affidavit of the deputy secretary of the higher education department, filed in response to a public interest writ petition seeking registration of corruption case against Radhakrishnan and his prosecution, said the government accorded its sanction to the DVAC on July 30.

The counter, filed by G Sankaran, special government pleader for education, said the government has asked the DVAC to “register a regular case” on the allegations contained in the proposal of the DVAC director as well as the contents of an affidavit filed by advocate S Sivapandi, who filed the present PIL.

N R Chandran, senior counsel and former advocate-general of Tamil Nadu, who represents Sivapandi, has been arguing before the first bench, comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice D Murugesan, that the DVAC be directed to register a case, investigate and file a final report on Sivapandi’s complaint dated May 30. Suitable action should also be initiated against the vice-chancellor on the basis of the findings, he had argued.

The counter, pointing out that the permission to register a case has already been accorded, said the PIL may hence be dismissed by the court.

Though the matter figured in the list of the first bench, it could not be taken up for further hearing on Tuesday.

In the petition, Sivapandi said that though a detailed representation for registration of a case was sent to the DVAC, no action had been taken. He wanted the court to restrain Radhakrishnan from continuing in the post of vice-chancellor. “If he is not prevented from functioning as vice-chancellor, he will tamper with records of the university and also coerce officers of the university to give false statements to the police,” he said.

On July 12, The Times of India had reported about Tamil Nadu governor Surjit Singh Barnala’s decision to seek a DVAC probe into Radhakrishnan conduct. On Friday last, the DVAC officials had conducted raids at the offices and house of Radhakrishnan and the office of the trust run by his wife.




Two more “fake encounter” deaths in U.P.: NHRC orders relief

J Balaji

NEW DELHI: In yet another order on the death of two persons due to “fake encounter” in Uttar Pradesh, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the State government to provide a relief of Rs.3 lakh each to the families of the victims. The incident allegedly occurred on September 2, 2003.

The U.P. government should submit the compliance report along with the proof of payment within eight weeks, NHRC directed.

The Commission found that one Ram Shankar, son of a farmer Bhansidhar Sahu and Prabhat Singh, son of a retired teacher Lallan Prasad from Meral village of District Gadwha, Jharkhand, were going to Beejpur by train and were picked up by the police when they alighted at Jharokas railway station to take some refreshment.

The cops took them to the forest within the jurisdiction of Mayorpur Police Post and killed them in a “fake encounter.” The police had claimed that they were in search of criminals involved in robbery of a bus on September 1, 2003 and in this connection had gone to Rantola jungle on 2nd September, 2003.

They overheard conversation among some persons hiding in the Khadpattar Nallah. The police said that they were convinced that the persons hiding in the Nallah were involved in the robbery as when asked to surrender, they started firing at them, and in self defence they had to return the fire.

However, the U.P. Crime Branch CID, which probed the case, found that the “encounter” story of the local police was not correct. A criminal case was also registered against the delinquent police personnel at Pipri police station in Sonebhadra District. Subsequently, the State government, in response to NHRC’s show cause notice, conceded that the slain youths family entitled to get monetary relief.

This is NHRC’s second such order in recent weeks involving U.P. cops. Late last month it had ordered the U.P. administration to provide a relief of Rs. three lakh to the family of Manisha (40), a lady, who was killed in a fake police encounter in Tajgang police station limits of Agra on September 8, 2000.

Similarly in June it sought a report from the IGP, Railways, Lucknow, on media reports alleging that a pregnant woman – Kavita – was killed after being pushed from a moving train in Lakhimpur Kheri district by two Government Railway Police (GRP) constables.

It was alleged that the woman was pushed by the constables – Ram Singh and Sudhir Singh – as she failed to pay them a bribe of Rs. 100 for travelling without ticket in the Mailani-Gonda passenger train.





Top Article: Tied Up In Knots

Tahir Mahmood12 August 2009, 12:00am IST

“Islam, which is a pious, progressive and respected religion with a rational outlook cannot be given a narrow concept as has been tried to be done by the alleged violators of law. The progressive outlook and wider approach of Islamic law cannot be permitted to be squeezed and narrowed by unscrupulous litigants.” This was the Supreme Court of India, in its Lily Thomas ruling in 2000, reaffirming its five-year-old Sarla Mudgal judgement outlawing bigamy by married non-Muslims under the pretext of conversion to Islam. I see the law so settled by the apex court of India as a great tribute to Islamic law.

The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 enforced monogamy, and deemed that a bigamous marriage would attract anti-bigamy provisions of the Indian Penal Code. Since then married men governed by this Act have often resorted to sham conversion to Islam for the sake of a second bigamous marriage. Two such cases made headlines in recent times. In one of these a married army physician of India serving in Afghanistan temporarily converted to Islam in order to marry an Afghan girl and, a few years later, returned to his family in India leaving her in the lurch.

In the second case a married politician and his lawyer friend, both Hindu, ostensibly embraced Islam to get married and kept on publicly claiming that they had done nothing illegal. As their marriage failed before long, the man returned to his original faith and reunited with his first wife. These, and many other similar cases, make it abundantly clear that the law settled by the Supreme Court is being observed in violation.

The true Islamic law on bigamy is gravely misunderstood, indeed by Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Both wrongly believe that it gives married men an unfettered right to marry again, which is nothing short of caricaturing a noble legal provision. Unrestricted bigamy was rampant in Arab society, which Islam had tried to contain by allowing it within carefully defined limits and subjecting it to strict discipline. Bigamy was permitted subject to a precondition that the man must be capable of treating his co-wives absolutely equally in every aspect of conjugal rights.

Clearly, throwing out the first wife without divorce and bringing in a new wife in her place was not what the Quran had envisaged. Also, noting that treating co-wives with complete equality would be no easy job, the Holy Book had added an advisory: “Monogamy would keep you away from doing injustice.” The Prophet had added to it a deterrent warning: “A bigamist failing to treat his wives equally will be torn apart on the Day of Judgement.” This 7th century attempt to gradually eradicate the social vice of unlimited polygamy was admirable.

The Quranic precepts, and the Prophet’s warning on bigamy, apply to all Muslims born or converted. But the idea that Islam must welcome to its fold a convert whose conversion is not for the love of Islam but an obvious camouflage to play fraud on the law that otherwise governs him is indeed preposterous.

Whatever one may erroneously presume the Islamic law on the subject to be, the two Supreme Court rulings had laid down a binding law on the issue of bigamy by non-Muslims under the cover of embracing Islam. This law, however, has not percolated down to society and married non-Muslims keep on violating it on a whim. Taking cognisance of this state of affairs, the Law Commission of India thought it fit to recommend to the government that the judicially settled law of 1995-2000 be incorporated into the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and other statutory marriage laws of India.

The 227th report of the commission containing this recommendation did not go beyond this. Conscious of the religious sensitivities of Muslim society in respect of personal law, the commission did not touch upon misuse of the Islamic law on bigamy by born Muslims themselves, which is not unknown. Ignorant of the limited scope of its report, the Law Commission is being uncharitably criticised in Muslim religious circles. Members of these circles naively believe that their personal law, despite being distorted and misused in practice, is outside the powers and functions of all constitutional organs and advisory bodies of the state.

Seeing it as an inseparable part of Islam, they want all such organs and bodies to perpetually keep away from it. They are yet to appreciate the true position of Muslim personal law under the Constitution of India and its real place in the legal and judicial systems of the country. It will be in their own interest to acquaint themselves with the proper legal position in this regard. Till this day all constitutional and statutory bodies in India have spoken of Islamic law with respect and done their best to accommodate the religious sensitivities of the community. Persistently alienating these bodies through irresponsible criticism is an act of short-sightedness.

The writer is member, Law Commission of India.





‘Extra-judicial killings on rise in TN’,%20Sivakasi,M%20J%20Prabhakar,%20Manalmedu%20Shankar
R Guhambika

First Published : 10 Aug 2009 04:19:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 10 Aug 2009 08:41:54 AM IST


CHENNAI: Rights groups in Tamil Nadu are watching with a growing sense of disquiet at the increase in the number of ‘encounter killings’ in the State and the impunity with which the authorities flout the NHRC guidelines and procedures to be followed while dealing with deaths occurring in an encounter.

A government order issued on August 8, 2007 is also being ignored, they say.There have been 20 ‘extra-judicial killings’ or what is known in local parlance as ‘encounter killings’ since the present government took over on May 13, 2006, the activists claim. Between 2006 and 2008, there were 16 such killings. Four ‘fake encounters’ have taken place in the last seven months alone, the latest on July 29, when history-sheeter Sundaramurthy was gunned down by his police escorts in an ‘encounter’ in Sivakasi, Virudhunagar district.

The police have perfected the modus operandi, the activists say. The criminals are arrested and produced before the court, which remands them in judicial custody. En route to jail, the ‘marked’ men are shot dead and the police go to town claiming that the accused tried to escape. They also “feign injuries” to prove their point.

“Invariably, the policemen sustain injuries only on their hands to prove that they were attacked,” M J Prabhakar, PRO, People’s Watch, alleged.

In fact, in the case of rowdy Manalmedu Shankar, People’s Watch whiffed the police intention to bump him off en route Madurai jail to Mayiladuthurai court and filed a plea in court. “It bought him some three to four months’ time.

Eventually he was killed in an ‘encounter’ in Pudukottai,” Prabhakar said.

The activists allege that this saves the police the trouble of having to deal with the judiciary.

Securing conviction in most of the cases is almost impossible, as witnesses are afraid to depose against the dons. It also means one rowdy less on the streets for them to tackle. Sometimes they are silenced because they know too much.

There seem to be new emerging pattern in the ‘encounter killings’. The police officers and their ‘victims’ belong to the same caste, activists say and cite two examples: Sundaramurthy and Muttai Ravi. This could be a tactic to deal with the fallout. It becomes easier to workout a truce with the help of the caste leaders, they add.




Guilty cops never punished,%20RDO

Express News Service

First Published : 10 Aug 2009 04:20:00 AM IST

Last Updated : 10 Aug 2009 06:18:00 AM IST


CHENNAI: The hue and cry after an encounter dies down after some time and most of the cases are never pursued to their logical conclusion: punishing the guilty police officials.

In most cases, RDO enquiries are ordered and the cases closed after the incidents fade from public memory. NHRC guidelines require the police to register an FIR against the officials involved in the encounter. Instead, they register a case under Section 307 (attempt to murder) against the deceased.

Firearms or any deadly weapon seized from the rowdies are never brought to record and are reportedly used by the police during ‘fake encounters’ as if the accused tried to attack the police with the weapon.





No matter who is in the government, BJP or Congress, colour of the state machinery always remain saffron!

August 10, 2009

No matter who grabs the seat of power in Delhi, be it the BJP or the Congress, the Indian state machinery is owned by the communal fascist forces and they will go to any extent to maintain the repressive ‘Hindu order’. Be it the Congress government in the center or the BJP state government, justice remains a far fetched fantasy when it is sought against the communal fascists. From M.P. to Delhi this is being proved over and over again, in the countless witch hunting of minorities, in the atrocities on the dalits, in the killings of the likes of Prof. Sabharwal who dares to challenge the saffron brigade…an so on. The army, the police, the court, the organizations like NHRC and lastly the media are all used regularly by the ruling class and the feudal forces to safeguard their regime.
NHRC recently gave a clean chit to the police in the Batla House fake encounter: so much for ‘human rights’. The NHRC report refuted all the points raised by Kamran Siddiqui, General Secretary of an NGO Real Cause and proclaimed that the police fired in ‘self-defense’ as the two dangerous ‘terrorists’ had attacked the police frontally with sophisticated weapons. Shockingly, the entire report of NHRC is based only on the report and response of the police to its queries. They have not even taken the testimony of a single resident of the area, many of whom had openly attacked the police version of the entire incident in front of the media.

The feeling among the residents of Batla house region now is understandably full of despair and anger on the police and state version of the incident which has been shamelessly vindicated by the NHRC. The report of NHRC deals in details on the post mortem report of M.C. Sharma which has again been provided by the police. On the basis of that, they refute any chance of M.C Sharma being shot at the back, as was reported or even visually proved through photographs. They however, are extremely brief on the postmortem reports of the two men who were killed, Atif Amin and Mohammad Sajid. They make no mention at all about the six shots found on Md Sajid’s head, which very clearly shows that they have been shot from point blank range and can not be a result of a ‘shoot out’. In the brief reporting on their postmortem reports they have however mentioned that some injuries on the two men were sustained because they were hit by some blunt objects. This does not corroborate with the police version that they died because they sustained bullet injuries only. The NHRC however has not commented on that. The NHRC has justified the Home Ministry’s response as to why there was no magisterial enquiry ordered by the Lt. Governor, on the incident, which is compulsory after any encounter. ‘Dangerous terrorists’ like Atif and Sajid deserves no further probing said the state and NHRC agrees in silence. Questions were raised about the impossibility of the claims made by the police that two other ‘terrorists’ had escaped while the ‘shoot out’ was on, as the building L-18 in Batla house has only one entry/exit which was heavily guarded by the police.

The NHRC once again has upheld the police version in this regard, which is extremely opaque and open ended. They further maintained that they are not interested in this point because it does not fall directly under the purview of the incident, i.e. The encounter! They simply reiterated the police version and made no efforts at all to to probe beyond that. Such blatant and shameless efforts to shield the police and its bloody histories only expose the inherent bias of the NHRC itself. Such bodies in the past too have tried to safeguard this communal and repressive state machinery and its various organs. Justice on its own will always be on side of the police, the army, the political parties and other agents of the ruling class and the dominant feudal forces and never to common people, unless it is forced upon by assertive people’s movements.
The acquittal of the murderers of Prof. Sabharwal, and murder of another person yesterday night, only proves this further. Prof. Sabharwal was murdered in full view of hundreds of police men, teachers, students and office staffs of Madhav College, Ujjain in 2006. The Nagpur high court however, recently acquitted all the six accused goons of ABVP who had killed him. Further, yesterday, Parminder Singh, a friend and accountant of prof. Sabharwal’s son, Himanshu Sabharwal, was killed by unidentified people in DU, North Campus. They along with some other people were pasting posters yesterday night about a protest march against the unjust acquittal of the killers of Prof. Sabharwal. After that Parmindar Singh was killed. Himanshu Sabharwal alleges that it was the ABVP goons again who had killed him too.
And these acts of violences are ‘official, justified and legal’. The perpetrators of these acts are therefore never convicted by the ‘rule of law’. State terror gets vindicated and safeguarded every time while the same law brands people’s movements for their lives, livelihood and dignity as ‘terrorist/ extremist’ etc. This will continue if we do not fight this fascist state machinery and their agents. Because it is only organised, assertive movements of the people which can and have always defeated fascism

Posted by Democratic Students Union at 3:46 PM


LEGAL NEWS 6-9.08.2009

HC stays implementation of govt quota order on SC, ST

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Aug 08, 2009 at 0452 hrs Lucknow:

The Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court has put a stay on the state government order directing the private engineering colleges to reserve seats for SC, ST and OBC students.

The Bench, comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Ritu Raj Awasthi, held on Friday that the government order, issued on July 22, was prima facie a violation of an interim order which the court had passed while hearing the petitions challenging the reservation policy in unaided institutions. The Bench was hearing two PILs — one filed by advocate Bijay Kumar Singh Parmar and the other by retired Professor Ajay Swarup.  

The court ordered that the counselling, which is to begin from August 8, will not be conducted in accordance with the government order.

As for the counselling which has been done so far, it will be decided on the basis of orders that the court may pass in the future after hearing the petitions. The next hearing has been scheduled for August 12.

Earlier, the UP Technical University had claimed that the private colleges had voluntarily agreed to follow the reservation policy, which also happens to be one of the affiliation norms. 

The Bench, however, observed that the government had not submitted any such agreement. It also held that while reservation was one of the conditions for affiliation, it cannot be taken as a consent of the institution.

According to IB Singh, Counsel of the petitioners, the state government had issued an order on July 29, stating that the colleges applying for fresh affiliation will have to follow the reservation policy. “Before July 29, there was no such government order,” said Singh.

Earlier this year, the High Court had given some relief to the unaided colleges from implementing the reservation policy. Thereafter, the state government had filed a Special Leave Petition in the Supreme Court. On July 17, the court ordered not to compel any unaided institution to implement the policy and also mentioned that the matter will be finally decided by the High Court.

On July 22, the state government, however, issued an order directing all technical institutions to follow the reservation policy.  





Nitish Katara murder case: Delhi HC rejects bail plea of Vikas, Vishal Yadav

PTI 7 August 2009, 04:14pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Friday rejected the bail plea of Vikas and Vishal Yadav, undergoing life imprisonment in Nitish Katara murder case.

A bench headed by Justice B D Ahmed dismissed the bail plea of the two men who were convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in May last year for killing Nitish Katara in 2002 as they were opposed to his intimacy with their sister Bharti Yadav.

Their appeal against the trial court verdict is pending before the high court.

Vikas, 36, son of controversial UP politician D P Yadav, and his cousin Vishal, 35, had kidnapped Katara on the night of February 16, 2002 from a marriage party in Ghaziabad and killed him.




HC breather for Anjolie Ela Menon: Stay on govt move to acquire land

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Aug 08, 2009 at 0313 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court recently ordered a stay on Haryana government move to acquire land owned by renowned artist Anjolie Ela Menon in Gurgaon.

The Haryana government had issued notices for acquisition to Menon, claiming that the land, in Sohna tehsil’s Ghatta village, was required for the proposed sector peripheral road of Sector- 58 in the notified Masterplan-2021.

Following the notices, Menon and Primila Lewis filed a petition in the High Court in May.

On May 5, a Division Bench headed by Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel issued notices to Haryana government and ruled that the petitioners can move court for interim relief if they have received a notice under Section 9 (move to take over the land) of the Land Acquisition Act 1984.

Taking heed of the ruling, Menon and Lewis moved the High Court on Thursday, seeking relief against what they claimed was a back-dated notice served to Menon on August 1 under Section 9 of the Acquisition Act.

“Despite the fact that the petitioners were awaiting a reply from the state government regarding the pending petition for which notice was issued on May 5, the petitioners were shocked to find a notice under Section 9, which was issued in a wrongful manner,” Senior Advocate Hardev Singh Mattewal and Punjab Advocate General had submitted. Mattewal also pointed out that the notice was dated July 15, which had a post mark on the envelope for August 1.

According to the petitioner, on May 15 a person, claiming to be from Haryana Land Acquisition department, had surveyed the property without any notification while Menon and her family was away.





HC: govt can go ahead with statue plan

TNN 8 August 2009, 07:13am IST

BANGALORE: All decks have now been cleared for the unveiling of the statue of Tamil poet Thiruvallavur near Ulsoor lake on August 9. On Friday, the Karnataka High Court, dismissed a PIL filed by leaders of Kannada groups challenging the ceremony.

“Peace and tranquillity should be maintained at any cost. If any third party holds bandhs and agitations, the state is at liberty to deal with the situation in accordance with the law,” observed the division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran. The PIL was filed by former MLAs Vatal Nagaraj, Prabhakar Reddy, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike leader Praveen Shetty, DSS leader N Murthy, and others.

Undeterred by threats by a splinter Kannada group, chief minister B S Yeddyurappa declared the unveiling ceremony would be a grand affair.

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike president T A Narayana Gowda and Kannada Chalavali Vatal Paksha chief Vatal Nagaraj boycotted the CM-convened meeting and said they’d go ahead with the protests, including a Bangalore bandh.

Later, the CM said: “It’s a historic day and will be written in golden words. It’s not just the unveiling of two statues, but the bonding between the people of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The Bangalore bandh called by a few activists is an unpardonable crime.” Transport minister R Ashok said there would no change in the services and schedule of both BMTC and KSRTC buses on Sunday.

But Vatal Nagaraj and Narayana Gowda remained adamant. The former said: “We’re going ahead with the bandh from 6 am to 6 pm on Sunday, block the Karnataka-TN boundary in Chamarajnagar district and organize a bandh in Doddaballapur.”

The police have denied permission to pro-Kannada organisations for bandh as well as a rally. The police have made bandobust to maintain peace.




Anna Univ can offer courses in allied sciences: HC

TNN 8 August 2009, 03:52am IST

CHENNAI: There is nothing wrong in the four Anna Universities in Tamil Nadu commence allied science courses or permit private engineering colleges

affiliated to these universities to offer such courses, the Madras High Court has ruled.

Justice M Jaichandren, dismissing a writ petition filed by the Coimbatore-based Association of Management of Private Colleges on Friday, said: “It cannot be said that the Anna Universities cannot commence courses which come under the scope of Allied Sciences’, nor can it be said that it would be inappropriate for the universities to permit the affiliated colleges and institutes to conduct such courses.”

The association had taken exception to the Anna University-Coimbatore’s move to offer BSc/MSc/BBA/BCA courses which were not within the ambit of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE). Their present petition wanted the court to restrain the Anna Universities at Chennai, Coimbatore, Coimbatore, Tiruchi and Tirunelveli from conducting, approving or affiliating any arts and science academic programme either by themselves or their constituent colleges.

“There is no power under the AICTE Act or its regulations for these universities to conduct, grant, affiliate or approve arts and science programmes conducted by colleges coming under the purview of Bharathiyar University in (the case of) Coimbatore,” the association said, adding that it would amount to interference in the working of other state-established universities in Madurai, Tiruchi, Coimbatore, Tirunelveli, etc.

The Anna University, set up to cater to the higher education needs in engineering, technology and allied sciences, cannot degrade itself to conduct undergraduate programmes in arts and science, they argued.

Rejecting the submissions, Justice Jaichandren said it is not appropriate for the association to contend that the courses conducted by the Anna Universities and their affiliated colleges are in violation of the provisions of the Anna University Act. “The association has not challenged the decision of the academic council and the syndicate of the Anna University-Coimbatore, in deciding to conduct BSc and MSc courses,” the judge said.

Noting that the petitioners had not identified the specific courses not falling under the Allied Science’ category, the judge said it cannot act as an expert body in classifying the subjects by identifying them as those that are related to engineering and technology, and those which are in the nature of pure arts and science.

Meanwhile, the ruling is being seen in academic circles as timely considering that very recently the Committee to Advise on Renovation and Rejuvenation of Higher Education’ headed by professor Yash Pal had in its report to the HRD ministry recommended that a university “should encompass all disciplines and their interfaces.”

Also in a letter to the then HRD minister Arjun Singh, professor Yash Pal had argued against pursuing policies of fragmenting educational enterprise into cubicles. “We have overlooked that new knowledge and new insights have often originated at the boundaries of disciplines. We have tended to imprison disciplinary studies in opaque walls. This has restricted flights of imagination and limited our creativity,” he had said advocating inter-disciplinary courses in higher educational institutions.





HC refuses to dismiss mid-day meal plea

Vaibhav Ganjapure, TNN 8 August 2009, 05:03am IST

NAGPUR: The state government received a major jolt when the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court, on Friday, refused to accept state government’s demand to dismiss petition alleging Rs 100-crore scam in the mid-day meal scheme.

The plea was filed by Amravati-based petitioners Tatyasaheb Meshram, Govind Agrawal and three others alleging that the department of school education at Mantralaya in Mumbai and director of school education, Pune of misusing of funds belonging to public exchequer while implementing the scheme of providing food to school children.

While dismissing the plea, a division bench comprising justices AP Lavande and Pramod Kode instead issued show-cause notices to the respondents directing them to reply by August 20.

According to counsel for petitioner JT Gilda, the additional government pleader (AGP) had appealed to the court to reject the petition as Aurangabad Bench had already dismissed a similar plea. However, the judges observed that issues in this petition are different and asked the government to file a reply. The court also turned down AGP’s request to extend date of replying to the notices by six weeks.

The court allowed an application filed by the petitioners for amending the petition stating that school education department’s tenders favoured few societies including that of Ankushrao Tope, father of state minister of higher and technical education Rajesh Tope, and Nationalist Congress Party loyalist Anil Mundhada, a close associate of state minister Ajit Pawar. Tope is chairman of Maharashtra Consumer Cooperative Federation.

The petitioners main contention was that the government had modified the existing rules for distribution of food through a resolution dated June 18 to favour awarding of tender to a couple of societies managed by the kith and kin of the ministers.

As per the earlier system, the government had adopted a policy decision to supply rice through self-help groups and cooperative societies of the weaker sections. Despite complaints, the supply was regular and food was distributed at competitive prices. However, tenders were invited and finalised directly from the Mantralaya as per the June 18 resolution which resulted into self-help groups facing disqualification from the process.

The petitioners claimed that tender conditions had been designed and tailor-made so that no other society could participate in the process. They also claimed that the decision to hush up the process before August 15 to avoid any further complications arising out of imposition of code of conduct for the forthcoming state assembly polls.

The appellants prayed for striking down the June 18 GR contending that it was arbitrary, mala-fide and issued in misuse of powers.




Ishrat Jahan encounter: HC asks for team of ADGs to reinvestigate case

Express News Service

Posted: Aug 08, 2009 at 0152 hrs IST

Ahmedabad In a significant development, the Gujarat High Court on Friday directed the state government to submit a list of police officers of the rank of Additional Director Generals (ADGs) to explore the possibility of setting up a three-member committee for a fresh investigation into the killing of Ishrat Jahan.

A suspected Lashkar-e-Toiba (LeT) operative, Ishrat was killed on the outskirts of the city on June 2004.

The court fixed August 12 for the final order after Public Prosecutor J M Panchal and Advocate General Kamal Trivedi submitted before the court that the state government will furnish a list of ADGs on August 12.

Justice K S Zhaveri issued the direction on a petition by Ishrat’s mother Shameema Kausar who had submitted that her daughter was not linked to any terrorist organisation, and that it was a cold-blooded murder.

Through her advocate Mukul Sinha, she had asked for a fresh investigation by a team from the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). She had said that she did not trust investigations by the Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch (DCB).

Investigations under the supervision of the then Deputy Superintendent of Police Parikshitaben Gurjar, however, concluded that it was not a fake encounter.

The four killed, along with Ishrat Jahan, were LeT operatives and two of them were from Pakistan, the investigations revealed.

Ishrat’s husband Praneshkumar Pillai, who had converted to Islam for marrying Ishrat and had changed his name to Javed, was reported to have taken training in Pakistan.

According to the DCB, they were on a mission to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi and senior BJP leaders to avenge the Gujarat riots.

The case was closed by filing a summary report before the Ahmedabad POTA court.

Ishrat, travelling with Javed and two others in an Indica car with a Maharashtra registration number, was gunned down at Kotarpur near Indira Bridge on the Ahmedabad-Gandhinagar highway.

D G Vanzara, Rajkumar Pandian and Narendra Amin were among the officers involved in the encounter.

The three are, at present, lodged in the Sabarmati Central Jail for their involvement in the Sohrabuddin Shaikh fake encounter case and the subsequent murder of his wife, Kausarbi.





HC: Cops can take legal help to prepare criminal case–Cops-can-take-legal-help-to-prepare-criminal-case/499519

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Aug 08, 2009 at 0314 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court overturned an order passed by a court of the Metropolitan Magistrate on June 29, 2002, banning the police from going to a public prosecutor for help in preparing criminal chargesheets.

The court had directed the Delhi Commissioner of Police and the Director of Prosecution to stop the “joint operation” in preparing criminal chargesheet. Prosecutors should only be involved in a criminal case after a chargesheet is filed in a court of law, it had added.

The High Court, following an appeal by the police against the order, cautioned the city’s magistrates to not cross “the limits of law”. Justice M C Garg, who heard the petition, observed that magistrates have “no power” under the law to interfere in police investigation.

“It is for the police to investigate a case… the role of the magistrate starts only after filing of the report under Section 173 CrPC,” the Bench observed.





HC restores UT quota for defence kids

TNN 8 August 2009, 02:14am IST

CHANDIGARH: Cheering children of military and paramilitary personnel who cleared their class X and XII examinations from UT, the Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday restored the separate quota to them for admission in Punjab Engineering College University of Technology and Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology.

The court order means that of 20 seats reserved under defence category in PEC, 10 seats will go to kids of personnel who have passed their qualifying examinations from UT and remaining seats will be filled through all-India quota. Similarly, of 12 seats for CCET, only two will be reserved for all-India quota, while the rest will belong to those fulfilling domiciliary condition of UT administration.

While disposing of petitions moved by Chandigarh residents Avneet Hira and Arshdeep Sandhu, seeking the quashing of a provision mentioned in the admission brochure of PEC which clubbed the seats reserved under defence category of UT pool and all-India quota, a division bench headed by justices MM Kumar and Jaswant Singh also directed the joint admission committee (JAC) of PECUT and CCET to conduct counselling on August 17. On July 29, HC had ordered deferring of counselling for admissions, earlier slated for July 30.

Asking for separate lists to be prepared for PEC on the basis of 50% quota, each, for UT and all-India pools, the division bench directed JAC to display the same on notice boards and websites, besides informing all candidates on the development through newspapers/emails or SMSes by August 10.

In its order, HC observed that PEC could not club UT and all-India quotas because its status of deemed university was granted on the basis that reservation of seats would be calculated separately.

The case at hand

Admission to 50% of seats in PEC and 83% in CCET is restricted to those who are domiciles of UT for a specific period or have passed their class X and XII examinations from Chandigarh. The ministry of defence in June 2007 communicated to UT that children of defence personnel were unable to fulfil the requirement because of frequent transfers, following which the administration, in September 2007, waived the condition. However, HC overruled the clubbing of quotas on that ground





HC grants bail to HIV+ murder convict

Swat Deshpande, TNN 8 August 2009, 02:12am IST

MUMBAI: The HINI virus is keeping the medical board of Pune’s Sassoon Hospital so busy that they apparently do not have the time to treat a critical HIV patient.

When the Bombay high court was told on Friday that the medical board was “preoccupied with the swine flu epidemic” and could attend to a seriously- ailing HIV positive convict only next Tuesday, the judges directed the convict’s release on bail. A bond of Rs 10,000 was paid for his release.

Vivek Padwal, a 39-year-old murder convict from Pune serving a life sentence since October, had applied for bail on the grounds that he was not receiving any treatment at the Pune hospital despite court directions. A bench headed by Justice B H Marlapalle on Friday said, “It was clear that despite being taken to Sassoon Hospital for five-six days in the recent past, he could not be examined by the medical board. His condition is serious.” Padwal’s lawyer Rajesh Bindra said his CDR count was very high and his condition was critical. Pleading that if he was not treated at a proper hospital he would die earlier, Padwal had added that three such convicts had faced a similar fate due to the lack of treatment.

Padwal was held guilty of murdering another Pune resident, Mayur Damle, following a fight over Damle flinging an empty liqour bottle into his house in 2007. Padwal’s wife Poornima and his mother were present in HC to plead that they would take care of him at home, fund his treatment and take him regularly to the police station. The prosecutor also said the ART centre at Sassoon government hospital was the only centre for such treatment where he would be taken. With these assurances, Justice Marlapalle’s bench was convinced that he ought to be released on a bail bond of Rs 10,000 to ensure prompt medical attention in the interest of justice.

Padwal’s mother said, “I am happy to have my son home again after two-and-a- half years. I shall take care of him.”





BE counselling for PEC, CCET to be held on Aug 17: HC

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Aug 08, 2009 at 0222 hrs Chandigarh:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court on Friday directed the counselling of wards and spouses of military and paramilitary personnel seeking admission to Punjab Engineering College University of Technology (PEC) and Chandigarh College of Engineering and Technology (CCET) to be held on August 17.

In a major sigh of reprieve for students of the city wanting to take admission to the Bachelors of Engineering (BE) course in the colleges, the court ruled that the Chandigarh quota which was to be implemented from next year will be brought into force from this session.

This would imply that candidates from the city will stand to benefit as there would be separate quota for Chandigarh and a separate all India quota.

A Division Bench comprising Justice M M Kumar and Justice Jaswant Singh also directed the chairman of the Joint Admission Committee (JAC) to take necessary steps to inform candidates including publication of a notice in newspapers or through e-mails/SMSes by August 10 so that students have adequate time to make preparations to attend the counselling on August 17.

The court further asked JAC to prepare a separate merit list on the basis of a 50 per cent quota each for the UT Pool and all India category and display the same by August 10 on the website as well as the notice board.

The Bench also stated that the committee would have the liberty to use any other method to reach out to candidates under both the quotas.

The Bench ruled that the admission committee would not consider/invite any new application(s) and the seats in each quota (UT and all India Pool) would be filled keeping in view the separate quota of 50 per cent each for both the categories as prescribed in the admission rules of PEC (10 seats each) and CCET (10 and 2 seats) respectively.

In their petition to the high court, Avneet Hira, daughter of Brigadier N P S Hira, and Arshdeep Sandhu, daughter of Colonel P S Sandhu, had sought quashing of the provision relating to admission in PEC which clubs together the UT Pool quota and all India quota of 5 per cent seats reserved for children and spouses of military and paramilitary personnel.

The petitioners had also sought quashing of similar provisions relating to admission to CCET as mentioned in the joint admission brochure issued for the 2009-10 academic session.

The petitioners had also sought directions from the court to admit students as per the guidelines the UT Administration had issued on July 15 which clarified that reservation of seats would be calculated separately for the UT quota and All India category.

It was prescribed that those who passed Class XII from UT schools would be considered under the Chandigarh quota for PEC/CCET/CCA only and all other students who had passed their qualifying examination from elsewhere would fall under the All India Quota.

It was also highlighted that Chandigarh quota would not be applicable for admission to University Institute of Engineering and technology (UIET) and University Institute of Chemical Engineering and Technology (UICET).





Armed Forces Tribunal to be inaugurated today

August 7th, 2009 SindhToday

New Delhi, Aug 8 (ANI): President Pratibha Patil will inaugurate the long-awaited Armed Forces Tribunal (AFT) today.

Set up by an Act of Parliament in December, 2007, the AFT will have its Principal Bench in New Delhi and eight regional benches spread across the country.

The Tribunal will have 15 courts in all, – three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi.

Aggrieved armed forces personnel will now be able to appeal against sentences handed down by the court-martial. The Tribunal will also have powers to grant bail to any person in military custody. It is expected to be functional soon once the government issues the relevant notification.

The AFT will provide a judicial forum for redressal of grievances of about a 1.3 million strong armed forces personnel and another 1.2 million ex-servicemen.

At present, about 9,000 such cases are pending before various courts across the country, most of them with the high courts.

The AFT will not only result in speedy and affordable justice to the men in uniform but also save the Armed Forces’ resources in terms of manpower, material and time.

The decisions of the AFT can be challenged only in the Supreme Court.

The Tribunal will have a Chairperson who has been or is a judge of the Supreme Court or Chief Justice of a High Court.

Justice AK Mathur, a former judge of the Supreme Court, has been appointed the AFT’s first Chairperson and has assumed charge since September 1, 2008.

Besides, each court consists of a judicial member and an administrative member.

There will be in all 30 members in the 15 courts of the nine AFT benches, – 15 judicial including the Chairperson, and an equal number of administrative members.

The judicial member must be, or have been, a judge of a High Court while the administrative member would be officers of the rank of Major General or equivalent in either of the three Services or an officer not less than the rank of a Brigadier or equivalent who has rendered not less than one year service as the Judge Advocate General of the Army, Navy or Air Force.

The government has already appointed eight judicial members and 15 administrative members, while seven judicial members are yet to be named.

The eight judicial members appointed to the Tribunal alongwith the location of the bench are: – Justice AK Mathur (Chairperson, AFT, Principal Bench, New Delhi, Justice Manak Lall Mohta (New Delhi), Justice Ghanshyam Prasad (Chandigarh), Justice Janardhan Sahai (Lucknow – yet to join), Justice SS Kulshrestha (Lucknow), Justice Bhanwaroo Khan (Jaipur), Justice AC Arumugaperumal Adityan (Chennai) and Justice K Padmanabhan Nair (Kochi). The 15 administrative members are: Lt. General ML Naidu, Lt Gen. ZU Shah and Lt. Gen. SS Dhillon (all New Delhi bench), Lt. Gen. Amrik Singh Bahia, Lt Gen. HS Panag and Lt. Gen. NS Brar (all Chandigarh bench), Lt. Gen. PR Gangadharan, Lt. Gen. RK Chhabra and Lt. Gen. BS Sisodia (all Lucknow bench), Lt. Gen. Susheel Gupta (Jaipur), Vice Admiral RF Contractor (Mumbai), Lt. Gen. Madan Gopal (Kolkata), Commodore Mohan Phadke (Guwahati), Lt. Gen. S Pattabhiraman (Chennai) and Lt. Gen. Thomas Mathew (Kochi). (ANI)






Executive and CJI alone should appoint judges: Law Commission

TNN 8 August 2009, 12:37am IST

NEW DELHI: The Manmohan Singh government, keen to get executive the primacy it had 15 years ago in the appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and High Courts, will be pleased with this report from the Law Commission recommending disbanding of the present Collegium system.

The report handed over this week to law minister Veerappa Moily by commission chairman Justice AR Lakshmanan, who himself had a four-and-a-half-year tenure in the Supreme Court as a judge, termed the present system of appointment of judges through a Collegium headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) as faulty and found great force in the demand for restoring primacy to the executive.

Moreover, it said when an advocate was elevated as a judge in the HC in which he had been practising for a long time, it gives rise to an unholy phenomenon of “Uncle Judge”, as he has so many relatives practising there.

In turn, these relatives appear to stand a better chance for elevation, the commission said and recommended against appointment of such advocates as judges in the same HC where they practised.

Referring to the constitutional provisions on appointment of judges to the SC and HCs, the commission said it was a “beautiful system of checks and balances” providing a balanced role to both the executive and judiciary.

“The delicate balance has been upset” by the Supreme Court’s judgments, which gave primacy to for the Collegium system headed by CJI, it said.

“It is time the original balance of power is restored,” the commission said and suggested that it was for the government either to seek review of the SC judgments or enact a law “restoring the primacy to the CJI and the power of the executive in making appointments”.

In terming the Collegium system as faulty, the commission said every HC Chief Justice was from outside the state as a policy and this was a handicap for him to be able to provide details to the Collegium about the antecedents of local advocates or district judges for elevation to the HC as a judge.

In its 37-page report on judicial reforms, the commission gave a lot of prominence to the views of the EMS Natchiappan headed Parliamentary Standing Committee, which recommended scrapping of the present procedure for appointment of judges. The Natchiappan report recommendations “are of great relevance in this context”, it said.





Judges’ assets: Moily says will talk to Oppn, not the CJI–assets–Moily-says-will-talk-to-Oppn–not-the-CJI/499850

Maneesh Chhibber

Posted: Sunday , Aug 09, 2009 at 0434 hrs New Delhi:

Forced by the Opposition to shelve the judges’ assets Bill, Union Minster for Law and Justice M Veerappa Moily has ruled out fresh deliberations with the Chief Justice of India on the issue.

Speaking to The Sunday Express at the sidelines of a seminar organised by the Bar Association of India yesterday evening, Moily said: “We will hold discussions with the entire Opposition as well as our alliance partners to find a solution.” And that the CJI’s “apprehensions” would be shared with the leaders.

Asked when he would bring the Bill back, Moily said: “Definitely in the next session.”

On August 3, the Opposition — supported by some Congress MPs too — forced the Law Minister to defer the introduction of the Judges (Declaration of Assets & Liabilities) Bill, 2009, in the Rajya Sabha. The MPs were critical of the clause that said that the details of assets submitted by the CJI, Judges of the Supreme Court and the High Courts would not be in the public domain.

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan had told The Indian Express that judges had no objection to a law making it mandatory for members of the higher judiciary to declare their assets but only if there were adequate safeguards to ensure that it didn’t lead to their “harassment” by “disgruntled” litigants.

“It is not as if judges are not providing details of their properties or filing Income Tax returns. But people will start asking questions about value of properties,” the CJI had said.





Xavier’s passouts move court against CU

TNN 8 August 2009, 06:25am IST

KOLKATA: Ten St Xavier’s College passouts, who sought admission to Calcutta University’s postgraduate courses, on Thursday filed a writ petition in Calcutta High Court, challenging the formula adopted by the university for this year’s admission. But the court refused to stay the admission process adopted by CU.

The court, however, directed the university to file an affidavit by August 20 on the writ petition filed by the students.

The litigants feared they would be deprived by the university’s process. The petitioners sought a stay order on the admission process but Justice Dipankar Datta refused to grant a stay. He said he wanted to hear both parties before passing any order. The next hearing has been scheduled in September.

St Xavier’s, being an autonomous college, holds its undergraduate exams in-house and also announces results on its own. Three years back, the college won autonomy and this is the first time that some of its passouts were seeking admission to postgraduate courses offered by CU. However, after the list was out, the students in question found that their names were not on the list. They felt they were being denied a chance to pursue PG courses in CU, though they had scored pretty high in their graduation, as the university had adopted a formula to standardize marks obtained by candidates. This, incidentally, was done not only for St Xavier’s passouts, but for others as well.

“These students felt they were being discriminated against and were not given a fair deal in admissions. But, the HC felt that admissions should not be stayed. So, we published our admission list on Thursday and admitted students on Friday. The hearing will proceed as usual,” said Dhrubojyoti Chatterjee, pro vice-chancellor (academic) of CU.

“Since the students in question have studied under the semester system at St Xavier’s and since CU’s own students have studied under the 1+1+1 system, a formula had to be arrived at in order to standardize the admission process,” he said.





Sweety whistleblower eludes cops

C Unnikrishnan, TNN 8 August 2009, 02:22am IST

MUMBAI: Ram Rao Patil, the complainant in the CBI’s bribery case against former Union home minister Buta Singh’s son Sarabjot, is available for the agency to assist the investigations, but Patil eludes the Nashik police where he is wanted in a case of cheating. This is one of the major points raised in a writ filed in the Bombay high court.

The writ is filed by Keshav Bhuktare, who is the complainant in the cheating case registered against Patil with Bhadrakali police station in Nashik. On July 10, an FIR was registered against Patil, a Nashik-based garbage contractor for fraudulently obtaining the signatures of the workers and obtaining loans of Rs 12 crore from Sahakar Mitra Shree Chandrakant Hari Badhe Urban Co-op Credit Society.

Bhutkare stated that though a month has passed since the case was registered, but the police have not made any attempts to arrest Patil. The Nashik police had claimed that they could not locate Patil. Bhutkare also wondered whether the CBI should have arrested Patil and handed him over to the Nashik police.

The CBI has been coordinating with Patil for its investigations. According to Bhutkare, it needs to be found out whether the credit society officials connived with Patil as basic verification was not carried out while granting loans in the name of workers who earned meagre salaries.

Around 100 workers, including Bhutkare, had received a final notice on June 23, from the credit society asking to pay up amounts ranging from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 15 lakh. On July 9, around 32 workers made a written representation to their union. A day later, the police registered an FIR on Bhutkare’s complaint but there is no mention about the fraud committed on the other workers, the petition said.

According to Bhutkare, he decided to approach the court as there was no progress in the investigation and the entire issue was becoming a political one. He has urged the court to order a detailed inquiry by the state crime investigation department.




Allahabad HC stays 50% reservation in private engineering colleges

The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court today stayed 50 per cent reservation in private engineering colleges affiliated with Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) as per a Government Order dated July 22, 2009.

A bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Rituraj Awasthi passed the order on a PIL filed by V K Singh Parmar.

Putting a stay, the court said that reservation would not be imposed during the counseling as per the GO.

Moreover, the results for counselling till date (August 7) would be under the court’s order.

The PIL said the UP government issued the GO for 50 per cent reservation in private engineering colleges affiliated with UPTU on July 22. The bench had already on May 7, 2009 stayed the implementation of reservation and reserved its judgment.

The court has now fixed August 12 as the next date of hearing and asked for the appearance of Principal Secretary (Technical Education) Vrinda Swaroop and Registrar of the UPTU.






Karnataka HC dismisses PIL against Tiruvalluvar statue

A Division bench of the Karnataka High Court dismissed a PIL for restraining the State Government from unveiling the statue of Tamil Saint-Pet Tiruvalluvar in the city on August nine.

The petition was filed by a few pro-Kannada outfits which had been protesting against the programme.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Mr Justice V G Sabhahit dismissed the petition saying that it was not in the interest of the public and expressed deep anguish that it amounted to dividing the society on the lines of caste, region and language.

The court which, yesterday, refused to expedite hearing of the case, had orally observed the PIL would fuel bad blood and lead to strained relations between Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

The petitioners included Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj, Former MLA Prabhakara Reddy, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike (Shetty Group) Praveen Shetty and Dalit Leader N Murthy.

The two State Governments had reinitiated moves to implement the long standing programme of unveiling of Tiruvalluvar Statue in the city and Kannada Saint-Pet Sarvajna’s Statue in Chennai to foster friendly atmosphere between the people of the two States.

The unveiling programme has been fixed for August nine and 13, respectively.





Delhi HC allows divorced woman to take son to Australia


New Delhi, Aug 9 (PTI) The Delhi High Court has allowed a divorced woman to take her son with her to Australia, turning down the father’s plea that exposure to a foreign culture would be detrimental to his ethical and moral development.

The court stated that the “intellectual development” and “moral values” of the child would not be affected if he was allowed to stay with his mother in a foreign country, while dismissing the father’s submission.

However, the court directed the mother to bring the child to India twice a year to meet his father and stay with him.





After HC reprimand police constitute furlough cell

Ritesh Shah / DNA

Sunday, August 9, 2009 9:41 IST

Ahmedabad: The state police department after a rebuke by the high court has finally decided to constitute a ‘furlough cell’ to track and nab convicts who escaped while being out of jail on parole.

The director general of police (DGP) has issued order to constitute a furlough cell. The cell will be headed by additional DG, CID. The DGP has also sent a circular in this regard to jail authorities and all city and district police heads.

So far the jail administration used to re-arrest absconders with the help of local police. However, the Gujarat high court expressed its displeasure over the efforts being made in re-arresting those who had escaped while being on parole.

Last month, the HC had reprimanded the jail administration on the issue of large number of jail inmates running away after being released on parole. The high court’s functioning was being affected as these absconders included a large number of criminals convicted by the lower judiciary and their matters were now pending before the high court.

The inspector general of jails had informed the high court that there were 400 such cases across Gujarat where convicts had failed to return after their time on parole had come to an end. Justice Bhagwati Prasad and Justice JC Upadhayay had directed the state police to inform the bench as to what action was being taken against such escapees.

According to the circular issued, the jail authorities will maintain a register on every prisoner going out on parole.This register will be given to the furlough cell under the CID crime whenever a prisoner is given temporary leave.ADG jail will have to inform the CID crime in case any of the prisoners on parole fail to show up on the due date.

Every time a convict absconds, the cell will send the information about the convict to all commissioner and DSPs.The jail department will also provide the cell will details about the convicts on parole, including photographs and address.

The jail authorities will have to lodge a complaint in the near by police station, which would later be transferred to the police station under whose jurisdiction the residential address of the prisoner falls.

The run-away convict would then be declared absconder and his property auctioned.The jail authorities will also be required to a report on the status of all cases of such convicts. The jail department will also send report to the newly constituted cell on the 5th of every month.

Also the cell would procure arrest warrants for these prisoners and issue advertisement
for faster action.





HC thwarts LDA bid to acquire garden

TNN 9 August 2009, 04:49am IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Saturday stayed the LDA move to take back possession of the garden leased out to occupants of the bungalow adjacent to BSP office in Mall Avenue here. The stay also extends to any demolition of the boundary wall around the bungalow.

Counsel for the petitioner Manish Kumar said the bench comprising Justices Rajiv Sharma and Anil Kumar while granting the stay till Wednesday asked the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) to file a counter-affidavit seeking if it served any notice to the occupant, Khalid Abdullah. The Abdullahs have been claiming that the LDA did not serve any notice before, even though LDA officials threatened of taking back possession of the garden having an area of 7,500 sq ft.

Khalid Abdullah said the high court had provided the much needed relief from the high-handedness of the government agency. He, however, claimed that some bulldozers were hovering around his house on Saturday afternoon while they were still knocking the doors of the court. ‘‘But thankfully, some mediapersons were still there,’’ he said. A high voltage drama unfolded in the posh locality on Friday.




Allahabad HC Judge’s gunner shot

TNN 9 August 2009, 03:59am IST

LUCKNOW: A 52-year-old head constable was shot at by three unidentified miscreants here in broad daylight on Saturday. The incident was reported from Mahanagar police circle. The cop who was shot at was identified as Kaushal Kishore. Kaushal, a head constable is deployed as a gunner in the security of the Allahabad high court Judge, Sanjay Mishra here.

Kishore has recently shifted from Allahabad and was presently living here in Reserve Police Lines. The sequence of events which lead to the cop being shot at occurred about 8.00am.

Kaushal was going to the VIP Transit Hall on his bicycle when three miscreants following him on a two-wheeler came near to him on Birbal Sahni Marg and after overtaking him shot at from a country-made firearm outside gate number 2 of Colvin College. The pellets of the firearm injured the cop in the back just below his left shoulder. As the miscreants shot at him the constable fell down and the culprits sped away.

The locals, who heard gunshots, rushed towards the cop and saw him trying to take out his pistol to fire back at the three. He then stood up in pain and rushed inside a lane. A local, Shyam Lal Valmiki help the injured. “The constable told me that he should be taken to the hospital in the Reserve Police Lines and to inform his seniors about the incident,” said Shyam Lal Valmiki. The injured was taken to the police lines hospital and from there rushed to the Trauma Centre.

After reaching there, the doctors told the police that the cop has suffered superficial injuries from the pellets and was out of danger.

ASP trans-Gomti Ashok Prasad said, “Kaushal Kishore has just come from Allahabad last month where he was deployed in the security of the same judge as he is now.”

Kaushal Kishore talking to TOI said, “I don’t know why I was shot at as I don’t have any enmity with anybody. I didn’t even recognise those who shot at me.”

There were, however, unconfirmed reports that two days ago some people had come to his barrack in police lines and they had an argument with the cop over some issue. Police, however, have still not confirmed about any such incident. A case in the connection was lodged under section 307 of Indian Penal Code (IPC). Kaushal’s son, Ravi who lives in Talkatora has also told police that he did not know of any reason why his father was shot at.

Police have also not denied of the man having an old enmity which he could have had when he was in his native place, Sitapur.





Dissatisfied with verdict against doctor, man to move HC

TNN 9 August 2009, 01:41am IST

PUNE: Kumodchandra Balwantrao B Hemade, who had filed a case of violating professional ethics against Dr Nityanand Thakur and the KEM Hospital for the death of his 12-day-old grandchild Heramb due to an unsuccessful bypass surgery performed last year, won the case on July 31.

As punishment, the Maharashtra Medical Council, Mumbai, (MMC) has slapped a warning letter on the doctor. Dissatisfied with the verdict, Hemade now plans to file an appeal against Thakur in the Mumbai high court.

In the verdict passed by the MMC on July 31 this year, Thakur was declared as having violated professional ethics under the Indian Medical Council (Professional Conduct, Etiquette and Ethics) Regulations, 2002.

Born on March 16, 2008, Heramb suffered heart complications soon after birth as his oxygenated blood and non-oxygenated blood were getting mixed. The baby was shifted to the KEM Hospital on March 23, 2008.

“When born, Heramb weighed only 1,300 gms and also suffered from jaundice. Given his heart condition, we knew there were no chances of the baby surviving. Yet we took a chance and Thakur operated upon him on April 2. But the baby’s health began deteriorating as his SPO2 count decreased drastically and he died on April 3, 2008,” said Hemade, who later filed a case against Thakur and KEM, with the MMC, Mumbai.

Thakur, a consultant cardiothoracic surgeon had operated on 12-day-old Heramb on April 2, 2008, who passed away on April 3 at 10.45 pm. “I have neither received a copy of the judgement nor the warning letter from the MMC. Actually, the Council had refuted claims made by Hemade in February itself and he had also accepted them,” said Thakur, of the July 31 verdict that is in Hemade’s favour.

However, a dissatisfied Hemade now plans to move the Mumbai high court. “Giving a mere warning letter to the doctor is as good as not giving him any punishment. We had asked for his medical suspension and I plan to state the same when I file an appeal with the Mumbai high court in a month’s time,” Hemade added.

Claiming that Heramb’s bypass surgery was the first-of-its-kind in Asia on such a young baby, Thakur had also called a press conference on the morning of April 3. “He told the press that the baby’s operation was successful and that he would go on to live a healthy life. Our family wasn’t informed about this press conference and the baby’s parents were not present when it was held,” mentioned Hemade.

He also accused Thakur of tampering with the medical documents related to the baby’s treatment after the operation was held in April 2008. “Thakur and the hospital staff manipulated the SPO2 figures in the documents in order to defend themselves after Heramb died,” said Hemade.

When contacted to give his take on this claim, Thakur said, “You should ask the hospital authorities if they did this.”





Setback to Modi as Guj HC decides to set up an SIT to probe Ishrat’s encounter

  • Submitted by admin on 8 August 2009 – 11:36pm.

By Staff Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: In another severe setback to the Narendra Modi government, the Gujarat High Court has decided to set a up a team of three high ranking police officials on the lines of the Supreme Court-appointed Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the truth behind the encounter of Ishrat Jahan and three others on the outkskirts of the city on June 15, 2004.

This was announced by Justice KS Zhaveri on Friday on a petition filed by Ishrat’s mother Shamima Kausar.

Justice Zhaveri directed the state government to submit a list of all the officials of the rank of additional director general of police (ADG) by August 12 so as to take a decision on the names of those to be included in the team.

In her petition filed through advocate Mukul Sinha in October 2004, Shamima had demanded CBI probe. However, the court rejected the demand to hand over the case to CBI saying that it was not possible for CBI to conduct all investigations. However, it decided for a probe by a team of police officials of the level of ADG.

In her submissions, Shamima said that investigations by the Department of Crime Branch (DCB) of Ahmedabad police was not fair. DCB official Parikshita Gurjar, who had conducted the probe after the encounter, had concluded that it was a genuine encounter and filed a summary in the POTA court, requesting for closure of the case. But Shamima, in her petition, disputed the findings of Gurjar and said that Gurjar’s findings intended to support the theory of the police officials involved in ‘fake’ encounter.

Police officias, like in other encounter cases after 2002 anti-Muslim riots in the state, had floated the theory that the four were on a mission to kill Chief Minister Narendra Modi.

The police, in its FIR lodged in DCB police station, had alleged that Ishrat Jahan, her husband Javed Pillai alias Gopinathan Pillai (who converted to Islam to marry Ishrat) and two Pakistanis – Akbar Ali Rana and Zeeshan Jouhar Abdul Ghani – were Lashkar-e-Toiba operatives.

But Shamima disputed it, saying it was a fabricated case by the Gujarat police and her daughter was not linked to any terrorist organization. She demanded a fair probe, saying she did not believe Gujarat police version.

The police FIR itself raises doubts about the claims of the police. According to FIR (a copy of it is in possession of, an intelligence was received by Ahmedabad city police about Pakistan-sponsored terrorists planning to attack Modi in Gandhinagar around mid-June in 2004.

According to intelligence received, terrorists were to start from Mumbai by road and then drive straightaway to Gandhinagar. But if it is true that police had received the intelligence, then why did it wait to intercept them in Ahmedabad? Why it did not make a bid to intercept them at the entry point in Gujarat or on the way at Surat, Ankleshwar, Bharuch or Vadodara because there was a possibility of the terrorists of having changed the route at the last moment and this would have defeated the Ahmedabad police plan to encounter them. In fact, this question was raised by Justice Zhaveri himself while asking for the list of the ADGs.

Another point that strengthens Shamima’s suspicion that it was a staged encounter is the police claim in the FIR that one of the terrorists got down from the car and took position with an AK-47 assault rifle. But, surprisingly, none of the police team received even a scratch while all the four terrorists got killed in retaliatory fire by police, a standard version used by police in all fake encounters.

Yet another point that raises suspicion about police version is that police have not so far found the owner of the car (MH02-JA-4786) in which the four alleged `terrorists’ travelled from Mumbai to Ahmedabad. In the same way it failed to trace the ownership of the motorcycle that was allegedly used by Sohrabuddin, also gunned down in an encounter in Ahmedabad by the same police officials, including D G Vanzara and Dr. Narendra Amin. Both Vanzara and Amin are currently imprisoned in connection with Sohrabuddin’s encounter and facing trial.





UP cops’ promotion to IPS stalled, govt cites HC stay

Bhupendra Pandey Posted: Sunday , Aug 09, 2009 at 0250 hrs Lucknow:

Despite the provision in the service rules for holding the meeting of the Departmental Promotion Committee (DPC) twice a year, the officials of Uttar Pradesh Provincial Police Services (PPS) cadre have been waiting to be promoted to the IPS rank for two years.

The president of the PPS Association Wasim Ahmed said, “There are 27 vacancies for IPS officer lying with the state government, but the file related to the DPC was sent to the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) for approval in June-end.”

The last meeting of the DPC, which was originally scheduled for 2006, was held in 2007, when 17 PPS officers were inducted into the IPS cadre. The officers-in-waiting are Additional SPs of 1981, 82 and 83 batch.

Uttar Pradesh Home Secretary Mahesh Gupta, who has been looking after the matter, said, “The DPC for the PPS cadre was delayed following a stay order from the Lucknow Bench of the High Court regarding the gradation list of the cadre. Though the stay still exists, the file has been sent to the UPSC for consideration after consulting legal experts.”

Wasim Ahmed, however, said the stay order was issued in August 2008 after a petition was filed by a PPS officer regarding amendment in the rules of the gradation list of the cadre by the state government.

The petitioner had raised objections over the amendment which gave seniority to promoted officers of the reserved quota in the gradation list ignoring their service period and batch, Ahmed said.

An official waiting for the promotion told The Indian Express that the UPSC has asked the UP Home Department to explain how the stay order affected the DPC, but the state government has yet not responded, thereby further delaying the process.

Before the stay order in 2008, Ahmed said, the DPC was put on the backburner citing an incomplete annual confidential report of the PPS officers in waiting. Another office bearer of the association said the state cadre service rules have provisions of promoting a PPS officer to the IPS cadre after a period of eight years in the field.

The UPSC has a rule that no state cadre officer will be promoted to IPS cadre after crossing 54 years of age.

If DPC are not held to fill the vacancies, majority of the general category PPS officers who joined the cadre after 1992 would retire as an Additional SP, said another office bearer of the association






Madras HC directs removal of advertisements from govt buses

Madras High Court directed the State Transport Authorities (STA) to remove all advertisement signboards from the State-owned corporation buses immediately.

While allowing a Public Interest Litigation Petition(PIL), a Division Bench comprising Justices S J Mukhopadhya and Raja Ilango held display on the side of the buses caused accidents and casualties.

In his PIL, Coimbatore Consumer Forum president M Kaliyamurthy submitted that the State Transport Authorities and the State-owned Transport Corporation Managing Directors allowed private publicity companies to use back windscreen of the buses and both the side window mirrors to display commercial advertisements.

‘To earn money for the transport corporations, the officials allowed the private parties to use the State-owned buses for products publicity purpose which is a violation of Motor Vehicles Regulation Act (MVR Act),’ he contended.

‘While thousands of buses carrying advertisement signboards are attracting bypass riders, it leads to accidents and causalties,’ Mr Kaliyamurthy added and sought to forbear the authorities from displaying advertisements on buses.

The Bench also directed the transport authorities to file the compliance report within two weeks.






‘There is no urgency to hear this PIL’

TNN 7 August 2009, 12:36am IST

BANGALORE: “Stop dividing the nation on issues like religion, caste, creed and language. Keep your agitations outside…”
This was the high court’s firm message to the advocate for pro-Kannada groups who have filed a PIL challenging the proposed unveiling of Tamil saint-poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue at Ulsoor on August 9.

“Will you deposit the amount of loss if anything untoward happens on that day? We have read that the honourable chief minister of this state has invited the honourable chief minister of the neighbouring state… The CM of this state has also been invited there. Is your client ready to file an affidavit that they don’t want the statue of Sarvajna in Chennai? Where is the invitation card? Does it not contain the government seal? We don’t see any urgency to hear this petition,” the division Bench headed by chief justice P D Dianakaran observed when the advocate mentioned that his clients are agitating over the issue for the past 18 years and wanted the court to take up the petition for hearing in the afternoon.

“Till August 3, BBMP, BDA or any other planning authority had not given any permission for installation of this statue by a private entity in a public place,” the counsel for the petitioners, S Basavaraj, told the court. The petition is filed by former MLAs Vatal Nagaraj, Prabhakar Reddy, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike leader Praveen Shetty, DSS leader N Murthy and others.

“Unveiling of the statue in Bangalore was one of the demands put forth by forest brigand Veerappan when he had held Kannada matinee idol Rajkumar hostage in 2001. There are several burning issues between the two states… Necessary permission under Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and Karnataka Parks, Playgrounds and Open Spaces Preservation and Regulation Act is necessary.,” the petition states, seeking a stay on the unveiling.





HC seeks govt reply on PIL on NREGA

TNN 7 August 2009, 12:17am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday directed the state government to give reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking direction to it for framing rules for implementing the National Rural Employment Guaranty Act (NREGA) in the state.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash issued the directive while hearing the PIL of Akshaya Kumar who submitted that under the provisions of Section 32 of NREGA, which is a Central Act, the respective state governments have to frame rules to implement its provisions.

As the state government has not framed the rules, proper implementation of the provisions of the entire Act in Bihar is difficult, the petitioner submitted, adding the objective of the Act is to guaranty employment to the families below poverty line in the rural areas.




HC to give verdict tomorrow on quota in pvt technical colleges

Published: August 6,2009

A division bench comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and R R Awasthi reserved its order today on a PIL filed by B K Singh Parmar.

The petitioner argued that the new reservation policy providing 50 per cent quota to SC/ST and OBC students in private technical institutions is against the law, but the argument was contested by the state government and UP Technical University.

Source: PTI





PIL filed to stop statue unveiling

A craftsman giving final touches to Thiruvalluvar’s new statue in Ulsoor on Wednesday.
Express News Service & Agencies First Published : 06 Aug 2009 09:55:40 AM ISTLast Updated : 06 Aug 2009 10:00:42 AM IST
BANGALORE: Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader, Vatal Nagaraj and others have filed a Public Interest Litigation against the unveiling of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue, at Ulsoor on August 9.
The petitioners have requested the High Court to stay the unveiling of the statue as the state government is doing so when the code of conduct for the by-elections is in force.
They further stated, that the government has not obtained the BBMP’s permission for unveiling the statue nor has it completed the formalities required for unveiling a statue in public place. The state government has not obtained the necessary permissions according to Karnataka Town and Contry Planning Act, Karnataka Park, Play Ground and Open Space Preservation and Regulation Act.
The petitioners have also stated that there is a water dispute between the two states and the judgement has been given against Karnataka.
There is a case against granting classical language status to Kannada in the Chennai High Court.
Under these circumstances there will be unrest in the society if the statue is unveiled. The politicians are doing a gimmick to influence vote banks and ignoring public interest. The chief ministers of both states are made the respondents in the case.

KRC to EC: Statue will influence polls
A section of Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists on Wednesday, petitioned the Election Commission against the state government’s plan to unveil the statute of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore on August 9.
The group, which has been opposing the installation of the statue, said that the government’s move will influence the August 18 bypoll in Govindarajanagar Assembly segment in the city. The government should be stopped from unveiling the statue, since the model code of conduct is in place, it said in a its petition to Chief Electoral Officer C S Suranjan. Officials in the CEO’s office said that there was “no change” in the EC’s stand. The government had been given permission to go ahead with the programme.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 8/07/2009 04:26:00 AM






PIL against Thiruvalluvar statue: Karnataka HC raps antagonists

By Gopal Ethiraj

Thursday, August 6, 2009

BANGALORE, 07 August ( Making stinging remarks against Kannada protagonists opposing the unveiling of Tamil saint poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue here, Karnataka High Court today asked them not to divide the nation on the lines of caste, religion and region. It would only fuel bad blood and lead to strained relations between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.

“Don’t make attempts to divide the nation on caste and language lines,” a division bench comprising Chief Justice P D Dinakaran and Justice V G Sabhahit observed when counsel for pro-Kannada outfits prayed for an early hearing of their PIL seeking direction to government not to unveil the statue.

“Do not carry your agitation to the court,” the bench warned the petitioners, who included Kannada Chaluvali Vatal Paksha leader Vatal Nagaraj, the former MLA, Prabhakara Reddy, Kannada Rakshana Vedike chief Praveen Shetty and Dalit leader N. Murthy.

The Chief Justice also remarked that “if you have guts, file a petition in the Madras High Court in connection with the unveiling of the statue of (Kannada poet) Sarvajna”.

The Chief Justice sought to know how the unveiling is in public interest
When the petitioners informed the court it was a private one, the Chief Justice said the invitation printed by the Government mentioned it a Government programme.
The petitioners persisted that the unveiling is by a private agency. The Chief Justice asked them to place some deposit before the court, and said “You will lose the deposit if it is proved that the function is a Government one.”
The Bench refused to take up hearing of the matter in the afternoon, saying that it is not urgent. It said the matter could be posted on Friday and adjourned further hearing of the case.

Statue will influence by-polls: Kannada Vedike

A section of Kannada Rakshana Vedike (KRV) activists on Wednesday, petitioned the Election Commission against the state government’s plan to unveil the statute of Tamil poet Thiruvalluvar in Bangalore on August 9.

The group said that the government’s move will influence the August 18 by-poll in Govindaraja Nagar Assembly segment in the city. The government should be stopped from unveiling the statue, since the model code of conduct is in place, it said in a its petition to Chief Electoral Officer C S Suranjan.

Officials in the CEO’s office said that there was “no change” in the EC’s stand. The government had been given permission to go ahead with the programme.

Posted by e.gopal at 8:48 PM





Fee hike judgement today

TNN 7 August 2009, 01:08am IST

NEW DELHI: It is going to be a big day for parents of schoolchildren and the schools themselves as the Supreme Court on Friday will pronounce its verdict on the discretion of private schools to hike fees periodically and the supervisory role of the government.

In its 2004 judgment, the apex court had upheld the power of the Director Education to have the final say in fee hikes being resorted to by schools on the ground of implementing pay commission recommendations for teachers.

It had also okayed the decision of the Director Education to freeze the fee structure and stop transfer of funds from schools to the parent society.

However, the Action Committee for Unaided Private Schools had moved a review petition seeking reconsideration of the 2004 verdict and had argued that teachers needed to be paid higher salary under the sixth pay commission recommendations.

The review petition, moved through advocate Romy Chacko, had also suggested that the 2004 judgment was contrary to provisions of the Delhi School Education Act.




HC reserves judgement on criminal appeal of Pandher, Koli

Published: August 6,2009

The judgement was reserved by a Division Bench comprising Justice Imtiyaz Murtaza and Justice Kashi Nath Pandey.

Pandher, a resident of Noida, and his domestic help Koli were awarded capital punishment by a Special CBI court in Ghaziabad on February 13 this year for having raped and murdered a 14-year-girl at their house.

Several other girls, who went missing from the nearby Nithari village, were believed to have been raped and murdered at Pandher&aposs house where recovery of a large number of human skeletons in December, 2006, had evoked a huge public outcry following which CBI took up the inquiry into the matter.

Source: PTI





NCW expresses concern over SC judgement on cruelty


New Delhi, Aug 6 (PTI) The National Commission for Women (NCW) has expressed serious concern over the recent Supreme Court judgement that said that kicking or threatening wives with divorce by the in-laws cannot be construed as cruelty.

NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas has taken up the issue with Minister for Law and Justice Verappa Moily to file a review petition in this matter, an official release said here today.

The release said the Law minister has agreed to the request of the NCW and a review petition will be filed soon.





Raj HC upholds 10-yr RI of Pak national

Agencies Posted: Friday , Aug 07, 2009 at 1213 hrs Jaipur:

The Rajasthan High Court has upheld a lower court’s decision to sentence a Pakistani national to 10-year rigorous imprisonment on the charges of spying and indulging in anti-national activities.

Justice Mahesh Chanda Sharma dismissed the criminal revision petition filed by Jeeshaan Aalam alias Mohammad Aslam of Pakistan on Thursday, who was arrested by the state police in 2001, observing that he was involved in anti-national activities.

The court was informed that he was guilty of impersonation for spying in India at the instance of Pakistan and that he had also received financial aid from one of his sisters in England.

The accused had obtained fake Indian passport, ration card among other documents through fraudulent means in Delhi, claiming to be Mohammad Aslam of Allahabad.

Jeeshaan is undergoing a 10-year rigorous imprisonment term for these offences. He was apprehended on the basis of a secret information from Jodhpur.

He first arrived in India in February 2001 and stayed in Delhi for three months where he obtained his fake identity-proofs with the help of an accomplice.

After getting his passport, he moved to Jodhpur in May from where he was arrested in December 2001. Considering the grave nature of his offences and his involvement in anti-national activities, the court turned down sympathetic consideration of his revision petition and upheld the 10-year RI awarded to him.





HC takes up ACB action against graft accused DIG

TNN 7 August 2009, 06:47am IST

HYDERABAD: Expressing concern over the tendency of leaving the guilty unpunished, the AP High Court on Thursday asked for a file pertaining to an ACB case on a DIG of police, perused it and ordered it to be kept in the custody of the advocate general till further orders.

The division bench comprising Justice Goda Raghuram and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan was hearing a case pertaining to Special Protection Force deputy inspector-general Ch Yesuratnam who was booked in a disproportionate assets case by the ACB in 2006.

The bench was dealing with a petition filed by advocate K Srinivasulu who challenged the decision of the government which was trying to close the matter with some departmental action instead of allowing the ACB to prosecute the officer.

Hemendranath Reddy, counsel for the petitioner, told the court that the ACB had sought the government’s nod to prosecute him, but it was not accorded the sanction so far.

Additional advocate-general A Satya Prasad sought an adjournment to which the bench did not agree and asked him to produce the connected file before the court in the afternoon.

After perusing the file, the bench ordered that the file be kept with the court. The counsel told the court that they do not have a second file and they may need it for preparing their counter. Wondering as to what happened to the system of backup files, the bench then ordered it to be kept with the AG and made it clear that it should not be sent back to the authorities without the court’s permission.

The court granted 10 days time to the government to file a counter affidavit in the case.





HC extends helping hand to city’s disabled

Ajay Sura, TNN 7 August 2009, 07:15am IST

CHANDIGARH: City’s disabled, looking forward to a house of their own, now have a reason to smile as the Punjab and Haryana High Court has asked the chairman of Chandigarh Housing Board to take a decision within six months on allotment of land or residence to them on concessional rates. The order followed a Supreme Court judgment in March, whereby all state governments and local authorities had been asked to grant preferential treatment to disabled people and allot land at concessional rates as per Section 43 of Persons with Disabilities Act.

Until now, UT administration had no such provision in various schemes floated by CHB, except for some reservation during allotment. A division bench comprising chief justice Tirath Singh Thakur and justice KS Ahluwalia passed the order while hearing a writ petition filed by a senior Punjab IAS officer, Manjit Singh, against UT administration, CHB and other respondents.

The petitioner, who is afflicted with 75% locomotion disability, while praying for amendment in schemes floated by CHB in March 2008, complained that despite making representations before CHB chairman to provide people like him with flats on concessional rates, the board never responded.

He rued that the board did not respond even after the chief commissioner (appointed to hear grievances of the disabled) in Delhi sent a communication to the chairman on May 18, 2009, to grant benefits to handicapped people.
Considering the contentions raised by the petitioner and after hearing the reply of authorities concerned, HC observed in its orders, “We hope and trust that CHB will act as per the law within six months.”





The number of judges in the Madras HC set to go up

A Subramani, TNN 7 August 2009, 04:48am IST

CHENNAI: The number of judges in the Madras High Court is set to go up further, as the court’s collegium has recommended the names of three senior district judges for appointment as HC judges.

According to highly-placed sources, the court cleared the names of the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority member-secretary T Mathivanan; registrar-general of the High Court A Arumugha Swamy; and registrar (vigilance) KBK Vasuki recently.

If the vacancy created by the elevation and transfer of justice Prafulla Kumar Misra to Patna High Court as its chief justice is also taken into account, the number of vacancies available in the Madras High Court is five. As against the sanctioned strength of 60 judges, the court has 55 judges at present.

An all-service-judges list has been forwarded by the Madras High Court for the first time since March 2003, when eight district judges were elevated by the then chief justice B Subhashan Reddy.

Explaining the rationale behind this all-service candidate list, an official said the Supreme Court has stipulated that the ratio between judges picked up from the Bar and those elevated from the subordinate judiciary should be maintained at 2:1.

Right now, there are 16 service judges in the High Court, whereas 39 others are from the Bar. To achieve the mandatory 1:2 ratio, the collegium must elevate at least four more district judges to the High Court.

Welcoming the proposed elevation of three services judges to the higher judiciary, an office-bearer of the Tamil Nadu Judicial Officers Association said it had two advantages.

One, service judges usually lose out on seniority count if their names are sent along with that of advocates. As a matter of policy and rule, the Supreme Court accords seniority to advocates. For instance, when the last batch of 14 judges was appointed a few months ago, the top 11 slots went to advocates and only three positions at the bottom were assigned to the district judges. “It will have a telling effect on the career prospects of service judges, if they had age to reach the higher echelons of the judiciary,” he reasoned.

Two, forwarded lists often get stuck at the Centre for want of verification of antecedents of and allegations against advocates recommended for appointment. “As the annual performance reports of all service judges are already with the higher judiciary there is little scope for further verification and delay,” the office-bearer said.




HC seeks details on perks for MLAs

TNN 7 August 2009, 04:48am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court has sought details of benefits accorded to MLAs in Tamil Nadu.
A direction to this effect was given by the first bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice D Murugesan to the government pleader, on a public interest writ petition filed by social activist (Traffic) K R Ramaswamy, on Thursday. The bench has posted the matter to August 10 for further hearing.

In his petition, Ramaswamy had questioned the recent move in the state assembly to hike the monthly salaries of MLAs and to allot two-ground housing plots for MLAs at Sholinganallur.

Noting that the government should not consider increasing the salaries of MLAs at a time when the country was facing a grave financial crisis, he claimed his representation to the assembly secretary opposing salary hike to legislators did not evoke any response.

As representatives of people, MLAs must set an example by receiving the bare minimum salary instead of seeking enhancement frequently, Ramaswamy said and wanted the court to direct the assembly secretary not to implement the salary increase for members. “It is unwanted for the service-oriented members of the assembly, more so because they are provided with all benefits free of cost,” he said.

As for the another proposal to allot housing plots for the members of the present House, Ramaswamy said the legislators were already entitled to a flat with all modern facilities like air-conditioner, telephone and other luxury amenities.

As Chennai city is already facing an acute shortage of space, with many residents unable to find a residential plot, it is not fair on the part of the people’s representatives to give themselves an additional accommodation, he said. Almost all MLAs already own houses in Chennai or in their respective constituencies, he said.

Ramaswamy said he had sent fax message to the chief minister, finance minister and the assembly secretary requesting them to reconsider their decision to increase the salary and pension of MLAs and former MLAs, besides allotting a residential plot for the sitting MLAs.

“It is an unwanted and an unnecessary expense to the exchequer, more so because the tenure of an MLA is only five years, unless they are re-elected,” the social activist had said in his petition.





Removes ads on buses, says HC

TNN 7 August 2009, 04:40am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras high court asked the transport department authorities to remove all advertisements from the exteriors of all private and public transport buses in the state within a time frame.

“The transport commissioner may file an affidavit and give a time frame within which such advertisements, if any, displayed in one or other vehicles (buses) shall be removed,” ruled a division bench comprising Justice SJ Mukhopadhaya and Justice Raja Elango on Thursday.

The bench was passing orders on a public interest writ petition filed by Coimbatore Consumer Cause, which sought strict implementation of Rule 343 of the Tamil Nadu Motor Vehicle Rules with regard to the prohibition of advertisements on buses, both private and public. The petitioner-forum also wanted the court to stipulate a time frame for the authorities to remove all illegal advertisements.

According to the petitioner, displaying advertisements on the front, rear and side portions of buses, both private and public, are explicitly prohibited by the state as well as the central motor vehicle rules. Such advertisements affect the normal transmission of light and distract road-users including drivers, resulting in road accidents, the petitioner said.

M Vetriselvan, counsel for the petitioner, said every year more than 11,000 people are killed in road accidents and that over 50,000 accidents are recorded by the authorities, and added that the court must direct the authorities to initiate appropriate action against those who violated Rule 343 of the TN Motor Vehicle Rules. The court must ensure that the statutory prohibition of advertisements is enforced strictly, as deviation would pose a grave danger to public safety, he submitted.

The Coimbatore division of the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation, which had impleaded itself in the case, denied any violation of statutory requirements, and added that they displayed advertisements only on the side portion of buses and not on front or rear windowpanes. They also submitted that it was an important revenue generation measure for the corporation.

During the arguments, however, the bench had rejected the argument of revenue generation on the ground that the public safety would prevail over any monetary considerations.




HC: Magistrate can’t meddle in police probe

TNN 7 August 2009, 01:09am IST

NEW DELHI: A metropolitan magistrate cannot interfere in police investigations till the stage of filing the chargesheet, the Delhi High Court on Thursday said.

Pulling up a metropolitan magistrate, who issued an order to the commissioner of police stating that the police could not consult the prosecutor in a case before filing the chargesheet, Justice Mool Chand asked the trial court judge not to “devise a procedure other than the one provided under the code”.

The HC’s observation came while hearing the Delhi Police, which challenged the order in the high court. Delhi Police’s counsel Mukta Gupta argued that as per the criminal porcedure code, police officers seeking legal advice at the time of filing a chargesheet was not wrong.

In the said case, the metropolitan magistrate’s order followed after Delhi Police failed to file a charghesheet in a theft case within the stipulated 60 days after which the accused had to be released on bail. The investigating officer had said the delay was owing to the superior officer’s direction to consult the public prosecutor before filing the chargesheet.




HC stays govt’s ATKT proposal for 2 weeks

Shibu Thomas , TNN 7 August 2009, 02:59am IST

MUMBAI: The Bombay High Court, in an interim order on Thursday, stayed the Maharashtra government’s decision to allow SSC and HSC students who had failed in their examinations to avail of the Allowed To Keep Terms (ATKT) facility. Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by student organisation Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), a division bench comprising Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice Ajay Khanwilkar gave the state two weeks to respond to the PIL. The court has also asked the state to submit the records in connection with its decision on ATKT.

On July 10, with the debut of the online admission process, the state issued an order that permitted SSC and also HSC students who had failed in a maximum of two subjects, to get admitted to the next grade on the basis of the ATKT facility. They had to clear the two subjects in which they had failed in a maximum of two attempts – either during the October 2009 or March 2010 examinations. In case they failed to clear their exams by March 2010, their admissions would be cancelled. The proposal to allow the ATKT facility after class XII exams is still pending with the ministry for higher and technical education.

As per the state board, there were 1.37 lakh students who had failed in one subject and another 67,683 students who had failed in two subjects in both the SSC and HSC examinations this year.

ABVP was represented by advocates Ram Apte and Anjali Helekar, who argued that the order was issued by the government in violation of the Maharashtra Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board Rules. According to the lawyers, the government introduced the new rules in haste and for political reasons without bothering to verify if infrastructure was in place to accommodate around two lakh additional students.

The ATKT rules were supposed to be only for a year as the state had said that it would introduce separate supplementary exams for students who had failed from the next academic year. These exams will be conducted within a month of the results.




Jadhav’s family will oppose bail for tormentors in HC

Vijay Singh, TNN 7 August 2009, 02:08am IST

NAVI MUMBAI: The family members of Saujanya Jadhav, the Koparkhairane woman who had committed suicide in June, will move the Bombay high court demanding cancellation of bail granted to her tormentors by a local court in Belapur. The Shiv Sena, sensing political opportunity, is supporting the Jadhavs.

“The politically connected goons who sexually harassed the 24-year-old, are out on bail but her family is still facing threats,” Sena leader Vijay Chougule said.

He said the Sena would organise a protest march from Koparkhairane to Vashi on August 16. Saujanya’s younger sister, Snehal, and mother Mangal were present at the Sena media briefing in Vashi.

“We have been receiving threats ever since the eight accused were released on bail,” Mangal said.

Snehal added, “My sister was harassed by the goons, but a false complaint was made against our family, forcing her to take the drastic step.”

Snehal added that some of the boys would take off their clothes and stand outside their window. Following a public outcry in July, chief minister Ashok Chavan sought action against her tormentors.

Among the eight arrested were Suresh Sanas alias Daji and his brother, Vilas Sanas, the husband of NCP corporator Rupali Sanas.

The Sena dovetailed another issue-that of cops slapping MCOCA on five of its activists for allegedly being members of the Anu Angre gang. Chougule said the Sena would move the Bombay high court on Friday against the Navi Mumbai police.

DCP (zone 1) Pratap Dighavkar said, “We have slapped MCOCA cases on Angre and his gang members; they have serious criminal records. They can go to court if they think otherwise.”





Delhi HC to examine ambit of RTI Act

As reported by UNI in on 04 August 2009:

The Delhi High Court today deferred a set of petitions, all seeking to know whether there is a legal validity of providing information relating to confidential documents, the disclosure of which is protected by the Officials Secrets Act, 1923.

Justice Sanjiv Khanna was hearing about half-a-dozen petitions as to whether any information which is confidential can be provided under the Right to Information Act even though it serves no larger public interest.

All the petitions were clubbed together and the matter deferred to August 6.

Additional Solicitor General A S Chandhiok told the court that out of the six petitions, three were relating to the selection board proceedings for promotion of Army officers in Indian Army and one was a case of personal recruitment and another seeking information from the Crime Branch relating to investigation into the Batla House case.

Mr Chandhiok contended that the information sought in all these cases was of a nature which was confidential and could not be brought in public domain. Especially in the Batla House encounter case inquiry report, any fact could not be made public till the inquiry was complete, he said.

The Additional Solicitor General added that such information could not be provided under RTI .

The petitioners challenged the CIC’s order which directed the respondents to provide some confidential information to the RTI aspirants and sought quashing of this order as it violated the Articles 14 and 21 of the Constitution and was contrary to the provisions of the RTI Act, 2005.

The case is being heard on a day-to-day basis and will come up on August 6.





What The SC Judges Must Do

BLOGS / Sundeep Dougal

Fali S. Nariman in the Indian Express speaks for all when he says:

“it is not the law minister alone who was rebuffed in the Rajya Sabha on August 3, when the House would not grant him leave to introduce the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill 2009. It was a rebuke also to the judges of the higher judiciary; they were pulled down a peg or two for having expressed their readiness to disclose their assets if there was a law to that effect enacted by Parliament, but only if that law ensured the confidentiality of such declaration.”

Arun Jaitley, the leader of opposition in the Rajya Sabha had pointed out in the Rajya Sabha that this is the ” first time in history that before introduction in Parliament the Bill has been circulated to the judicial institution itself, and it is on their objection that this clause 6 has been introduced”:

I have particular objection to clause 6 of the Bill. Sir, clause 6 of the Bill specifically states, and, I am reading clause 6, “notwithstanding anything contained in any other law for the time being in force, a declaration made by a Judge to a competent authority shall not be made public or disclosed, and, shall not be called for, or, put into question by any citizen, court or authority, and, save as provided by sub-section 2, no Judge shall be subjected to any enquiry or query in relation to the contents of the declaration by any person.”

In the Rajya Sabha itself, Ram Jethmalani had gone on to say: 

Now, this privileged position, which the Judges are seeking from the Executive, makes them totally subservient to the Executive. This demolishes the whole vision of our founding fathers that the independence of the Judiciary is a must.  You are destroying the independence of the judiciary. This Bill is a conspiracy in corruption. 

Fali S. Nariman now suggests a way out in the Indian Express:

If the credibility of the higher judiciary is to be restored, as I believe it must — since without the higher judiciary our Constitution simply cannot work — it is essential that every judge of the Supreme Court set an example and voluntarily make a public disclosure of his (or her) assets on the website of the Supreme Court, law or no law. This would then be dutifully followed by judges of the high courts on the salutary principle stated in the Bhagavad Gita: “Whatsoever great men doeth, that other men also do; the standard they setteth up, by that the people go.” 

…I would respectfully beseech the judges of our highest judiciary not to rely on the technicalities of the RTI Act or to depend on the executive to extricate them from their present delicate no-win situation. Public confidence in the administration of justice by the higher judiciary is of paramount concern.

POSTED BY Sundeep ON Aug 06, 2009 AT 20:06 IST





CJI refuses comment on dropping of judges’ assets disclosure Bill—assets-disclosure-Bill/498913

Agencies Posted: Thursday , Aug 06, 2009 at 1851 hrs New Delhi:

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan on Thursday declined to comment on government’s decision to abruptly drop the judges assets disclousure Bill.

“Now that there is a proposed legislation, it would not be proper for me to comment,” he said when reporters sought his views at a function in the Supreme Court premises. Justice Balakrishnan also declined to give his opinion on a suggestion that judges, instead of waiting for a legislation, should voluntarily disclose their assets.

On Monday, the UPA government had to hurriedly drop the Judges (declaration of assets and liabilities Bill) 2009 in the Rajya Sabha after members from not only opposition BJP and CPI-M but also from Congress objected to the Bill in its present form. The agitated MPs were of the view that the Bill granted immunity to the judges from disclosing their assets to the public as it merely envisaged declaration of the same to the Chief Justice of India.





Long road to reform

Pratap Bhanu Mehta Posted: Friday , Aug 07, 2009 at 0336 hrs

The recent episode over the Judges (Declaration of Assets & Liabilities) Bill is a reminder of just how difficult genuine judicial reform is going to be. In some ways, the issue of declaring assets is the simplest item on judicial reform. Judges’ legitimate concerns that their disclosures not be used as a tool of harassment can be easily handled without having to exempt them from public disclosure. But the judiciary’s response to the issue has two fundamental mistakes. The first rule of any sound jurisprudence is that no one should be a judge in their own cause. The judiciary insists that only it can superintend itself. The second related mistake is to convert the claim of judicial independence into exemption from accountability. If Veerappa Moily is serious about judicial reform, accountability in so many different forms will be a central concern. The attitude of some sections of the judiciary to the asset bill is a warning about how independence will be used as a shield against accountability. And the delicious irony in the fact that politicians were teaching constitutional lessons to the judiciary in the parliamentary debate is a sign of how resistant they are perceived to be to serious reform.

In any reform story, entrenched actors within a sector are the hardest to move towards reform. Unfortunately, the judiciary is proving to be no exception. There are a number of indicators of this. We are all grateful to the courts for some splendid defences of our liberty and for holding government accountable. But if you scratch under the surface, it becomes apparent that there is a selection bias driving our perception of the judiciary. To just take one example, institutions like the Delhi high court have been at the forefront of rights and governance issues, sometimes excessively so. But if you look at the country as a whole, barring a couple of jurisdictions, the so-called rights revolution in our courts has not taken place. There is enormous variability in how courts are responding. In short, even the court’s achievements are much more contingent and fragile than we suppose and seem to be driven largely by wonderful individual judges rather than systemic factors.

The mere fact that millions of plaintiffs are now suffering what is called the punishment of due process is an enormous blot on the credibility of the justice system. And there is growing evidence that many seeking justice are dropping out of the formal system all together. The factors behind this are complicated. But one of the most disquieting aspects is that many of the delays are a result of procedures and conventions directly under the control of judges. Individual judges are enormously hard working. But there is no rational basis for the way adjournments are granted, benches shifted and assigned, and the utter lack of control over lawyers. One of the big mysteries in political economy is why judges, with all their protection and security, do not intellectually, legally and procedurally take greater charge of their own courts. Even at the highest levels of the judiciary, the deference to lawyers is amazing. The test of the judiciary’s willingness to reform will be first and foremost a serious and committed internal conversation about all the million small things it can do that are within its power The lack of this open conversation suggests how muted the constituency for reform is.

The judiciary’s position on appointments, especially to the Supreme Court, is constitutionally untenable. It is, not to put too fine a point on it, one of the most non-transparent processes in the world, not open to any form of scrutiny. There is no principled basis for the judiciary to sanction reservations for everyone else, but exempt itself from its ambit. In public perception the judicial response to charges of corruption is extremely tepid, mostly amounting to treating Sikkim and Assam as a backwater posting. Even in areas where the judiciary took on major governance roles, like the environment, the net results are mixed. The common thread running through all this is that independence has become a fig leaf to shield accountability. The concern for judicial independence is not a sufficient argument to shut out other branches of government from participating in creating better systems of accountability. Indeed, the judiciary’s claim to independence and its credibility will be enhanced if it is more transparent.

Moily has an ambitious agenda for reform: timely disposal of cases, improving the quality of appointments, introducing a modicum of judicial accountability, initiating procedural innovations. But none of this is going to be possible without active cooperation and dialogue with the judiciary. The disquieting lesson of the Judges Bill is that it is a demonstration of just how difficult and adversarial this dialogue is going to be. And then you can throw into the mix the legal profession which has an odd relationship to the system.

Broadly, there are three groups. There is the growing group that does mostly backroom professional legal work, like contracts, etc. But in the frontline profession there are two groups. The upper echelons are great beneficiaries of both judicial deference and a lack of culture of accountability. Many of them are brilliant and upright. But the systemic culture of the profession needs a hard look. Forget more complicated ideas of conflict of interest, and what it means to be an officer of the court. There are a distressingly large number of instances where top lawyers, even after having taken advances, will not show up for hearing after hearing, and there is simply no redress. The top echelon has the ability to dominate an intellectually insecure judiciary and benefit from great under-professionalisation. Then there is a large mass of struggling lawyers at different levels: immensely resentful of the privileges of the few in the profession and convinced that justice is not about the law but manipulating existing protocols and conventions. They have also consistently blocked legal and judicial reform.

The executive also has more than its fair share of blame. But the importance of the Judges Bill was not simply that it would have brought judges under principles they themselves have enacted. It was that this was a test case for the possibility of a dialogue between the judiciary and other branches of government. If the debate on this is so entrenched on the simplest issue, think of what might happen on more complex issues like the Judicial Accountability Bill or the appointments of judges or the reform of the Bar. Now the rule of law is running into the political economy of the judiciary.

The writer is president, Centre for Policy Research, Delhi






PIL challenges SR Lakha’s appointment as UPPSC chief

TNN 6 August 2009, 03:19am IST

LUCKNOW: After hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging state government’s decision to appoint retired IAS officer SR Lakha as chairman of UP Public Service Commission (UPPSC), the Lucknow bench of the High Court on Tuesday directed the state government to file a counter-affidavit within two weeks. The division bench comprising justice Pradeep Kant and justice Ritu Raj Awasthi issued directions on the PIL filed JN Shukla through his counsel SC Pandey.

The petitioner, who is also a journalist, has said in the PIL that the appointment in a sensitive post like chairman UPPSC should be done by the state government in an transparent manner giving no scope for any grievance. But after retirement Lakha has been appointed on the coveted post despite the fact that he faced charges of corruption and was even indicted by the CBI and an another departmental inquiry for committing anomalies and irregularities while serving as the cane commissioner and vice-chairman, Lucknow Development Authority (LDA).

While working as state cane commissioner, the petitioner has said, Lakha was found guilty of official misconduct by the CBI in an inquiry conducted in connection with the dismissal of a cashier Krishna Kumar Sinha. The fact was also taken into consideration by the high court in one of its order in 1998. The court had forwarded the CBI report to the then chief secretary directing him to take action, the petitioner has said, while claiming that to the best of his knowledge government did not take any action in compliance of court’s directions.

Further, the petitioner has claimed that while serving as LDA vice-chairman, Lakha was found guilty of serious charges of irregularities in sale of nazul land in the city. An inquiry conducted in 1996 on the directions of the then state government had found Lakha guilty of anomalies, the petitioner has said. He has challenged Lakha’s appointment as chairman of UPPSC on grounds that by nominating him on such a sensitive post, the state government has acted against the provisions of Article 316 of part XIV and chapter II the Constitution.

The petitioner has also argued that the state government has worked against the public interest by appointing a tainted person as the head of a reputed organisation responsible for selecting suitable candidates for various government services. The petitioner said that he had also made representation to the governor against the appointment but nothing was done. The petitioner has prayed before the High Court to quash the appointment as it is against natural justice, violates Constitutional norms and government of India rules.




TMC cracks down on illegal hoardings

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Aug 06, 2009 at 0006 hrs Mumbai:

After getting a rap from the Bombay High Court, the Thane Municipal Corporation has come down heavily on illegal hoardings.

Municipal Commissioner Nandkumar Jantre said in the last two days the administration has removed illegal hoardings dotting the skyline of Thane. “So far, we have booked 35 people for defacement of public places,” said Jantre.

He added that in some places people were putting up resistance to remove the hoardings. The civic administration has distributed a list of legal hoardings to all the wards. The ones not mentioned in the list have to be removed.

Last week, the High Court had slapped a fine of Rs 5000 on civic officials including the commissioner of Thane. The court had given civic body two weeks to remove the illegal hoardings in the city. The court particularly asked the TMC to ensure all illegal hoardings are removed from pavement and roads. According to petitioner Prabakar Choudhary, who had filed a PIL, the roads were blocked due to the scaffoldings erected on the pavements and roads.  

Besides hoardings of commercial nature, political ones also dot the urban sprawl. Hoardings belonging to politicians were put up on the pretext of giving compliments for religious festivals or birthdays.

Member of the Legislative Council and Thane city NCP chief Jitendra Awhad said, “There are more hoardings in the city than what has been approved by the TMC. This is being done with the connivance of the civic officials and the advertisers. The political hoardings are put up only for a few days and do not pose a problem.”






SC judgement on ‘cruelty’ against wife insensitive: Brinda

6 Aug 2009, 0414 hrs IST, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Dubbing the Supreme Court’s verdict, that a husband and his relatives cannot be prosecuted for “cruelty” towards the wife just because his family members had kicked her, as “insensitive reading of the law”, CPM on Wednesday sought central intervention into the matter. The party wants the government to file a review petition challenging the judgement of the apex court.

“I request you to urgently study the said judgement and ensure that a review petition is filed at the earliest. The government must play a proactive role in protecting the rights of women, especially when these rights are sought to be eroded by judgements which reflect an insensitive reading of the law,” CPM politbureau member Brinda Karat said in a letter to law and justice minister Veerappa Moily.

The Supreme Court has ruled that a husband cannot be prosecuted under section 498(A) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) merely because his mother or other members of the family kicked her or threatened her with divorce though it may amount to some other offence. The ruling came on an appeal filed by a South Africa-based non-resident Indian and his family in a matrimonial dispute case in India.

Ms Karat cautioned the Centre that such a judicial understanding of cruelty will be a licence for domestic violence, both mental or physical.

“It may also encourage wife-beaters. If unchallenged it will undo the positive steps taken by government and Parliament to provide a just legal framework to address the increasing number of cases of domestic violence and protect the lives and dignity of women within the domestic sphere,” the CPM Rajya Sabha member said.

She told the law minister that it could only be considered a retrograde judgement as according to the Supreme Court, “kicking your daughter-in-law”, threatening her with divorce or verbal torture do not amount to cruelty.






Film tussle plays out in High Court

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Aug 06, 2009 at 0359 hrs Kolkata:

The legal tussle between the makers of the Bengali film Poran Jay Joliya Re and Bollywood blockbuster Namastey London continued in the Calcutta High Court on Wednesday.

Justice Nadira Patheriya wanted to see both the films in the courtroom but the counsel of Sri Venkatesh Films, the producers of Poran Jay Joliya Re, said the DVD of the film was not available and requested the judge to see the film in a cinema hall.

The Bengali film, which was released a few days ago, is running at cinema halls across the state. Earlier this week the producers of the Bollywood film (which was released in 2007) filed a petition claiming that the Bengali film violated the copyright law as it is a blatant copy of Namastey London and requested the court to ban the film. The court then asked the Bengali film producer to submit the money collected by selling tickets of Poran Jay Joliya Re to the court. The case will come up for hearing again on Thursday.





Shopian court rejects bail plea of J- K police officers


August 6th, 2009

SRINAGAR – A court in Shopian on Thursday rejected the bail application of Jammu and Kashmir police officers, who were arrested in connection with the alleged rape and murder of two women in Shopian.

The court rejected their plea under the Section 497 of CRPC (discretionary powers of the judge to grant bail or not).

Investigations in the case were still on, the sessions judge said.

Former Superintendent of Police of Shopian Javed Iqbal Mattoo, and Deputy Superintendent of Police Rohit Baskota, who were arrested along with Station House Officer Shopian Shafiq Ahmed and Sub-inspector Gazi Abdul Rehman, moved a petition in the Supreme Court against the ruling of J and K High Court, to arrest these officers and also to collect blood samples to prepare the DNA mapping of these officers.

An apex court bench headed by the Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan had asked the Shopian sessions court to expeditiously consider the bail pleas.

During the hearing, the bench had said the High Court should have left it to the superior police officers to investigate the case and should have entitled the police officers to move for bail before the appropriate court.

The bench had also expressed surprise that only because of agitation the investigation was handed over to the Special Investigation Team (SIT).

The J and K High Court, hearing a Public Interest Litigation Petition (PIL) filed by J and K High Court Bar Association in connection with alleged rape and murder of Neelofar and Aasiya Jan in Shopian ordered for the arrest of four police officers who were suspended in the same the case. The court also ordered to constitute SIT and DNA mapping of these officers. (ANI)





Indian court orders death for 2003 Mumbai bombers

      Story Highlights

      Chief public prosecutor described bombers’ death sentence as “exemplary”

      54 killed in 2003 blasts at Mumbai’s Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar gold market

      Bombers identified as Mohammad Hanif, his wife Fahmida, and Ashrat Ansari

      Defendants linked to Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based militant group

August 6, 2009 — Updated 0829 GMT (1629 HKT)

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) — An anti-terror court in India Thursday sentenced a couple and their accomplice to death for the 2003 attacks in Mumbai that prosecutors said were carried out at the behest of Pakistan-based militants.

Chief public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam described the sentencing of Mohammad Hanif Sayyed, his wife, Fahmeeda Sayyed, and Ashrat Ansari as “exemplary”.

In the 2003 bombings at Mumbai’s landmark Gateway of India and the glittering gold market Zaveri Bazaar, 54 people were killed.

Prosecutors insisted that the assaults were planned by the Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, a Pakistan-based militant group, also blamed for last year’s siege in Mumbai which left 164 people dead.

Nikam said he told the court that the three convicts had “demonic” designs to terrorize Mumbai. He said more 103 witnesses testified at trial.

Defense attorney Abdul Wahab indicated he would appeal the sentencing in a higher court.





HC orders removal of AIDS posters

TNN 6 August 2009, 02:47am IST

CHENNAI: Two days after a woman dragged the Tamil Nadu State AIDS Control Society (Tansacs) to court for having used her photo and that of her daughter without consent, the Madras HC on Wednesday pulled up the AIDS body and directed it to remove all banners featuring the photo within a week.

Justice K Suguna, before whom the matter came up for admission, also permitted the petitioner’s counsel, G Mohanakrishnan, to implead Sasi Advertising Agency in the case. The woman and her daughter have sought compensation of Rs 1 crore from Tansacs.




Aruna HC fines man for seeking fake death compensation

TNN 6 August 2009, 05:03am IST

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court has imposed a penalty of Rs 15,000 on a man for seeking death compensation for his grandmother who is alive. “This is not a minor lapse. A serious view needs to be taken on the matter,” said Justice RR Tripathi, who heard the case. While dismissing the plea, the angry judge termed it a dishonest petition’, and slapped a fine.

On May 28, 2002, Kamruddin Kazi demanded compensation for the death of his father claiming he was killed on March 2 in the post-Godhra riots. His father, Abbas Ali, was from Limdi village in Jhalod block of Dahod district. When the state government did not take action on the compensation application for a couple of years, Kamruddin filed a petition in HC in 2005 seeking that it be directed to release the compensation amount.

However, in this petition, Kamruddin sought compensation for the death of his mother Jetunbibi too. When Kamruddin passed away, his son Shaukat joined the case in HC earlier this year. Justice Tripathi asked the state government reasons for not giving compensation in this case, despite several packages announced by the state as well as Union government.

During the hearing of Shaukat’s application for joining the case as heir, the Dahod collectorate provided information on the Kazi family to HC. As per this, Abbas Ali and his widow Jetunbibi had two daughters and two sons.

What was shocking was that the government report stated that 70-year-old Jetunbibi is still alive. Shaukat’s advocate said he would have to study the information on his client’s ancestors. But, the court said if Shaukat did not deposit the fine amount in the court registry, it would not take up further hearing of the petition. It observed that Kamruddin had not been the only heir and claimant for compensation. But, he had chosen not to include his brother and sisters as respondents in the petition.




Auto-rickshaw owners move HC on transport dept order

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Aug 06, 2009 at 0401 hrs Kolkata:

The Kolkata Auto-Rickshaw Operators Union on Wednesday filed a petition in the Calcutta High Court challenging the notification issued by the state transport department on January 12, 2009. The notification had stated that all old autos must be replaced by the new four-stroke LPG mode ones. The case is likely to come up for hearing this week.

The petitioner alleged that the transport department had issued the notification violating the order of the Calcutta High Court passed on July 18 last year. The notification issued by the transport department was merely an administrative order, which cannot override a judicial order, the petition said.

The petitioner said that upholding a notification issued by the state environment department, the Calcutta High Court had directed that the existing auto-rickshaws be converted into four-stroke LPG mode. The notification of the environment department had fixed the deadline of December 31, 2008 for it and it was extended to July 31 by an interim order of the High Court later.

But the transport department had said in its notification on January 12, 2009 that old auto-rickshaws be replaced with new four-stroke LPG mode ones. In other words, the transport department decided to scrap the old autos instead of converting them to four-stroke LPG mode ones. So the transport department had issued the notification not complying with the High Court’s order, alleged the petitioner.

The transport department had decreed that only new four-stroke LPG mode autos would be allowed to ply in Kolkata, North 24-Parganas, South 24-Parganas, Howrah and Nadia. The petition said that nearly 22,000 auto-owners had applied to the transport department for conversion of old autos to four-stroke LPG mode ones according to a rehabilitation scheme.





Sahara logo on team jersey continues: HC

PTI 6 August 2009, 12:50am IST

NEW DELHI: Hockey India’s efforts to vacate the Calcutta High Court’s order, which made it mandatory to have Sahara’s logo on team jersey, went up in smoke after the HC rejected their argument that the contract has ended with dissolution of the Indian Hockey Federation.

The Court observed that the game’s governing body was just an alter ego of the disbanded IHF, whose activities were taken over by the Hockey India.

“It appeared to the court that Hockey India was formed to avoid the threat of IOA to cancel hosting of Hockey World Cup in Delhi in 2010 consequent to suspension and disaffiliation of IHF,” Justice Nadira Patherya said in a press release issued by the Sahara corporate group.

“Although the IHF continues as a body corporate but has lost its importance in the world of hockey. In fact, the activities of IHF have been taken over by Hockey India. The court says that it would not be incorrect to say that the mantle of the IHF has been taken over by Hockey India.

“Therefore, in effect Hockey India is nothing but an alter ego of IHF and this is evidenced from the three members of the ad-hoc committee constituting the Hockey India,” Patherya concluded.

The court says the said step of incorporation of Hockey India could have been taken even prior to the order dated 27.04.2009. But the incorporation of Hockey India was not done then and this is another factor, which undoubtedly goes to show that the incorporation of Hockey India was to defeat the order.

The grounds, on which the Hockey India claimed vacation or variation of the stay order dated 24.7.2009, were not found by the court, the release said.

Another factor, which does not warrant vacating the earlier stay order, is that the Hockey team to be selected is a single national team. It is nobody’s case that two teams will be selected, one by IHF and one by the Hockey India.

It is only one team selected by the Hockey India which represents India in tournaments and therefore this is an added factor to evidence the Hockey India is nothing but an alter ego of the IHF.

Accordingly, the stay order of the Kolkata High court, where it restrained Hockey India from permitting the national team to play without the company’s logo, is not vacated but continued till five weeks, it concluded.





HC to take up cases valued above 20L

TNN 6 August 2009, 04:01am IST

PANAJI: The legislative assembly on Wednesday passed the Goa Civil Courts (Amendment) Bill, 2009, which empowers the government to transfer appeals valued up to Rs 20 lakh and currently pending before the high court to district courts.

Consequently, the high court will be the appellate court for matters valued above Rs 20 lakh, thereby reducing the pendency of such cases.

Following the transfer of appeals, the district courts will now have the powers to proceed with them from the stage they were last heard, or from an earlier stage or de novo (afresh), as the district court may decide.

The bill seeking to amend Goa, Daman and Diu Civil Courts Act, 1965, also provides for removal of some obsolete words such as administrator’ and union territory’ from the Act.





Activists go to HC, challenge unveiling

TNN 6 August 2009, 12:57am IST

BANGALORE: Kannada groups headed by former MLAs Vatal Nagaraj and Prabhakar Reddy have moved the high court, challenging the proposed unveiling of saint-poet Thiruvalluvar’s statue near Ulsoor lake on August 9.

“Unveiling of the statue in Bangalore was one of the demands put forth by forest brigand Veerappan when he had held Kannada matinee idol Dr Rajukumar as hostage in 2001. There are several burning issues between the two states. Karnataka has suffered in the Cauvery water dispute by the unjust award of the tribunal… For installing the statue, necessary permission under the Karnataka Town and Country Planning Act and Karnataka Parks, Playgrounds and Open Spaces Preservation and Regulation Act is necessary… These have not been obtained… Unveiling of the statue on August 9 will be violative of the code of conduct imposed by the Election Commission in view of the by-elections to five Assebly constituencies,” the petitioners have stated, seeking a stay on the unveiling.

Karnataka Rakshana Vedike leader Praveen Shetty, DSS leader N Murthy and others are co-petitioners. The petition is likely to come up for hearing in a day or two.

A division Bench headed by chief justice P D Dinakaran has suggested setting up of special cells at district and taluk levels for executing non-bailable warrants issued by courts. “Why put the police for political bandobust and other duty? Let them do their duty. In Tamil Nadu, they have a separate cell for manhunts,” the Bench told advocate general Ashok Haranahalli.

After taking into consideration statements made by the advocate general in court, the Bench disposed of the suo-motu PIL that was filed last week based on an internal assessment report of pending cases.

The court has directed the state to complete the formalities of appointing public propsecutors by August 12. The government has also been asked to complete appointment of 275 FDAs and 411 SDAs, for which the selection list has already been sent by the KPSC, within 15-30 days and fill up the 357 vacant clerical posts.

The advocate general told the court that during July, 3,340 persons who were absconding were arrested after the DGP issued special instructions to the department by a circular dated July 1, 2009. “Still, 15,660 persons are at large and yet to be arrested. Bangalore city police have prepared a separate list of accused persons on August 1 and are monitoring follow-up,” he added.

The high court has issued notice to the PU department on a petition filed by 11 students, seeking declaration of their results in the II PU supplementary exam. The results were withheld on account of a CCB raid on Aditya Teachers College, Malleswaram, a day before the physics paper on June 27.

Police had then seized 26 answer scripts, some additional sheets, Rs.1.23 lakh in cash, a car and four mobile phones. Four persons were arrested. One of them had said answers to the exam had been dictated and the plan was to place ready papers in the bundle of answer scripts after the exam. The petitioners have claimed they have no connection to this episode. Taluk panchayat chiefs’ election gets nod

The high court has vacated its earlier stay order and given the go-ahead to the government for conducting election to the posts of president and vice-president of taluk panchayats. However, the court has asked the government to reconsider the roster issued in five taluks in Gadag district.




SAIL faces funds misuse PIL


Ranchi, Aug. 8: The Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has appeared before Jharkhand High Court to contest in a PIL filed for alleged misuse of public money for a ceremony graced by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in Bokaro last year.

The SAIL has refuted the charges made in the PIL and has requested the court for an early hearing for disposing the case finally.

The PIL, filed by Surendra Sao, a journalist, has raised the issue of the unnecessary expenditure of money by the authorities for the function.

Sao said that government has spent Rs 1.92 crore during the inauguration ceremony. The function barely lasted for an hour in which the SAIL has spent in lakhs to woo the Prime Minister and other VIPs, Sao said.

There are ample evidences of corruption in the matter and should be investigated by the CBI, Sao said.

The case will be heard on August 27 by a division bench.





Garbage row gets another deadline


Cuttack, Aug. 8: Orissa High Court has set a fresh deadline of 24 days for the Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) to phase out multiple garbage dumping yards within the city and to dispose of all solid waste at Bhuasuni on the city’s outskirts.

A division bench of judges Laxmikanta Mohapatra and Indrajeet Mohanty directed the BMC for making the “waste to energy power project” at Bhuasuni fully functional and close all temporary dumping yards by August 31.

The court issued the order yesterday after going through affidavits submitted by the state government and the BMC, making identical claims that the process to discontinue multiple garbage dumping and enable solid waste disposal at Bhuasuni was underway in a phased manner.

The high court has been pressing for adoption of a single-point garbage disposal system by the BMC since August 2007, while monitoring solid waste disposal in Bhubaneswar as part of a PIL.

About 61.41 acres of vacant land at Bhuasuni under Bhubaneswar tehsil had been allotted by the government for the single-point dumping yard vis-à-vis waste to energy power project in February 2008.

The BMC, however, has been disposing of nearly 450 tonne garbage at seven dumping yards located within the city daily.

The court fixed September 4 as the date for the next hearing and further directed the state government, Cuttack Municipal Corporation and the BMC to file affidavits by then giving a status report on steps taken by them to implement the ban on the use of recycled polythene bags in the state.

The court is monitoring solid waste management in Cuttack and Bhubaneswar as part of a PIL filed by advocate S.N. Panda and unchecked use of recycled polythene as part of PIL filed by the Orissa Federation of Consumers’ Organisation.

The Orissa government had imposed a ban on “sale, import or store of non-biodegradable polythene carry bag” (less than 20-micron thick with effect from January 26, 2004), but had not followed it up with a ban on recycled polythene. The government had also ordered a ban on the non-biodegradable product on April 24, 2008.

While there was unabated manufacturing and use of polythene bags despite a ban on it, the government lacked sincerity in implementation of the ban. Besides, the CMC and BMC had achieved nothing tangible even after empowering them with power to enforce the ban, it was pointed out to the court.





PIL petition seeks to ensure sufficient funds for High Court

K.T. Sangameswaran

Petitioner says this will enable the court to maintain autonomous status

“Executive should not have any right or control over appointment of judges”

CHENNAI: A public interest litigation petition filed seven years ago by a city advocate, seeking a direction to the Centre to instruct the State government to provide sufficient consolidated funds every year to the High Court, has been posted for August 10.

Such a provision will relieve the High Court from relying on the State government for finances and enable it to maintain its autonomous status, the petitioner said.

By an order dated July 30, a Division Bench, comprising Justices P.K. Misra and R. Subbiah, directed the Centre, represented by its Finance and Law Secretaries, and the Registrar-General of the High Court to file a counter.

In the petition, G. Rajendran stated that it was unfortunate that the High Court was forced to rely on the State government for meeting all financial requirements. The State government should be strictly told not to interfere with the functioning of the High court, which was a violation of Article 50 (Separation of judiciary from executive) of the Constitution.

He said there was delay in the appointment of judicial officers and people were unable to get justice early. Therefore, the executive should not have any right or control over the appointment of judges.

The Constitution imposed on the State government the responsibility of bearing administrative expenses of the High Court, including salaries, allowance and pension payable to court employees. But, the High Court judges “have to rest upon the will and pleasure of the State government even to get their lawful funds.”

The petitioner said this gave an upper hand to the executive over judges.





SC moves HC against CIC order


As reported by Dhananjay Mahapatra at on 5 August 2009

NEW DELHI: Even before the Delhi High Court could decide its appeal against an order of Central Information Commission (CIC) to make public assets of judges, the Supreme Court on Tuesday again moved the HC challenging another CIC order to make public how the CJI dealt with a complaint against a sitting judge of Allahabad HC.

If parliamentarians are up in arms against law minister Veerappa Moily for proposing in the Judges Assets Bill to keep information about the wealth of judges out of the RTI Act, this SC petition could be an argument in support of the apprehension that there could be harassment of a judge at the hands of a litigant. This is what the SC is projecting in its petition before the Delhi HC.

After Allahabad HC dismissed his case, the sore litigant P K Dalmia sent several complaints to the CJI against the judge who decided the case against him. Then, he approached the SC seeking to know the fate of his complaints and whether any action had been taken.

The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court refused to entertain Dalmia’s request on the ground that the information sought was not available with the registry and that the information was not held by or under the control of any public authority .

This was the identical reason given by the SC while refusing S C Agrawal plea to make public the assets declared by judges under the existing in-house mechanism.

The Judges Assets Bill, which could not be introduced in Parliament on Monday following widespread opposition, proposes to make CJI declare his assets to the President, other SC judges to CJI and similar provision for HC judges. The MPs had specifically demanded that the assets be brought under the purview of RTI .

Dalmia then approached the CIC, which on July 16 held that the Chief Justice of India and Registry are one and the same institution and information available with the CJI would be deemed to be available with the Supreme Court of India. The SC said the CIC‘s reasoning was erroneous as CJI was not a public authority under the definition of RTI Act and hence CJI could not be equated with the Supreme Court Registry.

The information sought for was not in the public domain and hence could not be accessed under the RTI Act, the SC said in its petition before the Delhi HC.

Source : SC moves HC against CIC order – India – NEWS – The Times of India





CJI, law minister to attend seminar on ADR promotion

CHANDIGARH: With formidable backlog figures that refuse to scale down despite best efforts by judges, alternate dispute resolution (ADR) in its various avatars is fast emerging as the new buzzword in the region. Taking the cue, the International Centre for Alternate Dispute Resolution (ICADR) is organizing an important seminar in the city on February 14 that will be attended by CJI KG Balakrishnan, law minister HR Bhardwaj and various apex and high court judges.


The high-profile event is aimed at giving a push to the nascent ADR movement in Punjab and Haryana that boast of a rather litigation-prone population. Significantly, the seminar comes close on the heels of the region getting as many as 17 mediation and conciliation centres (9 in Haryana and 8 in Punjab).

These centres were launched through video-conferencing in December 2008 by Supreme Court judge SB Sinha who will also be attending the proposed seminar. Driving home the message, justice Sinha had during the launch ceremony hammered that mediation and conciliation centres were the best bet to bail out a backlog-struck judiciary out of its predicament.

Importantly, chief justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court Tirath Singh Thakur also has repeatedly asserted that traditional litigation methods alone will not suffice in meting out justice to ever-burgeoning population. Justice Mahesh Grover of the high court has also taken major steps to streamline the mediation machinery.

Given the willing judiciary and legal fraternity, the ICADR, which is a nodal body under the aegis of the Union law ministry with CJI as its chief-patron, now wants to rev up the ADR infrastructure in the region with Chandigarh as the hub.

Its governing council member, Ashwinie Kumar Bansal, said the leitmotif of the seminar would be “need for amendments in the Arbitration and Conciliation Act” so that the Act could be finetuned to meet demands of modern times. He disclosed that the elite gathering would mull over the finer details of ADR and arbitration and make appropriate recommendations to the Union government.

“One of the significant points of debate will be legislation on mediation. So far, there is no law that makes a settlement between parties through mediation enforceable without the court’s order which is unlike the situation under arbitration or conciliation. A settlement under arbitration or conciliation is enforceable per se without requiring a court’s nod,” Bansal stressed.

Another ADR expert, Vikas Chatrath, said mediation and conciliation was the in-thing that opens up avenues of a quicker and hassle-free end to disputes.

Delhi to have PCA centre
The Union law ministry is acting on a November communication by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), Hague, that has signed an agreement with India to open its regional facility in New Delhi. The communication raises issues like office space, residential accommodation, etc., for PCA staff.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, August 5th, 2009 at 7:44 am





HC admits writ petition on seat sharing and fee structure agreement

Staff Reporter

Kochi : The Kerala High Court on Wednesday admitted a writ petition challenging theagreements signed between eight self-financing medical colleges and the government on the seat sharing and fee structure for M.B.B.S admission.

Justice Thottathil B. Radhakrishnan while admitting the petition issued notice to the State Government, Admission Supervisory and Fee Regulatory Committee for Professional colleges, Kerala Private Medical College Management Association and the eight self-financing medical colleges.

The petition was filed by Baisil Attipetty of Kochi. According to him, the agreement allows the colleges to collect exorbitant fee in excess of the fee prescribed by the Fee Regulatory Committee.

In fact, the agreement gave the management the freedom to admit students to more than 60 percent seats. The petitioner pointed out that the agreements were against the principle of triple test of being fair, transparent and non-exploitative laid down by the Supreme Court.

The agreements also went against the regulations of the Medical Council of India. The agreements provided special consideration on the basis of place of residence which violated Article 14 of the Constitution (equality before law). He said that the merit had been given ago-by.

As per the agreements, the annul fee for the government seats ranged fromRs. 25,000 to Rs. 1,38,000 while the fee for managements seats had been fixed at Rs.4,50,000.

The petitioner pointed out that the fee stipulated by the Fee Regulatory Committee were binding on all the colleges. The colleges could not collect fee over and above the fee fixed by the committee. In fact, the agreements would result in one section of students admitted by themanagement subsidizing the students admitted to the government seats. This amounted to cross subsidy which had been prohibited by the Supreme Court.

The petitioner pointed out that the fee regulatory committee had not been consulted before entering an agreement with the colleges. The petitioner also alleged that the committee had been acting as a rubber stamp of the government.

The petitioner sought to restrain the eight colleges from filling the seats on the basis of the agreements between the government and the colleges. He also pleaded that a new admission procedure be evolved for M.B.B.S admission. The petitioner sought to declare unconstitutional these agreements.





Armed Forces Tribunal becomes a reality

TNN 9 August 2009, 12:56am IST

NEW DELHI: Serving and retired military personnel will no longer need to run to civilian courts to get redressal of their grievances, with the long-delayed armed forces tribunal (AFT) finally becoming a reality on Saturday.

Inaugurating the AFT, which will adjudicate cases connected to service matters as well as appeals against court martial sentences, President Pratibha Patil said the tribunal would enhance the speed at which justice can be provided to military personnel. “I am confident the tribunal will meet the challenges of administering justice in a fair and equitable manner,” she said.

“The Act establishing the tribunal does not bind it to the Civil Procedure Code and, hence it provides for flexibility in procedures as long as they are in conformity with the principles of natural justice,” she added.

The 9,800 or so cases pending in different high courts, filed by serving or retired military personnel, will now be transferred to AFT, which will have the powers of a high court. Its verdicts will, of course, be open for challenge in the Supreme Court.

AFT will have 15 courts in all, with three each in New Delhi, Chandigarh and Lucknow, and one each in Jaipur, Mumbai, Kolkata, Guwahati, Chennai and Kochi.





‘Cyber crime tribunal in red tape mesh’

Utkarsh Anand Posted: Saturday , Aug 08, 2009 at 0311 hrs New Delhi:

Over two years after the Cyber Regulations Appellate Tribunal (CRAT) — the maiden forum in the country to exclusively try cyber cases — became functional, it recently got a new address and a well-equipped courtroom.

Its head, Justice Rajesh Tandon, remains dissatisfied with the “unreasonable” provision relating to the retiring age of the tribunal’s presiding officer, and the procedural delays in appointments.

Created under the Information Technology Act, the presiding officer of a tribunal is required to be either a judge of a High Court or is/has been a member of the Indian Legal Services and holds/has held a Grade I post in that service for at least three years. The term for the presiding officer has been limited to five years from his joining the post or till he attains the age of 65, whichever is earlier, under Section 51 of the Act.

A High Court judge retires at 62; hence he is left only with a three year-term to serve the office, thereby making the five-year clause redundant, Justice Tandon said. Moreover, procedural delays in appointing an officer further eats into the already small tenure, he added.

 “A presiding officer will naturally need some time to get adjusted to the new arena of cyber laws. By the time he gets accustomed to the functioning of the tribunal, his tenure is almost over,” Justice Tandon told The Indian Express.

Criticising the widespread red tapism that causes delays in appointments, Justice Tandon, who earlier served as a judge at Uttarakhand High Court, said: “The Secretary of the IT department received my consent last August, but took more than six months to hand over the letter of appointment. The confirmation came in the last week of February despite my reminders.”

“The retiring age is 67 for a State Consumer Commission Judge, and 70 for a National Consumer Commission Judge. Why should there be discrimination in fixing the age limit for the CRAT’s presiding officer?” Justice Tandon asked.

Regarding the creation of an independent website for the CRAT, Justice Tandon said they will soon start the process. As per the provisions of the IT Act, a complaint relating to a cyber crime would first go to an “adjudicating officer” — a secretary in the IT department. An appeal against his order would then lie with the CRAT.





Law Commission recommends more working hours for judges


August 7th, 2009

NEW DELHI – In a report submitted by the Law Commission, it has recommended that judges should work more by cutting down the number of vacations and increasing their working hours.

“Considering the huge pendency of cases, vacations in higher judiciary must be curtailed by at least 10-15 days and court working hours should be extended by at least half-an-hour,” the Commission said in its report.

In its 230th report submitted by the Law Commission chairman A R Lakshamanan to Union Minister for Law Veerappa Moily on August 5, it suggested a seven-point reform for judiciary.

The commission highlighted that following the boost in their (judges) remuneration it was their duty to work for the goodwill of the judicial system.

“With the increase in the salaries and perks of the Judges, it is their moral duty to respond commensurately. Considering the huge pendency of cases at all levels of judicial hierarchy, it has become necessary to increase the number of working days,” the report stated.

The Commission also expressed concern over the erosion of working culture in the Judiciary and suggested that it must be revived.

“Of late there has been a general erosion of work culture throughout the country. Government servants avoid discharging their duties and responsibilities. The Judiciary has also been affected by this evil,” it added.

The Commission further said that it was high time for all the judges at different levels of judicial hierarchy to devote full time to judicial work. (ANI)

LEGAL NEWS 4-5/8/2009

SC moves HC against CIC order

Dhananjay Mahapatra , TNN 5 August 2009, 03:07am IST

NEW DELHI: Even before the Delhi High Court could decide its appeal against an order of Central Information Commission (CIC) to make public assets of judges, the Supreme Court on Tuesday again moved the HC challenging another CIC order to make public how the CJI dealt with a complaint against a sitting judge of Allahabad HC.

If parliamentarians are up in arms against law minister Veerappa Moily for proposing in the Judges Assets Bill to keep information about the wealth of judges out of the RTI Act, this SC petition could be an argument in support of the apprehension that there could be harassment of a judge at the hands of a litigant. This is what the SC is projecting in its petition before the Delhi HC.

After Allahabad HC dismissed his case, the sore litigant P K Dalmia sent several complaints to the CJI against the judge who decided the case against him. Then, he approached the SC seeking to know the fate of his complaints and whether any action had been taken.

The Central Public Information Officer (CPIO) of the Supreme Court refused to entertain Dalmia’s request on the ground that the information sought was not available with the registry and that the information was not held by or under the control of any public authority.

This was the identical reason given by the SC while refusing S C Agrawal’s plea to make public the assets declared by judges under the existing in-house mechanism.

The Judges Assets Bill, which could not be introduced in Parliament on Monday following widespread opposition, proposes to make CJI declare his assets to the President, other SC judges to CJI and similar provision for HC judges. The MPs had specifically demanded that the assets be brought under the purview of RTI.

Dalmia then approached the CIC, which on July 16 held that “the Chief Justice of India and Registry are one and the same institution and information available with the CJI would be deemed to be available with the Supreme Court of India”. The SC said the CIC’s reasoning was erroneous as CJI was not a public authority under the definition of RTI Act and hence CJI could not be equated with the Supreme Court Registry.

“The information sought for was not in the public domain and hence could not be accessed under the RTI Act,” the SC said in its petition before the Delhi HC.




Ban on old vehicles: Supreme Court declines stay

J. Venkatesan

SLP filed by bus syndicate posted for hearing on August 10

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday declined to stay, at this stage, the operation of the Calcutta High Court orders directing implementation of State government notification to phase out transport vehicles which were 15-year-old with effect from August 1.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justices P. Sathasivam and B.S. Chauhan, while refusing to stay the order during ‘mention’ time, posted the special leave petition (SLP) filed by the Bengal Bus Syndicate and others for hearing on August 10.

By a notification dated July 17, 2008, the State government ordered that 15-year-old or older transport vehicles (taxis, stage carriage vehicles, omni buses, trucks, mini trucks and goods carriages, including three-wheelers and auto rickshaws) should not be allowed to operate and that the Motor Vehicles Department should not renew their permit after expiry of the stipulated time.

The High Court, by its orders dated July 18, 2008 and March 17, 2009, directed implementation of the notification. The SLP is directed against these orders.

Counsel for the petitioner submitted that the State government had no power to fix the age limit of vehicles as 15 years, as such power was vested only with the Central government.

Moreover, operators were not given an opportunity and not heard by the High Court, he said pleading for a stay.

To a question from the CJI on whether the vehicles were being run from August 1, counsel said, “We are complying with the High Court order and not operating our vehicles.” The CJI then said, “No stay. We will hear it on August 10.”

The SLP seeking to quash the impugned orders pointed out that even if 15-year-old transport vehicles were prohibited from plying in Kolkata, there was no mechanism to prevent older transport vehicles coming from other States into the city. Hence, the reason for prohibiting such vehicles was not clear.

The SLP further said vehicles older than 15 years could be allowed to ply if they maintain the Mass Emission Standards for vehicles as prescribed in the relevant law.





Maha govt need not give 26/11 report to HC, says SC


TNN 5 August 2009, 03:06am IST

NEW DELHI: In a huge relief to Maharashtra government which is working on an anti-terror shield and operational mechanism for Mumbai, the Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed a Bombay High Court order asking that the Ram Pradhan committee report on 26/11 attack and remedial measures be placed before it.

Agreeing with senior advocates Harish Salve and Mukul Rohtagi, who appeared for the state, on the danger in making public such sensitive information which has not yet been placed before the assembly, the SC stayed the HC’s July 23 order asking for the Pradhan committee report, an affidavit from the chief secretary on steps taken to prevent attacks and presence of ATS chief before it on Aug 6. In fact, a Bench comprising CJI K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan appeared critical of the HC’s approach towards the issue brought before it through six PILs.

“Why should details of such a sensitive report be given to the HC? As the court itself has asked for it in a sealed cover, what purpose will it serve? Why should such security measures be disclosed to the public? Can the court prevent such attacks or the alleged impending threat? What is the expertise of the HC in these matters? And what directions can the HC give to the ATS,” were the volley of questions which the CJI fired at senior advocate Lalit Bhasin, who appeared for one of the PIL petitioners and sought to defend the HC order.





Kicking daughter-in-law or divorce threat not cruelty: SC

PTI 5 August 2009, 09:52am IST

NEW DELHI: A husband and his relatives cannot be prosecuted for “cruelty” towards wife merely because the mother-in-law or other family members had kicked her or for that matter threatened her with divorce, the Supreme Court has held.

Similarly, if a mother-in-law gives constant sermons to the daughter-in-law or allegedly treated her shabbily by giving her used dress suits, it does not invite prosecution under Section 498A of the IPC, a bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph said.

However, if the mother-in-law takes away the gifts given to the couple at the time of the marriage, it amounts to “breach of trust” as specified under Section 406 IPC, the apex court said while dealing with an appeal filed by South Africa-based NRI husband and in-laws in a matrimonial dispute case.

“Allegations that appellant No 2 (mother-in-law) kicked the respondent (daughter-in-law) with her leg and told her that her mother is a liar may make out some other offences but not the one punishable under Section 498A.

“Similarly her allegations that the appellant No 2 poisoned the ears of her son against the respondent; she gave two used lady suits of her daughter to the complainant (daughter-in-law) and has been giving perpetual sermons to the complainant could not be said to be offences punishable under Section 498 A”, it said.

The bench said “even threatening that her son may be divorced for the second time could not bring out the offence under Section 498A of the IPC”.

Under Section 498-A “Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman subject such a woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three-years and shall also be liable to fine.”

In this case, the daughter-in-law Monica had filed cases of cruelty and breach of trust against her South-Africa based husband Vikas Sharma, his parents Bhaskarlal and Vimla. Monica was Vikas’ second wife as he had divorced his first wife through whom he had two children.

Differences between Vikas and Monica surfaced and after several rounds of talks for reconciliation, she filed cases under Section 498-A(cruelty) and 406 (breach of trust)against the husband and in–law.

Among various allegations the woman had levelled were that her mother-in-law had kicked her, called her mother a liar and threatened her with a divorce from her son besides, taking away all the gifts, including cash, received at the time of the couple’s marriage.

A Patiala trial court issued summons against the husband and in-laws. The Delhi High Court dismissed the appeal filed by the husband and in-laws challenging the trial court’s decision to issue summons against them. Aggrieved, they moved the apex court.

The apex court, which went extensively into the details of the dispute between the couple and the complainant, said the allegations do not in any manner warrant prosecution of the accused under Section 498A.

On the contrary, the apex court said the daughter-in-law on the one hand was trying to coerce the accused and and on the other hand was trying for reconciliation with the family.

“These litigations, if a holistic view is taken, depict a sad state of affairs, namely, that the respondent(daughter-in-law), on the one hand, intends to take all coercive measures to secure the presence of her husband and the appellants in India in various cases filed by her, and on the other hand, she had been repeatedly making attempts of conciliation,” the bench observed.

The apex court however, said the only allegation against the mother-in-law that can be taken cognizance of was that she had taken all the gifts/cash given by the invitees guests.

“Technically, this allegation would attract the definition of breach of trust within the meaning of Section 405 of the IPC,” the bench said. While Section 405 defines “breach of trust”, section 406 IPC prescribes the penalty prescribed for the offence.

Hence, it permitted prosecution of the mother-in-law while exonerating the husband and father-in-law.





Give me 50 yrs in jail, but not death: Hanif

Kartikeya , TNN 5 August 2009, 03:24am IST

MUMBAI: Special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has made a strong plea for death for all three convicts in the Mumbai twin blasts case of August 25, 2003 — Hanif Syed, his wife Fehmida Syed and Ashrat Ansari.

However, it seems Hanif Syed (52), the man found guilty of killing 52 people in twin blasts case, has understood the value of life. During arguments in court on Tuesday, over whether he should be hanged or given life imprisonment for his role in the terror attack, his lawyer said that Syed was ready to spend the rest of his days behind bars without ever asking for release on parole, provided he was not given the death sentence.

‘‘The state has said that life imprisonment in terror-related cases will extend up to 50 years. This means that my client will never breathe the air of freedom in this life. Moreover, the Supreme Court commuted a death sentence of a convict to life in jail when he submitted that he would never claim premature release on parole or furlough from jail.

These facts should be considered in Syed’s case as well and he should be given life imprisonment instead of death,’’ argued defence advocate Khan Abdul Wahab Khan.

Khan also said Syed had shown ‘‘full faith in the Indian judicial system’’ and never misbehaved in jail.

‘‘There is not a single adverse remark against him from the jail authorities,’’ the court was told.

Nikam, however, pushed for the death sentence. He added that Fehmida Syed should be granted no mercy simply because she was a woman. ‘‘It was not murder, but a massacre of 52 innocent people.

The bombs were planted to fulfil the agenda of Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the trio deserves nothing less than capital punishment,’’ Nikam told judge M R Puranik.

The defence lawyers though made fervent submissions that Fehmida be spared the noose. ‘‘She was led into the offence by her husband. Being a Muslim woman and deeply religious, she could not refuse her husband’s diktat. She is uneducated and financially dependent on him,’’ said advocate Sudeep Pasbola.

In reply, Nikam said, ‘‘Considerations of mercy towards the fair sex are for humans and not animals.
A lion and lioness are equally violent and so is true for Hanif and Fehmida. She was not a passive conspirator. She helped in choosing the targets.’’ He also added that the terror attack on the Gateway of India and Zaveri Bazaar was not an ‘‘emotional outburst’’ against communal riots in Gujarat, but a well planned ‘‘commando operation’’.

Syed, Fehmida and Ansari had planted two powerful bombs at the Gateway and Zaveri Bazaar in 2003 that left 52 people dead and 184 injured. Nikam told the court that investigations have shown that the trio was planning even more terror attacks. Judge Puranik will now take up the matter on August 6 when he is likely to pass the sentence.





Parliament passes landmark Right to Education Bill

PTI 4 August 2009, 08:09pm IST

NEW DELHI: Children would get the fundamental right to free and compulsory education with the passage of a bill, hailed as “historic”, by Parliament on Tuesday.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008, seeks to provide education to children aged between 6 to 14 years.

The Bill, one of the flagship programmes in the 100-day agenda of the UPA government, also earmarks 25 per cent seats to weaker sections in private schools.

While the Rajya Sabha okayed the bill earlier, the Lok Sabha putting its seal of approval on Tuesday, with HRD minister Kapil Sibal describing it as “harbinger of a new era” for children to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

He said the bill is a “historic opportunity” for providing better future to children of the country as there was never such a landmark legislation in the last 62 years since independence.

“We as a nation cannot afford our children not going to schools,” he asserted, noting that the measure details the obligations of the Centre and the states for providing free and compulsory education to children.




2003 Mumbai blasts: Sentencing deferred till August 6

AGENCIES 4 August 2009, 01:31pm IST

MUMBAI: Special POTA Judge M R Puranik on Tuesday deferred the sentencing of Ashrat Ansari, Hanif Sayed Anees and his wife Fehmida Sayed till August 6 in the 2003 Mumbai blasts case.

Special Judge M R Puranik had last week convicted Ashrat Ansari (32), Hanif Sayed Anees (46) and his wife Fehmida Sayed (43) for their role in carrying out the blasts in which 52 persons were killed and 100 injured.

The convicts face life imprisonment or death penalty, and special public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has said he would ask for stringent punishment.

This is for the first time that a married couple has been found guilty under POTA for carrying out bomb explosions, Nikam said.

The trio was convicted under sections of IPC for conspiracy, murder and attempt to murder. They were also found guilty under sections of POTA, Explosives Act, Explosive Substances Act and Prevention of Damage to Public Property Act.

The convicts were also involved in placing an unexploded bomb in a bus at suburban SEEPZ on December 2, 2002, and another explosive device in a bus at Ghatkopar on July 28, 2003 in which two persons were killed due to the explosion.

However, Pakistan-based terror outfit LeT, to which the three were linked, decided to conduct high intensity explosions, and hence powerful bombs were planted at two taxis in Zaveri Bazaar and Gateway of India on August 25, 2003.

The twin blasts were the first time that the LeT had carried out involving a family, and the couple travelled to the designated locations to place bombs.




CBI shuts graft case against former income tax officer

S Ahmed Ali , TNN 5 August 2009, 01:47am IST

MUMBAI: The CBI has closed the corruption case registered against S K Sharma, former director general (investigation) of income tax due to lack of evidence. The special court recently accepted the closure report.

In 2007, Sharma was accused of abusing his official position by obtaining illegal gratification from directors of two private companies in Pune and Mumbai through assistant commissioner income tax, Gopal Sharma, and a chartered accountant, Chandan Parmar.

Special judge S P Kulkarni said the telephonic conversation, of which transcripts were produced before the court by the CBI, were not sufficient to show any commission of the offence by Sharma. Sharma, an IAS officer of 1970 batch, made headlines in 2005 when he raided several prominent educational institutions where there were irregularities in the admission process and which had accepted large sums in donations. The CBI had then alleged that Sharma took around Rs 35 lakh and Rs 25 lakh from two directors of construction companies to dispose of their cases and prevent a raid on tax evasion charges.

There was no evidence to show any amount was transferred to the accused or that the subordinate officers had helped and abetted the accused as alleged, the court said. The opinion given by the investigation officer is based on the material evidence collected by him during the course of investigations and this investigation proved to be a futile excercise, the court said.

Sharma said, “I was framed by people against whom I had initiated action. Now my reputation will be restored.”





Ribhu case: Accused sent to police custody

TNN 5 August 2009, 03:41am IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court on Tuesday remanded three of four accused in kidnapping and subsequent killing of Ribhu Chawla in five days’ police custody.

Metropolitan magistrate Gaurav Rao has remanded prime accused Kunal Bhandari alias Rocky and his accomplices Rishab Chauhan and Gaurav in police custody till August 9. The three accused were produced before the court after being in judicial custody since their arrest on July 29.

Police custody was sought on the ground that police were yet to recover the money allegedly paid as ransom by the family of deceased Ribu Chawla, 17, who was a Class XI student of K R Mangalam School in Vikaspuri.

The court issued production warrant against Sukhwinder for August 6, as he could not be produced before it because of ill-health. He was also in judicial custody since his arrest.

Police had earlier not sought their custodial remand as they wanted to conduct identification parade of the accused.

The four accused, including two-time body building champion Rocky, were arrested two days after they allegedly killed Ribhu after kidnapping him in the evening of July 27. According to police, Rocky, a two-time ‘Mr Delhi’, had allegedly plotted the kidnapping and murder of the victim to pay off his debts with the money received as ransom.

Police have already recovered Rs 8 lakh and the Wagon-R allegedly used in the kidnapping. Police also claimed to have recovered the nylon rope allegedly used to strangulate the victim.





HC fines UD ministry in property rights case

TNN 5 August 2009, 03:38am IST

NEW DELHI: Coming to the rescue of a woman who ran pillar to post for a decade for conversion of the lease hold right of her property, the Delhi High Court on Wednesday directed the ministry of urban development to consider her application at the earliest.

Slapping a fine of Rs 10,000 on the ministry for failing to take a decision for a long period, Justice Sanjiv Khanna directed the government to consider her application for free hold of the property 43-A, Prithviraj Road at the earliest. The present market value of the property is estimated to be in crores.

Filing a petition before the court, Monica Burman submitted that in September, 1999 she had applied for the conversion of lease hold right of the property and deposited Rs 25,33,000 towards the conversion cost. However, the ministry failed to take a decision till 2006 and she approached the HC in 2007.

The HC rejected the government counsel’s plea that a decision could not be taken on the property as the same was marked for a group housing complex. As per the petitioner, the property consists of a bungalow and there is no group housing complex at the site.





No more govt hand in police transfers?

TNN 5 August 2009, 02:37am IST

BANGALORE: Police personnel who are transferred frequently can heave a big sigh of relief. The government has heeded a Supreme Court directive to set up a Police Personnel Board (PPB) to decide all transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters of officers below the rank of deputy superintendent.

Hitherto, the state home department directly handled such issues in this category.

Sources said the cabinet on Tuesday agreed to empower the board, comprising IGPs in each of the six ranges, to look into transfers, postings, promotions and other service-related matters.

According to the SC directive, issued in October 2006, a State Security Commission is to be set up so that state governments don’t put undue pressure on the police. This will ensure that deputy SPs and station house officers have a minimum tenure of two years.

“Already, 24 states have implemented the directive. Karnataka has acted quite belatedly,” admitted a minister.





Outstretched police turn abusive: report

TNN 5 August 2009, 02:45am IST

BANGALORE: A UK-based Human Rights Watch, calls for an overhaul of the Indian police system “to make it more human rights friendly”. It has brought out a first-of-its-kind report that documents the stressful and abysmal working conditions of the police beginning from the constable.

The 118 page report — `Broken System: Dysfunction, Abuse and Impunity in the Indian Police’ — was released by the NGO on Tuesday at a seminar on human rights at St Joseph’s College. It documents a range of alleged human rights violations by the police and also states that “police are outstretched and outmatched by criminal elements and are unable to cope with increasing demands and public expectations.”

The report is based on interviews with more than 80 police officers of varying ranks, 60 victims of police abuses, and discussions with experts and civil society activists.

While the NGO states that police who commit or order torture need to be dealt with by law like any average citizen, it also states “abysmal conditions of police officers contribute to violations”.

“Low-ranking officers often work in difficult conditions. They are required to be on call 24 hours a day, every day. Instead of shifts, many work long hours, sometimes live in tents or filthy barracks. Many are separated from their families for long stretches of time. They often lack necessary equipment, including vehicles, mobile phones, investigative tools and even paper on which to record complaints and make notes.”

The NGO has said conditions and incentives for police officers need to change. They should be given resources, training, equipment and encouragement to act professionally and ethically.




6 months jail for ex-MLA in rail roko case

TNN 5 August 2009, 02:20am IST

VIJAYAWADA: A local court convicted a former TDP MLA and six others for detaining a passenger train in Guntur district and sentenced them to six months imprisonment. Railways court magistrate R Venkateswara Sarma while delivering the judgment found fault with Mummaneni Venkata Subbaiah, ex-MLA of Repalle constituency in Guntur, and six political workers for detaining a Guntur-bound passenger train at Repalli railway station on October 24, 2007.

The convicts had detained the train demanding minimum support price for paddy as per the call given by an all-party committee. Subbaiah was also fined Rs 500. The convicts paid the fine and filed a bail petition requesting the court for setting aside the conviction.

The railway police has booked cases against the TDP leader and others for conducting a rail roko in violation of the railway safety rules. Subbaiah was a two-time legislator from Repalle between 1994 and 2004.




SC strikes down case against Surendrababu

TNN 5 August 2009, 02:21am IST

HYDERABAD/VIJAYAWADA: Octopus IG Nimmagadda Surendrababu got a breather on Tuesday when the Supreme Court struck down charges of murder against the senior IPS officer in the Budda Santhan encounter case.

Quashing the charges, the court ruled that Surendrababu, then commissioner of police in Vijayawada, had no role in the encounter killing of rowdy-sheeter K Srinivasa Rao alias Budda Santhan on July 14, 2002, at the Governorpet police station. The court relieved the senior cop of the charges following a report by the CBI. Surendrababu had earlier moved the apex court seeking quashing of the case against him.

The encounter of Santhan created ripples not only in the police circles but also in the judiciary as he was shot dead by the Governorpet police when he was in judicial custody. Taking a serious note of the incident, the metropolitan court asked the city police to book a criminal case against five police officials, including Surendrababu, under sections 302, 201, 149, 120(B) read with 34 of the IPC.

Without mincing words, the magistrate said it was a clear case of murder by the officials when the accused was in judicial custody. Assistant commissioner D Rami Reddy, Governorpet SI G Srinivas, additional SI Babu Rao and sentry Nancharaiah were the other cops who were listed as accused in the private case filed by Santhan’s aunt B Rama Devi.

Police arrested Santhan along with his associate R Muralikrishna at Ravulapalem in East Godavari four days before his killing in the police station. Santhan was an accused in the murder case of a TDP leader. While police argued that Santhan was shot dead after he tried to fire at the SI by grabbing the weapon from the constable, the court observed that the interrogation of the accused who was in judicial custody without permission of the court was itself illegal and that it established the `highhandedness’ of the police.

Sources said it would be interesting to watch the case against the other cops in the backdrop of apex court’s exoneration of Surendrababu. Among the other accused, Ramireddy has retired, while other police officials are working at different places.




Ramoji Rao’s case postponed to Sept 17

TNN 5 August 2009, 02:24am IST

HYDERABAD: Media baron Ch Ramoji Rao, who is facing a criminal case connected to the alleged collection of deposits in an unlawful manner for his Margadarsi Financiers, appeared before the first additional chief metropolitan magistrate court at Nampally on Tuesday.

He was handed over five volumes of documents pertaining to the case and was also told that he would be examined in this case by the magistrate. Ramoji’s counsel sought six weeks of time to go through the documents. Accordingly, the court granted the time and posted the case to September 17.






Mob attacks man for moving HC to remove temple

TNN 5 August 2009, 03:33am IST

AHMEDABAD: Controversy over a temple led to trouble in Sola area here on Monday night, with a riotous mob vandalising a bungalow near Bhuyangdev cross-roads and assaulting its owner Jagdish Patel because he had moved the Gujarat High Court for the removal of a temple near his house.

Anticipating demolition by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation, following the High Court order, the mob went berserk, even attacking the policemen who rushed to the spot. The pandemonium continued from 10 pm to 2 am and the police had to resort to lathicharge and burst 18 tear gas shells to bring the situation under control.

Tempers ran high even on Tuesday, with a large number of devotees continuing to surround the temple. Patel, who fled his house with his wife and son on Monday, has not been able to get back home.

Patel, a resident of Shakuntal bungalows, tried to get a four-feet-high temple removed from near his house. After failing to move the municipal authorities, Patel moved the Gujarat High Court, which had ruled in his favour on May 1.

The excitement had been building up ever since the order was passed, with people, including women in the neighbourhood, keeping a vigil at the temple all night.

Following this episode, SRP jawans were posted at the spot to keep matters under control. Five persons were injured in the stone pelting. A complaint was later registered at Ghatlodia police station and five persons were arrested for rioting.




Dowry death case: Husband gets life term

TNN 5 August 2009, 03:31am IST

AHMEDABAD: A city sessions court on Tuesday sentenced an NSUI member to life imprisonment in connection with a dowry death. His parents were also awarded 10-year jail term for abetting suicide.

As per the case details, Niraj Shukla from Bapunagar and Deepa Bajpai tied knots on December 13, 2006. After the marriage, Deepa complained to her parents and brothers about her in-laws’ demand for dowry. And five months after the marriage on May 3, 2007, Deepa committed suicide by setting herself on fire.

Later, her family members lodged a complaint against Shukla, his mother Ramaben, who is a teacher, and his father Dev Narayan blaming them of harassing Deepa, which forced her to commit suicide. The Shukla family, on the other hand, claimed that Deepa’s death was an accident and the fire took place because of shot-circuit.

However, during police investigations, FSL reports revealed that kerosene was used in the incident. After hearing the case, additional sessions judge, BU Joshi held that the girl’s in-laws were responsible for the death because the incident happened in just five months of marriage.

The court awarded life imprisonment to Shukla, and sentenced Ramaben and Dev Narayan to 10 years jail.




HC orders IO to complete probe within three weeks

TNN 4 August 2009, 10:23pm IST

ALLAHABAD: In a writ petition seeking CBI probe into the suicide case of PCF officer Syed Ghayas Ahmad, the high court, on Tuesday, directed the investigation officer (IO) to complete the investigation within three weeks. According to the writ petition, the reason for the suicide was alleged to be mental torture and harassment by the top PCF officers including MD, AMD and others.

A bench comprising Justice Ravindra Singh and Justice YC Gupta has fixed August 28, 2009 as the next date of hearing in the case.

It might be recalled that Ahmad had committed suicide on April 4, 2009 and thereafter an FIR to this effect was registered with Kareli police under Section 306 of IPC and Section 7 of the Prevention of Corruption Act against three top officials of PCF.

The allegation in the petition was that the accused persons till date neither surrendered nor they have been arrested by the police.





AU scraps eligibility criterion for LLB courses

TNN 4 August 2009, 10:25pm IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad University has given in to students’ pressure and has decided to scrap the criterion of minimum 40 per cent marks in the Law Admission Test (LAT)-09 for admission to LLB courses. The courses are run by the AU and two constituent colleges — CMP Degree College and Allahabad Degree College.

Taking the decision “in welfare of students” and to facilitate the filling of dozens of LLB seats lying vacant, AU vice-chancellor Prof Rajen Harshe has given the nod to a resolution passed by the Faculty Board and Board of Studies of Law Department seeking relaxation in the admission criterion.

An emergency meeting of the Faculty Board and Board of Studies of Law Department was convened by Dean (Law) Prof LR Singh on late Monday evening following the self-immolation bid incident earlier in the day. The members of took a sympathetic view of the students’ demand. It was a general observation in the meeting that negative marking introduced in Law Admission Test might have led to poor performance of students and resulted in very few students qualifying for admission.

Members also expressed concern over dozens of seats lying vacant in the two constituent colleges in wake of lack of qualifiers as per present admission criterion, and were unanimous over the relaxation in minimum 40 per cent LAT marks criterion in order to fill seats and facilitate the admission of students in law course.

“It would be unfair on our part if we do not fill all the seats,” said V-C Prof Harshe while confirming the development. “We have taken the decision in the interest of students and also to ensure that the large number of seats do not go vacant. We want to ensure proper training and imparting of knowledge to our students and would be making all efforts in this regard,” he added.

It may be recalled that the AU, following a clause mentioned in the varsity ordinance, had made it mandatory that only those candidates who have scored more than 40 per cent marks in LAT would be admitted at AU and the two constituents colleges. Following this decision, many seats were left vacant in the LLB courses.

Later, a group of student leaders started an agitation demanding removal of the 40 per cent marks eligibility. In the sequence, a student leader of AU on Monday attempted self-immolation on the issue but was apprehended by the police.




HC notice to Govt, DM, others

TNN 4 August 2009, 10:24pm IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the Allahabad High Court comprising Justice SK Singh and Justice Ashok Srivastava issued notices to the Union of India, state of UP, director, woman welfare, UP and district magistrate of Allahabad, in a public interest litigation filed by Padma Singh of Stree Adhikar Sangthan.

According to the petitioner, a team of eight law students of different universities, led by Mayuri Mehrotra, Matasha Sarkar and Smriti did an extensive fact-finding in Allahabad and found that `sexual harassment complaint committees’ are not formed or not functioning properly in most of the universities, educational institutions, Central and state government offices.

The petitioner stated that the Supreme Court, in the Vishaka case, has laid down that the every institution and office must observe the guidelines of Vishaka case judgment and form a complaint committee against sexual harassment. The committee should be headed by a woman and not less than half of its member should be women. The committee should submit its annual report.

The fact-finding team found that places like LIC, income tax office, State Bank of India, CBSE office, CDA pension office, IIIT-A, IERT and ITI-Naini have not formed such committees. It was stated in the PIL that in compliance of the Supreme Court judgment in Vishaka case, the state government had issued a GO on January 15, 2002, directing that every offices of the government must constitute such committee by February 5, 2002.




Panchkula court acquits two

Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN 5 August 2009, 04:36am IST

PANCHKULA: Two year after the alleged murder of 23-year-old woman in Rajiv Colony in Panchkula, a local court acquitted two accused, including her brother-in-law and sister-in-law as no substantial evidence proof could be found against them.

Though district and sessions judge SP Singh on Tuesday held her husband guilty under Section 306 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for abetment of suicide, he reserved order on the sentencing for August 7. Anita Kumari, a resident of Rajiv Colony in Sector 17, Panchkula, died after receiving 100% at her residence on the night of July 19, 2007. The prosecution claimed that her husband, Surinder with the help of her brother-in-law Tejpal and sister-in-law Maya Devi allegedly murdered her.

Defense counsels and her husband, Surinder, who is a labourer, claimed that it was an accident.

Her husband said that she was boiling milk for children at around 10 pm in the hutment. There was a bottle of kerosene lying near the stove, which somehow caught fire burning her completely. In the incident, Surinder was also admitted to General Hospital, Sector 6, Panchkula, with 3% burns.

But on the other side the family of the deceased in Kanpur had claimed that Anita was burnt by her-in-laws. On the complaint of family members, Panchkula police on July 20, 2007, registered a case of murder against husband and in-laws. The deceased was survived by a one-year-old daughter and a four-year-old son.





‘Probe temple marrying off runaway couples’

Ajay Sura, TNN 5 August 2009, 04:30am IST

CHANDIGARH: Days after TOI reported on the exodus of persecuted couples fleeing orthodox families and rabid caste panchayats in Haryana and Punjab spinning off into great business for Chandigarh’s myriad temples and gurdwaras, where they come to tie the knot hurriedly and surreptitiously, the Punjab and Haryana High Court has ordered a probe into the functioning of a religious institution that was heavily into this.

In his order, Justice Mahesh Grover has directed the Chandigarh police to take the entire record of Manav Jagriti Mission, at Sector 22 here, in its possession and conduct a through inquiry while verifying the source of their funds. It has also directed cops to look into the Mission’s accounts and records of certificates issued to runaway couples.

Justice Grover wants the police to place the report before the high court on August 19. The HC took notice of the business of issuing marriage certificates to couples on the run during a recent hearing wherein one such couple had appealed for protection. The judge, who was hearing a petition filed by a Karnal-based couple that was issued a marriage certificate by the temple trust headed by Varinder Goyat, has also called in pujari Laxman Prasad, who had performed the ritual.

TOI had earlier reported how cashing in on the peculiar trend, business-savvy pundits and granthis are now furiously typing out SMSes advertising their services, facilities, rates and even discounts. The messages, in dozens and from a host of religious institutions, say they are open to quick and concrete solemnization of all kind of unions – inter-caste, inter-religion, NRI, yes, that too is a category, and “any other type’’.

And going beyond performing just the Anand Karaj for the Sikhs or Saptapadi for the Hindus, these places are also open to providing bridal make-up, wedding clothes, photographs and videos – all for a price, of course, starting from Rs 3,000 to Rs 10,000.

What SMSes say

Respected advocates, contact for love marriage (inter-caste) or inter-religion. Mandir marriage, gurudwara marriage, with certificate of marriage. If required, contact Swami Dayanand Vedic Social Welfare Organization (regd). Contact number – 9815451221.

Contact for

ceremonies – love marriage, inter-cast marriage, inter-religion in mandir or Anand Karaj at gurudwara with certificate of marriage. Manav Sanskar Jagriti Mission, sec-22. Contact number – 9988413137






Rape on wheels 2002: Victim’s flip-flop confounds all

Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN 5 August 2009, 04:18am IST

CHANDIGARH: The flip-flop by a victim of 2002’s sensational rape-on-wheels case has created confusion and left the legal fraternity puzzled whether or not to frame charges, and which, against the accused even as the court has now fixed August 10 for the proceedings.

The latest turnaround came when the victim recently moved court to undo what she earlier said about a local businessman not raping her. While initially she did claim he raped her, but during probe she had alleged it was the others accused in the case who actually violated her. Admitting that the victim had changed her stand thrice, public prosecutor Manu Kakkar, said, ‘Though we will go by the chargesheet submitted by senior cops, the confusion has been created by the latest application filed by the victim. We have scientific evidence, her statement under Section 164 of CrPC and assertions made other witnesses which indicate a conspiracy among accused to frame the businessman.’

Stating the businessman should be summoned to face trial, the victim?s counsel while clarifying her stand, added, ‘The protest petition submitted by us clearly states she was raped by the businessman and not others.’

An FIR was registered on the complaint of a Shimla resident who alleged that a local businessman had raped her on August 14, 2002, and dumped her near a fuel station in Sector 33. But screaming conspiracy, the businessman, pleading for a fair probe, knocked on the doors of high court, which then stayed proceedings of the trial in city’s district courts.

What followed was an intensive probe which revealed that the entire incident was allegedly the brainchild of an IAS officer from Haryana who wanted to frame his friend-turned-foe businessman in the rape case. After a thorough investigation, a chargesheet was submitted against Baldev, Ram Lal and Surinder and conspiracy charges against the IAS officer. It was alleged that the three accused took the woman to a Panchkula hotel and gave her a drink laced with some intoxicant. Later, Surinder allegedly raped her in the hotel room. Recently, the stay had been vacated and trial court fixed the case for framing of charges.





HC reserves verdict on engg quota issue

TNN 5 August 2009, 04:17am IST

CHANDIGARH: The Punjab and Haryana High Court has reserved its verdict on the issue of reservation of seats in the engineering colleges of Chandigarh under the defence quota. The verdict is likely to be pronounced on Wednesday.

Justice MM Kumar reserved the orders after hearing both the petitioners and the Chandigarh administration.

The matter echoed before the Punjab when two candidates Avneet Hira and Arshdeep Sandhu, daughters of Brigadier NPS Hira and Col S Sandhu, respectively, moved a petition challenging the decision of admission committee clubbing the UT pool quota and all-India quota for the wards of military and paramilitary personnel for admission to engineering colleges.

The petitioners had contended that contrary to the instructions, the admission brochure of the PEC mentioned that in the category of wards of military and paramilitary personnel, the condition of passing plus two and tenth standard examination from the same state/UT has been waived off and made the defence quota open for all.

However, when some of the candidates objected to it, the UT administration clarified through a letter on July 15, that their letter in the brochure was misprinted and reservation of seats in the category of wards of defence shall be calculated separately for UT pool quota and all-India quota.

The petitioners alleged that despite the clarification of Chandigarh administration, admission authorities are bent upon proceeding to admit students on the basis that there is no quota at all, thereby acting in violation of the clear instructions of the administration, which they are bound to comply with.

However, while replying the petitioners’ contentions, the UT administration had informed the HC that the clubbing of the quota was done erroneously but they cannot change it at present because it has been published in the prospectus. The UT submitted that

they would separate the quota from the next academic year because the prospectus cannot be changed at this juncture.





Minor maid’s tormentors’ move high court

TNN 5 August 2009, 05:01am IST

PANAJI: The three family members accused of allegedly assaulting their minor maid filed three separate petitions before the high court of Bombay at Goa on Tuesday against the order of the children’s court.

On August 1, president of the children’s court B P Deshpande had rejected the anticipatory bail applications filed by Minaxi Pednekar, Tina Pednekar and Audumber Pednekar, the three accused in the case.

The court had also directed them to surrender to the authorities while admitting a revision petition filed by the prosecution against the conditional bail granted to the main accused, Audumber Pednekar.

Audumber in his petition challenged the children’s court’s order cancelling the bail granted to him.

He also said that the children’s court had erred in canceling the bail as “the opinion of the medical board was only supplementary to the original hurt certificate and therefore could not form the basis of cancellation of bail”.

The petitions filed by the accused will come up for hearing on Wednesday before a single bench of Justice N A Britto.

The case had come to light after Stop Child Abuse Now (SCAN), an NGO, had registered a complaint with the Porvorim police against the trio for employing a minor girl as domestic help and brutally assaulting her with cable wires and hot steel spoons.

Child rights commission to raid premises

PANAJI: The Goa State Commission for Protection of Child Rights will soon start verification of minors employed by people and conduct raids on their premises. Taking serious note of households and business establishments employing minors as maids, the commission has warned people not to employ minors below the age of 14. The commission also said that if the children are below 18 years of age, they should be registered with the Directororate of Women and Child Development.





LIC staffers oppose amendment to LIC Act

TNN 4 August 2009, 09:40pm IST

DHARWAD: LIC employees, working in all offices coming under Dharwad division (Dharwad, Haveri, Gadag and Karwar districts), staged a strike from 11.30 am to 1.30 pm, protesting against the introduction of LIC Act (Amendment) Bill (2009). The central government had introduced the Bill in the Lok Sabha on July 31.

The strike was in response to the call given by All-India Insurance Employees’ Association. The employees said that the Bill seeks to hike the government’s capital to Rs 100 crore from the existing Rs 5 crore, which further would lead to disinvestment of its shares as per the recommendations of Malhotra Committee report submitted in 1994.

The Bill further seeks to reduce the policyholders’ share to 90% of the surplus value from the existing 95%, which would reduce the bonus payable to the policyholders. It also provides for withdrawal of sovereign guarantee on policies issued by the LIC.

These measures will weaken the nation’s wealthiest financial institution, which has a total assets of over Rs 9 lakh crore. If the Bill is passed, the nation’s economy will be affected and people at large will stand to lose, the employees complained.

B N Poojary, general secretary of Insurance Employees’ Union, addressed the agitating employees.




Women fined for frivolous petition

Abhinav Sharma, TNN 5 August 2009, 03:05am IST

JAIPUR: The Rajasthan High Court has imposed a fine of Rs 10,000 each on two women who fraudulently claimed in the court that their husbands had been illegally detained by the SHO of Beawar who was demanding Rs 10,000 as bribe for their release.

The order was passed after the additional chief judicial magistrate, Beawar, who conducted an investigation on the direction of the high court, absolved the SHO of the allegations and instead found that that the husbands of the petitioners and their relatives were noted criminals in police record.

The fine was imposed by a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice R C Gandhi and Justice Mahesh Bhagwati on Monday. The court also reverted its earlier order passed on June 29, 2009 on the issue.

According to sources, two habeas corpus petitions were filed by Sushila and Sharawn, both sisters, for the release of their husbands on the ground that the police had arrested them and demanded Rs 10,000 for their release.

Looking into the gravity of the allegations, the Bench on June 29 directed that the SHO Beawar Naresh Sharma be attached to the police lines and ordered a magistrate inquiry. The court also made some strong observations saying: “The conduct of the Station House Officer is full of doubts. He did not behave like a police officer… The police arrested them to collect money by misusing the public authority..”

However, when the magistrate conducted the inquiry, it was found that the story given by the two women was false. Not only the police did not make any arrest, instead it was surfaced that the two men and a few of their relatives had a criminal background.

Realising that the court had been misled by the two women, the bench observed: “The petitions have been filed just to pressurize the police so that they may not harass them as 17 cases are pending investigation.” The Bench further said that the story was projected in believable manner, which resulted in the previous order.

The bench, while dismissing the habeas corpus petitions, imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 each on the two women and directed that the SHO Beawar be given his original posting instead of police lines.





HC admits plea against Bangla film

TNN 5 August 2009, 06:08am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Tuesday admitted a writ petition by Bollywood producer Vipul Shah against the makers of the Bengali blockbuster Poran Jay Joliya Re. In his petition, Shah has accused Sri Venkatesh Films of lifting the storyline of his 2007 blockbuster Namastey London.

Justice Nadira Patherya directed the makers of the Bengali film to furnish the statement of accounts relating to ticket sales to the court on Wednesday morning, when the matter comes up for hearing. The latter were also directed not to create and fresh third party rights till then.

Counsel S N Mukherjee and Ranjan Bachawat moved the petition ex-parte on Shah’s behalf. Lawyers for Sri Venkatesh Films submitted to the court that though they had moved a caveat in the matter, they had not been informed of the petition. Shah’s counsel contended that the caveat was for any petition by a company and not one filed by their client, who owns the rights of the Hindi movie.

Lawyers for the producers of the Bengali film said later that they are yet to go through the entire petition. “From what we have already read, it seems that the petitioner does not seek compensation but wants a stay on screening of the Bengali flick that is doing extremely well at theatres. One reason for the petition could be that the Bengali film is doing far better than the Hindi one,” one of them said.

Poran Jay Joliya Re was released this year and stars Dev and Subhashree. The 2007 Hindi flick had starrred Akshay Kumar and Katrina Kaif. Shah had recently stated in public that producers of the Bengali film had lifted the plot, scenes, frames and even costumes from Namastey London without seeking a by-your-leave’ from him. The Bengali film’s producers had also admitted that there are similarities between the two. Shah had then apparently got his friends and advisers to prepare a report on the Bengali film after watching it a number of times.

Those providing legal advice to Shah said it makes no sense to seek compensation in such matters. “The idea is not to earn money but to discourage regional filmmakers from copying Hindi movies and passing them off as their own work. Such films normally do well and producers would not think twice before paying a few lakhs as compensation. However, this would send out a wrong message to others that they can get away with plagiarism by paying a small fee. We would rather seek a ban on the film,” one of them said.





SC refuses to stay Kolkata clean air drive

TNN 5 August 2009, 05:29am IST

KOLKATA: Breathe easy. The refreshingly clean air that you’ve experienced over the past couple of days is no flash in the pan. It is here to stay. The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to stay the Calcutta High Court order banning polluting vehicles from plying in Kolkata and its suburbs, ending speculation on whether smoke-belching buses, taxis and autorickshaws would be back on the streets from Wednesday.

Though the apex court will hear the matter again on August 10, the writing is on the wall: there will be no compromise on citizens’ right to clean air as per Articles 21, 47, 48A and 51A(g) of the Constitution.

People in Kolkata cheered the development. With much of city transport off the roads, lakhs have been braving long queues in the heat and rain, determined not to let transporters take them for a ride.

“I am glad the Supreme Court has not reversed the decision. It’s been great to have the foul air cleaned up,” said Sudipto Bhattacharya of Saviours and Friends for Environment (SAFE), an NGO.

Subhas Datta, environment activist and a key party in the auto emission case at Calcutta HC, believes the apex court is unlikely to reverse the high court judgment. “In 1998, it was the Supreme Court that ordered the ban on 15-year-old commercial vehicles in Delhi. Moreover, the SC has time and again emphasized that environment will take precedence over all else,” he pointed out.

Till now, operators have been pinning their hopes on the Supreme Court for a reprieve. But with the court refusing a stay, autorickshaw and taxi owners are beginning to acknowledge the inevitable.

Feroze Khan, an auto driver on the Park Street-Topsia route, finally admitted that a switch to LPG was the only option. “I went to the public vehicles department to make enquiries. There’s no point sticking to a stand that looks increasingly futile,” he said.

Bus operators, however, continue to resist the change and insist they will wait till the matter is disposed of by the Supreme Court. Deepak Sarkar, who owns a bus that is facing the scrap hammer, is in no hurry. “Until the matter is settled in court, we will not go in for new buses,” he said.

The forum of transporters has moved the Supreme Court, pleading that they be made a party to the pollution case and given a chance to put forth their argument.




State information commission to be e-enabled

TNN 5 August 2009, 06:42am IST LUCKNOW: Uttar Pradesh state information commission (UPSIC) may soon be an e-enabled organisation. The commission is one of 19 state information commissions to get funds under the centrally sponsored scheme for IT enablement. The first instalment of Rs 14 lakh of total Rs 21 lakh has reached the commission and needed efforts might begin. The central government is out to strengthen state information commissions and the RTI Act.

Apart, under the move to make RTI a stronger Act, Public Authorities (PAs) might have to disclose little more than their functions and duties. The department of personnel and training (DoPT) has started examining if few more categories of the information can be added to the list given in Section 4(1) of the Act which all PAs are required to publish suo motu.

There are 17 categories of information which are to be mandatorily published by each PA under the said section which include facts like norms set for discharge of functions, directory of officials and employees, budgetary allocation and powers of officers besides other informations.

The official release by DoPT states that this will help in enabling greater pro-active disclosures by public authorities. “There have been several recommendations by information commissioners and others to introduce few amendments in the Act,” said sources. The DoPT’s move might be in the same direction.

DoPT has also initiated action on a proposal to review the second schedule of the RTI Act, 2005 which contains the name of security and intelligence organisations exempt from the purview of the RTI. There are 18 such organisations which enjoy impunity under the Act. The organisations include, IB, RAW, CBI, directorate of revenue intelligence, central economic intelligence bureau, directorate of enforcement, narcotics control bureau, aviation research centre, special frontier force, BSF, CRPF, ITBP, CISF, NSG, Assam Rifles, special service bureau and the crime branch-CID-CB, besides others. Once changes get implemented these organisation might come under the RTI fold.

Besides, government under its centrally sponsored scheme has proposed to impart training to various stake-holders through administrative training institutes and create awareness through department of posts, directorate of audio visual publicity (DAVP) and NCERT.





Stay on UPTU admissions till Sept 3

TNN 5 August 2009, 06:48am IST

LUCKNOW: The Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court on Tuesday directed the Uttar Pradesh Technical University (UPTU) to inform in writing to students that their counselling would be the subject matter of a PIL which has challenged the 50% quota for SC/ST and OBC students in private engineering colleges of the state. The court also extended the stay on the admission process till September 3.

Besides, the court has summoned UPTU registrar and principal secretary, technical education to appear before it on August 6 and explain why the state government is adamant on implementing the said quota, for which it had issued an order on July 22.




Cops face HC rap in Yogita case again

Soumittra S Bose, TNN 5 August 2009, 07:04am IST

NAGPUR: “Framing of charge is the court job and not police officers.” These strong words from Justice Dilip Sinha in the high court echoed the mood of the proceedings in Yogita Thakre case that made its reappearance in the court on Tuesday. The arguments in the case will continue on Wednesday. Justices Sinha and Prasanna Varale of the Nagpur bench trashed the city police for shifting their focus of investigation into the mysterious death of the seven-year-old girl whose body was found in one of the cars parked at the home of state BJP president Nitin Gadkari at Mahal on May 19.

The bench, which took up the case in the post-lunch session, pulled up police department for altering the investigation from that of murder and destroying of evidence under sections of 302 and 201 of Indian Penal Code (IPC) respectively to culpable homicide not amounting to murder under section 304 of IPC. Plaintiff’s counsel Anjan De highlighted the crucial issues in the case so far. He mentioned that the police conducted the spot panchnama after a delay of around seven hours. They also kept varying their versions about which car was involved. De also pointed out that the case of murder was registered after around 13 days on June 1. “Under what provision of law is a police officer entitled to change section under which crime has been registered,” asked Sinha.




HC stays mayor, deputy mayor poll

Sanjeev Kumar Verma & Ravi Dayal, TNN 5 August 2009, 03:19am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court’s order on Tuesday staying the election of Patna mayor and deputy mayor spelt an anti-climax of sorts for Patna Municipal Corporation (PMC) ward councillors readying for the poll scheduled for Wednesday.

A single bench presided by Justice Ajay Kumar Tripathi, while staying the election, gave four weeks’ time to the state government and PMC to file counter affidavits to the writ petitions of former mayor Sanjay Kumar and former deputy mayor Santosh Mehta. The duo have challenged their removal through a no-confidence motion in the PMC.

Referring to a Supreme Court ruling, petitioners’ counsel Y V Giri submitted before the court that such an election cannot be held when the no-confidence motion that necessitated the election is under challenge. The petitioners were removed from their posts through a no-confidence motion for which rules have not been framed under the PMC Act, he added.

Ward councillor Amrita Singh, in her petition, said since the State Election Commission has fixed the date of election, it should be held. Giri, however, countered her saying if a new mayor and a deputy mayor are elected on Wednesday, the writ petitions of his clients would become infructuous.

The run-up to the scheduled election on Wednesday had witnessed hectic parleys with rival camps holding several rounds of meetings to decide candidates. The United Parshad Morcha, a group of councillors which played a major role in ousting Kumar and Mehta on July 14, had opted for voting to select its candidates on Monday.

Afzal Imam, councillor of ward number 52, got the majority votes of Morcha members and he was to contest for the post of mayor as the Morcha nominee. Vinay Kumar Pappu, who represents ward number 28, was to be the Morcha nominee for the post of deputy mayor. Pappu had been the deputy mayor earlier.

Afzal and Pappu later said they would study the HC order and take legal opinion to decide the Morcha’s future course of action.

Those owing allegiance to Loktantrik Parshad Morcha, of which former mayor Kumar and former deputy mayor Mehta are members, were apparently relieved when the news about HC directive came just before their scheduled meeting to select their candidates for Wednesday’s poll.





Govt officials fined

TNN 5 August 2009, 03:24am IST

PATNA: The State Information Commission (SIC) on Tuesday imposed fine on two government officials found on the wrong side of the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

Those fined are the public information officers (PIOs) of Samastipur collectorate and Nurses Registration Council.

The erring collectorate PIO would have to cough up fine at the rate of Rs 250 per day effective from July 13 this year, and that of the council at the same rate effective from July 3. In both cases the upper limit of the fine amount would be Rs 25,000.






Mankar gets bail in land-grabbing case

TNN 5 August 2009, 05:46am IST

PUNE: Additional sessions judge B A Shaikh on Tuesday granted bail to suspended Congress vice-president and PMC corporator Deepak Mankar in an alleged land-grabbing case in Shivajinagar.

Mankar was released on a personal bond of Rs 15,000. He was directed to give attendance at the Shivajinagar police station on every Sunday between 10 am and 11 am.

Mankar was also warned not to tamper with the evidence. He was directed to make himself available to the investigating officer whenever he is called for questioning.

He was released in a case registered by Pooja Prabhu for allegedly grabbing her property near the Shivajinagar police station. Lawyer Harshad Nimbalkar appeared on behalf of Mankar.

This is the third case in which Mankar has been released on bail. His other bail application in an alleged dacoity case registered with the Khadak police station is pending before the sessions court for hearing.





Special court seals documents produced by CBI

TNN 5 August 2009, 05:35am IST

PUNE: A special court on Tuesday sealed several documents produced by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) in the fake stamp paper scam as the defence lawyers accused the agency of producing them without seeking permission from the judge.

The CBI refuted the allegations, but the situation compelled judge P R Bora to seek a clarification from CBI special public prosecutors Raja Thakare and Avdhut Chimalkar on the ambiguous situation.

The judge has deferred the examination of panch witness of photo copy operator Umesh Jhanjekar of Shukruwar Peth till Wednesday. The court is conducting trial against 19 suspects including top police officials and politicians.

The judge had earlier recorded the evidence of first witness Nitin Kareer, secretary to the chief minister and former inspector general of registration, during the last hearing.

The prosecution was suppose to record the evidence of IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalwar on Tuesday, but he did not turn up before the court. The prosecution had obtained permission for examining Jhanjekar from the court as the disbanded Special Investigating Team (SIT), Pune, had sealed several documents of witness Kiran Thakkar in his presence.

Thakare started examining Jhanjekar as he and his friend Yogesh Khaire had acted as a panch witness on a request made by the SIT when they had visited their office at the State Reserve Police Headquarters, Group II at Ramtekdi for delivering photo copies of documents on March 21, 2003.

Thakare furnished documents before Jhanjekar for enabling him to identify whether he had endorsed his signatures on the documents.

After Jhanjekar identified the documents, the issue created a furore as the defence lawyers Vidhyadhar Koshe, Milind Pawar, M Roopendra sought reasons from the CBI for furnishing documents directly before the court.

After the court sought reasons on the confusion created, Thakare said the documents were obtained after seeking permission of the Bundgarden police station as the massive property seized in the scam which was kept in a godown at Swargate was in their custody.

Thakare tried to put a rest to the controversy generated by saying that the issue of obtaining property directly from the police had been brought to the notice of the court from time to time.

He explained that the panchanama report no where stated that the agency had seized the documents, but Koshe sought to know whether the court had delegated any powers to the police for handing over the documents to the CBI directly.

Former legislator Anil Gote and assistant commissioner of police Mohammed Mulani and lawyer Rashid Kulkarni who are co-suspects in the case also expressed their disappointment over the issue.

The judge recorded the objections of the lawyers and took the documents into his custody on a request made by them even as Thakare sought time to seek instructions from the CBI investigating officer over the issue.

Reprieve for Mopalwar

The CBI has put the recording of evidence of IAS officer Radheshyam Mopalkar on hold as a Mumbai court has made him a suspect in a similar fake stamp paper scam case. Mopalwar has obtained a stay from the Bombay high court on the order passed by the Mumbai court. Though the Mumbai case has nothing to do with the scam case pending before the special court here, the CBI has decided not to examine him at this stage.





RTI records should be available anytime

TNN 5 August 2009, 05:29am IST

PUNE: President of the RTI Forum of Senior Citizens for Instant Information, Shriram Pande, has demanded that access to civic records should be given to citizens not just on Mondays but on all the days, as prescribed by the Right to Information Act, 2005.

In a letter to municipal commissioner Mahesh Zagade, Pande has said that section 4 of the RTI Act clearly states that all government records should suo-moto be declared by the government authorities and be made available for citizens.

“The information should be easily available anytime. There is no limit to which days access should be given. Why is the Pune Municipal Corporation patting its own back for throwing open its records on every Monday for two hours? In fact, they are starting a bad precedence by limiting the access to people,” Pande said, speaking to TOI.

He explained that, according to section 4, all important policy decisions taken by PMC have to be made available to citizens and their views are also to be considered.

“The PMC should first make the information available everyday and also prepare a chart about the work of every department and the timings that officials can be met. Secondly, it must declare all information on its website,” Pande said.

The RTI inspection, which could not be carried out on Monday due to a strike by municipal employees, was held on Tuesday, when citizens were allowed to access records from various departments.





HC allows ‘Miss Kerala’ beauty contest; forms panel

PTI 4 August 2009, 07:43pm IST

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday permitted holding of the ‘Miss Kerala’ beauty contest here but set up a five-member committee to oversee the event.

A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice Kurian Joseph, passed the order on a petition complaining that there would be obscenity and violation of rules in the beauty pageant.

The bench held that observers were being appointed in view of the apprehension that rules may not be followed strictly. The observers have been directed to file a report within a week.

The petitioner T K Ibrahim had sought a ban on the contest here. Twenty one girls will vie for the ‘Miss Kerala’ crown tomorrow, which has participants from US, Bangalore and Mumbai.

The contest is being jointly organized by Impresario Event Management and Fast moving consumers goods major ITC owned Vivel.





Implement Forest Rights Act: Tribals

TNN 4 August 2009, 10:57pm IST

VADODARA: Tribal residents of northern parts of Vadodara district participated in a protest programme on Tuesday at Chhotaudepur to demand proper implementation of Forest Rights Act. The programme was part of the state-wide agitation by tribals, various NGOs and rights groups.

The tribals had assembled in large numbers at Chhotaudepur for the rally that included cultural programmes. Later, they submitted a memorandum to the sub-divisional magistrate at Chhotaudepur.

Activists spearheading the agitation claimed that as many as 6,000 persons took part in the programme. “The programme has been a major success. The officials also heard out the representatives in detail and promised to resolve the issue,” said Rajesh Mishra, an activist.

On Monday, similar programmes were held at Rajpipla, Dharampur, Ahwa and other places in the tribal heartland of the state. The programmes will continue till August 10. Activists said the future course of action would be decided keeping in mind the approach of the government.





Prez probe may be Cong’s only way to oust Buta

TNN 4 August 2009, 01:44pm IST

NEW DELHI: Congress may go for a presidential probe to eject Buta Singh from National Commission for SCs if the latter insists on staying on in the wake of CBI case against his son for alleged bribery. Sources said Congress was ready to give Singh time to resign from the constitutional post but would have to take a firm decision if he stuck to his death-before-resignation stand.

Insiders said the beleaguered NCSC chairman had approached the party for “sympathy” in view of the controversy he finds himself embroiled in but got a cold shoulder. Congress wants Singh to quit the constitutional post on his own but is ready to move further if the drama drags. A leader said the party was weighing the option of a presidential reference for a Supreme Court probe to see Singh’s back.

As per the Act governing NCSC, the chairman can be removed only through an inquiry by the apex court on a reference from the President. The nodal ministry for NCSC — social justice ministry — will have to take the initiative in this regard.

Though the extreme action would show a zealous intent in the UPA government to get rid of the
Congress veteran, the leadership is of the view that he be given some time to reconcile to the CBI case. It is felt that the initial combativeness was more a reaction to the difficult situation that Singh finds himself in and he needs to be given time to take a rational view. Congress maintained a silence on the issue.

While senior leaders have tried to distance themselves from Singh by citing his expulsion from Congress during LS polls, insiders realise that it may not work with popular perception. It will make it difficult for the Centre if the Opposition tries to use the alleged bribery case to embarrass the Centre.




SC stays HC order on Pradhan Committee report on 26/11

PTI 4 August 2009, 03:54pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Bombay High Court order directing Maharashtra government to place before it the report of Pradhan Committee which probed government’s response to 26/11 terror attacks.

The apex court also stayed the High Court order directing the Anti Terrorism Squad(ATS) chief to be personally present before it on August 6.

A Bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan also stayed the order asking the chief secretary of Maharashtra to file an affidavit on whether or not sufficient equipment and bulletproof jackets were provided to the ATS.

The Maharashtra government had sought stay on the July 23 order of the High Court. The matter has been listed for further hearing on August 21.




SC refuses to stay HC order shifting Andrabi from Jammu to Srinagar

TNN 5 August 2009, 01:42am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to interfere with a J&K High Court order directing shifting of Dukhtaran-e-Millat founder Asiya Andrabi from the district prison in Jammu to a jail in Srinagar.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan brushed aside arguments of the Omar Abdullah government that Andrabi was an irksome militant known for her anti-India activities and her presence in the Valley could spark further trouble.

Appearing for the state, senior advocate Amarendra Saran and standing counsel Anis Suhrawardy attempted to present before the Bench a picture of impending trouble because of the HC order directing Andrabi’s detention in Srinagar rather than in Jammu. She has already been taken to Srinagar in compliance with the HC order.

Andrabi’s counsel Kamini Jaiswal said she had two children and argued that she should be kept in a prison where she could meet her family members. Jaiswal also trashed the state’s reasoning — that jails in Srinagar and Baramulla were overcrowded — to keep her in Jammu.

Posting the matter for hearing on August 17 without passing any interim order, the Bench told Saran that as Andrabi would be behind bars, there was no reason for the state to apprehend trouble from her.

In its appeal against the HC’s July 20 order, the state said, “Andrabi was married to one Dr Ashaq Hussain Faktoo, a terrorist, who was convicted and awarded life imprisonment by the Supreme Court on January 30, 2003.”

Arguing that Andrabi’s “activities had been anti-national”, the Abdullah government recalled that on March 6 this year, she had stated that the attack on Sri Lankan players in Pakistan had been “organised by the Indian and Israeli intelligence agencies to disintegrate and destabilise Pakistan”. She had also said that the 26/11 attacks on Mumbai and 03/03 attacks in Lahore were both done by “hired elements trying to malign the image of Pakistan.”




Union minister Virbhadra Singh booked for corruption

IANS 4 August 2009, 03:12pm IST

SHIMLA: Union steel minister Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh have been booked for corruption by police in Himachal Pradesh, officials said on Tuesday. The complaint against them was on the basis of a CD released in May 2008.

“Virbhadra Singh and his wife Pratibha Singh were booked on Monday night by the state vigilance and anti-corruption bureau under relevant sections of the IPC (Indian Penal Code),” inspector general of police (vigilance) SR Mardi said.

Mardi said they were booked on the basis of an audio CD released by Virbhadra Singh’s political adversary Vijai Singh Mankotia last year. In the CD, Virbhadra Singh was heard referring to some monetary transactions on phone with former IAS officer Mahinder Lal, who is dead. The CD also contained recordings of his wife, a former MP from Mandi in Himachal Pradesh.

The state is ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party, which is in the opposition at the centre.

Former Congress minister Mankotia, who had demanded the registration of the case against Virbhadra Singh and others, had released the CD before the Hamirpur parliamentary by-election in May 2008.

The police also sent the CD and their voice samples for voice analysis at the Chandigarh-based Central Forensic Science Laboratory.

Despite repeated attempts to contact him, Virbhadra Singh was unavailable for comment.

A five-time former chief minister, Virbhadra Singh belongs to the erstwhile royal family of Bushehr state. He is popularly known as “Raja Saab”.

During the parliamentary elections this year, the Congress won one of the four seats in Himachal Pradesh, with Virbhadra Singh winning in Mandi by a margin of 13,000 votes.




Maharashtra govt invokes Epidemic Act to check swine flu

PTI 4 August 2009, 03:22pm IST

MUMBAI: Maharashtra government on Tuesday invoked the Epidemic Act in Pune and Satara districts to check the spread of swine flu, a day after a 14-year-old Pune school girl died of the deadly influenza virus.

“The Act has been invoked to prevent spread of this air-borne A(H1N1) virus in the two districts (Pune and Panchgani) where 127 cases have been reported,” a senior official in Maharashtra Health Directorate, Dr Pradeep Awate said from Pune.

A total of 150 cases of swine flu have been reported in entire Maharashtra so far since April when the epidemic broke out in Mexico and US, he said.

“We are asking all the patients to get admitted in government hospitals and people should not go to private hospitals. Also, the private hospitals should not take any suspected patients as they do not have any right to do tests unless they take permission from the government,” he said.

If the private hospitals do not follow these mandatory steps, severe action will be taken against them, Awate said.

Incidentally, Jahangir is the first private hospital that treated a swine flu case outside the three civic hospitals that have become the main referral centres for the last one month in Pune and have not reported any fatality so far.

Reedal Shaikh, a class IX student of St Anne’s High School in Pune, died at the Jahangir Hospital, making her India’s first swine flu fatality.

Awate said, though there is a panic like situation in Pune, “We are asking people not to worry but just follow the government instructions to help prevent the spread of the disease.”

Earlier, Maharashtra chief minister Ashok Chavan said there was negligence on part of the private hospital which treated the 14-year-old girl.

“This incident is really unfortunate. I feel there was total negligence on the part of those who admitted her to the hospital and negligence on part of the hospital,” Chavan, who discussed the issue with senior health officials here, said.

The victim was admitted to Pune’s Jahangir hospital a week ago with symptoms of swine flu.

Chavan asked people not to fall prey to any rumours but to co-operate with the health officials.





Seven NRIs sent to judicial custody in UK for killing kabaddi star

PTI 5 August 2009, 05:04am IST

LONDON: Seven people of Indian origin have been remanded to judicial custody in the UK in connection with the killing of prominent kabaddi player Suvinder Singh Batth outside a pub he owned in Bilston in the West Midlands.

Batth, 47, was shot dead outside his pub called Gavin’s Sports Bar last week. The seven people charged with his murder were remanded to judicial custody during a hearing at the Wolverhampton magistrates court.

Kabaddi enthusiasts paid tributes to Batth as his family grappled with the loss.

One fan wrote online: “What a tragedy. Great player of the game, but more so, he was well known for being one of the truly great characters. RIP.”

Another fan said: “He was one of the best stoppers in England over the years. He went toe-to-toe with much heavier men and was a big crowd favourite. ‘He was a real character who will be a big loss for all the Kabaddi world.”

Batth’s pub was named after his son, Gavin, who reportedly cradled his dying father as he waited for police and ambulance crews to arrive at the scene.

Batth’s daughter Danny, 20, said: “He was a loving, caring man who was so generous to us all. We all loved him so much. We just can’t believe this.”




Judge adjourns Sudanese woman’s ‘trouser trial’

AFP 4 August 2009, 02:43pm IST

KHARTOUM: The trial of a Sudanese woman journalist who faces 40 lashes for wearing trousers was adjourned on Tuesday as police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of demonstrators outside the Khartoum court.

The judge decided to delay the trial to September to determine whether Lubna Ahmed al-Hussein, who also works with the United Nations, has legal immunity, defence lawyer Jalal al-Sayyid said.

Hussein, who is in her 30s, has been charged with public indecency after she was arrested last month along with 12 other women who were wearing trousers at a Khartoum restaurant.

Hussein has said that she wants to be tried, in defiance of a law that decrees whipping for wearers of ‘indecent’ clothes, and told a hearing last week that she wished to waive her UN immunity.

But in an apparent disagreement within her defence team, a lawyer argued that she had immunity and asked the judge to ignore Hussein’s wishes, Sayyid said.

The judge will defer the issue to the Sudanese foreign ministry ahead of her next court date on September 7, he said.

Police dispersed hundreds of women and activists from Sudanese opposition political parties who demonstrated in support of Hussein outside the court house after they tried blocking a road, an AFP correspondent reported.

On emerging from the court, which was closed to reporters, Hussein again insisted she wanted to be tried and said she had resigned from her job in the UN’s media office in Sudan.

“The court should not have delayed the trial,” she told journalists.

Ten women have already been whipped for the same offence — including Christians — and Hussein has said she will fight a guilty verdict and the law itself.

“I’m ready for anything to happen. I’m absolutely not afraid of the verdict,” she told AFP in an interview on Monday.

“If I’m sentenced to be whipped, or to anything else, I will appeal. I will see it through to the end, to the constitutional court if necessary.

“And if the constitutional court says the law is constitutional, I’m ready to be whipped not 40 but 40,000 times,” said Hussein, who also works for the left-wing Al-Sahafa newspaper.

Hussein said she wants to fight to get rid of the law, saying it “is both against the constitution and sharia (Islamic law).”

“If some people refer to the sharia to justify flagellating women because of what they wear, then let them show me which Koranic verses or hadith (sayings of the Prophet Mohammed) say so. I haven’t found them,” she said.

Police have also cracked down on another woman journalist, Amal Habbani, who published an article in Ajrass al-Horreya newspaper (Bells of Freedom) entitled: “Lubna, a case of subduing a woman’s body.”

Unlike many other Arab countries, particularly in the Gulf, women have a prominent place in Sudanese public life. Nevertheless, human rights organisations say some of the country’s laws discriminate against women.





CAG points out Rs1846 cr irregularities in state-owned firms

PTI 4 August 2009, 03:18pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has pointed out financial irregularities of Rs1846.5 crore in public sector firms in its 2009-10 report, Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises minister Vilasrao Deshmukh said on Tuesday.

Replying to questions in Rajya Sabha, he said CAG in its audit observations has pointed out financial irregularities of Rs1404.32 crore in 2008 and Rs4547.63 crore in 2007.

Deshmukh said CAG has also pointed out reasons for deficiencies in the accounts of Public Sector Units (PSU’s).

He said in order to effectively monitor and expedite the follow up action on CAG report, each administrative ministry or department has also set up a monitoring cell.

On CAG observations, the minister said the concerned administrative ministry or department is required to submit Action Taken Notes (ATN’s) to CAG for their vetting.

“Submission of the ATNs by respective ministry/department is a continuous process,” he added.




Comment: Equal Before Law

5 August 2009, 12:00am IST

The opposition has done the right thing by forcing the government to defer the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill. The Bill, which seeks to extend the principle of accountability and transparency to the higher judiciary, falls short of its intent in the present form.

The Bill makes it mandatory for judges to disclose their assets before a designated authority, but doesn’t allow the disclosure to be made public. A contentious clause in the Bill prevents any citizen, court or authority from questioning the disclosures. It says “no judge shall be subjected to any inquiry or query in relation to the contents of the declaration by any person”. The opposition has objected to this provision and termed it a violation of the Constitution. The objection is valid. What the clause does is to treat the judiciary as a privileged class with special rights that no other group of citizens enjoys. No other category of public servants enjoys such immunity from public scrutiny. It has been pointed out, and rightly so, that the clause violates the republican principle that all citizens are equal before the law.

The judiciary’s demand for exemption stems from the fear that disgruntled parties could misuse the disclosure and embarrass judges if it is available in the public domain. Such fears may be valid but not reasonable enough to justify the judges’ claim for exemption from public scrutiny. Laws that cover other categories of people in public life, like elected representatives, don’t make any exemption for similar fears and mandates that they disclose their assets before the public. Penalties and harsher strictures could be thought of to prevent spurious litigation and other forms of harassment.

There has been a concerted effort in recent times to enforce the highest norms of accountability and transparency in public life. Laws like the Right to Information Act and Representation of the People Act have helped a great deal to address corruption in public life and improve governance.

The judiciary has been supportive of these initiatives. It has, in many cases, intervened to make sure that laws intended to do so are foolproof. It must adhere to the highest norms of probity it has set for other public institutions and not become an exception to the trend. The government must incorporate the suggestions of the opposition, address the fears of the judiciary and reintroduce a foolproof Bill in Parliament as early as possible.





Sankararaman’s wife, daughter change earlier statements

Staff Reporter

Trail of witnesses who have turned hostile lengthens

PUDUCHERRY: Two main prosecution witnesses in the Sankararaman murder case on Tuesday contradicted their earlier statements during cross-examination by defence counsel.

Sankararaman’s wife Padma, the first prosecution witness, and daughter Uma Maitreyi, the second prosecution witness, told the Principal District and Sessions court here that they had identified the accused based only on photographs provided by the police and had not seen them during the attack on Sankararaman. They also told the court that the signature in the documents seized from their house was not that of Sankararaman.

During cross-examination by counsel K. S Dinakaran, both contradicted their statements made earlier to Special Public Prosecutor N. Devadass. Two other witnesses, Anand Kumar Sharma (Sankararaman’s son) and N. S Ganesh (accountant in the temple) were also cross-examined.

On April 2, 2009, during examination by the Public Prosecutor, the fifth prosecution witness K. Durai Kannu contradicted the statement he had made before the police and the Kancheepuram District Magistrate. After he deviated from his statement, Mr. Devadass had informed Principal District and Sessions Judge D. Krishnaraja that he was treating the witness as hostile. Another prosecution witness, Kumar, was also treated as hostile after he contradicted his statement during examination by the Special Public Prosecutor.

On Wednesday, the cross-examination of five other witnesses, K. Durai Kannu, Gajapathay, Atchudan, Kumar and Kuppuswamy, will be taken up. The Public Prosecutor will also cross-examine K. Durai Kannu.

Sankararaman, manager of the Sri Varadarajaswami temple at Kancheepuram, was murdered on September 3, 2004. On January 21, 2005, a special investigation team of the Tamil Nadu Police filed a charge-sheet in a Kancheepuram court naming 24 persons as the accused in the case, including the five men who surrendered claiming that they had murdered Sankararaman and six others who arranged the proxy surrender. The case was later transferred to Puducherry.





Resistance ends, a fundamental right comes into being news analysis

Anita Joshua

Law in place after 6 years, two governments and half-a-dozen drafts

NEW DELHI: At long last, the Fundamental Right to Education, enacted in December 2002, can be operationalised with Parliament on Tuesday passing The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill (RTE). It took six-and-half years, two governments and half-a-dozen drafts to put in place this enabling legislation without which the Fundamental Right to Education could not be notified.

Given the stiff resistance this Bill attracted on various counts and from different quarters, both within and outside the government, a sense of disbelief pervaded the Department of School Education and Literacy in the Union Human Resource Development Ministry when the draft legislation finally got the Lok Sabha’s nod on Tuesday evening.

Essentially, the RTE details how the Fundamental Right will be implemented. As per the enabling legislation, every child in the six-to-14 age group will have a right to free and compulsory education in a neighbourhood school till Class VIII.

Reservation of seats

One of the most contentious provisions of the Bill is the clause which makes it mandatory for unaided schools to reserve 25 per cent of their seats at the entry level, the junior most class in any school, for students from the disadvantaged sections in the neighbourhood. The expenses borne by these schools on such students will be reimbursed by the government on the basis of what it spends per child in its own schools.

No school can collect capitation fee and subject children or their parents to any form of screening. In case a school collects capitation fee, it can be fined up to 10 times of that amount. And, if tests or interviews are conducted, a school can be fined Rs. 25,000 for the first violation and Rs. 50,000 for every subsequent contravention.

Schools cannot deny admission to a child for lack of age proof and no child can be detained or expelled till the completion of elementary education. Physical punishment and mental harassment will attract disciplinary action under service rules.

As the purpose of this legislation is to set a certain benchmark for school education, the Bill details punitive action for running unrecognised schools and also provides for derecognition of institutions which do not meet the standards. These standards in terms of the qualifications of teachers and their duties, and pupil-teacher ratio have been specified. This comes with a diktat that prohibits teachers from taking private tuitions and schools from deploying them for non-educational purposes other than decennial population census, disaster relief and election duty.





Debt Recovery Tribunal not a civil court, says Supreme Court

J. Venkatesan

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) cannot be construed as a civil court. Therefore, the Supreme Court or the High Court has no power to transfer a suit pending in a civil court situated in one State to a DRT in another State.

A Bench of Justices S.B. Sinha and A.K. Ganguly gave this ruling while dealing with a dispute arising out of petitions filed by banks, financial institutions and debtors within the purview of the Recovery of Debts Due to Banks and Financial Institutions Act, 1993. The instant case arose out of an appeal against an order passed by the Punjab and Haryana High Court transferring a suit to the DRT in Mumbai.

Writing the judgment, Mr. Justice Sinha said the Tribunal was constituted with a specific purpose and it had a limited jurisdiction. “No independent proceedings can be initiated before it by a debtor. A debtor, under the common law of contract, as also in terms of the loan agreement, may have an independent right. No forum has been created for endorsement of that right. The civil court will continue to have jurisdiction.”

The Bench made it clear that the claim petition by the bank or the financial institution must relate to a lending/borrowing transaction between a bank or the financial institution and the borrower.

It said: “The civil court indisputably has the jurisdiction to try a suit. If the suit is vexatious or otherwise not maintainable, action can be taken in respect thereof in terms of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC). But if all the suits filed in the civil courts, whether inextricably connected with the application filed before the DRT by the banks and financial institutions are transferred, the same would amount to ousting the jurisdiction of the civil courts indirectly.”






Parliament approves SC/ST reservation Bill

J. Balaji

Bill seeks to extend the reservation beyond January 25, 2010

Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on Monday

NEW DELHI: Parliament has adopted the Constitution (109th amendment) Bill, 2009, for providing reservation of seats for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes in the Lok Sabha and the Legislative Assemblies for another 10 years, with the Lok Sabha approving it by division of votes on Tuesday.

The Rajya Sabha passed the Bill on Monday. The Bill was adopted with an amendment by the government.

When the Bill was taken up for consideration in the Lok Sabha and put to vote later, 375 members voted in its favour. One member opposed it and another abstained from voting.

The Bill seeks to extend the reservation beyond January 25, 2010, when the time period of 60 years under Article 334 of the Constitution lapses, and also to extend the nomination of Anglo-Indians to the Lok Sabha and Legislative Assemblies by another 10 years.

Law and Justice Minister M. Veerappa Moily, who moved the Bill, said of the 543 seats in the Lok Sabha, SCs had 79 and STs 41.

“Change of heart”

Similarly, of the 3,961 seats in the Legislative Assemblies, SCs had been reserved 543 seats and STs 527.

Urging the House to adopt the Bill, Mr. Moily said there should be a “change of heart” in society towards SCs and STs.

“We need to travel more distance to ensure they join the mainstream. We must practice inclusive politics and not exclusive politics…fragmented politics,” he said.





Bombay High Court directive stayed

Legal Correspondent

New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the Bombay High Court order directing the Chief Secretary, Maharashtra government to submit in sealed cover the report of Pradhan Committee which probed `26/11 terror attacks’ in Mumbai.

A three-judge Bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan, Justice P. Sathasivam and Justice B.S. Chauhan also stayed the order asking the Chief of Anti-Terrorism Squad K. P. Raghuvanshi to present in the court during the next date of hearing on August 6.

Appearing for Maharashtra, senior counsel Harish Salve said, the State was aggrieved against the order dated July 23.

He said in view of the sensitivity involved the report was not placed even in the Assembly, but the High Court in a PIL had directed that the report be placed in a sealed cover and that the Chief Secretary should file an affidavit.

When Mr. Salve said, “such information can’t be put on affidavit,” the CJI wondered “what is the use of giving details when the High Court itself says give the report in a sealed cover. What is the advantage? Can the court prevent it {terrorist act}? Why should all such information be provided to the court, is it to have discussions in television channels.”

Mr. Salve said, “we all know about the impending danger and the threat perception. But these secret issues can’t be disclosed to the court.” He recalled the live telecast in the news channels of the 26/11 security operations which was reportedly used to guide the terrorists.”

It would result in insecurity and create panic among the public.





No relaxing of labour laws: Kharge

Sujay Mehdudia

NEW DELHI: Asserting that there was no question of relaxing labour laws or making them “liberal,” Union Labour Minister Mallikarjun Kharge on Tuesday asked the State governments to strictly implement such laws to protect the interests of workers, particularly in the wake of global economic slowdown.

Mr. Kharge said implementation of these laws was good for employers and employees.

He was replying to a call-attention notice by D. Raja (CPI) on the situation from retrenchment and job losses.

To a suggestion by Independent member and industrialist Rahul Bajaj, Mr. Kharge dismissed the idea of relaxing labour laws.

Mr. Bajaj’s suggestion was strongly opposed by Brinda Karat (CPI-M) who pointed out a conflict of interest.


The survey conducted by the Ministry on the impact of slowdown on job losses has shown that in the January-March period there was a slight improvement in the employment situation.

In the April-June quarter, there was some decline but again in July there was improvement.

Earlier, Mr. Raja charged the government with underestimating the grave situation that had emerged due to global meltdown and recession. He said the response was not adequate to meet the challenges of job creation.

Noting that many sectors had been affected due to the slowdown resulting in lay offs, he suggested a host of measures to tackle the situation.





High Court orders retrospective induction into civil service post

Special Correspondent

Petitioner is to be in the IPS, or other services, in Tamil Nadu

“The petitioner should be treated as an OBC candidate even at the time of his selection”

Authorities could even create a supernumerary post as all these years he was denied his due

CHENNAI: Chastising the authorities for their slumberous attitude, the Madras High Court has directed the Union government and the Union Public Service Commission to induct a person into the Indian Police Service in the Tamil Nadu cadre, or in another all India service, on the basis of his selection in Civil Services Examination 2001, with all consequential benefits.

The petitioner should be treated as an OBC candidate for the process.

For the allotment of the cadre, the authorities could even create a supernumerary post, since all these years the petitioner had been deprived of his due, a Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and T.S. Sivagnanam, said while allowing his petition.

The petitioner, J. Loganathan, submitted that he belonged to the Kannadiyar community, declared OBC in Tamil Nadu. He cleared the Civil Services Examination 2001, but his claim that he belonged to an OBC was not accepted by the Union government. It did so on the ground that as per the notification, the community had been declared OBC only in Coimbatore, Periyar and the Nilgiris districts. The petitioner belonged to Cuddalore district.

The Bench said the petitioner’s contention that his caste had been declared OBC throughout the State was not in dispute.

The State government, realising the errors in the Union government’s OBC list, had addressed the National Commission for Backward Classes (NCBC) in March 1994 pointing out the discrepancies. But, no action had been taken by the Commission.

The officials of the Commission and the Union Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment at the relevant point of time “have slept over the matter for years together, waiting for somebody to bell the cat again.”

The Bench added: “This case would narrate as to how the slumberous attitude exhibited on the part of the governmental authorities in rectifying the mistakes committed by them, would dig a deep pit in the career of an individual and spoil his prospects and opportunities.”

Referring to the authorities’ stand that no retrospective effect could be given to the amended list published by the NCBC in January 2004, the Bench said an extraordinary situation like the present one would call for an extraordinary remedy.

Courts were not handcuffed from dealing with such situations in an appropriate manner to cure an illegality perpetrated on a citizen.





High Court stays proceedings on charge memo to head constable

K.T. Sangameswaran

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has granted interim stay of further proceedings on a charge memo issued by the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Salem Range, to a head constable.

Flimsy allegations

M. Ravi, counsel for the petitioner R. Sengodan, submitting that the charge memo contained vague and flimsy allegations, contended that the only charge against the head constable was that he had not arrested the accused after registering a case under sections 341, 323 and 324 of the IPC.

Further, he had not registered the case under the proper penal provision.

Counsel said that in each and every case, the accused need not be arrested.

The Police Inspector concerned had obtained further material for altering the offence to one under section 307 of the IPC. So the petitioner was not at fault. Government advocate, P. Muthukumar, sought time to file a counter.

Justice K.N. Basha said it was needless to state that it was not necessary for the police to arrest the accused in every case.

It all depended on the facts and circumstances of the case.

The investigating officer, after completion of the probe and on the basis of the collection of evidence, ought to have added another section, i.e. 307 IPC. On that ground, the petitioner could not be found fault with.

Since the order of interim stay had been passed, the case of the petitioner should be considered for promotion in accordance with the law.

The pendency of any departmental proceedings should not be considered as a ground for denying the petitioner a promotion, the court said.





Court orders attachment of KSRTC bus

Staff Reporter

KRISHNAGIRI: An inter-state bus plying between Bangalore to Tirukovilur has been impounded by the district court in Krishnagiri on Tuesday.

The bus was impounded for non-payment of compensation to the accident victim R. Sundar, a mini lorry driver from Mallipatti village, near Singarapettai, in Krishnagiri district.

Sundar met with an accident near Bachaneri cross road on Dharwad-Belgaum National Highway No: 4 on July 29, 2004. The parents of the victim filed a case in this connection. Additional District Judge Kumaraguru directed Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation (KSRTC) to pay Rs. 5,26,723 to the victim’s family on November 28, 2005.

KSRTC filed an appeal in the High Court challening the district court ruling. After hearing the argument, the High Court ordered KSRTC to pay Rs. 4,16,273 as compensation to the victim’s family within 6 weeks.

But the KSRTC did not pay the compensation.

The judge ordered attachment of the bus and as per his order the bus was attached and taken to the District Court premises by the court officials.





Disqualification of municipal chief set aside

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has set aside an order of the Principal District Judge (PDJ), Cuddalore, issued in March this year, disqualifying V.K. Murugan (PMK) from the post of Chairman of the Vriddhachalam Municipality.

Justice S. Palanivelu set aside the order while allowing a petition from Mr. Murugan challenging the lower court order. Mr. Murugan was disqualified under the District Municipalities Act on the ground that while he was holding the post of Chairman of the local body, his wife and father held subsisting contracts in the municipality.

Mr. Justice Palanivelu observed that the wife and father of the petitioner were issued letters of termination of contracts much before the petitioner became the Chairman. The letters were accepted and cancellation orders passed by the municipality. Thus, the contract had come to an end. Just because they received cheques for the works done during the previous terms after he became Chairman, the same could not be held against the petitioner.





CBI case against former Chennai Port Trust chief

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday registered a case against former Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust, K. Suresh, Deputy Conservator M.K. Sinha and a private company on charges of corruption.

The accusation is that they entered into a criminal conspiracy with the intention of cheating, causing a loss of Rs.20 crore to the port trust.

According to CBI sources, the Anti-Corruption Branch of the agency had received information that Mr. Suresh and Mr. Sinha, abusing their official position, allotted a berth in the port for a ‘dead’ ship, the MV SAN GIORGIO, to dock in 2007.

They knew that the ship had no crew or valid documents.

It had been abandoned by its owners in an inoperable condition, which was against norms. This caused a loss of Rs.20 crore in the form of non-payment of additional berth hire charges, demurrage and related expenses. The ship had set sail from South Africa and had gone to Tuticorin before reaching Chennai.

Searches were conducted on office and residential premises of the accused. Documents pertaining to movable and immovable properties, gold jewellery and huge bank balance totally worth about Rs.2.36 crore and $6,443 were seized. Four bank lockers of the accused would be opened on Wednesday.

Mr. Suresh is a 1982 batch IAS officer of the Madhya Pradesh cadre. He was Chairman of the Chennai Port Trust from 2004 to July 2009. Cases under the provisions of the IPC and the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1988, had been registered against the accused, the sources said.





Anticipatory bail granted

Special Correspondent

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has granted anticipatory bail to two persons, who apprehended arrest in a case relating to alleged offences, including obscene acts and songs, and under the legislation to prevent harassment of women.

In their petition, K.B. Rajiv (24) of Annanagar and R. Jagadish Navin Kumar (29) of Jaffarkhanpet here stated that the prosecution case against them was that on July 24 a woman and her husband were dancing in the discotheque of a hotel here and they (petitioners) had teased her. It was also alleged that abusive language was used against her.

The petitioners submitted that they were innocent and a false complaint had been given against them.

Justice R. Regupathi, while granting anticipatory bail, imposed conditions, including execution of a bond for Rs.10,000 with one surety.





Judgement on teachers’ transfer stayed

Legal Correspondent

HYDERABAD: A Division Bench of the A.P. High Court comprising Justice V.Eswariah and Justice P.Swarup Reddy on Tuesday stayed the operation of the judgment of the AP Administrative Tribunal (APAT) which had adversely affected the schedule of transfers and promotions of teachers in the State.

Some of the teachers filed original applications in the APAT complaining against the action of the officers in refusing to consider the cases of such teachers for promotions and transfers who resisted the implementation of G.O. 610 . They said that they are continuing to be in the present postings because of orders of the courts and they can not be denied the benefit of promotions , seniority and then transfers.

The APAT had directed the government to consider the cases of these applicants for promotions and transfers as per their seniority.

The government filed writ petitions in the High Court challenging the orders of APAT. The government contended that the whole process of promotions and transfers is jeopardized in the light of these orders of the APAT.

The Bench felt that the balance convenience lies with the promotions to go on irrespective of the APAT order and suspended the judgment of the APAT.





Plea for High Court Benches in Andhra, Rayalaseema

Special Correspondent

HYDERABAD: The demand for setting up High Court Benches in the coastal Andhra and Rayalaseema regions as also a Supreme Court Bench in Hyderabad was raised in the Legislative Council on Tuesday.

M.V.S.Sarma (PDF) and K.Nageshwar (Graduates constituency) said while States like Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh had High Court Benches, Andhra Pradesh was the only State without additional HC Benches and this had been resulting in hardships for litigants and law officers of those regions.

Law Minister M.V.Ramana Rao clarified that when last year a resolution made in the House for HC Benches in Andhra and Rayalaseema regions was sent to High Court, the Full Bench rejected it and asked the government not to send such resolutions in future. When Chairman A. Chakrapani also cited existence of more than two High Court Benches in different States, the Minister said the government would appeal to the High Court to reconsider the issue again.





HC clears committee to manage Mahishamardhini temple

Staff Reporter

BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday said that it did not find anything wrong with the selection of nine members to manage the Mahishamardhini temple at Neelavara in Udupi district.

Justice Ajit Gunjal passed the order on the petitions filed by Santosh Kumar Hegde and several others questioning the decision of the Muzrai Department to include six names recommended by Home Minister V.S. Acharya in the management committee of the temple.

The petitioners said they had filed a writ petition last year challenging the decision of the Department of Hindu and Religious Endowment to select nine names recommended by the Minister to the managing committee.

They said the single judge had come down heavily on such recommendations and asked the Muzrai Department to select names as per the Act.

They said the department had ignored the earlier High Court direction by choosing to go by the recommendations of the Minister. They urged the court to quash the selection.

The Government advocate submitted that the selection was based on merit and the recommendation was only incidental.





Traffic offences: 10,661 cases booked in Mysore in July

Staff Correspondent

4,365 cases booked against those riding

two-wheelers without helmet

75 people booked for drunken driving during

a drive from July 19 to 31

MYSORE: The Mysore traffic police have booked 10,661 cases for various traffic-related offences in July and collected fine amounting to Rs. 14,20,100 from the offenders. Also, some of the offenders were produced in court and penalty amounting to Rs. 1,94,450 was collected from them, said a press release from the office of Commissioner of Police.

The maximum number of cases (4,365) were booked for riding two-wheelers without helmet.

The police had booked 212 cases for violation of traffic rules, 469 cases for over-speeding, 130 cases for drunken driving, 491 cases for riding without driving licences and 212 cases for using mobile phones while driving/riding.

The release said that 4,782 cases were booked for various traffic offences.

The police had booked cases against 96 people for riding two-wheelers with more than two persons in the pillion, during a special drive conducted in the limits of Udaigiri, Mandi Mohalla, Devaraja Mohalla and N.R. Mohalla police stations from July 19 to 31.

Also, cases were booked against 75 people for drunken driving during the drive. Of them, 62 offenders were produced in court and fine amounting to Rs. 41,400 was collected, the release added.





Bar association disowns advocate

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Thiruvananthapuram Bar Association has disowned advocate Anil Kumar who was arrested by the Attingal police on Tuesday in connection with a criminal offence. In a statement, association secretary S.R. Jayakumar said the advocate was expelled from the association for a similar offence in 2006. — Staff Reporter





Concern over changes in Rubber Act

Staff Reporter

KOCHI: Some of the amendments to the provisions of the Rubber Act presented before Parliament, if passed, will harm the rubber sector, especially small growers, exporters, processors and traders, said N. Radhakrishnan, president of Cochin Rubber Merchants’ Association here in a communication.

The provision to empower the Rubber Board to implement quality standards, to mark, label and pack rubber produced or processed in India, imported into India and exported from India will harm the growers. This is because 30 per cent of the sheet rubber produced is below the quality standards prescribed by the board.

The communication said visual grading of rubber has been in vogue for the past 100 years. The Rubber Board should specify what the marketable grades are and the quality involved in different grades of rubber before the passage of the proposed amendments to the Act, he said.





Video conferencing for U.S. witnesses opposed

Staff Reporter

26/11: Kazmi cites concerns about perjury and contempt of court

Mumbai: The defence in the 26/11 case has opposed the deposition of three American witnesses through video conferencing, citing concerns about perjury and contempt of court.

The prosecution wants to examine five witnesses from the United States of America, including two FBI agents and three citizens.

Special Public Prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam has not asked for video conferencing. However, advocate Abbas Kazmi’s objection is to the eventuality of the video conferencing method being used to record testimonies of the three witnesses. Mr. Kazmi said the remote method would be a hurdle if the witnesses commit perjury or contempt of court.

It would also be a shortcoming if the defence wants to implead a witness as an accused, because there is no extradition treaty between India and the U.S. To bring forth the drawbacks in the method, he cited from the Supreme Court judgment in the P.C. Singhi vs. Dr. Praful Desai case (2003), which allowed for video conferencing to record evidence.

Mr. Kazmi quoted, “There may be difficulties if he [witness] commits contempt of court or perjures himself. As a matter of prudence, evidence by video recording in open court should be only if the witness is in a country which has an extradition treaty with India and under whose laws contempt of court and perjury are also punishable.”

Unlike in the Supreme Court case, the three witnesses in question are not experts, Mr. Kazmi told the court. They are “material” witnesses “touching the core of the case.” In the light of these hurdles, he said, “I strongly oppose video conferencing.”

Mr. Nikam argued that producing the witnesses in person would be an expensive, time-consuming affair leading to undue delay.





Two police officers acquitted

Patiala: A CBI court here acquitted two police officers for lack of evidence in a fake encounter case in 1990.

Retired Superintendent of Police Mohinder Singh Sidhu and DSP Kishan Singh were acquitted on Monday in the case relating to the disappearance of one Sukhwinder Singh alias Neeta of Chavinda Devi village in Amritsar district on August 27, 1990. Sidhu, was then the Station House Officer (SHO) and Kishan Singh an Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) of Kathunangal police station in the district. The victim’s brother Bhupinder Singh, in a letter to the Chief Justice of India and other government officials, alleged the duo killed Neeta in a fake encounter.





Forest rights & implementation issues

Meena Menon

Maharashtra’s efforts to enforce the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act have brought forth many sticky issues.

It is an Act that drives wildlife conservationists to tears and land rights activists to despair. In Maharashtra, of the 2.66 lakh claims submitted under the Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Rights) Act, only 1,512 have received final approval. Cases challenging the Act passed in 2006 are pending in the Supreme Court and Adivasis are still on the road, demanding that the Act be implemented.

Villagers of Pathali in the Adivasi-dominated Nandurbar district of Maharashtra had to come all the way to Mumbai to demand a village-level committee as a first step to decide the issue of forest rights. Pathali has been in the centre of a storm with villagers of neighbouring Goramba attacking them repeatedly, resulting in the death of a woman. There are about 350 families in Pathali. People like Madya Vadvi have lived by cultivating the nearby forestland since 1971-72. The fight between the two villages is not new, though it has intensified after the Act was passed. The rivals are staking claim to their land, Vadvi points out.

These are some of the sticky issues that have come to the fore after the passage of the Act. Maharashtra has 13,822 village level committees. Compared to other States, the implementation on the Act is slow.

According to data on the Union Tribal Affairs Ministry’s website, till June 30, 2009 Andhra Pradesh had distributed 67,855 title deeds, Chhattisgarh 1,02,800; Gujarat 1,997; Madhya Pradesh 24,571; Orissa 30,794; Rajasthan 1,778; Tripura 66,573; and West Bengal 5,249. Maharashtra lagged behind with 15 title deeds distributed and 1,384 ready for distribution.

The Centre is according priority to it. In her joint address to Parliament in June, President Pratibha Patil indicated that the new government would monitor the implementation of the Act and ensure that all title deeds were distributed by the end of 2009.

According to official figures, of the 2,66,441 claims in Maharashtra, 34, 924 have reached the sub-divisional level, which is the second stage, and 3,348 are at the final District Collector-level committee stage. A.K. Jha, Commissioner, Tribal Research and Training Institute (TRTI), which is the nodal agency for the implementation of the Act, defends the work done in the State. “We are providing the link between the people in the villages and the government with inputs that ensure smooth and accurate processing of cases. We are giving the funding, training and a robust system of implementing the Act and support for capacity-building and creating awareness,” says Mr. Jha, who is an Indian Forest Service officer.

The high number of claim applications shows that people are aware of the Act, he says. Although it was passed in 2006, it was implemented from December 31, 2007 and the rules were framed in 2008. He says it takes time to mobilise people in more than 13,000 villages spread across the State’s forest areas. Over 50 non-governmental organisations (NGOs) had been associated with the process. According to him, the village-level committee is independent.

“The land will remain as forest land and its status is not going to change to revenue land just because forest rights are recognised. The mandate of the Act is to recognise forest rights, and after it is done the entry in the record of rights is going to be the mandate of the Collector and the Revenue Department as per the provisions of the Maharashtra Land Revenue Code,” he clarifies.

According to Mr. Jha, the Act goes beyond recognising individual forest rights to forest land. It also intends to empower the community and grants the right to protect forests, wildlife and biodiversity. “That I feel is the real purpose and ultimate mandate of the Act.”

However, there are complaints of growing interference by the Forest Department. Pradip Prabhu of the Campaign for Survival and Dignity says the law clearly talks about ownership and it is not a usufruct right (which is the right to enjoy the use and advantages of another’s property short of destruction or wastage of its substance). There are efforts to resist the grant of actual rights under the Act. Activists feel that Maharashtra could well have the worst record of implementing the Act. Since 2002, forest-dwellers have not been evicted in any part of the country except here, Mr. Prabhu says.

Apart from conservation groups, retired forest officials have opposed the Act in some States. Conservationists like Kishore Rithe are dismayed that such an Act should have been enacted in the first place. Mr. Rithe, who is based in Amravati and has worked extensively in the forests of Melghat, has been observing the gradual destruction of the area. After the passage of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980, the diversion of forest land for non-forest use had become difficult. However, the new Act reverses that. “Encroachments have increased tremendously after 2005 and people are just grabbing land,” he said. “Initially, in January 2009, there were only 10,000 claims in Maharashtra and 357 had gone up to the district-level committees. This number has shot up now, and this is because people have made false claims,” he points out.

“The country has lost its best forests in central India because of this Act, and once people clear forest land and start cultivating, we can’t bring those forests back. As a conservationist, I feel this country should admit that by introducing this law we have made a mistake. Forests need to be protected — that’s the basic issue,” he explains.

However, leaders of mass movements in Nandurbar, like Kishore Dhamale of the Satyashodhak Communist Party, are firm that the first right should go to the people who have cultivated the land for years.

“Instead of giving the Adivasis their rights, the government has given forest land to private companies to build wind farms,” he says. He is sceptical about claims that title deeds have been handed over to people in the State. He said in this feudal structure, people were not interested in Adivasis getting land rights since that would mean empowering a major chunk of the labour force.

The government too admits that in villages where there are both Adivasis and non-Adivasis, local leaders are not too keen to hold meetings or set up committees. According to P.S. Meena, Secretary, Maharashtra government, tribal development, the main bottleneck was that gram sabha sessions were not being held on time. The department, therefore, had given specific directions for special meetings. There was a three-tier process to complete the allocation of rights, and about 300 Global Positioning System (GPS) sets had been provided to map the land. He dismisses the complaints against the Forest Department and says the NGOs should act as facilitators and not oppose every step.

Mr. Meena estimates that about 1.5 lakh to 2 lakh hectares would be distributed eventually. He has on the anvil an Integrated Forest Development Project for landless Adivasis, with Rs. 20 crore allotted for it. The idea is to come up with proposals involving 1,000 ha or more of forest land which need to be regenerated, and dovetail programmes under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme with forest development activity.

While the TRTI and the government are trying to aid conservation measures through the Act, the primary issue is one of rights. The antagonism between conservationists and those getting land rights has to be addressed, too, and the misconception that this is a free-for-all land distribution programme must be cleared. It is nobody’s argument that forests must be destroyed. It is incumbent on the government to protect them — while ensuring that the people get their rightful entitlements.





Subhiksha petitions HC for compromise with lenders

August 05, 2009

Subhiksha Trading Services, the retail chain which stopped all operations when it ran out of cash, has filed a petition at the high court in Chennai, seeking a compromise with its creditors.

Through its subsidiary company, Cash and Carry Whole Sale Traders Private Ltd, it filed a ‘scheme of compromise’ petition, under Section 391 of the Companies Act.

The earlier deadline given for a Corporate Debt Restructuring scheme was July 31.

According a senior counsel who is close to the development, Cash and Carry has requested for a meeting with secured and unsecured creditors to work out the compromise. C&C was a firm promoted by R Subramanian, promoter and managing director of Subhiksha [ Images ]. Subramanian was not available for a comment and he did not respond to an e-mail sent by Business Standard.

The counsel added the petition was filed under the Companies Act provision which talks about the power to compromise or make arrangements with creditors and members and also between a company and its creditors or any class of them.

Under the relevant rules, if 75 per cent of creditors agree to a compromise, the other 25 per cent have to also agree.

T E Narasimhan in Chennai






“Confidentiality clause must be removed”

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: There was just a hint from the Congress here on Monday that it would be willing to try and evolve a political consensus on the deferred Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill before it was introduced, after the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Left insisted that the Bill would be meaningless unless the controversial confidentiality clause was removed.

The political ruckus was all about a Bill that would, when passed, make it mandatory for judges of High Courts and the Supreme Court to declare their movable and immovable assets. On that there seemed to be a political consensus. What was controversial was that the Left and the Right did not see the need for a confidentiality clause that would keep the declaration of assets away from public gaze and defeat the very purpose of accountability and transparency.

Right to information

Leader of the Opposition Arun Jaitley, who led the charge in the Rajya Sabha, leading to the Bill being deferred, later told journalists that the Supreme Court had itself cited Article 19 (1) (a) of the Constitution dealing with the right to information to uphold declaration of assets by all candidates contesting the Assembly and Parliamentary polls. “Since the Supreme Court based its decision on the right to information, why should this not apply to other public functionaries and to the judiciary? Clause 6 of the Bill that seeks to keep the information on assets declared by judges confidential, offends the Supreme Court’s own interpretation of Article 19 (1) (a),” Mr. Jaitley said. “We will support the Bill minus Clause 6,” he added.

The BJP leader also found fault with the government for not consulting political parties across the spectrum on such a sensitive subject dealing with the judiciary. What was applicable to representatives of the people must surely be made applicable to the judiciary, he said.

With several Congress members of the Rajya Sabha, including Jayanti Natarajan and Rajiv Shukla, inclined to agree with the Left and Right opposition, Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said: “The government does not have a closed mind … Some issues were raised and an attempt will be made to arrive at a consensus before the Bill is re-introduced. There are legitimate concerns — fairness of disclosures and proper safeguards for judges so that trigger happy [litigants] do not subvert the judiciary.”

“Special case”

The Congress also suggested that judiciary was a “special case” that deserved “special handling” and care needed to be taken to ensure that “independence of the judiciary is not eroded, diluted or compromised.”

The BJP, of course, debunked that argument, pointing out that public disclosure of assets or bringing the disclosures under the Right to Information Act could in no way “dilute” the independence of the judiciary. If disclosures of assets by Ministers and MPs had not led to frivolous litigation, why should this happen on disclosure of assets by the judiciary? Finally, it pointed out that any disclosure that was kept confidential would be meaningless. In fact, public disclosure of assets could only strengthen the credibility of the judiciary.





Govt puts off judges’ assets bill

TNN 4 August 2009, 01:19am IST

NEW DELHI: Politicians have long been on the receiving end of judiciary’s insistence on transparency. On Monday, it was their turn to wave the same principle at judges in the Rajya Sabha.

Members in the upper House cutting across party affiliations joined hands to force the government to defer the introduction of the Judges (Declaration of Assets and Liabilities) Bill on the ground that the bill exempted judges from making public their assets and provided immunity against an inquiry.

The protest, which was joined by at least two members from Congress – Jayanthi Natarajan and Rajeev Shukla – forced the government to put off the introduction after the Opposition demanded that the bill be referred to Parliament’s standing committee and threatened to press for a vote.

The government has decided to hold talks to evolve a consensus and bring back the legislation in the winter session.

While the retreat highlighted the ruling coalition’s lack of strength in the upper House while underlining the need for it to take the consensus route on potentially contentious issues, Congress MPs – those who did not come out to oppose – appeared to be indulgent of the protest.

In fact, to many, the protest had the shades of a retaliation by the political class which has frequenly been forced by the insistent judiciary to submit to the requirements of a clean public life. But the argument for level playing field in matters of transparency was very strong, and the MPs backed that up by invoking verdicts of the Supreme Court.

Even before law minister Veerappa Moily could introduce the bill, Leader of Opposition Arun Jaitley objected to it, specially clause 6 of the bill that does not allow declaration of assets and liabilities to be made public or be questioned by any citizen, court or authority.

Jaitley said the provision along with the one providing judges immunity against inquiry was against the spirit of Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution. He cited the Supreme Court order asking citizens contesting elections not only to declare their assets, liabilities, educational background and criminal antecedents but also that it could be made public. “The law was laid down by the Supreme Court and the law was based on the understanding of Article 19 (1)(a) of the Constitution of India, and, on the strength of freedom of expression which they said, also includes the right to information as far as people are concerned,” he said.

Jaitley asked how there could be two sets of interpretation of Article 19 (1)(a). He also objected to government circulating the draft bill to the judiciary. He said Parliament had the sole right to make laws and other bodies, howsoever competent, could not be allowed to interfere.

Brinda Karat (CPM) said the bill violated the basic feature of Constitution which was equality of all citizens before law. The bill, she said, put judges above the basic feature and therefore was ultra vires of the Constitution. She also pointed out that the bill violated the Right to Information Act that was already part of statute books.

Jayanthi Natarajan (Congress) objected to section 6 of the bill and demanded that it be referred to the standing committee.

Ram Jethmalani (nominated) said under the Keshvanand doctrine, this bill was totally ultra vires. The independence of judiciary was the basic feature of our Constitution, he said. “What this bill does is, it creates a suspicion in the public mind that the judiciary is seeking favours from the executive,” he said.

When Moily insisted on making the introductory remarks, Sitaram Yechury (CPM) pointed out that the question was about the introduction of the bill itself. Deputy chairperson K Rehman Khan cited two Rajya Sabha rulings on a bill being ultra vires and power of the House on introduction of a bill. “It is for the House to decide,” he said.

Yechury protested again and said the issue of introduction had to be sorted out first. He did not agree that all concerns could be addressed in the standing committee, saying the government was free not to accept the panel’s recommendations. Venkaiah Naidu (BJP) demanded division resulting in the government agreeing to defer introduction of the bill.




Former CJI opposes law to make judges’ assets public

Rakesh Bhatnagar / DNA

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 3:39 IST

New Delhi: Former Chief Justice of India (CJI) VN Khare, who had dealt sternly with tainted judges, doesn’t see reason to enact a law to make assets and liabilities of superior court judges public under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

“If such a law is enacted, judges would fear taking up controversial cases. After all one party has to lose and the other, win. The loser could misuse RTI to harass the judges concerned,” the strong proponent of RTI said.

“I don’t see any justification for CJI (KG) Balakrishnan to say that high court and supreme court (SC) judges would make their assets and liabilities public, provided a suitable law is enacted. Judges need protection.”

Judges could be asked to make their finances known to any authority, such as the President or the Speaker or even MPs, but the details shouldn’t be allowed to be misused by disgruntled litigants or busybodies, the former CJI said.

Failure on the part of judges to file statements before the deadline could be viewed as serious misconduct and invite action under the law. However, another former CJI MN Venkatachaliah doesn’t agree. He said since judges had been declared “public servants” by the apex court, there was no justification for extending immunity to them.

The Delhi high court bench headed by justice S Ravindra Bhat which examined the issue of assets disclosure raised by SC judges had observed that judges should not be likened with lawmakers in the context of disclosing assets as the information could be misused if made public.

Former CJI JS Verma doesn’t agree with the law ministry that judges’ assets do not fall in the public domain.”Only if they (judges) have something to conceal, they would want secrecy,” Verma, who headed the bench that allowed prosecution of several leading politicians accused of hawala transactions, quipped.

The government is under pressure from the civil society and a section of the legal fraternity to end its pro-judiciary stance and make judges amenable to RTI. The debate started with the central information commission’s order asking the SC registrar to inform an applicant whether judges had disclosed their assets to the CJI. The applicant hadn’t sought details.

The SC moved HC against this order. Leading lawyers and noted constitutional experts, such as Fali S Nariman, Shanti Bhushan, Anil Divan, former justice Rajinder Sachar and Ram Jethmalani, signed a memorandum demanding that the assets of judges be made public under the proposed Judges Assets Bill.

“Unless the declaration of assets by judges or other public servants is made known to the people, such a declaration will not serve any purpose,” they said.





Set up panel to study 100-yr-old water pipelines: Bombay HC

As reported at on August 3, 2009

Mumbai: The Bombay High Court has ordered setting up of a committee to look into the safety of the over a century old water pipelines in the city and give a detailed plan of action for the system.

The order passed after hearing a PIL filed by an NGO, Janhit Manch, for removal of encroachment in and around Mumbai’s water supply pipelines read, “It is an admitted fact that the pipes carrying water from the source to Mumbai citizens are more than 100 years’ old…

“We are not sure, from the security point of view, whether these pipes are safe, particularly considering the present security environment of the country.”

The order dated July 29 further said, “We are also not sure whether the water, which is carried for the citizens of Mumbai, is hygienically safe, because throughout the route of these pipes, there are hutments built unauthorizedly by people.”

The High Court then directed appointment of a committee to be headed by the Chief Secretary of the state which would look into the safety of these water pipes.

Director General of Police, Municipal Commissioner, Mumbai Municipal Corporation, and Finance Secretary of the government of Maharashtra have been asked to be a part of the committee.

Bhagwanji Rayani of Janhit Manch had filed the PIL for removal of slum encroachment in and around Mumbai’s water supply system following frequent media reports of puncturing the pipelines and stealing water for domestic and commercial purposes.

He also filed an RTI with Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation in this regard.

As per the RTI reply, the total length of main pipes supplying water to Mumbai is 160 km and its diameter varies from 24″ to 108″ passing from Mulund, Sion, Dharavi and Mahim.

“No replacement of any trunk main has been ever done. Instead, the hydraulic department in charge of maintenance of water pipe lines attends to repairs/patching, leakages and bursts,” the reply from the deputy hydraulic engineer read.

Security of the water pipes are provided from Khindipada gate of Bhandup Complex up to Maroshi gate. There is no security after Maroshi gate at Marol and from Marol and from Mulund to Dinshaw bridge, Bhandup.

The BMC also held involvement of various agencies in activity, resistance from anti-social elements, various provisions in the Slum Act i.e. rehabilitation etc, responsible for unsuccessful demolition of hutments there.





Civic body hurting city interests?

Manvinder Singh, TNN 2 August 2009, 10:34pm IST

LUDHIANA: In the last two years, the municipal corporation (MC) has given consent to more than 200 applicants for a change in land use (CLU) despite the fact that a hearing on the Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed in this regard was pending in the court since 2007. This move was taken by the municipal corporation officials allegedly to appease their political bosses and influential contractors.

According to information, since the year 2007, the city residents have submitted 273 applications under CLU for converting residential premises into commercial ones. Out of these, 160 cases received the consent of state government, whereas MC forwarded another 40 such cases for government?s approval, decision on which was still being awaited. Only in 73 cases of CLU, the MC had raised objections.

However, highly placed sources in the civic body revealed that the MC was ignoring rules and regulations, just to appease its political bosses and influential contractors. And, in most of the cases prescribed norms for inviting objections by the residents were allegedly not followed resulting in sheer chaos in residential areas.

Sources revealed at many places influential building owners in connivance with MC officers had constructed commercial buildings without even obtaining permission from the civic body. The buildings passed in absence of site plans are posing problems for residents as the parking area has been reduced considerably creating law and order problem due to traffic congestion.

Meanwhile, commenting on it, Rajesh Inderpal, who has filed the PIL in the court said though court has stayed the CLU exercise in city on Friday, the MC officers in connivance with influential building owners have already done much damage to the city by encroaching upon the residential zones. He claimed the officers of the civic body were responsible for the entire mess.

Another petitioner, Sham Singh Harika said neither the MC had followed rules nor taken objections of public seriously due to which the situation had worsened.

When asked his opinion, municipal town planner Ramesh Chhabra denied commenting on the matter asserting the matter was sub-judice.





By Mohammad Shahanshah Ansari, IDMV, 2nd August 2009
In a great development for PIL lodged in Supreme Court by Akhil Maharastra Khatik Samaj(AMKS) for inclusion of Dalit Muslims in scheduled caste category, counsel court comprising Hon’ble the chief justice, Hon’ble Mr. Justice P. Sathasivam has ordered union of India to file counter affidavit to the writ petition 13 of 2008 within the granted period of 4 weeks. Respondent(s) Additional Solicitor General Mr Mohan Parasaran from Union of India appeared before the Supreme Court to reply to the PIL on 31st July 2009, while Adv. Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed was present from the petitioner’s side. The petition was filed by AMKS on 25th January 2008 seeking inclusion of Dalit Muslims in the Scheduled Caste category. It is happening for the first time in last full one year that someone from union of India has responded to this petition. It is a positive path breaking achievement for this case.

While speaking to IDMV Mr. Shamsuddin Shaikh, Chariman of Akhil Maharastra Khatik Samaj told that they are fighting for Dalit Muslim rights for more than a decade and have now filed this petition in hope of seeking justice from the Hon’ble Supreme Court. It is note worthy that from 1935 to 1950 all Dalits belong to any religion were provided with reservations. However, In January 26, 1950 when constitution of India came into force an order was passed by then president of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad limiting the reservation to only Hindu Dalits, clearly prohibiting the provision of article 341 which states that all scheduled case should be provided with reservation. The Presidential Order 1950 denies inclusion of Dalits of any community other than Hindu in the Scheduled Castes category. The third paragraph of the order says, “notwithstanding anything contained in para 2, no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the Scheduled Castes.” This part of the order runs contrary to the provisions of Articles 14 (equality before the law), 15 (prohibition of discrimination on grounds of religion) and 25 (freedom to profess and practice any religion) of the same Constitution.

The situation clearly calls for the amendment of the constitution of India, only then the Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians can be included among the scheduled castes. If it happens so, it would not be the first time. The relevant part of the Constitution containing the order has been already been amended twice: first in 1956 and second in 1990. Through these amendments, Sikhs and Buddhists respectively were included in the Scheduled Caste category and thus they were allowed to avail the benefits of reservation. Hence Dalit muslims should also be provided with the benefit of reservations and other privileges as scheduled castes as the presidential order of 1950 is unconstitutional. The only reason why Dalit belonging to other communities are progressing is due to reservation where as the condition of Dalit Muslims is turning worse day by day in the lack of same. Atrocities against Dalit Muslim is continuing even today.

Dalit Muslims deserve scheduled caste reservation as they are not only engaged in the same profession as Dalit Hindus but also undergo the same social discrimination as their counterpart Dalit Hindus. The status of Dalit Muslims which include Nutt, Bakkho, Khatik, Bhatiyara, Kunjra, Dhunia, Kalal, Dafali, Halakhor, Dhobi, Gorkan, Meershikar, Rangrz, Darji, Mochis, Mukris and Garudis etc. is turning worse day by day.

Mr. Mushtaq Ahmed, advocate in Supreme Court in the above case while speaking to IDMV pointed towards Ranganath Mishra Commission Report which has also recommended SC status for Dalit Muslims. Keeping this recommendation in consideration Central Govt. should amend the self contrasting constitution and implement this recommendation without any further delay in interest of lakhs of discriminated and deprived people.

We at IDMV hope that Union of India will take the objective of this case seriously and understand the suffering of all those 35 dalit muslim castes among Muslims who are in no better condition than other Dalits and grant schedule caste status to this marginalised section of society.





Sec 377 misused… Delhi HC verdict well argued: Moily—-Delhi-HC-verdict-well-argued–Moily/497334

Express news service

Posted: Monday , Aug 03, 2009 at 0540 hrs New Delhi:

In what could be another indicator of fresh thinking within the UPA government on the issue of changing the anti-gay law in the country, Union Law Minister M Veerappa Moily today admitted that Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which bars same-gender sexual relations, had been misused in the past.

He said the law should not become an instrument of exploitation of homosexuals by authorities in future.

Asked why the Central government had not sought a stay on the Delhi High Court judgment that struck down portions of the Section 377 that criminalised same-gender, consensual sex, Moily said it would have been “preposterous”, as it was an important question of law in relation to Constitutional rights of liberty and privacy.

Speaking to Karan Thapar on CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate, Moily said, “There would be occasions when the government would not seek to reverse a judgment…This (Section 377) is one such provision that has a tendency of misuse and exploitation and has been misused…One thing must go to the credit of the Delhi High Court judgment. It is well-documented, well-researched, well-argued.”





‘269 posts of HC judges vacant’

Kartikeya, TNN 3 August 2009, 02:36am IST

MUMBAI: The Union government has written to state chief ministers and high court chief justices from time to time, impressing upon them the need to give representation to women from the Bar who are suitable for appointment as high court judges.

Experts do say that with time, the situation may improve. Some 269 posts of high court judges are currently lying vacant and some of these are sure to be filled by competent women.

Moreover, the situation is believed to be much better in subordinate courts where the proportion of women judges is healthier than in the higher judiciary. Some of these judges will also be elevated to high courts in the coming years.

‘‘Most importantly, many more girls are now studying law than ever before. With time they will shine in the legal profession and be recognized for their work. And then you’ll see as many ladyships as lordships,’’ Chandiramani said.

Anna Chandy from Kerala became India’s first woman judge in 1937. Her promotion to the Kerala high court in 1959 made her the first woman judge to make it to a high court.




Just 45 women as HC judges, not one in SC

Kartikeya, TNN 3 August 2009, 01:20am IST

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court and various high courts regularly hear petitions lamenting that a particular section of society is inadequately represented in service or in education. Ironically, one field in which women are grossly under-represented in India is the higher judiciary itself — of 617 high court judges in the country, only 45 are women. And currently, there isn’t a single woman judge in the Supreme Court.

The strongest contingent of women judges in India is in the Bombay High Court, which has seven of them on the bench (roughly a tenth of the total number of judges).

In contrast, six of the country’s 21 high courts — Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Uttarakhand — have no women judges at all.

‘‘The statistics don’t surprise me. Women face gender discrimination in all walks of society,’’ said Neelima Chandiramani, principal of K C Law College. ‘‘Mumbai, though, has always been better than other parts of the country for women in the legal profession. Here you see more women practising at the Bar than anywhere else. Thus it has a pool from which women are elevated to the high court.’’

The Supreme Court itself has seen only three women justices in the 59 years since it was set up. The last woman judge in the Supreme Court, Ruma Pal, retired in 2006.

A parliamentary committee report tabled in October 2008 said that women, among other weaker sections of society, were ‘‘inadequately represented’’ in high courts and the Supreme Court. However, the government also says its hands are tied by the Constitution on the issue.

Appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts is made under Article 124 and 217 of the Constitution of India, respectively, which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons.





State directed to pay relief for ‘fake’ encounter death

J. Balaji

NEW DELHI: The National Human Rights Commission has asked the Tamil Nadu government to pay a relief of Rs. 3 lakh to the family of Suresh alias Sura of Vyasarpadi here, who it found was killed by the police in a fake encounter on Ibrahim Street, Clive Battery, in Chennai on the night of November 18, 2002. The government should send the compliance report with proof of payment to the NHRC within eight weeks.

Suresh’s mother in her complaint to the NHRC alleged that her son was picked up from the house on November 13, 2002, and killed in a fake encounter. But the police said Suresh was a habitual offender involved in many criminal cases. On the night of the incident, when they tried to stop his motorcycle, he did not heed their signals. Instead, he attacked a Sub-Inspector with a knife and threw a bomb at the police.

The Additional District Magistrate (Additional Collector) who probed the incident, observed that the police had tried to exaggerate the injuries sustained by the Sub-Inspector and there was no proof of any bomb blast at the spot. He concluded that the police had fired at Suresh with an intention to kill him.

The NHRC then issued a show cause notice to the Tamil Nadu government. The government submitted that departmental action against the delinquent cops had been initiated and that it was considering sanctioning Rs.1 lakh as relief to the family.

The Commission observed that Suresh might have had criminal antecedents, but that could not be a justification to eliminate him. His dependants deserved to be adequately compensated in financial terms. The NHRC hiked the relief to Rs.3 lakh.

The then Chennai Police Commissioner, K. Vijay Kumar, had said a special patrol team was conducting a vehicle check when the accused sped away on a motorcycle. Following a wireless message, two Sub-Inspectors gave chase and cornered him near the Clive Battery junction. “On seeing the police personnel, he threw a country bomb and then attacked them with a knife. One of the personnel suffered cut injuries and has been admitted to hospital,” Mr. Vijay Kumar had claimed.





NCW seeks report on Friendship Day rape

Jaidev Hemmady Posted: Wednesday, Aug 05, 2009 at 0557 hrs Mumbai:

Four persons accused of raping a 15-year-old near Thane were on Tuesday remanded to police custody till August 12. According to sources, the police are now trying to verify the sequence of events, involvement (if any) of accomplices of the accused and also if the gangrape was planned and whether the accused shot any video of the incident.

The victim had gone to celebrate Friendship Day with one of her friends and three other youths on Saturday evening. The five had got into a Maruti Esteem belonging to her friend. She was allegedly gangraped by the four youths inside the car and was later dropped near her residence on Sunday morning. The victim subsequently committed suicide at her residence.

The police were able to trace the accused after the victim’s friend Sandra (name changed) told them she had seen the victim leave in a blue Esteem with Ryan D’Souza and three others.

The police claim the victim’s parents found about the rape only after a medical examination on the body.

Senior Police Inspector Pradeep Mane from the Nalasopara police station said, “The victim, who used to stay with her mother and elder brother at Nalasopara west, had a relationship with one Ryan D’Souza, 21, who supports himself by doing odd jobs for some band. On Saturday, Ryan, who was with his friends, asked the victim and Sandra to join them for a ride. However, Sandra refused to join them.” Others who have been arrested are Rajkumar Yadav (19), Amol Sejav (22) and Ravindra Shinvar alias Prem (21).

The National Commission for Women, meanwhile, has called for a report from the Thane Police Commissioner regarding the gangrape.

(With ENS, Delhi)





Let the Games go on

Ramaswamy R. Iyer Posted: Tuesday , Aug 04, 2009 at 0510 hrs

The Supreme Court’s judgment upholding the location of the Commonwealth Games and rejecting the objections does not come as a surprise. What surprises is the form that the judgment has taken.

The high court took a very long time over the PIL on this issue, and must take a part of the blame for making a decision difficult in the end. However, after prolonged hearings during which all the relevant points were argued and a good deal of documentation submitted, the high court, instead of pronouncing a final judgment, ordered the establishment of an expert committee to examine the proposed constructions, for impact on river ecology and compliance with the conditions of environmental clearance. The DDA and a cluster of government departments and ministries appealed to the Supreme Court against that order.

What were the options before the Supreme Court? It could have upheld the high court’s order; or it could have allowed the expert committee to be set up, but ordered that this should not affect the work on the Games, and that remedial measures, if any, recommended by the committee should be implemented after the Games; or it could have simply set aside the order for the establishment of a committee. In the last case, the high court would have had to proceed without the report of a committee and pronounce final judgment. Of course, an appeal could then have been made to

the Supreme Court against the (putative) final judgment of the high court.

What the Supreme Court actually did was to go beyond the question of a committee and into the merits of the matter, set aside the high court judgment in toto, and give a clearance for the construction work on the site for the Commonwealth Games to proceed. Why did it do this? One presumes that the governing consideration was the urgency of the matter. If that were the case, the Supreme Court could have said “This matter has become very urgent and will brook no further delay. The time for argument is over. We are therefore bringing finality to the case by rejecting objections and allowing construction to proceed”.

However, that is not what the learned judges have done. They have said that the area in question is not riverbed or floodplain. That question had been gone into at great and learned length by both the judges (Justice Sikri and Justice Rekha Sharma) in the high court judgment. Their treatment of the subject was persuasive. However, the Supreme Court brushes it aside and comes to its own conclusion. The expert opinion it relies on is that of government bodies which cannot be expected to be objective and which tend to provide convenient opinions to the powers that be.

The basis for saying that the area is not in the floodplain of the Yamuna is that it now stands protected by the embankment built to protect the Akshardham temple complex. This was the argument in the high court, and it had been dismissed as fallacious. The high court had questioned the manner in which NEERI and the ministry of environment and forests had changed their positions. It is that disingenuous and discredited argument that the Supreme Court has accepted as an expert finding.

It is a curious argument. If areas protected by embankments technically cease to be floodplains, it is possible to narrow the floodplains progressively by building embankments closer and closer to the river. The culmination of this process would be two walls very close to the river on either side; we can then say that the river has no floodplain. Did the Supreme Court consider this reductio ad absurdum?

Besides, the important point is not whether the area in question is riverbed or floodplain or neither. Though the high court had discussed the riverbed/floodplain issues, its order does not talk about these. It refers only to the impact that the proposed constructions will have on the ecology of the river. It is to determine this that it orders the setting up of an expert committee. The Supreme Court’s ex cathedra pronouncement that the area is not riverbed or floodplain commits two errors: it sets aside the high court’s order on the basis of a wrong understanding of the order; and it leaves the crucial question of impact unanswered.

What the judgment reveals is a certain way of thinking prevalent not merely in government but in society in general, and now evidently in the judiciary as well. The Commonwealth games are important; the Yamuna is not. The environment minister can take the Yamuna off his agenda.

The writer is a former civil servant.





PIL demands setting up of committees for checking sexual harassment at work place

Published: August 3,2009

Allahabad , Aug 03 The Allahabad High Court today sought a reply from the Centre and Uttar Pradesh government on a public interest litigation demanding setting up of committees for checking sexual harassment at work place.

The order was passed by a Division Bench comprising Justice S K Singh and Justice Ashok Srivastava on the PIL of“ Stree Adhikar Sangathan”, a women’s rights organization.

The PIL pointed out that the Supreme Court has ordered that all work places, including offices of central and state governments as well as educational institutions, shall have”committees against sexual harassment at work”.

The petitioners had further claimed that after surveying a number of offices, they found that the order of the apex court in this regard was not being complied with as no such committees have been formed anywhere.

The PIL demanded such a committee must always be headed by a woman and that it be ensured that not less than half of its members were female.

The court fixed September 7, 2009, as the next date of hearing in the case. PTI CORR NAC





Court dismisses green zone PIL at BTC

TNN 3 August 2009, 11:56pm IST

Bangalore : The Karnataka High Court on Monday dismissed a PIL seeking a direction to the authorities to maintain the 70-odd acres of Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) as a `green zone’.

“It hasn’t been given yet. This (PIL) is like naming an unborn baby without knowing whether it is male or female. Where is the government order? We cannot act on presumptions and assumptions. The government advocate states that as of today they have not taken any decision,” the division Bench headed by Chief Justice P D Dinakaran said while dismissing the PIL and reserving the liberty of petitioners to approach the court when the need arises.

“Shall we extend the high court there? We have no space for quarters and even a canteen. Now, we have to go near Hosur for space. We’ll keep this building as a heritage building. Is that okay?” the Bench remarked in a lighter vein.

The PIL was filed by seven eminent personalities who wanted it to be maintained as a lung space/ open space and form it once the club is shifted after the lease expires on Dec. 31, 2009.

Jnanpith awardees U R Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, environmentalist Suresh Heblikar, litterateur K Marulasiddappa, theatre personality G K Govinda Rao, painter S G Vasudev and writer Ammu Joseph jointly filed this PIL. It seeks to restrain the authorities from entering into any fresh contract or lease with any builder or developer for building a 200-250-storey building in this area.

“The government first wanted it to be a 200-250 storey building. Now, it has scaled it down to 100-150 storeys based on the statement made by the chief minister as a guest editor of TOI. It is said they have already signed a contract with a Singapore-based company. The documents are not available,” counsel for petitioners told the court while seeking an interim order.

The government advocate quickly added that there was no final decision in the matter and there is no secret deal as alleged by the petitioners.

Court permission

On July 13, the high court had given the state government liberty to take appropriate action in the shifting of the race course. The division Bench headed by Chief Justice Dinakaran told the authorities to act “strictly in accordance with law” in the matter. The cabinet took a decision to allot land to the BTC at Chikkajala near Yelahanka.




Indian police encourages abuses: Human Rights Watch

PTI 4 August 2009, 09:42pm IST

LONDON: India is modernizing fast but its police still indulges in widespread human rights violations, a prominent human rights group claimed on Tuesday as it pressed the government to overhaul a “failing system”.

Let’s blame the damned cops for everything

The US-based group Human Rights Watch said “India is modernising rapidly, but the police continue to use their old methods: abuse and threats.”

“India’s policing system facilitates and even encourages abuses,” the 118-page report said.

It said there has been little change in attitudes, training or equipment since the police was formed in colonial times with the aim to control the population.

The report said the government must take major steps to overhaul a failing system.

Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch said, “it’s time for the government to stop talking about reform and fix the system.”

The authorities require a major overhaul – otherwise the beatings, torture and illegal killings will continue to stain India’s democracy, he said.

According to the report, there was no immediate response from the Indian authorities.




Parliament passes landmark Right to Education Bill

PTI 4 August 2009, 08:09pm IST

NEW DELHI: Children would get the fundamental right to free and compulsory education with the passage of a bill, hailed as “historic”, by Parliament on Tuesday.

The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Bill, 2008, seeks to provide education to children aged between 6 to 14 years.

The Bill, one of the flagship programmes in the 100-day agenda of the UPA government, also earmarks 25 per cent seats to weaker sections in private schools.

While the Rajya Sabha okayed the bill earlier, the Lok Sabha putting its seal of approval on Tuesday, with HRD minister Kapil Sibal describing it as “harbinger of a new era” for children to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

He said the bill is a “historic opportunity” for providing better future to children of the country as there was never such a landmark legislation in the last 62 years since independence.

“We as a nation cannot afford our children not going to schools,” he asserted, noting that the measure details the obligations of the Centre and the states for providing free and compulsory education to children.




LOL news: Husbands want freedom on 15th Aug


By IANS 04 Aug 09   

On India’s Independence Day Aug 15, a group of men will meet in Shimla and chalk out a plan for “equal rights” and “freedom” — from “harassment” by their wives.
“On Independence Day we will raise the issue of freedom and dignity of harassed husbands. More than 100 men, representatives of 30,000 other harassed husbands from across the country, will converge at a day-long meeting to come up with strategies to take on their wives,” Anil Kumar, president of the Save Indian Family Foundation (SIFF), said.

Bangalore-based NGO SIFF, along with another Bangalore based NGO, CRISP (Children’s Rights Initiative for Shared Parenting), in partnership with Maharashtra’s Purush Suraksha Sanstha and Uttar Pradesh’s Pathi Paramesh Kendra have organised the event.

Law biased against men?

“All the four groups are working for equal rights for men and women in India. We feel that in many instances, the Indian law is biased when it comes to husbands, as it often favours the wives. Be it in the case of custody of children for divorced couples or false allegations of domestic violence and dowry harassment, the law generally takes the side of women, without listening to the side of men,” said Kumar.

“However, we would like to clarify one thing. We’re no women haters. This is about equal rights of both men and women,” said Kumar Jahgirdar, founder of CRISP.

In order to prove that harassment of husbands was prevalent, Kumar cited the latest report of SIFF on suicide rate of men across India.

“Around 1.2 lakh (120,000) harassed husbands in India have committed suicide in last four years,” SIFF’s president claimed. The suicide figures were collected by SIFF from the National Crime Records Bureau.

“This is an alarming number. Our fight is against such wives and for justice to the harassed husbands. In fact, husbands committing suicide because of harassment is double the number of wives committing suicide in the country,” the founder of CRISP said.

Some of the demands to be raised at the Shimla convention by the husbands’ group include a separate men’s welfare ministry on the lines of the women and child welfare ministry, equal taxation for men and women, change in inheritance laws, amendment to the domestic violence prevention law, and mandatory joint custody of children for divorced couples.

Not drawing a line

“We’re meeting at Shimla, not to draw a gender dividing line. We want to discuss a social issue and find solutions as the country is seeing a large number of divorcees,” said Virag Dhulia, a senior member of SIFF.

“We’ll also demand pre-litigation counselling before grant of divorce, an end to police brutalities and judicial reforms to help address the social issues.”

According to data available with SIFF and CRISP, on an average 20-25 cases of divorce are filed every day in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore.

A total of 9,000 divorce cases were filed in Delhi, 7,500 in Mumbai and 5,000 cases in Bangalore in 2008.





No third degree against criminals: SC

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:11am IST

NEW DELHI: Taking serious note of recurring deaths in police custody across the country, the Supreme Court has sent out a warning to investigating officers not to use force or third-degree methods against tough nuts among the hardest of criminals.

“The police and investigating agencies cannot torture any criminal despite his bad criminal record,” said a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and Mukundakam Sharma last week.

It gave this ruling while dismissing an appeal filed by one Mohammad Yasin accusing the Delhi Police of the custodial death of his brother Yunus aka Anees within hours of his arrest by the Okhla police on August 4, 1999. He had sought a direction from the SC for registration of a murder case against the SHO of the Okhla police station.

Going minutely through the police and medical records of Yunus, who was a known bad character in the area, the Bench said as the accused had “heart weight of 460 grams, myocardial fibrosis and coronary atherosclerosis”, he ran a high risk of sudden death with or without provocation.

The Bench gave a clean chit to the police saying the board of three doctors had given a clear and categorical finding that the cause of death was due to ventricular arrhythmias consequent to old compromised heart in a person.

“In view of the report of the Board of Doctors and the Sub-Divisional Magistrate inquiry, it is difficult to reach at any other conclusion except that Mohammad Yunus died because of his serious heart disease,” the Bench said.





Suresh Nanda moves HC over passport

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:14am IST

NEW DELHI: Arms dealer Suresh Nanda, father of BMW hit-and-run case convict Sanjeev Nanda, on Monday moved the Delhi High Court seeking a direction for release of his passport seized by the government three years ago. His passport was seized by CBI in connection with his alleged involvement in receiving a kickback in the Rs 1,150 crore Barak missile deal.

Filing a petition, Nanda, son of formal Navy Chief S M Nanda, alleged that government was harassing him by not releasing the passport which had been in its custody for more than two-and-half-years and his business abroad was suffering.

The HC has summoned the records from the concerned court to produce before it by September 28, 2009 in connection with his application. Nanda’s passport was seized in 2006 by CBI which is investigating the Barak missile deal. He was later allowed by a trial court to go abroad but restrained by Delhi High Court.

Nanda had then approached the Supreme Court which had on January 24 last year held the seizure of passport by the investigating agency as illegal and the law also did not authorize it to take such an action and CBI was directed to return the travel document.

“It appears that the passport cannot be impounded except by passport authority. Retaining passport by CBI is not in accordance with law as there is no order from passport authority,” the Apex Court had said.

The CBI then released his passport but it was soon seized by the passport authority which has been holding his travel document since February last year.

In its FIR over the controversial deal, the CBI has named former Defence Minister George Fernandes and some public servants.




Interim bail for RK Sharma

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:14am IST

NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday granted interim bail to R K Sharma, former Indian Police Service (IPS) officer who is serving life term for the murder of journalist Shivani Bhatnagar, to enable him to visit his elder daughter and newly-born grandson.

A division bench comprising of Justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Ajit Bharioke granted bail to Sharma, who is currently lodged in Tihar Jail, for two months after furnishing a bond of Rs 20,000 and a surety of like amount.

The HC also directed him to comply with the rules of the bail and surrender to the jail authorities on completion of the interim bail.

While granting him bail, the HC took on record, his good conduct in the jail for the past three years. However, the court dismissed his plea for regular bail. Sharma had approached the court stating that he wanted to see his grandson, who was born to his elder daughter recently.

Earlier, in January this year, the prosecution had alleged that Sharma had forged the documents to seek bail on medical grounds. Sharma had sought bail on medical grounds last year from the Delhi High Court and said he should be allowed to visit Mohali where he had already undergone a surgery.

Shivani Bhatnagar, principal correspondent of the Indian Express, was found murdered in her flat in east Delhi on Jan 23, 1999. She was at home alone with her infant son, when the murder took place. Two others held guilty in the case are Sri Bhagwan and Satya Prakash.





HC dismisses media baron’s petition

TNN 4 August 2009, 06:56am IST

HYDERABAD: Justice K C Bhanu of the AP High Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by media baron Ramoji Rao who sought an order from the court exempting him from the need to be physically present before a trial court in Nampally which is hearing the case of illegal collection of deposits by his Margadarsi Financiers.

Aggrieved by the rejection of the trial court to grant him personal exemption, Ramoji Rao had approached the HC. The judge while dismissing his petition, said that the lower court’s order does not suffer from any infirmities and hence saw no reason to interfere with it.

Arguing for the authorised officer investigating the Margadarsi Financiers case, senior counsel S S Prasad told the court it is a case of illegal collection of deposits to a tune of Rs 2600 crore in contravention to the section 45-S of the RBI Act and the penalty for this offence would be double the amount so collected apart from a two-year jail term. It is this magnitude that prevailed on the mind of the magistrate and rightly so, the senior counsel said.

Senior counsel C Padmanabha Reddy who defended Ramoji Rao told that in view of the security threat Rao is facing, they are seeking to dispense with the personal appearance.

Stating that no material was shown to the court to prove that there exists a threat to Ramoji, the judge dismissed the petition. Now Ramoji has to appear before the Nampally court on Tuesday where the Margadarsi case is slated to come up.




Jaya questions validity of probe in gifts case

TNN 4 August 2009, 03:00am IST

CHENNAI: Former chief minister Jayalalithaa has questioned the legal validity of a CBI probe against her in the gifts case — 13 years after the Tamil Nadu government gave its consent for a CBI probe.

According to the anti-corruption wing of the CBI, Jayalalithaa accepted 89 demand drafts worth Rs 2 crore from 57 persons in 1992, when she was the chief minister. Probe revealed that 12 names who had drawn the DD in favour of Jayalalithaa were fictitious.

Jayalalithaa’s then cabinet colleagues KA Sengottaiyan and Azhagu Thirunavukkarasu too were cited as accused. While the former had presented DDs worth Rs 22.5 lakh, the latter gave DDs for Rs 22.5 lakh. They were charged with abetting the commission of the crime punishable under the provisions of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

On Monday, Jayalalithaa’s counsel A Navaneethakrishnan and LP Shanmugasundaram filed a petition before the principal special judge for CBI cases Mohammed Issath Ali, stating that the CBI had no jurisdiction to investigate offences punishable under Section 11 of the PC Act.

Noting that a copy of the state government order giving consent to the CBI to probe the matter had not been furnished in court, Navaneethakrishnan said that notification was an essential document in the case. “Unless that notification copy is furnished to Jayalalithaa, she will be put to hardship and loss,” he submitted.

The judge has adjourned the matter to August 19 for further proceedings.



HC-appointed civic panel meets

TNN 4 August 2009, 12:04am IST

Ahmedabad: The first meeting of the high court-appointed committee on civic affairs headed by retired justice Kamal Mehta took place recently. The committee would examine issues related to illegal construction, parking, drainage, quality of roads and fire safety in buildings.

The committee involves urban development principal secretary Gauri Kumar, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) commissioner IP Gautam, CEPT University assistant director Shivanand Swami, joint commissioner of police, traffic Atul Karwal and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) chairman.

Some of the key issues that HC division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi pointed out were that the committee was to resolve the age-old problem of buildings being constructed without building use permission. The second issue is absence of fire safety features and equipment in many buildings. Another major reform process that the HC wanted the committee to devise was a process where the traffic police is called in for suggestions while earmarking commercial areas at the planning stage.





Accused sent to four-day remand, another in judicial custody

TNN 4 August 2009, 06:06am IST

AHMEDABAD: A magisterial court on Monday granted four days’ police remand for accused Chirag Thakkar from Vadodara in the hooch tragedy. His uncle Jayesh Thakkar is being interrogated by police in connection with the supply of methyl alcohol to main accused Vinod Dagri, who mixed the poisonous chemical in country liquor. The investigating agency, city crime branch, nabbed chemical suppliers in this connection.

Crime branch has accused Thakkar of hiding 30 barrels containing methyl alcohol after his uncle was arrested last week. Police claimed on basis of phone call records that as soon as Jayesh was nabbed, his wife called up Chirag and instructed him to shift the stock of methyl alcohol worth Rs 2.93 lakh from their godown.

Crime branch sought Chirag’s custodial interrogation for 14 days in order to find out others involved in supplying poisonous chemical to breweries and chemical theft. They expected some more names to surface during Chirag’s examination.

After hearing crime branch officers, metropolitan magistrate GM Patel granted Chirag’s remand for four days. Meanwhile, another accused in this case Harishanker Kahar alias Hari Om was sent to judicial custody by the same magisterial court.





Govt lawyers allege bias in pay scale

TNN 4 August 2009, 02:54am IST

PANCHKULA: To protest the alleged disparity in pay scales of officers belonging to prosecution department, many government advocates held a meeting on Sunday. It was decided that around 700 lawyers all over Haryana would wear black badges to lodge their stir.

The bar association would be requested to participate in this protest and a date would be intimated to district attorneys of the district headquarters soon.

President of Haryana attorneys’ association Surinder Bairagi said, ‘The pay revision committee has discriminated among the professional classes. Doctors, engineers and architects have been placed at much higher pay packages than government advocates.’

He added, ‘A memorandum of demands was presented to the Pay Anomalies Committee but the same had not been considered till date.’ Another member of the body Govinder said, ‘Though the state has constituted a criminal justice system to protect the rights of innocent and punish the guilty, the prosecution that is an important part of this has been neglected in term of salaries and other facilities.’





Bill makes addition to Agriculture Tenancy Act

TNN 4 August 2009, 01:23am IST

PANAJI: The agricultural tenancy (amendment) bill, 2009, which was introduced in the current legislative assembly on Friday by Aldona MLA Dayanand Narvekar, seeks to make an addition to Section 49(1) of the Agriculture Tenancy Act, 1964.

The additional clause, to be added after section 49(1), reads, “Explanation:- For the purpose of this section interim order’ shall not include injunction order and such orders shall be subject to appeal and revision.”

This addition is sought to be made because, due to the absence of this vital provision in the Goa, Daman and Diu Agricultural Tenancy Act, 1964, the parties, specially the tenants, are put to enormous difficulties. The provision for preferring a revision application under the section 50(1) is very limited and once the collector or deputy collector exercises that power, one way or the other in the revision application (first revision application) preferred to him, there is no right to an aggrieved party to prefer a second revision application before the administrative tribunal under section 50(2) as is held by the Administrative Tribunal in number of second revision applications preferred before it and dismissed the same at the admission stage itself based on the judgements of the high court and the Supreme court.

The amendment bill seeks to rectify the above deficiency and no financial implications are envisaged in this amendment.

In addition to the above bill, other bills introduced in the legislative assembly on Friday include the Goa Mundkars (Protection from Eviction)(Amendment) Bill, 2009, the Goa Land Revenue (Amendment) Bill, 2009 and the Goa Land Use (Regulation) (Amendment) Bill, 2009.




Inspect Anjuna VP’s waste composting facilities: HC

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:40am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed the Goa State Pollution Control Board to carry out a fresh inspection of Anjuna village panchayat’s garbage composting facilities within four weeks and file an inspection report before the court.

The court also directed all the village panchayats to collect plastic waste from all the wards in their respective villages every Monday “to help people develop the habit of segregating waste and make it convenient to store plastic waste”.

A division bench comprising Justice S B Deshmukh and Justice U D Salvi passed the order while hearing a suo motu petition regarding garbage disposal in the state.

During the hearing, amicus curiae Norma Alvares told the court that several village panchayats had indicated temporary sites for composting wet waste. The GSPCB must inspect these sites to ascertain that they are satisfactory and also functioning, she suggested.

She also pointed out that Anjuna village panchayat had not made any arrangements for wet garbage disposal from residences. “The panchayat has directed hotels and commercial establishments to take care of their own waste and also appointed a private agency to dispose their waste at a site which should be inspected,” she said.

At this point, the court directed the GSPCB to carry out a fresh investigation of the Anjuna Panchayat’s garbage site to verify the claims made by the sarpanch in an earlier affidavit.

Meanwhile, the bench directed the Goa State Legal Services Authority to pay an amount of Rs 50,000 to the amicus curiae towards her professional fees. The court noted that Alvares had assisted the court in garbage related petitions for the last two years.





River Princess: Govt puts ball in HC court

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:37am IST

PANAJI: Revenue minister Jose Philip D’Souza on Monday told the House that the fate over the removal of the M V River Princess, responsible for eating up an entire beach at Sinquerim, depended on the Goa bench of the Bombay high court.

In his reply on the demands for grants, D’Souza said that the government is determined to remove the vessel. “There are two options available – to continue the contract with Jaisu Shipping subject to stringent terms and conditions or to float fresh international tenders to refloat the vessel. Before any of these two actions are taken, it is necessary that the high court gives permission,” he said.

“This is because there is a stay on the removal of the vessel, and Jaisu Shipping has been fighting against the decision of the government to cancel the contract. Unless the high court issues directives to the government to remove the grounded vessel, it will not be possible for the Goa State Disaster Management Authority (GSDMA) and the advisory committee constituted to take further action in the matter,” the revenue minister said.

“In the event of Jaisu Shipping continuing with the contract, the government will set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the work is completed before March 2010. And in the event of floating fresh tenders, the government will take steps to ensure that the new company appointed will complete the task before the arrival of the monsoon in 2010,” D’Souza added.

It maybe pointed out here that the government realized that the presence of the vessel had caused environmental changes, including beach erosion and diversion of currents and flow of sea water, and decided to declare the River Princess as a state disaster, which was accordingly notified on March 30 this year.

Meanwhile, tourism minister Francisco Xavier Pacheco in his written reply to a starred question by opposition MLAs Francis D’Souza and Dilip Parulekar stated that GSDMA has recommended to the high court that Jaisu Shipping should be allowed to complete the work of re-floating and towing away of the River Princess without fail by March 31, 2010.

In trying to resolve the vexed issue of the River Princess, Pacheco has stated that the GSDMA has also made several other suggestions to the high court. It has stated that the government will withdraw the termination notice issued to Jaisu Shipping and that company will in turn withdraw the arbitration proceedings filed against the government, said the tourism minister.






Leela Ventures drags govt to court over NOC

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:34am IST

PANAJI: Leela Ventures Pvt Ltd, one of the casino operators, has now approached the high court of Bombay at Goa saying that the Captain of Ports (CoP) had failed to arrive at a decision on an application for renewal of their NOCs to berth their vessel, The Leela’, in the Mandovi river.

The petition came up for hearing on Monday before a division bench of Justice S B Deshmukh and Justice U D Salvi.

Senior Advocate Rafiq Dada, appearing on behalf of the petitioners, told the court that the CoP had not taken a decision on their application citing pendency of cases — with regards to casinos — in the high court.

“Pendency of cases should not come in CoP’s way while deciding on the application,” Dada pointed out. Advocate general Subodh Kantak on the other hand argued that the petitioner’s prayer, stating that the CoP be issued a mandamus (a writ of mandamus or simply mandamus, which means “we command” in Latin, is the name of one of the prerogative writs in the common law, and is “issued by a superior court to compel a lower court or a government officer to perform mandatory or purely ministerial duties correctly”), cannot be granted as their application would have to be decided on its own merit by the authorities.

While admitting that the application for renewal of NOCs was pending before the CoP, the AG suggested that the court grant two weeks time to the authorities to consider the application and arrive at a decision.

At this point, the petitioners told the court that the suggestion made by the AG was reasonable and prayed that the court grant a fixed time frame for deciding on the application.

While adjourning the matter to August 18, the court told the state government to take a decision before the next date of hearing.

Of the six casino vessels currently operating in the Mandovi, the NOCs of five — Pride of Goa, The Leela, Casino Royale, San Domino and Caravela — had expired earlier this year. However, the NOC of Arabian Sea King will expire in October this year.





One cleared of murder charges

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:30am IST

MARGAO: Additional sessions judge Desmond D’Costa on Monday acquitted one Govind Khutkar of murder charges.
The accused was cleared of the charges after the judge in his order stated that there was lack of evidence in the case. In all, 15 witnesses were examined.

According to the Sanguem police, the accused, a resident of Dharbandora, Sanguem, had assaulted one Amita Vaghekar when she was returning home after fetching water from a stream on July 8, 2007.

Investigating officer Manjunath Dessai said that the accused had struck the deceased with a bamboo on her head causing grievous injuries. She ultimately succumbed to her injuries at Goa Medical College, Bambolim, few hours after the incident.

The police said that the accused had also threatened the mother of the deceased, Gomati Vaghekar, with dire consequences.





One gets bail in Porvorim abduction case

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:42am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa recently observed that the police had filed a chargesheet in the Pradeep Mishra abduction case without proper investigation.

The court made the observations while dealing with a bail application filed by Royston Gomes, arrested by the Porvorim police on March 21, 2009, for his alleged involvement in kidnapping Mishra in a Maruti van.

The court granted condition bail to Gomes upon execution of a bond of Rs 10,000 with one surety in the like amount.

Justice N A Britto observed that although more than four months had passed after the incident, very little appeared to have been done by the investigating officers.

On March 20, 2009, one Vinod called up co-accused Ashpak Bhai over a mobile phone and thereafter handed it over to Pradeep Mishra, a resident of Porvorim. Subsequently, Ashpak Bhai demanded a ransom of Rs one lakh from Mishra.

“The least the investigating officer could have done was first try and attach Vinod’s mobile, find out in whose name it was registered, and then confirm whether any call was made by Vinod to a person named Ashpak Bhai,” the judge remarked.

It appears that the chargesheet was filed without proper investigations. The submission that investigations are in progress cannot be accepted, the judge noted.





HC quashes trial court’s order, nails driver

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:35am IST

PANAJI: In a case of rash and negligent driving, the high court of Bombay at Goa held that a trial court cannot accept the accused’s claim that the accident occurred due to mechanical failure when there was expert opinion indicating negligence on the driver’s part.

In a recent order, the high court set aside a magistrate’s 2008 order acquitting KTC bus driver Menino Dias, who was charged for driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner.

Subsequently, the state government challenged the acquittal order in the high court.

The high court directed the accused to pay compensation of Rs 1,000 to each of the five injured passengers.

The court, while fining him an additional Rs 1,500, held him guilty under Sections 279 (rash driving) and 337 (causing hurt ) of IPC.

It may be recalled that after Dias rammed the bus into a tree near Zuari bridge, Agassaim, in August 2005, the vehicle turned turtle thereby injuring several passengers.





Shahabu gets bail in murder case

TNN 4 August 2009, 06:29am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday granted bail to former Siwan MP Mohd Shahabuddin in a case of double murder registered with Hussainganj police station in Siwan district in 2002.

A single bench presided by Justice K K Mandal granted bail to Shahabuddin on his counsel Y V Giri’s plea that his client was falsely implicated in the case for hatching a criminal conspiracy and that the main accused in the case had already been granted bail earlier.

The court directed Shahabuddin to appear before the trial court on every day of the trial of the case. The court also warned that Shahabuddin must not tamper with the evidence of the case.

The FIR was registered by one Ramakant Pathak in which he alleged that his son and servant were murdered on March 13, 2002, and that Shahabuddin had hatched the plot for this.

Additional public prosecutor Shyameshwar Dayal opposed the bail petition on the ground that police have gathered evidences which point to a criminal conspiracy hatched by Shahabuddin.

The former RJD MP is facing trials in other criminal cases in which he has not been granted bail. Monday’s relief won’t ensure the release of Shahabuddin who has been languishing in jail since November 7, 2005.





HC seeks info on Naxal rehab policy

TNN 4 August 2009, 06:27am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the state government to give reply to a letter petition converted into public interest litigation (PIL) which has sought direction to the state government to provide employment opportunities to Naxalites and bring them into mainstream.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash passed the order on the PIL of P K Das who submitted that the state government had announced such a move but failed to provide Naxalites an opportunity to shun violence and lead a normal life.

The court gave four weeks’ time to the government to file a counter affidavit to the PIL.




HC to hear plea against ATKT scheme on Aug 6

TNN 4 August 2009, 03:22am IST

PUNE: A public interest litigation filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) against the allowed-to-keep-term (ATKT) scheme for Std X failures in two subjects, will come up for hearing before the Bombay high court on August 6.

Apart from ABVP, the other two co-petitioners are Narendra Pathak and Shekhar Chandratre, while the secretary to the department of school education and secretary to the Maharashtra state board for secondary and higher secondary education have been named as respondents in the PIL (18268 of 2009), which was admitted for motion hearing on July 31.

Among other things, the petitioners have charged that the state government’s move to extend the ATKT benefit was not only hasty and announced at the eleventh hour but also arbitrary and discriminatory in nature. They have urged the court to declare the ATKT scheme as illegal. The petitioners have further prayed for a stay on the ATKT admission process announced by the government.





HC allows ‘Miss Kerala’ beauty contest; forms panel

PTI 4 August 2009, 07:43pm IST

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday permitted holding of the ‘Miss Kerala’ beauty contest here but set up a five-member committee to oversee the event.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice S R Bannurmath and Justice Kurian Joseph, passed the order on a petition complaining that there would be obscenity and violation of rules in the beauty pageant.

The bench held that observers were being appointed in view of the apprehension that rules may not be followed strictly. The observers have been directed to file a report within a week.

The petitioner T K Ibrahim had sought a ban on the contest here. Twenty one girls will vie for the ‘Miss Kerala’ crown tomorrow, which has participants from US, Bangalore and Mumbai.

The contest is being jointly organized by Impresario Event Management and Fast moving consumers goods major ITC owned Vivel.





Despite anti-child marriage law, grey areas remain: Centre

TNN 4 August 2009, 02:08am IST

NEW DELHI: The Centre on Monday told the Supreme Court that enactment of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act, 2006, has `somewhat’ cleared the statutory confusion over the marriageable age of a girl and a boy, but certain grey areas remain because of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

The 2006 Act provides stringent penal measures for those aiding and abetting child marriage and gives the right to a child couple to nullify their marriage within two years of they becoming adults.

Petitioner National Commission for Women and its Delhi chapter through their counsel Aparna Bhat and P Ramesh argued before a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and A K Ganguly that though the new law has taken care of the situation to some extent, concerns still remained because of the confusion created by various other laws.

Additional solicitor general Indira Jaising, appearing for the Centre, said though the 2006 Act has take care of a lot of anamolies “but some outstanding issues remain”. The government would like to file an appropriate affidavit, she added.

Bhat said section 375 of the Indian Penal Code, while defining the offence of rape, says it is not an offence if a man cohabits with his minor wife, thus virtually legalising child marriage. But, under the 2006 Act, a man marrying a girl below the age of 18 years would be punished and the marriage would be declared null and void, she added drawing a contrast.

The confusion over the marriageable age of girls and boys came up for consideration before the SC after NCW moved a petition challenging the judgments of two high courts – Delhi and Andhra Pradesh – declaring minors, who had eloped after falling in love, to be husband and wife. The SC had stayed the rulings, which were based on the logic that the girls, who were in love, were marginally short of the marriageable age.

Bhat said that if this anamoly was not removed, then 13 or 14-year-old girls would be married off and the courts would have to legitimise them.





Riots: HC refuses unconditional release of 84 Muslim youths

Johnson TA  Posted: Tuesday , Aug 04, 2009 at 0545 hrs Bangalore:

The Karnataka High Court on Monday refused to order unconditional release of 84 Muslim youths, operating under the banner of the Popular Front of India, who were detained by the Mysore police and sent to judicial custody by an executive magistrate in connection with protests over the July 2 communal violence in Mysore.

After studying a confidential report filed by the Mysore police and affidavits filed by the police and the executive magistrate explaining their action, a division bench of the High Court said the police could free the detainees if they execute bail bonds and if they are not wanted in any other cases. Executive Magistrate Geeta Krishna, in an affidavit explaining the decision to remand the youths to judicial custody, said that only those who failed to execute bail bonds were sent to judicial custody and that as many as 51 people arrested in the case were released on bail.

The High Court bench comprising Justice V Gopal Gowda and Justice K Bhaktavatsalam were hearing a habeas corpus plea filed by parents of five of the youths detained for a protest soon after the communal violence in Mysore. The youths were protesting the earlier arrest of 40 others.

The five youths, whose parents filed the habeas corpus plea, can be released provided they are not wanted in any other cases, the court said. The police, however, also produced in its affidavit a list of 40 people against whom body warrants were issued in connection with other cases and indicated that they included the five on behalf of whom petitions were filed.

All the youths claim to be associated with the Popular Front of India, a semi-political organisation working with the Muslim community in south India. The police in its confidential report to the court indicated that the organisation was involved in printing and publishing material that could incite violence.





HC to hear plea against ATKT scheme on Aug 6

TNN 4 August 2009, 03:22am IST

PUNE: A public interest litigation filed by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) against the allowed-to-keep-term (ATKT) scheme for Std X failures in two subjects, will come up for hearing before the Bombay high court on August 6.

Apart from ABVP, the other two co-petitioners are Narendra Pathak and Shekhar Chandratre, while the secretary to the department of school education and secretary to the Maharashtra state board for secondary and higher secondary education have been named as respondents in the PIL (18268 of 2009), which was admitted for motion hearing on July 31.

Among other things, the petitioners have charged that the state government’s move to extend the ATKT benefit was not only hasty and announced at the eleventh hour but also arbitrary and discriminatory in nature. They have urged the court to declare the ATKT scheme as illegal. The petitioners have further prayed for a stay on the ATKT admission process announced by the government.





HC quashes trial court’s order, nails driver

TNN 4 August 2009, 04:35am IST

PANAJI: In a case of rash and negligent driving, the high court of Bombay at Goa held that a trial court cannot accept the accused’s claim that the accident occurred due to mechanical failure when there was expert opinion indicating negligence on the driver’s part.

In a recent order, the high court set aside a magistrate’s 2008 order acquitting KTC bus driver Menino Dias, who was charged for driving the vehicle in a rash and negligent manner.

Subsequently, the state government challenged the acquittal order in the high court.

The high court directed the accused to pay compensation of Rs 1,000 to each of the five injured passengers.

The court, while fining him an additional Rs 1,500, held him guilty under Sections 279 (rash driving) and 337 (causing hurt ) of IPC.

It may be recalled that after Dias rammed the bus into a tree near Zuari bridge, Agassaim, in August 2005, the vehicle turned turtle thereby injuring several passengers.





HC asks Vadodara officials, ex-mayor to remain present in dargah demolition case

Express News Service

Posted: Aug 04, 2009 at 0014 hrs IST

Vadodara/Ahmedabad The Gujarat High Court has issued notices to three Vadodara officials and former city Mayor Sunil Solanki to remain present in court during the final hearing on the matter related to the demolition of a dargah by the civic authorities in 2006. The act led to communal violence resulting in six deaths in May 2006.

The other officials include the then Vadodara Police Commissioner Deepak Swaroop, Municipal Commissioner Rohit Pathak, and Chairman of the Vadodara Municipal Corporation (VMC) Standing Committee Dinesh Choksi.

The HC order has come in the wake of a petition by one Mohammed Arif Shaikh from Vadodara who has demanded filing of criminal complaint against the four office bearers under provisions of Section 153 (A) of the Indian Penal Code.

He said the collective act by the four of demolishing the dargah had spread communal hatred among the people of two communities in the city.

Shaikh’s counsel Mukul Sinha said: “It is mandatory to get the state government’s sanction to book any person under provisions of Section 153 (A) of the IPC. In this case, the state government did not give us the permission. So, we challenged the state government’s decision of denying permission to book the four under Section 153 (A). The court has now issued them notices and kept the final hearing on August 21.”

Solanki admitted that he has received the notice and will remain present in the court on August 21.

“The notice is about the dargaah demolition and the petitioner has asked for initiating a criminal procedure in the case. We have been asked to remain present in the court on August 21 and I will do so.”

Elsewhere, Dinesh Choksi, who still occupies the post of VMC Standing Committee Chairman, denied having received any such notice.

“I was busy in my work the entire day but I have not received any communication from the High Court. Once I receive it I will take further decision,” Choksi added.

Petitioner Arif Shaikh, meanwhile, said: “We hade been arguing about the criminal procedure against these people because their action led to a communal backlash.”




HC dismisses contempt plea against Pilibhit officials

TNN 3 August 2009, 11:13pm IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has dismissed a contempt petition and discharged the contempt notices issued against the district magistrate, superintendent of police, additional SP and SHO of Pilibhit, on a reference sent to the high court by the district judge of Pilibhit.

The district judge, on the request of the District Court Bar Association, had sent reference to the HC for initiation of contempt proceedings against the Pilibhit district and police administration officials for “making the working of the district court non-functional when the bail application of Varun Gandhi was to be heard”. The district judge had sent reference to the HC on the representation made by the Bar Association in this regard.

The bench comprising Justice Amar Saran and Justice DR Azad passed the order after hearing additional advocate general Zafar Naiyar for the state. On May 18, the HC, after perusal of report of the district judge on March 30, had issued notices to DM Ajay Chauhan, SP Sri Prakash, ASP DK Chaudhary and SHO RC Verma, asking them to show cause why proceedings for criminal contempt be not initiated against them. The officers were present in the court on earlier occasion on July 8.

Dismissing the contempt petition, the Judges observed, “We also find the conduct of the lawyers in immediately shooting letters to the district judge, complaining against the measures taken by the administration for restricting the entry to the courts on that date as a grave obstruction in the administration of justice, a little surprising, when we see that for the smallest reasons, real or supposed, and for the most trivial causes, the lawyers readily resort to strikes which results in complete paralysis of the functioning of the courts. This cause litigants to return in dismay and their cases keep hanging for long periods of time, attracting the ire of the Supreme Court and this Court time and again.”

“In contrast, on March 30 the courts do appear to have functioned, though the functioning might not have been total because of the measures taken by the administration. But we must not forget the Catch-22 situation with which the administration had confronted. If they had not taken the measures they took, there could well have been an attack or a skirmish in the court premises and danger to life and property, for which they would have been taken to task, and if they took action as they have done, they are now facing charges of contempt. They seem to have acted for preventing damage to the court premises and for maintaining the law and order, when tempers of the contending parties ran so high. They have also tendered unconditional apology. This court thinks that their actions were little excessive,” the judges maintained.

The court, however, cautioned the officers that whenever such a volatile situation arises or is likely to arise, they must take extreme care and precaution and instruct the police and other officials to act with restraint and to ensure that the access of the litigants and persons connected with the Courts are not interfered with and the public is not denied right to seek justice in the courts of law.




HC-appointed civic panel meets

TNN 4 August 2009, 12:04am IST

Ahmedabad: The first meeting of the high court-appointed committee on civic affairs headed by retired justice Kamal Mehta took place recently. The committee would examine issues related to illegal construction, parking, drainage, quality of roads and fire safety in buildings.

The committee involves urban development principal secretary Gauri Kumar, Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) commissioner IP Gautam, CEPT University assistant director Shivanand Swami, joint commissioner of police, traffic Atul Karwal and Ahmedabad Urban Development Authority (AUDA) chairman.

Some of the key issues that HC division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi pointed out were that the committee was to resolve the age-old problem of buildings being constructed without building use permission. The second issue is absence of fire safety features and equipment in many buildings. Another major reform process that the HC wanted the committee to devise was a process where the traffic police is called in for suggestions while earmarking commercial areas at the planning stage.





Centre may not challenge Delhi HC verdict on homosexuality

Submitted by admin3 on 3 August 2009 – 10:19pm.


New Delhi: Upholding the Delhi High Court verdict that homosexuality is no crime, Union Law Minister Veerappa Moily yesterday said, “The court has decided the case on the basis of adequate studies, documents and arguments.”

The verdict delivered recently deeply upset Indian ethos. There were loud voices of protests from almost all religions of the land. They demanded that article 377 of IPC, outlawing homosexuality, should not be tampered. Mr. Moily had said to amend the law before the HC verdict that says homosexuality is no crime.

Disregarding religious opinions, the law minister also expressed apprehension, “Article 377 may be misused in future. So, the law should not be allowed to become a means of harassment by officers.” Advocating the cause of eunuchs, a local organization in Delhi has been complaining about police behaviour.

“Article has been misused earlier too”, Mr. Moily admitted in an interview beamed at CNN-IBN TV channel. He further said, “We have a Constitution, yet laws running parallel to the Constitution have come into existence. There are many among such laws that do not pass the test of the Constitution.”

When asked during the interview, why the government did not appeal Supreme Court to issue stay orders against the HC verdict, the law minister replied, “Doing so would amount to violating right to freedom enshrined in the Constitution.”



LEGAL NEWS 31/7 – 3/8/2009

Kerala not interested in establishing new court: CJI

Thrissur, Sunday 2 August 2009: Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said the State Governments were not taking any interest to start new courts.

Inaugurating the concluding meeting of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the ‘Irrinjalakuda’ Courts, near here, the CJI said the State Governments were not allotting funds for the new courts.

He said the insufficiency of the courts in the country was the reason for cases to stagnate.

Pointing out the judiciary functioning in Kerala, especially the the family courts was a model to other States, he said they were a model to other state and family courts in certain other states were not functioning properly.

The Chief Justice said the Supreme Court had demanded starting 150 new courts in the State.





Ex-CJI disagrees with SC on Maya statue row



Posted: Jul 25, 2009 at 1710 hrs IST

New Delhi Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has disagreed with the apex court’s view declining to intervene into the UP cabinet decision on installing statues including that of Chief Minister Mayawati in the state.

“If judiciary can go into the decision of cabinet pertaining to article 356 (in S R Bommai case) and judicial review is available to check the ultra vires of constitutional amendment, then I fail to understand why it cannot go into the statue issue,” he said.

He was speaking at a convention on ‘City Development: Sustainability and Legal Interface’ organised by CII and Bar Association of India.

Justice Verma referred to the order of apex court on July 10 expressing its inability to do anything as the installation of statues (of elephant and UP CM Mayawati) had the mandate of the (state) cabinet to say that the judiciary can very well review a cabinet decision.

Justice Verma also took the political leaders to task for believing that they can do whatever they wish to during their tenure in public offices.

“Policy adopted by various people to do whatever you can while in the office like installing statute in public places…, huge stretch of land is being cleared for the sake of installing statute of elephants, if it is of person it can be said okay,” he said.

To a question on allegations that a Central Minister tried to influence Madras High Court Judge Justice R Reghupathy in a marksheet scam case, Justice Balakrishnan reiterated that nobody had spoken to the judge.

“I was concerned after seeing media reports and inquired the matter. No minister called him.. nobody called him (on phone),” he said.




Cyber Tribunal established : CJI

Kochi, Aug 1 : Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan today noted that a Cyber Tribunal under the IT Act has started functioning in New Delhi in the backdrop of the high incidence of cyber crimes.

Addressing a gathering after inaugurating a public awareness programme on ‘Cyber Crime Against Women’, organised here by KELSA, C-DIT and Department of Social Welfare, Kerala Government, Mr Justice Balakrishnan said the legal system and the regulatory bodies should make sure the new technologies do not become tools of exploitation and misuse.

He noted that a Cyber Tribunal had started functioning in the national capital and Cyber Appellate Tribunal would be coming up in due course.

Touching on the misuse of the internet facilities and the advances in IT, the CJI said there were certain practical difficulties in enforcing law on the culprits involved in cyber crimes.

”There are practical difficulties to enforce law against people in foreign jurisdiction and also in tracking down the culprits,” he added.

Enumerating on the measures to be taken, he said the government could impose ban on websites posting pornography but it was not right to impose a blanket ban on various websites.

In his address, Kerala Chief Minister V S Achuthanandan said more teeth were needed to the law to deal with cyber crime.

Kerala High Court Chief Justice S R Bannurmath, State Health Minister P K Sreemathy among thers participated in the programme.





Delhi HC stays MRTPC probe into two foreign banks

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has stayed the probe by the fair trade regulator MRTPC into excessive rates allegedly charged by ABN Amro bank and Standard Chartered Bank for foreclosing loans.

Admitting the plea of the banks, the Court has directed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission to first decide whether it has the jurisdiction over banks for conducting such investigations.

“We are of the view that the question of maintainability and jurisdiction ought to be decided first by the MRTPC and then only the preliminary investigation be proceeded with,” said a Division Bench comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal.

In May 2009, the MRTPC had directed its investigating unit Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) to look into the “foreclosure charges” taken by the banks, suspecting them to be anti-consumer.

Initiating the probe, the DGIR wrote to ABN Amro and Standard Chartered Bank, directing them to furnish information on their customers and other details.

This was challenged by the banks before the High Court and they submitted that the MRTPC has no jurisdiction over the banking sector and even the MRTP Act, 1969, identifies the RBI as the sole regulator for the sector.





PSUs face pollution PIL


Ranchi, Aug. 1: Washeries of Central Coalfields Limited (CCL) in Rajrappa and Hindustan Aluminium Corporation (Hindalco) in Muri have been brought under the judicial scanner for violating norms of the state pollution control board and the Environment Protection Act.

A PIL has been filed before the Jharkhand High Court today alleging violation of the act by the two PSUs.

The petitioner, Chittaranjan Das Choudhary, said that while the CCL washeries in Rajrappa discharge waste into the Damodar and Bheda rivers, the Hindalco releases fly ash on open ground surrounding the plant in Muri. The fly ash forms a layer on the ground, which affects crops, Choudhary said in his petition.

He said the Damodar river is polluted with continuous coal discharge let into the river by the CCL.

Residents in Sondi, Buchundi, Koihara, Mile, Marangmarcha, Tebardag and several other villages in the area suffer from skin diseases and several other ailments because of consumption of the polluted river water. The CCL management is not abiding by the rules under the Hazardous Management (Management and Handling) Rules, which are mandatory for the organisation, the petitioner said.

The people of Muri and surrounding places have developed lungs and eye diseases because of the fly ash and it also has its effect on the brain of residents of the area, Choudhary said.

Agricultural lands in Muri have also lost its fertility because of steady dumping and piling of ash. Hindalco has not taken any steps to control the spread of ash unabated in the area.





From Conservative to Activist

Understanding the dynamics of the separation of powers

TCA Anant 


The interface between and law and economic policy in India is a fascinating exploration in the issues relating to constitutional doctrines of separation of powers and issues in development policy. The role played by the judiciary takes us into domains of policy and governance that are unique in the democratic world.

This story has a number of phases. The first phase began with independence and continued until the mid seventies. During this phase the court may be described as being conservative but essentially protective of the constitutional rights. It avoided confronting Parliament on issues of economic regulation and civil liberties, preferring to help establish the legitimacy of the Central government. However its inherent legal conservatism led it to conflicts with the executive and legislature on laws related to property. The right to property was originally included among the Fundamental Rights. It was this right that was seen by successive Congress governments as the most serious obstacle to socialism or social reform and the effort to break the power of traditional elites. The Forty Fourth Amendment to the Indian Constitution represents the culmination of this process. Apart from removing the ‘right to property’ as a fundamental right and locating it as a much weaker statutory or constitutional right, where it reads as ‘No person shall be deprived of his property save by authority of law’, this Amendment constitutionally precludes judicial questioning of any compensation regime put in place by the legislature.

The next phase was brief with the emergency, and the suppression of basic rights. The end of the emergency in 1977, sees the emergence of the court in a new interventionist light. This happened with the Supreme Court enlarging the  reach of law and its jurisdiction in two ways. One, by re-interpreting the constitution to expand the scope and content of various fundamental rights, and two, by moderating the ancient requirement of locus standi (standing and interest) for access to judicial remedies and redress. As a consequence, where it was felt that there had been gross violation of fundamental rights, procedural requirements were eased to enable individuals or organisations to approach the Supreme Court and High Courts on the behalf of those unable to do so themselves – “in the public interest”. Typically these cases dealt with gross violation of rights – many of them involving women as victims, in locations such as prisons and remand homes. [1]


However it was the Bhopal Gas Tragedy that changed the character of this intervention. The legal response to Bhopal was poor, and the matter was settled leaving no opportunity to develop a jurisprudence on mass torts. However the incident both raised public concern as well as highlighted the failure of the existing legal regulatory framework for taking remedial steps. This then laid the ground for a number of public interest litigations (PIL) that were filed on various environmental matters. One of the most influential PILs in this category was the one on Delhi Air Pollution. [2]

In 1985, concerned with Delhi’s growing pollution problems MC Mehta filed a writ petition to direct the Delhi Government to implement the Air Act. This petition led to a series of inquiries by the court on how this problem was being handled. In the early stages of the litigation the impact was primarily to push the executive into formulating measures for pollution control. These measures were ineffective due to poor implementation. The poor progress pushed the court into pushing the administration into creating an authority (The Bhure Lal Committee) to monitor progress and implementation. This authority was further assisted by the court in that a number of its decisions (using the tool of continuing mandamus) were made into court orders so that violation/ non-implementation of the order opened the door for a charge of contempt of court. This method of intervention was not unique and in number of cases before the courts similar solutions were adopted (Forests, Right to Food, Delhi Master Plan and etc.) A second form of judicial intervention took place where the courts felt that the existing legal regime was not adequately protective of rights. Thus in the now famous Vishaka judgement [3]  aggravated by the fact that civil and penal law in India does not protect women from sexual harassment in the work place, the Supreme Court specified a model law to prevent sexual harassment.

The benefits and achievements of this expanded role for the judiciary are undeniable, but then what are the costs?

Separation of Powers: An economic rationale

I have used the the concept of transaction costs to develop an economic rationale for describing the institutions comprising the State . The basic idea is that if no transaction costs are incurred towards establishing and maintaining the order that the State aspires towards, the institutional form of the State would not matter. The question then arises, what exactly are the types of transactions costs that different institutional mechanisms in the state seeking to mitigate?

The legislature in modern democracies is constituted through elected representatives which implies that the representatives encapsulate in their own preferences an aggregate measure of those who elect them enabling them to make decisions relating to  provision of public goods and creation or abrogation of rights. These decisions require making distributional assumptions on the preferences of the affected population. Similarly judiciaries adjudicate competing claims of parties with private information and vested interests in their disclosure through adoption of rules of procedure and decision making which are efficient and perceived to be ex-ante fair under such situations of incomplete and asymmetric information. Finally the executive can be viewed as a hierarchical body that makes technical decisions in the face of incomplete information by creating systems of incentives and structure that allow the use of scientific, epidemiological and statistical knowledge and personalised idiosyncratic skills. The significant inference could be that since the legislature, the executive, and the judiciary process uniquely distinct categories of information, the separation of powers doctrine acts to minimise transaction costs. It follows from this that allocation problems themselves should be paired up with the appropriate institution to gain an efficient solution.

The formulation spelled out is schematic in nature – in practice there can be considerable overlap across different institutions of the kind of transaction cost they minimize. It must also be realised that transaction costs in themselves are not static, often changing with technological change. It is also essential not to misinterpret our formulation as saying that transaction costs can explain or justify the doctrine of separation of powers. To take such a stance, it would require us to show how the presence of transaction costs leads to the separation of powers. Instead we have used the notion of transactions costs, or more specifically the information costs of social decision-making, to deduce that problems confronting the State can be best solved by being placed in the appropriate niche carved out by the doctrine of separation of powers.

While these arguments are persuasive they do not account for the possibility of institutional failure. Economists are familiar with this concept, the concepts relating to external economies and diseconomies, public goods, indivisibilities etc have all been used to develop the ideas of market failure.  The traditional text book treatment of this issue will then argue that there is a case for a non market institution to step in. In a similar vein we can argue that corruption, electoral infirmities and imperfect access to capital markets could similarly affect each one of the institutions of the state. Further the dynamic character of transactions costs implies that the boundaries of decision making of these different institutions themselves cannot be rigid.

The framers of the Indian constitution did not formulate a strict doctrine of separation of powers but envisaged a system of checks and balances. Thus vehicle of executive action through judicial support has sought to compensate for the fact that executive decision making was being subordinated to political expediency. This solution is fraught with its own risks of legitimacy and effectiveness. To illustrate the vehicle pollution case has focused on Delhi and a few major metros. However air pollution and other forms of pollution are issues of nation wide concern, and thus effective policy requires involvement of agents at much broader levels than are currently feasible in court procedures.

Discomfort with these solutions can be seen in a variety of court judgements [5] where the court has cautioned on the tendency of judiciaries to encroach on legislative and executive powers.  Thus in the Aravali Golf Club case the court observed “Under our Constitution, the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary all have their own broad spheres of operation. Ordinarily it is not proper for any of these three organs of the State to encroach upon the domain of another, otherwise the delicate balance in the Constitution will be upset, and there will be a reaction”.  But the balance cannot be merely by a return by the court to an earlier era of conservative interpretation, in Pareen Swarup [6] the court observed  “It is necessary that the Court may draw a line which the executive may not cross in their misguided desire to take over bit by bit and judicial functions and powers of the State exercised by the duly constituted Courts. While creating new avenue of judicial forums, it is the duty of the Government to see that they are not in breach of basic constitutional scheme of separation of powers and independence of the judicial function.”  Or in the matter relating the Madras High Court decision on the Madras Bar association case the Supreme Court pointed to the need for a constitution bench to examine the domain of legislative competence in creating new judicial forums. Thus appreciating  the correct role for each constitutional institution is a challenge which we need to take up in order to develop a more sustainable model of governance. Similar words could be used for the activist Indian judiciary.


Anant, TCA and Jaivir Singh. (2002) ‘An Economic Analysis of Judicial Activism’ Economic and Political Weekly Vol. XXXVII No. 43 Oct 26 pp. 4433- 4439

Anant, TCA “Environment and Law” in The Oxford Companion to Economics in India General Editor: Kaushik Basu

Anant, TCA and Jaivir Singh “Structuring Regulation: The Constitutional and Legal Frame in India”

[1] Among many other cases see, for example, for under trail prisoners: Hussainara Khatoon v. Bihar 1979 SC 1360; prison inmates: Sunil Batra v. Delhi Administration AIR 1982 SC 1473; remand homes: Munna v. State of U.P AIR 1982 SC 806; women in protective custody: Dr. Upendra Baxi v. U.P (1983) 2 SCC 308.

[2] MC Mehta v Union of India WP (civil) 130295 of 1985

[3] Vishaka v. State of Rajasthan (1997) 6 SCC 241

[4] The size and composition of representative processes have changed over time.  These changes have reflected both developments in technology as well as social thought. Thus we have moved from the small assemblies of adult men in ancient societies to the confused chatter of the World Wide Web. Our experiments with representation continue with our concerns for rights of the media and freedom of information.

[5] Common Cause vs Union of India (2008)5SCC511,  Divisional Manager, Aravali Golf Club 2007(14)SCALE1

[6] (2008)13 SCALE 84





SC justice asks judges to deliver judgements after proper hearing

Punjab Newsline Network   

Sunday, 02 August 2009
CHANDIGARH: The Judge of Supreme Court of India, Justice Tarun Chatterjee gave a clarion call to the judge fraternity that they should deliver the judgement after proper hearing of the cases so that the prompt justice could be provided to the litigants.

This was stated by  Justice Tarun Chatterjee in his inaugural address at function which was held to review Samadhan-2009 and working of Mediation and Conciliation organized by State Legal Service Authorities of Punjab, Haryana and Union Territory, Chandigarh and Punjab and Haryana High Court Mediation and Conciliation Committee in the premises of Chandigarh Judicial Academy here today.

Chatterjee stressed the need to follow the prescribed procedure while disposing off the cases. He said that they should apply their mind in question so that the cases could be disposed off speedily. While narrating an example of United States of America, he pointed out that he visited USA in 2005 and had visited the Supreme Court of America also where he was apprised that the judges of Supreme Court deals only with the Constitution matters.

He said that the Supreme Court of India was not meant for all cases including cancellation or accepting the bails rather these issues should be disposed off at lower Courts expeditiously. He said that the vacant posts of judges are being filled up and after filling these posts, the cases would be disposed off promptly. He lauded the efforts of the Punjab and Haryana High Court in disposing off the case in a competent manner as the judges of this High Court were honest to their duty and the litigants were also getting good results. He was of the view that it was very difficult to solve the matter relating to matrimonial issues.

Judge of Supreme Court of India,  Justice H.S. Bedi maintained that he had been remained Associated with Chandigarh and Punjab and Haryana High Court since so many years. He appreciated the decision of Chief Justice, Punjab and Haryana High Court,  Justice T.S. Thakur to gave direction to each Judicial Officer to dispose off 200 oldest civil and 200 oldest criminal cases in three phases under Samadhan-2009. He revealed that during the first phase, a sum of Rs. 1850 crore had been disbursed as compensation in Punjab under Samadhan-2009 and it was a remarkable achievement. He pointed out that a number of cases were also being disposed off through Lok Adalats. In disposal of cases, Punjab and Haryana High Court was second after Kerala High Court. He said, “We are proud of Punjab and Haryana High Court and ultimately public would get benefit of this.”

While presiding over the function, Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana High Court,  Justice T.S. Thakur said that Punjab and Haryana High Court have the advantage of having proximity to Supreme Court of India. He said that Samadhan-2009 had been divided into three phases. The first phase was from February 14 to May 30. Similarly, second phase had started from June 1 to September 26 and third phase would culminate on December 20. In the first phase, 96024 cases were taken up, out of which 25710 cases had been disposed off in Haryana while the highest percentage of disposed off cases was 46.9 per cent in Fatehabad followed by Kaithal 43.22 per cent.

Justice  Thakur opined that common sense and positive approach should be utilized while disposing off cases. He also suggested that the Judicial Officers should also ascertain whether the case was fit for to send for Conciliation and Mediation centre. He stressed the need for providing training to the referral judges. He also stressed the need for setting up of more Mediation and Conciliation centres in Punjab and Haryana so that the cases were referred to them. It would also reduce their burden and there would be a win-win situation for them.

The Chief Justice said that the judges should rise according to the occasion and deliver the judgement, it would provide them peace of mind. He opined them that the judges should deliver the justice according to voice of their inner conscious. He informed that a new committee had been set up to suggest for opening of new mediation and conciliation centre so that references could be made.

Executive Chairman, Punjab State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh,  Justice M.S. Gill, while lauding the Samadhan, said that there was a remarkable achievement during Samadhan. He said that similarly, in Lok Adalats which had been held, lakhs of cases were disposed off. He said that during the first phase of Samadhan-2009, as many as 33758 cases has been disposed off in Punjab. He revealed that Bathinda district in Punjab remained first in disposing off the cases while Gurdaspur district remained at the bottom in disposing off the cases. He further said that 1000 cases were referred in Mediation and Conciliation Centres in Punjab and out of these 250 cases had been settled.

Executive Chairman, Haryana State Legal Services Authority, Chandigarh,  Justice A.K. Goel said that the Mediation and Conciliation centres were set up in 2008 and total 18 centres were set up in Punjab and Haryana. He said that first Mediation and Conciliation centre was set up in Punjab and Haryana High Court premises in March 2008 in which 375 cases were referred, out of these, 50 cases were disposed off. Similarly, second centre was set up in Chandigarh Judicial Court where 256 cases were referred and out of these 51 cases were disposed off. He said that in Haryana, 470 cases were disposed off. He said that efforts were being made to provide training in these centres through master key trainers from United States of America as these master trainers have trained already at Delhi.

Justice Goel said that a strategy had been chalked out under which the campaign would be launched to motivate the people through seminars, print and electronic media. He revealed that there were 14 session division in Punjab while it has only eight Mediation and Conciliation Centres. Similarly, in Haryana there were 18 divisions and having only 10 centres. He further said that efforts would be made to set up the centres in the remaining session divisions so that cases could be referred to them.

Justice Mahesh Grover, while addressing the second session regarding Mediation and Conciliation-A new horizon for Dispute Resolutions, maintained that there was a need to adopt holistic approach so that mediator could success in his mission. He said that it was more important to try and fail but it was not important not to try for achieving the goal. He maintained that mediation and conciliation was a good method to resolve the cases and it would ease the tense and confrontation. He opined that a Judge-cum-Lawyer method could succeed in this process and a mechanism should be devised so that the benefit could be percolate to the masses.

In his key note address, Prof. (Dr.) G. Mohan Gopal, Director, National Judicial Academy, Bhopal through Video Conferencing, said that on an average one judge have about 2000 cases in India and in the coming years it would be challenge for us to cope up with the growing demand of the judges with the increasing population. He maintained that according to law commission, 50 judges should be required for one million population while India have only 11 to 14 judges per million. He said that by 2038, the population of India would be 1.50 billion and the total judges would be required 75,000 to dispose off the cases in the country so in this way 61,000 more judges would be required to meet the challenges.





Anti-gay law was an instrument of exploitation: Moily

New Delhi (PTI): Apprehending misuse of Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against homosexuals in the future, Law Minister Veerappa Moily has said the law should not become an instrument of exploitation by authorities.

Mr. Moily while admitting that the anti-gay law had been misused in the past, complimented the Delhi High Court for a “well-research, well-documented, well-argued” judgement decriminalising homosexuality.

“If it has been misused earlier, it can be misused in future as well. Any law should not be used as an instrument of exploitation, harassment or allow the authority to misuse it.

“This is one such provision that has a tendency of misuse and exploitation, and has been misused,” Mr. Moily told Karan Thapar in CNN-IBN’s Devil’s Advocate programme.

“One thing must go to the credit of the Delhi High Court judgement — It is well-documented, well-researched, well-argued. I must tell the judges…the subject may be difficult, but at the same time this is one judgement, which has really stood out in the judicial annals of this country,” he said.

Pointing out that several laws enacted in the pre-Independence British Raj contradicted the Constitution and may not stand scrutiny, he said, adding that such laws include some sections of the IPC and the Evidence Act.

“We have a Constitution — many a times the Constitution runs parallel to many laws which were enacted earlier to the Constitution coming into force. This includes many provisions including some of the sections under the IPC or the Evidence Act,” Mr. Moily said.

“Many of these things (laws), if put to acid test of the Constitution, they may not stand up to the scrutiny. This is the apprehension,” he added.

The Law Minister said either the Constitution makers did not anticipate this situation or a review of the laws or the Constitution should have taken place for properly synchronising the two.

On reasons for the government not asking for a stay of the Delhi HC judgement before the Supreme Court, Mr. Moily said it would have been “preposterous”, as it was an important question of law relation to Constitutional rights of liberty and privacy.

“They (HC) have given a judgement. As against that, obtaining a stay may be sometimes preposterous, unless we have a final verdict from the Supreme Court,” he said.

There would occasions when the government would not seek to reverse a judgement, he said, adding that the Supreme Court or the Judiciary have rights to lay down the law.





HC directs Jamia to hold re-examination for student


New Delhi, Aug 2 (PTI) An aspiring business management student will be able to reappear for the Jamia Millia Islamia BBS entrance examination 2009-10 after the Delhi High Court came to her rescue.

The court directed the university to conduct re-examination of the Bachelors in Business Studies (BBS) on August 4 for the student after the same roll number of the June 16 test was found alloted to two candidates.

It asked Mahira Khan, whose roll number was also alloted to another candidate, to complete formalities by July 31 for the re-examination.

The university’s Registrar, Z H Khan, admitted through an affidavit before Justice Anil Kumar that due to clerical error another candidate was issued the roll number-BBS 2082 and agreed to conduct re-examination, the court informed.





Girl’s consent to have physical relations invalid before 18: HC

TNN 2 August 2009, 02:20am IST

LUCKNOW: Can a 16-year-old girl’s consent to have sexual intercourse be considered valid? The colonial legislation of British period, Indian Penal Code, 1860 speaks in affirmative but the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court has said that since a girl is not considered mentally and physically fit to give her consent to any person to have sexual intercourse at this age, her consent cannot be supposed to be made out of free will and hence it is taken that she cannot give her consent.

Justice VD Chaturvedi, while issuing notices to Attorney General of India and UP Advocate General to have their response whether Central and state governments intended to raise the 16 years age parameter to 18 for the purpose of Section 375 IPC or not and if not, for what reasons, hauled up the said existing provision. He commented, “Indian Penal Code was enacted by the Britishers in 1860. It was enacted keeping in view the interest of the Britishers, who came to rule India.”

The judge added, “The large number of Britishers did not bring their families with them. The consent of a girl of 16 years, for sexual intercourse was made a `valid consent’ under 375 IPC probably to protect such Britishers, if any of them had sex with a girl below 18 years.”

Holding the age of 16 as premature to provide consent for intercourse, the judge derived clues from different enactments passed by Parliament in Independent India including Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act, Child Marriage Restraint Act, Indian Majority Act, Contract Act, Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, Children Act, Indian Christian Marriage Act, Excise Act and Indian Citizenship Act. The court discovered that under these enactments, the age of a girl has been determined either 18 or 21 for any purpose the Acts are framed for, but the age old IPC in sections 375 and 361 mentioned 16 years for the purpose of legalising rape or kidnapping of male child, respectively. These provisions are in breach of the Directive Principles of State Policy contained in article 39 of the Constitution of India, said the court.

The statutes of Independent India indicate that a person attains the age of matured understanding or rational understanding only after he or she completes 21 years of age and in some statutes 18. This distinction in age suggests that the age between 18 to 21 is such an age when immaturity of mind diminishes gradually and the maturity of mind (thought) and the capability of taking rational decisions develops gradually in a normal person. A child below 18 is not expected to take a sound decision hence the consent of a female below 18 is of no avail to an accused, said the court.

The court said that a girl below 21 is not normally fit to think good or bad of her own and therefore, if any decision taken between 18 to 21 is injurious to her welfare or interest, it must be deemed that such a decision was taken under inducement.

“It is irony of law that, on one hand a person below 18 is treated as a child or a minor and is considered incapable to take care of his or her own person, is not considered fit for marriage but on the other hand a female child of 16 years is considered mentally and physically fit to give consent to any person to have sexual intercourse with her (under section 375 IPC) and a male child of 16 is deemed mentally matured to give consent to go with another (under section 361 IPC).” commented the court.

The court pondered the alleged irrational provisions in course of hearing of a criminal appeal filed by a rape convict sentenced with seven years of rigorous imprisonment. In the appeal, the convict had pleaded that the girl was 17 years of age at the time of rape. She had given her consent for making bodily relations. Therefore, his conviction was not proper under section 376 for rape as section 375 IPC provided that the prosecutrix could give consent for sexual intercourse after attaining the age of 16. Looking to the circumstances of the case, the court dismissed the appeal upholding the conviction, also holding that the consent was not voluntary.

The court directed its registrar to list the case as criminal miscellaneous case and sought response from Central and state governments to raise the age limit of 16 to 18 for the purpose of sections 375 and 361 IPC. The court directed to list the case on August 31 for hearing.




HC seeks info on bridge delay

TNN 1 August 2009, 03:24am IST

Patna: The Patna High Court on Friday directed the state government to file a counter affidavit to a PIL of Sudhir Kumar Ojha, stating inordinate delay in construction of a rail overbridge near Motijheel in Muzaffarpur town.

In its counter affidavit, the Indian Railway Construction Corporation (IRCON) submitted that the Muzaffarpur district administration was not cooperating with it for freeing the encroached piece of land acquired for the overbridge.





Living together for long is like marriage: SC

PTI 3 August 2009, 01:52am IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court has held that if a man and a woman are residing together for a long time and have been accepted by the society as husband and wife, a presumption of a valid marriage can be drawn.

“A long cohabitation and acceptance of society of a man and woman as husband and wife goes a long way in establishing a valid marriage,” a Bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph observed. The Bench said when disputes of valid marriages come into question, courts can draw a presumption on the basis of the conduct between the two parties. In arriving at a finding of fact, the trial judge was not only entitled to analyse the evidences brought on record by the parties so as to come to a conclusion as to whether all the ingredients of a valid marriage as contained in Section 5 of the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 stand established or not.

The Bench passed the ruling while dismissing an appeal of one Challamma, who questioned the claim of a woman’s marriage to her deceased son.




Just 45 women as HC judges, not one in SC

Kartikeya, TNN 3 August 2009, 01:20am IST

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court and various high courts regularly hear petitions lamenting that a particular section of society is inadequately represented in service or in education. Ironically, one field in which women are grossly under-represented in India is the higher judiciary itself — of 617 high court judges in the country, only 45 are women. And currently, there isn’t a single woman judge in the Supreme Court.

The strongest contingent of women judges in India is in the Bombay High Court, which has seven of them on the bench (roughly a tenth of the total number of judges).

In contrast, six of the country’s 21 high courts — Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Sikkim and Uttarakhand — have no women judges at all.

‘‘The statistics don’t surprise me. Women face gender discrimination in all walks of society,’’ said Neelima Chandiramani, principal of K C Law College. ‘‘Mumbai, though, has always been better than other parts of the country for women in the legal profession. Here you see more women practising at the Bar than anywhere else. Thus it has a pool from which women are elevated to the high court.’’

The Supreme Court itself has seen only three women justices in the 59 years since it was set up. The last woman judge in the Supreme Court, Ruma Pal, retired in 2006.

A parliamentary committee report tabled in October 2008 said that women, among other weaker sections of society, were ‘‘inadequately represented’’ in high courts and the Supreme Court. However, the government also says its hands are tied by the Constitution on the issue.

Appointment of judges to the Supreme Court and high courts is made under Article 124 and 217 of the Constitution of India, respectively, which do not provide for reservation for any caste or class of persons.




Creamy layer surfaces in GHMC legal battle

TNN 3 August 2009, 12:15am IST

HYDERABAD: Creamy layer among the backward classes, one of the contentious issues surrounding BC reservations, came up during the arguments over the GHMC election tussle in the AP High Court.

State government, as seen from the advocate general D V Sitarama Murthy’s arguments, is of the view that creamy layer norm for BCs is applicable to only educational and employment spheres and cannot be extended to the political spectrum.

A person, in the list of socially and educationally backward classes, continues to remain in the said list and even if he becomes part of the creamy layer, he will still be a member of the BC community, the AG said. The creamy among the BCs are not entitled to avail the benefits of reservation for admissions into educational institutions and public employment, he said.

The bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan said the AG’s submission may have merited acceptance had it not been for the fact that the explanation the government gave to Section 5 of the Hyderabad Municipal Corporation Act (HMC Act) which defined BCs as any socially and educationally backward class of citizens recognised by the government for the purpose of extending the constitutional benefits in education and employment spheres.

Further, the bench said, the GO Ms No 3 issued on April 4, 2006 requires creamy layer to be excluded from the list of backward classes enlisted through a GO in 1970. A literal interpretation of the explanation the government offered to Section 5 of the GHMC Act requires the BCs to be those socially and educationally backward recognised by the government of Andhra Pradesh for the purpose of providing admissions into educational institutions as per the Constitution excluding the creamy layer, the bench said.

This would equally apply to the reservation of seats in favour of the BCs in GHMC, the bench said. More over, it said, the backward status vanishes once someone becomes part of the creamy layer.

Following AG’s argument, the bench agreed with the state’s view with regard to the share (33 per cent) the BCs should be entitled and rejected the petitioners’ argument that BC population in GHMC is less than 33 per cent.

It also said that the GHMC can enlist the BC voters and not the BC Commission as was sought by the petitioners. The bench also upheld the contention of the state government that seats to SCs and STs would be allotted on the basis of their population and not on the basis of their presence in the voters’ list. The petitioners demand for the latter was also rejected. One more area where the bench agreed with the AG was that the division of wards in GHMC was by and large scientific and the 10 per cent variance allowed in terms of per centage of population was adhered to in majority of the wards.





Pension windfall for retired judge

Shailvee Sharda, TNN 3 August 2009, 01:27am IST

LUCKNOW: “You must be joking…” is how retired Justice, RN Sharma reacted when his family members broke news that he would be getting over a lakh rupees per month as pension. Interestingly, Justice Sharma retired from the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad high court in 1966 with a monthly pension of around Rs 700 a month. He joined the Indian Judicial Services as a munsif in 1931 and rose to the level of a high court judge.

Few months short of touching his 105th birthday, Justice Sharma is believed to be the oldest pensioner in Uttar Pradesh. The fact has been acknowledged by authorities at Lucknow district treasury office from where the pension is disbursed.

The hike in pension has come due to the High Court and Supreme Court Judges (Salaries and Condition of Services) Amendment Act, 2009. This amendment has enhanced age-related quantum of pension or family pension being awarded to retired judges of the two courts.

A government order in this regard issued by department of justice, ministry of law and justice (dated May 11, 2009 no: L-11017/1/2008-Jus) says that the enhanced pension is to be given from January 1, 2006. To fix the additional quantum of pension/family pension, the government has categorised pensioners in certain age-slabs. Under this, the additional quantum being awarded to retired judges who are 100 or more is 100 per cent.

As on date, the pension of a retired judge is about Rs 40,000 a month. The amount does not include 22% dearness allowance and certain other allowances (eg: Like servant allowance of Rs 3,000 a month) given to a retired judge.

A cent per cent increase in the pension makes it Rs 80,000 per month. Adding 22% DA would make the amount Rs 97,600 per month. On adding allowances in the other categories, the amount totals to Rs 1.06 lakh a month.




UP govt implements quota for SCs in tenders

PTI 2 August 2009, 05:00pm IST

LUCKNOW: The Uttar Pradesh government has implemented a provision of 21 per cent reservation to Scheduled Caste contractors in tenders upto rupees five lakh in all departments, a senior official said here.

“As decided by the state cabinet, reservation would be implemented in all tenders upto rupees five lakh in all departments, corporations, enterprises, authorities, boards and local bodies,” he said.

An order to this effect was issued by state chief secretary Atul Kumar Gupta yesterday, he said.

Under the new system while 21 per cent reservation will be given to Scheduled Caste contractors, the limit will be two per cent for ST candidates, the official said.




Cyber Appellate Tribunal coming up in due course: CJI
Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2009 at 20:02 IST

F Prev Next L

Kochi, Aug 1 As part of efforts to check cyber
crimes, Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said a
Cyber Appellate Tribunal and other courts will be coming up in
due course in different parts of the country. A Cyber tribunal has already been set up in New Delhi
as per section 40 of the IT Act, the CJI said addressing a
Public awareness meeting on ‘Cyber Crimes Against Women’ here. Balakrishnan said there are practical difficulties in
dealing with Cyber crime cases since the locality is not
defined and hence it is difficult to identify perpetrators of
such crimes. Many website with obscene contents are registered
abroad. Government can ban such websites, but it would not be
right to clamp a blanket ban on all websites, he said. He said many job and matrimonial websites are misused.There are multifarious ways in which cyber crimes are being
committed, he added stressing the need for creating awareness
about it. Also present at the function, Kerala Chief Minister V
S Achuthanandan said judges and law makers should formulate
action plans to deal with cyber crimes and related issues.”There is need to create more awareness among women
about cyber crimes as it is the fairer sex who mostly become
its victims, he said.





More courts needed to clear backlog of cases: CJI

Published: August 1,2009



Thrissur , Aug 1 Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan today said to clear the backlog of cases more courts should be set up and regretted lack of co-operation from states in this regard.

“It is impossible to clear the pending cases without setting up sufficient number of new courts in different parts of the country,”he said, inaugurating year-long valedictory of the 125 anniversary celebrations of Irinjalakuda law court.

The Chief Justice said cooperation from Kerala government in this regard was also not enough.

He said several CBI cases, in which eminent personalities were implicated, were pending for the last 15 years.

While stressing the need for delivering speedy justice, he sought the co-operation of state governments for setting up new courts to avoid undue delay in disposing of pending cases.

Balakrishnan said 70 per cent of the cases filed in various courts of the country were settled in a”reasonable”period, but 30 per cent remained pending and the pendency could be removed only after setting up of new courts wherever they were essential, he said.

He said his best efforts to clear the backlog of cases since his assumption of office of CJI in January 2007, had not yielded desired results.

The Supreme court had requested the Union Government to set up 4000 more courts in the country. A request had also been made to the appropriate authority to set up 80 more CBI special courts, he added.

Source: PTI





Judicial system in many States not proper: CJI

Staff Reporter

Thrissur: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan has said the judicial system in many States is not proper.

He was addressing the valedictory function of the 125th anniversary celebrations of the Irinjalakuda Courts on Saturday.

“Facilities are few in many States for people to approach courts, file cases and engage lawyers. Systems are not in place. When visitors to the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal want to know how the Indian judiciary functions, they cannot be taken to courts in the region because the judicial system there leaves much to be desired. A film on proper functioning of courts is being made as a guide,” he observed. He said the State governments were not allotting adequate funds to start new courts.

“A huge backlog of cases is the main problem of Indian judiciary. Most of these cases are not too old. About 70 per cent of cases are generally disposed of within a reasonable period. Without new courts, the backlog cannot be cleared. For long, I have been exerting pressure on authorities to set up new courts, but to no avail.”

He said that steps were on to start 60 CBI special courts. “Letters regarding this have been issued to all Chief Ministers. The Centre will provide funds. The State government should extend help for setting up the courts. Over 15 years, many cases investigated by the CBI, including corruption cases involving the high and the mighty, are pending settlement. The country has very few CBI special courts. Kerala has only one. Legisl0ation and procedures are complete to start 4,000 new courts in the country.”

He noted that people in many parts of the country were being excluded from the judicial system. “Compare Kerala with Chhattisgarh. In Kerala, 28 out of 1,000 people approach courts for justice, whereas in Chhattisgarh, only four persons out of 1,000 people do this. It does not mean offences, including human rights violations, are not perpetrated in Chhattisgarh. A team appointed by the Supreme Court visited Chhattisgarh and discovered that only 80 to 85 out of 200 murder cases were being registered. Such a condition is undesirable. People should approach and have access to courts.”





Scrap MRTPC, asap

1 Aug 2009, 0029 hrs IST, ET Bureau

Now that the Competition Commission of India (CCI) has been functional with a full time chairman and several members for about five months, there is little sense to keep the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) alive.

The Centre must repeal the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Act, 1969 (MRTP Act) at the earliest. What we now have is a dual mechanism to deal with competition issues and trade practices. This defeats the very purpose of enacting a modern competition law and putting in place a new mechanism to deal with anti-competitive and restrictive trade practices.

Indeed, anecdotal evidence suggests as much. The MRTPC continues to receive new cases, as much as 30 every month, adding to the backlog of some 2,000 cases. The relative ease to file a complaint before the MRTPC, in addition to the greater familiarity with that mechanism, is said to be the reason why complaints of monopolistic and restrictive trade practices continue to be filed before the MRTPC. Conversely, a fee of Rs 50,000 charged by the CCI to accept complaints of trade practices prejudicial to free play in the market helps keep out frivolous cases.

The government’s lethargic movement on repealing the MRTP Act perhaps has more to do with protecting the interest of those holding office at the MRTPC and others working there. The Competition Act (Section 66) provides for repeal of the MRTP Act and transfer of all undecided cases, other than those pertaining to unfair trade practices, to the CCI.

Cases pertaining to unfair trade practices are to be transferred to the National Commission constituted under the Consumer Protection Act, 1986. It also dealt with severance and settlement of employees of the MRTPC — some are to be repatriated back to their cadre or department. The chairman and members are entitled to three months pay and allowances for premature termination. It is important the Centre moves quickly so as not to undermine the effectiveness of the CCI. Further, the role of the CCI needs to be widely publicised so that aggrieved parties move it for adjudication in contentious cases.






Delhi HC stays MRTPC probe into two foreign banks

New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has stayed the probe by the fair trade regulator MRTPC into excessive rates allegedly charged by ABN Amro bank and Standard Chartered Bank for foreclosing loans.

Admitting the plea of the banks, the Court has directed the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission to first decide whether it has the jurisdiction over banks for conducting such investigations.

“We are of the view that the question of maintainability and jurisdiction ought to be decided first by the MRTPC and then only the preliminary investigation be proceeded with,” said a Division Bench comprising Justice B D Ahmed and Justice Veena Birbal.

In May 2009, the MRTPC had directed its investigating unit Director General of Investigation and Registration (DGIR) to look into the “foreclosure charges” taken by the banks, suspecting them to be anti-consumer.

Initiating the probe, the DGIR wrote to ABN Amro and Standard Chartered Bank, directing them to furnish information on their customers and other details.

This was challenged by the banks before the High Court and they submitted that the MRTPC has no jurisdiction over the banking sector and even the MRTP Act, 1969, identifies the RBI as the sole regulator for the sector.





In 2011, trial to take three years not 15?

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 2 August 2009, 08:02am IST

NEW DELHI: In a move to end the “once a litigant always a litigant” curse, the Centre is examining the first draft of a blueprint that promises to reduce the average pendency of a case from 15 years at present to a mere three years over the next two years.

The ambitious legal reforms will look to setting a certain time-frame for a trial court to deal with a case and could also look at streamlining the appeals process. The reforms are expected to significantly change the lives of nearly 10 crore litigants involved one way or another in 2.6 crore cases some of which can drag on for decades.

With trials often being a labyrinthine process with numerous adjournments, law minister M Veerappa Moily had asked Attorney General G E Vahanvati and Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam to use their experience in judiciary to suggest a practical ready-to-use plan of action to help the common litigant who is often deterred from approaching the courts for fear of long pendency.

The first draft of the blueprint for shrinking the litigation time to just three years, prepared by the two top law officers, was recently handed over to the law minister. This draft is expected to form the agenda of national consulation on judicial reforms, scheduled for end-August.

An overall improvement of the justice delivery mechanism would follow if the suggested reform is implemented, official sources said. They explained that once the drastic reduction in the life of a trial court docket happens, it would unburden 16,000-odd judges of a huge pendency allowing them to give more meaning to the term “justice”.

In addition, it would relieve the pressure on jails, overcrowded with lakhs of undertrials, to help improve facilities as they would have to cater to a lesser number of inmates, official sources said.

The Manmohan Singh government, in its second term, has stressed judicial reforms as a focal point. Even in the past, reforms have often been a talking point with previous regimes which seldom had the desire or the willingness to prod the judiciary into accepting reforms given the fact that courts are seen to be armed with public trust.

With cases of jusicial misconduct also emerging, the law ministry has moved to including the judiciary within the ambit of a law requiring judges to declare their assets.

After the Judges Assets Bill, Moily further opened the reform bag and intiated the groundwork for the Judicial Accountability Bill, which could provide a mechanism to rein in errant judges of the High Courts and the Supreme Court.

But, the pendency of 2.6 crore cases in the trial courts directly affecting 10 crore people and their family members, virtually egged the law minister to give priority to ground level reforms in the judiciary.





Punjab Senior citizens tribunal orders son to pay maintenance to mother



Punjab Newsline Network   
Sunday, 02 August 2009
CHANDIGARH: The maintenance of Parents and Senior citizens Welfare Act 2007  adopted by Punjab Government in July 2008, the court of Tribunal under Maintenance & welfare of parents and Senior Citizens Act 2007 (Sub Divisional Magistrate) Jalandhar-I has pronounced a land mark judgment.

H.S.Mattewal Advocate General Punjab Sunday informed that the the Judge of the tribunal has ordered  Kamaljeet Singh s/o Sukhinder Singh r/o Jalandhar to deposit Rs. 10,000/- per month as maintenance allowance in the account of his mother  Gurcharn Kaur through Cheque/Demand Draft.

The court also directed  kanwaljeet Singh to allow his parents to reside in their residential house at Jalandhar and not restrain their entry. It may be recalled that Kanwaljeet Singh had ousted his parents from the house and they were forced to stay with their daughter at Amritsar.

Mattewal informed that this historic act adopted by the state Government would proved to be a boon for such parents who were rendered shelter less in the old age. This act would also safe guard the interest of such hapless old parents in providing them security in the evening of their life to live with honour and dignity.





NRI groom must add wife’s name to passport: NCW

Seethalakshmi S, TNN 2 August 2009, 03:53am IST

BANGALORE: If you’re actively engaged in arranging your daughter’s marriage to an NRI, the NCW’s proposals should give you some peace of mind. Your prospective son-in-law may have to compulsorily include her name in his passport.

This is one of the NCW’s proposed guidelines following the increasing number of fraudulent marriages in which NRI men overseas have duped families and left girls in the lurch. The NCW has noticed a disturbing trend: easy dissolution of such marriages by courts abroad even though the wedlock was solemnized in India as per Indian laws.

“Currently, there is no comprehensive and special law to govern this issue, specially due to jurisdictional issues to decide matrimonial cases. The girl’s family has nowhere to go when things go wrong. It’s time we put a law in place,” sources said.




MRTP Commission getting more complains then CCI

Jul 31, 2009 Government Policy

Even after three months of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) coming into force, its predecessor, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) is continuing to accept fresh cases on a daily basis.  Complainants are continuing to show a preference for MRTPC to the CCI, which is a costlier option for the common man and follows a detailed process of accepting complaints.  In two months, MRTPC may stop accepting new complaints, but will adjudicate on all petitions received till then, senior government officials told. MRTPC was supposed to stop accepting fresh complaints once the CCI is operationalised, but has not turned a blind eye to new complaints.

This has been possible as the government has not notified a provision in the Competition Act which will outrightly restrict MRTPC from registering new cases coming before it, a government official said on the condition of anonymity.  The ministry of corporate affairs, which is the administrative ministry for the functioning of both the CCI and MRTPC, is likely to restrict the latter from taking fresh matters in a couple of months, the official added. Till then, citizens willing to register their complaints for anti-competitive activities in companies can approach any of these two forums, he said.

As the procedural formalities in CCI are more detailed and involves a cost for filing a complaint, the influx of fresh complaints in MRTPC is continuing. According to the official, the MRTPC is adding over 30 cases every month over its overall pendency of over 2,000 cases. The number of cases in CCI, on the other hand, has been quite low with only two cases being taken up for further investigations till date.

CCI charges Rs 50,000 as a fee while accepting a petition. Experts say this is particularly because CCI is a platform where big corporate houses can file complaints against the behaviour of their rivals. Also, it is not prudent to over burden the new regulator with frivolous cases.

The lack of staff and resources at MRTPC is affecting its investigation and adjudication in many cases that are already pending before it. While the MRTPC is investigating many cases of alleged anti-competitive practices in sectors like aviation, telecom and cement, what the forum lacks is the regulatory teeth to impose a heavy fine. While the functional ambit of the CCI is much wider than that of the MRTPC, they share common area of operation in matters of monopolistic activities indulged into by companies.

India’s anti-trust body CCI will look into all competition related aspects affecting mergers, market share and presence of dominant entities and regulation of firms. The government has not yet empowered CCI to take up cases of merger, and is by far looking into cases against companies indulging in anti-competitive practices and abusing their dominance in the market.





HC gets SC flak for green signal to Jaya statues

Tannu Sharma Posted: Saturday , Aug 01, 2009 at 0231 hrs New Delhi:

The Supreme Court on Friday set aside a Madras High Court verdict approving the state’s decision to put up statutes and arches dedicated to then chief minister J Jayalalithaa on some state highways in 2005. Slamming the decision, the Bench of Justices S B Sinha and Deepak Verma said, “The state being the principal protector of the rights of its citizens…should not have granted such permission. What is important is public interest and not any private interest or interest of a political party.”

Setting aside the judgment dated March 21, 2005, wherein Section 26 of the TN Highways Act, 2001, was questioned, the apex court said, “We, with respect, are not in a position to persuade ourselves to agree with the opinion of the HC.” The Bench also opined that HC committed “a manifest error” in holding that power to grant permission for erecting constructions strictly lies with the highway authority and not with the state.





Health spa services by opp sex can’t be prevented:HC


Chennai, Aug 1 (PTI) The Madras High Court has held that the city police has no legal right to prevent a health spa from being run by any citizen of the country even if the services were offered by members of opposite sex.

Granting an interim injunction on a application by M/s Influence Lifestyle Stores Private Ltd seeking to restrain police from interfering with the “peaceful conduct” of the business offering various spa therapies for both sexes by members belonging to both sexes, Justice K Chandru said “there is no law regulating the field”.

The Judge, in his order yesterday, cited judgements of the Supreme Court to show that “a majoritarian impulse rooted in moralistic tradition cannot impinge upon individual autonomy”.

At the same time, the Judge said, the police were entitled to inspect such premises and take appropriate action according to law in cases of any criminal activities prohibited by law.





SC to hear plea against HC order for phasing out of Kolkata old vehicles

TNN 1 August 2009, 02:15am IST

NEW DELHI: With the Calcutta High Court refusing to extend the July 31 deadline for phasing out of old and polluting commercial vehicles and the Supreme Court declining to pass any interim order on Friday, the West Bengal government could face a catch 22 situation.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathaisvam refused to pass any interim order but posted the appeal filed by the Bengal Bus Syndicate for hearing on Tuesday.

This means, if the state does not implement the HC order for phasing out 15-year-old commercial vehicles from the Calcutta Metropolitan Area awaiting an outcome on the appeal before the SC, it could make itself liable for contempt before the HC.

The HC had last week refused to extend the July 31 deadline saying it had not passed the order to serve the interests of the advocates or politicians or industrialists but for the sake of the general public, who had a fundamental right to get fresh air. The HC had given a year’s time for the phasing out.

The state government, facing the ire of the public transport associations which appeared to be hit by the HC order, had done precious little to implement the July 18, 2008 order. With the HC firm on not hearing a plea on the phase-out matter till August 21, the bus syndicate moved an appeal before the SC challenging the directive.





HC stays NIT notice to vacate Gharkul flats

TNN 1 August 2009, 05:54am IST

NAGPUR: In a major respite to flat owners of Gharkul Scheme at Nandanvan, the Nagpur bench of Bombay High Court has granted a status quo on the notice issued by Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) for cancellation of allotment of the blocks in the scheme.

A division bench comprising justices AP Lavande and Pramod Kode also issued show cause notice to the respondent NIT asking them file a reply within three weeks. The court’s orders came while hearing a petition filed by Sharda Padole and three others. A battery of lawyers including SP Kshirsagar, PK Dhomne, SD Khati and SG Ramteke represented the petitioners before the court.

According to the petitioners, the civic body issued an advertisement offering small blocks of 300 sq ft on March 15, 1999, in the said scheme. The flats were offered to buyers having income less than Rs 54,000 per annum. However, it was not mentioned that if the income goes above the prescribed level, the allotment would be cancelled, the petitioners contended.

The petitioners furthered contended that in 1998 and 1999, they were not earning more than Rs 54,000 as salary per year. Hence, as per the terms of the scheme, NIT was supposed to arrange a loan of Rs 1 lakh for the petitioners. NIT failed to arrange for the loan and granted a no-objection certificate to the petitioners to obtain the same from outside. Then 800 such blocks were allotted to various persons, including the petitioners, for 30 years. In 2007-08, NIT issued notices to the respondents to furnish heir income certificates but they failed to do so.

Then on July 13, the civic body suddenly issued notices to 204 allottees, including the petitioners, for cancellation of allotment of their blocks for generating income beyond the prescribed limits. The notice mentioned that they had to vacate their blocks before the month end. The petitioners challenged this notice in the court, claiming it was arbitrary and against land disposal rules. Padole and others had prayed for setting aside NIT’s notice.





HC tells cops to record rallies

TNN 1 August 2009, 01:45am IST

KOLKATA: Calcutta High Court on Friday asked police to preserve video footage of events like rallies, starting from the day preceding those. The cost of such recordings will be borne by the organisers of such events, the court ruled. The order is an attempt to to retain the evidence of activities on the Maidan during events like rallies.

Delivering the judgment on a prayer by environmentalist Subhas Datta alleging that DYFI, the CPM’s youth wing, had violated the high court order during its Maidan rally on December 20, 2008, a division Bench, comprising Justice Bhaskar Bhattacharya and Justice Tapan Dutt, expressed the inability to fix responsibility for violation of the court order owing to lack of sufficient evidence.

“For want of sufficient evidence, we cannot take steps against violators,” the court said. The army had submitted some photographs of vehicles illegally parked near the rally ground. But the registration numbers could not be deciphered, the judges observed.

Coming down heavily on police for their inability to enforce the court orders dated September 28, 2007, and May 8, 2008, the court observed that police could not avoid responsibility. “Police have registered cases against five persons but no steps were taken against erroneous drivers and police have no explanation about illegal parking during the rally,” the court held.

The court criticized the police’s plea that they would be more vigilant in future. There was no reason why police were not very vigilant on that day, the court observed. However, it felt that there was no bar on police reinvestigating the matter.

The court, in its earlier order, had restricted activities within a three kilometre radius of the Victoria Memorial. One of the strictures was against lighting open fires at the Maidan. The court had also forbidden the parking of vehicles in the vicinity of the monument.

DYFI, in its affidavit submitted in court, claimed that the army’s allegations were baseless as there was no violation of the court order. They referred to the Kolkata Police report, which stated that caterers and hawkers, and not DYFI supporters, had violated the court order.

Taking note of the DYFI affidavit, the court said the organisers should have reported violations by those outsiders’ to the police. “Since an undertaking had been given by the organisers, it was their duty to ensure that no one violated the court order,” the court said.





Bombay HC issues showcause notice to Silvassa BJP MP on poll code violation

Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Aug 01, 2009 at 0120 hrs Surat:

After Shankersinh Vaghela took up arms against the BJP following his defeat in the recent general elections, Silvassa Congress leader and muscleman Mohan Delkar has filed a petition with the Bombay High Court against BJP Parliamentarian Natu Patel alleging that the latter had violated the Model Code of Conduct during the campaigning.

A six times, winner, Delkar, who contested on a Congress ticket from the Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Silvassa constituency, was defeated by a mere 600 votes.

In his petition, Delkar said that Patel had used a photograph of Pramukh Swami Maharaj with the BJP symbol on one side of the picture, giving blessing to him. This, Delkar said, played an important role in his defeat.

The incident came to light a few weeks after the results were announced. Later, Silvassa Congress president Vikram Parmar complained to the election returning officers regarding this.

The returning officer issued a notice to Patel, but he has not given an answer till date.

A few days ago, the court issued notices to Patel and the election returning officer and demanded an explanation over the matter.

Delkar said: “We got the information earlier and worked on it for getting evidences. In the petition we have attached affidavits of a few people, who have such photographs, distributed by Natu Patel’s party workers. The tribal people are innocent and have full faith in Pramukh Swami. After seeing that photograph, they elected Natu Patel.”

Parmar said: “We learnt about such activities when we were all working out on the booths to find out where we were weak. In the meantime, one of our party workers informed that Natu Patel had played dirty politics and had taken the help of religious leaders for electoral gain. We have evidences and proof of the involvement of Natu Patel in distributing the pamphlets in some areas that falls under Silvassa constituency. We were confident about the victory of Mohan Delkar but the scene looked changed after the results.”





HC notice to Maharashtra govt on Patna boy’s killing

1 August 2009, 03:01am IST

PATNA: In a curious twist to the infamous case of encounter of Patna boy Rahul Raj which Mumbai police have closed for all practical purposes, the Patna high court on Friday issued notices to Maharashtra government and Mumbai police commissioner and sought their reply to a writ petition that has sought a CBI or judicial probe into the encounter.

The petition has been filed by Rahul’s father Kundan Prasad Singh, alleging that police killed his son in a ‘fake encounter’ in Mumbai on October 10, 2008. Justice A K Tripathi also directed CBI and the Union government to file a counter affidavit to the writ petition.





HC moved against Munger, Patna Sahib LS poll

TNN 1 August 2009, 03:24am IST

PATNA: A single bench presided by Justice V N Sinha on Friday admitted two separate election petitions against Munger JD(U) MP Rajiv Ranjan Singh alias Lalan Singh and Patna Sahib BJP MP Shatrughan Sinha.

The court issued notices to the two MPs. In his petition challenging election of Singh, petitioner Gopal Krishna Verma has submitted that his nomination paper was rejected. In case of Sinha, petitioner Mahesh Prasad Singh has alleged that he was not allowed by election authorities to file his nomination papers.





Christian couple wins adoption case after HC rejects airline plea

By: Babu Thomas

Friday, 31 July 2009, 16:07 (IST)

A Christian couple who petitioned against Air India for rejecting benefits entitled to their child on grounds that it was an adopted daughter was rendered justice by the Madras High Court.

In their petition, RR George Christopher and his wife Kristy Chandra, charged Air India for denying legal rights to their adopted daughter on the argument that Christian law does not permit adoption.

Air India in its counter petition said Christian law does not recognise complete adoption, as non-Hindus had no law to adopt a child legally. The couple only can adopt a child as a guardianship under the Guardian and Wards Act.

But Justice K Chandru was not pleased with the argument. He noted that Sections 40 and 41 of the Juvenile Justice Act provided for adoption through the juvenile justice board.

“It shows their insensitiveness and ignorance regarding the development of law in this country,” Justice Chandru was quoted saying.

The court eventually ordered Air India to recognise the two-and-a-half-year-old Gywneth Dhanya and provide all service benefits available to the child as the staff.

The court criticised Air India whose argument it said was spurious, as it did not encourage couples that were adopting and rehabilitating children.

The judge also pointed that “the Juvenile Justice Act for the first time provides adoption’ as a means to rehabilitate and socially reintegrate a child.”

“This is the first secular law in India providing for adoption. The provisions in Sections 40 and 41 are not restricted to persons belonging to a particular religion alone,” he added.

Although the JJ Act could be used, the Christian couple went with obtaining a guardianship order and also did all necessary Christian rites for adopting the child and proving the case.


Copyright © 2009 Christian Today. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without prior permission.





PIL to restrain Govt from reappointing Roy as DGP withdrawn

Published by: Ravish K
Published: Sat, 01 Aug 2009 at 19:15 IST

F Prev Next L

Mumbai, Aug 1 A police inspector has withdrawn a public Interest litigation filed by him in Bombay High Court praying for a direction to restrain the Maharashtra Government from appointing former Director General of Police Anami Roy to the post after the expiry of term of DGP S S Virk on July 31. The PIL was withdrawn yesterday by Sarjerao Mahadev Shinde who prayed that Roy should not be re-appointed to the post as he was in Charge when 26/11 terror attacks happened. Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A M Khanwilkar wanted to know if Shinde had taken his department’s permission before filing the petition. Shinde however stated that he has filed the PIL as an ordinary citizen. Thereafter he said he was withdrawing the PIL. The state government had told the court that current DGP S S Virk’s term has been extended by three months. The court then sought all original records pertaining to the extension.





BMC wants noise ban to be relaxed before Ganpati

Sukhada Tatke, TNN 1 August 2009, 01:03am IST

MUMBAI: In anticipation of Ganesh festivities later this month, the BMC will request the state to relax the blanket ban on noise pollution.
Following meetings with members of the Sarvajanik Ganesh Mahotsav Committee, civic officials, in keeping with religious sentiments, would now seek guidance from the state to ensure that Ganesh mandals get exemption from silence zone rules. A letter to that effect has been drafted and addressed to home secretary Anna Dani.

“We have had several meetings with Ganesh mandals and realised that this is important. These celebrations help bring people together. We will have to request them to seek exemption from the high court during this period,” said additional municipal commissioner M Sangle.

Acting on a PIL against noise pollution, the high court, in March, ordered the civic body to demarcate silence zones-areas within 100 m of schools, colleges, hospitals, cemeteries, fire temples and courts. The BMC, on its part, demarcated 1,177 such zones across the city.

If the silence tag from these zones is not removed, some famous Ganesh mandals such as Khetwadi, Nare Park and GSB won’t be able to celebrate the festival; immersion rituals cannot be allowed at Girgaum Chowpatty as it falls under a silence zone.

Ganesh mandal officials are hopeful of getting the permission. Noise pollution activists, however, find such a request absurd. “This is a central law. The SC order can’t be bent,” said activist Sumaira Abdulali.





‘Should deemed univ status be scrapped?’

TNN 1 August 2009, 02:20am IST

NEW DELHI: The controversial run of deemed universities in the recent past has not escaped the Supreme Court’s attention. On Friday, it asked the Centre to examine the necessity of having a “deemed university” provision in the University Grants Commission Act.

“Should there at all be a provision in the UGC Act for grant of deemed university status to an educational institution? Deemed university status is granted to those institutions which exhibit academic excellence,” a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma said.

Hearing a PIL filed by advocate Viplav Sharma, the Bench said: “The deemed university status was conferred on such institutions to make them eligible for financial grant from UGC and the independence to grant degrees.”

Sharma’s counsel Sanjay Hegde said grant of deemed university status has become a industry and that there was no check on the manner in which they were functioning much to the chagrin of students and parents.

Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam told the Bench that the matter has also engaged serious attention of the Centre and the HRD ministry has already constituted an expert panel to go into the controversy in its entirety, including the desirability of scrapping the “deemed university” provision altogether.

A recent TOI-Times Now expose on a deemed university in Tamil Nadu demanding massive capitation fee to admit students had forced the HRD ministry to appoint a committee headed by P N Tandon to look into the irregularities in the grant of recognition to deemed universities and review the entire gamut of the issue relating to it.

The SC had earlier expressed concern over the largescale corruption in grant of deemed university status to educational institutions which even lack basic infrastructure like classrooms.

In his PIL, Sharma sought a direction for conducting common entrance examinations for different professional courses offered by various universities so as to avoid clash of entrance examination dates and consequent harassment to students. SC posted the PIL for further hearing on September 29.




A PIL questioning largesse shown to MLAs

Published by editor India Aug 1, 2009

By Gopal Ethiraj, Chennai

 Chennai, 01 August, (  The recent salary hike for Tamil Nadu MLAs is being questioned by the noted social activist and Tamil Nadu MLAs‘ ‘Traffic’ Ramaswamy. The Madras High Court today granted him permission to file a Public Interest Litigation.

 Even as the advocates boycotted the courts today, against the suggestion of Law Commission on service tax for advocates,  Traffic K Ramasamy,  the famous PIL petitioner in the State, appeared before the first bench comprising Chief Justice H L Gokhale and Mr. Justice D. Murugesan and questioned   the state government’s MLAs pay hike and constituency development fund as also the MLAs being given land near their towns to construct home through state housing board.

K. Anbazhakan, the Finance Minister, on July 21  had announced in the Assembly  a hike of Rs 5000 in the MLAs pay, (earlier salary plus allowances stood  at Rs 45,000). Some months back their car allowance was hiked to Rs 20,000, Ramasamy submitted. 

The constituency development fund was also hiked from Rs 1.5 crore to 1.7 crore.  In addition to that, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi announced that the government would allot land to MLAs for constructing house, he contended.

 When the Government is facing huge fiscal deficit, these largesse to the MLAs are ultra vires of the Constitution and fiscal burden would fall on the common tax payers, he said.

 The Petition is likely to come for hearing on Monday.

 –         Asian Tribune –





Power of Public Interest Litigation (PIL)? Ask ‘Traffic Ramaswamy’…

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Chennai’s notable social worker, public interest litigant, whistle-blower, arbitrator — all put into one is Traffic K.R. Ramaswamy. When the city’s problems and administration of social rules go unwieldy, the services of such a person are need of the hour.

Traffic Ramaswamy has hit more than a century with his brow-raising, controversial, yet pointed and sharp, trend-setting Public Interest Litigation petitions in Madras High Court as well as Supreme Court. For some ‘Traffic’ might be terrific; he is a ‘do-better’ for the society, in that he is a go-getter. Heaped with bouquets and brick-bats, undaunted 76-year-old Ramaswamy goes on with his tireless social commitment. He argues his own case as ‘party in person’.
Ramaswamy has single-handedly brought many public interest law suits in the Madras High Court. In one recent case, he was attacked by his opponents’ lawyers on the steps of the courthouse. This was not the first time, in 2002, he was assaulted after he obtained a ban on the use of motorized fish carts, damaging his sight. He has also recently had his office ransacked and papers were stolen; his family has disowned him. However, helped by donations from friends, he continues his fight to make Chennai the most livable and lovable city.
‘PIL king’s first public interest litigation was in 1998 when he filed one questioning the NSC Bose road in front of the Madras High Court being kept as one way, although it was a broad road. The result, it went two way. From then on Ramaswamy went on non stop, his almost all PILs going sure success. Even when PILs were viewed critically by the High court at a point of time, and those that were publicity-oriented and wasting courts valuable time and fined, that did not deter Traffic Ramaswamy. “I went ahead, mine were justifiable,” he says. His PIL to cleanse the city of roadside hawkers, and make the pedestrian pathway free of congestion, found about 5000 hawkers getting covered shops at T. Nagar, Moore Market and elsewhere.
His PIL to ban the fish-cart vehicle (tri-wheeler motorized rickshaws) in September 2002 earned the wrath of the fish-cart drivers and he was attacked right in front of the L & O Inspector. Ramaswamy’s PIL was to find a way to end the fish-cart connected accident that was growing in the city and many two-wheeler riders became victims. When the attack was reported to the Court, he was provided with armed police guard. Since 2002 he is with an escort police.
If T.Nagar’s Usman Road and Ranganthan street, which were bursting in seams with shopping crowds, it is because Traffic’s PILs that pulled down high raise buildings (Chennai silks, Saravana Stores, Jayachandra Textiles to name a few), removed the hawkers, regulated unauthorized constructions.
In 2007, Ramaswamy’s PIL made Motor Vehicles Act section 129 enforceable with wearing helmet made compulsory throughout the country. He brought out the dormant rule to the light that motor vehicle sellers’ package should include an helmet also. This gave way to a Government Order (G.O.) that directed RTO to register a vehicle with an helmet, like insurance papers, road tax, pollution check certificates, although ‘helmet-rule’ is followed in breach today, due to political ‘go slow, go soft’ direction.
If the city’s water bodies like Porur lake is glistening with sheet of water, again it is because of his PIL, the encroached huts and colonies were cleared, and Cooun river in front of MGR university at Maduravoyal is back to its full breadth. In 2004 when advocates were boycotting courts in Tamil Nadu, his PIL in the Supreme Court, upheld his contention and 160 advocates were arrested. Again when the lawyers were on strike on Sri Lankan Tamils issue and on subsequent attack by police on them, with shamiana spread on full length of the road, blocking one-way traffic for more than 35 days, this ‘Traffic’ could not keep quite, he was out with his weapon—PIL. That’s all some lawyers went to ’kill’ him. There is a case against 10 lawyers, FIR filed and pending. His PILs after Chennai Corporation polling brought re-election at 100 booths, minimum of auto fares raised from Rs.7 to Rs.14.
By another PIL he sought to restrain the authorities from collecting road toll at 15th kilometre on NH-5 Chennai-Kolkatta highway. Pointing out that the four-lane was not constructed by L&T, Ramaswamy said toilets, rooms, pedestrian underpass, service roads and bylanes too had not been completed before the toll collection was started. The toll gate near Karanodai did not have a canopy and lacked light, he said, adding that there was no uniform fee collections too. Describing it as a scandalous activity, Ramaswamy said that instead of the original 27th kilometre toll was being collected at 15th km on the highway.
Despite all these services for Chennai, Ramaswamy recently unsuccessfully contested the Lok Sabha elections from South Chennai constituency!!!

Posted by Guna at 12:37 AM





Keep shrines off public places, SC tells govt

TNN 1 August 2009, 03:39am IST

NEW DELHI: Treading a cautious path on places of worship springing up unauthorizedly in public places — including roads — the Supreme Court ruled on Friday that while existing structures may remain, the government must prevent such encroachment in the future.

While acknowledging the difficulty in demolishing existing shrines even if they caused serious traffic bottlenecks, given the sensitivity attached to religious places, a Bench comprising Justices Dalveer Bhandari and M K Sharma found nothing holy about them and stressed to solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam the need for framing guidelines to strictly prohibit religious places from occupying public land unauthorizedly in the future.

Subramaniam assured the Bench that the Centre would take up the issue with the states. The Bench asked the Centre to file an affidavit by September 29 intimating the progress made on the contentious issue.

Interestingly, the proposal for framing guidelines came on an appeal filed by the Centre in 2006, challenging a Gujarat High Court order directing the Modi government to remove all religious structures, without any discrimination, that were encroaching on public land across the state. The SC had stayed the HC directive on May 4, 2006.

When the authorities took steps pursuant to the HC order in Vadodara and started demolishing a dargah right in the middle of a road, violence and riots broke out and the Army had to stage a flag march to bring the situation under control. According to a PIL before the HC, a survey by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation threw up 1,200 temples and 260 Islamic shrines encroaching on public spaces.




Park rape verdict on August 17

TNN 31 July 2009, 11:49pm IST

NEW DELHI: A trial court deferred the pronouncement of verdict in the six-year-old Buddha Jayanti Park gangrape case on Friday. Four members of the President’s Bodyguards (PBG) were accused in the case.

Additional Sessions Judge S K Sarvaria, who earlier had fixed the pronouncement of verdict for Friday, said the case is adjourned to August 7.

The four accused Harpreet Singh, Satyender Singh, Kuldeep Singh and Manish Kumar of the elite PBG were booked under various provisions of IPC, dealing with gangrape, abduction and attempt to commit robbery.

The 17-year-old victim, a student of Delhi University, had gone with her boyfriend Ashish to the park near Rashtrapati Bhavan on October 6, 2003. She was allegedly raped by Harpreet and Satyender while the other two accused Kuldeep and Manish kept guard, the prosecution said.

The public prosecutor, concluding final arguments had said, the accused ravished the victim in the backyard of the presidential palace. The prosecution had examined 25 witnesses, including the victim and her boyfriend.

Ranbir Sharma, counsel for key accused Harpreet, had alleged frame-up in the case and rubbished the recovery of various articles such as the victim’s handkerchief and a doll, that too, two days after the incident.





SC begins hearing on minor mineral mining in Aravalis

TNN 31 July 2009, 11:18pm IST

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court, after suspending all mining operations in the ecologically sensitive Aravali Hills, on Friday began hearing on the issue relating to permissibility of mining for minor minerals and the fate of the colonies constructed in the environmentally threatened area in Faridabad district.

A bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices S H Kapadia and Aftab Alam was told by amicus curiae Ranjit Kumar that the court in its recent judgment banned all mining activity being appalled by the degradation caused by the mine lease owners who carried out no reclamation of the mining pits.

Kumar said the process of mining for both major and minor minerals was the same and if the apex court was so convinced by the danger to ecology because of mining of major minerals, it would be futile to grant permission for mining of minor minerals. The arguments remained inconclusive and would be taken up again on October 8.

After dealing with a part of the central empowered committee (CEC) report, the apex court would now consider arguments of all parties on the issue relating to the recommendations of the high-powered-court-appointed panel on Aravali Hills.

CEC had recommended demolition of encroached constructions in Kant Enclave, Lake Wood View and many owned by Karmyogi Shelter Pvt Ltd. The CEC had said that regularising these buildings would fatally damage the eco-fragile Aravali Hills area in Faridabad district.





HC orders notice to Nitte University

TNN 1 August 2009, 07:07am IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka high court on Friday ordered issuance of notice to Nitte University, which has been conferred with a deemed university status recently, the Karnataka Examination Authority (KEA) and the state government on two sets of petitions regarding allotment of MBBS seats in K S Hegde Medical Academy.

While in one of the petition, 12 students have challenged the allotment made by KEA in selecting 24 students for admission under government quota. They claim that they were selected on the basis of All India Entrance Test results and the state government has no power to direct a deemed university to admit students.

“In fact, the college was not notified by KEA for allotment of seats in their list pertaining to counselling,” counsel for petitioners told the court. However, Deepika, a student who was refused admission by Nitte University has also filed a petition challenging the refusal. She claimed that KEA allotted a seat for her under government quota and she is entitled for a seat.

Advocate General Ashok Haranahalli told the Bench that the government issued an NoC in favour of Nitte University after they voluntarily offered to surrender 25% of the intake in both UG and PG courses to the government as part of their social obligation.

The next hearing of the case is fixed for August 10.





Ex CJI Disagrees With SC Refusing To Intervene In Statue Row

   Date Submitted: Thu Jul 30, 2009

NEW DELHI – Former Chief Justice of India J S Verma has disagreed with the apex court’s view declining to intervene into the Uttar Pradesh cabinet decision on installing statues including that of state Chief Minister Mayawati in the state.

“If judiciary can go into the decision of cabinet pertaining to article 356 (in S R Bommai case) and judicial review is available to check the ultra vires of constitutional amendment, then I fail to understand why it cannot go into the statue issue,” he said.

He was speaking at a convention on ‘City Development:

Sustainability and Legal Interface’ organized by CII and Bar Association of India.

Justice Verma referred to the order of apex court on July 10 expressing its inability to do anything as the installation of statues (of elephant and UP CM Mayawati) had the mandate of the (state) cabinet to say that the judiciary can very well review a cabinet decision.

Justice Verma also took the political leaders to task for believing that they can do whatever they wish to during their tenure in public offices.

“Policy adopted by various people to do whatever you can while in the office like installing statute in public places.

…, huge stretch of land is being cleared for the sake of installing statute of elephants, if it is of person it can be said okay,” he said.





MRTP Commission getting more complains then CCI

Jul 31, 2009

Even after three months of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) coming into force, its predecessor, the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices Commission (MRTPC) is continuing to accept fresh cases on a daily basis.  Complainants are continuing to show a preference for MRTPC to the CCI, which is a costlier option for the common man and follows a detailed process of accepting complaints.  In two months, MRTPC may stop accepting new complaints, but will adjudicate on all petitions received till then, senior government officials told. MRTPC was supposed to stop accepting fresh complaints once the CCI is operationalised, but has not turned a blind eye to new complaints.

This has been possible as the government has not notified a provision in the Competition Act which will outrightly restrict MRTPC from registering new cases coming before it, a government official said on the condition of anonymity.  The ministry of corporate affairs, which is the administrative ministry for the functioning of both the CCI and MRTPC, is likely to restrict the latter from taking fresh matters in a couple of months, the official added. Till then, citizens willing to register their complaints for anti-competitive activities in companies can approach any of these two forums, he said.

As the procedural formalities in CCI are more detailed and involves a cost for filing a complaint, the influx of fresh complaints in MRTPC is continuing. According to the official, the MRTPC is adding over 30 cases every month over its overall pendency of over 2,000 cases. The number of cases in CCI, on the other hand, has been quite low with only two cases being taken up for further investigations till date.

CCI charges Rs 50,000 as a fee while accepting a petition. Experts say this is particularly because CCI is a platform where big corporate houses can file complaints against the behaviour of their rivals. Also, it is not prudent to over burden the new regulator with frivolous cases.

The lack of staff and resources at MRTPC is affecting its investigation and adjudication in many cases that are already pending before it. While the MRTPC is investigating many cases of alleged anti-competitive practices in sectors like aviation, telecom and cement, what the forum lacks is the regulatory teeth to impose a heavy fine. While the functional ambit of the CCI is much wider than that of the MRTPC, they share common area of operation in matters of monopolistic activities indulged into by companies.

India’s anti-trust body CCI will look into all competition related aspects affecting mergers, market share and presence of dominant entities and regulation of firms. The government has not yet empowered CCI to take up cases of merger, and is by far looking into cases against companies indulging in anti-competitive practices and abusing their dominance in the market.





NHRC seeks report from Har govt over lynching incident


New Delhi, Jul 31 (PTI)Taking suo motu cognisance of two incidents in Haryana involving diktats of caste panchayats, including lynching of a youth for marrying in same sub-caste, the NHRC has issued a notice to the state government seeking a “factual report” within four weeks on the events.

Villagers allegedly lynched Ved Pal Mor, who had married a girl belonging to a sub-caste after eloping with her, at Singhwal village of Jind district of Haryana on July 22, the National Human Rights Commission noted.

Mor, who was a Matour village of Kaithal District, had gone to Singhwal village with police to take custody of his wife after obtaining a court order when he was allegedly beaten to death.

Khap (community) panchayat of the village allegedly had disapproved of Mor’s marriage, the rights body noted quoting media reports.





Bill in LS for setting up of National Green Tribunal


New Delhi, July 31 (PTI) A bill seeking to provide for setting up of a tribunal with powers of a civil court for effective and expeditious disposal of cases relating to environmental protection, and conservation of forests and natural resources, was today introduced in the Lok Sabha.

The National Green Tribunal Bill, 2009,introduced by Environment and Forest Minister Jairam Ramesh, aims at establishing a National Green Tribunal which will also ensure enforcement of any legal right relating to environment.

The bill would also provide for relief and compensation to persons for environmental damage, Ramesh said.

The Tribunal shall consist of a full-time chairperson, full-time judicial members as well as a number of experts.

It shall have jurisdiction over all civil cases relating to environment and have powers to order relief and compensation to victims of pollution and other environmental damage, including accidents occurring while handling hazardous substances.




Lathi-charge in Amethi: NCW member accuses DM of misrepresenting facts

TNN 1 August 2009, 12:30am IST

LUCKNOW: Lathi-charge in Rahul Gandhi’s constituency has National Commission for Women up in arms. Member of the body, Neena Konwar made a visit to Amethi on Thursday to probe the incident and claimed that the brutal act by the Sultanpur police on July 13 led to grievous injuries to over a dozen women. Konwar also accused the district magistrate, Sultanpur, Santosh Kumar Shrivastava of sweeping the episode under the carpet and misrepresenting the facts to the government.

Talking to the media on Friday, Konwar said that the Commission had sought a report over the alleged incident from the DM and had, in response, received a written reply. Shrivastava categorically dismissed the allegations and wrote that no atrocities were committed against women protesters on the day… neither they were harassed nor beaten up as the protesters had charged, she told the media

“However going by the reports and taking cognizance of the electronic media’s clipping, we decided to investigate the matter, said Konwar, who was appointed to the one-member committee set up for the purpose.

Konwar met the aggrieved women and listened to their versions. She even claims to have seen the doctors’ reports certifying that the women were subjected to a lathi-charge and had received multiple injuries on their body, later treated by them. She claims to have examined them personally to confirm the reports. “It is extremely sad that the administration meted out such harsh treatment to females in Amethi and then lied about it, she told the reporters. She would be sending a report about the incident in a week’s time and forward it to the Centre and the state both, she said.

Konwar, who also happens to be the wife of governor of Bihar, also complained of having a taste of official non-cooperation from UP government. Though she had intimated the government in advance, she was neither given any vehicle to visit Amethi nor accommodation. There was no one to receive her at the airport and she was not allowed to use the VVIP guest house for the purpose of holding a press conference, she charged.

However, Konwar, had no answer where scribes questioned the motive behind the commission’s decision to zero in on Amethi. Visibly uncomfortable, she promptly denied any political linkage to the visit not before going a little beyond her mandate and slamming the state government “for not supplying adequate power to Rahul’s constituency”.




Iskcon tussle: Judges receive another mysterious letter

TNN 1 August 2009, 12:15am IST

BANGALORE: The ongoing tussle regarding the identity of Iskcon took an interesting turn on Friday with the two officiating judges receiving one more letter.

The letter was shown to advocates representing both the parties. However, the contents were not disclosed and kept strictly confidential. The division Bench headed by Justice K L Manjunath adjourned to next Friday, hearing of the appeal filed by Iskcon, Mumbai, challenging the April 17 verdict of a city civil court that Iskcon, Bangalore, is a separate entity and that Radhakrishna temple in West of Chord Road belongs to it.

Iskcon, Mumbai, has filed another affidavit seeking a probe by a premier investigation agency like the CBI into the happenings of the last few weeks, including a mysterious courier.

The appellant has argued that there is only one Iskcon and that the Bangalore unit is a branch.

Mysore violence: magistrate told to reply

A division Bench has directed the executive magistrate of Mysore to file a counter affidavit by Monday to allegations made in a habeas corpus petition filed by residents of the city.

“How can he send them to judicial custody for 20-odd days without any authority?” the Bench asked the government advocate. Noor Jaan and others have filed a petition alleging that despite the court granting bail, 113 of the 160-odd accused of communal violence in Mysore on July 2 are yet to be released by the authorities. The judicial custody, which was from July 10 to 24, was extended to August 6.

Public prosecutors to be appointed

The government on Friday told the court that public prosecutors and additional prosecutors will be appointed on a priority basis once the district judges select advocates with `outstanding record from the local pool’.

Advocate general Ashok Haranahalli filed a memo to this effect and said that assistant public prosecutors will be appointed on a temporary basis to augment the situation.

Sanjeev Angadi, counsel for KPSC, told the court that the commission had sent a selection list of 411 SDAs and 275 FDAs to the government for further action, as against the vacancy of 711 SDAs and 326 FDAs.

The court had on Thursday come down heavily on the government for the increasing number of cases pending due to lack of prosecutors.

14-year battle over BMS Trust ends

A 14-year-old legal battle with regard to the BMS Trust ended on Friday when a city court ruled in favour of Ragini Narayan, declaring her the rightful successor of late B S Narayan, the founder trustee of B M Sreenivasaiah Trust.

The trust runs five educational institutions including an engineering college, a women’s college and a law college. City civil judge Ramachandra Huddar ruled that takeover of the trust by the government is `bad in law’ and the alleged will executed in favour of the government is not proved.

Ragini, wife of B S Narayan, had challenged the November 7, 1995 takeover claiming that she was the successor as donor trustee. Narayan died on Ausgut 23, 1995. The high court has appointed former judge R Gururajan to look after the day-to-day affairs of the trust till resolution of the dispute.





Lorry drivers allege police harassment, want amendment repealed

TNN 1 August 2009, 07:04am IST

BANGALORE: The Federation of Karnataka State Lorry Owner’s and Agents’ Association on Friday demanded that the amendment to Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) which seeks to ban transport sector strikes be repealed.

They emphasized that a permit system for sand mining and transporting should be introduced in order to stop harassement by police. “We have had cases when the police demanded a fine of Rs 1 lakh from sand lorries in Kolar, Mandya, Ramanagaram and Chamrajnagar districts. This is when the lorries were empty. There should be an end to this,” said association president G R Shanmugappa. He also demanded an effective insurance policy for lorry drivers, like in Andhra Pradesh. Drivers training centres should be set up in at least five districts, he added.

The association condemned the local administration for stopping quarries in Bidadi region, including at Kenchanakoppe and Kallugopanahalli. “Every day, tonnes of sand and jelly stones come in from neighbouring states. This creates a huge loss for crusher owners and other labourers,” he said.





HC upholds life term in human sacrifice case

TNN 1 August 2009, 12:19am IST

CHENNAI: The life imprisonment imposed on an alleged sorcerer and his devotee’, who were convicted on charges of sacrificing a six-and-half-year-old boy in Cuddalore district in 2006, has been confirmed by the Madras high court.

While expressing concern at the heinous crime, a division bench comprising Justice M Chockalingam and Justice CS Karnan, however, did not agree with the prosecution’s plea for death sentence to the devotee, Krishnaraj. “The court is of the opinion that it is not a fit case where capital punishment or death sentence could be awarded,” the bench said.

Pointing out that he had murdered the boy at the instigation of Kathiresan Samiyar, the judges said that while imposing the capital punishment the court must see if the survival of the accused would be a menace to the society. “In the instant case, there is no material placed before the court to show that he actually involved in any other crime in the past. There is no bad antecedents,” the bench said.

According to the Nellikuppam police, as per the advice of the Samiyar, Krishnaraj had “sacrificed” Sathishkumar, who was the first child of one Sakthivel. Krishnaraj strangled the boy after the self-styled godman told him that he should sacrifice the eldest son of a family aged between six and 10.

The Fast Track Court-II at Cuddalore found the Samiyar and Krishnaraj guilty of murder and sentenced them to life imprisonment, besides a total fine of Rs 2.2 lakh. The state appeal sought capital punishment for Krishnaraj.

The bench said Krishnaraj had committed a heinous crime of murdering a boy by way of human sacrifice. Though the prosecution had proved the case beyond all reasonable doubt and the trial court was perfectly right in its order, the sentence could not be enhanced as Krishnaraj was not a habitual offender.

LEGAL NEWS 31.07.2009


Complaints against violation of MRTP Act

14:10 IST

Lok Sabha

Government has said that during the last three years two complaints for violation of Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act, 1969 have been lodged in the MRTP Commission. The complainants in both the cases belong to Andhra Pradesh. One complaint is against the Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd, Hyderabad and the other is against Hindustan Coca Cola Beverages Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi. Alleged violation of provisions of the Monopolies and Restrictive Trade Practices (MRTP) Act, 1969 is dealt with under the said Act through proceedings before the MRTP Commission.

This information was given today by Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister for Corporate Affairs, in the Lok Sabha in a written reply.







Kankaria entry fee challenged in HC

DNA Correspondent

Friday, July 31, 2009 9:04 IST

Ahmedabad: The entry fee to the Kankaria lakefront premises, which earlier faced protests from members of the opposition party in the municipal corporation, the Congress, as well as citizens of Ahmedabad, has been challenged in the Gujarat high court by way of public interest litigation (PIL).

On Thursday, the petition came up for hearing before a division bench comprising Chief Justice of the Gujarat high court, KS Radhakrishnan, and Justice Akil Kureshi. The bench issued an oral order to the lawyer of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) with instructions for the civic body to come with instructions regarding issues raised in the PIL, on August 10.

Lawyer Shalin Mehta appeared before the bench on behalf of concerned citizens and sought permission to appear in court in favour of the PIL.

The petitioner, Kirti Bhatt, who earlier resided near the Kankaria lake, filed the PIL through counsel Parseus Banaji after he did not receive a satisfactory answer from the AMC in response to his legal notice. Bhatt has raised questions on the legality of covering the road outside the lake and levying of the entry fee.

“The road forming the periphery around the Kankaria lake was a public road used by the common men of the city and nearby villages. This road was suddenly usurped and permanently closed to all members of the public, including all vehicular traffic, without any notice to all members of the public or permission from the state government as specified under the provisions in section 203 of the Bombay Provincial Municipal Act, and sought to be included in the park,” Bhatt alleged in the petition.

“Even the 500-year-old Naginawadi, situated in the middle of the lake, has been public place since years.”

Bhatt further said that AMC has sought to use the road, the lake and its periphery as way to make money without any thought to the poor and downtrodden ‘slumdogs’ who can ill afford to enter the area without thinking twice.

“For an average family of four, entry to the lake costs Rs40, not taking in account entry to the zoo, Bal Vatika, train ride etc. The alternate road is separated from the lakefront, so the public cannot view the Kankaria lake, by placing huge doors,” he said in his petition.

In January, Bhatt wrote to the AMC urging the withdrawal of the entry fee and asked it under which authority or law it was charging the same. In reply, the AMC said, “Pollution as well as throwing of dirt and dust in the Kankaria lake creates a problem for survival of fish [in the lake]. Therefore, for the safety of the fish, entry for the general public was required to be restricted.”

Bhatt wrote two more letters, protesting against the entry fees, the separate charges for the other facilities and the assimilation of the public road with the park. However, the AMC stuck to its opinion given in the earlier reply.





Sach Ka Samna: Now face the truth!

Posted on July 31st, 2009

ew Delhi: The Delhi High Court has refused to release the order to stop airing of the controversial reality TV show ‘Sach ka Saamna’ on the plead that no one should have any problem if people are telling the truth in open should be hailed in more than one ways.

The decision is a body blow to the so-called moral policing elements who day in and day out speak about moral policing and act against everything that has any connection with the western world, be it friendship day celebration, valentines day, or anything they think is obscene.

They will on their own decide what is good for our culture.
On the other hand, the High Court order is a stern warning to those who file public interest litigation just on the drop of a hat, as if there are no major issues concerning the people in the country. This is a classic case of misuse of PIL.

Are these people blind, as they are not seeing far more serious problems in the country? Let them file PILs on black money, misuse of official powers, implementation of government schemes, etc.

Saying that moral policing is not its function, a division bench headed by Delhi High Court Chief Justice A P Shah suggested the petitioners to approach the central government over it.

“It is for the government to decide whether the programme should be banned or not. It is not the function of the court… There are far more serious problems in this country which we have to settle,” the bench said.

Two petitioners, Deepak Maini and Prabhat Kumar, had approached the court seeking a stay on the show being telecast on Star Plus channel alleging that the programme was against the values of the Indian society.

Rejecting it, the court said, “Our culture is not so fragile that it would be affected by one TV programme.” The court has rightly said so. I fail to understand how it can be against the values of the Indian society when someone chooses to tell the truth.

If anybody act against the values, what is wrong in accepting it in public. After all, we all stand by our Father of the Nation Mahatama Gandhi who had no qualms in admitting everything in public.

After all, there is no compulsion to view the programme or to participate in it. If you do not want to tell the truth don’t go and participate. If you do not want to watch it, simply switch the TV off.

For those who want to watch it, let them do it. It is their fundamental right





Court asks civic officers to pay for illegal hoardings

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0153 hrs Mumbai:

The Bombay High Court on Thursday imposed a cost of Rs 5,000 each on Thane Municipal Commissioner Nandkumar Jantre and three other officers for their inaction and non-compliance with court orders pertaining to illegal hoardings in Thane.

The court has directed them to pay the amount from their pockets and cautioned that the amount would be increased 10 folds if such a situation arises again.

The court gave the corporation two weeks to take action against illegal hoardings. No hoardings should be allowed on roads and pavements, the court said.

Prabhakar Chaudhary, a local resident, had filed a PIL complaining about illegal hoardings. The photographs attached to the petition showed that in many cases pavements were blocked due to pillars supporting the hoardings. The court noted that some of the hoardings were actually on the road.

 “Do they know anything? They don’t know the sites, whether banners are authorised or not,” Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar remarked about the municipal officers present in court.

The court also observed that the corporation has failed to perform its statutory duties.

The court said that the Municipal Commissioner has not filed an affidavit or a reply even after court orders and even after observing that it was an urgent matter.





Challenged under PIL, HC closes case for order

Posted On Thursday, July 30, 2009

By Our Staff Reporter
Bhopal, July 30:
Madhya Pradesh High Court the other day reserved its verdict on a Public Interest Litigation petition challenging the state decision to dissolve the Bharat Bhavan, Managing Board, the world top and famous cultural and art centre at Bhopal.
A division bench comprising Justice Deepak Mishra and Justice Ram Kishore Gupta, while hearing the petition of Daya Prakash Sinha, challenging the state notification, dissolving there by the Managing Board of Trustees of the Bharat Rang Bhavan, Bhopal, an independent institution, by state legislative, reserved its verdict after hearing the contentions of the government.
The petitioner submitted that the state government has reconstituted the Managing Board by a notification issued by the government, as per the constitution approved by a legislation passed by the state assembly in 1985, and the Board is functional for its term, but the state government dissolved the Chairman, Pandit Jasraj, headed Managing Board without any reason.
The petitioner prayed to the court to quash the state notification dissolving the Governing Body and Board Trustees of Bharat Bhavan as the art and cultural activities were stand still and the state exchequer is wasted, due to such vague action.





Residents up the ante against elevated Metro

Linah Baliga / DNA

Friday, July 31, 2009 2:52 IST

Mumbai: Linking Road residents are not in a mood to soften their stand on the protection of 500 structures which will be affected due to the construction of an elevated Metro. The line will proceed from Juhu towards Santa Cruz Linking Road and end at Bandra junction near Amarsons.

Residents and shopkeepers have contributed to file a PIL against Mumbai Metropolitan Regional Development Authority (MMRDA), as they say their properties — both residential and commercial — will be affected if MMRDA goes ahead with the original plan.

MMRDA on Wednesday awarded the contract of constructing the second line of metro to Anil Ambani’s Reliance Infrastructure for the 32-km route from Charkop to Mankhurd via Bandra.

“MMRDA is adamant and principal secretary TC Benjamin is not taking into account the 2,000 families who will be affected. Seventy-three residential buildings will be affected for metro stations, corridors and staircases. The cost of the PIL is almost Rs2 lakh and the residents and shopkeepers are contributing as we know it’s worth fighting for,” said Aftab Siddique, spokesperson, Linking Road Residents’ Forum.

“It’s injustice to the 2,000 families in Bandra, Khar, Santa cruz who will be affected, if they use vibro hammer to drill. Feasibility of the project is also not explained by MMRDA till date,” said Siddique in her SMS to chief minister Ashok Chavan and chief secretary Johny Joseph.

“We will wait for a week, meet MMRDA officials again and decide on the next course of action. But we are not giving up,” said Sherley Singh, member, Juhu Metro Rail Forum.





Cop moves High Court against re-appointment of Roy as DGP

Express News Service

Posted: Jul 31, 2009 at 0144 hrs IST

Mumbai A police inspector has moved the Bombay High Court seeking that the state government be restrained from re-appointing former state DGP A N Roy to the post.

Police Inspector Sarjerao Mahadev Shinde, attached to the Local Arms division of Marol Police, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) before the high court seeking that a new DGP be appointed after S S Virk’s term ends on July 31. He has also urged that the state government be restrained from re-appointing Roy to the post as he was in charge when 26/11 terror attacks took place.

The state government, meanwhile, told the court that DGP Virk’s term has been extended by three months. The court then sought all original records pertaining to the extension. The state submitted that the records will be produced on Friday.

Division Bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice A M Khanwilkar wanted to know if Shinde had taken his department’s permission before filing the petition. Shinde, however, stated that he is filing the PIL as an ordinary citizen.

The state government pleader also took objection to Shinde filing the petition as he was a government servant.





Civic bodies warned on tiles around trees

TNN 31 July 2009, 04:03am IST

NEW DELHI: As tiling and concretising of the immediate area around tree roots goes unchecked in the city, the environment department has written to heads of various civic agencies, asking them to take action against this practice.

In 2000, the urban development ministry had issued several guidelines for greening of urban areas, that included avoiding excessive tiling of pavements, using of porous tiles and leaving a minimum area of 6 feet by 6 feet around trees uncemented. When the guidelines were not followed, NGO Kalpvriksha filed a PIL in the high court which passed an order to the effect in 2007.

“Earlier, some civic agencies followed orders and NDMC even took corrective measures. However, we have noticed several violations of late and have written to agencies to ensure implementation of the guidelines,” said an official.

Tiling and cementing around tree roots is detrimental for the health of trees, say experts, as it completely chokes the roots. “Tar becomes extremely hot in summer. Imagine the impact of that heat on the roots. Road widening and relaying projects never seem to take trees into consideration,” said an official from the environment department.

Ravi Agarwal, director, Toxics Link, added that there was no need for concretising and many stretches of trees were left natural and `untiled’. “Concretising prevents aeration and percolation of water to the roots. The space to be left around a tree should be in proportion to its crown so that the roots get ample breathing space. Tiling too close will just kill off the trees,” he said.

The UD ministry guidelines also proposed using porous tiles where tiling was necessary and that tiling was only to be carried out on pavements with heavy pedestrian traffic. The guidelines said: “An area of 6 feet by 6 feet should be left uncemented. Widening of roads upto the trunk of trees is to be avoided as roots come under the asphalted roads and will gradually die. In case of storm(s), these trees can topple down.”

“Most trees that fall are either on roadsides or next to walls. The UD guidelines are being flouted. As far as possible, concretising has to be avoided completely,” said Ajay Mahajan, member, Kalpvriksha.





Student’s death: HC asks parents to move court against police–HC-asks-parents-to-move-court-against-police/496335/

Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0316 hrs

The Calcutta High Court on Thursday directed the parents of Iftekam Chaudhury, who died after allegedly being hit by her school teacher in November 2008, to file a petition against the police in the criminal court.

Iftekam, a student of Bidyabharati School at Ekbalpur, was admitted to a private hospital on November 27, 2008 with a head injury. She had been allegedly punished by her teacher Anita Das as she did not perform well in physical education. Das had banged Iftekam’s head against the wall. She died in the hospital the next day.

Najnin, her mother, had filed a petition in Calcutta High Court in February 2009 alleging that the police did not conduct the probe properly and tried to protect the school and the teacher. The police had filed a chargesheet which was not correct, she said in her petition.

On Thursday Justice Sanjib Banerjee directed the parents to move the criminal court against the police. The High Court also said that criminal proceedings would be initiated by September 15, 2009.





Abhaya case: HC raps CBI probe–HC-raps-CBI-probe/496383

Shaju Philip Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0508 hrs Thiruvananthapuram:

The Kerala High Court on Thursday expressed its displeasure over the manner in which the CBI probed the Sister Abhaya murder case and asked the investigating agency to submit a copy of the chargesheet on August 10. The CBI had furnished the chargesheet in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court (CJMC) in Kochi on July 17, even as the narcoanalysis of three accused were pending.

Justice K Hema pulled up the CBI for its failure to stick to the directions of her Bench, which had granted bail to the accused priests and the nun. “The probe lacked transparency. The investigating officer should be keen to find out the truth,” the court said.

While giving bail to Thomas Kottor, Jose Puthrukkayil and Sister Sephy in January, the court had said the original CDs of the narcoanalysis tests of the accused should be retrieved as the ones submitted in the court were edited and tampered with. However, the CBI last week submitted a report in the CJMC saying the CDs had not been tampered with as earlier suspected.

Citing the CBI report, Abhaya’s father Thomas moved a contempt petition in the HC, which had earlier asked the CBI to find the original CDs. While hearing the petition, CBI counsel A V S Namboothiri informed the HC on Thursday that the chargesheet was submitted in the CJMC even as the probe was continuing. The court subsequently asked the agency why it had hurriedly submitted the chargesheet when narco tests of three others were yet to be conducted.





HC sets aside ADJ’s order

TNN 31 July 2009, 05:01am IST

ALLAHABAD: The Allahabad High Court has allowed an appeal filed against the judgment passed by ADJ, Bijnor, convicting one Naj-e-Alam under Section 364 IPC.

The bench comprising Justice Poonam Srivastava and Justice SC Agrawal set aside the order of ADJ passed on April 3, 2006 and acquitted the appellant from the charges under Section 364 IPC, read with Section 3(2) (5) SC/ST Act. The court ordered forthwith, the release of the appellant, who was in jail. He is a resident of Najibabad in Bijnor.

An FIR was lodged on February 7, 2005 against appellant with Najibabad police. The allegation in the FIR against him was that he had kidnapped a girl, daughter of one Suresh, resident of the same area.

The court allowed the appeal and set aside the judgment of ADJ, by saying that neither the FIR nor statement of witnesses establish the ingredients of Section 364 of IPC. The court said that there was not even whisper in the entire record that victim was kidnapped with intention to murder and no motive was attributed to murder. Mukhtar Alam argued the case on behalf of appellant.





Schizophrenic moves HC to get job back

Shibu Thomas , TNN 31 July 2009, 01:01am IST

MUMBAI: A Goregaon youth who suffers from schizophrenia has moved the Bombay high court in the hope of getting back his job with the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). Edward DCunha claims he was forced to resign in 2000. A division bench of Justices Ranjana Desai and Amjad Sayed asked SCI orally on Thursday whether it could reconsider its decision and accommodate D’Cunha.

D’Cunha had joined SCI as a trainee nautical officer in 1993. D’Cunha experienced his first episode of schizophrenia while serving on a ship in 1997. He underwent treatment thereafter and rejoined SCI. This pattern repeated itself until D’Cunha says he was forced to resign in 2000. Two years later, in 2002, D’Cunha approached the state’s disability commissioner with a plea that SCI should take him back considering it had not complied with the provisions of the Persons with Disabilities Act. Four years later, the disability commissioner dismissed D’Cunha’s plea.

D’Cunha’s lawyer Pradeep Havnur says the law was not followed. Under the PWD Act, mental illness is treated as a disability. “The Act has a specific provision that bars discrimination against a person employed with the government who acquires a disability during service,” said Havnur. The provision says that no establishment can sack or demote an employee who acquires a disability during service. In case the employee is found to be not suitable for the post he is holding, the authorities have to shift him to another post with the same pay scale and service benefits. If the authorities are unable to adjust the employee against any post, the Act says he should be kept on a supernumerary post until a suitable post is available or he attains the age of superannuation.

The disability commissioner, according to the petition, had rejected his application on the ground that he had voluntarily resigned. Advocate Havnur, however, contended that D’Cunha was incapable of taking a decision at that time. D’Cunha, in his petition, said he is undergoing treatment for the mental disability and urged the court to ask SCI to re-employ him as a second officer on offshore supply vessel or any suitable office job which he is fit enough to undertake.




HC seeks info on CIC appointment

TNN 31 July 2009, 03:55am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Thursday directed the state government to give details of the steps taken for filling up the post of chief information commissioner of the State Information Commission.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash issued the directive again even as the state government maintained that the former Patna HC CJ, Justice J N Bhat, had been appointed the chief information commissioner in 2008 but had not joined yet.

The order was passed on a PIL of Guddu Baba alias Vikas Chandra who said the post of chief information officer has remained vacant for about a year due to which the functioning of the State Information Commission has been hit.

A single bench presided by Justice A K Tripathi directed the state government and Bihar Industrial Area Development Authority (BIADA) to file counter affidavit to a writ petition of a Kolkata-based firm, Scope Industries, alleging that the BIADA had taken back the 25 acres of plot situated in Pataliputra Industrial Area-Patna, which was allotted to it two years back for developing a multiplex.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash on Thursday directed the Banka district magistrate to inquire into the allegation made in a PIL that the construction of a bridge in the district was inordinately delayed for want of funds.





Chuda’s battle royale reaches HC

TNN 31 July 2009, 03:23am IST

AHMEDABAD: The queen claims that her son has usurped her property a luxurious palace and a farm besides jewellery and other precious articles. The prince, on the other hand, maintains that the palace and farm were bought from the mother.

The issue remains unresolved, and the descendants of erstwhile princely state of Chuda in Surendranagar have reached the Gujarat High Court.

The property and inheritance dispute had already begun when former ruler of Chuda Dharmendrasinh Jhala was alive. Out of his four sons, Puransinh had instituted a civil suit demanding 1/6th of the property. However, since these rulers had entered into Covenant of Agreement with the Government of India, the property was of their private and individual ownership and it could not be treated as ancestral property. The court refused the prince his share.

Just before Dharmendrasinh died in 1999, he declared his wife Bhartidevi the owner of the entire property. Bhartidevi later distributed various articles and properties, including jewellery, gold, silver, furniture, paintings and licenced weapons, among her four sons Krishnakumarsinh, Puransinh, Falgunsinh and Suketusinh.

Since Bhartidevi had cordial relationship with Krishna and his wife Jayakumari, she used to live with them. But in August 2008, Bhartidevi’s relationship with her eldest son became sour and she went to live with her other sons. After this, she filed a suit against Krishna and his wife claiming that the palace, farm and precious articles, which she had entrusted with them, are not being returned. She has also accused them of not returning her stridhan’.

Bhartidevi even lodged a criminal complaint against her son and daughter-in-law accusing them of committing an offence of breach of trust. The Surendranagar police began inquiry into the case. This forced Krishna and Jayakumari to approach the high court to get their mother’s complaint quashed.

Seeking a stay on the investigation, the petitioners through their advocate Tejas Barot argued that the Ratan Bhuvan Palace and Gokharwala farm were actually bought from Bhartidevi and a sale deed was registered in October 2006 in the name of her grandson Adityasinh.

The couple has contended that after purchasing the property from the mother, they have spent a huge amount on renovation. Moreover, the petitioners also denied other charges levelled by Bhartidevi. They have said that Bhartidevi is trying to harass them at the behest of other three sons.

After hearing the case, Justice HN Devani on Thursday issued notices to the state government and Bhartidevi asking them to respond by August 27, when further hearing is scheduled. The police have been asked to stay investigation till then.





HC upholds land acquisition for Kathipara flyover

TNN 31 July 2009, 02:48am IST

CHENNAI: A National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) move, acquiring two buildings at St Thomas Mount for the multi-crore grade separator project at Kathipara Junction, has been upheld by the Madras high court.

Dismissing the writ petitions filed by owner of the buildings, Justice K Suguna said the lands had been acquired in public interest and that there was no infirmity in the orders of the NHAI.

The petitioner, T Vasantha, who owned JRS Complex and JR Complex near the project area in Kathipara, challenged the acquisition proceedings on the ground that the NHAI had not communicated its remarks on her objections to the move. Since the February 4, 2008 order of the NHAI was culmination of an “empty formality,” the orders of acquisition should be quashed, the petitioner claimed.

Additional advocate-general P Wilson, representing the NHAI, submitted that Section 3-C(2) of the National Highway Act did not contemplate that remarks of the NHAI have to be forwarded to the land owner. The Kathipara grade separator was planned to ease the traffic congestion, and without these two lands the project could not be implemented, he submitted.

Concurring with his submissions, Justice Suguna referred to an apex court ruling which said the country had launched upon ambitious programme of all-round economic advancement to make the economy competitive in the world extent. “Whatever be practice in the past, a time has come where the courts should keep the larger public interest in mind while exercising their power of granting stay/injunction,” the Supreme Court had ruled.

Citing the ruling, Justice Suguna said the interests of justice and the public interest coalesce.




PIL on fate of fishermen detained in Pak, HC summons MEA official

Express News Service Posted: Friday , Jul 31, 2009 at 0247 hrs Rajkot:

The Gujarat High Court has summoned Deputy Secretary from the Union Foreign Ministry in response to a public interest litigation filed by the National Fishing Forum demanding early release of Indian fishermen from Pakistani jails and compensation for the families of the fishermen who have died during the jail term.

Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan on Wednesday ordered the Deputy Secretary to either remain present or file an affidavit on August 17. It has been more than a year since the PIL has been filed. A representative from the Foreign Ministry of the Government of India has never remained present during any hearing.

According to Manish Lodhari, Secretary, National Fishing Forum (NFF), the High Court, responding to the PIL, had last year also asked the ministry to issue a notice in this regard.

According to Lodhari, currently 550 Indian fishermen are in various jails of Pakistan. In the PIL, NFF has stated that the ministry has not done enough to get these fishermen released. NFF has also demanded compensation for the families of the fishermen who have died in Pakistan during the jail term.

 “Pakistan does release fishermen occasionally; usually once or twice in a year. But the efforts of the Indian Government are not enough and the majority of the fishermen usually serve around a two-year jail term for crossing the International Maritime Border Line,” said Lodhari.

He further said, “Fishermen should be freed soon after their arrest. However, the Indian Government has done little to ensure that fishermen do not get to serve two to three , which has actually become a norm.”

The NFF has also been demanding compensation for the families of those Indian fishermen who die in Pakistani jails. Currently, the Indian Government provides compensation of Rs 50 per day to the families of the fishermen who are arrested by Pakistan after they cross the international line. Lodhari, however, said that so far the government has not done much for those who died in Pakistani jails.





NCW seeks case details from govt


K P Sai Kiran

First Published : 31 Jul 2009 11:57:00 PM IST

Last Updated : 31 Jul 2009 01:37:32 AM IST


NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to the Government of Kerala seeking details of the Sr Abhaya murder case, following media reports that a virginity test was conducted on Sr Sephy, the third accused in the case.

“The Commission on Wednesday took suo-moto cognizance of the matter. The Commission will take further action against those involved, including the CBI, once the government furnishes the details of the case,” National Commission for Women member secretary S Chatterjee told Express.

“The commission has asked for the details of the case, based on media reports. We have sent the letter on Wednesday and are awaiting the report from the State Government,” he said.

“There is an allegation that a virginity test was conducted on Sr Sephy and that the language used in the CBI chargesheet was vulgar.

If true, this is a serious matter and amounts to impingement on the dignity of a woman”, the letter addressed to the State Chief Secretary stated.

The Kochi unit of the CBI on July 17 had filed a chargesheet in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court, Ernakulam, against the first three accused in the case – Fr Thomas M Koottor, Fr Jose Puthrukkayil and Sr Sephy.

In the chargesheet, the CBI acknowledged that the probe was conducted using scientific methods, including polygraph test, brain mapping test, brain finger printing test and narco analysis, which pointed the needle of suspicion to the three accused.

The CBI chargesheet also stated that the two male accused were in the habit of making nocturnal visits to the convent hostel where Sr Abhaya was staying and were present there, along with the third accused, on the fateful night.

It was to substantiate this version that the agency had ‘examined’ the accused nun’s claim of virginity. According to the chargesheet, Sephy was examined at the T D Medical College, Alappuzha, to find out whether she had ‘vaginal sexual intercourse’.

“There was no necessity for a nun, who is a virgin, to undergo hymenoplasty/surgical interference.

The only reason for such corrective surgery is to conceal evidence of the rapture of hymen due to frequent vaginal sexual intercourse”, the chargesheet said, making conclusions about the virginity of the accused.






NCW seeks report on Bidisha school incident


New Delhi, July 30(PTI) The National Commission for Women (NCW) today strongly objected to the stripping incident involving girl students in a school in Bidisha in Madhya Pradesh.

“We are seeking a report from the state government as well as the education department on the incident,” said NCW chairperson Girija Vyas.

According to reports, a school teacher allegedly stripped several tribal girl students for taking measurements for school uniform.

MP government provides school uniform to girls free of cost. The teacher allegedly took this as a pretext to “misbehave” with the young girls studying in class III, IV and V in a Bidisha school.

“This is not done and it cannot be tolerated. Whether they are small children or not we must protect the dignity of our girl students,” Vyas said.




CIC slaps Rs 10,000 fine on NCW

The National Commission for Women (NCW) failed to provide information on the 2006 Nithari killings under Right to Information Act (RTI)

Published on 7/29/2009 5:52:30 PM

New Delhi: Rapping the National Commission for Women (NCW) for failing to provide information under the Right to Information Act (RTI) on the 2006 Nithari killings, the Central Information Commission (CIC) has asked the women’s rights panel to pay Rs 10,000 to the appellant for the delay.

Commodore (retired) Lokesh K Batra had filed an application under the RTI in December 2007 about NCW members and money spent on their tours during February 2005 to Decemebr 2006 — between the phase when the first Nithari killing took place to the period when the gruesome killings surfaced.

Chief Information Commissioner Wajahat Habibullah in a ruling on Tuesday found that details were not furnished to Batra as the Commission had not maintained any records, reports IANS.

“In the present circumstances, because of the incapacity of the public authority to maintain what must be regarded as basic information, like records of tours of members of the NCW at public expense and public distribution, are basic information not only required to be maintained but in fact to be maintained in a manner and the form which facilitates the right to information under this Act,” Habibullah observed.

The CIC has asked the Commission to review its record in consultation with the National Informatics Centre (NIC).

“All required basic information regarding the structure of the NCW together with details of all complaints received and acted upon, with details of action taken will be compiled and uploaded on the NCW website within 45 working days,” he said.

The CIC has also asked the NCW to pay Rs.10,000 as compensation to Batra within 15 days for the pain suffered by him because of inadequacy of record keeping by the Commission.

“There is a complete lack of functional system at the NCW and they failed to furnish basic details in the past 18 months. In an order passed in August 2008, the CIC had rapped the NCW for not maintaining their files and records properly,” Batra said.

The Commission had then asked the Women and Child Development (WCD) Ministry to improve the NCW’s functioning by instituting “a regular administrative structure” for it, in accordance with the RTI Act, 2005, to maintain records. The Ministry had been given 30 days to accomplish this and inform the CIC.

“To know how the order was complied with, I filed an RTI application June 12 with the WCD Ministry to ascertain the compliance details of CIC order, and found it had not taken any action for nearly ten months,” Batra said.





Murder In Plain Sight


In Manipur, death comes easy. In this damning sequence of photos, a local photographer captures the death of a young man, killed in a false encounter by the police in broad daylight, 500 metres from the state assembly. How can a State justify such a war against its own people, asks TERESA REHMAN

IF ANY picture can speak a thousand words, these photos — available exclusively to TEHELKA — could fill volumes. They capture a shootout that happened in the heart of Imphal, Manipur’s capital, barely 500 metres from the state assembly, on July 23. They show the moments before, during and after the ‘encounter killing’ of a 27-year-old Indian citizen – a young man called Chongkham Sanjit, shot dead by a heavily-armed detachment from Manipur’s Rapid Action Police Force, commonly known as the Manipur Police Commandos (MPC).

There is a grotesque and brutal history to the bullets that killed this young man. For years, decades even, security forces in Manipur have faced allegations of human rights violations and extrajudicial murders committed under cover of the draconian Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA). In 2000, Irom Sharmila, stirred by the gunning down of 10 civilians, including an 18-year-old National Child Bravery Award winner, by the Assam Rifles, started a hunger fast — that lasts to this day — in protest against the AFSPA. In July 2004, the nation was rocked by the protests of a group of Manipuri women who marched to an Assam Rifles base in Imphal, stripped naked and raised a searing banner: “Indian Army Rape Us”. They were protesting the rape, torture and murder, a fortnight earlier, of Thangjam Manorama, 32, who was picked up from her home at night by the Assam Rifles.

Manipur rose up in protest that day, and in August 2004, the Centre relented, withdrawing the AFSPA from Imphal’s municipal zone. ‘Post-Manorama,’ as history is marked in Manipur, the army has taken a backseat, withdrawing outside the municipality. However, life in Manipur is still lived on the tightrope. In a seemingly new counter-insurgency strategy, the MPC has unleashed a reign of terror in the state.


Singh, 30, was allegedly killed by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 39 Assam Rifles on November 7, 2008. Singh ran a taxi service. In January 2009 his family filed a petition with the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Tasliumuddin, 20, a daily wage labourer, was allegedly killed in an ‘encounter’ by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 32 Assam Rifles on December 30, 2008. The NHRC has registered a case

Singh, 27, a brick mason was allegedly killed in an ‘encounter’ by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 12 Maratha Light Infantry on December 22, 2008 in Imphal West district. The family has filed a petition with the NHRC

Dipson, 28, was allegedly killed by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 39 Assam Rifles on January 12, 2009 at Laingam Khul. The lorry driver’s family has filed a police complaint

The 30-year-old auto rickshaw driver was allegedly killed by the Imphal West Police Commandos and 16 Assam Rifles on January 21, 2009. A complaint has been filed with the NHRC

The organisation known as the Manipur Police Commandos (MPC) was first set up in 1979 as the Quick Striking Force (QSF). Former Inspector General of Police, Thangjam Karunamaya Singh told TEHELKA, “They were trained for special operations. But the men had strict instructions. They were told to fire only when fired upon and pay special attention to the needs of women, children and the elderly. If they arrested somebody on suspicion, they had to take responsibility for their security,” stated Singh.

The MPC does not fall under the AFSPA but has now become notorious across the state. It operates only in the four districts of Manipur – Imphal East, Imphal West, Thoubal and Bishnupur. The MPC is housed in isolated commando barracks and has minimal contact with the general population, though its personnel are all locals.

Extra-judicial killings, and, in particular, fake encounters by the MPC have become common in Manipur. In 2008, there were 27 recorded cases of torture and killing attributed to the MPC. Where once they conducted ‘encounters’ in isolated places, they now do not think twice before operating in cities, in broad daylight, as they did on July 23. In several incidents, innocent civilians carrying money and valuables have been robbed and sometimes killed. In some cases official action has been taken against commandos for misconduct. For instance, in July 2009, five police commandos who had reportedly robbed three youths were suspended. But for the most part, their extra-judicial activity goes scot free.

According to the official version of Sanjit’s encounter death at 10:30am on July 23, a team of MPC personnel was conducting frisking operations in Imphal’s Khwairamband Keithel market. They saw a suspicious youth coming from the direction of the Uripok locality. When asked to stop, the version goes, the youth suddenly pulled out a gun and ran away, firing at the public in a bid to evade the police.

The official record states that the youth was finally cornered inside Maimu Pharmacy near Gambhir Singh Shopping Arcade. He was asked to surrender. Instead, he fired at the police. The police retaliated and the youth was killed. The account states that a 9mm Mauser pistol was “recovered”. The youth was identified from his driver’s license as Chongkham Sanjit, son of Chongkham Khelson of Kongpal Sajor Leikai, Manipur.

Usually, such official versions of encounters are difficult to disprove though everyone may know them to be false. But in an almost unprecedented coincidence, in Sanjit’s case, a local photographer rushed to the scene and managed to shoot a minute-by-minute account of the alleged ‘encounter’. The photographs (shown in preceding pages) clearly reveal that, contrary to the official version, Sanjit was, in fact, standing calmly as the police commandos frisked him and spoke to him. He was escorted inside the storeroom of the pharmacy. He was shot point blank inside and his dead body was brought out. The photographer, fearing for his safety, does not dare publish these pictures in Manipur.

The photographs clearly reveal that contrary to the official version, Sanjit was standing calmly as the MPC commandos frisked him

Eyewitness accounts partly corroborate the police version — except their account is obviously about a young man other than Sanjit. These witnesses state that a youth did escape from a police frisking party about a hundred metres away from where Sanjit was killed. The police chased this youth and opened fire, killing an innocent bystander, Rabina Devi — who was pregnant at the time — and injuring five other civilians. Afterwards, the police showed the media a 9mm Mauser pistol which they alleged was thrown away by the militant before he fled. After about half an hour, the police claimed to have killed the youth who escaped from their hands “in an encounter”; according to them, this youth was Sanjit. The photographs clearly indicate otherwise.

The police claim Sanjit was a member of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), a proscribed insurgent outfit. Chief Minster Okram Ibobi Singh also made a controversial statement in the assembly that day, asserting that there was no other alternative but to kill insurgents.

Sanjit was indeed a former PLA cadre. He was arrested in 2000 but freed. In 2006, he retired from the outfit on health grounds. In 2007, though, he was detained again under the NSA and was only released a year later. Since then, he had been staying with his family at his home at Khurai Kongpal Sajor Leikai and had been working as an attendant in a private hospital.

But even if Sanjit was a former militant, he should not have have been killed in a false encounter. The photos show him talking to his killers, calmly, without offering any resistance. He was frisked moments before the shootout. He was not an insurgent on the run. In fact, Sanjit had to make periodic appearances before the Court, a requirement that the Court later lifted. “Legally speaking, Sanjit was a free man,” says M Rakesh, a lawyer at the Gauhati High Court’s Imphal Bench. There are also significant inconsistencies in the police versions of the recovery of the weapon. First, they said it was flung away by the fleeing militant. Then they said it was recovered from Sanjit after the encounter. As the photos show, Sanjit was ushered into the pharmacy, not chased in. Also, if Sanjit was, in fact, armed with the 9mm Mauser, why wasn’t it found during the frisking? Why, as the photos show, was he taken inside the storeroom?

First the police said the pistol was flung away by the fleeing militant. Then they said it was recovered from Sanjit after the encounter

The law says if a death is caused by state forces in an encounter which cannot be justified by Section 46 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the officer causing the death would be guilty of culpable homicide. In this case, only a rigorous investigation can establish what exactly transpired. Instead of instituting a judicial enquiry, however, the state government is setting up a departmental enquiry, which is unlikely to yield any justice to the victims’ families. Sanjit’s family claims he had broken his earlier links with the militants and was leading a normal life. They say he had gone out that day to buy medicines for his uncle, who is undergoing treatment at Imphal’s JN Hospital. Says Sanjit’s mother, Inaotombi Devi, “Life is very cheap in Manipur.”

Manipur is routinely roiled by such devastating narratives. Ex-MLA 78-yearold Sarat Singh Loitongbam’s son Satish Singh was killed by the armed forces. Though a devout Hindu, he refuses to perform his son’s last rites until his name is cleared of wrongdoing. Like Satish, there is Ningombam Gopal Singh, a 39- year-old Grade-IV employee at the Imphal Bench of the Gauhati High Court, a man who was chatting over tea with women at a hotel when he was dragged off by men in plainclothes, to be shot dead in an ‘encounter’. There is 24-year-old Elangbam Johnson Singh, a student and part-time salesman, picked up by the MPC while out with a friend and killed in an encounter, his corpse at the morgue bearing signs of torture. Stories like these are a grotesque lattice in Manipur. “Life in Manipur,” as one observer puts it, “is like a lottery. You are alive because you are lucky.”



From Tehelka Magazine, Vol 6, Issue 31, Dated August 08, 2009

LEGAL NEWS 30.07.2009

SC green signal for C’Wealth Games village construction


New Delhi, Jul 30 (PTI)

Clearing the uncertainity over the conduct of the Commonwealth Games-2010, the Supreme Court today gave its green signal to the government to go ahead with construction of the Games village contending that it did not pose any environmental hazard.

A three-judge bench of Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan set aside a Delhi High Court direction for appointment of an expert committee to review the constructions as the same was being constructed on the Yamuna riverbed as alleged by certain environmentalists in a PIL.

“The observation and conclusion of the High Court that the site in question is on a “riverbed” cannot be sustained.




HC dismisses PIL seeking regulation in ‘dahi handi’–dahi-handi-


Mumbai, July 30 (PTI) The Bombay High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking regulation of children participating in ‘dahi handi’ festivities.

The Court said that formation of human pyramid which is a feature of ‘dahi handi’ in Maharashtra is “a regular sport and minors cannot be prohibited from participating in them.”

However, the Court said that the government may consider petitioners suggestion for making ‘dahi-handi’ safer and may frame guidelines.

A city-based NGO, Support India Foundation, had filed a PIL in Bombay High Court seeking a ban on participation of minors in ‘dahi handis’, a popular way of celebrating Janmashtami in Maharashtra.

The Foundation used RTI and found that children are getting injured while participating in the traditional ‘dahi handi’ celebrations where they climb on a human pyramid, which is some time as tall as a five-storeyed building, Geeta Singh, Director of the Foundation had told PTI.





Hooch tragedy: High Court seeks report on amendments in prohibition law–High-Court-seeks-report-on-amendments-in-prohibition-law/495797

Express News Service Posted: Thursday , Jul 30, 2009 at 0145 hrs Ahmedabad

Hearing on the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by a women’s group, AWAG, in connection with the recent hooch tragedy in Ahmedabad and the prohibition law was adjourned today for the next two weeks

The adjournment came after the government counsel sought time to annex the recent amendment in the prohibition law passed by the Gujarat Legislative Assembly. The court has now asked the state government to file the reply along with the amendment in the form of an affidavit and submit it before the court in two weeks.

In the petition, AWAG Secretary Ila Pathak had asked for stringent implementation of the Prohibition Law in the state. Apart from the PIL, HC has also taken suo moto cognisance of a few complaint letters it received in connection with the recent hooch tragedy and prohibition law.

The Division Bench comprising Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi had, subsequently, issued notice to the state government to explain it on how the prohibition policy is being implemented in the state.

Pathak’s counsel Amee Yajnik said, “The Additional Advocate General had sought time to annex the recent amendment made in the prohibition law. So, the court has asked the government to do the same and submit the report in the form of an affidavit by two weeks.”




PIL against Kankaria entry fee to be heard today

TNN 30 July 2009, 05:48am IST

AHMEDABAD: Nearly seven months after Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities started charging Rs 10 entry fee from visitors of Kankaria lake, a public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed in the Gujarat High Court against the decision.

The PIL was filed by Kirti Bhatt through advocate Perseus Banaji, who refused to divulge more regarding his litigation stating that the petition was yet to come up for hearing. However, he said that entry fee to visit the 500-year-old lake is one of the issues included in the plea.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi, is scheduled to take up the PIL for hearing on Thursday morning.

Ever since the AMC decided to impose fee on Kankaria visitors last December, the decision has met with opposition from various groups, including Congress, the opposition party in the civic body. After the surrounding of the lake was renovated under the Rs 36-crore Kankaria Lake Front Development Project (KLFD), many demonstrations were held to protest imposition of the entry fee. However, Bhatt’s petition is the first to challenge the decision in a court of law.

The lake witnessed 4,457 visitors the day the entry fee was introduced. Since then, AMC has been collecting a good amount from the visitors as fees. AMC’s decision to introduce an imported toy train has also proved a hit. Buoyed by this, the civic body is now planning to introduce a tethered helium balloon ride at the lake. Moreover, the Kankaria lake is also to get a modern-day architectural landmark an 80 feet-tall moving steel tower, which will twist, change shape and colour with the help of powered sophisticated robotic motors and a software.




Is begging a crime? Court wants government’s reply

2009-07-29 21:30:00

The Delhi High Court Wednesday sought a reply from the central and city governments on a plea seeking to decriminalise begging in the capital.

A division bench of Chief Justice Ajit Prakash Shah and Justice Manmohan sought the response from the ministries of law and justice, social welfare and the Delhi government, and slated the next hearing for Sep 16.

The court issued a notice to the attorney general to assist the court on the public interest petition challenging the constitutional validity of the Bombay Prevention of Begging Act.

The PIL was filed by noted social activist Harsh Mander who has argued that poverty can never be a crime.

‘If a person is destitute and begs for living, such a person cannot be treated as a criminal. He cannot be arrested or sentenced,’ the petitioner said while referring to the plight of a destitute who was jailed and sentenced for begging

Bottom of Form









Drunk driving: Now, cars may be forfeited

TNN 29 July 2009, 11:44pm IST

NEW DELHI: The next time you are caught behind the wheel in ‘high spirits’, you might get your vehicle forfeited by police. That’s not all. More such stringent rules are in the offing for regular offenders of drunk driving with the Delhi High court directing the Delhi government to consider implementing the suggestions given by the amicus curiae to curb the growing number of accidents due to drunk driving.

With an aim to have more stringent punishment for those who risk their lives and that of others by driving under the influence of alcohol, a Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan granted two weeks’ time to Delhi government for consideration of the matter and sought a status report by September 2.

The Bench agreed with the suggestion of the amicus that the licence of the repeated offender be revoked and the vehicle forfeited. The court also agreed with the suggestions of a strict vigil at the bars, uniform checks by police and special drive during the festival season.

“Check points for breath-test should be placed at locations that are impossible to avoid. Regular checks at vulnerable places like bars and pubs would help. Refusal to take the breath-test should automatically result in cancellation of licence,” the amicus further suggested.

Though the court agreed to most of the suggestions given by the amicus curie, it rejected certain other suggestions which did not fit the feasibility bill. The court refused to accept the suggestion that managers of the restaurant/bar should provide substitute drivers to its guests who come to the bar.

Court also rejected the suggestion that guests can leave their keys with the restaurant drivers and then ensure that the guest is allowed to drive only when he is in a proper state to drive.

The Bench was hearing the suggestions referred by a single judge, after treating them as PIL. The judge had asked the counsel to give suggestions while hearing a motor accident claim matter.




 ‘Make BTC area a green zone’
URA, Karnad And 5 Others File PIL


Bangalore: Even as the tussle between Bangalore Turf Club (BTC) and the government over shifting of the race course continues, seven citizens have moved the high court, seeking directions to maintain the place as a green zone.
Jnanpith awardees U R Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, environmentalist Suresh Heblikar, litterateur K Marulasiddappa, theatre personality G K Govinda Rao, painter S G Vasudev and journalist Ammu Joseph have filed a PIL seeking to restrain the authorities from entering into a contract or lease for a building on the said premises.
“In Bangalore, air and sound pollution levels are high. The city needs green cover and the BTC area should be converted into a lung space. The 70-odd acres should be declared a green zone and necessary rules should be framed to safeguard Bangalore from environmental degradation,” the petition states.
The petition is likely to come up for hearing this weekend.
The 73.35-acre land on Race Course Road where the Bangalore Turf Club is situated at present is considered an important lung space in the heart of the city. The BTC had requested the state to extend the lease but the state was not inclined. They then sought for alternative land to shift the race course. The government considered this and a site measuring 152.02 acres in Jaala hobli was identified.
The government had sought modification of the August 22, 1995 interim order of the court which asked the authorities not to make any grant of lands pertaining to tank bed areas.
On July 13, the high court had given the government liberty to take appropriate action in the matter of shifting the race course from the heart of the city. A division Bench headed by chief justice P D Dinakaran told the authorities to act ‘strictly in accordance with law’ while dealing with the matter.

posted by The Bangalorean @ 7/30/2009 09:38:00 AM  





State to move SC over Hogenakkal

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:34am IST

BANGALORE: The Karnataka government has decided to move the Supreme Court over the Hogenakkal drinking water project.
“We will appeal before the Supreme Court to ask the Tamil Nadu government to stop the proposed project at Hogenakkal falls,” water resources minister Basavaraj Bommai said on Wednesday.

The government has taken note of Tamil Nadu supplying drinking water to Dharmapuri and Krishnagiri districts by constructing a reservoir near Chamarajanagar district. If necessary, Karnataka will ask the Centre to intervene, he said.





SHRC raid in vain

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:33am IST

BANGALORE: State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) officials raided Amruthahalli police station on Wednesday afternoon after receiving information about a person being illegally detained there.

The officials suspected a man was detained there over recovery of gold in a burglary case. However, they did not find any illegal detention.




HC puts off GHMC poll

TNN 30 July 2009, 02:38am IST

HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Wednesday stayed the ongoing process for the GHMC polls and told officials that the polls cannot be held until the objections of various sections of the society who knocked the court’s door for redressal of their grievances in this regard are heard.

The final hearing in the case is slated to begin in Aug. third week and polls will depend on the timing and the outcome of the verdict. The slew of petitions that came before the division bench comprising Chief Justice Anil Ramesh Dave and Justice Ramesh Ranganathan raised several objections, including the collection of data pertaining to Backward Classes, reservation of wards to them, extension of political reservations to Muslims under the BC quota, quota for the creamy layer, disproportionate division of wards and delimitation issues.

The Bench observed that reservations provided to Muslims in education and employment by the AP government cannot be extended to the ‘political spectrum’ in the form of reserving certain seats to Muslims in GHMC elections. Quoting the Supreme Court, the Bench said that it has become mandatory to exclude creamy layer from BC groups. Polls cannot be held on the basis of illegal determination of BC voters, the Bench said.

“As GHMC elections are long overdue, it is necessary that this batch of writ petitions is finally heard at the earliest. As pleadings are yet to be completed in some of the writ petitions which form part of this batch, let all these writ petitions be listed for final hearing in the third week of August 2009,” the Bench said.

“We make it clear that the order now passed by us will not preclude the authorities from identifying and excluding the creamy layer among the BCs, providing group-wise reservation in favour of the BCs and, thereafter, conducting elections to the GHMC in accordance with law. We also make it clear that our observations on the several issues raised in this batch of writ petitions are only for the limited purpose of deciding the interlocutory applications and shall have no bearing on the final adjudication of the writ petitions,” the Bench said.

The court however upheld the process of identification of BC voters on the basis of executive guidelines and rejected the contention of the petitioners that the BCs can be identified only by the BC commission. The GHMC had hurried in its preparation for the polls as it wanted it to be held before Ganesh Chaturthi and Ramzan. “The idea was to hold it around August 21, but now we are not sure as to when they can be held,” said one GHMC official.

As per the directive of the state election commission that everything has to be in place by July 15, the GHMC had readied the division-wise electoral rolls, identified the wards reserved for BCs, enumerated the BC voters as well as identified the quota for SCs and STs by the stipulated deadline. However, going by the court’s verdict, there appears to have been many flaws in these.





Common University law to focus on VC quality

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:27am IST

CHENNAI: The issue of appointing persons with credible credentials to the post of vice-chancellor would be addressed in the proposed common legislation for universities in Tamil Nadu, higher education minister K Ponmudy said on Wednesday.

A high-level committee comprising eminent academics M Anandakrishnan and VC Kulandaisamy and three other members would examine these provisions in the draft Common Universities Bill, he said at a press conference here.

Ponmudy’s assurance on the issue came just days after Union human resources development minister Kapil Sibal wanted states to show, as part of a vision document, as to how they proposed to improve the quality of vice-chancellors.

However, Ponmudy sought to overlook the controversy over the appointment of kith and kin of ministers and politicians as vice-chancellors in Tamil Nadu over the past year, saying “such a practice has been in vogue” for many years. The minister also acknowledged that eliminating political interference in the appointment of vice-chancellors was impractical.

The state was willing to cooperate with the Centre’s initiatives to clean up the higher education system, including reviewing the functioning of deemed universities.

As for some private colleges demanding capitation and excess fee, the minister said, “Even today I received a couple of complaints and forwarded it to the monitoring committee.”

Meanwhile, he said that the Anna University (Chennai) would on August 1 confer honorary doctorates on deputy chief minister M K Stalin, Oscar award winning musician AR Rahman and the man behind the country’s first moon mission Mylswamy Annadurai for their contributions to the society.





Raja case: HC restores gag order on Tamil mag

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:08am IST

CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has restored a gag order against a Tamil magazine, Junior Vikatan, restraining the biweekly from publishing any article, news item, photograph or caricatures against Union minister A Raja. It also stayed the imposition of Rs 10,000 as case cost on the minister.

A division bench comprising Justice K Raviraja Pandian and Justice PPS Janarthana Raja, which delivered this interim ruling on Wednesday, passed similar interim orders in two other cases as well. The bench stayed a single judge order imposing Rs 25,000 as cost on industrialist and former BCCI president AC Muthiah, and issued an order of status quo with regard to the publication of Periyar EV Ramasamy’s works by the Periyar Dravidar Kazhagam (PDK). Coincidentally, all these appeals arose out of the orders delivered by Justice K Chandru.

The present gag order was first passed by a single judge in April this year, when Junior Vikatan was carrying reports about the controversy relating to spectrum allocation by the Union ministry of information technology and telecommunications.

On July 20, Justice K Chandru vacated the prior restraint against the biweekly on the ground that there was no law empowering the state or its officials to prohibit or impose a prior restraint upon the press. He had said that “any attempt to stifle or fetter criticisms will amount to political censorship and the Supreme Court has held such attempts as insidious and objectionable.” The court had also imposed a cost of Rs 10,000 on Raja.

Granting interim orders against the single judge order on publications as well as the case cost, the division bench posted the matter after four weeks for further proceedings.

In his appeal, Raja and his wife MA Parameswari argued that the single judge had misdirected himself when he held that all the impugned news reports were not related to their private life. Noting that right to freedom of expression is not absolute, they said blanket approval of the right is too dangerous and will amount to violation of human rights.

“No citizen has the right to make a defamatory statement and the impugned judgment sends a clear message that there is a right to defame recklessly, commit forgery and fudging of family photograph when the respondent is part of the press,” said the appeal.

Raja said the magazine defamed him, intruded into the privacy of his family, and revealed the identity of his minor daughter, which amounted to violation of human rights.




HC stays order against ex-BCCI chief Muthiah

TNN 30 July 2009, 12:21am IST

CHENNAI: A single judge order imposing a case cost of Rs 25,000 on former Board of Control for Cricket in India president AC Muthiah, who had questioned the propriety of BCCI secretary N Srinivasan owning the Chennai franchisee of the Board, has been stayed by a division bench.

The bench comprising justice K Ravijara Pandian and justice PPS Janarthana Raja granted the interim relief to the industrialist after senior advocate Nalini Chidambaram submitted that Muthiah moved the court only to “uphold the probity in the activities of the BCCI…and to establish that the power of amendment has been abused by a public body to protect the interest of an individual.”

Muthiah had alleged that as BCCI treasurer, Srinivasan flouted rules when he bade for the Chennai team of the Board’s Indian Premier League (IPL). The board later amended rules excluding Srinivasan from the ambit of the rules and to enable him to contest for BCCI secretary post, he said. On July 13, Justice K Chandru declined to interfere with BCCI’s affairs, dismissed the application and imposed a cost of Rs 25,000 on Muthiah.

Assailing that order, Muthiah said the court could not refuse to exercise the power of judicial review, and adopt a self-imposed policy of judicial restraint in the matter of management of public bodies.

Noting that amendment to Clause 6.2.4 was made with the private interest of Srinivasan in mind, he said the move suffered from the vice of malice in law. “The single judge failed to appreciate that confidence of the public will be shaken if persons who use undue influence in public bodies to bend the law to suit their private interest are allowed to hold influential positions in public bodies,” he said.

He wanted the bench to set aside the single judge order, and to stay his direction to Muthiah to pay case cost of Rs 25,000.




HC defers engg college counselling

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:58am IST

CHANDIGARH: Counselling for admission to PEC University and other engineering colleges of Chandigarh that was scheduled for Thursday, has been deferred till further orders by the Punjab and Haryana High Court. HC has also summoned records pertaining to the number of candidates who applied for admission under different categories. The matter would come up for hearing on Friday.

Justice MM Kumar passed these orders while hearing a writ petition filed by two candidates. In their petition, the petitioners had challenged the admission committee’s decision clubbing the UT pool quota and all India quota of seats reserved for the wards of military and paramilitary personnel for admission to engineering colleges.

While replying to the petitioner’s contentions, UT administration on Wednesday submitted that the clubbing of the quota was done erroneously but they cannot change it at present because it has been published in the prospectus. UT also deposed before the HC that they will separate the quota from the next academic year because the prospectus cannot be changed at this juncture.

However, contesting UT’s reply, counsel for the petitioners said that UT has committed a mistake while mentioning such rules in the prospectus and the mistake can be corrected by issuing a corrigendum. Earlier in their petition, Avneet Hira and Arshdeep Sandhu had sought the quashing of the provision in section B relating to admissions in PEC regarding defence quota and to conduct admissions in accordance with a letter issued by Chandigarh administration on July 15.




Trespassing: HC lawyers manhandle DSP

TNN 30 July 2009, 04:35am IST

CHANDIGARH: High drama was witnessed in the parking area of Punjab and Haryana High Court on Wednesday when some lawyers manhandled a DSP of Haryana police because he had tried to get his vehicle an entry from the wrong side and allegedly abused the lawyers who had objected to it.

The matter was later resolved with the intervention of the executive body of the high court bar and challaning of the DSP’s vehicle for wrong parking by traffic police.

The incident took place in the afternoon when DSP Nathu Singh Rathi, posted in Haryana vigilance department, tried to enter the high court through the exit point. When he was stopped by the HC bar staff, he overpowered them and got his official vehicle to enter the premises through the prohibited passage. When some lawyers objected to this, the DSP allegedly started abusing them. Advocate Punit Bali had a heated argument with the DSP. Bali was joined by other lawyers. The DSP alleged that he was not only abused by the lawyers but they also thrashed him and punctured all the tyres of his vehicle.

Thereafter, the DSP was taken to the office of president of High Court bar room by the lawyers and a police team from Sector-3 Chandigarh was called in.

After arguments between the DSP and the lawyers, a compromise was arrived at between both the parties.

However, during the arguments, the DSP suffered a bout of hypertension and was taken to the dispensary located on the premises of the high court.

The DSP later alleged that he was not only beaten up but also humiliated by the lawyers, but he did not lodge any formal complaint.

Talking on the issue, High Court bar association president Sukhjinder Singh Behl said it was a minor tussle and was amicably sorted out.





Act on parole applications in 6 weeks: HC

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:42am IST

PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa directed the inspector general of prisons to decide on applications for furlough/parole filed by prisoners in the state within six weeks.

The court passed the order after a case, where authorities took one year to decide on an application, came to light. The HC set the time frame after no time limit was prescribed under the Goa Prison Rules, 2006.

In a step towards prison reforms, Justice N A Britto said, “The IG (prisons) should ensure that all applications of the prisoners for furlough/parole, who are otherwise permanent residents of this state, should be decided within a period of six weeks and in case of others who are residents of outside the state within a period of eight weeks. These are only outer limits within which the applications are to be decided.”

The order came in the wake of a petition filed in the court this year by Francis D’Sa, a prisoner in central jail, Aguada. The high court found that his application dated July 9, 2008, was decided only on July 13, 2009, while the petition was pending before the high court.

The court was prompted to issue the directions as in a number of cases the prisoners were compelled to approach the high court because their applications were not decided within a reasonable time frame.




Moradabad court grants bail to Joshi

TNN 30 July 2009, 05:30am IST

LUCKNOW: A Moradabad court on Wednesday granted bail to Uttar Pradesh Congress Committee (UPCC) president Rita Bahuguna Joshi in connection with the alleged objectionable remarks made against chief minister Mayawati a fortnight ago.

The court accepted Joshi’s application for regular bail and granted the same against two sureties of Rs 20,000 each and a personal bond furnished by Joshi’s lawyers thereafter. Joshi was already on interim bail granted by the court on her application filed along with the application for regular bail on July 18 last.




Man accused of stealing cops’ bikes acquitted

TNN 30 July 2009, 02:47am IST

In a surprise development, a youth charged with stealing three motorbikes belonging to three policemen has been acquitted by the court. Two of the policemen were the complainants in the case.

Javed Sattar (19) of Manora in Washim district and his friends were charged with having stolen three motorcycles from the premises of the Regional Police Training School (RPTS) at Godanki in Old City area on January 24, 2009. Sattar is reported to have abandoned one of the motorcycles since it ran out of fuel just outside the RPTS premises. However, the other two motorcycles were found in Akot town in Akola district some time later.

Sattar had been booked under sections 379, 380 of IPS. The accused was provided defence lawyer K H Giri by the legal aid centre.

The prosecution examined six policemen, including head constable Dilip Vasant Tidke, constables Anil Zunz and Sunday Kshirsagar, whose motorcycles had been stolen. JMFC G K Nandanwar acquitted the accused after hearing the defence lawyer and advocate Gajanan Patil who represented the state.




Session court to hear bail plea in Simi case today

Suhas Vyas, TNN 30 July 2009, 02:43am IST

would hear the bail plea of five Simi activists, who are currently in jail, on Thursday, informed the defence lawyer Dildar Khan.

The investigating officer had made a volt face on Saturday by requesting the Murtizapur court to release the five accused under section 169 of criminal procedure code 1973 following lack of sufficient evidence against them. However, magistrate YD Gaud refused to release the accused and ordered police to reinvestigate the case.

On Monday evening, the investigating officer again produced the accused before the magistrate stating that their police custody was no more required as the case investigations were over and hence the accused be sent to jail under magisterial custody. As per the law, an accused can immediately apply for bail after being sent to magisterial custody. As expected, the accused immediately applied for bail. But the magistrate rejected the bail application despite the fact that the government pleader had given a no objection to their release on bail.

Following this development, Khan applied for bail in the sessions court on Tuesday which will be heard on Thursday. The police maintained that they had no concrete evidence against the arrested persons. The five accused were rounded up during a Muslim religious meet held at Mana village on July 19.




RTI reveals rly protects erring staff

Vijay Pinjarkar, TNN 30 July 2009, 03:03am IST

NAGPUR: The question is whether to spend money on litigation after a complaint is lodged or take action against the erring employees? The railway prefers the former as an RTI query pertaining to negligent and inefficient service to passengers.

A query under RTI has revealed that the railway spent Rs 3,570 for fighting a legal battle. It also recovered a fine of Rs 6,200 from the erring contractor towards poor services. However, when it came to taking action against the erring staff, the railway says: “It’s not applicable”.

The brief history of the case refers to District Consumer Forum, Nagpur ruling in January 2009, ordering the railways to pay one of the passengers A V Prabhune, a resident of railway colony, Ranapratap Nagar, Rs 6,200 for not providing proper linen and poor condition of the AC-III compartment of 2649 Yashwantpur-Nizamuddin Sampark Kranti Express in which he was travelling with his wife to Bangalore on September 2, 2007.

Although Prabhune won the case and got compensation from the railways as per the court order, he was curious to know as to what action the railway took against the erring employees and contractor. Reply to a query under the RTI Act on July 25 has revealed that the railway protects erring employees. This is despite the fact that railway circulars clearly define the role and responsibilities of officials deputed on station and train duties.

Prabhune, who’s working to protect rights of consumers, says getting compensation is not the sole issue. “I wanted to know steps taken to avoid recurrence of such incidents, compensation and cost of litigation are paid and action is taken against the erring staff. However, the public information officer (PIO) and additional divisional railway manager (ADRM), South West Railway, Bangalore, gave incomplete and incorrect information,” Prabhune told TOI.

When Prabhune appealed to the DRM, he informed that a compensation of Rs 6,200 was recovered from the contractor but no action was taken against the erring employees. He further said that their division has not incurred any cost on litigation. Not satisfied, Prabhune filed another RTI with Central Railway, Nagpur.

Prabhune says information received from PIO, Nagpur, reveals that the Central Railway paid Rs 3,570 to its lawyer against his original bill of Rs 8,190. On action against the erring employees, the reply says not applicable’. “This clearly indicates that instead of taking action against erring employees, top officials protect them,” an aggrieved Prabhune said.

Action was not taken against the PIO of South West Railway also for providing incorrect and incomplete information. Prabhune said the cost of fine is ultimately passed on to consumers. “The key question is why consumers should suffer for failures and inefficiency of the railway administration?”

“Many times, railway officials are adamant and force passengers to go into litigation as they don’t lose money from their pockets. But it definitely matters to a common man who cannot take on the mighty administration. I had to suffer a lot of physical and mental agony while fighting the legal battle,” Prabhune said and demanded to recover money towards litigation from the erring employees.

It is clear that the railway spent Rs 3,570 as litigation cost and recovered a compensation of Rs 6,200 from the contractor. However, even if this is true, it is the duty of the rail officials to monitor contractors’ working.






Quota for hiring from Bar to stay

TNN 30 July 2009, 03:58am IST

NEW DELHI: The quota for recruitment from the Bar to fill vacancies in the higher judicial service (HJS) of the states would remain intact at 25% of the total vacant positions.

But, the Supreme Court has posed a question to the HCs whether it would be prudent to reduce the fast track promotion quota for filling another 25% of the vacant posts in HJS to 10% in the absence of suitable candidates.

A Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices P Sathasivam and B S Chauhan said: “It is noticed that in many of the states, the HCs find it difficult to fill up 25% of the fast-track promotions as sufficient number of candidates are not available and it is pointed out that in the written test most of the candidates fail and the 25% quota remains unfilled thereby creating more vacancies in HJS.”

“We, therefore, request the various HCs to file the details of the promotions given to the HJS since 2006 after the commencement of the new rules in the HJS and also give their suggestion, if any, as to whether 25% of the vacancies is in excessive or whether it should be reduced to a reasonable percentage, say 10. All HCs are requested to file their response within four weeks,” the Bench said.

This makes it clear that the 25% recruitment quota for HJS from the Bar would remain intact while the apex court is mulling reduction in the 25% quota reserved for recruitment through fast-track promotions.





SC rejects RNRL plea for final hearing on Sept 1


2009-07-30 15:00:00
Last Updated: 2009-07-30 18:46:06
The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to hear Reliance Natural Resources Limited (RNRL) plea for commencing final hearing on gas dispute from September 1.

Mukesh in pursuit of corporate greed: Anil Ambani

A bench headed Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said it would decide on final hearing date on September 1.

Gas dispute case: RNRL versus Reliance

As the entire Bombay High Court record was before the apex court, the company’s counsel Mukul Rohtagi requested that final hearing be taken up on September 1.

Anil seeks probe into RIL’s ‘huge scandal’ in gas investments

Questioning the need for early final hearing, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) counsel Harish Salve said, “What public interest would this serve?”

Ambani gas war: Plan panel not worried

On Wednesday, the dispute over gas distribution between the Ambani brothers echoed in Parliament with Samajwadi Party (SP) members led by party president Mulayam Singh Yadav, demanding Petroleum Minister Murli Deora’s resignation over the Centre’s failure to ensure gas supply to the Dadri Power project in Uttar Pradesh.

Oil Ministry stand will erode investor confidence: Anil Ambani

Yadav alleged that the Centre had committed an injustice to Uttar Pradesh by denying gas to the Dadri Power plant and this in turn could cost the national exchequer Rs 30,000 crore.

Court admits petition for early end to Reliance gas dispute

The Anil Ambani owned RNRL has taken up Dadri project.

More India business stories

On Tuesday, Anil Ambani had flayed the Petroleum Ministry for colluding with his elder brother Mukesh’s RIL in blocking gas supply for its power projects despite a firm commitment, upheld thrice by the Bombay High Court

Last month, the Bombay High Court had asked Reliance Industries to supply 28 million units of gas to Reliance Natural Resources for 17 years at 2.34 dollars per unit, after assigning 12 million units to the state-run power utility NTPC. (ANI)










Setback for Anil: SC rejects RNRL plea for early final hearing

Press Trust Of India

New Delhi, July 30, 2009

The Supreme Court today refused to take up a gas dispute between Reliance Industries and RNRL for final hearing on September 1, rejecting the prayer of Anil Group company for expeditious proceedings.

A bench headed Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan said it will decide on the date of final hearing on September 1 when
it will consider various petitions related to the dispute.The RNRL prayer came up for mentioning and the company’s
counsel Mukul Rohtagi requested that final hearing be taken up on September 1 as the entire Bombay High Court record was
before the apex court and nothing was left to be filed.

“All parties are here,” he said, referring to Mukesh Ambani-led RIL, the government and gas users. RIL counsel Harish Salve, however, questioned the need for early final hearing, saying “what public interest would this serve?”

The court enquired whether the petitioner wanted interim arrangement on the September 1 or the final order, Rohtagi
said that RNRL was not looking for interim arrangement. At this point Salve requested the court that there should
be complete silence from all parties as people are going to the media.

Earlier on Wednesday, in a no holds barred attack, Anil Ambani landed an emotional punch on elder brother,
saying Mukesh no longer saw a role for their mother Kokilaben in resolving their gas dispute and has traded Dhirubhai’s
vision for “corporate greed.”

Asserting that he had made sincere efforts at every stage to amicably resolve all issues, but without success, Anil told
PTI that “unfortunately, in the pursuit of corporate greed, RIL has even forgotten the vision of the founder chairman
(late Dhirubhai Ambani)!”

Expressing anguish over Mukesh’s disregard to elders in the family, he said: “My respected elder brother has already
made it amply clear both within the family and externally that he does not visualise any further role for my respected mother in resolving this (gas supply dispute) or any other matter.”

It was Kokilaben who oversaw the division of the Reliance empire in 2005, two years after the differences between the
two brothers became public.





HC drives home point: replacement drivers ‘impractical’

Utkarsh Anand Posted: Thursday , Jul 30, 2009 at 0103 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday termed as “impractical” the recommendation to make it mandatory for all bars and discotheques in the Capital to keep ‘replacement drivers’ — a suggestion that was earlier sent by a single judge Bench to the Delhi Police for consideration.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice Manmohan in fact pulled up the amicus curiae A J Bhambani for giving suggestions that were imprudent and liable to be rejected. After perusing the report containing various suggestions to rein in drunken driving, the court said, “I am also surprised by your references to Wikipedia reports and about what happens in other countries like South Korea. The suggestions have to be good and not fancy,” Justice Shah said.

“The suggestion of replacement drivers is not only impractical but will also give rise to various other issues. We cannot allow this,” said Justice Shah.

Notably, a single judge Bench had in May issued a slew of directives for the Delhi Government and the Delhi Police.

While the police were asked to post personnel outside pubs, bars and restaurants which serve liquor and slap penalties on those driving out drunk, the government was directed to examine if it could be made mandatory for the bars to keep ‘replacement drivers’, as is prevalent in some foreign countries.

The logic advanced by the counsel was that since the establishment profits from the customer, it was their responsibility to ensure safety of the patron and of innocent people on the road

Striking down this suggestion, the Bench further said that another recommendation asking for installation of an ignition interlock device, which would analyse a driver’s breath and disable the ignition if he is found drunk, also defied logic and substance.

Another suggestion held “illogical” by the court included “marking licence plates to indicate that a driver’s licence is suspended or revoked for alcohol offences can also act as a deterrent in the form of a social sanction against offenders.”

“These suggestions simply cannot work,” said the Bench and asked Delhi Police counsel Mukta Gupta about what was being done to check the drunken driving.

“We have been keeping a close vigil in the areas where bars and discotheques are located. It is noteworthy that 3,872 people have been booked for drunken driving till July 15 this year while 1,203 vehicles were impounded and 1,200 driving licenses were punched as punishment,” Gupta informed the court.

The bench, however, was unhappy over the mild punishments prescribed for drunken driving under the laws and said, “A monetary penalty will not do alone. It has to be backed up by something more stringent like suspending or cancelling a licence. It is disappointing that while other countries have severe punishments for drunken driving, we lack a stern legislation.”

The court then asked the Delhi government to consider suggestions like suspension and revocation of licenses, uniform checks and creating awareness, to curb the growing number of drunken driving accidents. The next date of hearing has been fixed for September 2.





ADM Manhandling: Accused MLA moves HC against FIR

TNN 29 July 2009, 10:41pm IST

ALLAHABAD: SP MLA from Varanasi and a corporator of Nagar Nigam, Varanasi filed a writ petition in the Allahabad HC on Wednesday in connection with an FIR lodged against him for manhandling a senior PCS officer, ADM (Protocol) posted in Varanasi.

MLA Abdul Samad Ansari and a corporator of VNN Manoj Rai have filed a writ petition in the HC, challenging the validity of FIR lodged against them with police station- Cantt- Varanasi. The FIR has been lodged against the MLA and corporator under Sections 323, 504, 506, 332, 353 and 7 Criminal Law Amendment.

The allegation in the FIR was that the MLA and the corporator along with their 10 to 15 supporters approached the office of the ADM (Protocol), Varanasi, Rajendra Kumar Singh, on July 27, for issuance of a solvency certificate but after some time, they manhandled the ADM on some issue and tore his clothes.

The alleged accused SP MLA and corporator have alleged in the writ petition that they had not manhandled the ADM but had been falsely implicated in this case due to political rivalry. The case would be heard by a two judge bench of the HC.

LEGAL NEWS 28-29.07.2009

HC issues notices to Haryana Home secy, police chief on PIL

 Published: July 29,2009    
Chandigarh , July 28 The Punjab and Haryana High Court today issued notices to the Haryana Home Secretary and police chief on a PIL filed by an organisation which sought direction to the state government for taking action against caste-based Khaap panchayats.

The petition filed by Lawyers For Human Rights International submitted that Khap Panchayats were functioning like parallel courts in Haryana pronouncing punishment on individuals and families considered to be violating its code, especially governing marriages.

It sought directions to the state government to declare the decisions of the Khap Panchayats as illegal and initiate action against them.

Referring to the recent death of a man Vedpal, who was lynched in Jind district when he had gone to take his wife from her parent&aposs home, the petitioner prayed the probe into the incident be entrusted to a special investigation team headed by a senior IPS officer under the supervision of the court and the victim&aposs family be given compensation.

The court sought the response of the officials by September 22.

Source: PTI    





Contempt petition against state for forcing quota

TNN 29 July 2009, 06:03am IST

LUCKNOW: The high court asked the UPTU registrar and secretary, education department, to file their response on a contempt petition moved with allegation that despite stay order the state government was forcing the petitioner that is private engineering colleges to implement 50% reservation for SC/ST and OBC in admission. Justice Sanjai Mishra fixed August 4 for next hearing of the case.

Ram Swaroop and Ram Murthi Engineering Colleges moved the petition stating that division bench of the court had restrained the government from implementing 50% quota in their respect but still the government was forcing them to do so.

Bail to arson accused rejected: Bail pleas of two accused, involved in torching the house of UP Congress president, Rita Bahuguna Joshi on July 15, have been rejected here on Tuesday. SC/ST judge, Satish Chandra Singh rejected the application of accused Zamir Khan, while judge Anil Kumar turned down the plea of Inder alias Pappu.

The two were arrested along with three others on the allegation of involvement in the case lodged by complainant, B R Saroj with Hussainganj police. The accused pleaded in their bail application that they were innocent and have been falsely implicated. They are not BSP workers and just to save three culprits they have been challaned in the case. It was also said that there was no evidence against them and their names figured in the case on the statement of co-accused, which is not admissible.

Maintenance of city parks: The high court has restrained the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) from transferring 25 parks of the city to non-governmental agencies for their upkeep and maintenance. The court fixed August 3 for next hearing of the matter and directed the LDA to apprise it, in the meanwhile, of rules and regulation under which the parks are being handed over to private agencies.

The orders were passed by a division bench of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice R R Awasthi on a PIL filed by a local lawyer, Pankaj Srivastava. It was said in the PIL that on June 26, LDA decided to transfer 25 parks, including Begam Hazrat Mahal Park, Buddha Park, Neembu Park and Nehru Bal Vatika to NGOs. There are no rules or regulations under which LDA is transferring these parks, said the petitioner and added that LDA had handed over these parks to NGOs earlier also but they were left in a very pitiable condition. Therefore, transfer of these parks to NGOs is not in public interest, said the petitioner.




Govt trying to shield dummy writers scam accused: PIL

DNA Correspondent

Wednesday, July 29, 2009 8:26 IST

Ahmedabad: The state government has sought to file reply to a public interest litigation (PIL) filed in connection with the dummy writers scam. The petitioner, Manish Doshi, executive council member of the Gujarat University, has accused the government of not taking actions against the alleged prime perpetrators of the scam by sitting on the report given by the inquiry committee. The case will come up for hearing next on August 10.

The PIL seeks strict action against the people responsible for the dummy writers scam. Doshi, through his counsel, DP Kinariwala, submitted in the court that, an inquiry committee formed by the Gujarat State Higher Secondary Board, has recommended actions against trustees of HB Kapadia high school and Swastik Shishuvihar high school and Sant Kabir school besides the then GSHSEB secretary, HN Chavda.

However, the government has not acted according to the report and is shielded the main accused by issuing petty punishments to the other accused in the case, it alleged.

The scam, unearthed during the HSC examination in 2008, caught Kamal Patel and Harsh Kotak, two students who belong to well-known families, using dummy writers faking hand fracture.





Govt pulled up over Abhishek episode

TNN 29 July 2009, 02:38am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Tuesday asked the chief secretary to issue guidelines with respect to the representation to be filed by an NGO to prevent tragedies like the Abhishek episode. The six-year-old boy was washed away in a drain during a heavy downpour and his body was never found.

“We express our deep anguish about this tragedy. We’ve all the sympathy. But there is no use in finding fault with anybody. We all have to coordinate so that such things are not repeated. The chief secretary should give appropriate directions to PWD authorities, the DC and all local authorities so that such an incident is not repeated in any part of the state,” the division Bench headed by chief justice observed while asking the petitioner NGO to file necessary representation to the government in this regard.

Citizen Action Group in its PIL alleged that despite the Abhishek tragedy on May 31, the authorities had not taken any effective protective measures. “The Abhishek incident was not an isolated one. Ten days earlier, a security guard was washed away with his scooter. The authorities have so far shown a callous attitude. They have not issued any comprehensive guidelines with respect to covering open drains. No one has been held accountable for the tragedy,” Nalina, the petitioner’s counsel, told the court.




SC rejects PIL on EVMs manipulation

July 27th, 2009 – 6:00 pm ICT by ANI

New Delhi, July 27 (ANI): The Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging susceptibility of electronic voting machines (EVM) to manipulation.

India is using the electronic voting machine from the last five years for the elections of Lok Sabha and state assemblies.

A Bench of the apex court headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan declined to hear the PIL, filed by V. V. Rao, of Jana Chaitanya Vedika. The Bench asked the petitioner to make a representation before the Election Commission of India in connection with the matter.

Rao, himself an engineer argued in the petition that, several experts and election watch groups have found that the EVM could be manipulated. Rao also claimed that his organization analysed the results in several constituencies, which indicate that there is something drastically wrong with the EVMs.

The existing EVMs are vulnerable and should not be used for any elections till the time the machines are made tamper proof, Rao said in the petition.

Earlier, Leader of Opposition in the Lok Sabha L.K. Advani also raised doubts about the functioning of the EVMs, and also demanded to reintroduction of ballet papers for elections.

The Election Commission of India rejected all such allegation claiming that all EVMs are protected against tampering. (ANI)





Govt buys time to soothe anti-gay sentiment

29 Jul 2009, 0152 hrs IST, Bharti Jain, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The decision to ask the Union Cabinet to take a final call on the recent Delhi High Court judgement legalising adult gay sex may only help the government buy more time to soothe the angry feelings it has invoked among various religious communities.

The latest move by a three-member panel comprising home minister P Chidambaram, law minister Veerappa Moily and health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad – tasked by the prime minister to formulate a view on whether Section 377 needed to be updated/scrapped – to seek a consensus within the Cabinet comes even as their own opinion is in favour of the judgement legalising sex between consenting adult homosexuals.

At the meeting on Tuesday, there was broad agreement that HC judgement scrapping a particular provision of Section 377 regarding consensual gay sex between adults was “balanced”, as it had left the provisions criminalising non-consensual sex between homosexuals as well as sodomy intact.

In fact, according to government sources, the Centre is unlikely to fault the judgement in the Supreme Court. However, the opposition from various religious leaders — including Muslim clerics, Sikh and Christian clergy as well as right-wing Hindu groups — and the political cost it entails have made the government jittery about openly welcoming the HC order as of now.

Some ministers feel that a consensus should be built among the political class as well as within the society before publicly backing the HC verdict. This, however, needs time, which is why the Centre has sought six weeks to present its views on the matter before the court. Given the differences that may emerge within the council of ministers on Section 377, it could even take longer before the government takes a final call on enforcing the HC order.

In any case, Section 377, as interpreted by HC, is already the law of the land. So, effectively, gay sex between consulting adults is legal. As time passes — possibly six months to even an year — and not so-called “adverse” effects of legalisation of adult homosexual relations are visible, the reservations of the various communities and religious groups, MHA feels, may just wear off.






HC dismisses petitions challenging telecast of ‘Sach Ka Samna’

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009 at 1240 hrs New Delhi:

The Delhi High Court dismissed two petitions seeking a stay on the controversial TV show ‘Sach Ka Samna’, saying that moral policing is not its function.

A Division Bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah suggested the petitioners to approach the central government over it.

“It is for the government to decide whether the programme should be banned or not. It is not the function of the court … There are far more serious problems in this country which we have to settle,” the Bench said.

Two petitioners, Deepak Maini and Prabhat Kumar, had approached the court seeking a stay on the show being telecast on Star Plus channel alleging that the programme was against the values of the Indian society.

Rejecting it, the court said, “Our culture is not so fragile that it would be affected by one TV programme.”





HC seeks info on Katihar red-light area

TNN 29 July 2009, 12:01am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Tuesday directed the Katihar DM to file a counter affidavit to a PIL seeking rehabilitation of the people living in the red-light area in Kulipara locality of Katihar town.

A division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash issued the directive on a PIL of Naseema Khatoon who alleged police atrocities on the women residing in Kulipara.

Claiming herself to be a social activist, dancer and singer, Naseema sought a direction to police not to violate the human rights of Kulipara residents. She said she has already submitted a memorandum to the chief minister, requesting for measures for the uplift and rehabilitation of the residents of all the red-light areas in the state.

She said when the CM visited Katihar, residents of Kulipara sought rehabilitation. Thereafter, the local police gave a report that Kulipara children were being imparted education and that the situation had improved there. On July 8, however, a team of policemen reached Kulipara and molested women, Naseema added.





HC asks official liquidator not to take charge of Pyramid Saimira
TE Narasimhan / Chennai July 29, 2009, 0:24 IST

The Madras high court has asked the official liquidator (OL) not to take charge of Chennai-based Pyramid Saimira Theatre Ltd (PSTL) for the time being. The court’s direction comes after the theatre chain informed the former that it would pay its entire dues to Patni Financial Services before October 31, 2009.

 It may be recalled that on June 19, the Madras high court had appointed the OL to take charge of Pyramid Saimira’s assets. The order was passed on the basis of a petition filed by Mumbai-based Patni Financial Advisors, which had given a loan of Rs 5 crore by way of inter-corporate deposit to PSTL.

During today’s hearing, PSTL paid Rs 32.5 lakh, the interest portion, to Patni and said it would pay the entire amount before October 31. Following this, Justice P Jyothimani said the “appointment of PL stays in abeyance”.





Juvenile Act provides for adoptions: HC

TNN 29 July 2009, 05:33am IST CHENNAI: Couples intending to adopt children without being inhibited by the personal laws of their religion can do so under the provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2000, the Madras high court has ruled.

Allowing an application from a Christian couple who sought legal rights for their adopted daughter, Justice K Chandru faulted Air India, employer of the adoptive father, for refusing to recognise the adoption based on the “spurious argument” that Christian law did not recognise adoptions.

Noting that Sections 40 and 41 of the Juvenile Justice Act provided for adoption through the juvenile justice board, the court criticised Air India for failing to note the present legal position. “It shows their insensitiveness and ignorance regarding the development of law in this country,” Justice Chandru said. Besides, AI’s stand was opposed to the law of the land, he said.

The court directed AI to recognise that Gywneth Dhanya, aged two and a half, as the child of the applicants, RR George Christopher and his wife Kristy Chandra, and confer all service benefits available to a child of an AI staff.

“The Juvenile Justice Act for the first time provides adoption’ as a means to rehabilitate and socially reintegrate a child. It empowered the state government and the JJ Board to give a child for adoption. This is the first secular law in India providing for adoption. The provisions in Sections 40 and 41 are not restricted to persons belonging to a particular religion alone,” the judge said.

Even though the Christian couple in the case before the court did not utilise the JJ Act, but obtained a guardianship order from the court and followed it up with adoption as per Christian rites and customs, the judge dealt with the provisions of the juvenile justice law also to highlight the fact that regardless of personal law, there are avenues of adoption for people subscribing to any faith.

Air India’s argument was that Christian law did not recognise complete adoption, as Christians had no enabling law to adopt a child legally on the lines of Hindu law on the subject. There could only be a guardian-ward relationship, it argued. However, the judge cited judicial pronouncements on the subject to show that Canon Law applicable to Christians did not prohibit it and also provided for adoption if the relevant country’s laws permitted it.




Father of suspected IM terrorist moves HC

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:43am IST

NEW DELHI: Even as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) gave a clean chit to the Delhi police special cell in the Batla House encounter, father of a suspected Indian Mujahideen (IM) terrorist on Tuesday approached the Delhi High Court seeking its direction to initiate criminal proceeding against police officials involved in the shootout.

Ansarul Hassan, a resident of Azamgarh in Uttar Pradesh has written a letter to Chief Justice of Delhi High Court A P Shah, pleading that an FIR should be filed against the police personnel claiming his son Mohd Sajid, who was killed in the encounter last year, was innocent.

In a three-page letter addressed to the Chief Justice Hassan said that his son Sajid and his friend Atif had come to Delhi to pursue studies and were staying at Batla House. The police, in its encounter, killed them. He said that he had to approach the court as no FIR had been lodged in the case and the NHRC also refused to take action on his plea. He also alleged that even after the death of his son, officers of the special cell still harass them and threaten them of dire consequences.

The Court is likely to take into consideration the letter and would take cognizance on Wednesday. The letter has come a week after the NHRC submitted its report before the chief Justice of Delhi High court stating that the encounter was not fake and the police fired on the alleged terrorists in “self defence”.

Atif Amin and Mohd Sajid, the two suspected IM terrorists allegedly involved in the September serial blasts in the capital, were killed on September 19, 2008 and two other IM suspects Mohd Saif and Zeeshan were arrested from the Batla House area. The incident took place a week after serial blasts had rocked the capital killing 26 people and injuring 13 others.




HC was ‘stunned, aghast’ over VIPs on list but admitted there’s no proof

Posted: Wednesday, Jul 29, 2009 at 0329 hrs Srinagar:

After PDP leader Muzaffar Beigh alleged that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah — and his father Farooq Abdullah — figure in a “list of suspects” in the 2006 Srinagar sex abuse scandal, he claimed this list surfaced during the CBI investigation monitored by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.

The fact is that this list was never made public and charges against those named in it were subsequently denied. In fact, the High Court decided not to make it public saying further investigation was needed.

In its order on October, 8, 2007, the court said that this list includes the “category of persons who have been alleged by Sabina (the woman kingpin of the sex abuse scandal) to have had illicit sex with girls procured by or known to her”.

The order, however, added: “…The concerned girls, though much after the allegations leveled by Sabina, have denied the alleged occurrences. With no other circumstance to support Sabina’s statement being on record which renders further investigation in their cases imperative”.

“Since cases of this category of persons are required to be investigated further, I would, as already said, abstain from naming them,” Justice Bashir Kirmani said in the order.

“But I am totally taken aghast to find names of some highly placed people in this list particularly from police department and political field; high ranking police officers and political functionaries including some former and sitting ministers of the Cabinet. I wish they figure wrongly in this shame list but even a mere incriminating mention of their names in a case of this type, not to say of any involvement like others, already mentioned, is simply stunning,” the judge said.

When asked why as Deputy CM, he didn’t take any action, Beigh claimed: “It was on my letter to then CM Azad that the CBI probe began. But now we think the CBI is going slow and that’s why we have raised the issue.”




HC commission visits project-affected Pahur village, rehabilitation site

T O Abraham, TNN 29 July 2009, 03:30am IST

YAVATMAL: The one-man commission appointed by the Nagpur bench of Bombay high court visited the Bembla river irrigation project-affected Pahur village to have an on-the-spot inspection of the available infrastructure and the civic amenities. Around 25 kms from the city Pahur, is a village in Babhulgaon tehsil and is proposed to be the new site for the rehabilitation of the villagers.

According to sources, the one-man commission of Advocate Narayan Fadnavis appointed by the HC visited both the affected village Pahur and the proposed sites of their rehabilitation. He interacted with the villagers and also took stock of the situation. He is expected to submit his report to the HC shortly.

Sources said, the villagers apprised Fadnavis about their hardships. They told the commission what sort of problems they would face once they shift to the new site which doesn’t have necessary civic amenities. The villagers have asked for time till May 2010 so that their houses would be completed at the new site and necessary civic amenities be provided.

A joint meeting that followed was attended by the project-affected villagers including sarpanch Gunwant Jirapure, executive engineer of Bembla project Sharad Dhoble, executive engineer of Lower Painganga Borse, district rehabilitation officer Ashok Khandare, sub-divisional engineer Nimje, tehsildar of Yavatmal Santosh Shinde and others.

It may be recalled that the district rehabilitation authorities have given an ultimatum to project-affected people (PAP) asking them to accept the possession certificate of their allotted plots at the rehabilitation site immediately failing which the land patta’ would be cancelled and their habitat in the village would be razed.

The gram panchayat then moved the high court and pleaded for granting an interim stay on the forcible shifting of their village. They have alleged that the rehabilitation site doesn’t have adequate civic amenities and pointed out that they would not able to construct the houses during the rainy season.

The counsel for district administration, however, denied the allegations and told the court that the village would submerge during the current monsoon as the project authorities have targeted 100% storage in the dam.

After hearing both the parties, the court granted status quo to the order issued by district administration and ordered them not to make any forcible rehabilitation. The court then appointed a senior lawyer Narayan Fadnavis as one-man commission who would visit both the affected village and the proposed site to ascertain the veracity of the respective claims and report within 15 days. The court has also directed the district administration to appoint a representative to assist the commission.




HC to look into Maytas’ Metro plea

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:18am IST

HYDERABAD: Justice G Rohini of the High Court on Tuesday ordered status quo on the termination of the Hyderabad metro contract awarded to Infra and allowed the authorities to continue with the ongoing Request for Qualification (RfQ) process with the rider that the bidding process would be subject to the further orders of the court.

Responding to the petition filed by Maytas Infra director Bandaru Narasimha Rao challenging the termination of the concession agreement by Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation, Justice Rohini on Tuesday issued notices before admission to the state and the corporation and posted the matter to August 11 for further hearing.

Meanwhile, Justice G Bhavani Prasad on Tuesday directed the CBI not to conduct lie detector tests on Satyam Ramalinga Raju, his brother Rama Raju and the former CFO Vadlamani Srinivas of the scam hit Satyam computers till August 6.

While hearing a petition moved by the Raju brothers who challenged the lower court’s permission given to CBI to conduct these tests on them, the judge after hearing the arguments, posted the matter to August 6 for further hearing and directed the CBI not to conduct these tests in the meantime.

Appearing for Ramalinga Raju, senior counsel C Padmanabha Reddy told the court that narco analysis tests on human beings is a violation of rights and will have negative effects on the health of those who face them. A final order is expected from Supreme Court on this matter and now no narco tests are permitted in the country, he contended.

CBI special public prosecutor T Niranjan Reddy told the court that the polygraph tests are non invasive and are only external in nature and hence would not harm the health of those who face them. “We have got the nod from the court only for polygraph and not narco analysis,” the CBI counsel said. The judge then posted the matter to August 6.

In another Satyam-related development, Justice V V S Rao on Tuesday dismissed the petition filed by M L Sharma, a Supreme Court advocate who challenged the company law board’s order that permitted the induction of a new investor in Satyam Computers. “An appeal against the CLB’s order has to be preferred on time and this appeal is not filed within that time frame. This court is not inclined to condone the delay in this regard,” the judge said and dismissed the petition.




HC upholds rights of 1947 refugees

By | July 28, 2009

The Bombay HC recently quashed an order of the state government cancelling the allotment of additional lands made to them.

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Judges welcome proposed Bill on asset declaration, says CJI

Special Correspondent

Failure to declare, or misdeclaration, of assets would be deemed misconduct

CHENNAI: Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan on Saturday said that under the proposed Judges Assets Bill, judges of the higher judiciary failing to declare their assets or providing a false declaration would be deemed to be misconduct. Misconduct is a ground to remove a judge, he said.

The Chief Justice, who was here in connection with a High Court function and to lead an interaction at a workshop on ‘Some of the recent developments in law,’ was answering journalists’ queries. He said the judges were already declaring their assets to the Chief Justice. “We [the judges] welcome it. We only wanted it,” he said. The assets of not only judges but also their dependants would be declared.

Answering a question with regard to making the declaration public, the Chief Justice said the details would not come under the purview of the Right to Information Act. “We do not want the judges to be harassed.”

There was no proposal to further increase the judge-strength of the Madras High Court. “We have been increasing the strength of almost all the High Courts.”

To a question on the controversy over the remark made by R. Regupathi, Judge of the Madras High Court, while hearing an anticipatory bail plea, and about the follow-up action, the Chief Justice said the press had reported that a Minister contacted the judge in the matter. Because of this, the CJI said, he was worried. Then he came to know that no Minister had called the judge. “That’s the information I got,” he said.

On strike action by lawyers, he said “we discuss with members of the bar” regarding their problems. The Chief Justice would also interact and try to solve problems. That was the only way. “It is working well.” Strikes by lawyers were happening only in some places.

To another question regarding police security in the Madras High Court complex after the February 19 clash between lawyers and police, the Chief Justice said security had been restored. He said the High Court was a public place. Everyone should have a feeling that it was a place to seek justice. It should not have to look like a fortress.





DM summoned for sitting on arms licence plea

TNN 28 July 2009, 02:06am IST

PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the Rohtas DM to appear before the court on August 3 and give reply to the allegation that an application for an arms licence has been pending for the last ten years.

In his writ petition, Ram Bharat Choudhary submitted that he submitted an application for an arms licence ten years back. But despite repeated efforts, he is yet to get the licence.





Land acquisition for BMIC: status quo ordered

TNN 28 July 2009, 04:13am IST

BANGALORE: The high court on Monday ordered status quo with respect to 3 acres at Chikkathogur village, which the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board (KIADB) had acquired in 2003 for the Bangalore-Mysore Infrastructure Corridor’s (BMIC) peripheral road.

Petitioner and land owner G Shrinivas claimed the authorities included the land in the final notification though it was not required for the project and also not part of the alignment. “The land is outside the alignment of the peripheral road project. This court has already considered the contention of a similarly placed land owner in September 2008 and issued a stay order,” counsel for the petitioner told the court.

Hotel refused interim relief

A division Bench on Monday refused to grant any interim relief on the writ appeal filed by the management of Empire Hotels, challenging the July 3 verdict of a single judge dismissing their petition. They had challenged the May 19 order issued by the police commissioner, fixing midnight as closure deadline.

The hotel’s counsel told the court that only the government has power to fix time-schedule of business establishments, and not the police. But the single Bench had observed that the order is a regulatory measure and asked the government advocate to seek further instructions in the matter.

“There is no pick-and-choose involved in this order issued in the nature of a delegatory legislation under Section 31(w) of Karnataka Police Act, 1963. It was issued as a measure for maintenance of law and order in Bangalore, which is a fast-growing metropolitan city… There are no grounds for this court to interfere,” the single Bench had observed in its order.

The state had defended the move, claiming the order was general in nature and not directed against any particular establishment. The police had directed all hotels and restaurants mentioned under the Public Entertainment Order issued in August 2007 to comply with the midnight closure deadline.

Plea against registration circular admitted

A division Bench has admitted a PIL challenging the government’s April 6, 2009 circular, asking sub-registrars not to register properties if conversion certificates and sanctioned plan from the competent authority is not enclosed with applications.

The petitioners have claimed that Section 22-A of the Registration Act, under which the circular was issued, had been declared unconstitutional both by the high court as well as the Supreme Court. “Moreover, the move will only harass the general public, causing hardship and misery,” the petition states, adding: “The settled position is clear that it is only a civil court and not a sub-registrar that has the power to decide the title, deed and other related issues.”

The government has filed a statement defending the circular, saying it is a regulatory measure taken with a view to end the harassment of public by way of specifying the documents needed for registration.

Railway ministry told to consider representation

The HC has asked the ministry of railways to consider a representation to be filed by a petitioner, seeking increase in compensation to railway accident victims, and increasing height of platforms at stations.

A Bench headed by the chief justice disposed of a PIL filed by V Padmanabha Kedilaya, a retired district and sessions judge and former member of the Railways Claims Tribunal, seeking Rs 15 lakh as compensation for accident victims.

“At present, if a person dies in a railway accident the maximum compensation payable is Rs 4 lakh, which was fixed 11 years ago. A family which gets that amount can only get an interest of Rs 24,000 per year, which is insufficient by any standard. In the last 11 years, dearness allowance of central government employees has been increased 24 times, but the compensation remains static. At least it should be increased to Rs 10 lakh immediately and to Rs 15 lakh finally,” the petitioner had stated.

The petitioner also sought directions to increase the height of platforms at railway stations across India to the level of train coaches, to make it easy for passengers to board or alight.




Sessions court public prosecutors to speed up human rights cases

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0054 hrs Mumbai:

The state government has issued a notification authorising all public prosecutors of sessions courts to act as special public prosecutors for the human rights courts.

The move is aimed at speeding up trials. The notice was issued in response to a public interest litigation (PIL) that had pointed out irregularities and delays in implementing notifications as well as other irregularities, illegalities and violation of law by the members and office bearers of Maharashtra State Human Rights Commission (MSHRC).

A PIL filed by Dombivali businessman Pushkar Damle had alleged irregularities in the MSHRC and urged the Bombay High Court to take action against erring officers. Damle has supported his PIL with information sought under the Right to Information (RTI) Act.

The PIL states that although the Human Rights Act was amended by the Central government in 2006, the state government is yet to notify the amended Act. Damle also pointed out that other provision of appointing special public prosecutors for conducting the cases of violation of human rights were yet to be appointed.  

The PIL also stated that there was delay on the part of the government to set up Human Rights Courts even though the Government Resolution (GR) of declaring all the sessions court as “human rights courts” as per the provisions of the Protection of Human Right Act, 1993, was issued way back in May 2001.

According to his petition, the MSHRC received approximately 31,000 complaints of violation of human rights, out of which the action taken report was received only in eight complaints.  

Petition contended that establishment of human rights courts and its functioning was required as the victims has to come all the way from the interior parts of the state by spending money from their own pocket for registering the complaint against the public servants who have violated their rights, while the accused public Servant comes by spending public money to attend the case.

Petitioner’s advocate Ashish Chavan said that this is a welcome move and will result in speedy justice to the victims as MSHRC has got recommendatory powers whereas human rights courts have got punitive powers. The trial will be conducted on the basis of Criminal Code of procedure, he said.








PIL in high court seeks regulatory body for TV

Anshika Misra / DNA

Tuesday, July 28, 2009 2:32 IST

Mumbai: Even as the merits of reality television are being debated in Parliament, the Bombay High Court will this week hear a PIL demanding appointment of a regulatory authority to monitor television content.

The PIL filed by social activist Pratibha Naitthani has cited several examples of “absurd” television programmes currently on air “which are not only in bad taste, have foul language and no entertainment value”. The PIL also alleges that the live broadcast of the military rescue efforts during the 26/11 terror attack compromised the nation’s security by revealing confidential strategydetails. It has sought a ban on live telecast of terror attacks.

Naitthani has stated that despite having filed complaints against shows like Big Boss, Splitsvilla and Dadagiri for their “obscene and vulgar” content,neither the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry nor the police have taken any action. According to her lawyer, Mukesh Vashi there should some checks on “offensive” television programmes like, Sach ka Samna, “where bedroom talk is being discussed in public”.

Naitthani has also pointed out that in a 2005 affidavit filed by I & B ministry in another PIL filed by her, the government had stated that it was contemplating setting up a Broadcast Content Regulatory Authority. The government had stated that it was also planning to set up an exclusive facility for round-the-clock monitoring of various TV channels. However, till date no concrete steps have been taken, Naitthani alleged.

The PIL, which is likely to be heard on Thursday, has also sought framing of uplinking and downlinking guidelines for television channels.




Court makes Centre party in language row

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:13am IST

BANGALORE: The ongoing language policy issue took a turn on Monday with the Supreme Court making the Centre party to the case, and ordered notices following a PIL by 15 Kannada litterateurs.

The writers have contended that education comes under Concurrent List and the Centre, in all respects, should be a necessary party. The SC has also issued notice to the state.

HC adjourns contempt petition: A Karnataka HC division Bench on Monday adjourned the hearing on a batch of contempt petitions filed by private managements against education department officials. The court is awaiting the decision of the apex court.




Court asks Kumble’s wife to negotiate with former husband on daughter’s custody

J. Venkatesan

Bench grants three weeks to parties, asks counsel to convey outcome

“Asking the petitioner to face proceedings in family court again is harassment for child”

“The father is interested in cheap publicity, and petition was filed with oblique motive”

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday asked cricketer Anil Kumble’s wife and her former husband to have negotiations on sharing the custody of their 14-year-old daughter.

A Bench of Justice Tarun Chatterjee and Justice R.M. Lodha granted three weeks to the parties and asked counsel to inform the court of the outcome.

Kumar V. Jagirdar is Chetna Kumble’s first husband, and they had a daughter before they divorced in April 1999. Ms. Chetna married Anil Kumble the same year. A family court in Bangalore gave Mr. Jagirdar the custody of the girl. On Ms. Chetna’s appeal, the Karnataka High Court reversed the order and granted her the custody of the child. Mr. Kumar’s appeal in the Supreme Court was dismissed, and he was given visiting rights.

Mr. Jagirdar approached the Karnataka High Court again, contending that Ms. Chetna had given birth to two children through Anil Kumble, and considering the change in the circumstance, he should be given custody of his daughter. Since the High Court referred the matter to a family court, Ms. Chetna moved the Supreme Court again in April, and the proceedings were stayed.

When the matter was taken up on Monday, senior counsel Mukul Rohatgi, appearing for Ms. Chetna, submitted that asking the petitioner to face the proceedings in the family court again was harassment for the child, especially when the issues had been concluded by the Supreme Court in 2004. “The girl, who will be 15 years this December, cannot be expected to go back to his father after 15 years. The father is only interested in cheap publicity, and the petition was filed with an oblique motive. It is causing immense hardship to the child and the [Kumble’s] family,” he said.

Prashant Bhushan, counsel for Kumar, said the circumstances changed since the Supreme Court disposed of the matter. The girl had now attained puberty. The growing consensus worldwide was that in such cases, the custody of children should be shared by parents.

At this juncture, Justice Lodha asked Mr. Bhushan: “Has the girl shown any inclination to stay with the father? Why should you disturb? Why should you do something which may harm the child’s interest?” Mr. Bhushan said: “I [father] will be the last person to do any harm to the child psychologically.”

The judges then asked counsel whether something could be done to sort out the issue. Since counsel agreed to consider the proposal, the Bench granted three weeks.





Water shortage: Mohali councillor to move HC

TNN 28 July 2009, 06:27am IST

MOHALI: Irked over never-ending shortage of water in the city, a councillor after writing to the local bodies department on the issue has now decided to move the Punjab and Haryana High Court on the issue.

Residents have been complaining that water has not been reaching first and second floors, especially in houses up to 10 marlas, due to low pressure. They further alleged that water supply hours too have been reduced, putting residents into great inconvenience.

Kuljit Bedi, councillor of Ward Number 27, who recently had written a letter to Punjab chief secretary demanding necessary directions to the authorities to start the process to installing five tubewells already approved by the municipal council, said that within a couple of days he would approach the high court as authorities have failed to do the needful.

He said that erratic water supply has made the residents life miserable while the municipal council had also failed to stop people from wasting water. ‘‘No drive was launched and not even a single person was challaned for wasting water while residents were left without water,’’ he said, adding that residents of Phase X, phase IX, Phase IIIB2, Phase V besides other areas were facing water shortage.

Bedi said that against the demand for 23 million gallon per day, the city was being provided only 12.5 million gallons of water per day. Lt Col (retd) S S Sohi, president, Ex-servicemen Grievances Cell, said that the city was facing severe water problem as demand was more than supply and authorities were yet to make arrangements to fill the gap.

Senior vice-president of municipal council Harmanpreet Singh Prince said that over one-and-half-years back a proposal to install 33 tubewells was approved in the MC and director, local bodies, had directed that money be sanctioned to the Sewerage Board for installation of tubewells, but the MC president had insisted that the civic body would itself install tubewells. The local bodies department had argued that MC did not have technical staff to install tubewells. Price claimed that confusion over who would install the tubewells was causing undue harassment to residents.




SC refuses relief to Lodha; HC to hear matter–HC-to-hear-matter/494641/

Agencies Posted: Monday , Jul 27, 2009 at 1243 hrs New Delhi:

The Supreme Court refused to offer relief to Harsh Vardhan Lodha, who had sought a stay on a Company Law Board interim order that barred him from chairing the Birla Corp annual general meeting (AGM).

The AGM was slated for Monday.

The Supreme Court also directed the Calcutta High Court to hear petition by Lodha and Birla camps on Tuesday.

Lodha had moved to the Calcutta High Court challenging the CLB interim order on the AGM of the Birla Corp, to which Harsh’s father R S Lodha had staked claim to citing the purported 1999 will of Priyamvada Birla.

Some Birla family members have contested the Lodha family claim on Rs 5,000 crore M P Birla estate.




Trinamool candidate moves HC for recounting in Balurghat

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0158 hrs Kolkata:

The election procedure and counting of votes in Balurghat parliamentary constituency has come under the scanner of the Calcutta High Court.

Biplab Mitra, the Trinamool Congress candidate who lost the Lok Sabha poll from Balurghat, filed a petition in the High Court last week challenging the election procedure. Mitra has sought a recounting of votes.

Mitra alleged in the petition that the electronic voting machine (EVM) had not been properly checked before counting in front of the Trinamool agents in various counting stations. The agents were not allowed to enter the counting rooms in various places, he alleged. Advocate Bimal Chatterjee on Monday pleaded that counting procedure had not been followed by the returning officer of the district.

After the hearing, Justice Anirudha Basu directed the court to serve notice to the Election Commission of India and the case will come up for hearing on Friday.

The Calcutta HC also ordered that the seal of the EVMs would not broken till disposal of the case. Normally, the EVMs are preserved for six months after declaration of the result, said Chatterjee. The EVMs should be kept in safe custody of the Election Commission, the court ruled.

Mitra was defeated by Prasanta Kumar Mazumdar of the RSP, by a margin 5,195 votes.

After the declaration of results, The Trinamool had demanded recounting and the party had protested at district headquarters many times.




HC gives relief to Bhikhi

Express News Service Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 0444 hrs Ludhiana:

The Punjab and Haryana High Court today stayed the arrest of Advocate Daman Preet Singh Bhikhi of Ludhiana who was accused by Major G S Benipal (Retd) of presenting fake sale deeds before him.

Arguing the anticipatory bail filed by Daman Preet his counsel, Advocate Vivek Thakur contended that allegations leveled by Benipal in the FIR do not make out any case of cheating or forgery against Daman Preet. “Allegations against Damanpreet are that he had presented fake sale deeds before the Tehsildar. Neither it has been alleged that Daman Preet is a beneficiary to these sale deeds nor he has purchased any sale deed” averred Advocate Vivek Thakur.

Taking note of the contentions of Thakur, Justice Harbans Lal today stayed the arrest of Advocate Daman Preet and issued notices to the Punjab State and Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Ludhiana. It might be mentioned here that it was this FIR after which Benipal was beaten up by SAD and Akali supporters.

FIRs were registered after Benipal was thrashed. Some of the accused have been arrested and are in police custody.





Gujarat HC short by 15 judges

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:46am IST

AHMEDABAD: A statement presented in the Rajya Sabha on Monday stated that most high courts in India fall short of the approved strength of judges.

Gujarat, for instance, has 42 approved positions for judges but there are only 27. There is approved strength of 886 judges in 21 high courts of India but there are only 646, leaving shortfall of 240 judges.

Responding to an un-starred question on vacancies in high courts by Parimal Nathwani, MP from Jharkhand, union minister for law and justice Veerappa Moily said that the Gram Nyayalaya Act 2008 has been enacted to establish 5,000 gram nyayalayas (village courts) which will bring justice to the doorsteps of the people in the rural areas.

Moily informed that the government had requested all high courts to fix the vacation period in such a way that the number of working days didn’t fall below 222 days in a year.





HC suggests immediate ban on all plastic

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:31am IST

CHENNAI: Three weeks ahead of the ban on plastic coming into force on the Marina, the Madras high court on Monday suggested an immediate ban on all plastic bags and items upto 60 microns.

It has also passed severe strictures against the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board (TNPCB) authorities for their failure to effectively enforce Central rules to regulate use of plastic in the state.

A division bench comprising justice D Murugesan and justice K Venkataraman, passing orders on a public interest writ petition said: “The state government may take into consideration the various steps taken by other states, and give its serious consideration to ban the use of plastic bag and other items upto 60 microns as an immediate step.”

The observation comes on a day when minister of state for environment Jairam Ramesh said in the Lok Sabha that the government was working on a “concrete plan to ban polythene bags” entirely, and the Chennai corporation conducted an awareness meeting on the ban for shopkeepers on the Marina.

Refraining from imposing a ban, as it would amount to legislating, the Madras high court judges said a state legislation Tamil Nadu Throwaway Plastic Articles (Prohibition of Sale, Storage, Distribution and Transport) Act 2003 was yet to be notified even six years it was announced. Noting that even this legislation is not enough to tackle the challenges posed by plastics use, they said the government must bring in stringent clauses.

Pointing out that TNPCB could not spell out any action it had taken, the bench said: “The board seeks to shirk its duty and responsibility solely on the ground of want of legislation by the state government. It cannot be accepted as the board is empowered to act in terms of the Central rules.” Except in places like Ooty, the Central rules have not been implemented, the judges said, adding that TNPCB had disregarded the rules.

The petitioner, A Narayanan had cited the secretaries of municipal and water supply, and environment and forest departments as respondents, besides the Chennai Corporation, and wanted the court to direct them to ban manufacture, distribution and usage of all types of plastic carry bags of all size and thickness. He wanted a blanket ban on all plastic items such as disposable cups, plates, buckets and vessels below the 150 micron thickness.

Though plastic poses serious hazards to environment, it is of great assistance to humanity as a whole, the bench said, adding that banishing plastic completely was not the answer to pollution. Asking TNPCB as well as the state government to look into implementing the central rules in true letter and spirit, the bench said they should undertake a campaign to spread awareness about the devastation caused by plastic to environment.

Meanwhile, Chennai corporation officials conducted a meeting with shopkeepers on the Marina to inform them about the ban on use of plastic, including as cups, carry bags or as packaging material.

The civic body has not yet fixed the fines for those found violating the ban. About 15 of its employees will patrol the Marina to enforce the regulation. “Our intention is to promote awareness about the ill-effects of the use of plastics. We will decide on the fine later,” a senior Corporation official said. The local body is also planning to put up signboards on the sands, the official added.




HC against awarding bonanza’ in accident claims

TNN 28 July 2009, 03:28am IST

CHENNAI: Frowning upon “bonanza” and “extravagant” compensation being awarded to accident victims and lack of consistency in injury assessment, the Madras high court has urged the government to form medical boards to vet injury claims.

The accident claims tribunals, on their part, should neither be niggardly in awarding compensation in deserving cases nor consider claims petitions as an occasion to award bonanza even in cases of minor fractures, the court cautioned.

A division bench comprising Justice Prabha Sridevan and Justice TS Sivagnanam, referring to a suggestion in a book A Critique on Motor Vehicles Laws said that if the guidelines evolved by the Union ministry of social justice and empowerment in June 2001 are adopted it would bring uniformity and consistency in the assessment of permanent disability.

Noting that the book had recommended formation of medical boards in every district, the judges said all the injured claimants should appear before such boards to get their injuries assessed. If that is done, motor accident claims tribunals could pass awards without further examination. “We hope Parliament will take note of this,” the judges observed.

The case relates to an accident claim by an civil engineering student, R Sivakumar, who was injured in a bike-autorickshaw smash on the Old Mahabalipuram Road here. In 2004, the tribunal awarded Rs 18 lakh to the boy, taking note of the medical opinion that the boy had suffered permanent disability of about 50 per cent.

Drastically slashing the compensation to Rs 5.5 lakh, the judges said: “The erratic manner in which disability is assessed for fractures and other injuries which are not as grievous as loss of limbs or amputation is neither fair nor just. We feel that there should be some consistency and some uniformity. It pains us to see extravagant awards for what is really not a major disability. The pain that the injured feels is not something we are ignoring, but what we have to assess is the diminishment of his capacity to work and to the loss of earning capacity.”

The judges expressed astonishment at the award and said, “claims tribunals should neither be niggardly while awarding compensation to somebody who is totally paralysed…living death position. At the same time, the accident claim petition is not an occasion to award bonanza for persons who have sustained fractures.”

Disagreeing with the tribunal’s finding, the judges fixed the disability at only 20 per cent. The judges said the book noted that expert witnesses or doctors, who appear before the tribunals are stock witnesses. “They know no standards, do not conform to any uniform practices. They do not follow any criteria. The tribunals are also under work pressure and therefore they just accept or slightly modify the disability as certified by those doctors,” the judges said.




HC bans UPTU admission process

TNN 28 July 2009, 02:34am IST LUCKNOW: The high court here on Monday imposed a ban on the admission process in engineering colleges affiliated to UP Technical University (UPTU).

The court, however, has declined to stay the ongoing counselling process. It has fixed August 4 for the next hearing.

The order was passed by a division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice Ritu Raj Awasthi on a public interest litigation (PIL) petition. Earlier, in compliance of the HC’s order, the state government produced the July 22 government order (GO) whereby the government had directed private engineering colleges to ensure 50% reservation to SCs/STs and OBCs in the admission.

At the time of hearing, UPTU registrar US Tomar was present before the bench. He told the court that the counselling process for admission to the colleges affiliated and recognised by the UPTU was going on at present. He also intimated the court that admission to courses would likely be finalised in September.

Filing the PIL, retired professor Ajai Swaroop demanded quashing of all GOs of the state government having effect of interference in affairs of the private engineering colleges. His counsel, senior advocate Prashant Chandra on Monday pleaded the arbitrariness of the state government saying that despite restraint order of the high court, the government was forcing the engineering colleges to implement 50% reservation quota.




Maytas moves HC on metro

TNN 28 July 2009, 01:55am IST

HYDERABAD: Refusing to let go the Hyderabad Metro project, Maytas Infra Ltd on Monday filed a writ petition in the Andhra Pradesh High Court challenging the termination of the concession agreement by the state government that the two had entered into for executing the proposed project.

With the matter likely to be taken up for hearing on Tuesday, a high-profile legal battle is on the cards with Maytas having flown in advocates from New Delhi to argue the case. ‘‘Clearly, the Maytas-Metro saga is far from over,’’ an official said.

In its petition, Maytas Infra contended that the action of the government was unreasonable and did not take into account hindrances and hurdles which were beyond their control.

The petitioner urged the court to declare the action of the government as illegal and to stay all further proceedings pursuant to the bid notice issued by Hyderabad Metro Rail Corporation issued on July 16. The petition also mentioned that the Maytas-led consortium had submitted a bid security amount of Rs 60 crore and bid offer amount of Rs 11 crores to the Metro Rail Corporation.

The Maytas metro venture came to an end when the state cancelled the concessional agreement on July 7 on the grounds that the consortium had not achieved financial closure which it should have done by March 17 this year.





HC orders CMO to appear in person

TNN 27 July 2009, 11:06pm IST

ALLAHABAD: A division bench of the high court directed the chief medical officer of Gorakhpur on Monday to appear in person in the court on August 4. The court directed for the CMO’s personal presence as he failed to provide information sought in a case.

The bench comprising Justice Amitava Lala and Justice Shishir Kumar passed the order, when standing counsel Ramanand Pandey failed to provide information which was sought from the CMO.

It might be recalled that high court had passed an order on July 21, 2009, seeking information from the CMO whether a doctor junior to petitioner Nagendra Ram has been posted as incharge of the primary health centre (PHC), Brahmpur, Gorakhpur. The information had to be provided in the court on July 27, but it was not provided despite a faxed message sent to him.

The petitioner, Dr Nagendra Ram has filed a writ petition, seeking quashing of an order passed by CMO on June 26 through which he had directed Dr Mahendra Kumar to work as incharge of PHC, Brahmpur, Gorakhpur. The petitioner stated that Dr Mahendra Kumar is junior to him and therefore he cannot be posted as incharge of PHC. The court will hear the case on August 4.




HC orders CVC inquiry into Prasar Bharati issue

By: PTI   Date:  2009-07-27   Place: New Delhi


The Delhi High Court on Monday ordered a Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) inquiry into alleged financial irregularities in Prasar Bharati Corporation and appointed a former judge to supervise board meetings of the public broadcaster.

A bench headed by Chief Justice AP Shah directed the board to convene its meeting within 15 days. The bench, also comprising Justice Manmohan, passed the order after the government failed to bring reconciliation between the chairman of the board, Arun Bhatnagar, and CEO BS Lalli, who have been at loggerheads.

The court said that day-to-day work of the Public Broadcaster would be handled by the CEO, Member (Finance) and Member (Personnel) of the board.

The court on July 24 had said that it would pass an interim order for proper functioning of Prasar Bharati.

The chairman had contended that the allegations of financial irregularities must be investigated by the CVC as no internal audit has been done in the organisation for the past several years.





Guj HC approached on whether eating ‘niaz’ is permitted

Submitted by admin3 on 27 July 2009 – 9:47pm.

By Staff Correspondent,

Ahmedabad: A debate between Ahl-e-Hadis and Barelvi sects of Muslims in the border district of Kutch over the issue of whether the eating of sacramental food(niaz) or flesh of an animal slaughtered in gratitude to anyone other than Allah, is allowed in Islam has reached the Gujarat High Court.

Though the court has no jurisdiction to decide on it as it has already told the parties verbally to settle it out of court, what the petitioner’s party has prayed is quashing of an FIR registered against Ahl-e-Hadis leaders on charges of promoting enmity between two groups under Sections 153-A and 505 of IPC.

The genesis of the dispute lies in some members of the Ahl-e-Hadis sect in Anandsar village of Nakhatrana taluka of Kutch district refusing to eat `niaz’ on the third day after `Yaum-e-Ashura’ in January this year.

Those who refused to eat `niaz’ believed in Barelvi traditions till recently. However, they gave up the Barelvi traditions after they came in contact with Ahl-e-Hadis preachers in the district.

But the majority of the villagers, who still follow the Barelvi school of thought, did not like the changed behaviour. They tried to force the neo Ahl-e-Hadis people to fall in line by organizing their boycott.

This led to a debate between the two sides. But the Ahl-e-Hadis members well-versed in Quranic knowledge put a question to other villagers: “Is it permitted in Islam to eat food consecrated to somebody other than Allah?’’

Ahl-e-Hadis members said they would have no objection to eating `niaz’ if it was allowed by the Quran and Sunnah of the Prohphet.

In support of their argument that `niaz’ was not allowed, Ahl-e-Hadis group presented translation of verse no. 173 of Surah Bakra which says: “Allah has made unlawful to you only carrion (dead animal) and blood and the flesh of swine and that over which there has been pronounced the name of some one other than Allah…’’.

Another verse quoted by them was verse no.3 of Surah Al-Maidah which translates as: “Forbidden to you are carrion, the flesh of swine, the animal slaughtered in any name other than Allah’s….’’.

Explaining the two verses, the Ahl-e-Hadis group argued that the `practice of pronouncing the name of anyone or anything other than Allah and dedicating the animal as an offering, or consecrating the food, to a holy personage, dead or alive’, is totally inappropriate and amounts to showing gratitude to some other being, instead of Allah.

As the `niaz’, a food, is dedicated to someone other than Allah, Ahl-e-Hadis members ruled that it was forbidden for eating as per instructions of the two verses of the Holy Quran.

Their arguments led to panic in Barelvi camp. They said that if it was not allowed by Quran, why should they eat it. As they had little knowledge of the Quran, 11 of the Barelvis, accompanied with an Ahle-Hadis follower, went to 85-year-old Barelvi spiritual leader Mufti Haji Saiyed Ahmed Shah Bawa and put the question to him.

Haji Juma Raima, a follower of the Barelvi sect and representative of the Mufti, told Twocircles.Net that Mufti sahib told Ahl-e-Hadis people clearly that if they did not want to eat `niaz’, they were free. But they should not disturb others.

But Ahl-e-Hadis group was not satisfied by the answers of Mufti. They wrote a letter to him saying that his interpretation of the Quranic verses were not proper and that he was misguiding Muslims with regard to worship of shrines, pirs and the dead.

In another letter, Maulana Suleman Siddiq of the Ahl-e-Hadis reportedly asked the Mufti to apologise publicly if he has justified the eating of `niaz’ by mistake and “let’s all think of what will happen to us after death’’.

The discourses between the two sides were also got published in a local Gujarati daily published from Bhuj. The Barelvis suspected another Ahl-e-Hadis religious leader Ibrahim Bachchu behind it.

Feeling that the Ahl-e-Hadis group will not restrain itself, Juma Raima lodged a criminal complaint in Bhuj Police Station against several persons belonging to Ahl-e-Hadis sect, including Maulana Siddiq and Ibrahim Bachchu, levelling charges of promoting enmity between two groups.

While Ibrahim Bachchu was arrested and kept in police lock up for more than 24 hours before being let out on bail, Maulana Siddiq is still wanted in the case by the police.

Subsequently, Ibrahim Bachchu moved the Gujarat high court seeking quashing of the the FIR.

With a total population of 14 lakhs in Kutch district, Muslims account for about 4 lakhs, 90 per cent of them Barelvis, running several schools, hospitals and other institutions as they are financially quite strong.





CJI to inaugurate seminar on construction workers

BANGALORE, JULY 28, 2009: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of India Mr Justice K. G. Balakrishnan will inaugurate a two-day Seminar on building and other construction workers ( Regulation and Employment) ACT – 1996  on August 9 in Bangalore.
The Seminar organized by the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority in association of various agencies and departments of Government will deliberate on various issues connected with construction workers. 
The Governor Mr Hans Raj Bharadwaj, the Chief Minister Mr B. S. Yeddyurappa, the Minister for Labour Mr B. N. Bache Gowda, the Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Mr S. Suresh Kumar will participate in this Seminar, for which the Union Minister for Law and Justice Mr M. Veerappa Moily and the Union Minister for Employment and Labour Mr M. Mallikarjuna Kharge  would be extended Special Invitation to attend.
This was disclosed at a High-level Meeting Chaired by the Executive Chairman of the Karnataka State Legal Services Authority Mr Justice V. Gopala Gowda, who is also Judge of the High Court of Karnataka here on Monday. Mr Justice K. L. Manjunath, Mr Ram Mohan Reddy and Mr Justice V. G. Sabhahit were present on the occasion.
Mr Justice Gopala Gowda said the meeting will throw light on many aspects of Construction Workers and suggest workable solutions to provide them a dignified life. Members from Government, Labour and Trade Unions, Advocates and Legal Luminaries will be provided a platform to give their thought and solution to the construction workers, especially migratory workers.
It is mandatory to issue Identity Cards to construction workers to get them basic amenities and benefits from Government including social welfare measures like extending insurance and pension, he said.
The Principal Secretary to Government in the Department of Public Works Mr D. Thangaraj, the Principal Secretary to Government in the Department of Infrastructure Development Mr V. Madhu, the Principal Secretary to Government in the Department of Labour Mr Ramesh Zalki, Commissioner for Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike Mr Bharat Lal Meena, the Commissioner for Bangalore Development Authority Mr Siddaiah, the Managing Director for Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited Mr Siva Sailam, the Director of Information Mr N. R. Vishu Kumar and other senior officers were present at this hour-long meeting.

Our Correspondent





Pending cases a cause of concern: CJI

New Delhi, DHNS:

Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan has said that the growing number of pending cases in India is a real concern for judiciary.
 While releasing a book ‘Justice, Courts and Delays’ by senior advocate Arun Mohan, Justice Balakrishnan said a chapter on causes of pending cases would be included in the curriculum of training programme of the judges of the District courts at the National Judicial Academy in Bhopal.

 The judicial officers should be taught how to reduce the number of cases as the common people were suffering due to delay in granting justice, said the CJI while asking the author to bring out an abridged version of his book.

 Speaking on the occasion, former Chief Justice A S Anand said, “The judicial system is facing a crisis, a crisis of credibility due to pending number of cases.’’

More judges

The government should have more judges at different levels as India has one of the lowest per capita number of judicial officers in the world, he added.

 Law Minister Veerappa Moily said that the government was spending an enormous amount on the judicial system in the country.

 Former Solicitor General Hrish Salve said due to delay in the disposal of the cases the ‘rule of law is a casualty’.

Mohan has written the book after taking a break from the legal profession for the past 10 years to go to the roots of the delay in disposal of the cases in courts from district level to the Supreme Court level.

The book with full of illustrations from everyday life, is more for the common people than for the lawyers and jurists.





SC panel seeks three-fold pay hike for trial court judges

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 28 July 2009, 01:40am IST

NEW DELHI: In what could be the biggest ever salary hike for lowly-paid trial court judges, the Supreme Court-appointed National Judicial Pay Commission (NJPC) has proposed more than three-fold jump in their pay that translates to a monthly increase of Rs 20,000 at the entry level.

Less than three months after being appointed head of the second NJPC, Justice E Padmanabhan, a former judge of the Madras HC, submitted his report to the SC proposing an average 3.07-fold hike in the existing salaries that was recommended by the first NJPC in 1999. The recommendations of the first NJPC headed by Justice Jagannatha Shetty had entitled civil judge (junior division) starting salary of Rs 11,775, civil judge (senior division) Rs 15,200, district judge (entry level) Rs 20,800 and district judge (super time scale) Rs 23,850.

With the increase proposed by the second NJPC, the starting salary of a civil judge (junior division) is expected to be around Rs 35,000, a hike of nearly Rs 24,000. As per Justice Padmanabhan’s recommendations, salary of civil judge (senior division) would be around Rs 45,000, which means a hike of around Rs 30,000. Similarly, the salary of district judge (entry level) would be around Rs 60,000 and that of DJ (super time scale) Rs 70,000.

The logic given by Justice Padmanabhan, after extensive research and hearing of parties almost on a daily basis, was that the first NJPC had recommended salaries of the lower judiciary keeping in view the then salaries of HC judges which was fixed at Rs 26,000 and that of HC CJ at Rs 30,000, SC judges at Rs 30,000 and CJI at Rs 33,000. However, with the CJI and SC and HC judges getting more than three-fold hike in their salaries, the second NJPC thought of applying the same logic for trial court judges.

The salary structure for the higher judiciary got changed with retrospective effect, as the government in January this year agreed to revise the salary of HC judges to Rs 80,000, HC Chief Justices Rs 90,000, SC judges Rs 90,000 and CJI Rs 1 lakh.

The appointment of the second judicial pay commission had come through a judicial order of the apex court on April 30 in an application filed by the All India Judges Association.




Protest rally denounces NHRC report, Muslim leaders give memorandum to Home Minister

Submitted by admin3 on 28 July 2009 – 10:58pm.

By Mumtaz Alam Falahi,,

New Delhi: Mounting pressure on the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre for a judicial probe into the Batla House encounter, the Coordiantion Committee of Indian Muslims (CCIM), an umbrella body of leading Muslim organizations, held a protest demonstration today at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi. CCIM was formed last year in the wake of rising incidence of minority witchhunting following terror strikes in the country.

Addressing the protest rally, CCIM leaders denounced the National Human Rights Commission report on the September 19, 2008 encounter as, they said, it is just a copy of the police version of the encounter. They rejected it saying it one-sided as the apex human rights body did not bother to talk to families of the victims, neighbors and civil and human rights groups who had exposed loopholes in the police story about the encounter.

Two Azamgarh youths, whom police described as terror suspects, were killed by the police in the shootout. Delhi police inspector M C Sharma had also sustained bullet injuries which he succumbed to in the evening on the same day.
NHRC in its report submitted to the Delhi High Court last week said the police did not violate any human right in this case. It opened fire in its self defence, said the report.

Addressing the protest rally Dr S Q R Ilyas, executive committee member, All India Muslim Personal Law Board, termed the NHRC report a blot and a question mark on its credibility. He described the report as shameful because it just toed the line of the police.

Abdur Rasheed Agwan, executive committee member, All India Muslim Majlise Mushawarat, said there should be a judicial enquiry for every encounter, not only for Batla House encounter. He refuted the government’s argument for not allowing probe that this will demoralize the police force. “Police can commit mistakes in executing its duty and so if it is found guilty in some case this will not demoralize them. But no enquiry in the Batla encounter will certainly demoralize the minority community,” he said.

Addressing the protestors Maulana Nizamuddin, leader of Ulema Council which has now become part of CCIM, said time has come for the people to rise against the opressive government. There is a need to change the power system so that the marginalized and minorities could get their rights, he maintained. We won’t sit unless our demand of judicial probe is accepted, he announced. Ulema Council had brought its supporters in three buses from Azamgarh.
Shia leader Maulana Zeeshan Hidayati also lambasted the NHRC for the report. “It is shameful that protector of human rights could not protect the rights of the innocents,” he said.


At the end of the protest rally, a delegation of the CCIM in the leadership of its convenor Mujtaba Farooq, who is political affairs secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, went to meet Home Minister P Chidambaram and demand judicial probe into the encounter. As the minister was not in the office, the delegation submitted a memorandum to his office.

Text of the memorandum:

A demonstration by citizens of Delhi was organized on July 28, 2009, under the auspices of the “Coordination Committee of Indian Muslims”. The gathering demanded the following from the Government of India.

1) To ensure justice and transparency, all riots and disruptive acts of the last decade, should be probed into; by an independent high powered commission. The commission, should, is a time bound frame, identify the real culprits; the report of the commission should be made public.

2) The Batla House encounter 2008 should be enquired into, by a high powered judicial probe, to ascertain the truth. The gathering rejects all attempts to justify the police version; without conducting an independent inquiry based on independent accounts, by reliable witnesses.

3) Reforms should be initiated in the Police and Law Enforcement machinery and the recommendations of National Police Commission should be immediately implemented.

4) Effective legal mechanism should be evolved to check and curb police atrocities, illegal detentions, fake encounters, tortures, custodial deaths and fabricated accusations.

5) Harassment of relatives and well wishers of the detainees should be stopped and a whole locality should not be targeted or victimized.

6) Confidential reports and confessions extracted under duress must not be leaked to the media. Effective regulations and legal mechanism should be enacted to ensure fair and unbiased reporting in media.

7) All initiatives for undemocratic and unjust legislation should be stopped and all those legislations in various states should be cancelled wherein confessions in police custody are made admissible in courts or which allow police to keep persons arrested without filing charge sheets or which violate human rights in anyway.

8) Measures should be adopted to promote human values, respect for human life, tolerance and co-operation so that we can build a hatred free and peaceful India.

9) Justice should not be delayed. Comprehensive reforms in the judicial system should be initiated to ensure speedy delivery of justice. All those residing in jails for more than five years, pending a judgment in their case; should be immediately released. All those who are eligible for bail, but lack financial resources, should be granted bail and released from custody.

10) The horrible conditions in jails should be changed through comprehensive measures of j ail reform.

11) Those arrested in the aftermath of the deplorable Batla House episode are on police remand, even now after a passage often months. Under some pretext or other, they are being continuously harassed and tortured. This cruel process should immediately stop; their cases should be speedily brought to trial and decided, as per law.

Signed by:

Mr. Mujtaba Farooq, Secretary, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind,

Ml. Abdul Hamid Naumani, Secretary Jamiat Ulema Hind

Ml. Muqeem Faizi, General Secretary Markazi Jamiat Ahle Hadith,

Ml. Abdul Wahab Khilji, President Indian Islahi Movement

Ml. Ameeduzzama Keranvi, President Tanzim Abna-e-Qadeem Darul Uloom Deoband

Mr. A. R. Agwan, AIIMM

Dr. Tasleem Rahmani, President Muslim Political Council

Mr. Suhail K.K. President Students Islamic Organisation of India

Ml. Aamir Rashadi, President Ulema Council, Azamgarh

Ml. Zeeshan Hidayati, President Majlis-e-Fikro Amal

Dr. S.Q. R. Ilyas, All India Muslim Personal Law Board

Member Organisations:

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, Jamiat Ulema Hind, Jamiat Ahle Hadees, All India Muslim Majlis Mushawarat, Muslim Political Council of India, Ulema Council Azamgarh, Students Islamic Organisation of India, Majlis Fikr o Amal, Majlis Ulema Hind




Ulema Council to protest at Jantar Mantar today

TNN 27 July 2009, 10:18pm IST

VARANASI: Questioning the report of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Batla House encounter, the Muslim clergy and other members of community left for New Delhi from Azangarh, Jaunpur and Bhadohi in several buses on Monday. They will stage a dharna at the Jantar Mantar in Delhi on Tuesday.

It will be the third such show of Ulema Council after holding dharna at the Jantar Mantar in New Delhi on January 29 and at Teele Wali Masjid in Lucknow on February 20.

Describing the NHRC report giving clean chit to Delhi police in Batla House encounter as the biggest lie of the century, president of Rashtriya Ulema Council Maulana Aamir Rashadi Madni alleged that it was not an impartial report, but aiming to save the skin of the then Union home minister and some officials. “We reject this report of NHRC and demand a CBI probe under the guidance of a judge of the Supreme Court,” Madni told TOI over phone on Monday.

He said it was a symbolic programme to express protest against the biased attitude of the institutions like NHRC. “Several other organisations including Jamait-e-Islami Hind, Jamiyat-ul-Ulema Hind, Markazi Jamiyat-ul-Hind and Jamiyat Ahal-e-Hadeesh are taking part in the dharna,” he said and added members of the community and other supporters left for Delhi on five buses and many other small vehicles. The dharna would begin at the Jantar Mantar at 11am on Tuesday.

It may be mentioned here that two youth, Atif and Sajid, killed in the shootout with police at Batala House in Jamiya Nagar area in Delhi, were the natives of Sanjarpur village of Azamgarh district. The arrested suspect Saif is also a native of the same village. Saif was also interrogated for his involvement in March 7, 2006 serial blasts in Varanasi.




NHRC awards Rs 3 lakh to false encounter victim’s kin in UP

Agencies Posted: Tuesday , Jul 28, 2009 at 1915 hrs New Delhi:

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has asked the UP government to pay Rs three lakh to the next of the kin of a woman who was killed by two police constables in a fake encounter in Agra in 2000.

The Commission also directed the UP Chief Secretary to submit the compliance report, along with proof of the payment of the monetary relief, within eight weeks from the receipt of its recommendation in the case.

Two constables of UP police — Netrapal and Vijendra — gunned down Manisha, 40, under Tajgang Police station area of Agra district in Uttar Pradesh on September 8, 2000 and cooked up a false story of encounter, the rights body said.

According to police, the NHRC noted, Manisha had an “illicit” relationship with one Shiv Narayan and on the night of occurrence she had gone with him inside a shed near a tubewell when the owner of the well Champa Ram, felt that some criminals were hiding inside and raised an alarm.

Police claimed that constables Netrapal and Vijendra who were passing by asked Narayan and Manisha to surrender but Narayan fired at them. The two constables retaliated and Manisha was killed, they claimed.

Dissatisfied with the police version, the rights panel directed the state government to order a CB-CID inquiry into the incident on July 18, 2001. NHRC 2 LAST

“CB-CID found that Manisha and Shiv Narayan had no arms with them and the police had made a false story of an encounter,” the Commission noted.

The investigation by CB-CID also revealed that the seizure memos and other police records had been “fabricated”, the Commission said.

CB-CID recommended prosecution of the two constables under Section 304 (culpable homicide) Indian Penal Code (IPC), it added.

The Commission took cognizance of the case on the basis of a complaint filed by Shir Gafoor, son of Manisha, in connection with the incident.





Bharti-MTN merger awaits nod from competition authorities

29 Jul 2009, 0115 hrs IST, Joji Thomas Philip, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: The proposed $23-billion strategic equity alliance between Bharti Airtel and South Africa’s MTN will require clearance from the competition authorities of both countries, a person with direct knowledge of the deal told ET.

According to South African laws, its government must be notified of any deal on mergers before the proposed transaction is implemented. Then, if the deal creates an equity, whose combined annual turnover or assets are more than 560 million rand ($67.97 million), it will have to be investigated and cleared by the competition authorities, this executive added.

A Bharti-MTN merger will lead to the creation of one of the top five telcos globally with over 200 million customers and combined revenues of about $20 billion. The combined net worth of both companies will exceed the $60-billion mark.

The proposed $23-billion transaction between the largest mobile phone operators in India and Africa involves a complex structure through which both entities would pay cash and equity to each other for stakes in the two companies. The formula, if it works out, will result in Bharti Airtel getting a 49% stake in MTN and the South African telco a 36% “economic interest” in Bharti Airtel.

South African laws also state that large deals must also be cleared by the Competition Tribunal, which is part of the country’s Competition Commission. Any deal where the annual turnover or assets of the combined entity is more than 6.6 billion rand ($1.1 billion) is referred to the Competition Tribunal and the latter has 40 days to clear it, the executive explained. The Competition Tribunal can extend its 40-day tenure by a maximum of an additional 15 days.

“The Tribunal’s main functions are to grant exemptions, authorise or prohibit large mergers (with or without conditions) or prohibit a merger….,” according to the website of the Competition Commission of South Africa.
With regard to clearances from the Competition Commission in India, two executives aware of this development said it would be a mere formality as the deal did not have any bearing on the domestic telecom market here.

“Only provisions related to abuse of dominance or anti-competitive agreements are notified under the Competitions Law in India — the Bharti-MTN deal relates to neither of these,” the executive pointed out. He also added that Competition Law provisions relating to combinations (M&As) are yet to be notified by the Indian government, and therefore, the commission currently cannot investigate the deal even if were to receive complaints against it.”

Last week, an executive familiar with the discussions had told ET that both Bharti Airtel and MTN are likely to extend the July 31 deadline to finalise the deal.





NCW not satisfied with M.P. report on ‘virginity tests’

Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The National Commission for Women (NCW) on Tuesday described as “unsatisfactory” the report of the Madhya Pradesh government on alleged virginity tests conducted on brides during a State-sponsored mass marriage and decided to probe the matter on its own.

A five-member team of the Commission led by NCW member Yasmin Abrar will visit Shahdol in the State to study the execution of the scheme. The team will also have two experts, including a lawyer and a member of the Madhya Pradesh Women’s Commission.

“The report submitted to us by the Shahdol district administration of the State in this matter is not satisfactory,” said NCW Chairperson Girija Vyas.

Taking a suo motu cognisance of the matter, the NCW sought an interim report from the State government after the incident evoked a strong condemnation.

Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan denied such tests, saying only “procedural medical examination” were carried out on June 26.





Resident doc gets bail in rape case

Kartikeya , TNN 29 July 2009, 02:25am IST

MUMBAI: Grant Medical College resident doctor Rahul Deshwal, charged by one of his juniors of raping her, has been granted bail by a court. Deshwal, an MS (orthopaedic) student who came to the city from Haryana, was arrested on July 7 after the 21-year-old MBBS student alleged that he repeatedly raped and assaulted her. He was in judicial custody at Arthur Road jail.

Deshwal’s advocate, Niteen Pradhan, argued that he had been falsely implicated in the case, saying Deshwal was a “victim of circumstances”. Pradhan also said the doctor had not administered any birth-control pills to the victim as had been alleged by the police.

According to the police, Deshwal had first proposed to the victim some time ago and then, after promising to marry her, raped her. It was also alleged that he even physically tortured and raped her eight to 10 times in the past one year on the pretext of marrying her.

However, Pradhan said all charges were a “figment of the victim’s imagination”. He also said Deshwal came from a respectable background and had no criminal antecedent. Moreover, it was argued that police had already collected evidence from his laptop and no further recovery was to be made from him. Deshwal said he was ready to abide by any condition that the court imposed on him at the time of granting him bail.




BMW case: SC upholds R K Anand’s conviction, clears I U Khan

Dhananjay Mahapatra, TNN 29 July 2009, 10:51am IST

NEW DELHI: In an important judgment, the Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld the conviction of high-profile criminal lawyer R K Anand for contempt of court in the BMW hit-and-run expose and issued notice for enhancement of punishment. The apex court found special public prosecutor I U Khan’s conduct inappropriate but set aside his conviction and cleared him of contempt charges.

A three-judge Bench comprising Justices B N Agrawal, G S Singhvi and Aftab Alam, pronounced the verdict on Wednesday after watching original footage of the sting operation provided by the TV channel.

The court said that sting operation by the TV channel was in public interest. It was not trial by media and served a public purpose.

R K Anand and I U Khan had been stripped of their senior advocate designation by the Delhi High Court. The HC had found both culpable of influencing controversial prosecution witness Sunil Kulkarni in the infamous BMW hit-and-run case involving Sanjeev Nanda.

Both had appealed in the SC and pleaded that the HC had exceeded its jurisdiction by stripping them of the senior advocate designation, a decision which the regulatory body, Bar Council of India, alone could take.

They had also questioned the authenticity of the tapes relating to the sting operation on their alleged dealing with Kulkarni, which was broadcast by a TV channel, saying the HC had repelled their repeated plea for a forensic examination of the tapes.

The HC, in an unprecedented order, had convicted the two prominent lawyers, debarred them from practising in Delhi for four months and also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 each for obstructing the course of justice by trying to influence the star witness.



Notice to ACP for wrongly jailing woman

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:33am IST

AHMEDABAD: A sessions court has issued show-cause notice to city crime branch sleuths to explain why a woman should not be compensated because they had wrongfully confined her for more than a year in a narcotics case.

Additional sessions judge RH Sharma has sought an explanation from assistant commissioner of police Usha Rada and police inspector DH Waghela in connection with the drug peddling case.

Rada lodged a complaint with the DCB police station against a Karnataka-based couple, Allasha Mastabnsha Durvesh and his wife Shahin, on June 25 last year. They were allegedly found in possession of 12.3 kg cannabis worth Rs 1.23 lakh from Chandola locality. The crime branch filed a charge sheet against them stating that the duo had come to the city to deliver narcotics to two persons — Ramdas and Khalil — and they were caught on their way.

During the trial, the crime branch could not establish its case and it transpired that Shahin did not have any of the drug on her. And she had to go to jail merely because she was implicated in the case after her husband was made accused. However, the court found loopholes not only in the chain of events presented by the investigating officer Waghela, but certain legal aspects could not be explained by the prosecution.

Ultimately, Durvesh was acquitted by the court by giving a benefit of doubt, but the judge gave an honourable exoneration to Shahin and pulled up the crime branch for unjust action against the woman. Along with the order of acquittal, the court served show-cause notices on Rada and Waghela.

The judge has categorically asked the two police officers regarding “heavy compensation” that could be given to Shahin for her wrongful confinement of 13 months in the central jail.




SIT records Rahul Sharma’s evidence

TNN 29 July 2009, 03:33am IST AHMEDABAD: The Supreme Court is likely to decide on the extension to be given to the Special Investigation Team (SIT) probing the Godhra riots by end of this week. Sources told TOI that SIT had also recorded statement of IPS officer Rahul Sharma who has submitted critical evidence on the calls made during the riots, thus establishing political leaders’ association with riots accused.

Before this, SIT had already used Sharma’s phone call records as evidence to establish the culpability of former minister Dr Maya Kodnani and to arrest her.

Reacting to a TOI report published on Tuesday, retired director general of police RB Sreekumar said that his statements were recorded by Gujarat officers, one of a superintendent of police rank, VV Chaudhary who is posted in CID (Intelligence) and another deputy SP in the presence of retired CBI officers A K Malhotra and Paramveer Singh.




Lok adalats lower court load

TNN 29 July 2009, 01:29am IST

CHANDIGARH: From minuscule 97 in 1999 to massive 4,678 by June-end, the beneficiaries of the State Legal Services Authority continue to swell. Playing the role of a quasi-judicial adjudicator-cum-mediator, the authority has been successful in settling disputes between parties amicably and expeditiously at pre-litigation stage, thereby reducing the workload of courts.

Its most popular modus operandi remains lok adalat, an innovative mechanism evolved for resolving disputes in a spirit of conciliation outside courts and without delay and recrimination. The number of beneficiaries bears testimony to effectiveness of this tool. The authority had been constituted in 1998 under the State Service Authority Act, 1987, with the objective of providing legal aid to the poor, downtrodden and weaker sections of the society to secure their legal rights.

With pendency of the motor challan cases touching a record 30,000, the authority decided to hold mega lok adalats to dispose them of. In 2007-08, it held three mega lok adalats where 13,024 summary cases pertaining to Section 138 of the Negotiable Instruments Act and traffic challans were disposed of. And in 2008-09, it held three mega lok adalats and disposed of as many as 14,340 cases and recovered fine to the tune of Rs 13,33,850.

The authority also organized Samadhan-2008 where cases pertaining to execution, the Hindu Marriage Act, civil suits, rent cases, criminal appeals, revision succession, MACT, labour cases, cases under Section 138 of Negotiable Instruments Act, Section 125 CrPC were taken up. A total of 34,446 cases were settled and an amount of Rs 7.78 crore was awarded as compensation.

It also arranged 19 special lok adalats in 2007 to settle cases of bank recovery, financial institutions, and matrimonial disputes in 2007 and decided 256 cases at pre-litigation stage. In 2008, the authority disposed off 804 cases at 35 special lok adalats.




Court clears air on security cheque bounces

Supriya Bhardwaj29 July 2009, 02:02am IST

CHANDIGARH: When the court acquitted Kuldip Kaur recently, it also cleared the air on security cheque bounce cases to provide relief to many harassed litigants facing trials for allegedly dishonouring bank documents.

Even as Negotiable Instrument Act (NIA) clearly stated that a person was liable to face criminal proceedings only if a cheque issued for discharge of a legal liability bounced, legal experts were wary about the rise in unwarranted cases related to those concerning security cheques. Thankfully, that has now been taken care of.

The court of judicial magistrate, while acquitting Kaur, held that if a cheque issued as security bounced, then one was not guilty as provisions of NIA could not be applied to such a case. Dismissing the criminal complaint filed under various sections, including 138, of NIA against Kaur and her husband by an immigration consultancy company, the court held, “The cheque was issued undated at the time of execution of contract, when there was no liability of the accused to pay balance fee. It was only to be paid on receipt of visa or in case of a breach of contract, but none of these conditions was fulfilled… it does not entitle the company to present the cheque to recover balance fee which was issued as security.”

According to the complaint, in January 2003, the Sangrur couple had approached the immigration company in Sector 8, seeking assistance to get permanent residency in Canada. The amount settled between them was Rs 64,000, of which Rs 10,000 was paid and a cheque of Rs 54,000 issued to the company, with an instruction that it should be encashed whenever professional fee became payable.

The company claimed that they had asked for some documents to process the visas, but the couple didn’t provide the same. But even as the company claimed the couple might have become disinterested in emigrating, it nonetheless presented the security cheque in a bank.

Advocate Ravinder Sharma said, “This order will impact 150 such cases filed by the same immigration company…. In case someone misuses cheque issued as security, under Section 406 (criminal breach of trust) of IPC, an FIR can be lodged.”

While 55,000 cheque bounce cases of varwere pending in district courts, advocate Sandeep Suri, representing various financial institutes, said, “This verdict will be applicable to all cases where post-dated cheques were received as security….”




2 acquitted of murder charge

TNN 29 July 2009, 01:48am IST

CHANDIGARH: The court of additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg acquitted Uma Shanker and Ram Pratap in a murder trial wherein it was alleged that these brothers had killed Abhay Tiwari just for Rs 3,200.

Allegations levelled were that the accused had borrowed Rs 3,200 from Baddi resident and had called him to town to return the amount to him. Allegedly, instead of making payment, the duo killed Tiwari near the drain in Sector 52 on the intervening night of June 10 and 11, 2008.

An FIR was registered in the year 2008 on the complaint filed by Tiwaris nephews and a local court had framed murdered charges against the two in March 2009.

Though prosecution had produced 18 witnesses to prove its allegations, the court didn’t find evidence to convict them.

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