Time to rethink on EVMs
Finally, the Electronic Voting Machine (EVM) controversy has reached the apex court.
It is not surprising considering the plethora of doubts expressed by almost all political parties and many highly-placed social activists and experts on the reliability of this wonder machine.
Experts are unanimous that it is not tamper-proof. It is not only the losers in the 2009 general election who have questioned the reliability of EVMs. The Congress leaders in Orissa too have joined hands with the BJP to file a petition in the court and take up a mass awareness campaign to protest the alleged large-scale tampering of the instrument in the state during election. Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad is on record alleging that manipulation of voting machines had led to the Congress defeat in Orissa. Azad is the party in-charge in the state. The Leader of Opposition LK Advani has demanded the replacing of EVMs with ballot papers. His view was supported by almost all parties including the CPI(M), AIADMK, TDP and Janata Dal(U). Such wide-spread doubts about the EVM is not good for the health of Indian democracy. The RSS former Sarsanghachalak KS Sudarshan, questioning the credibility of EVMs, in Cuttack, the other day, said, the general elections have become a contempt of democracy, as machines are playing a greater role than the voters. He pointed out that EVMs are not being used in developed countries like Germany and the USA. It is time to replace it with ballot paper, he said. It is not that the people’s verdict in the poll-2009 is being questioned. That, so many well-founded arguments have come up about the possibility of tampering with the EVM to manipulate the electoral outcome is a good enough reason to rethink on it.
Election Commission of India has received a number of complaints about EVM malpractices from all over the country. The recent spate of articles published in reputed computer engineering magazines and the international press has raised doubts about the integrity of EVMs. Each step in the life cycle of a voting machine—from the time it is developed and installed to when the votes are recorded and the data transferred to a central repository for tallying—involves different people gaining access to the machine, often installing a new software. It will not be hard, according to experts, to plant a parallel programme under another password on one or many voting machines that would, before voters arrived at the polling stations, ensure a pre-determined outcome. The Election Commission was aware of the fundamental flaws in the EVMs since 2000. But no effort was made to correct them. Nor were precautions taken. The debate now has come not only because the Lok Sabha results surprised many, but also because of the unexpected number of seats won or lost by some parties. Of course, the AIADMK leader J Jayalalithaa and the TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu have taken up the anti-EVM campaign in a big way because of the stunning performance of the ruling party in Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh respectively. Even neutral agencies and individuals have pointed to the chance of rigging in these elections.
Experts say that the fundamental flaws in the EVM, which were pointed out to the EC by experts, have not so far been rectified. In 2004, a Supreme Court bench comprising the then Chief Justice VN Khare and two other judges directed the EC to consider the technical flaws in the EVM. This directive came as a result of a PIL filed by Satinath Choudhary, a US-based software engineer. But the EC did not budge. Now several High Courts in the country are hearing PILs on EVMs. And a PIL has reached the Supreme Court also. What is now proved convincingly is that EVMs are not protected against rigging and the EC has not made it tamper-proof in spite of clinching evidence to that effect. It is not a bad-idea for the EC to call an all-party meeting on the subject and review suggestions for restoring the credibility of the electoral system.
SC to hear Shopian policemen petitions on July 20
The Supreme Court would hear on Monday petitions filed by four senior police officers who have been arrested for allegedly destroying evidence in the Shopian rape and murder case.
The petitioners, who include suspended SP Javed Iqbal Mattoo, DSP Rohit Baskotra, ex-SHO Shafiq Ahmed and ex-SI Gazi Abdul Rahman, have prayed to the apex court to set aside the order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
Two women, Neelofar Jan and Aasiya Jan, were allegedly raped and murdered by the security personnel in Shopian.
The High Court had directed the state police to arrest all the four police officers and also to collect their blood samples and prepare their DNA profile.
The four senior police officers have since been arrested and suspended and are presently lodged in jail.
Senior counsel P H Parekh yesterday mentioned the matter before a bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan for urgent hearing.
Mr Parekh contended that the matter required urgent hearing as the J&K High Court has said, It is with special investigating team (SIT) and with the people of the state.’ According to Mr Parekh who appeared for ex-SP and ex-DSP, the order dated July 15 was passed by the High Court on a PIL filed by J&K High Court Bar Association and the petitioners were not made a party to the PIL.
‘Multiple wins will continue in Mhada lottery’
Bella Jaisinghani, TNN 20 July 2009, 01:06am IST
MUMBAI: Despite the doubts that arose after 55 individuals won multiple flats through serial application numbers in the recent Mhada housing lottery and the PIL filed against the “faulty software”, officials say a similar pattern could emerge in the upcoming lottery in November.
Weeding out multiple winners will have to wait until Nandan Nilekani devises a unique identification card for every Indian, laughed a top-ranking consultant of the firm that attested the lottery.
On condition of anonymity, the consultant explained the loopholes in the system and the measures taken to plug them. “Few lottery softwares, including this one, are foolproof. We are doing our best to seal the gaps by getting applicants to provide their PAN card number, date of birth and bank account number, but the fact remains that there is a way to get around each one of these,” he said.
For instance, while the software is capable of detecting an applicant who may have put in several forms under a single name, an individual could use a combination of `part-name part-initials’ to escape the net. “We will also compare the bank account numbers submitted by an applicant but if he has provided two different ones, he may go undetected. Moreover, PAN card numbers can only be applied to the high income group (HIG) category and we do not want the masses, who bid for Mhada flats, to be left out,” the expert said.
Claiming that 55 people winning multiple times from among 4.33 lakh applicants is well within the realm of statistical probability, he denied that application numbers were manipulated to gain multiple allotments. “Mhada naturally gives out applications in serial order. It is just that some people got lucky by winning in different categories,” he said.
Mhada spokesperson Vaishali Wagh agreed. “There is logic and mathematics to the lottery software. Multiple wins will always occur,” she said. “That is, after all, the luck factor. But we are cautious not to allot more than one flat to a single winner. In fact, this time too, we have ensured that such people surrendered their claim to the extra wins before allotting them one flat of their choice.”
While a bidder is allowed to apply in different categories, he is debarred from putting in several forms in one category. “This makes him happy as it increases his chances of winning, and it is also good for Mhada,” laughed Wagh. To reiterate transparency, she cited the case of an MSEB employee who put in 13 applications in her own name and for relatives but failed to win a single flat.
However, before the May 19 draw, a few members of Mhada’s Mumbai Board had expressed reservations about continuing with the “faulty” software, a fact they say is documented in the minutes of that committee meeting. “This software had given way and crashed under the weight of applications during the previous lottery, which was far smaller. So we asked if it was capable of handling the 4.33 lakh applications we received during this mega lottery,” one of them said.
The consultant responded, “But it did hold up this time. The software code is a simple half-page, really. In fact, some people had even suggested a NASSCOM audit but we did not feel that was necessary.”
Members of the board have alleged that the scrolling procedure, which is an essential element of a fair lottery, was not conducted in each category. “It was not possible for us to scroll the entire list of 400 categories in public view and still complete the lottery in a day,” the expert said. “In fact, we did do so for the first two lots and flashed the results on screen, but it took so long that the waiting applicants began to get restless. So the bigger lots were scrolled very fast. We only showed the names of the first five and the last five winners eschewing the ones in between, and this could have given rise to confusion. The full results were pasted on the announcement board later, but there was not enough time to display each one on the giant screen as the lottery progressed.”
Many bidders, who were present in the mandap, had failed to see the logic behind the computerised lottery and demanded that the housing board put all the application numbers in a glass bowl and ask a child to pick the winners in the manner of a simplistic lotto. “We calculated that option as well,” laughs the Mhada consultant. “It would take three minutes to allot a single flat, and approximately 13 months to complete a mega lottery for 3,863 apartments.”
Interestingly, he added, “Moreover, how do you know that the lotto is fair? In the Manipur fraud, for instance, all you had to do was tweak the application numbers and buy several forms all ending in `9′. These were all put into one bowl so you got lucky.” Of course, as the consultant himself said, individuals can tweak Mhada applications, too.
Nanda’s family members express relief over judgement
PTI 20 July 2009, 04:18pm IST
NEW DELHI: Family members of Sanjeev Nanda, convicted in the BMW hit-and-run case, on Monday expressed relief over the Delhi High Court judgement reducing his jail term from five to two years.
Renu Nanda, mother of the convict started crying in the courtroom with the pronouncement of the judgement.
“God is kind,” she said, on being asked for her reaction.
Sanjeev’s father, Suresh Nanda, an arms dealer was rather happy and forthright in his reaction.
“We have suffered already for nearly 10-and-half-year and finally, justice has been done to my son,” he said.
On a question whether he would go for an appeal against the judgement, he said. “We want him to serve the remaining period. Moreover, we will decide after consulting our lawyers“.
Nanda’s brother-in-law Peter Punj, a socialite said, “It is better late than never. This judgement should have come from the lower court itself. Anyway, justice has finally been done.”
Rajeev Gupta, a Delhi based businessman convicted in the same high profile case was present in the court but refused to comment on the judgement.
|Supreme Court refuses to stay gay sex verdict
20 Jul 2009, 1401 hrs IST, IANS
|NEW DELHI: Maintaining that the recent Delhi High Court verdict decriminalising homosexuality does not permit incestuous relations or adultery, the Supreme Court on Monday said it will wait for the central government’s formal stand on the issue before forming its opinion.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathashivam made the observation while hearing a bunch of petition opposing and supporting the high court judgement.
The Delhi High Court July 2 decriminalised sex between two consenting adults of the same gender. Defined as unnatural sex under section 377 of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, homosexuality was earlier punishable with imprisonment up to life.
SC declines to stay HC verdict on homosexuality
Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 1520 hrs New Delhi:
The Supreme Court on Monday declined to pass an interim order to stay the Delhi High Court verdict legalising gay sex among consenting adults.
The apex Court said it would wait for the government to come out with a definite stand on the issue.
“We are not for stay as there is no threat of any consequences. We will hear the government, what is their stand,” a Bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justice P Sathasivam said.
“Why not wait till government takes a definite stand,” the Bench said before posting the matter for September 14.
Attorney General G E Vahanvati said that the government has taken a stand and it will reconsider it again as three ministries are involved.
He said that it was not in favour of the stay of the High Court order.
Vahanvati said that the government has taken a stand in the High Court and the judgement was of limited nature concerning gay sex between consenting adults.
The apex Court refused to make any observation relating to the legitimacy of the gay marriages when a submission was made about it. The counsel opposing the High Court verdict wanted the court to say that such a marriage was not legitimate.
When a reference was made about Section 377 of the IPC, the Bench said, “Cases under Section 377 are registered only with regard to pedophiles. People are being convicted but it has nothing to do with gay marriages.”
The apex court had earlier issued notice to the Centre seeking its response on the petition filed by a Delhi astrologer challenging the High Court verdict.
Notices were also issued to Naz Foundation, the NGO, and other respondents who were parties before the High Court.
Astrologer Suresh Kumar Kaushal has sought quashing of the July two High Court judgment legalising gay sex between consenting adults in private, which was earlier a criminal offence punishable with up to life imprisonment.
By Krittivas Mukherjee and Devidutta Tripathy
NEW DELHI, July 20 – India’s highest court asked Reliance Industries and Reliance Natural Resources to explain why a gas supply deal between the two should not be cancelled and cleared the way for the government to be a party in the court battle, lawyers for both sides said .
Shares in Reliance Industries, which challenged a lower court ruling to supply gas to Reliance Natural at below-market price, were 4.3 percent higher amid a broad market rally on Monday, while Reliance Natural shares were down by 3 percent .
The court set a Sept .
1 date for the next hearing in the nearly three-year battle, which has raised questions over the role of powerful business families in India’s economy .
Top Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries , headed by Mukesh Ambani, and Reliance Natural, led by estranged brother Anil, have been fighting over terms of a gas-supply agreement struck when the Reliance empire was split in 2005 .
The Indian government made a petition over the weekend to intervene in the case, arguing that the gas is its property and that the private pact between the Ambanis over the gas is not valid .
The court on Monday set the stage for the government to participate in the court proceeding, which is what Reliance Industries had sought .
‘That’s water under the bridge .
The government is already there .
We have been asking for that,’ said Harish Salve, a lawyer for Reliance Industries .
The Bombay High Court ruled last month that Reliance Industries should supply gas to Reliance Natural at $2.34 per million metric British thermal unit nearly half the $4.20 price in an interim court order in January .
Maulik Patel, head of research at K.R .
Choksey Shares&Securities, said nothing fundamental in the dispute had changed .
If the court voids the agreement between the parties, which had been approved by the high court, it will be good for Reliance Industries but quite negative for Reliance Natural .
‘The likely scenario could be the government may fix $4.2 per mBtu as the price for supply, and then allow Reliance Natural to further sell it to fertiliser and power companies,’ he said .
NEXT HEARING ON SEPT 1 India’s Supreme Court on Monday said it would club all petitions and applications in the case together, according to Ram Jethmalani, a lawyer for Reliance Natural .
‘The court said it wants to hear the case with three judges so it set Sept .
1 as the next date .
There were no observations, no directions,’ Jethmalani said after the hearing .
The gas in dispute comes from the vast Krishna Godavari basin, and the feud had led to calls for the government to intervene given the importance of the resource to India’s energy-starved economy .
Mukesh Ambani, 52, was ranked 7th by Forbes in its list of global billionaires in March, with a net worth of $19.5 billion .
Anil, 50, was at No .
34 on the list, with a net worth of $10.1 billion .
The two brothers have battled before .
Reliance Industries last year cited a first right of refusal clause to sink a bid by Anil Ambani’s Reliance Communications for a merger with South Africa’s MTN .
The details of the family settlement, which was brokered by the Ambanis’ mother, Kokilaben, have not been made public, and at least a dozen issues still need resolution, analysts say, ranging from properties to shares in companies .
Hearing on Reliance gas dispute adjourned to Sep 1 (Lead)
New Delhi, July 20
The Supreme Court Monday adjourned till Sep 1 its hearing on a row between Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries and his brother Anil’s Reliance Natural Resources over natural gas supplies and asked the two parties to reply to the government stand on the matter.
Commencing the hearing on the petition filed by Reliance Industries that challenges the verdict of the Bombay High Court last month on gas supplies from Krishna-Godavari Basin, off the Andhra Pradesh coast, the apex court declined to pass any interim order.
Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued notices to power firms such as GMR, GVK and Gautami Power that sought to intervene in the matter on concerns over the impact on the supplies if the fuel is diverted to Reliance Natural Resources at lower rates.
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 per unit, after assigning 12 million units to the state-run National Thermal Power Corp.
It was also decided during Monday’s hearing to club all petitions in this regard when the case comes up before a three-member bench to be set up. The government has sought to join the case as an intervener, amid opposition by Anil Ambani’s firm.
“The court said it wants to hear the case with three judges. So it set Sep 1 as the next date. There were no observations, no directions,” said Ram Jethmalani, who is appearing as a lawyer on behalf of Reliance Natural Resources.
“One thing is very clear — the Supreme Court is concerned by the importance of this case,” said Harish Salve who appeared on behalf of Reliance Industries and maintained that the court had not stopped Reliance Industries from selling gas to other parties.
“The interpretation doesn’t change after the hearing. In fact, let’s be clear. I told the court that the arrangements in place would continue. The court said we have not stopped you,” Salve said.
He said the crux of the case was whether a family arrangement that was meant to bring parity between two brothers should override sovereign policies when natural gas is now being sold for $4.20 per unit and one party still wants it for $2.34 per unit.
The senior counsel also maintained that the pact between the two brothers could not be broken into bits and pieces. “The agreement said it is subject to company approval, it is subject to government approval. It expressly said so.”
But in the reply to the law suit filed by Reliance Industries, the Anil Ambani-led firm has said the petroleum ministry has no role to play in the private gas sharing dispute, certainly not as a party to the row, and that the government will not lose any revenue.
“The petroleum ministry filed the affidavit blatantly and openly in support of Reliance Industries. This affidavit should, therefore, be struck off the records of the Supreme Court,” the company said.
Last updated on Jul 20th, 2009 at 16:25 pm IST–IANS
SC seeks UT’s reply on abortion
TNN 21 July 2009, 01:04am IST
CHANDIGARH: The Supreme Court of India issued a notice to Chandigarh administration on Monday after hearing the special leave petition (SLP) filed against orders of Punjab and Haryana High court passed on Friday, allowing termination of pregnancy of a mentally challenged rape victim. The division bench headed by Chief Justice of India KG Balakrishanan and justice P Sathasivam asked the UT administration to file their reply on the matter on Tuesday.
However, SC declined the petitioners’ request for immediate stay on the HC verdict.
The SLP was filed by Delhi-based lawyer Suchita Srivastava and others.
A special division bench of Punjab and Haryana High Court had allowed terminating the pregnancy of the 19-year-old victim, who was allegedly raped during her stay at Nari Niketan in Sector 26. Her pregnancy was detected at home for the mentally challenged – Aashreya – where she had been shifted.
The Chandigarh administration had sought that order as the victim has no guardian and she had got pregnant during her stay at a UT-run institute.
After HC’s orders on Friday, some Delhi-based lawyers had met CJI at his residence in the evening, seeking his immediate intervention in the matter. Then, the CJI had listed the matter for hearing before his bench for Monday.
Appellant had contended that HC could not pass orders that were contrary to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (MTP) Act. Petitioners had also cited various international conventions and papers in support of their plea for rejecting the grounds of termination of pregnancy given by the HC in its July 17 verdict.
Meanwhile, Chandigarh administration has decided that it will not terminate the pregnancy of the victim till the matter is pending with SC.
Pregnancy of the victim will enter its 20th week on Tuesday. MTP Act prohibits terminating a pregnancy that has continued for more than 20 weeks.
UT senior standing counsel, Anupam Gupta will plead the matter in SC on behalf of the administration.
‘Sir, mujhe mera gunaah kabool hai’
Kartikeya, TNN 21 July 2009, 04:00am IST
Mujhe gunah kabool hai (I admit my crime). We fired on the public at CST — Abu Ismail and I. Ismail lobbed grenades and I fired with the gun. We went a little ahead and entered a hall where we had a skirmish with the police. After another exchange of fire, all was quiet. The photographs shown of us at CST are genuine. We went back towards the platform, crossed an iron footbridge and descended into an alley. I checked vehicles parked there so that we could drive off in one. The CCTV footage shown of us around those cars is correct. However, none of the cars could be opened and we proceeded on foot. Ismail and I loaded our AK-47s. On walking a little ahead, we saw a man running. I fired at him and Ismail fired inside a house.
When we reached the gate of Cama Hospital, we saw that the wall was not too high and jumped over it. Ismail told me to wait while he checked the premises. I heard the sound of gunfire. Ismail returned and asked me to follow him. A man dressed in white was lying dead. I did not see his face. Another man was lying on a stretcher in a pool of blood. We went up a flight of stairs to the fifth floor. We stopped three persons in the ward, including a witness in the present case, and asked him to lie down so that we could frisk him. We then locked up five others, one of whom was lying in a pool of blood, in a bathroom, warning them not to make any noise. We went up to the terrace. As soon as we entered, we saw a man. I asked him to show us the way out. He indicated that policemen were around — when we went down the staircase, we saw them for ourselves. I ran back and told Ismail.
He asked me where they were, but by then we could hear a commotion that the police had arrived. Ismail was near the door. He asked me to keep a watch on the terrace and asked for a grenade. I removed all the weapons from my bag and put them in Ismail’s bag. Firing started. I kept a watch on the terrace. Then we started running downstairs and someone fired upon us. I returned fire and came down. Ismail went out first. We could see policemen near the gate, but they didn’t notice us. Ismail said we should hide. There was a door near the wall, and a person was sitting outside the hall of the hospital. I warned him to keep mum, and we managed to get out of the hospital.
On the road, we saw a big blue vehicle coming towards us. We hid behind a small stall. The blue vehicle came nearer and Ismail lobbed a grenade at it. We then walked up to a bank and hid in some bushes. We saw the headlights of a vehicle, and as it came nearer to us there was firing from it. Ismail started firing back. I was injured on my right forearm, left wrist and right elbow. (Shows his injuries in court). My gun fell out of my hand and I also fell down. The firing continued, and Ismail walked towards the vehicle. He went to check it and kept firing on it. By then I got up and took my gun in my hand. I opened the doors of the police vehicle and found its occupants dead. We removed their bodies. Ismail started the jeep and I sat next to him. In the meantime there was firing on the vehicle but none of the bullets hit us. Ismail started driving with his left hand and firing with the other one. We took a right turn. Maine kaha main chal nahin sakta (I said I wouldn’t be able to walk). Ismail said ‘ Tu hausla mat haar. Mujhe bhi goli lagi hai ’ (Don’t lose courage. I have also been shot). He said he had been shot in the knee. I could tell from the noise of the wheel that it had been punctured. We did not know the roads. We saw policemen in a motor vehicle, and on seeing weapons in our hands they started firing at us. We fired in retaliation and the cops left the spot to hide. We decided to stop a vehicle. A Skoda car, with two men and a woman in it, was passing, and we stopped it and made the occupants get out. I told Ismail that we should conceal our weapons somewhere so that nobody would be able to recognise us. We continued to drive on the same road and reached the same spot where we had hijacked the car. We saw the owner telling the police that it was his car. We started following a white car. A little ahead we could see barriers on the road. The white car went past them but policemen directed us to stop. I asked Ismail to slow down. A policeman came in front of the car. Ismail tried taking a U-turn. We could not understand anything and suddenly the wipers also started. Policemen came to the car, and one of them caught me by the collar. He pulled me out of the car. I was surrounded by policemen and one of them snatched my AK-47, which was in my hand. They started hitting me in my stomach and also with the butt of my gun. I did not fire. When I regained consciousness I was in hospital. I had not fired because I could not hold my gun.
HUM DUS THE (WE WERE TEN)
We travelled from Karachi in a small boat. Four persons came to see us off — Zaki-ur Rehman Lakhvi, Abu Hamza, Abu Kafa and Abu Jundala. I did not know the others personally but I can tell their names. Abu Ismail (he was our boss), Abu Akasha, Abu Umer, Abu Shoaib, Abu Ali, Abdul Rehman Chhota, Abdul Rehman Bada, Hafiz Arshad and Abu Fadaullah, who had a finger missing. A small boat from Karachi transported us to a big boat, which we used to get on to the high seas. There were three people on the small boat. I only remember the name of Hakib. On the big boat called ‘Al Huseini’ we slept and said our namaaz. When it sailed there were seven people on it — Murshad, Aqib, Usman… I don’t remember the other names. Murshad was the boss.
We were looking for another boat and spotted one. At 4 pm, it was brought to ‘Al Huseini’ and we started loading it with oil, blankets, rations and other things. The remaining articles were thrown into the sea. Murshad asked the five crew members of the other boat who their ‘naqva’ (navigator) was, and Amarjit Singh Solanki said it was him. The other four were taken to ‘Al Huseini’ and Singh remained on board. Murshad told us to take blankets and go to sleep. He told Ismail to take Solanki’s help in case of difficulty. A big GPS set was also given to Ismail, which we threw into the sea when we reached India.
Last year, when I was working as a decorator in Jhelum city, my colleague, Muzaffar, suggested that we turn to dacoity for better money. I left the job, went to Rawalpindi with him and took a room on rent. We decided to commit dacoity at a certain bungalow. I was roaming alone at Rawalpindi’s Raza market when I saw some Mujahideens buying animal skins. From my childhood, I had been hearing of these Mujahideens. They are known by their long hair and beards. A few days later, Muzaffar returned and we both visited the same market and were discussing our plans to rob the bungalow. I repeatedly asked him where we would get the weapons and how would we pull it off. I told him then that I had seen Mujahideens at the market, and that we could get weapons training from them, to which he agreed. We found out where their office was, and went there. A man asked me what I had come for. I told him we had come for Jihad, so he let us in. One person asked me my name, address and asked me to return next morning with extra clothes.
We returned with our baggage and we were given a chit on which was written the address of a training camp in Muridke. Three weeks later, I was sent from there to another camp. In the evening we went to Buttal jungle, where I met Muzaffar. We were given 21 days of training. After his training was over, Muzaffar’s brother took him back home but I was told that I was going for bigger training.
Here, I was taught exercises, operating weapons like AK-47, guns and pistols. Three months went by like this. My trainer Abu Abdul Rehman asked me to bring my identity card from my native Okara district. I visited an office in Model Town there and was asked to go to Muzaffarabad in Azad Kashmir. Once in Muzaffarabad, I was asked to look for Saeed Bhai’s office. I told them that I had come for Daura-E-Khaas (special training), and filled up a form. The next morning, we reached a training camp, where Abu Maaviya was our trainer and trained me for three months in operating rocket launchers, grenades, AK-47s and other sophisticated weapons. Then I was sent to my Faridkot home. I was told to return to Saeed Bhai’s office after a week, which I did.
Ten days later, Saeed bhai, Abu Kafa and Abu Hamza came there and selected 15 of us. We were taken to Muzaffarabad and then to Muridke. Kafa was with me and we were trained to swim. A month later, we were taken to Karachi’s seashore from where we were taken in small boats to big ones. The idea was to check if we could adjust to the sea’s rough weather or not, and to see if we suffered from sea-sickness. We were then brought back to the same place and then two days later, we were again taken to Muzaffarabad where we met Hamza.
Of the 15 of us, two had run away, while six were sent to Kashmir. So seven of us were left, to which three other boys were added, making us ten in all. Hamza had a separate room, to which he would call us in pairs. On two occasions, he showed Ismail and me movies and pictures of CST station on his laptop. We were then taken to forests, trained further in firing, and were brought back. Two days later, we were given trousers and T-shirts, and our photographs were taken and our fake ID-cards made. Kafa took us to Karachi and gave us small bomb kits. We were asked to note down the time when the bomb kit’s battery would turn on.
We stayed there for more than 90 days. We were trained to use an inflatable boat. It is the same boat produced in court. In Karachi we stayed in the same house that was shown on Geo TV. Two or three days before November 22, 2008, Hamza again came and played the same CST video to us. We were given arms and ammunition. Those bags were transported to Al-Huseini.
Kafa took us to the Karachi shore where Al-Huseini was anchored. Lakhwi, Hamza and Abu Jundal joined Kafa on the shore, while we were to leave for Mumbai. Jundal Hindustani hai, unhonein hi humein Hindi sikhaaein . My wish is that you should end this trial and punish me.
I wanted to confess much earlier but could not do so as Pakistan had disowned me. Now Pakistan is saying that I am a Pakistani.
They are also going to prosecute the offenders. Don’t ask me how I know all this. I just do. You
should accept my confession and punish me.
US `gets’ right to inspect defence equipment, tech sold to India
TNN 21 July 2009, 03:02am IST
NEW DELHI: India and US on Monday finalised the End-Use Monitoring Agreement (EUMA) to govern arms supplies to Indian armed forces amid concerns that New Delhi may have yielded a bit too much under Washington’s pressure.
The EUMA text agreed to by the two nations apparently upholds the right of US to physically inspect defence equipment and technology sold to India. India, in turn, got the concession that the time and place of such verification would be decided by New Delhi, as also that the standardised text cannot be altered without joint consultations if there is any change in US laws in the future.
With eyes firmly on the lucrative Indian defence market, the US had been pushing India to ink the EUMA, which is required under its domestic laws, as soon as possible to smoothen New Delhi’s acquisition of military hardware and software from Washington.
The American EUMA basically governs sensitive technology control requirements to prevent its leaking to other countries and `minimize’ security risks to US and its allies.
While acknowledging this, India wanted `mutuality’ to underscore EUMA instead of `intrusive’ clauses in the pact and its `enhanced version’ which relate to `onsite physical verification’ by US inspectors.
After several drafts were exchanged by the two sides, officials said the final text incorporates acceptable legal language factoring in concerns of both sides.
Till now, like for the three VVIP Boeing Business Jets and their self-protection suites inducted by IAF to ferry around the President and PM, India has signed stand-alone end-use pacts with US.
The overarching EUMA now finalised will pave the way for high-end sensors, radars and weapon systems to be fitted on the aircraft being purchased under the already-inked $2.1 billion contract for eight Boeing P-8I maritime reconnaissance planes and the $962 million one for six C-130J `Super Hercules’ planes.
It will, of course, also govern all future deals, including the hotly-contested race to bag the `mother of all defence deals’: the $10.4-billion project to acquire 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft for the IAF.
In the fray are American F/A-18 `Super Hornet’ (Boeing) and F-16 `Falcon’ (Lockheed Martin), French Rafale (Dassault), Russian MiG-35 (United Aircraft Corporation), Swedish Gripen (Saab) and Eurofighter Typhoon (consortium of British, German, Spanish and Italian companies).
BMW case: Court raps key witness
IANS 21 July 2009, 04:08am IST
NEW DELHI: Delhi High Court on Monday came down heavily on Mumbai resident Sunil Kulkarni, a key witness in the BMW hit-and-run case, terming him as “the most dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy and untruthful witness”.
“His entry in the case is as dramatic as could happen only in our Bollywood movies,” Justice Kailash Gambhir said in his 274-page order.
The court ordered initiation of criminal proceedings for perjury against Kulkarni, who was relied on heavily by the trial court to hold Sanjeev Nanda and three others guilty in the 10-year-old case.
“The deposition of court witness (Kulkarni) is thrown out lock, stock and barrel,” the High Court said.
Initially, Kulkarni had introduced himself as a witness without any extraneous reason.
“An accident which was the result of a rash and negligent act was turned into a sinister game with ulterior design to defeat the justice delivery system. Not only we saw a wily witness in Sunil Kulkarni but also found that the prosecution was no less slippery,” the court said.
“It is time to think and ponder how fast and to what extent we can take corrective measures to ensure that the justice delivery system does not become a laughing stock and is not reduced to a mockery by persons like Sunil Kulkarni and police officials of doubtful integrity. It also calls for introspection on the part of legal fraternity so as to ensure that the fair name of legal profession does not in any way come into disrepute,” the court said.
Shopian rape & murder: SC stays narco-analysis of cops
TIMESOFINDIA.COM 20 July 2009, 02:02pm IST
NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the narco-analysis of the police officers involved in the rape and murder of two women in Shopian town in Jammu & Kashmir.
The bail of these officers will be considered on Friday.
The state has witnessed angry protests over the rape and murder of two women, 17-year-old Asiya Jan and her 22-year-old pregnant sister in-law Neelofar, in May. The protests left two people dead and around 400 injured. The government’s initial insistence that the two had drowned further fuelled the protests.
Earlier this month, the J&K government finally admitted that certain police officers were involved in the rape and murder of the two women.
Blood samples of four policemen arrested for alleged destruction, dissipation and suppression of evidence were collected over the weekend.
Official sources said the samples were taken from the then Shopian police superintendent Javed Iqbal, deputy superintendent of police Rohit Baskotra, station house officer Shafeeq Ahmad and sub-inspector Qazi Abdul Karim.
The blood samples of the policemen, currently under police custody, were taken on the directions of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court which earlier this week had ordered the arrest, preparation of DNA profiles and narco-analysis of the four suspended police officers.
High court dismisses plea in illegal plot sale
Shibu Thomas, TNN 21 July 2009, 12:30am IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday dismissed an application challenging the demolition of the office of a security agency located on the Irla nullah, which was the cause of regular flooding at the Juhu Vile Parle Development Scheme.
A division bench of Justice D K Deshmukh and Justice Rajesh Ketkar refused to entertain the plea of the slumdweller who had reportedly sold off his premises to the security agency for Rs 45 lakh.
The court accepted the state government’s contention that a slum photo pass issued to pre-1995 structures cannot be assigned to another person.
“The government has laid down strict rules that the slum photo pass cannot be sold. The premises cannot be sublet or alienated in any way,” said assistant government pleader Milind More, who added that breach of any of the conditions could result in cancellation of the photo pass.
The case concerned a 845 sq-ft garage-cum-residence on a culvert of the Irla nullah, which belonged to Raman Panikar. According to the state, Panikar sold his space to a security company for Rs 45 lakh in 1997. The company, in turn, built a sprawling 4,428 sq-ft office space. The authorities issued a notice to the company in 2007 and demolished the structure in July 2008.
The state also held that the company was not eligible for any protection or rehabilitation as it was not the original occupant of the land. Panikar, then moved the HC, saying that he had only issued a power-of-attorney to his chartered accountant, who had set up the security company. He urged the court to direct the authorities to restore the demolished structure to his possession as the power-of-attorney document was not registered. The court rejected the application.
91 motorists sent to jail for driving drunk
TNN 21 July 2009, 12:36am IST
MUMBAI: Ninety-one people were sent to jail for driving drunk on Monday.
The traffic police caught a total of 174 drunk motorists late on Sunday. Of these, 144 appeared before various local courts,of which 53 cases were adjourned. Summons or warrants were issued against 30 accused, who did not turn up for their hearing.
Driving licences of 82 motorists were suspended by the court for a period of six months to two years. Of the convicted, three were sent to five days in jail, five to three days in jail, 39 to two days in jail and 44 to one day in jail.
This year, 8,507 drunk driving cases were registered.
BMW hit-and-run: HC reduces Nanda’s jail term
Smriti Singh, TIMES NEWS NETWORK & AGENCIES 20 July 2009, 02:34pm IST
NEW DELHI: The Delhi High Court on Monday reduced the sentence of Sanjeev Nanda, convicted in the infamous BMW hit-and-run case, from five years to two years.
The court also changed the section under which Nanda was convicted, from the earlier section 304 Part II (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) to section 304 A of the IPC.
The HC also instructed police to initiate proceedings against controversial key witness Sunil Kulkarni, on whose testimony trial court convicted Sanjeev Nanda and others. The court also reduced the sentence of Rajiv Gupta from one year to six months, and of the two servants to three months.
A trial court had earlier convicted and sentenced Sanjeev Nanda, grandson of former Naval Chief S M Nanda, to five years imprisonment for mowing down six persons with his car in 1999.
Justice Kailash Gambhir, who had reserved the judgement in May, passed the verdict on petitions filed by three convicts, including Nanda, challenging the trial court order.
Besides Nanda, the court had also convicted Rajiv Gupta and Bhola Nath and sentenced them to one year and six months in jail, respectively.
Challenging his conviction in the case, Nanda argued that the trial court had convicted him under “media pressure” and on presumption devoid of evidence, PTI reported.
He submitted that the trial court had erred in believing the controversial eyewitness to the accident, Sunil Kulkarni, who, he argued, was not present in the capital on the day of incident.
Missing files no ground to reject RTI plea
Ambika Pandit, TNN 21 July 2009, 04:06am IST
NEW DELHI: Refusal to provide information under the Right to Information Act citing missing files can now evoke punishment. The Central Information Commission (CIC) has reprimanded the Delhi government’s department of women and children for allowing a critical file linked to the purchase scam to go missing and ordered that the appellant seeking the file as part of a reply to an RTI be compensated with Rs 10,000.
The CIC also directed that appellant Raj Mangal Prasad be compensated before August 31, failing which a penal interest of 12% will be applicable.
The CIC noted that the appellant had asked for the status of action taken by the department in the matter of the purchase scam which involved essential items bought for inmates of state run homes. The government replied and indicated the action taken based on available records.
“In so far as the second query for allowing inspection of the file concerned, the government expressed its inability on the ground that the file in question was missing, which reflects mismanagement in maintenance of records. The alleged offenders and officials of the department thus attempted to escape the penal action against them. It is the department of women and child development which is held responsible for suppression of facts and inefficient management of records,” the CIC order stated.
In his observations, central information commissioner professor M M Ansari said: “A major objective of the RTI is to contain corruption through promotion of transparency in functioning of public authorities. In the instant case a major corruption of the purchases scam has been exposed and at least two officials of the respondent (department of women and child) have been arrested. It is probable that many more officials of the department could be associated with the matter.”
Ansari added that the appellant was deprived of the opportunity to access the information contained in the file to expose the malpractices in the purchases scam. “The unsuccessful efforts made by the department to search and trace the file early show that the appellant’s right to seek information has not been duly honoured in the letter and spirit of the Act, for which he needs to be compensated under section 19 (8)(b) of the Act for all kinds of losses and detriment suffered by him,” the order added.
HC clears decks for ZP polls
TNN 21 July 2009, 04:29am IST
Bangalore : The high court on Monday cleared decks for zilla panchayat elections. It dismissed the petitions challenging the notification regarding roster for posts of presidents and vice-presidents in 27 ZPs across the state.
Justice Rammohan Reddy upheld the May 4 notification and asked the authorities to notify the roster six months in advance to avoid legal hassles. On May 15, the court had stayed the election process in all ZPs, except Kolar and Chikballapur, where elections were already over. K H Krishna Reddy, ZP member from Tumkur, and others from Dharwad, Haveri and Karwar had challenged the notification citing that the rotation norms were not adhered to while fixing the roster as per the 2005 rules. In the case of Dharwad ZP, the petitioners contended that ST reservation was not provided since 1995 and Karwar petitioners said the Siddi tribe, which was given an ST status by a presidential notification in 2003, was not recognised so far.
As per the rotation rules in the 60-month term of the ZP, if SC candidates held the president’s or vice-president’s posts in the first 20 months, the next term should be given to BC candidates and then to GM candidate, completing the five-year terms. This has been designed to accommodate all the castes and tribes and categories.
PIL contests property circular
TNN 21 July 2009, 04:31am IST Bangalore : A division Bench of the high court has asked the government advocate to seek instructions by next week on PIL challenging the April 6, 2009, circular asking sub-registrars not to register properties if conversion certificates and sanctioned plan from the competent authority are not enclosed with the applications.
The petitioners claimed that Sec 22 A of Registration Act, under which the said circular was issued, had been declared unconstitutional both by the high court and Supreme Court. Moreover, the said move would only harass people, they claimed.
The government issued the circular when the settled position was clear that it’s only a civil court and not sub-registrar who has power to decide the title, deed and other related issues, the petitioners said.
Case against Maytas Hill County promoters
TNN 21 July 2009, 01:52am IST HYDERABAD: Central Crime Station (CCS) police on Monday registered cases against Maytas Hill County promoters.
Based on the complaint, CCS police registered a case under sections 406 (criminal breach of trust) and 420 (cheating) against Maytas Hill County promoters.
Earlier on June 10, demanding an assurance from the Maytas Hill County management on completion schedule of the venture, about 200 members of Hill County Home Owners’ Welfare Association, staged a protest in front of former Satyam Chairman, Ramalingaraju’s house.
TDP MLA arrested, remanded till August 3
TNN 21 July 2009, 01:48am IST
KOVVUR (West Godavari): Telugu Desam Party MLA T V Rama Rao was arrested from his residence at Kovvur on Monday afternoon by the CB-CID police allegedly molesting some girl students of a nursing college run by him at Nidadavolu.
The police led by additional SP Gopalaraju went to the residence of the Kovvur MLA at around 2.50 pm and arrested him. The police did not allow the MLA’s supporters enter the house. His wife was also prevented from talking to the MLA as he was bundled into a waiting jeep.
Gopalaraju said the MLA was arrested under Sections 354, 509, 503, 341, 347 and 384 of IPC after the CB-CID completed a preliminary inquiry. “We will interrogate him further on the charges made by the girls from Kerala,” a police official said.
It may be recalled that the girls studying at TVR Nursing School at Nidadavolu had met home minister P Sabita Indra Reddy and complained that the MLA had molested them.
As he was being taken away by the police, the MLA alleged that a political conspiracy has been hatched by the Congress to tarnish his image. “No matter what the government and police try to prove, I am sure of getting justice from the courts,” he claimed.
Meanwhile, the MLA was remanded till August 3 by the CB-CID special court at Eluru where he was produced in the evening. Later, the MLA was admitted in hospital in Vijayawada after he complained of chest pain.
Court issues notices to Sonia, DS over party flag
TNN 21 July 2009, 01:58am IST
VIJAYAWADA: A local court on Monday issued notices to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi as well as state party president D Srinivas and city Congress president Paila Sominaidu on the charges of abusing the national flag.
The court asked the Congress leaders to explain their stand on the petition filed by a local advocate B V Rangarao. In his petition, Rangarao alleged that the Congress has been misusing and abusing the national flag by including the tricolour in the party flag. He urged the court to ban the usage of colours being used by the party.
Rangarao had filed a similar petition in last February and the court rejected it on technical grounds. Meanwhile, local Congress leaders and legal cell representatives Gurnatham and N Narasimharao filed a counter memo to the petition filed by Rangarao.
The judge posted the case to August 18.
Freed convict back in jail
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:02am IST
HYDERABAD: Hymad Pasha, a life convict from Adilabad, who was unduly set free due to a judicial faux pas, was finally brought back to Cherlapalli jail again. It can be recalled that Hymad was convicted for life for causing the death of his wife and was ordered to undergo another three years imprisonment for harassing her for dowry when she was alive by the Adilabad district court earlier.
In a strange turn of events, two appeals were filed against this order and two division benches of the AP High Court heard them simultaneously without knowing that the other bench was hearing it. While one bench confirmed the lower court judgement and asked Hymad to serve a life term in jail in March last year, the other bench acquitted him of murder charge and paved the way for his release on September 29, 2008. Two days later, on October 1 Hymad was set free from Cherlapalli jail.
TOI exposed this faux pas in its December 7, 2008 edition and within a week, the High Court declared its second judgement that set Hymad free as invalid and ordered the authorities to bring Hymad back to jail on December 15.
While nullifying the second judgment, the HC expressed its anguish over the way the internal mechanism of justice delivery system has failed it. In open court, it said: “This Hymad Pasha case has got all the trappings of a crime thriller. At no stage was it brought to our notice that a separate bench was simultaneously hearing it. The public prosecutor, who argued before both the benches, the district judge who sent the case records to High Court twice, the registry which had numbered the case and posted it before two benches and finally the jail superintendent who has two conflicting judgements on his hand when he set Hymad free. It is strange that none of them told us. Its only Times of India’s news item that told us about it. It served as an eye opener to the way the things are going around us”. So saying, the bench ordered an inquiry into this faux pas and directed the registrar general to conduct it and fix responsibility on the concerned.
TN introduces business facilitation bill
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:14am IST
CHENNAI: Deputy chief minister MK Stalin moved a bill in the Assembly on Monday to provide a single point clearance for new industries by reducing procedural requirements in an effort to improve the state’s investor-friendly environment.
Introducing the Tamil Nadu Business Facilitation Act, 2009, Stalin said the bill was aimed at promoting industrial development and facilitating new investments by simplifying the regulatory framework.
Accordingly, the government would constitute two authorities, one at the state level and the other at the district level, for the purpose of speedily giving various clearances required for setting up industrial projects in the state. The chief secretary would be the chairman of the state-level committee which would have 13 members, including the industries secretary, municipal commissioner and others.
The authority would act as a single point contact for clearance required from different authorities or departments like, for instance, power and water. It would also monitor the processing of applications by authorities concerned. Besides, the authority would carry out investment promotional activities, render necessary assistance in policy formulation, guide and assist entrepreneurs to set up their base and promote and assist in the rapid and orderly establishment, growth and development of industrial projects.
At the district level, the collector would head a 10-member team in speedily clearing applications for new investments. Setting a time limit for various agencies to give clearance, the government has made it mandatory for the entrepreneurs to furnish self-certification at the time of completed application form to enable it to grant the clearances faster, said Stalin.
However, entrepreneurs failing to comply with the undertaking in the self-certification would be punishable, on conviction, with fine extending upto Rs one lakh for the first offence and Rs two lakh for the second or subsequent offence. In respect of companies committing offences under the provisions of the proposed Act, every person, who at the time of offence was in charge of the company for the conduct of business as well as the company would be deemed guilty and liable to be proceeded against and punished accordingly, the deputy chief minister said.
As for the authorities, the government intended to appoint officers for efficient performance and protect them against suits, prosecution or other legal proceedings, Stalin said.
HC vacates gag on magazine obtained by Raja
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:23am IST
CHENNAI: A blanket judicial order — passed at the height of the spectrum controversy — restraining the Tamil biweekly Junior Vikatan from publishing articles and caricatures about Union minister for telecommunications and IT A Raja was vacated by the Madras high court on Monday. The court also imposed a case cost of Rs 10,000 on Raja.
Justice K Chandru, vacating an earlier order passed in April this year, said: “…There is no law empowering the state or its officials to prohibit or to impose a prior restraint upon the Press… Any attempt to stifle or fetter the criticisms will amount to political censorship and the Supreme Court has held such attempts as insidious and objectionable.”
The judge was passing orders after hearing senior counsel R Yashod Vardhan, appearing for the publisher, and senior counsel V T Gopalan, representing Raja.
The matter relates to a civil suit filed by Raja complaining that the biweekly was publishing a series of “baseless” articles against himself and his family members. On April 28, a single judge held that there was a prima facie case to restrain the media house from carrying articles and photographs of the minister’s family members without seeking any clarification from Raja and his wife.
In its counter, the 83-year-old media organisation contended that it never resorted to any sinister method to increase its circulation and that the magazine merely stated the material facts with a bonafide intention. “The articles were guided by principles of objectivity and fairness,” it said, adding that parliamentary proceedings and information in the public domain were the basis of the articles.
Justice Chandru, convinced that the case did not call for a prior restraint of the media, said: “It is suffice to state that people of India are entitled to know the public activities of any person who holds a public office…When a person stands in election he cannot deny citizens’ right to know about several personal information which may include even antecedents of his life. Even a right to privacy of a public figure gets circumscribed when he stands in an election as a candidate.”
Citing the apex court rulings, Justice Chandru said, “At times public figures have to ignore vulgar criticisms and abuses hurled against them…The public gaze cannot be avoided, as it is a necessary corollary of a person holding public office.”
He then imposed a case cost of Rs 10,000, payable to the media organisation. Later, counsel for the minister said Raja would appeal against the order.
Lawyers ask for SC bench in South India
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:31am IST
CHENNAI: Various lawyers’ associations have urged the central government to take steps to establish a bench of the Supreme Court in South India.
In a memorandum submitted to the Union law minister, Veerappa Moily, during his visit here on Sunday, the All India Lawyers’ Union (AILU) president NGR Prasad said it was imperative to have the South India Bench of the Supreme Court as more and more ordinary people were approaching the apex court for remedy.
Pointing out that at least two standing committees of the parliament have passed resolutions recommending a South India bench, Prasad said the Supreme Court was not longer a homogenous institution as it sat in division benches to decide cases.
Raising similar demand, a group of advocates affiliated to the Congress said that there was no constitutional bar in establishing a regional bench of the apex court. The representation, submitted by advocates R Suresh Kumar, P Dharmaraj and others, said, “justice to common man must be made available with less expense. In order to achieve this goal, the successive central governments have been establishing benches of High Courts at more than one place from the respective principle seat. While so, denying endlessly the legitimate request of people, who are distantly located from the national capital, to have easy access with lesser economical commitment may not be justifiable.”
The Congress advocates also wanted the Centre to establish a National Law School in Chennai from the coming academic year. They wanted the minister to ensure that advocates’ role was formalised in judicial and quasi judicial forums. They also said that central government law officers must get a priority while names are finalised for appointment as judges of High Courts.
In a separate memorandum, the Tamil Nadu High Court Advocates’ Tamil Manram president S Muthukrishnan and S Ayyathurai said Tamil must be made the official language of the Madras High Court at the earliest. Pointing out that High Courts in Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan had Hindi as court language, they thanked chief minister M Karunanidhi’s efforts in this regard. They said the Centre had not taken any action to concede this reasonable request.
The Labour Law Practitioners Association also presented a memorandum to the minister seeking various amendments in the Contract Labour (Regulation and Abolition) Act, Industrial Disputes Act and the Payment of Bonus Act. Besides seeking to declare strike after due notice as legal and justified action, the advocates said the salary limit in the Payment of Bonus Act should be removed.
Follow provisions of Dowry Act strictly, HC tells officials
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:15am IST
CHENNAI: In order to ensure that the provisions of the Dowry Prohibition Act are not enforced arbitrarily and people are not arrested on frivolous grounds, the Madras high court has asked the competent officials to follow the provisions of law strictly.
The first bench comprising Chief Justice HL Gokhale and Justice D Murugesan passed the order on a public interest writ petition filed by R Natarajan on behalf of N S Malini recently.
The petitioner, lamenting that police resorted to instantaneous arrests in case of dowry-related complaints, said that the force committed procedural violations in bypassing the mandatory provisions of the Act. Once a dowry complaint is received, police must communicate it to the dowry prohibition officers. As per Rule 5 of the Tamil Nadu Dowry Prohibition Rules 2004, the dowry prohibition officers themselves can receive, register and investigate complaints.
While so, the practice of police officials receiving complaints and straightaway seeking to arrest the in-laws has been continuing in the state, the petitioner said.
When the matter was taken up, the court was informed that the government had completed appointment of dowry prohibition officers in all the districts in Tamil Nadu.
Recording the statement, the judges said the officers must conduct surprise checks and discreet inquiries before taking appropriate action. Noting that the officers must ensure full compliance of the provisions of the Act.
No cover for those turning lawyers post retirement
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:30am IST
CHENNAI: Advocates, who join the profession after retiring from some other service, will not be covered by a state government scheme as per which their legal heirs would get Rs 2 lakh in the event of their death, the Madras High Court has ruled.
A division bench comprising justice P Jyothimani and justice Aruna Jagadeesan, allowing an appeal by the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry on Monday, said the object of conferring benefits to one group of advocates is with a reason and it cannot be branded unreasonable. Setting aside a aside a single judge order against the proposal, the division bench ruled that the amendment did not suffer from any constitutional illegality.
The matter relates to an amendment brought about by the state government to the Tamil Nadu Advocates Welfare Fund Act. Though the ex gratia amount was only Rs 1 lakh, it was enhanced to Rs 2 lakh. By the subsequent amendment to the proviso, the government kept advocates who joined the profession after retiring from a state or central government service out of its ambit.
When a batch of writ petitions was filed against the denial of benefits to a section of the advocates, a single judge struck down the amendment. The present appeals were preferred by R K Chandramohen, chairman of the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, and the chairman of the trustee committee of the Tamil Nadu Advocates Welfare Fund.
CCI: 2007 TOIAC7 Khandwawala case turned down
TNN 21 July 2009, 12:12am IST
Ahmedabad: DGP SS Khandwawala got respite, when Gujarat High Court on Monday rejected an application filed by Mer Hajabhai Sutreja’s descendents.
Justice KS Jhaveri refused to entertain the application in connection with appeals filed by DGP as well as the original complainant against Junagadh fast-track court’s decisions.
Khandwawala was sentenced to five year’s jail term and asked to pay fine of Rs 2,000 in 2003 in a case of custodial torture on a detainee Sutreja in 1976.
He was posted as deputy superintendent of police in Junagadh then.
Lower court suspended his conviction following pendency of cop’s appeal in HC.
HC demands details of damage to industries
TNN 21 July 2009, 12:11am IST
Ahmedabad: Gujarat High Court on Monday granted state government two weeks’ time to submit details regarding damage to commercial and industrial property during 2002 riots.
This is after petitioner Gagan Sethi claimed that commercial and industrial establishments, which were not insured, have not yet received compensation from the government.
Earlier, following Sethi’s PIL, court ordered state government to disburse Rs 262.12 crore compensation package towards damage to residential property. While disbursement was on, petitioner filed another plea complaining that compensation was not provided in certain death cases. In reply, state government stated that it had disbursed Rs 40.70 crore towards compensation for 1,169 death cases, Rs 29.63 crore for some 2,548 cases of injury and Rs 254.76 for damage to residential property.
Government mentioned that it has withheld compensation in certain cases as it needed verification while some others are disputed cases. There are 6 death cases, 35 injury cases and 435 cases of resident compensation, which have disputes regarding nomination or inheritance.
Cases bog down land brigade
TNN 20 July 2009, 10:40pm IST
BHUBANESWAR: Those opposing the proposed Rs 52,000 crore Posco steel project in Jagatsinghpur district had possibly not apprehended the barrage of criminal cases that awaited them when they launched their agitation around three years ago.
While their top leader Abhaya Sahoo, slapped with as many as 32 cases, is cooling his heels behind the bars since the last nine months, 489 others are booked under criminal charges ranging from kidnapping, rioting, attempt to murder, dacoity, robbery to causing grievous hurt, outraging modesty, preventing public servants from discharging lawful duties and et al, official sources said.
Since the anti-Posco stir took roots in 2006 till June-end, as many as 100 cases have been registered, all in Kujanga police station of Jagatsinghpur district, against the agitators, chief minister Naveen Patnaik told the Assembly here on Monday.
In a written reply to a query by Debasish Nayak (BJD), Naveen said 490 persons had been named as accused in the FIRs at the time of registration of the cases. Of the accused, 18 persons, including president of Posco Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS) Abhaya Sahoo, have been arrested.
While Sahoo faces the highest of 32 cases, Akshaya Das has been named as an accused in 24 cases. General secretary, PPSS, and sarpanch of Dhinkia gram panchayat Sisir Mohapatra has been slapped with 18 cases. Among other activists against whom over a dozen cases are pending are Sura Dash (19 cases), Babaji Samantaray (18), Basanta Gochhayat (15) and Jogendra Mallick (14). Even woman activist Manorama Khatua faces criminal charges in nine cases, officials said.
Doctor gets life term for husband’s murder
Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN 21 July 2009, 01:40am IST
CHANDIGARH: Swapna Singh, a doctor, had chosen the path of murder to get out of a strained relationship with her second husband Mandiv Sapra six years ago. On Monday, she was confronted with the punishment such an act leads to. The court of additional district and sessions judge Raj Rahul Garg handed down a sentence of life imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs 75,000 on her.
The court referred to 1983’s ‘Machhi Singh versus State of Punjab’ case and held, ‘Capital punishment can only be awarded in rarest of the rare cases. This case doesn’t fall in (that) category … It is also one of the cardinal principles that capital punishment should not be awarded where convict is a woman.’
Court arrived at this decision after hearing pleas of both sides. While Swapna sought leniency, public prosecutor Manu Kakkar stated, ‘The act (murder) is barbaric. Husband and wife’s relationship is intimate and (full of) trustworthiness, but she (added) deceit to it.’
The couple had got married in 2000 and were residing in Gurgaon. While 50-year-old Mandiv was executive director of Group 4 Securities Guarding Limited, Swapna, 42, was working as a dentist at Delhi’s Apollo Hospital.
Investigation had found that the couple had checked in at Mountview hotel’s room no. 344 at 4.45pm on July 10, 2003.
On July 11, Mandiv’s company’s zonal general manager went to meet him. The employees tried to call the couple in their room on the hotel’s intercom. However, Mandiv and Swapna did not reply. The staff then had to open the room’s door with a master key and found Mandiv lying on the floor and Swapna in a bath tub with a dupatta around her neck.
When the cops reached the hotel, they found Mandiv dead.
An FIR was registered at Sector-3 police station under sections 302 (murder) and 201 (destruction of evidence) of Indian Penal Code.
Later, Central Forensic Science Laboratory reports claimed that Mandiv died due to poisoning. Though defense claimed that Mandiv had committed suicide, prosecution proved that it was Swapna, who killed him. The recovery of Swapna’s vanity case, which contained surgical gloves, a blood-stained washed handkerchief and used Diazepam syringes, from her cousin played a pivotal role in getting her convicted.
The prosecuting agency claimed that the reason for the murder was the strained relationship between the couple and Swapna’s son from a previous marriage. They stated that she had also felt cheated after she learned about Mandiv’s previous marriages.
Court sends accused to judicial remand, cops recover Rs 7.4L
TNN 21 July 2009, 02:21am IST
PANCHKULA: Panchkula police has finally succeeded in recovering some money that the robbers received after selling valuables that were looted in PC Jeweller’s robbery. They are hopeful of arresting gang leader Rajesh Badri soon and recovering the rest.
Producing one of the accused before the court and filing reply regarding the recovery on Monday, Aman Kumar, SHO of Sector-14 police station said three different teams raided hideouts of accused Sunil Kumar and Sunder alias Kala at Agra, Bareily in Uttar Pradesh, Rohtak in Haryana, Delhi and Mumbai and recovered Rs 7.40 lakh.
Accused had stored the money there after selling the jewellery pieces to some jewellers in UP and Delhi.
Cops made the video and conducted test identification parade of the duo to match with the incident as captured through the CCTV footage of Rs 2.1 crore heist. They are yet to find the police uniform and handcuffs that were used in the crime.
Sources revealed that Rohtak resident Amit Yadav along with Sonepat native Sunil, Bahadurgarh resident Rajesh alias Badri, and Pawan Saini and Sunder, both residents of Rohtak, had looted PC jewellers on January 27. Yadav was wearing a turban, Sunder impersonated as a prisoner and Sunil as a policeman when they struck. Rajesh was sitting in a car parked outside the showroom.
On March 14, Yamunanagar police nabbed Amit and on May 24, Rohtak police arrested Sunil and Sunder. Meanwhile, the court send Kala to 14-day judicial custody.
HC dismisses plea for independent probe
Rajinder Nagarkoti, TNN 21 July 2009, 02:13am IST
CHANDIGARH: After the two accused in a case relating to alleged rape and torture of a minor schoolgirl of Panchkula being acquitted, the family of the victim had to go through another ordeal on Monday when Punjab and Haryana High Court dismissed their petition seeking probe by an independent agency.
The court also dismissed the petition filed by an accused Kushal Kaushal seeking CBI probe in the case.
With this decision, Panchkula police officers are heaving a sigh of relief as the petition levelled allegations against them that they were not doing their best while probing the case.
On June 1, Panchkula court had acquitted two accused Aman Ahuja and Jitesh Bareja on the basis of medical and forensic reports, as prosecution had failed to produce any evidence against them.
Confirming the development, counsel of petitioner Gaurav Hooda said after the lower court order, high court dismissed their plea.
The victim’s uncle told TOI that they would await certified copy of the order and after that, they would plan their future course of action.
The victim, a student of Class XII in a local school, was allegedly raped and tortured by five persons on September 16. The girl, in her complaint lodged with police, had alleged that four youths, in connivance with a girl, had abducted her from the town and taken her to a village in Punjab.
The victim could not furnish names and addresses of the accused, except those of Jatin and Chhavi.
Court disagrees with her ‘suicide theory’
Supriya Bhardwaj, TNN 21 July 2009, 01:37am IST
CHANDIGARH: The trial court’s 80-page judgement reveals how Swapna Singh, the doctor who murdered her husband at Mountview hotel in July 2003, tried hard to sell ‘suicide theory’ in the case. Court stated on Monday, ‘Though accused (Swapna) claimed it was a case of suicide, she has failed to explain as to how, in what manner and at what point of time the deceased (Mandiv) committed the act.’
Swapna’s line of defence was based on Central Forensic Science Laboratory report that Mandiv had died of poisoning.
The copy of the judgment pronouncing life sentence for Swapna stated that she claimed Mandiv committed suicide as he felt professionally inadequate. ‘The success of his wife may have served to highlight his own perceived sense of failure. This resentment, simmering at some level, might have made him decide that if he could not live on, then neither would she. Apparently a great storm was raging inside him before their departure from Delhi,’ it said.
Stating that it couldn’t find a motive for Mandiv to plan suicide before leaving for Chandigarh, the court held, ‘Mandiv was in a good job and as such, personal dissatisfaction doesn’t appear to be a reason behind the crime. It was the accused who can be said to be annoyed at the deceased and not himself. On the other hand, there was a cause for accused to plan the murder while leaving from Delhi.’
Public prosecutor Manu Kakkar told TOI, ‘Though she claimed that it was a suicide, the plea we took was that if that was the case, being Mandiv’s wife, she was supposed to raise alarm for medical help immediately. Secondly, he had no reason to feel professionally inferior because he was holding a top post in a private security company.’
HC wants state’s stand on GSPCB guidelines
TNN 21 July 2009, 05:00am IST
PANAJI: The high court of Bombay at Goa on Monday directed the state government to file an affidavit within a week explaining its stand on adopting the guidelines framed by the Goa State Pollution Control Board (GSPCB) while identifying sites for industries along riverbanks.
A division bench of Justice S B Deshmukh and Justice U D Salvi was hearing a suo motu petition regarding scarcity of drinking water in the state. The court had earlier directed the GSPCB to draft the guidelines to be adopted while identifying sites for industries on riverbanks.
On July 6, advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that the government was following the guidelines framed by the GSPCB and would continue to do so until the Regional Plan 2011 was finalized.
On Monday, amicus curiae Norma Alvares filed a statement before the court and argued that no polluting industries should be allowed on riverbanks. She pointed out that the guidelines should be followed while identifying sites for all water-and air-polluting industries proposed to be located near riverbanks.
“The guidelines are in the nature of recommendations rather than suggestions. The intent of these guidelines is to prevent air and water pollution so as to provide safe potable water to the people,” said Alvares.
The matter will come up for hearing on August 3.
HC gives state, Jaisu 2 weeks to see if survey of vessel possible
TNN 21 July 2009, 04:48am IST
PANAJI: The high court on Monday gave the state government and Jaisu Shipping Company two weeks to examine whether a survey can be conducted of River Princess to assess the damage caused to the stranded vessel.
Justice S B Deshmukh and Justice U D Salvi were hearing a PIL filed by River Princess Hatao Manch, which had raised concerns over the environmental damage caused by the vessel to Candolim beach.
On June 30, the court had directed the government and Jaisu to conduct a survey and submit a report on July 20. Jaisu had also been asked by the court to submit a proposal with a clear time frame for towing away the vessel.
On Monday, Jaisu’s advocate Saresh Lotlikar, told the court that due to the monsoon it would not be possible to carry out a survey till the end of October. Unless the survey is conducted, it will not be possible to set a time frame to tow the vessel away, he submitted.
Advocate general Subodh Kantak told the court that state officials could not go aboard the vessel as it was highly corroded. The next hearing has been fixed for August 3.
Children’s court acquits rape accused
TNN 21 July 2009, 04:43am IST
PANAJI: The childrens’ court has acquitted Sunil Narvekar, arrested for allegedly raping a minor girl near Mapusa in 2006, as the police failed to trace the victim and bring her to depose before the court.
On January 5, 2006, police nabbed Narvekar, who at the time was with the 15-year-old girl, from the bushes along housing board colony road. The victim was sent for a medical examination and the doctors opined that she had been raped. Narvekar was charged with molestation, kidnapping and rape by Anjuna police.
During the trial, the prosecution pointed out that the medical opinion indicated there was recent, forcible sexual intercourse .The accused had taken the girl to the bushes and sexually assaulted her, the prosecution alleged.
While acquitting Narvekar, the president of the children’s court held that “the victim girl could not be brought before the court for recording her statement and hence there is no primary evidence against the accused”.
Referring to the medical opinion, the judge observed that “the opinion of only an expert is not sufficient enough to prove the charge or to consider it as primary evidence”.
The court also noted that sufficient time had been given to the prosecution to produce the victim girl along with other relevant witnesses.
`Lok Adalat to solve matters amicably’
TNN 20 July 2009, 10:10pm IST
BIJAPUR: The Constitution is our determination, it gives advocates the important responsibility which is obligatory, said Karnataka High Court and Bijapur district administrative judge, Justice H Billappa.
Participating as the chief guest in the Bruhat Lok Adalat arranged here on Saturday, organized by the District Legal Services Authority and District Bar Association, he said, advocates should know their responsibility and work sincerely. Judges are the another face of advocates. “All problems will be solved through courts and it is the need of the hour to change our traditional approach and adopt new methods,” he said.
He said, advocates are friend, philosopher and guide to clients. It is a noble profession and highly respective he felt. Inaugurating the function, Karnataka High Court judge Justice N K Patil said, the Lok Adalat brings awareness about the law to common man for the good cause. Problems will be solved amicably in the Lok Adalat, which is beneficial to both litigants.
The court’s judgment may spell victory for one and loss for another, but Lok Adalat’s decision gives equal judgment to both parties he said. The main purpose of conducting Lok Adalat was to find out the root cause of the case, he said.
Presiding over the function, Karnataka High Court judge Justice B S Patil called upon the Bar members of the Bijapur to attain the past glory of Bijapur Bar. Bijapur Bar is premier bar of the state, it has produced industrious lawyers and judges, he said.
Arguments begin in Arti case
TNN 20 July 2009, 11:36pm IST
KANPUR: The prosecution on Monday in the absence of defence counsel started arguments in much publicised Arti acid case being tried here at fast track court number two of Kanpur nagar.
The case was reopened on Tuesday last after a gap of five years and the presiding officer Pramod Kumar Srivastava had fixed July 20 for the arguments. The defence moved an application that senior defence lawyer Tikal was out of station hence the hearing should be adjourned and some other date should be fixed for arguments. But the court rejected the defence plea and asked the prosecution to start its arguments.
Amongst three accused, only one Rakesh Mallah was present in the court while two other accused Abhinav Mishra and Bipin Mishra were absent and defence had sought exemption from their personal attendance. The prosecution objected and said that Abhinav and Bipin were the main culprits and they were not appearing in the court since long. Hence, court should issue a warrant against them. But the presiding judge rejected the court’s prosecution plea.
The additional district government counsel, Uttam kumar, narrated the incident and a general description of the case. In his narration about the case, he submitted that the victim of the case was Arti Srivastava, daughter of Dr Pratap Saran, a professor of local degree college. Arti, a student of degree college, had suffered serious burn injuries on her face while her father, Pratap Saran Srivastava, too had suffered acid burn injuries in the incident.
According to the FIR, accused Abhinav Mishra and Vipin Mishra had thrown acid from a moving maruti van on Arti Srivastava while she was returning from a coaching institute along with her father on a scooter on January 27, 2001 around 4pm. She was on the pillion seat. Accused Abhinav Mishra had been chasing her in a van from the coaching institute near Krishna shop at Gooba Garden in Nawabganj area. Abhinav overtook her scooter and hurled acid on her.
During the investigation, names of the co-accused Bipin Kumar Mishra and Rakesh Mallah were cropped. They had helped Abhinav Mishra, the main accused, who was son of then trade tax commissioner, in committing crime. He also gave a description of Arti who had lost her entire beauty and now life was hell for her.
The police had filed a charge sheet in this case on February 8, 2001. Though there was a list of 18 prosecution witnesses but prosecution produced only 9 of them to prove its case and concluded its evidence on April 1, 2004. Accused in their statement under section 313 CRPC denied all the charges and submitted to produce their defence which concluded on April 17, 2004. Accused produced only two witnesses. The court had fixed July 23, 2009 as next date for hearing.
Harassment case: HC vacates stay on Brar’s repatriation
Manmeet Singh, TNN 20 July 2009, 10:36pm IST
LUDHIANA: In a major jolt to the case of director students welfare Dulcha Singh Brar at Punjab Agricultural University, the high court has vacated the previous stay on the university’s orders for his repatriation to department of entomology.
“After pronouncement of these new orders, Dulcha Singh Brar, who is facing allegations of sexual harassment levelled by a female employee, is being sent to department of entomology,” said ML Saggar, the varsity’s counsel in high court.
He added the arguments in court went on for one and a half hours, after which the court announced the decision in favour of PAU. “The university is committed to following this case until it reaches its logical conclusion,” he said.
Saggar added that the HC has stayed the inquiry proceedings with regard to the case till the next hearing, after which, the committee already pursuing the case would take a decision in consultation with HC.
On December 11, 2008, following allegations of sexual harassment by a female university employee working under him, the university had signed his suspension orders.
However, later, the university’s board of management, in its meeting on December 23, 2008, had revoked Brar’s suspension and he was repatriated to department of entomology as professor.
Later, in a major relief for him, Brar had procured stay orders from the court, paving the way for his rejoining as director students welfare.
Meanwhile, university officials are waiting for the university to resume work on Monday to decide Brar’s fate in the light of the court orders. On Monday, the university would go through the court papers and do the needful.
A committee under Pam Rajput, executive director, Women Resource and Advocacy Centre, Chandigarh, is already probing the case against Brar. Before that, a fact-finding committee of the university held Brar guilty of the charges filed by the female employee on September 14.
5 acquitted in suicide case
TNN 20 July 2009, 10:03pm IST
HASSAN: The district fast track court acquitted five persons of a family in a suicide case here on Friday.
Justice Patil acquitted Shivaram, Nataraj, Sunilkumar, Vimal Khotari and Kumar. The city police had registered a case against them based on a suicide note by Keerthy, a hardware merchant, who committed suicide by consuming poison with his wife, father, mother and three children two years ago.
HC orders probe into ‘Sevashram’ bodies in Gaya
TNN 21 July 2009, 01:41am IST
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Monday directed the Gaya DM and SP to inquire into the allegation that some organizations have come up in Gaya under names similar to famous Bharat Sevashram Sangh and their agents dupe the pilgrims coming to Gaya to offer `pindadaan’.
Responding to a PIL filed by Shambhu Nath Dutta, a division bench comprising acting Chief Justice Shivakirti Singh and Justice Anjana Prakash gave four weeks’ time to the DM and SP to submit their inquiry report.
The PIL said a number of pilgrims from across the country and abroad visit Gaya to perform rituals for salvation of their ancestors’ souls. For the purpose, they seek the services of Bharat Sevashram Sangh which has earned repute over decades.
But agents of organisations like Adi Bharat Sevashram Sangh, Jay Sevashram Sangh, Puratan Bharat Sevashram Sangh and Bikhyat Bharat Sevashram mislead the pilgrims to their respective ashrams, the petitioner alleged and sought cancellation of registration of these Bharat Sevashram Sangh’s namesakes.
Petitioner seeks time to file affidavit
TNN 21 July 2009, 05:59am IST
RANCHI: The petitioner Dr Raj Kumar on Monday sought some time to file a supplementary affidavit in a complaint case against former health minister Bhanu Pratap Sahi and 13 others lodged in the vigilance court.
The first hearing of the case was scheduled for Monday in the court of Judge Binoy Kant Khan. The hearing was, however, adjourned after the petitioner’s counsel sought time to file a supplementary affidavit related to the case.
The complaint case was filed alleging that bribes amounting to over Rs 10 crore was taken as bribe for appointment of health officials in the AYUSH section of health department.
Dr Kumar, in his petition, alleged gross irregularities in the appointment of health officials and said the candidates scoring lesser marks in the examinations were appointed while the deserving candidates were left out.
He further alleged in his petition that chairman of the AYUSH selection committee Dr Amreshwar Prasad was illegally appointed at the instance of the former health minister.
Some of the accused include Dr Pradeep Kumar, Suresh Prasad Sinha, then director AYUSH-cum-member secretary of state level selection committee Veena Sinha and energy department secretary Robert Minz.
Interestingly, in a similar case at the Jharkhand High Court, the state government filed an affidavit in which it has accepted the allegations made of discrepancies in the appointment of doctors in the AYUSH section of health department.
Ex-CJI Releases Book: Justice, Courts and Delays
| Monday, Jul 20 2009 IST
It is one thing to tell a hungry person to wait for the food
— quite another to say that seeds have just been sown for grain to grow.
That example was cited tonight by Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan to illustrate the plight of litigants who suffer delays– years of struggling for justice.
A family which loses its sole breadwinner in a motor accident has to spend 4-5 years trying to get justice and relief. ”How can this family survive ?” Justice Balakrishnan asked.
The occasion was the release by former CJI A S Anand of a book titled Justice, Courts and Delays by senior advocate Arun Mohan aimed to educate readers on how court delays can be prevented.
Justice Balakrishnan recommended that all professionals read and re-read the book and hoped the author would put together a smaller, handier volume.
Law and Justice Minister M Veerappa Moily suggested a book dealing with the cost the nation pays for judicial delays.
The book is an attempt at analysing the causes behind court delays with a view to aiding their removal. Its approach of identifying problems and suggesting solutions is intended to help litigants understand the process, publishers say.
Supreme Court orders arrest of convicted film producer
New Delhi, July 20
The Supreme Court Monday issued a non-bailable warrant against Sameer Hingora, a Bollywood film producer who was convicted for his role in the 1993 Mumbai bombings.
A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan issued the arrest order for Hingora after he failed to return to India from his trip abroad.
Hingora had been allowed to travel abroad on the condition that he would return by June 3 and submit his passsport to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
Last updated on Jul 20th, 2009 at 11:11 am IST–IANS
madras HC: Writ petition for alternative aite dismissed
The Madras High Court has dismissed a writ petition by the Tamil Nadu Government Office Assistant and Basic Servants Central Association seeking a direction to the authorities to allot proper alternative site to the association members before evicting them from their flats at Foreshore Estate here.
The association had also sought an interim injunction restraining the authorities from evicting the members before allotting the alternative site.
In her order, Justice K Suguna said there was no merit in the petition.
The association, represented by General Secretary M Shanmugham said the members, all government servants, have been residents of flats in Foreshore Estate for more than two decades.
As most of the flats were old and needed renovation, the government decided to demolish the flats and raise new ones.
There were several vacant flats at different places in the city which could be allotted to the members.
Alternatively, the government could construct flats temporarily or permanently on a vast stretch of vacant site at Foreshore Estate and shift the occupants there.
But, without adopting either of the methods, the authorities had taken steps to evict the residents by asking them to get interest-free loan of Rs 25,000 for any of the flats constructed at Chemmanchery (about 30 km from here) by the Slum Clearance Board.
The flats at Chemmanchery were small. Interest-free loan of Rs 25,000 could not be availed of as no flat could be taken on rent on paying that sum as advance, the association contended.
Additional Advocate-General (AAG) P Wilson submitted the flats were constructed nearly 45 years ago and were damaged in the 2004 tsunami.
The buildings had lost their stability and were in a dilapidated and dangerous condition.
The government-appointed committee submitted a report in 2007 on the damage.
Thereafter, it was decided to demolish the buildings and construct a township. Therefore, the occupants were given two options. Still, several families had not moved out, the AAG submitted.
In the order, Justice Suguna said as on date several government employees were in the waiting list for the vacant flats.
Overlooking their claim and putting them on the list for more number of years for the sake of the petitioners was not justifiable in her opinion.
Madras HC directed govt to pay compensation to woman prisoner
The Madras High Court had directed the Tamil Nadu government to pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to a victim, stating that there was gross dereliction of duty by officials with regard to the safety and security of inmates of the Special Prison for Women, Vellore, leading to an attack on a woman prisoner by convict warders.
A Division Bench, comprising Justices Elipe Dharma Rao and C T Selvam, directed the Home Secretary and the Director-General of Prison to identify the officials in-charge at the time of the incident and initiate disciplinary proceedings against them.
In his petition, P Pugalenthi, an advocate, had sought a direction to authorities to produce Saradha (55), lodged in the Special Prison for Women, Vellore, before the court, provide her treatment for injuries suffered in the prison, take disciplinary action against those responsible for her ill-treatment and award her compensation.
The petitioner submitted that he had gone to the prison for meeting his client Nalini (convicted in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case), who had informed him that Saradha was brought to the prison in December last year. While being taken inside her cell, she clandestinely carried Rs 5,000. Fearing detection, she handed over the amount to a co-prisoner. Two days later, she demanded the prisoner return the money, but the latter refused.
When Saradha threatened the inmate that she would report to the jailor and started walking towards the official’s office, three convict warders, Kasthuri, Muneeswari and Dhanam, along with another inmate, assaulted her. The woman did not get the attention of prison officials for being provided medical treatment.
In its order allowing the petition, the Bench said from the averments made in the petition and the subsequent supporting affidavit filed by the detenu, it was seen that Saradha was attacked by the three warders in a barbaric manner. The Bench said it was disturbed as to what the prison authorities were doing when the incident took place in daylight inside the prison.
The convict warders, appointed by the jail authorities, could not take for granted that they could behave in the manner they wished to.
The Bench further said the authorities, particularly the prison Superintendent, tried to make out as if no such incident had taken place. Had the guidelines prescribed for appointing convict warders been scrupulously followed, unscrupulous persons like the convict warders in the case on hand would not have found a place in such appointments. The court directed the authorities to proceed against the three convict warders and Chinnapapa, the co-prisoner to whom Saradha had given the money.
Madras HC: BSA Regal Group can use BSA trademark in India
Madras High Court has ruled that the BSA-Regal Group Ltd, Southampton, England, which has demonstrated that it retains the original trademark BSA for motorcycles and motorcycle parts, has every right to enter India after proper registration by the trademark registry.
The process cannot be stalled by Tube Investments of India Ltd (TI), Chennai, on the ground that its name appears as the registered proprietor for the trademark BSA for motorcycles also, the court said.
Passing orders on applications filed by the foreign company and Tube Investments in a civil suit, Justice M Jeyapaul said the latter had failed to establish its source of proprietorship over the trademark whereas the former had demonstrated that it did retain its ownership over it.
Tube Investments had just started manufacturing motorised vehicles under the trade name. Inconvenience caused to the foreign company would be irreparable compared to that of TI.
MP HC issues notice to two govt officials
The Madhya Pradesh High Court issued notice of contempt of court to two state government officials in Uraon and other tribal caste Certificate matter.
A division bench while hearing the contempt petition yesterday issued notice to Chief Secretary Rakesh Sahni and Principal Secretary Sudesh Kumar.
Several organisations belonging to Scheduled Tribe (ST) category, challenged the GAD department’s inaction for not ordering the gazette notification for issuance of ST Certificate to them and the court granted two weeks time to the top officials for submitting their reply.
The petitioner submitted that about two lakh tribals belonging to Uraon, Khadia, Munda, Naveshia and Kawar communities were denied the tribal caste certificate, that was challenged as illegal and arbitrary.
HC vacates stay orders in sexual harassment case
Express News Service Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 0235 hrs Ludhiana:
The Punjab and Haryana High Court, on last Thursday vacated the stay procured by PAU Director Students’ Welfare Dr Dulcha Singh Brar against Vice-Chancellor Dr Manjit Singh Kang’s earlier orders of putting Dr Brar under suspension and sending him back to his parent department.
Informing this, M L Saggar, counsel for PAU, said, “The court heard the matter for nearly an hour and a half and then vacated the stay. Dr Brar has been sent back to his parent department.
The court, meanwhile, has also stayed the proceedings of the committee headed by Dr Pam Rajput who is inquiring into this case till the next hearing.” Saggar, however, could not confirm the next date of hearing.
It was in December last year that PAU V-C Dr Kang had suspended Dr Brar who is facing charges of sexual harassment by a junior staff member.
The PAU Board of Management in its meeting a few days later cancelled Dr Brar’s suspension and instead sent him back to his parent department.
However, in February this year, Dr Brar was granted relief by the Punjab and Haryana High court that ordered PAU to reinstate Dr Brar as DSW.
The official spokesperson of the university Dr Jagtar Singh Dhiman, meanwhile, added: “The university informally knows about the orders. We will, however, act only when we receive the orders on paper.”
HC upholds life term for man convicted for killing wife inside court complex
Posted: Monday , Jul 20, 2009 at 0305 hrs New Delhi:
The Delhi High Court has upheld the life sentence for a former caretaker of the Patiala House courts complex convicted for killing his wife inside a magistrate’s chamber in December 1995.
Dismissing Jagjit Singh’s appeal, the court revoked his bail order and directed him to surrender before the authorities.
In an order last week, a Bench comprising Justices Pradeep Nandrajog and Indermeet Kaur upheld the trial court verdict convicting him in 2000 and dubbed his appeal as “meritless”.
The police had arrested Singh, the then caretaker of the magisterial courts, in the early hours of December 10, 1995, for stabbing his wife to death in room no 18 of the Patiala House complex. The woman’s body was found with multiple injuries in the chamber attached to the court of the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) of South district.
After the murder, Singh subsequently called up the SDM and informed him of the crime as well as the reason — he suspected infidelity, the FIR stated. He also rang up the police and confessed his crime.
Reaching the spot, the police found the woman’s body. The murder weapon, a knife, was found in the office toilet at the instance of Singh.
Relying on the confessional statement made by the accused to the magistrate, coupled with medical and circumstantial evidence, the trial court sentenced Singh to rigorous imprisonment for life.
Singh, however, challenged the verdict in the High Court, claiming the lower court was wrong in relying on the “extra-judicial” confession allegedly made by him to the SDM. Moreover, it was impermissible under the law to treat him as the informant of a crime when he was being labelled as the accused and hence his call to the police could also be not read as incriminating evidence against him, he contended.
The Bench, however, refused to buy his arguments. “The place where the murder has been committed also assumes significance — how else could the wife of the appellant reach the said place, save her husband taking her there?” the Bench noted.
On the question of his informing the police, the court held it as “admissible” evidence, for it established Singh’s knowledge of his wife’s murder and the location of the body.
“His clothes being stained with the blood of his wife, and also the fact that the knife was recovered after he led the police to the toilet, are enough …to hold qua the guilt of the appellant,” the court said, upholding the sentence.
Delhi HC asks Appellate Board not to pass order on trademark dispute
New Delhi (PTI): The Delhi High Court has directed the Intellectual Property Appellate Board (IPAB) not to pass a final order in the ongoing trademark dispute between mineral water maker Bisleri and Tata Group-controlled Mount Everest.
A single-member Bench of Justice Sanjiv Khanna has directed the IPAB that while the Board may have its scheduled hearing on July 30, it would not pass a final order.
“The proceedings and hearing fixed before IPAB may continue but no final effective order will be passed till the next date of hearing of this writ petition,” the court said.
Mount Everest and Ramesh Chauhan-promoted Bisleri are engaged in a legal dispute over the use of the word ‘Himalayan’ as trademark for mineral water.
The court also said that during their scheduled hearing, Bisleri and the Tata Group firm are “entitled to raise all issues and contentions before IPAB”.
The Court’s direction came over a petition filed by the Tata group on the dispute.
Earlier, in June 2008 Mount Everest had approached the Delhi High Court to prevent Bisleri from using the word ‘Himalaya’ as a trademark for its mineral water. Later, Bisleri had agreed before the court to stop using the domain http://www.bislerihimalayan.com from its bottle.
Later Chauhan’s firm moved a rectification application before the IPAB seeking to cancel the Tatas’ mineral water trademark ‘Himalayan’.
Bisleri has contended that according to regulations, geographical indications such as ‘Himalayan’ cannot be registered as trademark.
The Tata Group, through Tata Tea, controls 31.73 per cent in Mount Everest Mineral Water. It has its plant at Dhaula Kuan in Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh. Bisleri has its manufacturing facility for natural mineral water in Uttaranchal.
The court has listed the matter for the next hearing on September 10.
J&K HC stays NBW against Armymen over land row
Updated on Sunday, July 19, 2009, 15:59 IST
New Delhi: A piece of land near the picturesque Pangong lake in Jammu and Kashmir, frequented by hundreds of foreign tourists, is at the centre of a legal battle between the police and civil administration and the Army over its ownership.
The dispute was sparked as police secured a non-bailable warrant against three Army officials including an officer of Major General rank from Chief Judicial magistrate in Leh for allegedly manhandling civilian officials, who were returning from Pangong lake after demolishing the alleged illegal structure erected by the Army in 2005.
This prompted the Army authorities to take a stay order from Jammu and Kashmir High Court besides moving an appeal for quashing of FIR.
The Chief Judicial Magistrate of Leh had issued non bailable warrants against Major General Manvendra Singh (the then Brigadier), Colonel M P Erray and Major S Dabbas earlier this year for allegedly man-handling the then Sub-Divisional Magistrate of Nyoma Ali Raza and two other officials.
The SDM, upon his return to Leh, had filed a complaint with the police which registered a case against the three officials under section 34 (common intention), 109 (punishment for abetment), 186 (obstructing a public officer from performing duty), 341 and 342 (wrongful restraint) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
Army spokesperson of Udhampur-based Northern Command D K Kachari said, “The land in question has been an operational location of the Army since 1962. There was a difference of opinion on the fencing of a certain portion of the land between the local civil administration and military authorities.
“Unfortunately, the issue could not be resolved despite efforts by the local military authorities with their civil counterparts and led to an impasse.”
Col Kachari said an FIR was filed by the SDM Nyoma against the Army officers for alleged intimidation…. Writ Petition 561A Cr PC No 76/2009 and Cr MP No 158/2009 has been filed at Srinagar High Court on June 18, 2009 by the Army for quashing the FIR.
“The High Court has given a stay order against further police probe and the case is presently sub-judice,” Col Kachari said in an email response to queries.
The court heard the matter on June 29 this year and stayed the arrest order.
The SDM, in his complaint, had said they had visited Pangong lake to demolish a shed erected for army officers on a land that belonged to the state tourism department. However, upon their return, the Army officials, deployed in 114 Infantry division, detained the officials for nearly 12 hours.
The SDM claimed that he was kept standing on the road along with two of his officials and the Army officials allegedly took away the debris of the demolished structure with them.
Repeated summons by the police to ensure presence of these Army officials failed to yield any results following which a non-bailable warrant was issued.
Pangong Lake is situated at a height of about 4,250 m (13,900 ft). It is 134 km long and extends from India to China. Two thirds of the length of the lake lies in China. During winter, the lake freezes completely, despite being saline water.
An Inner Line Permit is required to visit the lake as it lies on the Sino-Indian line of actual control.
88 ragging cases, 12 deaths in last one year: Study
New Delhi (PTI): Despite sustained campaigns by the media and government, ragging appears to be going on unbated in India with 88 cases and 12 deaths being reported in the last one year, according to a new study.
Andhra Pradesh topped the list with 12 ragging cases, followed by West Bengal (10), Uttar Pradesh (10) and Punjab (8), the report today released by anti-ragging NGO Coalition to Uproot Ragging from Education (CURE) claimed.
“The number of ragging cases reported in the media from July 2008 to June 2009 are 88, number of ragging deaths are 12 and number of attempted suicides are five,” the study said.
During the same period last year, 89 ragging cases were reported, out of which 11 resulted in deaths. There were five attempted suicides too, said the group which regularly records and tabulates reports of ragging cases from the media.
“This clearly indicates that despite the tall claims made by the HRD Ministry, UGC and various regulatory bodies, the situation has not improved,” Harsh Aggarwal of CURE said.
“In the last academic session, Andhra Pradesh reported 12 incidents of ragging, including four cases of death and a case of attempted suicide. Punjab, even though a small state, has consistently reported high number of such incidents,” he said.
Himachal Pradesh and Rajasthan, which did not report any ragging cases in the past, recorded high number of incidents this year (6 and 7 respectively). Among the cases in HP was the death of medical student Aman Kachroo, which caused widespread outrage and prompted the Central and state governments to take a number of anti-ragging measures.
Arson case accused appointed chairman of UP sugar corporation
Lucknow (PTI): BSP leader Intezaar Ahmad Abdi, allegedly involved in the arson at UP Congress chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s house here, has been appointed the chairman of state sugar corporation by the Mayawati government, a move that has invited the ire of the Congress.
Abdi’s appointment as the chairman of Ganna Sansthan, a post equivalent to the rank of Minister of State, had been cleared and an order to this effect was issued last evening, official sources said on Monday.
BSP sources, however, said Abdi’s appointment to the post was cleared by the party leadership a week back.
Reacting to the development, Congress Spokesperson Jayanthi Natarajan said in New Delhi that “UP Chief Minister Mayawati has no regards for the law at all and it is outrageous that somebody who is allegedly the person against whom an FIR has been filed has been rewarded. It is inexcusable”.
60-year-old Ms. Rita, who is out an interim bail after being arrested for allegedly making derogatory remarks against Ms. Mayawati, said that she was pressing for a CBI inquiry since the man allegedly responsible for burning down her house has been elevated.
SP leader Amar Singh said, “The weakness of Congress party leadership is encouraging Mayawati because Rahul Gandhi has also condemned Rita Bahuguna Joshi’s statement and the party has officially expressed regret”.
“On the one hand, Congress is accepting BSP’s support and on the other, Ms. Rita is doing something else — wants to grab the opposition’s space. Congress should take a clear stand,” Mr. Singh said.
The name of Abdi, a former student union leader, figured in the July 15 attack at the residence of Ms. Rita, wherein some alleged BSP workers set fire to her house.
The Congress had lodged a written complaint against Abdi and BSP MLA from Bikapur assembly segment in Faizabad district, Jitendra Singh Babloo, alleging that they had led the BSP workers who vandalised Ms. Rita’s house.
Abdi and Babloo’s names were later incorporated in the FIR lodged by the police at Hussainganj police station here. The Congress had already launched an agitation demanding the arrest of two BSP leaders.
High Court: bid to stifle criticism amounts to censorship
CHENNAI: The people of the country are entitled to know the public activities of any person who holds a public office. Any attempt to stifle or fetter criticism of public figures will amount to political censorship. There is no law empowering the state or its officials to prohibit or impose restraint upon the press, the Madras High Court said on Monday.
Dismissing an application in a civil suit, with costs of Rs.10,000, filed by Union Minister A. Raja and his wife, M.A. Parameswari, Justice K. Chandru said that as held by the Supreme Court, in the case of public officials even the remedy of action for damages was not available with respect of their acts and conduct relevant to the discharge of their official duties.
The Supreme Court had indicated that a news item could not be read in isolation and that the publication should be judged as a whole. Public gaze could not be avoided for a person holding a public office.
The Minister and his wife sought an interim injunction restraining the Publisher and Printer of Junior Vikatan, the Editor, Vasan Publications Pvt. Ltd., and the Chief Reporter of Junior Vikatan from publishing “defamatory news items and photographs” of them and their minor daughter in the bi-weekly magazine causing damage to their reputation.
In their counter, the respondents submitted that they had published the news based on news and proceedings in Parliament in the public domain and also on documents. The articles published constituted fair and bona fide comments on a matter of national interest.
Mr. Justice Chandru said that in the light of the factual matrix and binding legal precedents, he was allowing an application filed by the publication seeking to vacate an interim injunction. Consequently, he was dismissing the Minister’s application. The Judge said the costs were payable to the Publisher and Printer.
The publication voluntarily stated it would not publish in future the photo of the minor child. As regards the truth or otherwise of the published material, the court was not inclined to render any finding lest it should affect the outcome of the suit even before trial, the Judge said.
Counsel for the Minister said an appeal would be filed on Tuesday.
Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act proviso held as valid
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court has held as valid the proviso to Explanation II (5) to Section 16 of the Tamil Nadu Advocates’ Welfare Fund Act. Allowing appeals by the Bar Council of Tamil Nadu and the Tamil Nadu government challenging an order of a single Judge, a Division Bench comprising Justices P. Jyothimani and Aruna Jagadeesan said that in the absence of any legislative incompetency on the part of the State government in making the impugned amendment and on the facts and circumstances of the case, finding that the object of conferring the benefit on one group of advocates was with a reason, it was of the view that the change did not suffer from constitutional illegality or could not be declared ultra vires to the Constitution.
The State government brought an amendment to the Act by which a new scheme was introduced. The scheme stated that in the event of death of a member advocate, his nominee or legal heir would be paid Rs.1 lakh and this was incorporated in Explanation II (5) to Section 16 of the Act. The proviso denied the benefit of Rs.1 lakh to a member-advocate who was in receipt of pension or gratuity or other terminal benefits from the State or Central government. The sum had been increased to Rs.2 lakh from February 2001.
PIL alleges poor pay under NREGS
MADURAI: A public interest litigation petition has been filed in the Madras High Court Bench here alleging that many people working under the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (NREGS) were being underpaid.
A Division Bench comprising Justices V. Ramasubramanian and D. Hariparanthaman ordered notice to the Central and State governments and adjourned the matter to July 27. R. Gandhi, a practising lawyer here, had filed the PIL.
According to the petitioner, the Centre had formulated the NREGS and also enacted a legislation in 2005 to provide employment for a minimum of 100 days to one person in families below the poverty line.
A notification issued under Section 6 of the Act mandates officials to pay a daily wage of Rs.8 0 to every worker involved in works such as renovation of water bodies, planting of tree saplings and land development, among others.
In Tamil Nadu, Collectors and Block Development Officers had been directed to monitor implementation of the scheme. But “the officers are lethargic and not serious enough in implementing the scheme effectively,” the petitioner claimed.
He also referred to a news report in a Tamil daily that the villagers of Sathankudi near here had protested on July 14 against payment of Rs.32 as daily wage for having desilted a water channel under the NREGS.
APSEC seeks changes to Education Bill
HYDERABAD: The organic link of society educating an individual and the educated serving the society should thrive. If private and public schools are allowed to run alongside, quality education will suffer and the very motive of Right to Education Bill 2008 would be lost, said G. Haragopal, general secretary of AP Save Education Committee.
He was speaking at a protest organised on Monday by APSEC demanding changes to the bill before it is tabled in the Lok Sabha. While welcoming the bill , he likened reimbursement of 25 per cent fee by State to poor students in a private schools- to Arogyasri scheme. APSEC wanted the compulsory age of education to be 3 to 18 years instead of 6 to 14 years, as mentioned in the bill.
High Court nod for mini-hydel projects
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday gave green signal to the Perla and Shamboori mini-hydel power projects, coming up across the Netravati in Bantwal taluk of Dakshina Kannada district.
The court’s nod comes in the wake of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition challenging the decision of the Central and State Governments to permit a private entrepreneur to go ahead with the hydel projects.
When the case came up for hearing on Monday, a Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakan and Justice A.S. Bopanna, heard the arguments by Shamboor Power Projects Santrastara Hitarakshana Trust, seeking a direction to the Central and State Governments to take over the project. The trust said that if the private entrepreneur was allowed to implement the project, it would cause untold misery to the residents of surrounding villages where the power projects were coming. Moreover, valueable flora and fauna of the Western Ghats would be lost.
Permission from various departments had not been obtained for the projects, they said and urged the court to direct the respondents to stop further work on the projects.
The State said that all mandatory permissions had been obtained and there was nothing illegal in the project.
The Bench gave the go ahead for the project saying that it would depend on the outcome of the case. It adjourned further hearing of the case.
Stay order against demolition of church continues; petition admitted
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday continued a stay order against the demolition of a church in Channagiri in Davangere district. It also admitted a public interest litigation (PIL) petition by Christians of Davangere district who had challenged the demolition order.
A Division Bench, comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice A.S. Bopanna, passed the order on a petition by Pius G. Pais and other residents of Channagiri.
The petitioners alleged that the district administration had taken several anti-Christian measures, including ordering the church demolition. Despite an earlier High Court order, the district administration was harassing the Christian community and also deliberately targeting churches, they alleged.
They said a shrine belonging to the Indian Apostle Church in Chikkaakere in Ajjahalli Gram Panchayat limits was ordered to be demolished.
The taluk panchayat of Channagiri on June 16, 2009 decided to cancel the licence of the church granted under Section 237 of the Karnataka Panchayat Raj Act 1993. Subsequently, the Ajjihalli Gram Panchayat passed an order on June 25, 2009 asking the church officials to demolish the building within seven days.
The Bench, in an interim order, continued the stay order against the demolition and adjourned the case.
HC disposes of plea on lake
BANGALORE: The Karnataka High Court on Monday disposed of a public interest litigation (PIL) petition on a city lake by directing the Lake Development Authority, Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) and other authorities to take action against a builder if he was found to have encroached on the lake bed.
A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice P.D. Dinakaran and Justice A.S. Bopanna passed the order on a petition by Satish B.L., and others, all of C.V. Raman Nagar. The petitioners had alleged that a private company had encroached on the tank bed of the Kelaginakere Byrasandra at C.V. Raman Nagar.
They said though they had complained to the authorities, no action had so far been taken.
Court wants cooperatives freed from State control
Kochi: The Kerala High Court on Monday observed that cooperative societies must be freed from the control of the State government and made autonomous bodies to depoliticise the cooperative movement.
Justice S. Siri Jagan made the observation while quashing a cooperative registrar’s order superseding the managing committee of the Vallapuzha Service Cooperative Bank in Palakkad.
The court pointed out that every time the political climate in the State changed, there was a spate of litigations against proceedings initiated under Section 32 of the Kerala Cooperative Societies Act by societies under the control of the Opposition parties. [Section 32 of the Act enables the Registrar of Cooperative Societies to supersede the Committee of Management under certain circumstances.]
Officers passed orders as dictated by their political bosses without any respect for justice and fair play.
The court said that those who did their bidding were appointed administrators and they strived to control the societies. The process was reversed when the political alliance in the opposition came to power. In the process, the genuine co-operators were driven out of the scene and public money was squandered.
The court said that when frauds were detected, the secretaries concerned were made scapegoats. The court and other quasi-judicial institutions were mere onlookers since evidence was “manufactured with the help of the officers of the department who are willing to toe the line of their political masters.” In the process, the cooperative movement dies a slow death.
Acting on another petition, the judge directed the State government to see that effective steps were taken against those who were operating parallel services on the routes earmarked for valid stage carriage permit holders.
Disposing of a petition filed by the Kerala State Private Bus Owners Federation, the court said that operation of stage carriages could not be permitted without valid permits.
Plea for contempt case dismissed
Kochi: A CBI Special Court here on Monday dismissed a petition seeking to initiate contempt of court proceedings against 12 Communist Party of India (Marxist) leaders, including party general secretary Prakash Karat and three Chief Ministers, in connection with a statement issued by the party Central Committee on the SNC-Lavalin case.
The petition was filed by T.P. Nandakumar, Editor, Crime magazine.
He sought to initiate the proceedings against V.S. Achuthanandan, Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, and Manik Sarkar, Chief Ministers of Kerala, West Bengal and Tripura respectively; S. Ramachandran Pillai and Pinarayi Vijayan, Polit Bureau members; and Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, Paloli Mohammed Kutty, T.M. Thomas Isaac, M.A. Baby, P.K. Sreemathy, and P.K. Gurudasan, all Ministers.
The petitioner pointed out that the statement issued by the Central Committee that Mr. Vijayan was not involved in any corrupt practice in the Lavalin scam amounted to contempt of court. Mr. Vijayan was the seventh accused in the case. The petitioner said the statement meant that the Central Committee had already sat in judgment over the issue.
He said it was solely within the powers of a court of law to declare the guilt or innocence of an accused.
The statement, therefore, was “calculated to prejudice a pending trial before the court and constitutes grave contempt falling under Section 2 (C) of the Contempt of Courts Act, 1971.”
The petitioner, therefore, pleaded that an inquiry be conducted into the matter and it be referred to the High Court under the Contempt of Courts Act to proceed against the respondents in accordance with the law.
Dismissing the petition, the court said that it was not a matter worth referring to the High Court.
Court orders prosecution of BMW case witness Sunil Kulkarni
Calls him “the most dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy and untruthful witness”
Directs the Registrar-General to file a complaint against him under Section 340
NEW DELHI: While converting the offence of BMW hit-and-run case convict Sanjeev Nanda into a negligent and rash act, the Delhi High Court has rejected the evidence of court witness Sunil Kulkarni and ordered his prosecution for giving false evidence.
The Court said that in its “considered view, Sunil Kulkarni is the most dishonest, unreliable, untrustworthy and untruthful witness. His entry in the case is as dramatic as could happen only in our Bollywood movies”.
“It appears that he introduced himself as a witness of the scene of the crime not without any extraneous reasons. Finding involvement of an accused from a rich and affluent family, he jumped into the fray, maybe to make a fortune,” the Court stated.
“The manner in which the police had been hobnobbing with this witness, even the motive of the police appears to me to be a suspect. The defence for their apparent motive also tried to fiddle with this witness. In any event of the matter, his presence at the scene of the crime is as false as the existence of a $3 bill. The deposition of court witness Sunil Kulkarni is thrown out lock, stock and barrel”, the Court stated.
“In view of the findings given by this Court, with regard to the conduct of Sunil Kulkarni holding that he has deliberately and intentionally given false evidence, I feel that it is expedient in the interest of justice where proceedings under Section 340 of Criminal Procedure Code should be initiated. Accordingly, I direct the Registrar-General of this Court to file a complaint against him under Section 340 before the court of competent jurisdiction,” the High Court ordered.
Court notices to Varun, Rajnath
Allahabad: The Allahabad High Court on Monday issued notices to five Lok Sabha members from Uttar Pradesh, including BJP MP Varun Gandhi and party’s president Rajnath Singh, on separate petitions challenging their election to Parliament.
The order to this effect was passed by Justice Sri Kant Tripathi, who directed the MPs to file their counter-affidavits within four weeks while fixing August 24 as the next date of hearing.
The election of Varun, who was detained under the stringent National Security Act for his alleged hate speech prior to the polls, has been challenged by his maternal uncle V. M. Singh, who was fielded by the Congress as its nominee from Pilibhit.
Mr. Rajnath Singh’s election has been challenged by Samar Singh who had contested from Ghaziabad as an Independent. Others who have been issued notices are BSP MPs Kapil Muni Karwaria (Phoolpur) and Gorakhnath Pandey (Bhadohi), besides Samajwadi Party’s Ramkishun (Chandauli).PTI
HC acquits man facing FERA charges after 17 years
STAFF WRITER 9:4 HRS IST
New Delhi, July 19 (PTI) A Delhi High Court has acquitted a man facing Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) violation charge for illegally possessing foreign currencies, nearly two decades after he was booked.
Allowing Prabhat Kumar Srivastava’s petition, which challenged the FERA Appellate Tribunal’s decision dismissing his plea for quashing of the proceedings against him, Justice Anil Kumar on Friday directed Enforcement Directorate (ED) to refund all the currencies, recovered from his house during a raid in 1993.
The court also waive off a penalty of Rs five lakh imposed on Srivastava by the ED.
Slamming the ED for giving erroneous findings, the Court said, “The findings have been arrived without any basis which has been successfully rebutted by the petitioner and in the circumstances it has to be held that adjudication order is not sustainable.
2002 riots: HC hears plea to bar SIT from probing Modi’s role
Express News Service Posted: Saturday , Jul 18, 2009 at 0011 hrs Ahmedabad:
A petition by former BJP legislator, Kalu Maliwad, demanding the Special Investigation Team (SIT) be stopped from investigating the role of 63 people in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre, came up for hearing in the Gujarat High Court on Friday. The matter came for hearing before Justice D H Waghela after Justice H N Devani had called it ‘Not Before Me’ earlier.
Pleadings on the petition were completed by all concerned parties, and Maliwad’s counsel, S B Vakil, started arguing on the contentions raised by him in the petition. The matter is scheduled for further hearing on Monday.
Maliwad has raised the legal issue in his petition, stating that the apex court has only asked the SIT to further investigate the registered cases. And according to criminal law, it cannot investigate into a complaint that is not registered.
Zakia Jafri, widow of late Congress leader Ehsan Jafri, had moved a petition before the Supreme Court demanding probe against 63 people in connection with the Gulberg Society massacre.
Ehsan Jafri was killed along with others in the Gulberg Society by a mob on February 28, 2002. The 63 people include Chief Minister Narendra Modi, some of his then ministers and others along with Maliwad. The apex court has ordered the SIT to inquire into the allegations made by Zakia Jafri.
Domestic Violence Act can’t be applied retrospectively: HC
TNN 19 July 2009, 01:26am IST
MUMBAI: The Bombay HC on Saturday held the Domestic Violence Act could not be applied retrospectively. Justice Abhay Oka, however, said for acts of violence occurring prior to 2005, the courts grant a restraining order. The penal provisions come into play only if order is violated.
The court was hearing a petition filed by an IFS officer, Prakash Joshi who had challenged the orders passed by two Pune courts. On an plea filed by his wife Arundhati in February 2006, the magistrate’s court permitted her to stay in his flat. The sessions court set aside this order, but upheld the decision asking Joshi to pay Arundhati more maintenance.
Advocate Nitin Deshpande, Joshi’s counsel, said the couple had separated since 2000. “The Act cannot be used against alleged acts committed prior to the enactment of the law in 2005,” he said.
HC upholds NHL fee hike
TNN 18 July 2009, 11:55pm IST
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat High Court has rejected a petition filed by NHL Medical College students, opposing the increase in their annual fee from Rs 6,000 to Rs 2,15,000, which has been implemented from the last academic year.
The division bench of Chief Justice KS Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi, who are hearing the case, have upheld the contention raised by the state government as well as NHL Medical College that the municipal corporation-run college is not an aided institute.
This is because this college doesn’t get funding from the state government or the Centre.
Accepting this argument, the court observed, “Municipal corporation cannot be equated with a state government, which has got enough resources to run and manage a medical college. Municipal corporation has got only limited financial resources. Large amount are required for running a medical college. Fees received from students may be a major source of income for running the college.”
The court rejected students’ claims that the civic body should be treated like a government. On the contrary, the court concluded that since the college is an “unaided” education institute, it has to abide by the fee structure prescribed by the Fee Regulatory Committee (FRC). which is at present Justice RJ Shah committee.
After the corporation announced huge hike in education fees for its medical college, the students moved the High Court demanding that the fee structure of the municipal college should be at par with the government medical college.
They demanded withdrawal of the fee hike terming it as violation of rules.
They claimed that the recent fee structure prescribed by FRC is applicable to self-finance and unaided colleges, while NHL Medical College is run by the aid provided by the civic body.
But, the court refused to buy the arguments put forth by the students and concluded that NHL is an unaided college within the meaning of Section 2 (m) of the Gujarat Professional Medical Educational Colleges or Institutions (Regulation of Admission and Fixation of Fees) Act, 2007.
And, hence, it is obligatory on part of the college to follow the fee structure prescribed by the FRC for the professional courses.
Vishram Patil murder case probe is just and fair: HC
STAFF WRITER 14:37 HRS IST
Mumbai, Jul 18 (PTI) In a reprieve for President Pratibha Patil’s brother G N Patil, the Bombay High Court today held that investigation into the murder of Congress leader Vishram Patil was just and fair.
Vishram’s wife Rajni had moved the High Court in 2007, seeking to make G N Patil an accused in the murder case.
However, during the hearing CBI had told the High Court that there was no evidence against G N Patil.
The court today said, “we are unable to hold that investigation was unjust or unfair,” the court need not interfere with it.
Vishram Patil was murdered in September 2005, his wife had alleged that it was a fallout of political rivalry with G N Patil.
HC worried over rise in HIV+ cases
TNN 18 July 2009, 06:46am IST
PATNA: The Patna High Court on Friday directed the National Aids Control Organisation (NACO) to state what steps should be taken up by the Bihar State Aids Control Society (BSACS) in view of alarming rise in the number of HIV+ cases in the state.
The order was passed on a PIL of Alok Kumar Sinha who submitted that only 27 cases of HIV positive were detected in the state in 2002 while the number of such cases has gone up to 23,000 now.
The court said NACO, BSACS and NGOs need to make joint efforts to control Aids in the state. Advocate general P K Shahi said the matter is serious and he would take instructions from the state officials concerned in this regard.
The petitioner alleged financial irregularities and lack of willpower on the part of authorities to fill up vacant posts in BSACS as the causes of rise in HIV+ cases in the state.
Nine posts of PO in Industrial Tribunals lying vacant
STAFF WRITER 16:25 HRS IST
New Delhi, July 20 (PTI) Nine of the 22 posts of presiding officers in Central Government Industrial Tribunal-cum-Labour Courts were lying vacant but steps have already been initiated to fill them up, Government said today.
The courts were set up as per provisions of the Industrial Disputes Act 1947 for adjudication of industrial disputes arising in the Central sphere.
The nine courts where the posts are lying vacant are in the cities of Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mumbai, Bhubaneswar, Bangalore, Dhanbad, Chandigarh, Kolkata and Kanpur, Minister of State for Labour Harish Rawat said in a written reply to a query in Lok Sabha.
However, he did not specify the time frame for filling up the post “as there was a stipulated procedure to be followed for appointment of the presiding officers”.
July 19th, 2009
LUCKNOW/GHAZIABAD – The Uttar Pradesh Government on Sunday ordered a Crime Branch-Criminal Investigation Department (CB-CID) into ransacking and arson at Uttar Pradesh Congress unit chief Rita Bahuguna Joshi house.
“CB-CID would investigate the case,” said state Cabinet Secretary Shashank Shekhar Singh.
Meanwhile, Joshi demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.
“I demand a CBI probe into the incident that occurred at my house in Lucknow. The party has also demanded it because it is a state-sponsored crime,” Joshi said.
“The police burned down my house. It is for sure that this involved government hand with Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati’s consent. I have no hope of justice from the Uttar Pradesh Government,” she added.
Joshi, who is expected to meet Congress Party president Sonia Gandhi and party general secretary Rahul Gandhi, said: “The party is extremely concerned about my safety. They were extremely agitated about the law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh.”
Joshi was released from a Moradabad jail on Saturday. She had made some derogatory remarks against Mayawati at a public meeting, and was arrested in Ghaziabad on Wednesday night while she was on her way to Delhi.
She was booked under 153 A (delivering inflammatory speeches) and Section 109 of IPC (using abusive language) besides under provisions of SC/ST Atrocities Prevention Act. (ANI)
Tehsildar Assault Case
Probe ordered into docs’ recommendation
Tribune News Service
Ludhiana, July 20
Taking a serious note of the recommendation of doctors at the Central Jail for the hospitalisation of accused in the Tehsildar assault case Simarjit Singh Bains and Kamaljit Singh Karwal two days ago, Jails Minister Hira Singh Gabria has ordered an inquiry into it.
Bains had complained of hypertension, vomiting and diarrhoea and Karwal of a liver problem. Though the doctors at the jail had recommended hospitalisation, doctors at the Civil Hospital said they were fit and did not require any indoor medical care.
Sources in the jail told The Tribune that Gabria had sought the details of the recommendation by the jail medical staff. While the permanent doctor at the jail was transferred some time ago, the doctors appointed at the Borstal jail had examined Bains and Karwal.
Meanwhile, Gabria said he was astonished at the news reports that doctors had contradicting versions on their health.
‘‘I have asked for reports from both doctors. I want to see what had exactly happened. Either the doctors at the Civil Hospital were wrong or the jail doctors had recommended hospitalisation wrongly. I will soon find out, ’’ said Gabria.
On the other hand, Balwinder Bains, SGPC member and elder brother of Simarjit, said Karwal had only 50 per cent functioning of his liver and it was proved well before he was sent to jail.
‘‘I am pleasantly surprised to know if the jail food has worked wonders on him,’’
Non-appearance of IOs in court
HC raps Punjab DGP
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 20
The Punjab and Haryana High Court wants Punjab DGP to take remedial measures for preventing inconvenience to courts due to non-appearance of investigating officers.
Taking exception to the failure of a police officer to turn up in the court for assisting state counsel Gaurav Garg Dhuriwala in a bail matter, Justice LN Mittal observed: “It has to be noticed that daily problem is being faced in cases pertaining to the state of Punjab. Investigating officers or police officials do not turn to assist the state counsel or the court.”
“Even costs imposed are not deposited on time. It not only causes inconvenience and wastage of precious time of the court, but also results in longer incarceration of the accused, who might ultimately be found entitled to bail. State counsel has been requested many times to streamline the functioning, but with no result”.
The observations followed state counsel’s request for adjournment as no police official was present to assist him.
Adjourning the matter subject to the deposition of Rs 1,000 with the high court registry, Justice Mittal asserted: “I intended to summon the DGP to appear in person in view of the difficulties being faced by the court. But state counsel infoarms the court that only yesterday he has written a letter to the IG (administration) enumerating such cases. In view of this, instead of requiring the Punjab DGP to appear in person, he is directed take necessary remedial steps at the earliest, so that such difficulties are not faced in future”.
Before parting with the order, Justice Mittal also directed immediate forwarding of the order’s copy to the Punjab DGP for necessary compliance.
This is not the first time the failure of the investigating officer to turn up has not found favour with the high court.
Another Bench of the high court has already made it clear that the investigating officer’s failure to attend court proceedings with case record would lead to initiation of proceedings against him.
Justice Harbans Lal had also directed Ferozepur SSP to inform the court on the action taken after initiating the same against the erring officer.
Sukhbir confidant shielding rape accused: Victim
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 20
Less than a fortnight before the Jalalabad byelections, a “gang-rape” victim has alleged SAD candidate Sukhbir Singh Badal’s close confidant-cum-sitting MP Sher Singh Gobaya was shielding the accused – a district panchayat officer.
The victim has alleged one of the accused, district panchayat officer Harjinder Singh, was “very close” to Gobaya, “who is a sitting MP and at present is the backbone of Sukhbir Singh Badal.
Badal is contesting election from Jalalabad in Ferozepur district; and as such fair and proper investigation could not be conducted by Ferozepur SSP and another respondent official as they were directly under his order”.
Moving the Punjab and Haryana High Court for the transfer of the probe to some independent agency or SP-level officer, the Tarn Taran-based victim alleged her requests for registration of a case against the accused, and even medical examination, were not acceded to due to Gobaya’s pressure.
Going into the background of the matter, the sixteen-and-a-half-year-old victim alleged three youngsters pushed her inside a car on June 10, gang-raped her and threw her near a canal.
After a passerby, Lakhwinder Singh, took her to the Ferozepur civil hospital for medical examination, the doctor on duty refused to admit her by saying Gobaya’s orders had to be obeyed, she alleged.
The victim further said SHO of Jalalabad police station on July 4 told her and Lakhwinder Singh that he had orders from Gobaya to book them in a criminal case so they were taught a lesson.
Her counsel added a paragraph in the petition be treated as the petitioner’s statement before the investigating officer as there was “great apprehension regarding the life and the liberty of the petitioner, since her face has been revealed to the SSP and another respondent-official”.
Taking up the matter, the high court has issued notice of motion on the petition
for August 10.
Haryana fined for failure to file affidavit
Tribune News Service
Chandigarh, July 20
Haryana’s failure to submit requisite information to the court in cops’ recruitment matter has cost the state dear and has led to the issuance of directions to the functionaries to be present in court on time to assist the state counsel.
Justice Ranjit Singh has directed the furnishing of necessary information to the court subject to payment of Rs 5,000 costs each in as many as 11 petitions.
Justice Ranjit Singh, on the previous date of hearing, had asked candidates aggrieved by the selections to appear before the staff selection commission on July 14. They were to be shown the results of the trials recorded on a video. The state was also asked to file the details of the results on the basis of the video recording.
As petitions filed by Sanjeev Kumar of Karnal and other petitioners came up for hearing, Justice Ranjit Singh observed despite directions, the affidavit indicating the result as depicted in the video had not been filed. “In the first round, the cases were passed over to await the person from the commission to reach. Even during the second round, no one has come to assist the state counsel (senior deputy advocate-general Harish Rathee).
“A person, who has come to assist the state counsel is required to be present in court at 10. it is not his discretion to come at leisure,” Justice Ranjit Singh added, while fixing Tuesday as the next date of hearing.
Guesthouses in jails for inmates’ kin soon
Ambala, July 20
Life-term prisoners lodged in various jails in the state will now enjoy the company of their family members for few days on the jail premises.
IG (Prison) RC Mishra, while talking to the mediapersons, said here today the jail department had planned to construct guesthouses on the jail premises, where the life term and other long term prisoners could spend a week along with his family members at least once in a year. He said this humanitarian scheme was initiated on the pattern of open jail concept.
He said the construction of district jails at Faridabad and Yamunanagar was almost completed while three new jails had been planned at Panchkula, Mewat and Rewari. He said it would reduce the load of the central jails where prisoners had been kept more than their actual capacity.
Mishra said Neem trees would be planted on all jail premises in huge number as it helped to keep the environment pollution free. Some ornamental and fruit trees would also be planted outside the jail premises. He said he wanted to make the jails environment friendly. He said in future the jails would be recognised as ‘Sudhar Greh’.
He added that all prisoners would be provided technical skills with the help of ITI so that after releasing from the jail they could earn their livelihood.
He offered certificate of technical training to 119 prisoners in the jail today. Mishra said literacy classes had also been started in the jails so that none of the prisoners could remain illiterate.
Later he visited the jail and met some of the prisoners to listen their grievance. Superintendent of jail SPS Chauhan was also present on this occasion.