HYDERABAD: Justice G Rohini of the Andhra Pradesh High Court today directed the State police to inform the court about the investigation done so far pertaining to the complaint lodged with the latter by the late NT Rama Rao’s wife Laxmi Parvati on the irregularities in Basava Rama Tarakam Trust (BRTT).
Laxmi Parvati had filed a writ petition before the AP High Court in which she had stated that she was the head of the trust and was not allowed to carry out her functions by members of the late NTR’s family and was threatened with dire consequences.
She told the court that she had lodged a complaint with the police for taking action against them, and alleged that the police did not take any initiative in probing the case.
Laxmi Parvati pleaded the court to direct the police to take action. On hearing the petition, Justice Rohini directed the police to inform the court about the action taken so far on the complaint and also directed that they should furnish the information within a month.
A Division Bench of the AP High Court comprising Chief Justice AR Dave and Justice Subhash Reddy today dismissed the writ petition filed by the Jana Vignana Vedika pleading that the screening of the film ‘Raksha’ be banned.
In the petition, the JVV stated that the film was propagating black magic and thereby it would have a bad influence on the viewers.
However, the bench dismissed the writ petition stating that the film was only a medium and was meant for entertainment and therefore it would not cause any harm.
Express News Service
First Published : 15 Oct 2008 05:44:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 15 Oct 2008 09:33:18 AM IST
Religious texts cannot be ground to justify ban on homosex: HC
New Delhi (PTI) The Delhi High Court today pulled up the Centre for relying on religious texts to justify ban on homosex and asked it to come up with scientific reports to justify it.
The Court’s observation came while hearing a PIL filed by gay activists seeking to decriminalise gay sex among consenting adults.
Additional Solicitor General P P Malhotra, appearing for the Centre, cited an article which contained quotes from religious texts to justify the ban.
Not satisfied with the government contention, the bench, also comprising Justice S Muralidhar, asked the government to show scientific proof that gay sex is harmful to society.
“This is just one-sided version of a religious body which cannot be relied upon. This is part of religious doctrine. Show us some scientific report which says that gay sex should be criminalised,” a division bench headed by Chief Justice A P Shah said.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
CBI probe sought into KPSC appointments
BANGALORE: A writ petition was filed in the High Court on Tuesday regarding alleged irregularities and nepotism in the appointments made to Group A and B posts by the KPSC.
The KPSC had appointed 383 candidates in 1998, 191 candidates in 1999 and 152 candidates in 2004 as Group A and B officers.
The State Government constituted the K K Mishra Committee to inquire into the alleged large-scale irregularities in the appointments.
Kaleel Ahamed and 61 others have filed a writ petition alleging that the KPSC did not cooperate with the Mishra Committee and have sought a CBI inquiry into the issue.
HC seeks info
The HC allowed a PIL seeking a ban on quarrying in a land in Ramanagaram district.
The Mines and Geology Department had issued quarrying rights to A C Shivalinge Gowda in 12 acres and 19 guntas of land in Dhoddakoppa village on December 19, 2007.
The land included two temples and a tank with a 50-feet-high granite rock.
Venkatachala and others filed a PIL stating that the land was a heritage site
Express New Service
First Published : 15 Oct 2008 12:32:00 PM IST
Last Updated : 15 Oct 2008 02:29:30 PM IST
High Court to LDA: What’s the need to close three roads?
Lucknow, October 14 Police barrack, parking space For Ambedkar Sthal
A day after the Lucknow Development Authority (LDA) Board decided to change land use of 900 sq m area at Gomti embankment to make way for a police barrack, a Lucknow Bench of Allahabad High Court asked the body why three roads around Ambedkar Memorial were to be closed to provide for the barrack and the parking space.
Hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) challenging the closure of roads, the Bench, comprising Justices Pradeep Kant and Vedpal, expressed dissatisfaction over closure of roads for any construction work. The PIL was filed by Gomti Nagar Jankalyan Mahasamiti.
The state government has planned to block the roads to make way for parking space for visitors to the Ambedkar Memorial and a police barrack for security purposes.
In the previous hearing held on September 23, the Bench had asked the state government and LDA to review its decision to close roads. It had also asked the LDA to see if the barrack could be shifted to another place. On Tuesday, the LDA in an affidavit submitted that following a review, it has decided against any change in the plan.
Chief Standing Counsel Devendra Upadhyay, arguing for the LDA, apprised the court that the authority’s Board has decided to go ahead with a police barrack on the Gomti embankment and will give passage to commuters through Sahara Sahar.
B K Singh, the petitioner’s counsel, told The Indian Express: “The court has asked the LDA to submit a reply within the next week.”
On Monday, the LDA Board had approved the proposal for changing the land use of 900 sq m area — on which the police barrack is being constructed — from public utilities and services.
In its meeting held on September 6, LDA Board had also changed the land use of two other roads from “road transport” to “public utilities” to make way for development of parking slots.
Express News Service
Posted: Oct 15, 2008 at 0116 hrs IST
Implement recommendations of Surat flood report: Gujarat told
Ahmedabad, Oct 14: The Gujarat High Court today directed the State Government to implement the recommendations of the inquiry commission on 2006 Surat floods which had claimed several lives and caused large-scale destruction. A Division Bench of Chief Justice K S Radhakrishnan and Justice Akil Kureshi disposed of the public interest litigation filed (PIL) by Congress leader Hoshang Mirza, who had sought directions for the government to punish those responsible for causing floods in the Tapi river. The PIL had contended that floods in Surat were man-made as the authorities at the Ukai dam didn’t follow the Central Water Commission’s (CWC) guidelines in releasing water, resulting in calamity in the diamond city. Mirza had moved the court immediately after the floods in August 2006, contending that it was criminal negligence on part of the dam authorities for allowing water level to rise beyond permissible limits. The government had appointed an inquiry commission, headed by retired High Court Judge Suguna Bhatt. In its submitted, the panel said the dam authorities had allowed water level to rise by neglecting CWC guidelines, but did not name any officer responsible for the act. The report was tabled in the Assembly during its monsoon session last month. Bureau Report
Sonia dares Maya, claims Rae Bareli as her turf
Rae Bareli: Congress President Sonia Gandhi has dared Mayawati, saying she is ready to go to jail if the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister tried to stop her from entering her constituency, Rae Bareli.
Sonia declared that Rae Bareli belongs to the Gandhis and nobody can stop her from visiting the place.
“Rae Bareli is my karmabhoomi (work place). How can some one stop me from coming to my home? Rae Bareli and Amethi are the karmabhoomi of the Gandhis. Nobody can stop our entry into our karmabhoomi,” Sonia thundered at Lalganj on Tuesday where she had come to inaugurate the Lifeline Express.
“I am ready to go to jail,” she added.
Mayawati had raised the political temperature first by cancelling land allotted to a rail factory that Sonia was to inaugurate in Rae Bareli.
Then the Congress alleged that Rae Bareli district administration changed Sonia’s route and did allow the Congress President to go to the disputed rail coach factory site, which is unprecedented, since the route of an Special Protection Group (SPG) protectee is not decided by local authorities but by the SPG itself.
Sonia had to cancel her plans to address a rally and perform Bhoomi Pujan for the rail coach factory in her Lok Sabha constituency after Mayawati government clamped prohibitory orders in the area.
The orders were imposed under Section 144 of the Indian Criminal Procedure Code in Rae Bareli, which prevents the gathering of more than five people in the area.
The move came after the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad High Court stayed the state government’s decision cancelling the land allotment for a railway project in the area.
The court on Monday ordered status quo on the land while hearing a writ of Northern Railway (NR) and a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by villagers of Rae Bareli. The court has given a week’s time to the state government to file a counter affidavit.
Railways moved the high court seeking a stay on the UP government’s decision to withdraw the land. Villagers and farmers of Lalganj also filed a PIL stating that the move of the state government would deprive the region of better development and job opportunities.
A division bench comprising Justice Pradeep Kant and Shabiul Hasnain, while ordering that status quo be maintained, listed the matter for further hearing October 22.
UP government had on Saturday night taken back the 400 acres it had allotted to the railways for the project.
(With inputs from Pallavi Ghosh)
Published on Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 15:38, Updated on Tue, Oct 14, 2008 at 22:48 in Nation section
Another Sati: But can law prevail over tradition?
Raipur police chief sees a temple for, and worship of, a ‘sati’ as ‘glorification’ of a banned practice. But, many officers opine that it would be futile to stop people from worshipping because a Sati temple already exists close to the site.
AT THE banks of river Shivnath in Kasdol development block in Raipur district of Chhattisgarh stands a Sati temple. It came up about 40 years ago in dedication of Jheek Bai. The wife of Maalikram Verma of Checher village had jumped into her husband’s funeral pyre. Hundreds of people, mostly women, worship Jheek Bai. Jheek Bai Temple is just one of the hundreds of Sati temples one sees across India, including in metros.
A woman who dies burning herself on her husband’s funeral fire is considered most virtuous according to tradition. She is believed to redeem all her forefathers rotting in hell. Every Sati goes directly to heaven and joins the pantheon of gods and goddesses for her ’meritorious’ act. Quite a few of the Sati temples attract ’devotees’ in their thousands. Most devotees have scant respect for the courts and other agencies ’enforcing’ the law that considers such devotion as a crime. A good number do not even know that the practice is legally banned.
Jheek Bai will soon get the company of Lalmati Verma of the same village. A Sati temple is sure to come up nearby in honour of Lalmati, whose 80-year-old husband died of illness last week. A first information report (FIR), lodged after a police team visited the village the next day recorded, “Lalmati Verma, 71, who belonged to Chechar village, jumped on her husband’s funeral pyre in the evening of October 11 after all the villagers had left the site.”
The latest ’Sati’ is from the Kurmi caste, categorised under the other backward classes (OBC). She had three sons, all living in the same house. But, the senior Vermas were living separately in a corner of the old house. No wonder, her sons had no idea of their mother’s going out to commit ’sati’, according to preliminary police investigations.
Prashant Thakur, additional superintendent of police said that further investigations were on to find out the circumstances that led to the incident. He refused to answer whether anyone in her family or villagers provoked her to commit suicide. As news spread, a large number of people thronged to the scene of the ’virtuous feat’ the next day to offer prayers. Amit Kumar, Raipur district superintendent of police banned the worship of woman ’as they see it as an act of glorification of the banned Hindu custom’.
Defying the ban, dozens of people from the neighbouring villages succeeded in offering prayers at the site. A police officer (desiring to remain anonymous) admitted: “It’s futile to stop people from worshipping woman, especially when a Sati temple for a woman of the same village is already existing close to the site.” However, Amit Kumar appears to have other ideas. He directed registering of a case against seven close relatives of the deceased woman under the Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act. He told the media, “The woman could definitely have been stopped by the relatives as they had no prior idea that she was planning to commit suicide.”
The government obviously does want a repeat of the big ruckus created in 1987 on the issue. That time, thousands of people watched in awe as a girl named Roop Kanwar, who was one quarter as old as Lalmati, jumped into her husband’s funeral pyre. It was a well documented case as community elders were keen to erect a temple in honour of the ’Sati goddess’. There was a huge outcry in other parts of the country to glorifying the ’meritorious act’. The state government was forced by national level protests to issue a ban on the glorification of sati. It was followed by the union government.
Actually, the Act of 1987 only tightened the provisions in an old law in the statutes since 1829. However, it is just on paper, except for some occasional news bites, like in case of Kanwar or Verma. The original ban was issued by British governor William Bentinck only for Bengal (inclusive of present-day Bangladesh) presidency. It gradually extended to other colonial territories. Death of wives, aged above 18 years, taking the risk of death or actually dying ’with her own consent’ did not, however, attract the provisions of the Act. Under the influence of Viceroys, princely states, not under British control, abolished the practice later.
Interestingly enough, the strongest crusader against the practice – who was successful in enforcing a blanket ban – was the much-maligned Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb. He issued an edict: “In all lands under Mughal control, never again should the officials allow a woman to be burnt.”
The inspiration for the original law was Rajaram Mohan Roy, who mounted a high-pressure campaign through his organisation Brahmo Samaj. Incidentally, Brahmo Samaj basically aimed to eradicate outdated, millenniums-old ’rich traditions’ of Hindus, like birth-placed stratification of society.
Abolition of Sati was just a symbolic gesture – like wearing khadi by Gandhi’s followers. Both achieved very limited success in the main aim. While khadi promotion only lets a few thousand people siphon off public funds, anti-Sati crusades have let dozens of ’activists’ writers make millions; they write fancily prized books like ’Widow Burning in India’ addressed at Western audiences!
The Commission of Sati (Prevention) Act makes it illegal to ’abet, glorify or attempt to commit Sati. While abetment – limited to coercion or use of force to compel someone to take her life – can justifiably invite death sentence or life imprisonment, the provision of jail-term ranging between one and seven years for ’glorifying Sati’ in the Act makes it a futility, worth laughing away.
There are thousands of shrines in the country for ’glorifying’ sati. Obviously, the law cannot be enforced with any consistency. Other traditional practices like ’jallikattu’ and animal sacrifice prevalent among some communities in the multi-ethnic country must be viewed in this context. Notably, nobody raises voice against numerous little girls becoming ‘victims of tradition’ in a wealthy sect – Jains. These girls are showered with all goodies like fine clothes and jewels for a few days and taken in a grand procession.
Then, they shed everything material, all hair is plucked off and are sent off to lead a monk’s life. The act is traditionally believed to redeem the family but can be said to kill the life in their living everyday, while a ‘Sati’ dies only once.
If persons in other communities perceive such practices as ‘unethical or barbaric’ and get outraged, they have every liberty to do so. They may try to convince the leaders of the concerned communities by propaganda at their own expense. But, authorities in a democratic federation have no business to impose their fancy opinions on others through law. That is possible only in (benevolent) dictatorships.
Tragically, there are any number of such bone-brained laws in the statute of the ‘largest democratic country’, which deserve to be dumped. They only let lawyers, corrupt cops and judges to make a neat side income and will get the contempt they deserve from people, notwithstanding any contempt law!
BMW sting: Court seeks unedited tapes
The Supreme Court on Tuesday asked NDTV to produce the original chip containing the unedited version of the sting operation against senior advocates R.K. Anand and I.U. Khan.
A bench comprising Justices B.N. Aggarwal, G.S. Singhvi and Aftab Alam, however, clarified that the direction to the television channel was not aimed at treating it as a contesting party in the case but as an assistant.
“We do not want it to become an adversarial litigation,” said the bench while asking NDTV to also produce the material used during the sting operation showing Anand and Khan in collusion with each other.
The direction was passed after senior counsel Altaf Ahmed, appearing for Anand, claimed the tapes were doctored and edited to implicate his client and Khan.
Ahmed argued the High Court did not grant any opportunity to the defence to cross-examine the reporter of the channel who conducted the sting operation. At this while one of the judges of the bench, Justice Singhvi said sting operation had become a business, his colleague Justice Alam said attempt to subvert judicial proceedings could not be condoned. Justice Alam added such incidents were on the rise and unpardonable.
The bench refused to accept Ahmed’s argument against the High Court for conducting the contempt proceedings in a “summary” manner, without giving adequate opportunity to the defence to put forth their views and cross-examine the TV crew. “The court can evolve its own procedure subject to fair play,” said the bench.
Anand’s grievance is that he was not given a copy of the unedited original chips that continued to be in the custody of NDTV. The High Court had declined to keep the chips with it but had sought its production for viewing.
On Ahmed’s argument related to admissibility of electronic evidence in the court, the bench appointed Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam and senior counsel Nageswara Rao as amicus curiaes to assist it in the matter.
The bench said the two counsels would also address arguments on the validity and admissibility of electronic material as a piece of evidence in court of law.
The sting operation was linked to the BMW hit-and-run accident involving Sanjeev Nanda in which Anand had appeared as the defence counsel and Khan was the public prosecutor.
Both Anand and Khan were accused of obstructing the administration of justice by influencing witness Sunil Kulkarni as claimed in the expose conducted by the channel.
During an earlier hearing, the SC bench had observed that the High Court had taken a lenient view by debarring Anand and Khan for four months from practicing in courts.
The High Court had on May 31 last year taken suo motu cognizance of the sting. Nanda stands convicted in the case.The court sentenced him to five years imprisonment. The High Court has admitted his appeal against the conviction.
New Delhi, October 14, 2008
Producers move high court
Producers of Bigg Boss have moved the Bombay High Court seeking quashing of the complaint filed against them for obscenity on the show. Endemol India Pvt Ltd moved the court after Sunil Ahire, president of Mumbai Pradesh Youth Congress Committee, filed a complaint against the producer, director, the channel and participants Rahul Mahajan, Payal Rohatgi and Sambhavana Seth. The court on Monday has asked the producers to amend the petition and also to make the participants party to the petition.
Endemol, in its application, said there was no evidence in the complaint to even remotely suspect that it was guilty of the charges.
It has pointed out that it was not co-incidental that Sanjay Nirupam, who was the first to be eliminated from the show, also belonged to the party to which the complainant belongs.
Endemol also said Ahire was playing a political game as the show also included Rahul Mahajan, son of late BJP leader Pramod Mahajan. “It is all hype created by the competitors of the channel,” the application said adding that they (competitors) are trying to “influence” the minds of the public.
Vignesh Iyer, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, October 14, 2008
Fill vacant OBC seats by Oct-end, says SC
NEW DELHI: General category students who missed admission to premier institutes like IIM by a whisker will get a fresh chance as the Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the filling up of vacant seats under 27% OBC quota in all central educational institutions (CEIs) by October-end. Trying hard to project the HRD ministry’s confusion before a constitution bench comprising Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan and Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari, Solicitor General G E Vahanvati said filling the vacant seats in case of staggered implementation of the 27% OBC quota could cause a problem. There was no confusion in the minds of the judges, said senior advocate K K Venugopal appearing for petitioner educationist P V Indiresan. They were unanimous that the judgment was categoric that all vacant seats had to revert to general category, he said. The bench asked the SG: “Even if you implement the OBC quota in a staggered manner, how can you carry forward the vacant seats? Admission to each academic year is unique. Where is the question of backlog vacancy for backward classes?” “If you carry forward the vacancies, the infrastructure you have created along with the increase in the seats would go waste and that is definitely not the intention of the judgment,” it said. Realising that it was an uphill task to convince the bench, the SG immediately said that the government would not press further once the Bench has clarified the position leaving no room for confusion. When it came to filling the vacant seats, the SG said that it would be difficult to revert these back to the general category for this 2008-09 academic session. But the bench brushed aside the objection and directed filling up of the vacant OBC quota seats with eligible general category candidates by October end. To maintain the standards of the institutes and not to make merit a casualty, two SC judges had in their common judgment ordered that the cut-off for OBC students should not go below 5% of the cut-off for general category, while a third judge had said it should not be more than 10%.
15 Oct 2008, 0015 hrs IST,TNN
Legality of raising creamy layer bar questioned in SC
NEW DELHI: Educationist P V Indiresan on Tuesday threw an open challenge in the Supreme Court questioning the legality of the UPA government’s recent decision to raise the creamy layer income limit from Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 4.5 lakh for OBCs. But, the government told the apex court that it had done a reasonable job by fixing the creamy layer exclusion income limit at Rs 4.5 lakh at a time when many elected representatives had demanded raising it to Rs 25 lakh. Appearing for Indiresan, who had challenged the 27% OBC quota in Central educational institutions, senior advocate K K Venugopal told a 5-judge constitution bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan that it was an election-eve vote bank politics to appease the rich among the OBCs, who could now gobble up the seats meant for the poorest among the backward. “You file a separate petition if you want to challenge the Centre’s decision,” said the bench, also comprising Justices Arijit Pasayat, C K Thakker, R V Raveendran and Dalveer Bhandari. While agreeing to file a separate petition, Venugopal pointed out that on February 23, 2007, the apex court had quashed a Kerala government decision to raise the creamy layer income limit to Rs 3 lakh terming it too high. The court had felt that those having Rs 3 lakh income could not be termed poor or backward, he said. “Has the inflation rate touched more than 80% for the Central government now to decide the income limit at Rs 4.5 lakh when just a year back the apex court had turned down Rs 3 lakh limit as unreasonable?” Venugopal asked. This is intended to widen the OBC net and allow the rich and influential among the backward classes to grab the seats meant for the poorest among them, he said. Disgreeing with him, Solicitor General G E Vahanvati said the government had fixed the income limit for exclusion of creamy layer at Rs 4.5 lakh after a lot of deliberations. Venugopal said during the arguments on the legality of 27% OBC quota, additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam had submitted figures indicating that 97.5% of the OBC population had a daily income of less than Rs 80.
15 Oct 2008, 0402 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN
SC seeks original of sting footage in BMW case
NEW DELHI: The SC on Tuesday asked a news channel to submit the original footage of the sting operation it did on prominent lawyers R K Anand and I U Khan in the infamous BMW case that formed the basis of a Delhi HC order convicting them for contempt on the ground of influencing a witness. Appearing for Anand, senior advocate Altaf Ahmed launched a legal broadside against the order of the HC, which he said did not heed the repeated pleas of Anand and Khan for forensic examination of the sting operation tapes. The HC had breached the principle of natural justice which guarantees that no one would be convicted without being accorded a fair chance of putting forth his pleas, Ahmed said. The HC, in an unprecedented order, had convicted the two prominent lawyers, debarred them from practising in Delhi for four months and also imposed a fine of Rs 2,000 each for obstructing the course of justice by trying to influence the star witness, Sunil Kulkarni. It had also recommended to the HC full court to strip the duo of their senior advocate designation. While Anand appeared for the main accused in the BMW case, Sanjeev Nanda, Khan was engaged by the police as a special prosecutor. On Tuesday, an SC Bench comprising Justices B N Aggrawal, G S Singhvi and Aftab Alam asked the TV channel to submit the original tapes after Ahmed alleged that the sting footage was doctored and edited to frame the famed advocates. However, it clarified that asking for the original footage did not mean it was an `adversorial’ notice to the TV channel. Instead, it was an attempt to arrive at the truth. With the case getting complicated, possibly requiring the court to get into the technical domain of examining the authenticity of the sting footage, the Bench preferred to seek the assistance of additional solicitor general Gopal Subramaniam and senior advocate L Nageshwar Rao, both of whom were appointed as amicus curaie. The court posted the matter for further hearing on November 18.
15 Oct 2008, 0137 hrs IST,TNN
Lay down norms for sharing probe info with media, HC tells cops
Mumbai, October 14 Court rejects Susairaj’s plea for a copy confessional statement The Bombay High Court on Tuesday suggested to the police department to lay down norms for its officers regarding sharing of information on investigation with the media. The suggestion came while rejecting Kannada actress Maria Monica Susairaj’s plea seeking a copy of her confessional statement.
“We would appreciate if the police department creates a system, by which a responsible police officer shares information, rather than each of the investigating officers, as we consider it also a duty of the police to inform the public of the progress in a crime investigation,” a division bench of Justice Bilal Nazki and Justice Ashutosh Kumbhakoni held.
The court has refused to set aside a June 2008 trial court order rejecting a similar application filed by the actress who is the main accused in the Neeraj Grover murder case.
The bench rejected the plea on the ground that copy of the confessional statement cannot be furnished to the accused before filing of the chargesheet. Susairaj’s lawyer Nitin Pradhan had contended that since a part of her confession had already been published in newspapers she is entitled to the same.
Meanwhile, the court directed the police to “issue appropriate clarification in regard to factually incorrect, if any, alleged confessional statement made by the petitioner, which if at all have appeared in the media, within two weeks.”
“We trust and hope that the media will publish appropriate clarification in this regard at the earliest,” the judgement states.
The judges observed that they believe that the press and the judiciary, both, should be independent and free. “Both should not have any fetters, but the more freedom you have, the more the responsibilities, and, therefore, both these institutions are required to have self-imposed restriction.”
The judgement observes that while reporting a crime or an investigation, the report should not be tilted as it creates a perception in the minds of the people and ultimate decision of the court going against such perceptions may affect the credibility of the courts.
The court has observed that it is only a “responsible press” which can claim not only freedom but also immunity from being compelled to divulge the source of its information. The court also observed that the police should not provide tailored information to the media which is factually incorrect.
The state had earlier told the court that confessional statement of an accused could be given in accordance with law, at a stage where it did not prejudice further investigation. The sessions court had rejected Susairaj’s application for the confession statement on June 19, following which she moved the High Court. Susairaj had given her confessional statement to the police on May 28. Susairaj and her naval officer fiance Emile Jerome Mathew were arrested in May this year for the alleged murder of Grover.
Express News Service
Posted: Oct 15, 2008 at 0409 hrs IST
Aishwarya Rai’s 1996-97 IT assessment comes under HC scanner
Mumbai, Oct 14 (PTI) The Bombay High Court has admitted an appeal filed by the Income Tax authorities, challenging relief granted to Bollywood star Aishwarya Rai Bachchan by Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT).A Division Bench headed by Justice S Radhakrishnan admitted the appeal by IT authorities over Aishwarya’s tax assessment for the financial year 1996-1997.The IT authorities moved to HC following ITAT’s last year decision quashing an IT department decision to reopen Aishwarya’s tax assessment.IT Department’s lawyer Benny Chatterjee argued that Aishwarya’s income is not being questioned, but her getting exemption under NRI category is questionable.The key issue is whether Aishwarya – who had won Miss World title just then – could claim to be a Non Resident Indian for that period, he added.Aishwarya had declared her taxable income for the the FY 1996-97 to be 2.14 lakh. But in 2003, the authorities decided to reopen the assessment, as her passport revealed that during the period she was not an NRI, as she had claimed to be.She was not outside the country for 186 days within that period, as required to qualify for income tax exemption under the NRI category, authorities said.Therefore, she was asked to pay tax on the income of around Rs 26 lakh which she had earned abroad-after winning the beauty pageant with interest, they added. PTI
HC orders status quo on Rae Bareli land
Lucknow, October 13 A day after the Uttar Pradesh Government decided to withdraw 189.25 hectares of land it had given for the proposed rail coach factory at Lalganj in Rae Bareli, the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court on Monday ordered status quo in the matter.
The Bench consisting of Justice Pradeep Kant and Justice S Hasnain passed the order on a petition filed by the Railway Ministry and a PIL filed by two villagers — Dinesh Chandra Mishra of Ahar village and Avindra Pandey of Balemau village.
The Bench, however, refused to stay the state government’s order of October 11, by which it had taken back the land from the Railways. Next hearing is fixed for October 22.
Interestingly, the opposing litigants had different takes on the issue. While counsel of the villagers, Mohammad Arif Khan claimed that the status quo meant the land would remain in the possession of the Railways, chief standing counsel of the state government, Devendra Upadhyay claimed the status quo meant that the land would remain with the Gram Sabha.
Express News Service Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 0420 hrs IST
HC stay may delay Cenotaph flyover
CHENNAI: In a development that could delay the proposed flyover project at Cenotaph Road, the Madras high court has restrained authorities from dispossessing two residents of their land. Justice K Kannan, holding a vacation sitting last week, passed the interim order on a writ petition filed by G V Ramakrishna of Srinivas Theatres (P) Limited. In his petition, Ramakrishna contended that though a flyover was scheduled to come up on Chamiers Road originally, the plan was changed for reasons best known to the authorities. The proposal to shift the project to the Cenotaph Road-Turnbulls Road came to light only after a resident obtained confirmation after making an application under the Right To Information Act. With a view to taking possession of identified lands expeditiously, the government issued two notifications – on September 9 and 24 – dispensing with the inquiry contemplated under Section 5A of the Land Acquisition Act. According to the petition filed by advocate Abbudu Kumar Rajarathinam, the authorities have already started preliminary activities such as ascertaining the ownership of the plots identified for acquisition . As the mandatory Section 5A inquiry and Section 6 declaration had been dispensed with, the petitioner apprehended that he would be dispossessed of his land by the second week of October. If that happened, he would be put to serious and irreparable loss, he said. Ramakrishna said if the proposal was implemented, a Vinayaka temple on Cenotaph Road too will be destroyed, hurting the sentiments of devotees.
14 Oct 2008, 0659 hrs IST,TNN
IMG case: HC questions govt move
HYDERABAD: The AP High Court on Monday asked the state government to explain why its ordinance that resumed lands allotted to IMG-Bharata should not be described as a legislative judgment delivered without following due process of law. A division bench comprising justice Goda Raghuram and justice P V Sanjay Kumar posed this question to advocate general C V Mohan Reddy who said the ordinance was a legislative declaration and the courts can look into it. If the state felt that the terms of the contract entered into between IMG Bharata and the previous state government were not valid, the government can say so under sections 16 and 23 of the Indian Contracts Act, the bench said. But, the state government had determined the agreement as invalid without creating any norm or leaving any remedy for the petitioner, the bench noted. The arguments would continue on Thursday.
14 Oct 2008, 0446 hrs IST,TNN
HC bans manual clearing of sewerage lines in city
CHENNAI: Clearing blocked sewer lines manually is not legal anymore in the city. The Madras high court banned the practice on Monday and directed civic authorities to “employ mechanical devices” to clear sewer blocks. The first bench comprising chief justice A K Ganguly and justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla passed the interim order after admitting a public interest writ petition by social worker A Narayanan of Virugambakkam. The bench has posted the matter to Wednesday for further hearing. In his petition, Narayanan submitted that civil society should not continue to be blind to the inhuman and abhorrent exploitation of deprived people. Though the government claims to have abolished manual scavenging in the state and has provided safety gadgets to sanitary workers, scores of such workers still enter drains to manually clear clogs, he said. These sanitary workers lacked pay, insurance and pension benefits, and many died “unsung like a stray dog,” he said. Persons from marginalised communities are pressed into the work and many of these workers were forced to drink alcohol to numb themselves before getting into the manholes, the petitioner said. Describing it as a “dangerous, immoral and exploitative practice,” Narayanan said: “If making sanitary workers carry human waste or handle them manually, whether voluntarily or through coercion, is illegal , then making workers get into manholes and septic tanks is also illegal.” Besides freeing these sanitary works from handling sewerage, the government is duty-bound to rehabilitate them, he said. Narayanan wanted the court to direct authorities to go for total modernisation and mechanisation of the sewer and septic tank maintenance works, and wanted the government to form a high-power technical committee to go into all aspects of urban sanitation, including preventive maintenance, modernisation, sensitisation and education. He wanted the court to direct the authorities to come out with a concrete time bound plan of action to abolish the practice of manual cleaning of manhole, sewer lines and septic tanks.
14 Oct 2008, 0708 hrs IST,TNN
HC fines NMC officials in recruitment scam
Nagpur: The Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court on Monday, while hearing a petition of alleged recruitment scam in the Nagpur Municipal Corporation
(NMC), has directed the civic body to appoint four petitioners and pay Rs 10,000 to each. A division bench comprising justices Kishor Rohee and Bhushan Dharmadhikari also directed the civic body to recover this amount from “guilty” officials and if it’s not done within a stipulated time it would amount to “contempt of court” , the bench said in its verdict. In the process, the court has granted relief to four petitioners – Vijay Humne, Ashok Patil, Dipak Pittalwar and Pundlik Dhore. While the petitions of five others – Prashant Dandekar, Mangala Kukde, Rahul Kharabe, Vijay Ghiye and Rahul Rathod – were rejected. However, a petition of Kiran Meshram was given “in-principal ” approval for getting his job back. All the 11 petitioners had challenged the recruitment procedure of posts of ward officer, additional commissioner , junior engineer, assistant structural engineer, technical assistant, plumber, and wireman among others of NMC. A battery of lawyers including M G Bhangde, Bhanudas Kulkarni, and Sudhir Puranik among others represented the petitioners. According to the petitioners , the civic body had decided to fill up above posts through the examination comprising 70 marks theory and 25 marks oral test. The selection panel had five corporators and four NMC officials.
14 Oct 2008, 0532 hrs IST,TNN
HC reprimands cop for not maintaining records
AHMEDABAD: Gujarat HC on Monday rebuked Rajkot crime branch police inspector for not recording their decisions and not maintaining their personal weekly diaries. In connection with a petition filed by Hathubha Jadeja from Rajkot seeking anticipatory bail, Justice ZK Saiyed on two occasions directed police inspector Digvijaysinh Waghela to remain present in the court but instead he sent his subordinate. When the matter was called out on Monday, the PI along with ACP PK Chaudhary appeared before the court and stated that he could not remain present due to hectic schedule of police ‘bandobast’. Waghela could not produce his weekly as well as station diaries when the judge asked for it. They reasoned out that as the crime branch officials do not make entries of their movement at Pradhyuman Nagar police station, where Jadeja has been booked. The judge allowed the cops to go after a warning.
14 Oct 2008, 0536 hrs IST, Saeed Khan,TNN
HC asks govt to justify jail for man who opened fire on gangster ashwin naik
The state government was granted a last chance on Monday by the Bombay HC to justify setting a 30-year prison term for Ravindra Sawant, who had attempted to murder gangster Ashwin Naik 14 years ago. The attempt had left Naik paralysed.
Posted On Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Disclosure norms for short selling may be tightenedhttp://economictimes.indiatimes.com/Market_News/Short_selling_norms_may_be_tightened/articleshow/3596563.cms
NEW DELHI: The government and market regulator SEBI are keeping a close watch on short selling in stock exchanges. The finance ministry is understood to have sought data on short selling from SEBI. While there is no immediate move to ban short selling, both the regulator and the government are examining if there was a need to further improve disclosure norms. Short selling is a transaction wherein an investor sells securities such as shares without owning them. When an investor wants to short a share, for instance, he borrows that share from another entity. He sells the stock and meets the delivery obligation through the borrowed shares. He subsequently buys the share from the market and returns it to the entity he borrowed it from. This is a strategy used by investors to make profit when they expect prices to fall. However, there is no move to put a ban on short selling at this point. SEBI chairman C B Bhave had on October 1 ruled out any ban on short selling and had said that there was no violation of the regulations. The general view is that short selling contributes to price efficiency and adds liquidity to the markets and there was no need to toe the line taken by regulators in other countries. A number of countries, including the US, have banned short-selling in securities of financial institutions in the wake of current financial crisis. Short-selling was believed to have caused a downward spiral in prices of shares of financial sector companies when the crisis broke out. The emerging view is that while short selling has some role in the financial markets, it needs to be subject to more disclosures. It may be pointed out that the US Securities Exchange Commission is also reported to be crafting a permanent disclosure rule requiring big short sellers to report their trades and considering the reinstatement of the uptick rule. This rule required that every short sale transaction must be entered at a price higher than the price of the previous trade. This rule prevents short sellers from adding to the downward pressure when the price of an asset is already declining. In India, short selling was prevalent till 2001 but was banned after the stock crash. It was allowed again in December 2007 by SEBI but with some restrictions and only in select stocks. The current review will examine if there was a need to put in place additional disclosure requirements.
15 Oct, 2008, 0131 hrs IST,Deepshikha Sikarwar & Soma Banerjee, ET Bureau
Land acquisition for flyover in Nandanam stayed http://www.expressbuzz.com/edition/story.aspx?Title=Land+acquisition+for+flyover+in+Nandanam+stayed&artid=LBHXVHGYq0k=&SectionID=lifojHIWDUU=&MainSectionID=XT7e3Zkr/lw=&SectionName=rSY%7C6QYp3kQ=&SEO=nandanam,%20city,
CHENNAI: The Madras High Court on Monday restrained the State Government from dispossessing land from the owners for constructing a flyover on Cenotaph Road- Turnbulls Road in Nandanam in the City.
Vacation judge K Kannan granted the injunction while passing interim orders on a batch of writ petitions from Srinivasa Theatres Private Limited, by its director G V Ramakrishnan and others. According to advocate Abudukumar Rajarathinam, the flyover was originally proposed on Chamiers Road from Adyar Gate Glub Road to Anna Salai. However, for reasons not known, the proposal had been changed. It was now stated that the flyover would come up on Cenotaph Road- Turnbulls Road with the starting point on Cenotaph Road at the junction of second street.
NO MANUAL CLEANING OF MANHOLES: The Madras High Court on Monday made it clear that no human being should be allowed to get inside drains for the purpose of clearing the block of sewage.
If any drainage was choked, it was the responsibility of the authorities to clear the same by employing mechanical devices, the First Bench comprising Chief Justice A K Ganguly and Justice F M Ibrahim Kalifulla said.
NOTICE AGAINST DMK MINISTER: The Madras High Court on Monday ordered a notice on a habeas corpus writ petition seeking to produce in court Raju, Salem district secretary of the Tamil Nadu Human Rights Movement and to set him at liberty.
A division bench comprising Justice Elipe Dharmarao and Justice S Tamilvanan ordered notices to State Home Secretary, Salem District Collector, Salem City Police Commissioner and Agriculture minister Veerapandi S Arumugam.
Express News Service
First Published : 14 Oct 2008 03:01:00 AM IST
Last Updated : 14 Oct 2008 07:04:37 AM IST
Don’t let a builder run away with your money
Subject: Can interest be claimed by a flat buyer even after the amount is refunded by the builder?
Backdrop: When a builder abandons or delays a project, a consumer often asks for a refund of the amount paid. At times the builder is willing to refund the money, but without interest. The consumer is hesitant to file a complaint because he would like to secure the refund of his capital without antagonising the builder. Later, when the consumer demands the interest, the builder refuses to pay it on the ground that the contract has been voluntarily cancelled and refund accepted, so no interest can be claimed. Thus the builder pockets the interest. Is this permissible? Or can the consumer fight for the interest? Case Study: C S Mathkar had booked a flat in a building to be constructed at Vile Parle by Buildarch. He had paid over Rs 19 lakh in instalments from December 1991 to November 1998. Yet no flat was allotted to him. In 2005, after waiting for 14 years, Mathkar asked for a refund. The builder paid only Rs 1 lakh, and failed to refund the balance amount. Letters sent by Mathkar were ignored by the builder. He then approached Mumbai Grahak Panchayat, on whose intervention the builder refunded a part of the amount. Mathkar then filed a consumer complaint demanding a refund of the balance amount of about Rs 7 lakh, together with interest thereon. As soon as the complaint was filed, the builder refunded the remaining amount. So the dispute was now confined to the interest component. A M Mascarenhas, joint secretary of Consumers Welfare Association, who argued Mathkar’s case, claimed that the builder had utilised the complainant’s money for more than 17 years, yet had deprived him of a flat, and hence interest had to be paid at the rate of 9% per annum from the date of payment of each instalment to the date of refund. The builder contested the case, claiming that the fault lay with Mathkar who did not sign the agreement because of Vastu Shastra. The forum’s jurisdiction was also disputed on the ground that it was a money claim for interest; that there was no contract; and it was not a consumer dispute since the money had already been refunded. Buildarch also argued that the complaint was time-barred. In its judgement of August 29, 2008, the forum over-ruled these objections and held that: as the builder’s services had been availed by paying consideration, it was a consumer forum. Also, the onus to execute the agreement was with the builder, and the failure to do was a deficiency in service. The complaint was not time-barred because the cause of action was continuing and the last instalment of refund was made in February 2008. The forum relied on the judgement of the Supreme Court in the case of Alok Shankar Pandey v/s Union of India, wherein the principle of payment of interest has been explained by the Supreme Court, viz. that interest is not a penalty or punishment but the normal accreditation on capital. So equity demands that the principle amount must be refunded along with the interest thereon. Otherwise, the opponent will earn interest on the complainant’s money and will pocket it. J S Iyer, who gave the judgement on behalf of the Bench of the Central Mumbai Forum comprising herself and President S P Mahajan, observed that Mathkar was a senior citizen who had invested his retirement money aspiring for a house which is a dream in Mumbai, and he must have gone through tremendous mental agony and torture so much so that he was constrained to file a consumer complaint for redressal of his grievance. Hence he must be compensated to achieve the ends of justice. Accordingly, the builder was directed to pay interest amounting to Rs 19,33,789, plus Rs 50,000 as compensation and Rs 3,000 as costs. The forum directed that the order should be complied with in four weeks, otherwise further interest would have to be paid at the rate of 18% p.a. Impact: If the consumer had not fought for his rights, the builder would have pocketed the interest which exceeds the principal amount. Consumers must not let builders get away with such malpractice, and it is hoped that this judgement will help other consumers stand up for their rights. (The author has won the Govt. of India’s National Youth Award for Consumer Protection. His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org)
14 Oct 2008, 0040 hrs IST, Jehangir B Gai,TNN
Panaji: Early Judgment Sought in Parliamentary Secretaries’ Appointment PIL
Panaji, Oct 13: Social activist Aires Rodrigues has prayed that the judgment in the public interest petition challenging the appointment of parliamentary secretaries and granting of cabinet status to them be passed expeditiously or that the petition be heard and disposed of expeditiously by another bench of the High Court. It may be recalled that on March 19 this year, the High Court reserved its judgment on the PIL filed by Rodrigues, challenging the appointments of Nilkanth Harlankar and Francisco Silveira as parliamentary secretaries and conferring of cabinet status to EDC chairman Agnelo Fernandes, deputy chairman of Goa Planning Board, Wilfred D’Souza and commissioner of NRI affairs Eduardo Faleiro. In a petition to the Chief Justice of the Mumbai High Court, Aires Rodrigues has pointed out that the judgment in the case has not yet been pronounced, even after a gap of over six months. He has drawn the Chief Justice’s attention to a judgment of the Supreme Court in Anil Rai v/s state of Bihar where it was observed, ” if the judgment for any reason, is not pronounced within a period of six months, any of the parties of the said litigation shall be entitled to move an application before the Chief Justice of the High Court with a prayer to withdraw the said case and to make it over to any other bench for fresh arguments. It is open to the Chief Justice to grant the said prayer or to pass any order as he deems fit in the circumstances.” Rodrigues has stated that there is urgency in the matter, as the appointments challenged are a huge unnecessary burden to the state exchequer, as they were done for political expediency. He has further stated that the appointment of parliamentary secretaries and conferring of rank of a cabinet minister to others was a fraud on the Constitution of India and in violation of the 91st Amendment, which was meant to restrict the size of the cabinet and to prevent jumbo-size cabinets that cause huge financial burden to the state exchequer. The petition was initially heard by a bench of the High Court, comprising of Justice R M S Khandeparkar and Justice R S Mohite on August 22, 2007 and the matter was reserved for judgment. However, on August 24, the Court did not pass any judgment but adjourned the matter, stating that it would not be appropriate to deal with the matter as a similar case relating to the validity of the appointment of parliamentary secretaries and conferment of the status of cabinet ministers in the state of Assam was pending before the Supreme Court. On September 11, 2007, the High Court bench comprising of Justice R S Mohite and Justice N A Britto granted Rodrigues liberty to move a transfer petition before the Supreme Court, so that his PIL could be heard along with the Assam petition. Rodrigues then moved the Supreme Court through a petition under Article 139-A (1) of the Constitution of India, seeking transfer of the PIL for hearing along with the Assam case. On October 12, a division bench of the Supreme Court comprising of Justice S H Kapadia and Justice B Sudershan Reddy directed that it was the Mumbai High Court bench at Goa that should hear and decide the public interest litigation (PIL) filed by Rodrigues. The PIL was finally heard on March 19, 2008 by Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice N A Britto and the judgment was reserved. The advocate general of Goa was also directed to produce the original government files pertaining to the appointments of parliamentary secretaries and conferring of cabinet status to them.
Monday, October 13, 2008 5:22:48 PM (IST)
from Rubiya Shaikh – Panaji GoaDaijiworld Media Network – Panaji (SP)
Minority’ Stephen’s has right to select own head, says apex court
New Delhi, October 13 Upholding the power of St Stephen’s College to appoint its own principal, the Supreme Court on Monday dismissed a petition filed by Delhi University and ruled that minority educational institutions have a constitutional right to appoint heads of their institutions.
The government cannot encroach upon this right of an institution, the apex court observed while dismissing Delhi University’s appeal challenging the High Court’s recent order that allowed Stephen’s to “select a qualified person as its principal”.
In a reprieve for the college locked in a legal battle over the process of selection of its principal, the Supreme Court bench of Justices R V Raveendran and J M Panchal today approved its status as a “minority institution”.
“It’s a valuable right guaranteed under Article 30, otherwise you are encroaching into it,” the Bench warned as senior advocate P P Rao pressed hard, challenging the High Court’s decision.
Rao submitted that the university had the right to frame regulations for prescribing standards of education and uniformity “in national interest”. But the argument did not convince the apex court. The Bench observed, “You show us one minority college not maintaining the (educational) standards. Otherwise we will be making minority institutions only a farce.”
The apex court upheld the High Court’s ruling that the right of a minority educational institution to appoint its head cannot be taken away by any rule, regulation or any enactment made by state even if the institute is receiving 100 per cent government aid. Delhi University had appealed against the High Court order on the ground that Article 30, which grants minorities the right to establish and administer their own institutions, was “not an absolute right”.
On August 21, the High Court quashed Clause 7 (2) of the Delhi University’s Ordinance XVIII, which gave the varsity the power to appoint principals of all colleges under its jurisdiction. Allowing the college’s petition, the Division Bench of Chief Justice A P Shah and Justice S Muralidhar made it clear that the pertinent clause would not be applicable for Stephen’s, which is a minority institution.
Express News Service
Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 0106 hrs IST
NGO plea against land acquisition annoys SC
New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Monday took exception to a petition filed by an NGO — Association for Protection of Democratic Rights (APDR) — regarding the Nano project in Singur.
The three-member Bench, headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan, took strong exception to the petition filed by the organisation, represented by advocate Prashant Bhushan. However, it agreed to hear the case along with other petitions pending before it.
A visibly annoyed Bench made observations like, “It’s a personal property right, how can an NGO challenge it,” and “how can an association challenge a land allotment for public purpose?”
The advocate representing the association persisted and alleged that a separate procedure is required to be followed in cases where land is to be allotted to a company and in this case it was not followed.
Express news service Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 0029 hrs IST
Rizwanur case: SC asks High Court to complete hearing; family appeals against bail to cops
Kolkata, October 13 The Supreme Court directed the Calcutta High Court on Monday to complete the hearing in the Rizwanur Rehman case as early as possible. An appeal against the HC order, filed by the accused in the case, is pending before a Division Bench headed by the Chief Justice of the Calcutta High Court.
The apex court also ordered that trial in the sessions court should not start during the pendency of the appeal.
Kalyan Banerjee, counsel of the Rehman family, told The Indian Express, “The Supreme Court had earlier refused to stay the CBI probe. After Monday’s order, apart from the trial, other proceedings can take place.”
Justice Dipankar Dutta had directed the CBI on August 14 to file a chargesheet against the accused policemen and members of Todi family and observed that the police officers had acted in unconstitutional and illegal manner. The order was challenged by Ashok Todi and the police officers before a Division Bench headed by Chief Justice S S Nijjar.
Express News Service Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 0339 hrs IST
No review of Venugopal judgment, says SC
NEW DELHI: Health minister Anbumani Ramadoss’s attempt to salvage lost pride from the legal defeat of the `oust Venugopal’ legislation has come a cropper in the Supreme Court. The apex court dismissed the Centre’s petition seeking open court hearing of its plea for review of the May 9, 2008 judgment, which had lashed out at the Parliament-approved and Ramadoss-initiated legislation to oust Dr P Venugopal from the post of AIIMS director, terming it as an act of “naked discrimination” against the eminent cardiologist. The legislation had amended AIIMS Act to fix upper age limit for the director at 65 years and applied it retrospectively with a view to curtail Venugopal’s five-year tenure. A Bench comprising Justices Tarun Chatterjee and H S Bedi had quashed the legislation terming it as “one-man centric” and laced the judgment with stinging observation much to the embarrassment of the UPA government which had gone along with the health minister to settle the latter’s long running feud with Venugopal. Seeking an oral hearing of its review petition was an unusual request from the Centre as all review petitions are heard by the same Bench in the chambers without the presence of lawyers. “The application for oral hearing is rejected. The review petition is dismissed,” said the Bench curtly in its short order putting paid to Ramadoss’s hopes for a open court hearing and review of the decision that allowed Venugopal to complete his five-year tenure at AIIMS and retire. Holding the AIIMS Amendment Act to be “ultra vires and unconstitutional” before striking it down, the court had said, “Venugopal shall serve the nation for some more period, that is, upto July 2, 2008.” The restoration of the director’s post to Venugopal came with arrears of salary and emoluments. “We direct the authorities to restore Venugopal in his office as director of AIIMS till his term comes to an end on July 2, 2008. Venugopal is also entitled to his pay and other emoluments as he was getting before premature termination of his office from the date of his order of termination,” the Bench had directed. With the dismissal of the review petition, the Centre is left with only one option curative petition to challenge the judgment of the apex court. But, given that almost all curative petitions are dismissed, that step is also not without the risk of further loss of face. email@example.com
14 Oct 2008, 2339 hrs IST, Dhananjay Mahapatra,TNN
After SC decision, BU to reinstate Mylarappa
BANGALORE: B C Mylarappa will return to the sociology department of Bangalore University (BU) after the Supreme Court passed an order to reinstate him, higher education minister Aravind Limbavali said on Monday. “All accusations against him have been found to be false and there is no need for a CoD investigation. I have directed BU to take Mylarappa back and the vice-chancellor will get the order in a few days,” he explained. Limbavali will look also into a case of fraud filed with Ulsoor police station against Mylarappa on charges of misappropriation of funds. firstname.lastname@example.org
14 Oct 2008, 0613 hrs IST,TNN
Nanavati report: SC says can’t stop release of partial findings
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 13 The Supreme Court on Monday refused to stay the implementation or circulation of the Nanavati Commission report on the Godhra fire and the subsequent communal riots in 2002 in Gujarat, saying there was no legal bar under the Commission of Inquiries Act to prevent a panel from releasing partial findings.
At the same time, it observed it would have been more appropriate if one entire report had come out.
The three-member bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan was hearing submissions by a senior advocate on behalf of NGO Citizens for Justice and Peace.
Its counsel contended that the Nanavati Commission was not authorised to give its report in parts, recalling that in an earlier case, the interim report of the U C Banerjee Commission had been stayed.
Tannu Sharma Posted: Oct 14, 2008
SC to hear petition on Orissa killings on Oct 16
NEW DELHI : The Supreme Court on October 16 will hear the plea seeking direction to find out which organisations are behind the recent killings of Christians in Orissa. The court will also hear the plea seeking a CBI probe into the communal violence in Kandhamal district. A bench comprising Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan, Justice P Sathasivam and Justice Aftab Alam on Monday has fixed October 16 to hear the matter. Senior Counsel Collin Gonsalves appearing for petitioner Archbishop, Raphael Cheenath of Cuttack said, the situation in the state has again turned grim which requires immediate intervention of the court. Mr Gonsalves sought intervention of the court to find out the truth behind the organised killings of the Christian community in the state. It is essential to find out which organisations are behind such killings, said Mr Gonsalves. Mr Gonsalves sought permission of the court to file an additional ap-plication seeking such plea. The court granting permission posted the matter for hearing on Thurs-day. The Archbishop in his petition claimed that the attack on churches and other properties belonging to the community was a well orchestrated conspiracy and pleaded that the National Human Rights Commission be asked to conduct a probe to find out which organisation was behind the Kandhamal violence. Giving details of the damage and loss of property, the petition said Orissa government has failed to protect the life and property of the community and the measures taken by it, including the compensation announced for the affected families, were not enough. The petition also sought a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the families of those killed in the violence, Rs 4 lakh for those whose houses were destroyed, Rs 2 lakh for those whose houses were damaged partially and Rs 1 lakh for those injured. It also sought Rs 3 crore as compensation for the damage caused to churches.
14 Oct, 2008, 0020 hrs IST, ET Bureau
HC extends stay on privatisation
The Allahabad High Court today extended the stay on privatisation of about 33 Uttar Pradesh Sugar Corporation mills till the next date of hearing on October 20.
Hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Rajeev Kumar Mishra of Maharajganj district, a division bench comprising Justices Ashok Bhushan and Vinit Saran adjourned the hearing to October 20 on the plea of the state government counsel.
The court ordered that the third-party right shall not be created till the next date of hearing.
The PIL had contended that the disinvestment move of the UP government was against several central and state laws.
Meanwhile, Mishra also filed the amended petition today challenging the September 29, Ordinance by UP in respect of the sale of the equity shares of the sugar mills, which he claimed was meant to legalise the illegal sale.
The petitioner contended that the privatisation move would finish off the sugarcane area in UP and affect farmers.
In an earlier hearing on September 12, the court had struck down the name of Chief Minister Mayawati from the list of the respondents.
The state government wants to privatise the sugar sector to bring about operational efficiency.
Gammon India, Uflex and Chaddha group have submitted their financial bids for the mills, which were opened on September 30.
Official sources told Business Standard that the state government had also put the privatisation process on the back burner following the fresh litigation.
BS Reporter / Lucknow October 14, 2008, 0:30 IST
HC defers verdict on scrapping notified SEZs
MUMBAI: The Goa bench of the Bombay High Court on Monday deferred its decision on the state government’s move to scrap three notified special economic zones (SEZs). This means the legality of the state government’s decision to revoke sanctions given to three SEZs, K Raheja Corporation, Meditab Specialties and Peninsula Land would be decided only after a month. Meanwhile, efforts are on to find an out-of-court settlement on the issue. Observing that it did not have all necessary documents for taking a final decision, the HC granted time up to November 17 for all parties to respond. “We have filed affidavits, now the other party has to respond to our submission,” said Mihir Desai, advocate for SEZ Virodh Manch (SVM), which is spearheading campaign against SEZs. The company representatives refused to react. SVM, an umbrella of anti-SEZ organisations, has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the Goa State Industrial Development Corporation for making allegedly fraudulent deals with real estate majors. This is being heard before the high court along with other cases challenging the state government’s move to scrap approved economic zones. According to Mr Desai, ‘affected parties’ like K Raheja are yet to respond to the government’s affidavit, thereby making it impossible for the high court to take a decision. Agrees state advocate general Subodh Kantak: “Many companies have filed their replies very late and some are yet to file. The high court cannot decide on the matter before hearing all sides.” The issue of developing SEZs in Goa is being debated for more than a year now. Having axed by the state government, the three SEZs, along with other promoted by Paradigm Logistics and Distribution, Planetview Mercantile Company and Inox Mercantile, challenged the government’s move. Their contention is that an SEZ, once approved, cannot be rolled back; hence the government’s decision to scrap the projects was unlawful. So, even while the matter is still pending before the HC, efforts are on for an out-of-court settlement. The government is toying with an option that offers alternative land to developers for setting up industrial projects out of the purview of SEZs. Chief minister Digambar Kamat is likely to hold separate meetings with petitioners in the coming week.
14 Oct, 2008, 0000 hrs IST, ET Bureau
HC closes 20-yr case, brings relief to former SBI staffer
New Delhi, October 13 For 37 years of his life, R N Bhargava worked for his bank and an “unblemished” service record. The next 21 years saw him engage in courtroom battles against the same bank. Now at the end of the “long torture”, all the 81-year-old wants is to be left alone to “die in peace”.
The State Bank of India (SBI) had in June 1988 unceremoniously removed R N Bhargava, then assistant general manager, for drawing an excess amount of Rs 8,400 towards travel allowance. Though Bhargava returned the amount to the bank and even went on to draw a pension, the “blot” on his service record continued to bother him enough to file a case against his employer in 1989, least expecting the case to drag on for over two decades.
Now at 81, he has finally won the long sought reprieve from prolonged litigation with Delhi High Court willing to bury the “lingering controversy” between him and his bank.
The Division Bench led by Justice Madan B Lokur, however, is careful to term their decision on the octogenarian’s case as an exception based on the “peculiar facts of this matter” rather than as a precedent.
Krishnadas Rajagopal Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 0241 hrs IST
HC notice to nine MLA’s in caste case
MUMBAI: The Bombay high court on Monday issued contempt notices to nine MLAs in Maharashtra in connection with a caste-scrutiny case.
The contempt notices were issued after a geneologist, S Bhat, who had appeared in court following court orders stated that he was misled by the MLAs in getting his signature on an affidavit supporting their court application in a caste-scrutiny matter. The MLAs had sought to intervene in the hearing of a bunch of petitions regarding scheduled tribe status of persons who belong to the Thakur caste. A full bench of the high court, headed by Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar was hearing the matter. The MLAs, who mostly hail from tribal areas of the state, alleged that in many cases persons belonging high-caste thakur clans from north India claim benefits of reservations by obtaining caste certificates in the state. In support of their claim, they had attached an affidavit by Bhat, who maintains geneologies of these clans. High court did not allow them to intervene, but directed that the affidavit be taken on record, so that caste scrutiny committee may use the information. Bhat, however disowned some parts of the affidavit. He claimed that he did maintain geneologies, but could not comment on whether these families were high-caste or not. The matter will be heard further on October 23.
14 Oct 2008, 0037 hrs IST,TNN
Susairaj moves HC for bail
Kannada actress Maria Susairaj, on Monday moved the Bombay high court seeking bail in the Neeraj Grover murder case.
According to the police Susairaj and her fiance Emile Jerome Mathew, an officer in the Indian Navy, had on May 7 this year allegedly stabbed to death television executive Grover, chopped the body into pieces and later burnt it at Manor. The bail application contends that Susairaj in her confession had said it was Matthew who had stabbed grover and cut his body into pieces. Mathew had also allegedly raped Susairaj twice after the incident at knife point. Susairaj could therefore only be charged for destruction of evidence, said the application. The sessions court had earlier rejected the bail application observing that there was prima facie evidence to prove Susairaj’s involvement in the murder. The bail petition is scheduled to come up for hearing on October 18.
14 Oct 2008, 0001 hrs IST,TNN
Tamil Nadu advocates’ association plea to CJI
New Delhi: The Tamil Nadu Advocates Association on Monday urged Chief Justice of India K.G. Balakrishnan to request Madras High Court Chief Justice A.K. Ganguly to have wider consultations in the matter of appointment of 14 persons as High Court judges.
The association said, “The Chief Justice of the Madras High Court had recently sent a list of 14 names for appointment as Judges of the Madras High Court. It is well known that the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and his immediate two senior-most Judges, who formed the collegium, are Judges who are functioning on transfer from their parent High Courts. Thus, the present list of names of 14 candidates have been finalised by the collegium of judges who may not be fully conversant with the affairs of the Madras High Court.”
The memorandum sent by association president S. Prabhakaran said, “It is no doubt true that in the matter of appointment of Judges of the Supreme Court, the Chief Justice of India is expected to ascertain the views of his colleagues in the Supreme Court who are likely to be conversant with the affairs of the concerned High Court by reason of the fact that such a Judge (whose view is ascertained by him) comes from the same High Court or otherwise.”
“In case if the two immediate senior judges are functioning on transfer, it would only mean the two senior most judges who have the Madras High Court as their parent High Court.
In the said circumstances, the requirement would be satisfied only when the views of the 4th and 5th Judge in seniority (whose parent High Court is Madras High Court) are also obtained by the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court.”
While welcoming the 25-point pro forma sent by the CJI to the prospective candidates, the memorandum expressed the hope that there would be strict scrutiny of names by adopting the pro forma.
The memorandum said, “We also request the CJI, the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the Chief Justice of the Madras High Court and the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, M. Karunanidhi to re-circulate the 14 names to the 4th and 5th senior most judges of the Madras High Court, whose parent High Court is Madras High Court for fresh consideration of these names.”
Tuesday, Oct 14, 2008
Larger SC bench to hear SIMI ban case
NEW DELHI, OCTOBER 13 Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan will constitute “an appropriate bench” to take up the Government’s appeal against a Special Tribunal decision lifting the ban on SIMI (Students’ Islamic Movement of India SIMI). Till then, the interim stay on the decision of the Special Tribunal will be continued.
A two-judge Bench of Justices S B Sinha and Cyriac Joseph, before whom the matter was placed on Monday, refused to hear it contending that earlier two notifications banning the outfit were already pending for consideration before a three-member bench. The Bench, therefore, referred the matter to the CJI for setting up of an appropriate Bench, in other words, a three-judge bench.
On August 5, the Special Tribunal — headed by Delhi High Court judge Geeta Mittal — had lifted the ban imposed on SIMI by the most recent notification of the Government. It said there was no new evidence to justify the ban.
The Centre had rushed to the apex court against the tribunal order, and the bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan had stayed it. It had issued a notice to SIMI and asked the Centre to place before it all documents pertaining to the justification of the ban.
Express news service Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 0019 hrs IST
Nanavati or not, the state apparatus in Gujarat cannot be absolved
With the kind of evidence that I saw as Chief Justice of India, I would never have exonerated the Government of its responsibility during the 2002 riots, if I was responsible for the Commission.
As CJI, I heard a large number of cases from the riot-stricken of Gujarat in 2002. I don’t see a case for absolving the state government or of saying that all responsibilities were fulfilled. There are three primary responsibilities of the state. The first, is the protection of lives of people, all people, and especially the weaker sections, who may not have the necessary voice and strength to look after themselves. Second comes the duty to prosecute those who violate the law. The third is the duty to provide relief to victims of violence. It is important for governments to educate people, build roads etc. but all of that is predicated on their being able to first protect lives.
On the three crucial aspects, the police and the state in
Gujarat during the riots was an utter failure. The state, after being unable to protect lives also carried out shoddy investigations. I got the sense that investigations were done to help the accused, rather than the victims.
V.N. Khare Posted: Oct 14, 2008 at 2331 hrs IST